Tuesday, March 31, 2009


An email from David Whitehouse [dr_d_whitehouse@msn.com]

In an exclusive extract from his new book, Nicholas Stern argues that the time for debate on climate change is well and truly over.
"More recently, others have tried to argue that the warming has stopped because 1998 (a so-called El Nino year, with warmer surface temperature of oceans) was a little warmer on average than 2007 (a La Nina year, with cooler surface temperature of oceans). This confuses cycles with trends, peaks with troughs and sea temperatures with land temperatures. Further, it ignores that the last decade was the hottest since records began and that the trend is clearly upwards. But this is the kind of nonsense that some would try to peddle. There are many more half-baked attempts to try to naysay the science, but they always unravel on careful inspection. And the same has been true of more sophisticated attempts, such as those involving changing structures of humidity in the atmosphere."

The recent hiatus in the increase of global temperatures, now no longer contended by most scientists, is nothing to do with El Nino and La Nina, and despite the hiatus nobody denied that the last decade has been warmer than previous ones.

Frankly, if this is the level of scientific rigour in Nicholas Stern's forthcoming book then it is unimpressive and lacking in any basis of critical scientific thinking. It uses cherry picking data and arguments to support a pre-determined view. It pays lip service to the notions of scientific questioning. It could have been written by Cardinal Bellarmine [Who burnt Giordano Bruno and opposed Galileo].


They know it won't happen but it will take the heat off them to cut their emissions. They must be having a quiet laugh to themselves

Finding money to help poor countries pay for new energy technology that doesn't contribute to global warming is the most difficult task facing negotiators as United Nations climate change talks began today, said U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy.

Financing works "hand in glove" with establishing carbon dioxide-emissions cuts for developing countries, which will be responsible for most of the world's output of greenhouse gases in the coming decades, said Todd Stern, the chief U.S. climate negotiator. "The financing issue is extremely important in our judgment," he said. "What's vital in general is that the developing countries leapfrog the carbon intensity path, and for that they'll need help."

Delegates from 175 countries are struggling to close the gap between their positions on financing and other issues, including setting CO2 cutting goals, in Bonn this week. Obama's delegation is participating for the first time in climate talks and promises to work toward a "robust deal" when the talks wind up in Copenhagen at the end of the year. "This is a new start for the U.S. delegation and the start of a new hope to solve the problem of climate change," said Matthias Machnig, Germany's deputy environment minister, during a speech to the 2,600 delegates and participants at the start of talks today.

While Obama has pledged greater emissions cuts than his predecessor, George W. Bush, the reductions fall short of what's needed to tackle the problem, China's lead negotiator, Su Wei, said in an interview before the start of the 10-day talks in Bonn, Germany. "The U.S. has become more positive than the previous administration: I think they are going in the right direction," Su said in a telephone interview. "Still, we're waiting for very firm climate policy from the U.S., including very clear medium-term targets. All of the parties are waiting for that."

A global climate treaty to reduce CO2 emissions and replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol must focus on later targets, not just 2020 goals, said Stern. The U.S. favors slashing emissions of heat-trapping gases to 1990 levels by 2020.


America `can't wave magic wand' on climate change

Expectations of what can be achieved by the United States in fighting global warming are unrealistic, climate change negotiators from more than 170 countries have been told. Hopes raised by a new willingness in the White House to take action to control climate change must be balanced by a realisation that there are limits to what the US can do, they were told.

Todd Stern, President Obama's special envoy on climate change, moved to play down hopes as the US joined UN talks on global warming in Bonn. These are designed to smooth the path to a summit in Copenhagen in December when it is hoped that international agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions can be reached. "The US is going to be powerfully and fervently engaged in this process," Mr Stern said shortly before the talks started. "That doesn't mean that anyone should be thinking that the US can ride in on a white horse and make it work, because it can't. What we can do is return to the table with energy and commitment, and commitment to science and pragmatism to getting a deal that will be doable. We are all going to have to do this together. We don't have a magic wand."

Under President Bush, the US was reluctant to join international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but attitudes in the White House have altered dramatically since the inauguration of Mr Obama.

The Bonn talks are the first session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change since Mr Obama took office, and expectations of US involvement have been high. Such was the relief at the willingness of the US to act on climate change that its delegation was welcomed with applause by negotiators from other countries. The clapping became even more enthusiastic when Mr Stern said: "We are glad to be back, we want to make up for lost time, and we are seized with the urgency of the task before us. The science is clear and the threat is real. The facts are outstripping the worst-case scenarios. The costs of inaction or inadequate actions are unacceptable." [Big talk]

However, hopes that the US would use the opening of the talks to announce measures to cut its own emissions were dashed. Michael Zammit Cutajar, one of the chief UN negotiators, said that in talks before the session it was intimated that Mr Obama's Administration needed more time. "My understanding is they need some more time to get up to speed," he said. The talks in Bonn continue until April 8 and a second session will be held in June, by which time, he said, it should be clearer how much farther the US will go.

Despite the widespread welcome for the US involvement, there remain concerns that it will refuse to make deep enough cuts in emissions. President Obama has already promised to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050. While most delegates and scientists agree that the long-term target of 80 per cent matches requirements, they believe that the US needs to do better on the 2020 target if there is to be even a 50-50 chance of limiting temperature rises to 2C (3.6F).



Stavros Dimas, the European commissioner for the environment, insisted that Europe was still a global leader on climate change after a stinging attack on the EU by the campaign group World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) at the European Business Summit in Brussels today (27 March). In a testy exchange, Dimas defended EU policy after WWF said that Europe had broken its promise to developing countries and weakened its own carbon reduction targets.

Stephan Singer, director of global energy policy at WWF's European policy office and a veteran climate change campaigner, said the campaign group was "deeply disappointed" in the EU. He accused EU leaders of breaking an international agreement reached in Bali in 2007, when rich countries promised to transfer funds to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change. Last week, EU leaders agreed that they would do their "fair share" for developing countries, but did not name an amount of money. Singer said this showed that the EU had "empty hands" and was "breaking the Bali mandate".

In an especially painful attack on EU policymakers, Singer said that the US goal to stabilise emissions at 1990 levels by 2020 "on paper could be a more aggressive target" than the EU's efforts.

Visibly irritated, Dimas accused WWF of "politicking" and said that the group was "undermining our ability to negotiate in Copenhagen." He said "everyone accepts that Europe is leading the fight against climate change", adding that "other countries have not even talked about what they are going to do". And he said that the EU would be pressing the US to make comparable emission-reduction targets, going further than a commitment to "stabilise" emissions.



By David Henderson

In this paper I question the characteristic treatment of climate change issues by fellow-economists, as seen in recent articles, books and reports. The focus of the paper, however, is not on economics. My main theme is what I see as the uncritical and over-presumptive way in which these various sources have dealt with the scientific aspects of the subject.

Although I also refer to other illustrative cases, the chief specific targets of criticism are six recent and influential publications. Three of these are by leading and widely respected individual authors. They are:

* William Nordhaus's book, A Question of Balance (Nordhaus, 2008);

* Martin Weitzman's article entitled 'On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change' (Weitzman, 2009); and.

* Dieter Helm's article entitled 'Climate-Change Policy: Why Has So Little Been Achieved?' (Helm, 2008).

Alongside this trio I place two prominent large-scale officially-sponsored though independent reviews:

* The 700-page Stern Review, The Economics of Climate Change, by Nicholas (now Lord) Stern and others, commissioned by the British government and published in 2007; and

* The 600-page Garnaut Climate Change Review, authored by Ross Garnaut, commissioned by the state and territorial governments of Australia with the later participation of the Commonwealth government, and published in 2008.

Last on the list is the special chapter on climate change issues that formed part of the April 2008 issue of the IMF's twice-yearly flagship publication, World Economic Outlook.

It is an unusual procedure for an economist to criticise what fellow-economists have said, or failed to say, about a subject area which is neither his nor theirs. I therefore begin by setting the issues that I raise in the wider context of the current climate change debate.


Hour of no power INCREASES emissions

By Bjorn Lomborg

This Saturday, the World Wildlife Fund wants everybody on the planet to switch off their lights for an hour in a "global election between Earth and global warming", where switching off the lights "is a vote for Earth".

In Australia, where Earth Hour started, it evidently enjoys strong support from politicians, celebrities, corporate backers and the public. The efforts this Saturday certainly will be well-intentioned. Many of us worry about global warming and would like to be part of the solution. Unfortunately, this event - as with many public proposals on climate change - is an entirely symbolic gesture that creates the mistaken impression that there are easy, quick fixes to climate change. One provincial British newspaper wrote this week: "Saving the planet could be as easy as switching off the lights in South Tyneside, green campaigners say."

It will take more than the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside, population 152,000, to solve global warming. Even if a billion people turn off their lights this Saturday, the entire event will be equivalent to switching off China's emissions for six short seconds. In economic terms, the environmental and humanitarian benefits from the efforts of the entire developed world would add up to just $21,000.

The campaign doesn't ask anybody to do anything difficult, such as coping without heating, air-conditioning, telephones, the internet, hot food or cold drinks. Conceivably, if you or I sat in our houses watching television, with the heater and computer running, we could claim we're part of an answer to global warming, so long as the lights are switched off. The symbolism is almost perverse.

In Australia last year, Earth Hour's organisers required participating businesses to pledge to reduce their emissions by 5 per cent during the following year. This year, that requirement has been dropped. "We decided we'd actually downplay (concrete cuts)this time," the chief executive of WWF Australia told The Sunday Age. There apparently has been no accounting of whether last year's sponsors lived up to their pledge. The Sunday Age reported last week: "An analysis of the key sponsors of Earth Hour reveals that most have reported increased emissions in their most recent figures."

And it gets worse: the event could cause higher overall pollution than if we just left our lights on. When asked to extinguish electricity, people turn to candlelight. Candles seem natural, but are almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light globes, and more than 300 times less efficient than fluorescent lights. If you use one candle for each extinguished globe, you're essentially not cutting CO2 at all, and with two candles you'll emit more CO2. Moreover, candles produce indoor air pollution 10 to 100 times the level of pollution caused by all cars, industry and electricity production.

No wonder that even committed climate campaigners are sceptical. Clive Hamilton, author of Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change, told The Sunday Age last week that "we are well past the time for feel-good exercises aimed at raising awareness. It's like the band playing on as the Titanic sinks." He said there was a real danger that Earth Hour convinced people we were making progress on climate change when we were not. And it let business and government off the hook.

There is still no cheap replacement for the carbon that we burn. This is the reason many promises of drastic CO2 cuts remain just empty promises and why past global agreements to cut CO2 have gone unfulfilled. A meaningful solution to global warming needs to focus on research into and development of clean energy, instead of fixating on empty promises of carbon emission reductions.

It is vital to make solar and other new technology cheaper than fossil fuels quickly so we can turn off carbon energy sources for a lot longer than one hour and keep the planet running. Every country should agree to spend 0.05 per cent of its gross domestic product on low-carbon energy research and development. The total global cost would be 10 times greater than present spending, yet be 10 times less than the cost of the Kyoto Protocol on carbon emission reductions. This response to global warming is a realistic, achievable one.

Fossil fuels literally gave us an enlightenment, by lighting our world and giving us protection from the fury of the elements. It is ironic that today's pure symbolism should hark back to a darker age.



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


Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth hour roundup

Comments from various sources:

1). Al Gore certainly didn't shut the lights off

2). I could not help but chuckle at the irony of earth hour's method of getting their message across. By turning off lights around the world they showed people exactly what they want. They want to turn the light out on human civilization. The wish to stop progress, to pull back humans' desire to better our world. Instead of light that allows us to see truth clearly they choose darkness, to hide their true intentions.

3). I will be thinking about the 1.8 billion people on Earth who have no access to electricity, and how insane they must think we are.

4). Earth Hour is a good demonstration of what will happen very soon if energy policy continues to be strangled by futile attempts to control the weather/climate using the harmless, essential, naturally occurring, aerial plant food gas CO2.

5). With reference to the absurd Dearth Hour, JunkScience.com is wondering how many stories we can collect of people injured falling over the cat/furniture in the enviro-induced darkness. Candle fires from unsafe lighting? Anything you or your readers may have heard about can be returned to this email address or preferably posted under this topic on the forum. (It's a self-register arrangement & you can post immediately following registration).

6). An email from Greenland with illustrative picture below: Does it sometimes seem like everything you read, see or do has the word “Green” attached to it? When you are living in Greenland you can't ignore it! But the Earth Hour made a difference here. See www.glar.gl. No more global warming.

7). Comment by Australian cartoonist ZEG:

Keep Your Lights on!

By Alan Caruba

Does it sometimes seem like everything you read, see or do has the word “Green” attached to it? We have a Green President and a Green Congress. More and more products and services tout themselves as Green. We are paying more and more with greenbacks—dollars—that are in danger of losing what value they once had.

Green was not always the great, amorphous dream of achieving oneness with Mother Earth. People still talk about being “Green with envy” or “Turning Green” just before a projectile vomit attack.

We have reached this nauseating time in our society as the result of a vast environmental movement, truly worldwide, that are masters of propaganda and possessed of the millions necessary to brainwash a lot of people into accepting an endless assault on all the advancements in science, engineering, and technology we accept as part of our everyday lives.

So, naturally, the World Wildlife Fund has come up with “Earth Hour”, an event in which at 8:30PM, Saturday night, in everyone’s respective time zone, people will be asked to turn off their lights and, presumably, the use of all electricity to increase awareness of “energy conservation.”

Two questions: What does this have to do with wildlife? And why should anyone bother? What need is there to “conserve energy?” One either uses it or does not. You can’t “conserve” it. You can use more or less of it, but you cannot save it up for later. Electricity is always “now.”

Is the Earth running out of coal? Hardly, the Chinese can’t build coal-fired plants fast enough to generate the electricity to grow their economy. In India, they’re launched on a huge program to build nuclear plants for the same reason. A nation without adequate electricity is strictly Third World.

Nor is the Earth running out of oil. The rumor is that there are vast amounts in the Arctic and both the U.S. and Russia are making nasty noises at one another to ensure that neither one or the other gains control of it. Brazil just struck oil way offshore of its beautiful beaches and you don’t hear them complaining about it.

The U.S., of course, has vast untapped reserves of oil offshore and an estimated 3 to 4.3 BILLION barrels of it in the Bakken Formation under North Dakota and Montana. There’s oil under Utah as well. We’re not running out of oil in the United States. We just can’t drill for it thanks to Congress and the White House.

We can’t build coal-fired plants either because the Greens keep telling us that coal is “dirty.” The electricity it provides—just over half of all that’s used nationwide—isn’t dirty. Soon, though, they’re won’t be enough of it because our Green President thinks that solar and wind can provide it. It can’t and it won’t. Ever.

There’s just one way to “conserve” energy. Don’t use it. Don’t turn on the light. Don’t turn on the computer. Don’t turn on the television. Unplug your refrigerator, your heating and cooling system. Don’t wash and dry your clothes in a machine. Don’t use it.

Otherwise, the next moron that talks about conserving energy should be stuffed in a barrel and allowed to float over the Niagara Falls which, during Earth Hour, will not be lighted.

We will all be treated to the idiotic sight of a darkened Empire State Building and other similar structures around the world such as the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Las Vegas strip, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the London Eye Ferris wheel, and the Pyramids of Egypt.

For a whole hour they will go dark to remind us to “conserve energy” that does not need conserving. It needs to be expanded into parts of the world where there is no electricity and, as a result, there is no economy which is another way of saying there is a lot of poverty, sickness, and early death.


The C of E (Church of the Environment) is still dribbling

Most of the Anglican episcopacy may not believe in God but they sure believe in Warmism. They are the Pharisees of today. Note the indented straw-man argument

We may all be damned -- in this world and the next -- by our environmental misdeeds and heedlessness, according to a stern warning from the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, last week.

Mankind is rebuffing the divine love of God and, by its refusal to face "doomsday" environmental damage, it is choking, drowning and starving God's creation, Williams said. He ties it all in to salvation season, when thoughts of Easter and forgiveness from sin loom large, saying
...to suggest that God might intervene to protect us from the corporate folly of our practices is as un-Christian and un-biblical as to suggest that he protects us from the results of our individual folly or sin.

Would you agree? Even if we step up our conservation efforts one by one, are we responsible, even eternally, for our group/national actions? What would be "enough" to stay high and dry in heaven?


Climate sensitivity has been grossly overestimated due to a mix up between cause and effect

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I’ve been receiving a steady stream of e-mails asking when our latest work on feedbacks in the climate system will be published. Since I’ve been trying to fit the material from three (previously rejected) papers into one unified paper, it has taken a bit longer than expected…but we are now very close to submission.

We’ve tentatively decided to submit to Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) rather than any of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) journals. This is because it appears that JGR editors are somewhat less concerned about a paper’s scientific conclusions supporting the policy goals of the IPCC — regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, JGR’s instructions to reviewers is to not reject a paper simply because the reviewer does not agree with the paper’s scientific conclusions. More on that later.

As those who have been following our work already know, our main conclusion is that climate sensitivity has been grossly overestimated due to a mix up between cause and effect when researchers have observed how global cloud cover varies with temperature.

To use my favorite example, when researchers have observed that global cloud cover decreases with warming, they have assumed that the warming caused the cloud cover to dissipate. This would be a positive feedback since such a response by clouds would let more sunlight in and enhance the warming.

But what they have ignored is the possibility that causation is actually working in the opposite direction: That the decrease in cloud cover caused the warming…not the other way around. And as shown by Spencer and Braswell (2008 J. Climate), this can mask the true existence of negative feedback.

All 20 of the IPCC climate models now have positive cloud feedbacks, which amplify the small about of warming from extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But if cloud feedbacks in the climate system are negative, then the climate system does not particularly care how much you drive your SUV. This is an issue of obvious importance to global warming research. Even the IPCC has admitted that cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in predicting global warming.

Significantly, our new work provides a method for identifying which direction of causation is occurring (forcing or feedback), and for obtaining a more accurate estimate of feedback in the presence of clouds forcing a temperature change. The method involves a new way of analyzing graphs of time filtered satellite observations of the Earth (or even of climate model output).

Well…at least I thought it was new way of analyzing graphs. It turns out that we have simply rediscovered a method used in other physical sciences: phase space analysis. This methodology was first introduced by Willard Gibbs in 1901.

We found that by connecting successively plotted points in graphs of how the global average temperature varies over time versus how global average radiative balance varies over time, one sees two different kinds of structures emerge: linear striations, which are the result of feedback, and spirals which are the result of internal radiative forcing by clouds.

But such a methodology is not new. To quote from Wikipedia on the subject of ‘phase space’: “Often this succession of plotted points is analogous to the system’s state evolving over time. In the end, the phase diagram…can easily elucidate qualities of the system that might not be obvious otherwise.”

Using a simple climate model we show that these two features that show up in the graphs are a direct result of the two directions of causation: temperature causing clouds to change (revealed by ‘feedback stripes’), and clouds causing temperature to change (revealed by ‘radiative forcing spirals’).

The fact that others have found phase space analysis to be a useful methodology is a good thing. It should lend some credibility to our interpretation. Phase space analysis is what has helped us better understand chaos, along with its Lorenz attractor, strange attractor, etc.

And the fact that we find the exact same structures in the output of the IPCC climate models means that the modelers can not claim our interpretation has no physical basis.

And now we can also use some additional buzzwords in the new article…which seems to help from the standpoint of reviewers thinking you know what you are talking about. The new paper title is, “Phase Space Analysis of Forcing and Feedback in Models and Satellite Observations of Climate Variability”. It just rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?

I am confident the work will get published…. eventually. But even if it didn’t, our original published paper on the issue has laid the groundwork… it would just take awhile before the research community understands the implications of that work.

What amazes me is the resistance there has been to ‘thinking out of the box’ when trying to estimate the sensitivity of the climate system. Especially when it has been considered to be ‘thinking in the box’ by other sciences for over a century now.

And it is truly unfortunate that the AMS, home of Lorenz’s first published work on chaos in 1963, has decided that political correctness is more important than the advancement of science.


The coming nuclear renaissance

by Jeff Jacoby

THIRTY YEARS AGO this month, an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania inflamed public opposition to nuclear power. The mishap -- a loss of coolant that caused the reactor core to overheat -- caused no known deaths or diseases, and it exposed area residents to only a negligible amount of radiation. But it fueled an anti-nuclear frenzy that soon brought the expansion of the industry to a halt. Dozens of planned reactors were cancelled. In the years since Three Mile Island, not a single nuclear plant has been ordered and built in the United States.

Yet far from being washed up, atomic power seems poised for a renaissance. Consider:

* According to a new Gallup poll, 59 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy -- a new high -- and 27 percent say they strongly favor it. The attitude is bipartisan, with majorities of both Republicans and Democrats supporting nuclear power.

* Other surveys have found even higher levels of support. According to a 2008 Zogby poll, 67 percent of Americans favor the construction of new nuclear facilities, and are much more likely to back a nuclear-powered electric plant over one fueled by natural gas, coal, or oil.

* In the recent presidential campaign, both candidates expressed support for nuclear power. John McCain made a point of praising the French, who derive nearly 80 percent of their electricity from nuclear plants. Though more measured, Barack Obama agreed that "we should explore nuclear power as part of the mix," as he put it in an early Iowa debate.

* While Obama has said little about nuclear power since becoming president, his energy secretary has been unequivocal. "The nuclear industry has to be part of our energy mix," physicist Steven Chu said during his confirmation hearings. "It's 20 percent of our [total] electricity production today, but it's 70 percent of the carbon-free electricity we produce."

* Accenture, the consulting giant, reports growing worldwide support for nuclear energy. In a survey it conducted of more than 10,000 people in 20 nations, 69 percent of respondents wanted their countries to begin or expand the use of nuclear power. Pro-nuclear sentiment was strongest in India (67 percent), China (62 percent), and the United States (57 percent).

* In recent months, Italy and Sweden have reversed anti-nuclear policies; both are now developing plans to construct new plants. Meanwhile, dozens of nuclear reactors are already under construction in other countries, including China, Russia, and Finland. "Among those contemplating building their first ones," reports The Economist, "are Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Belarus."

* In the last two years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received 17 applications for 26 nuclear reactors. Proposals for six additional reactors are pending.

There is no small irony in this turnabout. Nuclear power used to be the environmentalist's ultimate pariah, thanks to overblown claims about the dangers of reactor meltdowns and nuclear waste. But now the green movement has a new pariah -- fossil fuels and their carbon-dioxide emissions. To many environmentalists alarmed about global warming, nuclear power has an irresistible appeal: It releases no greenhouse gases. Indeed -- another irony -- nuclear power plants don't even release as much radiation as do coal-fired electric plants, since coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste.

As a result, some of the world's most ardent Greens have come around to embracing nuclear power.

"Only nuclear power can now halt global warming," wrote James Lovelock, the father of the celebrated Gaia theory, which regards the Earth and life on the planet as one complex, interacting "organism," in 2004. In Wired magazine the following year, a much-discussed article -- "Nuclear Now!" -- made the case that only "clean, green atomic energy can stop global warming."

To be sure, the problems with nuclear energy have not vanished. To build a nuclear plant is an expensive undertaking, the disposal of spent fuel rods remains politically contentious, and at least some environmental activists will continue to do what they can to exacerbate fear of nuclear power's dangers.

But 30 years after Three Mile Island, the nuclear future looks brighter than it has in a long time. Right now, 104 commercial reactors generate 20 percent of America's electricity. As the war against the atom continues to wind down, expect to see those numbers go up.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

British eco-migrants flee to New Zealand

The 60s all over again. Way back then lots of Brits and Americans moved to NZ to escape "The Bomb". Mostly they eventually went back to Britain and the USA. The present lot of agonizers will likely do the same in time as the prophecies of doom fail. Amusing that they are moving to a country where the government in unusually unsympathetic to Warmism, though!

NEW ZEALAND is seeing its first influx of British eco-migrants, environmental refugees who have quit the UK because they fear the long-term impacts of climate change.

The country’s islands, renowned for their temperate climate, clean environment and low population, have often been put forward by greens as potential “lifeboats” for a world suffering serious warming.

Recently, James Lovelock, the scientist and creator of the Gaia theory, said in his new book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia, that New Zealand could be one of the world’s last havens as climate change fundamentally changes the planet.

Such effects are expected to take years or decades to happen but some families are already trying to anticipate them. Among them are Lizzy and Mike Larmer-Cottle who have moved their family from London to Albany, half an hour north of Auckland on North Island, surrounded by rolling hills and beaches.

Britain’s recent climate of summer droughts and warm, wet winters was becoming alarming, said Lizzy. She added: “England was just having more and more flooding — if that continues, half of it is going to be underwater.”

The couple stress there were other factors too, such as lower traffic, less pollution and cheaper property. Before moving to New Zealand their sons Milo, 10, and Theo, 12, had, for example, never been able to ride their bikes on local roads.

They are, however, part of a rising tide of Britons heading for the New Zealand. Statistics NZ, which collects data for the country’s government, said more than 18,000 British residents moved there last year alone.

Among recent arrivals was John Zamick who also believes climate change will tip Britain into long-term environmental decline. The businessman, who now co-directs a biodiesel company in Nelson, a town on South Island, points to East Anglia, where rainfall is now so low it is classed as semi-arid, while its coasts are threatened by rising sea levels.

What such eco-migrants have in common is not so much a fear of Britain becoming warmer but that climate change could destabilise the global economy, causing shortages of food.

At the Copenhagen climate science conference earlier this month, scientists set out the latest research on how climate change could affect crops. This showed that, as heat and water shortages took hold, many equatorial regions in Africa and Asia would become unable to grow enough food, creating global shortages of staples like wheat and rice.

Zamick said New Zealand's low population density, agricultural independence and availability of farmland were all prime attractions, along with its English-speaking population.

Americans have also spotted New Zealand’s potential. Adam Fier and his wife Misbah Sadat moved their family from Maryland in the United States to New Zealand late last month. Fier, a computer security expert who used to work at Nasa, told the Washington Post the decision was made because of his two girls. “I am not going to predict how the climate might change and how it might affect New Zealand,” Fier said. “But quite honestly, I feel in 100 years, one of my daughters is still going to be alive and this planet is going to be a mess.”

Scientists agree that New Zealand is likely to be more resilient to any global warming than many other countries — but that could lead to problems with immigration. Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at Britain’s Met Office, said: “A lot of countries in temperate zones could come under pressure to take eco-migrants.”

Immigration specialists say climate is an increasingly important issue for Britons trying to emigrate. Liam Clifford, a director of the British-based GlobalVisas, described how clients increasingly wanted to move to “a temperate country that will escape extreme climate.”

James Hardy shared such views. He used to live in lush Buckinghamshire but became increasingly concerned at how he and his family might cope on such a crowded island if the global climate underwent sharp changes. Three years ago he moved to New Zealand with his wife and their three children. “New Zealand has land, New Zealand has wind, New Zealand has a far more sustainable climate,” he said.



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


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Joe Romm: Chief Warmist censor -- attacks Freeman Dyson

As usual with the Green/Left, Romm substitutes abuse for rational argument. He has to. It would in fact be amusing to see him debate the facts with Freeman Dyson. He wouldn't last 5 minutes. Dyson has forgotten more science than Romm ever knew -- making the whole attack rather amusing, on the whole: The midget attacks the mountain. Many critics of Warmism are in fact eminent scientists -- against whom mere propagandists like Romm and Al Gore make a sorry contrast. As far as I can see, Romm has NO scientific achievements to his credit. His life after graduating has been wholly political

A profile of Freeman Dyson has attracted the wrath of Joe Romm. Follow the bolded words below to see what passes for intelligent discourse on Climate Progress, Joe Romm’s allegedly “indispensable blog” (as Tom Friedman inexplicably put it several weeks back):
Shame on the New York Times Magazine for publishing an extended, largely favorable profile of Freeman Dyson, a true climate crackpot …”

Shame on them for printing his scientifically unjustifiable slanders of the country’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen …”

“And shame on the NYT’s top climate science reporter, Andy Revkin for promoting this piece on his blog with not a single criticism of Dyson’s numerous anti-scientific statements and smears . . . I call on Revkin to retract his absurdly indefensible assertion that, ‘On climate, Mr. Dyson may be right . . . (see full quote at end)’”

Romm betrays himself with the editing of Revkin’s sentence; more about that in a minute. But first… Romm aims his wrath at the New York Times for publishing a profile of Freeman Dyson in this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, and, of course, at one of his favorite whipping boys, Andy Revkin, for writing about the profile dispassionately in his DotEarth blog.

In Joe Romm’s logic, anyone who disagrees with him is guilty of “smears” and “slander,” as opposed to simply offering an opinion, which, well, may be right or wrong. It’s not good enough for Romm to argue passionately against a point of view. For anyone with the chutzpah to advance an argument he disagrees with, Romm seems compelled to use taunts and epithets. He also frequently ties this tactic with the demand that a writer or publication “retract” what they’ve published. One gets the sense that honest debate is not Romm’s goal, but quite the opposite: the shutting down of free expression. And in my opinion, this makes him the entirely dispensable censor.

Romm reveals just how dispensable his blog really is with his editing of Revkin’s sentence — editing that was clearly intended to twist Andy’s original meaning to leave his readers with a false impression. Here is the full sentence, minus Romm’s excisions: “On climate, Mr. Dyson may be right or wrong, and pretty much admits that.”

Yes, Romm did direct his readers to Revkin’s blog to see the “full quote at end.” But how many will actually take the extra steps to do that? Not many. If Romm really was interested in truth he would have have included the six extra words in that sentence.

I suspect that something other than a pursuit of the truth and healthy debate is at work here. What might that be? Let’s string together the strong words from his post, one after the other: shame; slanders; shame; shame; smears; absurdly indefensible; loopy; famous crackpot camp; outlandish; crackpot; rant and rave; loopiness; slander-fest; uncivil, unjustified ravings; crackpots. (Did I catch them all?)

And then this: “Shame on the NYT, shame on the reporter, Nicholas Dawidoff, for publishing this crackpot’s crap for millions to read and possibly think is credible”

I believe psychologists have a word for Romm’s unseemly behavior: “projection.” (Or possibly ”transference“?)


Some scientists are cool to the warming idea

For some people the global warming debate has gone as cold as these late March days; there isn’t one anymore. But for two scientists scheduled to speak in Racine next week, it might as well be the heat of August. Willie Soon, a physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and David Legates, an associate professor of climatology at the University of Delaware, don’t buy into the prevailing hypothesis that all the carbon dioxide we’re adding to the atmosphere will in just a few decades warm the earth and cause drastic changes in the weather.

For the first 14 of his 19 years in science, Soon said he conducted research on the sun without thinking about the role of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, quietly publishing scientific papers that opposed mainstream thought on global warming. In the last five years, he said, his conscience drove him to start speaking out. His work has led him to the conclusion that solar radiation, the sun shining on the earth, is the driving force in what other scientists believe is global warming. He suggests that the waxing and waning of the sun’s power, as reflected in sunspot cycles, can account for changes in the global climate history.

Legates’ objection to human-caused global warming lies with the lack of warming in the last decade. That suggests that some other force is acting on the climate, he said. He is troubled by the computer models which don’t reflect the real world, and he said that some of those predictive models assume extraordinary amounts of carbon dioxide because that’s the only way the model will produce a trend.

Soon and Legates also take issue with the current scientific system. No one will truly engage him in discussion of the science, Soon said; everything descends into personal attacks. “They’re not willing to criticize my work and point out the errors. That’s the problem. I don’t know what is wrong with my argument,” he said.

Legates said many scientists who don’t necessarily agree with human-caused warming remain silent because it keeps research money flowing and because most want quiet lives. Both suggested there is a problem of group-think in climate science. As the editor of a journal, Legates said, he could publish just about anything by picking the reviewers carefully. “You can’t simply can’t declare the debate’s over,” Legates said. “We’re not anywhere close to that point.”

“I think that skepticism is healthy in the scientific process,” said Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist for climatic research at the Gaylord Nelson Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I think it would be very dangerous if everyone had the same view and didn’t question each other.”

Although not an expert in solar radiation, he said he does keep up on the field and everything he’s read discounts the sun as a force in global warming. Computer climate models are necessarily simplifications, and the large amounts of carbon dioxide used in them are not to find a trend but to account for all the other greenhouse gases, Vavrus said. As to recent ups and downs, he said, there is always natural variability in the climate system.

If one just reads the science in the reports from the International Panel on Climate Change, he said, it’s overwhelming. Likewise there are few naysayers at conferences because most scientists have come to the conclusion that carbon dioxide generated by humans is the major factor in global warming, he said.

What Soon describes as personal attacks are unfortunate, Vavrus said. “You know, I’d be interested in getting together with the two of them and having a beer and chatting about some of these things if we could keep it from getting personal, because I’m interested in their experiences in sticking their necks out and being such skeptics because I know it’s such a tough road for them.”

“On the other hand, scientists love to prove each other wrong,” he said. That is so ingrained in scientists that it serves as a check on pressures to conform, he said.


Indiana governor critical of new environmental laws

Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a Friday morning stop in Linton that he is proud that the state has stepped up and passed historic coal legislation that he says is good news for the economy in Greene, Sullivan and other southern Indiana communities. Daniels signed a bill into law Tuesday that allows the state's finance authority to negotiate long-term contracts to buy and sell synthetic natural gas from a planned southern Indiana coal-gasification plant.

The governor said the law will save Indiana's natural gas users billions of dollars by ensuring a steady supply of synthetic natural gas free of the price fluctuations of the natural gas market.... Much of the coal will come from the new Peabody Coal Company Bear Pit surface mine that will open later this year south of Dugger....

"These plants will deliver savings to rate payers over time because the long-term cost of coal will be less than the long term cost of natural gas. So what do you get -- a ton of jobs and we pay ourselves instead of someone else for the coal. It's essentially as clean as nuclear and wind power and all of these other things and it's savings to rate payers. It's a really good deal. I've been working on this for three years, so if I sound fired up, I am."

The governor urged Hoosiers to pay attention to a federal movement originating with the current administration in Washington D.C. of what is being suggested in the name of "climate controls" is what he called a "horrible threat to Greene County (and) to all of Indiana."

"The way it is being suggested is this carbon tax will be paid on your utility bills and would more than double utility bills in this state," Daniels said, and pointed out this would hurt the state's ability to attract new business and hinder jobs creation.

"What this is beginning to smell like is a plan that will tax the living day lights out of the Midwest so they can spend money on whatever (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi has in mind in California," Daniels stressed. "I'm hoping that this whole climate change freight train is slowing down a little bit. They (the administration) is determined to do this thing. I've talked to (Senators) Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar about this and I think they are aware of the dangers."

The governor pointed out that jobs and the economy continue to be a concern. He noted that the state is among the leaders in the Midwest in creating new jobs, but are losing far too many other manufacturing jobs as the recession tightens.


Texas education board's global warming standards irk Green Fascists

Must not question them! Textbook requirements question whether AGW exists but also push students to explore its implications

The State Board of Education on Friday adopted standards on the teaching of global warming that appear to both question its existence and prod students to explore its implications.

Language that instructed students to "analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming," which had been offered as an amendment and was adopted unanimously in an initial vote Thursday, led to outrage among environmental groups. "In a last-minute assault on science and sensibility, the board appears to be supporting its own ideological views rather than those of proven science," said Ramon Alvarez, a senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund.

The chairman of the state board, Don McLeroy, called the standards "perfectly good." "Conservatives like me think the evidence (for human contributions to global warming) is a bunch of hooey," McLeroy said.

But the state board approved standards that engage some of the underlying causes and effects of global warming, including one that calls on students to "analyze the empirical relationship between the emissions of carbon dioxide, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and the average global temperature trends over the past 150 years" and another to "describe the effect of pollution on global warming, glacial and ice cap melting, greenhouse effect, ozone layer, and aquatic viability."

The current standards, which were adopted about a decade ago, barely touch on climate change.

"Asking students to independently discover the relationship between ice melting and global warming is important," said James Canup, executive director of the Texas League of Conservation Voters. "But the main message coming out of there is that Texas is setting a bad standard by putting question marks next to global warming in the textbooks."


Alaska: Drowning in the snows of Kotzebue

It's March now, how March should be-blue and sunny, twenty to thirty below in the morning with daytime highs rising to zero. Winter is slipping into memory, but we still have the drifts around Kotzebue to remind us.

January brought a longer-than-usual stretch of 30 and 40 below weather. We got restless, on the verge of cabin fever. We thought we deserved a break. Then the storms came, blizzards after blizzard--so often that we might as well have painted our windows white. Not that the paint would have stayed on.

Kotzebue is supposed to be stormy, but this year was more like drowning-we'd get a blow, and if we were lucky have a day to come up for air and shovel out, and then get hit with it again.

Much more HERE

Australia: 'Extinct' possums back from the dead

There are MILLIONS of possums in Australia and New Zealand. "Brushtail" possums commonly live in the roof spaces of older houses in Brisbane, where they make a considerable racket. It is hard to imagine how noisy such small animals can be. They sound like a thundering herd of elephants when they run about on my ceiling at times. Visitors from South are often greatly alarmed by the noise they make there and look dubious when you tell them that it is "just possums". Most Brisbane people are used to them, however. Nonetheless possum removal experts do a good trade. The fact that the slightly different species described below is so rare almost certainly indicates that it has been out-competed by the more adaptable common "brushtail" species and was headed for extinction anyway.

Although they are only about the size of a small cat, Australia's possums (a different but related species to the American opossum) are remarkably fearless of humans, which is rather endearing and gives rise to the Australia expression of "Stir the possum". If you disturb them they will often snap back rather than run away. That fearlessness is probably bad for them in New Zealand, however. New Zealanders hate them and do all they can to kill them. The fact that there are probably more possums in New Zealand than there are people might have something to do with that. But I certainly enjoy it when I am having an evening meal on my verandah and a possum comes strolling past along the telecoms cable that runs above the street in front of my house. They are remarkably confident little animals and seem to do a high wire act with total ease

And I can vouch for the fact that Australia's "brushtail" possums are marsupials. I got quite a clear view of the marsupium of a female possum while sitting at my dinner table recently. There is a mulberry tree that abuts onto my verandah and possums often leap about in it quite unconcerned about the nearby human presence. It is always a great pleasure to see them there. And I live in an old inner-city area, not in any kind of rural setting. But Australian inner city areas tend to be pleasant, leafy places. I also see wild turkeys about the place a lot

A POSSUM population believed to have been wiped out by climate change is in fact clinging to survival, scientists say. Researchers say they have discovered three living brown lemuroid ringtail possums in the Daintree National Park, on Cape York, although the Daintree possums were believed to have been killed off during a heat wave in 2005.

No white lemuroid possums - which once accounted for 40 per cent of the lemuroid possum population in the area - have been located so far.

But Associate Professor Steve Williams of James Cook University said there was no reason to believe they wouldn't have survived alongside their brown relatives. "I don't think there is any reason to believe the white ones are harder hit than the brown ones," he said.

Lemuroid ringtail possums are found in just two locations, at the Carbine Tablelands in the Daintree and in the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns, though white lemuroids are extremely rare in the latter location.

Prof Williams said the Daintree possums had not been spotted since an extended heatwave in 2005, leading to the belief that they had been pushed to extinction by climate change. He said the species could not cope with extended periods of temperatures over 27 degrees.

"Over the last 50 years, the number of days where you get that temperature has been steadily increasing, to the point that in 2005 there were 27 consecutive days where the temperature went above that threshold," he said. "That seems to have really knocked them down."

Prof Williams said the species still hadn't been found in locations where they had been common and his research team would try to identify why they had survived in the current location.

He said the possums remained extremely vulnerable and another heatwave could wipe them out. "I don't think they are out of danger in any shape or form. It is very clear that these heatwaves are steadily increasing," he said. [And where is the evidence for that? It is just a creed he is uttering]



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


Saturday, March 28, 2009


An email from Paul Stevens [pstevens2@gmail.com]:

I have been struck, recently, by what I think is a significant shift observable in the public media. I don't mean that suddenly all newspaper, television and internet outlets are suddenly printing anti-global warming pieces. Rather, it is in the comment sections under most internet blog and news items and in letters to the editors of hard copy news journals.

There now seems to be a preponderance of public comment that rejects the wilder claims of the AGW proponents and that recommend nuclear power as a clear and reasonable alternative to windmills and solar photovoltaic as primary generators of electricity. I would say this turnaround has occurred within the last year. It is now common to see more than five comments rejecting alternate energy solutions to every one supporting it. And an even higher ratio rejecting wild claims of doom for inevitable global warming for every one saying it is natural, or slight or something that can easily be accomodated in a world whose people are growing more prosperous.

This has been happening gradually for years, but in he last twelve months public opinon (as expressed in the available media) seems to have reached a tipping point. Maybe the climate change cheerleading squads are just tired, after hyping it for so long, with so little actual change. I wouldn't call this a rout just yet, as long as Obama feels he has to mouth platitudes about how the US will soon be leading the charge, but it is starting to take on the odour of one.

Hansen admits to guesswork about basic climate model inputs

On Mar. 11, Dr. James E. Hansen gave a talk at the Climate Change Congress in Copenhagen. It was titled "Air Pollutant Climate Forcings within the Big Climate Picture" It is available online here [PDF].

As Tom Nelson observes: "The stuff on pages 6-8 of the PDF really has to be seen to be believed. Hansen actually admits [Chart 9] that the IPCC aerosol estimate was "pretty much pulled out of a hat""

The commentary for Chart 8 is also a rather revealing admission:

"We do not have measurements of aerosols going back to the 1800s – we don’t even have global measurements today. Any measurements that exist incorporate both forcing and feedback. Aerosol effects on clouds are very uncertain"


[...] Formed in a heretical and broad-thinking tradition of British public intellectuals, Dyson left behind a brooding England still stricken by two bloody world wars to become an optimistic American immigrant with tremendous faith in the creative imagination's ability to invent technologies that would overcome any predicament. And according to the physicist and former Caltech president Marvin Goldberger, Dyson is himself the living embodiment of that kind of ingenuity. "You point Freeman at a problem and he'll solve it," Goldberger says. "He's extraordinarily powerful." Dyson seems to see the world as an interdisciplinary set of problems out there for him to evaluate. Climate change is the big scientific issue of our time, so naturally he finds it irresistible. But to Dyson this is really only one more charged conundrum attracting his interest just as nuclear weapons and rural poverty have. That is to say, he is a great problem-solver who is not convinced that climate change is a great problem.

Dyson is well aware that "most consider me wrong about global warming." That educated Americans tend to agree with the conclusion about global warming reached earlier this month at the International Scientific Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen ("inaction is inexcusable") only increases Dyson's resistance. Dyson may be an Obama-loving, Bush-loathing liberal who has spent his life opposing American wars and fighting for the protection of natural resources, but he brooks no ideology and has a withering aversion to scientific consensus. The Nobel physics laureate Steven Weinberg admires Dyson's physics - he says he thinks the Nobel committee fleeced him by not awarding his work on quantum electrodynamics with the prize - but Weinberg parts ways with his sensibility: "I have the sense that when consensus is forming like ice hardening on a lake, Dyson will do his best to chip at the ice."

Much more HERE


The erstwhile chief organ of the old Soviet leadership still has some ideas in common with the past. But this time they make more sense. Or they should to Leftists anyway

I think that the CO2-caused Global Warming theory is false and unproven junk science.

But let's suppose for a moment that the CO2 equals Global Warming equation is real. The wealthy elitists James Hansen, Al Gore, Tony Blair, Barack Obama, and the other high-profile cheerleaders for CO2 reduction are asking the poor and middle classes to suffer the consequences of a radical shutdown of global commerce and energy production in order to 'save the planet' from Global Warming. They want to make serfs of the masses of working people, while a privileged elite will be permitted to continue living in high style with a much larger 'carbon footprint' than the un-entitled lower classes.

We should never let that happen. The only way that 'carbon rationing' should be allowed is by assigning the exact same carbon limit to all people everywhere. Al Gore, Barack Obama, a London cabbie, and a Kalahari Bushman should all be assigned exactly the same number of 'carbon credits', period. Let them trade their credits with each other, but everyone should be restricted to the same limited 'carbon credit' allowance. The long-term ultimate effect of this would be an economic leveling of society; essentially global Communism. Under such a system, no one would be able to accumulate an excess of personal property or wealth because they could never accumulate enough 'carbon credits' to do so.

When Hansen, Gore, Blair, and Obama give up their patrician incomes and lifestyles and restrict their own 'carbon footprint' to the level of the common labourer or office worker, I will begin to believe that they are sincere about preventing Global Warming. Their obvious unwillingness to do what they are asking the rest of us to do proves that they are not sincere. They want the common people to sacrifice their lives to prevent Global Warming, while the wealthy retain their high-carbon consuming and producing privileges.

We cannot permit a privileged elite to enjoy a 'high-carbon' lifestyle while the poor are restricted by law to a 'low-carbon' lifestyle. Any effort by any government to impose carbon rationing with preferential treatment to any class of people should be seen as sufficient reason for an all-out French-style revolution in which the majority population dispossess the elitists of their wealth, their positions of power, and their privilege. In a world that is constantly threatened by Global Warming, we cannot allow a greedy few to consume or produce in excess of the average 'carbon footprint' of the world's population as a whole.

Barack Obama keeps the temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the Oval Office while telling the rest of us to turn our thermostats down. James Hansen has received grants amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote the Global Warming theory. Al Gore has invested heavily in the 'carbon trading' brokerage business. All of these men jet around the world, live in oversized houses, and ride in limousines. If the common people are to be required by law to reduce our 'carbon footprint', we need to demand that our leaders and the wealthy elite be restricted to exactly the same carbon allowance as everyone else.

We are not all together in the fight against Global Warming unless everyone is required to make the same sacrifices by sharing an equal 'carbon footprint' and an equal 'carbon ration', which should be assigned equally to every living person in the entire world. We need to hold the elitists' feet to the fire and require them to make exactly the same sacrifices as the rest of humanity.

Individual carbon limits and carbon rationing? Bring them on. Viva la Revolucion!


The Greatest Scam in History

Are you one of the victims of the "greatest scam in history"? I'm not referring to the scam conducted by Bernie Mad[e]off. I'm referring to what veteran meteorologist John Coleman calls the "greatest scam in history".

The victims of Mad[e]off's scam are typical of scam victims. They allowed their greed to override their common sense. They failed to consider the advice of the police that if some opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Victims of the global warming scam have done nothing to make themselves victims, particularly those who are unemployed through no actions they have taken.

Those who could have been employed constructing clean coal powered electric plants are unemployed because the perpetrators of the global warming scam have stopped construction of those plants. The need to supply equipment for such plants and goods and services to construction workers would have created more jobs.

According to the perpetrators of the global warming scam, there is supposed to be a total consensus that what they call "global warming" is a major threat to earth's future. Coleman is one of many meteorlogists who disagree with some or all of their claims. S. Fred Singer is another who questions such claims. The two of them together have over 100 years of experience studying weather. Coleman founded the Weather Channel. Singer was the first head of the National Weather Satellite Service.

The claim that the minor atmospheric gas carbon dioxide (CO2) can determine atmospheric temperature sounds so absurd that it is hard to understand how anyone with a logical scientific mind could believe it. Supposedly CO2 which comprises less than 400 parts per million of the atmosphere can cause higher temperatures by absorbing and reemitting low energy infrared radiation (IR) from earth's surface. They make this claim in spite of the fact that physicist R.W. Wood proved a century ago that trapping IR couldn't even cause heating in an enclosed greenhouse much less the atmosphere.

The equation they use to predict catastrophic warming contains a major flaw that NASA covered up until Ferenc Miskolczi left NASA and blew the whistle on them. The equation Arthur Milne developed in 1922 contains a serious flaw. Milne mistakenly solved the differential equation involved by assuming an infinitely thick atmosphere. NASA is a major player in the global warming scam. Some of its employees may have acted illegally.

Those who believe in global warming claim that a 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degree Celsius) increase in what they call a global average temperature during the 20th Century indicates global warming. The fact is that even if the number they use had any mathematical value it would amount to only a 0.16 % change which would more likely be due to changes or deficiencies in equipment or changes in the area surrounding the equipment. Much of that equipment is in areas where maintenance is likely to be unavailable, but even the equipment in developed countries may be unreliable. There are documented problems with equipment and locations used to measure temperatures in the U.S.

Believers in global warming act more like religious fanatics than scientists. For them consensus is more important than facts. They call those who question their beliefs names like "contrarians" or "deniers" much like those who believed the earth was the center of the universe called Galileo and Copernicus "heretics'.

Those who question global warming have something else in common with Galileo and Copernicus. Galileo and Copernicus challenged the belief that the human inhabited earth must be the center of the universe the sun. Their persecutors believed the sun must revolve around the earth because the consensus view considered humans so important.

Those who claim humans are causing global warming believe humans are so powerful they can magically control earth's climate by manipulating a very minor atmospheric gas. They ignore the fact that earth's heat comes from the sun.

The so-called "deniers" believe that changes in the sun's output determine whether earth warms or cools. Some astrophysicists, who study the sun, believe that thousands of years of observation of the sun indicate the sun is about to enter a part of its cycle in which it will produce less heat as was the case in the 18th Century when Gen. George Washington's troops spent an extremely cold winter at Valley Forge.

The corrupt United Nations and other political organizations are pushing the scam. This is the same U.N. that was behind the oil for food scandals and scandals in UNESCO and UNICEF. The same U.N. that approved the U.S. invasion of Iraq to look for Weapons of Mass Destruction. There was more evidence for WMD in Iraq than there is for global warming caused by CO2.

Some financial interests, including the bankrupt Lehman Brothers, have been pushing the scam as means of increasing the value of a financial instrument they call "carbon credits". These carbon credits potentialty allow financial parasites to cut themselves in for a portion of the revenue of various companies. Carbon credits inflate the cost of goods and services and may force companies to lay off people who would otherwise not lose their jobs.

Supporters of the global warming scam claim they want to protect the environment, but they call CO2 a polutant even though it is essential to biological life. Plants need CO2 to produce the food we eat.

The scammers by emphasizing a non-threat to the environment divert attention from ways humans actually affect the environment such as the production of black soot in China's dirty coal electrical plants. Black soot mixing with snow in the Arctic converts sunlight into heat that melts the snow. Without the soot the snow would reflect the sunlight back into space.



A United Nations document on "climate change" that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes - all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discreetly worded United Nations "information note" on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an "effective framework" for dealing with global warming.

The 16-page note, obtained by FOX News, will be distributed to participants at a mammoth negotiating session that starts on March 29 in Bonn, Germany, the first of three sessions intended to hammer out the actual commitments involved in the new deal.

In the stultifying language that is normal for important U.N. conclaves, the negotiators are known as the "Ad Hoc Working Group On Further Commitments For Annex I Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol." Yet the consequences of their negotiations, if enacted, would be nothing short of world-changing.

Getting that deal done has become the United Nations' highest priority, and the Bonn meeting is seen as a critical step along the path to what the U.N. calls an "ambitious and effective international response to climate change," which is intended to culminate at the later gathering in Copenhagen.

Just how ambitious the U.N.'s goals are can be seen, but only dimly, in the note obtained by FOX News, which offers in sparse detail both positive and negative consequences of the tools that industrial nations will most likely use to enforce the greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The paper makes no effort to calculate the magnitude of the costs and disruption involved, but despite the discreet presentation, makes clear that they will reverberate across the entire global economic system.

Among the tools that are considered are the cap-and-trade system for controlling carbon emissions that has been espoused by the Obama administration; "carbon taxes" on imported fuels and energy-intensive goods and industries, including airline transportation; and lower subsidies for those same goods, as well as new or higher subsidies for goods that are considered "environmentally sound."

Other tools are referred to only vaguely, including "energy policy reform," which the report indicates could affect "large-scale transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail and airports." When it comes to the results of such reform, the note says only that it could have "positive consequences for alternative transportation providers and producers of alternative fuels."

In the same bland manner, the note informs negotiators without going into details that cap-and-trade schemes "may induce some industrial relocation" to "less regulated host countries." Cap-and-trade functions by creating decreasing numbers of pollution-emission permits to be traded by industrial users, and thus pay more for each unit of carbon-based pollution, a market-driven system that aims to drive manufacturers toward less polluting technologies.

The note adds only that industrial relocation "would involve negative consequences for the implementing country, which loses employment and investment." But at the same time it "would involve indeterminate consequences for the countries that would host the relocated industries."

There are also entirely new kinds of tariffs and trade protectionist barriers such as those termed in the note as "border carbon adjustment"- which, the note says, can impose "a levy on imported goods equal to that which would have been imposed had they been produced domestically" under more strict environmental regimes.

Another form of "adjustment" would require exporters to "buy [carbon] offsets at the border equal to that which the producer would have been forced to purchase had the good been produced domestically."

The impact of both schemes, the note says, "would be functionally equivalent to an increased tariff: decreased market share for covered foreign producers." (There is no definition in the report of who, exactly, is "foreign.") The note adds that "If they were implemented fairly, such schemes would leave trade and investment patterns unchanged." Nothing is said about the consequences if such fairness was not achieved.

Indeed, only rarely does the "information note" attempt to inform readers in dollar terms of the impact of "spillover effects" from the potential policy changes it discusses. In a brief mention of consumer subsidies for fossil fuels, the note remarks that such subsidies in advanced economies exceed $60 billion a year, while they exceed $90 billion a year in developing economies."

But calculations of the impact of tariffs, offsets, or other subsidies is rare. In a reference to the impact of declining oil exports, the report says that Saudi Arabia has determined the loss to its economy at between $100 billion and $200 billion by 2030, but said nothing about other oil exporters.

One reason for the lack of detail, the note indicates, is that impact would vary widely depending on the nature and scope of the policies adopted (and, although the note does not mention it, on the severity of the greenhouse reduction targets).

But even when it does hazard a guess at specific impacts, the report seems curiously hazy. A "climate change levy on aviation" for example, is described as having undetermined "negative impacts on exporters of goods that rely on air transport, such as cut flowers and premium perishable produce," as well as "tourism services." But no mention is made in the note of the impact on the aerospace industry, an industry that had revenues in 2008 of $208 billion in the U.S. alone, or the losses the levy would impose on airlines for ordinary passenger transportation. (Global commercial airline revenues in 2008 were about $530 billion, and were already forecast to drop to an estimated $467 billion this year.)

In other cases, as when discussing the "increased costs of traditional exports" under a new environmental regime, the report confines itself to terse description. Changes in standards and labeling for exported goods, for example, "may demand costly changes to the production process." If subsidies and tariffs affect exports, the note says, the "economic and social consequences of dampening their viability may, for some countries and sectors, be significant."

Much depends, of course, on the extent to which harsher or more lenient greenhouse gas reduction targets demand more or less drastic policies for their achievement.

And, precisely because the Bonn meeting is a stage for negotiating those targets, the note is silent. Instead it suggests that more bureaucratic work is needed "to deepen the understanding of the full nature and scale of such impacts."

But outside the Bonn process, other experts have been much more blunt about the draconian nature of the measures they deem necessary to make "effective" greenhouse gas reductions.

In an influential but highly controversial paper called "Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change," British economist Nicholas Lord Stern, formerly a high British Treasury official, has declared that industrial economies would need to cut their per capita carbon dioxide emissions by "at least 80% by 2050," while the biggest economies, like the U.S.'s, would have to make cuts of 90 percent.

Stern also calls for "immediate and binding" reduction targets for developed nations of 20 percent to 40 percent by 2020.

To meet Stern's 2050 goals, he says, among other things, "most of the world's electricity production will need to have been decarbonized."

By way of comparison, according to the U.S. Department Of Energy, roughly 72 percent of U.S. electrical power generation in 2007 was derived from burning fossil fuels, with just 6 percent coming from hydro-power and less than 3 percent from non-nuclear renewable and "other" sources. And even then, those "other" non-fossil sources included wood and biomass - which, when burned, are major emitters of carbon.



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


Friday, March 27, 2009


The early Pliocene is a bit pesky for Warmists. As far as we can tell, it was much like today in terms of CO2 levels and solar activity. Yet it was much warmer and so sea levels were much higher. But nobody knows why. It is not explained by the "forcings" usually discussed today. Does not that imply that there is much about earth's temperature that we do not understand? If so, should we not be leery of models which claim to predict earth's temperature from a state of such imperfect knowledge? Surely so!

A recent paper does not help much. It claims to explain the phenomernon but the explanation is pathetic. It concludes that in the larger and warmer ocean of the early Pliocene the warm water stetched closer to the pole. Big surprise! In good Greenie fashion, it would seem to be confusing an effect of warming with the cause of it.

Popular summary of the finding below followed by journal abstract

The early Pliocene epoch from 5.3 to about 3 million years ago was much warmer than today. Despite this difference, the early Pliocene climate was very much like the preindustrial present in many important ways--including the amount of solar radiation Earth received, the concentration of atmospheric CO2, and a nearly identical geographic environment. However, there was no permanent ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere, and global sea level was 25 meters higher. Why then was the world so different? Brierly et al. analyze new and published data about sea surface temperatures 4 million years ago that show that the meridional temperature gradient between the equator and the subtropics was much shallower than it is today, implying that the ocean tropical warm pool was much larger. An atmospheric general circulation model shows what major atmospheric circulation changes such a sea surface temperature field implies, with relevance for how climate warming may affect the future.


Greatly Expanded Tropical Warm Pool and Weakened Hadley Circulation in the Early Pliocene

By Chris M. Brierley et al.

The Pliocene warm interval has been difficult to explain. We reconstructed the latitudinal distribution of sea surface temperature around 4 million years ago, during the early Pliocene. Our reconstruction shows that the meridional temperature gradient between the equator and subtropics was greatly reduced, implying a vast poleward expansion of the ocean tropical warm pool. Corroborating evidence indicates that the Pacific temperature contrast between the equator and 32°N has evolved from 2°C 4 million years ago to 8°C today. The meridional warm pool expansion evidently had enormous impacts on the Pliocene climate, including a slowdown of the atmospheric Hadley circulation and El Niño–like conditions in the equatorial region. Ultimately, sustaining a climate state with weak tropical sea surface temperature gradients may require additional mechanisms of ocean heat uptake (such as enhanced ocean vertical mixing).

Science 27 March 2009. Vol. 323. no. 5922, pp. 1714 - 1718


Barack Obama may be forced to delay signing up to a new international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year because of the scale of opposition in the US Congress, it emerged today. Senior figures in the Obama administration have been warning Labour counterparts that the president may need at least another six months to win domestic support for any proposal. Such a delay could derail the securing of a tough global agreement in time for countries and markets to adopt it before the Kyoto treaty runs out in 2012.

American officials would prefer to have the approval of Congress for any international agreement and fear that if the US signed up without it there would be a serious domestic backlash.

Stephen Byers, co-chairman of the International Climate Change Taskforce, said: "The Copenhagen climate change talks in December will come at a difficult moment. The timing couldn't really be worse for the Obama administration. It is vital that this is recognised by the international community. If need be, we should be prepared to give them more time - not to let them off the hook and escape their responsibilities, but ensure they are politically able to sign up to effective international action which reflects the scale of the challenge we face." Byers, a former cabinet minister who has close contacts with senior Democrats in the Obama team, added: "The practical reality is that a delay into 2010 will still leave time for a new international structure to be put in place for 2012 to follow from Kyoto. Such a delay would be a price worth paying to bring the United States into the global effort to tackle climate change."

The White House's new chief science adviser, John Holden, was a member of the climate change taskforce and Todd Stern, one of its advisers, is working with Hillary Clinton at the State Department and will lead negotiations for the US in Copenhagen. Stern has warned it will be a tall order to get congressional approval before Copenhagen.

Obama has committed the US to reducing its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but scientists and European governments insist deeper cuts are needed. Obama has suggested that the US could compensate with swifter reductions in the years beyond 2020. His recent budget proposal calls for reducing US emissions roughly 80% by 2050 over 2005 levels.

The British government view, including that of the energy secretary, Ed Miliband, is that the Obama administration can and will strike a deal at Copenhagen, but officials in Washington fear America may be running out of time. They have even been looking at whether an agreement would be seen as an international treaty requiring a two-thirds majority in Congress, or whether it could be forced through as a presidential executive order. But the opposition within America is potentially substantial, and might be hardened if Obama looks like he is presenting Congress with a fait accompli.

There are thought to be as many as 15 Democratic senators who represent "rust-belt" states dependent on coal mining, steel production and heavy manufacturing, all big emitters of carbon. There have also been suggestions that the cost of any climate change legislation may be higher than the $646bn suggested by the Obama administration.

On Tuesday, Obama recommited himself and America to the principle of a "cap and trade" scheme, but said he would try to introduce a regional scheme that would ensure energy prices did not rise uniformly across America.

Stern would prefer to see the US go to Copenhagen with congressional approval, telling a recent symposium: "The optimum would be [climate] legislation that is signed, sealed and delivered. It has been a long time now that countries have been looking for the United States to lead and take action. I think nothing would give a more powerful signal to other countries in the world than to see a significant, major, mandatory American plan."



President Obama was huddled in talks yesterday with congressional Democrats over proposals that would pare his $3.6 trillion budget, raising question marks over how he would fund promises on healthcare, climate change and tax cuts.

Although the President was braced for ferocious opposition from Republicans, who warn that his spending plans will bankrupt America, he also faces growing hostility from a group of fiscally conservative Democrats alarmed by forecasts of a $9.3 trillion (£6.3 trillion) deficit over ten years.

Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, outlined a spending plan on Tuesday that would eventually cut annual deficits by two thirds but severely weaken the President's ability to extend health coverage to the uninsured or introduce measures designed to combat global warming.

While Mr Obama had sought a $634 billion "down-payment" for healthcare reform over the next decade, the Senate plan says that this must be paid for through savings elsewhere or tax increases at a later date.

Neither the Senate version - nor the slightly less severe proposal suggested yesterday by the House of Representatives Budget Committee - would include Mr Obama's scheme for a $15 billion a year "cap-and-trade" system on carbon use. This has encountered stiff resistance from Democrats in coalmining states such as the key electoral battlegrounds of Ohio and Pennsylvania, who say that 85 per cent of their energy comes from such fossil fuels and that it could have a devastating effect on a manufacturing sector already stricken by the recession.

Eric Cantor, a member of the Republican leadership in the House, claimed yesterday that Mr Obama's budget was "so far out of the mainstream" that even Democrats were reluctant to support it.



It is gradually dawning on Washington that cap-and-trade legislation won't pass anytime soon--certainly not this year, and probably not next year either. One reason is public opinion: a Gallup survey released last week revealed that "for the first time in Gallup's 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent." Just four years ago, protecting the environment enjoyed a 17-point edge; today, the advantage goes to the economy, 51-42.

The second reason is regional politics. Support for environmental legislation is strongest on the coasts, weakest in the interior areas that depend more heavily on coal-fired power plants. The Midwest, which has already been hit hard by the collapse of manufacturing, would take a second blow. This matters because the Democratic Party is an uneasy coalition between the coasts and the interior, symbolized by bitter fight between Henry Waxman and John Dingell for the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is hard to imagine Midwestern Democrats voting for cap-and-trade in current economic circumstances, and perhaps not in any economic circumstances--that is, unless they receive credible assurances of dollar-for-dollar offsets against the higher costs their constituents would have to bear.

This reality creates two difficulties for the Obama administration. On the fiscal front, the administration is counting on $629 billion in revenues from cap-and-trade to pay for the Making Work Pay tax credit and its proposed spending on clear energy technology. Failure to pass cap-and-trade would force the administration to choose between cherished programs and an even higher budget deficit, already estimated by the CBO at $9.3 trillion over the next decade. On the diplomatic front, when the Copenhagen Climate Conference convenes this December, the administration faces the prospect of showing up empty-handed. Senior officials acknowledge the potential embarrassment for a president so clearly determined to assert American global leadership on energy and environmental issues but see no easy way out.

In the face of these inconvenient developments, the administration's options are limited. If the president remains committed to Making Work Pay and clean energy investment, he will probably have to agree to equivalent spending reductions elsewhere, because fiscal moderates within his own party will insist. Internationally, the president's team would be wise to prepare other key participants in the Copenhagen conference for the near-certainty that the stance of the United States on emissions reductions will be based mostly on good intentions rather than settled policy. The administration, quite simply, won't be close to meeting its own standards of success on environmental issues--and it is hard to erect credibility on a foundation of overpromising and underperforming.



One by one, the energy giants that hoisted green flags and trumpeted their conversion to renewables are ducking and diving and hiding behind the curtains. Iberdrola, a big investor in wind farms in Spain and the owner of ScottishPower, is slashing its spending on renewables by 40 per cent. Shell said recently it would no longer invest in wind turbines, preferring to focus its efforts on new biofuel technology, while BP has opted out of the UK renewables market, deeming it to be a poor bet.

It is tempting to see the great push for renewable energy in Europe as a fair-weather phenomenon. The performance of Britain's turbines is a case in point - for much of January they were operating at about 10 per cent of capacity.

That should be no surprise, given that periods of severe cold (or heat) coincide with lack of wind, but it doesn't help when a utility is trying to deliver power into the grid, not to mention returns to its shareholders. These issues are critical, because we need to begin building more power capacity today if we are to avoid blackouts by 2015 when we are committed to closing old coal-fired power stations.

All of this is embarrassing for a Government that likes to portray itself as the champion of green causes. But it is pointless for Ed Miliband, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, to berate utilities for not building stuff that is uneconomic and, anyway, cannot be relied upon to deliver the power we need at the flick of a switch.


Australian interest in environment issues wanes as Facebook group urges Earth Hour power ON

An anti-Earth Hour group urging Australians to keep their lights blazing this weekend is a sign of waning interest in environmentalism, experts say. The global Earth Hour movement – founded in Australia in 2007 – is asking people to switch off their lights for one hour on Saturday night. But a Facebook group is urging people to "keep every light you own running during Earth Hour".

The group urges people to protest by switching lights on "if you think turning the lights out for an hour is completely ridiculous and will change nothing". "Or if you just think people who really believe global warming is a giant threat are dumb, join this group to keep every light you own running during Earth Hour."

Group member Alexander Woodhouse says: "The Earth Hour makes people feel like they've done their share and makes them sleep better... that's nice for them but it doesn't really help the earth." Another member wrote: "I don't believe the vast majority of those participating have given it enough thought to get to that point. ‘It's helping! I don't know how, but it's helping! I'm helping! I don't have to do anything else because I'm doing this now! Go me!'"

Australians have been losing interest in environmentalism for years, says social analyst David Chalke, who leads the annual AustraliaSCAN survey, a cultural change monitor established in 1992. "Absolutely the GFC (global financial crisis) has accelerated a decline in interest in environmentalism that was already going on,” Mr Chalke said. "Environmentalism has been in decline among the Australian public for the last five or six years. "The notion that we’re all becoming more environmentally concerned is not true. We get concerned occasionally when (global warming activist) Tim Flannery tells us we’re all going to die – but it’s not a genuine fundamental shift in values. "The impending recession has focussed people’s minds and priorities and clearly they are much more focussed of my job, my family, my house, rather than the more distant and esoteric idea of climate change. The attitude is: if the climate changes we’ll live with it."

Earth Hour will see lights go out in 82 countries and more than 2400 towns between 8.30pm and 9.30pm (local time) tomorrow night. Organisers hope one billion people will switch off. But practical measures – like demand for candles - suggest interest in the initiative has dipped this year. Last year, nearly 10,000 candles were ordered by a Caulfield candle business in Melbourne to cope with the demand during Earth Hour, but shop owner Roy Merrington said demand had dropped markedly, The Age reported. "I would like to think we would do the same (trade), but we will probably do half that," Mr Merrington said. "People's attention is elsewhere … the conversation about the health of the planet is on the back burner, because people are paranoid about money — and quite rightly."



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


Thursday, March 26, 2009

St. Andrews University: Global Warming Loses in Formal Debate

AGW supporters could not argue facts, had to insult instead -- as usual

By Richard Courtney

I write to report on a debate that defeated the motion "This House Believes Global Warming is a Global Crisis" during a meeting of the St Andrews University Debating Society. It is difficult to arrange a debate of anthropogenic (that is, man-made) global warming (AGW) because few proponents of AGW are willing to face such debate. They know from past experience that they always lose such debates because there is no evidence that AGW exists and much evidence that it does not.

However, on Wednesday 4 March 2009, the St Andrews University Debating Society held their debate of the motion, "This House Believes Global Warming is a Global Crisis" in the Old Parliament Building, St Andrews. The debate was organized and presided over with exemplary efficiency and professionalism by the Speaker of the Society, Ms Jessica Siegel. It was conducted with all the pomp and ceremony that could be expected of an ancient society of so ancient and prestigious a university.

And the debate was lively, informative and entertaining. It got emotional at times. Some of the contributions from the floor were of exceptionally high quality. But, it was somewhat spoiled by the weakness of the proponents of the motion. (I have good reason to suspect this weakness is because stronger speakers could not be obtained to propose the motion. If so, then it is yet another example of leading proponents of AGW fearing to face their critics in open debate).

The proponents of the motion were Ross Finnie MSP, former Scottish Government Minister for Environment and Rural Development; Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland; Gregory Norminton, Novelist `Serious Things', Environmental Activist, Founder of `Alliance against Urban 4x4s'

The motion was opposed by myself, and Nils-Axel Morner, Leader of the Maldives International Sea-Level Project who was awarded the `Golden Contrite of Merits' by Algarve University, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, Former advisor to then UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and now an Investigator of Scientific Frauds.

Each speaker was given a strict maximum of 7 minutes to speak. The speakers would alternate between proponents and opponents of the motion until all 6 had spoken. No speaker was allowed to speak more than once except to raise a point of information, order, or etc.

The proponents had clearly not prepared. They were not co-ordinated in their presentations, they each lacked any significant knowledge of the science of AGW, and they each assumed that AGW is a fact. None of them made a substantial presentation of arguments supporting the motion, and they all (including the politician!) lacked adequate skills at public speaking. The opponents of the motion were a sharp contrast to that. They each have significant expertise in their subject, and they had agreed the case they were to put and how they were to put it. Also, they are all very competent public speakers and their very different styles made their presentation much better than the sum of its parts.

Finnie spoke first. He argued that AGW is a fact because the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) that says the IPCC is "90% certain" that AGW exists. From this he claimed there is a "crisis" because governments are failing to give the matter sufficient importance. It is necessary for governments to decide a treaty that would follow-on from the Kyoto Ptotocol that intends to constrain emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) but ends in 2012. The decision needs to be made at a meeting later this year.

I replied by outlining the case for the opposition. My speech is copied here. It asserts that governments do need to have policies on climate change but empirical evidence denies the existence of AGW and so there is no need to constrain fossil fuel emissions. Indeed, the harm caused by the emission constraints would be greater than any harm that AGW could induce if it were to exist.

Robinson's response was very angry. He seemed to think attacking the opposition speakers would provide a victory for the motion. Almost his entire speech was attempted defamation of the opposition speakers. Within seconds of starting to speak he had accused them of being "like supporters of the Nazis in 1930s Germany" (my family lost everything in the blitz so I did not take kindly to that). The speakers on the opposition side "could not get anything published in peer-reviewed journals" (Morner and I each shouted out that we have and we do). And much of the same. He said people and governments must act to stop global warming (but he did not say how they should act) because - according to him - if a person had an elevated temperature of 2 degrees then he would die so we cannot let the Earth get 2 degrees hotter in case that kills the Earth.

Morner then gave a witty, entertaining and informative lecture on sea level change. The major potential threat from AGW is severe sea-level change. He interacted with the audience and selected one individual to jape with (his skill at this selection was later demonstrated when that individual stood and gave a speech that won the prize - of a Society neck-tie - for best speech from the floor). Morner presented data that showed sea level is not rising as a result of AGW at a detectable rate anywhere.

Norminton then spoke to conclude the case for the proponents of the motion. Like Finnie he seemed to be extremely nervous: both were shaking during their presentations. Norminton's hand was shaking so much he put it into his pocket. (I know others interpret this to be nervousness, but I think it was extreme anger: Norminton had not expected any opposition to the motion, and the assertion of clear evidence that AGW does not exist was - to him - an outrage too hard to accept.) Also, like Finnie, he did not address the motion. He said he was not a scientist so he had to accept the word of scientists about global warming and scientists agree that global warming is real and man-made. He said, the speakers on the opposition side were "not scientists". Lord Monckton interjected that "Courtney and Morner are". And Norminton replied, "So was Mengele." Monckton raised a Point of Order demanding withdrawal of the remark. Norminton lacked the wit to withdraw and move on, so he refused to withdraw. Monckton persisted pressing the Point of Order and Norminton continued to refuse to withdraw. Only moments before Morner had made himself the lecturer the students would most like to have, and support for Norminton drained away as he insisted that Morner was akin to a murderer operating in a Nazi concentration camp. Norminton continued by saying the threat of global warming was real, and it was killing polar bears, but it is not clear that anybody was listening to him.

Monckton then summated the case for the opposition. He had not prepared a speech but took notes of the proponents' speeches with a view to refuting arguments of the proponents that Morner and myself had not covered, and by defending the opposition case against rebuttals of its arguments. This was a deliberate use by our side of Monckton's debating skills. But he had a problem because the proponents of the motion had not made a case and they had not addressed any of our arguments. Instead, they had made personal attacks on the opposition speakers, and they had asserted - with no evidence or argument - that the IPCC is right. So, Monckton's summarizing speech consisted of evidence that the proponents of the motion had merely provided errors of logic and fact but they had not a case. He pointed out that polar bears had quadrupled their number in recent decades and this was not a sign that their species is threatened. And he cited and named each of the logical fallacies utilized by the proponents of the motion.

The debate then opened to the floor. Four persons each spoke well. One gave a balanced presentation and the other three spoke in favour of the motion. But by then the debate had been settled. Prior to the debate the opponents of the motion had expected to lose the vote because the students have been exposed to a lifetime (i.e. their short lifetime) of pro-AGW propaganda. We consoled ourselves with the certainty that we would win the arguments because opponents of AGW have all the facts on our side. But in the event we won both. The motion was defeated when put to the vote.


El Nino study challenges global warming intensity link

Research showing an El Nino event in 1918 was far stronger than previously thought is challenging the notion climate change is making El Nino episodes more intense, a U.S. scientist said on Tuesday. El Nino causes global climate chaos such as droughts and floods. The events of 1982/83 and 1997/98 were the strongest of the 20th Century, causing loss of life and economic havoc through lost crops and damage to infrastructure.

But Ben Giese of Texas A&M University said complex computer modelling showed the 1918 El Nino event was almost as strong and occurred before there was much global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels or widespread deforestation. The outcome of the research was valuable for several reasons, Giese told Reuters from Perth in Western Australia. "It questions the notion that El Ninos have been getting stronger because of global warming," he said ahead of a presentation of his team's research at a major climate change conference in Perth.

The 1918 event also co-incided with one of India's worst droughts of the 20th century. "We know that El Ninos and drought in India are often related to each other," he said.

El Nino is an abnormal warming of the surface waters in the eastern Pacific off South America that causes the normally rainy weather in the western Pacific to shift further to the east. This causes drought in parts of Australia, Southeast Asia and India as well as flooding in Chile and Peru, colder and wetter winters in the southern United States and fewer Atlantic hurricanes.

The droughts in Australia of 1982-83 and 1997-98 rank among the worst in the nation's modern history. Drought also occurred in eastern Australia from 1918-20.

Giese said his team ran a complex ocean computer model that, for the first time, used the results of a separate atmospheric model produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The result was a simulation of ocean temperatures, currents and other measures from 1908 to 1958. For 1918, the simulation produced a strong abnormal surface warming in the central Pacific and weaker warming nearer the South American coast.

There were very few measurements of the tropical Pacific during 1918, the last year of World War One, and ship-based measurements along the South American coast suggested only a weak El Nino. This, Giese said, reinforced the point that there is limited data about El Ninos prior to the 1950s and that computer models were one way to get a clearer picture of the past.

"We cannot rely on what El Nino looks like today to try to understand what El Nino patterns looked like in the past." "It makes it a challenge to talk about El Nino and global warming because we simply don't have a detailed record," he added.


An interesting question and answer below about the study above:

Q. Out of curiosity, as this study uses computer models, what makes its conclusion any more reliable than those by the alarmists which use such models? As we contend that much of the AGW theory is based on unproven computer models, I want to make sure we're not using computer models to refute conclusions ascertained FROM computer models. What makes Giese's models or methodology more reliable than those employed by studies supporting AGW?

A. The Giese computer studies examined real-world events to compare them. What was compared? We have heard it said, “the 1998 El Nino event was particularly severe. This event wouldn’t have been so bad if we didn’t have AGW. We haven’t seen any El Nino events like this in the past.”

Giese compared the 1998 El Nino event with the 1918 El Nino event, and examined changes that occurred because of the warming effects of the El Nino’s. The studies showed, that all other things being equal, and even removing supposed differences that arose because of AGW, the there is no basis to say, “the El Nino of 1998 was made worse by AGW.”

So in the Giese study, computers were used to analyze data – not to make projections. On the other hand, the Generalized Circulation Models GCM used by the IPCC to make projections of future climate use information they know or assume to be “forcing” the climate, they order these forcing, and they project what the future climate will be like. In doing so, the modelers add their own bias about the potential effects of AGW, which pretty much turn out to outstrip everything else (so they claim) – thus, this is not an objective use of computer modeling.

In the one case – we have somebody’s bias included for what the computer studies purports to show (or predict); and in the other case, we don’t.

New Report Predicts "New Global Ice Age"

MarketResearch.com has announced the addition of Unit Economics' new report "The New Global Ice Age," to their collection of Energy/Environment market reports. For more information, visit here.

Abstract of Unit Economics' Report: "New Global Ice Age"

"At first glance, a research piece predicting significantly colder weather seems rather bold. In reality, we're very confident about this report. That's because we are not so much predicting colder weather, but are instead observing it. More important, we're attempting to coax our readers to view recent weather data and trends with a neutral perspective -- unbiased by the constant barrage of misinformation about global warming. We assure you, based on the accuracy of climatologists' long-term (and short-term!) forecasts, you would not even hire them!

"For example, in 1923 a Chicago Tribune headline proclaimed: 'Scientist says arctic ice will wipe out Canada.' By 1952, the New York Times declared 'Melting glaciers are the trump card of global warming.' In 1974, Time Magazine ran a feature article predicting 'Another Ice Age,' echoed in a Newsweek article the following year. Clearly, the recent history of climate prediction inspires little confidence -- despite its shrillness. Why, then, accept the global warming thesis at face value? Merely because it is so pervasive?

"Unfettered by the Gore-Tex straitjacket of global warming dogma, one might ask some obvious questions. Why, in 2008, did Toronto, the Midwest United States, India, China, the United Kingdom and several areas of Europe all break summer rainfall records? Why was South Africa converted into a 'winter wonderland' this past September? Why did Alaska record its coldest summer this year -- cold enough for ice packs and glaciers to grow for the first time in measured history? Why has sea ice achieved record levels in recent months? Lastly, why did a rare October snow fall on London, on the 29th, as British Parliament debated -- appropriately enough -- a climate bill? If you don't believe that 2008 has been particularly wet and cold, you've most likely contracted typhoid or you haven't been paying attention.

"The reality is that there are forces at work, already affecting the weather for the past two years, that will make the next twelve years significantly cooler than anything we have seen in past decades. This report explores these forces and provides a roadmap of what to expect as the new ice age unfolds."


People still being sacrificed to climate god

Back in 1500, we learn from a Princeton professor, the Aztecs figured the climate debate was over, and that if you wanted rain or sunshine, it was simple enough what you had to do - sacrifice 20,000 lives a year to the right gods. In 2009, it's an equally sure thing in the minds of some that carbon in the air is going to fry us unless we put the welfare of millions on the line, and here is the latest on President Obama's plan - it could cost industry $2 trillion over eight years.

That hefty sum to be paid out to a cap-and-trade carbon tax would snatch money from consumers far more than rising oil prices did, hinder economic growth and in still other ways generate human misery, and all in the name of what? Computer models that can't get anything right, that's what.

Scientists feed tons of data into these simulating computers, and - given the doomsday theory animating the enterprise - it shouldn't surprise anyone that catastrophic warming is a calculation that then emerges. The problem is that all kinds of stuff is left out because there is a lot we do not know. "Over the past 10 years there has been no global warming, and in fact a slight cooling," physicist William Happer recently told the Senate. "This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC models," he said, referring to the conclusions of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on=2 0Climate Change.

Happer does not deny that the earth is warming, that increased amounts of carbon dioxide are being pumped into the atmosphere, that there is in fact something you can call a greenhouse effect or that the leveling temperatures of the past decade are still high. He doubts, however, that there's a scientific consensus on a disastrous outcome or that carbon dioxide is the villain it's made out to be.

A professor at Princeton, Happer said "90 percent of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor," and that the issue is whether the carbon dioxide will "substantially increase water's contribution" to causing something awful. The evidence is that it won't, said Happer, pointing out that "the current warming period began about 1800, at the end of the little ice age," when there wasn't a big increase in carbon dioxide.

It wasn't fossil fuels that did the warming deed - a good deed, by the way - and a war against these energy-producing, societal benefactors would therefore be as futile in controlling climate as slicing open bodies and ripping out hearts.

But what if skeptics like Happer are wrong? If there is a possibility of error, some argue, we should err on the side of safety, and that might be true if a carbon tax was not itself a peril and if it was not clear by now that we are putting global-warming garbage into computers, getting garbage out of them and that some are then treating that garbage like a god.


Global Warming Alarmists Propose Limiting Population ... to the Point of Extinction

In a statistical study entitled "Reproduction and the Carbon Legacies of Individuals," published in Global Environmental Change by Murtaugh and Shlax of Oregon State University, and again published here , the authors propose that the potential savings from reduced reproduction rates among humans are some 20 times more effective than the savings wrought by life style changes.

It is clear that the authors follow the Liberal mantra of the ends justify the means. If we can reduce carbon emissions by reducing the number of children, then we should do it, they gloat. It appears that carbon reductions trump even "life" itself. They summarize:

Much attention has been paid to the ways that people's home energy use, travel, food choices and other routine activities affect their emissions of carbon dioxide and, ultimately, their contributions to global warming. However, the reproductive choices of an individual are rarely incorporated into calculations of his personal impact on the environment. Here we estimate the extra emissions of fossil carbon dioxide that an average individual causes when he or she chooses to have children. The summed emissions of a person's descendants, weighted by their relatedness to him, may far exceed the lifetime emissions produced by the original parent. Under current conditions in the United States, for example, each child adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7 times her lifetime emissions. A person's reproductive choices must be considered along with his day-to-day activities when assessing his ultimate impact on the global environment.

The following very compelling video analysis explains the study in some detail:

By the authors' desires, if we would limit every couple to having only one child, we would solve the Global Warming problem for every one. Again, humanity itself is the cause of all the woe, and the best thing for us to do is just stop procreating -- or just drop dead. Living human beings are bad for the planet.

Indeed, the authors purposely fail to mention that their proposal puts humanity on a fast-tack extinction curve, as reproduction rates fall below population replacement rates. Surely, as statisticians they know this well. Within a few generations, there wouldn't be any one around to measure, least wise care, about carbon emissions. We would all be dead.

But golly, we would save the planet! Just goes to show you, Liberals are all about death and destruction. They absolutely live for it!

I've got a thought, why not have liberals first show us how it's done.. Go ahead liberals -- take the lead in this thing. Limit your own population first, and the rest of us might, "maybe," consider what you have to say.


California to reduce carbon emissions by... banning black cars?!?

Henry Ford would be horrified!

In a move that will likely get California's consumers in a huff, impending legislation may soon restrict the paint color options for Golden State residents looking for their next new vehicle. The specific colors that are currently on the chopping block are all dark hues, with the worst offender seemingly the most innocuous color you could think of: Black. What could California possibly have against these colors, you ask? Apparently, the California Air Resources Board figures that the climate control systems of dark colored cars need to work harder than their lighter siblings - especially after sitting in the sun for a few hours. Anyone living in a hot, sunny climate will tell you that this assumption is accurate, of course. In fact, legislation already exists for buildings that has proven successful at reducing the energy consumption of skyscrapers.

So, what's the crux of the problem... can't paint suppliers just come up with new, less heat-absorbent dark paints? According to Ward's, suppliers have reportedly been testing their pigments and processes to see if it's possible to meet CARB's proposed mandate of 20% solar reflectivity by 2016 with a phase-in period starting in 2012, and things aren't looking good. Apparently, when the proper pigments and chemicals are added to black paint, the resulting color is currently being referred to as "mud-puddle brown." That doesn't sound very attractive, now does it? Windshields, backlights and sunroofs are also slated to get reflective coatings starting in 2012.

When we first heard of this issue, an internal debate immediately began as to whether this might be an elaborate early April Fool's joke, but it isn't. Read through CARB's complete Cool Cars Standards and Test Procedures here (PDF link) for more



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


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


An email from David Whitehouse [dr_d_whitehouse@msn.com]

The recently completed Space Climate Symposium held in Finland came to some rather interesting conclusions regarding the solar contribution to 20th century climate change. Averaged over the entire globe the consensus (for what it's worth) was that solar variability contributed only 10-20% of the temperature variations observed, although some said it was 50%. But many agreed that solar variability can have a very strong regional effect - in fact stronger than any anthropogenic signal, especially over North America, Europe and Siberia. That's a substantial area of the northern hemisphere and, as we know, the recent warming spell has been somewhat stronger in the northern hemisphere and that's where the vast majority of the temperature sensors are.

If the sun is the dominant climate driving force over such a large swathe of northern hemisphere land then what can we expect now that it is showing signs of changing from an active state to a quiet one. There are two possibilities. One is that the weakened solar forcing will allow the greenhouse gas anthropogenic effect to be revealed and temperatures will rise. The other is that the quiet sun will have an effect that remains greater than the anthropogenic effect and hence, global cooling will be seen, which is the post 2000 case. Logically, if the sun can swamp anthropogenic effects like this, has the recent warming been that unusual or man made?

What Gives the Alarmists Nightmares?

Would you believe it's the Nano, a $2000 car produced in India? From the Green, Inc. blog at the NYTimes.com:
People across India have been saving money for months with the goal of purchasing the car, made by Tata Motors, a branch of the Indian conglomerate Tata Group, and which will be priced at about $2,000. For many, it would represent a leap, overnight, from the indignity of two-wheeled motor scooters to the relative luxury of four wheels and a roof.

For millions the car has become emblematic of their aspirations, as Vishal Bhatia, a Green Inc. reader in Mumbai, suggested in his comment the last time I posted about the Nano: “I’m buying it because it gives a sense of freedom,” Mr. Bhatia wrote, “freedom to go to someplace in uncrumpled clothes, with my deodorant still being able to mask my body odor. But above all to see the look in my family’s eyes when they see it in person.”

Environmentalists, however, have decried the Nano and its low-cost imitators as an impending disaster. Certainly, the seemingly guaranteed success of the Nano may create more traffic and strain on India’s already rickety urban infrastructure.

And although the car may emit fewer greenhouse gases than some two-wheelers, its launch still has troubled officials leading efforts on global climate protection. Last year, the Nobel Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri, who is head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was quoted as saying he was “having nightmares” about the car.

Unbelievable. These guys actually have nightmares about broadening prosperity — and the economic freedom that brings it about.


A Loose Cannon in the EPA

Jon Cannon wants to suck the air out of the economy, and unless he is held up by the Senate, they may be giving tacit approval to his radical agenda. Cannon, newly nominated Deputy EPA Administrator, has risen from the ranks of academia, and is poised to assume the number two position in the Environmental Protection Agency.

However, the praise that might normally be bestowed upon one nominated for an influential office must be tempered as his radical environmental views become known. And in the end, the Senate must look long and hard at the consequences that are sure to follow his tenure and decide if the nation is willing—or able—to pay the cost.

Presently at the University of Virginia, Jon Cannon is a Blaine T. Phillips Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law. He is no stranger to government, or the EPA for that matter. From 1992 through 1998, he served in the agency as an administrator and then general counsel. It was in 1998 that Mr. Cannon wrote a legal opinion arguing that the Clean Air Act permitted regulation of greenhouse gases. This opinion was relied upon by the plaintiffs in Massachusetts v. EPA, the 2007 decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that CO2 was in fact an “air pollutant” and therefore must be regulated by the EPA—largely agreeing with what Cannon had argued, in expanding the definition of “air pollutant” to include more than just emissions that “enter” the air, and including CO2, a naturally-occurring gas.

In a 2007 article discussing the case (and his indirect involvement), Professor Cannon makes a statement which should alarm the ears of any citizen concerned about government expansion. He states: “Environmentalism is associated with certain values—values that emphasize acting collectively for the common good and fitting harmoniously into the natural and social environment. Environmentalists generally favor regulation to prevent or correct the widespread harms they see in the world.”

Such a view of government is alarming. Phrases such as “acting collectively for the common good” is reminiscent of regimes which, while mouthing such words, acted in the interests of only the top few, or in some misguided manner to service a utopian agenda.

Viewing regulation as a solution to human problems—especially contrived ones such as “man-made” climate change—is not only to reject the basic tenets of liberty upon which this nation was founded, but presupposes that the government is 'purer' and 'less harmful,' as it supposedly possesses the moral authority to impose such regulations.

Mr. Cannon's support of heavy environmental regulations clearly bodes ill for the private sector. His view of carbon gas as a pollutant that must be regulated by the environment is extremely disturbing, and will severely harm American industry should he be confirmed. During a recession, increasing the regulatory burden on the very building blocks of our economy is unwise, at best. Most likely, it will prove destructive to carbon-emitting industries, namely, energy producers: coal, oil, shale oil, and natural gas.

Additionally, the drastic measures sure to be mandated would be done so without a solid backing of evidence. If the Democrats complained about the Bush Administration's supposed “rush to war” based on “faulty intelligence,” wait until they see the Obama Administration's “rush to regulate” based on “faulty science.” And sadly, the cost will be very high. Unleashing Mr. Cannon will blow a hole through much of the progress Western industry has made in the past hundred years.

Even worse than the radical action he wishes to take on behalf of the environment, however, is the underlying principle behind it—government can solve the errors perpetrated by the human race simply through increased regulation. That is antithetical to the ideals of personal liberty enshrined in our Constitution, and the Senate must take appropriate action to ensure that he is held fully accountable for this dangerous ideology. The nation demands it. And before all the wind is taken out of the sails of the economy, the Senate must pause to reconsider the radical environmentalist agenda.



Mayor Richard Daley promised long ago that his administration would start fighting global warming by buying 20 percent of its electricity from wind farms and other sources of green energy. But more than two years after the deadline he set, the city continues to get nearly all of its power from coal, natural gas and nuclear plants, according to records obtained by the Tribune.

Daley administration officials contend they have kept the mayor's promise by buying carbon credits, a controversial way of offsetting pollution by paying money to producers of green energy. The credits are supposed to lower the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide sent into the atmosphere.

But most of the credits Chicago has bought over the last two years didn't reduce carbon emissions at all, energy experts and the city's own broker on the deal said.

As a result, taxpayers paid the full bill for the city's normal electricity usage, then the city paid again—more than half a million dollars in all—for credits with questionable environmental benefits. Buying carbon credits fights global warming only if they help finance new sources of renewable energy, such as new wind turbines, energy experts said. Yet 87 percent of the credits Chicago has purchased sent money to a wood-burning power plant that has been operating for nearly two decades.



What one hand giveth, the other taketh away. The federal stimulus bill will reportedly net the average American $13 a week. Today, Michigan’s two major utilities announced that federal green emissions mandates will in part necessitate an 11 percent electric rate hike this year — or approximately $10 a month to the average Michigander.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the bills that are coming due on the “greening of America. Michigan sports the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 10.6 percent and can ill-afford higher utility costs. But as a state controlled by hip Obamawannabe, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and her union allies, Michigan bears watching as a harbinger for what awaits the U.S. Like Obama, Granholm has ordered a fundamental restructuring of Michigan’s energy infrastructure, putting all new state coal plants on hold and demanding a 45 percent cut in coal generation in 20 years . . . allegedly to be filled by government-mandated wind power.

Meanwhile, Democratic Washington is trying to force through a cap-and-trade law that will discriminate against coal-heavy manufacturing states like Michigan. Utility executives predict electricity rates may climb another 40 percent as a result.

Finally, in anticipation of these costs, the state utilities lobbied for — and have received — a gutting of the state’s electric deregulation law, so that they can get a guaranteed return on the enormous investment of, say, a low-carbon nuclear plant. Translation for ratepayers of a re-monopolized environment: More rate hikes ahead.



When President Obama released his budget plan three weeks ago, it included a whopping $1.6 trillion in new taxes. The plan contained $989 billion in various tax increases and a $646 billion cap and trade tax. As we previously noted, if enacted, this would be the largest tax increase in American history.

But it turns out the Administration’s budget did not reveal the entire truth. A top White House aide told Senate staffers that cap and trade tax would be much higher than the initially reported $646 billion. In fact, Jason Furman, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, told Senate staffers the tax would cost American taxpayers between $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion.

A $1.6 trillion tax raise is huge—but a tax increase of $2.3 trillion or $2.9 trillion is astonishing. To put that in perspective, that is a tax increase of $7,500 to $9,500 per American. Let’s hope the cost of the President’s budget does not continue to escalate.



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


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The incredible shrinking polar bear?

Commentary follows the article below

Polar bears are shrinking, along with the ice on which they live – and are turning to cannibalism – as global warming increasingly stops them getting enough to eat. Scientists say the animals are now only two-thirds as big as they were 30 years ago as melting ice makes it harder for them to catch seals, and that they have begun to hunt each other instead.

The news comes as Arctic nations agreed at a special summit in Norway last week to draw up an action plan to try to save the highly endangered species.

The bears subsist almost entirely on seals, and depend on the polar ice to hunt them. As the seals swim too fast in open water, the bears have to lie in wait for them to surface for air through holes and cracks in the ice. But the best place to do this is near land, as the seals congregate in shallow waters, and every year the ice is receding further out to sea as global warming takes hold.

Even worse, the ice is melting earlier each year – cutting down the amount of seals the bears can catch in the spring, which the bears use as a vital fattening-up time to see them through a long summer fast.

New research presented at last week's summit – the most important meeting on the fate of the polar bear for more than three decades – shows that female bears now weigh an average of 230kg, a full 65kg less than in 1980, and are 220cm long, 35cm less than before.

Their health has suffered as their weight has fallen, impairing their ability to reproduce and have cubs that survive. "The chain of events starts with a drop in body condition that subsequently leads to a drop in reproduction, which leads to a drop in survival," Dr Andrew Derocher, chair of the international Polar Bear Specialist Group, told delegates.

Other scientists report that, in their desperation, the bears are turning on each other. Dr Steven Amstrup, a specialist on the animals at the US Geological Survey, says they are "clearly deliberately hunting other bears, for example by attacking females in their denning areas".

Two years ago a giant US government study predicted that global warming would kill off two-thirds of the world's polar bears by 2050. But this is now thought to be over-optimistic: the melting is accelerating so fast that many scientists believe the Arctic Ocean will be completely ice-free in summer by 2030.


Some emailed comments on the above by Mitchell Taylor [mktaylor23@xplornet.com], manager of wildlife research for the Nunavut government

If the bears actually do weigh 65 kg less now then they did in 1980, and they weigh 230 kg now, then they must have weighed 295 kg in 1980. 65/295 = 0.22. A 22% decline is not a 1/3 (33%) decline. I don't know where these weight data come from. A 230 kg female is a 500 lb bear. This would be a fat female in good condition. I think the journalist got his information mixed up. He does not seem particularly quantitative.

Temporal declines in body mass have been identified in some populations (SB, WH, SH, BB, perhaps more). Demographic impacts have been identified in only two populations (SB and WH). These declines have been associated with reductions in sea ice. Please excuse my oversimplification, but climate generally warmed during the last two decades of the previous century. That general warming trend was followed by regional arctic warming period from natural (not CO2) causes. It is not surprising that some polar bear populations would be impacted from a 30 year warming trend. What is surprising is that most of the populations appear to remain abundant and productive. This suggests adaptation to climate fluctuations, and some potential to mitigate state changes to prolonged warmer conditions.

The IPCC CO2 climate models predict that AGW will occur first and most at arctic latitudes. Thus the recent arctic warming period has been important in providing evidence that CO2 greenhouse effects are causing global warming. From what I have been able to read, the last 10 years of arctic warming had nothing to do with CO2 greenhouse effects. There was an unusual influx of warm north Pacific surface water, strong anomalous offshore winds in the west that pushed the pack ice into the East Greenland current and transported much of the multi-year ice out of the polar basin. The open water generated a water vapor greenhouse effect. The warming and transition to mainly annual ice contributed to albedo effect, earlier break-up and later freeze-up. None of this had anything to do with CO2. The CO2 climate models did not predict the warming mechanism that occurred, and do not predict this magnitude of arctic warming for another 20 or 30 years.

Intra-specific predation has always been a part of polar bear ecology. Science and TEK are consistent on that. Females with cubs and sub-adults avoid areas where large males congregate, especially in summer retreat areas. Occasionally a big male kills and eats a sub-adult or a cub, and rarely an adult female. Sub-adults usually present no danger to adult females, and females do not attack each other in my experience. The Alaskan's have not seen much of this behavior because their population mostly summers on the pack ice. Alaskan researchers recently observed a few incidents of intra-specific attacks and cannibalism in their area, and have generalized these anecdotal observations to all polar bears as yet more proof that global warming is killing polar bears.

When the PBSG meets in Copenhagen in June, I do not know if there will be any polar bear biologist at that meeting who is not entirely convinced that polar bears are declining due to AGW. I saw a recent announcement that the recent Tromso, Norway meeting of nations signatory to the International Agreement for the Conservation of Polar Bears resulted in an independent agreement to reduce anthropogenic impacts on polar bear sea ice habitat. Arctic sea ice has recovered to approximately historical levels this winter, but the arctic pack ice still has less mass because there is almost no multi-year ice.

I don’t understand climate forcings well enough to advise if the summer conditions that caused the recent arctic warming period will continue or abate. I think the only thing that will uncouple polar bears from AGW is a return to historical arctic sea ice conditions. The AGW and Environmentalist propaganda has been quite effective in this area. My polar bear colleagues believe AGW is occurring and apparently do not feel a responsibility to examine that belief.

Most polar bear populations are not protected. Most polar bear populations are hunted in at least part of their range. The only jurisdiction that “protects” polar bears is Norway (Barents Sea population). There is a prohibition on harvesting in the Russian Sector (western Chukchi, Laptev-Kara, and eastern Barents Sea), but there are unquantified reports of widespread “poaching” (subsistence harvest by indigenous people) and illegal hunting in Russia. The harvest in most other populations is well-managed to retain approximately constant numbers. These harvested populations are obviously managed at less than carrying capacity because they are productive and sustain the harvest. Populations at carrying capacity by definition produce only enough recruits to maintain their numbers, so any harvest would cause a population at “K” to decline.

The response of demographic rates to density has 2 parameters that describe the relationship (a line in the simplest case). One of these is the maximum rate (birth or survival), and the other is carrying capacity (x intercept). The slope is max rate over carrying capacity. Environmental changes can reduce carrying capacity, but environmental changes can also reduce demographic rates. In the case of polar bears there is no evidence that sea ice decline has affected carrying capacity. The only evidence is that the decline in sea ice has reduced survival and recruitment in some populations. So of course everyone talks about a decline in carrying capacity ....

Climate does change naturally, and historically the range of polar bears and their numbers must also be dynamic. The IPCC climate models predict a 30% reduction of sea ice (annual coverage) at CO2 greenhouse effect saturation. I have managed to alienate most of my colleagues by pointing out that a loss of 30% of sea ice would not cause polar bears to go extinct. Arctic warming does not appear to be caused by CO2, and even if the CO2 models were entirely correct polar bears would not be threatened with extinction.

Obviously the discussion is about something else.

Atmospheric physicist declares: 'The global warming hypothesis is dead, scientifically'

Ed Berry is making some noise about climate change, and he's singing a different tune than former Vice President Al Gore and his "Inconvenient Truth." Berry, 73, an accomplished atmospheric physicist who recently moved to the Flathead Valley from Sacramento, Calif., was among about 700 scientists who attended the International Conference on Climate Change in New York City March 7-10.

Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, the group has decidedly different views on climate change than Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC consensus asserts that the influence of human-produced greenhouse gases will cause a warming trend with dire environmental consequences.

The prevailing conclusion at the New York conference, according to Berry, is that "the global warming hypothesis is dead, scientifically." The conference, he noted, was attended by high-profile scientists and figures such as former NASA astronaut and U.S. Sen. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, whom Berry has known since he was an undergraduate at Caltech University. "It seems every few years we run into each other," he said. "We were good friends from Caltech all the way through."

Berry noted that the attendance of 700 scientists at the conference "is just a drop in the bucket" of the growing ranks of scientists who disagree with IPCC conclusions. "There's a big list of scientists that in just the last year have changed their minds," Berry said. "The momentum is in our direction."

But politics, he said, are still thoroughly dominated by global warming alarmists and major media that advance their views. "Clearly, Al Gore is good at what he does," Berry conceded, adding that it is now up to scientists with different views to make them known.

Since moving to the Flathead, Berry has been publicly engaged on the topic, writing letters to the editor and speaking to groups, using a lengthy PowerPoint presentation that is basically an outline for a book he is writing. "What I'm after is making it comprehensive but simple because I'm aiming at the general public rather than scientists," he said of the book.

Berry insists that the models used to support the warming theory produce faulty predictions because they cannot account for all of the dynamics influencing the atmosphere. They cannot account for ever-changing greenhouse gases, radiation, solar energy and ocean currents. One of the greatest omissions from climate modeling, Berry said, is they do not account for the incredibly dynamic influences of cloud cover, a subject he knows well.

After Caltech, Berry went on to earn a master's degree in physics from Dartmouth College, and then a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Nevada. His doctoral thesis involved measuring and predicting the formation of the smallest water molecules into raindrops. He was the chief scientist and manager of the airborne research facility at Nevada's Desert Research Institute, where he developed instrumentation technology for aircraft in monitoring the atmosphere. He recalls one aircraft radar innovation in 1972 that produced the largest radar image of a hurricane up to that time.

Berry also managed for a period the National Science Foundation's weather modification program, which involved cloud-seeding research. He was involved with a research project that for the first time identified how cities, filled with heat-radiating concrete and asphalt, actually modify the weather.

For Berry, studying the atmosphere wouldn't be complete without actually getting into it. He started as a glider pilot and later became a powered airplane pilot. He got involved in competitive sailing with his wife, eventually winning major national and North American regattas.

Throughout his educational and work experience, Berry says he is most grateful for the pre-eminent scientists who taught him how to approach problem solving, going all the way back to learning under the renowned Linus Pauling at Caltech. "It isn't the things you learn," Berry said. "It's how you learn to think."

Berry has deep concerns about the political direction for climate-change policies, particularly a cap-and-trade system that is likely to come from Washington, D.C. It is a system that will produce a bureaucracy and it will essentially amount to a tax on energy production and consumption. It was a major topic at the conference in New York, where economists projected the economic impacts. "People have different numbers, but they are all big," Berry said of those impacts. "It's going to affect the cost of energy significantly," he adds, in a regressive fashion impacting low-income energy consumers the most.


Lord Monckton Spring Cleans Global Warming Hysteria

Friday morning in New York City witnessed a burst of snowfall welcoming the vernal equinox and G. Gordon Liddy welcoming Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, to his radio show to discuss global warming hysteria.

Following a wonderfully droll refresher on archaic royal manners, Monckton shredded Al Gore’s “consensus” claims and offered Liddy a history lesson in previous – and significantly warmer -- warming periods. And then explained how a combination of “very powerful naked vested interests” drives the warming alarmist misinformation campaign.

Here’s his formula: Combine media “world to end” sensationalist marketing ploys with “rent-seeking” scientists and the political left’s need to appear to be relevant and concerned. Add teachers wanting to appeal to the idealism of students – for them the Al Gore message of apocalyptic imminent doom is magnetically attractive -- and U.N world government wannabes and -- voila!

Monckton repeated verbatim the magnificent 428-word cap-and-trade dragon beheading sentence he befuddled the clowns in the House Ways and Means subcommittee with earlier this month, and that alone is well worth your listening time. Interacting later with Liddy and his callers, Monckton discussed global cooling, expanding polar bear populations and the ironic plight of fellow Brit Pen Hadow’s recent North Pole expedition -- stranded to the brink of starvation on the very arctic ice they travelled to prove was gone.

And, as always, his Lordship was as charming and entertaining as he was enlightening. Hear the entire segment here.

Thomas Lifson adds: Give yourself a treat and listen. It is obvious why Al Gore is scared to death of debating Lord Monckton. He is eloquent, witty, and effortlessly eloquent. Gore is ponderous at best, and would sound like a dummy paired with him.


DeSmog accidentally vindicates The Skeptics Handbook

DeSmogBlog could’ve flattened The Skeptics Handbook in just one sentence. All they had to do was point to empirical evidence that more CO2 forces temperatures up. They can’t and everything else is bluster and bluff

The question of evidence is on the front page; the book is built around it, and billions of dollars hinges upon it, on this topic, “nothing else matters…”. Yet Jeremy Jacquot’s sole attempt at evidence only shows he doesn’t know what evidence is. Even a bright junior high spark could prove him wrong with a 20 year old encyclopedia. Jacquot uses 3000 words to NOT answer that question, he confuses himself, resorts to cut-n-pasting from the site that does his thinking for him, and makes at least 9 errors of logic and reason. Jacquot complains that I’ve rehashed and repeated old arguments, which only makes it all the more embarrassing that he still hasn’t got any good answers.

But the part I like best was the way he jumps through the hoops just as I predicted. The Skeptics Handbook says when you poke a believer they will bark ‘Santer’, ‘Sherwood’, and ‘amplification’ and he does, right on cue. Yap Yap Yap. DeSmogBlog lives up to it’s name and adds de smog to de science of Global Warming

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


At the end of their two-day summit in Brussels last week, European leaders pledged to pay a “fair share” to developing nations to help them fight global warming and adapt to its consequences. Yet they failed to deliver the one thing that environmentalists most desired: money.

The omission of a specific contribution, as well as unresolved questions about how the EU would pay for it, has become the latest stumbling block along the path to a global climate deal that world leaders will try to negotiate at Copenhagen in December. “The risk is that with the delay, the negotiations will not make significant progress. The developing nations are only willing to take further steps when there is money on the table,” said Joris den Blanken, a policy analyst at Greenpeace. The money issue, Mr den Blanken said, had overshadowed other elements of the meeting’s final communiqué that environmentalists should applaud – including a commitment to create a global carbon trading market.

The EU and other wealthy nations committed to providing financing to developing nations at a United Nations summit in Bali in 2007. The money would be used to invest in new technology to reduce emissions, as well as to improve seawalls and other infrastructure to prepare for the effects of a warmer planet.

In a draft paper prepared this year, the European Commission estimated that the EU could contribute some €30bn a year, beginning in 2020. But that figure was deleted from the final communique, and the commission instead concluded that it was incumbent on developing nations to first detail the level of emissions cuts they were prepared to make.

Member states have not yet agreed on the size of their contribution – let alone how to finance it – either through a market-based system or emissions taxes or some combination. Yet most agree that it would be foolish for the EU to reveal its hand first in what is likely to be a complex global negotiation with the US, India, China and Brazil.

“It is important that the United States, Japan and other major contributors signal what will be their position,” said Jose Manuel Barroso, the Commission president.

Nonetheless, the EU will be on the spot again in June, after heads of state promised that they would discuss the matter in greater detail at their next council meeting. If they are not able to table an offer then, environmental groups fear the process could drag dangerously close to Copenhagen because of the disruption of the June European elections and then the summer holidays.

Rebecca Harms, the Green party MEP, said the EU was squandering the credibility it had built up after closing a landmark climate deal in December to reduce emissions 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020. “The Europeans, in my view, have become the new hesitant and shy partner in the international climate negotiations,” Ms Harms said.


NOTE from Benny Peiser: EU leaders have postponed until their June a decision about transferring €30 billion of taxpayers’ money to China and India. How likely do you think is it that they will come to an agreement anytime soon about utopian wealth transfer to the rest of the world? Exactly!

Bachmann: I Want People "Armed And Dangerous" Against Energy Tax

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): Foreign corespondent on enemy lines, helping to keep the folks back home armed and dangerous.

Bachmann appeared over the weekend on the First Team radio show with John Hinderaker and Brian Ward, speaking about the horrible stuff that the Democrats are doing: "I'm a foreign correspondent on enemy lines and I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington."

Bachmann also spoke out against the cap-and-trade proposals currently making their way through Washington, and how she'll be distributing information against it at an upcoming event in the district. "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back," said Bachmann. "Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing. And the people - we the people - are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country."



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


Monday, March 23, 2009

The latest alarmist concerns about sea level rise

Comment received by email from S.Fred Singer [singer@sepp.org], referring particularly to the recent Warmist conference in Copenhagen:

Apparently the IPCC-4 (2007) estimate for sea level rise by the year 2100 are now considered to be not catastrophic enough. As reported by the BBC, the preferred estimate seems to be 200 cm, about five times the median IPCC value and ten times the observed rate of rise over the last few centuries. The only justification given, in a paper published in Science, is a more rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets from Greenland and Antarctic - all this in spite of the fact that no such events occurred during the Medieval Warm Period about 1000 years ago.

One member of this group, Shad O'Neel from the US Geological Survey, warns that even 18 cm/century might turn out to be catastrophic. He's apparently unaware of the fact that 18 cm/century is the ongoing rate of rise -- which implies no additional rise in sea level. In other words, the human influence is essentially zero.

Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth has received much criticism, and so has James Hansen, for implying that a rise of 20ft (6m) was possible in the near future. Their fond hopes have been dashed by recent publications on the "collapse" of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Apparently, it will slowly melt away in a few millennia - unless a new ice age intervenes. (But we have known this for more than a decade.)

Andrew Revkin (NYT) reports on two new papers in the journal Nature focusing on the WAIS. The paper by David Pollard at Penn State and Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst provides an estimated time frame for the loss of ice that its authors say should be of some comfort. (If the entire WAIS melted, sea levels worldwide would rise more than 15 feet.)

They ran a five-million-year computer simulation, using data on past actual climate and ocean conditions gleaned from seabed samples (the subject of the other paper) to validate the resulting patterns. The bottom line? In this simulation, the ice sheet does collapse when waters beneath fringing ice shelves warm 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit or so, but the process at its fastest takes thousands of years. Overall, the pace of sea-level rise from the resulting ice loss doesn't go beyond about 1.5 feet per century, Dr. Pollard said in an interview, a far cry from what was thought possible a couple of decades ago.

The Maldives

The Maldives are a very low-lying set of Islands in the Indian ocean so sea-level rise worries those who live there. The following excerpt from the NYT seems to go along with the scare

The Maldives, a strand of coral atolls south of India, is just about the most tenuous country on Earth. No patch of land in the island chain, where the population has risen from 200,000 to 400,000 in the last 25 years, is more than six feet or so above sea level. Even modest projections for a rise in sea level from global warming would increase flooding from storm surges. A higher rise could render hundreds of islands uninhabitable.

That’s why the country has paid particularly close attention, since the early days of discussion of the issue, to scientists who warn of a growing human influence on climate and sea levels. On Sunday, the new president of the island nation, Mohamed Nasheed, prodded the world to get serious about cutting emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases by pledging, in a short piece in England’s Observer newspaper, to make the Maldives the first carbon-neutral country within a decade.

The announcement was made in the Maldives, but synchronized with the London premiere of “ The Age of Stupid,” a new film on global warming and oil that is a mix of documentary, dramatization and animation. (I haven’t seen it yet, but the description reminds me of the work of Randy Olson, particularly his mock documentary “ Sizzle.”) Officials in the Maldives made the decision after soliciting a report on how to cut fossil fuel use and otherwise trim the country’s climate footprint from Chris Goodall and Mark Lynas, British environmentalists and authors of books on energy and climate.

The proposal recommended a mix of wind turbines, rooftop photovoltaic panels and a backup power plant that burns coconut husks (coconut is a substantial export), among other steps. The estimated cost: about $1.1 billion over 10 years. But the new energy options could pay off in the long run by greatly reducing the country’s reliance on imported oil, the report concluded.


And there is some scientific basis for the scare. See the following paper:
Sea-level rise at tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands

By John A. Church et al.


Historical and projected sea-levels for islands in the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans are a subject of considerable interest and some controversy. The large variability (e.g. El Niño) signals and the shortness of many of the individual tide-gauge records contribute to uncertainty of historical rates of sea-level rise. Here, we determine rates of sea-level rise from tide gauges in the region. We also examine sea-level data from the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimeter and from a reconstruction of sea level in order to put the sparse (in space and time) tide-gauge data into context. For 1993 to 2001, all the data show large rates of sea-level rise over the western Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean (approaching 30 mm yr− 1) and sea-level falls in the eastern Pacific and western Indian Ocean (approaching − 10 mm yr− 1). Over the region 40°S to 40°N, 30°E to 120°W, the average rise is about 4 mm yr− 1. For 1950 to 2001, the average sea-level rise (relative to land) from the six longest tide-gauge records is 1.4 mm yr− 1. After correcting for glacial isostatic adjustment and atmospheric pressure effects, this rate is 2.0 mm yr− 1, close to estimates of the global average and regional average rate of rise. The long tide-gauge records in the equatorial Pacific indicate that the variance of monthly averaged sea-level after 1970 is about twice that before 1970. We find no evidence for the fall in sea level at the Maldives as postulated by Mörner et al. (2004). Our best estimate of relative sea-level rise at Funafuti, Tuvalu is 2 ± 1 mm yr− 1 over the period 1950 to 2001. The analysis clearly indicates that sea-level in this region is rising. We expect that the continued and increasing rate of sea-level rise and any resulting increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme sea-level events will cause serious problems for the inhabitants of some of these islands during the 21st century.


But the Church et al. paper has been rejected by Nils Axel Morner [morner@pog.nu], who is probably the world's leading expert on sea levels and who has published work showing no cause for alarm in the Maldives. His comments by email:

The paper by Church et al. represent desk-work at the computers. Tide gauges have to be treated with care. There are pitfalls both with respect to stability (compaction, etc) and cyclic patterns (disqualifying regressionline approaches).

Our Maldives story is based on multiple criteria: off-shore, on-shore, lagoonal, back-shore, swamp environment. Detailed morphology (in different environmental settings) is combined with stratigraphy and biological index + numerous C14-dates.


(1) Church was invited to speak in Copenhagen. Why? – because he said what they wanted to hear: a rise. Though field observations tell a totally different story

(2) The tree on the shore marking no rise in at least 50 years (Viligili Island, the Maldives) was by hand pulled down "by a group of Australian scientists" according to local obserations (2003). See: The Greatest Lie Ever Told (2007)

(3) I was the one (not Church or any other) who was awarded by the sea level community The Golden Condrite of Merit "for his irreverence and contribution to our understanding of sea-level change" This gives some sort of quality guarantee.

(4) So, why was I not invited to Copenhagen. Of course - because I would have told a story they didn't want to hear.

More Greenie misanthropy

The OPT is the descendant of the old ZPG movement and still features dinosaurs like Paul Ehrlich

JONATHON PORRITT, one of Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society. Porritt’s call will come at this week’s annual conference of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), of which he is patron. The trust will release research suggesting UK population must be cut to 30m if the country wants to feed itself sustainably.

Porritt said: “Population growth, plus economic growth, is putting the world under terrible pressure. “Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact.”

Population growth is one of the most politically sensitive environmental problems. The issues it raises, including religion, culture and immigration policy, have proved too toxic for most green groups. However, Porritt is winning scientific backing. Professor Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum, will use the OPT conference, to be held at the Royal Statistical Society, to warn that population growth could help derail attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Rapley, who formerly ran the British Antarctic Survey, said humanity was emitting the equivalent of 50 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. “We have to cut this by 80%, and population growth is going to make that much harder,” he said.

Such views on population have split the green movement. George Monbiot, a prominent writer on green issues, has criticised population campaigners, arguing that “relentless” economic growth is a greater threat. Many experts believe that, since Europeans and Americans have such a lopsided impact on the environment, the world would benefit more from reducing their populations than by making cuts in developing countries. This is part of the thinking behind the OPT’s call for Britain to cut population to 30m — roughly what it was in late Victorian times.

Britain’s population is expected to grow from 61m now to 71m by 2031. Some politicians support a reduction. Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, said: “You can’t have sustainability with an increase in population.” The Tory leader, David Cameron, has also suggested Britain needs a “coherent strategy” on population growth.

Despite these comments, however, government and Conservative spokesmen this weekend both distanced themselves from any population policy. ”


British wave power project hits the rocks

Mechanical setbacks on a key project have come at the same time as the collapse of one of its backers

A pioneering 8m pound British green energy project has been halted because of a series of setbacks, including malfunctioning of the innovative equipment designed to turn wave energy into electricity and the financial collapse of one of the scheme’s backers. Pelamis Wave Power, based in Edinburgh, said its equipment had been towed back to shore in Portugal after it broke down. It will not be repaired immediately. Pelamis’s wave-energy converters are considered to be the most advanced of their kind, and the future of the technology is now in doubt.

If the problems persist they could threaten a similar deal between Pelamis and Eon, the energy group. The partnership was the first instance of a big utility ordering a wave-energy converter for installation in British waters. The equipment was to be tested off Scotland next year.

Energy analysts say the difficulties over the Portuguese project, named Agucadoura, call into the question the viability of this type of wave power. The technical problems were compounded by the collapse of Babcock & Brown, the Australian company that has a 77% stake in the project and which went into administration last week. “We are in limbo,” said Max Carcas at Pelamis. “We are progressing and sorting out some problems on a cash-manage-ment basis. But we can’t get the equipment back in the sea on our own.” Carcas was confident the project would continue but could not say when.

Agucadoura was launched amid a lot of hype last summer as a joint venture between Pelamis, Energias de Portugal (EDP), Efacec, the Portuguese electrical engineering company, and Babcock & Brown. The official unveiling in September was attended by the Portuguese economy minister. The venture was hailed as “the world’s first commercial wave-power project” and began transmitting electricity to the national grid.

Named after the sea snake Pelamis, each machine is 140 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and is partially submerged in the sea. The sections are linked by flexible joints and each section contains a hydraulic pump. The wave motion drives the pumps, which in turn work hydraulic motors that generate an electric current.

In the first phase, three Pelamis wave-energy converters were towed three miles out to sea with the aim of generating 2.25MW of power. If successful, a second phase was planned in which energy generation would rise to 21MW from a further 25 machines – enough to provide electricity for 15,000 Portuguese homes.

Even before the launch, though, the installation was plagued by problems. The date had to be set back after part of the structure sprang a leak. In November, after two months of generating electricity, the three converter units developed further problems and the apparatus had to be disconnected from the grid and towed back to shore. Then came the news about Babcock & Brown.

Anthony Kennaway at Babcock & Brown, said: “Our business is winding down over the next two years. Agucadoura is one of the assets that we hope to sell. “This is early-stage technology and you would expect the machines to be in and out of the water. It would be deeply disappointing if people start writing it off at this stage.”

The problems in Portugal cast a shadow over plans to repeat the experiment in trials at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Last month Eon announced that it had ordered a more advanced P2 machine from Pelamis which, at 180 metres long, is about 40 metres longer than the Pelamis units in Portugal. It will be built at Pelamis’s Leith Docks facility in Edinburgh.

Both companies claim that the deal will go ahead. A spokesman for Eon said: “We still expect to be the first utility company to test a full-size wave-powered generating plant in UK waters. But we have to bear in mind that this technology is in its early stages. It’s where wind power was a decade ago.”

The failure of the Portuguese project highlights the problems engineers have in attempting to harness the power of the sea to create renewable energy. It could also put a question mark over the future of wave energy in the EU’s plan to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Ian Fells of Newcastle University, who has his own energy consultancy, said: “Wave power is very immature and very expensive compared with other renewable resources because you have to overengineer it to cope with extremes of weather. “We have to get these things in perspective. Throughout the world wave power generates about 10MW of electricity. You would need something like 10,000 wave power units to replace one nuclear power station.”


Michael Steele: ‘We Are Not Warming’

The Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele, has weighed in on climate change.

In a March 6 radio appearance that is only now percolating through the blogosphere, Mr. Steele apparently fielded a skeptic’s question about global warming. As transcribed by The Huffington Post, a liberal site, Mr. Steele thanked the questioner and replied this way:
We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? No very long.

Mr. Steele -– the originator of the “drill baby drill” slogan that dominated last year’s Republican National Convention — appears to be aligning himself with Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, also a Republican, who has denounced the idea of a global warming catastrophe as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” and said that many of the Obama administration’s early moves amounted to “environmental thuggery.”

Representative John Boehner, the House minority leader, has described cap-and-trade as a “carbon tax that increases taxes on all Americans who drive a car, who have a job, who turn on a light switch.”

Many other Republicans argue that climate change is real and needs to be addressed. Sen. John McCain, the presidential nominee last year, is one of the original architects of a Congressional cap-and-trade bill, though he forcefully opposes the Obama administration’s plan to auction off emissions allowances to polluters (Mr. McCain would prefer to give the initial allowances away free).

Jon Huntsman, the Republican governor of Utah, also favors a cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon emissions, as mentioned in this New York Times profile. So does Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

In Washington, however, many say it is not Republicans, but the coal-state Democrats in the Senate, who will decide the fate of any cap-and-trade bill.


That global warming sure is pesky

Camelback ski resort in PA has longest season

Today, Monday, March 23, 2009, Camelback Mountain Resort is proud to announce that it has matched the record for its longest season in history. Camelback is excited to set a new mark tomorrow, and invites all skiers and riders to celebrate this historic milestone on Wednesday with some sensational pricing. In recognition of this notable "Hump Day" and the 124th day of the season, Camelback will offer a special $12.40 lift ticket.

Officially, Camelback anticipates drawing a new line in the snow on Saturday, April 4, 2009 - which Camelback expects to be its 130th day of operation for the 2008-2009 season. This record-setting accomplishment will also be observed with noteworthy specials throughout the resort, highlighted by an incredible $9.99 lift ticket.

"This is a great time for Camelback," comments Arthur Berry, President of Camelback Mountain Resort. Berry continues, "Obviously, we are proud of the internal accomplishment and it's a great tribute to our snowmaking team - many of whom have been doing it since I started skiing here in high school." Berry concludes, "Perhaps more significant this year, an extended ski season positively impacts the regional economy, driving tourism and providing jobs."

For some historical perspective on this feat, consider that when Camelback first opened its doors, The Beatles had just released "I Want to Hold Your Hand," at age 23, Jack Nicklaus won his first of six Masters Championships, and Dr. King delivered his famous, "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Furthermore, the last time that skiers and riders enjoyed this much time on the snow at Camelback; Bill Clinton had just been sworn in and the "Storm of the Century"- the Blizzard of '93 - had just hammered the east coast with record snowfalls from Alabama to Canada.



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


Sunday, March 22, 2009


Canada's Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, became the centre of a media kerfuffle this week over whether being an Evangelical Christian - and whether or not he believed in evolution - made him a threat to Canadian science policy. In fact, the story, which started as an ambush by The Globe and Mail, seemed to have been engineered by those with a fundamentalist faith in government funding.

Coincidentally, however, evidence that shining scientific credentials can accompany outright policy lunacy was appearing south of the border in a much more substantive issue. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, speaking before a House science panel, suggested that trade duties might be imposed as a "weapon" to protect U.S. manufacturing from the United States' own climate policies!

Under the perverse logic of global warming policy - which is being doggedly pursued despite the disappearance of global warming - economic self-mutilation inevitably leads to demands that others self-mutilate too. "If other countries don't impose a cost on carbon," said Mr. Chu, "then we will be at a disadvantage ... [and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost."

President Obama is threatening a cap-and-trade - or more appropriately cap-and-tax - system that will force manufacturers to buy allowances to emit carbon dioxide. But this obviously puts U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage if other countries refuse to shackle their own manufacturers. So shackles would have to be applied to those countries' exports at the U.S. border.

The term "weapon" is entirely appropriate because such a policy would not "level the playing field," as Mr. Chu seems to imagine, but bomb it. Carbon tariffs have been lurking like Somali pirates on the policy horizon for quite a while, and "carbon equivalency fees" for imports were part of the climate change bill introduced by President Obama last week in Congress.

Protectionist sentiments are already an enormous threat to world trade, as a report from the World Bank this week confirmed. William Watson noted in this space yesterday that the bank held out hopes that the protectionist urge might be constrained by such factors as more closely interlinked supply chains, the increased power of exporters and 50 years of experience with increasingly open markets promoted by the GATT and the WTO. Unfortunately, since economics is filled with counterintuitive notions, and the vast majority of people - including politicians - aren't economists, this view may be over-optimistic.

What makes the present situation more dangerous is that global warming policy threatens the world with Smoot-Hawley - the disastrous U.S. anti-trade policy that deepened and lengthened the Depression - on steroids. The disaster that would be unleashed by Mr. Chu and the Obama administration's anti-growth policies was adumbrated on Monday when one of China's "climate envoys" asserted that carbon-intensive tariffs could lead to a trade war. Li Gao noted that such a tariff, which would be illegal under the WTO, threatened "disaster." Mr. Chu's remarks were followed by an even stronger reiteration from China's top climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, who said that carbon duties were "an excuse to impose trade restrictions."

But then - typical of the Alice-in-Climateland quality of this whole issue - Mr. Xie called upon the U.S. Congress to pass Mr. Obama's climate change bill! China does in fact like some parts of this vast UN-led policy fandango, specifically the bits about Western nations funding Chinese "clean development" and shipping off billions of dollars to China to buy hot air credits. (Mr. Xie meanwhile took a passing shot at Canada's lack of "progress" in the policy self-immolation stakes, noting "there is just talk but no action." Way to go, Stephen Harper!)

There is already considerable concern among the United States' trading partners, including Mexico, over U.S. Protectionism. No trading partner is historically more important than Canada, which is worried about "Buy American" policies. But carbon tariffs, which would require a nightmarish amount of paperwork for manufacturers but myriad man-years of employment for bureaucrats, take protectionism to a whole new level.

Such uncreative destruction is certainly not in any way opposed to the fundamental objectives of the radical environmentalists who push man-made global warming theory as the rationale for "de-development." The EU too is considering carbon tariffs, although this week its legislators were having second thoughts about shipping off billions in clean development funds to the Third World while its own unemployment rates were soaring. Inevitably, protectionism has its industry cheerleaders. Instead of standing up to pointless climate policies, some companies seek to take advantage of them. Those that can't simply say "Well, just as long as my competitors are crippled too." Bomb that playing field!

China wants importers to foot the bill if carbon tariffs are introduced, on the basis that it is consumers who are "to blame" for the industrial emissions of CO2. But apart from the craziness of making job- and wealth-creation blameworthy, the price will inevitably have to be paid by consumers of Chinese goods, thus reducing both demand for Chinese exports, and the welfare of consumers.

Like so many of President Obama's other choices for his cabinet, Mr. Chu is turning out to be a disaster, both for his quasi-religious belief in global warming pseudo-science and for his Do-It-Yourself economics. Meanwhile he doesn't seem to know much about energy beyond his own research cul-de-sac of solar, wind and biofuels. And we Canadians getting heated about whether our science minister believes in Adam and Eve.


MIT Scientists find new natural changes that influence global temperature

"What baffles the team is that this data contradicts theories stating humans are the primary source of increase in greenhouse gas." Note that the original university press release was careful not to note the adverse implications for conventional global warming theory

A team of MIT scientists recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels -the first increase in ten years. What baffles the team is that this data contradicts theories stating humans are the primary source of increase in greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. Since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, however, it is probable that this may be part of a natural cycle - and not the direct result of man's contributions.

MIT's Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, the TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, state that this imbalance has resulted in several million metric tons of additional methane in the atmosphere. Methane is produced by wetlands, rice paddies, cattle, and the gas and coal industries, and is destroyed by reaction with the hydroxyl free radical (OH), often referred to as the atmosphere's "cleanser."

Methane accounts for roughly one-fifth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, though its effect is 25x greater than that of carbon dioxide. Its impact on global warming comes from the reflection of the sun's light back to the Earth. Methane is broken down in the atmosphere by the free radical hydroxyl (OH), a naturally occuring process. This atmospheric cleanser has been shown to adjust itself up and down periodically, and is believed to account for the lack of increases in methane levels in Earth's atmosphere over the past ten years despite notable simultaneous increases by man.

Prinn has said, "The next step will be to study [these changes] using a very high-resolution atmospheric circulation model and additional measurements from other networks. The key thing is to better determine the relative roles of increased methane emission versus [an increase] in the rate of removal. Apparently we have a mix of the two, but we want to know how much of each [is responsible for the overall increase]."

The primary concern now is that while the collected data in 2007 reflects a simultaneous world-wide increase in emissions, how relevant are any of the data findings at this late date?

One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a focus on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it's too early to know for sure if man's impact is affecting things at "alarming rates." We may simply be going through another natural cycle of warmer and colder times - one that's been observed through a scientific analysis of the Earth to be naturally occurring for hundreds of thousands of years.


Feinstein: Don't Spoil Our Desert With Solar Panels

NOTHING suits the Greenies -- unless it is the total destruction of modern civilization. Something will be found to be wrong with every proposal for energy generation

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said development of solar and wind facilities in California's Mojave Desert would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public. California's Mojave Desert may seem ideally suited for solar energy production, but concern over what several proposed projects might do to the aesthetics of the region and its tortoise population is setting up a potential clash between conservationists and companies seeking to develop renewable energy.

Nineteen companies have submitted applications to build solar or wind facilities on a parcel of 500,000 desert acres, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday such development would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public.

Feinstein said Friday she intends to push legislation that would turn the land into a national monument, which would allow for existing uses to continue while preventing future development.

The Wildlands Conservancy orchestrated the government's purchase of the land between 1999-2004. It negotiated a discount sale from the real estate arm of the former Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroad and then contributed $40 million to help pay for the purchase. David Myers, the conservancy's executive director, said the solar projects would do great harm to the region's desert tortoise population. "It would destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem," said David Myers, executive director of The Wildlands Conservancy.

Feinstein said the lands in question were donated or purchased with the intent that they would be protected forever. But the Bureau of Land Management considers the land now open to all types of development, except mining. That policy led the state to consider large swaths of the land for future renewable energy production. "This is unacceptable," Feinstein said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "I urge you to direct the BLM to suspend any further consideration of leases to develop former railroad lands for renewable energy or for any other purpose."

In a speech last year, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger complained about environmental concerns slowing down the approval of solar plants in California. "If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave desert, I don't know where the hell we can put it," Schwarzenegger said at Yale University.

But Karen Douglas, chairman of the California Energy Commission, said Feinstein's proposal could be a "win-win" for energy and conservation. The governor's office said Douglas was speaking on the administration's behalf. "The opportunity we see in the Feinstein bill is to jump-start our own efforts to find the best sites for development and to come up with a broader conservation plan that mitigates the impact of the development," Douglas said.

Douglas said that if the national monument lines were drawn without consideration of renewable energy then a conflict was likely, but it's early enough in the planning process that she's confident the state will be able to get more solar and wind projects up and running without hurting the environment. "We think we can do both," Douglas said. "We think this is an opportunity to accelerate both."

Greg Miller of the Bureau of Land Management said there are 14 solar energy and five wind energy projects that have submitted applications seeking to develop on what's referred to as the former Catellus lands. None of the projects are close to being approved, he said. The land lies in the southeast corner of California, between the existing Mojave National Preserve on the north and Joshua Tree National Park on the south. "They all have to go through a rigorous environmental analysis now," Miller said. "It will be at best close to two years out before we get some of these grants approved."

Feinstein's spokesman, Gil Duran, said the senator looks forward to working with the governor and the Interior Department on the issue. "There's plenty of room in America's deserts for the bold expansion of renewable energy projects," Duran said.


The recent EU "Summit" (The "European Council")

What we do know from the very early "summits" is that the contemporary media often paints a very different picture from what actually goes on. This emerges from documents released under the 30-year rule, when it becomes quite obvious that many of these occasions are simply coup de theatre.

What makes them doubly unreliable is that, in the hothouse atmosphere of the Council, there is group psychology at play, where the "colleagues" lose contact with reality – even more so than usual – and agree to things which have no basis in the real world.

It is rather appropriate, therefore, that two years down the line from the 2007 Spring Council, we are seeing exactly what happens to the agreements made. At what was Blair's last EU meeting, the "colleagues" indulged in a frenzy of greenery, outbidding each other in their enthusiasm to save the planet. To do so, they adopting, amongst other things, a "binding target" of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

Cue BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs who, at the time, burbled, "there is an air of real achievement in Brussels."

Now fast-forward to the present and you have, off-stage, The Guardian retailing that "green" power companies are heading for "crisis". Britain, we are told, should no longer rely on them to meet its energy security and climate change obligations.

Thus we get John Constable, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), saying, "There is a serious problem … I warned a year ago that the industry was being set up for a fall and now it has happened. There has been too much hype and the government was always far too unrealistic about what could be achieved."

Then David MacKay, a Cambridge University professor and author of a new book, Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air, chips in. "It may well be that renewables has been overhyped and there is a backlash against it," he says. "There is a big, big problem compared with a year ago. I know a number of people who are unable to get investment for the kind of new technology we need for a low-carbon future."

Needless to say, there is a strong measure of self-serving in this doom-laden fare. The renewables industry is after even more financial aid. But, with the parlous state of the public finances, and the recession biting deep, the chances of Mr Brown coming up with anything are extremely slender.

By the same measure, when we see out of the current meeting a "pledge" to make avaible an additional €75 billion "to finance loans by the International Monetary Fund and to double a credit line for its stricken eastern economies," you can take it with a pinch of salt.

Closer to reality was a refusal to commit funding to aid developing countries to help them cut "greenhouse gas emissions". Member states are to discuss the issue again in June but are unlikely to decide even then.

That is the land of the European Council. Nothing is real, nothing is permanent. Agreements made one year are unstitched the next year, or the year after. The only reality is the press release on the day. Tomorrow is another day, another reality.


Kids Are Being Taught That Carbon Kills Polar Bears

California’s KQED has a story about elementary school children being taught that manmade “Mr. Carbon” is giving the earth a global warming “fever” and killing “lovable” polar bears. Of course, the San Francisco-based PBS station thinks that’s just swell. It’s not – it’s outrageous.

Cool The Earth, the group behind this blatant indoctrination program, is the brainchild of two Marin County parents who say they were inspired by watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. That’s probably all you need to know, but bear with me – it gets better.

According to their website, “Cool The Earth is a ready-to-run program that educates K-8 students and their families about global warming and inspires them to take simple actions to reduce their carbon emissions.” Here’s how they describe the program’s kick-off assembly:
The Cool the Earth program launches with an all-school assembly in which an original, age-appropriate play is performed by teachers, parents and students. Characters such as Koda the polar bear, Earth and Mother Nature act out scenarios about how human activities are contributing to raising levels of carbon dioxide and giving the earth a global warming “fever.” By the end of the play, all the kids are excited to get rid of the villain, Mr. Carbon, and save the lovable Koda. The tone of the play is positive and helps kids feel empowered to take action.

I can just imagine the boos and hisses when the evil caped Mr. Carbon creeps onto the stage and the applause and cheers when the cuddly and lovable Koda is saved from his villainous intent.

And speaking of dubious intentions, program co-founder Carleen Cullen makes no attempt to conceal hers:
“Cool the Earth plants the seeds of environmental change into the minds of the people who can have the biggest impact on the planet: children. If anyone can inspire their parents to make changes, it’s their children.”

Planting seeds into children’s minds? In other words -- brain washing.

And the site’s Climate 101 page, which incorrectly identifies carbon dioxide as “the most prevalent greenhouse gas,” reveals the fallacious weed they want those seeds to sprout:
An overwhelming body of scientific evidence paints a clear picture: climate change is happening; it is caused in large part by human activity and it will have many serious and potentially damaging effects in the decades ahead. Scientists have confirmed that the greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants and other manmade sources—rather than natural variations in climate—are a primary cause

It’s broken record time again, folks. As global temperatures continue to cool, alarmists are picking up both the tempo and intensity of their disinformation campaign. And public schools are a high value target. Please monitor the “science” being fed to your kids in school. And be prepared to remove any green mush that finds itself between their ears. Sit your kids down to watch and discuss the fabulous video AT’s Gregory Young features today.

And should your 7-year-old return home from school one day, upset that your “carbon footprint” is killing poor Koda the polar bear, explain to the little tyke that what he or she saw in school wasn’t real, but only make-believe.

Just like manmade global warming itself.


Australia: Some sense about crocs coming?

The people-hating Greenies will go hysterical, of course. Even with 80,000 of them, crocs will still be "endangered"

TOURISTS could soon be allowed to hunt crocodiles with the Northern Territory Government renewing a push to allow safaris to help cull the predators. The government is expected to increase the crocodile cull in the rural area, following the death of 11-year-old Briony Anne Goodsell in Lambells Lagoon, reports the Northern Territory News.

Tourism Minister Chris Burns said he still supported calls for crocodile safari hunting. This has renewed calls for crocodile safaris to help with the cull. "When I was Environment Minister, I was front and centre, lobbying Canberra to have very limited croc safaris," he said. "I'm still a supporter of that."

The previous federal government knocked back several applications for the Territory to set up a croc safari.

Dr Burns suggested a new application could be made to the Rudd Government as part of the latest review of crocodile management. Environment Minister Alison Anderson said the government remained in favour of croc safari hunting "particularly as an enterprise opportunity for traditional owners". She promised to pursue the issue with Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

Mr Garrett's office said no proposal had been lodged for a crocodile safari. But spokesman Ben Pratt said the minister would consider an application under the legislation if one was lodged.

Ms Anderson said crocodile safaris would not solve the problem of increasing interactions between humans and crocodiles in the rural area. "Management in these more densely populated areas requires a range of strategies, including monitoring, removal and community awareness." She said those strategies would be set out in the updated Crocodile Management Plan, to be released soon.

The previous federal government stopped international hunters from shooting crocodiles in 2005 by banning export of trophies – skin and skulls. However, the death of Briony Anne Goodsell's has prompted the NT Government to implement tighter controls of the crocodile population, recently estimated to be the highest in Australia at more than 80,000.



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


Saturday, March 21, 2009


By email from Syun Akasofu [sakasofu@iarc.uaf.edu], International Arctic Research Center. University of Alaska Fairbanks

The global average temperature stopped increasing after 2000 against the IPCC's prediction of continued rapid increase. It is a plain fact and does not require any pretext. Their failure stems from the fact that the IPCC emphasized the greenhouse effect of CO2 by slighting the natural causes of temperature changes.

The changes of the global average temperature during the last century and the first decade of the present century can mostly be explained by two natural causes, a linear increase which began in about 1800 and the multi-decadal oscillation superposed on the linear increase. There is not much need for introducing the CO2 effect in the temperature changes. The linear increase is the recovery (warming) from the Little Ice Age (LIA), which the earth experienced from about 1400 to 1800.

The halting of the temperature rise during the first decade of the present century can naturally be explained by the fact that the linear increase has been overwhelmed by the superposed multi-decadal oscillation which peaked in about 2000.*

This situation is very similar to the multi-decadal temperature decrease from 1940 to 1975 after the rise from 1910 to 1940 (in spite of the fact that CO2 increased rapidly after 1946); it was predicted at that time that a new Big Ice Age was on its way.

The IPCC seems to imply that the halting is a temporary one. However, they cannot give the reason. Several recent trends, including the phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the halting of sea level increase, and the cooling of the Arctic Ocean, indicate that the halting is likely to be due to the multi-decadal change.

The high temperatures predicted by the IPCC in 2100 (+2~6øC) are simply an extension of the observed increase from 1975 to 2000, which was caused mainly by the multi-decadal oscillation. The Global Climate Models (GCMs) are programmed to reproduce the observed increase from 1975 to 2000 in terms of the CO2 effect and to extend the reproduced curve to 2100.

It is advised that the IPCC recognize at least the failure of their prediction even during the first decade of the present century; a prediction is supposed to become less accurate for the longer future.

* The linear increase has a rate of ~ +0.5øC/100 years, while the multi-decadal oscillation has an amplitude of ~0.2øC and period of ~ 50-60 years, thus the change in 10 years is about ~ -0.07øC from the peak, while the linear change is about ~ +0.05øC.

Climate Change and Adaptation: How the Past Can Inform the Future

By Climatologist and Paloeclimate researcher Dr. Diane Douglas. Below is the abstract of a major new paper she authored that will be presented at a UNESCO conference in Ghent, Belgium on March 20, 2009. She says that natural mechanisms drive climate change and CO2 shenanigans will be futile

Global warming is one of the most important and dangerous issues facing man today. Many scientists and politicians have focused on anthropogenic causes of this change and the need to reduce CO2 emissions to limit or slow the process. Major climate changes, however, have occurred throughout earth's history. The shifting of continental plates, rise of mountains, and cyclical changes in earth's orbit around the sun are primary forcing mechanisms driving climate change. The complex coupling between the atmosphere, ocean, clouds, ice sheets, volcanoes, earthquakes, and the exchange of carbon within living organisms also affect climate. Over the past two million years, earth's climate has been punctuated by glacial and interglacial periods-periods when earth's temperature ranged from 8oC cooler to 4oC warmer than present. Hominids adapted their settlements and subsistence practices to these changes. Modern humans evolved around 40,000 years ago, during the last ice age, and at the end of the last ice age migrated to new lands and new continents. People developed new technologies and adaptive strategies in response to sea level rise and a more productive environment. Today we face climate change of a similar magnitude to the last interglacial.

This paper shows how natural forcing mechanisms may drive earth into an interglacial as warm as the last interglacial, regardless of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Sea level may rise 15 - 20 feet, and in some regions storms will increase in frequency and strength, and in others deserts will expand. Many significant heritage resources are threatened by these changes, and those that cannot be saved should be thoroughly documented to share with future generations. Others may be saved through hazard mitigation measures-but the key lies in engaging the public and governments, which requires convincing them that climate change is inevitable and planning for change is essential.


Jackboot Hansen rejects democracy

He seems to be aiming for a modern version of Hitler's street-fighting "Sturm Abteilung". Does anybody now believe that Hansen is anything but a political activist? His claim to scientific detachment is now non-existent

Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said. James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working," he said.

Speaking on the eve of joining a protest against the headquarters of power firm E.ON in Coventry, Hansen said: "The first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.

"The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes. So, I'm not surprised that people are getting frustrated. I think that peaceful demonstration is not out of order, because we're running out of time."

Hansen said he was taking part in the Coventry demonstration tomorrow because he wants a worldwide moratorium on new coal power stations. E.ON wants to build such a station at Kingsnorth in Kent, an application that energy and the climate change minister Ed Miliband recently delayed. "I think that peaceful actions that attempt to draw society's attention to the issue are not inappropriate," Hansen said.

He added that a scientific meeting in Copenhagen last week had made clear the "urgency of the science and the inaction taken by governments". Officials will gather in Bonn later this month to continue talks on a new global climate treaty, which campaigners have called to be signed at a UN meeting in Copenhagen in December. Hansen warned that the new treaty is "guaranteed to fail" to bring down emissions.

Hansen said: "What's being talked about for Copenhagen is a strenghening of Kyoto [protocol] approach, a cap and trade with offsets and escape hatches which will be gauranteed to fail in terms of getting the required rapid reduction in emissions. They talk about goals which sound impressive, but when you see the actions are such that it will be impossible to reach those goals, then I can understand the informed public getting frustrated."

He said he was growing "concerned" over the stance taken by the new US adminstration on global warming. "It's not clear what their intentions are yet, but if they are going to support cap and trade then unfortunately i think that will be another case of greenwash. It's going to take stronger action than that."


Hysteria breeds contentment

If you weren't there, you probably didn't hear much about this week's second International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by the Heartland Institute and cosponsored by 60 organizations, with scientists, economists and policy experts in New York to confront the subject of global warming. So you wouldn't have heard that global warming is as uncertain as those who would fix it.

You probably have heard, however, about the predicted global warming-related calamities, including rising seas, tropical disease epidemics, species extinction, increasing hurricanes, devastating forest fires and declining agriculture. California's greenery and agriculture "could all be gone by the end of this century" as a result of melting of snowpack on our western mountains, according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Columbia University's Earth Institute recently warned, "The United States could suffer the effects of abrupt climate changes within decades." "Experts" tell us a "tipping point" is near, beyond which we won't be able to control the warming.

One would think that after two decades, the dire predictions would get old. The New York Times, for example, has averaged 21 stories per year on the subject since 1989; that peaked at 62 in 1997. The persistent publicity may be why so many Americans believe they know about the "problem." According to ABC News, 58 percent feel moderately well-informed about global warming, up about 15 points from earlier polls. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of those polled believe the world is warming. In a 2007 Associated Press- Stanford University poll, 79 percent thought it would be a somewhat serious or very serious problem for the world.

Numerous environmental organizations have reorganized themselves around this perceived danger. The Natural Resources Defense Council calls global warming "the biggest environmental issue of our time;" the World Wildlife Fund declares, "The common denominator in everything we do is climate change."

Given the "tipping point" of climate is upon us, activists propose surprisingly timid remedies. The National Wildlife Federation suggests: "Change the filter in your furnace;" "Change to fluorescent light bulbs" and, "Check your car's tire pressure." The Sierra Club's first recommendation? "A well-tuned car with properly inflated tires burns less gasoline - cutting pollution and saving you money at the pump. If you have two cars, drive the one with better gas mileage whenever possible." It's like going into modern battle with a slingshot. Why the gap between the calamitous warnings and the recommended response? Is it a lack of belief or a lack of commitment?

Citizens apparently don't really buy it. Despite warnings since before 1990, poll responses and lifestyle responses don't match. Since 1990, Americans have built bigger houses (by 20 percent), bought second homes and use 28 percent more residential energy. Over half of occupied houses in 2007 had six rooms or more; 60 percent of households had two people or less. Even fluorescent bulbs can't overcome such energy "inefficiencies."

As for greenhouse gases, people are emitting more carbon dioxide in travel, for both work and pleasure. Airline passenger and freight tonnage has about doubled since 1990. Cruise ship voyages reached record numbers in 2007 in some places. Nearly 1,000 restaurants in this country now have fly-in (not drive-in) customers.

U.S. gasoline use is up 24 percent since 1990 and total carbon dioxide emissions up by a similar amount. World emissions are up over 30 percent even though 180 countries, in signing the Kyoto Treaty, agreed to reduce emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels (which had already prompted predictions of catastrophe). Making matt ers worse, a report at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2009 meeting, was that carbon dioxide concentrations rose about three times as fast since 2000 as in the 1990s.

There are 25 percent more registered vehicles in the United States than licensed drivers, and each vehicle runs an average of 12,000 miles per year. Large new stadiums, shopping centers and amusement parks are going up. "Global warming" alarmists should be alarmed enough to demand double the Kyoto reductions, now! The predictions of impending devastation ought to galvanize governments worldwide to prevent it. But it has not. Why?

Because "The surgery was a success, but the patient died." The "crisis" was created but the "solutions" fail. Where is the urgency for averting global warming? Lost in the more urgent of global challenges, as it should be.

Overuse of pesticides causes pests to become immune to them. Continual gloomy predictions affect people that way. Americans have differing perceptions, understanding and feelings about global warming. But on one point they agree: The problem is not serious. They have been immunized.


Receding Glacier Park Ice Not Due to Global Warming

I recently received a letter from reader Jane Rectenwald in Missoula, Montana asking a good question: What do the melting glaciers in Glacier Park indicate about global warming? Rectenwald had heard me speaking on a local radio station after she read quite a long article in a recent issue of the Missoulian showing pictures of the glaciers.

I'm glad she asked the question. Receding glaciers in Glacier National Park are not necessarily evidence of a global warming crisis-or of anything other than natural fluctuations. Glaciers advance and recede for many reasons, of which temperature change is just one.

The alpine glacier atop East Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro, for example, is shrinking, yet scientific measurements show the mountain has been cooling for decades, and the temperature virtually never rises above freezing. So why are Kilimanjaro's glaciers melting? There are two main factors. Recent deforestation at the base of the mountain means wind updrafts are drier than they have been in the past, resulting in less mountaintop snowfall to sustain the glacier.

Moreover, even though temperatures have been cooling for several decades, they rose dramatically as the Earth emerged from the Little Ice Age 100 to 200 years ago. Kilimanjaro temperatures are still much warmer than during the Little Ice Age, and the large mountaintop glacier has yet to find its equilibrium since the Little Ice Age ended. Kilimanjaro's glacier has been receding since the 1800s, long before humans were emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

Something very similar is happening at Glacier National Park. The National Climatic Data Center has an official weather station very close to the park, at Kalispell, Montana. The accompanying figure shows the temperature history for Kalispell, dating back to 1896. Typical of the trend throughout the United States, temperatures peaked in the 1930s (before humans were emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide) and have been in a long-term cooling trend since then. As the figure shows, temperatures today are below the 100-year average.

Regional land use changes may be affecting the glaciers at Glacier National Park. Almost certainly the "rebound effect" is occurring as the glaciers move toward a new equilibrium in our post-Little Ice Age era.

Patrick Michaels, Ph.D., a professor of climate science at the University of Virginia and a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, uses the following example to describe how this rebound effect can occur with temperatures in a modest long-term decline:

If you take an ice cube out of a freezer at 0 degrees and put it in a refrigerator at 40 degrees, the ice cube will begin to melt. If you then turn the refrigerator down to 34 degrees and check the ice cube an hour later, it will have melted still further, even though the refrigerator temperature has declined. The declining size of the ice cube in the last hour is not an indication that temperatures rose during that hour, but simply reflects that the lower temperature of the last hour was still warmer than the temperature that existed when the ice cube formed.

Similarly, even though temperatures in the Glacier National Park region have been modestly cooling since human activities began emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide (approximately 1940), temperatures are still warmer than they were during the prolonged Little Ice Age (approximately 1300-1875), when the Glacier National Park glaciers formed.

Thus, like the ice cube in our example, the glaciers continue to recede in response to the natural rapid warming of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, even though regional temperatures have cooled during the past several decades.



US ethanol supporters have praised President Barack Obama for resisting pressure from Brazilian President Luiz In cio Lula da Silva to eliminate the tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports.

The 0.54/gallon ($0.14/litre) tariff, which could be challenged at the World Trade Organisation by major ethanol exporter Brazil, was among the topics discussed during Lula and Obama's first meeting, on 14 March.

Lula said that he did not understand why there were tariffs on clean fuels when the US and Europe are expressing concern about climate change and carbon emissions. "I never expect an immediate answer," he said. "This is a process. As time goes by, Brazil is proving that biofuel is an extraordinary alternative and slowly other countries will join the biofuel effort."

Obama acknowledged that "the issue of Brazilian ethanol coming into the US has been a source of tension between the two countries. It's not going to change overnight, but I do think that as we continue to build exchanges of ideas, commerce, trade around the issue of biodiesel, that over time this source of tension can get resolved."

Ethanol supporters were encouraged by Obama's comments.



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


Friday, March 20, 2009

A clanger from the Green/Left "New Scientist" magazine

An email from Mike O'Ceirin [mioc@australianbyte.com]

I recently happened across an article on the New Scientist Web Site the title is "Climate myths: We can't trust computer models"

The article was written by one Fred Pearce who seems to be one of the leading lights in the AGW debate. You can find some information on him here - which gives quite a lot of detail about his journalism, but nothing about his educational background.

I have done a web search and even looked for such information. For instance he wrote a book called "Confessions of an Eco-Sinner" on Amazon Books the best I can find is he is a "Veteran Science Journalist". Despite any apparent expertise in the field he has this to say about computer models:
"Even though the climate is chaotic to some extent, it can be predicted long in advance.... The validity of models can be tested against climate history. If they can predict the past (which the best models are pretty good at) they are probably on the right track for predicting the future - and indeed have successfully done so."

The article also trots out the usual arguments and then the clanger:
"Finally, the claim is sometimes made that if computer models were any good, people would be using them to predict the stock market. Well, they are! A lot of trading in the financial markets is already carried out by computers. Many base their decisions on fairly simple algorithms designed to exploit tiny profit margins, but others rely on more sophisticated long-term models.

Major financial institutions are investing huge amounts in automated trading systems, the proportion of trading carried out by computers is growing rapidly and a few individuals have made a fortune from them. The smart money is being bet on computer models.

Of course, in some ways financial markets are much trickier to model than the climate, depending as they do on human behaviour. What's more, trading based on computer models alters the nature of the very thing you're trying to predict."

Now this article was written in 2007 when there were many who had faith in such modelling. Now stating as evidence that General Climate Models must be valid because computer modelling of stock markets have worked so well is now obviously ridiculous. Then it was just a logical fallacy.

Pearce sets himself up as an expert on this when he obviously is not and he has been caught out by the fact that it is foolish to believe computers can foretell the future. Further to this, his extreme ignorance is shown by saying "financial markets are much trickier to model than the climate". It shows the author to lack an understanding of the complexity in the creation of a GCM and the weather.

There is also a link to prove GCMs have already predicted the future. It is J Hansen's 1988 prediction that is referenced. I thought that prediction failed!

Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics

By Gerhard Gerlich & Ralf D. Tscheuschner


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

Int. J. Modern Physics B23:275-364,2009 (DOI: 10.1142/S021797920904984X)

You've Got to Have Heartland

The chief source of hysteria over possible man-made global warming has been the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The panel's own climate models project that if man's emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases were causing global warming, there would be a particular pattern of temperature distribution in the atmosphere, which scientists call "the fingerprint." Temperatures in the troposphere portion of the atmosphere above the tropics would increase with altitude, producing a "hotspot" near the top of the troposphere, about 6 miles above the earth's surface. Above that, in the stratosphere, there would be cooling.

All scientists, both the alarmist warm-mongers and the pacifist cooler heads, agree that this temperature pattern would result if man were causing global warming, reflecting the pattern of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that would prevail in the atmosphere. Warming due to solar variations or other natural causes would not leave such a fingerprint pattern. Higher quality temperature data from weather balloons and satellites now enable us to settle the man-made global warming debate definitively.

The observed result is just the opposite of the modeled global warming fingerprint pattern. The data from weather balloons shows no increasing warming with altitude, but rather a slight cooling, with no hotspot. The satellite data confirms this result, no increasing temperature with altitude, no hotspot, no fingerprint.

Top Scientists

This was the most important point made by the brilliant scientists from around the world who attended the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the Heartland Institute in New York City last week. Those scientists included, among many others who deserve to be household names: S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, and the founder and first director of the National Weather Satellite Service: Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, formerly a professor of dynamic meteorology and director of the Center for Earth and Planetary Physics at Harvard; Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA's Aqua satellite; Patrick Michaels, research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, and past president of the American Association of State Climatologists; David Douglass, professor of physics at the University of Rochester, and winner of numerous prestigious Science awards, and Syun-ichi Akasofu, professor of physics and former director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska, winner of awards from the Royal Astronomy Society of London, Japan Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

There is no collection of scientists in the world smarter and better than these and the others who spoke at and attended the conference. Several argued further that the entire temperature pattern of the 20th century follows normal climate variations, rather than CO2 emissions. Temperatures in the U.S., which has the most thorough and consistent temperature record and historically the most CO2 emissions, were stable until 1920, increased some in the 1920s, and then soared to produce the hottest decade of the century during the 1930s. The climate then cooled during most of the period from 1940 until about 1977, except for a brief spike from about 1949 to 1953. Temperatures climbed upward from 1977 until 1998, except for a sharp downturn from about 1988 until about 1995. Temperatures are down over the past decade.

Yet CO2 increased continuously throughout the century, which should have produced a trend of consistent temperature increases if it were causing global warming. Several presenters at the conference argued that the more complex actual temperature variations were fully explained by natural, long-term temperature patterns. The temperature increases until 1940 reflected mostly the continuing recovery from the Little Ice Age, which ran roughly from the early 1400s to the late 1800s. The pattern since then is consistent with the variations of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a 20 to 30 year up and down variation in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean produced by deep sea ocean currents.

Global Cooling

Moreover, several presenters argued that due to these natural variations we have already entered a period of long-term cooling that will last at least another 20 years, and maybe more. Indeed, satellite measured temperatures show that the global atmosphere has cooled over the last 10 years, with the decline in temperatures accelerating over the last two years. As Lord Christopher Monckton, who also spoke at the conference, has said, "Global warming stopped 10 years ago. It hasn't gotten warmer since 1998….In fact in the last 7 years, there has been a downturn in global temperatures equivalent on average to about…one degree Fahrenheit per decade. We're actually in a period…of global cooling."

What portends longer-term cooling is that Pacific temperatures have now turned cold, which is likely to continue for another 15-20 years given past trends. Moreover, we have now experienced an extended period of minimal sun spot activity. If that continues, we may suffer an even longer cooling period, perhaps even a return to the Little Ice Age, as has happened in the past when sunspots declined for an extended period.

Just a couple of days ago, a separate, independent, peer reviewed study appeared in Geophysical Research Letters from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It concluded as well that the temperature variations of the 20th century were all explained by natural causes rather than human CO2 emissions. The study also concluded that the warming period of the late 20th century is over and an extended cooling period lasting another 20 years or so has begun.

Climate Science

Several other presenters at the Heartland conference went on to explain in detail why the models used by the UN to predict global warming and associated catastrophes are so wrong. As one explained, slight exaggerations in each of several variables when multiplied together add up to huge final errors. Another explained that the models assume that heat resulting from increased CO2 reduces clouds, further increasing temperatures, but satellite data now show that the clouds sharply reduce heat produced by CO2, resulting in a strong negative feedback, which leaves increased CO2 too weak to produce significant global warming. Other variables expected to produce strong positive feedback effects increasing global warming resulting from CO2 were shown to have little or no effect, or even a negative effect.

Other well-known facts further support the careful, logical, soft-spoken scientists at the Heartland conference, whose presentations should soon be available on video at www.heartland.org. Global temperatures were warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, a span of several hundred years around 1000 A.D. Even higher temperatures prevailed during a period known as the Holocene Climate Optimum, which ran roughly from 8,000 years ago (6000 B.C.) to 4,000 years ago (2000 B.C.). In fact, temperatures were higher than today during most of the period from 9000 B.C. to the birth of Christ.


Global Warming: The Backlash Begins

Environmentalists and their allies in the Administration were stunned by the news last week that skepticism about the effects of global warming is growing. With complete domination of both the mainstream media and the political institutions by true believers in global warming, the news from Gallup that 44 percent of Americans believe that global warming has been exaggerated must have come as a shock. Yet last week’s news contained two good examples of why this should be, and why the debate that Al Gore claims is over may only just be starting.

One of the main reasons Americans are expressing such distrust about what they are told on the subject is that the science is often patently exaggerated. An example came last week from a conference held in Copenhagen where there were widely-reported claims that global warming could destroy 85 percent of the Amazon rainforest. Vicky Pope of the Met Office, the UK’s version of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told the conference, “The impacts of climate change on the Amazon are much worse than we thought. As temperatures rise quickly over the coming century the damage to the forest won't be obvious straight away, but we could be storing up trouble for the future.”

Yet this claim was immediately challenged by other scientists. Dr Yadvinder Malhi, an Oxford University expert on the subject of the Amazon and climate change, said in an email, “I must say I find it frustrating that the gloomiest take on news gets such a big profile. This is based on one model, and that model has flaws…If that conclusion was based on solid empirical science then so be it, but when such a story goes out on a pure model study (not yet peer-reviewed) with significant imperfections, it may do a lot of damage in the real world.” Indeed, the Met Office’s model has been criticized before, with a 2007 study from the University of Arizona finding that the mechanism on which the Met Office predictions were based was actually not present in the short-term.

What appears to have happened is that scientists have abandoned traditional methods of communicating science for an approach based on catastrophism – an extreme application of the news maxim, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Yet this approach is inherently unscientific. As Mike Hulme, who directs the influential Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK, has written, “I believe climate change is real, must be faced and action taken. But the discourse of catastrophe is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and reactionary trajectory.” The rejection of exaggeration is proof of Hulme’s wisdom.

Yet even if the scientific debate doesn’t permeate the consciousness of the average American except as obviously contrived, there is another reason for Americans to feel skeptical. The “sticker shock” of the cost of climate alarmism is starting to hit. Most people know by now that the President’s enormous budget relies in part on an increasing income stream from fees on energy use, called a cap-and-trade program by economists. When the Congressional Budget Office examined a similar scheme last year, it found that the costs of such a scheme rested most heavily on the lowest income levels. This should be unsurprising; the poorest spend a greater proportion of their income on energy than anyone else. Therefore, the supposed tax break that 95 percent of working Americans have been promised by the President will to a large extent be wiped out by the increase in energy costs. All this for a purported effect on greenhouse gas emissions far less than the Kyoto Protocol demanded.

Now Congressional Republicans could be expected to object to this, but more interesting opposition is forming in the ranks of Congressional Democrats, particularly the so-called “blue dogs.” They are unhappy that the money raised from cap and trade is not being used to soften the blow on the poor in a more targeted fashion than a general tax break. Senate budget committee chairman Kent Conrad put it bluntly: “There an awful lot of senators who are on the margins of this issue who would be very concerned if their leverage was reduced by that mechanism.” It should be noted that every attempt to introduce a cap and trade program in the Senate has floundered on this very issue: it appears to cost much more than the supposed benefits it will provide.

Moreover, initiatives such as the President’s raise cynicism about environmental policies. In Europe, where they have been trying such things for a while now, there is widespread belief that “green taxes” do not help the environment. For example, when asked to describe the motivations for politicians to promote green taxes, 74 percent of Britons polled said that, "politicians are not serious about the environment and are using the issue as an excuse to raise more revenue from green taxes."

If they believe that neither scientists nor politicians are to be trusted on environmental issues (and given that we only hear one side from the mainstream media, we can extend that to journalists too), then Americans are likely to grow increasingly cynical about environmentalism. If there are genuine concerns over the environment, then they need to be debated on a credible. So far, environmentalists have rejected so-called “no regrets” approaches that use genuine market-based principles to reduce environmental risks. The atmosphere they have helped create, however, may mean they are the only politically acceptable option. It’s time to forget hype and taxes, and explore another way.


Climate debate focus shifts away from environment, toward jobs

The debate over climate change is shifting away from saving the planet and toward rescuing the American worker. In selling his controversial plan to cap carbon dioxide, for example — as he did in his address to Congress last month — President Obama has linked the need to save “our planet from the ravages of climate change” with the need to “truly transform our economy.”

In a subsequent speech to a group of CEOs, meanwhile, Obama again sought to sell his plan as a way to green the environment and promote economic growth. He told the business executives that he did not “accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders.” “You and I both know that we need ultimately to make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy,” Obama said. “We know that the best way to do that is through market-based caps on carbon pollution that drive the production of more renewable energy in America.”

Not everyone sees the cap-and-trade bill as a strategy for growth, of course, and who wins the debate will likely have won the day on whatever climate bill emerges later this year.

Although Democrats, who are more supportive of a cap-and-trade program than Republicans, are firmly in control of Congress, several prominent members within the caucus remain concerned about job losses and the impact higher energy prices could have on lower-income workers under the climate proposal.

Given that dynamic, supporters say, the shift from save-the-planet to save-our-jobs is no accident, and Obama’s success in convincing people of his worldview will determine how successful his climate program will be. “It’s deliberate and very smart,” said Matt Bennett, vice president for public affairs at The Third Way, a think tank with close ties to centrist Democrats on Capitol Hill. “The president understands that the only thing that really resonates with the American people right now is economic recovery and growth. “This is a big shift in the economy. … If they can frame the debate properly, they can make it happen,” Bennett said.

Added Daniel Weiss, the director of the climate change program at the Center for American Progress: “They are talking about the energy and jobs, rather than energy and birds and bunnies.”

The theory is that through wind turbines, solar panels, energy-efficient products and carbon sequestration technologies, America can grow new industries and export the technologies to large emitting countries such as China and India.

But a broad disagreement between Democrats and Republicans emerged yet again in a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that examined how American companies could remain competitive if carbon limits were imposed. “There seems to be a consensus on our side that we are going to lose jobs, where[as] you feel we will gain jobs,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), after listing studies from the National Association of Manufacturers, the Heritage Foundation and Charles Rivers Associates that estimated a cap-and-trade system could cost between 4 million and 7 million jobs. “More often than not,” warned Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), “the cost of energy is the difference between operating in the United States and shutting the doors to move overseas.”

In the weeks since the release of the budget blueprint, Republicans have used the president’s cap-and-trade proposal to hammer the new administration. They deride the plan as a “cap and tax” that will force more American businesses overseas, to countries that don’t have a carbon cap — a specific kind of outsourcing known as “carbon leakage.”

One of the central questions in the debate is whether the United States should proceed unilaterally, or at least before developing countries like China and India. While emissions from those countries are rapidly increasing, officials there argue that the developed world should move first because those economies are mostly responsible for the carbon already in the atmosphere that is warming the planet.

One of the central questions in the economic debate surrounding the climate change bill is how to protect particularly sensitive American companies should the U.S. government move forward without a broader, international climate agreement.

Democratic Reps. Jay Inslee of Washington state and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania have co-authored a bill that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to distribute emissions allowances to certain industrial sectors that would be put at a particular disadvantage in the global marketplace due to a carbon cap.

One of the chief criticisms of Obama’s proposal is that it would not give any allowances to industry away for free, requiring instead that they purchase the credits at an auction. The president’s budget projects such a sale to generate around $646 billion between 2012, its first year, and 2019, the last year of the budget projection. But Margo Thorning, a senior vice president and chief economist at the American Council for Capital Formation, told the House panel that the costs on emitters could be much more than that, from $1 trillion to $3 trillion. The president’s climate change proposal is “almost certain to reduce jobs and increase unemployment,” Thorning said.

Other proposals would impose tariffs on products from countries that do not limit their carbon emissions. Chinese officials, however, are already warning of a trade fight under that scenario.

How to reassure lawmakers that the cap-and-trade bill won’t cause further loss among the manufacturing base in particular may attract Democrats from industrial states to join their colleagues from the coasts in supporting the legislation, backers say.

Many eyes are on the Gang of 16, the bipartisan group of centrists that tried to find a compromise last year to the controversial issue of offshore drilling. Lobbyists said staff for some of these members are beginning to meet informally to discuss a climate change bill. “The pain in some of their states is extraordinarily raw and real. They are waiting to see what emerges… There are a whole series of delicate issues to confront,” said Bennett of The Third Way.


Australia: Victoria's Leftist government is closing the door now the horse has escaped

Controlled burns begin in bid to avoid bushfire repeat

Controlled burning has begun in Victoria aimed at preventing a repeat of the devastating summer firestorm that killed at least 210 people. Environment chiefs have started a program of controlled burns on public land this week following criticism not enough was done to reduce rural fuel loads in the lead-up to summer. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) will burn 25ha of public land near Bendoc, in East Gippsland, today to safeguard the town. About 120ha near Mallacoota, in the far east of the state, will also be burnt.

DSE spokeswoman Jennifer Willis said more than 150,000ha of land was torched in fuel reduction burns last financial year. There were no targets for this year's autumn/spring program with the burns being weather dependent. She said conditions needed to be dry enough so that the fire ignited and spread, without getting out of control.

Environment Minister Gavin Jennings said controlled burns would continue as conditions allowed, but acknowledged they may be stressful for some residents. "We are aware that seeing smoke will cause some anxiety for people, especially people impacted by the recent bushfires and ask the community for their patience throughout this program,'' he said.

Mr Jennings said burning would occur in strategic locations to protect towns and minimise disruption to bush ecology. Asset protection burns will target most areas, including the Otways coast, the Wombat Forest and Macedon and the Dandenong Ranges.



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


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Global Governance of Science

Just WHY does science need to be "governed"? And who is qualified to govern it? If science is not free enquiry, what is? That the governance is said to be "for the common good" identifies it readily with its Fascist and Communist predecessors. "For the common good" is the normal justification for tyranny

The European Commission has just released a new report titled, The Global Governance of Science. It is available here in PDF. Here is the abstract:

This report is the product of an expert group acting under a mandate from the European Commission Directorate General for Research to which legal scholars, sociologists, philosophers and political scientists from Europe, the United States of America, China and South-Africa have contributed. This report seeks to advance a vision of global governance for the common good that invokes European principles of good governance and fundamental rights. It is our belief that the European Union as a political entity situated between the national and global levels, with its principles of good governance, its charter of fundamental rights and commitments to a European Research Area, is ideally placed to encourage critical reflection and undertake practical leadership in relation to the global governance of science and innovation. Our recommendations are addressed not only to policymakers in the European Commission and the Member States of the EU, but equally to those organisations worldwide operating within and around science.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Study: West Antarctic Melt a Slow Affair

By Andrew C. Revkin

How many times have you seen the word "collapse" used lately to describe what could unfold should human-caused global warming, and more particularly warming seas, erode the West Antarctic Ice Sheet? (One metric: A Google search for "West Antarctic Ice Sheet" and "collapse" gets 29,800 hits.)

The word is used again in the headline on one of two new papers in the journal Nature focusing on past comings and goings of that huge expanse of ice. But this paper, by David Pollard at Penn State and Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, provides an estimated time frame for the loss of ice that its authors say should be of some comfort. (If the sheet melted entirely, sea levels worldwide would rise more than 15 feet.)

Dr. Pollard and Dr. DeConto ran a five-million-year computer simulation of the ice sheet's comings and goings, using data on past actual climate and ocean conditions gleaned from seabed samples (the subject of the other paper) to validate the resulting patterns.

The bottom line? In this simulation, the ice sheet does collapse when waters beneath fringing ice shelves warm 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit or so, but the process - at its fastest - takes thousands of years. Over all, the pace of sea-level rise from the resulting ice loss doesn't go beyond about 1.5 feet per century, Dr. Pollard said in an interview, a far cry from what was thought possible a couple of decades ago. He, Dr. DeConto and other experts on climate and polar ice stressed that when Greenland's possible contribution to the sea level is added, there's plenty for coastal cities to consider. But for Greenland, too, some influential recent studies have cut against the idea that momentous coastal retreats are likely anytime soon.

Over all, the loss of the West Antarctic ice from warming is appearing "more likely a definite thing to worry about on a thousand-year time scale but not a hundred years," Dr. Pollard said.

Several independent specialists on ice sheets and climate said it was premature to conclude from this simulation that fast-paced ice loss from Antarctica was not possible. Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory cautioned that the new findings were based on a single, fairly simple simulation and said that while the results matched well with the seabed evidence, they lacked the precision needed to know what will happen over short periods. "This new study illustrates once more that the collapse of West Antarctica and parts of East Antarctica is not a myth," he said. "It happened many times before when the Earth was as warm as it is about to be [I think that is assuming what you have to prove. Or maybe he has the gift of prophecy. Religious people do sometimes think they have that gift and there seems no doubt that he is of the Warmist religion. He is certainly dogmatic]. In terms of time scales, I do not think the results of this study are relevant to what will be happening in the next 100 years and beyond. The problem is far more complex. But this is a step forward."


Melting Antarctic Ice Part of Natural Cycle

Historical records for the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) show that it is particularly prone to rapid climate change-change that occurs in cycles of ~200 years and ~2500 years. By studying major transitions in plankton productivity in the western Antarctic, scientists have shown that "spectacular" ice-cover losses have happened many times in the past. In other words, the "unprecedented rapid loss of ice" from parts of Antarctica that global warming alarmists make so much of are a normal part of nature's cycles.

According to the latest report in the journal Science, this is how it works: Less ice in the northern zone causes more cloud cover, reducing the amount of light reaching the plankton. A loss of light, together with less ice-melt freshwater and stronger winds means fewer large plankton blooms. By contrast, in the south, the skies stay cloudless for longer and the Antarctic current increases its flow rate, pulling up more nutrients. Both factors contribute to greater primary productivity. These physical changes explain the striking shifts recently observed in krill and the vertebrate communities of the western Antarctic.

For those who take their science straight, here is the abstract of the paper titled "Recent Changes in Phytoplankton Communities Associated with Rapid Regional Climate Change Along the Western Antarctic Peninsula," by Martin Montes-Hugo, et al, as it appears in Science:
"The climate of the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is undergoing a transition from a cold-dry polar-type climate to a warm-humid sub-Antarctic-type climate. Using three decades of satellite and field data, we document that ocean biological productivity, inferred from chlorophyll a concentration (Chl a), has significantly changed along the WAP shelf. Summertime surface Chl a (summer integrated Chl a ~63% of annually integrated Chl a) declined by 12% along the WAP over the past 30 years, with the largest decreases equatorward of 63øS and with substantial increases in Chl a occurring farther south. The latitudinal variation in Chl a trends reflects shifting patterns of ice cover, cloud formation, and windiness affecting water-column mixing. Regional changes in phytoplankton coincide with observed changes in krill (Euphausia superba) and penguin populations."

What this means is that, by measuring amounts of the chemical chlorophyll-a, scientitsts can figure out living conditions in the Antarctic ocean, from which they can infer what was going on with ice cover and other climate conditions. What they found was that the recent period of rapid ice melting in the WAP fits normal climate cycles that have been detected by other scientists. Previous studies have reported similar oscillations in sea ice extent and rate of change during the Holocene-the relatively warm interglacial period we have been in for the past 15,000 years. One such study was by Amy Leventer, et al, reported in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, in December 1996.

In a paper titled "Productivity cycles of 200-300 years in the Antarctic Peninsula region: Understanding linkages among the sun, atmosphere, oceans, sea ice, and biota," Leventer and colleagues report the results of a multiproxy record from a sediment core retrieved from a deep basin on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The report reveals "a dramatic perspective on paleoclimatic changes over the past 3700 yr. Analyses completed include measurement of magnetic susceptibility and granulometry, bed thickness, particle size, percent organic carbon, bulk density, and microscopic evaluation of diatom and benthic foraminiferal assemblages and abundances." Their conclusion was that "variability of these parameters demonstrates the significance of both short-term cycles, which recur approximately every 200 yr, and longer term events (~2500 yr cycles) that are most likely related to global climatic fluctuations."

In other words, ice in the Antarctic region undergoes periodic episodes of rapid melting-and it is all entirely natural, not because of human activity. The new paper echos these findings: "Paleo-records show that analogous climate variations have occurred in the past 200 to 300 years, and over longer 2500-year cycles, with rapid (decadal) transitions between warm and cool phases in the WAP. In this study (~30 years), the Chl a trend evidenced in the southern subregion of the WAP presented similar characteristics to those trends detected during typical interneoglacial periods (~200 to 300 years) (i.e., high phytoplankton biomass, and presumably productivity, due to less area covered by permanent sea ice)."

Science is marvelous, it never rests and never accepts any simple answer at face value. Here we see confirmation of an alternate explanation for rapid ice melting in Antarctica. The latest paper cites thirty supporting references and cross referencing the older paper provides links to eighteen others-this paper's conclusions are not from a single group of "fringe" scientists. Yet have you heard this well documented explanation for rapid ice melting from any media outlet reporting on global warming? Of Course not! What is reported is "more unprecedented melting!"

To have reported that the melting ice could be explained more accurately by a scientific theory other than anthropogenic global warming would muddy the water, not to mention confuse the news anchor doing the reporting. This is what makes other scientists, myself included, so angry about the climate change clique-their lack of open mindedness, their willful disregard for any facts counter to their preconceived ideas, their out right lies. When the dust finally settles on the great global warming debate there will be a number of climate scientist with much to account for.

Meanwhile, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.


A Dozen Reasons Why a Former CNN Executive Producer for Science Doesn't Understand Doubters of Manmade Global Warming

By Dr Roy Spencer

The following editorial appeared on the Huffington Post website today (italicized entries, below).and I couldn't help but give the writer some of his own medicine (my responses not italicized, & in parentheses).


By Peter Dykstra

A dozen reasons why climate change deniers are the way they are: No, there aren’t only a dozen reasons, but some are bigger than others. Scientists and climate change advocates are constantly amazed and appalled at how durable the climate change denial machine is. Here are some of the varied reasons.

1) Compassion fatigue: No one really denies world hunger, but we sure are good at turning away from it. People have been hearing about climate for two decades now, and they’d really not think any more about it.

(Americans give more to charity than any country in the world, and they are perfectly willing to help out.when there is a REAL crisis. They are not so crazy about supporting those who profit off of imaginary ones.)

2) Stigma: Pick one guy and stick with him as the personification of evil. That would be Al Gore, who plays the same role for climate that Jane Fonda did, and still does nearly 40 years later, for Vietnam. Jane has admitted that she made a huge mistake by posing with the North Vietnamese, and neither her multiple apologies, the fact that she was right about the war, nor the otherwise-accepted concept of Christian Forgiveness will ever let her off the hook for millions of Americans.

(Stigma? You mean like labeling us "deniers"? Or "flat-Earthers"? Or "corporate toadies?" Or "Holocaust deniers"?)

3) Dogma: Those who talk about climate change are the same ones who occupy the tenth circle of Hell for many Americans: Politicians, the Media, Scientists, Educators, Hippies, and Showbiz types. So it’s a moral imperative to be agin what they’re for.

(If the shoe fits..)

4) Fear Factor: Losing your SUV, or ATV, is more of a fright than phenology (the effect of climatic changes on the seasons), or melting permafrost, or polar bears.

(Losing liberty over a theoretical threat is the main concern here (no one has ever been killed by manmade global warming.because there is no way to distinguish manmade warming from natural).

5) Manufactured denial: Marc Morano is a Senate staffer for James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who’s said that climate change is a “hoax.” In that role, Morano’s been the Drum Major of the denial parade. The Marc Moranos of the world function for climate the way that Johnnie Cochran functioned for OJ Simpson: Raise enough shreds of doubt, even if you do it in reckless and theatrical ways, and climate change can win an acquittal, or at least a mistrial no matter how strong the rest of the evidence is. (It was reported last week that Morano’s career as a public servant will soon end, and he’ll take the denial machine to the private sector).

(I think a better analogy is one person, Marc Morano posting information.maybe with some spin.versus hundreds or thousands of journalists who are doing the same thing on the other side. Are those odds still not good enough for you?)

6) Devotion: The corollary to not believing anything Al Gore and his ilk is that you must believe everything that a crackpot like Glenn Beck says. [Blogger's Note: The word "ilk" is a very special one. A nonscientific Googling of the terms "Al Gore" and "Ilk" yielded 705 results. "Al Gore" and "Antichrist" got 693 hits, but that's misleading, since the "Antichrist" in question in many of those hits was either Hillary or Obama, and Gore was just mentioned as a henchman.]

(Actually, WE are the ones who tolerate a variety of theories for what causes climate change. We just don't believe the first place you should look is in the tailpipe of an SUV, or up some bovine orifice.)

7) Lack of backbone in Senior Editorial Management: A long-gone CNN boss of mine once told me that he hesitated about climate change stories. If he had his doubts about a diplomacy story, he said, he could get Henry Kissinger or Madeleine Albright on the phone to explain it to him. But for climate, he said he was “stuck” with only me.

(WHAT? You mean there are MORE ways to be killed by global warming than the 37 that we've already heard about??)

8 ) Current events: The Gallup poll just released that shows an increase in the number of Americans who think that climate fears are “exaggerated” also points out that this always happens with many secondary issues when the merde hits the fan –9/11 or Depression tend to make issues like climate seem less important. They also get covered less.

(Yes, there is something about real death and suffering that concerns reasonable people somewhat more than science fiction documentaries.)

9) Credentials: Peer review means nothing to the general public. And it’s unreasonable to expect a casual reader to make a huge distinction between a respected and peer-reviewed climate scientist like Steve Schneider, and the “coal monkeys” (Schneider’s term) who staff the Denial Labs.

(We have peer reviewed science, too, but it is you journalists who don't have the backbone to report on it. How convenient.)

10) Frank Luntz: Go to www.ewg.org and read the 2003 memo from the peerless Republican consultant. It counsels that manufacturing doubt is the only way to avoid losing the battle. In an interview at last year’s Heartland Institute’s Deny-a-Palooza, Morano claims he’s never read the Luntz memo. Which, if true, means that a superstar political consultant wrote a memo for his party on the environment, and the party’s most prominent environmental spokesman has managed to ignore it for six years?

(Tell me again.who is Frank Luntz, and what does he have to do with me?)

11) Ideology: Environmentalists often make the mistake of tarring all skeptics with the same brush. Not everyone’s on the take from Exxon and Peabody Coal. Not by along shot. But policy fixes to climate change are absolutely toxic to many freemarketers and libertarians.

("Policy fixes to climate change" is like saying, "let’s outlaw gravity".)

12) Ossified science: William Gray, the hurricane guy, is the best example of an old-line scientist who has complete contempt for any science that’s not generated in a lab or on a chalkboard. He’ll go to his grave not believing in any global warming, nor anything else that relies on computer models for its science. Chris Mooney’s book “Storm World” tells this story very well.

(Actually, I think Bill Gray has the best answer to ultimately what causes most climate fluctuations, including global warming (and cooling): changes in ocean circulation. In fact, we now have satellite evidence that a major mode of this kind of change - the Pacific Decadal Oscillation - has caused most of the warming we've seen in the last century. But don't look for it in the news when it finally gets published.)

So there’s a dozen reasons for denying climate change, and I didn’t even mention Creationists.

(So, there's a dozen reasons why a journalist can be misinformed on climate science, and I didn't even mention Atheists.)


I mentioned a previous pathetic smear attempt by the dick-headed Dykstra on 15th.. The insinuation that skeptics are creationists is slimy. He offers no proof of it. I am sure I am not the only atheist who is a skeptic. I think in fact that atheism is skeptical per se

Warmist Challenged to Debate

NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Bob Ryan, who recently wrote a lengthy online series of articles on global climate change that was covered here, has earned praise from a prominent environmentalist, and scorn from a Department of Energy worker who challenged Ryan to a climate science debate in a forum of his choosing.

Department of Energy engineer Brian Valentine, who according to the Department's web site works with the Industrial Technologies Program, where he helps the petroleum industry use energy more efficiently, is seeking to debate Ryan on the subject of climate science. Valentine's challenge was distributed by Marc Morano, spokesman for Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who has called climate change a "hoax."

"Ryan may or may not be aware that that ALL phenomena he discusses have different scientific interpretations with regard to the relationship of 'cause' and 'effect'; in any case no viewer of the Series would be aware of such differing scientific interpretations - and this remains a disservice to the viewers of the Series," Valentine wrote (apparently not realizing that the series consists of articles and not videos).

"As a matter of enlightenment and fairness to viewers of the Series, I cordially, and respectfully, invite Bob Ryan to consider discussion of the subject matters of the six-part Series in a public forum that would invite audience participation. The venue could be any that Bob considers appropriate within the DC area and could be as public as he chooses with televised coverage. These matters weigh heavily on proposed legislation in these United States, and the public has the complete right to understand all sides of issues that will influence their lives so greatly."

Ryan is aware of the challenge, although it's not clear if he will take the bait, or in what form he may decide to do so. We at CWG have offered to provide a forum at our web site if so desired.

A blog post in support of Ryan's discussion of climate science escaped our attention earlier this month. Laurie David [Whose only real talent is big tits], who was a producer of Al Gore's climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and serves as a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), wrote on Huffington Post that Ryan did a very "brave" thing by discussing climate science in an apolitical manner.

"Don't underestimate how brave this is," she wrote, "There are hundreds of meteorologists on TV and very few ever mention the words global warming." In an interview with CWG on March 5, Ryan had criticized some TV meteorologists for covering climate science from their personal political perspectives, rather than basing reports on scientific research.


Australia: Federal Labor party Reps. keep quiet on proposed Warmist laws

They represent blue-collar workers and mums and dads who face the greatest job losses under an emissions trading scheme, but three Queensland federal Labor MPs are publicly remaining silent about the risk. Chris Trevor, Kirsten Livermore and James Bidgood -- who represent parts of central Queensland and north Queensland -- have repeatedly refused to talk about the concerns of industries and workers in their electorates.

Fears of thousands of job losses in the mining sectors have intensified in the past week as resource giants warn of massive job cuts under an ETS. Mayors in Mt Isa and Gladstone are demanding the measure be delayed from 2010 to 2012. Queensland representatives from the coal and mining sectors yesterday held protracted meetings with advisers from the offices of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson. Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche and mining giants also held a private dinner with about seven Queensland MPs, calling for the coal sector to receive at least 60 per cent in free permits under the ETS.

But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has repeatedly refused to budge on the matter, saying the coal industry would have to pay to pollute. "We are not letting up on this. It is too important," Mr Roche told The Courier-Mail yesterday. "It's fair to say that the Government underestimated the concerns of the coal sector under the white paper. "One of the MPs we met with . . . said if there isn't (policy) change, 'I'll lose my seat'."

For the past two days, The Courier-Mail has asked the three MPs to explain how the ETS will affect their electorates and what they were telling their constituents. But staff in their offices said the MPs were either unavailable or too busy.

Mr Roche said he had no complaints dealing with Labor MPs even though they were publicly toeing the party line. However, he said he was told Queensland MPs were strongly advising Caucus about the concerns of the industry. The Courier-Mail understands Caucus is split on the starting date of an ETS because of the continuing global economic uncertainty.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said it was time Queensland Labor MPs stood up for their electorates. "He (Mr Trevor) represents thousands of people involved in the coal mining industry and yet where is he speaking up for them?" he said. "Where is Chris Trevor standing up for the miners of Central Queensland?"



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


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Some foot-shooting alarmism

The people who write this stuff really are poor intellects. Note the bits highlighted in red. The first shows that Arctic melting is NOT part of a global phenomenon and the second says it is comparable to past natural melts. They are also slippery in their prophecy of a "nearly complete" melt of the Greenland icecap. In fact, the Greenland icecap stayed largely intact during much hotter eras of the past. As Bamber notes, it survived at about 50% of it present size during the Eemian period of about 125,000 years ago -- when temperatures were about 5C higher than today

A major U.S. government report on Arctic climate, prepared with input from eight Canadian scientists, has concluded that the recent rapid warming of polar temperatures and shrinking of multi-year Arctic sea ice are "highly unusual compared to events from previous thousands of years."

The findings, released on Friday, counter suggestions from some skeptics that such recent events as the opening of the Northwest Passage and collapse of ice shelves in the Canadian Arctic are predictable phenomena that could be explained as part of a natural climate cycle rather than being driven by elevated carbon emissions from human activity.

A summary of the report - described as "the first comprehensive analysis of the real data we have on past climate conditions in the Arctic," by U.S. Geological Survey director Mark Myers - warns that "sustained warming of at least a few degrees" is probably enough "to cause the nearly complete, eventual disappearance of the Greenland ice sheet, which would raise sea level by several metres."

The study also sounds the alarm that "temperature change in the Arctic is happening at a greater rate than other places in the Northern Hemisphere, and this is expected to continue in the future. As a result, glacier and ice-sheet melting, sea-ice retreat, coastal erosion and sea level rise can be expected to continue."

Ice cover in the Canadian Arctic and throughout the polar world has experienced record-setting melts in the past few years. The summer of 2007 saw polar ice cover shrink to its lowest extent in recorded history. Last summer's melt came close to matching that record, and recent research indicates that overall ice volume - because of the ongoing replacement of thicker, multi-year ice with thinner new ice - was lower in 2008 than 2007.

This past summer also saw further dramatic evidence of the unusual warming of the Canadian Arctic, including record-setting high temperatures in Iqaluit, Nunavut, rapid erosion and flooding of a glacial landscape on Baffin Island, the re-opening of the Northwest Passage, an unprecedented clearing of ice from the Beaufort Sea, and the collapse of hundreds of square kilometres of ancient ice shelves on the northern shore of Ellesmere Island.

Research for the U.S. Congress-commissioned report was conducted by 37 scientists from the U.S., Germany, Canada, Britain and Denmark. The Canadian scientists involved were Mary Anne Douglas and Alexander Wolfe from the University of Alberta, John Smol from Queen's University, Garry Clarke of the University of British Columbia, Shawn Marshall from the University of Calgary, Jerry Mitrovica from the University of Toronto, Arthur Dyke of the Geological Survey of Canada, and McGill University's James Savelle.

"The current rate of human-influenced Arctic warming is comparable to peak natural rates documented by reconstructions of past climates. However, some projections of future human-induced change exceed documented natural variability," the scientists conclude. "The past tells us that when thresholds in the climate system are crossed, climate change can be very large and very fast. We cannot rule out that human-induced climate change will trigger such events in the future."


Warmist "explorers" freezing to death in the Arctic

It's just a stunt that more realistic people will have to rescue them from -- at some danger to the rescuers

Three British explorers trying to ski to the North Pole to measure the thickness of sea ice only have one day's food left as bad weather hampers supply flights, the mission said Tuesday. Project director and ice team leader Pen Hadow and his colleagues Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels are now down to half rations and fighting to survive in brutal sub-zero weather conditions. "We're hungry, the cold is relentless, our sleeping bags are full of ice and, because we're not moving, the colder we get," Hadow said Tuesday in a statement from the London headquarters of the Catlin Arctic Survey. "Waiting is almost the worst part of an expedition as we?re in the lap of the weather gods. This is basic survival."

The expedition set off on a 85-day hike on February 28 when the three were dropped off by plane on an ice floe some 668 miles, from northern Canada. During the past 17 days temperatures have consistently dropped below minus 40 degrees Celsius, and have been accompanied by strong winds increasing the chill factor. Bad weather has forced three attempts to drop food supplies to the team on a landing strip close to their camp to turn back.



Today on spiked: Editor Brendan O'Neill reports from the premiere of "The Age of Stupid", a cretinous film that unwittingly exposes the elitism and dodgy science of the green lobby.

O'Neill writes: "The film is so cretinous it makes Michael Moore look like a modern-day Bergman; so scientifically vacuous it makes Lysenko look like Einstein; so achingly middle-class it makes The Good Life look like a kitchen-sink drama about miners' wives."

Read the review in full here

Your "Carbon Legacy"

The "anti-people" agenda of the Greenies revealed again. Like the Communist Chinese, they want to restrict how many babies American women can have

Politicians who bow to the demands of the world's climate alarmists have long sought various means of reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. To date, the measures they have proposed have been rather mundane, focusing primarily on reducing emissions associated with one's household activities and transportation habits. For example, we have been encouraged to replace our incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient ones. We've also been asked to participate in municipal recycling programs, to drive less, to car pool or to utilize public transportation. But the "rules of the road" will soon be become much more stringent, and you and I may be asked - if not mandated by law - to make an unprecedented lifestyle change that could dramatically curtail one of our most cherished personal freedoms, all in the name of "saving the planet."

Writing for the scientific journal Global Environmental Change, two academics at Oregon State University - Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax - identify this lifestyle change in a paper entitled "Reproduction and the Carbon Legacies of Individuals." In this treatise they attempt to quantify, in their words, "the carbon legacy of an individual," and to examine "how it is affected by the individual's reproductive choices," based on the premise that "a person is responsible for the carbon emissions of his descendants, weighted by their relatedness to him." So what did they find?

The two researchers calculated that a woman in the United States would reduce her lifetime CO2 emissions by about 486 tons if she implemented the green-approved household and transportation activities mentioned previously. But they estimate that if she were to have just one child, that child, over its lifetime, would eventually release nearly 20 times more CO2 to the atmosphere than the reductions achieved by its mother via her more mundane green activities.

In light of these calculations, Murtaugh and Schlax conclude that "the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle," adding that "enormous future benefits can be gained by immediate changes in reproductive behavior," and, therefore, that "an individual's reproductive choices can have a dramatic effect on the total carbon emissions ultimately attributable to his or her genetic lineage."

We can only hope, in this regard, that everyone's future reproductive behavior will continue to be a matter of choice. But in light of the supposedly "enormous" CO2-related "benefits" of curtailing child-bearing - especially in the United States - no one can assume that such will continue to be the case, especially in light of the claims of climate alarmists such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, who consider CO2-induced global warming to be the greatest threat to the survival of civilization ever to be encountered. Faced with such a unique and unparalleled threat, we could well awake one morning and find ourselves with no choice in the matter, mandated by law to only procreate to the extent deemed ecologically appropriate by those enlightened few who somehow simply "know" what is best for the biosphere.

It may seem unthinkable today that our government - of the people, by the people and for the people - would ever assume the power to tell us how many children we can and cannot have. But much has happened in the past few months that truly was unthinkable, and only a single year ago. And if it's happened before, it can happen again; for in times of crisis - either real, as in the current economic crisis, or imagined, as in Al Gore's climate crisis - normally-rational people can do some wildly-irrational things.

We must, therefore, maintain the eternal vigilance that is needed to preserve our God-given rights that no one has the authority to rescind. Stand up with us and demand that your elected officials carefully scrutinize both sides of the CO2-climate debate and think for themselves. We need thoughtful men and women of integrity to guide our nation, not mindless lemmings.

Reference: Murtaugh, P.A. and Schlax, M.G. 2009. Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals. Global Environmental Change

CO2 Science Volume 12, Number 11: 18 March 2009

Blame sunspots for cool winter, spring weather

By George Taylor (George Taylor retired as Oregon State Climatologist last year and now operates Applied Climate Services of Corvallis)

Brrrr! It's been a cold week, in a cold month, in a cold winter. And it shows no sign of letting up. Last week the Northwest was gripped by unseasonably cold weather. Areas west of the Cascades saw temperatures dip into the 20s. Locally we dropped as low as 27 on the 13th. Eugene was even colder (24 on the 11th). Two days later, Eugene's 25 degree-low broke the daily record (26) set in 1944.

So far in March our local Hyslop Experiment Station has seen nine days with lows of 32 or below. The month of March averages 5.7 days, so we're already well ahead of average for an entire March.

As cold as it was here, the Cascades generally protected us from the coldest Arctic air, which remained mostly north and east of us. On the 11th, Spokane, Wash., reported a low of 2 degrees. This was the latest date for a temperature of 2 degrees or less. The previous latest date occurred March 6, 1891. Sandpoint, Idaho, set a similar record the same day with a reading of -4 degrees, the latest date for a temperature that low.

Western Montana saw temperatures as low as -14, and subzero readings were reported in other states. In Oregon, many daily records were set, many far below the previous. Meacham was -11 on the 11th; the record for was 7, so this week's weather broke the record by 18 degrees! LaGrande, Pendleton, Moro, The Dalles, Bend, Redmond, and others also set new records.

The cause of this cold month and cold year? Two things: the tropical Pacific and the sun.

The tropical Pacific continues in its "La Nina" mode, in which ocean temperatures off South America are cooler than average. During such conditions, winters in the Northwest are cooler than average, wetter than average, or both. Snowpacks tend to be average or deeper. Thus far, we've had a cold but dry winter, with and average mountain snowpack.

The sun continues in its "solar minimum." There is an 11-year cycle (about) in sunspots. When spots are plentiful, the sun's energy is stronger, and there is a tendency for Earth's temperatures to increase. During the low point there are few sunspots, and temperatures are more likely to drop. We have been in a solar minimum for more than a year. NASA and other agencies predicted that sunspot numbers would be increasing by now, but they are not. According to NASA, we are seeing:

* The lowest sustained solar radio flux since the F10.7 proxy was created in 1947;

* Solar wind is the lowest observed since the beginning of the space age;

* The solar wind magnetic field 36 percent weaker than during the minimum of Solar Cycle 23;

* Effectively no sunspots;

* Cosmic rays at near record-high levels.

These might make sense, but here's what it means: The sun is quiet, and has been for an unusually long period.

Looking back over the last several hundred years, we see that solar output has been high for the last 60 years; this coincided with a general increase in temperatures. There have been some periods with low sunspot counts for many years. The early 1700s and 1800s saw lengthy solar minima, accompanied by cold temperatures.

Some solar physicists are suggesting the minimum is a harbinger of lower sunspot numbers for the next several decades. That would mean lower air temperatures, in general - global cooling!

Others suggest El Nino and La Nina conditions are driven by variations in the sun; periods with low solar output would bring La Nina conditions (such as now). We'll see. But with a quiet sun and a continuing La Nina, I don't expect temperatures to warm up much in the near future. Expect a cool spring, like last year.



The bitter cold and record snowfalls from two wicked winters are causing people to ask if the global climate is truly changing. The climate is known to be variable and, in recent years, more scientific thought and research has been focused on the global temperature and how humanity might be influencing it.

However, a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee could turn the climate change world upside down. Scientists at the university used a math application known as synchronized chaos and applied it to climate data taken over the past 100 years. "Imagine that you have four synchronized swimmers and they are not holding hands and they do their program and everything is fine; now, if they begin to hold hands and hold hands tightly, most likely a slight error will destroy the synchronization. Well, we applied the same analogy to climate," researcher Dr. Anastasios Tsonis said.

Scientists said that the air and ocean systems of the earth are now showing signs of synchronizing with each other. Eventually, the systems begin to couple and the synchronous state is destroyed, leading to a climate shift. "In climate, when this happens, the climate state changes. You go from a cooling regime to a warming regime or a warming regime to a cooling regime. This way we were able to explain all the fluctuations in the global temperature trend in the past century," Tsonis said. "The research team has found the warming trend of the past 30 years has stopped and in fact global temperatures have leveled off since 2001."

The most recent climate shift probably occurred at about the year 2000. Now the question is how has warming slowed and how much influence does human activity have? "But if we don't understand what is natural, I don't think we can say much about what the humans are doing. So our interest is to understand -- first the natural variability of climate -- and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural," Tsonis said.

Tsonis said he thinks the current trend of steady or even cooling earth temps may last a couple of decades or until the next climate shift occurs.


Green/Left car-hatred backfires in Britain

The contortionist's skill required to squeeze a car into a tiny modern garage and climb out of a barely opened door will become redundant under plans to allow more generous parking provision on new housing estates. A decade after the Government ordered developers to discourage car ownership by making it difficult to park, a local authority has produced new guidance that acknowledges that the policy has failed.

Far from reducing car usage, the policy has turned modern housing developments into obstacle courses for pedestrians and cyclists, who routinely find pavements and cycle paths occupied by cars with nowhere else to park. A study by Essex County Council found that 78 per cent of garages were not being used to store vehicles, largely because a trend towards larger cars and 4x4s meant that many did not fit comfortably inside the space.

Essex has become the first authority to challenge the Government's anti-car planning guidelines. It has issued draft guidelines that require larger garages and driveways, more parking spaces per dwelling, bigger on-street bays and at least 25 extra spaces for visitors for every 100 homes. The council has discussed its approach with several other authorities interested in relaxing limits on parking. The new parking standards will be treated as a minimum rather than, as at present, a maximum. Developers will be free, for the first time in a decade, to offer as many spaces as they believe their customers will want. Garages will have to be at least 7 metres by 3 metres (23ft by 10ft), as opposed to the existing guidance of 5 metres by 2.5 metres. Any garage smaller than the new dimensions will be treated as a storeroom and not counted towards the minimum number of parking spaces. Any home with two or more bedrooms will require at least two spaces.

The council found that planning guidance issued between 1998 and 2001 had created a severe shortage of spaces in many developments. Families had responded not by giving up their second car but by parking on narrow residential roads, blocking access for emergency services and refuse collection lorries. There are more than 1.5 cars per home in 35 per cent of council wards in Essex. Nationally, there are more homes with two or more cars than there are homes without a car. The proportion of car-less households fell from 45 per cent in 1976 to 24 per cent in 2006. Over the same period, the proportion of homes with two or more cars rose from 11 per cent to 32 per cent.

Norman Hume, the Conservative-controlled council's Cabinet member for transport, said: "This new parking guidance is a radical break from the past failed approach which has seen local communities blighted by parked cars. We are effectively asking people whether we should continue living in neighbourhoods that often have the appearance of disorganised car parks or if instead we should look much more closely at how we accommodate the car to allow a better quality of life for our residents."

The Campaign for Better Transport, which promotes alternatives to cars, said that Essex was undermining a decade of work to help people to become less car-dependent. Stephen Joseph, the campaign's director, said: "Essex will create a new generation of car-dominated estates, causing congestion and pollution. In the guise of offering freedom, people will be locked into car dependency. Homes will be too spread out to make good public transport feasible." Mr Joseph said that Essex should have adopted the approach in Cambridge and Kent Thameside, where clusters of new homes are being built close to dedicated bus lanes offering fast, regular services.

John Jowers, Cabinet member for planning in Essex, said: "Whether you like it or not, you have to live with the car. Rationing parking spaces doesn't stop people owning cars, it just means they park where it is most inconvenient for everyone else." He said that Essex was considering reducing the number of people commuting by car by imposing a charge on workplace parking spaces.



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


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Academic journal article below: It was written with the many bogus theories in medicine in mind (e.g. longevity and the Mediterranean diet, the unhealthiness of "obesity" and the desirability of a low fat diet), but the article specified none of the theories concerned and certainly in my experience the critique applies to science generally. It was the tenacity of bogus theories in psychology that caused me to abandon psychological research. So the three areas of science that I know best -- psychology, medicine and climate science -- are all dominated by zombie science. From what I hear of astrophysics, the situation there is similar too -- but I don't have the energy to go there as well. The bottom line is that most people will believe what they want to believe -- and evidence be damned

Zombie science: A sinister consequence of evaluating scientific theories purely on the basis of enlightened self-interest

By Bruce G. Charlton, MD


Although the classical ideal is that scientific theories are evaluated by a careful teasing-out of their internal logic and external implications, and checking whether these deductions and predictions are in-line-with old and new observations; the fact that so many vague, dumb or incoherent scientific theories are apparently believed by so many scientists for so many years is suggestive that this ideal does not necessarily reflect real world practice. In the real world it looks more like most scientists are quite willing to pursue wrong ideas for so long as they are rewarded with a better chance of achieving more grants, publications and status.

The classic account has it that bogus theories should readily be demolished by sceptical (or jealous) competitor scientists. However, in practice even the most conclusive 'hatchet jobs' may fail to kill, or even weaken, phony hypotheses when they are backed-up with sufficient economic muscle in the form of lavish and sustained funding. And when a branch of science based on phony theories serves a useful but non-scientific purpose, it may be kept-going indefinitely by continuous transfusions of cash from those whose interests it serves.

If this happens, real science expires and a 'zombie science' evolves. Zombie science is science that is dead but will not lie down. It keeps twitching and lumbering around so that (from a distance, and with your eyes half-closed) zombie science looks much like the real thing. But in fact the zombie has no life of its own; it is animated and moved only by the incessant pumping of funds. If zombie science is not scientifically-useable - what is its function?

In a nutshell, zombie science is supported because it is useful propaganda to be deployed in arenas such as political rhetoric, public administration, management, public relations, marketing and the mass media generally. It persuades, it constructs taboos, it buttresses some kind of rhetorical attempt to shape mass opinion. Indeed, zombie science often comes across in the mass media as being more plausible than real science; and it is precisely the superficial face-plausibility which is the sole and sufficient purpose of zombie science.

Medical Hypotheses, Volume 71, Issue 3, Pages 327-329 (September 2008)


Under the weight of the global economic crisis, the new U.S. administration is having reservations about its own climate goals and is considering to relieve heavy industry from the cap-and-trade burden. In a speech to senior business representatives, President Barack Obama promised to reconsider the auctioning of emission permits for CO2 emissions, planned for 2012, for large coal-fired power plants, refineries and cement factories. "If this is so overburdening that you cannot carry it out, then it misses its purpose and we won't be able to enforce it politically," Obama said. "We will have to find an arrangement that creates a balance."

Only a few weeks ago, in his draft budget for 2012 to 2019, Obama had envisaged an annual revenue stream of $646 billion from the auctioning of emissions permits - under the premise that all industries, in the medium-term, would have to buy 100 percent of their emissions permits via auction. With this cash, Obama planned to, inter alia, subsidise renewable energy projects.

In the face of global competition, the EU, under pressure from Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), decided already in December to shield its heavy industry against the cost of a tighter EU emissions trading scheme. Accordingly, the EU's energy-intensive industries will contribute to receive its emissions permits for free - unless the United States and big emerging economies such as China, India and Russia agree to binding emissions cuts at the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

In Brussels, the EU Commission is already working on the legal exemption of heavy industry from the auctioning process. The Commission has created an inventory that lists all industries that will be exempt, in accordance with criteria agreed at the EU's climate summit in December. The condition for the free allocation of emissions rights is that industry products are traded globally and that the cost due to auctioning would increase the gross value by more than five percent.

The energy-intensive chemicals, steel, cement, pharmaceutical and paper industries and refineries would thus receive free emissions credits until 2020. A preliminary analysis of an internal Commission paper which has been obtained by FTD shows that industry sectors that are above this threshold account for 80 to 90 percent of all emissions in the EU. Manufacturers of bricks, glass, detergents, paints and coatings, metal processors and automotive, textile and electrical industries would have to buy 20 percent of their allowances at auction as of 2013 - but they are responsible only for a maximum of one fifth of industrial emissions.

The extent of the financial burden to industry depends on two factors: By the end of 2010, Brussels plans to publish technical standards for the cleanest available equipment. Those companies that operate less clean plants would have to buy emissions credits. In addition, the costs for industry depend on the price for a tonne of CO2 which, as a result of the recession, has dropped by over 20 euros to 11,50 Euro per ton.

Revenue from emissions trading schemes of industrialized countries are regarded as important source of funding for the fight against climate change in emerging and developing countries. EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas is holding talks in the U.S. with Obama's climate adviser Carol Browner until Tuesday on the issues of emissions trading and a global climate agreement.

SOURCE. (In German. Transl. BJP)


Germany's environment minister Sigmar Gabriel (Social Democratic Party) is pushing for the construction of new coal-fired power plants in Germany. "We need eight to twelve new coal plants if we want to get out of nuclear energy," Gabriel said on Friday at a meeting of the Mainz-Wiesbaden AG (KMW) in Mainz. With regard to the opponents of the planned coal-fired power in Mainz, the minister said: "Those who demonstrate against coal-fired power will get nuclear power plants instead." Gabriel said, the decision about which power plants are built is the responsibility of companies and not politics. He added that new coal power plants would not increase carbon dioxide emissions.

First of all, old plants would be closed. In additon, the emissions trading scheme would limit the level of emissions. "You can build 100 coal-fired power plants and don't have to have higher CO2 emissions," said the environment minister.

Renewable energies would not be able to close the gap in energy supply that will arise due to the shutdown of nuclear power plants by 2020, said Gabriel. Even gas-fired power plants are not a real alternative because their power generation is expensive and thus not competitive for the energy supply of industrial production.

SOURCE. (In German. Transl. BJP)

Nobody listens to the real climate change experts

The minds of world leaders are firmly shut to anything but the fantasies of the scaremongers, says Christopher Booker

Considering how the fear of global warming is inspiring the world's politicians to put forward the most costly and economically damaging package of measures ever imposed on mankind, it is obviously important that we can trust the basis on which all this is being proposed. Last week two international conferences addressed this issue and the contrast between them could not have been starker. The first in Copenhagen, billed as "an emergency summit on climate change" and attracting acres of worldwide media coverage, was explicitly designed to stoke up the fear of global warming to an unprecedented pitch. As one of the organisers put it, "this is not a regular scientific conference: this is a deliberate attempt to influence policy".

What worries them are all the signs that when the world's politicians converge on Copenhagen in December to discuss a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, under the guidance of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there will be so much disagreement that they may not get the much more drastic measures to cut carbon emissions that the alarmists are calling for.

Thus the name of the game last week, as we see from a sample of quotations, was to win headlines by claiming that everything is far worse than previously supposed. Sea level rises by 2100 could be "much greater than the 59cm predicted by the last IPCC report". Global warming could kill off 85 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, "much more than previously predicted". The ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting "much faster than predicted". The number of people dying from heat could be "twice as many as previously predicted".

None of the government-funded scientists making these claims were particularly distinguished, but they succeeded in their object, as the media cheerfully recycled all this wild scaremongering without bothering to check the scientific facts.

What a striking contrast this was to the second conference, which I attended with 700 others in New York, organised by the Heartland Institute under the title Global Warming: Was It Ever Really A Crisis?. In Britain this received no coverage at all, apart from a sneering mention by the Guardian, although it was addressed by dozens of expert scientists, not a few of world rank, who for professional standing put those in Copenhagen in the shade.

Led off with stirring speeches from the Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the acting head of the European Union, and Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, perhaps the most distinguished climatologist in the world, the message of this gathering was that the scare over global warming has been deliberately stoked up for political reasons and has long since parted company with proper scientific evidence.

Nothing has more acutely demonstrated this than the reliance of the IPCC on computer models to predict what is going to happen to global temperatures over the next 100 years. On these predictions, that temperatures are likely to rise by up to 5.3C, all their other predictions and recommendations depend, yet nearly 10 years into the 21st century it is already painfully clear that the computer forecasts are going hopelessly astray. Far from rising with CO2, as the models are programmed to predict they should, the satellite-measured temperature curve has flattened out and then dropped. If the present trend were to continue, the world in 2100 would not in fact be hotter but 1.1C cooler than the 1979-1998 average.

Yet it is on this fundamental inability of the computer models to predict what has already happened that all else hangs. For two days in New York we heard distinguished experts, such as Professor Syun-Ichi Akasofu, former director of the International Arctic Research Center, Dr Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Professor Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute, authoritatively (and often wittily) tear apart one piece of the scare orthodoxy after another.

Sea levels are not shooting up but only continuing their modest 3mm a year rise over the past 200 years. The vast Antarctic ice-sheet is not melting, except in one tiny corner, the Antarctic Peninsula. Tropical hurricane activity, far from increasing, is at its lowest level for 30 years. The best correlation for temperature fluctuations is not CO2 but the magnetic activity of the sun. (For an admirable summary of proceedings by the Australian paleoclimatologist Professor Bob Carter, Google "Heartland" and "Quadrant").

Yet the terrifying thing, as President Klaus observed in his magisterial opening address, is that there is no dialogue on these issues. When recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he found the minds of his fellow world leaders firmly shut to anything but the fantasies of the scaremongers. As I said in my own modest contribution to the conference, there seems little doubt that global warming is leading the world towards an unprecedented catastrophe. But it is not the Technicolor apocalypse promised by the likes of Al Gore. The real disaster hanging over us lies in all those astronomically costly measures proposed by politicians, to meet a crisis which in reality never existed.


Global Warming and The Endangered Species Act

There are indications that some in the media are finally figuring out that the environmental movement is very serious when it says it intends to use the federal Endangered Species Act and the listings of the polar bear and other species to force regulation of many "lower 48" operations, especially those in the energy business. This article covers a recent gathering of ESA experts wherein the path forward that environmental activists envision was discussed:

Under most traditional interpretations of the Endangered Species Act, an agency like the Bureau of Indian Affairs would have to determine how much of an impact a new coal-fired power plant in New Mexico or Colorado has on polar bears near the North Pole and penguins in Antarctica.

The vexing question is how to measure the site-specific impacts of such a project on a global scale. Top conservation leaders like Kieran Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the federal government is legally obligated to do just that.

The about-to-be-impacted industries have adopted a "hear no evil, see no evil" approach, and have refused the sort of preemptive litigation strategy that would have defined the outer limits of the ESA's reach via test cases on carbon-emitting activities in industries unrelated to direct energy-production. Had the oil-and-gas industry brought suit, for example, to oblige a small airport expansion to conduct a Section 7 consultation, it could have begun to build a defense against overreaching by the Act's most aggressive proponents.

Instead it has ceded the legal initiative to the very capable lawyers at the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, and the rollout of the prevent-global-warming-via-the-ESA strategy is beginning. The impact on energy production across the U.S. will be to sharply curtail new exploration and production and to greatly increase the cost of existing production. Every time a federal permit is proposed that will facilitate energy production --or any carbon-releasing activity for that matter-- environmental activists will argue that an ESA mandated permitting process is required. This process, called a Section 7 consultation, is very time-consuming and mandates necessary "mitigations" that are imposed on the sought-after permit. Landowners have learned how to negotiate this regulatory maze in the past two decades, but the vast expansion of jurisdiction foreseen by the advocates of the polar bear and related listings will greatly increase the scope of the Act's reach and the workload on the Fish & Wildlife Service, not to mention the cost of each permit if a cost can even be calculated.

All of this fallout was easy to predict at the time the Bush Adminstration listed the polar bear last year, but the coverage of the controversy has resolutely refused to explain to the public the enormous price tag it will be paying for the use of ice coverage models in the listing process that were at best speculative and at worse wildly so.


Australian Labor Party heartland turns on proposed Warmist laws as modelling shows big regional job losses

The mayors of three of the nation's biggest mining cities have demanded Kevin Rudd delay introducing carbon emissions trading, warning it will smash jobs and seriously damage key regional areas. The mayors of the traditional Labor strongholds of Newcastle, Gladstone and Mount Isa have called for the emissions trading scheme to be put off.

And the managing director of Frontier Economics, Danny Price, who conducted still-secret modelling for the NSW Treasury on the Rudd Government's plan, said the impact of the scheme across industrial regions, including central Queensland, the Hunter and Illawarra in NSW and Victoria's Gippsland, would be "very high" and "very severe". "In those regions, the effect on regional GDP would be many, many times more than the national effect forecast by the Treasury, which predicted an ETS would cut 0.1 per cent of average annual growth," Mr Price said.

The growing opposition to the Rudd Government's ETS came as the Opposition intensified its attack on the scheme as a job destroyer, with Malcolm Turnbull declaring the Coalition would not vote for the ETS in its current form. After the Opposition Leader's weekend declaration that the Coalition would not support a 2010 start-up date or the current design of the Rudd plan, the Government has become increasingly isolated on its support for the scheme.

Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate said any sensible person had to be concerned about climate change, but he saw no harm in delaying the introduction of the ETS while also pursuing alternative energy sources and developing technologies to reduce emissions from coal. "I just can't understand why you would put that sort of impost on Australian industry and agriculture at a time when we are trying to compete with the world," Mr Tate said. "I would urge the Government to consider the economic future and the job future of our citizens. Don't bring an impost on business large or small that's going to affect the viability of those businesses. It's just like another tax."

Mr Tate said Newcastle was faring reasonably well in the current economic climate because the federal and state governments were funding massive infrastructure spending, including a new coal loader at the city's port, works to deepen the south arm of the Hunter River and more than $580million on rail improvements. The spending was designed to boost the city's capacity to export coal.

Mount Isa Mayor John Molony said mines in his community employed 4000 people, including 300 apprentices. "I believe the ETS should be held in abeyance until the economic downturn is over," Mr Molony said. Mr Molony said copper and lead smelting and copper refining in Mt Isa and Townsville added major value to the nation's exports and would be severely hindered by emissions trading. Stressing that the problem of climate change required global action, he said it made sense to delay Australia's contribution to reducing emissions until it was clear what action other nations would take.

Gladstone Mayor George Creed, whose city's port is the exit point for massive coal exports from central Queensland, said the ETS would damage his community's industrial viability at a time it could least be afforded. Mr Creed said mines and heavy industry in Gladstone were already shedding jobs, and Australia's total carbon emissions accounted for a fraction of the world's output. "We are not going to hurt anything in the world if we wait for another year or two," Mr Creed said.

Latrobe Mayor Lisa Price, who represents an area that includes three open-cut brown coal mines, said her community was sitting on 500 years' worth of coal supplies and would not accept emissions trading without clear undertakings on structural adjustments to replace the jobs lost in mining.

The mayors spoke out as independent senator Nick Xenophon said the Government's legislation was doomed in the Senate, given that all parties on the cross benches believed it to be fundamentally flawed. During a sustained question-time attack on the claimed job-destroying consequences of the ETS, Mr Turnbull suggested the scheme should be shelved until the outcome of the UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen later this year were known. The Opposition Leader said the Government should not commit itself before the administration of US President Barack Obama clarified the details of its proposed emissions scheme. Mr Turnbull cited a confidential briefing from coalmining giant Xstrata predicting that the scheme would force the closure of up to four mines and cost 1000 jobs, most of them in Queensland.

But Mr Rudd said the Government was determined to act on climate change, saying the economic costs of inaction would be far greater than the costs of action, particularly for a hot and dry nation such as Australia.



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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Clear and Cohesive Message of the International Conference on Climate Change
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth." -- from the Oregon Petition, signed by over 31,000 scientists

United by that conviction, over 800 scientists, economists, and policy makers arrived in New York City last Sunday to attend the Heartland Institute's 2nd Annual International Conference on Climate Change. They came to talk a wide range of subjects, from climatology to energy policy, from computer climate models to cap-and-trade, from greenhouse gas (GHG) effects to solar irradiation. But most of all they came to help spread the word that the answer to the question posed by this year's theme -- Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis? -- is a resounding NO.

Sunday's keynote speakers wasted no time making that point. Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus scolded those whose alarmist opinions are driven by profits from writing and speaking fees, carbon trading and investments in non-carbon fuel products. And policy makers who blindly accept hyped Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publications as the final word in climate science. In truth, says Klaus, there is no fixed relationship between CO2 and temperatures, as clearly illustrated by the wavering heat trends of the 20th century, despite the steady rise in CO2.

Next, M.I.T's Richard Lindzen explained that many scientists toe the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) line to "make their lives easier," as underfunded scientists can write a single paper endorsing AGW and suddenly be inundated with offers. Even ambiguous or meaningless statements that can be easily spun are financially beneficial to scientists, so why complain about the spin? Ever wonder why you never stop hearing about studies finding GW responsible for everything from kidney stones to cannibalism? Explains Lindzen: It's become standard that whatever you're studying, include global warming's effects in your proposal and you'll get your funding.

Lindzen then dismissed climate models that alarmists depend on as they themselves depend entirely on warming positive feedback but, unlike nature, ignore the cooling effects of negative feedback. And rejected the warming alarmists alarm us about as so miniscule that there's no need for any external forcing to achieve or explain it. In reality, said the world renowned atmospheric physicist, doubling or even tripling CO2 would have only marginal impacts on temperatures. Both speakers masterfully set the stage for the days and sessions to come. What follows is just a sampling of the brilliance I encountered.

Roy Spencer echoed Lindzen's position that negative feedbacks ultimately bring equilibrium to the energy balance, making sustained global warming a non-issue. David Douglass assured us that ocean and atmospheric heat will always work toward such balance as per conservation of energy laws. S. Fred Singer commented that a 2005 paper by Hansen et al claiming that Earth's energy imbalance is proof of AGW was absurd.

Geologist and former astronaut Jack Schmidt inverted the IPCC position that burning fossil fuels increases atmospheric CO2, which in turn warms the planet. Slowly increasing temperatures from 1660 AD or so, said he, would increase CO2 and methane from land, land confined water, the biosphere and, mostly, the oceans. The vapor pressure of CO2 is temperature sensitive. So as a matter of established physics of gases, we'd expect atmospheric CO2 to increase as temperature increases. Therefore, he concludes, saying that CO2 causes heating is like saying "accidents cause speeding."

Singer moderated a panel discussion thoroughly debunking a recent paper claiming that CO2 put into the atmosphere lasts thousands of years. Participant Douglass questioned the premise as "it has nothing to do with global warming as CO2 continues to rise but GW stopped after 1991." But as Singer pointed out, alarmists will claim it proves that peak values reached in the next few years will determine climate for the next millennium.

And Christopher Essex nailed it: Their 1000 year forecast is remarkable - even groundhogs only predict 6 weeks ahead.

Astrophysicist Willie Soon proclaimed the sun-induced climate change theory alive and well. He believes that, while IPCC AR4 fraudulently disregarded Milankovich's theory of orbital influences on climate, the comings and goings of the ice ages may be controlled by changes in solar insolation at climatically sensitive latitudes. He displayed adjacent line graphs overlaying 20th Century arctic temperature anomalies with solar irradiance levels on one and atmospheric CO2 levels on the other. Whereas the former lined up almost perfectly, the latter wasn't even close.

Jack Schmidt pointed out that the 1400 -1900 cold period known as the Little Ice Age corresponds to a cycling sequence of 3 deep minima of sunspot activity and was at its coldest during the last of these minima, the 70 year period of exceptionally few spots we now know as the Maunder Minimum. Dennis Avery reinforced his 1,500 year climate cycle argument and its implications for the current warming period. He told us that solar variations are linked to decade-lagging sea temperatures. What's more, diminished sunspot activity since 2000 and Pacific Sea Surface cooling since 2008 predict a 20-30 year global cooling due to short term Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

Don Easterbrook neatly tied variances in the PDO and another natural climate variability, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), to that of solar activity and, ultimately, temperatures. The geologist pointed out that while the IPCC predicted 1øF warming by 2011, there's been none since 1998, and that the 1øF drop in 2008 was the largest global temperature change ever recorded. He too believes that the current PDO cool phase assures global cooling for as long as the next three decades.

Roy Spencer blamed the PDO for 75% of twentieth century warming. He provided a line graph plotting temperatures against the PDO and the correlation was quite remarkable. Weaker PDOs yielded warmer temperatures and the onset of stronger circulations cooled things down. As one might suspect -- Spencer's graph depicted a decided cooling trend beginning in 2003.

ICECAP's Joe D'Aleo also made an extremely compelling argument against the greenhouse effect and for the natural climate drivers of oceans, Sol, and yet another -- volcanoes. On D'Aleo's graphs, PDO/AMO aligned well with USHCN temperatures over last century, as did stratospheric aerosol levels from volcanic eruptions, and total solar irradiance. He remarked that "all three show a cycle where the last few years look a lot like the 1960's," which immediately caught my attention. You see, just hours prior, I had been discussing NY weather with a British representative and had commented that this winter reminded me of those I experienced as a child in the 60's.

Lord Monckton of Brenchley suggested that the positive feedback factor might actually be half what IPCC claims. Citing Soon's work, he said temperatures have been plunging at the rate of 2øC per century over the last 7 years, and the reduction of Outgoing Longwave Radiation as observed by satellites is on an order of magnitude below what models predict: "And Dick Lindzen says that's game, set and match."

California Congressman Tom McClintock offered examples of just how global warming alarmism is damaging his state --- all in the form of radical construction blocking, agriculture crippling, resource wasting legislation the warm-mongers have gotten through to fight it. Here's a beauty -- a homeowner can be fined $1000/day for refusal to cut down his trees if they block a neighbor's solar panels, but also faces fines if he cuts them down or clears brush for fire preventive purposes. And Gov. Schwarzenegger - who just proposed the largest tax increase in history to make up for funds lost by his failed green policies -- wants Cal-E-Fornia to be "an example to the country."

Benny Peiser, founder and editor of the fabulous CCNet, explained the political backlash European greenies are experiencing. And it's pretty bad -- Labor and Green parties are seeing the amalgamation of the recession and failed Kyoto-inspired energy policies driving their core voters away.

Lawrence Solomon offered more examples of overseas carbon regulation disasters, declaring Kyoto the greatest single destroyer of the environment, especially in the third world.

And speaking of bad GHG accords, Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Chris Horner explained how liberals could sneak Kyoto II through the Senate by changing it from a treaty to an executive agreement. Treaties require a 2/3 Senate vote, and the Gore brigade knows damned well they'd never pull that one off. But with a little legislative sleight-of-hand, the vote required could be lowered to 3/5. And Horner warned in detail against an even slicker trick that would place it on the fast track, making it both amendment and filibuster proof - thereby requiring only 50% plus one.

Needless to say, the regressive tax increase which is Cap and Trade (CAT) was also a popular target. CEI director Myron Ebell proclaimed John McCain's loss last November to actually be good news, as McCain is the biggest supporter of CAT in the Senate and actually claims that energy rationing would be a net benefit to the economy. Ross Mckitrick blasted the idea of CAT systems with predetermined carbon caps as betraying a complete lack of faith in their design. If the goal is to force down carbon output, then a "truth-based" floating cap determined by temperature is called for. Suggesting we force down caps regardless of temperature response is a sign that they don't believe their own rhetoric.

Dave Kreutzer warned that analytical models predict estimated aggregate losses to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $4.8 trillion and job losses in the manufacturing sector of nearly 3 million by 2029 if CAT were imposed under S. 2191. That's over and above the million manufacturing job losses economists predict will occur even if we do nothing.

On Thursday, Easterbrook responded to a NY Times piece suggesting his positions are aligned with those of Obama's science advisor -- John Holdren:
"[Holdren] wants carbon cap and trade that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to curb `global warming' that the PDO shows isn't going to happen in the next several decades (no matter what the cause). The PDO data shows conclusively that global cooling is going to continue for several decades, causing increasing demands of energy and resources (while population escalates), but if we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on cap and trade (as Holdren is pushing), we will have little left with which to handle the real problems of increasing demands on dwindling resources. Holdren's path will lead to a real global catastrophe."

And the losses will extend beyond the monetary. Professor Arthur Robinson, author of the afore-quoted Oregon petition, revealed the true reasons we import 30% of our energy, even though "one Palo Verde Nuclear Installation in each state results in $200 billion net export of energy." Robinson says there are those who would prefer that 30% grow much larger, encouraging higher energy prices and ultimately - rationing. And quickly advised -- once we become victims of rationing in the west we lose our all of our freedoms, but energy deprivation in third world countries will lead to the loss of tens of millions of lives.

And Monckton took on another deadly green scheme as only his Lordship can:
"Their biofuel scam, a nasty by-product of their shoddy, senseless, failed, falsified, fraudulent `global warming' bugaboo, has turned millions of acres of agricultural land from growing food for humans to growing fuel for automobiles. If we let them, they will carelessly kill tens of millions more by pursuing Osamabamarama's stated ambition of shutting down nine-tenths of the economies of the West and flinging us back to the Stone Age without even the right to light fires in our caves."

Such, as Kreutzer so perfectly described it, is the true "cost of accomplishing nothing."

Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist John Theon expressed his regret that former employee, James Hansen, "didn't receive the attention from me that he should have." What followed was a heartfelt denunciation that included the fact that Hansen's 1988 announcement of "unprecedented global warming" came as a surprise and embarrassment to Theon, as it was not NASA's position. He then cried foul over Hansen's endorsement of John Kerry for president in 2004, particularly after receiving the Heinz Environment Award, a $250,000 prize honoring the late-husband of Kerry's wife in 2001. He pointed out that a civil servant endorsing a political cause violated the Hatch Act, and that alone should be grounds for dismissal, which he has publically called for. Says Theon: "I think the man is sincere, but he is suffering from a bad case of megalomania."

There were a number of problems with data collection methods discussed. Tom Segalstad gave us a lesson in the dubious integrity of ice-core samples. The Norwegian geologist cited numerous problems with retrieval, sampling, and storage, all of which may contaminate results. Remember -- the accuracy of these figures, combined with temperature proxies such as dendrochronology (tree ring growth analysis) is crucial as they are used to plot past temperature/CO2 correlations.

WUWT's Anthony Watts favored us once again with stories and photographs of misplaced Maximum-Minimum Temperature Systems (MMTS). He and his cohorts have photographed and analyzed 75% of the 1200 plus national weather stations, and the results range from bad to hysterically bad. One slide showed a station in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota where the thermometer was placed within feet of not one, but two air conditioning outlets. The fact this town reported temperature well above those of its neighbors didn't seem to raise any red-flags with the good folks ate NOAA. So it's not particularly shocking that only 11% of stations surveyed met the required Class I or Class II requirement of likely measurement error under 1øC.

Joe D'Aleo believes that surface data suffer from serious issues biasing them to the warm side, this due to station dropout, missing monthly data, and inadequate or nonexistent urban heat island effect (UHI) adjustment. Half of the warming since 1880 may be attributed to these measurement contaminations. In fact, Climate Audit's Steve McIntyre said we don't actually know that the 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium as minor variations in data version yield different results.....

During Tuesday's standing-O-rousing conference-closing speech, in which he marvelously referred to alarmists as "bed-wetting moaning Minnies of the Apocalyptic Traffic-Light Tendency -- those Greens too yellow to admit they're really Reds," Lord Monckton added:
"Every opinion poll--even those conducted by the bed-wetters themselves - shows that global public opinion is cooling as fast as the global climate. In one recent survey, `global warming' came at the very bottom of a list of political and environmental concerns, immediately behind the need to clean up dog-poop on the streets. Why? Because dog-poop is a real environmental problem and `Global warming' is not. The correct policy response to the non-problem of climate change is to have the courage to do nothing."

And then emphasized unequivocally: "There is no climate crisis. There was no climate crisis. There will be no climate crisis."

More HERE (See the original for links)

A Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Denier

That's me, friends and family, colleagues, Objectivists and other freedom-lovers, and, yes, you socialists who by and large see catastrophic man-made global warming as one of the best routes for the promotion of socialism and the dismantlement of capitalism.

Marc Morano of the Senate Committee for the Environment and Public Works, minority side, has just asked me if I would join the many scientists who are increasingly willing to buck the environmental hysterical and religious movement to state that we are not facing catastrophic global warming due to the ill-considered acts of man. I, being fearless, am willing and happy to do so.

Of course, I am not a climatologist, a sun-spot activity expert, an expert on the effects of ocean currents, or an expert on greenhouse gases and their effects upon the atmosphere. I am a materials physicist by training, who has long functioned as a materials scientist with broad interests across many scientific and technological fields.

I became interested in the issue of the global warming alarmism several years ago, because the reports I kept hearing about it did not present the context of our knowledge of the earth's climate history well and because it seemed that many so-called scientists were leaping to the conclusion that recent warming was largely or mostly due to man's activities without seeming to have done a thorough job of examining the natural forces effects which have long caused much more drastic changes in the earth's climate than those we have seen in recent times. I was also concerned that so much of the justification for man's role was based on complex computer models, which nonetheless did not take into account many major natural effects and which had a well-established history of being modified to produce ever-decreasing rates of temperature increases. The more I studied the issue, the more problems I found with the claims that man had suddenly become so powerful that he was dominating the natural climate forces.

I was also concerned about two other observations. One was that when people do bad science, they tend to become very angry when they are challenged. I have seen this effect time and time again. Observe which side resorts to the most vociferous name-calling and you are likely to have identified the side with the weaker argument and they know it. Of course, just because a man has written many peer-reviewed papers and is in a science department at a university does not mean that he is doing good science. Good science starts with acute and critical observations, attention to the context of one's knowledge, a rational and critical examination of factors affecting the outcome, and finally an ability to predict as-yet unobserved events or historical events about which one had no prior knowledge. Most of the scientists working on global climate issues were either working for universities or for government agencies, and these institutions have become so highly politicized, predominantly toward the left, that it is common to find scientific reasoning weaknesses whenever there is a political consequence to the scientific outcome. I saw much that was lacking in the scientific work which was backing the claim that man was causing or soon would be causing catastrophic global warming.

The other observation of concern was that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming was a perfect tool to use to make the civilized and advanced societies cut back on energy use to the point that life was going to be much more miserable for human beings. This has always been something that the socialists have been willing and happy to do to their fellow human beings. They like it so much that they develop a religious fervor whenever offered the opportunity to hurt others. This may seem paradoxical because they always say they are more motivated to help others than most people. They are so motivated in fact, that they are always very eager to use brutal force to make others do what they want. It has become clear that this use of force has become in itself very exhilerating for them, like a dopamine drug for their minds. So, when you examine who believes fervently in man-made global warming, do you find that fervor cutting across the usual political spectrum with respect to commitments to personal and economic liberties or do you find the fervor in one camp only? In this case, there is pretty much that one camp of socialists.

I have developed computer models myself for the study of materials properties. When developing and using models is very important to keep a clear physical picture of the aspect of reality you are modeling. It is easy to mess up your boundary conditions, which is a known problem with many of the climate models; it is easy to fall into divergent conditions such as the claims of catastrophic positive warming feedback are likely to be; and it is easy to overlook some factors of importance in a complex problem, which the global climate most certainly is. The most important checks for these problems are to apply your model to a number of available simple situations if there are any and to already observed events and see if it is consistent with those events. There may be no simple climate system for such checks, but the past is available. I observed that there was anguishingly little effort to apply the climate prediction models to past climate changes. The reason for this was that the models really only contained elements of the Big Picture of factors affecting the climate of the earth. But, even granted that, some effort could have been put into comparing the model-predicted effects with those of high CO2 atmospheric concentrations from the geological record. This is an obvious check and no one was eager to do it. This is a clear warning sign.

However, because it is their bread and butter to use the models to predict future rapid temperature increases, these predictions have been made. Every time, the models predicted too much temperature increase and had to be scaled back. Every IPCC report shows scaled back computer predictions and yet every future IPCC report shows another scale-back. Clearly, the modelers do not know what they are doing. Nonetheless, on the strength of their predictions of unacceptable man-made warming, we are to make drastic cuts in our use of the inexpensive fossil fuels and have a future of expensive electric power only when the wind blows or the sun shines. Even this is provided that enough Democrats are willing to have wind generators and acres of photovoltaic panels in their backyards or in areas inhabited by animal species.

The very fact that the CO2 effect models did not contain sufficient factors affecting the global climate to make predictions about the past increases the likelihood that many of the factors affecting feedback mechanisms are not adequately handled. That there are critical feedback mechanisms is obvious. We know for instance that as the oceans warm, more water is evaporated, which is a cooling process. We also know that as the humidity of the atmosphere increases due to warming and ocean water evaporation, there are increased possibilities for cloud formation, which is usually a cooling mechanism. There is reason to believe these effects of water are not handled adequately. I have also looked at the sinks and sources for CO2 and have found that it is unlikely that they are adequately understood as yet. One problem exists with respect to the effects of the earth's crust absorbing CO2 both to form many carbonates, carbonate hydroxides, and lamellar (layered) minerals which absorb water with high CO2 concentrations between their expanding layers as water becomes available. Increases in precipitation will lead to increases in CO2 absorbtion in many minerals.

We also know that the earth's geological record shows that it has a tendency to never get warmer than an average temperature of about 22C and that the glacial periods tend never to get cooler than an average temperature of about 12C. We are now and have been for a few thousand years in a temperature regime which is between these extremes, but the earth over the last 600 million years has tended to be at one or the other of these two extremes most of the time. We do not know why we are not at one of the extremes now and we do not know how to predict when the earth may go to one or the other in the future. We do know that man did not cause any of the previous extreme temperature conditions.

Let me make it clear that I am not saying that man does not affect the weather or the climate. I am sure he does. But my evaluation is that man's affect upon the global climate is still small compared to the natural forces at work and that they are incapable of causing anything on the scale of a catastrophe. But, man can cause a catastrophe to his lifestyle and to his lifespan. An example would be the catastrophe which would be caused if Obama and the anthropogenic global warming alarmists force us to give up half of our electric generating capacity due to coal-fired power plants. This cannot be replaced by wind power and solar power by any technology yet known. It is a fool's errand to destroy half of our electricity generation capability while we have nothing to replace it with, when the reason given for doing this is to decrease the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere.

Any warming that is caused by man, is probably the cause of more good than bad. The higher CO2 concentrations in the air are certainly good for plant growth, which is good for both man and other animals. As I have pointed out before, most of the predicted warming is in the northern parts of North America, northern Europe, northern Russia, northern China, northern Japan, southern Chile, and southern Argentina, all of which would benefit from warmer temperatures in the winter and at night, which appears to be when the warming is greatest. This makes life in these areas easier for man, animals, and plants in most cases. This is not a bad outcome and it most certainly is not a catastrophe!


Global warming's no longer happening

So why are eco types moaning about record highs while ignoring record lows? Comment from Canada

So far this month, at least 14 major weather stations in Alberta have recorded their lowest-ever March temperatures. I'm not talking about daily records; I mean they've recorded the lowest temperatures they've ever seen in the entire month of March since temperatures began being recorded in Alberta in the 1880s.

This past Tuesday, Edmonton International Airport reported an overnight low of -41.5 C, smashing the previous March low of -29.4 C set in 1975. Records just don't fall by that much, but the airport's did. Records are usually broken fractions of degrees. The International's was exceeded by 12 degrees.

To give you an example of how huge is the difference between the old record and the new, if Edmonton were to exceed its highest-ever summer temperature by the same amount, the high here some July day would have to reach 50 C. That's a Saudi Arabia-like temperature.

Also on the same day, Lloydminster hit -35.2 C, breaking its old March record of -29.2 C. Fort McMurray -- where they know cold -- broke a record set in 1950 with a reading of -39.9C. And Cold Lake, Slave Lake, Whitecourt, Peace River, High Level, Jasper and Banff, and a handful of other communities obliterated old cold values, most from the 1950s or 1970s, two of the coldest decades on record in the province.

This has been an especially cold winter across the country, with values returning to levels not often seen since the 1970s, which was an especially brutal decade of winters. Temperatures began to plummet on the Prairies in December. The cold weather did not hit much of the rest of the country until January, but when it hit, it hit hard. Even against Canada's normally frigid January standards, "this particular cold snap is noteworthy," Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said this past January. Many regions across the country had not been as cold for 30 years or more, he added.

Does this prove fear of global warming is misplaced? On its own, probably not. But if records were being broken the other way -- if several Alberta centres had recorded their warmest-ever March values -- you can bet there would be no end of hand-wringing, horror stories about how we were on the precipice of an ecological disaster of unprecedented proportions.

Environmentalists, scientists who advance the warming theory, politicians and reporters never shy away from hyping those weather stories that support their beliefs. But they tend to ignore or explain away stories that might cast doubt.

In 2005, the summer and fall of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when several major 'canes pummelled North and Central America, we were told again and again that this was proof warming was happening and it was going to be bad. Al Gore has emissions from industrial smokestacks swirling up into a satellite image of a hurricane on the DVD box for his propaganda film An Inconvenient Truth to underline the point that more and eviller hurricanes will be the result of CO2 output.

But since 2005, only one major hurricane -- this year's Ike -- has struck North America. And now comes a study from Florida State University researcher Ryan Maue, that shows worldwide cyclonic activity -- typhoons, as well as hurricanes -- has reached a 30-year low (tinyurl.com/bunynz).

Indeed, the hiatus may go back more than 30 years because it is difficult to compare records before about 1970 with those since, since measurements four or more decades ago were not as precise or thorough. Current low activity may actually be the lowest in 50 years or more.

If Maue had proven hurricane activity were at a 30-year high, of course his findings would have been reported far and wide. But since he is challenging the dogma of the Holy Mother Church of Climate Change, his research is ignored.

For at least the past five or six years, global temperatures have been falling. Look at the black trend line on the chart at www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/ put out by the man who runs NASA's worldwide network of weather satellites.

Also, in the past few months, two studies -- one by the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Germany and another by the University of Wisconsin -- have shown a slowing, or even a reversal of warming for at least the next 10 to 20, and perhaps longer. Even the Arctic sea ice, which has replaced hurricanes as the alarm of the moment ever since hurricanes ceased to threaten, has grown this winter to an extent not seen since around 1980.

Global warming is not only no longer happening, it is not likely to resume until 2025 or later, if then. So why are we continuing to hear so much doomsaying about climate change? There are a lot of people in every age who think they know better than everyone else and, therefore, have a right to tell everyone how to live. In the 1950s, it was country-club and parish council busybodies with their strict moral codes. In the 1970s, it was social democrats with their fanciful economic theories. Today, it's environmentalists. Same instinct, different wrapper.


Britain's very strange "green" car plan

It's "green" to encourage the automobile industry? Quite a turnabout!

I've had my 42in television for a good few years. I fancy replacing it with a new 55in model but the 4,800 pounds price has put me off. Thanks to Peter Mandelson, however, I've realised that I've been worrying over nothing. I'm going to knock on someone's door and ask them to give me 2,000 towards it. In return, I'll smash my old one up. Lord Mandelson, you see, is about to set up precisely such a scheme, not for plasma TVs but for cars. If you fancy a new car, take your existing one to a car recycling plant and you'll get a œ2,000 voucher towards it.

Isn't life grand! Bored with your Nissan Micra? Upgrade to an MG and someone else will pay. That someone else, of course, is you and me, through our taxes. At a time when public spending is running away with itself, tax rises are inescapable and most of us are counting every penny, the Government is planning to force those of us still in work and paying taxes to subsidise other people's luxury spending. Genius.

The rationale, of course, is that it will protect jobs in an industry where demand has collapsed. As Roy Kishor, described in Saturday's Times as a "car industry restructuring expert", put it: "Scrappage is an absolute no-brainer. It addresses the two most fundamental issues facing the car industry today - the first is that it creates demand, getting inventory moving and helping the car companies get back to manufacturing. The second is that it deals with emissions."

Translated from car-industry- lobby-speak that means: "We wanted to find a way to persuade the Government to take your money and hand it over to car companies that can't sell their cars. And because we came up with some environmentally friendly spiel - newer cars cause fewer carbon emissions - they bought it."

But why just the car industry? There are all sorts of companies struggling at the moment to make ends meet. Cars have no greater right to taxpayer support than coffee shops or book publishers. They all create jobs. They all manufacture something. And they are all facing collapsing demand. Forget the nanny state; this is old- fashioned 1970s-style government investment in failing industry, dressed up in 21st-century, market-friendly, cuddly green disguise. British Leyland, you are reborn.

Rather than being forced to hand over an even greater proportion of our income to the Government to spend as it sees fit, can't we be left to decide for ourselves how, and on what, to boost demand?


Icing the hype

By Andrew Bolt, writing from Australia

The ABC accepts - without question - the word of a green alarmist that the world is both heating and drowning:
BARBARA MILLER: Just two years ago the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a worst case scenario, sea levels could rise by up to 59 centimetres by 2100. New information has now led to that figure being revised significantly upwards to a projected rise of a metre or even 1.2 metres. Dr Will Steffen the executive director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University is at the summit in Copenhagen.

WILL STEFFEN: The 59 centimetres did not take into account the changes of the big polar ice sheets like Greenland and west Antarctica because they couldn't be modelled very well at that time. We now have better information on how Greenland and west Antarctica, the polar ice sheets are behaving, and they're leading us to believe that sea level rise will indeed be more than that 59 centimetres.

But here's what the same conference was also told about Greenland - but which the ABC didn't report:
The giant Greenland ice sheet may be more resistant to temperature rise than experts realised. The finding gives hope that the worst impacts of global warming, such as the devastating floods depicted in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, could yet be avoided.

Jonathan Bamber, an ice sheet expert at the University of Bristol, told the conference that previous studies had misjudged the so-called Greenland tipping point, at which the ice sheet is certain to melt completely. "We found that the threshold is about double what was previously published," Bamber told the Copenhagen Climate Congress...

And what of the actual observations of this reputedly fast-warming, fast-drowning climate? In fact, sea levels haven't risen for the past two years. Temperatures haven't risen for the past decade. Hurricanes and cyclones have been decreasing in total energy. Greenland hasn't been following Europe's warming trend.

And while the ABC subcontracts its reporting of an alarmist conference to alarmist scientists and activists, it virtually ignores another conference of sceptical scientists and other experts running at the very same time. Is there a reason that so many reporters refuse to tempter their alarmist reports with cool facts based not on predictions but on observations?

When the wildest predictions at the IPCC conference are for sea level rises this century of up to 1.2 metres, will ABC science guru Robyn Williams concede at last that his own claims of sea level rises of up to 100 metres were grossly alamist and hyperbolic, with no basis in science? When will Media Watch pounce on a science journalist that can insist on something so preposterous?

More HERE (See the original for links)

Australian Greenie thugs urge environmental movement to use violence

A thin cover for hatred of other people

People are being urged to break into shops, "disable" four wheel drives and throw pies at people by an extreme environmental group being promoted by the NSW Greens. The group Rising Tide is planning a blockade of the world's biggest coal port in Newcastle, for which Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has held a "direct action and civil disobedience" workshop to prepare protesters. Rising Tide claims the protest will be legal and peaceful, however it also warned participants "there can be no guarantee against arrest". Ms Rhiannon - who will attend the blockade with her staff - yesterday praised Rising Tide but said she was unaware of its support of vandalism and did not condone it.

Rising Tide said people concerned about climate change should also "shut down" petrol stations and blockade power plants. The suggestions are contained in a list of 64 "actions" posted on the group's website. A spokeswoman for Rising Tide stood by the list, saying the actions were "trivial" compared to the threat of climate change. Many of the suggestions are benign but some are clearly illegal and potentially dangerous. They include:

* DISABLE a 4WD. (Letting the tyres down is one way - and doesn't leave you open to "malicious damage" charges, because it doesn't damage the vehicle);

* THROW a pie at chief spin doctor at the NSW Minerals Council;

* SHUT down petrol stations;

* SUBVERTISE - distort the messages on adverts for climate criminals;

* PAINT bike lanes on the road;

* START a campaign against air flights; and

* BLOCKADE or occupy a power station."

Rising Tide spokeswoman Georgina Woods said the group stood by the suggestions, saying they were "on the scale of things, a little bit of inconvenience". "Our group is non-violent but we feel we're facing a wide unprecedented challenge and a little bit of civil disobedience as an expression of community frustration," she said. Green activist Lisette Salkavich, who distributed an email urging people to get involved in the Rising Tide blockade, said that while she had not done it herself damaging property could be morally justified in some circumstances and climate change was an urgent threat.



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


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Greenie attack on Marc Morano

Just for fun, I reproduce below an attempted smear job from a Greenie site. Note that not a single fact about climate is mentioned. It is all abuse. But even the abuse is not done well. Mentioning that Marc Morano assisted in the exposure of John Kerry by the swiftboat veterans is actually a badge of honour for anyone who cares about the truth, for instance.

The one climate-relevant fact the writer mentions is also misconceived. He points to some current poll numbers about agreement with global warming and points out that the numbers are high. What he omits is the central point in what Marc Morano claimed: That they may be high but they have been declining in recent years. See here. They are lower than they were. The writer is just a dumb little hate machine. He puts up a nice picture of Marc Morano, though

By Peter Dykstra

So if the Gallup organization releases a poll that says that 59 percent of the American public doesn't buy anything you have to say, and a sizeable chunk of the rest thinks you're at least partly wrong, what do you do?

If you're the remarkable Marc Morano, you claim victory, of course.

I've mentioned Marc Morano a few times in this column. Improving on an already colorful career, Marc has emerged in the last few years as the guy in the center square of the climate change denial industry. With his boss, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, Morano is the Roy Cohn to Inhofe's Joe McCarthy of climate change paranoia. Or maybe the Edgar Bergen to Inhofe's Charlie McCarthy. (If you're not up on your mid-20th century pop culture, look these two up.)

Marc's a piece of work. The stops on his career are a pageant of triumphs in making the guilty look innocent, and vice versa. After four years as the "Man in Washington" on Rush Limbaugh's mid-90s TV show, Morano settled in at the Cybercast News Service (CNS), an outfit that sort of serves as the Tass and Pravda of the far-far right. There, he's best remembered for penning two political attack pieces. His CNS story was the first salvo in the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry prior to the 2004 election. In early 2006, after another Vietnam vet, Congressman John Murtha, dramatically came out against the Iraq war, Morano co-penned a piece questioning Murtha's receipt of two Purple Hearts for wounds while serving in Vietnam. Under the headline "Murtha's War Hero Status Called Into Question," Morano pegged the story to decades-old allegations made by three former election opponents - one deceased, one too feeble to be interviewed, and the third merely angry.

Morano hooked up with Inhofe while the senator was still the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. But he hung on to the playbook: Like his character attacks on Kerry and Murtha, Morano took off on climate scientists as if he were doing opposition research for a county commissioners' race. In an exchange at the 2006 annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Morano was called out by NASA Scientist James Hansen. Hansen's work on projecting global warming had earned him the Heinz Award, an environmental honor named for the late John Heinz, an eco-minded Republican senator who died in a plane crash three years before Inhofe was elected to the Senate. Like the Nobels, Pulitzers, and other awards, the Heinz Awards offer cash to the winner - a quarter million. Morano consistently suggested that Hansen received $250,000 as a bribe for spun science. Here's a Senate floor speech where Inhofe makes the same suggestion.

Morano's latest triumph is the victory lap he took when Gallup said that Americans' skepticism on climate change had grown. In classic McCarthy style, it's a half-truth. In the midst of an economic crisis and a continued onslaught of fact-free denial from the likes of Lou Dobbs, George Will and Glenn Beck, Gallup found 41 percent of Americans feel media reporting on climate change is "generally exaggerated." This was the "highest level of public skepticism" measured by Gallup in a decade. For fear that it would ruin his story line, Morano failed to mention that "Gallup has documented declines in public concern about the environment at times when other issues, such as a major economic downturn or a national crisis like 9/11, absorbed Americans' attention," and that "Americans generally believe that global warming is real."

Inhofe took to the Senate floor on Thursday to crow that the global warming verdict was in "freefall." Morano launched another personal attack on Andrew Revkin, the climate reporter and blogger for the New York Times, for portraying last week's Climate Deniers' Conference in New York as an event apart from real science.

It seems that half a truth is just about capacity for these fellas. There's a time for honest and respectful debate, and a time to move on and call out a dishonest broker for the phony that he is. Have you no decency?


New Paper: Increasing Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) could have contributed significantly to global warming

At the December 2008 NRC meeting "Detection and Attribution of Solar Forcing on Climate" [see] there was extensive criticism by Gavin Schmidt and others on the research of Nicola Scafetta with respect to solar climate forcings. He was not, however, invited to that December meeting. There is now a new paper that he has published that needs to be refuted or supported by other peer reviewed literature (rather than comments in a closed NRC meeting in which the presenters would not share their powerpoint talks). The new paper is:
Scafetta N., R. C. Willson (2009), ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L05701.


"The ACRIM-gap (1989.5-1991.75) continuity dilemma for satellite TSI observations is resolved by bridging the satellite TSI monitoring gap between ACRIM1 and ACRIM2 results with TSI derived from Krivova et al.'s (2007) proxy model based on variations of the surface distribution of solar magnetic flux. `Mixed' versions of ACRIM and PMOD TSI composites are constructed with their composites' original values except for the ACRIM gap, where Krivova modeled TSI is used to connect ACRIM1 and ACRIM2 results. Both `mixed' composites demonstrate a significant TSI increase of 0.033%/decade between the solar activity minima of 1986 and 1996, comparable to the 0.037% found in the ACRIM composite. The finding supports the contention of Willson (1997) that the ERBS/ERBE results are flawed by uncorrected degradation during the ACRIM gap and refutes the Nimbus7/ERB ACRIM gap adjustment Fr”hlich and Lean (1998) employed in constructing the PMOD."

A key statement in the conclusion reads
"This finding has evident repercussions for climate change and solar physics. Increasing TSI between 1980 and 2000 could have contributed significantly to global warming during the last three decades [Scafetta and West, 2007, 2008]. Current climate models [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007] have assumed that the TSI did not vary significantly during the last 30 years and have therefore underestimated the solar contribution and overestimated the anthropogenic contribution to global warming."

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

Climate change is nature at work

By Seymour Merrin

I am confused. I have a Ph.D. in the geologic sciences. I am a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and other scientific organizations. And I have worked as a research and manufacturing scientist for major corporations.

I was taught, and used professionally, what is called the "scientific method." Although it is not easy to sum up the "method," it can be condensed into a simple sequence: Research to form a theory, use the theory to predict the outcome of events/tests, compare the results to the predicted outcome. If they fit, you assume a certain degree of validity. If there is no correlation between the results and the theory, then you have to go back to the beginning or at least modify the theory to obtain predicable results.

Hence, the confusion. There is little doubt that the Earth's climate is changing, as it always has. A multitude of specific evidence leaves no doubt that 10,000 years ago, glaciers covered a large part of the polar regions down to the latitude of New York City in the north. Concrete evidence shows that since then, the temperature has been significantly warmer (sub-tropical plants in Alaska) and colder during the Little Ice Age from the 15th century through the middle of the 19th. It was warmer in the 14th century than it is now.

Enter the human-caused warming of the Earth, and testing it with the scientific method. The basic theory states that, as human-produced CO2 increases, Earth temperatures increase. Simple prediction, simple to test. The predominance of "hottest" years should be in the last 20 years, but that is not true. In fact, the last 10 years have been relatively flat - with 2007 and 2008 having declining temperatures. No correlation at all - actually, a disproval of that particular theory.

Some of the computer models representing the theory (despite the fact that even the most ardent supporters of human-caused global warming admit that the models are poor and cannot even predict one year out, let alone the distant future) show Arctic sea ice declining. Yet the ice now covers the same area it did in 1980. Yes, there was a period of decline, but that has markedly reversed itself. No correlation, again.

There are simple facts in such abundance that the media never reports.

When the media lambastes a great scientist and brave patriot, Jack Schmitt, a geologist, astronaut and former senator for apostasy, you know that it isn't science they're talking about, but agendas. Schmitt knows more about the Earth and its environment than all the staff at The New Mexican put together. Listen to a proven scientist.


Skeptics Score at Climate Change Conference

But don't expect the climate horror industry to decline anytime soon.

by James Lewis

Be still my beating heart. There is hope for honest science, even in the gruesome Age of Algore. But only if we really grasp what's happening with the Global Horror Picture Show these days. The biggest danger to good science is that rational skeptics will continue to be outgunned by the fear peddlers: A big lie can go around the world before the truth can get its boots on. The fear merchants just have to make up new scares faster than they can be knocked down, and honest scientists will always get there too late. Thoughtful skepticism takes thought. New alarmist scenarios can be made up by science fiction scribblers on an assembly line. It's the Nazi panzers against the Polish cavalry. Sure it's heroic, but it's not really a contest.

So here's the good news. The skeptics are winning against the global warming mythogogues. The polls show a drop in public faith in the global warming meme. Last week a stellar skeptics' conference was held in New York City and the New York Times actually covered it - in its usual bitchy fashion, but they decided to cover it anyway. There are many excellent talks at this website, notably by Viscount Monckton, Margaret Thatcher's former adviser, who provides a truly elegant and devastating deconstruction of the infamous IPCC "consensus statement" - done for the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats, and of the bureaucrats. Any real scientific analysis and debate was left out of the IPCC statement, and Lord Monckton simply shoots it out of the water with a satisfying bang. Others like Fred Singer and Richard Lindzen were there as well, and you can listen to their presentations online. They are heroes.

But that's not why I think the skeptics are winning. The rational skeptics are winning because the global warming crowd has simply dropped the two words "global warming" from its vocabulary. No more official global warming! This is like the old Soviet Communist Party. You have to analyze not just what's said but what's not said. You have to look to see who has been airbrushed out of the pictures of the Politburo waving on top of Lenin's tomb watching the May Day parade. And "global warming" has disappeared from respectable scientific discourse. Only the elementary school teachers of the world will keep teaching about global warming, because their lesson plans are already written, and they're a little slow on the uptake. Somehow it's all morphed into climate change.

What's "climate change?" It's a scientific surrender by the Algore-James-Hansen Planetary Fear Brigade. No more global warming, folks. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

But it's a silent surrender, so millions of readers of the New York Times will never notice a thing. Al Gore just has to drop one solitary slide from his infamous PowerPoint lecture. James Hansen just needs to pretend that all those horrific mistakes over at the NASA Climate Playstation Center were tiny computer glitches. Anybody can make an honest mistake, right? And they always fixed the published data after they were caught - I mean, after the errors were called to their attention. That's what honest scientists do. (Funny thing, though, how those glitches always favored the global warming faith?)

Still, real scientists have to use words with precision, and when all the big science journals change the words "global warming" to "climate change," all at the same time, you know somethin's up. It is. The real scientists have simply, silently acknowledged that the skeptics were right all along, as a child of six might have figured out. And since everybody knows that "climate change" has been going on for a half billion years, it's sure to keep happening. Now there's a solid scientific prediction for you.

Nobody can object to "climate change." So nobody has to apologize to the skeptics. (Hint: If the New York Times deigns to cover skeptics who challenge their orthodoxy for the last decade or two, it's because they are doing a quick CYA. They are not recanting. They are not doing the skeptics a favor. If you want a favor, go ask Tony over in Joisey.)

What really happened there, it seems, is that the science section of the NYT caught on, and hired a skeptic named John Tierney, who blew the cover off the scam. Check out the columns by Tierney, who sounds like an honest man in a impossible job. The science section people have to actually know something about science. They also have to stay respectable to real scientists, and they must have smelled the fraud for years and years. It didn't take much. Even the Weather Channel caught on, for goodness' sake!

What about those highly respectable scientists who were constantly giving scare headlines to their friends in the media? Well, they can pretend they were right all along, too. After all, they told us about climate change, didn't they? And now everybody agrees that, yes, the climate is changing. Gotcha!

As for the media, they don't care - most of their readers can't remember yesterday's stories anyway. With the 24/7 news cycle you can just swamp yesterday's scare headline with bigger ones today. In fact, the imaginative scribblers of the media now have even more room to let their horror fantasies soar. Which is exactly what's happening. If you think global warming gave the media a lot of room for planetary fear stories, just wait till you see all the really catastrophic climate change stories to come. Who needs warming?

How about . the oceans are turning acid and killing all the little carbonaceous critters? Yesterday, Nature magazine proclaimed that the oceans are turning acid and reducing the calcium in Pacific Ocean marine carbonate organisms. But skeptics will note that this study suffers from a huge sampling error. There is no way to cover an enormous ocean region with vast underwater mountain ranges and make generalizations about the acidity and the actual population of all carbonate organisms in that enormous volume of sea water. So it's just another scare study that is grossly overgeneralized. Sounds like the good old "global warming," right? But it did get published in the oldest and one of the most highly respected scientific journals in the world.

Or, how about "World leaders told to act on climate before it's too late!!"? That's one by the reliable eco-prop specialist Lewis Smith in the London Times. Mr. Smith is the environment reporter of the formerly respectable Times, and is a reliable bellwether to see which way the imaginary winds are blowing. His headline is illustrated by the infamous propaganda picture of a lonesome polar bear on its fast-disappearing little crag of ice in the vast Arctic Ocean. Now polar bears swim like sea lions for dozens of miles in search of prey. But this is the iconic "ET call home" image of the Arctic warming crowd. It's a fraud, but they can't let go of it. Mr. Smith is a one-man shop for eco-horrors. Just within recent days he had "85% of Amazonian rainforests at risk!!!" Then there was "World heading for resources war!!" And "Hopes of climate change accord `are sinking.'"

Or how about this story? "Oil spill disaster on Australian beaches!" This is also from the Times, which is the new voice of the Euro socialist elite.

Well, as Bill Ayers told us `way back when, "you don't need a Weatherman to see which way the winds are blowing." That's not metaphorical. Apparently they meant it literally, and now we don't need any weatherfolk at all, because the winds are always blowing the same way. This is like those mythic battles between the gods and the demons, where both sides are always shape-changing. The eco-props have figured out they don't really need global warming, but I don't know whether the skeptics have figured out how to keep pace with the assembly line production of ever-new "scientific" scare stories. It's a matter of supply and demand, and the fear industry is constantly cranking out new models to be greedily gobbled up by the scare-hungry masses. It's a new genre of fiction parading as science, and until a whole new generation learns how to exercise rational skepticism, to laugh at the frauds on their own initiative, they are going to get suckered over and over again.

President Obama just sent $400 million to replenish the eco-scare industry. With that kind of money coming in on a regular basis, and the new "science czar" in the White House who is one of the true believers, the climate horror industry is not going to decline anytime soon. We may be losing our banks, the dollar may crash, and you've just lost half your savings, but here is a growth industry with fabulous prospects for the indefinite future.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Lies

by Tom DeWeese

No doubt you've seen the ads: The music is dramatic. The scene is tragic. The message emotional. Polar Bears, holding on for dear life to bits of ice, their artic habitat destroyed by Global Warming. And the narration tells you of the tragic fate of the bears, all because of man and his selfish destruction of the earth. Of course, the ad ends with a plea for funds to help the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) protect the bears and stop Global Warming. Cute, fuzzy animals always do the trick.

Trouble is, it's all a lie. Not one word of the ad is true. Polar Bears are not endangered. There is no indication of any reduction of their populations. In fact, they are actually being hunted by locals who have to live with them in an effort to keep their populations down. Of 13 Polar Bear populations, 11 are thriving and growing.

The real agenda behind WWF's Polar Bear campaign is to stop drilling of American oil and to shackle the United States with the UN's Kyoto Climate Change Treaty. The policy is called Sustainable Development.

Using the Polar Bear, which WWF and the Sierra Club managed to get listed on the Endangered Species (ESA) list last year, the greens can grab control of the U.S. economy, controlling energy production.

Last year, in a Congressional hearing on the listing of the Polar Bears, Congressman Don Young of Alaska said testimony by Bush Administration officials "clearly indicated the overriding goal was to use the ESA as a tool to stop energy production in any and all states." Under questioning, former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dale Hall confirmed that if a coal-fired power plant in Arizona were seeking a federal permit, with the Polar Bear listed as protected by the ESA, the Fish and Wildlife Service would have to consult on the permit. In other words, a power plant located thousands of miles away from Polar Bear habitat would be considered a danger - because of global warming. How could any industry be possible? And that's just the way WWF wants it.

The truth is now rapidly coming out. There is no man-made global warming - it's a lie. There is no threat to Polar Bears - it's a lie. Drilling American oil is not a danger to the environment - it's a lie. And yet, WWF continues to spread the lies and fan the fear.

It is time we fight back against these zealots who put anything else on earth ahead of man. Taking donations based on lies is fraud and WWF should be called on it. We should call on the federal government to take away WWF's non-profit status. We should complain to any television network that runs their lies. We should demand that such false advertising be pulled from the airways.

The World Wildlife Fund is dangerous to our way of life - to our very civilization. We should no longer just treat them like some nice folks with a different point of view. Political debate is one thing, outright fraud is criminal.


Low-energy bulbs 'worsen skin disorders' and those at risk should have medical exemption, say doctors

The phasing out of traditional light bulbs could cause misery for thousands who have light-sensitive skin disorders, medical experts warned yesterday. Dr Robert Sarkany said some low-energy bulbs gave vulnerable people painful rashes and swelling. He backed calls by patient groups for the Government to give medical exemptions for those at risk. The warning comes as British shops start to clear their shelves of traditional bulbs, which are being replaced by more energy-efficient versions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Large retailers have already stopped selling conventional 100-watt bulbs, the most popular size. They will be banned from September along with frosted 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs, followed by most others before 2012. Shoppers will then be able to buy only halogen bulbs - which resemble normal bulbs but use 70 per cent of the energy - or compact fluorescent ones, which use just 30 per cent of the energy.

Although low-energy bulbs cut household electricity bills, the move has proved unpopular with shoppers. Halogens are more expensive - costing around œ1.99 each - while critics say the fluorescent type have an unattractive harsh light and take up to a minute to warm up to full strength.

But medical charities say the light from low-energy bulbs triggers migraines, epilepsy and rashes. Dr Sarkany, a photodermatologist at St John's Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas' Hospital, in London, said he has treated patients for rashes caused by exposure to low-energy lamps. Some suffer from lupus, a disease of the immune system that can cause skin to become hypersensitive to sunlight. But Dr Sarkany said lupus sufferers were also reporting an adverse reaction to fluorescent lights. He added: 'Patients with lupus feel strongly about this. They feel their skin deteriorates with fluorescent lights and have taken this issue to Parliament.'

A spokesman for Skin Care Campaign said: 'The main concern is over the intensity of the ultraviolet light from low-energy bulbs. 'Particularly for people with skin conditions such as lupus, eczema and psoriasis, it causes a lot of problem with burning. 'There are also more unusual conditions where people are completely light-sensitive. 'At the moment, they can use a traditional incandescent light bulb because the ultraviolet light is so dim. 'But low-energy fluorescent lights are a problem.'



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


Saturday, March 14, 2009


An email from Dave English [prospector@znet.com] pointing out that the Warmists have not done the math behind their scare

David Adam writes from Copenhagen: "Scientists at the Copenhagen conference said that modest IPCC estimates of likely sea level rise this century need to be increased. Extra melting in Greenland could drive sea levels to more than a metre higher than today by 2100"

This is typical eco-bloat. Taking into account that the Earth's surface is 70% ocean and that it takes 1.1 cubic mile of ice to make a cubic mile of water, to raise the oceans one inch would take 2400 (2398+) cubic miles of ice. To raise the oceans one meter would take 94,488 cubic miles of ice melting. Greenland is melting at 55 cubic miles a year, their dream is to make us believe that the melting would become not two or four times faster than today but 18.67 times faster, from 55 cubic miles a year to 1027 cubic miles a year for 92 years.

Climate Change: Driven by the Ocean not Human Activity

Paper by William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus, Dept of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University


This paper discusses how the variation in the global ocean's Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) resulting from changes in the Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (THC) and deep water Surrounding Antarctica Subsidence (SAS) can be the primary cause of climate change. (MOC = THC + SAS) is the likely cause of most of the global warming that has been observed since the start of the industrial revolution (~1850) and for the more recent global warming that has occurred since the mid-1970s. Changes of the MOC since 1995 are hypothesized to have lead to the cessation of global warming since 1998 and to the beginning of a weak global cooling that has occurred since 2001. This weak cooling is projected to go on for the next couple of decades.

Recent GCM global warming scenarios assume that a slightly stronger hydrologic cycle (due to the increase in CO2) will cause additional upper-level tropospheric water vapor and cloudiness. Such vapor-cloudiness increases are assumed to allow the small initial warming due to increased CO2 to be unrealistically multiplied 2-4 or more times. This is where most of the global warming from the GCMs comes from - not the warming resulting from the CO2 increase by itself but the large extra warming due to the assumed increase of upper tropospheric water vapor and cloudiness. As CO2 increases, it does not follow that the net global upper-level water vapor and cloudiness will increase significantly. Observations of upper tropospheric water vapor over the last 3-4 decades from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis data and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) data show that upper tropospheric water vapor appears to undergo a small decrease while Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) undergoes a small increase. This is opposite to what has been programmed into the GCMs. The predicted global warming due to a doubling of CO2 has been erroneously exaggerated by the GCMs due to this water vapor feedback.

CO2 increases without positive water vapor feedback could only have been responsible for about 0.1-0.2oC of the 0.6-0.7oC global mean surface temperature warming that has been observed since the early 20th century. Assuming a doubling of CO2 by the late 21st century (assuming no positive water vapor feedback), we should likely expect to see no more than about 0.3-0.5oC global surface warming and certainly not the 2-5oC warming that has been projected by the GCMs



By Andrew C. Revkin of the NYT

A three-day conference on climate science and policy that drew some 2,500 scientists, economists, campaigners, dignitaries, industry representatives and journalists to Copenhagen has wrapped up, and organizers have issued a list of core "messages" that you can see at the bottom of this post. Their bottom line, echoing what many climate scientists have been saying with rising vigor for two decades, is that there is an urgent need to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, and "inaction is inexcusable."

Is this effort, which one organizer described as "a deliberate attempt to influence policy," likely to change things? There are signs, some scientists warned on Thursday, that overheated descriptions of looming dangers coming out of the conference could actually backfire. More on those warnings is below.

The meeting, organized by 10 universities and paid for by a variety of corporate sponsors, was mainly aimed at moving beyond what many participants described as the overly conservative findings of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. News coverage of the presentations given at the conference over the last few days described new evidence that the Amazon rain forest was poised to dry up and that sea levels could rise more than twice as much as the intergovernmental climate panel projected.

On Thursday, an e-mail message was distributed to a host of Amazon forest experts and to a journalist by Yadvinder Malhi, an Oxford University biologist who is focused on the Amazon and climate. He questioned the Amazon findings presented at the meeting, and decried the resulting media coverage:

"I must say I find it frustrating that the gloomiest take on news gets such a big profile. This is based on one model, and that model has flaws (especially its temperature sensitivity that seems too great (David Galbraith's work), and its rainfall that seems to low (our PNAS paper PDF). The danger is that that such apparent bad news makes all the efforts to conserve the Amazon forests worthless (why bother saving them if they are already doomed?), and encourages disengagement and hopelessness rather than action. If that conclusion was based on solid empirical science then so be it, but when such a story goes out on a pure model study (not yet peer-reviewed) with significant imperfections, it may do a lot of damage in the real world."

A colleague of Dr. Malhi who attended the meeting responded by saying several scientists there were engaged in "damage control." When I ran all of this by a couple of social scientists tracking how climate science is conveyed to the public, they groaned (or the e-mail equivalent).

Daniel Sarewitz at Arizona State University said this was a classic example of how scientists and the media play down complexity in their thirst for powerful framing that catches attention and might drive action. The problem, he and several colleagues said, is that over-reaching can also lead to distrust and further polarization of advocates threatened or empowered by the controversial finding. (This is the "climate porn" concept I wrote about a while back.)



And pigs might fly

Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises.

The research, by some of Britain's leading experts on climate change, shows that even severe cuts in deforestation and carbon emissions will fail to save the emblematic South American jungle, the destruction of which has become a powerful symbol of human impact on the planet. Up to 85% of the forest could be lost if spiralling greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the experts said. But even under the most optimistic climate change scenarios, the destruction of large parts of the forest is "irreversible".

Vicky Pope, of the Met Office's Hadley Centre, which carried out the study, said: "The impacts of climate change on the Amazon are much worse than we thought. As temperatures rise quickly over the coming century the damage to the forest won't be obvious straight away, but we could be storing up trouble for the future."

Tim Lenton, a climate expert at the University of East Anglia, called the study, presented at a global warming conference in Copenhagen today , a "bombshell". He said: "When I was young I thought chopping down the trees would destroy the forest but now it seems that climate change will deliver the killer blow."

The study, which has been submitted to the journal Nature Geoscience, used computer models to investigate how the Amazon would respond to future temperature rises.

It found that a 2C rise above pre-industrial levels, widely considered the best case global warming scenario and the target for ambitious international plans to curb emissions, would still see 20-40% of the Amazon die off within 100 years. A 3C rise would see 75% of the forest destroyed by drought over the following century, while a 4C rise would kill 85%. "The forest as we know it would effectively be gone," Pope said.

Experts had previously predicted that global warming could cause significant "die-back" of the Amazon. The new research is the first to quantify the long-term effect.

Chris Jones, who led the research, told the conference: "A temperature rise of anything over 1C commits you to some future loss of Amazon forest. Even the commonly quoted 2C target already commits us to 20-40% loss. On any kind of pragmatic timescale, I think we should see loss of the Amazon forest as irreversible."

Peter Cox, professor of climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter, said the effects would be felt around the world. "Ecologically it would be a catastrophe and it would be taking a huge chance with our own climate. The tropics are drivers of the world's weather systems and killing the Amazon is likely to change them forever. We don't know exactly what would happen but we could expect more extreme weather." Massive Amazon loss would also amplify global warming "significantly" he said.

"Destroying the Amazon would also turn what is a significant carbon sink into a significant source."



A report from BBC News of 24 September 2007 shows that the Warmist models of Amazon processes are contradicted by the facts

The Amazon rainforest may be more resistant to rising temperatures than has been believed. Researchers found that during the 2005 drought, many parts of the rainforest "greened", apparently growing faster. This finding contrasts with some computer models of climate change, which forecast that the Amazon would dry out and become savannah.

Writing in the journal Science, the researchers say it is unclear how the forest would respond to a long drought. "We measured the changes between the drought (of July to September 2005) and an average year," explained study leader Scott Saleska from the University of Arizona, Tucson, US. "And what we saw was that there was more photosynthesis going on, more capacity to take up carbon dioxide than in an average year," he told the BBC News website.

The scientists used the Modis (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument on the US space agency's (Nasa) Terra satellite to make their observations. Some areas of the Amazon had seen reduced growth during the drought, but these were regions heavily impacted by human activities.


Climate sceptics fight tide of alarmism

By Miranda Devine, an Australian columnist

As the Rudd Government's job-killing carbon emissions trading plans come under fire, a conference of sceptical scientists met in New York this week to discuss developments bolstering the case against human-caused global warming. A disproportionate number of Australian scientists who lead the charge against climate alarmism spoke at the conference organised by the Heartland Institute, a US free-market think tank. Among them were the James Cook university paleoclimate scientist Dr Bob Carter, the former head of the Australian Greenhouse Office, David Evans, and Bill Kininmonth, the former head of the Australian National Climate Centre. "Each of the Australians were there because they have something special to offer," said Carter yesterday on the phone from Connecticut.

Evans told the conference the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relied on the existence of a "hot spot" in the upper troposphere over the tropics, predicted by computer models. But it did not exist. Kininmonth said predictions that global temperature "might pass a 'tipping point' and even go into a phase of 'runaway global warming' are an outcome of the flawed computer models and are not a realistic future scenario". Carter told the conference on Wednesday that climate change has always occurred and by focusing on futile attempts to stop it by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, we have lost sight of the need to adapt. Countries need to "be better prepared to understand, cope with and adapt to the damaging effects of . natural climatic events and trends".

Carter declared the conference mood optimistic but a downbeat Vaclav Klaus, president of the European Union and the Czech Republic, said sceptics had made little headway. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, he was the only person in a private session of European leaders who expressed doubts about anthropogenic global warming. "The environmentalists don't want to change the climate. They want to change us and our behaviour," he told the Heartland conference. "Their ambition is to control and manipulate us. Therefore, it shouldn't be surprising they recommend preventing [climate change], not adaptive policies. Adaptation would be a voluntary behaviour." Environmentalism had replaced socialism as the totalitarian threat to freedom in the 21st century, he said. "Environmentalists . do not want to reveal their true plans and ambitions: to stop economic development and return mankind centuries back."

The Heartland conference has received little coverage in Australia, and the odd New York Times report has dwelled on sneering dismissal from Greenpeace campaigners. But as sober analysis of developments in climate science filters out and economies decline, there are signs public perception is changing. Klaus cited a poll that showed only 11 per cent of Czechs believe humans have a significant influence on warming. A Lowy Institute poll last year found climate change had dropped down the list of policy priorities from equal first place to fifth, with Australians caring more about jobs. An Ipsos MORI poll found most Britons are not convinced climate change is caused by humans. In October, a poll commissioned by US conservation groups found only 18 per cent of respondents strongly believed climate change is "real, human-caused and harmful".

Carter described the most powerful speaker as Arthur Robinson, a professor of chemistry and co-founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. In a wake-up call to Christian groups who have rushed to embrace climate alarmism, Robinson pointed out the world's poor will bear the brunt of carbon prohibition policies. He described as "technological genocide" efforts to deny cheap energy, in the form of coal-fired power plants, to the Third World. "Billions of people who live at the lowest level of human existence will suffer greatly from the rationing of energy, and this, in turn, will lead to the death of hundreds of millions." Banning the use of DDT for mosquito eradication was the first "example of genocide by the removal of technology, [resulting] in the deaths of 30 to 40 million people and [leaving] half a billion infected with malaria".

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen told the conference: "Being sceptical about global warming does not by itself make one a good scientist, nor does endorsing global warming make one a poor scientist. One of the most difficult things is to realise . that most of the atmospheric scientists who I respect do endorse global warming. [But] the science they do that I respect is not about global warming. Endorsing global warming just makes their life easier." He also told to the conference, in excerpts posted on YouTube, "Most arguments about global warming boil down to science versus authority. For much of the public, authority will generally win, since they do not wish to deal with science . Those who are committed to warming alarm as either a vehicle for a post-modern coup d'etat or for illicit profits will obviously try to obfuscate matters."

But how can the courageous independent scientists in New York compete for attention with climate hysteria coming from such world leaders as Prince Charles, who in Rio de Janeiro this week claimed: "We have less than 100 months to alter our behaviour before we risk catastrophic climate change." Australia's future head of state is on a 10-day eco-tour to South America, aimed at boosting his popularity. He will travel in a luxury private Airbus, delivering a carbon footprint estimated at more than 300 tonnes. It just shows that what counts with climate hysterics is not the greenness of the planet but the brownie points they gain.



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


Friday, March 13, 2009


Bob Carter [bob.carter@jcu.edu.au] has written a series of reports on the Heartland-2 climate conference in New York for Quadrant Magazine. See here.

What we are not being told

An email from Hans Labohm [mailto:H.Labohm@freeler.nl]

Attached my latest article for `Research Review', March 2009: `What we are not being told'.

What is so special about this article? Certainly not the contents. It's all old hat for climate sceptics. No, it is the fact that the journal has invited me to write it and that the article has been published, whereas so many similar articles have been turned down by editors of many newspapers and journals.

As far as I know, `Research Review' is a mainstream quality science glossy, based in Brussels. Why is this journal sticking its neck out to publish an opinion which is anathema for its neighbours, the EU, in Brussels? Is it just professional journalism? Other than that, I have no clue.
What we are not being told

Hans Labohm argues that experts' warnings of an imminent climate catastrophe are products of computer modelling

Climate change has become a major issue of our time. While history clearly demonstrates that there has always been climate change, the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) keeps reminding us that the current climate change - the measured recent warming of the earth - is something exceptional and alarming, and is mainly caused by mankind.

Jumping on the IPCC's bandwagon, politicians, bureaucracies, industry, media and self-appointed climate gurus, such as Al Gore, George Monbiot, David Suzuki and Stefan Rahmstorf, reinforce and grossly exaggerate the IPCC's message with their warnings of an imminent climate disaster, which can only be prevented if we fundamentally alter our social and economic system and lifestyles.

Opinions which deviate from those of the IPCC are more often than not ignored by politics, even if they come from prominent scientists, attached to the most prestigious universities and scientific institutions in the world. Apparently, politics considers that it can do without a second opinion.

That is most unfortunate because is has become abundantly clear by now that the IPCC's modus operandi modus has been characterised by cherry-picking, spin-doctoring and scaremongering, and that its reports lack scientific rigour. Since its inception, the IPCC has been heavily criticised by so-called climate sceptics.

According to Al Gore and other protagonists of the man-made global warming hypothesis, dissident numbers have been dwindling over time. It has even been said that you could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth. Yet the climate conference organised by the Heartland Institute in New York in March last year, which aimed to challenge the man-made global warming hypothesis, was attended by some 400 scientists, whereas the so-called petition project (urging the US to reject the Kyoto protocol) has listed the support of over 31,000 scientists, all distancing themselves from this hypothesis.

This is probably unprecedented in the history of science, although only a few people might be aware of it, as it received little media attention. Today, climate scepticism is extensively documented in thousands of peer-reviewed articles, which have been published in many renowned journals in a variety of scientific disciplines - far too many for one single person to digest.

However, two relatively brief reports have appeared that present an overview of salient points of the critique of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. They offer the additional advantage of being fairly accessible to non-expert readers: Ross McKitrick et al, `The independent summary for policymakers, IPCC fourth assessment report' and Fred Singer et al, `Nature, not human activity, rules the climate', a report by the NIPCC (non-governmental international panel on climate change).

The latter report especially shows that the man-made global warming hypothesis is contradicted by observations. In doing so, it offers a convincing falsification of it. If that hypothesis continues to be used in computer models to produce future projections of climate, one surely enters the field of pseudo-science, no matter how sophisticated the models might be.

Mother nature refuses to comply with the projections of the climate models. Despite the continued rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, there has not been any global warming over the last 10 years - as a matter of fact, there has been a slight cooling. The illustrated graph shows declines in temperatures measured by surface and satellite thermometers over the last 10 years, while the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere still rises. It indicates that over this period there has been no warming, but cooling. It also shows that CO2 is not correlated with temperatures, which suggests that it has only little impact, if at all.

The graph, which is based on the measurements of the official scientific institutions, is the best-kept secret of the `warmoholics'. It indicates that the imminent climate catastrophe exists only in virtual reality - it is a product of computer modelling. Those who are old enough to remember the apocalyptic predictions of the Club of Rome at the beginning of the 1970s will undoubtedly be struck by the similarities. It is high time the EU opened its eyes to facts and discontinued its climate policy, which will only wreck its economy, and will have no effect whatsoever on worldwide temperatures.


Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated. This represents the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject.

As recently as 2006, significantly more Americans thought the news underestimated the seriousness of global warming than said it exaggerated it, 38% vs. 30%. Now, according to Gallup's 2009 Environment survey, more Americans say the problem is exaggerated rather than underestimated, 41% vs. 28%.

The trend in the "exaggerated" response has been somewhat volatile since 2001, and the previous high point, 38%, came in 2004. Over the next two years, "exaggerated" sentiment fell to 31% and 30%. Still, as noted, the current 41% is the highest since Gallup's trend on this measure began in 1997.

Since 1997, Republicans have grown increasingly likely to believe media coverage of global warming is exaggerated, and that trend continues in the 2009 survey; however, this year marks a relatively sharp increase among independents as well. In just the past year, Republican doubters grew from 59% to 66%, and independents from 33% to 44%, while the rate among Democrats remained close to 20%.

Notably, all of the past year's uptick in cynicism about the seriousness of global warming coverage occurred among Americans 30 and older. The views of 18- to 29-year-olds, the age group generally most concerned about global warming and most likely to say the problem is underestimated, didn't change.

Dampened Concern

Apart from these findings about news coverage of global warming, the March 5-8 poll shows in a similar vein that Americans are a bit less concerned about the seriousness of global warming per se than they have been in recent years.

Six in 10 Americans indicate that they are highly worried about global warming, including 34% who are worried "a great deal" and 26% "a fair amount." Overall worry is similar to points at the start of the decade, but is down from 66% a year ago and from 65% in 2007.


Inhofe Speech: `Consensus' Continues Freefall - Why Americans Are Growing More Skeptical

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today delivered a floor speech on the latest global warming poll data and the continuing inconvenient science developments refuting man-made climate fears.

Inhofe Speech Highlights:

I come to the floor today with breaking news in the man-made global warming debate: A new Gallup Poll has just been released yesterday reveals a "record-high 41% of Americans now say [global warming] is exaggerated!" This is the "highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting" in more than a decade, according to the March 11, 2009, Gallup survey. You should never underestimate the intelligence of the American people. Sadly, that is exactly what the promoters of man-made climate fears have been consistently doing, and the American people have consistently rejected climate alarm. [...]

Skepticism persists despite an Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth. Skepticism persists despite a $300 million campaign by Gore to spread climate fears. Skepticism persists despite a daily drumbeat of scary scenarios promoted by the UN and the media of what could, might, or may happen a 20, 50, 100 or even 1000 years from now. In fact, global warming skepticism appears to have grown stronger as the shrillness of the climate fear campaign has intensified. The latest Gallup Poll, released March 11, 2009, further reveals the American public's growing skepticism. Most telling, Americans ranked global warming dead last -- eight out of eight- out of a list of environmental issues.

The new Gallup survey found: "A record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated. This represents the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject. Not only does global warming rank last on the basis of the total percentage concerned either a great deal or a fair amount, but it is the only issue for which public concern dropped significantly in the past year." [...]

These dramatic polling results are not unexpected as prominent scientists from around the world continue to speak out publicly for the first time to dissent from the Al Gore, UN IPCC and media driven man-made climate fears. In addition, a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments have further refuted the claims of man-made global warming fear activists.

Americans are finally catching on in large numbers that the UN IPCC is a POLITICAL -- not scientific organization. Man-made global warming fears have proven simply unsustainable - to use a nice green term.

If new peer-reviewed studies are to be believed, today's high school kids watching Gore's movie will be nearing the senior citizen group AARP's membership age (50 years) by the time warming allegedly "resumes" in 30 years! See: Climate Fears RIP.for 30 years!? - Peer-Reviewed Study Finds Global Warming could stop 'for up to 30 years! Warming 'On Hold?...'Could go into hiding for decades' study finds - Discovery.com - March 2, 2009 -

Dr. John Brignell, a skeptical UK Emeritus Engineering Professor at the University of Southampton wrote in 2008: "The warmers are getting more and more like those traditional predictors of the end of the world who, when the event fails to happen on the due date, announce an error in their calculations and a new date." [...]

Confirming this unintended consequence is a study by the scientific journal Risk Analysis released in February 2008 which found that Gore and the media's attempts to scare the public "ironically may be having just the opposite effect." The study found that the more informed respondents "show less concern for global warming."

The study found that "perhaps ironically, and certainly contrary to... the marketing of movies like Ice Age and An Inconvenient Truth, the effects of information on both concern for global warming and responsibility for it are exactly the opposite of what were expected. Directly, the more information a person has about global warming, the less responsible he or she feels for it; and indirectly, the more information a person has about global warming, the less concerned he or she is for it."

For Full Speech Texts See here



President Obama's budget doesn't have enough support from lawmakers to pass, the Senate Budget Committee chairman said Tuesday. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said he has spoken to enough colleagues about several different provisions in the budget request to make him think Congress won't pass it. Conrad urged White House budget director Peter Orszag not to "draw lines in the sand" with lawmakers, most notably on Obama's plan for a cap-and-trade system to curb carbon emissions. "Anybody who thinks it will be easy to get the votes on the budget in the conditions that we face is smoking something," Conrad said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked Tuesday about the Democratic criticism of the budget, told reporters that it wasn't unusual. He noted that lawmakers and the president often have competing agendas. "I don't think, ultimately, the criticism is surprising," Gibbs said. "That certainly happens and is all part of a process."

Conrad joined Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the top Republican on the Budget Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in criticizing the administration's cap-and-trade proposal for not doing enough to counterbalance increases in energy costs that will be felt by consumers and companies, especially those in energy states such as North Dakota. Conrad said that it would be a "distant hope" to expect the climate change plan to pass unless it includes help for industries that would be hit hard by limits on carbon emission production.



The head of the UN body charged with leading the fight against climate change has conceded that Barack Obama will face a "revolution" if he commits the US to the deep carbon cuts that scientists and campaigners say are needed.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said domestic political constraints made it impossible for the US president to announce ambitious short-term climate targets similar to those set by Europe. And he questioned the value of a new global climate deal without such a US pledge.

His words come as scientists at the Copenhagen conference said that modest IPCC estimates of likely sea level rise this century need to be increased. Extra melting in Greenland could drive sea levels to more than a metre higher than today by 2100, they said.

Obama has said the US will work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Europe has pledged to cut them by 20-30% on 1990 levels by 2020. The IPCC says developed nations should aim for 25-40% cuts by then to avoid dangerous climate change.

Speaking on the fringes of a high-level scientific conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Pachauri told the Guardian: "He [Obama] is not going to say by 2020 I'm going to reduce emissions by 30%. He'll have a revolution on his hands. He has to do it step by step."

Pachauri's remarks echo those of Todd Stern, the US president's new chief climate negotiator, who said last week that it was "not possible" for the US to aim for 25-40% cuts by 2020.

Such a stance could threaten attempts to agree a new global deal to regulate carbon emissions to replace the existing Kyoto protocol, the first phase of which expires in 2012. Campaigners say a new treaty must be agreed at UN talks in Copenhagen this December.

Obama has called for 80% carbon cuts by 2050, but insiders say that such long-term pledges will do little to convince developing nations such as China to sign up to a new climate deal. British officials say meaningful US involvement in the short term is crucial to agree a new treaty.

Pachauri told the Guardian the US needed to do more in the short term. But he questioned whether there would be sufficient domestic movement for the US to agree stricter targets in December. He said it was "hard to say" if a new deal would be meaningful without such a step.


Green Child Abuse

By Alan Caruba

Has it occurred to you that constantly telling children and teens that "global warming" is real and that the Earth is in deadly peril constitutes child abuse? That thought came to me as I enjoyed some of the excellent seminars and speeches during the March 8-10 second annual Conference on Climate Change. Here were some of the nation's leading climatologists and others spelling out in detail precisely why there is no global warming and, indeed, why the Earth is now into a decade-old cooling trend. The experts believe that the Earth will stay in this trend for easily another decade or two, maybe three. Sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based non-profit, free market think tank, the conference was, of course, slandered by the few mainstream media "journalists" who took note of it.

My complaint, however, is about the vast media coverage of global warming as something that is actually happening. The other element of this "reporting" is that the GW predictions made always seem to self-adjust forward ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred years. The current cooling trend is giving the global warming alarmists fits.

Back in the 1970s the news was filled with reports of a coming ice age. In the 1980s the reports changed to "global warming" and they took off as the defeated Al Gore made global warming his highway to vast wealth, selling bogus "carbon credits."

Requiring school children to watch, often many times, Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", is part of the child abuse to which I refer. It is so filled with inaccuracies that a British court ruled that it could not be shown in schools without a laundry list of disclaimers and corrections being made by the teachers.

This is not to say that adults, too, aren't subject to the same abuse as the children. However, it is about to become far worse if the Obama administration's intention of imposing "cap and trade" regulations on CO2 emissions comes true. This carbon tax is anticipated to raise $646 billion for the federal government and we all know how careful it is when it comes to spending taxpayer's money.

Speaking before the House Ways and Means Committee last year, Peter Orszag, formerly the Director of the Congressional Budget Office and now President Obama's Director for the Office of Management and Budget, said that a "cap and trade" law to cut carbon emissions by 15% would cost the average household about $1,300 in higher energy costs. He added the working class families would be hardest hit.

Actually, the Obama gang wants to cut carbon emissions by more than three times the original figure, 83%. Using Orszag's calculations, that means the average family will pay close to $4,000 a year or $333 a month. For nothing!

There is no scientific justification to cut carbon dioxide emissions. They play no role in global warming. At a time when CO2 emissions have risen, the Earth is still cooling and likely to do so for a long time to come.

This is a vicious tax to be imposed on Americans for the purpose of rendering them further impoverished in the midst of a financial crisis of worldwide proportions. And when you tax the parents, you tax the children too. If the Green organizations are the shock troops of global warming, President Obama is the Abuser-in-Chief.



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


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Misreporting of the Heartland conference by Andrew Revkin in the NYT

Below is part of an email to Andrew Revkin from Marc Morano

Thanks for your response. I am not trying to critique your entire career, just your woeful article on the Heartland climate conference you wrote for paper edition of NYT on March 9, 2009. In fact, I publicly praise you for your NYT Dot Earth Blog today featuring Geologist Dr. Don Easterbrook at the Heartland Conference.

But there is more evidence you failed to accurately report on the scientists you quoted. You may want to consider a correction or a "clarification" of your original March 9 article. ( My original analysis of your reporting is here: Andrew Revkin's attempt to smear skeptics detailed!)

MIT's Dr. Richard Lindzen has already publicly complained that you were not fair to him in your quotes. Lindzen wrote to you on March 9 and asked: "I specifically asked you not to quote me out of context. Why did you decide to do so?" You have not yet publicly responded to Lindzen's reasonable question.

Lubos Motl dissects Revkin's motivations

By email [lumo@matfyz.cz]

Let me also write a few words about Andrew Revkin (AR) - if he kindly allows (or if he doesn't) - who became a phenomenon in our circles. ;-) If you're not interested in these ideas, please press "Delete" now.

People like Anthony Watts say that AR is mysterious. Others are offended by his text about the conference in NYT and they see a difference from his DotEarth blog.

I may be wrong but I don't see any mystery here. AR seems to replicate the survival strategies that 95% of people in Czechoslovakia and other advanced socialist countries were doing during the totalitarian era. And I am intimately familiar with those. He is pretty much playing both sides, and which side is being played is determined by the immediate context and a cost-and-benefits analysis of the advantages and disadvantages.

You know, I consider NYT to be the leading U.S. newspapers as far as many things, such as the interactions of science and politics, go. It is surely biased in the left direction (but in many cases, this bias is more acceptable than the bias of some competitors in stupid directions). And there are certainly many people in NYT who exert significant pressure on Revkin because even if you may find him insufficiently realistic and insufficiently skeptical, he is almost certainly more neutral and sensible than most of his NYT colleagues.

I am thus not surprised by one article that may be viewed as unflattering towards the skeptics. Moreover, I think that what he writes has a true core, whether you like it or not. The emotional labels and interpretations of this core are often hypocritical but the core is still partially true.

For example, Revkin explains that something is wrong with the skeptics because Exxon is not paying them. That's cute because in the past, similar people have criticized the skeptics for being funded by Exxon (which was never really the case, at least not when you compare the financial flows to the Gore-like 100-million-dollar and Kyoto-like trillion-dollar fraudulent money flows falsely justified by the climate alarm).

So Dr Revkin, what is the morally superior situation? To be paid by Exxon or not to be paid by Exxon? Is there a unique answer to this question that you can give us, or does the answer depend on which of them is better to advance your career?

While the interpretation of the Exxon's lunatic and self-destructive behavior is internally inconsistent and propagandistic in character, Revkin's very observation that fashionable PC alarmist whackos are taking over companies like Exxon is surely correct. Does anyone dispute it? The managers etc. have become detached from the actual purpose of the companies. They can easily imagine themselves switching sides and working in the green industry, for which they are already preparing doors. They're traitors of their industry and traitors for their consumers who actually need the products, they should be ashamed. But their positions are real.

Similar comments apply to Revkin's observations about disunity. Their basis is surely correct but the colors added to this observation are irrational. Disunity is also called a "diversity", it suggests that the opinions have been reached independently, and this feature is often cherished by liberals like Revkin (especially when it comes to relatively irrelevant, superficial things such as skin color or the geometry of genitals). But when it is inconvenient for their careers, the diversity becomes a "disunity". ;-)

But this disunity or diversity is surely there, too. Much like I am irritated by the people who emit nonsense about the "catastrophic" threats for the climate caused by our CO2 and who want to fight non-existing dragons for billions of dollars, I am also irritated by some of the "radical skeptics" who say e.g. that the increase of CO2 has nothing to do with the industrial activity or that the greenhouse effect fundamentally violates the energy conservation law.

Do I have the right to be irritated by both? You bet. That's what we have been officially allowed to do in Czechoslovakia since 1989 again, and many of us did so before, too.

One can create a "box" with all skeptics but it is an artificial construction. People have different levels of knowledge, interests, goals, motivation, and so on. What unifies all climate skeptics is only their knowledge of the ultimate fact that huge investments to such a "crisis" are a waste of money and a deep reorganization of the society justified by such threats is rationally unjustified.

That's the final result and pretty much all skeptics end up with this correct final result. But there are many possible procedures to obtain this result and the intermediate results differ for different people. Do I care about these differences? Well, if the key matter is to decide whether the society should adopt a new kind of communism, the crucial answer is No and I don't care much how the result was obtained. I don't really care whether someone thinks that the Earth was warming by 0.6 deg C, by 0.0 deg C, or cooling by 0.6 C in the last century, or whether the man-made greenhouse effect has added 0.3 deg C or strictly nothing. The practical implications are clearly isomorphic: there is nothing to be solved by politicians or governments here.

Obviously, the people who want the society to be protected against the alarmist lunatics are the good people, my allies, when it comes to the questions at the level of the society, its laws, freedoms, and budgets.

If the discussion were about the ways how detailed scientific research should be done, of course that the people who claim that CO2 hasn't been added by the industry couldn't be my allies (or allies of at least equally serious skeptics). They would deserve the label "crackpots" at this point. There are still many more crackpots in the alarmist circles (and among the doomsayers between Jehovah's Wittnesses, even though the latter got more sensible recently), I guess. There can be and there are crackpots among loud people identified as climate skeptics, too. That shouldn't be shocking. Being a skeptic doesn't make one a perfect, omniscient god. What a surprise.

What is worse about alarmism is that some of the worst crackpots like Al Gore are the very leaders of that movement. The hierarchy in the skeptical circles seems to be more meritocratic.

If I return to AR, I can easily imagine him in the first months or years after this global warming virago collapses - because I can map him to effectively similar people in Czechoslovakia transitioning from communism to freedom. He will surely be painting himself as one of those more courageous people who was oh so badly suppressed by the evil alarmist aparatchiks in the New York Times - but he was still boldly writing almost the right stuff on his Dot Earth blog. And of course, people will be buying it because many of them have been, let's admit, even less courageous than Andrew Revkin. ;-) Most people simply see the alarmist whackos infiltrating all important places in the society, including Exxon, so they will surely respect the party line, won't they?

This is a line of reasoning that must be thought about seriously by the skeptics, too. You know, many of us are the ultimate "dissidents". But even when we're proven right and when our basic answer to the question "Is there a crisis?" is generally adopted, it won't mean that the former dissidents are going to influence everything in this social-scientific arena. The strategies that many of us have been using will continue to be questioned, and so on, and people like AR will almost certainly continue to be allowed by the atmosphere in the society to write about things like the environment. That's how it works.

So I would expect the skeptics to be more realistic about the abilities and desires of AR. It seems that many skeptics expect AR, because of some vague hints, to become a full-fledged skeptical convert and they're irritated that this dream of theirs is not going perfectly well. I don't expect AR to get transformed in this way. Instead, with all the immense respect to him, I see him as a typical member of the "merry coward" category that we have known in socialist Czechoslovakia. ;-)

Such people are playing the games so authentically that it's not possible to operationally distinguish what they mean seriously and what they don't: they may not know it themselves and you shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer this ill-defined question, either. But don't expect them to behave as 100% skeptics until the alarmist regime completely and safely collapses.

Please, plan your interactions with AR assuming reasonable expectations about his diversity of viewpoints in different contexts. ;-) You can get an OK stuff with him but you will never get it against his interests or career in NYT. Don't expect any extraordinary courage unless there is a reason to expect that AR thinks that the courage would pay off to him in some way.

I hope that Andrew Revkin is grateful that I have identified him to be what he is, instead of forcing him to play additional games about being something that he is not :-), and I am also sure that he understands that the "merry coward" category is not a real insult because it is just a description how relatively average people from the moral viewpoint - well, opportunist people - in all social classes - typically behave.

What Planetary Emergency?

Dispatch from day two of the International Conference on Climate Change in New York

Assume that man-made global warming exists. So what? That was the premise of a fascinating presentation by Indur Goklany during the second day of sessions at the International Conference on Climate Change. Goklany, who works in the Office of Policy Analysis of the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the author of The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet, made it clear that he was not speaking on behalf of the federal government.

Goklany's talk looked at three common claims: (1) Human and environmental well-being will be lower in a warmer world than it is today; (2) our descendants will be worse off than if we don't stop man-made global warming; and (3) man-made global warming is the most important problem in the world. Goklany assumed that the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) consensus view on future temperature trends is valid. For his analysis, he used data from the fast track assessments of the socioeconomic impacts of global climate change sponsored by the British government, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, global mortality estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), and cost estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

From the Stern Review, Goklany took the worst case scenario, where man-made global warming produces market and non-market losses equal to 35 percent of the benefits that are projected to exist in the absence of climate change by 2200. What did he find? Even assuming the worst emissions scenario, incomes for both developed and developing countries still rise spectacularly. In 1990, average incomes in developing countries stood around $1,000 per capita and at aroud $14,000 in developed countries. Assuming the worst means that average incomes in developing countries would rise in 2100 to $62,000 and in developed countries to $99,000. By 2200, average incomes would rise to $86,000 and $139,000 in developing and developed countries, respectively. In other words, the warmest world turns out to be the richest world.

Looking at WHO numbers, one finds that the percentage of deaths attributed to climate change now is 13th on the list of causes of mortality, standing at about 200,000 per year, or 0.3 percent of all deaths. High blood pressure is first on the list, accounting for 7 million (12 percent) of deaths; high cholesterol is second at 4.4 million; and hunger is third. Clearly, climate change is not the most important public health problem today. But what about the future? Again looking at just the worst case of warming, climate change would boost the number of deaths in 2085 by 237,000 above what they would otherwise be according to the fast track analyses. Many of the authors of the fast track analyses also co-authored the IPCC's socioeconomic impact assessments.

Various environmental indicators would also improve. For example, 11.6 percent of the world's land was used for growing crops in 1990. In the warmest world, agricultural productivity is projected to increase so much that the amount of land used for crops would drop to just 5 percent by 2100, leaving more land for nature. In other words, if these official projections are correct, man-made global warming is by no means the most important problem faced by humanity.

Next up on the impacts panel was Paul Reiter, head of the insects and infectious disease unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. Members of the global warming fraternity frequently worry that climate change will exacerbate the spread of tropical diseases like malaria. Reiter began his talk by pointing out that malaria was endemic in Yakutsk, the coldest city on earth, until 1959. In 1935, the Soviets claimed that malaria killed nearly 4,000 people in Yakutsk, a number that dropped to just 85 in 1959, the year that the disease was finally eradicated, in part by using the insecticide DDT.

Reiter then described a vast new research program that he is participating in, the Emerging Diseases in a Changing European eNvironment, or EDEN project. Sponsored by the European Union, the EDEN project is evaluating the potential impacts of future global warming on the spread of disease in Europe. The EDEN researchers have been assessing outbreaks of various diseases to see if they could discern any impact climate change may be having on their spread.

Reiter cited a recent analysis of the outbreak of tick-borne encephalitis in the early 1990s in many eastern European countries. The epidemic occurred shortly after the fall of communism, when many former Soviet bloc countries went into steep economic decline. After sifting through the data, it became apparent that the tough economic situation forced many eastern Europeans to spend more time in forests and farms trying to either find wild foods or grow more food on farms and in gardens. This meant that their exposure to deer ticks increased, resulting in more cases of encephalitis. Since the epidemic was coincident with the fall of the Soviet empire and the end of the Cold War, one of Reiter's colleagues quipped that it was caused by "political global warming." Reiter noted that 150 EDEN studies have been published so far and that "none of them support the notion that disease is increasing because of climate change."

Finally, Reiter pointed out that many of the claims that climate change will increase disease can be attributed to an incestuous network of just nine authors who write scientific reviews and cite each other's work. None are actual on-the-ground disease researchers and many of them write the IPCC disease analyses. "These are people who know absolutely bugger-all about dengue, malaria or anything else," said Reiter.

The final presenter of the panel was Stanley Goldenberg, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division in Miami, Florida. Again, he stressed that his views were his own, not that of any government agency. Goldenberg is particularly annoyed by former Vice President Al Gore's repeated claim that man-made global warming is making hurricanes more numerous and/or more powerful. For example, at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland in December, Gore flat out stated, "The warming ocean waters are also causing stronger typhoons and cyclones and hurricanes."

Goldenberg acknowledged that hurricanes have been more numerous in the North Atlantic in the last decade. But when one looks at the data from the 20th century, two factors stand out. First, the number of hurricanes has increased So have sea surface temperatures. QED: global warming causes more hurricanes, right? Not so fast, says Goldenberg. The perceived increase in the number of hurricanes is actually the result of observational biases. With the advent of satellites, scientists have become much better at finding and identifying hurricanes. In the first half of the 20th century, he pointed out, if a storm didn't come close to land, researchers would often miss it.

The second factor is that researchers have identified a multi-decadal pattern in the frequency of hurricanes in the North Atlantic. There was a very active period between 1870 and 1900, a slow-down between 1900 and 1925, another active period between 1926 and 1970, a period of fewer storms between 1970 and 1995, and the beginning of a new active period around 1995. According to Goldenberg, this new active period will probably last another 20 to 30 years. Goldenberg was a co-author of a 2001 study published in Science which concluded:
Tropical North Atlantic SST [sea surface temperature] has exhibited a warming trend of [about] ) 0.3øC over the last 100 years; whereas Atlantic hurricane activity has not exhibited trend-like variability, but rather distinct multidecadal cycles....The possibility exists that the unprecedented activity since 1995 is the result of a combination of the multidecadal-scale changes in the Atlantic SSTs (and vertical shear) along with the additional increase in SSTs resulting from the long-term warming trend. It is, however, equally possible that the current active period (1995-2000) only appears more active than the previous active period (1926-1970) due to the better observational network in place.

Since this study was published, much more data on hurricane trends has been collected and analyzed. "Not a single scientist at the hurricane center believes that global warming has had any measurable impact on hurricane numbers and strength," concluded Goldenberg. He also suggested that some proponents of the idea that global warming is exacerbating tropical storms have backed off lately. Clearly the former vice president hasn't gotten the news yet.


Many Democrats doubt Gore

Since 1997, Republicans have grown increasingly likely to believe media coverage of global warming is exaggerated, and that trend continues in the 2009 survey; however, this year marks a relatively sharp increase among independents as well. In just the past year, Republican doubters grew from 59% to 66%, and independents from 33% to 44%, while the rate among Democrats remained close to 20%.

Actually, if you look at the above graph the percent of Democrats who believe that the seriousness of global warming has been exaggerated is at 22% this month, versus only 15% just weeks after An Inconvenient Truth was released at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2006. That represents a 46% increase in three years. Read all the data at Gallup.


Flying ice crushes US homes

Greenhouse or icehouse?

Spectacular footage has been captured of dozens of beachside properties being hit by large chunks of flying ice during a wild storm in the US. Gale force winds of up to 50km/h swept the ice from the sea and sent it crashing into homes around Bay County, Michigan, US media reported. Local police said massive mountains of ice had smashed windows and penetrated close to 4m deep inside some homes.

Authorities have so far evacuated 36 homes since the ice started building up on the shorefront on Sunday. Resident Tim Boutell told local media he and his wife had heard the screech of "metal on metal" as walls of ice pushed toward their home along the waterfront bay. "At about 9pm my wife, Beth, heard some noise and I kind of disregarded it until she went downstairs to peek outside, and she obviously screamed. "And then I looked out and saw the ice piled up and moving toward the house," Mr Boutell said.


Cold winds blow for future of green energy

They call North Dakota the "Saudi Arabia of wind energy".

The howling prairie gales that blow almost continually across this flat and empty state could, it has been estimated, light up a quarter of America. If there was one industry whose bright future looked assured, it was green energy, and particularly wind, which is widely regarded as the most promising alternative to fossil fuels. However, just as its fortunes soared last year, so they are on the wane now.

Encouraged by Barack Obama's support for green power and by soaring demand, DMI Industries, one of the world's two biggest manufacturers of wind turbine towers, undertook a $30 million expansion of its West Fargo factory last summer. But just months later, in a dramatic turnaround that has been repeated across the renewable energy industry, DMI had to lay off 20 per cent of its 430 staff after the credit crunch hit its customers and orders dried up to a trickle.

Rich Mattern, West Fargo's mayor, said he wouldn't have been surprised if the town's other major employer, a maker of construction vehicles, had been forced to sack staff, but not DMI. "They did the lay-offs on a Sunday afternoon. I knew some of those who lost their jobs and, quite frankly, I was shocked," said Rich Mattern, West Fargo's mayor. "It never dawned on me that a company like that would have lay-offs. I really believed this industry was bulletproof."

The 40,000-sq ft DMI factory, one of three run by the company, last year made more than 500 towers. Huge two-inch thick steel sheets are rolled into 15ft diameter cylinders and then welded into 270-ft high, cone shaped towers strong enough to cope with all weather conditions. The 130ft long fibreglass blades which are attached to each tower are made at another North Dakota company, which has also had to lay off workers.

Some of the DMI workforce had barely finished their training before they were fired. "This hit us fairly suddenly," said Phillip Christiansen, the general manager. Stefan Nilsson, DMI's Swedish president, stressed that every company in the wind power industry had suffered job losses. "It's just a question of whether it's been announced," he said. He would not say how much his company's order book had been damaged but said he said could understand why outsiders were so shocked at the layoffs. "So many positive things have been said about renewable energy, but when the banks have problems, it has an impact on us too," he said. Of the job losses, he said: "It's not something you want to do. We spent a lot of time hiring people and training them."

The recent rise and fall of wind and solar power (solar panel makers have also been hit badly) is as dramatic as in any area of the economy. After the US wind industry's capacity grew by 50 per cent - and some $17 billion - in 2008, trade organisations are now predicting it could shrink by 30 to 50 per cent this year. Around 18 banks and other lenders were financing wind and solar projects before the economic meltdown. Now, there are only four.

Both wind and solar power depend on subsidies. Barack Obama has called for a doubling of America's renewable energy production in three years and has earmarked a significant chunk of his $787 billion stimulus package for investment in clean fuel or energy efficiency. However, there is some unease as to whether he will be able to make good his intentions while industry experts say that green energy tax credits will only offset the worst effects of the orders freeze. The economic slowdown has dried up investment in cleaner energy to the point that analysts now say that its growth is no longer on track to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change.

Mr Nilsson said it was too early to tell whether the US president would "go cold on his passion for green fuel" but he conceded that politicians tended to pay more attention to his industry when oil prices were high. North Dakota, a conservative state bordering Canada whose population come from Nordic and German stock, has much riding on alternative energy. The second biggest corn-producing state, many of its farmers switched to ethanol only to be hit hard by falling oil prices.

Everyone in West Fargo is optimistic that investors will return and that, when they do, wind power will still be the energy of the future. "In the stimulus package, there's money for alternative energy - everybody realises that it's the way to go," said Mayor Mattern. "It's not like the Carter years when oil prices went down and they all forgot about renewable energy," he said. "Everybody, from my local university to Congress, has gone too far to let it drop."


Climate concerns fading in Australia as economy dives

Concern about climate change is slipping away as the economic crisis continues to bite, a poll shows. The proportion of people concerned about climate change has fallen from 90 per cent two years ago to 73 per cent, the poll found. While worries about global warming fade, anxiety about job security and falling asset prices is very high, the poll of 1,000 people found.

It also found the federal government faces an uphill battle in selling its emissions trading scheme, its main weapon in the fight against climate change. More than a third of those surveyed had not even heard of it, and fewer than one in 10 said they had a good understanding of the scheme. Just under half of the respondents, 49 per cent, said they had no understanding of emissions trading.

The poll was conducted in February by strategic consultancy firm Mobium Group.



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


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Accelerated sea-level rise?

I mentioned a few days ago a report that sea levels are rising faster than predicted by the IPCC. There is another such report just out here.

Below is an email on the subject from Professor Dr. Nils-Axel Morner [morner@pog.nu], a leading world authority on sea levels and coastal erosion who headed the Department of Paleogeophysics &Geodynamics at Stockholm University
Misused data! Satellite altimetry 1993-2000 was horizontal - the same data set + 2000-2003 was tilted. On top of the physical corrections (giving horizontallity) they added "personal correction" to fit IPCCs claims. What do we call this? If not falsification? See my scientific papers - best: Global and Planetary Change 62 (2008) 219-220.

Excerpt from the paper concerned below -- pointing out that the raw data on sea levels shows that they have in fact been flat. It is only the addition of various "corrections" -- some of which are quite arbitrary -- that suggests rising sea levels.
Comment on comment by Nerem et al. (2007) on "Estimating future sea level changes from past records"

by Nils-Axel Moerner

First let us clear up the origin of my Fig. 2 (in Moerner, 2004). It is a product of the CLS Company printed in MEDIAS (2000, Fig. 1.2; also available on the net at Aviso, 2000). My curve was a redrawing of this graph. This curve, spanning the time from October 1992 to April 2000, does not record any sea level rise; only a variability plus one (or more) ENSO signals.

That was the point of my picture. It should be noted that this graph includes the technical adjustments (including the drift factor of Mitchum, 2000, Fig. 10) illustrated by the lower arrow in Fig. 1. Later the same graph re-appears with a strong tilt (Aviso, 2003; cf. Leuliette et al., 2004; Moerner, 2005). Why is that?

It is because of the introduction of additional calibrations (Mitchum, 2000; Leuliette et al., 2004; Cazenave & Nerem, 2004) - and those "calibrations" are subjective interpretations (Fig. 1; upper arrow); not objective readings. Consequently, they are opinion-dependent. "We adopt the rate given by Douglas (1991,1995) of 1.8~0.1mm/yr", Mitchum (2000) states. This rate, however, is widely debated and far from generally accepted. Especially not in the geological sea level community (cf. Moerner, 2004, Fig. 4), where we realize that the tide gauges quite frequently are installed in unstable local position, and I quote (from Moerner et al., 2004): "Tide gauge records, however, do not provide simple and straight-forward measures of regional eustatic sea level. They are often (not to say usually) dominated by the effects of local compaction and local loading subsidence.

With this perspective, our multiple morphological and sedimentological records appear more reliable and conclusive" (cf. Moerner, 2007). This makes the requited "correction" for land motion at the tide gauge very delicate and subjective. The nice and interesting thing with the graph under discussion (Moerner, 2004, Fig. 2) is that it represents the readings before all these interpretational "corrections".

35.5m yr old global cooling caused by sharp decline in CO2

Comment on this nonsense at the foot of the article

A new research has found that prehistoric global cooling that started in Antarctica about 35.5 million years ago, was caused by a sharp drop in the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Even after the continent of Antarctica had drifted to near its present location, its climate was subtropical. Then, 35.5 million years ago, ice formed on Antarctica in about 100,000 years, which is an "overnight" shift in geological terms.

"Our studies show that just over thirty-five million years ago, 'poof,' there was an ice sheet where there had been subtropical temperatures before," said Matthew Huber, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University. "Until now, we haven't had much scientific information about what happened," he added.

Before the cooling occurred at the end of the Eocene epoch, the Earth was warm and wet, and even the north and south poles experienced subtropical climates. The dinosaurs were long gone from the planet, but there were mammals and many reptiles and amphibians. Then, as the scientists say, poof, this warm wet world, which had existed for millions of years, dramatically changed. Temperatures fell dramatically, many species of mammals as well as most reptiles and amphibians became extinct, and Antarctica was covered in ice and sea levels fell.

History records this as the beginning of the Oligocene epoch, but the cause of the cooling has been the subject of scientific discussion and debate for many years. The research team found before the event ocean surface temperatures near present-day Antarctica averaged 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).

Mark Pagani, professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University, said that the research found that air and ocean surface temperatures dropped as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit during the transition. "Previous reconstructions gave no evidence of high-latitude cooling. Our data demonstrate a clear temperature drop in both hemispheres during this time," said Pagani.

To find the result, Huber used modern climate modeling tools to look at the prehistoric climate. The models were run on a cluster-type supercomputer on Purdue's campus. According to Huber, "We found that the likely culprit was a major drop in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially CO2." "From the temperature data and existing proxy records indicating a sharp drop in CO2 near the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, we are establishing a link between the sea surface temperatures and the glaciation of Antarctica," he said.


Comment received from Rob Jones [rjones@asplundh.com.au]

The Alarmists will love this. The opening paragraph essentially claims that scientists have proof that CO2 drives temperature. Ass. Prof. Huber says, "Until now, we haven't had much scientific information..". So the reader is lead to conclude that this has all changed with this amazing new scientific discovery.. Reading on, curious to know what this "eureka" moment comprised of, the reader is expected to swallow this:
To find the result, Huber used modern climate modeling tools to look at the prehistoric climate. The models were run on a cluster-type supercomputer on Purdue's campus.. According to Huber, "We found that the likely culprit was a major drop in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially CO2."

AGW Alarmism continues to hang its hat on computer models.. and just to be sure, "modern" super-computers to boot! All they can confidently announce from the analysis using their multi-million dollar super-computer, is "we have found the likely culprit". a lay down misere! which seems to have been true of the recent way of Alarmism. Despite losing every trick (in the current debate on AGW) they win the hand. But they wont win the game!

This is just more flawed theories being reinforced by flawed assumptions programmed into flawed computer models with no scientific proof of cause and effect whatsoever.

The crumbling case for global warming

One young radical turned up at the Heartland Institute's climate change skeptics' conference in New York this week to declare that he had never witnessed so much hypocrisy. How, he asked the panelists of a session on European policy, could they sleep at night? Clearly puzzled, one of the panelists asked him with which parts of their presentations he disagreed. "Oh," he said "I didn't come here to listen to the presentations."

The conference - titled "Global Warming: Was it ever really a crisis?" - attracted close to 700 participants. Most of those I met displayed almost joy at being among people who dared to stand up to the mindless climate "consensus" and the refusal to debate, or even look at, the facts, as typified by that righteous young radical.

President Obama is considering a cap-and-trade system with which Canada would be forced to co-ordinate its own policies. The conference made clear how damaging and pointless such a policy would be.

Vaclav Klaus, the professorial president of both Czechoslovakia and the European Union, pointed out at the conference's first session on Sunday evening that the global political establishment was still in the grip of thinking reminiscent of the Communism under which he once lived. He noted that few if any politicians seemed even aware of, or interested in, either the shortcomings of officially cooked climate science, or the potential disasters of climate policy.

Professor Richard Lindzen, one of the world's leading climatologists, also stressed that climate alarmism was a political and not a scientific matter. Particular worrying, he said, was that various scientific bodies had been seized by alarmists, who now issued statements without polling the members. This played into the appeal to authority rather than science. He called climate modelling "unintelligent design" and global warming a "postmodern coup d'‚tat." He stressed that "Nature hasn't followed the models" used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There has been no global warming for 10 or 15 years. Countering all the blather about Exxon's (former) support for Heartland that appeared in coverage of the conference by climate-change cheerleaders at The New York Times and The Guardian, he noted that skeptics in fact had minimal resources to rectify the incipient policy horrors.

Asked why the skeptics had so much trouble in presenting a unified front, Professor Lindzen stressed that there was no "skeptical solidarity." But Joseph Bast, head of the Heartland Institute, pointed out that such diversity was a sign of free inquiry, as opposed to bogus claims that the science was "settled."

The sessions indicated the huge potential costs of the Obama administration's commitment to cap and trade, regulation and the promotion of renewables, effectively rationing energy as a way of grabbing revenue. Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who takes pride in having been dubbed a "climate criminal" by Greenpeace, noted that the political struggle had to keep the message simple. Voters should ask politicians one simple question: "Why do you want to raise my energy prices?" Since the one issue on which there truly is consensus is that Kyoto would have had little or no impact on global temperatures, it is a question for governments around the world, not least that of the government of Ontario, which has just introduced its draconian Green Energy Act.

Indur Goklany, an expert on globalization and a contributor to the IPCC, noted, using the UN's own figures, that global warming was by no means the threat conventionally portrayed. Indeed, the UN even acknowledged its benefits, although to establish that fact you had to read the documents "like a lawyer."

The session interrupted by the callow youth outlined the disaster of the EU's emissions trading system, and of its climate change policies in general. The good news, as Benny Peiser of John Moores University in Liverpool, and editor of the influential CCNet science network, suggested, was that the green movement was collapsing in Europe and becoming increasingly unpopular, as its enormous costs and minimal results were becoming apparent. The attempt to "rebrand" Europe as the "Environmental Union" had fallen apart and was now causing increasing discord both between and within countries.

Europe was now desperate for the United States, China and India to share its self-inflicted pain in time for the next great UN expense-fest in Copenhagen, but it was unlikely to happen.

One of the most devastating presentations came from Gabriel Calzada, a Spanish economist who indicated how Spain's "leadership" in subsidizing wind and solar power - which had been praised by President Obama - had produced enormous costs, no benefits and was now falling apart. "Green jobs" were calculated not only to cost around half-a-million Euros a pop, they came at the expense of two "normal" jobs. And they were now disappearing as the renewables bubble collapsed.

A questioner asked why European governments continued to promote such destructive and pointless policies. Roger Helmer, a member of the European Parliament, said it was a matter of inertia, plus the fact that there was no "Plan B."

The task of the brave skeptics who appeared at Heartland this week is to find out how to ditch Plan A. There could be no better stimulus to the global economy.


A freezing legacy for our children

An email from James A. Marusek, Nuclear Physicist and Engineer, retired U. S. Department of Navy

There is a lot of talk these days about the legacy we will leave our children and our grandchildren. When I stare into the immediate future, I see a frightening legacy caked in darkness and famine. Instead of intelligently preparing, we find ourselves whittling away this precious time chasing fraudulent theories. We have a decade to prepare, but have a misguided sense of direction and urgency.

Climate change is primarily driven by nature. It has been true in the days of my father and his father and all those that came before us. Because of science, not junk science, we have slowly uncovered some of the fundamental mysteries of nature. Our Milky Way galaxy is awash with cosmic rays. These are high speed charged particles that originate from exploding stars. Because they are charged, their travel is strongly influenced by magnetic fields. Our sun produces a magnetic field that extends to the edges of our solar system. This field deflects many of the cosmic rays away from Earth. But when the sun goes quiet (minimal sunspots), this field collapses inward allowing cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system. As a result, far greater numbers collide with Earth and penetrate down into the lower atmosphere where they ionize small particles of moisture (humidity) forming them into water droplets that become clouds. Low level clouds reflect sunlight back into space. An increase in Earth's cloud cover produce a global drop in temperature. These periods of quiet sun are referred to as Grand Minima. The Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) and the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830) are examples.

During a Grand Minimum the Earth begins to slowly cool. The start of the planting season is delayed and in the fall early frost limits the harvest. Earth's abundant bounty is put on hold and starvation takes its ghastly grip. Historian, John D. Post, referred to the last Grand Minima, the Dalton Minimum, as the "last great subsistence crisis in the Western world". With the cold came massive crop failures, food riots, famine and disease.

Several scientists including David C. Hathaway (NASA), William Livingston & Matthew Penn (National Solar Observatory). Lev I. Dorman and his team of Russian and Israeli scientists, Khabibullo Abdusamatov (Russian Academy of Science) have forecasted that the sun will enter a Grand Minima a decade from now in Solar Cycle 25. A few scientists including David C. Archibald (Australia) and M. A. Clilverd (Britain) have warned this might even begin in Solar Cycle 24. We are at the transition into Solar Cycle 24 and this cycle has already shown itself to be unusually quiet. The number of spotless days (days without sunspots) during this solar minimum appears to be tracking 3 times the typical number observed during the last century (Solar Cycles 16-23).

There are some that urge North America follow Europe's lead. On January 13, 2009, the European Parliament adopted a regulation dramatically restricting the number of pesticides allowed. This move is based on the precautionary principle and on junk science. According to Dr. Colin Ruscoe, chairman of the British Crop Production Council, "If farmers are forced to stop using certain products, crop yields would halve. There would be such huge losses in the yields of potatoes, carrots, peas and parsnips that it would become uneconomical to farm them."

Is this the kind of lead we should be following? Europe is also leading in another area - in its opposition to genetically modified (GM) crops. In Europe, environmentalist have driven fear into the hearts of their citizens by labeling GM food as "Frankenfood". In our country, we have been using GM crops for almost two decades without any ill effects. GM crops hold the promise of helping us survive the next Grand Minimum by offering crops that can grow under extreme weather conditions. North America is currently a leader in this technology. Should we follow Europe's lead and ban GM crops? And in ten years from now when the next solar cycle begins, if the sun goes quiet, who will comfort the starving children who cry out in the middle of the night for a small piece of bread? These will be our children. So what legacy will we leave behind?

Australian conservatives in luck as White House guru backs carbon delay

The Coalition and business groups have received unexpected backing for their argument that a recession is no time to introduce emissions trading -- from US President Barack Obama's top economics guru. In a previously unreported academic paper posted on the Harvard University website last August, Lawrence Summers argues that "expenditures for climate change will be far easier to make in economies where per-capita income is growing". Mr Summers, a former president of Harvard and treasury secretary under former US president Bill Clinton, is currently head of Mr Obama's National Economic Council and works in the White House.

His argument chimes with the position put by Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb and Australian Industry Group chief Heather Ridout. However, it is starkly at odds with the determination of Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong to have an emissions trading scheme in place by next year, despite the downturn.

Mr Summers urges policymakers to create "reference points" for the beginning of the economic losses caused by emissions trading, not just for greenhouse levels themselves. He argues that, in an economic expansion, greenhouse abatement measures will be seen as less painful because they will mean the sacrifice of income growth, rather than of real income. "Prime ministers and presidents can't hope to sacrifice GDP for climate control without hearing strong cries of protest from those experiencing loss-aversion on their incomes," Mr Summers writes. "In growth economies, matters will be easier, because the cuts will come against what would have been their incomes, a moving and hence more fuzzy reference point."

Ms Ridout yesterday reiterated her call for the ETS to be delayed until 2012. "We want the delay for reasons such as the impact of the global financial crisis on the preparedness of business to take action and the scale of the administrative task," she said. "The current timetable is too onerous and the global financial crisis is hampering the ability of businesses to prepare and finance the major emissions reduction strategies that are required."

Mr Robb said the Coalition would examine the Government's draft legislation, released yesterday, but said its version of an ETS was flawed. "There are many in the Labor caucus ... who are deeply disturbed about the direction the Government is taking this, especially at a time when we have got the economy under such enormous pressure," he said.



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


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


An email below from Craig Loehle [Craigloehl@aol.com]

Hansen's theory that CO2 forcing is hiding in the oceans can't be true if the oceans are cooling, as my latest paper shows (Energy & Environment Vol. 20, No. 1&2, 2009).

Excerpt below:

Cooling of the global ocean since 2003

By Craig Loehle, Ph.D. National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI)


Ocean heat content data from 2003 to 2008 (4.5 years) were evaluated for trend. A trend plus periodic (annual cycle) model fit with R2 = 0.85. The linear component of the model showed a trend of -0.35 (~0.2) x 1022 Joules per year. The result is consistent with other data showing a lack of warming over the past few years.


There is great interest in detecting rates of temperature change in the earth system. It has been suggested (e.g., Pielke 2003) that changes in ocean heat content should be particularly informative. A recent study (Lyman et al. 2006) claimed to find rapid cooling of the ocean between 2003 and 2005, but it was later determined that data from certain instruments caused a substantial cool bias in the result (Willis et al. 2007, 2008a; Wijffels et al. 2008). A corrected and longer dataset has now become available to redo this analysis.....


It has previously been estimated by Willis et al. (2004) that from 1993 to 2003 the upper ocean gained 8.1 (~1.4) x 1022 J of heat. This study estimates a loss since then of from 0.668 to 2.48 x 1022 J, or 19.4% (up to 31%) of the gain of the prior decade. Ishii and Kimoto (In Press) also show a bias-corrected cooling from 2003 to 2006. On an annual basis, this is a cooling of 0.35 x 1022 J compared to 0.81 x 1022 J warming for 1993 to 2003 (Willis et al. 2004) and slightly less for the same period to 700 m in Ishii and Kimoto (in press). Dominguez et al. (2008) show a 700 m depth annual warming from 1961 to 2003 of 0.38 x 1022 J. Thus the estimate of cooling in the present study is not out of line with past results. It is also consistent with satellite and surface instrumental records that do not show a warming trend over recent years. Another bias-corrected estimate (Gouretski and Koltermann 2007) is based on depth profiles too different to make a comparison. By comparison, Willis et al. (2008a) do not find any significant trend (slight negative trend) for 2003 to 2006, but had a shorter record and performed their trend analysis using simple annual means. Heat loss from the ocean has been estimated to also have occurred in the 1980s (Ishii and Kimoto, In Press; Gouretski and Koltermann 2007; Levitus et al. 2001). The data also indicate an interesting damping with time of the annual fluctuations in heat gain and loss (Fig. 1b). While the current study takes advantage of a globally consistent data source, a 4.5-year period of ocean cooling is not unexpected in terms of natural fluctuations. The problem of instrumental drift and bias is quite complicated, however, (Domingues et al. 2008; Gouretski and Koltermann 2007; Wijffels et al. 2008; Willis et al. 2004, 2008a) and it remains possible that the result of the present analysis is an artifact.

Heartland climate conference-2: session one

by Bob Carter

The opening session of the Heartland-2 Conference opened with a bang here in Manhattan tonight [Sunday evening March 8, 2009]. With registrations of around 700 persons, the conference is almost twice the size of its predecessor last year. The audience for the two opening plenary talks, held over dinner, included an eclectic mixture of scientists, engineers, economists, policy specialists, government representatives and media reporters.

In welcoming delegates, and opening the conference, President of the Heartland Institute Joe Bast also launched two new publications. The first, by Anthony Watts, is a summary of his extensive studies of the weather stations at which U.S. surface temperatures are measured ("Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable"), which have revealed that many stations are scandalously poorly sited for their intended purpose. The second, "The Skeptic's Handbook", by Joanne Nova from West Australia, is a succinct and well illustrated briefing paper that summarizes accurately the evidence against dangerous human-caused warming in a humorous and easily understood format.

The first Plenary Address was given by President Vaclav Klaus, who is President of both the Czech Republic and (for a 6 month current term) the European Union. His talk was greeted, both before and after, with standing ovations. In response to a question, he reported a just-released Czech poll, which shows that only 11% of persons questioned in a recent poll believe that man has a significant influence in warming the global climate.

The President commenced his talk by commenting that little change had occurred in the global warming debate since his talk, 12 months earlier, at the Heartland-1 conference. He likened the situation to his former experience under communist government, where arguing against the dominant viewpoint falls into emptiness. No matter how high the quality of the arguments and evidence that you advance against the dangerous warming idea, nobody listens, and by even advancing skeptical arguments you are dismissed as a na‹ve and uninformed person. The environmentalists say that the planet must be saved, but from whom and from what? "In reality", the President commented, "we have to save it, and us, from them".

Klaus reported his discouragement at participating in meetings with other senior politicians at Davos and within the EC. Here, he finds that not one other head of state who will make common cause in support of a rational assessment of the scientific evidence. Instead, all believe that the summaries provided by the IPCC represent the scientific "truth" on global warming.

But the climate data do not support the theory of human causation; the IPCC summaries therefore do not represent science, but instead environmental politics and activism. As a result, large and highly organized rent seeking bureaucracies and groups have emerged, and they further propagate the climate alarmism that is now in their self-interest.

President Klaus professed to be puzzled by the environmentalists' approach to technical progress. It as if they "want to stop economic progress and take mankind centuries back", he said. Applying their ethic of "saving the world", western electorates are being asked for the first time in history to abandon successful current technologies before new technologies have been developed to replace them. Klaus stressed that there is no known, feasible way in which modern technological society can be run based on present sources of renewable, clean, green energy.

The second Plenary Address was delivered by Dr Richard Lindzen of MIT, an acknowledged world leader in atmospheric physics and a doyen of meteorological science. Dr Lindzen started by making the important observation that being skeptical about dangerous human-caused global warming does not make one a good scientist, and nor does endorsing global warming necessarily make one a bad scientist.

He then pointed out the professional difficulties that are raised for many skeptics when scientists whose research they respect nonetheless endorse global warming. In most such cases, however, the science that such persons do is not about global warming in the strict sense. It's just that supporting global warming makes their life, and especially their funding life, easier.

Thus, it is a particular problem for young scientists to oppose the prevailing alarmist orthodoxy, because to do so is to cruel their chances of receiving research funding. For as long as it is the AGW spin that attracts the research funds, for so long will there be a strong disincentive for most scientists to question the hypothesis in public.

Lindzen commented that the politicization of the AGW issue has had an extraordinarily corrupting influence on science. Most funding that goes to global warming would not be provided were it not for the climate scare. It has therefore become standard to include in any research proposal the effect of presumed AGW on your topic, quite irrespective of whether it has any real relevance or not.

Lindzen asserted that it boils down to a matter of scientific logic against authority. The global warming movement has skilfully co-opted sources of authority, such as the IPCC and various scientific academies. For instance, over a period of 20 years, the US Academy of Science has had a backdoor route for the election of environmentalists as Members of the Academy. The success of this tactic is indicated by the fact that the current President of the Academy (Ralph Cicerone) was elected that way and is a strong environmentalist.

But in giving an endorsement of alarm about climate change, the NAS, as well as similar societies in other countries, has never polled their own expert membership. Rather, the pro-alarm policy statements that are issued by various professional societies express the views of only the activist few, who often control the governing Council.

Despite the manifold problems of combating the alarmist climate message, Dr Lindzen concluded his talk with the rousing observation that in time the climate rationalist cause will win. "When it comes to global warming hysteria", he said, "neither gross ignorance nor even grosser dishonesty has been in short supply. But we will win this debate, for we are right and they are wrong".

During an extended question and answer session after the conclusion of the two plenary addresses, Drs Klaus and Lindzen were in close agreement about two things. The first, is that global warming hysteria is being fomented as part of an environmentalist ideology; it is a politically organized movement. The grip that this hysteria now has on public opinion is explained partly by the fact that there is no equivalent, politically organized movement to mount a defense of sound science. Instead, there is simply a collection of persons who are united mainly by their common affront at the gross abuse of science that is going on.

The second common viewpoint was expressed in response to the question "What arguments are the most effective to promulgate the skeptics' cause of building policy, not on authority, IPCC or otherwise, but on sound science".

Both President Klaus and Dr Lindzen agreed that the most important arguments were (i) that sound science demonstrates that human increases in carbon dioxide are not going to cause dangerous global warming, and (ii) that a thorough cost-benefit analysis must be applied to all potential policy options.

For those on all sides of the argument accept that the Kyoto Protocol, despite its high cost, will do nothing towards measurably reducing global temperature; and the public need to be informed that the same is true also for the more ambitious carbon dioxide cuts mooted under cap and trade legislation. If taxpayers are to fund the operation, then it is only fair that they be told that the considerable pain, which will run to many trillions of dollars, will be for no measurable gain.

It was not expected that new science would be presented at the opening Plenary Session of Heartland-2. What participants got, instead, were inspirational messages delivered by two inspirational leaders of the climate rationalist cause.


Monday Morning at the Heartland ICCC - Tom McClintock, Lawrence Solomon, and Some Real Science

We're working hard here. We had to be up early and ready for things to start over breakfast at 7 this morning. There were two keynotes over breakfast, and then we split into tracks; I was in a "science" track and encountered some interesting things which I'll enumerate below.

The first morning speaker was Congressman Tom McClintock; Mr. McClintock was long a lonely but stalwart conservative in the California state assembly, and this past November he won a close and hotly-contested race and became a freshman Congressman. Moe will be having more about this later, and he managed to secure an interview with Mr. McClintock - that's being processed. He mostly noted the policy idiocies that California has imposed on itself that are having catastrophic effects. He humorously noted that as a 3rd grader on a 1964 trip to a natural history museum, he noted from the exhibits that the climate does change over time - and he wonders why Al Gore gets the credit rather than him.

But his descriptions of the way California has been blazing away (on full auto) at its own feet has been horrid to watch. He cited the example of the electric utility in the small mountain city of Truckhee that had just contracted with a coal-burning utility in Utah for electricity at $35 per megawatt-hour - only to have the state greens jump in and force them out of that deal and into one that was "greener" but will cost $65 per megawatt-hour. He finally noted that with all this and now sharply higher taxes (on top of already-high rates), California is losing people at a frightening rate. He cited the long-cited metric that the flow has gotten to be so one-sided that the UHaul rental rate to take a truck OUT of California is now six or seven times the rate to take a truck in.

The next keynote was given by Canadian journalist and environmentalist (!!) Lawrence Solomon. He noted something that hit home to me, since I also see quite a bit of the developing world (particularly sub-Saharan Africa) - that Kyoto compliance is a huge environmental destroyer in the developing world.. mainly because that's where those "offsets" that greens buy are "deployed." For example, one of the largest methods of "doing offsets" is to plant eucalyptus plantations in warmer climates; eucalyptus is a fast-growing tree that is prized as a carbon sink. However, to create these plantations, farmers are often evicted from their land (usually without "just compensation"), and old growth forests are clear-cut to make room for eucalyptus plantations. This to me is a stark case of "out of sight, out of mind" detachedness.

He's actually a big opponent of hydroelectric projects on similar grounds; for example, the construction of the (in)famous "Three Gorges" Dam in China displaced millions of people and flooded an immense area of very fertile land. In his view, hydro is no longer economically-viable - because all of the "good sites" for hydro have already been used. The irony is that the "Kyoto subsidies" are tilting the playing field, and making high-impact hydro "viable" again.

He noted that during the 1980s, large labor unions began to develop a strong interest in "environmental issues" - mainly as a method of slowing the erosion in the membership. He also noted that during the 1990s, large "foundations" moved into the space and became "pro-active" - actively working to set the agenda and force policies.

He concluded by noting that polling data shows that when people hear - at least twice - that there is a continuing debate, they quickly become skeptics; this is proving to be true in both Canada and in the United States. He noted that the 11% belief rate in the Czech Republic is due to continual "education" on the subject from the President himself. As he concluded, "We need to clone Vaclav Klaus."

Since he's Canadian, I asked him the Q&A to tell the audience about Hydro Quebec. The short take is that this was a Quebec-nationalist thing back in the early 1980s, with the goal of energy independence for Quebec via huge hydro projects up in James Bay. Vermont is heavily dependent on this power. At first, the enlightened people liked it, mainly because (back in the late 1980s) it meant that we didn't need nuclear power because of it. But when it emerged that (see above) the flooding was driving large numbers of Cree Indians off their land, the enlightened people turned 180 on HQ. The long-term contracts into eastern North American are expiring, and the new rates will be market-based and much higher. Keep an eye on the Hydro Quebec story in the years ahead - I guarantee that you WILL hear more about this soon.

After that, we broke into smaller sessions; I went to a climatology session that was very good (probably the best science session on the schedule), and I wanted to be sure to get this report out this morning since there are some things in here to which some of our reader-writers can contribute.

Tom Segalstad from Oslo University (Norway) gave a very interesting talk on carbon isotopes and mass-balance modeling. I'll provide just a few interesting highlights. He noted that the IPCC models treat sea water as being completely pure - as pure as distilled water.. which is of course a gross offense against basic chemistry. He also notes that the amount of CO2 tied up in the oceans is at least 50 times that in the atmosphere.

The most interesting part to me though was to see him actually mention the word "buffer" when it came to CO2 and the oceans - particularly as the formation of calcium carbonates are involved. Since I have some chemistry background, I've long wondered why this subject was never discussed, since when you mix CO2, calcium, and water you are getting into acid-base chemistry and that leads you quickly to the topic of buffering and buffering agents as a means of stabilizing pH. The ocean carbonates act as a buffer, and buffers act as a negative feedback mechanism (there's that phrase again!!) - which is exactly what buffering does. I'll yield the floor here, since perhaps "Chemical Sam" can tell us more about buffering, buffering agents, and how they work.

The next talk was given by the very distinguished Professor Syun Akasofu, who is one of the co-founders of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska/Fairbanks. This talk was lengthy and rather technical, but I wanted to break out his main conclusions and include a photo I took of his "money chart" that he screened several times.

In his view, the climate is presently in a period of long, slow recovery from the "Little Ice Age" that ran for 300 or so years and ended in about 1850. This gives us a large-scale secular trend of about 0.5 degrees Celsius per century of linear rise - but the underlying trend is punctuated by multi-decade-long oscillations around that larger-scale trend. We'll get back to the implications of this in a moment, but he noted that if this is the long-term underlying secular trend, it may end soon, or it may continue.. but by historical standards it should not last for more than about another 100 years.

This resonated very nicely with me personally, since I've long complained that in the "climate science world" (and as I noted again last night with regard to Richard Lindzen's comments) things are treated in a overly-deterministic fashion - an overly-deterministic view which simply just does not jibe with how nature (and her penchant for "fluctuations") actually works. The natural world, in my humble lifetime of experience (which I'm glad to see seems to mesh with the thinking of the better climate scientists) is that nature (particularly at short time scales) is dominated by fluctuations and statistical variations about variation "centers."


Czech President Vaclav Klaus on why the discussion about global warming is a monologue

For Vaclav Klaus, the inconvenient truth is this: Global warming is far from being proved, and the problem is that everybody has jumped on the bandwagon before any real debate has taken place. Mr. Klaus won his second five-year term as president of the Czech Republic in February 2008. He studied at the Prague School of Economics, where he currently holds a professorship in finance. Mr. Klaus talked to Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. Here are edited excerpts of their discussion.

THOMSON: Mr. President, obviously during the dark days of communism, America was a beacon for you and many other people in Central and Eastern Europe. What are your impressions of contemporary America?

KLAUS: Sitting here in this room in the last two hours and the coming from, first Europe, and, second, from a former communist country where I spent most of my life, I almost don't believe my eyes to see how much you believe in government and how much you don't believe in the market. This is for me a shocking experience. And I have to say that very loudly. As a professor of economics, I have my theoretical arguments about the impossibility of running the economy from above.

As a person who spent almost 50 years of his life in a communist country, I know how crazy it is to introduce schemes like the cap and trade and similar ideas, how devastating and damaging for the economy all those ideas really are. So I'm rather frustrated. It seems to me that to fight for freedom, free markets, is still the task of today, even if we hoped almost 20 years ago in the moment of the fall of communism that it was over. This is the same in Europe these days. There is one EU summit after another one weekend after another, there is a summit trying to find solutions. But I don't think that this solution will come from the government.

THOMSON: Now, you're also well known for your views on the environment. Are you concerned more about the environmental debate or the lack of debate that seems to be implicit in some people's approach to the environment?

KLAUS: I'm afraid that a serious debate about that issue has not yet started. What we witnessed are monologues, a conference of believers in global warming. The debate has not yet started. Nevertheless, I'm afraid the politicians have already accepted this idea, understood that it's a good political project, and now the things are moving in a way which I consider extremely dangerous. And I know that not only politicians, the businesspeople discovered that it's very attractive investments to get taxpayers' money and to start doing some things. So this is another problem. But I would like to make one thing clear, let's really differentiate the protection of the environment from the debate about global warming and decarbonizing the economy. I am not against the protection of the environment. I am against global-warming alarmism. Those are conceptually, structurally, two totally different issues.

THOMSON: But a person could argue, "Look, frankly, you've lost the debate on global warming. And what you're doing now is just blaming political correctness for your inability to win an argument you've already lost."

KLAUS: To win an argument you must have a potential place to argue, but I am afraid it does not exist anymore. And to speak about the scientific consensus about global warming, it's not true. To speak about a very strong relationship between carbon dioxide and the temperature in the world, again, not true. And I am really frustrated, I must say.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have great respect for your work in promoting freedom. And at the heart of the current situation regarding climate change, I'd like to compare it to the water-scarcity issue that you identified in California. At our breakout session this morning, I think we pretty much reached a unanimous conclusion that one of the causes is a failure to price water appropriately. It's priced below market. Isn't that a failure in terms of dealing with the environment overall, a failure to price environmental goods?

KLAUS: Well, of course, as an economist, I am aware of the externalities. I am aware of various cases of market failure. Nevertheless, I am first convinced that the government failure is incomparably bigger than any imaginable market failure in history. With regard to the question of water, I think it's rather difficult to introduce the real market in the case of water. I wouldn't mind doing it in some respect. We are used to doing it differently, without paying attention to the real cost of water. It was a mistake, definitely so. I wouldn't be against, not rationing water, but introducing some sort of market mechanism in consuming water and then paying for that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm an environmentalist. But I want to applaud your willingness to take on and to try to separate the sometimes frustratingly intertwined topics of climate change or, say, global warming, versus environmental conservation. The Amazon rainforest, for instance, we're looking the equivalent of about 180 football fields every three minutes in deforestation. And that's not a sustainable model in my opinion. Can you comment on what it means to help conservation without overheating the argument around carbon?

KLAUS: Well, there are several points. The first one, I thank you for stressing the difference between protection of the environment and global-warming alarmism and decarbonization of the economy. Those are two separate issues. By the way, communism is the nonexistence of real economic prices on the one hand, and state ownership, no private ownership, was a disaster for the environment. Everyone knows that. So we solved the environmental issues in our country in the moment of the fall of communism. By reintroducing normal prices, which give you the real scarcity of one thing or another, plus by introducing private property forced the solution for the environmental protection in general. This is my very strong, strong belief. The policy, the government policy for the environment, was not secondary but much lower importance as compared to those two systemic changes, prices and property rights.

Second, thank you for differentiating conservationism from environmentalism. Environmentalism is really a doctrine, religion, ideology, which has no connection to climatology or environment or anything else.

Then you mentioned the Brazilian forests. Well, tragic problem. Nevertheless, I think that the real stimulus for deforestation in many developing countries, including Brazil, was the crazy idea of biofuels. And those ideas came from the environmentalists. Now, they discovered it was a wrong idea, so they tried to pretend that they forgot the idea. So I'm afraid the deforestation in Brazil and the environmentalism is deeply, negatively connected.



Three current articles below

Queensland weather pattern returns to 1970s

Weather bureau boss says 20 more years of data needed to draw conclusions about climate change. Note: Queensland is roughly twice the size of California

WEATHER patterns have returned to those of the 1970s - the past two summers had featured a good monsoon season and a couple of cyclones. Weather bureau boss Jim Davidson said despite the "normality" of the past two seasons, three unusual events had dominated Queensland's weather this summer. They were the flooding in northwest Queensland and the Gulf of Carpentaria, north Queensland's Ingham being hit with two major back-to-back floods and Cyclone Hamish at one stage hitting category 5 - the strongest possible. Last year major floods also hit central Queensland, in places such as Charleville, Longreach, Mackay and Rockhampton.

Mr Davidson said the past two summers showed the extreme weather patterns that a state as large as Queensland could experience. He had warned in October that coastal residents should prepare for a summer cyclone and flood season, with monsoon activity expected to be above normal. Mr Davidson said the season was dominated by a rain-bringing La Nina weather pattern as opposed to the El Nino conditions that had occurred through much of the decade-long drought. As well, the north had been boosted by an active monsoon. The three cyclones - Hamish, Ellie and Charlotte - were an average number for a season, although more cyclones could continue to form until about mid-April.

Mr Davidson said it was unusual that Hamish was the fourth category 5 cyclone to form in the past five years, but it was "too early" to put that down to climate change. "There's no obvious explanation for this happening," he said. "They are hard to predict, not easily explained and it's far too early to put this down to climate change. "It will take at least 20 years of scientific and statistical observations before we can make that sort of call. "We have very cyclical weather patterns."

While a huge slab of north, east and western Queensland has been swamped by the best wet season in years, the Murray Darling Basin on the NSW border is so dry entire rivers have stopped flowing. Little water has made it into the basin, about 260,000 sq km of which is in Queensland. University of NSW wetlands researcher Richard Kingsford has labelled conditions a disaster. Mr Davidson said the situation in the Murray Darling showed there was rarely a time in a state as large as Queensland that there was not some place in drought.


Climate change - it's part of natural cycle

A carbon tax is unnecessary and will ruin the Australian economy, a leading academic has warned. With an arm-long list of achievements, Adelaide University geology Professor Ian Plimer told the PGA Convention that there were fundamental problems in the science being put forward in favour of climate change. "An emission trading scheme is based on flawed science and its constraints will destroy the agricultural industry," Prof Plimer said.

"And the interesting thing about ruminants, which is a main argument for climate change, is that there are more of them on earth now than there were 20 years ago, however the methane deposit is going down; so how do we explain that?

"I think the agriculture sector can suffer very badly from emissions trading and the mining and manufacturing industry will also suffer but the reality is those people living in Sydney and Melbourne are driving the political agenda. "The problem is that (people in) the bulk of the electorates live in cities, never experience drought, they always get fresh food, they don't realise that drought is part of living in Australia. Unfortunately the agricultural vote is the same vote as a drongo living in the city who is doing nothing to expand the economy.

"We are a country with first world thinking and third world infrastructure, we cannot afford to make make a mistake on this. "The science is flawed; and if the science is flawed then the whole concept of emissions trading is invalid." Prof Plimer said climates always change, always have and always will. "Climates change in cycles and will change randomly," he said.

"Where those cycles change are based on where that solar system is in the galaxy, how our orbit wobbles, how energetic the sun is, tidal effects and extraordinary events such as massive volcano eruptions." "What you don't see is any evidence in the past, and that is only 4567 million years, that carbon dioxide has driven climate change. "It is the exact inverse."


Scientists cast doubt on deal to tackle global warming

Two leading [British] climate scientists have broken ranks with their peers to declare that hopes of getting a meaningful deal on halting global warming this year are already lost. Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Professor Trevor Davies, one of the centre's founders, said it was time to start looking for alternatives to an international deal.

They made their comments on the eve of a three-day conference in Copenhagen this week in which thousands of climate change researchers will meet to discuss the latest discoveries in the field. The findings will be used in December when world leaders attend a UN summit, also in Copenhagen, to try to work out an international treaty on greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Anderson and Professor Davies expect politicians at the summit merely to pay lip service to scientific evidence that greenhouse gas emissions need to be brought under control within a decade, if not sooner. They said that rather than wait for an international accord it was time now to consider what action could be taken. "We all hope that Copenhagen will succeed but I think it will fail. We won't come up with a global agreement," Professor Anderson said. "I think we will negotiate, there will be a few fudges and there will be a very weak daughter of Kyoto. I doubt it will be significantly based on the science of climate change." He is certain that negotiators will place a heavy reliance on technological solutions that have yet to be invented or proven, rather than recognise the scale and urgency of the problem.

Their comments came as Climate Change Minister Penny Wong prepared to release legislation to establish Australia's Climate Pollution Reduction Scheme tomorrow. Greens leader Bob Brown insists the Government cannot water down its commitment to emissions cuts because of the global financial crisis. "We don't accept for one moment the quisling attitude that this economic downturn means that climate change should be put on the shelf," he said "That is very dangerous and irresponsible thinking."

Professor Anderson believes that the severity of the likely impacts of climate change has been underplayed, and that to doubt that temperature rises could be limited to 2C is a political heresy. He said that scientists had been held back from voicing their doubts. "The consequences of the numbers we come up with are politically unacceptable. It's difficult for people to stand up. To rock the boat significantly is difficult for them."

Professor Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (UEA), where the Tyndall Centre is based, shares this assessment and regards geoengineering schemes as a potential insurance policy. The GeoEngineering Assessment and Research initiative (Gear) has now been set up at UEA to assess the projects that have been suggested. Among the geoengineering solutions that have been proposed are putting mirrors into orbit to reflect sunlight away from Earth, and encouraging the growth of plankton by pouring nutrients into the oceans. "An increasing number of scientists are talking about Plan B now, the big, global geoengineering things," Professor Davies said. "That's one of the reasons we've set up this centre - not that we think many of the aspects are sensible but because we think it's necessary to assess them."



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


Monday, March 09, 2009

The ocean acidity scare revs up

Big article from "The Times" below. Not the slightest mention of the element of self-contradiction in it, however. Warmed water gives off CO2. Try opening a bottle of warm Coca Cola if you doubt it. The CO2 will rush out in a spurt of foam and the drink will be "flat" thereafter, quite unlike what happens when you open it cold. So if global warming does happen, it will make the ocean LESS prone to absorb CO2 and hence be LESS acidic, not more. There are also more complex objections to the scare e.g. here. And, as ever, facts trump theory. a recent paper shows that phytoplankton in fact thrive under increasing oceanic CO2 concentrations

They are calling it "the other CO2 problem". Its victim is not the polar bear spectacularly marooned on a melting ice floe, or an eagle driven out of its range, nor even a French pensioner dying of heatstroke. What we have to mourn are tiny marine organisms dissolving in acidified water.

In fact we need to do rather more than just mourn them. We need to dive in and save them. Suffering plankton may not have quite the same cachet as a 700-kilo seal-eating mammal, but their message is no less apocalyptic. What they tell us is that the chemistry of the oceans is changing, and that, unless we act decisively, the limitless abundance of the sea within a very few decades will degrade into a useless tidal desert.

In every way - economically, environmentally, socially - the effects of ocean acidification are as dangerous as climate change, and even harder to resist.

It has been a slow dawning. Until recently, marine scientists have had little luck in engaging the public or political mind. The species most directly at risk - plankton, corals, sea snails, barnacles and other stuff that most people have never heard of - seemed as remote from our lives as cosmic dust. But now at last "the other CO2 problem" may have found a mascot of its own - the tiny but colourful clownfish, winsome star of the Disney classic Finding Nemo. In the film, Nemo gets lost. Now it turns out that real clownfish might lose their way too.

In early February, the American academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) carried a paper titled "Ocean acidification impairs olfactory discrimination and homing ability of a marine fish". The sombre language concealed a stark message. What the researchers had found was that clownfish larvae in acidified water were unable to detect the odours from adult fish that led them to their breeding sites. The implications were obvious. If the fish don't breed, the species will not survive, and what is true for one species must be true for others. In time, the world's fishing fleets will be less a food resource than a disposal problem.

What's happening is this: the oceans absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. As most climate scientists and governments now agree, human activity - most importantly, burning fossil fuels - has intensified CO2 in the atmosphere, causing long-term climate change. The good thing is that the seas have absorbed a lot of the gas and so have slowed the pace of atmospheric warming. The bad thing is that CO2 reacts with sea water to make carbonic acid.

Since 1800, humans have generated 240 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, half of which has been absorbed by the sea. On average, each person on Earth contributes a tonne of carbon to the oceans every year. The result is a rapid rise in acidity - or a reduction in pH, as the scientists prefer to express it - which, as it intensifies, will mean that marine animals will be unable to grow shells, and that many sea plants will not survive. With these crucial links removed, and the ecological balance fatally disrupted, death could flow all the way up the food chain, through tuna and cod to marine mammals and Homo sapiens. As more than half the world's population depends on food from the sea for its survival, this is no exaggeration.

This is why 155 marine scientists from 26 countries recently signed the Monaco Declaration, identifying the twin threats of global warming and ocean acidification as "the challenge of the century". It is, nevertheless, a challenge they have taken up only recently.

"The whole scientific community was caught with its pants down," says Jason Hall-Spencer, research lecturer at Plymouth University, who was one of the signatories. The term "ocean acidification" was coined only in 2003 - by odd coincidence the same year Finding Nemo was released and 35,000 people died in the European summer heat wave - though, unlike global warming, it has not had to face the opposition of truth-deniers. Verging on panic in 2005, the Royal Society published a 68-page report in which it calculated that acidification had increased by 30% in 200 years. If we went on as we were, it said, this would rise to 300% by 2100, making the seas more corrosive than they had been at any time for hundreds of millennia. In every practicable sense, the damage was irreversible. "It will take tens of thousands of years for ocean chemistry to return to a condition similar to that occurring at pre-industrial times," the Royal Society said.

It is a truism that might have been minted for the Darwin bicentenary. A species once lost is gone for ever. You can't rewind evolution, or reinvent fish. We are not talking about dispossessing our children, or even our grandchildren's grandchildren. We are talking so many generations into the fog of geological time that we might not even be talking about the same species. We are certainly not talking about low-lying countries protected by coral reefs, such as the Maldives. In future they will not be studying the marine environment: they will be part of it.

Doomy stuff like this, of course, is nothing new. The "warmists", as the deniers like to call them, have been telling us for years that our rate of consumption is unsustainable and that future generations will pay a terrible price for our carelessness. If you don't want to believe in climate change, you can argue that forecasts created by computer modelling are "theoretical". Or you can confuse the long-term graph of "climate" with the short-term spikes of "weather". Look, there's a snowflake! Global warming can't be happening!

But acidification permits no such equivocation. It is demonstrable, visible and measurable, and there is nothing theoretical about how it is caused or what it does. All the same, until now there has been one significant shortcoming.

As with the clownfish, it has been easy enough under laboratory conditions to see how individual species respond to acidity. What is much less easy is to observe the effects on entire ecosystems.

This problem has now been cracked by a team from Plymouth led by Jason Hall-Spencer, who scanned the world for a location where the sea conditions expected in future were already happening naturally. They found it in the Bay of Naples, just off the holiday island of Ischia.

The sea bed here is chalk. Deep geological activity converts some of this into carbon dioxide and forces it up through volcanic vents into the water. In and around the neighbourhood of these vents, the result is a perfect "gradient" of pH levels from the normal 8.1 all the way down to 7.4 (remember: the lower the pH, the higher the acidity). To non-scientists, the giving or taking of a few decimal points can look undramatic. To experts they mark the difference between life and death. The 30% increase in acidity during the industrial age is reflected by a drop in pH of just 0.1. On current trends, it will plummet by another 0.4 points to hit an unprecedented low of 7.7 by 2100. By 2300 it could be down to 7.3.

Few species living in the sea have experienced conditions like these at any time throughout their entire life on Earth. With pH as low as this, it is at least questionable that land creatures emerging from the primal swamp could have evolved into the bony specimens that roam the Earth today. And it is certain that the pace of environmental change is far too fast for evolution to keep in step. As a recipe for life on Earth, it is about as efficacious as nuclear war. Experiments have shown that the tipping point at which shell growth ceases comes at a pH of 7.8. This is the level which, on current trends, will be the global norm before the end of the century, and it is the level at which the Plymouth team has focused its attention.

Given all the dire warnings, the first visual impression at Ischia is something of a surprise. There are plenty of fish. Is it, then, a false alarm? Could the world's scientists have got their statistical knickers in a twist and jumped to a false conclusion? Will life just go on as normal? Alas, no. The acidified water is a small zone in a wider sea. There is no barrier. The fish are just visitors. They come to feed on the soft-bodied algae that survive in the altered conditions, then they swim away again. What they don't do is breed - which is exactly what the Nemo research predicts.

"Fish breed naturally at a pH of 8.1," says Hall-Spencer. He believes the sensory loss observed in clownfish is only one part of the story. "Losing the sense of smell," he says, "is not likely to be the only effect. It's much more likely to be one impairment among many. Eggs in these conditions cannot develop normally."

Shelled creatures in the Ischian waters are visibly suffering. Sea urchins thin out and disappear as the acidity increases; so do corals, limpets and barnacles. Sea snails straying into the zone have thin, weak shells, and produce no young. There is another important absentee, too - the coralline algae (seaweed with a chalk skeleton) that glues coral reefs together. Without it, reefs become weakened and fall apart.

In just a few decades, if the output of carbon dioxide does not abate, this will be the condition of all the world's oceans. Many if not all commercially fished species, including shellfish, will suffer. So, too, will coral reefs, whose disintegration will leave low-lying coasts in the tropics unprotected from the rising seas and fiercer storms that climate change will unleash. By some calculations reefs will have vanished by 2065, and nobody expects them to survive into the 22nd century.


More Warmist censorship of pesky findings

We have gone through a cold spell in Britain, with heavy snowfalls in many parts of the country. I knew, then, that it was coming and it did come - right on the first day: a newspaper article reassuring us that these fluctuations in weather conditions are no more than noise and do not affect the well-established existence of man-made global warming.

I will not discuss this or similar articles because it is evident that a local short-term temperature change is meaningless against the long-term pattern. I am, though, interested in the predictability of the appearance of these stories in the media. The campaign on global warming is on and it has to be more explicit in moments like this when our subconscious may make us waver just so faintly. Lest we forget.

The article in the Daily Telegraph said that this spell of bad weather was not simply irrelevant, but was yet another confirmation of global warming. Curiously, it is a feature of man-made global warming that every fact confirms it: rising temperatures or decreasing temperatures, drought or torrential rain, tornadoes and hurricanes or changes in the habits of migratory birds. No matter what the weather, some model of global warming offers a watertight explanation.

From global warming to climate change

For a scientist like me, this sounds fishy. I imagine that there are a good number of models, each with different assumptions and results, but we are never given a general view of these models, what data they use, how their results compare and where and when their predictions apply. The impression is that science popularisers cherry-pick whichever happens to provide the results that match the news of the day.

One very useful tool in this respect has been the conceptual change from global warming to the more adaptable one of climate change. The bigger the target, the easier to hit it. Somebody should take care that the target is not so big that it becomes impossible to miss.

I was away for my Christmas holidays in Spain recently, and there I had more first-hand evidence of the campaign. I met a fellow scientist whom I had not seen in many years. I knew he had been working on carbon accumulation in soils. When he began this work at the end of the 1980s, global warming was starting to make the news. He naturally thought that this was a study of great potential interest. He carried on for years, during which the political situation around the issue changed.

The conclusion of his investigation is that, globally, the ability of soil to accumulate carbon is 100 percent greater than the current estimation. Here is a piece of science of great relevance to the hottest issue of the moment and one that deserves to be looked into in detail, as it affects our predictions substantially.

Ethics a central issue

The response of the research institution in which my colleague works was to refuse to publish his results.

There was no peer-review of the methods or science in the work. My colleague's track record shows that he is a competent scientist with numerous papers published in highly-regarded international journals. The quality of his research was not the issue. The decision was political. His laboratory is directly dependent on the regional government in that part of Spain, and in this government's agenda global warming features prominently. My colleague's results were seen as possibly undermining the strength of their case.

This is not an isolated case. Research institutions have issued statements positioning themselves in the matter. They want to be in with the media, in with public acceptance, in with Government policies, in with those who allocate funds.

Ethics is a central issue in the global warming debate, which is all about protecting future human generations. But ethical considerations also prescribe that research institutions should not manoeuvre to make the best of their opportunities at the cost of coercing researchers. Science's goal is truth about nature and this can only be found in a climate of intellectual freedom.

A powerful political tool

Global warming has become a powerful political tool. One can see the reasons. Proving it wrong (if wrong it is) is sufficiently difficult to allow using it for quite a long time. There is an element of personal guilt, as we all contribute to global warming, but not too much. Basically it is the rich multinationals which are responsible. Thus we are called both to a cathartic personal conversion and to a noble struggle against the evil polluters of our fragile planet. All this helps to suppress the dissatisfaction of what otherwise could be a life empty of worthwhile goals. Global warming is therefore an immensely appealing cause.


Natural Global Warmings Have Become More Moderate

By Dennis Avery

This week, at the 2nd international conference of man-made warming skeptics sponsored by the Heartland Institute in New York, I'll predict the earth's warming/cooling trends for the 21st century.

I will be among splendid company such as John Coleman, founder of the weather channel, Ross McKitrick, who debunked the "hockey stick" study, physicist Willie Soon, and many other presenters with brilliant credentials. A thousand scientists, economists, and skeptics from every walk of life will meet to discuss the current climate indicators.

I'll use physical evidence of the more than 500 warmings in the past million years, which are found worldwide in ice cores, seabed sediments, fossil pollen and cave stalagmites. At least 700 scientists have published evidence on these solar-driven Dansgaared-Oeschger cycles. The good news is that the D-O cycle's warmings have been getting somewhat cooler for the past 10,000 years-and there is no evidence that human-emitted CO2 will make them much warmer.

This means that the Modern Warming will probably remain cooler than the Medieval Warming (950-1300). It was 0.3 degrees warmer than the 20th century based on Craig Loehle's study of 2000 years of temperature proxies. Willi Dansgaard's 10,000-year reconstruction from ice cores shows the Roman Warming as warmer than the Medieval-but the two Holocene Warmings centered on 4,000 and 7,000 years ago were lots warmer than either.

The IPCC rejects the cycle evidence. They have concluded that the variability of the sun is "too small" to account for the earth's recent warming 1976-98. They want us to sacrifice trillions of dollars to displace fossil fuels based on computers that couldn't even predict the current cooling.

In contrast, I'll predict a cooling planet for the next 25-30 years, because of the D-O cycle's solar linkage. The sunspots began predicting cooling back in 2000, and it arrived a bit early, in 2007. CO2's correlation with our temperatures over the past 150 years is only 22 percent. The correlation with sunspots is 79 percent-What does the UN think caused the 500 previous D-O cycles in the ice cores and seabed records?

There's more. NASA, bless their hearts, reported last April that their Jason satellite confirms a cooling shift in the Pacific, our biggest heat sink. Roseanne D'Arrigo's tree ring and rainfall proxies from around the Pacific Rim tell us that the earth's temperatures have mirrored the Pacific's cyclical shifts-in 25-40 year spurts-for at least the past 400 years.

I predict that after the current Pacific cooling is over, the earth will resume getting slowly and erratically warmer. But not much warmer. That's because the D-O cycles are typically abrupt, delivering about half their temperature increase in the first few decades. Remember, we've had no significant net warming since 1940.

If the moderating trend in the global warming cycles persists, then we will get less than 0.5 degree C more warming over the next two centuries. If the Greenhouse Theory has any validity, we might get a bit more than 0.5 degree more warming-but not much. We tend to forget that the climate forcing power of CO2 unquestionably declines logarithmically, so the earth has probably already gotten three-fourths of the total.

As the earth cools, the U.S. will use our new natural gas surplus instead of biofuels, carbon taxes will die and the deliberate disruption of the economy will be stifled. Further warming 40 years from now will be too mild and erratic to renew public panic. Environmental assessments will become more realistic-and useful.


Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level projections

What to do about the fact that sea-level rises have levelled off in the last couple of years? Why, more "projections" of course. Theory trumps reality for Warmists every time

Scientists will warn this week that rising sea levels, triggered by global warming, pose a far greater danger to the planet than previously estimated. There is now a major risk that many coastal areas around the world will be inundated by the end of the century because Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than previously estimated. Low-lying areas including Bangladesh, Florida, the Maldives and the Netherlands face catastrophic flooding, while, in Britain, large areas of the Norfolk Broads and the Thames estuary are likely to disappear by 2100. In addition, cities including London, Hull and Portsmouth will need new flood defences. "It is now clear that there are going to be massive flooding disasters around the globe," said Dr David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey. "Populations are shifting to the coast, which means that more and more people are going to be threatened by sea-level rises."

The issue is set to dominate the opening sessions of the international climate change conference in Copenhagen this week, when scientists will outline their latest findings on a host of issues concerning global warming. The meeting has been organised to set the agenda for this December's international climate talks (also to be held in Copenhagen), which will draw up a treaty to replace the current Kyoto protocol for limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

And key to these deliberations will be the issue of ice-sheet melting. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - when it presented its most up-to-date report on the likely impact of global warming in 2007 - concluded that sea-level rises of between 20 and 60 centimetres would occur by 2100. These figures were derived from estimates of how much the sea will increase in volume as it heats up, a process called thermal expansion, and from projected increases in run-off water from melting glaciers in the Himalayas and other mountain ranges. But the report contained an important caveat: that its sea-level rise estimate contained very little input from melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. The IPCC forecast therefore tended to underestimate forthcoming changes.

"The IPCC felt the whole dynamics of polar ice-sheet melting were too poorly understood," added Vaughan. "However, we are now getting a much better idea of what is going on in Greenland and Antarctica and can make much more accurate forecasts about ice-sheet melting and its contribution to sea-level rises."

From studying satellite images, scientists have watched the sea ice that hugs the Greenland and Antarctic shores dwindle and disappear. Sea-ice melting on its own does not cause ocean levels to rise, but its disappearance has a major impact on land ice sheets. Without sea ice to prop them up, the land sheets tip into the water and disintegrate at increasing rates, a phenomenon that is now being studied in detail by researchers.

"It is becoming increasingly apparent from our studies of Greenland and Antarctica that changes to sea ice are being transmitted into the hearts of the land-ice sheets in a remarkably short time," added Vaughan. As a result, those land sheets are breaking up faster and far more melt water is being added to the oceans than was previously expected. These revisions suggest sea-level rises could easily top a metre by 2100 - a figure that is backed by the US Geological Survey, which this year warned that they could reach as much as 1.5 metres.

In addition, in September, a team led by Tad Pfeffer at the University of Colorado at Boulder published calculations using conservative, medium and extreme glaciological assumptions for sea-level rise expected from Greenland, Antarctica and the world's smaller glaciers and ice caps. They concluded that the most plausible scenario, when factoring in thermal expansion due to warming waters, will lead to a total sea level rise of one to two metres by 2100.

Similarly, a commission of 20 international experts, called on by the Dutch government to help plan its coastal defences, recently gave a range of 55cm to 1.1 metres for sea-level rises by 2100. "Equally important, this commission has highlighted the fact that sea-level rise will not stop in the year 2100," said Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "By 2200, they estimate a rise of 1.5 to 3.5m unless we stop the warming. This would spell the end of many of our coastal cities."

This point was backed by Dr Jason Lowe of the Hadley Centre, the UK's foremost climate change research centre. "It is still not clear exactly how much the sea will rise by the end of this century, but it is certain that rises will continue for hundreds of years beyond that - even if we do manage to stabilise carbon dioxide emissions and halt the rise in atmospheric temperature. The sea will continue to heat up and expand. In addition, the Greenland ice sheets will continue to melt," he said.

This latter effect could, ultimately, have a particularly destructive impact. Scientists have calculated that if industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases eventually produce a global temperature increase of around 4C, there is a risk that Greenland's ice covering could melt completely. This could take several hundred years or it might require a couple of thousand. The end result is not in doubt, however. It would add around seven metres to the planet's sea levels. The consequence would be utter devastation.


Global Warming "Bait-and-Switch"

Fred Schwindel's TV City ad promises 40" flat screen televisions for $200. You rush to his store, to learn he's "fresh out" - but has some 42" models for $1000. That's "bait-and-switch," and Fred could be prosecuted for consumer fraud.

In the political arena, however, bait-and-switch is often rewarded, not punished - especially in the case of global warming alarmism. Instead of fines or jail time, politicos get committee chairs, presidencies, speaking fees and Nobel Prizes. Scientists and bureaucrats receive paychecks, research grants and travel stipends for Bali. Activists get secretive government payments for "public education" campaigns. Companies get government contracts, subsidies and seats at the bargaining table. And all are lionized or canonized for supporting Climageddon theories and policies.

Global warming bait-and-switch starts with simple statements that few would contest - then shifts seamlessly to claims that are hotly disputed and supported by little or no evidence.

The bait: Global warming is real. The switch: Global warming is intensifying and threatens agriculture, human civilization and the fabric of life everywhere on earth.

Bait: 99% of scientists agree on the presence of human-caused global warming. Switch: The debate is over. Humans are the primary cause of temperature increases.

Bait: Atmospheric carbon dioxide from human activities is increasing. Switch: CO2 is the dominant greenhouse gas and is reaching unprecedented and dangerous levels.

Bait: Earth warmed during the twentieth century, as CO2 levels increased. Switch: Runaway warming is increasing hurricanes, melting polar ice caps, raising sea levels and causing species extinction.

Bait: Even little things like reducing personal energy consumption help the environment. Switch: We can stop climate change by switching to wind and solar energy.

The perpetrators of these B/S schemes may never be chastened or prosecuted. However, as in the case of consumer fraud, an informed public is less likely to get fleeced.

President Obama and congressional Democrats support a $650 billion carbon cap-and-trade tax on every household, business and factory in America. If they introduce legislation amid this recession, voters, energy consumers and more responsible legislators should keep important facts in mind.

Global warming (aka climate change) has been "real" since time began. Witness the Ice Ages, interglacial periods, Medieval Warm Period (950-1350), Little Ice Age (1400-1850), Anesazi drought, Dust Bowl, and conversion of verdant river valleys into the Sahara Desert some 4,000 years ago.

No one yet knows what solar energy fluctuations, planetary orbit shifts, recurrent oscillations in ocean currents, cloud cover variation and other natural forces combined to cause these potent climatic changes. But there is no evidence that they have suddenly been displaced by human CO2 emissions.

Growing numbers of scientists say the climate change debate is far from over, and global warming was never a crisis. Over 650 certified meteorologists and climate scientists are on a US Senate compilation of climate cataclysm skeptics - and 32,000 scientists have signed the Oregon Petition, saying they dispute claims that humans are causing climate change, and the changes will be disastrous.

Many of them are meeting in New York March 8-10, at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. They may not drive the final nails into the coffin of climate hysteria, but their findings and analyses underscore the lack of evidence for scary "forecasts" that are routinely generated by woefully inadequate computer models and self-interested researchers, activists and politicians. They will point out that planetary temperatures are no longer rising, hurricanes are not increasing in number or intensity, ice caps are not disappearing, and moderate temperature and CO2 increases benefit plant growth.

The UN's Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change claims to be the world's "most authoritative body" on the subject. However, only "something on the order of 20%" of the panel's scientists "have some dealing with climate," admits a senior member. Even the IPCC chairman is an economist, not a scientist.

Worse, says atmospheric scientist Dr. Roy Spencer, the IPCC insists that human carbon dioxide emissions drive global warming. It has "never seriously investigated" the possibility that climate change might be natural. The IPCC sees only what it is looking for; it sees nothing it is not looking for.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may have "soared" from 280 ppm to 385 ppm over the last century. But this represents an almost trivial rise from 0.03% of the atmosphere to 0.04% - the equivalent of an increase from 3 cents to 4 out of $100, or from 1.08 inches to 1.44 inches on a football field. The dominant greenhouse gas is water vapor, which nature controls via evaporation and precipitation.

Planetary temperatures may have increased during the last century, as CO2 levels increased. But not in a straight line. They rose 1900-1940 (1934 was the century's warmest year), fell 1940-1975, rose again 1975-1998, then stabilized and even declined slightly from 1998 to 2008.

New York, Holland and Bangladesh might be inundated by a 49-foot rise in sea level, if the entire West Antarctic ice sheet melted. But that would require a global temperature spike far greater than even Al Gore has prophesied. The average temperature for the peninsula's two-month summer is barely 36 F; in the winter, temperatures are below minus 50.

Unplugging unused appliances and switching to CFL bulbs may help jet-setting Hollywood celebrities feel better. But they will not stabilize Earth's climate. Even grounding Al Gore and John Travolta's private jets, scrapping every US automobile, mothballing America's coal-fired power plants, and slashing US CO2 emissions by 80% (back to 1905 levels), as President Obama wants to do, will have little effect.

Even the IPCC recognizes that perfect compliance with the Kyoto Protocol by every country would reduce global temperature increases by only 0.2 degrees by 2050 (assuming CO2 does drive global warming). But Europe has put its greenhouse gas reduction programs on hold. Australia is poised to reject cap-and-trade plans. China and India are building new coal-fired power plants every week.

Nearly 85% of US energy is hydrocarbon based, whereas wind turbines currently provide 0.5% and generate electricity only 25% of the time. Even absent the deepening recession, taxing and penalizing hydrocarbon use and CO2 emissions will drive up energy costs and extinguish far more jobs than can possibly be created via government-subsidized renewable energy and green-collar job initiatives. The impacts on poor families, economic civil rights, living standards and civil liberties would be severe.

Not surprisingly, the more people understand these facts, the worse the hysteria gets. Al Gore: Soaring global temperatures will "bring human civilization to a screeching halt." Energy Secretary Stephen Chu: "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California." NOAA scientist Susan Solomon: "In ten years the oceans will be toxic, and all life in them will die." NASA astronomer James Hansen: "Death trains" are carrying poisonous fuel to "coal-fired factories of death." Hollywood horror movie writers couldn't possibly top this stuff.

So when Congress and the President call for more economic pain through energy restrictions and cap-and-trade bills, demand solid evidence for catastrophic warming and human causation. Don't accept worthless computer models and worst-case scenarios. And don't be conned by bait-and-switch tactics.


Obama's Global Warming Straddle: Lord, make me carbon neutral . . . but not yet

In his February 24 address to Congress, President Obama asked for "legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution." But don't assume that this administration, in contrast to its predecessor, is overly concerned about the threat to humanity from global warming.

When the president unveiled his budget later that week, it became clear that even if so-called cap-and-trade legislation is passed this year, the administration has no plans to start taxing emissions until 2012. A president who warned of catastrophe should Congress delay implementing his economic agenda seems in no particular rush to cut down on greenhouse emissions. No doubt he has been quietly briefed on just how devastating his cap-and-trade regime would be to a fragile economy.

So it's a hollow victory for climate alarmists. As it happens, besides being an election year, 2012 is also supposed to be the point of no return for action on climate change. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and co-recipient with Al Gore of the Nobel Peace Prize, warned after collecting his prize in Norway that "if there's no action before 2012, that's too late."

Last year Gore himself opined that "we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis." Such warnings have become routine--20 years ago, in 1989, the head of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program, Noel Brown, issued the same dire prediction, claiming that there was a "10-year window of opportunity" to stop the runaway train of global warming.

After two decades in which environmentalists have urged immediate government action or else, a unified Democratic government has finally made such action possible--but it is, thankfully, not imminent or assured. The timing of any legislation will be determined by the political climate in Washington, and not the temperature in the Arctic.

Whatever else it accomplishes, cap and trade will be a huge tax on the productive sectors of the economy. The "cap" is a government-imposed limit on total emissions; companies then buy permits from the government to emit pollutants up to the amount of the cap, and can then trade these permits with each other. The process of issuing and pricing the permits will be an invitation to astonishing amounts of lobbying and favor-seeking. Cap and trade, in the words of MIT's Richard Lindzen, will be "a bureaucrat's dream."

According to a recently released study by the George C. Marshall Institute, the cost of cap and trade to the overall economy--depending on the size and scope of the legislation--is anywhere from a 0.3 percent to 3 percent drop in GDP in 2015 below what it would otherwise be. The report, as noted by the National Center for Policy Analysis, estimated that Americans would see their "electricity prices jumping 5-15 percent by 2015, natural gas prices up 12-50 percent by 2015, and gasoline prices up 9-145 percent by 2015." The numbers are staggering, which is why the Obama administration plans to divert some of the permit revenues to its "making work pay" tax credit, reimbursing low-income individuals up to $400 a year and $800 for couples. It won't be enough.



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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Censored: The fact that available data contradict a vital Warmist assumption

Because the temperature rise across the entire 20th century was trivial (just over one half of one degree), the best bet is that the rise (if any) over the 21st century will be trivial too. Warmists avoid that obvious truth by postulating various "amplifying" factors that will make the 21st century rise much greater than that seen in the 20th century. And chief nominee as an amplifying factor is cloud cover and water vapour generally. Sadly for the Warmists, evidence is accumulating that those very factors have in fact a minimizing rather than an amplifying effect. The entire edifice of Warmism is built on the sand of an unproven theory which looks like being in fact the reverse of the truth

Garth Paltridge writes:

Back in March of 2008, three of us sent off a manuscript to the Journal of Climate. It was a straightforward paper reporting the trends of humidity in the middle and upper troposphere as they (the trends) appear at face value in the NCEP monthly-average reanalysis data. NCEP data on atmospheric behaviour over the last 50 years are readily available on the web and are something of a workhorse for much modern research on meteorology and climate. The paper did two things:

(1) It pointed out that, according to the NCEP data, the zonal-average tropical and mid-latitude humidities have decreased over the last 35 years at altitudes above the 850mb pressure level - that is, in the middle and upper troposphere, roughly above the top of the convective boundary layer. NCEP humidity information derives ultimately from the international network of balloon-borne radiosondes. And one must say immediately that radiosonde humidity data have more than their fair share of problems. So does the NCEP process of using an operational weather forecasting model to integrate the actual measurements into a meteorologically coherent set of data presented on a regular grid.

(2) It made the point (not an original point, but on the other hand one that is not widely known even among the cognoscenti) that water vapour feedback in the global warming story is very largely determined by the response of water vapour in the middle and upper troposphere. Total water vapour in the atmosphere may increase as the temperature of the surface rises, but if at the same time the mid- to upper-level concentration decreases then water vapour feedback will be negative. (There are hand-waving physical arguments that might explain how a decoupling such as that could occur).

Climate models (for various obscure reasons) tend to maintain constant relative humidity at each atmospheric level, and therefore have an increasing absolute humidity at each level as the surface and atmospheric temperatures increase. This behaviour in the upper levels of the models produces a positive feedback which more than doubles the temperature rise calculated to be the consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2.

The bottom line is that, if (repeat if) one could believe the NCEP data `as is', water vapour feedback over the last 35 years has been negative. And if the pattern were to continue into the future, one would expect water vapour feedback in the climate system to halve rather than double the temperature rise due to increasing CO2.

Satellite data from the HIRS instruments on the NOAA polar orbiting satellites tend (`sort of', only in the tropics, and only for part of the time) to support the climate model story. The `ifs and buts' of satellite information about upper tropospheric humidity are of the same order as that from balloon radiosondes.

Anyway, our paper concluded by suggesting that, in view of the extreme significance of upper-level humidity to the climate change story, the international radiosonde data on upper-level humidity should not be `written off' without a serious attempt at abstracting the best possible humidity signal from within the noise of instrumental and operational changes at each of the relevant radiosonde stations. After all, we are not exactly over-endowed with data on the matter. The attempt would be similar in principle to the current efforts at abstracting a believable global warming signal from the networks of surface-temperature observations.

Suffice it to say that after 3 or 4 months the paper was knocked back. This largely because of an unbelievably vitriolic, and indeed rather hysterical, review from someone who let slip that
"the only object I can see for this paper is for the authors to get something in the peer-reviewed literature which the ignorant can cite as supporting lower climate sensitivity than the standard IPCC range".

We argued a bit with the editor about why he took notice of such a review. We are not exactly novices in the research game, and can say with reasonable authority that when faced with such an emotive review the editor should simply have ignored it and sent the paper off to someone else. The argument didn't get far. In particular we couldn't get a guarantee that a re-submission would not involve the same reviewer. And in any event the conditions for re-submission effectively amounted to a requirement that we first prove the models and the satellites wrong.

A couple of weeks after the knock-back, and for unrelated reasons, two of us went to a small workshop on water vapour held at LDEO in New Jersey, whereat we told the tale. The audience was split as to whether the existence of the NCEP trends in humidity should be reported in the literature. Those `against' (among them a number of people from GISS) simply said that the radiosonde data were too `iffy' to report the trends publicly in a political climate where there are horrible people who might make sinful use of them. Those `for' simply said that scientific reportage shouldn't be constrained by the politically correct. The matter was dropped. I found after the event that the journal editor had come (I think specifically) to hear the talk. He didn't bother to introduce himself.

I guess the story doesn't amount to much. Perhaps it is significant only in that it shows how naive we were to imagine that climate scientists might welcome the challenge to examine properly and in detail even the smell of a possibility that global warming might not be as bad as it is made out to be. Silly us.

After some kerfuffle, the paper was accepted by "Theoretical and Applied Climatology" and appeared on February 26 on the journal's web site. (One can if so inclined, and if one has personal or institutional access to the journal, find it here). We presume it will be ignored.

Being paranoiac from way back, we wonder at the happy chance by which a one-page general-interest article appeared in `Science' on February 20. With some self-referencing, it extolled the virtue of the latest modelling research, and of new(?) satellite observations of short-term, large amplitude, water vapour variability, which (say the authors) strongly support model predictions of long-term positive water vapour feedback. Well, maybe. It would be easy enough to argue against that conclusion. The paranoia arises because of another issue. We know that at least one of the authors is well aware of the contrary story told by the raw balloon data. But there is no mention of it in their article.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Prince Charles: 100 months to save the world

The Prince is undoubtedly well-intentioned but he does talk to trees and other plants so is best regarded with indulgent amusement

The Prince of Wales is to issue a stark warning that nations have "less than 100 months to act" to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change. Prince Charles will say that the need to tackle global warming is more urgent than ever before and that, even in a global recession, the world must not lose sight of the "bigger picture". His warning will be delivered on Thursday in a keynote speech in Rio de Janeiro. Aides believe it will echo one he gave in Sao Paulo in 1991 at the start of the last recession, when he warned that caring for the world's long term welfare must not become a "luxury". The intervention will help to put the environment at the top of the political agenda ahead of the meeting of G20 leaders in London next month.

The Prince starts a ten-day tour of South America today during which he will be playing an elevated role as an international statesman working on behalf of the Government to support British interests on key issues. Senior sources have revealed that Gordon Brown's Government wants to make more use on the foreign stage of Prince Charles's experience, expertise and contacts, particularly on climate change. Government officials believe that the Prince's passion to protect the environment is hugely respected abroad and that he can play an increasing important role as he inevitably moves closer to becoming king. Some believe he is an "asset" that has been underused in the past and they want to use him more in a role of "soft diplomacy".

In Thursday's speech, the Prince will warn that a failure to act in the next eight years will have catastrophic effects for the planet. In the country that is home to the world's largest rainforest, Prince Charles will urge world unity to combat deforestation in the run-up to the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December this year. He will say there is not necessarily a clash between the needs of big business and the environment. He will argue that being green can be good for businesses and can create jobs. The Prince will say that tackling deforestation in the 3.5 billion acres of rainforest on the planet is a key priority....

It is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), not the Prince himself, which chooses the location for his royal tours and South America is considered the ideal platform for his views. One Government source said: "The Prince's visit to South America is very much in tune with the priorities that we have. "Given both the Prince's position as a future head of state and his personal commitment to protecting the environment, we believe he can have a real impact abroad"


Where's global warming?

By Jeff Jacoby

SUPPOSE the climate landscape in recent weeks looked something like this: Half the country was experiencing its mildest winter in years, with no sign of snow in many Northern states. Most of the Great Lakes were ice-free. Not a single Canadian province had had a white Christmas. There was a new study discussing a mysterious surge in global temperatures - a warming trend more intense than computer models had predicted. Other scientists admitted that, because of a bug in satellite sensors, they had been vastly overestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice.

If all that were happening on the climate-change front, do you think you'd be hearing about it on the news? Seeing it on Page 1 of your daily paper? Would politicians be exclaiming that global warming was even more of a crisis than they'd thought? Would environmentalists be skewering global-warming "deniers" for clinging to their skepticism despite the growing case against it?

No doubt. But it isn't such hints of a planetary warming trend that have been piling up in profusion lately. Just the opposite. The United States has shivered through an unusually severe winter, with snow falling in such unlikely destinations as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Alabama, and Georgia. On Dec. 25, every Canadian province woke up to a white Christmas, something that hadn't happened in 37 years. Earlier this year, Europe was gripped by such a killing cold wave that trains were shut down in the French Riviera and chimpanzees in the Rome Zoo had to be plied with hot tea. Last week, satellite data showed three of the Great Lakes - Erie, Superior, and Huron - almost completely frozen over. In Washington, D.C., what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which paralyzed the capital.

Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles - an area the size of Spain. In a new study, University of Wisconsin researchers Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis conclude that global warming could be going into a decades-long remission. The current global cooling "is nothing like anything we've seen since 1950," Swanson told Discovery News. Yes, global cooling: 2008 was the coolest year of the past decade - global temperatures have not exceeded the record high measured in 1998, notwithstanding the carbon-dioxide that human beings continue to pump into the atmosphere.

None of this proves conclusively that a period of planetary cooling is irrevocably underway, or that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are not the main driver of global temperatures, or that concerns about a hotter world are overblown. Individual weather episodes, it always bears repeating, are not the same as broad climate trends.

But considering how much attention would have been lavished on a comparable run of hot weather or on a warming trend that was plainly accelerating, shouldn't the recent cold phenomena and the absence of any global warming during the past 10 years be getting a little more notice? Isn't it possible that the most apocalyptic voices of global-warming alarmism might not be the only ones worth listening to?

There is no shame in conceding that science still has a long way to go before it fully understands the immense complexity of the Earth's ever-changing climate(s). It would be shameful not to concede it. The climate models on which so much global-warming alarmism rests "do not begin to describe the real world that we live in," says Freeman Dyson, the eminent physicist and futurist. "The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand."

But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot. Dogma and zealotry have their virtues, no doubt. But if we want to understand where global warming has gone, those aren't the tools we need.


Anti-CO2 Campaign Like An Atom Bomb On U.S. Economy

By atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer -- Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia who also served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service.

The CO2 wars have begun. Presumably following White House directions, the EPA is ready to issue an "Endangerment Finding" on carbon dioxide, paving the way for regulations to control CO2 emissions. But with over one million "major stationary sources," a full-blown application of the Clean Air Act would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the US economy - all without any scientific justification. Hence there is speculation that the White House strategy is to use the threat of EPA regulation to force Congress to take action.

The CO2 wars have begun. Presumably following White House directions, the EPA is ready to issue an "Endangerment Finding" on carbon dioxide, paving the way for regulations to control CO2 emissions. But with over one million "major stationary sources," a full-blown application of the Clean Air Act would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the US economy - all without any scientific justification. Hence there is speculation that the White House strategy is to use the threat of EPA regulation to force Congress to take action.

Is this just a bluff - and how will Congress respond, in view of the financial meltdown, failure of emission-trading in Europe, and Chinese refusal to cut CO2 emissions? The answer seems to be: "Not this year!"

An endangerment finding that CO2 is detrimental to "health and human welfare" must be based on scientific facts - and they will certainly be disputed. Furthermore, in July 2008 the EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and there have been many negative comments to which the EPA must respond - under threat of litigation.

So, proposed action by EPA is not a "done deal" and may only be an empty threat. Many in Congress understand these matters well - or should. With fossil fuels supplying over 85 percent of all energy in the US, there will be much hesitation before passing any CO2 legislation. Keep in mind also that the Senate once turned down Kyoto-like regulation by unanimous vote and recently defeated attempts to pass Cap & Trade bills to place national limits on CO2 emission - a costly method of rationing, even if emission permits can be traded.

Short of direct regulation by mandates, Cap & Trade is probably the worst possible scheme, involving not only reporting of emissions, monitoring, inspection, and punishment, but also special deals for favored industries and other parties. Some in Congress therefore like the idea of Cap & Trade, which does not sound like a tax but would cost even more. The White House estimate is $650 billion over an eight-year period. And of course, it would be an open invitation to lobby Congress for special favors: the "Lobbyists Full Employment Act of 2009."

One of the worst features of Cap & Trade is the idea of "soft caps," which would allow Congress to increase the yearly allowance if the price for permits seems too high. In essence, anyone who bought emission permits for future use could find his investment nullified by Act of Congress. This feature alone may scuttle the legislation.

Professional economists, in and out of the government, prefer a straight carbon tax to Cap & Trade: it is more transparent, easier to administrate, and less subject to abuse. But here too Congress can legislate exemptions - as it does for any other tax. For example, should fire departments and police departments pay a carbon tax on their fuel use? Should hospitals? Clergy? Department of Defense?

A carbon tax would of course represent a huge subsidy - not only to uneconomic biofuels, like corn-based ethanol, but also to nuclear energy. Environmental lobbies would object and soon argue for an all-encompassing energy tax - not just on fossil fuels. But of course, they would try to exempt biofuels, wind and solar.

Perhaps the only tax that makes sense is a tax on motor fuels, principally gasoline - even if one is not concerned about global warming. It would reduce the amount of driving, decrease oil use and imports, congestion and traffic deaths. It could be raised gradually, perhaps to the four-dollar level of last year, and kept there - independent of the price of crude oil. It could be made revenue-neutral and used to eliminate other regressive taxes.

But why reduce CO2 emission at all?

* CO2 is not a "pollutant." The best evidence we have from climate science shows that any warming from the emission of greenhouse gases is insignificant - contrary to claims by the UN-IPCC. See the NIPCC report, Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate, at www.sepp.org.

* The climate has not been warming since 1998 - in spite of steadily rising CO2 levels. But even if it were warming, reputable economists have shown that it would yield overall benefits. For details, see the NIPCC report.

* Finally, the level of CO2 is now largely controlled by emissions from China. But even if all nations were to cut emissions according to the Kyoto Protocol, CO2 levels would continue to rise, albeit at a slightly slower rate.

We conclude therefore that the drive to reduce CO2 emissions is not concern about climate. After all, there are no comparable efforts to limit the global emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas; perhaps because methane comes from farming and cattle-raising, while CO2 is associated with energy production and industry, and therefore considered "bad."

Ultimately, ideology may be what's fueling the CO2 wars.


China ignores the hysterics

Comment below from a German pro-Warmist publication

It sounds like wishful thinking: The United States, under new President Barack Obama, forges an alliance with China to combat emissions. The world's two largest sources of carbon dioxide finally face the problem. The treaty crowns the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009, when a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol -- which, as everyone knows, the United States never ratified -- will be adopted. Third World countries and emerging economies never had to do it, but in Copenhagen rising economic powers like China make a binding commitment to curb their emissions. It probably is wishful thinking. It has almost nothing to do with reality.

"Many Western industrialized nations want China to commit to reducing its CO2 emissions," says Dabo Guan of the Electricity Policy Research Group at the University of Cambridge in England. "But the country will not even be capable of doing so." Guan, a native of China, together with colleagues from Norway and the US, have published several studies on the issue, most recently in the academic journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). The scientists base their conclusions primarily on the latest data compiled by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The outcome of their analyses is unsettling. Even with substantial increases in efficiency and the broad introduction of climate-friendly energy technologies, China's CO2 emissions, they claim, will almost double in the next two decades compared with 2002 levels.

China is already the world's fourth-largest economy. It will continue to expand at a steady pace even though the financial crisis has somewhat tempered its previously booming growth. There will be more city and road construction, infrastructure and transportation projects, as well as expanding industrial production. China opened 47 new airports between 1990 and 2002, and its highway network grew by 800,000 kilometers (500,000 miles) from 1981 to 2002. By 2030, China's population is expected to have grown from 1.3 to 1.5 billion people. More and more urban households will adopt a Western lifestyle by then, complete with air-conditioning, refrigerators, television sets, computers and other appliances.

This will steeply drive up energy demand in China. The IEA and NBS predict that to satisfy this demand, the country's power plants will have to supply more than 8,600 terawatts of electricity in 2030 -- about three times as much as in 2006.


The week in Warmism

By Christopher Booker, writing from Britain

How odd that, last Monday, none of our media global warming groupies should have bothered to report what was billed to be "the largest ever demonstration for civil disobedience over climate change". There was talk of hundreds of thousands of protestors converging on Washington to hear Jim Hansen, the scientist who talks of coal-fired power stations as "factories of death", call yet again for all coal plants to be closed. Perhaps the lack of coverage was due to the fact that, before Hansen arrived to address a forlorn group of several hundred hippies, Washington was blanketed in nearly a foot of snow.

It was generally another bad week for the warmists. The Met Office, which has been one of the chief pushers of the global warming scare for 20 years, had to admit that this has been "Britain's coldest winter for 13 years", despite its prediction last September that the winter would be "milder than average". This didn't of course stop it predicting that 2009 will be one of "the top-five warmest years on record".

US climate sceptics such as those on the Watts Up With That website, for whom the predictions of the UK Met Office have become a regular source of amusement, recalled its forecast that 2007 would be "the warmest year on record globally", just before global temperatures dived by nearly a full degree Celsius, cancelling out the entire net warming of the past 100 years.

Ever wilder wax the beleaguered warmists in their rhetoric. Our science minister Lord Drayson said last week he was "shocked" to find how many of the captains of industry he meets are "climate deniers". This was the same Lord Drayson who, as our defence procurement minister, assured Parliament in 2006 that Snatch Land Rovers afforded "the level of protection we need". The continuing death toll of soldiers in these unprotected vehicles approaches 40.

Even Drayson is outbid, however, by the groupies in The Guardian, who now suggest that people like Christopher Booker should no longer be compared to "Holocaust deniers" but consigned to even more outer darkness by branding them as climate "Creationists", the dirtiest word they know. Meanwhile at the University of the West of England in Bristol this weekend, a conference of "eco-psychologists", led by a professor, are solemnly exploring the notion that "climate change denial" should be classified as a form of "mental disorder".

I myself am off this weekend to New York, to join all the top "deniers", "creationists" and victims of psychic disorder at a conference organised by the Heartland Institute. It is an honour to be asked to speak alongside such luminaries as Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, Dr Fred Singer, founder of the US satellite weather forecasting service, and the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus (not to mention those two revered climate bloggers, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit and Anthony Watts). I shall report on this historic event next week.



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


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Strengths and weaknesses in new report on the lack of Recent Global Warming

There is an interesting article on at MSNBC from the Discovery Channel titled: "Warming might be on hold, study finds Authors sense hibernation, but warn of `explosive' rise later" by Michael Reilly.

This article finally (although implicitly) acknowledges in the media that there a substantive issue with the predictions of the IPCC and CCSP models. It includes the revealing comments that
"according to a new study, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades."

"It is possible that a fraction of the most recent rapid warming since the 1970's was due to a free variation in climate," Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, New Jersey wrote in an email to Discovery News. "Suggesting that the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again."

Swanson thinks the trend could continue for up to 30 years. But he warned that it's just a hiccup, and that humans' penchant for spewing greenhouse gases will certainly come back to haunt us.

"When the climate kicks back out of this state, we'll have explosive warming," Swanson said. "Thirty years of greenhouse gas radiative forcing will still be there and then bang, the warming will return and be very aggressive."

First, these statements clearly indicate that the IPCC and CCSP global model predictions (which are being used as the basis for making expensive and difficult to implement government policies) are seriously flawed.

Second, the authors are inaccurately reporting on climate physics, as they claim that "Thirty years of greenhouse gas radiative forcing will still be there and then bang, the warming will return and be very aggressive". This statement, unfortunately, incorrectly assumes that the heat for these 30 years would accumulate in a hidden location (i.e. "unrealized heat) and then suddenly reappear after this time period.

As was discussed yesterday on Climate Science in the weblog Is There Climate Heating In "The Pipeline"? , however, this is an inaccurate statement on how the climate system actually works. If the heating were to suspend for 30 years, and then recommenced, the rate of heating would be determined by the radiative imbalance at that time.

Finally, if the global heating continues to remain suspended (for whatever reason) in the coming years, it will seriously damage the credibility of the climate science community as represented by IPCC and CCSP assessments.


Snails now a greenhouse threat!

Nitrous oxide is also used in anesthesia prior to surgery so I guess we will have to ban surgery too

A recent proposal from the Danish Tax Commission unsuccessfully proposed imposing a flatulence tax on ruminants because of their greenhouse gas emissions. That proposal was not part of the final tax reform agreement announced on Sunday. Now, new Danish scientific research shows that small animals such as snails, worms, larvae and crustaceans emit large and worrying amounts of nitrous oxide - also known as laughing gas - into the atmosphere.

Nitrous oxide is a strongly destructive greenhouse gas some 300 times stronger than CO2. A Team of researchers from rhus University under the leadership of Assistant Professor Peter Stief has now shown that the worst producers of nitrous oxide are smaller animals in polluted water.

"The problem is greatest where water is polluted with nitrogen. So efforts to develop a cleaner aquatic environment would not just affect de-oxygenation but also have an effect on the climate balance," says Associate Professor Andreas Schramm of the Biological Institute.

Unfortunately, however, global developments are going in the opposite direction towards more intensive agriculture and an increased use of fertilisers which will increase the amount of nitrogen seepage.

"That means more polluted aquatic environments in which small animals emit large amounts of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. This is not just a minor issue but a development that is increasingly important and is getting worse," he tells Ritzau.


Climate change forecasts are useless for policymaking

Why rush to ruin the economy over some dodgy forecasts?

By Kesten C. Green, J. Scott Armstrong, and Willie Soon

Even as we struggle with serious global financial and economic difficulties, some people believe manmade global warming is a real problem of urgent concern. Perhaps this is because, almost every day, media outlets quote "experts" who predict that soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, increasing storms, prolonged droughts and other disasters will result from human activity.

NASA scientist James Hansen claims "death trains" carrying coal are putting our planet "in peril." If we continue using hydrocarbon energy, he predicts, ".one ecological collapse will lead to another, in amplifying feedbacks." He further forecasts that only by eliminating coal-fired power plants and other sources of carbon dioxide can we prevent the collapse.

The situation recalls a 1974 CIA report that concluded there was "growing consensus among leading climatologists that the world is undergoing a cooling trend". one likely to cause a food production crisis. Dr. Hansen would probably appreciate the frustration those CIA experts must have felt when Congress ignored their forecasts and recommendations.

If it makes sense to enact measures to reduce CO2 emissions when experts forecast warming, then surely it also makes sense to emit extra CO2 when experts forecast cooling. Or perhaps not. Perhaps any link between climate change and carbon dioxide is not so strong or important. Consider the historical record.

The tiny fraction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased through the twentieth century. And yet, during that time, global average temperatures rose till about 1940, fell till about 1975, rose again till 1998, and then dropped away again. It is not surprising, then, that despite claims "the science is settled," thousands of scientists disagree with forecasts of dangerous manmade global warming.

History again provides useful guidance. Back in 1860, scientists used observations and mathematical modeling to predict the existence of planet Vulcan in an orbit 13 million miles from the Sun. More observations of the planet and extensive debate followed. Finally, the science was settled. The model was wrong. Planet Vulcan does not exist.

Climate change is a complex problem that has generated a similarly heated debate Reliable data exist only for the last three decades, whereas climate changes occur over decades and centuries. Not surprisingly, there are rival theories.

What is the status of experts' forecasts in such a situation? Scientific forecasting research has shown that experts aren't able to provide accurate predictions in this kind of complex and uncertain situation. It doesn't matter whether experts present their forecasts as certain outcomes, detailed scenarios, expectations, likelihoods or probabilities. Or that the forecasts are the product of hard thinking by many highly qualified experts, or even of mathematics or computer simulations. The expert forecasts are nonetheless worthless.

This lack of credible climate forecasts matters, because proposed policies - including taxing carbon emissions and cap-and-trade regimes - will increase energy prices, cause major wealth transfers, and cost jobs. It would be immoral to impose such punishing policies on the basis of dodgy forecasts. Fortunately, proper forecasters know how to do better.

Global average temperatures vary up and down over short and long periods, without apparent pattern -- and our current knowledge about what causes temperature and other climate changes is speculative and incomplete. Thus, the first question a bona fide forecaster would ask is: Can we do better than assume future temperatures will be the same as current temperatures?

The forecasting model based on this assumption is called the "no-change" model, and studies have shown it is often difficult to beat. The model predicts that global average temperatures in each of the next 100 years will be the same as the previous year's temperature. When this model is applied, starting in the year 1850, the differences between the forecasts and global temperature measurements turn out to be quite small. For example, for temperature forecasts for 20 years in the future, the average difference turns out to be 0.18øC (0.32øF). For forecasts for 50 years into the future, the average error was 0.24øC (0.43øF).

These are temperature differences that a normal human being would have trouble detecting and are well within the range of natural variation. The evidence clearly suggests that the no-change model is the obvious one for public policy makers to use.

Policymakers, however, have tended to defer to the projections of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Perhaps it isn't surprising that they should prefer projections that governments have paid billions for, over forecasts from a free and simple model. But how do the IPCC projections perform?

The IPCC first projected a global warming rate of 0.03øC per year in 1992. The errors of the IPCC projection over the years 1992 to 2008 were little different from the errors from the no-change model, when compared to actual measured temperature changes. When the IPCC's warming rate is applied to a historical period of exponential CO2 growth, from 1851 to 1975, the errors are more than seven times greater than errors from the no-change model.

The models employed by James Hansen and the IPCC are not based on scientific forecasting principles. There is no empirical evidence that they provide long-term forecasts that are as accurate as forecasting that global average temperatures won't change. Hansen's, and the IPCC's, forecasts, and the recommendations based on them, should be ignored.

It would be irresponsible and immoral of policymakers to impose the heavy burden of costly anti carbon-based-energy policies, in the absence of any credible evidence that those burdens will result in net benefits to man, beast or tree.


China Will Follow the U.S.: A Climate Change Fable

President Obama's emphasis on climate change has notable implications for U.S.-China relations. On her inaugural trip to Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to expand the Sino-American Strategic Economic Dialog to include climate change among America's chief China policy priorities.[1]

Making climate change a high priority is a mistake. It may inject unnecessary hostility into the already-strained bilateral relationship over what should be a secondary issue. And it rests on a faulty premise: Many argue that the PRC will make sharp cuts in carbon emissions but only if the U.S. does so first.[2] This claim borders on nonsense.

America Must Go First: A Flawed Premise

The importance of American leadership is often neglected in discussion of trans-Pacific matters. In climate change debates, it is not neglected but twisted. The American climate change leadership the Obama Administration wants Beijing to follow will certainly not be successful due to moral concerns. The world is littered with instances where American moral leadership has been ignored or actively defied by the PRC--the Sudan genocide, Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, Burmese human rights repression, and so forth.[3]

Instead, the usually unexamined and always inaccurate assumption behind the notion that China will follow the U.S. on climate change is that it is question of economic competition--i.e., Beijing does not want to harm the competitiveness of its firms with carbon restrictions. This is certainly true, but it has nothing to do with whether the U.S. is willing to harm the competitiveness of its firms first. That is because U.S. firms are well down the list of China's competitiveness concerns.

China's economic story is multifaceted. The bulk of it, though, is captured in the creation and maintenance of conditions to encourage relocation of East Asian output to the Chinese mainland, primarily for the purpose of export. This extends from the initial zones to draw capital from the Chinese diaspora for export back to home markets starting in 1979[4] to the mass movement of factories to serve the entire world as WTO membership was finally secured in 2001.[5] Chinese firms may be competing first and foremost for the U.S. market, but they are competing against other export platforms to the U.S. in East Asia and around the globe.

Consider what would happen if China were to impose carbon-driven restrictions on firms operating in China without the U.S. "going first."[6] This would not be to the principal benefit of American companies. Rather, the relocation process would reverse: East Asian firms would disinvest in China, moving production to the second-most competitive regional location for textiles, computer assembly, furniture, and other products. Depending on the goods, this could be Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, or others. These countries would then be the source of the bulk of U.S. imports.

Perhaps more important, most American companies operating in China would probably move not back home but to low-cost third-party platforms elsewhere. Dramatic and effective American steps to restrict carbon emissions would make all goods imported into the U.S. more competitive but do nothing to alter China's incentives to take the same steps. What would actually encourage the PRC to impose carbon-driven restrictions would be willingness by Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Central America, and other exporters to impair their own competitiveness in the name of curbing emissions.

Jobs: China's Insuperable Barrier

Behind Chinese policies on competitiveness --indeed behind almost everything involving the PRC--is the Communist Party's top priority for 20 years and counting: jobs. The well-documented demographic surge that precipitated the one-child policy has put a generation's worth of pressure on the party to create jobs and avoid socio-political instability.[7] This is the main reason the Chinese development pattern differs from its East Asian predecessors: Beijing has been much more open to foreign investment because the PRC's primary concern has been employment generation--even more than economic nationalism.

This is why China has allowed the environmental devastation already seen[8] and why, despite its general view that climate change is dangerous, Beijing will accept nothing that even threatens to seriously inhibit employment. In his address to Congress, President Obama cited China's new energy program as the largest in the world.[9] On some counts, this may be accurate. It absolutely does not, however, indicate a willingness to genuinely move away from high-emissions energy production.

The horrific health damage done by air pollution has been clear in the PRC for more than a decade.[10] Coal production was declining at the end of the 1990s, while its effects were being documented. Since then, however, coal output has nearly tripled, and the reliance on coal in electricity and broad energy supply has increased despite strong oil demand and touting of alternative energy.[11]

The party has been unwilling to protect the environment and safeguard the health of its citizens in the face of possible job losses even in recent, sustained periods of double-digit growth. It certainly will not do so in the context of record job losses now.[12]

Until the U.S. is willing and able to offer concrete assurance of "green" jobs for China in numbers sufficient to offset those lost in steel, cement, and other industries, bilateral negotiations on this subject will for the next several years produce only hot air. When America has so many other matters to discuss with the Chinese--including those that will be sharply disputed--introducing yet more grounds for confrontation is a dubious risk.

Where Real Environmental Progress Is Possible

The wiser--and only effective--option for the U.S. is to shift the emphasis from the here and now to the middle of next decade. That is the time when substantial evidence may appear that the demographic wave is receding.[13] From around 2013, the party will find it increasingly easy to maintain high employment. Eventually, spot labor shortages will even appear, making eliminating overcapacity in heavy industry an appealing goal rather than something to pay lip service to while investing wildly. When that happens, the PRC will be far more willing to sacrifice jobs for the environment.

That is not to say there is nothing important to do in the meantime. At the moment, China's greatest ecological challenge is not air but water--which includes poor sanitation (despite rising affluence) and poses a severe long-term threat to the food supply.[14]

Unlike restricting carbon emissions, cleaner water does not have competitiveness implications that translate to fewer jobs. Given the intense need for water in manufacturing, better water supply--both directly in terms of water treatment and indirectly in terms of feasible industrial output--actually translates to continued competitiveness and more jobs.[15] American assistance on carbon emissions is seen by the party almost entirely through the lens of capturing the job growth prospects of environmental technology. While this perspective will be a factor for water issues, immediate benefits of water-saving and water-cleaning technology for employment in China will make bargaining much more fruitful.

The environment can certainly be part of broader Sino-American cooperation, but such discussions must be focused on the longer term and not on carbon emissions.


John Kerry: CO2 regulation won't work

Senate Foreign Relations committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry - a.k.a Mr. Teresa Heinz - said in a March 5 speech yesterday that, even with "the best" climate regulation proposed so far, including the cap-and-trade scheme outlined in President Obama's budget proposal, atmospheric CO2 concentrations will nevertheless increase and cause "catastrophic and irreversible climate change," according to Carbon Control News.

Kerry's statement is based on a forthcoming analysis from the Heinz Center (Teresa Heinz, vice chair of the board of trustees), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Fidelity Investments.

"If you factor in the best of everything that is currently proposed - the best - and if you can presume that we do what is best," CO2 emissions will still exceed 500 parts per million (ppm) by 2050," Kerry said, while noting that 350 ppm was the CO2 concentration that policymakers should aim for. "All the current plans take you to about 550 [ppm], but science has now said 550, 450 is not enough," Kerry said. "We have to go back to 350."



Over the past three years, the journal World Economics has carried a whole series of articles on climate change issues, including contributions by scientists as well as economists. One of the main contributors has been David Henderson. The next issue of the journal (Volume 10, Number 1) is due to carry an article of his entitled 'Economists and Climate Science: A Critique'. The abstract reads as follows:

This article presents a critique of the characteristic treatment by economists of issues relating to climate science, which appears as uncritical and over-presumptive. I draw on a range of illustrative cases, with the main focus on six recent and important contributions. I argue that the authors and sources concerned, along with other economists, have (1) accepted too readily the idea that received opinion on global warming is firmly grounded on scientific findings which can no longer be seriously questioned, (2) placed unwarranted trust in the official advisory process that governments have created and rely on in this area, and (3) disregarded evidence which puts that process in question. Hence there is a missing dimension in their treatment of policy aspects: they have not caught on to the need to strengthen the basis of policy, by making the advisory process more objective and professionally watertight.

The full paper is available here


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


Friday, March 06, 2009


An email from Timo Hameranta [timohame@yahoo.co.uk]

Paul Biggs writes:
"Kyle Swanson and Isaac Held make some odd comments in the Discovery News article (CCNet 3/3/09), which questions where global warming went. Apparently, the 'radiative forcing' of CO2 will stay in an unknown hiding place for 30 years and then jump out on us! This sounds like an excuse for buying more time for the failing hypothesis which attempts to implicate CO2 as THE driver of climate."

Well, Jim Hansen has argued that the warming is "in the pipeline" in the oceans due to the lagged response (inertia) of the oceans. This explanation is widely accepted. But, a new study by Urban & Keller (2009) presents two alternatives:
"A given surface air temperature change is consistent with either a relatively large heating which is penetrating rapidly into the oceans and delaying some of the surface warming (i.e., a high climate sensitivity and a high ocean diffusivity), or a relatively small heating which is penetrating slowly into the oceans so the surface warming is quickly experienced (i.e., a low climate sensitivity and a low ocean diffusivity)."

Ref: Urban, Nathan M., and Klaus Keller, 2009. Complementary observational constraints on climate sensitivity. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L04708, February 25, 2009, preprint online here

The studies and estimations Paul Biggs refers to give support to the latter alternative. Urban & Keller conclude:
"Our analysis suggests that one promising avenue to decide whether the true climate sensitivity is indeed located in the heavy upper tail of current estimates is through improving the skill of the existing ocean observation system to estimate the anthropogenic heat uptake."

THE crucial question, the ocean heat uptake, is still open. Climatology, climate sensitivity and the role of anthrop. CO2 are not at all `settled', yet.

Comment from Roy Spencer [roywspencer@hotmail.com] on Urban & Keller:

Theirs is not the only possibility. Another is that for a given temperature change AND a given ocean diffusivity, then it can either be the result of

(1) large forcing and low climate sensitivity, or

(2) small forcing and a high climate sensitivity.

I believe it is the former, and I now have satellite evidence of not only low climate sensitivity, but also that the large forcing is due to nature, not mankind.

It's the Sun, stupid!

New direct evidence demonstrate that changes in solar activity influence climate

By Willie Soon (Willie Soon is a solar and climate scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

The theory that climate change is chiefly caused by solar influences "is no longer tenable," says US National Academy of Sciences president Ralph Cicerone. Carbon dioxide, he argues, is the key driver of recent climate change.

I beg to differ. The amount and distribution of solar energy that we receive varies as the Earth revolves around the Sun and also in response to changes in the Sun's activity. Scientists have now been studying solar influences on climate for 5000 years. Chinese imperial astronomers kept detailed sunspot records. They noticed that more sunspots meant warmer weather on Earth. In 1801, the celebrated astronomer William Herschel noticed that when there were few spots, the price of wheat soared - because, he surmised, less "light and heat" from the Sun resulted in reduced harvests.

Is it true then that solar radiation, which supplies Earth with the energy that drives our climate, and caused so many climate shifts over the ages, is no longer the principal influence on climate change? The UN's climate panel claims there is scientific "consensus" that man-made CO2 emissions are causing "dangerous" climate change. However, its 2007 Climate Assessment is fraught with serious scientific shortcomings in its discussion of the Sun's influence on Earth's climate.

The UN said direct measurements of solar radiation since 1979 show little increase. However, this conclusion depends upon disparate and adjusted measurements that were combined from several satellites and may be incorrect.

Between 1645 and 1715, sunspots were very rare and temperatures were low. Then sunspot frequency grew until, between 1930 and 2000, the Sun was more active than at almost any time in the last 10,000 years. The oceans can cause up to several decades of delay before air temperatures respond fully to this solar "Grand Maximum." Now that the Sun is becoming less active again, global temperatures have fallen for seven years.

Next, the UN said estimates of the increase in solar radiation over the past 400 years should be reduced. The basis for this claim was a modeling study by the US Naval Research Laboratory. However, the Navy computer program was not designed to reach such conclusions, as it has no routine to calculate solar radiation.

We have known for nearly 80 years that small changes in solar activity can cause large climatic changes. Where sunlight falls, for how long, and with what effect, determine how climate will respond. The most recent scientific evidence shows that even small changes in solar radiation have a strong effect on Earth's temperature and climate. In 2005, I demonstrated a surprisingly strong correlation between solar radiation and temperatures in the Arctic over the past 130 years. Since then, I have demonstrated similar correlations in all the regions surrounding the Arctic, including the US mainland and China. The close relationships between the abrupt ups and downs of solar activity and of temperature that I have identified occur locally in coastal Greenland; regionally in the Arctic Pacific and north Atlantic; and hemispherically for the whole circum-Arctic, suggesting that changes in solar activity drive Arctic and perhaps even global climate.

There is no such match between the steady rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and the often dramatic ups and downs of surface temperatures in and around the Arctic. I recently discovered direct evidence that changes in solar activity have influenced what has been called the "conveyor-belt" circulation of the great Atlantic Ocean currents over the past 240 years. For instance, solar-driven changes in temperature, and in the volume of freshwater output from the Arctic, cause variations in sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic 5-20 years later.

These previously undocumented results have been published in the journal Physical Geography. They make it difficult to maintain that changes in solar activity play an insignificant role in climate change, especially over the Arctic. The hallmark of good science is the testing of a plausible hypothesis that is then either supported or rejected by the evidence. The evidence in my paper is consistent with the hypothesis that the Sun causes climatic change in the Arctic. It invalidates the hypothesis that CO2 is a major cause of observed climate change - and raises serious questions about the wisdom of imposing cap-and-trade or other policies that would cripple energy production and economic activity, in the name of "preventing catastrophic climate change."

Bill Clinton used to sum up politics by saying, "It's the economy, stupid!" Now we can fairly sum up climate change by saying, "It's the Sun, stupid!"



By Rachel Nowak

Little Rachel has done so well! Getting the garbage below into "New Scientist", a famous Warmist publication. Her article is a perfect example of absurd assumptions leading to absurd conclusions. GIGO, as we say in computer-programming circles. That reptiles in fact thrived and grew to enormous sizes in the hothouse conditions of earlier geological eras every schoolboy knows but none of that appears to have bothered Rachel's fluffy little head. Mind you, those she quotes would have to be even fluffier. But probing questions directed towards them by keen journalist Rachel appear to have been entirely absent

Global warming is set to make life distinctly uncomfortable for reptiles and other cold-blooded animals. Unable to produce heat, they rely on strategies such as moving from colder to warmer areas to function. Soon that might not be an option for tropical species. Many species will need to adapt to climate change to survive, so Michael Kearney of the University of Melbourne, Australia, and his team designed a model to get an idea of how cold-blooded species, or ectotherms, would fare. They make up the majority of the world's species.

The researchers first assessed how an ectotherm's body temperature would change with body shape and colour, and surrounding environment. They then used satellite data to model wind speed, shade and air temperature in a warmer world.

For most ectotherms, a body temperature of 30 to 35 øC is ideal, with performance declining at higher and lower temperatures. Above 40 øC can be lethal.

Kearney's model showed that on a summer's day in the shade, a 3 øC rise in average temperature - the mid-range estimate for the end of this century - would send the body temperature of ectotherms in Australia's tropical deserts over 40 øC for at least an hour (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0808913106). When the team ran global simulations, the 3 øC rise expanded the land area over which ectotherms experience heat stress from 1.6 to 18 per cent.

In the model, ectotherms survived by hiding in burrows for longer, but that could limit their ability to find food, says Kearney. "Even if they manage to find shade, they are going to be heat stressed and possibly too hot to reproduce and ultimately to survive," says Raymond Huey of the University of Washington in Seattle.



I think he is right about empty rhetoric

Political language, George Orwell wrote nearly 60 years ago, is "designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". It is a pity that Orwell won't be around over the next few weeks to deconstruct the double-speak that passes for the European Union's official discourse on climate change.

Whereas the magic of nature was celebrated at spring festivals in Pagan times, an annual gathering of presidents and prime ministers in March is dedicated to crafting an illusion. Our leaders seek to convey the impression that they are as concerned about the environment as the crustiest tree-hugger, while subtly embracing policies that accelerate the planet's destruction.

Angela Merkel is one of the worst culprits. In 2007, the German chancellor used the occasion to warn: "It's not five minutes to midnight. It's five minutes after midnight." Since then, she has been doing everything possible to wreck the green agenda so that a cabal of industrialists who view it is as too costly (in the short-term, needless to say) can be appeased.

The preparations for this year's summit indicate that this pattern of duplicity will continue.

Stavros Dimas, the EU's environment commissioner, has been emphasising how the meeting is of critical importance as it will help fashion the bloc's position for subsequent talks aimed at agreeing a successor to the Kyoto protocol. He has been speaking of how vital it is that finance be offered to help poor countries both to reduce their emissions and adapt to global warming if the success of a UN conference in Copenhagen this December is to be guaranteed. "No money, no deal," he says to anyone who will listen.

The irony is that Dimas has shied away from demanding that the EU makes firm commitments. Early drafts of a proposal his aides drew up on the union's contribution to the UN talks suggested that _30bn a year should be given to poor countries by 2020. Yet this was removed from the plan when he published it in late January.

This lowering of ambition is proving contagious. On Monday, the EU's environment ministers declined to specify how much aid should be provided. You can be sure that the finance ministers will not be rushing to rectify this omission when they meet next week. General budgets for overseas aid have been slashed mercilessly in Italy, Ireland and Latvia in recent months, as the fight against global poverty falls victim to recession. So it is hard to be optimistic that additional money will be released for helping the poor cope with climate change.

Reuters has reported that a separate paper being considered by Brussels officials predicts that climate change will cost the EU's economies over _6bn per year by 2020, unless action is taken to adapt to its consequences. Spain, Greece and Italy will be among the worst affected by drops in crop yields and fresh-water levels.

The scale of the problem is likely to be considerably worse in Africa. The UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change suggested in its 2007 report that between 75 and 250 million Africans could face water shortages and that harvests from rain-fed agriculture could be halved in many parts of the continent by 2020. Despite its thoroughness, the IPCC study is regarded by many scientists, including members of the panel, as presenting too conservative a picture of how climate change will manifest itself.

The heating of the planet is set to exacerbate the hunger of its most vulnerable people. And the best we are getting from our leaders is empty rhetoric.



Senior figures in the manufacturing industry do not accept that human activities are driving global warming or that action needs to be taken to prepare for its effects, the UK government's science minister saidtoday .

Lord Drayson said recent discussions with leaders in the car industry and other businesses had left him "shocked" at the number of climate change deniers among senior industrialists. Of those who acknowledged that global temperatures were rising, many blamed it on variations in the sun's activity.

Speaking in London to mark the launch of a new centre that will gather information from satellites to improve understanding of how the Earth's environment is changing, Lord Drayson said there was an urgent need to restate the scientific evidence for global warming and called for companies to focus on their environmental obligations despite the pressures of the economic downturn.

"There is a significant minority of senior managers who do not accept the evidence for climate change and don't see the need to take action," Drayson said. "It really shocked me that those views are held, and it's not limited to the car industry."

"The industrialists are faced with a very difficult challenge, which is huge infrastructure investment in existing ways of doing business and very difficult global economic circumstances.

"The temptation is to say we'll get round to dealing with climate change once we've fixed all this other stuff. We need to present them with the evidence to say this can't wait, we need to fix both," he added.



Ahead of a conference on the psychology of climate change denial, Brendan O'Neill says green authoritarians are treating debate as a disorder.

A few months ago, for a joke, I set up a Facebook group called `Climate change denial is a mental disorder'. It's a satirical campaigning hub for people who think that climate change denial should be recognised as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, and that its sufferers - who probably engage in `regular chanting and intensive brainwashing sessions in cult-like surroundings' - should be offered `eco-lobotomies' to remove `the denying part of their brain'. The group now has 42 members. Yes, some have signed up because they get the joke, but others are serious subscribers to the denial-as-insanity idea. `Thank God I've found this group', says one new member, who is sick of other Facebook groups being `hijacked' by unhinged eco-sceptics.

The idea that `climate change denial' is a psychological disorder - the product of a spiteful, wilful or simply in-built neural inability to face up to the catastrophe of global warming - is becoming more and more popular amongst green-leaning activists and academics. And nothing better sums up the elitism and authoritarianism of the environmentalist lobby than its psychologisation of dissent. The labelling of any criticism of the politics of global warming, first as `denial', and now as evidence of mass psychological instability, is an attempt to write off all critics and sceptics as deranged, and to lay the ground for inevitable authoritarian solutions to the problem of climate change. Historically, only the most illiberal and misanthropic regimes have treated disagreement and debate as signs of mental ill-health.

This weekend, the University of West England is hosting a major conference on climate change denial. Strikingly, it's being organised by the university's Centre for Psycho-Social Studies. It will be a gathering of those from the top of society - `psychotherapists, social researchers, climate change activists, eco-psychologists' - who will analyse those at the bottom of society, as if we were so many flitting, irrational amoeba under an eco-microscope. The organisers say the conference will explore how `denial' is a product of both `addiction and consumption' and is the `consequence of living in a perverse culture which encourages collusion, complacency and irresponsibility' (1). It is a testament to the dumbed-down, debate-phobic nature of the modern academy that a conference is being held not to explore ideas - to interrogate, analyse and fight over them - but to tag them as perverse.



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


Thursday, March 05, 2009


An email from Paul Biggs [p.m.biggs@bham.ac.uk]

Kyle Swanson and Isaac Held make some odd comments in the Discovery News article, which questions where global warming went. Apparently, the 'radiative forcing' of CO2 will stay in an unknown hiding place for 30 years and then jump out on us!

This sounds like an excuse for buying more time for the failing hypothesis which attempts to implicate CO2 as THE driver of climate. They also seem to claim that natural variability largely manifests itself as cooling rather than warming.

Swanson was, of course, a co-author on the 2007 Tsonis et al GRL paper 'A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts' in which the authors claimed to be able to explain all the global temperature tendency changes and El Nino variability in the 20th century, without CO2. They go on to say that major climate shifts have occurred or will occur around 1913, 1942, 1978, 2033, and 2072 and they also predicted a 0.2 Celsius cooling between 2005 and 2020 which should be followed by a 0.3 Celsius warming until 2045 or so - then cooling for the rest of the 21st century.

The authors also state that, "The standard explanation for the post 1970s warming is that the radiative effect of greenhouse gases overcame shortwave reflection effects due to aerosols [Mann and Emanuel, 2006]. However, comparison of the 2035 event in the 21st century simulation and the 1910s event in the observations with this event, suggests an alternative hypothesis, namely that the climate shifted after the 1970s event to a different state of a warmer climate, which may be superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend."

A new paper from Wang, Swanson and Tsonis, 'The pacemaker of major climate shifts' suggests the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) as the 'pacemaker.' The latest paper from Swanson and Tsonis, accepted for publication on 24th February, asks the question 'Has the climate recently shifted?' Their answer is yes it probably has. In 2001/02 climate shifted away from the consistent warming trend for the period 1976/77 to 2001/02. This is set against a background of global CO2 emissions increasing at a rate of 3.5% per year since 2000.

Meanwhile, Nir Shaviv's latest paper finds more evidence of an unknown solar amplification mechanism, where the radiative forcing associated with small changes in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) over the 11-year solar cycle are multiplied by 5 to 7 times. So, rather than developing a 'hiding place for CO2' hypothesis, we can look to the collective behaviour of known climate cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, and the North Pacific Oscillation, plus poorly understood solar factors as a big part of the explanation for climate change.

Of course, this explanation isn't attractive to social engineers or politicians wanting to impose 'green' taxes and restrictions. You can't tax the Sun, which brings us to the subject of falling solar activity. On 21st December 2006 NASA's David Hathaway was predicting that solar cycle 24 would be bigger than cycle 23. By January 2009 he changed his mind and predicted a smaller cycle 24. Hathaway also predicts a very small cycle 25, and Milivoje Vukcevic claims to have a formula that predicts cycle 26 that will be even lower than cycle 25.

In their 2008 GRL paper Weiss et al asked 'For how long will the current grand maximum of solar activity persist?' The answer was probably not very long, but they couldn't predict the level of the ensuing minimum and they remained loyal to the greenhouse warming 'consensus' by stating that any cooling would be "insignificant compared with the global warming caused by greenhouse gases. "

So, the lack of cycle 24 sunspots continues and the 'grand maximum' of solar activity we enjoyed during the 20th century may be coming to an end. Small changes in the Sun may have much larger effects on climate, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) seems to have entered a cool phase that could last between 21 to 25 years. If the global non-warming since 2002 continues for 30 years as Kyle Swanson suggests, then we have to consider the possibility that, rather than going into hiding, CO2 isn't the all powerful climate driver that some would have us believe.


Abreu, J. A., J. Beer, F. Steinhilber, S. M. Tobias, and N. O. Weiss (2008), For how long will the current grand maximum of solar activity persist?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L20109

Swanson, K. L., and A. A. Tsonis (2009), Has the climate recently shifted?, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL037022, in press.(accepted 24 February 2009)

Shaviv, N. J. (2008), 'Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing,' J. Geophys. Res., 113, A11101, doi:10.1029/2007JA012989.

Tsonis, Anastasios A.; Swanson, Kyle; Kravtsov, Sergey, A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts', Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 34, No. 13, 12 July 2007

Wang, G., K. L. Swanson, and A. A. Tsonis (2009), Pacemaker of major climate shifts,' Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL036874, in press.

Democratic Revolt May Slow Obama Agenda

Democratic Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona have joined a quiet revolt in the House that could slow some of President Obama's fast-moving priorities. The two are among 49 Democrats from congressional districts that backed Republican Sen. John McCain 's 2008 presidential race and whose support for the Democratic majority's progressive agenda is increasingly not assured. A dozen of them were among 20 House Democrats who voted against the $410 billion discretionary fiscal 2009 spending package (HR 1105) on Feb. 25. Another group later forced House leaders to sideline a contentious bill (HR 1106) to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home loans.

Although only a handful of moderate and conservative Democrats abandoned their leaders during party-line votes on the economic stimulus law (PL 111-5), the group of vulnerable Democrats branded the omnibus spending bill as a budget buster and questioned whether the mortgage bill would raise interest rates on average home-owners and cause some struggling homeowners to rush to bankruptcy.

The defections could cause heartburn for Democratic leaders charged with ushering through Obama's three biggest priorities: a health care overhaul, a cap-and-trade system to curb carbon emissions and his fiscal 2010 budget blueprint. The president might also have trouble winning their votes for an anticipated second financial bailout package.

"My job is not to be a rubber stamp for the president or Democratic leadership, but to be a voice for the people that elected me," Giffords said. "I voted for the stimulus, but found I could not vote for the omnibus." She faces a tough 2010 campaign in a state that will be dominated by McCain's expected re-election to his Senate seat....

Republicans are eyeing the group of 49 as prime targets in their party's push to expand the 178-seat minority in the 2010 elections. They are betting on "bailout and stimulus fatigue" and ramping up pressure by launching early attack advertising in their districts and daring them to line up behind Obama's ambitious to-do list.


Cap-and-trade plan will sink Michigan

An editorial from The Detroit News

President Barack Obama's proposed cap-and-trade system on greenhouse gas emissions is a giant economic dagger aimed at the nation's heartland -- particularly Michigan. It is a multibillion-dollar tax hike on everything that Michigan does, including making things, driving cars and burning coal. The president is asking for a system of government limits on carbon emissions. The right to emit carbon would be auctioned off to generate revenue for more government spending programs.

The president's budget projects receipts totaling $646 billion through 2019 from the sale of these greenhouse gas permits. The goal, according to the president's budget outline, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide to 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Doing so will drive up the cost of nearly everything and will amount to a major tax increase for American consumers.

Such a tax will hit the Midwest particularly hard, which is why House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, told the New York Times, "let's just be honest and call it a carbon tax that will increase taxes on all Americans who drive a car, who have a job, who turn on a light switch, pure and simple." The carbon tax will be paid by energy companies, manufacturers and public utilities, who will pass the cost on to their consumers. Michigan will be especially targeted. It gets 60 percent of its electric power from coal plants, and the state's economy is still reliant on heavy manufacturing such as car and truck assembly and auto parts production. Michigan will lose as carbon tax money is shifted to states with a greater presence of high-tech and service businesses.

The proposed tax would take effect in 2012 and has the very real potential to throw the nation back into recession, if indeed the expected recovery has arrived by then. It's impossible to raise costs for such basics as manufacturing and energy production by more than half a trillion dollars over a decade and not have the effects felt across the economy.

The nation's gross domestic product contracted at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent in last year's fourth quarter -- the worst economic record in nearly three decades. Is this really a good time to be talking about a carbon tax? How will such talk impact investment decisions? Obama promises to use some of the revenues for tax relief for certain workers and some of the rest for subsidies for alternative energy. But that won't make up for the damage this huge new tax will do to the economy, especially in Michigan.

A similar program in Europe hasn't worked. European automakers complained about carbon dioxide limits the European Union proposed in 2007 as damaging to the economy.

The Obama cap-and-trade program will place even more of the economy under the control of the federal government. The only upside is that the negative impact it will have on economic growth and job creation will take care of the carbon emissions problem, for sure.


Carbon Tax Ignores History

Despite consistently describing the economic situation as being dire, President Barack Obama is rapidly moving forward with policies that have the potential to seriously harm American industry. He has tasked Vice President Biden to promote the cap-and-trade program that the envirolobby has been seeking after for over a decade.

The Vice-President, armed with a new study purporting to claim that cap-and-trade would promote green jobs - via government subsidy -is working to allay fears in industry-heavy states, many of which were instrumental in Obama's victory. The study, produced by the liberal environmentalist group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), reveals a large number of companies that could add jobs if cap-and-trade were introduced.

But the question is begged: If green energy is so wonderful, why isn't the free market jumping at the opportunity? If the program needs the government's hand to jump-start it, it will need government's dollars to sustain it. And if those are ever in short supply, it will risk collapse.

A good case study is ethanol. After years of promoting it as an alternative to fossil fuels, the sad truth has emerged over time that the industry is almost entirely dependent upon the government. To make matters worse, ethanol-only gasoline actually ends up being more expensive than petroleum-based gas.

And without the government subsidies that support it, it would likely fail. As previously reported, there can be unintended side-effects - in the case of ethanol, government subsidies have contributed to food shortages in certain regions around the world, leading to political and economic destabilization.

But even if the green industry could stand on its own, it won't start overnight. The corporations in place that would offer green jobs are not nearly large enough to absorb the massive numbers of workers that would be laid off when the new cap-and-trade energy policy takes effect. And new, "green" energy plants will not be able to be built at the same rate at which the old ones will fail.

So what will happen? Bail them out? That would compromise the environmental principles upon which the carbon tax is based. Perhaps they may share the fate of the Lehman Brothers, who were refused help while they watched their fellow investment bankers receive government aid.

Energy independence is a positive, strategic goal. Renewable energy is a smart, practical goal. But if government tries to "help" the country decide what is best route to that goal, it will only result in failure. The free market is more than capable of discovering and implementing efficient energy policy - while rejecting energy ideas that have no sound economic or scientific basis. For example, nuclear energy - coupled with fuel reprocessing - is a proven renewable energy resource.

America has many resources, to boot. But, like ethanol, not all of them can be efficiently converted into energy. If the government forces an energy revolution for which the market is not ready, it will end up with multiple failed programs on its hands. And the nation has enough of those.

The perfect example is the state of California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger began implementing a cap-and-trade program in 2006, promising that "green" jobs would spring up to replace lost ones. But that didn't happen. California has been losing jobs for quite some time now to more business-friendly states. Unemployment has increased from just under 5 percent to over 9 percent. This will happen on a national level too, if Mr. Obama gets his way.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Obama Administration is trying to force the issue. Even if Mr. Obama tries a government-encouraged, market-based approach (as California did), he will wind up having to bail out the program once it fails. By heavily subsidizing the rise of "green power," yet another government bureaucracy will be created. But perhaps that was its goal all along-greater government control over the economy and most certainly over energy production.

The price will be heavy. Politically, the industrial states may not forgive the man they placed in office in 2008. Economically, millions of Americans will risk losing jobs over a special-interest program. And the energy promised will come at such a high cost that Americans may just pine for those days back in the summer of 2008, when gas was "only" $4 a gallon. But by then, it will be too late.

President Obama needs to take a step back and re-evaluate his energy policy - and his ideological environmentalist policies. The experience with ethanol has clearly shown that government-subsidized energy initiatives are subject to high cost and likely failure. And with the current economic climate, cap-and-trade is the last thing that most companies can afford. And despite the loud claims of the envirolobby, America cannot afford it either.


American biodiesel is BAD

A key European Union trade panel approved on Tuesday temporary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of biodiesel from the United States, sources with knowledge of the decision said. "It went through with no problem," one source told Reuters on condition of anonymity after a meeting of the EU's anti-dumping committee of 27 national trade diplomats. From March 13, U.S. firms exporting biodiesel into the EU will have to pay additional tariffs for an initial six months, ranging from 26 euros ($32.88) to 41 euros per 100 kg.

Also per 100 kg, Archer Daniels Midland will face duties of 26 euros, Cargill 27 euros, Imperium Renewables 29 euros, Green Earth Energy Fuels 28 euros and World Energy Alternatives 29 euros. Peter Cremer North America and most other U.S. biodiesel companies exporting to Europe will pay 41 euros per 100 kg. The duties remain for up to six months. The executive European Commission must then decide whether to propose "definitive" duties, which normally last five years. Definitive duties must be approved by EU governments to enter into force.

The move is the latest in a series of transatlantic trade spats dogging EU-U.S. relations, with Brussels and Washington at loggerheads over an EU ban on imports of U.S. chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef. The EU has expressed dissatisfaction with the inclusion of a so-called "Buy American" clause in a U.S. stimulus plan as the Group of 20 industrial and emerging economies pledged to avoid protectionist measures to deal with the global economic crisis.

Brussels began a probe into the imports last year following a complaint from EU producers of biodiesel -- by far the main biofuel produced in Europe -- who said they were being hammered by U.S. subsidies. Such subsidies distort the growing international trade in plant-based fuels, the EU producers said. "If ... these duties will be imposed, then this proves our complaint was well founded," Raffaello Garofalo, secretary general of the European Biodiesel Board, told Reuters. "This will re-establish a level playing field and put an end to unacceptable and artificial prices created by U.S. biodiesel producers."


Australia: Sharks protected but what about people?

The usual misanthropic Greenie priorities are denying Australians a treasured part of their lifestyle -- surfing

Duncan Low stood forlornly with his surfboard on Avalon Beach just after dawn yesterday looking out at the "sharky" grey waves that he dared not venture into alone. A tall, blond, 15-year-old Adonis with a peeling pink nose and a wetsuit, Low has surfed at Avalon every morning since he was nine years old. But after the weekend attack on another teenage surfer at the popular northern beach, few people are game to plunge in, at least while the surf remains poor and the sky cloudy . "I would be surfing but no one else is here," he said. "No one's coming out because of the sharks. It's pretty annoying . My dad said not to go out by myself. He's heaps worried."

Andrew Lindop, also 15, is recovering in hospital after being bitten on the leg by a two-metre great white shark at North Avalon on Sunday. It was the third Sydney shark attack in three weeks. A great white also attacked 33-year-old surfer Glenn Orgias at Bondi last month, and just the previous day a navy diver, Paul de Gelder, 31, was mauled at Woolloomooloo. Despite doctors' efforts Orgias has lost a hand and Gelder a hand and a leg. With the Sydney attacks added to another three around Australia within 24 hours in January, surfers and fisherman have begun to dispute official claims and declare a shark boom in our waters.

Yet instead of sensible discussions about how best to protect human life and limb, the debate over shark attacks has taken a surreal turn, in which Sydney's waterways are deemed to be the sole province of man-eating sharks and tough luck to humans. "Dirty, stinking humans . scum of the planet and hopefully sharks will be here for millions more years after we're extinct" was typical of one misanthropic comment on a surf website this week.

The Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald, has been telling people since January the ocean and the harbour are the shark's "domain", not ours, And lately he has been instructing us not to swim at dawn and dusk, when sharks are active. Talk about blaming the victim - when do most Sydneysiders get a chance to surf but before or after work and school? Surfing or swimming in the ocean is intrinsic to the Australian way of life. Humans have as much right to be in there as sharks. We have been designed to swim and are at home in the water.

Low waded in for a dip at Avalon about 7am yesterday but the regular ocean swimmers confined themselves to the rockpool. "I'd normally be out there," said Simon Abbott, 38, "But it's not worth the worry. It takes the edge of your enjoyment." The sky yesterday, as it has been for days, was grey and cloudy, with a hint of red just after sunrise, meaning poor visibility in the water, and less likelihood of spotting a shark before it spots you.

Another local, Warren Burgess, 69, declared: "There's too much seaweed in there. Every time it brushed your leg you'd be s----ing yourself." Burgess never remembers seeing so many sharks.

Michael Brown, director of Surfwatch Australia, a private helicopter coastal patrol service, said yesterday the explosion in shark numbers this season has been "unbelievable". He estimates an increase of about 80 per cent since last summer. Three years ago, he saw one great white a season. Last summer, he spotted seven. This year he's seen 27. And the sharks are bigger than ever - 3.5 metres and 4 metres long off Long Reef and Palm Beach. He attributes the population explosion to cold ocean eddies of five years ago, which brought a surge of nutrients from the ocean floor to feed a bumper crop of phytoplankton, which in turn fed the tuna, bonito and other baitfish sharks eat. Nice for the sharks but risky for humans. And next summer, Brown says, will be even worse.

It is of no comfort to the victims that the great white shark has been officially declared an endangered species. Commercial fishermen are blaming government protection of sharks and bans on commercial fishing for the shark boom. Large NSW marine parks created in 2002 have led to a local explosion in shark numbers, they claim.

What's more, shark nets that have protected Sydney beachgoers for more than 70 years are under attack from environmentalists. The meshing program has been a successful protection measure in NSW and Queensland, especially when coupled with drumlines - hooks attached to a float with bait designed to catch sharks near popular beaches. Yet in NSW shark nets are now listed as a "key threatening process" by the Government's Fisheries Scientific Committee. So the committee will be looking to get rid of the nets, while environmental and animal welfare groups ratchet up the pressure on the Government. And despite claims that the nets are useless, the evidence says otherwise.

Before the nets were installed there were 28 shark attacks and 15 fatalities from 1922 to 1936 in Greater Sydney, Dr John Paxton of the Australian Museum told the 2006 Shark Protection Summit. "The introduction of shark meshing in 1937 resulted in ending the fatalities on surfing beaches," Paxton told the summit. "There was a corresponding fall in the numbers of total attacks per decade. The shark nets were exceptionally successful and their introduction certainly justified at that time." Of course, nets are not foolproof, as shown by the attack at Avalon. They were never designed to provide a barrier between sharks and humans, but to deter and catch "resident" sharks which feed near popular beaches.

No one disputes that sharks are a crucial part of the ecosystem and no one is advocating wholesale slaughter. But if it comes to a choice between a shark life and a human life there just should be no contest.



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


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


An email from Mark Duchamp [save.the.eagles@gmail.com]:

Reuter's Alister Doyle wrote: "Unfortunately, more snow might fit projections by the U.N. Climate Panel, which says that northern Europe is likely to get wetter and the south drier as temperatures rise this century."

But southern Europe isn't getting warmer and drier as projected. In Spain, where I live, we've had record snow, and not just over the 2006 levels as in Norway. It's something people hadn't seen in 20 or 30 years. The media were careful not to compare with historical data: it wouldn't have been politically correct to say that records have been broken. But quite a fuss was stirred up when traffic collapsed in snowbound Madrid. The main river (Ebro) went over its banks both in 2008 and in 2009, flooding the countryside. Hydropower reserves in the north have been replenished to such an extent that I heard of a dam that had to open its slush gates to avoid overflowing.

The skiing season in the Pyrenees has been an unprecedented success, and on the French side as well. Indeed, Southern France also experienced unusual snowfalls: like Madrid, traffic in Marseilles was paralysed for a full day. And it's not just the snow: the same may be said about temperatures, which have been remarkably cold all the way down to Southern Spain. The winter of 2007-2008 was also surprisingly severe.

So much for the IPCC predictions of a warmer and dryer Southern Europe! I would tend to agree with the Japanese scientist who recently compared computer climate modelling to... ancient astrology !

Big chill buries global warming protest

There were two storms in the US capital yesterday, and one blew away the other. Global warming activists had stormed Washington for what was billed as the nation's largest act of civil disobedience to fight climate change, only to see the city almost shut down by a major winter storm. As Washington was blasted with its heaviest snowfall of the winter, politicians cancelled appearances and schools and businesses were closed. The storm also buried under 15cm of snow any hope of global warming activism.

Reports said the activists had hoped to swarm Washington in an effort to force the Government to close the Capitol Power Plant, which heats and cools government buildings, including the Supreme Court and the Capitol. Fox News said the scene was reminiscent of a day in January 2004, when Al Gore made an address on global warming in New York -- on one of the coldest days in the city's history.

In a press release supporting the protest against the coal-fired plant, Greenpeace wrote that "coal was the country's biggest source of global warming pollution" and "burning coal cuts short at least 24,000 lives in the US annually". But Fox News said it might be worth noting the US Government's own stark numbers: pneumonia kills twice as many each year.

The storm was more serious elsewhere, paralysing most of the east coast yesterday. For the first time in five years New York City cancelled school for its 1.1 million students.....


The High Cost of Climate Lies

By Alan Caruba

The global warming hoax didn't happen over night. It is generally dated from an appearance before Congress by Dr. James E. Hansen in 1988 predicting a dramatic rise in the Earth's temperature based on the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. At that time, Dr. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warned that steps had to be taken quickly to reduce CO2 emissions.

Ever since then, Hansen has been active in his effort to convince everyone that he's right and condemning anyone an opposing point of view. "The science is settled" has been the mantra of men like Hansen and, of course, the bilious Albert Gore of "An Inconvenient Truth" fame.

The background music has been supplied by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has merrily falsified alleged scientific data to advance the hoax while the U.N. Kyoto Protocol imposed limits on CO2 emissions. Most of the nations that signed it have largely ignored it, discovering that it harms their economies. The United States avoided signing, but Americans have now elected a president who is utterly devoted to this "solution" to a problem that does not exist.

In "Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don't Want You to Know", co-authors, Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling, Jr., the former a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and the latter a professor of the climatology program in the School of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University, lay out just how the actual science has been deliberately distorted and politicized.

Two factors have been at work. One is money. Much of the funding for climate research comes from the U.S. government. To get that funding, the science has to fit the political agenda of whatever administration was in power. The second factor is media coverage of the issue. Journalism thrives on bad news and, after gleefully reporting a coming ice age in the 1970s they embraced an apocalyptic global warming and the vocal environmental movement in the 1980s.

Despite the fact that the Earth, based on weather satellite data, is now ten years into a distinct cooling cycle, the mainstream media continues to embrace global warming as real, along with the cries to end the use of coal for the generation of electricity. Coal, one of the most abundant and inexpensive sources of energy in America, accounts for just over fifty percent of all the electricity Americans use daily.

"Climate of Extremes" points out that "As virtually all global warming science is a publicly funded enterprise, political dynamics must in part be involved. At the simplest level, global warming is just one of many scientific issues competing for funding. AIDS and cancer, for example, are competitors."

There is an additional factor that cannot be ignored. "The reward structure in academia--promotion, tenure, and salary--is based on the quality and quantity of peer-reviewed research. The requisite level and number of publications for tenure is virtually impossible to achieve without substantial public funding." In short, environmental extremism was very good for the careers of those who kept attributing everything from allegedly endangered polar bears to the shrinking snow cover on Mount Kilimanjaro to global warming while warning against it.

While Al Gore grew rich and famous working the global warming hoax, it seemed like everyone, including prestigious organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Science wanted to get in on the act. On June 15, 2004 they put together a panel of U.S. climate scientists to discuss global warming, but the panel was totally composed of its advocates and no dissenters. By that time, however, a Gallup poll revealed that a plurality of Americans had concluded that the news reports were exaggerations.

By then, even prestigious journals such as Science and Nature had totally disgraced themselves by publishing allegedly peer-reviewed articles about global warming. National Geographic continues to publish comparable nonsense.

Thanks to the ardent efforts of countless environmental organizations, global warming had been totally integrated into the thinking of those inside the Beltway so that millions of taxpayer dollars, then and now as part of the stimulus package have been spent to prove what the actual science demonstrates is bogus.

Indeed, on March 8-10, the second annual International Conference on Climate Change will take place in New York, bringing together several hundred climatologists, meteorologists, economists, and others to further dismember the hoax.

Meanwhile, the true cost of the global warming hoax lives on in idiotic government mandates for blending ethanol with gasoline or demands for "alternative energy" (wind and solar) unsuited to providing anywhere near the billions of megawatts the U.S. requires to function. If a "cap and trade" proposal regarding greenhouse gas emissions passes Congress, an invisible, baseless tax on energy will be imposed on all Americans.

We have all been lied to by a shameless confederation of scientists, their professional publications, their formal organizations, and politicians seeking to use this big scare to advance their careers and agendas. The problem for all of them is that the real science does not support global warming and never did. Real scientists, branded dissenters, skeptics, and deniers, held true to the principles of science, knowing that it would eventually end this vast and terrible hoax.


The Cost of Climate Regulation for American Households

On March 2, 2009, the George C. Marshall Institute released The Cost of Climate Regulation for American Households which documents the economic burdens a cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gas emissions will impose on American households.

"As the nation's policy makers consider caps on greenhouse gas emissions, taxes on carbon dioxide, or other measures to control greenhouse gas emissions, namely energy use, they will regulate economic activity and personal behavior with the real costs being borne by the already stressed families of the United States," Institute President Jeff Kueter said. "Policy proposals that would drastically alter our energy system or confront the climate change risk must be considered in light of turbulent and uncertain economic circumstances. President Obama and the Congressional leadership have signaled their support for cap-and-trade. The Cost of Climate Regulation for American Households ought to temper the enthusiasm for this approach and encourage our leaders to examine other alternatives."

Authored by Bryan Buckley and Sergey Mityakov of Clemson University, the study discusses the burdens that could be placed on families throughout the United States. Using the popular cap-and-trade proposal discussed in the U.S. Senate last year as a point of reference, the study examines the likely impact of that system on personal consumption and welfare, national economic growth, employment, and the price paid for energy (electricity, natural gas, and gasoline).

The authors find that the constraints posed by the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade approach is equivalent to a constant (in percentage terms) consumption decrease of about 1% each year, continuing to 2050. Put another way, the cap-and-trade approach is the equivalent of a permanent tax increase for the average American household, which was estimated to be $1,100 in 2008, would rise to $1,437 by 2015, to $1,979 in 2030, and $2,979 in 2050.

Reviewing a host of recent studies, Buckley and Mityakov show that estimates of job losses attributable to cap-and-trade range in the hundreds of thousands.

The price for energy paid by the American consumer also will rise. The studies reviewed showed electricity prices jumping 5-15% by 2015, natural gas prices up 12-50% by 2015, and gasoline prices up 9-145% by 2015. As an illustration, gasoline would suffer a 16 cent price increase per gallon at the low end of the estimates to a $2.58 penalty at the high end (using the January 2009 reported retail price of $1.78 per gallon).



For those who have endured this winter's frigid temperatures and today's heavy snowstorm in the Northeast, the concept of global warming may seem, well, almost wishful. But climate is known to be variable -- a cold winter, or a few strung together doesn't mean the planet is cooling. Still, according to a new study, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades.

Earth's climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat. "This is nothing like anything we've seen since 1950," Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said. "Cooling events since then had firm causes, like eruptions or large-magnitude La Ninas. This current cooling doesn't have one."

Instead, Swanson and colleague Anastasios Tsonis think a series of climate processes have aligned, conspiring to chill the climate. In 1997 and 1998, the tropical Pacific Ocean warmed rapidly in what Swanson called a "super El Nino event." It sent a shock wave through the oceans and atmosphere, jarring their circulation patterns into unison.

How does this square with temperature records from 2005-2007, by some measurements among the warmest years on record? When added up with the other four years since 2001, Swanson said the overall trend is flat, even though temperatures should have gone up by 0.2 degrees Centigrade (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) during that time.

The discrepancy gets to the heart of one of the toughest problems in climate science -- identifying the difference between natural variability (like the occasional March snowstorm) from human-induced change. But just what's causing the cooling is a mystery. Sinking water currents in the north Atlantic Ocean could be sucking heat down into the depths. Or an overabundance of tropical clouds may be reflecting more of the sun's energy than usual back out into space.

"It is possible that a fraction of the most recent rapid warming since the 1970s was due to a free variation in climate," Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, New Jersey wrote in an email to Discovery News. "Suggesting that the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again."

Swanson thinks the trend could continue for up to 30 years. But he warned that it's just a hiccup, and that humans' penchant for spewing greenhouse gases will certainly come back to haunt us. "When the climate kicks back out of this state, we'll have explosive warming," Swanson said. "Thirty years of greenhouse gas radiative forcing will still be there and then bang, the warming will return and be very aggressive." [Thus speaks a man with great faith in theory]


Australian miners' message against Warmist laws comes with teeth

The hiccups the Rudd government is having over its emissions trading scheme will not be soothed by the messages it is getting from the black coal industry. The miners are Australia's biggest commodity exporters, earning around $45 billion last year, and they supply 57 per cent of domestic electricity. They employ 30,000 people and another 100,000 indirectly. They feed $15 billion a year in to the nation's pockets through remuneration, hiring contractors and buying goods and services.

And they hand over $4 billion in royalties to state governments while paying another $2.5 billion in direct and indirect taxes. In the context of the current Queensland election, they are the largest single contributor to the Bligh government's budget.

Against this background, they are out and about via the Australian Coal Association at present making it very clear that, as the global commodity boom slides in to history, they are less than happy at the way they are being treated in the emissions trading process.

The message comes with teeth - the black coal miners have so far retrenched 2,000 workers as they wrestle a big downturn and there will be more job losses, they warn. For every job lost at the mines, ACA adds pointedly, three more are lost elsewhere in the service chain. Substantial investment in coal mining is now under review or deferred, says the ACA, and equipment orders associated with mine expansions are being cancelled.

The black coal miners' gripe with ETS is based on their belief that they are one of the most trade-exposed industries in the country, as well as being emissions intensive. Their key rivals overseas - Indonesia, South Africa and Colombia among them - don't face carbon charges and, in fact, Australia is the only developed country to include "fugitive emissions" from coal mining and petroleum production in an emissions trading scheme. The major source of the miners' greenhouse gases - 22 million tonnes a year or about four per cent of the national total - are "fugitive emissions."

The miners' point to a set of numbers as the basis for their unhappiness. At $25 per permit, the Rudd ETS is going to cost them $4 billion over five years. The government is offering them assistance amounting to $500 million over five years for "gassy" mines and $250 million over five years, providing they spend the same amount as well, for abatement activity. The grants are subject to 30 per cent company tax.

If black coal had been included in the EITE - for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed - list of industries, miners would receive $500 million, or more, per year for 10 years in permit allocations. This would not be taxable. By comparison, the export LNG industry, included in the government's EITE list, will receive assistance amounting to 60 per cent of its emissions trading costs.

The coal miners reject the government assertions that they should be excluded from the EITE list because they can achieve abatement through taking up relatively low-cost technologies. "Fundamentally incorrect," says the ACA. And the association says the government concern that some mines make windfall gains could be addressed simply by an allocation rule that directed permits to mines with high "fugitive emissions."

It will be interesting to see how all this plays in the Queensland election.



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


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Congress cannot eliminate the CO2 emissions from even its own power plant

As Congress tries to clean up the nation's energy sources and cut gases blamed for global warming, it is struggling to do so in its own backyard. The Capitol Power Plant, a 99-year-old facility that heats and cools the hallowed halls of Congress, still burns coal and accounts for one-third of the legislative branch's greenhouse gas emissions. For a decade, lawmakers have attempted to clean it up.In recent years, Congress has reduced its energy consumption. The steam and chilled-water power plant has become more efficient. It now burns more natural gas and only 35 percent coal, compared with 49 percent in 2007. But Congress is running out of options to make the plant fully green. Also, there are questions about whether it can afford to keep paying to use the extra natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal.

The plant's story is one that is likely to play out across the United States as Congress looks to limit greenhouse gases and require more of the country's energy to come from wind, solar and other renewable sources. The issues hampering the cleanup _ politics, cost and technological barriers _ could trip up similar efforts elsewhere. The U.S. counts on coal-fired power plants for about half of its electricity; the plants are also the biggest source of heat-trapping gases. So if Congress cannot act locally, as the environmental slogan goes, how can it begin to think globally?

In 2007, the facility released 118,851 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Energy Department. That's a fraction of the amount released by the roughly 600 coal-fired power plants nationwide that produce electricity, and the emissions created at other plants from which Congress buys power. "We are holding it up as a symbol for how we can and must do better," said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. It is among 40 environmental organizations planning a protest Monday that is expected to draw about 2,500 people to the plant a few blocks south of the Capitol.

Among them will be James Hansen, the NASA scientist who first testified in 1988 about the perils of global warming. He has called for halting construction of new coal-fired power plants without technology to capture and store carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas. "They need to start by getting the coal out of Congress," Hansen said.

While carbon dioxide from the facility could be reduced 60 percent using carbon sequestration technology, the Energy Department in April 2008 ruled that out. The $112 million cost was too high. There is no place nearby to dispose of the gas and the extra coal burned to run the carbon-trapping equipment would increase other types of air pollution. Recognizing this dead end, just last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrote the Architect of the Capitol with another recycled idea: convert the plant entirely to natural gas. While four times more expensive than coal, natural gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide.

Referring to the facility as a shadow hanging over efforts to make Congress more environmentally friendly, the leaders said the conversion would demonstrate Congress' willingness to deal with global warming, energy independence and the use of finite fossil fuels.

An effort in 2000 to rid the plant of coal and oil was blocked by two senators from coal-producing states. Sens. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., argued at the time that the continued use of coal would save taxpayers money because it is cheaper than natural gas. Last week Byrd seemed more willing to compromise, saying he would support looking at the natural gas option. Converting the plant entirely to natural gas would require equipment upgrades at the facility that would cost between $6 million and $7 million, in addition to having to buy more natural gas. It would cost $139 per ton of carbon dioxide saved, or about $2 million a year just for the House's portion of heating and air conditioning. Pelosi and Reid say the investment far outweighs the costs. But in the midst of an economic crisis, it is not clear if that would be money well spent.

"It doesn't make any difference what they do," said Bill Kovacs, vice president for the environment, technology & regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It makes a statement, but it is not going to change carbon dioxide concentrations at all anywhere in the world and coal will continue to be used somewhere else." Coal-fired power plants elsewhere will have difficulty meeting new mandates if passed by lawmakers. "The oldest and dirtiest ones will not compete well under that system," said Tidwell, who supports efforts to get the Capitol Power Plant off coal. "The people who own those power plants will have to make some choices."


Is George Soros a Global Warming Turncoat?

NASA's global-warming-alarmist-in-chief James Hansen is urging the public to join the likes of Greenpeace and the Ruckus Society and others in a March 2 rally in Washington to protest the burning of coal for electricity. But before further clogging the already busy streets of the nation's capital perhaps Hansen ought to first lay siege to the offices of billionaire supporter George Soros.

According to a February 17 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, investment funds managed by Soros own more than $112 million worth of stock in Arch Coal and CONSOL Energy - the third and fifth largest coal companies in the U.S. Other SEC filings indicate that Soros began investing in coal during 2008 - hardly an auspicious time for such investment. Not only did the stock values of coal companies fall sharply, but the future of coal use in the U.S. became less certain. Since 2006, climate activists have pressured state regulators to deny permits for 83 coal-fired power plants.

Odder still is that this is the same George Soros who, in October 2007, told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo "I think we have to stop the increased use of coal if we want to bring climate change under control." This is also the same George Soros who, through his Open Society Institute, may have provided as much as $720,000 in 2006 to help finance Hansen's global warming activism. And what does Hansen have to say about coal?

In a recent op-ed in Britain's The Observer, Hansen wrote that "The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death." Warning British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that "history and [his] children will judge [him]," Hansen called for Brown to bring the use of coal to an end.

It seems quite possible that Soros and Hansen no longer see eye-to-eye on climate change. Last June, Soros testified before a Senate Committee that the cap-and-trade form of global warming regulation, which would allow the use of coal, would be a "move in the right direction." Hansen, meanwhile, has since been bent on likening the use of coal to the Holocaust. In addition to his over-the-top allusions to "death trains" and "factories of death," last June, Hansen called for coal and oil company CEOs to be "tried for high crimes against humanity and nature." Would Hansen spare large coal and oil company investors like Soros?

Coal investments may not be Soros' only problem with Hansen on the day of reckoning. Soros also owns and/or manages $900 million worth of the Brazilian state oil company, $218 million of Hess Corp., $177 million of ConocoPhillips and $72 million of oil driller Schlumberger. ConocoPhillips, in particular, is a major investor in a project to develop the so-called Canadian oil tar sands. But on Feb. 18, two days ahead of President Obama's trip to Ottawa, Canada, Hansen hyperventilated to Reuters about the dangers of tar sands:

"If we burn all the conventional fuels - oil, gas and coal - we would be heading the planet to eventually an ice-free state," Hansen said. "[Tar sands oil] is a total wild card on top of that. You just can't do it, that's what politicians and international leaders have got to understand. You can't exploit tar shale and tar sands without pushing things way beyond the limit. They're just too carbon intensive."

It's also possible that Soros is just another green hypocrite, hoping to make a few bucks before coal is killed as an energy source. A source in the coal industry told me that Soros doesn't let "politics get in the way of commerce." Indeed, Soros told PBS's Bill Moyers in an October interview that "dealing with global warming will require a lot of investment" and that "energy has to cost a lot more." So Soros may be betting that climate policies will somehow make his coal/oil investments more profitable. It's a contrarian outlook to say the least.

A spokesman from Soros Fund Management denied that any explanation was necessary for Soros' investments and global warming posture. He also denied that Soros might be breaching his fiduciary duty to his investors by advocating public policies that could spell doom for the coal industry and their coal investments.

While a spokesman from the Open Society Institute flatly denied that it funded Hansen, this denial seems to be an exaltation of form over substance. The Institute was seemingly very proud in a 2006 report of the support for Hansen provided by the Government Accountability Project - a grantee of the Institute. This is all something to keep in mind as we watch Hansen and his protesters rally on March 2 at the Capitol's coal-burning - and Soros-profiting - power plant.


Britain shivers through its coldest winter for 13 years... and another big freeze is on the way

It's what we suspected as the deep freeze set in and the country was hit by heavy snow. Now forecasters have confirmed that Britain shivered through the coldest winter for more than a decade. The last three months have been the chilliest for 13 years, with an average temperature of only 37f (2.9c). The winter temperature has been calculated up to February 23, but it would have needed an impossibly high average temperature in the last few days for this winter not to be the coldest since 1995-1996. Although we are now in March, the recent mild weather is not expected to last. Wintry conditions are about to return with a vengeance.

The warmer temperatures in the last two weeks of February coaxed daffodils and crocuses to make an appearance, adding a splash of much-needed colour to the countryside. But after a wet and windy day tomorrow, a biting north-westerly wind will blow in on Wednesday, bringing flurries of sleet and snow across England. Met Office forecaster John Hammond said daytime temperatures will drop as low as 41f (5c). 'We have had mild winters recently so this one is the coldest since 1995-1996,' he said. 'We had a very cold start to February and temperatures will fall again from Tuesday due to low pressure. There will be wintry showers across the country with the possibility sleet and snow for all regions. It won't be as cold as it was at the start of February - but it will certainly feel cold.'

Heavy snowfall hit much of the country at the start of February. The South-East suffered its heaviest snow for 18 years, bringing much of the region to a standstill. Transport networks ground to a halt and schools, hospitals and businesses also closed. The blizzard is estimated to have cost the British economy up to 3billion because a fifth of the workforce was unable to get to work.

Parts of Kent enjoyed February's warmest weather, with Canterbury reaching 62f (16.9c). The lowest temperature was -1f (-18.4c) at Aviemore, in Inverness-shire. Meteogroup Forecaster Julian Mayes said: 'Although we remember the cold first two weeks, and there's no doubting the effect that had, it was actually followed by a mild second half of the month. 'In a way if you blend that together you get quite an average month.'


India puts the kybosh on global emission cuts

And without India, nobody else will move. GWB's policy is now everybody's policy

NEW DELHI: With the global economic slowdown dimming the developed world's appetite for accepting enhanced climate change responsibilities, India is preparing a robust defence of its position that it would not accept any sort of emission cut targets as part of a multilateral commitment.

The government is anticipating the likelihood of West's diminished interest in combating climate change being manifested in a fresh push at getting developing countries like India and China to accept carbon control targets. This is likely to be countered by India making a strong statement on its unilateral domestic efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

The government is arguing that an acceptable plan to rein in the effects of climate change would not be possible if only the current levels of emissions were taken as a benchmark for discussions. The role of industrialised nations in creating the problem and now in offering technology and finance to the third world could not be ignored in arriving at an action plan.

Addressing a group of mediapersons, Shyam Saran, the PM's special envoy on climate change, said, "We do recognise that with depleting resources of fossil fuel, the cost of oil and gas is bound to go up. Our use of fossil fuel is likely to go up from 70% to 90% and in 15-20 years, we will be faced with a crisis." This had led the government to plan for a diversification of its energy generation sources.

Saran pointed out that there were millions of people who did not have access to commercially generated power and if India's energy plans for this section were solely based on fossil fuels, the addition to carbon emissions would be considerable. "The steps that we are taking are in themselves contributing to reduced emissions," he said.

It is expected that the Copenhagen 2009 climate change conference, the last government-level meeting before the 2012 Kyoto protocol is replaced by a new agreement, would see some bargaining over emission control targets. Countries like India are likely to insist that if emission targets are to be discussed, there must be a framework for technology transfer and finance.

The issue was not one of technology transfer alone, but that of countries being trained and equipped for the changes. India was prepared to cooperate in research and development of green technology but scale of these transfers and adjustments in the IPR had to be identified.

The national action plan on climate change drawn up by the government, which looks to gear up to climate change challenges, was evidence that India was not just a "nay sayer" and was more than prepared to shoulder its responsibilities. The government also makes the point that India's carbon emission was bound to increase in the immediate future as a factor of its socio-economic growth.


Now fish farming is bad too

Environmentalists reacted with fury last night after a UN body recommended a big increase in fish farming to meet rising global demand. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that increasing global demand for fish should be met through intensive fish farming amid falling wild populations. "If overall production is to keep pace with an expanding world population, and given the strong likelihood that capture fisheries will remain stagnant, future growth will have to come from aquaculture," it said in a report.

World aquaculture has grown dramatically in the past 50 years. In the early 1950s less than a million tonnes was produced. By 2006 this had risen to 51.7million tonnes, with a value of $78.8billion - approaching half the total global fish consumption of 110.4 million tonnes. Per capita, fish consumption has been increasing steadily from an average of 9.9kg in the 1960s: it reached 11.5kg in the 1970s, 12.5kg in the 1980s, 14.4kg in the 1990s, and 16.4kg in 2005.

China accounts for much of the rise, consuming 33.6 million tonnes in 2005, or 26.1kg per person. China has also had a boom in aquaculture: almost six out of ten farmed fish globally were reared in China, while just under nine out of ten come from the Asia-Pacific region.

Differences in feeding habits, though, could present a stumbling block to bringing Asian-style aquaculture to the West. Cod and salmon - two of the most popular fish in Britain - are both predators, unlike the herbivorous carp that is favoured in the East. Rather than feeding on aquatic plants, cod and salmon must be fed on other fish that are sourced from the wild. Between 1992 and 2006 the amount of fishmeal used to feed farmed fish grew by almost 300 per cent.

The FAO recommendations provoked a backlash from pressure groups. Willie Mackenzie, of Greenpeace, said: "We've totally trashed our wild fish populations so now we need to farm them. It just doesn't make sense to catch fish to feed to fish - you lose four to five times the weight and that's without all the problems of infestations, escapes and pollution from the farms."

Around 520million people - 8 per cent of the world's population - depend on fisheries for their protein, income or family stability.


Science versus propaganda

by Bob Carter (Bob Carter is an adjunct professor of geology at Australia's James Cook University)

The editorial in last weekend's Australian, "Carbon trading is not the only answer" (21/22 February), addressed the controversial issue of the government's planned emissions trading legislation, commenting that "We need to hear other ideas on greenhouse gas reduction". Talk about missing the point! For the pressing issue that we need to deal with is the hard reality of natural climate change, rather than wasting money on futile attempts to "stop" speculative human-caused warming.

If ever we needed a reminder regarding the power and danger of natural climatic events, then Mother Nature has just provided us with two. The northern half of Australia has been submerged under floods, and large areas of the southeastern corner of our continent have been ravaged by firestorms. These events resulted from unpredictable natural events such as our planet has ever been heir to.

Just as the "science" that is cited in favour of dangerous human warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions shows all the hallmarks of orchestrated propaganda, so too the real science shows beyond doubt that the wide array of extreme natural events - which include climatic warming trends, cooling trends, step-events, heat waves, droughts, cyclones, floods and snowstorms - poses great dangers for humanity.

"Greenhouse gas reduction", by any means, is an irrelevancy, for it deals only with the speculative problem of as-yet-unmeasured human-caused global warming, and that at a time when the globe has been cooling for ten years. In contrast, a national climate policy that better improves our ability to recognize and adapt to real (i.e., natural) climate change and events is an urgent necessity, and would cost but a fraction of the mooted carbon dioxide taxation scheme, a non-solution to a non-problem if ever there was one.

By their very nature, strategies that can cope with the dangers and vagaries of natural climate change will readily cope with human-caused change too, should it ever manifest itself.

Australia needs adaptive policies to deal with real climate change in place of the government's expensive, inefficient and ineffective plans to "prevent" an entirely hypothetical global warming. Why is it so difficult for our major political parties to discern this obvious truth?



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


Monday, March 02, 2009

Arctic ice facts

Regular WUWT readers know of the issues related to Arctic Sea Ice that we have routinely followed here. The Arctic sea ice trend is regularly used as tool to hammer public opinion, often recklessly and without any merit to the claims. The most egregious of these claims was the April of 2008 pronouncement by National Snow and Ice Data Center scientist Dr. Mark Serreze of an ice free north pole in 2008. It got very wide press. It also never came true. To my knowledge, no retractions were printed by news outlets that carried his sensationally erroneous claim.

A few months later in August, when it was clear his first prediction would not come true, and apparently having learned nothing from his first incident (except maybe that the mainstream press is amazingly gullible when it comes to science) Serreze made another outlandish statement of "Arctic ice is in its death spiral" and" The Arctic could be free of summer ice by 2030?. In my opinion, Serreze uttered perhaps the most irresponsible news statements about climate second only to Jim Hansen's "death trains" fiasco. I hope somebody at NSIDC will have the good sense to reel in their loose cannon for the coming year.

Not to be outdone, in December Al Gore also got on the ice free bandwagon with his own zinger saying on video that the "entire north polar ice cap will be gone within 5 years". There's a countdown watch on that one. So it was with a bit of surprise that we witnessed the wailing and gnashing of teeth from a number of bloggers and news outlets when in his February 15th column, George Will, citing a Daily Tech column by Mike Asher, repeated a comparison of 1979 sea ice levels to present day. He wrote:
As global levels of sea ice declined last year, many experts said this was evidence of man-made global warming. Since September, however, the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began. According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.

The outrage was immediate and widespread. Media Matters: George Will spreads falsehoods Discover Magazine: George Will: Liberated From the Burden of Fact-Checking Climate Progress: Is George Will the most ignorant national columnist? One Blue Marble Blog: Double Dumb Ass Award: George Will George Monbiot in the Guardian: George Will's climate howlers and Huffington Post: Will-fully wrong. They rushed to stamp out the threat with an "anything goes" publishing mentality. There was lots of piling on by secondary bloggers and pundits.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I got interested in what was going on with odd downward jumps in the NSIDC Arctic sea ice graph, posting on Monday February 16th NSIDC makes a big sea ice extent jump - but why? Then when I was told in comments by NSIDC's Walt Meier that the issue was "not worth blogging about" I countered with Errors in publicly presented data - Worth blogging about?

It soon became clear what had happened. There was a sensor failure, a big one, and both NSIDC and Cryosphere today missed it. The failure caused Arctic sea ice to be underestimated by 500,000 square kilometers by the time Will's column was published. Ooops, that's a Murphy Moment.

So it is with some pleasure that today I offer you George Will's excellent rebuttal to the unapologetic trashing of his column . The question now is, will those same people take on Dr. Mark Serreze and Al Gore for their irresponsible proclamations this past year? Probably not. Will Serreze shoot his mouth off again this year when being asked by the press what the summer ice season will bring? Probably, but one can always hope he and others have learned something, anything, from this debacle. Let us hope that cooler heads prevail.
Climate Science in A Tornado

By George F. Will, Washington Post

Few phenomena generate as much heat as disputes about current orthodoxies concerning global warming. This column recently reported and commented on some developments pertinent to the debate about whether global warming is occurring and what can and should be done. That column, which expressed skepticism about some emphatic proclamations by the alarmed, took a stroll down memory lane, through the debris of 1970s predictions about the near certainty of calamitous global cooling.

Concerning those predictions, the New York Times was - as it is today in a contrary crusade - a megaphone for the alarmed, as when (May 21, 1975) it reported that "a major cooling of the climate" was "widely considered inevitable" because it was "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950." Now the Times, a trumpet that never sounds retreat in today's war against warming, has afforded this column an opportunity to revisit another facet of this subject - meretricious journalism in the service of dubious certitudes.

On Wednesday, the Times carried a "news analysis" - a story in the paper's news section, but one that was not just reporting news - accusing Al Gore and this columnist of inaccuracies. Gore can speak for himself. So can this columnist.

Reporter Andrew Revkin's story was headlined: "In Debate on Climate Change, Exaggeration Is a Common Pitfall." Regarding exaggeration, the Times knows whereof it speaks, especially when it revisits, if it ever does, its reporting on the global cooling scare of the 1970s, and its reporting and editorializing - sometimes a distinction without a difference - concerning today's climate controversies.

Which returns us to Revkin. In a story ostensibly about journalism, he simply asserts - how does he know this? - that the last decade, which passed without warming, was just "a pause in warming." His attempt to contact this writer was an e-mail sent at 5:47 p.m., a few hours before the Times began printing his story, which was not so time-sensitive - it concerned controversies already many days running - that it had to appear the next day. But Revkin reported that "experts said" this columnist's intervention in the climate debate was "riddled with" inaccuracies. Revkin's supposed experts might exist and might have expertise but they do not have names that Revkin wished to divulge.

As for the anonymous scientists' unspecified claims about the column's supposedly myriad inaccuracies: The column contained many factual assertions but only one has been challenged. The challenge is mistaken.

Citing data from the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, as interpreted on Jan. 1 by Daily Tech, a technology and science news blog, the column said that since September "the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began." According to the center, global sea ice levels at the end of 2008 were "near or slightly lower than" those of 1979. The center generally does not make its statistics available, but in a Jan. 12 statement the center confirmed that global sea ice levels were within a difference of less than 3 percent of the 1980 level.

So the column accurately reported what the center had reported. But on Feb. 15, the Sunday the column appeared, the center, then receiving many e-mail inquiries, issued a statement saying "we do not know where George Will is getting his information." The answer was: From the center, via Daily Tech. Consult the center's Web site where, on Jan. 12, the center posted the confirmation of the data that this column subsequently reported accurately.

The scientists at the Illinois center offer their statistics with responsible caveats germane to margins of error in measurements and precise seasonal comparisons of year-on-year estimates of global sea ice. Nowadays, however, scientists often find themselves enveloped in furies triggered by any expression of skepticism about the global warming consensus (which will prevail until a diametrically different consensus comes along; see the 1970s) in the media-environmental complex. Concerning which:

On Feb. 18 the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that from early January until the middle of this month, a defective performance by satellite monitors that measure sea ice caused an underestimation of the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles, which is approximately the size of California.

The Times ("All the news that's fit to print"), which as of this writing had not printed that story, should unleash Revkin and his unnamed experts.


Heat From a Global Warming Column

Comment from the Washington Post ombudsman:

Opinion columnists are free to choose whatever facts bolster their arguments. But they aren't free to distort them. The question of whether that happened is at the core of an uproar over a recent George F. Will column and The Post's fact-checking process.

Will's Feb. 15 column, headlined "Dark Green Doomsayers," ridiculed "eco-pessimists" and cited a string of "predicted planetary calamities" that Will said have never come to pass. A key paragraph, aimed at those who believe in man-made global warming, asserted: "According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979." The column triggered e-mails to The Post from hundreds of angry environmental activists and a few scientists, many asserting that the center had said exactly the opposite.

The ruckus grew when I e-mailed readers who had inquired about the editing process for Will's column. My comments accurately conveyed what I had been told by editorial page editor Fred Hiatt -- that multiple editors had checked Will's sources, including the reference to the Arctic Climate Research Center. Although I didn't render a judgment, my response was understandably seen as an institutional defense and prompted an orchestrated e-mail campaign in which thousands demanded that The Post correct Will's "falsehoods." Like they say when the pro football rookie gets clobbered: "Welcome to the NFL."

The messages, often identical in wording, were soon countered by waves of e-mails defending Will and attacking what many labeled "global warming alarmists" trying to muzzle him. By mid-week, it was a bit like watching chairs being thrown in a bar fight. Responding to the controversy, Will wrote again on Friday and insisted that his first column "accurately reported what the center had reported."

As the debate continues, questions linger about The Post's editing process. And there are separate questions about how The Post reacted once readers began questioning the accuracy of Will's column.

First, the editing process. My inquiry shows that there was fact-checking at multiple levels. It began with Will's own research assistant, Greg Reed. When the column was submitted on Feb. 12 to The Washington Post Writers Group, which edits and syndicates it, Reed sent an accompanying e-mail that provided roughly 20 Internet reference links in support of key assertions in the column. Richard Aldacushion, editorial production manager at the Writers Group, said he reviewed every link. The column was then edited by editorial director Alan Shearer and managing editor James Hill.

Next, it went to The Post's op-ed editor, Autumn Brewington, who said she also reviewed the sources. The editors who checked the Arctic Research Climate Center Web site believe it did not, on balance, run counter to Will's assertion that global sea ice levels "now equal those of 1979." I reviewed the same Web citation and reached a different conclusion.

It said that while global sea ice areas are "near or slightly lower than those observed in late 1979," sea ice area in the Northern Hemisphere is "almost one million sq. km below" the levels of late 1979. That's roughly the size of Texas and California combined. In my mind, it should have triggered a call for clarification to the center.

But according to Bill Chapman, a climate scientist with the center, there was no call from Will or Post editors before the column appeared. He added that it wasn't until last Tuesday -- nine days after The Post began receiving demands for a correction -- that he heard from an editor at the newspaper. It was Brewington who finally e-mailed, offering Chapman the opportunity to write something that might help clear the air....

There is a disturbing if-you-don't-agree-with-me-you're-an-idiot tone to much of the global warming debate. Thoughtful discourse is noticeably absent in the current dispute. But that's where The Post could have helped, and can in the future. On its news pages, it can recommit to reporting on climate change that is authoritative and deep. On the editorial pages, it can present a mix of respected and informed viewpoints. And online, it can encourage dialogue that is robust, even if it becomes bellicose.


Another onslaught of global cooling in the USA

A rare snowstorm blanketed the southern states of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee on Sunday and churned northward, leaving residents from Maryland to Maine bracing for heavy snowfall overnight, forecasters said. The late-winter snowflakes took the typically temperate South by surprise as snowploughs struggled to clear the clogged roads, airlines cancelled flights and accidents spiked among motorists unaccustomed to the slick, icy conditions.

Up to 47cm of snow have fallen on parts of Tennessee since late on Saturday, and up to 14cm accumulated in Alabama and North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service. "Crews continue to work to clear snow and ice from roadways across Tennessee where as much as 15 inches (38cm) of snow fell overnight,'' the Tennessee Department of Transportation said in a statement. The conditions led to a number of crashes overnight along the I-40, a major highway route in western Tennessee, and on I-75 in the eastern part of the state close to the Kentucky state line.

Delta Air Lines cancelled over 300 flights - mostly to and from Atlanta, Georgia - due to snowy weather, CNN reported.

Winter storm warnings remained in effect across much of the south, while the northeastern states of New England were warned of snow accumulations of 10 to 20cm in the Mid-Atlantic region, the National Weather Service said late Sunday. Heavier falls of over 30cm were possible in some areas, it said, predicting the northern leg of the winter storm would unleash its fury late on Sunday and into early Monday. The heaviest snow in the region was forecast for Massachusetts, Rhode Island and northeastern Connecticut, with up to 38cm.

Philadelphia and New York were advised to expect up to 36cm. Up to 25cm could pile up in the nation's capital, Washington, by late on Monday, forecasters said. Officials told The Washington Post the storm there could be the largest in three years. Tornado watches were also in effect from southeastern Georgia to northern Florida.


Global warming protest may get snowed out

I interrupt the snowstorm updates to bring you this pressing issue. Monday, March 2nd 2009 is the date for a scheduled protest by Capitol Climate Action (CCA). Their website labels it:

"Mass civil disobedience at the coal fired power plant in Washington, DC"

CCA claims this will be the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in US history. There is actually a request to wear dress clothes. That seems odd. Is this a target to get young Americans in a vogue protest?

My forecast from this morning can be found here (I will have a new update by this evening). If you go just by the NWS forecast, then snow will range between 5-10 inches with wind gusts over 30 mph. The snowstorm forecast is ironic not only because it falls on the date of this protest, but also because it is a late season event. The normal high for the date in Washington, DC is 51F. What would be worse: Keep the protest on in the snowstorm, or cancel it because of the snowstorm?

The infamous Dr. James Hansen should be there leading the charge. My post last week about 2008 being the coldest year this decade included a reference to Hansen. I wrote, "This is the same man who turned off the air conditioning in the Capitol while speaking about Global Warming on a hot day in 1988." I also mentioned his exposure of bad data for Russia just this past October. He used September data (a statistically warmer month) in place of cooler October data. This skewed the temperatures upward.

I don't knock him for his extreme beliefs, but I do disagree with the questionable tactics he uses to get his message across. According to Fox News , he is in hot water since he works for NASA, yet is helping to organize a protest.

It seems like the Climate Crew has had some trouble getting their messages across. It's almost as if mixed signals are coordinated by nature itself. Marc Marano, Communications Director for the GOP on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) sent out a list of events that seem to follow the Gore Effect. This was labeled by Politico.com as:

The so-called Gore Effect happens when a global warming-related event, or appearance by the former vice president and climate change crusader, Al Gore, is marked by exceedingly cold weather or unseasonably winter weather.

Check out this list courtesy of Marc Marano:

Note: The "Gore Effect" has a long and storied history. What follows is a sampling of how Mother Nature enjoys mocking global warming fear promoters.

1) First October snow since 1922 blankets London as global warming bill debated - October 2008

2) Global Warming Vote on Snowy Day in Washington - Senate committee debates expensive climate change bill snow blanket D.C. - December 2007


4) NOT AGAIN! DC 'Snow Advisory' Issued on Day of Congressional Global Warming Hearing - March 2007

5) Gore decries 'global warming' in bitterly cold NYC - December 2006

6) Gore delivers environmental message at Harvard - ...with near 125-year record breaking low temps - October 2008

7) Global warming activists urged to focus on Earth Day rallies and ignore snow as it 'piles up outside our windows' - April 17, 2007

8) No Joke! Cyclists 'braved freezing cold temps' to promote global warming awareness in New York - October 22, 2008

9) Global warming protest in Maryland frosted with snow - January 2008

10) Global warming rally in the snow - April 2007

11) Snow won't dampen global-warming rallies - April 2007

12) Brrr. - Obama to global warming demonstrators: 'This is probably not the weather to hold up those signs...it's a little chilly today' - October 28, 2008

13) Global Warming Awareness Walk Braves Snow Storm - March 2007

14) The Gore Effect, Cont. - Gore speaks in Italy during 'rare' cold and snow

15) Tracking 'The Gore Effect' - Politico November 26,6, 2008

16) Climate protest cancelled 'due to rain and cold' - Nov. 23, 2008

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

Why Biofuels Are the Rainforest's Worst Enemy

Comment from a Green/Left site:

With governments and consumers scrambling for alternatives to fossil fuel, worldwide demand for biofuels has gone through the roof; in Europe, where more than half of all automobiles run on diesel, consumption of biodiesel is set to triple by 2010. US subsidies for biofuels, mostly ethanol, will add up to $92 billion between 2006 and 2012, and producers in developing countries like Indonesia are often eligible for millions of dollars in development money from the World Bank.

But amid the hype, problems have emerged. Biodiesel emits less than one-quarter the carbon of regular diesel once it's burned. But when production-and the destruction of ecosystems in the developing countries where most biofuel crops are grown-is factored in, many biofuels may actually emit more carbon than does petroleum, the journal Science reported last year. Because oil palms don't absorb as much CO2 as the rainforest or peatlands they replace, palm oil can generate as much as 10 times more carbon than petroleum, according to the advocacy group Food First. Thanks in large part to oil palm plantations, Indonesia is now the world's third-largest emitter of CO2, trailing only the US and China.

Yet Indonesia aims to expand these plantations from 16 million acres currently to almost 26 million by 2015. If deforestation, which is due largely to oil palm, continues at the present rate, 98 percent of the country's forest-one of only a handful of large rainforests remaining in the world-will be degraded or gone by 2022. And although Indonesia has strict environmental regulations and formally recognizes customary land rights, those laws are only as effective as the local bureaucrats enforcing them. "For the permit certification, a guy just comes to your office and you just pay him off," explains Ong Kee Chau, a former Wilmar executive who was responsible for most of the company's operations on Borneo. "This is how it works." For everyone from national politicians to struggling villagers, biofuel represents opportunity. "Oil palm is one of our areas of competitiveness," explains Herry Purnomo, an Indonesia-based forestry researcher. "We can't compete with information technologies or in auto manufacturing, but we have plantations."

The only way to get to Pareh is to travel up the Kumba River, typically in a traditional wooden boat fitted with an outboard motor. When I make the trip with a researcher from Friends of the Earth-Indonesia, we arrive about two hours after sundown. Momonus and his wife, Margareta, receive us in their home. (The people I meet in Pareh all go by single names.) There is no furniture; we sit in flickering candlelight around plastic tablecloths spread on the floor. Pages of newspaper have been pasted over gaps in the walls, and in one room I read a story about girls being kidnapped and used as sex slaves by plantation workers.

After a meal of fiddlehead ferns and banana flowers, the front room begins to fill with village men who spill out onto the porch and linger in the doorway. All wear freshly washed T-shirts and jeans or khakis, and all of them smoke except Momonus, a 38-year-old with a low, solid build, dark hair, and a thin mustache. The men tell me that if the government and Duta Palma continue to rebuff them, they will resort to their machetes. (The Dayak have a history of head-hunting, although nowadays they mostly use that reputation to inspire fear.) As the meeting winds down, Julian, a young father of two, asks if anyone has been to the boundary between the forest and the plantation. Another young man speaks up. Yes, he was recently there, and didn't see any logging.

The next day, I go with Momonus, Julian, and two other villagers to see for ourselves. On motorbikes, we navigate the ribbon of slick mud that passes for a road. After two perilous hours, we reach the land Duta Palma has seized.

The contrast between past and future is extreme. The ancestral forest is carpeted with ferns and flowers; monkeys swing from branches of wild mango, teak, and ironwood trees, and soaring above it all is a majestic canopy of dipterocarps. One of the rainforest's iconic treasures, dipterocarps bloom just once every four years but do so in unison, their vivid red flowers erupting over millions of acres.

Across the road is a moonscape. Charred trunks lie prone as far as the eye can see. On the horizon we can make out a thin emerald seam-the encroaching column of palms. Duta Palma has also planted seedlings in a narrow band along the border of the community's land, like a message written in green: The forest belongs to the palm.

I have just witnessed the palm companies' modus operandi in miniature. Operatives will proposition community members to assemble a logging crew in return for a sum that is insignificant to the company and a fortune to a villager. Some people will say no-Julian refused $6,000. But the company will keep trying until someone says yes, and someone almost always does. This helps the plantations expand into the forests, but, even more important, it sows betrayal and division that undermine the opposition.

Is there any hope for Indonesia's rainforests-and the people who depend on them? To answer that question, I visit an older oil palm plantation, Perseroan Terbatas Bumi Pratama Khatulistiwa. It's owned by Wilmar and located in the coastal district of Pontianak, near the village of Mega Timur. This terrain used to be tropical peatland forest, but in 1996, Wilmar began razing the groves and digging deep canals to drain the soil. Now the land is a uniform grid of oil palms. According to Greenpeace, the destruction and degradation of Indonesian peatlands releases 4 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike the Dayak of Pareh, the peasants of Mega Timur welcomed the plantation, seeing it as their ticket to a better life. Many families agreed to surrender their land to Wilmar; each received in exchange a smaller plot sown with palm, with the cost of the planting passed on to the family in the form of a loan. This is a common arrangement that somewhat resembles sharecropping: The peasants are obliged to sell their harvest to the company at a set price, regardless of the market rate. The Wilmar plantation siphons off half the money as payments on the planting loans; it also deducts fees for roads and drainage systems, fertilizer and pesticides, harvest collection, security and administrative charges, and a deposit into a mandatory savings account. After almost a decade of working with the company, none of the smallholders I talk to know how much they've earned, how much they've saved, or what portion of their loans they've paid. They do know, however, that floods are common now that the wetlands are gone. Several times a year their fields are submerged, sometimes for weeks on end.

My last stop in Indonesia is the Center for International Forestry Research, a serene, wooded compound where more than 100 top scientists are working out ways to protect the world's forests and their peoples. Researcher Herry Purnomo is part of an international team that has devised a plan to pay developing countries to leave the trees standing. Known as the Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Degradation initiative, the program is projected to cost a mere $12 billion annually worldwide-not bad considering that the US government has spent $126 billion on post-Katrina reconstruction. But international agencies and Western governments have promised only $1 billion so far-"nowhere near what there needs to be," Purnomo says with frustration.


Australia: Warmist Wong is wrong

Business has a new nickname for Climate Change Minister Penny Wong. They call her "The High Priestess", reflecting the view that Wong has been overtaken by religious zeal - rather than rationality - in her campaign to impose the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme on Australia. It also reflects the fact that in the context of the global financial crisis this is now a changed world from the one in which the idea of an emissions trading scheme was debated before the last federal election.

Back then the collapse of the world's financial markets was dismissed by Labor. Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan scoffed at the idea of a global downturn. At that time they were obsessed by an economy which they thought was on an inflation-fuelled freight train, running out of control and in need of a yank on the interest-rate brake. And Peter Costello, warning of a "global tsunami", was labelled a desperate Henny Penny, peddling fear as an election device to scare voters back into the Coalition fold.

Not now. In the resource-boom environment that prevailed then, business was prepared to countenance the idea of an ETS - even if it involved some job losses and extra cost - because with the economy expected to stay on a growth path it was an acceptable price to pay for a cleaner, greener future.

No more. Last week saw a decisive shift in sentiment, with the influential Australian Industry Group - generally seen as close to the Government - calling for a delay in the introduction of any ETS until 2012, rather than the Government's proposed 2010. In a statement, the AIG described 2010 as "neither necessary nor realistic" and was explicit too about the likely impact of the bleak global outlook on Australia's emissions task. "Australia is already on track to meet its Kyoto commitments over the period to 2012," the group said. "The sharp downturn in the economy and the associated reduction in emissions . . . will reduce our abatement task in the short term."

In other words, the targets set and still championed by Wong are now irrelevant. The truth is, business always had reservations, but in the afterglow of Rudd's emphatic 2007 mandate it kept those concerns muted. But now AIG's reservations have been echoed by Onesteel, BlueScope Steel and the Australian Farm Institute.

Andrew Robb is Wong's Coalition opposite number on the ETS. Even before his instalment in this position he had around 50 major companies coming quietly through his back door, pressuring him to get Wong to change tack. Since January, when formally endorsed to shadow Wong, he's had 20 more.

In a week in which the loss of 1850 jobs at Pacific Brands has finally crystallised the truly national threat to employment security flowing from the global credit crunch, the Opposition is now linking the ETS directly to these fears. "Every sewing machine, every production line, every mill, every conveyor belt, every piece of machinery that uses energy will suffer a new cost as a result of the ETS that our overseas competitors will not have to face," thundered former National Party Senate leader Ron Boswell last week.

His point is that in setting carbon-reduction targets, Australia is well ahead of its low-wage trade and manufacturing competitors such as India and China. The United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen later this year will try to bring those developing countries and others on board. But if it fails in this endeavour, the Opposition argues, Australian industry will be dangerously exposed.

A year ago, Boswell was almost a lone voice. Even the Coalition was committed to an ETS - and this remains nominally the case - but Malcolm Turnbull now says it's only part of the solution. Boswell suddenly has company. Under this pressure, the Government - if not Wong - appears also to be shifting ground. First, Treasurer Wayne Swan tried quietly to set up an inquiry into the merits of an ETS - despite the fact the Government was already nominally committed to such a scheme. When the obvious contradiction blew up in his face, Swan scuttled the idea.

Last week there was another straw in the wind. In his first minor front-bench reshuffle, Kevin Rudd assigned one of the best operators in the Government, Greg Combet, to become parliamentary secretary to Wong with explicit responsibility for climate change. There are two ways of looking at this: Combet is there to help Wong, or he's there to ride shotgun on Rudd's behalf. In his former guise as ACTU Secretary, Combet had only one priority: the protection of workers' jobs. After the human and economic tragedy of PacBrands, Wong may find Rudd's focus too has shifted Combet's way. In which case, last week may turn out to be the time when the ETS - at least in its current form - hit the wall.



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


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Banking Bailout Money in Lobbyists' Pockets: TARP Money Used to Push for a New "Green Bubble"

Wall Street firms bailed out by the American taxpayer are now financing an extensive lobbying campaign to promote the costly federal regulation of greenhouse gases and putting the American public at risk of facing yet another costly economic "bubble," charges the National Center for Public Policy Research.

"Using TARP money to inflate another bubble is beyond outrageous," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D, director of the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center. "Not only are taxpayers being looted to subsidize Wall Street's latest risky scheme, but taxpayers will also bear the brunt of cap-and-trade through higher energy prices. Only in today's upside-down political world do two wrongs make a right."

A new report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) finds that the over 2,000 lobbyists, including representatives of the financial industry, pressing for a "cap-and-trade" scheme. Such a scheme would place federal caps on carbon emissions, thereby leading to the creation of an artificial carbon emissions trading market that could reach an estimated $2 trillion in paper value.

Critics of cap-and-trade counter than these regulations would also unnaturally raise energy prices and reduce supply, which would counteract efforts to revive the economy. Chillingly, because the new carbon "market" would be wholly artificial, the legislation could create another economic bubble.

According to the CPI study, lobbyists for Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are involved, and, in total, "the finance industry has as large a lobbying force on climate as the alternative energy industry, with about 130 reps working the issue last year..."

JPMorgan Chase got $25 billion in TARP money last fall while Goldman Sachs obtained $10 billion. The stated purpose of the cash infusion was to recapitalize the banks so they could resume consumer lending.

"Our economy is already reeling from the banks' involvement in debacles such as mortgage securitization. Now Wall Street wants to gamble on carbon dioxide credit IOUs," added Borelli. "If the financial industry could not manage the risks associated with mortgages - which are based on tangible assets - how can it possibly manage the risks associated with trading ubiquitous and invisible gases like carbon dioxide?"

It can be assumed that this lobbying bonanza will only increase in scope since President Obama, in his recent address to Congress, asked lawmakers "to send [him] legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America."

The National Center for Public Policy Research's Borelli says the current lobbying orgy over cap-and-trade epitomizes everything that is wrong with our political system: Corporations try to exploit the latest left-wing cause and partner with sympathetic lawmakers to inflate a market. When markets explode, taxpayers are left to pay for the cleanup. Meanwhile, CEOs and elected officials are not been held accountable. They often then go on to repeat their mistakes.

"Liberal activism and Wall Street greed gave us Fannie Mae and the housing crisis. We are simply repeating the same mistake with global warming and cap-and-trade," warns Borelli. "Under the guise of social responsibility, CEOs are partnering with the liberal majority in Congress and their special interest group allies to pass legislation that will lead to a massive growth in government and a slower growth of our already-weak economy."

The above is a press release from The National Center for Public Policy Research, a non-partisan educational foundation based in Washington, DC established in 1982. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or dalmasi@nationalcenter.org, or visit www.nationalcenter.org.

"Mandating Markets for Wind Power - a Stealth Tax on Electricity Consumers."

Statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused the [Australian] Federal and some state governments of imposing Stealth Taxes on electricity consumers by forcing power retailers to buy expensive power from inefficient and costly renewable energy sources. The Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, said that there were no climate benefits whatsoever in forcing consumers to buy an increasing proportion of their electricity from expensive and unreliable suppliers like wind farms. "This whole pork barrel exercise must be designed to buy green votes because it will have negligible effect on carbon dioxide emissions, and no one could measure or feel any effect on world temperature.

"The policy is obviously an insincere fraud. If politicians were sincere in their belief that there is a critical need to cut CO2 emissions, they would be investigating what France has done to generate 75% of their power from low cost reliable nuclear power, or what Norway has done to get 97% of their power from reliable low cost hydro power. Unlike wind power, these options can generate electricity cheaply with zero CO2 emissions and without needing wasteful backup from carbon emitting coal or gas plants.

"But we hear of no proposals to build a nuclear power station in the Latrobe or the Hunter valley or new hydro schemes in the Snowy, Tasmania or North Queensland.

"Obviously there are no green votes in these efficient zero-emission power options so we see politicians wasting a never-ending stream of funds from taxpayers and consumers on expensive unreliable playthings like wind farms and home-hobby solar panels.

"Are these people for real? Australia currently gets about 94% of its electric power from carbon fuels, mainly black and brown coal. Billions of dollars in community savings are tied up in these stations and their associated transmission lines, coal mines and engineering skills.

"The ALP thinks we can cut carbon emissions by 20% and at the same time cater for a growing population, all within the next 12 years. Not to be outdone, the liberals seem to be advocating tougher targets, and Al Gore and his local green disciples think we can do without coal power altogether.

"When they start fiddling with a basic industry like power generation, misleading people on the cost, capacity and reliability of wind and solar power, and threatening the sudden closure of old but reliable coal fired stations, they will suddenly find they cannot get the blackout genie back in the bottle.

"Wind farms have proved useless in providing sufficient reliable power in critical times. During the recent long frigid spell in UK, their wind turbines were becalmed like flotilla of sailing clippers on a glassy ocean - they produced 0.4% (yes, less than one percent) of total UK power requirements - reliable old coal stations were cranked up, and heat and light for shivering Britons came from: coal (50%), gas (31%) and nuclear 16%.

"Again during the heat waves in South Australia and Victoria, the contribution from wind generators was small and generally in periods of low demand. Things were even worse in West Texas, where a sudden drop in the winds on the Texas Plains caused such instability in the power grid that the whole grid was shut down.

"Denmark is finding its wind turbines a liability - they cannot use the unreliable power and have to sell it at a loss into the European power grid.

"The A$88 million half year loss reported yesterday by BB Wind Power in Australia is a sign of the future for all shareholders who subscribe funds to these financial black holes. When subsidies and mandated market shares are removed, as they will be, wind power will be revealed as a sub-prime investment. Investors will find they were relying on whims not wind.

(The Chairman of BBW admitted that BBW relies on political supports for future profits when he said: "The Australian government's renewable energy targets and encouragement of renewable energy investment in the US would drive the company's profits in the short-term". AAP 24/2/09)

"Already wind towers are being scrapped in Europe but still Australia is forcing consumers and taxpayers to subsidise these expensive playthings.

"The Carbon Sense Coalition has made a submission to one of the many enquiries running in Canberra Wonderland. This submission opposes any extensions of the renewable energy target schemes and recommends that current schemes be scrapped before they do irreparable harm. The full submission can be viewed at: http://carbon-sense.com/2009/02/22/stealth-tax/

The above is a press release from Viv Forbes, Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition, MS 23 Rosewood Qld., Australia 4340. Phone: 0754 640 533. Email: info@carbon-sense.com www.carbon-sense.com

Wisconsin Legislator Announces Establishment of the Weekly Hot Air Report

Meteorologist and State Representative Jim Ott [Rep.Jim.Ott@legis.wisconsin.gov] announced today that he will be releasing a weekly report on global warming. "The amount of material on global warming is so overwhelming," said Ott, "that as a service to our readers I will be highlighting some of the more interesting global warming developments. This will be especially important as attempts to introduce global warming legislation in Wisconsin are expected in the near future."

In this inaugural issue we will review some of the outrageous and possibly dangerous ideas of those who feel we must "fight" global warming now.

Last April, Science magazine online reported that a proposed plan to inject sulfur compounds into the atmosphere in an attempt to mimic volcanic activity could actually damage the Earth's ozone layer. The particles would supposedly block sunlight in an effort to cool the Earth's temperature. As far as we know, there are no immediate plans to actually conduct such an experiment.

In January, it was reported that a group of scientists from Germany and India spread six tons of iron sulphate powder over a 100 square mile area of the Antarctic Ocean. This experiment was done in an attempt to cause a massive algae bloom. These scientists believe the algae will remove carbon dioxide from the air and then sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Did anyone conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment? How might clogging the oceans with algae affect marine life? How much of the oceans would the researchers want to ultimately treat if they felt their experiment was a success? What other effects might iron sulphate have on the environment? Apparently the answers to these questions don't matter if you are fighting global warming.

As a high school student in the 1960's, I recall writing a term paper that questioned some of the outlandish ideas of how man might control the weather. The concern then was that the Earth was cooling, so schemes such as spreading coal dust over the arctic snow pack to melt it earlier in the spring, and orbiting large mirrors in space to reflect more sunlight to the earth were proposed. Today, some suggest orbital mirrors to actually deflect sunlight away from the Earth.

As far as we know, such warming experiments were never conducted as climate scientists began to accept that changing one part of the Earth's climate could have unforeseen consequences in other areas. Unfortunately, these sorts of plans have now returned. If the algae experiment is any indication, global warming proponents are willing to try anything in their hysterical fear the planet is warming.

As a meteorologist, I oppose any attempts to alter the Earth's climate with experiments that will be ineffectual at best and dangerous at worst. The United Nations should act immediately to stop this nonsense and individual nations should show respect for the Earth's climate system, about which science still has a lot to learn. I will keep you informed as similar ideas are proposed.

In next week's edition: Is there really scientific consensus when it comes to global warming?


Obama's Climate Rip-Off

By Steven Milloy

President Obama wants to pay you to support global warming regulation. What he isn't saying, however, is that his enticement won't come close to covering what the regulations will cost you. In his 10-year budget released this week, the President proposed a so-called cap-and-trade scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the proposal, 100 percent of the permits to emit greenhouse gases would be auctioned to coal and natural gas-burning electric utilities, industrial plants and other emitters-to-be-designated. The proceeds from the auctions would then distributed to individual Americans "to help the transition to a clean energy economy," according to his budget proposal. But what does this proposal mean for the average person in terms of actual dollars and cents?

It’s difficult to work out the precise financial impacts, but you can get an idea by doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations with some of the facts and figures that have recently been bandied about. Based on past global warming legislation, like the Lieberman-Warner bill that failed in the Senate last June, a cap-and-trade plan would probably cover about 80 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions - about 5.8 billion tons based on a total of 7.3 billion tons emitted during 2007.

Assuming that permits are auctioned at a price of $12 per ton - a safety valve price included in past climate bills - the Obama plan would raise about $70 billion in its first year. Given that President Obama has proposed to spend about $15 billion per year of the auction proceeds on "clean energy" projects, about $55 billion would be leftover for distribution to individuals- in other words, every American with a Social Security number. Dividing the $55 billion among more than 300 million Americans, then, works out to about $180 per person and $720 per family of four per year. It's not like winning the lottery, but it's better than nothing - or is it?

The liberal think tank Center on Budget Priorities and Policy estimated this week that reducing greenhouse gas emissions would cost the poorest families in America $750 per year as higher energy prices ripple through the economy affecting all goods and services. So if the poorest families, who use far less energy than the rest of America, are in a financial hole under the president's plan, one can easily imagine how the rest of us will end up. Consider the potential consequences on just your electric bill.

The proposed Lieberman-Warner bill would have auctioned only 25 percent of the permits - not 100 percent as President Obama is proposing. The remaining 75 percent of the credits would have been distributed for free to electric utilities and other designated greenhouse gas emitters. But even under that scheme, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers told The New York Times last summer that electricity rates would rise by 40 percent in the first year to cover his utility's $2 billion outlay for credits. So a 100 percent auction could increase electricity bills for Duke's 4 million customers by 160 percent - meaning a $100 monthly electric bill becomes, perhaps, a $260 monthly bill. Based on these calculations, a family of four that pays more than $40 per month for electricity - that is, every family - is a net loser under President Obama's plan.

And those are the potential increases for just your electric bill. Not included are other likely price hikes for goods and services - gasoline, food, travel, etc. - that will necessarily be passed along to consumers. As you can readily see, your share of President Obama's auction proceeds don't come close to breaking even on greenhouse gas regulation.

Maybe you're thinking that these extra costs are worth it as they will be dwarfed by the environmental benefits of tackling the much-dreaded global warming. Think again. There will be no detectable or tangible benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions. First, carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas targeted by regulation is invisible, colorless and odorless. Since it exists in the atmosphere at levels measured in the parts per million, unless you're a plant that needs CO2 to live, you're not going to notice it.

Next, there is no evidence that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing detectable changes, much less any harm, to the climate. This means, of course, that there is no evidence that reducing carbon dioxide emissions will have any detectable changes on climate.

Even assuming for the sake of argument that man made carbon dioxide emissions were changing climate, Obama's cap-and-trade bill will still have no detectable impact. First, EPA projects that a maximum clamp down on future U.S. emissions would reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by about 5 percent or less - a trivial change no matter what you believe about carbon dioxide. Moreover, China and India have vowed not to harm their economies because of global warming - so their emissions can be expected to soar as they develop and more than make-up for our reductions.

Maybe the economics of Obama's cap-and-trade rip-off don't bother you, but the fact that the rip-off will accomplish nothing should give you pause.


Clear Thinking on Global Warming

Possibly for PR purposes, Prof. Happer makes some statements in line with Warmist beliefs but offers reasons to believe that the effect of CO2 emissions is trivial -- JR

Many people write sensible things about anthropogenic global warming, but I find Professor William Happer's statement to the US Senate on February 25, 2009, especially clear and convincing. Happer is the Cyrus Fogg Bracket Professor of Physics at Princeton University. He was also the Director of Energy Research at DOE from 1990-93, where he supervised all of DOE's work on climate change. He says this:
"The climate is warming and CO2 is increasing. Doesn't this prove that CO2 is causing global warming through the greenhouse effect? No, the current warming period began about 1800 at the end of the little ice age, long before there was an appreciable increase of CO2. There have been similar and even larger warmings several times in the 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age. These earlier warmings clearly had nothing to do with the combustion of fossil fuels. The current warming also seems to be due mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Over the past ten years there has been no global warming, and in fact a slight cooling. This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC models."

He explains the "bit player" role that CO2 plays in greenhouse warming. Even if doubled, CO2 in the atmosphere would increase global temperatures "on the order of one degree," all else equal, and that would be about as much as it could ever increase it.

He explains that not all else is equal. He explains that satellite measurements indicate that water vapor and clouds, which account for 90% of greenhouse warming, have a negative feedback with CO2 levels, thus counteracting most or all of the warming effects of CO2.

He explains that temperatures have been warmer in the past and undergo cycles, counter to the "hockey stick" graph trumpeted in the third report of the IPCC. The hockey stick
"was the result of incorrect handling of proxy temperature records and incorrect statistical analysis. There really was a little ice age and there really was a medieval warm period that was as warm or warmer than today. I bring up the hockey stick as a particularly clear example that the IPCC summaries for policy makers are not dispassionate statements of the facts of climate change."

He explains how ice core observations show that historical temperatures and CO2 levels are indeed correlated, but that temperature increases preceded the CO2 increases - by "about 800 years", thus indicating that warming causes increased CO2 and not vice versa.

He explains how erroneous computer models are.
"It is true that climate models use increasingly capable and increasingly expensive computers. But their predictions have not been very good. For example, none of them predicted the lack of warming that we have experienced during the past ten years. All the models assume the water feedback is positive, while satellite observations suggest that the feedback is zero or negative."

On sea level rise,
"The sea level is indeed rising, just as it has for the past 20,000 years since the end of the last ice age. Fairly accurate measurements of sea level have been available since about 1800. These measurements show no sign of any acceleration."

He explains that CO2, and higher concentrations of it in the atmosphere, are actually good for us. "Crop yields will continue to increase as CO2 levels go up... moderate warming is an overall benefit to mankind because of higher agricultural yields and many other reasons."

And finally, he shoots down the supposed "scientific consensus" on global warming. For one, consensus is not the way science works. And two, there is no consensus.

His statement is truly scientific. Not because he is a credentialed scientist, but because he uses physical observations to support or falsify hypotheses. Unlike so many other statements on climate change (e.g., any statement from Al Gore or NASA's James Hansen), you can follow his reasoning and it makes sense. Keep his testimony in your hip pocket, for the next time you are called a "denier."


'Stimulating' Scientists Into Proving Global Warming

The new bill will spend billions to adjust data to "prove" the fallacy that humans are responsible for global warming

By Frank J. Tipler, Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University.

The trillion-dollar plus porkapalooza Wreak-America Bill just passed by Congress will throw a huge amount of money into scientific research. This will be a good thing for certain scientists, but a very, very bad thing for science.

Young scientists do most of the great science. Einstein was 26 when he published his relativity theory. In 1980, when I got my first government research grant at the age of 33, some 22 percent of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants were given to scientists under the age of 35. In 2005, only three percent of NIH grants went to those under 35, while the percentage given to those over 45 increased from 22 to 77.

Increasingly, government grants are used to defend dogma, not discover new truth: 28 percent of the scientists supported by NIH admitted recently to cooking data to support establishment theory, and 66 percent admitted to cutting corners to achieve the same end. I myself no longer trust the data claims appearing in the leading science journals.

The United States and the European nations have spent billions of dollars to build the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) outside Geneva, Switzerland. The new bill will spend more. The Standard Model of particle physics predicts that the central particle of the Standard Model, the Higgs Boson, must have a mass-energy of around 220 GeV, an energy well within the range of the LHC. But the particle physics establishment does not want the Higgs Boson to exist, because if it does, then particle physics would be complete, and the particle physicists would be out of a job. Gary Taubes, in his book Nobel Dreams, has documented that the same people now in control of the LHC tried years ago to cook the data to refute the Standard Model. Can they be trusted now?

The new Wreak-America Bill will throw billions of dollars more into global warming research, a field in which data cooking has become an open scandal. Once again, the data is being adjusted to confirm the establishment theory: humans are responsible for global warming. In actual fact, satellite observations show that the Earth is now cooling, and has been cooling for about 10 years. This confirms the anti-establishment theory that the Earth warmed prior to the late 1990s due to the then-increasing number of sunspots, and is now cooling due to the now decreasing number of sunspots. The Wreak-America bill contains funds to "adjust" those pesky satellite observations, so that the data will confirm what powerful politicians wish to be true.

Universities have essentially been nationalized, like the banks. For years, government research grants have been pork grants: between 30 and 50 percent of all grant money is for "overhead," which is spent at the discretion of university administrators. Surprise, surprise: administrators always decide that more administrators are needed, and administrator salaries increase. Over the last 50 years - the period of increasing government grant money - the administrator-student ratio at universities has increased more than 100 percent, while the faculty-student ratio has stayed the same or decreased. Today, a science professor cannot get tenure unless he has a government grant. A scientist's teaching skills, her contributions to scientific knowledge, are irrelevant.

The hallmark of a nationalized industry is degraded production, and we can already see this happening in physics. In his book The Trouble with Physics, the physicist Lee Smolin divided up the past two centuries into 25-year intervals, and listed the great breakthroughs in physics that occurred in each. Rather, in all intervals but one: the past 25 years, within which there have been no physics breakthroughs.

Nationalization of medical research has slowed the advance of medicine. The U.S. cancer death rate is actually higher today than it was decades ago, before Nixon launched his War on Cancer. NIH cancer researchers are given grants to "make progress toward curing cancer," not curing cancer. If someone found a cure for cancer, there would be no more grants for making progress toward a cure for cancer. Gary Taubes, in his most recent book Good Calories, Bad Calories, has shown how the American obesity epidemic is a consequence of government control of nutrition research, which has lead to poorer nutrition standards and guidelines than we had in the 1950s.

The great classical liberal economist Milton Friedman pointed out that, "Einstein didn't construct his theory on order from a bureaucrat." If this Wreak-America Bill becomes law, the only theories created will be those created on order from a bureaucrat. And the theories will be wrong. Scientific truth cannot be established by government degree.



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


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