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

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

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

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31 March, 2010

Reefgate: More Greenie dishonesty about coral reefs -- including secret data again (of course)

Following is a letter from Walter Starck [] to an academic journal about a recent article they published which violates many canons of science. Walter Starck is one of the pioneers in the scientific investigation of coral reefs.

The article Starck criticises advocates banning fishermen from as much of Australia's Great Barrier reef as possible and gives as one of the reasons: "Given the major threat posed by climate change, the expanded network of marine reserves provides a critical and cost-effective contribution to enhancing the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef"

Re: McCook, L.J., et al. 2010. "Marine Reserves Special Feature: Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef". PNAS 2010: 0909335107v1-200909335.

The above referenced study presents a number of concerns:

The most serious concern is a major conflict of interest involving all of the 21 authors. It should be noted that the lead author is employed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and all of the 20 additional authors are either employed by them or are recipients of substantial funding from them.

It is incongruous in the extreme that all these employees and repeated recipients of generous GBRMPA funding, could, “…declare no conflict of interest.” when they are in fact assessing the benefits of their own work and that of the organisation which supports them.

Combined with the rather unrestrained positive spin on the benefits and cost effectiveness achieved by GBRMPA management, the appearance of this report is that of a promotion piece which the most productive and respected beneficiaries of their research funding have been invited to endorse.

In such case, it would have been very difficult for them to decline or to offer much objection to the claims made. At the same time, their names and status would provide credibility and deterrence of criticism while greatly increasing the prospect of acceptance for publication in a prestigious journal such as PNAS.

In addition, PNAS, “Authors must acknowledge all funding sources supporting the work.” There appears to be no such disclosure in this study.

PNAS must also, “…make materials, data, and associated protocols available to readers.”

McCook et al. state that, “Another important observation emerging from this review is the extent of relevant data that are not published or readily accessible. A full picture of the effects and effectiveness of zoning on the GBR has required extensive use of gray literature, previously unpublished data, and collation of separate data sources.”

GBRMPA has been the sponsor of most of the research cited and, through the permit system, they exercise control over the terms of all other research conducted there. They are also a major publisher of GBR literature, both scientific and non-technical. The extent to which relevant data is not published or readily accessible is their direct responsibility. As the data referred to for this review has obviously been assembled, why has it not been made available?

The major claim of a doubling of fish on protected reefs appears to rest on a single example. This is inconsistent with abundant other evidence including that which is presented in the report itself. Only one reef area of the 8 featured in the report showed a 2-fold increase and that area had the lowest level to begin and lowest difference between fished and unfished reefs.

In 5 of the 8 areas featured in the report the protected reefs actually showed a decline in coral trout numbers. On fished reefs, three areas showed increases in biomass while 5 showed declines. This is hardly the “extraordinary” 2-fold increase in protected areas being bannered.

McCook et al. state, "The economic value of a healthy GBR to Australia is enormous, currently estimated to be about A$5.5 billion annually...." "Relative to the revenue generated by reef tourism, current expenditure on protection is minor." "Tourism accounts for the vast majority of reef-based income and employment. ...income from tourism is estimated to be about 36 times greater than commercial fishing."

These claims are highly misleading. The economic value cited includes the total value for all tourism in the region when half of all tourists do not even visit the reef. For those who do, the reef component of the large majority is a one day, one time participation in a reef tour and the value of reef tours is similar to the value of commercial fishing.

If one also considers the economic value of recreational fishing, retail fish sales and seafood meals in restaurants, the total value of fishing is closer to twice that of reef tours. In addition, the reef tour industry regularly uses only about 2 dozen out of the 2500 reefs of the GBR and, on those which are used, the actual area visited would only be about 1% of the area of even those reefs.

Unfished reefs to optimize scenic value for tourism could easily coexist with an order of magnitude greater fishing effort, and no detriment at all to tourism. The attribution of total tourism value to the reef is no more justifiable than attributing it to the similar numbers who visit the rainforest or who eat seafood meals while visiting the region.

Such claims have been repeatedly made by GBRMPA and would, if used by a business, constitute violations of advertising and corporate law. To see it done repeatedly and included in a report in a leading scientific journal is a sad indictment of GBRMPA sponsored science as well as basic honesty.

Babcock et al., 2010 (in another study published in PNAS on the same day as McCook et al.) also examined the ecological effects of marine protected areas. However, this report is much more widely based geographically and longer term. Although the observed effects were generally positive, they were decidedly less large, rapid, extensive, and uniformly positive than those reported for the GBR. All of them also involved areas subject to much greater fishing pressure than the GBR.

One might reasonably expect that increased protection for the least impacted areas would result in a less marked beneficial effect rather than the much more widespread rapid and dramatic benefits claimed by McCook et al. For example, Babcock et al., “…found that the time to initial detection of direct effects on target species … was 5.13 ± 1.9 years….”

Note that this was the time to initial detection, not the even longer time required to reach a doubling of population. When compared to the much greater effects claimed for the GBR over two years, the latter do indeed appear to be “extraordinary”.

Various key claims are contradicted by other more extensive work by the same researchers with no acknowledgement or discussion of this.

In reading over McCook et al., some 40 such discrepancies were noted and more detailed examination would surely reveal more. However, without going further it should be clear that PNAS has been badly used. The serious and obvious conflict of interest alone can neither be ignored nor credibly explained away. If not addressed, it makes a farce of the declaration of no conflict. It alone must surely be more than sufficient grounds to retract this study. Although doing this may be unpleasant it would be far less damaging than to try to examine and defend all of the sad and disreputable details.

Coming at a time when public credibility in science is being seriously eroded by ongoing revelations of malpractice in what the public was assured was inrrefutable fact and settled science regarding climate change, these “extraordinary” (their own description) claims regarding the GBR are well positioned to become a “Reefgate”. This is especially so in that a key claim in this report and widely made elsewhere, is that a major benefit of protected areas on reefs is the increased resilience they provide against climate change.

Although controversy regarding the management of the GBR may appear of minor public interest from a U.S. perspective, it will be national news here in Australia and PNAS could find itself very much involved in a most difficult to defend position should prompt and decisive action not be taken.

A public release on all this will be made here in the near future. Whatever the decision of PNAS, it would be better made sooner than later.

The Next Big Thing: In environmental politics, it'll be 'ocean acidification'

Remember you read it here first: The Next Big Thing in environmental politics will be “ocean acidification.” That was assured this month when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency caved in to to the bullying tactics of enviro pressure groups, and proclaimed that EPA regulators will use the Clean Water Act to remedy a problem that doesn’t exist.

The EPA’s decision came in response to a lawsuit alleging the agency should have required the state of Washington to designate its marine waters as impaired by rising acidity. But in doing so, the EPA ignored sound science and did a disservice to Washington citizens.

Faced with the inconvenient truths that global temperatures have not been rising during the past decade, and that most of the warming of the twentieth century occurred before 1945 (when human greenhouse gas emissions were minimal), global warming alarmists are pushing ocean acidification as their new justification for restricting oil, coal, and natural gas production. They claim that as the world’s oceans absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide, ocean water becomes harmfully acidic to marine life.

The real-world evidence for an ocean acidification crisis, however, is even less persuasive than the real-world evidence for a global warming crisis.

The world’s oceans are not acidic and are in no danger of becoming so. Acidity and alkalinity are measured by pH balance, on a scale of 1 to 14. Water with a pH of 7 is neutral. A pH below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline. The pH of the world’s oceans is slightly higher than 8.1—safely alkaline.

Regardless of human carbon dioxide emissions, the world’s oceans are in no danger of becoming acidic any time in the foreseeable future. A 2005 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature reports ocean pH was between 8.1 and 8.2 at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution—before humans began emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide—and remains between 8.1 and 8.2 today. The past 250 years of carbon dioxide emissions have had no significant effect on ocean pH, and there is little reason to believe that will suddenly, catastrophically change.

On the contrary, peer-reviewed scientific studies confirm higher carbon dioxide content will benefit rather than harm marine life.

A 2009 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for example, found sea star growth rates increased, rather than decreased, in water with double the carbon dioxide of current oceanic conditions. The study was particularly noteworthy because alarmists claim ocean acidification will take its greatest toll on marine invertebrates such as sea stars, which will allegedly have more difficulty calcifying their external skeletons in water with more carbon dioxide. A full doubling of carbon dioxide content, however, actually helped the sea stars.

In a 2007 study published in Global Change Biology, scientists observed higher carbon dioxide levels correlated with better growth conditions for oceanic life, producing higher growth rates and biomass yields than lower CO2 conditions.

A 2005 study in Journal of Geophysical Research reported rising oceanic carbon dioxide concentrations in the prior two decades correlate with a 22 percent increase in oceanic chlorophyll concentrations. Chlorophyll concentrations are the building blocks of marine life.

And in a 2008 study published in Biogeosciences, scientists subjected marine organisms to varying and often-abrupt changes in carbon dioxide concentrations. The study found marine ecosystems were “surprisingly resilient” to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and “the ecosystem composition, bacterial, and phytoplankton abundances and productivity, grazing rates and total grazer abundance and reproduction were not significantly affected by CO2-induced effects.”

These scientific studies show quite clearly that higher carbon dioxide levels substantially benefit marine life. This is similar to the effect of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on terrestrial life, where plants convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into more biomass and higher growth rates.

Study after study shows most marine creatures, from phytoplankton on up the food chain, thrive and flourish when more carbon dioxide is added to the environment. It defies reason for environmental activists to assert a need to designate marine waters as impaired due to higher concentrations of life-assisting carbon dioxide.


Forecasters at odds about warming threat

Is climate change a serious threat to humanity or a scam trumped up by agenda-minded activists? Even the nation's TV weathercasters can't agree on that scientific dilemma, according to the largest survey of the profession to date released Monday by George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication.

The majority — 63 percent — say global warming is caused "mostly by natural changes in the environment" compared with 31 percent who blamed the phenomenon on "human activities." More than a quarter said they agreed that the phenomenon is "a scam."

Another 48 percent said global warming should be a "low" priority for President Obama and Congress; one out of three felt is should be given "medium" priority; 23 percent felt is was of "high" importance.

The group is well aware of dissent in the research community as well: Sixty-one percent said there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists" about the issue.

But should climate change and global warming be a subject for their own broadcast coverage? Two-thirds said yes — though three-fourths also felt the subject was better suited for online discussions, "as many report concern about audience 'backlash,'" the survey said.

Some prominent weathermen, however, are not buying into the theory. John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel and a forecaster on KUSI in San Diego, has called global warming a "hoax" and "bad science" — a case that garnered public attention after some scientists were caught manipulating data to suit and environmental agenda.

"We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways," Mr. Coleman said. "Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by no drilling and no new refineries for decades. We pay for the shortage this has created every time we buy gas.

"On top of that, the whole thing about corn-based ethanol costs us millions of tax dollars in subsidies. That also has driven up food prices. And, all of this is a long way from over."

AccuWeather senior forecaster Joe Bastardi is another high-profile skeptic. "Common sense dictates that a trace gas needed for life on the planet would not be the cause for destroying life on the planet. Common sense dictates that what has happened before without man can happen again with man," Mr. Bastardi said. "Common sense would dictate that you not believe me, or any one else, but go look for yourself."

AccuWeather — which provides local forecasts for the entire nation and more than 2 million locations worldwide — stands behind a lively, reasonable discourse.

"We urge all scientists and members of the public to engage in the global warming discussion, including's experts. We encourage our scientists to express their personal views without the constraint of a corporate position they must follow," the company says in a position statement.

The audience appears to be waiting. "Our surveys of the public have shown that many Americans are looking to their local TV weathercaster for information about global warming," says Edward Maibach, director of the climate center at George Mason and lead investigator for the new survey.

"The findings of this latest survey show that TV weathercasters play — or can play — an important role as informal climate change educators."

The survey found that 87 percent discussed climate change at community speaking events or in on-air banter with news anchors; only 37 percent addressed the topic during their forecast — mostly due to time constraints. The TV weathercasters also want to be fair: Seventy-nine percent said global warming broadcast segments must reflect "a balance of viewpoints." Personal opinions are still a work in progress.

The survey also found that 54 percent of the forecasters agreed that "global warming is happening," though 25 percent disagreed with the idea and 21 percent were unsure. Almost half said they needed a lot more information before forming "a firm opinion."

The survey of 1,373 TV weathercasters was conducted throughout January and February; the study was funded by the National Science Foundation. The findings can be seen here


Esquire Mag. Falsely Claims Climate Depot's Morano made an 'obvious mistake' about sea levels --- Reality Check: Morano Cited Data Accurately

Sea levels have been rising slowly since the last ice age -- but have they been rising faster lately? The Warmists say yes. Marc Morano and the data say no. But Esquire magazine was too dumb to understand the question

The April 2010 issue of Esquire Magazine features a more than 6500 word feature article on Climate Depot's Executive Editor Marc Morano. The article makes the false claim that Morano told a “howler” and an “obvious mistake” about sea level during a live Sky News TV Debate in December 2009.

The article by Esquire writer John Richardson contends that the following assertion by Morano in the December 12, 2009 TV debate with Professor Mark Maslin, is incorrect:

Esquire Magazine's Spin: "Morano says, sea levels are not rising. To prove it [Morano] quotes a study by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute that actually says sea levels rose nearly eight inches in the last century. This obvious mistake leads Maslin into his fatal error, which is patronizing Marc Morano...Despite his own howler about the sea levels, he hammers away.”

Reality Check: Morano's citation about sea level was that it was “not showing the acceleration.” Morano never said it was not rising. Esquire's Richardson simply made a mistake in trying to claim Morano said sea level was "not rising."

Here is Morano's exact quote on sea level during the debate: Morano: “Sea Level is not showing the acceleration. The Royal Netherlands Meteorology Institute said this. One scientist said if sea level is rising due to global warming, no one has bothered to tell sea level."

Further Reading on sea level:

'No evidence for accelerated sea-level rise' says Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute – December 12, 2008

Excerpt: In an op-ed piece in the December 11 issue of NRC/Handelsblad, Wilco Hazeleger, a senior scientist in the global climate research group at KNMI, writes: “In the past century the sea level has risen twenty centimeters. There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rise. It is my opinion that there is no need for drastic measures. It is wise to adopt a flexible, step-by-step adaptation strategy. By all means, let us not respond precipitously.”


Lovelock bloviating again

'We can't save the planet'

Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who developed Gaia theory, has said it is too late to try and save the planet. The man who achieved global fame for his theory that the whole earth is a single organism now believes that we can only hope that the earth will take care of itself in the face of completely unpredictable climate change.

Interviewed by Today presenter John Humphrys, videos of which you can see below, he said that while the earth's future was utterly uncertain, mankind was not aware it had "pulled the trigger" on global warming as it built its civilizations.

What is more, he predicts, the earth's climate will not conveniently comply with the models of modern climate scientists.

As the record winter cold testifies, he says, global temperatures move in "jerks and jumps", and we cannot confidently predict what the future holds.

Prof Lovelock does not pull his punches on the politicians and scientists who are set to gain from the idea that we can predict climate change and save the planet ourselves. Scientists, he says, have moved from investigating nature as a vocation, to being caught in a career path where it makes sense to "fudge the data".

And while renewable energy technology may make good business sense, he says, it is not based on "good practical engineering".

At the age of 90, Prof Lovelock is resigned to his own fate and the fate of the planet. Whether the planet saves itself or not, he argues, all we can do is to "enjoy life while you can".


Greens versus blacks in Australia

THE Kimberley's peak indigenous body has attacked the "disgusting" tactics of green groups and out-of-town celebrities opposed to industrial development near Broome, accusing them of fundamental dishonesty and abusive, dirty politics.

The Kimberley Land Council also said the Wilderness Society and Save the Kimberley environmental groups were "pitting family groups against each other" in a bid to undermine traditional owners, who have made the tough decision to back a job-creating multi-billion-dollar gas hub at James Price Point on the Dampier Peninsular, 60km north of Broome.

Declaring Aborigines the first conservationists, KLC executive director Wayne Bergmann said it was "distressing" that Aborigines were being vilified as "developers" by green groups and said opponents needed to understand the damage they were doing to local indigenous people.

"Save the Kimberley and the Wilderness Society are pretending to champion the indigenous cause in order to bolster their own position and credibility," Mr Bergmann said. "They're not helping Aboriginal people. Our future does not lie in a contrived alliance with bogus green groups; our future rests with Aboriginal people stepping up and taking control."

Celebrities such as John Butler, Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst and Missy Higgins have joined retired Federal Court judge Murray Wilcox in pushing to stop the gas hub, accusing the Barnett government of riding roughshod over the rights of local Aborigines.

The KLC says the development, which will service the offshore Browse basin gas fields, will bring jobs. "The Jabirr Jabirr people are the only people who can make this decision about their country, and their decisions need to be respected," Mr Bergmann said in a speech late last week.

"The Kimberley Land Council works for and takes instructions from traditional owners. The KLC does not make decisions for traditional owners. We support the decisions of our people and their right to make those decisions."

Aborigines needed to use their land to create wealth and jobs, as 75 per cent of the indigenous population was between 16 and 26, and unemployment, suicide and crime rates were far beyond those of white Australia, he said.

Taking exception to suggestions green groups knew more about looking after their land than Aborigines did, Mr Bergmann said the KLC was examining other conservation and job-creating initiatives, including setting up a carbon trading scheme.

"Is it too much to ask that our children have opportunities for their future, have a safe environment where they can learn about their culture, language and become well-educated, that they go to school and that they can function as active participants in our society? That we put an end to poverty and disadvantage?" he said. "The actions of Save the Kimberley and some elements of the Wilderness Society, in particular, show they have no real respect for Aboriginal traditional owners and their responsibility for their land and sea country."

Save The Kimberley refused to comment, but the Wilderness Society's Peter Robertson said divisions within indigenous groups had been caused by both state and federal governments imposing "highly destructive and risky projects on Kimberley communities and the region's unspoiled environment".

"The reason there is a rising level of tension in parts of the Kimberley is because governments, in their reckless haste to approve the project, are placing communities under enormous pressure," Mr Robertson said.

"For example, WA Premier (Colin) Barnett continues to threaten traditional owners with the compulsory acquisition of their land if they do not agree to the LNG project (and) this was publicly described by the Kimberley Land Council as `negotiating with a gun to your head'."



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30 March, 2010

James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change

The usual Green/Left arrogance and Fascist mentality is fully out in the open here

Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change, according to the British scientist James Lovelock. Illustration: Murdo Macleod

Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades. This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.

It follows a tumultuous few months in which public opinion on efforts to tackle climate change has been undermined by events such as the climate scientists' emails leaked from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit.

"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change," said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful."

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."

Lovelock, 90, believes the world's best hope is to invest in adaptation measures, such as building sea defences around the cities that are most vulnerable to sea-level rises. He thinks only a catastrophic event would now persuade humanity to take the threat of climate change seriously enough, such as the collapse of a giant glacier in Antarctica, such as the Pine Island glacier, which would immediately push up sea level.

"That would be the sort of event that would change public opinion," he said. "Or a return of the dust bowl in the mid-west. Another Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report won't be enough. We'll just argue over it like now." The IPCC's 2007 report concluded that there was a 90% chance that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are causing global warming, but the panel has been criticised over a mistaken claim that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2030.

Lovelock says the events of the recent months have seen him warming to the efforts of the "good" climate sceptics: "What I like about sceptics is that in good science you need critics that make you think: 'Crumbs, have I made a mistake here?' If you don't have that continuously, you really are up the creek. The good sceptics have done a good service, but some of the mad ones I think have not done anyone any favours. You need sceptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic."

Lovelock, who 40 years ago originated the idea that the planet is a giant, self-regulating organism – the so-called Gaia theory – added that he has little sympathy for the climate scientists caught up in the UEA email scandal. He said he had not read the original emails – "I felt reluctant to pry" – but that their reported content had left him feeling "utterly disgusted".

"Fudging the data in any way whatsoever is quite literally a sin against the holy ghost of science," he said. "I'm not religious, but I put it that way because I feel so strongly. It's the one thing you do not ever do. You've got to have standards."


The truth is out: Green think tank tells environmentalists to leave climate science behind

Leaders of a contrarian environmental think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, have a way to get beyond the climate science wars: Break the link between global warming research and the push for low-carbon energy.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, in a new essay in Yale Environment 360, argue that environmentalists are too eager to link natural disasters and dangerous weather to man-made climate change.

They say this is a losing hand that has been made even weaker by the furor over the now-infamous hacked climate science emails, and controversy surrounding the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They write:
Climate science, even at its most uncontroversial, could never motivate the remaking of the entire global energy economy. Efforts to use climate science to threaten an apocalyptic future should we fail to embrace green proposals, and to characterize present-day natural disasters as terrifying previews of an impending day of reckoning, have only served to undermine the credibility of both climate science and progressive energy policy.
The essay also suggests that climate advocacy and research have become too intertwined, with environmentalists seeking to represent the science as “apocalyptic, imminent, and certain.” The science has been harmed as a result, they argue, stating:
Greens pushed climate scientists to become outspoken advocates of action to address global warming. Captivated by the notion that their voices and expertise were singularly necessary to save the world, some climate scientists attempted to oblige. The result is that the use, and misuse, of climate science by advocates began to wash back into the science itself.
They later conclude:
Climate science can still usefully inform us about the possible trajectories of the global climate and help us prepare for extreme weather and natural disasters, whether climate change ultimately results in their intensification or not. And understood in its proper role, as one of many reasons why we should decarbonize the global economy, climate science can even help contribute to the case for taking such action. But so long as environmentalists continue to demand that climate science drive the transformation of the global energy economy, neither the science, nor efforts to address climate change, will be well served.
Shellenberger and Nordhaus are a contrarian pair with a years-long penchant for telling the mainstream environmental movement that it’s screwing up the climate fight in one way or another. Several of their past essays have been controversial, notably 2004’s "The Death of Environmentalism."


Climate prof: 'I'm a skeptic'

Another slow backdown

Penn State global warming scientist Michael E. Mann regrets he did not instantly object when a fellow climatologist asked him in 2008 to delete e-mails subject to Freedom of Information requests.

"I wish in retrospect I had told him, 'Hey, you shouldn't even be thinking about this,"' Mann told The Morning Call in his first interview since the university last month launched an investigation into his conduct. "I didn't think it was an appropriate request."

Despite the request by his British colleague Phil Jones, Mann did not delete e-mails, a Penn State University panel of inquiry found. But the panel on Feb. 3 ordered a further investigation, still in progress, over a general allegation of scientific misconduct by Mann.

Penn State officials said Friday they could not yet provide further information on the probe.

The investigation is a response to the uproar, commonly referred to as Climategate, over revelations of questionable comments made by climate scientists in e-mails made public in November. The furor has shaken the scientific community and fueled doubts about global warming.

Mann, recognized internationally for his studies that conclude the Earth is heating dangerously fast, denies any wrongdoing and says he is cooperating fully with the Penn State investigation.

And in a wide-ranging interview, Mann says that not all global warming science is settled. It's not yet certain, for example, that the heat is reducing the world population of polar bears or that it increases the number of hurricanes, he said.

But he said there is almost no doubt the last half of the 20th century was the hottest 50-year period of the last millennium. That conclusion is reflected in Mann's famous 1,000-year "hockey stick" chart of temperatures.

"There have been warming trends and cooling trends in the past," Mann said. "Over the past 50 years, there has only been a warming trend [With temperature measurements from cooler areas of the globe being steadily deleted from the record, what would you expect? Of Canada's roughly 200 meteorological stations, only ONE is now used!]. Contrarians cannot point to a sustained period -- a 20- or 30-year period -- of cooling over the past 50 years. [But they can over the last 500 years -- which is a mere blip in geological time] If they could, you can be sure we would have heard about it."

He said the evidence is solid that manmade global warming presents threats that must not be ignored, even during controversies over scientists' e-mails.


Mike Wallace on Warming Myopia

Mike Wallace, a climate scientist at the University of Washington, had a provocative op-ed in the Seatlle Times last Friday. Wallace was a member of the 2001 NAS panel that was convened at the request of George W. Bush to evaluate the IPCC top line conclusions (chaired by Ralph Cicerone, present-day NAS director). That committee reaffirmed the IPCC conclusions. Wallace was also the Chair of a 2000 NAS report on reconciling surface and satellite temperature trends. He is no skeptic.

Wallace's op-ed is provocative because it suggests that we've come to focus too narrowly on climate change, and he lays some of the blame for this at the feet of the scientific community. Here is an excerpt:
It's tempting to blame the media for fixating on global warming, but we climate scientists are partly to blame for the misplaced emphasis. Over the past 20 years we have stood by and watched as governmental and nongovernmental organizations that deal with environmental issues became more and more narrowly focused on the long-term impacts of global warming.

Meanwhile, more imminent issues relating to the sustainability of our planet's life-support system under the pressures of growing human population and the widening gap between rich and poor are not getting the attention they deserve. By failing to foster creation of robust, broad-based advisory mechanisms, we have allowed the IPCC assessment reports to become the dominant vehicle for representing the views of the scientific community on a widening range of environmental issues. In the IPCC terminology, symptoms of environmental degradation, regardless of their cause, are labeled as impacts of climate change, and the societal response to them is framed in terms of mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Scientists still write papers and speak to the media about environmental concerns outside of the purview of the IPCC, but with so much of the world's attention riveted on climate change there is a lack of institutional infrastructure for calling attention to other issues. Labeling issues such as reduced agricultural productivity, loss of biodiversity, pollution and the looming shortage of fresh water as "impacts of global warming" leaves the public confused and susceptible to propaganda by groups who oppose environmental regulation of any kind. With the IPCC increasingly in the spotlight, the denialists can trivialize the entire environmental crisis simply by casting doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming.

Climate scientists and their detractors are slugging it out every day in blogs and editorial pages while legislative initiatives to get governments to address environmental and resource issues remain stalled, despite broad public support for them. At the recent Copenhagen Summit, the nations of the world were reluctant to make binding agreements to reduce their production of greenhouse gases.

Given the limited public understanding of the intricacies of climate science, the human tendency to be more concerned with current issues than with what the climate will be like 100 years from now, and the glaring inequities in per capita fossil fuel consumption between countries like the United States and those like India, justifying an enlightened energy policy on the basis of concerns about global warming is a tough sell. The negotiations might have gone better had the justification been framed in terms of conserving the world's dwindling oil reserves, stabilizing oil prices and promoting energy independence.

The current stalemate is likely to persist as long as scientists allow climate change to dominate the environmental policy agenda. In order to promote a more productive dialogue between scientists and policymakers, the discussion of adaptation and mitigation options in the policy arena needs to be reframed so that it addresses environmental degradation and sustainability in the broad sense, not just the impacts of climate change.
Wallace is right -- about the consequences of a myopic focus, the need for a more inclusive reframing and the role of the climate science community in helping maintain the myopic focus, both as silent bystander (most of the community) and actively involved in the myopic framing (those activist bloggers).

Along with Mike Hulme, Hans von Sotrch, Judy Curry and others, Mike Wallace is helping to show that there are a diversity of thoughtful views among the climate science community. The blog discussions of climate are typically colored in black and white, whereas the real world is painted in shades of gray.


Global warming 'will NOT slow down Gulf Stream and plunge Britain into ice age'

Another Greenie scare bites the dust. It did long ago, in fact, but the mass media are now noting it

Fears that global warming will shut down the Gulf Stream and plunge Britain into a mini-ice age are unfounded, a study shows. There is no evidence the phenomenon – which brings a constant flow of warm water and mild weather to northern Europe – has slowed down over the past 20 years, climate scientists say.

‘The changes we’re seeing in overturning strength are probably part of a natural cycle,’ said researcher Josh Willis, from Nasa.

The Gulf Stream is vital to Britain’s mild climate. Without the flow of warm water from the Mid Atlantic, the British Isles would be 4-6c colder than they are. Some environmentalists have argued that global warming could shut off the stream – sending temperatures spiralling down across Europe as they rise elsewhere.

The controversial scenario was dramatised in apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow and is predicted in some computer models of climate change.

The idea that a slowdown of the ocean currents would trigger such a rapid change in climate is pure fantasy, explained Dr Willis. ‘But the Atlantic overturning circulation is still an important player in today’s climate,’ he added. ‘Some have suggested cyclic changes in the overturning may be warming and cooling the whole North Atlantic over the course of several decades and affecting rainfall patterns across the U.S. and Africa, and even the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.’

The study used satellite data to study the pattern of Atlantic currents between 2002 and 2009. Researchers from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory found no long-term trend, just short-term variability, according to the study published in Geophysical Research Letters journal.

The Gulf Stream is one of the strongest currents in the world. It is driven by surface winds and differences in the density of water.

Fears that the circulation was slowing emerged in a study by the UK National Oceanography Centre in 2005. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s last report in 2007 said it was ‘very likely’ that the Gulf Stream will slow down during the next 100 years. Most climate models suggest it will slow down by one quarter over the 21st century.

Although the slowing of the Gulf Stream would have a cooling effect on Europe, the IPCC claims temperatures will still rise overall.


'Smart' meters have security holes, researchers say

Computer-security researchers say new "smart" meters that are designed to help deliver electricity more efficiently also have flaws that could let hackers tamper with the power grid in previously impossible ways.

At the very least, the vulnerabilities open the door for attackers to jack up strangers' power bills. These flaws also could get hackers a key step closer to exploiting one of the most dangerous capabilities of the new technology, which is the ability to remotely turn someone else's power on and off.

The attacks could be pulled off by stealing meters -- which can be situated outside of a home -- and reprogramming them. Or an attacker could sit near a home or business and wirelessly hack the meter from a laptop, according to Joshua Wright, a senior security analyst with InGuardians Inc. The firm was hired by three utilities to study their smart meters' resistance to attack.

These utilities, which he would not name, have already done small deployments of smart meters and plan to roll the technology out to hundreds of thousands of power customers, Wright told The Associated Press.

There is no evidence the security flaws have been exploited, although Wright said a utility could have been hacked without knowing it. InGuardians said it is working with the utilities to fix the problems.

Power companies are aggressively rolling out the new meters. In the U.S. alone, more than 8 million smart meters have been deployed by electric utilities and nearly 60 million should be in place by 2020, according to a list of publicly announced projects kept by The Edison Foundation, an organization focused on the electric industry.

Unlike traditional electric meters that merely record power use -- and then must be read in person once a month by a meter reader -- smart meters measure consumption in real time. By being networked to computers in electric utilities, the new meters can signal people or their appliances to take certain actions, such as reducing power usage when electricity prices spike.

But the very interactivity that makes smart meters so attractive also makes them vulnerable to hackers, because each meter essentially is a computer connected to a vast network.

There are few public studies on the meters' resistance to attack, in part because the technology is new. However, last summer, Mike Davis, a researcher from IOActive Inc., showed how a computer worm could hop between meters in a power grid with smart meters, giving criminals control over those meters.

Alan Paller, director of research for the SANS Institute, a security research and training organization that was not involved in Wright's work with InGuardians, said it proved that hacking smart meters is a serious concern.

"We weren't sure it was possible," Paller said. "He actually verified it's possible. ... If the Department of Energy is going to make sure the meters are safe, then Josh's work is really important."

SANS has invited Wright to present his research Tuesday at a conference it is sponsoring on the security of utilities and other "critical infrastructure."

Industry representatives say utilities are doing rigorous security testing that will make new power grids more secure than the patchwork system we have now, which is already under hacking attacks from adversaries believed to be working overseas.

"We know that automation will bring new vulnerabilities, and our task -- which we tackle on a daily basis -- is making sure the system is secure," said Ed Legge, spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, a trade organization for shareholder-owned electric companies.

But many security researchers say the technology is being deployed without enough security probing.

Wright said his firm found "egregious" errors, such as flaws in the meters and the technologies that utilities use to manage data from meters. "Even though these protocols were designed recently, they exhibit security failures we've known about for the past 10 years," Wright said.

He said InGuardians found vulnerabilities in products from all five of the meter makers the firm studied. He would not disclose those manufacturers.

One of the most alarming findings involved a weakness in a communications standard used by the new meters to talk to utilities' computers.

Wright found that hackers could exploit the weakness to break into meters remotely, which would be a key step for shutting down someone's power. Or someone could impersonate meters to the power company, to inflate victims' bills or lower his own. A criminal could even sneak into the utilities' computer networks to steal data or stage bigger attacks on the grid.

Wright said similar vulnerabilities used to be common in wireless Internet networking equipment, but have vanished with an emphasis on better security.

For instance, the meters encrypt their data -- scrambling the information to hide it from outsiders. But the digital "keys" needed to unlock the encryption were stored on data-routing equipment known as access points that many meters relay data to. Stealing the keys lets an attacker eavesdrop on all communication between meters and that access point, so the keys instead should be kept on computers deep inside the utilities' networks, where they would be safer.

"That lesson seems to be lost on these meter vendors," he said. That speaks to the "relative immaturity" of the meter technology, Wright added.



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


29 March, 2010

Meet Mr Forbush

"Forbush decreases" are probably getting a bit technical for many readers of this blog but they refer to short periods (a few days) when the earth is hit by fewer cosmic rays (no relation to me) than usual. And why is that important? Because Svensmark has shown that cosmic ray fluctuations affect cloud formation and hence global warming. Clouds are a major influence on the temperature underneath them.

So whether cloud cover varies during Forbush events would seem to be a good test of Svensmark's theory. A recent German paper has claimed that Forbush events did NOT influence cloud cover so therefore Svensmark is wrong.

I have not yet seen any comment from skeptics on the paper concerned so I think I might say a word or two until more expert heads than mine get to work.

Basically, the paper seems pretty silly. They sent an aircraft up to observe the cloud cover over just a few areas of central Europe. But it is GLOBAL data that is needed to test the theory. Local weather influences can easily swamp small effects from cosmic rays -- and it is small effects that the Warmists are talking about. Their "hockey stick" graphs (for instance) are normally scaled in tenths of one degree.

Lubos Motl had some sage words about Forbush events last year.

Private British weather forecasters reject global warming

The brief below is from "Positive Weather Solutions". PWS has a much better record at forecasting than does the official British Met office, who are keen global warmers

PWS are of the firm belief that global warming is cyclical, and there is no substantial, conclusive evidence, to back up the statement that we are heading towards a 'runaway climate' scenario.

There is significant evidence to suggest the our climate is dominated by cyclical patterns.

The graph depicts analysis of tree ring data taken from 12 locations in the northern hemisphere, and despite challenges to it from some quarters, it remains in the belief of PWS, solid evidence of a cyclical pattern in weather, and furthermore, shows that humans and their related events in history do indeed coincide with variances. Even if the ring data as some suggest actually suggests cooling where there is warming, this too remains a variance, and not an over all definitive trend.

There is also a noticeable blip in the argument for climate change during the period from around 5000 - 3000 BC, known as the 'climatic optimum', where temperatures were even warmer than the allegedly runaway climate temperatures of the future, that we're supposed to be seeing if global warming were true.

Furthermore, the most reliable form of temperature measurement are satellite readings taken from the Earth's lower troposphere, and these show no apparent global warming over the last quarter of a century. Land based temperature readings are distorted, because of human influence, industry etc.

In conclusion, there have been three noticeable trend indicators in history as we understand it. The 'Medieval Climate Anomaly'; 'The Little Ice Age', and 'The Industrial Era', which have all 'affected' the climate. However, nature and the Earth in general has re balanced affairs as it ages, and whereas man has had an influence on the climate, there remains no outright conclusive evidence that within the next hundred year or so, temperatures will continue to climb and even if they do, they will plateau out, and cool down again.


How government cash created the Climategate scandal

By Andrew Bolt

Australian climate scientist policy analyst Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen tells the British parliamentary inquiry into Climategate just how much global warming science is corrupted by politics and money. Excerpts:
I was peer reviewer for IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)… Since 1998 I have been the editor of the journal, Energy & Environment (E&E) published by Multi-science, where I published my first papers on the IPCC. I interpreted the IPCC “consensus” as politically created in order to support energy technology and scientific agendas that in essence pre-existed the “warming-as -man-made catastrophe alarm."…

3.2 Scientific research as advocacy for an agenda (a coalition of interests, not a conspiracy,) was presented to the public and governments as protection of the planet… CRU, working for the UK government and hence the IPCC, was expected to support the hypothesis of man-made, dangerous warming caused by carbon dioxide, a hypothesis it had helped to formulate in the late 1980s…

3.3 ... In persuading policy makers and the public of this danger, the “hockey stick” became a major tool of persuasion, giving CRU a major role in the policy process at the national, EU and international level. This led to the growing politicisation of science in the interest, allegedly, of protecting the “the environment” and the planet. I observed and documented this phenomenon as the UK Government, European Commission, and World Bank increasingly needed the climate threat to justify their anti-carbon (and pro-nuclear) policies. In return climate science was generously funded and required to support rather than to question these policy objectives… Opponents were gradually starved of research opportunities or persuaded into silence. The apparent “scientific consensus” thus generated became a major tool of public persuasion…

4.1 ...  As editor of a journal which remained open to scientists who challenged the orthodoxy, I became the target of a number of CRU manoeuvres. The hacked emails revealed attempts to manipulate peer review to E&E’s disadvantage, and showed that libel threats were considered against its editorial team…

4.4 Most recently CRU alleged that I had interfered “maliciously” with their busy grant-related schedules, by sending an email to the UKCIP (Climate Impact Programme) advising caution in the use of CRU data for regional planning purposes. This was clearly reported to [CRU head Phil] Jones who contacted my Head of Department, suggesting that he needed to reconsider the association of E&E with Hull University. Professor Graham Haughton, while expressing his own disagreement with my views, nevertheless upheld the principle of academic freedom…

4.5 The emails I have read are evidence of a close and protective collaboration between CRU, the Hadley Centre, and several US research bodies such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where former CRU students had found employment. Together they formed an important group inside IPCC Working Group 1, the science group…

The CRU case is not unique. Recent exposures have taken the lid off similar issues in the USA, the Netherlands, Australia, and possibly in Germany and Canada… It is at least arguable that the real culprit is the theme- and project-based research funding system put in place in the 1980s and subsequently strengthened and tightened in the name of “policy relevance”. This system, in making research funding conditional on demonstrating such relevance, has encouraged close ties with central Government bureaucracy. Some university research units have almost become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Government Departments. Their survival, and the livelihoods of their employees, depends on delivering what policy makers think they want. It becomes hazardous to speak truth to power…

Postglacial climatic history is by no means well understood and the human contributions cannot yet be assessed.


Boehmer-Christiansen responds to comments below. Yes, she is indeed Australian, but no, she is not a climate scientist but a climate policy analyst. Moreover:
What fun to read so much about oneself!

For your info: I was 16 years old when I arrived in Adelaide from Germany; now I have two passports: one Australian and one British. I use both. Most of my family live in Australia and my children have dual nationality but live in the UK. My mother died last year in Adelaide and I did some research on Australian climate policy at Adelaide Uni during the 1990s. My husband Peter Christiansen was a space physicist who died very young in the UK but wanted to go back; my father-in-law is a very famous Australian radio-astronomer, look him up (Prof.W N Christiansen). Ted Hill was also a relative…

You all missed the most important points: my 7 or so years as research fellow at SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit) working with energy economists and emission modellers, and my research fellowship (3 years) to study the science and politics of the IPCC. I interviewed many climate scientists, read much by them but would not call myself a climate scientist. At Hull I taught environmental policy and politics. I know enough about climate science, however, to know what is not known.

My political agenda? a) To demonstrate that the sciences (a group of competing globalised institutions in need of grants - climate science needs a lot of money), are themselves a major political actor in the politics of climate change. Its managers are not adverse to a little corruption.

And b) to give climate sceptics a voice because I did not trust what emerged from the IPCC’s policy-makers summaries. The IPCC was only asked to study man-made climate change (but can’t distinguish from natural change, as yet), and to serve a treaty that had already decided what and who was to blame.

And E&E;is back on-line, is peer reviewed and took up the cause of climate scepticism because of its importance for energy policy. I believe but cannot prove that we are observing energy interest (not carbon based) ‘driving’ the science, not vice versa. Do have a closer look as IPCC working group 3.

Federal Climate Change Programs: Funding History and Policy Issues

Excerpt below from a report by the Congressional Budget Office shows the huge U.S. Federal funding that Warmists have received. ANY funding received by skeptics is the merest trifle by comparison

In recent years, the federal government has allocated several billion dollars annually for projects to expand the understanding of climate change or to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.

Most of that spending is done by the Department of Energy (DOE) and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), although a dozen other federal agencies also participate. The work is coordinated by committees in the Executive Office of the President.

Successive Administrations have tracked the funding of climate change programs and the cost of tax incentives related to climate change through what is sometimes called the “climate change budget.” That budget typically has included federal efforts in several categories:

Technology programs that develop, demonstrate, and deploy new products or processes to reduce GHG emissions;

Scientific research directed toward explaining the processes of climate change and monitoring the global climate;

Assistance to other countries as they work to reduce GHG emissions; and

Tax incentives that encourage businesses and households to adopt technologies that curtail the use of fossil fuels and reduce GHG emissions.

Funding for Federal Climate Change Programs

From 1998 to 2009, appropriations for agencies’ work related to climate change totaled about $99 billion (in 2009 dollars); more than a third of that sum was provided in fiscal year 2009.

In addition, climate-related tax preferences reduced tax revenues, by a much smaller amount, from what would have been collected in their absence. For most of that period, federal resources devoted to examining and mitigating climate change grew slowly and unevenly when adjusted for inflation.

Regular annual appropriations rose from $4.0 billion in 1998 (measured in 2009 dollars) to $7.5 billion in 2009. During that period, the nation’s commitment to climate-related technology development increased significantly, as has the forgone revenue attributable to tax preferences.


Censorship at AGU: scientists denied the right of reply

Has the Journal of Geophysical Research been coerced into defending the climate alarmist faith?

Science is best progressed by open and free discussion in which all participants have equal rights of contribution. This is especially the case when a scientific issue is related to a matter of high public controversy - such as the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.

In July 2009 we published a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) in which we described the results of comparing global atmospheric temperature since 1958 with variations in the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climatic framework. Our analysis supported earlier research that demonstrates a close link between these factors, and indicated that a large portion of the variability in global temperature is explained by ENSO variation, thus leaving little room for a substantial human influence on temperature.

On November 20, a newly appointed, replacement JGR editor informed us that a group of scientists led by Grant Foster (aka Tamino) had submitted a critique of our paper for publication in JGR. To which a reviewer responded “But as it is written, the current paper [Foster et al. draft critique] almost stoops to the level of “blog diatribe”. The current paper does not read like a peer-reviewed journal article. The tone is sometimes dramatic and sometimes accusatory. It is inconsistent with the language one normally encounters in the objectively-based, peer-reviewed literature.” Anonymous referee of the Foster et al. critique, September 28, 2009.

We were invited to write a response, which we did, submitting it to JGR on January 14, 2010.

On March 16, the replacement editor contacted us again. He included three referees’ reports, and indicated that on the advice of these referees he was rejecting our response to the Foster et al. critique, and that the response would therefore not be published in JGR.

The practice of editorial rejection of the authors’ response to criticism is unprecedented in our experience. It is surprising because it amounts to the editorial usurping of the right of authors to defend their paper and deprives readers from hearing all sides of a scientific discussion before they make up their own minds on an issue. It is declaring that the journal editor - or the reviewers to whom he defers - will decide if authors can defend papers that have already been positively reviewed and been published by that same journal. Such an attitude is the antithesis of productive scientific discussion.


The High Cost of Environmentalism

In Los Angeles, in the heart of California’s anemic economy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Department of Water and Power (DWP) hope to massively raise energy rates by a whopping 21% next year, with other rate increases slated through 2014, for a total 37% hike.

Are the increased rates intended to pay for a budget shortfall? No. Are they going up because the cost of energy is going up, too? Not exclusively. The increased rates would raise money to “invest” in renewable energy. In fact, Villaraigosa thought the hike was so important that he invited former Vice President Al Gore to present at the city council meeting via satellite.

The good news is that some common sense remains in the L.A. city council chambers, and the rate increase has not yet been implemented.

With unemployment at 12.5% in California, it would seem like now is the worst possible time for a rate hike. That fact, though, will not stop the environmental left. They will stop at nothing to make sure people can’t afford essential things like electricity and heating oil, all in the name of unconfirmed science.

Consumers aren’t the only ones who would take a hit under the plan. Villaraigosa also proposed a 22% rate increase for businesses and tried to hide the rate increases under the façade of creating 18,000 jobs His arguments fell on deaf ears at the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, where they voted against his proposal saying “They’re just making those [jobs] up.”

It is just another costly tax increase that threatens to kill whatever growth there is in the stagnated economy. There is some good news though. Not many council members are in favor of the plan, and those that are say the extra money should go toward improving the DWP. Councilman Paul Krekorian said the plan was “an extraordinary burden on our homeowners and businesses” and “unacceptable.”

It is a telling sign that even in a place as liberal as Los Angeles, there is as much opposition to a progressive “green jobs” initiative as there is in this case. It just might be another indicator of the growing skepticism about global warming. Not even the presence of former Vice President Al Gore was enough to sway council members to pass a tax that would lead to more unemployment, more people unable to pay bills, and would worsen the recession in a state that is floundering.



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


28 March, 2010

Soils, CO2, and Global Warming

An amusing demolition of some sensation-mongering Warmist garbage below. The paper concerned is so trashy that it should never have passed peer review but where global warming is concerned we see a lot of uncritical evaluation of dubious claims

On March 24 the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) issued a News Release [here] that proclaimed the soils of the Earth are now giving off more CO2 because the Earth has warmed over the last 20 years.
Even soil feels the heat

Soils release more carbon dioxide as globe warms

Mary Beckman, PNNL, March 24th, 2010

Twenty years of field studies reveal that as the Earth has gotten warmer, plants and microbes in the soil have given off more carbon dioxide. So-called soil respiration has increased about one-tenth of 1 percent per year since 1989, according to an analysis of past studies in today’s issue of Nature.

The scientists also calculated the total amount of carbon dioxide flowing from soils, which is about 10-15 percent higher than previous measurements. That number — about 98 petagrams of carbon a year (or 98 billion metric tons) — will help scientists build a better overall model of how carbon in its many forms cycles throughout the Earth. Understanding soil respiration is central to understanding how the global carbon cycle affects climate.

“There’s a big pulse of carbon dioxide coming off of the surface of the soil everywhere in the world,” said ecologist Ben Bond-Lamberty of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “We weren’t sure if we’d be able to measure it going into this analysis, but we did find a response to temperature.” …
The research paper touted in the News Release is: Bond-Lamberty and Thomson, 2010. Temperature-associated increases in the global soil respiration record, Nature March 25, 2009, doi:10.1038/nature08930.

Note: The PNNL is a Richland, WA, Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory “proudly operated by Battelle”. Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle) is “a charitable trust organized as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Ohio. Battelle is exempt from federal taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code because it is organized for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes” [here].

In this essay I discuss whether there is any merit to the findings of the research paper.

Meta-Studies and the File Drawer Effect

The PNNL/Battelle/DOE study is a meta-study or meta-analysis. That means that the authors did no soil testing themselves. Instead they examined the studies of others (818 at last count) and “pooled” them.

All meta-analyses have inherent problems including the File Drawer Effect, also known as publication bias. Researcher-authors are more likely to submit for publication positive rather than inconclusive results. Journal editors are more likely to accept articles that report “significant” findings than research which finds no effect. Studies that find no effect are shoved in a file drawer; hence the name.

Publication bias is likely in this area of study especially, given the strong political/funding incentives to find climate change effects.

For example, Martin Grueber, Research Leader, Battelle, wrote last December [here] that:
The greatest impact on our energy infrastructure in the near future will come from research and development focused on global climate change. Numbers bear this out.

For example, one of the surveys used as a basis for this R&D funding forecast shows that 60% of the respondents believe concern over global climate change will have a positive impact on research and development investments in the United States. More than 80% of those same respondents believe there will be a budget increase for R&D from U.S. federal agencies during the next year, and 73% think budget increases will continue for the next five years.
The Science and Public Policy Institute issued a report last July (written by Jo Nova) [here] that found:
The US government has spent over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. …

Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008. Banks are calling for more carbon-trading. And experts are predicting the carbon market will reach $2 - $10 trillion making carbon the largest single commodity traded.
With that kind of money at play, there is tremendous pressure on government scientists to find “effects” that they can attribute to “climate change”. Scientists are only human, after all. When their careers and their laboratories or institutions are dependent on government funding, and the government has a declared bias, it is only natural that “findings” will suit the policies.

Few scientists would be so daring (or foolish) to find no effect, and those that do are soon terminated. Integrity in government science is for sale, or subject to extortion, especially in a hugely politicized science like climatology.

We would all like to think that researchers have integrity, and that they would report whatever they found honestly. Researchers themselves would claim that they do have integrity. But the forces at play are so enormous that bias creeps in, despite good intentions.

The File Drawer Effect is pronounced in climatology. As was revealed in the Climategate scandal, government scientists conspired to subvert journals and ostracize contrarian views. A “consensus” in climatology has been declared, despite the fact that consensus has no place in any science, particularly in the speculative and uncertain prediction of future climate.

The PNNL/Battelle/DOE scientists are under significant pressure to find “effects”. So were the researchers involved in the 818 individual studies that were meta-analyzed. The meta-study itself was announced with great ballyhoo in a media blitz.

It would be the height of naivety to claim no bias exists.

Violating the Scientific Method

The 818 individual studies were limited in scope: location, duration, and methodology. The methodologies including modeling studies as well as some empirical observation studies. That is, not all of the examined studies report actual field work, either. Pooling the findings is equivalent to extending the individual study inferences beyond their respective scopes, a practice that weakens if not violates the scientific method.

Most of the studies were focused on temperate forests, and other vegetation/soil types are thus poorly represented. The authors of the meta-study characterized a percentage of the forests in the individual studies as “unmanipulated ecosystems,” but that is a stretch. No temperate forests are in truth unmanipulated within any historical context. Nor are temperate forests independent of current political trends in forest management.

For that matter, forest fires are also non-independent of current political trends. Forest fires represent the most severe type of soil carbon and soil metabolic change (disturbance).

Given all that, the meta-study purported to find a minute trend in soil respiration that is so small that it is dwarfed by the large uncertainties and biases. Further, no purported trends in gross sequestration of carbon through photosynthesis were considered in this meta-study. A slight increase in photosynthesis would offset soil respiration increases, yielding no net change terrestrial in carbon sequestration.

The upshot is that the “findings” are extremely weak and apparently blown completely out of proportion by the media blitz accompanying the paper — the blitz representing, ironically, a meta-example of publication bias.

The Numbers Reported Don’t Add Up

Alan Siddons offered some commentary on the meta-study at the Climate Realists website [here], to which Ben Bond-Lamberty and Allison Thomson, the authors of the meta-study replied. The exchange is interesting.

Siddons commented that the findings were more evidence that a climbing CO2 rate is the result of warming, not the cause. The authors replied that their study has nothing to do with whether CO2 is a result or cause of warming.

Siddons then pointed out that the News Release states:
“There’s a big pulse of carbon dioxide coming off of the surface of the soil everywhere in the world,” said ecologist Ben Bond-Lamberty of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “We weren’t sure if we’d be able to measure it going into this analysis, but we did find a response to temperature.”
So it appears that Siddons is correct and the authors are backtracking.

Siddons also pointed out that, “Results like this mean that the anthropogenic fraction must be readjusted. Is man’s annual contribution 4%? 3%? Less?” The authors replied:
We found that the soil-to-air component of the global carbon cycle is accelerating; this might not, by itself, have any effect on atmospheric CO2 levels. Even if it did, the projected CO2 increase from the soils (0.1 Pg/yr) is around 1% of fossil fuel emissions (8 Pg/yr).
Note: a petagram is 10^15 grams.

However, the News Release stated that:
The scientists also calculated the total amount of carbon dioxide flowing from soils, which is about 10-15 percent higher than previous measurements. That number [is] about 98 petagrams of carbon a year (or 98 billion metric tons).
A 10 to 15 percent increase in CO2 emission from soils is 9.8 to 14.6 petagrams per year. The amount of CO2 released from burning fossil fuels is 5 to 7 petagrams per year (the authors say 8). Roughly 4 petagrams are reabsorbed by the oceans and land. The amount of CO2 remaining in the atmosphere is increasing at a rate of roughly 2 parts per million per year (which gives a picture of how voluminous the Earth’s atmosphere is).

The question is: what is responsible for the increase is atmospheric CO2? Is it burning fossil fuels, or increased soil emissions? The authors say the increased soil emissions are 0.1 petagrams per year, but the News Release implies 9.8 to 14.6 petragrams per year. That is a difference of two orders of magnitude. The numbers are fuzzy at best, and wild estimates at worst.

The last question Siddons raised has to do with whether climate models are accurately modeling any of these CO2 fluxes. The meta-study says no:
Soil respiration, RS, the flux of microbially and plant-respired carbon dioxide (CO2) from the soil surface to the atmosphere, is the second-largest terrestrial carbon flux. However, the dynamics of RS are not well understood and the global flux remains poorly constrained.
although the authors’ in reply to Siddons say, “Our findings don’t show that “source/sink models” are inadequate.” That’s a little bit like shutting the barn door after the horse ran off.


Meta-studies suffer from inherent publication bias, and in this case the biases are huge. They also violate the scientific method. It seems that in this meta-study, the numbers don’t add up. The uncertainties are vastly larger than the tiny “effect” the authors claim to have extracted from research papers by others.

What does it all mean? Mostly nothing. It’s all a bunch of noise, signifying zip, zero, nada.

Why did I write about it? I thought it might be interesting to readers, especially the File Drawer Effect.

We are not a Big Media Machine here. We can’t hold back the tidal waves of BS that emanate from trillion-dollar vested interests responsible for promulgating the climate hoax/swindle. But we can poke them in the eye once in awhile.


Inconvenient questions

The simple reality is none of the solutions proposed by global warmists actually work

With the fourth global Earth Hour put to bed last night, today let’s ask some inconvenient questions of the global warmists. First, does the real-world failure of virtually all of your ideas ever give you a moment’s pause?

From the fiasco in Copenhagen, to the collapse of the UN’s Kyoto accord, with its absurd, unrealistic, centrally-mandated, carbon dioxide-reduction diktats, mindful of the old Soviet Union? Does it never occur to you you’ve barked up the wrong tree rings?

What about the humiliation of Climategate? The circumventing of freedom of information requests at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia? The growing controversy over the inaccuracy of those never-ending apocalyptic predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

Does the fact the earliest corporate boosters of Kyoto and carbon trading were the fraudsters at Enron never cause you to wake up in a cold sweat?

How about the fact your “allies” on cap-and-trade are the giant U.S. money houses that just finished wrecking the global economy, now looking to make another quick killing by brokering trading in highly speculative carbon credits, the European market for which, aside from doing nothing to cool the planet, is awash in multi-billion-dollar frauds?

What about the 2002 report by Statistics Norway that Norway’s 1991 carbon tax has been largely ineffective in reducing emissions?

Or last week’s story in the Times of London that the U.K.’s energy regulator has found many of Britain’s wind farms are a bust when it comes to delivering electricity?

That, in the words of Michael Jefferson, professor of international business and sustainability and a former lead author of the IPCC: “Too many developments are underperforming. It’s because developers grossly exaggerate the potential. The subsidies make it viable for developers to put turbines on sites they would not touch if the money was not available.”

Gee. Hard to see that one coming, eh? Who knew that when governments insanely guarantee to pay grossly inflated prices for “green” electricity for 20-25 years, thus handing developers windfall profits from the hides of electricity consumers, many don’t deliver the goods?

Does none of this ever penetrate your Pandora world or your Na’vi brains, as you self-righteously declare yourselves the only people on Earth who care about your grandchildren? (You do realize Avatar was just a movie, right?)

When challenged, warmists with their apocalyptic rhetoric that even responsible climate scientists shun, insist the answers lie in doing more of what hasn’t worked.

For example, putting Kyoto on steroids. Never mind that doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is a good definition of insanity.

Perhaps this blindness is related to the fact that, particularly in Europe, which has led on climate hysteria, the green agenda was driven in large part by Marxists, who, realizing the jig was up when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, quickly shifted their anti-capitalist, anti-western, anti-growth, anti-American rhetoric to “fighting” climate change. Not for nothing are they called green on the outside, red on the inside.

Doomed from the start

Thus, it’s hardly surprising we ended up with the Soviet-style, centrally-imposed, Kyoto approach to reducing CO 2 emissions.

Kyoto was doomed from the start for the same reason as the Soviet Union — you can’t manage an economy, or the environment, by imposing from on high five-year plans for the production of tin, or 10, 40 or 70-year plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Ironically, the Soviet Union, the “workers’ paradise,” was supposed to deliver to humanity both economic prosperity and environmental nirvana. Instead it produced a devastated economy and environmental nightmares.

So, of course, the crafters of Kyoto retroactively rewarded Russia and the former Soviet satellites by choosing 1990 as the base year for reducing global emissions, just before the Soviet empire collapsed, thus handing Russia billions of dollars in “hot air” credits to sell to unsuspecting suckers like … uh … us. Not because of anything Russia or (East Germany) actually did to improve its environment, but because its economy collapsed.

That’s warmist “logic.” Unsurprisingly, none of it has worked. But that never deters them from carrying on to the next disaster.

With their final cry, they demand: “What would you do, instead?” — ignoring the fact that since they’re the ones demanding a massive change in how mankind secures and uses energy, the onus is on them to come up with something that works. Which, of course, they can’t.


Earth Hour could INCREASE carbon emissions

A climate change campaign to get everyone to switch off their lights will not reduce carbon emissions, according to electricity experts. Earth Hour, organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will see millions of people switch off their lights for an hour this weekend.

But the fall in electricity use for such a short period is unlikely to result in less energy being pumped into the grid, and will therefore not reduce emissions. Even if power stations are turned off, the upsurge in turning the lights back on one hour later will require power stations that can fire up quickly like oil and coal. Energy experts said it could therefore result in an increase in carbon emissions "rendering all good intentions useless at a flick of a switch".

But WWF said the campaign was about raising awareness and saving energy in the long term, rather than a short-term fix.

Millions of buildings around the world are expected to go dark at 8.30pm on Saturday including the Sydney Opera House and Big Ben.

WWF Earth Hour is designed to raise awareness of climate change and has been supported by Al Gore and the United Nations.

This year more than 50 million people are expected to take part on every continent in the globe in the biggest Earth Hour since the event began three years ago.

Ross Hayman, of the National Grid, said only a small fall in demand is expected in the UK, meaning the event will not cause less energy to be put into the grid.

However, he warned that even if there is a significant drop and supply is turned off, the reduction in energy will be offset by the surge needed to turn bring energy back onto the grid from firing up coal or gas stations.

"It might not have an effect on overall carbon emissions because we might have to use more carbon intensive power sources to restore supply afterwards," he added.

Mr Hayman said the best thing for climate change would be for people to insulate their homes and get into the habit of turning appliances off at night.

"People ought to focus on general efficiency measures to reduce their energy use overall rather than switch everything off for an hour because that might not have an efficiency effect on the network overall," he said.

James Millar, managing director of the sustainable lighting company Greenled, said when the lights come back on there is "enormous strain thrust upon the national grid".

“Energy companies always retain spare capacity and will continue to produce energy at the same rate throughout the hour-long demonstration which will end up being dumped off the grid with the loss of millions of tonnes of energy due to lack of demand; thereby, rendering all the good intentions of Earth Hour useless – at the flick of a switch,” he added.

But Colin Butfield, Head of Campaigns at WWF, said it was not about saving energy for just an hour but raising awareness.

"Earth Hour is an opportunity for people to show that they care about climate change and want global leaders to take action. Earth Hour is not about saving energy, it’s a positive inspiring event that will show the level of public concern about climate change, and for that reason we will not be measuring energy saved during the hour or reduction in CO2 emissions," he said.


Activists jet 12,000 miles - to climate change meeting

Climate change activists opposed to air travel are travelling to a conference in South plane.

Campaigners from Climate Camp -- who helped blockade Heathrow at the height of the summer holidays in 2007 -- face claims of hypocrisy having decided to send two members to an international meeting in Bolivia to discuss ‘transnational protests’ against climate change.

The 12,000-mile round trip to the Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights conference next month involves changing planes at least twice.

The flights will generate about eight tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases.

The money for their tickets -- at least £1,200 for an economy fare -- is being paid for by donations to Climate Camp from people opposed to flying and airport expansion.

One of the campaigners making the trip is Agnes Szafranowska. Ms Szafranowska, a Canadian who now lives in London, organises Climate Camp workshops and was involved in the Great Climate Swoop on Ratcliffe power station in Nottingham last October.

Police arrested ten people before the protest began on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.

Some 1,000 people took part, and security fencing around the plant was pulled down. Police made 56 arrests and a number of people were injured, including one policeman who had to be airlifted to hospital.

Ms Szafranowska failed to answer questions sent to her by email, other than to say that Climate Camp were preparing a statement. The group’s Press officer did not return calls.


When to Doubt a Scientific ‘Consensus’

Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that scientists are not immune to the non-rational dynamics of the herd.

A December 18 Washington Post poll, released on the final day of the ill-fated Copenhagen climate summit, reported “four in ten Americans now saying that they place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment.” Nor is the poll an outlier. Several recent polls have found “climate change” skepticism rising faster than sea levels on Planet Algore (not to be confused with Planet Earth, where sea levels remain relatively stable).

Many of the doubt-inducing climate scientists and their media acolytes attribute this rising skepticism to the stupidity of Americans, philistines unable to appreciate that there is “a scientific consensus on climate change.” One of the benefits of the recent Climategate scandal, which revealed leading climate scientists manipulating data, methods, and peer review to exaggerate the evidence of significant global warming, may be to permanently deflate the rhetorical value of the phrase “scientific consensus.”

Even without the scandal, the very idea of scientific consensus should give us pause. “Consensus,” according to Merriam-Webster, means both “general agreement” and “group solidarity in sentiment and belief.” That pretty much sums up the dilemma. We want to know whether a scientific consensus is based on solid evidence and sound reasoning, or social pressure and groupthink.

Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that scientists are not immune to the non-rational dynamics of the herd. Many false ideas enjoyed consensus opinion at one time. Indeed, the “power of the paradigm” often shapes the thinking of scientists so strongly that they become unable to accurately summarize, let alone evaluate, radical alternatives. Question the paradigm, and some respond with dogmatic fanaticism.

We shouldn’t, of course, forget the other side of the coin. There are always cranks and conspiracy theorists. No matter how well founded a scientific consensus, there’s someone somewhere—easily accessible online—that thinks it’s all hokum. Sometimes these folks turn out to be right. But often, they’re just cranks whose counsel is best disregarded.

So what’s a non-scientist citizen, without the time to study the scientific details, to do? How is the ordinary citizen to distinguish, as Andrew Coyne puts it, “between genuine authority and mere received wisdom? Conversely, how do we tell crankish imperviousness to evidence from legitimate skepticism?” Are we obligated to trust whatever we’re told is based on a scientific consensus unless we can study the science ourselves? When can you doubt a consensus? When should you doubt it?

Your best bet is to look at the process that produced, maintains, and communicates the ostensible consensus. I don’t know of any exhaustive list of signs of suspicion, but, using climate change as a test study, I propose this checklist as a rough-and-ready list of signs for when to consider doubting a scientific “consensus,” whatever the subject. One of these signs may be enough to give pause. If they start to pile up, then it’s wise to be suspicious.

(1) When different claims get bundled together.

Usually, in scientific disputes, there is more than one claim at issue. With global warming, there’s the claim that our planet, on average, is getting warmer. There’s also the claim that human emissions are the main cause of it, that it’s going to be catastrophic, and that we have to transform civilization to deal with it. These are all different assertions with different bases of evidence. Evidence for warming, for instance, isn’t evidence for the cause of that warming. All the polar bears could drown, the glaciers melt, the sea levels rise 20 feet, Newfoundland become a popular place to tan, and that wouldn’t tell us a thing about what caused the warming. This is a matter of logic, not scientific evidence. The effect is not the same as the cause.

There’s a lot more agreement about (1) a modest warming trend since about 1850 than there is about (2) the cause of that trend. There’s even less agreement about (3) the dangers of that trend, or of (4) what to do about it. But these four propositions are frequently bundled together, so that if you doubt one, you’re labeled a climate change “skeptic” or “denier.” That’s just plain intellectually dishonest. When well-established claims are fused with separate, more controversial claims, and the entire conglomeration is covered with the label “consensus,” you have reason for doubt.

(2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate.

Personal attacks are common in any dispute simply because we’re human. It’s easier to insult than to the follow the thread of an argument. And just because someone makes an ad hominem argument, it doesn’t mean that their conclusion is wrong. But when the personal attacks are the first out of the gate, and when they seem to be growing in intensity and frequency, don your skeptic’s cap and look more closely at the evidence.

When it comes to climate change, ad hominems are all but ubiquitous. They are even smuggled into the way the debate is described. The common label “denier” is one example. Without actually making the argument, this label is supposed to call to mind the assertion of the “great climate scientist” Ellen Goodman: “I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.”

There’s an old legal proverb: If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have the law on your side, argue the law. If you have neither, attack the witness. When proponents of a scientific consensus lead with an attack on the witness, rather than on the arguments and evidence, be suspicious.

(3) When scientists are pressured to toe the party line.

The famous Lysenko affair in the former Soviet Union is often cited as an example of politics trumping good science. It’s a good example, but it’s often used to imply that such a thing could only happen in a totalitarian culture, that is, when all-powerful elites can control the flow of information. But this misses the almost equally powerful conspiracy of agreement, in which interlocking assumptions and interests combine to give the appearance of objectivity where none exists. For propaganda purposes, this voluntary conspiracy is even more powerful than a literal conspiracy by a dictatorial power, precisely because it looks like people have come to their position by a fair and independent evaluation of the evidence.

Tenure, job promotions, government grants, media accolades, social respectability, Wikipedia entries, and vanity can do what gulags do, only more subtly. Alexis de Tocqueville warned of the power of the majority in American society to erect “formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.” He could have been writing about climate science.

Climategate, and the dishonorable response to its revelations by some official scientific bodies, show that scientists are under pressure to toe the orthodox party line on climate change, and receive many benefits for doing so. That’s another reason for suspicion.

(4) When publishing and peer review in the discipline is cliquish.

Though it has its limits, the peer-review process is meant to provide checks and balances, to weed out bad and misleading work, and to bring some measure of objectivity to scientific research. At its best, it can do that. But when the same few people review and approve each other’s work, you invariably get conflicts of interest. This weakens the case for the supposed consensus, and becomes, instead, another reason to be suspicious. Nerds who follow the climate debate blogosphere have known for years about the cliquish nature of publishing and peer review in climate science (see here, for example).

(5) When dissenting opinions are excluded from the relevant peer-reviewed literature not because of weak evidence or bad arguments but as part of a strategy to marginalize dissent.

Besides mere cliquishness, the “peer review” process in climate science has, in some cases, been consciously, deliberately subverted to prevent dissenting views from being published. Again, denizens of the climate blogosphere have known about these problems for years, but Climategate revealed some of the gory details for the broader public. And again, this gives the lay public a reason to doubt the consensus.

(6) When the actual peer-reviewed literature is misrepresented.

Because of the rhetorical force of the idea of peer review, there’s the temptation to misrepresent it. We’ve been told for years that the peer-reviewed literature is virtually unanimous in its support for human-induced climate change. In Science, Naomi Oreskes even produced a “study” of the relevant literature supposedly showing “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.” In fact, there are plenty of dissenting papers in the literature, and this despite mounting evidence that the peer-review deck was stacked against them. The Climategate scandal also underscored this: The climate scientists at the center of the controversy complained in their emails about dissenting papers that managed to survive the peer-review booby traps they helped maintain, and fantasized about torpedoing a respected climate science journal with the temerity to publish a dissenting article.

(7) When consensus is declared hurriedly or before it even exists.

A well-rooted scientific consensus, like a mature oak, usually needs time to emerge. Scientists around the world have to do research, publish articles, read about other research, repeat experiments (where possible), have open debates, make their data and methods available, evaluate arguments, look at the trends, and so forth, before they eventually come to agreement. When scientists rush to declare a consensus, particularly when they claim a consensus that has yet to form, this should give any reasonable person pause.

In 1992, former Vice President Al Gore reassured his listeners, “Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled.” In the real 1992, however, Gallup “reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren’t sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn’t think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.” Seventeen years later, in 2009, Gore apparently determined that he needed to revise his own revisionist history, asserting that the scientific debate over human-induced climate change had raged until as late as 1999, but now there was true consensus. Of course, 2009 is when Climategate broke, reminding us that what had smelled funny before might indeed be a little rotten.

(8) When the subject matter seems, by its nature, to resist consensus.

It makes sense that chemists over time may come to unanimous conclusions about the results of some chemical reaction, since they can replicate the results over and over in their own labs. They can see the connection between the conditions and its effects. It’s easily testable. But many of the things under consideration in climate science are not like that. The evidence is scattered and hard to keep track of; it’s often indirect, imbedded in history and requiring all sorts of assumptions. You can’t rerun past climate to test it, as you can with chemistry experiments. And the headline-grabbing conclusions of climate scientists are based on complex computer models that climate scientists themselves concede do not accurately model the underlying reality, and receive their input, not from the data, but from the scientists interpreting the data. This isn’t the sort of scientific endeavor on which a wide, well-established consensus is easily rendered. In fact, if there really were a consensus on all the various claims surrounding climate science, that would be really suspicious. A fortiori, the claim of consensus is a bit suspicious as well.

(9) When “scientists say” or “science says” is a common locution.

In Newsweek’s April 28, 1975, issue, science editor Peter Gwynne claimed that “scientists are almost unanimous” that global cooling was underway. Now we are told, “Scientists say global warming will lead to the extinction of plant and animal species, the flooding of coastal areas from rising seas, more extreme weather, more drought and diseases spreading more widely.” “Scientists say” is hopelessly ambiguous. Your mind should immediately wonder: “Which ones?”

Other times this vague company of scientists becomes “SCIENCE,” as when we’re told “what science says is required to avoid catastrophic climate change.” “Science says” is an inherently weasely claim. “Science,” after all, is an abstract noun. It can’t say anything. Whenever you see that locution used to imply a consensus, it should trigger your baloney detector.

(10) When it is being used to justify dramatic political or economic policies.

Imagine hundreds of world leaders and nongovernmental organizations, science groups, and United Nations functionaries gathered for a meeting heralded as the most important conference since World War II, in which “the future of the world is being decided.” These officials seem to agree that institutions of “global governance” need to be established to reorder the world economy and massively restrict energy resources. Large numbers of them applaud wildly when socialist dictators denounce capitalism. Strange philosophical and metaphysical activism surrounds the gathering. And we are told by our president that all of this is based, not on fiction, but on science—that is, a scientific consensus that human activities, particularly greenhouse gas emissions, are leading to catastrophic climate change.

We don’t have to imagine that scenario, of course. It happened in Copenhagen, in December. Now, none of this disproves the hypothesis of catastrophic, human induced climate change. But it does describe an atmosphere that would be highly conducive to misrepresentation. And at the very least, when policy consequences, which claim to be based on science, are so profound, the evidence ought to be rock solid. “Extraordinary claims,” the late Carl Sagan often said, “require extraordinary evidence.” When the megaphones of consensus insist that there’s no time, that we have to move, MOVE, MOVE!, you have a right to be suspicious.

(11) When the “consensus” is maintained by an army of water-carrying journalists who defend it with uncritical and partisan zeal, and seem intent on helping certain scientists with their messaging rather than reporting on the field as objectively as possible.

Do I really need to elaborate on this point?

(12) When we keep being told that there’s a scientific consensus.

A scientific consensus should be based on scientific evidence. But a consensus is not itself the evidence. And with really well-established scientific theories, you never hear about consensus. No one talks about the consensus that the planets orbit the sun, that the hydrogen molecule is lighter than the oxygen molecule, that salt is sodium chloride, that light travels about 186,000 miles per second in a vacuum, that bacteria sometimes cause illness, or that blood carries oxygen to our organs. The very fact that we hear so much about a consensus on catastrophic, human-induced climate change is perhaps enough by itself to justify suspicion.

To adapt that old legal aphorism, when you’ve got decisive scientific evidence on your side, you argue the evidence. When you’ve got great arguments, you make the arguments. When you don’t have decisive evidence or great arguments, you claim consensus.



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


27 March, 2010

Choose reality over superstition

Instead of celebrating Earth Hour (last year they called it Earth Day) by switching off all your lights (8.30pm on Saturday 27th March) we should celebrate Human Achievement Hour by keeping them on. My suspicion is that most people will do the latter & only the most useless & pretentious parts of government will do the former which seems appropriate. eg Zimbabwean children will hold a candlelit picnic & the WWF fakecharity are pushing it.

This orbital picture shows, in a way 1,000 words couldn't do, what is wrong with pure socialism & indeed Luddite "environmentalism". One may argue correctly that less pure socialism/Luddism we have in Britain is less destructive but that is an argument only that it is less horrible not that it is in any way good.

There is a close relationship between electricity use & GNP with the developed world averaging just under $4 of GNP per kWh, China doing $2.45, Britain $6.3 & those significantly above being undeveloped, artificially increasing wealth by having oil, or so failing that electricity & the rule of law doesn't go beyond the capital city, or all 3.

There are a noisy minority who would do this in Britain if they could, though they have less organising ability than Kim. This extremely silly letter published in the Morning Star inviting us all to prove our socialist purity by supporting North Korea in the World cup. To be fair it was followed by a reply saying otherwise but to continue being fair that was followed by a further reply saying that "many reactionaries would take comfort" from the 1st reply.

My previous poll on the desired size of government showed that while there is a normal curve centering around about 17% of GNP being government spending there was a another small bump at +90% who clearly can never be even close to placated by anything acceptable to the overwhelming bulk of us (& of whom I am ungenerous enough to suspect none live out of anything but the public purse). Placating the Luddite parasites need not be done & by doing so we have just been paying Danegeld, since, as my post yesterday showed, the parasites will tell any lie to build a poorer nation if it will pay them.


UN climate change chief Rajendra Pachauri says sorry — and switches to neutral

The outspoken chairman of the UN’s climate change body is to adopt a neutral advisory role and has agreed to stop making statements demanding new taxes and other radical policies on cutting emissions.

In an interview with The Times, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, apologised for his organisation’s handling of complaints about errors in its report.

He also apologised for describing as “voodoo science” an Indian Government report which challenged the IPCC’s claims about the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers.

But Dr Pachauri, 70, rejected calls for his resignation and insisted he would remain as chairman until after publication of the IPCC’s next report in 2014.

He claimed he had the support of all the world’s governments and denied that, by remaining in post, he was undermining the IPCC’s chances of regaining credibility with the public.

“It is not correct to say there are people who don’t trust me,” he said.

He admitted it had been a mistake to give the impression, in many interviews, that he was advocating specific actions to cut emissions. Last year, he called for higher taxes on aviation and motoring, said people should eat less meat, and proposed that hotel rooms should have electricity meters to charge people extra for using air conditioning.

Speaking in London yesterday, he said he would focus in future on presenting the science on climate change rather than advocating policies.

“I will try to clarify that I’m not prescribing anything as a solution. Maybe I should be more careful [in media interviews] in laying down certain riders. One learns from that and I’m learning.”

On the IPCC’s tardiness in responding to complaints and correcting errors — such as its claim that all Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 — he said: “Our response has been much too late and much too inadequate.”

Of his “voodoo science” comment, he said: “It was an intemperate statement. I shouldn’t have used those words. I have to show respect to people who have worked on a particular subject.”

However, he said that the review of the IPCC announced this month would not consider his role or his actions. The review, by a panel drawn from the world’s leading science academies, will only consider the IPCC’s procedures.

Dr Pachauri said he wanted more power over the IPCC secretariat and an extra $1million (£671,000) a year to fund its work, on top of the $5million it already receives. The IPCC is planning to recruit more spin-doctors to help it promote its work and defend itself against attacks by climate sceptics. Dr Pachauri said that at present the organisation is “terribly ill-equipped” to communicate with the world’s media.

He dismissed suggestions that he was too old for the job and said he would be playing cricket for his institute’s team immediately after landing back in Dehli.

“I open the bowling and I swing the ball in both directions. I used to be fast, I’m gentle medium pace now. I work 16-17 hours a day, seven days a week. If you can find someone 40 years younger to do it, I would salute that person,” he said.

He rejected claims that he had personally profited from the many contracts he has to advise companies on climate change. All the money went to the charitable research institute which he heads, he said. He gave The Times a copy of his 2008-09 income tax return which showed earnings of £44,600.

A KPMG report into his financial relationship with The Energy and Resources Institute concluded: “No evidence was found that indicated personal fiduciary benefits accruing to Dr Pachauri from his various advisory roles that would have led to a conflict of interest.”



Last night I attended the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow lecture in which Professor Anne Glover, the Chief Science Advisor & also on the committee of NERC told us all about how dreadfully catastrophic global warming was. I am afraid I was not impressed.

The lecture started by saying how important it is that we stick to the evidence. The sceptics have even done some good by making people focus on the evidence & that was what she intended.

Her evidence for warming turns out not to be that catastrophic warming is actually taking place but that human caused CO2 emissions are rising dramatically & that this means warming must happen. She used this graph foreshortened for the period 1850-2000 & with the perpendicular graph in units of 1 - 25 but without saying in what units.

This caused me to dump the question I intended to ask, which was about the fact that virtually the entire "scientific consensus" is among the government paid.

Other evidence, from the Antarctic, being that the CO2 in air is higher than it has been in millenia (this being from ice cores & is questioned since it is possible the CO2 leaks more than Oxygen). No mention of the fact that ice at both poles is increasing & that in the Antarctic it never stopped doing so.

She acknowledged that sea level in Scotland is actually falling ie that the land is bouncing back from the last ice age faster than any sea level rise but that in Bangladesh the rise would matter. During a previous lecture to a junior school one of the pupils had said they didn't care about Bangladesh but that she had pointed out to him that in that case the people of Bangladesh would want to come here - mass population movement being another of those things global warming is responsible for.

This was followed by an acknowledgement of the value of having sceptics around because "there is no such thing as truth or certainty" in science.

Then the familiar graph showing how temperature, or at least measured temperature, has risen & also that it has fallen over recent years, though that was ignored & described as "we're experiencing climate change now."

Then there was a graph showing the probabilities of various levels of temperature increase - apparently we have an 85% chance of 2 degree warming. However apart from saying the graph proved the chances she didn't say how this relative certainty had been achieved.

This was followed by another showing what catastrophic effects such increases will have, particularly on food production - though no mention of the increased growth caused by more CO2 & the only mention of all the Canadian & Russia tundra that would become fertile was to say it would be worse at the equator. To be fair to Scotland she did say that warmer weather here might not be bad particularly with the "increase in day length in Scotland" - I kid you not. Presumably some heretofore unknown effect of global warming is that it will tilt the Earth's axis to lengthen our day.

Another effect of warming is an increase in extreme weather such as parasites moving. An example is the midge causing Bluetonge disease in cattle. This previously could only survive in Africa but has now settled in Scotland entirely because of global warming.

She then lectured us on all the non-carbon energy systems we will have to adopt - except without mentioning nuclear.

This must be achieved by the spontaneous enthusiasm of the populace. The role of government is "legislation", "information", "eduction" & "leadership".

Then I learned something I had not appreciated. I have previously written on how the government's decision to reduce CO2 by 42% by 2020, means a reduction in electricity production & thus national wealth of 50%. One of her slides showed that Holyrood has also decided that we must get rid of 100% of CO2 production in making electricity by 2030. That would leave us with about 10% from existing hydro & probably about another 5% from windmills etc. The former requires a 7% annual recession for 10 year - the latter 9% annual decline for 20 years. Perhaps I underestimated when I said the former decision, made unanimously by all parties & MSPs meant they are all clinically insane.

Having slid by that bombshell she assured us that doing all this will only cost us 1% of GNP, because Stern said so, compared to paying 8% of GNP to bail out the banks. Apart from anything else that piece of sleight of hand omits that 1% a year is not the same as 1% in total.

She finished by saying how she had visited the carbon storage project & how "my jaw dropped in amazement" at the technology. The gentleman next to me quietly said "this is Scotland's chief science advisor!".

Audience Questions. The first was about Professor Lovelock quoted as saying that it was all to late anyway. She disagreed.

Then I got mine. First I said I had to point out that Professor Lovelock, having seen the fraud going on, had evidently changed his mind & said that only the sceptics had kept the debate sane. My question was about the CO2 graph - firstly that the period of sharpest rise, roughly 1940 - 75 was, on the other graph she had shown, a period of reduced temperature. Secondly that she ought to be aware that manmade emissions accounted for only 3% of the total & that had total CO2 production been shown the graph would have been of a 3% rise rather than a 2,500% rise.

She replied saying how much she valued the contribution of sceptics it is just that they "don't provide evidence" for their doubts. Really she did. Then that what mattered is that the entire system is so well balanced & there is no countervailing way of reducing CO2 so even a tiny increase is disastrous.

Since plant growth increases with more CO2 that most certainly is a method of taking more out but I contented myself by saying that with CO2 being 300 ppm of the atmosphere & mankind producing only 3% of it that is 9 parts in a million which is not much to cause catastrophe.

She replied by saying that it was so finely balanced that just a 2 - 3C rise would be enough to melt Greenland. I wished to reply that since we have had a 4C rise during the climate optimum of 9,000 - 5,000 BC but Greenland has been unmelted for at least 650,000 years that could not be correct but was told, quite properly since it is a lecture not a debate, that my time was up.

She was also asked a couple of questions about nuclear power. Particularly had she, in her role of chief science advisor, advised the government that it was impossible to keep the lights on without nuclear? The questioner, correctly in my opinion, implied that it was her absolute duty to give good such good advice on the issue. She ducked a direct answer saying that some less chiefly advisers knew more about nuclear but agreed that "nobody ever said wind can provide baseload - baseload is coal, gas & oil" (though presumably not in 2030).

She also rather praised recession as a way of cutting CO2 saying of the graph shown "if I had extended the graph it would have shown another dip".

While this lecture may do for frightening younger schoolchildren the Royal Phil is a society with a lot of very qualified members, moreso than me & I think are entitled to expect something more serious.


The Next "Enemy of the State" is Energy

By Alan Caruba

Waiting in the Senate is a Cap-and-Trade bill that would impose the largest tax on the use of energy the nation has ever seen. It lacks any scientific justification, based as it is on the fraud known as “global warming.”

The nation will not survive Cap-and-Trade and James M. Taylor, a Senior Fellow specializing in environmental policy at The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based, non-profit, free market think tank has authored “The Cap & Trade Handbook” that explains why. It is a slim six pages. (On May 16-18, the Institute will sponsor the Fourth International Conference on Climate change.)

Cap-and-Trade seeks to impose restrictions on greenhouse gases in general and carbon dioxide (CO2) in particular. Taylor notes that “The portion of the Earth’s greenhouse gas envelope contributed by mankind is negligible, barely one-tenth of one percent of the total. Carbon dioxide is no more than four percent of the total greenhouse gas envelope. (Water is more than 90 percent, followed by methane and nitrous and sulfur oxides.) Of that four percent, mankind contributes a little more than three percent. Three percent of four percent is 0.12 percent.”

There is no proof whatever that CO2 or human activity plays any role in “global warming” and there is no proof whatever that “global warming” exists except a natural cycle based on the actions of the sun, the oceans, cloud cover, and other factors over which humans have no control, nor influence.

Moreover, the Earth has entered a new, natural cycle of cooling and its average temperatures have been declining since around 1995. Weather satellites all confirm this and it began to cause consternation among a small group of scientists who, under the aegis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deliberately perverted climate data in order to foist the “global warming” fraud on the world.

Since “global warming” is a fraud, Cap-and-Trade is a fraud.

The Obama administration, however, took power vowing to make war on the sources of energy on which the nation depends for its electrical power and transportation needs. Coal, which provides just over fifty percent of all electrical power, is high on their list. Huge national reserves of oil which provide gasoline and diesel for our transportation needs continue to be restricted despite talk of “energy independence.” Even natural gas is being subjected to efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency efforts to thwart extraction.

The Obama administration is five votes or less away from destroying the nation. As President Obama has said, “Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

This is tantamount to treason.

As Taylor points out, “a 70% cut in carbon dioxide emissions would cause gasoline prices to rise 145%, electricity prices would rise 129%, and more than four million jobs would disappear. Average household income would fall by nearly $7,000 each and every year” if Cap-and-Trade is enacted. The bill calls for an 83% cut in emissions!

These projections are based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and from the Congressional Budget office.


Gore loses the first 2 years of the climate bet to Armstrong’s scientific forecast

What if Mr. Gore had accepted Professor Armstrong’s proposed ten-year bet on climate change in 2007? Gore said that the temperature would go up while Armstrong predicted it would not change from the 2007 average. We assumed a relatively conservative prediction from Mr. Gore of a 0.03 degrees Centigrade increase per year: the central projection of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Over the years 2008 and 2009, Mr Gore’s forecast was closer than Professor Armstrong’s to the actual monthly temperature in only four of the 24 months. Put another way Mr Gore’s forecast was 0.26 degrees too warm in 2008 and 0.08 degrees in 2009, whereas Professor Armstrong’s was 0.23 degrees too warm in 2008 and 0.02 degrees to warm in 2009.

We use the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s satellite measure of the global lower atmosphere temperature anomaly as our actual temperature in order to avoid the problems identified by researchers and, more recently, the release of the “Climategate” emails, with the Hadley Centre series used by the IPCC.

Professor Armstrong said that one must be cautious about small samples. The amount of variability in annual temperature is high relative to the predicted change, so Armstrong said that he expects to lose in some years. As shown by a 150-year simulation of the bet, he said that he had only a bit better than 50% chance of winning a given year, but this jumps to nearly 70% for ten years. Armstrong said, “it is about as certain as one can be in forecasting that I would win if the bet were for 100 years, but I wanted to see what would happen, so I proposed only ten years.”

You can follow the bet on a monthly basis here at In addition you can see what one betting market expects to happen.



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


26 March, 2010

Public scepticism prompts British Science Museum to rename climate exhibition

The Science Museum is revising the contents of its new climate science gallery to reflect the wave of scepticism that has engulfed the issue in recent months. The decision by the 100-year-old London museum reveals how deeply scientific institutions have been shaken by the public’s reaction to revelations of malpractice by climate scientists.

The museum is abandoning its previous practice of trying to persuade visitors of the dangers of global warming. It is instead adopting a neutral position, acknowledging that there are legitimate doubts about the impact of man-made emissions on the climate.

Even the title of the £4 million gallery has been changed to reflect the museum’s more circumspect approach. The museum had intended to call it the Climate Change Gallery, but has decided to change this to Climate Science Gallery to avoid being accused of presuming that emissions would change the temperature.

Last October the museum launched a temporary exhibition called “Prove It! All the evidence you need to believe in climate change”. The museum said at the time that the exhibition had been designed to demonstrate “through scientific evidence that climate change is real and requires an urgent solution”.

Chris Rapley, the museum’s director, told The Times that it was taking a different approach after observing how the climate debate had been affected by leaked e-mails and overstatements of the dangers of global warming. He said: “We have come to realise, given the way this subject has become so polarised over the past three to four months, that we need to be respectful and welcoming of all views on it.”

Professor Rapley, a climate scientist and former director of the British Antarctic Survey research centre, said that the museum needed to remain neutral in order to be trusted: “The Science Museum will not state a position on whether or not climate change is real, driven by humans or threatening.”

“The climate science community, by and large, has concluded that humans have intervened in the system in a way that will lead to climate change. But that is their story. It’s not our story, so that can’t be our conclusion. If we take sides we will alienate some of the people who want to be part of the discussion. “Although there is an extreme faction who very much disagree, there is a much bigger contingent who are not convinced. We want to welcome them into the debate by being as neutral and fairhanded as we can be.”

Professor Rapley said that the gallery, which is to open in November before the climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, would refrain from scaring visitors with apocalyptic predictions of rising sea levels and would be honest about the conflicting views on the scale of possible changes to the climate.

“You can argue about how much effect the carbon in the atmosphere will have on the system and what we should do about it,” he said. “The role of the museum should be to lay out honestly and fairly what the climate science community has found out about the science.

“There are areas of uncertainty which are perfectly reasonable to raise and we will present those. For example, the extent to which the climate is as sensitive to the CO2-loading that humans have put in or not.”

Professor Rapley declined to give his own views on climate change, saying that they were not relevant. However, in 2007 he said: “The more greenhouse gases we add, the warmer we’ll be. It’s not rocket science.”


Endangered findings

Now that health care is done (for the time being), expect global warming to be high on the Obama administration's "to do" list. But cap-and-trade legislation and its alternative, a direct tax on carbon-based fuels, can't be passed via "reconciliation" and are far short of the needed 60 Senate votes.

As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is itching to step in and dictate how and how much we can drive, fly, consume, or make. This the agency made clear in its "endangerment finding," a necessary precursor to regulation, released last December.

Expect the administration to use 2010 global-temperature data as backup for the EPA's regulatory power grab. Global temperatures shot upward around the beginning of this year thanks to El Niño, a warming of the tropical Pacific that takes place every few years. The average global temperature has a reasonable chance of beating the last high, set back in 1998 (also an El Niño year).

Meanwhile, a number of studies point to sources other than greenhouse gases as explanations for the modest warming trend of the late 20th century. This could doom the EPA's finding. But do not expect it to go quietly.

The EPA did no scientific research of its own to buttress its endangerment finding, relying on the 2007 report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a similar "Synthesis Report" from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program as the basis for its conclusions. According to these reports:

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid–20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [greenhouse gas] concentrations. "Most" means "more than one-half," and the IPCC says "very likely" means a probability of between 90 and 99 percent. This claim may have constituted the "settled" science of climate change in 2007, but things have become greatly unsettled since then.

The rise in global surface temperatures as measured by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (yes, the "Climategate" folks) is 0.70 degrees Celsius since 1950, or a little over a tenth of a degree per decade. But the most recent refereed science literature argues otherwise.

Soon after the IPCC report, David Thompson and several others (including Climategate's Phil Jones) published a paper in Nature showing a cold bias in measurement of sea-surface temperatures from the early 1940s through the mid 1960s. Accounting for this drops the rise in temperature to 0.55 degrees Celsius.

At the time of the IPCC report, Canada's Ross McKitrick and I published a paper in the Journal of Geophysics showing that there was a clear and systematic "non-climatic" warming — from changes in land use and problems with station maintenance — in temperatures measured at weather stations. The bias isn't all that much when measured globally, but it subtracts another .08 degrees Celsius, leaving 0.47 degrees Celsius.

Earlier this year, Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a bombshell in Science in which she argued that the lack of recent warming was likely due to fluctuations in water vapor way up in the stratosphere — changes that bear no obvious relationship to greenhouse-gas emissions. Given the limited stratospheric data that we have going back to 1980, her finding reduces the remaining trend to 0.41 degrees Celsius.

In 2008, V. Ramanathan of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography summarized the scientific literature on the emissions of black carbon (aka "soot") and concluded this was responsible for about 25 percent of global warming. Carbon particles are not greenhouse gases. This drops the supposedly greenhouse-gas-caused warming to .31 degrees Celsius — 44 percent of the original 0.70.

Note that it's not even necessary to bring in variations in the sun in order to ascribe more than half of the warming to non-greenhouse changes.

So, where are the studies refuting these findings? They don't exist. The EPA is wrong. The IPCC was wrong, too, that it is "very likely" that "most" of the warming since 1950 is from greenhouse-gas changes. The EPA has lost the scientific linchpin of its proposal to regulate our lives.

While the president will surely brandish the El Niño–driven warmth of 2010 as the reason for the EPA to regulate where the Senate can no longer act, the EPA needs to accept that the "settled" science of global warming has shifted tectonically since the last IPCC report.


Suing our way to a carbon-free world

Having bullied unwilling House members into supporting his health care package, President Obama can move to his next big legislative goal -- making Americans pay more for energy in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.

Just days from now, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose new regulations on carbon emissions. If the agency makes them as draconian as the letter of the law requires, your McMansion could become a federally regulated stationary source of pollution.

But don't worry: These regulations are not designed to take effect, but rather to scare the hell out of Congress so that it enacts milder restrictions. It is a regulatory and legislative game of chicken.

This probably sounds like a bad method for making laws, and it is. But there's an even worse method: to have a jury of angry Mississippians decide the issue of global warming once and for all.

Trial lawyers on the Gulf Coast, representing Mississippi property owners, have sued dozens of energy and chemical companies in a case called Comer v. Murphy Oil. They allege that dozens of energy firms, by causing carbon emissions, caused the climate to change and made Hurricane Katrina more intense than it would have been otherwise. As a result, they claim, the storm did greater damage to their property than it would have otherwise.

The federal district court threw the case out of court in 2007 on the grounds that such claims cannot be decided in court. This was not a simple public nuisance case, in which a company produced toxic sludge and caused a town's residents to become ill.

This was a question over global warming and its potential causes and effects, about which very little is known with scientific certainty. If presented in court, it would call upon a jury to adjudicate yet-unproven and probably unknowable questions about how greenhouse gases affect particular weather patterns -- in this case, how they affected one particular 2005 weather pattern.

Even worse, this case could potentially implicate everyone in the United States. Think about it for a moment, assuming not only that global warming is man-made but also that it fueled Hurricane Katrina.

Do you drive a car, ride the bus or cause carbon emissions of any kind? If so, you could be named as a defendant in the next lawsuit over Katrina -- or even in this one. You may not bear as much of the responsibility as Murphy Oil or Massey Energy, or any of the other defendants in the case, but you are liable all the same.

So is your neighbor. So is your employer. If you need someone to blame, just throw a rock in the air.

In October, a 2-to-1 panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the case. (The two were Clinton appointees, in case you were wondering.) Despite a raging political battle over global warming in Washington, Judge James Dennis ruled that the suit does not present a political question that is more properly handled by Congress. For a few months, it appeared that a Mississippi jury would get to decide whether the oceans stop rising or not.

Earlier this month, the full Fifth Circuit changed its mind and agreed to give the case another hearing. It could determine just who bullies you into paying more for your energy -- President Obama, the Congress or the trial lawyers.


Governor Shreds New Jersey Climate Change Programs

Kills Emission Reporting, Diverts Green Energy Fund & Defunds Climate Office. Greenie wail below

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has taken a wrecking ball to the state's touted Global Warming Response Act, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In recent weeks, the Christie administration has blocked required reporting from greenhouse gas sources, diverted $300 million in Clean Energy Funds dedicated to energy efficiency and proposed to zero out the state's Office of Climate Change and Energy.

"New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act is now a dead letter," stated New Jersey PEER Director Bill Wolfe, referring to 2007 legislation regarded as the crowning environmental achievement of the Corzine administration. "Whatever progress on climate change we can expect will have to come from Washington, because Trenton has gone AWOL."

Apparently by mutual agreement of the ongoing Corzine and incoming Christie administration, a proposed rule to require monitoring and reporting of emissions of greenhouse gases was allowed to quietly die on January 20, 2010 - one year after it was first proposed. This emission monitoring regime is a key mandate of the state's Global Warming Response Act. Without monitoring and reporting, New Jersey cannot track emissions or develop a regulatory program to meet the reduction milestones set forth in the Act.

On October 30, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted its first federal greenhouse gas monitoring requirements. Compared to EPA rules, however, the New Jersey law (and its now abandoned monitoring plan) is broader, covering more gases, more emissions sources and with lower thresholds. Ironically, in its public comments this fall, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) urged the EPA to integrate more stringent state rules into its proposal.

Sweeping executive orders imposing a regulatory moratorium, cost-benefit analysis requirements, and a policy of rolling back to minimum federal standards in the first weeks of the Christie administration make it unlikely that any new plan for greenhouse gas monitoring will ever emerge again from DEP. Several other major environmental and public health policies, such as the recently shelved drinking water standard for perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel, are apparently also destined for the scrap heap.

This Christie anti-regulatory stance is compounded by diversions of $300 million in Clean Energy Funds dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. In addition, Governor Christie's proposed budget for FY 2011, beginning this July, will eliminate funding for the Office of Climate Change and Energy--the office responsible for implementing the Global Warming Response Act--even diverting revenue from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) emission credit auctions to the General Fund.

"The current governor has decided that investment in a clean energy future for New Jersey is a luxury that we can no longer afford," added Wolfe. "In terms of public health and welfare, New Jersey will soon start to resemble states like Mississippi that can only provide minimal state services."


Now it's CowGate: expert report says claims of livestock causing global warming are false

It is becoming difficult to keep pace with the speed at which the global warming scam is now unravelling. The latest reversal of scientific “consensus” is on livestock and the meat trade as a major cause of global warming – one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to eco-vegetarian cranks. Now a scientific report delivered to the American Chemical Society says it is nonsense. The Washington Times has called it “Cowgate”.

The cow-burp hysteria reached a crescendo in 2006 when a United Nations report ominously entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” claimed: “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport.” This led to demands in America for a “cow tax” and a campaign in Europe at the time of the Copenhagen car crash last December called Less Meat=Less Heat.

Now a report to the American Chemical Society by Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California at Davis, has denounced such scare-mongering as “scientifically inaccurate”. He reveals that the UN report lumped together digestive emissions from livestock, gases produced by growing animal feed and meat and milk processing, to get the highest possible result, whereas the traffic comparison only covered fossil fuel emissions from cars. The true ratio, he concludes, is just 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in America are attributable to rearing of cattle and pigs, compared with 26 per cent from transport.

Mitloehner also makes the deadly serious point: “Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries.” Precisely. The demonising of cows and pigs is just another example of global warmists’ callous indifference to starvation in the developing world, as in the case of the unbelievably immoral and reckless drive for biofuels – pouring Third World resources for subsistence into Western liberals’ fuel tanks – and, notoriously, carbon trading.

Week by week the AGW collapse intensifies. Himalayan glaciers, polar bears, Arctic ice, Amazon rainforests, all discredited. Now it turns out the great cow-burp scare is bovine excrement too. The global warming scam is, to the majority of people, an object of derision. The scientific community has also at last wakened up. They are smelling the coffee in more and more institutions these days.

This week the Science Museum in London announced it is revising its stance so that its Climate Change Gallery will now be renamed the Climate Science Gallery, to reflect its new position of neutrality in the climate debate. Chris Rapley, the director, said the museum was taking a different approach after observing how the debate had been affected by leaked e-mails and overstatements of the dangers of global warming. He said: “We have come to realise, given the way this subject has become so polarised over the past three to four months, that we need to be respectful and welcoming of all views on it.”

When did you ever hear that sort of thing before? But that is fair enough: neutrality, a level playing field and an equal voice is all global warming sceptics have ever asked for. Given those reasonable conditions, the truth will out and we will win. The signs are that a lot of scientists have been moved to assert their integrity, encouraged by the increasingly huge breaches sceptics have made in the defences of the AGW camp. Others may simply have calculated they may have backed a loser and it is time to take out some insurance.

Whatever the case, it is a different world now in the war against the AGW scam. Zac Goldsmith, warmist fanatic and Tory candidate, is telling environmentalists that green issues are vote losers. He should tell Dave that and stop him making an even bigger fool of himself. We are experiencing a tipping point in the climate war and the advantage is slowly but irresistibly moving towards the sceptics.


A New Revelation: Wind Energy Needs Wind to Work

One of the common arguments made against wind power is that without government subsidies, mandates or tax credits, wind turbines would not be built. But even when companies do receive preferential treatment to build windmills, just because they’re built doesn’t mean they’re going to work. For that, there needs to be (drum roll, please)…wind! A report from Britain says:

“The analysis of power output found that more than 20 wind farms are operating at less than one-fifth of their full capacity. Experts say many turbines are going up on sites that are simply not breezy enough. They also accuse developers of ‘grossly exaggerating’ the amount of energy they will generate in order to get their hands on subsidies designed to boost the production of green power.

While it is possible some of the results were skewed by breakdowns, the revelation that so many are under-performing will be of great interest to those who argue that wind farms are little more than expensive eyesores. The analysis was carried out by Michael Jefferson, an environmental consultant and a professor of international business and sustainability. He believes that financial incentives designed to help Britain meet is green energy targets are encouraging firms to site their wind farms badly.”

In other wind farm news, although the event was called “exceptionally rare and highly unusual”, Europe’s largest wind farm had to be shut down because a 14-ton turbine snapped. It’s not the first time a windmill broke and fortunately no one was hurt. A turbine snapping is no reason to stop building windmills just as coal mining accidents are not reason to completely cut off our coal supply. Accidents happen in any industry and it’s a company’s job to learn from them and improve both quality and safety.

If businesses find it profitable to build supply energy in a variety of ways without government handouts, increased competition will only benefit the consumer. Yet, we’re being told we need to transition to a clean energy economy and that the United States needs to be the leader in building these technologies because, “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation,” said President Obama in his State of the Union address. If renewable energy eventually competes in the marketplace, economist Don Boudreaux says, “So what if the Chinese are world-leading producers of such equipment? Specializing in the production of other goods and services – things that we produce more efficiently than the Chinese – we Americans can then buy solar panels and wind turbines from the Chinese for use in our homes and offices. The latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of the factories where the final assembly of such equipment occurs are irrelevant.” That’s not to say U.S. can’t be a leader in wind mill production, but market-based policies are the best way to ensure that America’s renewable energy production is as competitive as possible.

In addition, the cleanliness in the President’s mission to green our economy may be a bit over hyped. We not only use fossil fuels to make turbines but also provide back up power when the windmills don’t spin. Since it’s too costly to stop and start a power plant, wind simply creates more emissions. Or, as Todd Wynn of the Cascade Policy Institute points out, in some instances wind replaces CO2-free sources of energy, like hydroelectricity: “So when the wind blows, the dams stop generating electricity, and when the wind stops, the dams continue to generate electricity. So, in fact, wind power is just offsetting another renewable energy source. It’s not necessarily offsetting any fossil fuel generation.”

Wind may be economically viable in some parts of the United States, but we should let businesses and electricity consumers, not the government, decide that.



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


25 March, 2010

France ditches carbon tax as protests mount

France is facing its own 'spring of discontent' as strikes shut schools, courts, railways and metro services, and trade unions vowed mass protests across the country.

President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday scrapped the country's proposed carbon tax and reshuffled his cabinet in populist tilt after suffering a crushing electoral defeat over the weekend, when his Gaulliste UMP party lost every region other than in its bastion of Alsace and the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.

The vote saw a resurrection of both the Socialist Party and the far-Right National Front, showing how the delayed effects of rising unemployment can change the political landscape long after recession has passed. The jobless rate has risen to 10.1pc, up from 8.7pc a year ago. A quarter of those aged under 25 are out of work.

The government said its energy tax was being postponed indefinitely in order not to "damage the competitiveness of French companies", fearing that it would be too risky for France to go it alone without the rest of the EU. Brussels has announced plans for an EU-wide tax, but the initiative already looks doomed.

Chantal Jouanno, the environment secretary, said she was "devastated that eco-scepticism had prevailed". France's leading green groups wrote a joint letter to Mr Sarkozy saying they were "scandalised" by his decision, accusing him of tearing up a pledge to put climate change at the centre of his presidency.

Medef, France's business lobby, said the demise of the carbon levy was a "relief". The tax would have been €17 a tonne compared to around €100 in Sweden, but business feared that this would creep up over time.

The trade unions said half of all primary school teachers followed the call to strike on Tuesday, though officials said the figure was 30pc. Half the commuter trains were stopped. The CGT union federation said it planned 180 marches across France to protest pension reform. The retirement age in France is still 60, far short of North European levels around 67. The pension deficit will reach €50bn a year by 2020 without radical changes.

France has hardly begun to pair back the fiscal stimulus of the last year, though the car scrappage scheme is being phased out in steps. The budget deficit is expected to rise to 8.2pc of GDP this year, with no real austerity until 2011. The country faces the same risks as the UK in delaying retrenchment as public debt surges above 80pc of GDP this year. Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's have begun to mutter that France may endanger its AAA status if it fails to act soon, though the Paris clearly has more leeway than London for now.

France's rigid labour markets tend to delay full recovery from downturns and cause debt to keep rising for longer than in Anglo-Saxon states. Gilles Moec, from Deutsche Bank, said France came through the recession in better shape than most European nations in part because it has a low exposure to exports outside the eurozone. The flip-side is that it risks being left behind by Germany as the rebound in global trade gathers pace.

Le Figaro said Mr Sarkozy's travails reflect the schizophrenia of the public psyche. "The problem is that voters thought they had elected a French Churchill when in fact they were only ready for a MacMillan," it said.


Even soil feels the heat: Soils release more carbon dioxide as globe warms

The evidence below is weak but if it is correct it is yet more evidence that a climbing CO2 rate is the RESULT of warming, not the cause. There are two other apparent ramifications: 1). Results like this mean that the anthropogenic fraction must be readjusted. Is man's annual contribution 4%? 3%? Less? 2). This latest natural emission estimate shows that previous source/sink models have been inadequate, as usual

Twenty years of field studies reveal that as the Earth has gotten warmer, plants and microbes in the soil have given off more carbon dioxide. So-called soil respiration has increased about one-tenth of 1 percent per year since 1989, according to an analysis of past studies in today's issue of Nature.

The scientists also calculated the total amount of carbon dioxide flowing from soils, which is about 10-15 percent higher than previous measurements. That number -- about 98 petagrams of carbon a year (or 98 billion metric tons) -- will help scientists build a better overall model of how carbon in its many forms cycles throughout the Earth. Understanding soil respiration is central to understanding how the global carbon cycle affects climate.

"There's a big pulse of carbon dioxide coming off of the surface of the soil everywhere in the world," said ecologist Ben Bond-Lamberty of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "We weren't sure if we'd be able to measure it going into this analysis, but we did find a response to temperature."

The increase in carbon dioxide given off by soils -- about 0.1 petagram (100 million metric tons) per year since 1989 -- won't contribute to the greenhouse effect unless it comes from carbon that had been locked away out of the system for a long time, such as in Arctic tundra. This analysis could not distinguish whether the carbon was coming from old stores or from vegetation growing faster due to a warmer climate. But other lines of evidence suggest warming is unlocking old carbon, said Bond-Lamberty, so it will be important to determine the sources of extra carbon.

The Opposite of Photosynthesis

Plants are famous for photosynthesis, the process that stores energy in sugars built from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis produces the oxygen we breathe as a byproduct. But plants also use oxygen and release carbon dioxide in the same manner that people and animals do. Soil respiration includes carbon dioxide from both plants and soil microbes, and is a major component of the global carbon cycle.

Theoretically, the biochemical reactions that plants and soil microbes engage in to produce carbon dioxide suggest that higher temperatures should result in more carbon dioxide being released. But unlike the amount of sunlight reaching Earth, soil respiration can't be measured from space and can't yet be simulated effectively with computer models.

So, the researchers turned to previous studies to see if they could quantify changes in global soil respiration. PNNL's Bond-Lamberty and his colleague Allison Thomson, working at the Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Md., examined 439 soil respiration studies published between 1989 and 2008.

They compiled data about how much carbon dioxide has leaked from plants and microbes in soil in an openly available database. To maintain consistency, they selected only data that scientists collected via the now-standard methods of gas chromatography and infrared gas analysis. The duo compared 1,434 soil carbon data points from the studies with temperature and precipitation data in the geographic regions from other climate research databases.

After subjecting their comparisons to statistical analysis, the researchers found that the total amount of carbon dioxide being emitted from soil in 2008 was more than in 1989. In addition, the rise in global temperatures correlated with the rise in global carbon flux. However, they did not find a similar relation between precipitation and carbon.

Zooming In

Previous climate change research shows that Arctic zones have a lot more carbon locked away than other regions. Using the complete set of data collected from the studies, the team estimated that the carbon released in northern -- also called boreal -- and Arctic regions rose by about 7 percent; in temperate regions by about 2 percent; and in tropical regions by about 3 percent, showing a trend consistent with other work.

The researchers wanted to know if their data could provide more detailed information about each region. So they broke down the complete data set by regional climates and re-examined the smaller groups of data using different statistical methods. The regional data from the temperate and tropical climates produced results consistent with other results, such as more carbon being released at higher temperatures, but the boreal-Arctic climate data did not. In addition, removing only 10 percent of the boreal-Arctic data points was enough to invalidate the statistical significance of the boreal-Arctic result. Together, the results support the idea that more boreal data on regional climates is needed to reach statistical relevance.

"We identified an area where we need to do more work," said Thomson.

More information: Bond-Lamberty and Thomson, 2010. Temperature-associated increases in the global soil respiration record, Nature March 25, 2009, doi:10.1038/nature08930


Unbelievable irony?

Incredibly, THIS is how Alarmists feel, that THEY are the ones being pressured and intimidated to change their views. Bullies feeling sorry for themselves, sorry that their well-funded tactics are failing... that's a new one on me.


Warmists are now "scared shitless"

The excerpt below is from a pastoral letter to Warmists from a Warmist publication but some of the admissions are interesting. The calls for more objectivity and openness are revealing in themselves. Note, as usual, that not one scientific fact in support of AGW is mentioned: No science in an allegedly scientific publication

The integrity of climate research has taken a very public battering in recent months. Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight.

Climate scientists are on the defensive, knocked off balance by a re-energized community of global-warming deniers who, by dominating the media agenda, are sowing doubts about the fundamental science. Most researchers find themselves completely out of their league in this kind of battle because it's only superficially about the science. The real goal is to stoke the angry fires of talk radio, cable news, the blogosphere and the like, all of which feed off of contrarian story lines and seldom make the time to assess facts and weigh evidence. Civility, honesty, fact and perspective are irrelevant.

Worse, the onslaught seems to be working: some polls in the United States and abroad suggest that it is eroding public confidence in climate science at a time when the fundamental understanding of the climate system, although far from complete, is stronger than ever. Ecologist Paul Ehrlich at Stanford University in California says that his climate colleagues are at a loss about how to counter the attacks. “Everyone is scared shitless, but they don't know what to do,” he says.

Scientists must not be so naive as to assume that the data speak for themselves.

Researchers should not despair. For all the public's confusion about climate science, polls consistently show that people trust scientists more than almost anybody else to give honest advice. Yes, scientists' reputations have taken a hit thanks to headlines about the leaked climate e-mails at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK, and an acknowledged mistake about the retreat of Himalayan glaciers in a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But these wounds are not necessarily fatal.

To make sure they are not, scientists must acknowledge that they are in a street fight, and that their relationship with the media really matters. Anything strategic that can be done on that front would be useful, be it media training for scientists or building links with credible public-relations firms. In this light, there are lessons to be learned from the current spate of controversies. For example, the IPCC error was originally caught by scientists, not sceptics. Had it been promptly corrected and openly explained to the media, in full context with the underlying science, the story would have lasted days, not weeks. The IPCC must establish a formal process for rapidly investigating and, when necessary, correcting such errors.

The unguarded exchanges in the UEA e-mails speak for themselves. Although the scientific process seems to have worked as it should have in the end, the e-mails do raise concerns about scientific behaviour and must be fully investigated. Public trust in scientists is based not just on their competence, but also on their perceived objectivity and openness. Researchers would be wise to remember this at all times, even when casually e-mailing colleagues.


More doubts about Warmist statistics

This is just too true to be good. An unassuming climate scientist from the Netherlands, Bart Verheggen, who specializes in studying the effects of aerosols on climate change, (and who has corresponded with me frequently in a very genteel fashion) has a well-mannered, even tempered weblog called My View on Climate Change. About half the posts are in Dutch. Bart is a polite member of the anthropogenic global warming consensus--he believes strongly that human emission of greenhouse gases have caused significant temperature rises and pose a threat to development going forward.

And what's going on on his website is one of the most signficant and unexpected happenings in all the debate on global warming. For three weeks now, a discussion on something as unlikely as statistics is coming close to rewriting climate change history. Because for just about the first time, scientists from all parts of the spectrum are engaging in almost real time on an issue of substance that can actually be resolved in front of the viewing audience. It has engaged the attention of physicists, statisticians, webloggers and an army of viewers. If you read through it you will never think of the term 'unit root' in the same way again.

What's at stake is the legitimacy of a large number of papers using one set of statistical procedures to correlate the rise of CO2 and temperatures that is not valid due to the properties of the data collected. Using the proper method, co-integration, does not appear to yield the same results. Your world and mine could change--policies, taxes, mileage standards and decisions on whether to support natural gas instead of wind power--based on this discussion about statistics. It's hugely important and I have joined countless others in trying to keep up with the discussion. It's like being on trial in an alien court with the proceedings conducted in a foreign language. And I understand quite a bit of the statistics--maybe even 10%.

Bart wrote a post on March 1 titled, 'Global average temperature increase, GISS HadCru and NCDC compared.' (That's not Dutch...). It now has over 735 comments on it.

The issue they are debating is whether the analysis performed by climate scientists on CO2 rises and temperature is seriously flawed. The conversation goes way past Dutch and into Greek, but the key point, as summarized by commenter whbabcock on March 17, is this:

"The issues being addressed in this thread relate to a single question, “Does available real world data support the hypothesis that increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases increase global temperature permanently?”

VS has clearly pointed out that, to properly test this hypothesis, one must use statistical techniques that are consistent with the underlying characteristics of the data. As noted in the B&R paper, “… the radiative forcings of greenhouse gases (C02, CH4 and N2O) are stationary in second differences (i.e. I(2)) while global temperature and solar irradiance are stationary in first differences (i.e. I(1)).” B&R refer to five papers that have the same findings – i.e., that radiative forcings and global temperature are non-stationary to the same order.

Ignoring the properties of the time series data used to test a theory (hypothesis) can easily suffer the “pitfall of spurious regression.” That is, you can’t look at the simple correlation between greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature (or simple transformations of these data) and accept the hypothesis that one is caused by the other. In the case before us (i.e., given the characteristics of the time series data being used), cointegration has been demonstrated as the appropriate statistical technique. This has nothing to do with the logic or correctness of the underlying theory being tested. Rather, it has to do with the statistical properties of the time series being used to test the theory – two separate issues.

The B&R paper finds that, when cointegration is applied to available data,” … greenhouse gas forcings do not polynominally cointegrate with global temperature and solar irradiance.” Hence, available data do not support the physics based hypothesis.

This type of statistical result simply demonstrates the relationship (or lack thereof) in available data. It is what is!! This result stands (unless there are problems in execution – e.g., the analysis was implemented incorrectly, or the data are faulty, etc.). No appeal to theory or to alternative analyses of different types of data that support the hypothesis changes this single analytical result. Again, it is what is! It is what the data are telling us. In this case the data are telling us that bumble bees can fly (i.e., real world data – observations — are inconsistent with the formulated, mathematically based hypothesis).

What does all this mean? It could mean that the theory is incorrect. Or, it could mean that the data are not “accurate” enough to exhibit the “theoretical relationship.” It certainly “raises a red flag” as VS has noted several times. And, it does mean that one can’t simply point to highly correlated time series data showing rising CO2 concentrations and rising temperatures and claim the data support the theory."

Just to be clear, this is not going to prove or disprove global warming. But a lot of the conjectural studies claiming to be able to project future scenarios based on the correlation between CO2 and temperatures may have to be completely rewritten with a much higher standard of investigation--or else they won't really be usable. And it will certainly bring up the point that this issue with the data should have been examined about 20 years ago, when all the hype started.

It would be like reading War and Peace to go over there now and start from the beginning. But if you really care about the debate on global warming, you should do so. If you can't, I'm really hoping that someone will summarize the entire debate in the very near future.


Bangladeshi Island Sinks "From Global Warming"

No mention that the land surface of Bangladesh has in fact been GROWING overall in recent years

New Moore Island has been sinking for 30 years. However, the island itself, known as New Moore, is no more. In fact, it's now completely submerged under water.

Scientists used satellite imagery to prove their point. Moreover, sea patrols have confirmed that New Moore Island has sunk. Now the Global Warming experts say it's because of Climate Change.

However, the fact is, the island has been sinking dramatically during the past decade. Global Warming experts claim that the sea level is rising in accordance with rising temperatures. The island is about two square miles.

The island itself could be the first of many islands to soon disappear. Reports say that around 10 other islands are at risk of being submerged by rising waters. It is either caused by rising sea levels or the island itself might be sinking in mud.

Bangladesh And India Fought Over The Land For Many Years

The land is actually named South Talpatti Island in Bangladesh. However, India called it "New Moore Island" because it was uninhabited. The land emerged in the Bay of Bengal in the aftermath of the Bhola cyclone in 1970.

Its sovereignty was disputed between Bangladesh and India for years until the island became submerged. There was never any permanent settlement on the land. The emergence of the island was first discovered by an American satellite in 1974.

The satellite image showed the island to have an area of 27,000 square-feet. Later, various remote sensing surveys showed that the island had expanded gradually to an area of about 110,000 square-feet at low tide. The highest elevation had never exceeded two meters above sea level.

The island was claimed by both Bangladesh and India. Neither country established any permanent settlement because of the island's geological instability. India had reportedly hoisted the Indian flag on the territory in 1981 and established a temporary base of Border Security Forces.

The location of the channel in 1947 may be more relevant than its later location. River channels often shift their locations from time to time.



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


24 March, 2010

You can't predict the weather; or climate change: Our weather forecasts will always be as unreliable as our predictions of climate change

By Roger Highfield (Roger Highfield is the Editor of 'New Scientist’, a generally Warmist publication, so the stress below on the uncertain magnitudes involved is a big retreat)

Last year, the Met Office claimed the UK was “odds-on for a barbecue summer”. The reality was a washout. Then came its predictions of a mild winter, when it was the coldest for three decades. Now another company predicts this year’s summer will be sizzling. Can we believe them?

I asked Prof Tim Palmer, now at Oxford University, who pioneered medium-range climate forecasts. He sighs, and says of the Met’s forecasts that “we weren’t promised a barbecue summer — unfortunately, there was a certain amount of unnecessary spin placed on uncertain predictions”.

Today, at the Royal Society, London, Prof Palmer has gathered experts to discuss how we should handle uncertainties. Among them are Lord May, who put chaos theory into biology.

Chaos rules the weather. One can appreciate this with a mathematical structure called a Lorenz attractor, named after an American meteorologist. The lines depicting this structure never repeat their trajectory, just as the weather varies from day to day, but overall the lines form an owl-eye shape, just as our climate has regularities, notably warm summers and cold winters.

Although chaos theory limits the accuracy of weather predictions, we can still understand factors that influence the climate such as the greenhouse effect, predicted in 1827 by the French mathematician Joseph Fourier (1768-1830). The name arises because, like glass in a greenhouse, gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour let solar energy in to warm the Earth but also trap some of the planet’s heat. Without greenhouse gases, the ground temperature would be 30C lower.

The uncertainty in predictions of global warming have not changed much since pioneering work by the American Jule Charney in the Seventies, when he worked out the possible impact of climate change. His lower limit estimates of 1.5 deg warming for a doubling of carbon dioxide levels are similar to those from the latest climate models.

There is little uncertainty when it comes to explaining why the Earth is warming, says Prof Palmer. The big issue is what happens next. Some scientists fear apocalyptic scenarios, others believe the change will be smooth. All agree that there are major holes in our understanding.

“What has been naggingly difficult has been working out the upper limit of possible warming,” says Prof Palmer. There is much debate among scientists, but among the public this comes over as “you are either a believer or non-believer in climate change, which is a false dichotomy”.

All the time, there is endless pressure to simplify. PR disasters such as the Met’s seasonal forecast can result when uncertainty is rendered down to a soundbite. The Met had said it was ''odds-on for a barbecue summer’’ in its press statement, which had a greater ring of certainty than the actual 50 per cent probability of above-average temperatures. Similarly, although the winter had a 50 per cent chance of being milder, there was a 20 per cent chance of being colder.

This month the Met Office abandoned these forecasts, where many variations on the same computer model of the climate are run to produce a fuzzy “ensemble” of forecasts, a method Prof Palmer popularised back in 1989. Palmer believes they are still valid. “The Met has been criticised too much.”

Uncertainty is a part of everyday life. “The big issue is this,’’ Prof Palmer explains. “When it comes to a catastrophic 4 deg average global warming, how big a probability would the public have to be faced with to back taking drastic action?”

The failure to make the uncertainties of climate change crystal clear may be another reason why public confidence in climate science has slumped.


Lord Oxburgh, the climate science peer, ‘has a conflict of interest’

A member of the House of Lords appointed to investigate the veracity of climate science has close links to businesses that stand to make billions of pounds from low-carbon technology.

Lord Oxburgh is to chair a scientific assessment panel that will examine the published science of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

The CRU has been accused of manipulating and suppressing data to overstate the dangers from climate change. Professor Phil Jones, its director, has stood down from his post while a separate inquiry, chaired by Sir Muir Russell, takes place into the leaking of e-mails sent by him and his colleagues.

Climate sceptics questioned whether Lord Oxburgh, chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and the wind energy company Falck Renewables, was truly independent because he led organisations that depended on climate change being seen as an urgent problem.

Andrew Montford, a climate-change sceptic who writes the widely-read Bishop Hill blog, said that Lord Oxburgh had a “direct financial interest in the outcome” of his inquiry.

Lord Oxburgh has said that he believes the need to tackle climate change will make capturing carbon from power plants “a worldwide industry of the same scale as the international oil industry today”.

The CCS Association has stated that carbon capture could become a “trillion dollar industry” by 2050, but this would happen only if governments made reducing emissions a top political priority. In an interview in 2007, Lord Oxburgh said that the threat from global warming was so severe that “it may be that we shall need . . . regulations which impose very severe penalties on people who emit more than specified amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere”.

The university appointed Lord Oxburgh, a geologist and former chairman of the Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, after consulting the Royal Society, of which he is a fellow.

Professor Trevor Davies, the university’s pro-vice-chancellor for research, said that the university had been aware of Lord Oxburgh’s business interests but believed that he would lead the panel of six scientists “in an utterly objective way”. The panel will meet in Norwich next month.

He added: “We all have an interest in seeing alternatives to fossil fuel energy sources. This is going to be an issue for us all in future regardless of climate change.

“The choice of scientists is sure to be the subject of discussion, and experience would suggest that it is impossible to find a group of eminent scientists to look at this issue who are acceptable to every interest group which has expressed a view in the last few months. Similarly it is unlikely that a group of people who have the necessary experience to assess the science, but have formed no view of their own on global warming, could be found.”

He said the scientists has been selected because they had “the right mix of skills to understand the complex nature of climate research and the discipline-based expertise to scrutinise CRU’s research”.

Lord Oxburgh, a former chairman of Shell UK, said: “The shadow hanging over climate change and science more generally at present makes it a matter of urgency that we get on with this assessment. We will undertake this work and report as soon as possible.”

The university expects his report to be published before the summer.

The panel members are: Huw Davies, Professor of Physics at the Institute for Atmospheric & Climate Science at ETH Zürich; Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Professor Lisa Graumlich, Director of the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona; David Hand, Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College, London; Herbert Huppert, Professor of Theoretical Geophysics at the University of Cambridge; and Michael Kelly, Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge. They will be given access to CRU’s original data and be able to interview its scientists.

Professor Bob Watson, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “I strongly support the choice of chair and panel members — all world class — and the terms of reference. This should lead to a critical evaluation of the quality of the CRU science.”


Great news for earth's ecosystems

Recent news has been all bad for the International Panel on Climate Change and the former gold standard for global temperatures at East Anglia University.

Leaders of the organizations have been less than forthright regarding these facts: "The climate science is not settled," that assumptions in models used to "predict" catastrophic future warming may have been wrong, that the rapidity of glacier loss was overstated by multiples of years (initially denied), that there has been a tendency to leave out inconvenient scientific data in IPCC's all-important summary for policymakers, that temperatures today are possibly not unprecedented, and that there has been no statistically significant global warming in the last 15 years.

These admissions, prompted by information generated from 3,000 internal e-mails at East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, have shaken the warming community to its roots (even the leader of Greenpeace of the United Kingdom is appalled).

There is, however, great news for planet Earth and the plant and animal kingdoms, including humanity. With these admissions that the data and conclusions may be suspect, scientists and policymakers should now realize that carbon dioxide may not be a significant cause of climate change and that the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere may be beneficial to Earth, as it already has been since the beginning of the industrial revolution around 1860.

Thousands of real field and laboratory experiments by the agricultural community indicate that Earth's plants have experienced an increased growth of about 12 percent and Earth's forest an increase of about 18 percent.

In fact, these peer-reviewed studies show that an addition of 300 parts per million of CO2 to Earth's existing 387 ppm would result in average plant growth of 35 percent and growth of trees by 50 percent.

Other benefits include the fact that plants require less water to grow as large in a CO2- enriched atmosphere. This makes plants drought-tolerant as evidenced by plants today encroaching onto the deserts. Plants also become more tolerant of many environmental stresses.

It quickly became obvious that people, scientists and politicians were not aware of the astonishing benefits of CO2. Because there is not a single instance of CO2 being a pollutant and my own research of the literature indicating that there is no convincing evidence of CO2-caused global climate change, I gave some public talks and found that objective people were very interested in having a summary of these benefits to weigh against what they were being fed by proponents of CO2-caused warming.

This led to my becoming chairman and spokesman for a 501 c(3) organization,, and a 501 c(4) advocacy foundation,

People easily grasp the magnitude of the benefits of more CO2 but invariably ask, "But isn't CO2 causing global warming?"

While climate science is very complex, these observations deny that conclusion. First is the fact that detailed studies of ice cores prove that changes in CO2 levels follow changes in temperature by several hundreds of years.

Secondly, a law of physics shows that CO2's ability to absorb more heat declines very rapidly, logarithmically, as more CO2 is added to the atmosphere.

Thirdly, empirical (real) studies of current and historical climates do not support the hypothesis that CO2 is or has been a major cause of climate change.

Check it out on You will soon realize the amazing benefits that additional CO2 can bring to Earth's ecosystems, habitats, food supplies and human health.

More CO2 will truly "green" the Earth, while the cries from extremists to actually reduce atmospheric CO2 would result in a "browning" of Earth and death or increased misery to hundreds of millions of people living on the edge of starvation.

H. Leighton Steward, a Texas geologist, is also the author of two best-selling books challenging conventional wisdom -- "Fire, Ice and Pa


Water Vapour as a greenhouse gas?

Clouds have a warming effect because in order for water vapour to condense back into water droplets, the water molecules must first re-emit the energy they absorbed to become vapour in the first place.

The latent heat which is released in this process is what makes the local environment feel warmer. But this does not increase the overall energy in the system. This effect is simply a localized effect, the result of large amounts of energy actually leaving the system.

Most of the energy in this process is energy that has been stored by the oceans. This energy is then moved into the clouds via evaporation. When this evaporated water condenses it releases that energy into the atmosphere and it feels warmer. But it is a fleeting short lived increase in local temperature.

This energy would have been absorbed into the oceans somewhere near the equator. Then it will have been transported North or South by oceanic convection currents. When this warmer water reaches colder latitudes the warmer water evaporates. The water vapour caries the energy up to cloud level. Enormous amounts of energy are then released as the water vapour condenses into cloud. This released energy quickly leaves the system as it is lifted high up into the atmosphere by powerful convection currents in the atmosphere and is re-emitted to space as infrared radiation.

As I said the warming provided by this process is fleeting. To call it a greenhouse effect is to misunderstand what is happening. We feel the effect of this process in the form of milder localized weather. But this process is not adding energy to the system, it is actually a process that removes energy from the system. It is equivalent to standing in a shop doorway on a cold day. The door is open and the heat from inside the shop is rushing by you and it feels warmer by the door than it does inside the shop itself. But standing there with the door open isn't going to make the shop warmer. It can only make it colder.

Clouds are simply a transport mechanism for energy leaving the Earth's system. The warming they provide on a temporary local basis is energy that was absorbed in warmer equatorial regions. We feel its benefit on its way out of the system.

This process is not a greenhouse effect. It is not a net increase, it is a net loss.

There is no greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, it is a fraud.

A greenhouse is warmed by energy as it comes into the system. Our atmosphere is warmed by energy as it leaves the system.

Don't believe AGW is a fraud, know it!


Grass is also Green

Comment from Australia

You may have heard of Peter Spencer, the desperate Australian farmer who went on a hunger strike to draw attention to the fact that government bans on clearing vegetation had stolen his assets and destroyed his business. Peter is just one of many Australian farm families reduced to desperation and even suicide by seizure or sterilisation of their land to satisfy the voracious green god.

The most massive injustice occurred a couple of years ago, when, as a sacrifice to the Kyoto god, the federal government conspired with state governments to ban vegetation clearing on all property, even freehold. This was done in an underhand way to allow the government to seize carbon credits from landowners without paying compensation.

Many well meaning people, while not happy with the tactics and the refusal to pay compensation for property seized or devalued, think that there will be some environmental or climate benefits to come from all this.

Generally there are none.

Even if extraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was a good idea (and it isn't), no tree can keep extracting it on a long term basis. Every living thing (including trees, grass, cows and humans) borrows carbon from the environment as it grow, stops extracting it at maturity, and hands the valuable carbon back to the environment when it dies and the body rots. Net life time extraction equals ZERO. It is absolute scientific nonsense to believe that trees can have a long term effect on so called greenhouse gases. Like everything politicians touch, short term appearances and secret agendas are preferred to long term reality.

Banning the clearing of scrub regrowth in our grasslands is also a backward step environmentally. Everyone can see and understand tree forests, but no one appreciates the grass forests beneath their feet. Natural fires created our grasslands long before humans occupied Australia. They are valuable environmental landscapes far more important to humans than the stupid carbon credit forests and eucalypt weeds now invading them. With closer settlement and excessive areas locked up by governments, fires no longer protect our grasslands and landowners must use machinery to maintain their grass. Preventing this is like telling a market gardener he is not allowed to chip weeds invading his vegetable patch. Every landowner tries to guard the long term value of his land. No one has a monopoly on knowledge on how to do it. Some properties may need more trees, some less - if more trees are a benefit, landowners will grow them without coercion.

Does anyone seriously believe that a few green politicians and activists can devise one dictatorial land plan for every property from Longreach to Wagga and then use legal bludgeons, land confiscation and a desk bound bureaucracy to enforce the co-operation of landowners?

The Senate is currently carrying out an enquiry into some aspects of this massive land mismanagement. It is a bigger scandal than the home insulation scheme, and few politicians are free of blame. The Senate will be surprised at the injustices that will be revealed by this enquiry.

The Carbon Sense Coalition has (in some haste) made a Submission to this enquiry. We urge you to read it and print it out for friends. See it here


Corroboration of Natural Climate Change

By Dan Pangburn, P. E. (Licensed Mechanical Engineer), Life Member of ASME. Excerpt only below. Full article available from the author:

I observed the many conflicting assertions regarding the existence and cause of Global Warming, particularly as to whether it was significantly contributed to by human activity.

This led to substantial curiosity as to the truth. As a result I have conducted research on the issue for thousands of hours for over three years and have determined that the belief that human activity has had a significant influence on global climate is a mistake.

Greenhouse Analogy

This may be how the mistake began. Incorrect conclusions may have been drawn from various observations and discoveries. Some of the discoveries and developments are:

1. Electromagnetic wave theory which includes that all objects above absolute zero emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR).

2. Radiation heat transfer.

3. Quantum mechanics.

4. Gases absorb (and emit) photons (quanta) of EMR at discrete wavelengths. (Although probably inconsequential in the present discussion, theory and extremely fine observations have revealed that the absorption and emission `lines' are actually narrow statistical distributions).

5. Absorption by various atmospheric gases, especially water vapor and carbon dioxide, of EMR radiated from this planet, make the planet warmer than it would be if this absorption did not occur.

6. Window glass is transparent to EMR at wave lengths of visible light but opaque to EMR from objects at room temperature which are radiating at infra-red (IR) wavelengths.

Since early greenhouses were glass (plastics had not been invented yet) and glass is predominately transparent to EMR at short wave lengths (visible) and opaque at long wavelengths (IR), some concluded that this characteristic is what made greenhouses work. Similarly the discovery that some gases are nearly transparent at short wavelengths and absorb certain long wavelengths led to these being called greenhouse gases (ghg).

Now, however, most greenhouses use plastic film which works very nearly as well as glass but is cheaper and doesn't break as easily. (The construction is often double wall with trapped air between the walls to greatly reduce conductive heat loss). The plastic film is essentially transparent to EMR at both visible and IR wavelengths which shows that greenhouses actually work primarily because convection with outside air is blocked.

Despite this realization the term ghg remains and refers to gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide that are transparent to EMR at visible wavelengths and absorb (and emit) EMR at discreet (but slightly smeared) IR wavelengths. There are several other ghgs. Some are much higher EMR absorbers per molecule, but they are of less significance because they are present in only tiny amounts.


Absorption and emission spectral lines reveal that gases can absorb and emit EMR only at certain specific wavelengths. When a molecule of ghg (or any gas) absorbs a photon of EMR (EMR can be considered to be in packets called photons) and then bumps into another molecule before it has emitted a photon, its energy changes to a level where essentially it can not emit a photon. The mechanism of bumping in to another molecule is thermal conduction in the gas mixture. When a photon is absorbed but not emitted the absorbed photon has been thermalized.

After the photon has been absorbed by a carbon dioxide molecule but prior to it bumping in to another molecule the carbon dioxide molecule is at an energy level where it can emit a photon. The photon that it emits (if it emits one) is the same wavelength as the photon that it absorbed. An observed characteristic of gases is that they absorb and emit at the same discrete wavelengths.

It should be apparent that a time interval must pass between absorption and emission by any molecule. If that time interval were zero there would be no evidence that the photon had been absorbed. The amount of time that passes between absorption and emission is very short, less than a microsecond, but it must be more than zero. The amount of time that passes between contacts of molecules in a gas is also very short. If a photon is absorbed by a carbon dioxide molecule just before it contacts a nitrogen (or other) molecule, then emission will not have taken place and the photon is thermalized. Thus a fraction of the radiation that is absorbed by gas molecules is emitted as EMR (of the same wavelength that was absorbed) and the remainder is thermalized. The fraction that is thermalized is determined by the statistical probability of which occurs first, the variable time to emit after absorption by a molecule or the variable time to make contact with another molecule. [All EMR energy in a microwave oven appears as heat but the physical process involved is entirely different from that described above.]

Failure to identify thermalization is a major deficiency of the 1997 Kiehl & Trenberth chart which has been relied on heavily by the Climate Science community. This chart is shown for example at .

A color version of this chart is at .

This chart is also shown in the fourth IPCC report at AR4WG1, Chapter 1, page 96.

A 2008 update to this chart can be seen at

It also fails to indicate thermalization.

The Kiehl and Trenberth charts imply that absorbed radiation penetrates substantially to high altitude and also that all r radiation from high altitude gets all the way to the ground. Both of these implications are misleading. With thermalization, EMR flux declines with distance from the emitting surface.

A rough analysis using a corrected Kiehl and Trenberth type chart indicates that, at sea level atmospheric pressure, about 11.6% of the absorbed radiation (most of the IR that is absorbed is absorbed by water vapor) is thermalized. Thermalization of absorbed radiation is primarily what warms the atmosphere. The lower per cent of thermalization that takes place at higher altitude because the molecules are further apart is not accounted for in any of the assessments presented here

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


23 March, 2010

The latest nonsense: Flowers losing scent due to climate change

Since there has been no global warming for over 10 years, warming is not the cause of whatever has been observed below. And if there is an in principle claim that warming deodorises flowers, all those fragrant blossoms I encountered during my years in the tropics must have been a figment of my imagination

A rose may stop smelling like a rose. This is the concern of environmentalists as flowers are losing their scent due to climate change and air pollution. And their fragrance may be lost forever. Science and Technology Professor Emeritus at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad, said genetically modified flowers might be the way out.

Climate change is also the reason Kuala Lumpur City Hall is increasingly turning to shady trees, because flowers which previously formed the centrepiece of its beautification programme have been wilting fast.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said City Hall used to spend RM1.5 million ($635,100) a month to plant and maintain flowers in the city, but the contractor's services were terminated in March last year. City Hall has taken over the planting, opting for bougainvillea and the tropical shrubs, Ixora, for their durability and cheaper cost. Under the previous arrangement, some of the small flowers cost RM3.50 per seedling.

"It was getting too costly to beautify the city. Flowers were dying fast," he said, adding that City Hall would continue to plant shady trees more suited for soaking up the increasing pollution and coping with global warming.

Latif said UKM might have offered plausible reasons as to why some pollinators were not spreading flower seeds, a pattern caused by the missing "scent trail" with scent tissues burning easily due to global warming. "The aroma producing chemical compounds in flowers dry up faster now compared with before."

The only way out, he said, was to genetically modify the flowers so that the effects would not be permanent and the future generation would not be robbed of nature's beauty. "The act is almost like producing essential oils. Scientists add on certain chemicals for stronger scent." He said scents in flowers last longer in colder climate as plants can hold on to their essential oils longer. "The flowers may still have strong scents in colder climate. But locally, we fear this might be lost forever."

With flowers emitting lesser scent, the insects and butterflies are travelling further and longer to get a share of nectar. Latif said birds and insects were heading towards hilly areas and deeper into the jungles where the weather is cooler.


Cutting out meat won't fight climate change: expert

EATING less meat will not reduce global warming and reports that claim it will help are distracting society from finding real ways to beat climate change, a leading air quality expert has said. "We certainly can reduce our greenhouse gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk," Frank Mitloehner has said as he presented a report on meat-eating and climate change at a conference of the American Chemical Society in California.

Associate Professor Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California-Davis, has said blaming cows and pigs for climate change was scientifically inaccurate. He has also dismissed several reports, including one issued in 2006 by the United Nations, which he has said overstate the role that livestock play in global warming.

The UN report - Livestock's Long Shadow - which said livestock cause more anthropogenic greenhouse gases than all global transportation combined, merely distract from the real issues involved in climate change and was a distraction in the quest for true solutions to global warming, he has said.

The notion that eating less meat will help to combat climate change has spawned campaigns for "meatless Mondays" and a European campaign launched late last year, called "Less Meat, Less Heat". Former Beatle Paul McCartney, one of the world's best-known vegetarians, was a driving force behind "Less Meat, Less Heat".

"McCartney and others seem to be well-intentioned but not well-schooled in the complex relationships among human activities, animal digestion, food production and atmospheric chemistry," Prof Mitloehner said. "Smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat ... Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries." Developing countries "should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices, to make more food with less greenhouse gas production" and developed countries "should focus on cutting our use of oil and coal for electricity, heating and vehicle fuels".

In the United States, transportation creates an estimated 26 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, whereas raising cattle and pigs for food accounts for about three per cent, he said.

The UN report, issued in 2006, said global livestock rearing was responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in carbon dioxide equivalents. The UN report said that was more than the greenhouse gases produced by transport.


Solar insanity in Britain

Since when do Brits even SEE the sun?

Moonbat's spat over feed-in tariffs continues with a repost from his nemesis, Jeremy Leggett, defender of the solar industry. For once, though, we are completely on Moonbat's side. Only now is the enormity of the government's proposal beginning to sink in, with its intention to have a full two percent of UK electricity supplied from micro-generation by 2020. This will largely be delivered by solar panels, the most profitable option for small installations.

Actually, solar panels are one of the least cost-effective ways of producing electricity, costing £4,000-6,000 per kilowatt of installed capacity. Without massive government support, payback times (with interest) could be a hundred years or more to recoup the typical installation costs of between £3,000 and £20,000. Given that the devices have a maximum lifetime of 30 years, that would never have happened.

However, from 1 April, the government is offering 41.3p per kWh produced – a supposed "feed-in" tariff although it is paid even if the owner uses all the electricity produced. From this, it estimates that a typical 2.5kW well sited installation could earn £900 a year and save £140 a year on the electricity not used – the subsidies calculated to give a 5-8 percent return on investment.

The income from the electricity sales is not taxed so, for a higher bracket taxpayer – who would have to pay for the electricity out of earned income, the payback time can be reduced to as little as 15 years. By 2020, however, the government estimates that the subsidy – paid by electricity users – will be costing £8.6 billion annually. Since only the better off will be able to afford the installation costs, this amounts to a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to those fortunate enough to be able to buy the equipment.

To get to this state, the number of installations, currently approximately 100,000 and, up from an estimated 82,000 at the end of 2004, will need to increase to something like 7-10 million. And, as a rough estimate, the capital cost could be in the region of £100 billion – for two percent of our electricity production – with which we could buy 100 percent of our requirement in the form of brand new nuclear power stations.

It is this capital expenditure which will be defrayed by the feed-in tariff, replacing a composite scheme which included installation grants.

There was an inkling of how profitable solar was becoming last year when Guardian journalist Ashley Seager spent £8,500 on solar roof panels (having got a 50 percent grant for a system that cost £17,500) and claimed the experience to be financially rewarding.

That was before the government's feed-in tariff came into force and, when it does the owners will be able to sell all the electricity they produce at 41.3p per kWh, even if they use it all themselves.

Just how insane this really is can be seen from a similar scheme introduced in Germany in 2004 – with a 57.4 euro cent/kWh subsidy for domestic users. This pushed solar power capacity to about 9GW, delivering about 1.35 GW, or about one percent of total German production - including some massive industrial installations, which get a slightly lower subsidy rate.

But the cost has been massive. German electricity consumers last year paid more than £10 billion in subsidies, forcing chancellor Merkel to cut the tariff by 15 percent this month, with more cuts in the pipeline.

With the UK feed-in tariff – and other tax incentives – solar panels are now a good investment for anyone who can afford them, which means that there will almost certainly be a massive uptake. The government may well reach its 2020 target of two percent but the rest of us will be paying dearly for the privilege.

Even allowing for a low end installation cost of £4,000 per kW installed, the load capacity of domestic panels in the UK rarely exceeds 10 percent. This means that the 2GW needed by 2020 to make up 2 percent of our electrical production would still cost in the region of £80 billion. At this rate, no wonder Merkel finds the subsidies unaffordable. And yet, David Cameron wants not 2 but 15 percent, jacking up capital costs to a potential £600 billion.

If the current scheme is already insane, what the Tories are proposing is a multiple of insanity. And we can afford neither.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Pesky Arctic ice won’t melt

The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in 2007 warns the Arctic ice could vanish: "The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the North Pole is covered with extensive first-year ice—ice that formed last autumn and winter. I’d say it’s even-odds whether the North Pole melts out [this year]."

The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in 2010 concedes the Arctic ice has grown: "A report from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado finds that Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Attention BBC: which of Australia's cities is almost dry?

By Andrew Bolt

A word to the BBC’s Sydney reporter Nick Bryant. Mate, Australians now have the Internet and can read and check the bizarre reports you file back home, like this one:
Australia is in the grip of “the Big Dry”, one of the worst droughts in a century.

Major cities confront the major possibility of running out of water daily, and some are building desalination plants that draw from the sea.
Here’s the rain anomalies for this summer, showing above average rainfall for most of the country:


And here are the current storage levels on these cities that “confront the major possibility of running out of water daily”:

Sydney: 59%

Melbourne: 34.3% with desalination plant to come online next year.

Brisbane: 97.7%

Perth: 39.6% with desalination plant online.

Adelaide: 62% plus water piped from the Murray.

Your correction should be a beauty. Claiming you simply consulted Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery is no excuse.


New book

An email from Steve Goreham of

My name is Steve Goreham. I'm an engineer, a former business executive, and a Yank. I've just published (ink not yet dry) the book: Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century's Hottest Topic to add weight against climate change alarmism and for sound science and energy policy.

Climatism! covers the science, politics, and energy policy impacts of global climate mania. It's written in a down-to-earth manner for world citizens to accelerate the demise of Climatism.

You can order from Steve's site


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


22 March, 2010

Global warming can lead to increased violence in human beings

It might well do so, though the evidence is mixed. I myself wrote several research papers on the psychological effects of a warmer climate and in some datasets the hypothesis was supported and in others it was not. There are basically too many confounding factors to sort it all out conclusively. Tropical dwellers tend not to be identical to non-tropical dwellers, for instance, so any differences observed could be due to those other factors rather than the heat itself. On the whole, however, I am inclined to go along with the hypothesis.

But it is all theory in this instance. We don't know that the climate WILL warm and we don't know if any warming is the result of human influences. Additionally, we don't know how any adverse effect will be balanced by other effects. It is certainly my observation that people in warmer climates are more sociable, which is probably a good thing, so how do we balance that against a slight increase in violent incidents? It is all a matter of opinion.

The second assertion below, that warming will cut food production, is utter bunkum. A few degrees of warming would make large areas of Canada and Siberia arable, with a resultant huge INCREASE in potential food production. And greater warmth is good for crops in general. Lots of farmers would be glad to see the end of frost damage, for instance

A new research has shown that as the earth's average temperature rises, so does human "heat" in the form of violent tendencies, which links global warming with increased violence in human beings.

Using US government data on average yearly temperatures and the number of violent crimes between 1950 and 2008, the researchers estimate that if the annual average temperature in the US increases by 4.4 degree Celsius, the yearly murder and assault rate will increase by 34 per 100,000 people - or 100,000 more per year in a population of 305 million.

While the global warming science has recently come under fire, the main premise behind the Iowa State researchers' research paper is irrefutable. "It is very well researched and what I call the 'heat hypothesis'," Anderson said. "When people get hot, they behave more aggressively. There's nothing new there and we're all finding the same thing. But of the three ways that global warming is going to increase aggression and violence, that's probably the one that's going to have the most direct impact - even on developed, wealthy countries, because they have warm regions too," he added.

The ISU researchers analyzed existing research - including an update on a study Anderson authored in 1997 - on the effects of rising temperature on aggression and risk factors for delinquency and criminal behavior.

In addition to the "heat hypothesis," they report that rising global temperatures also increases known risk factors for the development of aggression in violence-prone individuals, such as increasing poverty, growing up amid scarce resources, malnutrition and food insecurity.

They contended that one of the most catastrophic effects of climate change will be food availability, producing more violence-prone individuals in the process. "While there is some link between temperature and aggression, really the effects (of climate change) are going to be more indirect if those temperature changes affect the amount of food we can produce, coupled with population growth," said Matt DeLisi, an associate professor of sociology and director of ISU's criminal justice program. "Then where the real damage will be done is malnutrition, because that sets in motion these other developments (risk factors) that then lead to crime," he added.

The researchers cited ecomigration, civil unrest, genocide and war as the third way global warming is going to increase violence. They report research finding that rapid climate change can lead to changes in the availability of food, water, shelter and other necessities of life. Such shortages can also lead to civil war and unrest, migration to adjacent regions and conflict with people who already live in that region, and even to genocide and war.


The week that was

By Fred Singer

Last week TWTW discussed part of the IPCC’s methodology as presented in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the 2007 Assessment Report (AR4). The IPCC conclusion that it is 90% probable that humans caused the warming in the last 50 years (precise dates not given) requires two key assumptions: 1) the surface datasets relied upon have been rigorously maintained, and 2) all the natural causes of warming are known and included in the models. As readers of TWTW realize, it is likely the datasets have been highly compromised, rendering the IPCC’s conclusions indefensible until the datasets are independently verified.

As to natural causes of temperature increases in the past 50 years, the SPM claims that: “The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes alone. {4.8, 5.2, 9.4, 9.5, 9.7}(SPM 1-30-07 p 10).

Put differently, it is only 5% probable that the surface temperature increases can be explained by changes within the earth and its internal climate system, and only 10% probable that they can be explained by all natural changes including changes in solar activity, etc.

This leads to one of nature’s delicious ironies. This winter when much of the inhabited part of the Northern Hemisphere was suffering from extreme cold and snow, as referenced in prior TWTW’s, satellite measurements show that the atmosphere was unusually warm due to a strong El Niño. Yet, the IPCC excludes natural influences for warming, specifically mentioning El Niños, which it considers too short to have an influence. It also excludes the established oscillations of the oceans such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation.

Adding to the irony, on March 6 the Houston Chronicle published an op-ed written by climate scientists, referenced in last week’s TWTW, titled “On global warming, the science is solid.” The scientists claim that the January high temperatures (now February as well) support the IPCC science. Others have made similar claims. Thus, to defend IPCC science some advocates are reduced to attacking IPCC’s scientific findings!


A heavy blow to the ocean acidification scare

Since, in even the IPCC assessment, sea-level rise is not going to be much of a problem of any foreseeable global warming, Warmists now often turn to the claim that warming will make the oceans more acidic and that that will dissolve all the carbonaceous carapaces of shellfish etc. No more yummy crabs or oysters, for instance. That claim always depended on scientific ignorance because the oceans are in fact very alkaline and any foreseeable acidification would simply make them less alkaline, not acidic. And alkalis don't dissolve shellfish.

Now however, the latest research really blows the nonsense away. The research below shows that shellfish flourished during periods of much higher atmospheric CO2 than we have today:
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years

By Paul N. Pearson et al.

Knowledge of the evolution of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations throughout the Earth's history is important for a reconstruction of the links between climate and radiative forcing of the Earth's surface temperatures. Although atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in the early Cenozoic era (about 60Myr ago) are widely believed to have been higher than at present, there is disagreement regarding the exact carbon dioxide levels, the timing of the decline and the mechanisms that are most important for the control of CO2 concentrations over geological timescales. Here we use the boron-isotope ratios of ancient planktonic foraminifer shells to estimate the pH of surface-layer sea water throughout the past 60 million years, which can be used to reconstruct atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We estimate CO2 concentrations of more than 2,000 p.p.m. for the late Palaeocene and earliest Eocene periods (from about 60 to 52 Myr ago), and find an erratic decline between 55 and 40 Myr ago that may have been caused by reduced CO2 outgassing from ocean ridges, volcanoes and metamorphic belts and increased carbon burial. Since the early Miocene (about 24Myr ago), atmospheric CO2 concentrations appear to have remained below 500 p.p.m. and were more stable than before, although transient intervals of CO2 reduction may have occurred during periods of rapid cooling approximately 15 and 3 Myr ago.


End-phase of the Climate Wars?

History may see the interview of CRU's Professor Phil Jones by the BBC's Roger Harrabin on 12 February 2010 as the opening of the end-phase of the long-running "alarmists versus sceptics" debate.

The gap between these two schools has never yawned as widely as media reports often suggest. Both agree that climate is always changing, that we have recently been in a warming period (with tiny temperature changes), that "greenhouse theory" has some validity, and that human activities are capable of impacting climate. The core dispute lies in the detection and attribution of `anthropogenic global warming' (AGW), and is brought out in the following exchange:

Harrabin - How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

Jones - I'm 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 - there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

Sceptics say any human causation was trivial. This dispute was addressed directly:

Harrabin - what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?

Jones - The fact that we can't explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing.

"The warming from the 1950s" didn't actually commence until 1975, and the 1975-2009 warming is identified by Professor Jones as a trend-rate of temperature increase of 0.161C per decade. This decadal figure is significant, but only just. In the second interview question, Jones says a trend of "0.12C per decade is not significant at the 95% significance level".

The world has been experiencing a long-term gentle warming since the end of the Little Ice Age. Professor Jones has said elsewhere[i] that this natural variability has averaged 0.11C per decade. So, the "extraordinary" recent warming that calls for explanation is the balance of 0.051C per decade. This is the smoking gun. It is the sole evidence that a measurable but unexplained increase in global temperatures has coincided with the post-1950 increase in human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Jones says that this correlation is evidence of causation, because the IPCC has no other explanation.

The first rejoinder by sceptics is that this is an argument from ignorance. Humanity cops the blame solely because IPCC researchers know so little about all the vast natural forces and cycles influencing global temperatures that they can't pin it firmly on any one suspect. Cast in this way, the strength of the IPPC's case is inversely proportional to the depth of their climatic understanding. But why should homo sapiens be the default option?

Secondly, doubters say it is not surprising that IPCC models can't explain an infinitesimal heat anomaly of five-hundredths of a degree over a 10-year period. They have a track record of being wrong about much larger matters, including their prediction of 0.2C warming over the past decade. Phil Jones says there has been no significant warming since 1995.

Thirdly, a very important question arises as to the precision of the instrumental record, as well as all the statistical processing, that produces this key trend figure of 0.161C per decade. This seems an impossibly precise figure for all the world's temperatures, over lengthy periods, in all seasons, using diverse and changing instruments. What are the margins of error for the thermometers? What are the statistical confidence intervals for the homogenization of records? What of the spatial and temporal gaps?

Error bars narrow over time, but the IPCC accepts that even the most modern gridded readings contain errors of +/- 0.17. When this level is applied to Professor Jones' trend for 1975-2009 it overwhelms it. The anomaly which "we can't explain" is so small as to be swamped by the margins of error.

Doubts about the accuracy of data processing are heightened by the ongoing unavailability of worldwide raw data and metadata. CRU evaded Freedom of Information obligations and then confessed that computer data was lost. This pattern was mirrored by the actions of NIWA in New Zealand, and perhaps others. What of the `Climategate' accusations of manipulation, also mirrored in New Zealand? There are a great many known unknowns, and perhaps just as many unknown unknowns.

The fourth objection is that a trend of 0.161C per decade is NOT outside the boundaries of internal natural variability. This is where the BBC testimony of Professor Jones becomes invaluable in settling the argument:

Harrabin - Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

Jones - The 1860-1880 period is only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different.

It is common ground that the warmings commencing in 1860 and 1910 were not human-caused, so they must have resulted from oscillations or other cyclical or chaotic aspects of internal variability. An unexplained warming trend of 0.16C/decade, which has occurred three times in the last 150 years is, by definition, within the natural variability of the global climate system.

The first two IPCC reports accepted that the medieval warm period (MWP) was the warmest period of the millennium, but this was challenged in 2001 by the 'hockey sticks' produced by Mann, Briffa, and others. These projects, which focused on tree rings in North America and Siberia, were illuminated by the BBC interview:

Harrabin- There is a debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was global.

Jones - For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few paleoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

So the `hockey team' go under a bus, along with the IPCC's dogmatic claim that current temperatures are the warmest experienced for a thousand years. The MWP which was established by history records still stands - as yet unchallenged by proxy temperature records.

The fifth argument accepts that all three warmings since 1860 (and the MWP) could have exceeded the bounds of natural variability, if all were forced by the same external influence. Possibilities are legion and include solar flares, cosmic rays, orbital anomalies, undocumented cycles, aerosols, ocean currents and magnetic realignments. Nobody actually blames these warmings on volcanoes or solar irradiance, which are the only two influences considered by Phil Jones.

The sixth problem is that the correlation between the respective increases of GHGs and temperatures, which has always been poor, has become non-existent in the past 15years. Whilst CO2 emissions have rocketed since 1995, Phil Jones confirms there has been no detectable increase in global warming.

The real value of the Harrabin/Jones interview is the fact that straight questions received straight answers, for the first time in recent memory.

Professor Jones, as co-inventor of the modern climate change hypothesis, principal archivist of global temperature records, co-author of the IPCC's AR4, Nobel laureate, and former CRU director, is the most authoritative source imaginable. He received written notice of the questions from a long-sympathetic interviewer, and his responses were pre-vetted by his lawyers and by the University of East Anglia media office. There will be no retractions.

Even if humans have in fact been responsible for the "unexplained" warming of 0.051C per decade over 35 years, it is comforting to note that allowing this rate to continue will produce only 0.5C by the end of the century. As only about half of the human-caused warming is attributed to CO2, the valuation of any net benefit from abandoning fossil fuels is becoming very obscure indeed.

Five-hundredths of a degree Celsius per decade produces extra nocturnal warmth at about the same rate as we grow toenails. It is far too insignificant to be detected by human sensors or even by standard weather thermometers - which are usually rounded up to the closest whole degree. It is a statistical fiction, created by computer-splicing of incompatible datasets, derived from averages of averages of inconsistent instruments.

The controversy continues. But with the imprimatur of Phil Jones to the key fact that recent warming is not unusual, the debate will never be the same. The two sides are edging closer to a common set of facts; and it surely cannot be too much longer before common conclusions are drawn from those facts.


Environmentalists Are Killing Environmentalism

Aesop (620-564 BC) the Greek writer famous for his fables told of the boy who falsely cried wolf. Environmentalists have falsely cried wolf and effectively undermine environmentalism the need to live within the confines of a finite planet. They misled, exaggerated and made a multitude of false predictions to the detriment of the environment and people's willingness to be aware and concerned. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was a major starting point that blamed DDT for many things including thinner eggshells none of which proved correct.

Indeed, as Paul Driessen identified in Eco-imperialism: Green Power, Black Death, banning DDT led to millions of unnecessary deaths from malaria that exceed deaths from AIDS in Africa.

A myriad of false stories made headlines over the last 40 years. All are conditional that is they're prefaced by words like, `could' and `maybe', but the public generally remembers the terse and unconditional headlines. Ultimately almost all the stories were subsequently proved incorrect, but that never makes the headlines. Remember such stories as sheep and rabbits going blind in Chile because of thinning ozone. Well, as scientists at Johns Hopkins showed, it was due to a local infection.

We heard of frogs born deformed and humans were blamed because of pollution. Biologist Stan Sessions showed it was due to a natural parasite. Each week some natural phenomenon is presented as unnatural and by implication due to human activity. A book is needed to list all the claims and threats made that have not occurred, have proved false or are unfounded.

Global warming, and latterly climate change, became the major plank of environmentalist's religious campaign. They used it to dictate and control how everyone else should live and behave, as a survey of the web pages of Greenpeace, the Sierra Club or Friends of the Earth show. The level of commitment is a real problem. It's exaggerated by the declining economy and people experience the economic impacts of their tactics and extremism.

Leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) disclosed what several scientists had suspected for a long time about the corruption of climate science. Subsequent exposure of the problems with the IPCC Reports led distinguished oceanographer Dr. Robert Stephenson of the U.S. Office of Naval Research and NASA to say, "Even when exposed, the IPCC leaders claimed it was their "right" to change scientific conclusions so that political leaders could better understand the report." "To the world's geophysical community, these unethical practices and total lack of integrity by the leadership of the IPCC have been enough to reveal that their collective claims were - and are - fraudulent." But Bruce Cox, the executive director of Greenpeace "blamed the hacked emails to being politically motivated."

John Bennett, executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada, made the same argument, saying: "Mann and his colleagues were simply speaking in their own high-level code, and a number of things were taken out of context.

His remarks underscore lack of understanding of climate science, the serious limitations of the IPCC Reports and what the emails actually disclose. It is not surprising because on March 10 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, "Let me be clear: the threat posed by climate change is real. Nothing that has been alleged or revealed in the media recently alters the fundamental scientific consensus on climate change. Nor does it diminish the unique importance of the IPCC's work."

Environmentalism was what academics call a paradigm shift. Thomas Kuhn defined them as "a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions." Some attribute the composite photo of the Earth, taken by astronauts in Apollo 8 as the symbolic start of the new paradigm of environmentalism.

Environmental groups grabbed the concept and quickly took the moral high ground preaching that only they cared about the Earth. They went to extremes putting any plant or animal ahead of any human activity or need. Extreme environmentalists profess an anti-humanity, and anti-evolution philosophy. Humans are an aberration according to Ron Arnold, Executive Vice-President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. "Environmentalism intends to transform government, economy, and society in order to liberate nature from human exploitation." David Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service claims Darwin's evolution theory doesn't apply to humans:

"Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn't true. Somewhere along the line - at about a billion years ago - we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

Climate scientists at the CRU used the IPCC, a political vehicle established by the UN, to provide the false scientific basis for all energy and environmental policies. They created what Essex and McKitrick called the Doctrine of Certainty in their book Taken by Storm. They define this as, "The basic not-to-be-questioned assertions of the Doctrine are:

1. The Earth is warming.

2. Warming has already been observed.

3. Humans are causing it.

4. All but a handful of scientists on the fringe believe it.

5. Warming is bad.

6. Action is required immediately.

7. Any action is better than none.

8. Claims of uncertainty only cover the ulterior motives of individuals aiming to stop needed action.

9. Those who defend uncertainty are bad people.

They conclude, "The Doctrine is not true. Each assertion is either manifestly false or the claim to know it is false." Remember this was written before disclosure of the emails and the many IPCC errors.

But the most devastating proof of the scientific inadequacies of the IPCC Reports is the complete failure of every prediction they have made. They were as wrong on every issue as the Club of Rome Limits to Growth predictions. Ability to predict weather accurately is difficult in 24 hours and virtually impossible beyond 72 hours. AGW proponents claimed weather was different than climate and predictable with a degree of certainty.

This is false because climate is an average of the weather. If their claim was correct forecasts in the brief 20 years since their first Report in 1990 would be correct. Every one is wrong. They tried to avoid the problem by switching to a range of scenarios but even the lowest was wrong. These are facts Ban Ki Moon and environmental groups can understand. By ignoring them and crying wolf when the wolf is already in the flock undermines the logical and reasonable adoption of environmentalism.

Environmentalists took over environmentalism and preached to everyone how they knew best and only they cared. How dare they? We are all environmentalists. With blind faith they, deceived, misdirected, threatened, destroyed jobs, careers, opportunities and development. Now those who paid the price will be less willing to listen or support genuine environmental concerns.


French firm develops new nuclear reactors that 'destroy' atomic waste

A NEW type of nuclear reactor that could permanently "destroy" atomic waste is being developed by French scientists, according to chief executive of Areva, the world's largest nuclear energy company. Anne Lauvergeon told The Times that the French group was developing a technology to burn up actinides -- highly radioactive uranium isotopes that are the waste products of nuclear fission inside a reactor. The technology could be critical in winning greater global public support for nuclear energy and cutting emissions of carbon dioxide.

"We have developed the highest safety level with (our existing reactors)," she said. "In terms of public acceptance, the remaining issue is the waste. In the future we will be able to destroy the actinides by making them disappear in a special reactor. We can do it already in a laboratory. With research and development, we will address this issue."

The project at Areva is similar to research being carried out at the University of Texas in Austin, where scientists have designed a system that would use fusion to eliminate virtually all the waste produced by civil nuclear reactors. Swadesh Mahajan, senior research scientist at Austin's Institute for Fusion Studies (IFS), believes that the invention could hugely reduce the need for geological repositories for waste. "We want to make nuclear energy as socially and environmentally acceptable as possible," he said. "Nuclear waste cannot be 100 per cent eliminated, but the volume, the toxicity and the biohazard could be reduced by 99 per cent."

The invention could mean, he said, that instead of the world needing to build 100 geological stores for nuclear waste, only one or two might be necessary to store decades of waste.

Mike Kotschenreuther, also of the IFS, said that the technology rested on the use of a spherical hybrid fusion-fission reactor. The waste would be held in a "blanket" around the reactor core and destroyed by firing streams of neutrons at it. He acknowledged that big technical challenges remained, not least that to work effectively the reactor would have to operate continuously, creating the problem of how to extract the destroyed waste.

About 440 nuclear plants are operating in 31 countries worldwide, with a collective generating capacity of 370 gigawatts of electrical power, or 15 per cent of the global total. But electricity produced from nuclear fission also produces 12,000 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste per year, including plutonium that can be used to manufacture weapons.

Ms Lauvergeon said that the volume of high-level nuclear waste produced by all of France's 58 reactors over the past 40 years could fit in one Olympic-size swimming pool. "Of course, it would be better to have nothing, but this is fully managed and we have to view this issue in a balanced way compared to other solutions." Nuclear power produces more than 80 per cent of French electricity.

The concept of a hybrid fission-fusion reactor was first developed in the 1950s, but little research was conducted for several decades.



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


21 March, 2010

More Warmist lies

No mention in the scary rubbish below that there has been a slow sea level rise ever since the last ice age. No mention that it has stopped in recent years. No mention that the Arctic sea ice is now recovering from its recent low. No mention that most of Greenland is so far below zero that none of the projected temperature rises would melt much of it. No mention that Glacial modeler Faezeh Nick of Durham University in the UK and her colleagues concluded that “Our results imply that the recent rates of mass loss in Greenland's outlet glaciers are transient and should not be extrapolated into the future” No mention that the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline ... etc. etc...

New scientific data says the sea is rising faster than anyone thought and under worst-case scenarios, much of Miami and South Florida could be under water by the end of the century, unless drastic measures are taken soon.

Some of the world’s leading experts on Arctic climate change are meeting in Miami this week to share the newest science and plot the course for future science. What does the Arctic have to do with Miami? Everything. Just ask Lester Hernandez. He and his family live several miles from the beach. But new scientific projections of accelerating sea level rise say, within our lifetime, hurricane storm surges could reach his neighborhood and nearly all neighborhoods east of I-95. "To tell you the truth,” said Hernandez as he strolled on the sidewalk in his South Dade neighborhood, “I wouldn't have imagined it."

The challenge is this: the cause of this slow, insidious rise in the sea level is coming from thousands of miles away at the Greenland ice sheet. Additionally, new data says the polar ice cap will be completely without ice during a summer within a few years, which compounds the problem under the Florida sunshine.

That is the heavy burden carried by the world’s top Arctic scientists studying the worsening crisis at the top of the world. So it's entirely relevant that they came to Miami, which lies only feet above sea level.

"So the combination of heavier development on the coast and rising sea levels coupled with hurricanes,” said University of Miami Rosensteil oceanographer David Kadko, “Even if they were not more destructive - and there are arguments that they will be more destructive because of climate change - will cause huge amounts of destruction of property and, of course, our insurance rates will go up."

It's not just storm surge from hurricanes that threaten South Florida. Climate change here already means more diseases from insects, more acidic oceans that threaten our seafood, dying coral reefs, salt-tainted drinking water, extreme weather events, more polluted coastlines, more expensive food, and should the gulfstream shift as some experts fear, Florida’s famous subtropical climate will change.


If we had some global warming....

Warmists are the sort of cargo cultists that eminent physicist Richard Feynman foresaw

Feynman was a winner of the Albert Einstein Award, the Niels Bohr International Gold Medal, and the Nobel prize. Famous for his unusual life style, his books and lectures on mathematics and physics remain popular to this day. His entertaining book, Surely you're joking Mr Feynman, painted a picture of a brilliant, complex yet charmingly mischievous man. He was a prankster, juggler, safe-cracker and bongo player. With an almost compulsive need to solve puzzles it seems logical that he became one of the leading Physicists of the 20th century.

Dr. Julian Schwinger described him as “an honest man, the outstanding intuitionist of our age, and a prime example of what may lie in store for anyone who dares to follow the beat of a different drum.” Often the drum was played by Feynman himself.

Impatient with pretension and hypocrisy, he had a talent for one-upsmanship and loved to be the center of attention—particularly if the attention was from a beautiful woman. Though lighthearted by nature his criticism could be devastating. During the investigation of the 1986 Challenger disaster, when interviews of high-ranking NASA managers revealed startling misunderstandings of elementary concepts, he bluntly pronounced their safety assessments unrealistic.

In 1974 Feynman gave the commencement address at Caltech, a speech that was later captured in an essay entitled “Cargo Cult Science.” In it, Feynman expressed his concern that, even though we live in an age of scientific wonders, people still believe in all sorts of irrational, mystical gibberish. More than that, he worried about falling standards among those who work in the sciences. The heart of the talk centered on what Feynman termed “Cargo Cult Science.” Feynman explains:
In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to imitate things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he's the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.
Feynman goes on to cite numerous examples of bad science and illogical thinking, and in doing so explains what it means to be an ethical, honest scientist. In this age where climate scientists are embroiled in public scandal, it is instructive to compare the actions of the CRU crew and others so recently in the news with Feynman's ethical standards. For those not following the Climategate scandal, a number of prominent climate change alarmists were caught out withholding and ultimately destroying climate data rather than letting critics review the data themselves. Here is what Feynman said about such shenanigans:
[T]here is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school—we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
It is sad to think that this lesson, which Feynman hoped young scientists would learn in school or by example, has been forgotten by climate scientists whose research could potentially impact the well-being and livelihood of every person on Earth. Feynman continued his explanation of a scientist's responsibility:
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
Feynman summarized it this way: “the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” Yet, the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit breached Britain's Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming. In one email, Dr. Phil Jones, the Climate Research Unit's director, asked a colleague to delete emails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Were Professor Jones and his associates not in class the day scientific integrity was discussed? In America the track record is no better. Michael Mann, one of the recipients of the scandal causing emails, was already notorious for refusing to release data and details regarding his work on the infamous “hockey stick” climate graph. But climate science's problems do not end with failure to disclose data, methods and correspondence.

Cargo Cult Climate Science

The most insidious part of what I have labeled Cargo Cult Climate Science is the willingness of global warming extremists to accept as true statements that can be proven false with even cursory investigation. Witness the uncritical acceptance of the claim that Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035, a claim based on unsubstantiated reports in a news magazine that was folded into the IPCC's own report without verification. Not only was this claim false, when it was challenged by Vijay Kumar Raina and a number of glaciologists from around the world, the IPCC, led by the highly excitable Rajendra Pachauri, vociferously defended the indefensible while hurling personal attacks at their critics.

The extended series of faux pas from climate scientists and IPCC officials have finally caused enough damage that public trust in science is wavering. According to a new Gallup poll, 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997. The percentage of Americans who believe that global warming is going to affect them or their way of life during their lifetimes has dropped to 32% from a high point of 40% in 2008. Two-thirds of Americans now say global warming will not affect them in their lifetimes.

Gallup noted that the public opinion tide turned in 2009, when several measures showed a slight retreat in public concern about global warming. This year, the downturn is even more pronounced. In 2003, 61% of Americans said increases in the Earth's temperature over the last century were due to human activities while 33% said they were due to natural changes in the environment. Now, a significantly diminished 50% say temperature increases are due to human activities, and 46% say they are not.

The rapid decline of public confidence in global warming has sent a chill through scientific circles. In an editorial in the February 19, 2010, issue of Science, Peter Agre, president of AAAS, and Alan Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS and Science's executive publisher, attempted to calm the nervous scientific community. Here are Agre and Leshner trying to tame the tempest:
Inappropriate behavior by scientists also weakens the bridge between science and society, at times to a degree out of proportion to the incidents. Widely publicized examples of scientific misconduct, or even mere accusations of misconduct, can tarnish the image and diminish the credibility of the entire scientific enterprise. Likewise, undisclosed conflicts of interest, whether real or apparent, can call into question the integrity of the whole scientific community. Scientists also jeopardize the credibility of science by overinterpreting or misstating scientific facts. Recent examples include misinformation on the prospects of Himalayan glaciers and the effects of climate change there, and newly discovered problems with a 1998 report linking vaccines to autism.
This lame apology is as close as the scientific establishment can come to admitting that climate science has been playing fast and loose with the facts and that a number of its investigators are ethically challenged. Things have been blown “out of proportion” and some are even “mere accusations” of misconduct. They also tacked on the admonition that “scientists should not tolerate threats to the integrity of science, whether they come from outside the scientific community or from within it.” I guess those threatening the integrity of science from the outside are all those despicable deniers.

Grow up gentlemen, science has fouled its own nest. Climate science by doing shoddy work and science in general by providing the miscreants with unconditional support until the public outcry grew too loud to ignore. And if conflict of interest was the yardstick the IPCC's Pachauri would be long gone by now. But Pachauri is only a side show.

At the center of the IPCC's problem is that they choose to believe a scientific theory that is based on incomplete understanding—that human generated CO2 is responsible for global warming. Not only has it become clear that CO2 is not the primary driver of climate change but claim after claim, prediction after prediction made by the warmists has failed to come true—the planes don't land.

AGW cultists waiting for some global warming to arrive.

Like the cargo cultists, the AGW cult has confused cause and effect. Higher atmospheric CO2 levels do occur naturally as climate warms, but it has always been a result of the warming, a contributing factor, not the principal cause of the warming.


One Warmist who seems to have some integrity

Judith Curry heads the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Some excerpts from an interview with her below

Q. Where do you come down on the whole subject of uncertainty in the climate science?

A. I’m very concerned about the way uncertainty is being treated. The IPCC [the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] took a shortcut on the actual scientific uncertainty analysis on a lot of the issues, particularly the temperature records.

Q. Don’t individual studies do uncertainty analysis?

A. Not as much as they should. It’s a weakness. When you have two data sets that disagree, often nobody digs in to figure out all the different sources of uncertainty in the different analysis. Once you do that, you can identify mistakes or determine how significant a certain data set is.

Q. Is this a case of politics getting in the way of science?

A. No. It’s sloppiness. It’s just how our field has evolved. One of the things that McIntyre and McKitrick pointed out was that a lot of the statistical methods used in our field are sloppy. We have trends for which we don’t even give a confidence interval. The IPCC concluded that most of the warming of the latter 20th century was very likely caused by humans. Well, as far as I know, that conclusion was mostly a negotiation, in terms of calling it “likely” or “very likely.” Exactly what does “most” mean? What percentage of the warming are we actually talking about? More than 50 percent? A number greater than 50 percent?

Q. Are you saying that the scientific community, through the IPCC, is asking the world to restructure its entire mode of producing and consuming energy and yet hasn’t done a scientific uncertainty analysis?

A. Yes. The IPCC itself doesn’t recommend policies or whatever; they just do an assessment of the science. But it’s sort of framed in the context of the UNFCCC [the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]. That’s who they work for, basically. The UNFCCC has a particular policy agenda—Kyoto, Copenhagen, cap-and-trade, and all that—so the questions that they pose at the IPCC have been framed in terms of the UNFCCC agenda. That’s caused a narrowing of the kind of things the IPCC focuses on. It’s not a policy-free assessment of the science. That actually torques the science in certain directions, because a lot of people are doing research specifically targeted at issues of relevance to the IPCC. Scientists want to see their papers quoted in the IPCC report.

Q. You’ve talked about potential distortions of temperature measurements from natural temperature cycles in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and from changes in the way land is used. How does that work?

A. Land use changes the temperature quite a bit in complex ways—everything from cutting down forests or changing agriculture to building up cities and creating air pollution. All of these have big impacts on regional surface temperature, which isn’t always accounted for adequately, in my opinion. The other issue is these big ocean oscillations, like the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and particularly, how these influenced temperatures in the latter half of the 20th century. I think there was a big bump at the end of the 20th century, especially starting in the mid-1990s. We got a big bump from going into the warm phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation was warm until about 2002. Now we’re in the cool phase. This is probably why we’ve seen a leveling-off [of global average temperatures] in the past five or so years. My point is that at the end of the 1980s and in the ’90s, both of the ocean oscillations were chiming in together to give some extra warmth.

If you go back to the 1930s and ’40s, you see a similar bump in the temperature records. That was the bump that some of those climate scientists were trying to get rid of [in the temperature data], but it was a real bump, and I think it was associated with these ocean oscillations. That was another period when you had the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation chiming in together. These oscillations and how they influence global temperature haven’t received enough attention, and it’s an important part of how we interpret 20th-century climate records. Rather than trying to airbrush this bump in the 1940s and trying to get rid of the medieval warm period—which these hacked e-mails illustrate—we need to understand them.

They don’t disprove anthropogenic global warming, but we can’t airbrush them away. We need to incorporate them into the overall story. We had two bumps—in the ’90s and also in the ’30s and ’40s—that may have had the same cause. So we may have exaggerated the trend in the later half of the 20th century by not adequately interpreting these bumps from the ocean oscillations. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just saying that’s what it looks like.

Q. So where does climate research go from here?

A. I personally don’t support cap-and-trade. It makes economic sense but not political sense. You’re just going to see all the loopholes and the offsets. I think you’re going to see a massive redistribution of wealth to Wall Street, and we’re not going to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We need a massive investment in technology. We do need to help the developing world that is most vulnerable now to the impacts of climate variability, not even the stuff that’s related to carbon dioxide. There are a lot of things going on—floods, hurricanes, droughts, and whatever—that can’t even be attributed to global warming right now. By reducing the vulnerability of the developing world to these extreme events, we’ll have gone a long way to helping them adapt to the more serious things that might come about from global warming.

Q. Do you think the IPCC is going to have a reduced role?

A. If they are going to continue to be relevant, they need to tighten up their act in terms of making the process more open and transparent. How do you actually get to be a lead author of the IPCC? I have no idea who actually makes those selections. Things like that. All the data sets need to be out there and available and documented, so we don’t have these issues that we ran into with the hacked e-mails. The UNFCCC has become a big free-for-all. The G20, or some other group of nations, is where you’re going see the action.

Q. Do you subscribe to the argument that today’s climate models are crude and need to be taken with a grain of salt?

A. No, I think the climate models are becoming quite sophisticated. We learn a lot from the simulations. But you have to keep in mind that these are scenario simulations. They’re not really forecasts. They don’t know what the volcano eruptions are going to be. They don’t know what the exact solar cycles are going to be. There will be a whole host of forcing uncertainties in the 21st century that we don’t know.

Q. You’ve said that climatologists should listen more to bloggers. That’s surprising to hear, coming from a scientist.

There are a lot of people with Ph.D.s in physics or chemistry who become interested in the climate change story, read the literature, and follow the blogs—and they’re unconvinced by our arguments. There are statisticians, like McIntyre, who have gotten interested in the climate change issue. McIntyre does not have a Ph.D. He does not have a university appointment. But he’s made an important contribution, starting with criticism of the hockey stick. There’s a Russian biophysicist I communicate with who is not a climate researcher, but she has good ideas. She should be encouraged to pursue them. If the argument is good, wherever it comes from, we should look at it...


Zamboni Baloney

Zamboni makes the ice-resurfacing carts that are a familiar sight at any hockey game, and also at any number of Winter Olympics — Turin, Salt Lake, Nagano, and way back into the past. But the company has been frosted out at Vancouver. Instead, the ice resurfacing is being done by what are called “electric Zambonis.” “Zamboni” is a bit like “Hoover” and “Aspirin” — it’s become a generic term — and it turns out the “electric Zambonis” are not Zambonis at all, but are manufactured by a company called Resurfice that landed the contract because the Vancouver organizers were determined that 2010 should be the “Green Olympics.”

In the men’s 500-meter speed skating at Richmond, all three of Resurfice’s “electric Zambonis” brought on to smooth out the ice failed. If anything, they made the ruts and bumps worse. It looked like one of those Obama-stimulus scarified repaving jobs out there. Those of us who do a little backwoods skating on North Country ponds and lakes know the damage you can do to yourself hitting a ridge even at low speed. So you don’t want to run into one at 40 miles per hour. The cameras and microphones caught furious coaches from everywhere from the Netherlands to China expressing their disgust to officials at the amateur ishness of the Vancouver organizers. The event was delayed, and the American skater Shani Davis eventually withdrew, not wanting to jeopardize his chances of a gold in the 1,000 meters by taking a spill on the 500 meters’ scarified ice. You train for years, you build your entire life to this one moment, and then the politically correct eco-gimmick screws you over. Officials attempted to reassure coaches and skaters that a non-electric Zamboni would be flown in from Calgary to prevent further delays.

Still, at least nobody’s dead. In Australia, the Labor government, eager to flaunt its green credentials, instituted a nationwide environmentally friendly roof-insulation program using energy-efficient foil insulation. It certainly reduces the carbon footprint of many Aussies’ homes: At the time of writing, 172 of them have burned down. It reduces your personal carbon footprint, too: Four installers of the foil have been fatally electrocuted. As the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair noted, the foil-insulation program has a higher fatality rate than Oz forces in Afghanistan. And, if the electrician survives long enough to get the installation completed, the good news is that, unlike the electric Zamboni, the electric attic always has plenty of juice: Colin Brierley had the foil insulation put into his Gold Coast home and was electrocuted a week later. The environmentally friendly electric shock entered through his knees, exited from his head, and led to a nice stay in hospital in an induced coma.

Australians are not happy to discover their ceilings double as the Bride of Frankenstein’s recharge slab. Having belatedly canceled the program, Peter Garrett, the environment minister, is nevertheless insistent that he bears no responsibility for the burnt-out rubble and charred citizenry.

He is a celebrity politician, formerly the lead singer of the rock band Midnight Oil, but he has no intention of getting burned by what they’re calling “Midnight Foil.” As Australia’s deputy prime minister, Julia Gillard, breezily told a TV interviewer, “Peter Garrett can’t be in every roof in this country as insulation is being installed.”

They never are, are they? Likewise, the European Union grandees and eco-poseurs of the U.S. Congress who mandated sudden, transformative increases in “biofuel” production and at a stroke turned the food supply into part of the energy industry and made grain more lucrative as fuel than as sustenance weren’t there in Haiti, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Mexico, and even Italy when the food riots broke out. Nor was Al Gore able to be up there on every one of California’s 14,000 abandoned wind turbines. They’re not entirely useless, not if you’re an ornithosadist who enjoys seeing our feathered friends sliced and diced by the Condor Cuisinarts.

These are the “green jobs” that Barack Obama says will both save the planet and revitalize the economy: electric Zambo nis, foil insulation, wind turbines, corn-powered cars. They will put America back on the cutting edge. In reality, like the spiked cutting edges of the electric ice resurfacer, they’ll leave the economy full of artificial speed bumps that, when not actually sending you crashing to the ground, will make it harder and harder ever to get going. The Germans subsidize “green jobs” in the wind-power industry to just shy of a quarter million dollars per worker per year. The Spanish government pays $800,000 for every “green job” on a solar-panel assembly line. This money is taken from real workers with real jobs at real businesses whose growth is being squashed to divert funds to endeavors that have no rationale other than their government subsidies. As the Spanish are discovering, this model is not (le mot juste) sustainable. In the meantime, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, piles up his lucrative corporate-consulting contracts, and Al Gore is on course to become the world’s first carbon-credit billionaire.

At Copenhagen, Europe attempted to do to the developed world’s entire economy what Peter Garrett’s foil insulation did to poor old Colin Brierley of Windaroo in the Gold Coast. They were stopped only by Brazil, China, and India, three countries with more conventional (i.e., non-suicidal) concepts of national interest. It took the Chinese Politburo to prevent the Western world’s hurling itself into the blades of a Condor Cuisinart. It’s hard not to conclude that many of our ruling elites are in the grip of a mass psychosis — and at this stage, even Aussie-style electroshock therapy may not work.


Is there any unmassaged climate data out there?

This is yet another example of things that don’t add up in the world of GISS temperatures in Australia. Previously, we’ve discussed Gladstone and Darwin.

Ken Stewart has been doing some homework, and you can see all the graphs on his blog. Essentially, the Bureau of Met in Australia provides data for Mt. Isa that shows a warming trend of about 0.5 degrees of warming over a century. GISS takes this, adjusts it carefully to “homogenize urban data with rural data”, and gets an answer of 1.1 degrees. (Ironically among other things, “homogenisation” is supposed to compensate for the Urban Heat Island Effect, which would artificially inflate the trend in urban centers.) To give you an idea of scale, the nearest station is at Cloncurry, 106km east (where a flat trend of 0.05 or so appears in the graph). But, there are other trends that are warmer in other stations. Averaging the five nearest rural stations gives about 0.6 degrees; averaging the nearest ten stations gives between 0.6 and 0.88 degrees.

Mt Isa and surrounds with temperatures
Mt Isa and surrounds with temperature trends
But, they increase the slope of the trendline from less than 0.5 to more than1.1 degrees Celsius per 102 years by lowering the earlier data by 0.3C. They say they do this because they homogenise urban data for discontinuities caused by station shifts, Urban Heat Island (UHI), etc., by their stated method: “…[U]rban stations are adjusted so that their long-term trend matches that of the mean of neighboring rural stations. Urban stations without nearby rural stations are dropped.” (
The Mt Isa Graph

The Giss (red) line shows a steeper warming trend, because earlier data is adjusted down.

But in the end, the temperatures don’t fit linear trends very well. In Bourketown, for example, there was a rise, but it was mostly during 1945 – 1988, and in the last twenty years, as Ken points out, there has been a significant fall.

Burketown 327km north east

By themselves, these minor revisions wouldn’t be worth getting excited about, but the fact that they keep occurring and that they are so blatant and always in a warmer direction surely becomes too many nails in the coffin.

One can only assume that the people “adjusting” never thought anybody would check. And if billions of dollars were not on the table, probably nobody would have.

Thanks to Ken Stewart for his dedication.



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


20 March, 2010

Why does such a well-informed man as Martin Rees support global warming?

When there are NO scientific facts (only a poorly thought-out 19th century theory) behind claims of man-caused global warming, one has to wonder why many prominent scientists support it. There are probably a variety of reasons but, given the Left-lean of academe, the opportunity it offers for more control over the despised "masses" is the obvious explanation.

In some cases, however, there may be other forces at work. An obvious second motive is the hunger for self-advertisement. Making scary utterances and posing as a "saviour" of the planet is obviously great for personal publicity. I suspect that Martin Rees is in the second category. He has got himself into all sorts of prominent positions and he is in addition a small man. Small men are often quite hilariously preoccupied with being taken seriously. Note in the interview excerpted below that he mentions not one scientific fact. He just says: "I am an expert. Believe me". Quite contemptible.

Maybe I should play the same game. I am a much-published psychologist so you should trust my expert diagnosis of what moves Martin Rees.

I find the last sentence in the excerpt below quite sickening. The likes of Martin Rees seem to think that their sh*t doesn't stink. He certainly conveys the contempt for the masses that I have mentioned.

Lord Rees of Ludlow, astrophysicist and Astronomer Royal, is running a little late. Not delayed by the hiccups of mere mortals, mind - the Tube, traffic, sick children - but a high-level meeting on global nuclear arms control and disarmament. As president of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College Cambridge, Professor Martin Rees is one of Britain's foremost scientific brains, a cosmologist of world renown and a revered public intellectual.

When he arrives back in his office in an elegant Georgian terrace on Pall Mall, his PA, clearly practiced, places a cup of tea in his hand as if it were a relay runner's baton. He sits down deep into a blue velvet armchair looking, quite frankly, exhausted. A small man still blessed with the lean physique of a marathon runner, Rees is quietly spoken, but you sense the steel within. The corridor leading to his office speaks of the pantheon of scientific greats that have preceded him as Royal Society presidents or fellows: Samuel Pepys, Charles Darwin, Charles Babbage, Sir Joseph Banks. Behind his work table, an oil portrait of Sir Isaac Newton, nearby a remarkable and contemplative pencil sketch of Albert Einstein.

The Astronomer Royal's field might be theoretical physics and the very frontiers of science, but right now his greatest preoccupation is Carl Sagan's "little blue dot", our own planet Earth, and the imperatives posed by climate change are foremost in his mind. I ask him if he is aware that an Australian opposition leader effectively lost his post due to climate change scepticism among his political colleagues and he allows a small laugh: "Yes, yes, yes."

Then, a pause and the gentleman scientist leaves no doubt about what he thinks about that: "It is unfortunate that there is a debate about the science, and the reason that comes about is that many members of the public can't discriminate between genuine expertise and strongly-held opinions that aren't based on expertise. "To give an analogy: if you suffer from some unusual disease, you may go on the internet and get all kinds of alternatives [for treatment], but you would be very foolish if you attached as much weight to all the blogs on the internet as you would to a qualified specialist on the subject.

"And I think that in assessing the evidence for potentially dangerous climate change, it is very important that members of the public should behave in the same way that they would if some medical issue was at stake. They should accept that not everyone's opinion is of the same value and that those who have credentials and have studied the subject do deserve to be listened to."

In his celebrated book, Our Final Century, Rees pondered the threats faced by humans in the 21st century, from natural events such as super-eruptions to man-made catastrophe such as nuclear terrorism, bio-engineered viruses and over-population. The prognosis, from such an eminent thinker, is disquieting: humankind, he estimated, has a 50 per cent chance of surviving the next century.

Today, however, the scientist is keen to temper this world view with a glass-half-full message: salvation is possible in the hands of intelligent, global-thinking leaders working hand-in-hand with an ethical and united scientific community...


The trust in experts among Warmist true believers is sort of touching. There is another example of it here. The many times that experts have been wrong seem unknown to them. And they accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian"! Those who live in glass houses ...

Green crooks

People who commit their lives to going green are just better people. They're more moral, more honest. At least, they keep telling us that, and apparently many students believe it, say University of Toronto psychologists:

They initially quizzed the students on their impressions of people who buy eco-friendly products, and for the most part, they considered such consumers to be more “more cooperative, altruistic and ethical” than ordinary consumers...

Then the researchers took it an extra step: They ran a test to see who would be more likely to cheat and steal: Greens? Or conventional shoppers? They divided the greens and conventional shoppers, and then gave the students a test that tempted them to steal money. The researchers found:
The green consumers were more likely to cheat than the conventional purchasers, and they stole more money when asked to withdraw their winnings from envelopes on their desks.
This concept of moral license has been demonstrated before, writes Wray Herbert in his blog for the Association for Psychological Science.
(W)hen they have reason to feel a little superior, that positive self image triggers a sense of moral license. That is, the righteous feel they have some latitude to stray a bit in order to compensate. It’s like working in a soup kitchen gives you the right to cheat on your taxes later in the week.
Maybe that’s why sanctimonious stewards of the environment like Al Gore are comfortable lecturing the rest of us while living large in mega-mansions.


An Example Of Why A Global Average Temperature Anomaly Is Not An Effective Metric Of Climate

Roy Spencer and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville have reported in their Global Temperature Report that February 2010 was the 2nd warmest February in 32 years (e.g. see Roy’s summary).

Their spatial map of the anomalies, however, shows that most of the relative warmth was in a focused geographic area; see:

The global average is based on the summation of large areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies.

As I have reported before on my weblog; e.g. see "What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures?":
it is the regional tropospheric temperature anomalies that determine the locations of development and movement of weather systems [which are the actual determinants of such climate events as drought, floods, ect] not a global average temperature anomaly

Small Government Advocates Must Not Lose Sight of EPA Ambitions

Even as the public remains understandably preoccupied with President Obama’s proposed government takeover of healthcare, it is imperative for free market activists to remain vigilant against environmental extremism.

In the past few months, the credibility of the “science” underpinning catastrophic claims of global warming have been sullied and discredited thanks to the growing “Climategate” scandal and updated research. However “inconvenient” these revelations may be from the perspective of centralized planners within the Obama Administration, it has not slowed their statist ambitions.

Consider for a moment the President’s remarks from his State of the Union address: “I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy,” he said. “I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -- because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.”

Come again?! Regardless of what the evidence says, we are pressing ahead with “incentives” — make that regulations — that stymie fossil fuels in deference to so-called green technology. Meanwhile Russia and China are moving forward with oil and gas development that could leave the U.S. in the dust as it tinkers with unproven, unreliable “alternative” energy sources.

A new Gallup poll shows that a growing number of Americans now see fit to dismiss global warming alarmism. Emails leaked to the Internet from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) with the University of East Anglia in Great Britain that show researchers willingly manipulating and fudging data to show their desired result could be partially responsible here for the public shift.

However, free market groups like The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) should also be credited for raising awareness about the higher energy prices that would be attached to Kyoto-type regulatory schemes favored by President Obama. Small wonder, that in the teeth of a tough economy the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill has died in the Senate.

Unfortunately, in 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. EPA, ruled that the agency needed to bring its practices more in line with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. There was no strict regulatory requirement outlined in the decision but the EPA finally responded with an endangerment finding last December that declared greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare and therefore must be subjected to regulation and government control. This is where the danger comes in because within the framework of environmentalism, there is no sure way to check the grand designs of government schemers.

“Our health care system is only part of the economy and it’s already half socialized,” Myron Ebell, CEI’s director of global warming policy, observed at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “The energy sector is still virtually a free market. If we allow government to take over the energy sector, they will be in your house telling you how much air conditioning you can use or how much heating.”

That’s no joke.

In California, government agents are ambitious to gain control over thermostats. The plan is outlined in a 236-page state document called “Title 24.”

There is an antidote now in circulation that deserves the full support of free market forces. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has introduced a bipartisan resolution that would block the EPA under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an unheralded, but highly valuable provision included as part of The Contract With America. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) was a principle sponsor of the CRA, which was signed into law by President Clinton… ahem.

Tea Party activists and other concerned Americans who have joined together in an effective campaign against ObamaCare must also join forces here with Sen. Murkowski to blunt the big government plans brewing inside the EPA.


Obama's EPA stifles new energy gains

It would be simpler if President Obama leveled with energy industry officials and the American people and admitted he's doing everything in his power to suffocate this country's ability to find and develop critically needed new energy supplies. But instead of being honest about it, Obama hides behind misleading rhetoric about the wonders of "green" energy, even as his minions erect a multitude of new bureaucratic roadblocks to the development of the oil and natural gas resources needed to keep American homes heated, factories humming, and laptops processing. These new resources could also create millions of new jobs, generate trillions of dollars in tax revenues, and spark economic expansion in rural areas like western Pennsylvania and upstate New York that have known only decline for generations.

Last week, it was Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announcing that no new permits will be issued for outer continental shelf development until 2014 at the earliest. Salazar has also used bureaucratic obfuscation to delay new energy development on Western lands. There are billions of recoverable barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas in those areas, enough to put the United States well on the way to complete energy independence. Obama is instead spending billions of tax dollars on renewable energy resources that can't possibly supply even a fourth of this nation's critical energy needs for many decades to come.

This week, it's Lisa Jackson, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency head, putting another pillow over the face of the energy industry: A "comprehensive research study to investigate the potential adverse impact that hydraulic fracturing may have on water quality and public health." Her agency will spend $1.9 million on the first year of the study and unspecified amounts in the years thereafter. Hydraulic fracturing is when water and minute amounts of nontoxic chemicals are injected deep underground into rock formations to free previously unreachable stores of oil and gas. The technology opens up immense natural gas resources like the Marcellus Shale area of economically blighted rural regions of western Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and West Virginia.

Jackson forgot to mention "concerns" about hydraulic fracturing come only from environmental groups seeking to stop all uses of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. Jackson's announcement followed the Washington premiere of the anti-fossil fuel "GasLand" propagandamentary produced by some of these same groups. Two more facts Jackson didn't mention: Never in the 60-year history of hydraulic fracturing has it been linked to a single proven public health threat to water quality; and the EPA has already studied hydraulic fracturing, most recently in 2004, when it found no threat. Clearly, this new study is about stopping fossil fuel development, not protecting public health.


How Greenpeace and Philips stole your nice bulbs

Joost van Kasteren and engineer Henk Tennekes on the unholy alliance between Philips and the Greens:

Come to think of it, banning incandescent bulbs makes only marginal sense. The energy savings of CFL’s are small. They are somewhat more efficient when you take into account only the number of lumens per watt of electrical power, but they cost a lot more to produce. Also, their real life expectancy often is much less than the 7,000 hours promised in the ads. And don’t forget that they contain a few milligrams of mercury, which contaminates the environment when they are not disposed of properly. Most of them aren’t – a scary thought.

Is it fair to judge light bulbs on the efficiency with which they convert watts into lumens? The combined lobby from Big Business and Big Environment has attempted to convince us that old-fashioned bulbs waste a lot of energy. They ignore the inconvenient truth that the efficiency of common light bulbs is in fact a full 100%. All the “waste heat” helps to heat the house. In wintertime, when days are short and cold, every contribution to home heating is welcome. In summertime the days are long and there is hardly any need for artificial lights. The incandescent bulb may give only a little bit of light, but it also produces a lot of useful heating.

There is yet another problem: the quality of the light produced by CFL’s and LED’s. Their light is unnatural; it is unsuitable for an atmosphere of coziness in living rooms, not to mention bedrooms.



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


19 March, 2010

Coconut update

On 17th, I put up a post headed: "Now it's coconut trees that are bad". One of the claims made by the Greenie nut was that there is connection to dengue fever from coconuts. Dengue fever is a very nasty tropical flu-like illness. Since Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus, any connection would be obscure, to say the least. Coconuts are waterproof nuts shaped rather like a football so the claim that they "collect water" (for mosquitoes to breed in) is quite weird. But it turns out that there is a connection after all. But it's not what the Greenie claims.

A reader notes the advice here, under "how to manage dengue fever". We read... "Drink plenty of fluids, e.g., juice, water AND COCONUT WATER." [my emphasis] Apparently, in addition to being a liquid, it's also loaded with vitamins and minerals which other fluids don't replenish, but whose replacement aids the body to fight the disease.

MA: Recycling efforts are futile

Residential recycling rates in Massachusetts have not budged in the past decade, even as environmental concerns have sparked “sustainability’’ movements and fueled markets for hybrid cars and green products.

For years, environmentalists have preached the importance of recycling to relieve pressure on burgeoning landfills and reduce greenhouse gases released from decomposing trash. But to a startling degree, the refrain seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

In 2008, according to preliminary statewide statistics, just over one-quarter of all residential trash was recycled, roughly the same percentage as 1997, according to a Globe review of figures kept by the state Department of Environmental Protection. “It has plateaued for some years,’’ said Laurie Burt, the department’s commissioner. “Clearly we have to get at that untapped capacity.’’

Burt said Massachusetts recycling efforts still compare favorably with other states, and state environmental officials are crafting a 10-year plan designed to reduce the amount of refuse that ends up in landfills.

But to date, personal recycling in many communities has shown little progress. Some cities including Boston, Everett, and Fall River recycle less than 15 percent of their rubbish. And in a number of communities, including many with eco-friendly reputations, recycling rates have stalled or fallen off.

Newton, for instance, recycled at a robust 46 percent in 2001. By 2008, despite a range of initiatives designed to prod residents to separate their papers and plastics, it recycled just 29 percent of all rubbish. Lincoln, at 53 percent in 2002, dropped to 34 percent. Danvers, at 29 percent a decade ago, plunged to 15 percent, according to Department of Environmental Protection figures.

Recycling advocates say they are frustrated by the lack of progress and perplexed that decades of public awareness campaigns and heightened consciousness around conservation haven’t made more of a dent. Most have come to the sobering conclusion that people have simply decided it’s not worth the hassle, however minimal.

“Knowledge doesn’t equal behavior,’’ said Claire Sullivan, who directs the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, which works to boost recycling in 13 towns south of Boston. “A lot of people just can’t be bothered, which is extremely disheartening. They take the path of least resistance. So if it’s easier to throw it away, they’ll throw it away.’’

Residential recycling rates are reported by cities and towns and compiled by the state. A number of communities, mainly those that do not provide public trash collection, do not report totals.

More here

Global warmers may develop shellfish allergies

Renamed by one witty website as "Paleo-clamatology," it appears that clams can tell us very accurate stuff about historical climate change.

William Patterson's specialty isn't clambakes but isotope chemistry, and he's using it to analyze clamshells buried for centuries off Iceland's coastline. That and radiocarbon dating of the shells confirms what anyone who knows anything about climate change already knows: the Medieval Warm Period (AD 800 to 1300) and the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850) were real.

But the shellfish shell out more stories. Since changes in the chemistry of the shells reveal day-to-day changes in weather, Patterson was able to confirm the lesser known and little discussed Roman Warm Period (200 BC to AD 600) and the Dark Ages Cold Period (AD 600 to 800).

The clamshells also give credibility to the Norse Sagas that detailed year-to-year ups and downs in the weather during the Icelandic and Greenland Viking era that created social havoc among the inhabitants. Patterson illustrated the problems this way: “A one-degree decrease in summer temperatures in Iceland results in a 15% decrease in agricultural yield. If that happens two years in a row, your family’s wiped out.” This would indicate that cold periods are more to be feared (shorter growing seasons mean less food) than warm periods (longer growing seasons mean more food).

Today, as throughout history, the watchword is "adapt or die."

Citing a temperature chart (pdf) in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report showing the history of climate change, the Paleo-clamatology article notes that the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods will, "surely stick in the craw of many who think we are living in unprecedented times of warmth."

And global atmospheric CO2 levels were lower during those periods than now.

A comment posted on the NatureNews website puts Patterson's work in perspective:

"Very unlikely he'll get funding for those additional studies. He's already put the lie to many of the dominant funders' approved assumptions and conclusions, and will not be given any help in doing further damage to the orthodoxy. Sorry, Patterson. Time to clam up!" ;)

If nothing else, when planet-savers whine about the shrinking polar icecap killing the polar bears libertarians can answer with, "Hey, they obviously survived the other big warm periods or there wouldn't be any polar bears today, so don't sweat it."

Pun intended


Environmental agency has some explaining to do

Our nation's capital has always been a place of paradoxical twists. From canings on the Senate floor in the 1800s to President Reagan and Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill sharing drinks at the end of the day, it takes a lot for Washington to be surprised. Even so, we find ourselves surprised at events on Capitol Hill likely to take place over the coming weeks.

We start at the Supreme Court, where on March 1, Jeffrey Skilling's attorneys presented their oral arguments appealing his conviction for the Enron debacle. Relatively soon - no later than May 21 - and a stone's throw away, the Senate will vote to prevent a fraud that makes Skilling look like an altar boy.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, has introduced a bipartisan bill, and is guaranteed a vote, that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward on new rules aimed at regulating greenhouse-gas emissions by overturning its finding that global warming poses a clear and present danger to public health and welfare. On Wednesday, the governors of 18 states and two territories joined 98 industry groups in sending letters in support of the senator's resolution.

While Skilling's fraud has been proved in court, the EPA's fraud is only now being exposed to the light of day - and based on opinion polls, it is being found guilty in the court of public opinion.

The fraud behind the EPA's regulations is threefold: the science, the economics and the results.

Concerning the science, with the hacked/leaked e-mails of Climategate becoming public, we know that key scientists behind the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the bible of the climate-industrial complex - used tricks to cover up data that showed an unexpected decline in temperature and tried to suppress research that cast doubt on the notion that humans are responsible for catastrophic warming. And once the press in the United Kingdom started investigating the IPCC's predictions in detail, it found that one claim after another was based on faulty, non-peer-reviewed literature.

For instance, the IPCC reported that Himalayan glaciers would melt in a few decades because of global climate change, but the best research indicated that was incorrect. Other alarmist claims made by IPCC that have been shown either to lack supporting evidence or simply to be wrong include the pace and impact of the loss of the Amazonian rain forests, the effects of climate upon rainfall and food production in Africa, and even something so straightforward as the proportion of Holland that sits below sea level. Despite all these flaws and others, the EPA relied on the IPCC to find that CO2 emissions pose a threat sufficient to take command of the U.S. economy.

The EPA claims that its regulations won't increase costs or otherwise harm the economy. This is laughable. The regulations can't work if the costs of fossil fuels don't increase and force the public to shift to less reliable, more expensive alternative fuels. An independent analysis from Harvard University found that to reach President Obama's CO2 target, gas prices would have to more than double - to $7 a gallon. When the Treasury Department looked at Congress' preferred alternative to EPA regulations, "cap-and-trade," it found that the average household would spend an extra $1,761 per year. And that is the less-expensive alternative to the EPA's top-down regulations.

Worst of all, the economic downturn brought on by the EPA's regulations will do nothing to reduce CO2 emissions because fast-growing economic competitors such as China and India, not hampered by U.S. energy restrictions, will continue to generate huge growth in their emissions. Indeed, China alone already emits more CO2 than the U.S. and Canada combined. And research by physicist Richard A. Muller at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory shows that every 10 percent reduction in emissions in the United States is negated by one year's growth in China's emissions.

Another ironic link between Skilling and the EPA's greenhouse gas regulations: The Obama administration is using the threat of EPA regulations to play hardball with Congress. The administration's threat is, "Pass cap-and-trade, or we'll do even worse things to the economy through EPA regulations." The funny thing is, Skilling and his former cronies at Enron Corp. were early promoters of the cap-and-trade scheme to fight warming. If this extortion works, Congress essentially will be adopting an idea that the disgraced and dismantled Enron developed. As with so many companies now supporting cap-and-trade, Enron saw the scheme as a way to get a government-backed leg up on its competition.

Convicted book-cooker Skilling is serving jail time for his misdeeds. What should the punishment be for those trying to bilk Americans based on science that we know to be flawed and an economic scheme that we know to be fraudulent in operation and results?


Be careful what you wish for …

For many years, the climate alarmist movement pushed the development of corn ethanol as the “fuel of the future” on the grounds that it would decrease fossil fuel emissions. As I detail in my book, The Really Inconvenient Truths, massive efforts were devoted to promoting this technology, with a textbook baptist-bootlegger alliance between green groups and Big Corn (most notably Archer Daniels Midland). Politicians joined in happily, with Al Gore stumping for Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar because of her support for ethanol and countless Presidential candidates in Iowa talking up the fuel.

The result of that push has, it seems, been an increase in fossil fuels. For the latest on this, see Corned grief: biofuels may increase CO2 at Watts Up With That?
The indirect effects of increasing production of maize ethanol were first addressed in 2008 by Timothy Searchinger and his coauthors, who presented a simpler calculation in Science. Searchinger concluded that burning maize ethanol led to greenhouse gas emissions twice as large as if gasoline had been burned instead. The question assumed global importance because the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act mandates a steep increase in US production of biofuels over the next dozen years, and certifications about life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions are needed for some of this increase. In addition, the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires including estimates of the effects of indirect land-use change on greenhouse gas emissions. The board’s approach is based on the work reported in BioScience.

Hertel and colleagues’ analysis incorporates some effects that could lessen the impact of land-use conversion, but their bottom line, though only one-quarter as large as the earlier estimate of Searchinger and his coauthors, still indicates that the maize ethanol now being produced in the United States will not significantly reduce total greenhouse gas emissions, compared with burning gasoline. The authors acknowledge that some game-changing technical or economic development could render their estimates moot, but sensitivity analyses undertaken in their study suggest that the findings are quite robust.
Promotion of technologies based on theory rather than practice has been a hallmark of the green movement. Every indication seems to be that their foolish promotion of ethanol has been written out of their history, rather than being treated as a cautionary tale to learn from.


Lunar and planetary influences on terrestrial weather cycles

The Metonic cycle is a 19-year period when the lunar declination is at the culmination of movement on the same date as it was 19 years ago, as well as the same light phase. The Saros cycle is ~17 days longer than 18 years, and it is a repeating pattern of the position of the Earth / Moon and inner planets due to harmonic interactions, that cause the Solar / lunar eclipses to repeat predictably at this period. The 18.6 year Mn cyclic patterns of the variation of the moon’s declinational movement, results from the progression of the nodes that varies the declinational angle from the ~18.5 degrees minimum to ~28.5 maximum.

If we start with the studies of what works in climate forecasting, the Milankovitch cycles, and expand on what has turned out to be true about solar cycles according to Theodor Landscheidt, ( the only one to correctly forecast the long solar minimum we are passing through).

The evidence points to the long term natural variability factors, as being the effects of the rotation or the galaxy, and the swirl imparted to the local area of the spiral arm we seem to reside in (Milankovitch), and further modulation of this movement, by the outer planets effects on the barycenter of the solar system, that the sun’s center of mass moves around, as it tries to stay magnetically and gravitationally centered.

Landscheidt found the driving forces of this planetary inertial dampening of the system, and defined it to the point of predictability, the next step would be to analyze the additional effects of the interactions of the moon and inner planets, which have this rhythmic pattern to their orbital relationships, and their relations to the weather patterns they share.

The 18.6 year Mn pattern of Minimum to Maximum extremes, drive the decade long oscillations of the ocean basins, in combination with the timing of the Synod conjunctions of the outer planets, as a compounding signal, varying the resultant strengths and weakness of the combined cycles. More in tune to the Saros cycle than just the 18.6-year periodicity. The Lunar declinational tides in the atmosphere are the major mixing mechanism for the transportation, of tropical ocean warmth, and moisture over the landmasses, into the mid-latitudes and Polar Regions, where it can radiate away into space, regulating the earth’s thermal budget.

Because of the semi boundary conditions caused by mountain ranges, the Rockies, Andes, Urals, Alps, Himalayas, which results in topographical forcing of the turbulence of these tides, into a four fold pattern of types of Rossby wave, and resultant Jet stream patterns. There develops separate regimes of regional circulation in the lee sides of these obstructions.

The greater height of the Himalayas causes a large area extending across the Pacific Ocean to be sheltered from strong westerlies, except at high latitudes. The trade winds flow into these sheltered areas, due to forcing by the lunar declinational tides, the periods of oscillation are the products of the Saros Cycle driving periods, with the impulses from the outer planets effects coming in and out of phase as they move through the 172 year period discovered by Landscheidt.

To derive a signal for producing a forecast out of all these compounded signals, It is important to synchronize by the relative strengths for determining the combined output. The annual signal is the strongest, then the 240-cycle pattern of lunar declinational movement next, on top of this the solar activity levels of addition or subtraction from the ambient ion drives, along with the following outer planet periodic impulses.

The homopolar generated fields of the Earth, which have an average strength of ~90 volts DC per meter as you go from the Equator toward the poles or up from the surface. These fields and voltages are influenced by changes in the interplanetary magnetic field strength. When the Earth feels stronger shifts in the magnetic field strength, small changes are made in the rotational speed of the earth, as length of day [LOD] changes, due to the additional magnetic driving, or slowing of the angular momentum.

At the same time there is a shift in the standing charge gradient, from the poles [negative] to [positive] at the equator, in phase and proportion to the driving magnetic field strength changes. The magnetic impulses in the solar wind, from the rotation of the ~12 degree tilt of the magnetic pole of the sun off from the vertical axis of rotation, alternates the polarity of the magnetic fields introduced into the solar wind. Which have driven the moon / earth into the declinational dance that creates the lunar declinational atmospheric tides in phase in the atmosphere.

The center of mass (COM) of the earth is leveraged by the barycenter of the earth / moon system, acting as the fulcrum, suggested by Archimedes, from which the moon poises a counter balancing movement for the COM of the Earth, moving it some 800 to 1200 kilometers, above and below the average ecliptic plane value. The actual value is determined by the included angle of the moon determined by the 18.6 year Mn cycle of variation. At the same time by a slightly different period by the retrograde motion of the moon, that cause the more easily seen light phases, also moves the COM of the Earth in and out from the sun, the distance the barycenter is out from the COM of the Earth.

At the culminations of Lunar declinational movement, the polarity of the solar wind peaks and reverses, in phase with and/or because of, the relative motion of the Earth’s COM to the average location of the ecliptic plane, causing a surge in the pole to pole differential in charge potential, of the ion flux generated in the Earth’s homo polar generated fields.

Because the combination of the peak of Meridional flow surge in the atmosphere, and reversal of ion charge gradient globally occurs synchronously, most severe weather occurs at these times. The mechanism is due to changes in the ion gradient across frontal boundaries, impeding precipitation rates as the homopolar generator effects are in charge mode, and increasing the precipitation rates as it goes into the discharge phase.

The interaction of the inner planets, (of which the Earth is the only one with a large moon and strong active magnetic fields), and the moon in the pattern found in the Saros cycle timing drives a resultant background pattern in the weather that is further compounded by the interactions of the Earth passing the four greatest outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) which also have strong magnetic fields and large amounts of magnetically permeable materials in their make up.

By the basic electromagnetic rules of the relationships between magnetic fields, permeable materials and, shifts in induction due to changes in field strength. The magnetic fields present in the solar wind as it streams out toward any/all of the planets should have a concentration of magnetic field lines, in strength relative to the magnetic conductance, of the sum of magnetically permeable materials invested in that planetary body, irrespective of the strength of existing planetary permanent magnet fields.

Periods of increased magnetic conduction through the solar wind will appear to slow down particles and smooth up the flow, along the ecliptic plane, as most of the increase in magnetic flux will be in the greater density of the extended loops coming off the poles of the sun, and coupling back down through the poles of the affected planets.

In the early stages of the deployment of the Ulysses satellite I was able to find these patterns in the snatches of data via news service press releases, about the surges in magnetic fields seen in the Earth’s vicinity, were also seen elsewhere as well. The periods were also reveled, as Ulysses went over the poles of the sun, and special mention was made that the polar flux surges, were much more intense (than expected) but still in phase with “the normal” cyclic patterns as seen from the Earth.

I did not get to influence the selection of “data stream sections of interest” studied and written about during the life span of the Ulysses project, and the data base was never available to the general public, and is now archived away off line, hopefully still awaiting further study to prove/disprove the existence of concentrations of magnetic flux coupling through the planets as a source of inductive drivers of the weather, that could be further studied, and algorithms derived to adjust new improved forecast methods.

What I have come to surmise is that as the earth has Synod (heliocentric) conjunctions, with the outer planets, the earth passes into a concentrated magnetic flux stream, (about 30 degrees wide) that is felt as increases in homopolar driving forcing, increases in global charge gradient, and the LOD of the Earth to decrease to the point of most intense coupling, then increase back to the ambient levels for the normal annual pattern. The amount of this effect is proportional to the strength of the total magnetic flux coupled through the Earth, then on through the outer planet(s) in question.

Magnet field strength of coupling is relative to the volume of total magnetically permeable material involved. The addition of another planetary body in the conduction pathway causes an increase above what the two bodies would conduct separately. When more than two planets are involved, the coupling becomes greater as a result of the composite of the total conductance increases, each body tends to try to focus the ion stream following the magnetic flux concentration to center on itself. Sometimes producing convoluted shifts in field strength that are responsible for power outages, when induction frequencies reach the band pass of power transformers, and are out of phase with the 50/60 Hz.

As the earth passes any of the outer planets heliocentrically, the increase in magnetic flux felt by the earth due to the outer planet(s) increases the charge gradient from poles to equator, and adds to the displacement volume of air mass from equator to mid-latitudes and the total ion charge gradient across frontal boundaries, and the moisture content in the air masses to carry positive ions, which requires molecules missing valance electrons.

These additional surges of moisture laden positively ionized air combine with the normal patterns of declinational atmospheric tidal movement, to add strength to them when in phase, and decrease it some when out of phase. This shift in balance can be the determining factor, when watching hurricanes fizzle, or rapidly gain strength as they develop, consideration of these forces will add much to the knowledge of their behavior, and hence the predictability of tropical storms in both hemispheres.

What I have found in tornado production times, rates, and patterns in the coming and going of the 18.6 year Mn pattern of lunar declinational tidal interactions, carries over into driving the patterns of Global decade long oscillations across ocean basin patterns of production, as a composite of the combined effects of the Saros cycle period of inner planet effects and the combining of the ~172 year repeating patterns of outer planet influences on the sun and inner solar system. This greater compounded signal is what makes weather and climate appear chaotic.

The further investigation of the compounding cycles of the electromagnetic entanglements, between the planets playing in the solar wind, show up in the ionosphere, and resultantly being felt at the surface, are the drivers of “Natural Patterns of Variability” in the long term global circulation patterns, that are responsible for driving the climate.

The Saros cycle is better at predicting tornado production patterns, as the inner planets are considered in as well, where the 18.6 year Mn period just shows clumps and more of a homogeneous blending of sizes of outbreaks around the same time periods of the 27 day declination cycle, the 6558 days sorting periods (by synchronizing the 109.3 day period of four fold Rossby wave repeating pattern), yield a better defined systemic clumping of surges of production.

My Research and Process Refinement

By 1990, I was plotting local weather data for the surrounding counties in North Central Kansas, and it seemed to work better than the NWS forecasts, just by sorting weather data by going back 2 Metonic cycles 38 years to the same date, then pulling data from either side by the Saros cycle periodicities. By the time I started to acclimate a couple years of forecast results, I saw that it was doing a better job forecasting for the previous year than the supposed current.

I had the chance to go to Boston for a week, I tried to talk to some people at M.I.T., they just referred me to the reference library, where they had synoptic maps back to 1800’s, and file drawers full of high resolution satellite photos. I got busy pulling out daily prints of the 1800 IR photos, laid them out side by side, to see what the 27.32 day pattern repeated like, looking at it from space.

I laid out three cycles of about 27 days long. The second set of 27 did not look much like the 1st and 3rd set, so I got out some more, ended up with four sets of 27, 27, 28, 27 days, still the 1st and 3rd looked similar, but so did the 2nd and 4th to each other, but not so much to the 1st and 3rd. Pulled out four more sets of 27, laid them in a second row beneath the first. I was able to see a four-fold pattern of Rossby wave patterns that repeated as sets of fours.

By this time Peter Stone had gotten a free moment, that I could talk to him about why I was there, and I took a set of four photos (all from the days of Maximum North Lunar declination culmination) to his office and laid them out so he could see them, but not the date stamps at the tops, asked him how long apart they were taken, and he guessed that they had to be only hours apart because they were so similar. When shown the dates, and that they were almost a month apart, he got interested enough that my 10 minute visit stretched into 35 minutes, before he had to catch his flight, to be the Keynote speaker at the Madrid International Conference.



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


18 March, 2010

Sometimes you can't win

The food freaks tell food manufacturers that saturated fats and trans fats are harmful to health (both claims are a fantasy but tell a big enough lie often enough ....) so many manufacturers have moved to the next workable possibility -- which is palm oil. But now that's no good either! Using palm oil harms the environment, we hear. It probably does but it is the fanatics that have created the problem, not the food manufacturers. If Greenpeace were a serious organization (I will wait for the laughter at that idea to subside), it is the food freaks they should be attacking. But food freaks and Greenies seem to be largely the same people so there is not much hope of that

GREENPEACE has accused the world's leading food and drinks company, Nestlé, of having an ad featuring an office worker eating orang-utan fingers removed from YouTube. The video, which was launched overnight, parodies Nestle's KitKat ads and shows an unwitting office worker taking a break to enjoy a KitKat but instead bites into an orang-utan’s finger, causing blood to stream down his face. The video can be viewed at

“Nestlé today admitted that they have been using palm oil from the destroyed rainforest homes of the last orang-utans in some of their products, but having our video removed proves they are still trying to hide that fact," Greenpeace Head of Campaigns, Steve Campbell, said. "This is an apparent attempt to silence the truth that some of its most popular brands use palm oil from destroyed rainforests and peatlands. “We’ll continue to put the video up on other websites until Nestlé removes all rainforest destroying palm oil from its supply chain."

Protests took place overnight across Europe at Nestlé’s headquarters and factories in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands after the company's admission to using palm oil. They called on Nestlé staff to urge the company to stop using palm oil from the world’s worst suppliers in Indonesia.

Globally, Nestlé is a major consumer of palm oil. In the last three years, its annual use has almost doubled, with 320,000 tonnes of palm oil going into a range of products, including KitKat, according to Greenpeace.

SOURCE. (Reference on trans fats here. Reference on saturated fats here)

The real danger: Future low solar activity periods may cause extremely cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia

By Jarl R. Ahlbeck. (The writer is D.Sc. and lecturer at Abo Akademi University, Finland)

The observed winter temperatures for Turku, Finland (and also generally for North America, Europe and Russia) for the past 60 winters have been strongly dependent on the Arctic Oscillation index (AO). When the Arctic Oscillation index is in "positive phase", high atmospheric pressure persists south of the North Pole, and lower pressures on the North Pole. In the positive phase, very cold winter air does not extend as far south into the middle of North America as it would during the negative phase. The AO positive phase is often called the "Warm" phase in North America.

In this report I analyzed the statistical relation between the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation index (QBO is a measure of the direction and strength of the stratospheric wind in the Tropics), the solar activity, and the Arctic Oscillation index and obtained a statistically significant regression equation.

According to this equation, during negative (easterly) values of the QBO, low solar activity causes a negative Arctic Oscillation index and cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia, but during positive (westerly) values of the QBO the relation reverses. However, the influence of the combination of an easterly value of the QBO and low solar activity on the AO is stronger and this combination is much more probable than the opposite. Therefore, prolonged low solar activity periods in the future may cause the domination of a strongly negative AO and extremely cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia.

SOURCE. (Full article downloadable at source)

Rearguard action over the Amazonian rainforests

Warmists have been predicting drought that would kill off the Amazon rainforests. Recent data have however suggested the opposite: That the forests actually flourished during a dry period. Warmist scientists were horrified, of course and we now see a study designed to claw back that pesky finding. In the end, however, they still ended up with a pretty pesky conclusion: That drought has no overall effect on the forest: "There was no co-relation between drought severity and greenness". See the GRL abstract below:
Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought

By Arindam Samanta et al.

The sensitivity of Amazon rainforests to dry-season droughts is still poorly understood, with reports of enhanced tree mortality and forest fires on one hand, and excessive forest greening on the other. Here, we report that the previous results of large-scale greening of the Amazon, obtained from an earlier version of satellite-derived vegetation greenness data - Collection 4 (C4) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), are irreproducible, with both this earlier version as well as the improved, current version (C5), owing to inclusion of atmosphere-corrupted data in those results. We find no evidence of large-scale greening of intact Amazon forests during the 2005 drought - approximately 11%–12% of these drought-stricken forests display greening, while, 28%–29% show browning or no-change, and for the rest, the data are not of sufficient quality to characterize any changes. These changes are also not unique - approximately similar changes are observed in non-drought years as well. Changes in surface solar irradiance are contrary to the speculation in the previously published report of enhanced sunlight availability during the 2005 drought. There was no co-relation between drought severity and greenness changes, which is contrary to the idea of drought-induced greening. Thus, we conclude that Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought.


Simplistic Warmist assumptions about Siberian permafrost detonated

You’ve heard it a thousand times before – greenhouse gases are causing the Earth to warm, there is more warming in the Arctic than other parts of the planet, and the permafrost is melting away. Remind the world that permafrost holds carbon and methane that can be released into the atmosphere, throw in some pictures of a drunken forest, claim that the permafrost melting is some type of global warming time bomb, and you will be embraced by the global warming alarmists. Do a web search on the subject of global warming and permafrost melting for 1,000s of additional ideas.

We have covered the permafrost issue before, and over and over, this story seems to be far more complex than one might expect. A recent article in Global Change Biology is yet another addition to the complicated warming = melting of permafrost issue.

We have covered the permafrost issue before, and over and over, this story seems to be far more complex than one might expect. A recent article in Global Change Biology is yet another addition to the complicated warming = melting of permafrost issue. The article was produced by four scientists with Wageningen University in The Netherlands, the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and the Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Division in Yakutsk.

Blok et al. start off explaining “Climate change has caused rapid environmental changes at northern high latitudes. Atmospheric warming is expected to continue in the future, especially in the Arctic region. Climate models predict a mean annual temperature rise of 5°C in the Arctic by the end of this century. A rise in temperature may have important consequences for the stability of permafrost soils, which are thought to store twice as much carbon as is currently present in the atmosphere. Siberian permafrost soils in particular contain a significant reservoir of easily decomposable organic carbon. Given that the decomposition of organic matter is largely controlled by permafrost conditions, there are fears that if the permafrost thaws, much of the carbon stored will be released to the atmosphere. Thawing permafrost might thus trigger important feedback effects between further climate change and soil carbon release.”

We’ve heard this all before.

Blok et al. then start throwing some doubt into the picture as they note “It is unclear how permafrost will respond to a warmer climate: a recent discovery of ancient permafrost that survived several warm geological periods suggests that vegetation cover may help protect permafrost from climate warming.” Furthermore, they remind us “However, higher air temperature does not necessarily lead to higher soil temperature: it has been demonstrated that increases in air temperature sometimes lead to vegetation changes that offset the effect of air warming on soil temperature.”

One of the expected changes in the Arctic is an expansion of dwarf birch (a.k.a., Betula nana, or more simply, B. nana); the plant grows to about three to four feet tall with shiny red-copper colored bark and leaves than are rounded with a bluntly toothed margin. The plants shade the ground, alter snow cover, and ultimately change land-surface properties that might protect permafrost from higher summer temperatures.

Blok et al. headed to northeastern Siberia at a site where “Regional climate data (Chokurdakh airport weather station, 1999–2006) show mean annual air temperatures of -10.5°C and average July temperatures of 10.4°C.” In case you cannot think in degrees Celsius, -10.5°C for average annual temperature equates to 13°F – their study site is far from paradise! They explain “We selected circular plots of 10m diameter, located in the two different sites. In total, there were 20 plots: 10 plots per site. The two sites were chosen because of their difference in relative cover of plant functional types; together the two sites cover most of the terrain types in the area.”

To the bottom line we go! As seen in the figure below, they found that as the plots were covered by more and more dwarf birch, the active layer thickness decreased. The active layer is the not-frozen (in summer) soil layer above the permafrost, and as seen in a different light, the plot shows that the permafrost is thicker in plots with greater coverage of dwarf birch.

Blok et al. comment “However, under multiple scenarios of climate change it is expected that tundra biomass will increase, mainly because of B. nana and combined with the observed negative relationship in natural vegetation, our experimental results suggest that increased shrub biomass may slow down the expected future increase in permafrost thaw with climate warming.” Furthermore, “Similar findings were observed in a model study, where permafrost thaw was found to be less under a shrub canopy than under unvegetated ground.”

Next up, Blok et al. note “Global temperature data show that the mean annual air temperature in northeast Siberia increased by 1.5–2°C between 2001 and 2007, compared with the 1951–1980 average. This is much higher than the observed 0.5°C average global surface temperature rise during this period. Permafrost temperature records, however, do not show a general warming trend during the last decade, despite large increases in surface air temperature. Data from several Siberian Arctic permafrost stations do not show a discernible trend between 1991 and 2000. Our results suggest that an expansion of deciduous shrubs in the Arctic triggered by climate warming may buffer permafrost from warming resulting from higher air temperatures.”

Next, we learn “Failure to fully understand the effect of climate change and related vegetation shifts on permafrost thermodynamics is hampering predictions on future permafrost thaw. We have presented the first experimental evidence that the expansion of deciduous shrubs in the Arctic triggered by climate warming may reduce summer permafrost thaw. This vegetation change may partly offset the permafrost degradation expected to result from the air temperature rise predicted for the coming decades.”

Blok et al. conclude “These results suggest that the expected expansion of deciduous shrubs in the Arctic region, triggered by climate warming, may reduce summer permafrost thaw. Increased shrub growth may thus partially offset further permafrost degradation by future temperature increases. Permafrost models need to include a dynamic vegetation component to accurately predict future permafrost thaw.”

Enough said!

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

Hilarious "Scientific" Support Of AGW In SF Chronicle Earns Beatdown

Here's one from a few days ago I ran across, which already has garnered over 840 comments, most of them seemingly taking the writer, Peter Gleick, to task for his climahysterical article. Let's see, shall we?
Here is the best argument against global warming:

. . . .

Oh, right. There isn't one.

There is no good argument against global warming. In all the brouhaha about tiny errors recently found in the massive IPCC report, the posturing by global climate deniers, including some elected officials, leaked emails, and media reports, here is one fact that seems to have been overlooked:
First, it is not an argument against global warming. It is against man caused (anthropogenic, man induced, whatever you want to term it) global warming, or, as you folks call it, climate change, since you, in such a self-described scientific manner, link everything into it. Hot, cold, wet, dry, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes or lack thereof, frogs dying, species being found, allergies, etc and so on. Second, it is not incumbent upon us "deniers" to prove our theory, based on 4 billion years of history. You have to prove yours.

Third, those "tiny" errors are not actually tiny. Many of them are primary points within the UN IPCC, used to "prove" their whole position.
Those who deny that humans are causing unprecedented climate change have never, ever produced an alternative scientific argument that comes close to explaining the evidence we see around the world that the climate is changing.
I'll leave that to the professionals at this moment, but, I did notice something, Pete. Do you mind if I call you Pete? Nowhere in you article do you provide a scientific argument that explains how the current warming period is caused "most likely," to us, in the IPCC vernacular, by Mankind. Sucks to be you. Oh, hey, can you explain the "no statistical warming over the last 15 years," or that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today, as told by Phil Jones? How about all the "missing" data? Or that temperature upticks precede CO2? Or.....well, we all know the reality. Can we move Peter from stage 1 of the 5 stages of grief?
Here is the way scientists think science works: Ideas and theories are proposed to explain the scientific principles we understand, the evidence we see all around us, and the mathematical models we use to test theories. Alternative theories compete.
Uh huh
Gore, the self-anointed climate change alarmist-in-chief, told supporters on a March 15 conference call that severe weather in certain regions of the country could be attributed to carbon in the atmosphere – including the recent rash of rainy weather.
There's your "scientific" theory, Pete. If everything can be blamed on global warming, it is no longer science, it is tautology.
Scientists are used to debating facts with each other, with the best evidence and theory winning. Well, this is a bar fight, where the facts are irrelevant, and apparently, the rules and tools of science are too. But who wins bar fights? As the Simpsons cartoon so brilliantly showed, bullies. Not always the guy who is right.
Al Gore is not a scientist, Pete. Nor is Barack Obama, nor are the Democrats (and Lindsay Graham) who are pushing this. Nor are a good chunk of those who wrote the IPCC. Hmmph. Strange, huh?

Anyhow, check out the comments. Great stuff.

Recycled from Wm. Teach

Poll: Fewer Americans worry about global warming

Former Vice President Al Gore's insistence on Monday that global warming was behind a spate of bad weather could fall on some very deaf ears. American's concerns over environmental worries are at the lowest level in two decades, according to a new Gallup poll. "Many environmental issues are at a 20-year-low concern," the poll found.

It also found that public worries over eight green-related issues — from air pollution to the state of rain forests — have dropped by as much as nine percentage points in the last year alone. "Americans worry most about drinking-water pollution and least about global warming," said Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones.

Indeed, the poll found that half of the respondents worry "a great deal" about the safety and purity of their drinking water; 28 percent said they fretted about global warming. Between the two, 31 percent worry about the extinction of plant and animal species, one-third are concerned about the loss of tropical rain forests, 38 percent are troubled by air pollution and 44 percent fear the pollution of soil and water by toxic waste. Forty-five percent worry about the maintenance of fresh water for "household needs," while 46 percent are concerned about the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

The decline in concern is "rather dramatic" in some cases, Mr. Jones said, citing 1989 Gallup figures. At that time, 72 percent of Americans worried about river pollution, while 63 percent were troubled by air pollution. "One major reason Americans may be less worried about environmental problems is that they perceive environmental conditions in the United States to be improving," Mr. Jones said.

The poll found that 46 percent of the respondents now rate the overall quality of the environment in the country as "excellent" or "good," up from 39 percent a year ago. The public's concerns about the economy may have also trumped their environmental worries, the researchers found.

The survey of 1,014 adults was conducted March 4-7.



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


17 March, 2010

What rubbish! Urban CO2 domes claimed to increase deaths

The "researcher" below found that CO2 concentrations in city air were higher than in the country. No surprise. So how to draw some attention to himself with the finding? He couldn't say that CO2 is bad for you as our bodies make it all the time. So he turned to the old standby: CO2 makes the place hotter -- and that is OBVIOUSLY bad. But is it? If so there must be a lot of very ill people in the tropics. I grew up in tropical Australia and I can assure one and all that the tropics are perfectly healthy as long as you have Western public health measures. His claim that heat increases pollution may even be true but so do lots of things that we would not want to be without. And no mention that heat can be beneficial too. Lots more people die in winter than in summer, for instance

Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem. Now a Stanford study has shown it is also a local problem, hurting city dwellers' health much more than rural residents', because of the carbon dioxide "domes" that develop over urban areas. That finding, said researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, exposes a serious oversight in current cap-and-trade proposals for reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, which make no distinction based on a pollutant's point of origin. The finding also provides the first scientific basis for controlling local carbon dioxide emissions based on their local health impacts.

"Not all carbon dioxide emissions are equal," said Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering. "As in real estate, location matters."

His results also support the case that California presented to the Environmental Protection Agency in March, 2009, asking that the state be allowed to establish its own CO2 emission standards for vehicles.

Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford, testified on behalf of California's waiver application in March, 2009. The waiver had previously been denied, but was reconsidered and granted subsequently. The waiver is currently being challenged in court by industry interests seeking to overturn it.

Jacobson found that domes of increased carbon dioxide concentrations - discovered to form above cities more than a decade ago - cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone, as well as particles in urban air.

In modeling the health impacts for the contiguous 48 states, for California and for the Los Angeles area, he determined an increase in the death rate from air pollution for all three regions compared to what the rate would be if no local carbon dioxide were being emitted. The results of Jacobson's study are presented in a paper published online by Environmental Science and Technology.

The cap-and-trade proposal passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2009 puts a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that each type of utility, manufacturer or other emitter is allowed to produce. It also puts a price tag on each ton of emissions, which emitters will have to pay to the federal government.

If the bill passes the Senate intact, it will allow emitters to freely trade or sell their allowances among themselves, regardless of where the pollution is emitted. With that logic, the proposal prices a ton of CO2 emitted in the middle of the sparsely populated Great Plains, for example, the same as a ton emitted in Los Angeles, where the population is dense and the air quality already poor.

"The cap-and-trade proposal assumes there is no difference in the impact of carbon dioxide, regardless of where it originates," Jacobson said. "This study contradicts that assumption." "It doesn't mean you can never do something like cap and trade," he added. "It just means that you need to consider where the CO2 emissions are occurring."

Jacobson's study is the first to look at the health impacts of carbon dioxide domes over cities and his results are relevant to future air pollution regulations. Current regulations do not address the local impacts of local carbon dioxide emissions. For example, no regulation considers the local air pollution effects of CO2 that would be emitted by a new natural gas power plant. But those effects should be considered, he said.

"There has been no control of carbon dioxide because it has always been thought that CO2 is a global problem, that it is only its global impacts that might feed back to air pollution," Jacobson said.

In addition to the changes he observed in local air pollutants, Jacobson found that there was increased stability of the air column over a city, which slowed the dispersal of pollutants, further adding to the increased pollutant concentrations.

Jacobson estimated an increase in premature mortality of 50 to 100 deaths per year in California and 300 to 1,000 for the contiguous 48 states. "This study establishes a basis for controlling CO2 based on local health impacts," he said. Current estimates of the annual air pollution-related death toll in the U.S. is 50-100,000.


NWF tries to send overpopulation efforts down memory hole and replace with global warming fears

An interesting email from Michael Potts:

I was looking at the website and articles of the National Wildlife Federation and noticed they seem to have made a concerted effort to wipe out all mention of their previous focus on overpopulation and replace it with a new focus on global warming using some Orwellian memory hole tactics.

Not sure there's a news article in it, but it's very interesting to see how the entire section of their website that was devoted to overpopulation is now all global warming. Rather than re-hash the details here, i've posted a question on Yahoo Answers which has all the relevant links that show their efforts to send the Ehrlichean "population bomb" meme down the memory hole. See here

How did that cooling get massaged away?

By Andrew Bolt

Danish engineer Frank Lansner is curious. Before global warming was fashionable, it was agreed the world has cooled dramatically in the 1940s and 1950s. Here’s how National Geographic in 1976 presented northern hemisphere. temperatures (or go here):


Now that warming is fashionable, that cooling has been “adjusted” into something much less significant, making the warming over the century seem more dramatic:


The original 1976 temperatures from National geographic for 1935-75 shows almost 0,5 degrees Celsius decline. This is why scientists world wide became worried about a coming ice age.

In 2008 according to CRU (and thus to some extend GHCN) the temperature decline 1935-75 has been reduced to approximately 0,15 degrees Celsius. The decline appears reduced approximately 0,34K

So approximately 70% of the decline in temperatures after 1935-40 has been removed, it seems....

In other words, the need to examine the correctness of the massive corrections to temperature data simply cannot be exaggerated. But most of the global warming movement documentation is built on huge corrections in temperature that are not peer reviewed. Not even made public. So the claim that global warming movement documentation is peer reviewed is to some degree nonsense as long as the crucial underlying basic data are not for the world to see.
JoNova has more:
If temperature sets across the northern hemisphere were really showing that 1940 was as hot as 2000, that makes it hard to argue that the global warming that occurred from 1975 to 2000 was almost solely due to carbon, since it wasn’t unusual (at least not for half the globe), and didn’t correlate at all with our carbon emissions, the vast majority of which occurred after 1945.

The US records show that the 1930’s were as hot as the 1990’s. And the divergence problem in tree rings is well known. Many tree rings showed a decline after 1960 that didn’t “concur” with the surface records. Perhaps these tree rings agree with the surface records as recorded at the time, rather than as adjusted post hoc?  Perhaps the decline in the tree rings that Phil Jones worked to hide was not so much a divergence from reality, but instead was slightly more real than the surface-UHI-cherry-picked-and-poorly-sited records?

MEANWHILE, Dr Roy Spencer uses a new technique to compare the warming measured by rural stations in the US to that measured by urbanising ones, and says adjustments for the urban heat island effect don’t seem to be enough:
This is a very significant result. It suggests the possibility that there has been essentially no warming in the U.S. since the 1970s.


Grandaddy of green, James Lovelock, warms to eco-sceptics

Just occasionally you find yourself at an event where there is a sense of history in the air. So it was the other night at the Royal Society, when a small gathering of luminaries turned up to hear that extraordinary nonagenarian, the scientist James Lovelock.

They had all come: David MacKay, chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change; Michael Green, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge; Michael Wilson, producer of the James Bond movies; Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum; and more. You knew why they had answered the Isaac Newton Institute’s invitation. They wanted to learn where one of the most interesting minds in science stood in the climate debate.

Lovelock has been intimately involved in three of the defining environmental controversies of the past 60 years. He invented an instrument that made it possible to detect the presence of toxic pollutants in the fat of Antarctic penguins — at roughly the same time as Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, her hugely influential book about pollution. In the 1970s the same instrument, his electron capture detector, was used to detect the presence of chlorofluorocarbons — CFCs — in the atmosphere. Although Lovelock mistakenly pronounced these chemicals as no conceivable toxic hazard, the scientists F Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina later won the Nobel prize in chemistry for proving they were destroying the ozone layer.

Then, in 1979, Lovelock published the book-length version of his Gaia theory, which postulates that the Earth functions as a kind of super-organism, with millions of species regulating its temperature. Despite initial scepticism from the Darwinists, who refused to believe that individual organisms could act in harmony, the Gaia theory has been widely accepted and now underlies most atmospheric science.

What, I wondered, would be the great man’s view on the latest twists in the atmospheric story — the Climategate emails and the sloppy science revealed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? To my surprise, he immediately professed his admiration for the climate-change sceptics.

“I think you have to accept that the sceptics have kept us sane — some of them, anyway,” he said. “They have been a breath of fresh air. They have kept us from regarding the science of climate change as a religion. It had gone too far that way. There is a role for sceptics in science. They shouldn’t be brushed aside. It is clear that the angel side wasn’t without sin.”

As we were ushered in to dinner, I couldn’t help wrestling with the irony that the so-called “prophet of climate change”, whose Gaia theory is regarded in some quarters as a faith in itself, was actively cheering on those who would knock science from its pedestal.

Lovelock places great emphasis on proof. The climate change projections by the Meteorological Office’s Hadley Centre — a key contributor to the IPCC consensus — should be taken seriously, he said. But he is concerned that the projections are relying on computer models based primarily on atmospheric physics, because models of that kind have let us down before. Similar models, for example, failed to detect the hole in the ozone layer;

it was eventually found by Joe Farman using a spectrometer.

How, asks Lovelock, can we predict the climate 40 years ahead when there is so much that we don’t know? Surely we should base any assumptions on things we can measure, such as a rise in sea levels. After all, surface temperatures go up and down, but the rise in sea levels reflects both melting ice and thermal expansion. The IPCC, he feels, underestimates the extent to which sea levels are rising.

Do mankind’s emissions matter? Yes, they undoubtedly do.

No one should be complacent about the fact that within the next 20 years we’ll have added nearly a trillion tons of carbon to the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. When a geological accident produced a similar carbon rise 55m years ago, it turned up the heat more than 5C. And now? Well, the effect of man-made carbon is unpredictable. Temperatures might go down at first, rather than up, he warns.

How should we be spending our money to prevent possible disaster? In Britain, says Lovelock, we need sea walls and more nuclear power. Heretical stuff, when you consider the vast amount that Europe plans to spend on wind turbines.

“What would you bet will happen this century?” a mathematician asked him. Lovelock predicted a temperature rise in the middle range of current projections — about 1C-2C — which we could live with. Ah, but hadn’t he also said there was a chance that temperature rises could threaten human civilisation within the lifetime of our grandchildren?

He had. In the end, his message was that we should have more respect for uncertainties and learn to live with possibilities rather than striving for the 95% probabilities that climate scientists have been trying to provide. We don’t know what’s going to happen and we don’t know if we can avert disaster — although we should try. His sage advice: enjoy life while you can.


Tomorrow's Forecast: Weather, With a 50% Chance of Climate

By James Taranto

Saturday night found us braving rough weather in New York's Meatpacking District. First the wind ripped our umbrella into pieces, then we got drenched in rain. While waiting to check our coat at the trendy night spot that was our destination, we looked out the door and saw a downpour so intense that it would have been described as biblical had it continued for another 40 days, 39 nights and change.

No wonder the weather was so bad! According to Al Gore, it wasn't just weather, it was climate. As the Business and Media Institute reports:
Gore, the self-anointed climate change alarmist-in-chief, told supporters on a March 15 conference call that severe weather in certain regions of the country could be attributed to carbon in the atmosphere--including the recent rash of rainy weather.

"The odds have shifted toward much larger downpours," Gore said. "And we have seen that happen in the Northeast, we've seen it happen in the Northwest--in both of those regions are among those that scientists have predicted for a long time would begin to experience much larger downpours."
But wait. That seems inconsistent with this month-old report from the Hill:
A top Obama administration scientist on Monday struck back at climate skeptics who claim that record snowstorms this winter have undercut evidence of global warming. "It is important that people recognize that weather is not the same thing as climate," said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
So weather isn't the same thing as climate, except when it is. You can "prove" anything with such heads-I-win-tails-you-lose logic. A decade ago, Gore almost managed to use it to become president.

On a related note, consider this report from London's Guardian:
When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to "green" type.

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the "licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour", otherwise known as "moral balancing" or "compensatory ethics".

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the "halo of green consumerism" are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours," they write.
The Guardian's headline is "How Going Green May Make You Mean." We're inclined to think the chain of causation runs the other way--that people who are jerks to begin with gravitate toward verdant sanctimony.


Britain's yellow and not so pleasant land: Freezing winter leaves countryside looking ragged around the edges

England's green and pleasant land is looking a little faded around the edges right now. And the countryside of Wales and Scotland isn't faring much better. After the coldest winter in three decades, huge areas of Britain's pastures, meadows and downs have emerged bedraggled, tired and brown.

The problem is most noticeable in the South West, where normally glorious verdant fields look like they have struggled through a harsh summer drought. In Dorset's Hardy Country, the mighty Maiden Castle, an enormous fort built by ancient Britons, is perched on a murky brown mound. And the centuries old Cerne Abbas Giant - famously carved on a chalk hillside - is barely visible against the yellowing grass.

The phenomenon means dairy farmers will have to feed forage to their cattle until spring arrives and sheep will be eating last year's grass during the lambing season. Farmers believe the seasons are about three weeks later than usual, but they say that when the sun comes out, the colour will return to the fields in days.

Traditional British grasslands usually fade and turn yellow over winter. Unlike the grass varieties used in gardens, they are not hardy enough to survive persistent sub-zero temperatures. But after the mild winters of the last few years, the scale of the brown fields has come as something of a shock. Chris Barber, 45, who farms 35 acres in Martinstown, Dorset, said: 'It happens every year to a degree, but nothing like this. 'It's because we've had such a long spell of cold and the grass wants to grow, but there's no warmth or sun to do so. 'When there is a bit of warmth it will come back quickly with the photosynthesis. 'It's more common this year in the permanent pastures which is unusual. It does mean that during the lambing season the ewes are eating last year's grass. 'We had a good summer last year so there is plenty of food about. I would say we're three weeks later than usual.'

Mike Pullin who farms nearby said: 'The grass is actually a purple-red colour. What happened was the roots became wet and that froze, making the grass dormant. We've had frost and snow for long periods and that means we will be later turning the cattle out.'

Over the last 30 years, spring has arrived earlier and earlier and now typically arrives three weeks sooner than it did in the 1960s. However, this year's cold winter has delayed the first signs of spring, restoring the seasons to their pre-1970s pattern.


Now it's coconut trees that are bad

COCONUT palms may be ­symbols of the tropics to many, but a scientist says they are damaging the natural environment and may help spread dengue fever. Cape Tribulation Tropical Research Station director Dr Hugh Spencer has spent the past six years studying the impact the palms have had on native beach vegetation.

He has found the thin 50-100m line of forest that lies between the reef and rainforest - called the littoral zone - is constantly under siege from coconut palms, which edge out native trees, pounding them into submission by constantly dumping fronds and fruit on them. Coconuts that are left to rot on the ground collect water, providing perfect breeding grounds for the dengue-carrying mosquito.

To prevent the palms from conquering the beachfront at Cape Tribulation, Dr Spencer and a small group of volunteers have been regularly removing juvenile palms the only way they know - by hand. Where there used to be entire groves, native plants such as pandanus and she-oaks are slowly reclaiming the beach. "We're getting very, very good recruitment of natural vegetation," Dr Spencer said. "We've literally removed thousands of coconuts. We're all volunteers. Nobody gets paid in this place. "It basically means that we are protecting and recovering the most endangered of our forest types."

Cairns Regional Council general manager infrastructure services Ross McKim said the council did not have a policy either. But it did have a duty of care denutting palms to reduce the risk of liability. "Council is aware that the removal of coconut palms can be an emotive issue and actively manage the trees that are featured along the foreshores and parks of the region," Mr McKim said. "Council undertakes denutting and palm frond removal and manage those trees already in place, rather than remove what trees are currently there. "While we are aware that these plants may not be native to Australia, council appreciates these palms play an important part in creating the tropical feel of the region."

Dr Spencer previously took more direct action to eliminate palms from the beachfront by boring holes in a number of palms and poisoning them. The actions angered other locals, who referred to him as a "coconut killer". Dr Spencer said his relationship with his critics appeared to have simmered. "I kind of get the feeling that there is more of a mood of acceptance that they really are a problem," he said. "I get the feeling that is starting to filter though, but I don't have any proof. "I'm not having many people getting their knickers in a twist about coconuts being removed any 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 is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


16 March, 2010

Who pays Wikipedia's William M. Connolley?

A kneejerk response towards anyone who challenges the Green/Left is to say that the challenger is "in the pay" of someone -- usually "Big Oil" -- and usually without a scrap of evidence to that effect. The email below from Thomas Lux [], however, suggests that one influential Greenie activist is so busy with his propaganda efforts that it is hard to believe that he has any other job and therefore really COULD be "in the pay" of someone

I did a bit more research into William M. Connolley and others. I'll pass this along.

My interest in this is simply that of a retired engineer who initially believed in the AGW premise. When I was a believer, I did a lot of research into alternative energy issues like solar, wind, wave power etc.. As a civil engineer, I find most alternative energy methods to be of interest, and some even make economic sense. For example, solar hotwater for most homes is now actually quite practical.

However, one day in the fall of 2008, while blissfully engaged in browsing the internet to find new alternative energy methods, I stumbled across an article on the British High Court's rebuke of the Al Gore video "An Inconvenient Truth". I subsequently came across several Lord Monkton articles and my interest in this subject was ignited.

Since than, I have read over 200 articles and papers concerning AGW. Now that I am much better informed, I believe the CO2/AGW hypothesis to be utter nonsense. After recognizing that it is unlikely that a trace gas like CO2 which exists as less than .04% of the environment could cause any climate catastrophe, I started wondering about he political motives surrounding the promotion of such an obviously ridiculous premiss. After all, not all leftist politicians are that dumb, so certainly some of the politicians promoting the AGW theory must realize that it is a seriously flawed view of climate change.

I have reviewed dozens of articles and papers, have read much of the IPCC report, and have followed closely all of the news in regards to AGW and climategate, so I now feel as though I am very up to speed on the AGW fraud which is going on in Europe, America and the U.K.. I do believe that there is a effort to control what the world knows about global warming. I am not sure to what extent governments are involved in this.

After witnessing first-hand the antics of William M. Connolley, Stephan Schultz and KimDabelsteinPetersen, I now believe that a key tactic in this effort is to manipulate what is written in Wikipedia about all that relates to the AGW theory in such a way as to promote the AGW argument. Wikipedia is the most used online encylopedia in the world.

If this is what is going on, and if there is government involvement here, this manipulation of Wikipedia would be should be a story even bigger than Climategate. This would also be a story which should be told because of the fundamental threat that such manipulation of information poses to freedom and democracy.

My primary reason for believing that WMC is being paid for his editing of Wikipedia is this: When one considers the amount of time WMC devotes to editing Wiki articles, doing research to edit Wiki articles, blogging, emailing, writing climate related articles, giving interviews, and "talking" about Wiki articles, there is simply not enough time left for WMC to have another job.

William M. Connolley.. an overview here:

Following is an article on how Connolley was finally removed as a Wiki Administrator.. SYSOP... for abusing his power by blocking tow posters who disagree with him. Note here that Stephan Schultz attempts to come to WMC rescue when he sides with WMC in the review process.

Connolley has his own blog...

Connolley maintains his own webpage...

Wiki articles in which WMC participates often end up becoming restricted articles which means that he and only other “experts” can edit the articles. What seems like a restriction for WMC ultimately is a great advantage because other casual observers – even though they may possess subject expertise – are not allowed to edit the Wiki articles which are under restriction until they have proved themselves worthy by meeting time consuming Wikipedia standards for expert editors.

Example of a restricted article as a result of WMCs aggressive editing

Example of an article on probation as a result of WMCs aggressive editing.

Connolley also takes time to provide interviews to the likes of the Huffington Post..

A simple example of WMC edit designed to slant a Wiki topic toward the AGW believers and away from real science. This edit may seem harmless until you realize WMC and friends edit in this manner roughly 20,000 times a year.

Connolley has edited only 748 times in the past 30 days. He has been editing an average of 1100 times in 30 days. However, wikipedia does not provide any real protection against a person editing using several different monikers so “WMC” could actually now be editing as several different people..

Stephan Schultz – a WMC compadre and Wikipedia administrator edits 480 times in past 30 days

KimDabelsteinPetersen – another WMC compadre edits 452 times in past 30 days..

These three have averaged 56 edits PER DAY for the past 30 days. Normally, they edit more than 60 times per day. Almost all of the editing for this bunch is for a dozen or so articles which somehow related to the AGW theory. For example, search “global warming”, “climategate”, “CO2 and Climate”, etc.. For anyone with a real job or real normal life, it is virtually impossible to compete with these three self proclaimed arbiters of all things climate related.

SlimVirgin is a fascinating story which provides some clarity on how the manipulation of Wikipedia takes place. Although she was once barred temporarily from editing Wikipedia articles, SlimVirgin is again editing at the rate of nearly 2000 edits per month. Her's is a fascinating story. SlimVirgin is a Cambridge 1984 graduate named Linda Mack. She now goes by the name Sarah McKewan. Pierre Salinger (JFK's press secretary and brother in law) claimed that Linda Mack, a.k.a SlimVirgin was an MI5 agent who was planted in his office following the Lockerbie Scotland plane bombing.

A fascinating story – truly hard to believe! There is so much intrigue surrounding SlimVirgin that it is very easy to believe that she is on someone's payroll also. She appears to be a near brilliant woman who has no apparent source of income and who edits Wikipedia more than 60 times a day.

Judd Bagley, is an expert researcher whom you may want to contact because of the insight he has in regards to SlimVirgin, has been involved with exposing the practice of naked short selling and mob connections to Wall Street. In his research, Bagley comes across a character named Gary Weiss.

GW, a.k.a. Lil GW and mantmorland, is connected to SlimVirgin. It has also been alleged that GW is connected with gangsters and a cabal of extraordinarily powerful hedge fund managers who have, for a decade, manipulated Wall Street And, like SlimVirgin and William M. Connolley, Weiss is a compulsive and prolific writer who seems to bang away at his keyboard 16 hours a day to control what is known about the topic of hedge fund manipulation of Wall Street.

SlimVirgin connections with WMC...

A SlimVirgin talk with Stephen Schultz

Playing the man and not the ball

As I mentioned immediately above, the global warming "debate" mainly consists of skeptics pointing to scientific facts and Warmists replying with personal abuse and accusations. The Warmist reply is, in other words, almost always an example of an ad hominem fallacy -- one of the classic informal fallacies that one encounters in the study of formal logic. The rough translation of the fallacy into sporting terminology is, "Playing the man and not the ball". In other words, one very rarely gets a survey of the relevant facts from Warmists. Appeals to authority (another informal fallacy) are about the best they can do.

Being a typical scientific skeptic, therefore, I take very little interest in personalities and would never have gone to the trouble to do the analysis above. As it was sent to me by someone else who had done all the work, however, I thought I might as well put it up.

In accordance with that orientation, I do not intend to reproduce or excerpt a recent interview with Marc Morano. I have the highest regard for Marc but just don't think that personalities should be the issue. I might note, however, that Marc does a good job of deflecting all the expected ad hominem accusations directed against him (accusing him of being a "creationist" etc.)

A young German physicist named Jörg Rings was however, much seized by the interview, and did an analysis of it. So was it the science he analysed? No way! He analysed Marc's "tactics" and concludes that they are very clever.

Finally, in the "Comments" section of his post (08:33 of 15.03.10) he observes as follows: "Und - ich werde jetzt nicht Godwins Zorn herabrufen - gewisse historische Figuren waren auch 'extremely clever and dangerous'". That translates as: "I am not going to call down wrath of Godwin - certain historical figures were also 'extremely clever and dangerous'". In other words he compares Marc to Hitler! How's that for an ad hominem argument! It's a classic!

It really is amusing how low Warmists have to stoop in their Kampf (struggle) with reality!

Jim Inhofe slams Al Gore on climate 'hoax'

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) attacked former Vice President Al Gore on the Senate floor Monday, calling climate change "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" and claiming that Gore is now "running for cover."

The “hoax” line is an Inhofe standby, but he raised the level of attack on Monday. In front of the backdrop of a blown up Weekly Standard cover featuring Gore, Inhofe railed on the former vice president. "After weeks of the global warming scandal, the world's first climate billionaire is running for cover. Yes, I'm talking about Al Gore," Inhofe charged. "He's under siege these days. The credibility of the IPCC is eroding. The EPA's endangerment finding is collapsing. And belief that global warming is leading to catastrophe is evaporating. Gore seems to be drowning in a sea of his own global warming illusions nevertheless. He's desperately trying to keep global warming alarmism alive today."

Inhofe also floated a political conspiracy theory focused on Gore. He cited a secret “high-level meeting with all [Gore's] global alarmists,” called a recent Gore op-ed in the New York Times a "sure-fire sign of desperation" and compared Gore to an ostrich.

“When it comes to reform and openness and transparency and peer review, and when it comes to practicing good science, Gore stands alone,” Inhofe said. “He wants the world to put its head in the sand and pretend nothing's happening. It reminds me of the two boy ostriches chasing the two girl ostriches. They're chasing them, the one girl ostrich said, 'What do we do? They said, let's hide so each girl ostrich stuck their head in the hole and the boy ostriches gallop up to the clearing and one of them said, 'Where did the girls go?' This is what we're looking at here. They're hiding their head in the sand and Gore's writing this op-ed."

Inhofe spoke for approximately a half hour before yielding the floor. He also mentioned the climate change legislation being worked on by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.), saying that if any form of a cap-and-trade bill passes "people are going to be the losers."


Doctor Of Lies

The Elmer Gantry of global warming (For those who read Sinclair Lewis)

Instead of having his Nobel Prize rescinded for espousing climate fraud, the prophet of doom is set to receive an honorary doctorate of laws and humane letters from the University of Tennessee for his work. 'Vice President Gore's career has been marked by visionary leadership, and his work has quite literally changed our planet for the better," UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said in a prepared statement.

We are not making this up, though we will not dispute Gore's having had visions. He has warned us of sea levels rising so high and so fast that we should see boats moored on the top of the Washington Monument. Polar bears would drown en masse for lack of ice at the same time snow measured in feet blanketed large parts of the country.

We used to call it weather. He called it climate change and made a fortune doing so. Revelations that the Fourth Assessment Report produced by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was based on anecdotes, student dissertations and non-peer-reviewed articles in foreign magazines have not dissuaded him. Everybody makes mistakes, Gore says. And channeling Dan Rather's explanation of his bogus claims about President Bush's National Guard service, he says the evidence may be forged but the story is still true.

Confronted with the inconvenient truths such as CRU director Phil Jones admitting there has been no warming trend for at least the last 15 years, Gore monotones: "What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged." He doesn't need no stinking facts.

Well, the seas are not about to swallow us anytime soon, the Himalayan glaciers will not vanish before dinnertime, and the only thing the polar bears have to worry about is overpopulation. We have documented his falsehoods and those of the IPCC and the researchers at Britain's Climatic Research Unit. We have also pointed the money they have made off their climate scams.

According to the Guardian, a British newspaper, Gore has investments in one company that has received more than half a billion dollars in subsidies from the Department of Energy. Financial disclosure documents released before the 2000 election put the Gore family's net worth at $1 million to $2 million. A mere nine years later, estimates are that he is now worth about $100 million. He could become the world's first carbon billionaire.

Gore has not changed the planet for the better. He has pushed policies that have stunted economic growth and increased joblessness, poverty and hunger around the world. He's a climate charlatan, the Elmer Gantry of global warming, and it matters not if his latest undeserved award is printed on recycled paper.


Greenies play dirty on coal, natural gas

They don't discuss the subject too openly outside their own circles, but environmentalists make crystal clear on their Web sites that they want to stop all coal-based power production in this country. They claim coal can never be made clean, so it must be eliminated before it's too late to do anything about global warming. Ted Nace puts it succinctly in a Grist Web site post: "The stakes, for all life on the planet, surpass those of any previous crisis."

That may sound extreme, but Nace is merely expressing mainstream environmentalist thinking. The Sierra Club, for example, tracks the status of all coal-fired power plants in this country on its "Stop the Coal Rush" page. The environmentalists have been remarkably successful in preventing construction of new coal-fired power plants, with 126 having been stopped since 2001, according to the Sierra Club data. And Nace crows that not a single one was started in 2009. Even so, nearly half of all electricity used in the United States is generated by coal-fired power plants, down from a high of 57 percent in 1987.

Regardless of whether one agrees with the goal of eliminating coal-fired power production, it is critically important that policymakers and voters alike understand the duplicitous game being played on them by environmentalists. It is seen most vividly when environmentalists talk about how they plan to replace coal with an array of "green" alternative energy sources, including biomass, solar, wind and ethanol.

What they don't want to talk about is the fact that there's no way those sources are going to replace coal-fired power production by 2030. And they don't want to talk about the fact that there's another extraordinarily plentiful and much cleaner energy source — natural gas — that can readily replace coal and lower energy costs more effectively than any alternative source. In fact, the same environmentalists who are shutting down coal plants are also opposing increased natural gas production. In other words, it's their green way, or nothing.

President Obama and Ken Salazar, his Interior Department secretary, are following right along with the environmentalist playbook on these matters. Salazar recently announced that his department will issue no permits for off-shore natural gas exploration and production before 2012, at the earliest, even though experts agree there are trillions of cubic feet of natural gas waiting to be harvested.

Salazar thus short-circuits the 2008 lifting of presidential and congressional bans on such activities. That means no new off-shore energy development will be approved during Obama's first term in the White House. Meanwhile, Obama is showering billions of tax dollars on alternative energy resources that the Energy Department says won't even be close to replacing coal by 2030.


The CSIRO calls this proof?

By Andrew Bolt, writing from Australia

It’s a bizarre way to “prove” their case:
AUSTRALIA’s two leading scientific agencies will release a report today showing Australia has warmed significantly over the past 50 years, and stating categorically that ‘’climate change is real‘’.

The State of the Climate snapshot, drawn together by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology partly in response to recent attacks on the science underpinning climate change, shows that Australia’s mean temperature has increased 0.7 degrees since 1960. The statement also finds average daily maximum temperatures have increased every decade for the past 50 years.

The report states that temperature observations, among others indicators, ‘’clearly demonstrate climate change is real’’, and says that CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology ‘’will continue to provide observations and research so Australia’s responses are underpinned by clear empirical data’’.

The report also found that the 2000s were Australia’s warmest decade on record; that sea levels rose between 1.5 and three millimetres a year in Australia’s south and east, and between seven and 10 millimetres in the north between 1993 and 2009; and that sea surface temperatures have risen 0.4 degrees since 1960.
Why is this surprisingly scanty propaganda pamphlet bizarre, and not quite honest?

First, no one is doubting that “climate change is real”. Climate changes all the time. This is not the debate.

Second, we’re talking about global warming, so why does the CSIRO and BOM’s pamphlet give only Australian temperatures? Is that because it knows that to show world temperatures stayed flat since 2001 actually casts doubt on just how much man’s gases are driving the post-mini-ice-age warming?

Third, given the CSIRO praised the since-discredited An Inconvenient Truth, claiming ”its scientific basis is very sound”, can we really trust its advocacy science?

Fourth, the CSIRO and BOM’s document does not address any of the recent challenges to the processes which produced the concensus that man is almost certainly to blame for most of the recent warming. Nor does it mention recent debate about adjustments made to Australian temperature records of the kind that increase the reported warming trend.

Fifth, what’s most at issue (other than man’s contribution to any warming) is whether any warming will in fact be disastrous, and something we must spend billions to help avert. The record so far of alarmists such as Al Gore, Tim Flannery, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the IPCC and even the CSIRO itself is that the catastrophism is wildly exaggerated and we might often do better to keep our money in our pockets for the day that we’re called on to cope with whatever happens in the far-off future. But on this, again, this document adds zero to our understanding.

But, of course, this brazenly political document got the unquestioning hero treatment on the ABC’s AM program, in what sounded like the two fingers to its chairman.


How much can this propaganda sheet be trusted to tell you the let-the-cards-fall-where-they-may truth? Judge from this example: " rainfall on the Australian continent has been relatively stable"

Stable? Why didn’t the CSIRO and BOM tell the reassuring truth - that total rainfall has in fact increased?

More HERE (See the original for links)


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


15 March, 2010

British government adverts banned for overstating climate change

TWO government advertisements that use nursery rhymes to warn people of the dangers of climate change have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for exaggerating the potential harm. The adverts, commissioned by Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, used the rhymes to suggest that Britain faces an inevitable increase in storms, floods and heat waves unless greenhouse gas emissions are brought under control.

The ASA has ruled that the claims made in the newspaper adverts were not supported by solid science and has told the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that they should not be published again. It has also referred a television commercial to the broadcast regulator, Ofcom, for potentially breaching a prohibition on political advertising.

The rulings will be an embarrassment for Miliband, who has tried to portray his policies as firmly science-based. He had commissioned two posters, four press advertisements and a short film for television and cinema, which started appearing in October last year in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate talks. They attracted 939 complaints — more than the ASA received for any advertisement last year. The deluge posed problems for the ASA, which is not a scientific body, so it decided to compare the text of Miliband’s adverts with the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Based on that comparison, it ruled that two of the DECC’s adverts had broken the advertising code on three counts: substantiation, truthfulness and environmental claims. Of the two banned adverts, one depicted three men floating in a bathtub over a flooded British landscape, and the text read: “Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub — a necessary course of action due to flash flooding caused by climate change.” It then explained: “Climate change is happening. Temperature and sea levels are rising. Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heat waves will become more frequent and intense. If we carry on at this rate, life in 25 years could be very different.”

The second showed two children peering into a stone well amid an arid, post-climate-change landscape. It read: “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. There was none as extreme weather due to climate change had caused a drought.” It then added: “Extreme weather conditions such as flooding, heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense.”

It was these additional claims, rather than the nursery rhymes or illustrations, that fell foul of the ASA, which ruled it was not scientifically possible to make such definitive statements about Britain’s future climate. The ASA said: “All statements about future climate were based on modelled predictions, which the IPCC report itself stated still involved uncertainties in the magnitude and timing, as well as regional details, of predicted climate change.” It added that both predictions should have been phrased more tentatively.

The ASA did, however, reject other complaints, including one suggesting the DECC adverts were misleading because they presented human-induced climate change as a fact.

Miliband said: “On the one issue where the ASA did not find in our favour, around one word in our print advertising, the science tells us that it is more than 90% likely that there will be more extreme weather events if we don’t act.”

Greg Barker, shadow minister for climate change, said: “It is so unnecessary to exaggerate the risks of global warming, and also counterproductive.”


Fixing climate change shouldn't cost the Earth

By Bjorn Lomborg

FOR the better part of a decade, I have upset many climate activists by pointing out that there are far better ways to stop global warming than trying to persuade governments to force or bribe citizens into slashing their reliance on fuels that emit carbon dioxide.

What especially bugs my critics is the idea that cutting carbon would cost far more than the problem it is meant to solve.

"How can that be true?" they ask. "We are talking about the end of the world. What could be worse or more costly than that?"

They have a point. If we actually face, as Al Gore recently put it, "an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale preventative measures to protect human civilisation as we know it", then no price would be too high to stop global warming. But are the stakes really that high?

The answer is no. Even the worst-case scenarios proposed by mainstream climate scientists, scenarios that go far beyond what the consensus climate models predict, are not as bad as Gore would have us believe. For example, a sea-level rise of 5m - more than eight times what the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects, and more than twice what is probably physically possible - would not deluge all or even most of mankind.

Of course, such a rise would not be a trivial problem. It would affect about 400 million people, force the relocation of 15 million, and imply costly protection of the rest. But it would certainly not mean the end of the world. Estimates show the cost in terms of adaptation would be less than 1 per cent of global GDP. The price of unchecked global warming may be high, but it is not infinite.

According to the best global-warming economic models, every tonne of CO2 we put into the atmosphere will do about $7 worth of damage to the environment. What this means is that we should be prepared to pay an awful lot to stop global warming, but anything more than $7 a tonne would be economically indefensible.

This idea is hard for many to accept. If we have a solution to a serious problem such as global warming, they argue, how can we possibly say that it is too expensive to implement? Well, we do exactly that all the time. There are many potential solutions to serious problems that we do not implement, or that we implement only partially, because the costs associated with them are greater than the benefits.

For example, traffic accidents claim an estimated 1.2 million lives every year. We have the ability to solve this problem, eliminating half a trillion dollars in damages and sparing untold anguish. All we have to do is lower the speed limit everywhere to 5km/h.

Obviously, we will not do this. The benefits of driving moderately fast vastly outweigh the costs. For a variety of reasons, a world moving at only 5km/h would be utterly unacceptable to most of us.

Consider, too, homeland security. On the one hand, the more we spend on anti-terrorism measures (and the more inconvenience we are willing to tolerate), the safer we feel. On the other, even though everyone agrees that a successful terrorist attack is unacceptable, there is a limit to how much we are willing to spend to keep ourselves safe.

Why are we willing to calculate costs and benefits when it comes to traffic safety and terrorism, but not when devising policies to deal with global warming? Perhaps it is because we experience the downside of excessive traffic regulation or security measures every day, while the downside of bad climate policy is more of an abstraction. It shouldn't be, for the risks posed by bad climate policy deserve as much attention as the risks of worse-than-expected climate impacts - maybe more.

Remember how biofuel requirements were supposed to help reduce carbon emissions? In fact, the artificially inflated demand for ethanol and for the corn to manufacture it wound up driving up food prices (which pushed about 30 million poor people into the ranks of the malnourished). It ate up more arable land, which led to the destruction of rainforests and created a situation that will result in more CO2 emissions over the next 100 years.

The biofuel lesson is salutary. If we panic and make the wrong choices in response to global warming, we risk leaving the world's most vulnerable people even worse off. If we are to have a constructive dialogue about the smartest policy responses to global warming, we need to replace our fixation on far-fetched Armageddon scenarios with realism about the true costs of this challenge.


Australia: Establishment scientists accuse climate change sceptics of 'smokescreen of denial'

More assertions -- but "models" instead of facts. You can't model anything as complex as climate. We would have accurate weather forecasts if you could

AUSTRALIA'S leading scientists have hit back at climate change sceptics, accusing them of creating a "smokescreen of denial". The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will today release a State of the Climate document, a snapshot of Australia's climate data and trend predictions.

The apolitical science organisations have weighed into the debate as they believe Australians are not being told the correct information about temperatures, rainfall, ocean levels and changes to atmospheric conditions.

The State of the Climate report offers Australians an easy-to-understand snapshot of data. "Modelling results show that it is extremely unlikely that the observed warming is due to natural causes alone," it states. "Evidence of human influence has been detected in ocean warming, sea-level rise, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns."

CSIRO chief executive Dr Megan Clark said both organisations felt it was time "to give Australians the facts and information they are looking for and to do so in a way that is very transparent and available". "We are seeing a real thirst for knowledge from many Australians and we are responding to that huge public demand. There is a lot of noise out there and a lot of reference to other countries and people want to know what's happening in this country."

Dr Clark said the CSIRO had been observing the impacts of human-induced climate change for many years and had moved on from debate about it happening to planning for the changes to come.


Australia: Families in fear of 'fuel poverty' as energy costs pushed up by Greenie nonsense

SOARING electricity prices will force more working families into "fuel poverty" where they simply cannot afford to pay for power. That is the grim prediction from an energy ombudswoman, who revealed that the number of people fearing they will have their electricity disconnected had surged by a third. In New South Wales alone more than 18,000 households had their power cut off last financial year and, with about $200 added to the average bill last July, that number is only expected to grow.

But the worst pain is expected from increases of up to 62 per cent over the next three years.

The largest retailer, Energy Australia, has an extra 36,000 customers on bill extension or payment plans - 30 per cent more than last year. The second-largest retailer, Integral Energy, has 19,000 more customers in assistance schemes - up 10 per cent.

But the real concern is that more big increases will be too much for many of these households to bear. Clare Petre, NSW Energy and Water Ombudswoman, said yesterday: "We are already receiving complaints from people who can pay now but are worried about their capacity to pay in the future."

Pricing regulator IPART proposed rises of 44-62 per cent over three years to pay for a backlog of network maintenance and the Federal Government's proposed ETS. Ms Petre said these increases could cause "fuel poverty". "It may well, that's our concern, particularly if the [ETS] comes in," she said.

Fuel poverty - a household spending more than 10 per cent of income for an adequate 21C warmth - contributed to nearly 37,000 English and Welsh deaths in 2008-09. In Australia, it isn't the cold, it's the heat. High temperatures were linked to 374 deaths in Victoria last year. IPART said a single aged pensioner would spend 7-12 per cent of income on electricity after the ETS and an average household up to 6 per cent more.

Port Macquarie mum Cassandra O'Meara said she was looking for ways to cut use after her family's power bill went from $500 to $1700 thanks to a new pool and plasma TV. "It's just ridiculous," Mrs O'Meara said of the cost jump yesterday.



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


14 March, 2010

New technique shows Roman Warm Period Warmer than Present Day

By Dr. David Whitehouse

A promising new technique to reconstruct past temperatures has been developed by scientists at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada and Durham University, England, using the shells of bivalve mollusks. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science the scientists say that oxygen isotopes in their shells are a good proxy measurement of temperature and may provide the most detailed record yet of global climate change.

Most measures of palaeoclimate, such as those from tree rings, provide data on only average annual temperatures, and then they are affected by many other factors such as the rainfall effect on tree ring width. William Patterson, lead author of the study, says that as mollusks grow the colder the water, the higher the proportion of the heavy oxygen isotope, oxygen-18 in the shells. Because shell growth depends upon seasonal temperature variations it is possible to see much finer changes than tree rings. Because they only live for between 2 – 9 years it has the potential to reveal fine temporal detail for specific periods.

The study used 26 shells obtained from sediment cores taken from an Icelandic inlet. The shells were extracted along their growth axes and the carbonate powder analysed for stable oxygen isotopes using a mass spectrometer.

Although the mollusks record water temperatures, not air temperatures. But the two are closely linked - especially close to the shore, where most people in Iceland lived.

Oxygen isotope values for the two oldest bivalves in the study show a cold spell between 360 BC to 240 BC that has some of the coldest temperatures in the entire series of observations that stretch to about 1660 AD. Following this period it seems that temperatures increased rapidly such that temperatures from 230 BC are significantly higher. In fact a shell from 130 BC recorded the highest temperature in the entire 2,000-year dataset.

Between 230 BC and 40 AD there was a period of exceptional warmth in Iceland that was coincident with the Roman Warm Period in Europe that ran from 200 BC to 400 AD. This Icelandic shell data series suggests that the RWP had higher temperatures that those recorded in modern times.

By 410 AD there had been a return to cooler temperatures presaging the onset of a cold and wetter era called the Dark Ages Cold Period between 400 AD and 600 AD.

The subsequent warming trend in Iceland took place from 600 AD to 760 AD about a century before prolonged warming began in Europe than in the subsequent centuries led to the Medieval Warm Period that was about as warm as the Roman one.

Iceland was initially settled between 865 AD – 930 AD, and it is often assumed this happened when the climate was favorably warm for sea voyages and settlement. The reconstructed temperatures in this study suggest they were high just before Iceland’s initial settlement began but deteriorated shortly afterwards.

The study's findings suggest that details of climate recorded in Icelandic sagas are reasonably accurate.

In the 1000s the Icelandic “Book of Settlements” reports a famine so severe “men ate foxes and ravens” and “the old and helpless were killed and thrown over cliffs.” According to his shells, it was a difficult period with summer water temperatures peaking at only 5-6 degree C, down from as high as 7.5-9.5 degree C only 100 years earlier.

The high time resolution possible because of the short lives of the clams enables intricate changes to be deduced. A warming trend occurred after 1120 AD however by 1320 AD the climate began cooling again recording record lows for the 2,000 year dataset. Such lows are also seen in Greenland ice cores. The cool period was prolonged. Western settlement in Greenland was abandoned by 1360 AD and by 1450 AD settlements in the east were abandoned as well.

Isotope data from shells is clearly a highly promising technique with many advantages over paleoclimatic reconstruction using tree rings. The ability to monitor seasonal climatic extremes will be very valuable not only for climate but also to shed light on the rise and collapse of societies.

Another crucial aspect of climate science that this research could be important for is the statistical extraction of human climatic "fingerprints" from climate models and real-world data. It is commonly said that one of the most important human fingerprints on the climate is the rapidity of the changes seen in global average temperatures seen in the past few decades. This new line of research has the potential to provide fine temporal resolution of past climatic changes possibly demonstrating similar changes to that seen currently which took place without todays putative anthropogenic forcing. It would be fascinating to see this approach used to produce a detailed timeline of the changes of the past two thousand years from many site worldwide, especially for the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods so that they could properly be compared to what is going on today.


Memorandum submitted by Stephen McIntyre (CRU 32) to the Science and Technology Committee, House of Commons, Parliament, UK


1. Reconstructions of temperature over the past 1000 years have been an highly visible part of IPCC presentations to the public. CRU has been extremely influential in IPCC reconstructions through: coauthorship, the use of CRU chronologies, peer review and IPCC participation. To my knowledge, there are no 1000-year reconstructions which are truly "independent" of CRU influence. In my opinion, CRU has manipulated and/or withheld data with an effect on the research record. The manipulation includes (but is not limited to) arbitrary adjustment ("bodging"), cherry picking and deletion of adverse data. The problem is deeply rooted in the sense that some forms of data manipulation and withholding are so embedded that the practitioners and peer reviewers in the specialty seem either to no longer notice or are unoffended by the practices. Specialists have fiercely resisted efforts by outside statisticians questioning these practices - the resistance being evident in the Climategate letters. These letters are rich in detail of individual incidents. My submission today will not comment on these individual incidents (some of which I've commented on already at Climate Audit), but to try to place the incidents into context and show why they matter to the research record. I will not comment in this submission on CRUTEM issues only for space reasons.


2. Together with Ross McKitrick, I have published several peer-reviewed articles on 1000-year reconstructions and reconstructions, made invited presentations to a panel of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, to a subcommittee of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and a Union Session of the American Geophysical Union and have in-depth personal knowledge of CRU proxy reconstructions. I was a reviewer of the IPCC 2007 Assessment Report. I am the "editor" of a prominent climate blog,, which analyzes proxy reconstructions. I am discussed in many Climategate Letters.

Temperature Reconstructions

3. Keith Briffa was Lead Author of the IPCC 2007 section on "recent" paleoclimatology, the Climategate Letters showing that he worked closely with Mann associate, Eugene Wahl (not a listed IPCC expert reviewer). Mann was Lead Author of the corresponding IPCC 2001 section, with the Climategate Letters showing that he worked closely with Briffa and Jones.

4. Jones, Briffa and Osborn were on the editorial boards of multiple climate journals and participated actively both in peer review and the assignment of peer reviewers.

5. CRU scientists (and Climategate correspondent Michael Mann) were coauthors of all three reconstructions in the IPCC 2001 report and coauthors of six (of ten) multiproxy reconstructions in the IPCC 2007 report.

6. CRU tree ring proxies (in particular, Tornetrask, Yamal/Polar Urals, Taymir) were used in all ten IPCC 2007 multiproxy reconstructions.


7. One of the underlying problems in trying to use tree ring width/density chronologies for temperature reconstructions is a decline in 20th century values at many sites - Briffa's 1992 density (MXD) chronology for the influential Tornetrask site is shown at left below. The MXD chronology had a very high correlation to temperature, but went down in the 20th century relative to what it was "expected" to do and relative to the ring width (RW) chronology (which had a lower correlation to temperature.) So Briffa "adjusted" the MXD chronology, by a linear increase to the latter values (middle), thereby reducing the medieval-modern differential. This adjustment was described in private as the "Briffa bodge" (Melvin and Briffa 2008).

8. Although there was no scientific basis for such an arbitrary adjustment, peer reviewers of Briffa et al (1992) did not object. "Bodging" then seems to entered into the CRU toolkit to get reconstructions to "look" right, as evidenced by the Climategate documents containing annotations that the method contains "fudge factors" or "very artificial corrections for decline" (e.g.



2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor

9. Although the bodge was reported in the original article, the bodge was not reported in the numerous multiproxy studies relying on the Tornetrask reconstruction nor in the IPCC reports nor was it considered in calculation of confidence intervals.

Withholding Adverse Data

10. There are many incidents in the Climategate Letters of withholding data. I'll review one incident which, in my opinion, has a direct impact on the research record.

11. Briffa et al. (1995) produced an influential chronology from the Polar Urals site (Figure 2- left), which combated the idea of a widespread Medieval Warm Period, supposedly showing a very cold 11th century in Siberia, with 1032 supposedly being the coldest year of the millennium. Further measurements (Figure 2- right) yielded a chronology in which the 11th century was warmer than the 20th century. Neither CRU nor any other climate scientist ever published this update. The data at right has never been publicly archived and was obtained only through quasi-litigation at Science. (One of the Climategate Letters expresses regret that the data was made available.)

12. The failure to publish this data set has two important adverse results. The inconsistency between different tree ring chronologies is disguised. In addition, the data set was unavailable for third parties interested in producing multiproxy reconstructions.


13. There has been considerable suspicion that CRU cherry-picked the Yamal chronology over the updated Polar Urals chronology or a still unavailable combined chronology attested in Climategate Letter 1146252894.txt.

14. Instead of showing the updated Polar Urals chronology (figure 3-left), Briffa (2000) replaced it without discussion with a chronology from nearby Yamal, one with an extremely pronounced hockey stick shape. This chronology became a mainstay of subsequent multiproxy reconstructions, while the unpublished Polar Urals chronology was ignored. Measurement data for the three Briffa (2000) chronologies - Yamal, Taymir and Tornetrask - was not archived at the international tree ring measurement archive. Briffa resisted requests to archive the measurement data, which was not archived until September 2009 (and then only after Phil Trans B was asked to require its archiving.)

15. Replacement of the Yamal chronology with the Polar Urals chronology alters the ranking of the medieval and modern periods in, for example, the Briffa (2000) composite reconstruction, impacting IPCC assertions in respect to the confidence of their belief in unprecedented modern warmth. As an IPCC reviewer, I requested that this be disclosed. In his capacity as IPCC Lead Author, Briffa refused. In the absence of any explanation of the substitution, there is reason to be concerned about the reasons for using one series rather than the other.

16. The Yamal chronology was very much in the news just before Climategate broke, with questions being asked at Climate Audit about replication and homogeneity, neither of which had been previously addressed in peer reviewed literature.

17. The Climategate Letters (e.g. 878654527.txt) also show evidence that Briffa's concern over non-linear recent growth - a concern that was not disclosed in Briffa (2000).

18. A similar cherry-picking issue arises with the preferential use in multiproxy studies of the Briffa (2000) Tornetrask version in preference to the Grudd (2006) version, which has a medieval period that is relatively "warmer" than the modern period.

19. The above examples show influential CRU site chronologies. However, the number of proxies in a typical IPCC multiproxy reconstruction is sufficiently small that the choice between two versions of a single site chronology can impact the overall reconstruction. For example, Figure 5 compares the published Briffa (2000) reconstruction (left) with a version derived merely by substituting the Polar Urals update for Yamal(right). The medieval-modern differential changes with one seemingly inconsequential change of version.

Figure 5. Briffa (2000) Reconstruction (before fitting to temperature). Left - version from Briffa (2000); right - varying the Tornetrask and Urals versions to newer versions.

The "Trick ... to Hide the Decline"

20. Climate scientists have argued that the term "trick" can denote a clever way "to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field." (Penn State Inquiry). This is incorrect as applied to representations of the Briffa MXD reconstruction.

21. The "trick" arose in the context of pressure on IPCC 2001 authors to present a "nice tidy story" and to avoid a situation where the Briffa reconstruction "diluted the message" (see . Two different variants of the "trick" appear in contemporary graphics.

22. Figure 6 (left) shows the actual Briffa MXD reconstruction (data available for the first time in the Climategate Letters) and (right) the version in IPCC 2001 Fig 2-21 (digitized on right. The IPCC "trick" was not a "clever" mathematical method - it was merely the deletion of inconvenient data after 1960. Post-1960 values were even deleted in the reconstruction archived version at NOAA[1].

23. The deletion of post-1960 values of the Briffa MXD reconstruction gave the IPCC (2001) temperature reconstructions a rhetorical appearance of consistency that did not exist in the underlying data (as shown below)

24. A somewhat different "trick" was used in the World Meteorological Organization 1999 report (shown in Figure 8 below). Jones substituted instrumental temperatures for MXD reconstruction values after 1960, resulting in an entirely false rhetorical impression of the efficacy of tree ring reconstructions. Far from this technique being "legitimate", Mann himself at realclimate[2] had stated precisely the opposite about the splicing of temperatures and reconstructions into a single graft:

No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, "grafted the thermometer record onto" any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum.


25. The Climategate Letters obviously contain many dispiriting examples of poor conduct, including the following.

26. Withholding of data from potential critics:

Jones: We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.[3]

Osborn to Science: I don't have any core measurement data and therefore have none to give out! [4] [Climategate Letters and documents show that CRU had the requested measurement data[5]]

Mann to Osborn: I'm providing these [MBH residuals] for your own personal use, since you're a trusted colleague. So please don't pass this along to others without checking w/ me first. This is the sort of "dirty laundry" one doesn't want to fall into the hands of those who might potentially try to distort things.[6]

27. Use of the peer review process to suppress or delay adverse publications:

If published as is, this paper could really do some damage. It is also an ugly paper to review because it is rather mathematical, with a lot of Box-Jenkins stuff in it. It won't be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically[7]

Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised[8]

I am really sorry but I have to nag about that review - Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting[9]

I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is ! [10]

28. Soft reviews of submissions by close associates. The Climategate documents provide multiple examples of soft reviews of submissions by colleagues Mann[11], Schmidt[12], Santer[13] and Wahl and Ammann[14]. Presumably there are many others. The review of articles in which a reviewer has a personal relationship is a recognized conflict of interest in medical journals. For example, the World Associate of Medical Editors statement[15] says:

a reviewer may have difficulty providing an unbiased review of articles by investigators who have been working colleagues. Similarly, he or she may find it difficult to be unbiased when reviewing the work of competitors

29. The Climategate Letters are replete with examples of unprofessional language, which on occasion rises to defamation:

The important thing is to deny that this has any intellectual credibility whatsoever and, if contacted by any media, to dismiss this for the stunt that it is.[16]

If *others* want to say that their actions represent scientific fraud, intellectual dishonesty, etc. (as I think we all suspect they do), lets let *them* make these charges for us![17]

some cool statement can be made saying we believe the "prats have really fucked up someway" - and that the premature publication of their paper is reprehensible.[18]

I'm saddened to hear that this bozo is bothering you too, in addition to NCAR, NSF, NAS, IPCC and everyone else. Rest assured that I won't ever respond to McIntyre should he ever contact me, but I will forward you any email he sends related to this. I assume Scott feels the same way..

personally, I don't see why you should make any concessions for this moron.[19]

Mr. Fraudit never goes away does he? How often has he been told that we don't have permission? Ho hum. Oh, I heard that fraudit's Santer et al comment got rejected. That'll brighten your day at least a teensy bit?[20]

I noticed that ClimateFraudit had renewed their interest in you. I was thinking about sending an email of sympathy, but I was busy preparing for a quick trip to Hawaii[21]:

I would immediately delete anything you receive from this fraud.[22]

Hi Andy, The McIntyre and McKitrick paper is pure scientific fraud. [23]

I've seen this junk already. Look at the co-authors! DeFrietas, Bob Carter: a couple of frauds.[24]

30. One of the most dispiriting aspects of the Climategate Letters is the evidence of CRU's contribution to the poisoned atmosphere of present climate science. In 2003, CRU criticized us for supposedly not attempting to reconcile differences between our methodology and Mann's methodology. In October 2003, Osborn observed:

The single worst thing about the whole M&M saga is not that they did their study, not that they did things wrong (deliberately or by accident), but that neither they nor the journal took the necessary step of investigating whether the difference between their results and yours could be explained simply by some error or set of errors in their use of the data or in their implementation of your method. [25]

31. Osborn proposed a draft statement, which, had it been accepted by CRU, would probably have prevented much, if not most, of the following controversy:

... we are withholding further comments until we can - by collaboration with M&M if possible - be certain of exactly what changes to data and method were made by M&M, whether these changes can really explain the differences in the results, and eventually which (if any) of these changes can be justified as equally valid (given the various uncertainties that exist) and which are simply errors that invalidate their results.[26]

32. In November 2003, I entered into negotiations with CRU, agreeing to their review of our pending follow-up to our 2003 article, on the condition that CRU agreed to issue a short statement if their review confirmed that we had raised valid concerns:

If you identify any flaws in our document, we will rectify them, and you are at liberty to hold us to public account if we fail to do so....

If you find our document raises valid and meritorious concerns, you will give us a short statement to that effect which we are entitled to publish.

33. In a follow-up email, I re-assured CRU that I did not have the faintest interest in publishing results that were at cross-purposes.

We have entered into discussions about a possible review by UEA/CRU in complete good faith. We do not have the slightest interest in presenting incorrect or defective results or to create debate which is merely at cross-purposes.

34. CRU then refused to carry out the review, choosing to attempt to frustrate us in secret behind the scenes. Jones, as a member of the editorial board of Climatic Change, actively lobbied so that Mann would not be required to disclose source code and supporting data that would have enabled us to reconcile results. Despite his adverse interest, Jones appears (according to a Climategate Letter) to have acted as a reviewer of our 2004 submission to Nature, intervening not to ensure the reconciliation of results proposed by Osborn, but to frustrate any criticism of the Mann reconstruction.


The week that was

In spite of recent revelations, the IPCC express is barreling along. There may be some form of inquiry, but will it be significant? The engineers and conductors are assuring the passengers they will do better next time. Some passengers are leaving, disturbed by issues such as the non-existent melt of the Himalayas, disappearance of the relationship between storm damage and warming, unfounded claims of elimination of fifty percent of rain-based agriculture in Africa and forty percent of the Amazon rainforest.

However the passengers in first class continue to insist that these are minor inconveniences and the main line is solid and clear. They ignore the three great train wrecks ahead – the datasets of NOAA-NCDC, NASA-GISS, and Hadley-CRU.

As stated in the Summary for Policymakers, the claim that it is at least ninety percent probable that humans caused the warming in the last half of the 20th Century is based on several assumptions. One: temperature trends are accurately determined; and two: the natural causes of temperature change are known.

Of course, this methodology requires rigorously maintained measurements of temperature. As discussed in the science editorial below, these datasets are doubtful and before any policy on global warming is adapted, they must be verified. The second requirement of this methodology, complete knowledge of the natural causes of temperature change, will be discussed in next week’s TWTW.

As partially described in the Nature editorial reproduced below and in referenced articles, climate alarmists are claiming they are victims suffering from abuse by skeptics. Certainly ad hominem attacks have no place in science, but many of today’s “victims” had no issue with ad hominem when they were the perpetrators.

This leads to a somewhat amusing incident. On March 3, the web site of Scientific American posted a story on the satellite, Mars Express, fly by of the one of the moons of Mars, Phobos. The story was entitled “Probe flies by ‘alien space station.’” The author claimed that Fred Singer told President Eisenhower that the moon “might be an ancient abandoned spacecraft.” Of course, this was a complete fabrication and to their credit, when informed, the editors took down the posted article with apologizes and a statement it was not done by their staff. However, there was no explanation of who was responsible.

More disturbing news is that the EPA is up to its old tricks of manipulating the court system to expand power at the exclusion of the public, the legislative process, and those most impacted by such expansion of power. According to the AP, EPA announced a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity. The EPA is sued by the friendly special interest group demanding EPA must expand its powers to deal with a perceived, though often spurious harm, and then reaches a settlement which is sanctified by the courts. The EPA will promulgate more regulations, in this instance, considering “ways the states can address rising acidity levels in oceans, which pose a serious threat to shellfish and other marine life.” The claim is that increased atmosphere carbon dioxide is responsible for the rising ocean acidity.

In his book heaven+earth, geologist Ian Plimer points out the science is a sham. The oceans are a base with a pH between 7.9 and 8.2. They have remained that way millions of years even when volcanoes greatly increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere many times beyond what it is today without any change in ocean pH. Even the terminology is scientifically incorrect, since the oceans are alkaline; the issue should be “reducing ocean alkalinity,” not increasing acidity. But reducing alkalinity would not have the same emotional appeal.

Of course, there will be a public hearing process on the rules, but as demonstrated in its endangerment finding, EPA will claim it is required to do so by the courts, and will ignore the science. As long as the courts defer to the EPA for scientific expertise, the public is not safe.

The AP article and a review of the experimental science by Sherwood, Keith, and Craig Idso are referenced below.

On another note, in a past issue TWTW pointed out there no scientific basis for EPA to intensify its regulations on ozone and it is likely that the new regulations will be economically harmful. The public comment period will close on March 22. For further information please see here

Roy Spencer has posted the satellite temperature measurements for February. Due to the El Niño occurring in the Pacific, as with January, February is above the norm. Roy also is applying a new technique to estimate the Urban Heat Island effect. See here.


ClimateGate (CG) and other’Gates’ undermine the credibility of the IPCC and of AGW

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

If I were to submit comments to the British House of Commons panel on Climategate, I would focus on the science:

1. We have yet to discover just how Jones et al managed to produce a substantial surface warming [between 1979 and 1997] when satellites showed practically none in the troposphere -- in conflict with all GH models.

2. I suspect that it had to do both with the SELECTION of weather stations and with the applied CORRECTIONS to the trends

3. Further, I had noticed that the Mann analysis of proxy data [Nature 1998] conveniently stops in 1979. When I questioned him on this matter, I got the very unsatisfactory reply that there were no suitable data available -- suggesting to me that he was hiding such information.

4. Accordingly, one needs to procure and analyze post-1980 proxy data to see if they support CRU (and NCDC and GISS) or the MSU satellite results.

SCIENCE EDITORIAL #8-2010 (March 13, 2010)

IPCC Rainforest eco-tastrophe claim confirmed as bunk

Official UN website still shows it as fact, though

More bad news today for the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as another of its extravangant ecopocalypse predictions, sourced from green campaigners, has been confirmed as bunk by scientists.

The UN body came under attack earlier this year for suggesting that 40 per cent of the Amazonian rainforests - dubbed the "lungs of the planet" by some for their ability to turn CO2 into oxygen, and also seen as vital on biodiversity grounds - might disappear imminently. This disaster would be triggered, according to the IPCC's assessment, by a relatively slight drop in rainfall of the sort to be expected in a warming world.

Unfortunately it now appears that just such conditions have already occurred, and in fact the Amazonian jungles were unaffected.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the baseless IPCC projection originated in a study produced in 2000 by hard-green* ecological campaigning group WWF, which was also implicated in the IPCC's equally invalid prediction that the glaciers of the Himalayas will all have melted within a generation from now.

According to the WWF report (pdf), which was not subject to scientific peer review - it was written by a freelance journalist and published by WWF itself - drying-up of forests will lead to runaway wildfires that will destroy the jungle and perhaps the entire planetary ecosystem. The document is full of terrifying phrases such as "the year the world caught fire". It warns of imminent doom caused by drought cycles:
The world faces a positive feedback cycle in which climate change, exacerbated by forest fires and deforestation, increases the frequency of the El Niño phenomenon, which in turn causes more forest burning.

The world faces warmer more violent weather, and more forest fires ... scientists believe the whole Amazon itself is threatened, with the rainforest being replaced by fire-prone vegetation. This has global consequences ...
It was bad enough that the IPCC included this sort of speculative scaremongering in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. But now it has been conclusively disproven - so much so that even IPCC members pour scorn on it, though they haven't retracted or amended their original endorsement of it.

NASA-funded scientists analysing the past decades of satellite imagery of the Amazon basin say that in fact the rainforests are remarkably resilient to droughts. Even during the hundred-year-peak dry season of 2005 the jungles were basically unaffected.

"We found no big differences in the greenness level of these forests between drought and non-drought years," says Arindam Samanta of Boston university, lead author of the new study based on NASA's MODIS sat data. "Our results certainly do not indicate such extreme sensitivity to reductions in rainfall," adds Sangram Ganguly of the NASA-affiliated Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, another study author.

Even the IPCC itself now regrets listening to WWF.

"The way that the WWF report calculated this 40 per cent was totally wrong," according to IPCC member Jose Marengo, commenting on the new research.

Which might beg the question of why his colleagues referenced the bogus WWF polemic in their 2007 report on what the world can expect: and why they still publish it today on the web as part of their considered opinion.

Samanta, Ganguly and their colleagues also consider that their results debunk another controversial paper published in 2007, which said that the 2005 drought was actually good for the rainforests, causing them to "green up" due to more sunlight from cloudless skies. These results are "not reproducible", according to the new analysis, which indicates that in fact nothing much changed down on the Amazon during the 2005 dry spell.

Samanta, Ganguly et al's paper, Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought, is published in Geophysical Research Letters (subscriber link).


*It's WWF's position, for instance, that economic growth is evil and will destroy the planet. We should actually be praying for a prolonged and massive recession with no recovery afterwards.

The organisation started out as a fairly mainstream outfit intended to protect wildlife, but has nowadays widened its remit into protecting the entire planet from unsuitable human activities. The initials WWF no longer stand for anything in particular.


Americans' Global Warming Concerns Continue to Drop

Multiple indicators show less concern, more feelings that global warming is exaggerated

Gallup's annual update on Americans' attitudes toward the environment shows a public that over the last two years has become less worried about the threat of global warming, less convinced that its effects are already happening, and more likely to believe that scientists themselves are uncertain about its occurrence. In response to one key question, 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997, when Gallup first asked the question.

These results are based on the annual Gallup Social Series Environment poll, conducted March 4-7 of this year. The survey results show that the reversal in Americans' concerns about global warming that began last year has continued in 2010 -- in some cases reverting to the levels recorded when Gallup began tracking global warming measures more than a decade ago.

For example, the percentage of Americans who now say reports of global warming are generally exaggerated is by a significant margin the highest such reading in the 13-year history of asking the question. In 1997, 31% said global warming's effects had been exaggerated; last year, 41% said the same, and this year the number is 48%.

Fewer Americans Think Effects of Global Warming Are Occurring: "In a sharp turnaround from what Gallup found as recently as three years ago, Americans are now almost evenly split in their views of the cause of increases in the Earth's temperature over the last century."

Many global warming activists have used film and photos of melting ice caps and glaciers, and the expanding reach of deserts, to drive home their point that global warming is already having alarming effects on the earth. While these efforts may have borne fruit over much of the 2000s, during the last two years, Americans' convictions about global warming's effects have waned.

A majority of Americans still agree that global warming is real, as 53% say the effects of the problem have already begun or will do so in a few years. That percentage is dwindling, however. The average American is now less convinced than at any time since 1997 that global warming's effects have already begun or will begin shortly.

Meanwhile, 35% say that the effects of global warming either will never happen (19%) or will not happen in their lifetimes (16%). The 19% figure is more than double the number who held this view in 1997.



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


13 March, 2010


All this was inspired by the principle-which is quite true in itself-that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.
-Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X[1]

Currently in the mainstream media there is a constant barrage of repetition concerning the issue of human emissions of carbon dioxide. You cannot open a newspaper or turn on the radio without being told how we must reduce our carbon footprint and do our bit for the environment. Terms such as Man Made Global Warming, Greenhouse Effect and more recently, Climate Change have cast a shadow of gloom over our very existence. A mass global guilt trip has been successfully laid on the ordinary people of the world which makes even the Catholic Church look like part-timers.

It has been said by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the debate is over. That we humans are responsible for a rise in CO2 over the last 150-200 years or more taking levels from 280 ppm (parts per million) up to 385 ppm. It is also claimed that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and causes global warming because it traps heat from the Sun. And that because of our CO2 emissions, the temperature on Earth is set to go on rising until the polar ice caps melt and the sea levels rise, swamping coastal towns and villages and displacing millions of people.

In fact such catastrophic predictions have been so numerous that CO2 levels have been increased by the very act of their verbalisation. Most worrying is the fact that there are currently, very real efforts underway to curb our carbon emissions and force us to pay a premium for the right to emit carbon dioxide based on these claims which, it has to be said, although the debate is apparently over, have yet to be substantiated.

The reason that so many people have accepted that they are to blame, regardless of the fact that these claims remain unsubstantiated, is simple. To be told that you are responsible for harming the very environment on which you depend for life is enough to fill you with the utmost fear, unbearable guilt and sheer terror. Therein lies the problem. When we are in a state of fear or shock or we feel a sense of intense guilt we lose the ability to think properly. Rational and logical thought is shut down to a point where we cease to even question what we are told.

With regard to these claims about human emissions of CO2 I have remained resolutely unconvinced. This has freed my mind of the fear and guilt associated with such claims, currently affecting millions worldwide, and has enabled me to ask a few pertinent questions which I among many others feel need answering in order to establish the truth about such claims.

Not least of all, can these claims be tested? By which I mean that if a claim is made to the effect that CO2 traps heat for instance, can this claim be tested? The answer of course is yes it can.

The purpose of this book then is to address these claims or rather accusations against us with regards our CO2 emissions with a rational, logical, guilt-free and above all, questioning mind.

I have for as long as I can recall been aware that carbon dioxide is a kind of plant food. It is used in commercial greenhouses all over the world to increase yields. If as the IPCC claim CO2 levels are becoming dangerously high because of human emissions, first we must ask, are we obliged to take the IPCC at their word? Second we need to know what current levels are and how do they compare with historical levels. Third and most importantly we must ask what CO2 levels represent a benefit to the environment and how high can levels be before they produce a detrimental effect.

Since the answer to the first question is a resounding NO, then we must also apply this questioning to all the other claims of the IPCC and the anthropogenic global warming lobby, or to put it another way, "Always, without exception, question authority."

So what is all the fuss about CO2 and what does that have to do with us? The accusations are twofold. First, that human CO2 emissions are responsible for a 100 parts per million overall rise globally during the last 200 years. Second that CO2 harms the environment because it traps in heat causing global warming. These are the claims being made against we humans and the purpose of this book is to address these accusations and to clear up any ambiguity.

I shall begin by looking first at CO2 levels and some of the data on which the accusations are based. Then I shall look at CO2 itself and question whether it or any other material or substance for that matter, has the ability to trap heat or cause a "Greenhouse Effect" and thus, "Global Warming".

What are the current levels of CO2 and what is the total human carbon footprint? Strangely, considering the enormity of the implications, there are only two sources of data being considered as the basis for claimed levels of atmospheric CO2 content. Even more telling is that the data being relied on is not in the least supported by the many other available sources of evidence for atmospheric CO2 content such as tree rings, lake sediments, stalagmite formation and chemical gas analysis, all of which have been dismissed as irrelevant by the IPCC.

The first source are samples from ice cores obtained from various glaciers which apparently represent atmospheric gas content for the last 200 years. Ice core samples however, like those who collect them, are not particularly reliable. Ice core data is highly imprecise at best and according to some scientists such as Zbigniew Jaworowski, Ph.D. in his paper: IceCoreSprg97.pdf, at worst, a blatant cherry picking exercise.

Above all, the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old so obtaining any definitive information regarding specific atmospheric CO2 levels over such a miniscule time frame as 200+ years is not only meaningless but unsurprisingly, the subject of much debate. After all CO2 levels have fluctuated up and down by thousands of parts per million for billions of years so obviously we can understand nothing whatsoever by looking at a 200 year period.

Even so, we are expected to be willing to undergo evolutionary reversal based on unreliable, unsubstantiated and highly insignificant data. The only other source of data being relied upon for CO2 levels comes from spectrophotometric measurements at Mauna Loa, a volcano in Hawaii. Mauna Loa is not just any old volcano. It happens to be the largest and one of the most active volcanos in the world. Consequently it will itself, no doubt, be producing large amounts of CO2. Yet we are told that these measurements at Mauna Loa agree with those at other locations.

It is worth mentioning that CO2 measurements have only been collected at this location for a mere 50 years. However from this scant and highly dubious data it is stated that CO2 levels have been steady at 280 parts per million for hundreds of thousands of years but due to human emissions and in particular the industrial revolution, during the last 200 years levels have risen by more than 100 ppm to 385 parts per million.

All the same, lets be generous and give the proponents of anthropogenic global warming the benefit of the doubt. For the moment, lets accept that the figure of a 100 ppm rise in CO2 over the last 200 years is accurate. All that the AGW proponents need do then, is show that we humans are responsible for this increase and that it poses a significant threat. But since no one has ever attempted to record the carbon dioxide usage or production of every plant, animal and natural process involved in the carbon cycle, this cannot even be quantified, let alone proven.

All that is known, is that there are huge exchanges of CO2 between the atmosphere and the surfaces of the oceans, the land, organic matter and the large numbers of organisms. The approximate annual human contribution to the overall atmospheric CO2 content is apparently about 8 billion (some say six billion) tons per year. Humans emit approximately 8 billion tons of CO2 per year.

It sounds like a lot doesn't it? But if we compare that to the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere we can put that figure into perspective. Approximately 8 gigatons is the total human annual output of CO2. It is said that the atmosphere contains an average of about 750 gigatons of CO2 which is roughly 385 ppm. (parts per million) 8 gigatons into 750 gigatons = 93.75 385 ppm ö 93.75 = 4.1066666666666665 ppm.

So assuming these figures are correct, our annual contribution of CO2 to the total average of 385 ppm is at most, a fraction over 4.1 parts per million. 4.1 ppm is the entire annual CARBON FOOTPRINT of the whole of the human race. That means that if all 6.8 billion of us reverted to a state before the discovery of fire we could reduce atmospheric CO2 by a staggering 4.1 ppm per year, out of a claimed total average of 385 ppm.

Let me say that again. Even if all 6.8 billion humans on Earth gave up ALL forms of transportation, ALL forms of industrial activity, ALL forms of energy production and even reverted back to a Stone Age state before the discovery of fire, living in cold damp caves as hunter gatherers and eating raw food, bearing in mind that most of us would die of starvation and/or hypothermia, we could only reduce overall atmospheric CO2 content by about 4.1 parts per million per year against a supposed average background level of 385 ppm.

That is assuming of course that all anthropogenic CO2 ends up in the atmosphere and remains there for a significant length of time. So what does this figure 4.1 ppm really mean? Is 8 billion tons significant or not? It is estimated that each year the surface oceans and the atmosphere exchange 90 billion tons of CO2. Vegetation and the atmosphere, 100 billion tons, marine biota and the surface oceans, 50 billion tons and the surface oceans and the intermediate and deep oceans as much as 40 billion tons of CO2.

It is important to point out that this data is not precisely known and these annual numbers are very rough estimations but they show clearly, just how insignificant the 8 billion tons from human activity each year, really is. The effect of variability in these figures by itself, is enough to swallow without a trace, the so called Anthropogenic contribution to CO2.

To put it another way, our total annual output may be 4.1 ppm, but the estimated annual CO2 exchange rate between the surface oceans, the vegetation and the atmosphere alone, is well over 100 ppm (ignoring the fluctuation of these levels). Considering this figure is estimated and variable, are we to believe that the difference, if corrected up or down to account for that variation, would be less than 3 or 4 ppm per year?

Of course, these estimated numbers ignore completely the many other factors which need to be considered when looking at the effect of Carbon Dioxide and the role it plays in the environment, not least of all the way plants themselves behave in the presence of higher levels of CO2.

It is well known that in an environment which has increased CO2 levels, plant growth is much more vigorous, doubling and even quadrupling crop yields. For instance, in a commercial greenhouse the CO2 level strived for is usually 1200+ ppm. This is known as Threefold Enrichment, three times normal atmospheric levels. These larger plants are then going to cause a negative "feedback loop" on atmospheric CO2 content as their larger size then in turn requires even more CO2. Thus placing further demands on atmospheric levels. This poses the question, if CO2 is increasing for other more credible reasons such as naturally warming oceans for example, what might happen to CO2 levels when this current warming ends but the demand from these larger plants still persists?

During daylight hours plants are using CO2 and producing Oxygen in the process know as photosynthesis. The peak of that usage is when the Sun is at its strongest, at around noon. At night however this process is reversed and instead of using CO2, plants are using Oxygen and producing CO2. During each 24 hour period, as the light from the Sun moves east to west across the Earths surface, CO2 and Oxygen are being used up and reproduced like a giant Mexican wave (in terms of gasses), creating massive variations in CO2 and Oxygen levels.

At the same time that this is happening, great areas of the oceans are also being warmed by the Sun causing the release of yet more CO2. It is clear then that at no point during any 24 hour period do CO2 levels remain constant let alone month to month or year to year. This daily rate of change in terms of parts per million, as said, completely negates the annual 4.1 ppm total human CO2 contribution.

Is it any wonder that this figure of 4.1 ppm is never mentioned in the mainstream media? Who in their right mind would believe that 4.1 ppm per year can affect global CO2 levels which can fluctuate by more than 10-20+ times that in a single day regardless of human activity?

Much more HERE. (PDF. See the original for links, graphics etc. -- and forgive the spelling. I have fixed the spelling in the excerpt above. The author is obviously a scientist rather than a liberal arts graduate)

If only the weather were as predictable as the alarmists

It seems that a group of US warming alarmists have been emailing one another discussing an offensive against those nasty people who question their theory. I was looking at those emails and one of them, apparently from David Schindler says: "I'd add that Edmonton is near snowless and has been shirtsleeve weather for most of 2010 instead of the usual -40C... but of course there are no major media here, so only the locals know!"

Unlike most global warming theory, which is based on models projecting into the future what the theorists think will happen, given the assumptions they make, this claim is easily verified in the here and now. So I did. First, I wondered if the "usual" temperature in Edmonton is -40C, as the author claimed.

According to the BBC the average minimum temperature in Edmonton, for January, is -20 and the average high is -9. For February it is -17 and -6 respectively. The record low is -50, so it appears that -40C is not usual at all, but would be highly unusual. I went to the Canadian Weather Office for more official data. They say the daily average in January, in Edmonton, is -11.7, not -40 as Schindler claimed in his email. For February, the weather office says the average is -8.4. They say the January "extreme minimum" was -44.4, set in 1943 and for February the extreme minimum was -46.1, set in 1939.

The record lows for Edmonton are barely colder than what Schindler claimed is the "usual" weather in Edmonton. The official data shows the "usual" weather is nowhere near -40C, either an a daily average, or as the daily low. Temperatures of -40 are not "usual."

What about Edmonton having "shirtsleeve" weather this year? Since Schindler said this was "for most of 2010" and since he wrote the email on February 27th, it is fair to look at average temperatures for January and February in Edmonton. Obviously there is no objective definition of "shirtsleeve weather," so that is more ambiguous than the now-debunked claim that the usual temperature is -40C. But I sincerely doubt anyone reading this would actually define the weather in Edmonton, this year, as shirtsleeve weather. I would dare Prof. Schindler to spend much time outside, in his shirtsleeves, during even the warmest of the days this year in Edmonton. At best there were a few hours that might qualify as "shirtsleeze" weather. A few hours over 58 days is not "most of 2010."

For the last third of January the temperature never got higher than -5.1C (yes that is negative) and the minimum temperature went down t0 -21.5C. Here is the maximum temperature, per day, for February: 1st, -6.4C; 2nd, -7.4C; 3rd, -4.7C; 4th, -6.6C; 5th, -8.9C; 6th, -6.7C; 7th, -5.9C; 8th, -5.6C; 9th, -2.4C; 1oth, 1.7C; 11th, -1.7C; 12th, -8.6C; 13th, -14.6C; 14th, -6.1C; 15th, 4.8C; 16th, 1C; 17th, 2.3C; 18th, 2; 19th,-2.4C; 20th, -6.3C; 21st, 0.4C; 22nd -5.1C; 23rd, -5.1C; 24th, 4.2C; 25th, 5.5C; 26th, 7.3C; 27th, 0.6. I end with the day of Schindler's email since he was referring to the weather to that date.

Considering that when Schindler made his claim, there had been only 58 days in 2010, it certainly was easy to check how accurate he was. He said that "most of 2010," as of that day, had been shirtsleeve weather. The official data shows the average day to be below freezing. Only a few days crept above freezing and just a handful had highs in the 40s (F). Even defining "shirtsleeve weather" very broadly it is impossible to say that "most of 2010" was "shirtsleeve weather." Mr. Schindler grossly exaggerated the warming.

I have also looked at his other claim, that the "usual" temperature in Edmonton is -40C. I don't know if "usual" is supposed to be the mean temperature or the usual low temperature. Normally I would take his comment as referring to the usual mean temperature. Unfortunately for him, neither would substantiate his claim. The most favorable interpretation would be to say he meant the mean low temperature for those months. But that is still far off the mark since the mean couldn't be that close to the record low. For the record, the mean temperature for Janaury, 2010 in Edmonton was -12; for February it was -8. In addition to exaggerating Edmonton's "warm" weather, Schindler grossly exaggerated it's "usual" cold weather as well. This seems par for the course with the alarmists, hence the designation "alarmist."

Perhaps Mr. Schindler thought he could get away with it because, as he said, "there are no major media here." Unfortunately for him, there is weather data available. Of course, that is before they "adjust" the data with unknown formulas in their climate models. No doubt when they finish that process Edmonton will have had the "warmest" winter in recent memory.

But, doesn't Mr. Schindler's claim—even if it were true—confuse weather with climate? After all, we constantly hear that record colds don't disprove warming theory since the one is weather, and the theory is about climate. Of course, when we have extraordinarily warm days the warming alarmists bleat about it constantly. So apparently the "weather isn't climate" slogan only applies to weather that contradicts their theory, not weather that is alleged to confirm it. As far as I know, all weather, of whatever kind, for however long, is considered proof of warming. I've yet to find out what the alarmists say would falsify their theory.

I also note, with some amusement, that one of the prominent names among the emailers about countering the evil skeptics was Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich is certainly an alarmist, if ever there was one. His history of unsubstantiated looming disasters are well known. And, again par for the course, his solutions were always massive government control of individuals. His first alarmist work was The Population Bomb, which said: "By 1985 enough millions will have died to reduce the earth's population to some acceptable level, like 1.5 billion people." He predicted a massive famine in America with populations plunging to around 2.6 million by 1999. (Yep, still waiting for that one as well.) He predicted the oceans wouldbe destroyed by 1979 and said: "If I were a gambler, I would tekae even money that Engliand will not exist in the year 2000." If anyone deserves the lable "alarmist" it is Ehrlich. I know of no prominent left-wing environmentalist who has been as hysterical, on as broad range of topics as Ehrlich. I should also note that I can't think of anyone in the field of public academia who has been so consistently wrong either.

Given Ehrlich's history of paranoid alarmism I'm not suprised he is now in a warming alarmist. Given his track record, when it comes to being right, I find his presence in the warming camp actually rather assuring.


EPA gets on the ocean acidity bandwagon

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it will consider ways the states can address rising acidity levels in oceans, which pose a serious threat to shellfish and other marine life. The agency's decision was announced in a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity. The environmental group sued the EPA last year for not requiring Washington state to list its coastal waters as impaired by rising acidity under the Clean Water Act. Such a listing would have

"It's one of the most important threats to water quality right now," said Miyoko Sakashita, a senior attorney at the group's San Francisco office. "It's affecting waters around the world, and it's particularly stark in the waters off the West Coast." Oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — a problem Sakashita referred to as "global warming's evil twin."

The changing chemistry of the waters affects many types of sea life, but especially anything that grows a shell or hard covering. Some scientists believe it is likely to blame for die-offs in Northwest oyster stocks over the past several years. "Protection of the nation's water quality, including the health of our ocean waters, is among EPA's highest priorities," the agency said in a statement. "EPA is interested in learning more about how to protect our ocean and coastal waters from acidification."

Previously, states have taken steps to address rising acidity levels in lakes and streams under the Clean Water Act, but this is the first time the EPA has agreed to consider ocean acidity. The Center for Biological Diversity is petitioning each coastal state to address the issue, Sakashita.

In the settlement agreement, the EPA said it would take public comment on the increasing acidity of oceans, on ways states can determine if their coastal waters are affected, and on how states can limit pollutants that cause the problem. Such measures could include regional cap-and-trade systems to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels or requiring industrial plants to reduce their emissions as a condition of any discharge permits granted under the Clean Water Act, Sakashita said.

She compared it to the way the states have used the Clean Water Act in the past to regulate mercury emissions and acid rain. The problem is global, she said, but any steps toward reducing emissions help. "It would be complementary to any other types of climate solutions we have out there," she said.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents hundreds of oil and gas companies, sought unsuccessfully to intervene in the lawsuit. It claimed that its members have refineries in Washington state whose permits under the Clean Water Act to discharge wastewater off Washington's coast could be affected by the lawsuit's outcome.

"API is now reviewing the settlement and looks forward to seeing EPA's notice for comments on the ocean listings issue," spokesman Bill Bush said in an e-mail.


Lord Rees, President of Royal Society criticized for ‘surrender to politically driven Climate Change dogma’

The feeble defence today (BBC Radio4*) of the failed science of Man-made climate change by Lord Martin Rees President of the Royal Society is a “dereliction of his duty to defend the integrity of science and a surrender to the politically driven agenda of the UN which is mounting a ‘Custer’s last stand’ review of IPCC procedures in a desperate bid to save its credibility”, said Piers Corbyn astrophysicist and founder of WeatherAction long range weather and climate forecasters.

Piers further said: “Martin Rees is a great scientist but his support today of failed science over evidence-based factual observations is a betrayal of the scientific method in favour of anti-scientific dogma. One wonders at what point should political expediency ever over-rule evidence-based science?”

“His defence of the refuted** theory of man-made climate change on the grounds that ‘CO2 has been rising recently at an unprecedented rate and very simple physics’ is without foundation.

“Firstly the claim that current rates of rise of CO2 are unprecedented is neither relevant nor justifiable. Recognized published peer-reviewed work shows:

(i) measured data over hundreds, or thousands, or millions of years proves CO2 changes have no nett driving effect on world temperature or climate, indeed the relationship is observed to be the other way around – for example at the end of ice-ages temperature rises drive CO2 rises with a lag of centuries.

This means that current changes of CO2 are also of no consequence. This is demonstrated by world cooling for the last 8 years while CO2 has been rapidly rising.

(ii) ice core data smooths out rapid fluctuations in CO2 levels which occurred in the past and other methods of measuring CO2 in more recent times show rapid changes**.

The claim of unprecedented rises in something of no consequence is scaremongering nonsense.

“Secondly the ‘very simple physics’ he claims to draw on is just too simple and leaves out other pretty simple physics.

The supposed large magnifying effect of water vapour which is a more significant contributor to infra-red absorption and emission than the trace gas CO2 has been widely challenged along with other assumptions of the CO2 centred theory. More fundamentally wherever those considerations lead a number of feedback effects totally negate any impact CO2 changes may have on surface temperatures. For example extra CO2 enhances plant growth and photosynthetic transpiration which is a powerful cooling effect and the more CO2 the more the cooling. So any extra surface warming due to extra CO2 in the atmosphere is negated by extra cooling caused by extra photosynthetic transpiration. Warming also enhances plant growth so if at one point there were insufficient plants to do the cooling and therefore warming occurred that would enhance plant growth and extend the growing season until there are sufficient plants to provide cooling to negate any warming.

“Martin Rees and the IPCC should be prepared to defend their CO2-driven climate change position but they have still failed to produce any observational evidence for their hypothesis and the BBC consistently avoids allowing any air time to Climate Realist scientists who can easily refute the CO2 hypothesis. Nevertheless I am glad Martin Rees did not repeat the banal claims of Professor Corine Le Quere of the University of East Anglia that ‘There is no other explanation for it (= recent(?) Climate change)’. Perhaps he realizes that our WeatherAction verification of predicted chains of events leading from solar activity to extreme weather events is evidence that the Sun causes ‘it’.



Why won't more politicians talk about Climategate?

Americans honor the courageous informant, the gutsy citizen who stands against the savagery of the profit-mongering conglomerate. Well, sometimes. It appears, believe it or not, that there are those who aren't religiously tethered to this sacred obligation.

For now—because of revelations of the ClimateGate scandal, in which hacked e-mails revealed discussions among top climate scientists about the manipulation of evidence—Phil Jones, head of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit in Britain, has stepped down from his position. Michael Mann, architect of the famous "hockey stick" graph, is now under investigation by Pennsylvania State University. Similar inquiries should follow.

Yet Barbara Boxer, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is off hunting bigger game. "You call it 'ClimateGate'; I call it 'E-mail-theft-gate,'" Boxer clarified during a committee shindig. "We may well have a hearing on this; we may not. We may have a briefing for senators; we may not." Boxer, as steady as they come, went on to put the focus where it belongs: on hackers. She warned: "Part of our looking at this will be looking at a criminal activity which could have well been coordinated. ... This is a crime."

If this hacker(s) is unearthed on U.S. soil (or anywhere in the Middle East, actually), Boxer can jettison the guilty party to Gitmo for some well-deserved sleep deprivation. But surely there is time for some sort of investigation? This is, after all, the senator who ran a vital committee hearing in 2008 so that an Environmental Protection Agency whistle-blower, who accused the Bush administration of failing to address greenhouse gas emissions appropriately, could have his say. Boxer's rigid devotion to rule of law is also admirable. But this is the senator who championed the Military Whistleblower Protection Act and fought for whistle-blowing rights for defense contractor employees (to ferret out bureaucratic waste) and for nurses (to protect patients' rights).

All of which sound like sensible protections for the truth-seeking citizen. Because taxpayers matter.

So take Kevin Trenberth, who was caught claiming it was a "travesty" that climate scientists could not "account for the lack of warming at the moment"—though such anxiety never slowed him from weaving unnerving tales of calamity. Trenberth runs the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., which obtains 95 percent of its funding from taxpayers.

Take the taxpayer-funded EPA, which was handed the incredible power to arbitrarily (and without Congress) regulate all carbon dioxide, through the Clean Air Act, in part because of the science in question.

Take NASA, which—despite a 2-year-old Freedom of Information Act request asking for research detailing its historical data—continues to ignore taxpayers. Are these state secrets?

Surely this insularity is one reason 59 percent of Americans, according to a new Rasmussen poll, believe it is "somewhat likely" that some scientists falsified research data to support their own global warming theories. (Thirty-five percent of Americans believe it's "very likely.")

Fortunately, President Barack Obama has an unwavering admiration of truth tellers, asserting during his campaign that their "acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled."

Well, we don't need acts of courage and patriotism. Not yet. Just start with a committee hearing, and work your way up. Because the real crime here would be to continue to irresponsibly pass more experimental legislation that fundamentally undermines our affluent economy and free society on the word of those whom we might not be able to trust.


Will smart meters mean smart coercion?

Dallas residents have been up in arms over the new "smart meters" installed in their backyards. Digital smart meters, which can monitor electric, natural gas, and water usage, allow utility companies to remotely read usage levels and control the delivery of services. Many claim their monthly electric bills have spiked to outrageous levels since being installed. Some have held meetings, set up websites and blogs, started petitions and confronted installers, refusing to allow them to switch out the meters at their homes.

This isn't anti-technology Luddism, this is legitimate concern. Wired recently ran an article, "Security Pros Question Deployment of Smart Meters," which is concerned with the fact that the whole "smart grid" is being deployed nationwide before security guidelines have even been developed. "The most common vulnerability," says the article, is "cross-site request forgery" in which a hacker can hijack an authentication cookie stored in a user’s browser and obtain access to the system as that user. Encryption schemes, it seems, are lagging behind advances in encryption cracking. Add to that the fact that smart meters have a remote shut-off capability and you can see the potential for mayhem.

But libertarians see much greater potential for misuse and abuse. Already, enviro-manipulators are counting the days until everyone's energy usage – electricity, gas, water – can be monitored and posted on a public website where every neighbor can monitor everyone else's usage.

An article in Grist, "Smart meters save energy, water, and dollars," describes a pilot program in which smart water meters take hourly readings and participants can check each other's consumption on a social networking site. Then the author adds, "Nothing like a little peer pressure to get you to turn off the tap."

Yes, imagine your nosy neighbor seeing the spike in your water usage chart whenever you water your plants, make ice cubes, or flush your commode when you get up to pee at two AM every night. Why not just hand them binoculars?

But given the history of ever-escalating government intrusion into our private lives, libertarians warn it won't be long before that "peer pressure" evolves into "mandatory compliance." We can all look forward to visits from the Energy Compliance Cops knocking on our doors with warnings and fines and subpoenas and arrest warrants and, inevitably, SWAT cops with battering rams and deadly weapons. That's not paranoia, that's tomorrow's reality. Ask any peaceful pot smoker.



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


12 March, 2010

Obama facing opposition to his attempt to impose Warmist regulations

With the "science" of global warming collapsing like a house of cards, the Copenhagen "climate change" conference accomplishing absolutely nothing and a massive energy tax hike going nowhere in the U.S. Senate, President Barack Obama is now faced with a conundrum. He can either read the handwriting on the wall, or seek to accomplish through regulation what he couldn't accomplish through legislation: the handover of U.S. environmental policy to radical environmentalists.

Does any of this sound familiar?

This is frankly the same dynamic we are witnessing in the health care debate. There, Obama says he will use procedural loopholes to ram his version of a socialized medicine proposal through the U.S. Congress against the expressed will of the American people.

Once again, it appears that Obama simply cannot comprehend the meaning of a word understood by literally millions of toddlers: "No."

As he seeks to push his health care proposals on the one hand, Obama will no doubt attempt to frame the debate along partisan lines. On the energy front, it won't be so easy.

That's because West Virginia Senator John D. Rockefeller – who is among the President's staunchest allies in the U.S. Senate – is standing up to Obama and the radical environmentalists' power grab. Rockefeller has recently introduced legislation that would place a two-year moratorium on the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants and other stationary emitters, which is precisely the regulatory authority Obama is threatening to use if Congress doesn't pass his "cap and trade" bill this year.

In unveiling his legislation, Rockefeller noted that his primary objective was to "safeguard jobs," but he bluntly reminded Obama that it was "Congress, not the EPA" which bears responsibility for setting the nation's energy policy. Additionally, three other Democratic Senators recently joined Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski in supporting a resolution that would overturn the EPA's "scientific" finding of fact regarding greenhouse gases – a finding that forms the basis of Obama's promised regulatory push.

Whether it's through regulation or legislation, though, the bottom line is that Obama is seeking to dramatically raise energy prices on American consumers. In fact, documents obtained from his own Treasury Department show that the so-called "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act" (a.k.a. "cap and trade") could drain as much as $200 billion from U.S. taxpayers, or $1,700 per family.

Other estimates place the per-family costs as high as $3,100 a year.

Clearly, that sort of tax hike isn't something the American taxpayers can afford in any economic environment – let alone this one – even if the legislation were to accomplish its stated objectives of reducing global carbon emissions.

But that's another fundamental problem.

Neither "cap and trade" nor excessive EPA regulation will do anything to stop countries like China from building dozens of new "dirty" coal plants over the next decade – and perhaps beyond. And frankly, neither will the $50 billion a year that Obama is seeking to steer into a United Nations "climate change fund" for developing nations – part of an international shakedown which columnist Charles Krauthammer has correctly dubbed "wealth redistribution via global socialism."

Speaking of China (and enviro-scams), it's also worth noting that America's new "bailout banker" is one of several countries benefiting from billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that were supposed to create "green jobs" here in America – yet another example of the true face of eco-socialism.

Fortunately, Sen. Rockefeller and others like him are standing up for American jobs by refusing to let Obama hand the reins of the EPA over to the same environmental kooks who recently ran the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change into the ground.

Perhaps these courageous Democrats can finally teach the President the meaning of the word "No," although from the looks of it voters may have to do that for themselves in 2012.


2010: The year global warming froze Florida

Floridians have suffered through the coldest winter in almost 30 years. In some parts of South Florida, it’s been colder than anytime in the last 83 years. So many records were smashed that if they were stacked, they would rival the thickness of Al Gore’s investment portfolio. In fact, Gore’s claims that global warming will produce dramatic and cataclysmic warming appear to be melting faster than any glacier.

Gore is hardly alone in his poor forecasting record. Ten years ago, David Viner from the University of East Anglia said “Snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event.” “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Reality check: On February 13th, 49 of 50 states had snow on the ground.

Here are more cold hard facts from Frozen Florida: Miami Beach had its coldest January-February since record-keeping began in1927. It was the second-coldest at West Palm Beach since records were started in 1888. Naples had its 3rd coldest January-February since records began in 1942. Only in the winters of 1940, 1958, 1977 and 1981 did the January-February average temperature approach the bone chilling cold of 2010.

People took desperate measures to stay warm. Families used space heaters to fight off the cold. Many were not experienced at using portable heating devices and fires broke out in some homes. Several people had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning from using charcoal grills inside their homes. On one of the coldest mornings, the power demand was so great that 35,000 customers lost power.

The first 13 days of 2010 were cold across all of Florida. During this period, temperatures at West Palm Beach ranged between 43 and 32 degrees with an average of 39. The average temperature is 56 degrees. On nine of those mornings the low was in the 30s. A friend of mine who lives in West Palm Beach told me his car thermometer actually read 27 degrees on the morning of the 10th. Amazingly on the 10th the high temperature at Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and Naples were all at or below 50 degrees.

At West Palm Beach, the average temperature from January 2nd to the 13th was 49.9 degrees. That made it the coldest 12-day period since records began in 1888 beating out January 16th to the 27th 1977 by a full degree. On the morning of January 7th the low temperature fell to 37 degrees at Palm Beach International Airport. That broke the record of 38 set in 1903.

The agricultural losses have been enormous, with estimate crop losses of $500 million. The agricultural areas of Glades, Hendry, Collier counties had up to 7 days of below-freezing temperatures. Citrus trees were damaged as temperatures in the orange groves fell below the critical 28 degrees for more than four hours. Some 100,000 tropical fish being raised on a fish farm froze to death costing the farmer an estimated $535,000. The Miami Metro Zoo closed its doors for the first time in 30 years due to the record cold. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Iguanas were falling from trees and some were dying as a result of temperatures falling below 40 degrees.

The record cold weather is continuing into March. Low temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s continued into the first weekend. The El Niño winds over Florida will continue well into March which means the state could have more record cold later this month.

Ask anyone in South Florida what they think of global warming. They’ll probably tell you “my lips are too numb to talk!”


Apologists for Global Warming Alarmists Respond to Climategate

Apparently the U.S. National Academies of Science is preparing to push back against the damage that has been done to the cause of global warming alarmism and The New York Times is prepared to weigh in with “news” that boosts the sullied reputation of alarmists.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has obtained copies of the emails documenting this new strategy and they are posted at It’s very evident from the messages that this strategy is animated more by a political agenda than it is by a detached approach to science.

“The response of these alarmist scientists to the Climategate scientific fraud scandal has little to do with their responsibilities as scientists and everything to do with saving their political position,” Myron Ebell Director of Energy and Global Warming Policy at CEI said in a press release. “The e-mails reveal a group of scientists plotting a political strategy to minimize the effects of climategate in the public debate on global warming.”

As TimesCheck has previously reported, The Times finally acknowledged the “climategate” scandal in a front page piece that does not exactly vindicate global warming skeptics. As Ebell points out in a piece he wrote for, the reporter, John Broder, is quite sympathetic toward the alarmist position.

“Broder’s analysis follows the party line that has been worked out among the leading alarmist climate scientists since the scandal broke on November 19, 2009,” Ebell observes. “And Broder makes no effort to conceal where his sympathies lie. He writes: “But serious damage has already been done,” and then discusses polling data that shows increasing public disbelief in the global warming crisis. From my perspective, that’s serious good that has been done, not damage, but then I’m not an unbiased, objective Times reporter.”

The other problem here highlighted in Ebell’s piece is the promotion of alarmist talking points that substitutes for straight reporting.

“The battle is asymmetric, in the sense that scientists feel compelled to support their findings with careful observation and replicable analysis, while their critics are free to make sweeping statements condemning their work as fraudulent,” Broder tells readers.

But as climategate demonstrates, there has been very little in the way of careful, methodical observation. As it turns out, many of the scientists have declined to share their data and methods in an effort to conceal evidence of data manipulation and distortion.

Former Vice-President Al Gore has already written an op-ed in the New York Times explaining away the climategate scandal and advancing alarmist claims. Readers can expect some of these talking points to find their way onto the news pages.


Global Warming Alarmism is a Grave Threat to our Liberty

Speech by Václav Klaus, 2010 Club for Growth Economic Winter Conference, Palm Beach, Florida, March 5, 2010. Václav Klaus is President of the Czech Republic

Thank you for giving me the chance to address this distinguished audience and for asking me to speak on one of the issues I consider absolutely crucial. I am convinced that the ideology of environmentalism, particularly its extreme variant, the global warming alarmism, and its widespread acceptance by politicians, journalists and all kinds of leftist intellectuals is the main threat to freedom and prosperity we are facing today.

I feel very strongly about this issue and keep warning against it by writing and speaking – in my own country, the Czech Republic, in Europe, in America and elsewhere. My last speech devoted to this topic was in Cairo, Egypt, less than a month ago. Three years ago, I put my arguments into a book with the title “Blue Planet in Green Shackles”, which is now available in 15 languages, including English but also for example Arabic or Japanese. My experience tells me that making speeches, lecturing, writing articles and books, giving interviews and participating in media discussions is helpful but not sufficient. These efforts have to be supplemented by political activity and if I understand the ambitions of the Club of Growth and of this conference correctly it is an attempt in this direction. That is most commendable. This is the reason why I accepted the invitation to come all the way from Prague to Palm Beach. An additional positive effect is that the temperature here is much warmer than in Prague just now. You are “locally” warmed and I will confirm back in Prague that you survive such a dangerously warm climate without major inconveniencies.

To criticize environmentalism is for me not a new, suddenly discovered, fashionable or trendy activity. At the beginning of the 1970s I came across the first publications of the infamous Club of Rome, which tried to scare us by predicting an imminent exhaustion of natural resources and by asking for a radical change in our behavior. Its supporters had been arguing already then very dramatically that we should reduce our consumption of fossil fuels but – and we should not forget it – for different reasons than now. As an economist, I knew it was a wrong argumentation and the subsequent four decades proved it quite convincingly. Today, we have more proven deposits of basic raw materials and energy resources than 40 years ago. I felt already then that this was an arrogant, elitist and dirigistic doctrine attempting to stop economic growth, the overall social development and human progress.

At that time, I myself lived under a very oppressive, destructive and totally irrational, and therefore unproductive, communist regime and was not able to participate in the worldwide polemics with these views. People like me were not allowed to travel to the West, or even to dream about having a chance to publish articles or make speeches abroad. Yet, I was very frustrated and could not understand how it was possible that such an irrational doctrine was not easily and convincingly refuted and rejected in the free western world.

In 1989, communism collapsed and we were finally free. To my great surprise, the environmentalist doctrine was still alive and even flourishing in its new incarnation called global warming doctrine. In 1992, the Rio Earth Summit endorsed the doctrine of global warming and climate change as a leading ideology of our times. I expected that the ideology of the free world would be based on freedom, parliamentary democracy and market economy – concepts that were absolutely crucial for us in the former communist countries in the moment of our radical and revolutionary transition from communism to free society. Life under communism made us extremely sensitive, if not oversensitive to all possible symptoms of violation and erosion of our freedom. That is the reason why I feel endangered now. The subtitle of the above mentioned book asks “What is endangered: Climate or Freedom?” My answer is resolute: climate is ok, what is under threat is freedom.

The reason is that environmentalism and its most extreme version, global warming alarmism, asks for an almost unprecedented expansion of government intrusion and intervention into our lives and of government control over us. We are forced to accept rules about how to live, what to do, how to behave, what to consume, what to eat, how to travel and many other things. Some of us had experienced similar examples of such manipulation with ourselves in the communist era and feel obliged to do everything we can to avoid similar developments in the future.

It is, however, not only about freedom. Environmentalism also wants to suppress economic growth, reduce prosperity and hinder human progress. When I was recently in Egypt on the occasion of the launching of the Arabic version of my book, it became obvious to me that the people there care more about the continuation of their economic development than about freedom as we understand it. Some of us know that freedom and prosperity cannot be separated but it is evident that environmentalism – as the recent Copenhagen conference demonstrated – wants to impair prosperity and stop human progress especially in the developing world. And that is unacceptable.

The environmentalists ask for substantial reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. When it happens – with our current technologies – it will substantially increase the costs of energy for everyone because it would imply restrictions on the use of oil and coal, which are no doubt much cheaper than all alternative energy sources. Cheap energy is the source of much of our life-style and our prosperity. When energy prices go up, the costs of nearly all other goods and services go up as well. All carbon taxes, cap-and-trade schemes and wind and solar power subsidies are steps in the wrong direction, leading to a severe and protracted economic hardship for little or no benefit.

My lifelong experience tells me that I have to start protesting very loudly when someone tells me: “Don’t trust the market, trust me and us.” This is what I had been hearing for 40 years of my life under communism and I am not ready to accept it now. The belief in the possibility of controlling the Earth’s climate by reducing the anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, I call it the theory of climate control, is as irrational, arrogant and pretentious as the communist planning that people like me were objects of for so many years.

As I said, politicians bought into this doctrine at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, fell in love with it and started organizing a whole set of economically damaging and freedom endangering measures. They came to the conclusion that playing the global warming game is an easy, politically correct and from the point of potential election gains very profitable card to play (especially when it is obvious that they themselves will not carry the costs of the measures they are implementing and will not be responsible for their consequences).

There are plenty of arguments suggesting that the real threat for human society is not global warming itself. The real threat comes when politicians start manipulating the climate and all of us.

In my views, I am not being influenced by the recent scandals connected with the work of the IPCC and some of its leading exponents. All of that has been known for years to everyone who was interested. The same is true about all the relevant arguments used in today’s debate. They are available and it is difficult to add anything fundamentally new to them. It is necessary to keep stressing several basic facts and arguments that are well-known, but unfortunately largely ignored.

First, the statistically well-documented increase in global temperature has been until now very small and not bigger than the temperature fluctuations in the last centuries and millennia. Throughout the whole 20th century, with all the problematic data collection and adjustments – it was only 0.74 °C. I am surprised again and again that – because of the power of the environmentalist propaganda – people suppose it was much more.

Second, it is undisputed that there has been no statistically significant net global warming in the last twelve to fourteen years. I know that this is not a proof of the impossibility of long-term climate changes but it is a relevant piece of information which should not be ignored or downplayed. New data and new theories are emerging every day and some of them suggest the probability of future cooling, not warming.

Third, the scientific dispute about the causes of the undergoing climate changes is not over, it continues. Despite contrary assertions, there is no scientific consensus about it. What is more and more evident is that CO2 is losing the position of the main culprit and that its potential impact has already been more or less “consumed.” Simple, monocasual theory of functional relationship between CO2 and temperature is evidently untenable. There is absolutely no linearity between CO2 emissions and temperature.

Fourth, the idea of a static, unchanging climate is, no doubt, foreign to the history of the Earth. The climate has always been changing and will always be.

I am convinced that the impact of the small climate changes we have experienced (and may experience in the foreseeable future) upon human beings and all kinds of their activities is – because of their size – practically negligible. In its model simulations, the IPCC suggests that – because of higher temperatures – the world GDP in the year 2100 will be 2.9% lower than without any warming. I repeat, only 2.9% if we do nothing and let the warming – predicted by the IPCC – continue. The same models suggest that the GDP per capita in the developed countries will be eight times higher than now and in the developing countries about five times higher than that of the developed world today.

These figures are not mine, these are the figures of the leading exponents of the global warming doctrine. The question must be therefore raised: should we drastically limit CO2 emissions today by 20, 30, 50, or 80% and, thereby, abandon our way of life for the sake of such a small effect considering that the future generations will be far better off than we are today? My answer is that 2.9% of the future GDP is a minor loss. A loss generated by a completely useless fight against global warming, planned by the contemporary global warming alarmists, would be far greater.

Politicians, their bureaucrats as well as many well-meaning individuals who accept the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change probably hope that – by doing so – they are displaying intelligence, virtue and altruism. Some of them even believe they are saving the Earth. We should tell them that they are merely passive players in the hands of lobbyists, of producers of green technologies, of agrobusiness firms producing ethanol, of trading firms dealing in carbon emission rights, etc., who hope to make billions at our costs. There is no altruism there. It is a political and business cold-hearted calculation.

Before concluding, I have to repeat my question: “What is endangered?” My answer is: “our freedom, and our prosperity.” *

One last comment. I very often see that people confuse two different things – a necessary protection of the environment (necessary because there is no doubt that we have to take care of the rivers, lakes, seas, forests and air) and an irrational attempt to fight or to protect the climate. I am very much in favor of rational efforts when it comes to environmental protection, but I resolutely reject any attempts to change or – as I frequently hear – to combat climate.


Pimping solar power

There’s no question that alternative and renewable fuels and energy sources are the way to go – if they’re feasible. Solar, wind, geo-thermal and others all promise clean and renewable energy for our future. But one of the more irritating things concerning some of those energy sources are the claims that they’re technologically ready for prime time. Geo-thermal being the exception (but a very minor source), wind and solar aren’t at all where they need to be to provide for the energy needs of the world. That doesn’t stop the usual suspects from implying they are.

One of the recent stories that helped blunt those sorts of assertions was that of Spain’s attempt to go green. The result was a loss of jobs and heavy subsidies for the solar power industry. Well apparently it is time to resurrect Spain and the solar industry and the New York Times obliges:
Although Spain’s long-term goal had been to produce 400 megawatts of electricity from solar panels by 2010, it reached that milestone by the end of 2007.

In 2008 the nation connected 2.5 gigawatts of solar power into its grid, more than quintupling its previous capacity and making it second to Germany, the world leader. But many of the hastily opened plants offered no hope of being cost-competitive with conventional power, being poorly designed or located where sunshine was inadequate, for example.
That’s wonderful, but in 2009, Spain’s power demand declined by 4.3% to 251,305 GWh. So while solar is a least contributing, it’s not contributing much. And there are still serious and obvious problems with solar power. The example used comes from Florida:
Across 500 acres north of West Palm Beach, the FPL Group utility is assembling a life-size Erector Set of 190,000 shimmering mirrors and thousands of steel pylons that stretch as far as the eye can see. When it is completed by the end of the year, this vast project will be the world’s second-largest solar plant.

But that is not its real novelty. The solar array is being grafted onto the back of the nation’s largest fossil-fuel power plant, fired by natural gas. It is an experiment in whether conventional power generation can be married with renewable power in a way that lowers costs and spares the environment.
The fact that they’re experimenting with solar is a good thing. It needs a lot of that. However the fact that this covers 500 acres of land is notable. 500 acres. It is the world’s 2nd largest solar array. And its contribution? At its peak, it will produce 75 megawatts of power. That’s about enough to power 11,000 homes.

Sitting right next too it is a natural gas fired power plant. In fact, that’s the plant on which these panels are grafted. It covers far fewer acres than does the solar array and it produces 3,800 MW of power – enough to power 557,333 homes.

The difference couldn’t be more obvious. Solar is much too inefficient in terms of power provided/land use to be practical as a stand alone source. To produce the same power the gas fired plant does would require an array that covers over 25,000 acres.

And there are other drawbacks as well.
This project is among a handful of innovative hybrid designs meant to use the sun’s power as an adjunct to coal or gas in producing electricity. While other solar projects already use small gas-fired turbines to provide backup power for cloudy days or at night, this is the first time that a conventional plant is being retrofitted with the latest solar technology on such an industrial scale.

The project’s advantages are obvious: electricity generated from the sun will allow FPL to cut natural gas use and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It will provide extra power when it is most needed: when the summer sun is shining, Floridians are cranking up their air-conditioning and electricity demand is at its highest.

The plant also serves as a real-life test on how to reduce the cost of solar power, which remains much more expensive than most other forms of electrical generation. FPL Group, the parent company of Florida Power and Light, expects to cut costs by about 20 percent compared with a stand-alone solar facility, since it does not have to build a new steam turbine or new high-power transmission lines.

“We’d love to tell you that solar power is as economic as fossil fuels, but the reality is that it is not,” Lewis Hay III, FPL’s chairman and chief executive, said on a recent tour of the plant. “We have got to figure out ways to get costs down. As we saw with wind power, a lot has to do with scale.”
In other words, solar has a place as an add on, an adjunct, a gap filler for peak times (if it is sunny), but as a stand alone, the technology is not ready for prime time. As noted most stand-alone solar arrays have small gas-fired turbines to provide backup for cloudy days an night. And those backups are used – a lot.

It also requires heavy government subsidy since the cost of producing solar power is so high (inefficiency due to technology and its limitations on cloudy days and obviously, at night).

The whole point of this is to get real about the alternatives and understand that while everyone would love to see them come into their own as dependable sources of energy that can replace dirtier sources, the technology doesn’t yet exist. Until it does, I’m not at all ready to trade the eye-pollution of acres and acres of solar panels for a few megawatts of power – not when we’re the largest producer of natural gas (the cleanest burning fossil fuel we have) in the world.

When solar is ready (and that means dependable and steady power on the minimum of land) I’m ready to see it deployed. But until then, if it’s going to be pimped, it would be nice if those pimping it would include the good, the bad and the ugly when they talk about it. Of course if they did that, it wouldn’t be pimping, would it?


Crazy California's war on electricity

In many countries, electric utilities struggle to keep up with demand, and often fail. The World Bank estimates that almost 1.5 billion men, women, and children lack reliable access to electricity. They want it, but they can't have it. In new-agey ??California, it's the other way around. The centerpiece of California's energy policy is really the absence of energy.

If that sounds crazy -- and it is! -- consider this impressive web of regulation that the government has spun: Elected officials enacted a moratorium on new nuclear power plants. New coal plants are illegal. Large scale hydropower is unthinkable for California's environmentally sensitive voters, because it harms fish. Natural gas plants emit half as much carbon as coal plants, but they are banned in much of California because they cannot get air quality permits for particulate emissions.

In 2006, the State Water Resources Control Board ruled that 19 coastal natural gas power plants were in violation of the Clean Water Act for using a process called "once-through cooling," by which ocean water is pumped into a power plant in order to condense steam into water to be reused. This can harm aquatic wildlife, so, at the behest of environmentalist groups, the SWRCB ordered coastal power plants to make costly refurbishments. According to the Energy Commission, "[I]t is likely that plant operators will choose retirement in the face of costly retrofits."

California doesn't have generation capacity to spare, so it will have to replace these plants, most of which are located in the southern part of the state. But the south California air basin is out of compliance with air quality standards for particulate emissions. It is well nigh impossible for utilities to obtain an air quality permit for a natural gas plant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Existing nuclear power is also under attack. In 2006, the legislature passed a bill requiring the Energy Commission to assess the nuclear plants' vulnerability to earthquakes. In fact, the legislation was designed to stack the deck against nuclear when these plants come up for relicensing. It is unlikely that California utilities can meet demand for electricity without these 21 power plants. Yet California's elected officials, in Sacramento and elsewhere, seem to think that conventional energy is unnecessary as long as the Golden State aggressively pursues conservation and renewable energy.

That's the theory anyway. However, the state's pro-green, anti-energy policies make it difficult even for the generation of alternative energy.

California is the country's leading dairy state, and the Energy Commission has identified methane emitted by cows as a major source of renewable energy. But it is impossible to make use of this "bio-methane" from California's dairy farms because air quality agencies refuse to permit a generating facility. The state's deserts are obvious locations for generating solar power. Yet California Senator Dianne Feinstein is trying to block the construction of solar power plants in the Mojave in order to protect a species of turtle.

California's mountain ranges are ideal for wind power. For many environmentalists, however, wind turbines are unacceptable, because the giant, rotating blades kill things that fly. The New York Times recently quoted a California wind power developer saying, "Regulators are concerned about birds; now they're concerned about bats..." Next they'll be concerned about taxpayers.

Just kidding on that last point. Renewable energies are far more expensive than burning fossil fuels but that's only a start. To meet the state's current renewable energy targets (20 percent of the state's electricity was supposed to come from renewable energy sources by this year), the Public Utilities Commission reports that California utilities would have to build seven transmission lines, at a cost of $12 billion, to move electricity generated by renewables in remote regions to the urban centers where the electricity is consumed.

However, there could be a catch. Transmission lines are almost impossible to build in California due to the onerous permitting process designed to mitigate environmental impact.

No problem! said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. When it became clear that the state couldn't meet its 2010 goals, he simply moved the goalposts. He signed an executive order that increased the unworkable renewable energy targets and postponed them -- by a decade.

California's story should be a cautionary tale of how not to manage energy policy. Instead, it is touted by politicians and all too often swallowed hook, line, and sinker by gullible journalists....



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


11 March, 2010

An amusing email from a Warmist

The following scornful email was sent to Benny Peiser by retired palaeoclimatologist William Ruddiman []. I append to it Benny Peiser's reply. The thing that strikes one about the email is that he quite correctly notes a slight long term warming trend since the little ice age but fails to address the two principal points at issue: Whether or not mankind is the cause of the observed warming and whether the warming is great enough to be cause for alarm. The fact that the graphs of temperature change that you normally see are scaled in tenths of one degree probably tells you all you need to know about the latter question

Ruddiman is however an outlier among Warmists. He claims that the invention of farming 8,000 years ago caused global warming! Back to the jungles!

I am sorry to see your stream of posts about 'global cooling' coming to an end, no doubt because of the inconvenient rebound of global temperature in 2009. I had really been enjoying watching your global-coolers embarrass themselves. To mainstream scientists like me, the reasoning behind their arguments fall far below that of the average 7-year-old. If your readers doubt this, ask them to find the nearest available 7-year-old, show him or her a plot of global temperature for the last 100-150 years, and ask 6 questions:

1. Did the overall temperature trend in the last 125 years go down or up?
2. Were there times when the upward trend leveled out or went down?
3. Afterward, did temperatures warm to levels even higher than before?
4. Do the last 5 or so years show a small cooling trend?
5. Does this recent cooling trend differ in any obvious way from the earlier ones?
6. Do you think the upward warming trend is likely to resume in the future? (see below)

The answers to the first 5 questions are obvious: up, yes, yes, yes, and no. So question 6 is the key. It requires the child to look at the record of past temperature changes, think about the lessons learned (a tiny bit!, but more than your global coolers), and draw a simple conclusion.

So-- how did your nearest available 7-year-old respond? I doubt that he/she would find the recent cooling different in any obvious way from the range of several previous ones. If so, this 7-year-old judged that the long-term warming trend will resume and will likely reach even higher levels (as it seems to have begun to do in 2009). And if so, your nearest available child understands natural climatic variability far better than you.

Benny Peiser replies:

One of the problems with true believers is that they tend to misrepresent the actual position one takes. My own stance is well known and has been reported repeatedly on CCNet and other media outlets: "It is quite possible that global temperatures might start rising again in the foreseeable future. Admittedly, no one knows exactly if and when this will happen – and if, whether the renewed warming trend will be pronounced, moderate or insignificant. In all likelihood, we will not know for the next twenty or thirty years who will be right or wrong - the climate sceptics or the alarmists. Nevertheless, as long as the global warming standstill continues, more or less, and as long as the political deadlock between the West and the rest of the world lingers, international climate politics will remain firmly on ice."

Global warming benefits outweigh harms

Without the greenhouse effect to keep our world warm, the planet would have an average temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius. Because we do have it, the temperature is a comfortable plus 15 degrees Celsius.

Other inconvenient facts ignored by the activists: Carbon dioxide is a non-polluting gas that is essential for plant photosynthesis. Higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere produce bigger crop harvests and larger and healthier forests--results environmentalists used to like.

There are legitimate reasons to restrict emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere. Recycling makes sense and protecting the environment is good for everyone. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking we can change the temperature of the Earth by doing these things.

The Missing Effects of Global Warming

For the past decade, according to highly accurate measurements taken from satellites, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric CO2 has continued to accumulate—up about 4 percent in the past 10 years—the global mean temperature has remained flat. That should raise obvious questions about CO2 being the cause of climate change.Orbiting satellites gather temperature readings around the globe, accurate to 0.1 degree Celsius. Warming in the upper atmosphere should occur before any surface warming effect, but NASA’s data show that has not been happening. Interestingly, in the 18 years those satellites have been recording global temperatures, they actually have shown a slight decrease in average temperatures. The images shown in Figure 6 reveal that the expected “fingerprint” of warming in the upper atmosphere is missing.

In spite of warnings of severe consequences from rising seas, droughts, severe weather, species extinction, and other disasters, the record shows little if any evidence of such effects. With scientific evidence being ignored, emotional arguments and anecdotal data are ruling the day. The media subjects us to one frightening image of environmental nightmares after another, linking each to global warming. Journalists and activist scientists use hurricanes, wildfires, and starving polar bears to appeal to our emotions, not our reason. They are far more concerned with anecdotal observations of such things as frozen sea ice inside the Arctic Circle than they are with understanding why it is happening and how frequently it has occurred in the past.

Real-World Observations

A report by a team of 40 scientists from a dozen countries, released in June 2009, found the following:

• “The average temperature history of Antarctica provides no evidence of twentieth century warming.”

• “The results of several research studies argue strongly against claims that CO2-induced global warming would cause catastrophic disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.

• “The mean rate of global sea level rise has not accelerated over the recent past. The determinants of sea level are poorly understood due to considerable uncertainty associated with a number of basic parameters that are related to the water balance of the world’s oceans and the meltwater contribution of Greenland and Antarctica.”

• “[D]espite the supposedly “unprecedented” warming of the twentieth century, there has been no increase in the intensity or frequency of tropical cyclones globally or in any of the specific oceans.”

After warnings that 2007 would be the hottest year on record and a record year for hurricanes, we experienced, in 2008, the coolest year since 2001 and, by some measures, the most benign hurricane season in the Northern Hemisphere in three decades.

Even though recent changes in our atmosphere are all within the bounds of the Earth’s natural variability, a growing number of people seem willing to throw away trillions of dollars on fruitless solutions. It’s ridiculous to allow emotional appeals and anecdotal data to shape our conclusions and influence our expenditures when real science and technology are at our fingertips.

Based on the seasonal and geographic distribution of any projected warming, a good case can be made that today’s temperature is not as beneficial for humans as a warmer world temperature would be.


Reduced cloud cover did it not CO2

Steve Short [] posted this interesting analysis of the effect of albedo during the period 1983 -2001. It interesting that the conclusion of this article is that the warming during that period can be attributed to reduced albedo resulting from reduced cloud cover. Surprise that isn't it ? Completely natural

According to Pinker (2005), global surface solar irradiance increased by 0.16 W/m^2/year over the 18 year period 1983 – 2001 or 2.88 W/m^2 over the entire period. This was a period of claimed significant anthropogenic global warming. This change in surface solar irradiance over 1983 - 2001 is almost exactly 1.2% of the mean total surface solar irradiance of recent decades of 238.9 W/m^2 (K, T & F, 2009).

According to NASA, mean global cloud cover declined from about 0.677 (67.7%) in 1983 to about 0.644 (64.4%) in 2001 or a decline of 0.033 (3.3%). The 27 year mean global cloud cover 1983 – 2008 is about 0.664 (66.4%) (all NASA data)

The average Bond Albedo (A) of recent decades has been almost exactly 0.300, hence 1 – A = 0.700

It is possible to estimate the relationship between albedo and total cloud cover about the mean global cloud cover and it may be described by the simple relationship:

Albedo (A) = 0.250C + 0.134 where C = cloud cover. The 0.134 term presumably represents the surface SW reflection.

For example; A = 0.300 = 0.25 x 0.664 + 0.134

This means that in 1983; A = 0.25 x 0.677 + 0.134 = 0.303


in 2001; A = 0.25 x 0.644 + 0.134 = 0.295

Thus in 1983; 1 – A = 1 – 0.303 = 0.697

and in 2001; 1 – A = 1 – 0.295 = 0.705

Therefore, between 1983 and 2001, the known reduction in the Earth’s albedo A as measured by NASA would have increased solar irradiance by 200 x [(0.705 – 0.697)/(0.705 + 0.695)]% = 200 x (0.008/1.402)% = 1.1%

This estimate of 1.1% increase in solar irradiance from cloud cover reduction over the 18 year period 1983 – 2001 is very close to the 1.2% increase in solar irradiance measured by Pinker for the same period.

Within the precision of the available data and this exercise, it may therefore be concluded that it is highly likely that Pinker’s finding was due to an almost exactly functionally equivalent decrease in Earth’s Bond albedo over the same period, resulting from global cloud cover reduction. Hence surface warming over that period may be reasonably attributed to that effect.


Hansen pisses on cap 'n trade, backs nukes

Excerpt from a speech recently given in Australia by warming evangelist James Hansen of GISS. The speech should jar Warmist politicians. He's really pissing on them

Science has shown that preservation of stable climate and the remarkable life that our planet harbours require a rapid slowdown of fossil fuel emissions. Atmospheric carbon dioxide, now almost 390 parts per million, must be brought back to 350ppm or less. That is possible, with actions that make sense for other reasons.

But the actions require a change to business-as-usual. Change is opposed by those profiting from our fossil-fuel addiction. Change will happen only with courageous political leadership. Leaders must draw attention to the moral imperative. We cannot pretend that we do not understand the consequences for our children and grandchildren. We cannot leave them with a situation spiralling out of their control. We must set a new course.

Yet what course is proposed? Hokey cap-and-trade with offsets, aka an emissions trading scheme. Scheme is the right word, a scheme to continue business-as-usual behind a fig leaf. The Kyoto Protocol was a cap-and-trade approach. Global emissions shot up faster than ever after its adoption. It is impossible to cap all emissions as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy. There is zero chance India and China will accept a cap. And why should they? Their emissions, on a per capita basis, are 10 times less than those of Australia or the US.

Fossil fuels are not really the cheapest energy. They are cheap because they are subsidised, because they do not pay for damage they cause to human health via air and water pollution, nor their environmental damage and horrendous consequences for posterity.

An honest effective approach to energy and climate must place a steadily rising price on carbon emissions. It can only be effective if it is a simple flat fee on all carbon fuels, collected from fossil fuel companies on the first sale, at the mine, wellhead or port of entry.

The fee will cause energy costs to rise, for fossil fuels, not all energies. The public will allow this fee to rise to the levels needed only if the money collected is given to the public. They will need the money to adapt their lifestyles and reduce their carbon footprint. The money, all of it, should be given as a monthly "green cheque" and possibly in part as an income-tax reduction. Each legal adult resident would get an equal share, easily delivered electronically to bank accounts or debit cards, with half a share for children up to two children per family.

Sure, some people may waste their green cheque on booze or babes. Such people will soon be paying more in increased energy prices than they get in their green cheque. Others will make changes to keep their added energy cost low, coming out ahead.

There will be strong economic incentive for businesses to find products that help consumers reduce fossil fuel use. Every activity that uses energy will be affected. Agricultural products from nearby fields will be favoured, for example, as opposed to food flown in from half way around the world. Changes will happen as people compare the price tags.

The rising price on carbon will spur energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, all sources that produce little or no carbon dioxide. Bellyaching howls from coal moguls must be ignored. Let them invest their money in renewable energies and nuclear power.


The U.N. to investigate itself

The United Nations will today announce an independent review of errors made by its climate change advisory body in an attempt to restore its credibility. A team of the world’s leading scientists will investigate the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and ask why its supposedly rigorous procedures failed to detect at least three serious overstatements of the risk from global warming.

The review will be overseen by the InterAcademy Council, whose members are drawn from the world’s leading national science academies, including Britain’s [Warmist] Royal Society, the United States National Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The review will be led by Robbert Dijkgraaf, co-chairman of the Interacademy Council and president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been asked to investigate the internal processes of the IPCC and will not consider the overarching question of whether it was right to claim that human activities were very likely to be causing global warming.

The review, which will be announced in New York by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, and Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC’s chairman, is expected to recommend stricter checking of sources and much more careful wording to reflect the uncertainties in many areas of climate science.

The IPCC’s most glaring error was a claim that all Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. Most glaciologists believe it would take another 300 years for the glaciers to melt at the present rate. It also claimed that global warming could cut rain-fed North African crop production by up to 50 per cent by 2020. A senior IPCC contributor has since admitted that there is no evidence to support this claim. The Dutch Government has asked the IPCC to correct its claim that more than half the Netherlands is below sea level. The environment ministry said that only 26 per cent of the country was below sea level.

The allegations about climate scientists are believed to have contributed to a sharp rise in public scepticism about climate change. Last month an opinion poll found that the proportion of the population that believes climate change is an established fact and largely man-made has fallen from 41 per cent in November to 26 per cent.

The Met Office, which produces the global temperature record used by the IPCC in its reports, has proposed a separate review of its data after admitting that public confidence in its findings had been undermined. The Met Office relies on analysis by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, which is under investigation over allegations that its director manipulated raw data and tried to hide it from critics.


Thomas Jefferson Noted Global Warming in 19th Century

Climate change crusaders insist that the earth is warming largely due to the emission of greenhouse gases by motor vehicles and factories.

But Thomas Jefferson wrote about global warming back in the early 19th century, before there were any emissions from cars, coal-fired power plants, and other developments of the Industrial Age.

In a letter to Philadelphia physician and professor Nathaniel Chapman dated Dec. 11, 1809, nine months after he left the presidency, Jefferson wrote: “The change which has taken place in our climate is one of those facts which all men of years are sensible of and yet none can prove by regular evidence. They can only appeal to each other’s general observation for the fact.

“I remember that when I was a small boy, say sixty years ago, snows were frequent and deep in every winter, to my knee very often, to my waist sometimes, and that they covered the earth long. And I remember while yet young to have heard from very old men that in their youth the winters had been still colder, with deeper and longer snows. In the year 1772, thirty-seven years ago, we had a snow two feet deep in the Champain parts of this state, and three feet in the counties next below the mountains . . .

“While I lived at Washington, I kept a Diary, and by recurring to that I observe that from the winter of 1802-03 to that of 1808-09 inclusive, the average fall of snow of the seven winters was only 14½ inches, and that the ground was covered but sixteen days in each winter on average of the whole. The maximum in any one winter during that period was 21 inches fall, and 34 days on the ground, the minimum was 4½ inches fall and two days on the ground . . .

“Williams in his history of Vermont has an essay on the change in the climate of Europe, Asia and Africa.”

It’s clear, then, that the earth was warming during Jefferson’s time. It’s also clear that the climate change could not be attributed to man’s activities.



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


10 March, 2010

Regarding "A Crack in the Code: Why software fails in scientific research, and how to fix it"

The above introduces an interesting discussion about why computer programs used in science are unreliable. I am not competent to comment at that technical level, but there is a more fundamental problem: computer models are being used for purposes beyond their competence, because science is intruding into areas beyond its competence. Modern science began when men suspected that some things might have a scientific explanation.

Surprisingly, this radical idea turned out to be true; and it has transformed the world in many ways. But modern modern scientists insist that everything has a scientific explanation. This preposterous idea is destroying all the previous advances of science. Modern science modestly limited itself to hypotheses which could be proved or disproved by scientific method; modern modern scientists feel entitled, and even obligated, to speak authoritatively to every question, including those hypotheses which cannot be tested by scientific method. We are returning to the "science" of medieval times, when the truth of a proposition was judged according to the fervent earnestness of its advocates.

The great physicist John von Neumann once disposed of a mathematical argument by saying, "With four adjustable parameters, I can fit an elephant; with five I can wiggle his trunk." When a mathematical model has as many adjustable parameters as computer climate models have, those parameters can be arbitrarily adjusted to "prove" any conceivable hypothesis. When a climate scientist says that he can eliminate natural causes as a possible explanation for observed climate change, he demonstrates breath-taking incompetence and/or breath-taking dishonesty. It is mathematically and scientifically impossible to make such a determination. The only legitimate application for such models is blind pattern recognition, by which I mean recognition of recurring patterns without understanding the underlying causes.

1) Adjust your parameters until the model matches past data; 2) test the model against future data, and refine it; 3) continue testing and refining until the model produces accurate predictions. Nobody at the IPCC is doing that. They adjust the parameters and the data to match the global warming hypothesis. That is why none of these climate models has yet made its first successful prediction.

Blind pattern recognition is not rigorous science. It has proven remarkably successful at predicting the behavior of financial markets; but any competent and honest economist will tell you, Do not bet any money that you cannot afford to lose. Your financial nest egg should be invested in a diverse array of assets designed to survive any conceivable economic event. No one can predict the stock market, and no one can predict the climate.

The uncertainties in climate data are so large that climate science is useless for policy analysis. Even if the data could be measured precisely, the uncertainties in the science and mathematics are so large that it would still be useless. When a climate scientist presumes to make radical policy recommendations based on computer models, we must add breath-taking arrogance to his aforementioned list of virtues. He seats himself on the very throne of God.

The above is an email from DuPree Moore []

Russians Debunk Permafrost Scam

Siberia not melting, methane gases remain stable

Russia's leading scientists have debunked false claims by environmental activist groups and left-leaning media groups that global climate change is causing significant warming of the Siberian permafrost and resulting in a large-scale release of potent methane gas. "The world's largest frozen peat bog is melting," the August 11 issue of New Scientist proclaimed. "An area stretching for a million square kilometers across the permafrost of western Siberia is turning into a mass of shallow lakes as the ground melts."

"A vast expanse of western Siberia is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming," the London Guardian asserted on August 11. "If we don't take action very soon, we could unleash runaway global warming that will be beyond our control and it will lead to social, economic, and environmental devastation worldwide," the Guardian quoted a spokesman for the activist group Friends of the Earth as saying.

"Cranked-up greenhouse gases are taking the perma out of Siberia's permafrost and turning it to mud," the September 1 Arkansas Times piled on in an article titled "No Global Warming?"

None of those articles mentioned any evidence or quoted any climate experts contradicting the global warming assertions. But plenty of evidence exists. "The Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the annual temperature of soils (with seasonal variations) has been remaining stable," reported the August 22 Russian News and Information Agency. "If anything, the depth of seasonal melting has decreased slightly."

"Unscrupulous scientists are exaggerating and peddling fears about permafrost thawing and swamp methane becoming aggressive," Professor Nikolai Alexeyevsky, doctor of geography and head of the land hydrology department at Moscow State University, told the Russian News and Information Agency.

"The alarmists' misrepresentation of the Siberian permafrost is not surprising," said Pat Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "So long as governments hand out billions of dollars each year for climate research, there is no incentive to report the truth. The only sure way to keep receiving climate research funding is to keep claiming impending climate catastrophe."

"This is just another scare story," added Vladimir Melnikov, director of Russia's Institute of the Earth's Cryosphere, the world's only institute dedicated to investigating the ways in which ground water becomes ice and permafrost. "This ecological structure is balanced and is not about to harm people with gas discharges." Melnikov also disputed the claims that rapidly thawing permafrost is causing the formation of small lakes in Siberia. "Scientific findings and experience suggest that small lakes result from irregularities when laying oil and gas pipes and other engineering systems. But the scale on which new formations are appearing is small, and they do not pose any threat."

"The boundaries of the Russian permafrost zone remain virtually unchanged," agreed Yuri Izrael, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Climatology and Ecology. "At the same time, the permafrost is several hundred meters deep. For methane, other gases, and hydrates to escape to the surface, it would have to melt at tremendous depths, which is impossible."


Our glaciers are growing, not melting. More falsehoods from Al Gore

"Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising," said Al Gore in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on February 27. Both parts of Gore's statement are false.

Contrary to Gore's assertions, almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are growing, not melting — and the seas are not rising. Let's look at the facts. If you click on the words "are melting" in Gore's article, you're taken to a paper by Michael Zemp at the University of Zurich. Mr. Zemp begins his paper by warning that "glaciers around the globe continue to melt at high rates."

However, if you bother to actually read the paper, you learn that Zemp's conclusion is based on measurements of "more than 80 glaciers." Considering that the Himalayas boast more than 15,000 glaciers, a study of "more than 80 glaciers" hardly seems sufficient to warrant such a catastrophic pronouncement. Especially when you learn that of those 80 glaciers, several are growing. Growing. Not melting. "In Norway, many maritime glaciers were able to gain mass," Zemp concedes. ("Able to gain mass" means growing.) In North America, Zemp also concedes, "some positive values were reported from the North Cascade Mountains and the Juneau Ice Field." ("Displaying positive values" means growing.)

Remember, we're still coming out of the last ice age. Ice is supposed to melt as we come out of an ice age. The ice has been melting for 11,000 years. Why should today be any different? I'm guessing that most Canadians and Northern Europeans are very happy that the ice has been melting.

Unfortunately, that millenniums-long melting trend now appears to be changing. No matter how assiduously Mr. Gore tries to ignore it, almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are now gaining mass. (Or, displaying positive values, if you will.) For starters, let's look at those Himalayan glaciers. In a great article, entitled "World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown," Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings show that the IPCC's fraudulent claims were based on "speculation" and "not supported by any formal research."

As a matter of fact, many Himalayan glaciers are growing. In a defiant act of political incorrectness, some 230 glaciers in the western Himalayas - including Mount Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat - are actually growing. "These are the biggest mid-latitude glaciers in the world," says John Shroder of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. "And all of them are either holding still, or advancing." And get this. Eighty seven of the glaciers have surged forward since the 1960s. So much for Mr. Gore's "more than 80 glaciers."

(I don't know how many Himalayan glaciers are being monitored, but my guess would be fewer than a thousand, so it's possible that hundreds more are growing. There aren't enough glaciologists in the world to monitor them all.)

But we don't need to look to the Himalayas for growing glaciers. Glaciers are growing in the United States. Yes, glaciers are growing in the United States. Look at Washington State. The Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. The Emmons Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. Glaciers on Glacier Peak in northern Washington are growing. And Crater Glacier on Mt. Saint Helens is now larger than it was before the 1980 eruption. (I don't think all of the glaciers in Washington or Alaska are being monitored either.)

Or look at California. All seven glaciers on California's Mount Shasta are growing. This includes three-mile-long Whitney glacier, the state's largest. Three of Mount Shasta's glaciers have doubled in size since 1950.

Or look at Alaska. Glaciers are growing in Alaska for the first time in 250 years. In May of last year, Alaska’s Hubbard Glacier was advancing at the rate of seven feet (two meters) per day - more than half-a-mile per year. And in Icy Bay, at least three glaciers advanced a third of a mile (one-half kilometer) in one year.

Oh, by the way. The Juneau Icefield, with its "positive values," covers 1,505 square miles (3,900 sq km) and is the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere. Rather interesting to know that Gore's own source admits that the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere is growing, don't you think?

But this mere handful of growing glaciers is just an anomaly, the erstwhile Mr. Gore would have you believe. Well, let's look at a few other countries.

Perito Moreno Glacier, the largest glacier in Argentina, is growing.

Pio XI Glacier, the largest glacier in Chile, is growing.

Glaciers are growing on Mt. Logan, the tallest mountain in Canada.

Glaciers are growing on Mt. Blanc, the tallest mountain in France.

Glaciers are growing in Norway, says the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).

And the last time I checked, all 50 glaciers in New Zealand were growing.

But this is nothing. These glaciers are babies when you look at our planet's largest ice masses, namely, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Contrary to what you may have heard, both of those huge ice sheets are growing. In 2007, Antarctica set a new record for most ice extent since 1979, says meteorologist Joe D'Aleo. While the Antarctic Peninsula area has warmed in recent years, and ice near it diminished during the summer, the interior of Antarctica has been colder and the ice extent greater.

Antarctic sea ice is also increasing. According to Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison, sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years have been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula, where the ice has been melting, is only about 1/50th the size of east Antarctica, where the ice has been growing. Saying that all of Antarctica is melting is like looking at the climate of Oregon and saying that this applies to the entire United States.

There was not any evidence of significant change in the mass of ice shelves in east Antarctica nor any indication that its ice cap was melting, says Dr. Allison. "The only significant calvings in Antarctica have been in the west." And he cautioned that calvings of the magnitude seen recently in west Antarctica might not be unusual. "A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded."

What about Greenland? Greenland's ice-cap has thickened slightly in recent years despite wide predictions of a thaw triggered by global warming, said a team of scientists in October 2005. The 3,000-meter (9,842-feet) thick ice-cap is a key concern in debates about climate change because a total melt would raise world sea levels by about 7 meters.

But satellite measurements show that more snow is falling and thickening the ice-cap, especially at high altitudes, according to the report in the journal Science. The overall ice thickness changes are approximately plus 5 cm (1.9 inches) per year or 54 cm (21.26 inches) over 11 years, according to the experts at Norwegian, Russian and U.S. institutes led by Ola Johannessen at the Mohn Sverdrup center for Global Ocean Studies and Operational Oceanography in Norway. Not overwhelming growth, certainly, but a far cry from the catastrophic melting that we've been lead to believe.

Think about that. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is almost twice as big as the contiguous United States. Put the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets together, and they're one hundred times bigger than all of the rest of the world's glaciers combined. More than 90 percent of the world's glaciers are growing, in other words, and all we hear about are the ones that are shrinking.

But if so many of the world's glaciers are growing, how can sea levels remain the same? They can't. The sea level models are wrong. During the last ice age, sea levels stood some 370 feet (100 meters) lower than today. That's where all of the moisture came from to create those two-mile-high sheets of ice that covered so much of the north.

And just as the ice has been melting for 11,000 years, so too were sea levels rising during those same years. But the rising has stopped. Forget those IPCC claims. Sea levels are not rising, says Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, one-time expert reviewer for the IPCC. Dr. Mörner, who received his PhD in geology in 1969, is one of the greatest - if not the greatest - sea level experts in the world today. He has worked with sea level problems for 40 years in areas scattered all over the globe. "There is no change," says Mörner. "Sea level is not changing in any way."

"There is absolutely no sea-level rise in Tuvalo," Mörner insists. "There is no change here, and there is zero sea-level rise in Bangladesh. If anything, sea levels have lowered in Bangladesh." "We do not need to fear sea-level rise," says Mörner. "(But) we should have a fear of those people who fooled us."

So there you have it. More falsehoods from Al Gore, the multimillionaire businessman who some say is set to become the world's first carbon billionaire. Our glaciers are growing, not melting — and the seas are not rising.

I agree with Dr. Mörner, but I'd make it a tad stronger. We should have a fear of those people who have conned us.


The wind-energy cover-up

The Obama administration works with lobbyists to distort reality

Barack Obama promised many things on his way into office. Key among these was transparency and a vow to banish lobbyists from insider roles in the policy process. Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Competitive Enterprise Institute has confirmed that both promises are being aggressively violated.

In 2008 and 2009, Mr. Obama told Americans on no fewer than eight occasions to "think about what's happening in countries like Spain [and] Germany" to see his model for successful "green jobs" policies, and what we should expect here.

Some Spanish academics and experts on that country's wind- and solar-energy policies and outcomes took Mr. Obama up on his invitation, revealing Spain's policies to be economic and employment disasters. The political embarrassment to the administration was obvious, with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs asked about the Spanish study at a press conference, and the president hurriedly substituted Denmark for Spain in his stump speech.

Team Obama was not amused, and they decided to do something about it. The crew that campaigned on change pulled out the oldest plan in the book - attack the messenger. The U.S. government's response to foreign academics, assessing the impact in their own country of that foreign government's policies, was to come after them in a move that internal e-mails say was unprecedented. They also show it was coordinated with the lobbyists for "Big Wind" and the left-wing Center for American Progress (CAP).

What emerged was an ideological hodgepodge of curious and unsupported claims published under the name of two young non-economist wind advocates. These taxpayer-funded employees offered green dogma in oddly strident terms and, along the way, a senior Obama political appointee may well have misled Congress.

Congress was naturally curious about how the administration would end up attacking foreign academics, so Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, asked how these unprecedented offensives were launched, given that National Renewable Energy Lab and the Energy Department immediately offered conflicting statements to the media and a congressional oversight office. Mr. Sensenbrenner asked for details from Cathy Zoi, assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Department of Energy (DOE) and until recently, the CEO of Al Gore's climate-advocacy group. She dodged four pointed questions.

However, the documents we uncovered reveal that her office was fully aware of the answers to these questions, but elected to keep the information to itself. What transpired is difficult to discern with precision, as DOE continues to withhold numerous responsive documents. But it is clear that senior staff in Ms. Zoi's office, and another under her authority, were told by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) of its concern over the foreign economic analysis because of the media and policymaker attention it was receiving.

The questions raised about green jobs also threatened the vast increase in Department of Energy spending to pursue green jobs. The Obama administration has poured cash into renewable-energy efficiency and renewable energy with abandon. One such program at the department has grown from a budget of $1.7 billion in 2008 to $18 billion in 2009.

What is clear is that the Department of Energy then worked with Center for American Progress and the industry lobby AWEA to produce an attack that would serve all their interests.

That may not be all because we have appealed energy's decision to withhold numerous documents. Incredibly, it refuses to release documents exchanged between it and the pressure group CAP and lobbyist AWEA on the grounds that these are "inter-agency memoranda." So, lobbyists and lavishly funded political advocacy groups are, for purposes of secrecy, mere extensions of the Obama administration. Transparency in the Age of Obama means so transparent, you can't see it.


Climate Wars!

By Alan Caruba

Wars come and go, cities are destroyed and rebuilt, monuments are erected, and life goes on. This is the traditional view of war, but right now the world is engaged in the latest battle of a “climate war” that has been going on since the 1970s when the Club of Rome concluded in a report titled, “The real enemy then, is humanity itself”, that the world’s population had to be reduced.

Whereas wars in the modern era have killed millions and communism as practiced in the former Soviet Union and the early decades of Red China under Chairman Mao killed millions more on a scale with which war could not compete, the advocates of population reduction rival the worst despots to have ever walked among us.

With the revelations from leaked emails between the conspirators who kept the global warming fraud going for many years, the so-called “climate scientists” who, in fact, had created phony computer models and engaged in endless studies to “prove” that global warming posed a threat to mankind, the term “Climategate” was coined to describe their collusion.

Billions are at stake so far as the “climate scientists” are concerned. They have received millions for their research in the United States and in England. Presumably other nations, too, have provided such grants and the result of the research must always be a continuation of the “global warming” fraud. Beyond the scientists are those who profit from the sale of “carbon credits” to permit “greenhouse gas emissions”, and the millions that environmental organizations such as Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, and others rake in.

It is no surprise, then, that those who have been victimized by the fraud will see a coordinated campaign of opinion editorials in newspapers, advertisements, and other means to keep the “global warming” fraud intact. These efforts have been renamed “climate change”, but therein lies the utter mendacity of the campaign because the Earth has always passed through cycles of climate change and always will.

On February 15th, the Boston Globe published an opinion editorial by Kerry Emanuel, the director of the Program in Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was filled with the usual “global warming” themes; the repetition of the lie that carbon dioxide and other minor atmospheric gases are causing a huge shift that is warming the Earth. Smoothly, the inaccuracies of climate computer models are dismissed as “uncertainties” resulting in “divergent predictions.”

The finest weather-related computer models available are unable to account for the action of clouds, an essential element in weather everywhere, nor can they include the unknown effects of countless undersea volcanoes in the world’s oceans that are another contributing factor. At best, if your local weatherman can accurately predict what will occur in the next two to four days, he’s doing fine.

Predicting what the climate—not the weather—will be decades and even centuries from now is pure fiction. It is the claim that is central to “global warming” and/or “climate change.”

In a rebuttal to Emanuel’s opinion editorial, Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University, noted that “A high percentage of meteorologists and/or climate scientists do not agree that the climate changes we have seen are mostly man-made. Thousands of us think that the larger part of the climate changes we have observed over the last century are of natural origin.” He added, “Over 31,000 American scientists have recently signed a petition advising the U.S. not to sign any fossil fuel reduction treaty.”

Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has just released a statement based on the release of still more emails between desperate “climate scientists” whose careers depend on the “global warming” fraud.

“According to recently disclosed e-mails from a National Academies of Science listserv, prominent climate scientists affiliated with the U.S. National Academies of Science, have been planning a public campaign to paper over the damaged reputation of global warming alarmism.”

The emails explored the ways the public could be distracted from the revelations of Climategate and enticed back to believing that “global warming” is based in real science and occurring. Among the suggestions were “Op eds in the NY Times and other national newspapers would also be great.”

Referring to this as a climate war is no exaggeration. One email said, “Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules.” One of those rules most certainly is to tell the truth!

What the public has never grasped is that this is not a science-based war. It is entirely political in nature and the Green's enemy has been the resource industries, oil, natural gas, and coal that provide the means by which energy is generated for industrial use and for societies that depend on electricity to function. The subtext of the war is the deliberate destruction of human life on the planet on a mass scale.

That explains why it is especially troubling that President Obama continues to refer to global warming as real and advocates “cap-and-trade” legislation, the largest tax on energy use in the history of mankind. It is the reason he continues to divert millions to “clean energy” and “green jobs”, neither of which have ever proven to equal traditional energy sources or provide sufficient employment to merit support.

So now the climate wars shift into a new phase, one intended to obfuscate and confuse the public again in the quest to foist the greatest fraud and attack on mankind in human history


Coral reefs safe after all

Hoagy will be disappointed

Reef ecosystems were able to persist through massive environmental changes imposed by sharply falling sea levels during previous ice ages, an international scientific team has found. This provides new hope for their capacity to endure the increasing human impacts forecast for the 21st century.

In the world's first study of what happened to coral reefs when ocean levels sank to their lowest recorded level – over 120 metres below today's levels – a study carried out on eight fossil reefs in Papua New Guinea's Huon Gulf region has concluded that a rich diversity of corals managed to survive, although they were different in composition to the corals under more benign conditions.

“Of course, sea levels then were falling – and today they are rising," said Professor John Pandolfi of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland. "But if we want to know how corals cope with hostile conditions, then we have to study what happens under all circumstances. “We've seen what happens to corals in the past when sea levels rose and conditions were favourable to coral growth: we wanted to see what happened when they fell and conditions were adverse. “When sea levels drop you get a catastrophic reduction in coral habitat and a loss of connectivity between reefs.

In the Huon region, the team found, coral reefs survived the hard times low of sea levels with as much richness of species – but with a different composition to what they had during the good times. “As a rule the coral colonies during the period of low sea levels were closer to the sea floor and slower-growing in comparison with times of high sea levels.” “What we have found suggests that reef systems are able to survive adverse conditions given suitable shallow rocky habitat.

"An interesting finding of this study is that complex coral ecosystems were maintained during the less optimal periods of low sea level. These may have been critical to the re-establishment of nearby reefs once environmental conditions began to improve.” “The fossil record shows that reefs have been remarkably successful in surviving large environmental disturbances.

More HERE (I have left out the propaganda and just kept the factual bits)

Journal abstract follows:

Community dynamics of Pleistocene coral reefs during alternative climatic regimes

By Danika Tager et al.

Reef ecosystems built during successive periods of Pleistocene sea level rise have shown remarkable persistence in coral community structure, but little is known of the ecological characteristics of reef communities during periods of low sea stands or sea level falls. We sampled the relative species abundance of coral, benthic foraminifera, and calcareous red algae communities from eight submerged coral reefs in the Huon Gulf, Papua New Guinea, which formed during successive sea level fall and lowstand periods over the past 416 kyr. We found that dissimilarity in coral species composition increased significantly with increasing time between reef-building events. However, neither coral diversity nor the taxonomic composition of benthic foraminifera and calcareous red algae assemblages varied significantly over time. The taxonomic composition of coral communities from lowstand reefs was significantly different from that of highstand reefs previously reported from the nearby Huon Peninsula. We interpret the community composition and temporal dynamics of lowstand reefs as a result of shifting energy regimes in the Huon Gulf, and differences between low and highstand reefs as a result of differences in the interaction between biotic and environmental factors between the Huon Gulf and Huon Peninsula. Regardless of the exact processes driving these trends, our study represents the first glimpse into the ecological dynamics of coral reefs during low sea level stands when climatic conditions for reef growth were much different and less optimal than during previously studied highstand periods.



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


9 March, 2010

A Bright, Shining Green Lie

Home weatherization has neither created many jobs nor weatherized many homes

A year ago, President Barack Obama peered into our economic future and saw foam sealant and weatherstripping. In the midst of a punishing recession, Obama would wield that incomparable jobs-creating tool, the caulk gun. What the Works Progress Administration was to Franklin Roosevelt, the government-funded weatherization of homes would be to Obama.

“If you allocate money to weatherize homes,” Obama effused to an audience in Elkhart, Ind., “the homeowner gets the benefit of lower energy bills. You right away put people back to work, many of whom in the construction industry and in the housing industry are out of work right now.” And it’s a step to “a new energy future.”

Obama was hawking another one of his cost-free, best-of-all-worlds scenarios, one that has been exposed in all its self-deluding inanity in the space of a year. As a writer parodying such magical thinking long ago observed, “Sun-beams may be extracted from cucumbers, but the process is tedious.” A sun-beam extraction program might have been just as effective, and nearly as timely.

Obama poured $5 billion into weatherization as part of last year’s stimulus and wanted to spend billions more in a second stimulus. The Department of Energy managed to get the money to the states, where it has swelled the coffers for weatherization and done little else.

According to a Department of Energy inspector general report last month, “only 2 of the 10 highest funded recipients completed more than 2 percent of planned units.” New York had completed 280 out of 45,400 planned units as of December, Texas had completed 0 of 33,908, and California 12 out of 43,400. That’s 292 homes in three states with a total population of roughly 80 million.

So much for the 87,000 jobs the administration promised “right away.” The inspector general report is unsparing: “The job creation impact of what was considered to be one of the Department’s most ‘shovel ready’ projects has not materialized,” and neither have “the significant reductions in energy consumption.” Besides that, weatherization has been a stimulative triumph.


What both Obama and the British Conservatives don't want you to know about green jobs and green energy

Green jobs are a waste of space, a waste of money, a lie, a chimera. You know that. I know that. We’re familiar with the report by Dr Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain which shows that for every “green job” that is created another 2.2 jobs are LOST in the real economy.

We also know that alternative energy is a fraud – only viable through enormous government (ie taxpayer subsidy) and utterly incapable of answering anything more than a fraction of our energy needs. As Shannon Love puts it here:

"Here’s a fact you won’t see mentioned in the public policy debate over “alternative” energy: There exists no alternative energy source, no combination of alternative energy sources, and no system of combinations of alternative energy sources that can fully replace a single, coal fired electric plant built with 1930s era technology. Nada. Zero. Zilch."

So why are our political leaders setting out quite deliberately to deceive us?

There have many disgustingly revealing stories this week about the dubious practices of the Climate Fear Promotion lobby, but for me the most damning of all was Chris Horner’s scoop at Pajamas Media concerning high level cover-ups by the Obama administration. Like his soul mate Dave Cameron on this side of the pond, Obama finds the narrative about global warming so compelling and moving that he doesn’t want it spoiled with any inconvenient truths regarding green jobs and green energy.

Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has discovered that when two European reports came out – the Spanish one above; and another one from Denmark on the inefficiency of wind farms – the Obama administration recruited left-wing lobbyists to attack them.
After two studies refuted President Barack Obama’s assertions regarding the success of Spain’s and Denmark’s wind energy programs, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals the Department of Energy turned to George Soros and to wind industry lobbyists to attack the studies.

Via the FOIA request, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has learned that the Department of Energy — specifically the office headed by Al Gore’s company’s former CEO, Cathy Zoi — turned to George Soros’ Center for American Progress and other wind industry lobbyists to help push Obama’s wind energy proposals.

The FOIA request was not entirely complied with, and CEI just filed an appeal over documents still being withheld. In addition to withholding many internal communications, the administration is withholding communications with these lobbyists and other related communications, claiming they constitute “inter-agency memoranda.” This implies that, according to the DoE, wind industry lobbyists and Soros’s Center for American Progress are — for legal purposes — extensions of the government.
We see something similar going on here in Britain. The taxpayer funded Quango The Carbon Trust is continually pumping out propaganda on behalf of the powerful wind energy lobby; as too is the BBC which cheerfully funded a political broadcast (masquerading as a cri de coeur) by Green activist George Moonbat on its The Daily Politics show earlier this week. In December it was discovered that civil servants working for the government had suppressed evidence that wind farms damage health and disrupt sleep.

Do our political leaders think we’re stupid? Or so supine and malleable that we simply won’t mind being lied to if it’s for our “own good”?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The philosophy of climate change

Still incoherent. Specific events and the short term matter when it suits Warmists but not otherwise

In my previous column, we saw that defenders of Global Warming are trying to have it both ways when it comes to finding confirmations of their theory. They appeal to opposite sorts of natural phenomena as confirming evidence: Lack of snow in Vancouver, receding glaciers and recent milder winters on the one hand and this year’s record-setting snows on the other.

This raises the question whether they would take any observational evidence as disconfirming their theory. If not, then we may wonder if global warming is nothing more than pseudo-science.

A response taken now by some defenders is that what they are really talking about is climate change, not weather change. This being the case, as meteorologist Jeff Masters points out, “no single weather event can be blamed on climate change.” And no single weather event — such as Snowmageddon — can be cited as disconfirming it.

His point is that the predictions made by climate change proponents are not the simple “All swans are white” sorts of predictions discussed by Popper and countering the theory is not as simple as just finding one non-white swan to prove it false. Rather, they are statistical in nature.

As Masters notes, “one can ‘load the dice’ in favor of events that used to be rare — or unheard of — if the climate is changing to a new state… [T]he dice have been loaded in favor of more intense Nor'easters for the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.” According to the hypothesis, Climate Change predicts no specific intense storm but only an increase in their frequency in the long run.

Consistent with such long-term statistical predictions are short-term anomalies. Flipping a coin one thousand times will produce “heads” on half the throws. But somewhere in the process a series of throws may come up “tails” twenty times in a row. Such an anomaly does not necessarily overthrow the long-run prediction.

This fact has recently given a haven of refuge to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Jane Lubchenco. NOAA’s mission purportedly includes, “'informing climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

Asked recently about East Anglia University’s Dr. Phil Jones’ admission that “for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming,” Lubchenco responded “that it is inappropriate to look at any particular short period of time to discern the long-term trend.” She went on to say that one could find competing trends if one singles out any ten or fifteen-year period in the last century but “that longer history shows unequivocal increases in global average temperatures.”

Now wait a minute. This is the same Jane Lubchenco who warned, of “an ecological tsunami [in the oceans] of unprecedented proportions.” Elsewhere, when asked about climate change‘s effects on ocean life she replied, “as a result of the warming waters … corals are bleaching with increased frequency... it also is melting ice in the Arctic, and many species that are dependent on ice for their homes, from polar bears to ice seals… are becoming increasingly threatened with extinction.”

Her agency recently released a report on how climate change will affect the US in the next 20 years or so, which predicted a reduction in Western mountain snowpacks adversely affecting water supplies, more heat related illnesses and deaths due to rising average temperatures and a rise in respiratory diseases.

But if we are now talking about climate change as a long-run phenomenon, shouldn’t it be illegitimate to make such short range predictions? And is it not as questionable to refer to climate change as the explanation for a specific event like corals bleaching or melting Arctic ice, as it would be to point to a specific weather event like missing snows in Vancouver as explainable by it?

Lubchenco goes a step further, demanding immediate action. She said earlier this year in a Yale interview: “Climate change is real, it’s causing changes in our own backyard… and therefore there is urgency in moving ahead with reducing heat-trapping pollution as soon as possible.”

Again, if we are talking about it as a long-term phenomenon, where even a fifteen-year cooling period is not supposed to be inconsistent with its gradual development, then surely the long-developing nature of climate significantly undermines the case for urgent, immediate action.

Lubchenco would clearly like to have it both ways and construe climate change in whatever way best suits her immediate needs, a strategy which seems to be incoherent. It is certainly no basis for formulating any public policy radically reducing carbon emissions in the near term.


Some nutty biologists pontificate on climate

Some comments below from physicist Lubos Motl

Some people seem to be unwilling to accept that the era of the global warming panic that couldn't even be questioned is over.

In 1967, Paul Ehrlich predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s. Later, he updated his prediction and argued that most of the U.S. population would starve to death before 2000. His whole career has been built on making absolutely preposterous statements of this kind.

Of course, he always had to suffer by the knowledge that most people have always realized that he is a kook, a lunatic obsessed with doomsdays, and a parasite on the Academic system. Is there a method for him to prove that he was right and most Americans would prematurely disappear from the world? Maybe.

The Washington Times has revealed e-mails showing that right now, he may have finally found out the magic formula. Together with Stephen Schneider and others, such as Paul Falkowski, the director of an energy institute at Rutgers who wants to replace fossil fuels by biofuels from duckweeds (aquatic plants) that will be growing on the surface of all ponds and oceans in the world (yes, he's another nut), Ehrlich decided that it's time to destroy the climate skeptics - i.e. most of the world's population. One of the participants of the project described its goal as: "an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach to gut the credibility of skeptics."

Very nice. I just wonder whether the participants have also found a method to do these things while hiding that they're a criminal cabal that deserves to be put in jail if not on an electric chair.

The number of people who continue to be as mad as Paul Ehrlich is strictly finite but it is still much greater than one. For example, Mr David Adam, a green ink-spiller in the Guardian, has made a "shocking" revelation: "Climate emails inquiry: Energy consultant linked to physics body's submission"

If you don't understand the "juice" of the title, he is complaining that it must be a sin for the Institute of Physics to have listened to one expert in the energy industry - among many witnesses they have listened to! Holy crap. If I were doing such things where the practical consequences of possible policies - mainly for the energy industry - are far more important than the underlying science as a pure theory, then most of the people I would invite would be economists or energy experts.

Mr Adam, do you really think that in March 2010, it's still possible to defend the idea that energy experts are devils who can't ever be listened to or invited anywhere? Do you want to defend a complete isolation - or elimination? - of the energy companies? Have you lost your mind? Is The Guardian aware that they're employing a crazy person?

I can imagine that this poor guy will soon complain that he is getting unfriendly e-mails and exchanges with the other people. Will you really be surprised? You are trying to attack the dignity - if not the existence - of one of the most important sectors of the economy that everyone else needs to survive. What else would you expect than unfavorable messages if not something worse, moron?

It's kind of amazing that they don't see what's important here. All of their focus is on the tricks how to brainwash the people and force them to believe the "best science" that this group can offer. But their "best science" is no longer good enough.

All the brainwashing tricks and types of frauds, cherr-picking, censorship, lies, libels, and distortions have already been used by them in the past: but they won't work again because most of the public has learned something during the last 3 months and has already acquired a kind of "immunity" against these types of deception that they won't "unlearn" anytime soon.

Selected, unfiltered, and one-sided ads won't help them in any way because it will be clear that these ads fail to be impartial. And the detailed content won't impress anyone, either. That's because they don't have any real counter-arguments against the observations revealed in the last 3 months (and before that) - simply because no such counter-arguments exist. They're not interested in the content - how the climate actually works. They're only interested in the methods how to promote a particular "type" of reasoning and particular results. It has worked for years. But it won't work again.

They can't fix this "subtle" problem by collecting $15,000 after an e-mail conversation. The problem is much deeper than something that can be bought for $15,000. The problem is that their lives are built upon lies and this fact has been getting increasingly self-evident to everyone.

SOURCE. See also here and here

Treason Is A Matter Of Dates

This observation, famously made by Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna as the powers debated the fate of the turncoat King of Saxony, reminded the crowned heads of Europe that all of them had at one time or another worked with Napoleon. Talleyrand himself had served the emperor as foreign minister and trusted ally before switching to the other side as Napoleon’s power waned — and his megalomania grew.

These days, it’s The New York Times that is redefining treason. Three weeks ago, anyone who pointed at the lack of public confidence in climate science was aiding and abetting those horrible climate ‘deniers.’ Treason against Planet Earth! You had to be some kind of dread ‘right wing blogger’ or talk radio host to point out that blunders and arrogance had undermined the credibility of climate scientists and ended any short term chance of serious global agreement on urgent measures to stop global warming.

But a story this morning by John Broder gently lets Times readers know that something has gone badly wrong.
WASHINGTON — For months, climate scientists have taken a vicious beating in the media and on the Internet, accused of hiding data, covering up errors and suppressing alternate views. Their response until now has been largely to assert the legitimacy of the vast body of climate science and to mock their critics as cranks and know-nothings.

But the volume of criticism and the depth of doubt have only grown, and many scientists now realize they are facing a crisis of public confidence and have to fight back. Tentatively and grudgingly, they are beginning to engage their critics, admit mistakes, open up their data and reshape the way they conduct their work.
Admit mistakes? Open up their data? Change the way the work? You mean there was something wrong with the way climate science was operating last year? Is the Times telling us that the climate scientists–on the basis of whose work the whole world is debating complex and far-reaching changes in its economic structure and political governance–were using slipshod and careless procedures that need to be fixed?

Gosh, one has to ask, if these terrible things were going on for such a long time, why didn’t the New York Times notice this earlier on? Why didn’t the New York Times break this important story back when it was news, rather than lamely sweeping up at the end of the parade? Could it be that a climate of politically-correct group-think inhibited the editors and reporters at the country’s newspaper of record from recognizing a one of the major stories of the decade? Could the environmental writers at the Times be just a teensy bit too close to their sources?

The Times seems to have forgotten the most important aspect of the news business. For years now ’skeptic’ has been a dirty word at the Times when the subject of climate change comes up. Excuse me, but reporters are supposed to be skeptics. They are supposed to be cynical, hard bitten people who trust their mothers — but cut the cards. They are supposed to think that scientists are probably too much in love with their data, that issue advocates have hidden agendas, that high-toned rhetoric is often a cover for naked self interest, that bloviating politicians have cynical motives and that heroes, even Nobel Prize laureates, have feet of clay. That is their job; it is why we respect them and why we pay attention to what they write.

Reporters are not supposed to be wide-eyed gee-whiz college kids believing everything they hear and using the news columns of the paper to promote a social agenda. They are wet blankets, not cheerleaders, Eeyores, not Piglets and they can safely leave all the advocacy and flag-waving to the editorial writers and the op-ed pages.

This is not just a question of liberal bias. The same wide-eyed gee-whiz culture shaped much of the reporting on the run-up to the Iraq War. Maybe the word we are looking for when trying to describe what’s wrong with the mainstream press isn’t ‘liberal’ — maybe the term is something like ‘credulous’ or ‘naive.’ The gradual substitution of ‘professional journalists’ for the old hard boiled hacks may have given us a generation of journalists who are used to trusting reputable authority. They honestly think that people with good credentials and good manners don’t lie.

Today’s journalists are much too well-bred and well-connected to stand there in the crowd shouting “The emperor has no clothes!” They’ve worked with the tailors, they have had long background interviews with the tailors, they’ve been present for some of the fittings. Of course the emperor’s new clothes are fantastic; only those rude and uncouth ‘clothing deniers’ still have any doubts.

Meanwhile, over on the aforementioned op-ed pages, our old friend Al Gore is still crying a river of denial, blaming everyone but himself for the abject failure of the world to accept his views without checking the facts for themselves. If the New York Times and its peers had come at this story with more skepticism and rigor from the beginning, climate scientists would have realized long ago that if they hope to convince a skeptical world they need to be ultra-careful, ultra-cautious and even ultra-conservative in their public statements and recommendations. They would have understood long ago that because their science is important, they have to do it more carefully and more publicly than other people. That may be harsh and it may be ‘unfair’ in some sense, but when you are dealing with the interests of billions of people you have to expect a little bit of scrutiny — though not, apparently, from the New York Times.

The very idea that critics would have to use the Freedom of Information Act to pry back-up data from a scientist on a matter of great public importance is insane. That data should have been out there years ago, without anyone having to ask. If it’s considered ‘normal’ in climate science for researchers to keep their raw data under lock and key, and refuse to subject it to skeptical and hostile review, then climate science isn’t science.

The Times and its peers in the mainstream press need to ask themselves why something this obvious, this important, this newsworthy passed them by. If they don’t figure that out and make some wrenching changes, they will continue to watch helplessly as their credibility and readership inexorably shrink.

The meltdown that worries me most in this whole dismal story isn’t the meltdown of the Himalayan glaciers. It’s the evident meltdown of basic journalistic standards among a whole generation of reporters and editors that keeps me up late at night; I don’t just worry about what they missed on this story, or on the Iraq story–I wonder what else they are missing every day.

John Broder’s story this morning is good as far as it goes, but it looks more and more as if our greatest newspaper has been so wholly conquered by the spirit of enlightened upper-middle-class progressivism that it has lost the ability to view its own assumptions with the necessary skepticism. That is terrible news; the world is changing rapidly in ways that simply don’t fit the thought templates that upper-middle-class baby boomers developed over the last twenty years. Increasingly, the mental map that shapes the way the Times looks at the world simply fails to match what is happening out there, yet the Times seems less able than ever to see that.

Before you can report an inconvenient truth you have to be able to recognize it; this is the test that the Times‘ coverage of the ‘climategate’ story has failed.


Global climate battle plays out in World Bank

The United States and Britain are threatening to withhold support for a $3.75 billion World Bank loan for a coal-fired plant in South Africa, expanding the battleground in the global debate over who should pay for clean energy. The opposition by the bank's two largest members has raised eyebrows among those who note that the two advanced economies are allowing development of coal-powered plants in their own countries even as they raise concerns about those in poorer countries.

While the loan is still likely to be approved on April 6 by the World Bank board, it has revealed the deep fissures between the world's industrial powers and developing countries over tackling climate change. Both camps failed to reach a new deal in Copenhagen in December on a global climate agreement because of differences over emissions targets and who should pay for poorer nations to green their economies.

Some $3 billion of the loan to South African power utility Eskom will fund the bulk of the 4,800-megawatt Medupi coal-fired plant in the northern Limpopo region and is critical to easing the country's chronic power shortages that brought the economy to its knees in 2008. The rest of the money will go toward renewables and energy efficiency projects.

The battle playing out in the World Bank was prompted by new guidance issued by the U.S. Treasury to multilateral institutions in December on coal-based power projects, which infuriated developing countries including China and India.

The guidance directs U.S. representatives to encourage "no or low carbon energy" options prior to a coal-based choice, and to assist borrowers in finding additional resources to make up the costs if an alternative to coal is more expensive.

In a letter to World Bank President Robert Zoellick, board representatives from Africa, China and India said such actions "highlighted an unhealthy subservience of the decision-making processes in the bank to the dictates of one member country".

Eskom has proposed to develop Medupi with the latest supercritical "clean coal" and carbon storage technologies available on the market, which is used by most rich countries. Still, Medupi will be a major polluter that could make it harder for South Africa to meet its emissions targets.

A U.S. Treasury official told Reuters the United States was in the process of reviewing the Eskom proposal and will develop a position that "is consistent with administration policy and with facts surrounding the project."

World Bank Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, said South Africa's energy security was key because the country's growth, or lack of it, was felt throughout Africa. "There is no viable alternative to safeguard Africa's energy security at this particular time," she told Reuters. "This is a transitional investment that they are making toward a green economy and that should count for something."

But the politically connected Center for American Progress in Washington argued in a report last week that the World Bank is a standard-setter for development banks and should push sustainable economic development models in client countries. "This is a problem for an institution with the moral and financial responsibility to foster large-scale investment in sustainable economic development," it said.



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


8 March, 2010

IPCC Science Designed For Propaganda

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was specifically designed by Maurice Strong as a political vehicle to further his objective of crippling the industrial nations

Scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) built a dam to contain a lake full of dirty water. Someone behind the dam drilled a hole and sprang a leak. The flow is small but growing and the color of the water gets dirtier and dirtier and the size of the hole will increase as the extent of the corruption expands. Now a second major leak has developed in a different area as people dig through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports. The structure of the organization made this almost inevitable. However, the structure was necessary to achieve the political rather than a scientific goal.

Bureaucratic Structure

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was specifically designed by Maurice Strong as a political vehicle to further his objective of crippling the industrial nations. An acknowledged master of bureaucratic systems he set up every segment of the organization for the maximum public relations effect. This meant emphasis on emotional impact, especially by exploiting fear. The first need was to direct and control the science. It was achieved at the 1985 meeting in Villach Austria chaired by Canadian bureaucrat Gordon McBean with Phil Jones and Tom Wigley from CRU in attendance. The second need was for maximizing the fear factor to force political action.

Early stories from the leaked emails identified the obvious illegal and unacceptable activities that do not require understanding of climate science. These related to the work of the CRU members who effectively controlled the chapters on atmospheric chemistry, paleoclimatic reconstruction of past climate conditions, the computer models, and the Summary for Policymakers (SPM). Their objective was to prove their hypothesis that human CO2 was causing global warming and subsequently climate change. Apart from the SPM all of their work was concentrated in Working Group I (WGI) to produce the Physical Science Basis Report.

This Report is then accepted, without question, by Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Variability) and Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change) and becomes the basis of their research. Working Group II is the Report that has the greatest number of works that are now being exposed as non peer-reviewed and in some instances unpublished. They assume warming is going to occur and the rate will increase. This means that all the studies are focused in a single direction and taken to extremes. Glaciers will melt rapidly. Sea level will rise quickly. Drought will increase in intensity. (Here and here)

This last argument is an example of how wrong these reports are. Increasing droughts is counterintuitive because with warming evaporation increases putting more moisture in the atmosphere and increasing the precipitation potential.

Working Group II: Speculation As Fact Equals Corruption

There are several problems with the articles cited, especially in the WGII Reports. First the IPCC pushed the peer review issue to extremes by claiming they only used such articles, then peer reviewing each other’s work. They used the issue to divert skeptics by telling them to get peer reviewed publications knowing they could control it. When one article by-passed their guard and was published by Geophysical Research Letters they got the editor fired. Now we discover they used a multitude of non-reviewed articles often from very biased sources such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace as references. Second they used these articles to apply political pressure, yet the entire process claims to be unbiased and apolitical. IPCC Chair Pachauri gave this as the reason for including the false Himalayan ice-melting reports. Pachauri is now in defense of his actions but the extent of his involvement is so bad that even Greenpeace are calling for his dismissal.

Pachauri replaced Watson as Chair and the CRU were glad to see him go. Mike Hulme to Phil Jones on April 22, 2002 said, “Watson has perhaps thrown his weight about too much in the past.” He then added, “The science is well covered by Susan Solomon in WGI, so why not get an engineer/economist since many of the issues now raised by CC are more to do with energy and money, than natural science.” In other words, we have the science controlled but the deceptions need to carry over to the political and economic arena.

The irony of Pachauri’s involvement is that the CRU emails disclose his appointment was of concern to the gang because he was seen as a President Bush appointee. On 19 April 2002 Tom Wigley wrote to Phil Jones passing on an Executive Summary that read, “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) plenary voted for Dr. Rajendra Pachauri as the sole chair of the IPCC. Dr. Pachauri, an economist and engineer, will replace Dr. Robert Watson, an atmospheric chemist, as chair of the IPCC. This outcome was actively sought by the Bush Administration at the behest of the most conservative elements of the fossil fuel industry. This development threatens to undermine the scientific credibility and integrity of the IPCC and may weaken the job this extraordinary body has done to bring the world’s attention to one of the most pressing environmental problems.”

Attempts to Put Fingers in The Dam

The leaks in the dam they built at CRU and the IPCC get bigger and bigger. Only a fraction of the dirty water has escaped but will continue to emerge. Meanwhile the cover-up has begun. Pennsylvania State has a whitewash with an internal review committee. They also announce they are conveniently not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. They did not interview major players in the fiasco including Steve McIntyre who discovered Michael Mann’s hockey stick fraud. In England the temporary director of the CRU says Jones will be completely vindicated and reinstated. The person appointed to do the English investigation has a history of total commitment to the global warming alarmists view. Some of the IPCC affiliates, such as Andrew Weaver are climbing out of the lake and running for the trees. The mainstream media continues to ignore the issue, but the millions of eyes and minds on the Internet are exposing the cracks in the dam and the sewage that is emerging.


Clash over 'global warming' ratcheted up another degree

Congressman wants funding stopped

The clash over "global warming" has been ratcheted up another degree this week, with one member of Congress demanding U.S. taxpayer funding for the research be halted and scientists who have been accused of slipshod and deceptive work planning a campaign of retaliation against their critics.

The controversy moved to the front burner late last year when a series of e-mails was hacked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain that indicate scientists were hiding and manipulating data and trying to marginalize critics.

The revelations were significant, because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed two findings Dec. 7 that concluded greenhouse gases in the atmosphere "threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations." The EPA's rulings could mean thousands of dollars in additional taxes for individual consumers.

Now, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton, R-Texas, is citing the doubts about the integrity of "climate change" science in a letter asking for an accounting of U.S. taxpayer support for the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. The U.S. since 1994 has given some $50 million to the panel, and contributions under Obama now have doubled.

Barton, writing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asked the State Department to stop any contributions until an up-to-date audit is released. "In recent months, the IPCC has come under significant criticism for the quality of its principal work product: the periodic assessments of the causes of climate change and related impacts from a changing climate," Barton wrote. "Various reports have identified problems concerning quality-control procedures, peer review, and political influence on the assessment writeups, raising serious questions about the scientific integrity of the enterprise," he said.

The congressman asked Clinton to provide details of U.S. funding and state what controls – if any – have been placed on the funds....

More here

Global warming plan could leave humans extinct

Forget climate change — the real threat to the planet and all of us riding on it comes from screwball scientists and their schemes to “save” us from nonexistent threats. The latest plot sounds like it might have been hatched by a Bond villain: a series of simulated volcanic explosions to fill the atmosphere with a manmade chemical sunblock that would shield the entire planet.

Can you imagine anyone saying this stuff with a straight face? Yet that’s just one of a number of dead-serious proposals in the growing field of “geoengineering.” Another scheme involves spraying seawater into the sky around the planet to create more clouds, lowering the global temperature. I hope you’ve invested in a good umbrella.

What’s even more disturbing is that our government is actually taking this nonsense seriously. The National Science Foundation just awarded $382,000 of YOUR money to University of Montana researchers just to study the ethics of geoengineering.

They should have asked me — I could solve that one for free: Ethics won’t matter one whit if we’re all dead after scientists blow their volcanic loads and dump the sea into the sky.

I wasn’t around when the dinosaurs got wiped out — I’m not that old — but the leading theory says it started with a meteor impact. The space rock itself didn’t kill off the creatures…instead, the real culprit was a massive cloud of dust kicked up by the impact, blocking out the sun. Sound familiar?

I’m not convinced the climate is changing in the first place — and even if it is, it’s certainly not because of anything we’ve done. The planet’s a lot older and stronger than us. But if we give in to this manufactured panic and let the mad scientists engineer the environment for us, we’ll go the way of the dinosaurs ourselves.


Bali-Hoo: U.N Still Pushing for Global Environmental Control

Despite the debacle of the failed Copenhagen climate change conference last December, the United Nations is pressing full speed ahead with a plan for a greatly expanded system of global environmental governance and for a multitrillion-dollar economic transfer scheme to ignite the creation of a "global green economy." In other words: Copenhagen without the authority — yet — of Copenhagen.

The world body even has chosen a time and a place for the culmination of the process: a World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, the 20th anniversary of the famed "Earth Summit" that gave focus and urgency to the world environmentalist movement.

The 2012 summit date is significant for another reason: It marks the end of the legal term of agreement for the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, which includes carbon reduction targets, and provided the legal basis for an international cap-and-trade market for carbon, centered in Europe. The U.S. first signed then backed away from the Kyoto deal without ratifying it; until its apparent collapse, the comprehensive Copenhagen deal was intended to include the U.S. and supplant Kyoto with a new, legally binding regime.

The new Rio summit will end, according to U.N. documents obtained by Fox News, with a "focused political document" presumably laying out the framework and international commitments to a new Green World Order.

Just exactly what that environmental order will look like, and the extent of the immense financial commitments needed to produce it, are under discussion this week at a special session in Bali, Indonesia, of the United Nations Environment Program's 58-nation "Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum," which oversees UNEP's operations.

The GC/GMEF, as it is known, is made up of environmental ministers and top-level bureaucrats from a roster of supervising nations — the U.S. is one of them — and its meeting is surrounded by a galaxy of environmentalist non-government organizations (NGOs) and environmental journalists from around the world.

Idyllic Bali is a favored venue for U.N. environmental meetings, in part because of its seclusion from too many outside eyes, and because its Pacific location and small size make it a highly congenial hothouse for environmental enthusiasm. In 2007, it served as a launching pad for the Bali Action Plan, which laid the negotiating basis for the Copenhagen treaty process.

The latest Bali session runs from Feb. 24 to 26, and is accompanied by a welter of other UNEP activity ranging from sessions on international waste management and chemical disposal, to the start of a process aimed at a new international treaty covering the storage and disposal of environmental mercury.

But the major topics are a global system of governance and what amounts to the next stage of a radical transformation of the world economic and social order, in the name of saving the planet.

Alongside that, as always, are discussions of vast sums of money that should flow to developing nations to help them make the transition to the new, greener world. As one of the papers written in advance of the meeting to "stimulate discussion" puts it, "the situation ... presents genuine opportunities for a dramatic shift from what can be termed 'business as usual.'"

For the anonymous bureaucrats who wrote the discussion papers, "business as usual" apparently means the current world economy, which the anonymous authors disparagingly term the "brown economy," or the "current dominant economic model." It is, according to the UNEP documents, a model in crisis, "which currently consumes more biomass than the Earth produces on a sustainable basis," and also "depletes natural capital" and "risks perpetuating and exacerbating persistent poverty and distributional disparities."

The new green economy under discussion at Bali will be something very different: For starters, it is much more vague, and as far as the discussion paper authors are concerned, it will stay that way.

The paper paints the coming green order in nebulous and utopian terms. It "implies the decoupling of resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth." It involves "substantially increased investment in green sectors, supported by enabling policy reforms." The investments will "provide the mechanism for the reconfiguration of businesses, infrastructure and institutions, and for adoption of sustainable consumption and production processes." It will lead to "more green and decent jobs, reduced energy and material intensities in production processes, less waste and pollution, and significantly reduced greenhouse-gas emissions."

But when it comes to measuring the achievement of those goals, the paper says, "it is counter-productive to develop generic green economy indicators applicable to all countries given differences in natural, human and economic resources." In the process of turning brown to green, "a green economy in one country may look quite dissimilar to a green economy in another country."

All of which may make judging the value of investment in the ecological transformation difficult to evaluate, except for insiders. But then, the paper suggests that the world may have an additional governing structure composed of exactly those insiders. As the paper puts it:

"Moving towards a green economy would also provide an opportunity to re-examine national and global governance structures and consider whether such structures allow the international community to respond to current and future environmental and development challenges and to capitalize on emerging opportunities."

The discussion paper, published — but not distributed — on Dec. 14, 2009, assumes that the goal of the green economic transformation is the same as that of the ill-fated Copenhagen conference: a 50 percent reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. That, the paper says, will require a staggering $45 trillion dollar to accomplish — much of it in transfers from rich nations to poorer ones.

The paper, however, paints that as a bargain — "an average yearly investment of just over $1 trillion." About half of that would go for "replacing conventional technologies with low-carbon, environmentally sound alternatives."

Much more HERE

Energy Suicide: Unplugging America

By Alan Caruba

What was that most homeowners and apartment dwellers most feared in the recent record-breaking blizzard that hit the northeast? The answer is losing electricity and that is why the news of the event was always filled with reports of what towns had lost electricity due to downed tree limbs. This was followed by news of how quickly the utilities were making repairs.

Simply stated, when you lose electricity, you lose light and warmth, and you are instantly back to the dark ages before magical power flowed into your home through outlets throughout your house or apartment. No power leaves people searching for flashlights or, if they have planned for it, firing up a generator. That is why energy is so critical, not just to our everyday lives, but to the future of the nation. It is, in many respects, life itself.

On March 4, yet another environmental organization, this one called Natural Capitalism Solutions, will hold a teleconference, the purpose of which is to demonstrate “how utilities can benefit financially by shifting power generation from existing coal-burning plants to a combination of efficiency and renewable energy technologies.”

Let’s put this in context. Currently, coal-burning plants provide just over half of all the electricity generated in the nation. Coal is abundant and cheap. Wind and solar energy is neither. It is expensive by almost comparison and, worse, it is unreliable. Unlike the other energy sources, it provides few jobs.

Under the cold conditions of recent winter events, some wind turbines simply froze and ceased to function. In more temperate conditions, there is always the likelihood that the wind will not blow, thus necessitating the constant maintenance of back-up facilities that require coal or natural gas. This raises the obvious question, why bother with wind? Solar energy is subject to the same inconveniences if the sun is obscured by cloud cover and must constantly be monitored to remove dust on the panels that interferes with efficiency.

So-called renewable or clean energy currently represents about one percent of all the energy produced nationwide. If it weren’t for massive amounts of government cash and subsidies, there would be little or no renewable energy.

The U.S. is home to huge reserves of coal. It is often called the Saudi Arabia of coal. The same applies to oil. For all the talk of “energy independence”, the U.S. through its energy policies has been embarked since around the 1970s on something I call energy suicide.

If there is one thing the Greens truly hate it is the fuels we use to maintain our economy and our lifestyle. High on the list is coal, but it is essential to understand that the Greens are at war with oil and nuclear power as well. While fifty-five nuclear plants are being built worldwide, the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world thanks to the opposition of the Greens.

The purpose of cap-and-trade legislation, the next horror the Obama administration wants to foists on us, is to make the use of coal very expensive by claiming that it generates so much “greenhouse gas” that global warming is always just around the corner. This is no global warming and those greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, vital to all life on Earth as plant food. Nevertheless, reports are seeping out of the festering wound we call Congress that thirteen U.S. Senators are urging the Majority Leader and the authors of cap-and-trade “to specifically grant the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired plants.”

Without legitimate scientific justification, EPA should not be able regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but that is not likely to stop it from trying since real science or facts of any kind have rarely deterred its destructive agenda.

This is just another example of the Greens incessant and relentless attack on a major source of America’s vital source of life, its electrical power, and a major fuel source to generate it.

To return to the teleconference, those charged with the management of utilities would have to be mentally impaired or stupid beyond belief to give serious consideration to wind or solar power. It will be argued that those advocating this idiocy are naïve or just seeking energy alternatives for whatever noble notions they claim to have, but there is no such thing as “natural” capitalism. There is just capitalism and, the last time I checked, it operates on the basis of profit achieved in the most cost efficient and productive way to be competitive in the interest of its investors, its employees, and its consumers.

I think those in Congress and involved in the mind-boggling matrix of thousands of Green groups are engaged in doing as much harm as they can, as swiftly as they can, to the American economy and our future as a nation.


Australia: Police may lay charges over fatal results of rushed Greenie scheme

Peter "The Skull" Garrett should be in the dock too. He is the responsible Federal environment minister who seemed not to know his a*s from his elbow and basically seems to have supervised nothing in his portfolio

THE Federal Government's home insulation debacle took another twist yesterday with police confirming criminal charges could be laid over the three Queensland deaths. Detectives have been interviewing witnesses and gathering forensic evidence in all three cases, which occurred between October 2009 and February this year.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland officers are continuing separate investigations. They were still interviewing people last week and moving towards a potential prosecution of individuals or companies. Individuals could face two years jail and a maximum $100,000 fine if found guilty of offences causing death.

The latest moves come as a NSW company ABC Insulation became the first installer to be penalised. It was hit with a $10,000 fine after a dodgy installation resulted in extensive fire damage to a western Sydney home. In Queensland, authorities said they were working quickly to complete reports into the fatalities. Police said they were investigating the deaths, but added it would be up to the coroner in each case to decide whether police explored criminal charges.

The directors behind two Queensland companies linked to fatalities were newcomers to insulation installation.

Matthew Fuller, 25, was electrocuted and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Monique Pridmore, received serious burns while installing foil insulation in a Meadowbrook home in Logan last October. He was working for QHI Installations, a company contracted by Brisbane-based Countrywide Insulation to do the work. Countrywide Insulation was founded by former bankrupt Jude Kirk, whose previous business interest was in telemarketing. A spokesman for Countrywide said it had not had any contact with authorities since an interview before Christmas. Countrywide reportedly secured 2000 insulation contracts before it was deregistered.

Also under investigation is the death of 22-year-old Mitchell Sweeney, who was electrocuted while working in the ceiling of a house at Millaa Millaa, southwest of Cairns, on February 4. He was employed by Gold Coast company Titan Insulations. Company records show Titan was co-owned by 26-year-old Nicholas Lindsay, a Building Services Authority-licensed builder, who established the company with Frederick Palomar in 2009. Titan was struck off the registered installers list before the program was scrapped, but Mr Lindsay is still able to operate as a builder.

Ben Aarons, the owner of the home where Mr Sweeney was killed, said he had not had any contact with authorities or Titan since the day of the accident. "I haven't heard a thing. They left a few rolls of insulation here but I don't think they'll be back to pick it up," he said last week. "The power was off for about 12 days. They got an electrician in to check everything about three weeks ago and it was given the all-clear. "But the Sweeney family lost a son so it's no big deal to go without power for a little while."

A third Queenslander killed was 16-year-old Rueben Barnes. Mr Barnes was killed on November 18 while installing insulation at Stanwell near Rockhampton. He was working for Arrow Property Maintenance, a company based in Rockhampton since 2006.



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


7 March, 2010

Methane frozen beneath Arctic sea bed being released at a faster rate than estimated

There seems to be some attempt to portray this finding as being a cause for alarm -- e.g. here. All that it in fact shows, however, is that previous estimates were wrong -- an all too common event among Warmists. It does NOT show that methane release has accelerated in recent years

Vast quantities of methane are stored in ocean sediments, mostly in the form of clathrates, but methane is also trapped in submerged terrestrial permafrost that was flooded during the last deglaciation. There is thus concern that climate warming could warm ocean waters enough to release methane cryogenically trapped beneath the seabed, causing even more warming. Shakhova et al. report that more than 80% of the bottom water, and more than 50% of the surface water, over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, is indeed supersaturated with methane that is being released from the sub-sea permafrost, and that the flux to the atmosphere now is as great as previous estimates of that from the entire world ocean.


Journal abstract below:

Extensive Methane Venting to the Atmosphere from Sediments of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

By Natalia Shakhova et al.

Remobilization to the atmosphere of only a small fraction of the methane held in East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) sediments could trigger abrupt climate warming, yet it is believed that sub-sea permafrost acts as a lid to keep this shallow methane reservoir in place. Here, we show that more than 5000 at-sea observations of dissolved methane demonstrates that greater than 80% of ESAS bottom waters and greater than 50% of surface waters are supersaturated with methane regarding to the atmosphere. The current atmospheric venting flux, which is composed of a diffusive component and a gradual ebullition component, is on par with previous estimates of methane venting from the entire World Ocean. Leakage of methane through shallow ESAS waters needs to be considered in interactions between the biogeosphere and a warming Arctic climate.

Science 5 March 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5970, pp. 1246 - 1250

More data selectivity from NASA -- Britain's CRU is not alone

Comment from Tasmania

On the subject of surface stations, one can click here to go anywhere on a world map and bring up temperature graphs of the surface stations in that area. The stations are the ones used by NASA’s GISS to help calculate global mean temperature.

For Tasmania it appears that up until 1993 there were 25 stations being used. At the end of 1992 most of those stations were dropped for data gathering purposes, leaving only the ones at Launceston and Hobart Airports for the next six years. This wiped out many rural areas, all our high stations and also those on the colder, more exposed West Coast.

Two coastal stations appear to have been resurrected around 2008 - Eddystone Point on the warmer north-east tip of Tasmania and Cape Bruny on Bruny Island south of Hobart in the D’entrecasteaux Channel. They are probably now automated.

I have no idea why so many stations were dropped all at once, but interestingly, in examining the charts I found that almost all had recorded a sharp drop of between 1.2 to 1.4 degrees Celsius in the four years from 1988 to 1992, which of course would have been a rather uncomfortable fact for those pushing the AGW theory. Without the colder areas and combined with the known UHI effect at airports, Tasmania would presumably have been contributing warmer mean temperatures to the global calculations after 1992.

However, at the risk of being accused of “cherry-picking”, Launceston Airport may still be an inconvenient truth for the AGW lobby, particularly Tasmania’s “catastrophic man-made global warming” alarmists, Christine Milne, Bob Brown and the Greens.

The trend line has been remarkably stable and refusing to record any local or global warming in that area. The first recorded annual mean temperature was 12.1 degrees in 1939 and 70 years later in 2009, 11.8 degrees. The 1939 mean temperature has only been exceeded five times in that 70 years and only twice with any significance - by 0.4 of a degree in 1962 and 0.6 in 1988.

A brief look at other parts of Australia show that many stations were dropped after 1992. It would be interesting to see the results if other posters here checked the stations in their own areas. Any takers?


Climate scientists to fight back at skeptics

Apparently a pliant media and academe are not enough to defeat a small band of truth tellers

Undaunted by a rash of scandals over the science underpinning climate change, top climate researchers are plotting to respond with what one scientist involved said needs to be "an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach" to gut the credibility of skeptics.

In private e-mails obtained by The Washington Times, climate scientists at the National Academy of Sciences say they are tired of "being treated like political pawns" and need to fight back in kind. Their strategy includes forming a nonprofit group to organize researchers and use their donations to challenge critics by running a back-page ad in the New York Times. "Most of our colleagues don't seem to grasp that we're not in a gentlepersons' debate, we're in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules," Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University researcher, said in one of the e-mails. [Not false prophet Ehrlich again!]

Some scientists question the tactic and say they should focus instead on perfecting their science, but the researchers who are organizing the effort say the political battle is eroding confidence in their work. "This was an outpouring of angry frustration on the part of normally very staid scientists who said, 'God, can't we have a civil dialogue here and discuss the truth without spinning everything,'" said Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford professor and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment who was part of the e-mail discussion but wants the scientists to take a slightly different approach.

The scientists have been under siege since late last year when e-mails leaked from a British climate research institute seemed to show top researchers talking about skewing data to push predetermined outcomes. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the authoritative body on the matter, has suffered defections of members after it had to retract claims that Himalayan glaciers will melt over the next 25 years.

Last month, President Obama announced that he would create a U.S. agency to arbitrate research on climate change.

Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and a chief skeptic of global-warming claims, is considering asking the Justice Department to investigate whether climate scientists who receive taxpayer-funded grants falsified data. He lists 17 people he said have been key players in the controversy....

Not all climate scientists agree with forcing a political fight. "Sounds like this group wants to step up the warfare, continue to circle the wagons, continue to appeal to their own authority, etc.," said Judith A. Curry, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Surprising, since these strategies haven't worked well for them at all so far."

She said scientists should downplay their catastrophic predictions, which she said are premature, and instead shore up and defend their research. She said scientists and institutions that have been pushing for policy changes "need to push the disconnect button for now," because it will be difficult to take action until public confidence in the science is restored. "Hinging all of these policies on global climate change with its substantial element of uncertainty is unnecessary and is bad politics, not to mention having created a toxic environment for climate research," she said. Ms. Curry also said that more engagement between scientists and the public would help - something that the NAS researchers also proposed.

Paul G. Falkowski, a professor at Rutgers University who started the effort, said in the e-mails that he is seeking a $1,000 donation from as many as 50 scientists to pay for an ad to run in the New York Times. He said in one e-mail that commitments were already arriving.


AGW science and due process

A powerful and vital aspect of the fully free society would be that only those burdens may be imposed on citizens that they have been convincingly shown, via due process of law, to deserve. This is roughly how the criminal law works. This is why the prosecution carries the onus of proof and not the defense–all the defense (the skeptic!) needs to do is point out serious holes in the case being mounted by the prosecution and the jury will acquit.

In contrast, when in the old Soviet Union a police officer suspected someone of criminal activity, this would pretty much close the case and the accused would have to try to do something awfully difficult, namely, prove a negative: “I am not guilty.”

The New York Times reports in a recent issue that AGW–anthropogenic global warming–scientists are beginning to mount a defense of their work in light of the growing skepticism that follows some of the recent (more or less serious) malpractice by some of them. As The Times presents the story, some of the scientists are pretty much baffled by the persistent skepticism. They appear to believe that their education, research, and academic credentials should suffice to make the case for what they earnestly believe.

This suggests that the protesting scientists share the attitude with the police officers of the former Soviet Union: A suspect is guilty until proven innocent. These –though by no means all– scientists appear to want the skeptics to conclusively disprove AGW.

But in a debate about the AGW hypothesis it isn’t the doubters who owe the proof, just as in a court of criminal law (as noted above) it is not the defense that owes the proof but the prosecution. And this is quite sensible: the assertion that someone has done the crime is provable if true since there is a reality corresponding to it; the assertion that someone hasn’t done the crime is not except for showing that the case in support of guilt is weak, not true beyond a reasonable doubt. (Proving negatives is only possible once the argument for the positive is in place, otherwise on is shooting in the dark!)

What the scientists need to realize is that a sizable portion of the public holds to the idea: the onus of proof is on those asserting the AGW theory. And it needs to be a solid proof at that since the consequences of accepting it imply Draconian burdens to be imposed on the public, burdens no one ought to suffer unless there is powerful proof that it is deserved.

Al Gore & Co. are very enthusiastic about imposing these burdens not just on Americans and other citizens of developed countries but on virtually everyone across the globe, even those whose chances to finally emerging out of poverty will be severely undermined by them. Given the prospect of such public policy consequence, the pro-AGW scientists simply must realize that many of us don’t want a plausible theory, not even a probably true one. What we want is something that nails the case firmly, without any reasonable doubt left. But this of course the scientists haven’t managed to produce and there is evidence that among them there are quite a few skeptics –e.g., reportedly among physicists. In other words the pro-AGW scientists need to realize that they don’t run the show and cannot expect to lord it over the rest of us merely because they have a strong suspicion about AGW. That will not suffice for free men and women, not by a long shot.

Perhaps it is a sign of the waning influence of the classical liberal political and legal tradition that we are witnessing with these scientists insisting that their current case alone should suffice and we need all comply, never mind reasonable doubt. That would be a devastating development for it could establish a precedent that is completely antithetical to how a government in a free country must treat the citizenry. It would, in short, begin to usher in dictatorship. I doubt even scientists confident of their belief in AGW want something like that to happen. [I wonder ... JR]


British meteorologists concede that they can't predict even three months ahead

But predicting 50 years ahead is a cinch!

Britain was in for a season of mildness, the Met Office announced, shortly before the coldest winter in 31 years. That followed the prediction of a barbecue summer that went on to leave the nation with some very soggy sausages. Now the Met Office is to abandon the seasonal forecasts that have brought it so much recent humiliation.

While the move will be seen inevitably as a climbdown, the Met Office insists that it comes after widespread public polling over the past few months. “All our research shows that the public aren’t interested in seasonal weather forecasts, but they do want a monthly forecast, which we’ll be running on our website,” an official said.

Some experts, though, argue that the forecasts were too experimental for public consumption, and were harming the reputation of the Met Office. “I don’t think these forecasts are much value to the public,” said Professor Mike Hulme, at the University of East Anglia. “When people see them going wrong, they see everything else the Met Office does is wrong, and it weakens the rest of their science.”

Even the chief executive of the Met Office, John Hirst, gave a less than full-hearted endorsement of his own forecasting team during this winter. “Our recent seasonal forecasts have been disappointing,” he told The Times. “Our initial prediction that this winter was likely to be mild in the UK is going to be wide of the mark.” It was, instead, the coldest winter in decades. “To be fair, we’ve always said this is a developing area of forecasting,” Mr Hirst added. “We’ve also emphasised the probabilities and uncertainties involved in these forecasts.”

Others, though, have criticised the way the forecasts were overhyped. The much derided “barbecue summer” headline was a piece of PR spin — added long after the forecasters had done their work. In fact, the forecasters had predicted a warmer than average summer and were perfectly candid in admitting that there was no indication of what the rainfall would be. In the event they were vindicated, because June, July and August were all warmer than normal. It was the rainfall that washed out the barbecues, not the temperatures. Predicting whether a season will be wet or dry is far more difficult than temperatures because rains are more susceptible to the vagaries of winds and other capricious weather patterns.

The prediction of a mild winter this year was an enormous howler, however. Even so, the forecasters had warned of a cold end to the winter, around February, thanks to a huge disturbance in the atmosphere triggered by El Niño in the Pacific. This launched a massive plume of warm air high into the atmosphere that led to bitterly cold Arctic air being shunted down through Europe. That part of the forecast came true.

Long-range forecasts need to be handled with care. This is cutting-edge science, only about 25 years old, but has scored more success in the tropical regions, such as forecasting seasonal rains in Africa, where the impact of oceans on the weather is more predictable.

But in the mid-latitudes, where Britain sits, the ocean and atmosphere are less predictable, which leaves the forecasts riddled with uncertainties. They have to be expressed in infuriatingly woolly language, using statistical probabilities, while the public wants something that is much more clear-cut. That is why seasonal weather forecasts will in future be restricted to the experts.


Glass Dismissed

Attacking someone’s religion is a practice guaranteed to elicit heated responses. This is certainly true when one dares to question the deeply-held tenets of the First Church of Environmentalism. The green commandment “thou shalt recycle” is an especially touchy subject. Yet, at the risk of damnation, let us consider another bit of blasphemy: there is no good reason — environmentally, economically or otherwise — to recycle glass.

One of the reasons that we are told we have to recycle is that it takes so long for many wastes to decompose in a landfill. This argument presupposes that there is something inherently wrong, even dangerous, about burying an inert material under the soil in a relatively small plot of land. The decomposition argument is not the only evidence used by recycling zealots to advance their case, but it’s an especially important exhibit.

Wastes that end up in landfills can be broken down into two broad categories: organic and inorganic. Organic wastes, like foodstuffs and paper, break down pretty quickly; twenty years is the generally-accepted rule of thumb decomposition period for organic waste in a landfill. Plastics are the organic exception to this rule, but that’s another column. Global warming alarmism has changed the way that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) views the organic decomposition process. When organic wastes decompose, they create methane, which can then be recovered and thus used to generate electricity. This energy is, according to EPA, renewable, greenhouse-gas-neutral power and is therefore prized. Indeed, under the proposed Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, power generated through the use of landfill gas would be exempt from what would effectively be a carbon tax.

Of course, burning those organic wastes directly is still officially frowned upon. That would be “incineration” and incineration is bad. The irony here is that it is enormously difficult to obtain EPA permission to separate the organic components of a waste stream and burn them “tomorrow” to generate renewable energy, but it’s perfectly fine – environmentally friendly even – to bury those same materials under a mound of earth and slowly recover their energy value over the course of two decades.

In general, inorganic wastes take a very long time to decompose. Inorganic wastes include metals like aluminum and steel and, to return to the focal point of this piece, glass. Depending on the source, the decomposition rate for glass is variously quoted as thousands to millions of years. The first question that leaps to mind is a basic one: Who cares? Undecomposed glass does not, can not, harm the environment or endanger human health by any possible stretch of the most vivid imagination. Chemically speaking, you can’t get much more inert than glass. Further, as I have previously pointed out, we’re hardly hurting for landfill space that an excess of glass waste could somehow use up.

The second question that quickly follows is this: What does the term “glass decomposition” even mean? Glass is primarily comprised of fused silica, i.e., sand. If the concern here is that it takes thousands or millions of years before silica crystals that make up the empty bottle of your favorite libation finally break apart into smaller pieces, here’s a suggestion: grab a ball-peen hammer and smash the offending bottle into smithereens. Problem solved. (Safety warning: please don’t forget to don your safety goggles should you perform this valuable environmental service).

The big problems with glass recycling are that: a) the primary raw material (sand) used in glass production is plentiful and cheap, and b) the supply of recycled glass far exceeds demand. There are a couple of reasons for the latter. The first has to do with the chemical composition of recycled glass. While glass is primarily made up of silica, it also contains trace amounts of other chemicals that are specific to the application in question. The chemical compositions of the glass in windshields, beverage containers and panes of window glass are all subtly different; each product is carefully engineered to optimize performance related to a specific end use.

Ground, recycled glass, called “cullet” in the industry, is a mish-mash of diverse chemical components. Accordingly, glass manufacturers can only use a small amount of cullet when producing their products. If they use too much cullet they run the risk of compromising the integrity of whatever they are manufacturing. In recognition of this inherent problem, recycling proponents have labored valiantly to create new markets for cullet, but those markets don’t even come close to addressing the gross over-supply of waste glass. When you drop that empty bottle of brew in your recycle bin, chances are that it will ultimately end up in a landfill.

The other problem with recycled glass involves color. Like it or not, manufacturers who utilize glass products are charged with producing specific colors. Heineken beer bottles are green, while Miller favors clear glass and Michelob chooses a brown hue for their brand of suds. When bottle manufacturers utilize cullet, they introduce a wild-card that has the potential to throw their color-matching train off track. Accordingly, color-matching is another reason why recycled glass is used sparingly. The problem is especially acute when it comes to green glass. While the market for recycled glass of any color is limited, the demand for green glass is practically non-existent. Some municipalities that require residents to recycle glass have tried to exempt green glass from their recycling ordinances, to little avail. Environmental groups will not tolerate such apostasy, even when blasphemy is grounded in marketplace reality.

Glass recycling programs are perhaps the ultimate example of environmentally inspired, pointless government intervention in the free market. A recycled commodity with essentially no value has been declared by government mandate an essential resource when it is anything but.

Want to prove the point? After you have dutifully set aside your recyclables, try this: sort out your aluminum cans and your glass bottles and place them in separate piles upon your front lawn. I’ll guarantee you that some enterprising scavenger will collect the aluminum in short order, because those cans will bring a profit. The glass bottles? They will go untouched, leaving your neighbors to wonder what in the heck you are trying to pull. When it comes to the environmental movement’s recycling dogma, one has to wonder the same thing.



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


6 March, 2010

Man-made climate change evidence stronger: Claim

I will leave it to skeptical climatologists to make systematic comments on the report below but a few comments from me anyway: The peer-reviewed papers concerned almost certainly are based on data from some years back -- and there have been a lot of changes in recent years that make the conclusions laughable. Take the claim that the Earth is continuing to warm at the rate of about 0.16C a decade. Who knew? That's nowhere in the data for the last 10 years. And even Phil Jones of CRU admits that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. "Not statistically significant" means "so small that it could have been caused by chance alone".

On a more personal note, the claim that more rain is falling in high and low latitudes and less in tropical and sub-tropical regions is really a laugh. I live in the sub-tropics and we are having huge amounts of rain -- with most dams in the region overflowing and rarely seen high levels in those that are not overflowing: "Dams are holding the most water ever recorded in Queensland's history". To sum up the report below in one word: Crap -- JR

EVIDENCE that human activity is causing global warming is much stronger than previously stated and is found in all parts of the world, according to a study that attempts to refute claims from sceptics. The "fingerprints" of human influence on the climate can be detected not just in rising temperatures but in the saltiness of the oceans, rising humidity, changes in rainfall and the shrinking of Arctic Sea ice at the rate of 600,000sq km a decade.

The study, by senior scientists from Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of Edinburgh, Melbourne University and Victoria University in Canada, concluded that there was an "increasingly remote possibility" that the sceptics were right that human activities were having no discernible impact. There was a less than 5 per cent likelihood that natural variations in climate were responsible for the changes.

The study said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had understated mankind's overall contribution to climate change. The IPCC had said in 2007 that there was no evidence of warming in the Antarctic. However, the panel said the latest observations showed that man-made emissions were having an impact on even the remotest continent.

The panel assessed more than 100 recent peer-reviewed scientific papers and found that the overwhelming majority had detected clear evidence of human influence on the climate. Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, who led the study, said: "This wealth of evidence we have now shows there is an increasingly remote possibility of climate change being dominated by natural factors rather than human factors."

However, a section of the study that said changes in hurricane activity were poorly understood is likely to be seized on by sceptics, who argue that disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have been falsely blamed on man-made global warming.

Publication of the research in the journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change comes as two inquiries are being held into accusations, based on leaked e-mails, that scientists at Britain's University of East Anglia mani- pulated and suppressed climate data. The study found that since 1980, the average global temperature had increased by about 0.5C (0.9F) and that the Earth was continuing to warm at the rate of about 0.16C a decade.

This trend is reflected in measurements from the oceans. Warmer temperatures had led to more evaporation from the surface, most noticeably in the sub-tropical Atlantic, said Dr Stott. As a result, the sea was getting saltier. Evaporation in turn affected humidity and rainfall. The atmosphere was getting more humid, as climate models had predicted, and amplifying the water cycle. This meant more rain was falling in high and low latitudes and less in tropical and sub-tropical regions.


Climategate: This time it’s NASA

The "Climategate" scandal, which broke in November 2009, revealed what many skeptics had privately suspected. Prominent climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) had collaborated to keep data out of skeptics' hands, subverted the peer review process, and used questionable methods to construct the temperature record on which the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC) based its recommendations.

Now a new "Climategate" scandal is emerging, this time based on documents released by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in response to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suits filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The newly released emails further demonstrate the politicized nature of climate science, revealing a number of questionable practices that cast doubt on the credibility of scientific data provided by NASA.

The emails reveal that GISS, like CRU, has done a poor job of preserving and managing its data. Although there is no evidence that GISS has destroyed its data, as CRU did in the late 1980s, Dr. Reto Ruedy of GISS admits in an email that "[The United States Historical Climate Network] data are not routinely kept up-to-date." In another email, he reveals that NASA had inflated its temperature data since 2000 on a questionable basis. "[NASA's] assumption that the adjustments made the older data consistent with future data… may not have been correct," he says. "Indeed, in 490 of the 1057 stations the USHCN data were up to 1C colder than the corresponding GHCN data, in 77 stations the data were the same, and in the remaining 490 stations the USHCN data were warmer than the GHCN data."

Unfortunately, it seems that the discrepancy privately highlighted by Dr. Ruedy was not coincidental, but part of a broader pattern of misrepresentation on the part of GISS. Between 2002 and 2005, GISS chief James Hansen issued press releases headlined "2005 Warmest Year in a Century;" "2006 was Earth's Fifth Warmest Year;" and "The 2002 meteorological year is the second warmest year in the period of accurate instrumental data." In other words, global warming is happening and that immediate action is necessary.

However, as Canadian researcher Steve McIntyre points out, these releases were inconsistent with other NASA documents that suggest that the warmest year in U.S. history was actually 1934. In response to McIntyre, Hansen emailed Dr. Donald E. Anderson, saying that, "If one wished to be scientific, instead of trying to confuse the public … one should note that single year temperatures for an area as small as the U.S. (2% of the globe) are extremely noisy." In a similar email to Dr. Anderson on August 14, 2007, Hansen described the previously touted temperature "records" as "minor," "negligible," and "less than the uncertainty."

In fact, further corrections revealed by the emails indicate that U.S. temperatures on average had only increased by 0.5 degree Celsius since 1934, rather than 1 degree, as originally claimed.

The released emails from both the University of East Anglia and NASA illustrate how far the "scientific consensus" on climate change has been politicized -- to the point of unreliability. Dependent on an alarmist atmosphere for continued government funding, state-sponsored scientific organizations have a strong incentive to hire ideologically committed partisans.

Taken together, these revelations all show that we actually know much less about the workings of the climate than politicized scientists and advocates like Al Gore say we do. Yet virtually all calls to "action" to prevent climate change are based on the belief that the extent to which greenhouse gases have overwhelmed natural forces in affecting the climate is a settled question.

Despite all this, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is forging ahead with its politically motivated finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare and need to be expensively regulated. Thankfully, as the evidence of the bankruptcy of much of the "settled" climate science continues to accumulate, public outcry may help bring this politically motivated agenda to an end.


Snowball Earth: The real climate change threat

Though hopefully not for a long time. If and when it hapens again it will be a REAL disaster

Earth's glacial cycles have varied dramatically over time; at one point glaciers may have covered nearly the entire planet. Correlating various paleoclimate proxies such as fossil and isotope records from that time hinges on the ability to acquire precise age estimates of rocks deposited around the time of this so-called "Snowball Earth." Macdonald et al. (p. 1241) report new high-precision U-Pb dates of Neoproterozoic strata in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, Canada, to calibrate the timing of carbon isotope variation in rocks from other locations around the globe. Based on the estimated past positions of where these rocks were deposited, glaciers probably extended to equatorial latitudes. The overlap with the survival and, indeed, diversification of some eukaryotes in the fossil record suggests that life survived in localized ecological niches during this global glaciation.


Journal abstract below:

Calibrating the Cryogenian

By Francis A. Macdonald et al.

The Neoproterozoic was an era of great environmental and biological change, but a paucity of direct and precise age constraints on strata from this time has prevented the complete integration of these records. We present four high-precision U-Pb ages for Neoproterozoic rocks in northwestern Canada that constrain large perturbations in the carbon cycle, a major diversification and depletion in the microfossil record, and the onset of the Sturtian glaciation. A volcanic tuff interbedded with Sturtian glacial deposits, dated at 716.5 million years ago, is synchronous with the age of the Franklin large igneous province and paleomagnetic poles that pin Laurentia to an equatorial position. Ice was therefore grounded below sea level at very low paleolatitudes, which implies that the Sturtian glaciation was global in extent.

Science 5 March 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5970, pp. 1241 - 1243

Democrat lawmakers move to restrain EPA on climate change

As climate change legislation stalled in the Senate, the Obama administration noted that it had a workable -- although admittedly unwieldy -- Plan B. If Congress wouldn't cap U.S. emissions, officials said, the Environmental Protection Agency would do it instead. Now, even Plan B may be in trouble.

On Thursday, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill that would put a two-year freeze on the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants. His was the latest of various congressional proposals -- from both chambers and both parties -- designed to delay or overturn the EPA's regulations. It is unclear how far Rockefeller's bill will go. Even if it passed, it could face a presidential veto. But environmentalists are worried that the measure could attract moderate Democrats, who are worried, in turn, about driving up the prices of fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

And, in a broader sense, activists are concerned about a loss of momentum for action on climate change. Since the House passed a climate bill last summer, there has been disappointment in Copenhagen, gridlock in the Senate and increased skepticism in opinion polls. Now, some environmentalists say, it turns out the old worst-case scenario -- a crackdown by the EPA as the only option -- might not be as bad as it can get.

Rockefeller's legislation would not affect the EPA's plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. But it would prevent the agency from implementing -- or even doing much work on -- caps on emissions from such "stationary sources" as power plants and factories. Experts say the bill could postpone regulations for as much as four years.

Rockefeller said the two-year delay would allow time for Congress to impose its own rules on emissions and, perhaps, for technological breakthroughs to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels. "Today, we took important action to safeguard jobs, the coal industry and the entire economy," Rockefeller said. West Virginia is a major coal producer. Rockefeller added, "Congress, not the EPA, must be the ideal decision-maker on such a challenging issue."

Oil and mining industries started lobbying for Rockefeller's proposal as soon as it was introduced, although Lou Hayden, a policy analyst for the American Petroleum Institute, said Rockefeller didn't go far enough. Petroleum industry groups have said that higher fuel costs would be a heavy weight on the U.S. economy. "We don't know why [the freeze on EPA authority] isn't made permanent," Hayden said.

Several other Democrats have already signaled their unease about the administration's tackling climate change without explicit congressional approval.


Frog die-off: Don't tell me Warmists got that one wrong too!

Not a single mention of climate change in the report from Australia below: How unusual. A few years ago global warming was the universally acclaimed culprit worldwide

In the world of amphibians, it is the equivalent of finding the Tasmanian tiger. A species of frog presumed extinct for nearly 30 years has turned up in the Southern Tablelands. The yellow-spotted bell frog was once ubiquitous in the northern and southern tablelands of NSW, but was almost wiped out after the chytrid fungus arrived from Africa in the early 1970s.

It was found alive and well in 2008 by government researcher Luke Pearce, who was searching for a native fish, the southern pygmy perch. Instead, he spotted the bell frog, which has distinctive markings on its groin and thighs. But Mr Pearce had to wait until last October before he could return with David Hunter, the threatened species officer of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, to confirm the finding. "We heard this bell frog call," Mr Pearce said. "[We] went down looking for it and actually nearly stepped on it. It was quite amazing. This frog was just waiting there to be found."

In one stretch of stream on a farm in an unspecified part of the Southern Tablelands, an estimated 100 yellow-spotted bell frogs have been found. Six tadpoles have been taken to Taronga Zoo to establish a breeding program. "If it has a predisposition to being resistant to this fungus, as opposed to having site attributes resulting in resistance, that will afford it much greater protection when we start putting it elsewhere," Dr Hunter said.

Michael McFadden, an amphibian keeper at Taronga Zoo, said the fungus had caused the loss of seven frog species in Australia. It was thought to have wiped out two species that have been found in the past few years. In all, almost a quarter of the state's frog species have been affected by the fungus, including 15 threatened varieties such as the green and golden bell frog, the corroboree frog and the spotted tree frog. "Highland species of frogs crashed really hard," he said.

Two years ago, the armoured mist frog of northern Queensland was found after not being seen since the early 1990s. "This is the equivalent of discovering the Tasmanian tiger, in terms of amphibians, in terms of frogs," the NSW Environment Minister, Frank Sartor, said of the latest find


Dozens of ships stuck in Baltic ice

That pesky global warming again!

ABOUT 50 ships, including large ferries carrying thousands of people, are stuck in the ice in the Baltic Sea and many were not likely to be freed for hours. Swedish maritime authorities said the vessels were awaiting help from ice breakers. Two passenger ferries had been freed.

Johny Lindvall of the Swedish Maritime Administration's ice breaker unit said all the six ferries besides one were shuttling passengers between Sweden and Finland, while the Regal Star ferry had been on its way to Estonia. Sweden's TT news agency first reported that the two largest ferries, the Isabella and the Amorella, were in total carrying 2630 passengers, but later revised the number to 1841. The Isabella has been freed, while the Amorella and the Regal Star were among the ferries that are still stuck, Mr Lindvall said.

Viking Line head Jan Kaarstroem told TT that his company's ferries were well equipped to handle ice and that all the passengers were safe.

Two ice breakers are in the area where the ferries are stuck, while a third is on its way after helping commercial vessels further north in the Bay of Bothnia, Mr Lindvall said. That ice breaker “will not get there until midnight at the earliest, so they'll be stuck there until tomorrow morning at least”, he said.

Many of the commercial vessels had got stuck in the narrow Bay of Bothnia, where the ice is thicker, and around the autonomous Aaland islands. All the ferries meanwhile had run into trouble just outside the Stockholm archipelago made up of more than 20,000 islands, Lindvall said. “They got caught outside the archipelago, where there is moving ice. It's hard to navigate,” he said, adding that he had not seen a situation with so many ships stuck at once since the mid-1980s.

Sweden has suffered an unusually harsh winter this year, with temperatures across the country almost continuously lying well below freezing since December. And with gusting, freezing winds whipping the Baltic over the past week, it was easy for ships to get stuck, Mr Lindvall said.

The large ferries are equipped to break their way through the thin layers of ice that often cover parts of the Baltic they traffic. That is perhaps why a number of them decided to ignore a warning the Swedish Maritime Administration had issued this week, according to Ulf Gullne, also of the administration's ice breaker unit. “The problem is that these big ferries think they can handle the ice. They have extremely powerful engines, but in this case the ice was simply too difficult for them,” he told Swedish public radio.

But Viking Line head Kaarstroem told TT the Amorella and the Isabella had already left port when the ice warning came.

SOURCE (Update: All the ships have now been freed)


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


5 March, 2010

The University of East Anglia CRU comes clean: there WAS a medieval warm period

Admitted by none less than Phil Jones's boss

Finally, after all this time we start hearing the truth out of a government inquiry.
Next to him, holding a metaphorical hand, was Professor Edward Acton, his vice-chancellor, who interrupted at intervals to tell the committee what a splendid fellow Jones was and how his unit was doing magnificent work warning the world.

Acton conceded that not everything pointed in the same direction. It’s acknowledged that several hundred years ago Earth became much warmer. If we knew why, we could explain a lot. “The early medieval period is something we should spend more time researching,” he mused.
The infamous ‘hockey stick graph’ is now debunked even by those who used to worship it.

If you use a graph as evidence, then the data you used to make it up is therefore equally exposed as being faulty.

All around it was a bad day for warmism and Dr Phil Jones.
The sight of another scientist being skewered makes for painful viewing. Whatever your view on man-made global warming, you had to feel sorry for Professor Phil Jones, the man behind the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia
Feel bad? You’ve got to be kidding me.


Global warming winners

The greatest scandal connected to global warming is not exaggeration, fraud or destruction of data to conceal the weakness of the argument. It is those who are personally profiting from promoting this fantasy at the expense of the rest of us.

Al Gore is the most visible beneficiary. The world's greatest climate-change fear-monger has amassed millions in book sales and speaking fees. His science-fiction movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," won an Academy Award for best documentary and 21 other film awards. He was co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

Meanwhile, Mr. Gore was laying his own foundations. As he was whipping up hysteria over climate change, he cannily invested in "green" firms that stood to profit in the hundreds of millions of dollars (if not more) from increased government regulations and sweetheart deals from connected politicians and bureaucrats. The multimillionaire climate dilettante was given a free pass by reporters, who refused to ask him hard questions about the degree to which he was profiting from the panic he was causing.

With the global-warming story line unraveling, the New York Times allowed Mr. Gore to run what amounted to an unpaid advertisement for his brand of climate-change hysteria. This screed, published Saturday, reiterated his claim that the world faces an "unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it." That's pretty good rhetoric for the person with the largest carbon footprint in the world.

Mr. Gore is not the only one profiting from climate fraud. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace prize with Mr. Gore, is also the director general of the Energy and Resources Institute. The New Delhi-based research group has received substantial financial grants to examine the issue of the world's vanishing glaciers, a purported crisis that was highlighted in the 2007 IPCC climate-change report. The glaciology unit is headed by Syed Hasnain, who in 1999 claimed that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035, which became a noted scare quote in the IPCC report.

A more detailed study found that glacial melt was far less pronounced and widespread than claimed by the global-warming proponents. Mr. Pachauri denounced this skepticism as "voodoo science." However, in January, Murari Lal, who wrote the glacier section of the 2007 IPCC report, admitted that the alarmist claims were not backed by peer-reviewed science but had been included in the report for a political purpose, which was to "impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action." No word on whether Mr. Pachauri will return his institute's grant money, but we doubt it.

The greatest potential profits are possible in the ill-defined "carbon trading" industry, currently valued at $126 billion. The trade in carbon emission credits - a key aspect of the beleaguered "cap-and-trade" energy bill now stalled in Congress - will make quick fortunes for the "carbon brokers" assisting companies with reducing their carbon footprints. But because carbon quotas and the acceptable means of measuring them will be determined by the government, this will benefit those who combine presumed expertise with political access, which in the Obama administration means the climate-change alarmists.

Mr. Gore is heavily involved in this scam through Generation Investment Management LLP, which he chairs, and Mr. Pachauri also has been accused of making millions from carbon trading. The dubious science of cap-and-trade and its productivity-killing implications make the bill unlikely to be passed in an election year, but any moves toward this framework will enhance the fortunes of these and other well-connected adherents to the global-warming cult at the expense of businesses and private citizens.

Given the clear conflicts of interest of those who both promote and profit from climate-change alarmism, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize should be rescinded.


The money trail

Rather amazingly, this was published on the site of Australia's very Left-leaning ABC

Somehow the tables have turned. For all the smears of big money funding the "deniers", the numbers reveal that the sceptics are actually the true grassroots campaigners, while Greenpeace defends Wall St. How times have changed.

Sceptics are fighting a billion dollar industry aligned with a trillion dollar trading scheme. Big Oil's supposed evil influence has been vastly outdone by Big Government, and even those taxpayer billions are trumped by Big-Banking.

The big-money side of this debate has fostered a myth that sceptics write what they write because they are funded by oil profits. They say, follow the money? So I did and it's chilling. Greens and environmentalists need to be aware each time they smear with an ad hominem attack they are unwittingly helping giant finance houses.


Money for Sceptics: Greenpeace has searched for funding for sceptics and found $23 million paid by Exxon over 10 years (which has stopped). Perhaps Greenpeace missed funding from other fossil fuel companies, but you can be sure that they searched. I wrote the Climate Money paper in July last year, and since then no one has claimed a larger figure. Big-Oil may well prefer it if emissions are not traded, but it's not make-or-break for them. If all fossil fuels are in effect "taxed", consumers will pay the tax anyhow, and past price rises in crude oil suggest consumers will not consume much less fuel, so profits won't actually fall that much.

But in the end, everyone spends more on carbon friendly initiatives than on sceptics-- even Exxon: (how about $100 million for Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project, and $600 million for Biofuels research). Some will complain that Exxon is massive and their green commitment was a tiny part of their profits, but the point is, what they spent on sceptics was even less.

Money for the Climate Industry: The US government spent $79 billion on climate research and technology since 1989 - to be sure, this funding paid for things like satellites and studies, but it's 3,500 times as much as anything offered to sceptics. It buys a bandwagon of support, a repetitive rain of press releases, and includes PR departments of institutions like NOAA, NASA, the Climate Change Science Program and the Climate Change Technology Program. The $79 billion figure does not include money from other western governments, private industry, and is not adjusted for inflation. In other words, it could be…a lot bigger.

For direct PR comparisons though, just look at "Think Climate Think Change": the Australian Government put $13.9 million into just one quick advertising campaign. There is no question that there are vastly more financial rewards for people who promote a carbon-made catastrophe than for those who point out the flaws in the theory.

Ultimately the big problem is that there are no grants for scientists to demonstrate that carbon has little effect. There are no Institutes of Natural Climate Change, but plenty that are devoted to UnNatural Forces.

It's a monopsony, and the main point is not that the scientists are necessarily corrupted by money or status (though that appears to have happened to a few), but that there is no group or government seriously funding scientists to expose flaws. The lack of systematic auditing of the IPCC, NOAA, NASA or East Anglia CRU, leaves a gaping vacuum. It's possible that honest scientists have dutifully followed their grant applications, always looking for one thing in one direction, and when they have made flawed assumptions or errors, or just exaggerations, no one has pointed it out simply because everyone who could have, had a job doing something else. In the end the auditors who volunteered — like Steve McIntyre and AnthonyWatts — are retired scientists, because they are the only ones who have the time and the expertise to do the hard work. (Anyone fancy analysing statistical techniques in dendroclimatology or thermometer siting instead of playing a round of golf?)

Money for the Finance Houses: What the US Government has paid to one side of the scientific process pales in comparison with carbon trading. According to the World Bank, turnover of carbon trading reached $126 billion in 2008. PointCarbon estimates trading in 2009 was about $130 billion. This is turnover, not specifically profits, but each year the money market turnover eclipses the science funding over 20 years. Money Talks. Every major finance house stands to profit as brokers of a paper trade. It doesn't matter whether you buy or sell, the bankers take a slice both ways. The bigger the market, the more money they make shifting paper.


Not surprisingly banks are doing what banks should do (for their shareholders): they're following the promise of profits, and urging governments to adopt carbon trading. Banks are keen to be seen as good corporate citizens (look, there's an environmental banker!), but somehow they don't find the idea of a non-tradable carbon tax as appealing as a trading scheme where financial middlemen can take a cut. (For banks that believe in the carbon crisis, taxes may well "help the planet," but they don't pay dividends.)

The stealthy mass entry of the bankers and traders poses a major force. Surely if money has any effect on carbon emissions, it must also have an effect on careers, shareholders, advertising, and lobbying? There were over 2,000 lobbyists in Washington in 2008.

Unpaid sceptics are not just taking on scientists who conveniently secure grants and junkets for pursuing one theory, they also conflict with potential profits of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and every other financial institution or corporation that stands to profit like the Chicago Climate Exchange, European Climate Exchange, PointCarbon, IdeaCarbon (and the list goes on… ) as well as against government bureaucracies like the IPCC and multiple departments of Climate Change. There's no conspiracy between these groups, just similar profit plans or power grabs.

Tony Abbot's new policy removes the benefits for bankers. Labor and the Greens don't appear to notice that they fight tooth and nail for a market in a "commodity" which isn't a commodity and that guarantees profits for big bankers. The public though are figuring it out.


Commissioner Bart Chilton, head of the energy and environmental markets advisory committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has predicted that within five years a carbon market would dwarf any of the markets his agency currently regulates: "I can see carbon trading being a $2 trillion market." "The largest commodity market in the world." He ought to know.

It promises to be larger than the markets for coal, oil, gold, wheat, copper or uranium. Just soak in that thought for a moment. Larger than oil.

Richard L. Sandor, chairman and chief executive officer of Climate Exchange Plc, agrees and predicts trades eventually will total $10 trillion a year." That's 10 thousand billion dollars.


Ultimately the atmosphere is what it is regardless of fiat currency movements. Some people will accuse me of smearing climate scientists and making the same ad hominem attacks I detest and protest about. So note carefully: I haven't said that the massive amount of funding received by promoters of the Carbon Catastrophe proves that they are wrong, just as the grassroots unpaid dedication of sceptics doesn't prove them right either. But the starkly lop-sided nature of the funding means we'd be fools not to pay very close attention to the evidence. It also shows how vapid the claims are from those who try to smear sceptics and who mistakenly think ad hominem arguments are worth making.

And as far as evidence goes, surprisingly, I agree with the IPCC that carbon dioxide warms the planet. But few realise that the IPCC relies on feedback factors like humidity and clouds causing a major amplification of the minor CO2 effect and that this amplification simply isn't there.

Hundreds of thousands of radiosonde measurements failed to find the pattern of upper trophospheric heating the models predicted, (and neither Santer 2008 with his expanding "uncertainties" nor Sherwood 2008 with his wind gauges change that). Two other independent empirical observations indicate that the warming due to CO2 is halved by changes in the atmosphere, not amplified.[Spencer 2007, Lindzen 2009, see also Spencer 2008]

Without this amplification from water vapor or clouds the infamous "3.5 degrees of warming" collapses to just a half a degree — most of which has happened.

Those resorting to this vacuous, easily refutable point should be shamed into lifting their game. The ad hominem argument is Stone Age reasoning, and the "money" insult they throw, bounces right back at them — a thousand-fold.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Debating the facts, who has the most to lose?

Joe Romm is one of the leading climate alarmists around and operates the ClimateProgress blog, which is associated with the left-wing Center for American Progress. Romm is one of the people the warming groupies turn to in order to learn their "talking points" in dealing with those big, bad, nasty skeptics.

Romm has been particularly unpleasant to Roger Pielke, Jr., perhaps because Pielke is also on the left side of the political spectrum but is most decidedly not a warming alarmist. Like most skeptics he does not deny warming (the deniers label is just one of the many inaccuracies that the alarmists like to push). But he also thinks the problems are grossly overstated and questions some of the science used to justify various political agendas.

Romm has used the usual tactic of sneer and smear that the alarmists seem to love. As much as they talk about science they really won't debate the science, instead they question the morality of their opponents, or their intelligence. That is not debate, that is the argument from intimidation that Rand exposed long ago.

Pielke offered to debate Romm and people put up a lot of money, to go to the charity of the choice of the debate victor. Romm immediately came up with multiple excuses as to why such a debate will never happen —mainly more of the same sneer and smear tactics again.

The matter started when Andy Revkin, a faithful alarmist who writes for The New York Times, said that Pielke should be part of the IPCC review of documents. In his typical hyperbolic fashion Romm called that suggestion "the most illogical climate post on Earth." It's not a bad suggestion, or a wrong suggestion. Nor is it just illogical. It is the most illogical post on Earth, which I guess means the most illogical post ever posted to the best of our knowledge. Wow! No sir, Romm isn't prone to exaggeration.

Romm then went on to attack Pielke in the same hyperbolic fashion saying that Pielke "is the single most disputed and debunked person in the entire realm of people who publish regularly on disasters and climate change." Wow! Now you know what to expect when he talks about the single warmest winter if the history of the planet and other such rot. Sneer, smear and gross exaggeration—that is the arsenal of the the warming alarmist in a nutshell.

Pielke offered to debate Romm and gave Romm virtually total control of the debate. Romm could veto any moderator for the debate. He could veto any resolution to be debated. He can pick the time and place of the debate. Foreign Policy magazine agreed to host the debate. And a donor would put up $20,000 to the charity of Romm's choice. None of that was good enough. Romm says that you can't trust audience votes at a debate because "antiscience ideologues" (the term he uses for scientists who disagree with his hysterical exaggerations) go to debates intending to lie.

I was wondering how they would explain three major debates I knew about —one in New York, one in London and one in Montreal— where the shift in audience perception was decidedly in favor of the skeptics. Apparently the reason the sneer, smear and exaggerate alarmists believe the audience is lying, even though many of the audience members are regular attendees at the series of debates.

Pielke says he is "offering Joe a chance to come out from behind his blog, where he bullies and systematically misrepresents my views. He has a chance to air his arguments about me in public and where I can respond to them directly. He will have a chance to explain why my views are so very wrong. At the same time, regardless of the outcome of the debate itself, we can do some good for people who need help, thanks to a generous donor."

Romm, of course, says that he won't debate because he doesn't want to give Pielke any publicity. That claim is disproved by the 75 posts he has written on his own site going after Pielke, including a recent 4,000 word extended attack. Pielke says: "Should Joe Romm turn down this offer, he will reveal his true colors to all -- a bully who hides behind his blog and who would rather call people names than engage in a serious policy debate on a topic of critical importance to our generation. There is no reason for Joe to turn this offer down, other than knowing that his arguments cannot stand up to scrutiny were he to emerge from behind his blog."

Mr Pielke doesn't understand that the entire purpose of the argument from intimidation is precisely to bully people into adopting a viewpoint. It is meant to bully. I think Rand's formulation of the argument was one of her more insightful contributions. She defined it:
There is a certain type of argument which, in fact, is not an argument, but a means of forestalling debate and extorting an opponent’s agreement with one’s undiscussed notions. It is a method of bypassing logic by means of psychological pressure . . . [It] consists of threatening to impeach an opponent’s character by means of his argument, thus impeaching the argument without debate. Example: “Only the immoral can fail to see that Candidate X’s argument is false.” . . . The falsehood of his argument is asserted arbitrarily and offered as proof of his immorality. In today’s epistemological jungle, that second method is used more frequently than any other type of irrational argument. It should be classified as a logical fallacy and may be designated as “The Argument from Intimidation.” The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion, under threat of being considered morally unworthy. The pattern is always: “Only those who are evil (dishonest, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, etc.) can hold such an idea.”
Personally, when I see this argument used I conclude the user has an an empty intellectual quiver. They resort to the sneer and smear tactic because ultimately it's all they have. One reason, but only a small one, that I have to wonder if the skeptics aren't right, is because their opponents, the alarmists, act precisely the way individuals without good evidence act when debating opponents. They don't face the arguments head on, they instead use tactics to try and silence their opposition.

We saw precisely that in the emails from Climategate. Of course the alarmists immediately started screaming: "There's nothing to see here folks, move along." But the more people actually looked at the emails the more they concluded that there was most definitely something there worth discussing. Of course, Romm's talking points on the matter was to dismiss them and resort to sneer and smear. Consider this memorandum submitted to the British Parliament by the Institute for Physics. These are not scientific lightweights, nor are they known to be skeptics. In their submission to Parliament they said:
1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.

2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself - most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC's conclusions on climate change.
They also say that the emails "reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression, in graphics widely used by the IPCC, of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements." They write that the emails show an intolerance that "impedes the process of scientific 'self correction', which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process..." And they indicate the "possibility of networks of like-minded researchers excluding newcomers."

The Institute says that the entire climate change network needs investigation, not just the one center in England. They write "there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field."

What went out with the Climate Research Unit, and Romm's actions, both seem manifestations of the same sort of attitude. Even though they act like people who know they are wrong, I suspect they are true believers who think they are absolutely, 100% correct—they are the fundamentalists of science, with an infallible, inerrant scripture (the IPCC report)—at least they like to think way. And like fundamentalists, they get downright nasty when someone questions the infallibility of their beliefs. The intolerance of fundamentalists exists because of their own insecurity. Deep down they fear they might be wrong. The more they fear that their arguments are false the more intolerant they become.


Is Hansenism more dangerous than Lysenkoism?

This is the essay Australia's ABC tried to ban. See story here

On June 23, 1988, a young and previously unknown NASA computer modeller, James Hansen, appeared before a United States Congressional hearing on climate change. On that occasion, Dr. Hansen used a graph to convince his listeners that late 20th century warming was taking place at an accelerated rate, which, it being a scorching summer's day in Washington, a glance out of the window appeared to confirm.

He wrote later in justification, in the Washington Post (February 11, 1989), that "the evidence for an increasing greenhouse effect is now sufficiently strong that it would have been irresponsible if I had not attempted to alert political leaders".

Hansen's testimony was taken up as a lead news story, and within days the great majority of the American public believed that a climate apocalypse was at hand, and the global warming hare was off and running. Thereby, Dr. Hansen became transformed into the climate media star who is shortly going to wow the ingenues in the Adelaide Festival audience.

Fifteen years later, in the Scientific American in March, 2004, Hansen came to write that "Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic".

This conversion to honesty came too late, however, for in the intervening years thousands of other climate scientists had meanwhile climbed onto the Hansenist funding gravy-train. Currently, global warming alarmism is fuelled by an estimated worldwide expenditure on related research and greenhouse bureaucracy of more than US$10 billion annually.

Scientists and bureaucrats being only too human, the power of such sums of money to corrupt not only the politics of greenhouse, but even the scientific process itself, should not be underestimated. In recognition of these events, the term Hansenism is now sometimes used to describe the climate hysteria which had, until recently, gripped western media sources and political, business and public opinion in a deadly grasp.

Histories of science contain an account of the ideological control of Soviet biology during the mid-20th century by plant scientist Trofim Lysenko, who by 1940 had risen to be Director of the influential Institute of Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Lysenko and his supporters rejected the "dangerous Western concepts" of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian evolution. They preferred the Lamarckian view of the inheritance of acquired characteristics; for instance, that cows could be trained to give more milk and their offspring would then inherit this trait.

Whilst this was not an unreasonable hypothesis to erect in the early 19th century, by the 1930s the idea had been tested in many ways and was known to be wrong. Requiring its application to agricultural and allied biological research in the USSR was disastrous, not least in the vicious persecution of scientists that took place, and the legacy of this sad episode still disadvantages Soviet biology today.

Lysenkoism grew from four main roots:

* a necessity to demonstrate the practical relevance of science to the needs of society;

* the amassing of evidence to show the "correctness" of the concept as a substitute for causal proof;

* noble cause corruption, whereby data are manipulated to support a cause which is seen as a higher truth; and

* ideological zeal, such that dissidents are silenced as "enemies of the truth".

The first of these roots has been strongly represented in Australian government attitudes to the funding of science as far back as the 1980s. The remaining three roots exemplify closely the techniques that are currently used by global warming alarmists in pursuit of their aims – as recently exposed for all to see by the Climategate and IPCCgate scandals.

Lysenkoism damaged mainly Soviet science and society, whereas Hansenism has now been exerting its pernicious influence worldwide for more than twenty years. The climate alarmism involved has long been undermining the precious public trust from which science draws its traditional influence and sustenance, and now Climategate has opened up new sinkholes all over the place.

Hansenist climate alarmism has also damaged the standing of many leading science journals and science organizations, which have replaced their formerly careful editorial and organizational balance with environmental alarmism and naked global warming advocacy.

Future historians of science are likely to judge the 1988-2009 frenzy of climate change alarmism as even more damaging than Lysenkoism, because of the distrust that collapse of the global warming paradigm has already inculcated about using science to inform modern policy making.

Instead of exercising the leadership that is desperately needed to correct this, and to restore public faith in science and scientists, public utterances from Australia’s senior research advisors show that they have so far lost the plot that they are no longer even in the theatre.

Thus we have Megan Clark, CEO of CSIRO, boasting on Brisbane ABC 612 radio that “there are 40 CSIRO scientists on the IPCC panel”, as if this were something to be proud of. Meanwhile, the Chairman of Universities Australia, Peter Coaldrake, describes the Climategate scandal as “this tabloid decimation of science”. Next, Margaret Sheil, CEO of the Australian Research Council, has said she is deeply concerned about the backlash generated by emails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit [and] the criticisms of Rajendra Kuma Pachauri, head of the IPCC. Finally, Chief Scientist Penny Sackett has, so far as I can determine, remained silent since her “me too” February 9th comment in support of an anodyne statement of blessing for climate sceptics issued by the U.K.’s chief scientist, John Beddington. How much influence the views of these independent scientists have had on Dr. Beddington can be judged from reading the apocalyptic study that he has just released regarding the effects of imaginary future climate change in Britain (Land Use Futures: Making the Most of Land in the 21st Century). This study is described in a letter by Dr. Gerrit van der Lingen in today’s Christchurch Press as:
A group of 300 ivory tower scientists, economists and planners in the UK, led by the British Government’s scientific advisor, have come up with a new apocalypse scenario, still based on the belief in catastrophic man-made global warming (February 27-28). They probably felt they had to do this because Climategate and the revelations of serious errors in the IPCC report have fatally exposed the man-made-global-warming scam. Their vision lacks any scientific credibility and totally ignores human nature. Their action is nothing more than a rear-guard action.

Moreover, Copenhagen has shown that the balance of world power has shifted to the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Western countries, including New Zealand and Australia were totally side-lined in Copenhagen. It is now extremely unlikely that an international climate agreement will ever be reached. Thanks to the BRIC countries, we can now all heave a sigh of relief.
Breathtakingly, in the light of all this, our Australian research managers’ expressed concern remains that the revelations of Climategate and IPCCgate have caused a public re-examination of the science of global warming, with a consequent shift in public opinion. Apparently they have nary a thought for the deep scientific malaise and malfeasance that has now been exposed for the whole lay world to see – part of which is being investigated currently in a British parliamentary committee investigation.

On the heels of revelations about meteorological data tampering overseas, irregularities have also been discovered in the way that Australian temperature data have been manipulated. And, across the Tasman, NIWAgate is developing apace, as the N.Z. National Institute of Water & Atmosphere battles to provide a parliamentary accounting for its historic temperature archive, which may yet prove to include the “dog ate my homework” excuse for the apparent absence of some records. Yet no comment at all has been offered on any of this - and related matters of science ethics, procedures and policy - by Australia’s science leaders.

It is crystal clear that there is only one way to restore public confidence in climate policy and research in Australia, and that is for an independent and authoritative investigation to be carried out into the matter before an experienced judge assisted by scientifically expert counsellors.

As Senator Fielding’s four scientific advisors – all of whom are experienced and independent climate scientists – have recommended in their due diligence report (item 7) on the advice being provided to Climate Minister Wong by her department: "Parliament should defer consideration of the CPRS bill and institute a fully independent Royal Commission of enquiry into the evidence for and against a dangerous human influence on climate. We add ..... that the scientific community is now so polarised on the controversial issue of dangerous global warming that proper due diligence on the matter can only be achieved where competent scientific witnesses are cross-examined under oath and under strict rules of evidence”.


Gore's overheated doomsday rhetoric

by Jeff Jacoby

THE CASE FOR GLOBAL-WARMING ALARMISM is melting faster than those mythical disappearing Himalayan glaciers, but Al Gore isn't about to back down now.

In a long op-ed piece for The New York Times the other day, Gore cranked up the doomsday rhetoric for which he has always had a weakness. Human beings, he warned, "face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it." His 1,900-word essay made no mention of his financial interest in promoting such measures -- Gore has invested heavily in carbon-offset markets, electric vehicles, and other ventures that would profit handsomely from legislation curbing the use of fossil fuels, and is reportedly poised to become the world's first "carbon billionaire." However, he did mention "global-warming pollution" no fewer than four times, declaring that "our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation" if we don't move decisively to reduce it.

By "global-warming pollution," Gore means carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a "pollutant" in roughly the way oxygen and water are pollutants: Human existence would be impossible without them. CO2 is essential to photosynthesis, the process that sustains plant life and generates the oxygen that human beings and animals inhale. Far from polluting the world, carbon dioxide enriches it. Higher levels of CO2 are associated with larger crop yields, increased forest growth, and longer growing seasons -- in short, with a greener planet. A study published in Science in December suggests that elevated CO2 can even help prevent losses of biodiversity.

Of course carbon dioxide also contributes to the greenhouse effect that keeps the earth warm. But the vast majority of atmospheric CO2 occurs naturally, and it is far from clear that the carbon dioxide contributed by human industry has a significant impact on the world's climate.

On the other hand, it is quite clear that the economic and agricultural activity responsible for that anthropogenic CO2 has been enormously beneficial to myriads of men, women, and children. In just the last two decades, life expectancy in developing nations has climbed appreciably and infant mortality has fallen. Food production per capita has soared. Hundreds of millions of Indian and Chinese citizens have been lifted out of poverty. Whatever else might be said about carbon dioxide, it has helped make possible a dramatic increase in the quality of many human lives.

But there is no awareness of such tradeoffs in Gore's latest screed. He brushes aside as unimportant the recently exposed blunders in the 2007 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These include claims that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035, that global warming could slash African crop yields by 50 percent, and that 55 percent of the Netherlands -- more than twice the correct amount -- is below sea level.

Gore seems equally untroubled by Climategate, the scandal involving researchers at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, who apparently schemed to manipulate temperature data, to prevent their critics from being published in peer-reviewed journals, and to destroy records and calculations to keep climate skeptics from double-checking them.

Both the IPCC errors and the CRU scandal have triggered major investigations, and opinion polls show a falloff in the percentage of the public that believes either that global warming is cause for serious concern or that scientists see eye to eye on the issue. Yet Gore insists, against all evidence, that "the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged."

To climate alarmists like Gore, everything proves their point. For years they argued that global warming would mean a decline in snow cover and shorter ski seasons. "Children just aren't going to know what snow is," one climate scientist lamented to reporters in 2000. The IPCC itself was clear that climate change was resulting in more rain and less snow. There were vivid scenes of melting snow and ice in Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth.

Undaunted, Gore now claims that the blizzards that have walloped the Northeast in recent weeks are also proof of global warming. "Climate change causes more frequent and severe snowstorms," he posted on his blog last month.

Gore is a True Believer; his climate hyperbole is less a matter of science than of faith. In almost messianic terms, he urges Congress to sharply restrain Americans' access to energy. "What is at stake," he writes in his New York Times essay, "is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption."

But while Gore prays for redemption via government compulsion, the pews in the Church of Climate Catastrophe are gradually emptying. The public's skeptical common sense, it turns out, is pretty robust. Just like those Himalayan glaciers.



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


4 March, 2010

More Warmist "errors"

Mass Loss from Alaskan Glaciers Overestimated? Previous Melt Contributed a Third Less to Sea-Level Rise Than Estimated

The melting of glaciers is well documented, but when looking at the rate at which they have been retreating, a team of international researchers steps back and says not so fast. Previous studies have largely overestimated mass loss from Alaskan glaciers over the past 40-plus years, according to Erik Schiefer, a Northern Arizona University geographer who coauthored a paper in the February issue of Nature Geoscience that recalculates glacier melt in Alaska.

The research team, led by Étienne Berthier of the Laboratory for Space Studies in Geophysics and Oceanography at the Université de Toulouse in France, says that glacier melt in Alaska between 1962 and 2006 contributed about one-third less to sea-level rise than previously estimated.

Schiefer said melting glaciers in Alaska originally were thought to contribute about .0067 inches to sea-level rise per year. The team's new calculations put that number closer to .0047 inches per year. The numbers sound small, but as Schiefer said, "It adds up over the decades." While the team looked at three-fourths of all the ice in Alaska, Schiefer noted, "We're also talking about a small proportion of ice on the planet. When massive ice sheets (such as in the Antarctic and Greenland) are added in, you're looking at significantly greater rates of sea-level rise." Schiefer said the team plans to use the same methodologies from the Alaskan study in other glacial regions to determine if further recalibrations of ice melt are in order. These techniques use satellite imagery that spans vast areas of ice cover.

Previous methods estimated melt for a smaller subset of individual glaciers. The most comprehensive technique previously available used planes that flew along the centerlines of selected glaciers to measure ice surface elevations. These elevations were then compared to those mapped in the 1950s and 1960s. From this, researchers inferred elevation changes and then extrapolated this to other glaciers.

Two factors led to the original overestimation of ice loss with this method, Schiefer said. One is the impact of thick deposits of rock debris that offer protection from solar radiation and, thus, melting. The other was not accounting for the thinner ice along the edges of glaciers that also resulted in less ice melt.

Schiefer and his colleagues used data from the SPOT 5 French satellite and the NASA/Japanese ASTER satellite and converted the optical imagery to elevation information. They then compared this information to the topographical series maps of glacial elevations dating back to the 1950s.

While the team determined a lower rate of glacial melt during a greater than 40-year span, Schiefer said other studies have demonstrated the rate of ice loss has more than doubled in just the last two decades. "With current projections of climate change, we expect that acceleration to continue," Schiefer said. This substantial increase in ice loss since the 1990s is now pushing up the rise in sea level to between .0098 inches and .0118 inches per year -- more than double the average rate for the last 40 years.


Global warming may be normal at this point in glacial cycle

Happened last time (followed by Glacier UK), say profs

German and Russian scientists say that it is normal for an interglacial period like the one just ending to finish with one or more brief - in geological terms - spells of warming before the glaciers return.

According to boffins based at the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ) and at the Russian Academy of Sciences, in the Earth's history thus far there have been eras where the glaciers covered much of Europe, lasting about 100,000 years. These are separated by warmer interglacial periods lasting around 10,000 years. We are currently at the end of an interglacial era called the Holocene.

The scientists, looking into the last interglacial period - the Eemian - which ended around 115,000 years ago, say they have found that that it ended with "significant climate fluctuations" before the rule of the glaciers returned.

The scientists got their results by examining ancient lake sediments exposed by modern open-cast mining in Russia and Germany. They believe that the end of the Eemian interglacial epoch saw "possibly at least two" warming events, according to a statement issued by the UFZ. "The observed instability with the proven occurrence of short warming events during the transition from the last interglacial to the last glacial epoch could be, when viewed carefully, a general, naturally occurring characteristic of such transition phases," concludes UFZ boffin Dr Tatjana Boettger.

Boettger and her fellow researchers say that the Eemian ice-free period wound up with sudden - in these terms - warming spells and serious changes in vegetation. Then the glaciers surged south, at their high tide 21,000 years ago reaching as far as Berlin.

This Weichselian Glacial era ended around 15,000 years ago, leading to the conditions which have been seen for all of human history with the ice caps confined to the polar regions. The UFZ says that this Holocene era reached its "highest point so far around 6000 years ago" and that we might now expect to see sudden warmings and changes as at the end of the Eemian - followed by a slow descent into another freezing glacial era.

"Detailed studies of these phenomena are important for understanding the current controversial discussed climate trend so that we can assess the human contribution to climate change with more certainty," comments Dr Frank W Junge of the Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Saxon Academy of Sciences, SAW) in Leipzig.

The profs' paper: "Instability of climate and vegetation dynamics in Central and Eastern Europe during the final stage of the Last Interglacial (Eemian, Mikulino) and Early Glaciation" can be read here (subscriber link).


How They Distort Global Temperatures: The Urban Heat Island Effect

Now you see why the CRU and IPCC limited the number of stations they were using and restricted them to mostly urban stations to get the result they wanted

How much do calculations of global temperatures represent the real temperature of the Earth? Every day new stories appear about temperature records with errors or deliberate omissions. An important part of the debate is something called the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE). A new article by Dr. Edward Long says, “The problem would seem to be the methodologies engendered in treatment for a mix of urban and rural locations; that the ‘adjustment’ protocol appears to accent to a warming effect rather than eliminate it. This, if correct, leaves serious doubt for whether the rate of increase in temperature found from the adjusted data is due to natural warming trends or warming because of another reason, such as erroneous consideration of the effects of urban warming.”

In another paper we learn that, “The GISS adjustments to the USHCN data at Dale Enterprise follow a well-recognized pattern. GISS pulls the early part of the record down and mimics the most recent USHCN records, thus imposing an artificial warming bias.”

What are they talking about? History Of The UHIE Problem: German scientist A. Kratzer, working on the impact of pollution on trees in the Ruhr Valley in the 1930s, discovered urban temperatures were higher than the countryside. War interrupted the work, but shortly after T. J. Chandler studied the temperature of London, England. With a thermometer on his car he recorded temperatures along specific routes. When plotted they showed a distinctive concentric pattern with higher temperatures in the centre. In 1952 Chandler published “The Climate of London” and B.W.Atkinson later showed precipitation patterns were also affected.

Several cities were studied since and though each showed the concentric temperature patterns. The form is a distinctive dome of warm air with a centre height of about 1,000 feet over the hottest part of the city. .... Temperature contrast between city and countryside is most extreme in cold climates and the dome is sometimes visible in northern cities on cold calm winter mornings. During the day, the dome rises like a hot air balloon and dissipates only to form the next night. With strong winds it is pushed downwind away from the city....

Physical Cause: Main reasons for the temperature differences are colour and structure of surface materials, which determine their ability to absorb and release heat. Concrete, asphalt, bricks and wood absorb heat quickly during the day and cool quickly at night while water grass and trees do the opposite. It‘s a major argument for the preservation of old parks and the creation of new ones in urban areas. Trees are more important in the city than outside.

Greatest surface changes are in the centre of the city, an area called the Central Business District (CBD), which is almost 100% solid surface and impervious to water. Urban drainage systems carry water away quickly while in the country it remains and evaporates slowly or is transpired by plants creating cooling. When water evaporates it takes heat energy from the surrounding air or from the surface, which creates cooling just like when you sweat. Impervious surfaces exist in the suburbs but only 50 percent is covered. Roofs of houses, garages, driveways, roads and sidewalks all absorb heat in the day and radiate it back to the atmosphere at night. Storm sewers remove water very quickly.

Most weather stations are at airports and cities have expanded and enclosed the airport so the UHIE increased. When you separate urban weather stations from rural ones anywhere in the world a different trend of temperatures appears. Urban stations show distinctive warming while there is very little change in rural stations....

Now you see why the CRU and IPCC limited the number of stations they were using and restricted them to mostly urban stations to get the result they wanted. You also understand why Tom Wigley told Jones in a leaked email of November 6, 2009 that, “We probably need to say more about this (Difference between land and ocean temperatures). Land warming since 1980 has been twice the ocean warming and skeptics might claim that this proves that urban warming is real and important.” Exactly Tom!

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

Al’s latest global warming whopper

Al Gore's defense of global-warming hysteria in Sunday's New York Times has many flaws, but I'll focus on just one whopper — where the "Inconvenient Truth" man states the opposite of scientific fact.

Gore says, "The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere — thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States."

It's an interesting theory, but where are the facts? According to "State of the Climate" from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Global precipitation in 2009 was near the 1961-1990 average." And there was certainly no pattern of increasing rain and snow on America's East Coast during the post-1976 years, when NOAA says the globe began to heat up.

So what was it, exactly, that Gore's nameless scientists "have long pointed out"? A 2008 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "Climate Change and Water," says climate models "project precipitation increases in high latitudes and part of the tropics." In other areas, the IPCC reports only "substantial uncertainty in precipitation forecasts."

In other words, the IPCC said that its models predicted some increases in rain or snow — not observed them. And only in high latitudes or the tropics, which hardly describes New York or Washington, DC.

In fact, recent research actually contradicts Gore's claims about "significantly more water moisture in the atmosphere." In late January, Scientific American reported: "A mysterious drop in water vapor in the lower stratosphere might be slowing climate change," and noted that "an apparent increase in water vapor in this region in the 1980s and 1990s exacerbated global warming."

The new study came from a group of scientists, mainly from the NOAA lab in Boulder. The scientists found: "Stratospheric water-vapor concentrations decreased by about 10 percent after the year 2000 . . . This acted to slow the rate of increase in global surface temperature over 2000 to 2009 by about 25 percent." Specifically, the study found that water vapor rising from the tropics has been reduced, because it has gotten cooler there (another inconvenient truth). A Wall Street Journal headline summed it up: "Slowdown in Warming Linked to Water Vapor."

Moisture in the lower stratosphere (about 8 miles above the earth's surface) has been going down, not up.

Aside from clouds, water vapor accounts for as much as two-thirds of the earth's greenhouse-gas effect. Water vapor traps heat from escaping the atmosphere — but clouds have the opposite effect (called "albedo") by reflecting the sun's energy back into space. And snow on the ground from the IPCC's predicted precipitation in high latitudes would have the same cooling effect as clouds.

What the new research suggests is that changes in water vapor may well trump the effect of carbon dioxide (only a fraction of which is man-made) and methane (which has mysteriously slowed since about 1990). This raises an intriguing question: Since the Environmental Protection Agency declared that it has the authority to regulation carbon emissions because of their presumed effect on the global climate, why hasn't the EPA also attempted to regulate mist and fog?


Tilting at windmills

You know the saying: Ignorance is bliss. Unfortunately for the American taxpayer, when it comes to the wind turbine industry, ignorance is not as blissful as it is infuriating. According to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop (in coordination with ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer and the Watchdog Institute), Obama can now add wind turbines to his growing list of failures within the stimulus package.

Renewable energy industry is growing; wind turbines are a key avenue of that growth. Obama has said he would like to be a leader in clean energy but that the United States is struggling to make this goal a reality. He's right, but that's only half the story. The Workshop reports that $2.1 billion in stimulus grants have been given to wind, solar and geothermal companies to make good on Obama's objective but almost 80% of those went to foreign companies. A bankrupt Australian company nabbed the largest grant so far-$178 million. With that, Babcock & Brown built "a Texas wind farm using turbines made by a Japanese company."

Even Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), hardly a foe of Obama's stimulus package, was disappointed with the news that foreign companies were receiving-4 to 1-stimulus funds and jobs on renewable energy-related projects. In an interview with ABC News he said: "Very few jobs here, lots of jobs in China. That is not what I intended or any other legislator who voted for the stimulus intended...It is fine that the Chinese make them. But why don't we use the stimulus money to start building up an industry to build them here, that was the very point of the stimulus."

Of the 80% of stimulus grants going to wind facilities, the majority of those are turbines which prevail in popularity both with renewable energy advocates, professional and laymen alike. If the 4 to 1 ratio is frightening, never fear: According to, several organizations around the country are receiving your tax dollars-I mean stimulus money-to fund large-scale wind turbine projects. The National Science Foundation is receiving $435,231 in grant money to work on a wind turbine project in Buford, Wyoming. Likewise, the Department of Energy received nearly $25 million to "design, construct, and ultimately have responsibility for the operation of the Large Wind Turbine Blade Test Facility" through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. According to the report, no jobs are being created through those projects.

While the stimulus funds for energy projects are creating little to no jobs in the United States, they number they produce overseas is maddening. Allow the numbers to illuminate: The Renewable Energy Policy Project did a study and estimated that for every 1 megawatt of wind energy that is developed, 4.3 jobs are created. There were about 1,219 turbines built by foreign-owned manufacturers which equates to 2,279.5 megawatts. If you crunch the Renewable Energy Policy Project's numbers, the installation of these turbines may have created as many as 6,838 manufacturing jobs -- anywhere but here.

Such news may cause taxpayers to pause and evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of the turbines. Estimates vary but some sources say it can cost $300,000 to transport the turbines and a 2007 estimate by Windustry reported that a commercial scale wind turbine cost $3.5 million installed.

If one wind turbine produces 1.8 megawatts of energy -- enough energy for 500 households per year -- and each household spends on average $2,150 on their energy bill per year, the turbine saves $1.75 million per year in energy. At a cost of $3.5 million installed, a wind turbine will have earned its proverbial keep in two years.

While the math works out, the economics still don't. Turbines are only entirely beneficial if American taxpayer dollars were given to companies here to give to American workers here to construct them and if they worked like a charm once they were built. Unfortunately, therein, as the Bard would say, lies the rub.

In Minnesota, for example, a state which spent $3.3 million on eleven wind turbines, but which regularly experiences cold, winter weather, discovered this year their turbines freeze up when it's freezing. Apparently the hydraulic fluid which propels the turbines was supposed to work in colder temperature but failed to. There's a plan in progress to heat the fluid but as Minnesota native Ed Morrissey of Hot Air reported: "That will drastically reduce the net energy gain from each turbine, depending on how much heating the turbine fluid needs to stop congealing in the winter. Since cold weather here lasts anywhere from 4-6 months, that makes it mighty inefficient as an energy resource."

Blame could rest on the shoulder of the state on one side, the manufacturer on the other, and obviously this is an isolated incident. But if each American family only saves a few dollars every month after the wind turbines run efficiently and after they pay for themselves but their tax dollars were sent overseas for others to build them in the first place, is there a true cost benefit besides the warm, fuzzy feeling that we're all utilizing clean energy? Like his stimulus package, Obama's ideas work only if the theory is put into practice.


Australia: Another "Green" fraud

PETER Garrett is under fresh pressure over using discredited science and dodgy data to declare a conservation zone over the Coral Sea. Mr Garrett faces a renewed attack after a scathing new study found he used "distorted" and "biased" data to make the conservation order. This comes with the newly demoted Environment Protection Minister still under fire over the home insulation fiasco.

The former Midnight Oil rocker proclaimed the interim conservation zone last May in a push by green groups headed by the US based Pew foundation to turn 1 million sq km of the Coral Sea into a "no-take zone". But, in a report commissioned by Marine Queensland, the state's peak fishing industry body, marine biologist Ben Diggles, found the research cited by Mr Garrett was based on "discredited science".

The Marine Queensland study, obtained exclusively by The Courier-Mail, said Mr Garrett based his decision on research sourced and partly funded by the Pew foundation. Much of the discredited research is over claims of the "rich biodiversity of the Coral Sea" and reports 50 per cent of marlin, swordfish and tuna stocks had declined in 50 years, based on data supplied by Japanese longliners.

Marine Queensland, Coral Sea Alliance, pro-fishing groups and the Opposition last night said the findings cast serious doubt about the "credibility and competency" of the embattled minister. They said the high-profile nationwide bio-regional review was "on the brink of disaster" and called for Mr Garrett's immediate sacking.

Last night a spokesman for Mr Garrett dismissed any links to Pew foundation and said any future decisions would be made on the "basis of good science".

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd needed to order an immediate review. "Mr Garrett has a history and a habit of making his decision and ignoring his facts," he said. "This is another example of a minister who is out of control. "Mr Garrett should clearly have lost his job as the architect of the botched home insulation program, however the only remaining part of his portfolio, is now itself under serious question. His credibility as a minister is simply untenable."



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


3 March, 2010

Climate chief’s e-mails and procedures ‘broke code of honour’

The integrity of climate change research is in doubt after the disclosure of e-mails that attempt to suppress data, a leading scientific institute has said. The Institute of Physics said that e-mails sent by Professor Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, had broken “honourable scientific traditions” about disclosing raw data and methods and allowing them to be checked by critics.

Professor Jones admitted to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee yesterday that he had “written some very awful e-mails”, including one in which he rejected a request for information on the ground that the person receiving it might criticise his work.

In a written submission to the committee, the institute said that, assuming the e-mails were genuine, “worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context”. The e-mails contained “prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law”, it added.

The institute said that it was concerned by suggestions in the e-mails that Professor Jones and other scientists had worked together to prevent alternative views on global warming from being published. It said: “The e-mails illustrate the possibility of networks of like-minded researchers effectively excluding newcomers.” The institute said that doubts about the veracity of climate science could be overcome if scientists were required to make all their data “electronically accessible for all at the time of publication [of their reports]”.

Professor Jones stood down from his post during an independent inquiry into allegations that he manipulated data and attempted to evade legitimate requests for data under the Freedom of Information Act. The committee did not ask him about several of the most damaging e-mails he had sent, including one in which he asked a colleague to delete information that had been requested. The committee had been asked not to press him too closely because he was close to a nervous breakdown.

Professor Jones denied that he had tried to prevent alternative views being published by influencing the process of peer review under which scientific papers are scrutinised. He said: “I don’t think there is anything in those e-mails that supports any view that I have been trying to pervert the peer review process . . .” He added that it “hasn’t been standard practice” in climate science for all data to be disclosed. [That's a great commentary on standart practice in climate "science"]

Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative Chancellor and a leading climate sceptic, said that those who wanted to check the university’s research should not have been forced to resort to making requests under the Freedom of Information Act. He said: “Proper scientists, scientists of integrity, wish to reveal all of their data and all of their methods. They don’t need freedom of information requests to force it out of them.”


Royal Statistical Society also critical of official climatologists

And the hits just keep on coming for UEA/CRU and Dr. Jones. Now I wonder, where the heck is the American Meteorological Society?

Earlier we reported on The Royal Society of Chemistry making a statement to the Parliamentary inquiry saying they as an organization support open data sharing. They join the Institute of Physics in making a strong statement on the practices of UEA/CRU. Now the Royal Statistical Society has weighed in with much the same opinion.
Memorandum submitted by the Royal Statistical Society (CRU 47)

1. The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is the UK’s only professional and learned society devoted to the interests of statistics and statisticians. Founded in 1834 it is also one of the most influential and prestigious statistical societies in the world. The Society has members in over 50 countries worldwide and is active in a wide range of areas both directly and indirectly pertaining to the study and application of statistics. It aims to promote public understanding of statistics and provide professional support to users of statistics and to statisticians.

2. The Society welcomes this opportunity to submit evidence to the Science and Technology committee on the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia inquiry.

3. The Society’s response relates to the first of the questions on which the committee invites submissions: “What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?”

4. The RSS believes that the debate on global warming is best served by having the models used and the data on which they are based in the public domain. Where such information is publicly available it is possible independently to verify results. The ability to verify models using publicly available data is regarded as being of much greater importance than the specific content of email exchanges between researchers.

5. The position of the RSS regarding public dissemination of scientific data is that where the results of scientific analyses have been published or are otherwise in the public domain, the raw data, and associated meta-data, used for these analyses should, within reason, also be made available.

6. The qualification, within reason, is important because there are some cases where preservation of confidentiality is required to protect the rights of individuals to privacy. There are also occasions where the need to protect sensitive areas means that publication of all details is inappropriate. An example would be the exact locations of rare breeding species. Similarly, there are other occasions where overriding commercial interests may suggest that publication is inappropriate.

7. However, it is the view of the RSS that such commercial interest will only justifiably be invoked infrequently. An analogy with the common approach to patents is appropriate here. Companies may choose to keep their research secret and not patent it. However, if a patent is sought, the details of the invention must be revealed. Analogously, in the field of drug development, a pharmaceutical company is reimbursed not just because of the molecules it has discovered but also because of the knowledge it has acquired regarding the effects of those molecules. It cannot justifiably seek reimbursement for that knowledge and not make it available. Hence, by the point at which it seeks a commercial return, the data on efficacy and safety should be in the public domain.

8. It is also clearly unreasonable to require that any given scientist having published some research is then condemned to answer each and every question that might possibly arise from it.. For example, requests under the Freedom of Information act or the Environmental Information Regulations could overwhelm small groups of scientists. To avoid this it is best if data are stored in data centres that are professionally run and properly funded.

9. More widely, the basic case for publication of data includes that science progresses as an ongoing debate and not by a series of authoritative and oracular pronouncements and that the quality of that debate is best served by ensuring that all parties have access to the facts. It is well understood, for example, that peer review cannot guarantee that what is published is ‘correct’. The best guarantor of scientific quality is that others are able to examine in detail the arguments that have been used and not just their published conclusions. It is important that experiments and calculations can be repeated to verify their conclusions. If data, or the methods used, are withheld, it is impossible to do this.

10. The RSS believes that a crucial step in improving the quality of the debate on global warming will be to place the data, the analysis methods and the models in the public domain.

Obama's Tonya Harding energy policy

Politicians would have us believe there's a Brave New World of renewable energy out there. But like the book, the reality of our current energy policy is more of a dystopia. Case in point: With great fanfare last October, President Obama took a trip to Florida to celebrate raising the electricity bills of Sunshine State residents.

Well, not really. But that is in effect what happened. Florida Power and Light had three new solar power plants coming online, and the president was eager to show that he was following through on his campaign promise to increase America's supply of renewable energy. So he attended the unveiling of one of the plants. What the president didn't mention is the plant cost $152 million, funded by a 31 cent increase in monthly electricity bills.

That's not counting the cost of outrageous federal subsidies. Energy Department estimates show federal subsidies of solar power amount to $24.34 per megawatt hour of solar energy produced, compared with 25 cents per megawatt hour for fossil fuel power plants -- nearly 100 times more.

The levelized cost of generating solar power is four times as much as the energy produced by conventional coal and natural gas power plants. The cost of this Florida power plant visited by Obama is expected to be six times the cost of a conventional fossil fuel plant, according to the Institute for Energy Research.

And the new solar plant the president visited will only provide enough electricity to supply 3,000 of Florida Power and Light's more than 4 million customers. Even with astounding federal subsidies, the Department of Energy estimates solar energy generated only 0.02 percent of U.S. electricity in 2008.

On the campaign trail last year, Obama said that his administration's goal was to have 10 percent of America's electricity needs supplied by renewable energy by 2012 and have 25 percent of our electricity supplied by renewable sources by 2025.

It's too soon to call this a broken campaign promise, but these figures are so wildly unrealistic it's safe to write it off already.

In 2008, just 7 percent of America's electricity consumption came from renewable energy sources. According to the Department of Energy's (rosy) estimates, fossil fuels supply 84 percent of America's energy needs. Even with a gigantic push toward renewable energy, fossil fuels are still projected to supply 78 percent of America's energy by 2025.

Far and away, the biggest source of America's renewable energy is hydroelectric power. But the same environmental groups making the push for renewable energy are decidedly opposed to building more dams. (The Sierra Club opposed its first dam project in 1913.) Wind power costs 1 1/2 to two times as much as conventional power and will likely require major upgrades of our power grid.

So where are these new sources of renewable energy going to come from? It would take a civilization-altering technological breakthrough to meet the president's goals. Don't bank on it.

Meanwhile, renewable energy isn't getting cheaper, so radical environmentalists are trying to make conventional power plants more expensive. One energy expert who wished to remain anonymous describes this as the "Tonya Harding energy policy." You can't beat the competition, so you kneecap it with taxes and regulatory hurdles. This certainly explains cap-and-trade legislation.

There are plenty of legitimate environmental and national security concerns that justify shifting away from carbon-based energy sources. We should vigorously pursue new technologies to meet our energy needs. But the best way to meet America's future energy goals is to make sure our energy policy doesn't impoverish us in the here and now.


Coldest winter for more than 30 years... but British Met Office defends its long range forecast

They can't get it right months ahead but they can get it right 50 years ahead????

Perhaps someone should ask workers at the Met Office to take a rain check on their optimism. After predicting just a 20 per cent chance of a colder than average winter, they were left embarrassed again when official figures revealed it was the coldest for more than 30 years. Temperatures in December, January and February struggled to stay above zero, with the UK's average a chilly 1.5c (35f), making it the deepest freeze since 1978-79.

And in Scotland and Northern Ireland it was the coldest winter since 1962-63. Altnaharra in northern Scotland recorded the lowest temperature of -22c (-8f) on the morning of January 8. The previous day brought England's lows, of -17.6c (0.32f) in Woodford on the edge of Manchester and -17.7c (0.14f) in Benson, Oxfordshire.

The figures - released yesterday to mark the first day of spring - sharply contrast with the forecast of the Met Office last autumn. Its 'long-range' predictions for the winter, said there was a 50 per cent chance of it being mild and just a 20 per cent risk of it being colder than the average temperature of 3.7c (39f). In mid-December the forecast was revised to say there was a 45 per cent chance that January and February would be colder than average.

In January, as Britain was warned to expect a 'windchill Saturday', with blasts of wind forcing daytime temperatures as low as -10c, a senior Met Office official admitted it should have done better. Asked on BBC TV: 'Why didn't you see this coming?', Keith Groves replied: 'I'm disappointed that our seasonal forecasts didn't give a prediction or stronger probability of a colder winter.' It was also forced to defend its long-range forecasting last autumn, when the much-feted 'barbecue summer' proved to be a washout.

And last night the Met Office was on the back foot again. Spokesman John Hammond said: 'You have got to bear in mind that it is a relatively new forecast. Only 20 years ago you would be looking at a one or two-day forecast and questioning its accuracy. Now we take those for granted.

'Given our geographical position we are very much at a crossroads of weather patterns and that makes it more challenging, but that is part of the game. We will continue to do the research and make sure [forecasts] improve in the future.'


Inglorious Gore

I love, love, love Al Gore's new screed, Why I Hate You Backstabbing Anti-Environmentalist Wingnuts (okay, it's not really titled that) spanning a full three pages in the New York Times' online edition. It features gems like:
...even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.
Gore fails to mention, of course, that modern records have only been kept for about a century. That's kind of like saying your puppy is completely house trained because, after nine months of defecating on the rug, you took him for a walk in the park and he happened to go in the bushes. Then, this:
Some analysts [argue]... that a cap-and-trade approach is too unwieldy and difficult to put in place. But...there is no readily apparent alternative that would be any easier politically.
So, even though everyone hates this solution, we should push forward, because, well, Al Gore wants to. And he doesn't even address the fact that cap-and-trade is unwieldy and difficult because there is no scientific consensus on the matter. Eat your vegetables, America.

As Jay Richards at The American points out, the biggest problem with Gore's piece is the angle at which he approaches the debate. His approach to critics is to tell them: "you're wrong because it's hot outside!" while completely dismissing evidence that things are not getting hot, or that things may be hot but there's no evidence of a warming trend, or that there might be discord over what to do about it.

Instead, Gore's dreamy-eyed puppy love for Climategate scientists oozes out between bombastic declarations of emergency, and petulant insistence that the taxpayer simply must pay for his dreaded plans.
From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.
The last guy I knew who was lobbying for human redemption seemed to have slightly less inflammatory rhetoric.


Australia: Weather forecasters ignored -- rightly -- because the warning was wrong. Nothing adverse happened

I wonder why people have no confidence in them? But they can predict global warming, of course -- even though predicting the pathway of a tsunami should have been a cinch compared to the complexity of predicting the climate 50 years hence

LIFESAVERS have blasted hundreds of surfers who defied tsunami warnings and hit the waves on Gold and Sunshine coast beaches yesterday. Crowds of onlookers along the coast also were criticised for ignoring tsunami warnings issued by the weather bureau to avoid coastal areas. Many ventured to vantage points with their children, despite the unknown risk.

Although all beaches and both coasts were closed, recreational board riders ignored the alert en masse. Many swimmers also flouted the warning while thousands of spectators risked a tidal surge by lining the beaches. "It's disappointing," Surf Life Saving Queensland duty officer Kevin Dunn said. "Most people did the right thing but the board riders seem to do what they want. They don't understand the repercussions and how serious it could have been."

The Quiksilver Pro world surfing championship tournament at Snapper Rocks was postponed until later in the day, leaving superstars including Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning high and dry. Despite excellent surf, Quiksilver Pro tournament director Rod Brooks said organisers were taking no chances after spectators were injured by a freak wave during a recent surfing contest in California.

Recreational surfer Geoff Martin, 48, shrugged off the tsunami warning and a plea from his mum not to venture into the ocean. He said the clean 1.5m waves rolling through Currumbin were too good to miss. "My mum rang me about seven o'clock this morning and said: 'I hope you're not going surfing'," he said. "Of course, I was straight down the beach."

The Gold Coast City Council activated its Disaster Management Centre and set up an evacuation centre for residents of low-lying areas, but the lack of any serious wave action meant the initiatives became a training drill.

Across the Sunshine Coast every major beach was officially closed though scores of swimmers took to the water from Caloundra to Noosa. At Maroochydore, surfboard riders barely missed a beat, gathering off main beach to chase waves throughout the day. Just before midday neighbouring Coolum Beach patrol captain Peter Gardiner said he could count at least four swimmers who had ventured into the water despite lifesaver warnings that the danger remained.

Mr Gardiner kept Coolum beach shut down though to mid-afternoon after reports of slight disturbances in southern waters came in just before midday.



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


2 March, 2010

Al Gore, Hansen and the other global warming frauds have a lot to answer for

But even mass-murder doesn't bother Leftists, of course

A baby girl survived three days with a bullet in her chest as she lay alone beside the dead bodies of her parents and toddler brother in Argentina. The Daily Mail reported Francisco Lotero, 56, and Miriam Coletti, 23, shot their seven-month-old daughter and two-year-old son before killing themselves.

The pair allegedly agreed to a suicide pact over fears about global warming.

The couple's son, Francisco, died instantly after being shot in the back, the paper reported. The baby girl, whose name has not been released, escaped the apparent murder attempt after a bullet from her dad's handgun missed her vital organs.

Worried neighbours alerted police three days later, after discovering the bodies. Paramedics then rushed the blood-soaked baby to a hospital. The miraculous survivor is now recovering in a hospital in the town of Goya in northern Argentina and is out of danger, according to the paper.

Police discovered an apparent suicide note by the girl's parents in which they outlined their global warming fears. The New York Daily News reports the letter was found on a table expressing the couple's anger at the government for not responding to the environmental crisis.


Government scientists spread ice melt myths

A good example of why an independent, non-governmental climate science organization is needed as an alternative to government controlled research was provided this week by researchers working for the U.S. and British governments.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the British Antarctic Survey reported this week that global warming is causing Antarctic ice shelves to disappear. "The loss of ice shelves is evidence of the effects of global warming," USGS scientist and lead author Jane Ferrigno is quoted in USA Today.

While it is true that some ice shelves in Antarctica are fracturing and falling into the sea, such events are natural occurrences whether the ice sheet is expanding or contracting. And, as objective data report, Antarctic temperatures are cooling and the Antarctic ice sheet as a whole is expanding.

Satellite instruments measuring atmospheric temperatures between latitudes 60 degrees and 90 degrees south show temperatures have been steadily declining since the satellites were first launched in 1979. During the past 30 years, Antarctic temperatures have fallen by 0.3 degrees Celsius, the satellite instruments report.

Similarly, satellite instruments measuring the extent of the Antarctic ice sheet report the sheet has been at record extent for much of the past three years, and has been growing steadily since 1979.

University of Arizona atmospheric science professor William Sprigg, who chaired the International Technical Review Panel for the IPCC’s first report, told an environmental conference in Phoenix earlier this month that a new research body independent of government funding and government control should be created to serve as an alternative voice to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other national climate research programs. The misleading claims regarding Antarctic ice sheets by U.S. and British government scientists perfectly illustrate this point.

Finding isolated instances of ice sheets calving and falling into the sea may help federal agencies justify their enormous and ever-growing climate budgets, but it does not prove that global warming is causing the Antarctic ice sheet to disappear. In the real world the very opposite is happening, and all too often it takes an independent voice to point this out.


UN's climate link to hurricanes in doubt

Research by hurricane scientists may force the UN’s climate panel to reconsider its claims that greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the number of tropical storms. The benchmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that a worldwide increase in hurricane-force storms since 1970 was probably linked to global warming. It followed some of the most damaging storms in history such as Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans and Hurricane Dennis which hit Cuba, both in 2005. The IPCC added that humanity could expect a big increase in such storms over the 21st century unless greenhouse gas emissions were controlled.

The warning helped turn hurricanes into one of the most iconic threats of global warming, with politicians including Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, and Al Gore citing them as a growing threat to humanity. The cover of Gore’s newest book, Our Choice, even depicts an artist's impression of a world beset by a series of huge super-hurricanes as a warning of what might happen if carbon emissions continue to rise.

However, the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, paints a very different picture. It suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline.

Looking to the future, it also draws on computer modelling to predict that the most likely impact of global warming will be to decrease the frequency of tropical storms, by up to 34% by 2100. It does, however, suggest that when tropical storms do occur they could get slightly stronger, with average windspeeds rising by 2-11% by 2100. A storm is termed a hurricane when wind speeds exceed 74mph, but most are much stronger. A category 4 or 5 hurricane such as Katrina generates speeds in excess of 150mph.

“We have come to substantially different conclusions from the IPCC,” said Chris Landsea, a lead scientist at the American government’s National Hurricane Center, who co-authored the report. He added: ”There are a lot of legitimate concerns about climate change but, in my opinion, hurricanes are not among them. We are looking at a decrease in frequency and a small increase in severity.” Landsea said he regarded the use of hurricane icons on the cover of Gore's book as "misleading".

Although the new report appears to criticise the IPCC it could mark a new start, showing that the beleagured body can recognise its mistakes and correct them as mistakes or new science emerge. The Nature Geosciences study was actually commissioned by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a UN agency which helps oversee the IPCC, in an attempt to resolve the bitter scientific row that had emerged over the relationship between global warming and tropical storms. That row dates back to the hurricane season of 2004 when four major hurricanes hit north and central America. It prompted senior IPCC scientists to give a press conference at Harvard University warning that global warming would cause many more such storms.

The claims attracted worldwide attention but Landsea pointed out there was no science to substantiate them and was so angry that he resigned his post as a senior IPCC author in January 2005, issuing a letter accusing the IPCC of having become “politicised”. He added in the letter : “All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones.”

The following year seemed to have proved him wrong when North and Central America were hit by a series of tropical storms plus seven major hurricanes, including Katrina, which devastated New Orleans. However he and other researchers have spent the years since then gathering historical evidence showing that hurricane frequency and intensity vary according to an entirely natural cycle, each lasting around 50-80 years. The last such surge began around 1925 and lasted until about 1955. Conversely there were declines in frequency between both 1910-1925 and from 1955-1995.

Such findings have generated continuing tension among storm researchers and criticism of the IPCC’s stance, so the WMO brought together 10 leading scientists from all sides of the argument to try to resolve it. Led by Thomas Knutson, a renowned hurricane researcher at Princeton University, the group also included Landsea and Kerry Emanuel, professor of meteorology at MIT. Kerry was a leading proponent of the idea that global warming meant more severe hurricanes.

Julian Heming, an expert in tropical storms at the Met Office, said: “Several of the authors have clashed in the past so the fact that they have co-authored this paper shows they have been prepared to adjust their stance on the basis of the recent research. ”

The IPCC’s reaction to the paper is uncertain but the organisation has confirmed it is reviewing several recent questions raised over its research and considering corrections where appropriate. One senior IPCC scientist, Professor Chris Field, has said he wants the IPCC to bring in new systems for checking and correcting its reports as important mistakes and new findings emerge.

Last Friday environment and climate ministers meeting in Bali also ordered a separate independent review of the IPCC’s leadership under Dr Rajendra Pachauri. It followed articles in The Sunday Times highlighting the IPCC’s false claim that climate change could melt most Himalayan glaciers by 2035.

The ministers — led by Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, and his counterparts from Germany, Norway, Algeria and Antigua and Barbuda — said they were not questioning the basic science behind global warming. Instead, they were concerned with the “aggressive” way in which Dr Pachauri had responded to criticism, including denouncing Indian research suggesting that the glaciers were not melting so rapidly as “voodoo science”.

A spokesman for Gore said the cover of Our Choice was not a scientific diagram but "an artist's rendering of an earth where unchecked global warming has wreaked havoc."


Green fuels cause more harm than fossil fuels

The expansion of plantations has pushed the orang-utan to the brink of extinction in Sumatra, where it takes 840 years for a palm oil plantation to soak up the carbon emitted when rainforest is burnt

Using fossil fuel in vehicles is better for the environment than so-called green fuels made from crops, according to a government study seen by The Times.

The findings show that the Department for Transport’s target for raising the level of biofuel in all fuel sold in Britain will result in millions of acres of forest being logged or burnt down and converted to plantations. The study, likely to force a review of the target, concludes that some of the most commonly-used biofuel crops fail to meet the minimum sustainability standard set by the European Commission.

Under the standard, each litre of biofuel should reduce emissions by at least 35 per cent compared with burning a litre of fossil fuel. Yet the study shows that palm oil increases emissions by 31 per cent because of the carbon released when forest and grassland is turned into plantations. Rape seed and soy also fail to meet the standard.

The Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation this year requires 3¼ per cent of all fuel sold to come from crops. The proportion is due to increase each year and by 2020 is required to be 13 per cent. The DfT commissioned E4tech, a consultancy, to investigate the overall impact of its biofuel target on forests and other undeveloped land.

The EC has conducted its own research, but is refusing to publish the results. A leaked internal memo from the EC’s agriculture directorate reveals its concern that Europe’s entire biofuels industry, which receives almost £3 billion a year in subsidies, would be jeopardised if indirect changes in land use were included in sustainability standards. A senior official added to the memo in handwriting: “An unguided use of ILUC [indirect land use change] would kill biofuels in the EU.”

The EC hopes to protect its biofuel target by issuing revised standards that would give palm plantations the same status as natural forests. Officials appear to have accepted arguments put forward by the palm oil industry that palms are just another type of tree.

A draft of the new rules, obtained by The Times, states that palm oil should be declared sustainable if it comes from a “continuously forested area”, which it defines as areas where trees can reach at least heights of 5m, making up crown cover of more than 30 per cent. “This means, for example, that a change from forest to oil palm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the criterion,” it adds.

Clearing rainforest for biofuel plantations releases carbon stored in trees and soil. It takes up to 840 years for a palm oil plantation to soak up the carbon emitted when the rainforest it replaced was burnt. The expansion of the palm oil industry in Indonesia has turned it into the third-largest CO2 emitter, after China and the US. Indonesia loses an area of forest the size of Wales every year and the orang-utan is on the brink of extinction in Sumatra.

Last year, 127 million litres of palm oil was added to diesel sold to motorists in Britain, including 64 million litres from Malaysia and 27 million litres from Indonesia. Kenneth Richter, biofuels campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “The billions of subsidy for biofuels would be better spent on greener cars and improved public transport.”


Large areas of sub-tropical Australia have just had the heaviest rainfall in 100 years

Warmists have spent years telling us that global warming would bring drought, so ...

A MAN has drowned after falling off his motorcycle into a flooded creek as parts of Queensland receive their heaviest rain in 100 years. The 57-year-old Mirani man was last seen riding his motorcycle on Sunday night. Police were notified he was missing at 7.55pm (AEST) on Sunday and searched the Devereux Creek area near Marian. They located the man's body in the creek.

A police spokesman said it appeared heavy rain may have made the creek area boggy and dangerous. Parts of southwest Queensland have had their best rainfall in 100 years as a monsoon trough squelches over the Northern Territory border. Birdsville, in the state's far southwest corner, has received 168mm over the past 24 hours - its heaviest rain in at least 100 years. Bedourie has recorded 188mm, the best on record since 1938.

The record rain has sparked flood warnings for several rivers across the state, including the Thomson, Paroo, Fitzroy and Barcoo rivers.

Today the trough - dubbed a landphoon by forecasters - is expected to move further into the south-west causing heavy rain as far south as Cunnamulla with the potential for more downpours of 100mm plus. Meteorologist Martin Palmer from Weatherzone said in south-east Queensland the rain was expected to intensify by lunchtime moving in from Toowoomba. "We should pick up around 40mm may be even 50mm in and around Brisbane itself, but tomorrow looks like it's going to be the day for the south-east, "Mr Palmer said.

"There's a massive amount of rain showing up towards the Sunshine Coast, up towards Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. Down towards Brisbane and the Gold Coast, were looking at between 60 and 80mm over the 24 hours." The falls are expected to ease from tomorrow night into Wednesday morning but would not completely dry out.

With localised flash flooding expected over much of southern Queensland later today, Emergency Services are reminding us of the dangers, especially for children....

The Weather Bureau warns that the southeast, Channel Country, Maranoa and Warrego, southern Central West, Central Highlands, Coalfields, Darling Downs and southeast could get heavy rain due to an intense monsoonal low.


Shale oil now a commercial reality

You're not a real American if stories like this don't make you happy, and excited. As you read this fascinating WSJ piece on the North Dakota oil boom, notice how:

**Aggressive oil exploration has brought prosperity to a lagging state--where unemployment is now 4.3%. "Booming Bakken oil production has helped North Dakota escape the worst of the economic downturn. The state's unemployment rate was 4.3% in December—more than five percentage points below the national level—and the state government projects a surplus for the current budget cycle."

**The REAL oil experts--those whose livelihood depends on PRODUCING OIL AT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE PRICES--sure as hell haven't given up on finding oil here on the good old North American landmass. "'It's a true game-changer,' said Jim Volker, chairman and CEO of Whiting Petroleum Corp. a Bakken oil producer. 'We still think there's a significant amount of oil reserves in the United States left to be discovered.'" And I LOVE this quote from Harold Hamm, chairman of Continental Resources: "Most people felt like they could kind of write off the oil industry in the U.S., and that's just a long way from the truth. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people quit looking for oil."

**Those bad old greedy oil companies have taken the time to build their own rail-line to transport the shale oil. Isn't this what we call the "multiplier effect" of private industry growth?

**Those bad old greedy oil companies have within a few short years developed new production techniques that have converted essentially worthless rocks to valuable engines of petro-industry growth...even as oil prices have slumped from $80/barrel to $50/barrel.

**At $78/barrel, North Dakota's oil production will be worth $6.24 billion, with a B, per year. Not bad for a state with less than 1 million people.

**Mark Papa, the chairman of EOG Resources, almost casually describes why his company decided to risk "$20 to $40 million" after a string of early failures: "The first three or four wells, it was not clear that there would be a viable economic solution. But we just felt like, well, it's worth investing $20 to $40 million in this because if it works there's a huge upside." IOW: the promise of POTENTIAL huge profits DOES encourage expensive investment, including LABOR.

**The sheer technological advances spun off from this aggressive oil exploration have made it profitable to extract Bakken oil when prices are above $50/barrel, when just a couple of years ago it required $80/barrel, and shortened the time to drill a well from 56 days to 24. Plus these same advances promise to increase production in other parts of the world. "Marathon Oil Corp. hopes to use what they learn in North Dakota to produce oil and gas overseas. 'It's been a great laboratory for us," said Dave Roberts, who heads exploration and production for Marathon.'"

So we can all agree that no real American wouldn't be thrilled by a story like this, especially in hard times when unemployment is bumping the 10% mark, right? Good news, right?

But can you imagine even one member of the Obama Cabinet being happy with this story? Just imagine how they would spin it against the bad old greedy oil companies, capitalists, exploiters, save the shales, Cheney, Haliburton, Bush, Blahblahblaaahhhhh...

Whatta gang of phonies they are. Claim to be focused on jobsjobsjobs, yet they do everything they can to crush energy production of oil (and coal) right here, huge and strategic industries that could expand by millions of high-paying jobs.

Well, they will ultimately, and epically, FAIL miserably. Because one Harold Hamm is worth a thousand Barack Haman Obamas. [The middle name there is not a mistake. It is an allusion to the Book of Esther -- JR]



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


1 March, 2010

The Week That Was

Quote of the Week: “In Nature’s infinite book of secrecy A little I can read.” Soothsayer in Antony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare

As the winter weather continues to rage in much of the Northern Hemisphere in ways not expected, this week we have not witnessed any new, remarkable revelations on ClimateGates we saw over the past few months, but the internal turmoil these revelations created continues. Even the New York Times appears to be resigned that it is unlikely the interested parties will have a grand climate change treaty ready for the December Conference of Parties meeting in Mexico. Three months ago many thought such a treaty was inevitable by then if not before. If only the New York Times will tell its readers exactly why.

The UN chief negotiator for a treaty has resigned, IPCC Chairman R.K. Pachauri is under fire, surface temperature data are being investigated, and exaggerations in the IPCC reports are coming to the fore. Of course IPCC defenders dismiss the issues as exaggerations from a few dissident skeptics or, as US Senator Bernie Sanders claims, Nazi deniers.

The leaders of the UN Environmental Program (EP), made up of delegates from 58 countries, are weathering the storms huddled up in Bali with special interest groups scheming Plan B. Early reports indicate EP is making a major effort to be ready for the 2012 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro which is timed to be the 20th Anniversary of the “Earth Summit” in Rio that led to the Kyoto Protocol which will expire that year. No doubt more news will follow.

The US EPA has thus far responded to the petitions for reconsideration of its finding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger human health and welfare as expected: with a resounding NO! “The science is settled.” Or as the headline of one article puts it: “Fifteen Years With No Global Warming Doesn’t Mean There’s No Global Warming, Says EPA Chief.” No doubt this story will also develop further.

One characteristic that is common to the advocates is their scientific certainty and how appalled they act should anyone should question them. Thus, they dismiss any major errors of fact, data, or conclusions as only a few misplaced words in some 3,000 pages of text.

The “News You Can Use” begins with meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo’s [] explanation of the wild winter then continues with three articles on polar ice caps. After this are a collection of articles on current UN IPCC and EP activities as well as EPA issues. Following this are more articles on climate change and other topics.

Several articles deserve special mention. One is the article on the Vermont Senate voting to not extend the operating license of a nuclear power plant that provides one-third of the state’s electricity. The license expires in 2012. The issue is tritium leakage (tritium is an isotope of hydrogen). The second article of special mention is astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s defense of abandoning a mission to the Moon in favor of going to Mars.

More HERE (See the original for links)

ClimateGate (CG) and other ’Gates’ undermine the credibility of the IPCC and of AGW

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

The reports of the UN-IPCC have long provided the basis of the so-called ‘scientific consensus.’ Climate statements of assorted national academies of sciences, including the venerable Royal Society, turned out to be nothing more than rehash of the IPCC conclusions, rather than independent assessments. Similarly, the statements issued by various professional societies simply relied on the IPCC – without adding any analyses of their own.

In turn, this apparent consensus misled not only the media and the public but also the wider scientific community, which had remained largely unaware of the ongoing debate and of the work of the many reputable climate experts who disagreed with the IPCC. Thanks to the e-mails of ClimateGate (CG), we now know of the efforts by a small clique to suppress publication of such dissenting views by subverting the scientific peer-review process – often with the connivance of the editors of leading professional journals.

All this is now changing. The e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia server strongly suggest that the basic temperature data had been manipulated, yielding the reported strong surface warming of the past 30 years. Again, we had long suspected this, because the data from weather satellites showed little warming trend of the atmosphere since 1979. Available proxy data seemed to confirm this result (see “Hot Talk Cold Science” [1997] -- HTCS Fig 16). But according to theory – and every greenhouse climate model -- tropospheric trends should be substantially greater than surface trends.

This disparity between the trends derived from weather station data and from satellite data was already apparent in 1996 (see HTCS Fig 9), and was amply confirmed in a special study of the US National Academy of Sciences [“Reconciling observations of global temperature change” 2000].

The NAS report could not reconcile the disparity and never explained its cause. But it has become evident now that the cause may be a greatly exaggerated surface trend – brought about by the CG cabal. We will learn the details once we unravel just how the data were manipulated.

The ‘manufacture’ of a ‘man-made’ warming trend, when there is none, likely involved (i) selection of stations that showed a trend, and (ii) inadequate correction for purely local warming influences such as the ‘urban heat island’ effect (see HTCS Figs 7 and 8; and the recent extensive publications of Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts).

In a sense then, the other ‘Gates’ discovered since CG – GlacierGate and all the rest – are a distraction from the main story. They were all found in IPCC Volume 2, which deals with climate impacts, i.e. with the consequences of global warming. They indicate a general sloppiness and make a mockery of the much touted IPCC standards and procedures. They have severely shaken the public’s and the media’s faith in the IPCC. But the main story is still CG – because it impacts directly on IPCC Volume 1, which deals with climate science and the causes of climate change rather than with climate impacts. To sum up: CG demonstrates just how the IPCC [2007] arrived at its erroneous conclusion about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the latter half of the 20th century. They used bad data. It’s no surprise then that none of the evidence the IPCC put forth in support of AGW can stand up to scrutiny – as already shown in the reports of the NIPCC (“Nature, not human activity, rules the climate” and “Climate change reconsidered”) [2008 and 2009].

Science editorial #7-2010 (Feb 27, 2010)

Al Gore's Nine Lies

The godfather of climate hysteria is in hiding as another of his wild claims unravels ? this one about global warming causing seas to swallow us up. We've not seen or heard much of the former vice president, Oscar winner and Nobel Prize recipient recently as the case for disastrous man-made climate change collapses.

Perhaps he's off reading how scientists were forced to withdraw a study on a projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding two "technical" mistakes that undermined the findings. The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, allegedly confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that sea levels would rise due to climate change. The IPCC put the rise at 59 centimeters by 2100. The Nature Geoscience study put it at up to 82 centimeters.

Many considered the study and the IPCC's estimates too conservative in their warnings. After all, Al Gore, in his award-winning opus, "An Inconvenient Truth," laughingly called a documentary, foretold an apocalyptic vision of the devastation caused by a 20-foot rise in sea levels due to melting polar ice caps "in the near future."

Now Mark Siddall, from the Earth Sciences Department at England's University of Bristol, has formally retracted the study. "One mistake was a miscalculation; the other was not to allow fully for temperature change over the past 2,000 years," he said. According to Siddall, "People make mistakes, and mistakes happen in science." They seem to be happening a lot lately, and more than just mistakes. We are talking about outright fraud, the deliberate manipulation and destruction of data.

Last November, Al Gore was hailed by Newsweek as "The Thinking Man's Thinking Man." Since then we and he have been given much to think about, starting with the damning e-mails from researchers associated with the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain. The e-mails revealed an organized attempt to "hide the decline" in global temperatures, to manipulate data to fit preconceived conclusions, and to discredit and shun reputable skeptics.

A key finding of the IPCC, which along with Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, was revealed last month to be utterly bogus. The IPCC claimed glaciers in the Himalayas would likely disappear by 2035. The only thing they had to back it up was a 1999 non-peer reviewed article in an Indian mass-market science magazine.

It's been revealed that researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been systematically eliminating weather stations, with a clear bias toward removing colder latitude and altitude locations. The number of reporting stations in Canada dropped from 600 to 35, with only one station used by the NOAA as a temperature gauge for Canadian territory above the Arctic Circle.

The past is prologue. Two years ago, Justice Michael Burton of London's High Court ruled Gore's film could be shown in British schools only if material explaining its errors were included in the curriculum. Burton documented nine significant errors in Gore's film and wrote that some of Gore's claims arose from "alarmism and exaggeration."

The first error Gore made, according to Burton, was in his apocalyptic vision of the devastation caused by a rise in sea levels caused by melting polar ice caps. Burton wrote that Gore's predicted 20-foot rise could occur "only after, and over, millennia" and to suggest otherwise "is not in line with the scientific consensus."

One by one, Gore's prophecies of doom and those of the climate charlatans he inspired are being exposed as the work of con artists. From the CRU to the IPCC, the climate dominoes are falling one by one. His silence speaks volumes.


Skating on thin ice for climate change

Energy Secretary Steven Chu didn't reach the pinnacle of his profession by treading the well-worn path of modern group-think. It's regrettable that the Nobel Prize-winning physicist is stuck in that rut now. Mr. Chu took great pains in a Feb. 19 speech to a Denver energy summit in arguing the case for human-induced climate change. "We have to convince all of America that this is a nonpartisan issue. ... This is our economic future," he said.

You have to feel for a man of science trying to make the jump to politics. In science, facts speak for themselves. In politics, facts are often run to ground by baloney. As energy secretary, Mr. Chu has traded fact for fiction and now spends his days selling President Obama's discredited climate-change policy.

Surely, Mr. Chu must be aware that the case for human-induced climate change, the cause that he has embraced as the paramount mission of his secretariat, has been exposed as fraught with fraud. Two weeks ago, Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' pre-eminent climate-change official, announced his resignation amid a groundswell of derision over his failure to confront the global-warming hoax. Evidence of falsified data, errors in the U.N.'s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and biased ground-based temperature data are all part of the body of bogus science that has become known as Climategate.

On Wednesday, when Mr. Chu toured the site of Abu Dhabi's Masdar City - touted as "the world's first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city" - he felt compelled to voice climate-change-equals-jobs rhetoric similar to that which he delivered in Denver. When completed, the sparkling 6-square-kilometer model city will be equipped with the world's priciest energy technologies, including solar, hydrogen and geothermal power plants - energy toys that a few opulent oil sheiks can afford to play with, but a country the size of America cannot. What he saw there will not be "our economic future," at least not anytime soon.

Mr. Chu's official government biography crows that he has "devoted his recent scientific career to the search for new solutions to our energy challenges and stopping global climate change - a mission he continues with even greater urgency as secretary of energy."

The Cabinet secretary could learn from the example of the wise Viking King Canute. Legend has it that when His Majesty learned that his flattering courtiers were claiming he was "so great, he could command the tides of the sea to go back," he had his throne carried to the seashore. When the tide rose, he commanded the waves to halt. When his command had no effect, he pointed out to all that though the deeds of kings might appear great to men, they were nothing compared to the forces of nature.

Likewise, the energy secretary would be smart to apprehend the limits of his power. Climate will change - or cease changing - but not by his leave. The real challenge of helping Americans develop clean, affordable and plentiful energy sources should be enough to occupy his days in office.


Skeptics condemned by a Left-wing extremist

A definite badge of honour for skeptics. Sanders calls himself a socialist but so did Stalin

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is comparing climate change skeptics to those who disregarded the Nazi threat to America in the 1930s, adding a strident rhetorical shot to the already volatile debate over climate change. "It reminds me in some ways of the debate taking place in this country and around the world in the late 1930s," said Sanders, perhaps the most liberal member of the Senate, during a Senate hearing Tuesday. "During that period of Nazism and fascism's growth-a real danger to the United States and democratic countries around the world- there were people in this country and in the British parliament who said 'don't worry! Hitler's not real! It'll disappear!"

Sanders’ reference to the Nazi threat is sure to enrage Republicans who are already skeptical of the science behind climate change. But Sanders wasn't the only one throwing bombs at a hearing that was ostensibly about the EPA's fiscal 2011 budget. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has called global warming a "hoax," is asking for an investigation into the science used in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the governing body on climate science.

Earlier in the hearing, Inhofe had chided Sanders: "I know the senator from Vermont wants so badly to believe that the science on climate change is settled but it's not."

The heated exchanges came as EPA administrator Lisa Jackson sparred with lawmakers over her agency's decision to regulate greenhouse gases, something that Senate Republicans — and some Democrats — have opposed. "How can you justify doing something administratively that was overwhelmingly rejected by the United States Senate and say defiantly 'we don't care what you say, Congress, we're going to go ahead and do it under the clean air act," Inhofe asked.

Jackson said her agency was in its right to regulate carbon. "The supreme court said the EPA must make the determination whether or not greenhouse gases are harmful to the public welfare. Rather than ignore that obligation I chose as a public administrator to make the order," Jackson replied.

On Monday, Jackson told lawmakers that the EPA would delay regulation of most greenhouse gas producers until 2016. Her announcement came in the wake of a letter from eight coal state Democrats, who, like Republicans, fear the effect of the regulations will have on the economy.

That was little comfort for Republicans. "Some would say it's merely a cynical ploy to delay job killing," said Senator Kit Bond.

As the rhetoric escalates, a handful of senators are actually negotiating on a climate bill. Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer announced that Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (D-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) were "getting close to getting the 60 votes we need" for bipartisan energy legislation. But Inhofe countered that they were nowhere near close enough for cap and trade legislation.


Australia: Millions wasted on Greenie schemes

Tens of millions of dollars is being funnelled into the State Government's energy efficiency programs with little or no evidence to prove they are an effective use of taxpayers' money. A report tabled in State Parliament has revealed none of the power-saving schemes were independently evaluated and the outcomes were "difficult to isolate". The bipartisan committee's report also found few of the state's 1.39 million households or 390,000 businesses were participating in the green initiatives, despite generous rebates.

The poor take-up of power-saving schemes comes as Queensland grapples with its status as the most energy intensive state in the country.

The report highlights the "enormous task ahead" to attract households and businesses to power-saving programs It found one in 780, or a fraction of 1 per cent of businesses, were taking part in the ecoBiz program, which encourages eco-efficient practices in the workplace. Just one in five households have signed up for the much touted $60 million Climate Smart Home Service scheme. The program is worth $450 per house, with a $400 government subsidy and includes 15 free energy-saving light bulbs plus water-saving shower heads.

Committee member and Opposition energy spokesman Jeff Seeney said despite costing millions of taxpayer dollars, there was no evidence the Climate Smart Home Service achieved its energy-efficiency goals. "We have grave reservations about the expenditure of such amounts of public money with no attempt to quantify the outcomes achieved," Mr Seeney said.

Other key concerns were that green initiatives were duplicated across government levels and that the large number of programs, guides, rebates and incentives was confusing and unnecessarily complex. There were also questions about a lack of co-ordination across government levels and between agencies.

Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said he would respond to the report's recommendations "in due time".



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



After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory


"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."