Monday, June 30, 2008

Alarmist cloud assumptions debunked

Greenies get the feedback effect precisely wrong. Feedback effects are the Greenie way of magnifying the trivial 20th century warming (less than one degree) into something threatening -- so this should really be the death-knell of Warmism


This article addresses new satellite and modeling evidence that previous satellite diagnoses of high climate sensitivity--which directly translate into predictions of dangerous levels of global warming--contain a large spurious bias. It is shown that those exaggerated estimates were the result of faulty assumptions regarding clouds when analyzing variations in average global temperature and average reflected sunlight off of the Earth.

Specifically, it has been assumed (explicitly or implicitly) that, for global averages on time scales of three months or more, temperature variations cause clouds to change, but that cloud variations do not cause temperature to change. But when properly filtered, the satellite data reveal evidence of cloud variations indeed causing temperature changes, and that this source of natural climate variability biases the estimate of climate sensitivity in the direction of a very sensitive climate system.

The new interpretation suggests a very low sensitivity. If the new sensitivity estimate is accurate, it would suggest only 0.5 deg. C of manmade warming by the year 2100. The new sensitivity estimate also suggests that warming over the last century can not be explained by human greenhouse gas emissions alone, but instead might require a mostly natural explanation


Richard Courtney comments:

Re Spencer's finding that "when properly filtered, the satellite data reveal evidence of cloud variations indeed causing temperature changes, and that this source of natural climate variability biases the estimate of climate sensitivity in the direction of a very sensitive climate system.".

I find it interesting because I have been arguing the following since 1991 when Ramanathan & Collins published their first paper reporting maximum sea surface temperature (ref. Nature, v351, 27-32 (1991) ).

Increased temperature implies more evaporation with resulting increase to cloud cover. The evaporation removes heat from the surface with resultant surface cooling (just as evaporation of sweat cools hot skin). And clouds reflect solar radiation with resulting reduction to surface heating (as every sunbather has noticed) so increased cloud cover reduces surface warming. The effect of increased cloud cover with increased temperature is that the tropical warm pool has a maximum surface temperature of 305K (because additional heat increases cloud cover). Similar but lesser increase to cloud cover can be expected everywhere that sea surface temperature is increased for any reason.

(Richard Courtney, DipPhil, is a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK-based climate and atmospheric science consultant)

Australian astronomical Society warns of global COOLING as Sun's activity 'significantly diminishes'

A new paper published by the Astronomical Society of Australia has a warning to global warming believers not immediately obvious from the summary:
Based on our claim that changes in the Sun's equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in the Sun's orbital motion about the barycentre, we propose that the mean period for the Sun's meridional flow is set by a Synodic resonance between the flow period (~22.3 yr), the overall 178.7-yr repetition period for the solar orbital motion, and the 19.86-yr synodic period of Jupiter and Saturn.

Or as one of the authors, Ian Wilson, kindly explained to me: It supports the contention that the level of activity on the Sun will significantly diminish sometime in the next decade and remain low for about 20 - 30 years. On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World's mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 - 2 C. Oh. Global cooling coming, then. Obvious, really.


Silly Sharon Blames Midwest Floods on Global Warming

Newsweek's senior editor Sharon Begley has taken it upon herself to publicly declare the recent floods in the Midwest are being caused by global warming.Those familiar with her work shouldn't be even slightly surprised by this, as Begley was the person responsible for the August 13, 2007, Newsweek cover story "Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine" which evoked widespread criticism including from one of her fellow editors. Regardless, Begley is at it again with an article in the upcoming issue of Newsweek disgracefully entitled, "Global Warming Is a Cause of This Year's Extreme Weather"
The frequency of downpours and heat waves, as well as the power of hurricanes, has increased so dramatically that "100-year storms" are striking some areas once every 15 years, and other once rare events keep returning like a bad penny. As a result, some climatologists now say global warming is to blame. Rising temperatures boost the probability of extreme weather, says Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center and lead author of a new report from the Bush administration's Climate Change Science Program; that can "lead to the type of events we are seeing in the Midwest." There, three weeks of downpours have caused rivers to treat their banks as no more than mild suggestions. Think of it this way: if once we experienced one Noachian downpour every 20 years, and now we suffer five, four are likely man-made.

As is her typical modus operandi, Begley chose not to offer any balance concerning this recent report, or identify that top scientists around the world have been critical of both its findings and the lead author. As the University of Colorado at Boulder's Dr. Roger A. Pielke Sr. wrote on June 20:
This report perpetuates the use of assessments to promote a particular perspective on climate change, such as they write in the Executive Summary. "It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences. The increase in heavy precipitation events is associated with an increase in water vapor, and the latter has been attributed to human-induced warming."

This claim conflicts with the 2005 National Research Council reportNational Research Council, 2005: "Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties". Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp -- where a diversity of human climate forcings were found to alter global average radiative warming, including from atmospheric aersosols and due to the deposition of soot on snow and ice. The claim of an increase in atmospheric water vapor conflicts with a variety of observations as summarized on Climate Science (e.g. see).

To further illustrate the bias in the report, the assessment chose to ignore peer reviewed research that raises serious questions with respect to the temperature data that is used in their report. As just one example, they ignored research where we have shown major problems in the use of surface air temperature measurements to diagnose long term temperature trends including temperature extremes.

Pielke concluded: "Since this assessment is so clearly biased, it should be rejected as providing adequate climate information to policymakers. There also should be questions raised concerning having the same individuals preparing these reports in which they are using them to promote their own perspective on the climate, and deliberately excluding peer reviewed papers that disagree with their viewpoint and research papers. This is a serious conflict of interest,

Of course, Begley chose not to offer her readers an opposing view, and just continued with the hysteria:
The Midwest, for instance, suffered three weeks of intense rain in May and June, with more than five inches falling on some days. That brought a reprise of the area's 1993 flooding, which was thought to be a once-in-500-years event. The proximate cause was the western part of the jet stream dipping toward the Gulf of Mexico, then rising toward Iowa-funneling moisture from the gulf to the Midwest, says meteorologist Bill Gallus of (the very soggy) Iowa State University.

The puzzle, he says, is why the trough kept reforming in the west, creating a rain-carrying conveyor belt that, like a nightmarish version of a Charlie Chaplin movie, wouldn't turn off. One clue is that global warming has caused the jet stream to shift north. That has brought, and will continue to bring, more tropical storms to the nation's north, and may push around the jet stream in other ways as well.

Interesting that Begley cited Bill Gallus, but chose to ignore some of his other opinions concerning the floods, as well as those of one of his colleagues. For instance, as reported by Radio Iowa on June 10:
The recent spate of wet weather that's stormed over Iowa is very similar to what happened 15 years ago. Iowa State University meteorology professor Bill Gallus has reviewed the data."In many ways, the pattern we've had the last two or three weeks is very similar to what lasted for a much longer time in 1993," Gallus says.....

Iowa State University meteorologist Bill Gutowski says so-called "climate change" might be a part of this weather equation, but it's too soon to say. "There are physical reasons as well as results from models that indicate that we could expect more intense rainfall events occurring in a much warmer climate, but it'd be really hard to say based on what's going on this year that this is directly an outcome of global warming," Gutowski says. "We would need to see that the...frequency of those events is increasing."

According to Gutowski, one of the challenges researchers face is there are "natural fluctuations" in the climate system, so weather data from a single year is just not indicative of any trend.

Sadly, people like Begley choose to ignore such natural fluctuations, and, instead, blame everything on man. On the other hand, Gallus did attach one cause of this year's flooding to humans, but not in a fashion that supported Begley's hysteria as reported by Iowa's Gazette on June 6:

The rains' effect on Eastern Iowa streams and rivers is exaggerated by the lack of crops in nearby fields, said Bill Gallus, Iowa State University professor of meteorology."Most of the crops were delayed getting in," said Gallus. "That tends to lead to more water running off into streams and rivers" because there's no vegetation to catch runoff.

Such facts pertaining to the Midwest floods eluded Begley, much as they did with her following declaration: "Hurricanes have become more powerful due to global warming." Really, Sharon? That's not what hurricane experts such as William Gray and Christopher Landsea believe. But why should their opinions matter when you're on a roll? Although the last time Begley was so reckless with her reporting, one of her colleagues, contributing editor Robert J. Samuelson, called the piece "fundamentally misleading" and "highly contrived." We can only hope her most recent addition to this debate is similarly derided


The UN climate change numbers hoax

It's an assertion repeated by politicians and climate campaigners the world over: "2,500 scientists of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that humans are causing a climate crisis." But it's not true. And, for the first time ever, the public can now see the extent to which they have been misled. As lies go, it's a whopper. Here's the real situation.

Like the three IPCC "assessment reports" before it, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) released during 2007 (upon which the UN climate conference in Bali was based) includes the reports of the IPCC's three working groups. Working Group I (WG I) is assigned to report on the extent and possible causes of past climate change as well as future "projections". Its report is titled "The Physical Science Basis".

The reports from working groups II and II are titled "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" and "Mitigation of Climate Change" respectively, and since these are based on the results of WG I, it is crucially important that the WG I report stands up to close scrutiny.

There is, of course serious debate among scientists about the actual technical content of the roughly 1,000-page WG I report, especially its politically motivated Summary for Policymakers which is often the only part read by politicians and non-scientists. The technical content can be difficult for non-scientists to follow and so most people simply assume that if large numbers of scientists agree, they must be right.

Consensus never proves the truth of a scientific claim, but is somehow widely believed to do so for the IPCC reports, so we need to ask how many scientists really did agree with the most important IPCC conclusion, namely that humans are causing significant climate change - in other words the key parts of WG I?

The numbers of scientist reviewers involved in WG I is actually less than a quarter of the whole, a little more than 600 in total. The other 1,900 reviewers assessed the other working group reports. They had nothing to say about the causes of climate change or its future trajectory. Still, 600 "scientific expert reviewers" sounds pretty impressive. After all, they submitted their comments to the IPCC editors who assure us that "all substantive government and expert review comments received appropriate consideration". And since these experts reviewers are all listed in Annex III of the report, they must have endorsed it, right?


For the first time ever, the UN has released on the Web the comments of reviewers who assessed the drafts of the WG I report and the IPCC editors' responses. This release was almost certainly a result of intense pressure applied by "hockey-stick" co-debunker Steve McIntyre of Toronto and his allies. Unlike the other IPCC working groups, WG I is based in the US and McIntyre had used the robust Freedom of Information legislation to request certain details when the full comments were released.

An examination of reviewers' comments on the last draft of the WG I report before final report assembly (i.e. the "Second Order Revision" or SOR) completely debunks the illusion of hundreds of experts diligently poring over all the chapters of the report and providing extensive feedback to the editing teams. Here's the reality.

A total of 308 reviewers commented on the SOR, but only 32 reviewers commented on more than three chapters and only five reviewers commented on all 11 chapters of the report. Only about half the reviewers commented on more than one chapter. It is logical that reviewers would generally limit their comments to their areas of expertise but it's a far cry from the idea of thousands of scientists agreeing to anything.

Compounding this is the fact that IPCC editors could, and often did, ignore reviewers' comments. Some editor responses were banal and others showed inconsistencies with other comments. Reviewers had to justify their requested changes but the responding editors appear to have been under no such obligation. Reviewers were sometimes flatly told they were wrong but no reasons or reliable references were provided.

In other cases reviewers tried to dilute the certainty being expressed and they often provided supporting evidence, but their comments were often flatly rejected. Some comments were rejected on the basis of a lack of space - an incredible assertion in such an important document.

The attitude of the editors seemed to be that simple corrections were accepted, requests for improved clarity tolerated but the assertions and interpretations that appear in the text were to be defended against any challenge. An example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that "hundreds of IPCC scientists" are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely "Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years".

In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, "Understanding and Attributing Climate Change". Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60 per cent of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.

Two of these seven were contacted by NRSP for the purposes of this article - Dr Vincent Gray of New Zealand and Dr Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph, Canada. Concerning the "Greenhouse gas forcing ." statement above, Professor McKitrick explained "A categorical summary statement like this is not supported by the evidence in the IPCC WG I report. Evidence shown in the report suggests that other factors play a major role in climate change, and the specific effects expected from greenhouse gases have not been observed."

Dr Gray labeled the WG I statement as "Typical IPCC doubletalk" asserting "The text of the IPCC report shows that this is decided by a guess from persons with a conflict of interest, not from a tested model".

Determining the level of support expressed by reviewers' comments is subjective but a slightly generous evaluation indicates that just five reviewers endorsed the crucial ninth chapter. Four had vested interests and the other made only a single comment for the entire 11-chapter report. The claim that 2,500 independent scientist reviewers agreed with this, the most important statement of the UN climate reports released this year, or any other statement in the UN climate reports, is nonsense.

"The IPCC owe it to the world to explain who among their expert reviewers actually agree with their conclusions and who don't," says Natural Resources Stewardship Project Chair climatologist Dr Timothy Ball. "Otherwise, their credibility, and the public's trust of science in general, will be even further eroded."

That the IPCC have let this deception continue for so long is a disgrace. Secretary General Ban Kai-Moon must instruct the UN climate body to either completely revise their operating procedures, welcoming dissenting input from scientist reviewers and indicating if reviewers have vested interests, or close the agency down completely.


Right and wrong ways of driving down fuel prices

by Irwin M. Stelzer

Students of energy policy despair, and at times believe that Dante's inscription on the entrance to hell should be emblazoned on the entrances to the Capitol and the White House, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." Our president has just gone to Saudi Arabia to grovel before the royal family in the hope of persuading the kingdom to open its taps just a bit to bring soaring oil prices down.

The caribou lobby in the Senate has voted down a bill that would have opened a small portion of Alaska's untapped oil fields to exploration and development. (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted to continue the restriction, and John McCain would have joined them had he not been out of town reveling in the applause for his speech promising to lead the fight on global warming.) And the farm and ethanol lobbies are prepared to crush the groups calling for an end to the food-for-fuel mandate that requires motorists to use nine billion gallons of ethanol (auto fuel made from corn) this year.

A good part of the energy policy muddle stems from a tendency to ask the wrong questions. Ask the wrong questions, and you get the wrong answers. The question now being asked by Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and other politicians whose notion of the long run extends only for the six months until the November election is, "How can we lower gasoline prices?" Their answer: Reduce the approximately 18 cent-per-gallon federal tax on gasoline during the summer driving season.

The reasons that is exactly the wrong policy are too many to list. One is that oil producers, or oil companies, or service station operators would raise prices by an equivalent amount. Hillary Clinton, in her new populist incarnation, might dismiss this as the ranting of pointy-headed economists, but it is nevertheless true. But give the pandering pols the benefit of the doubt, and assume that prices would go down. The right question would have been, "Is it good policy to lower gasoline prices?" The right answer is "no."

Higher prices seem to be persuading Americans to use less gasoline, witness the increased use of mass transit reported in many cities around the country. Lower gasoline prices would encourage Americans to drive more, use more of the cheaper gasoline, emit more pollutants, and increase the demand for crude oil. So regimes hostile to the United States would sell us still more oil.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, whose government owns some 8,000 Citgo gasoline stations in America, must be astonished to learn that leading American politicians are eager to increase his revenues so that he can step up his propaganda campaign against America. And the Saudi financiers of jihadists and of the Wahabbi mullahs who fuel anti-Americanism would be pleased to have a few extra hundred million. So would Vladimir Putin.

Better that, figure our politicians, than to take the political risk of increasing taxes on gasoline, reducing demand, and getting to the consumers' wallets before OPEC and its allies do.

The wrong question--how do we lower prices?--also led Congress last week to pass legislation ordering the president to stop buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The reserve now contains 701.3 million barrels, a record. Bush wants to fill it to its capacity of 727 million barrels this year, and eventually double the capacity.

Stop buying oil, critics, including John McCain, tell President Bush, and demand pressures will ease. Better still, start selling off some of the strategic reserve, and increase supplies of crude oil. The notion that the government can outsmart the market by buying low and selling high is, to put it mildly, questionable. As is the assumption that it is smart enough to distinguish a shock, which might justify use of the reserve, from a trend, which should be allowed to play itself out so that the economy can readjust to the new prices.

Besides, oil companies are likely to increase their own inventories when the government stops stockpiling, stepping up purchases of imported crude oil in order to do so. Net effect of all of this on demand and supply: nil. Net effect on our ability to withstand a supply cut-off: substantial.

Next wrong question, and one being asked not only in America, but in most other countries: "How can we replace crude oil with renewable sources of energy?" Answer: Subsidize construction of wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear plants, and the production of corn. But neither wind turbines nor solar energy, on the cheeriest of assumptions, can make a significant dent in the demand for crude oil and its products. As for nuclear, few of these costly plants--and cost estimates seem to be doubling every few months--will be built unless overt or covert subsidies are offered to private-sector players, licensing proceedings and construction times are shortened, and politicians are willing to override Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository.

Which leaves corn. Congress has mandated that farmers be paid huge subsidies to grow corn to be converted into ethanol, a gasoline substitute, while quite inconsistently maintaining a tariff wall to deny motorists access to cheaper imported ethanol. The answer produced by the wrong question has serious negative consequences. For one thing, the negative environmental impact of these biofuels seems to outweigh their positive effect. Among other things, production requires the use of huge amounts of fertilizers, causing run-off that pollutes streams and rivers; farmers around the world cut down environmentally friendly forests to increase planting of oil-substitutes; and acreage previously devoted to growing food is converted to growing fuel. That has contributed to the massive increases in food prices that are afflicting not only Americans but, with greater ferocity, the world's poor. In essence, rich countries are trying to fill their gasoline tanks at the expense of empty stomachs in Africa, Central America, and parts of Asia.

So what are the right questions? First, have any of the programs now in place proved counterproductive? Yes, several have costs that exceed their benefits. Best example: the attempt to grow our way out of the energy problem. Admit that we have erred, and wind down the subsidies that are denuding forests and contributing to food shortages without significantly adding to fuel supplies. That's what a coalition of environmentalists, livestock producers, and consumer groups last week called on Congress to do. They are unlikely to overcome the powerful farmer-ethanol lobby.

Second, are there cost-effective ways of increasing the supply of conventional crude oil? Probably. Studies that showed that the environmental cost of drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and offshore Florida and California exceeded any benefit from new discoveries are now out of date. The benefits were estimated when oil prices were less than half current levels. So the benefits of stepped up exploration have multiplied with the price and value of oil. Meanwhile, the industry claims to have learned a great deal about reducing the environmental impact of such stepped-up drilling. If new studies bear out these impressions, and suggest that the environmental and other costs of drilling are now exceeded by their benefits, restrictions on domestic drilling should be relaxed. But that is not in the cards--all three of the presidential wannabes are pledged to keep Alaska closed to drilling, no matter what the balance of costs and benefits.

Final sensible question, Can anything be done to increase supplies of oil from the world's important suppliers? Answer: Yes, if there is the will to act. The Mexican government depends heavily on remittances sent to poor Mexican families from the millions of its citizens working, legally and illegally, in the United States; the Saudi regime depends on the U.S. military umbrella for its survival; and the Saudi-led OPEC cartel, which has held production constant for eight months in the face of a 54 percent increase in prices, exists only because successive administrations have prevented the antitrust authorities from attempting to break it up. Hillary Clinton is on to something when she calls for antitrust action against this cartel, which would not be the first time the Justice Department has moved against a price-fixing conspiracy by foreign firms. Antitrust lawyers tell me that the immunity of sovereign governments from antitrust prosecution does not extend to their commercial activities.

Bush knows this. He knows that nothing frightens the Saudi regime more than the threat of the furling of the U.S. umbrella, which as Karen Elliott House put it in the Wall Street Journal, "has provided the Saudis with a security blanket that puts this desert kingdom off limits to regional predators" and prevented Iran and Syria from turning Saudi Arabia into another Lebanon. He knows that the Saudis have about two million barrels per day of shut-in, excess capacity. And he knows how vulnerable the Saudi-led OPEC cartel is to antitrust action.

Perhaps he worries that if he deploys any of these weapons the Saudis will dump some part of their dollar pile on the market, driving down the value of our currency, and increasing inflationary pressures and interest rates in America. They might, but only if they are willing to drive down the value of the billions of dollars remaining in their vaults, and damage the value of their U.S. investments. Would the president of the United States or the king of Saudi Arabia be the first to blink in a stare down? We will never know, since the administration prefers the role of supplicant to that of tough bargainer.

Nor is there any indication that we are prepared to harden our line with Mexico. No one has suggested that Mexico's continued refusal to allow American capital to flow into its oil industry might be considered when NAFTA is reviewed. Is it unreasonable to suggest that free trade in goods and services, and the virtually unhindered movement of labor across the border, must be accompanied by the free flow of capital across borders? Yes, we benefit from NAFTA, and its abrogation would impose costs on us. But so does Mexico's ban on U.S. participation in its oil industry.

A serious American administration would explain to the Saudis and their OPEC allies, and to the Mexicans, that continuation of their present policies would not be without cost to them. Continued defense of the Saudi regime, a staying of the hand of the antitrust authorities, and continued absence of restrictions on remittances to Mexico will, they should be told, depend at least in part on their willingness to allow Western firms to develop new reserves and to wring more oil from existing fields, and to relax cartel restrictions on current output.

Unfortunately, the right questions are precisely the sorts of questions that politicians abhor. Asking them produces politically difficult answers--higher not lower taxes on gasoline to encourage new technologies and discourage consumption, the opening of now-closed areas to exploration and development, the end of massive subsidies to farmers to grow corn-for-fuel.

Wrong questions and the inevitably wrong policy answers might be one reason Goldman Sachs is talking about a "super spike" that would take oil prices to $200 per barrel. Remember: These are the guys who were laughed at when they predicted that the price of oil would hit $100. Dante might have been referring to what happens to good ideas on energy policy when they are sent to the halls of Congress or the White House, when he wrote, "Through me you pass into the city of woe .??.... into eternal pain."


Global warming could increase terrorism, official says

Global warming could destabilize "struggling and poor" countries around the world, prompting mass migrations and creating breeding grounds for terrorists, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council told Congress on Wednesday.

Climate change "will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions," Thomas Fingar said. "All of this threatens the domestic stability of a number of African, Asian, Central American and Central Asian countries."

People are likely to flee destabilized countries, and some may turn to terrorism, he said. "The conditions exacerbated by the effects of climate change could increase the pool of potential recruits into terrorist activity," he said.

"Economic refugees will perceive additional reasons to flee their homes because of harsher climates," Fingar predicted. That will put pressure on countries receiving refugees, many of which "will have neither the resources nor interest to host these climate migrants," he said in testimony to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

More here

Comment on the above session from NR::

Today marked a new low for the way congressional Democrats deal with national security. This morning, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a joint hearing on a "National Intelligence Assessment" on global climate change. This analysis was ordered by the Democratic Congress last year and was issued a few weeks ago. Some highlights (or low-lights) from the hearing:

1) In response to a question by Global Warming Committee member Greg Walden (R-OR), the Intelligence Community admitted they had "low to medium confidence" in the accuracy of this estimate because intelligence officers lack the expertise to write such an estimate (it was mostly contracted out to other organizations) and climate change science is so uncertain. As Walden started to ask about why an analysis of such low reliability was issued, Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA), the Global Warming Committee Chairman, cut him off and told him he was out of time even though Markey let all the previous Democrats speak substantially past their time limits.

2) Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Peter Hoekstra asked what intelligence was used for this estimate and whether intelligence collection requirements were prepared. National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar said no clandestine intelligence was used and that intelligence officers extrapolated what would happen if the "mid-level estimates" by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were correct. When Hoekstra asked why the U.S. Intelligence Community would write an major analysis of low to medium confidence that contained no intelligence, Fingar answered, "because you [Congress] told us to."

3) Hoekstra noted that intelligence assessments of high confidence have proven to be wrong and he wondered why an intelligence assessment of low to medium confidence would even be published. In an attempt to dispel the debate over confidence, Intelligence Committee member Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) responded by noting that the 2002 Iraq WMD NIE had high confidence in its findings. Some Republicans thought Rep. Eshoo's statement actually made their case about the futility of issuing an intelligence assessment that intelligence officers cannot fully back.



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


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Greenie scientist disowns "vanishing arctic" panic

Mark C. Serreze was the author quoted in most of the stories. He says now:

I hope that I will not be pilloried by the community for being a part of this story. From what I can gather, it started with a piece in "National Geographic Online", moved to a piece in "The Independent", another piece on CNN, and then quickly grew out of all reasonable proportion. A positive feedback process.

I'll be the first to agree that losing the ice at the north pole this summer would be purely symbolic, but symbolism can be pretty darned powerful.

Source (Comment 6)

Comment on "Real Climate"

Comment below by Jim Peden. I first had a close look at on Dec. 13, 2004 and arrived at similar conclusions, without at that time being aware of their corrupt origins -- JR

Quoting as a reliable source of information on climate science is like quoting for reliable information on mouse behavior.

"Real Climate" is a staged and contracted production, which wasn't created by "scientists", it was actually created by Environmental Media Services, a company which specializes in spreading environmental junk science on behalf of numerous clients who stand to financially benefit from scare tactics through environmental fear mongering. There you will find the word "model" used a million times, for the entire basis of the Global Warming Hoax is based on computer modeling ( not climate science ) which has thus far failed to predict anything accurately since day one.

For example, one of their past clients, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, hired them to create the illusion that Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) was somehow dangerous, despite the fact that it had been fully tested and approved by the FDA. After a lengthy national fearmongering campaign by Environmental Media Services, Ben & Jerry's proudly announced that their ice cream was "BGH-free"... as if it made any difference.

Real Climate has become the Alamo for folks like the highly discredited Michael Mann, whose original analytical blunder led to the famous "hockey stick" curve, which helped kick off the Great Global Warming Hoax after it was picked up by science illiterate Al Gore and proudly paraded around the globe. The hockey stick was proven to be an absurd blunder, but by then you couldn't put the genie back into the bottle, and today we are wasting billions of dollars on a cure for a nonexistent disease.

Perhaps the best summary of "Real Climate" was given by a Harvard trained atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Richard Lindzen, who said,

"This website appears to constitute a support center for global warming believers, wherein any criticism of global warming is given an answer that, however implausible, is then repeated by the reassured believers."


A different climate meeting

The Warmists are always having conferences and meetings. But others can have them too. A report:

Yesterday (25 June) I attended a lunchtime seminar in Westminster, organised by the Centre for Policy Studies, on climate change and the case against CO2 as the driver of global temperatures. Chaired by Nigel Lawson, there were several other peers in attendance, and more Ph.Ds and professors than you could shake a stick at. The speaker was Dr Fred Singer, the 84-year-old American climate scientist and author of 'Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years' and one of the founders of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), set up to examine all the evidence on the subject, including that ignored by the politicised IPCC.

The London seminar was the last in a series that Dr Singer had held around Europe, where he had also had a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner. Apparently, after listening to Dr Singer's views, the commissioner replied that they were very interesting but he would have to seek the views of scientists!

Dr Singer gave a presentation on the NIPCC paper 'Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate' (, of which he was the editor. He showed that the most damning evidence against man-made climate change was the 'fingerprint' method of comparing what the climate models predict should be happening to atmospheric temperatures and what measurements show actually is happening - and they are totally different.

There was a question and answer session after the presentation. In response to a question from the Bishop of Chester about what was driving the whole climate change scare, Dr Singer described the financial beneficiaries (activists, scientists, industrial organisations) and ideological factors. CO2 control was also the perfect vehicle for promoting world government.

One of the issues stressed by Dr Singer was that climate policies are negatively impacting energy policies, making energy much more expensive. In his view we need to be seeking economic growth throughout the world, which can only be achieved with access to relatively cheap energy. Since the end of the current interglacial cannot be too far away, we need to be wealthy enough to have the resources to adapt to the potentially catastrophic effects of the severe cooling that is inevitable within the next few thousand years.

Dr Singer believes that continued cooling over the next ten years, plus the economic consequences of the sharp increase in energy prices that is now occurring, will be needed to cause a break in the ranks of politicians towards trying to control CO2. More recognised academics need to speak out on the issue to keep the pressure up. All in all, a very interesting meeting.

There is another issue that came up in the Q&A session that we need to take seriously. There was a question from Nick Riley, who described himself as a geologist and zoologist, about the 'acidification' of the oceans from extra CO2. Dr Singer replied that the oceans were not acidifying but they were becoming less alkaline. Riley mentioned that there had been an acidification event some 55 million years ago (he didn't say what caused it) that took some 100,000 years for the oceans to recover from.

I have done a quick Google search this morning and found this paper by Riley: which shows that he is promoting carbon sequestration and is either a true believer or is making money from CO2 alarmism.

I think I may have mentioned before that I can see the Greens and their fellow travellers changing tack once it becomes irrefutable that CO2 is not driving temperatures, and ocean acidification is likely to be their next scare. It strikes me that, with current atmospheric CO2 levels at a very low level in terms of geological time, the likelihood of the oceans becoming acidic must be remote if they did not do so when atmospheric levels were much higher. If the event Riley referred to is true, it clearly didn't kill all life in the oceans, and corals date back some 250 million years and they obviously survived. I think we need to have the answers ready on this, though, for when the Greens say we must reduce CO2 emissions, even if they don't affect climate after all.


Lawrence Solomon: What I told the Petroleum Club

On a tour earlier this week for his new book on global warming, "The Deniers", Lawrence Solomon made a presentation at the Petroleum Club in Calgary. His remarks, adapted, appear below

I'm surprised to see so many of you here today. I thought you might be at trial, for your global warming crimes. James Hansen - he's one of the leaders in the climate change movement in the U.S. - wants you in court. "CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing," he stated yesterday. "...they should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature." Come to think of it, David Suzuki also sees those who abet CO2 emissions as criminals.

And you know what, I bet some of you see yourselves as criminals - or something close to it - because there's something in human nature that makes us feel guilty, even for crimes we didn't commit, let alone for non-crimes. And I bet some of your friends and associates might look at you sideways. And your children may be teased and made to feel guilty about what their dad does for a living. Even more, you've been cowed into silence. Instead of making your case to the public, instead of defending yourselves and your industry, you've thrown in the towel, or tried to be greener than green, hoping to avoid recrimination.

As many of you know, I and Energy Probe, my organization, have long been critics of the energy industry. We have opposed Arctic pipelines and tar sands that we considered to be ill-advised. We have opposed nuclear plants and big dams. We favour conservation and renewable energy. We like clean and economic energy, something we have had too little of in Canada. For this, some of you in this room bear some responsibility.

But on the global warming issues, based on the evidence to date, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Albertans have nothing to feel guilty about either. No crime has been committed. No known harm has occurred. You've been had.

The fears of cataclysm over global warming are unfounded. There is no consensus on climate change, despite what Al Gore and the UN's Panel on Climate Change would have you believe.

Let me tell you why most people think that global warming is a serious problem. It comes down to one number: 2500. That's the number of scientists associated with the UN's Panel on Climate Change that the press reports has endorsed the UN Panel's conclusions. These are the conclusions that get released in the UN's mammoth reports every six years or so, and that then dominate the media airwaves for weeks. "2500 scientists can't be wrong," the press always says, explicitly or implicitly. Without that number, it would have no basis for the claim that they repeat over and over again - that there's a consensus on climate change.

2500 is an impressive number of scientists. To find out who, exactly, they were, I contacted the Secretariat of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and asked for their names. The Secretariat replied that the names were not public, so I couldn't have them. And I learned that the 2500 scientists were reviewers, not endorsers. Those scientists hadn't endorsed anything. They had merely reviewed one or more of the literally hundreds of background studies, some important and some not, that were part of this immense United Nations bureaucratic process. They did not review the final report or endorse it.

Their reviews weren't even all favorable. I know that from many sources, including from among some of the scientists that I profiled - several of the deniers in my book are among those 2500. And those deniers, and others, generally consider the UN's work a travesty. There is no endorsement by 2500 top UN scientists. The press has been taken. And so the public has been taken.

The extent to which the public has been taken may surprise you. Not only is there no consensus, the scientists who are skeptics - the deniers - have extraordinary credentials, people at the very top echelons of the scientific establishment. They are the Who's Who of Science. Not only do they disagree with the UN conclusions, they often value CO2 for the benefits it provides the planet - satellite data shows the planet is now the greenest it has been in decades. Until recently, after all, CO2 was universally viewed as Nature's fertilizer.

If these top scientists are right, you are being attacked without justification. You are being painted as criminals and your children are being made to feel ashamed of what you do. You are being victimized, in a modern form of shunning.

Your present strategy of lying low and hoping all this will pass has gotten you nowhere. You need to make your case, factually and frankly. The public will be skeptical of your arguments, as it should be. But if your critics can't counter your factual arguments, it is your critics who will fail. You need to decide. Do you want to go on being attacked for something that may be laudable, for producing CO2 may well be laudable? Do you want to go on feeling guilty out of public ignorance of where scientists truly stand on the global warming issue?

On global warming, the science is not settled. You have the facts on your side. But facts will count for naught as long as you see the battle as lost.


Yellow Science

In the late 19th century, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer developed what would come to be known as yellow journalism. By disregarding what had been standard journalistic methods, particularly in regards to the verifying of sources, these two publishers were able both to push their country toward war with Spain and dramatically increase the circulation of their respective newspapers.

Man has always had a healthy desire for knowledge, and it is the feeding of this hunger that ennobles journalism. Hearst and Pulitzer were acutely aware that man has a less healthy but no less voracious desire to believe that he has knowledge, particularly knowledge of something sensational. It is the feeding of this hunger that irreparably disgraced journalism, and a century later now threatens to do the same to science.

Scientists, like journalists, are called upon to plumb the depths of the unknown and to fairly and objectively report their findings to their own professional community as well as the general public. Scientists, like the journalists of yesteryear, have specific methods for ensuring that the public trust placed in them is not abused. The most fundamental of these methods is the well-known, if not so creatively named, scientific method. The essence of the scientific method is the formulation of hypotheses (ideas) and the using of these hypotheses to make predictions that can be experimentally tested. In the words of Sir Thomas Eddington in "The Philosophy of Physical Science," "Every item of physical knowledge must therefore be an assertion of what has been or would be the result of carrying out a specified observational procedure."

Nevertheless, over the past several decades an increasing number of scientists have shed the restraints imposed by the scientific method and begun to proclaim the truth of man-made global warming. This is a hypothesis that remains untested, makes no predictions that can be tested in the near future, and cannot offer a numerical explanation for the limited evidence to which it clings. No equations have been shown to explain the relationship between fossil-fuel emission and global temperature. The only predictions that have been made are apocalyptic, so the hypothesis has to be accepted before it can be tested.

The only evidence that can be said to support this so-called scientific consensus is the supposed correlation of historical global temperatures with historical carbon-dioxide content in the atmosphere. Even if we do not question the accuracy of our estimates of global temperatures into previous centuries, and even if we ignore the falling global temperatures over the past decade as fossil-fuel emissions have continued to increase, an honest scientist would still have to admit that the hypothesis of man-made global warming hardly rises to the level of "an assertion of what has been or would be the result of carrying out a specified observational procedure." Global warming may or may not be "the greatest scam in history," as it was recently called by John Coleman, a prominent meteorologist and the founder of the Weather Channel. Certainly, however, under the scientific method it does not rise to the level of an "item of physical knowledge."

Nevertheless, the acceptance of man-made global warming as scientific fact has become so prevalent that the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, recently declared: "The debate is over. It's time to discuss solutions." Leaving aside the question of the secretary-general's qualifications, that is certainly one of the most antiscientific statements ever made. The first question that this raises is why have so many scientists chosen to ignore this glaring failure of the global warming hypothesis to meet the standards of their own profession? The second question is what, if anything, can be done about it?

The first, and most obvious, temptation for this sort of willful blindness is financial. Hearst made only a fraction of his estimated $140 million in net worth from yellow journalism. Global warming, on the other hand, has provided an estimated $50 billion in research grants to those willing to practice yellow science. Influence in the public sphere is another strong temptation. It might not be as impressive as starting the Spanish-American War, but global-warming alarmists have amassed a large group of journalists and politicians ready to silence any critics and endorse whatever boondoggle scheme is prescribed as the cure to our impending climate catastrophe.

Finally, one should not underestimate the temptation of convenience. Just as it is far easier to publish stories without verifying the sources; so is it much more convenient to practice yellow science than the real thing. It takes far more courage, perseverance, and perspiration to develop formulas, make predictions, and risk being proved wrong than to look at historical data and muse about observed similarities. Yellow scientists have fled the risks of science that Albert Einstein described when he said, "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right, a single experiment can prove me wrong."

The layman might object that this is not his problem. Surely Joe Six-Pack should not be expected to monitor the findings of research physicists; if anything is to be done about this collapse of scientific standards, it must be done by the scientific community itself. Unfortunately, history has shown the inability of professional communities to police their own ranks. When it first reared its head, yellow journalism was roundly condemned by the journalistic community. In fact, it was these critics who coined the term yellow journalism. The condemnation of their peers was an insufficient deterrent for Pulitzer and Hearst, because it was the approval of the public that drove their circulation. Eventually the entire journalistic community acceded to the sensationalism that the public seemed to insist on.

In recent decades, the scorn of prominent scientists such as John Coleman has been similarly unable to stop the ascendancy of the global-warming hypothesis as the public has been increasingly drawn by its sensationalism. The scientific community as a whole is on the brink of acceding to Ban Ki-Moon's insistence that "the debate is over" and turning now to their grant applications.

Ultimately, it is only the public that holds the power to enforce professional standards, and therefore each of us must accept this responsibility. Most of us will not be able to comprehend the latest climatologic studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but fortunately that is not necessary. However complex the information may be, the standards are quite clear. One need not be a Beltway newshound to know that whatever follows the phrase "unnamed sources in the capital" or "rumors in Hollywood are" is not real journalism. Similarly, one does not need an advanced degree in natural science to understand that whatever follows the phrase "most experts agree" or "no one can measure the exact effect but" is not real science. In fact, if there is no possible way that a statement can realistically be tested, it probably fails to meet the standards for any professional community and is of no real use to the public.

The long-term results of yellow journalism have probably been more devastating than the war it started. Journalists have lost the respectability of their profession, and the public has lost real journalism. We are in very real danger, as scientists and as a nation, of losing the respectability of a professional community that has done so much to make this country great in the past hundred years. If yellow science overcomes real science it will not only be on account of the greed, ambition, and cowardice of our scientists but also the sloth and cowardice of a public that is unwilling to stand up and demand professionalism. This is why, as the editors of the New York Press said in 1897, I "called them yellow because they are yellow."


Bellamy: Flying not to blame for global warming

Controversial environmental campaigner and botanist David Bellamy has claimed the world is getting colder and aviation should not be blamed for climate change. An outspoken critic of claims that global warming is man-made, he was talking during Haven Holidays' Big Green Weekend event last week, designed to promote eco-friendly domestic tourism. "In the next 24 hours the amount of deforestation will pour the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere as eight million people flying from Britain to America. So stop the logging and we can stop the problem," he said. "There is more proof that global warming is natural climate change and we have to adapt to it. In the past 17 years the temperature has actually gone down."

Bellamy, who has faced widespread criticism for his unorthodox views, also said there is now more sea ice at the poles than ever before and that, despite concerns about climate change driving polar bears to extinction, their numbers had trebled.

However, Rachel Noble, campaigns officer at Tourism Concern, said: "Human beings are contributors to climate change and aviation is a part of that. "Every individual is responsible for their actions, including where and how they travel."

Michelle di Leo, director of pro-aviation group FlyingMatters, said: "We don't disagree with those who say climate change is a serious issue because as far as we're concerned the science is there. "Where we do agree [with Professor Bellamy] is if policy makers focus on what is, globally, just 2% of emissions we could miss the chance of cutting more damaging sources without damaging the social and economic welfare that flying brings us."



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


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Climate models fail again! Scientist 'startled' to discover 50% of ozone destroyed in lower atmosphere

"Destruction Of Greenhouse Gases Over Tropical Atlantic May Ease Global Warming"

Large amounts of ozone -- around 50% more than predicted by the world's state-of-the-art climate models -- are being destroyed in the lower atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. This startling discovery was made by a team of scientists from the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Universities of York and Leeds. It has particular significance because ozone in the lower atmosphere acts as a greenhouse gas and its destruction also leads to the removal of the third most abundant greenhouse gas; methane.

The findings come after analysing the first year of measurements from the new Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory, recently set up by British, German and Cape Verdean scientists on the island of Sao Vicente in the tropical Atlantic. Alerted by these Observatory data, the scientists flew a research aircraft up into the atmosphere to make ozone measurements at different heights and more widely across the tropical Atlantic. The results mirrored those made at the Observatory, indicating major ozone loss in this remote area.

So, what's causing this loss? Instruments developed at the University of Leeds, and stationed at the Observatory, detected the presence of the chemicals bromine and iodine oxide over the ocean for this region. These chemicals, produced by sea spray and emissions from phytoplankton (microscopic plants in the ocean), attack the ozone, breaking it down. As the ozone is destroyed, a chemical is produced that attacks and destroys the greenhouse gas methane. Up until now it has been impossible to monitor the atmosphere of this remote region over time because of its physical inaccessibility. Including this new chemistry in climate models will provide far more accurate estimates of ozone and methane in the atmosphere and improve future climate predictions.

Professor Alastair Lewis, Director of Atmospheric Composition at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and a lead scientist in this study, said: "At the moment this is a good news story -- more ozone and methane being destroyed than we previously thought - but the tropical Atlantic cannot be taken for granted as a permanent 'sink' for ozone. The composition of the atmosphere is in fine balance here- it will only take a small increase in nitrogen oxides from fossil fuel combustion, carried here from Europe, West Africa or North America on the trade winds, to tip the balance from a sink to a source of ozone"

Professor John Plane, University of Leeds said: "This study provides a sharp reminder that to understand how the atmosphere really works, measurement and experiment are irreplaceable. The production of iodine and bromine mid-ocean implies that destruction of ozone over the oceans could be global".


Don't be Fooled by America's "Armchair Environmentalists"

Despite a vast U.S. marketing and media coverage trend toward green affinity and awareness in recent years, most Americans admit putting personal comfort ahead of the environment, and a significant percentage voice ambivalence - even negativity - about increased media attention regarding the environment. So reports Eco Pulse, the newest national study on U.S. consumers and green affinity, produced by Shelton Group (, a Tennessee advertising agency focused on energy, energy efficiency and sustainability.

"What we've quantified in Eco Pulse is that by and large, consumers behave as 'armchair environmentalists' at best," said Suzanne Shelton, CEO of Shelton Group. "Folks who talk up their green purchases and lifestyles at a cocktail party really aren't doing as much as they say they're doing."

Eco Pulse reveals how few Americans actually put their own environmental views into practice at the check-out counter. When asked, "How much, if any, does a company's environmental record and/or practices impact your decision whether or not to buy their products?" 49 percent said "somewhat" to "very much."

However, when asked a specific follow-up to this question, "Have you ever chosen one product over another based on the environmental record/practices of its manufacturer?" only 21 percent said "yes," and of those, only 28 percent - six percent of the total population - could name the actual product.

When asked, "Given a choice between your comfort, your convenience or the environment, which do you most often choose?" 46 percent chose comfort, while 31 percent chose the environment, and 23 percent chose convenience. When asked if they feel like they are often asked to choose between their comfort and the environment, most consumers (48 percent) were undecided, but 26 percent agreed.

In addition, a significant percentage (40 percent) admitted to a less-than-enthusiastic response to increased media attention covering human impact on the environment. While 60 percent answered in a positive fashion (such as feeling better educated or glad as a result of environmental media attention), the rest chose negative or ambivalent responses such as irritated, skeptical, guilty or unaffected.

"The market for green messages is not nearly as mature as the media often leads the public - including businesses and marketers in the sustainability sector - to believe," Shelton said.

"We work with clients all the time who initially think consumers collectively hold widespread, uniform views about the environment and have a wealth of knowledge," Shelton said. "This corporate lack of understanding about the consumer mindset can lead to a lot of poorly crafted messaging - such as promoting things about a company's sustainability that mean little or nothing to consumers, often because a proper education process was never implemented first. For example, some companies just assume consumers know what a carbon credit is and that consumers will buy into a company's green credentials based on that sort of claim alone. Not true."

"The green marketing movement is very cart-before-the-horse right now, and it seems that few players in this space really understand that investing in educational groundwork will ultimately be needed to achieve meaningful connections between green messages and consumers."

Eco Pulse respondents also confirmed the skepticism that Shelton Group has been monitoring in recent nationwide focus groups regarding green corporate positioning.

When asked why most companies that adopt environmentally friendly practices do so, most (47 percent) responded "to make their company look better to the public." Only 13 percent believed it was "because their owners/shareholders care about the environment."



Gordon Brown suffered the humiliation on Friday of Labour crashing to fifth place in the Henley by-election on his first anniversary as prime minister. The unprecedented result, which placed the government behind the Green party and the far-right British National Party, is likely to raise further questions about Mr Brown's leadership and increase calls for change from Labour MPs.

The Conservatives comfortably held one of their safer seats, vacated by Boris Johnson when he left parliament to serve as London Mayor. John Howell, the Tory candidate, secured a majority of 10,116, increasing the Tory share of the vote from 53.5 per cent in 2005 to 57.5 per cent. In his acceptance speech he said "the British public has sent a message to Gordon Brown to 'get off our backs, stop the endless tax rises and help us cope with the rising cost of living'".

Labour expectations were extremely low ahead of the vote. But even the most pessimistic Labour MPs will be shocked that the governing party won little more than 1,000 votes, lost its 500 pounds deposit and trailed two parties with no representation in parliament.

Martin Salter, the Labour MP leading their campaign in Henley, described it as a "grim result" in which the government "reaped the whirlwind" of voter dismay over the credit crunch and faltering economy. "It is very difficult to divine a clear message for Gordon Brown in a seat in which we had no chance at all," he said.

Labour's share of the vote slumped from 14.8 per cent in 2005 to about 3 per cent - well short of the 5 per cent share required to keep their deposit. Lord Renard, the Liberal Democrat chief executive, said it was "abject humiliation" for Mr Brown.

More here

And below is the high-tax "Green" mentality that lost the election:

GORDON Brown was set to signal today he is prepared to take on public opinion over green taxes. The Prime Minister was to insist "real leadership" is necessary to reduce Britain's carbon footprint.

Announcing a 100 billion pound programme to slash greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Brown was due to say UK lifestyles must change over the next decade. The Government has been under pressure over green incentives such as tax hikes for owners of the most polluting, gas-guzzling vehicles.

But, at a lower carbon economy summit in London today, Mr Brown was to say a low carbon society will not emerge from a "business as usual" approach. "It will require real leadership from government - being prepared to make hard decisions on planning or on tax, for example, rather than tacking and changing according to the polls. It will require an investment programme of around 100 billion over the next 12 years. "It will involve new forms of economic activity and social organisation. "It will mean new kinds of consumer behaviour and lifestyles. "And it will demand creativity, innovation and entrepreneurialism throughout our economy and our society."

Thousands of new wind turbines could be built across the UK over the coming decade as part of the radical blueprint being unveiled today. Business Secretary John Hutton acknowledged the "green" power plants would cost more and take up more land than conventional electricity generation, but said Britain had "no choice" about moving to lower-carbon energy.



Germany might reintroduce a _5bn-a-year (œ4bn, $7.8bn) tax break for commuters to shield consumers from rising petrol prices.

Senior officials from the Christian Democratic Union led by Angela Merkel, the chancellor, told the Financial Times the pressure to bring back a tax subsidy that was abolished last year, was so high that "we will not have the political strength to resist it". The admission comes as legislators frantically seek to alleviate the effects on voters of rising food and energy prices, which they fear could weaken consumption and dent support for the ruling parties in the run-up to next year's general election.

Using taxes to offset rising petrol prices would mark a U-turn for Germany, which recently rejected French suggestions that European governments should cut levies on petrol to protect consumers' purchasing power. Coalition parliamentarians yesterday said such a move would garner a broad majority in the house.

More here


As Japan prepares to host the Group of Eight Summit in ten days' time, it appears that the agenda will undergo a change to reflect current world concerns over the prices of food and oil. According to Japanese officials directly involved in the summit preparations, the summit's focus is likely to shift from climate change to rising prices, as leaders of the world's richest countries search for solutions to escalating costs that are affecting rich and poor nations alike.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, following a summit early this month in Rome, is working on ways to implement action plans adopted at the summit to improve food security.

The results of a policy dialogue among major oil producing and consuming nations in Saudi Arabia last weekend were disappointing; the host country promised to increase production by 200,000 barrels a day, but this was not expected to have much impact on the global oil market. "The world economic outlook is quite different from that prior to the previous Heiligendamm summit," said Masaharu Kono, deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, referring to last year's G8 summit in Germany. Kono was speaking to the foreign press in Tokyo last week.

Originally, the summit was expected to focus on climate change - hardly a promising agenda for leaders interested in a "successful" outcome for the meeting. This issue is "one of the most difficult problems mankind has ever faced," said Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura Tuesday at a meeting of foreign journalists in Japan. The complexity of the task was apparent at the latest Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change, which took place last weekend in Seoul, South Korea. More than 12 hours of debate failed to produce a common language of consent on long-term - let alone mid-term - carbon emissions targets.

At the G8 meeting Japan is determined to sell its Cool Earth Partnership program, outlining its proposed policy incentives and demonstrating its energy-saving technologies and low-carbon products at the summit venue. "Our main goal is to forge a post-Kyoto framework in which all the major emissions nations can participate," stressed Komura.

On the third and final day of the summit, an extended meeting between G8 leaders and what is known as the Outreach Five nations - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa - will be held. These 13 nations produce almost 80 percent of global carbon emissions.

Another major item on the agenda will be Africa. Japan has invited eight African leaders to dialogue with G8 leaders on July 7, the first working day of the conference.

The summit's political issues will cover nuclear non-proliferation, focusing mainly on Iran and North Korea, as well as peace building in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.

For the host Japan, the issue of North Korea has suddenly come to the fore, as the U.S. administration is expected to remove North Korea from its list of terrorism-supporting nations and grant it other benefits, after Pyongyang submitted details of its nuclear programs to China on Thursday as part of an earlier agreement. The delisting, Japan fears, may undermine its efforts to push Pyongyang to release more than a dozen Japanese citizens abducted nearly three decades ago.

On Wednesday U.S. President George W. Bush held a 20-minute telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, affirming that he would "never forget about the abduction cases" and promising close cooperation on the matter, according to a Foreign Ministry press release.

Among the nine leaders expected at the G8 summit - eight plus the European Union Commissioner - there will be four new faces: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The merit of the annual summit is the fact that "these leaders can talk freely and interactively without any interference," said Kono, who will serve as aide to Fukuda, the summit chairman.

This year's G8 summit carries echoes of the very first summit - then the G6 - held in Rambouillet, France in 1975, in the wake of a global recession sparked by the 1973 oil crisis. More recent summits have drifted away from economic issues to focus on post-9/11 terrorism, infectious diseases, African development and climate change. In addition to the state actors, non-state actors including non-governmental organizations - invited and uninvited - as well as business and interest groups are expected to converge around the otherwise pristine volcanic Lake Toya, site of the summit. "This summit will be very colorful and with much diversity," Kono predicts.


How "Smart Growth" Exacerbated the International Financial Crisis

The U.S. mortgage meltdown has dominated business news for months. The crisis seems to deepen daily, and its impacts are felt throughout an increasingly interdependent financial world. Only recently, the Organization for Economic and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have suggested that losses of an additional $250 billion to $1 trillion may yet be in the offing. In the ongoing debate over the causes and cures of the mortgage meltdown, one of the most important factors has been virtually absent: the role of excessive land use regulations in exacerbating the extent of losses.

What Is Excessive Land Use Regulation?

As we know from introductory courses in economics, scarcity raises prices. In a number of metropolitan markets across the country, excessive land use policies have been adopted, such as urban growth boundaries, huge areas recently declared off-limits to development, building moratoria, confiscatory and unprecedented impact fees, and excessively large minimum lot sizes.

These policies, often referred to as "smart growth," create a scarcity of land, artificially raise the price of housing, and, again, have increased the exposure of the market to risky mortgage debt. When more liberal loan policies were implemented, metropolitan areas that had adopted these more restrictive policies lacked the resilient land markets that would have allowed the greater demand to be accommodated without inordinate increases in house prices.

A few voices in the wilderness on both sides of the political spectrum have pointed to the role of excessive land use policies in driving up housing costs. For example: Liberal economist Paul Krugman of The New York Times put most of his conservative colleagues to shame in noting that the house price bubble has been limited to metropolitan areas with strong land use regulation. Conservative Thomas Sowell, no stranger to being a voice in the wilderness, has made similar points. More recently, Theo Eicher of the University of Washington produced a working paper placing much of the blame for house price escalation on land use regulation in cities around the nation.

Consequences of Excessive Land Use Regulation

How does all of this relate to the mortgage meltdown and the subprime crisis? It is very simple. There is no question that more liberal loan policies were the proximate cause. But the strict land use regulations forced prices up much more than would have been the case if the previous more traditional yet environmentally sound regulation had been retained.

Places like California, the Northeast, the Northwest, and Florida have implemented excessive land use controls. As a result, their land use planning systems have not been able to accommodate the stronger demand created in the more profligate lending environment. At the same time, as a result of its more relaxed land regulation, much of the rest of the nation was far better able to accommodate the higher demand. This includes the high-income world's three fastest-growing metropolitan areas with a population of more than 5,000,000: Atlanta, Georgia, and Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

This is illustrated by developments in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan markets. Between 2000 and 2007, house prices increased an average of more than $275,000 compared to incomes (house price to household income ratio) in the 10 markets with the greatest price escalation or the greatest affordability loss. Among the second 10 markets with the greatest affordability loss, prices rose $135,000 relative to incomes. By contrast, in the markets with the least affordability loss, house prices increased only $5,000. (See table.)

What the 20 markets that have lost the most affordability have in common is excessive land use regulation. Virtually everyone knows the distress that such cost increases mean for America's households.

But there are broader economic consequences that have expanded to the international market. From 2000 to 2007, the gross value of the U.S. housing stock rose $5.3 trillion relative to household incomes. It is estimated that $4.4 trillion of this increase occurred in the 20 most escalating markets, all of which are characterized by excessive land use planning. In each of four markets (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, and Miami), the aggregate escalation above incomes was a third of a trillion dollars or more.

While there have been modest house price reductions in the most expensive markets, far larger drops would be required to restore previous levels of housing affordability in the most expensive markets. Moreover, Bureau of the Census estimates indicate that many of the markets that have lost so much affordability are also losing large numbers of households to more affordable areas of the country, which could suggest that house prices may well drop even further.[1]

Over the same period, the nation's gross residential mortgage exposure rose $4.8 trillion relative to household incomes. If the distribution of mortgage exposure increase tracked with the increase in excess value noted above, then 83 percent is attributable to the 20 most escalating markets-again, all with restrictive land use planning or smart growth. Stated another way, if price-escalating smart growth policies had not been adopted in state capitals, county courthouses, and local planning commissions, the financial risk in the current crisis would be at least $4 trillion less. This is a very high concentration of excess mortgage exposure, since these markets account for only 26 percent of the nation's owner-occupied housing stock.

The tragedy is that when most of these decisions were made, there was not the slightest consideration of economics-the upward pressure on house prices-or the number of households that would be denied home ownership in the years to come. Yet these local decisions played a major role in what The Economist magazine called a near global collapse.

Exacerbating the International Finance Crisis

Simply put, without smart growth, the international financial crisis that has raised so much appropriate concern would have been much less severe. Thus far, the policies of the Federal Reserve Board have failed to take notice of this important connection. Any serious effort to prevent a repeat of such destructive price volatility will require removing these destructive land use regulations that have done so much to destroy housing affordability in many markets while adding inordinately to the financial distress that is being felt around the world. Economics-challenged state and local politicians must not be permitted to steer the international economy into an iceberg.



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


Friday, June 27, 2008

The melted pole: More breathtaking stupidity from the mainstream media

Post below recycled from Tom Nelson. See the original for links

From The Independent:
Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic - and worrying - examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

From a June 20 National Geographic article:
Arctic warming has become so dramatic that the North Pole may melt this summer, report scientists studying the effects of climate change in the field. "We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time [in history]," David Barber, of the University of Manitoba, told National Geographic News aboard the C.C.G.S. Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker.

But there's a big problem with this "alarming" story: it's not even rare for the North Pole to be ice free. See the details here, and note that the New York Times ran (and then retracted) a similar story back in August 2000. From a November 2000 Patrick Michaels article:
By August 29, the level of outrage the Times had incurred provoked a half-hearted retraction of sorts, on page D-3, where the paper admitted it misstated the true condition of polar ice, noting that about 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean is open in the summer and that those open areas do in fact sometimes extend to the Pole. McCarthy, the Times reported, "would not argue with critics who said that open water at the pole was not unprecedented." How about the truth? Open water is common.

That's apparent from even a cursory look at the U.N.'s own temperature data or from a study of climate history. Climatologists are pretty sure that polar regions were around 2øC warmer than they are today during the period from 4,000 to 7,000 years ago. That's three millennia in which summer sea-ice was likely more scattered than it is today. The only ecological catastrophe ecologists might be able say resulted from this deplorable condition was the rise of human civilization.


I have long ago lost track of all the international conferences about climate. They must be a lot of fun to have so many of them. A nice holiday at taxpayer expense, I guess. Anyway, the one below seems to be the latest

Major carbon dioxide emitters failed to agree on a numerical target for reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 even though the final session of a two-day meeting here was extended into Monday morning, conference sources said.

According to the sources, however, participants in the fourth Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change (MEM) did manage to hammer out a broad agreement on a draft MEM leaders' declaration to be issued on July 9 after talks to be held on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit meeting in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, which starts July 7.

The MEM comprises 16 nations, including China, India and South Korea, and the European Union plus the eight countries that form the G-8. Its first meeting was held at the initiative of the United States in September. The participating nations account for about 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

The G-8 groups Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Russia and the United States.

The content of the draft declaration has not been made public. According to sources, the draft indicates that developing nations also will be invited to take part in discussions on a post-Kyoto Protocol framework, based on the premise of receiving financial assistance from industrialized countries and technology cooperation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In regard to the long-term target of reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050, as proposed by Japan, the draft incorporates a certain understanding and awareness of this goal on the part of emerging economies, such as China and India, in addition to industrialized nations, according to the sources.

But this does not mean all 16 participating countries agreed to set a definite numerical goal, non-Japanese conference sources said, indicating that participants failed to clarify specific numerical targets and reach agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half.

As for a midterm goal targeted for around 2020 through 2030, opinion was divided with industrialized nations calling on the emerging economies to share the responsibility for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. For their part, the emerging economies urged the industrialized nations to reduce their emissions in advance, the sources said.

For this reason, the draft failed to incorporate a definite agreement or goal, a Japanese government source said.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, Mitoji Yabunaka, administrative vice foreign minister, said: "It's good that a [draft declaration] document was compiled with the aim of submitting it to the G-8 summit. But it's not yet complete."



Householders will be warned today to expect five years of higher home energy bills to pay for a green power revolution. John Hutton, the Business Secretary, will outline plans for a massive shift away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and tidal power, but will add that the change comes at a price. "We think there will be a cost," he told The Times yesterday.

The plan, which he calls the biggest shake-up in Britain's power generation since the Industrial Revolution, requires 100 billion pounds of new investment but would lead to five years of higher gas and electricity bills from about 2015, he said.

Homeowners will be given financial incentives to fit their roofs with solar panels and there will be ambitious targets to increase their use from 90,000 today to seven million within the next 12 years. The plan also envisages a 90 per cent increase in the use of ground and air-source heat pumps that provide "free" heat by tapping the warmth in the air or the earth. Mr Hutton will also outline a "feed-in tariff" allowing homes that generate surplus electricity to sell it to the national grid as an incentive to switch.

The news comes a day after the chiefs of the big six energy companies gave warning that energy bills, which have already risen more than 15 per cent this year, would rise again within the next few months because of the rising price of oil.

Mr Hutton said the renewable cost would be "relatively modest", set against the current increases in the prices of coal, oil and gas and the scale would depend on movements in world oil prices. But he said that it was a necessary price to pay if Britain was serious about addressing climate change and switching to green technology.

More here


The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says. Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest. The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change. Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020. Oxfam estimates the EU's target could multiply carbon emissions 70-fold by 2020 by changing the use of land.

The report's author, Oxfam's biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, criticised rich countries for using subsidies and tax breaks to encourage the use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol. "If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead," he said. "Rich countries... are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process."

More here


The Antarctic set a new record (since records began in 1979) for sea ice extent at the end of last winter. It stayed well above the normal through the summer with icemelt 40% below the normal. As a new height of irony and hype, the media made a big deal about a fracture of a small part of the Wilkins ice sheet in late February (160 square miles of the 6 million square mile Antarctic ice sheet (0.0027% of the total).

Media headlines blared: Bye-bye, Antarctica? and Massive ice shelf collapsing off Antarctica. But as you can see from this Cryosphere chart, the extent never dropped to less than 1 million square km ABOVE NORMAL during or after the brief event. Currently Antarctic ice extent is running nearly 1 million square kilometers higher than last year at this time. Peak comes at the end of the southern winter (September).

This chart, also from Cryosphere, shows the Global Sea Ice Area from 1979 to present. It begs the question, where's the melt?

More here


Apparently a number of papers are "commemorating" today the 20th anniversary of James Hansen's speech before Congress warning of catastrophic man-made global warming. So let's indeed commemorate it. Here is the chart from the appendices of Hansen's speech showing his predictions for man-made global warming:

I have helpfully added in red the actual temperature history, as measured by satellite, over the last 20 years (and scale-shifted to match the base anomaly in Hansens graph). Yes, 2008 has been far colder than 1988. We have seen no warming trend in the last 10 years, and temperatures have undershot every one of Hansen's forecasts. He thought the world would be a degree C warmer in 20 years, and it is not. Of course, today, he says the world will warm a degree in the next 20 years -- the apocalypse never goes away, it just recesses into the future.

This may explain why Hansen's GISS surface temperature measurements are so much higher than everyone else's, and keep getting artificially adjusted upwards: Hansen put himself way out on a limb, and now is using the resources of the GISS to try to create warming in the metrics where none exist to validate his forecasts of Apocalypse.

More here


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


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Huge volcanic fires under the Arctic icecap discovered

Reality trumps theory again: An international expedition has discovered gigantic volcanic eruptions in the Arctic Ocean. Ya think it might melt some of the ice above it? This blog has had posts about Gakkel ridge vulcanism since Feb, 2005. See also another of my posts of Jan. 1, 2007 on the subject

An international team of researchers was able to provide evidence of explosive volcanism in the deeps of the ice-covered Arctic Ocean for the first time. Researchers from an expedition to the Gakkel Ridge, led by the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), report in the current issue of the journal Nature that they discovered, with a specially developed camera, extensive layers of volcanic ash on the seafloor, which indicates a gigantic volcanic eruption.

"Explosive volcanic eruptions on land are nothing unusual and pose a great threat for whole areas," explains Dr Vera Schlindwein of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. She participated in the expedition as a geophysicist and has been, together with her team, examining the earthquake activity of the Arctic Ocean for many years. "The Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and buried thriving Pompeii under a layer of ash and pumice. Far away in the Arctic Ocean, at 85ø N 85ø E, a similarly violent volcanic eruption happened almost undetected in 1999 - in this case, however, under a water layer of 4,000 m thickness."

So far, researchers have assumed that explosive volcanism cannot happen in water depths exceeding 3 kilometres because of high ambient pressure. "These are the first pyroclastic deposits we've ever found in such deep water, at oppressive pressures that inhibit the formation of steam, and many people thought this was not possible," says Robert Reves-Sohn, staff member of the WHOI and lead scientist of the expedition carried out on the Swedish icebreaker Oden in 2007.

A major part of Earth's volcanism happens at the so-called mid-ocean ridges and, therefore, completely undetected on the seafloor. There, the continental plates drift apart; liquid magma intrudes into the gap and constantly forms new seafloor through countless volcanic eruptions. Accompanied by smaller earthquakes, which go unregistered on land, lava flows onto the seafloor. These unspectacular eruptions usually last for only a few days or weeks.

The Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean spreads so slowly at 6-14 mm/year, that current theories considered volcanism unlikely - until a series of 300 strong earthquakes over a period of eight months indicated an eruption at 85ø N 85ø E in 4 kilometres water depth in 1999. Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute became aware of this earthquake swarm and reported about its unusual properties in the periodical EOS in the year 2000.

Vera Schlindwein and her junior research group are closely examining the earthquake activity of these ultraslow-spreading ridges since 2006. "The Gakkel Ridge is covered with sea-ice the whole year. To detect little earthquakes, which accompany geological processes, we have to deploy our seismometers on drifting ice floes." This unusual measuring method proved highly successful: in a first test in the summer 2001 - during the "Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge Expedition (AMORE)" on the research icebreaker Polarstern - the seismometers recorded explosive sounds by the minute, which originated from the seafloor of the volcanic region. "This was a rare and random recording of a submarine eruption in close proximity," says Schlindwein. "I postulated in 2001 that the volcano is still active. However, it seemed highly improbable to me that the recorded sounds originated from an explosive volcanic eruption, because of the water depth of 4 kilometres."

The scientist regards the matter differently after her participation in the Oden-Expedition 2007, during which systematic earthquake measurements were taken by Schlindwein's team in the active volcanic region: "Our endeavours now concentrate on reconstructing and understanding the explosive volcanic episodes from 1999 and 2001 by means of the accompanying earthquakes. We want to know, which geological features led to a gas pressure so high that it even enabled an explosive eruption in these water depths." Like Robert Reves-Sohn, she presumes that explosive eruptions are far more common in the scarcely explored ultraslow-spreading ridges than presumed so far.


Richard Courtney shoots down a Greenie ignoramus

As noted here on 24th., Courtney recently took up the NRDC challenge to skeptical scientists to 'let NRDC's real climate experts take them on'. One of the Greenies did actually comment on Courtney's response. Below is the comment and Courtney's reply to it. The name of the Greenie suggests that he is a Finn, so perhaps he can be forgiven for not knowing that "Rick" is a customary abbreviation for "Eric"

Tuuka Simonen: "Richard S Courtney says that the temperature is similar to 1940. That is utterly bollocks. Rick himself is full of fossil industry money:"

No, it is not "utterly bollocks": it is simply true. Please do not take my word for it but check it for yourself. I cite CRU data from here.

In that CRU dataset the 1940 monthly values of temperature anomalies from the 30 year mean are presented in degrees Celsius.

They range between -0.191 and +0.057 with an annual mean of +0.018. In that same dataset the monthly 2008 anomalies to date are +0.053, +0.192, +0.430, +0.254 and +0.278. This is a mean value for the months in 2008 to date of +0.241.

The ranges of the monthly values for these years overlap; i.e. the highest monthly value in 1940 (+0.057) was higher than the lowest monthly value in 2008 (+0.053). I think it very reasonable to say they are "similar" when their ranges overlap.

However, my use of the word "similar" could be considered to an understatement because the mean values differ by only 0.223 degrees Celsius and the data has inherent error of +/- 0.2 degrees Celsius. So, within their inherent errors the mean values are not similar because THEY ARE THE SAME.

But atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased by more than 30% since 1940 and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is supposed to induce "dangerous" global warming.

Also, I am not impressed by reference to a blog that only exists to smear and defame climate realists. I fail to understand how that in any way refutes the facts I have presented here and that anybody can check with little effort.

So, Tuuka Simonen, if you are one of NRDC's "real climate experts" who wanted to "take on" climate realist arguments then you need to do much better than you have managed so far. However, I do give you credit for trying to address one of the points made here. You completely failed, but your attempt was the only one that NRDC's "real climate experts" have provided.

Incidentally, nobody calls me "Rick" (or they only do it once).


Big Coal Fires Back Over James Hansen's Criminal Complaint

Reports Revkin of the NYT:

Big Coal is firing back at James Hansen, NASA's top climate expert, who on Monday told a House committee on energy and climate that he thought top executives of coal and oil companies should be tried for "crimes against humanity and nature."

Below is a note sent to me by Vic Svec, who you heard from here earlier in the year in relation to efforts by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, a rising star in the Democratic Party, to deny permits for two proposed coal-burning power plants because of their potential contribution to global warming. Mr. Svec is a senior vice president for Peabody, which is the largest private coal producer in the world (to get an idea of their volume, and mission, visit and watch the amazing coal-sales "ticker" at the bottom reel off tons of coal sold per second). Here's what Mr. Svec said about Dr. Hansen's assertions:
1. His use of Holocaust analogies is outrageous and demeaning. It cheapens the dialogue and invites ridicule.

2. The suggestion that a dissemination of ideas be criminalized -- coming from a government employee no less -- does hearken back to World War II. It is stunning and should be pounced upon by everyone who advocates free speech, from the ACLU and talk radio complex to yourself.

3. Blaming big oil and big coal for the broad array of opinions about climate change is disingenuous. If he would imprison those who don't march in lockstep with his views, the jails would be very, very big. It would include thousands of scientists and university professors and the likes of the president of the Czech Republic, a former founder of Greenpeace and the former founder of The Weather Channel.

4. Speaking for Peabody, our time and energy are being devoted to satisfying an energy-hungry world's need for coal and advancing the commercialization of carbon capture and storage technology. Among other initiatives, we're proud to have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions intensity by more than 30% since 1990; to be the initial developer of a supercritical coal plant that will emit 15% lower carbon dioxide than existing plants; to be a founding member of the FutureGen Alliance; to be a part of Australia's low-carbon Coal 21 program; and to be the only non-Chinese partner in China's zero-emissions GreenGen project.

In short, while some are interested in sound bites, we'll keep going about the serious work of providing clean coal, energy solutions and environmental improvement.


Climate Expert: Kyoto Would Save Only One Polar Bear a Year

Bjorn Lomborg explains greenhouse gas treaty would cost $180 billion annually, but do very little to help the mascot of global warming alarmism.

Want to save the polar bear? According to one expert, don't think you're going to do it by making significant lifestyle changes in order to reduce your carbon footprint. In May, the Interior Department listed the polar on its threatened species list because of the risks of shrinking sea ice. But Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish author and professor at the Copenhagen Business School, told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on June 25 that the threat is exaggerated and wouldn't go away even if every country in the world signed and followed the Kyoto Protocol.

Lomborg, author of "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming," explained during the speech in Washington, D.C., how inefficient and ineffective it would be to try to improve the polar bear population via massively curbing greenhouse gas emissions. "The polar bear has become the icon of global warming and certainly [former Vice President] Al Gore was a part of doing that," Lomborg said. "A lot of people think polar bears are threatened right now - actually that's not the case."

According to Lomborg, global polar bear population was about 5,000 in 1960. Since then, the population has quadrupled. Now there are an estimated 22,000 polar bears. But, Lomborg warned the polar bear still eventually could be threatened by the effects of global warming.

"My point is simply: if we actually care about the polar bear, why is that we are so intent on only discussing one option - that is cutting carbon emissions?" Lomborg said. "Nobody ever talks about what would be the effect of cutting carbon emissions. Well, let me show you - if everybody did the Kyoto Protocol all the way through the century, which is very, very far away, but if everybody actually did that, we'd save one polar bear every year."

Lomborg said he was all for saving that one polar bear a year, but questioned the costs. He estimated the worldwide annual cost of the Kyoto Protocol to be $180 billion. Kyoto is a treaty supported by Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He proposed a simpler solution:

"It strikes me as odd, that in this conversation, nobody seems to mention the fact that every year, we shoot somewhere between 300 and 500 polar bear," Lomborg said. "Wouldn't it be smarter to first stop shooting the polar bear?" "Why is it we care about polar bears in the least effective way and the most costly way, rather than dealing with the issue where we would do a lot of good?" Lomborg added.


Wind turbines are 'unreliable and will cost each British home 4,000 pounds

The Government's plan to build thousands of new wind turbines across Britain is misguided, doomed to failure and will cost every household at least 4,000 pounds, a new report claims. Rather than trying to solve the UK's energy crisis by investing in wind power, ministers should focus on tidal energy, clean coal and nuclear power, it says.

The report from the Centre for Policy Studies - a right of centre think tank - comes on the eve of the Government's announcement on the future of green energy. Ministers will tomorrow reveal how the UK will meet the EU's target for producing 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources within 12 years.

The plans include a six-fold expansion of wind farms on land, and a 30-fold increase in offshore turbines. To meet the targets, Britain will need to build one new turbine every day between now and 2020. The dash for wind is also being fuelled by concerns that Britain is running out of power. By 2015 new European clean air laws will have shut many coal power stations while many of the UK's ageing nuclear power stations will be shut, leaving a energy gap of up to 32 gigawatts.

"A rush to wind energy is not the answer to these problems," said Tim Knox, of the CPS. The report says wind is unreliable - and only provides power if the weather conditions are right. The UK will need a fleet of coal, gas or nuclear power stations in reserve for when the wind drops.

Turbines are also expensive. The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that wind energy is two and a half times more costly than other forms of non- oil and gas electricity generation, according to the report Wind Chill: Why Wind Energy Will Not Fill the UK's Energy Gap.

The shift to renewables could cost 100 million - or 4,000 for every household in the country, it adds. "It is also impractical," Mr Knox added. "The UK does not have the capability to build the 3,000 new offshore wind farms that are proposed, nor can the national grid handle the enormous new strains that will be imposed upon it. "This matters. The increase in consumers' electricity prices required to pay for and maintain expensive wind energy will contribute to the difficulties faced by the six million householders facing fuel poverty."

A poll carried out for the report found just three per cent of people were willing to pay higher electricity bills to fund renewable power such as wind. Another 37 per cent were "very unwilling," while 24 per cent said they were "fairly unwilling". Only 12 per cent said they were happy to pay more.

The report - written by energy analyst Tony Lodge, concludes: "Greater reliance on wind power could lead to electricity supply disruptions if the wind does not blow, blows too hard or does not blow where wind farms are located."

The wind industry dismissed the criticisms. "The National Grid has said many times they can cope with the variability of wind," said Chris Tomlinson of the British Wind Energy Association. "Never in history has there not been wind blowing somewhere in the UK." Creating thousands of new turbines would be a "challenge", but the job was not impossible, he added.


McCain is a moron

Just HOW is he going to cut CO2 emissions drastically without sacrificing economic growth?? The only way of getting any movement at all would be to replace all the coal-fired plants with nuclear and that is going to cost a hell of a lot more than pocket change -- particularly considering the huge costs that Greenie regulations impose. Such costs would amount to a huge burden on the economy. McCain is obviously talking through his anus

Republican nominee-elect John McCain Tuesday vowed to combat global warming without sacrificing economic growth, contradicting President George W. Bush on the need for binding emissions cuts. Unlike Bush, McCain pressed for mandatory cuts in emissions of warming gases as he spoke at a California event alongside Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposes the White House hopeful's call for offshore oil drilling...

Both McCain and Democratic rival Barack Obama support "cap and trade" markets to slash emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, but the Republican took coded shots at Obama over who would offer greater leadership...

Obama, who wants to invest 150 billion dollars over 10 years in alternative energy like wind and solar power, also derided McCain for proposing 45 new nuclear reactors without spelling out where the waste would be stored. In the teeth of local opposition, the Bush administration wants to create a long-term nuclear waste repository in Nevada's Yucca Mountain...

As the international community debates a successor to the Kyoto treaty on climate change, which Bush abandoned, McCain set out his proposal to reduce carbon emissions to 2005 levels by 2012. By 2020, he said, emissions should be cut to 1990 levels, "and so on until we have achieved at least a reduction of 60 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050." "In this way, we will transition into a low-carbon energy future while staying on a course of economic growth," McCain said.

More here


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


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We Need a Modern Scopes Monkey Trial of Global Warming

Jim Hanson, NASA's leading Global Warming Alarmist, is calling for leading skeptics to be tried for "high crimes against humanity."

I welcome this call for a trial. I view it as a golden opportunity for the equivalent of a modern-day Scopes Monkey Trial to try the case for man-made global warming before a jury of average American citizens. The trial should be aired by all the news channels (it's certainly a more newsworthy topic than O.J. Simpson!) non-stop until its conclusion.

If the case for the "consensus" is so strong, it should certainly stand the scrutiny of a trial. Let it stand or fail on all the scientific merit, both pro and con.

Let the alarmists expound on how global climate is driven by positive feedbacks, contrary to most stable natural systems. Let them explain why a .6 degree C increase in average global temps over 150 years is a major concern when we've just witnessed a .7 degree C drop over the last sixteen months. Let them explain how CO2 can be the culprit when historically CO2 levels have FOLLOWED temperature increases rather than leading them.

Let Jim Hanson explain how his is the only organization currently finding temperature increases when all three of the other major meterological organizations around the globe are finding cooling.

The list of key issues is long, so I expect this to be an extended trial, possibly several weeks or more. So, bring it on Jim. Let the trial begin!


Britons fear the carbon cops are coming

First there were the thought police, then the surveillance society, now Britons fear the carbon cops are coming to ensure compliance with climate change legislation, a survey showed on Wednesday. And with warnings of global catastrophe ringing in their ears some people fear that failure to cut personal carbon emissions will eventually result in enforced carbon behaviour re-education, the Energy Saving Trust said.

It said 41 percent of Britons think the country will need its own Carbon Police Force by mid-century and one quarter believe repeat offenders will have to go into carbon rehab and take carbon addiction classes."The UK's perception is that by 2050 we could have the sort of draconian infringements on our civil liberties that have been highlighted in our research. This need not be the case," said EST chief Philip Sellwood said."The carbon emissions we all produce from our homes and travel amount to over 40 per cent of the UK's total emissions so we all have a part to play."

The survey coincides with the EST's "Emission Impossible, a vision for a low carbon lifestyle by 2050."EST, set up to help people to kick their carbon habit, wants more home power generation, smart meters in homes to help cut power consumption, less water wastage, more reuse and recycling and more emphasis on efficient appliances.

"Our report outlines the Energy Saving Trust's vision for achieving a low-carbon lifestyle by 2050 where we meet our 80 per cent reduction targets without adopting austere lifestyles or making unpleasant personal sacrifices," Sellwood said.


Why Almost Everything We've Been Told About Global Warming is Misleading, Exaggerated, or Plain Wrong

Learning to think like a geologist:

Geologists are one group of scientists who aren't part of Al Gore's "100 per cent consensus" that humans are the principal cause of global warming and that we have to take drastic steps to deal with it. For example, in March 2008, a poll of Alberta's 51,000 geologists found that only 26 per cent believe humans are the main cause of global warming. Forty-five per cent believe both humans and nature are causing climate change, and 68 per cent don't think the debate is "over," as Gore would like the public to believe.

The position of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists is quite clear: The earth's climate is constantly changing owing to natural variability in earth processes. Natural climate variability over recent geological time is greater than reasonable estimates of potential human-induced greenhouse gas changes. Because no tool is available to test the supposition of human-induced climate change and the range of natural variability is so great, there is no discernible human influence on global climate at this time.

Why do geologists tend to be skeptics? Is it because they are, as Gore and the "consensus" charge, in the pay of the oil industry? Perhaps, but there may be other, more scientific reasons. As Peter Sciaky, a retired geologist, writes: A geologist has a much longer perspective. There are several salient points about our earth that the greenhouse theorists overlook (or are not aware of).

The first of these is that the planet has never been this cool. There is abundant fossil evidence to support this - from plants of the monocot order (such as palm trees) in the rocks of Cretaceous Age in Greenland and warm water fossils in sedimentary rocks of the far north. This is hardly the first warming period in the earth's history. The present global warming is hardly unique. It is arriving pretty much "on schedule."

One thing, for sure, is that the environmental community has always spurned any input from geologists (many of whom are employed by the petroleum industry). No environmental conference, such as Kyoto, has ever invited a geologist, a paleontologist, a paleo-climatologist. It would seem beneficial for any scientific investigatory to include such scientific disciplines.

Among all my liberal and leftist friends (and I am certainly one of those), I know not a one who does not accept that global warming is an event caused by mankind. I do not know one geologist who believes that global warming is not taking place. I do not know a single geologist who believes that it is a man-made phenomenon.

Finally, a retired scientist who emailed me after reading one of my climate columns in the Times Colonist observed: "Most of my geology friends are skeptics - but it has become politically incorrect to voice such views."

Current climate conditions are not unusual

Geologists tend to question the anthropogenic theory because their education tells them that current climate conditions are not unusually warm, based on either the past few thousand years, or the past few hundred thousand years, or the past tens of millions of years, or even the past hundreds of millions of years. It's possible to look at a graph of the past century and conclude: "Oh, my God, the planet is burning up!" After all, the temperature has been rising, more or less, since the 1850's, with a dip from the 1940's to the mid-1970's. But what if we take a longer view? That presents quite a different picture. Only 400 years ago, the planet was quite cold, a period known as the Little Ice Age (roughly 1300-1850). Before that, though, during the Medieval Warm Period (roughly 1000-1300), the planet was a degree or two Celsius warmer than today, to the point where Greenland was warm enough for settlement by the Vikings.

The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were clearly a natural occurrences since industrial carbon emissions weren't yet a factor.

Curiously, the temperature graph preferred by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the famous "hockey stick," smooths out the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age to create an impression that twentieth-century warming is "the warmest in 1,000 years". Faced with the flaws in this graph, the IPCC has since dropped it and now claims the climate is the coldest in 400 years, which isn't that impressive given that we're coming out of the Little Ice Age.

Over the past 4,000 years, the planet has also experienced warm and cool periods, again quite naturally. In fact, warm times seem to recur on a cycle of about 1,000-1,500 years. The 20th century's warming appeared pretty much in line with this millennial cycle.

Let's expand our view again, to the past 450,000 years. What do we see? A roller-coaster ride of glacials (cold times) and interglacials (warm times), on a cycle of about 100,000 years. In other words, even though our planet is warm right now, overall we are in an ice age. In fact, the planet is the coldest it's been in 250 million years.

Gore doesn't try to explain why this roller coaster has occurred, since if changes in carbon dioxide levels were causing the cycle of glaciations and interglaciations, then the logical question is what caused the changes in carbon dioxide levels? Gore doesn't say, because to do so would destroy his case, but here's what science says: temperature changes precede carbon dioxide level changes by several hundred years, and temperature changes are caused by changes in solar intensity called the Milankovitch Cycles, not carbon dioxide.

The Milankovitch Cycles, based on the earth's changing position in relation to the sun, appear to be the ultimate drivers of climate over the past few million years. The four previous interglacials were warmer than today's. Another interesting observation that Gore doesn't make because it would destroy his case: the four previous interglacials shown on his chart are all warmer than today's interglacial (the green line in Figure 4 shows how today's average temperature compares with that of the three previous interglacials).

Also, note that the interglacial peaks are very steep. Before an interglacial becomes a glacial, warming occurs relatively rapidly (if the warming was slow, the curve would be more rounded), and cooling also occurs rapidly. If our planet is near the top of its interglacial cycle, then we'd be getting - as part of a natural process - the rapid warming climatologists are so alarmed about. And, we can expect rapid cooling when the balance tips (the steep downward slope). To worry about global warming at this stage in our planet's geological history seems silly from this perspective.

As further evidence that we may be near the high point of the climate cycle, the planet has not warmed since 1998, even though carbon dioxide levels have increased steadily. We may well be heading into a new glaciation while worrying and spending billions of dollars on reducing carbon emissions on the false premise that the planet is getting too warm.

During the glacials, much of the northern hemisphere (and Antarctica, of course) is covered with ice two and three kilometres thick. Within our roughly two-million-year-old ice age, the glacials last about 80,000 years. The warmer interglacials, which make global civilization possible, last only 10,000-20,000 years. Our interglacial, the Holocene, began about 13,000 years ago, so we're well past the half-way point in this cycle of warming and looking at a new glacial in the next few centuries or millennia. Warming is, therefore, from the geologist's point of view, the least of our problems.

Temperatures have been falling for 65 million years

Suppose we take an even longer geological view: the last 65 million years. Here we see a temperature graph that looks like a double-diamond ski slope: the planet has been gradually but steadily cooling during this time. Note how the climate has seesawed in the past two million years, and how close the tips of the warming periods are to the point where glaciations return. The temperature 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs were obliterated by a comet, was about 22 degrees Celsius; today, the planet's average temperature is about 12 degrees Celsius.

Carbon dioxide levels have also been falling over this time, but much more rapidly than the temperature (which should, in all but the most die-hard "consensus" climatologists' minds, destroy the idea that carbon dioxide drives temperature). For most of this time on our planet there were no polar ice caps and, yes, the sea levels were many metres higher than today. Humanity can deal with higher sea levels; we'll have a lot more trouble coping with three-kilometre-high walls of glacial ice.

Finally, let's look at the very long-range picture: earth over the past 600 million years. Again, we see fluctuations of temperature but, overall, the planet has been much warmer (and with much higher levels of carbon dioxide) than today, and yet life managed to evolve and flourish. The planet didn't experience "oblivion," as the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, suggested at the Bali conference on climate change in 2007.

It's curious that not one of the thousands of so-called climate experts at that conference saw fit to educate Ki-Moon on the geological facts before (or, apparently, after) his speech. Geologists are fully aware that our planet is not unusually warm at the moment, it is unusually cold. They also know that carbon dioxide is not the villain when it comes to warming - for most of earth's history, temperature and carbon dioxide have shown only the most tenuous relationship. The correlation today of rising carbon dioxide levels and rising temperatures that worries climate scientists so much is likely just coincidence. Overall, as Lamb observed, "Seemingly objective statistics may produce a variety of verdicts which are actually arbitrary in that they depend on the choice of observation period."

Alarmists like Al Gore have chosen to focus on the past century, and therefore they worry about warming. Geologists take a longer time-frame and know that the planet has been much warmer in the past without problems, that we are in an ice age, and that the biggest future problem we face is not warming but cooling.

Who's right, the geologists or the computer-based climate scientists? There is no certainty in science (a fact that "consensus" climate science seems to have forgotten). However, if we think like a geologist rather than a computer climate specialist, the planet's history makes it likely that today's climate change is based on natural, cyclical factors, not human factors, and that what we need to worry about is a planet that is colder, not warmer.


When it Came to the Environment George Carlin Was skeptical

George Carlin's "The Planet Is Fine":

We're so self-important. So self-important. Everybody's going to save something now. "Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails." And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these bleeping people kidding me? Save the planet, we don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven't learned how to care for one another, we're gonna save the bleeping planet?

I'm getting tired of that bleep. Tired of that bleep. I'm tired of bleeping Earth Day, I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don't give a bleep about the planet. They don't care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don't. Not in the abstract they don't. You know what they're interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They're worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn't impress me.

Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are bleeped. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we're a threat? That somehow we're gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun?

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles...hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages...And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet...the planet...the planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!

We're going away. Pack your bleep, folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

You wanna know how the planet's doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet's doing. You wanna know if the planet's all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilauea, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it's true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn't share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn't know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, "Why are we here?" Plastic...bleephole.

So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that's begun. Don't you think that's already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let's see... Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh...viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

Well, that's a poetic note. And it's a start. And I can dream, can't I? See I don't worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we're part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron...whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn't punish, it doesn't reward, it doesn't judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while."


Global Warming Movement Turns Cool

Comments below by Award winning Chief Meteorologist James Spann of Alabama ABC TV

Let me warn you, this is a little longer than my usual posts here, but it was prompted by a big op-ed article in the Birmingham News this morning. Take the time to read it, if you dare. Seems like our local paper has settled on one side of the climate change debate, which is certainly their right. But, I have the right to publish this article as well..

Two years ago, it seemed like nothing could stop the global warming train. Most of the media, those in Hollywood, politicians (many on both sides of the cultural divide), and "enlightened environmentalists" were all telling us that man was causing runaway warming of the earth's atmosphere, meaning global catastrophe only decades ahead for all of us.

Scary stuff.

The problem is that a majority of those in this almost religious movement have little training in atmospheric science, and little understanding of the issue. They jumped on the bandwagon because it matches their worldview, or pads their pocket. This issue has generated great wealth on both sides of the argument, and I need to say up front I have absolutely no financial interest in climate. I am paid the same regardless of whether man is involved in climate change or not, and I have never taken a dime for a speech on the subject.

The simple truth is that the anthropogenic global warming train has slowed to a crawl, and the riders are jumping off as the facts are discovered.

What is the truth? Lets begin with something we all can agree on. The climate IS changing. It has always changed, it is changing now, and it will always change. Beyond that, here are some simple facts that make those left on the global warming train very uncomfortable:

*The earth is no warmer now than it was in 1998.
*Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a gas indispensable to plant life. Plants, in turn, release oxygen, which sustains animal and human life.
*The primary greenhouse gas is water vapor, not carbon dioxide.
*The lack of solar activity in recent months suggests global cooling might be our biggest potential climate change problem in coming years.
*The planet has had weather disasters, extremes, and anomalies since it has been here. We just didn't have 24 hour news channels and the Internet in prior decades to spread the news.

I have been doing the weather on local television for 30 years, and EVERY YEAR I have had people come up to me and tell me that they can "never remember the weather being this strange".

Most of those that you see and hear speaking on the subject have little scientific knowledge. Here is a quote from Dr. Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, from an article he penned recently:
"Alarmists like Al Gore will use pseudo-scientific justifications and comparisons in their attempt to make a connection between carbon dioxide and global warming. Even though CO2 is necessary for life on Earth, the alarmists insist on calling it a pollutant, referring to our atmosphere as an "open sewer." For instance, Gore likes to point out that Venus has far more CO2 in its atmosphere than the Earth does, and its surface is hot enough to melt lead. Therefore, more CO2 causes warming. But we also know that the Martian atmosphere has 15 times as much CO2 as our own atmosphere, and its surface temperature averages about 70 deg. F below zero. So you see, in science a little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

Dr. James McClintock (marine biologist at UAB) today, in an op-ed piece published by the Birmingham News, claims that Antarctica is "warming quickly". Dr. McClintock, I am sure, is an excellent marine biologist, and I would not even make an effort to challenge his knowledge of that science. But, what is his background in atmospheric science? And, where does that claim come from?

Here is what Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) Joe D'Aleo says about this:
"The shattered part of the Wilkins ice sheet was 160 square miles in area, which is just 0.01% of the total current Antarctic ice cover, like an icicle falling from a snow and ice covered roof," D'Aleo wrote on March 25. "We are very likely going to exceed last year's record [for Southern Hemisphere ice extent]. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica's ice sheet is also starting to disappear,"
D'Aleo added.

And, from climate scientist Ben Herman, past director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona:
"It is interesting that all of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) stories concerning Antarctica are always about what's happening around the [western] peninsula, which seems to be the only place on Antarctica that has shown warming. How about the net `no change' or `cooling' over the rest of the continent, which is probably about 95% of the land mass, not to mention the record sea ice coverage recently."

I also should note that the mythical UN IPCC "consensus" continues to crumble. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist who specializes in optical waveguide spectroscopy from the University of Tokyo, and a top UN IPCC Scientist, calls global warming fears: the "worst scientific scandal in history" in the weblog of former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke.

Here is what Canadian climatologist Tim Ball says about the IPCC:
"The IPCC is a political organization and yet it is the sole basis of the claim of a scientific consensus on climate change. Consensus is neither a scientific fact nor important in science, but it is very important in politics. There are 2500 members in the IPCC divided between 600 in Working Group I (WGI), who examine the actual climate science, and 1900 in working Groups II and III (WG II and III), who study "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" and "Mitigation of Climate Change" respectively. Of the 600 in WGI, 308 were independent reviewers, but only 32 reviewers commented on more than three chapters and only five reviewers commented on all 11 chapters of the report. They accept without question the findings of WGI and assume warming due to humans is a certainty. In a circular argument typical of so much climate politics the work of the 1900 (less than one percent of the scientific population) is listed as `proof' of human caused global warming. Through this they established the IPCC as the only credible authority thus further isolating those who raised questions."

I find it interesting that most of the predictions coming from the IPCC are based on computer model output. Those of us in the trench, who deal with the Earth's atmosphere every day, know that computer model data is often horrible 24 hours in advance. how bad can it be out to 50 or 100 years?

The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine this month announced that 31,072 U.S. scientists (9,021 with PhDs) signed a petition stating that
". There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will cause in the future, catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

John Coleman, meteorologist and founder of The Weather Channel, calls the GW movement the greatest scam in history. I encourage all of you to read material on BOTH sides of the issue and make up your own mind. Mr Gore, the science is "not settled", and the invitation for a debate remains wide open.

Heaven help us this fall when ABC television tells us that the world, as we know it, is about to end because of "global warming". Never let facts get in the way of a good story, especially one that scares you to death.

I consider myself an environmentalist. There are some serious environmental issues out there. "Global warming" is not one of them. One of the best ways to become a truly environmentally concerned person is to walk the banks of an Alabama river or stream for a half day and pick up trash and garbage. Anyone want to join me?


A State of steam?

The devious reasoning in the report from Australia below is amazing. If the temperature were to increase by 5 degrees, we would be living in a steambath with constant rain -- not drought. Do these lamebrains not know that higher temperures cause more evaporation? And that evaporation off the oceans is where rain comes from? Have they ever seen steam come off a hot kettle? And with increased CO2 as well the crops would REALLY be lush. CO2 is prime plant food

QUEENSLAND's average temperature could increase by five degrees celsius by 2070 - bringing less rainfall and more intense tropical cyclones, a report warns. Entitled Climate Change in Queensland - What the science is telling us, the government report says Queensland's annual temperate had increased at a faster rate than the national average since 1950. Under the current high emissions scenario, Queensland's temperate would rise by 2.8 degrees by 2050 and five degrees by 2070.

The report warned the state would experience less rainfall, more severe droughts, an increase in flooding rains, sea level rises, more intense tropical cycles and an increased risk of storm surge. The Great Barrier Reef and wet tropics rainforest were vulnerable, as were most of the population, which lived on the coast. Even if greenhouse gas emissions were drastically reduced now, the build-up and long life of those gases guaranteed climate change would continue for the next few decades at least, it said. And there was a "growing body of evidence" that emissions were currently tracking above the highest emissions scenarios used in research.

Climate Change Minister Andrew McNamara said the report showed the state had much to lose if action did not"No part of the Queensland community will be untouched by the impact of global warming and climate change," he said. Mr McNamara said Queensland's key industries of agriculture and tourism were particularly vulnerable.



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


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A skeptical response to a Greenie challenge

The "National Resources Defense Council", a Greenie organization, has challenged skeptical scientists to 'let NRDC's real climate experts take them on'. Below is a response to the challenge from Richard Courtney, DipPhil, a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK-based climate and atmospheric science consultant. The response was posted on the NRDC blog


You say: "And perhaps some scientists are coming out against the idea that humankind has warmed the planet and continues to spew increasing pollutants into our atmosphere. If so, they are awful quiet about their challenge. Perhaps they should post their arguments here and let NRDC's real climate experts take them on."

Well, I am an Expert Peer Reviewer for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); i.e. I am one of the often touted "thousands of UN Climate Scientists". I and thousands of others speak, publish and sign petitions in attempt to get the media to tell the truth of man made global climate change. And in response to your invitation I post that truth below.

The AGW-hypothesis asserts that increased greenhouse gases (GHGs) - notably carbon dioxide - in the atmosphere will cause the globe to warm (global warming: GW), and that anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are increasing the carbon dioxide in the air with resulting anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) global warming (AGW). I think a clear distinction needs to be made between

(a) the science of AGW, and

(b) the perception of AGW - and the use of AGW - by non-scientists.

The science

The present empirical evidence strongly indicates that the AGW-hypothesis is wrong; i.e.

1. There is no correlation between the anthropogenic emissions of GHGs and global temperature.

2. Change to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is observed to follow change to global temperature at all time scales.

3. Recent rise in global temperature has not been induced by rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The global temperature fell from 1940 to 1970, rose from 1970 to 1998, and fell from 1998 to the present (i.e. mid-2008). This is 40 years of cooling and 28 years of warming, and global temperature is now similar to that of 1940. But atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased at a near-constant rate and by more than 30% since 1940

4. Rise in global temperature has not been induced by increase to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide. More than 80% of the anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide has been since 1940, and the increase to the emissions has been at a compound rate of ~0.4% p.a. throughout that time. But that time has exhibited 40 years of cooling with only 28 years of warming, and global temperature is now similar to that of 1940.

5. The pattern of atmospheric warming predicted by the AGW hypothesis is absent. The AGW hypothesis predicts most warming of the atmosphere at altitude distant from polar regions. Radiosonde measurements from weather balloons show slight cooling at altitude distant from polar regions.

The above list provides a complete refutation of the AGW-hypothesis according to the normal rules of science.: i.e. Nothing the hypothesis predicts is observed in the empirical data, and the opposite of the hypothesis' predictions is observed in the empirical data.

But politicians and advocates adhere to the hypothesis. They have a variety of motives (i.e. personal financial gain, protection of their career histories and futures, political opportunism, etc..). But support of science cannot be one such motive because science denies the hypothesis.

Hence, additional scientific information cannot displace the AGW-hypothesis and cannot silence its advocates (e.g. Hansen). And those advocates are not scientists despite some of them claiming that they are.


Green driving

British humorist and motoring writer Jeremy Clarkson tells us how

It's no good. I can't sit here any more pretending that there's nothing wrong. Because there is. A man came to my house yesterday to fix the computer and he had a worried look on his face. He lives 20 miles away. The fuel tank in his little van was perilously close to empty and he simply didn't have enough money to fill it up again.

In the past I only ever stopped for fuel when the yellow light had been on for a month and the engine was starting to cough. Yesterday I stopped at a garage simply because its petrol was 4p cheaper than usual. That's a œ2.80 difference per tankful. Which works out at œ300 a year. That's 55 free packets of cigarettes.

Except of course these calculations are meaningless because oil, as I write, is $139 a barrel and no one thinks it's going to stop there. Not with Mr Patel on the economic warpath and Johnny Chinaman part-exchanging his rickshaw for a shiny new Toyota. They say it'll be $150 a barrel by the end of summer.

Global warming was never going to get people out of their big cars because we could see it was all a load of left-wing tosh. But when petrol is œ3 a litre - and anyone old enough to remember 1973 would not discount that as a possibility - you'd have to be a bit bonkers to drive around like your hair's on fire in a car that does only eight miles to the gallon.

Oh it's all very well now. You may be a footballer or a Sir Alan. You may see expensive petrol as a jolly good way of getting the poor and the weak off the roads. Soon, though, you will be hit too.

Think about it. When you have to have a fist fight with an old lady over the last loaf of bread in the shop, and your electricity bill looks as though it's been written in liras, you are going to find yourself in the same boat as my computer man: with a nice car on the drive and no wherewithal to make it go.

Of course there are lots of things you can do to lessen the impact of spiralling fuel bills - all of which are dreary.

Weight is one issue. If you remove that rolled-up old carpet from your boot, you'll be surprised at the impact it'll have on your bills. You could go further and remove your spare wheel and jack too. Maybe you could even go on that diet you've been promising yourself.

Then there's all the equipment. If you use a lot of electrical stuff while driving, the alternator will need to work harder, which means more fuel. Even Terry Wogan needs a bit of petrol. Your heated rear window needs an alarming amount. And air-conditioning? Turn that off and your fuel consumption will improve by as much as 12%.

Making sure that your tyres are inflated properly will save another 5%, and you know the roof bars? If you can manage without, there's another 3% saving right there. At this rate you are well on your way to turning your Range Rover Sport Nutter Bastard into something with the thirst of a newborn wren.

By far the biggest savings will come if you change the way you drive, though. Take the Audi A8 diesel as an example. Officially it will do 30.1mpg. Realistically it'll be nearer 25. With a bit of care, however, you can do 40. Maybe more.

Audi says that its big V8 oil-burner can go 580 miles between trips to the pumps but I managed to get all the way from London to Edinburgh and then back again on a single tankful. That's a whopping 800 miles. It wasn't much fun, at a fairly constant 56mph, with no radio, no air-con and no sat nav. But the savings were massive.

Things I learnt? On a downhill stretch, ease up on the throttle pedal and work with gravity to build up speed. Similarly you can ease off the power and use momentum to get you up the next hill. A cruise control system will not do this. It is a sledgehammer when what you need is the scalpel sensitivity of your right foot.

Look far ahead. If you think you will have to slow down, start the process early. If you use the brakes you are simply wasting the fuel you used to reach a speed that was unnecessary.

Already I'm bored with this. The notion that you have to drive at 56mph, with sweaty armpits, stopping every five seconds to check your tyre pressures, just to save a pound fills me with horror and dread. It would be like being told to lose weight by your doctor - and sawing your arm off. Effective but annoying. Which is why, when it comes to the price of fuel, I want to have my cake and eat it too. And then I want second helpings.

This brings me to the Mercedes-Benz SL 350. Ordinarily I'd dismiss this, the baby of the range, and suggest you bought the mountainous twin-turbo 6 litre V12 version instead. But in these dark and difficult times, I thought I'd give the weedomatic version a chance.

The fact of the matter is this. Officially the V12 version will return 18.7mpg whereas the 350 will do 28.5. That is a colossal difference. And handy too. On my old SL 55, a quarter of a tank would not get me from London to my house in the Cotswolds. A quarter of a tank in the 350 gets me there and back.


Hansen's Anniversary Testimony

Post below excerpted from Icecap. See the original for links and more

On June 23, 1988 James Hansen, Astronomer by degree but climatologist by self appointment testified in front of congress. It was an orchestrated testimony coordinated by Senator Al Gore and a Senator from Colorado, Tim Wirth (now running Ted Turner's UN Foundation) who admitted they picked the day after calling the National Weather Service to ensure it was a hot day. He admitted proudly later they opened all the windows the night before, making air conditioning ineffective and making sure all involved including Hansen would be seen mopping their brow for maximum effect. Hansen testified "Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements. Number two, the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe, with a high degree of confidence, a cause-and-effect relationship to the greenhouse effect."

See in the story below how hard Hansen has worked to try and make his prognostication verify by manipulating data. By his own comments to the UK Guardian "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." Well the disinformation that comprises the GISS data then by his own words is a crime, and in his own words he "should be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature".

Here is the plot of actual NASA global satellite monthly temperatures since June 1988. Note the anomaly in May 2008 was lower than in June 1988 by nearly 0.3C. Of course, we don't have June 2008 numbers yet. Please note I am not saying that cooling began in 1988. Satellites show clearly that since 1979 there was a moderate warming which peaked in 1998. A cooling has taken place the last 6 to 7 years. Global station and ocean data with all its warts shows the warming from the early 1900s to the 1930s, cooling from the 1940s to the 1970s then warming again peaking in 1998. I am just making an observation that it is ironic that 20 years after his first testimony about global warming, it is half a degree F oooler globally, not supporting the drastic measure he advocates. Also we can explain not only the trends but each spike or dip with some natural phenomena as we have shown in recent posts.

Today unlike in June 1988, temperatures will be near normal in DC with temperatures in the 70s and 80s with thunderstorms. The last two weeks have averaged 2 degrees below normal.

Don't Panic Over Predictions of Climate Doom- Get the Facts on James Hansen and his lucrative climate scam

Post below excerpted from Marc Morano. See the original for links

NASA scientist James Hansen has created worldwide media frenzy with his call for trials against those who dissent against man-made global warming fears.

Sampling of Key Information about NASA's James Hansen (for full articles, see below):

1) The oil money's paltry contribution pales in comparison to the well funded alarmist industry. (LINK)

2) Earth has COOLED since Hansen's Dire Climate Warning in 1988 (LINK)

3) Hansen's Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis challenged by UN Scientists and new peer-reviewed studies. (LINK) & (LINK) & (LINK)

4) Hansen who alleged Bush administration muzzled him -- did 1,400 on-the-job media interviews (LINK)

5) Media Ignores Skeptical NASA Scientist's Claims of Censorship (LINK)

6) Hansen Claims 1988 Hottest Day Testimony was result of being `lucky' - `We were just lucky' (LINK)

7) Senator Admits Hot Day and AC Failure during Hansen's 1988 Testimony was `Stagecraft' (LINK)

8) An August 2007 NASA temperature data error discovery has lead to 1934 -- not the previously hyped 1998 -- being declared the hottest in U.S. history since records began. (LINK)

9) Hansen Received $250,000 from partisan Heinz Foundation & Endorsed Dem. John Kerry for Pres. in 2004 (LINK)

10) Media Darling Hansen Assailed by NASA Colleagues (LINK)

11) Scientist Alleging Bush Censorship Helped Gore, Kerry (LINK)

12) Hansen conceded that use of "extreme scenarios" to dramatize climate change "may have been appropriate at one time" (LINK)

UK Register: Veteran climate scientist says 'lock up the oil men' - June 23, 2008: Excerpt: Veteran climate scientist James Hansen is marking the twentieth anniversary of his seminal speech to the US Congress on global warming by calling for oil company execs to be locked up for denying global warming.

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: Put oil firm chiefs on trial, says leading climate change scientistú Speech to US Congress will also criticise lobbyistsú 'Revolutionary' policies needed to tackle crisis - 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. Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable. Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading. [Note: See also July 2007 comprehensive report detailing how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation - LINK ]

Reality Check: Challenge to Hansen's funding data claims. The oil money's paltry contribution pales in comparison to the well funded alarmist industry. See full funding report here: Excerpt: Newsweek reporter Eve Conant was given the documentation showing that proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, but the Magazine chose instead to focus on how skeptics have reportedly received a paltry $19 MILLION from ExxonMobil over the last two decades. Paleoclimate scientist Bob Carter, who has testified before the Senate Environment & Public Works committee, explained how much money has been spent researching and promoting climate fears and so-called solutions. "In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one," Carter wrote on June 18, 2007.

Earth has COOLED since Hansen's Dire Climate Warning in 1988 - According to Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo: See how global temperatures have declined according to NASA satellites since Hansen's first testimony in June of 1988. See temperature chart HERE. Excerpt: Here is the plot of actual NASA satellite monthly temperatures since June 1988. Note we are colder than in 1988. See larger image here His testimony will no doubt include reference to upcoming or ongoing dangerous rises in sea level and ignore the data. See larger image here He will also no doubt repeat his claim he is being muzzled. He confuses a muzzle with a megaphone as shown by this table of actual Hansen media references by year. What Muzzling? Chart documenting James Hansen's Massive Media Megaphone - By Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., professor in the environmental studies program at the University of Colorado. Excerpt: Hansen in the News: 1996-1997 - Must See chart HERE.

Hansen's Science Claims Continue to be Challenged - June 20, 2008 - Ivy League Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack Challenges `Consensus' View of CO2's role in Climate Change (Giegengack is from the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Bio Link & Peer-Reviewed Research Link: Excerpt: We know (or we surmise) from model reconstructions (e.g. Berner, Royer, Cerling, and many others) that the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere has been higher, indeed much higher, than it is now for most of Earth history, but the average surface temperature has varied over much smaller amplitude than the greenhouse-gas concentration. If the influence of growing concentrations of greenhouse gases can be isolated from all the other factors that control Earth-surface temperature, we might be able to measure the role of CO2 concentration as a forcing mechanism directly, but we are not there and we probably can't get there (the system is far too complex). If we could get there, we would learn that the relationship between CO2 concentration and temperature is not linear. There have been times in Earth history when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were 5, 10, even 15 TIMES the present concentration, and the climate of Earth still supported animals not unlike ourselves. Indeed, the average CO2 concentration of the atmosphere, if Berner, Royer, Cerling, etc. are to be believed (and they began this work before the history of composition of the atmosphere carried any political implication), has been about 5 times the present concentration. [.] One or another Pole has supported a "permanent" ice sheet only for 5-10% of Earth history. [.] The bottom line is: it ain't that simple. CO2 is a player, but not the primary, and maybe not even a major, player in controlling, or "forcing," Earth temperature. (LINK)

Washington Times: Scientist Hansen who alleged Bush administration muzzled him -- did 1,400 on-the-job media interviews - March 20, 2007: Excerpt: Hansen Claims NASA Muzzled Him - But - A NASA scientist who said the Bush administration muzzled him because of his belief in global warming yesterday acknowledged to Congress that he'd done more than 1,400 on-the-job interviews in recent years. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who argues global warming could be catastrophic, said NASA staffers denied his request to do a National Public Radio interview because they didn't want his message to get out. But Republicans told him the hundreds of other interviews he did belie his broad claim he was being silenced. "We have over 1,400 opportunities that you've availed yourself to, and yet you call it, you know, being stifled," said Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican.

Media Ignores Skeptical NASA Scientist's Claims of Censorship. Skeptical Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer, Formerly of NASA, Reveals Being Muzzled - June 3, 2008 See June 3, 2008 report: Media Double-Standard on Global Warming "Censorship" - (LINK): Excerpt: A NOTE ON NASA'S JAMES HANSEN BEING MUZZLED BY NASA - I see that we are once again having to hear how NASA's James Hansen was dissuaded from talking to the press on a few of the 1,400 media interviews he was involved in over the years. Well, I had the same pressure as a NASA employee during the Clinton-Gore years, because NASA management and the Clinton/Gore administration knew that I was skeptical that mankind's CO2 emissions were the main cause of global warming. I was even told not to give my views during congressional testimony, and so I purposely dodged a question, under oath, when it arose. But I didn't complain about it like Hansen has. NASA is an executive branch agency and the President was, ultimately, my boss (and is, ultimately, Hansen's boss). So, because of the restrictions on what I could and couldn't do or say, I finally just resigned from NASA and went to work for the university here in Huntsville. There were no hard feelings, and I'm still active in a NASA satellite mission and fully supportive of its Earth observation programs. In stark contrast, Jim Hansen said whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to the press and congress during that time. He even campaigned for John Kerry, and received a $250,000 award from Theresa Heinz-Kerry's charitable foundation -- two events he maintains are unrelated. If I had done anything like this when I worked at NASA, I would have been crucified under the Hatch Act. Does anyone besides me see a double standard here? -Roy W. Spencer

Washington Post: Senator Inhofe: 'Alleged consensus over man-made climate fears continues to wane' - June 23, 2008. Excerpt: In an e-mailed statement, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) said the bill's failure was proof that Hansen's message had not caught on. "Hansen, Gore, and the media have been trumpeting man-made climate doom since the 1980s. But Americans are not buying it," Inhofe said. "It's back to the drawing board for Hansen and company as the alleged 'consensus' over man-made climate fears continues to wane and more and more scientists declare their dissent."

Hansen calls skeptics of man-made climate fears `Court Jesters' From August 20, 2007 EPW Report: Excerpt: NASA's James Hansen calls climate skeptics `court jesters' - In the face of this growing surge of scientific research and the increasing number of scientists speaking out, NASA scientist James Hansen wrote this past week that skeptics of a predicted climate catastrophe were engaging in "deceit" and were nothing more than "court jesters." "The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point to joust with court jesters. They will always be present," Hanson wrote on August 16, 2007. (LINK) & (LINK) & (LINK) [EPW Blog Note: It is ironic to have accusations of `deceit' coming from a man who conceded in a 2003 issue of Natural Science that the use of "extreme scenarios" to dramatize global warming "may have been appropriate at one time" to drive the public's attention to the issue --- a disturbing admission by a prominent scientist. (LINK) Also worth noting is Hansen's humorous allegation that he was muzzled by the current Administration despite the fact he did over 1400 on-the-job media interviews. (LINK) ] If the scientific case is so strong for predictions of catastrophic man-made global warming, why do its promoters like Hansen and his close ally Gore feel the need to resort to insults and intimidation when attempting to silence skeptics? [EPW Blog Note: Gore and Hansen are not alone - See: EPA to Probe E-mail Threatening to `Destroy' Career of Climate Skeptic - LINK ]

Hansen Received $250,000 from partisan Heinz Foundation & Endorsed Dem. John Kerry for Pres. in 2004 - EPW Report on Hansen - July 11, 2006. Excerpt: For example, Brokaw presents NASA's James Hansen as an authority on climate change without revealing to viewers the extensive political and financial ties that Hansen has to Democrat Party partisans. Hansen, the director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by former Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz. Subsequent to the Heinz Foundation grant, Hansen publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004, a political endorsement considered to be highly unusual for a NASA scientist. Hansen also has acted as a consultant to Gore's slide-show presentations on global warming, on which Gore's movie is based. Hansen has actively promoted Gore and his movie, even appearing at a New York City Town Hall meeting with Gore and several Hollywood producers in May. Hansen also conceded in a 2003 issue of Natural Science ( ) that the use of "extreme scenarios" to dramatize climate change "may have been appropriate at one time" to drive the public's attention to the issue --- a disturbing admission by a prominent scientist.

Carbon: the New Chemical Villain

According to the popular press, carbon has now joined toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium on Peck's Bad Boy list. The phrase "carbon footprint" in the lexicon of lazy pseudo science writers and amateur climatologists provokes images of radioactive dirty shoes betraying our every move leaving deadly indelible impressions on the path to oblivion.

Why has the image of carbon been so distorted and demonized? Most of us even having a glancing familiarity with organic chemistry at one time knew that carbon is the building block of life on earth. From simple sugars to amino acids and DNA from industrial polymers to Q-tips, carbon is everywhere on earth, as it necessarily must be as carbon's structure invites nearly every other element to bond with it.

Astrobiologists searching for life beyond earth know that carbon is plentiful, showing up as carbon monoxide CO, methane CH4 and even carbon dioxide CO2 . Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), hydrogen carbon combos that we would associate with petroleum and mothballs, are the most abundant complex molecules in the universe according to Pascale Ehrenfreund of the University of Leiden. Carbon, found in the proximity of hydrogen, oxygen and water, means life is possible. But carbon must be found in very specific combinations and patterns with oxygen and hydrogen along with the occasional nitrogen, forming uniquely shaped amino acids, proteins and sugars, for life as we know it.

Radio telescopes search the universe for even a hint of a tell tale wavelength for these complex biological carbon compounds. But nothing. Silence. The universe seems to be devoid of any biological organic carbon footprint anywhere else. Which means no sign of life. If we are utterly alone, it conjures one of two emotional states: profound loneliness at the realization life on earth may have been a random occurrence or unrestrained joy in appreciating that we are in God's exclusive province.

Of course the dreaded carbon footprint here on earth is enviro-nihilist shorthand for despising one life form in particular. Humans. While we search the heavens in vain for any sign of intelligent life, the one right here, right now, is under steady assault. The carbon footprint doomsayers would also deny one of the greatest gifts of Western Civilization-continuous discovery and innovation in the science of carbon-from eradicating smallpox and alleviating pain to inventing synthetic nylon pantyhose, fast cars and microbrewed ales.

The zero carbon footprint movement has its roots in the zero population growth agenda of Margaret Sanger's radical eugenics of the 1920s cloaked in the respectability of Planned Parenthood. In the 1960's, Paul Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb" further opened the backdoor entrance for the anti-capitalists and pro-choice lobby. The most recent dramatic example of post-humanism self-loathing is the -sexual-enviro thesis published last month by Robert Engleman in "More--Population, Nature and What Women Want".

Engleman's agenda about voluntary means to restrain population growth by giving women absolute control over procreation is just a precursor for forced sterilization, unregulated abortion on demand and acceptance of government run misanthropy.

Moreover as Lawrence Solomon points out in "The Deniers" the misguided priorities of the zero carbon footprint fanatics have produced such perversions as creating a financial market for carbon credits through displacing tens of thousands of people in third world economies from their native forest homes to make room for biomass agriculture or millions dispossessed of their land flooded for hydroelectric dam reservoirs. Of course massive government subsidies to convert foodstuff cropland into ethanol fuel biomass has created a food price spiral and spot shortages, a self-fulfilling prophecy of the ZPG Mathusians.

Rather than a metaphor for plague and scourge, our carbon footprint should be a life-affirming exaltation with primordial hopes of reproduction and immortality. Carbon footprint as villain is temporal, transitory and self-absorbed-a nihilist and narcissist absurdity. Narcissus, you will recall, unable to return the affections of the nymph Echo, was consigned to forever seek the embrace of his own reflection and be captive to an illusion. So what becomes of the illusion of the zero carbon footprint? Where does the line of sight beyond a zero carbon footprint world lead? Well, to steal a reference from philosopher Antony Flew in his essay on death, quoting the apocalyptic words of Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Outside the visual field nothing is seen, not even darkness...the world in death does not change, but ceases." Indeed, the world without our human carbon footprint does not change, but ceases.


Some fun quotes

Question: What does global warming cause? Answer: Everything

Michael Schirber: "Since the late 1960s, much of the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty, in part due to increases in fresh water runoff induced by global warming, scientists say."

Catherine Brahic: "The surface waters of the North Atlantic are getting saltier, suggests a new study of records spanning over 50 years. And this might actually be good news for the effects of climate change on global ocean currents in the short-term, say the study's researchers."

Barbara McMahon in Rome: "Climate change is bringing animals out of hibernation prematurely, making them lose weight and causing them stress, Italian scientists said yesterday."

Terra Daily: "Brown bears at one of Sweden's most popular safari parks, confused by an exceptionally mild winter, have finally gone into hibernation more than two months late despite unseasonally high temperatures, the park said on Tuesday."

Science Daily: "Global warming has had a surprising impact on the Great Lakes region of the U.S. - more snow."

Cosmos magazine: "A reduction in the volume of snow has been noted over the past 20 years, as well as a shortening of the period when snow falls, threatening the future of ski resorts below 1,800 metres and prompting the increased usage of snow cannons, machines turning water in snow which is then sprayed onto the pistes."

USA Today: "Shorter winters without wolves mean about 66% fewer elk deaths every April, which threatens starvation for scavengers. With wolves preying on elk, however, the drop in carrion is only about 11%, a much less dire situation."

USA Today: "Elsewhere, however, extreme weather changes have led to more snowfall in wet regions, which affects wolf and moose populations. On Lake Superior's Isle Royale, gray wolves now hunt in larger packs. As a result, they kill more moose, which was first shown in a 1999 study in Nature."

Thus the elk root for global warming, the moose oppose it and the wolves could not care less. They just eat whatever is available.

Sify News: "Establishing a link between climate change and mental health, the World Health Organisation has said extreme weather conditions like floods, droughts and natural calamities can lead to psychiatric illnesses."

Yes. It is called Global Warming Derangement Syndrome in which everything that happens in the world is linked to global warming.



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


Monday, June 23, 2008

Hansen unhinged! Calls for putting oil firm chiefs on trial for spreading doubt about global warming

Note: Hansen's funding data appears to be as skewed as his temperature data. The oil industry's contribution pales in comparison to the well funded alarmist industry. See full funding report here. Hansen is getting desperate for attention

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.

Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable. Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.

In an interview with the Guardian he 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."He is also considering personally targeting members of Congress who have a poor track record on climate change in the coming November elections. He will campaign to have several of them unseated.

Hansen's speech to Congress on June 23 1988 is seen as a seminal moment in bringing the threat of global warming to the public's attention. At a time when most scientists were still hesitant to speak out, he said the evidence of the greenhouse gas effect was 99% certain, adding "it is time to stop waffling".He will tell the House select committee on energy independence and global warming this afternoon that he is now 99% certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has already risen beyond the safe level.

The current concentration is 385parts per million and is rising by 2ppm a year. Hansen, who heads Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, says 2009 will be a crucial year, with a new US president and talks on how to follow the Kyoto agreement. He wants to see a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, coupled with the creation of a huge grid of low-loss electric power lines buried under ground and spread across America, in order to give wind and solar power a chance of competing. "The new US president would have to take the initiative analogous to Kennedy's decision to go to the moon."

His sharpest words are reserved for the special interests he blames for public confusion about the nature of the global warming threat. "The problem is not political will, it's the alligator shoes - the lobbyists. It's the fact that money talks in Washington, and that democracy is not working the way it's intended to work."

A group seeking to increase pressure on international leaders is launching a campaign today called It is taking out full-page adverts in papers such as the New York Times and the Swedish Falukuriren calling for the target level of CO2 to be lowered to 350ppm. The advert has been backed by 150 signatories, including Hansen.


If Global Warming was a company decison, how would you vote?

Let's say this issue was on a company board of directors decision to choose to make changes to policy related to employee comfort. Some employees complain that the work environment is too hot and they have been suffering a long term effect. The board decides to hire four consultants with the mandate: "tell us if we should expend the money to replace all of our a/c units company wide in all of our world locations. The cost will be huge, so we need to know before we make a policy change to do this."

One of the consultants to members of the board who strongly advocates the policy change also has been lobbying company staff worldwide and other board members with the data he has collected and collated that shows that the trend is shifting in the direction that he advocates. As consultant, he is also the creator of one of the datasets used to evaluate the policy change.

Now when the time comes to make the decision, the board brings in all the data sets from consultants. They look at each one and see that the majority of them have no change in the last 11 years that supports the policy change to put in new a/c units. Yet the one consultant that has been pushing this policy change gives an impassioned speech that his data set tells a story that the others do not.

Some of the board members who are skeptical of this person and his data that supports the policy change do some research of their own. They discover that the dataset created by the consultant who advocates the policy change has been adjusted at many data points, almost without exception in favor of the policy change. Some board members also learn of some math errors in the data, point out the math errors, and also some of the questionable ways individual data points have been adjusted.

The consultant shrugs and retorts "you're just a bunch of court jesters".Meanwhile, it has been discovered that one of the business friends of the consultant who has been lobbying board members and staff has a company that trades in air conditioner systems. That person has been traveling to all of the worldwide offices of the company and lobbying the employees to tell them that their work environment is indeed getting hotter, and that the data from his friend the consultant proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

He tells them that his friend the consultant uses special techniques to find the "real" trend in the data and that the other datasets aren't as valuable as this one. He urges the employees to form pacts and unions to lobby the corporate board to make a change. The employees do just that.

The board looks at the data, they listen to the impassioned pleas of the employees, and they also listen to the one consultant who calls them "court jesters", and his friend the a/c salesman, who says "the time is now, you must act now'. But a few employees that are concerned that the expense the company may be about to undertake is unwarranted, they think the work environment is just fine, and the "solution" may hurt the company more than help it.

One of the employees finds that in the largest company facility, 78% of the temperature sensors used to collect environmental data in that facility have been installed incorrectly, and shows that they are too close to equipment that produces waste heat. They also discover that two of the consultants use IR sensors to get the data, but that the other two consultants are using the direct measure environmental sensors, 78% percent of which in the largest company facility are installed incorrectly.

These few employees that discover this also lobby the board by pointing out some of these issues with the datasets. So it is time for the board to vote. The one consultant who has lobbied the board most heavily says "don't worry about that 78% of the problematic environmental sensors in the biggest facility, I can adjust for that." But then one of the other skeptical board members says: "The employee that found this says "How can you adjust for these if you've never seen or visited them? How can you know they are all equally biased or not?". And, isn't it true that in some of the data you presented, there were no sensors present, and some of the data was interpolated by you, particularly at the far ends of the building?"

The consultant says: "I stand by my data and methods, and if you don't do something soon, your facility may reach a tipping point where you can no longer keep it cool enough to work in, your company productivity will tank." One of the board members says, "Ok lets stop and look at this differently". "What if we simply ignore the dataset from the consultant who calls us "court jesters" and has the buddy who's the air conditioner salesman?. Look, now there's no trend in the last 11 years".

So 3 of 4 datasets, each presented by independent consultants are in front of them and show no change in the past 11 years. The one that does show a trend has been heavily lobbied and has been shown to have errors in measurement by environmental sensors and questionable data adjustment methods applied. Plus the consultant who prepared it has insulted those members who dared to question his data and methods, and he is the only one of the four consultants who has links to the air conditioner salesman, as it was discovered that the air conditioner salesman invited the consultant to speak at one of his employee rallies.

How do you think the board of directors will vote on this policy change?


Poll: most Britons doubt cause of climate change

The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans - and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer. The results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The findings come just before the release of the government's long-awaited renewable energy strategy, which aims to cut the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next 12 years.The poll, by Ipsos MORI, found widespread contradictions, with some people saying politicians were not doing enough to tackle the problem, even though they were cynical about government attempts to impose regulations or raise taxes.

In a sign of the enormous task ahead for those pushing for drastic cuts to carbon emissions, many people said they did not want to restrict their lifestyles and only a small minority believe they need to make 'significant and radical' changes such as driving and flying less.

'It's disappointing and the government will be really worried,' said Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the government's Sustainable Development Commission. 'They [politicians] need the context in which they're developing new policies to be a lot stronger and more positive. Otherwise the potential for backlash and unpopularity is considerable.'

There is growing concern that an economic depression and rising fuel and food prices are denting public interest in environmental issues. Some environmentalists blame the public's doubts on last year's Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, and on recent books, including one by Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, that question the consensus on climate change.

However Professor Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, said politicians and campaigners were to blame for over-simplifying the problem by only publicising evidence to support the case. 'Things that we do know - like humans do cause climate change - are being put in doubt,' said Lomborg. 'If you're saying, "We're not going to tell you the whole truth, but we're going to ask you to pay up a lot of money," people are going to be unsure.'

In response to the poll's findings, the Department for the Environment issued a statement: 'The IPCC... concluded the scientific evidence for climate change is clear and it is down to human activities. It is already affecting people's lives - and the impact will be much greater if we don't act now.'

Ipsos MORI polled 1,039 adults and found that six out of 10 agreed that 'many scientific experts still question if humans are contributing to climate change', and that four out of 10 'sometimes think climate change might not be as bad as people say'. In both cases, another 20 per cent were not convinced either way. Despite this, three quarters still professed to be concerned about climate change. Those most worried were more likely to have a degree, be in social classes A or B, have a higher income, said Phil Downing, Ipsos MORI's head of environmental research.'People are broadly concerned, but not entirely convinced,' said Downing. 'Despite many attempts to broaden the environment movement, it doesn't seem to have become fully embedded as a mainstream concern,' he said.

More than half of those polled did not have confidence in international or British political leaders to tackle climate change, but only just over a quarter think it's too late to stop it. Two thirds want the government to do more but nearly as many said they were cynical about government policies such as green taxes, which they see as 'stealth' taxes.


Thermometers Are Doing the Talking

What a world!! Global warming alarmists bring us to the brink of world food shortage and economic collapse - using words and computer models, not higher temperatures. As a result, more wildlife species are threatened by palm oil plantations growing biodiesel than by climate change.

Heavy sea ice just trapped a big Russian ice-breaker for seven days in the Arctic's Northwest Passage, which the alarmists told us last year would soon be open sailing. The sunspots and a Pacific Ocean cooling phase are forecasting the earth will cool further over the next two decades. In the past, both have accurate in their in their predictions.

The blue collar world sees no warming, but they surely see economic ruin staring them in the face. Finally, the workers of the world are crying, "Enough of this man-made warming hype without warming!"

* Fishing fleets have gone on strike across Europe against ultra-high diesel prices, while the Greens demand that fuel become even more scarce and expensive

* Truckers are staging fuel-protest slowdowns in major European cities.

* Protesting French farmers have blockaded fuel stations.

* More than 70 percent of Britons now say they will not pay any extra taxes to "save the planet."

Meanwhile, the Vatican, widely flung governments, and dozens of universities have scheduled conferences on the global food shortage. Guess whose advice we took on shifting much of our cropland from food to biofuels? The advice of the same Greens who told us not to burn coal or oil. We shifted too much of our scarce cropland into corn ethanol and palm oil biodiesel. We forgot that the world's food and feed demand was in the process of doubling due to

1) the last surge in human population growth;

2) rising Third World incomes and expectations; and

3) millions more beloved cats and dogs as households have fewer children and more affluence

Assuming society is not yet ready to starve the poor or euthanize their pets, we must feed them. That means at least twice as much global food and feed per year by 2040. Nor do we want to clear the forests or drain the wetlands to grow more crops. That means there is no "spare" cropland for corn ethanol

Unless the planet starts warming again, quickly and significantly, the Green momentum for a low-carbon society will come to a screeching stop. There are many indications that we are in a long, moderate warming cycle, which began 150 years ago with the end of the Little Ice Age, and may continue for several more hundred years. There is no indication that this modest warming will be bad for humans, or for the wildlife.

The thermometers show a net global temperature increase of just 0.2 degree C since 1940 -and even that tiny increase has been inflated by the urban heat island effect. The big temperature increases are all in those unverified computer models so beloved by the Green movement.

The mothers of the world's kids and the workers who grow and catch its food now demand to see the thermometers climb more than .2 degrees before they renounce their food and jobs. Without energy, the workers can't work, the farmers can't farm, and the children can't eat. Until and unless the Greens and the UN can offer some evidence beyond the guesses of computer models that consistently over-estimate the warming that is occurring, we'll accept the unsung voice of the thermometers.


Global Warming and Energy Implications: Will Nature Soon Cool Hot Debates?

Post below excerpted from Energy Tribune. See the original for more graphics etc.

Measurements by four major temperature tracking outlets reported that world temperatures dropped by about 0.65ø C to 0.75ø C during 2007, the fastest temperature changes ever recorded (either up or down). The cooling approached the total of all warming that occurred over the past 100 years, which is commonly estimated at about 1ø C. Antarctic sea ice expanded by about 1 million square kilometers - more than the 28-year average since altimeter satellite monitoring began.

But have these collective announcements ended the global warming debates? No, stay tuned for further developments. Cyclical, abrupt, and dramatic global and regional temperature fluctuations have occurred in observable patterns over millions of years, long before humans invented agriculture, capitalism, smokestacks, and carbon trading schemes.

To appreciate just how lucky we are to live in the present, consider climate cycles from a historical perspective. Over the past 400,000 years, much of the Northern Hemisphere has been covered by ice up to three miles thick, at regular intervals lasting about 100,000 years each. Very brief interglacial cycles lasting about 12,000 to 18,000 years, like our current one, have offered reprieves from the bitter cold. From this perspective, there can be no doubt that current temperatures are abnormally warm.

The average temperature of our planet has been gradually increasing on a fairly constant basis over the past 18,000 years or so since it began thawing out of the last ice age. About 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, the Earth had warmed enough to halt the advance of the glaciers and cause sea levels to rise. About 8,000 years ago, a land bridge across the Bering Strait submerged, cutting off migrations of people and animals to North America.

As recently as 1,000 years ago, from about 800 to 1300, much of the world climate was similar to what it is now, but Greenland was warmer. Icelandic Vikings began to settle on Greenland's southwestern coast in the 980s and raised cattle, sheep, and goats in the grasslands. Then around 1200, temperatures began to drop, causing settlements to be abandoned by 1350 or so. Atlantic pack ice began to grow around 1250, and shortened growing seasons and unreliable weather patterns, including torrential rains in northern Europe, led to the Great Famine of 1315-17.

Although the last 500 years have been generally mild, substantial climate fluctuations have occurred. An example is the Little Ice Age (which was not a true ice age) that brought frigid weather to the Northern Hemisphere between the 16th and 19th centuries. By the mid-17th century, alpine glaciers in Switzerland advanced to gradually engulf farms and villages. The Thames River and New York Harbor froze over by 1780, and sea ice closed shipping harbors in Iceland, where an estimated one-third of the population perished.

In about 1850, the northern climate began to warm again, although slight cooling recorded at certain ground stations in the 1970s prompted some media attention regarding a possible imminent ice age. Then, little more than a decade later, alarm was trumpeted in the press. Global warming was now an impending menace, and human-produced CO2 from fossil-fuel burning industries was indicted as its villainous agent.

Forcing the Issues

It is currently impossible to reliably forecast weather events over days and weeks, much less climate changes measured over decades. The variables are too numerous, and their interactions are too complex and dynamic, to support accurate long-term modeling. Many factors, and clearly the most dominant ones, involve naturally occurring events.

Key among these is believed to be changes in the Earth's orbital eccentricity around the sun, along with its slow axial "wobble" over many thousands of years. These conditions influence the amount of sunlight received on the surface and seem to correspond with glacial and interglacial cycles. Short fluctuations within interglacials appear to be linked to other influences. They include periodic cyclical variations in solar outputs, seasonal effects of cloud cover, precipitation and vegetation growth, and occasional volcanic eruptions producing warming greenhouse gases along with dust and aerosols that block sunlight to cause cooling.

Many scientists believe that Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation cycles associated with El Nino and La Nina conditions in combination with solar activity variances have had important climate influences during the past century. These factors may account for much of the observed warming trends of 1910-39, cooling from the 1940s to the '70s, and warming during the '80s and '90s.

Solar activity cycles of about 11 years and 200 years may modulate the effects of galactic cosmic ray magnetic fields, producing changes in cloud cover with both warming and cooling results.

Based upon current solar data, the Russian Pulkovo Observatory concludes that Earth has passed its latest warming cycle, and predicts that a fairly cold period will set in by 2012. Temperatures may drop much lower by 2041, and remain very cold for 50 to 60 years.

Kenneth Tapping at Canada's National Research Council thinks we may be in for an even longer cold spell. He predicts that the sun's unusually quiet current 11-year cycle might signal the beginning of a new "Maunder Minimum" cold period, which occurs every couple of centuries and can last a century or more. Then again, theories are only theoretical.

Comment from Christopher Monckton:

This projection of a prolonged solar cooling, to commence at the end of Solar Cycle 24 in about a decade and lasting for perhaps the remainder of this century, is consistent with Usoskin et al. (2003); Hathaway et al. (2004); Solanki et al. (2005); the proceedings of the 2004 Symposium of the International Astronomical Union; and the consensus of opinion among solar physicists (though we should be cautious about relying upon any "consensus" now that science has become so intensely politicized). The Sun's activity is now declining from the Grand Maximum of the past 70 years, that peaked in the early 1960s. During the Grand Maximum (which you won't hear much about in the media, but which has had a great deal of attention from solar physicists in the peer-reviewed literature), the Sun was more active, and for longer, than at almost any previous similar period in at least the past 11,400 years. It is only by some dubious prestidigitation that the UN manages to relegate the role of the Sun to a minuscule bit-part in recent warming.


Thomas Malthus has been dead for 170 years, but the Malthusian fallacy -- the dread conviction that the growth of human population leads to hunger, shortages, and a ravaged environment -- is unfortunately alive and well:

* America's congested highways are caused by "population growth wildly out of control," laments Californians for Population Stabilization and several allied groups in a new ad campaign. So are "schools and emergency rooms . . . bursting at the seams." And with every additional American, immigrant or native-born, "comes further degradation of America's natural treasures."

* In a new documentary, Britain's Prince Philip blames the rising price of food on overpopulation. "Everyone thinks it's to do with not enough food," the queen's husband declares, "but it's really that demand is too great - too many people."

* Overpopulation is "very serious -- very, very serious," the Dalai Lama tells a crowd of 50,000 in Seattle. Somewhat inconsistently, he also proclaims that "children are the basis of our hope," and that "our future depends on them."

* "Is our planet overstuffed with human beings?" asks columnist Johann Hari in The Independent. The "overpopulation lobby," he decides, has a point. "How can you be prepared to cut back on your car emissions and your plane emissions but not on your baby emissions? Can you really celebrate the pitter-patter of tiny carbon-footprints?"

Like other prejudices, the belief that more humanity means more misery resists compelling evidence to the contrary. In the past two centuries, the number of people living on earth has nearly septupled, climbing from 980 million to 6.5 billion. And yet human beings today are on the whole healthier, wealthier, longer-lived, better-fed, and better-educated than ever before.

The catastrophes foretold by Malthus and his epigones -- some of them in bestsellers like The Population Bomb, which predicted that "hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now" -- have never come to pass. That is because people are not our greatest liability. They are our greatest asset -- the wellspring of every quality on which human advancement depends: ambition, intuition, perseverance, ingenuity, imagination, leadership, love.

True, fewer human beings would mean fewer mouths to feed. It would also mean fewer entrepreneurs, fewer pioneers, fewer problem-solvers. Which is why it is not an increase but the coming decrease in human population that should engender foreboding. For as Phillip Longman, a scholar of demographics and economics at the New America Foundation, observes: "Never in history have we had economic prosperity accompanied by depopulation."

And depopulation, like it or not, is just around the corner. That is the central message of a compelling new documentary, Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family. Longman is one of numerous experts interviewed in the film, which explores the causes and effects of one of what may be the most ominous reality of 21st-century life: the fall in human birth rates almost everywhere in the world.

Human fertility has been dropping for years and is now below replacement levels -- the minimum required to prevent depopulation -- in scores of countries, including China, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Turkey, and all of Europe. The world's population is still rising, largely because of longer life spans -- more people live to old age than in the past. But with far fewer children being born today, there will be far fewer adults bearing children tomorrow. In some countries, the collapse has already begun. Russia, for example, is now losing 700,000 people a year.

Even in the United States, where birth rates are still (barely) at replacement level, there are hints of the dislocations to come: In Pittsburgh, reports The New York Times, deaths now outnumber births and hospitals are closing obstetrics wards or converting them to acute care for the elderly. Pittsburgh's public school enrollment was 70,000 in the 1980s. It is 30,000 today -- and falling.

By mid-century, the UN estimates, there will be 248 million fewer children than there are now. To a culture that has been endlessly hectored about the dangers of overpopulation, that might sound like welcome news. It isn't. No society gains when it loses its most precious resource, and no resource is more valuable than the human mind. The coming demographic winter will chill us all.



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


Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Prius is a huge waste of resources

The following is a clearly correct letter to the editor of "The Australian" by Anthony Hordern of Jamison, ACT

POLITICIANS’ comments about “green’’ cars are merely techno-babble they have picked up somewhere but don’t really understand. 

Hybrid vehicles are at best expensive and inefficient. Inefficient because they have two power sources instead of one, two control systems instead of one, two losses in converting mechanical power to electrical power and back again, two sources of electrical ``slippage’’ (generators and motors) instead of none in a manual transmission, plus they have heavy batteries to carry around. And those costly batteries need to be replaced every two to three years.

Meanwhile, so-called “zero-emission’’vehicles require much new science before they are available in the showroom, if ever. Hydrogen takes more power to produce than it replaces and “plug-in’’ electric cars are not the answer either. Techno-illiterates assume that pollution in the Latrobe and Hunter valleys simply disappears.

Turbo diesel is the way to go right now. The technology is well proven, diesel engines are inherently more efficient than petrol ones and they last longer.

Surely the four-cylinder engine plant Holden is closing at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne could readly produce modern turbo-diesel engines with minimum re-tooling and without funds from the taxpayer.


Swedish scientists: 'No concrete global warming proof in polar region'

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria is one of a number of Scandinavian royals making for the Arctic archipelago on the Swedish ice-breaker Oden this weekend to participate in an event to coincide with and promote International Polar Year. But will there even be a need for such ice-breaking vessels in years to come? Many commentators would have us believe that glaciers and ocean ice are about to go the way of the dodo.

Upon their arrival at Svalbard in Norway, however, the royals are likely to be informed by Swedish polar researchers that there is in fact very little concrete proof tying global warming to climate changes in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Some indeed argue that there is more change in today's political rhetoric than there is in the environment.

Last year Sweden invested more than 33 million kronor ($5 million) on research in the Arctic region, which covers almost one quarter of the nation's landmass. Most of the Swedish funding, according to many researchers, goes toward surveying the effects of climate change on glaciers and wildlife. Professor Goran Ericsson from Umea University will head a research delegation this summer to the Arctic north. His particular task is to study patterns of moose migration as they relate to climate change.

Ericsson can literally "ring up a moose." "We have attached GPS trackers on more than 40 moose. Once you dial the code to the GPS tracker, you can find the exact location of the animal," he says. "Humans sweat when they get warm, but moose cannot do that. If the weather gets warmer they move towards colder places, often risking food shortages," he tells The Local.

Ericsson says moose have always moved about in the sub-Arctic regions of the Swedish north. But what researchers are testing now is whether the animals are moving further north due to climate change. "Sometimes this proves right, and sometimes it proves wrong."

Tomas Berg works with the Fjallrav (mountain fox) project, a venture aiming to preserve wildlife in the region. He too says it is difficult to ascertain what is really happening when it comes to climate change. "We know that there is change, but we do not know in which direction. For example, the weather in the mountains might be warmer now, but in the long run it could get colder," he says.

Cecilia Johansson from Uppsala University is equally unwilling to link milder weather in the Arctic with more general climate fluctuations. A lecturer in meteorology, Johansson flies to the Arctic region twice a year to study the effects of climate change on snow patterns. "When it comes to weather and climate there are so many interrelated factors, triggering a chain of effects. For example, we had a warm winter in Sweden, but it was quite cold in the Mediterranean region. So we have to look at global warming from a global perspective."

Every researcher seems to display a similar reticence when it comes to drawing far-reaching conclusions. Andrew Mercer studies the changes in glacier forms in the Arctic region at Stockholm University. "It is quite a big picture -- we are talking about the whole planet. We have to compare many studies and often data is not available elsewhere in the same way it is here in Sweden," he says, before adding that churches in Sweden have meteorological records dating back a few hundred years.

Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, was one of the first Swedish scientists to study the effects of climate on wildlife. "In the 1980s and 1990s, Swedish glaciers grew in size, which should indicate that we have had colder weather. But in fact there were other factors that contributed to their growth," Mercer says.

However, climate has changed politics, especially in Sweden, as political parties include adaptation to climate change in their rhetoric and election campaigns. Mercer offers his view on the curious relationships between science and politics. "What happened was that scientists sent out the results of their studies to politicians and the general public. Initially only the general public showed an interest. Politicians didn't care. But once interest grew among the general public, the subject gradually made its way to the top of the politicians' list of priorities," he says.

The industrial sector also avoided the thorny issue of climate change for quite some time, thinking adaptation to a greener future a costly endeavour. "However, scientists were able to prove that industry was damaging the climate. Scientists presented industries with possible scenarios and ways to adapt their products and mitigate climate change. With the growing interest in the general public, they began to see a new market with new opportunities."

Mercer adds that industrialists are often on the same side as scientists, at least in Sweden. "There is no such thing as a free lunch, though," he says, explaining that it is cheaper for industries to avoid investing in new and green technologies, which are still in the development stage and remain expensive.

The discovery of oil has also added a new dimension to the geo-politics of the region. Investment has come pouring in from Europe, the US, Canada and Japan, as well as from Arab Gulf States, Latin America and China. According to National Geographic, 25 percent of all untapped global oil resources are to be found in the region.

But if oil reserves prove as plentiful as predicted, will there even be a need to drill through thick layers of ice in the future? The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, ACIA, anticipates the disappearance of all ocean ice in the period from 2060-2100 should global warming continue at the current rate. However, Swedish scientists are not convinced that today's meteorological trends will stand the test of time.


Finnish data show warmest recent period was around a thousand years ago

An international conference was recently held in Zakopane, Poland hosted by the Department of Quaternary Paleogeography and Paleoecology at the University of Silesia and the Institute of Geography and Regional Development at the University of Wroclaw. The meeting also served as the Annual Conference of the Association for Tree-Ring Research. Over 100 scientists gave presentations at the meeting, most were from Europe, although one presenter was from Penn State University and two others from the University of Missouri made the trip to present their research in Poland. The Association for Tree-Ring Research is a credible organization with no agenda that we know of regarding the global warming issue.

One presentation there was entitled "Climate variation (cycles and trends) and climate predicting from tree-rings", and normally, we would be reluctant to feature conference presentations at World Climate Report. However, the work is an update of what the lead author recently published in The Holocene, the work is currently under review at an undisclosed scientific journal, and the authors have a history of publications in outstanding journals.

The work was conducted by three scientists from the Finnish Forest Research Institute and the University of Helsinki. They begin their piece noting that "The growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is highly sensitive to June-July temperatures at the Finnish pine timberline. Exceptional preservation of pine wood and it accumulation in non-oxygen muddy bottoms of ice-cold lakes have made it possible to build a 7641 years long continuous tree-ring chronology." Basically, the annual tree rings record information about the temperatures in Finland in the summer (warmer is better for the trees), and if the tree happens to fall into a nearby lake at the end of its long life, the wood is preserved for thousands of years. Timonen et al. recover the wood, measure the width of each ring, cross-date the samples, and with a huge amount of effort and statistical wizardry, they can recreate summer temperatures in Finland going back thousands of years - very clever, indeed. They note "The characteristics of this chronology, the distribution of the samples (on both sides of the present timberline) and the strong June-July have provided exceptional tools for dendroclimatic analysis and reconstructions."

Are you ready to see over 7,500 years of summer temperatures from Finland? Figure 1 is the end product of their work, and the white line is the 100-year smoothed temperature values from the Scots pine reconstruction. The red and blue surfaces show the smoothed and highly stylized annual temperatures for the Northern Hemisphere (based on the work of others). At this scale, a case for recent warming can be made based on the tree-ring record, but the recent warming is paled by many past events including many red-hot summers in Finland 7,000 years ago. If nothing else comes from their figure, be keenly aware that climate always changes - flat line periods simply do not exist!

Figure 1. 7,500 year 100-yr smoothed reconstruction of Finnish summer temperatures (from Timonen et al., 2008).

The tree ring data in Figure 1 were smoothed using a 100-year sliding window; Figure 2 is for the last 1,300 years showing each summer and smoothings at the decadal, multi-decadal, centennial, and multi-centennial time frames. In describing the results, Timonen et al. write "The warmest and coldest reconstructed 250-year periods occurred AD 931-1180 and AD 1601-1850. These periods overlap with the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA). The coldest and warmest of all reconstructed 100-year periods occurred AD 1587-1686 and AD 1895-1994, respectively."

Figure 2. (top) 1,300 year reconstruction of Finnish summer temperatures, (bottom) same as top but with the vertical axis rescaled to show more detail (from Timonen et al., 2008).

Obviously, the global warming alarmists will pass over the conclusion that the warmest period of the past 1,300 years occurred during AD 931-1180, but they will be thrilled to learn that over the past 1,300 years, the warmest century indeed was the most recent one. We can see the headlines now: "Unprecedented Warmth of 20th Century Confirmed Again." However, the scientists re-scaled the data and as seen in Figure 2(bottom), the summer temperatures in Finland peaked in 1950 and have been cooling ever since. During the most recent 50 years, and during a time of the greatest buildup of greenhouse gases, the Scots pine trees have sensed a cooling trend in Finland! We doubt the global warming crowd will raise that issue any time soon.

More here

Democrat climate bills would Reduce Emissions to 1910 Levels

Back then, `40 million people in America and two-thirds of them lived on farms and the method of transportation was foot power or animal power'

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement today as part of an Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee hearing entitled, "Legislative Proposals to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Overview:"

"As you know, I'm a skeptic on this issue but on one thing you and I are in agreement: If anything is going to be done, it should be done in this committee. It should start in this subcommittee. We appreciate this hearing, we appreciate the number of witnesses and we appreciate the attendance of the audience and the panel. I also, on behalf of Republicans, wish to welcome our newest member to the committee, Congresswoman Matsui. We will soon have a subcommittee called the California Subcommittee. We are delighted to have another representative of the California delegation on this committee.

"Mr. Chairman, we are at a crossroads in the debate over whether to constrain carbon dioxide emissions by rationing energy. "As we all know, at the beginning of this Congress, our new speaker, Speaker Pelosi announced it was her objective to enact a carbon cap-and-trade bill in this Congress. Her intent was to establish a price signal on carbon - in other words, a strategy to make fossil energy more expensive in America in order to suppress public demand for it.

"Let's go back and see where we were at the beginning of this Congress in terms of a carbon signal. Regular unleaded gasoline was selling, on average, for $2.30. Today it's $4.07. I'd say that's a pretty strong signal. Diesel fuel was $2.58 per gallon; today it's $4.70. Natural gas was $6.60 a thousand cubic feet in February of 2007. It's expected to hit $12 by next February. $12 natural gas means home heating will come close to doubling; gas-fired electricity prices will rise significantly; and industries that rely heavily on natural gas-including chemicals, fertilizers and other manufacturing-will continue their exodus to other countries. We only have two fertilizer manufacturers still doing business in the United States, for example.

"Home construction has stalled, autoworkers are being laid off by the thousands, food prices are soaring, airlines are cancelling flights because they can't afford to pay for the aviation fuel and small businesses throughout the United States are failing. I met with a farmer yesterday who told me it cost him over $1,200 to fill up his tractor. Twelve-hundred dollars. How much more of a price signal do we need on carbon? How much greater a burden must we place on the American people?

"And for what environmental benefit? EPA estimates that if the Lieberman-Warner bill would have passed the Senate and been enacted, that it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by 25 parts per million. At that rate, it would not change the temperature not one degree. Not one degree would the temperature change if Lieberman-Warner were to be enacted and be implemented in the 2050 timeframe. It would not change global temperatures. It would transform the U.S. economy for the worst.

"If in January 2007 Speaker Pelosi had called for a consumer price signal as high as those we are suffering already today, she would have stood virtually alone in her strategy. But those price signals already are hitting us, they are hurting our economy and we do need to do something about them. Enacting a cap-and-trade bill, in my opinion, is not the solution.

"The World Resources Institute says that Mr. Waxman's bill, H.R. 1590, Mr. Inslee's bill, H.R. 2809, and the Sanders-Boxer bill would reduce greenhouse emissions in the U.S. by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Where does that number come from? I don't know. I'm told it is also Sen. Obama's proposal. I do know if we reduce CO2 by 80 percent below the 1990 level, it's going to take us back to an emission level that we last hit in 1910.

1910? When there were about 40 million people in America and two-thirds of them lived on farms and the method of transportation was foot power or animal power? In the state of Texas, the average per capita carbon emission today is 31 tons. In the great state of Vermont, it's zero. I don't quite understand that since each of us emits a third of a ton of CO2 a year just breathing. But whatever it is and whatever part of our great nation, going back to 1910 emission levels, in my opinion, makes no sense. In Texas alone, the National Association of Manufacturers said the Lieberman-Warner could cost the average household $8,000 per year.

"Mr. Chairman, I could go on and on. I think you get the gist of what I'm trying to say. I believe, and you believe, that we do need to look at this issue seriously. That's why I've endorsed and am a co-sponsor of your bill to begin a research program on how to best capture or convert CO2. That's putting the horse before the cart. Let's develop the technology, let's see what the problem is, let's continue to do research on the science, but let's not take the U.S. economy off a cliff by enacting some of the bills that are before us today.


Science, dogma and dissent: Ross Garnaut's Heinz Arndt lecture

Comment by Peter Gallagher, a retired Australian diplomat -- referring to the Australian government's chief climate adviser. See the original article for links

What a disappointment. I hoped that Prof. Garnaut would use his Heinz Arndt Lecture to describe the balance he intended to strike in his recommendations between evidence for risky climate change and a growing body of evidence that the risks are low to moderate (at most). Given his well-known views, I expected to find the balance tilted in favor of the former but I hoped to find that it would be moderated by recognition of the latter. Unfortunately, Prof. Garnaut paid no attention to any scientific facts and made no attempt to strike a balanced risk assessment.

Instead, what really struck me was what the speech implied about the religious nature of Prof. Garnaut's own adherence to the 'climate-alarm' view. Ross Garnaut seems to believe that 'scepticism' about climate change is analogous to... or is, 'dissent'. That is, he prefers to describe critics of his views using a term drawn from religious history, identifying someone who rejects a dogma. My reaction on first reading was surprise at the use of a term that implies acceptance of man-made global warming is really a faith from which critics may 'dissent'. Did Ross Garnaut understand that (obvious) implication, I wondered?

Of course, he would not be alone in describing climate change conviction as a faith. Charles Krauthammer recently offered a similar observation in his Washington Post OpEd. But it was not a view I expected Prof. Garnaut to adopt.

Answering the question whether it is possible for 'dissenters' can be scientists, Ross Garnaut invokes Gallileo, whom he wrongly describes as a 'dissenter'-Gallileo was no such thing; Gallileo's conflict with the Church was about the appropriate role of empricism and contained no basic doctrinal dissent-as an exception that proves his rule. Garnaut agrees that dissenters may have scientific points to make, but he adds that this contrary example tells us little about modern science. The illustration does, however, tend to confirm that he considers those whom he describes-a little pompously-as being in the majority with the 'learned academies in the countries of greatest scientific accomplishment' (p.6), are in some sense an ekklesia.

It would, I suppose, be fair to call 'skeptics' dissenters if they were merely aesthetic or doctrinal opponents of the environmental religion. But the 'small minority [some minority - pwg] of reputed climate scientists' whom Garnaut acknowledges reject the vague, over-blown claim of the IPCC (dignified by Garnaut as 'bayesian uncertainties') do so on the basis of emprically refutable claims. These claims include, for example, the entirely scientific (because testable) assertion that the statements in his Interim Report about an alarming acceleration of increases in global temperature are wrong in fact (witness the evidence of the temperature record for the past decade) or based on basic statistical errors in sampling and estimating a time-series trend.

When Prof. Garnaut concludes 'the Dissenters are possibly right, and probably wrong', what evidence does he adduce? None. Not a shred. This is depressingly consistent with the approach taken in his Interim Report. He does not consider that the science offered in contradiction of the IPPCC pronouncements (the hypotheses of 'those who are best placed to know'-see p. 5 of his address) calls anything into question because it is 'dissent' and not science.

So much for name-calling. What positive reason does Prof. Garnaut offer for accepting the 'uncertainties' of the IPCC as reasonably indicative of a probability? No scientific reason, as it turns out. This is the most curious argument of all in his address. His reason for accepting the need for elaborate, 'impossible-to-measure' schemes of carbon-emission mitigation (the second two-thirds of his address) is a religious reason.

Prof. Garnaut invokes "Pascal's Wager" (p.7)-a sort of bargain struck de profundis in the heart of this brilliant but deeply disturbed 17th century philosophe-to accept the existence of God on the basis of faith alone, rejecting the counsels of reason, out of fear of the (metaphysical) consequences. Pascal resolved to accept the existence of God out of an irrational fear of an eternity of torment in hell should he deny God and happen to be wrong.

This is a sympathetic tale, of course. It's a 'wager' that many adolescents face at some point in dealing with a personal crisis. But as a psychic convenience, it is the abnegation-the abjuration-of science. Disagreements about climate change polices are not a personal crisis. They are a challenge to rational, democratically-informed, public policy. They deserve informed assessment and a careful dissection of interests (of present and future generations, in this case). In his address, Ross Garnaut has promised us elaborate economic models and detailed regulatory schemes based, ultimately, on an irrational framework (the models might not be all that reliable, either).


The Green Frontier; Environmental Sentimentalism and Reverse Manifest Destiny

The traditional American zeal which accompanied settlement — and the evangelistic crusade to tame and purify it — is being channeled into modern Environmentalism.

America has always been a frontier nation. The first settlers, faced with the daunting task of conquering a hostile continent, embarked on what can only be described as an epic quest, a Biblical venture to "be fruitful and multiply, and subdue the Earth."  Fired with dreams of prosperity, idealism, and religious zeal, the early settlers set the nation on a course of expansion and settlement unprecedented in human history; Thomas Jefferson believed that it would take at least a thousand years to settle the newly-acquired Louisiana Territory, yet the land hunger and missionaristic spirit which inflamed so many of those coming to these shores drove Americans ever onward, filling the land in 1/10th that time.  Many of those who would become settlers were particularly ill-suited to the venture, yet they doggedly pushed forward despite dangerous weather, hostile natives, drought, dust storms, floods, fires, and even locusts. They defiantly stared down the Plagues of Egypt and possessed the land. 

The frontier spirit is indelibly etched in our American souls, and the final closing of that frontier had a profound effect.  Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States had a Divinely ordained mission to "fill her natural boundaries" from the Atlantic to Pacific guided the actions of this nation to a large degree throughout her history, and provided the psychological underpinnings to the American character. Federick Jackson Turner made this precise argument in his seminal 1893  work "The Significance of the Frontier in American History."  Turner believed that the closing of the frontier would usher in radical changes to the psychology of  the Republic, and that the peoples of the United States would be forced to find some new frontier or the nation would atrophy into Europeanism.

The frontier represented many things to many people; unlimited opportunity, a fresh start to criminals and the destitute, freedom to those chafing at the "bondage" of civil society, a sense of purpose. It was a symbol of what was free and untamed, of a pre-industrial world existing in a state of raw nature.  Even those who would never leave the comfortable confines of eastern cities were drawn to the frontier psychologically.  Consider the popularity of "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West Show, or the success of numerous western novels and periodicals.  All American children have played Cowbows and Indians at some point in their lives, and that goes all the way back to frontier days.  The frontier offered the nation a sense of purpose and a psychological (as well as physical) safety-valve; just knowing that freedom was a train ride away gave comfort to those running on the treadmill of everyday life.  It was a refuge for the restless and promoted civil order in the East as criminals and the combative often fled to the frontier.

America has always been a nation prone to evangelism, and the frontier offered an unique opportunity for the committed Christian preachers to fight Penury and Sin. By its very nature, an unsettled place is a place without law and order, and the desire to save souls from damnation could be well-satisfied amid the iniquity and evil which could be found tucked away in the raw frontier saloons and dance halls. Prostitutes, drunkards, gamblers, thieves and killers were all gathered together for the Lord's work, and the eternal battle against Satan could be waged perhaps not easily, but along a definable front. Bible and Sword were the tools of the trade as farmers replaced trappers and Indians.  The spiritual energy of a very religious nation was channeled into the conquest of Sin at the frontier.

To many, those thrilling days of old represent a lost Eden, a time where people lived by the work of their hands, a time of purpose and destiny and untamed nature at its pristine best. It was a time before lawyers, bankers, politicians, accountants, civil engineers.  It was a time before drivers licenses,  police issuing tickets, before the daily intrusion of hectic modernity into one's everyday life. 

Of course, most people forget the bitterness that accompanied the simple life.

In some regards, the Nation did slide into Europeanism; we had the rise of quasi-socialistic policies during the 20th Century, we tied ourselves into a gordian knot of entangling alliances, built a world-girldling empire, and many of our people lost their spirit to the seductions of the welfare state.  Who can doubt that Richard Nixon's vision of Détente and Realpolitik represented a far more European approach to the world than American?  Who could argue with the proposition that the Democratic Party has much greater kinship with Socialist parties in Europe than with a "don't tread on me" style of Americanism? Who would have believed in 1890 that we would allow Mexico to colonize the United States?

Americans have been in search of something to replace that lost Eden ever since. The frontier mentality has been translated into innumerable causes, some good and some bad.  Woodrow Wilson advanced the concept of spreading Democracy, and America has done that in an on-and-off fashion ever since. (Consider the Neo-Con argument of spreading Democracy in the Middle East as the key to fighting the War on Terror.)  Others have attempted to provide a frontier via science (clearly, the Apollo project was such an attempt) or political activism (witness the '60`s anti-Vietnam War movements; the push against the "tyranny" of our own government was possibly an expression of the desire for a return to a time of frontier life).  The Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Rights Movement, the Homosexual Rights Movement all represented a crusade into the political frontier. The temperance movement, too, and it turned Chicago and other cities into an actual frontier with gunfights, lawlessness, prostitutes and dance hall girls, etc. America's determination to win the Cold War was, I think, driven in part by this American vision of the frontier, and a desire to expand freedom against the nihilistic wilderness of communism. Now the Cold War is won, and the people are searching for yet another frontier to conquer.

Of course, many on the Left did not agree with waging the Cold War, and do not agree with our newest frontier — the War on Terror.  In their own way they were seeking after their own vision of Frontierism via the fight against the dark forces of an Americanism which they find repressive. They seek to re-institute the Frontier, to put the genie back in the bottle and restore those idyllic days.  To them, society and the rule of law have become the frontier that they must conquer.

The Left is, in general, Utopian.  Leftists believe in the perfectibility of Man and the malleability of human nature, and their goal is the "restoration" of a pastoral paradise, of a naturalistic Eden they believe is their birthright.

This dovetails with the uniquely American vision of the Frontier, and the two act to reinforce one another.  It is, I believe, at the root of the religiosity of the Green movement; the fundamental desire for the frontier is being coupled to this Rousseauian Utopianism, and the traditional American zeal which accompanied settlement — and the evangelistic crusade to tame and purify it — is being channeled into modern Environmentalism.

Global Warming is not, and has never been, about science so much as about revolution.  The Greens who promote this theory seek nothing short of the reorganization of Humanity into a post-industrial world with severe limits placed on industry, on wealth, on energy usage.  The purpose of these limits is to dismantle (over time) the industrial civilization we have built so that a return to the primitive state may be attained.  They think that they can reduce the world's population from billions to millions, and return the human race to a simpler, more (sic) peaceful time.  They are devotees of Rousseau, of Thoreau, and not of Hobbes.

If you want to understand the thinking of the more utopian of the Left — especially of the radical environmentalist — a reading of Thoreau is absolutely vital; Thoreau's Walden embodies everything the American Green dreams could be (except they would like to make it compulsory).  Thoreau conducted an experiment where he squatted on land he did not own and built a cabin.  He wanted to see if he could live a much simpler life, and he kept records on his expenditures. The upshot of Walden was that Man does not require the complications of modernity, as Thoreau managed to get by on very little and was completely satisfied.  The American Green dreams of every man building his Walden.

But Thoreau was wrong because his experiment would have failed had there not been a thriving civilization to allow him to drop out.  He built his cabin from materials he purchased, he bought seed for his garden from commercial growers, he resided in relative comfort on property that did not belong to him because others kept watch, protecting him from being assaulted or robbed. The Law protected him through the legal mechanism of Adverse Possession so that the worst the owner of the property could do was evict him.  The Sheriff, the Judge, the Prison awaited any who would molest him in his peaceful seclusion, and the soldier defended him from foreign attack. He had access to food, clothing, tools, weapons, materials, and medicines he would not have been able to acquire elsewhere.  Even the most primitive of peoples have had access to the assistance of the tribe, and few live in a state of nature in isolation.  Thoreau's simplicity was purchased by others in the society at large; he lived off the discarded scraps of civilization.

That is where the back-to-nature movement is so wrong; as John Donne put it, "no man is an island," and the enjoyment of the primitive must be purchased by someone.  Dropping out can be done, but others must carry the burden of the droppee.  The Green believes the Frontier can be recreated, that Man could dwell secure in comfort in a simpler world; the Green is frighteningly wrong. The world of nature is a world of fear, of want, of sickness and suffering.  It is true that the problems which plague the civilized man — the need to conform, the need to maintain what one owns, instant communications and access to information which may overwhelm, the pressures of competition — are not ever-present, but the very real presence of death stalks the primitive man.  While there are some tangible benefits, the lower life-expectancy, the poorer health, the discomfort of the simple life make it far less entertaining when practiced in true isolation.  Imagine a world where every cut could kill you because you don't have antibiotics!  Imagine no canned goods, or refrigeration!  What happens if you catch a tapeworm?  A broken leg is a death-sentence.  Something as simple as an inflamed slipped disc means death or permanent disability — which is pretty much the same thing.  In many Indian societies — and in the Inuit society of the far north — the sick and elderly would be abandoned on the trail to die when they could no longer adequately pull their weight; the Greens would have us return to such a world.

Actually what they believe is that they can have their cake and eat it, too; they want just enough industry to allow them to live simply.  Fine, but we live in an interrelated world, and the dismantling of those industries will likely lead to the inability to produce much of anything. We need industry to support industry, and the dismantling of technology will make other technical efforts impossible.  Where will they get those solar cells when nobody is manufacturing them anymore? Trade will be needed more than ever, and the efforts to reduce industry will make that increasingly difficult; where will they find trucks, or planes, when energy usage is so restricted that factories can't build them, or oil can't be refined to run them?  The technological miracles which we take for granted will become increasingly rare, and Man will either have to revive the hated civilization or fall back into the Neolithic, with all of its entertaining aspects — including vicious warfare, disease, famine, cruelty, and privation.

But the Greens appear to be winning, in that they have their propaganda everywhere; in schools, churches, synagogues, civic organizations.  Everywhere they tap into that most primal of American urges, the calling of the frontier.  Schoolchildren, eager to love fuzzy animals and filled with stories about cowboys and pioneers — along with the desire to "save the world" like their favorite superheroes — are easy prey for the indoctrination of environmentalism.  In Churches we are witnessing the rise of Green Christianity advanced by such Evangelical luminaries as Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life.

(This with complete disregard for the words of Scripture in which Christ states in John 29, "be of good cheer for I have overcome the World," or the Book of Revelation in which environmental destruction is something sent from God as punishment for sin.  This is a failure of faith in God's ability to control the very thing He created.  Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to save the Earth, or told that we have any say over such matters whatsoever.  In point of fact, Green Christianity is violating the First Commandment by placing a strange god before the Most High.)

We are witnessing the rise of Green Catholicism as well. Even Newt Gingrich and Jim Manzi at the National Review are being taken in by this, and there is a move afoot by conservatives to throw in the towel and concede defeat, ostensibly to have some impact on the direction of the "solution." (Steven Milroy from Junk Science has a rather scrappy rebuttal to Manzi.) The Church of Gaia, using the scientifically dubious proposition of Global Warming and appealing to America's longing for the simplicity of the past, is pulling in converts from across the political spectrum.

Poll numbers would seem to bear that out; According to this March 2006 Time poll, a whopping 85% of respondents said Global Warming was real, with 60% saying it is a dire threat to future generations.  In a December 2006 poll by Rassmussen, 46% of respondents attributed Global Warming to Anthropogenic (human) causes, and 45% considered it a "serious problem."  This 2007 poll by Gallup shows 63% of respondents believed Global Warming has begun changing the climate.

But the internals suggest that America is not willing to walk the Kyoto plank, and this issue is hardly set in cement in the American mind. For example, a plurality of respondents to the Gallup poll say GW has begun but its primary effects won't be felt in their lifetime. Gallup had this to say:

The American public does not have a sense of urgency about the environmental issue at this time. It is not a hot political issue and does not appear in any meaningful way on any of Gallup's open-ended probes of the public's concerns.

There is underlying concern about the environment that could, in theory, be activated by politicians, particularly if the environment as an issue is connected to tangible aspects of day-to-day living for average Americans.

An ABC news poll concurs with this

The question that must be asked is, why haven't the Greens carried the day?  They have been the engine driving this discussion since the '80's, and a generation of children have grown up being told that Ragnarok is coming. Why don't even more Americans believe in this fable?

Well, partly it is the chicken little phenomenon; they have given us 10 years for the last 30, and things are pretty much the same. Their predictions of worldwide disaster keep coming to nothing.  Partly, too, is the growing body of science which suggests that the Lilliputian warming we have witnessed is natural, resulting from increased solar activity and certain mechanisms on Earth.

Many scientists have disagreed with this notion from the beginning; we had the Statement by Atmospheric Scientists, The Oregon Petition, the Leipzig Petiton, and the Heidelberg Appeal.  The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has a long list of scientists who have changed from believers into skeptics.  In fact, the consensus we are told exists among scientists appears to be largely hot air. Even Roger Revelle, one of the fathers of Global Warming theory and the man much touted by Al Gore in his mockumentary, came to, well, not disavow his theory, but to dismiss it as not any sort of credible threat to Mankind before he passed away.

The reality is that a large body of science supports a different interpretation of the amazing 1* rise in temperature; mainly, that normal cycles are at work.  The Sun has been more active in the 20th century, with extraordinary sunspot activity.  A more active sun suggests a warmer sun, and a more active sun means a stronger solar wind to broom away cosmic rays, which means fewer clouds to reflect sunlight.  Since the solar cycle has peaked the Earth's albedo has increased, suggesting that Svensmark's theory about cosmic rays is correct. 

Scientists have also learned that atmospheric CO2 follows a warming trend, not precedes it, and that current CO2 levels are far from unusual.  They have been as much as 10 times current levels in past eras.  We know the oceans have started cooling

More here


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


Saturday, June 21, 2008

British Moths in peril from cold and wet weather

Hey! What happened to global warming? Warming's bad. Cooling's bad. Everything is bad to a Greenie

Last summer's rain and recent cold evenings may have worsened the plight of moths, which are in decline. Unseasonable weather this year could have further reduced the species, including the garden tiger moth, right, whose numbers declined by 89 per cent in 35 years to 2002. The decline could affect the survival of other wildlife, including birds, toads, bats and hedgehogs, which feed on moths or caterpillars. Butterfly Conservation, based at East Lulworth, Dorset, is asking the public nationally to join its Garden Moths Count from today to July 6.


Al Gore personally proves the futility of his own policy recommendations

The morality play on offer from greenies and their media buddies holds that "we can't drill our way" to cheaper oil prices, but "conservation" and "new technologies" for "alternative energy" are the answer.

Thus, I am thankful to Al Gore for proving that even in a high profile demonstration project these "solutions" won't work. The Tennessee Center for Policy Research reports that Gore's home in Nashville has increased its energy usage by 10% in the past year. This is in the face of proudly-announced (and expensive) energy-saving steps. Stop the ACLU cites the Soros-Funded Think Progress site for information:
Gore's family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

Now that Gore has proven his measures are ineffective, it is time to drill offshore, ANWR, mine coal and oil-bearing rock, and build nuclear power plants on an expedited basis.


An extremely confused report

They try to make a Greenie silk purse out of factual pigs ears. Maybe their jobs depended on doing that, though

By Roger Pielke Jr.

Yesterday the U.S. Climate Change Science Program released an assessment report titled "Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate" (PDF) with a focus on the United States. This post discusses some interesting aspects of this report, with an emphasis on what it does not show and does not say. It does not show a clear picture of ever increasing extreme events in the United States. And it does not clearly say why damage has been steadily increasing.

First, let me emphasize that the focus of the report is on changes in extremes in the United States, and not on climate changes more generally. Second, my comments below refer to the report's discussion of observed trends. I do not discuss predictions of the future, which the report also covers. Third, the report relies a great deal on research that I have been involved in and obviously know quite well. Finally, let me emphasize that anthropogenic climate change is real, and deserving of significant attention to both adaptation and mitigation. [Note that he gives no evidence or reasoning for that last sentence -- not even a link. He just has to say that to retain respectability. He is a man aged 39 with children who is a professor of the environment. Unlike old guys such as myself and his father he has a lot of career ahead of him and cannot afford opinions that set him too far apart from academe generally]

The report contains several remarkable conclusions, that somehow did not seem to make it into the official press release.

1. Over the long-term U.S. hurricane landfalls have been declining.

Yes, you read that correctly. From the appendix (p. 132, emphases added):
The final example is a time series of U.S. landfalling hurricanes for 1851-2006 . . . A linear trend was fitted to the full series and also for the following subseries: 1861-2006, 1871-2006, and so on up to 1921-2006. As in preceding examples, the model fitted was ARMA (p,q) with linear trend, with p and q identified by AIC. For 1871-2006, the optimal model was AR(4), for which the slope was -.00229, standard error .00089, significant at p=.01. For 1881-2006, the optimal model was AR(4), for which the slope was -.00212, standard error .00100, significant at p=.03. For all other cases, the estimated trend was negative, but not statistically significant.

2. Nationwide there have been no long-term increases in drought.

Yes, you read that correctly. From p. 5:
Averaged over the continental U.S. and southern Canada the most severe droughts occurred in the 1930s and there is no indication of an overall trend in the observational record . . .

3. Despite increases in some measures of precipitation (pp. 46-50, pp. 130-131), there have not been corresponding increases in peak streamflows (high flows above 90th percentile).

From p. 53
Lins and Slack (1999, 2005) reported no significant changes in high flow above the 90th percentile. On the other hand, Groisman et al. (2001) showed that for the same gauges, period, and territory, there were statistically significant regional average increases in the uppermost fractions of total streamflow. However, these trends became statistically insignificant after Groisman et al. (2004) updated the analysis to include the years 2000 through 2003, all of which happened to be dry years over most of the eastern United States.

4. There have been no observed changes in the occurrence of tornadoes or thunderstorms

From p. 77:
There is no evidence for a change in the severity of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, and the large changes in the overall number of reports make it impossible to detect if meteorological changes have occurred.

5. There have been no long-term increases in strong East Coast winter storms (ECWS), called Nor'easters.

From p. 68:
They found a general tendency toward weaker systems over the past few decades, based on a marginally significant (at the p=0.1 level) increase in average storm minimum pressure (not shown). However, their analysis found no statistically significant trends in ECWS frequency for all nor'easters identified in their analysis, specifically for those storms that occurred over the northern portion of the domain (>35øN), or those that traversed full coast (Figure 2.22b, c) during the 46-year period of record used in this study.

6. There are no long-term trends in either heat waves or cold spells, though there are trends within shorter time periods in the overall record.

From p. 39:
Analysis of multi-day very extreme heat and cold episodes in the United States were updated from Kunkel et al. (1999a) for the period 1895-2005. The most notable feature of the pattern of the annual number of extreme heat waves (Figure 2.3a) through time is the high frequency in the 1930s compared to the rest of the years in the 1895-2005 period. This was followed by a decrease to a minimum in the 1960s and 1970s and then an increasing trend since then. There is no trend over the entire period, but a highly statistically significant upward trend since 1960. . . Cold waves show a decline in the first half of the 20th century, then a large spike of events during the mid-1980s, then a decline. The last 10 years have seen a lower number of severe cold waves in the United States than in any other 10-year period since record-keeping began in 1895 . . .

From the excerpts above it should be obvious that there is not a pattern of unprecedented weather extremes in recent years or a long-term secular trend in extreme storms or streamflow. Yet the report shows data in at least three places showing that the damage associated with weather extremes has increased dramatically over the long-term. Here is what the report says on p. 12:
. . . the costs of weather-related disasters in the U.S. have been increasing since 1960, as shown in Figure 1.2. For the world as a whole, "weather-related [insured] losses in recent years have been trending upward much faster than population, inflation, or insurance penetration, and faster than non-weather-related events" (Mills, 2005a). Numerous studies indicate that both the climate and the socioeconomic vulnerability to weather and climate extremes are changing (Brooks and Doswell, 2001; Pielke et al., 2008; Downton et al., 2005), although these factors' relative contributions to observed increases in disaster costs are subject to debate.

What debate? The report offers not a single reference to justify that there is a debate on this subject. In fact, a major international conference that I helped organize along with Peter Hoeppe of Munich Re came to a consensus position among experts as varied as Indur Goklany and Paul Epstein. Further, I have seen no studies that counter the research I have been involved in on trends in hurricane and flood damage in relation to climate and societal change. Not one. That probably explains the lack of citations.

They reference Mills 2005a, but fail to acknowledge my comment published in Science on Mills 2005a (found here in PDF) and yet are able to fit in a reference to Mills 2005b, titled "Response to Pielke" (responding to my comment). How selective. I critiqued Mills 2005a on this blog when it came out, writing some strong things: "shoddy science, bad peer review and a failure of the science community to demand high standards is not the best recipe for helping science to contribute effectively to policy."

The CCSP report continues:
For example, it is not easy to quantify the extent to which increases in coastal building damage is due to increasing wealth and population growth in vulnerable locations versus an increase in storm intensity. Some authors (e.g., Pielke et al., 2008) divide damage costs by a wealth factor in order to "normalize" the damage costs. However, other factors such as changes in building codes, emergency response, warning systems, etc. also need to be taken into account.

This is an odd editorial evaluation and dismissal of our work (Based on what? Again not a single citation to literature.) In fact, the study that I was lead author on that is referenced (PDF) shows quantitatively that our normalized damage record matches up with the trend in landfall behavior of storms, providing clear evidence that we have indeed appropriately adjusted for the effects of societal change in the historical record of damages.

The CCSP report then offers this interesting claim, again with the apparent intention of dismissing our work:
At this time, there is no universally accepted approach to normalizing damage costs (Guha-Sapir et al., 2004).

The reference used to support this claim can be found here in PDF. Perhaps surprisingly, given how it is used, Guha-Sapir et al. contains absolutely no discussion of normalization methodologies, but instead, a general discussion of damage estimation. It is therefore improperly cited in support of this claim. However, Guha-Sapir et al. 2004 does say the following on p. 53:
Are natural hazards increasing? Probably not significantly. But the number of people vulnerable and affected by disasters is definitely on the increase.

Sound familiar?

In closing, the CCSP report is notable because of what it does not show and what it does not say. It does not show a clear picture of ever increasing extreme events in the United States. And it does not clearly say why damage has been steadily increasing. Overall, this is not a good showing by the CCSP.



By Roger Pielke Jr.

The famous physicist Niels Bohr is attributed with saying that "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." Anyone who pays attention to weather forecasts or economic predictions knows how true this is. But given that the future can't be predicted with perfect accuracy, seeing predictions fail is actually an important part of their usefulness. Whether one is faced with evacuating from a possible hurricane landfall or investing in a mutual fund, decision-making is improved when uncertainties are readily understood.

On the highly politicized issue of climate change, however, understanding uncertainties is made difficult when scientists advocating for action oversell the predictive capabilities of climate models, such as those of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But action on climate change makes sense even if many climate scientists oversell predictive capabilities.

Scientists oversell the predictive capacity of climate models when they claim that the most recent weather events occurring around the world are consistent with predictions from climate models. For example, last fall a scientist who had contributed to the most recent IPCC reports said that the intense southern California wildfires occurring at the time "are consistent with what the latest modeling shows." Similarly, in 2006 a Berkeley professor and climate change expert asserted that "the current heat waves throughout much of North America and Europe are consistent with the predictions of our global climate models." A quick Internet search will reveal countless scientists who have made such claims about the predictive prowess of climate models.

But what does it mean to say that some weather events are "consistent with" climate model predictions? The implication of such statements of course is that models are reliable and offer accurate predictions that have been borne out by experience. But unfortunately, the real answer is that saying that any recent weather events are "consistent with" model predictions is an empty statement.

All of these claims of consistency between recent weather and model-based predictions might lead one to ask, in principle, what observations of weather events would be inconsistent with predictions from climate models. Guess what? It turns out that nothing that could be observed over a time period less than a decade or more - short of abrupt and unprecedented climate change, like an ice sheet advancing on New York - would be inconsistent with climate model predictions.

There are good reasons for why predictions of climate models are not useful on short time periods of less than a few decades. Urs Neu, a climate scientist from Switzerland, says that climate models are not designed to tell us anything about the evolution of the climate system in the short term; rather, they "are designed to simulate the long-term behaviour as accurately as possible. Long-term behaviour means the trend over at least 20-30 years." Similarly, two climate modelers, Claudia Tebaldi and Reto Knutti, observed in a research paper that "it is important to note that climate projections, decades or longer in the future by definition, cannot be validated directly through observed changes. Our confidence in climate models must therefore come from other sources." ...

The reality is that the future state of the climate is uncertain, and as such it represents a type of risk management problem. In 2002 Steve Schneider, a climate scientist at Stanford University and long-time advocate for action on climate change, explained "uncertainties so infuse the issue of climate change that it is still impossible to rule out either mild or catastrophic outcomes." Combatants in the climate debate congregate around the extremes, emphasize either mild or catastrophic outcomes as is convenient and overstate the certainty of such outcomes.

When scientists advocating action overstate the certainty of predictions, and policy-makers commit political and other resources based on those claims, they find themselves in a difficult situation because, according to Frame and colleagues, "they are likely to face strong criticism if they revise up their estimates of uncertainty in the relatively near future." Scientists who oversell the predictive capacity of climate models provide a basis for legitimate criticism by their political opponents, and in the process, actually create obstacles to action on climate change.

I have been asked by some of my colleagues why I raise these points, since action on climate change is a good thing and those questioning climate models typically are opposed to action. So what, I am told, if action on climate change is based on some exaggerations and false claims to certainty, isn't the end goal important enough to justify bending the truth just a bit? After all, those opposed to action often show no hesitation toward exaggeration and hyperbole.

My short answer to such questions is that false claims to certainty were exactly what got us into the Iraq war. A somewhat longer reply involves explaining how both science and democracy flourish when we are open and honest about what science can actually deliver. Effective action on climate change is more likely when we fully appreciate what science can, and cannot, do. We should expect more from our scientific community.



The earth warmed strongly between 1915 and 1940, cooled between 1940 and 1975 and then warmed strongly again between 1975 and 1998. The earth has been cooling in the opening years of this century even as carbon dioxide levels have risen appreciably since 1998. Many influential people in the industrialized world believe that global warming is a transcendent issue and human activity, especially the activity of the energy complex, is to blame and carbon management, at any cost, is imperative.

A growing number of influential people in the developing world (this includes China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, as well as Russia) are openly rejecting the idea that human activity has any measurable influence on the planetary climate or even that there is anything unusual or abnormal about the climate at present. Some of these people, joined by hundreds of scientists in the U.S. and Western Europe advance the idea that sunspot activity (which is cyclical) and the recently discovered (as recent as 1996) PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation: 20 to 30 year warming and cooling of the north-central Pacific Ocean) explain the cyclicality of global temperatures. According to those who hold this view, the planet has entered into a 30 year or so cooling period and carbon dioxide emissions even if they keep growing, cannot prevent this cooling.

In support they cite NASA's recent study that the global oceans are cooling and expected to cool for several years. NASA is the leading proponent of man-made global warming. They also quote data from the new Jason oceanographic satellite that the PDO is entering a multi-year cooling period. Jason is run jointly by NASA and a French team. Other support for this idea that global cooling not warming, is the planetary future within anyone's strategic planning horizon comes from experiments conducted by the Danish Space Research Institute, which links global climate behavior to variations in the magnetic wind of the sun, which is changeable, driven by sunspot cycles. Contrary to expectations, the current cycle (Cycle 24) is turning out to be very weak with negligible sunspot activity.

Two scientists at the National Solar Laboratory in Arizona project that sunspots will vanish by 2015, leading to a multi-decade down cycle in solar activity. The last time this happened was in 1645-1715 leading to bitterly cold winters and repeated crop failures (and to Napoleon's defeat in Russia during the summer never came). Between January 2007 and May 2008 the earth cooled by as much as it had warmed in the past 100 years, according to a meteorologist at the University of Alabama. On May 19, 2008, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine released a petition signed by over 30,000 U.S. scientists rejecting claims that global warming is caused by human activity and condemning the Kyoto Protocol for its damage to humanity. This was well received the proponents of the cooling view and condemned by adherents of the warming view.

Thus, there are now two belief systems about the climate. A largely Western belief system about steady and maybe catastrophic warming and a rest of the world belief system about impending cooling. The former belief system holds human activity responsible. The latter belief system scoffs at the ability of human beings to influence climate cycles. Belief systems, of course, drive policy and strategy which drive investment flows.

Energy industry executives increasingly find themselves caught between these irreconcilable belief systems. In the West, public policy, hence corporate strategy, is shaped by the first belief system. In the leading non-Western nations (NWNs), including Russia, the second belief system is implicitly ascendant despite official adherence (but not commitment) to the first belief system.

As food and energy riots grow in Asia, Africa and later in Latin America, the second belief system will go from implicit to explicit; it will no longer be whispered but proclaimed.

Cooling will create greater stress on energy, food and health care than warming. This stress can only be relieved by very large increases in energy output. For example, exposure to cold is more dangerous to the fragile old, the infirm, the injured and the ailing. More energy for space heating will be needed. Increasingly, the huge waste in the food supply chain from field to table in much of the world will require tremendous investments in spoilage reduction at every step of the local, regional, national and global food supply chain. Spoilage reduction is energy intensive. So is productivity enhancement via fertilizer, bio-engineered seeds, and water management. For those who hold the second belief system, cooling is a more frightening prospect than warming. The determination of NWNs to accelerate energy and food supply growth will only be strengthened as the second belief system attracts more adherents.

Food riots terrify the elites much more than energy riots. Marie Antoinette was beheaded because bread, not wood or coal, was so scarce for the poor. The Roman Emperors provided free bread to a third of the population of Rome, not free wood, because they were very fearful of the hungry and jobless mob.

For an increasing number of third world nations civil unrest, including violence, as a result of food and energy deprivation is now the most significant threat to regime continuity. Where the governments are freely or quasi-freely elected the issue can lead to power changing hands at the ballot. Where the regimes are tyrannical, violent regime change becomes increasingly likely. For such regimes generating more electricity and providing affordable cooking and transportation fuel become survival priorities. Carbon based power generation and fuel is about the only significant near to mid term option available to those nations: diesel and coal and to a much lesser extent LNG and piped gas.

More here

The Global Warming Bubble

Rarely has so much hectoring produced so little. After all the magazine covers, celebrity sermonizing and U.N.-certified-expert hand-wringing, the fight against global warming got a real-world test in the U.S. Senate a few weeks ago in the debate over a proposal to limit carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system. After a small dose of the argument, supporters of the proposal couldn't wait to drop it. It was leading opponent Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, who declared he'd be happy to talk about cap-and-trade for a month.

As an indirect tax on carbon, cap-and-trade would increase energy prices when people are already straining under $4-a-gallon gas. Even a political naif -- which McConnell assuredly is not -- would realize the benefit of hanging the proposal around its supporters' necks. Lately, we've seen the tech and housing bubbles burst, and now -- at least as an urgent political issue -- the global-warming bubble is getting pricked.

Let's count the ways: First, those gas prices. They are just one way that the soaring price of oil has put a crimp in the standard of living of Americans. They have little taste for seeing it crimped more, and why should they? The cost-benefit analysis of battling global warming is never going to make sense for Americans.

The places that would be hurt by global warming tend to be warm, wet, and low-lying. Think Bangladesh. For the U.S., warming isn't much of a threat. So, stringent measures against global warming are really a massive foreign-aid program, but an intangible and speculative one. If the predicted warming materializes, and if it has the drastic effects warned about (e.g., big rises in sea levels), people living in faraway countries a century or more from now may be adversely affected -- in short, a theoretical benefit to people as yet unborn.

We should feel a moral obligation to aid Bangladesh and similar places with mitigation measures, when (and, again, if) the time comes. Until then, our consciences should rest easy, given the $20 billion annually we spend on development assistance, including billions of dollars fighting AIDS, malaria, and other diseases affecting people whose suffering isn't theoretical.

Second, there's China. It has passed the U.S. as the world's leading emitter of carbon dioxide, and it accounted for two-thirds of the increase in the world's emissions in 2007. Global action against global warming makes little sense without China taking part, and it won't. If we can't get China to quit jailing dissidents and arming a genocidal Sudan, what hope is there of getting it to stop something -- rapid economic development -- that's otherwise unobjectionable? With hundreds of millions of Chinese people living in abject poverty, the country's economic growth is one of the world's most important initiatives against human misery.

Finally, there's the global-cooling spell. The world hasn't been warming since 1998, and an article in the journal Nature says warming won't pick up again until 2015. Since global warming is a long-term trend, a decade-long or more stall in temperatures doesn't mean much -- except that environmentalists have banked so much politically on whipping up hysteria based on imminent catastrophe. The stall in temperatures shows how little we know about global warming. It means that the .3 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures predicted during the next decade by the U.N.'s much-vaunted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may not happen.

No matter what the price of gas is, the most sensible policy in the U.S. is to avoid costly schemes to fight global warming. If our economy keeps growing, we will be better positioned -- richer, and more technologically proficient -- to help others mitigate its effects decades from now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid huffs that global warming is "the most critical issue of our time." Really? More critical than energy prices? Than health care? Than wages? Than terrorism? Than nuclear proliferation? Keep huffing, Mr. Reid -- that deflating bubble needs all the air it can get.



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


Friday, June 20, 2008

A little bit of fun

Read the following and see what you think

New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago. The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes on Earth increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of "global warming" is comprehensively and urgently addressed.

The analysis of more than 386,000 earthquakes between 1973 and 2007 recorded on the US Geological Survey database proved that the global annual energy of earthquakes on Earth began increasing very fast since 1990. Dr Chalko said that global seismic activity was increasing faster than any other global warming indicator on Earth and that this increase is extremely alarming. "The most serious environmental danger we face on Earth may not be climate change, but rapidly and systematically increasing seismic, tectonic and volcanic activity," said Dr Chalko.

"Increase in the annual energy of earthquakes is the strongest symptom yet of planetary overheating. "NASA measurements from space confirm that Earth as a whole absorbs at least 0.85 Megawatt per square kilometer more energy from the Sun than it is able to radiate back to space. This 'thermal imbalance' means that heat generated in the planetary interior cannot escape and that the planetary interior must overheat. Increase in seismic, tectonic and volcanic activities is an unavoidable consequence of the observed thermal imbalance of the planet," said Dr Chalko.

Dr Chalko has urged other scientists to maximize international awareness of the rapid increase in seismic activity, pointing out that this increase is not theoretical but that it is an Observable Fact. "Unless the problem of global warming (the problem of persistent thermal imbalance of Earth) is addressed urgently and comprehensively -- the rapid increase in global seismic, volcanic and tectonic activity is certain. Consequences of inaction can only be catastrophic. There is no time for half-measures."

For further information please read Dr Chalko's scientific article published at NU Journal of Discovery. Dr Tom Chalko, MSc, PhD, former Melbourne University academic (between 1982-2001) is Head of Geophysics Division at Scientific Engineering Research, Mt Best, Australia.


It sounds sort of plausible, doesn't it? Until you think about it. How can minor changes in the atmosphere affect events deep down beneath the earth? I downloaded the story from a press-release service that Tom Chalko used to circulate it. So did quite a few other people. No need to think much more about it, however. It is pseudo-science -- as even a Leftist blogger pointed out.

The amusing thing, though, is that Associated Press -- the great grand fact-checking news service that newspapers worldwide rely on -- was also taken in and included it in their feed. And even the proudly-fact-checking CBS (remember Dan Rather?) was taken in. They have however now taken it down. If you have forgotten the CBS Dan Rather fun and games, see here. Once again pajamas beat the (largely mythical) media fact-checkers.

For yet another AP booboo see here (fifth picture caption).

LA Times: Is famine coming? Claims global warming 'reducing grain output' around the world

Oh really? Then why do we see headlines such as "Cold temps shorten growing season". And why do greenhouse owners feed extra CO2 into their greenhouses to promote growth? Both extra warmth and extra CO2 are GOOD for crops

We're not "headed" for a major global food shortage this year -- it's already here. Because of a perfect storm of drought, booming demand from Asia and ill-considered energy policy, global grain reserves have fallen to their lowest level in half a century. The real question is whether today's crisis is short-term and, if not, what action needs to be taken.Conventional wisdom holds that these are both temporary and self-correcting: High prices will encourage the farm sector to bring on new supplies -- by planting more acres and by boosting per-acre yields with new technologies. That's how we've solved previous shortages -- as when we used Green Revolution seeds and fertilizers to avert famine in East Asia and Africa -- and, say optimists, that's what we'll do again, this time with a hot new stable of genetically modified, or GM, crops.

However, a growing number of skeptics, including myself, worry that the factors driving today's crisis make it much harder to solve. Demand, for example, is much stronger than before. Not only is population soaring, but many of the newcomers are wealthy enough to eat meat, our most resource-intensive food -- it takes an average of eight pounds of grain to make a pound of meat. All told, we'll need to boost total grain output by 50% by 2030, and no one knows how, or even if, all that extra grain can be grown. Farm land is increasingly scarce -- most of the readily arable land is already under cultivation, and much of what remains is in forest.

Further, many of the inputs of industrial farming are much more expensive today than they were even a decade ago. Oil, the lifeblood of modern agriculture, costs more than 10 times as much as it did during the Green Revolution. Synthetically manufactured nitrogen fertilizers, which are responsible for 40% of the calories produced worldwide, have tripled in price in the last year. Water is increasingly scarce: One sixth of the populations of India and China, for example, are now fed using irrigation systems that are draining underground water systems.

And overlaying this is climate change, which is already reducing grain output not only in destitute Africa but in grain powerhouses like the United States. The "100-year" floods that are currently erasing the Midwest grain crops (and derailing the market's attempts to "correct" this crisis on its own) are precisely the kind of natural disaster that, under many climate forecasts, will become routine a few decades from now.

In short, just as basket cases like sub-Saharan Africa, their populations swollen by earlier Green Revolution success, are in desperate need for our famous grain surpluses, we may not have as much to send them.

What can be done? In the near term, the U.S. and the European Union must step up relief efforts to afflicted regions while reducing subsidies for biofuels, which are draining off critical food supplies. Longer term, we'll need to commit serious money to developing alternative forms of agriculture that need less energy, water and fertilizers, and which can tolerate a changing climate. (And don't expect a GM silver bullet any time soon: Boosting yields "trans-genically" is much harder than most GM proponents will admit.)

Lastly, we must start a global conversation about meat. One needn't be a vegetarian (and I'm not) to realize that the current trend in global meat consumption simply cannot be sustained and that if we're to achieve a global per capita intake that is sustainable and equitable, countries like the United States will have to reduce their intake, which is currently 230 pounds a year.

None of these steps will be easy or appealing. Spending more on alternative farming will be politically challenging -- as will urging Americans, the world's top carnivores, to eat less meat. But sooner or later (and probably sooner, given how badly flooding is likely to hurt this year's grain crop), we'll need to face the fact that the current crisis isn't just a repeat of past crises and that to solve it, we will need new ways of making, and thinking about, food.... blah, blah, blah

More here

No shortage of land for food

Across a great arc of the Eurasian steppe from Ukraine through Russia to Kazakhstan lies enough arable land to feed the world for years to come, with spare for biofuels to help plug the energy gap. In the days of Nikita Khrushchev - a great enthusiast for the vast Sovkhoz collectives - the Soviet Union farmed 240m hectares, badly. The same territory now farms 207m hectares. These reserves of idle soil are alone enough to meet the entire global need of 30m extra hectares over the next decade, as estimated by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Moscow investment bank Troika Dialog says that just 43pc of the arable land in Russia is cultivated. Crop yields in the trio of leading ex-Soviet states remain at pre-modern levels. Yields can be doubled in Russia, and tripled in the Ukraine using modern kit and know-how. "The potential is tremendous," said Kingsmill Bond, Troika's chief strategist.

The great leap forward may at last be underway as the clutter of Soviet-era restrictions are broken down and Russia's new found wealth pours into high-tech farm investment. It comes in the nick of time. World corn prices are flirting with the once unthinkable level of $8 a bushel - up fivefold in little over two years. This has lifted the entire nexus of grains in its wake as farmers switch to corn. Soybeans are up 84pc in the past year.

Troika Dialog has written a detailed report - "The New Frontier" - to guide western investors through the Slav land boom and on how to play the opportunities on both the Moscow bourse (for the brave) and European stock exchanges (for the timid). The message is simple. Buy those who control the "bottlenecks" between the land and the market: the processors, the logistics firms, the shippers and movers, the silo makers and fertilizer companies.

Strictly speaking, there is no global shortage of land. Cereal production peaked at around 740m hectares in 1981 and slid steadily for over two decades before recovering a little in the latest revival to 680m, according to the FAO. Urban sprawl accounts for some of this loss, especially on China's eastern seaboard, but the chief reason is that crop yields rose so fast that marginal or high-cost farms were driven out of business.

Troika's pitch is that investment funds scrambling to buy land - almost anywhere, at any price - on assumptions of a Malthusian food crisis are likely to face a rude shock. "The consensus view that the world is running out of land is a fallacy," said the bank. "Global population growth has long since peaked. Calorie consumption per capita has peaked in most developed markets and China is at 90pc of [Western] calorie levels. Even the switch to meat is a less powerful driver than it was."

More here

An older example of kids being brainwashed

The Warmists have some nasty antecedents

A chilling essay, written by a 10-year-old schoolboy praising the Nazis, is to be auctioned in Britain. The rare essay was written by German pupil Gunther Himpfel as a gift for Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday in 1939.

The 20-page booklet entitled 'Der 50 Gerburtsag des Fuhrers' which translates as 'The Fiftieth Birthday of the Fuhrer', was discovered at a flea market in Berlin and is now set to fetch 150 pounds at auction in Shropshire.

The pupil received top marks for the essay in which he pays tribute to "greatest leader Germany have ever had" and says he hopes Hitler will live for many years to come. Experts say the booklet serves as a chilling reminder of how the Nazi propaganda machine even extended to vulnerable schoolchildren.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, a historical documents expert at Mullocks auctioneers who will sell the booklet at Ludlow Racecourse next Wednesday, said: "You never cease to be amazed at depths the Nazi propaganda machine plunged in the years leading up to the outbreak of World War II. "Here you have a ten-year-old schoolboy who should be involving himself with childhood things, instead being used as a political pawn in the Nazis' evil game."


Kiwis commit chilling climate crime

Two New Zealand refrigeration engineers have been convicted of depleting the ozone layer - by letting the gas out of a drinks chiller. The country's Ministry for Economic Development prosecuted the two men in the first ever case taken under a 1996 law protecting the ozone layer. The pair released an ozone-depleting substance, chlorodifluoromethane HCFC22, into the atmosphere as they were repairing a drinks chiller, and ignored a warning that it was hazardous.

The ministry said it took the case as a warning to industry. The two were convicted and fined $NZ750 ($600) each. Permits are needed to handle HCFCs, which will be banned under an international agreement from 2015.


Scientists advocating for action are overselling the predictive capabilities of climate models

By Roger Pielke, Jr.

The famous physicist Niels Bohr is attributed with saying that "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." Anyone who pays attention to weather forecasts or economic predictions knows how true this is. But given that the future can't be predicted with perfect accuracy, seeing predictions fail is actually an important part of their usefulness. Whether one is faced with evacuating from a possible hurricane landfall or investing in a mutual fund, decision-making is improved when uncertainties are readily understood.

On the highly politicized issue of climate change, however, understanding uncertainties is made difficult when scientists advocating for action oversell the predictive capabilities of climate models, such as those of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But action on climate change makes sense even if many climate scientists oversell predictive capabilities.

Scientists oversell the predictive capacity of climate models when they claim that the most recent weather events occurring around the world are consistent with predictions from climate models. For example, last fall a scientist who had contributed to the most recent IPCC reports said that the intense southern California wildfires occurring at the time "are consistent with what the latest modeling shows." Similarly, in 2006 a Berkeley professor and climate change expert asserted that "the current heat waves throughout much of North America and Europe are consistent with the predictions of our global climate models." A quick Internet search will reveal countless scientists who have made such claims about the predictive prowess of climate models.

But what does it mean to say that some weather events are "consistent with" climate model predictions? The implication of such statements of course is that models are reliable and offer accurate predictions that have been borne out by experience. But unfortunately, the real answer is that saying that any recent weather events are "consistent with" model predictions is an empty statement.

All of these claims of consistency between recent weather and model-based predictions might lead one to ask, in principle, what observations of weather events would be inconsistent with predictions from climate models. Guess what? It turns out that nothing that could be observed over a time period less than a decade or more - short of abrupt and unprecedented climate change, like an ice sheet advancing on New York - would be inconsistent with climate model predictions.

There are good reasons for why predictions of climate models are not useful on short time periods of less than a few decades. Urs Neu, a climate scientist from Switzerland, says that climate models are not designed to tell us anything about the evolution of the climate system in the short term; rather, they "are designed to simulate the long-term behaviour as accurately as possible. Long-term behaviour means the trend over at least 20-30 years." Similarly, two climate modelers, Claudia Tebaldi and Reto Knutti, observed in a research paper that "it is important to note that climate projections, decades or longer in the future by definition, cannot be validated directly through observed changes. Our confidence in climate models must therefore come from other sources."

If climate models are designed to make predictions about trends in the global climate system over several decades, then there is nothing that can be said about a model's accuracy on time scales of less than a decade, much less one fire season, or a few heat waves, or any other transient phenomena. Consequently, any claim that recently observed weather events are "consistent with" predictions is actually quite misleading.

On a longer term, more can be said about predictive accuracy of climate model predictions. The first IPCC projections of future climate were issued in 1990, and with more than 17 years of observations since that prediction we can confidently state that the IPCC's 1990 "best guess" overstated the global temperature increase as well as sea level rise for the subsequent two decades. But such retrospective evaluations are typically dismissed because those predictions were made using outdated models based on earlier understandings. The IPCC issues predictions for 20- to 30-year periods into the future, and updates them every 6-7 years, so in practice its current predictive capabilities can never be evaluated against real world data. As Tebaldi and Knutti observe, "climate projections, decades or longer in the future by definition, cannot be validated directly through observed changes."

So in the debate on what to do about climate change, what are we to make of the overstated claims of predictive accuracy offered by many scientists?

Not surprisingly, the reason for overstated claims lies in the bitter and contested politics of climate change. Myanna Lahsen, an anthropologist who has studied climate modelers, finds that many of these scientists are acutely aware of the fact that any expressed "caveats, qualifications and other acknowledgements of model limitations can become fodder for the anti-environmental movement." She documents how, more than a decade ago, a prominent climate scientist warned a group of his colleagues at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, home of one of the main U.S. climate modeling efforts that informs the IPCC, to "Choose carefully your adjectives to describe the models. Confidence or lack of confidence in the models is the deciding factor in whether or not there will be policy response on behalf of climate change."

I witnessed this dynamic in practice while I was waiting to testify on climate policy before the U.S. Congress in 2006. A prominent climate scientist testifying on the panel appearing before mine was asked by a member of Congress about uncertainties in predictions from climate models. The scientist replied, enthusiastically and accurately, that there are a range of important uncertainties coming from scenario inputs and choices in parameterization schemes, instantly overwhelming his congressional audience with technical detail. Much later, and after a long break, the scientist requested an opportunity to clarify his earlier comments, and this time he said, "I would like to give you a little more direct answer to the question on reliability of climate models. I think they are reliable enough to be a very useful guide into the future."

Lost in the Manichean debate over climate change is the real significance of what climate models really are telling us: We should act on climate mitigation and adaptation not because we are able to predict the future, but because we cannot. The academic literature, far from public view, contains a much more realistic perspective on the uncertain predictive capabilities of climate models. Oxford University's David Frame and colleagues, all climate modelers, explain that "Rather than seeing models as describing literal truth, we ought to see them as convenient fictions which try to provide something useful."

They are useful because the predictions from models suggest that the climate patterns experienced in the past century or so may not be a useful guide to the future - but exactly how change might occur is uncertain. Ten years ago Simon Shackley and his colleagues warned that "The impression that climate change can be so predicted and managed is not only misleading, but it could also have negative repercussions should policy makers act on this assumption." By this they meant that "the societal perception that the `climate change problem' is being adequately handled could inhibit the emergence of, and support for, creative social, policy and economic responses to the challenge of coping with a possibly inherently unpredictable system such as climate."

The reality is that the future state of the climate is uncertain, and as such it represents a type of risk management problem. In 2002 Steve Schneider, a climate scientist at Stanford University and long-time advocate for action on climate change, explained "uncertainties so infuse the issue of climate change that it is still impossible to rule out either mild or catastrophic outcomes." Combatants in the climate debate congregate around the extremes, emphasize either mild or catastrophic outcomes as is convenient and overstate the certainty of such outcomes.

When scientists advocating action overstate the certainty of predictions, and policy-makers commit political and other resources based on those claims, they find themselves in a difficult situation because, according to Frame and colleagues, "they are likely to face strong criticism if they revise up their estimates of uncertainty in the relatively near future." Scientists who oversell the predictive capacity of climate models provide a basis for legitimate criticism by their political opponents, and in the process, actually create obstacles to action on climate change.

I have been asked by some of my colleagues why I raise these points, since action on climate change is a good thing and those questioning climate models typically are opposed to action. So what, I am told, if action on climate change is based on some exaggerations and false claims to certainty, isn't the end goal important enough to justify bending the truth just a bit? After all, those opposed to action often show no hesitation toward exaggeration and hyperbole.

My short answer to such questions is that false claims to certainty were exactly what got us into the Iraq war. A somewhat longer reply involves explaining how both science and democracy flourish when we are open and honest about what science can actually deliver. Effective action on climate change is more likely when we fully appreciate what science can, and cannot, do. We should expect more from our scientific community.



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


Thursday, June 19, 2008


An email from Steve Short [] below:

A new paper has been published in the journal Nature entitled: 'Subtropical to boreal convergence of tree-leaf temperatures' by Brent R. Helliker & Suzanna L. Richter, which has implications for climate reconstructions using tree ring and leaf data. The Abstract states:
The oxygen isotope ratio (18O) of cellulose is thought to provide a record of ambient temperature and relative humidity during periods of carbon assimilation. Here we introduce a method to resolve tree-canopy leaf temperature with the use of 18O of cellulose in 39 tree species. We show a remarkably constant leaf temperature of 21.4 2.2 øC across 50ø of latitude, from subtropical to boreal biomes. This means that when carbon assimilation is maximal, the physiological and morphological properties of tree branches serve to raise leaf temperature above air temperature to a much greater extent in more northern latitudes. A main assumption underlying the use of 18O to reconstruct climate history is that the temperature and relative humidity of an actively photosynthesizing leaf are the same as those of the surrounding air. Our data are contrary to that assumption and show that plant physiological ecology must be considered when reconstructing climate through isotope analysis. Furthermore, our results may explain why climate has only a modest effect on leaf economic traits in general.

There is a summary of the paper in Nature News here.

Now if I were a member of a certain school of paleobotany, I would be rather depressed right now. Quite apart form the 18O issue, your readers should be aware that entire careers have been built on the widespread use of leaf species and stomatal indices as proxies for past temperature, humidity and CO2 concentrations. There has emerged a 'consensual' school of paleobotany which claims the paleobotanical record clearly shows CO2 has generally been the major determinant of paleoclimates. Extra `kudos' has been gained (?) by this school by `linking' their work with that of prominent paleogeochemists (who would mostly barely know a leaf from a twig) e.g.: here

This effort has rolled on like a stream train despite odd cracks in the edifice popping up at annoyingly regular intervals e.g.: here and here

However, as we all know it is in the nature of orthodoxy to ignore `minor issues'. However, this time seems an even bigger dog has come to bite! So far it has not been seen with the scientific AGW establishment that one single paper comes along to destroy more or less the whole basis of many careers (yet) but I'd say this new Nature paper looks to be getting very close to such an occasion. Expect a firestorm of rebuttal, dissembling, and (dare I use the term?) denial.

British MP: 'Yes, I am a heretic on global warming'

By Ann Widdecombe

Much has been made of my voting with the Gov-ernment to allow the police to detain terror suspects for 42 days, rather than 28, in special cases. Yet there was a more important vote last week, in which I was one of only three Members of Parliament to vote against the might of all parties and defy the Climate Change Bill which will cost Britain hundreds of billions of pounds, will not mean any other country has to follow suit and, as we are responsible for only two per cent of the world's carbon emissions, will make no difference to the climate or to global warming.

Climate change has become a religion, with anyone who dares to throw?out?a?question?or?two instantly accused of heresy. I have had my doubts for some time, and certainly about major unilateral action on the part of the UK, but these have crystalised since reading Nigel Lawson's book An Appeal To Reason, subtitled A Cool Look At Global Warming.

Appallingly, this gem could not find?a British publisher because none was brave enough. One wrote: "My fear with this cogently argued book is that it flies so much in the face of prevailing orthodoxy that it would be very difficult to find a wide market."

Everybody who has English to GCSE standard can understand it and anyone who has uncritically swallowed the belief that the Earth is warming dangerously should open his or her mind at least a little bit.

It is a FACT that there has been no global warming this century, yet never has there been so much production of carbon dioxide, with India and China increasing their activity by the week.

It is a FACT that global temperature has varied throughout history and scientists explain this by changes in solar activity.

It is a FACT that not all climate scientists agree with the prevailing orthodoxy. Those who dare to dissent are treated with about as much respect as Galileo was by the medieval church.

Even if the predictions are true all they offer is a small increase in the globe's temperature over the next hundred years. As Lawson points out, the difference between the temperature in Finland and that in Singapore is vast but in both countries people thrive and so do their economies. Therefore we might be better off adapting rather than trying to reverse the trend.

I need not go on. You may believe one side of the argument or the other or, like me, you may suspend judgment but until matters are somewhat clearer, I am most certainly not prepared to vote to commit Britain to a course of action which will make not a jot of difference to global temperatures but which could change our way of life and leave us unable to compete with those countries that keep a better sense of proportion.

Some of the worst mistakes are made when all political parties agree. Our entry into Europe is a pretty good example with Ted Heath, Harold Wilson and Jeremy Thorpe all urging a "yes" vote and dissenters dismissed as flat-earthers. Yet what we thought we were joining (a tariff agreement and economic union) was very different from what we are now proved to have joined (a political union with gradual loss of control over our own affairs).

Healthy opposition is needed, if only to ensure that all arguments are heard. The media had a great deal to talk about last week and three MPs calling for a pause for thought over something most commentators consider a cast iron certainty did not get a great deal of attention. Yet the Bill still has some way to go before it becomes law. There is still time for a challenge if anyone is interested enough to take his head out of the sand.



The Julian Hodge Bank lecture given at Cardiff, April 2008 by Colin Robinson, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Surrey:

Many people in this audience will believe that significant changes in the world`s climate are already under way and that, in the medium to long term future, there will be further changes that will have catastrophic economic and social consequences if action is not taken in the near future to avert them. Virtually all the world`s opinion leaders subscribe to that view. As one example of this `doomsday view', take the comments of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon who said of the scenarios in a report compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)[2] in November 2007, `These scenes are as frightening as a science fiction movie. But they are even more terrifying, because they are real'[3]. Ban Ki-moon is talking about views of the future which cannot in any accepted sense be `real': his comment shows that the inevitability of severe climate change is now so taken for granted that the future has become merged with the present.

The hypothesis and some broad issues

Put simply, the usual hypothesis about climate change is that emissions of carbon dioxide and other `greenhouse gases', from the use of energy and from other human activities, will lead to a future trend towards warming of the earth and consequential damage to economic and social life.

There is general (though not universal) agreement that there has been some warming of the earth in the last hundred years or so, but it is relatively modest[4]. The IPCC puts the increase in global annual mean temperature at around 0.75 degrees centigrade over that period[5]. Future warming has become the main focus of concern: there is a wide range of estimates, varying from about 1 to over 6 degrees C[6], comparing the end of the twentieth century with the end of the twentyfirst century. Obviously, I cannot provide a critique of the hypothesis from a climate science viewpoint[7] but economists are in a position to comment on some of the underlying methodological issues, on the economic and social consequences of climate change and on possible policy responses and their effects. I begin by outlining the links in the chain that lead to the view that climate change will be damaging and make some initial comments on them.

1.1 A climate change trend?

Since the climate is always changing, the damaging change hypothesis is difficult to pin down, but I was careful to specify it as implying a trend towards global warming. I take it that those who support the hypothesis must think there is a such a trend. If we were merely in the upward phase of a cycle, caused by natural forces, presumably there would be much less cause for concern because, by definition, the direction of the cycle would reverse and global warming would be replaced by global cooling. Determining whether warming is a trend or just part of a cycle is extremely difficult, given the apparent very long time scale of climatic change, yet, from a policy point of view, the distinction between trend and cycle is clearly vital: if warming is to be replaced by cooling in the relatively near future, as part of the same natural cycle, action now to curb warming might well have perverse effects. The amplitude and length of any cycle are also critical issues.

1.2 The link with greenhouse gases

There is scientific evidence that, other things equal, increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will bring rising world temperatures. However, in the absence of complete scientific knowledge, the list of the `other things' and their effects is long but incomplete. There is considerable controversy over the significance of man-made emissions, compared with all the other effects on temperature. Most climate scientists would, like most economists, readily admit that their models are gross simplifications and that large areas of ignorance remain. Working out what happens when other things are constant is therefore not easy and it seems that experience in the twentieth century must lead to some doubts about the exact causal link between emissions and warming: despite continuously rising emissions during the century, the warming occurred in two periods (1920-1940 and 1975-1998), with slight cooling in between the two periods and no clear trend in the last ten years or so.

Economic and social consequences

Even if it could be established that there is a clear warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions, there are still important questions to be answered about the extent to which natural adaptation will deal with any economic and social consequences or whether, if action to combat the trend should be taken, what form it might take and what the costs might be compared with the benefits. Some economists, such as Sir Nicholas (now Lord) Stern, have attempted to answer these questions and to say what actions are required[8]. But, in the process, they have used some of the most heroic assumptions I have ever seen and tried to peer into the far distant future.

Bearing in mind these broad issues, in the rest of the lecture I will try to deal with a number of matters which seem important in deciding whether scepticism is justified about claims that damaging man-made climate change is in prospect. My purpose is not to say that there is no such prospect, but to argue that the sceptics should be taken seriously and that we should be careful not to plunge into large-scale, expensive, centrally run programmes to combat prospective climate change based on the assumption that we know more about the future than is possible. After making some rather critical comments about climate alarmism in the first part of the lecture, at the end I will accentuate the positive and suggest how it might be best to face a very uncertain future prospect.

My starting point is to try to place the global climate change debate in a more general context.

More here


Oil makes hypocrites of us all. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general who last year took office declaring that his main goal was to fight "man-made climate change", has spent most of his weekend in Jeddah attempting to persuade King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to ramp up the kingdom's oil production.

This is just the global edition of Gordon Brown's earlier plea to the Saudis to "do something" about the high price of oil; a remarkable display of diplomatic chutzpah from a man who, as Chancellor, spent a decade telling us that increasing the price of petrol on British forecourts through fiscal means was very much in the best interests of the whole planet.

Meanwhile the US Senate has threatened to launch a prosecution of OPEC for its alleged fixing of the world oil market, to the detriment of the American consumer. The American legislature's hypocrisy in this matter takes a different form to ours: the politicians who are now howling with rage about the shortage of oil supply are in essence the same people who have long blocked the oil industry from developing vast deposits both in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off their own coastline - about 80 per cent of the US continental shelf is out of bounds, on environmental grounds.

I imagine that when King Abdullah told Mr Ban that "national policies in the West" were partly to blame for the current very high price of crude oil, the Americans' refusal to drill for oil in their own most geologically promising territories might have been one of the factors he had in mind.

Ban Ki-moon was not, needless to say, acting solely as an emissary for the United States: he was representing the teeming billions in nations as diverse as China, India and Malaysia. Yet if you look at this seizure in the oil market from the point of view of demand, rather than supply, then these same countries have also contributed directly to the problem they have asked Mr Ban to sort out for them.

All have for years had a policy of subsidising the price paid by their consumers and industry for oil products - and on a vast scale. According to the head of the International Energy Agency, Nobuo Tanaka, such subsidies are currently running at a rate of about one hundred billion dollars a year. In other words, these countries' biggest energy consumers are being shielded from the effects of high oil prices, and therefore are not adjusting their consumption downwards - quite the reverse, in fact.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the People's Republic of China. Beijing has a rigorous price cap, which means it simply pays companies such as PetroChina and Sinopec vast sums to compensate them for a state-imposed inability to pass on their increased raw material costs to the end-users. While crude oil prices have doubled, the price of a tank full of petrol on the forecourts of the Middle Kingdom has not increased by a single renminbi - and is not likely to do so this side of the Olympic Games.

In this context, the article by the vice-premier of China's state council in yesterday's Financial Times was almost comical. Wang Qishan argued that his government "gives high priority to energy and resources conservation and the protection of the environment". No one can doubt the pressures the Chinese Politburo is under to meet the aspirations of its people and neither should we in the West criticise their desire to enjoy the opportunities which industrialisation bestowed on us. But still, how can the representative of a government which pays its industries to burn more fuel expect to be taken seriously as a proponent of "energy conservation"?

This seems, on the surface, to be one of the greatest paradoxes of the modern world: while democracies such as those in the European Union have been sufficiently insensitive to the wishes of their consumers as to have provoked disturbances over the price of petrol and diesel - augmented as they have been by very high taxes - totalitarian states such as China have pre-empted the possible political consequences of high domestic gasoline prices.

Perhaps it is because the rulers of such countries know their people do not have the safety valve of elections to let off steam; so if things get ugly they could get very violent indeed. There is a less charitable explanation. In China, only the wealthiest two per cent own a motor car; the proportion is not much more in many of the other developing countries with high petrol subsidies: so we are seeing the subsidisation of the richest in the Third World at the expense of all.

This is not unusual: indeed it is absolutely standard in the upside-down world of market intervention. It is exactly the same as the global food market, in which subsidies ostensibly designed for the benefit of everyone are in fact disproportionately directed at the richest, paid for by national exchequers which supposedly represent the interests of nations as a whole.

Just as in agriculture, while the West is rightly condemned for the distorting effects of its subsidies, the developing world tends to escape criticism for the consequences of similar policies, which are ultimately to the greatest detriment of its own people; BP's chief economist, Christof Ruehl, pointed out last week that the developing world uses more than three times more energy per unit of Gross Domestic Product than the developed countries of the OECD.

So it's not just that these poorer countries are building up their national debt to subsidise the use of oil; their economies will ultimately lose out in competitiveness to those in the West, where prices are liberalised. It won't seem so at the moment to heavy users of fuel in the developed world, naturally: but in the long term, if oil prices stay at these levels, the countries which change the way they use energy will suffer the least pain.

It is, despite all the dire forecasts which are now the rage, not certain that the unprecedented high price of oil will hold. The Saudis have no long-term strategic interest in the world learning how to cope with much less oil. That might possibly be why last weekend King Abdullah told Ban Ki-moon that the kingdom would increase its output by 500,000 barrels a day in July.

The strange thing is that there isn't an absolute shortage of oil in the markets, despite the sentiment of fear which haunts them. There's already a sufficient amount of the black stuff to go round to meet current levels of demand, as the Saudis have wearily insisted often enough over the past few months.

In fact, King Abdullah's pledge to the UN secretary general is the purest politics, simply to get the weight of the world's opprobrium off his kaffiyeh. I don't blame the King, however; when hypocrisy abounds it is hard for anyone not to pay homage to it, even an absolute monarch.


Afloat on an Ocean of Oil

Considering how much untapped oil is known to exist, not just in the United States, but worldwide, one would think that its current price was some kind of anomaly — and it is. It is more the result of speculation than anything else.

The most basic fact about oil worldwide is that there is lots of it. Though frequently overlooked, the ability to refine crude oil plays an essential role in the supply and demand equation. More refining capacity is needed worldwide. Finally, there’s the fact that, in general, oil is very expensive to get at and often found in the most inhospitable places on Earth.

For sheer insanity, however, consider a nation that has an estimated 31 billion barrels of oil offshore of its coasts and 117 billion barrels of oil under land owned or managed by the government, plus 139 billion barrels beneath privately held land.

In just one area, a desolate place designated a wildlife refuge, there’s an estimated 7.7 billion barrels untapped. The nation with this abundance of oil is, of course, the United States of America. Most of the areas where oil is known to exist have been ruled off-limits to any exploration or extraction by the government. In the areas where it is accessible, drilling for it is hugely encumbered and often denied by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

If, however, you connect the dots, you will have noticed by now that America’s energy problems, namely the price of a gallon of gasoline or heating oil, are making everyone miserable thanks in great part to environmental legislation designed to make it impossible to access oil on both public and privately held lands. Then, just to make matters worse, the government requires that every gallon of gasoline include the additive, ethanol, which reduces mileage and increases its cost.

Further, we’re told that Senator Barack Obama, if elected, intends to seize “windfall profits.” This is sufficient reason for American oil companies to decide to drill anywhere else. The last time a windfall profits tax was implemented was at the end of President Carter’s term. It had such a negative impact on U.S. oil companies that drilling for oil domestically dropped dramatically. It has stayed that way since the 1980s. Their actual profits are now less than pharmaceutical, high tech, and other elements of the economy. Imagine how thrilled they were to hear Rep. Maxine Waters’ threat to nationalize them.

No profits. No exploration. No drilling. And no domestic oil with which to correct our dependence on foreign oil and thus provide a measure of security to a nation that runs on oil. If you wanted to bring the United States to ruin, you could not have designed and implemented a more perfect scheme. Along with too many members of Congress, environmentalists are America’s Fifth Column.

As my friend, Seldon B. Graham, a veteran petroleum engineer and oil industry attorney, and a graduate of West Point says of oil, “If it is worth dying for in the Near East, it is worth drilling for in the United States.”

As to the claim that the Earth is running out of oil, that can be easily dismissed simply by reading information available in respected publications such as Business Week that, “The Saudis have embarked on an ambitious expansion program that should see more than 2 million barrels of new production capacity come onstream by the middle of next year.”

Those of us who follow energy trends read the Energy Tribune because it has some of the best information available on what is really occurring. In its May edition, Matt Pickard wrote about the expansion worldwide of offshore drilling, noting that today’s prices are being driven by increased demand from rapidly developing nations such as China and India. This demand is going to increase over the next two or three decades. Unless the United States begins to free up its own oil and natural gas reserves, Americans are going to be paying more at the pump and in their homes for a very long time to come.

The good news is that the offshore oil and gas industry, despite the huge risks and costs involved and despite an aging, understaffed workforce, is making strides to meet demand. Whether it’s in the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea, the icy waters of the Barents Sea or offshore of Brazil and Africa, massive new reserves of oil are being found.

“Large discoveries offshore Brazil, the continued progress in every region’s major projects, and the ongoing push for Arctic exploration and production point to the industry’s potential for growth over the next 20 to 30 years,” wrote Pickard. Brazil is poised to become a major producer. In its Tupi field, “Petrobas announced an aggressive development plan, with an early production system possible within two or three years,” reports Pickard. The nearby Jupiter field has gas reserves to rival Tupi. None of this is a secret! Both privately owned U.S. and foreign national oil companies are going to find more oil and gas.

Neither candidate for President is telling the truth these days because both believe global warming is real and both keep blathering on about “alternative” energy. The big problem for the rest of us is that you can’t pour wind or solar energy into a gas tank.

The U.S. mandate for ethanol as a gasoline additive has already significantly put the world’s food supply in jeopardy, but most Americans are blissfully unaware that it requires 1.5 gallons of ethanol to produce the same energy as a gallon of gasoline. It actually emits more carbon dioxide than gasoline. It is an environmental hoax.

The world is afloat on an ocean of oil. Meanwhile, the United States continues to rule 85% of its offshore oil off-limits to exploration and extraction. This is occurring while the Chinese prepare to pump oil just offshore of Cuba, a mere 90 miles from Florida. It is occurring while the Russians are looking to plant their flag on potential reserves of subterranean oil in the Arctic.

The next time you hear a politician say we need to be “energy independent,” ask him or her why Americans cannot have access to the oil reserves known to exist in California, in Alaska, and in many of our other States or off the coastlines of Florida and elsewhere. Ask them why the fate of the condors and little known species is more important than the family budget of Americans forced to make choices between more food and more gasoline. Ask them why they continue to claim that global warming is a threat when the entire Earth is now in a decade-old cooling cycle. Ask them why they insist on blaming investor-owned oil companies whose own reserves are barely four percent of the world’s known oil reserves? Ask them how they expect these oil companies to compete in the global marketplace when they threaten to seize their profits.

Energy is the master resource. It determines which nations thrive and which lag behind. For now, America is being ill-served by a Congress that refuses to permit access to our own energy resources. Ask yourself how we have arrived at a point in time when both candidates for President believe in a non-existent global warming and whose proposals offer no practical solution to our current and future energy needs.


Australia: Crown-of-thorns starfish on wane at Great Barrier Reef

Global warming was often blamed for the starfish plague so I guess this proves global cooling.. Since the climate IS cooling, maybe this is one they got right!

The potentially devastating crown-of-thorns starfish is in retreat on the Great Barrier Reef, with its numbers hitting a 20-year low, researchers say. Findings from the Australian Institute of Marine Science released Tuesday, June 17, indicate the latest outbreak of the coral-eating pest is near an end. Surveys of the Reef in 2007 detected fewer crown-of-thorns starfish than in any year in the past two decades, the head of AIMS' long-term monitoring program, Hugh Sweatman, said. "There were outbreaks on 6 per cent of the 104 reefs surveyed in 2006, and on just 4 per cent of the reefs we surveyed in 2007," he said. "Historically, the numbers of the starfish have increased drastically every 15 years, and in 2000 up to 17 per cent of the reef was afflicted." However, the crown-of-thorns starfish remains a "mysterious phenomenon", according to AIMS, and it is not known when the next outbreak could begin.

AIMS researchers have also detected a fall in coral cover on outer sections of the Reef due to coral diseases, particularly a disease known as white syndrome. The cause of the disease was unknown but it killed off massive areas of coral on previously healthy reefs, Dr Sweatman said. "The disease is found particularly where hard coral cover is high," he said. "What we see is that the healthy reefs with lots of coral cover are the ones at risk."

Seven reefs in the Capricorn-Bunker sector and six in the Swain sector of the Great Barrier Reef were surveyed. No crown-of-thorns starfish were recorded on Swain reefs but scuba surveys found the starfish for the first time at Fairfax Reef in the Capricorn-Bunker group.



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


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


An email from Andy Nimmo [] below

The [much cited] 1939 paper, "The Effect Of Interstellar Matter On Climatic Variation" by Fred Hoyle and R.A.Lyttleton, in the Proceedings of The Cambridge Philosophical Society, which showed that when our Solar System passes through an interstellar dust cloud, the percentage of our Sun's radiation increases in direct proportion to the density of the dust and inversely according to the cube of the difference in velocities of the Solar System and the dust cloud, has almost certainly been mentioned in previous messages. Among other things they showed that very slight changes in these effects could bring about changes in radiation of from 1% to a 1,000%. They said whether there is an ice age or a heat age such as the Carboniferous, would depend on the relative velocities, lower velocities giving heat and higher velocities, ice. While there would be mass changes, these would be minimal.

Readers will recall that in 1977 NASA reported that both their Pioneer probes had found hydrogen and helium (10 particles per cc) flowing into our Solar System from ahead of the Sun's path in space at 72,400 kph and I understand the Voyagers also reported this so it hasn't come as much surprise that reports of global climate change have begun to come in since then.

So far as I'm aware, this hydrogen and helium is still flowing into our system - or has it ceased to do so and I've simply missed the report? Apart altogether from hydrogen and helium though, there seem to be some indications from recent analysis of dust captured by various probes in interplanetary space that at least some of this is carbonaceous and much denser than either hydrogen or helium. Do we know for certain that all such has been in our Solar System since its birth and that none of this more dense material is still flowing in?

Some now say our world is warming and some that we are cooling. Perhaps for political reasons born maybe out of jealousy of what they see as wicked industrialists and/or of envy of wealthier folk than themselves flying off to Spain or further for their holidays, rather than for scientific reasons, a large proportion of the warming lobby insist that this is caused by human CO2 emissions and that Earth's own environment has nothing or little to do with it. Clearly though, any such belief must result at least partially from ignorance as Earth's own space environment must scientifically affect our environment on the surface in some manner however small.

Accordingly it seems that Hoyle and Lyttleton have been correct to at least some extent whereby if hydrogen and helium and just maybe something else, are still flowing into our Solar System it must be in our interest to determine how much of what have entered our system, how much is still likely to do so, where in our system this is likely to accumulate and what effects this may have on our future? If our Solar System is entering an interstellar dust or gas cloud, how large is this and how long will we be in it?

While I am in no way trying to maintain that Hoyle's and Lyttleton's thesis is the sole cause of any change that may be taking place it does seem likely to be relevant to at least some extent so the above questions do need to be answered or the effect as more and more accumulates, perhaps between us and the Sun, may be much greater in the future without our having been properly forewarned. In view of this, might the expertise of a number of CCNet readers between them be able to come up with at least some of the necessary knowledge? Perhaps some are already trying to check the answers to these or similar questions?

I would expect that educated sensible Governments have already ordered that such research be undertaken. If not, I do very much wonder why not? It seems strange to me that the media don't seem to have mentioned this aspect of climate change at any time.


An email from Bob Carter []

You will undoubtedly have marvelled over the last few years at the large number of "Climate Conferences" that are held around the world. I would guess that on average they amount to at least one large conference a month - all sponsored and supported by some combination of the IPCC, governments, government science agencies, embassies and industry associations.

The publicity and press treatment that these conferences receive portrays them as if they were "science" conferences. In fact, nearly all are carefully contrived political events, and the scientists who attend them are there for networking and political purposes; presenting or listening to new science is almost never the objective, and known climate rationalist scientists are almost universally excluded from participation.

Knowledgeable, research-active climate scientists understand this conference junkfest phenomenon, and that their own personal professional credibility rests upon delivering papers at genuine science congresses such as the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco every December, or at regional and special-interest group research meeetings.

In 2006, three much publicised climate conferences were held in Australia and New Zealand. Subsequent to the one that was held in Wellington I conducted an appraisal of its nature and outcomes. Muriel Newman has recently posted my review of this conference on her widely read website. An extract follows.

"The Wellington Climate Change and Governance conference succeeded in reinforcing the already strong public impression that dangerous human-caused climate change is occurring, and that this change can be prevented by limiting human emissions of greenhouse gas. However, to the degree that the conference was intended to contribute to a balanced public debate on human-caused global warming, it failed.

The major sponsors of the conference included organisations whose charter includes the disinterested presentation of high-quality science, and civil social responsibility; these organisations failed in their duty of public care.

In addition, media coverage of the conference was "balanced" in only the most superficial way; news reports concentrated heavily on climate alarmism, and failed to follow up on the caveats which were expressed by the more responsible speakers at the conference.

Troublesome ethical issues emerge, the most important of which include the role in society of scientific organisations and universities, and the way in which government-employed and other scientists are today constrained in the public comment that they can make on controversial issues of the day. Another major concern is the way in which scientific results are now routinely deployed into the public domain with a clear propaganda intent.

The Wellington climate conference displayed clearly the unacceptable price that society pays when it allows science to be corrupted by politicization. The future assessment of complex scientific and technological issues like climate change needs to be much more rigorously bias-proofed. At the very least this will require the routine use of counterweight and audit panels for rigorous verification of all major policy recommendations.

These major conclusions about the Wellington climate conference apply also to many other similar climate meetings that are held around the world."

More here

Muriel Newman published an editorial by Ron Smith at about the same time that also deals with the issue of the politicization of climate science.

"In the contemporary world of public financing of intellectual activity, there are also more subtle pressures towards conformity. One of the many baleful consequences of directed or 'performance'-based research funding is the extent to which it privileges the prejudices and paradigms of those holding power in the system at any time. The result is to favor for research support and publication those who follow the party-line. This characteristic, and the dominating connection between this activity and promotion, ensures the production of vast quantities of mediocre and repetitive material in our universities and like establishments and discourages the long-term and more speculative activity that used to be their academic glory. It is to the continuing shame of all the New Zealand universities that this is so. In this connection it is noteworthy that in the UK the panels making these systemic judgments about academic worth have now been instructed to destroy all the notes on which the judgments were made."

More here

Environmental group ties floods to global warming

They would. Floods, droughts, who cares? It's ALL due to global warming. Australia had a bit of a drought a year or so ago and all the pundits said it was an effect of global warming

The disastrous floods that ravaged southern Wisconsin this week are consistent with global warming predictions by Clean Wisconsin in a January 2007 report. The report, "Global Warming Arrives in Wisconsin," forecast that global warming would lead to increased instances of severe droughts, more intense floods and increased snowfall, Clean Wisconsin said in a news release. Clean Wisconsin, the state's largest environmental advocacy organization, was founded as Wisconsin's Environmental Decade.

"In the year and a half since the release of this report, we have seen a summer of extreme drought end with intense flooding, a winter of record snowfall and now a spring ending with some of the worst flooding in recent memory," Keith Reopelle, senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin. "Many of the impacts of global warming are occurring much sooner than predicted."

While no single weather event can be attributed to global warming, the increasing intensity of weather patterns suggests we may be witnessing the first major impacts in Wisconsin, the organization said. Scientists predict that increased temperatures will increase winter precipitation by 15 to 30 percent while decreasing summer precipitation by up to 20 percent. Less frequent but more intense storms explain the increased likelihood of summer droughts and floods. "This week we have all witnessed the economic, environmental and emotional devastation intense weather events can bring," Reopelle said. "These floods demonstrate the terrible risks associated with global warming."

More here

Australia's muddled "Green" policies

By Barry Cohen (Barry Cohen is a former environment minister in the Hawke Labor government)

I'm confused. And I'm not alone. For eons environmentalists have been rabbiting on about our dependence on coal, oil and the carbon emissions they produce. "Let's go solar," was their cry, for the one thing Australia was not short of was sun. And we have the skin cancers to prove it. With our engineers and scientists in the vanguard of solar technology it appeared the way to go. I was convinced to go solar many years ago. While the electricity bill remained unchanged, I gained a psychological advantage over my critics. As environment minister, there was no shortage of those. The introduction by the Howard government of an $8000 rebate on solar panels, had tempted me to try again. The balance of $12,000 was a small price to pay for that feeling of superiority and the warm inner glow.

The dream ended when the budget restricted rebates to those with incomes of under $100,000. Overnight, 90 per cent of orders were cancelled. The industry, unable to sustain that level of cuts was, to put it mildly, thoroughly pissed off while environmentalists are having difficulty recognising the Government that received a standing ovation in Bali.

Environment minister Peter Garrett, asked at Question Time to apologise to the solar industry, had an interesting response. He told the house that the program, "was oversubscribed and would have overheated and produced, in the solar industry, demand fluctuations such that it would have made this industry very difficult to be sustainable. Compressing the plan for five years to three years the industry would have greater sustainability." Having spent a lifetime in business, I had difficulty grasping how an industry going gangbusters could be in trouble. My experience had been the opposite.

The decision, we were told, was an exercise in cutting down on middle-class welfare. However, the rebate was not welfare but an incentive to encourage as many people as possible to go solar to cut carbon emissions. What difference does it make if those that do are rich, poor or middle class? The result is the same. If anything, the more affluent are likely to use more electricity and produce more carbon emissions. Ask Al Gore.

Equally confusing was the decision to whack the rich by pushing up the price of luxury cars. Now, I define the rich as anyone who earns more than me, so I'm all for making them suffer but surely the way to go is to use the tax system to encourage motorists to switch to fuel-efficient cars. Again, it doesn't much matter who cuts down carbon emissions as long as it happens. The rich can afford to pay and think how good they'll feel. The recent budget was the opportune time to abolish the tariff concessions on 4WDs. Introduced originally as a subsidy for farmers, it became a fashion statement for yuppies who rarely, if ever, went off-road. OK, I have one but so would you if you owned a wildlife sanctuary and had to drive up and down cliffs.

I've previously 'fessed up to being a climate-change sceptic which, these days, is marginally better than being a pedophile but I will support any measure that reduces pollution and congestion. If the Government is serious about climate change, then they should use the taxation system to lower the cost of fuel-efficient cars and increase the price of gas-guzzlers. There will never be a better time.

The most surprising omission from this, and past budgets, was the failure to end the financial advantage given to those who drive to work over those who use public transport. The former can claim all car expenses against their taxable income while the latter can't claim anything. Work vehicles aside, it should be the other way around.

Soaring fuel prices have already caused hundreds of thousands to switch to public transport but isn't that what we wanted? Reverse tax deductibility and it will snowball. Cities will become livable again and our transport system will be profitable.

Finally to an obsession that has been with me since I entered parliament 40 years ago: controlling our population growth. I was stunned at the recent news that next year Australia will bring in 300,000 immigrants. That's about double the average over the past 50 years, so we can expect to have 30 million within 20 years. Guess where most will live? In our capital cities, of course. Imagine Sydney and Melbourne each with about an extra three million. It's madness. As global warming and climate change are the direct result of individual demand for more and more energy then surely we should be trying to contain our population growth?

"We need more skilled workers," the pro-migration lobby cries. Fine, bring in skilled workers and limit the other categories.

I'm reluctant to give prime ministers advice, mainly because they don't take kindly to advice from feather dusters. Let me make an exception. Prime Minister, there is, at the moment, an extraordinary amount of goodwill in the nation towards you and your Government. Australians understand there is a crisis and are prepared to make sacrifices and suffer pain providing you take them into your confidence and the pain is fairly and evenly distributed. They also want consistency. At the moment there are too many contradictions.

At the risk of being melodramatic this is the time for you to go Churchillian and call for "blood, toil, tears and sweat", not palliatives and cosmetics.



A group of real estate developers and property owners in La Manga del Mar Menor - a spit of sandy, low-lying coastal land and Murcia's premier beach resort - are threatening to take Greenpeace to court over its graphic predictions of what global warming may do to the area, which they say have caused house prices to plummet. The lawsuit, which the plaintiffs plan to present unless Greenpeace agrees to an out of court settlement of almost EUR 30 million in damages, comes more than six months after La Manga featured prominently in a photo book published by the environmental organisation that was intended to shock Spain into action on climate change.

Along with photos of a dried up Ebro River in Zaragoza and a desert in an area of Valencia now filled with lemon and orange groves, the book, Photoclima, shows digitally modified photos of La Manga submerged in water with only the tops of hotels, apartment blocks and palm trees emerging from the blue Mediterranean. Greenpeace says the book is a graphic portrayal of the conclusions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has predicted that global warming will cause sea levels to rise around the world over the coming decades. "We want to create alarm and a call to action," Juan Lopez de Uralde, Greenpeace's director in Spain, said when the book was published.

The photographs certainly caused alarm in La Manga. According to Jose Angel Abad, a lawyer who has taken up the case of the area's aggrieved developers and home owners, prices have plunged by "50 percent" in recent months - a dramatic fall even in light of the end of a nationwide house price boom. "Greenpeace manipulated the expected rise in sea levels of half a metre to cause alarm. It has sunk the real estate market: no one is buying and everyone has put their apartments up for sale," Abad claims. He says his clients are seeking EUR 27 million in damages to cover the decrease in the value of their properties.

However, Greenpeace has no intention of settling out of court, arguing that the La Manga property owners are trying to "blackmail" it into footing the bill for their speculation in the real estate market. "They're trying to blame Greenpeace and its campaign for the problems they have encountered in a market saturated thanks to real estate speculation," Uralde said this week. "We are not going to be intimidated."


Monsoon rains arrive early in India

Global cooling?

India's annual monsoon rains have swept across the country about two weeks ahead of schedule, their earliest for over a century. The rains are essential for the farms that provide a livelihood for 60 per cent of India's 1.1 billion people. Rainfall over the first two weeks of June was more than 40 per cent above average for the time of year, good news for consumer hit by rising food prices. But officials said that at least 23 people had died in floods, landslides and building collapses caused by the monsoon.

Subhash Chander Bhan, the director of the India Meteorological Department, said that widespread rainfall cooled northern India, with the region's high temperature today pegged at 93F (34F), 11F (5C) below normal. He said that the monsoon hit New Delhi yesterday - the earliest arrival of the rains in the city since recordkeeping began 108 years ago - and would soon cover almost the entire country, Bhan said. The early monsoon is not being linked to climate change.

The monsoon usually begins sweeping across the subcontinent in early June, but rarely reaches New Delhi and the rest of northern India before the beginning of July. In one district of Assam, at least 50,000 people had be taken to higher ground by rescuers in motorboats and rowing boats.



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


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ALL Greenie scenarios lead to disaster

So eat, drink and be merry?

Sometimes we need to think the unthinkable, particularly when dealing with a problem as dangerous as climate change - there is no room for dogma when considering the future habitability of our planet. It was in this spirit that I and a panel of other specialists in climate, economics and policy-making met under the aegis of the Stockholm Network thinktank to map out future scenarios for how international policy might evolve - and what the eventual impact might be on the earth's climate. We came up with three alternative visions of the future, and asked experts at the Met Office Hadley Centre to run them through its climate models to give each a projected temperature rise. The results were both surprising, and profoundly disturbing.

We gave each scenario a name. The most pessimistic was labelled "agree and ignore" - a world where governments meet to make commitments on climate change, but then backtrack or fail to comply with them. Sound familiar? It should: this scenario most closely resembles the past 10 years, and it projects emissions on an upward trend until 2045. A more optimistic scenario was termed "Kyoto plus": here governments make a strong agreement in Copenhagen in 2009, binding industrialised countries into a new round of Kyoto-style targets, with developing countries joining successively as they achieve "first world" status. This scenario represents the best outcome that can plausibly result from the current process - but ominously, it still sees emissions rising until 2030.

The third scenario - called "step change" - is worth a closer look. Here we envisaged massive climate disasters around the world in 2010 and 2011 causing a sudden increase in the sense of urgency surrounding global warming. Energised, world leaders ditch Kyoto, abandoning efforts to regulate emissions at a national level. Instead, they focus on the companies that produce fossil fuels in the first place - from oil and gas wells and coal mines - with the UN setting a global "upstream" production cap and auctioning tradable permits to carbon producers. Instead of all the complexity of regulating squabbling nations and billions of people, the price mechanism does the work: companies simply pass on their increased costs to consumers, and demand for carbon-intensive products begins to fall. The auctioning of permits raises trillions of dollars to be spent smoothing the transition to a low-carbon economy and offsetting the impact of price rises on the poor. A clear long-term framework puts a price on carbon, giving business a strong incentive to shift investment into renewable energy and low-carbon manufacturing. Most importantly, a strong carbon cap means that global emissions peak as early as 2017.

This "upstream cap" approach is not a new idea, and our approach draws in particular on a forthcoming book by the environmental writer Oliver Tickell. However, conventional wisdom from governments and environmental groups alike insists that "Kyoto is the only game in town", and that proposing any alternative is dangerous heresy.

But let's look at the modelled temperature increases associated with each scenario. "Agree and ignore" sees temperatures rise by 4.85C by 2100 (with a 90% probability); for "Kyoto plus", it's 3.31C; and "step change" 2.89C. This is the depressing bit: no politically plausible scenario we could envisage will now keep the world below the danger threshold of two degrees, the official target of both the EU and UK. This means that all scenarios see the total disappearance of Arctic sea ice; spreading deserts and water stress in the sub-tropics; extreme weather and floods; and melting glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas. Hence the need to focus far more on adaptation: these are impacts that humanity is going to have to deal with whatever now happens at the policy level.

But the other great lesson is that sticking with current policy is actually a very risky option, rather than a safe bet. Betting on Kyoto could mean triggering the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet and crossing thresholds that involve massive methane release from melting Siberian permafrost. If current policy continues to fail - along the lines of the "agree and ignore" scenario - then 50% to 80% of all species on earth could be driven to extinction by the magnitude and rapidity of warming, and much of the planet's surface left uninhabitable to humans. Billions, not millions, of people would be displaced.

So which way will it go? Ultimately the difference between the scenarios is one of political will: the question now is whether humanity can summon up the courage and foresight to save itself, or whether business as usual - on climate policy as much as economics - will condemn us all to climatic oblivion.



Leaves are nearly as homeostatic as people! "Hockeystick" Mann hangs his hat on three rings. Goodbye hat! There is now yet another source of error in already shaky estimates. No doubt he will make the best of it by adding in yet another layer of assumptions, however

Trees in warm places might be able to shrug off global warming better than those in the UK and colder climes because they contain a remarkable "thermostat" that keeps them the same temperature. The temperature inside a healthy tree leaf is affected much less by outside temperature than originally believed, from England to the Caribbean, according to biologists at the University of Pennsylvania. Researchers found that all tree leaves maintain a near constant temperature

They are concerned that trees in colder regions, such as Britain, could overheat as the climate warms as a result of this hitherto unrecognised mechanism. However, species adapted to warmer climates are likely to take their place. Surveying 39 tree species ranging in location from subtropical to northerly climates, researchers found a nearly constant temperature in tree leaves.

The conversion of light into chemical energy - photosynthesis - most likely occurs when leaf temperatures are about 21øC, and the outside temperature plays little, if any, role. This means that in colder climates leaf temperatures are elevated and in warmer climates tree leaves cool to keep the temperature just right. "It is not surprising to think that a polar bear in northern Canada and a black bear in Florida have the same internal body temperature," says Dr Brent Helliker, who reports the work with Suzanna Richter in the journal Nature. "Like us, they generate their own heat.

"However, to think that a black spruce in Canada and a Caribbean Pine in Puerto Rico have the same average leaf temperature is quite astonishing. "Our research suggests that they use a combination of purely physical phenomena - like the cooling from water evaporation or the warming caused by packing a lot of leaves together - to maintain leaf temperature, a phenomenon we call homeostatisis."

He stresses that this does not mean tree canopies maintain a constant temperature through a day or a season, but rather that this ideal temperature is a long-term target value.

However, the study suggests a new theory for how and why trees in the north will suffer from global warming, by overheating due to the mechanisms they have evolved to 'keep their leaves warm.' Additionally, weather forecasting models rely on accurate estimates of surface water evaporation, a lot of which comes from tree leaves. Knowing the temperature of these leaves is crucial to accurate predictions of future climate scenarios.

The research contradicts the longstanding assumption that temperature in a healthy leaf are coupled to ambient air conditions. For decades, scientists studying climate change have measured the oxygen isotope ratio in tree-ring cellulose to determine the ambient temperature and relative humidity of past climates.

This new work challenges the potential to reconstruct climate through tree-ring isotope analysis, since it suggests the method does not provide direct information about past climate, providing misleadingly warm estimates. The discovery will be a boon for ecologists because it opens the potential for the reconstruction of tree responses to both average climate and climate change over the last couple of centuries.



The "apocalyptic visions" of environmentalists are not justified by the evidence about global warming, according to a Midland MP. John Maples (Con Stratford) told the House of Commons he did not believe scientists really understood what was happening to the earth's climate. He sounded a note of scepticism in a debate which highlighted the lack of consensus among Britain's politicians about the environment.

Black Country MP Rob Marris (Lab Wolverhampton South West) told colleagues to "wake up and smell the coffee" and accept the world was not going to stop creating the pollution believed to cause global warming. Most MPs and staff failed even to turn the lights off in the Commons toilets, he said. Britain should focus on how it was going to cope with global warming, instead of hoping it could avoid the problem by cutting back on carbon emissions, he said.

They were speaking during a debate on the Climate Change Bill, which will set a legally binding target for reducing UK carbon dioxide emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2020. Mr Maples said: "Until a couple of months ago, I was happily riding this consensus and accepted the received wisdom. I thought it was probably being exaggerated a bit, but then people usually do that. However, I then made the mistake of reading a few books and quite a lot of analysis ... that has led me to a couple of conclusions that trouble me a lot.

"I do not believe that the science is anything like as settled as the proponents of the Bill are making out. In fact, the scientists hedge their predictions with an awful lot of qualifications and maybes that those who invoke them often omit. "The science is a bit like medicine in the 1850s. The scientists are scratching the surface of something that they do not really understand, but no doubt will. "They are probably on to something, but nothing like the whole story. What they say does not justify any of the apocalyptic visions that we have heard set out."

He said none of the models scientists had developed to predict how carbon emissions might affect the environment could account for the climate change that had actually taken place. "The record shows that the climate warmed from 1920 to 1940, cooled from 1940 to 1975, rose again from 1975 to 2000, and since 2000 ... has not risen at all. In the past seven years, global temperatures have not increased."

Mr Marris was also sceptical about plans to reduce carbon emissions, but for different reasons. He said: "I welcome the Bill and I accept that human activity is affecting the climate adversely. I am not a flat-earther." But he did not accept the "cosy consensus" that everything would be fine if plans were made to cut carbon dioxide emissions, he said. Emissions were currently going up rather than down, he added.

Some MPs were calling for an 80 per cent cut, he said. "I say to honourable members, `wake up and smell the coffee'. We are not going to achieve 80 per cent - it will be hard to reach 60 per cent, if we consider the number of air trips our constituents make."

Global warming would affect Britain's plans, wildlife and food production, he said. "They will affect issues such as building design and planning regulations; roads and railways, with rails buckling in the heat; water supply, with a need for new reservoirs; what we have to do about coastal defences with rising sea levels; inland flooding, which we saw dramatically last year and which will only get worse; possible civil unrest and its security implications, which other countries and, potentially, we will face; and international development."



There has been a mixed reaction to East Antrim representative Sammy Wilson's appointment as Environment Minister, following a reshuffle of the DUP's Stormont team. Amid the back-slapping over the Assemblyman and MP's elevation to the Executive has come sharp criticism from leading environmentalists over the local politician's "sceptical" views on climate change.

Mr. Wilson, who replaces DUP colleague Arlene Foster in the post, said he was "very happy" to take on a job in which he could deal with issues affecting the people of East Antrim. He cited in particular the planning system which had caused "much frustration for many people". Mr. Wilson added: "I am also keen to ensure that we protect the beauty of Northern Ireland and keep it in its current state for future generations to enjoy. "There is also an important job be done with local government: I want to see efficient councils in Northern Ireland which provide good services and are accountable for what they do." ...

Mr. Wilson's promotion brought a less favourable response from other quarters. The Green Party expressed disappointment at Mr. Wilson's "climate change sceptic views" and urged him to refrain from commenting on the subject until he has acquainted himself with the findings of the Inter-governmental Panel on climate change.

Said Green Party MLA Brian Wilson: "Sammy Wilson has a duty to the people of Northern Ireland and the environment to ensure that his comments are evidence-based and not the uninformed babble of someone who should be spending more time reading his First Day briefs." He urged the East Antrim politician to attend UN talks on climate change, adding: "No serious scientist has attributed all climate change to human activity. "Even the school children of Northern Ireland understand the distinction."

Mr. Wilson's appointment also caused raised eyebrows within environmental group, Friends of the Earth. Describing the move as "a mistake," the organisation's Northern Ireland director, John Woods, commented: "Mr Wilson is well known for his sceptical views on climate change. "It is difficult to see how a Minister who holds such views in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence could be a credible protector of our environment. But the test will be how Sammy Wilson approaches his new responsibilities. "The jury is out on this appointment - he has a good deal to prove."

Responding to the criticism, the new Environment Minister said: "I am not convinced and I don't think that there is any firm evidence to show that all climate change is due to CO2 emissions. "I think we have to make sure we do not allow the agenda for NI to be dominated by the people who can sometimes be described as green fanatics."

More here


There is more than twice as much oil in the ground as major producers say, according to a former industry adviser who claims there is widespread misunderstanding of the way proven reserves are calculated.

Although it is widely assumed that the world has reached a point where oil production has peaked and proven reserves have sunk to roughly half of original amounts, this idea is based on flawed thinking, said Richard Pike, a former oil industry man who is now chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Current estimates suggest there are 1,200 billion barrels of proven global reserves, but the industry's internal figures suggest this amounts to less than half of what actually exists. The misconception has helped boost oil prices to an all-time high, sending jitters through the market and prompting calls for oil-producing nations to increase supply to push down costs.

Flying into Japan for a summit two days after prices reached a record $139 a barrel, energy ministers from the G8 countries yesterday discussed an action plan to ease the crisis.

Explaining why the published estimates of proven global reserves are less than half the true amount, Dr Pike said there was anecdotal evidence that big oil producers were glad to go along with under-reporting of proven reserves to help maintain oil's high price. "Part of the oil industry is perfectly familiar with the way oil reserves are underestimated, but the decision makers in both the companies and the countries are not exposed to the reasons why proven oil reserves are bigger than they are said to be," he said. Dr Pike's assessment does not include unexplored oilfields, those yet to be discovered or those deemed too uneconomic to exploit.

The environmental implications of his analysis, based on more than 30 years inside the industry, will alarm environmentalists who have exploited the concept of peak oil to press the urgency of the need to find greener alternatives. "The bad news is that by underestimating proven oil reserves we have been lulled into a false sense of security in terms of environmental issues, because it suggests we will have to find alternatives to fossil fuels in a few decades," said Dr Pike. "We should not be surprised if oil dominates well into the twenty-second century. It highlights a major error in energy and environmental planning - we are dramatically underestimating the challenge facing us," he said.

Proven oil reserves are likely to be far larger than reported because of the way the capacity of oilfields is estimated and how those estimates are added to form the proven reserves of a company or a country. Companies add the estimated capacity of oil fields in a simple arithmetic manner to get proven oil reserves. This gives a deliberately conservative total deemed suitable for shareholders who do not want proven reserves hyped, Dr Pike said.

However, mathematically it is more accurate to add the proven oil capacity of individual fields in a probabilistic manner based on the bell-shaped statistical curve used to estimate the proven, probable and possible reserves of each field. This way, the final capacity is typically more than twice that of simple, arithmetic addition, Dr Pike said. "The same also goes for natural gas because these fields are being estimated in much the same way. The world is understating the environmental challenge and appears unprepared for the difficult compromises that will have to be made."

Jeremy Leggett, author of Half Gone, a book on peak oil, is not convinced that Dr Pike is right. "The flow rates from the existing projects are the key. Capacity coming on stream falls fast beyond 2011," Dr Leggett said. "On top of that, if the big old fields begin collapsing, the descent in supply will hit the world very hard."


Global Warming Alarmists Like High Gas Prices

Gas has finally hit $4 a gallon. Most Americans are upset about the cost, but to some journalists, environmental activists and politicians, high gas prices are good news. Even though the media have complained about "sky-high" gas prices, reporting the pain caused at the pump, they have declared energy conservation the "clear winner" from rising prices and have even called for higher prices to boost the "green" movement, as The New York Times did as early as 2005.

Not very long ago, Managing Editor Allen Wastler called for "a tax to make it $4 a gallon right now." At the time - April 30, 2007 - gas averaged $2.95 a gallon, meaning Wastler called for more than $1 in extra gasoline taxes "because when you saw us flirting with $3, all the sudden we got a burst in hybrid production, we got a burst in ethanol production."

Meanwhile, elected officials have offered short-term proposals to lower gas prices - like Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) summer "gas tax holiday" - and long-term proposals to hike gas prices, like Rep. John Dingell's (D-Mich.) idea to raise the federal gas tax by 50 cents per gallon. And environmental activists overtly praise pain at the pump and lobby for more federal taxes on fuel. "The biggest lie in America [sic] politics today is to say you care deeply about global warming and advocate for the price of gas to go down. Those are mutually exclusive concepts," AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said in the April 25 Newsweek, pointing out the great hypocrisy of anyone in the "green movement" complaining about high gas prices.

The media have had it both ways, bashing Big Oil for allegedly making prices high while praising the same high prices for the effect they may have on warming-related emissions. "[I]t's time to pay a price to curb global warming," the Christian Science Monitor declared in a May 12 editorial. "Rather than prevent $4-a-gallon gas now, legislators should welcome it." "Congress must impose a `carbon' tax on fossil-fuel use," the newspaper's editors said, "from electric utilities to home furnaces to gas-guzzling vehicles." Brian O'Connor, the Money & Life editor for the Detroit News, wrote in a May 31 column that high gas prices would be good for Michigan's struggling economy. In its "Conventional Wisdom" feature May 22, Newsweek declared energy conservation "the clear winner as oil creeps toward $200 a barrel."

The media have been pushing for more expensive gas for years - all while complaining about high gas prices, as CNN did on "American Morning" May 23 when host John Roberts repeated a viewer's complaint that high gas prices forced him to abandon satellite television. Wastler wasn't the first to suggest more gas taxes on CNN. In April 2006, Miles O'Brien said there "could be a good argument for a gas tax in all of this to help pay for these alternative fuels." "I hope gas prices go as high as they have to go to get the rest of these morons off the road in these big Hummers," CNN's Jack Cafferty said on "In the Money" March 25, 2006.

Members of the media have been waiting a very long time for prices to hit $4. "For anyone with a fresh idea, expensive oil is as good as a subsidy - with no political strings attached," contributing editor Spencer Reiss wrote in December 2005. "And smile when you see a big black $3 or $4 out in front at the gas pump. Those innovators need all the encouragement they can get. Shale oil, uranium, sunlight - there's enough energy out there for a dozen planets."

In October 2005, when gas was around $2.85 a gallon, The New York Times called expensive gas "the best solution" to terrorist, environmental and economic threats. "The best solution is to increase the federal gasoline tax, in order to keep the price of gas near its post-Katrina high of $3-plus a gallon," the newspaper's editors wrote in an editorial.

In his 2000 book "Earth in the Balance," former Vice President Al Gore advocated increasing energy taxes on consumers to decrease the incentive to pollute. Seven years earlier, in 1993, Gore cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to increase the federal gas tax to 18.4 cents, where it stands today. Elected officials in Congress are still working to harness the power of federal taxes to fund the "green" agenda and have been working to raise the price of gas even as it rises due to market forces.

In August 2007, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., floated the idea of increasing the federal gas tax by 50 cents per gallon. The Christian Science Monitor called him "courageous." Dingell shelved the plan in April 2008, when gas was nearing $3.50 a gallon, saying "now is not the time for us to put any additional burden on the working families of Michigan or this nation."

In January 2008, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, a group created by Congress in 2005 to study surface transportation needs, recommended a 40-cent increase in the gas tax spread out over five years for infrastructure upgrades.

Recently the Senate rejected the Lieberman-Warner "cap-and-trade" bill, legislation aimed at reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Opponents warned the measure would lead to increases at the pump of anywhere from $1.50 to $5 per gallon.

Politicians like Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the Republican nominee for president, have publicly supported efforts to reduce the cost of gasoline. McCain proposed a widely criticized "gas tax holiday" that would have eliminated the federal gas tax for the summer. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., formerly a contender for the Democratic nomination, supported a similar plan that would have added a "windfall profits" tax on oil companies. Her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), now the Democrats' candidate, opposed the gas tax holiday and also supports taxing oil companies more.

But all three support global warming-related energy control legislation that would increase the cost of energy, leading some - like AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson in Newsweek - to point out the mutual exclusivity of global warming legislation and lower energy prices.

Alternative forms of energy are less efficient and usually less attractive to an open market than oil and coal, but higher gas prices give environmentalists an opportunity to exploit pain at the pump. NBC's Anne Thompson noted on the March 12 "Nightly News" that higher energy prices would be good for alternative forms of energy like solar and wind power, which can cost two to four times as much as coal and oil.

In May 2006, Earth Policy Institute president Lester Brown proposed a gasoline tax hike of 30 cents per gallon every year for the next 10 years. He said higher prices would spur investment in alternative energy and public transportation and decrease dependence on foreign oil. In March 2008, as gas prices rose closer and closer to $4, Brown maintained that an increased tax was a good idea, telling Fox News that "a tax on gas is a way to reduce dependence on import oil, reduce traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions."



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


Monday, June 16, 2008


How can so many be so wrong?

After reading some of the False Alarm website, which is highly critical of the scientific "consensus" that humans are the principal cause of global warming, a friend sent me an email the other day that read, in part: "How can many, many respected, competitive, independent science folks be so wrong about this (if your premise is correct)? I don't think it could be a conspiracy, or incompetence. Has there ever been another case when so many "leading" scientific minds got it so wrong?"

This is a really good question. I'm not a climate scientist (but, then, neither is Al Gore); I'm an ex-journalist, now an academic. I teach professional writing. How dare I claim to know more than, say, the 2,000 or so scientists who contribute to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports? These are the experts, after all, and they say that humans are the principal cause of global warming at the moment. How could the experts possibly be wrong?

Of course, many, many people (not just scientists) have been wrong before on many, many topics. Until the 1960s, few scientists believed in continental drift. Millions of intelligent people continue to believe in communism even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. After Rachel Carson's Silent Spring came out in 1962, many, many people believed DDT was bad when in fact, if used properly, DDT could have saved millions of lives in places like Africa.

Science is a process of systematically weeding out the wrong ideas and replacing them with better wrong ideas, as it were. But getting on to global warming

How can so many be so wrong?

Well, for a start, here's a comment from the Summary of the IPCC's 2007 report: Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.

The only problem with this statement is that it isn't true: it's now widely accepted in scientific circles that the climate system hasn't warmed since 1998 although, curiously enough, this hasn't been announced to the public. Why not? You'd think it would be in big, bold, front-page headlines: GLOBAL WARMING OVER (at least for now). Yet, somehow, the writers of the 2007 IPCC report managed to find increases in warming when the planet wasn't warming, which was a triumph of ideology over fact.And, when Official Climate Science did discover that it isn't warming, they tried to keep this information from the public as much as possible by ignoring it, or by saying the flat-lined warming is just "temporary" (which it may be).

Too many scientific careers (and billions in scientific grants) are riding on the hypothesis that humans are the main cause of warming to give it up easily.

How can so many be so wrong?

Ten years of no warming is a bit more than the normal year-to-year fluctuations - it's more like a trend - but none of the IPCC's sophisticated computer models predicted it. Yet, since carbon emissions are continuing to increase, the trend should be continuous warming if humans are the principal cause of climate change, as the IPCC believes (although it puts its bias in probabilistic language-"it is highly likely that.").

How can so many be so wrong?

Here's the IPCC's mission statement: The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation

There's nothing wrong with having a mission; it's unavoidable. The IPCC is a kind of global-warming think tank and most think tanks have a mission. The mission of the Fraser Institute, for example, is to promote free markets. The mission of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is to promote socialism, although its mission statement doesn't say this directly. Both seek to be as "objective" as possible, but they start from different premises.

Similarly, the mission of the IPCC is to investigate and promote the idea that human activities are the main cause of global warming. Its mandate isn't to explore the idea that perhaps humans aren't at fault. However, a key difference between the IPCC and the Fraser Institute, or the IPCC and the Centre for Policy Alternatives, is that most readers of a Fraser Institute or CPA document know that the organization has a bias and take that into account in assessing the information they are receiving. (3) The IPCC, on the other hand, promotes itself to the public as a fully scientific, unbiased source of information on climate change, when, in fact, as anyone who carefully reads its mission statement (few, apparently, have bothered) would know, it is not.

How can so many be so wrong?

The next sentence of the IPCC's mission statement reads: "Review by experts and governments is an essential part of the IPCC process" . Yet, surely if the IPCC was truly taking an "objective" look at climate change from a balanced, purely scientific perspective, its findings would not be subject to "review by governments," which are political bodies with political, not scientific, agendas. Does anyone today believe that Galileo should have had to present his findings to the Church before publishing them? True science is not subject to review by governments.

How can so many be so wrong?

No truly objective scientific body would be striving for "consensus" in its reports, although we expect consensus from think-tank publications - the Fraser Institute isn't going to put out a document calling for the nationalization of the Canadian oil industry, for example. This striving for consensus meant that the IPCC was not interested, right from the start, in giving legitimacy to views that didn't fit its mandate. For example, the 1990 IPCC report said of dissenters: "Whilst every attempt was made by the Lead Authors to incorporate their comments, in some cases these formed a minority opinion which could not be reconciled with the larger consensus".

Yet reaching a consensus was the IPCC's task when it was started in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. What consensus? The one approved by the politicians who bankrolled the process, which is why, again, and incredibly, the IPCC's conclusions undergo "review by governments."(5) That is, the IPCC has to meet a political (ideological) as well as a scientific agenda.

Since the IPCC's mission isn't to investigate possible natural causes of climate change, but to determine the role of "human-induced" climate change, it's not surprising that the IPCC finds what it seeks. How do we know there is bias rather than objective science at work? Because when scientists who aren't part of the "consensus" suggest other, natural mechanisms for climate change, they are not only not given a respectful hearing, as you'd expect from disinterested scientists, they are denounced as heretics.

For example, when physicist Henrick Svensmark suggested that cosmic rays might be one explanation for climate change, former IPCC chairman Bert Bolin denounced his theory as "extremely naive and irresponsible," and another scientist at a conference called it "dangerous."(6) Similarly, research questioning the validity of ice-core CO2 readings was declared "immoral." These responses are reminiscent more of religion than science.

What is the proper scientific attitude toward new ideas? Here's what philosopher of science Karl Popper had to say: If you are interested in the problem which I tried to solve by my tentative assertion, you may help me by criticizing it as severely as you can; and if you can design some experimental test which you think might refute my assertion, I shall gladly, and to the best of my powers, help you to refute it.

This is the opposite of the IPCC's approach, which is to shout down or ignore critics, and even make it difficult for them to continue their research or get published. When the Official Science peer-reviewed journals refuse to publish articles by skeptics, as they do, Official Science can then say the skeptical science doesn't have peer-reviewed publications: it's a Catch-22. Official Climate Science has made up its mind as to the (human) culprit in global warming and isn't interested in any other suspects.

All of the above may be wrong, of course: the IPCC may be doing a totally accurate, bang-up job of assessing the science on climate change. Unfortunately, the process - a bias toward human causes of climate change and "review by governments" - means that the IPCC is not the objective scientific body it presents itself as to the public. It is driven by agendas other than science......

Let me conclude by saying this:

I can't claim to be an expert on climate science. But, as a former journalist, I do claim an ability to know when someone is not dealing honestly with the public. And everything I have read since I began my research convinces me more and more, as my book title argues, that most of what we, the public, have been told about global warming is misleading, exaggerated, or plain wrong, including the claim that the planet is warming.

You don't need to be a climate expert make this discovery, as I have, but you need time and patience and some idea of where to look. Of one fact I am now sure: the public won't get a balanced, objective viewpoint from the Official Climate Science "consensus."

How can so many be wrong? The real question, once we've seen the way Official Climate Science spins the facts, is how can we be sure anything it tells us is right?

Much more here

A comment from radiochemist Alan Siddons []:

Let me propose yet another reason. The IPCC and other authorities commit the same error that most people do. The earth is enclosed in a perfect thermal insulator, the vacuum of space. Since most people believe that space is incredibly cold, however, they've also been misled into believing that the earth is kept warm by an atmospheric blanket which inhibits the energy emitted to space - an outmoded conjecture now disproved by satellite observations. But a desperate belief in "the greenhouse effect" still persists, for people feel that isolating earth from the "coldness" of empty space is the only way of sustaining the earth's warmth. Short of installing a gigantic mirror around our planet, however, nothing but space can preserve the earth's temperature longer. That's how so many people can be so wrong, skeptics included. Their ideas about space come from science fiction.

Solution Found to Global Warming

The post below is not wholly logical but it is at least as logical as Warmism

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports that parks in cities are up to 12 degrees centigrade cooler than commercial centers. A ten percent increase in green areas reduces the average city temperature by about 4 degrees; offsetting the UN climate committee's extreme predictions of temperature increases over the next century.

Many scientists have criticized the UN predictions for lack of correspondence with real climate data. Al Gore and others have suggested an extreme political agenda in response to the predictions. The political agenda has been criticized for its projected devastating effect on western civilization without any corresponding benefit. Even assuming the UN predictions are correct, new thinking about the problem is demonstrating that there are effective ways to deal with city heat without such extreme political measures.


More Signs of the Sun Slowing Down

Says meteorologist Watts. See the original for links and graphics

A few months ago, I had plotted the Average Geomagnetic Planetary Index (Ap) which is a measure of the magnetic field strength but also daily index determined from running averages of eight Ap index values. Call it a common yardstick (or meterstick) for solar magnetic activity.

I had noted that there was a curious step function in 2005, almost as if something had "switched off".Today, since it is fathers' day, and I get to do whatever I want, I chose to revisit this graph. Later I plan to take my children to launch model rockets, but for now, here are some interesting new things I've found.

First, I've updated the original Ap graph to June 2008. Source data, NASA Space Weather Prediction Center

As you can see, the Ap Index has continued along at the low level (slightly above zero) that was established during the drop in October 2005. As of June 2008, we now have 32 months of the Ap hovering around a value just slightly above zero, with occasional blips of noise. Since it is provided in the same dataset, I decided to also plot the smoothed Ap Index. I had noted to myself back in February that the smoothed Ap Index had dropped to minus 1.0. I figured it was just an artifact of the smoothing algorithm, but today that number remains there, and there doesn't appear to be any change even though we've had a bit of noise in March that put the Ap Index back up to 10 for that month. I also plotted my own 24 month smoothing window plot, shown in magenta.

I find it curious that the smoothed value provided by SWPC remains at -1. I figure if it is a software error, they would have noted and fixed it by now, and if they haven't then perhaps they are standing by the number. Odd.

While I was searching for something that could explain this, I came across this plot from NOAA's NGDC which was used to illustrate solar storm frequency related to sunspots

But what I found was most interesting was the data file they provided, which had the number of days in a year where the Ap Index exceeded 40... What is most striking is that since 1932, there have not been ANY years prior to 2007 that have zero data. The closest was 1996

Now we have almost two years. I also decided to plot the 10.7 centimeter band solar radio flux, also a metric of solar activity. It is in the same SWPC dataset file as the Ap Index, in columns 8 and 9. Oddly the smoothed 10.7 CM flux value provided by SWPC also has dropped precipitously and stayed there. I also provided my own 24 month wind smoothed value which is plotted in magenta. Like the smoothed Ap Index, it has also stayed that way a few months. This is truly odd, either the smoothed value that SWPC provides is accurate based on their algorithm, and they know it, or the value is just plain wrong and nobody has caught it for months. My running 24 month window curve suggests the SWPC smoothed values are wrong.

Either way it appears we continue to slide into a deeper than normal solar minima, one not seen in decades. Given the signs, I think we are about to embark upon a grand experiment, over which we have no control


No Drilling. No New Refineries. Get a Horse!

I keep wondering how long it will take Americans to connect the dots and figure out why the most powerful economy the world has ever seen cannot manage to drill for oil in its own backyard and then get it refined nearby.

The news on June 10, if anyone was paying attention, was about the way the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups were able to thwart the plans of ConocoPhillips to expand its refinery in Roxana, Illinois. An appeal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was upheld because, said the EPA, its air permit, previously granted, just did not meet all the excruciating requirements involved.

For the record, ConocoPhillips was and is prepared to invest an estimated $1 billion to add a second coker, otherwise known as a crude oil processor. The company wants to expand in order to process Canadian tar sands oil. These days it refines approximately 306,000 barrels of oil per day to produce gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, asphalt and other products."

This explains in part why ExxonMobil has just announced it will sell off its gas stations because the real money is made "upstream" as they say in the oil industry. The profits from the "downstream", in this case at the pump, are so small as to be a drag on earnings.

All those members of Congress that want to punish the oil companies for making a profit should check the balance sheet. From 2003 to 2007, ExxonMobil paid taxes (in all forms) in the amount of $64.7 billion. This actually exceeded its U.S. earnings by more than $19 billion! You do the math. Exploration, discovery, and drilling are where the money is. Wisely, this company has diversified into chemicals and a variety of petroleum related products.

Meanwhile, the only thing that the Greens are pumping is more hot air about global warming. According to the Sierra Club, "climate change is decimating many species" and pushing Congress to pass the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act. Another name for it might as well be the "Do Not Drill for Oil, Mine for Coal, and Build a Pipeline for Natural Gas Act." The world is not running out of polar bears, but Americans who have to pay $4 plus for a gallon of gasoline are beginning-at last-to run out of patience.

Over at Friends of the Earth, they are very annoyed that America's high school students studying civics might read a new textbook that raises questions about global warming and/or climate change, based on real science, not the lies they and other Greens have been putting out for decades. FOE is currently flogging something they call "climate equity." According to them, "The next President must acknowledge that the U.S. has contributed more global warming pollution to our atmosphere than any other nation."

Oh yeah? What about those coal-fired plants that China can't build fast enough to provide electricity? Or comparable efforts in India to meet the needs of a growing economy? In the end, the Greens are utterly opposed to any development, i.e., modernization, anywhere and they don't care how many lies they have to tell.

Actually, they don't have to worry that much. The next President will either be a Democrat who wants to further destroy what's left of the oil industry in America or a Republican who believes global warming is real.

The Greens here in America don't want you to drive your car, your truck, your tractor or that big Harley-Davidson hog. They don't want any oil company to drill for oil anywhere on or offshore of America. They don't want any new refineries built. In short, get a horse!


The Climate Alarmist Manifesto

Just as class struggle forms the nucleus of Marxism, so does it sit at the very core of the Left's climate alarmism. At a glance, the regressive nature of fiscal Carbon control schemes, be they taxation or cap-and-trade, would appear to be antithetical to liberal thinking. But beneath the veneer of both the domestic and international green agenda lies a devious wealth-redistribution plan compared to which all predecessors pale.

Take, for instance, the recently tabled Lieberman-Warner Bill. The Act would have empowered government to control key aspects of -- while extracting trillions of dollars from -- our economy by forcing the auction of greenhouse gas (GHG) credits upon industry and power companies. And, while the left lauds penalizing bourgeois "big business" success, advocates for the poor were quick to point out that the inescapable consequent increase in energy costs across the board (electricity, home heating, gasoline, etc) would have placed a disproportionate burden upon proletarian lower wage-earners.

Ah, but the Democrats -- champions of the downtrodden that they are -- were just as quick to respond. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) offered a substitute amendment bearing her name, Subtitle I of which provided "Financial Relief for Consumers" as follows:
"The bill sets aside a nearly $800 billion tax relief fund through 2050, which will help consumers in need of assistance related to energy costs. The precise details of the relief will be developed by the Finance committee."

And if Senator Boxer's plan of doling out $800 billion in industry profits to the "needy" sounds like class warfare to you, just wait until you hear what's brewing down the hall.

Late last month, chairman of the Special House Committee On Global Warming, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), unveiled even harsher climate change legislation. Unlike Lieberman-Warner, which would have at least eased industry and power companies into compliance over time, Markey's bill would require permits for virtually all emissions right from day one, in a crazy effort to roll atmospheric CO2 back to levels 85 percent below 2005 by 2050 (that's 15% more than even the doomed Senate bill).

Also unlike its Senate counterpart, Markey's Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act (ICAP) requires no amendments to begin redistributing the profits of domestic commerce. Actually, Subtitle A: Climate Trust Tax Credits and Rebates is quite clear in describing how $4.3 trillion (which represents an estimated 55 to 58.5% of auction proceeds) will:
"be used for refundable tax credits and rebates for middle- and low-income households, to compensate for any increase in energy costs resulting from the bill. Tax credits will be used to reach middle-income wage earners and senior citizens, and cash rebates -- distributed through the Electronic Benefits Transfer systems used for food stamps -- will be used to reach low-income households. All households earning under $110,000 will be eligible. Virtually all costs from climate regulation will be covered for households earning under $70,000, with benefit levels phasing out gradually for households earning $70,000 to $110,000."

Of course, under the cloak of a "market-based" solution, cap-and-trade's government command-and-control system is, as George Will so brilliantly describes it, already nothing more than "a huge tax hidden in a bureaucratic labyrinth of opaque permit transactions." Adding unabashedly obvious wealth-redistribution to the formula merely strips any fa‡ade of capitalism's skeleton beneath.

It seems that giddy anticipation of further power gains next year -- combined with hope of the most liberal among them living in the White House -- has caused many Dems to lower their guard with respect to their aims. Just last month, before a House Judiciary Committee, Maxine Waters apparently cared little for Shell Oil President John Hofmeister's response to her questions about guaranteeing a drop in oil prices were he allowed to drill off US shores. Visibly flustered, the California Democrat let slip to an astonished audience:
"And guess what this liberal would be all about? This liberal would be all about socialize -- uh, uh, would be about basically taking over and the government running all of your companies."

What still escapes me is just why anyone might be surprised by her faux-pas. Such is precisely the Left's rationale for jumping aboard the bogus GHG bandwagon in such earnest almost to the very man and woman.

In the section Das Klima Kapital of my recent piece celebrating the death of Lieberman-Warner for its lack of scientific merit, I also pointed out why cap-and-trade is the perfect liberal synergy of environmentalism and socialism:
"In 1867, Karl Marx argued that capitalism's cycle of labor exploitation could not endlessly sustain itself and would ultimately be its doom. Modern greenies insist that capitalism's cycle of environmental exploitation will not endlessly sustain itself and will ultimately be not only its doom -- but the entire planet's."

But, indeed, the reach of this ecosocialism extends far beyond our borders. Internationally, the Left has always accused capitalist western nations of growing fat through the exploitation of poorer countries. And they now argue that those same fat-cat nations have exploited the planet to the brink of doom, also to the simultaneous exclusion and detriment of those less fortunate.

And for their imaginary sins of both economic and ecological abuse at both the national and global level, liberal-elitists have decreed that now is the time for the successful to atone. Translation: "developed" nations must not only clean up their own mess, but also pay to help "undeveloped" nations clean up theirs.

Much as Vladmir Lenin promised in 1920 that centralized electrification and "advanced technology" would abolish "the division between town and country" and "conquer completely and decisively the backwardness of the countryside, its scattered economy and its ignorance," so do the ecosocialists plan to uplift "developing nations." But unlike the first soviet leader's GOELRO project, which coalesced Russian scientists and peasant cooperatives to bring modernizing power to their own country, contemporary ecosocialists would simply play Robin Hood with the wealth and patented technology of "prosperous" nations under the false pretense of "saving the planet."

Through Carbon trading, taxes, mandatory "clean energy" technology transfers, and other austere regulations, proposed UN-controlled international climate treaties to succeed Kyoto would penalize wealthy, innovative, capitalist countries while subsidizing poorer nations with waivers and foreign aid. And with most "good governance" requirements for beneficiary nations lifted, this equates to coerced underwriting of military regimes, dictatorships and, of course, socialists.

In his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program, Marx defined the basis for a communist society with the words "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." What a marvelous creed for today's climate alarmists, who would steal from flourishing countries, enterprises and citizens in order to give to those they deem chronically underprivileged. And, by spreading their woefully unproven yet widely accepted GHG horror stories, would do so on a global level that Marx and Lenin themselves dared only dream of. And would wield more centralized control of international economies than either ever dared envision. In his book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, Vaclav Klaus wrote:
"The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st century is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.''

With all due respect to the wise Czech President, they are indeed one in the same.


The Chilling Costs of Climate Catastrophism

Comment from Australia

VACLAV KLAUS has given us a salutary reminder of the seriousness of the danger Australia is now facing from the "warmists". Both the Rudd government and the federal Opposition, currently led by Brendan Nelson, have promised us an emissions trading scheme; in the case of Prime Minister Rudd, by 2010. The responsibility of advising the federal and state governments on how such a decarbonisation regime should be established lies with Professor Ross Garnaut, a noted economist and diplomat, and a passionate advocate on the benefits of free trade and of the advantages of an ever-closer relationship between Australia and China.

The Garnaut Inquiry has issued two interim reports and Garnaut has given a number of papers to professional audiences in recent months. Three observations emerge from immersion in these documents.

The first is the childlike, unquestioning belief which Garnaut has in the IPCC story of global warming caused by anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, which, if not curtailed, will result in climatic and economic disaster for the whole world. Many people have noted the religious-like quality of faith in this story of human sin (particularly of Western mankind); the calamitous consequences following failure to repent; and the possibility of redemption through repentance and sacrifice under the wise guidance of green prophets such as Al Gore, James Hansen, Bob Brown, Peter Garrett, and now Ross Garnaut.

The second is the refusal to face the political reality posed by Chinese and Indian "intransigence" in the face of demands from the West, the EU in particular, to decarbonise their economies. India and China are embarked on trajectories of extraordinary and historically unprecedented economic growth. China is commissioning two new coal-fired power stations every week. Both countries are also operating and building nuclear power stations. China has ten operating nuclear power plants, one under construction, and six planned; India has fifteen operating nuclear power stations, eight under construction, and four planned. These are not countries devoid of technological and scientific expertise. The idea that they should give up their dash to modernity has been repeatedly and emphatically rejected by their most senior political leaders.

The third is the Orwellian use of the words market and price to persuade people to accept a degree of control over their lives which is unprecedented in the Anglosphere, except in time of war. This control is the necessary consequence of permanent decarbonisation regimes which will dramatically lower living standards.

The foundation on which the Garnaut (and Stern) prescriptions for global decarbonisation are based has to be repeated. It is taken as given that global temperatures have increased, are increasing, and will continue to increase to catastrophic levels because, and only because, mankind is emitting greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide in particular, and that these emissions have caused atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to rise, and global temperatures to increase as a consequence.

In order to save the planet (redemption in religious terms), mankind must stop "polluting" the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. This means reducing the current emission rate of approximately 25 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum (7 gigatonnes of carbon) to 5 or 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. There is competition between the various prophets of decarbonisation as to the extent of the purification process required to save the planet. They are united, however, in the great urgency of the task. Delay in decarbonisation, they insist, will be disastrous, and they conjure up a "tipping point", some magical proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which will bring about runaway heating, or alternatively, perhaps, the next ice age. The tipping point is rather like the second coming of Christ, that final moment in history when Christ will come again in glory and power to judge the world.

As I argued previously (Quadrant, March 2008), such massive decarbonisation can only take place if the entire world's current stock of coal-fired power stations is replaced with nuclear power stations by 2050 (the currently favoured target date). At the same time all motor vehicles, ships and aeroplanes currently using liquid hydrocarbons (kerosene, petrol and distillate) as fuel for their engines, will have to convert to hydrogen, or accept batteries in lieu of internal combustion engines. The only alternative approach which will achieve the degree of decarbonisation the Greens and Garnaut demand, is to return to the living standards which were characteristic of Britain and North America in the eighteenth century, before the Industrial Revolution. China and India have rejected any such option.

Returning to the way of life of Adam Smith's Britain and George Washington's North America is not a politically feasible project, at least not in the Western democracies. So the Greens and their allies in this project go to considerable trouble to disguise their ambitions. One tactic they use to disguise the cost is to conduct econometric studies which predict very modest decline in GDP over the decarbonisation period, or even no decline at all. The fundamental problem with this is that per capita GDP is not a reliable measure of living standards and prosperity. As Frederick Bastiat pointed out over a century ago, deliberately smashing windows and then producing and installing replacements will contribute to GDP, but at the same time reduce living standards, because the resources required to build and install the new windows will have to be diverted from other more productive activities.

The decarbonisation parallel is that measured GDP will not be affected by the extra resources required to build wind farms relative to the resources required to build the same quantity of coal-fired capacity. However, because those extra resources will have to be diverted from producing other goods and services of value to consumers, the building of wind farms will, other things being equal, reduce living standards. Accordingly, using estimates of changes in GDP as an indicator of the costs of shifting away from carbon-based energy sources is not only misleading, but shoddy economic practice. Garnaut is guilty of this practice, a misdemeanour made worse by the way in which his modellers "assume" in their models that the price signals embodied in ever-rising prices for coal-based electricity and liquid fuels for transport will bring forth, in a cargo-cult fashion, new technologies which have not yet been invented, let alone deployed, but which will suddenly enable the world to reach a new, green, nirvana, and take the place of the old and proscribed technologies.

Arnold Zellner, one of the giants in the development of econometric analysis, relates this amusing story in a long interview published in the International Journal of Forecasting:

"Steve Peck and I simulated the Federal Reserve- MIT-PENN econometric model of the US economy that had over 170 nonlinear equations. Our simulation experiments showed that the model had very strange properties that were unknown to the model builders. From these results we concluded that the model was not safe for use in analysing serious economic problems."

Further he commented:

"I do not know of a complicated model in any area of science that performs well in explanation and prediction, and have challenged many audiences to give me examples. So far, I have not heard about a single one. Certainly the large scale econometric models and complicated VARs [very awful regressions] have not been very successful in explanation and prediction."

We can conclude that the debate about decarbonisation, and the various emissions trajectories which could be mandated to achieve the required state of purity, cannot be illuminated by econometric models. We are concerned here with the most basic building blocks of Western civilisation. We are entirely dependent upon liquid hydro-carbons for our transport needs and upon electricity for our energy and communications requirements. If petrol supplies are curtailed, all economic activity is seriously affected. If electricity supplies are shut down as a result of storm damage, for example, then those affected find that their lives are completely disrupted.

Much more here


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


Sunday, June 15, 2008

"The current state of global warming modeling has been rather poor"

New York City is home to some of the world's most attractive models; it is also home to some of the least attractive ones, presented yearly to the United Nations' International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The current state of global warming modeling has been rather poor, detracting both from research indicating anthropogenic influence and that which contraindicates it. The result is that the debate about climate control, an issue which effects major economic policy decisions, is monopolized by this distraction.

Microsoft Research ecologist Drew Purves acknowledges that this problem is one of the largest ones confronting global warming researchers. He and researchers at Princeton University and universities in Madrid, Spain are calling on the international research community to not throw out modeling or focus on the poor current models, but rather to develop new, better models. In particular, they point out a rather common sense start point -- as forests and other plant populations form the crux of the carbon balance, a better understanding of their effects and how to model them needs to be developed and needs to help form the foundation of future models.

Examining deforestation, forest populations and how they effect the carbon balance is both essential and possible with current technology, believes Purves. While atmospheric equations are important, it's illogical to leave out one of the most important carbon utilities on Earth, forests. Atmospheric dynamics are well known, but forests, with over 1 trillion trees, from 100,000 species, are still a mystery for lack of knowledge. What we do know is that these trees hold as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere, and additionally support two-thirds of the planet's biodiversity.

Purves and Princeton's Stephen Pacala published a paper "Predictive Models of Forest Dynamics", which explores a new branch of modeling dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs), which simulates forests in the past, present, and future and their effects on climate. Purves states:
[DGVMs] have shown that forests could be a crucial part of the way the Earth's climate responds to man-made CO2 emissions, but insufficient understanding of forests, and insufficient data and computing power, have made their predictions highly uncertain. This kind of uncertainty helps climate skeptics, who erroneously conclude that because the Earth is a complex but poorly understood system, we should not change our behavior. However, we suggest that the convergence of recently developed mathematical models, improved data sources and new methods in computational data analysis could produce more realistic models. That would give us truly invaluable information to help manage the world's forests and understand their impact on our climate.

Indeed, climate change skeptics are quick to pounce on such models. However, Purves aptly points out that it is counterproductive to merely blast deficient models, rather it is favorable to acknowledge the deficiency and work towards remedying it.

Says Pacala, "Until now, one of the most important pieces of the climate change jigsaw has been missing. We argue that we can significantly further our understanding of forest dynamics if scientists work together to use new computational techniques and data sources - provided governments and others make more data available in useful forms. We feel that these discoveries could unlock the climate change mysteries of forests on a global scale in as little as five years."

The pair's paper appears in the journal Science. Also appearing in the journal is a joint study entitled "Animal vs Wind Dispersal and the Robustness of Tree Species to Deforestation," written by Daniel Montoya from the Universidad de Alcal  in Madrid and Purves in Cambridge, with Miguel A. Rodr¡guez of the Universidad de Alcal  and Miguel A. Zavala of Centro de Investigaci¢n Forestal, Instituto Nacional de Investigaci¢n y Tecnolog¡a Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA-CIFOR) in Madrid. Both papers are available here, from Microsoft.

The new study provides intriguing insight into forest growth and resiliency based on vast data sets collected from 90,000 tree plots in Spain. It found that three common species of tree that are wind pollinated are far more vulnerable to deforestation than others. Also it found that no animal seed disperser existed in the ecosystem anymore, leaving several animal dispersed species very vulnerable.

Montoya explains how this research could be applied to smarter conservation efforts, stating, "By applying various methods in computational data analysis to a large source of forest data, we have confirmed that, in Spain at least, plants with animal-dispersed seeds are less vulnerable to habitat loss, because animals provide trees with an intelligent dispersal mechanism, traveling and distributing seeds between areas of remaining forest. In contrast, a wind dispersal method is more susceptible to habitat loss, as seeds are more likely to fall in inhospitable environments. Using methods like this, conservationists can identify the species at most risk following deforestation, and use this knowledge to develop new strategies to mitigate the effects of widespread habitat loss and help to protect species diversity."

Microsoft's Purves says it's not just about the trees and animals either; he states, "It is imperative that we create the tools and science to accurately understand the reaction of ecosystems to climate change and other forces - not just for plants and animals, but for our children and succeeding generations."

Purves is the leader of the Computational Science Research at Microsoft Research Cambridge. His multidisciplinary team features ecologists, biologists, neuroscientists, mathematicians and computer scientists. Their goals is to develop novel theories, better models, and better computational resources to tackle societal challenges such as climate change, declining biodiversity, and gaining an understanding of how life functions on a most basic scale.


Note also an October 2007 paper in New Scientist "Climate is too complex for accurate predictions"

All weather is due to global warming

That seems to be the message of the neo-Soviet Leftist site below

The evidence for the consequences of global warming is appearing with alarming frequency. This morning's headlines are filled with tales of deadly weather: "At least four people were killed and about 40 injured when a tornado tore through a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa on Wednesday night"; "two people are dead in northern Kansas after tornadoes cut a diagonal path across the state"; "[t]wo Maryland men with heart conditions died this week" from the East Coast heat wave. These eight deaths come on top of reports earlier this week that the heat wave "claimed the lives of 17 people" and the wave of deadly storms killed 11 more: "six in Michigan, two in Indiana and one each in Iowa and Connecticut," as well as one man in New York.

Tornadoes this year are being reported at record levels. States of emergency have been declared in Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan because of floods and wildfires. Counties in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have been declared disaster areas due to the historic flooding that has breached dams, inundated towns, and caused major crop damage, sending commodity futures to new records. The floodwaters are continuing down the Mississippi River, with "crests of 10 feet or more above flood level" for "at least the next two weeks."

GLOBAL BOILING: This tragic, deadly, and destructive weather -- not to mention the droughts in Georgia, California, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, North Dakota, and elsewhere across the country -- are consistent with the changes scientists predicted would come with global warming. Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) called the three weeks of storms that gave rise to the floods in his state "historic in proportion," saying "very few people could anticipate or prepare for that type of event." Culver is, unfortunately, wrong.

As far back as 1995, analysis by the National Climatic Data Center showed that the United States "had suffered a statistically significant increase in a variety of extreme weather events." In 2007, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is "very likely" that man-made global warming will bring an "increase in frequency of hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation." The Nobel Prize-winning panel of thousands of scientists and government officials also found, "Altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, together with sea level rise, are expected to have mostly adverse effects on natural and human systems." In 2002, scientists said that "increased precipitation, an expected outcome of climate change, may cause losses of US corn production to double over the next 30 years -- additional damage that could cost agriculture $3 billion per year." Scientists have also found that the "West will see devastating droughts as global warming reduces the amount of mountain snow and causes the snow that does fall to melt earlier in the year."

WAKE-UP CALL?: Of the Memorial Day storms that killed eight people and "led to about $160 million in claims," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) rose on the Senate floor on June 5 to say, "the storm may serve as a wake-up call to those of us who have become somewhat complacent about severe weather warnings." The next day, Grassley joined 37 of his colleagues to filibuster climate legislation, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. This week, conservatives filibustered two more bills to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and support renewable energy and energy efficiency. In response to "[T]he most destructive flood in Indiana history," estimated to have caused "$126 million in damages," Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) told reporters that President Bush "called 'simply to inquire about how Hoosiers were getting through this, and to ask me -- as I have asked local officials -- was his level of government doing all it can to support us here and to cooperate with us? I told him, 'So far, so good.'" At the beginning of the month, Bush said he would veto these climate and clean energy bills if they came to his desk, declaring, "I urge the Congress to be very careful about running up enormous costs for future generations of Americans."

'TURNING THE KNOB': Although the deadly weather has been front-page news all season, and news channels dedicate hours of coverage to "Extreme Weather," the media are strangely reluctant to discuss severe weather events in the context of climate change. Perhaps some of the reason is the virulent response from the right wing whenever a journalist or scientist dares to discuss how "the upsurge in the number and power of the deadly storms could be related to a warming climate." In a rare instance of good coverage, ABC's Good Morning America ran a segment on Monday about the East Coast heat wave that noted "90 records have been tied or broken" across the East and interviewed eminent climatologist Dr. Stephen Schneider. Schneider explained, "While this heat wave like all other heat waves is made by Mother Nature, we've been fooling around by turning the knob and making a little bit hotter." Schneider then pointed out that we are making the climate hotter through carbon dioxide and methane emissions. In response, the right-wing media outlet Newsbusters wrote that Schneider "Blames Greenhouse Gases for Current Heat Wave," saying, "[G]lobal warming activists have another way to frighten the public -- using steamy weather to suggest human greenhouse gas emissions are worsening a heat wave."


Environmentalists Seize Green Moral High Ground Ignoring Science

By Dr. Tim Ball

The first qualification on my resume now is "Environmentalist". Actually, it is a title everyone can put after their name. We are all environmentalists to greater or lesser degrees. It is an outrage that certain people and groups have usurped this title and implied that only they care about the environment. While this series of articles has shown the role the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in manipulating climate science it has succeeded within the dominance of environmentalism over the western view of the world.

The message the IPCC pushed suited the environmentalists so it was able to hide its activities amid the usurped moral high ground. They could isolate those who dared to question the science as anti-environment or paid by the oil companies who were the cause of the major problem of climate change. While this was happening politicians were being convinced of the need for action, in most cases by the bureaucrats who were members of the IPCC representing their country. Politicians didn't understand the science and were easily bullied--besides they all wanted to be green.

The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory that human CO2 was causing warming/climate change was never tested primarily due to the actions of the IPCC. Rather the organization was set up by Maurice Strong through the UN to perpetuate the unproven theory. The IPCC mandate was defined so that they only looked at human causes of climate change, but generally the media and the public believe they are looking at scientifically natural climate change in total. Rules guaranteed the message to the media They created the illusion that open, peer reviewed science was being practiced. They guaranteed the pre-eminence of the political message over the science by writing a rule to release the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) before the Science Report.

Another rule required the Science Report agree with the Summary. The final product achieved the result of deception in full daylight because as David Wojick, UN IPCC expert reviewer explained, Glaring omissions are only glaring to experts, so the "policymakers"-including the press and the public-who read the SPM will not realize they are being told only one side of a story. But the scientists who drafted the SPM know the truth, as revealed by the sometimes artful way they conceal it. What is systematically omitted from the SPM are precisely the uncertainties and positive counter evidence that might negate the human interference theory. Instead of assessing these objections, the Summary confidently asserts just those findings that support its case. In short, this is advocacy, not assessment.

Starting in 1990, the IPCC produced Reports each increasing the probability there was clear evidence of a human cause of initially global warming and then climate change. Claim after claim was discredited but this did not stop the process. By the release of the 2001 Report, a deadly combination of events were driving the misconceptions forward overriding any attempts to point out the errors, omissions, and deliberate misdirections. The media had bought into the unproven theory and amplified the hysteria; massive amounts of government funding were driving research in a singular but wrong direction; scientists who challenged were attacked and effectively marginalized; national environmental policies were introduced often by bureaucrats who were national representatives on the IPCC; Al Gore's movie based on the false information of the IPCC fooled people on a global scale; unnecessary and potentially destructive policies were promoted such as the Kyoto Protocol, as necessary to save the planet. It is not surprising climate hysteria took hold and reason went out the window.

The switch from global warming to climate change began about 2002 as natural events did not agree with what the computer models had predicted. However, the model predictions of future warming held sway while climate change allowed them to point to any event as proof. Warmer. colder, wetter, drier, more severe weather less severe, it didn't matter now it was all due to humans. Now they had established the practice of claiming natural events as unnatural so they could never appear wrong. This drew public attention away from the failure of the model predictions, but some experts doggedly maintained their focus. For example, Dr Donald Dubois noted, "If the major climate models that are having a major impact on public policy were documented and put in the public domain, other qualified professionals around the world would be interested in looking into the validity of these models. Right now, climate science is a black box that is highly questionable with unstated assumptions and model inputs." Or, as Dr. David Wojick explained, "The public is not well served by this constant drumbeat of false alarms fed by computer models manipulated by advocates."

False assumptions guaranteed failure of the models, but manipulation and deception were achieved by what was left out. Exclusions, especially of solar activities achieved the objective of keeping the focus on CO2. The problem is CO2 is not causing global warming or climate change at all. Unfortunately, politics has not caught up with the science primarily due to the machinations of the IPCC and a few scientists, mostly government employees, who continue to blindly and religiously push CO2 as the problem.

What is wrong with the CO2 argument? Well most people have no understanding of climate science overall or the facts about CO2. The IPCC have also effectively made it the sole cause of climate change. AGW advocates and governments talk about reducing greenhouse gases, but they mean CO2. Few know it is less than 4% of all the greenhouse gases and the human portion is just a fraction of the 4%. Indeed, the amount we produce is within the error factor of the estimates of three natural sources.


1. Respiration Humans, Animals, Phytoplankton 43.5 - 52 Gt C/ year

2. Ocean Outgassing (Tropical Areas) 90 - 100 Gt C/year

3. Volcanoes, Soil degassing 0.5 - 2 Gt C/ year

4. Soil Bacteria, Decomposition 50 - 60 Gt C/ year

5. Forest cutting, Forest fires 0.6 - 2.6 Gt C/year

Anthropogenic emissions (2005) 7.5 - 7.5 Gt C/year

TOTAL 192 to 224 Gt C/ year

The table shows the range of estimates of natural CO2 and human production in 2005 (Gt C/year is Gigatons of Carbon per year). Accuracy has not improved since. Notice the human contribution is within the error range of three (1, 2, & 4) of the natural sources. The total error range is almost 5 times the amount of total human production. If we play the carbon tax game we can reduce that by 50 percent to 3.75 Gt C/year net because we remove half of what we produce through agriculture and reforestation. In other words, if everyone left the planet but one scientist remained to measure the difference in atmospheric CO2 she would not be able to measure any difference.

Many problems exist with the AGW theory, but there is one that destroys it completely. The most fundamental assumption of the theory is that an increase in CO2 will cause an increase in temperature. In fact, every record for any time period and any duration shows that exactly the opposite happens - temperature increases before CO2. This assumption is still programmed into the computer models so they continue to show that a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase. They dare not change this because it will take the focus away from CO2.

Now the social and economic damage of soaring energy and food prices, which are a direct result of policies based on IPCC reports are emerging and the evidence continues to show CO2 is not the problem. Those responsible are already making excuses or deserting the sinking ship. For example New Scientist reports on Tim Palmer, a leading climate modeler at the European Centre for Medium - Range Weather Forecasts in Reading England; "I don't want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain." Why is he saying this now? Where we was he when politicians were being misled by the IPCC? But his concern and explanation show he doesn't understand the science of climate change. "...he does not doubt that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done a good job alerting the world to the problem of global climate change. But he and his fellow climate scientists are acutely aware that the IPCC's predictions of how the global change will affect local climates are little more than guesswork. They fear that if the IPCC's predictions turn out to be wrong, it will provoke a crisis in confidence that undermines the whole climate change debate. The crisis in confidence about the climate debate is good news--it is the certainty of people like Palmer and the IPCC that have created the crisis and will create the loss of credibility. The larger problem is the loss of credibility for science on all issues especially the environment.

Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge explains what is happening. "Basically, the problem is that the research community has gone so far along the path of frightening the life out of the man in the street that to recant publicly even part of the story would massively damage the reputation and political clout of science in general. And so, like corpuscles in the blood, researchers all over the world now rush in overwhelming numbers to repel infection by any idea that threatens the carefully cultivated belief in climatic disaster."

We now know how a small group through the IPCC created a completely false picture supposedly based on science. Some have described what the IPCC achieved is similar to Lysenkoism. The Skeptics Dictionary explains, Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. Lysenko's version of genetics dominated and seriously diverted Soviet science from 1948 to 1965 when it was finally rejected. Certainly the concept that human CO2 was causing warming and climate change was based on a unproven theory used by people with an ideology. They used instruments of state to dominate the science. They also attacked and abused anyone who dared to pursue proper science.

Some see all the symptoms of what Irving Janis defines as Groupthink in the behavior of the IPCC group. Groupthink is a condition that can develop in groups that are extremely task-oriented and goal-driven. Interestingly, Maurice Strong identified the group and their purpose in 1990: "What if a small group of these world leaders were to conclude the principal risk to the earth comes from the actions of the rich countries?...In order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring this about?" There is no doubt climate science was used and abused to achieve this political agenda. The eight features of Groupthink Janis identified appear to have direct application to the group that control the IPCC. Several of them are also part of the group Professor Wegman's report to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the hockey stick identifies many of the features of Groupthink. It certainly is in line with the definition of a cabal discussed in Part 7 of this series.

The small group who have controlled the IPCC are unlikely to change their tune. This is partly because of the eighth symptom of "Self-appointed Mindguards" who protect the group from assault by troublesome ideas. The work of William Connolley in defending the group is well documented. Similarly, Gavin Schmidt and others at the web site Realclimate function as self-appointed Mindguards

There is also the problem Leo Tolstoi identified some 100 years ago. "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives."

A measure of the degree of disconnect of the current IPCC leadership was provided in a speech at Cambridge University on May 14, 2008 by Vice Chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate, Professor Mohan Munasinghe. In the midst of starvation, food riots, wildly escalating energy costs and serious disruption to world economies all precipitated by the policies designed to deal with the false belief CO2 is a problem we get this from the Vice Chair of IPCC. "Climate change will lead to a "fortress world" in which the rich lock themselves away in gated communities and the poor must fend for themselves in shattered environments, unless governments act quickly to curb greenhouse gas emissions. " How can he be so wrong? The events he predicts are already happening. The people are already suffering but the cause is policy implemented because of the IPCC Reports. Groupthink is mostly about fooling yourself, but it is easier when you believe you are among the few who care about the environment.


Global Warming My Ass

Well, I was going to take down the Christmas lights today. But now I may as well plug `em in. When I woke up and looked out the bedroom window this morning, my reaction was enough to propel both of my kids out of their beds. "Dad, what's the matter?" asked Rusty, reacting to the string of epithets flowing from my room. "Did you have that dream again, where you were a sex slave for Condoleeza Rice?"

"No. Look out the window." He looked. "Whoa! Wouldn't it be cool if we had a snow day?" he said, eyes widening.

Tomorrow's the last day of school at John Colter Elementary. The kids are on the verge of three straight months of "snow days." But instead of bundling up swimsuits and beach towels for a pool party, I'm digging out recently-stored snow boots and winter coats. I can't see out the front window because the birch tree in the front yard is humped over by the weight of the snow, touching the ground.

The tomato and pepper plants in our backyard garden surely will not survive this, will they? I can see deer on the hill behind our house, scratching their heads and double-checking the date on their complimentary Field & Stream calendars.

But who do I complain to? What can I do? How am I supposed to get my revenge for this cruel joke? I mean, I've done my time, man. I trudged through seven long months of this winter wonderland bullshit. I've already made the switch from whiskey to gin. I've already gotten two sunburns this year. Criminy. Like the rest of Missoula, I'll just continue with my day, trying to avoid the inevitable string of fender benders resulting from carefree drivers who fail to remember how slick the roads get when the snow meets the oil on the asphalt.

I know the white stuff will be gone by tomorrow, or even later today. But I still feel like throwing a tantrum, because it just isn't fair. I should be playing golf. I can't throw horse shoes when the pits are full of snow. It makes me livid to have to crank on the heat: I've earned a lower power bill after writing a half dozen $300+ checks to those ruthless criminals at Northwestern Energy. Maybe the Republicans are right. Maybe this whole global warming thing is a fairy tale.


Global Warming: Man Made or Natural Cycle?

Over the last hundred years the Earth has been warming. This warming is believed to lead to many issues such as drought, weather extremes and famine. The man made global warming theory states that man made CO2 is causing Earth to warm at an alarming rate; thus, the warming will continue. While some scientists believe CO2 is the culprit, other scientists believe the world's warming and cooling happens in cycles due to various factors. Some of these scientists believe that Earth is starting a cooling trend after a long warming trend. Therefore, the trillion dollar question is global warming caused by CO2 or is this Earth's natural cycle?

Carbon dioxide is the gas that is responsible for global warming under the man made global warming theory. CO2 is also a part of everyday life. Therefore, this gas should not be confused with smog, which creates a low level ozone layer that can be harmful to humans. CO2 is less than 2% of the world's atmosphere. Meanwhile 93% of all CO2 is stored in the world's oceans; the rest is stored the biosphere in things like plants. Oceans move CO2 into the atmosphere and then remove it as continual cycle. Warmer waters, like tropical waters, store less CO2 than colder arctic or deep waters. As CO2 increases in the Earth's atmosphere, the oceans work harder to remove it. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased 30% since the pre-industrial era. The ocean has also increased its absorption of CO2 from roughly 2.0 Pg of CO2 in the 1980s to 2.4 Pg in the 1990s. Along with the oceans increased CO2 absorption, plants and trees also take in more CO2. This extra absorption of CO2 increases crop yields and plant growth.

The question arises if man is increasing the CO2 significantly or if the oceans are naturally warming and releasing more CO2 as a part of a cycle? Unfortunately, most graphs shown in news articles only go back 120 years, starting in the 1880s. One glance at these graphs and a person could easily deduce that man and industrialization has caused global warming. Many seem to forget that the last ice age was over 100,000 years ago, so looking at the last 120 years for temperature change seems inadequate. Archeologists have found cities under the oceans, such as the one in India that is 9500 years old. This indicates that the Earth must have been warming for some time, possibly including many warming and cooling cycles. Going back 2000 years paints a better picture than the 120 year "hockey stick" graph. In the Middle Ages the temperature deviation was the same as today. This period did not have industry that created man made CO2.

Another interesting fact is that even though man made CO2 has exponentially increasing from 1950 to today, temperature from 1940 to 1980 decreased. Scientists back in the 1970s believed that pollution was causing global cooling. The real problem is that any model based off a lower point, like 1880s temperature, would make the model appear that the earth is on fire. Instead of using incomplete models, models need to include a couple of temperature cycles to fully understand how the Earth behaves.

At least 70-80% of the Earth's warming effect comes from water vapor and clouds not CO2. CO2 traps about 10-20% of the world's heat. Other contributors to warming include high altitude cirrus clouds and sunspots. Cirrus clouds block radiant heat from escaping the Earth's atmosphere. Sunspots have been known throughout history to have an effect on the Earth's temperature. From 1645 to 1715 there were very few sunspots recorded. This also was a period referred to as the little ice age. Over the last 60 years, our sun has been very active with a record number of sun spots recorded. This could also be the reason that ice caps on Mars are melting and other planets in our solar system are experiencing warming, like Jupiter.

By studying models that are more inclusive, scientists are now worried about the warming trend reversing. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is growing at a record pace. The media seems to focus on just the Wilkins ice sheet, which is only 0.01% of Antarctica's ice cover. The rest of the ice cover is returning 60% faster than last year at 4.0 square km. Even Greenland is seeing a 15 year high in ice levels between Canada and itself. In the US this spring has been much cooler than normal for most of the country. These events are leading more and more scientists to believe the Earth is in for a cooling trend. If global cooling occurs, agricultural life could change as we know it. This could lead to a worldwide food shortage and a displacement of millions of people.

Currently, the United States Congress is debating a potential five trillion dollar energy policy. This policy will place carbon caps on corporations. This will raise cost of energy significantly. Money raised from these caps would be redistributed to more expensive renewable energy projects. The poor will suffer the most as they will have to contend with rising food prices, rising gas prices and now rising energy costs. With so many factors causing global warming, the anti- CO2 movement seems very reckless and will cause many people to suffer.

Fighting emissions from cars and factories is a very noble cause. Pollution can cause all sorts of problems like asthma. To say the world is warming because of humans is a very bold claim. Lots of factors go into warming the Earth. To focus on just one, CO2 is very na‹ve. It can also be very dangerous as it sacrifices our economic stability and standard of living. Doubling the price of gasoline over the last few years has caused food costs to shoot up; fishermen and truckers to be put out of business; and many low income people to suffer. Now, Congress is debating to do the same thing to electricity prices.


Geologist: 'Earth has had massive changes in temperature unrelated to carbon dioxide'

Comment from Australia

The booming Northern Territory economy is at risk of being "destroyed" by government policy responses to climate change, an academic has said. There will be winners and losers under the system and reducing carbon dioxide emissions is expected to cost industry a lot of money.

But University of Adelaide mining geology professor Ian Plimer says all the expense will be for nothing, as climate change cannot be stopped -- and it isn't even caused by human-created carbon dioxide. "There is no relationship between carbon dioxide produced by industry and climate change," he said.

Professor Plimer said the scientific community had not reached any kind of consensus that carbon dioxide causes global warming. "There's no such thing as surety in science -- 32,000 North American scientists signed a document saying humans don't create global warming whereas the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only has 2500 scientists saying it does."

Professor Plimer said other factors influenced climate change, such as volcanic eruptions, variations in the Earth's orbit around the sun and the sun's own heat-producing cycle -- none of which had anything to do with human activity. "There's a huge body of evidence showing no correlation between carbon dioxide and global warming," he said.

"Through the geological record we can look back in time and show the Earth has had massive changes in temperature unrelated to carbon dioxide." "Why make massive economic decisions when the science is extraordinarily uncertain?"

Professor Plimer said a misallocation of capital due to government greenhouse gas policies had the ability to destroy industry. "We've had a hint as to what rising energy costs do to food and fuel costs," he said. "If we want to restructure the economy on ambiguous information then we have a suicide wish and will totally destroy the economy. "In Darwin, you'd better look for a cave to live in -- because that's going to be your economy."

Professor Plimer said the only reason the climate change ""scare scenario" had become so popular was because of widespread scientific ignorance.

But Environment Centre NT spokesman Justin Tutty said Professor Plimer was at odds with the "overwhelming" weight of consensus led by the IPCC. "The IPCC's solid analysis has led business and industry groups, such as the Business Council of Australia, to realise the costs of policies to cut emissions are more acceptable than the economic costs of inaction," he said. "Now that the NT Government has come to the table, committing to develop a climate change policy, we hope real progress can be made to reduce the carbon burden of the Territory's future economy."

Mr Tutty said the document Professor Plimer cited had been roundly discredited for "having a very loose methodology". "It's a bit of a stretch to compare an unvetted online petition with a forum of experts appointed by the world's governments," he said.

But Professor Plimer said a lot of the signatories had been senior scientists. "I know many of them personally," he said. His comments come after the Territory Government released a discussion paper on climate change issues last week.



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


Saturday, June 14, 2008


I am no chemist so maybe I am missing something here but, as far as I know, CO2 absorption into water is greatest in COLD water. So it should be global COOLING that causes an increase in ocean acidity. So is all the panic about ocean acidification -- as in the paper below -- an acknowledgment that it is cooling, not warming, that threatens us? Journal abstract follows. -- JR

Evidence for Upwelling of Corrosive "Acidified" Water onto the Continental Shelf

Richard A. Feely et al.

The absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into the ocean lowers the pH of the waters. This so-called ocean acidification could have important consequences for marine ecosystems. To better understand the extent of this ocean acidification in coastal waters, we conducted hydrographic surveys along the continental shelf of western North America from central Canada to northern Mexico. We observed seawater that is undersaturated with respect to aragonite upwelling onto large portions of the continental shelf, reaching depths of ~40 to 120 meters along most transect lines and all the way to the surface on one transect off northern California. Although seasonal upwelling of the undersaturated waters onto the shelf is a natural phenomenon in this region, the ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 has increased the areal extent of the affected area.

Science 13 June 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5882, pp. 1490 - 1492

Global Warming and the Price of a Gallon of Gas

By meteorologist John Coleman

You may want to give credit where credit is due to Al Gore and his global warming campaign the next time you fill your car with gasoline, because there is a direct connection between Global Warming and four dollar a gallon gas. It is shocking, but true, to learn that the entire Global Warming frenzy is based on the environmentalist’s attack on fossil fuels, particularly gasoline. All this big time science, international meetings, thick research papers, dire threats for the future; all of it, comes down to their claim that the carbon dioxide in the exhaust from your car and in the smoke stacks from our power plants is destroying the climate of planet Earth. What an amazing fraud; what a scam.

"The future of our civilization lies in the balance": That’s the battle cry of the High Priest of Global Warming Al Gore and his fellow, agenda-driven disciples as they predict a calamitous outcome from anthropogenic global warming. According to Mr. Gore the polar ice caps will collapse and melt and sea levels will rise 20 feet inundating the coastal cities making 100 million of us refugees. Vice President Gore tells us numerous Pacific islands will be totally submerged and uninhabitable. He tells us global warming will disrupt the circulation of the ocean waters, dramatically changing climates, throwing the world food supply into chaos. He tells us global warming will turn hurricanes into super storms, produce droughts, wipe out the polar bears and result in bleaching of coral reefs. He tells us tropical diseases will spread to mid latitudes and heat waves will kill tens of thousands. He preaches to us that we must change our lives and eliminate fossil fuels or face the dire consequences. The future of our civilization is in the balance.

With a preacher’s zeal, Mr. Gore sets out to strike terror into us and our children and make us feel we are all complicit in the potential demise of the planet. Here is my rebuttal.

There is no significant man made global warming. There has not been any in the past, there is none now and there is no reason to fear any in the future. The climate of Earth is changing. It has always changed. But mankind’s activities have not overwhelmed or significantly modified the natural forces.

Through all history, Earth has shifted between two basic climate regimes: ice ages and what paleoclimatologists call “Interglacial periods”. For the past 10 thousand years the Earth has been in an interglacial period. That might well be called nature’s global warming because what happens during an interglacial period is the Earth warms up, the glaciers melt and life flourishes. Clearly from our point of view, an interglacial period is greatly preferred to the deadly rigors of an ice age. Mr. Gore and his crowd would have us believe that the activities of man have overwhelmed nature during this interglacial period and are producing an unprecedented, out of control warming.

Well, it is simply not happening. Worldwide there was a significant natural warming trend in the 1980’s and 1990’s as a Solar cycle peaked with lots of sunspots and solar flares. That ended in 1998 and now the Sun has gone quiet with fewer and fewer Sun spots, and the global temperatures have gone into decline. Earth has cooled for almost ten straight years. So, I ask Al Gore, where’s the global warming?

The cooling trend is so strong that recently the head of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had to acknowledge it. He speculated that nature has temporarily overwhelmed mankind’s warming and it may be ten years or so before the warming returns. Oh, really? We are supposed to be in a panic about man-made global warming and the whole thing takes a ten year break because of the lack of Sun spots. If this weren’t so serious, it would be laughable.

Now allow me to talk a little about the science behind the global warming frenzy. I have dug through thousands of pages of research papers, including the voluminous documents published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I have worked my way through complicated math and complex theories. Here’s the bottom line: the entire global warming scientific case is based on the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels. They don’t have any other issue. Carbon Dioxide, that’s it.

Hello Al Gore; Hello UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Your science is flawed; your hypothesis is wrong; your data is manipulated. And, may I add, your scare tactics are deplorable. The Earth does not have a fever. Carbon dioxide does not cause significant global warming.

The focus on atmospheric carbon dioxide grew out a study by Roger Revelle who was an esteemed scientist at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute. He took his research with him when he moved to Harvard and allowed his students to help him process the data for his paper. One of those students was Al Gore. That is where Gore got caught up in this global warming frenzy. Revelle’s paper linked the increases in carbon dioxide, CO2, in the atmosphere with warming. It labeled CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

Charles Keeling, another researcher at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute, set up a system to make continuous CO2 measurements. His graph of these increases has now become known as the Keeling Curve. When Charles Keeling died in 2005, his son David, also at Scripps, took over the measurements. Here is what the Keeling curve shows: an increase in CO2 from 315 parts per million in 1958 to 385 parts per million today, an increase of 70 parts per million or about 20 percent.

All the computer models, all of the other findings, all of the other angles of study, all come back to and are based on CO2 as a significant greenhouse gas. It is not. Here is the deal about CO2, carbon dioxide: It is a natural component of our atmosphere. It has been there since time began. It is absorbed and emitted by the oceans. It is used by every living plant to trigger photosynthesis. Nothing would be green without it. And we humans; we create it. Every time we breathe out, we emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is not a pollutant. It is not smog. It is a naturally occurring invisible gas.

Let me illustrate. I estimate that this square in front of my face contains 100,000 molecules of atmosphere. Of those 100,000 only 38 are CO2; 38 out of a hundred thousand. That makes it a trace component. Let me ask a key question: how can this tiny trace upset the entire balance of the climate of Earth? It can’t. That’s all there is to it; it can’t.

The UN IPCC has attracted billions of dollars for the research to try to make the case that CO2 is the culprit of run-away, man-made global warming. The scientists have come up with very complex creative theories and done elaborate calculations and run computer models they say prove those theories. They present us with a concept they call radiative forcing. The research organizations and scientists who are making a career out of this theory, keep cranking out the research papers. Then the IPCC puts on big conferences at exotic places, such as the recent conference in Bali. The scientists endorse each other’s papers, they are summarized and voted on, and voila! we are told global warming is going to kill us all unless we stop burning fossil fuels.

May I stop here for a few historical notes? First, the internal combustion engine and gasoline were awful polluters when they were first invented. And, both gasoline and automobile engines continued to leave a layer of smog behind right up through the 1960’s. Then science and engineering came to the environmental rescue. Better exhaust and ignition systems, catalytic converters, fuel injectors, better engineering throughout the engine and reformulated gasoline have all contributed to a huge reduction in the exhaust emissions from today’s cars.

Their goal then was to only exhaust carbon dioxide and water vapor, two gases widely accepted as natural and totally harmless. Anyone old enough to remember the pall of smog that used to hang over all our cities knows how much improvement there has been. So the environmentalists, in their battle against fossil fuels and automobiles had a very good point forty years ago, but now they have to focus almost entirely on the once harmless carbon dioxide. And, that is the rub. Carbon dioxide is not an environmental problem; they just want you now to think it is.

Numerous independent research projects have been done about the greenhouse impact from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. These studies have proven to my total satisfaction that CO2 is not creating a major greenhouse effect and is not causing an increase in temperatures. By the way, before his death, Roger Revelle coauthored a paper cautioning that CO2 and its greenhouse effect did not warrant extreme countermeasures.

So now it has come down to an intense campaign, orchestrated by environmentalists claiming that the burning of fossil fuels dooms the planet to run-away global warming. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a myth.

So how has the entire global warming frenzy with all its predictions of dire consequences, become so widely believed, accepted and regarded as a real threat to planet Earth? That is the most amazing part of the story.

To start with, global warming has the backing of the United Nations, a major world force. Second, it has the backing of a former Vice President and very popular political figure. Third it has the endorsement of Hollywood, and that’s enough for millions. And, fourth, the environmentalists love global warming. It is their tool to combat fossil fuels. So with the environmentalists, the UN, Gore and Hollywood touting Global Warming and predictions of doom and gloom, the media has scrambled with excitement to climb aboard. After all the media loves a crisis.

From YK2 to killer bees the media just loves to tell us our lives are threatened. And the media is biased toward liberal, so it’s pre-programmed to support Al Gore and UN. CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and here in San Diego The Union Tribune are all constantly promoting the global warming crisis.

So who is going to go against all of that power? Not the politicians. So now the President of the United States, just about every Governor, most Senators and most Congress people, both of the major current candidates for President, most other elected officials on all levels of government are all riding the Al Gore Global Warming express. That is one crowded bus.

I suspect you haven’t heard it because the mass media did not report it, but I am not alone on the no man-made warming side of this issue. On May 20th, a list of the names of over thirty-one thousand scientists who refute global warming was released. Thirty-one thousand of which 9,000 are Ph.Ds. Think about that. Thirty-one thousand. That dwarfs the supposed 2,500 scientists on the UN panel.

In the past year, five hundred of scientists have issued public statements challenging global warming. A few more join the chorus every week. There are about 100 defectors from the UN IPCC. There was an International Conference of Climate Change Skeptics in New York in March of this year. One hundred of us gave presentations. Attendance was limited to six hundred people. Every seat was taken.

There are a half dozen excellent internet sites that debunk global warming. And, thank goodness for KUSI and Michael McKinnon, its owner. He allows me to post my comments on global warming on the website Following the publicity of my position from Fox News, Glen Beck on CNN, Rush Limbaugh and a host of other interviews, thousands of people come to the website and read my comments. I get hundreds of supportive emails from them. No I am not alone and the debate is not over.

In my remarks in New York I speculated that perhaps we should sue Al Gore for fraud because of his carbon credits trading scheme. That remark has caused a stir in the fringe media and on the internet. The concept is that if the media won’t give us a hearing and the other side will not debate us, perhaps we could use a Court of law to present our papers and our research and if the Judge is unbiased and understands science, we win. The media couldn’t ignore that. That idea has become the basis for legal research by notable attorneys and discussion among global warming debunkers, but it’s a long way from the Court room.

I am very serious about this issue. I think stamping out the global warming scam is vital to saving our wonderful way of life.

The battle against fossil fuels has controlled policy in this country for decades. It was the environmentalist’s prime force in blocking any drilling for oil in this country and the blocking the building of any new refineries, as well. So now the shortage they created has sent gasoline prices soaring. And, it has lead to the folly of ethanol, which is also partly behind the fuel price increases; that and our restricted oil policy.

The ethanol folly is also creating a food crisis throughput the world – it is behind the food price rises for all the grains, for cereals, bread, everything that relies on corn or soy or wheat, including animals that are fed corn, most processed foods that use corn oil or soybean oil or corn syrup. Food shortages or high costs have led to food riots in some third world countries and made the cost of eating out or at home budget busting for many.

So now the global warming myth actually has lead to the chaos we are now enduring with energy and food prices. We pay for it every time we fill our gas tanks. Not only is it running up gasoline prices, it has changed government policy impacting our taxes, our utility bills and the entire focus of government funding. And, now the Congress is considering a cap and trade carbon credits policy. We the citizens will pay for that, too. It all ends up in our taxes and the price of goods and services.

So the Global warming frenzy is, indeed, threatening our civilization. Not because global warming is real; it is not. But because of the all the horrible side effects of the global warming scam.

I love this civilization. I want to do my part to protect it. If Al Gore and his global warming scare dictates the future policy of our governments, the current economic downturn could indeed become a recession, drift into a depression and our modern civilization could fall into an abyss. And it would largely be a direct result of the global warming frenzy.

My mission, in what is left of a long and exciting lifetime, is to stamp out this Global Warming silliness and let all of us get on with enjoying our lives and loving our planet, Earth.


An amusing admission

The article excerpted below appeared under the heading: "Why Are So Many TV Meteorologists and Weathercasters Climate 'Skeptics'?". That they might have a better-than-average understanding of the science involved is not one of the explanations canvassed

All three staff meteorologists at KLTV, the ABC affiliate broadcasting to the Tyler-Longview-Jacksonville area of Northeast Texas, joined forces last November to deliver an on-air rebuttal of the idea that humans are changing the earth's climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, representing the work of hundreds of scientists from 130 countries, had declared eight months earlier that warming of the atmosphere was "unequivocal" and that greenhouse gases from human activities were "very likely" the cause of most of the warming since the mid-20th century.

The three KLTV weathercasters - appearing in a Nov. 8 story by a station news reporter - let it be known, however, that they were unconvinced. Meteorologist Grant Dade: "Is the Earth warming? Yes, I think it is. But is man causing that? No. It's a simple climate cycle our climate goes through over thousands of years."

One of his KLTV colleagues said Earth "will not be warming anymore" in 20 to 30 years. The station's third weathercaster suggested that increased attention to man-made climate change was being driven by scientists who want "grant money."

Such skeptical pronouncements are not confined to broadcast meteorologists working in smaller media markets. Indeed, they appear to many to be fairly common among TV meteorologists and weathercasters, more the rule than the exception. John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel and now a weathercaster for San Diego's independent KUSI, argues forcefully (pdf) that manmade global warming is "the greatest scam in history" - a quote that was included in the KLTV story, with no countering viewpoints offered.

Active in a recent Heartland Institute "skeptic's conference" on climate change in New York City, Coleman is one of the most highly visible weathercasters championing the views of climate skeptics. Neil Frank, the 25-year director of the National Hurricane Center, recently retired after 21 years as chief meteorologist at Houston's CBS affiliate, KHOU, where he sometimes made skeptical remarks about anthropogenic climate change. Frank in 2006 told The Washington Post that it is "a hoax" and that greenhouse emissions actually may help what he called "a carbon dioxide-starved world."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported in May that despite some broadcast meteorologists' belief that long term climate change is not their area of expertise, Minneapolis forecasters are still speaking out on the issue and "most of them are landing on the side of the skeptics."

At a time when most climate scientists - as reflected in the IPCC's 2007 reports - express growing certainty that Earth is warming, that humans are largely responsible, and that consequences may be severe, why do so many television weathercasters appear to think otherwise?

"It does seem that a larger proportion of broadcast meteorologists are climate change skeptics than is the case with meteorologists as a whole, but we really don't know what either percentage really is, and if it is true, we certainly don't know why," said Ronald McPherson, executive director emeritus of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). If some large percentage of broadcast weathercasters are indeed skeptics, McPherson said in a phone interview that he suspects there are probably multiple reasons....

Last September, in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, two prominent broadcast meteorologists and AMS leaders published a guest editorial (pdf), "Communicating Global Climate Change to the Public and Clients." In it, they criticized some of their fellow weathercasters who have been speaking out skeptically about anthropogenic global warming: "Increasing numbers of broadcast meteorologists, to whom the public looks for information and guidance on climate change and global warming, are not offering scientific information but rather, all too often, nonscientific personal opinions in the media, including personal blogs. Alarmingly, many weathercasters and certified broadcast meteorologists dismiss, in most cases without any solid scientific arguments, the conclusions of the National Research Council (NRC), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other peer-reviewed research."

The editorial's two co-authors were Bob Ryan, AMS past president and chief meteorologist for Washington, D.C.'s NBC-owned WRC, and John Toohey-Morales, AMS commissioner on professional affairs and chief meteorologist of NBC Telemundo's WSCV in Miami. In a phone interview with the Yale Forum, Ryan said he thinks many "naysayers" about the idea of manmade climate change among broadcast weather forecasters "are coming from a perspective of the policy first - or they're against it because they think it will hurt the economy, so how can I set out to punch holes in the theory - rather than scientifically testing a theory." In certain cases, skeptical weathercasters are "putting their own personal views - sometimes even fundamentalist religious beliefs - first, and then looking at climate change from the standpoint of preconceived things they believe in," he said...

At Penn State University, one of the nation's leading academic institutions educating students for careers as broadcast meteorologists, senior meteorology lecturer Paul Knight said in a phone interview that lectures address subjects including the IPCC and long-range climate projections. The disagreements between television weathercasters and climate scientists involve "a jurisdictional war," and "there's nobody free of sin in this matter," Knight said. "I'm seeing a row here, but it's not a bad row."

On one side, there seems to be "a disdain in the orthodox scientific research community for those who are not smart enough to get a Ph.D. or do research, and instead go into the fluff of television and just forecast the weather," he said.

On the other side, "there's a certain amount of disdain from television meteorologists who are predicting the weather for those who pontificate about what their [climate] models show," he added.

Knight summed up his own view of climate change this way: "There's no question that warming is going on. To say it's a hoax is to deny the data. To say it's all human-caused is foolish, too."Common sense suggests that both factors are in play, he added. "Then the question is, to what degree? How do we differentiate? The more that folks are willing to admit that, we'll get to a good policy decision and there will be less polarization."

One prominent weathercaster still undecided about the biggest question about climate change - substantially human-caused or not? - is Gene Norman of KHOU in Houston, who said he looks forward to the Denver conference as an opportunity to learn more about the subject. Norman, who replaced Frank recently as chief meteorologist at KHOU, was chair of the AMS Board of Broadcast Meteorology last year, overseeing the AMS certification process among other duties. Immediately before joining the Houston station, he was chief meteorologist at Atlanta's WGCL, and before that he had spent eight years with NASA developing weather-monitoring technology for the space shuttle.

"My bottom line [about climate change] is I think something is happening," he said. "Is it human activity? I don't know. I need to get better educated." Norman, like others, said a good part of the skepticism among weathercasters stems from the reactions their questions have elicited in the past. "Quite a few on television around the country are skeptical only because they feel they have asked questions and raised issues and been told to be quiet, this is the truth," he said.

Skepticism is reinforced "because we know things change that don't necessarily have to do with global warming. We know certain sensors have been moved, which has become a politicized issue," Norman said."It's difficult to communicate about climate to the public," he said. "To purely say it's human beings causing all this trouble, a lot of us wonder. We just wonder.


Global Drying

The world's agriculture and water crisis is only going to get worse. As China and India grow, their populations are demanding more and wider varieties of food stuffs, competition for arable land is intensifying and freshwater withdrawals of agriculture are soaring. Food prices are rising, in large part because agriculture suppliers can barely keep up with today's demand. So what is the world doing? Reorienting land away from food production and toward plants cultivated for energy needs.

This could be the single most destructive set of policy mistakes made in a generation. From time immemorial, mankind has struggled to produce enough food. Wars have been fought over arable land. Whole populations have been forced to migrate, and untold millions of human beings have died because circumstances, climate, war or political ineptitude have deprived them of what the German language describes as "Lebensmittel," or a "means for survival." This problem hasn't disappeared; our world today needs to feed some six billion people. According to some projections, that number will rise to nine billion by 2050.

So why introduce a new competitor for this scarce resource? The blame falls squarely on global warming advocates. Politicians, business, academia are all struggling to come to grips with it. But why? The impact of global warming will be felt in decades at worst, and no one at this stage can predict with any degree of reliability what its consequences might be. Does it make sense to reduce the use of fossil energy? Yes, for many reasons. Are we right in dealing carefully and responsibly with what is left of the oil? And will biofuels really solve our problems?

If there's one certainty, it is this: The production of biofuels has stimulated a massive, and destructive, reorientation of the world's agriculture markets. The U.S. Department of Energy calculates that every 10,000 liters of water produces as little as five liters of ethanol, or one to two liters of biodiesel. Biofuels are economical nonsense, ecologically useless and ethically indefensible. This year, the U.S. will use around 130 million tons of corn for biofuels. This corn was not available as human food, nor as fodder to animals. Is this the right strategy, for a product that won't satisfy even a small percentage of our energy needs?

The biofuel madness is contributing to water shortages that are already endemic. Stretches of the Rio Grande, which partly separates the U.S. from Mexico, have dried up in regular intervals since 2001. China's Yellow River ran dry in 1972, in 1996 and in 1997. Worse yet, we are overusing ground water in large parts of the world. Water levels are sinking rapidly both in China as well as in India's Punjab state. Great aquifers, whether in the Sahara or in the southwestern U.S., are being depleted rapidly. This is water that dates from thousands of years ago. Like oil, once gone, it is lost forever.

Increasing agricultural productivity is only part of the solution. The real juggernaut is to encourage the responsible use of water. And the only way to do that is to introduce competitive pricing. Water is being wasted and misused because few people are even aware of its worth. Today, 94% of available water is used by agriculture - and because there are no cost consequences for the farmer, almost all of that water is underused or misused. The same is true for water used in industry and for household purposes. If the cost of infrastructure is not covered, the degradation of municipal water distribution will continue. Water for basic needs should of course remain free. But there is no need whatsoever to subsidize water to wash a car, fill a swimming pool or maintain a golf course.

The biofuel craze, egged on by global warming activists, has helped fuel a huge agricultural crisis. But this crisis can at least be partially mitigated through better and more efficient use of the resources that we already have. Right now, the urgent issue is water, not global warming, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer.


Survey: 74 percent of Congressional Republicans are climate "deniers"

A National Journal survey of members of Congress found that 74 percent of Congressional Republicans do not believe that global warming is caused by humans. The poll asked 39 Democrats and 39 Republicans if they thought that "it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made pollution". The answers are anonymous, except for party affilliation. Only 26 percent of Republicans answered yes, with the rest answering no. Among Democrats, 95 percent answered yes. The survey's results include some choice anonymous quotes from the deniers:
"Reasonable people have doubts. For every Al Gore, there is an intelligent scientist armed with legitimate facts to debunk him."

"In the '70s, the `consensus of scientists' was that we were beginning global cooling. Now it is global warming. Excuse me if I am skeptical of this newest form of secular religion. Perhaps we should pause and take a breath before we drink the new Kool-Aid!"

"If there's one thing poll after poll indicates, it's that the science is not settled on this issue."

"What has been proven is that a well-targeted pop-culture campaign can trump even the best of science. The bad news is, a very few will get very rich, and the rest of us will foot the bill with mythical creations like cap and trade. The impact of such programs on the environment: Zero. The cost to the American public: Huge. The grin on Al Gore's very wealthy face: Priceless!"

The survey quotes both Democrats who responded no.
"[Evidence is conflicting on whether] warming is man-made, but there shouldn't be any doubt that a man-made solution is needed. The trend won't reverse on its own."

"This global-warming debate is a farce."

Of the ten Republicans who responded yes, the National Journal quotes one of them:
"Put it this way: Is there anyone who reasonably believes that the emissions caused by man have no effect on the environment? It doesn't take a degree in science to accept the concept that the actions of billions of people driving millions of cars do indeed impact the world around us."


America's Native Criminal Class

Locking up energy, driving up prices and destroying jobs to "save the planet"

There is no distinctly native American criminal class, Mark Twain observed - except Congress. A century later, government power and intrusiveness have increased exponentially - and special interests have adapted by employing lobbyists who can navigate Washington, explain technology to tech-challenged members and staffs, persuade legislators that provisions are vital (or disastrous), and give clients "a seat at the table" where subsidies, mandates, taxes, preferences and penalties are meted out.

The system is both the cause and result of far too many congressmen becoming members of what commentator Charles Krauthammer calls an "ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class" that has arrogated unto itself the right to rule American citizens.

Even legislators who don't keep wads of thank-you cash in their freezers have committed misfeasance and malfeasance, by handling vital energy, environmental and economic matters in ways that would likely be prosecuted if done by businessmen. Lawmakers, eco-activists and companies routinely engage in social experimentation and central planning akin to previous Great Leaps Forward - and refuse to acknowledge the damage their actions inflict on workers, families, minorities and other businesses.

Today, in the name of protecting the environment, politicians have locked up enough oil, gas, coal and uranium to power the United States literally for centuries. Representatives of six of the nation's eight biggest petroleum-guzzling states routinely vote to ban drilling off our coasts and in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Interior Department estimates that these lands could hold more than the proven oil reserves of Iran or Iraq: 139 billion barrels that could be obtained with today's technology.

This energy belongs to all Americans. But politicians keep it off limits, and force us to consume oil that the rest of the world desperately needs. Food and fuel prices soar, poor families get pummeled, and we are compelled to send trillions of dollars to corrupt dictators, and give up jobs, tax revenues, royalties and security that developing US resources would generate.

Drilling bans also increase the risk of more spills from tankers carrying oil to replace what politicians have put off limits. In sixty years of offshore oil operations, only the 1969 Santa Barbara blowout resulted in significant oil reaching shore. Offshore oil platforms rarely pollute; they create magnificent artificial reefs. As a scuba diver, I've seen them firsthand, including the beauty where that blowout occurred.

So when Senator Maria Cantwell and colleagues oppose drilling - and then demand that President Bush tell OPEC countries to produce more oil - they are telling the world's poorest people: Drop dead. We don't care if you need oil and soaring prices are killing you. We refuse to do our part. We are consumers and importers, not producers. We will always put our eco-centric attitudes and our ties to green pressure groups ahead of your welfare.

When Congress doles out subsidies for ethanol, it converts tens of millions of acres of crop and habitat land into cornfields, diverts billions of gallons of water and fertilizer from food to energy, and sends fuel and food prices even higher.

When it silently endorses NRDC campaigns to stop petroleum leasing and drilling in western states - it shows it's happy to eliminate more jobs and energy production in the face of soaring demand and prices, and turn those states into playgrounds for wealthy elites, unaffordable for average Americans.

However, for sheer economy-wrecking, nothing compares to climate change proposals like the 491-page Warner-Lieberman bill. The Senate rejected it last week, but more proposals will soon be introduced - even though 32,000 scientists have signed the consensus-busting Oregon Petition, saying they see "no convincing evidence" that human greenhouse gas emissions disrupt Earth's climate.

Average global temperatures have not increased since 1998, even though atmospheric CO2 levels have risen by 3% a year. Moreover, notes meteorologist Anthony Watts, the 1.4 degree F decline in global temperatures since January 2007 offsets the total net warming during the twentieth century. And this temperature stabilization and downturn was completely missed by every computer model that alarmists use to conjure up apocalyptic climate scenarios.

All this means little to the "arrogant knowledge class." Senators Clinton, Obama, Reid, Boxer, McCain and colleagues still insist that US carbon dioxide emissions be slashed by 71% - to levels last seen in 1937, during the Great Depression, when our population was one-third of today's, and electricity use was in its infancy.

They would increasingly tax the 85% of our energy that is generated by fossil fuels. Gasoline could hit $6 or even $8 a gallon, and the cost of electricity and natural gas could more than double by 2030, according to the American Council on Capital Formation and other analysts. Moreover, sequestering all that plant-fertilizing CO2 would cost millions of additional megawatts and trillions of additional dollars in electricity.

The impact on services for poor, elderly, disabled and homebound people - and on airlines and manufacturing - would be disastrous. In impoverished Third World countries, the effects would be catastrophic and lethal, as global warming pacts are translated into ever higher prices for food, and a permanent dearth of affordable electricity for economic growth, lights, refrigeration and sanitation.

Many people and lawmakers finally grasp the magnitude of these costs. But four-alarm politicians have the support of activists, banks, scientists and corporations who say the climate bills are landmark "green" legislation - as in $$$$ for research, complex cap-and-trade tax deals, government handouts, mandates and subsidies for unreliable renewable energy, and opportunities to gain advantages over competitors.

Notes the Wall Street Journal: the $3.3 TRILLION in cap-and-trade auction revenues that Senator Boxer "expects to scoop up" by 2050 under Warner-Lieberman were exceeded only by the trillions in "revenue handouts" she had already promised to its supporters. Make no mistake. Warner-Lieberman and its kin have nothing to do with saving the planet. They are about the power to control - and curtail - the power we rely on: for homes, offices, hospitals, food, consumer products, transportation and modern living standards.

They are about who gets to decide: where our energy will come from . how much we will have . what it will cost . whether there will be enough to lift more families out of poverty . and who will be the winners and losers in a world of government-mandated energy scarcity. They are about creating a massive, regressive tax and regulatory scheme - to redistribute people's incomes to constituencies that politicians judge are more likely to keep them in office.

It's truly ironic. Fifty years ago, Democrats were defending the Jim Crow laws they had enacted to keep blacks from schools, lunch counters, buses and drinking fountains. Today, Democrats are leading the fight to impose what Congress of Racial Equality chairman Roy Innis aptly calls "Jim Crow energy policies" that block access to energy, drive up prices, and keep minorities from achieving economic civil rights.

Even more ironic, four decades ago, Republicans led by Senator Everett Dirksen wrote and enacted landmark civil rights bills. Today, a biracial Democratic presidential candidate and Senate Republicans like John Warner and John McCain are championing Jim Crow energy and climate policies that trample on economic opportunities and civil rights. These policies are far more criminal than anything Mark Twain ever dreamed possible.



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


Friday, June 13, 2008

An investor's view

If Global Warming were a stock, and you bought it in 1979 at zero (par) and decided to sell it this month to buy a house, 29 years later you aren't very happy with your investment. At it's peak in 1998, the temperature only went to a 0.8 increase, and in April it dipped to very nearly unchanged.


Canada's gullible Leftist fool

Scientists keep publicly dissenting. Today's dissenter speaks up below: Patrick Carroll, retired Environment Canada meteorologist

Re: "Dion needs 'third party validators,' says Nanos," (The Hill Times, May 26, p. 1).

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is a gullible fool in continuing to believe that CO2 emissions drive climate change. He is whistling past a political graveyard if he thinks that Canadians will accept billions more in taxes to reduce and sequester CO2 emissions when there is zero proof that such activities will have any measurable, let alone detectable, effect on global temperatures. In short, Dion has been a victim of the alarmist propaganda emanating from the IPCC and radical environmentalists such as David Suzuki.

If Dion had advisers who were keeping up with the latest research and climate data, he would have been informed by now that the IPCC theory of anthropogenic warming is a hoax that is rapidly falling into disfavour among atmospheric scientists. Instead, he continues to blunder along listening to clueless alarmists like Mr. Suzuki.


U.S. rivers on target for a stellar rafting year after record snowfall

During the late 19th century, this railroad town on the banks of the Animas River made its fortunes from coal. Today's moneymakers are tourists such as the LaVergnes of suburban Phoenix, who are settling into a rubber raft for a two-hour jaunt down the Animas, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the West.

On the family's Mountain Waters trip early this month, rented wetsuits and splash jackets come in handy: The 38-degree water, the color of chocolate milk, roils with snowmelt from the nearby San Juan Mountains. And a combination of heavy snowfall and a relatively cool spring means the Animas probably will continue to draw rafters - with warmer temperatures and a slower pace - through August. The Animas is just one of many U.S. rivers on target for a stellar rafting year. Several expect their best water levels in a decade, says David Brown of America Outdoors, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based trade association of outdoor outfitters.

Says Tom Kleinschnitz, head of the Colorado River Outfitters Association and owner of Adventure Bound River Expeditions out of Grand Junction: "With the record or near-record snow we had this winter, from the top of the state to the bottom, all the rivers are looking at extended seasons."

One beneficiary of Mother Nature's largesse is Cataract Canyon, an undammed, 112-mile section of the upper Colorado River near Moab, Utah, that's lined by 2,000-foot red cliffs. At the canyon, home of some of the USA's most challenging rapids during the annual spring melt, water levels are "crazy high, (and) this year we could see big water into July," says Ryan Hutchings of the outfitters organization Rafting America.

Other Western winners include the Owyhee and Rogue rivers in Oregon, the Sauk and Wenatchee in Washington state and Idaho's Middle, Main and Lower Salmon. In the eastern and southeastern USA, meanwhile, agreements between rafting outfitters, local authorities and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will translate to guaranteed summer releases from such popular dam-controlled rivers as the Nantahala in North Carolina, the Pigeon in Tennessee and the Lehigh in Pennsylvania.


Sirius Radio Host Mike Church's Challenge to Climate Alarmist Heidi Cullen

We've heard enough from these Nature Nazi goons and it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is. The Weather Channel's leading Global Warming Chicken Little is Dr. Heidi Cullen, who has been curiously silent about climate change over most of the record shattering cold winter across America, and proclaimed that the above average temperatures in the northeast is an indicator that we will be having more frequent and severe heat waves in the near future and that it re-enforces climate model predictions of global warming.

Sorry babe, we're not buying it. With a record breaking winter under our belts, sunspot absence, record late snowfall, and Aspen slopes hosting skiers on the third weekend in June, we'll happily offer up the meteorological version of the Pepsi Challenge:

Let's wager $1000 (to the charity of the winner's choosing) that the frequency and magnitude of cold spells far out perform the frequency and magnitude of heat waves over the next three years (from Jan 1, 2008 to Jan 1, 2011).


Academic inquiry failing on global warming

From a student at the University of Utah

Academic freedom and academic courage are taking a major blow in the United States. Academic courage looks like Galileo, who opposed the Roman Catholic Church's Ptolemaic theory and was imprisoned. He sought truth despite the consequence and regardless of what was popular. This is the courage we are lacking. Akin to the Catholic Church's control of exploring new ideas during the first few centuries, our government is failing to support and share research that doesn't support their agenda.

This control of ideas is most visible in the current debate surrounding the cause of global warming. There is much evidence and scientific testimony that humans are negatively affecting the Earth's temperature through release of greenhouse gases. "Increased greenhouse gas concentrations are very likely to raise the Earth's average temperature," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on its website.

However, there is also evidence and scientific testimony that opposes this theory. Thirty thousand scientists, 9,000 of whom hold doctorate degrees, have signed the Global Warming Petition Project, which states, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide...will...cause disruption of the Earth's climate."

If you've never heard of this, that's exactly my point. The causes and solutions to this important scientific issue are debatable, but for some reason, the debate isn't being discussed. Discussion of this subject is impeded by the carelessness of our government. Speaking of the popularity of human-caused global warming, William M. Gray, atmospheric science researcher at Colorado State University said, "My fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong (because) they...know that they'd never get any grants."

Billions of dollars are given in grants for global warming research. Gray said he feels some of his colleagues are conforming to popularity and profitability.

While grants are an incentive for some, deadlines are a factor for government scientists. Auke Bay laboratory research chemist Jeff Short said in his 2004 article "The Corporate Corruption of Science" in American Welfare Institute Quarterly, "Intramural government scientists may be forced to release data prematurely, without the opportunity to examine it for errors or interpret it." "Academic scientists supported by government grants are explicitly exempted," he added. "These exemptions should be extended to government scientists."

Our government needs to stop censoring credible scientists who hold different views. In September 2007, Virginia climatologist Patrick Michaels resigned because of his skeptic view of human-caused global warming. "I was told that I could not speak in public on my area of expertise, global warming, as a state climatologist," he said.

Not only is the government censoring some of these scientists, but it is slandering them when they do speak. During Al Gore's LIVE Earth concert in July 2007, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said of climate skeptics: "This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors."

With such a strong arm in forming policy and public opinion, science needs a plan to ensure more honest and refined data. "Scientific reform has yet to achieve the attention it deserves," Short said. "Scientists like to think of themselves as above all that."

Just as the Catholic Church's monopoly on information came to an end through Protestant reformation, a scientific reformation needs to take place. Sadly, the U seems to have given up on this academic conversation. On Nov. 29, 2006, Kevin Trenberth, a leading expert on global warming, gave, according to the official announcement, "a popular lecture for the general public." And on April 22, U President Michael Young signed the Presidents Climate Commitment.

A university should be the place that multiple ideas and opinions are shared and heard. Participating in these programs and lectures is not wrong, but giving no medium or attention to opposing views cancels the purpose of the critical education the U should be providing. There is a lot of talk about the significance of academic freedom at our university. To have any type of freedom, there must be choice. To have true academic freedom, administration, faculty and students need to hear all sides fairly and without bias.

The media and government seem to be making up their mind on what common science is. They don't want to give the public choices. They're drawn to science that sells. Our university needs to be a bastion of resistance to conforming to a single idea. Administration and faculty at the U have an academic obligation to-and should-present both sides without fear of being called heretics and traitors.


Environmental Skeptics Are Overwhelmingly Politicized, Study Says

And Greenie alarmists are not??

A review of environmental skepticism literature from the past 30 years has found that the vast majority of skeptics, often identified as independent, are directly linked to politically oriented, conservative think tanks. The study, published in this month's issue of Environmental Politics, analyzed books written between 1972 and 2005 that deny the urgency of environmental protection. The researchers found that more than 92 percent of the skeptical authors were in some way affiliated to conservative think tanks - non-profit research and advocacy organizations that promote core conservative ideals.

While many environmental skeptics are known to work for these think tanks, the study is the first to provide a quantitative analysis of the relationship. The popular media often regard environmental skeptics as independent experts, despite their connection to industry-funded campaigns that seek to de-legitimize sound environmental science reports, especially on climate change, says lead author Peter Jacques, an environmental politics professor at the University of Central Florida.

"A lot of skeptics might say they are independent voices, but it's clear there is an organization behind the skeptical discourse," Jacques said. "If not for conservative think tanks, we wouldn't be having this same discussion; we wouldn't be hung up on whether climate change is real."

The review analyzed 141 books, which the authors consider the largest compilation of the environmental skepticism genre and the majority of all English-language skepticism books. An author was "affiliated" to a think tank if the organization published the book or if the author ever - before or after the book was published - held a position with the organization, wrote for an organization's publications, or delivered lectures sponsored by the organization.

The U.S. conservative movement has lead opposition to international environmental regulation since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In the years since, the movement has succeeded in undermining the credibility of many environmental issues, said Riley Dunlap, a sociology professor at Oklahoma State University, who co-authored the study. "From the [political] right, there's no longer a sense of neutral, objective science - only liberal or conservative - and that's an unfortunate trend," Dunlap said.

Many skeptics say that they form their opinion despite their affiliation to think tanks or industry. For instance, Ronald Bailey, a correspondent for the ExxonMobil-funded Reason Foundation and former fellow for the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, recently reversed his stance as a climate change denier. His original skepticism was the result of inconsistent temperature datasets. He was not "passing along misinformation supplied to me during expensive lunches," he wrote in the article Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore.

The authors say skeptics like Bailey have every right to voice their opinion. But the statements of a few think tank-supported experts should not be regarded as equal to scientific findings that have been vetted through an intense peer-review process, they say. "We want to allow a cacophony of voices in public policy," Jacques said. "Where we get into problems is where we fail to evaluate the voices; we fail to evaluate the merit of the claim."



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


Thursday, June 12, 2008


A satirical comment:

So it's tornado chasing season and I usually try to get out to chase some storms down because this is what really cool, hip economist type guys do to impress the girls. And while dabbling on the internet I found this chart that showed where tornadoes occur and it occurred to me it is a nearly identical match to which countries enjoy 1st world status. i.e. - where there is the most tornadic activity there is also the most economic growth. Heck, even South Korea is plagued with tornadoes, but it's evil communist twin to the north is not.

This can only mean one things. CAPITALISTS ARE CONTROLLING THE GLOBAL WARMING TO BRING MORE TORNADOES TO THEIR COUNTRIES AND THUS MORE ECONOMIC GROWTH! Those greedy bastards! Hogging all the tornadic activity to themselves!

Of course, this is not much more outlandish than most theories tendered by leftists.


Bad Science. A grand tradition

By Roy Spencer

With the failure of the Lieberman-Warner global-warming bill in the Senate last Friday, I am reminded of the long and grand tradition the scientific community has had in promoting "bad science." (It is mere coincidence that the acronym for this term is "BS."). While the failure of the carbon cap-and-trade legislation was largely a result of economic concerns over what it would cost the country, its proponents will no doubt return next year with claims that no price is too great to save us from planetary destruction.

But I believe that the huge cost of "doing something" substantial about global warming will inevitably cause us to reexamine the science. Just how certain are we that recent warming really has been caused by SUVs spewing carbon dioxide and cows belching methane? After all, the greater the cost of the advertised fixes, the more certain we must be that the scientific consensus really is more than just a political statement.

And why should the science of global warming be so uncertain? Mostly because it is a whole lot easier to make scientific measurements than it is to figure out what those measurements are telling us about how the natural world works. The famous humorist and writer Mark Twain once said, "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."

I consider the theory that global warming is caused by mankind to be just one more example of the continuing tradition scientists have of extrapolating well beyond what they think they know. In his 1883 book Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain also expressed perfectly the proclivity of scientists for turning observations of the natural world into long range predictions which were clearly outlandish.

Twain humorously extrapolated an observed change in the length of the Mississippi River forward and back in time by millions of years to demonstrate the absurdity of the conclusions one can reach when one assumes something currently observed will continue to happen at the same rate, indefinitely. Twain famously concluded, "There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture from such a trifling investment of fact."

Possibly the most prolific purveyor of failed environmental predictions is the MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" recipient, Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich. Beginning in the 1960s, Dr. Ehrlich embarked on a series of premonitions that included dead oceans by 1979, hundreds of thousands of smog deaths in cities, pesticide-related cancers reducing average life expectancy to 42 years by 1980, and such an abuse of pesticides that would cause other countries to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. out of fear of global poisoning.

For some strange reason, the more dire the prediction, the better chance of receiving a prestigious award for scaring the rest of humanity with it - Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize comes to mind.

Now, I am assuming that your local newspaper has already kept you sufficiently warned concerning the many different ways that you will suffer a premature death, most of which are now ultimately the result of manmade global warming. But one you might not have heard about is the recent decline in Great Lakes water levels which is (of course) also due to global warming. For instance, Lake Superior water levels in 2007 reached near-record lows.

I say "near-record" because a similar decline was observed in the early 1920s which culminated in the record low lake level of 1926. From reading media reports of the 1926 event, one can see the continuing tradition of experts to predict events that non-experts (the public) recognize to be foolish. A Duluth Herald editorial at the time gave the common sense explanation for low lake levels: "The weather bureau has issued a report on low lake levels.the Great Lakes watershed is in a cycle of light precipitation.levels will come back when.the dry cycle is succeeded by a wet one. There have been dry cycles before..and for every dry cycle there has been a wet one to follow."

But the "experts" had a very different take on the issue, as reported in the May 27, 1926 issue of Daily Mining Journal: "Ultimate extinction of the American side of the falls at Niagara is mathematically certain unless water levels in the Great Lakes are raised."

I have a difficult time reading that statement without laughing. But I suspect it wasn't meant to be a joke. The silliness of such statements isn't a failure of the scientific method, but a reflection of the fact that scientists are - believe it or not - human. I have personally heard scientists in leadership positions express the opinion that we need to stop producing carbon dioxide, no matter what the science says. These are the anointed ones who keep us informed on the "scientific consensus" on global warming, and who proclaim that "the debate is over."

While the global-warming debate will probably slow down for some number of months, it will likely return with a vengeance sometime after the fall elections. This is, of course, unless our eight-year stretch of no warming continues. Since January of 2006 when Al Gore announced we have only ten years left to save ourselves, the globally averaged satellite measured temperature of the lower atmosphere has fallen by one degree Farenheit. Last month was the fifth-coolest month in the 30-year satellite record.

If global warming doesn't get its act together pretty soon, there will be a lot of scientists (and more than a few politicians) who will look pretty foolish - but only to those who remember the foolish predictions. Since we still remember a few scientists in the 1970s who were announcing the arrival of a new ice age, I am hopeful that we will also be reminded of the catastrophic warming forecasts when they also fail.

But by then we will have moved on to new kinds of environmental catastrophes to predict and wring our hands over. After all, we scientists are human, too, and we must preserve our traditions.



Every day we hear that Britain is facing a 'fuel crisis'. The world oil price breaks records every week. The cost of petrol and gas soars. Foreign suppliers of gas and oil are holding Britain to ransom and charging exorbitant prices. The average family, we are told, faces fuel bills of 1,500 pounds a year. Yet all this pales into insignificance compared with the real energy crisis roaring down on Britain with the speed of a bullet train as, within six or seven years, we stand to lose 40 per cent of all our existing electricity-generating capacity.

Thanks to decades of neglect and wishful thinking by successive governments - and now the devastating impact of a directive from Brussels - we are about to see 17 of our major power stations forced to close, leaving us with a massive shortfall.

Even after 2010, the experts say our power stations cannot be guaranteed to provide us with a continuous supply, meaning that we face the possibility of power cuts far worse than those which recently - largely unreported - blacked out half-a-million homes. By 2015, when the power stations which meet two-fifths of our current electricity needs have gone out of business, we could be facing the most serious disruption to our power supplies since the 'three-day week' of the 1970s.

But the impact of such power cuts on the Britain of today would be far more damaging than they were in the time of Edward Heath 35 years ago. Compared with then, our dependence on continuous electricity supplies is infinitely greater - thanks, above all, to our reliance on computers. We are no longer talking just about factories shutting down or lighting our homes with candles. Without computers, our entire economy would grind to a halt. Scarcely an office, shop, bank or hospital in the land would be able to function. Our railway system would be immobilised. Road traffic would be in chaos as traffic lights ceased to operate and petrol stations closed down. Yet this is the scale of the catastrophe which may be facing us, thanks to the failure of government to give Britain a proper energy policy.

Scaremongering? Just look at the hard facts. At the moment, to meet Britain's peak electricity demand, our power stations need to provide a minimum 56 gigawatts (GW) of capacity. Ten gigawatts, nearly a fifth, comes from our ageing nuclear power stations, all but one of which are so old that over the next few years they will have reached the end of their useful working life. On top of that, however, we shall also have to shut down nine more major power stations - six coal-fired, three oil-fired - forced to close by the crippling cost of complying with an EU anti-pollution law, the so-called Large Combustion Plants directive. This will take out another 13GW of capacity, bringing the total shortfall to 22GW - a staggering 40 per cent of the 56GW we have today.

Waking up at last to the scale of the abyss that is yawning before us, our Government - not least Prime Minister Gordon Brown - has realised the only way to avert this disaster must be to build as fast as possible at least 20 new power stations, gasfired, coal-fired or nuclear.

Part of the cause of this crisis was that, for more than two decades, we went for gas-fired power stations, in the days when we still had abundant supplies of cheap gas from the North Sea. But that is fast running out. Within 12 years, we shall have to import 80 per cent of our gas, at a time when world prices are soaring - and it would be folly to become over-dependent for our energy on countries as politically unreliable as Mr Putin's Russia, where gas is produced.

Building new coal-fired stations might have made more sense if we hadn't closed down most of our own coal industry, and if this didn't now involve the colossal extra costs imposed by the new EU rules. As we saw from the recent response to a proposed new coal-fired plant in Kent, any mention of coal-burning has the green lobby screaming up the wall.

As the Government itself has belatedly recognised, by far the most sensible way to try to fill the gap would be to build a new generation of nuclear power stations. But how on earth is this to be done? There are only a handful of companies equipped to build these nuclear power plants, and countries all over the world are queuing up to place their own orders. Until October 2006, the British Government itself owned one such firm, Westinghouse, but in an act of supreme folly we sold it to Toshiba in Japan for a knockdown 2.8 billion - and it has 19 new orders on its books already.

Our best hope, it seems, is the state-owned French company EDF (ElectricitÈ de France), which has recently been bidding to buy British Energy, owner of almost all our existing nuclear power stations. These would provide the most obvious sites on which to build new ones.

France, of course, went for nuclear energy in a big way just when we were retreating from it - having been world leader for 20 years - and currently derives 80 per cent of its electricity from 58 nuclear power stations. But with such a worldwide demand for new nuclear power, what chance is there that even EDF could provide enough reactors to meet our needs, when building each new one might take ten years or more?

Yet another reason why we have allowed this mindbogglingly serious crisis to creep up on us has been the obsession of those who rule us - both in London and in Brussels - with 'renewable' energy. Incredibly, we are 'obliged' by the EU, within 12 years, to generate no less than 38 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources - such as tens of thousands of wind turbines - when currently only 4 per cent comes from renewables, with wind farms providing barely 1 per cent. As our Government privately recognises, we have no hope of achieving even a fraction of that target (we would anyway need to build a mass of new conventional power stations simply to supply back-up when the wind is not blowing).

Whichever way it is looked at, Britain is threatened by what, thanks to years of dereliction and misjudgment, has become arguably our most serious potential crisis of modern times. Politically, the blame for this astounding mess lies in all directions - with the Tories, with Labour, with Brussels, with those smugly shortsighted 'environmentalists'. But all that matters now is that we put the need to avert this disaster right at the top of our national political agenda. We need to get on with solving as terrifying a problem as our politicians have ever faced.


Planetary perspective

Anthony Watts has a wonderful post up that puts the Earth and its climate in physical perspective. Yes, there are pictures and a pretty cool animation file, but there is also this:
What is very clear though, when you look at history, and the graph above, is that our earths atmosphere and resulting climate is extremely sensitive to variations in solar output. The sweet center point seems to be about 1365 watts per square meter of irradiance.what we consider as "normal" climate. Take 1.5 watts/sq. meter away, and we get significant cooling, harsh winters, cool summers, and increases in ice and glaciers. Add 1.5 watts,/sq. meter and we get hotter summers, mild winters, and melting of ice and glaciers.

The scariest thing we have learned about climate change -- not admitted by most people who want to shape public policy on account of it -- is how little control we have over it. The sun can twitch ever so slightly in either direction and humanity confronts a demographic disaster. A bit too cool, and the most agriculturally productive areas suffer severe crop failures. A bit too hot, and the vast numbers who live at sea level have to migrate at somebody else's expense.

Scary stuff indeed.


Congress Fiddled With Warming While Earth Cooled

Last week Democrats tried to kill the economy in the name of solving a problem that doesn't exist. Republicans should hang this bill around their necks in every district where an incumbent voted for the woefully misnamed and deservedly DOA Climate Security Act, technically S.3036. Asking Americans to pony up even more at the pump with already record gasoline prices creeping higher almost daily seems offensive enough. But compelling such burden under the guise of moral imperative to curb global warming at a time when the planet is actually cooling rings downright obscene.

And that's why last week's cavalcade of Senators opposing the Act -- which would have directed the EPA to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases -- entirely on economic grounds was so confounding.

Don't get me wrong -- the fiscal arguments against the bill's draconian business regulations were inexorable -- its massive consequent spike in energy costs would be nothing short of ruinous to the nation. An April EPA analysis of the bill estimated a 53 cents per gallon increase in the price of gasoline and a 44% jump in electricity costs by 2030 should it become law. Even those figures precariously assumed a 150% increase in nuclear and "significant use of biomass" for electricity generation; otherwise costs will be "significantly higher." Add a projected net loss of almost a trillion dollars in GDP by that very same year and this blatantly socialistic power-grab attempt deserved the pauper's funeral it received on financial grounds alone. That's without even considering that there's no proof whatsoever that the actions of mankind can influence global temperatures even one degree Celsius in either direction.

With Americans struggling to keep food on the table in lighted rooms of solvent homes as soaring energy costs drive prices painfully northward across the board, a bill that would hemorrhage thousands of additional dollars from each family's survival-chest annually would seem inopportune at best. Indeed, this public display of politicians debating climate science in terms of macroeconomics, while betraying a comprehension of neither by a disturbing majority within their ranks, was a wonder to behold in these truly trying times.

Green dreams were peddled. Imagine the insolence of countering the economic-suicide predicted from arbitrary and inherently unmonitorable CO2 limits with unfounded promises of some imaginary "green job" boom. Or basing short-term impact projections on the advent of renewable energy "technological advances," naively citing alternately the Apollo Mission and Manhattan Project as prognosticators of success's inevitability. And amid all these fantasies, legislating likewise non-existent Carbon capture and sequestration technology shackles upon the only energy source realistically capable of providing the nation's electricity for decades to come: Coal. Particularly given no proof whatsoever that the actions of mankind can influence global temperatures even one degree Celsius in either direction.

It's no secret how much liberals covet European models for just about everything. Yet, Europe's even less intrusive attempts at cap-and-trade have failed miserably, wreaking havoc upon economies with no significant decrease in atmospheric carbon levels. Britain's efforts to legislate carbon limits have sparked trucker and taxi-driver strikes and protests and even threaten Labor's majority. In fact, climate legislation across the pond has failed so miserably that a new poll found "more than seven in 10 voters insist that they would not be willing to pay higher taxes in order to fund projects to combat climate change."

Yet, despite all the consumer misery endured, CO2 levels in Great Britain still increased by 3.39% between Kyoto ratification in 1997 and 2004. True, the global average was 18.05%, but the United States, whose refusal to ratify allowed continued economic growth, managed a mere 6.57% increase. Compare that to other Kyoto signers like Japan (10.61%), Russia (15.61%) or Italy (15.53%). In fact, lib-beloved France, with all its Carbon pontification, barely beat the US (6.21%), despite deriving the majority of its electricity from carbon-neutral nuclear plants.

S.3036 ostensibly gambled on non-existent technology to accomplish essentially nothing at inescapably catastrophic costs.

The Silence of the Shams

GOP failure to challenge the act's underlying premise of man's influence on climate not only circumvented the strongest case against it, but also set perilous precedent by implying acceptance of the unaccepted in the halls of congress. Such oblique capitulation throughout the MSM, the leftie blogosphere and pop culture has already handed the alarmists a victory of sorts. And a Senate floor debate tacitly based upon the junk which is the Democrats' science can only serve to further dye the fraudulent claim of "consensus" into the ever docile fabric of public psyche.

Consequently, from the outset of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 debate, the greenie claim that the global warming "debate has ended" appeared as though a foregone conclusion. And everyone from Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to John Warner (R-VA) to Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was thus handed the pulpit from which to preach that we have no choice but to act now regardless of the economic fallout involved -- to do otherwise would be downright immoral. During last week's Democrat radio address Boxer waxed Goraclesque:
"There are some in the Senate who insist that global warming is nothing more than science fiction. These are the same kind of voices who said that the world was flat, cigarettes were safe, cars didn't need air bags -- long after the rest of us knew the truth."

And with this shifty alarmist sleight-of-tongue (intentionally omitting the "anthropogenic" prefix), the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works chair set the tone for debate. Not whether or not mankind's Carbon footprint stinks, but rather what steps are necessary to assuage its feculence. A June 2nd piece at WaPo lamenting the Senate's probable failure to pass S.3036 (for now) further exemplified the left's disregard for the science by stating that:
"The world has clamored for U.S. leadership on climate change. Yet for seven years the Bush administration denied and dithered while the planet warmed."

An interesting accusation, particularly considering that the planet stopped warming 2 years before Bush took the oath in 2001, has been cooling since 2002 and that this year's was the fourth coldest May since 1979.

That's right -- the University of Alabama, Huntsville just published its satellite-derived temperature anomalies for May. The figures depict a global temperature drop of 0.195øC between April and May, and a drop of 0.379øC since May of last year. Anthony Watts, one of myriad scientists attributing recent cooling (and global temperature anomalies overall) to the activity of that yellow dwarf star at the center of our solar system and other historically correlative natural forces, notes that: [emphasis in original]
"Even more impressive is the change since the last big peak in global temperature in January 2007 at 0.594øC, giving a 16 month ?T of -0.774øC which is equal in magnitude to the generally agreed upon `global warming signal' of the last 100 years."

Please consider those words carefully. And also that, as previously noted, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently confirmed that an impending phase shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation will likely bring colder temperatures for as many as the next 20-30 years.

So amid all the dreadful economics, the Democrats were actually proposing the single largest government intrusion into the nation's economy since WWII rationing in order to stop something that stopped almost 10 years ago. And which, despite continually rising atmospheric CO2 levels, exhibits no signs of restarting. A socialistic solution in search of a problem if ever there were one.

Das Klima Kapital

Have I mentioned that there's no proof whatever that the actions of mankind can influence global temperatures even one degree Celsius in either direction? In last Tuesday's NRO, Lawrence Solomon reminded us that Lieberman-Warner is based primarily upon the premise that there exists "scientific consensus on [manmade] global warming." And that this over-talked talking point is based largely upon the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's headline of "2500 Scientific Expert Reviewers."

Even if true, why then does Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's petition against global warming alarmism continue to add signatures to its over 31,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 with PhDs? Just who are the UN's "expert reviewers" whose opinions have been elevated to the realm of "indisputable?" Solomon contacted the Secretariat of the IPCC to learn the names of these 2,500 scientists and just what exactly they endorsed. Writes Solomon:
"I planned to canvas them to determine their precise views. The answer that came back from the Secretariat informed me that the names were not public, so I would not be able to survey them, and that the scientists were merely reviewers. The 2,500 had not endorsed the conclusions of the report and, in fact, the IPCC had not claimed that they did. Journalists had jumped to the conclusion that the scientists the IPCC had touted were endorsers and the IPCC never saw fit to correct the record. There is no consensus of 2,500 scientist-endorsers. Moreover, many of those 2,500 reviewers turned thumbs down on the studies that they reviewed - I know this from my own interviews with them, conducted in the course of writing a book about scientists who dispute the conventional wisdom on climate change."

So why champion a bill that gambled on non-existent technology to accomplish essentially nothing at inescapably catastrophic costs to solve a non-problem that no one has the slightest idea how to solve anyway?

Addressing the National Press Club last month, Czech President Vaclav Klaus described the government control over business afforded by cap-and-trade as "something which resembles very much the dreams of communist central planners." And while Lieberman-Warner, which would have extracted trillions of dollars from the economy by selling greenhouse gas credits to American industry, already fit that bill, the so-called Boxer Substitute Amendment would bring a smile to the face of comrade Marx himself. Responding to claims that cap-and-trade would harm poorest Americans the most, Boxer's was a typical liberal fix that "sets aside a nearly $800 billion tax relief fund through 2050, which will help consumers in need of assistance related to energy costs." Translation - control the nation's commerce while redistributing its profits.

In 1867, Karl Marx argued that capitalism's cycle of labor exploitation could not endlessly sustain itself and would ultimately be its doom. Modern greenies insist that capitalism's cycle of environmental exploitation will not endlessly sustain itself and will ultimately be not only its doom - but the entire planet's. Cap-and-trade thus represents the perfect liberal synergy of environmentalism and socialism.

With both energy costs and atmospheric carbon levels on the rise while global temperatures fall, one might expect prudent policymakers to adopt a watch-and-wait philosophy over the next 10 years or so. But the envirosocialists are instead feeling the heat to enact their green-red social reforms before the "consensus" lie is exposed -- and the public's hypochondriacal fever cools.

All the more reason why Republican senators should have scooped up handfuls of nascent practical science and with it buried the decaying piles of junk science that shelter the counterfeit arguments coming from the other side of the aisle. And Friday's defeat of S.3036 doesn't change that imperative one iota.

Yes, having failed to muster the 60 votes (48-36) necessary to overcome a GOP filibuster and move to final consideration, Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to pull the bill from the floor. But with both Presidential nominees supporting cap-and-trade and likely Democrat gains in both houses, this insidious scheme may smell funny, but it's by no means dead. Especially with a majority of the citizenry reading headlines the likes of Republican lawmakers block US climate bill still of the mind that their carbon-spewing lifestyles somehow threaten the world of their descendancy.

So when next the battle wages, government topography, public hysteria and lower energy costs might coalesce to favor the alarmists' scare tactics over the economic realities. That's why then -- as now and before - disputing and debunking the sham science will be key to curing this greenhouse gas dementia once and for all.


NYT 1993: ' Study of Greenland Ice Finds Rapid Change in Past Climate'

The next time some New York Times reporter wants to write about how man is responsible for warming the planet, maybe he should take a look at an amazing article his paper published on July 15, 1993, largely refuting any connection between the burning of fossil fuels and rising temperatures. Written by Walter Sullivan, "Study of Greenland Ice Finds Rapid Change in Past Climate" addressed findings that suggest "the period of stable climate in which human civilization has flourished might be unusual, and that the current climate may get either warmer or colder much more quickly than had been believed -- in spans of decades or even less." Doesn't sound like today's hysterical press claims concerning global warming, does it? Neither does this:
The scientists said their data showed that significantly warmer periods and significantly colder periods had occurred during the last interval between glacial epochs, about 115,000 to 135,000 years ago. They said they could not tell whether that meant similar changes were in store. Their findings were reported today in two papers in the journal Nature....

The new studies found that the average global temperature can change as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit in a couple of decades during interglacial periods, [Dr. J. W. C. White of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research of the University of Colorado] said. The current average global temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wow. You mean natural forces -- i.e. unrelated to anything done by man! -- can create temperature swings of 18 degrees in a couple of decades? And folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore, along with most in the media and an overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress are advocating economically destabilizing legislation all because temperatures have risen about one degree in the past 150 years? But there was more:
The research on the last period between glaciers is considered important because it may provide hints about the effects of rising levels of atmospheric gases, like carbon dioxide, that have a warming effect similar to that caused by the glass in a greenhouse. "As the last interglacial seems to have been slightly warmer than the present one," the new report said, "its unstable climate raises questions about the effects of future global warming."

Pay particular attention to this next segment:
At one point between the last two glacial epochs, the climate melted enough polar ice to raise sea levels some 30 feet. As noted by a member of the drilling team, Dr. David A. Peel of the British Antarctic Survey, it was so warm in England that hippopotamuses wallowed in the Thames and lions roamed its banks.

And this happened without the anthropogenic burning of fossil fuels? How can that be? In his commentary, Dr. White wrote:
"We humans have built a remarkable socioeconomic system during perhaps the only time when it could be built, when climate was sufficiently stable to allow us to develop the agricultural infrastructure required to maintain an advanced society. We don't know why we have been so blessed, but even without human intervention, the climate system is capable of stunning variability. "If the Earth came with an operating manual, the chapter on climate might begin with a caveat that the system has been adjusted at the factory for optimum comfort, so don't touch the dials."

Don't touch the dials. Amen to that, brother!



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


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


An email from Wendell Krossa [] on the nature of nature

Anne Gardiner presents a good summary of some of the pagan mythology behind modern environmental thought. Alston Chase similarly traces something of the mythological roots of this movement in his book In A Dark Wood.

Gardiner also expresses the great battle for human minds and freedom that this environmental movement is shaping up to be. It is becoming the defining issue of our time- the environmentalist assault on human freedom. Some have suggested that it could become a totalitarianism that would outdo totalitarianisms of the past because it wants to legislate human behavior in constraining detail that other movements did not engage. And it demands a reversal of the human enterprise (and humanity itself) on a scale that few other movements envisioned.

But I am not sure that Gardiner's alternative is up to the task of countering the core mythology of environmentalism. The Christian story is also one of human sacrifice and this does little to effectively challenge the similar pagan call for human sacrifice. Competing against one form of mythology with a similar story does not really resolve anything fundamental. Also, the Christian belief system assumes a fallen humanity which is little improvement on the devaluation of humanity offered by environmental paganism.

At the root of all this mythology is the valuation or perspective on humanity that people hold. This is a critical issue - how do we view and value humanity? What is our place in the overall scheme of things?

I would argue that with consciousness we hold a unique place in nature and a privileged responsibility to humanize nature and life. With consciousness we have awareness of what truly humane reality is about and we are responsible to bring this awareness to our engagement with the rest of life. Easterbrook (A Moment on the Earth) suggests that nature has waited a long time for us and our endowments of mind and intelligence. We can now help nature out of the dead ends that it has gotten into by its blind, random, and dumb processes (e.g. predation, disease, natural disasters).

A related issue here is how we view nature. Nature is not some pristine or pure reality aside from humanity. It has rightly been called a "wicked old witch" or Dark Nature (Lyall Watson). It is violent, disease ridden, and in need of rescue. While enlightened consciousness leads us to respect the rest of life, we should not apologize for our status and responsibility toward life and the Earth; to humanize nature. In fulfilling our responsibility, we ought to feel no guilt over our engagement of nature and our use of its abundant resources.

So nature has no inherent right to supremacy over humanity. Ideologies/mythologies that place something else above free human persons have always led to the neglect and abuse of real people. Such is the history of religious and ideological movements. Whenever people place something above human persons and their rights and freedom, then they fall prey to totalitarianism. This is equally true of this pagan nature worship. One would think it would be clear to most people that a dumb, blind, and randomly driven environment cannot take precedence over conscious persons.

I would suggest that an effective answer to this environmental mythology lies in the proper valuation of humanity or human persons. Each of us will do this in our own way according to our personal worldviews. Let me just note that helpful alternatives have been offered here by people like Joseph Campbell. Few have expressed the wonder of being human as well he has in his books Myths To Live By, The Power of Myth, and An Open Life. Catholic theologian Thomas Sheehan also offers an interesting valuation of humanity in his essay From Divinity to Infinity. He suggests that humanity is the new "marker" (or stand in) for divinity. Divinity, he says, has disappeared into humanity to explore the infinity of human potential in improving life. Campbell similarly offers the perspective that each of us embodies the great Consciousness or Mind of the universe. From such insight it becomes obvious that we are not just another animal subject to nature and its ecosystems (and after all, the story of humanity is one of freedom from natural constraints and limitations). We are so much more than just the 2 percent difference with apes. Others might prefer more secular perspectives on the wonder of being human such as that offered by Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource.

On the primitiveness or paganism of this contemporary environmental mythology I was reminded of a personal experience with a tribal man in Mindanao (Davao Del Norte province, Southern Philippines). He was fishing in a rainforest river. As he stood shivering on the bank holding his fishing spear I noticed that he had placed a piece of bamboo upright in the bank of the river with an egg held in the split top. I knew the mythology behind such sacrifice but I asked him anyway why he had done that. He replied, "So the river spirit will not be angry when I take fish from the river".

Pagan, barbaric, and ignorant? Yes, it's all that. But it is even more unsettling when such primitive thought is promoted by PhDs in our universities. Bill Rees, the father of the ecological footprint concept, had us read The Re-Enchantment of the World and lectured us on Deep Ecology in grad school (Planning) at the University of British Columbia. He had PhD candidates lecture us on nature as Goddess. And he also stated that he would not only halt the human enterprise for taking from nature, but would actually reverse it. Earth can only sustain about one to two billion people, according to him.

You can't discuss science with such people. Once in the grip of a mythology as powerful as this pagan nature worship, you can only let their hysteria run its course. But when that hysteria begins to push its totalitarian solutions on the rest of us, then it is the responsibility of all of us to stand up and refuse to let such insanity undermine human freedom and progress.

A Christian Critique Of `Global Warming'

By Dr. R. W. Bradnock

One of the problems with making informed judgments is that `global warming' is an immensely complex and wide-ranging field, even in the meteorological sense. However, in my own narrow area of research, I know that many of the claims about the impact of `global warming' in Bangladesh, for example, are completely unfounded. There is no evidence that flooding has increased at all in recent years. Drought and excessive rainfall are the nature of the monsoon system. Agricultural production, far from being decimated by worsening floods over the last twenty years, has nearly doubled.

In the early 1990s, Houghton published a map of the purported effects of sea-level rise on Bangladesh. Coming from a Fellow of the Royal Society, former Head of the Met Office and Chair of the IPCC, this was widely accepted, and frequently reproduced. Yet, it shows no understanding of the complex processes that form the Bengal delta, and it is seriously misleading. Moreover, despite the repeated claims of the World Wide Fund, Greenpeace, and, sadly, Christian Aid, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers is of completely marginal significance to the farmers of the plains in China, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. One could go on!

But does it matter? Is there a specifically Christian view of climate change, and of our responsibility for it? After all, we believe that this is God's world. We are now hearing the argument that before humans interfered with `natural climates', the climate was stable and guaranteed a stable God-given environment in which we could all live with security, and with a future for our children and grandchildren. The planet, we are told, having been a secure and stable home for all these generations, has now become threatened, if not doomed - and it is all our fault.

It is a short step - and one that many are now taking - to argue that the burning of fossil fuels is itself a sign of human greed. Some argue that we in the North have plundered the world's resources, and that the `global warming' that will result is our moral responsibility. One implication is that we should compensate those, especially poor countries, for the damage we are causing, and have caused, them. The policies which stem from this view are evident in the latest publication on climate change from the Joint Issues team of the Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, and URC, in effect an uncritical endorsement of the policies of pressure groups. Arguing that the Government's climate change bill does not go far enough, it is urging us, as Christians, to support the reduction of carbon emissions by 80%, to include the impact of sea- and air-travel, and to forego the buying of international carbon credits, reducing our own emissions instead.

Where do these policies lead? Already they have stimulated a dramatic diversion of agricultural land to the production of biofuels - now immediately denounced by the very same groups trying to "stop climate chaos" as "leading to an unsustainable loss of food producing land". At the same time, belief in the urgent reality of climate change is leading others, including our own government, to open the door again to nuclear power - equally refuted by many pressure groups.

If we go down the route of cutting carbon emissions to less than 20% of current levels, irrespective of cost, we should be clear on some fundamental truths about God's created world. There is not now, and never has been, a `stable environment'. Climate has changed, often far more dramatically than it is changing now, in very short periods of time - and quite unrelated to any human activity. These changes are very little understood, and we have no means of knowing where we are in the cycle of changing climates.

We have to ask: is there anything inherently Christian in a goal of "stopping climate change", as if that represented a return to a God-given stability and security? Cheap energy has been absolutely central to the massive improvements in health and well-being which have so enormously lengthened and improved the quality of life for millions across the world during the last century. Are these changes truly sinful and a sign of greed? It is not surprising that governments in the developing world, and their people, rate such improvements so highly that, come what may, they will continue to increase their energy consumption to achieve them. China is already the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide, and India is not far behind. Is it our Christian responsibility to tell them to stop?

One day - perhaps soon - that energy will have to come from sources other than fossil fuels. But let's not pretend that when that day comes, whatever other benefits it may bring with it, we will have been freed from the shocks of dramatic and often unpredictable climate change. For, along with earthquakes and tsunami, the scientific record demonstrates that climate change - dramatic, sudden, unpredictable, and sometimes potentially catastrophic - is an integral part of God's created world.

Does the non-use of the world's resources get us off any hooks, whether environmental, economic, or theological? Or should we be seeking to use the earth's resources as responsibly and productively as we can, while struggling to achieve fairness and justice in the opportunities that such development can bring?

More here

Climate fraud

I covered Doug Keenan's work a year or so back but the post below recycled from Freeborn John is a useful summary of it. Keenan's work dynamites an essential foundation of the IPCC story (their claim that they allow for UHI effects) so it is being zealously ignored -- which is a good reason to keep referring to it

Doug Keenan is an independent mathematician, formerly a financial analyst, based in London. After I re-published a list of peer-reviewed papers that question the received wisdom on climate science - received wisdom, it should be said, only in the political and media worlds, not the scientific - I received an email from Dr Keenan drawing my attention to two peer-reviewed papers he had written that are relevant. I have added them to the first post, but want to draw attention to them here. Both are very accessible to a lay reader. Both are absolutely gobsmacking, to use a technical word.

The first is titled: Grape harvest dates are poor indicators of summer warmth. A pdf of the full paper can be downloaded here (pdf) and an introduction can be read here. The following is an abridged version of that introduction (emphasis added). It casts a disturbing light on the process of peer review:
On 18 November 2004, Isabelle Chuine and co-workers published a research paper on global warming. The paper appeared in Nature, the world's most highly-regarded scientific journal. And it gathered some publicity. Chuine et al. claimed to have developed a method for estimating the summer temperature in Burgundy, France, in any given year back to 1370 (based on the harvest dates of grapes). Using their method, the authors asserted that the summer of 2003 was by far the warmest summer since 1370, in Burgundy.

I had been following global warming studies only as a disinterested outside spectator (and only occasionally). Someone sent me the paper of Chuine et al., though, and wondered what I thought of it from a mathematical perspective. So I had a look.

To study the paper properly, I needed to have the authors' data. So I e-mailed Dr. Chuine, asking for this. The authors, though, were very reluctant to let me have the data. It took me eight months, tens of e-mails exchanged with the authors, and two formal complaints to Nature, to get the data. (Some data was purchased from M‚t‚o France.) It is obviously inappropriate that such a large effort was necessary.

Looking at the data made it manifest that there are serious problems with the work of Chuine et al...
That is, the authors had developed a method that gave a falsely-high estimate of temperature in 2003 and falsely-low estimates of temperatures in other very warm years. They then used those false estimates to proclaim that 2003 was much hotter than other years.

The above is easy enough to understand. It does not even require any specialist scientific training. So how could the peer reviewers of the paper not have seen it? (Peer reviewers are the scientists who check a paper prior to its publication.) I asked Dr. Chuine what data was sent to Nature, when the paper was submitted to the journal. Dr. Chuine replied, “We never sent data to Nature”.

I have since published a short note that details the above problem (reference below). There are several other problems with the paper of Chuine et al. as well. I have written a brief survey of those (for people with an undergraduate-level background in science). As described in that survey, problems would be obvious to anyone with an appropriate scientific background, even without the data. In other words, the peer reviewers could not have had appropriate background.

What is important here is not the truth or falsity of the assertion of Chuine et al. about Burgundy temperatures. Rather, what is important is that a paper on what is arguably the world's most important scientific topic (global warming) was published in the world's most prestigious scientific journal with essentially no checking of the work prior to publication.

Finally, it is worth noting that Chuine et al. had the data; so they must have known that their conclusions were unfounded. In other words, there is prima facie evidence of scientific fraud. What will happen to the researchers as a result of this? Probably nothing. That is another systemic problem with the scientific publication process.
In this case Dr Keenan took no further action. But this experience led him to look more closely at some of the evidence on which the ideas about human-caused global warming were based. In the process, he uncovered something that he felt demanded further action. He has published a report about this, which can be downloaded here (pdf) and a brief timeline of events, still being updated, that can be read here. The paper is titled: The fraud allegation against some climatic research of Wei-Chyung Wang. Here's the abstract from the pdf:
Wei-Chyung Wang has been a respected researcher in global warming studies for decades. I have formally alleged that he committed fraud in some of his research, including research cited by the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC (2007) on “urban heat islands” (a critical issue). Herein, the allegation is reviewed, and some of its implications are explicated.
On the 20th February this year the University of Albany wrote to Dr Keenan confirming that they were going to investigate his allegation.

Here are some brief excerpts from the same pdf report (abridged, emphasis added):
The work of Jones et al. (1990) is a significant paper in global warming studies (see below for details). In February 2007, Stephen McIntyre blogged about evidence he had found showing that it was “impossible” for Jones et al. to have carried out their work as they had claimed.1 An anonymous comment on the blog then indicated potential issues with the closely-related work of Wang et al. (1990).2 Further study by myself found additional evidence of problems. The evidence particularly implicates Wei-Chyung Wang—the lead author of Wang et al. and a co-author of Jones et al.

Wang is a professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
He has been doing research on climate for over 30 years...
Meteorological stations sometimes move, and this can affect the temperature measurements of the stations.
It is clear that when a station moves, the temperature data from before the move is not, in general, directly comparable to the data from after the move.
In global warming studies, an important issue concerns the integrity of temperature measurements from meteorological stations. The latest assessment report from the IPCC indicates that the global average temperature rose by roughly 0.3 °C over the period 1954–1983. Thus, if errors in temperature measurements were of similar size to, or larger than, 0.3 °C, there could be a serious problem for global warming studies. The papers of Jones et al. and Wang et al. both consider this issue. The paper of Jones et al. is one of the main works cited by the IPCC to support its contention that measurement errors arising from urbanization are tiny, and therefore are not a serious problem.
Regarding station movements over time, the papers of Jones et al. and Wang et al. make the following statements.
The stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times. [Jones et al.]
They were chosen based on station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times.... [Wang et al.]
Those statements are essential for the papers.
Jones et al. and Wang et al. consider the same 84 meteorological stations in China. Regarding 49 of those stations, the DOE/CAS report says, “station histories are not currently available” and “details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times ... are not known” (sect. 5). For those 49 stations, then, the above-quoted statements from the two papers are impossible.

Regarding the remaining 35 stations that were analyzed by the two papers, I have prepared a summary of the relevant information from the DOE/CAS report. The summary is available at As an example from the summary, one station had five different locations during 1954–1983, with the locations as much as 41 km apart. Two other stations each had four different locations. At least half the stations had substantial moves (two other examples, of 25 km and 15 km, were given above). Moreover, several stations have histories that are inconsistent, making reliable analysis unattainable.
The essential point here is that the quoted statements from Jones et al. and Wang et al. cannot be true and could not be in error by accident. The statements are fabricated.
I thoroughly recommend Doug Keenan's website in general. There are other relevant papers, all written with great clarity, generally accessible to a lay reader. (There's also a Knuth cheque to ogle).

Has global warming research misinterpreted cloud behavior?

Climate experts agree that the seriousness of manmade global warming depends greatly upon how clouds in the climate system respond to the small warming tendency from the extra carbon dioxide mankind produces. To figure that out, climate researchers usually examine natural, year-to-year fluctuations in clouds and temperature to estimate how clouds will respond to humanity1s production of greenhouse gases.

When researchers observe natural changes in clouds and temperature, they have traditionally assumed that the temperature change caused the clouds to change, and not the other way around. To the extent that the cloud changes actually cause temperature change, this can ultimately lead to overestimates of how sensitive Earth's climate is to our greenhouse gas emissions.

This seemingly simple mix-up between cause and effect is the basis of a new paper that will appear in the Journal of Climate. The paper's lead author, Dr. Roy W. Spencer, a principal research scientist at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, believes the work is the first step in demonstrating why climate models produce too much global warming.

Spencer and his co-author, principal research scientist William (Danny) Braswell, used a simple climate model to demonstrate that something as seemingly innocuous as daily random variations in cloud cover can cause year-to-year variation in ocean temperature that looks like -- but isn't -- "positive cloud feedback," a warmth-magnifying process that exists in all major climate models. "Our paper is an important step toward validating a gut instinct that many meteorologists like myself have had over the years," said Spencer, "that the climate system is dominated by stabilizing processes, rather than destabilizing processes -- that is, negative feedback rather than positive feedback."

The paper doesn't disprove the theory that global warming is manmade. Instead, it offers an alternative explanation for what we see in the climate system which has the potential for greatly reducing estimates of mankind's impact on Earth's climate. "Since the cloud changes could conceivably be caused by known long-term modes of climate variability -- such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or El Nino and La Nina -- some, or even most, of the global warming seen in the last century could simply be due to natural fluctuations in the climate system," Spencer said.

While the paper's two peer reviewers, both climate model experts, agreed that the issue is a legitimate one, Spencer knows the new paper will be controversial, with some claiming that the impact of the mix-up between cause and effect will be small. "But we really won't know until much more work is done," Spencer said.

"Unfortunately, so far we have been unable to figure out a way to separate cause and effect when observing natural climate variability. That's why most climate experts don't like to think in terms of causality, and instead just examine how clouds and temperature vary together. "Our work has convinced me that cause and effect really do matter. If we get the causation wrong, it can greatly impact our interpretation of what nature has been trying to tell us. Unfortunately, in the process it also makes the whole global warming problem much more difficult to figure out."


Nova Scotia 'temperatures falling so low the lobsters were not crawling'

Harvesters were worried when they first began the season of running into problems that may have been caused by post tropical storm Noel but although they were hard pressed to find larger lobster in the fall, by spring their catch was once again up.

Water temperature played a big part in the last minute scramble that closed the season with temperatures falling so low the lobsters were not crawling. In order for the lobsters to crawl into a trap the water has to be at least over the 40-degree mark and Crouse said the spring season has hardly any times when the conditions are right. "Our spring is just not viable," he said. "Global warming is having the opposite effect for us and we are seeing the temperatures of the water stay lower for longer."

He also blamed the hardships facing harvesters on the growing seal problem. "It is a very hot political issue and a very emotional one for people around here," he said. Many fish harvesters have been increasingly frustrated with the seal, which are known to eat 30 to 40 pounds of fish per day, including bait from the lobster traps. "They've got the bottom just about cleaned," Crouse said.

Crouse is frustrated with the harbour seal's protection status but said that despite lobbying the government for years to have this changed, it is an issue they do not want to be tied to.

As for an outlook on next season and if Crouse expects for it to be a better year he just gave this simple advice. "I've been doing this for 37-years and learned you have to take one year at a time," he said. "We've had some good ones and we've had some bad ones."

More here

Seattle has coldest first week of June since 1891

Seattle just experienced the coldest first week of June, according to climate records dating to 1891, said Cliff Mass, University of Washington metrologist. Both 1999 and 2008 share the record, with 1917 falling in second place, he said. "Just wait until tomorrow," he said, when temperatures are going to be even colder.

A heavy snow warning has been issued for the Washington Cascades and Olympics as a storm from the Gulf of Alaska plows into the state tonight. Forecasters with the National Weather Service said up to a foot of snow may fall in the mountains as low as 3,000 feet, which means Snoqualmie Pass may get a dusting. State transportation crews will be parking their mowers and driving snowplows. "We will have crews working through the night, and we'll have extra crews on standby just in case this storm hits hard," said Monty Mills, Washington Department of Transportation maintenance manager for snow and ice operations... For the last few weeks, crews have stopped fighting snow to mowing grass, tackling weeds, striping lane lines and sweeping roads. It's back to winter operations tonight."

In 30 years I can only remember two other times when it snowed this late in the season," said Sam Krahenbuhl, Snoqualmie Pass assistant maintenance superintendent. "One time it snowed on a Fourth of July weekend. This is really rare. "While it won't snow in the Puget Sound area, records for the lowest high temperature may be broken today and Tuesday. Forecasters said the high temperature today should be 57 degrees, 1 degree below the record set last year.

On Tuesday, under windy and rainy skies, the temperature should only get to 54 degrees, 2 degrees below the record set in 1972. "It's not completely unusual to get snow in June," said forecaster Dennis D'Amico. "But this is a lot of snow and it's an unseasonable cold system."

Said Mass: "People are really upset about this weather."He said in the mix of all the statistics, he's put together the "barbecue" index. That's the number of times since March 11 (the usual start of spring here) temperature climbs to 60 degrees or more - a temperature that Mass thinks people are comfortable being outside in. "It turns out that this year was the worst year of the barbecue index since 1917," said Mass. "We only got to 60 degrees 23 times this year. Compare that to 1934 (74) times or 1992 (69) times."Mass said the coldest spring was 1917. This year is tied with 1908 for 2nd coldest, he said. The warmest spring was 1934.



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


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Junk Science: Time to Retire 'Denier'

In Charles Krauthammer's May 30 must-read column, "Carbon Chastity," he rightly lambastes environmentalists as resurrected communists/socialists who have latched on to the environment and climate change as a means to advance their anti-people social agenda. The specific occasion for his justifiable outrage is a recent proposal by a British parliamentary committee to institute a personal carbon ration card for every citizen. The plan would place limits on food and energy consumption in the form of credits not to be exceeded - except through the potential for heavy-carbon users, often the wealthy, to purchase credits from lower-carbon users, often the less wealthy. In other words, their answer to global warming is wealth redistribution.

Though I thoroughly endorse Krauthammer's condemnation of the plan, I have to take issue with his adoption of loaded terms straight out of the green lexicon to argue his point. In trying to position his agnosticism on whether man-made CO2 emissions are actually cause for concern, his column begins: "I am not a global warming believer. I am not a global warming denier."

The term "denier" is the environmentalists' preferred means of tar-and-feathering anyone who dares question climate alarmism - a key tactic in their effort to dupe the nation into consuming the green Kool-Aid. Environmentalists have convinced many in the mainstream media that skepticism toward the very shaky science behind global warming alarmism is akin to the indescribeably creepy views of anti-Semitics who deny that the Holocaust occurred.

One event is an indisputable historical fact of hideous dimensions; the prophesied specter of catastrophic global warming, however, is just a politically driven fear scenario based on unreliable computer models and the wishful bending of the laws of climate physics. There is no comparison. Can anyone reasonably equate, say, the 31,000 U.S. scientists, engineers and physicians who recently signed a petition against global warming alarmism - including Princeton theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson and Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen - with the likes of neo-Nazis and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who constantly calls for Israel's destruction?

Surely Krauthammer doesn't intend to make any such equation, but his adoption of the greens' most effective word weaponry nonetheless plays into their thought-shaping rhetoric. Even when embedded in an argument contrary to green policies, the word "denier" still demonizes by summoning the vile immorality of those who would deny crimes against humanity.

One also could build a case against man's "carbon footprint," another fiendishly effective green-sponsored image and a term Krauthammer uses matter-of-factly even as he logically details the possibility that Earth's own massive outpouring of CO2 very well may dwarf man-made carbon output into total irrelevance.

Let's consider a few facts. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas in the atmosphere that is measured in parts per million, or ppm. The vast majority of CO2 emissions, about 97 percent, comes from Mother Nature. CO2 is nowhere near the most important greenhouse gas; water vapor holds that distinction. An astounding 99.9 percent of Earth's greenhouse gas effect has nothing to do with manmade CO2 emissions.

If that's not enough, we can look at graphs of the historical relationship between carbon dioxide and global temperature. Ice core data going back 650,000 years show that global temperatures increase before CO2 levels. Data from the 20th century indicate no particular relationship between CO2 emissions and global temperature.

Finally, there is no scientific proof that the current level of atmospheric CO2 or that levels projected by the United Nations - about 700 ppm by 2095 if no greenhouse gas regulations are put in place - has or will cause any harm to the environment. Alarmist gloom-and-doom forecasts also are based on nothing more than the rankest speculation dressed up as computer models that remain wholly unverifiable.

Yet, despite all this lack of evidence, the solitary term "man's carbon footprint" manages to concretize the notion of mankind producing indelible damage upon the Earth while in the process of stampeding its flora and fauna. For any effective critique of global warming hysteria, we have to move beyond these powerful yet baseless buzz words that undermine any rational case in which they are found.



THE Department of Finance does not believe the Government can meet its climate change targets. In a private memo, department officials admitted: "We have doubts about the likelihood of success." The National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012, published in April last year, outlined how the Government would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 13% on 1990 levels to meet the targets set down in the Kyoto protocol. The target date to achieve these reductions is 2012.

Shortly after entering coalition last summer, Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley promised: "This government will deliver on Ireland's Kyoto protocol commitments and will prepare Ireland for the further emissions reductions that lie ahead."

But in the private briefing paper prepared for Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, his officials are pessimistic about the chances of success. The paper, prepared for the incoming minister in advance of the appointment of the new government was released to the Irish Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act. "We are obliged to meet certain climate change targets under the current Kyoto agreement. A National Climate Change Strategy published last year outlines how this will be done. We have doubts about the likelihood of success, but D/EHLG (Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government) is doing work at present that will better inform us," it states.

The finance paper also casts doubt about the possibility of meeting separate, more severe targets laid down by the EU for 2020.

More here


For months, Democrats and the environmental lobby promoted last week's Senate global-warming debate as a political watershed. It was going to be the historic turning point in U.S. climate change policy. In the event, their bill collapsed in a little more than three days.

Democrats failed to secure a majority, much less the 60 Senators necessary, for a procedural vote on Friday morning that would have allowed the real work of amending the bill to begin. By that point, Majority Leader Harry Reid had already made it plain that he wanted the bill off the floor as quickly as possible - despite calling climate change "the most critical issue of our time." But not critical enough, apparently, even to let his Members vote on the merits, much less amendments.

The strange death of this year's cap-and-trade movement was so unexpected that some are already predicting a shift in the politics of global warming. That's premature. Still, the postmortem holds lessons for the next time this issue emerges.

Until last week, the Democratic M.O. on climate change was to lash the Bush Administration for its supposed inaction and then pass responsibility onto regulators and the courts. Proponents thought they had the whip hand. Yet this time they had to defend an actual piece of legislation - and once it was subjected to even preliminary scrutiny, the Democrats crumpled faster than you can say $4 gas.

Bad timing was the least of it. Republicans methodically dismantled the cost and complexity of "cap and trade," which sounds harmless but would inflict collateral damage on the wider economy in lost GDP and higher prices up and down the energy chain. Conveniently, the Democrats would also bestow unto Congress (read: themselves) some $6.7 trillion in new tax revenues and carbon welfare handouts over the next four decades. Some of the most effective opponents - like freshman GOP Senator Bob Corker - support climate regulation but view the current scheme as frivolous, dishonest or both.

Their task was helped along by the incompetence of the Democrats, especially floor manager Barbara Boxer. Environmentalists deemed it blasphemy that anyone would oppose their grand ambitions, instead of trying to persuade. "I resent the Senator from Tennessee saying our bill is a slush fund," Ms. Boxer said at one point, apparently serious.

After Mr. Corker called the bill "the mother of all earmarks" and "a huge unnecessary transference of wealth," Ms. Boxer was reduced to arguing that it's really "a huge tax cut for the American people" and "will not increase gas prices." These are delusions, or worse. Cap and trade is designed to raise energy prices, which are supposed to spur the investments and behavior changes needed for a less carbon-intensive economy.

Such realities are beginning to seep into liberal precincts. After the bill bottomed out, no fewer than 10 Democrats from the Midwest and South - whose economies rely on coal-fired power or heavy industry and thus will be disproportionately affected - registered their displeasure with Mr. Reid and Ms. Boxer. Including Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Carl Levin (Michigan), Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia) and Jim Webb (Virginia), the Senators said they could not support cap and trade "in its current form" because it would cause "undue hardship on our states, key industrial sectors and consumers."

Even Barack Obama and John McCain backed away from a bill they claim to favor. Mr. McCain said he opposed it because it didn't do enough for nuclear power, while Mr. Obama blamed the failure on Republicans. But the word on Capitol Hill is that both Presidential candidates urged Mr. Reid to yank the bill, lest they get trapped into voting for higher energy prices.

Maybe a vast reordering of the American economy in the name of solving a speculative problem isn't as popular as the greens believe. And perhaps President Bush's approach to climate change - voluntary reductions and subsidies for alternative technology - will seem a lot more realistic once the partisan fevers of the moment have passed.

That's not to say that cap and trade won't return in a more politically potent form next year. The greens will regroup and try to do a better job of buying off their adversaries, especially businesses that could profit from carbon regulation. Nonetheless, this past week has shown that the more transparent any cap and trade debate is, the less chance this tax and spend idea will become law.



There is something comically forlo rn about the BBC's continued efforts to promote its frenetically one-sided belief in global warming. It was inevitably quick, for instance, to pick up on that bishop who suggested anyone who refuses to save the planet from global warming was morally comparable with Josef Fritzl, the Austrian who fathered seven children on the daughter he kept for 24 years in a dungeon. But how about these headlines?

"Globally, 2008 significantly cooler than last year", "Global temperatures dive in May". Not a word about this on the BBC, although they summarised two items on the Watts Up With That website run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts, reporting the latest data from Dr Roy Spencer, formerly head of climate studies for Nasa.

Based on satellite and balloon temperature readings taken at various levels up to 135,000ft, the first item showed that global temperatures in the first months of 2008 were on average between 0.4 and 0.5 degrees Celsius lower than they were at the same time in 2007. The second said that temperatures in May again fell sharply, by nearly 0.2 of a degree, bringing the drop since January 2007 to 0.77 degrees.

In other words, in just 16 months we have seen global cooling greater than the 0.7 degrees net warming recorded by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the whole of the 20th century. Yet it was on this figure more than anything else that the whole warmist theory has been based. Those IPCC computer models never predicted anything like this recent drop in temperatures.

We can be sure that if the data showed a jump of that magnitude in warming rather than cooling, it would have been top of the BBC news. But it no more earned a mention than the truly unimaginable costs envisaged in the "carbon reduction" bill put before the US Senate last week.

This solemnly proposed that the US should spend $6.7 trillion to achieve a cut in carbon emissions of 66 per cent by 2050 (even more than the target adopted by the EU). It was described as heralding the most massive shock to the US economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Even if there is no chance of this bill succeeding until George Bush is out of the White House, it may well get a fairer wind under Obama or McCain. Before the world commits economic suicide, it might be an idea to look at the theory again in the light of those latest temperature figures.


Planet getting Greener

Planet Earth is on a roll! GPP is way up. NPP is way up. To the surprise of those who have been bearish on the planet, the data shows global production has been steadily climbing to record levels, ones not seen since these measurements began.

GPP is Gross Primary Production, a measure of the daily output of the global biosphere --the amount of new plant matter on land. NPP is Net Primary Production, an annual tally of the globe's production. Biomass is booming. The planet is the greenest it's been in decades, perhaps in centuries.

Until the 1980s, ecologists had no way to systematically track growth in plant matter in every corner of the Earth -- the best they could do was analyze small plots of one-tenth of a hectare or less. The notion of continuously tracking global production to discover the true state of the globe's biota was not even considered.

Then, in the 1980s, ecologists realized that satellites could track production, and enlisted NASA to collect the data. For the first time, ecologists did not need to rely on rough estimates or anecdotal evidence of the health of the ecology: They could objectively measure the land's output and soon did -- on a daily basis and down to the last kilometre.

The results surprised Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA, scientists involved in analyzing the NASA data. They found that over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth's vegetated landmass -- almost 110 million square kilometres -- enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines. When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square metre of land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.

Why the increase? Their 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of the planet and the presence of CO2, a gas indispensable to plant life. CO2 is nature's fertilizer, bathing the biota with its life-giving nutrients. Plants take the carbon from CO2 to bulk themselves up -- carbon is the building block of life -- and release the oxygen, which along with the plants, then sustain animal life. As summarized in a report last month, released along with a petition signed by 32,000 U. S. scientists who vouched for the benefits of CO2: "Higher CO2 enables plants to grow faster and larger and to live in drier climates. Plants provide food for animals, which are thereby also enhanced. The extent and diversity of plant and animal life have both increased substantially during the past half-century."

Lush as the planet may now be, it is as nothing compared to earlier times, when levels of CO2 and Earth temperatures were far higher. In the age of the dinosaur, for example, CO2 levels may have been five to 10 times higher than today, spurring a luxuriantly fertile planet whose plant life sated the immense animals of that era. Planet Earth is also much cooler today than during the hothouse era of the dinosaur, and cooler than it was 1,000 years ago during the Medieval Warming Period, when the Vikings colonized a verdant Greenland. Greenland lost its colonies and its farmland during the Little Ice Age that followed, and only recently started to become green again.

This blossoming Earth could now be in jeopardy, for reasons both natural and man-made. According to a growing number of scientists, the period of global warming that we have experienced over the past few centuries as Earth climbed out of the Little Ice Age is about to end. The oceans, which have been releasing their vast store of carbon dioxide as the planet has warmed -- CO2 is released from oceans as they warm and dissolves in them when they cool -- will start to take the carbon dioxide back. With less heat and less carbon dioxide, the planet could become less hospitable and less green, especially in areas such as Canada's Boreal forests, which have been major beneficiaries of the increase in GPP and NPP.

Doubling the jeopardy for Earth is man. Unlike the many scientists who welcome CO2 for its benefits, many other scientists and most governments believe carbon dioxide to be a dangerous pollutant that must be removed from the atmosphere at all costs. Governments around the world are now enacting massive programs in an effort to remove as much as 80% of the carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.

If these governments are right, they will have done us all a service. If they are wrong, the service could be all ill, with food production dropping world wide, and the countless ecological niches on which living creatures depend stressed. The second order effects could be dire, too. To bolster food production, humans will likely turn to energy intensive manufactured fertilizers, depleting our store of non-renewable resources. Techniques to remove carbon from the atmosphere also sound alarms. Carbon sequestration, a darling of many who would mitigate climate change, could become a top inducer of earthquakes, according to Christian Klose, a geohazards researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Because the carbon sequestration schemes tend to be located near cities, he notes, carbon-sequestration-caused earthquakes could exact an unusually high toll.

Amazingly, although the risks of action are arguably at least as real as the risks of inaction, Canada and other countries are rushing into Earth-altering carbon schemes with nary a doubt. Environmentalists, who ordinarily would demand a full-fledged environmental assessment before a highway or a power plant can be built, are silent on the need to question proponents or examine alternatives.

Earth is on a roll. Governments are too. We will know soon enough if we're rolled off a cliff.



[...] Lovelock assures us that he does not agree with the "totalitarian greens, sometimes called eco-fascists," who want to see most of the human race "eliminated" by genocide so as to leave a "perfect Earth for them alone." That's a relief. But wait -- he then tells us that if we survive the current crisis, our next goal must be to forcibly reduce our numbers: "If we are to continue as a civilization that successfully avoids natural catastrophes, we have to make our own constraints on growth and make them strong and make them now." As it is, we are unintentionally at war with Gaia and must agree to "wartime" rationing and temporary "loss of freedom." Strong constraints? Loss of freedom? What's the difference between this and ecofascism? And how far down will our population have to plummet to satisfy Gaia? Actually, Lovelock states that something like nine-tenths of our population must vanish: "Personally I think we would be wise to aim at a stabilized population of about half to one billion." To accomplish this goal, both the birth rate and death rate would have to be "regulated" as "part of population control." So we are to be bred, managed, and put down just like a herd of animals on a farm. If this isn't totalitarianism, what is?

[...] How could such a misanthropic ecofascism have spread so far, so fast? Very likely the decline of Christianity in the West has led to the rise of this neo-pagan abjection before the material world. Lovelock believes that all the traditional religions of the world are out of date, for they were all founded when we were few in number and when we "lived in a way that was no burden to the Earth." Past teachings on morality no longer apply now that we have become "six billion hungry and greedy individuals." He reserves a special animus for Christianity, where man is seen as the steward of creation: "The idea that humans are yet intelligent enough to serve as stewards of the Earth is among the most hubristic ever." What Christians need, he sneers, is "a new Sermon on the Mount" to tell us how to live "decently with the Earth." He finds fault with "secular humanists," too, for he thinks they need to turn to Gaia and "recognize that human rights and needs are not enough."

Gaia Theory and Deep Ecology are two handmaids of the Culture of Death. Their precursor was the eugenics movement of a century ago that imposed birth control and forced sterilization on the supposedly "unfit." Today an artificially created panic about ecological catastrophe, derived from Gaia Theory and Deep Ecology, lies behind a seemingly unstoppable movement for sterile sex by way of birth control, sterilization, chemical and surgical abortions, homosexuality, and the infanticide of newborns (called "infant euthanasia"). Deep ecologists and Gaia theorists try to terrify us with environmental degradation in order to pursue their main program -- population control. For even when their prophecies of doom prove to be false or exaggerated, these zealots immediately point to another imminent disaster and call for man to reduce his numbers.

We should understand that when the leaders of the Culture of Death look at us, they don't see so many individuals with immortal souls and eternal destinies, each one having an incalculable value in the eyes of God, since the divine Word saved us with His own blood. Rather they see a plague of alien creatures infesting an imagined divinity. History shows that none are more fanatical than those on the march to Utopia. The Gaia theorists and the Deep Ecology zealots are certainly marching lockstep right now toward their imagined paradise. The mirage they have in view is one with so few people left on the planet that their great goal will finally be achieved -- the total "noninterference" of man with the wilderness of the Earth. What a dismal, misanthropic idea of paradise!

More here


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


Monday, June 09, 2008


An email from Lee Rodgers []. The role of soot in warming has been underestimated in climate models. Allowing for it would reduce the role of CO2

The logic of soot abatement extends beyond the air-heating and snow-melting effects. It extends into arboreal watershed protection (related to tropical glacier decimation vs. recharge), environmental health (mercury and arsenic deposition worldwide) and reforestation efforts (converting from slash&burn and wood fuels to petrol fertilizer and cook fuels). With such a project would come abatement of the corresponding sulfate and nitrate aerosols which can lead to acid precipitation. Considering at least half of ongoing mercury deposition in the American West comes from coal combustion in East Asia alone the benefits of stack emissions cleanup are truly global in scope.

The question of cook fuel conversion is problematic, however, because of the rising price of petrol. Fuel conservation is still then a worthy goal because of the indirect opportunity costs of non-point residential soot emissions.

The story behind the new-found data on soot's net heating effect is a long and tangled one. In 2003 Ramanathan's INDOEX efforts into studying the Asian Brown Cloud (now renamed the "Atmospheric Brown Cloud") were thwarted by the IPCC at the behest of China and India. Neither the Indian government nor the CCP wanted one more piece of evidence implicating their role in the ongoing regional climate anomalies of droughts and heat waves. It was no surprise to some but Ramanathan's field data discovery showing brown clouds' net warming was a great surprise to him.

And the many and varied interests that'd benefit from CO2 Cap & Trade schemes - developing nations, rent-seeking opportunists and Cap & Trade arbitreurs - are vested in obfuscating the simplicity of the soot problem. They know that real abatement of soot emissions would ultimately show how much less CO2's warming effect is than is being claimed by AGW alarmists. China is currently the biggest emitter of industrial soot & aerosols, but is ready to embark on a broad environmental cleanup along with other reforms in labor rules.

If CO2 doesn't pose a terrible threat and soot is widely perceived to be the pernicious dark horse that falsely implicated CO2 more than its due, then these ostensibly pro-environment advocates won't have a way to foist a vast command-and-control system upon the world's nations.

As for the polar bears, I frankly think the activists would rather keep the polar bears as CO2 poster children than admit that soot even exists. If they believe that CO2 is a big threat, and yet they know the data on soot (which EDF does, I know that from reading their blog last summer), and they then avoid mention of soot for fear of diluting the CO2 message with just the mere hope that soot mitigation will follow along, they would then be intentionally playing a game of brinksmanship.

Either that belies a willingness to use the bears as game pieces or it's really not a crisis. And as I mentioned above, they're afraid that the net-warming effects of aerosols, once openly discussed, will reveal a far softer CO2 warming signal. And it may well belie an ulterior political motive of social engineering via energy command and control. Let there be no doubt that CO2 Cap & Trade is the penultimate dirigist's dream.

The data on tropospheric soot's effect, however, are finally getting the attention they deserve. Already IPCC AR5 is purported to show this newfound data on aerosol soot's net warming effect, and the testimony has been offered to Rep. Henry Waxman late last year.

You'd think that Sen. Barbara Boxer, Waxman's Democratic colleague, would have taken a more-realistic tack in promoting an environmental bill and yet the Lieberman-Warner Bill was all about CO2 cap&trade, not about realistic or practical objectives like soot mitigation. It's made for facile political theater as most Republicans in the American Congress rallied against it, but the bill was doomed from its onset. It was meant for Pres. Bush to veto, but the odds are low it'll even make its way out of the Democratically controlled U.S. Senate.

Each of these attempts at subterfuge will only defer the ultimately inconvenient data on soot emissions, that soot-ladened tropospheric brown clouds are far more culpable in climate change and abatement of their effects offer far greater and nearly instant returns on expenditures in terms of environmental quality. With that will come a partially exculpatory review of CO2 as a dangerous greenhouse gas.

NOAA: U.S. Has 36th Coolest Spring on Record

The March-May spring season was the 36th coolest on record for the contiguous United States, according to an analysis by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Separately, last month ended as the 34th coolest May for the contiguous United States, based on records dating back to 1895. The average spring temperature of 51.4 degrees F was 0.5 degree F below the 20th century average. The average May temperature of 60.3 degrees F was 0.7 degree F below the 20th century mean, based on preliminary data.

U.S. Temperature Highlights

* The March-May temperatures were cooler than average from the Northwest and extending throughout the central Plains and upper Mississippi Valley. In all, 19 states had a cooler-than-average spring.

* Twenty-five states were cooler than average for May. Pennsylvania was much cooler than average and ranked eighth coolest.

* The unusually cool temperatures kept the nation's overall temperature-related residential energy demand for May above average. Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was approximately 3.5 percent above average in May, but near average for the spring season.

* Florida, Texas, and Washington were warmer than average for May.


The Sanctity of Climate Models

Reading between the lines of the new Thompson et al. Nature paper suggests that once they get the details worked out, the "updated" observed global temperature history is going to fit climate model hindcasts even better than it does now, and embolden confidence in their future projections.

The majority of the alarm raised over global warming stems from climate model projections. And thus it is largely inconceivable that there is going to be a major finding published in a journal such as Nature that is going to call into question one of the fundamental results from climate models-that is, climate models accurately simulate the "known" temperature history. The "known history" may change, but you can rest assured that it isn't going to change in such as way as to make the climate models look like they aren't doing so well after all.

At first blush, it seems that new paper by Thompson and colleagues published in the current issue of Nature magazine concerning alterations to the "known" temperature history of the world oceans may be an exception to this rule.

Thompson et al. found that irregularities arising from changing observing practices and data availability during World War II produced a discontinuity on the global sea surface temperature record in the middle 1940s. In the abstract they write "We argue that the abrupt temperature drop of ~0.3C in 1945 is the apparent result of uncorrected instrumental biases in the sea surface temperature record. Corrections for the discontinuity are expected to alter the character of mid-twentieth century temperature variability but not estimates of the century-long trend in global-mean temperatures."

However, while Thompson et al. identify the existence of a significant problem in the sea surface temperature record, they don't actually fix the problem in this paper. Instead, they leave us with a we-are-working-on-it promise, "The Met Office Hadley Centre is currently assessing the adjustments required to compensate for the step in 1945 and subsequent changes in the SST observing network." And tease us with the following:

The adjustments immediately after 1945 are expected to be as large as those made to the pre-war data (~0.3 §C), and smaller adjustments are likely to be required in SSTs through at least the mid-1960s, by which time the observing fleet was relatively diverse and less susceptible to changes in the data supply from a single country of origin. The new adjustments are likely to have a substantial impact on the historical record of global-mean surface temperatures through the middle part of the twentieth century. The adjustments are unlikely to significantly affect estimates of century-long trends in global-mean temperatures, as the data before ~1940 and after the mid-1960s are not expected to require further corrections for changes from uninsulated bucket to engine room intake measurements.

This statement leaves the door wide open for rampant speculation, for the goings-on in the mid-20th century are critically import for several major issues, 1) they are vital in understanding the impact of sulfate aerosols, 2) they impact attribution of the recent warming, and not to mention that 3) a major change would reflect negatively on the general reliability of the global temperature dataset. And, not to disappoint, speculation began virtually immediately.

Our first reaction was "wow, this is going to knock the stuffing out of the sulfate hypothesis" since the climate models are specifically tuned to match the 20th century temperature history by fiddling with the cooling impacts of sulfate aerosols. If it really didn't cool as much during the mid-1940s through the mid-1970s as we thought, then all the models are fit to the wrong temperature history and the big loser is going to be the sulfate aerosols, as they will have a lot less work to do. This has far reaching impacts down the line, for in addition to forcing a cooling from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s, sulfate aerosols also are required in climate models to keep the 20th century temperatures in check, otherwise, when the climate models are run with greenhouse gas increases alone, they think it should be a lot hotter now than it really is-which means that they would all be wrong. And more, in the future emissions scenarios used by climate modelers, sulfates emissions are presumed to decline (citing current and future air pollution regulations), which means that the world warms up even faster! Sulfate aerosols are like Swiss Army Knives for the climate models-they are used to get the models out of all sorts of inconvenient situations. Just imagine the problems that would arise if this all-purpose tool were suddenly lost. The Thompson et al. paper hinted at just this possibility.

Others, such as Roger Pielke Jr. on his Prometheus blog, focused more on what the Thompson et al. correction could mean for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) recent attribution statement that "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." If the total warming since the mid-century is significantly reduced by the forthcoming corrections, then perhaps the ability to clearly determine the difference between anthropogenic causes and natural causes is blurred more than the IPCC suggests. One of their fundamental conclusions could be in error.

And still others, such as's Steve McIntyre, wonder just how much faith we can have in a temperature record that is full of so many measuring inconsistencies that the task of developing a meaning temperature record is so intractable. After a while there are so many different adjustments applied that the final product looks little like the underlying original observations (but, surprise surprise, it looks more and more like what climate models say it should).

But signs abound that the above are simply wishful (or wistful) thinking. Those who are a closer to knowing the unpublished details of the pending "fix" are suggesting something else entirely. For instance, RealClimate's Gavin Schmidt has this reply to a commenter on the blog:

The first cut at the revisions.has effectively the same match to the [climate] model trends as before (maybe a little better) and so no revisions to the models nor to attribution studies are likely.

So much for the death to the sulfate hypothesis. In fact, the "revised" temperature history will probably even make the models look better. And the last line of their paper, Thompson et al. let loose the following gem: However, compensation for a different potential source of bias in SST data in the past decade-the transition from ship- to buoy-derived SSTs-might increase the century-long trends by raising recent SSTs as much as ~0.1§C, as buoy-derived SSTs are biased cool relative to ship measurements.

Ah, yes, not only are they going to tweak the mid-century temperatures, but they are also going to make recent temperatures warmer than they are currently being reported. This will kill two birds with one stone. It will serve to (more than?) compensate for any mid-century temperature corrections, and it will take some of the wind out of the sails of the good ship "Global Warming Stopped 10 Years Ago." Again, the models will come out of this like shining stars.

Call us skeptics, but we have grave doubts that the corrections to the observed global temperature history will result in a lessening in the overall confidence that is proclaimed that climate change is manifesting itself even worse than we imagined. After all, there is an overwhelming, odds-busting tendency for publications in the journal Nature to report that things are tending worse (rather than better) than we ever imagined. In an unbiased world, the expectation should be 50-50 that publications in Nature would find things either better or worse than the expectations. In reality, the publication ratio is about 10 to 1 for the worse side. We have a bad feeling, that despite the initial optimism, that the outcome of the Thompson et al. findings will ultimately prove to increase the tally on the worse-than-expected side of things.



After half a century of campaigning, botanist David Bellamy still believes the answer lies in the soil, discovers Peter Elson

ONCE upon a time, botanist Dr David Bellamy was all over our television screens, like a rash of the invasive fungi he so often enthused about. He was in that flock of eccentric telly egg-heads (such as Dr Magnus Pike), plucked from their natural academic habitat, hired to round up vast herds of untamed mainstream viewers, previously untempted by a diet of hard science. But like the formerly prolific house sparrow, Dr Bellamy, aged 75, is also now a relatively rare sighting. Luckily, keen boffin-watchers without binoculars can view him at close-quarters as the Cheshire Show's special guest, later this month.

Can we blame his scarcity on global warming? Well, yes, indirectly, he says. More shockingly, he believes an appearance on children's magazine Blue Peter killed his small screen career. "I stopped a Welsh windfarm on Blue Peter in 1996 and I've not been on television since. Also, it was rumoured my stance on having an anti-EU referendum was unpopular with TV bosses," he mutters. "If that's true, it's a very bad sign for democracy in this country."

He claims to have "smelt a rat" when the BBC sacked one of its top journalists, Julian Pettifer, for being president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "Also Julian Pettifer made a wonderful programme about the effect of farmed salmon on wild salmon and he was publicly sacked," he alleges. "From this moment on the BBC became a pusher of global warming. I'm proud to be a global warming heretic, because the theory's wrong.

"If you wanted to show Al Gore's anti-global warming film An Inconvenient Truth, by law you have to give the other side now. How many teachers know what to tell the children to balance the 35 mistakes in this film?"

Global warming theory has never been tested and is based on a series of computer models, he says. "Since 1998 there has been no rise in the average temperature of the world, although we pour 44 giga-tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. "There are now three times more polar bears in the world than 20 years ago when I was working in the Arctic, yet the US Senate has given them special protection."

But he concurs with the World Wildlife Fund's new report that a third of all species face extinction. "We've overfished the world and completely screwed up 2% of the world's soil. The main reason for species extinction is habitat destruction," he splutters.

More here

What's the MPG of your soap?

Gasoline accounts for only 45% of the oil use in the USA. Swapping the SUV for a Prius sounds like a good idea, but of the 20 million barrels of oil used each day in the USA, only 9 million go to the production of fuel. See the chart. The rest is used in a variety of ways. Including asphalt. Which is rising in price. At the same time, state gas tax collections are down because people are driving less. On the other hand, less driving, less wear and tear on the roads. Well, except for those freeloading electric cars who pay no gas tax but still use the roads the gas tax pays for.

Manufacturers like Procter & Gamble consume oil to make their products, the New York Times reported:
Price increases have helped to offset this cost. They have averaged nearly 5 percent for paper towels, bath tissues and diapers, all made with chemicals derived from oil, said Paul Fox, a company spokesman. Natural oils have been substituted for ingredients made from petroleum; for example, palm oil now goes into a variety of laundry soaps. But like rubber, the cost of palm oil and other natural commodities is rising.

And doesn't the production of palm oil harm the environment? Why, yes it does.

How did we get here? We put offshore drilling off limits. Then we expanded federal land holdings and put them off limits for oil drilling. Now the price of oil has shot up and we're demonizing the SUV because, well, it creates carbon dioxide which trees "breathe" but nonetheless is considered a bad thing by the political environmentalists. We seek alternative boutique fuels like palm oil because they make us feel good and we make ethanol not out of sugar like any sane person would but out of the least efficient plant available: corn. The runoff from the fertilizers has created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size and shape of New Jersey just off the Louisiana cost, which screws up the fishing industry. We are doing all this because of some half-witted environmentalists who think they know what they are doing and can bully the idiots we put in Congress into doing the "right thing" even if it is the stupid thing.

Yes, we should not pollute. I get that. But we should also not put our economic freedom in the hands of socialists who are hiding behind a green cover.

No, it is not simple. It never is. Unintended consequences abound - especially when you jump off into the deep end without knowing just exactly what the liquid is in the pool.


Obama is a fully fledged Warmist

From his site:

As this week's debate on climate change has unfolded, the American people and those watching us around the world had every reason to hope that we would act. Every credible scientist and expert believes action is necessary. This is critical and long overdue legislation that represents a good first step in addressing one of the most serious problems facing our generation.

Like many of my Senate colleagues, I believe the legislation could have been made even better. Had there been a substantive Senate debate about some of the concerns with this bill, I believe the outcome could have generated broad support. It certainly would have received my support.

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the Senate has chosen to block progress, rather than work in a good faith manner to address this challenge. This is a failure of our politics and a failure of leadership - a President who for years denied the problem, and a Republican nominee, John McCain, who claims leadership on the issue but opposes this bipartisan bill.

We can't afford more of the same timid politics when the future of our planet is at stake. We are already breaking records with the intensity of our storms, the number of forest fires, and the periods of drought. By 2050, famine could force more than 250 million from their homes. And if we do nothing, sea levels will rise high enough to swallow large portions of every coastal city and town.

This bipartisan legislation establishes an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions. It helps states, cities, and towns invest in technologies to reduce energy bills for homeowners, increase energy efficiency, construct green buildings, and expand public transit. It invests in green technology to help our automakers to retool and our fossil-fuel industries to become clean. The bill provides real financial relief to working families. Importantly, the bill restores our great nation's international leadership role, while including provisions to ensure that all major emitting nations also take serious action to solve this global problem.

Let me be clear, this bill is not perfect. Emissions reductions must reflect the scientific consensus, which are reductions of at least 80 percent 2050. We must ensure that more middle-class families reap more of the financial benefits created by this bill. And we must direct greater resources to the regions of the country that will bear the brunt of this critical transition to a clean energy economy.

I believe that the American people are ready to lead the world on this issue. The time for distractions, divisions, and excuses is over. The time for new coalitions, informed and civil debate, and a sense of shared purpose is long overdue. As president, I am committed to ensuring that our children and our children's children can point to this generation as the time when American found its way again.



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


Sunday, June 08, 2008

The climate facts

The world's most thorough historical temperature record is found amongst the 1,221 official, government-sanctioned weather monitoring stations that have been recognized as a part of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN). Most of the stations within this network have records that date back to the 1800s. The beauty of this system is that in so many cases the environs where the thermometer is housed has changed little over the decades, providing critical data to determine major long-term trends.

In some instances thermometers within the Network have been encroached upon by urban sprawl and their readings notably have trended upward. However, for the locations that have remained relatively stable, the temperature record hardly reeks of global warming.

A perfect illustration is found when comparing the USHCN temperature records from Central Park in New York City to those taken a mere 55 miles away at West Point. Readings in Central Park have been regularly measured since 1835 when the city's population had just surpassed 200,000. Today, surrounded by a metropolis of eight million people filled with some of the world's tallest buildings, a massive underground subway system, an extensive sewer system, power generation facilities, and millions of cars, buses, and taxis, the Central Park temperatures have been greatly altered by urbanization. And, as one might expect, the Central Park historical temperature plot illustrates an incredible warming increase of nearly 4øF.

The West Point readings have also been meticulously maintained since 1835, but the environment surrounding the thermometer shelter has experienced significantly less manmade interference then the one in Central Park. The West Point readings illustrate a significantly lower warming increase of only about 0.6øF over the same 170-year period. This is remarkable given that the year 1835 is considered to be the last gasp of the Little Ice Age -- a significant period of global cooling that stretched back several hundred years.

Cries of out of control global warming become more dubious when one looks at the hottest decade in modern history, the 1930s. The summer of 1930 marked the beginning of the longest drought of the 20th Century. From June 1 to August 3, Washington, D.C. experienced twenty-one days of high temperatures of at least 100ø. During that record-shattering heat wave, there were maximum temperatures set on nine different days that remain unbroken more than three-quarters-of-a-century later. In 1934, bone dry regions stretched from New York, across the Great Plains, and into the Southwest. A "dust bowl" covered about 50 million acres in the south-central plains during the winter of 1935-1936. In some areas, the drought never broke until 1938.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, 1936 experienced the hottest overall summer on record in the continental United States. In fact, out of 50 states, 22 recorded their all-time high temperature during the 1930s, including:

* 110 degrees F Millsboro, Delaware, July 21, 1930

* 100 degrees F Pahala, Hawaii, April 27, 1931

* 109 degrees F Monticello, Florida, June 29, 1931

* 118 degrees F Keokuk, Iowa, July 20, 1934

* 111 degrees F Phoenixsville, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1936

* 120 degrees F Seymour, Texas, August 12, 1936

* 121 degrees F Steele, North Dakota, July 6, 1936

* 117 degrees F Medicine Lake, Montana, July 5, 1937.

One might make the argument that the incredible rise in temperatures in the 1930s coincided with the first notable increase in CO2, thus, the gas can be linked to global warming -- but not honestly. While levels of carbon dioxide continued to increase during the following three decades, temperatures actually decreased.

According to NASA, the average temperature on the planet between 1940 and 1970 dropped .6øF. By the mid-Seventies the media was abuzz with notions of the next Ice Age. In its June 24, 1974 edition, Time magazine warned,

"Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age"

But those warning of global cooling soon became disappointed, as from 1970 to 1998 there was a slight increase in temperature (.34øF), noted in both USGCN record and verified by satellite observations (which only became available in the Seventies). Since 1998 there has been no additional warming and indeed, a global dip in temperature began in 2007 and has continued into this year.

All this said, when examining the data from the most trusted sites within the Historical Network beginning in 1930 to present, there has actually been a net-decrease in temperature. This decrease is noted in all quarters of the continental United States. Thus, the biggest chunk of global warming that has supposedly coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the increase in evil carbon dioxide, mostly occurred after the Little Ice Age and prior to 1940.

And Congress needs to understand this: carbon dioxide is not our foe. It is a fertilizer that is essential for life on planet earth; it is no more a poison or pollutant than oxygen or water. CO2 is also the byproduct of progress. The cars that allow us to drive to important places like work, worship, our kids' sporting events, the beach or the mountains, run on a very efficient portable form of energy known as gasoline, derived from petroleum. Our homes are heated, cooled, and lighted more often than not from natural gas. Companies that make the products essential to our lives also rely on these two forms of energy to create and deliver their wares. The carbon dioxide produced from these forms of energy is identical to the gas that is gently being emitted from your lungs as you read right now. You are not expelling pollution: you are contributing to our planet's carbon cycle. And the earth has a variety of built in mechanisms to recycle your CO2.

Carbon dioxide accounts for only slightly more than 3/10000ths of our planet's atmosphere. And what percentage of the miniscule amount of gas is produced by the activities of man, including the utilization of fossil fuels? According to a thorough analysis by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, a research wing of the U.S. Department of Energy, only 3.207% -- well within historical norms. And how much has CO2 increased in the atmosphere over the past 150 years? Approximately 35%.

In his must-read eco-thriller, State of Fear, Michael Crichton creates a brilliant visual to assist us in wrapping our minds around the components of Earth's atmosphere. On page 387, he likens the atmosphere to a football field. The goal line to the 78 yard-line contains nothing but nitrogen. Oxygen fills the next 21 yards to the 99 yard-line. The final yard, except for four inches, is argon, a wonderfully mysterious inert gas useful for putting out electronic fires. Three of the remaining four inches is crammed with a variety of minor, but essential, gases like neon, helium, hydrogen and methane. And the last inch? Carbon dioxide. One inch out of a hundred-yard field! At this point I like to add, if you were in the stands looking down on the action, you would need binoculars to see the width of that line. And the most important point-how much of that last inch is contributed by man-made activities? Envision a line about as thin as a dime standing on edge.

Are you still worried about the dangers of CO2? Me, neither. And historically, CO2 has been significantly higher than today. In data primarily gathered from ice cores, we see carbon dioxide levels were 500 times higher during the Cretaceous period, some 160 million years ago. Many theorize that the dinosaurs were able to grow to such sizes because of the indescribable abundance of carbon fed foliage and overall atmospheric conditions present during that era. Certainly the SUV could not be blamed for those high levels of CO2. Dinosaur flatulence, perhaps?

Despite the cries of Congress, the Earth does not have a fever and carbon dioxide is no more dangerous than the breath of life. During the fall elections we need to cap the rhetoric from some of these political whiners by trading them in for people who know a good thermometer when they see it.

More here


Timely broadcast on BBC Radio 4's "In Our Time" series, about Lysenko and "lysenkoism", the propaganda-based "science" that Stalin's agricultural adviser managed to sell as "truth" from 1928 to 1962 at least.

In 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan - nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour. Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.

Today, Lysenko is a byword for fraud but in Stalin's Russia his ideas became law. They reveal a world of science distorted by ideology, where ideas were literally a matter of life and death. To disagree with Lysenko risked the gulag and yet he damaged, perhaps irreparably, the Soviet Union's capacity to fight and win the Cold War.

The MP3 of the programme can be downloaded here.

What makes it relevant to the climate debate is the list of parallels that can be made between Lysenko's "Soviet biology and genetics" and contemporaneous thoughts of Anthropogenic Global Warming:

(a) Results, and success are declared before an experiment has completed (at position 12m10s, in the mp3 file above). In AGW, just look at the innumerable papers that take AGW as established truth, even as the debate on "attribution" is still very much open among mainstream scientists.

(b) Proponents always declare "victory", no matter what happens, and are always ready to shift the ground (mp3 position: 14m15s). That's quite common in AGW circles: nowadays, if the planet warms up or cools down, it's anyway compatible with AGW theory.

(c) Science is presented as a series of "solutions", not simply as "knowledge" (mp3 position: 19m45s). AGWers cannot disentangle research from advocacy: for example, the IPCC is politically active, to the point of qualifying for a Nobel Peace Prize.

(d) According to the scientists, central planning is better than free capitalism (mp3 position: 35m45s). From Al Gore to London School of Economics' Professor Lord Giddens, there is only one thought: free markets are not good enough, and a big State intervention is needed to save the planet from climate doom.

Ironically, the BBC guests laughed only up to a point to the witty remark made by one of them: that Lysenko's personality and attitude would have made him a "guaranteed success in British science today" (mp3: 24m15s). Even more ironic is the fact that Lysenko himself did come up with a geoengineering way to change the climate of Siberia (by planting trees in clusters, so that the weakest ones would sacrifice themselves to let the most resistant plants survive. And in case you wonder: no, it didn't work...



It would appear the political consensus on global warming was as exaggerated as the alleged scientific consensus." (Stephen Moore, writing on the Democrats' collapsing Climate Tax Bill, in The Wall Street Journal, June 6

The `global warming' mad house is flourishing! I have rarely known a couple of days in which so many `global warming' foibles and follies have been exposed for the nonsense that they are.

Senate Climate Bill Doomed

[Update: as predicted here this morning (UK time) [below] the U.S. Senate has ignominiously brought an end to the debate on the doomed Climate Tax Bill, and thus the bill is withdrawn. The Democrats could not raise the 12 votes to make the 60 necessary to proceed. Sixteen senators were absent during the vote, including, as already mentioned, likely presidential nominees, John McCain and Barack Obama (see: `Senate Kills Climate Change Bill', The Washington Independent, June 6)]

First, and by far the most significant, the debate on the climate-change bill, the Climate Tax Bill, in the U.S. Senate has been reduced to a farce, with even many Democrats now wanting to kill it off as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Indeed, we may have to witness the bizarre spectacle of Republicans trying to prolong the debate in order to embarrass Democrats even further. The plot of this Gilbert-and-Sullivan-style operetta is vividly told today in The Washington Post [`Senate Democrats May Pull Climate Bill', May 6]:

"Although parliamentary maneuvers could still extend the debate into next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) faced the prospect of failure in a bid to end debate on amendments to the climate bill this morning. In that event, he was expected to seek withdrawal of the entire measure, to the relief of some Democrats from coal-producing or heavy industrial states. `We are going to have Democrats voting to end debate on what they call the most important issue facing the planet and Republicans voting to continue debate on it,' said Don Stewart, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)."

Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.), Ranking Republican Member of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, is reported as observing: "`This bill was doomed from the start. The committee process was short-circuited, the floor debate was circumvented and the amendment process was derailed. I do not see how the Democrats use this failed bill as any kind of model for future success. As I suspected, reality hit the U.S. Senate when the economic facts of this bill were exposed. When faced with the inconvenient truth of the bill's impact on skyrocketing gas prices, very few Senators were willing to even debate this bill.'" Neither Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) nor Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) attended the debate or voted.

Stephen Moore, writing in today's `Political Diary' for The Wall Street Journal, turns the screw [`Climate-Change Collapse', June 6] : "Environmentalists are stunned that their global warming agenda is in collapse. Senator Harry Reid has all but conceded he lacks the vote for passage in the Senate and that it's time to move on. Backers of the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill always knew they would face a veto from President Bush, but they wanted to flex their political muscle and build momentum for 2009. That strategy backfired. The green groups now look as politically intimidating as the skinny kid on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face.

Those groups spent millions advertising and lobbying to push the cap-and-trade bill through the Senate. But it would appear the political consensus on global warming was as exaggerated as the alleged scientific consensus. `With gasoline selling at $4 a gallon, the Democrats picked the worst possible time to bring up cap and trade,' says Dan Clifton, a political analyst for Strategas Research Partners. `This issue is starting to feel like the Hillary health care plan.'" .....

`Global Warming' Off Track

There will, however, be no `Strasbourg Express' to ease the pain of the long-suffering British public. For my last item today, we really do enter the mad house. Fasten your seat belts for what must be possibly one of the most blatant abuses ever of `global warming' politics by a Minister in order to excuse Government inaction. The Times carries the sorry tale [`High-speed rail travel is not a green option, say ministers', June 6; paper edition: `Rail passengers to stay on the slow track because it's the greener option', p.8]: "Britain is to be left out of Europe's high-speed rail revolution because the Government has decided that 200 mph trains are bad for the environment."

"What!" The Times alleges that it has got hold of a disgraceful letter (and piece of sophistry) from Tom Harris, the Rail Minister, in response to an appeal from Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West of England: `"The argument that high-speed rail travel is a `green option' does not necessarily stand up to close inspection. Increasing the maximum speed of a train from 200 kph [125 mph - the current maximum speed of domestic trains] to 350 kph leads to a 90 per cent increase in energy consumption."'

This is absolutely mind-blowing! Here is a Government Minister seemingly using the excuse of `global warming' to prevent the progress of train travel. My, the Fat Controller has truly lost his top hat this time. What about all the folk who would move from plane to train? What about the severe overcrowding on our Inter-city services? What about the known demand for such services? And, why should the UK lag so far behind the rest of Europe where fast rail is concerned? France alone has over 1,000 miles of high-speed track, with more planned.

With this little bit of ministerial gerrymandering, we have surely plumbed the `global warming' nadir. Not only is every type of weather, from drought to flood, to be caused by `global warming', `global warming' is now the portmanteau excuse of the Government to do either nothing or something. The argument works anyway it pleases.

As readers of GWP know, I rarely agree with the Liberal-Democrats, but who can gainsay Mr. Davies' reaction? "It is very disappointing to see the minister scrabbling around for excuses for the Government's inaction on high-speed rail, especially when those excuses are so weak." Indeed. `Global warming' is thus off track on every front, from the railways of the UK to the floor of the U.S. Senate. When will this `global warming' madhouse be closed down and confined to the dustbin of history? Or trash can?

More here

British Greenies: Britain should have 'zero net immigration' policy

Greenies hate people anyway so it figures

Britain should set an example to the world by reversing its steeply-rising population growth and allowing no more people into the country than leave, the Government's chief "green" adviser has said. Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, said it was entirely possible to be "very progressive" on immigration while still having a policy of "zero net immigration" and no further population growth

Mr Porritt told an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival, he would like to see Britain's population on a declining trend, instead of increasing to 65 million in ten years and to 70 million by 2031. Mr Porritt, who is a patron of the charity, the Optimum Population Trust, warned that globally spending on family planning was "massively" lower than the 8 billion pounds spent on HIV/Aids. Yet it should be around 12.5 billion to 15 billion if the world was to avoid a population of more than 9 billion or more by 2050.

Mr Porritt warned that in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, population trends were increasing "disastrously" because of low spending on family planning. In Kenya and Ethiopia, spending on family planning was now running at 2 per cent of spending on HIV/Aids. As a result the population of Kenya, which had been thought to be around 40 million by the mid-century was now expected to be 80 million. "We are guaranteeing an unstoppable flow of problems like HIV and Aids into the future," he said.

Mr Porritt said there were "complex cultural and religious reasons" why globally family planning had such a low priority. "I've highlighted the malign combination of a Catholic church which sees contraception as a wicked sin, a religious, ideological approach to family planning in the United States, politically correct and ignorant environmentalists and development economists."

He said it was "incomprehensible" why environmentalists and development economists would not acknowledge the significance of family planning and population policies. In fact, if one looked at the amount of carbon it would be possible to emit in 2050, without contributing to dangerous climate change, it was 10 billion tons of carbon, around one ton per person. The larger the world's population was the more uncomfortable that would be, but if the right policies were adopted 30 years earlier it would be possible to keep the world's population at around 8 billion.

Mr Porritt said people were uneasy talking about family planning as a means of reducing population growth. "Politicians won't touch it because they think it will get them into trouble on immigration policy." Others thought "it takes you into China's one child per family and other authoritarian policies." But he highlighted the example of Iran, where population growth had been halted simply through education, backed by religious leaders.

Around the world, he said, it was a universal truth that the longer girls remained in education, the fewer children they had. Mr Porritt said that the prevailing assumption of UN economists that population growth would fall as the world got richer was out of sync with the need for the human race to live within environmental limits. "We can't wait for Bangladesh to get rich enough to do something about it. It will be game over for human kind at that point."



AUSTRALIAN industries may be crippled if they are forced to meet ambitious targets for tackling climate change, the Rudd Government has been warned. The Queensland Government, Australian Workers Union and big business across the nation fear forcing businesses to pay for the pollution they create would cause economic upheaval. The State Government fired a warning to Canberra in Tuesday's budget, urging it not to set over-ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions for fear of destabilising the economy.

It comes as the AWU is set to join forces with some of the country's biggest companies to warn an emissions trading scheme could send investment abroad and cost jobs. AWU national secretary Paul Howes last week won the backing of his national executive to make emissions trading his union's main political priority for this year. With about 90 per cent of AWU members in emissions-intensive industries - such as steel, aluminium, oil and gas - Mr Howes said a blanket carbon tax could send investment, and jobs, offshore. "We could end up in a scenario where you have offshoring of facilities to countries where there are less environmental regulations than we have here already, with the problem just compounding itself," he said.

The widespread angst about the planned carbon tax is set to become a major challenge for the Rudd Government, which has committed to introducing an emissions trading scheme in 2010. Households have already been warned that the scheme will drive up energy and fuel bills and the Rudd Government's top climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, has hinted that high-income earners will bear the brunt of the cost.

More here


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


Saturday, June 07, 2008


An email from Lee Rodgers []

I've been keeping an irregular blog on the climatological effects of tropospheric soot. Contrary to conventional opinion, tropospheric soot has been shown in real field data to cause a net heating effect with up to a 40 percent role in temperature anomalies across the vast Pacific region (alone that'd be 12 percent globally), possibly 35 percent worldwide. Likewise the ice-melting effects of snow-darkening soot in the boreal environment is believed to have caused most of the sesquicentennial thaw in the region, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all global warming in the past two centuries.

Pressing this point have been the parallel efforts of two very conventional climate researchers: Drs. V. Ramanathan and Charlie Zender. Dr. Zender has essentially stated this: That with the albedo-blunting effects of soot being equal to that of extant CO2 warming the benefits of significant soot mitigation in the Arctic would be like cutting CO2 levels by a two thirds (or more). The magnitude of global warming in the Arctic approaches that of 20 percent of all sesquicentennial global warming, and amending the Arctic melt through soot abatement has a far greater impact than mitigating CO2 emissions in an equivalent region elsewhere in the world.

Dr. Ramanathan makes similar points that the the efficacy of soot mitigation is such that societies could broaden the window of opportunity up to 20 years against climate change by simply cleaning up various sources of soot. The higher concentrations of aerosol pollutants in the Northern Hemisphere may be reflected in a notable bias of temperature anomalies north of the equator. Soot mitigation has an immediate effect as opposed to waiting 50 years for the effects of an equivalent reduction of CO2 to finally have an effect.

See my blog here

The odds are poor that humanity will ever curtail CO2 emissions fast enough against even the mid-case global warming scenarios forecast by climatologists. Soot mitigation is a crucial stopgap measure that needs to be discussed openly and measures taken to implement this completely feasible and cost-effective climate change and pollution reduction measure.

Many environmental organizations are well aware of the evidence against soot in the Arctic and its net heating effects in the air but have chosen to focus on CO2 reductions. However to subsume the evidence against soot under the rubric of "carbon emissions" for fear of diluting the message about CO2 would be an act of brinksmanship if the activists are to be taken for their word.

This is in fact what environmental activists have done in hopes of getting the bigger prize of CO2 reductions. To trumpet the environmental stresses suffered by polar bears without mentioning sootfall in the Arctic and Subarctic is contradictory to the stated goal of protecting the boreal environment of the bears as well as climate remediation, especially considering the real-world risk of continued greenhouse gas emissions.

Again, the odds are not good that societies will mitigate greenhouse gas emissions at rate sufficient to head off any rate of warming that could pose any real risk. The belief that it's possible to do otherwise may well run up hard against the vast inertia of human society as industrialized countries grapple with trade deficits and other cost overheads while developing nations ramp up industry and big agriculture in pursuit of feeding and advancing the lives of their increasing multitudes.


A goal to halve planet-warming carbon emissions by 2050, similar to an aim Japan is urging G8 leaders to agree next month, would add $45 trillion to global energy bills, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday. "It's a lot of money," IEA analyst Peter Taylor told a meeting on the fringes of a climate conference in Germany, previewing the agency's Energy Technology Perspectives report to be published in Japan on Friday. "It implies a completely different energy system," he said.

For example, electricity from renewable sources such as hydropower and the wind would reach close to half all power production, compared to 18 percent now, Taylor told Reuters.

Scientists say that the world must brake and reverse annual increases in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change including rising seas and more extreme weather.

Japan last week urged leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations to set a global target to halve greenhouse gases by 2050, when they meet at a G8 summit in Toyako, northern Japan, next month. The IEA took 2005 as its base level in calculating the cost of halving emissions of the commonest manmade greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 2050 -- a very ambitious goal which it hadn't previously estimated. That would require an extra $45 trillion investment in energy supply and demand through 2050 compared to a baseline of business as usual, said the energy adviser to 27 rich nations.

More here


Environmentalists are stunned that their global warming agenda is in collapse. Senator Harry Reid has all but conceded he lacks the vote for passage in the Senate and that it's time to move on. Backers of the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill always knew they would face a veto from President Bush, but they wanted to flex their political muscle and build momentum for 2009. That strategy backfired. The green groups now look as politically intimidating as the skinny kid on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face.

Those groups spent millions advertising and lobbying to push the cap-and-trade bill through the Senate. But it would appear the political consensus on global warming was as exaggerated as the alleged scientific consensus. "With gasoline selling at $4 a gallon, the Democrats picked the worst possible time to bring up cap and trade," says Dan Clifton, a political analyst for Strategas Research Partners. "This issue is starting to feel like the Hillary health care plan."

It's a good analogy. Originally, Hillary health care had towering levels of support, but once people looked at the cost and complexity they cringed. Jobs were on the mind yesterday of Senator Arlen Specter, who has endorsed a tamer version of cap-and-trade. "Workers in Pennsylvania worry that this will send jobs to China," he tells me. They're smart to worry. Look no further than the failure of the Kyoto countries to live up to their promised emissions cuts. Bjorn Lomborg, the author of the Skeptical Environmentalist, tells me: "The Europeans are so far behind schedule, it is almost inconceivable that they will meet their targets."

Even John McCain, a cap-and-trade original co-sponsor, now says that this scheme won't fly until China and India sign on -- which could be never.

Senators also criticized Warner-Lieberman's failure to clearly specify what would happen with the vast revenues the climate bill would generate -- some $1 trillion over the first decade, which environmental groups wanted as a slush fund to finance "green technologies." Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire insisted the proceeds be used for other tax cuts, like the elimination of the corporate income tax. The Natural Resources Defense Council desperately tried to persuade Congress in the 11th hour that the expensive price tag is a bargain because "the cost of inaction" would reach $1.8 trillion by 2100 due to increased hurricanes and rising oceans -- an argument without a shred of scientific or fiscal credibility.

Republicans in the Senate this week did such a masterful job of picking the cap-and-trade bill apart with objections, yesterday Barbara Boxer of California was "pulling her hair out with frustration, " as one Republican leadership staffer put it.

Environmentalists have always eyed 2009 as the real target year for enactment. But there was no show of strength this week and cap-and-trade may have reached its political high water mark. Conservatives at least are in a far stronger position now to demand major pro-growth tax cuts in exchange for new global warming taxes.



Car tax hikes for millions of drivers became the latest ticking timebomb under Gordon Brown's leadership last night. Despite mounting Labour unrest, the Prime Minister launched a stubborn defence of the plans and said they were an effective means of cutting carbon emissions.

Tory leader David Cameron warned Mr Brown he was likely to lose his job if he refused to scrap what he called 'deeply unpopular and unenvironmental' changes to vehicle excise duty. Pointing to the growing rebellion among Labour MPs over the plans, Mr Cameron bluntly told Mr Brown during angry exchanges at Prime Ministers' Questions: 'If you don't get rid of it, they will probably get rid of you.'

Already 40 Labour MPs have signed a Commons motion and calling for a rethink - enough to wipe out the party's majority if they join forces with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. What one backbencher has called Labour's 'poll tax on wheels' looks increasingly likely to turn into a re-run of the fiasco over the scrapping of the 10p tax rate. MPs fear less well-off drivers - who are unable to afford to change their vehicles - will be worst hit.

Privately, senior ministers expect the Government to have to back down - particularly over a proposal to apply road tax increases retrospectively.... Mr Brown defended the changes as vital to tackling climate change.

More here


India will not reduce greenhouse gas emission at the cost of development and poverty alleviation, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Namo Narain Meena said Thursday. 'India is struggling to bring millions of people out of poverty. We cannot accept binding commitments to cut down greenhouse gas emission,' Meena said at a function to mark the World Environment Day.

Though India has no commitment to reduce the global warming gases under the Kyoto Protocol, in recent climate change conferences many developed countries have said India needs to reduce the greenhouse burden.

Meena, however, said climate change was becoming a crucial issue, and needed immediate action. He added that consumptive lifestyle was putting severe pressure on biological resources. 'Each of us has to become a saviour of the environment.' 'Each of us can help curb the adverse impact of climate change,' he said adding that afforestation will go a long way in reducing the carbon level in the atmosphere as 'forest is the natural sink for CO2'.

S. Regupathy, who is also the minister of state for environment and forests, has said the World Environment Day provides an opportunity every year to reaffirm the commitments to work towards the sustainable conservation of environment.


What price liberty

What price liberty? Apparently a lot more than most are willing to pay. Although Al Gore lost the presidential election of 2000, it is beginning to look more and more like he won thanks to the incessant drumbeat of one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated upon the American public. The hoax is man-made climate change, nee global warming, which is now threatening to destroy what has become the last bastion of freedom in the world.

According to the global warmists who vehementally contend that their unproven hypothesis is "proven science," there is no need for debate. They, after all, know best, and from their elitist position, they and their followers will dictate to the masses what they will drive, where they will live, what they can eat, where they can go, what they can do. Those who question that hypothesis are quickly, and summarily, denigrated, castigated as being the "willing tools" of the energy industry. Overlooked, of course, is the fact that many of the "climatologists" who have signed on to the hypothesis are, in fact, being funded by organizations that are simply using the global warming hoax as a means of further establishing their control of society.

Recently, some 31,000-plus scientists, 9,000 of whom hold doctorates in scientific fields, signed a petition noting "There is no convincing evidence that human release of CO2, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will cause, in the foreseeable future, catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." A considerably small number, 2,500, was used to claim the "scientific consensus" by the U.N.'s famed climate change panel.

Even the global warmists, in the face of evidence they seek to ignore, that "natural variations" occur in the climate, are doing their best to hedge their bets, suggesting that global warming may stop for the next 10-12 years before resuming. In other words, when facts stand in the way of a predetermined conclusion, revise the conclusion to better escape the facts. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the highly-touted computer models that the global warmists so desperately cling to as their evidence are based on the faulty information entered into those computers. It is perhaps for that reason that the global warmists choose to ignore the historic evidence of the natural variations in climate that about 1200 years ago led to a thriving colony in Greenland and advanced mining operations along the Alps, enterprises that came to an end with what is now called the Medieval glaciation period.

There has finally emerged a major voice not only questioning, but condemning, the environmentalist attack on the free world. That voice belongs to Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic. In a recent address to a U.N. committee, he rhetorically asked "Can we allow certain political movements that want something other than liberty to profit from a hysteria which has been born?"

Klaus understands the totalitarianism inherent in the enviromentalist agenda. It was the same totalitarianism under which he grew up, when Eastern Europe was under the control of the old Soviet Union and Josef Stalin. Klaus has also expressed a complete willingness to debate Gore. Gore, not surprisingly, has ignored that offer, and every other offer put forth by anyone who might credibly question his hypothesis.

The irony in the man-made global warming hoax is that the agenda behind the environmentalist movement is becoming increasingly more transparent, a transparency that is creating concern. The environmentalists who for years promoted higher prices -- and higher taxes -- on commodities like food and fuel are finding their agenda coming under closer scrutiny, and being rejected. In England, a growing revolt against the environmentalist tyranny is being played out by voters, who are rejecting the policies that are creating record energy and food prices, and are destroying the economy.

Still, thanks to Al Gore and the pseudo-science he has been able to promote because of his high profile, the totalitarianists have been able to use the drumbeat of environmentalism to mask their true motives, a further separation of government from the governed in an effort to establish their version of the kind of controlled society that existed for a dozen years in Germany, and for the better part of the 20th century in the Soviet Union. The pseudo-science the global warmists have espoused is no different that the pseudo-science of their predecessors, like Rachel Carson, who led the fight to ban DDT, which in turn has led to the deaths of millions, like Paul Ehrlich, who predicted mass starvation and other disasters by the end of the 20th century while actively supporting genocidal policies to prevent it.

That climate change exists is fact. That man has anything to do with it, or can stop it, is not. Although some of the global warmists may, indeed, have only the best of intentions, the very concept is little more than hubris, and the real impetus behind the movement has nothing to do with environment and everything to do with control. As Thomas Paine so succinctly put it, "The greatest tyrannies are always perpetuated in the name of the noblest causes." And at the cost of liberty.



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


Friday, June 06, 2008

Painting by numbers: NASA's peculiar thermometer

Post below recycled from The Register, an excellent British skeptical publication

The story is that the world is heating up - fast. Prominent people at NASA warn us that unless we change our carbon producing ways, civilisation as we know it will come to an end. At the same time, there are new scientific studies showing that the earth is in a 20 year long cooling period. Which view is correct? Temperature data should be simple enough to record and analyze. We all know how to read a thermometer - it is not rocket science.

Previously we looked at how US temperature data sets have been adjusted - with more recent versions of historical data sets showing a steeper rise in temperature than they used to. Here, we'll be looking at current NASA data and why their temperature maps appear hot-red, even when others are cool-blue.

To recap the earlier article, the graph below shows additional adjustments to the data set since the big "correction" in 2000.

NASA's temperature adjustments since 2000

We observe that the data has been consistently adjusted towards a bias of greater warming. The years prior to the 1970s have again been adjusted to lower temperatures, and recent years have been adjusted towards higher temperatures.

NASA's published data is largely based on data from the US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), which derives its data from thermometer readings across the country. According to USHCN literature, the raw temperature data is adjusted to compensate for geographical movements in the weather stations, changes in the 24-hour start/end times when the readings are taken, and other factors. USHCN is directly affiliated with the Oak Ridge National Laboratories' Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, an organisation which exists primarily to promote the idea of a link between CO2 and climate.

The map below shows what the raw unadjusted USHCN temperature trends for the US in the 20th century looked like.

20th century temperature trends - USHCN raw data (lots of blue)

20th century temperature trends - USHCN raw data (lots of blue)

Prior to any adjustments, more than half the US shows declining temperatures over the 20th century - blue and green colors - i.e. the US is cooling down. However, subsequent to the adjustments the country goes dominantly warmer (red and yellow) - as seen in the image below.
20th Century temperature trends - USHCN raw data (lots of red)

20th Century temperature trends - USHCN raw data (lots of red)

Below is a video showing the USHCN adjustments in action.


So how does NASA's data compare with other temperature sources? As we explained in our earlier article, NASA data is derived from a grid of ground-based thermometers. During the last thirty years, we also have the benefit of more sophisticated technology - satellites which can indirectly record temperatures across most of the planet. The satellite data is from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH).

In 1998 (left side of the graph below) NASA and the satellite data sources RSS and UAH all agreed quite closely - within one-tenth of a degree. Ten years later - in March 2008 - NASA is reporting temperature anomalies more than 0.5 degrees warmer than UAH. The divergence between NASA and UAH has increased at a rate of 0.13 degrees per decade (red lines below.) In contrast, RSS has converged with UAH over the period and is now within 0.02 degrees (blue lines below.)

Differences between reported temperature anomalies, NASA, RSS and UAH - with UAH as the baseline.

Differences between reported temperature anomalies, NASA, RSS and UAH - with UAH as the baseline.

Lost Continents

The divergence is now quite striking. Looking closer at March 2008, NASA's data shows the month as the third warmest on record. In sharp contrast, UAH and RSS satellite data showed March as the second coldest on record in the southern hemisphere, and just barely above average for the whole planet. How could such a large discrepancy occur?

Viewing the NASA 250-mile map for March below, what immediately grabs the attention is that NASA has essentially no data (gray areas) in most of Canada, most of Africa, the Greenland ice sheet, and most of Antarctica. This begs the question, how can one calculate an accurate "global temperature" while lacking any data from large contiguous regions of three continents?

So what was NASA missing?
NASA Temperatures March, 2008 - 250 mile smoothing radius - looks hot

NASA Temperatures March, 2008 - 250-mile smoothing radius - looks hot

We can find NASA's lost continents in the UAH satellite data for March below.
UAH Satellite Temperatures March, 2008 - looks cool

UAH Satellite Temperatures March, 2008 - looks cool

Not surprisingly, the missing areas in Canada and Africa were cold. The NASA data thus becomes disproportionately weighted towards warm areas - particularly in the northern hemisphere. As can be seen in the UAH satellite map above, the warm areas actually made up a relatively small percentage of the planet. The vast majority of the earth had normal temperatures or below. Given that NASA has lost track of a number of large cold regions, it is understandable that their averages are on the high side.

Additionally, NASA reports their global temperature measurements within one one-hundredth of a degree. This is a classic mathematics error, since they have no data from 20 per cent of the earth's land area. The reported precision is much greater than the error bar - a mistake which has caused many a high school student to fail their exams.

Cherry picking

A second important issue with NASA's presentation is that they use the time period of 1951-1980 as their choice of baseline. This was a well known cold spell, as can be seen in the 1999 version of the NASA US temperature graph below.
NASA US Temperature Map August, 1999. Note the cooling trend since 1930, and particularly between 1951 and 1980.

NASA US Temperature Map August, 1999. Note the cooling trend since 1930, and particularly between 1951 and 1980.

Temperatures dropped enough during that period to trigger concern about the onset of an ice age. Newsweek magazine went so far as to mention a proposed "solution" of spreading soot ( in the Arctic to melt the polar ice caps. 1978 was the coldest winter on record in much of North America. By using a cold baseline, all recent temperatures become relatively warm - which causes the NASA maps to be covered with lots of hot red and brown colors. From looking at the NASA map above, one could easily believe that that the earth is having a meltdown. By contrast, the UAH map makes most of the earth look quite cool.

When we look at the temperature data for Alaska, the disparity is again quite striking.

The NASA temperature map for March above shows Alaska temperatures much above "normal", while the UAH map shows Alaska temperatures well below "normal". This is partially due to the fact that the 1951-1980 NASA baseline period was unusually cold in Alaska - due to the cold phase of a dominant ocean cycle, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), as shown below. The graph below indicates variations in Pacific temperatures, showing a cold period from 1950-1980 which exactly matches NASA's baseline period.
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation in its cold phase from 1951-1980 (the period of the NASA baseline.)

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation in its cold phase from 1951-1980 (the period of the NASA baseline)p>

When the PDO ocean pattern is in its cold cycle, the Pacific remains dominantly in the La Nina phase, causing cold temperatures - particularly around the Pacific basin. La Nina also causes cold northern hemisphere winter temperatures across much of the world - as measured in 2008.
NASA's colourful Antarctic makeover

NASA's colourful Antarctic makeover

We can see how dramatic an artistic makeover can be. On the left, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows that "the interior of Antarctica is generally cooling". Indeed, most of the landmass is cooler, or the same as it was, with patches of warming around the periphery.

On the right, NASA's Earth Observatory warns that "Between 1981 and 2007, most of Antarctica warmed" - and the graph is correspondingly crimson. For the colourists at the Earth Observatory, a mere +0.01C is needed to colour the continent red.


One month does not make a temperature trend, and the point of this article is not to ascertain whether or not the earth is warming towards Armageddon. We are not qualified to analyze that or second-guess the experts. What is being examined is the quality and stability of the data being used by people making those claims.

For example, whatever motivations NASA had for picking the 1951-1980 baseline undoubtedly have some valid scientific basis. Yet, when the data is calibrated in lockstep with a very high-profile and public political philosophy, we should at least be willing to ask some hard questions. Dr. James Hansen at GISS is the person in charge of the NASA temperature data. He is also the world's leading advocate of the idea of catastrophic global warming, and is Al Gore's primary climate advisor. The discrepancies between NASA and other data sources can't help but make us consider Einstein's advice:

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

Global Warning

Excerpt only below:

No one doubts that the environment has been heating up; the controversy it has engendered has to do less with an indubitable fact than with isolating its supposed causes. The trouble is that the "science" involved is highly debatable insofar as it has been commandeered by a political crusade whose underlying purposes are distressingly suspicious. Some of the movement's proponents, to put it bluntly, are more concerned with saving their wilting careers than saving the planet; others are building new careers at the expense of public credulity, the perks and salaries being just too good to give up. We might note that Mars is also warming at present, though it seems there are no SUVs chugging along the planet's surface or light bulbs flicking on in its kilowatt communities. And not so long ago, we might recall, we were all getting ready to freeze: in 1971, the Global Ecology network forecast the "continued rapid cooling of the earth," and in 1975 the New York Times brooded that the earth "may be headed for another ice age," and in the July 1975 issue of National Wildlife, C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization warned that "the cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed."

Naturally, charges of fraud, incompetence and self-interest will fly Right and Left. Those who are resisting the official vogue will be suspected of ulterior purposes, as for example Canadian geographer/climatologist Timothy F. Ball whom the Calgary Herald, in a legal defence statement (filed December 7, 2006), viewed as "a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry." (Ball had launched a libel suit against the Herald for printing a letter by Dan Johnson, a professor of Environmental Science at the University of Lethbridge, impugning Ball's credentials-a suit he later and rather suspiciously withdrew.)

But the argument can cut both ways. Thus William Gray, professor emeritus of the Atmosphere Department of Colorado State University, laments that "fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong. But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out" (Investor's Business Daily, October 15, 2007). Gray has also shown that Al Gore's Exhibit A, hurricane intensity and frequency, plays fast and loose with the available data which imply the very opposite of his conclusions. ("There were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperature," Gray writes, "compared with 83 from 1957 to 2006.")

That Ball and Gore are both rather dubious characters suggests that neither side can claim total purity for all of its adherents, but this should not prevent us from trying to assess where the greater harm is done. We should also stay alert for purpose-built mendacity, as when ABC news reporter Dan Harris conducts a smear campaign against atmospheric physicist and Nobel Laureate Fred Singer, one of the world's most eminent scientists (ABC News, March 23, 2008). In seeking to rebut Singer's anti-alarmist position, Harris relies on the opinions of Singer's "fellow scientists," all unnamed (and whom Singer has offered to debate), and trots out the personal animadversions of Greenpeace eco-activist and "global warming specialist" Kert Davies who, as an Internet search reveals, appears to have no scientific qualifications.

As has been remarked more than once, the Global Warming Movement has filled the vacuum left by the flight of the Transcendent. Its high priests are Al Gore and David Suzuki, the former with a carbon footprint of Sasquatch proportions and the latter buying carbon credits-another swindle-to run his super sized tour bus. The Live Earth concerts sponsored by Gore and featuring celebrity performers whose greenhouse gas emissions rival their bombast in volume and output has provided the Rock liturgy for this quasi-religious movement. The hypocrisy of these new-age evangelists has been preserved in amber in Sinclair Lewis' Elmer Gantry. Interestingly, shortly before it was announced that Gore would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a UK court ruled that his global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth, contained at least nine salient falsehoods, in particular with respect to his claim that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming, and that the film was little more than a form of "political indoctrination."

As we have seen, hurricane frequency is one of Gore's central arguments in prosecuting his case. He would have taken comfort in a later, supporting study sponsored by the University College of London (Nature, January 30, 2008). Unfortunately, as Steven Millroy, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, pointed out in an article in (January 31, 2008), the researchers in question left out several important variables from their computer model, such as atmospheric humidity, sea-level pressure and long-range cycle activity, which severely damaged their thesis. The researchers themselves admitted that their analysis "does not identify whether greenhouse gas-induced warming the increase in hurricane activity."

But the real nail in the coffin of the Gorean hypothesis comes from the hammer of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), which published a study in Geophysical Research Letters (January 23, 2008) positing a recent decrease in such activity. Adding to Gore's embarrassment, the NOAA in its February report, relying on satellite data, showed that so-called "lost" ice had been restored to nearly its original levels, and a report in the London Daily Express (February 18, 2008) revealed that Antarctic levels had risen by a factor of one third.

The scientific consensus today is slowly beginning to shift away from the catastrophism of Gore, Suzuki and the United Nations IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, to suggest that the human contribution to global warming is far less than originally assumed and that a meteorological calamity is highly unlikely. (The IPCC, which certified and entrenched the so-called "scientific consensus," is essentially a political body with an agenda of its own.) See Inhofe EPW Press Blog, Daily Tech online, and the journal Energy and Environment, whose findings are based on a survey of the ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) Web of Science database covering almost 9000 scientific publications.

Similarly, a study published in Nature (January 2, 2008), entitled "Vertical structure of recent Arctic warming," co-authored by Rune Graversen, Thorsten Mauritsen, Michael Tjernstr”m, Erland K„ll‚n and Gunilla Svenson of Stockholm University's Department of Meteorology, while not categorically ruling out human intervention in climate warming, places the emphasis elsewhere. In attempting to explain the phenomenon known as "Arctic amplification," the study cites "changes in oceanic atmospheric circulation" as one of the main drivers of observed temperature increases in the high North. In other words, periodic "atmospheric energy transport into the Arctic" from the equatorial latitudes, via currents and storms, "may be an important cause of the recent Arctic temperature amplification."

Other reports conclude that "solar variability" is the major component in climate change and will run its course regardless of human intervention. As David Douglass writes in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society (December 2007), in a peer-reviewed article co-authored with several prominent scientists, "The observed pattern of warming . . . does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming. The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming." According to the aforementioned Fred Singer, co-author with Dennis Avery of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, who also contributed to the journal article, the effect of the terrestrial magnetic field is an equally important element. (Singer also indicates that "The ice sheets of Greenland have not melted in historic times at all, even though it was much warmer 1,000 years ago and very much warmer 5,000 years ago.") The Douglass study, which is as authoritative as it gets, concludes by rejecting "the proposition that greenhouse model simulations and trend observations can be reconciled."

The most sophisticated climate models indicate an undeniable discrepancy between surface and tropospheric temperature changes, which points to the sun as the primary agent in the long-term, fluctuating temperature curve. John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, patiently explains that the sun, which contains 99.8% of the mass of the solar system, in its hydrogen-fueled atomic fusion process, "consumes more mass in a second than all the fossil fuel ever burned on Earth," the terrestrial impact of which reduces the human input to global warming to a level of insignificance. Though Coleman doesn't cite actual figures, the fact is that the sun pours in excess of a million billion megawatt-hours annually on the earth. But he does quote the highly respected Australian mathematician and former carbon consultant for the Australian government, David Evans, who argues that "carbon emissions don't cause global warming." According to Evans, the IPCC models are wrong and the mathematics show that the human signature in the atmosphere is missing (KUSI News online, November 8, 2007).

Indeed, H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the nonprofit National Center for Policy Analysis, has shown that the famous "hockey stick" image used by the IPCC (also wielded by Gore) to support its conclusion about an unprecedented spike in global warming, is entirely flawed. The UN researchers "used the wrong time scale to establish the mean temperature to compare with recorded temperatures of the last century," which accounted for the sudden vertical shaft rising from the blade of the hockey stick.

Another recent NCPA study found that the ICPP violated 60 of the 127 principles governing prediction assessments and strictly followed only 17 of these forecasting principles (Washington Times, March 14, 2008). A panel of statisticians at George Mason University corroborated the NCPA results. Bjorn Lomborg's two books on the subject, The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, although advancing an economic rather than purely scientific argument, are also needed correctives to current reflex thinking. For an equally refreshing perspective on these contentious issues, one might consult Daniel Botkin's Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-first Century. Botkin, whose work is predicated on separating soothsaying from science, is the former Chairman of Environmental Studies of the University of California at Santa Barbara and the current president of the Center for the Study of the Environment; his qualifications are impeccable.

The Keeling Curve, named after Charles David Keeling, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, measures the gradient levels of CO2 in the atmosphere from ice core samples. It has become the standard construct on which the Global Warming Movement relies. At the top of the graph representing the year 2002/3 we find a value of close to 380 molecules of CO2 per one million molecules of air, grossly insufficient to trigger the catastrophic effects of global warming that our climate zealots have been announcing. Scientists favourable to the thesis have had to fall back on the hypothesis of "CO2 forcing," or a chemical chain reaction producing a multiplier effect, to justify their projections.

It is precisely this theory that has come under fire and ultimately been dismissed as unconvincing by a growing number of cutting-edge scientists, mathematicians and climatologists, including those mentioned above as well as experts such as Lord Christopher Monckton who specializes in exploring scientific frauds and New Zealand climate researcher Vincent Gray who has been reviewing IPCC drafts from 1990 to the present. In addition, as Holly Fretwell, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (January 19, 2008) indicates with respect to rising CO2 levels, "correlation is not causation."

Moreover, there is no reason to believe that CO2 is the causative agent in temperature change, she continues, since if we "look at the data that shows CO2 levels and temperature changes over the last 650,000 years, what we find is that temperature actually changes first and CO2 in the atmosphere follows.CO2 lags the temperature change." Her quip about forecasting is also well-taken. "Think about how well we are at predicting the weather tomorrow or next week and now try to extend that out 100 years. We really are no better at predicting long-term climate change than we are at predicting short-term climate . . . " Tim Patterson, director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center, concurs: "C02 variations show little correlation with out planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales." But he and his team have found "excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate" (Financial Post, June 20, 2007).

The US Climate Change Science Program introduces an equally sober note into the current hysteria over global warming. Its 2004-2005 report asserts that the droughts of 1998-2002 "were part of a persistent climate state that was strongly influenced by.unusually cold sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific." It goes on to isolate other influences for observed differences in temperature readings, including a "natural weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation/Northern Annular Mode." Anthropogenic forcing is only one determinant in the complex dynamic of weather patterns, one that is yet far from being properly understood. And there is still, the report makes clear, a "large uncertainty about the precise effects of aerosols on Earth's radiation balance." ....

More here

The Lies and Myths of the "Anthropogenic Global Warming" Fear Mongers and the Dire Threat They Pose

The American people are constantly being bombarded more and more with piffle and drivel from the lunatic fringe of the "Greens" movement. Organizations with their own political, social, and economic agendas, like the IPCC and the UN General Assembly present themselves as clearing houses for "scientific information" while placing their own philosophical brand on the findings they report. The proponents of the "doom and gloom" scenario of man-made, or anthropogenic, global warming (AGW) tend to fall into easily recognizable categories:

1. Climatologists and other scientists whose livelihoods depend on the perpetuation of the theory that: a. The planet is warming up, and b. That man's activities are the primary driving force behind such a change.

2. Computer modelers who take current data and construct mathematical models which they then use to confirm their already drawn conclusions about the origin and ultimate results of global warming.

3. Members of organizations (generally, but not exclusively found on the extreme left-wing of the political spectrum) like the Greens Party, the Sierra Club, and other environmental wacko groups who believe that mankind (and especially American mankind) is basically a toxic presence which infects the planet and that the planet would be better off without him.

4. Naive, well intentioned do-gooders who lack the intellect or knowledge to penetrate the fog of jargon with which the global warming alarmists camouflage their intentions and to critically examine the weak, faux science now being presented as fact.

5. Leftists who understand global warming as the scam is, but see in it, through their cynical, Machiavellian eyes, a useful tool to further government control over the economy and the people.

6. The average citizen who lack the time, knowledge, or inclination to learn the truth about AGW and the aims of its proponents and who fall victim to the massive propaganda machine in the Leftist controlled mainstream media that tells them tales of a "grim reality" rapidly approaching which can only be prevented by taking draconian measures.IMMEDIATELY!

There have been innumerable "doom and gloom" cults throughout history, but never before have they had such a powerful propaganda weapon as the mass communications apparatus now in place.

That propaganda machine has already catapulted Albert Gore, Jr. from Clinton court jester to superstar status (with commensurate income) and has rendered him immune to cries against his hypocrisy, by excusing his massive "carbon foot print" (as well as those of other celebrity alarmists) as being an unfortunate side effect of the obligation he has to spread the gospel.

Al Gore, the man who flunked out of Divinity School, is presented as an expert in AGW. If he says it, we are to believe it without question. In fact Barbara Boxer quoted Al Gore, Jr. as one of her unimpeachable sources influencing the design of her global warming substitute amendment, a massive government takeover of the American economy.

Al Gore tells us that human generated CO2 is causing global warming and he uses charts derived from ice-core samples to prove it.he even shows us a huge blown up image of a graph of that ice-core data.nevermind that he misrepresents what those data tell us, we must believe him. Al Gore is the new messiah of the global warming movement. What a joke!

We already know, through a close examination of those same data, that increases in CO2 levels lag behind increases of global temperatures by 800 years, not precede it. They occur as a result of increased temperatures and have no causative effect whatsoever.

If, as enviro-mental wackos and their naive adherents claim, solar, gravitational, and geophysical effects contribute only a small percentage to the phenomenon of global warming and the accumulation of CO2 (caused by "evil" man) in the atmosphere is the primary causative factor, then there would be little evidence of massive climatological changes occurring on other planets, but there is.

"Long-time greens" (as at least one has presented himself to me), are so twisted in their thinking that they view mankind as (to quote from the movie Matrix) "a virus" which infects our planet. They willingly adhere to any theory which predicts the imminent destruction of mankind in a sort of convulsive purging of itself by Mother Earth which they believe is a living organism called Gaia (didn't Bluebonnet or Parkay already do an ad about that?). "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."

The fact that these consummate "neo-Malthusians" are invariably and repeatedly proven wrong by science and by the continued stubbornness of mankind in refusing to "go quietly into that good night," deters them not one whit. Apparently reality impinges but little into their world.

Global warming has already stalled for the past decade and last year was the coldest in a decade. According to the geological record, we are not even close to the warmest temperatures Earth has seen over the past few hundred-thousand years. In past interglacials, temperatures rose considerably higher than they have in the current inter-glacial.and yes we are still in the midst of an inter-glacial, so periods of warming are to be expected. If these facts elude you, try reading some works of genuine science instead of these politically motivated diatribes written by people with a social agenda.

One of the more recent observations to send a tremor of fear through the global warming alarmists, is a report that subsurface ocean temperatures, as directly measured by over 3000 robotic probes have shown no rise in global oceanic temperatures. In fact those same probes have shown a small but statistically significant decrease in subsurface oceanic temperatures. These results were so unexpected that, even now, the little Gorebots are scrambling to alter their models to account for what simply have to be anomalous data.

It is an immutable truth about Liberal dogma that, as they are proven wrong in their pet theories, the tenor of the conversation (such as there is) approaches hysteria. The level of hyperbole and the number of predictions of "doom and gloom" rise. The fevered pitch of the comments coming from those alarmists and the more and more dire predictions of our approaching demise, serve only to prove their desperation as once more one of their pet theories falls onto the ash-heap of history.

AGW is yesterday's news and over the next 10-20 years, people in these organizations will be warning us, once again, of an impending ice-age or some other dire prediction, with the requisite imminent end of civilization as we know it.

I am not a part of the "pro-carbon" lobby, I am a part of the pro-science, pro-reality lobby, a voice of sanity standing in defiance of the raging tide of alarmism emanating from the Left. I am a green's worst nightmare, a Conservative with a strong knowledge of science and the ability to know Leftist BS when I see it. I am far from being alone. Most individuals of good common sense (mostly Conservatives) see AGW for the con-game it is. The arguments, as put forward by AGW alarmist, offer neither compelling scientific nor logical reasons to react impulsively to each spate of tornadic activity reported on the evening news.

The most compelling scientific evidence and arguments rest with AGW deniers like me. It is individuals such as those I have described above who, through their blind following of false profits of doom like Rachel Carson (author of one of the deadliest lies in history, the book "Silent Spring") and Albert Gore, Jr, represent the most pressing danger to the world's population.

Rachel Carson (after Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the 1973 Supreme Court through its ruling in Roe v. Wade) is the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. She and her gullible little army of adherents are responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans from malaria. By demanding and achieving the a ban on the manufacture, distribution and use of DDT, one of the most innocuous chemicals ever invented by mankind, they have caused unimaginable suffering by those in developing nations.

That book and the "science" upon which it was based is one of the most horrendous (in consequences) mistakes of the faux scientists in the green movement. Her theories were flawed and the science upon which they were based was bad and, in spite of her full knowledge of this prior to the precipitous actions her work generated, she persisted in her campaign. The story of Rachel Carson and her egregious error of arrogance should be an object lesson for all who now heed the siren call of the greens in this AGW campaign, but that same arrogance, the arrogance inherent in the Left, will prevent them from paying attention.

AGW is a monstrous scam and any action taken by congress or any government will most certainly have grim unintended consequences, just as all poorly thought out and ill-conceived laws have, throughout our nation's history.


Global Warming: A Socialist Perspective

Good to see skepticism coming from the Left. Small excerpt only below:

From the science it is impossible for CO2 to heat the planet to anything like the temperatures discussed either by the IPCC (1.5-4.5oC) or the 7-8oC touted by some of the extreme environmentalists. Nor is there any basis for stating, as did a recent article in Socialist Appeal (and "that the greenhouse gas effect is up 20 percent since 1990". Since the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere in 1990 was 342 ppm and it is now 383 ppm then the increase is in fact 12%. However if we talk of "the effect" then we have to deal with real world effects of CO2 as an absorbing and re-radiating greenhouse gas. The primary green house gas is water vapour that accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect. The contribution of CO2 to the warming of the world is logarithmic in nature as shown by Figure 9. That's the science.

In other words increasing concentrations of CO2 have a diminishing effect on the globe's temperature. So to get to the scary numbers postulated by the IPCC, (never mind some environmentalists or Socialist Appeal), a magic multiplier effect has to be employed. Doubling of CO2 concentrations to 560 ppm will achieve a 2 Watts/sq metre increase in radiative forcing, and result in an IPCC guesstimated range of 1-2oK, compared with the maximum postulated from the science of 0.87oK. And that is the official position. What would 2 degrees rise in Greenland's temperature effect in 70 years time? The union position comes to mind - 20% of bugger all is still bugger all!

But that is not the point of the scary scenarios. For that we have to go to Dr Stephen Schneider who is a senior staff member at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado. He stated that: "To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest." So much for science!!

Of course he was not always a global warmist. Before Global Warming became the politically correct scientific fashion of the 1990s, the reverse situation existed in the 1970s, where it had become a scientific article of faith that the Ice Age was about to happen. Even the US National Academy of Sciences adopted this view in 1970: "There is a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years."

Schneider wrote paper after paper describing the inevitability of the coming ice age. He once joked that since Greenhouse had hit the public arena, he had become more of a politician than a scientist!! Wouldn't it be nice if they just explained their political agenda that they have, rather than hide behind the "science".

More here

Polar Bear shot due to 'thick pack' not 'seen for decades' & bitter cold

A polar bear that showed up in Iceland, presumably after drifting on ice flowing south from Greenland this spring, was shot and killed by a team led by police officers on the ground that it posed a threat to people. This has happened before, the last time in 1993, according to Icelandic and British news reports, which said there were records of polar bears in the country back to the year 890. There is some pretty gruesome video (warning to parents) of the polar bear's death, which Icelandic officials said was necessary because no one had the appropriate tranquilizer:

The bigger story in the bear's journey is that it may have been facilitated by the unusual abundance of pack ice between Greenland and Iceland this spring. In April, a story in The Guardian essentially predicted that this might happen. Here's how Grethin Chamberlain put it (talk about prescience):

The oceans may be warming and air temperatures rising, but in recent days Iceland has bucked the global climate trend. Thick pack ice, the like of which has not been seen for decades, stretched into the western fjords as temperatures plummeted and a bitter wind blew in from Greenland. The ice has proved a headache for fishermen, who have been unable to put to sea, but it is what comes with pack ice that has caused most concern: polar bears.

People living around the fjord of Dyrafjordur, which last week was almost filled with the ice, were keeping an eye on the sea, conscious that the bears live on the pack ice that covers much of the Arctic ocean. When chunks break off, as appears to have happened last week, the bears become stranded, drifting wherever the ice takes them.

Whatever led it there, there's plenty of bitterness in Iceland over the shooting, which many locals say was unnecessary. As for the ice, I've sent some queries to experts.


The invisible critics of global warming

By Andrew Bolt, writing from Australia

The boys from the ABC's Chaser [a satirical programme on public TV] show a map of Australia in their new show at the Athenaeum with a pink dot to indicate the whereabouts of our very last global warming sceptic. Actually, there's just a single pink dot in that entire expanse, and it's plonked right over Melbourne. Over this tower with Herald Sun on top, in fact. To be absolutely specific, it's over this very chair in which I'm now sitting, typing furiously with a mad cackle and hair all wild.

This is chuffy news, and I yesterday asked Julian and the guys to send me a copy of their Power Point presentation as soon as they're through with it. I figure it will give me terrific bragging rights in a decade, or probably much sooner, when suddenly the landscape will be crowded with experts who've sprung like instant weeds after drought-busting rains to say, ahem, they never fell for this scare either. They'd warned all along it would end in tears of laughter. But I'll expose those fair-weather pundits. I'll drag out the Chaser's map and say: Hah! Where's your pink dot?

But I'm fantasising. I know the glory isn't mine alone. The country has mysteriously turned out to be filled with sceptics already, and the real marvel is why the Chaser and its braying audience can't see them. It's as if hundreds of thousands of people, some of them prominent scientists, are made of glass and cannot be detected by an ABC-trained eye. Nor can even the noisiest of them be heard by an ABC ear - or the ear of almost anyone in the media.

Take Dennis Jensen, for instance. This federal Liberal MP, who has a PhD in physics, gave a speech in Parliament outlining the latest scientific evidence that the world stopped warming a decade ago. He had charts from the four international bodies that measure world temperature, including Britain's Hadley Centre, showing that since 1998 world temperatures have stayed flat, contradicting all official predictions. And he warned: "This data shows that the temperature has flatlined over the last 10 years. "Observation does not fit theory and yet the theory is deemed correct."

You'd think evidence that the world may no longer be heating - indeed, say some sun-studying scientists, may even start cooling - might be of interest to reporters, given our governments are spending billions to pretend to stop a warming that may not be happening, and may not be our fault. Or even bad. Yet not a single newspaper or television report mentioned Jensen's speech. He was so invisible that there's no pink dot for him on the Chaser map.

In the two days since Jensen spoke, the evidence he's right has firmed. Now the University of Alabama in Huntsville, one of those four temperature monitors, has found that the temperature of the lower troposphere has cooled more in the past 16 months than it warmed in the previous 100 years. A blip, maybe, but unexpected.

And, with satellites and weather balloons not detecting any warming of the troposphere in tropical regions, again contradicting the predictions of every global warming model, it's no wonder 31,000 scientists, including Australia's Prof Bob Carter, last month signed a petition declaring there was still no proof humans were warming the world to hell. But Carter is also so invisible that there's no pink dot for him, either.

Nor are there pink dots for the several Rudd ministers and parliamentary secretaries who, like some senior Liberal frontbenchers, admit they doubt man is heating the world to Armageddon, either. Not that these heroes deserve to be dotted, since they keep so schtum in public.

Yet why not a pink dot for, say, Michael Costa, the NSW Treasurer? Here's a man who makes news every time he opens his noisy mouth, except when he croaks "global warming is a crock". Then he can't be heard, or not so clearly that the Chaser will dot him.

In fact, the whole country has just gone dotty without the Chaser managing to notice. If we really do think man's gases are cooking the world into a stew we must, of course, stop using all this petrol, and all this cheap but very gassy coal-fired electricity. And at first both the Liberals and Labor thought we indeed wanted to do just that. That's why both went to the last election promising to bring in an emissions trading scheme, to whack up the prices of gassy things so high that we'd use something else.

Kevin Rudd's climate guru, Ross Garnaut, for instance, cheerily recommended we pay more for petrol - maybe 20 cents a litre at least - so we'd drive solar-powered shoes instead, or cars run on mung beans. But, oops. Fact is, voters now confess they're actually so mad about prices at the bowser that hang global warming: they'd rather save petrol money instead.

Shocked, the Government is now backpedalling fast, promising now not a planet-saving 20-cent-a-litre green tax (sshhh!), but a vote-saving cent-a-litre FuelWatch saving instead. And maybe even a cut in the GST on petrol. The Liberals are offering even more - a five-cents-a-litre cut in excise - and they add that they sure won't include petrol in their emissions trading scheme. Save the planet from warming? Are you crazy?

So hand the pink dots around, and I urge you all to wear them with pride. Do not be ashamed to be dotty, because global warming is a faith that even its loudest preachers seem not quite to believe. Do you think Al Gore really believes the gassy doom he predicts in An Inconvenient Truth? Then why does he use in just one of his three homes 20 times more power than the average American family uses in a year? Dot him.

Do you think golfer Greg Norman really thinks global warming is such a menace that this is why he's told staff they must fly "carbon neutral on their Qantas flights"? Then why does he offset his own air travel not by planting trees for the planet, but by asking his ex-wife to pay half his $17 million tax bill on his private jet? Dot him, too.

And do you think Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson really means it when he warns "the clock is ticking" on our warming doom? Then why did he use a private chopper this year to drop into Brisbane to chat about his latest gassy whiz - selling joyrides into space?

Come on. Who really believes this global warming faith, when it's high priests include Sir Richard Brazen? It's a creed preached by sinners to the insincere. So let the Chaser strike us all pink - such a healthy colour, after all. But first feed my ego, boys. Print me off a copy of your map



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


Thursday, June 05, 2008


Confirming what many of us have already noted from the anecdotal evidence coming in of a much cooler than normal May, such as late spring snows as far south as Arizona, extended skiing in Colorado, and delays in snow cover melting in many parts of the northern hemisphere, the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) published their satellite derived Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit data set of the Lower Troposphere for May 2008.

It is significantly colder globally, colder even than the significant drop to -0.046øC seen in January 2008. The global deltaT from April to May 2008 was -.195øC


2008 1 -0.046
2008 2 0.020
2008 3 0.094
2008 4 0.015
2008 5 -0.180

Compared to the May 2007 value of 0.199øC we find a 12 month deltaT is -.379øC.

But even more impressive is the change since the last big peak in global temperature in January 2007 at 0.594øC, giving a 16 month ?T of -0.774øC which is equal in magnitude to the generally agreed upon "global warming signal" of the last 100 years.

I'm betting that RSS (expected soon) will also be below the zero anomaly line, since it tends to agree well with UAH. HadCRUT will likely show a significant drop, I'm going to make a SWAG and say it will end up around 0.05 to -0.15øC. GISS; I'm not going to try a SWAG, as it could be anything.



Senators Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.) and John Warner (R., Va.) base their proposed Climate Security Act legislation on two fundamental premises: That there is a scientific consensus on global warming and that, even if the scientists are wrong and the global-warming risk never materializes, we will at least have aided the environment. Both premises are wrong. Not just wrong. The premises could well have it exactly backwards.

First, consider the alleged scientific consensus. Nearby you'll find the cover page from the 2006 press announcement from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body coordinating the worldwide effort to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. The cover page offers this impressive claim:


Impressive, isn't it? You may be even more impressed if you see the accompanying press materials. And you can forgive the press for being impressed, too, at the intellects assembled to establish that global warming is real and manmade. After all, 2,500 expert scientists can't be wrong.

That figure of 2,500 scientists received saturation media exposure, and then it was amplified by environmental groups, bloggers, and others. A Google search of "IPCC" and "2500" produces almost 250,000 results, the vast majority of them references to the scientific consensus. Senators Lieberman and Warner can be forgiven for believing, as the press did, in the existence of a consensus.

But what did those 2,500 scientists actually endorse? To find out, I contacted the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and asked for the names of the 2,500. I planned to canvas them to determine their precise views. The answer that came back from the Secretariat informed me that the names were not public, so I would not be able to survey them, and that the scientists were merely reviewers. The 2,500 had not endorsed the conclusions of the report and, in fact, the IPCC had not claimed that they did. Journalists had jumped to the conclusion that the scientists the IPCC had touted were endorsers and the IPCC never saw fit to correct the record.

There is no consensus of 2,500 scientist-endorsers. Moreover, many of those 2,500 reviewers turned thumbs down on the studies that they reviewed - I know this from my own interviews with them, conducted in the course of writing a book about scientists who dispute the conventional wisdom on climate change.

From my interviews, it also became clear to me that, if a consensus exists, it exists on the other side. For instance Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute, a former peer reviewer for the IPCC's work on the spread of malaria and other diseases due to warming says, "I know of no major scientist with any long record in this field who agrees with the pronouncements of the alarmists at the IPCC." Other scientists also told me that, in their particular discipline, the IPCC's position was the outlier, far from the mainstream.

"So what?" many say. "Even if there is great uncertainty about the science of climate change, what harm will come of reducing our emissions of carbon dioxide? If it turns out that global warming is a natural phenomenon, we will have gained for ourselves cleaner air and less dependence on foreign oil." As Sen. Lieberman put it in a PBS interview, "we ought to buy an insurance policy to deal with it. You know, I buy an insurance policy on my house. I don't know there's going to be a fire or a pipe is going to break, but I spend the money on it because the consequences of not having insurance are worse. And that's what we're doing here."

This view finds favor with people across the ideological spectrum. Environmentalists, public-health advocates, and planners recognize an opportunity to lower emissions while promoting lifestyle changes; security hawks seize on the prospect of energy self-sufficiency; others see an opportunity to make common cause with Europe. All justify the expense of meeting Kyoto's emissions targets as an insurance policy of sorts.

The problem is that far from being an insurance policy, Kyoto represents the single greatest threat to the global environment today and its scheme for using carbon credits and carbon offsets to reduce CO2 emissions comes with horrible human costs.

When we in the West purchase carbon offsets, typically someone, or some government, in the third world is paid for providing a "sink" for the carbon we're emitting. Often that sink will be an industrial eucalyptus plantation, planted on what had been farmland or old-growth forest. Apart from the environmental amenities lost, personal tragedies abound. The former inhabitants of that land - either peasant farmers or forest peoples - will have been evicted from their lands, generally without fair compensation. Mass evictions are also the rule with new large-scale hydro dams, which can appear to become economically feasible only because of carbon credit schemes. China's Three Gorges Dam, touted for being carbon-free, is uprooting some two million peasants and townsfolk. Nuclear power, too, is enjoying a renaissance due to carbon pricing - nuclear reactors have never been commercially viable without subsidies, and coming back now only because of a perceived carbon crisis.

The third-world suffers from Kyoto in other ways. With farm lands in the west converted to ethanol and other biofuels, world grain prices have doubled, leading to food riots in Mexico, Egypt, Indonesia, and elsewhere. While many have criticized the economic costs of Kyoto, the treaty's cruel social and environmental consequences represent far greater tragedies.

Environmentalists could once be counted on to insist that sound science be brought to bear on projects or policies that carried the potential for social harm, often through open processes called environmental assessments. In the rush to solve a carbon-dioxide problem that may not exist, many environmentalists have abandoned the science they once held dear and thrown precaution to the wind.



The Guardian, as we all know, is a particularly fine repository of intellectualized masturbation where `global warming' is concerned, full of deep desires to wash away the false consciousness of the masses, and for us all to be made to alter our evil ways. As ever, Aunty Polly is on full Guardianista message in her column today [Polly Toynbee: `Any fat goose fretting over tax can boo this lot off course', The Guardian, June 3]:

"Taxes designed to change behaviour are always unfair ... That's how it must be if you seriously want people to stop ... gas guzzling. Inequality has to be fixed in other ways, through tax redistribution, fair pay or fuel-hardship handouts. High food prices too will need more tax redistribution to protect the poor. A serious green policy would fix energy prices at a guaranteed constant high to make everyone use less and to make green technologies economically enticing for investors - and make incomes fairer."

"To make everyone" - just note that authoritarian language, and this is only one paragraph. But, for Our Polly, the Government is a failure - it is not functioning: "Governments that lose their nerve make bad decisions. Watch while Brown and his cabinet cave in to the crocodile tears of the driving lobby. If some hard-hit drivers need special help, give it to them. If people think green tax is a con then hypothecate the takings to public transport and carbon reduction. But if Labour throws overboard more of its own budget in a frenzy of tax bribes, it's all over."

The Toynbees of this world are always wanting to employ taxes to control the people's behaviour with respect to something or other, to reverse our false consciousness or to hypothecate the tax takings to their own favourite causes, while, of course, making it hurt a bit. They like that. The streak of puritanism runs deep. And, of course, in very specific circumstances, where the public also perceives benefits, targeted laws (e.g. banning the use of mobile `phones while driving), rather than punitive taxes, can work to some degree.

Nevertheless, despite twenty years of bien pensant propaganda and hysteria, the public are not on board where `global warming' is concerned, as I know personally from my many speaking engagements around the country. Fundamentally, they have too much down-to-earth common sense about the basic economics and politics involved. This was the theme picked up yesterday by David Cox, who encouragingly brings a saner voice on this issue to The Guardian [`Cooling on warming', The Guardian, June 2]:

"Remember that global warming thingy? The idea was that we're wrecking the climate by pumping out greenhouse gases, and that we've jolly well got to change our wicked ways. Virtually the entire political, academic and media establishment threw its might behind this notion. Huge quantities of hot air were pumped out in its name, and many tonnes of pollutants expelled by planes carrying concerned dignitaries to global conferences.

There was, however, a problem: people didn't seem too keen to abandon driving, flying, meat eating, patio heating or even buying tungsten light bulbs ... We're prepared to make sanctimonious gestures and attend the occasional concert of clapped-out superstars' appalling music. But we're not apparently prepared to sacrifice our welfare or our lifestyles, and we've been letting our rulers know. "

Cox thus points us in a rather different direction from the usual Guardianista obsession with authoritarian controls, punitive taxes, and slaying the dragon of false consciousness: "Perhaps, it's time to get real ... The answer is surely to switch our efforts away from trying to change human behaviour towards other approaches to the problem."

What a heresy! You mean people may, in the main, choose themselves how to live, and we might actually adopt technological solutions and adaptive processes that are little more than "... a sinful attempt to divert attention from the hairshirt remedies on which the prophets of doom have insisted."

Cox is, of course, correct. If we were wise, we should indeed be "taking proper steps to adapt to future climate change ... Yet, we're hardly even trying to develop new kinds of flood defence or drought-resistant crops. Why should we, while policy-makers assume that we're going to head-off warming by reducing our consumption of energy?" Thus Cox concludes: "It's surely time for a change of tack. Or should we just wring our hands?"

It is good to see sense creeping into The Guardian. Climate change has never been about the `science', but about economic and political choices in response to inexorable change. To say that the climate is "changing" (it always has, and it always will), and that humans have some impact on climate, are both little more than truisms, and far too much media energy has been wasted on debating them. I am bored to the teeth with the minutiae of this debate, which adds nothing to that simple truth - climate changes. Full stop. End of story.

What truly matters are our economic and political approaches to change. And herein lies the worst, and potentially the most dangerous, mistake made by Polly and her ilk. Trying to control climate change predictably is neither feasible nor economically sensible; in other words, mitigation is an economic and political dead end. It can't be done, and, politically, it won't be done. This is why Cox is sensible. It is also why the current politics of `global warming' are doomed to failure, and why poor Aunty Polly will not get her way.

The only rational approach to climate change is to maintain strong, flexible economies; to build and to plan with the `normal' extremes of climate in mind (this is done all too rarely, even now); to support research into every aspect of agronomy in order to help us to cope with all sorts and conditions of climate; to promote practical energy; to support development and trade so that the poor gain more innate resistance and flexibility in the face of change; and, as a world, to work out ways in which adaptation may work in poor countries, as well as in rich countries. The rest is sound and fury, signifying little.

This approach is above all realistic, but it also allows for freedom. It further means that we will not be caught out by foolishly assuming just one climate trend (remember the English gardeners who were told to plant drought-resistant plants and cacti, and then the country flooded).

But, and this is important, it also tells the Aunty Ps of this world where to go with their ideas of puritanical control. Sadly, `global warming' has appealed to too many authoritarian souls who simply want to employ it to promote their own agendas, from evangelical Christians to Old Marxists, and to Guardian journalists who are desperate to find something to bind the human soul.


NASA scientist says he was 'muzzled' by agency because of skeptical global warming views

If you plug the search terms "James Hansen" and "censored" into Google, you get 37,900 results. Do the same search substituting "Roy Spencer" for "James Hansen," and you get 610 results (the third of which is from Newsbusters [here and here]).

The media is highly selective about the censorship it covers. Consider the note climatologist Roy Spencer posted on his website today:

I see that we are once again having to hear how NASA's James Hansen was dissuaded from talking to the press on a few of the 1,400 media interviews he was involved in over the years. Well, I had the same pressure as a NASA employee during the Clinton-Gore years, because NASA management and the Clinton/Gore administration knew that I was skeptical that mankind's CO2 emissions were the main cause of global warming. I was even told not to give my views during congressional testimony, and so I purposely dodged a question, under oath, when it arose.

But I didn't complain about it like Hansen has. NASA is an executive branch agency and the President was, ultimately, my boss (and is, ultimately, Hansen's boss). So, because of the restrictions on what I could and couldn't do or say, I finally just resigned from NASA and went to work for the university here in Huntsville. There were no hard feelings, and I'm still active in a NASA satellite mission and fully supportive of its Earth observation programs.

In stark contrast, Jim Hansen said whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to the press and congress during that time. He even campaigned for John Kerry, and received a $250,000 award from Theresa Heinz-Kerry's charitable foundation -- two events he maintains are unrelated.

If I had done anything like this when I worked at NASA, I would have been crucified under the Hatch Act. Does anyone besides me see a double standard here?

Yes. Dr. Spencer is right about the double standard, and also right to note that government scientists have bosses who -- quite appropriately -- get to set the rules. Not NBC News, not the Washington Post, and not each individual government employee (even the ones who think they are smarter than everybody else). No, the bosses who report to, and sometimes are, directly elected by the public get to set the rules, and employees like Hansen are supposed to follow them. If they don't want to, they can quit -- as Roy Spencer did -- or even run for office themselves. (I don't recall James Hansen ever submitting his name on the ballot for public approval.)

The entire so-called "censorship" controversy is a creation of the media, Hansen himself, and a few other pro-global warming theory activists who are trying to promulgate the absurd notion notion that federal government employees, unlike any other employees anywhere, get to say whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want, while on office time. Hansen called it censorship when his employer decided to have its employees coordinate work-related media interviews through a designated office, leaving some of us to wonder how we can possibly be expected to accept the results of complicated global warming models promoted by a guy who doesn't even understand the definition of a commonplace word like "censor."

Hansen even had the chutzpah to refuse to testify before Congress in 2006 because a so-called "skeptic" scientist, the highly-credentialled and far more polite Dr. John Christy, was also invited to testify. Hansen's effort to get Christy booted from a Congressional panel's witness list doesn't quite fit the formal definition of censorship, but Hansen's intent -- to keep Christy from sharing his views -- was substantially closer to it than anything the Bush Administration has ever done to Hansen.

And speaking of ethical violations, government employee Hansen's refusal to testify to Congress was itself an ethical violation. There may not be a formal rule against it in the rulebook, but Congressmen are the people's representatives, and Hansen works for the people. When Congress wants information, Hansen should provide it. (Too bad Congress didn't subpoena him. Let him claim "censorship" while he's being chased around by U.S. marshalls for his refusal to speak.)

Dr. Spencer does valuable work at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, but Alabama's gain was NASA's loss -- the loss of a true professional that few in our blind-eyed news media even realizes, much less acknowledges


The Greenpeace Scam

Being attacked by Greenpeace should be considered a badge of honor. In May, the Heartland Institute was the subject of a Greenpeace news release that described the Chicago-based think tank as "a free-market, anti-regulation right wing think tank" funded by leading American corporations and reputable foundations.

That same month, Heartland Institute sponsored a ground-breaking conference on climate change in New York. More than 500 of the world's leading climatologists, meteorologists, economists, policy analysts, and others attended. Its keynote speaker was Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic.

Having lived under communist rule, President Klaus understood the true nature of Greenpeace and other environmental organizations. He is an outspoken critic of the global warming hoax. He, along with many others, has identified the real reason for the climate alarmism endemic to the environmental movement. Its agenda has always been to drastically reduce the human population, to attack consumption as evil, and its rabid hatred of capitalism. "The climate alarmists believe in their own omnipotence, in knowing better than millions of rationally behaving men and women what is right or wrong," says Klaus.

In the early 1990s, an encyclopedic book, "Trashing the Economy", by Ron Arnold and Alan Gottlieb, closely examined the many environmental organizations, among which was Greenpeace. It was and is quite revealing, noting that Greenpeace was founded in 1971 by a group of draft dodgers living in Vancouver, Canada. "Confrontation, civil disobedience, inflammatory lies and physical harassment are Greenpeace's methods."

Greenpeace gained fame protesting the whaling industry and went on to attack the timber industry. It gained further momentum attacking genetically modified seed stocks responsible for increasing the yield of crops that has since been recognized as preventing famines. The book called Greenpeace "the archetypal `Eco-Thug' organization that behaves as if it were above the law of all nations."

The May Greenpeace news release attacked Heartland's citation of a petition signed by "more than 500 qualified researchers whose research in professional journals provides historic and/or physical proxy evidence" that debunks the global warming hoax. Among signers of the petition attacked by Greenpeace are Dr. Fred S. Singer and Dennis Avery, two scientists with impeccable credentials, but who Greenpeace said were not climate scientists. Dr. Singer, is the former director of the National Weather Satellite Center and a renowned atmospheric scientist from George Mason University. Avery is a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute, a prolific policy analyst, and an author of a book debunking global warming.

Among the founders of Greenpeace was Peter Bahouth who is on record saying, "I don't believe in the market approach.When companies have a bottom line of profit you won't have them thinking about the environment." Capitalism is about profit and from that comes jobs, dividends for investors, research and development of new technologies, and the opportunity to improve both the individual's wealth and that of entire nations.

Another founding member, Dr. Patrick Moore, and ecologist, has long since disowned Greenpeace and the environmental movement. In an interview, Dr. Moore was asked why the movement "got it wrong?" He responded saying that, "The environmental movement abandoned science and logic somewhere in the mid-1980s, just as mainstream society was adopting all the more reasonable items on the environmental agenda."

He went on to note that, "Environmentalism was always anti-establishment," citing Greenpeace's opposition to the forestry industry, genetically modified crops, and other example of commerce and modern technology.

The big difference between Greenpeace and the Heartland Institute is that the former has never been interested in the truth, scientifically or otherwise, while the Institute has been dedicated to both the best that science has to offer and to our nation's leadership in defending capitalism against authoritarian regimes and the failed communist/socialist economic systems.

Greenpeace, a multi-million dollar operation with branches around the world, has demonstrated the capacity to manipulate public opinion, but it does so in the fashion that the entire environmental movement has adopted, the unrelenting attack on the motives and credibility of those who step up to present the truth with the belief that it is the best defense against the endless flow of lies with which the environmental movement has become identified.



The U.S. civil rights revolution of the 1950s and '60s was one of the greatest social and political liberations in history. It gave African-Americans and other minorities new opportunities and new levels of success in virtually every walk of life. But today we face unprecedented new challenges to indispensable but often neglected rights enunciated in our Declaration of Independence: "That all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

These fundamental rights are under assault in subtle, often insidious ways. Sometimes it is with the best of intentions, by good people who don't realize they are impairing other people's rights, hopes and dreams. At other times, it is by people who are willing, even determined, to sacrifice individual rights in the name of a proclaimed threat or greater common good. One critical challenge involves restrictions on access to energy and economic opportunity - and thus on liberties and rights - in the name of protecting the environment.

Energy is the master resource of modern society. It transforms constitutionally protected civil rights into rights we actually enjoy: jobs, homes, transportation, health care and other earmarks of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. With abundant, reliable, affordable energy, much is possible. Without it, hope, opportunity, progress, job creation and civil rights are hobbled.

Laws and policies that restrict access to America's abundant energy drive up the price of fuel and electricity. They cause widespread layoffs and leave workers and families struggling to survive, as the cost of everything they eat, drive, wear and do spirals higher. They roll back the progress for which civil rights revolutionaries like the Rev. Martin Luther King struggled and died.

They create unnecessary obstacles to the natural, justifiable desire of minority Americans to share in the American Dream. They prevent us from resolving conflicts through compromise and impose needless and unfair burdens on our poorest families. These regressive, energy-killing laws and policies deny minority and other poor families a seat at the energy lunch counter and send us to the back of the economic bus.

The Congress of Racial Equality and I care deeply about our environment. But we also care about having jobs, and affordable food, heat and transportation. We care about impoverished Third World families achieving their dreams. We want to know that the environmental values we cherish really are threatened the way environmental activists say they are. And we want to know that the solutions they advocate really will safeguard those values, at reasonable cost, without creating enormous new problems, like global grain shortages. Today, unfortunately, these common-sense requests are under assault by activists who want to eliminate fossil fuels, base public policies on unfounded ecological scare stories, and stifle debate by attacking anyone who challenges their assertions.

Energy reality must no longer be denied. Fully 85 percent of all the energy Americans use comes from fossil fuels. Add in nuclear and hydroelectric power, and we've reached 96 percent. Biomass (3 percent) is mostly waste from paper mills and sawmills. A mere 0.8 percent is wind and solar power. These renewable sources are not alternatives to fossil fuel use. They are supplements. Just to provide electricity to meet New York City's needs would require blanketing Connecticut with 300-foot-tall wind turbines that generate power only eight hours a day, on average. That is neither economically nor ecologically sustainable.

If we attempt to force a massive switch away from fossil fuels, we will create a Grand-Canyon-sized energy gap between what we need and energy we actually have if its production is delayed, outlawed, restricted or priced out of reach.

Geologists say America's onshore and offshore public lands could contain enough oil to run 60 million cars and heat 25 million homes for 60 years; enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years; enough coal, uranium and shale oil for centuries of power. These energy resources belong to all Americans. They are not the private property of activists who insist they never be touched, or citizens who have been bamboozled into thinking they cannot be developed without destroying ecological values.

These energy takings force Americans to pay more for energy that is artificially scarce. Their economic progress is held back. They lose the jobs that energy development would create. They lose billions of dollars in royalties and taxes. Energy saved through painstaking conservation and alternative energy efforts is offset by declining U.S. production, and America ends up importing still more foreign oil and sending more jobs overseas.

We could produce almost 20 billion gallons of gasoline annually by drilling safely and carefully in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - in an area one-twentieth the size of Washington, D.C. We could get vast quantities of oil and natural gas from the Outer Continental Shelf. But instead, politicians have locked this energy up and told us to rely on 7 billion gallons of ethanol, from corn grown on an area the size of Indiana. Food prices soar and millions starve.

Climate change is real, and has been throughout Earth's history. But there is a huge difference between acknowledging this and claiming that our use of fossil fuels is the primary cause of climate change; future changes will be catastrophic; slashing carbon dioxide emissions will stabilize our fickle climate; and we can slash emissions without impairing energy use, living standards, jobs and civil rights.

More than a dozen climate bills are pending in Congress. Hundreds more are pending at the state, county and city level. Unaccountable activists and judges say we must protect polar bears that unreliable computer models say might someday be endangered.

Every proposal requires major reductions in greenhouse gases - many of them by 80 percent below 2005 emissions, a level not seen in these United States since 1909! Every one would give activists, courts and bureaucrats control over virtually any activity that produces greenhouse gases, and every aspect of our lives. Every one would curtail energy use and economic opportunity. Not one would make a serious dent in global CO2 levels or temperatures.

Whether the blunt instrument is a carbon tax, a carbon offsets tax, a cap-and-trade tax, a carbon sequestration mandate tax, or a bloated bureaucracy tax, the effect on prices would be the same - and already stressed families would get another dose of economic arsenic. We cannot let that happen.

In this election season, every thoughtful, caring citizen in our great nation must join me in challenging the modern-day Jim Crow laws that prevent poor people from having the energy they need to achieve Dr. King's dream of civil rights, equal opportunity and true environmental justice. Together, we can make that dream come true.



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


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

U.S. Army says Sun, Not Man, Is Causing Climate Change

The Army is weighing in on the global warming debate, claiming that climate change is not man-made. Instead, Dr. Bruce West, with the Army Research Office, argues that "changes in the earth's average surface temperature are directly linked to ... the short-term statistical fluctuations in the Sun's irradiance and the longer-term solar cycles."

In an advisory to bloggers entitled "Global Warming: Fact of Fiction [sic]," an Army public affairs official promoted a conference call with West about "the causes of global warming, and how it may not be caused by the common indicates [sic] some scientists and the media are indicating."

In the March, 2008 issue of Physics Today, West, the chief scientist of the Army Research Office's mathematical and information science directorate, wrote that "the Sun's turbulent dynamics" are linked with the Earth's complex ecosystem. These connections are what is heating up the planet. "The Sun could account for as much as 69 percent of the increase in Earth's average temperature," West noted.

It's a position that puts West at odds with nearly every major scientific organization on the planet. "The American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling," Science magazine observes. So has the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, for their work on global warming.

West acknowledges that the IPCC and other scientific groups have "conclude[d] that the contribution of solar variability to global warming is negligible." He argues that these groups have done a poor job modeling the Sun's impact, however, and that's why they have "significantly over-estimated" the "anthropogenic contribution to global warming."

In recent days, the science and politics of climate change have once again taken center stage. NASA's Inspector General just issued a report, acknowledging that political appointees "reduced, marginalized or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public." Yesterday, the Senate began debating a bill that would cap carbon dioxide emissions -- considered one of the leading causes of man-made global warming.



The big day's here. Months of anticipation about a U.S. policy switch on global warming will culminate in today's Senate debate over the Lieberman-Warner bill, which would impose a cap on U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions starting in 2012. Culminate is too strong a word, since virtually no one expects Congress to pass any climate legislation this year. Still, the political theater, due to start late this afternoon, will make interesting watching - and there's no Monday Night Football tonight anyway. So here are a few things to keep in mind as the show begins:

This fight is brown vs. green, not red vs. blue. "Where you stand depends on where you sit," goes an old saw about politics. That's particularly true about the politics of energy and the environment, where allegiances are less about party affiliation and more about regional fuel supplies. So, expect coal-state senators, whether Democrat or Republican, to push to ensure that no climate bill hits their constituents too hard. And expect senators from states with cleaner electricity mixes - say, California's Barbara Boxer- to push for constraints that would benefit their natural-gas-fired hometown teams.

Everyone at the table wants a bigger slice of the pie. That this bill will affect essentially everyone in the economy is clear from its list of whom it will give handouts - federal emission "allowances." Everyone from power companies to oil companies to hybrid-truck operators to Native American tribes is inscribed in the bill as a recipient of these permits to pollute, which they can either use or sell. Each is gunning to boost his or her take.

The tradeoff: the economy or the environment? There's no free lunch. A bigger emissions cut will cost more than a smaller cut. It will raise energy prices more, it will require more-expensive technology, it will deepen concerns about U.S. economic competitiveness against developing countries, like China, that haven't committed to emission caps. There are myriad studies about how much all this will cost the economy, but fundamentally the debate here is over where to draw this line. Should the bill err on the side of giving companies carbon-price certainty, as carbon-tax proponents want, or on the side of slashing emissions hard, as environmental groups want? Complex price-control mechanisms in the Boxer amendment to the bill attempt to strike a balance. Expect big pressure to shift it.

Nothing much will happen. With gasoline prices nearing $4 a gallon as the summer driving season approaches, and with a presidential election five months away, essentially nobody expects the Senate now to actually pass climate legislation, because doing so would push up the energy prices that voters pay. This week's fight on the Hill is about establishing talking points for the election - and battle lines for the real policy fight expected in 2009 or 2010. There will be lots of atmospherics this week, but they'll probably have little effect on the atmosphere.



A year after pitting herself against the world's leaders over climate change, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed down and gone silent on key environmental policies. It seems that the one opponent she can't bear confronting is the German voter.

This is the so-called "climate chancellor?" This woman who, at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, spoke enthusiastically about the nearby air freight hub, economic growth and the transport of goods? Who suddenly seems awkward and at a loss for words when it comes time to talk about climate protection? Who has stopped offering answers on the subject and only asks questions, like: Does it make sense to subsidize electricity from renewable sources? Is it fair to expect the owners of older cars with high CO2 emissions to pay higher taxes?

This is the same "climate chancellor" who opposes a speed limit on German autobahns and wants the European Union to exempt large, German-made sedans from its emissions restrictions. In fact, Angela Merkel has even stopped talking about the German goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020. Instead, she mentions values of 20 or 30 percent.

What is happening here? This cannot possibly be the same Merkel who pressured European leaders in Brussels to agree to mandatory climate protection goals, who managed to squeeze a small concession (more...) on climate protection out of US President George W. Bush at the 2007 G-8 summit in Heiligendamm, and who was behind a decision reached at the government guesthouse in Meseberg outside Berlin to implement a comprehensive government climate protection program. Brussels, Heiligendamm and Meseberg: Three places where Merkel gained the reputation of being hell-bent on saving the world in 2007.

That was only last year, and yet it was a completely different era -- and Merkel a completely different chancellor. At the time, newly released figures on global warming were still fresh in people's minds. Nowadays, citizens are paying more attention to the drastic rise in energy prices.

More here


It now says that we should tackle climate change through research and adaptation instead of trying to transform human behaviour:

Remember that global warming thingy? The idea was that we're wrecking the climate by pumping out greenhouse gases, and that we've jolly well got to change our wicked ways. Virtually the entire political, academic and media establishment threw its might behind this notion. Huge quantities of hot air were pumped out in its name, and many tonnes of pollutants expelled by planes carrying concerned dignitaries to global conferences.

There was, however, a problem: people didn't seem too keen to abandon driving, flying, meat eating, patio heating or even buying tungsten lightbulbs. Governments were understandably wary of trying to force them. Then, hey presto! Magically, the market seemed to have solved the problem, simply by pushing up the price of fuel. Yet what's been the response of our rulers? A panicky drive to keep the carbon bonfire fuelled by digging out yet more oil and abandoning proposed taxes on emissions.

We should hardly be surprised. We live in a democracy (sort of), and those seeking to retain or attain power must take some note of the will of the people. It turns out that, although we of course care about future generations and the people of low-lying Pacific islands, most of us don't care all that much. We're prepared to make sanctimonious gestures and attend the occasional concert of clapped-out superstars' appalling music. But we're not apparently prepared to sacrifice our welfare or our lifestyles, and we've been letting our rulers know.

Our commitment to other great altruistic causes has proved similar in character. Poverty has not been made history, and the aged remain pretty much unhelped. Of course, there have always been those among us, from Roundheads and Spanish inquisitors to the Khmer Rouge and Mary Whitehouse, whose commitment to social transformation in the name of virtue has been rather more serious.

Often, as now, their programmes have depended on the co-option of an unwilling majority. Unfortunately, gulags, purges and the rack remain out of reach of our current climate puritans, though some of them seem to regret this. George Monbiot, to be sure, happily beseeches a brutal despot for assistance in this dark hour for him and his ilk.

Perhaps, it's time to get real. Climate change activists should come to appreciate what religious reformers, communist revolutionaries and other utopian visionaries have learned before them. You can't change human behaviour in the interests of the supposed greater good.

Nonetheless, warming hasn't gone away, even if its character is less clear-cut than has been suggested by those urging us to make obeisance to it. What should we do about it?

The answer is surely to switch our efforts away from trying to change human behaviour towards other approaches to the problem. The most obvious is technological research into methods of alleviating warming. Up until now, mentioning this route has been considered a sinful attempt to divert attention from the hairshirt remedies on which the prophets of doom have insisted. Perhaps partly as a result, such research is proving surprisingly skimpy.

The sun can provide us with far more energy than fossil fuels, yet efforts to crack the technological problems involved in turning the Sahara into the world's power station are less intense than you might imagine. Or, to take the opposite approach, we know that seeding the atmosphere with particles could reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth, since our own particulate pollution used to achieve just this effect. Yet little attempt is being made to find out if efforts in this direction could ever be economic.

Perhaps such ideas will prove fanciful. Since they may, we should be taking proper steps to adapt to future climate change, as well as trying to prevent it. Warming may devastate some parts of the world, but it will enhance the prospects of others. Russia and Canada would benefit by populating their currently frozen expanses with eager would-be farmers displaced from the tropics. Preparing for such transfers would be a long and delicate process. We could be starting it now. Yet, we're hardly even trying to develop new kinds of flood defence or drought-resistant crops. Why should we, while policy-makers assume that we're going to head-off warming by reducing our consumption of energy?

It's surely time for a change of tack. Or should we just wring our hands?




With average gas prices across the country approaching $4 a gallon, it may be hard to believe, but the U.S. Senate is considering legislation this week that will further drive up the cost at the pump.

The Senate is debating a global warming bill that will create the largest expansion of the federal government since FDR's New Deal, complete with a brand new, unelected bureaucracy. The Lieberman-Warner bill (America's Climate Security Act) represents the largest tax increase in U.S. history and the biggest pork bill ever contemplated with trillions of dollars in giveaways. Well-heeled lobbyists are already plotting how to divide up the federal largesse. The handouts offered by the sponsors of this bill come straight from the pockets of families and workers in the form of lost jobs, higher gas, power and heating bills, and more expensive consumer goods.

Various analyses show that Lieberman-Warner would result in higher prices at the gas pump, between 41 cents and $1 per gallon by 2030. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Lieberman-Warner would effectively raise taxes on Americans by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. The federal Energy Information Administration says the bill would result in a 9.5% drop in manufacturing output and higher energy costs.

Carbon caps will have an especially harmful impact on low-income Americans and those with fixed incomes. A recent CBO report found: "Most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households."

The poor already face energy costs as a much higher percentage of their income than wealthier Americans. While most Americans spend about 4% of their monthly budget on heating their homes or other energy needs, the poorest fifth of Americans spend 19%. A 2006 survey of Colorado homeless families with children found that high energy bills were cited as one of the two main reasons they became homeless.

Lieberman-Warner will also hinder U.S. competitiveness, transferring American jobs overseas to places where environmental regulations are much more lenient. Instead of working to eliminate trade barriers on clean energy and lower emitting technologies, the bill imposes a "green," tariff-style tax on imported goods. This could provoke international retaliatory actions by our trade partners, threatening our own export markets and further driving up the costs of consumer goods.

My colleague, Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio), warned last week that Lieberman-Warner "could result in the most massive bureaucratic intrusion into the lives of Americans since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service." Mandating burdensome new layers of federal bureaucracy is not the solution to America's energy challenges.

This bill is ultimately about certainty. We are certain of the huge negative impact on the economy as detailed by numerous government and private analyses. We are certain of the massive expansion of the federal bureaucracy.

And we are certain the bill will not have a detectable impact on the climate. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's own analysis, by 2050 Lieberman-Warner would only lower global CO2 concentrations by less than 1.4% without additional international action. In fact, this bill, often touted as an "insurance policy" against global warming, is instead all economic pain for no climate gain.

Why are many in Washington proposing a bill that will do so much economic harm? The answer is simple. The American people are being asked to pay significantly more for energy merely so some lawmakers in Washington can say they did something about global warming.

I have been battling global warming alarmism since 2003, when I became chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. It has been a lonely battle at times, but it now appears that many of my colleagues are waking up to the reality of cap-and-trade legislation.

The better way forward is an energy policy that emphasizes technology and includes developing nations such as China and India. Tomorrow's energy mix must include more natural gas, wind and geothermal, but it must also include oil, coal and nuclear power, which is the world's largest source of emission-free energy. Developing and expanding domestic energy sources will translate into energy security and ensure stable supplies and well-paying jobs for Americans.

Let me end with a challenge to my colleagues. Will you dare stand on the Senate floor in these uncertain economic times and vote in favor of significantly increasing the price of gas at the pump, losing millions of American jobs, creating a huge new bureaucracy and raising taxes by record amounts? The American people deserve and expect a full debate on this legislation.



A professor and author at the University of Kent has labelled Gordon Mursell, the Bishop of Stafford, as a 'modern-day demonologist': Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at Kent and author of 'Invitation to Terror', criticises the Bishop of Stafford for comparing climate change sceptics to Josef Fritzl

Gordon Mursell, the Bishop of Stafford in England, is a man of the cloth. He is also a member of a posse of disoriented clerics, who have become so estranged from morally literate theology that they have embraced a new brand of demonology. At a time when moralisers cannot give any real meaning to classical ideas about right and wrong, they try instead to make people feel guilty about their impact on the environment. So instead of targeting those traditional demons - Satan, say, or witchcraft - Gordon Mursell attacks climate change deniers.

In a parish newsletter, the bishop said that people who refuse to join the fight against global warming are like Josef Fritzl, the insane criminal in Austria who locked his daughter and her children in a cellar for 24 years. For Mursell, being sceptical about the conventional wisdom on climate change is akin to the monstrous crime committed by Fritzl. He says: `You could argue that, by our refusal to face the truth about climate change, we are as guilty as he is.'

Mursell has not called for climate change deniers to be burned at the stake - yet. But the idea that they should be punished is implicit in his message. For some time now, religious and moral entrepreneurs have been searching zealously for demons. Some have argued that AIDS is God's way of punishing immoral sexual behaviour. Big catastrophes such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina have been portrayed as retribution for people's degenerate and sinful behaviour. One Christian writer described Katrina as `the fist of God'.

However, these religious-tinged fantasies tend not to resonate with the public imagination. In contrast, focusing on the current anxieties about the future of the planet seems to be a far more fruitful way of rediscovering Satan. And the linking of the crime of child abuse with scepticism about today's received green wisdom exemplifies the new demonology.

How demonologists work

Demonologists are moral entrepreneurs. They turn the problems faced by our communities into moral threats. One of the most striking illustrations of such demonology was the plague that is frequently referred to as the Black Death. The transformation of a fast-spreading disease into an epidemic of evil continues to excite people's imagination and fears today. According to one study, it was `only after Europeans had experienced this epidemic' that `they were ready to accept witchcraft as a real threat' (1). The moralisation of what is referred to as the `AIDS epidemic' shows that modern plagues are still used to convey a culturally meaningful message about `evil'.

Demonologists are intensely hostile to anyone who questions the way they interpret and talk about threats. As moral entrepreneurs, they regard their opponents, not only as irresponsible, but also as potentially evil. From this standpoint, dissidence comes to be seen as an act of moral subversion. The moralising of hazards serves to shut down discussion. At the very least, anyone who questions claims about the alleged gravity of a threat facing mankind is depicted as the stooge or accomplice of a malevolent agenda.

The act of raising questions about a `warning' is now discussed as an insidious deed of denial. Increasingly, questioning things is seen as the moral equivalent of Holocaust Denial. In recent years, people who have questioned the warnings about climate change have been labelled `deniers'. The allusion to Holocaust Denial is clear. The implication of this moral condemnation of questioners - the denouncement of critics as `deniers' - is that disbelief itself is a sign of moral bankruptcy.

Believing in a statement of warning is considered to be morally principled; disbelieving the statement, or even just questioning it, is stigmatised as morally corrupt. This transformation of disbelief into a sin was also widespread during the witch-hunts that plagued Europe in earlier centuries. In the era of the witch-hunt, anyone who questioned the existence of demonic forces could be denounced as an `associate of Satan'. Such was the power and influence of demonologists that few were prepared to question the existence of witchcraft.

In the 1980s and 90s, American crusaders against Satanic Ritual Abuse adopted a similar approach. A report published by the California Social Services Committee on Child Abuse Prevention described the widespread `denial of the problem of ritualistic abuse' as one of the main barriers to tackling it. Campaigners frequently argued that such denial was the moral equivalent of the depraved act of abuse itself (2). If you questioned the idea that Satanic Ritual Abuse was a real existing threat, you could be charged with complicity in the crimes of child molestation.

The dogmatic demand to `believe' has become a kind of moral imperative. Moral entrepreneurs argue that victims have a `right to be believed'. So crusaders against Satanic Ritual Abuse attempt to disarm sceptics by insisting that the worst thing that can happen to victims of abuse is not to be believed. Patrick Casement, author of Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse, tries to guilt-trip sceptics:

`It may be that some accounts which are reputed to be of "satanic" abuse are delusional, and the narrators may indeed be psychotic in some cases. But we must still face the awful fact that if some of these accounts are true, if we do not have the courage to see the truth that may be there. we may tacitly be allowing these practices to continue under the cover of secrecy, supported also by the almost universal refusal to believe that they could exist.' (3)

In other words, those who refuse to believe accusations of Satanic Ritual Abuse are themselves complicit in the act of victimisation. During the outbreak of the satanic abuse panic in Britain in the 1980s and 90s, zealous witch-hunters claimed that an `insidious and dangerous' disease was sweeping the country: that is, incredulity about the existence of ritual abuse. According to one account, `this contagion takes the comforting form of sceptical and rational inquiry, and its message is comforting, too: it is designed to protect "innocent family life" against a new urban myth of the satanic abuse of children.' (4)

Shutting down debate

Through vilifying their opponents, demonologists attempt to close down discussion and debate. Such intolerance towards alternative and dissident opinions betrays the powerful anti-democratic impulse underpinning contemporary demonology, best expressed most recently by the Bishop of Stafford.

This censorious attitude has all the worst features of religious zealotary, and it is strikingly similar to traditional demonology. Demonologists in pre-modern times argued that scepticism about witchcraft was a form of heresy that had to be punished. The Malleus Maleficarum, one of the most influential manuals for witch-hunters, noted that `the question arises whether people who hold that witches do not exist are to be regarded as notorious heretics, or whether they are to be regarded as gravely suspect of holding heretical opinions'. It then says: `The first opinion is the correct one' (5). This depiction of scepticism as a form of moral transgression is still around today.

Scepticism towards the received wisdom on global warming, or public health issues such as AIDS, is described as `denial' - and today, `denial' has been transformed into a generic evil. The denial phenomenon has become a kind of free-floating blasphemy, which can attach itself to a variety of issues and problems. One environmentalist writer argues that the `language of "climate change", "global warming", "human impacts" and "adaptation" are themselves a form of denial familiar from other forms of human rights abuse' (6).

The charge of denial has become a secular form of blasphemy. Recently, a book written by someone who is sceptical of today's prevailing environmentalist wisdom was dismissed with the following words: `The text employs the strategy of those who, for example, argue that gay men aren't dying of AIDS, that Jews weren't singled out by the Nazis for extermination, and so on.' (7) This forced association of three highly charged issues - pollution, AIDS and the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews - shows how denial has become an all-purpose form of blasphemy.

Once denial has been stigmatised, there are demands for it to be censored. Consider the current attempts to stifle anyone who questions the predictions of catastrophic climate change. Some advocate a policy of zero tolerance towards climate change deniers. `I have very limited patience with those who deny human responsibility for upper-atmosphere pollution and ozone depletion', says one moral crusader, then declaring: `There is no intellectual difference between the Lomborgians [those who adhere to the arguments of the `skeptical environmentalist', Bjorn Lomborg] who steadfastly refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence of human-caused global warming from scientists of unquestioned reputation, and the neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers.' (8)

Increasingly, the heretic is condemned because he has dared to question an authority that must never be questioned. Here, `overwhelming evidence' serves as the equivalent of revealed religious truth, and those who question `scientists of unquestioned reputation' - that is, the new priestly caste - are guilty of blasphemy.

Heresy-hunters who charge their opponents with `ecological denial' also warn that the `time for reason and reasonableness is running short' (9). Crusaders against denial don't only wish to silence their opponents. In the true tradition of heresy-hunting they also want to inflict punishment on those who deny the true faith. David Roberts, a journalist for the online magazine Grist, would like to see global warming deniers prosecuted like Nazi war criminals. In a vitriolic tone characteristic of dogmatic inquisitors, he argued: `We should have war crimes trials for these bastards. some sort of climate Nuremberg.' (10) At the very least, it seems, these `criminals' should be castigated as the moral equivalents of Josef Fritzl.

Thankfully, a demonologist like the Bishop of Strafford lacks the power to impose the kind of punishments that were dished out by earlier generations of heresy-hunters. But if it is not challenged, his denunciation of `deniers' will contribute to the consolidation of a censorious mood and climate of anxiety. History shows that crusades against heretics and demons have a nasty habit of disorienting society, and undermining civilised and humanist behaviour.



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


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

President Klaus of the Czech Republic

Below is a translation of the foreword to the Dutch edition of Vaclav Klaus's new book on the environment: "Blue Planet in Green Shackles". Foreword by Hans Labohm, one of the expert reviewers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

This is a unique booklet. The author belongs to the most outstanding and important politicians of his country and, more generally, of Central and Eastern Europe as a whole. After the demise of communism, he played a remarkable role in the transformation process and modernisation of his country (which subsequently was peacefully divided into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic). He was minister of finance, prime minister, chairman of parliament and head of state.

But more importantly in the framework of this booklet, he is - as far as I know - one of the rare prominent politicians, who has an intimate knowledge of environmental and climate issues, and does not blindly follow the alarmist views, represented by various national and international institutions, such as the UN and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As such he is often regarded as a dissident in the international environment and climate debate and one of the most important opponents of Al Gore.

Vaclav Klaus approaches today's environmentalism from a totally different perspective. As someone who spent a great deal of his life under communism, he is hypersensitive to any measure which encroaches upon human freedom. In his view, at the beginning of the 21st century, communism or one of its weaker variants, does not constitute the greatest threat to freedom, democracy and the free market system any more. No, this threat has been substituted by that of militant environmentalism. It is an ideology which preaches the primacy of nature and the earth.

Like the gospel of erstwhile Marxism, it aims at the suppression of the spontaneous evolution of mankind and wants to replace it by some sort of worldwide central planning of society. Klaus is convinced that, paradoxically, this will be damaging to nature and the earth, just like the introduction of Marxism has resulted in the exploitation, not only of workers, but of the population as a whole.

At the climate summit in New York, in September 2007, Vaclav Klaus was the only speaker who voiced doubts about the man-made global warming hypothesis (the hypothesis - because it is not more than that - that mankind has a substantial impact on global warming and that this will have disastrous consequences). Indeed, most experts agree that there has been some warming over the past 150 years, but this warming is very modest and almost insignificant for mankind. Moreover, this warming lies within the limits of natural variability.

As has been observed, the idea that mankind has a important impact on climate is a hypothesis. This hypothesis, however, is in many ways contradicted by facts, observations and measurements. Yet, counter indications have been systematically ignored in official reports. Vaclav Klaus always emphasises that he, as an economist, does not pretend to possess any scientific expertise when participating the in the climate debate.

This modesty is commendable. Yet, the question arises whether he does not detract from his own merits. After all, from the point of view of methodology there are similarities between climatology and economics. Both disciplines use computer models. From a previous life as an active economist, Vaclav Klaus possesses an intimate knowledge of their possibilities and limits. Although the use of models is useful, yes indispensable to explore complex systems, one should be aware of the fact the they do not offer a reliable basis for predictions. Both climatologists and economists simply know too little of the factors which are influencing the systems which they investigate.

Klaus does not oppose policies which aim at careful husbandry of the environment. On the contrary. He shares that attitude with other critics of environmentalism and climate sceptics. But he resists absolutism and fundamentalism, which are so rampant in this field and which completely ignore the costs and benefits of the various policies which have been implemented or are still in the pipeline.

Klaus is particularly concerned about the way environmental issues are being exploited by some political and interest groups for a frontal attack on the basic tenets of a free society. It has become increasingly clear that the current climate debate is not a controversy about the environment, but about human freedom.

Dogmatic environmentalists will most probably not be inclined to adjust their views in the light of the arguments advanced by Vaclav Klaus in this booklet. But for those who do not pretend to be omniscient and who - like Klaus - are in favour of a healthy environment, but who, in addition, also attach importance to other values and priorities, his analysis of fundamental issues, which so far have not or hardly have been addressed in the debate, constitutes a fresh intellectual shower, if not an eye-opener.

Global Warming: 'This myth, this hoax, this fraud'

Will the news that 31,000 scientists signed a petition rejecting the catastrophic, man-made global warming threat change the political and cultural dynamic in this country on this phantom problem? I hope so, but I sincerely doubt it.

This myth, this hoax, this fraud is being taught to children in public schools throughout America as if it were established fact. This myth, this hoax, this fraud is being spoon-fed to Americans by the millions in newspaper articles and TV-news scare stories every day. This myth, this hoax, this fraud is manipulating people around the world in movies and TV programming. This myth, this hoax, this fraud is being rammed down the throats of college students in science classes -- and courses that have no connection to science or politics whatsoever. And this myth, this hoax, this fraud is perpetuated by all three major presidential candidates as fact, giving common-sense Americans no choice to reject Draconian, lifestyle-altering policy prescriptions that will strip us of our freedoms and our wealth.

I hate to throw a wet blanket on the occasion of this good news (that tens of thousands of scientists actively and publicly are rejecting the hoax, the myth and the fraud), but the hour is late. One of the greatest lies ever perpetrated on free people in the history of the world already is accepted in far too many quarters as truth, as reality.

Nevertheless, we must never stop speaking out. And I applaud Art Robinson's dogged determination to get the truth out. He is an example of a real scientist -- one who is not bought off by government grants awarded for the "right kind of research."

Yet it is so distressing that the two remaining contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, as well as Republican John McCain, buy this malarkey hook, line, and sinker. There may not be a scientific consensus about global warming, but by default, there is, tragically, a political consensus. Like so many other political issues of the day, it appears the people will be denied any opportunity to voice their opinions and weigh in on the policies already being drafted "to combat global warming" -- global warming that doesn't exist!

Actually, though, there is a way for you to sound off on the policies espoused by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain: Don't vote for any of them. Reject them all! And be vocal about why you are doing so. If ever there were an election that demanded a vote for "none of the above," the 2008 presidential election is it. When the politicians don't give you a choice, don't give them your vote. It's that simple.

Global warming is not just a trivial side issue. It is clearly part of a concerted effort to steal your freedom and dispossess you of your property and to empower government to do whatever is necessary "to save the planet."

The scientific verdict is in. Man-made carbon dioxide is not heating up the planet. Furthermore, there is nothing man can do to change the climate on a global scale -- for good or bad. We are far too insignificant to make that kind of impact, even if we tried. So send them packing -- not only the presidential candidates but also the congressional candidates who buy into this con job. Don't subject your children to the indoctrination. Don't support the propaganda efforts in the media -- whether they come in the form of entertainment or "news." It's time to fight back on all fronts.


Two comments on the above from correspondents


Speaking of a political rather than scientific consensus, my local radio station has taken to calling carbon dioxide "global warming pollution." For after all, hasn't our Supreme Court recently decided as much? This is but one sign that, while our society imagines itself progressing toward greater freedom of thought, in reality it is rapidly succumbing to authoritarian indoctrination. Even judges now feel empowered to rule on such matters - and we permit them. Any authority will do.

But there, I'm afraid, lies the intersection between science and politics, a consensus by default. If I were to call my radio station to protest that carbon dioxide hasn't caused global warming, a reportedly unprecedented increase of nearly 40% having proved that by now, I'd find myself quite alone. The evidence is on my side - no effect, theory dead - and science is supposed to adhere to the evidence, yet what scientist would support my blanket assertion? No, I'd be told, human emissions are affecting the planet's climate; we just don't know how much. It reminds me of Bernard Goldberg's book title, "Crazies to the Left of me, Wimps to the Right."

The man in the street, people like Farrah, will catch up to "the basic science" being wrong sooner than any authorities, scientists included. But in the meantime - and long thereafter because of the inevitable anti-scientist backlash - we're all screwed.


So how does one go about explaining it to children? Here is how I explained it, to a group of 12-14 year old children at a nearby school a few weeks ago:

That Al Gore "science" about global warming? Well, gang, that stuff isn't really "science" I am sorry to say - because they didn't look at the facts, when they jumped to a bunch of conclusions. That's what science does - look at facts, to find out what is consistent with more facts, facts that might be ideas right now, that no one necessarily knows for sure if they are true, yet.

For some years, the atmosphere appeared to become warmer, in some regions of the globe (and not all the Earth, for sure). That was, maybe from years 1970-1990, or there abouts. People observed that - and they also observed that there was more carbon dioxide in the air over these years - which can come from burning gas and coal and oil (among anything else that grows) - and they connected the two ideas.

Unfortunately, the same people made a mistake: not only are the two ideas not connected, most of the carbon dioxide in the air didn't even come from people burning fuel. It came from the ocean, and it had already been there a long time before people lived in cities, for sure. So it was just one observation, and another observation, and errors were made when they connected the observations.

They simply made a mistake, but it is difficult for people to admit their mistakes, especially when they have already advised people, how to correct something. All I can say is - don't be like that, and you have my word, don't believe anybody who tells you, I have told you something that isn't right


In any discussion of carbon taxes, no matter what their form, it is important to keep the core economic theory in focus. The basic idea, advanced by early 20th-century economist Arthur C. Pigou, is that if a society wants to reduce the use of something that's undesirable, the best way to do that is to have the government tax it. Pigou is the magician behind the great global pressure from economists and politicians -- from Stephane Dion to Stephen Harper, from John McCain to Nicholas Sarkozy --for taxes on carbon emissions.

The theory is simple enough, and intuitively appealing. In the Pigouvian world, if you raise the price of carbon, the laws of supply and demand will kick in and carbon use--from burning coal, oil, gas, wood-- will fall. As carbon use falls, the threat of man-made global warming will be reduced, maybe even eliminated. Beautifully simple. Who could not like such a clean solution to a messy problem?

Unfortunately, little of what Pigou said on the subject of Pigouvian taxes is of any use to policy makers. How high should the tax be? How do you set targets for measuring effectiveness? What do you do about the side effects of the taxes? What do you do with the tax revenue?

Pigou is silent on all of this, but these are the important carbon tax questions. It ultimately matters not whether governments try to tax carbon directly, right down at the gasoline pump as planned in British Columbia, or whether they try complex "cap-and-trade" schemes that seem to tax big corporate polluters and let the rest of us get off with little direct burden.

Never mind, also, whether a climate change catastrophe looms between now and 2080 or 2120 or 2180 or whenever. The science, a quagmire of uncertainty, is irrelevant to the economics of carbon taxes.

* So lets look briefly at our main questions. How high should the tax be?

With oil at $130 a barrel, we already have in place the equivalent of a carbon tax of about $300 a tonne. The impact of that price increase is rattling through the economy, transferring massive amounts of wealth from consumers to energy producers. But if this new oil price were to persist, would it cut oil-based carbon emissions to the levels we supposedly need to save the planet? Nobody knows, but it's not likely. The B. C. carbon tax, set to reach $30 for each tonne of carbon, will obviously do even less to curb carbon emissions.

The point is that nobody knows how high the carbon tax would have to go to reduce emissions. It's a central planning problem. The policies being talked about now are really just exercises in experimental economics, pushed by speculative science.

* What are the carbon emissions targets? No carbon tax regime sets explicit emissions targets. The B. C. government said it would produce estimates of how much carbon emissions would fall as a result of its taxes, but no numbers have been produced so far. In fact, any carbon tax, no matter what its design, would be based on guesswork. They have no clue.

* What are the side effects of carbon taxes? Unpredictable, but undoubtedly dramatic. Economists' models are no help. Politics will shape the tax, applying it here and there as dictated by planners and the usual political pressures. Industry groups will fight for preferences, provinces and states will battle to protect their local economies, international trade will be at risk, developing countries will gain advantages. Carbon taxes, especially cap-and-trade systems, essentially require a total reordering of economic calculation around carbon atoms instead of money.

* What do states do with all the new tax revenue? This is the second part of the central planning nightmare. Local, provincial and national governments will begin massive planning efforts and plot new interventions to deploy the new tax revenues. They will claim to be "shifting" the revenue back to taxpayers through cuts in income and other taxes. They will want to use the new revenue to subsidize other non-carbon industries, and offset the burden of the carbon tax on injured industries.

That's consistent with Pigou's theory, which worked both ways. Not only should government tax to reduce the use of bad things, he thought government should subsidize good things, part of his belief that government should help distribute resources "in the most efficient way." His objective, he said, was to make it "feasible for governments to control the play of economic forces ? to promote the economic welfare, and through that, the total welfare, of their citizens as a whole."

So carbon tax programs are an experiment --although one that has already been tried. It imposes central planning on an economy based on carbon emissions rather than economic growth and welfare. It didn't work for the economy, it won't work for carbon.



A protest from the plain-spoken North of England

SO-CALLED "green" taxes are a con. They have absolutely nothing to do with saving the planet, or changing people's behaviour. It is all about raising revenue. Governments around the world have realised that environmentalism gives them an easy way of squeezing yet more tax out of hard-working people. And if you object, you are supposed to feel guilty about drowning polar bears.

"Green" taxes also impact most heavily on the poor. This isn't an accident, it is a deliberate policy. Take, for example, motoring. The only way of reducing the numbers of cars is by forcing the less-affluent off the roads. This is what increases in fuel duty and car tax are partly designed to achieve. Of course, some people will simply give up driving, but for many, they have little choice - particularly those with large families, or who live in a rural area, or who need a car to get to work.

Tough, say the environmentalists, pay up and stop moaning. Think of the polar bears.

Same with air travel. The green agenda is to stop the less-affluent from flying by making it so expensive that only the rich can afford it. But it won't stop Al Gore jetting around the globe lecturing us lesser mortals about the evils of flying.

A perfect example of this "green" tax con is the 200 pounds increase in car tax on so-called "gas guzzlers" due to be introduced next year. It will be imposed not just on high-performance cars and vast 4x4s, but on ordinary family vehicles, too. It is also retrospective, so if you bought a car seven years ago and can't afford to change it, you'll be hit by an enormous tax rise. As I said, it is nothing to do with changing your behaviour. It is all about making you pay more tax.

Richer people won't be put off driving by a few extra pence on fuel duty. Prince Charles won't be giving up the Aston Martin any time soon, and don't expect to see well-heeled eco warriors such as Jonathon Porritt or Lord Melchett shivering at the bus stop at six on a winter's morning.

Last year, a study by the Taxpayers' Alliance found that "green" taxes raised 21.9bn pounds in 2005 (the figure will be much higher today), but the social cost of carbon emissions was estimated at just 11.7bn. The difference - a whopping 10bn a year - was simply pocketed by the Chancellor. Not a penny of it went to the polar bears. Green issues are just an excuse to tax us more. They are not trying to save the planet - they just want to pick your pocket.



When the Senate takes up landmark climate legislation this week, its backers can be sure of just one thing: The obstacles they face show how hard it will be to enact a meaningful cap on greenhouse gases -- probably under the next administration.

The next administration, not this one, because even supporters of the complex, extensively negotiated 494-page bill say that there is little chance that it will win Senate approval, less chance that the House will agree on a similar measure and perhaps no chance that President Bush will sign it if it reaches his desk.

"In some ways, this is a dress rehearsal for next year, but I still think it will be a useful thing for the Senate and Congress, because at some point we have to deal with it," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), who says he has yet to decide how he will vote.

For the moment, supporters of establishing a federal cap-and-trade system to curb emissions linked to global warming say they hope to put down a marker in the national debate over climate change. And lawmakers from both parties are eyeing how their votes might become fodder in this fall's presidential and senatorial elections.

The bill -- which would require that U.S. emissions be cut 18 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and nearly 70 percent by mid-century -- has picked up support in recent weeks from 13 unions in the AFL-CIO's building and construction trades department, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and many faith groups. It is also backed by companies such as General Electric and Alcoa and utilities such as Exelon, PG&E, FPL Group and Public Service Enterprise Group.

But it has run into opposition from some energy titans who say they favor a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions but argue that this version is the wrong one and will cost consumers too much.

"This is just a money grab," said James E. Rogers, the chief executive of Duke Energy. Rogers says he supports a cap-and-trade system but argues that this bill raises too much revenue from coal users while diverting too much of it to other purposes. "Only the mafia could create an organization that would skim money off the top the way this legislation would skim money off the top," he said. Duke, with customers in Ohio, Indiana and the Carolinas, relies heavily on coal-fired plants.

More than a dozen key senators -- including freshmen Democrats Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) -- have yet to endorse the bill. And Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who supports the bill, is staying neutral rather than pushing recalcitrant members of his caucus to back it.

"Generally, I believe that global warming is a serious issue and that we need to address it," said Dorgan, whose state produces lignite coal as well as wind power. But he added that he is still "digesting" the complicated bill, which he fears would not do enough to spur technology that would enable the country to continue burning coal.

"We thought and hoped we'd be in a more serious place, but most people are using it as an opportunity to vet ideas and advance ideas for the debate to come in the next Congress," said Tim Profeta, who directs Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. "Not many people see this as a serious piece of legislation that will become law this year."

More here


Comment from the "Financial Times". Good to see a mainstream outlet getting it

The science of climate change is increasingly confronted by profound disagreements and re-adjustments. The rise in temperatures that occurred during much of the 1980s and 1990s appears to have stalled for much of the past 10 years.

Meanwhile, global carbon dioxide emissions have been accelerating considerably. Greenhouse gas emissions increased on average 3 per cent a year from 2000 to 2005, compared with a growth rate of 1 per cent a year on average during the 1990s. Yet global temperatures failed to rise as a result of accelerating emissions.

A study published last month in the scientific journal Nature even predicted a slight cooling trend of up to 10 years as a result of shifting ocean currents. The report's publication triggered widespread confusion among climate modellers. After all, the climate models published only last year by the IPCC foretold a significant and relentless warming trend as a result of increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. None predicted that global warming would be arrested for a decade.

Even though it is likely that moderate warming will recommence, nobody knows for sure when this might occur. Unless there is a dramatic speeding of global temperature rise, climate science will be increasingly relegated to the margins of policymaking and economic considerations will become the dominant factor in the decision-making processes.

Conversely, as long as temperatures remain flat (or fall), politicians and the general public will become more sceptical. As a result, policymakers are likely to regard costly climate policies as a political liability and an economic risk that should be evaded as much as possible at both a national and international level.

It seems increasingly doubtful that a new, Kyoto-style climate treaty will be agreed at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen next year. The current cessation of global warming and the prospect of more years of stagnation will provide legislators with a respite for a sober reconsideration of cost-effective climate policies. What remains uncertain, however, is how long the slowdown will last and what will happen once temperatures start to rise again.



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


Monday, June 02, 2008

U.N. talks halt plans for ocean fertilization

Something that might reduce atmospheric CO2 and thus remove any reason for people to turn their lives upside down cannot be allowed of course

Reuters reports:
"Nearly 200 countries agreed on Friday to a moratorium on projects to fight climate change by adding nutrients to the seas to spur growth of carbon-absorbing algae. The surprise deal followed 12 days of haggling at the U.N.'s Convention on Biological Diversity conference where Australia, Brazil and China had opposed until the last minute, halting the controversial plans for "ocean fertilization".

History tells us many things, and we are sure if this idea had gone ahead to try and reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere by adding chemicals into the ocean, history again would have taught us something to learn from.

For those of you who were not aware of this absurdity and at what lengths the "Man Made Climate Change" industry are proposing to go to achieve there ultimate goal, we can assure you, "you aint seen nothing yet". They will not stop at nothing in this pursuit of madness called "Man Made Climate Change".

This pursuit of madness is on the basis that an increase in CO2 changes the Earth's Temperature, this meddling to offset the effects of the Sun is from now on referred to hereafter as nothing more and nothing less then 'Climate Alchemy'

The IPCC and Al Gore media and publicity machine, the machine that puts fear and anxiety into people, are now referred to hereafter as nothing more and nothing less then CLIMATE ALCHEMISTS.. Their obsession with CO2 mirrors that of the Alchemists, they wish to believe that the properties of CO2 can make changes to our climate in the same way Alchemists believed they could turn Coal into Gold.


More on Warmists as Climate Alchemists

An email from Hans Schreuder

Warmism is pseudo-science in the name of science. Yet these pseudo-scientists call skeptics by the same name.

Skeptics are also called flat-earthers, yet it is the climate alchemists themselves who invest unwavering faith in the computers that draw projections on a flat earth. A flat earth with no night time; a flat earth with no North or South Pole, a two-dimensional disk receiving exactly the same solar energy over every inch of its vast flat surface. These models, just like those who both invent them and adjust their computing accordingly, cannot juggle anything more than a single flat plate. So who are the pseudo-scientists? The flat-earth modelers or the round-earth realists?

Not even skeptics will admit that the current hypothesis on how the earth acquires its temperature is physically untenable, nor that official explanations of radiative forcing are scientifically incoherent. Instead, they go along and attempt to calculate how many IPCC fairies can dance on a pinhead, proceeding on the shared premise that such entities exist in the first place. Aren't we all pseudo-scientists then?

Until such time as we fully grasp the complexity of our atmosphere and its interaction with the sun and earth, scientists should stop pronouncing so assuredly about our climate. And bureaucrats across the world would do well to stop their head-long rush into regulating carbon consumption and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon dioxide is a vital gas of life and carbon is the very basis of our existence - yet collectively we understand almost nothing about either. As scientists, true scientists, we must come to terms with our ignorance, or else, as of right now, cure cancer, create life and build fusion reactors, as well as predict with 100% accuracy what tomorrow's weather will bring.

The spotless sun

You probably haven't heard much of Solar Cycle 24, the current cycle that our sun has entered, and I hope you don't. If Solar Cycle 24 becomes a household term, your lifestyle could be taking a dramatic turn for the worse. That of your children and their children could fare worse still, say some scientists, because Solar Cycle 24 could mark a time of profound long-term change in the climate. As put by geophysicist Philip Chapman, a former NASA astronaut-scientist and former president of the National Space Society, "It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age."

The sun, of late, is remarkably free of eruptions: It has lost its spots. By this point in the solar cycle, sunspots would ordinarily have been present in goodly numbers. Today's spotlessness - what alarms Dr. Chapman and others - may be an anomaly of some kind, and the sun may soon revert to form. But if it doesn't - and with each passing day, the speculation in the scientific community grows that it will not - we could be entering a new epoch that few would welcome.

Sunspots have been well documented throughout human history, starting in the fourth century BC, with written descriptions by Gan De, a Chinese astronomer. In 1128, an English monk, John of Worcester, was the first person known to have drawn sunspots, and after the telescope's arrival in the early 1600s, observations and drawings became commonplace, including by such luminaries as Galileo Galilei. Then, to the astonishment of astronomers, they saw the sunspots diminish and die out altogether.

This was the case during the Little Ice Age, a period starting in the 15th or 16th century and lasting centuries, says NASA's Goddard Space Centre, which links the absence of sunspots to the cold that then descended on Earth. During the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, a time known as the Maunder Minimum (named after English astronomer Edward Maunder), astronomers saw only about 50 sunspots over a 30-year period, less than one half of 1% of the sunspots that would normally have been expected. Other Minimums - times of low sunspot activity - also corresponded to times of unusual cold.

The consequences of the Little Ice Age, because they occurred in relatively recent times, have come down to us through literature and the arts as well as from historians and scientists, government and business records. When Shakespeare wrote of "lawn as white as driven snow," he had first-hand experience - Europe was bitterly cold in his day, a sharp contrast to the very warm weather that preceded his birth. During the Little Ice Age, the River Thames froze over, the Dutch developed the ice skate and the great artists of the day learned to love a new genre: the winter landscape.

In what had been a warm Europe , adaptations were not all happy: Growing seasons in England and Continental Europe generally became short and unreliable, which led to shortages and famine. These hardships were nothing compared to the more northerly countries: Glaciers advanced rapidly in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and North America, making vast tracts of land uninhabitable. The Arctic pack ice extended so far south that several reports describe Eskimos landing their kayaks in Scotland. Finland's population fell by one-third, Iceland's by half, the Viking colonies in Greenland were abandoned altogether, as were many Inuit communities. The cold in North America spread so far south that, in the winter of 1780, New York Harbor froze, enabling people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island.

In the same way that the Earth shivered when sunspots disappeared, the Earth warmed when sunspot activity became pronounced. The warm period about 1000 years ago known as the Medieval Warm Period - a time of bounty in which grapes grew in England and Greenland was colonized - also was a time of high sunspot activity, called the Medieval Maximum. Since 1900, Earth has experienced what astronomers call "the Modern Maximum" - the 20th century has again been a time of high sunspot activity.

But the 1900s are gone, along with the high temperatures that accompanied them. The last 10 years have seen no increase in temperatures - they reached a plateau and then remained there - and the last year saw a precipitous decline. How much lower and for how long the temperatures will fall, if at all, no one yet knows - the science is far from settled on what drives climate.

But many are watching the sun for answers, and for good reason. Several renowned scientists have been predicting for some time that the world could enter a period of cooling right around now, with consequences that could be dire. "The next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do," believes Dr. Chapman. "There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the U.S. and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it."

We are now at the beginning of Solar Cycle 24, so named because it is the 24th consecutive cycle that astronomers have listed, starting with the first cycle that began in March, 1755, and ended in June, 1766. Each cycle lasts an average of approximately 11 years; each is marked by sunspots that first erupt in the mid latitudes of the sun, and then, over the course of the 11 years, erupt progressively toward the sun's equator; each is marked by a change in the polarity of the sun's hemispheres; each changes the temperature on Earth in ways that humans don't fully understand, but cannot in all honesty deny.


Comment from a correspondent

What is the actual mechanism behind sunspot activity and the earth's climate? No one really knows. The radiative energy levels involved between the two events don't quite match, yet the connection seems undeniable. So I want to make a point.

If every time you flush the toilet the phone rings, you've got a solid correlation - despite the fact that you can't comprehend it. But do you therefore deny that it's happening? In my view, it is science's first obligation to go with the evidence at hand and only secondarily to provide an explanatory mechanism.

The link between ocean tides and the moon, for instance, was accepted as a practical reality long before a viable explanation could be offered. Yet "mechanism first" advocates would have dismissed that connection as astrological nonsense, just as they dismissed the phenomenon of rocks falling out of the sky.

If superstitionism knits causative connections between unrelated things - step on a crack, break your mother's back - is a rationalism that rejects the testimony of experience any better?

I think there's too much of that going on today. Climatologists are obliged to follow the evidence, whether there's a satisfactory explanation or not. Because the admittedly unknown why of earth's climate changes, the sun, is a hell of a lot more convincing than the allegedly known why of carbon dioxide levels.

Who'd've Discredited It?

'Case against climate change discredited by study' shrieked the Independent yesterday. That must be one hell of a study. Except that it isn't:
A difference in the way British and American ships measured the temperature of the ocean during the 1940s may explain why the world appeared to undergo a period of sudden cooling immediately after the Second World War.

Scientists believe they can now explain an anomaly in the global temperature record for the twentieth century, which has been used by climate change sceptics to undermine the link between rising temperatures and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Not only does the study (published this week in Nature) not claim to discredit what the Independent's headline claims it discredits, but it doesn't even discredit what the scientists behind the study claim it discredits. Moreover, what the scientists claim their work does discredit was, according to prominent Environmentalists, discredited years ago. And finally, what everybody seems to be trying to discredit isn't even something that sceptics seem to be crediting in the first place.

Yes, sceptics are concerned about the post-war temperature slump, but not because of the sudden steep drop around 1945; it is the downward trend in temperatures between about 1945 and 1975 that they suggest needs explaining (which is actually longer than the upward trend between 1975 and 1998, just so you know), given that greenhouse gas emissions were rising throughout that period.

And as the graph used by the Independent to bolster its case (supplied by CRU, apparently) demonstrates, the Nature study does absolutely nothing to address that concern:

In fact, the most striking thing about the graph is that, once the sampling errors identified by the study have been taken into account, the period of warming in the latter half of the twentieth century was shorter than previously thought, and that the '45-'75 temperature slump is more pronounced.

According to Phil Jones, a co-author of the paper, the study
lends support to the idea that a period of global cooling occurred later during the mid-twentieth century as a result of sulphate aerosols being released during the 1950s with the rise of industrial output. These sulphates tended to cut sunlight, counteracting global warming caused by rising carbon dioxide.

"This finding supports the sulphates argument, because it was bit hard to explain how they could cause the period of cooling from 1945, when industrial production was still relatively low," Professor Jones said.
That might be so. But the aerosols issue is supposed to have been done and dusted long ago. One of the central criticisms aimed at the infamous Great Global Warming Swindle, for example, is precisely that it failed to entertain the idea that the post-1940 decline in global temperatures was the result of increases in sulphurous emissions that masked the forcing effect of rising atmospheric CO2. George Monbiot described the omission as 'straightforward scientific dishonesty'. After all, he said, that 'temperatures declined after the Second World War as a result of sulphate pollution from heavy industry, causing global well-known to all climate scientists.' And as we have reported before, this was also one of the main points raised by the Royal Society's Bob Ward and 36 scientific experts in their open letter to Swindle producer Martin Durkin.

And yet, as we've reported elsewhere, other experts in the field just don't agree. UC San Diego atmospheric physicist Veerabhadran Ramanathan, for example, told us that the empirical evidence for the sulphate masking of warming is 'pretty flimsy'. We do not doubt that the Nature study is an important contribution to the field. (Although it's interesting that Steve McIntyre seems to have produced a similar analysis more than a year ago.) What we do doubt is that the headlines, soundbites, and wild interpretations from newspapers and scientists alike bear much relevance to what is a dry, technical, scientific study, which, while increasing our ability to understand and predict climate trends, says little in itself about the truth or otherwise of global warming.

That said, the BBC's Richard Black has demonstrated uncharacteristic reserve in his coverage of the paper, which includes the following quote from CRU's Mike Hulme:
Corrections for this measurement switch have not yet been applied to produce a new graph of 20th Century temperatures - that work is ongoing at the UK Met Office - but as the land temperature record shows a flattening of the upwards trend from the 1940s to the 1970s, clearly something did change around the 1940s to ameliorate the warming.

"It perhaps suggests that the role of sulphate aerosols, that cooling effect, was less powerful than we thought," said Mike Hulme from the University of East Anglia (UEA), who was not involved in the study.
George Monbiot and the Royal Society are just plain wrong - the science is plainly not 'settled'. And so is Steve Connor, the author of the Independent article. As he wrote last year in response to the Swindle:
The programme failed to point out that scientists had now explained the period of "global cooling" between 1940 and 1970. It was caused by industrial emissions of sulphate pollutants, which tend to reflect sunlight. Subsequent clean-air laws have cleared up some of this pollution, revealing the true scale of global warming - a point that the film failed to mention.
'Scientists' have 'explained' nothing of the sort. As this case shows, the science is not settled. Indeed science is never settled. It is constantly re-evaluating what it understands about absolutely everything. And that's especially crucial to bear in mind when the science in question has been bestowed with the kind of political significance that climate science has. To claim otherwise is to do a disservice to both science and politics. It reduces science to a flimsy fig leaf used simply to hide the embarrassing inadequacies of the latest political fad; and it reduces politics to an aimless exercise in number-crunching.


Just say it: Kyoto's a crock

Comment from Canada

Stephen Harper should call the environmental accord what it is -- a train wreck. Could Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Environment Minister John Baird please explain what they mean when they say Canada continues to be a participant in the Kyoto accord? How can we be a participant when the PM has said we cannot do what Kyoto requires of us -- lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of 6% below 1990 levels between now and 2012?

We're 29.1% above our Kyoto target. Achieving that target is the point of Kyoto. So what, exactly, are we participating in? Yes, the Liberals are hypocrites for ratifying Kyoto and then doing zilch to implement it. Yes, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion supports a carbon tax he once opposed. But the Conservatives have been no more coherent.

In opposition, they didn't complain the Liberals were doing too little to implement Kyoto, as they do now. They complained they were doing too much, consistent with Harper's views at the time that Kyoto was a socialist, money-sucking scheme.

Kyoto is a socialist, money-sucking scheme. Why don't the Conservatives just say it? I know -- I hear it from Conservatives supporters all the time -- Harper has to pay lip service to Kyoto to win the next election.

Nonsense. First off, voters know when politicians are bulls...ting them. If the Conservatives think they're getting a boost from pretending to support Kyoto, they're not.

More important, with the Liberals, Bloc, NDP and Green parties, and most of the provinces, all insanely worshipping at the altar of Kyoto and ready to "green" tax us to death, is there not one mainstream party with the courage to denounce Kyoto for the train wreck it is?

Look at the thing. Why do you suppose the main instigators of Kyoto -- the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United Nations -- happened to pick 1990 as the base year for reducing GHG emissions? It wasn't written in stone. Kyoto wasn't even agreed to until 1997 and didn't come into effect until 2005. The drafters could have picked any year as the base year. They retroactively chose 1990 because that was just before the Soviet Union imploded, meaning the European Union was able to take advantage of the dramatic drop-off in GHG emissions of the former Soviet satellites which later became part of Europe, countries which dramatically cut their GHG emissions not by doing anything, but by suffering a recession.

Also by 1990, the U.K.'s "dash for gas" was well underway -- again, unrelated to Kyoto. But by replacing coal power with natural gas, the U.K. was also able to benefit from Kyoto without doing anything. These countries, along with the UN, whose interest was transferring wealth from the First World to the Third, crafted the treaty right down to exempting the entire developing world, led by China and India, with one purpose in mind.

That was to damage the U.S. economy by putting it at a competitive disadvantage had the Americans been stupid enough to ratify Kyoto. But even with Al Gore as their vice-president, they weren't. We were. We ratified it because a reckless Jean Chretien was looking for an environmental legacy. Chretien's top political aide, Eddie Goldenberg, has since acknowledged the Liberals knew Canadians weren't ready for what Kyoto required when they ratified it in 2002. Of course, the Liberals weren't ready either, the proof being what they did to implement Kyoto after they ratified it. Nothing.

Ironically, even with all the advantages the U.K. and EU handed themselves in Kyoto, many of their own citizens are now revolting against the usurious carbon and green taxes they're being asked to pay.

Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism, under which developed countries fund environmental projects in developing ones, is rife with charges of corruption and profiteering.

Even if every one of the 37 member states in Kyoto (including us) required to reduce their GHG emissions (as opposed to the 143, which aren't) meet their emission targets (which they won't), the coal plants China and India alone are building will more than wipe out all the cuts Kyoto calls for. And this is the deal the Conservatives say we need to be part of?

Why? Are we nuts?


Climate advice is poisoned by fear

(By atmospheric physicist Dr. Garth W. Paltridge, an Emeritus Professor from University of Tasmania, who was a Chief Research Scientist with Australia's CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research before taking up positions in 1990 as Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies at the University of Tasmania and as CEO of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Center)

I HEAR on the scientific grapevine that CSIRO's biggest problem when providing formal advice to the federal Government on the matter of climate change is to say nothing that can be interpreted as giving aid and comfort to the army of irresponsible sceptics out there who are doubtful about the dreadful consequences of global warming.

One can only feel sorry for the Government. Where can it go these days to get unbiased advice on the issue of global warming? Its official sources are poisoned by the fear among many scientists that they may be labelled by their colleagues and by their institutions as climate-change sceptics.

Basically, the problem is that the research community has gone so far along the path of frightening the life out of the man in the street that to recant publicly even part of the story would massively damage the reputation and political clout of science in general. And so, like corpuscles in the blood, researchers all over the world now rush in overwhelming numbers to repel infection by any idea that threatens the carefully cultivated belief in climatic disaster.



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


Sunday, June 01, 2008


An email from Lee Rodgers [], in a rather manic mood

It's no coincidence a U.S. climate bill is percolating itself through the committee fumaroles of Congress since it was high time for the election silly season now upon us. With presidential candidates and Congress jockeying to and fro, trying to galvanize the ovine polity into frissons of this-or-that, for-or-against and so on, we now have three presidential candidates calling the invocation of CO2 reductions that the the knaves in the back pews may come forward and take shared climate communion.

For us climate agnostics we're left to wonder at such naked attempts to construct temporary polities based on Gaia-fear, built from righteous congregants who'll dutifully crowd themselves to the front so to suborn themselves against apostasy, perfidy and damnation. After all, it's worked before. Why pre-Kyoto supplicants steeled themselves against fate in hopes of paradise with a litany of "Hale Bop! Pass the Transubstantiating Kool-aid!"

Gore the Messiah, being from the government and here to help, has a "new and improved" liturgy that sings the praises of Gaia, replete with Gaia-fire, sins, indulgences, heresies and apostates. If it weren't for the carbon emissions he might press for prescriptive Auto da f‚. Ahhh, so much smoke to blow upward into everyone's hind side, so little time.

But what's poor Al to do if global warming turns more dud than heat flood? Maybe Gore will prepare us for the penultimate rapture with a long liturgy premised on 99942 Apophis (2004 MN4): "Hale Apophis, the Great NEO!" But a mitigation mission will be called and heroes will be needed. But we can't send Bruce Willis, he's just an actor. Perhaps we might send Gore himself and forget to install the return rocket booster?

With each presidential candidate's call for impossible CO2 reductions that'd entail draconian new levels of government controls, the public is somehow supposed to forget that government should remain only a necessary evil that when unnecessary, becomes just plain evil. If carbon taxes won't work, then we'll switch to rationing. The regimen will be enforced, even if it takes vast scores of new aparats, acolytes and climate inquisitors to ram it down our throats: "Confess! By your very nature, you emit carbon! This is your original sin! Confess!!"

But as all good apostates eventually do, they get their day in the sun (spotless though it may be) by showing that the portents of a climate hell may well be mistaken. Do we offer a new Enlightenment? Or are we pawns of a helio-centric Mephistopheles who whispers in our ear, "Wouldn't humanity find it better to rule in a self-made hell than to serve in a green heaven?"

Well. So is the "seance settled" and all we supplicants need do is consecrate this new coercion at the polls? Are the non-theistic doomed to fill some God-shaped hole in their lives by adopting a green theology premised not on empiricism but on neurotic risk analysis, the hang-wringing principle of precaution?

Or will the public defend itself against apostles of a new green theocracy, rejecting this weird pagan-romanticist assault against empiricism, reason and secular separations of church and state, and expose once and for all that this moribund Ptolemaic System of CO2 epicycles is no more than a rotten foundation from a tired old socialist church that still seeks empire?

This political silly season, silly as it is, may prove a dangerous moment. Is it too facile, to sanguine, to surmise Republican Senator John McCain's endorsement of CO2 reductions are feigned for the sake of swing voters? There's no reason for history to repeat the state construction of sanctions against science. But if all three candidates are true to their words, the political "tipping point" may be teetering away from American climate heretics despite all the current empirical data weighing on our side. I continue to suspend belief that we must suffer such an unnecessary fate.

And please no one disrupt my insouciant and solipsist daydream until hell freezes over, or solar cycle #25, whichever comes first.


An email from Will Alexander [] in South Africa

Southern Africa probably has a longer and more comprehensive hydrometeorological database than any other subcontinental region in the world. The development of prediction modelling techniques for water resource development in particular, dates back for more than a century. At the other end of the continent, water level measurements in the Nile River date back for some 5000 years. Joseph's biblical prophecy of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine was almost certainly based on these observations.

Returning to Southern Africa, it is only within the past two decades that records have become long enough to identify the presence of statistically significant, 21-year (it varies within narrow limits), periodicity in the data and it's synchronous linkage with the double sunspot cycle. This indicates that the multi-year solar mechanism that produces changes in sunspot activity is closely, but not exactly, synchronous with the mechanism that produces climatic changes. This periodic behaviour is predictable on a multi-year scale, particularly droughts and sequences of above average rainfall and river flow.

Another line of study has been the search for trends in the data that could be attributable to global warming. Despite a diligent study motivated by the real and urgent need to incorporate this in our water resource development and operation procedures, we were unable to detect it. Our studies were reported in peer reviewed publications and in my 93-page submission to the Stern Review. It was ignored.

Our studies continue with some promising results. The scepticism regarding our ability to develop broad, multi-year climate prediction models and their relationship with the synchronous, long period variations in solar activity, is not very helpful. Our studies are based on the analyses of data published by the responsible authorities, and not on unverified and unverifiable computer models based on theories that are becoming increasingly suspect.

Millions of people are suffering on the African continent, while the rest of the world spends millions of dollars on futile climate change research, and unending international conferences at popular holiday resorts.


The Bishop of Chester was under fire last night after suggesting mankind is not to blame for global warming, which he said would happen "come what may".

Friends of the Earth condemned the comments by Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, insisting scientists were united in their certainty that global temperatures were rising because of carbon dioxide emissions. The green group said everyone had a responsibility to "wake up to the threat posed by climate change", adding: "The debate is over. The alarm bells are ringing."

The row followed the Bishop of Chester's speech in a House of Lords debate on energy, in which he said discussion about the causes of global warming was "still open". Describing himself as a "scientist in a previous incarnation", Dr Forster - whose diocese includes Wirral - said there was no consensus among climate scientists that "carbon dioxide levels are the key determinant". And he told peers: "Climate science is a notoriously imprecise area, because the phenomena under investigation are so large. "That makes precision difficult to achieve."

The bishop's views are in stark contrast to those of his near-neighbour, the Bishop of Liverpool, who once warned that the chances of Earth surviving the century were no better than 50/50.



Higher energy prices are a "legitimate" way to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Gordon Brown's chief adviser on climate change said on Friday, even as the government faces mounting pressure from MPs to ease fuel taxes.

Adair Turner, the chairman of the government's climate change committee and new head of the Financial Services Authority, told the Financial Times that, as a matter of principle, "everyone accepts that putting a price on carbon is a crucial instrument" to cut emissions. "That will put up the price of energy and there is no way round that. We should not deny that is what these policies do," he said.

Lord Turner's comments underline the growing conflict between environmental policies - which rely on increasing the cost of energy to encourage people to cut their emissions - and the government's need to respond to widespread concerns over the effects of high energy prices. The timing of Lord Turner's intervention could hardly be worse for Mr Brown. As Labour on Friday suffered its worst poll rating since records began in 1943, the prime minister remained under intense pressure over his handling of the fuel crisis.

Mr Brown this week unveiled a flurry of measures including state support to ease fuel poverty, signals of a U-turn on motoring taxes and a minor boost to North Sea oil production. He highlighted the impact on families of "the cost of filling up at the petrol station and in the rise in gas and electricity bills". Though he refused directly to criticise Gordon Brown, Lord Turner said the emphasis should be on encouraging people to cut their fuel use, rather than easing price pressures: "There are huge opportunities for energy efficiency."

He added: "If you are worried about the impact on low-income groups of fuel prices, the response should be to intensify support for them to improve their energy efficiency, rather than say you have to give up on climate change objectives."

Lord Turner will wield the greatest influence of any official over the government's climate policies for the next six months as he crafts a strategy for emissions reductions for the next five years and beyond. After that, he will give up his climate change responsibilities to focus on the FSA.

The Tories have latched on to fuel prices as an electorally potent issue, which played well in the this month's Crewe by-election victory. Alan Duncan, shadow business secretary, accused the government of having "desperately tried to make it look as if they're doing something about energy prices. In fact they're not."


Global warming, an unsettled science

The thesis of man-made global warming has been portrayed as a scientific consensus, but this is more a policymaker and media phenomenon than a settled matter?

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Working Group One, a panel of experts established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, issued its Fourth Assessment Report. This included predictions of dramatic increases in average world temperatures over the next 92 years and serious harm resulting from the predicted temperature rise.

Founding director of the UN Environment Programme Maurice Strong once analyzed global environmental challenges as follows: "We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse." "Industrial civilization" has been pumping additional carbon dioxide into the earth's atmosphere and adding to the greenhouse effect, whereby carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor combine to trap sunrays bouncing off the earth's surface, keeping the earth at a temperature conducive to supporting life.

What ultimate benefit the collapse of industrial civilization could bring at a time when - as Oxford University economist Paul Collier put it in his award-winning book The Bottom Billion - around four billion people are being lifted out of poverty, remains unclear. However, the IPCC outlines that "deep cuts in global emission will be required," while the European Commission supports emissions cuts of 25-40 percent by 2020. The US, however, considers such cuts beyond reach, at least before 2050, while Japan says it is premature to commit to 2020 limits.

On 26 May, G8 environment ministers endorsed slashing greenhouse gas emissions in half by mid-century, but failed to agree on much more contentious near-term targets. Environmentalists were disappointed, according to AP reports: They missed the "opportunity to accelerate the slow progress of G8 climate negotiations, but they failed to send a signal of hope for a breakthrough," said Naoyuki Yamagishi, head of the Climate Change Program at WWF Japan. Whether or not such emissions cuts, and the industrial and economic turmoil that could ensue, are necessary, depends precisely on whether global warming or climate change is man-made, or whether the anthropogenic aspect outweighs natural factors.

On 10 May 2007, UN special climate envoy Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland declared the climate debate "over," adding that "it's completely immoral, even, to question" the UN's scientific "consensus." Questions about the "consensus" are mounting, however, as are apparently growing numbers of scientists who dispute the notion that "the science is settled."

Unraveling consensus

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature - the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California - report a 0.7C cooling in 2007 - a reversal of the warming that has taken place over the 20th Century.

A recent study in the journal Nature by scientists from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University, postulates that global temperatures are unlikely to rise again until around 2015-2020, after a decade-long leveling-off since the 1998 recorded high. In other words, it is possible that by 2020, the world will not have warmed for over 20 years.

Dr Vicky Pope of the Hadley Centre at the UK Met Office told ISN Security Watch that natural climate variations linked to the Pacific cooling system known as La Nina, as well as a cooling phase of a system of Atlantic currents, contributed to the 2007 cooling and what the Leibniz/Nature study predicts for the coming decade.

The climate prediction modeling system used by the IPCC postulates that global temperatures will rise in tandem with carbon dioxide emissions, and at an unprecedented and dangerous rate, hence the need for, if not the collapse of industrial civilization, then reductions in carbon emissions as outlined since the Kyoto agreements in 1998.

Another study published in Nature in mid-May postulated that "Changes in natural systems since at least 1970 are occurring in regions of observed temperature increases, and these temperature increases at continental scales cannot be explained by natural climate variations alone," and that man-made climate change is having "a significant impact on physical and biological systems globally."

Speaking about this study to the Financial Times, Barry Brook, director of climate change research at the University of Adelaide, said: "[We should] consider that there has been only 0.75C of temperature change so far, yet the expectation for this century is four to nine times that amount."

However, Richard Lindzen (Alfred P Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology), told ISN Security Watch that predictions such as the IPCCs were based on flawed modeling: "The text of the IPCC [as opposed to the spin-oriented summary] makes clear that a major assumption of attribution studies is that the models were used properly and adequately account for natural internal variability. This study acknowledges that they did not. Under the circumstances, it is absurd to depend on these same models to predict the end of phenomena that they could not predict in the first place."

Dr Pope conceded that "climate science is an evolving subject," but in reference to the second Nature study, said that "they looked at secondary impacts of climate change, and made a stronger link back to core causes, along the lines of the latest research being done on this issue."

Arguments over the reliability of climate models have emerged at various times, in recent years. Most notoriously, the "hockey stick" graph used by the IPPC showing a rapid temperature rise over the industrial era was revised after allegations that it glossed over previously occurring natural cycles, including the Little Ice Age, running to around 1850, and the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures may have been higher than now.

A warm Middle Ages saw vineyards in England, while Greenland got its name due to the relatively lush coastal regions encountered by contemporary exploring Vikings, whose villages there lasted until around the 17th Century, until a cooling climate reduced the snow-free land available to the settlers and indigenous people alike, leaving Greenland as we know it today. Needless to say, such temperature levels occurred well before any "industrial civilization" was in place to emit copious amounts of carbon dioxide.

But in response to counter-arguments to the man-made global warming thesis, the UK Royal Society has drawn up another point-by-point counter-argument, which states "our scientific understanding of climate change is sufficiently sound to make us highly confident that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming." The Royal Society, however, goes on to outline: "While climate models are now able to reproduce past and present changes in the global climate rather well, they are not, as yet, sufficiently well-developed to project accurately all the detail of the impacts we might see at regional or local levels. They do, however, give us a reliable guide to the direction of future climate change. The reliability also continues to be improved through the use of new techniques and technologies."

In turn, Director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project S Fred Singer has responded to the Royal Society's position in a paper authored for the Centre for Policy Studies in London. And referring to the Leibniz Institute Nature study, he told ISN Security Watch that "natural climate fluctuations can be greater than manmade forcing," and that it is feasible that "the modeled manmade forcing has been greatly exaggerated."

The 4th IPCC report was released 10 months before it shared the Nobel Prize with Al Gore, and that publication made it clear that there was a consensus of 2,500 scientists across the globe who believed that mankind was responsible for greenhouse gas concentrations, which in turn were very likely responsible for an increase in global temperatures. However, just two weeks ago, Dr Arthur Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine told the National Press Club in Washington DC that more than 31,000 scientists had signed the so-called Oregon Petition rejecting the IPCC line.

Moreover, some of those included on the IPCC's list have also raised objections. On 12 December 2007, the US Senate released a report from more than 400 scientists, many of whose names were attached to the IPCC report without - they claim - their permission. In the report, the scientists expressed a range of views from skepticism to outright rejection of the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

While the US remains outside the Kyoto system, along with developing-country high carbon emitters such as China and India, US President George Bush has made conciliatory noises on climate issues in recent months, while all three remaining presidential candidates have been vocal about their commitment to offsetting.

Less commented-upon is the data on emissions reduction: The US has cut the rate of increase of its carbon emissions more than any party to Kyoto, according to the Index of Leading Economic Indicators' figures for 1997-2004, the last year for universal emission data.

The US Senate will convene next week to discuss a climate bill, which aims, through a mandatory cap-and-trade scheme, to reduce emissions 70 percent from 2005 levels by 2050, even though countries such as China, Russia and India have no such plans.

Alarmism misplaced?

Prior to the December Bali climate summit, some of the scientists who signed the Senate and Oregon letters penned an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, outlining their view that climate alarmism was misplaced, and the policy options discussed were futile:

"The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. [.] Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the 'precautionary principle' because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future. [.] The current UN focus on "fighting climate change" [.] is distracting governments from adapting to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever forms they may take."

Whether this distraction results in the destruction of industrialized civilization or not, some analysts, such as Bjorn Lomborg, author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming, believes that an inappropriate reaction to global warming will cause more problems than contribute solutions.

Carbon trading has been pitched as part-panacea to man-made global warming. Stanford University academics believe that the system does little to prevent emissions, while cynics believe that proponents of the schemes can benefit financially - a sort-of counter-argument to the "big oil funds climate dissent" view held by green activists.

Problems aside, Dr Terry Barker, director of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Research, tells ISN Security Watch that the ongoing climate negotiations need to "establish a global carbon price through a global cap-and-trade scheme for international transport, not adequately covered by national jurisdiction." He adds: "Governments need to agree to quantified targets [...] with a reasonable chance of achieving the EU's 2 degree target."

It seems that policymakers are in a bind: EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas reacted to the Bali summit as follows: "Now the real hard work must begin. It is essential that the agreement to be worked out over the next two years is ambitious enough to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels."

And more incongruently, only last week, Slovenia's UN ambassador Sanja Stiglic, speaking on behalf of the EU, whose rotating Presidency Ljubljana holds, said that "the present [food] situation highlights the urgent need to reach ambitious, global and comprehensive targets for reductions in CO2 emissions."

The massive rise in world food prices in the past two years came to a head recently, with widespread food riots in numerous countries, and many analysts point to the diversion of cropland to the subsidized biofuels industry - aimed to curb carbon emissions - as a contributory factor to the food crisis.

Global warming, therefore, is causing the food crisis, but most directly through human efforts to prevent warming. In any case, the IPCC itself concedes that for a warming of anything up to 3 percent, "globally, the potential for food production is projected to increase."


Australia: Plans to drill for oil off Sydney

Greenie reaction predictable but it seems it is going to happen -- unlike the American situation, where almost all coastal waters are blocked from exploration

PLANS to drill for oil off the NSW coast have been revived because of sky-rocketing world oil prices. In a move that has outraged green groups, an Australian joint venture has announced it will establish a drilling rig 22km offshore between the Central Coast and Newcastle to look for gas and oil deposits. One of the firms, Perth-based MEC Resources, has been conducting air surveys of the area since January following a review of geological formations and says there are early indications of petroleum stores at the intended dig site.

"MEC was reviewing new data from an airborne survey conducted east of Newcastle which detected evidence of petroleum seeps on the sea surface,'' it says in a document lodged with the Australian Stock Exchange on Friday. The only thing delaying the operation is the availability of a suitable sea-drilling rig. A joint contract led by Australian firm Bounty Oil and MEC Resources is expected to be executed this year. "A rig is to be secured, in the near future, to fulfil the work commitments,'' MEC said ahead of a June annual meeting.

The target exploration site is part of the massive Sydney basin which stretches inland and includes coal seams from Newcastle to the Illawarra. The MEC report contains optimistic estimates that undersea reserves could contain one billion barrels of oil and enough gas to meet Sydney's entire needs for the next decade.

MEC has told shareholders the price of oil has prompted renewed interest in the site. "Based on the present oil price exceeding $US80 per barrel (and) perceived future demand ... hydrocarbon exploration in the area is justified,'' it says. The project has applied to the State Government for an extension of a licence to explore the site while awaiting the arrival of a drilling rig to Australia. A spokeswoman for Premier Morris Iemma yesterday confirmed the application had been received.

MEC has told shareholders it expects the application to be approved. News of the potential drilling close to the NSW coast has outraged green groups. Greens MP Lee Rhiannon yesterday slammed the idea. "A world oil shortage is no justification for pushing ahead. We have to adjust to the fact the petroleum products are now in short supply,'' she said. "The chance of having an oil spill would be considerable and the damage that would do to the tourism industry, the marine industry and fisheries just isn't worth it. "It would be highly irresponsible for the amount of oil we might be able to produce.''

The companies are confident they will book a drill by November, but the unit could take a further six months or more to arrive. Initial exploratory digging is expected to take as little as three weeks. "By pursuing the exploration and drilling of (the reserve), the company is targeting an oil and gas project with potential in the hundreds of millions of dollars,'' the report reads.

MEC is attempting to get shareholder approval for a restructuring of its gas and oil assets to improve access to capital for exploration. In a document for shareholders, regarding the Sydney basin, it says there are four other large leads in the area, each with significant potential gas recoveries. "If available estimates were to be realised, (the area) would be on a par with some of the largest gas reserves in the world. "Should an oil play be established, potential oil resources could be in excess of one billion barrels in place. Oil has been recorded from some 55 locations within the onshore basin. "The potential reward from a successful drilling program makes this a very attractive exploration opportunity.''



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


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?