Sunday, November 30, 2008

Physicist says warming fears 'manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis'

Comments sent to EPA by research physicist John W. Brosnahan of Vanderpool, Texas, who develops remote-sensing instruments for atmospheric science for such clients as NOAA and NASA and who has published much peer-reviewed research. Brosnahan has given permission for public release of his statement

As a research physicist who has spent the past 30 years of my career in atmospheric science, I am surprised that government agencies, politicians, and much of the public have been manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis, which is the best way to describe the "non-link" between CO2 and global warming. There is virtually NO physical science to support any role of man's generation of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in climate change. All of this pseudo-science is driven by poorly conceived computer modeling and represents a political agenda that uses science and the public as pawns.

Carbon Dioxide is critical for plant life and therefore to animal life and to regulate it as a pollutant is a total misunderstanding of its role in life and the role that man plays in the environment. Rather than restating all of the scientific arguments I suggest that you contact Senator James Inhofe's EPW Committee staff member, Marc Morano, who has done an excellent job of collecting an overwhelming amount of peer-reviewed science (see: here) that clearly demonstrates that there is no basis for the EPA to regulate Carbon Dioxide.

Since Carbon Dioxide is such a minor greenhouse gas compared to water vapor it would make much more scientific sense for the EPA to regulate HUMIDITY! To regulate Carbon Dioxide empowers the creation of a carbon trading scheme that is, in essence, the trading of hot air. In fact, carbon trading makes even less sense than the trading of derivatives by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

As global temperatures continue to drop I would think that the last thing that the EPA would want to do is to be responsible for another trillion dollar economic disaster. From my perspective, there appear to be many more top scientists who do NOT believe in AGW and CO2 as a critical element in climate change and see that the SUN is the active determinant for climate.

'Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy'... CEO of 4th largest coal company unloads on Gore, Reid and Pelosi

Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth largest coal company in the country, blasted politics and the press, comparing Charleston Gazette Editor James. A. Haught to Osama Bin Laden Thursday evening when he addressed the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson. "It is as great a pleasure for me to be criticized by the communists and the atheists of the Charleston Gazette as to be applauded by my best friends," he said. "Because I know they are wrong. People are cowering away from being criticized by people that are our enemies. Would we be upset if Osama Bin Laden was critical of us?" he asked.

"Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy." Those are the words Blankenship used to describe Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as environmental groups. He said he felt simple terms were the only ones the country could understand, that more sophisticated language was over the head of the general public. "When we talk about it in more articulate ways, the American public doesn't get it," he said.

Blankenship told the crowd, which overflowed the room, spilling over to fill the Brass Tree Restaurant, that coal is getting a lot of undeserved bad press. The coal business, he said, needs to start standing up for itself in the face of the negative image being portrayed by politicians, special interests and the press.

Blankenship said the business community should put their business interests first, not environmental interests. "They can say what they want about climate change," he said. "But the only thing melting in this country that matters is our financial system and our economy." "The business community doesn't want to lose any skin," he said, referring to the skinned knees he sustained playing football as a boy. "Being scratched up is not so bad, but the political elite are so comfortable that they think their mission in life now is to save the world."

Many people would give support to groups who work to disprove global warming if it was not so politically incorrect, Blankenship said. "How many times have the people in this room heard, at the US Chamber of Commerce or at the National Mining Association, `I don't believe in climate change, but I'm afraid to say that because it is a political reality.' The greeniacs are taking over the world."

Blankenship said politicians misrepresent facts when it comes to the environment. "Politicians occasionally trip over the truth," he said, "but they get up and go on as if nothing happened." He said the amount of pollution produced by American coal is negligible compared to the environmental damage done by other countries. "It's nonsensical, its idiotic. And yet, we call it two different sides, partisan, Democrat or Republican," he said. "If Pelosi thinks that decreasing CO2 in this country is going to save the polar bears, she's crazy. If CO2 emissions are going to kill the polar bears, it's going to happen. What we do here [in the US] is not going to it."

Blankenship said he realizes the environment is a concern, but that it is only part of the picture. "I talk a lot about the total environment," he said. "Yes, we need to breathe clean air and have fresh water in the streams. We need to have trees and all that, but we need to be able to send out children to school. That's a total environment. "Most people wouldn't believe that coal is the most important thing to the environment."

But coal produces electricity, he argued, and that improves the quality of life. "Anywhere you go, low cost electricity, the creation of energy, of jobs, of an economy, ultimately leads to an improvement in the environment. There is no place in the world that has a good environment where people live on two dollars a day with no electricity," he said. "If you are really believe that the world is going to overheat from the use of carbon, then whatever you do in the United States to reduce carbon emissions is wrong, because all that it will do is increase CO2 emissions in China. All the things the environmentalists told us were important, sulfur and particulates, everything they have talked about and badgered this industry about are still being polluted throughout most of the world without any controls."

Blankenship said the industry needs to be as outspoken as those who oppose the use of carbon fuels. "Its not only important for the greeniacs and environmentalists to change their views, but there is also a real need for business people to change their views. We have to challenge everything, and we need to get more bold. When business people act like politicians instead of expressing what the truth is, we will have people making decisions on what they call political reality."

Blankenship said energy policies put forth by the government have not worked in the past, and they are not the answer to today's energy crisis. He shared a video clip of then President Jimmy Carter encouraging measures such as conserving heating fuel, carpooling, using public transportation and avoiding unnecessary car trips.

"Jimmy Carter understood that there was a risk if we increased our dependence on foreign oil," Blankenship said. "But did it not sound similar to Obama? Turn down your thermostats? Buy a smaller car? Conserve? I have spent quite a bit of time in Russia and China, and that's the first stage. You go from having your own car to carpooling to riding the bus to mass transit. You eventually get to where you're walking. You go from your own apartment and bathroom to sharing kitchens with four families. That's what socialism and the elimination of capitalism and free enterprise is all about."

"Massey is working hard to come up with soundbites or what sort of messages might resonate publicly. Unless we get people to think positively about coal, we are in trouble not only as an industry, but also as a country." "It doesn't take a genius to figure out that, if you have that much energy in the ground, you shouldn't have thousands of troops in Iraq, spending $10 billion a month, you shouldn't by trying to patrol the world. Let the world fight over the oil. Liquify the coal."

"Coal has to be important," Blankenship said. "We have to stand up for coal and for energy independence. Sooner or later, we are going to have to start saying something, because if we don't, the other side is going to start taking over."


UN says hundreds of billions more dollars likely needed to reduce emissions by 2030

Hundreds of billions more dollars are likely to be needed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a 2030 target, according to UN estimates published on Friday ahead of global talks on climate change. The report, to be presented at the December 1-12 conference in Poznan, Poland updates 2007 estimates that said investment to mitigate carbon emissions had to be ramped up in the coming years, reaching between 200-210 billion dollars annually in 2030.

The goal, in this benchmark scenario, is to reduce levels of global-warming pollution to 25 percent below 2000 levels in 2030. In the new report, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said the emissions goal was virtually unchanged. But it said the estimates of financial needs for mitigation had been revised sharply upwards -- by "about 170 percent." It cited "higher projected capital costs," especially in the energy sector, to introduce solar panels and fuel cells that had yet to become competitive with fossil fuels.

There was also the potential bill for implementing carbon storage, a technology that is still at the pilot stage, said the report. Under carbon storage, carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured from big polluting sources such as coal-fired power plants, rather than released into the atmosphere where it would add to the greenhouse-gas effect. Instead, the CO2 would be pumped deep below ground, in disused gas fields or other geological chambers and stored there indefinitely.

Most the funding needs will have to be focussed in developing countries, the UNFCCC report said. China has now outstripped the United States as the world's No. 1 carbon emitter, and India is set to become third largest, according to estimates released in September by the research consortium the Global Carbon Project.

The UNFCCC report said that its estimates for funding needs to help poor countries adapt to the impact of global warming were unchanged over 2007, "and remain in the tens of billions, possibly hundreds of billions of dollars, every year." The Poznan talks are a stepping stone towards a new pact, due to be sealed in Copenhagen in December 2009, for reducing emissions and boosting adaptation funds beyond 2012, when the current provisions of the UN's Kyoto Protocol expire.


British councils scrap paper recycling banks following slump in value of waste materials

Recycling banks are facing the scrapheap after a global slump in the price of waste materials. The credit crunch has seen demand for recyclable materials plummet. The market value of a ton of mixed paper has tumbled from 50 to less than 1 British pound. Some waste disposal firms say this makes running recycling banks uneconomical, since the end product is worthless.

In Somerset, Perry's Recycling - a company which supplies the county council's mixed paper recycling facilities - has cut 31 of its 117 banks. Similar firms across the UK could follow suit within weeks. The firm's managing director Chris Perry said: 'Economically, it just doesn't stack up any more. We've never seen a market crash this fast, so we're having to cut back where necessary and weather the storm.'

Somerset Waste Partnership, which manages waste and recycling across the county, said the recession has had a 'dramatic' effect on prices and led to the decision to axe the banks. Spokesman Mark Blaker said: 'They are being removed as a result of the credit crunch basically. 'Much of our paper goes to China, for example, to make cardboard boxes. But at the moment, those boxes are not being made and exported to America like they were, so what's happened here is a knock-on effect. 'Prices in the summer for recycled material were at an artificial high, which is why the drop seems so dramatic, but now the product's price is pretty much zero pounds.'

Recycling banks are worst affected by the drop in prices because their contents are ' contaminated' with other materials that are processed together. Other councils are having to make similar cuts in recycling. Derby City Council is reducing the number of large recycling points for bottles and glass from 27 sites to 17, though it said kerbside collections would be extended to compensate.

Households in Hertfordshire can no longer recycle food tubs and yogurt pots because the council's contractor cannot turn a profit on this kind of plastic. In Cambridge a waste-processing firm - unable to find any other market for it - has resorted to turning cardboard into compost for farmers. And in Oswestry, Shropshire, a mountain of recycled paper is sitting untouched because in the past month its sale value has fallen by 80 per cent.

More than half of Britain's eight million tons of mixed paper is exported to the Far East to be made into cardboard packaging for manufacturers. But demand has slumped and the Confederation of Paper Industries warns it is unlikely to pick up soon. Firms which run mixed paper recycling schemes say they have no choice but to axe some banks to save money.

Paul Bettison, of the Local Government Association's environment board, said Somerset was the first council to cut back on paper banks because of the global downturn. He added: 'Right now the credit crunch will certainly be a factor but it probably would have happened anyway because there people are relying more on kerbside collections.'


European ski resorts have best snowfall in decade

Ski resorts across Europe will open this weekend ahead of schedule after the biggest November snowfalls for at least a decade. The exceptional conditions, including 60cm (23in) of snow on Alpine slopes and even more in the Pyrenees, has given a much needed boost to the ski industry after claims that global warming could devastate its multibillion-pound business.

"This is nature's way of cocking a snook at the experts," said Christian Rochette, the director of Ski France International, the tourist body for French resorts.The industry was expecting a good season despite gloomy forecasts from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). "We've got excellent conditions for this time of year and very cold temperatures, which means we can use the snow cannons to make artificial snow as well," he said.

Reservations in France had risen by 20 per cent compared with last year, and Mr Rochette said there was no sign that Britons were being deterred by the falling pound or the economic outlook. "They don't seem to be prepared to sacrifice their winter holidays," he said. "They want to get away from all this talk of a crisis."

French resort officials backed his optimism, although some predicted a drop in revenue from British tourists. "Even if they still come, we expect that they'll spend a little less," said one. A spokeswoman for the tourist office in Meribel, an up-market Alpine resort and a favourite of British skiers, said that, with 30cm of snow at an altitude of 1,500 metres and up to 80cm at 2,000 metres, the ski lifts would start operating today, a week earlier than planned. "It's many, many years since we've had this much snow at this time of the year," she said.

Michael Broom Smith, of Purple Ski, said: "On the lower pistes, the snow is thigh deep and beautifully light and fluffy and more snow is forecast this weekend." Val d'Isere will also open today with snow two metres deep at 3,000 metres. "We've often had to put off the opening," a tourist office spokeswoman said. "Last year we opened a few slopes at the start of the season but this year we're opening them all."

The mood is equally upbeat in the Swiss Alps. The Ski Club of Great Britain said that snow in parts of Switzerland was 12 times deeper than average.

Pyrenean resorts are also enjoying snowfalls unseen for years. "Oh, what happiness!" said Herve Mairal, director of the Pyrenean Tourist Federation. "We've got 95cm at the foot of the slopes and 1.4m at the top. We've not had that for a decade."

Andorra, which has had some poor conditions in recent years, is enjoying its best start to a season for four decades and both the main areas of Grandvalira and Vallnord will be open fully from this weekend.

On the Spanish side Roberto Buil, the marketing manager of the Baqueira Beret resort, said that the slopes had opened on November 22 for the first time in 44 years. "All our 69 ski runs are open," he said. "We are having an amazing start."

The cold snap comes after an OECD report said that a two-degree rise in temperature could eliminate a third of all Europe's ski slopes over the next 40 years.


Heavy snow keeps children away from school in Spain

Heavy snowfalls are complicating traffic flow in the north of Spain as the rain there moves south to be replaced by colder temperatures and freezing.

Tyre chains are needed on nearly 40 mountain passes of the main road network because of the snow, 12 passes are closed completely, and five regions of the country remain on yellow alert for harsh weather this morning - Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid. Cataluna and the Baleraic Islands are also on alert for high winds and possible storms this morning.

The snow resulted in 1,200 pupils getting a day off school yesterday in Castilla y Leon, and 60 lorries heading for Cantabria came to a halt in Aguilar de Campoo, Palencia. 197 schoolchildren in Lugo were also without classes because of the snow.

The Spanish Meteorological Agency, AEMET, is forecasting snow tomorrow in the SE of the mainland above 700/900 metres and moderate freezing temperatures in the centre and north. Heavy rain is forecast for later in the south of Andalucia and in the area of the strait.



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


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unprecedented cold weather endangers sea turtles; many being rescued

Recent cold weather caught sea turtles off-guard before they could reach warmer Gulf Stream waters, and that has led to nearly 25 rescues along the North Carolina coast in the past week. Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Topsail Island has rescued numerous cold-stunned sea turtles since Thursday, said Jean Beasley, the hospital's executive director. "We're overwhelmed, this has never happened before -- at least not since the turtle hospital has been in existence," Beasley said. "We had 11 turtles come in last Thursday, 12 on Saturday and six (Sunday). We're frantically trying to make more space."

"Cold weather started it all -- with the precipitous drop in temperature, these guys can't regulate their body temperature," volunteer Karen Sota said, adding that most have been green turtles around 2 years old. There are also a few loggerheads.

Beasley expects that there could be more turtles in trouble. People can help by looking for turtles in the shallow waters -- particularly in marsh grasses, where they aren't easily spotted. Beasley said that turtles should be brought to a sheltered place and that they need to slowly warm up. "Those caught in shallow water are going to be in real trouble because they have no ability to produce any body heat," she said. "We've had some who came in with body temperatures in the 30s ... Normally they need to have body temperatures over 70."

Sota recommends taking any found turtles home and putting them on a towel in a utility room. "Do not put it in warm water," she said. "We're warming them up slowly, giving a course of antibiotics and trying to get them to eat."


Australia: Global cooling fails to cool protagonists of global warming

Europe is shivering through an extreme cold snap. One of the coldest winters in the US in more than 100 years is toppling meteorological records by the dozen, and the Arctic ice is expanding. Even Australia has been experiencing unseasonable snow. But the stories about global warming have not stopped, not for a second.

In May last year, The Sydney Morning Herald breathlessly reported that climate change had reduced the Southern Ocean's ability to soak up carbon dioxide, claiming that as a result global warming would accelerate even faster than previously thought. The story was picked up and repeated in a number of different journals around the region. But this week the CSIRO suggested the exact opposite. "The new study suggests that Southern Ocean currents, and therefore the Southern Ocean's ability to soak up carbon dioxide, have not changed in recent decades," it said. This time the story got no coverage in the SMH, and was run on the ABC's website as evidence the Southern Ocean was adapting to climate change.

CSIRO oceanographer Stuart Rintoul, a co-author of the study, said it did not disprove global warming and he did not believe its lack of an alarmist tone was responsible for the poor coverage. But the story is being pointed out as an example of media bias on global warming. Critics argue that the ABC and the Fairfax media are the worst offenders.

ABC board member Keith Windschuttle said yesterday the national broadcaster was in breach of its charter to provide a diversity of views. "The ABC and the Fairfax press rarely provide an opportunity for global warming sceptics to put their view," Mr Windschuttle said. "The science is not settled. "We are seeing an increasing number of people with impeccable scientific backgrounds questioning part or whole of the story. I don't believe the ABC has been reflecting the genuine diversity of the debate. Under its own act, the ABC is required to produce a diversity of views."

Bob Carter of James Cook University, one of the world's best-known climate change sceptics, said there was no doubt Windschuttle was correct. "With very few exceptions, press reporters commenting on global warming are either ignorant of the science matters involved, or wilfully determined to propagate warming hysteria because that fits their personal world view, or are under editorial direction to focus the story around the alarmist headline grab -- and often all three," Professor Carter said.

National Climate Centre former head William Kininmonth said coverage of global warming had been hysterical and was getting worse, with a large public relations effort inundating the media with information from the alarmist side.



The French EU Presidency is "putting everything on the table" in a "desperate" bid to agree on the climate and energy package before the end of the year, sources close to the negotiations told EurActiv. As part of its push to reach an agreement, France is putting forward a compromise that includes free emission rights for coal plants, financial compensation for energy-intensive industries and extensive use of third country emissions reductions to meet CO2 'effort sharing' targets.

Countries that use coal for more than 30% of their power generation portfolio could receive free CO2 emissions permits for several years once the revised EU ETS is launched in 2013. This would cut in half the 60% threshold originally proposed by Poland, which remains highly dependent on coal for power generation. If adopted, coal plants in most EU member states would benefit from the scheme. Only Ireland, the UK and France would be excluded from the scheme due to their relatively low use of coal for power generation.

France, which holds the presidency of the European Council until the end of the year, is currently in 'trialogue' talks with representatives of the Commission and Parliament. The last trialogue on the EU ETS was held in Brussels on 25 November. Details of the behind-closed-doors talks, which were established in an effort to agree a deal on the package in advance of the 11-12 European summit, have been slow to emerge. Scattered reports from sources close to the negotiations, however, indicate that EU member states may dismantle some of the basic architecture of the Commission's original proposal in order to reach a deal before the end of 2008.

A financial compensation mechanism for energy-intensive industries that face higher electricity costs due to the EU ETS, for example, is on the table. The mechanism is allegedly being proposed by the French EU Presidency in response to pressure from the German delegation. Berlin has reportedly reacted with a large degree of 'disappointment' to Paris's apparent acquiescence to all manner of demands being put forward by the Polish delegation. The implication is that France's willingness to accept Polish requests has in turn led Germany to push for its own set of exemptions from a future EU CO2 reduction regime.

There is also some speculation that Paris has modelled the mechanism on the subsidy scheme that underpins the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), of which France is a main beneficiary.



Report from Denmark: Poland gives the thumbs down to plans for a European climate agreement this year, as Denmark prepares for the Climate Summit in 2009

The prime minister's hopes for a global climate agreement in Copenhagen next year appear to have been dashed by Poland. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has repeatedly said that a global agreement on CO2 reductions at next year's Climate Summit in Copenhagen is contingent on the European Union being able to reach its own compromise at this year's December EU summit.

But Poland has made it clear that under current circumstances it will not agree to EU targets and is close to giving up negotiations completely. "I see no flexibility at all from the rich countries," says Poland's Minister for Europe and Climate Delegation leader Mikolaj Dowgielewicz in an interview with Politiken and DR.

At its December summit, the 27 European Union countries are looking to agree on the practical aspects of burden-sharing in order to reach a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. That burden-sharing agreement is seen as vital in getting the United States, India and China, among others, to agree on a global climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. At the same time, it is hoped that the EU summit will confirm the Union's ambitious target that 20 percent of Europe's energy should come from sustainable energy sources by 2020.

But Dowgielewicz says that in reality, the goals are unattainable. "Poland is not France which has nuclear power. Poland is not Denmark, which is almost self-sufficient in its energy requirement," says Dowgielewicz. "We are 38 million people in the middle of Europe and we are behind the rest. We have to catch up with developments in your countries - and that is in everyone's interest. And if you say to us - a country that gets 95 percent of its energy from coal - that we have to change everything, it's just a dream. A nice dream, but a dream nonetheless," he adds.

Dowgielewicz arrives in Brussels today with an ultimatum for the Commission, the French Presidency and other EU countries. His government is adamant that the current negotiations are going nowhere, and that much more consideration must be given to less wealthy EU countries. The Polish government feels that the current status of the negotiations is impossible and that the French Presidency is only looking out for itself, Italy and Germany - all of whom are hiding behind Poland in a wish to postpone or scrap the European climate agreement.

Dowgielewicz says he finds it difficult to see a compromise. "There are no good signs for the negotiations of the coming weeks. And quite honestly I am sorry about that. But everyone is going to have to compromise if we are to reach agreement in December. At the moment, I cannot imagine how that is going to be possible," he concludes.



Barack Obama, who promised last week to write a "new chapter in America's leadership" on the environment, could find his hands tied by the economic crisis, a leading figure in global climate change negotiations said yesterday.

John Kerry, who will lead the US Senate's delegation to the UN's climate meeting in Poznan, Poland, next month, said his country was now in a position to play a leading role on global climate change negotiations. But he also said Obama's administration would be constrained by the economic crisis in offering incentives to countries such as India and China to commit themselves to lower greenhouse gas emissions. "We have to figure out what is achievable ... within one year, given our economic realities," Kerry said. "The bottom line is we are not going to be in the position we were two years ago in the short term to do as much technology transfer or economic assistance in terms of transitional issues that might have led other countries to participate."

The caution came amid rising expectations on the eve of the two-week UN meeting, which begins on Monday, about the prospects of negotiating a successor to the Kyoto protocol late next year. Kerry said there would be little negotiation on a treaty at the meeting but it would focus on setting out a timetable leading up to next year's international climate change summit at the Copenhagen meeting. "This is not a negotiation session," he said. "This is a negotiation to set up a glide path going into Copenhagen."

In a video appearance last week before a climate change conference hosted by California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Obama promised the US would lead the way on the environment. Kerry reaffirmed that pledge, even with the caveats. "It's a moment we've been waiting for, many of us, for some period of time - for eight years, to be blunt," he said. "And we intend to pick up the baton and really run with it here." Kerry said Obama had asked him to report back on the meeting in Poland.

The Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, Kerry is scheduled to take over as the chairman of the Senate's foreign relations committee in January. That puts him in pole position for lining up support in Congress behind a successor to Kyoto. "It's going to be one of the top priorities of the committee," Kerry said. "I know this playing field and I know this issue."

Kerry said Obama was making progress in filling the environmental portfolios in his administration, and in coordinating with working committees in Congress. Obama will not be in Poznan. His position since the election has been that America has only one sitting president at a time. But the focus has already shifted towards the potential actors in the next administration.

On the American side, Kerry is to be joined at Poznan by the Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, an early supporter of Obama, who has been active on the environment. George Bush will be sending his regular negotiators to Poland for the final climate change conference of his administration. The US delegation will be led by the undersecretary of state, Paula Dobriansky. Jim Connaughton, the White House adviser on the environment, will also attend. The US delegation was heckled at last December's climate conference in Bali.



Many elderly and poor people are struggling to afford heating, now that utilty bills are so high. And cold is deadly

Last winter 25,300 more people died in the winter months than in the summer, an increase of seven per cent on the previous year, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. Most of these are due to circulatory and respiratory diseases and the majority occur among the elderly in a situation which has been condemned by campaigners. There are fears the death toll will be higher this year as forecasters predict lower temperatures than last year, utility bills have risen and the credit crunch means many households are struggling to make ends meet.

The UK has traditionally had a worse record on so-called excess winter deaths even when compared with countries that have colder climates like Finland and Norway, according to the World Health Organisation, but the last comparison was carried out when there were unusually high deaths in the UK due to flu epidemics.

Help the Aged said the number of deaths were still at unacceptable levels. Mervyn Kohler, special adviser, said: "This year's winter deaths figures are a continuing disgrace to a Government who are there to protect the most vulnerable in our society. "Older people are struggling on a daily basis, with the rising cost of living leading to real hardship.

More here


Russian oil companies could soon begin searching for oil in deep Gulf of Mexico waters off Cuba, a top diplomat said just days before Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits the island. Russian oil companies have "concrete projects" for drilling in Cuba's part of the gulf, said Mijail Kamynin, Russia's ambassador to Cuba, to the state-run business magazine Opciones.

Kamynin also said Russian companies would like to help build storage tanks for crude oil and to modernize Cuban pipelines, as well as play a role in Venezuelan efforts to refurbish a Soviet-era refinery in the port city of Cienfuegos, according the article published this weekend.

Medvedev comes to former Cold War ally Cuba on Thursday, part of a tour of Latin America to strengthen his country's economic and political ties in the region. Kamynin said trade between Russia and the island would top 400 USD million this year.

Washington's nearly 50-year-old trade embargo prohibits US companies from investing on the island. But Cuba's state-run oil concern has signed joint operating agreements with companies from several countries to explore waters that Cuban scientists claim could contain reserves of up to 20 billion barrels of oil.

More here


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


Friday, November 28, 2008

Gore and the collapse of the Mayan civilisation

The just-written paper below is by statistician Dr. Richard Mackey []. It debunks Gore's Warmist linkage to the collapse of the Mayan civilisation

"The following appeared on Albert Gore's website of Nov 19, 2008:
"Looking Back to Look Forward November 19, 2008 : 3:04 PM

A new study suggests the Mayan civilization might have collapsed due to environmental disasters: "These models suggest that as ecosystems were destroyed by mismanagement or were transformed by global climatic shifts, the depletion of agricultural and wild foods eventually contributed to the failure of the Maya sociopolitical system,' writes environmental archaeologist Kitty Emery of the Florida Museum of Natural History in the current Human Ecology journal."

As we move towards solving the climate crisis, we need to remember the consequences to civilizations that refused to take environmental concerns seriously. If you haven't read already read it, take a look at Jared Diamond's book, Collapse."

This is a most curious reference. It means that Gore is advocating the abandonment of the IPCC doctrine and barracking for the study and understanding of climate dynamics that ignores totally the IPCC/AWG doctrine and focuses on all the other variables, especially how climate dynamics are driven by atmospheric/oceanic oscillations, the natural internal dynamics of the climate system and the role of the Sun in climate dynamics.

Brian Fagan in Floods, Famines and Emperors, El Nino and the fate of civilisations (Basic Books 1999), shows that the Maya collapse, whilst having complex political, sociological, technological and ecological factors, was largely driven by the natural atmospheric/oceanic oscillations of ENSO and NAO. The book is one of three by Brian Fagan, Prof of Anthropology UC Santa Barbara, that documents how natural climate variations, ultimately driven by solar activity, have given rise to the catastrophic collapse of civilisations. The book has a chapter on the Mayan civilisation which collapsed around 800 to 900 AD. Here are some quotes from his book:
"The "Classic Maya collapse" is one of the great controversies of archaeology, but there is little doubt that droughts, fuelled in part by El Nino, played an important role." "The droughts that afflicted the Maya in the eighth and ninth centuries resulted from complex, still little understood atmosphere- ocean interactions, including El Nino events and major decadal shifts in the North Atlantic Oscillation, as well as two or three decade-long variations in rainfall over many centuries."

"Why did the Maya civilisation suddenly come apart? Everyone who studies the Classic Maya collapse agrees that it was brought on by a combination of ecological, political, and sociological factors." "When the great droughts of the eighth and ninth centuries came, Maya civilisation everywhere was under increasing stress." "The drought was the final straw." "The collapse did not come without turmoil and war."

Brian Fagan describes how the ruling class (the kings had divine powers, they were also shamans and there was a vast aristocracy and their fellow-travellers that the tightly regulated workers toiled to maintain) encouraged population growth beyond what the land could carry; how the rulers enforced rigid farming practices which were supposed to increase food production and the ruler's incomes but had the effect of undermining farm productivity and diminishing the quality of the poor soils of the area. When there were heavy rains the soil was washed away. In times of drought the soil blew away. More quotes from Brian Fagan:
"The Maya collapse is a cautionary tale in the dangers of using technology and people power to expand the carrying capacity of tropical environments." "Atmospheric circulation changes far from the Maya homeland delivered the coup de grace to rulers no longer able to control their own destinies because they had exhausted their environmental options in an endless quest for power and prestige."

Gore says that we should use our understanding of the Maya collapse help us solve the climate crisis, noting that "we need to remember the consequences to civilizations that refused to take environmental concerns seriously". Given what we know of the Maya collapse, what is Gore really saying? He is saying that we should take all the IPCC/AWG publications and related papers to the tip and bury them there and put all our efforts into the study and understanding of the reasons for climate dynamics that address every theory except that of IPCC/AWG doctrine.

Specifically, we should understand as well as we can how climate dynamics are driven by atmospheric/oceanic oscillations, the natural internal dynamics of the climate system and the role of the Sun in climate dynamics.

In an overview of his work Brian Fagan concluded: "The whole course of civilisation . may be seen as a process of trading up on the scale of vulnerability". (Fagan (2004, page xv)). We are now, as a global community, very high up on that scale. Allow me to quote a little from my Rhodes Fairbridge paper because of its relevance to Brian Fagan's work and what Gore is really trying to say, but can't quite find the right words.
"In his many publications (for example, NORTH (2005)), Douglass North stresses that if the issues with which we are concerned, such as global warming and the global commons, belong in a world of continuous change (that is, a non-ergodic world), then we face a set of problems that become exceedingly complex. North stresses that our capacity to deal effectively with uncertainty is essential to our succeeding in a non-ergodic world.

History shows that regional effects of climate change are highly variable and that the pattern of change is highly variable. An extremely cold (or hot) year can be followed by extremely hot (or cold) year. Warming and cooling will be beneficial for some regions and catastrophic for others.

Brian Fagan has documented in detail relationships between the large-scale and generally periodic changes in climate and the rise and fall of civilisations, cultures and societies since the dawn of history. The thesis to which Rhodes Fairbridge devoted much of his life is that the sun, through its relationships with the solar system, is largely responsible for these changes and that we are now on the cusp of one of the major changes that feature in the planet's history.

As Douglass North showed, the main responsibility of governments in managing the impact of the potentially catastrophic events that arise in a non-ergodic world is to mange society's response to them so as to enable the society to adapt as efficiently as possible to them. Amongst other things, this would mean being better able to anticipate and manage our response to climate change, to minimise suffering and maximise benefits and the efficiency of our adaptation to a climate that is ever-changing - sometimes catastrophically - but generally predictable within bounds of uncertainty that statisticians can estimate.

At the very least, this requires that the scientific community acts on the wise counsel of Rhodes W Fairbridge and presents governments with advice that has regard to the entire field of planetary-lunar-solar dynamics, including gravitational dynamics. This field has to be understood so that the dynamics of terrestrial climate can be understood."


North, D. C., 2005. Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.

Fagan, B., 2004. The Long Summer. How Climate Changed Civilization. Basic Books."


Abstract only below. Full paper at link given. It shows that advice given to the EPA was grossly unscientific

Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit

By J. Scott Armstrong et al.

Calls to list polar bears as a threatened species under the United States Endangered Species Act are based on forecasts of substantial long-term declines in their population. Nine government reports were written to help US Fish and Wildlife Service managers decide whether or not to list polar bears as a threatened species. We assessed these reports based on evidence-based (scientific) forecasting principles. None of the reports referred to sources of scientific forecasting methodology. Of the nine, Amstrup et al. [Amstrup, S. C., B. G. Marcot, D. C. Douglas. 2007. "Forecasting the rangewide status of polar bears at selected times in the 21st century". Administrative Report, USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK.] and Hunter et al. [Hunter, C. M., H. Caswell, M. C. Runge, S. C. Amstrup, E. V. Regehr, I. Stirling. 2007. "Polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea II: Demography and population growth in relation to sea ice conditions". Administrative Report, USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK.] were the most relevant to the listing decision, and we devoted our attention to them.

Their forecasting procedures depended on a complex set of assumptions, including the erroneous assumption that general circulation models provide valid forecasts of summer sea ice in the regions that polar bears inhabit. Nevertheless, we audited their conditional forecasts of what would happen to the polar bear population assuming, as the authors did, that the extent of summer sea ice would decrease substantially during the coming decades.

We found that Amstrup et al. properly applied 15 percent of relevant forecasting principles and Hunter et al. 10 percent. Averaging across the two papers, 46 percent of the principles were clearly contravened and 23 percent were apparently contravened. Consequently, their forecasts are unscientific and inconsequential to decision makers. We recommend that researchers apply all relevant principles properly when important public-policy decisions depend on their forecasts.

Interfaces. Vol. 38, No. 5, September-October 2008, pp. 382-405

Glaciers in Norway Growing Again

After years of decline, glaciers in Norway are again growing, reports the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). The actual magnitude of the growth, which appears to have begun over the last two years, has not yet been quantified, says NVE Senior Engineer Hallgeir Elvehoy. The flow rate of many glaciers has also declined. Glacier flow ultimately acts to reduce accumulation, as the ice moves to lower, warmer elevations.

The original trend had been fairly rapid decline since the year 2000. The developments were originally reported by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). DailyTech has previously reported on the growth in Alaskan glaciers, reversing a 250-year trend of loss. Some glaciers in Canada, California, and New Zealand are also growing, as the result of both colder temperatures and increased snowfall.

Ed Josberger, a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says the growth is "a bit of an anomaly", but not to be unexpected. Despite the recent growth, most glaciers in the nation are still smaller than they were in 1982. However, Elvehoy says that the glaciers were even smaller during the 'Medieval Warm Period' of the Viking Era, prior to around the year 1350.

Not all Norwegian glaciers appear to be affected, most notably those in the Jotenheimen region of Southern Norway.


Why Scientists Sometimes Lie Or "Never trust a man trying to sell you a horse"

The problem with the "scientific consensus" on global warming is that participants in the debate are not objective. In other areas of science, it is assumed without question that researchers will follow the evidence wherever it leads with an open mind that is neutral as to the outcome. That is not the case with global warming.

Unlike other scientific questions, the answer to whether humans are causing dangerous global warming has massive political implications for economic and social policy. Scientists are human beings with political and ideological preferences just like the rest of us. If a scientist has a strong preference for a certain political ideology, and that ideology will either be advanced or inhibited based on the results of his research, it is reasonable to view his interpretation of the data with an increased level of skepticism.

If anthropogenic global warming is accepted as real, it will produce wide-ranging political and economic changes that have been long advocated by the political left. There will be massive tax increases and much stricter regulation of business. It should therefore be no surprise that almost all non-scientists who are on the political left insist that global warming is real and use it as an indictment of free market capitalism and the traditional American lifestyle based on consumerism.

In the same way, almost all non-scientists who are on the political right insist that global warming is nothing more than liberal hysteria. On both sides, their conclusions are not based on an impartial evaluation of the data. Neither Al Gore nor Rush Limbaugh are competent to assess the accuracy of a sophisticated computer climate model. Yet they both believe with absolute certainty.

Flawed human beings will always tend to interpret information in such a way that it reinforces our pre-existing ideological preferences or self interest. Given the huge amounts of funding involved, professional standing in academia and personal political preferences, it would be foolish to assume that scientists are not subject to the same failing.

I do not claim that scientists who support anthropogenic global warming are wrong, merely that it is unwise to massively reorder our society based on interpretations of extraordinarily complex data conducted by people who are not neutral as to the result.

When scientists who believe in global warming stop calling colleagues who disagree with them "Flat Earthers" and "Neanderthals", or insist that "the debate is over" and therefore it is illegitimate to question them, then I may be willing to listen to their arguments. Not until then.


International poll: 'Growing public reluctance' to support global warming efforts

There is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change, according to findings of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, including Canada.Results of the poll were released this week in advance of the start of a major international conference in Poland where delegates are considering steps toward a new international climate-change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

There already are reports emerging that some countries, such as coal-dependent Poland, are pushing for special treatment to avoid making major commitments to slash carbon emissions during a global economic downturn.

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the effort, an eight-point drop.And only one in five respondents - or 20 per cent - said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 per cent a year ago. The Canadian results, from a poll of 1,000 respondents conducted in September, were virtually identical to the overall figures. There are no comparative figures for Canada because Canadians weren't included in the global study in 2007.

The 11 countries surveyed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. There were 2,000 respondents surveyed in China, including 1,000 in Hong Kong. The survey was conducted as part of a joint collaboration between the financial institution HSBC and environmental groups, such as the Earthwatch Institute.

"There's consumer reluctance that's creeping in, and we've seen that some are being stunned into inaction by the enormity of the task," said Earthwatch executive vice-president Nigel Winser.

Results of the poll suggested that 55 per cent of respondents in the 11 countries said their governments should be doing more by investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and wave power. That's more than double the 27 per cent who wanted their governments to participate in Kyoto-style international agreements to reduce emissions. In Canada, the same portion favoured renewable-energy options, while 32 per cent supported collective international efforts.

"People believe governments are focusing too much attention on indirect actions that pass responsibility for climate change onto others, such as increasing taxes on fossil fuels, encouraging individual environmentally friendly activities and participating in international negotiations, such as the Kyoto Protocol," the report said."More needs to be done to inform consumers about measures such as green taxation or carbon trading to help them understand how tangible these can be.

"The poll helps explain why outgoing Liberal Leader Stephane Dion had so much difficulty during the election campaign trying to sell his Green Shift platform that proposed a carbon tax in order to encourage emission reductions.

Earthwatch's Winser said the silver lining in the poll was that it stresses public dissatisfaction with the performance of all governments."We welcome this survey because it shows that individuals want their governments to do more."


Bravo New Zealand
The government has also suggested a possible review of the science behind climate change, a move that has outraged environmental groups, who say New Zealand's reputation will be damaged if the concept of global warming is questioned.

Have you ever heard such unadulterated nonsense in a single sentence? Did I read that correctly? A possible review has "outraged environmental groups"? Sorry, is this science we're talking about, or the dogma of religion? Perish the thought that the divine words of the IPCC, as spoken through the prophet Al Gore, should ever be questioned. Quick, throw another heretic on the fire.

As for their reputation being damaged, in my book, it's quite the reverse. Bravo New Zealand.



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


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Beware the church of climate alarm

As the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, an economist, anti-totalitarian and climate change sceptic, prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year, climate alarmists are doing their best to traduce him. The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent's report, claiming he behaves like a "rejected genius", and asserts there is "palpable fear" he will "embarrass" the EU.

But the real fear driving climate alarmists wild is that a more rational approach to the fundamentalist religion of global warming may be in the ascendancy - whether in the parliamentary offices of the world's largest trading bloc or in the living rooms of Blacktown. As the global financial crisis takes hold, perhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it. In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will."

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year. Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

Another slide charts the alternating periods of cooling and warming on Earth, with the Pleistocene Ice Age starting 110,000 years ago and giving way, 14,700 years ago, to the Bolling warm period for 800 years. This in turn gave way to the Older Dryas cooling for 300 years, then the Allerod warming for 700 years, and so on, until the cooling of the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850. Since 1850, we have lived through the "Modern Warming", one of the most stable climate periods in history. Plimer said some astronomers predict we are headed for a new cooling period.

Plimer said there is a division between those scientists who sit in front of super computers and push piles of data into the mathematical models that drive the theory of climate change, and those who take measurements in the field. We are not sceptical enough about the data. For instance, Plimer cited differences between results from temperature measuring stations in urban and rural areas. Those in urbanised Chicago, Berkeley, New York, and so on, show temperature rises over the past 150 years, whereas those in the rural US, in Houlton, Albany and Harrisburg (though not Death Valley, California) show equally consistent cooling. "What we're measuring is urbanisation," Plimer said. To understand the chaotic nature of climate change, we need to consider all the inputs - cosmic radiation, sun, clouds and so on, he said.

There was much more but essentially Plimer's message is that the idea humans cause climate change has become a fundamentalist religion which is corrupting science. It is embedded with a fear of nature and embraced principally by city people who have lost touch with nature. He likens the debate to the famous 1990s battle he had in the Federal Court, where he accused an elder of The Hills Bible Church in Baulkham Hills of breaching Australia's Trade Practices Act by claiming to have found scientific evidence of Noah's Ark in Turkey. Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that "we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational".

Human-caused climate change is being "promoted with religious zeal . there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance." It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by sceptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate."

In any case, ordinary people already have suspicions. The zealotry and one-sidedness of the debate alarmed an 81-year-old Seven Hills pensioner, Denys Clarke, so much that last month, at his own expense, he hired the ballroom at the Blacktown Workers Club for two public forums, titled The Truth About Climate Change. He invited a climate sceptic, the James Cook University professor Bob Carter, a geologist, to speak. More than 300 people attended, some from as far away as Nowra. Carter, like Plimer and Klaus, has come in for his fair share of vilification. But as Clarke proves, you can't stop people thinking. Yet.


When Warming Ideologues Attack

It's still uncertain whether Heidi Cullen, who once wrote that the American Meteorological Society should pull the certification of any weatherperson daring to question AGW, will be a casualty of last week's Weather Channel employee purge. But yesterday's rabid multi-front name-calling attack on an energy and environment reporter who dared question greenhouse gas canons quashed any doubt that the choir of green-snobbery has many voices.

Two pieces by Erika Lovley were published at The Politico Tuesday, one serious, the other -- mostly for laughs. But the Big Green Scare Machine was amused by neither. [Her article] "Scientists urge caution on global warming" opened by getting right down to business:
"Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.

The article attempted to present a rational examination of the impact recent cooling -- an alarmist conundrum -- may have on emissions trading schemes Democrats promise to pass through Congress next year. But what should have been seen as a moment of MSM balance was instead seen by the usual suspects as a philosophical punching bag. Indeed, it didn't take long for Think Progress -- the George Soros-backed liberal propaganda machine -- to label it as "toxic stupidity about global warming," containing what they call "zombie lies" about sun-cycles and dissenting scientists.

Or for Joe Romm at Climate Progress to accuse Lovely of "pimp[ing] global cooling for Hill deniers," demean her work as "laughable," and demand she be either fired or pulled "from the environmental/energy beat." But it's unlikely the latter would satisfy his green zeal, given this attack on her overall journalistic skills:
"Even as pure political reporting, the piece is beneath rank amateurish -- as if climate change deniers on the Hill are `quietly' doing anything."

Ouch!When he felt he'd pumped enough lead into Lovley, Romm then turned his sights on the dissenting scientists she mentions, including Weather Channel co-founder and IceCap editor, meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo, who he branded as "a well-debunked denier."

And get a load of this little bit of green reason. Romm called "balancing stories on the reality of accelerating human-caused global warming with a quote or two from deniers" a "mistake." Then, in the same paragraph, complained that Lovley "manages to cite multiple deniers, including Patrick Michaels from the right-wing Cato Insitute and a staffer [Marc Morano] from lead Senate denier James Inhofe (R-OK), but then doesn't bother to quote a single climate scientist in opposition." Wow.

Still, the Xanax moment award goes hands down to David Roberts, the Grist reporter who once suggested that the "bastards" denying AGW be subjected to Nuremburg style trials for their "war crimes." Referring to Politico's journalist malpractice in his title, he blasts Lovley's as "two of the dumbest stories of the decade on climate science," and the author as the "most dimwitted, gullible reporter in D.C."

Jumping on the dissenting scientists denigration wagon, Roberts calls Lovley's "worse" than "those articles you'd see five years ago, `balanced' stories on global warming science quoting the same small group of deniers, citing the same debunked myths." What is it about balance that gets these "experts" into such a tizzy?

But Roberts' reaction to the second article was perhaps the more curious. "Tracking 'The Gore Effect'" takes a blatantly (to anyone with even the most diminutive of funny-bones) comical look at the phenomenon of extreme winter-like weather befalling global warming related events. Lovely cites some great ones, like in March, 2007, when "a Capitol Hill media briefing on the Senate's new climate bill was cancelled due to a snowstorm." And when "Gore's global warming speech at Harvard University coincided with near 125-year record-breaking low temperatures." What - not funny?The point is, the reporter made clear her lampooning intent right from the jump:
"For several years now, skeptics have amusedly eyed a phenomenon known as `The Gore Effect' to half-seriously argue their case against global warming."

Apparently missing the joke entirely, Roberts nominated this "the single stupidest sentence written by any journalist this year, possibly this century:"
"While there's no scientific proof that The Gore Effect is anything more than a humorous coincidence, some climate skeptics say it may offer a snapshot of proof that the planet isn't warming as quickly as some climate change advocates say."

Lighten up, Dave. Most readers managed to visualize the tongue in her cheek.You've got to wonder -- If these guys are so convinced of their position's immutability, then why does the slightest challenge to it unleash such frenzied behavior?


Regular blackouts to hit Britain within three years because there is a shortage of new power stations

Families face regular blackouts within three years because Britain has not built enough new power stations, it has been claimed. Consumers will be hit by an 'energy gap' when a number of existing stations are shut down, a study suggests. Nine oil and coal-fired power plants are to close by 2015 because of an EU directive designed to limit pollution and associated acid rain. At the same time, four ageing nuclear power plants will be shut, further reducing the electricity available to homes and businesses.

Analysts Capgemini warn that we will not have new nuclear power plants until around 2018. And they are concerned that the rush to build wind farms will not deliver the power needed to ensure the lights stay on. Energy consultant for Capgemini UK, Alistair Green, said: 'An energy gap is looming, which could lead to black-outs or so-called brown-outs.' Brown-outs occur when the voltage in the system needs to be turned down because of a lack of electricity in the system, effectively dimming the lights.

Mr Green said: 'We are looking at the possibility of black-outs and brownouts within three to four years. 'We might get to a situation of rota disconnections, where all the domestic homes and businesses are cut off in an area of a town on a rota basis.' He added: 'Electricity is key to homeowners and businesses. This is a pretty frightening prospect.'

Mr Green said the problem had occurred because Britain's privatised power industry has not taken the decision to build more stations sooner, largely because they could not be sure of making a profit from them. The first application to build new plants will not be made until next year, which will trigger a public consultation that is expected to take more than a year. Even if permission is granted in 2010, it would take at least seven years to build stations and upgrade the National Grid wires network to cope.

Mr Green said the National Grid might have to commission its own new power stations if there are any further delays. Similar measures have been taken by the authorities in Ireland, Greece and South Africa to ensure the lights stay on.

Dr Jon Gibbins, of Imperial College, recently issued a similar warning of black-outs because of a failure to replace ageing power plants. 'You can't guarantee that the lights will stay on,' he said. 'You are just taking a tremendous risk. People die when you lose electricity supplies.' Dr Gibbins and many other industry experts are concerned the UK is becoming increasingly reliant on imported gas. This puts us at the mercy of gas-rich states in the Middle East and Russia, which is flexing its muscles as the world's first energy superpower. Dr Gibbins said it is vital that Britain takes its electricity from diverse sources.

Energy minister Michael O'Brien insisted that the UK is building enough power stations. He pointed to the fact that French company EDF is committed to spending 12.5billion pounds on new nuclear power stations. 'It is the case that National Grid has said total power station capacity is predicted to rise by 37 per cent by 2015. Not only will the lights not go out, but actually they will be brighter,' he said. 'In the long term, there will be new nuclear. In the shorter term there will be gas, renewables and the oil industry has the flexibility to deal with supply emergencies.' He said that new North Sea exploration licences are being granted to firms that aim to recover an additional 20billion barrels of oil.



He makes Communists seem wishy washy

James Gustave "Gus" Speth is the consummate environmental insider. For over thirty years he has played a key role in the development of environmentalist organizations and agendas. He was present at the founding of the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970 and later launched the World Resources Institute, a $27 million enterprise that may be the most influential environmental think tank in the world. He served on, and eventually chaired, President Carter's Council on Environmental Quality, where he oversaw production of the apocalyptic Global 2000 report. During the 1990s he worked on President Clinton's transition team and headed up the United Nations Development Program, and he is now dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

His prominence within the environmental establishment means that when Gus Speth speaks, environmentalists listen. He is not only an academic dean but, in many respects, the dean of contemporary environmental thinkers. Like others, he advocates ambitious and far-reaching environmental programs; unlike many, he has held positions in which to make such things happen. Few with his green bona fides have his currency in the halls of power or connections with global leaders. Yet like so many celebrated environmental thinkers, he lacks a clear or compelling vision of how to reconcile contemporary civilization with the need for environmental protection.

In The Bridge at the Edge of the World, Speth argues that all the environmental progress of the past thirty to forty years may be for naught, as an environmental crisis of global proportions is still with us. The resource shortfalls and ecological ruin predicted by the Global 2000 report may not have come to pass on schedule, but they are imminent nonetheless. Thus, he seeks radical change to our economic, political, and social systems. "The end of the world as we have known it" is inevitable; the only question is whether we will suffer planetary ruin or a radically transformed civilization. Speth's hope is to point the way to the latter course.

Speth's eco-pessimism is not particularly new or original, but his critique of the modern environmental movement could be. In his view, the modern environmental establishment has proven itself impotent. It has accomplished much, but not nearly enough. Working within the system failed, he maintains, because it did not seek sufficiently radical change. Saving human civilization from collapse requires more than minor adjustments, he warns, as environmental degradation is but a symptom of broader social problems, and is "linked powerfully with other social realities, including growing social inequality and neglect and the erosion of democratic governance and popular control."

Reversing course will require a "transformative change in the system itself," including an "assault on the citadel of consumption" and the remaking of corporations. "Our duty," Speth proclaims, is "to struggle against the contempocentrism and anthropocentrism that dominate modern life." A "bridge" to a sustainable society requires revisiting democratic capitalism, remaking industrial civilization, and reorienting human consciousness; "we must return to fundamentals and seek to understand both the underlying forces driving such destructive trends and the economic and political system that gives these forces free rein." Nothing less will do.

Environmental writers have made a cottage industry from warning of ecological Armageddon and calling for greener forms of economic growth. Yet it is rare to hear so radical a charge from someone with Speth’s influence, and unusual to hear someone with his experience offer an ecological assessment that is so misguided. He purports to offer “a deeper critique of what is going on,” but his principal complaints echo familiar ones we have heard from other environmental thinkers, his “new approach on the environment” seems quite like the old, and his analysis is ultimately shallow. Speth wants to offer “impractical answers”—but the problem is not so much their impracticality as their wrong-headedness.

Speth catalogues an ever-growing list of environmental insults inflicted upon the Earth by human civilization to document the “great collision” between the human economy and our fragile planet. He tries to shock with numbers and graphs illustrating dramatic increases in population or industrial activity of one sort or another. Such data is easy to find, but trends by themselves do not substitute for a complete diagnosis. It takes more than identifying recent exponential trends to demonstrate unsustainability. Exponential growth rarely (if ever) continues indefinitely, and the same factors that cause growth spurts can cause them to level off. Nor do negative environmental trends necessarily translate into harmful effects on human well-being. I share his concern for conserving biological diversity, but merely asserting that biological diversity is important for economic well-being does not make it so.

Climate change plays a central role in Speth’s account, as one might expect. The threat of anthropogenic contributions to climatic warming is real, and the policy challenge immense. Yet so eager is he to impress upon the reader the severity of the problem that he embraces the flimsiest of evidence to support his claims. For instance, he cites a largely discredited World Health Organization report concluding climate change already causes 150,000 deaths per year, and could reach 300,000 by 2030. Climate change is a serious concern—sufficiently so that there is no need for such hyperbole to demonstrate its importance. Overstating the threat is part of Speth’s method, all the better to promote the radical changes he seeks.

The first item on his agenda is the replacement of modern capitalism with some undefined “non-socialist” alternative. “The planet cannot sustain capitalism as we know it,” he warns, calling for a fundamental transformation. But he does not understand the system he wants to reform, let alone what he would substitute in its place.

According to Speth, “most environmental deterioration is a result of systemic failures of capitalism.” This is an odd claim, as the least capitalist nations of the world also have the worst environmental records. The ecological costs of economic statism are far worse than those of economic liberty. The environmental record of the various Soviet regimes amply bears this out: The West’s ecological nightmares were the Soviet bloc’s environmental realities. This is not due to any anomaly of the Soviet system. Nations with greater commitment to capitalist institutions experience greater environmental performance.

While Speth occasionally acknowledges pockets of environmental progress, he hardly stops to consider the reasons why some environmental resources have been conserved more effectively than others. Fisheries are certainly declining throughout much of the world—some 75 percent of fisheries are fully or over-exploited—but not everywhere. It is worth asking why. Tropical forests in less-developed nations are declining even as most temperate forests in industrialized nations are rebounding. Recognizing these different trends and identifying the key variables is essential to diagnosing the real causes of environmental deterioration and prescribing a treatment that will work. Speth acknowledges that much of the world is undergoing “dematerialization,” such that economic growth far outpaces increases in resource demand, but seems not to appreciate how the capitalist system he decries creates the incentives that drive this trend.

More here


The EU has failed to reach agreement on new rules to cut car emissions after a day of talks foundered over the issue of penalties to be levied on non-complying automakers, officials said on Tuesday. Talks between the EU French Presidency, the European Commission and the European Parliament on the package were brought to a close overnight without a compromise plan being agreed, German conservative euro MP Werner Langen said.

A fifth such "triologue" on the issue has been scheduled for December 3. "We still need to discuss the amount of fines to be levied and also the long-term objective for 2020 on CO2 reduction," Langen said.

More here

Survey: 'You're much more likely to be sceptical about global warming the older you get'

We old guys have seen too much media sensationalism all our lives to be much impressed by new scares!

90 per cent of motorists say they don't feel guilty about driving their cars, just one of the survey findings conducted by Despite being taxed increasingly punitively by the government and indoctrinated otherwise by much of the mainstream media the survey respondents feel that cars are here to stay and to be used....

There's plenty of optimism left for the average British motorist, it seems: nearly 90 per cent of respondents expect the car ownership experience in 20 years time to be broadly similar to how it is now.

And finally, it seems that you're much more likely to be sceptical about global warming the older you get; 54 per cent of respondents over the age of 54 said they don't believe in the link between carbon dioxide emissions and rising planetary temperatures, compared with only 15.4 per cent for those under 25.



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


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greenhouse gas levels hit record high as temperature falls

Greenhouse gas levels rose to record highs in 2007, leading to a 1 per cent increase in the overall global warming effect, the World Meteorological Organisation says. Carbon dioxide rose 0.5 per cent from 2006 to reach 383.1 parts per million, while nitrous oxide levels were up 0.25 per cent, according to latest WMO statistics. Methane, meanwhile, increased 0.34 per cent, surpassing the highest level recorded in 2003.

``Using the NOAA Annual greenhouse gas index, the total warming effect of all long-lived greenhouse gases was calculated to have increased by 1.06 per cent from the previous year and by 24.2 per cent since 1990,'' said the WMO. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have risen 37 per cent since the 18th century, the WMO said.


A new satellite predicts at least 23 years of global cooling

Several Canadian environmental scientists agree that the new Jason satellite indicates at least a 23-year cycle of global cooling ahead. Count me in! This oceanographic satellite shows a much larger than normal persistent Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Cooler PDO phases usually last 21 to 25 years, so we should be quite chilly as a planet until at least 2030, maybe longer.

Remember, I have another cycle of intense global warming, as I mentioned at our March 2, 2007 climate seminar at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, due by 2031 to 2038, when all of my major cycles 'collide in chaos.' These alternating natural climatic cycles defy the so-called "climate consensus" that human-emitted carbon dioxide was responsible totally for the recent cycle of global warming that began in the late 1970s and peaked in 1998.

The Earth's previous warming phase from 1915 through 1939, which peaked in 1936 during the infamous Dust Bowl Days, was almost as warm as the recent cycle of global warming. Yes, I said, global warming. I'm a firm believer in frequent climate changes. I also favor cutting down sharply on air pollution, particularly in the urban 'heat islands.'

The last cooler cycle of global temperatures occurred from late 1939 to early 1976, peaking (or bottoming) in 1973. The harsh winters during World War II helped the U.S. and its allies defeat the Germans and later assisted our G.I.s in the Korean War due to extremely heavy snows and subzero temperatures north of the 38th Parallel.

In the past 10 years, especially the past couple of years, the Earth's climate has begun to cool, even though CO2 emissions have soared on a worldwide scale. How many years of declining temperatures will it take to finally break up Al Gore's 'global warming consensus'? Only time will tell -- probably when all the money runs out.

As we expected, a parade of Pacific storms marched across North Idaho and the rest of the Inland Empire during the first 13 days of this November. As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, a whopping 2.49 inches of precipitation had been gauged this month compared to just 0.57 inches in all of October and only 1.48 inches total since late August. A record 0.83 inches fell Nov. 7, breaking the record rainfall total for the date of .81 inches in 1980.

The normal rainfall during an entire November is 2.97 inches, when averaged over the past 113 years of daily weather record-keeping that began in 1895. In November 2007, we gauged 2.61 inches of moisture at my station on Player Drive in the northwestern corner of Coeur d'Alene, along with a slightly below normal 6.3 inches of snow, all of which fell after Thanksgiving.

But, as I stated last week, between the end of November 2007 and the end of the snowfall season on June 30, 2008, we received an all-time record 172.9 inches of snow in town, some four feet more than the previous record of 124.2 inches in 1915-16, nearly a century ago.

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Scientists urge caution on global warming

Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation. While the new Obama administration promises aggressive, forward-thinking environmental policies, Weather Channel co-founder Joseph D'Aleo and other scientists are organizing lobbying efforts to take aim at the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats plan to unveil in January.

So far, members of Congress have not been keen to publicly back the global cooling theory. But both senators from Oklahoma, Republicans Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, have often expressed doubts about how much of a role man-made emissions play. "We want the debate to be about science, not fear and hypocrisy. We hope next year's wave of new politics means a return to science," said Coburn aide John Hart. "It's the old kind of politics that doesn't consider any dissenting opinions."

The global cooling lobby's challenge is enormous. Next year could be the unfriendliest yet for climate skeptics. Already, House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) has lost his gavel, in part because his peers felt he was less than serious about tackling global warming.

The National Academy of Sciences and most major scientific bodies agree that global warming is caused by man-made carbon emissions. But a small, growing number of scientists, including D'Aleo, are questioning how quickly the warming is happening and whether humans are actually the leading cause. Armed with statistics from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center, D'Aleo reported in the 2009 Old Farmer's Almanac that the U.S. annual mean temperature has fluctuated for decades and has only risen 0.21 degrees since 1930 - which he says is caused by fluctuating solar activity levels and ocean temperatures, not carbon emissions.

Data from the same source shows that during five of the past seven decades, including this one, average U.S. temperatures have gone down. And the almanac predicted that the next year will see a period of cooling. "We're worried that people are too focused on carbon dioxide as the culprit," D'Aleo said. "Recent warming has stopped since 1998, and we want to stop draconian measures that will hurt already spiraling downward economics. We're environmentalists and conservationists at heart, but we don't think that carbon is responsible for hurricanes."

D'Aleo's organization, the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, is collaborating on the campaign with the Cooler Heads Coalition, a subgroup of the National Consumer Coalition with members including Americans for Tax Reform, the National Center for Policy Analysis and Citizens for a Sound Economy.

More than 31,000 scientists across the world have signed the Global Warming Petition Project, a declaration started by a group of American scientists that states man's impact on climate change can't be reasonably proven. If the project gains traction, it might give skeptical lawmakers an additional weapon to fight cap-and-trade legislation to curtail greenhouse gases - a move they worry could damage the already fragile economy. At the least, congressional aides say, it could caution additional lawmakers from rushing into a hasty piece of legislation.

Many Hill skeptics have varying opinions on whether the earth's temperature is warming more slowly than some environmentalists predict and how much man is actually contributing to it. Inhofe's staff has been steadily compiling a list of global cooling findings. And aides report that they have received countless e-mails from scientists worldwide supporting the theory. While Inhofe hasn't indicated that he will move forward with the information anytime soon, his aides continue to compile it.

Republicans aren't the only ones who are wary of hastily passing a greenhouse gas bill. Ten Democrats wrote to Senate leaders earlier this year, citing economic concerns as a key reason why they didn't vote for the Senate's cap-and-trade bill. And despite Democrats' pickups in the Senate this fall, several of the new Democrats are from conservative, energy-producing states and may not be supportive, either.

But congressional aides say it could be a long wait before lawmakers are comfortable pushing science that contradicts the global warming theory. And until the lobby gains traction, skeptics plan to continue pushing their ideas by arguing for protection of the economy, where they hope to meet middle ground with global warming supporters. "Never underestimate the ability of Congress to offer nonsolutions to problems that do not exist," said Marc Morano, communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "We could spend weeks arguing the mounting scientific evidence refuting man-made warming fears," he added, "but it's the economic arguments that have the most immediate impact."

At the Cato Institute, senior fellow Patrick Michaels, a contributing author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said most of Washington is already too deeply entrenched in the global warming mantra to turn back. "You can't expect the scientific community to now come to Washington and say this isn't a problem. Once the apocalypse begins to deliver research dollars, you don't want to reverse it," said Michaels. "Washington works by lurching from crisis to crisis."

Despite the growing science, the world's leading crusader on climate change, Al Gore, is unconcerned. "Climate deniers fall into the same camp as people who still don't believe we landed on the moon," said the former vice president's spokeswoman, Kalee Kreider. "We don't think this should distract us from the reality."



A former state premier who was a prominent minister at federal level quit Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) on Tuesday after receiving a reprimand over critical remarks that "breached party solidarity. "Wolfgang Clement ended 38 years of membership in the centre-left party that co-rules in Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives after calling the rebuke "inappropriate and wrong."

The outspoken former minister, had outraged many within the party by publicly questioning the energy policies of the SPD leader in the state of Hesse, Andrea Ypsilanti, just days before a closely-fought election in January. Ypsilanti narrowly lost to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), leading to criticism that Clement's remarks had cost her victory.

Clement, who as economics and labour minister under former SPD chancellor Gerhard Schroeder helped pushed through unpopular pro-market reforms, initially offered an apology for the strong emotions his comments had raised, but stood his ground on the issue.

The SPD in his home state of North Rhine-Westphalia instituted measures to expel him for breaching party solidarity, but the party's mediation committee on Monday issued an admonishment instead. Clement said in a statement Tuesday that the party's action violated the principle of free of expression.

In earlier remarks, the former premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and "super minister" in the Schroeder cabinet in the years 2002-05 said he had not sought to undermine the Hesse SPD. But he insisted Germany could not renounce nuclear and coal-fired power stations, as called for by Ypsilanti.

Clement left politics when Schroeder lost office at the end of 2005, taking a senior post with power generation company RWE. He is closely associated with Schroeder's Agenda 2010 programme, which was never popular with the SPD's left-wing.



The UK's Climate Change Bill, which commits future governments to cut CO2 emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050, is about to receive Royal Assent but at what cost? Peter Lilley MP asks why ministers failed to mention that the legislation could cost each family in the UK up to 10,000 pounds

Can you spare 10,000 pounds for a good cause? The government thinks you can - despite the recession. Parliament passed the Climate Change Bill, which is set to receive Royal Assent in the coming days, which will force you to cough up.

This legislation binds future British governments to introduce unilaterally, even if other countries do not follow suit, massive spending programmes which could cost up to 200bn pounds; that's 10,000 from every family in the country.

I'm not talking about rescuing the banks. That involved loans which we should eventually get back. This is real money in taxes and lost incomes - money you will never see again.

Hold on! I hear you exclaim. No-one asked us if we could afford 10,000. We haven't heard anything about a 200 billion package. That's enormous. That's right; it is enormous and you didn't hear anything about it. That is the scandal. Neither Parliament nor most of the media bothered to discuss the cost of one of the most immense projects ever adopted in this country. Indeed, Parliament wafted it through without even discussing its cost and with only five votes against.

In my experience, our biggest mistakes are made when Parliament and the media are virtually unanimous and MPs switch off their critical faculties in a spasm of moral self-congratulation. That is what happened with this Bill.

We all want to save the planet from overheating, just as we all want to save the financial system from meltdown. We accept that both rescues may cost us a lot. But a healthy democracy should at least debate the cost, compare it with the likely benefits (or costs of doing nothing) and consider whether we can achieve the same ends at less cost.

Had MPs or commentators bothered to read the government's own estimates of the potential costs and benefits of the Climate Change Bill - the Impact Assessment - they would have found some extraordinary things. Admittedly, on this occasion government failed to publish copies of the assessment in the normal way so it took a little effort to obtain. Apparently, I was the only MP to obtain a copy.

The contents of the Impact Assessment are astounding. Whereas it puts the Bill's potential cost as up to 205bn, it says the maximum benefits of this massive expenditure is 110bn pounds.

I am all in favour of taking out an insurance policy, as the government describes it, against the threat of global warming. But would you insure your home with a company if they charged premiums which could be double the value of your house? There must be a better insurance policy than this.

Moreover, the government admits that their estimate of the "maximum" cost is far from being the real maximum since it omits three huge items. First, the Impact Assessment admits that it is "unable to capture transition costs which could be 1.3% to 2% of GDP in 2020". Second, they make the fantastically optimistic assumption that all businesses will know and instantly adopt the most cost efficient technologies to achieve carbon savings. Third, the assessment "cannot capture trade and competitiveness impacts"; in particular, the "relatively high risks of the transfer of productive capital to countries without carbon policies".

In other words, if we pursue the policies in the Climate Change Bill unilaterally, without others doing the same, we could end up driving UK business abroad without reducing carbon emissions because they will still be spewing forth carbon.

Yet this bill legally binds future British governments unilaterally to spend billions of pounds on trying to prevent climate change even if other countries do not follow our lead. There is a case for Britain taking the lead, but the bill should surely only become binding if a critical mass of other countries follow our lead; we cannot save the planet single-handed....

The oddest thing about the government's cost/benefit analysis is that it contradicts the Stern Review. Sir Nicholas Stern concluded that the cost of preventing climate change would be small relative to the benefits. Yet the Impact Assessment reveals that the costs could dwarf the potential benefits. The Stern Review was much criticised for resorting to unprecedented means to inflate the benefits artificially. In particular, he used an astonishingly low discount rate thereby giving a huge weight to benefits that will not accrue until centuries ahead. In fact, half the benefits he expects will not occur until after the year 2800!

Ministers have admitted to me that their Impact Assessment rejected Stern's dubious figures and used conventional discount rates. Yet they still quote Stern's conclusions to justify their Bill and never mention their own more recent calculations.

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A controversial United Nations report claiming "atmospheric brown clouds" generated by Asia are harming the world's climate, agriculture and health has created a storm of controversy in India, which has slammed it as part of Western pressure on Asia's efforts to counter global warming. The brown cloud was more pointedly called the "Asian brown cloud" in an earlier United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report in 2002, before protests from India and China led it to be changed to the politically-correct "atmospheric brown cloud".

The updated version of the 2002 UN report, released on November 13, says three kilometer-thick brown clouds of soot, particles and toxic cancer-causing chemicals, primarily hovering over the Persian Gulf and Asia, are the latest major threat to global health, food supplies and the environment. "I expect the atmospheric brown cloud to be now firmly on the international community's radar as a result of the report," declared Achim Steiner, under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP.

Steiner can revise his expectations, as so far the report has only raised controversy. India's scientific community have said the atmospheric brown clouds over Asia are a seasonal, temporary phenomena which may look bad, but have none of the catastrophic implications mentioned in the UN report.

The Indian government has also unceremoniously trashed the UN report, pointing fingers at UNEP's credibility, with India's Science and Technology minister Kapil Sibal describing the latest brown cloud report as "propaganda," according to a Press Trust of India news agency article from November 21. Sibal said India's scientists have examined the issue and have dismissed the report's claims that burning of fossil fuels in Asia has caused the brown haze. He pointed out that India's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are 1.2 tonnes compared to 23 tonnes in the US and 10 tonnes in European countries. Sibal, also one of India's senior lawyers, said, "For anybody who says India and China are responsible for this, I can only say, we certainly are not."

The Indian government even attributed motives to the UN report. "It is a way of getting at India and China," an unnamed environment ministry official was quoted as saying in the Times of India, India's largest-circulated English daily. "We say that the developed world is primarily responsible for global warming, so the West has latched on to the brown cloud formation to target us on traditional fuels. But these fuels are not the only reason why brown clouds are formed," the official said.

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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 is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The price of dissent on global warming

By David Bellamy

When I first stuck my head above the parapet to say I didn't believe what we were being told about global warming, I had no idea what the consequences would be. I am a scientist and I have to follow the directions of science, but when I see that the truth is being covered up I have to voice my opinions. According to official data, in every year since 1998, world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased. Why, then, do we not hear about that?

The sad fact is that since I said I didn't believe human beings caused global warming, I've not been allowed to make a television program. My absence has been noticed, because wherever I go I meet people who say: "I grew up with you on the television, where are you now?"

It was in 1996 that I criticised wind farms while appearing on children's program Blue Peter, and I also had an article published in which I described global warming as poppycock. The truth is, I didn't think wind farms were an effective means of alternative energy, so I said so. Back then, at the BBC you had to toe the line, and I wasn't doing that.

At that point, I was still making loads of TV programs and I was enjoying it greatly. Then I suddenly found I was sending in ideas for TV shows and they weren't getting taken up. I've asked around about why I've been ignored, but I found that people didn't get back to me. At the beginning of this year there was a BBC show with four experts saying: "This is going to be the end of all the ice in the Arctic," and hypothesising that it was going to be the hottest summer ever. Was it hell! It was very cold and very wet and now we've seen evidence that the glaciers in Alaska have started growing rapidly, and they have not grown for a long time.

I've seen evidence, which I believe, that says there has not been a rise in global temperature since 1998, despite the increase in carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere. This makes me think the global warmers are telling lies: CO2 is not the driver. The idiot fringe has accused me of being like a Holocaust denier, which is ludicrous. Climate change is all about cycles. It's a natural thing and has always happened. When the Romans lived in Britain they were growing very good red grapes and making wine on the borders of Scotland. It was evidently a lot warmer.

If you were sitting next to me 10,000 years ago, we'd be under ice. So thank God for global warming for ending that ice age; we wouldn't be here otherwise.

People such as former American vice-president Al Gore say that millions of us will die because of global warming, which I think is a pretty stupid thing to say if you've got no proof. And my opinion is that there is absolutely no proof that CO2 has anything to do with any impending catastrophe. The science has, quite simply, gone awry.

In fact, it's not even science any more; it's anti-science. There's no proof, it's just projections, and if you look at the models people such as Gore use, you can see they cherry-pick the ones that support their beliefs. To date, the way the so-called Greens and the BBC, the Royal Society and even political parties have handled this smacks of McCarthyism at its worst.

Global warming is part of a natural cycle and there's nothing we can actually do to stop these cycles. The world is now facing spending a vast amount of money in tax to try to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist. And how were we convinced that this problem exists, even though all the evidence from measurements goes against the fact? God knows.

Yes, the lakes in Africa are drying up. But that's not global warming. They're drying up for the very simple reason that most of them have dams around them. So the water once used by local people is now used in the production of cut flowers and vegetables for the supermarkets of Europe. One of Gore's biggest clangers was saying that the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan was drying up because of global warming.

Well, everyone knows, because it was all over the news 20 years ago, that the Russians were growing cotton there at the time and that for every tonne of cotton you produce you use a vast amount of water. The thing that annoys me most is that there are genuine environmental problems that desperately require attention. I'm still an environmentalist, I'm still a Green and I'm still campaigning to stop the destruction of the biodiversity of the world. But money will be wasted on trying to solve this global warming "problem" that I would much rather was used for looking after the people of the world.

Being ignored by the likes of the BBC does not really bother me, not when there are bigger problems at stake. I might not be on TV any more but I still go around the world campaigning about these important issues. For example, we must stop the destruction of tropical rainforests, something I've been saying for 35 years. Mother nature will balance things out, but not if we interfere by destroying rainforests and overfishing the seas. That is where the real environmental catastrophe could occur.



German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced calls from fellow conservatives Sunday to fight to water down a European Union climate pact until the recession-wracked economy is moving again.

Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he had written to Merkel calling on her to back away from EU climate protection goals to be approved next month for a time. "The carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets at the EU level must be organised so they do not endanger jobs," said Seehofer, whose state is home to such German automakers as BMW and Audi. "The automobile industry needs more room to manoeuvre in its implementation" of the targets, he said. "What good are multi-million-euro fines (for violating emissions rules) if at the end of the day the jobs are gone?"

German Economy Minister Michael Glos, also of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, agreed that Germany could ill-afford to make a priority of climate protection with the economy hobbled by the global financial crisis. "It is not the time to burden the economy with excessive environmental targets," he said.

And the conservative premier of Lower Saxony, Christian Wulff, also called for a two-year hiatus for the EU climate package, which is to be passed at a Brussels summit of EU leaders in three weeks.

Merkel is a champion of the EU's climate change plan, having brokered a vow last year by EU leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats, junior partners in Merkel's fractious left-right ruling coalition, rejected the conservatives' calls for exceptions out of hand. "It is astounding how backwards the debate about climate change is in the Union," he told Saturday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, ruling out exceptions for sectors such as automobiles or energy. He said it was only sensible for industry to cut its spending on energy during an economic downturn.

During a German-Italian summit last week, Merkel warned that the global financial crisis could cause leaders to renege on their environmental pledges made in March 2007 under the German EU presidency. "The goals of 2020 remain, but let's see how we can meet them" without putting too much pressure on a weak economy, she said.

Official data released this month showed Germany has slipped into recession for the first time in five years, just as the 15-nation eurozone fell its first-ever recession.



Britain is poised to expand its coal mining industry, despite fears that the move will lead to a rise in climate change emissions and harm communities and the environment.

Freedom of information requests and council records show that in the past 18 months 14 companies have applied to dig nearly 60 million tonnes of coal from 58 new or enlarged opencast mines. At least six coal-fired power stations are planned. If all the applications are approved, the fastest expansion of UK coal mining in 40 years could see southern Scotland and Northumberland become two of the most heavily mined regions in Europe.

The demand for new mines is being driven by dramatic increases in the price of coal. This has quadrupled in two years and has risen by 45 per cent since the start of this year. Opencast, or surface, mines are much cheaper than deep mines, but those living nearby can suffer years of pollution.

The increase in mining will embarrass the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, who is arguing that Britain must reduce carbon emissions. Ministers must soon decide whether to approve a controversial new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent, the first in 30 years. 'Attention has been focused on the decision at Kingsnorth, but over the past 18 months local authorities have approved more than 24 new opencast mines and 16 expansions of existing mines,' said Richard Hawkins, of the Public Interest Research Centre (Pirc), which conducted the study.

'There is a clear contradiction between the government's 80 per cent target for climate change emissions cuts and investment in new coal. With industry and government saying carbon capture and storage is at least 20 years away, this shows that the 160m tonnes of carbon dioxide released by burning this coal would not be captured,' he said.

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The Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms, off the east coast of England, are a flagship project for their operator Centrica, the UK energy group, and for Europe. Its 54 Siemens turbines have a total capacity of 180 megawatts, making Centrica the leading company in Britain, and Britain the leading country in the world for offshore wind power.

Offshore wind is a vital part of what Jos‚ Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, has described as the "third industrial revolution": the transformation of the energy industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the European Union's reliance on gas and oil. If the EU is to hit its target of deriving 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, offshore wind will play a crucial role.

Centrica has big plans to join that revolution, building a total of 1,600MW of offshore wind capacity. Yet those plans are under threat. Centrica has said it is reviewing that programme, which would demand a further œ4bn ($6bn) of investment, as the cost of building offshore wind farms has soared.

Similar stories are being played out across the EU. As the credit crunch bites, utilities are going over their investment plans to see whether they are still viable; not just for renewable energy but for all projects. Several, including Eon of Germany and Iberdrola of Spain, have warned they are likely to slow the rate at which they are investing.

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The Green Party was forced to admit today that two of its former leading lights were on a list of British National Party members leaked on the internet this week.

The party conceded this morning that Keith Bessant, a two-time parliamentary candidate, and Rev John Stanton, a former local party chairman, had defected to the far-right nationalist organisation.

Doctors, prison officers, teachers and a Buckingham Palace servant were among the 12,000 names published in a blog post on Sunday. The leak has caused recriminations within the party and a nationwide search for members working secretly in the public services.

A spokesman for the Green Party claimed today that Mr Bessant was in the BNP not because he was a racist but because he felt they had better environmental policies.

"He formed the opinion that the BNP climate change policy was more radical than ours," he said.

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Florida boaters say ethanol is harming engines

There's an ailment afflicting boats in Florida and elsewhere with symptoms of poor performance and clogged fuel systems. The problems may be staved off by preventive measures, but boat owners caught off guard may face repairs that can cost hundreds of dollars -- or even thousands. The culprit is ethanol in gasoline, required in Florida following passage of a law this past spring that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol, which is called E10 fuel, by the end of 2010. A half-dozen other states have similar laws.

By early summer, gas stations statewide began receiving E10 fuel. Notices on pumps say the gas can contain 10 percent ethanol or less. Marinas and airports are exempt and can sell ethanol-free gas. But since spring until recently, many marinas had no choice but to accept E10 fuel. Apart from that, many people with boats on trailers pull up at the gas station or fill portable gas tanks for cheaper fuel, unwittingly setting themselves up for potential disaster.

Ethanol is alcohol, and one characteristic of alcohol is that it attracts water, and therefore pulls moisture into vented fuel tanks in boats. If the E10 fuel sits long enough, the water and ethanol separate from the gas, and can cause poor engine performance and damage the fuel system.

A second and equally damaging trait of alcohol for boats is that it is a solvent. The ethanol loosens fuel varnish build-up and rust in the fuel tank and that gunk gets carried into the fuel system, potentially clogging and damaging parts, such as carburetors and fuel injectors.

Two lawsuits, in California and Florida, have been filed to date against oil manufacturers that produce E10 fuel, on the basis the companies knew of potential harm to boat engines and failed to warn the public. "They had to have known," said Jeffrey Ostrow, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who filed the Florida lawsuit in August in U.S. District Court in South Florida....

Some marinas and boat yards in Florida began noticing something strange this past summer. Boaters were calling or coming in asking what could be wrong with their engines. Their boats would idle but wouldn't throttle up to full performance. Some boats broke down and required towing in. "We're seeing one or two people a day come in," said Glen Harris, parts manager at Naples Boat Mart on Airport-Pulling Road. "And a lot of the local people."

Ethanol-blended gas hit service stations in the spring and early summer, so local boaters were the first to fill up portable gas tanks from gas stations with E10. They were the first to experience problems, he said. "It hit me and I do everything I was supposed to do right but ethanol got to me," Harris said. "A lot of people don't believe you at first." He anticipates winter residents returning now and getting boats out of storage will be the next group to experience problems.

Just as boats may sit and the separation of the gas and ethanol in the tanks can lead to problems, there are reports that homeowners are facing similar problems with their lawn equipment.

A second issue with ethanol is that it cleans everything it has contact with, from whatever point it is mixed in with gas at the refinery or tanker and it carries all those contaminants to a boat's fuel tank, said Rush of San Carlos Marine. Those contaminants can clog fuel filters and the injection system. "You will limp in if you can even get home," Rush said. "A lot of the repair bills come from the intrusion of water and contaminants in the water," said Kaestner of Matanzas Marine.

There also are reports that ethanol can cause polyester resin in older fiberglass fuel tanks to degrade to create a gunk that clogs the fuel system. "Pre-1991 fiberglass tanks are the most affected," Kaestner said.

Boat owners need to be diligent about preventive measures or avoid E10 fuel entirely, he and other marine service operators say. If a boat doesn't have a water separating fuel filter, it's prudent to add one that is a 10-micron filter and change it frequently, he and others say. "I went down to the Keys in July with my personal boat and I went through three water-separating fuel filters," Rush said, referring to his 17-foot flatbeds boat with a 115 Yamaha engine. "At the first sign (of trouble), I changed it and put in a new filter. I did three in two weeks." He keeps spares on his boat with each filter running $18.95...

The Naples City Dock began receiving E10 fuel on May 26 but has been ethanol free since the end of October, dockmaster Mike Klein said. "We were basically forced to take ethanol in the beginning because they did not want to have separate tanks at any of the ports," he said. "Ports did not set aside a tank for ethanol free. I knew (the law) excluded marinas but that was all we could get."...

"I cannot find gas without ethanol to purchase," said Lou Penido, harbormaster of Port of the Islands Marina in southeast Collier County. "It wasn't available. My problem is I don't sell many gallons, I have to buy from suppliers close by."

More here


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


Monday, November 24, 2008

Second Mann hockeystick produced entirely from a small, atypical and corrupt sub-group of proxies

Ever since his original "hockeystick" graph of the global temperature trend was discredited, Michael Mann has been trying to justify himself by producing a second, less challengeable hockeystick graph. His latest effort is dissected in the very thorough and detailed article briefly excerpted below. Excerpts below are the abstract plus mention of what the proxies central to Mann's new hockeystick consist of. By using data known to be corrupted, Mann has certainly done nothing to redeem his reputation.

by Willis Eschenbach
Abstract: A new method is proposed for determining if a group of datasets contain a signal in common. The method, which I call Correlation Distribution Analysis (CDA), is shown to be able to detect common signals down to a signal:noise ratio of 1:10. In addition, the method reveals how much of the common signal is contained by each proxy. I applied the method to the Mann et al. 2008 (hereinafter M2008) proxies. I analysed all (N=95) of the M008 proxies which contain data from 1001 to 1980. These contain a clear hockeystick shaped signal. CDA shows that the hockeystick shape is entirely due to Tiljander proxies plus high-altitude southwestern US "stripbark" pines (bristlecones, foxtails, etc). When these are removed, the hockeystick shape disappears entirely.

Mystery solved. The three in red at the top, and one further down, are all the Tiljander lake sediment series, which are known to be corrupted. Once we remove the four Tiljander proxies, it is obvious that the whole edifice is built on a few closely related high-elevation, moisture limited pine trees located in the southwestern US. These tree rings make up no less than 19 of the 21 remaining top proxies after Tiljander is removed. In other words, the bristlecones are back and with a vengeance.

I guess the deal is that no self-respecting paleoclimate reconstruction would be complete without the bristlecone pines (PILO), which make up no less than 12 of the remaining top 21 (after Tiljander is removed). In addition we have the bristlecone's cousins, the limber pine (PIFL) and the foxtail pine (PIBA). All of these records contain are from similar ecosystems and contain similar signals. The overwhelming majority were collected by Graybill. His work has been called into serious question by LInah Abadneh's thesis, wherein she was unable to replicate his results.

If I ran the zoo, I'd throw out all of those high altitude pine tree ring records. They are known to have problems, their use has been recommended against, and the principal investigator's work is under a cloud. I would omit them.

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

Global cooling hits Britain hard

Traffic chaos as Britain's big freeze brings blanket of snow - and there's more to come

Only the bravest - or foolish - motorists were out and about early yesterday as snow blanketed parts of the country. As much as 4in (10cm) fell in parts of East Anglia, leaving this stretch of the A47 in Norwich to be negotiated with extreme caution. Conditions were made even more hazardous after heavy downpours froze, covering roads in layers of ice. A stretch of the M62 in Greater Manchester was forced to close

The weekend's bitter weather caused mayhem across large swathes of the country, with some roads blocked off and others covered in a sheet of ice by the subsequent downpours. As temperatures dropped to as low as minus 6.1C (21F) police were called to dozens of accidents as black ice made conditions treacherous.

Whilst children up and down the country built snowmen and threw snowballs large parts of the nation shivered in temperatures colder than Moscow (-2C/28.4F), Helsinki (-3C/26.6F) and Berlin (2C/35.6F)....

Gales gusting at 50mph forced the cancellation of ferry services between Holyhead and Dublin whilst ice and snow caused the closure of the eastbound section of the M62 between junctions 21 and 22 in Greater Manchester. Heavy snow fell in Scotland, the North of England and down the east coast from North Yorkshire to Suffolk. In Oxfordshire and Cumbria the temperature dropped to minus 6.1C (21F). Among the next coldest areas were Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, at minus 5.7C (21.7F) and South Farnborough in Hampshire at minus 4.8C (23.36F).

London, which last month saw the first October snow for 74 years, was also carpeted by a layer of snow - only for it to be replaced hours later by freezing rain.

The cold front has prompted bookmakers William Hill to slash the odds of a white Christmas in London from 8/1 to 6/1. William Hill, which has reported record betting on a white Christmas, cut the odds on snow falling on Christmas in London from 8/1 to 6/1 while Ladbrokes is offering 9/2. William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: 'We have never had so much money in the book with over a month to go. If it snows, we will be paying out millions to our customers.'


Weather Channel Fires Entire Global Warming Broadcast Team

I guess global warming isn't economically feasible after all!
"NBC Universal made the first of potentially several rounds of staffing cuts at The Weather Channel (TWC) on Wednesday, axing the entire staff of the "Forecast Earth" environmental program during the middle of NBC's "Green Week," as well as several on-camera meteorologists. The layoffs totaled about 10 percent of the workforce, and are among the first major changes made since NBC completed its purchase of the venerable weather network in September.

The layoffs affected about 80 people, but left the long-term leadership of the network unclear, according to a source who requested anonymity due to the continuing uncertainty at the station.

Among the meteorologists who was let go was Dave Schwartz, a Weather Channel veteran and a viewer staple due to his lively on camera presentations. USA Today reported that meteorologists Cheryl Lemke and Eboni Deon were also let go.

The timing of the Forecast Earth cancellation was ironic, since it came in the middle of NBC's "Green Week," during which the network has been touting its environmental coverage across all of its platforms. Forecast Earth normally aired on weekends, but its presumed last episode was shown on a weekday due to the environmentally-oriented week.

Forecast Earth was hosted by former CNN anchor Natalie Allen, with contributions from climate expert Heidi Cullen."

Cullen you'll remember called for Nuremberg style trials for climatologists who dared to doubt the religion of global warming. What goes around comes around babe!

Source (See the original for links)

Interview with skeptical but polite climatologist

Through a video link, President-elect Barack Obama addressed a climate change conference convened today by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Los Angeles, saying he would more aggressively tackle the problem of climate change than the Bush Administration. But behind the politics of global warming, scientists are engaged in a robust debate about the effects of manmade CO2 in our atmosphere. Joining us now is a researcher involved in the debate over climate change. Robert Balling Jr is a professor in the climatology program of the School of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University. He has served as a climate consultant to the United Nations Environment Programme and served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Robert, welcome to the KVMR evening news. I want to start by asking -Can you maybe describe the debate that's going on among scientists and in peer reviewed journals and otherwise, over the issue of climate change?

RCB: Well I'll do that, just as soon as you tell me what happened in the Civil War. It's kind of a big question - if you were to go to a library or look at any top of the line science journal, you would quickly discover that every element of the greenhouse issue has its folks who seem to be supportive of certain ideas, and others who are not. The most fundamental questions, like, is the planet warming - in reality there's quite a debate about that very subject; as I tell people, you would just discover that the climate change issue is very much more complicated than it is often presented to the public. And that's somewhat the message I have on the circuit, is that no matter what thing you ask about, you find out there's an incredible story behind it and quite a debate going on in the scientific community.

KVMR: Well, let's just step back and tackle that question - "is the planet warming, and how do we know?" To me it's scientists collecting data and then drawing conclusions based on that data, right? well, is the planet warming?

RCB: Yes and no. We have a -- there are a number of ways that the planetary temperature is taken - there are satellites that measure microwave emissions that come from the low atmosphere (those are directly related to the temperature of the low atmosphere, these polar orbiting satellites that allow for a global temperature to be measured); balloons are launched all over the world every day, the balloon record can give us a sense of the planetary temperature; and then there are literally millions of thermometer records from all over the world, and they're not perfect by any means but they can all be averaged and get another sense of the planetary temperature; the good news is they're all very highly correlated.

So it would seem easy, is the earth warming or not? If you said how about the last 30 years, the answer's absolutely, all three of those primary ways that we measure the temperature of the earth show warming. But if you said how about for the last 6 years from 2002 to present, all three show cooling. So you could answer the question a thousand different ways - if you said is the earth warming and you mean the last 100 years, the answer's yes; if you mean the last 1000 years the answer may not be yes, or if you mean how about the last million years, the answer is well, we've actually been rather cold the last million years. So that question is not as easy to answer as it sounds at first glance.

KVMR: So it's really trying to take and analyze and see some sense and consistency to trends in temperatures.?

RCB: Yes, even if you could show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the earth was warming over the last 30 years, and I think scientists have, we know that the climate system varies quite naturally. I mean clearly we've had ice ages come and go, we've had warm periods come and go, and it's hard given the natural variability of climate to say what we have seen over the last 30 years is absolutely related to the buildup of greenhouse gases.

There are people who talk about fingerprints; the warming of the surface does seem to be in the right places - it's in the winter, the high latitudes, night, land areas, where the models tell us we should see it, but the models also tell us we should see a lot more warming above the surface and that warming hasn't been seen. So on the one hand you see this fingerprint, and then another analysis you don't see the fingerprint.

KVMR: I've attended the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union - AGU - for the past 7 years, and I go by the graces of my wife who is a scientist, but I also go as a reporter; I saw Al Gore speak there a couple years ago, and he was very well received as a champion of spreading the word about climate change and global warming. He sort of qualified his remarks to the scientists - perhaps you were there, you are a member of the AGU - saying he's not a scientist, he's a politician, and he was looking to bridge those two worlds; and by the reception he got from the standing-room-only group of scientists, it appeared that most people agreed with him. How do you feel about Al Gore and what he has done in terms of raising awareness about climate change?

RCB: Well there's no doubt he's a politician first, and there's no doubt he spends a lot of time raising awareness of the issue. I saw the film that he put out, and I believe that if at any moment if you said ok, let's stop the film right there, and now lets go critically examine what he just said; it's as I mentioned in the beginining, what we would find out over and over that what he just said is accurate according to some subset of scientists; and what he just said is not consistent with the research findings from a number of other scientists.

Sometimes in the film he'd make very simplistic statements that I think most scientists would feel ill at ease with, and at other times he would say things that most of us would be at ease with. Of course he's going to get a standing ovation, these are human beings, they're going to be polite to speakers, there's no question - if Al Gore keeps the issue alive, and you are a scientist who is in line to receive substantial federal grants, you might stand up and clap as well. If I'm in the audience I would certainly receive his message well, I'd be respectful, but again I don't think he accurately represents the state of science. I mean, even if you were to download the IPCC technical summary

KVMR: (which you contributed to)

RCB: (yeah I have in the past, there's no question about that)- if you were to download the technical summary and read it, you would immediately sense that the IPCC is saying things that are not consistent with some of the points that Gore makes. But I welcome him to the debate, I'm not one to sit back and tell somebody "I don't want to hear your message", the more messengers the better.

But he has been, no question, a very powerful figure in raising awareness of the global warming issue - to the extent that the awareness has been raised - and you can look at some various polls of where global warming really stands in the eyes of the American public, and you can make a case that given all this raising awareness it didn't work, it didn't really raise the awareness that much.

KVMR: It seems that people are polarized over this issue; I've heard people say that climate change is not happening, and we had a congressional candidate on here saying the climate change is the product of alarmists, and.

RCB: I don't know if it's the product of alarmists, but I can get for you astrophysicists at Harvard who could explain to you that variations in the earth's temperature are very closely related to variations in the output of the sun; and some of these people believe that what we have seen in recent decades is solar related; and even this cooling that we've seen recently in global temperature is often explained away as a reduction in solar output.So it's not just a matter of people calling each other names - there are very credible scientists at MIT and Harvard, and Stanford and elsewhere who are writing in a way that would put them in the skeptical camp, which is enormous by the way.

KVMR: You really wouldn't get this in popular culture, this really isn't making it into the mix; it seems that it's a slam dunk for climate change.

RCB: I don't really believe that. I mean, you can turn on the radio in Phoenix Arizona, for probably 8 hours a day, some of your brothers in talk radio are talking about global warming, and making fun of it, and interviewing scientists who are skeptical - I never think that the skeptical viewpoint doesn't get its airing, at all. I've had every opportunity to be on, you name it, and I think the skeptical message has definitely been aired and the American public has heard it. I think to this day, when you ask many Americans what they think of the issue, they still laugh it off they sort of make fun of Gore, they make fun of the issue, and I think they do get that from some of the champions of talk radio.


Stubborn glaciers fail to retreat, awkward polar bears continue to multiply

Second only to the melting of the Arctic ice and those "drowning" polar bears, there is no scare with which the global warmists, led by Al Gore, more like to chill our blood than the fast-vanishing glaciers of the Himalayas, which help to provide water for a sixth of mankind. Recently one newspaper published large pictures to illustrate the alarming retreat in the past 40 years of the Rongbuk glacier below Everest. Indian meteorologists, it was reported, were warning that, thanks to global warming, all the Himalayan glaciers could have disappeared by 2035.

Yet two days earlier a report by the UN Environment Program had claimed that the cause of the melting glaciers was not global warming but the local warming effect of a vast "atmospheric brown cloud" hanging over that region, made up of soot particles from Asia's dramatically increased burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Furthermore a British study published two years ago by the American Meteorological Society found that glaciers are only shrinking in the eastern Himalayas. Further west, in the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram, glaciers are "thickening and expanding".

Meanwhile, all last week, ITV News was running a series of wearisomely familiar scare stories on the disappearing Arctic ice and those "doomed" polar bears - without telling its viewers that satellite images now show ice cover above its 30-year average, or that polar bear numbers are at record level. But then "polar bears not drowning after all - as snow falls over large parts of Britain" doesn't really make a story.


Scientists urge Indonesian symposium 'to avoid the hysteria of global-warming alarmists'

In this article Dr. Willie Soon, geo-scientist at the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, and Lord Christopher Monckton, chief policy adviser to the Science and Public Policy Institute in Washington DC., urge the assembled scientists to avoid the hysteria of global-warming alarmists, and instead study solar activity.

Carbon dioxide is not an air pollutant. It is plant food. All life on Earth depends on it. It is natural. It forms the bubbles in bread, champagne, and Coca-Cola. You breathe it out, and plants breathe it in.

The Earth contains a lot of CO2, but the atmosphere contains so little that the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rightly calls CO2 a "trace gas". A scientific mystery is why the air does not hold more CO2 than it does. Half a billion years ago, there was almost 20 times today's CO2 concentration.Most farmers would prefer to grow crops under much-higher concentrations of CO2 than today's 385 parts per million-less than 1/25 of 1 percent of the atmosphere. To feed the world, low CO2 concentration is not such a great idea. High concentrations are better, and they cause no harm. Experiments have shown that even delicate plants such as orchids thrive at CO2 concentrations of 10,000 ppm.That is why U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia has declared that if CO2 is to be labeled an "air pollutant", then so must Frisbees and flatulence.

What about the danger of overheating the Earth by CO2? Al Gore is spending $300 million telling us "global warming" will be a catastrophe. Yet a survey of 539 scientific papers containing the words "global climate change" and published between January 2004 and February 2007 found not a single one that provided any evidence that "global warming" would be catastrophic. It does not matter how many scientists or politicians say that more CO2 will cause a catastrophe. To true scientists, what matters is whether any real-world data support the idea.

If CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas, we would have seen a great warming trend in Indonesian temperature history. We haven't. Recent temperatures, according to the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, have been scarcely warmer than they were 70 to 100 years ago. Instead of a strong warming trend, the Indonesian data are dominated by year-to-year changes and natural oscillations every 50 to 100 years.It is remarkable to find documents on the Internet, circulated by WWF-Indonesia, trying to scare the unsuspecting public by saying the temperature in Indonesia has "increased by 0.3§ C" over the twentieth century and that one can expect additional warming of 0.1 to 0.3§ C per decade for the next 20 to 100 years.

In a humid, equatorial nation such as Indonesia, with annual temperatures between 23§ and 32§ C, there is little chance of seeing those predicted warming trends, or any of the predicted changes in rainfall. Professor Mezak Ratag of the Indonesia National Agency for Meteorology & Geophysics says, The output from different models is often different and sometimes contradictory. For example, [a UK climate model] predicts increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation for Indonesia, while [a German model] predicts an increase in both temperature and precipitation.When climate models say that both increased and decreased rainfall are possible, they are not actually making any predictions.

Worse, climate scientists from Stanford University and the University of Washington in the United States recently admitted that the islands of Java and Bali are not even represented as land in many global-circulation models [used by the IPCC].

The 100-year mean temperatures over the period 1901-2000 for March-April-May, June-July-August, September-October-November, and December-January-February are 26.2, 25.6, 26.1, and 25.9§ C, respectively. This confirms the clear dependence of the basic climatology of Indonesia on the arrival and relative intensity of the sun overhead. More sun means warmer weather, and vice versa. It is as simple as that.More sun also means more rain, except that during the December-January-February season there is an additional large contribution from the northwest monsoon and the southward migration of the inter-tropical rainbelt.Look to matahari (the sun in Bahasa Indonesia) rather than CO2 as the key player in Indonesia's climate.

Cutting CO2 emissions by sharply curtailing the use of gasoline and other fossil fuels will make no difference to the weather. It will merely lead the foolish to feel good about "saving the planet". Even if the planet needed saving, all proposed mitigation measures would be futile. It would be cheaper and less irresponsible to adapt to warmer weather as-or rather if-necessary.We have already seen food prices double and triple worldwide because the "green" movement told us biofuels would "save the planet". Science, however, demonstrates that biofuels have a bigger carbon footprint than does gasoline.

Foolish mitigation measures that owe everything to political fashion and nothing to scientific rigor are already harming the world's poor. It is time to stop the hysteria about CO2 before anyone else gets hurt-or even killed



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


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Green Obama's official limo is a gas guzzler

The usual Leftist "Do as I say, not as I do". Al Gore take a bow too

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama promised to get a million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015. His own new presidential limousine will be far from green, however. The Obamobile being prepared for the president-elect is said to be a monster gas-guzzler made by General Motors, the troubled car giant. It will look like a black Cadillac but is built like a tank. A spy photographer who tracks down future car models for magazines snatched pictures of the heavily disguised first-car-in-waiting when it was being road-tested last summer.

The armour-plated car, which has a raised roof, windows up to 5in thick, extra-strength tyres and a body made of steel, aluminium, titanium and ceramics, is thought to be based on a GMC 2500 truck that gets less than 10 miles to the gallon. Three cars are believed to be in production so that two can serve as decoys. While security is paramount - the car is built to survive roadside bombs as well as gunfire - there are hybrid four-wheel drives on the market, such as Ford's Mercury Mariner, which some critics believe could have been adapted for the president.

Most environmentalists are in forgiving mood at the prospect of the greenest US president yet. Obama vowed to press ahead with his plans to reduce CO2 emissions while speaking last week to a bipartisan conference on climate sponsored by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California. Obama repeated his campaign pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and to invest $15 billion a year on energy-saving technologies despite the economic melt-down. "Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all," Obama said. "Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response."

Carl Pope, the director of the Sierra Club, the environmental group, believes that America will soon outstrip Britain and Europe as a model green nation. "It's easier for us to change course quickly because we only have one president," he said. "If America engages on this issue, we'll trump Europe quickly." John Podesta, the head of Obama's transition team, said: "I anticipate [Obama] moving very aggressively and very rapidly on the whole question of transforming the energy platform in the US from high carbon energy to low carbon energy."


Another Dissenter: Astrophysicist says put IPCC reports `in the trash!'

In the only country still debating whether global warming is man-made, according to SJSU professor Alex Gershenson, another contest to discuss it was held Tuesday night at San Jose's Rotary Club. The event, put on by The Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley, saw two speakers on each side of the issue go head-to-head for 90 minutes on the validity of global warming and its attribution to the activities of humans.

"No other civilized, developed country is having these kinds of debates, period," said Gershenson, an environmental studies professor at SJSU. "It is very frustrating. The overall understanding of how science works is very low in this country."

Four individuals presented a large array of graphs and data to the 500-plus attendees in an attempt to demonstrate the validity of their arguments. The team representing the opinion that global warming is man-made, consisting of SJSU professors Eugene Cordero and Alex Gershenson, weighed their arguments on the consensus of opinion within the scientific community. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, commissioned by the United Nations, included 2,500 scientific experts from around the globe. "The IPCC report that just came out states that most of the warming is very likely due to human cause greenhouse gases," Gershenson said.

Despite the scientific prowess of the panel's reports, the team arguing that global warming is not man-made disregarded its validity. "What I'd do with the IPCC report is to put it in the trash can because that's all it's worth," said Dennis Hollars, who holds a doctorate in astrophysics from New Mexico State University. His brazen pronouncement produced an eruption of laughter among the packed audience. Hollars produced a similar reaction from the crowd when, challenged by Gershenson about the inconsistencies of the data in the graphs he was presenting, he claimed to "not care" which one was accurate. It was hard to tell whether the audience was laughing out of the humor of Hollars' delivery, or because they disagreed with him.

One of the central arguments of the side arguing that global warming is a natural occurrence was that temperatures were driving the increase in carbon dioxide, rather than the commonly accepted reverse. "CO2 has never led to an increase in temperature, based on historical record," said Robert Cohen, a certified consulting meteorologist.

This point was countered by Cordero, who cited hundreds of scientific studies that showed that the temperature increase that has occurred over the last 50 years would not be possible without human-produced chemicals.

Hollars, meanwhile, claimed that carbon dioxide was an insignificant component of the earth's atmosphere and that, rather than being the purveyor of doom it is currently viewed as today, it is needed in order for plants to grow. "Mars' atmosphere is about 95 percent CO2 and has no global warming," Hollars said.

Gershenson pointed out that while carbon dioxide may be a very small component of the earth's atmosphere, it is one of only two components that absorbs and traps heat.

At the culmination of the debate, moderator and SJSU professor Genelle Austin-Lett conducted an informal poll of the audience to gauge its reactions to what they had witnessed. Although few people declared to have had their mind changed by the debate, more people who were unsure about the causes of global warming beforehand said that they believed the causes were man-made.

"I thought that the negative side did a good job in giving us evidence, whereas the other side had a little bit of evidence, but then didn't really have a lot to follow up on when they were questioned," said Candice Howsden, a senior communication studies major.

Gershenson said the debate came down to whether you trust the scientists who say that there is a nine out of 10 chance that global warming is man-made. "If I have a child and I have 10 doctors see that child," Gershenson said, borrowing from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's rationale for supporting California's California climate change legislation, "and nine of the doctors that see my child say that the child is sick and one says well, maybe not, I'm going to go with the nine." [Wouldn't it be better to discuss the evidence for the various verdicts? Incorrect diagnoses are common]


Green fascism

One thing I got wrong in trying to answer The Big Question in The Independent this morning, was to say that "one of the most surprising" names on the leaked BNP membership list was that of someone who stood as a Green Party candidate in the 2001 and 2005 elections. What I meant was "one of the names that was not surprising at all", because there has been a philosophical overlap between the "deep" green movement and fascism from the early years of both.

Yesterday, the Green Party admitted that two of its former activists had been exposed as members of the BNP: Keith Bessant, its parliamentary candidate at Cheltenham in 2001 and 2005, and a Rev Stanton.

This reminded me of the origins of the British National Party in the break-up of the National Front in 1980, and the confusion that followed. For a while there were two National Fronts, as well as a growing BNP. The larger NF fell under the influence of Patrick Harrington, the most recent prophet of the "Third Way" before Tony Blair (the phrase has both fascist and centrist antecedents, with Oswald Mosley's New Party and Harold Macmillan both using it in the 1930s).

The NF relaunched itself as the National Democrats in 1995 as a final spasm before lapsing into its present almost moribund state. But that whole phase was heavily influenced by an eco-nationalist message based on the "blood and soil" notion of a smaller, more sustainable, culturally and ethnically homogenous population, a kind of sub-Tolkien Anglo-Saxon fantasy.It is a fantasy that can come uncomfortably close to some of the more backward-looking politics of the fundamentalist wing of the green movement.


Australia: Global cooling hits the State of NSW

Gale force winds and snow in the NSW central-west are keeping State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers busy, just a week from the start of summer. Since Friday, SES crews have responded to 18 requests for assistance in the Blayney, Bathurst, Lithgow and Orange areas. Most of the damage has been caused by falling trees, but local roads are also being monitored after snow falls on Saturday night. The road between Bathurst and Oberon is currently closed but all other roads are open.

SES Central West Region Controller, Craig Ronan, said the weather conditions are particularly unseasonable. "It's very unusual the week before summer to have such weather conditions," Mr Ronan said. "I believe it's supposed to ease this afternoon. "Let's hope it does ease but obviously our volunteers are ready to help and they're willing to help."

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for NSW, with a deep low pressure system off the south coast expected to bring gale force winds to most of the state before it moves east late on Sunday. Winds are expected to average 65km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90km/h.

Blizzard conditions are also anticipated in alpine areas of the Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes and the ACT. "As winds continue, I'd say we'll get a few more calls today," Mr Ronan said.


Australia: This Week's Brisbane Storms Due To Global Warming?

Here is that loveabale TV celebrity of Two Men & A Tiny fame, Tim Flannery prediction on March 3rd 2007.
Environmental researcher Tim Flannery has warned that Brisbane & Adelaide …. home to a combined 3 million people could run out of water by years end.. He said the country was facing a ‘catastrophic’ situation.

‘Even a year ago, this would have been unthinkable,’ Flannery told AFP. ‘I think it’s the most extreme and dangerous situation arising from climate change facing any country in the world right now’

In May last year Brisbane’s water supply dams were hovering at 23%. Rain since August 2007 to current has lifted Brisbane’s water supply dams to 45% and it’s only the start of the wet season.

Agmates reader Margaret tells us that QLD Premier Anna Bligh is blaming this weeks tropical storms on … Climate Change. Margaret said:
Premier Bligh and the AM commentator this morning were both pushing hard the idea that the intense storms in Brisbane were due to global warming. It was PATHETIC how they were talking - as if there was no doubt about it. The ABC is so much a propaganda government media tool it is TERRIBLE.

University of Southern Queensland professor of climate and water resources Roger Stone agrees with the Premier that the rain is a sign of climate change.
ONE of Australia’s leading climatologists has warned the extreme weather that hit southeast Queensland this week is consistent with climate change modelling of weather patterns.

However the Australian Newspaper in the same article speaks with Queensland weather bureau spokesman Gavin Holcombe who states what is obvious to anybody who is a long term Queensland resident:
But back in the 70s and 80s we did have plenty of Novembers which were very wet indeed. I just think people are now thinking of the sort of dry Novembers that we’ve had over the past decade as the norm, but if you look over the long term, there have been plenty of wet Novembers.

You can’t win with the global warming alarmist. Dry weather is a sign, wet weather is a sign, hot weather, cold weather it does not matter, its all a sign to the green religion faithful.


Peak oil freaks eat your heart out

A comment from Australia

California car company Tesla Motors is manufacturing it’s Tesla Roadster. The all electric car that is faster from 0-100kms than a Porsche or Ferrari . In the weekend read section of Business Spectator Simon writes:
Driving an electric car feels like stepping into a jet aircraft after a lifetime of flying little bug smashers with propellers. Eerily quiet, they have a flat torque curve from zero rpm. Putting your foot down - at any speed - commands an instant kick in the back. They operate with ease at US highway speeds. The EV’s only real challenge was range, as a function of the available battery technology. As anyone who watched the movie knows, GM couldn’t kill them off fast enough as soon as CARB lost their nerve in the face of extensive political lobbying from the car industry at the time.

Fast forward to today. Tesla Motors have created an electric sports car for today. It’s the first full production EV since the EV I era and like the EV I, it rocks: 0-100 km/h in less than four seconds. Over 360 km range - far more than most Australian cars in the real world. Silent. Pretty. Zero tailpipe emissions. Able to be charged from solar panels on your own roof.

image Tesla Roadster
I had been wanting to buy an EV ever since I was hooked on the GM EV I, all those years ago. So it was no surprise that I became the first (and to date, the only) Australian to order a Tesla Roadster. Mine gets built in Q1 2009.

Why are the world car manufacturers concentrating on building hybrid cars when companies like Tesla can build all electric cars that use no oil what so ever? You can only guarantee one thing, this technology will get better and better and within the next decade we could see the combustion engine the same way as we view the steam engine, as museum pieces. Those that carry on about ‘peak oil’ as they did in the 70’s will once again discover that man’s ability to develop new technologies to replace what was once considered a scarce natural resources (oil) means we never have peak anything.

The electric car that's faster than Porsche and Ferrari



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


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Global cooling! Over 200 whales trapped in Canadian ice

At least 200 narwhal whales in Canada's Arctic, trapped by winter ice and facing starvation or suffocation, must be culled, officials say. Hunters from the village of Pond Inlet on Baffin Island discovered the animals trapped near Bylot Island, about 17 kilometres from Pond Inlet, on November 15.

The local hunters are allowed to harvest only 130 whales each year for food, according to standards set by the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans. But department spokesman Keith Pelley said: "It's unlikely the animals are going to survive the winter, so the hunters have been given authorisation to cull them." The hunters have been on the ice slaughtering the whales since Thursday and are likely to accomplish their task over the coming days, he said.

Narwhal are found mostly in the Arctic circle, and are renowned for their extraordinarily long tusk, which is actually a twisted incisor tooth that projects from the left side of its upper jaw and can be up to three metres long.

"A couple of weeks ago, when the ice was still moving, there were quite a few narwhal seen out there in the open water," Jayko Allooloo, chairman of the Pond Inlet hunters and trappers organisation, told public broadcaster CBC. "About a week later, they're stuck."

Community elders and officials feared the whales would die from a lack of oxygen as the ice grew thicker around them, Pelley explained. There are about a dozen areas of open waters where they could come up for air, but it is a tight squeeze for them.


A Global farce? A number of researchers say that despite public opinion, global warming may be a result of natural causes

Article below from the student newspaper of the University of Oregon

If the Greenland icecap melts, the Sahara expands and the Siberian permafrost disappears, don't blame carbon-emitting SUVs or billowing smokestacks, says a group of scientists who claim their research on global warming has been repressed. The explanation, they argue, might be simpler: Mother Nature is just going through her natural cycles.

Researchers from around the world have begun to question the growing acceptance among the public, the media and the scientific community that labels human behavior as the primary cause of global warming.

The researchers who go against the scientific grain on the climate change issue know their ideas are unpopular. In fact, many claim their research is so disliked the rest of the scientific community is working to suppress it in spite of convincing scientific evidence.

They also claim that the suggested effects of global warming are nothing short of "sheer fear-mongering," as Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute put it. The more probable effects of climate change are likely to be much less severe than activists would indicate, researchers say.

These unpopular and inflammatory ideas don't seem to have infiltrated the University of Oregon community. Many professors at the University adamantly insist global warming is man-made and any debate to the contrary is pointless.

While many University of Oregon professors are in the public majority on the global warming issue and in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group that compiles research and issues reports on climate change, the voice of dissent is surfacing in a growing number of intellectual communities.

In December 2007, a group of more than 400 scientists from more than 24 nations testified that they do not think global warming is man-made. The group, appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, contested many of the main points that support human-induced global warming and said their skeptical views have been repressed by scientific journals and the mainstream media.

Scientists in the group represented had worked for institutions such as Harvard University, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of London, Princeton University and the International Arctic Research Centre.

Don Easterbrook, a geology professor at Western Washington University in Bellingham, has spent his career studying climate patterns and glaciers in the Cascade Mountains and Greenland. He has concluded carbon dioxide emissions are not causing global warming - natural climate fluctuation patterns are. Easterbrook and his colleague Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, say nature can regulate itself with climate and solar cycles. Compared with other greenhouse gasses such as water vapor, carbon dioxide does not trap heat in a significant way, they say. They say that assuming humans alone have created global warming borders on arrogance.

The two are studying the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a naturally occurring temperature fluctuation in the Pacific Ocean that has been observed by NASA satellite observations. The PDO changes between warm and cold cycles approximately every 20 to 30 years, which changes the cloudiness of Earth, the behavior of the jet stream and subsequently the temperature, according to NASA.

In the abstract for his article "Tropical Pacific decadal variability and global warming," Benjamin Giese, a professor of oceanography at Texas A&M University, writes: "The results suggest that much of the decade to decade variations in global air temperature may be attributed to tropical Pacific decadal variability."

Spencer believes the PDO cycles explain about 75 percent of the climate change during the 20th century. During that time, Earth went through a cold period from 1900-20, was warm from 1920-45, cooled down from 1945-77 and warmed from 1977-98. Spencer and Easterbrook say all of those fluctuations correlate with changes in the PDO.

Global warming may be affected by more than just earthly causes, Easterbrook said. Solar cycles may be having an effect as well. The number of sunspots, or black areas of the sun, range from zero to 170 and the fewer there are, the cooler the Earth is.

Current sun spot activity is very similar to that around 1600 and 1800, which were very cold times in history, Easterbrook said. During the last 500 years, solar cycles have changed between 25 and 30 times, corresponding with climate changes.

According to Easterbrook, 80 to 90 percent of global warming can be attributed to the greenhouse effect of water vapor. University of Notre Dame professor William Evans echoed this observation. "Yes, CO2 is one of several greenhouse gasses, but (it's) not the biggest contributor. Water vapor is," Evans said in an e-mail.

Tim Patterson, professor of Earth sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, told the Canadian Free Press in 2005 that carbon dioxide levels today are 10 times lower than 450 million years ago - when the Earth was the coldest it has been in the past half-billion years.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are currently at 385 parts per million, a rise of about 100 parts per million since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Nevertheless, Easterbrook said current levels are still too negligible to have the effects the scientific community has been attributing to them.

Spencer agreed. He added it is very difficult to prove carbon dioxide is causing global warming because the current warming cycle is the only one in which the gas had a significant presence at all. Just because Earth has warmed while carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere does not mean there is actually a correlation, Spencer and Easterbrook said. "The possibility that global warming is completely natural has never really been investigated," Spencer said.

Although a body of research focuses on the cause of climate change, a group of researchers say the cause is superfluous. To them, the possibility of catastrophe is more important - and it is a possibility that has been drastically exaggerated, they say. In the group that testified before the Senate, some participants were environmentalists who wanted to protest the "fear promotion" they thought global warming activists were using. The problems that global warming can cause - increased sea levels, melted ice caps, endangered arctic species - have been overblown, according to some researchers.

Lewis has analyzed former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore's documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" and found it an example of the "fear promotion" vetted in the Senate hearings. Lewis took to task Gore's three main claims, which he says are overstated and created unfounded fear among the public. The first said the Greenland ice sheet is melting and the moulins, or rivers of melted glacial ice, are destroying the structural integrity of Greenland's glaciers. The second predicts a 20-foot sea level rise and the third predicts a trend of very severe hurricanes.

Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, said none of the predicted problems is new and most have been described inaccurately. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he said, scientists predicted severe hurricanes would be a continuing trend brought on by global warming. The mediocre hurricane seasons of 2006 and 2007 directly refute that claim. Both years had only five hurricanes and two major hurricanes, according to the Pew Center on Global Warming, in contrast to 2005, which had 15 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes.

Burnett also said that while sea levels may rise a few inches during the next century, they have already risen 400 feet since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago, an increase of three feet per century. That indicates that sea level increases today are nothing out of the ordinary.

George Kukla, a research scientist at Columbia University, said creating fear about global warming is more harmful than the phenomenon itself. He also raised the concern that money and funding were a major motivation behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's and its allies' focus on disaster scenarios and negative effects of climate change.

"The only thing to worry about is the damage that can be done by worrying. Why are some scientists worried? Perhaps because they feel that to stop worrying may mean to stop being paid," Kukla said before the Senate.

Much more here

Myths about energy threaten future of nation

Fossil fuels are not ruining the environment, the world is not running out of oil and the U.S. can never be energy independent

Brad Richards, executive vice president of the Mt. Vernon-based Illinois Oil & Gas Association, took issue Thursday in Carmi with "three myths that threaten our country."And in a program of that name, Richards told members and guests of the Kiwanis Club of Carmi that Americans need to focus on reality and not rhetoric as they address their energy needs.

Introduced by Carmi oilman Chris Mitchell, Richards said fossil fuels such as crude oil, natural gas and coal "underpin modern society" and are vital to food production, transportation, healthcare and virtually any other aspect of modern life. Speaking at the club's weekly meeting at The Hickory Stick, he said some environmentalists say global warming is a consequence of the burning of fossil fuels and that the Earth is in peril. Not so, said Richards. He noted that an era known as the Little Ice Age ended about 1850 and the Earth continued to warm through the mid-20th century. And he added that no one really knows why, even though some say the use of fossil fuels was a contributing factor.

He also took issue with the idea that global warming is catastrophic, pointing to data that shows than 7 1/2 times more Europeans died from the effects of heat than the effects of cold during a recent time period. And Richards took on the "polar bear" argument. While admitting that warming has impacted the bears' habitat, he said figures show that there are five times more polar bears living today than in the '60s.

Richards said that accords reached several years ago by several countries' representatives meeting in Kyoto, Japan (and not accepted by the U.S., though he expects the country will accept them during the Obama Administration) would have minimal effect on global warming. Even if all the measures proposed then were implemented and adhered to throughout the 21st century, Richards maintained, the result would be a decline of just .3 degree in average world temperature Fahrenheit by 2100.

Poverty, the speaker told the Kiwanians, is worse than global warming. And he predicted that an enforced reduction in the use of fossil fuels will have a very adverse effect on the economies of Third World nations-and be very costly to the U.S., as well."China isn't worried about CO2 emissions," he said, asserting that the U.S. will be put at a "tremendous disadvantage" if it puts severe restrictions on the use of fossil fuels. Richards said the nation's ultimate goal should not be to reduce greenhouse gases but to improve the quality of life and the environment.

He also took issue with the idea that the world is running out of oil. U.S. crude oil production peaked in the early 1970s and it may well be that world production has peaked recently, he said. But there will be no precipitous decline in production across the globe, he said. Instead, "Supply and demand will reach an uneasy equilibrium. And we'll have a bumpy plateau of production for decades to come; extreme volatility will be the rule."The world is not running out of oil, he said, but it is running out of cheap, easily-found oil. Still, "there's no way to run away from oil" entirely, he cautioned.

Richards told the group that U.S. energy independence is "neither do-able nor desirable." The truth is that the world is becoming more interdependent, he said, and unrealistic talk of energy independence hampers realistic discussion of the matter."It's feel-good talk," he said, but even aggressive development of alternative energy sources wouldn't begin to provide the volume of energy now derived from fossil fuels."The truth is," said Richards, "that we're all married to fossil fuels." And he predicted that this won't change for 30 to 50 years, adding that the U.S. should "accept the reality of energy interdependence."

The club was told that crude oil now provides about 39 percent of the energy that the U.S. uses, natural gas 24 percent, coal 23 percent, nuclear power eight percent and hydroelectric power three percent. And Richards noted that environmentalists don't like any of these sources.Sadly, however, just as the nation can't drill its way to energy independence, it can't build enough windmills or install enough solar panels to replace fossil fuels.

There are encouraging signs. U.S. natural gas production is expected to increase by eight percent this winter to a 35-year high, thanks to higher prices and new technology. What's going on in the U.S. industry is "amazing" and "unbelievable," Richards told the club, with horizontal drilling and other technologies being used to find and exploit huge gas fields.While admitting that John McCain was not the ideal candidate of the U.S. energy industry, Richards made it clear that the industry has little enthusiasm for the president-elect. Barack Obama called for a new windfall profits tax on oil when the price of crude was over $100, Richards said. A similar tax didn't work in the '70s; it increased the nation's dependence on foreign oil, depressed domestic exploration and generated less than 25 percent of what was projected. More of the same could be expected if a new tax were implemented now, he added."Let free markets, not the government, make energy choices," Richards told the crowd.

Asked about the viability of tar sands and oil shales as energy sources, the speaker said they're realistic if crude oil stabilizes at $90 a barrel or so.The impact of the recent drop in crude oil prices was discussed by Mitchell and Kiwanian Scott Pugsley, an executive with Carmi-based Les Wilson, Inc. Mitchell noted that local producers were getting about $128 a barrel in June and July but it fell this week to about $43-the first time since 2005 it had dropped below $50. "How do you budget and plan for that?" he asked, noting that the decline has been a "mess" for local oil companies to deal with. He had expected crude to stabilize in the range of $80 to $90, he said, adding that this would have been a healthy level for the independent domestic oil companies.

Mitchell said his family has been in the oil business for three generations and has "seen some roller coasters." And the business will survive, as well those who "don't get themselves into a bind" by making bad decisions. Pugsley said much of Wilson's business is in drilling for natural gas. And of great concern right now is the restriction on capital, he added. Mitchell also pointed to the recent decision to slow development of an ethanol plant at Mt. Vernon, Ind. The price of crude oil has to remain relatively high in order for these plants to be feasible, he said. But he added that the nation needs a steady, dependable supply of energy, and that wind and solar are uncertain. Richards added that the nation has no good way to store electricity.


Global Warming? Bring it On!

The argument propounded by the dubious United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Anthropogenic (human-induced) Global Warming (AGW) is willfully fraudulent. The report has been vigorously and critically undermined, scientifically denounced and found wanting from both notable scientists here and abroad.

In spite of this fact, it is likely that the new U.S. Democratic Congress and Administration will once again proclaim that they know better than we do about such things. Get ready for them to move surreptitiously under the guise of Global Climate Control in an effort to enhance their own legacies and pocketbooks. To be sure, the Left hears nothing but their own incestuous voices, despite the voices of clarity and reason that abound around them. And there are many, many distinguished dissenters against the charade of AGW. Take for instance the Founder of the Weather Channel and eminent Meteorologist John Coleman who has stated:
There is no significant man made global warming. There has not been any in the past, there is none now and there is no reason to fear any in the future. The climate of Earth is changing. It has always changed. But mankind's activities have not overwhelmed or significantly modified the natural forces.

Through all history, Earth has shifted between two basic climate regimes: ice ages and what paleoclimatologists call "Interglacial periods". For the past 10 thousand years the Earth has been in an interglacial period.... [where] the Earth warms up, the glaciers melt and life flourishes. Clearly from our point of view, an interglacial period is greatly preferred to the deadly rigors of an ice age. Mr. Gore and his crowd would have us believe that the activities of man have overwhelmed nature during this interglacial period and are producing an unprecedented, out of control warming.

Well, it is simply not happening. Worldwide there was a significant natural warming trend in the 1980's and 1990's as a Solar cycle peaked with lots of sunspots and solar flares. That ended in 1998 and now the Sun has gone quiet with fewer and fewer Sun spots, and the global temperatures have gone into decline. Earth has cooled for almost ten straight years. So, I ask Al Gore, where's the global warming?

There is an abundance of solid data to back these conclusions up. For example, new measurements from the NASA/ESA spacecraft Ulysses show that the sun's current period of low activity goes beyond an extended dearth of sunspots. Solar activity has dropped to the lowest levels since recording began some 50 years ago. Current experts, such as Veizer, Shaviv, and most recently Svensmark et al., and Patterson, suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change. They convincingly argue that increased cosmic radiation acts as a catalyst for cloud formation in earth's atmosphere. This, in turn, leads to a general cooling of the world's climate if the pattern persists.

Ironically, during the 1970s while some (including NASA's James Hansen) were hysterically promoting the schizoid fears of a new ice age hitting the world in a few decades, a new frenzy over Global Warming and Climate Change was just beginning at Scripps Ocenaographic Institute in San Diego, CA. It was started by one of their most esteemed scientists Roger Revelle, the father of Oceanography. His work correlated the increases in carbon dioxide, CO2 (a laboratory defined greenhouse gas) to atmospheric warming. Revelle later moved to Harvard and encouraged his students, including Al Gore, to rehash the data.

Since then the research methods have clearly gotten out of hand. Many avenues of research have proven repeatedly useless. Even Roger Revelle understood that there were greater variables at play than the trace gas of CO2.

Before he died, Revelle gave interviews and wrote letters stating that CO2 and its greenhouse effect did not warrant extreme countermeasures. He told Omni Magazine, in March 1984, that "CO2 increase is predicted to temper weather extremes" -- not cause them. One cannot argue that CO2 was a causative factor -- especially since CO2 was apparently following temperature trend -- not moderating it. It seems none of his followers, Gore in particular, heeded his words.

There is a huge problem with the idea that Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is a globally polluting gas, much less one that causes climate change and global warming. Even though some data seemed to initially substantiate the AGW thesis, these ideas were later proven to be wrong. (Those derived from ice core data were especially damning.) Australian Climatologist Dr. David Evans has done yeoman's work on this issue.

Often forgotten in the argument is the fact that CO2 is only a trace component of the atmosphere. For every million molecules of other gases in the atmosphere (such as nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen), there are only 385 molecules of CO2.

It is a fact that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have varied widely over geological time. The peak was estimated to be some 20-fold higher than at present (+6,000 ppm) -- and the low about 200 ppm below today's. (Everyday office air concentrations often exceed 1,000 ppm CO2.). Meteorologist John Coleman perspicaciously asks:
How can this tiny trace upset the entire balance of the climate of Earth? How can a trace element possibly be the cause of systemic Global Warming? It can't. That's all there is to it; it can't.... Carbon dioxide does not cause significant global warming.

Increased levels of CO2 has more likely benefited all life forms on the planet, summarizes Coleman. Many other scientists have come to the same conclusion. Robinson, Robinson & Soon, in their cogent 2007 published research paper found here, provided empirical evidence that invalidates AGW alarmists hypotheses. They also found overwhelming support for the general benefits that are derived from natural global warming. Here is the summary of their findings:
1- A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th and early 21st centuries have produced no deleterious effects upon Earth's weather and climate. There are no experimental data to support the hypothesis that increases in human hydrocarbon use or in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other green house gases are causing or can be expected to cause unfavorable changes in global temperatures, weather, or landscape. There is no reason to limit human production of CO2, CH4, and other minor green house gases as has been proposed.

2- Predictions of catastrophic global warming are based on computer climate modeling, a branch of science still in its infancy. The empirical evidence - actual measurements of Earth's temperature and climate - shows no man-made warming trend. Indeed, during four of the seven decades since 1940 when average CO2 levels steadily increased, U.S. average temperatures were actually decreasing.

3- Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in hydrocarbon use and minor greenhouse gases like CO2 do not conform to current experimental knowledge.

4- While major green house gas H2O substantially warms the Earth, minor green house gases such as CO2 have little effect.... The 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use since 1940 has had no noticeable effect on atmospheric temperature or on the trend in glacier length.

5- Solar activity and U.S. surface temperature are closely correlated...., but U.S. surface temperature and world hydrocarbon use are not correlated.

6- We also need not worry about environmental calamities even if the current natural warming trend continues. The Earth has been much warmer during the past 3,000 years without catastrophic effects. Warmer weather extends growing seasons and generally improves the habitability of colder regions.

7- Human use of coal, oil, and natural gas has not harmfully warmed the Earth, and the extrapolation of current trends shows that it will not do so in the foreseeable future. The CO2 produced does, however, accelerate the growth rates of plants and also permits plants to grow in drier regions. Animal life, which depends upon plants, also flourishes, and the diversity of plant and animal life is increased.

Dr. Michael Griffin, the new NASA Administrator, looks at climate change in a refreshingly contrarian fashion. He has stated:
To assume that [climate change] is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change.

There are other fundamental objections to the AGW theory:

(1) The infamous "Hockey Stick" statistical debacle, nicely summarized here, effectively cherry-picked data from tree rings to estimate temperature change over the past 1000 years. The report erroneously declared that the largest increases in world temperature occurred in the 20th century. These results could not be reproduced by anyone. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) later found the statistical methods first employed inappropriate and the findings bogus.

(2) The reported NASA temperature data glitch discovered by Canadian Computer Analyst Steve McIntyre that wrongly kicked all temperature records up several tenths of a degree was a severe setback for AGW modelers. This software "failure" was overseen by one of AGW's fiercest proponents, the notorious Dr. James Hanson. NASA's GISS and Hanson have recently come under fire again for poor data collection methods and questionable accuracy.

(3) As recently presented in American Thinker, Lord Monckton competently summarizes for us that many of the highly publicized AGW "facts" are simple documented anomalies of natural climate cycling -- designedly misrepresented for the cause of AGW. To wit: The Oceans are not catastrophically rising nor are they warming. In fact, the oceans have been cooling since 2003. The Snows of Kilimanjaro are not melting but ablating because of friction due to a cooling atmosphere and natural cooling trends. The world's 160,000 glaciers are not suddenly receding, but appear to be re-advancing, including those ice shelves in Antarctic and the polar ice sheets, all of which cycle regularly in ice mass. Lord Monckton, a science-journalist, provides even more evidence here.

(4) Finally let us not forget the astute investigation of automated weather stations by US Meteorologist Anthony Watts. Watts painstakingly discovered that a large fraction of the nation's 1,200 stations have been wrongly sited in man-made heat-absorbing centers. (Examples include locations on rooftops, on slabs of heat absorbing concrete, next to air conditioners, diesel generators and asphalt parking lots, even at sewage treatment plants. Some are located in areas experiencing excessive nighttime humidity, and at non-standard observing heights, including one actually sinking into a swamp.) Watts' discovery profoundly undermined the veracity of historical temperature data documented in the United States -- data that had been used by AGW proponents.

There are three indisputable and fundamental facts that were wantonly ignored in the UN's IPCC sham of a report. The UN breathlessly but insidiously "forgot" to include the specifics that:

(1) The Earth has largely benefited by past warming cycle's and that these previous "warmings" had nothing to do with man's activities. These earlier natural cycles were not catastrophic events; they were, in fact, beneficial to all life forms. They provided warmer and longer growing seasons, more areas available for crops, etc. We know, for instance, that Greenland was once green, that Eric the Red planted and grew grapes in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada, that the Romans planted grapes in England, etc.

(2) Solar/Sun Spot activity is the originator of most climatic change and most weather patterns on Earth. It is king. There is no larger factor of influence. CO2 influence is negligible and pales in comparison. CO2 follows the trend of temperature; it does not cause it.

(3) Subordinate to solar activity alone, atmospheric water vapor/cloud formation and movement is the largest known variable that influences temperature changes in the atmosphere of the earth, and the earth's oceans. Water vapor in the atmosphere is around 1000-10,000 times as important as atmospheric CO2.

These three quintessential and pivotal factors are not even discussed in the UN's IPCC report. This exclusion should raise a red flag in any intelligent mind. That's why so many of us are yelling from the rooftops about the absurdity of the report itself! Instead of a true and open discourse, we see the daily dribble from the MSM and various liberally usurped science journals, dishonestly and falsely alleging a "consensus" when there is none.

Indeed, arrayed against the arcane burlesque of the United Nations IPCC with its politically selected 2500 Scientists, of which a core group of 600 exists, and a relatively small number of mediocre "scientists" here and there across the American landscape who have suddenly found notoriety or grant money in the global warming cause, are 31,072+ legitimate and viable scientists (of which I am one) who signed the American Petition Project declaring the Global Warming Hypothesis bogus found here, here and here. We openly refute the UN's conclusions. Here's the Petition Statement we dissenters signed in opposition:
"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

Let me assure you that we're not in good humor, nor take it kindly to be slurred and ridiculed by taking the other side in this debate. And our numbers are still growing. Indeed, we're angry that the vast majority of American Scientists will not be heard by the media. We're dismayed over the fact that the Global Warming fiasco has become politically popular and expedient to those left-wing politicians and power-brokers whose sole aim is to literally tax everything with a carbon footprint and give them control over all life, hidden within their PC guileful pretence to save the planet. They wish to save no one but themselves.

And the tide turns further. Of the 2500 originally aligned scientists and putative authors of the UN's IPCC report some 500 are no longer faithful to Big Al's errand. Many of these scientists discovered that their individual findings and comments were willfully misrepresented. All participant conclusions were unilaterally changed to adhere strictly to the United Nations objective of building support for world taxation and rationing of industrially useful energy. Since the original IPCC report (and there have been some 4 others now formally issued), the defecting 500 scientists have issued public statements challenging global warming. Approximately 100 of these scientists are now open defectors. Others are currently suing the UN for the misuse of their good names and research. It is difficult to see why a thinking person would even consider the IPCC report as legitimate.

The entire IPCC process is but obfuscation by the secular and atheist Left. It has allowed the Left to conflate the vanity of secular opinion with scientific and/or moral truth. There is an easy and immediate remedy for their debacle. Will Rogers stated it simply: "When you are in a hole ... stop digging.... Please!"


UK Labour Party Councillor Glynn Evans dissents

QUESTION - what is the biggest lie ever told to the public? Answer - that manmade carbon dioxide is responsible for accelerated climate change and global warming. Yes, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but it is only a trace gas that accounts for a small part of the atmosphere and it has had a tendency to warm the climate by about 0.5C during the last century. At this point in time global temperatures are relatively stable.

The Green Party's, and its wider associated movements', assertion that man's continued use of fossil fuels is going to heat the atmosphere to high temperatures in many years to come is wrong. There is no evidence to support this theory. It is time science revisited the manmade carbon dioxide driven global warming theory with some urgency.

At this point in time the green movement would have me burnt at the stake for heresy in challenging orthodox global warming theory, and no, I don't have shares in any oil companies.

Henrik Svensmark, the Danish scientist with research over many years with help from many scientists in all fields of science, has proved that clouds are the main greenhouse gas. The major breakthrough came in 2005 with the SKY experiment at the Danish National Space Centre that clearly demonstrated the pivotal role of cosmic rays and ions in the seeding and formation of clouds that affect climate change and global warming. This would make the manmade global warming theory redundant.

Do we make a bonfire of all our fossil fuels? The answer is no. Global warming is not in man's control.

A full-scale cloud facility is being built in Geneva by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern).

Sustainability is important to make the earth's fossil fuels and nuclear energy last as long as possible to allow scientists to bring forward alternative fuel technologies, if mankind does not achieve this it will be a case of "would the last person to leave earth please turn off the lights".



A sequel to the ballyhooed debate in 2007 over the motion that "Global Warming is Not a Crisis" has been scheduled in New York City in January, this time exploring a new premise: "Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions are Not Worth the Money." Those in favor of the motion (some additions may come, organizers say) will be the "skeptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg; Philip Stott, the British biogeographer who has become a prominent critic of global warming worriers; and Peter W. Huber, the Manhattan Institute scholar, lawyer and mechanical engineer who has written that energy waste is unavoidable and beneficial.

Those against will be Daniel M. Kammen, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, focused on renewable and "appropriate" energy technology and a senior energy adviser to the Obama campaign; Oliver Tickell, an environmental writer/campaigner in search of what he calls Kyoto2, a framework for controlling greenhouse gases that is effective, efficient and equitable; and Adam Werbach, who gained fame as the youngest president of the Sierra Club (elected at 23), but now is focused on "blue" marketing for business growth framed around sustainability, as the head of Saatchi & Saatchi S. I'll have to ask him about how that works.

More here


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


Friday, November 21, 2008


An email from Indur Goklany []

It seems that every other day someone claims that climate change is the biggest environmental problem facing the globe, or the most important issue facing mankind, or, as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon puts it, the defining challenge of our age. Is there any evidence for such statements or are they mere hyperbole? I examine this issue in a refereed paper -- Is climate change the "defining challenge of our age"? -- that is due to be published in Energy & Environment. The abstract reads:

"Climate change, some claim, is this century's most important environmental challenge. Mortality estimates for the year 2000 from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate, however, that a dozen other risk factors contribute more to global mortality and global burden of disease. Moreover, the state-of-the-art British-sponsored fast track assessments (FTAs) of the global impacts of climate change show that through 2085-2100, climate change would contribute less to human health and environmental threats than other risk factors. Climate change is, therefore, unlikely to be the 21st century's most important environmental problem. Combining the FTA results with WHO's mortality estimates indicates that halting climate change would reduce cumulative mortality from hunger, malaria, and coastal flooding, by 4-10 percent in 2085 while the Kyoto Protocol would lower it by 0.4-1 percent. FTA results also show that reducing climate change will increase populations-at-risk from water stress and, possibly, threats to biodiversity.

But adaptive measures focused specifically on reducing vulnerability to climate sensitive threats would reduce cumulative mortality by 50-75 percent at a fraction of the Kyoto Protocol's cost without adding to risks from water stress or to biodiversity. Such "focused adaptation" would, moreover, reduce major hurdles to the developing world's sustainable economic development, lack of which is the major reason for its vulnerability to climate change (and any other form of adversity). Thus, focused adaptation can combat climate change and advance global well-being, particularly of the world's most vulnerable populations, more effectively than aggressive GHG reductions. Alternatively, these benefits and more - reductions in poverty, and infant and maternal mortality by 50-75%; increased access to safe water and sanitation; and universal literacy - can be obtained by broadly advancing sustainable economic development through policies, institutions and measures (such as those that would meet the UN Millennium Development Goals) at a cost approximating that of the Kyoto Protocol. However, in order to deal with climate change beyond the 2085-2100 timeframe, the paper also recommends expanding research and development of mitigation options, reducing barriers to implementing such options, and active science and monitoring programs to provide early warning of any "dangerous" climate change impacts."

Another dissenter: Global warming ideas disputed by PSU prof

Dr. James Koermer, a meteorology professor at Plymouth State University (NH)

While a large number of people, including some scientists, believe that we are in an unprecedented period of global warming caused primarily by humans, Dr. James Koermer, a meteorology professor at Plymouth State University, would beg to differ. During a presentation at the university on Wednesday, Koermer explained why there are a growing number scientists, such as himself, who don't subscribe to the popular theory on global warming.

Koermer said the Earth's climate has always changed and has experienced alternate warming and cooling trends long before the dawn of man. Koermer said most research suggests that at the beginning of the last millennium, there was a global warming period that ended around 1600, when a significant cooling trend - which he called a mini ice age - lasted for approximately 100 years. The most recent global warming trend picked up during the 1700s, which coincides with the start of the Industrial Age, Koermer said.

Going back millions of years, some research suggests the Earth has had much more extreme climate changes than are occurring today. "Over millions of years there have been periods when we have been hotter than we are today," Koermer said. He added that while humans do have an impact on the climate, it is minimal compared to natural phenomena. He also said that humans are not the biggest producers of carbon dioxide and that the gas is not the most abundant green house gas in the atmosphere. That title goes to water vapor, which is produced by the world's oceans.

Koermer said that water vapor is responsible for 95 percent of the green house gas effect in a given year while another 4.72 percent is caused by a mix of other greenhouse gases, including methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, which are naturally produced. Humans are only responsible for .28 percent of all greenhouse gases produced during a year, he said.

Koermer said just because he doesn't think man-made carbon dioxide is contributing significantly to climate change, it does not mean he is opposed to the increased use of renewable fuel sources. He said that fossil fuels are a limited resource, so finding alternatives is necessary.

Koermer said scientists are not yet sure what has caused climate change in the past, but factors may include shifts in the Earth's axis as well as changes in the orbit of the Earth around the sun. Over time, Koermer said, the Earth's yearly path around the Sun changes from circular to more elliptical before changing back.

Sunspots and solar flares may also effect the Earth's climate. Koermer said solar flares and spots seem to increase and decrease on an 11-year cycle. He noted that there was a marked decrease in solar flares during the mini ice age of the 1600s.

Changes in the wind patterns or atmospheric oscillations can affect global climate. The El Nino and La Nina weather patterns are an example as well as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. "[The Earth's climate] has been swinging up and swinging down and we don't know why, we don't know what caused the last ice age," Koermer said after the presentation.

Koermer said that the long-range climate models proponents of global warming often use are inaccurate. He said the most sophisticated weather prediction models are only accurate up to weeks and most meteorologists hesitate to forecast much beyond six days.

He said just as climate prediction models aren't flawless, the methods used to estimate past temperatures, such as examining tree rings, sediment layers and ice cores, are not fool proof and are limited in what they prove.

Kevin McGuire, a fellow professor at PSU, said Koermer's presentation was "very well done." "I agree that there are a lot of uncertainties," McGuire said about the causes and nature of global climate change. "I agreed with some aspects," Katie Laro, PSU freshman and meteorology major said. "Like, how can we can know for certain that the average temperature will increase or decrease 100 years from now?"



EU countries may agree before the end of the year on the basic principles and structure of an agreement on the European Commission's energy and climate package, but it is unlikely that a deal will be finalised, an ambassador of one of the bloc's 27 member states told EurActiv.

Efforts to forge an agreement on the package have run into opposition from a group of 'new' member states, led by Poland, who say the plans could wreck their industries and lead to massive job losses, particularly in the context of economic recession.

Many countries from the former Soviet bloc claim they are being punished rather than rewarded for emitting less CO2 during the transition from Communism in the 1990s than more developed EU member states during the same period. At issue is a proposal by the Commission to base emissions reductions calculations for 2020 on the base year of 2005 rather than 1990. Brussels says this is necessary, since 2005 is the first year for which reliable data is available.

"I can't see how a deal will be possible," said an official in the Council's general secretariat, pointing to the large volume and complexity of the package and to widely diverging views between member states about how the 'effort' of reducing CO2 emissions should be shared.

Discussions will come to a head at the much-anticipated 11-12 December EU summit in Brussels. Some are placing their hopes on the energetic leadership of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has repeatedly confirmed his intention to clinch a deal before Paris relinquishes its EU presidency to the Czech Republic in January 2009. "We shouldn't forget that Sarkozy is president," one eastern European diplomat told EurActiv. "There is a pretty good chance" a deal will be reached, the diplomat added.

But it is unclear at what cost such a deal would come. Paris has floated a compromise plan that would allow Poland and other new member states to grant millions of free emissions allowances to their coal-dependent power sectors under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the Financial Times reported.

If approved, such a move would represent a significant departure from the Commission's original EU ETS proposal, which calls for full auctioning for the power sector as of 2013. A massive 'break' in emissions reductions obligations for the power sector would also have a significant impact on ongoing international climate negotiations, with a major UN climate change summit in Poznan, Poland scheduled to wrap up on 12 December, the same day as the EU summit.

Meanwhile, Parliament's role in the discussions is also crucial. MEPs are scheduled to vote in plenary on the package on 3-4 December, a move that would signal the start of a second reading and rule of the possibility of a first-reading deal being reached on the basis of ongoing 'trilogue' discussions between the Council, Parliament and the Commission.

It is unclear if the Parliament will actually vote before the December European Council, however. The move to schedule an early plenary is widely perceived as part of a political strategy designed to pressure member states to honour the Parliament's line in the discussions.

Nonetheless, supporters of the climate package are nervous that failure to reach a deal before the end of 2008 could put the EU in a tight spot, since the negotiating process will grind to a halt in March 2009 when the legislature of the current Parliament ends.



As U.S. president, Barack Obama is likely to tighten environmental regulations on generating power from coal, but his ambitions could be reined in by the cost of such measures given a weak U.S. economy. Obama's campaign proposal to fight global warming - by cutting heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions to 80 percent less than 1990 levels by 2050 - could require big U.S. utilities to spend billions to comply.But coal-fired power plants, which generate about half of U.S. electricity and 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas output, will have to be the backbone of America's power grid for decades because U.S. coal is plentiful and relatively cheap.

"Coal is going to be clamped down on from mine mouth to smokestack, but it's not as though coal is going out of style," said Kevin Book, an energy analyst with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc. "Obama cannot ignore the economic side of the story," Book said.

Just before the Nov. 4 election, Republicans seized on Obama's comments to a newspaper that U.S. utilities could face bankruptcy if they build new coal plants. However, utility officials generally see the Democratic president-elect as supportive of their industry.

Earlier, Obama handed out flyers in Kentucky with a picture of coal barges on the Ohio River and stating, "Barack Obama believes in clean Kentucky coal." He has backed pioneering power plants that burn coal but capture carbon emissions.

More here


Freeman Dyson gets around. Last Wednesday, for example, the 85-year-old "retired" physicist regaled a lunchtime audience at the Nassau Club with his "heretical" ideas about global warming. Just a few hours later he could be found once again sharing his thoughts on global warming, as well as on intelligent design, nuclear warfare, extraterrestrial life, and HAR-1 (a DNA component that distinguishes human beings from other animals) with a standing-room-only crowd at Labyrinth Books.

Mr. Dyson's credentials are venerable: the British-born scholar received a BA from the University of Cambridge in 1945, and was, from 1953 until his retirement in 1994, a physics professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. The absence of a PhD in his resume has been more than compensated for by the 21 honorary degrees he has received over the years.

He seems happiest, however, when he is working at being the rebel, and indeed, one of his books, a compilation of essays published earlier in The New York Review of Books, is called The Scientist as Rebel. Wearing an effusively-colored tie that set off his gray suit, Mr. Dyson began his talk at the Nassau Club by encouraging the audience to interrupt him as he spoke, since, he declared, "it's much more fun to have an argument than do a monologue."

In the absence of audience interruptions, Mr. Dyson had an argument anyway with the scores of people (like Al Gore) who weren't present to defend their belief in the dire consequences of global warming. ("There's no accounting for human folly," Mr. Dyson said when asked about Mr. Gore's Nobel Prize.) Saying that on a recent trip he and his wife found Greenlanders to be delighted with their warmer climate and increased tourism, Mr. Dyson suggested that representing "local warming by a global average is misleading." In his comments at both the Nassau Club and Labyrinth, he decried the use of computer modeling to make "tremendously dogmatic" predictions about worldwide trends, without acknowledging the "messy, muddy real world" and the non-climatic effects of increased carbon dioxide. "There is no substitute for widely-conducted field operations over a long time," he told the Nassau Club audience, citing the "enormous gaps in knowledge and sparseness of observation" that characterize the work of global warming experts.

Mr. Dyson's fearless commentary continued later at Labyrinth, where, standing for over an hour and without a microphone, he delighted a full house by declaring the existence of 10,000 string theorists to be "sociologically dangerous" ("one thousand would be enough"), and balked at an audience member's query about what he would do with a $700 billion grant. "When science gets rich it becomes political," he observed. As an example of the most expensive efforts not necessarily being the most worthwhile, he pointed to CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, the subject of much recent attention, noting that it was designed to identify only certain particles, losing much potentially interesting information in the process. "The important things are the ones you don't expect," he noted.



Tontine Associates, the once gilt-edged hedge fund that collapsed rapidly over the past two months in the wake of the market's carnage, was renowned for its massive and highly contrarian bets in industries like home-building and steel manufacturing.

Until the Greenwich-based fund began to spiral out of control in August, Tontine and its general partner, Jeff Gendell, seemed to have the Midas touch. It earned 100% returns in 2003 and 2004 in its Tontine Partners fund, buying shares in sectors where other institutions feared to tread. The success soon drove the fund to $11 billion in assets and made Gendell a billionaire.

Last week, however, the combination of big bets gone south and prime brokers demanding repayment for loans forced Gendell to announce to investors that he was shutting two of his main portfolios: Tontine Capital Partners and Tontine Partners, after locking up losses as high as 77%.

But at the center of the Tontine maelstrom is a less well-known series of trades in alternative energy stocks, especially those related to wind turbines, that played a key role in the both the fund's recent success and its collapse.

More here


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


Thursday, November 20, 2008

How Barycentric Orbits Influence Climate

The barycentre is the centre of gravity of the solar system, which varies with the positions of the planets, the gas giants in particular. The barycentre is not always inside the sun

The newly appointed [New Zealand] Minister for Climate Change, who strongly espouses the conventional IPCC view and also emissions trading, will be placed in a very invidious position long before the conclusion of this new Parliamentary term, says Dr Jim Sprott, OBE, MSc, PhD, FNZIC, a consulting chemist and forensic scientist of Auckland.

"But he has been warned. The projections of the IPCC are simplistic, superficial, and now proven wrong. The whole issue requires a fresh start, based on the mass of irrefutable data which has been assembled. Certainly New Zealand should not incur any expenditure based on the fallacious IPCC Report. Indeed, New Zealand should take a lead internationally to publicise the barycentric science, demonstrating how it explains the recent finding of low sun-spot activity, the very cold winter in Europe, and thereby destroys the whole `conventional wisdom' of so-called global warming. Here is a real opportunity for New Zealand to lead the world," said Dr Sprott.

In his paper on barycentric science, submitted to the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, Dr Sprott writes: It is an axiom of science that if the outcome of an experiment or event does not accord with that predicted by a theory, the theory must be discarded, no matter how attractive it may have appeared initially. That very situation now exists in relation to the projections of world climate as published by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC prediction of increasing concentration of so-called greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere causing atmospheric temperatures to increase, dubbed "Global Warming", seemed to have some merit, and there was widespread acceptance of it. However more recent impeccable data demonstrates that atmospheric temperatures are falling, and in fact have been falling for some years. The postulated connection between atmospheric temperature and atmospheric CO2 has broken down, and therefore the "greenhouse gas" proposition has failed. The disparity between the IPCC prediction and observed data continues to widen, and no amount of rhetoric can alter this. The tests on which IPCC relies now contradict its scenario, and therefore its proposition is discredited.

It also follows, as an axiom, that if there is some other theory which accords with observed data, that proposition must be given serious consideration, especially if the alternate theory also accords with and explains past factual data.

There is such a theory; that propounded by the late Professor Rhodes Fairbridge of Australia and others. Decades of scientific research and observational data, both recent and historical, have gone into this study, as detailed in the meticulous summary published in Australia by Dr Richard Mackey in 2007; "Rhodes Fairbridge and the idea that the solar system regulates the Earth's climate".

It is usually believed that the planets orbit around the sun, but this is not so - the sun and the planets orbit around the centre of mass of the solar system (termed the barycentre) in so-called "barycentric orbits". Sometimes the barycentre is inside the sun, and at other times well away from the sun, depending on the juxtapositions of the planets especially Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune. The orbit path of the sun as the locations of barycentre and planets alter is complex, as demonstrated by Fairbridge. This divergent behavior causes widely varying outputs of energy from the sun on a regular basis, and these variations in the interactions between the sun and the planets have been assessed by various geological and related studies. The variations in energy correlate with uncanny precision with past vagaries of the Earth's climate on a cyclical basis, the periodicity being about 179 years. The correlations with recurring periods of very cold weather, as evidenced by historical data, can only be described as irrefutable.

Some years ago Fairbridge predicted that the next cooling period would commence in about 2006, and would be evident by 2011; and his prediction thus conforms with recent atmospheric temperature data, i.e. the Fairbridge hypothesis conforms with the observed data, and its predictions conform with the outcome. Like it or not, the barycentric orbit explanation for climate supplants the IPCC projections. Anyone who reads Mackey's summary could not fail to come to this conclusion.

So what of the IPPC and their publication; "Climate Change 2007 : Summary for Policymakers"? At first sight an impressive document; however closer study reveals that it comprises no fewer than six "scenarios"; and there are wide variations between the "projections" of the six. Clearly there cannot be more than one correct prediction, so it follows that at least five of the scenarios are wrong. But which five? And if the IPCC is unable to discern between the reliability or otherwise of the six, how can we be expected to have any faith in any one of the six?

The short answer is that we cannot. And that conclusion is completely justified by Fairbridge's research, Mackey's summary of parallel research (109 references); correlation with and explanation of undeniable experimental data which is totally at variance with the multiple IPCC scenarios; and all in accord with the prime data.

To use the vernacular, it is no contest. The much-vaunted IPCC scenarios are patently wrong. The man-made climate change proposition fails. And with it fails the whole panjandrum of carbon trading; the Government's Emission Trading Bill; Mr Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" which does not live up to its title. More to the point - the world's climate will be cold and harsh for decades. And it's started already!

So what effects will this inescapable cold period have on New Zealand? In a word, catastrophe. Space does not permit a detailed assessment of the many adverse effects, but the dire condition of our electricity supply must be mentioned. It simply will not cope. There must be a complete re-evaluation of policy as regards electricity, and a rejection of policies based on the now-discredited IPCC fantasy.

Then there is the matter of so-called sea level change, with claims usually based on apparent rise in sea level at some almost-submerged islands. But this proposition assumes that the shape of the earth is rigid and that changes in apparent sea levels constitute proof of rising water levels. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Earth is not a rigid solid - it is a plastic solid, and its shape is continually altering. A graphic recent example is the upwards lift of northern Canada as this large land mass continues to rebound upwards from downward distortion caused by the huge compression force of the kilometres-thick layer of ice which covered the continent during the last ice age. Distortions of the type in one region cause compensating distortions elsewhere, and it is illogical to ascribe a rise in sea level as being due to an increased volume of water. And this is especially so given the irrefutable research of Professor Morner (Sweden) that no such change is occurring.

Furthermore, the centre of mass of the world's oceans are affected by the location of the barycentre, and as this alters due the planetary effect outlined above so will be sea level appear to alter.

In summary, the projections of the IPCC and simplistic, subjective and proven wrong. The whole issue requires a fresh start, based on the mass of irrefutable data which has been assembled. Certainly New Zealand should not incur massive costs based on the puerile IPCC data, and indeed should take a lead internationally to refute the whole of the "conventional wisdom". Here is a REAL opportunity to "lead the world".


Cold, Hard Facts

Despite record snows and low temperatures around the world last month, a major Al Gore supporter says October was the hottest on record. The only thing being cooked here is not the Earth, but the books. James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and global warming alarmist, is Al Gore's favorite scientist, part of that mythical global warming "consensus" that says we are doomed and man is the culprit. On Nov. 10 he announced that last month was the hottest October on record and we were still doomed.

Dr. Hansen has not only become global warming's Robin to Al Gore's Batman, he has also been a critic of the "deniers," those who dare to insist that the debate is far from over, and that the computer models used can't even predict the past, much less the future. Hansen has said in the past that "heads of major fossil-fuel companies who spread disinformation about global warming should be 'tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.' " They pay for self-serving studies, and any scientist who disagrees with Gore is obviously on the take.

Christopher Booker, writing in the U.K. Telegraph, reports that Hansen apparently has been spreading disinformation all his own to come up with a conclusion that flies in the face of empirical evidence we can see with our own eyes. Hansen's claim of the hottest October ever came after reports of unseasonal snow and record low temperatures. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever." The Swiss lowlands last month got the most snow for any October since records began. Zurich received 20 centimeters, breaking the record of 14 cm set in 1939. Ocala, Fla., experienced the second-lowest temperature recorded for October since 1850.

Elsewhere in the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th warmest October in 114 years. So how did Hansen claim it was the warmest? Booker writes: "The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running."

As Booker reports, the glaring error was picked up by two intrepid climate bloggers - U.S. meteorologist Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That and Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit. McIntyre is the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the infamous "hockey stick" graph that purported to show Earth's temperature as stable until man started building SUVs, causing a sharp upward spike.

Caught with its pants down, the Goddard Institute started juggling its books. To compensate for the carrying over of the bogus temperature readings, it claimed to have discovered a new "hotspot" in the Arctic - in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice 30% more extensive than at the same time last year. Ooops. If Dr. Hansen thinks oil company executives should be tried for crimes against humanity for being skeptical about global warming claims and seeking the truth, what should the penalty be for him and his ilk? He is yelling fire in a crowded planet.

The Goddard now says it got the data from another body and didn't have the resources to verify the data. In the computer world, there's a phrase for this - garbage in, garbage out. The institute's figures are one of four data sets used by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to come up with its doomsday scenarios.

We took a little, er, heat recently when we wrote that major agencies tracking earth's temperature (including the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the Christy group at the University of Alabama and Remote Sensing Systems Inc. in California) had reported "the earth cooled 0.7C in 2007, the fastest decline in the age of instrumentation, putting us back to where the earth was in 1930." Others, we were told, were claiming it wasn't so. They'd better check their numbers.



Italy and Germany agree that measures to cut greenhouse gases shouldn't weigh on the economy, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference Tuesday, indicating government support for tough new measures in Europe is waning. Any new European Union decisions on climate change and energy "must be taken in such a way as to not weigh on industry" in Europe, she said at a press conference televised live by Sky Italia.

Italy, Poland and a few other nations in mid-October threatened to veto ambitious new E.U. goals to fight climate change slated to be approved at the end of this year, saying that the measures were expensive. Italy asked for a new assessment of costs, and for more flexibility in their implementation. Germany's public support of Italy's position means that E.U. leaders may find it harder to get the package approved this year, as scheduled.

Merkel said the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 20% in 2020 remains an important goal, but that a "compromise that respects principles" must be found. "Italy and Germany have grown nearer" on energy issues in recent months. Italy and Germany will hold a series of technical meetings to discuss climate change package, she said.



Excerpt from a speech in the House of Lords by the Right Honourable Lord Lawson of Blaby, on 17 November 2008

My Lords, the Minister has given an excellent summary of what we have to discuss here. Let me say just two things. The first is that, as many noble Lords may know, I have taken an interest in this issue for some time. Indeed, I have even written a book on the subject which, I am glad to say, has already been translated into two European languages and three more foreign editions are on the way. It is possible that I have had slightly more influence in that way on affairs than by speaking in this House.

That is not the only reason why I have not spoken previously in this House on the Bill. The other reason is that I felt that it was unbecoming for an unbeliever to take part in a religious service, which is what all this is really about.

Nevertheless, we have the amendments that come back from the Commons to us today. The Bill will go down in history, and future generations will see it, as the most absurd Bill that this House and Parliament as a whole as ever had to examine, and it has now become more absurd with the increase from 60 per cent to 80 per cent. I should like to address as briefly as I can-because I do not propose to speak on any subsequent occasion on this subject- why I think that the Bill is so absurd.

Let us pretend that the planet is warming. We know, of course, that it is not. The figures published each year and, indeed, monthly, by the Met Office or the Hadley Centre, which is a department of the Met Office in association with the climate research unit of the University of East Anglia, show without any doubt that there has been no warming so far this century at all. Some people say that there has been a cooling but, although that has been the slight trend, I think that the margin for error is so great that I would not press that, but there has certainly been no warming.

The majority of climate scientists do not think that if there were a warming, it would be a disaster. Nevertheless, it is possible that warming will resume. The majority of climate scientists believe that warming will resume. I am completely agnostic on that; I do not know. Maybe it will, maybe it will not. The complete standstill this century so far was certainly totally unpredicted by all the elaborate computer models that the scientists use. That is not surprising. The climate is an extremely complex system.

What lies behind this? It was implicit in what the Minister said, although he did not spell it out on this occasion, that by taking this massive step of virtually complete decarbonisation of our economy by 2050 in a mandatory way—something that no other country has done for good reason, because no other country has been so foolish, nor do other countries have the slightest intention of going in this way, but I will come to that in a moment—we in the United Kingdom are giving a global lead that other countries will follow.

To understand that, we have to go back briefly to the G8 meeting last year. At that meeting, Europe, led by Germany and the United Kingdom, sought to isolate the United States in its opposition to binding commitments to cut back carbon dioxide emissions by proposing that the whole of the G8 should agree to a 50 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. I can understand why people are not dying to support anything that President George W Bush supports, but the plan to isolate the United States backfired horribly. Europe was isolated when we got to the G8 summit. The other member countries, Japan, Canada and Russia, all accepted the United States’ position and therefore there was no agreement on a 50 per cent binding commitment to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Fast forward from that, what has happened? Far from making any headway in persuading the rest of the world, even Europe is now backing off.

I remind the Minister of the original plan, the unilateral European cut. We are committing ourselves to a unilateral cut really, irrespective of what any other country does. After all, we account for less than 2 per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions and that is falling. Therefore, it makes sense only if we can persuade the rest of the world to go along with this.

Even our supporters in Europe are busy backing off. The unilateral cut of 20 per cent by 2020, agreed to by the European Union—with a little teaser that, if the rest of the world joined in, we would go up to 30 per cent—has been completely abandoned. It was never a binding commitment because you can bind only individual member countries and the individual countries of the union had not agreed—we had but the others had not—to go along with their share in the 20 per cent cut. The seven accession states of central and eastern Europe, plus Italy, have now said that there is definitely no way that they are going to go along with this. The European Union has agreed that this should be looked at again. Nothing will happen. It can only be agreed unanimously and will be looked at again in December this year, after the Poznan meeting, which I hope the Minister will grace with his presence. It will be an educational event for him.

Not only have those countries said that they will not go along with it, but Germany has always had a slightly equivocal position, because, in addition to ostensibly being very keen on this policy, it subsidises its coal industry more than the rest of the European Union put together. Indeed that is contrary to European Union law and it has to secure a waiver from European law to enable it do that, for which it fights to the death, and successfully so far. However, the German Government, have said that energy-intensive sectors must be exempted from the European emissions trading system. Indeed, an official government spokesman said only the other day that we have got to prevent companies being threatened by climate protection requirements. That makes nonsense of the whole policy. If Germany is saying that, the others will go the same way. Therefore, we are in the position of being completely on our own.

More here

Greenies may bring an end to flushing toilets

Their hatred of dams is causing water shortages in many places

As the world celebrates World Toilet Day today, sanitation experts have called for the end of the flushing dunny to save water and provide fertilizer for crops. Leading health advocates have called for the use of "dry" toilets which separate urine from faeces and remove the need to flush.

Speaking at the recent World Toilet Summit in Macau, World Toilet Organisation founder Jack Sims said the concept of the flushing toilet was unsustainable. Mr Sims said a culture where people flushed their loos but disregarded the thousands of litres of wasted drinking water each year was one of sanitation's greatest challenges. "This 'flush and forget' attitude creates a new problem which we have to revisit," he said.

There have already been calls by Australian experts to reduce the amount of water wasted through toilet flushing with a proposed new toilet tax. Adelaide University's Water Management Professor Mike Young said the tax would encourage people to take shorter showers, recycle washing machine water or connect rainwater tanks to internal plumbing. "Some people may go as far as not flushing their toilet as often, as the less sewage you produce the less the rate you pay," Professor Young said.


Southeast Queensland deluge smashes rainfall records

We were repeatedly told by the Warmists that the previous drought conditions were proof of global warming so I guess this proves global cooling

Rainfall records have been smashed by last night's storm, as unprecedented falls deluged parts of southeast Queensland overnight. Forecaster Gordon Banks said monthly and daily rainfall records would have been "pretty much smashed" in certain areas but the true extent would not be known until all figures had been received after 9am. Mr Banks said Amberley recorded 157mm overnight, smashing the previous November daily high recorded in 1981 of 72mm. Brisbane's highest daily falls of 170mm were also recorded in 1981. He said the highest rainfalls overnight were recorded at Tallegalla, near Rosewood west of Ipswich, with 243mm - 222mm of which fell in just three hours between 9pm and midnight. Rosewood recorded 216mm.

Mr Banks said the storm cluster formed when a trough, that had been moving across southern Queensland in the past few days, combined with a very sharp upper trough near Toowoomba. "It was in just the right location to give it a huge amount of assistance in developing further, and as a result those thunderstorms became organised into a little low pressure system near the surface, which then moved east and off the coast in the early hours of the morning," he said. Mr Banks said further showers and storms would develop this afternoon, though they were unlikely to be as strong as last night's, with more rain on Saturday and into next week.

He said Brisbane was on track to recording one of its wettest Novembers - there had been more than 200mm so far, with the record standing at 413mm. "Looking forward we're actually seeing on the modelling at the moment that the monsoon trough tracks south - the first time we've seen it this summer, tracks south across Queensland next week and could bring some significant rainfall to other parts of the state and also some further showers and storms around the south-east.



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


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Climate change may not be as severe as predicted, suggests an international study that shows current modelling of carbon dioxide emissions from soils are overestimated by as much as 20%. The view, reported in the latest Nature Geoscience journal, is based on a study of Australian soils that finds the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released by Australian soils is much lower than previously believed. The finding has major implications for climate change predictions as annual carbon emissions from soils are estimated to be more than all human-made CO2 emissions combined.

The Australian and US researchers say emissions from soils are lower because they contain a much higher proportion of charcoal, or black carbon, than estimated by previous models. "Current models of global climate change .. are inaccurate if a larger fraction of soil organic carbon than postulated has a very slow decomposition rate," they write. Co-author Dr Evelyn Krull, of CSIRO Land and Water, says charcoal, which is formed in the aftermath of bushfires, is a very stable form of carbon that can last for millennia. "In effect it's a carbon sink," Krull says.

Under the commonly used RothC model, the proportion of black carbon is calculated to be about 6.6%, she says. Krull says in their study of 452 soil samples from the Australian National Soil Archive and two landscape transects of about 3000km in Queensland and the Northern Territory, charcoal content ranged from zero to 82%. She says the average proportion of charcoal present for all 452 soil samples was 20.4%.

The team found by including realistic estimates of charcoal in their climate prediction models, the amount of CO2 predicted to be released from two Australian savannah regions under a 3§C warming scenario was 18.3% and 24.4% lower than previously calculated. For Australia, a proportion of 20% charcoal in soils would lead to a 135 teragram (135 billion kilograms) overestimation on a continental scale. "On an annual basis, an inflated prediction from topsoils alone equates to ... 84% of CO2 emissions associated with aviation for Australia using values obtained for 2006," the paper says.

Krull, who has analysed soil samples from across the globe since the paper was prepared, says she has found soils from countries around the same latitude as Australia have similar charcoal content. She says this means that current scenarios predicted by climate change modeling "are making it look worse than it actually would be". This highlights the need for a global initiative to analyse soils worldwide for charcoal content so that modeling can be more accurate, she says.


Global financial crisis exposes follies in climate modelling

The global financial crisis showed how foolish the Rudd Government would be to base its climate change response on economic forecasts for the coming century, academic and Reserve Bank board director Warwick McKibbin said yesterday. A frequent commentator on carbon reduction schemes, Professor McKibbin said the carbon pollution reduction scheme proposed in a green paper, and the subject of an upcoming white paper, was the result of a "diabolical policy process" and risked disadvantaging Australia in global markets.

Speaking at a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia lunch in Brisbane, the economics professor said the Garnaut Report, released on September 30, was originally commissioned by the states, partly as a political tool to attack the federal Coalition, and has since had to be embraced by the incoming Labor Government. He questioned whether that required Climate Change Department secretary Martin Parkinson to have a "schizophrenic" approach to policy development.

But Professor McKibbin, from the Australian National University, was most critical of Treasury's long-term economic modelling, which was used by the Rudd Government to allay fears an emissions trading scheme would damage the economy. While partly involved in the modelling, Professor McKibbin said he was not responsible for the scenarios and believed it was "stretching the imagination" to believe you could forecast 100 years in advance and use that process to determine targets.

"I don't think we can calculate cost-benefit analysis over 100 years into the future," Professor McKibbin said. "We just have very poor tools at our disposal to work out what the costs will be, or what the world economy will look like, in 2100, just as we didn't have a really good idea at the turn of the 20th century, in 1900, what the world would look like today."

He said the economic crisis further demonstrated how policies should not be framed around long-term economic forecasts, how poorly-developed regulatory systems would have ramifications, and climate change responses needed to be able to withstand the inevitable "shocks".

Professor McKibbin said the Kyoto experience showed how even most environmentally-friendly countries, such as New Zealand and Canada, could commit to rigid, long-term targets only to find themselves disadvantaged when their economies or external conditions changed. He declared there would never be a uniform global carbon scheme and urged the Rudd Government to take the time necessary to develop a workable national scheme.



A bit of bad news for those seeking quick action on climate change under the new presidential administration: Barack Obama is not heading to Poland next month for UN talks on a pending global climate change pact.

Obama's no-show status at the talks is hardly a death knell for the emissions reduction treaty that the UN must negotiate by next year to replace the expiring Kyoto protocol. But environmental groups had mounted a vocal campaign to persuade the president-elect to attend Poland -- or at least send a delegation to represent him -- and Obama appeared to agree during a pre-election appearance in Ohio.

Yvo de Boer, the UN climate change secretariat who spoke on Obama's stance today, had urged the Democrat to attend the talks just last week. Bill McKibben, the respected US environmentalist who initiated the Obama-to-Poland push, had collected more than 44,000 signatures on a petition to the president-elect.

What do you think: Is Obama's decision to skip the Poland conference a serious setback or a necessary acknowledgment that 'there's only one president at a time'?



Has Al Gore read Nigel Lawson's book? Nigel Lawson, chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher, and author of three books--including his essential account of the Thatcher years, The View from No. 11: Memoirs of a Tory Radical--had trouble finding a publisher for his most recent book, An Appeal to Reason, which casts a skeptical eye on global warming.

As he notes in the foreword, one rejection letter suggested that "it would be very difficult to find a wide market" for a book that "flies so much in the face of the prevailing orthodoxy." So while Lawson acknowledges that his contribution to the discussion won't "shake the faith" of global warming's true believers, he's written what is a very informative book for those not yet convinced that Armageddon is our future, absent massive worldwide government action.

Lawson acknowledges up front that while he is not a scientist, neither "are the vast majority of those who pronounce on the matter" of global warming "with far greater certainty." And throughout, he deliberately uses the term "global warming" rather than the "attractively alliterative weasel words, 'climate change,'" and he does so "because the climate changes all the time."

In discussing global warming, Lawson happily takes the road less traveled in making the basic point about the science of global warming being "far from settled," not to mention that scientific truth "is not established by counting heads," as so many advocates of all manner of popular causes would likely prefer. So while Lawson doesn't hide from the fact that the 20th century ended slightly warmer than it began, he reminds readers that there has been no further evidence of global warming since the turn of the century.

Furthermore, news accounts would have us believe that calculating temperature is a foolproof process. But in reality, these calculations include data taken from the former Soviet Union, along with records from less-developed parts of the world. When Lawson checked U.S. temperature records, records thought to be most reliable, he found that only three of the last 12 years are among the warmest on record; 1934 being the warmest year of all. And though the level of carbon dioxide did increase 30% during the 20th century amid a slight warming trend, it's also boomed this century amid a slight cooling.

When we consider the slight warming that materialized during the 20th century, Lawson notes that it's not certain that the majority of it has to do with human activity. In truth, clouds/water vapor are the biggest contributors to the much vaunted "greenhouse effect," but the science of clouds is "one of the least understood aspects of climate science." Importantly, the earth's climate has always been subject to variations unrelated to human industrial activity, the "medieval warm period" of 1,000 years ago having occurred well before industrialization.

Regarding actions we might take, Lawson reminds readers that we need to avoid the kind of panic that could lead to disastrous policies. Indeed, he makes plain that there "is something inherently absurd about the conceit that we can have any useful idea of what the world will look like in a hundred years time," not to mention the other projected calamities expected to occur over 1,000 years from now. If this is doubted, ask yourself how many times weather forecasts meant to predict the next day have proven to be massively incorrect.

Notably, five out of the six scenarios proffered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assume that faster worldwide economic growth will bring the living standards of the developing world up to those enjoyed by the developed world today. If we ignore the obvious healthful good that the latter will reveal, it should be said that any unchecked global warming (meaning no Kyotos) will have a trade off in terms of rising global happiness. Lawson points out that the IPCC's stats should at the very least "cheer up those who have been told that disaster stares us in the face if we do not take urgent action to save the planet." Or more simply, Lawson writes that, "Warmer but richer is in fact healthier than colder but poorer."

So while Lawson asks the essential question about whether "it is really plausible that there is an ideal average world temperature," he reminds that average temperature is "simply a statistical artifact." Indeed, he points to Helsinki and Singapore, two cities with vastly different temperatures, both coped with very successfully.

Furthermore, the IPCC's alarmist scenario involving warming of 5.4 degrees over the next 100 years averages out to 0.05F per year. To the extent that the latter scares, from 1975-2000 when the world was mostly in "denial," warming per year averaged 0.04F. We seem to have adapted to that pretty well, plus warming in some parts of the world would bring undeniable good.

And while Al Gore remarkably predicts that sea levels will rise over 20 feet over the next century, the mildly more sober IPCC projections fall into the 18-to-59 centimeter category. Importantly, Lawson points out that sea levels have been rising gradually for as long as records exist, and with no noted acceleration amid the period of industrialization. And for those worried about ice sheets melting in parts of Antarctica, Lawson doesn't hide from the latter, but merely points out that they're growing in other parts of the continent.

To the extent that this strikes fear among readers, Lawson suggests an exercise whereby the reader allows ice cubes to melt in a glass of water. When the "level" of water in the glass doesn't rise, it's assumed that this supposed "scare" will be put to bed.

What happens if we do nothing? The IPCC and other groups formed to project various scenarios argue that environmental problems that might result from what is merely a presumption of human-made warming will harm economic growth. That being the case, Lawson calculates that in 100 years those in the developing world will only be 2.6 times as well off as we are today vs. 2.7 times, while the lucky residents of the developed world will "only" be 8.5 times as well off vs. 9.5 times if the theory is licked.

Lawson also reminds readers that assuming the action is nothing, the alarmist groups in no way account for the human ability to adapt to changes in the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of the suggestion that when it rains, people don't seek shelter. Well, of course they seek shelter, and just the same, provisions will be made for rising sea levels and all manner of other evolution regarding the planet.

Some, particularly in the developed world, will buy hybrids and turn off the lights in order to help the global warming cause, but Lawson dismisses those activities as trivial. They certainly are, relative to the economy-enervation that would have resulted from worldwide passage of the Kyoto Treaty, but even if we make the Utopian assumption that the world could agree on a drastic drop in terms of emissions, we're talking a projected earth cooling of 0.2F!

If Lawson's book is missing something, it would likely have to do with it not spending enough time on Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. While Lawson touches on a few falsehoods here and there, a full refutation would have been fun. Also, though he's by no means convinced that humans are warming the earth, he does give in to a carbon tax assuming there are commensurate cuts in the rates of income tax. To this writer, that seems a bit fanciful, given the natural instinct of governments to add taxes while not reducing others.

But in the end, this essential book is an appeal to reason, and there Lawson reminds us that there are numerous potential catastrophes that could reveal themselves now and in the future. Global warming looms small in Lawson's catastrophe rankings, and just as the novel The DaVinci Code contained "a grain of truth--and a mountain of nonsense," so it seems the alarmism surrounding global warming does too.

Worth causing economic hardship to fight? Lawson thinks not.



In efforts to make quick and symbolic gains in Europe's otherwise failed policies to curb climate gas emissions, environmental and anti-globalisation politicians are aiming at Africa's few economic success stories. Campaigns to buy locally produced food and travel to local destinations particularly hit out against African products. Consumers in Europe are again growing more environmentally conscious and are willing to use their purchasing power to assist in what is widely seen as our era's most pressing problems - the overspending of energy and global warming. Meanwhile, European politicians have been those pressuring strongest to gain support for the Kyoto Protocol while having totally failed to lower emissions of climate gases in their own countries. In every country, emissions have steadily increased.

Populist solutions that are to satisfy costumers, politicians and the European industry alike are therefore surfacing all over Africa's neighbour continent and the main market of its products. And the solutions seem neat and nice - easy to understand and with the potential of creating more work locally. Even the industry starts propagating these solutions.

The victim mainly is Africa, because the message is that, as longer as a product or person is transported, the more energy is wasted unnecessarily. Worst of all is airborne transport, having the highest emissions of climate gases such as CO2. Unluckily, Africa is far away from European markets and poor transcontinental infrastructure puts most products and travellers on an airplane.

All over Europe, therefore, home-grown campaigns are being promoted, attacking Africa's newest and most successful export products. Anti-globalisation activists, "green" politicians, local industry and even occasional experts and scientists head these "buy local" campaigns.

More here

'Hard freeze warnings': Record cold hits the Southeast USA

Frosty start in the Southeast -- It was a chilly night across much of the East, with freeze warnings remaining across the Southeast through mid-morning. After a full day of cold air advection from the northwest, tonight will be even colder as high pressure settles across the Southeast. The coldest temperatures since late last winter will be likely for the region. Freezing warnings, with even some hard freeze warnings, will be in effect for parts of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Freeze watches extend as far south as central Florida. Record lows will be possible for locations such as Gainesville, Apalachicola, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

Lake-effect snow -- Lake-effect snow will not be as heavy or widespread today -- generally it will be limited to the snow belts of northeastern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York. Flakes continue to fly in the mountains of West Virginia, with winter storm warnings remaining in effect for elevations above 3,000 feet through midnight. Tomorrow most of the lake-effect snow will be limited to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern parts of the Lower Peninsula. By Thursday, another round of heavy lake-effect snow will be possible as an Alberta Clipper brings a reinforcing shot of cold air to the Great Lakes region.

Fire weather -- Red flag fire warnings are in effect for much of Florida today, with dry air and gusty winds expected. After a few days break, offshore winds are expected to develop across Southern California late in the weak, with another round of Santa Ana winds possible by Friday or Saturday. It is still too early to determine the magnitude of the event.



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


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winemaker thinks AGW is all bull

Winemakers/growers are very close observers of temperature and weather generally. They have to be

I have a sticking point with the `science of global warming'. It's not global. In fact, it is confined in the main to the Northern Hemisphere. If `greenhouse theory' were correct, warming would be seen in all places and in all seasons. But, the advance in temperature is mostly in the winter and spring. There is an obvious cause for this and it's the heat stored in the oceans as a result of episodes of tropical warming that are described as `El Nino' events after the most obvious manifestation in the Pacific Ocean. In brief, this is the situation as I see it:

In the Southern Hemisphere there is very little warming but a lot of drying due to the expansion of the cloud-free area of the tropics we call the `Hadley Cell'. This is due to the increase in sea surface temperatures across the tropics.

In Antarctica, temperatures at the South Pole have been falling since 1957 when the US base `Amundsen Scott' was established. Warm air ascending in the tropics is balanced by cold air descending on Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth. The islands of the South East Pacific near Peru have been cooling for 100 years. The big solar cycle made up of nine individual 11-year cycles is 100 years. We are getting to the end of that 100-year cycle. In the last year, sunspots have almost disappeared, the tropics have cooled and Antarctica has started to warm.

The Earth is closer to the sun in January than in July so there is an extra 90 watts per metre of solar radiation, an increase of 7% over the July figure. The Southern Hemisphere is more ocean than land. Ocean is a good heat absorber because it is transparent. The land is a fast emitter. That's why average global temperatures `as measured in the atmosphere' are higher in July than in January.

The tropical ocean is warmest in April at the end of the Southern Hemisphere summer. That provides the pulse of warmth to heat the Northern Hemisphere in December-January when the average global temperature over land falls to 3oC. It takes about six months for the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to arrive off Britain.

Man is a land-dwelling animal. This is where the complaints are coming from. The fishes seem to be happy enough. The whales need to feed in the Antarctic and birth their young in the tropics because the newborns have not the fat to keep them warm. Life is a little easier for them now that the ocean is warmer.

Over the last 30 years we have had one El Nino event after another. Prior to that we had 30 years of one strong La Nina event after another. This pattern is apparent in Figure 1 where we aggregate the Southern Oscillation Index for each solar cycle. Furthermore, it is very likely that the changes that occur in the tropics drive the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index which is correlated with changes in climate (and fish populations) in the North Pacific.....


Greenhouse theory does not stack up. `Tropo' in `troposphere' is Greek for `turning'. If the surface of the Earth heats up the troposphere turns faster and eliminates heat more efficiently. At an average depth of 10km, the troposphere is very thin. Moving air will not hold heat. Even in the warmest places, the nights can be cool. It is the ocean that is the real store of warmth and it is the coastal places that stay warmer overnight and in winter.

Carbon dioxide is less than one-twenty-fifth of 1% of the air that we inhale. It is a much larger fraction of the air that we exhale. Are we to breathe less deeply and exercise less vigorously to reduce our carbon footprint? Carbon dioxide is what the plants need to make them grow and that is why it is scarce. While we have plants it will always be scarce. More carbon dioxide enables plants to grow faster and use less water. This will help to green the deserts. Let us not confuse environmental religion with observational science. Reliable science explains what we observe. One can not understand the climate system without an appreciation of the influence of geography, spatial relations, ocean currents and the physics that drive cloud cover over the tropics. We have managed to banish religion from politics. Now we need to do the same for science.

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

Paleoclimatologist: Expect Global COOLING -- 'There's been no global warming in the 21st century'

A professor from Carleton University may get the cold shoulder from environmentalists when he speaks in London tomorrow. Tim Patterson, a paleoclimatologist from the department of Earth sciences, will give an opposing view to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Patterson is speaking at a Canadian Club of London luncheon. He believes we should expect global cooling rather than global warming in the coming years. "We're off on the wrong foot," he says. "

Climate change is not caused by humans, but by natural forces, Patterson says. His research indicates cosmic rays from the sun affect temperature by impacting cloud formation. When there are fewer cosmic rays, there are fewer clouds. Fewer clouds lead to warmer temperatures.

But Patterson predicts temperatures will drop as a result of the next solar cycle, which is much weaker than usual. Global cooling could significantly reduce Canada's agricultural output, he says. In the current financial crisis, it's essential our resources go into alleviating that problem, he says. Instead of focusing on carbon dioxide emissions, which Patterson calls "plant food," we should crack down on real air pollution caused by heavy industry, he says.

He also believes we need to adapt to the coming changes. His advice comes not from his role as a paleoclimatologist, but as a Scout leader. "Be prepared," he says. "The only constant in climate is change."


"Global warming spreads malaria"

The scare: The Times of India reported in the autumn of 2008 that James H. Diaz, program director for environmental and occupational health at Louisiana State University, had said that as international travel increased and climate patterns changed the US was becoming a more stable ecosystem for malaria mosquitoes. Diaz said that warm, dry summers followed by heavy rain caused mosquitoes to rush their breeding and to seek out more blood meals, which in turn bred more mosquitoes in less time. He added that warmer climate in major US cities with heavy international air traffic, such as New York and Los Angeles, seemed to have created an environment in which infected mosquitoes could survive.

Diaz said that the cycle began with a mosquito transported during an international flight from a malaria-endemic region. Once the infected female mosquito left the aircraft, it could survive long enough to seek blood meals and transmit the disease to other humans within the airport. This type of international transmission created an increased possibility for the reintroduction not only of malaria, but also of other vector-borne diseases such as dengue haemorrhagic fever and Chikungunya virus.

People infected with malaria could travel anywhere in the world in 24 hours or less. As long as the malaria-transmitting mosquitoes were present, countries might face larger local outbreaks of imported malaria, according to a release issued by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The truth: According to Professor Paul Reiter of the Institut Pasteur, the world's foremost expert on vector-borne infectious diseases, the anopheles mosquito that carries the plasmodium parasite that causes malaria is almost entirely insensitive to ambient temperature. It needs a temperature of at least 59 degrees F (15 degrees C) during the breeding season, but is otherwise capable of surviving in the open at temperatures as low as -25 degrees C.

Since most regions of the planet reach 15 degrees C in the summer, malaria is not - repeat not - a tropical disease. There is almost no region where the anopheles mosquito is incapable of surviving. For instance, the largest outbreak of malaria in modern times occurred in the 1920s and 1930s in northern Siberia, a territory not noted for its tropical climate. During the epidemic, some 13 million people were infected and 600,000 died; 30,000 of them as far north as the port of Arkhangelsk on the Arctic Circle.

Similar considerations apply to dengue, Chikungunya, and other diseases, which flourish in the tropics not so much because the tropics are warm as because the governments in tropical countries do not maintain efficient public-health measures to control the transmission of infectious diseases. The colonial powers often had effective measures in place: in Barbados during British rule, for instance, malaria was eradicated by the simple expedient of outlawing and eradicating any standing water so that there was nowhere for the mosquitoes to breed. In the United States malaria was once endemic, but public health and sanitation measures had almost entirely eradicated it by the end of the Second World War.

It is self-evidently true that the increased traffic between nations will tend to facilitate the transmission of any infectious disease. The Times of India's report is characteristic of alarmist reports generally, in that it conflates this problem with that of climate change, deliberately leaving readers with the impression that "global warming" will facilitate the spread of malaria. It will do no such thing.

The IPCC rejected Professor Reiter's nomination to write the malaria segment of the health chapter of its 2007 Climate Assessment Report first by pretending he had not been nominated and then by pretending that it had not received the four copies of the nomination papers that he had sent to separate officials. The two lead authors of that segment, unlike Professor Reiter, were not experts on malaria, and had published only one paper on the subject between them. One was not a scientist but an environmental campaigner.

Professor Reiter's public testimony to the UK House of Lords on this less-than-transparent conduct on the part of the IPCC eventually shamed it into appointing him as an expert reviewer of the 2007 report. He was, therefore, able to remove from the report most of the previously-included suggestions that "global warming" would lead to the spread of malaria. The malaria segment of the 2007 report was, therefore, considerably less inaccurate and alarmist than previous IPCC assessment reports.

Nevertheless, the public health authorities in many countries (including the United Kingdom, which as a former colonial power ought to know better) continue to issue inaccurate and misleading statements to the effect that "global warming" will facilitate the transmission of malaria. There is no scientific basis for any such statement. End of scare.



Report from Scotland

Power suppliers are turning back the clock to use coal-fired plants as their main source of electricity in a bid to avert potential shortages this winter. Latest figures from the National Grid show that the fuel accounted for 42.5% of all power generation, overtaking natural gas production for the first time in years. The surge, from a usual level of little more than a third of total output, comes as the major networks seek to fill a gap caused by a slump in nuclear energy output at East Kilbride-based British Energy.

Nuclear power accounted for as little as 10.5% of output during peak times last week. This is roughly half the levels of a couple of years ago and there had been fears that we could see the first power shortages as early as this month. "Conditions have certainly tightened for November but we have an adequate surplus of supply and expect things to ease as plant comes back on stream after maintenance and updates," commented a National Grid spokesman. "We are not expecting to issue warnings over potential shortages this winter."

The National Grid statistics, which change on an hourly basis, provide little comfort for those who believe that energy from renewable sources can plug the gap at any time in the near future - hydro-electricity from Scottish and Southern Energy accounted for just 1.4% of production and wind power only 1.3%. By contrast, imported power from France reached a peak of more than 4% last week.

The major power companies stress that the increased use of coal is compatible with the drive for cleaner energy, and ScottishPower is investing heavily in "clean coal" technology at its Longannet and Cockenzie plants which could provide a quarter of Scotland's energy needs. The development will cut carbon emissions by 20% and has been accompanied by a five-year supply contract with Scottish Coal which could be worth as much as 700 million pounds.

It has been welcomed by first minister Alex Salmond, who says it forms part of plans to exploit Scotland's natural resources along with the development of renewable energy sources. While the UK as a whole is struggling to meet EU targets to gain 20% of its energy from renewable sources, he believes Scotland could get up to 50% of its own needs from wind farms, tidal energy and biomass as well as hydro-electricity by the same date.

Much, though, depends on infrastructure investment to link the primary sources to the National Grid, which runs the transmission system in England and Wales and oversees operations in Scotland. The organisation, which also operates networks in the US, is due to update investors on Thursday over its plans to splash out 3 billion pounds a year on capital spending for the foreseeable future.

More here

Another Dissenter: Award-Winning NASA Astronaut and Moonwalker "Jack" Schmitt says 'global warming scare being used as a political tool'

The following email from Harrison H. Schmitt was sent to various members of the media and has been making the rounds. It refers to The Planetary Society (TPS) Climate Statement: "Accelerating research into global climate change through more comprehensive Earth observations." Most of the email concerns the desirability of new moon missions but it includes a short mention of AGW -- reproduced below:

I am sorry, but I can no longer support the society in its goals as they seem to have gone back to being more political than rational. I want humankind on Mars more than most, but I, at least, feel obligated to look at this goal rationally. Specifically, relative to your bullet points:

TPS Statement * accelerating research into global climate change through more comprehensive Earth observations

---As a geologist, I love Earth observations. But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a "consensus" that humans are causing global warming in when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. "Consensus", as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the "global warming scare" is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities.

Emissions trading scheme up for review in New Zealand

The incoming National government will completely review the emissions trading scheme (ETS) - possibly including the science that says humans are to blame for climate change - as part of its support deal with Act. But Prime Minister-elect John Key is still confident an amended ETS will be passed into law before the end of next year. National campaigned on watering down the existing legislation within nine months to reduce what it said were barriers to economic growth. But Act campaigned on scrapping the ETS and has questioned whether human-induced climate change actually exists.

Under Act's support agreement a "special select committee" will be set up to review the current ETS and any proposed amendments "in light of the current economic circumstances". A draft terms of reference for the review attached to the agreement, includes hearing "competing views on the scientific aspects of climate change" and looking at the merits of a "mitigation or adaptation approach".

It also includes looking at the merits of an ETS, as opposed to a carbon tax, and the timing of any future climate change interventions. The deal requires the National government to pass immediate legislation delaying the implementation of the ETS until the review is complete. It also requires the lifting of a ban imposed this year on non-essential new fossil fuel-based power generation.

Mr Key today played down the significance of the draft terms of reference for the review, saying they were a proposal from Act and the final terms would be altered after National input. He said he personally believed human-induced climate change was real and it was still possible National would pass an amended ETS into law within the time-frame it had promised - which "broadly speaking" was the end of September next year. If that deadline could not be met he was confident changes could be passed before the end of 2009. He said that would give businesses enough certainty as the existing scheme did not take effect until 2010. "I'm quite confident the select committee will come up with what we always wanted which is more balance in this whole debate."

Mr Key said lifting of the ban on fossil-fuel power generation would not lead to a blow-out in emissions as planned Resource Management Act changes would make it easier for companies to get the green light for large-scale renewable projects. Mr Hide said he was happy with the "fundamental review" of the legislation, given that Act had only won 3.7 per cent of the vote. "We look forward to having a proper consideration ... of the whole scheme."



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


Monday, November 17, 2008

Global Warming Is Good

Here's another way of looking at things: global warming is good. And if there's any bad news at all about global warming, it's that it might be about over. The debate about global warming will go on forever. But while we may spend the rest of eternity trying to figure out where our weather is headed, one of the best ways of finding out where we're going is to simply look at where we came from.

When you look back across thousands of years of weather, climate and climate change, many stories are told. Some of these deal with the end of civilizations. Others with the migration of entire nations. But whether it's good or bad, they all deal with man's reaction to his environment. Or they're a consequence of it.

Some years ago I stumbled onto Charles Perry with the US Geological Survey in Lawrence KS when I was trying to track down some information on climate. In the scientific community, Charles has established himself as a firm believer that the harmonic cycles of solar output have huge cause-and-effect relationships with not only our short-term weather but also our long-term climate. In his work, Charles has connected events in world history with climate fluctuations-and has correlated those fluctuations with increases or decreases in the amount of total radiant energy reaching the earth.

In brief, there's nothing really constant about the amount of energy being emitted by the sun. It's almost like the sun has a heartbeat-with waves of energy coming in on a roughly 11-year sunspot cycle. Those short-term cycles then make up larger and longer-term cycles. And in those cycles, which have been going on for thousands and thousands of years, Charles has documented alternating periods of warming and cooling.

While global warming has gotten a lot of bad press today, Charles feels events in history show warmer climates have been accompanied by more rain, longer growing seasons, more crops and more land to settle on-times in which civilizations have prospered. Contrasting that are periods of global cooling-times in which human populations probably declined because of cold, drought and war.

As mentioned, Charles has correlated those alternating periods with events in history. For instance, there was a warming period from 33,000 to 26,000 years ago which may have allowed the Cro-Magnon Man to migrate northward and populate Europe by blending in with or eradicating the resident Neanderthals.

Another warm period ushered in the Bronze Age,which began about 3800 years ago. During this favorable climatic period, people migrated northward into Scandinavia and reclaimed farmland with growing seasons that were at that time probably the longest in more than 2000 years.

The great empires of the Bronze Age came to an end with the Centuries of Darkness chill, but warming returned during the Greco-Roman Age. During this period, philosophy made its first important advances with the thoughts of Aristotle. However, when the climate cooled again, the Roman Empire ceased.

A flourishing Viking culture in Greenland met the same fate during the Little Ice Age, which ran from about l280 to l860. The little ice ages are cooler periods, which last several centuries. They occur about every l300 years.

By the year l000, the Vikings had discovered Greenland, where their settlements started producing wheat and livestock. But after l200, the climate began to cool rapidly. The frozen harbors of Greenland failed to open in the summer-thus, trade with Europe dropped off sharply. By l400, Europe's contact with Greenland had been lost. A slight warm-up about l500 allowed ships to make it back to Greenland, but by then the stranded Viking population had starved to death-with their graves becoming shallower and shallower as the permafrost returned.

Many today say our current global warming is because of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Charles disagrees. He says while we do have global warming, it's still not to the same level as when the Vikings were farming in Greenland. "Therefore, the magnitude o f the modern temperature increase being caused solely by an increase in carbon dioxide appears questionable." On the other hand, solar output variations to climate change may be significant.

So what does all this mean? Let's assume that Charles is right. If so, his projections show the current warm period may be ending and that the earth's climate may cool to conditions similar to the Little Ice Age between the years of 2400 and 2900 following a slight cooling between 2000 and 2l00. Between 2l00 and 2400, cooling picks up steam.

But as you'd guess, time doesn't stop there. And neither does the weather. Charles further predicts that l500 years from now, the climate will again become much warmer, entering altithermal conditions on a global scale-similar to Bronze Age weather. He also predicts the weather then may be warm enough to possibly melt the polar icecaps and flood the world's coastlines. "There is evidence this happened during the last interglacial period when sea levels were 3 to 5 meters above present sea levels."

But don't worry about the ice caps. They'll be back, further on out when we cycle back into another full-blown Ice Age. And finally, your words of wisdom for the day come from Dean Bark, former Kansas State University climatologist, when asked if he thought global warming were real: "We'll know l00 years from now."


Russians turn cold on climate action

Russian officials have always thought global warming was nonsense. Putin was bribed by the EU to sign Kyoto

The melting of the Arctic icecap has created an awkward new threat to international climate change talks by convincing senior officials in Moscow that Russia stands to reap an economic bonanza from ice-free northern oceans. Sightings of exhausted polar bears swimming in waters that were once thick with ice floes have fuelled calls for more urgent action on climate change, but the heaviest thawing in thousands of years has also raised hopes of new shipping routes and access to long-frozen oil and gas fields, The Australian reports.

"The Russians are now showing a dangerous indifference to the whole issue of climate change because they have this perception they might actually benefit from climate change," says former British government adviser on environment policy Nick Mabey, who heads E3G, a London-based environmental lobby group and think tank. "That perception is not supported by the science, because the drastic climate change we are seeing in the Arctic will have enormous effects right around the world. But the worrying thing is that they (the Russian Government) do seem to think they won't be severely damaged by climate change."

Analysts and negotiators in Moscow and other capitals say Russia has taken "a backseat role" in negotiations about a new treaty to fight global warming, and warn that Russia could replace the Bush administration as the leading obstacle to a new Kyoto-style agreement.

Russia's status as the potential recalcitrant at the treaty summit to be held in Copenhagen next year follows China's improved efforts to reduce its carbon emissions and the election of new governments in the US and Australia, the only wealthy countries to have baulked at the Kyoto Treaty.


Salps to the rescue

Yet another feedback mechanism not in the "models"

Vast numbers of marine "jelly balls" now appearing off the Australian east coast could be part of the planet's mechanism for combating global warming. The jellyfish-like animals are known as salps and their main food is phytoplankton (marine algae) which absorbs the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the top level of the ocean. This in turn comes from the atmosphere.

Mark Baird of the CSIRO said salps were notoriously difficult for scientists to study in the laboratory and consequently little attention has been paid to their ecological role until recently. Dr Baird was part of a CSIRO and University of NSW marine survey last month that found a massive abundance of salps in the waters around Sydney. They were up to 10 times what they were when first surveyed 70 years ago. Different salp species are found around the world and attention is now being paid to what effect they might have on global warming.

They are also of interest because in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica they are thought to be displacing krill, which is a key food source for many marine animals, including filter-feeding whales such as the southern right and humpback. By eating the algae, the salps turn the algae and their carbon dioxide into faeces which drops to the ocean floor. They also take carbon to the floor with them when they die after a life cycle as short as only a couple of weeks. This is thought to be a natural form of carbon sequestration similar to what scientists are trying to do with carbon capture from emission sources such as power stations.

Dr Baird said Australian salps, which grow to about half a centimetre, are biologically closer to vertebrates such as humans than to jellyfish because they have the rudiments of a primitive nervous system. "They are interesting because they are the fastest reproducing multi-celled animal on the planet and can double their numbers several times a day." Salps had in the past been considered of little interest because they had fairly low nutrient value and were insignificant as a food source. He said this was a concern because as the Antarctic ice melted, they were replacing krill, which is a high-nutrient food.


The Futile Quest for Climate Control
The idea that human beings have changed and are changing the basic climate system of the Earth through their industrial activities and burning of fossil fuels-the essence of the Greens' theory of global warming-has about as much basis in science as Marxism and Freudianism. Global warming, like Marxism, is a political theory of actions, demanding compliance with its rules.

Marxism, Freudianism, global warming. These are proof-of which history offers so many examples-that people can be suckers on a grand scale. To their fanatical followers they are a substitute for religion. Global warming, in particular, is a creed, a faith, a dogma that has little to do with science. If people are in need of religion, why don't they just turn to the genuine article?

-Paul Johnson

Climate change knows three realities: science reality, which is what working scientists deal with every day; virtual reality, which is the wholly imaginary world inside computer climate models; and public reality, which is the socio-political system within which politicians, business people and the general citizenry work

The science reality is that climate is a complex, dynamic, natural system that no one wholly comprehends, though many scientists understand different small parts. So far, science provides no unambiguous evidence that dangerous or even measurable human-caused global warming is occurring.

The virtual reality is that computer models predict future climate according to the assumptions that are programmed into them. There is no established Theory of Climate, and therefore the potential output of all realistic computer general circulation models (GCMs) encompasses a range of both future warmings and coolings, the outcome depending upon the way in which they are constructed. Different results can be produced at will simply by adjusting such poorly known parameters as the effects of cloud cover.

The public reality in 2008 is that, driven by strong environmental lobby groups and evangelistic scientists and journalists, there is a widespread but erroneous belief in our society that dangerous global warming is occurring and that it has human causation.

William Kininmonth ("Illusions of Climate Science", Quadrant, October) has summarised well the nature of the main scientific arguments that relate to human-caused climate change. Therefore, I shall concentrate here a little less on the science, except as background information that relates to how we got to where we are today. My main aim is to explain the need for a proper national climate change policy that relates to real rather than imaginary risk, a policy position that neither the previous nor the present Australian government has achieved. Instead-in response to strong pressure from lobby groups whose main commonality is financial or other self-interest, and a baying media-our present national climate policy is to try to prevent human-caused global warming. This will be a costly, ineffectual and hence futile exercise.

The Realities of Climate Change

Science reality. My reference files categorise climate change into more than 100 sub-discipline areas of relevant knowledge. Like most other climate scientists, I possess deep expertise in at most two or three of these sub-disciplines. As Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick (in Taken by Storm) have observed:
"Global warming is a topic that sprawls in a thousand directions. There is no such thing as an `expert' on global warming, because no one can master all the relevant subjects. On the subject of climate change everyone is an amateur on many if not most of the relevant topics."

It is therefore a brave scientist who essays an expert public opinion on the global warming issue, that bravery being always but one step from foolhardiness. As for the many public dignitaries and celebrities whose global warming preachings fill our daily news bulletins, their enthusiasm for a perceived worthy cause greatly exceeds their clarity of thought about climate change science, regarding which they are palpably innocent of knowledge.

In these difficult circumstances of complex science and public ignorance, how is science reality to be judged? This question was first carefully thought through in the late 1980s by the senior bureaucrats and scientists who were involved in the creation of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Key players at the time were Bert Bolin (Sweden), John Houghton (UK) and Maurice Strong (Canada), Bolin and Houghton each going on to become Chairman of the IPCC. The declared intention of the IPCC was to provide disinterested summaries of the state of climate science as judged from the published, refereed scientific literature. Henceforward, in the public and political eye, science reality was to be decided by the authority of the IPCC. Accordingly, in four successive Assessment Reports in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007, the IPCC has tried to imprint its belief in dangerous human-caused warming on politicians and the public alike, steamrolling relentlessly over the more balanced, non-alarmist views held by thousands of other qualified scientists. Inevitably, and despite the initial good intentions, what started in 1988 as a noble cause had by the time of the fourth Assessment Report (2007) degenerated into a politically-driven science and media circus. As Essex and McKitrick have accurately written:
"We do not need to guess what is the world view of the IPCC leaders. They do not attempt to hide it. They are committed, heart and soul, to the Doctrine [of human-caused global warming]. They believe it and they are advocates on its behalf. They have assembled a body of evidence that they feel supports it and they travel the world promoting it.

"There would be nothing wrong with this if it were only one half of a larger exercise in adjudication. But governments around the world have made the staggering error of treating the IPCC as if it is the only side we should listen to in the adjudication process. What is worse, when on a regular basis other scientists and scholars stand up and publicly disagree with the IPCC, governments panic because they are afraid the issue will get complicated, and undermine the sense of certainty that justifies their policy choices. So they label alternative views `marginal' and those who hold them `dissidents'.

The basic flaw that was incorporated into IPCC methodology from the beginning was the assumption that matters of science can be decided on authority or consensus; in fact, and as Galileo early showed, science as a method of investigating the world is the very antithesis of authority. A scientific truth is so not because the IPCC or an Academy of Science blesses it, or because most people believe it, but because it is formulated as a rigorous hypothesis that has survived testing by many different scientists.

The hypothesis of the IPCC was, and remains, that human greenhouse gas emissions (especially of carbon dioxide) are causing dangerous global warming. The IPCC concentrates its analyses of climate change on only the last few hundred years, and has repeatedly failed to give proper weight to the geological context of the 150-year-long instrumental record. When viewed in historical context, and assessed against empirical data, the greenhouse hypothesis fails. There is no evidence that late-twentieth-century rates of temperature increase were unusually rapid or reached an unnaturally high peak; no human-caused greenhouse signal has been measured or identified despite the expenditure since 1990 of many billions of dollars searching for it; and global temperature, which peaked within the current natural cycle in 1998, has been declining since 2002 despite continuing increases in carbon dioxide emission.

Therefore, science reality in 2008 is that the IPCC's hypothesis of dangerous, human-caused global warming has been repeatedly tested and failed. In contrast, the proper null hypothesis that the global climatic changes that we observe today are natural in origin has yet to be disproven. The only argument that remains to the IPCC-and it is solely a theoretical argument, not evidence of any kind-is that their unvalidated computer models project that carbon-dioxide-driven dangerous warming will occur in the future: just you wait and see! It is therefore to these models that we now turn.

Virtual reality. The general circulation computer climate models (GCMs) used by the IPCC are deterministic, which is to say that they specify the climate system from the first principles of physics. For many parts of the climate system, such as the behaviour of turbulent fluids or the processes that occur within clouds, our incomplete knowledge of the physics requires the extensive use of parameterisation (that is, "educated guesses") in the models, especially for the many climate processes that occur at a scale below the 100 to 200 square kilometre size of the typical modelling grid.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the GCMs used by the IPCC have not been able to make successful climate predictions, nor to match the observed pattern of global temperature change over the late twentieth century. Regarding the first point, none of the models was able to forecast the path of the global average temperature statistic as it elapsed between 1990 and 2006. Regarding the second, GCMs persistently predict that greenhouse warming trends should increase with altitude, especially in the tropics, with most warming at around ten kilometres altitude; in contrast, actual observations show the opposite, with either flat or decreasing warming trends with increasing height in the troposphere.

The modellers themselves acknowledge that they are unable to predict future climate, preferring the term "projection" (which the IPCC, in turn, uses as the basis for modelled socio-economic "scenarios") to describe the output of their experiments. Individual models differ widely in their output under an imposed regime of doubled carbon dioxide. In 2001, the IPCC cited a range of 1.8 to 5.6 degrees warming by 2100 for the model outputs they favoured, but this range can be varied further to include even negative outputs (that is, cooling) by adjustment of some of the model parameters. Indeed, the selected GCM outputs that the IPCC places before us are but a handful of visions of future climate from amongst the literally billions of alternative future worlds that could be simulated using the self-same models.

The confidence that can be placed on GCM climate projections is indicated by the disclaimers that the CSIRO always includes in its climate consultancy reports. For example:
"This report relates to climate change scenarios based on computer modelling. Models involve simplifications of the real processes that are not fully understood. Accordingly, no responsibility will be accepted by CSIRO ... for the accuracy of forecasts or predictions inferred from this report or for any person's interpretations, deductions, conclusions or actions in reliance on this report."

It is clear from all of this that climate GCMs do not produce predictive outputs that are suitable for direct application in policy making; it is therefore inappropriate to use IPCC model projections for planning, or even precautionary, purposes, as if they were real forecasts of future climate. Notwithstanding, it remains the case, amazingly, that the IPCC's claims of a dangerous human influence on climate now rest almost solely on their unrealistic, unvalidated GCM climate projections. Which makes it intriguing that during recent planning for the next (fifth) IPCC assessment report, due in 2015, senior UK Hadley Centre scientist Martin Parry is reported in a recent Nature article as saying: "The case for climate change, from a scientific point of view, has been made. We're persuaded of the need for action. So the question is what action, and when." Well, the IPCC may be so persuaded, but what about the rest of us?

Public reality. The answer to that question is that opinion polls show that most of the rest of us have become severely alarmed about the threat of human-caused climate change. Therefore, public reality, as perceived by the Rudd government at least, is that the Australian electorate now expects the government to "do something" about global warming-that is, to introduce a carbon dioxide taxation system. This means that there exists a strong disjunction between climate alarm as perceived by the public and the science justification for that alarm. How come?

The means by which the public has been convinced that dangerous global warming is occurring are not subtle. The three main agents are: the reports from the IPCC; incessant bullying by environmental NGOs and allied scientists, political groups and business; and the obliging promulgation of selectively alarmist climate information by the media. Indeed, the combined alarmist activities of the IPCC, crusading environmental NGOs, some individual leading climate scientists and many science agencies and academies can only be termed a propaganda campaign. However, because all of these many interest groups communicate with the public primarily through the gatekeepers of the press, it is the press that carries the prime responsibility for the unbalanced state of the current public discussion and opinion on global warming.

More here

An earlier false alarm: In 1933

There WAS a temperature peak in the 30s, but after that it dropped again. This 1933 paper, "Is our climate changing? A study of long-term temperature trends" by J B Kincer of the U S Weather Bureau in Washington DC published in the Monthly Weather Review Vol 61 pages 251 to 259, has an eerie resonance with the current debate

The present wide-spread and persistent tendency toward warmer weather, and especially the recent long series of mild winters, has attracted considerable public interest; so much so that frequently the question is asked "Is our climate changing? " Historic climate has always been considered by meteorologists and climatologists to be a rather stable thing, in marked contrast to geologic climate and to weather. We know there have been major geologic changes in climate and that weather, which is the meteorological condition at any particular time, or for a short period of time, such as a day or a month, is far from stable. Different kinds of weather come and go in comparatively brief, alternating spurts, as it were, or with short periods of irregular length-cool or cold, then warm, and vice versa-succeeding one another with a continuous recurrence that everyone takes for granted. However, an exhaustive statistical examination of these short period temperature fluctuations fails to disclose any regularity that would afford a basis for forecasting future weather independent of the standard forecasting methods of the Weather Bureau, in which daily synoptic charts play an important role.

The phase of weather, or climate, that is attracting attention at the present time is not these short-period changes from warm to cool, and vice versa, for they are always present, but rather an apparent longer-time change to cool periods that seem to be less frequent and of shorter duration, and duration, and warm periods that are more pronounced and persistent. It has been thought that these fluctuations in temperature eventually neutralize one another, or smooth themselves out, when the long-time record is taken into account. In other words, meteorologists consider that climate, which is the normal run of the weather, for a long period of time, is a fairly stable thing, and that the average temperature for, say, any consecutive 20 years, selected at random from a long record, would not differ materially from that for any other consecutive 20 years so selected from that particular record. It20appears, however, from the data presented with this study that the orthodox conception of the stability of climate needs revision, and that our granddad was not so far wrong, as we have been wont to believe, in his statements about the exit of the old-fashioned winter of his boyhood days. We are familiar with statements by elderly people, such as "The winters were colder and the snows deeper when I was a youngster", and the like.


Temperature has dropped since Gore's book was released (less than 3 years ago)

Each month the GORE LIED graphics department marks up Dr. Roy Spencer's monthly UAH Globally Averaged Satellite-Based Temperature of the Lower Troposphere to illustrate Gore's personal inconvenient truth.

This month's map which has been updated to include the month of October 2008 is essentially unchanged since September: it's ticked up 1/100th of a degree Fahrenheit (or 5/1000ths of a degree Celsius). Bad news for Al Gore. Temperatures have gone down a total of .37ø F. (or .205ø C.) since An Inconvenient Truth was released at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2006.

Al Gore was correct when he said he'd "failed badly". The weather/climate just hasn't cooperated with Gore and the IPCC's computer climate models. Remember, Gore said that CO2 drives temperature. It isn't happening folks.



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


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Physicist predicts man-made global warming bubble to burst in 2008

Note below from Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen, an MIT educated physicist, author of the book An Introduction to High-Temperature Superconductivity, and writer of the popular newspaper column "Ask the Everyday Scientist."

One day back in February on a ski-lift, I commented to the others that 2008 would be the year when the "Anthropic Global Warming" (AGW) bubble would burst. My prediction seems to be coming true.

Owing to bad economic conditions, most of the countries in Europe are fleeing from the commitments they once made to the "Kyoto treaty" to reduce emissions of CO2. Scientists all over the world are speaking up against the notion of a "consensus", the presumption that "everybody agrees" that global warming is caused by mankind (the AGW hypothesis). Nobody has any confidence any more in long-range computer calculations that are unable to predict the past, let alone the future. And most of all, people are beginning to remember that CO2 is plant food.

This all comes at the time when the incoming administration of Obama seems about to impose draconian and expensive regulations (on CO2 emissions) upon American industry and utilities.

The article [reproduced immediately below] about NASA's embarrassing correction of faulty data, is typical of what is going on in the world. Five years ago, a blunder like this would have been swept under the rug by the mentality that "it's so important that we raise awareness of people that we should overlook little things like numerical facts." But now when it happens, it gets publicized.

The whole "sure thing" AGW tapestry began to unravel about 5 years ago when a widely-publicized historical temperature graph known as the "hockey stick" was completely discredited based on statistical analysis. That began a slow trickle of scientists saying "Oh yeah ... and another thing ..." Gradually the number of scientists willing to speak out (against the presumption that mankind causes global warming) has increased, and by now you can read of controversy every day.

Probably what will happen in the USA will mirror the European response. Dire predictions about climate will have to wait "just a little bit" while economic recession is cured, but "we'll get to it right away just as soon as we can." With the passage of a few more years of unexciting world temperature data, while CO2 from India and China continues to climb, perhaps the whole AGW issue will finally be discarded.

The world has never seen such freezing heat

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs - run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious "hockey stick" graph - GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new "hotspot" in the Arctic - in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with.

This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen's institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.

If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)

Yet last week's latest episode is far from the first time Dr Hansen's methodology has been called in question. In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.

Another of his close allies is Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, who recently startled a university audience in Australia by claiming that global temperatures have recently been rising "very much faster" than ever, in front of a graph showing them rising sharply in the past decade. In fact, as many of his audience were aware, they have not been rising in recent years and since 2007 have dropped.

Dr Pachauri, a former railway engineer with no qualifications in climate science, may believe what Dr Hansen tells him. But whether, on the basis of such evidence, it is wise for the world's governments to embark on some of the most costly economic measures ever proposed, to remedy a problem which may actually not exist, is a question which should give us all pause for thought.



Will they pay? No chance. So it will be lip-service only all round. The whole system will be shown clearly as just hot-air and an all-round farce

Twenty nations including Japan, Italy and Australia may be releasing more greenhouse-gas pollution than they agreed to under the Kyoto treaty to curb global warming. They're failing to rein in carbon-dioxide output enough to meet their pledges signed in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, according to reports by individual countries. As a penalty for missing their goals under the treaty, the nations are required to buy permits for every excess ton of the heat-trapping gas released through 2012. That will total 2.3 billion permits for 20 nations, New Carbon Finance, a research firm in London, has estimated.

The potential penalty, 36 billion euros ($46 billion) for the group based on current permit prices, and the fact that only a minority of 37 Kyoto signatory nations may meet their pledges bodes poorly for international efforts to limit global warming.

"This shows there's a lot more interest in promising stuff than actually keeping those promises," Bjorn Lomborg, author of the book ``The Skeptical Environmentalist,'' said in a telephone interview from Copenhagen. "What you should be doing is investing in research and development to make much more dramatic emissions cuts much cheaper in the future."

In three days the UN will publish a report on emissions data for 2006, compiling figures from national reports already released. Analysts have been using that data to estimate emissions for Kyoto's 2008-2012 measurement period because a nation's CO2 output from factories, power plants and vehicles varies little year to year. It takes about 10 years, for example, to build a low-emissions nuclear plant to replace several dirtier coal-fired power stations.

Kyoto's binding targets are a cornerstone in the international effort to limit global warming. The U.S. is the only developed nation not to ratify the pact. Under the treaty, countries that are unable to meet targets must buy permits from nations that have a surplus. The government must pay the bill, and some such as Italy and Spain are requiring industry to share in the costs.

Alternatively nations may buy credits representing greenhouse-gas reductions made abroad through investments in clean-energy and forestry projects. That comes at a cost. UN- Certified Emission Reduction credits, or CERs, which double as a Kyoto permit, today traded at 15.80 euros for a 2008 contract.

The U.K., Sweden and several eastern European nations are headed to meet their Kyoto obligations, according to carbon analysts. Others are set to miss by a wide margin, with Canada, Japan, Italy and Spain the worst transgressors. Canada, facing the biggest emissions overshoot, has already said it won't meet its Kyoto target, even by buying permits. It wasn't included in New Carbon Finance's forecast.

In Italy's case, ``It's obvious the goals are not possible,'' Corrado Clini said today at an energy conference today in Rome. Italy will need 421 million permits over the five-year period, and Spain, 405 million, the research firm said. That would cost each country more than 6 billion euros, using the current price of CERs, though both governments have said they may share the costs with local industry. Point Carbon, an Oslo-based emissions-market analysis company, estimates Italy will need 325 million permits and Spain 395 million. Italian government and corporate officials are increasingly criticizing the Mediterranean nation's looming emissions costs. Kyoto is ``pure folly,'' Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Eni SpA, the nation's largest oil company, said Nov. 10 on an Il Sole 24 Ore Radiocor report.

Italy is among countries that may go the Canadian route of choosing not to buy the permits they need to meet their targets, said Steven Knell, a London-based energy analyst at the economic consulting and research firm Global Insight Inc. "It is unlikely that Italy would formally drop out of the Kyoto, however non-compliance is a distinct possibility,'' Knell said. "The cases of non-compliance may well pile up as many states are well off the mark."



Note from Benny Peiser: Angela Merkel's shrewd move has the potential to kill the EU's entire ETS strategy, post-2012. That's because unless all EU member states are essentially given the same exemptions, Germany will be granted a colossal competitive advantage. As a result, it would become extremely attractive for industries all over Europe to relocate to Germany in order to get free emission rights and free carbon credits worth billions of euros. Should be fun

The German government wants extensive exemptions for energy intensive industrial sectors for their carbon emissions caps from 2013, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief spokesman said on Friday. "We've got to prevent companies from being threatened by climate protection requirements," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told a news conference. Wilhelm gave no further details and said negotiations were taking place.

The Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported on Friday that Germany wants to liberate companies from charges for EU allowances (EUAs) if they produce more than 4 kilograms of CO2 per 1 euro of turnover. That would free companies in the steel, glassmaking, cement, paper, ceramic, and chemical sectors from paying for permits.

The European Union aims to slash emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) by a fifth by 2020 with the help of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the flagship of the 27-nation bloc's efforts to combat global warming. The European Commission wants to force utilities to buy all such permits from 2013 and to phase in auctioning for energy intensive industries which compete in global markets.


Global Warming --A Political Context

European and American statists, including activist NGOs like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), assert that the moderate climate warming that occurred until 2002 is a man-made catastrophe, and have embraced the dystopian fantasy that coercive policies for the elimination of fossil fuel production and usage can prevent or turn back the current warming cycle. They have, thus, made the "global warming planetary emergency" into the central plank of their ongoing campaigns for more centralized government. Leftist commentator, Alexander Cockburn, put it this way:
This turn to climate catastrophism is tied into the decline of the left, and the decline of the left's optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political programme. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice [liberal fascism].

For decades environmental activists have insisted that capitalism is not a "sustainable" (sufficient to "save the planet") economic system. We now hear brazen declarations that democracy is no longer a "sustainable" political process. Al Gore lends a popular, philosophical/theological underpinning to collectivist impulses by casting the root of all environmental evils - real and imagined - in the scientific and industrial/technological revolutions. Put differently, for Gore and the EDF, the planetary environment, not human life, appears the supreme standard of value. Therefore, everything, most importantly Science and Economics, must be pried away from the benefit of man and pressed into total service of the State.

Given just a decade or two of such "sustainable" policies, bolstered by Gore's religion, the world will be well on its way to a new Dark Ages, and the human misery it breeds.

The American people who owe their long, comfortable and healthy lives to the accomplishments of modern industry, technology, medicine and affordable fossil energy ought to be outraged by activists' claims and policies. They should come to grasp the terrible costs and futility of the left's policies; they must understand that life lived as the left envision it for them and their children is baneful; life lived in submission to the hard natural forces of climate and disease, increasingly lived without labor-saving technology, without the fruits of sophisticated agricultural techniques, and without modern medicine, sanitation, electrification and transportation systems is, to borrow a phrase from Thomas Hobbes, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

Economic growth requires energy growth, and restricting energy growth through self-interested international agreements such as Kyoto or domestic policies such as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade schemes is a recipe for global poverty and human deaths.

As Christopher Monckton has pointed out, the necessity of getting the "big" policy decisions right, applies with the greatest force to those fields of policy where wrong decisions could kill and/or impoverish millions. The international community, spurred on by "green" NGOs, "too often gets the big ones wrong, and kills tens of millions, and does not care much." The moral dimension, Monckton ever reminds us, is crucial:
"The policies advocated to mitigate climate change would condemn the Third World to remain abjectly poor, for unless all other countries cut their carbon emissions atmospheric concentrations will continue to rise even if the entire West shuts down and goes back to the Stone Age, but without even the ability to light fires...It is the poor who have been the victims of unscientific but fashionable political decisions in the recent past; it is they who will die in their tens of millions if, yet again, an unscientific but fashionable political decision is taken by us and inflicted upon them. We must get the science right or we shall get the policy wrong. We have failed them before. We must not fail them again."

The destructive outcomes of policies advocated by the EDF for the non-problem of modest global warming will also be inflicted on Americans, and not only will it fail "them" in the Third World, but will malevolently fail us, too.


The green pseudo-revolution

Whatever the enviro-lobbyists say, subsidising inefficient green industries is not the way to tackle climate change

With a worldwide recession advancing, strong action on global warming has been thrown into jeopardy. This matters, because in little more than a year, the world will sit down in Copenhagen to negotiate the follow-on treaty to the failed Kyoto Protocol. Yet, with people losing jobs and income, immediate economic help seems to matter more than temperature differentials 100 years from now.

Many green pundits have, however, started saying that the financial crisis only makes the need for action on climate change greater. They urge America's president-elect Barack Obama to pursue a "green revolution" with big investments in renewable energy, arguing that this could create millions of new "green collar" jobs and open huge new markets. Such sentiments, no surprise, are strongly voiced by business leaders who live off such subsidies. But are such pleas smart investments for society?

The problem with the green revolution argument is that it doesn't trouble itself about efficiency. It is most often lauded for supplying new jobs. But billions of dollars in tax subsidies would create plenty of new jobs in almost any sector: the point is that many less capital-intensive sectors would create many more jobs for a given investment of taxpayers' money.

Similarly, green initiatives will open new markets only if other nations subsidise inefficient technologies bought abroad. Thus, the real game becomes which nations get to suck up other nations' tax-financed subsidies. Apart from the resulting global inefficiency, this also creates a whole new raft of industry players that will keep pushing inefficient legislation, simply because it fills their coffers.

A good illustration is Denmark, which early on provided huge subsidies for wind power, building thousands of inefficient turbines around the country from the 1980s onwards. Today, it is often remarked that Denmark is providing every third terrestrial wind turbine in the world, creating billions in income and jobs. A few years ago, however, the Danish Economic Council conducted a full evaluation of the wind turbine industry, taking into account not only its beneficial effects on jobs and production, but also the subsidies that it receives. The net effect for Denmark was found to be a small cost, not benefit.

Not surprisingly, the leading Danish wind producer is today urging strong action on climate change that would imply even more sales of wind turbines. The company sponsors the "Planet in Peril" show on CNN, which helps galvanize public pressure for action. The crucial point is that many green technologies are not cost-effective, at least not yet. If they were, we wouldn't need to subsidise them.

The standard reply is that green technologies seem more expensive only because the price of fossil fuels does not reflect their climate costs. That makes some sense. Given that fossil fuels contribute to global warming, standard economic theory suggests we should tax them according to their cumulative negative effects. But this would make little difference to the inefficiency of most green technologies. The most comprehensive economic meta-study shows that total future climate impacts justify a tax of 0.012 euros per litre of petrol ($0.06 per gallon in the US). This is dwarfed by the tax that many European countries already impose, and it is much less than in the European trading system.

Yet it is argued that much higher taxes and subsidies are the best way to increase research and development in new, cheaper renewable energy sources. This is untrue. During the massive investment associated with the Kyoto treaty, the participating countries' investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP has declined , not increased. It is rather obvious that if you invest massively in inefficient solar panels, most of your money will go to buy the physical panels, whereas only a very small part will go to R&D. If you want more R&D, you should spend your money directly on R&D. This could tackle global warming in the longer run.

Finally, it is often claimed that high CO2 taxes and subsidies for green technology will actually do good, and again Denmark is often taken as an example. After all, it is argued, Denmark has kept its CO2 emissions flat while enjoying 70% economic growth since 1981. But could it have grown more if it had not restricted CO2 emissions? During the same period, US emissions grew 29%, but its GDP grew 39% more than Denmark's, indicating a simple truth: CO2 cuts and subsidies don't necessarily mean no growth, but they probably do mean slower growth.

President-elect Obama is now facing countless people who claim that subsidies for renewable energy and CO2 taxes are great ways to tackle global warming and forge a new green economy. Unfortunately, this is almost entirely incorrect. Taxes and subsidies are always expensive, and will likely impede growth. Moreover, if we really want to tackle global warming, we shouldn't spend vast sums of money buying inefficient green technology - we should invest directly in R&D to make future green technology competitive.

Obama should seize the initiative and make the meeting in Copenhagen next year not about bloated subsidies for inefficient technologies, but about lean investments in future breakthroughs. That is the way to tackle global warming and support a genuinely vibrant economy.



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


Saturday, November 15, 2008


Abstract of a new paper in "Nature" below, followed by a layman's summary from Revkin of the NYT and a critical comment from Carl Wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There has of course been a lot of controversy over the paper but I think Wunsch is correct about the speculative nature of the paper. I see the value of the paper as focusing attention on where we undoubtedly are in geological time: At the end of a short natural warming period in a generally much colder climate

Transient nature of late Pleistocene climate variability

By Thomas J. Crowley & William T. Hyde

Climate in the early Pleistocene1 varied with a period of 41 kyr and was related to variations in Earth's obliquity. About 900 kyr ago, variability increased and oscillated primarily at a period of ,100 kyr, suggesting that the link was then with the eccentricity of Earth's orbit. This transition has often2-5 been attributed to a nonlinear response to small changes in external boundary conditions. Here we propose that increasing variablility within the past million yearsmay indicate that the climate system was approaching a second climate bifurcation point, after which it would transition again to a new stable state characterized by permanent mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere glaciation. From this perspective the pastmillion years can be viewed as a transient interval in the evolution of Earth's climate. We support our hypothesis using a coupled energybalance/ ice-sheet model, which furthermore predicts that the future transition would involve a large expansion of the Eurasian ice sheet. The process responsible for the abrupt change seems to be the albedo discontinuity at the snow-ice edge. The best-fit model run, which explains almost 60%of the variance in global ice volume6 during the past 400 kyr, predicts a rapid transition in the geologically near future to the proposed glacial state. Should it be attained, this state would be more `symmetric' than the present climate, with comparable areas of ice/sea-ice cover in each hemisphere, and would represent the culmination of 50 million years of evolution from bipolar nonglacial climates to bipolar glacial climates.

Nature Vol 456, 13 November 2008


A new analysis of the dramatic cycles of ice ages and warm intervals over the past million years, published in Nature, concludes that the climatic swings are the gyrations of a system poised to settle into a quasi-permanent colder state - with expanded ice sheets at both poles.

In essence, says one of the two authors, Thomas J. Crowley of the University of Edinburgh, the ice age cycles over the past million years are a super-slow-motion variant of the dramatic jostlings recorded by a seismograph in an earthquake before the ground settles into a new quiet state. He and William T. Hyde of the University of Toronto used climate models and other techniques to assess the chances that the world is witnessing the final stages of a 50-million-year transition from a planet with a persistent warm climate and scant polar ice to one with greatly expanded ice sheets at both poles.

Their findings have stirred a lot of skepticism in the community of specialists examining ancient records of past climate changes and how they might relate to variations in Earth's orbit and orientation toward the Sun and other factors. I'll be adding some of their reactions overnight (I'm on the road).

The Nature paper goes on to propose that humans, as long as they have a technologically powerful society, would be likely to avert such a slide into a long big chill by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. That doesn't obviate the need to curb such emissions and the prospect of dangerous climate warming in the short run, Dr. Crowley said. But it is more evidence that like it or not, the future of conditions on Earth is likely to be a function of human actions, whether chosen or not.

The idea that human actions can dominate the climatic influence of things as grand as shifts in a planet's orbit is hard to grasp, but quite a few climate specialist say it's pretty clear this is the case. In 2003, I wrote an article exploring when scientists think we'll slide into the next ice age (the conventional variety). James Hansen of NASA echoed Dr. Crowley, saying that as long as we're technologically able, we'll be able to keep the big ice at bay. Strange, wonderful stuff, climate science.



Surely this isn't science in any conventional sense. Taking a toy model and using it to make a "prediction" about something nearly a million years in the future, is a form of science fiction-maybe interesting in the same way a novel is, but it isn't science. The prediction itself is untestable-except a million years from now, and the model "tests" that quoted are carefully chosen to be those things that the model has been tuned to get "right," with no mention of the huge number of things it gets wrong. How many times do "if", and "may" get used in the paper?

If I make a four-box model of the world economy, and predict the US stock market level 500 years from now, who would pay any attention? Climate is far more complicated than the world economy, yet supposedly reputable journals are publishing papers that superficially look like science, but which are the sort of thing scientists will speculate about late at night over a few beers. It doesn't deserve the light of day except as the somewhat interesting mathematical behavior of a grossly over-simplified set of differential equations. Why should anyone take it seriously? The wider credibility of the science is ultimately undermined by such exercises.


Study finds Greenland Ice Melt 'Slowed Significantly'

But some dishonest Dutchmen don't want to admit it

No self-respecting global warming presenter would ever miss the chance to warn the audience that higher temperatures could melt ice in places like Greenland, the melting water could lubricate the interface between ice and rock, and watch-out . the ice could increase its velocity, fall or move quickly into the sea, and cause a rapid rise in sea level. If you happen to be Al Gore, you might show us melting ice, water pouring into some moulin, and then cap it off with an image of water drowning out the World Trade Center Memorial. This story in its near infinite varieties appears on literally thousands of websites dealing with the global warming issue.

A recent article in the prestigious Science magazine has an alarming title that should thrill the greenhouse crusade: "Large and Rapid Melt-Induced Velocity Changes in the Ablation Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet." Holy cow - it's just like Gore warned us. Throw the words `large,' `rapid,' `melt-induced velocity changes' together in a title of an article in Science and expect to get some high-level media attention. However, once we dove into this article, we found an amazing twist given the threatening title, and we could not wait to feature the piece on World Climate Report.

To begin, the research was conducted by a large team with the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at Utrecht University, Netherlands; the authors state that "This work was supported by several grants from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research and the Netherlands Polar Programme."

van de Wal et al. focused their attention on measurements that are being made on the ice along the west coast of Greenland just north of the Arctic Circle (Figure 2). For the past 17 years, annual measurements have been made along the "K-transect" to measure movements of the ice sheet. However, they state "we started more detailed position measurements in 2005 by taking advantage of technological developments of GPS equipment and data processing. The new instruments record hourly position of stakes, which are drilled into the ice. The GPS (single-frequency) units need to be serviced only once in a year and deliver an ice velocity record with a temporal resolution of 1 day or better." To say the least, geospatial technologies are showing up everywhere in our lives from the family car to the golf course and now to our favorite transects in Greenland.

Probably the largest surprise in the article can be seen in the Figure 3 in which we can see the velocity changes at many sites over the 17-year period. The authors note that "The overall picture obtained by averaging all stake measurements at all sites for individual years indicates a small but significant (r=0.79, P < 0.05) decrease of 10% in the annual average velocity over 17 years". Despite all the talk about moulins, melting, rapid acceleration of ice, van der Wal et al. reveal that the ice movement in western Greenland over the past 17 years has . slowed significantly!

In discussing their results we find some very interesting language, to say the least. At one place they write "it has been suggested that the interaction between meltwater production and ice velocity provides a positive feedback, leading to a more rapid and stronger response of the ice sheet to climate warming than hitherto assumed. Our results are not quite in line with this view." At World Climate Report, we are far less polite, and instead of saying "our results are not quite in line with your view", we tend to say "our results suggest you are wrong"!

van der Wal et al. further write "Longer observational records with high temporal resolution in other ablation areas of the ice sheet are necessary to test the importance of the positive-feedback mechanism between melt rates and ice velocities. At present, we cannot conclude that this feedback is important." Again, we tend to say this moulin link to drowning the World Trade Center Memorial is nonsense, and the empirical evidence is overwhelmingly in our favor.

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

Painful contortions from the alarmists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center

Warmists are good at saying everything is explained by Warming but they are beginning to sound desperate below in reporting the current cooling episode

As is normal for this time of year, ice extent increased rapidly through most of October. However, this year, the increase was particularly fast, which contributed to above-average air temperatures near the surface. A look back at the entire melt season from March through October reveals that the Arctic sea ice is showing some unusual changes in growth and melt cycles.....

October ice extent was 0.89 million square kilometers (0.34 million square miles) less than for the 1979 to 2000 average, but 1.63 million square kilometers (0.63 million square miles) greater than for October 2007.....

At its fastest point on October 15, the 2008 ice growth exceeded the 2007 growth rate on the same date by 92,000 square kilometers (36,000 square miles) per day. The near-record daily growth rate slowed toward the end of the month and has now fallen below the 2007 growth rate. It is important to reiterate this fast rate of growth is not unexpected under current conditions.....

Arctic sea ice and climate are behaving in ways not seen before in the satellite record-both in the rate and extent of ice loss during the spring and summer, and in the record ice growth rates and increased Arctic air heating during the fall and winter.


'Fixing' global warming called 'another meaningless promise'

Fellow Canadians, it's time to start thinking of "fixing" global warming the same way we do "ending" child poverty. Or "settling" native land claims. Or "shortening" medical wait times. Like these other issues, "fixing" global warming has become yet another meaningless promise that all politicians of all stripes will be paying lip service to in perpetuity. One they will spend billions of our dollars "fixing" year after year. To no avail.

In the end, "fixing" global warming will be a boon only to present and future generations of lobbyists, activists, consultants and other rent-seekers who will be, in the famous phrase coined by Tom Wolfe, "mau-mauing the flak catchers" into eternity. "Mau-mauers" are the professional whiners who perpetually haunt the corridors of federal, provincial and municipal governments, demanding ever-increasing amounts of our money to "fix" global warming.

In response, the "flak catchers" -- complicit and cowed politicians -- will keep shovelling our money out the door to appease them, although nothing will ever be "fixed," prompting new demands for more money.

Don't look to the media for help. They're still trying to explain why U.S. president-elect Barack Obama -- the guy they've been describing for months as the jolly green giant, who would leave Prime Minister Stephen Harper choking in the dust on global warming -- has a weaker climate change plan than Harper.

Yep. Harper's promising to reduce Canada's man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 3% below 1990 levels by 2020. Obama's only promising 1990 levels by 2020. Then again, both promises are nonsense because:

(a) neither Harper nor Obama can promise anything beyond one, four-year election cycle;

(b) both targets fall laughably short of what the Kyoto accord calls for;

(c) even if the handful of industrialized countries required to reduce emissions under Kyoto achieved their targets (most, including us, won't), the fact the developing world, led by China and India, is exempt means Kyoto actually guarantees GHG emissions will go up, not down;

(d) both Obama and Harper support a cap-and-trade market in carbon dioxide, which has been a fiasco in Europe, where emissions are rising.

On the "bright" side, if Al Gore is right and humanity has only a few decades to change its ways before unstoppable man-made global warming fries us or drowns us, then we're only looking at having to pay billions of dollars annually in worthless attempts to "fix" the climate, for a relatively short time. Which would in a twisted way be comforting, if Gore himself wasn't living an obscenely high-carbon consumption lifestyle, along with his celebrity friends, while lecturing the rest of us to take a vow of poverty, beyond the one we're already being force-fed because of the global recession.

And no, neither Gore nor his pals can wipe out their huge carbon footprints on the Earth by retroactively purchasing "carbon offsets," as they claim. Sorry. The only effective way to reduce your GHG emissions is not to emit them in the first place. Indeed, to paraphrase environmental journalist George Monbiot: "Every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, every pseudo-environmentalist politician, movie star, rock star, rap star and professional athlete shopping on Rodeo Drive, should be dragged out of the store and drowned." After all, if we're going to be stupid about this, and, trust me, our politicians are, let's get serious.


"Coolest" is now a bad word

The global temperature has been cooling for the last couple of years -- with record cold weather being reported incessantly from numerous places worldwide -- so how do global warmers deal with that? By substituting "less warm" for "cool"! So instead of saying that 2008 will be the coolest year of the last 10 years, they say that it is the "least warm"! I kid you not. See below:
"This year is on track to be about the 10th warmest globally since records began in 1850 but gaps in Arctic data mean the world may be slightly underestimating global warming, a leading scientist said on Tuesday. A natural cooling of the Pacific Ocean known as La Nina kept a lid on temperatures in 2008 despite an underlying warming trend, said Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. "This year is about 10th," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "La Nina in the Pacific lasted longer than we envisaged."

Jones's unit is one of the main sources of global climate data for the United Nations. The warmest year on record was 1998, followed by 2005 and 2003, with other years this century closely bunched. Tenth place would make 2008 the least warm since 1999.


It takes a bit of seeing it through the propaganda but they are actually admitting that global warming stopped in 1998 -- which it did.

Australia: State Labor Party leaders opposing federal Labor over greenhouse plans

Premiers are in revolt over Kevin Rudd's plans for an emissions trading scheme, urging changes to the proposed formulas for compensating export industries to ensure they are not pushed offshore. The premiers of South Australia and Tasmania have written to the Prime Minister raising specific concerns about the design of the scheme, its impact on major industries and expressing fears that the ETS will spark major losses of jobs and revenue. Queensland, Victoria and the West Australian Liberal Government have raised concerns about the effects on emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries.

The concerns come as one of the world's largest petroleum companies warned that a $7billion gas project could literally be floated out of Australian waters to avoidthe impact of the Government's ETS. Woodside chief Don Voelte said the company would consider locating a floating LNG plant in Timor Leste waters to process gas from its Sunrise fields rather than pipe it to Darwin. "Carbon leakage; we'd be the first project that Australia could lose," Mr Voelte said.

Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett yesterday launched an extraordinary attack on the scheme, saying Mr Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong had "got it wrong" because they were penalising companies that used renewable energy. He also stepped up pressure on the federal Government to deliver on an election promise to introduce mandatory renewable energy targets.

Mr Bartlett told The Australian he wrote to the Prime Minister this week, requesting changes to the scheme to ensure global smelting giant Nyrstar did not close the doors of its Hobart zinc smelter. The company, which employs about 3000 people, warned on Wednesday the ETS would wipe $70 million a year off its bottom line, threatening the future of its operations in South Australia's Port Pirie as well as Hobart. "I wrote to him about the carbon pollution reduction scheme and the potential for perverse outcomes on Tasmanian trade-exposed industry such as Nyrstar," Mr Bartlett said.

He said he had urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the compensation formula, which was based on emissions per unit of revenue, as it failed to account for the "materiality of the carbon cost impact" on companies like Nyrstar. He also asked that companies receive recognition for using renewable energy sources, which were prevalent in Tasmania.

SA Premier Mike Rann revealed he had made submissions to the Prime Minister a month ago asking for "special exemptions" for Nyrstar. "We've made submissions to the federal Government to see if we can get some special exemptions for Nyrstar and I'm sure that will be sorted out," Mr Rann said. "The federal Government doesn't want to export jobs to another country. What it wants to do is to see companies transition to become much more energy-efficient and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Senator Wong attempted to hose down concerns about Nyrstar and other trade-exposed companies, saying consultation on the scheme was still continuing. "The Government has considered and will continue to consider the views put to us by industry and by state governments," Senator Wong said. She has also been pressured from those within her party to change the ETS compensation formula. Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Duncan Kerr, whose electorate takes in Nyrstar's Hobart smelter, said he had raised the company's concerns with Senator Wong, including "their argument about the metrics of (the compensation formula)", but the Government was still "some distance" from finalising the scheme.

Victorian Premier John Brumby warned the states expected to be fully consulted on the design of the ETS. "Our Government has made repeated and strong representations to the commonwealth on behalf of Victorian industries," a Brumby Government spokesman said. He said the Brumby Government had argued for one-off assistance to existing coal-fired generators and transitional assistance for trade-exposed businesses.



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


Friday, November 14, 2008


India today ruled out a global action plan to tackle the challenge of climate change and strongly favoured initiatives tailored to suit local needs. "You cannot have a global action plan on climate change. You can only have a global commitment," Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who has been representing the country at international fora on the issue, said here. The issue of climate change has to be addressed at national, regional and local levels as each part has different sets of problems, he said at a conference on 'Climate Change: Business Sustainability and Society'.

"Solutions to deal with climate change will not be the same for the Himalayan region, the vast coastline, central India and the northeastern areas," Sibal said, stressing that different plans were required for different regions. Identifying small and medium enterprises as the most polluting sector, he pitched for low-cost technologies to be made available to them to help reduce their carbon footprint.

"India is at the cusp of a new technology revolution and global warming provided an opportunity to excel in the field," Sibal said. He said the infrastructure, the industry and other sectors are poised for a giant leap and India can make correct choices on technologies to ensure that all such initiatives are energy efficient.

India has unveiled the National Action Plan on Climate Change which seeks to address the issue through eight missions -- solar, enhanced energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem, a green India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.



Today the IEA released its World Energy Outlook 2008. Here are some interesting excerpts from the Executive Summary here in PDF. First, the IEA comes down clearly on the debate over whether stabilization at 450 ppm can be achieved with existing technologies. They say no way:
"The scale of the challenge in the 450 Policy Scenario is immense: the 2030 emissions level for the world as a whole in this scenario is less than the level of projected emissions for non-OECD countries alone in the Reference Scenario. In other words, the OECD countries alone cannot put the world onto the path to 450-ppm trajectory, even if they were to reduce their emissions to zero. Even leaving aside any debate about the political feasibility of the 450 Policy Scenario, it is uncertain whether the scale of the transformation envisaged is even technically achievable, as the scenario assumes broad deployment of technologies that have not yet been proven. The technology shift, if achievable, would certainly be unprecedented in scale and speed of deployment. Increased public and private spending on research and development in the near term would be essential to develop the advanced technologies needed to make the 450 Policy Scenario a reality."

Second, to illustrate the scale of the problem the IEA projects what would happen if every power plant build starting today were to be carbon dioxide free, finding a small impact on future emissions growth:
"The rate of capital-stock turnover is particularly slow in the power sector, where large up-front costs and long operating lifetimes mean that plants that have already been built - and their associated emissions - are effectively "locked-in". In the Reference Scenario, three-quarters of the projected output of electricity worldwide in 2020 (and more than half in 2030) comes from power stations that are already operating today. As a result, even if all power plants built from now onwards were carbon-free, CO2 emissions from the power sector would still be only 25%, or 4 Gt, lower in 2020 relative to the Reference Scenario."

The IEA could even be overly optimistic, with aggressive assumptions about the viability of carbon capture and storage, the political acceptability of a very high price on carbon dioxide ($180 per tonne in the 450 scenario), and the continuing issue of embedded assumptions of spontaneous decarbonization as we discussed in our Nature paper last spring.


Coastal military facilities are threatened by rising sea levels, Really?

The above graph is Holgate's reconstruction of the rate of sea level rise rate the 20th century obtained from the highest quality tide gauge data in his 2007 GRL paper..

The IPCC's 4th assessment report (2007) only mentioned Holgate's 2004 data and ignored his 2007 data (shown in the above graph). In his 2007 paper, Holgate says:
".the two highest decadal ratesof change were recorded in the decades centered on 1980 (5.31 mm/yr) and 1939 (4.68 mm/yr) with the most negative decadal rates of change over the past 100 years during the decades centered on 1964 (-1.49 mm/yr) and 1987 (-1.33 mm/yr). There were also significant high decadal rates of change during the late 1910s, 1950s and 1990s. Negative decadal rates of change are seen in the early 1920s and early 1970s.".

So, where is the evidence for an increase to sea level rate of rise that would threaten coastal military installations? It is not found in the observed seal level changes.

And "Coastal military facilities are threatened by ... more frequent major, damaging weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes." Really? The article titled "30 -year low for N. Hemisphere tropical cyclone activity" seems pertinent and is at all the article deserves reading, but it begins saying:
"The past two years have seen a "remarkable" downturn in hurricane activity, contradicting predictions of more storms, researchers at Florida State University say. The 2007 and 2008 hurricane seasons had the least tropical activity in the Northern Hemisphere in 30 years, according to Ryan Maue, co-author of a report on Global Tropical Cyclone Activity. "Even though North Atlantic hurricane activity was expectedly above normal, the Western and Eastern Pacific basins have produced considerably fewer than normal typhoons and hurricanes," he said.

Maue's results dovetail with other research suggesting hurricanes are variable and unconnected to global warming predictions, said Stan Goldenberg, a hurricane researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"The simplistic notion that warmer oceans from global warming automatically lead to more frequent and or stronger hurricanes has not been verified," said Goldenberg, whose research points to periods of high and low hurricane activity that last several decades each.

Maue used a measurement called Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), which combines a storm's duration and its wind speed in six-hour intervals. The years 2007 and 2008 had among the lowest ACE measurements since reliable global satellite data was first available three decades ago.

Northern Hemisphere activity in 2006 was close to average and the previous two years, 2004 and 2005, which included Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, saw among the highest numbers on record.

Active seasons in one ocean tend to be accompanied by quiet ones in the other, Maue said. When the Pacific is cooler, as it is now, the Atlantic has slower winds aloft, which creates more favorable conditions for hurricanes.

"It tells you that from year to year you have large swings of activity," said Maue, who plans to present his work next month at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. "If you want to find a global warming signal in all that data it's generally going to be rather small."... "

So, where is the evidence for an increase to more frequent major, damaging weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes that would threaten coastal military installations? It is not found in the observed Atlantic storms.

But "the Pentagon has commissioned a network of scientists to create a model for predicting the impact of storm surges and sea-level rises on military facilities on the Gulf Coast, in the Mid-Atlantic region and in Southern California." Oh!? So the Pentagon is recruiting scientists to provide a model that shows what they want. I can do that if they tell me what they want. Can I have the job, please ?



Evidence that global warming is causing the worldwide declines of amphibians may not be as conclusive as previously thought, according to biologists. The findings, which contradict two widely held views, could help reveal what is killing the frogs and toads and aid in their conservation.

"We are currently in the midst of a sixth mass extinction event," said Peter Hudson, the Willaman professor of biology at Penn State and co-author of the research study. "And amphibians are bearing the brunt of the problem."

Studies suggest that more than 32 percent of amphibian species are threatened and more than 43 percent face a steep decline in numbers.

Much of the massive declines associated with amphibians appear to be centered in places such as Central America and Australia, said Hudson. "It appears to be linked to a chytrid fungus -- Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) -- which we did not know affected frogs," he added.

There are currently two theories on the extinctions. The first -- chytrid-thermal-optimum hypothesis -- suggests that the declines were triggered by global warming which pushed daytime and nighttime temperatures to converge to levels that are optimal for the growth of the chytrid fungus.

But according to a second theory -- spatiotemporal-spread hypothesis -- amphibian declines were simply driven by the introduction and subsequent spread of the fungus from certain locations. "Our models suggest that both these theories are slightly wrong," added Hudson, director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State. "Neither of them fit available data."

More here

Obama is inheriting a very expensive electric car

Expensive for the taxpayer, not for him

You have in GM's Volt a perfect car of the Age of Obama -- or at least the Honeymoon of Obama, before the reality principle kicks in. Even as GM teeters toward bankruptcy and wheedles for billions in public aid, its forthcoming plug-in hybrid continues to absorb a big chunk of the company's product development budget. This is a car that, by GM's own admission, won't make money. It's a car that can't possibly provide a buyer with value commensurate with the resources and labor needed to build it. It's a car that will be unsalable without multiple handouts from government.

The first subsidy has already been written into law, with a $7,500 tax handout for every buyer. Another subsidy is in the works, in the form of a mileage rating of 100 mpg -- allowing GM to make and sell that many more low-mileage SUVs under the cockamamie "fleet average" mileage rules. Even so, the Volt will still lose money for GM, which expects to price the car at up to $40,000.

We're talking about a headache of a car that will have to be recharged for six hours to give 40 miles of gasoline-free driving. What if you park on the street or in a public garage? Tough luck. The Volt also will have a small gas engine onboard to recharge the battery for trips of more than 40 miles. Don't believe press blather that it will get 50 mpg in this mode. Submarines and locomotives have operated on the same principle for a century. If it were so efficient in cars, they'd clog the roads by now. (That GM allows the 50 mpg myth to persist in the press, and even abets it, only testifies to the company's desperation.)

More here

Australian public broadcaster interviews the unclean

By Andrew Bolt

Green alarmist Ticky Fullerton on Lateline Business rings the leper's bell before interviewing warming sceptic Professor Ian Plimer:
He is a geologist, not a climatologist. Ian Plimer by definition works closely with the mining industry.

Then come the questions from a woman who cannot believe a scientist could dare doubt her faith:
You are a greenhouse heretic. Is this scepticism genuine, or it it also about economic self interest?

Still, maybe this is just the ABC's refreshingly hard-hitting style, applied to all who preach on global warming. So let's see if Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, is similarly introduced on Lateline as "a mining engineer and economist, not a climatologist" who "by definition works closely with green groups and warming believers":
Well, we are joined in the studio by the chairman of the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Rajendra Pachuari. Dr Pachauri is an economist, engineer and environmental scientist and he's been the head of the IPCC for the past six years. Just tonight he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from the University of NSW.

Hmm. No leper's bell there. But perhaps Tim Flannery, then, is introduced as "a paleontologist and mammalogist, not a climatologist" who "by definition works closely with people who pay him to scare us about global warming":
Joining us now is Professor Tim Flannery, arguably Australia's best known popular scientist. He's also the author of The Weather Makers and he was recently named Australian of the Year.

No leper's bell there, either. And no question of the offensive "are you for real, or just for the cash" kind asked of Plimer, whose own many awards didn't get a mention last night.


I missed this classic line from Fullerton, aghast that this scientist dares to defy the real experts:
How can so many governments and the media have got it wrong?

Gosh. Where do I start?



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


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Arizona might be able to initiate the debate that Al Gore says is over

An interesting email from Russell Cook below

See my story in American Thinker on how Arizona might be able to initiate the debate that Al Gore says is over.

It's a simple story - To make sure this debate doesn't happen, it appears an attempt was made to get a highly funded pro-Al Gore candidate (with ties to billionaire George Soros??) into our Arizona Corporation Commission, an agency with elected members who regulate our local electric utility companies - and who will decide if a huge cap-and-trade plan is credible or pointless.

Since the pro-Al Gore candidate lost his election, Arizona's Republican legislature leaders and Republican majority in the Corporation Commission can simply ask the WCI planners, Al Gore and the IPCC, "You say humans are causing global warming. Can you prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt?"

It's entertaining to think about: In the case of the eastern/mid-atlantic US states, they accepted the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative's plan with no question of the underlying science whatsoever. If Arizona rejects the Western Climate Initiative's plan, the next 'dominoes' to fall might be Utah and Idaho, rejecting the same plan. Wouldn't that undermine the RGGI to the point of collapse? And if it collapses, how angry would the people living in the eastern/mid-atlantic US states be about their own utility regulators' ability do things right, and their Governors' failure to understand all sides of the issue?

Record snow falls in Europe and North America mean ski resorts open early

Ski resorts across Europe and North America have opened early this season after heavy snowfall in the last month. A series of snowstorms since early November in North America and late October in Europe has enabled several resorts to open ahead of schedule. The Italian resort of Bormio has opened a month early after heavy snowfalls at the end of October and start of November delivered 50ins to the resort's upper slopes.

More heavy snow is forecast for many resorts across Austria, Switzerland and Italy this week. Hintertux, in Austria, which already boasts 60ins of snow, is expecting a further 30ins over the next few days. Obergurgl, which is expecting 25ins of snow midweek, is set to open on Friday.

In Switzerland, Zermatt already has more than two metres of snow on its upper slopes, while Saas Fee has 75ins. Both resorts expect a further 20ins this week. Geilo, in Norway, has also opened three weeks early with a 25ins base.

The Scottish resorts of Cairngorm and The Lecht have also seen some early flurries and were briefly open at the start of November. However, Cairngorm is now closed for annual maintenance work and mild and wet conditions has seen The Lecht shut down again.

The U.S. resort of Snowbird, in Utah, opened last Friday - the second earliest start in the resort's 38-year history - after 35ins of snow fell the weekend before. 'The west coast of America has received some significant snowfalls recently and it looks like mid-winter rather than autumn in many resorts,' said a spokesman for the Ski Club of Great Britain. 'While in Europe, a good amount of snow has fallen in recent weeks with more snow forecast,' he added.

Other resorts to open early include Mammoth, in California, which has opened 10 days early. Skiers who headed to its slopes last weekend were rewarded with 15ins of fresh powder; Mount Norquay, in Canada - which forms part of Banff's Big Three ski area, along with Lake Louise and Sunshine Village - has opened almost three weeks early



Saving energy? No thanks! Originally, the EU had intended to cut its energy consumption by 20% by 2020. But that's not going to happen after all as a draft plan by the European Commission on energy policy makes clear. It is scheduled to be published on Thursday.

The problematic calculation is well sheltered in a pile of data. When the EU Commission presents its second strategic energy plan on Thursday, it will become evident that its ambitious energy targets will not be met.

Originally, in March 2007, the heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had agreed to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020. And in principle, this targets remains part of the new plan. But in the appendix, which puts the data of forecasts and the goals side by side, completely different values are found.

The German press agency quotes from the draft of the Commission's resolution and writes, depending on different computer models, the set of figures for a decrease of consumption only range from between 12 and 15 per cent.

In recent days, experts from the International Energy Agency had already declared that the EU's target to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius is unrealistic.

More here (In German. Transl. BJP)

Australia: "Green" State government puts crocodiles before people's lives

The fewer the people the better, from a Greenie viewpoint

A CROCODILE that killed a man in far north Queensland three years ago was returned to the river by the State Government - which said it had been shot. The disclosure is the latest controversy over relocations of the dangerous reptiles. Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara yesterday made the admission in the case involving Townsville man Barry Jefferies - who died at Lakefield National Park in 2005 - after a letter from a whistleblower was tabled by the Opposition in State Parliament.

The letter, authored by a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service officer, alleged a "culture of secrecy, deceit and intimidation" within the agency covered up two human deaths after bungled croc relocations. "Both fatal attacks were both closely connected with QPW's ill-conceived, unnecessary and poorly managed crocodile research/relocation management decisions," the officer wrote. The case - and another involving the disappearance six weeks ago of war veteran Arthur Booker in Cooktown - were referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission yesterday.

The Government denies the crocodile in the latest incident had been relocated. The revelations come amid a review of relocation policies following a furore last month when a crocodile was removed from Magnetic Island after being relocated to an area near the tourist mecca.

Mr Jefferies was dragged from a canoe at Lakefield National Park in August 2005. QPW later claimed the suspected crocodile had been shot dead. However, the whistleblower's letter yesterday forced Mr McNamara to admit the wrong crocodile had been shot. He admitted the offender, known as Midway, had been moved back to the national park before the attack after problems at Cape York's Kalpowar Station. "That was at the request of the local traditional owners who said they wanted to return it to its existing home," he said. Mr McNamara said Mr Jefferies's widow requested Midway not be killed, prompting its journey to Australia Zoo.

The Sunshine Coast zoo yesterday denied the crocodile was displayed for tourists but the whistleblower said that while at the park it had "disgorged a dental plate that presumably belonged to Barry Jefferies".

Demanding a public inquiry, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said the revelations showed the relocation programs had to be abandoned. "These are absolutely goofy scientific experiments," he said.

The whistleblower also claimed material related to the cases had been destroyed or "lost" following the receipt Freedom of Information applications.


If famine-hit Africa is to benefit from GM crops, Europeans must accept them

As you leave Oxford station heading for London, there is an Oxfam advert that says: "Thanks to rising prices, some people can't afford fuel. Rice, bread, stuff like that."

In the past 12 months there has been a sharp reversal of the 30-year trend of steadily declining global food prices. It has been called the "silent tsunami" and experts agree on three things. First, price increases were driven by a complex mix of factors including rising oil prices, the switch to biofuels, increased demand in China, poor harvests in Australia and commodity market speculation. Secondly, the steep and sudden increases are temporary, because farmers will increase output in response. Thirdly, in the long term the era of cheap food is over. Irrespective of short-term ups and downs, prices will rise in the future.

This last ineluctable conclusion is a consequence of supply and demand. The "green revolution" in agriculture has, since the 1960s, produced a staggering increase in output through plant-breeding, use of fertiliser and pesticides, and irrigation, albeit at huge environmental cost. But this revolution has reached a plateau, while the number of mouths to feed continues to grow, and people demand more food: not just the nearly one billion not getting enough to eat, but those in transition economies shifting from subsistence, plant-based diets to the more profligate food habits that we enjoy in the UK.

This is why the scientist Gordon Conway has argued that the world needs a "doubly green revolution" - in which agricultural output increases without further damage to the environment. Projections from climate-change models also suggest that it will become much harder to grow crops in some currently productive parts of the world.

Should our response to these challenges include genetically modified (GM) crops? Most agricultural scientists say yes. So far the European consumer has said no. For the scientist, GM is an extension of the past 10,000 years of genetic modification by agricultural selection. It is precision engineering as opposed to the blunderbuss of conventional breeding, and has the potential to transform agriculture in regions left out of the green revolution, such as sub-Saharan Africa, by creating crops that are more nutritious, resistant to disease or drought, and can grow without chemical fertilisers. In other words GM could help to produce more and better food with less environmental damage.

But as Robert Paarlberg so eloquently explains in his book Starved for Science, the tragedy is that Africa has, in large degree, been discouraged from adopting GM through the combined impact of European regulation, lobbying by NGOs and the media in Europe. During a severe drought in 2002 President Mwanawasa of Zambia rejected US food aid in the form of GM maize saying: "Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them food that is intrinsically dangerous to their health." There is no evidence that the GM maize was dangerous. Any Times reader who has been to the US has probably eaten plenty of the same maize, but it is easy to see why Zambia was suspicious, given that Europeans are so pernickety about it.

Is it time for a change of heart in Europe? The first GM food sold in Britain, in the late 1990s, was Sainsbury's GM tomato paste, clearly labelled as such. It was cheaper and outsold the non-GM equivalent. Then various NGOs, combined with the media, turned against GM with the brilliant invention of the term "Frankenfoods", and all supermarkets quickly declared a GM-free policy for fear of losing customers. Properly constructed opinion surveys show that the consuming public is by no means uniformly hostile to GM, but pressure groups have driven it out of the market in Europe, and the European Commission has supported this, introducing bizarre and unenforceable regulations on labelling.

Almost all first-generation GM foods (the tomato paste was an exception) benefited producers rather than consumers. Crops were engineered to resist pests or herbicide. The argument goes: "This is a new technology, perhaps there is a risk, so if there is no benefit to me why should I accept it" - and it has some force.

Wherever they are developed in the world, GM crops should be assessed for risk before they are used on a large scale. There are two possible risks - to the environment and to human health. The environmental safety of GM crops is, and should be, a concern, demanding a precautionary approach, with proper risk assessments before a crop is grown commercially.

All GM foods in Europe and North America are carefully assessed for health risks before they are allowed on the market - which is more than can be said for conventionally bred foods. Take, for instance, the familiar Braeburn apple that appeared, by chance and of uncertain parentage, about 50 years ago. No one knows how much genetic modification was involved and, as with all other new varieties of foods produced by conventional breeding, it has never been assessed for safety.

But we are now seeing a second generation of GM foods that could bring direct benefits to European consumers. For us, price and security are less critical than for sub-Saharan Africans, but GM tomatoes with enhanced anti-cancer properties or GM soya with fish oils that are good for your heart, might change people's view. Parents who have resolutely rejected GM food might think again if there were direct benefits for their children: no one objects to GM medicines such as human insulin produced by bacteria. Once when I was explaining this point to Dan Glickman, then the US Agriculture Secretary, he said: "I see what you mean, John. We need the tomato with the Viagra gene."

Returning to the Oxfam advert, what should we do for the poorest countries? One answer is to support agricultural research and development. Bilateral aid from the world's leading economies for agricultural development has been slashed in the past 20 years. If GM is to contribute to the doubly green revolution and empower local people, we should not leave it to the biotech industry alone. The necessary research should be done in these countries by their own scientists, for their own people, with our support.



I feel sorry for Barack Obama. Notwithstanding his comfortable victory last week and his remarkable oratory skills, he does not have a hope in hell of living up to the "supernova" expectations that now engulf him... Looking at energy, and climate change policy, to which it is joined at the hip, I wonder how Obama can emerge from the next four years pointing to genuine "success."

The early - and essentially meaningless - bit will be embracing the Kyoto treaty, but even here Obama won't find things all that easy because he cannot bypass the US Senate for ratification. What people who rave against Bush don't seem to understand is that Clinton would not even take the Kyoto treaty near the Senate, having been warned off by a 95-0 vote masterminded by Democrats led by the formidable Senator Robert Byrd (who is still there at age 90).

More recently a 2007 vote in the House of Representatives on an attempt to legislate on climate change policy attracted only 155 supporters, all Democrats, well below the 218 needed for passage - in a chamber with 435 members. The manufacturing wing of the Democrats is strong in the House.

Democratic Rep Mike Doyle, a member of the lower house's energy committee, said last week that it would be a mistake to see fast Congressional passage of climate-related legislation as a "slam dunk." That committee, after dozens of hearings in the past 12 months, seemed to support the notion of a levy on electricity utilities to create a fund for new coal generation technology.

A Senate ratification vote in Obama's first year - and the debate that will surround it - will set out the political realities by which the new president's negotiators (including Al Gore?) will be constrained by at Copenhagen 13 months from now.

How far the developing nations, led by China and India, will be prepared to go in agreeing to a new climate change protocol will be very dependent on how much pain the US, Canada, the EU and countries like Australia are prepared to wear. And it will be influenced by whether or not Obama carried his campaign hostility to free trade - and therefore to Chinese, Indian, Brazilian imports - into the presidency.

With Congressional elections to be held in 2010, the chance that Obama will embrace any high cost, radical stance on climate change is already zero.

Some idea of the political difficulty involved may be appreciated when you learn that, as part of this month's national elections, a proposition in California to require the state's power utilities to source half their supplies from renewable energy by 2025 (instead of the current 20 percent by 2010) was rejected by 66 percent of those who voted. And this is a state where Obama won 61 percent of the presidential vote.

Political hardheads among the Democrats already know that implementation of Obama's promised emissions trading scheme would require a carbon cost of about $US25 per tonne. This would translate, according to recent research, into an increase in electricity prices of between a quarter and a third in the predominantly coal-fired 24 states in the midwest and south-east US.

What Obama proposed during the election campaign, apart from emissions trading, was massive support for energy research, new fuel standards to drive transport-related abatement and a big increase in subsidies for renewable energy. He played the game of sounding supportive of extractive and energy-intensive industries in swing states while running a broader message that he will pursue clean energy and a large long-term cut in US emissions.

High on the agenda for the renewable energy sector will be a move away from the current tax credit scheme for wind and solar that has to be renewed by Congress every year, creating sleepless nights for investors as the annual deadline approaches. Obama has promised to come up with a scheme to provide $US150 billion over 10 years for low-carbon energy supply, claiming this would deliver five million jobs. How soon this can be implemented when the US is confronting a massive federal deficit is problematical. Perhaps the big hint has been Obama's repeated statements that a new energy policy will be his administration's first priority - once the economic mess is cleaned up.

Meanwhile a safe bet would be for most of the Washington DC action on the energy and emissions issues in the next four years to be taking place on Capitol Hill rather than in the White House.



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


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Greenie coverup

The Warmist "scientists" are deathly afraid of Steve McIntyre. They KNOW he can expose their fraudulent statistical manipulations since he knocked off the fraudulent Mann "hockeystick" temperature chart.

Now he has turned his laser eyes onto the latest bit of data "adjustment" -- the claim that there is no mismatch between the actual atmospheric temperature data and the "models" -- if you "adjust" the data properly.

McIntyre wrote to Santer -- the lead author of the "adjustments" -- with a request that they provide him with their detailed figures. In science, that sort of request is normally replied to with all good speed and goodwill. But what if you have something to hide? The reply below from Santer to McIntyre shows you:
Dear Mr. McIntyre,

I gather that your intent is to "audit" the findings of our recently-published paper in the International Journal of Climatology (IJoC). You are of course free to do so. I note that both the gridded model and observational datasets used in our IJoC paper are freely available to researchers. You should have no problem in accessing exactly the same model and observational datasets that we employed. You will need to do a little work in order to calculate synthetic Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) temperatures from climate model atmospheric temperature information. This should not pose any difficulties for you. Algorithms for calculating synthetic MSU temperatures have been published by ourselves and others in the peer-reviewed literature. You will also need to calculate spatially-averaged temperature changes from the gridded model and observational data. Again, that should not be too taxing.

In summary, you have access to all the raw information that you require in order to determine whether the conclusions reached in our IJoC paper are sound or unsound. I see no reason why I should do your work for you, and provide you with derived quantities (zonal means, synthetic MSU temperatures, etc.) which you can easily compute yourself.

I am copying this email to all co-authors of the 2008 Santer et al. IJoC paper, as well as to Professor Glenn McGregor at IJoC.

I gather that you have appointed yourself as an independent arbiter of the appropriate use of statistical tools in climate research. Rather that "auditing" our paper, you should be directing your attention to the 2007 IJoC paper published by David Douglass et al., which contains an egregious statistical error.

Please do not communicate with me in the future.

Ben Santer

More here.

Mac is now trying to get the figures via Freedom of Information requests. Stay tuned.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest, Are Biofuels To Blame? It's Not Easy Being Green

Biofuels are under siege from critics who say they crowd out food production. Now these fuels made from grass and grain, long touted as green, are being criticized as bad for the planet. At issue is whether oil alternatives -- such as ethanol distilled from corn and fuels made from inedible stuff like switch grass -- actually make global warming worse through their indirect impact on land use around the world.

For example, if farmers in Brazil burn and clear more rainforest to grow food because farmers in the U.S. are using their land to grow grain for fuel, that could mean a net increase in emissions of carbon dioxide, the main "greenhouse gas" linked to climate change.

The issue has been heating up for months in scientific, corporate and environmental circles. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency has indicated it plans to measure each biofuel's emissions based partly on the ripple effect that its production in the U.S. can have overseas, and is preparing to seek comments on a proposal. Some scientists, as well as General Motors Corp., DuPont Co., Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and other companies with an interest in the outcome, are warning of a muddled calculus.

"If population grows in America and therefore ... we need to build a new Wal-Mart, are we going to debit that pregnant woman with the indirect life-cycle greenhouse-gas footprint of her decision to have that child?" says Michael Parr, a senior government affairs manager at DuPont.

Environmental groups say disclosing the emissions levels associated with land-use change caused by biofuels is critical to determining which fuels will best help the U.S. reduce its dependence on oil. A study published in February in the journal Science found that U.S. production of corn-based ethanol increases emissions by 93%, compared with using gasoline, when expected world-wide land-use changes are taken into account. Applying the same methodology to biofuels made from switch grass grown on soil diverted from raising corn, the study found that greenhouse-gas emissions would rise by 50%.

Previous studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline reduces greenhouse gases. Those studies generally didn't account for the carbon emissions that occur as farmers world-wide respond to higher food prices and convert forest and grassland to cropland.

But some scientists and many biofuel proponents have challenged the Science study, saying it relied on unrealistic assumptions. And there is disagreement among scientists and economists over how to measure the impact of land-use changes in one country on land-use changes in another. When a Brazilian farmer chops down rainforest to grow a crop, for instance, how can the EPA be sure his decision wasn't influenced by local factors, such as the construction of a new highway that made it easier to bring the crop to market?

DuPont, ADM, GM and representatives of the biotechnology industry have asked that the EPA hold off on quantifying the greenhouse-gas impacts of so-called indirect land-use change, and instead seek comment on the methodology the agency plans to use. The companies, along with some scientists, say that methods for measuring such indirect effects are still new, and that trying to assess emissions levels based on immature methods could lead to unwarranted conclusions that would discourage investment in biofuels.

An EPA spokesman declined to speculate on "what is or isn't" going to be in the administration's proposal. The agency's efforts are driven by a 2007 energy law that says the EPA, in determining each fuel's "lifecycle greenhouse-gas emissions," must consider "direct emissions and significant indirect emissions such as significant emissions from land use changes."

Bruce Dale, a chemical-engineering professor at Michigan State University, says he is skeptical that policy makers can establish an accurate system for gauging the indirect effect of biofuel production on overseas land use. "All this stuff is accounting," which in turns depends on data and "assumptions you make about how the world works," he says.

Nathanael Greene, director of renewable-energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, acknowledges the difficulty of quantifying emissions levels associated with indirect land-use change. But he says that isn't a valid reason for not trying to measure them.

If anything, Mr. Greene says, biofuels producers -- particularly those that specialize in making fuels that don't come from corn -- stand to benefit from new regulations, because such standards will "inoculate" the industry against the kinds of criticisms that have buffeted food-based biofuel crops.

"This industry, like many other industries, relies on government subsidies," Mr. Greene says. "If public opinion turns against [advanced biofuel producers] because they're associated with clear-cutting forests and harming endangered species ... those incentives and that public support are going to evaporate."


Obama to Back Ailing Ethanol Makers, Follow Failed Bush Policy

President-elect Barack Obama plans to support unprofitable U.S. ethanol producers and pursue the same policies that failed George W. Bush. Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, the second- biggest corn-growing state, will maintain Bush's goal requiring fuel producers use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuels in 2022, said Heather Zichal, the campaign's senior energy adviser. The ethanol industry, which loses about 66 cents a gallon at current prices, will receive at least as much support as from the current administration, including tax credits to spur consumption, she said.

``Obama recognizes how important the renewable and biofuels industry is to creating jobs and meeting our goal of reducing dependence on foreign oil,'' Zichal said in a Nov. 3 interview. ``He's fully committed to it and sees tremendous value in the renewable fuels standard and continuing down this path.''

Ethanol makers are collapsing after wrong-way bets on corn prices overwhelmed $20 billion in federal aid and government- guaranteed demand for the fuel additive. VeraSun Energy Corp., the second-largest producer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31.

Bush's approach has been criticized for hurting the environment, increasing global food prices and contributing to riots from Haiti to Egypt. Earlier this year, at least 51 members of his own party, led by Texas Governor Rick Perry, called for relaxing the policy.

Distillers struggle to make money because costs to produce ethanol are rising while increasing supplies drive down prices of the fuel. U.S. output climbed to a record 647,000 barrels a day in August, more than double the 318,000 barrels a day in June 2006, when VeraSun had its initial public offering, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Rising feed costs caused third-quarter profit to plunge 92 percent at Tyson Foods Inc., the nation's largest meat producer. Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said Sept. 25 it may breach a credit covenant because of a ``significant'' loss in the quarter ended Sept. 27. Pilgrim's Pride shares dropped 24 percent on Oct. 17 amid speculation the company may file for court protection from creditors.

Record prices for corn, soybeans and wheat in the past 12 months helped boost net farm income to a record $95.7 billion this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are about 2 million farmers in the U.S., according to the USDA. Farm belt states that voted Republican in 2004, including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio, went to Obama this time.

``We know that corn farmers like ethanol very, very much,'' said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates in Houston. ``Corn farmers have a lot of political influence in swing states such as Iowa and Missouri. Certainly ethanol continues to enjoy some support because of its political and electoral significance.'' Corn futures traded in Chicago more than doubled in the past three years to almost $8 a bushel as worldwide demand expanded to make sweeteners and fuel. U.S. ethanol prices dropped 5 percent because output from new mills grew faster than demand, damaging profit for distillers.

``Obama has clearly said part of his energy policy has been for renewable fuels, including ethanol,'' said Ronald Miller, chief executive officer of Aventine Renewable Holdings Inc., a Pekin, Illinois-based ethanol producer, which delayed the opening of a plant in Aurora, Nebraska, until the second quarter. Producers ``are managing the day-to-day business on near zero margins,'' he said.

Obama, 47, plans to spend $150 billion over 10 years to develop renewable fuels and to create 5 million so-called green collar jobs. He will also require at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels be produced by 2030. Ethanol is a form of alcohol created by fermenting and distilling the starches from corn and other crops.

Bush's Energy Independence and Security Act, passed in December, called for ethanol production to more than double to 15 billion gallons in 2015 from 6.5 billion last year. The U.S. pays oil refiners 51 cents in tax credits for each gallon of ethanol they blend into regular gasoline. A 54 cent-a-gallon tariff is slapped on imports from Brazil to protect and stimulate U.S. production. Obama supports the mandate and wants to expand it and move toward so-called cellulosic ethanol, Zichal said. Cellulosic ethanol is derived from non-food crops such as switch grass and wood chips. Speaking in Missouri in July, Obama said corn-based ethanol isn't ``our best strategy'' because of its impacts on food, adding the current additive will usher in commercial production of cellulosic.

``He very much sees it as an important bridge fuel and important source of revenue for many rural communities but something that is the beginning of hopefully a greater investment and greater commitment to advanced biofuels,'' Zichal said.

Falling margins caused Gateway Ethanol LLC, Heartland Ethanol LLC, LiquidMaize LLC, Greater Ohio Ethanol, Glacial Lakes Corn Processors and Abengoa SA to curtail production. Biofuel Energy Corp., based in Denver, said in August that it didn't have enough money to cover $46 million in losses on contracts for corn, ethanol and the natural gas used to run its distilleries. The company locked in third- and fourth-quarter corn costs of $7.01 and $6.90 a bushel, respectively. Corn plunged to about $4 a bushel for December delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Failure stems from ``the way they operate their companies rather than the government support,'' said Ian Horowitz, an analyst at Soleil Securities Corp. in New York. ``You can't policy your way out of bad hedging positions.''


Obama portrays failed traffic scheme as "innovative"

If the Lightbringer likes it, it must be innovative, of course. London was the pioneer of such schemes and the scheme seemed to work there for a while but it is now back to the congestion of old

BARACK Obama's transport advisers are studying Greater Manchester's congestion-charge plans - to see if they could work in the US. The President-elect's team have asked an American consultant who helped draw up the proposed charge to provide information about this scheme and similar systems around the world. Jack Opiola - who previously worked on congestion charging in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Italy and the US - said the move proved `the eyes of the world' were on Manchester. He said: "In the US, Greater Manchester is being held up as a shining example of dynamic new thinking."

Mr Obama, who takes over at the White House on January 20 after his historic election victory last week, stood on a manifesto that included pledges to cut traffic and boost public transport. He recently praised plans - which were later scrapped - to charge motorists to enter Manhattan in New York as 'thoughtful and innovative'.

Mr Opiola said: "I was 'noticed' by key people in the Obama campaign and I have been providing input to his strategy team in Chicago, including information about Greater Manchester's bid. "Manchester's approach is being highlighted as the latest thinking and conceptual approach that is beyond the earlier concepts used in Milan, Stockholm, London and Singapore, which are previous generations of congestion-charge systems."

Greater Manchester is bidding for more than 2.75bn pounds of investment from the government's Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), including 318m pounds to set up a peak hour, weekday-only congestion charge. Of the total, 1.2bn would be in the form of a loan, paid back over 30 years out of profits from the charge


So just one city is prepared to squander billions of taxpayer money on something of at best marginal benefit -- and that is "a shining example of dynamic new thinking"!


Think that the causes of the current financial crisis are hard to figure out? Think that the Wall Street wizards went too far in creating sub-prime mortgages and asset-backed papers and hedges and off-setting derivatives and other financial instruments that few understood on their own, whose value no one could easily establish, and whose interactions no one on this planet could ever figure out, except maybe in theory? Think that central bankers have lost control of their currencies and that they are flailing about, as clueless as to what needs to be done as the governments that throw rescue package upon bailout package at the crisis, hoping that something, somewhere, somehow, will stick?

Think we have learned our lesson about creating artificial securities, divorced from the real world and highly leveraged, so volatile and inscrutable as to be capable of sending markets into even worse hells, and entire economies into real depressions? Think again.

To the layers of confusion that now exist in our financial markets we are about to add another, as opaque and volatile as the others, and as unhinged from the real world - a carbon currency. President-elect Barack Obama wants it, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants it and their European counterparts, to some extent, already have it.

Europe's Emissions Trading System (ETS) is the world's largest trading exchange for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. If ambitious Kyoto-style plans come to fruition, ETS will morph to account for, among other things, the carbon content of all industrial and biological processes, and the carbon carrying capacity of all the real estate on our planet. Because carbon is a building block of life, and because we live in a carbon-based planet, carbon prices will become more ubiquitous than the U.S. dollar. It would become, in effect, a globally traded currency tied to gaseous commodities that until recently were nowhere traded.

What might this commodity-based currency be like? A week ago, the commodity traded on the ETS -- EU allowances of greenhouse gas emissions -- plummeted in value by 20%, after falling 20% three months earlier. This comes just two years after the ETS exchange had its first major collapse -- a 70% decline on rumours that some governments were about to give their industries extra emission rights, followed by even steeper declines that virtually wiped out the value of the allowances. Prior to the declines, the allowances had seen a steep climb in value.

The good news - and the reason no one much cares about these collapses - is that the carbon emissions market is in its infancy, a mere $64-billion last year, compared to the trillions trading hourly in international markets. A collapse in today's carbon market roils international stock markets far less than, say, a collapse of the Thai bhat might, which is to say not at all.

But what will happen should carbon become a major currency, and a highly volatile one at that? For starters, every carbon-intensive business will need protection against the extreme changes seen in carbon prices. This protection - carbon-hedging mechanisms of various kinds - will themselves assume outsized proportions because the businesses subject to carbon fluctuations will vastly outnumber those that now hedge against fluctuations in fossil fuels - in addition to the energy industry, airlines, utilities and others that now need fossil fuel hedges, will be forestry, agriculture, real estate, deserts, dams and other land-based sectors.

How will the new financial sector that emerges to price these hedges determine values? The "marketplace" for carbon allowances will be one in which both supply and demand are set by governments, in which intense corporate lobbying for changes to both supply and demand is all but certain, and in which moral hazard - in the form of an expectation of a government bailout - is an absolute certainty. Valuing the toxic instruments created by Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, that corrupted the pool of debt securities, will seem like child's play in comparison.

To avoid a future market meltdown of the likes we are now experiencing, almost all are agreed, we need to avoid opaque financial instruments that can't be easily understood or valued. Carbon offsets, credits, allowances sinks and other instruments attempt to create pricing for something that no one wants, can't be seen, is entirely a creature of government and that may prove to benefit rather than harm the environment. They are obscure and opaque, instruments both green and toxic.


The Climate-Change Reformation

Al Gore - outdone only by L. Ron Hubbard in his ability to weave science fiction into a religion - is reforming the climate change faith, and turning it toward the discussion of energy independence and American financial viability.

The truth, alas, has proved too inconvenient to ignore. Among non-partisan researchers, there is now little doubt that human-generated carbon dioxide makes only an insignificant contribution to climate change. More importantly, there is agreement among virtually all climatologists that the planet is experiencing the beginnings of a cold spell, expected to last as long as 30 years, due to a decrease in solar activity.

Most significantly, however, the tangible financial crisis has displaced concerns over the invisible climatological one. With the mercury plunging alongside the Dow Jones, the Gore age is on the way out. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Gore dispenses with the elastic "findings" of various environmentalists, and simply tells climate-change skeptics to "wake up." While he lays out a five-part "plan that would simultaneously move us toward solutions to the climate crisis and the economic crisis - and create millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced," he only gets down to proper CO2 fear-mongering in the last of his five points.

Gore's "new" plan includes some wedged-in pandering to mortgage crisis victims, etc., but it is simply another version of packaged government incentives dependent upon the fantasy that scientific solutions to energy dependence are just around the corner.

Of course, a scientific solution has been with us for decades: nuclear energy. George W. Bush may say the word funny, but at least he says it. Apocalypse Al can't risk scaring off his evangelical Greenpeacers with actual science just yet. So, we have more talk of billions of dollars being thrown at unwieldy processes that will supposedly save billions of dollars.

As we plunge into a 30-year deep freeze, it's safe to suppose bottom-of-the-list climate concerns will slide off the page altogether. And as we confront the realities of an international market meltdown, costly Rube Goldberg energy schemes will be abandoned for broader drilling and revamped nuclear power initiatives.

We'll never know if Al Gore finally understands that he fell for an enormous and costly political scam. But he clearly realizes no one is throwing money into cooling the planet during a chilly recession. And he must sense that the collective American consciousness can only accommodate one overarching fiction at a time. Right now, it's Obama change - not climate change - that "we can believe in."



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


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bush the Cooler

This question by Andy McCarthy in the context of President-Elect Obama's bizarre formulation about his proposed tax hikes - if your plan is really the way forward, why would you delay it in the face of that from which it is supposed to rescue us? - applies perfectly to the new fad phrase of "green jobs" (code for subsidies, mandates and taxes to pay for them which only weeks ago were still defended as not as costly as everyone's saying and only need the subsidies for another decade or so to be competitive).

In the context of Europe's current brake-slamming on the economic pain caused by green policies, it's the same point that I had planned to make during a 30-minute Powerpoint show on Saturday for the International Association of Political Consultants - except my half-hour turned into 15 minutes, with no visual aids allowed. [I appeared on a panel with former Shell CEO John Hoffmeister and a greenie who was Central-Casting-perfect. His fact-free, gloomsday ramble included frogs boiling and civilization marching off a cliff.]

Given this unanticipated format change, I was unable to make all my points. The one I did most enjoy offering to this mostly foreign, largely European audience interested in "the politics of global warming" was that we are on track to see the global temperatures having cooled by the day George W. Bush leaves office compared to when he entered.

You've just gotta love that. In fact, if you do, today's your lucky day: Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed is available for shipment! Order today and you can have it by Wednesday, the tenth anniversary of Bill Clinton signing a Kyoto Protocol with no hope of Senate ratification so that George W. Bush could be accused of arrogantly refusing to sign it.


Snow arrives early at Snowbird, Utah

Snowbird marks its second-earliest start in 38 years

Tuesday's snowstorm kicked off a five-day accumulation that has reached about 46 inches of snow, allowing Snowbird Ski Resort to open Friday, the second-earliest start in the resort's 38-year history. The resort didn't open until Nov. 28 last year. "It feels fantastic to be out this early. I forgot how it felt to be out here," said Plummer, who was at the resort with his son and some friends. "It's pretty good skiing. There's some rocks showing through, but I'm not picky. I'm hoping this means a long and epic season". Snowbird is the only resort open so far, giving skiers and snowboarders a head start on the season. Most resorts typically open after Thanksgiving.

Even though the runs and lifts are limited, Ben Hauber has been out every day since Friday and hasn't gotten bored yet. It is the Pittsburgh native's first ski season since moving to Utah. "According to my friends, it's a bad day, but this [would be considered] a great day back home," Hauber said. "The first day was awesome. All I plan on doing is working and being here [at Snowbird]."

Snowbird does not release figures but Public Relations Director Jared Ishkanian said the resort has seen a steady flow of skiers and snowboarders. The tram, which accommodates 125 people per trip, has been consistently about 80 percent full on each of the three days since the resort opened for the season.

Ishkanian is hoping the early start is a good omen for the rest of the season. "By getting an early start, it helps us with word of mouth and gives us good publicity," Ishkanian said. "If people have snow in their backyards in the valley, it shifts their mind-set from fall to winter. They think of snow and they think of skiing. The economy is a factor this year, but in our experience, if we get snow early and often, it goes a long way in assuring a positive experience.''



It's been known as ignorance since Bastiat's "Petition of the candlemakers" in the 19th century

It would indeed create jobs, but it would do so by killing other jobs. Is that really what Americans want? President-elect Barack Obama has put energy policy at the forefront of his agenda. He says that his plan will boost our national security, help us achieve "energy independence," reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote job creation. Indeed, Obama vows to create around five million new jobs by increasing federal spending on renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels.

As many experts have observed, the science behind the Obama plan is dubious, particularly when it comes to ethanol. The renewable energy industry simply does not have the capacity (at least not yet) to power large swathes of our fossil fuel-driven economy. Just look at the United Kingdom, where a shortage of windmill-building capability has hindered the government's plan to replace aging nuclear reactors with wind power.

If Obama's energy promises rely on questionable science, they rely on even more questionable economics. We are to believe that replacing conventional energy sources (especially coal) with renewables (especially wind) will create five million new "green jobs." The hope is that armies of workers will be enlisted to build tens of thousands of windmills; to manufacture and deploy solar-power installations; to harvest, transport, and process huge amounts of biofuel feedstock; and to string the power lines that will allow the U.S. power grid to incorporate a major expansion of intermittent energy.

The idea of government 'job creation' is a classic example of the broken window fallacy, which was explained by French economist Frederic Bastiat way back in 1850. It is discouraging to think that, nearly 160 years later, politicians still do not understand Bastiat's basic economic insight. He explained the fallacy as follows:

Imagine some shopkeepers get their windows broken by a rock-throwing child. At first, people sympathize with the shopkeepers, until someone claims that the broken windows really aren't that bad. After all, they "create work" for the glassmaker, who might then be able to buy more food, benefiting the grocer, or buy more clothes, benefiting the tailor. If enough windows are broken, the glassmaker might even hire an assistant, creating a job.

Did the child therefore do a public service by breaking the windows? No. We must also consider what the shopkeepers would have done with the money they used to fix their windows had those windows not been broken. Most likely, the shopkeepers would have ploughed that money into their store: perhaps they would have bought more stock from their suppliers, or maybe they would have hired new employees. Before the windows broke, the shopkeepers had intact windows and the money to purchase more goods or hire new workers. After the windows broke, they had to use that money to repair the windows, and thus were unable to expand their business.

Now consider Obama's "green jobs" plan, which includes regulations, subsidies, and renewable-power mandates. The "broken windows" in this case would be lost jobs and lost capital in the coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and automobile industries. These industries currently employ more than one million people directly. Conventional power plants would be closed and massive amounts of energy infrastructure would be dismantled. After breaking these windows, the Obama plan would then create new jobs in the renewable energy sector. The costs of replacing those windows would ultimately be passed on to taxpayers and energy consumers.

In short, the Obama plan reflects fallacious thinking of the first order. There may be sound reasons to switch from existing energy sources to renewables, including the need to slash greenhouse gas emissions, the need to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and the need to meet growing energy demand. If Americans wish to pay for a wholesale transformation of the energy industry, that is their choice. But let's not lie about the costs, and let's not espouse an economic fallacy that is nearly 160 years old. Obama's "green jobs" plan would indeed create jobs, but it would do so by killing other jobs. Is that really the type of energy policy Americans want?


Obama's Climate Change Trap

Last Friday, House of Representatives Republicans released a little-noticed report outlining their priorities on future climate change and energy policy. "An energy policy that does not address all facets of energy production is a failure and threatens our economy, our national security and the environment," Reps. Tom Davis, R-Va., and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a press release announcing the release of the report. They might as well have written a ransom note.

Obama's plans to finance an ambitious clean energy agenda by imposing a de facto carbon-emissions tax in the form of an auction-based cap-and-trade system has set the stage for an epic showdown on Capitol Hill over carbon emissions and energy legislation. The outcome will likely shape energy and environmental policies for decades.

But it also has the potential to derail the new president's larger agenda, as campaign promises, fiscal realities and industry pressure collide--a scenario that swamped the early days of the Clinton administration's work on health care. "If Obama wins the election," a report by Stanford Financial Group predicted in August, "he will face pressure to be very aggressive on strict limits and auctions and could find himself in the unenviable position of having his climate change effort become his 'Hillary Care.' "

Under a cap-and-trade system, a regulatory body allocates CO2 emission allowances to companies, typically by way of auction, but sometimes for no cost. Each allowance represents the right to emit one ton of CO2 or CO2-equivalent GHG. The total allowances distributed to a company represent the total emissions that it can produce in any given year without penalty. Companies that emit less than their allowances permit, or can reduce emissions more cheaply than their peers, can either bank their surplus allowances for future years or can sell them to companies whose emissions exceed their own allowances.

In Europe's cap-and-trade scheme, the European Union allocated emissions allowances for free to emitters of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. The bulk of the value of these grants has accrued to the owners of the emitting facilities, according to multiple analyses. In particular, European power generators factored the secondary market value of their allowance grants into their production costs--leading to significant increases in European power prices and profits.

If the U.S. also allocates allowances for free, unregulated power, generators will likely pass through the value of allowances consumed to wholesale power prices. In other words, cap and trade would be a boon for carbon-intensive electricity producers--at least those located in unregulated electricity markets--because they raise rates to reflect the market value of those allowances.

"Regulated utilities will reposition their cash outlays so that they will recover their costs by raising rates," said Hugh Wynne, a senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. "Unregulated utilities will pass through the costs by raising the prices they charge in wholesale markets."

While Obama and McCain both supported cap-and-trade legislation, they proposed two very different systems. Obama's version would make electricity producers buy emissions allowances, and McCain's version would have given them allowances free. These systems may lead to similar carbon emissions cuts, but they also lead to wildly different economic outcomes.

"It doesn't matter whether emissions allowances are auctioned or given away freely," said Michael Wara, an assistant professor of law at Stanford Law School. "Both approaches ultimately have the same impact on cutting carbon emissions.

Generally speaking, they also have the same impact on the broader economy. The only difference is who ends up with the money. We're creating a huge asset class and different constituencies have different claims to it. Who gets the goodies? This question will drive the politics far more than the size of emissions cuts. Only legislation that answers this question in a way to the satisfaction of the stakeholders has any real chance of passing."

McCain's system would have given unregulated power generators a windfall profit. Although power generators would receive allowances with no offsetting cost, unregulated generators could still demand higher prices because of those allowances, which would increase profits materially. In particular, Dynegy, DPL, Reliant, NRG, Exelon and FirstEnergy would have seen profits rise under this system, according to a report by Bernstein Global Wealth Management.

On the other hand, an auction-based cap-and-trade system would require power generators to buy allowances from the government. This would drive up electricity prices for consumers, especially in coal-fired regions like the Midwest and Southeast. Meanwhile, an auction-based approach would be a boom to renewable energy projects like wind, solar and geothermal, which would not need to buy carbon allowances. "If coal-fired plants and natural gas plants are selling electricity in the same market, coal producers will have to buy twice the number of allowances as natural gas plants," said Wynne. "It may not put them out of business, but it will squeeze their margins and reduce their profitability."

Obama campaigned on a platform that championed an exclusively auction-based cap-and-trade system. While campaign promises seldom translate perfectly into post-election agendas, this particular campaign promise could seem especially less palatable now. If producers had to pay $25 for every metric ton of carbon they emitted, rates would need to rise anywhere from 23% to 43% at coal-fired utilities in the Midwest and 15% to 29% at coal-fired utilities in the Southeast to offset the costs of emissions allowances, according to a recent analysis by Bernstein Research.

In different circumstances, Obama could ease the hike in electricity prices in particularly sensitive areas like Appalachia, which has a higher concentration of low-income households and coal fired plants than other regions, by mixing auctions and allowances as needed. But doing so could undercut an equally important campaign promise to ramp up spending on energy research and development, especially since the Wall Street bailout depleted government coffers, and a slowing economy reduced tax revenues.

The result: The Republican minority in Congress has ample fodder to fight the full implementation of Obama's clean energy and carbon emissions cuts agenda. If Democrats push the agenda too aggressively, they risk provoking a political backlash. Welcome to the White House, Mr. President.



From California to Missouri, four of five environmental initiatives lost at the ballot box. Voters are clearly still not ready for exorbitant costs and excessive regulation without clear benefits

President-elect Obama may have felt "a righteous wind" at his back during the campaign, but it did not translate into environmental victories at the ballot box, where one green initiative after another failed for a variety of reasons.

California voters shot down both clean-energy propositions on the ballot. Proposition 7 would have required utilities to generate 40% of their power from renewable energy by 2020 and 50% by 2025. It lost 65% to 35%. Proposition 10 would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to help consumers and others purchase certain high-fuel-economy or alternative-fuel vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology. It failed 60% to 40%. Even in San Francisco, the capital of liberalism and greenie fervor, voters rejected Proposition H, which would have mandated a rapid increase in the city's use of clean energy to achieve its goal of being 100% renewable by 2040. It would also have meant taking over the city's private electric company.

Obama took the former red state of Colorado, which also elected environmentalist Senate candidate Mark Udall over oil executive Bob Shaffer. Yet Coloradans struck down a measure to pay for conservation and clean energy by increasing taxes on oil companies. Only in Missouri did green energy score a victory. There, Proposition C mandated a 15% increase in renewable energy by 2021 with slow and steady yearly increases that energy companies felt they could phase in without disruption and with which voters felt more comfortable.

The mantra is that oil and car companies are blocking the increased use of renewable energy. The truth is that consumers, through their choices and their votes, are slowing the stampede. They worry about the cost in tough economic times and whether such efforts are worth it based on dubious evidence of global warming. Energy independence is one thing, but going bankrupt to achieve it is quite another.

When gasoline prices were over $4 a gallon, the chant "drill baby drill" grew loud enough that Democrats were forced to back off renewing a ban on offshore drilling. Now in complete control, they can block offshore drilling, nuclear power and shale oil in their Ahab-like pursuit of alternative energy.

Texas consumers are finding out how expensive the pursuit of alternative energy can be. Their state generates more electricity from wind than any other, and people like oil legend T. Boone Pickens want to generate more. A just published study by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, "Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present and Future," says that to achieve even modest amounts of wind energy would cost rate payers and taxpayers at least $60 billion through 2025. That includes transmission costs, production costs, subsidies, tax breaks, economic disruption costs and grid-management costs.

Because of the intermittent nature of wind, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas uses a figure of only 8.7% of wind power's installed capacity when determining available power during peak periods. On cloudy and windless days, solar and wind are useless and require conventional power sources as backup. Output is not steady and cannot be increased on demand. You can't make the sun shine brighter or the wind blow harder during peak periods.

A Feb. 27 Reuters story illustrated the point. Headlined "Loss Of Wind Causes Texas Power Grid Emergency," it told of an electric grid operator forced to curtail 1,100 megawatts of power to customers on just 10 minutes' notice. The wind simply stopped blowing.

Wind turbines generally operate at only 20% efficiency compared with 85% for coal, gas and nuclear plants. A single 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant would generate more dependable power than 2,800 1.5-megawatt, occasionally operating wind turbines sitting on 175,000 acres.

Nuclear power is clean energy, and you wouldn't have to wait for a sunny or windy day to plug in your electric car.



In the video below, a member of the new government criticizes existing NZ climate policy. You have to get past about 1m of ads to get to it but it is worth watching.

Background to the video here

New Zealanders chose a wealthy, conservative former financier Saturday to help navigate the country through the global financial meltdown, handing long-serving left-wing Prime Minister Helen Clark a crushing election defeat.

John Key, the 47-year-old leader of the conservative National Party, swept easily to power in this South Pacific country of 4.1 million people, ousting Clark's Labour Party after nine years in office.

Key has promised a more right-leaning government than Clark's, which for almost a decade made global warming a key policy issue.

In a country where the environment is a mainstream political issue, Key has vowed to wind back Clark's greenhouse gas emission trading scheme to protect businesses from financial losses, and to reduce red tape he says entangle important dam projects.

More here


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


Monday, November 10, 2008

Naughty Russia is still using CFCs!

Haven't they heard about the ozone hole and the Montreal treaty?

Twenty people died of gas poisoning and another 22 were injured in an accident on a Russian nuclear submarine in the Sea of Japan that revived memories of the Kursk submarine disaster in 2000. The submarine's nuclear reactor was not damaged and background radiation levels in the naval testing zone where the accident occurred were "normal," a naval spokesman said.

"During sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine of the Pacific Fleet the firefighting system went off unsanctioned, killing over 20 people, including servicemen and workers," said Captain Igor Dygalo, the navy's spokesman.

The high-speed attack submarine was being tested after a construction process that began in 1991 and became bogged down after the Soviet collapse. State media said the vessel had been due to be delivered to India's navy.

Officials said three naval officers and 17 civilians had died in the accident. Capt Dygalo said the victims included servicemen and shipyard workers who had been participating in the trials. Autopsies showed the victims died from inhaling freon gas released into part of the submarine when its fire extinguishing system activated for reasons that are unclear, news agencies quoted Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the federal investigative committee, as saying.

Although the crew were issued with portable breathing devices, "it's probable the submariners didn't notice the inflow of gas and when they felt it, it was already too late," RIA Novosti quoted an unidentified official at navy headquarters as saying. The injured were evacuated from the stricken submarine aboard an accompanying ship and were taken to hospital to be treated for poisoning, Pacific Fleet hospital officials said. Their lives were not thought to be in danger.


British police warn of growing threat from eco-terrorists

Fear of deadly attack by lone maverick as officers alert major firms to danger of green extremism

Police have warned of the growing threat of eco-terrorism after revealing they are investigating a group which has supporters who believe that reducing the Earth's population by four-fifths will help to protect the planet. Officers from a specialist unit dedicated to tackling domestic terrorism are monitoring an eco-movement called Earth First! which has advocates who state that cutting the Earth's population by 80 per cent will ease pressure on other species. Officers are concerned a 'lone maverick' eco-extremist may attempt a terrorist attack aimed at killing large numbers of Britons.

The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, which collates intelligence and advice to police forces, has revealed that eco-activists are researching a list of target companies which they believe are major polluters or are exacerbating the threat of climate change. The unit is currently monitoring blogs and internet traffic connected to a network of UK climate camps and radical environmental movements under the umbrella of Earth First!, which has claimed responsibility for a series of criminal acts in recent months.

A senior source at the unit said it had growing evidence of a threat from eco-activists. 'We have found statements that four-fifths of the human population has to die for other species in the world to survive. 'There are a number of very dedicated individuals out there and they could be dangerous to other people.'

Earth First! says its mission is 'about direct action to halt the destruction of the Earth' and advocates 'civil disobedience and monkeywrenching', tactics that include sabotage and disruptive behaviour. The movement has links to US environmental extremists which have waged a campaign of violence in America, including the firebombing of a string of 4x4 car dealerships in California in 2003 and alleged arson attacks on other property. The anti-extremist unit has already alerted a number of major companies which have been accused of being carbon polluters with advice on how they can withstand being targeted by eco-terrorists. Companies are thought to include airport operator BAA, an international mining conglomerate BHP Billiton and firms connected to UK coal-fired power stations.

'They are doing research of possible targets, looking at shareholders and financiers. For example, they could research an airline and see how many of its aircraft are not environmentally friendly,' said the NETCU source.

Although green extremists have yet to embark on an orchestrated campaign of violence in the UK, officers warn that they may be about to launch a campaign of intimidation and fear aimed at disrupting businesses. 'For some people, if they can justify it in their minds, then it's a noble cause even if it's a criminal action. They haven't started yet, but we believe they will come up with a strategy and tactics,' said the source at the unit, who described the movement as well-funded and organised.

A spate of recent attacks, for which Earth First! supporters have claimed responsibility, has included vandalism of branches of seven German banks such as Deutsche Bank and Allianz AG. The actions were apparently because the banks hold shares in UK Coal, which plans to build new coal-fired power stations.

A statement on the Earth First! website explains the attacks by saying: 'Exploitation of the environment and people by the state and industry go hand in hand. They cannot be separated and both must be attacked. Social war, not climate chaos.'

Another attack hit a quarry in Staffordshire which belongs to Bardon Aggregates, a company hat also owns a controversial quarry at Glensanda on the north-west coast of Scotland. The Scottish quarry is accused of spoiling the Highlands environment. The Earth First! website states: 'We slashed tyres, stripped paint jobs, glued locks and trashed conveyor belts. All the earth movers were hit and many of the cement and aggregate trucks. This action cost us very little but should cost Bardon thousands.'

Among the network of groups under the Earth First! umbrella are various climate camps. Last August police found a stash of knives and weapons beside one such camp in Kent. Protesters, however, said they had nothing to do with the weapons and accused police of launching a 'smear campaign'.

A spokesman for Derby Earth First! said the movement was strictly non-violent, if not always law-abiding. He said: 'If someone does ecological damage we would perhaps break the law and protect the ecology, but the ecology also includes humans. 'We're all about communities. Capitalism is the problem and we want to return to a more sustainable time. But we are not about reducing the population, that is just scaremongering by the police.'

The rise of eco-extremism coincides with the fall of the animal rights activist movement. Police said the animal rights movement was in 'disarray' and that its ringleaders had either been prosecuted or were awaiting prosecution, adding that its 'critical mass' of hardcore extremists was sufficiently depleted to have halted its effectiveness. Last Thursday a prominent animal rights activist accused of planting petrol bombs at Oxford University was cleared of possessing an explosive substance with intent.

Reports on the Earth First! Journal website, which tells users how to send encrypted emails, reveals connections to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) which has been linked to a series of violent attacks in the US. ELF was classified as the top domestic terrorism threat in the US by the FBI in March 2001. The ELF was founded in 1992 in Brighton by members of the Earth First! movement who wanted to form a breakaway group that would use more extreme tactics.


EU target to limit warming of the planet to no more than 2 degrees Celsius may not be 'technically achievable'

A European Union target to limit warming of the planet to no more than 2 degrees Celsius may not be technically achievable, the International Energy Agency said in a report to be published next week. "Even leaving aside any debate about the political feasibility ... it is uncertain whether the scale of the transformation envisaged is even technically achievable, as the scenario assumes broad development of technologies that have not yet been proven," said the IEA's World Energy Outlook. That analysis referred to a target to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees.

The implication is that the world may have to accept higher warming limits than targeted at present, for example by the EU since 1996, and prepare for effects which scientists say will include more droughts, floods and rising seas. A United Nations climate panel said last year that above 3 degrees "hundreds of millions of people (would be) exposed to increased water stress (shortages)."

Stronger action to fight climate change involves rapidly escalating costs, for example to deploy expensive, untested technologies such as carbon scrubbers and even to leave stranded assets -- where high-carbon coal plants, for example, have to be closed prematurely. "It will be necessary to face up to the reality of the cost of early capital retirement if radical measures are to be taken ... to deliver deep cuts in emissions," the IEA said in its report, due to be published on Nov. 12. The IEA is energy adviser to 28 industrialised countries.

The IEA analysed two scenarios to limit warming to 2 degrees and 3 degrees, and estimated that these would cost about $180 and $90 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions respectively. The present EU carbon price is about 18 euros ($23.20), and accounts for about one fifth of European consumer electricity prices, say analysts.

"The scale of the challenge ... is immense," the IEA said of a 2 degrees target. "The technology shift, if achievable, would certainly be unprecedented in scale and speed of deployment." The EU Council of Ministers stated in 1996 that it "believes that global average temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees above pre-industrial level."


The Fingerprint Controversy Part-2

SEPP Science Editorial #11 (11/8/08)

Using the observational data and model results of the IPCC and of the government-supported Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), NIPCC has demonstrated a major disagreement between modeled and observed fingerprints of temperature trends. The NIPCC conclusion, opposed to that of the IPCC, is that the human contribution to warming is not significant.

Not surprisingly, the NIPCC report [Singer et al 2008] and a research paper by Douglass et al [2007] have come under attack from supporters of the IPCC. The latest such attack, a just-published paper by Ben Santer and 16 coauthors [hereafter S17] claims that there is something wrong with the observational data -- and also that the uncertainties are so large that there is no longer a discrepancy between models and observations.

We are of course replying and confident that we will prevail. However, it is interesting that S17, in the process of attacking NIPCC, necessarily also attack the data used in CCSP Report 1.1 [2006] and in the IPCC report [2007]. These data, which NIPCC used without any change, have been "superseded," according to S17 - although S17 never state so explicitly. We wonder therefore whether there will be formal corrections issued for the CCSP and IPCC reports to take account of the new "corrected" data.

A note: It is perfectly natural that results from data can change based on better analyses. But unless one audits the raw data and analysis methods used by S17, there is little an outside observer can do. However, we should caution against any hasty adoption of corrections to data analysis -- and particularly if they have just been published and not yet been properly vetted. We know from the experience of the infamous hockey-stick that the refereeing process is often quite casual and not designed to discover underlying errors in the analysis. We also note with regret that one of the key papers cited by S17 has not even been published, it is listed as "in press."


'Proof' we are causing polar warming melts away in the cold light of reality

No doubt some readers will have been alarmed by your report (31 October) that scientists from the University of East Anglia's climate research unit claim to have "finally" proved human behaviour is responsible for warming at the north and south poles, leading the public to assume the ice caps are melting. This alarm may have been tempered somewhat by the disclosure that the so-called "scientific" proof was the result of yet another computer simulation, which, almost by definition, bears no relationship to reality.

The facts can be easily verified and are somewhat different. The Antarctic has shown no general warming trend in the past 30 years, whether one uses ground station records or satellite or weather balloon data, nor is there any evidence of diminishing sea ice extent. In 2007, the Antarctic winter sea ice maximum was at an all-time high and 2008 levels have been consistent with the long-term average.

The Arctic has shown a warming of about 1C since 1995 and there has been some reduction in ice coverage. A recent Nasa study found the warming was probably due to changed ocean currents carrying greater amounts of warm water into the Arctic basin from the Pacific and Atlantic.

However, recently there has been yet another change in ocean circulation patterns and Arctic ice is once again close to average values for this time of year. It remains to be seen whether this Arctic cooling trend will continue.

On the basis of real data, there is no likelihood of the Antarctic ice cap melting nor of the Greenland ice cap sliding into the sea and causing a 7m rise in sea levels, as has been fancifully suggested. The Argo buoy system launched in 2003 to search for increasing ocean temperatures can find none, nor can the Topex/Poseidon satellite find any evidence of rapidly rising global sea levels, unless you call 2.5mm per year rapid.

The climate industry relies on alarmism to maintain a steady flow of research grants and financial contributions but none of its apocalyptic visions are coming to pass. Politicians should take note.


Not Enough CO2 in Fossil Fuels to Make Oceans Acidic

A Note from Professor Ian Plimer, Professor of Geology at the University of Adelaide

The oceans have remained alkaline during the Phanerozoic (last 540 million years) except for a very brief and poorly understood time 55 million years ago. Rainwater (pH 5.6) reacts with the most common minerals on Earth (feldspars) to produce clays, this is an acid consuming reaction, alkali and alkaline earths are leached into the oceans (which is why we have saline oceans), silica is redeposited as cements in sediments, the reaction consumes acid and is accelerated by temperature.

In the oceans, there is a buffering reaction between the sea floor basalts and sea water. Sea water has a local and regional variation in pH (pH 7.8 to 8.3). It should be noted that pH is a log scale and that if we are to create acid oceans, then there is not enough CO2 in fossil fuels to create oceanic acidity because most of the planet's CO2 is locked up in rocks. When we run out of rocks on Earth or plate tectonics ceases, then we will have acid oceans.

In the Precambrian, it is these reactions that rapidly responded to huge changes in climate (-40 deg C to +50 deg C), large sea level changes (+ 600m to -640m) and rapid climate shifts over a few thousand years from 'snowball' or 'slushball' Earth to very hot conditions (e.g. Neoproterozoic cap carbonates that formed in water at ~50 deg C lie directly on glacial rocks). During these times, there were rapid changes in oceanic pH and CO2 was removed from the oceans as carbonate. It is from this time onwards (750 Ma) that life started to extract huge amounts of CO2 from the oceans, life has expanded and diversified and this process continues (which is why we have low CO2 today.

The history of CO2 and temperature shows that there is no correlation. Ask your local warmer:

1. Why was CO2 15 times higher than now in the Ordovician-Silurian glaciation?

2. Why were both methane and CO2 higher than now in the Permian glaciation?

3. Why was CO2 5 times higher than now in the Cretaceous-Jurassic glaciation?

The process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere via the oceans has led to carbonate deposition (i.e. CO2 sequestration). The atmosphere once had at least 25 times the current CO2 content, we are living at a time when CO2 is the lowest it has been for billions of years, we continue to remove CO2 via carbonate sedimentation from the oceans and the oceans continue to be buffered by water-rock reactions (as shown by Walker et al. 1981).

The literature on this subject is large yet the warmers chose to ignore this literature. These feldspar and silicate buffering reactions are well understood, there is a huge amount of thermodynamic data on these reactions and they just happened to be omitted from argument by the warmers. When ocean pH changes, the carbon species responds and in more acid oceans CO2 as a dissolved gas becomes more abundant.



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


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Claim: NWS Report finds 'unprecedented' temps in 50 U.S. cities

This was a drought region the last two years. This means higher summer temperatures. Also with La Nina and a cold PDO the southeast turns warmer. Again a sign of natural changes and nothing whatsoever to do with AGW

The heat is on in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Temperatures in six Southeastern cities, including Chattanooga; Atlanta; Athens, Ga.; Augusta, Ga.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Birmingham, Ala., ranked in the top 50 of cities across the country showing above-normal average temperatures. "The climate has been warming. It's pretty unprecedented," said Stephen Konarik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga.

A new report, "Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures in the United States," analyzed National Weather Service data from 255 cities and called the increases "early" climate change. The report found that average 2007 temperatures rose 3 degrees or more above the 30-year averages in six Tennessee cities, including greater Chattanooga, where temperatures on average were 4.1 degrees warmer in 2007 than the 30-year average norms. The analysis found that Georgia's 2007 temperatures in Athens, Atlanta and Augusta were at least 21/2 degrees above the normal average.

Mr. Konarik said North Georgia weather data for the past 10 years supports the overall Southeastern United States and global temperature increases. Globally, 2007 tied with 2005 as the second-warmest year on record.

The Southeast's warming trend fits with what computer models have indicated would happen with man-made climate change, but Mr. Konarik and NewsChannel9 meteorologist David Glenn said it's too early to call the rising temperatures global warming. "Right now, it's impossible to really tell," Mr. Konarik said.

The drought and heat play on each other, weather experts said, with each increasing the likelihood of the other. Warm, drier air pushes moist weather systems away, and the lack of cooling cloud cover and rain keeps the temperatures up. "I sit right on the fence," Mr. Glenn said of global warming. "Time will tell us the answer."



Comment from Prof. John Christy:

This must be a joke. No one compares a single year's temps to the 1971-2000 year normals (a very cool period) as evidence for anything. Mr. Konarik needs to look at the period 1925-1954 - by far the warmest such 30-year summer period in Huntsville AL (see plot of the most rigorous, published time series of North Alabama). The draft CCSP synthesis did the same sort of funny business - comparing current temps to those in the coolest period of record (roughly 1960-2000) rather than the entire period of record.

The Sun Proves an Embarassment to Climate Orthodoxers and Carbon Hysterics

The climate orthodoxy of carbon hysteria has never understood the intricacies of causative interaction in Earth's climate. Led by fanatics such as James Hansen and Al Gore, the orthodoxy decided early on to assign responsibility for "climate change" to human generated CO2. Orthodoxers reduced the complex system of climate to a single parameter--CO2--to make their job easier. Unfortunately, the orthodoxy failed to recruit (bribe and cudgel) large numbers of mathematically and scientifically trained men and women who remain curious about the underlying complexity of climate. Curious enough to continue studying climate as a multi-causative system.

The distribution of sunlight, rather than the size of North American ice sheets, is the key variable in changes in the North Atlantic deep-water formation during the last four glacial cycles, according to the article. The new study goes back 425,000 years, according to Lorraine Lisiecki, first author and assistant professor in the Department of Earth Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Lisiecki and her co-authors studied 24 separate locations in the Atlantic by analysing information from ocean sediment cores. By observing the properties of the shells of tiny marine organisms, called foraminifera, found in these cores, they were able to deduce information about the North Atlantic deep water formation. Scientists can discern historical ocean temperature and circulation patterns through the analysis of the chemical composition of these marine animals.

The orthodox position has depended upon the spectre of "melting ice sheets" to inject fear into the minds of the masses of common media consumers. As long as they could claim that ice sheets were "melting at unprecedented rates" and "approaching the tipping point", the proles could be stampeded into backing the right political candidates--the ones stupid enough to believe in the hysteria or corrupt enough to sell themselves to the orthodoxy.

Now that the ice sheets are showing some resiliency, global temperatures have stabilised or reversed, and oceans are cooling, the orthodoxy is reduced to outright lying and an accelerating rate of obfuscation and political threats. But even worse for the orthodoxers, the ice sheets themselves appear to have much less to do with climate than the hysterics have been claiming all along. The tried and true propaganda they have used all along lacks any support in truth.

Australians elected a carbon hysteric as leader. The Americans have done the same. Europe's leadership positions at both national and EU levels are infested by carbon hysterics. Does the science really matter, when the politicians all back the orthodoxy? We'll find out shortly.


Astrophysicist Dr. Soon smacks down UK Guardian for shoddy Polar Bear reporting

Your article (October 1) inaccurately implies that I wrote a paper demonstrating that none of the published studies on the imagined threat to polar bears from imagined "global warming" had followed the established scientific norms for population forecasting because I had received a grant from ExxonMobil.

Not so. The rules of the leading journals in which my research is published are clear: the sources of funding must be openly declared in the paper, so peer reviewers can take them into account when deciding whether the scientific analysis has sufficient merit to justify publication.

Since 2002 ExxonMobil has also supported 22 other studies on Arctic wildlife and ecosystems. Main authors of these papers included researchers who proposed the (pointless) listing of polar bears under the US Endangered Species Act. There is, therefore, no more basis for your implication that my results were tainted by ExxonMobil's funding than that other similarly funded results that better suited your editorial prejudice in favour of the alarmist "consensus" were tainted.

I do not write papers because ExxonMobil or Greenpeace pays me to, but because my academic researches demonstrate that the sun, not carbon dioxide, is the chief driver of Arctic temperatures, and that much of the "evidence" for the bears' imminent demise is speculative. Indeed the population has increased fivefold since the 1950s, mainly because of restricted hunting. Where the Arctic has cooled, bears dwindle: where it has warmed, they increase.

Polar bears evolved from brown bears 200,000 years ago and therefore must have survived the last interglacial period, when global temperatures were many degrees warmer than the present. More perspective and less prejudice, please.


When IPCC head has to lie about global temperatures, you know there's something seriously wrong

Personally, I find it incredible that anybody still believes a word the IPCC says. We always knew that it was a politically-motivated body whose sole aim was to find evidence to back up a conclusion already reached. Instead of acting like proper scientific investigators and saying, "well, the fact is that global temperatures are pretty steady or even declining, so let's use this opportunity to find out why so that we can better understand the mechanics of the climate," they lie and mislead in order to keep their preconceived ideas afloat.The IPCC has abandoned all pretence of impartiality and has become just another in the long line of alarmist organisations desperate to keep the AGW bandwagon rolling in order to achieve political objectives. As Michael Duffy says, shocking.


Science or Science Fiction? The Biotech Files

Remember when Prince Charles went loco a few months back and told the London Telegraph that genetically modified (GM) foods would bring about "the absolute destruction of everything"? The end of our global food supply. The biggest environmental disaster ever. An overall "unmentionable awfulness." (His awkward words, not ours.) Well, we knew Prince Charles was laying it on pretty thick. But we had no idea just how thick.

There's little doubt in our minds that the Telegraph interview was one of the Prince of Wales' finest exercises in anti-biotech scaremongering. But to support his mad ranting about food security and "gigantic corporations," Prince Charles did offer some empirical evidence to back up his story -- sort of. The Telegraph reported:

The Prince of Wales cited the widespread environmental damage in India caused by the rush to mass produce GM food. "Look at India's Green Revolution. It worked for a short time but now the price is being paid." India has become the linchpin of Prince Charles' argument against biotechnology research. Last month, he gave a speech on the subject in India, which has been characterized as "his fiercest attack yet":

Prince Charles expressed no doubts in his lecture, delivered at the invitation of Dr. Vandana Shiva, the founder of Navdanya, and one of the leading proponents of the technology's role in the deaths. He spoke of "the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming in part from the failure of many GM crop varieties."

But is there anything to back up this India suicide story outside of Prince Charles' unusually paranoid mind? Nothing at all, according to a new International Food Policy Research Institute study:

[I]t is not only inaccurate but simply wrong to blame the use of [GM] Bt cotton as the primary cause of farmer suicides in India. In fact, our overview of the evidence suggests that Bt cotton has been quite successful in most states and years in India, contributing to an impressive leap in average cotton yields, as well as a decrease in pesticide use and an increase in farmer revenues.

Prince Charles' theory, it turns out, could hardly have been wilder. Not only did biotech cotton not cause farmer suicides, it actually led to massive increases in crop yields. We would expect this kind of apocalyptic anti-capitalist conspiracy theory from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but not from a presumed future head of state.


"Y2K + 20" - Climate Change Theory in Peril

By William K. Graham

Al Gore gathered $300 million to share the `truth" of man-induced climate change. He now warns of irreversible damage to the earth if dramatic action isn't taken before 2020. These echo the overwrought Y2K panacea which cost billions, but vanished overnight.

NASA satellite temperature data confirms that atmospheric temperatures have dropped to the lowest values since 1979 when NASA started collecting data. While man-made models guarantee catastrophic global warming due to elevated CO2; recent satellite data show significant and rapid atmospheric cooling. NASA data also shows recent ocean cooling attributed to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.*

Some scientists observe that atmospheric cooling correlates best with decreased solar activity and subsequent cooling of ocean temperatures. They suggest the sun heats the earth, heat is stored and released by the oceans, which moderate weather and atmospheric temperatures. An innocuous gas, which serves as a plant nutrient and occurs in trace amounts (0.04 weight %) so far has an immeasurable effect on anything but rhetoric of progressive politicians and radical environmentalists.

Mainstream media report little at odds with the theory. Millions of research dollars hinge on tacit acceptance of the theory. Skeptics with the temerity to question the theory may expect ad hominem attacks. But recent years have seen a sharp increase in the release of scientific facts and testimonies questioning the theory of man-induced climate change. It is at last clear that there is no `consensus' of scientists on climate change.

Fortunately, the internet has transformed and accelerated information sharing. Inquiring minds have a variety of sources that present new information, none of which documents warming effects due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Many web sites and blogs are interlinked. [i.e.,,].

The explosion of interest in the topic has spawned numerous seminars and books, many attacking the theory. For a theory to be scientific, it must be testable and falsifiable. The theory of global warming is being tested and data proves it is coming up short. Worldwide, thousands of scientists testify to its falsehood, both in theory and practice. [See Rich Trzupek's slide presentation at]

Troublesome Facts?

* A National Academy of Sciences panel in 2006 reported that the "hockey stick" graph is not proof that human activity is linked to global warming. It was fraudulently created; even warming proponents have dropped it.

* No data confirms the theory of causation between carbon dioxide concentration and temperature. Ice core data show global temperature rises precede rises in CO2. [Increased ocean temperatures do increase release of CO2 .]

* IPCC researchers reported [Nature 5/1/08] that after adjusting their climate model to reflect actual sea surface temperatures of the last 50 years, "global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade," since natural climate variation will drive global climate.

* Predictive models overestimate climate sensitivity by excluding some effects of cloud cover. Corrected models forecast minor to negligible temperature change.

* Surface station temperature data are compromised by urbanization and local factors and overestimate warming trends by up to 50%.

* Recent data and research confirm natural relationships among solar cycles, ocean temperatures and atmospheric temperatures.

* In May 2008, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine released a petition signed by more than 31,000 U.S. scientists stating, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will cause in the future, catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate..."

* The March, 2008 Manhattan Declaration and 1180 endorsers testify "That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change. That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate."

* India's National Action Plan on Climate Change [6/08] states, "No firm link between the documented [climate] changes described below and warming due to anthropogenic climate change has yet been established."

* Global warming is the `Worst scientific scandal in history', according to Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Top UN IPCC Japanese Scientist and award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

Testifiers to the Truth

"Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment" -- Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic.2/08

"But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, `When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?'" -- 7/17/2008, Dr David Evans, Modeler for the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005.

"In conclusion, I am predicting today that the theory that mankind is mostly responsible for global warming will slowly fade away in the coming years, as will the warming itself, and I trust you would agree, Madam Chair, that such a result deserves to be greeted with relief" -- 7/22/2008, Dr. Roy Spencer, Climatologist, Univ Alabama-Huntsville, formerly NASA modeler, testimony to Sen. Boxer Committee on Climate Change Research. *

"Since there was global cooling from ~1940 to ~1979, this means there has been no net warming since ~1940, is spite of an ~800% increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that the recent warming trend was natural, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming. Furthermore, the best fit polynomial shows a strong declining trend. Are we seeing the beginning of a natural cooling cycle? YES. Further cooling, with upward and downward variability, is expected because the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has returned to its cool phase, as announced by NASA this year. Global warming and cooling have closely followed the phases of the PDO. The most significant pattern of PDO behavior is a shift between "warm" and "cool" phases that last 20 to 30 years. In 1905, the PDO shifted to its "warm" phase. In 1946, the PDO changed to its "cool" phase. In 1977, the PDO returned to its "warm" phase and produced the current warming. In 2007-8, the PDO turned cold again, so we can expect several decades of naturally-caused global cooling. Some scientists are predicting that this cooling will be severe, and is a greater threat to humanity than global warming ever was. Meanwhile, politicians are still obsessing about global warming." -- Allan MacRae, 9/17/2008

"AL GORE says, "I believe this is a moral issue." So it is. To "announce disasters" or "scary scenarios" or "over-represent factual presentations" in place of adherence to the scientific truth - that is a moral issue. To let politicians insert data into official scientific documents; to alter those documents so as to contradict scientific findings; to manipulate decimal points so as to engender false headlines by exaggerating tenfold - those are moral issues. "Above all, to inflict upon the nations of the world a policy of ever-grimmer energy starvation calculated not merely to inconvenience the prosperous but to condemn the very poorest to remain imprisoned in poverty forever, and to die in their tens of millions for want of the light and heat and power which we have long been fortunate enough to take for granted - that is a moral issue. ".each of us, however poor, is of unique and precious value; that therefore there is only one race, the human race; that the suffering children of Africa, of Asia and of south America, imploring us with their hopeless, hopeful eyes, are our people. They cannot look to their own. They look to us. We must get the science right or we shall get the policy wrong. We have failed them and failed them before. We must not fail them again!" -- Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, Cambridge Union Society address, 10/8/2007


While the theory of man-induced global climate change may be a casualty here, the greater casualty is Science itself. The scientific community and media have taken the world for a costly ride. The environmental community may have said `the sky is falling' once too often. Trust, once lost, can take time to restore. I invite members of LM-AWMA to provide necessary leadership by abandoning prejudice, embracing the truth and speaking out.



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


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Truly inconvenient truths about climate change being ignored

Comment from Australia by Michael Duffy

Last month I witnessed something shocking. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was giving a talk at the University of NSW. The talk was accompanied by a slide presentation, and the most important graph showed average global temperatures. For the past decade it represented temperatures climbing sharply. As this was shown on the screen, Pachauri told his large audience: "We're at a stage where warming is taking place at a much faster rate [than before]".

Now, this is completely wrong. For most of the past seven years, those temperatures have actually been on a plateau. For the past year, there's been a sharp cooling. These are facts, not opinion: the major sources of these figures, such as the Hadley Centre in Britain, agree on what has happened, and you can check for yourself by going to their websites. Sure, interpretations of the significance of this halt in global warming vary greatly, but the facts are clear.

So it's disturbing that Rajendra Pachauri's presentation was so erroneous, and would have misled everyone in the audience unaware of the real situation. This was particularly so because he was giving the talk on the occasion of receiving an honorary science degree from the university.

Later that night, on ABC TV's Lateline program, Pachauri claimed that those who disagree with his own views on global warming are "flat-earthers" who deny "the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence". But what evidence could be more important than the temperature record, which Pachauri himself had fudged only a few hours earlier?

In his talk, Pachauri said the number of global warming sceptics is shrinking, a curious claim he was unable to substantiate when questioned about it on Lateline. Still, there's no doubt a majority of climate scientists agree with the view of the IPCC.

Today I want to look at why this might be so: after all, such a state of affairs presents a challenge to sceptics such as me. If we're right, then an awful lot of scientists are wrong. How could this be? This question was addressed in September in a paper by Professor Richard Lindzen, of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen, probably the most qualified prominent global-warming sceptic, suggested that a number of changes in the way science is conducted have contributed to the rise of climate alarmism among American scientists.

Central to this is the importance of government funding to science. Much of that funding since World War II has occurred because scientists build up public fears (examples include fear of the USSR's superiority in weapons or space travel, of health problems, of environmental degradation) and offer themselves as the solution to those fears. The administrators who work with the scientists join in with enthusiasm: much of their own funding is attached to the scientific grants. Lindzen says this state of affairs favours science involving fear, and also science that involves expensive activities such as computer modelling. He notes we have seen "the de-emphasis of theory because of its difficulty and small scale, the encouragement of simulation instead (with its call for large capital investment in computation), and the encouragement of large programs unconstrained by specific goals.

"In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and [computer] programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage."

Lindzen believes another problem with climate science is that in America and Europe it is heavily colonised by environmental activists. Here are just two examples that indicate the scale of the problem: the spokesman for the American Meteorological Society is a former staffer for Al Gore, and, probably the world's most authoritative alarmist web site, was started by a public relations firm serving environmental causes.

None of this is necessarily sinister, but the next time you hear a scientist or scientific organisation warning of climate doom, you might want to follow the money trail. Sceptics are not the only ones who have received funding from sources sympathetic to their viewpoint. (And yes, Lindzen did once receive some money from energy companies.)

Lindzen claims that scientific journals play an important role in promoting global warming alarmism, and gives a number of examples. Someone else who's looked closely at scientific journals (although not specifically those dealing with climate science) is epidemiologist John Ioannidis of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He reached the surprising conclusion that most published research findings are proved false within five years of their publication. (Lest he be dismissed as some eccentric, I note that the Economist recently said Ioannidis has made his case "quite convincingly".)

Why might this be so? Later work by Ioannidis and colleagues suggests that these days journal editors are more likely to publish research that will make a splash than that which will not. They do this to sell more copies of their publications and of reprints of papers in it. Ioannidis believes these publication practices might be distorting science.

It's possible the forces described by Lindzen and Ioannidis have imbued climate science with a preference for results that involve (or seem to involve) disastrous change rather than stability. Rajenda Pachauri's recent Sydney lecture suggests that in this relatively new field, inconvenient truths to the contrary are not welcome.


For a full scholarly paper showing that Pachauri is wrong, see here. The graph below is taken from that paper. It shows the global temperature data derived from land-based measurements by Britain's Hadley Centre (HADCRUT) and the American satellite data from the University of Alabama (UAH). Both datasets show 1998 as the warmest of the last 10 years. The paper also evaluates in detail the significance of that datum and what influences produced it.

Michael Crichton, `Jurassic Park' Creator, and warming skeptic dies at 66

Michael Crichton, the best-selling novelist whose books such as ``Jurassic Park'' and ``The Andromeda Strain'' envisioned unexpected, catastrophic consequences from scientific exploration, has died. He was 66. Crichton died yesterday in Los Angeles ``after a courageous and private battle against cancer,'' according to an announcement on his Web site. It said Crichton's works ``challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us.'' In addition to his books, Crichton created the hit television show ``ER,'' featuring a revolving cast of characters coping with the strains of work in a hospital emergency room.

In recent years, the Harvard University and Harvard Medical School graduate was known as a high-profile doubter about the threat posed by global warming. His 2004 book ``State of Fear'' conjured a group of eco-terrorists -- he called their group NERF, for National Environmental Resource Fund -- trying to sow panic over the topic. He supplemented his tale with a 34-page author's message and annotated technical bibliography. The book stemmed from an article he had read that mentioned how little is known about global warming, he said in a 2004 interview. ``Out of curiosity, I went and looked at temperature records,'' he said. ``I thought, well, I must not understand something because this doesn't look as persuasive as I would like it to be. And the more I read and the more depth I went into, the worse it got.''

In a 2005 speech at the National Press Club in Washington, Crichton said, ``In my view, our approach to global warming exemplifies everything that is wrong with our approach to the environment. We are basing our decisions on speculation, not evidence.''

John Michael Crichton was born in Chicago on Oct. 28, 1942, and was raised in the New York suburb of Roslyn, on Long Island. His father was editor of Advertising Age. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1964 before going to Harvard Medical School. ``The Andromeda Strain,'' the first novel under his real name, was published in 1969 while he was attending medical school. (He previously had written a series of adventure novels under pseudonyms.)

More here


Global concern about the ailing economy has led the European Environment Committee to revise its energy package. The committee announced that it agreed the European Union should revise key clauses in its climate and energy package to adjust for the current financial crisis. The economic slowdown has hurt carbon credit demand and pricing.

Over the past few weeks EU member states have requested permission to make some revisions to protect their economies.

Bulgaria, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Poland have criticized the proposed shift to a pan-European carbon credit auctioning mechanism and have gotten the support of France, Germany and Spain in their efforts to change the planned trading mechanism.



U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's credentials may be green, but gathering financial gloom means fixing the economy will take priority on his agenda before dealing with national carbon trading and clean-energy investment.

Analysts and carbon brokers believe Obama's support for an emissions cap-and-trade scheme and plans to create millions of "green" industry jobs send exactly the right signal for carbon trading and the burgeoning renewable energy industry. But don't expect miracles overnight, they said. Depleted government coffers, rising unemployment and plunging profits across most industries could prevent him from making sweeping changes in his crucial first year.

"We're guessing until he goes and checks his bank account and finds out how much in debt he is," said Michael Hopkins, energy derivatives manager at TFS Energy Asia-Pacific, referring to the hundreds of billions of dollars pledged by the Bush administration to stabilize the financial markets.

Pushing through a national emissions trading scheme won't be the top item on Obama's hit-list, Hopkins said in Singapore. "I think he has other issues to deal with before tackling the environmental side of it," he added.

More here


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said rich nations must abandon their "unsustainable lifestyle" to fight climate change and expand help to poor nations bearing the brunt of worsening droughts and rising sea levels.

Wen told the opening of a conference Friday the financial crisis was no reason for rich nations to delay fighting global warming. "As the global financial crisis spreads and worsens, and the world economy slows down apparently, the international community must not waver in its determination to tackle climate change," Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

The two-day meeting is to push China's call for rich nations to fund a huge infusion of greenhouse gas-cutting technology for developing countries. But foreign officials at the meeting raised doubts about Beijing's proposal, which could stoke contention over who pays and how much.

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Is Something Fishy? Yep. Mercury-Scare Activists

NBC viewers in San Diego and Chicago saw a horribly misleading news story yesterday about the Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP) and its needlessly alarmist fish-mercury calculator. The activist group just rolled out a mobile-phone version of this food-scare program, and San Diego reporter Jane Ann Furer took the bait with a report titled "Something Fishy?" Here's the answer she was grasping at: Yes. But it's the activists, not your dinner. STRP's mercury calculator misses the truth by a massive margin, scaring consumers for no good reason at all. Furer writes:
Ever wonder how much mercury is lurking in the fish you want to eat? If so, there's a new way you can check to see if what you're about to eat might be bad for your health . Eating certain types of fish high in mercury like swordfish, tuna (fresh, canned and albacore), shark, tilefish and king mackerel can pose health risks. Those risks are especially great for mothers, pregnant women and children, depending on how much is eaten, according to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. For starters, canned tuna is a low-mercury fish. But even that shouldn't matter. Seafood is a health food. Commercially available fish in the United States doesn't "pose health risks." it offers health benefits. You could search every medical journal ever published, but you won't find a single documented case of mercury poisoning related to commercially available fish in the United States. Not one.

That absence of evidence applies to unborn children, too. As Dr. Ashley Roman of the New York University Medical Center recently told Reuters, "There has been no case of fetal mercury toxicity due to fish consumption reported in the United States."

How does a group like STRP get the facts so wrong and "cry wolf" so often? By willfully ignoring the built-in safety cushions in government seafood consumption guidelines.

The Food and Drug Administration has written that its mercury-in-fish advice "was established to limit consumers' methyl mercury exposure to levels 10 times lower than the lowest levels associated with adverse effects." Similar advice from the Environmental Protection Agency contains the same ten-fold margin of safety. So if you want to know how much seafood you can actually eat without risking your health, take whatever number STRP gives you and multiply by ten.



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


Friday, November 07, 2008


GLOBAL sea ice area: now same as in 1979!

As of yesterday the global sea ice anomaly at cryosphere reached 0. Four weeks ago it was at a negative 2.6 million sq kilometers. This is the fastest move in the 30 year history. The sea surface temperature anomaly around the Antarctic remains strongly negative [colder than baseline]

See the graph here. Note the red line. Graph from Cryosphere.


ANTARCTIC Ice for October 1979 and October 2008: More Ice in 2008

And even the penguins have noticed

Why do we continue to hear the scare stories about Antarctic ice when its breaking records for ice growth? Not only is the interior growing but so is the sea ice. Sea ice levels are higher now than when satellite records began.

Antarctic Ice Extent and Concentration for October 1979 and October 2008

Note that the ice extent for October 1979 (when satellite measurements began) is 18 million sq km, for October 2008 the ice extent was 18.1 million sq km. Ice concentration shows even greater increases, from 13.6 million sq km, to 13.9 million.

Not a huge increase but certainly notable since everyone has been screaming about Antarctic ice melt off, obviously that is not happening. Interior ice is increasing at an even greater rate. According to NOAA GISS data winter temperatures in the antarctic has actually fallen by 1øF since 1957, with the coldest year being 2004. All the while global CO2 levels have gone up and the mainstream media has been reporting near catastrophic warming conditions. The MSM and certain segments of the scientific community truly must have no shame.
"While the penguins would normally turn back when they hit the warmer Benguela waters, the current has been "exceptionally cold" this year" - The Washington Post

The Antarctic penguins must not be enjoying all of this cold and ice too much as hundreds, perhaps thousands, are migrating to the warm beaches of Brazil. More than they've ever seen. Hey, wouldn't you migrate to Brazil if you lived in Antarctica and it started getting even colder than normal?!?



But that big yellow guy up in the sky gets a mention. We do have a bit of politically correct speculation after the word "suggesting" but it is kinda awkward that no-one else suggests 1960 as a point of big change in human industrial activity. Politics: Maybe. Economic activity: No.

The Asian Monsoon is important for climate because it transports large amounts of heat and moisture from the ocean to the land. The monsoon is also important for human settlement because agriculture depends on monsoon rainwater. Using a record derived from a Chinese stalagmite, Zhang et al. present a detailed history of the Asian Monsoon over the past 1800 years that indicates connections between the monsoon, solar irradiation, Northern Hemispheric temperature, and glacial cycles in Europe. Shifts in the strength of the monsoon also correlate with the succession of Chinese dynasties, underscoring the importance that climate can have on human societies.


A Test of Climate, Sun, and Culture Relationships from an 1810-Year Chinese Cave Record

Pingzhong Zhang et al.

A record from Wanxiang Cave, China, characterizes Asian Monsoon (AM) history over the past 1810 years. The summer monsoon correlates with solar variability, Northern Hemisphere and Chinese temperature, Alpine glacial retreat, and Chinese cultural changes. It was generally strong during Europe's Medieval Warm Period and weak during Europe's Little Ice Age, as well as during the final decades of the Tang, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties, all times that were characterized by popular unrest. It was strong during the first several decades of the Northern Song Dynasty, a period of increased rice cultivation and dramatic population increase. The sign of the correlation between the AM and temperature switches around 1960, suggesting that anthropogenic forcing superseded natural forcing as the major driver of AM changes in the late 20th century.

Science 7 November 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5903, pp. 940 - 942



For years David Bellamy was one of the best known faces on TV. A respected botanist and the author of 35 books, he had presented around 400 programmes over the years and was appreciated by audiences for his boundless enthusiasm. Yet for more than 10 years he has been out of the limelight, shunned by bosses at the BBC where he made his name, as well as fellow scientists and environmentalists. His crime? Bellamy says he doesn't believe in man-made global warming. Here he reveals why - and the price he has paid for not toeing the orthodox line on climate change. "When I first stuck my head above the parapet to say I didn't believe what we were being told about global warming I had no idea what the consequences would be.

I am a scientist and I have to follow the directions of science but when I see that the truth is being covered up I have to voice my opinions. According to official data, in every year since 1998 world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased. Why, then, do we not hear about that? The sad fact is that since I said I didn't believe human beings caused global warming I've not been allowed to make a TV programme. [.] The idiot fringe have accused me of being like a Holocaust denier, which is ludicrous. Climate change is all about cycles, it's a natural thing and has always happened.

When the Romans lived in Britain they were growing very good red grapes and making wine on the borders of Scotland. It was evidently a lot warmer. If you were sitting next to me 10,000 years ago we'd be under ice. So thank God for global warming for ending that ice age; we wouldn't be here otherwise. People such as former American Vice-President Al Gore say that millions of us will die because of global warming - which I think is a pretty stupid thing to say if you've got no proof. And my opinion is that there is absolutely no proof that carbon dioxide is anything to do with any impending catastrophe.

The science has, quite simply, gone awry. In fact, it's not even science any more, it's anti-science. [.] The thing that annoys me most is that there are genuine environmental problems that desperately require attention. I'm still an environmentalist, I'm still a Green and I'm still campaigning to stop the destruction of the biodiversity of the world. But money will be wasted on trying to solve this global warming "problem" that I would much rather was used for looking after the people of the world.

More here

Where Have All the Hurricanes Gone?

The Greenies told us that frequent hurricanes were a sure-fire proof of global warming. So are infrequent hurricanes a sure-fire proof of global cooling? As the article below points out, however, it was all hogwash to start with. There is no clear or simple relationship between temperature and hurricanes.

Ryan Maue of Florida State University documents that Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone activity is the lowest that has been observed in the past 30 years. Before you get all excited and jump to conclusions, I am happy to report that the latest research shows that more, less, or the same level of tropical cyclone activity is perfectly consistent with predictions of climate models. So the record inactivity should definitely be seen as vindicating the prediction of climate models as well as a potential harbinger of things to come, or perhaps the calm before the storm, or something.


British choking on their "recycled" garbage

Thousands of tonnes of rubbish collected from household recycling bins may have to be stored in warehouses and former military bases to save them from being dumped after a collapse in prices. Collection companies and councils are running out of space to store paper, plastic bottles and steel cans because prices are so low that the materials cannot be shifted. Collections of mixed plastics, mixed paper and steel reached record levels in the summer but the "bottom fell out of the market" and they are now worthless. The plunge in prices was caused by a sudden fall in demand for recycled materials, especially from China, as manufacturers reduced their output in line with the global economc downturn.

Local authorities and collection companies are so concerned about the mountains of paper, plastic bottles and cans that they are having to store that they have called for storage regulations to be eased. Officials from the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are considering changing the regulations on the storage of recycled waste and are expected to issue new guidelines next week. They have been urged to relax the rules limiting the quantity of waste that can be stored and to allow it to be kept in secure warehouses or abandoned military bases and former airfields.

Steve Eminton, of, said: "Warehouses around Britain could start to be filled with waste paper, metal and plastic bottles. There's nowhere for these materials to go at the moment. It's rapidly becoming a very serious problem." He said that mountains of plastic bottles, paper and steel cans were likely to build up by the end of the year and that the problem would be exacerbated by the Christmas festivities, when a surge of packaging materials and drinks containers would fill recycling bins.

The speed at which prices collapsed has taken the recycling industry and local authorities by surprise and has been made worse because recycling rates are at record levels. Jane Kennedy, the Environment Minister, will announce this morning that more than 90 per cent of local authorities are meeting or exceeding their household recycling targets. East Lindsey District Council has the highest recycling rate, with 58.4 per cent of all household rubbish, and 18 other authorities exceeded 50 per cent.

Stuart Foster, of Recoup, which advises on plastic recycling, said that mixed plastics had slumped from about $400 a tonne to the point of worthlessness in only four weeks. He was confident, however, that the low value would be temporary as at least three mixed-plastic facilities will open next year, reducing the nation's dependence on Chinese demand. Mr Foster urged officials to be flexible on the regulations and said that with sensible management the plastic, paper and steel could be stored safely until prices rise. "We think there's light at the end of the tunnel but it's going to take some work," he said.

Staff at Waste Resources Action Programme (Wrap) and the Local Government Association have begun investigating the extent of the problem. A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: "The credit crunch has caused prices to fall in the materials and market and clearly this potentially has implications for councils." Steve Creed, of Wrap, said: "We think the current extremely low prices are likely to be temporary. Recovered materials are still a valuable resource. They have undergone similar price volatility in the past."



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


Thursday, November 06, 2008


A fun email from Paul Biggs [] below:

The October edition of Which? Magazine [in the UK] reported on domestic wind turbines in an article entitled 'Wind turbine blows cold.' Which? installed one in a house and monitored it from December 2007 to June 2008. The result was that it used more electricity than it generated. This is because the turbine includes an "inverter" that converts the energy into electricity to go into the mains, and the inverter needs power which it draws whether the wind is turning the turbine or not. If the 'greens' want to 'save the planet' with domestic wind turbines, then they will have to make sure that they live somewhere very windy. Given the energy used and costs involved in manufacturing, installing, maintaining, plus eventual decommissioning - there may not be anywhere that is windy enough!


Below is an op/ed piece that Bill Gray recently sent to his local Fort Collins paper. Bill Gray is a Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University where he has worked since 1961. He holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago in Geophysical Science

The US green movement is moving forward with its agenda to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) gas emissions. Colorado Governor Ritter has proposed various CO2 reduction measures. Many US state legislatures are beginning to mandate that various percentages of future electrical energy generated come from renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is currently much more expensive than traditional fossil fuel energy. Many cities and states across the US are starting to implement costly programs to reduce CO2 emissions. I doubt that the public is aware of the heavy economic penalties to be paid by efforts to substantially reduce CO2 gases. These CO2 reduction efforts are beginning to be made just at the time we must start to adjust to the serious economic problems associated with the recent severe stock market downturn.

There is little the US can do about reducing global CO2 amounts. China, India and other third world countries will not agree to limit their CO2 emissions. It is important for our country to maintain its vibrant and growing economy to have sufficient resources to invest in research on new energy sources and in further development of our, as yet untapped, domestic energy supplies. It is more important to make progress on reducing our dependence on foreign energy than reducing CO2. We should not let an organized cabal of environmentalists, government bureaucrats, and liberal media groups brainwash us into going in a direction not in our country's best interest.

I have been studying and teaching weather and climate for over 50 years and have been making real-time seasonal hurricane forecasts for a quarter-century. I and many of my colleagues with comparable experience do not believe that CO2 gas emissions are anywhere near the threat to global climate as the environmental and liberal media groups have led us to believe. Most people are not aware of how flimsy are the physical arguments behind the human-induced warming scenarios. There has yet to be a really open and honest scientific dialogue on this topic among our country's most experienced weather and climate experts. Most knowledgeable global warming skeptics have been ignored and/or their motives questioned. Many have been falsely tagged as tools of the fossil fuel industry - reminding me a bit of the McCarthy period. By contrast, those harping the loudest on the dangers of CO2, such as Al Gore, typically have little real understanding or experience in how the atmosphere and ocean really function.

The Global Climate Model (GCM) simulations by large US and foreign government laboratories and universities on which so much of the warming science scenarios are based have basic flaws. These global models are not able to correctly model the globe's small-scale precipitation processes. They have incorrectly parameterized the rain processes in their models to give an unrealistically warming influence from CO2 increases. These GCMs also do not properly model the globe's deep ocean circulation which appears to be the primary driving mechanism for most of the global temperature increases that have been observed. Most GCMs indicate that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 towards the end of the 21st century will lead to global warming of 2-5oC. My best estimate of global warming for a doubling of CO2 is about 0.3-0.5oC, 5-10 times less than the models estimate. These GCMs have yet to demonstrate predictive skill at forecasting the next few years of global temperature. Why should we believe their predictions 50 to 100 years in the future?

Many thousands of scientists from the US and around the globe do not accept the human-induced global warming hypothesis as it has been presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The summary statements of the IPCC reports are strongly biased to upholding the human influence on climate. The IPCC summaries often do not conform to the material in the reports. Most known warming skeptics, such as myself and a number of my very experienced colleagues were never invited to participate in the IPCC process or even contacted by the IPCC for our views.

It is impossible to objectively separate the small amount of CO2 induced global warming that may have occurred from the large natural induced global temperature changes which are always occurring. There has been little global warming the last 10 years. Due to recent changes in the global ocean circulation that I and others foresee as the basin for a modest cooling of global temperature in the next 10-15 years. This would be similar to the global cooling that was experienced between the mid-1940s to mid-1970s.

Reducing atmospheric CO2 will not by itself solve any of the globe's many environmental problems. A slightly warmer globe due to CO2 increases would, in the net, likely be more beneficial to humankind than a slightly cooler globe. Crop and vegetation growth would be stimulated by higher amounts of atmospheric CO2. We should not allow ourselves to be stampeded into costly CO2 reduction programs of little or no real benefit but much economic detriment.


Republican Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma's blunt-speaking conservative senator, won a third full term Tuesday as he cruised past Democrat Andrew Rice, a state senator and former missionary. Inhofe was elected in 1994 to replace Democrat David Boren, who resigned to become a university president. Rice, 35, campaigned aggressively for the post, but it was an uphill fight from the start against Inhofe, a fixture in Oklahoma politics for five decades. The 73-year-old Inhofe spent $6 million in his re-election bid, more than twice as much as Rice, a freshman state senator from Oklahoma City.

Inhofe, a former mayor of Tulsa and ex-congressman, has sparred with environmentalists over the years, calling the idea of manmade global warming a hoax. Although he is known as one of the Senate's most conservative members, Inhofe bragged of being effective in obtaining road money and other funds for public projects.

More here

A Change in Climate for Climate Change Policy

Come what dramatic political and economic changes may occur, a refrain persists within the media, industry, and the U.S. Congress that onerous federal mandates to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) are inevitable. I don't think so. In less than a year, many unanticipated developments have complicated the political dynamics of "ending the era of fossil fuels" through the enactment of carbon reduction mandates. Consider six such developments that may give pause to policymakers otherwise inclined to support these measures:

* When the price of oil topped $4.00 a gallon and food inflation reached almost 8 percent, most voters got it: price and security first! At least a dozen recent polls show that three-fourths of likely voters put far more importance on the U.S. oil supply than global warming. This prevalent public opinion dissolved the U.S. Congress' long and intransigent opposition to increased domestic oil production. In late September, the 30-year bans on offshore oil production expired. The rapid decline in the price of oil, as a result of economic slowdown, has not yet squelched broad support for more domestic oil production.

* Energy independence has become a battle cry across the political spectrum. The painfully high price of oil increased the public's recognition that there are no near-term, realistic alternatives to the dominance of fossil fuels in the U.S. energy supply. American dependence on unreliable, if not inimical, sources of foreign oil worries Main Street far more than it used to.

* The European Union's (EU) Emission Trading System (ETS), once the model for a U.S. program, continues to fail. Europe's program is not reducing CO2 and has lead to higher energy costs. The U.S. has reduced more CO2 by market efficiencies and without any complicated cap-and-trade programs. Growing numbers of EU member countries, including Italy, now want to delay (read: scratch) the ETS because of economic woes approaching crisis proportions.

* By the time the Lieberman-Warner bill (S.2191) made it to the U.S. Senate floor last summer, the veil on its staggering cost had been lifted. The world's most ambitious, enforceable carbon regime to date, S.2191 would impose exorbitant costs and require unprecedented expansion of the federal control, but would yield no measurable effect on global climate unless China and India undertook similarly draconian programs.

* Far more substantial climate science emerges and is a game-changer for the reigning science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Observational evidence from NASA satellites indicates little to no heat-forcing effect from manmade CO2. This NASA data is empirical science, far superior to the uncertain IPCC computer models.

* And the clincher: the specter of global recession. Worldwide financial turmoil presents the most hard-hitting obstacle to mandatory CO2 reduction. While figures may differ, no one doubts that CO2 reduction mandates would lead to far higher prices for fuel, power, food, and other basic consumer goods. Until the U.S. and global economies stabilize, the least prudent among us might delay CO2 regulations that would overturn our energy economy.

Amidst the current economic maelstrom, some congressional leaders perversely cling to carbon regulation as a new federal revenue source to compensate for a reduced tax base. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal government's auction of carbon allocations, e.g., power companies forced to buy permission to keep generating electricity, could generate trillions in revenue. Inconvenient facts, however, may have changed the political climate necessary for major CO2 reduction programs absent available control technology.

In the last year, many policy makers and voters have learned some hard facts about energy and the economy. If an ounce of reason might prevail, climate change policymakers would acknowledge that mandates are premature and impracticable. Immediate steps should be toward extending the new empirical climate science and market-based development of energy efficient technologies. Natural variability - or change, simply speaking - is the hallmark of climate and politics; not easy to predict and never inevitable.



Once upon a time, ethanol was seen as the future of clean energy and as leading the U.S. to energy independence. That was 2004, but Wall Street wised up fast that ethanol was ready for a bust. So, in 2006 and 2007, when Wall Street firms started investing their own money in renewable energy companies, they left ethanol far behind.

"It's such a waste that the government gave free handouts and subsidies to grow a business that wasn't sustainable," said one investment banker familiar with the sector.

It is one of the few things Wall Street investment banks have gotten right lately, while private investors including Bill Gates and Richard Branson were bullish on ethanol as recently as January. We were thinking of this in reading about how this weekend ethanol producer VeraSun Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It was hardly a surprise, given that a month ago, VeraSun was predicting a steep loss and hired Morgan Stanley to evaluate its options. And the company isn't alone; the entire ethanol sector is getting its comeuppance. Goldman Sachs Group analysts today dropped coverage of all ethanol companies because of the plunge in market valuations for ethanol companies and what the analyst see as their dim future...

In a 120-page sector-wide research report last year, Morgan Stanley research analyst David Edwards warned investors against falling victim to short-term euphoria for renewable-energy companies. He compared the current climate around renewable-energy companies to the early days of the technology boom in 1996.

More here

Australia's Woolworths abuses its market dominance to dictate to customers

Unlike the USA, where it is defunct, Woolworths is by far Australia's biggest retailer. And they are even "Greener" than the politicians. Below is a letter I wrote to them followed by their reply. Note that to them it is "progressive" to deny choice to customers. That's certainly consistent with "progressive" politics generally. And in the best Fascist style they say that "our decision is in the broader best interests of the community", and stuff the individual. Clearly, even having a little power corrupts.

The fact that I much prefer the warm yellow light of a tungsten bulb to the stark and glary light of a fluorescent tube just does not matter to our Green dictators, obviously. Fluorescent lights have been around almost as long as tungsten globes but most people have always chosen the tungsten ones. So I am not alone in my preferences. And it would hurt no-one to allow people to have their preferences in the matter. So what it all shows is that the Fascist urge to dictate to other people is sadly still with us. The only difference is that it now justifies itself by a Greenie ideology which is just as crazy as the old racist one

TO: Chairman, Woolworths
17 Oct 2008

Dear Mr Strong

I have the feeling that Woolworths is departing from commercial principles in its stocking polices and as both a shareholder and a customer I would like you to talk to management about it.

I notice in particular that Woolworths seems to be pushing the twisty lightbulb barrow very hard. You do stock convenient sixpacks of the old tungsten globes but they are almost always sold out at my local Buranda branch -- while every possible iteration of the twisty globe is always available. Shouldn't the firm be stocking what people want to buy?

Please remind management that they are running a business and not a government Department.

Woolworths Limited
29th October 2008

Dear Dr Ray,

Thank you for your letter and for taking the time to write. At Woolworths we appreciate customer feedback, both positive and negative, and see it as an opportunity to improve our business.

You are right that we are actively supportive of the new 'twisty' light bulb. The reason for this is that The Federal Government announced in June 2008 that many incandescent bulbs currently on retail shelves would be banned from import in November 2008; and banned from retail sale completely in November 2009. The list of products includes the six pack bulbs you refer to in your letter. Whilst the traditional incandescent bulbs remain popular, their sales volumes have been rapidly decreasing as more customers make the switch to the Energy Efficient alternates.

Woolworths has taken a decision as a corporation to remove the banned bulbs from sale completely as of November 2008, a full year ahead of the legislative requirement.

We've undertaken this action as we fully support the Government initiative to reduce the use of inefficient energy products. The move is consistent with Woolworth's decision to pursue an ambitious carbon reduction target of 40% by 2015 across its entire business through a broad range of initiatives.

Historically the Energy Efficient alternates have carried a price premium to the incandescent globe and this has discouraged some customers from making the switch. This is now more than ever a false economy as the Energy Efficient alternates last many times longer than the incandescent bulb and use a fifth of the energy to operate. Along with this the retail price of Energy Efficient lights has decreased significantly in recent times meaning that real savings are to be made within twelve months of use. The diversity of styles and quality of the Energy Efficient product has also greatly improved at the same time.

We appreciate our progressive move to remove the older inefficient incandescent bulbs will not please everyone, but trust our decision is in the broader best interests of the community.

Naum Onikul
Director of Supermarkets


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


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

NASA'S Hansen "adjusts" temperatures to promote warming alarmism

By Meteorologist Art Horn

Recently I was looking at some graphical temperature data from NASA. I was able to find a graph of United States temperature from 1880 up to 1999. I then went to the NASA GISS site and found the most recent plot of this data. I wanted to compare the two and see if there had been any changes in the trends. Each graph was on a different scale so I had to fit one to the other so they could be compared. After that I saved each image and opened them each in a simple paint program. In this way I could toggle between the two and visually see any changes that might have taken place.

Go here and move your mouse wheel back and forward to toggle between the two

Well it was quite an eye opener! Going back and forth between the images there is a clear cooling the temperatures before 1970 and a clear warming of the temperatures after 1970. It is unmistakable and quite remarkable. Figure one is the temperature data from 1880 to 1999. Figure two shows the most recent plot. I suggest you save each image in your computer then bring them back up in some program that allows you to toggle rapidly back and forth so you can see the changes.

We all know that Dr. James Hansen is one of the worlds most visible global warming alarmists. He is also caretaker of the NASA GISS data. It would appear that he is not happy with the trend of temperature in the United States. It would also appear that he is doing something about it. By adjusting temperatures in the past downward and adjusting more recent temperatures upward we get an amplification (or at least the appearance of one) of the rise in temperature between the late 1970s and the late 1990s.

If these adjustments continue we will eventually have a new "Hockey Stick" graph. The old Hockey Stick has been broken and thrown away by most -- although Dr. Mann is attempting to duct tape it back together again. Now Dr. Hansen is gradually fashioning a new stick by adjusting the United States temperatures more to his liking.

On September 13th , 2008 I wrote a letter to Dr. Hansen's boss at NASA Michael Griffin explaining my dissatisfaction of having Dr. Hansen in charge of the very data that is used to support his alarmist point of view. To date I have not received a reply.


More crooked Greenie "science"

Text only reproduced below. See the original for graphics

Bill Chameides says "global warming" is still happening. It isn't. As the global temperature graph below shows, all four of the world's major global surface temperature datasets (NASA GISS; RSS; UAH; and Hadley/University of East Anglia) show a decline in temperatures that have now persisted for seven years.

Chameides' graph overleaf appears to have been tampered with to exclude the very rapid cooling that occurred between 2007 (the curve stops in January 2007, when a strong el Nino artificially but temporarily boosted temperatures) and 2008. The fall in temperatures between January 2007 and January 2008, carefully not shown on Chameides' graph, was the greatest January-January fall since records began in 1880. Furthermore, Chameides's graph - instead of presenting a proper five-year running mean - merely cherry-picks certain points on the running-mean graph (which is not itself shown) so as to suggest, falsely, that global temperatures are still rising. This appears a deliberate and less than honest technique, characteristic of the desperation of those who had staked their careers and reputations on their belief in a new religion whose principal tenet - worldwide warming - have been falsified by worldwide cooling.

Chameides' graph appears to have been truncated to exclude the very rapid global cooling from 2007 to 2008. Also, the 5-year running-mean curve has been deleted to allow the blogger to select points that appear - falsely - to show continuously-rising global temperature. The matter can be put in a longer-term perspective by showing the entire satellite record of temperature, right up to date

The UAH graph provides a complete answer to the Chameides' attempt to suggest that "skeptics" are confusing short-term and longer-term temperature changes. The year 2008 will turn out to have been no warmer than 1980 - 28 years ago. This is not a short-run change: the cooling trend set in as far back as late 2001, seven full years ago, and there has been no net warming since 1995 on any measure.

Next, Chameides attempts to suggest that the recent cooling is caused by solar activity. He could well be right - however, if so, by the same token the warming that stopped in 1998 could also have been caused by solar activity - there was, after all, a solar Grand Maximum in the last 70 years of the 20th century, during which the sun was more active and for longer than at almost any previous similar period in the whole of the past 11,400 years.

Scafetta and West (2008) attribute more than two-thirds of the warming of the past 50 years to solar activity - the latest in a series of papers in all parts of the scientific literature that explicitly question the exaggerated estimates of climate sensitivity perpetrated by the IPCC.

Chameides' final, desperate point is that the "green diamonds" he has so carefully selected from the 5-year running-mean graph that he has equally carefully blotted out show continuously-rising temperatures that overlay what he calls the short-term cooling. Not so.

As the first graph above shows, the linear regression not just for the past five years but for the past seven years shows a decisive and continuing cooling. Keenlyside et al. (2008) do not expect a new record year for global temperature to occur until at least 2015. If they are right, then the IPCC's climate-sensitivity estimates must be - as Monckton (2008) finds them to be - prodigious exaggerations. False data will no longer convince any impartial mind to believe in the fantasy of anthropogenic "global warming"


Climate, coral and the attention-seeking Dane

Can Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg read a textbook?

Once again Hoagy has been on TV and in the news recently moaning piteously at the impending doom of Australia's Great Barrier Reef due to global warming. So I thought the brief history lesson below might explain why he is essentially talking though his anus. The reef has been around for half a million years at least, and is still there despite going through far greater climate upheavals than we have seen in our times.

The excerpt is from World Atlas of Coral Reefs by Mark D. Spalding et. al.

Hoagy is a crook.

The Great Global Warming Swindle

Frontpage Interview's guest today is Martin Durkin, the producer of the documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle

FP: Martin Durkin, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Durkin: Thanks so much for having me

FP: What is the science behind global warming theory?

Durkin: Lousy. If you examine the mountain of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) literature on this, you'll find the vast majority of it concerns the possible (projected) effects of climate change. Most of this is highly suspect and does not address the central question of whether humans are causing the climate to change. The climate has always changed. Climate change is nothing new. The question of whether we are having anything to do about it, of course, rests on the CO2 question.

FP: Ok tell us about CO2.

Durkin: CO2 is a very small gas in the atmosphere. It is vital of course - without it we wouldn't be here. But it's small. It's not at all the most important greenhouse gas, and greenhouse gases themselves, and the `greenhouse effect', form only one small part of the earth's climate system (and not a very well understood part either). There is no correlation between CO2 and temperature on any significant timescale, except where you find, in ice core data, CO2 levels being influenced by temperature levels (there's a time lag between the two phenomena). Even global warmers admit that, for CO2 to make any difference, there would need to be some mechanism to amplify its effect in the atmosphere. No such amplifier has been shown to exist. They haven't even been able to demonstrate how one might work in theory (the trouble is the only conceivable amplifier would be water vapour, and water vapour makes clouds, which are rather famous for their cooling effect - at least the low level ones).

So what are we left with? Temperature has risen, slightly, falteringly and gradually for about 150 years or so (even `warmer' scientists can't claim that this started because of us). The period before this rise has long been known as a `Little Ice Age', from which we are evidently making a welcome recovery. We only started pumping out CO2 properly in the postwar boom, but what did temperatures do? In the postwar period they fell, till about the mid-70s. Then they went up again (just like they did at the beginning of the 20th Century, and then for the past ten years they've more or less flat-lined, decreasing slightly. Where is the evidence that humans are changing the climate? This is nothing but prejudice. It is not serious science.

FP: If the science is so faulty, why does the culture at large rely on it so much? What political underpinnings are involved in this scare? Who profits?

Durkin: There are people who profit, and that is part of the story, but I think not the most important part. I have followed green politics for a while now. I was asked to make a documentary series for Channel 4 in the UK more than a decade ago (they got very cross with me) so I've been sucked into it in a way. It is transparently obvious that the greens sit squarely in the tradition of Romanticism. Like the romantics, they hate industry, love nature, idealise peasant life, they think capitalism is wicked, they think people in modern society lead depraved shallow lives and have forgotten the true value of things, they don't like cars or supermarkets or lots of proles taking cheap long-haul holidays, etc, etc.

FP: What is Romanticism?

Durkin: Romanticism is in essence anti-Capitalist. Not in the sense of traditional Marxism. The Marxists wanted to go forwards not backwards. They wanted to build bigger factories than the capitalists, not folksy medieval craft workshops. No. Romanticism was a kind of reactionary anti-capitalism. And it was the ideology and aesthetic worldview of those people who lost most, or gained least from capitalism. I think it's the same today. In Europe, the toffs (Prince Charles and his gang) are green because they have lost their position in society. The intellectuals - teachers, lecturers, scientists are green because they don't have the status they used to. (Not long ago, a professor would have been someone important, had a big house, maids etc). These days, plumbers make more money.

It's not easy to explain this properly in a few lines, but this I think is the real basis for all those anti-modern green prejudices. They hated all the factories and cars long before global warming came along. The importance of global warming is it linked what otherwise would a have been a disparate bunch of prejudices and gave them some moral impetus. So you can say that scientists profit from global warming (grants etc), but that's the icing on the cake.

You can easily tell that global warming is really a political idea rather than a scientific one. In any gathering in polite society you can tell who will be `pro-global warming' and who will be sceptical, in the same way as you can guess who will hate George Bush, or who will be sympathetic to Sarah Palin. Go into a party of lefties in New York and tell them the science on global warming doesn't stack up. They don't say, `Good Lord, what a relief, I thought we were in for it.' Instead they get very cross with you. They're terribly attached to their apocalypse and don't take kindly to people rocking the boat.

FP: So tell us how you have rocked the boat and what reactions you have received for doing so.

Durkin: It started more than ten years ago when Sara Ramsden, who was head of science programmes at Channel 4 in the UK, asked me to make a documentary series exploring the scientific basis for environmentalist arguments. The result was a thing called `Against Nature'. The series argued that there was no rational basis for the green attack on industrial society (which is getting cleaner rather than dirtier, in which forests have long been expanding rather than contracting, etc.) or for their loathing and fear of population increases in the developing world, the spectre of `resource depletion' etc. In short the scare stories were without scientific foundation. They were aesthetic or political rather than rational.

This upset the greens to no end. Then another head of science programmes at Channel 4, a chap called Charles Furneaux, invited me to make a feature-length film about genetic modification. This was in the middle of the green scare about `Frankenstein food'. Once again, we found there was no scientific basis whatsoever for the scare (everyone knew there wasn't, but no-one seemed to be saying it, at least not on TV). They didn't like this film either.

Then another head of science at Channel 4, Hamish Mykura, suggested I make another feature-length film on global warming. Hamish knew I considered global warming to be yet another daft green scare - perhaps the mother of all green scares.

FP: And it was easy to rock the boat on global warming?

Durkin: Very easy. You just look at the science. It's not there. All the data we have (real life data) contradicts their absurd models. But there was something else that upset them. They like to depict anyone who disagrees with them as corrupt. It was quite obvious in the film that this was nothing more than a very unpleasant attempt at censorship. Worse than this, they like to pose as radicals, with the best interests of poor people at heart. What we did in the film was to mention the fact that a very large section of the world's population still does not enjoy the benefits of electricity. And we described in simple terms what this meant. These people burn wood or dried dung in their homes to cook their food. They have no artificial light or heat in their homes (huts). Their wretched fires give off horrific amounts of smoke and eat up fuel (trees). When it gets dark they must sleep. When it gets cold they shiver (it gets cold in Africa too you know). And of course no electricity also means there are no fancy things like water purification plants.

The death toll from the resulting smoke and bad water is horrendous. With malaria (shall we get into the successful green campaign against DDT?), these are among the biggest causes of death in the world. Several million children under five die each year from dysentery and respiratory diseases, many millions of women too (who do the cooking), all for want of something we in the West take for granted. (No electricity also means you use up a lot of trees - upsetting if you're one of those nasty people who rate trees over humans. Indeed, it's the first world where the forests are expanding so rapidly - which the greens always forget to mention).

Getting electricity is a matter of life and death for about a third of the world's population. Africa has coal and oil, but the greens say these must be left untouched. This is barbaric. To try to restrict the world's poorest people to using the most expensive and unreliable forms of electrical generation (wind and solar) is effectively to tell them they can't have electricity. I have filmed quite a bit in poor countries. The problems they face are obvious and upsetting. This more than anything makes me feel angry at the green movement. They kill people, they keep them in misery. This, as much as the sober assessment of global warming theory, rocked the boat. The greens have hated me ever since Against Nature. It doesn't bother me at all. I regard them as the lowest of the low.

FP: There seems to be a mental illness of some kind, associated with the leftist vision in general. They almost don't care about reality at all, but only their political faith. The moment one cause is discredited they just move on to the next. How do you diagnose it? It's a hatred of one's own society, a hatred of oneself, or what? I know you have already labelled anti-capitalism as one ingredient, but please expand on the mindset here a bit.

Durkin: I remember being young and foolish and a leftie. Reality was always a problem. Communist countries were clearly dreadful. The working class was obviously a heck of lot better off (instead of poorer) and they were not convinced by the arguments of middle-class Marxist-types (very sensibly). In fact the working class has always been a huge let-down to the left . as it is now to the greens.

Capitalism had delivered on a truly spectacular scale. This called for a bit of fancy footwork in theory terms. Hence reviving `alienation' as a theme (Marcuse's `One-Dimentional Man' etc). Yes, we were all richer and healthier and more educated etc under capitalism, but we were more spiritually shallow. This drove the Marxists into the Romantic camp. Peasants are `whole', whereas industrial workers are alienated from their `true selves'. It also led to post-structuralism. If Reason told us that capitalism had been a resounding success, then reason itself must be suspect. Rationalism was `just another narrative'. The overuse and misuse of the term `narrative' reflects the heavy influence of muddle-headed English professors in this process. The left had lost the argument, so logical argument itself was to be attacked.

It does not upset the left, or the greens at all, that they are proved wrong again and again and again. They are motivated by things other than Reason. Sadly, this is true also of people who, professionally, are meant to be intellectuals.

Capitalism has delivered a decent education to very large numbers for the first time in human history -- despite the state being so incompetent in this area. The market value of intellectuals -- especially post-structuralist English critics -- is not high. No wonder they're not fond of the market. Academic scientists too, I find, are often left-leaning, and you can see this in the complexion of support for `global warming'.

I think we have a battle on our hands. An intellectual and moral battle -- there is a lot at stake. And, sadly, too few of us recognise it, or understand where the battle-lines are drawn. To fight for the values of the enlightenment properly -- the interlocking values of Freedom, Reason and Progress -- we need to understand fully why they are so desperately important. We also need to understand properly the character and nature of the opposition. The waters are muddy at the moment. We need make them clear.


Alarmists Still Heated Even As World Cools

It's been a bad year for global warming alarmists. Record cold periods and snowfalls are occurring around the globe. The hell that the radicals have promised is freezing over

As the British House of Commons debated a climate-change bill that pledged the United Kingdom to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050, London was hit by its first October snow since 1922. Apparently Mother Nature wasn't paying attention. The British people, however, are paying attention - to reality. A poll found that 60% of them doubt the claims that global warming is both man-made and urgent.

Elsewhere, the Swiss lowlands last month received the most snow for any October since records began. Zurich got 20 centimeters, breaking the record of 14 centimeters set in 1939. Ocala, Fla., experienced its second-lowest October temperature since 1850. October temperatures fell to record lows in Oregon as well. On Oct. 10, Boise, Idaho, got the earliest snow in its history - 1.7 inches. That beat the old record by seven-tenths of an inch and one day on the calendar.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where winter was winding down, Durban, South Africa, had its coldest September night in history in the middle of the month. Some regions of the country had unusual late-winter snows. A month earlier, New Zealand officials reported that Mount Ruapehu had its largest snow base ever. At the top of the world, the International Arctic Research Center reported last month, there was 29% more Arctic sea ice this year than last.

None of this matters, of course, to the warming zealots. It doesn't matter if it's too dry or too wet, too hot or too cold. All of it, they say, is caused by global warming. We believe, however, as do many reputable scientists, that the warming and cooling of the Earth is a natural phenomenon dictated by forces beyond our control, from ocean currents to solar activity.

The latest warming trend, which appears to have ended in 1998, is the result of the end of the Little Ice Age, which extended from roughly the 16th century to the 19th. During that period, Muir Glacier in Alaska filled Glacier Bay. In fact, when the first Russian explorers arrived in Alaska in the 1740s, there was no Glacier Bay - just a wall of ice where the entrance would be. As the Earth warmed, long before SUVs roamed the globe, Alaska's glaciers also warmed and began to recede, starting in the 1800s.

All that may be changing. During the winter and summer of 2007-2008, unusually large amounts of winter snow were followed by unusually cold temperatures in June, July and August. "In June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound," says U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia. "On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July." It was the worst summer he'd seen in two decades. As the Anchorage Daily News reports, "Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind if snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too." It's been "a long time on most glaciers," Molnia says, "where they've actually had positive mass balance."

In other words, more snow is falling in the winter than melts in the summer, making the glaciers thicker in the middle. Glaciers can appear to be shrinking even as they are growing. Photos taken from ships can record receding edges even as mass is building inland. When they get thick enough, the weight forces the glacier to advance. The U.S. may owe its ascension to a global power on the global warming that began with the end of the Little Ice Age, which almost doomed the American Revolution. George Washington's famous winter at Valley Forge was part of that natural phenomenon.

As the climate warmed from 1800 to 1900, the U.S. tripled in size, spreading westward to straddle a continent. The population of the windy and very cold trading post known as Chicago grew from 4,000 in 1800 to 1.5 million by 1900, sitting on a great lake carved by glaciers long since receded. Due to a decline in solar activity and other factors, the Earth is cooling and has been since 1998. And a peer-reviewed study published in April by Nature predicts the world will continue cooling at least through 2015. Now, if only we could get the warming alarmists to face facts and cool it as well.


Another nasty one for the peak oilers

North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.

A U.S. Geological Survey assessment, released April 10, shows a 25-fold increase in the amount of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency's 1995 estimate of 151 million barrels of oil.

Technically recoverable oil resources are those producible using currently available technology and industry practices. USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources. New geologic models applied to the Bakken Formation, advances in drilling and production technologies, and recent oil discoveries have resulted in these substantially larger technically recoverable oil volumes. About 105 million barrels of oil were produced from the Bakken Formation by the end of 2007.

The USGS Bakken study was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol as required by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2000.

The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. A "continuous" oil accumulation means that the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences. The next largest "continuous" oil accumulation in the U.S. is in the Austin Chalk of Texas and Louisiana, with an undiscovered estimate of 1.0 billions of barrels of technically recoverable oil.

"It is clear that the Bakken formation contains a significant amount of oil - the question is how much of that oil is recoverable using today's technology?" said Senator Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota. "To get an answer to this important question, I requested that the U.S. Geological Survey complete this study, which will provide an up-to-date estimate on the amount of technically recoverable oil resources in the Bakken Shale formation."

The USGS estimate of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil has a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels. Scientists conducted detailed studies in stratigraphy and structural geology and the modeling of petroleum geochemistry. They also combined their findings with historical exploration and production analyses to determine the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil estimates.

USGS worked with the North Dakota Geological Survey, a number of petroleum industry companies and independents, universities and other experts to develop a geological understanding of the Bakken Formation. These groups provided critical information and feedback on geological and engineering concepts important to building the geologic and production models used in the assessment.

Five continuous assessment units (AU) were identified and assessed in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana - the Elm Coulee-Billings Nose AU, the Central Basin-Poplar Dome AU, the Nesson-Little Knife Structural AU, the Eastern Expulsion Threshold AU, and the Northwest Expulsion Threshold AU.

At the time of the assessment, a limited number of wells have produced oil from three of the assessments units in Central Basin-Poplar Dome, Eastern Expulsion Threshold, and Northwest Expulsion Threshold. The Elm Coulee oil field in Montana, discovered in 2000, has produced about 65 million barrels of the 105 million barrels of oil recovered from the Bakken Formation.



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


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


A new paper by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows has been published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society under the title: 'Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends'. It points out that the various "goals" for CO2 reduction touted by politicians are unscientific and unattainable. The Abstract states:
The 2007 Bali conference heard repeated calls for reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions of 50 per cent by 2050 to avoid exceeding the 2C threshold. While such endpoint targets dominate the policy agenda, they do not, in isolation, have a scientific basis and are likely to lead to dangerously misguided policies. To be scientifically credible, policy must be informed by an understanding of cumulative emissions and associated emission pathways. This analysis considers the implications of the 2C threshold and a range of post-peak emission reduction rates for global emission pathways and cumulative emission budgets. The paper examines whether empirical estimates of greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2008, a period typically modelled within scenario studies, combined with short-term extrapolations of current emissions trends, significantly constrains the 2000-2100 emission pathways. The paper concludes that it is increasingly unlikely any global agreement will deliver the radical reversal in emission trends required for stabilization at 450 ppmv carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Similarly, the current framing of climate change cannot be reconciled with the rates of mitigation necessary to stabilize at 550 ppmv CO2e and even an optimistic interpretation suggests stabilization much below 650 ppmv CO2e is improbable.

Greenland ice cap 'uncertainty makes future predictions almost meaningless'?

The Greenland ice cap has been a focal point of recent climate change research because it is much more exposed to immediate global warming than the larger Antarctic ice sheet. Yet while the southern Greenland ice cap has been melting, it is still not clear how much this is contributing to rising sea levels, and much further research is needed.

A framework for such research was defined at a recent workshop organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF). "The main objectives were to establish current understanding, prioritise research needs, and develop proposals," said one of the ESF workshop's convenors, Professor Tavi Murray from the Glaciology Group at Swansea University in the UK. "I believe we did the first two very well and laid the ground for developing research proposals."

While recent observations indicate that the Greenland ice cap is melting fast, it is uncertain how much this is contributing to sea levels, as co-convenor Carl Boggild, from UNIS in Svalbard explained. "A major challenge is to determine what fraction of melt water really runs off, because in many places the melt water will just drain into the cold snow and refreeze," said Boggild.

One way to determine how much water is running off is to measure not just the area of the Greenland ice cap but also its thickness, but this is much more difficult. Alternatively, the run off process can be tracked both on the ground and by satellite, preferably integrating the two, as was discussed at the workshop. The need to establish a database of ground based observations, including run off, as well as the ongoing calving of ice bergs from the ice cap and occasional events such as earthquakes beneath the ice was discussed.

Perhaps the greatest immediate challenge identified at the workshop though lies in reducing the high levels of uncertainty over the current and future behaviour of the Greenland ice cap, and reconciling the many conflicting observations and predictions. In the case of the meltwater, estimates of the annual total vary by a factor of five from 50 gigatons (GT) to around 250 GT, and this level of uncertainty makes future predictions almost meaningless. "Laser satellites can detect elevation changes within 10 cm accuracy - but do not consider compaction of the snow," said Murray. "Other satellites using radio waves have a problem with penetration of the signal into the snow. And, yet another method from satellites, measuring the 'weight' of the ice sheet covers too large areas - so you also detect weight changes outside the ice sheet." But at least these multiple sources of data have the potential of being combined to yield more accurate estimates.

Not surprisingly, given these uncertainties, it is unclear even what the immediate future holds for the Greenland ice cap. As Murray noted, recent high levels of thinning in the south and around the edges have taken climatologists by surprise, but there is no guarantee it will continue. "There is much uncertainty presently, because observations of thinning have come as a surprise," said Murray. "We can basically say that three scenarios are possible regarding the enhanced thinning which has been observed recently. One is that it will keep escalating. Secondly it may remain constant even though the climate gets warmer, and thirdly the enhanced rate of thinning may stop altogether, with future thinning being purely the result of melting."

It is not clear yet which of these scenarios will transpire, but Murray and Boggild are convinced that the ESF workshop has prepared the ground for substantial progress, by bringing together the relevant diverse skills in glaciology, climatology, geology, modelling and satellite imaging. The workshop, Sea-Level Rise From The Greenland Ice Sheet, was held in Mallorca, Spain in May 2008.-European Science Foundation


The Battle Over Coal

The future of coal use is inextricably bound up with the climate debate. While nuclear power's carbonneutral credential has split climate alarmists, the reemergence of King Coal the bete noir of ecowarriors everywhere as the fuel of choice for power plants has reunited them. The result is an outright declaration of war on coal use. For Greens of all shades, coal and its carbon dioxide emissions represent nothing less than the apocalyptic tipping point for the planet's future. And in its cause, governments are to be swayed, courts besieged, and the battle taken to the streets.

If Europe was the early theater for the war between overly ambitious carbon dioxide emission-cutting targets and coal-fired power aspirations, the frontline today is Kingsnorth, 30 miles east of London. E.ON, Germany''s largest utility, has filed an application to replace Kingsnorth''s aging power plant, due for closure in 2015, with Britain''s first new coalfired plant in 30 years. With six other applications pending, the government''s decision over Kingsnorth could set a precedent for the U.K. and Europe. Kingsnorth has consequently become a cause celebre. Caroline Lucas of the U.K. Green Party said, Kingsnorth is absolutely on the frontline of whether or not we manage to avoid the worst of climate chaos. She adds, If Britain, one of the richest countries in the world, can't deal with climate change without resorting to coal, it undermines our message to any other country to try to do differently.

NASA''s James Hansen, the high priest of climate alarmism, has signed up for the cause, writing a passionate letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown with a copy to the Queen. In his letter of December 2007, Hansen says:

* Coal clearly emerges as central to the climate problem.

* Due to the dominant role of coal, the solution to global warming must include the phaseout of coal except for uses where the carbon dioxide is captured and sequestered.

* [The] decision to phase out coal use, unless the carbon dioxide is captured, is a global imperative.

* .[If] coalfired plants do not capture and sequester the carbon dioxide, it could be a tipping point for the world.

* .In setting your national policies, you have the potential to influence the planet.

Even though the new Kingsnorth plant would be 20 percent more efficient than existing ones, unimpressed Green campaigners have laid siege to the plant to register opposition. E.ON's bid proposes two new twin 800megawatt burners at a cost of around $3 billion. If the government gives the go-ahead, however, it is likely to include the demand for an experimental carbon capture facility at the additional cost, ultimately to end energy users, of up to $800 million.

With a third of British power stations due to close in the next 15 years, refusing E.ON''s application at Kingsnorth could effectively close the door to more coal use in the U.K. But ignoring substantial domestic British coal reserves comes at a price, as E.ON spokesman Jonathan Smith told Sky News. If we assume that no other coal use is to go ahead, [the U.K. will].have to buy more gas, said Smith, who added, The price of gas has an effect on wholesale electricity, so if you have 80 percent of electricity generated from gas, it''s a fair bet the price would go up. Rival energy giants British Gas and EDF have already recently increased gas prices by 35 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

Although Hansen appears sufficiently persuaded by a government green light for a Kingsnorth that includes a carbon capture and storage C.C.S. loading cost, the use of unproven C.C.S. techniques hasn't abated the Green lobby's ire.

Two-fifths of all global carbon emissions are caused by power generation from fossil fuel burning, with coal the major factor. Yet Germany, with the full support of the Climate Chancellor, has announced plans to build 16 new coalfired plants by 2012. In fact, across Europe roughly 40 new coal-fired plants are planned over the next five years, with Italy committed to converting its oil-fueled plants to coal. All of which reveals a contradictory faultline running between the E.U.'s energy policy and its rhetoric about fighting climate change.

In the U.S., 28 coal-fired plants are under construction, with another 66 planned. Here, too, the Greens' war on coal has begun to hurt. Citing the Supreme Court's decision last year to designate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, Georgia has blocked construction of the proposed coalfired Longleaf plant. Last year, regulators in Kansas rejected a similar application on grounds that global warming is a threat to public health and agriculture. In July, Wisconsin issued a directive stating that coal may not be considered as a fuel source at state-owned heating plants. According to Mark Goldes of Magnetic Power, Inc., climate concerns in the U.S. are beginning to play a major role, with more coal-fired plants being abandoned than rejected. He reports that 59 plants were cancelled or put on hold in 2007, with only 15 of those rejected outright by regulators. For the other 44, the utilities themselves made the decision.

Meanwhile, as the future of coal use in the West remains in doubt, the coalfired economies of China and India are going full steam ahead, trouncing Western attempts at minimizing global carbon dioxide emissions. China activates one new coalfired power station every week, and its runaway economy, with an astounding 10 percent annual growth, accounts for a massive 43 percent of emerging global coal demand.

India has recently approved eight huge new power plants that will boost electricity generating capacity by a massive 50 percent. The inherent dichotomy between energy and climate priorities is most vividly seen in the funding of these plants. . In April, just a year after Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, pledged to significantly increase funds in the fight against climate change, the Bank's board agreed to loan $450 million to help the new $4.1 billion Tata power plant in western India become operational. Due online by 2012, Tata is expected to immediately become one of the world''s top 50 emitters of carbon dioxide. Its carbon dioxide emissions alone will outstrip those of many medium-sized countries. According to the Bank''s Information Center analysis, investment in coal, gas, and natural gas projects rose last year by 60 percent, compared to a mere 9 percent rise for alternatives to hydrocarbon based power.

Zoellick blames the apparent contradiction on the need to meet the challenge of climate change without slowing the growth that will help overcome poverty. And right there is the crux of the matter. The Tata project will provide power for over 16 million people, most now lacking electricity and living in poverty. Western environmentalists often claim that such poor communities must retain their culture and identity, but all too often that is code for "remain in a powerless poverty." Who will tell the people of western India that they should forego their cheap coal-fired electricity?

Regardless of how the coal versus carbon dilemma is resolved, the sheer scale of carbon dioxide emissions from the fast-industrializing economies in Asia and beyond is destined to render the Greens' war on coal irrelevant. Irrelevant, except for the damage it would inflict on the poor, even in the West. More than this, the growing demand for coal, and the consequent rise in carbon emissions, is set to settle speculative claims over the alleged link between carbon dioxide and global temperatures. Even if the alarmists are proven right, at least we will have had the moral satisfaction of seeing a new coal-powered era delivering millions from grinding poverty, as we all sink beneath the waves.



Europe's plan to lead the world towards a deal on fighting climate change has been seriously imperilled by a backlash by Italy, Poland and other east European nations wary of the short-term costs.

France, which holds the European Union's rotating presidency, has staked its reputation on finalising the plan to cut EU carbon emissions by a fifth by 2020. Few think French President Nicolas Sarkozy will fail to broker agreement this year, but many fear that amid an economic crisis he might hand out so many concessions to reluctant states that the final laws do little to prevent global warming.

And with Europe's credibility damaged, it will struggle to coax China, Russia or other major emitters to agree to meaningful emissions cuts at a meeting in Copenhagen next year to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

"The French presidency has really shown willing, but the attitude of Sarkozy has been to accept any demands for compromises," said Cecile Kerebel of French think tank IFRI. "I think we'll get something, but there's a real risk that in the end the package will have no value in fighting climate change," Kerebel added.

Time is short. The European Parliament breaks for elections next May. And most EU diplomats have low expectations of progress after December when France hands over the EU presidency to the Czech Republic -- currently split by a political power struggle and led by a president who is cynical about climate change.

More here


The Air Transport Association, industry trade organization for a number of US airlines, expressed harsh opposition this week to the European Parliament's October 24 final approval of legislation covering the world's airlines under the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

In a speech delivered before the European Aviation Club in Brussels, ATA President and CEO James C. May drew attention to a proliferation of new aviation taxes and charges within the European Union (EU), pointing out how these taxes and fees are counterproductive to the industry's ongoing environmental progress. May said that, "Masquerading under the banner of supposedly 'protecting' the environment, these measures threaten to stifle the growth of the industry, compromise our environmental progress and, ultimately, raise prices for consumers, leaving them to take alternative, less safe, higher emitting modes of transportation."

May also emphasized that the EU legislation adding aviation to the ETS -- opposed by the United States and many other countries -- violates international law and reverses the progress being made with ongoing fuel-efficiency and environmental innovations. It is estimated that this European cap-and-trade system would impose an annual cost to airlines (over and above the cost of jet fuel) of several billion dollars in 2012, tripling in 2020.

More here

Famous Australian weather forecaster is a warming skeptic

The Crohamhurst observatory was started by Inigo Jones in 1927 and became famous for accurate long-range weather forecasts. Jones based his forecasts on solar variability and planetary movements. It was claimed that his forecasts were not "scientific" but farmers swore by them. At one stage many Brisbane couples would not set their wedding date without first consulting Jones. After Jones's death, first Lennox Walker and then his son Haydon Walker carried on the work

The Sunshine Coast could be in line for substantial flooding over the next five months with the first of the rains only two or three days away. That's the tip from long-range weather forecaster Haydon Walker who has warned that not only will the Coast experience serious flooding, it is ill-equipped to deal with major downpours. "Look at the 1893 floods where Crohamhurst, in the hinterland, received 36 inches (914mm) overnight," he said. "If that happened now, we would all be in Moreton Bay." Coast drainage simply would not cope with such a deluge.

"I maintain that higher (population) density in coastal areas has had more impact due to run-off from subdivisions, roadways and increased roof areas," he said. Mr Walker is predicting "good strong rains" starting shortly and continuing through November, mainly from storms, with some likely to register more than 100mm or more. "They will continue good and strong in December," he said. "Going into January we will continue to get good-to-heavy rains, and cyclonic activity probably as far as the NSW border." While things should settle down a bit after that, the wet weather will return in March, Mr Walker said....

While some old-timers might describe his prediction as nothing more than a return to normal weather for the region, he disagreed. "This will be more intense than `normal'," he said. "And there will be (at least) local flooding." Mr Walker said sunspot activity, which he uses to make weather predictions, was on the increase. "Solar flares make changes to the barometric pressures." The sunspot cycles are 11.15 years, but we are moving into "a strong phase". "There's a fair bit of water coming," he said. "The fronts are here already and we can expect rain in the next two to three days."

Mr Walker said he held a sceptical view of predictions about climate change at this stage. "Until someone can show me further evidence, I am unconvinced. "I have (weather) charts from the year dot, back prior to the Industrial Revolution. "I am disgusted with what we are putting into the atmosphere but I believe the climate change debate is too politically driven."

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) data tends to cautiously support Mr Walker's predictions, indicating the chances of exceeding average rainfall between now and March is 50%. The BOM website said the Southern Oscillation Index has been at +14 - a strong La Nina influence - pointing to more rain likelihood, with the same conditions predicted for the remainder of spring and summer.



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


Monday, November 03, 2008

Brainless Obama the Warmist wants to bankrupt coal-fired electricity generation

And thus cause blackouts in most of America, apparently

Imagine if John McCain had whispered somewhere that he was willing to bankrupt a major industry? Would this declaration not immediately be front page news? Well, Barack Obama actually flat out told the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate) that he was willing to see the coal industry go bankrupt in a January 17, 2008 interview. The result? Nothing. This audio interview has been hidden from the public...until now. Here is the transcript of Obama's statement about bankrupting the coal industry:
Let me sort of describe my overall policy. What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches. The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a (sic) ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them.

Amazing that this statement by Obama about bankrupting the coal industry has been kept under wraps until this time.

UPDATE: NewsBusters' Tom Blumer has found out that the San Francisco Chronicle story published on January 18 based upon this January 17 interview did not include any mention of Obama's willingness to bankrupt the coal industry which you can hear on the audio. You can read the story here when you scroll down to the "In His Own Words" section. Way to cover up for The One, SF Chronicle!

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

Hard lesson about solar realities for NOAA / NASA

The real world sunspot data remaining quiet month after month are mocking the curved red predictions of NOAA and about to slide underneath. Time for a rethink I reckon NOAA !! Here is my clearer chart showing the misfit between NOAA / NASA prediction and real-world data.

Regular readers might remember that we started posting articles drawing attention to contrasting predictions for Solar Cycle 24, way back on 16 December 2006. Scroll to the start of my solar threads.

Then in March 2007 I posted David Archibald's pdf article, "The Past and Future of Climate". Well worth another read now, I would like to see another version of David's Fig 12 showing where we are now in the transition from Cycle 23 to Cycle 24.

Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Issued April 2007 from NOAA / NASA. Much data and commentary at

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

Global Warming Fantasies Meet Financial Contraction

Learning from Germany?

Whoever is elected president, global warming legislation is going to be passed in Washington next year. Legislation proposed by both John McCain and Barack Obama will require that the cost of energy to become so high that people will avoid using it. The serious question is: why would we do this in the current economic environment? Why would we take away capital that people would otherwise use to invest in companies that produce efficient things when that capital is already being destroyed at an alarming rate?

Other nations that embraced the abject environmental failure known as the Kyoto Protocol and imposed higher energy costs are fleeing from climate change policies as their economies implode. Only the U.S. seems eager to commit economic suicide over global warming.

Kyoto did nothing measureable about climate change. Global carbon dioxide emissions rose by the same amount they were supposed to fall because of it. All it cost was money. Germany`s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is probably the woman most responsible for the Protocol itself, now calls drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, "ill-advised climate policy". Her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who last year trotted the globe pronouncing global warming a grave threat to world peace, now says that "this crisis changes priorities" and that "interest in protecting the climate will change because of such a crisis".

A trip around the world (or around the country, or, for that matter, around your city) will demonstrate that economic vitality and environmental protection are highly correlated. The ritzy part of town is neat as a pin, where residents smugly buy (unverifiable) "carbon offsets" to assuage guilt about the four-wheel-drive behemoth, while bathed in compact-fluorescent light. In the poor neighborhoods of the world? Well, they're cooking indoors with wood or dung, they don't have a clue what a "carbon offset" or a compact-fluorescent is, and the power is out.

As economies suffer increasingly from global warming taxes and regulation, nations can descend from first-world energy infrastructure and supply to banana-republic like conditions, even without the current economic contraction.

The first place where this hell is likely to freeze over is going to be in Great Britain this winter. Residential energy costs average $600 per year over where they were a year ago. Britain's National Housing Administration estimates that 5.7 million British households will spend more than 10% of their income on fuel and energy next year. Right now, wholesale power prices in Britain are four times what they are in France. Older coal and nuclear power plants have to be taken out of production for repair and refit. How do energy-intensive industries, such as cement, steel, and brickmaking compete in such an environment? They don't.

Green policies are sure to make this much, much worse. In large part because of European Union environmental directives, a full 37% of the U.K.'s electrical generation capacity will be lost by 2015, most of that from mandatory reduction of coal-fired plants. Imagine what percent of households will be spending 10% or more of their income on energy 2015.

Nor will the shortfall to be taken up by solar energy and windmills. Britain is a pretty cloudy place, it isn't all that big, and windmills produce no power when there is no wind. Last month, Cambridge Econometrics projected that less than 5% of Britain's total energy will come from these so-called "renewables" in 2020.

Before the current financial uncertainty, European governments and the EU environmental bureaucracy thought they could get away with all of this expensive unreality. But, as Angela Merkel and her Foreign Minister now admit, this is beginning to seem "ill advised."

All of this flags a much larger problem. The only way to reduce emissions enough to have a significant effect on our modest warming trend is to make energy so expensive that people can't afford it. But, as the current economic situation shows, when people can't afford it, these policies become "ill advised". Among other reasons, they are not advisable because they take away capital that is necessary for environmental protection.

The solution is obvious. Only when technologies are available that produce lower carbon dioxide emissions at a competitive price, will people and politicians really buy in. This requires investment- by individuals- of real money that is currently being confiscated and tilted at windmills. Expensive energy and a financial contraction can only delay this investment, perhaps forever. The United States and the United Kingdom would do well to pay attention to Germany's newly-found realism about global warming policy.


News Reports for October Indicate Global Cooling

I reproduce below just a tiny part of a very long post on Jennifer Marohasy's site. Note that the reports come from just ONE MONTH

Following are 12 pages of sampling of news reports from the US and around the world for October 2008, via Marc Morano in Washington, providing some anecdotal evidence that global warming has perhaps stalled:

Delayed World Series raises anger after frigid weather - Sportswriter. October 29, 2008.

Excerpt: Al Gore is full of crap. The predictor of global-warming doom and gloom is way off base, at least in late October in frigid eastern Pennsylvania. Consider that when Major League Baseball called off its first makeup date of the suspended Game 5 early yesterday, the weather conditions were far worse than they had been Monday. Rescheduled again for tonight at 8, the forecast is also bad. A cold rain continued all day yesterday with up to 30 centimetres of snow reported."

Cold spring, summer stunts apple production in Washington State - October 27, 2008.

Excerpt: As the apple season wraps up in Whatcom County, some local orchardists are having to cope with lower yields caused by a cold spring and summer. "The quality is there, however, there's going to be a lot (of apples) left hanging on the tree that we can normally pick" because they won't ripen in time, said Dorie Belisle.

Arctic sea ice almost 2 million square kilometers higher than a year ago - Physicist Dr. Lubos Motl.

Excerpt: The total Arctic sea ice area is currently almost 2 million square kilometers higher than one year ago. It is near normal for the end of October.

Brrr. - Obama to global warming demonstrators: `This is probably not the weather to hold up those signs. It's a little chilly today' - October 28, 2008.

Excerpt: Obama paid tribute to thousands of hardy supporters who turned out for a rally in Chester, Pennsylvania despite the bone-chilling rain and driving winds. [...] A little bit of rain never hurt anybody," Obama said, "although I've got to say I saw (Pennsylvania Governor) Ed Rendell back stage and his teeth were chattering. "This is an unbelievable crowd for this kind of weather," he added, gently ribbing some supporters for holding up signs saying "stop global warming." "This is probably not the weather to hold up those signs. I'm not into global warming either but it's a little chilly today."

`Coldest' Day in 51 Years Expected In Orlando; 2 Records Likely Broken.

Excerpt: A cold front moving through Orlando is dropping temperatures to record lows for the end of October, likely breaking several 50-year "coldest day" marks. "If we don't hit 67 degrees, it will be the coldest we've ever been on Oct. 28," Local 6 meteorologist Eric Wilson said. "Sixty-seven degrees is the old, lowest maximum temperatures, meaning the coldest day 51 years ago." The lowest temperature for Orlando on Oct. 28 was 67 degrees in 1957.

Gore's global warming speech at Harvard coincided with near 125-year record breaking low temps! - October 22, 2008.

Excerpt: For tomorrow night, the temperature in Cambridge is forecast to drop below the freezing point to 28 øF which, if true, will beat the record low temperature set in 1883, which means exactly 125 years ago, when it was 29 øF. Not bad! Moreover, the phenomenon present in Cambridge in order to discuss global warming seems to be driving rain and hail, with the probability of rain indicated as 60%. At 1 p.m. local time, they report a cloudy weather with isolated showers. According to website of former Harvard Professor Dr. Lubos Motl


The Leftist "Mother Jones" talks to Pielke senior

He does a pretty good job of talking to that audience

Mother Jones: You've said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change didn't quite get it.

Roger A. Pielke Sr.: I think the IPCC was basically a very narrowly focused document. In fact it was basically written mostly by atmospheric scientists. And they're focusing on a very narrow issue where the atmospheric increase of CO2 feeds down to affect the climate that has all these effects on resources, and I think that is so narrowly confined as to be of little use to policymakers in terms of what's really going to happen.

MJ: Can you give me an example of some of the things you thought they left out?

RAP: Okay, I'll give you the example of Asia. If you go back 200 years ago, China and India had lots of natural forests. As the population grew, large areas of China and India had been converted to cropland and urban areas. So what happens is instead of having this source of transpiration of water from the forests, you've converted it to areas that have less transpiration of water. And this has been shown with general circulation models. The same kind of models that have been used by the IPCC.

It says that if you change how much energy goes into heating in the atmosphere versus water vapor coming in from transpiration, it affects thunderstorm clouds over the region, which affects the monsoon circulation, which affects the weather patterns, the rainfall over Asia, and since that affects what happens over the North Pacific and downstream, it affects the global climate system. Amazon deforestation is the same thing.

And in the US, we've taken areas in the eastern two-thirds of the US, and we've had huge conversion of landscape. We've taken away the forest that was in the east. We've done model studies there and shown that this has an enormous affect on temperature, on precipitation. Wherever you do a landscape change, it changes the fluxes of energy and moisture into the atmosphere. That changes cloud patterns, changes rainfall patterns, and so forth, and so it affects weather locally, regionally, and then through the global circulation.

MJ: So it's not that you are a "global warming skeptic"; it's that you think that global warming has been hyped at the expense of other problems.

RAP: That's exactly right. I would also add that climate change is much more than global warming. We have altered the climate significantly, say by land-use change, without changing the global average surface temperature, yet it has big impacts. So I definitely think that we humans have altered the climate system. I think we have a strong component that has been warming-for some reason, it has stopped. And I don't understand the reasons why.

MJ: I remember hearing that last year was the warmest year on record, and a few years before that was the warmest year on record. I hadn't heard that global warming has stopped.

RAP: Josh Willis is one of the people I've worked with in the past, and he has a paper that came out recently that showed that at least since mid-2004, the upper oceans have not warmed. The trouble with the surface temperature that you hear about in the news is that it has all kinds of biases in it. It's got a warm bias because of the land-use change that occurs, when they measure these sites, the actual locations have... they're right next to buildings, right next to air conditioners. That data is, I think, extremely poor. The media has picked up on that particular metric, which is not the proper metric.

If you look at the lower atmosphere, the troposphere, the troposphere hasn't warmed up for about 10 years. So the data is conflicting with what the popular perception is. And I think that's the real risk. If that would continue, if these metrics, Arctic ice melting, all these things, don't behave the way people have claimed, then as you've said before, there's a risk that some really good things could be lost, that we should do anyway.

MJ: So I understand your basic policy idea is to look at things more holistically instead of just carbon dioxide emissions.

RAP: Exactly right. And you start from the bottom up, and resource-based focus, so you take California for example, or part of California. What are the biggest environmental risks? Fires, for example. What can we do to reduce the risk of fire? Well, of course when people live in the hills, you can try to get them to cut their trees down that are right close to their houses; you could thin the brush.

MJ: So which environmental problem should we be most worried about, on a global level?

RAP: With respect to human impact on the climate system? I think first we need to identify which of these problems has the largest effect on drought and flood patterns. Because of human input of aerosols, from biomass burning in the tropics, from industrial activity, it's spatially concentrated. And what we found out was when we compared the effect of these aerosols in altering wind circulations versus the effect of the greenhouse gases affecting wind circulations, the aerosol effect was 60 times greater. That number could change, but the bottom line is it's a much greater impact, because the greenhouse gases are more spatially dispersed. And in fact, if one is concerned with CO2 addition, which I think is justifiable, it's actually not global warming that people should focus in on, but the biogeochemical effect of added CO2, because it's a fertilizer. And plants respond differently.

I don't think we know the consequences of what we're doing. But our footprint on the environment is more than just CO2: It's nitrogen deposition, it's the other black carbon, the aerosols, it's land-use change. And so we put all of these things together and say, "How can we come up with a policy that reduces our impact on the environment?" Because we don't know the consequences.

MJ: So what does that mean in terms of energy and climate policy?

RAP: Energy policy and climate policy should be disconnected from each other. There are overlaps between the two, and the trouble is that people are using climate, mainly CO2, to invoke energy policy. I think that's a very bad way to go about it. In terms of energy policy, which I'm not an expert on, you have to consider each energy source in terms of its pros and cons. The way it's being done now, it's just sort of one dimensional-it's just assuming that carbon dioxide is the biggest threat to mankind, and I think that's really an absurd oversimplification of the complexity of the issue.

MJ: What role does personal conservation play in all of this? Does it help at all, or is policy the only way to fix all these problems?

RAP: Well, I think [actions] should be looked at on their own merits. For example, what is the benefit of plastic bags? Because you have to recycle them and so forth, as opposed to bringing your own bags. So each of those issues has to be looked at on their own merit. I know Aspen has a pretty good program that they introduced for climate. In reality, it has cost benefit. If you can tell a consumer "You can save money if you do this, and you're also going to have an environmental benefit," it's a win-win.

But there's an irony. We had a drought in 2002 in Colorado. So they put water rationing in place, and people mostly obeyed that. And so the drought went away. They found out that people didn't start using more water because they learned they could get by with less water for their lawns, so they raised the price. So in other words, the water people were depending on a certain amount of revenue to come in. So all of these issues are multidimensional. I think we should focus on what the benefit is of doing individual actions and community actions. And I think if we do that in a holistic fashion, we're going to come up with better decisions.

MJ: Are there any personal conservation techniques that you think are a waste of time, or any that you think are particularly important?

RAP: Water-use efficiency. If you can educate people that you don't need as much water for your lawn and your trees, you save water for everybody, and you also save money for the consumer. So I think that's an ideal one. It's basically an education issue, and you can do that with electricity as well, in terms of lightbulbs. People can learn that they shouldn't use incandescent light bulbs because they can save money with these other ones. So I think that's the approach-education is the first one to do. In the US, we don't have the littering you saw 30 or 40 years ago. Most people have learned that's not the polite thing to do. And it's not because there are litter laws, it's because people have become more environmentally conscious. So I think education plays a big role with the ones that you're talking about.

MJ: Even if you're not just talking about global warming, there's a point where there's no going back. Do you have any sense of how long we have to get all of this under control?

RAP: The problem is, we don't know if we're pushing ourselves toward or away from some negative impact. That's the problem. We could be making ourselves actually less likely to have some drought pattern, but since we don't know, to me the prudent pattern is to try to minimize our impact. Don't have too much CO2 in the atmosphere, but also limit our nitrogen deposition; try to get our landscape back to as close to the natural state as we possibly can. And if we can't do that because we're growing crops, try to understand the consequences.

MJ: Don't we know that there are negative impacts already? There are more storms. The sea ice is melting. Couldn't we look at those effects and say we do know that there are negative impacts?

RAP: I don't think there are more storms. That's actually in terms of tropical cyclones. There's a lot of controversy in the tropical storm community, and I think that a lot of the claims for increase in tropical cyclone activity are flawed. [It seems like there are more now] because they didn't have any satellites in the past.

In terms of sea ice, if you look at Antarctic sea ice, it actually has been well above average, although in the last couple days it's close to average, but for about a year or longer, it's been well above average, and the Arctic sea ice is not as low as it was last year. So in the global context, the sea ice has been fairly close to average. It doesn't mean it can't happen because we are altering the climate system. But whenever I look at the data, I see a much more complicated picture than what you typically hear about.


The Fingerprint Controversy Part-1

SEPP Science Editorial #10 (11/1/08)

The crucial question is: Is warming (predominantly) due to natural or human causes? How can one tell? The issue is of obvious importance since natural causes cannot be influenced in any way by policies that limit greenhouse (GH) gas emissions, such as CO2. Resolving the question is a difficult scientific task. Natural causes are plausible; the climate has been warming and cooling for billions of years on many different time scales [See, e.g., Singer and Avery 2007]. On the other hand, GH warming is also plausible, since the concentration of GH gases has been increasing due to human activities.

The method agreed to by everyone is the "fingerprint" method, which compares the pattern of temperature trends calculated from GH models with the pattern observed in the atmosphere. The first application of this method may have been by Santer et al in IPCC-SAR [1996]. However, Santer misapplied the method in order to force the conclusion that warming was due to human causes, namely GH gases.

In one attempt, he compared the geographic pattern of surface temperature trends, derived from GH models, with the observed pattern. He calculated a "pattern correlation coefficient" and claimed that it was increasing with time "as the human signal emerged from the background noise of climate variability" [IPCC-SAR, 1996, chapter 8]. However, when the graph there is compared to the one in his original publication [Santer et al 1995], one discovered that he had removed all of the trend lines, including zero and negative trends, except the one that suggested an increasing correlation in the last 50 years [Singer 1997]. When questioned about this by e-mail, he replied that it was done for "pedagogic reasons"**

Santer's second attempt, also in chapter 8 of IPCC-SAR, was to compare the modeled and observed latitude and altitude patterns of temperature trends. It was soon discovered, however, that his claimed "agreement" was due to a selective use of data; he had chosen a time interval (1963-1987) during which the tropospheric trend was increasing, while the overall trend during the period (1957-1995) was not [Michaels and Knappenberger 1996].

By then it had become quite apparent that there was a disparity between the observed trends in the troposphere and the surface [NRC 2000; Singer 2001]. Douglass, Pearson and Singer carried out a full-scale comparison of available model results and temperature observations from balloons, satellites, and reanalysis [2004]. They concluded that the observations did not confirm the expected increase (from GH models) in temperature trends with altitude in the tropics; but they did not delve into the implication of this disparity. As a result, their result was largely ignored.

Next, a full-scale investigation of this problem was carried out as part of the federally financed Climate Change Science Program. CCSP-SAP-1.1 [2006], the first and most crucial of the 21 reports of the CCSP, titled "Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences," confirmed the result of Douglass et al [2004].

To be sure, the abstract of CCSP 1.1 claims that the discrepancies between surface warming and tropospheric warming trends have been removed. This statement distorts the sense of the CCSP report and has been widely misunderstood as having confirmed the validity of GH models. CCSP-1.1 admits, however, (p.3) that in the tropics "the majority of observational data sets show more warming at the surface than in the troposphere..[but] almost all model simulations show more warming in the troposphere than at the surface." In other words, there exists indeed a discrepancy, which has not been removed. This Executive Summary was authored by Wigley, with the participation of the chapter lead authors, including Santer.

Following the publication of CCSP 1.1, and using best available models and data, Douglass, Christy, Pearson, and Singer [2007] extended their comparison between model results and observations in the tropical zone and concluded again that the observations did not confirm the GH model results. This paper was also ignored until a group of independent scientists, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) published its summary report in 2008. Drawing mainly on the data from CCSP-1.1 and Douglass et al [2007], NIPCC [Singer et al 2008] showed conclusively the disparity between GH models and observations.

The NIPCC then drew the obvious logical conclusion: Since GH models cannot explain the observations, the warming of the past 30 years must be due predominantly to causes other than GH gases. In other words, the human contribution to the warming trend since 1979 is minor and insignificant - a conclusion contrary to that of IPCC [2007]. Another way of stating the NIPCC result: Climate Sensitivity is considerably less than the values quoted by the IPCC, i.e. 1.5 - 4.5 C, and more in accord with the much lower values deduced by other methods [Schwartz, Monckton, Lindzen, Spencer].

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

A well-informed reply to a conventional media article:

This article ("Current issue of the Observer - Cayman must adapt to global warming") is alarmist and is intended to scare Cayman's people into believing the harsh predictions of the IPCC (Inter Government Panel on Climate Change) about global warming. Murray Simpson is one of their disciples.

In actual fact, the earth entered into a global cooling phase about 10 years ago, and this cooling phase is accelerating. In the last 10 years, satellite measurements of atmospheric temperature have been falling. Last January, record cold hit Florida, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Arizona, Texas, Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington. During March, record cold again hit North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, and then six more states in April. In fact, new record lows have been set every month in the US, including this October.

In the Southern hemisphere, Sydney, Australia, experienced its coldest August on record. Brazil and South Africa were surprised by snow, which they had never seen before. The US, Canada and Europe have had a cool summer.

The effect of global cooling on humanity will be entirely different and much more severe than any global warming. For starters, food crops will fail, food prices will rise, millions will starve, the sea level will fall, canals will dry up,Cayman will gain real estate, and will attract many more visitors trying to escape the cold.

No scientists dispute the fact that the earth's climate is always changing. What they do dispute is the direction and causes. Over the last 600,000 years there have been four ice ages, each lasting about 100,000 years, with warm periods in between, averaging about 10,000 years. And we are at the end of the latest warm period. No matter what the IPCC says, these are geological facts. Were humans causing those ice ages and intervening warm periods? If not, then the simple question is who, or what?

When the last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago, the earth warmed up to a peak temperature around 5,000 years ago when the Sumerians founded their society, and it has never been that high since. There have been valleys and peaks since then, but every peak has been lower than the previous peak. One of the recent peaks occurred in the 12th century, when there were flourishing vineyards all over Britain, and the Vikings discovered and settled in Greenland.

However, they were frozen out in the 1400s when our temperatures descended into the mini ice age. The Thames froze over every winter, and people could walk over the Baltic Sea ice from Sweden to Poland.

In recent years, the pronouncements of the IPCC (Inter Government Panel on Climate Change have been discredited. Their famous `hockey stick' graph showing temperatures over the last few hundred years has been shown to be a fiction. Since this `hockey stick' graph is the foundation of the whole global warming `science', then that `science' has also been discredited.

Dr David Archibald, an eminent climatologist, and others, have pulled the rug out from under the IPCC, by showing that the relationship between CO2 and global temperature is weak and almost non-existent. He even suggests that we need three times the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere than we have now, to optimize the growth of food crops.

A fundamental problem with the IPCC's `science' is that it ignores the geological data that was collected over thousands of years up until the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of their fraudulent `hockey stick' temperature graph.

Now please tell me how anyone can accept the IPCC's science, which cannot, and does not even attempt to explain what has happened in the earth's history. If they cannot do that, then how on earth can they purport to predict the future? In fact, they cannot and, until they can, the best possible course is to ignore the IPCC completely.

However, the IPCC continues to push their fraudulent predictions and scare tactics even more stridently than before. Never mind that on December 21, 2007, a "U.S. Senate report documents hundreds of prominent scientists - experts in dozens of fields of study worldwide - who say global warming and cooling is a cycle of nature and cannot legitimately be connected to man's activities."

The UN (United Nations) bureaucracy wants to grow its size, acquire more power, and extract income from trading so-called carbon credits. Billions of taxpayer money from all over the world is at stake, so this is something that all of us should take very seriously.


Australia's Great Barrier Reef could adapt to climate change, scientists say

Hoagy, the Danish nature-lover, gets a long overdue kick in the pants. Coral already grows in very warm waters -- in the Torres Strait, for instance. Species diversity is greatest there, in fact. Hoagy is a nut

The prediction of a prominent marine biologist that climate change could render the Great Barrier Reef extinct within 30 years has been labelled overly pessimistic for failing to account for the adaptive capabilities of coral reefs. University of Queensland marine biologist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said yesterday that sea temperatures were likely to rise 2C over the next three decades, which would undoubtedly kill the reef. But several of Professor Hoegh-Guldberg's colleagues have taken issue with his prognosis.

Andrew Baird, principal research fellow at the Australian Research Council's Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said there were "serious knowledge gaps" about the impact rising sea temperatures would have on coral. "Ove is very dismissive of coral's ability to adapt, to respond in an evolutionary manner to climate change," Dr Baird said. "I believe coral has an underappreciated capacity to evolve. It's one of the biological laws that, wherever you look, organisms have adapted to radical changes."

Dr Baird acknowledged that, if left unaddressed, climate change would result in major changes to the Great Barrier Reef. "There will be sweeping changes in the relative abundance of species," he said. "There'll be changes in what species occur where. "But wholesale destruction of reefs? I think that's overly pessimistic." Dr Baird said the adaptive qualities of coral reefs would mitigate the effects of climate change.

His comments were backed by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman and marine scientist Russell Reichelt. "I think that he's right," Dr Reichelt said. "The reef is more adaptable and research is coming out now to show adaptation is possible for the reef." Dr Reichelt said the greatest threat facing the reef was poor water quality in the coastal regions, the result of excess sediment and fertiliser. "If a reef's going to survive bleaching, you don't want to kill it with a dirty river," he said.

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, who in 1999 won the prestigious Eureka science prize for his work on coral bleaching, said the view "that reefs somehow have some magical adaptation ability" was unfounded. "The other thing is, are we willing to take the risk, given we've got a more than 50 per cent likelihood that these scenarios are going to come up?" Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said. "If I asked (my colleagues) to get into my car and I told them it was more than 50 per cent likely to crash, I don't think they'd be very sensible getting in it."

He told the ABC's Lateline program on Thursday the threat posed by climate change to the Great Barrier Reef should be treated as a "global emergency". "Why we aren't just panicking at thispoint and starting to really make some changes? Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said. "It just ... it blows my mind sometimes."



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


Sunday, November 02, 2008

"Artic Icecap is Melting, Even in Winter"

Leaky Jonathan is an old science fraud from way back. His latest effort is demolished below

The scare: Jonathan Leake, in The Times of London on 26 October 2008, says:

1. The Arctic icecap is "shrinking at record rates" even in the winter;
2. "The period in which the ice renews itself has become much shorter";
3. The "even more alarming" cause of the thinner ice is warmer seas rather than warmer air;
4. "The Arctic is likely to melt much faster than had been thought";
5. "The summer icecap could vanish within a decade", according to unnamed "experts";
6. The Northwest Passage was open in the summer of 2008 for the first time in 30 years;
7. Arctic sea ice is half of its 1976 thickness;
8. "Now the ice is just collapsing". as shown by "satellite-based observations";
9. In September 2007 the Arctic icecap had "lost an extra 1.1 million square miles;
10. The icecap was "43% smaller than it was in 1979, when satellite observations began";
11. Less ice means less sunlight reflected harmlessly back to space and so more warming;
12. "The process accelerates until there is no more ice to melt"; and
13. A scientist has said: "This is one of the most serious problems the world has ever faced".

The truth: This article, like so many on "global warming", is rooted in the naive fallacy that the fact of warming tells us that the cause is anthropogenic rather than natural. We begin this Scarewatch, therefore, with a few truths about how much warmer the climate was before humankind could possibly have affected it significantly (or at all).

Today's temperatures are below normal

In the Cambrian era, 550 million years ago, global temperatures were usually 7 degrees C (12.5 F) warmer than the present. The natural state of the planet for most of past half billion years has been entirely ice-free. Humankind cannot have been to blame. We were not there.

In each of the past half dozen ice ages over the past half million years, Antarctic (and by implication global) surface temperatures were up to 5 degrees C (9 F) warmer than the present. We were still not there. In the interglacial period about 850,000 years ago, the entire Greenland ice sheet melted away. It is inconceivable that there could have been any Arctic icecap then. We were not to blame. There were very, very few SUVs or coal-fired power stations at that time.

What about more recent history? For 6,500 of the 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age, temperatures have been warmer than the present. Today's temperatures, therefore, are not unprecedentedly high. They are below normal.

In the Bronze Age, Roman, and mediaeval warm periods, temperatures were warmer than the present. The largest mediaeval Viking settlement in Greenland, at Hvalsey in the south-west, prospered in the warm weather that allowed Eric the Red to dub Greenland Greenland.

Today, the Viking graveyard at Hvalsey is under permafrost. The Vikings could not bury their dead in permafrost. So the permafrost was not there during the mediaeval warm period.

What about more recent history still? As recently as the 1930s to early 1940s, the Arctic was warmer than the present. Yet humankind at that date was less numerous and less industrially active than today.

Now that we have established that today's temperatures are not exceptional, it follows that we cannot attribute any temperature changes in the Arctic exclusively or even primarily to humankind. What, then, are the natural influences on the Arctic climate?

Natural influences on the Arctic climate

The Sun: The first and most important of the natural influences on climate is the Sun. Soon (2004) has demonstrated a remarkably close correlation between solar activity and Arctic temperature changes. Scafetta and West (2008) say that the influence of the Sun on the climate is far greater than the IPCC finds it expedient to imagine: they calculate that more than two-thirds of the warming that ceased in 1998 worldwide was caused by solar activity, and they conclude that the influence of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations on temperature is many times less than the IPCC would like us to think.

The sea: Next, the great ocean currents sometimes direct vast bodies of tropical warm water up towards the Arctic, causing a considerable warming of the Arctic ocean and a consequent melting of ice. A paper by NASA in 2007 found that anthropogenic "global warming" had very little impact on the Arctic in comparison with the effect of global changes in patterns of currents such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which has recently been moving unusually large volumes of tropical water into the Arctic, assisted by the wind.

Seabed volcanoes: Finally, researchers have recently discovered that subsea volcanic activity in the Arctic region has increased. Early in 2008 a paper was published explaining that in the Greenland-Iceland Gap the ocean bottom had reached temperatures as high as 573 degrees F.

Taking factors such as these into account, it is simply not scientifically credible to attribute the current temperatures in the Arctic to anthropogenic "global warming". Interestingly, the Sunday Times article is noteworthy for not mentioning humankind as a culprit at all.

The alarmism on which newspapers thrive is present: but it is clear that a very much more cautious approach to "global warming" has been taken. To this extent, and to this extent only, the Sunday Times article begins to reflect the truth.

With this background, we turn to the individual scares itemized in our summary of Mr. Leake's rather hysterical article -

1: The Actic icecap is "shrinking at record rates" even in the winter

At the Science and Public Policy Institute we do not proselytize. We make the scientific facts and data available and allow readers to draw their own conclusions. The image below shows the extent of Arctic sea-ice cover on 25 October 1979, the first year of the satellite record (no image for the 26th is available), compared with 26 October 2008, the date of the Sunday Times article -

2: "The period in which the ice renews itself has become much shorter"

Once again, we shall provide real data rather than hollow debating points. The graph below shows the past year's sea-ice area compared with the mean for 1979-2000 -

It is self-evident from this graph that the "period in which the ice renews itself" will be considerably longer this year than it was last year, when the anomalous natural conditions described in NASA's paper about the influence of ocean currents had occurred.

3. The "even more alarming" cause of the thinner ice is warmer seas, not warmer air

Here, Mr. Leake confirms what NASA had found: that ocean currents and winds taking warmer water from the tropics to the Arctic have made the Arctic Ocean warmer. So has the subsea volcanic activity in the Greenland-Iceland Gap. There is nothing "alarming" about this. It is an entirely natural phenomenon, over which humankind has no influence and no control.

We know that, overall, the oceans have not in fact been warming. See, for instance, Lyman et al., 2006, whose study of ocean temperatures is one of the most detailed of its kind; or Gouretski and Koltermann (2007). Just as the air temperatures have shown no appreciable increase in the past decade, worldwide sea temperatures have shown no increase either. In short, there has been no "global warming" going on. That is a very powerful reason why it is imprudent to attribute the recent warming of the Arctic waters to anthropogenic "global warming". It is instead attributable to natural, local warming against a background of prolonged and intense global cooling.

4. "The Arctic is likely to melt much faster than had been thought"

In April 2007, the UK Met Office issued its long-range forecast for the British summer. It said the summer would be the hottest, driest, most drought-prone summer on record because of "global warming" (and, if we've scared you enough, please can we have a smart new computer at taxpayers' expense?). Just six weeks later, in June 2007, the coldest, wettest, most flood-prone summer since records began came in - and was of course blamed on "global warming".

If our forecasters cannot get a general forecast correct six weeks in advance, on what rational scientific basis can they claim that "The Arctic is likely to melt faster than had been thought"? We were told earlier this summer that it might be possible to reach the North Pole by kayak for the first time since recent records began: but a lavishly-funded expedition had travelled only two days northward from its starting-point in Svalbard before being halted by impenetrable ice and intense cold.

The launching of the expedition was heavily reported in The Times and other news media, especially because the organizers fatuously said they were kayaking to the North Pole "to raise awareness of global warming" (presumably this was the only way to do it in the absence of any actual warming compared with 28 years ago). Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, bizarrely telephoned the kayakers after they had become ice-bound, to congratulate them on their achievement. What achievement? They claimed they had kayaked further north than anyone had ever done before. Like most claims to do with "global warming", this was false: an expedition half a century previously had done considerably better.

In short, there is no scientific basis for the article's declaration that "the Arctic is likely to melt much faster than had been thought". Currently the Arctic is freezing much faster than had been thought - which is why the kayakers and their stunt became icebound after just two miserably cold days.

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

Arctic sea ice extent now GREATER than in 2002

See the graph here

About the source of the graph: "The IARC-JAXA Information System (IJIS) is a geoinformatics facility for satellite image analysis and computational modeling/visualization in support of international collaboration in Arctic and global change research at the International Arctic Research Center in corporation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Advanced Earth Science and Technology Organization of Japan".

Which is it? Trees Cool Or Heat the Planet? Studies Give Contradictory Results

Flashback to April 9, 2007:

Forests May Increase Temperatures by 10 Degrees by 2100, New Study Says; Deforestation Could Cool the Planet

Excerpt: Forests on certain parts of the planet may actually warm the Earth, according to researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in a study released today. According to the study, forests in mid- to high-latitude locations -- such as boreal forests of Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia -- may actually create a net warming. The study concludes that by the year 2100, these mid- and high- latitude forests may make some places up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than would have occurred if the forests did not exist. The research, led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory atmospheric scientist Govindasamy Bala, appears in the April 9-13 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New Study: October 31, 2008

Chemical released by trees can help cool planet, scientists find - Scientists discover cloud-thickening chemicals in trees that could offer a new weapon in the fight against global warming

Excerpt: Trees could be more important to the Earth's climate than previously thought, according to a new study that reveals forests help to block out the sun. Scientists in the UK and Germany have discovered that trees release a chemical that thickens clouds above them, which reflects more sunlight and so cools the Earth. The research suggests that chopping down forests could accelerate global warming more than was thought, and that protecting existing trees could be one of the best ways to tackle the problem. Dominick Spracklen, of the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science at Leeds University, said: "We think this could have quite a significant effect. You can think of forests as climate air conditioners."

Global cooling hits England again

Surrey enjoys first October snowfall in 121 years

Up to an inch of snow greeted East Surrey residents today (Wednesday, October 29) following the earliest October snowfall in the county for 121 years. The snow blanketed parts of Surrey after Arctic winds turned Tuesday night's rain into a mini-blizzard. As temperatures plunged from 9C during the afternoon to freezing point by 11pm, the rain turned to snow.

The first flakes began falling at about 10pm and by midnight, roads had become treacherous in the hilly villages of both Tandridge district and the borough of Reigate and Banstead. Particularly snowy were Chaldon, Woldingham, Banstead, Tadworth, Burgh Heath and Kingswood.

By the morning, many roads were like skidpans and some drivers found their vehicles turned into frozen igloos. Buses in Caterham inched their way along icy streets while on the railways, trains from London to Surrey were delayed by frozen points and equipment.

Mirror weatherman Ian Currie, who has studied the climate for more than 40 years, said it was the first October snowfall in Surrey since 1887. "This is as rare a weather event as the Great Storm of 1987," said Mr Currie, 57. "There has been snow observed in 1974 and 1981 but such a covering has not occurred since 1887.

"In Victorian times it was more common to see snow in October. With all the global warming and seas being much warmer than they used to be, it is even more remarkable and I shall be studying this event in great detail."


"Green" car goes bang as British driver lights up

A motorist has vowed to steer clear of green driving after his gas-powered car exploded when he lit up at the wheel.
Peter Tidbury, 50, had a "miraculous" escape when his Peugot 607 blew up after he lit a cigarette. The businessman thought that he was saving money and the environment by switching to a car that ran on liquid petroleum gas, which is cheaper and less polluting than petrol or diesel.

A suspected leak in the vehicle's pipes led to an explosion that blew the windscreen 50ft down the road and forced the evacuation of nearby houses. The incident happened after Mr Tidbury, who works for an energy-saving company, stopped at a service station in Barnsley to fill up with gas. He said: "I was doing about 30mph and as I lit the cigarette there was an almighty explosion. The windows went out, the bonnet went up and the boot went up just as you see in the Hollywood movies."

Mr Tidbury, who was treated for flash burns at Barnsley District Hospital, is now looking for another car. It will be a diesel.


Brain-dead Greenie assumptions underly Australian climate proposals

China and India have ALREADY said: "No deal"

You don't have to be a Treasury modeller to work out that if the developed world signs up to a global climate change deal next year and the biggest emitters in the developing world agree to follow suit soon after, then "carbon leakage" isn't going to be a huge problem. Carbon leakage is the spectre raised by many emissions-intensive trading industries - such as LNG, cement and aluminium - that they will be forced offshore if made to bear a domestic carbon price when their competitors overseas pay none.

If their competitors overseas are already paying a price, or are clearly going to have to pay one in the relatively near future, then long-term investment decisions won't be influenced by the international price differentials. That, effectively, is what the comprehensive Treasury modelling released yesterday assumes. Given the stated intentions of the European Union and both US presidential candidates, this assumption may prove right. Given the back-pedalling by some EU members and the political ramifications of the present economic meltdown in the US, it might not be.

If it does prove right, then the news from this ambitious modelling exercise is good. The costs to Australian businesses and households of the proposed emissions trading scheme seem manageable. Electricity price rises of between 17 and 24 per cent are not insignificant. But translated into an extra $4 or $5 on the average weekly power bill they don't seem impossible either, particularly with the compensation the Government has already promised.

The upheavals in Australian industry will also be significant, with some sectors thriving and others shrinking. And there will, of course, be major changes in the way we generate electricity, this being one of the main points of the exercise. But if the carbon price ratchets up slowly and structural adjustment money is available for sectors and regions hit hardest, these difficulties don't seem insurmountable either. Kevin Rudd made it pretty clear on the 7.30 Report last night that a slow rachetting up is exactly what he has in mind. The Prime Minister sounded like a thesaurus reciting the entries for cautious: "calm", "cool", "sober", "practical". He was going all out to be reassuring. And the modelling makes the economic case for acting quickly clear. The environmental case for rapid action already was.

But the big unanswered question is where we will end up if the assumption is wrong, if Copenhagen fails, if the outcome is messy. Surely we have to take into account the possibility that the pressures of the global economic crisis will mean isolationist short-term self-interest prevails over a multilateral solution in the interests of all.

More here


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


Saturday, November 01, 2008


The European taxpayer is SO generous. They would much rather give huge chunks of money to car manufacturers than spend it on better medical services etc. Hey! Wait a minute: Aren't Greenies suposed to be AGAINST cars?? It sure gets tangled over there

European taxpayers already have a meaty hunk of bank bailouts to swallow. Now they're getting something green on their plates as well. Just weeks after EU lawmakers passed strict new carbon-emission regulations despite warnings that they would cost auto makers dearly, Brussels called Wednesday for 40 billion euros in loans to the industry so that it can comply with the new rules. The EU taketh away, the EU giveth.

Brussels describes the loans from the European Investment Bank as being necessitated by the financial crisis. The looming recession will no doubt hurt auto sales in Europe, which fell further than expected during the third quarter.

But the freezing of credit markets and stream of banking failures were already well under way when the European Parliament voted in late September to force auto emissions lower by 18% within just four years. MEPs knew about the economic conditions, but nonetheless rejected proposed compromises to spread out the reductions over more time and lessen the fines for noncompliance. It's also devious, even by political standards, to approve an obviously expensive regulation and then, a month later, to provide the funding for it -- all the while acting as if the two moves are unrelated.

In their more honest moments, eurocrats acknowledge that they're following America's lead here. Washington has guaranteed $25 billion, or about 20 billion euros, in loans to the Big Three U.S. auto makers so that they can meet new fuel-economy standards passed last year, and Barack Obama wants to give them $25 billion more.

It wasn't so long ago that the Bush Administration sued Europe at the World Trade Organization for its soft loans to Airbus; now it's setting the trend in corporate handouts. The U.S. used to be the only side of the Atlantic willing to try to stop these kinds of subsidies, which Europe is only too happy to grant.

If Mr. Obama wins next Tuesday, expect a subsidy synergy between Europe and America as each pushes the other to greater heights -- or should we say depths -- of public largesse. The main effect will be to increase governmental influence over the industrial sector at the expense of taxpayers on both sides of the pond.


Greenie garbage policies bring rat plague to UK

The amount of garbage that councils will collect has been greatly reduced to force people to recycle -- or something. I think you have to be a British Green/Leftist to make any sense of it

Experts claim councils which have stopped weekly bin collections are to blame, along with mild winters and last year's floods. The worst affected city is York, which has seen its rat population rise by 208 per cent in a year. Carlisle has seen a change of 142 per cent. Other areas to see a significant increase in infestation include Exeter (60 per cent) and Salford (40 per cent). Rentokil estimates there are 65 to 80 million rats in Britain compared to around 60m humans.

National Pest Technicians Association director Peter Crowden told The Daily Mirror: "In 30 years I've never known such a big rat population - and there will be an epidemic if people don't reduce food waste. "Fortnightly bin collections now mean it's vital we recycle. Just putting extra food scraps on compost heaps means fantastic breeding grounds for rats to spread disease."

Nationwide, call-outs by pest control units rose by 17 per cent. Out of 50 local authorities asked if they had seen an increase in call-outs, 39 admitted they had. Westminster was one of the few have seen a reduction in the problem, although it has only seen call-outs cut by 10 - from 804 in 2006-07 to 794 in 2007-08.



European member states have proposed amendments to the EU's renewable energy directive that critics claim will water down the legislation and potentially damage investor confidence in the sector. At a meeting last night, European governments reportedly reached agreement on an amendment to the European Parliament's proposed renewable energy package that would allow a review by 2014 of progress towards meeting the target of delivering 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The proposal will now be negotiated on by the European Council of member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament ahead of the planned finalisation of the EU's climate change later this year. But renewable energy campaigners warned that if adopted, it could damage investor confidence. "A review of the directive in 2014 would be only six years away," warned Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Mary Roberts. "So if investors looking at projects that deliver a pay back over 10 or 20 years are concerned the regulatory framework could change in six years time it is bound to introduce extra risk to their projects - it sends out a very unhelpful message."

A spokeswoman for the UK Renewable Energy Association, agreed investor confidence could be compromised. "If you have a review planned, it introduces uncertainty for investors and damages the potential for the market to grow," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) downplayed fears the proposed review would damage confidence in the renewable energy sector. She claimed that a number of governments, including the UK, had insisted that any review would not be free to recommend changes to the 20 per cent target, and would instead focus on whether or not investment levels needed to be increased to ensure the target is met.

However, Roberts said that Friends of the Earth feared that a review would allow the EU to relax rules governing the extent to which the targets can be met by funding renewable energy projects outside the bloc's borders. Some governments, including the UK, have been lobbying for investment in renewable energy projects in developing economies to count to wards the renewable targets - a loophole green groups have argued would limit the need to for renewables investment within the EU. The DECC spokeswoman said that negotiations were on-going on the extent to which projects outside the EU could be used to count towards the targets.


Slow but steady climate backdown underway in Australia too

The Rudd Government has no ambitions to set an example by moving dramatically ahead of other countries with its emissions trading regime, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has indicated. Senator Wong told The Weekend Australian the Government had "very deliberately" timed the final decisions on the limits or "caps" it would put on Australian greenhouse emissions so they would be taken after a crucial UN meeting in Copenhagen next year. "We will clearly have strong regard to the outcomes of Copenhagen when we are taking those decisions," she said. "We modelled what we are working towards."

Treasury modelling released this week, which found the costs of an ETS would be modest, assumed that developed countries would clinch a deal in Copenhagen and that developing countries such as China would agree on specific emission reduction plans soon afterwards. But industry remains concerned, because of the Government's promise to introduce a scheme regardless of the outcome of Copenhagen.

Business Council of Australia policy director Maria Tarrant said: "The entire focus of the modelling is on there being a global agreement and a global carbon price. It is very disappointing that we don't get any information about what happens if a global agreement does not eventuate."

Kevin Rudd yesterday highlighted the economic dangers of failing to act, pointing out that some countries had threatened border taxes against imports from nations without a cost on carbon. Malcolm Turnbull repeated his call to delay the ETS, saying: "We won't know how much this (ETS) is going to cost until the Government takes into account this global financial crisis".


Global cooling hits Britain again

Dozens of people, including a mother in labour, had to be rescued after a freak hailstorm left a Devon town cut off by floodwater. More than a foot of hail fell on Ottery St Mary, near Honiton, early yesterday morning. Mounds of ice clogged drains, buried cars and trapped a fire engine in a drift up to 6ft deep as floodwater inundated homes and blocked roads.

The storm struck as Juliet Hall, who was having contractions, was being driven to hospital by her husband, Philip. The couple needed to be rescued twice, as first their car and then an ambulance became trapped by rising floodwater. They eventually reached hospital after being transferred to another ambulance in a police Land Rover. Last night Mrs Hall and her newborn son, Nathan, were recovering in hospital none the worse for the ordeal.

The storm was described by the Met Office as a "freak event". An official said: "The weather system which caused chaos in and around the town had a radius of not much more than two miles. It probably is one of those occasions when we can call it a freak event." Residents described hearing a roar punctuated by thunder as the heavens opened and a torrent of hailstones struck their homes.

Sarah Galliford said: "I was woken up by the sound of hailstones thundering down on the roof. I thought it was the end of the world. I looked outside and there was a river of ice coming down the street. I saw a couple of people literally running for their lives. It was a total freak of nature. It wasn't even on the weather forecast. They said there would be rain, but nothing like this. It was absolutely crazy. The sound was amazing and the weather was so bad you just couldn't see anything."

David Garland, whose home was completely flooded, said: "It happened in a matter of minutes and all of a sudden the whole house was deluged. I didn't have time to save anything at all because it happened so quickly. Everything was ruined."

As the water rose the emergency services, including a coastguard helicopter, rescued dozens of people who were trapped in their cars and homes. Farmers fear that hundreds of sheep and cattle may have drowned.

A representative of Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Around one foot of hail fell in just two hours between 1am and 3am. Cars in the town were left tightly packed in ice and the drains were blocked, meaning the water had nowhere to go."

Mike Dunning, of the Environment Agency, said: "What we've seen is a very unusual combination of extreme weather and circumstances that were unforeseeable and freakish. The situation was made worse by two cars that were washed into a brook leading into Ottery St Mary. The blockage impeded the flow of water. It backed up and then everything spilt out over the roads and into the town."


Anchorage suffers one of coldest Octobers ever

Anchorage [Alaska] has logged the eighth coldest October on record, the National Weather Service said today. With an average temperature of 29.7 degrees, October landed a spot in history as one of the 10 coldest out of the roughly 90 years since records have been kept in Anchorage. The coldest October on record was in 1996, with an average temperature of 25.5 degrees. The 10th coldest was in 1965, with an average temperature of 30.7 degrees.

And, though there's little snow left on the ground to prove it, the month was also the 14th snowiest on record, the Weather Service said. Snowfall for the month was 13.1 inches, 5.1 inches above normal. In years past, Octobers have seen as little as no snow to as much as 28.1 inches in 1996, the Weather Service said.



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