Saturday, October 31, 2009

The luck of the Irish

A fun email from a reader below:

I was trying to figure out how much carbon was produced in the manufacture and installation of a wind turbine compared to how much it actually saves over its lifetime. Being mathematically illiterate I had no hope of actually doing this but it was an interesting project and during my searches I came across THIS.

Apparently peat bogs can store "three times as much carbon as is held in tropical rainforests". So naturally, in Ireland they dug one up to build a wind farm. As you do. After causing a huge landslide, polluting the river, killing more than 50000 fish, and annoying the locals the Irish Government is now being prosecuted in the EU Court of Justice.

Great Pumpkin soon upon us

The Senate is losing its grip on unreality, so it may be up to whoever can teach manners to cows and pigs to save us from the consequences of global warming. (We're supposed to call it "climate change" now, but some of us, being strict constructionists, remain faithful to the original text as set down by the founding father, Al Gore.)

Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, a leading Democrat, says he now has "serious reservations" about Sen. Barbara Boxer's global-warming bill, and if he deserts Babs and her coterie of climate hysterics there may be no global-warming legislation this year. This would probably suit most senators, even those who would have to vote for it.

Babs and her like-minded Senate colleagues want to get the legislation passed quickly, just like the health care "reform" legislation, and for the same reason. The longer the wait, the more it smells. A lot of legislation, like mackerel and other fishes, must be consumed quickly, or else not at all. Babs, Al and their congressional friends and colleagues must hurry, before the multitudes notice that the sky is still safely overhead.

Certain kooks insist that we don't have much time before everything goes poof, anyway. The year 2012 is often cited as the year the cosmic screen will go dark, perhaps when the Hadron Collider will either swallow our globe whole, like a python breakfasting on the family dog, or reduce the globe to the size of a tennis ball. "Imagine seven billion of us trying to stand on a tennis ball," observes Rod Liddle in the London Spectator. "You just hope personal hygiene standards won't be sacrificed."

But even being swallowed whole in a nanosecond would be less painful than being parboiled over time, as Al Gore predicts. Better swallowed than sauteed. This could be Al's most persuasive argument if he could only think to make it.

Even short of parboiling, bad times lie ahead. Lord Stern of Brentford, identified by the London Times as "a leading authority on global warming," says we must all consider becoming vegetarians to conquer global warming, or earthly cooling, or climate change, or whatever the season's fashionable terminology may be. "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases," he says in an interview. "It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better."

Direct "emissions" of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases, and methane, Lord Stern says, is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas. Anyone stranded in a crowded elevator on a Friday afternoon, the day Navy bean soup is the special in the cafeteria, would offer no argument to Lord Stern's stern warning.

Teaching cows and pigs to show consideration for their fellow creatures would be only a very long-term solution, perhaps beyond even the persuasive powers of Al, Babs, Barack Obama, John Kerry and others peddling the frantic alarums that somebody has to do something about the weather, even if it bankrupts the nations of the world. Lord Stern concedes that "a successful deal" at the forthcoming Copenhagen conference on global warming, where the United States and the developed nations of the world are expected to answer the altar call to repent and reform, would lead to soaring prices of meat.

Lord Stern, once the chief economist at the World Bank and now a professor at the London School of Economics, predicts that a juicy cheeseburger or a ham sandwich -- not to speak of a tenderloin of beef, medium rare -- will one day be as unfashionable as driving drunk. "People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food." Lord Stern says he is not a vegetarian himself, of course. It is not important to do as he does, but to do as he says do.

Rude as burping sheep, windy cows and flatulent pigs may be, as they go about doing what comes naturally in the rustic innocence of the barnyard, vegetables are sources of bucolic villainy, too. The glorious tomato, the senior partner of bacon and (iceberg) lettuce in that best of all sandwiches, is a source of greenhouse gas, too. So, alas, are many other fruits and vegetables. Beer and booze may have to go, too, since hops and malt generate nearly 2 percent of greenhouse gases in certain countries.

Unless the Hadron Collider can finally get cranked up in time to send us into the safe embrace of an enormous black hole, we may soon be freezing (or parboiling) in the dark, supping on thin pumpkin gruel with Babs and Al. All is woe.


The ghosts of global warming

By John Humphreys

In just over a month, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to work out a plan of action to tackle climate change. But something spooky is happening in America that may get in the way of an agreement. According to the latest Pew poll on climate change, only 36% of Americans agree that the Earth is warming and that humans are responsible. By comparison, a Gallup poll has found that 37% of Americans believe that houses can be haunted.

At first the two issues don’t seem linked – but there are some similarities between global warming and ghost stories. Both are supposed to be dangerous. Both are hard to see. Both are used to frighten children and simple-minded people. Stephen King has made a fortune writing about haunted houses while Al Gore has made a fortune talking about global warming.

But there is a very important difference. Belief in ghosts is silly but harmless. There is no Copenhagen ghost conference, with more than 15,000 officials discussing ways to introduce a ghost trading system and arranging multi-trillion dollar compensation for ghost victims.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that higher concentrations of greenhouse gases are going to warm up the world. Temperatures haven’t changed much in recent years, but many climate watchers expect the upward trend to continue eventually.

When that happens, there will be costs and benefits. William Nordhaus and Joseph Boyer estimated that 2.5 degrees of warming may cost America 0.5% of GDP. Richard Toll has a higher estimate of 1.5% of GDP, while Robert Mendelsohn and James Newmann predict a net benefit from warming of 0.1% of GDP, primarily due to benefits to agriculture. So climate change is a potential threat. But the bigger threat comes from what politicians are going to do to ‘save’ us.

The movies tell us that if a meteor is going to hit Earth, all we need to do is shoot Hollywood actors at the inbound rock while we listen to emotional music. In the same vein, when the Earth is threatened with climate change, all we need to do is to send our politicians to a conference and have them agree to global treaties.

But the Copenhagen conference is almost guaranteed to fail. The developing world is not going to agree to give up cheap energy, and the developed countries are going to find ways to look busy while not doing too much. The Copenhagen agreement will be as useful as the Kyoto Protocol.

Unfortunately, while a global treaty may not achieve much, it will still be costly. If an emissions trading system (ETS) wasn’t bad enough, we’re also facing suggestions of massive compensation payments and even a global tax. Belief in ghosts is much less costly.

The above is part of a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated October 30. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590. Telephone ph: +61 2 9438 4377 or fax: +61 2 9439 7310

Exaggerated claims undermine drive to cut emissions, scientists warn

Al Gore exaggerates?? Who knew? A big backdown from some prominent Warmists below. They are not climate atheists yet, though: More like climate Anglicans. They think there is a big Daddy somewhere but are not quite sure where

Exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the threat from global warming risk undermining efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and contain climate change, senior scientists have told The Times. Environmental lobbyists, politicians, researchers and journalists who distort climate science to support an agenda erode public understanding and play into the hands of sceptics, according to experts including a former government chief scientist.

Excessive statements about the decline of Arctic sea ice, severe weather events and the probability of extreme warming in the next century detract from the credibility of robust findings about climate change, they said. Such claims can easily be rebutted by critics of global warming science to cast doubt on the whole field. They also confuse the public about what has been established as fact, and what is conjecture.

The experts all believe that global warming is a real phenomenon with serious consequences, and that action to curb emissions is urgently needed. They fear, however, that the contribution of natural climate variations towards events such as storms, melting ice and heatwaves is too often overlooked, and that possible scenarios about future warming are misleadingly presented as fact. “I worry a lot that NGOs [non-governmental organisations] are very much in the habit of doing exactly that,” said Professor Sir David King, director of the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and a former government chief scientific adviser.

“When people overstate happenings that aren’t necessarily climate change-related, or set up as almost certainties things that are difficult to establish scientifically, it distracts from the science we do understand. The danger is they can be accused of scaremongering. Also, we can all become described as kind of left-wing greens.”

Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said: “It isn’t helpful to anybody to exaggerate the situation. It’s scary enough as it is." She was particularly critical of claims made by scientists and environmental groups two years ago, when observations showed that Arctic sea ice had declined to the lowest extent on record, 39 per cent below the average between 1979 and 2001. This led Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, to say that Arctic ice was “in a downward spiral and may have passed the point of no return”. Dr Pope said that while climate change was a factor, normal variations also played a part, and it was always likely that ice would recover a little in subsequent years, as had happened. It was the long-term downward trend that mattered, rather than the figures for any one year, she added.

“The problem with saying that we’ve reached a tipping point is that when the extent starts to increase again — as it has — the sceptics will come along and say, ‘Well, it’s stopped’,” she said. “This is why it’s important we’re as objective as we can be, and use all the available evidence to make clear what’s actually happening, because neither of those claims is right.”

Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics Group at the University of Oxford, said: “Some claims that were made about the ice anomaly were misleading. A lot of people said this is the beginning of the end of Arctic ice, and of course it recovered the following year and everybody looked a bit silly.” Dr Allen said that predictions of how the world was likely to warm also needed to be framed carefully. While there was little doubt that the Earth would get hotter, there were still many uncertainties about the precise extent and regional impact.

“I think we need to be very careful about purporting to be able to supply very detailed and apparently accurate information about how the climate will be in 50 or 100 years’ time, when what we’re really giving is a possible future climate,” he added. “We’re not in a position to say how likely it is and what the chances are of it being different. There’s an understandable tendency to want to make climate change real for people and tell them what’s going to happen in their postcode, and that’s very dangerous because it gets beyond the level on which current models can operate.”

Chris Huntingford, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said: “I think the research scientists in general are extremely cautious about making projections for the future, but that caution is vital. We don’t dispute that warming is happening, but it’s important that the NGOs and other people interested in the issue don’t always pick the high scenario and present it as fact.”

Temperature trends of the past two decades have also been widely mis-interpreted to support particular points of view, the scientists said. Rapid warming in the 1990s, culminating in the hottest year on record in 1998, was erroneously used to suggest that climate change was accelerating. Since then, temperatures have stabilised, prompting sceptics to claim that global warming has stopped. “In 1998, people thought the world was going to end, temperatures were going up so much,” Dr Pope said. “People pick up whatever makes their argument, but this works both ways. It’s the long-term trend that counts, which is continuing and inexorable.”


EU countries fail to agree on fund to help developing nations go green

The host of the Copenhagen climate change talks made a desperate appeal to European leaders to stop arguing and open their wallets to save the prospects of a deal next month.

Nine Eastern European countries have refused to commit to an international fund to pay developing countries to go green, despite a plea from Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister. Gordon Brown was one of the few leaders to push an EU plan to pay €10 billion a year into a global fund of €30 to €40 billion from 2020, which he warned was crucial to success in Copenhagen.

But Germany was leading another group of countries, including France, that argued it was bad tactics for the EU to show how much it was prepared to pay this far in advance of the talks.

“Some countries have a position where for strategic reasons they think we should keep the wallet in our pocket for some weeks. I really disagree,” Mr Rasmussen said.

“Copenhagen is a definite deadline and the people of the earth will be very disappointed if we do not reach a comprehensive agreement. There must be money on the table and hopefully we can agree that we are prepared to pay our share.”

Poland led the opposition from Eastern European countries who want to know how much they are in line to pay to countries in Africa and South America before signing up to a general EU commitment.

The former Iron Curtain countries argue that they cannot pay in the next few years while they adapt their own coal-based economies to meet strict EU emissions targets. Gordon Bajnai, the Hungarian Prime Minister, said that sharing costs between all nations was not acceptable for the poorer members. He said: “We want a result this weekend, but not at any price.”

But Mr Brown warned: “Unless we have a plan for funding the action we are taking on climate change we will not get agreement in Copenhagen.”


Republicans may stall climate change bill

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer said late Thursday that she wants to hold drafting sessions as early as Tuesday on the climate change bill pending before her committee, but the meetings could be delayed by Republican stalling tactics.

A spokesman for Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the panel, said committee Republicans were leaning toward boycotting the sessions and would meet soon to decide whether they would stay away. At least two members of the minority must attend the sessions, known as markups, for them to be convened, according to committee rules.

A decision is expected from committee Republicans on Friday. Mrs. Boxer, a California Democrat, told reporters she would "use every tool" to get the bill voted out of the committee, where it is expected to pass easily with no more than two Democratic votes against it. "We're going forward, we're going to do our job," she said.

The exact timing of any drafting sessions depends on Mrs. Boxer, who must give Republicans at least three days notice before scheduling a committee meeting. No notice had been sent as of Thursday evening.

She said her staff planned to work over the weekend to address the concerns of Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, who wants a less-stringent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than is contained in the bill, as well as the elimination of regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat, also raised concerns about the so-called price collar that would establish minimum and maximum prices for emissions permits, or allowances, that polluters would need to obtain to comply with the law. Asked whether she was planning to alter the bill, Mrs. Boxer said "we may have a couple of small things," in order to address Mr. Specter's concerns.

She said, however, that committee staff would be sending additional information to Mr. Baucus in the hopes of winning his support. She said the 2020 reduction target of 20 percent in her bill has become more easily attainable because emissions have already fallen up to 8 percent during the economic recession.

Her comments came after the conclusion of three days of sometimes contentious hearings on the climate change bill. Republicans, led by Mr. Inhofe and Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio, said the committee should not proceed to votes until it had a full economic analysis of the bill from EPA. No Republicans have signaled that they will back the bill.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told the committee Tuesday that her agency relied heavily on its economic analysis of the House-passed version of the bill in writing its analysis of the Senate bill co-authored by Mrs. Boxer and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat. She said they were similar enough not to require a repeat of a full analysis.


Warmism means salvation to the British Left

Beyond the change-your-lives-or-the-planet-gets-it hectoring, the government’s increasingly intense call to reduced-energy arms meets a political need, too. It provides a fading New Labour administration with an urgent purpose, an objective, no matter how doom-infused, around which they can rally an anxious citizenry. And with international climate talks due in Copenhagen in December, there is a prime opportunity to posture as warriors in the good fight. Little wonder that energy minister Ed Miliband sounded almost proud when speaking at the climate map’s launch: ‘With less than 50 days left before agreement must be reached, the UK is going all out to persuade the world of its need to raise its ambitions so we get a deal that protects us from a four-degree-celsius world.’

The more heightened the threat, the grander the posture. This logic was also at work when prime minister Gordon Brown addressed the Major Economies Forum in London recently. Enthusiastically talking up the prospect of droughts and a rising wave of floods, he stated: ‘If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice. So we should never allow ourselves to lose sight of the catastrophe we face if present warming trends continue.’

Despite the catastrophe-friendly content, there is a sense that when it comes to climate change, New Labour is enjoying itself. Where fighting the ‘war on terror’ lost its purpose-giving, moral-authority-providing function in Iraq, and now on the demoralising plains of Afghanistan, the good war is still there to be fought, but this time on the field of climate change. At every opportunity ministers trumpet this historic moment, and their own historic role. At the Science Museum, Ed Miliband was proclaiming Britain’s ‘historic responsibility’ to reduce carbon emissions, and, at the Major Economies forum, Gordon Brown was keen to play the world statesman: ‘In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history, because they change the course of history’. If we were in any doubt, that day of reckoning arrives in December in Copenhagen.

The problem with all the bluster, its catastrophism and its hope is what we, as a society, are being asked to do is so limited and limiting. It amounts, as the father (New Labour) said to his little girl (the public), to not using so much energy to heat homes or move around. This miserable vision of the low-wattage good life is presented as the national mission in which we are begged to believe. ‘To tackle the problem of climate change’, boomed Ed Miliband, ‘all of us, foreign ministries, environment ministries, treasuries, departments of defence, and all parts of government and societies, must work together to keep global temperatures to two degrees Celsius’.

There we have it. If ever a vision captured the bankruptcy of the today’s rulers it’s one based around temperature. They have given up on development, on all the gains of modernity, and on all the aspirations towards a better future; instead they just want to turn the heat down.



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


Friday, October 30, 2009

China, India vitiate Copenhagen discussions

With less than two months to go before the big Copenhagen Conference on global warming, two major nations have said "no thanks" to the no-growth agenda. For that reason alone, so should we.

Following a deal signed late Thursday between China and India, anything we might agree to do in Copenhagen is likely moot anyway. The two mega-nations — which together account for nearly a third of the world's population — said they won't go along with a new climate treaty being drafted in Copenhagen to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012. They're basically saying no to anything that forces them to impose mandatory limits on their output of greenhouse gas emissions. Other developing nations, including Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, will likely reject any proposals as well.

The deal was already in trouble. Three weeks ago, the Group of 77 developing nations met in Thailand to discuss what they wanted to do about global warming. Their answer: nothing.

William Hawkins, writing in the American Thinker, quotes a piece in China's Science Times journal that sums up how China — and other developing nations — feel: "Why do the developed countries put an arguable scientific problem on the international negotiations table?" the article's author, Wang Jin, asks. "The real intention is not for the global temperature increase, but for the restriction of the economic development of the developing countries."

They see clearly what the rest of us seem to miss — that, for all its bad science, the Copenhagen Conference is about the world's Lilliputians tying down its Gullivers, not about global warming at all.

So, thanks to China and India, Copenhagen is dead — just as Kyoto was when it was signed in 1992, though no one knew it at the time. Without them, no global treaty on climate change will be workable. The two nations are not only the world's most populous (with, together, more than 2 billion people), they are also the fastest-growing major countries. China is now the world's No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases, and India is catching up fast.

Even with their participation, Copenhagen should have been a non-starter for the U.S. Indeed, the main reason for the greenhouse gas deal, all but admitted to by its major participants, is to cripple the U.S. economy — the most successful economy in the world.

True enough, as green critics keep saying, we produce nearly 20% of the world's CO2 and other greenhouse gases with just 5% of the world's population. But our GDP of roughly $14 trillion is nearly 25% of the world's total — in line with our gas output. We provide jobs and consumption not just for Americans, but for tens of millions of people overseas whose livelihoods depend on satisfying the massive American market.

In case you're still worried about warming, stop. Since 1998, the data show global temperatures have fallen. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says this can't be happening. None of the IPCC's models shows a possibility of rising CO2 output and declining temperature. But even Paul Hudson, the pro-warming-theory BBC climate correspondent, recently had to admit: "For the last 11 years, we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise."

Yet, the IPCC estimates that "remediation" of the warming trend will cost about 1.7% of world GDP. In the U.S., that's about $240 billion a year. For the entire world, it's about $1 trillion a year — or $71 trillion over the next 70 years or so.

Proposals to slash CO2 won't work anyway. Department of Energy estimates indicate that 97% of all CO2 emissions would continue even if humans didn't exist.

Even so, climatologist Chip Knappenberger estimates that laws like the recent Waxman-Markey bill would, if fully enacted, reduce future warming by just 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2100 — not enough even to measure accurately.

Can the world really afford to give up $71 trillion in the coming decades to solve a phantom problem? Given the shoddiness of the science behind warming claims and the refusal of the biggest CO2 emitters to play along with the climate change sham, it would be economically ruinous for the U.S. to do anything other than wish the rest of the world a nice day, and go about our business.



China's busy climate change diplomacy has become increasingly feverish weeks before crucial talks that could forge a new pact to fight global warming, or end in rancour that could rebound onto the world's biggest emitter. President Hu Jintao told U.S. President Barack Obama last week that China wants a successful outcome in Copenhagen when the world gathers from Dec. 7 to wrangle over the proposed new climate pact, and the topic is sure to feature when Obama visits Beijing in mid-November.

Recent weeks have brought a flurry of meetings between China and other big hitters in the negotiations, including India. Global warming will feature too at a China-European Union summit late in November. But Chinese diplomats and advisers doing footwork for the negotiations have echoed growing international gloom, warning the Copenhagen talks could end with a feeble agreement that evades key issues or even fails to reach a deal. "The real negotiations will be after Copenhagen," Yi Xianliang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official involved in the climate talks told a meeting in Beijing last week. "Copenhagen will be a starting point, not an ending point."

Hopes negotiators will agree on a firm goal to halve worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to recent levels appear dim, said Pan Jiahua, an expert on climate change policy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

As a coal-dependent behemoth with output of greenhouse gases likely to rise for many years yet, China could bear much of the brunt of any backlash if the talks fail to produce a solid deal. That could spill over into greater tensions over trade.

"With China such a big emitter, it wants to avoid becoming the scapegoat if negotiations are unsuccessful or even fall apart," said Wang Ke, who teaches environmental policy at Renmin University in Beijing. "We feel it's already game-over. Copenhagen will be a rough compromise," he said. "China wants to take the initiative so it avoids being blamed if that's called a failure."

China's emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas generated by human activity, reached 6.8 billion tonnes in 2008, a rise of 178 percent over levels in 1990, according to the IWR, a German energy institute. U.S. emissions rose 17 percent over this period to 6.4 billion tonnes.

China is often denounced by Western critics as a stumbling block to agreement, because it argues developing countries should not submit to binding international caps on emissions while they grow out of poverty. In turn, China and other developing countries have said the rich countries have done far too little in vowing to cut their own greenhouse gas output, and in offering technology and money to the Third World to help cope with global warming.


India to the USA: You first

In India, Left, Right and Green think the developed nations should do the cutbacks

The political cost of a shift on climate change negotiations increased for the UPA government with the Left, BJP and the green lobby standing on common ground to oppose any political drift before the crucial Copenhagen climate talks in December. While the RSS voiced its opposition to any dilution of India's stand in its mouthpiece `Organiser', CPM took out a resolution warning the government against bending to accommodate the US on the issue.

A group of key green groups have also written a strong letter to the PM warning, "Civil society in India would oppose any moves to change India's negotiating position in the direction being suggested by the minister of environment and forests."

The flurry of political action also marked a leap for environment as a subject on the political sphere. CPM, in its resolution, said, "India should firmly resist pressure from the US and other advanced countries to abandon the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC framework and stick to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility."

Indicating that the UPA government's proposal to move a law on greenhouse gas emission reduction in the winter session of Parliament may not see smooth sailing, CPM warned, "India should take up and announce measures for control and reduction of growth rates of emissions not unilaterally but only conditional upon the US and other advanced countries undertaking the deep emission cuts as called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

The RSS said in Organiser's latest edition, "The developing countries led by India till have held their position in trying to make the rich nations accept responsibility for the poison they spew. By suggesting that India should change its stand on Kyoto Protocol... the minister has attempted to break the spirit of the developing nations."

The missive from a chunk of green and development NGOs, including Action Aid, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and grassroot organisations, to the PM also echoed the political consensus emerging from the Opposition benches. However, observers pointed out that some important NGOs had kept off the list, clearly showing that divisions still existed in the green brigade.

Sunita Narain, director of Centre for Science and Environment and member of the PM's Council on Climate Change, said, "We want an effective climate deal at Copenhagen, not a bad deal or a cop out. India is asking for its right to development, not the right to pollute."

With environmental issues ratcheting up on the political scene ahead of the Copenhagen meet, the UPA government will find it tough to make concessions without seeking trade-offs at the negotiations, observers noted.



"AP IMPACT: Statisticians reject global cooling". This is an interesting headline. We thought the debate is over global warming. Apparently, not. Last week, a poll by the Pew Center for the People and the Press showed that there has been an erosion of the percentage of American's who think that the earth is heating up. And now, the AP's Seth Borenstein is out there trying to find out whether or not the earth is cooling!

How things have changed during the past 10 years. Borenstein had been hearing so much recently about the possibility that the earth has been cooling that he decided to go out and find some statisticians that could analyze the earth's temperature history and give him some insight as to what has been going on: In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

Hmm. Why go to all the bother? This analysis has already been done numerous times. A recent example that clearly lays out the ups and downs of current temperature trends was posted about two weeks ago at the blog The figure below is taken from that post. It shows the current temperature trends from 5 to 15 years in length from all available global temperature datasets.

Figure 1. Each point on the chart represents the trend beginning in September of the year indicated along the x-axis and ending in August 2009. The different colored lines represent different temperature datasets as indicated. The trends which are statistically significant (<0.05) are indicated by filled circles. The zero line (no trend) is indicated by the thin black horizontal line, and the climate model average projected trend is indicated by the thick red horizontal line. By judiciously selecting the time period and the dataset, you can make a case or cooling, warming, or neither.

Borenstein quoted John Christy who pretty well summed up the situation: "It pretty much depends on when you start," wrote John Christy, the Alabama atmospheric scientist who collects the satellite data that skeptics use. He said in an e-mail that looking back 31 years, temperatures have gone up nearly three-quarters of a degree Fahrenheit (four-tenths of a degree Celsius). The last dozen years have been flat, and temperatures over the last eight years have declined a bit, he wrote.

In other words, over the last dozen years, the earth's average temperature has remained relatively steady during a time period when the globe should be warming rapidly as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions -or at least that is what all of the climate models are projecting should be happening.

While you would think this would be headline news-"Global Warming Is Not Proceeding According To Plan"-instead, Borenstein opts to run a story primarily focused on various people struggling to explain why the decline in the earth's temperature over the past 8 years really isn't global cooling.

This biggest message from Borenstein's article is that global warming proponents are starting to get irritated at the earth's lack of cooperation. Especially with big national and international negotiations taking place on actions aimed at reducing the rate of global temperature rise. If the earth's temperature isn't rising along with greenhouse gas emissions as expected, then why all the bother?

This desperation is none more obvious than in remarks made by NASA's Gavin Schmidt, as quoted by Borenstein: NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt predicts 2010 may break a record, so a cooling trend "will be never talked about again." That's pretty wishful, but unrealistic, thinking. After all, 10 years ago, the year 1998 smashed all previous global temperature records and yet today everywhere you turn, as evidenced most recently by Seth Borenstein's article, you are greeted by discussions of global cooling.

It is hard to see how one year would end such talk forever.



"...unlikely that the Arctic will experience ice-free summers by 2020."

But they do say that "first ice-free summer expected to occur between 2060 and 2080?. By then there will be nobody that remembers this forecast. Yet on the same day, bumbling Arctic explorer Pen Hadow says in a UK Telegraph interview: "To all intents and purposes the Arctic will be ice free in a decade. I do find the implications of this happening in my lifetime quite shocking.".

Gosh, who to believe? Somebody that fakes biotelemetry data or somebody that won't hand over climate data for replication studies? From a Met Office press release on October 15th:
The extent of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing since the late 1970s. In 2007 it decreased dramatically in a single year, reaching an all-time low. At the time it was widely reported that this was caused by man-made climate change and that the rate of decline of summer sea ice was increasing.

Modelling of Arctic sea ice by the Met Office Hadley Centre climate model shows that ice invariably recovers from extreme events, and that the long-term trend of reduction is robust - with the first ice-free summer expected to occur between 2060 and 2080. It is unlikely that the Arctic will experience ice-free summers by 2020.

Analysis of the 2007 summer sea-ice minimum has subsequently shown that this was due, in part, to unusual weather patterns. Arctic weather systems are highly variable year-on-year and the prevailing winds can enhance, or oppose, the southward flow of ice into the Atlantic. Consequently, the sea ice has not declined every year, but has shown considerable variability - both in extent and thickness.

The high variability has made it difficult to attribute the observed trend to man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, although there is now enough data to detect a human signal in the 30-year trend. The trend and observed variability, including the minimum extent observed in 2007, is consistent with climate modelling from the Met Office.

About half of the climate models involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fourth assessment report, show that ice declines in steps - failing to recover from extreme years. The observed temporary recovery from the 2007 minimum in 2008 and 2009 indicates that the Arctic ice has not yet reached a tipping point, if such exists. We expect Arctic ice to continue to decline in line with increasing global temperatures. If the rate of global temperature rise increases then so will the rate of Arctic sea-ice decline.


Australia: Conservative politicians lose faith in Warmist laws

LIBERAL Party frontbenchers have begun to dump their support for carbon emissions trading after receiving party research showing voters are increasingly skittish about putting a price on carbon. Despite Malcolm Turnbull's ongoing attempts to broker a deal with Labor that would clear the way for Kevin Rudd's proposed ETS, political hardheads among the Liberals are moving closer to the Nationals' view that endorsing carbon trading is political poison. They are now urging the Opposition Leader to take a harder line in negotiations and to reject Labor's legislation unless the government accepts the Coalition's proposed amendments in full. And they believe their best chance in next year's election is to attack Labor's proposals as leading to higher costs for consumers.

The shift has been on for the past few weeks and has gained pace since Liberal MPs were briefed on Tuesday on party research indicating voters overwhelmingly want action on climate change but do not understand the detail of the ETS proposals. Several sources said party director Brian Loughnane told the meeting that when interviewers explained the implications of an ETS to survey respondents, they were negative about the proposed scheme.

News of the shift emerged yesterday before today's launch by Liberal ETS opponent Cory Bernardi of a highly critical assessment of the European Union's emissions trading scheme which estimates it has cost consumers up to E116billion ($190bn) since 2005, with little environmental benefit.

The study, prepared by Britain's Taxpayers' Alliance, says climate change policies there form 14 per cent of household electricity prices and that electricity generators have made windfall profits at the expense of low-income earners and the elderly.

The Coalition has been negotiating with the government for more than a week on proposed amendments to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Kevin Rudd told parliament this week the bill would be introduced in the Senate on November 23, before the UN's global climate change conference in Copenhagen in December. If it is rejected the Prime Minister can use the Senate vote as the basis to call a double-dissolution election for both houses of parliament next year.

Mr Turnbull, a strong supporter of the need for a properly designed ETS, wants the government to amend its scheme to provide greater support for industries affected by a shift to carbon trading to adjust to the change.

Yesterday, the government rejected a Coalition bid to force an early vote on the scheme in the House of Representatives.

While Mr Loughnane refused to comment on party research yesterday, accounts of his briefing to MPs were broadly similar from sources on all sides of the ETS debate, with their differences relating to conclusions about the meaning of the findings. Some said the research made clear that the party should not back Labor's legislation unless the government embraced all of its amendments -- an unlikely prospect. "There is a move afoot in our party, depending on what happens, to say we should actually dump an ETS as a policy and go with something better and more effective," one source said.

But another shadow cabinet source said the research demonstrated that the party could not afford to accept the Nationals' approach of an outright rejection of carbon trading, and therefore must press hard for its amendments. "The message he was sending was that this is a dangerous zone but that because of the public acceptance that something must be done on climate change, doing nothing is simply not an option," the MP said.

Whatever the interpretation, Liberal frontbenchers who previously supported the idea of passing an amended ETS and then holding the government accountable for the outcome have shifted their view, insisting that only a "wholesale capitulation" from the government to Coalition demands would stand any chance of winning Coalition backbench endorsement.

Senior Liberals are now saying the party polling, and public polls, show increasing concern about the costs of an ETS. They believe the best political option is to run a campaign against the government based on increased costs to households and industry. Another MP said voters were starting to doubt the seriousness of climate change. It is also understood backbench pressure is growing from marginal seat holders who fear they will lose their seats. The Taxpayers' Alliance says the EU's ETS "has failed to perform and is imposing serious costs on ordinary families".

According to the EU's own figures there were only minor reductions in most European countries in greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2008. Senator Bernardi, who is leading the Liberal revolt in the Senate and running a direct opposition campaign, said yesterday the British report showed an ETS was "a massive economic impost that has no real environmental benefits". "An ETS in any form is bad for business, bad for families and bad for our economy," he said. "With clear evidence of how ineffective and expensive it has been in the European Union, there is no way an ETS should be introduced in Australia."

Last night the author of the report, Matthew Sinclair, said from London that the European ETS had failed to "produce a stable carbon price, leaving consumers with an unpredictable addition to their bills".

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said he was not surprised by the Liberals' research, which reflected his long-standing position.



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


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amusing: North Carolina sea levels rose at the "wrong" time

They try to glide over it below but Greenies normally identify the postwar years (1945+) as the time of a big rise in CO2. But the big jump in sea level reported below was at a time (1879 to 1915) when the industrial era was in its infancy! Correlation does not prove causation but lack of correlation certainly DISPROVES causation

An international team of environmental scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania has shown that sea-level rise, at least in North Carolina, is accelerating. Researchers found 20th-century sea-level rise to be three times higher than the rate of sea-level rise during the last 500 years. In addition, this jump appears to occur between 1879 and 1915, a time of industrial change that may provide a direct link to human-induced climate change.

The results appear in the current issue of the journal Geology.

The rate of relative sea-level rise, or RSLR, during the 20th century was 3 to 3.3 millimeters per year, higher than the usual rate of one per year. Furthermore, the acceleration appears consistent with other studies from the Atlantic coast, though the magnitude of the acceleration in North Carolina is larger than at sites farther north along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast and may be indicative of a latitudinal trend related to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Understanding the timing and magnitude of this possible acceleration in the rate of RSLR is critical for testing models of global climate change and for providing a context for 21st-century predictions.

"Tide gauge records are largely inadequate for accurately recognizing the onset of any acceleration of relative sea-level rise occurring before the 18th century, mainly because too few records exist as a comparison," Andrew Kemp, the paper's lead author, said. "Accurate estimates of sea-level rise in the pre-satellite era are needed to provide an appropriate context for 21st-century projections and to validate geophysical and climate models."

The research team studied two North Carolina salt marshes that form continuous accumulations of organic sediment, a natural archive that provides scientists with an accurate way to reconstruct relative sea levels using radiometric isotopes and stratigraphic age markers. The research provided a record of relative sea-level change since the year 1500 at the Sand Point and Tump Point salt marshes in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system of North Carolina. The two marshes provided an ideal setting for producing high-resolution records because thick sequences of high marsh sediment are present and the estuarine system is microtidal, which reduces the vertical uncertainty of aleosea-level estimates. The study provides for the first time replicated sea-level reconstructions from two nearby sites.

In addition, comparison with 20th-century tide-gauge records validates the use of this approach and suggests that salt-marsh records with decadal and decimeter resolution can supplement tide-gauge records by extending record length and compensating for the strong spatial bias in the global distribution of longer instrumental records.



by Habibullo Abdussamatov, Dr. Sc. - Head of Space research laboratory of Russia's Pulkovo Observatory

Total Solar Irradiance above -- trending downwards

We should fear a deep temperature drop —not catastrophic global warming. Humanity must survive the serious economic, social, demographic and political consequences of a global temperature drop, which will directly affect the national interests of almost all countries and more than 80% of the population of the Earth. A deep temperature drop is a considerably greater threat to humanity than warming. However, a reliable forecast of the time of the onset and of the depth of the global temperature drop will make it possible to adjust in advance the economic activity of humanity, to considerably weaken the crisis.

Experts of the United Nations in regular reports publish data said to show that the Earth is approaching a catastrophic global warming, caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, observations of the Sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is “not guilty” and as for what lies ahead in the upcoming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged, temperature drop.

Life on earth completely depends on solar radiation, the ultimate source of energy for natural processes. For a long time it was thought that the luminosity of the Sun never changes, and for this reason the quantity of solar energy received per second over one square meter above the atmosphere at the distance of the Earth from the Sun (149,597,892 km), was named the solar constant.

Until 1978, precise measurements of the value of the total solar irradiance (TSI) were not available. But according to indirect data, namely the established major climate variations of the Earth in recent millennia, one must doubt the invariance of its value.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, German and Swiss astronomers Heinrich Schwabe and Rudolf Wolf established that the number of spots on the surface of the Sun periodically changes, diminishing from a maximum to a minimum, and then growing again, over a time frame on the order of 11 years. Wolf introduced an index ("W") of the relative number of sunspots, computed as the sum of 10 times number of sunspot groups plus the total number of spots in all groups. This number has been regularly measured since 1849. Drawing on the work of professional astronomers and the observations of amateurs (which are of uncertain reliability) Wolf worked out a reconstruction of monthly values from 1749 as well as annual values from 1700. Today, the reconstruction of this time series stretches back to 1611. It has an eleven-year cycle of recurrence as well as other cycles related to onset and development of individual sunspot groups: changes in the fraction of the solar surface occupied by faculae, the frequency of prominences, and other phenomena in the solar chromosphere and corona.

Analyzing the long record of sunspot numbers, the English astronomer Walter Maunder in 1893 came to the conclusion that from 1645 to 1715 sunspots had been generally absent. Over the thirty-year period of the Maunder Minimum, astronomers of the time counted only about 50 spots. Usually, over that length of time, about 50,000 sunspots would appear. Today, it has been established that such minima have repeatedly occurred in the past. It is also known that the Maunder Minimum accompanied the coldest phase of a global temperature dip, physically measured in Europe and other regions, the most severe such dip for several millennia, which stretched from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries (now known as the Little Ice Age).

The search for a relationship between large climate variations and phenomena observed in the Sun led to an interest in finding a connection between periods of change in the terrestrial climate and corresponding significant changes in the level of observed solar activity, because the sunspot number is the only index that has been measured over a long period of time.

Determinative role of the Sun in variations in the climate of the Earth

The Earth, after receiving and storing over the twentieth century an anomalously large amount of heat energy, from the 1990’s began to return it gradually. The upper layers of the world ocean, completely unexpectedly to climatologists, began to cool in 2003. The heat accumulated by them unfortunately now is running out. Over the past decade, global temperature on the Earth has not increased; global warming has ceased, and already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop. Meantime the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over these years has grown by more than 4%, and in 2006 many meteorologists predicted that 2007 would be the hottest of the last decade. This did not occur, although the global temperature of the Earth would have increased at least 0.1 degree if it depended on the concentration of carbon dioxide. It follows that warming had a natural origin, the contribution of CO2 to it was insignificant, anthropogenic increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide does not serve as an explanation for it, and in the foreseeable future CO2 will not be able to cause catastrophic warming. The so-called greenhouse effect will not avert the onset of the next deep temperature drop, the 19th in the last 7500 years, which without fail follows after natural warming.

The earth is no longer threatened by the catastrophic global warming forecast by some scientists; warming passed its peak in 1998-2005, while the value of the TSI by July - September of last year had already declined by 0.47 W/m2.

For several years until the beginning in 2013 of a steady temperature drop, in a phase of instability, temperature will oscillate around the maximum that has been reached, without further substantial rise. Changes in climatic conditions will occur unevenly, depending on latitude. A temperature decrease in the smallest degree would affect the equatorial regions and strongly influence the temperate climate zones. The changes will have very serious consequences, and it is necessary to begin preparations even now, since there is practically no time in reserve. The global temperature of the Earth has begun its decrease without limitations on the volume of greenhouse gas emissions by industrially developed countries; therefore the implementation of the Kyoto protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.

Consequently, we should fear a deep temperature drop—not catastrophic global warming. Humanity must survive the serious economic, social, demographic and political consequences of a global temperature drop, which will directly affect the national interests of almost all countries and more than 80% of the population of the Earth. A deep temperature drop is a considerably greater threat to humanity than warming. However, a reliable forecast of the time of the onset and of the depth of the global temperature drop will make it possible to adjust in advance the economic activity of humanity, to considerably weaken the crisis.

Source. Full PDF here

"Energy-saving" lightbulbs cost 2700 jobs in Europe

There have been similar job losses in the USA too -- but the nonsense has created jobs in China. No wonder that the Chinese are pretending to play ball with the Warmists

US industrial giant General Electric said overnight it will axe 2700 jobs in Hungary over the next two years after a decision to phase out traditional energy-guzzling light bulbs in Europe. The cuts, which were announced at meetings with employees and trade unions on Wednesday, would begin at the start of next year, GE said. The group is the biggest US investor in Hungary, where it currently employs 14,000 people.

A new EU regulation phasing out old-style light bulbs by 2012 came into effect in September. And this would inevitably hit GE's Hungarian operations, said Phil Marshal, regional chief of GE Lighting. The factory in Nagykanizsa, southwest Hungary, would be hardest hit, with 1300 jobs to go there. But six other sites would also be affected, said company spokesman Balazs Szanto, pointing out that the factory in Vac, near Budapest would be shut down entirely in 2011. GE would also close one of its five GE Energy plants in Hungary.

Last year, GE laid off 500 employees and closed down a lighting factory and cut back output citing fierce global competition.


The View from Vanuatu on Climate Change: Torethy Frank had never heard of global warming. She is worried about power and running water

By BJORN LOMBORG -- with his usual doomed message about setting priorities rationally. Greenies are emotional, not rational

Global warming is a serious challenge that has captured the world's attention. But in the areas that will be worst hit by climate change, what do locals value and want prioritized? The tiny island nation of Vanuatu speaks with a big voice on global warming, calling for larger countries to make immediate carbon cuts. In a warning often repeated by environmental campaigners, the Vanuatuan president told the United Nations that entire island nations could be submerged. "If such a tragedy does happen," he said, "then the United Nations and its members would have failed in their first and most basic duty to a member nation and its innocent people."

Torethy Frank, a 39-year-old woman carving out a subsistence lifestyle on Vanuatu's Nguna Island, is one of those "innocent people." Yet, she has never heard of the problem that her government rates as a top priority. "What is global warming?" she asks a researcher for the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Ms. Frank has more immediate concerns—problems that are not spoken about on the world stage, and that do not attract the attention of the media or environmental advocates.

Torethy and her family of six live in a small house made of concrete and brick with no running water. As a toilet, they use a hole dug in the ground. They have no shower and there is no fixed electricity supply. Torethy's family was given a battery-powered DVD player but cannot afford to use it.

Three of Torethy's four teenage children have never spent a day in school. The eldest attended classes on another island, which cost Torethy and her husband 12,000 vatu ($110) a year, but she now makes him stay home because "too many of the kids at the school were smoking marijuana."

Three years ago, an outbreak of malaria ravaged Torethy's village, Utanlang. The mosquito-borne illness is a big problem in Vanuatu, although aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is helping. This deadly disease causes fever, headaches and vomiting, and can disrupt the blood supply to vital organs. One small clinic in Utanlang provides basic medicines like painkillers and bandages. For real medical care, Torethy must travel to the capital, Port Vila. In perfect conditions, that involves a 30-minute boat trip and then a two-hour car ride. Because the villagers are too poor to own any boats other than outrigger canoes, it can take up to five hours.

To get by, Torethy's village sells a few fish, fruit and baskets in mainland Vanuatu. But after paying for transport, little money is made. Torethy has learned that "it's best to return with no money and nothing new," because otherwise other villagers ask for their share.

The government, too, takes its cut in the form of tax. "But it doesn't give anything back," Torethy says. "No education, no power, no water, no transportation, no health care. Why should we pay them?"

Torethy's life would not be transformed by foreign countries making immediate carbon cuts. What would change her life? Having a boat in the village to use for fishing, transporting goods to sell, and to get to hospital in emergencies. She doesn't want more aid money because, "there is too much corruption in the government and it goes in people's pockets," but she would like microfinance schemes instead. "Give the money directly to the people for businesses so we can support ourselves without having to rely on the government."

Vanuatu's politicians speak with a loud voice on the world stage. But the inhabitants of Vanuatu, like Torethy Frank, tell a very different story.


Baucus balks at climate change legislation

A key Democratic senator said Tuesday that he could not support the Senate's global warming bill in its current form, even as President Obama praised the legislation and Democrats moved to push it through committee.

Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, said at the start of a series of hearings in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that he had "serious reservations" about the climate change bill's target of a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. He also said the bill should not allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions.

Mr. Baucus, who also chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee, became the first Democrat on the panel to object to the bill, which was released Friday in revised form by committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, California Democrat.

The Senate bill is stricter than a companion climate bill narrowly passed by the House in June. The House bill requires large carbon dioxide emitters, primarily power plants and factories, to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020. The House bill would also bar the EPA from regulating carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Both bills call for the same long-term goal: a reduction in emissions of about 80 percent by 2050, achieved through a "cap-and-trade" system. The system could mandate reductions based on declining annual emissions limits and require polluters to obtain permits through a government auction or from other polluters.

Mr. Baucus' Senate Finance Committee is expected to write its own bill covering the distribution of free emissions permits in the bill's early years, a move intended to insulate consumers, small businesses and farmers from many of the higher energy prices resulting from the legislation.

Mrs. Boxer said that Mr. Baucus told her Friday that he could not back the bill in its current form. Still, she expressed hope that recent declines in U.S. emission levels caused by the economic recession of as much as 8 percent since 2005 would make the 2020 target more palatable for Mr. Baucus and other bill critics.

Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who co-wrote the legislation with Mrs. Boxer, would not rule out altering the bill's EPA provisions to meet Mr. Baucus' objections, while standing firm on the 2020 reduction target. "If people come to us and say they're willing to vote for the bill if it's not there, I'll listen to them," he said.

Mr. Obama has called the cap-and-trade climate legislation "critical" to making renewable energy profitable.

Three Cabinet secretaries and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson appeared before Mrs. Boxer's committee Tuesday to lend their support for a comprehensive climate and energy bill, despite Republican criticisms that the climate bill would impose huge new expenses on the U.S. economy and do little to curb global warming.

Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe, the committee's ranking Republican, warned the bill would cost far more than the roughly $100 annually per household estimated by EPA. He put the total annual cost to the economy from the climate change bill at between $300 billion and $400 billion. "That's something that the American people can't tolerate and I don't believe they will," Mr. Inhofe said.

Ms. Jackson said that while EPA was moving to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, she and Mr. Obama still backed legislation as the preferable approach. She said the Kerry-Boxer bill was similar enough to the House-passed climate bill that it would achieve the same goals: a more efficient domestic economy at a low cost to families - less than 50 cents a day.


Last stand for climate bill this year?

Top Obama administration officials and Senate Democrats on Tuesday began a three-day process aimed at swaying Republicans to back an energy bill that aims to curb global warming emissions and invest in cleaner energy — but Republicans showed no signs of backing down, countering that the bill would raise energy prices and cost jobs.

Sen. Barbara Boxer opened the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing by calling the bill "our best insurance against a dangerous future." The California Democrat chairs the committee.

Boxer challenged the Republican view, noting that the Environmental Protection Agency calculates the bill would cost the average American family about $100 a year, or about 30 cents a day. "What will America’s families get for 30 cents a day," she asked. "For 30 cents a day, we will put America in control of our own energy future and take a stand for home-grown American energy rather than foreign oil from countries who don’t like us. "For 30 cents a day, we will protect our children from dangerous pollution," she added. "For 30 cents a day, we will send a signal that sparks billions of dollars of private investment and job creation. For 30 cents a day, we will be the world’s leader in clean energy technology."

The White House has made clear its support for the 900-page Democratic bill that would cut greenhouse gases by 80 percent over the next 40 years. It was sending three Cabinet secretaries and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to the hearing in hopes of persuading some wavering senators to support the measure.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the United States "has fallen behind" on clean energy while China and others have sped ahead. "The world’s largest turbine manufacturing company is headquartered in Denmark," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of the batteries that power America’s hybrid cars are made in Japan. We manufactured more than 40 percent of the world’s solar cells as recently as the mid 1990s; today, we produce just 7 percent." "China is spending about $9 billion a month on clean energy," he said in comparison. "It is also investing $44 billion by 2012 and $88 billion by 2020 in ultra high voltage transmission lines. These lines will allow China to transmit power from huge wind and solar farms far from its cities."

Chu also cited a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration that found that "the cumulative investment in wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels from now through 2030 could be $2.1 trillion and $1.5 trillion, respectively." "The policy decisions we make today will determine the U.S. share of this market," he said. "And many additional dollars, jobs and opportunities are at stake in other clean technologies."

Senate Democrats have all but abandoned the likelihood of getting a climate bill passed this year, although they hoped that they could show some progress at the hearing — such as clearing the bill out of a key committee — in advance of international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the leading sponsor of the Democrats' climate bill, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday and said it was urgent for the United States to show "some movement in the Senate" on restricting greenhouse gases ahead of the upcoming talks in Copenhagen. Kerry acknowledged that the Senate's tight schedule and heavy focus on health care has made action on climate difficult.

Similar to a House-passed bill, the legislation would cap greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and large industrial facilities. Polluters would have to obtain emission permits, and the number of permits would be ratcheted down gradually to achieve the reductions. To ease the transition, polluters would be able to buy and sell allowances as necessary to meet the government-imposed caps.

The EPA said that the Senate bill is so similar to the House-passed bill that the economic impact would likely be the same — between $80 and $100 in additional energy costs a year for an average household. Critics of the bill argue the costs would be much higher.



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


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How unsettled can science get?

Below is the body of a letter to the EPA by Howard C. Hayden [], Professor Emeritus of Physics, UConn. Prof. Hayden added to his email the comment: "People will do anything to save the world -- except take a science course"

It has been often said that the "science is settled" on the issue of CO2 and climate. Let me put this claim to rest with a simple one-letter proof that it is false. The letter is s, the one that changes model into models. If the science were settled, there would be precisely one model, and it would be in agreement with measurements.

Alternatively, one may ask which one of the twenty-some models settled the science so that all the rest could be discarded along with the research funds that have kept those models alive. We can take this further. Not a single climate model predicted the current cooling phase. If the science were settled, the model (singular) would have predicted it.

Let me next address the horror story that we are approaching (or have passed) a "tipping point." Anybody who has worked with amplifiers knows about tipping points. The output "goes to the rail." Not only that, but it stays there. That's the official worry coming from the likes of James Hansen (of NASA/GISS) and Al Gore.

But therein lies the proof that we are nowhere near a tipping point. The earth, it seems, has seen times when the CO2 concentration was up to 8,000 ppm, and that did not lead to a tipping point. If it did, we would not be here talking about it. In fact, seen on the long scale, the CO2 concentration in the present cycle of glacials (ca. 200 ppm) and interglacials (ca. 300-400 ppm) is lower than it has been for the last 300 million years.

Global-warming alarmists tell us that the rising CO2 concentration is (A) anthropogenic and (B) leading to global warming.

(A) CO2 concentration has risen and fallen in the past with no help from mankind. The present rise began in the 1700s, long before humans could have made a meaningful contribution. Alarmists have failed to ask, let alone answer, what the CO2 level would be today if we had never burned any fuels. They simply assume that it would be the "pre-industrial" value.

The solubility of CO2 in water decreases as water warms, and increases as water cools. The warming of the earth since the Little Ice Age has thus caused the oceans to emit CO2 into the atmosphere.

(B) The first principle of causality is that the cause has to come before the effect. The historical record shows that climate changes precede CO2 changes. How, then, can one conclude that CO2 is responsible for the current warming? Nobody doubts that CO2 has some greenhouse effect, and nobody doubts that CO2 concentration is increasing. But what would we have to fear if CO2 and temperature actually increased?

* A warmer world is a better world. Look at weather-related death rates in winter and in summer, and the case is overwhelming that warmer is better.

* The higher the CO2 levels, the more vibrant is the biosphere, as numerous experiments in greenhouses have shown. But a quick trip to the museum can make that case in spades. Those huge dinosaurs could not exist anywhere on the earth today because the land is not productive enough.

* CO2 is plant food, pure and simple.

* CO2 is not pollution by any reasonable definition.

* A warmer world begets more precipitation.

* All computer models predict a smaller temperature gradient between the poles and the equator. Necessarily, this would mean fewer and less violent storms.

* The melting point of ice is zero degrees Celsius in Antarctica, just as it is everywhere else. The highest recorded temperature at the South Pole is -14 degrees, and the lowest is -117. How, pray, will a putative few degrees of warming melt all the ice and inundate Florida, as is claimed by the warming alarmists?

Consider the change in vocabulary that has occurred. The term global warming has given way to the term climate change, because the former is not supported by the data. The latter term, climate change, admits of all kinds of illogical attributions. If it warms up, that's climate change. If it cools down, ditto. Any change whatsoever can be said by alarmists to be proof of climate change.

In a way, we have been here before. Lord Kelvin "proved" that the earth could not possibly be as old as the geologists said. He "proved" it using the conservation of energy. What he didn't know was that nuclear energy, not gravitation, provides the internal heat of the sun and the earth. Similarly, the global-warming alarmists have "proved" that CO2 causes global warming. Except when it doesn't.

To put it fairly but bluntly, the global-warming alarmists have relied on a pathetic version of science in which computer models take precedence over data, and numerical averages of computer outputs are believed to be able to predict the future climate. It would be a travesty if the EPA were to countenance such nonsense.

Proxy crisis: Stalagmite climate record disputes ice-core findings

During the last glacial period, a number of rapid climate variations known as Greenland interstadials (GIs; also known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events) took place. These climate shifts have been observed in ice core records, but the precise timing of these events has been uncertain. To assign precise ages to some of the GI events, Fleitmann et al. obtain a new, well-dated carbon and oxygen isotope record from stalagmites in the Sofular Cave in northwestern Turkey. The authors note that the new stalagmite record, which covers the past 50,000 years, differs from the most recent Greenland ice core chronology by as much as several centuries at some points. Furthermore, although some scientists had suggested that GIs occurred on a 1470-year cycle, the new stalagmite record does not support that interpretation, the authors find. They also note that the new record indicates that the climate and ecosystem in the eastern Mediterranean changed rapidly in response to the GIs; these changes could have affected Neanderthal populations living in the area.


The journal article is "Timing and climatic impact of Greenland interstadials recorded in stalagmites from northern Turkey" by D. Fleitmann et al., published in Geophysical Research Letters, 2009

British science museum's climate change poll backfires

The museum’s Prove It! website, which is designed to influence politicians at the Copenhagen climate summit in December, allows members of the public to pledge their support, or lack of it, to the environmentalist cause. But so far those backing the campaign are out-numbered nearly six-to-one by opponents.

By Saturday, 2,385 people who took the poll said “count me out” compared to just 415 who said “count me in”, after being asked whether they agreed with the statement: “I’ve seen the evidence. And I want the government to prove they’re serious about climate change by negotiating a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.”

The website, which accompanies a major new exhibition at the venerable South Kensington museum, claims to offer "all the evidence you need to believe in climate change".

Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, helped to launch the project by unveiling a map devised by the Met Office which depicts how Britain will be affected by rising sea levels, flood and drought if global temperatures rise more than seven degrees F (four degrees C).

At the launch, a statement from the Science Museum said: "We're convinced climate change is caused by humans and requires urgent action." The Prove It! project is designed to win public support for a global deal on climate change, and will also be used by the Foreign Office to persuade other countries to agree a cut in greenhouse gas emissions.

A Science Museum spokesman said: "Three thousand responses in just three days shows how important this subject is in the run up to the Copenhagen summit. "Prove It! has mobilised both sides of the debate and this was one of the aims of the project. The Science Museum stands by its position that climate change is real and urgent."



Japan cautioned on Friday that it could water down planned 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if other rich nations fail to make deep reductions as part of a U.N. deal due in Copenhagen in December.

In Brussels, a draft report showed that European Union states were preparing to endorse an estimate by the European Commission that developing countries will need about 100 billion euros ($150.1 billion) annually by 2020 to tackle climate change.

Disputes over 2020 emissions cuts by developed nations and the amounts of cash to help developing nations combat global warming are among the main sticking points in sluggish U.N. talks meant to end in Denmark on Dec. 18 with a new treaty.

"The possibility is not zero," Japanese Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa told Reuters when asked if Japan could change its 2020 target of cutting emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels if Copenhagen falls short on ambition.

He declined to say what alternative target Japan, the world's fifth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, had in mind for cutting emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

Japan's 25 percent offer made last month is tougher than that put forward by the previous government and among the deepest by any rich nation. "As environment minister, I want to go ahead with this pledge, but the government announced it with a precondition at the United Nations (climate change summit last month) so of course it could change," he said.

Many other nations have offered a range of cuts, hinging on Copenhagen's outcome, but Tokyo has not given a fallback position. Its offer is premised on an ambitious goals by all major emitters, including China and the United States.


In praise of scepticism

In a light-hearted essay, Australian humourist and crypto-conservative Clive James looks at Montaigne and attitudes towards climate change sceptics, among other things. Excerpt only below

What do I know? Montaigne asked himself, and in answering that question during the course of several volumes of great essays he touched on many subjects...

From our viewpoint, he often doesn't seem very sceptical at all. But at the time he seemed sceptical enough to excite a whole generation of readers with the idea that some falsehoods might masquerade as facts, and that an enquiring, critical attitude was the one to have.

Shakespeare was only one of his many readers who caught fire at that idea. Shakespeare knew Montaigne's writings inside out. They helped set the standard for the way our greatest playwright separated what he knew from what he didn't know.

In Montaigne's day you could get into terminal trouble for taking scepticism too far, which is probably one of the reasons why not even he pushed it on the subject of religion.

Since then, a sceptical attitude has been less likely to get you burned at the stake, but it's notable how the issue of man-made global warming has lately been giving rise to a use of language hard to distinguish from heresy-hunting in the fine old style by which the cost of voicing a doubt was to fry in your own fat.

Whether or not you believe that the earth might have been getting warmer lately, if you are sceptical about whether mankind is the cause of it, the scepticism can be enough to get you called a denialist.

It's a nasty word to be called, denialist, because it calls up the spectacle of a fanatic denying the Holocaust. In my homeland, Australia, there are some prominent intellectuals who are quite ready to say that any sceptic about man-made global warming is doing even worse than denying the Holocaust, because this time the whole of the human race stands to be obliterated.

Really they should know better, because the two events are not remotely comparable. The Holocaust actually happened. The destruction of the earth by man-made global warming hasn't happened yet, and there are plenty of highly qualified scientists ready to say that the whole idea is a case of too many of their colleagues relying on models provided by the same computers that can't even predict what will happen to the weather next week.

In fact the number of scientists who voice scepticism has lately been increasing. But there were always some, and that's the only thing I know about the subject. I know next to nothing about climate science. All I know is that many of the commentators in newspapers who are busy predicting catastrophe don't know much about it either, because they keep saying that the science is settled and it isn't.

Speaking as one who lives at sea level, I don't relish the prospect of my granddaughter spending her life on a raft 30 feet above where she now plays in the garden, but I still can't see that there is a scientific consensus. There are those for, and those against. Either side might well be right, but I think that if you have a division on that scale, you can't call it a consensus.

Nobody can meaningfully say that "the science is in", yet this has been said constantly by many commentators in the press until very lately, and now that there are a few fewer saying it there is a tendency, on the part of those who still say it, to raise their voices even higher, and harden their language against any sceptic, as if they were protecting their faith.

Sceptics, say the believers, don't care about the future of the human race. But being sceptical has always been one of the best ways of caring about the future of the human race. For example, it was from scepticism that modern medicine emerged, questioning the common belief that diseases were caused by magic, or could be cured by it.

A conjecture can be dressed up as a dead certainty with enough rhetoric and protected against dissent with enough threatening language, but finally it has to meet the only test of science, which is that any theory must fit the facts, and the facts can't be altered to suit the theory.


A much-honoured Greenie nut

Being a crank makes you a "public intellectual" apparently. Comment from Australia by Andrew Bolt below

THIS sure is a strange way for Professor Clive Hamilton to spend the few years that he - and we - have left. I mean, if you thought the end of the world was nigh, would you really waste your last moments trying to become the next member for Higgins?

Still, who knows what now goes on in the grim skull of the Greens candidate for the Melbourne seat just vacated by former treasurer Peter Costello. And who understands what dark currents swirl in the brains of the thousands who will vote for him on December 5, in a poll that will measure how mad these times now are.

Hamilton has a CV that might make an innocent reader, impressed by titles, think: "Wow! This man must be smart." He describes himself as a "public intellectual". He's written books and is professor of public ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. The Rudd Government made him a Member of the Order of Australia. Yet that CV measures not Hamilton's greatness, but this country's idiocy.

His message is just one preached by religious cranks for centuries: "Repent, for the end of the world is nigh!" Here's his new version of this faith: "I think where we're going is to begin to see a Gaian earth in its ecological, cybernetic way, infused with some notion of mind or soul or chi, which will transform our attitudes to it away from an instrumentalist one, towards an attitude of greater reverence." And if we don't repent? "Unless we do that, I mean we seriously are in trouble, because we know that Gaia is revolting against the impact of human beings on it."

In fact, Hamilton fears we're doomed already by Gaia's revolt against wicked us and our greenhouse gases: "It now seems almost certain that, if it has not occurred already, within the next several years enough warming will be locked into the system ... (and) humans will be powerless to stop the shift to a new climate on Earth, one much less sympathetic to life."

So sure is Hamilton of this danger that voters may get just one chance to vote him in - and none to throw him out if the world's temperatures start rising again: "The implications of (a rise of) 3C, let alone 4C or 5C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of emergency responses such as the suspension of democratic processes."

Even our freedom to shop offends this embryonic dictator: "Shopping has become both an expression of the meaninglessness of consumer society and an attempted cure for it." But good news: "It has recently been shown that compulsive shopping disorder can be effectively treated with certain anti-depressant drugs ... "

Can't wait to see Hamilton lash the ladies of Higgins out of their fine shops in Chapel St and Toorak Rd. Still, be fair. He actually wants all of us to be poorer, and not just the rich: "We can only avoid catastrophe - including millions dying in the Third World - if we radically change the way we in the rich countries go about our daily lives. Above all, we must abandon our comfortable belief in progress."

Here's how: "Australia, along with the rest of the world, must cut its emissions by at least 60 per cent ... " But how to get people to agree with a target so ruinous? Hamilton's answer: "Personally I cannot see any alternative to ramping up the fear factor." Actually, Clive, consider that fear factor ramped. If you're now the kind of thinker voters prefer, even I will agree we're doomed.



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


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The real climate change catastrophe

In a new book, Christopher Booker reveals how a handful of scientists, who have pushed flawed theories on global warming for decades, now threaten to take us back to the Dark Ages

Next Thursday marks the first anniversary of one of the most remarkable events ever to take place in the House of Commons. For six hours MPs debated what was far and away the most expensive piece of legislation ever put before Parliament.

The Climate Change Bill laid down that, by 2050, the British people must cut their emissions of carbon dioxide by well over 80 per cent. Short of some unimaginable technological revolution, such a target could not possibly be achieved without shutting down almost the whole of our industrialised economy, changing our way of life out of recognition.

Even the Government had to concede that the expense of doing this – which it now admits will cost us £18 billion a year for the next 40 years – would be twice the value of its supposed benefits. Yet, astonishingly, although dozens of MPs queued up to speak in favour of the Bill, only two dared to question the need for it. It passed by 463 votes to just three.

One who voted against it was Peter Lilley who, just before the vote was taken, drew the Speaker’s attention to the fact that, outside the Palace of Westminster, snow was falling, the first October snow recorded in London for 74 years. As I observed at the time: “Who says that God hasn’t got a sense of humour?”

By any measure, the supposed menace of global warming – and the political response to it – has become one of the overwhelmingly urgent issues of our time. If one accepts the thesis that the planet faces a threat unprecedented in history, the implications are mind-boggling. But equally mind-boggling now are the implications of the price we are being asked to pay by our politicians to meet that threat. More than ever, it is a matter of the highest priority that we should know whether or not the assumptions on which the politicians base their proposals are founded on properly sound science.

This is why I have been regularly reporting on the issue in my column in The Sunday Telegraph, and this week I publish a book called The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the obsession with climate change turning out to be the most costly scientific delusion in history?.

There are already many books on this subject, but mine is rather different from the rest in that, for the first time, it tries to tell the whole tangled story of how the debate over the threat of climate change has evolved over the past 30 years, interweaving the science with the politicians’ response to it.

It is a story that has unfolded in three stages. The first began back in the Seventies when a number of scientists noticed that the world’s temperatures had been falling for 30 years, leading them to warn that we might be heading for a new ice age. Then, in the mid-Seventies, temperatures started to rise again, and by the mid-Eighties, a still fairly small number of scientists – including some of those who had been predicting a new ice age – began to warn that we were now facing the opposite problem: a world dangerously heating up, thanks to our pumping out CO₂ and all those greenhouse gases inseparable from modern civilisation.

In 1988, a handful of the scientists who passionately believed in this theory won authorisation from the UN to set up the body known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This was the year when the scare over global warming really exploded into the headlines, thanks above all to the carefully staged testimony given to a US Senate Committee by Dr James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), also already an advocate for the theory that CO₂ was causing potentially catastrophic warming.

The disaster-movie scenario that rising levels of CO₂ could lead to droughts, hurricanes, heatwaves and, above all, that melting of the polar ice caps, which would flood half the world’s major cities, struck a rich chord. The media loved it. The environmentalists loved it. More and more politicians, led by Al Gore in the United States, jumped on the bandwagon. But easily their most influential allies were the scientists running the new IPCC, led by a Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin and Dr John Houghton, head of the UK Met Office.

The IPCC, through its series of weighty reports, was now to become the central player in the whole story. But rarely has the true nature of any international body been more widely misrepresented. It is commonly believed that the IPCC consists of “1,500 of the world’s top climate scientists”, charged with weighing all the scientific evidence for and against “human-induced climate change” in order to arrive at a “consensus”.

In fact, the IPCC was never intended to be anything of the kind. The vast majority of its contributors have never been climate scientists. Many are not scientists at all. And from the start, the purpose of the IPCC was not to test the theory, but to provide the most plausible case for promoting it. This was why the computer models it relied on as its chief source of evidence were all programmed to show that, as CO₂ levels continued to rise, so temperatures must inevitably follow.

One of the more startling features of the IPCC is just how few scientists have been centrally involved in guiding its findings. They have mainly been British and American, led for a long time by Dr Houghton (knighted in 1991) as chairman of its scientific working group, who in 1990 founded the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for research into climate change. The centre has continued to play a central role in selecting the IPCC’s contributors to this day, and along with the Climate Research Unit run by Professor Philip Jones at the University of East Anglia, controls HadCrut, one of the four official sources of global temperature data (another of the four, GIStemp, is run by the equally committed Dr Hansen and his British-born right-hand man, Dr Gavin Schmidt).

With remarkable speed, from the time of its first report in 1990, the IPCC and its computer models won over many of the world’s politicians, led by those of the European Union. In 1992, the UN staged its extraordinary Earth Summit in Rio, attended by 108 prime ministers and heads of state, which agreed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and this led in 1997 to the famous Kyoto Protocol, committing the world’s governments to specific targets for reducing CO₂.

Up to this point, the now officially accepted global-warming theory seemed only too plausible. Both CO₂ levels and world temperatures had continued to rise, exactly as the IPCC’s computer models predicted. We thus entered the second stage of the story, lasting from 1998 to 2006, when the theory seemed to be carrying everything before it.

The politicians, most notably in the EU, were now beginning to adopt every kind of measure to combat the supposed global-warming menace, from building tens of thousands of wind turbines to creating elaborate schemes for buying and selling the right to emit CO₂, the gas every plant in the world needs for life.

But however persuasive the case seemed to be, there were just beginning to be rather serious doubts about the methods being used to promote it. More and more questions were being asked about the IPCC’s unbalanced approach to evidence – most notably in its promotion of the so-called “hockey stick” graph, produced in time for its 2001 report by a hitherto obscure US scientist Dr Michael Mann, purporting to show how global temperatures had suddenly been shooting up to levels quite unprecedented in history.

One of the hockey stick’s biggest fans was Al Gore, who in 2006 made it the centrepiece of his Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. But it then turned out that almost every single scientific claim in Gore’s film was either wildly exaggerated or wrong. The statistical methods used to create the hockey-stick graph were so devastatingly exposed by two Canadian statisticians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (as was confirmed in 2006 by two expert panels commissioned by the US Congress) that the graph has become one of the most comprehensively discredited artefacts in the history of science.

The supporters of the hockey stick, highly influential in the IPCC, hit back. Proudly calling themselves “the Hockey Team”, their membership again reflects how small has been the number of closely linked scientists centrally driving the warming scare. They include Philip Jones, in charge of the HadCrut official temperature graph, and Gavin Schmidt, Hansen’s right-hand man at GISS –which itself came under fire for “adjusting” its temperature data to exaggerate the warming trend.

Then, in 2007, the story suddenly entered its third stage. In a way that had been wholly unpredicted by those IPCC computer models, global temperatures started to drop. Although CO2 levels continued to rise, after 25 years when temperatures had risen, the world’s climate was visibly starting to cool again.

More and more eminent scientists have been coming out of the woodwork to suggest that the IPCC, with its computer models, had got it all wrong. It isn’t CO₂ that has been driving the climate, the changes are natural, driven by the activity of the sun and changes in the currents of the world’s oceans.

The ice caps haven’t been melting as the alarmists and the models predicted they should. The Antarctic, containing nearly 90 per cent of all the ice in the world, has actually been cooling over the past 30 years, not warming. The polar bears are not drowning – there are four times more of them now than there were 40 years ago. In recent decades, the number of hurricanes and droughts have gone markedly down, not up.

As the world has already been through two of its coldest winters for decades, with all the signs that we may now be entering a third, the scientific case for CO2 threatening the world with warming has been crumbling away on an astonishing scale.

Yet it is at just this point that the world’s politicians, led by Britain, the EU and now President Obama, are poised to impose on us far and away the most costly set of measures that any group of politicians has ever proposed in the history of the world – measures so destructive that even if only half of them were implemented, they would take us back to the dark ages.

We have “less than 50 days” to save the planet, declared Gordon Brown last week, in yet another desperate bid to save the successor to the Kyoto treaty, which is due to be agreed in Copenhagen in six weeks’ time. But no one has put the reality of the situation more succinctly than Prof Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy, one of the most distinguished climatologists in the world, who has done as much as anyone in the past 20 years to expose the emptiness of the IPCC’s claim that its reports represent a “consensus” of the views of “the world’s top climate scientists”.

In words quoted on the cover of my new book, Prof Lindzen wrote: “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly exaggerated computer predictions combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”

Such is the truly extraordinary position in which we find ourselves. Thanks to misreading the significance of a brief period of rising temperatures at the end of the 20th century, the Western world (but not India or China) is now contemplating measures that add up to the most expensive economic suicide note ever written.

How long will it be before sanity and sound science break in on what begins to look like one of the most bizarre collective delusions ever to grip the human race?


There are expensive ways of doing things...

And there are ludicrously expensive ways of doing this. This being attempting to mitigate climate change of course. Start from the point that the IPCC and the Stern Review are correct: it's happening, it's us and we should think about doing something about it. This allows every fanatic with a plan to leap aboard the bandwagon and insist that they, and only they, know how to save the world: amazingly, that salvation always comes from whatever it is they were already proposing without the now accepted problem.

Take, for example, solar photo voltaic power generation. For boring technical reasons I think it will in the future be part of the solution but similarly I don't think it is yet. Yet all and sundry are screaming that we must have feed in tariffs for solar PV for that is exactly what will save Flipper from boiling at the end of times. We should, indeed must, do as German has been doing. So how has Germany been doing?
Given the net cost of 41.82 Cents/kWh for PV modules installed in 2008, and assuming that PV displaces conventional electricity generated from a mixture of gas and hard coal, abatement costs are as high as 716 € (US $1,050) per tonne.

Ah: we've already specified that we agreeing with the Stern Review above and he said that the cost of a tonne of CO2 is $80. Paying more to abate emissions than those emissions will cost us is known as making us poorer: in this case, feed in tariffs make Germany poorer by $970 for every tonne abated. That is what is known technically, in policy circles, as "screaming nonsense".

So no, we must close our ears to those siren songs telling us that we must copy Germany on this matter. We do not want to have feed in tariffs for solar PV in the UK. But if we're not going to have them then what should we do? I've already mentioned that I think the technology will, when it has matured, be part of the solution. But there's one or two iterations, generations, of technology to go before it really is. And I've also mentioned in other posts here what we should be doing about all of this at the moment.

Nada, nothing, zip, bupkis. We just wait while those two iterations of the technology pass us by and we start using it when it makes financial sense to do so: when the subsidy needed is less than the benefit of the CO2 abatement. In the meantime we just sit back and let the German taxpayer make themselves poorer to our future benefit. We can always send them a thank you card later: or if you want to be more serious, we can trade those things we've been able to make by not pouring money into a subsidy hole for those solar cells that they have made by doing so.


Shocker from Newsweak below: 'Green Subsidies Aren't Working'

And: 'Climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades...created an epic scramble for subsidies and regulatory favors'

Climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades. Each year as much as $100 billion is spent by governments and consumers around the world on green subsidies designed to encourage wind, solar, and other -renewable-energy markets. The goals are worthy: reduce emissions, promote new sources of energy, and help create jobs in a growing industry. Yet this epic effort of lawmaking and spending has, naturally, also created an epic scramble for subsidies and regulatory favors. Witness the 1,150 lobbying groups that spent more than $20 million to lobby the U.S. Congress as it was writing the Clean Energy bill (which would create a $60 billion annual market for emission permits by 2012). Government has often had a hand in jump--starting a new -industry—both the computer chip and the Internet got their start in American defense research. But it's hard to think of any non-military industry that has been so completely and utterly driven by regulation and subsidies from the start.

It's a genetic defect that not only guarantees great waste, but opens the door to manipulation and often demonstrably contravenes the objectives that climate policy is supposed to achieve. Thanks to effective lobbying by American and European farmers, the more cost--efficient and environmentally effective Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol is locked out of U.S. and EU markets. Even within Europe, most countries have their own "technical standard" for biofuels to better keep out competing products—even if they are cheaper or produce a greater cut in emissions. Because the subsidies are tied to feedstocks, there is zero incentive to develop better technology.

Both the International Energy Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have asked Germany to end its ludicrous solar subsidies that will total $115.5 billion by 2013. In theory, these subsidies are designed to create viable markets for climate-friendly technology by bringing down production costs, after which subsidies could be phased out. But Germany's solar program has been a textbook case of how subsidies achieve the opposite of their stated intention. As the share of renewable power has jumped from 3 percent in 2001 to 15 percent now, subsidies per -kilowatt-hour of renewable power aren't going down but up, meaning that clean energy is getting more expensive. Energy economist Manuel Frondel of Germany's RWI Institute says the country's lavish subsidies have blocked innovation and delayed the advent of cost-competitive solar power worldwide. For several years solar-module costs stagnated because German subsidies sucked up global production at virtually any price. Only when Spain decided in 2008 to scrap a similar subsidy scheme it had copied from the Germans did the global solar bubble collapse and costs fall. The German solar case also defies the green-jobs model. The idea is that subsidies create a new industry and a lot of high-tech jobs. Yet Germany's solar producers are downsizing. With little pressure to become efficient and cost--competitive, they are now getting crowded out by Chinese producers.

In truth, green tech is no longer the tender niche industry the public debate makes it out to be. Global wind-turbine production alone is already a $50 billion annual market. And just as the bulk of farm subsidies don't go to farmers, but to agro-conglomerates and food giants, it's not small green-tech ventures but big corporations that are getting the best seats on the green gravy train. DuPont, Siemens, power companies, and investment banks are hungry for a slice of the subsidy pie or the new -carbon-trading market. Defenders rightly point out that fossil fuels get a staggering $500 billion in subsidies each year. Yet 80 percent of these are consumer subsidies in a handful of developing countries such as China, Russia, and Iran, and pale in significance when you account for fossil fuels' much higher share of the energy supply. No one denies the necessary role of governments in environmental policy. But of the 10 most cost-effective and measurable ways for the world to cut emissions, for example, subsidies for renewables don't even make it onto the list. Much more effective is putting a price on emissions, or finding other ways to mandate reductions and letting the market decide which technologies are the best. Here's hoping governments take the point soon.


How to be a Jerk

By Alan Caruba

Let us begin with a fact that whole legions of global warming alarmists cannot wish away or hide from public view. The Earth has been cooling since 1998 and it is getting demonstrably cooler almost everywhere in the world. The cooling will continue for decades.

So it follows that the best way to be a complete jerk is to have your book, “Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”, published at the same time that a recent Public Strategies Inc/Politico poll revealed that “Just four percent (4%) ranked climate change as the top issue." If the congressional election—-next year’s midterms—-were held today the economy would be the top issue (45%), followed by insane government spending (21%) Another survey, one by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted between September 30 and October 4, found that “fewer respondents see global warming as a very serious problem,; 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.”

James Hoggan, the cofounder of DeSmogBlog, along with Richard Littlemore are the proud authors of what has to be the silliest book of the year. It actually has a blurb on the back cover from Leonardo DeCaprio, famed actor and, until now, an unknown meteorological savant.

In the interest of full disclosure, both Hoggan and I have plied the magical arts and craft of public relations for a living. Thanks to Obama’s stimulus, clunkers program, ownership of General Motors and other former private enterprises, I have been forcibly retired. I am looking forward to not being retired as I have rent to pay and enjoy eating on a regular basis.

Hoggan’s preface begins by saying, “This is a story of betrayal, a story of selfishness, greed, and irresponsibility on an epic scale. In its darkest chapters, it’s a story of deceit, of poisoning public judgment—of an anti-democratic attack on our political structure and a strategic undermining of the journalistic watchdogs who keep our social institutions honest.”

Did he say “journalistic watchdogs”? Last year more than 40,000 of them lost their jobs due to an ailing economy, bad business models, and the growing perception that the “news” they were reporting was biased and unreliable. To this day, reporters are still writing about "global warming" as if it is real and blathering about greenhouse gas emissions as if they have anything to do with the climate.

From Hoggan’s description I thought he was talking about the huge global warming hoax that has been foisted on the world’s population by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore, countless feckless politicians, grant-seeking scientists, and so-called environmental organizations. But no, Hoggan is talking about “an organized campaign, largely financed by the coal and oil industries, to make us think that climate science was somehow still controversial, (that) climate change still unproven.”

Climate “science” based on appallingly manipulative and misleading computer models is controversial. As for “climate change”, it is the new term being used by “global warming” alarmists because there is NO global warming.

Ignoring the billions the U.S. government under several presidents have lavished on scientists lined up to prove the Earth was dramatically warming, the sea levels were rising at unprecedented rates, that polar bears—-excellent swimmers-—were drowning, and just about other natural phenomenon was affected by or demonstrated global warming, so far as Hoggan is concerned, “Denier scientists were being paid well, not for conducting climate research, but for practicing public relations.”

Like many alarmists, Hoggan does not care much for humanity or its achievements, noting that “We can kill one another more quickly than ever in human history, and we can change the world’s climate in a way that scientists say is threatening our ability to survive on Earth.” Only ignoramuses think that human beings “can change the world’s climate.”

Oh wait, it turns out that the President of the United States, speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was critical of the “naysayers” who “make cynical claims” that ignore the alleged scientific evidence about greenhouse gas, i.e., carbon dioxide, emissions. Move over Hoggan, it turns out that Obama is as big a jerk as you.

Obama has been touting “clean energy” technologies such as solar and wind that are so wanting in practicality and dependability that only government requirements keep these providers of barely one percent of all electricity in business.

As part of the stimulus and the horrid Cap-and-Trade bill lingering a slow death in Congress, billions of taxpayer dollars would go to “clean energy” companies while the Obama administration wages an economic war on coal and oil companies, denies permits to mine coal, the opportunity to drill for oil in Alaska or in 85% of the nation’s continental shelf.

If coal and oil companies that provide 99% of our power for transportation and all other uses are evil, then surely General Electric that manufactures wind turbines and stands to make a lot of money thanks to a government ban on the manufacture and use of all incandescent light bulbs is the epitome of all that is good and wonderful. “We are standing at the edge of a cliff,” writes Hoggan of global warming and “Behind us is a considerable crowd, 6.7 billion people and counting.”

Oh, those terrible human beings who want a standard of living that includes electric lights, television sets, computers, air conditioners, automobiles, and a dinner that does not require burning animal dung to cook. Maybe Hoggan is bucking for a prize for publishing one of the most idiotic books of the year, ten years into a worldwide cooling of the Earth.


The nonsense never stops: Ordinary people are the enemy

Drop meat for vegetarian diet to fight climate warming says British apparatchik

PEOPLE will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming. Lord Stern said: "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better." Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas.

Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.

He predicted that people's attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. "I think it's important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating," he said. "I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food."

Lord Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank and now I. G. Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about pounds 3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the inevitable impact of climate change.

He also issued a clear message to President Obama that he must attend the meeting in Copenhagen in person in order for an effective deal to be reached. US leadership, he said, was "desperately needed" to secure a deal.

He said that he was deeply concerned that popular opinion had so far failed to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address climate change, or of the importance of the UN meeting in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18. "I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary," he added.

Up to 20,000 delegates from 192 countries are due to attend the UN conference in the Danish capital. Its aim is to forge a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to prevent an increase in global temperatures of more than 2C. Any increase above this level is expected to trigger runaway climate change, threatening the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Lord Stern said that Copenhagen presented a unique opportunity for the world to break free from its catastrophic current trajectory. He said that the world needed to agree to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to 25 gigatonnes a year from the current level of 50 gigatonnes.

UN figures suggest that meat production is responsible for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions, including the destruction of forest land for cattle ranching and the production of animal feeds such as soy.

Lord Stern, who said that he was not a strict vegetarian himself, was speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change. His remarks provoked anger from the meat industry.

Jonathan Scurlock, of the National Farmers Union, said: "Going vegetarian is not a worldwide solution. It's not a view shared by the NFU. Farmers in this country are interested in evidence-based policymaking. We don't have a methane-free cow or pig available to us." On average, a British person eats 50g of protein derived from meat each day - the equivalent of a chicken breast or a lamb chop. This is a relatively low level for a wealthy country but between 25 per cent and 50 per cent higher than the amount recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Su Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society, welcomed Lord Stern's remarks. "What we choose to eat is one of the biggest factors in our personal impact on the environment," she said. "Meat uses up a lot of resources and a vegetarian diet consumes a lot less land and water. One of the best things you can do about climate change is reduce the amount of meat in your diet." The UN has warned that meat consumption is on course to double by the middle of the century.


Australia: The latest Greenie attack on ordinary people

They want to evict everyone from waterfront properties "for their own good" -- because of allegedly rising sea-levels

MORE than 80,000 buildings on Victoria's coast may be at risk of rising sea levels, but Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott isn't worried. Mr Abbott says he is unconcerned that beachfront areas of his northern Sydney electorate may be inundated by rising sea levels caused by climate change. Sea levels had risen along the NSW coast by more than 20 centimetres during the past century, the Liberal frontbencher said. "Has anyone noticed it? No, they haven't," he told reporters in Canberra today.

Mr Abbott, whose electorate of Warringah takes in Manly, Harbord, Dee Why Curl Curl and Balmoral, on Sydney's north shore, was responding to a parliamentary inquiry report which canvassed the option of forcing people living near the coast to move from their homes as climate-induced sea levels rose. Australia had the resources to cope with the issue in "the normal way", he said. "Ask the Dutch, they've been coping with this kind of thing for centuries and they seem to manage."

In Victoria, the Western Port region is especially vulnerable amid estimates that 18,000 properties valued at almost $2 billion are in the danger zone. And the effects of storm surges, heatwaves and insect-borne diseases associated with climate change are likely to increase the nation's mortality rate.

The alarming forecasts emerged last night in a new report tabled in Federal Parliament by the all-party House of Representatives Climate Change, Environment, Water and the Arts Committee. Titled Managing our Coastal Zone in a Changing Climate: the Time to Act is Now, the 368-page report urged the Federal Government to take greater charge of protecting the nation's coastline in co-operation with state and local governments.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said today a rise in sea levels would cause a big re-alignment of coastal housing and other buildings. "(Climate Change Minister) Penny Wong herself has said that up to 700,000 properties are threatened this century by rising sea levels on the eastern Australian seaboard," he told reporters. The government and opposition should be looking at how they would prevent people settling in areas threatened by rising sea levels in coming decades.

Senator Brown had some advice for people already living in areas likely to be under threat. "Assess your future and become active with the Rudd Government and the Opposition who simply don't get the need for action on climate change."

Greens climate change spokeswoman Christine Milne said the inquiry's finding revealed a "complete disconnect" between science and the climate change policies of Labor and the coalition. "This is not just for people on the coast, people who live on estuaries are extremely vulnerable as well," she said, urging householders to check their insurance policies to ensure they were covered for storm damage and flooding.

It is estimated 80 per cent of Australia's population lives in coastal areas and 711,000 addresses lie within 3km of the coast and less than 6m above sea level.

Expert evidence to the committee estimated one metre of sea level rise this century - the upper limit of expectations - would drive the shoreline back 50-100m, depending on local wind, wave and topographical features....

Today. senior Liberal senator Eric Abetz admitted he had not read the report, but hoped it was based on sound information. Sea levels were unlikely to rise overnight, he said, "So, we've still got some time."

Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said sea levels had been rising for about 10,000 years. "And if you wait around they'll cover the flood plains of the major capital cities," he told reporters, adding that a "massive new tax" from an emissions trading scheme (ETS) would not stop the sea rising. He accused the government of "grossly exaggerating" the effects of climate change to get its package of ETS bills approved by parliament.



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


Monday, October 26, 2009

Is DDT bad after all? Boys with urogenital birth defects are 33 percent more common in African villages sprayed with DDT

A .33 difference is insignificant anyway. The Federal Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition says (p. 384): "the threshold for concluding that an agent was more likely than not the cause of an individual's disease is a relative risk greater than 2.0.".

The journal article is "DDT and urogenital malformations in newborn boys in a malarial area" by Riana Bornman et al.. Excerpt: "Of the newborn boys 10.8% (357) had UGBDs; a multivariate logistic model showed that mothers who lived in villages sprayed with DDT between 1995 and 2003 had a significantly greater chance (33%) of having a baby with a UGBD than mothers whose homes were not sprayed".

That is exceedingly weird. The implication is that even in the unsprayed villages, 8% of the kids had defective plumbing. The findings are clearly not generalizable to anything in the Western world. The MAIN cause of the defects has obviously not been identified. When it is, we might be able to see if and how how it interacts with DDT. Maybe the villages that got more DDT also got more of the problem agent, whatever that might be.

Much farting at the mouth by a self-satisfied and self-righteous Prof. Bornman below. A Professor he/she may be but a scientist he/she is not. Academics customarily eschew personal publicity. Prof. Bornman obviously laps it up

Let me see if I can do a better job of scientific interpretation than Prof. Bornman -- using no more than general knowledge. Male genital deformities could be caused by a heavy load of estrogens but Western sources of estrogens are not likely to be found to any extent in African villages. So it must be phytoestrogens at work. But to get a heavy load of phytoestrogens the villagers must be very successful farmers. And wouldn't successful farmers be more likely to be ready, willing and able to take up modern aids to health -- such as DDT? So the "third factor" (the single underlying cause of both the deformities and the high DDT usage) is prosperity, African style. Whether that explanation is right or not, however, it exposes Prof. Bornman's brain-dead attachment to the logical fallacy that correlation is causation
Women who lived in villages sprayed with DDT to reduce malaria gave birth to 33 per cent more baby boys with urogenital birth defects (UGBD) between 2004 and 2006 than women in unsprayed villages, according to research published online by the UK-based urology journal BJUI. And women who stayed at home in sprayed villages, rather than being a student or working, had 41 per cent more baby boys with UGBDs, such as missing testicles or problems with their urethra or penis.

The authors suggest that this is because they spent more time in homes where domestic DDT-based sprays are still commonly used to kill the mosquitos that cause malaria, even in areas where organised mass spraying no longer takes place.

Researchers led by the University of Pretoria in South Africa studied 3,310 boys born to women from the Limpopo Province, where DDT spraying was carried out in high-risk areas between 1995 and 2003 to control malaria. The study compared boys born to women in the 109 villages that were sprayed, with those born to women from the 97 villages that were not. This showed that 357 of the boys included in the study – just under 11 per cent – had UGBDs. The incidence of UGBDs was significantly higher if the mother came from a sprayed village.

"If women are exposed to DDT, either through their diet or through the environment they live in, this can cause the chemical to build up in their body" explains lead author Professor Riana Bornman from the University's Department of Urology. "DDT can cross the placenta and be present in breast milk and studies have shown that the residual concentration in the baby's umbilical cord are very similar to those in maternal blood.

"It has been estimated that if DDT exposure were to cease completely, it would still take ten to 20 years for an individual who had been exposed to the chemical to be clear of it. Our study was carried out on boys born between 2004 and 2006, five to nine years after official records showed that their mothers had been exposed to spraying. "Records were not kept before 1995 in the Limpopo Province, but it is reasonable to assume that DDT was being used before that date to combat malaria.

"Although most countries have now banned the use of DDT, certain endemic malarial areas still use indoor residual spraying with DDT to decrease the incidence and spread of the disease, which is caused by mosquitoes."

The two-year study included 2,396 boys whose mothers had been exposed to DDT and 914 whose mothers had not. A number of other factors were taken into account to rule out possible causes of the birth defects. These included smoking and drinking, the mother's age, how long she had lived in her village and her race. These all proved statistically insignificant.

The authors believe that their study highlights the importance of educating people in high-risk malaria areas about the dangers of DDT. "The use of DDT has contributed to the success in reducing malarial transmission and malarial deaths in South and Southern Africa" says Professor Bornman. "However, the present findings also strongly suggest that indoor residual spraying with DDT is associated with UGBDs in newborn boys. "With global concerns about the effect of chemicals on health, and the possibility of malaria resurgence and spread as a result of climate change, all authorities should ensure that the general public, including those living under indoor residual spraying conditions, are aware of the possible health risks.

"Educating people living in the DDT-sprayed communities about ways of protecting themselves from undue DDT exposure needs to be carried out as a matter of extreme urgency. "There must be long-term monitoring of possible environmental and human health impacts, particularly in those areas where DDT will be introduced as part of the fight against malaria. "We are now carrying out further research to find out how indoor spraying using DDT-based products affects humans and how this risk can be reduced."


More attention-seeking over coral

In Australia, prophecies of doom for coral reefs go back long before the global warming scam, but coral reefs just fluctuate as they always have. I like this bit "if and when the climate is stabilised". That shows how little science is involved, seeing that the climate has been stable since 1999.

I know it is awkward of me to mention it again but may I remind all and sundry that even Hoagy (Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg), Australia's no.1 coral doomster has noted now in a joint journal article the "astonishing regenerative capabilities of the dominant branching Acroporid corals".

Come to think of it, Hoagy has been very quiet since he co-published that article

Some Florida corals above

CORAL reefs are so damaged their only chance for survival may be to freeze some species and reintroduce them to the sea in the future. The BBC is reporting the proposal, which was presented to 16 major economies at a Copenhagen meeting organised by the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe).

Scientists speaking at the conference said the instability of climate change and rising ocean temperatures mean damage to reefs around the world is almost irreversible, the BBC said. The proposal suggested freezing samples that could then be reintroduced to their native oceans if and when the climate is stabilised.

It also comes as the Federal and West Australian governments draw up proposals to have Ningaloo Reef listed as a World Heritage site. The application is expected to be ready by February, leaving it up to international authorities to decide whether or not the reef qualifies for the status.

Emily Twiggs, an applied geology researcher at Perth's Curtin University, said Ningaloo was already well known as one of the world's best coral reef "laboratories". Supported by WA's Marine Science Institution (WAMSI), Ms Twiggs and her Curtin University supervisor, Associate Professor Lindsay Collins, have spent several years studying reef core samples of the eastern Ningaloo Reef within the Exmouth Gulf.

The samples, which have given them a history of the reef's growth over several thousand years, are being used to discover how the reef has responded to environmental change, including sea-level fluctuations, coastal flooding and cyclone activity. The reef's isolation, pristine waters and untouched corals made it the ideal place to monitor the response of coral reefs to climate change, Ms Twiggs said. "Reefs in general and the Ningaloo in particular, provide an excellent barometer with which we can monitor a changing environment," she said. "Corals can be quite resilient to environmental change. When sea levels rise or fall, corals can often alter their growth patterns to respond.

"But when change is really rapid, [Would a thermonuclear blast be rapid enough? Despite being a nuclear test site, Bikini atoll still has an abundance of coral] or there are multiple factors, then there is the potential for entire reefs to die out. "Because it is largely untouched by human activity, the Ningaloo Reef is one of the better coral reefs to study the impact of climate change. "This is especially true when compared with examples like the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, which has been largely impacted by human activity."

Ms Twiggs said the greatest threats to coral reefs because of climate change were rapid increases in sea level, increased ocean acidity, a significant rise in sea surface temperature and more intense storm activity. "If current estimates on climate change are correct, all four of these factors are likely to occur together," she said. "This would likely place reefs such as the Ningaloo at risk."


Some more unsettling science

Palm trees 'flourished' in Arctic - study

PALMS flourished in the Arctic during a brief sweltering period about 50 million years ago, according to a study that hints at big gaps in scientific understanding of modern climate change. The Arctic "would have looked very similar to the vegetation we now see in Florida," Appy Sluijs of Utrecht University in the Netherlands said. Evidence of palms has never been found so far north before.

The scientists, sampling sediments on a ridge on the seabed that was about 500km from the North Pole 53.5 million years ago, found pollens of ancient palms as well as of conifers, oaks, pecans and other trees. "The presence of palm pollen implies that coldest month mean temperatures over the Arctic land masses were no less than 8C, the scientists, based in the Netherlands and Germany, wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.

That contradicted computer model simulations - also used to predict future temperatures - that suggested winter temperatures were below freezing even in the unexplained hothouse period that lasted between 50,000 and 200,000 years in the Eocene epoch. Palms are quickly killed by frost.

Mr Sluijs said that it was also striking that palms, which do not lose their leaves in winter, grew in an area where the sun does not shine for about five months. Experiments with modern palms indicate that they can survive prolonged darkness.

The scientists said that presence of palms - it was not clear if they were trees or plants - hinted that the modern climate system could yield big surprises.

Temperatures are now rising because of man-made greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, according to the UN Climate Panel. Arctic ice shrank in 2007 to its smallest size since satellite measurements began in the 1970s. [But what has it done since then? A very slippery glide over the evidence there!]

One possibility for the ancient spike in temperatures was an abrupt rise in carbon dioxide levels, to far beyond concentrations now. That might have been caused by volcanic eruptions, or a melt of frozen methane trapped in the seabed. "We cannot explain this with the current knowledge of the climate system," Mr Sluijs said.

One possibility was that new types of clouds formed in the Arctic as it warmed, acting as a blanket that trapped ever more heat and accelerated warming. "If the ocean was very warm it's possible that these clouds form at a higher latitude than now," he said. Such effects caused by new cloud formation could be an unexpected tripwire in accelerating modern climate change.


The science of deceit

by Australian scientist Bob Carter

A well-accepted aphorism about science, in the context of difference of opinion between two points of view, is “Madam, you are entitled to your own interpretation, but not to your own facts”. The world stoker of the fires of global warming alarmism, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), cleverly suborns this dictum in two ways.

First, the IPCC accepts advice from influential groups of scientists who treat the data that underpins their published climate interpretations (collected, of course, using public research funds) as their own private property, and refuse to release it to other scientists. Thus, confronted in 1996 with a request that he provide a U.S. peer-review referee with a copy of the data that underpinned a research paper that he had submitted, U.K. Hadley Climate Research Centre scientist Tom Wigley responded:
First, it is entirely unnecessary to have original “raw” data in order to review a scientific document. I know of no case at all in which such data were required by or provided to a referee ….. Second, while the data in question [model output from the U.K. Hadley Centre’s climate model] were generated using taxpayer money, this was U.K. taxpayer money. U.S. scientists therefore have no a priori right to such data. Furthermore, these data belong to individual scientists who produced them, not to the IPCC, and it is up to those scientists to decide who they give their data to.

In the face of such attitudes, which treat the established mores of scientific trust and method with contempt, it is scarcely surprising that it took Canadian statistics expert Steve McIntyre many years to get the primary data released that was used by another Hadley Centre scientist, Keith Briffa, in his published tree-ring reconstructions of past temperature from the Urals region, northern hemisphere. When he finally forced the release of the relevant data, McIntyre quickly proceeded to slay a second climate hockey-stick dragon which - like the first such beast fashioned by U.S. scientist Michael Mann, and widely promulgated by the IPCC – turned out to be based on faulty statistical methodology (see summary by Ross McKitrick here).

A variant on this, along “the dog ate my homework” path, also involves the Hadley Centre – which is the primary science provider of global temperature statistics to the IPCC. Faced with requests from outside scientists for the provision of the raw temperature data so that scientific audit checks could be undertaken, Hadley’s Phil Jones recently asserted that parts of the raw data used to reconstruct their global temperature curve for the period before about 1980 cannot be provided to outsiders because it has been lost or destroyed. In other words, it is now impossible to conduct an independent audit of the Hadley temperature curve for 1860-2008, on which the IPCC has based an important part of its alarmist global warming advice.

So much for data perversions. The second type of common distortion of normal scientific practice by the IPCC and its supporters concerns not data but hypotheses – which IPCC likes to define in its own way to suit its own ends. This attitude often manifests itself in the fashion expressed in a recent letter sent to me, viz:
Proponents of AGW claim that their theory is supported by peer reviewed literature whilst the case against it is not. This is a very effective argument and, although Solomon's book The Deniers goes some way to counter it, I am not aware of an equally effective refutation. If there is one I would be most grateful if you could point me to it.

In an Australian variation of this, Greg Combet, assistant to climate Minister Penny Wong, earlier this year asserted with blatant inaccuracy that “we use only peer reviewed science and our opposition doesn’t”. Other IPCC sycophants phrase it slightly differently, such as: "if you climate sceptics had a scientific point of view it would have been published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals".

Statements such as these all reflect a fundamental lack of understanding about the way that science works. They also exemplify the way in which climate alarmists always seek to frame the debate in ways that delivers them control, especially by clever choice of language (clean energy; climate change instead of global warming; carbon dioxide is a pollutant instead of a beneficial trace gas, etc.), or, in this case, by framing a hypothesis for testing that suits their political ends rather than Science’s ends.

If you accept at face value questions and comments like the ones enumerated above, you fall into a carefully laid climate alarmist trap. For the question “why are there no papers in peer-reviewed journals that disprove the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming” is predicated, as is all related IPCC writing, on faulty science logic; specifically, it erects a wrong null hypothesis.

Scientists erect hypotheses to test based upon the fundamental science assumption of parsimony, or simplicity, sometimes grandly referred to as Occam’s Razor. That is to say, in seeking to explain matters of observation or experiment, a primary underlying principle is that the simplest explanation be sought; extraneous or complicating factors of interpretation, such as “extraterrestrials did it”, are only invoked when substantive evidence exists for such a complication.

Concerning the climate change that we observe around us today – which, importantly, is occurring at similar rates and magnitudes to that known to have occurred throughout the historical and geological past - the simplest (and therefore null) hypothesis, is that "the climate change observed today is natural unless and until evidence accrues otherwise".

In regard to which, first, no such evidence has emerged. And, second, like any null hypothesis, that about modern climate change is there to be tested, as it has been. There are literally tens of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in major scientific journals that contain observations, data, experiments and theoretical reasoning that are consistent with the null hypothesis, which has therefore yet to be falsified (but, of course, one day might be).

The onus is therefore on Penny Wong and her scientists to provide some “evidence otherwise”. To give a clue how hard that task is, note that since 1988 (when the IPCC was created) western nations have spent more than $100 billion, and employed thousands of scientists, in attempts to measure the human signal in the global temperature record. The search has failed. Though no scientist doubts that humans influence climate at local level - causing both warmings (urban heat island effect) and coolings (land-use changes) - no definitive evidence has yet been discovered that a human influence is measurable, let alone dangerous, at global level. Rather, the human signal is lost in the noise of natural climate variation.

That the correct null hypothesis is the simplest hypothesis is, of course, no reason why other more complex hypotheses cannot be erected for testing. For instance, should you wish to test (as the IPCC should) the idea that "human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming", then there are several ways that that can be done.

The result, long ago, has been the falsification of the dangerous human-caused warming hypothesis. Failed tests include: that global cooling has occurred since 1998 despite an increase in carbon dioxide of 5%; the lack of detailed correlation between the carbon dioxide and temperature records over the last 100 years; consideration of cause and effect timing of past carbon dioxide and temperature levels in ice core records; the absence of the model-predicted temperature hotspot high in the tropical troposphere; the low sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide forcing as judged against empirical tests; and the demonstrable failure of computer GCMs [models] to predict future climate.

These matters, and that the dangerous warming hypothesis fails numerous empirical tests, have been described in many places. Such writings, whether in refereed journals or not, are simply disparaged or ignored by those who wish to pursue the alarmist IPCC line.

It bears repeating that the onus is on Minister Wong, or her advisory IPCC scientists, to provide any evidence that the null hypothesis regarding modern climate change is false. Because she cannot do so, the clever trick is used of inverting the null hypothesis to demand that climate rationalist scientists demonstrate that human-cased global warming is not occurring.

Perhaps none of this would matter particularly were we dealing only with a squabble amongst scientists. But when ministers in our governments write, as did the Queensland Minister for Climate Change recently, that “The Queensland Government, along with the Australian Government and governments around the world, supports the findings of the IPCC”, it becomes a critical matter of necessity to understand that, in addition to being political in the first place, IPCC advice is also based upon faulty, indeed manipulative, science practice.

As independent scientific advisors to Senator Fielding have shown, the IPCC-derived science advice that the Australian Government is using as the basis for its carbon dioxide tax legislation is utterly flawed. This finding has yet to be rebutted.

Senators who vote for the second version of the misbegotten and misnamed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme bill will be supporting strongly harmful legislation that is based upon faulty science. Thereby, they will be abandoning their duty of care for the welfare of the Australian people.


Green 'brainwashing' scaring preschoolers, say Australian experts

PARENTS have accused early childhood centres of "greenwashing" their children by burdening them with the responsibility of saving the world. Tots as young as three have sent letters to Kevin Rudd about their passion for green living and asked companies to reduce their packaging. Others are growing their own food, repairing toys and walking to preschool in an effort to reduce their toll on the environment.

But experts have called for caution in teaching children about climate change because of the potential for fear, anxiety, frustration, anger and despair at catastrophic events.

Mother Paula Driscoll, from Sydney, said environmental disaster was the new nuclear holocaust. "Nuclear war and weapons were our big worry," she said. "This generation, their great worry is green. It is drummed into them everywhere."

Schoolchildren raised running out of drinking water, rising sea levels and the extinction of polar bears in a survey on their views last year. "Children of that age should not be thinking the world is coming to an end," Sydney father-of-three Andrew Potter, 35, said. "It is a form of propaganda."

Youngsters also put the environment at the top of their worry list - along with crime and terrorism - in research for the Australian Childhood Foundation.

"It is the adult world impinging on childhood," chief executive officer Dr Joe Tucci said. Ideally, children's strongest concerns should be about their friendships or toys, he said. He suggested that adults had to deal with the fact that children were exposed to bigger issues by helping them to understand them.

Australian Psychological Society guidelines advise caregivers to avoid strong reactions about green issues in front of preschoolers. In severe cases, climate change worries could escalate into anxiety disorders or depression, said psychologist Dr Susie Burke. "These issues are frightening and upsetting for adults and even more so for children."

Parents should not avoid the topics with their youngsters, but emphasise that they are safe now and that positive efforts for conservation are being made around the globe. "Families can teach children simple things they can do to help," she said.

Dr Lyndall Strazdins, a researcher at the Australian National University, said children needed to be recognised as a "very vulnerable group" in environmental action plans. "They are clearly feeling that there is a problem looming that they have to deal with," Dr Strazdins said.


The endemic Leftist censorship of dissent

Alive and well even in the administration of a small English city

A POLITICAL row has broken out over a Derby Conservative councillor's decision to show a climate change-sceptic film in the city's council chamber. The new film, Not Evil Just Wrong, is a documentary which suggests evidence of global warming is inconclusive and that the impact climate change laws will have on industry is much more harmful to humans than beneficial. It is a direct challenge to Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, with was shown to councillors in Derby during Labour's control of the authority in 2007.

Tory councillor Frank Leeming put forward the idea to show the new film today, sparking criticism from Labour councillors. Labour group leader Chris Williamson said: "I am totally appalled. The council is committed to reducing carbon emissions, yet the Conservatives are pushing a film which threatens all of that. "It reaffirms our belief that the Conservatives have merely been paying lip service to environmental issues in pushing their new branding as a caring party."

And Labour councillor Ranjit Banwait, who is vice-chairman of the council's climate change commission, called for the resignation of its Conservative chairman. He said: "If the Conservatives don't believe in climate change, then perhaps the chairman of the commission, Tory councillor Phil Ingall, should step down. "They're setting an incredibly dangerous precedent. They're peddling a viewpoint which disputes what scientists have already proved about the state of the planet. Why would they do that?"

But Harvey Jennings, leader of the Conservative group, said Mr Leeming's view was not shared by the group as a whole, adding that the Tories were "committed to tackling climate change" and believed it was a reality. He said: "This is about facilitating freedom of speech." He added that Mr Leeming's actions were not an embarrassment to his party.

Mr Leeming confirmed he was a climate change sceptic. He said: "Al Gore's film contained nine 'facts' which were wrong – and this film shows scientists answering those points." He said he did not feel his strong views, which differ from the local Tory group's stance, meant he should not be a member of the party. "We are a democratic group which allows free speech. I don't see any reason why I shouldn't do this," he said.

Conservative MEP Roger Helmer is an outspoken sceptic of climate change and has even published his own book challenging the issue. He said it was right that councillors should be able to show another side to the debate over climate change and screened the film himself in the European parliament. "There is no point saying a party which has signed up to a green agenda is not allowed to say a word, that is not honest politics," he said.



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


Sunday, October 25, 2009


The "globe" is cooling. The sea level is not rising. The ice is advancing. What is left? The Ocean is heating

The last two IPCC Reports made a big thing of ocean heating. The methods used showed considerable variability, The average showed periodicity, with troughs in 1965 and 1986 and peaks in 1980 and 2005. but the temperature increase from the 1965 trough to the later peak of 2005 was confidently attributed to "global warming" caused by carbon dioxide emissions.

At least, that was the story in the first two drafts of the 2007 Report. Then the people measuring temperature provided the disturbing news that the 2005 figure actually showed a fall in temperature, and they had to put that into their final Report.

Then there was overwhelming pressure on the scientists to backtrack on such a disturbing observation, and, loyally, they discovered a "rogue" unreliable sensor which restored the IPCC "confidence" that the ocean temperature is rising.

So they increased their coverage with a new sophisticated system called ARGO which has 3,000 probes. The results are disastrous, and they have yet to admit it. They are given in the following paper:

K von Schuckmann, F Gaillard, and P Y Le Traon 2009 Geophysical Research Letters Vol 11124.09007. "Global hydrographic variability patterns during 2003-2008"

To start with, the average temperature is falling. But what is worse. the variability is so great that it could not possibly be heated from the atmosphere. So it must be heated from below, from all the underwater volcanoes and plate movements that have so far been neglected. I attach the record for the Pacific basin which includes the variability of salinity:

This all comes on top of the paper by Douglass and Knox:

Douglass, D.H. and R. Knox, 2009: Physics letters A. Volume 373, Issue 36, 31 August 2009, Pages 3296-3300 "Ocean heat content and Earth's radiation imbalance". (Extended summary here)

The abstract reads:
“Earth’s radiation imbalance is determined from ocean heat content data and compared with results of direct measurements. Distinct time intervals of alternating positive and negative values are found: 1960– mid 1970s (−0.15), mid-1970s–2000 (+0.15), 2001–present (−0.2 W/m2), and are consistent with prior reports. These climate shifts limit climate predictability.”

The summary reads
“We determine Earth’s radiation imbalance by analyzing three recent independent observational ocean heat content determinations for the period 1950 to 2008 and compare the results with direct measurements by satellites. A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the bulk of the heat transferred.

Longer-term averages of the observed imbalance are not only many-fold smaller than theoretically derived values, but also oscillate in sign. These facts are not found among the theoretical predictions.

Three distinct time intervals of alternating positive and negative imbalance are found: 1960 to the mid 1970s, the mid 1970s to 2000 and 2001 to present. The respective mean values of radiation imbalance are −0.15, +0.15, and −0.2 to −0.3. These observations are consistent with the occurrence of climate shifts at 1960, the mid-1970s, and early 2001 identified by Swanson and Tsonis.

Knowledge of the complex atmospheric-ocean physical processes is not involved or required in making these findings. Global surface temperatures as a function of time are also not required to be known.”

The periodicity found coincides with the behaviour of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and as the heating is from below, this heating is related to the PDOmust also behave in a periodic fashion.

The finding that the earth's energy is not balanced shows that the fundamental assumption of all the computer climate models that it IS balanced is incorrect, and means that all the models are wrong. The global warmers and "climate change" enthusiasts have no excuses left.

From NZCLIMATE TRUTH NEWSLETTER NO 225, OCTOBER 23RD 2009, received from the author, Dr. Vincent Gray. VINCENT GRAY is an old fashioned scientist, originally with a Ph.D degree in Chemistry from Cambridge University, and with a long research career in UK, France, Canada, China and New Zealand, with many publications

Carbon "footprints" of animals

In response to a Greenie attack on dogs, a reader writes:

Regarding the carbon footprint of a dog, a rough back of envelope calculation (assuming a linear relation between the size of an animal and its carbon footprint) yields... bison weighing in at a ton is roughly the equivalent of 20 dogs. There were at one time an estimated 60 million bison in the USA, which comes out to 1.2 billion dog/(SUV) equivalents, which is roughly 4 times the present human population of the USA. ...for whatever that might be worth.

One would think the Greenie obsession with death would alert us to their real agenda, killing things. They pretend that having only one child is benign, but such a practice will cause any group practicing it to die out. If I remember correctly, the destruction of a people is called "genocide," regardless of the means employed.

Let's hope the Greenies practice what they preach! --JR

What has happened to global warming since 1998?

By S. Fred Singer, President SEPP

The respected science journalist Richard Kerr discusses the anxieties of the ‘warmistas,’ who try to explain away the fact that the climate has not been warming since 1998. They now admit that the data are sound and that indeed there has been a slight cooling trend in the last few years. The only exception is the data compilation by Jim Hansen’s GISS which still shows warmer years after 1998 – contrary to the compilations of NOAA-NCDC, and of Hadley-CRU. But GISS is simply contrarian, as can be seen from the satellite data that show no warming either.

Now as we have pointed out repeatedly, this lack of a warming trend should not be taken as evidence against the existence of AGW; but it clearly indicates that the IPCC discussion is quite incomplete, since it omits any forcing that would counteract, or more than counteract, the warming effects of GH gases.

This time around, unlike during the cooling of 1940-75, the warmistas don’t blame the cooling on aerosols. Instead, they seem to be about evenly divided between those who attribute the lack of warming to a change in ocean circulation and those who blame the sun [Rind and Lean]. Except that in the latter case, Rind and Lean attempt to explain the data on a change in Total Solar Irradiance [TSI]; they seem to not have heard of the climate effects of cosmic rays, yet they refer to TSI as ‘solar activity.’

What I find interesting is that the modelers have now admitted that GH models can occasionally produce ten-year long periods of no warming; I’m willing to accept this. According to the modelers even 15-year periods can occur, but very rarely. So perhaps in five years we will be able to judge whether the current absence of warming is a stochastic event or due to real climate forcing, be it a change in ocean circulation or solar activity.

Wouldn’t it be prudent therefore to delay long-term commitments to mitigation until we understand more fully the cause of this puzzling absence of warming and its apparent contradiction to greenhouse models?

Ref: R. Kerr. Science 326. pp. 28-29, Oct 2, 2009

SEPP Science Editorial #33-2009 (10/24/09)

An object lesson on ‘renewable energy’

From the report of the RW Institute (Essen, Germany)

Proponents of renewable energies often regard the requirement for more workers to produce a given amount of energy as a benefit, failing to recognize that this lowers the output potential of the economy and is hence counterproductive to net job creation. Significant research shows that initial employment benefits from renewable policies soon turn negative as additional costs are incurred. Trade- and other assumptions in those studies claiming positive employment turn out to be unsupportable.

In the end, Germany’s PV [photovoltaic] promotion has become a subsidization regime that, on a per-worker basis, has reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as 175,000 Euros (US $ 240,000).

Due to their backup energy requirements, it turns out that any increased energy security possibly afforded by installing large PV and wind capacity is undermined by reliance on fuel sources -- principally gas that must be imported to meet domestic demand. That much of this gas is imported from unreliable suppliers calls energy security claims further into question.

Although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a “shining example in providing a harvest for the world” (The Guardian 2007), we would instead regard [Germany’s] experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.


I like the word used for wind-energy in a Dutch summary of the above: "subsidieslurpers" -- JR

The essence of the matter

President Obama is coming under renewed pressure internationally and in the United States to throw his weight behind [Senate] climate-change legislation [Boxer-Kerry], which advocates fear has suffered in light of the president's sweeping domestic agenda.

S. Fred Singer: comments to the WashPost (Oct 12):

"Just ask Boxer and Kerry: By how many degrees will their bill lower future temperatures? And how do they know this? [No hand-waving. Please cite some peer-reviewed papers]

And if they base their estimate on climate models, how do they explain the current, decade-long cooling when every IPCC model had predicted a strong warming?"

SOURCE (The comment now appears to have been deleted!)

Good and Bad in President Obama’s Global Warming Speech at MIT

President Obama traveled to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today to deliver a speech on climate change. Part of the speech focused on innovation and the benefits of entrepreneurial risk taking while the other focused on government investments for renewable energy and the importance of climate change legislation. There was both good and bad parts of President Obama’s speech.

The good:
“Dr. Moniz is also the Director of MIT’s Energy Initiative, called MITEI. And he and President Hockfield just showed me some of the extraordinary energy research being conducted at this institute: windows that generate electricity by directing light to solar cells; light-weight, high-power batteries that aren’t built, but are grown — that was neat stuff; engineering viruses to create — to create batteries; more efficient lighting systems that rely on nanotechnology; innovative engineering that will make it possible for offshore wind power plants to deliver electricity even when the air is still.

And it’s a reminder that all of you are heirs to a legacy of innovation — not just here but across America — that has improved our health and our wellbeing and helped us achieve unparalleled prosperity. I was telling John and Deval on the ride over here, you just get excited being here and seeing these extraordinary young people and the extraordinary leadership of Professor Hockfield because it taps into something essential about America — it’s the legacy of daring men and women who put their talents and their efforts into the pursuit of discovery. And it’s the legacy of a nation that supported those intrepid few willing to take risks on an idea that might fail — but might also change the world.”

President Obama is right in that innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit is largely why the United States’ economy is what it is. These innovative technologies could eventually save Americans a lot of money on their energy bills. But it also goes to show how far away some of these technologies are from commercialization, which means they may not be able to hit the market yet without help from the taxpayer. When it comes to basic research and development, government funding may be prudent, but after that, it should be left for the market to determine whether or not these innovations will be successful. And even much of the research and development stage, including MITEI, is privately funded.

Let’s not forget, however, that wind, solar and biofuels aren’t new technologies and have been subsidized by the government for decades and still only provide an insignificant fraction of our energy supply. The reason they’ve been subsidized for such a long period of time is that they simply can’t compete but that shouldn’t stop American ingenuity. It should stop subsidies for failed projects. If private investors want to step up and continue to fund these projects, it’s their money. They can spend it how they please.

And this is where the President’s speech takes a wrong turn:
“That’s why the Recovery Act that we passed back in January makes the largest investment in clean energy in history, not just to help end this recession, but to lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity. The Recovery Act includes $80 billion to put tens of thousands of Americans to work developing new battery technologies for hybrid vehicles; modernizing the electric grid; making our homes and businesses more energy efficient; doubling our capacity to generate renewable electricity. These are creating private-sector jobs weatherizing homes; manufacturing cars and trucks; upgrading to smart electric meters; installing solar panels; assembling wind turbines; building new facilities and factories and laboratories all across America.”

But the green stimulus, free lunch rhetoric neglects the costs, both real and opportunity costs, that come with a government stimulus. Heritage analyst Ben Lieberman writes that a green stimulus is actually a contradiction in terms: “Support for renewables would likely cost more jobs than are created. For example, subsidies for wind and solar energy would, at least from the narrow perspective of the wind and solar industries, create new jobs as more of these systems are manufactured and installed. But the tax dollars needed to help pay for them cost jobs elsewhere, as would the pricey electricity they produce.”

Our analysis of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill finds that there will be 1.9 million fewer jobs by 2012 after accounting for green jobs. Job losses would grow to 2.5 million by 2035. This makes us a cap and trade naysayer, who Obama attacks towards the end of his speech:
“The naysayers, the folks who would pretend that this is not an issue, they are being marginalized. But I think it’s important to understand that the closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight and the more we’ll hear from those whose interest or ideology run counter to the much needed action that we’re engaged in. There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy — when it’s the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim — make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary.”

We’re naysayers because we believe the huge costs of this bill far outweigh the negligible environmental benefits. On top of the job losses we project that: Cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses are $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2035; Gasoline prices will rise by 58 percent ($1.38 more per gallon) and average household electric rates will increase by 90 percent; And a typical family of four will pay, on average, an additional $829 each year for energy-based utility costs. We’re cynical for a reason.

If MIT students wanted to listen to a real expert on climate change, perhaps they should have gone with one of their own: Richard Lindzen.



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


Saturday, October 24, 2009


They are in a bind over their own fantasies. Excuse me while I laugh!

The European Union is wondering what to do with billions of unused pollution credits accumulated by Russia, Ukraine and other former communist states of Eastern Europe under the Kyoto Protocol as lawmakers worry about the continuity of the carbon market beyond 2012.

Environment ministers from the 27-member bloc met in Luxembourg on Wednesday (21 October) to thrash out the position that the European Union will take to UN climate talks in December.

But as an international agreement slowly takes shape, the question of what to do with the billions of unused pollution credits accumulated during the 2008-2012 period has become the "elephant in the room" for negotiators. "There is a lot of money involved," said the European Commission's environment spokesperson Barbara Helfferich. "We haven't clarified our position on this in detail," she told EurActiv after the ministers' meeting on Wednesday.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, countries were granted a certain number of permits to release greenhouse gases in the atmosphere called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), which are equivalent to one tonne of CO2.

Kyoto targets were decided based on 1990 emission levels. But in the wake of massive deindustrialisation that followed the fall of communism, Eastern European countries are now finding themselves sitting on a huge stockpile of unused pollution credits. "The Russians have accumulated something like five billion units" during 2008-2012, said an EU diplomat from one of the large EU member states. "This is enormous," he added, saying the amount is equivalent to the effort expected from the entire EU during the upcoming 2013-2020 period. "We have a big problem of hot air in the system," the diplomat said.

Stefan Singer, director of global energy policy at WWF, warned that the possibility for Russia and Ukraine to carry over their surplus credits after 2012 would probably "sink" international climate talks.



An aggressive policy of generously subsidizing and effectively mandating "renewable" electricity generation in Germany has led to a doubling of the renewable contribution to electricity generation in recent years.

This preference came primarily in the form of a subsidy policy based on feed-in tariffs, established in 1991 by the Electricity Feed-in Law, requiring utilities to accept and remunerate the feed-in of "green" electricity at 90 percent of the retail rate of electricity, considerably exceeding the cost of conventional electricity generation.

A subsequent law passed in 2000 guaranteed continued support for 20 years. This requires utilities to accept the delivery of power from independent producers of renewable electricity into their own grid, paying technology-specific feed-in tariffs far above their production cost of ¢2.9-10.2 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

With a feed-in tariff of ¢59 per kWh in 2009, solar electricity generated from photovoltaics (PV) is guaranteed by far the largest financial support among all renewable energy technologies.

Currently, the feed-in tariff for PV is more than eight times higher than the wholesale electricity price at the power exchange and more than four times the feed-in tariff paid for electricity produced by on-shore wind turbines.

Even on-shore wind, widely regarded as a mature technology, requires feed-in tariffs that exceed the per-kWh cost of conventional electricity by up to 300% to remain competitive.

By 2008 this had led to Germany having the second-largest installed wind capacity in the world, behind the United States, and largest installed PV capacity in the world, ahead of Spain. This explains the claims that Germany's feed-in tariff is a great success.

Installed capacity is not the same as production or contribution, however, and by 2008 the estimated share of wind power in Germany's electricity production was 6.3%, followed by biomass-based electricity generation (3.6%) and water power (3.1%). The amount of electricity produced through solar photovoltaics was a negligible 0.6% despite being the most subsidized renewable energy, with a net cost of about $12.4 billion for 2008.

The total net cost of subsidizing electricity production by PV modules is estimated to reach US $73.2 billion for those modules installed between 2000 and 2010. While the promotion rules for wind power are more subtle than those for PV, we estimate that the wind power subsidies may total US $28.1 billion for wind converters installed between 2000 and 2010.


Michael Ignatieff should think outside the green box

(Michael Ignatieff is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition in Canada)

Following the global-warming herd doesn't show courage – quite the opposite, in fact

It's rather daring that Michael Ignatieff is putting “green policy” at the centre of his party's pitch during the next election, whenever that longed-for bliss occurs. Daring, for the obvious reason that it was Stéphane Dion's “green shift” – purest idealism built on a mud field of impenetrable prose – that so wounded his predecessor in the last election.

It's daring for another reason, too. I do not know if Mr. Ignatieff visits the BBC News website these days. He was once an ornament of that venerated service, so perhaps he does. He may read there an interesting article on the precious topic of global warming. The BBC has been very friendly and supportive of AGW – so-called man-made (anthropogenic) global warming – and it is therefore a little surprising for those of us who follow the fortunes of the crusade to see this headline on a BBC story: What Happened to Global Warming?

It is not a headline that will please the pious. “Rank heresy,” I hear some of them sniff. Nor will they be pleased with the body of the story, which proceeds to offer, in this the Advent period of the great Copenhagen global warming conventicle, a highly inconvenient truth: “For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise. So what on Earth is going on?”

Carbon dioxide has increased, temperatures have not: The models did not predict that incongruity. This is, or may be, the church of global warming's Galileo moment – when observation of what is happening trumps the gloomy choir of consensus on what may.

Galileo didn't work from consensus. Those who opposed and persecuted him worked on the consensus of centuries – that the Earth was the centre of the universe. The consensus multitude who tormented him are now a byword for folly and ignorance.

The BBC story makes many more interesting points that Mr. Ignatieff should read before he chains himself to another Liberal platform built around a response to global warming. Not least is the observation “that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years.” But let's jump to the last paragraph.

That paragraph blisters with the heresy of heresies: “One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over.” Is this possible in 2009? The debate is not over! I picture Al Gore reaching for the holy Evian water and loosing a jeremiad: “Out, apostates! By my hemp underwear, and in the name of Kyoto and the IPCC, by the heel and toe of the carbon footprint, I declare thee excommunicate and anathema. In the name of bicycle paths, twisty bulbs, windmills and slow-flush toilets, carbon offsets and compost heaps, I declare the BBC heretical.” Or something like that.

The BBC is not the only voice showing sprigs and shoots of independent thinking on global warming. From Ian Plimer, the Australian scientist, to Canada's Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, brave men who debunked the infamous “hockey stick” graph, there are minds outside the herd.

There are many warning that the great rush to fix the planet, and re-engineer its economy in the middle of a huge recession, on the basis of incomplete science and vastly overblown advocacy from the world's swarm of environmental lobbyists, NGOs, foundations, action groups, Greenpeace acrobats and UN politicians, may be terribly ill-advised. For those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, there have been throughout this whole global warming enterprise serious and well-informed minds asking for a second look, proposing alternative explanations, or qualifications to the idea that man-made CO2 is the sole or main driver of an impending apocalypse.

There are intellectual bubbles as often as there are economic ones. Y2K was a computer hysteria that cost billions. We even had, 30 plus years ago, a mini-bubble of “global cooling” anxiety. These are not hospitable grounds for a national party, in opposition, with a new leader, on which to build a platform for a coming election. A little intellectual hardihood on Mr. Ignatieff's part, a little resistance to the cries of doom coming from the overheated zealots of the global warming consensus, would signal a streak of courage in his leadership.

Throwing the word “green” around, or building a national policy on its vague and trendy seductiveness is an escape from thinking, rather than an exercise in it. It is a genuflection to politically correct conventional wisdom. A little intellectual and political boldness would do Mr. Ignatieff a world of good right now, and right now is when he needs it most.


Tiny bat pits green against green

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Workers atop mountain ridges are putting together 389-foot windmills with massive blades that will turn Appalachian breezes into energy. Retiree David Cowan is fighting to stop them. Because of the bats.

Cowan, 72, a longtime caving fanatic who grew to love bats as he slithered through tunnels from Maine to Maui, is asking a federal judge in Maryland to halt construction of the Beech Ridge wind farm. The lawsuit pits Chicago-based Invenergy, a company that produces "green" energy, against environmentalists who say the cost to nature is too great.

The rare green vs. green case went to trial Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. It is the first court challenge to wind power under the Endangered Species Act, lawyers on both sides say. With President Obama's goal of doubling renewable energy production by 2012, wind and solar farms are expanding rapidly. That has sparked battles to reach a balance between the benefits of clean energy and the impact on birds, bats and even the water supply.

At the heart of the Beech Ridge case is the Indiana bat, a brownish-gray creature that weighs about as much as three pennies and, wings outstretched, measures about eight inches. A 2005 estimate concluded that there were 457,000 of them, half the number in 1967, when they were first listed as endangered. "Any kind of energy development is going to have environmental impacts that are going to concern somebody," said John D. Echeverria, a Vermont Law School professor who specializes in environmental law and isn't involved in the suit. "This has been an issue for the environmental community. They are enthusiastic; at the same time, they realize there are these adverse impacts."

Indiana bats hibernate in limestone caves within several miles of the wind farm, which would provide energy to tens of thousands of households. The question before the judge: Would the bats fly in the path of the 122 turbines that will be built along a 23-mile stretch of mountaintop?

Eric R. Glitzenstein, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in his opening statement that both sides agree the windmills will kill more than 130,000 bats of all types over the next 20 years. "The question comes down to whether there is some reason to think Indiana bats will escape that fate," he said. "The position of the defendants is, 'Let's roll the dice and see what happens.' We believe that the rolling-the-dice approach to the Endangered Species Act is not in keeping with what Congress had in mind."

Cowan and other plaintiffs, including the D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute, support wind power as one way to mitigate climate change. But they say this setting, a lush rural area where coal and timber industries once dominated, is the wrong one. They say Indiana bats are likely to fly near the turbines in the fall as they migrate to caves from forests, where they spend spring and summer. Some biologists who analyzed recordings at the site say they are nearly certain that Indiana bats made some of the calls.


Pass The Obama Energy Tax to Help Wall Street!

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand writes in today's WSJ:
Over the past year, the economic crisis has devastated the financial services industry that fueled New York's boom years. The ripple effect from Wall Street is still being felt, as unemployment has risen to 10.3% in New York City.

In this turmoil, it may seem hard to imagine a financial market poised to deliver significant growth. However, a rising number of investors and financiers see one in the trading and reduction of carbon. According to financial experts, carbon permits could quickly become the world's largest commodities market, growing to as much as $3 trillion by 2020 from just over $100 billion today. With thousands of firms and energy producers buying and selling permits to emit carbon, transaction fees for exchanges and clearing alone could top nearly half a billion dollars.

If Congress establishes proper oversight of a carbon market, New York's financial talent, expertise and institutions are uniquely suited to provide the tools and innovation for a new commodities market of this size. Firms wishing to invest over the long term will need to turn to our financial sector to create the emerging products and provide the capital that would allow them to make green energy investments.

Isn't this a little off script? Aren't Democrats supposed to blame New York's "financial talent" for the economic mess we're in right now?


A History Lesson on the Electric Car

History offers some inconvenient truths for the green industry

At the Big Government/Big Auto-sponsored “The Business of Plugging In” electric-vehicle conference this week, general-turned-green-activist Wesley Clark heralded plug-ins as “that next big thing for America. It could be in electric vehicle technologies.”

Or not. Though Big Utility (a co-sponsor of the conference) also stands to gain from government mandates for electricification of the auto, DTE Energy CEO Tony Earley gave conference attendees a welcome history lesson.

He reminded them that Detroit’s favorite son, Henry Ford, had worked for an electric utility before he saw the possibilities of the internal combustion engine. Earley explained that electrics made up 80 percent of the vehicle market in the early 20th century. Electrics were preferred for their ease of starting (no hand crank). By 1914, Detroit itself became the first city to have an entire fleet of electric taxi cabs (an eerie echo of politically correct efforts to electrify urban cab and bus fleets today).

But, continued Earley, Ford’s revolutionary cars changed all that (in part, thanks to the electric starters that replaced the cranks). Electrics disappeared because gas engines were cheaper, had better fueling infrastructure, and “people needed to travel greater distances.”

So what has changed in 100 years? Nothing. Except politics. In the 1970s, explained Earley, electric vehicles resurfaced as some (read: political elites) “became concerned about oil dependence and emissions.” Today, those concerns have been joined by global warming. Which is exactly why utilities like Earley’s DTE Energy have signed on to the fiction of global warming.

Because without it, there is still no market for electric vehicles.



The government is trying to terrify you. That is the only possible interpretation of its latest television advertising campaign on the supposed dangers of global warming. Whether or not you accept the scientific premises behind the "bedtime story" advert which is now to be investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority after attracting over 350 complaints from the public, there is no question that it is propaganda in the strict technical sense of the word.

That is to say, it is an attempt by the state to manipulate opinion and evoke emotional reactions without offering argument or evidence for its case. It accepts uncritically the most extreme rendition of the anthropogenic global warming narrative as if it were entirely uncontentious and presents it in the most sentimentally evocative possible way (i.e. as a threat to one's own children and to defenceless creatures generally). It uses the techniques once associated with totalitarian societies not to persuade (which is what advertising properly does) but to coerce: to create fear and guilt. And to what purpose? Without offering constructive argument or serious explanation of the options, we can only assume that this is a campaign designed to browbeat the public into accepting any new restrictions or "green" taxes which government may choose to impose. Fortunately, it seems that ordinary people still have the independence of mind to know when they are being bullied.



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


Friday, October 23, 2009

Americans' belief in global warming cools -- 'Sharp decline over past year' -- Only 36% say warming man-made, down from 47% last year

A new poll out today on Americans’ attitudes about climate change presents sobering findings for those that favor aggressive action to curb U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases.

The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds a sharp decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who see solid evidence that global temperatures are rising. According to the survey, conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4 among 1,500 adults reached on cell phones and landlines, fewer respondents also see global warming as a very serious problem; 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.

The survey also points to a decline in the proportion of Americans who say global temperatures are rising as a result of human activity. Just 36% say that currently, down from 47% last year.

Not everything in the poll is bad news for those that favor capping U.S. emissions. According to the survey, a majority (56%) of Americans think the United States should join other countries in setting standards to address global climate change, while 32% say that the United States should set its own standards. And half of Americans favor setting limits on carbon emissions and making companies pay for their emissions, even if this may lead to higher energy prices.

On the other hand, more than half (55%) say they haven’t heard about so-called “cap and trade” legislation being considered in Congress. (Then again, Sen. John Kerry says he doesn’t know what “cap and trade” means, either.)

The poll’s findings come just days before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is scheduled to hold hearings on legislation that calls for cutting U.S. emissions 20 percent beneath 2005 levels by 2020.

They also coincide with the release of a new Government Accountability Office study that says most federal, state and local officials have not yet taken steps to adapt to the impacts of global warming that America can expect.

Not surprisingly, opponents and supporters of carbon caps have very different takes on the poll’s findings. “Perhaps the most interesting finding in this poll, aside from the precipitous drop in the number of Independents who believe global warming is a problem, is that the more Americans learn about cap-and-trade, the more they oppose cap-and-trade,” says Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), a longtime skeptic of climate-change warnings.

Daniel Weiss at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, says the findings point to the effectiveness of “right-wing media personalities” in “distorting science while the mainstream media remains trapped in its ‘he said, she said’ narrative” about the science.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, says he’s a little surprised by the decline in the percentage of respondents who see solid evidence of global warming. On the other hand, Mr. Kohut said, “we have since the onset of the recession seen people giving lower priority to environmental issues” in polls.

Overall, Mr. Kohut says the disposition of most Americans appears to be “to want to do something” about climate change, “but it’s not as sharp as it would be in a different economic climate.”


Keep the car; Ditch the dog

Dogs use up more energy resources than a car, Greenie authors claim, in yet another attack on things that most people value

THEY'RE faithful, friendly and furry - but under their harmless, fluffy exteriors, dogs and cats, the world's most popular house pets, use up more energy resources in a year than driving a car, a new book says. In their book Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, New Zealand-based architects Robert and Brenda Vale say keeping a medium-sized dog has the same ecological impact as driving 10,000km a year in a 4.6 litre Land Cruiser.

Calculating that the modern Fido chows through about 164kg of meat and 95kg of cereals a year, the Vales estimated the ecological footprint of cats and dogs, based on the amount of land needed to grow common brands of pet food. "There are no recipes in the book," Robert Vale said, laughingly. "We're not actually saying it is time to eat the dog. We're just saying that we need to think about and know the (ecological) impact of some of the things we do and that we take for granted."

Constructing and driving the jeep for a year requires 0.41 hectares of land, while growing and manufacturing a dog's food takes about 0.84 ha - or 1.1 ha in the case of a large dog such as a German shepherd.

Meat-eating swells the eco-footprint of canines, and felines are not that much better, the Vales found. The average cat's eco-footprint, 0.15 ha, weighs in at slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf, but still 10 times a hamster's 0.014 ha - which is itself half the eco cost of running a plasma television. By comparison, the ecological footprint of an average human in the developing world is 1.8ha, while people in the developed world take 6ha.

With pets' diets under the control of owners, how can their unsustainable appetites be trimmed? Convincing carnivorous cats and dogs to go vegetarian for the sake of the planet is a non-starter, the Vales say. Instead they recommend keeping "greener", smaller, and more sustainable pets, such as goldfish, hamsters, chickens or rabbits.

The book's playful title, and serious suggestion that pet animals may be usefully "recycled", by being eaten by their owners or turned into petfood when they die, may not appeal to animal fans. Offputting as the idea may be, the question is valid given the planet's growing population and finite resources, Robert Vale said. "Issues about sustainability are increasingly becoming things that are going to require us to make choices which are as difficult as eating your dog. It's not just about changing your lightbulbs or taking a cloth bag to the supermarket," he said. "It's about much more challenging and difficult issues," he added. "Once you see where (cats and dogs) fit in your overall balance of things - you might decide to have the cat but not also to have the two cars and the three bathrooms and be a meat eater yourself."



The phrase "publishing sensation" is standard hyperbole from marketing men anxious to push book sales. Sometimes, however, a book comes along which justifies the term. One such is Freakonomics, which since its publication in 2005 has sold well over 3 million copies. This would be a remarkable figure for a popular fiction writer; but the author of this non-fiction work was a university economist called Steven Levitt, aided and abetted by the New York Times journalist Stephen Dubner.

Essentially their book applied basic economic theories of utility-maximisation to social issues which hitherto had been discussed purely in political terms. The essay which caused the most sensation was Levitt's analysis linking falling crime figures to the federal legalisation of abortion via the Roe v Wade constitutional amendment. Levitt claimed that these apparently unconnected statistics in fact represented a significant correlation: unwanted children tended to be neglected and thus turn to crime, so the great increase in abortions from the early 1970s was the main, but unheralded, reason for the drop in US crime rates in the 1990s.

It's fair to say that Levitt's analysis, while rapidly attaining the status of conventional wisdom, remains highly controversial: a number of his fellow economists argue that his "abortion-cut-crime" theory doesn't come close to meeting the burden of proof. It was, however, marvellously mischievous, causing consternation and fury in equal measure among the American religious right, first in downplaying the role of tough penal policies and second in portraying abortion as a socially valuable law-enforcement tool.

Now Levitt and Dubner are launching the follow up to Freakonomics - but this time it is conventional left-liberal thought which will be outraged by their assertions. A clue is given in the work's full title, Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. Yes, the authors have this time addressed their dispassionate intellectual blowtorch to the conventional wisdom about climate change, its causes and remedies.

In this investigation they have called upon a number of experts with relevant expertise, including Nathan Myhrvold, a former colleague of Professor Stephen Hawking at Cambridge, who went on to become Bill Gates' futurist-in-chief at Microsoft; and Ken Caldeira, an ecologist from Stanford University and contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Caldeira points out that if our concern is for the planet, and if we choose to measure that concern by biodiversity, then increases in carbon dioxide can be a positive benefit. A rise in atmospheric CO2 means that plants need less by way of water for their growth; Caldera's study demonstrated that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide, while holding steady all other inputs, such as water and nutrients, yielded a 70 per cent increase in plant growth. This would not come remotely as a surprise to people of my generation, who were taught at school that carbon dioxide was the lifeblood of plants, but will perhaps be a shock to the present generation of schoolchildren who are being lectured that man-made CO2 is tantamount to poison.

Myhrvold goes on to tell the freakonomists that while the IPCC is fretting fearfully about the CO2 in the atmosphere increasing from about 280 parts per million to 380, our mammalian ancestors successfully evolved at a time when the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was over 1,000 parts per million. Myhrvold then commits true apostasy by pointing out that "nor does atmospheric carbon dioxide necessarily warm the earth: ice-cap evidence shows that over the past several hundred thousand years, carbon dioxide levels have risen after a rise in temperature, rather than before it."

This might help to explain why the recorded temperature of the planet has not increased at all over the past 11 years. As the BBC's climate correspondent, Paul Hudson, reported with thinly disguised amazement three days ago, "Our climate models did not forecast this." Hudson then spoke to Professor Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University, who explained that global temperatures were correlated much more with cyclical oceanic oscillations of warming and cooling than anything man does. Easterbrook argued that the global cooling from 1945 to 1977 was linked to one of these cold Pacific cycles, and that "the Pacific decadal oscillation cool mode has replaced the warm mode [of 1978 to 1998], virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling."

Hold the front page! Global warming postponed for 30 years! Or possibly much longer! Or, if you prefer to remain terrified by environmental prognostications: hold the front page! New Ice Age approaches! Countless millions set to freeze!

Let's suppose, however, that our political leaders are not mistaken in taking the view that the threat to mankind does come from the greenhouse effect and its consequences. Here is where Levitt's friend Nathan Myhrvold (described by Bill Gates as "the smartest person I know") comes up with a plan almost appalling in its simplicity.

Myrhvold begins with the uncontroversial observation that the biggest sudden natural cooling events are eruptions from "big ass" volcanoes, which shoot vast quantities of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, which in turn leads to a decrease in ozone and a diffusing of sunlight, followed by a sustained drop in global temperatures. Why not bring about the same effect through engineering, asks Myhrvold. Thus he has designed a system of pumps, attached to gigantic hoses, which would be taken up into the atmosphere in helium balloons; they would then spray colourless liquid sulphur dioxide which would wrap around the North and South poles in less than a fortnight. Myhrvold estimates that this "save the poles" programme would cost roughly $20m, with an annual operating cost of $10m. Job done.

Alternatively, there is the British Government's suggestion that we spend $1.2 trillion a year globally on a decarbonisation programme. The trouble with this is that even if the British are happy to pay massively more for their electricity by foregoing coal - the world's most plentiful and cheap form of stored energy - the vastly bigger and growing economies of China and India have no intention of denying their people the life-changing benefits of cheap electrification.

You would think that the sort of innovative plan outlined in Superfreakonomics would be welcomed by leaders across the globe, with Nobel prizes in the offing for Myhrvold and his colleagues. You would be wrong. For the modern generation of politicians like to talk grandiloquently about the "war" against climate change (just as they do about the "war against terror" and the "war against drugs"): but there's no glory to be had in spending $10m a year on giant nozzles squirting sulphur dioxide around the poles. For that you need very little by way of international summits, or press conferences to the world's media.

Worse still from their point of view, such a solution would mean that they would be doing absolutely nothing to change the way we lead our lives. We would carry on going about our lives just as we are; and if politicians are doing nothing to change our behaviour they will feel bereft, devoid of mission, even (perish the thought) redundant.

Their fury at such redundancy would be shared by the conventional environmental movement, which regards any solution involving geo-engineering as an "offence against nature" and therefore axiomatically wicked - as if "nature" had the capacity to give a damn one way or the other. The authors of Freakonomics had better put on their hard hats; the ideological ordnance will soon be heading their way.



Poor old Paul Hudson. The inoffensive cheeky chappy, who presents the weather on the BBC in Yorkshire, has found himself a hate object among the fringes of the environmental movement. Hudson's crime? Well, to borrow a phrase, he told "an inconvenient truth" – that global warming has stopped. In an article headlined "Whatever happened to global warming?" on the BBC website, Hudson noted that the warmest year of recent times wasn't 2007 or 2008, but 1998, and global temperatures have not increased at all in the intervening 11 years, despite increasing carbon emissions.

Ignore the provocative headline, for Hudson's piece was, in fact, scrupulously fair. In measured terms, he explored the theories of what could be behind the present period of global cooling, including the ideas of so-called "sceptics", who believe the sun's energy or the oceans' currents, and not man's activities, are primarily responsible for periods of cooling and warming. But he also quoted scientists who reckon the dip in temperatures is just a temporary blip and that man-made global warming will return with a vengeance in the near future.

No one really knows. In climatic terms, a 10-year trend proves nothing –it, as many scientists argue, could be a mere variation on the graph showing an inexorable rise in average temperatures. But interestingly, Hudson pointed out that none of the climate models beloved by meteorologists forecast the present temperature trend. It is sobering to note that environmentalists are demanding that we damage our economy and make the poor poorer on the back of climate models that have been proved, in the short term at least, to be wrong.

But even an ace forecaster like Hudson couldn't have predicted the reaction his article would provoke. It was picked up in the US by the influential Drudge Report website and from there to numerous climate sceptical blogs who gleefully reported on the BBC's U-turn on global warming. This, in turn, caused a hysterical counterblast from those who see global warming as a matter of religious faith, rather than scientific debate. Hudson was denounced as a denier and a heretic. The Guardian demanded to know why the BBC had allowed his article to be published, and the journal Nature was apoplectic with rage.

Hudson's mistake was to concede there were differing views on the climate, for we live in a society where, for the first time in modern history, we are told "the science is settled" and "there is no room for debate". "Sceptic" has become a dirty word – yet the whole basis of modern science is built precisely on scepticism and inquiry by people brave enough to challenge entrenched views. In contrast today, anyone who questions the quasi-religious scientific orthodoxy on global warming will be denounced as not just wrong, but positively evil.

Paul, keep your head down until this storm blows over.


Emissions blame game has started

Bjorn Lomborg accepts global warming but says current policies are foolish

A SENSE of panic is setting in among many campaigners for drastic cuts in global carbon emissions. It is becoming obvious that the highly trumpeted meeting set for Copenhagen this December will not deliver a binding international treaty that will make a significant difference to global warming.

After lofty rhetoric and big promises, politicians are starting to play the blame game. Developing countries blame rich countries for the lack of progress. Many blame the US, which will not have cap-and-trade legislation in place before Copenhagen.

The UN Secretary General says, "it may be difficult for President Obama to come with strong authority" to reach agreement in Copenhagen. Others blame developing countries - particularly Brazil, China and India - for a reluctance to sign up to binding carbon cuts. Wherever you turn, somebody is being blamed for Copenhagen's apparent looming failure.

Yet, it has been clear for a considerable time that there is a more fundamental problem: immediate promises of carbon cuts do not work. Seventeen years ago, industrialised nations promised with great fanfare in Rio de Janeiro to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. Emissions overshot the target by 12 per cent. In Kyoto, leaders committed to a cut of 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010. The failure to meet that target will most likely be even more spectacular, with emissions overshooting by about 25 per cent.

The plan was to convene world leaders in Copenhagen and renew vows to cut carbon while committing to even more ambitious targets. But it is obvious that even a last-minute scramble to salvage some form of agreement will fare no better in actually helping the planet. With such a poor track record, there is a need for soul-searching and openness to other approaches.

A realistic "Plan B" does not mean plotting a second meeting after Copenhagen, as some have suggested. It means rethinking our strategy. This year, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre commissioned research from top climate economists examining feasible ways to respond to global warming. Their research looked at how much we could help the planet by setting different levels of carbon taxes, planting more trees, cutting methane, reducing black-soot emissions, adapting to global warming, or focusing on a technological solution to climate change.

The centre convened an expert panel of five of the world's leading economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, to consider all of the new research and identify the best - and worst - options.

The panel found that expensive, global carbon taxes would be the worst option. This finding was based on a groundbreaking research paper that showed that even a highly efficient global CO2 tax aimed at fulfilling the ambitious goal of keeping temperature increases below 2C would reduce annual world GDP by a staggering 12.9per cent, or $US40 trillion ($43.7trillion), in 2100. The total cost would be 50 times that of the avoided climate damage. And if politicians choose less-efficient, less-co-ordinated cap-and-trade policies, the costs could escalate a further 10 to 100 times.

Instead, the panel recommended focusing investment on research into climate engineering as a short-term response, and on non-carbon-based energy as a longer-term response.

Some suggested climate engineering technologies - in particular, marine cloud-whitening technology - could be cheap, fast, and effective. (Boats would spray seawater droplets into clouds above the oceans to make them reflect more sunlight back into space, reducing warming). Remarkably, the research says that a total of about $US9 billion spent implementing marine cloud-whitening technology might be able to offset this entire century's global warming. Even if one approaches this technology with concerns - as many of us do - we should aim to identify its limitations and risks sooner rather than later.

It appears that climate engineering could buy us some time, and it is time that we need to make a sustainable and smooth shift away from reliance on fossil fuels. Research shows that non-fossil-fuel energy sources will - based on today's availability - get us less than halfway towards a path of stable carbon emissions by 2050, and only a tiny fraction of the way towards stabilisation by 2100.

If politicians change course and agree this December to invest significantly more in research and development, we would have a much greater chance of getting this technology to the level where it needs to be. And, because it would be cheaper and easier than carbon cuts, there would be a much greater chance of reaching a genuine, broad-based - and thus successful - international agreement.

Carbon pricing could be used to finance research and development, and to send a price signal to promote the deployment of effective, affordable technology alternatives. Investing about $US100 billion annually would mean that we could essentially resolve the climate change problem by the end of this century.

While the blame game will not solve global warming, the mounting panic could lead to a positive outcome if it meant we reconsider our current approach. If we want real action, we need to pick smarter solutions that will cost less and do more. That would be a result for which every politician would be happy to accept responsibility.


Lindsey Graham's Climate Dance with the Democrats

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has turned his back on the latest science, economics, the Republican Party, and American national security, by announcing his new partnership with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to find “the winning formula” to pass global warming cap-and-trade legislation. Graham is now touting his view that man-made global warming fears are real and can be “solved” by passing Congressional cap-and-trade legislation. Graham teamed up with Sen. Kerry to write an October 11 New York Times op-ed explaining that the GOP and Democrats should “work together to address an urgent crisis facing the world.”

Graham has latched on to perhaps the silliest of all arguments and the most insulting to voters’ intelligence: that somehow passing a congressional climate bill will lead to fewer wars in the future. Graham and Kerry wrote, “[W]e agree that climate change is real and threatens our economy and national security.”

“Even climate change skeptics should recognize that reducing our dependence on foreign oil and increasing our energy efficiency strengthens our national security,” Graham and Kerry asserted. On this point, Graham and Kerry are correct. But their claim that a top heavy cap-and-trade bill would accomplish those goals is contrary to all available evidence.

First off, even if we faced the man-made global warming catastrophe that Graham and Kerry seem so confident about, we would all be doomed if we relied on Congressional cap-and-trade to save us. The climate bill was declared “scientifically meaningless” by an analysis earlier this year. Most importantly, President Obama’s own EPA is now on record admitting that U.S. cap-and-trade bill “would not impact world CO2 levels.”

A Bloomberg News article on the Waxman-Markey bill’s impact on June 26, 2009 revealed U.S. oil companies may cope with the climate legislation by "closing fuel plants, cutting capital spending and increasing imports." Bloomberg also reported that "one in six U.S. refineries probably would close by 2020" and this could "add 77 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline." Far from providing “energy security,” cap-and-trade would make us more dependent on foreign sources of energy, according to the Bloomberg report. Obama advisor Warren Buffet told CNBC that cap-and-trade would also be a "huge" and "regressive" tax on Americans .

Global warming cap-and-trade would have a huge impact on congressional coffers. To understand all you need to know about the “science” of man-made global warming and the motivations of politicians to pass it, you need to look no further than Democrat Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. In 2009, Cardin called cap-and-trade “the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time.”

In simple terms, what Graham is hailing as some sort of “solution” to the alleged climate “crisis” is nothing more than pure Washington fluff with a huge price tag and expansion of government controls on our lifestyles. In short, it is all economic pain for no climate gain.

All of this while the science behind man-made climate fears continues in a freefall. In the past few months, we have witnessed U.N. scientists warning at U.N. meetings that global cooling is a now possible. Even the mainstream media -- led by the BBC and the New York Times -- is finally having their moment of clarity on man-made global warming. But Graham continues to binge on old scientific claims and empty economic promises. Global warming cap-and-trade has lost so much support that even Democrat Sen. Al Franken is bailing on the bill! In an August 6 letter with 9 other Democrats, Franken wrote a letter to Obama declaring that the U.S. “must not engage in a self-defeating effort.”

Enter Lindsey Graham to offer political cover for Democrats on cap-and-trade. Graham hopes to be able to add provision for expanded nuclear energy and drilling into the cap-and-trade bill and thus bring all sides together. Sadly, Graham knows that any promises about expanding drilling or nuclear energy can be rescinded in future years or road blocked in any number of ways. But once a cap-and-trade system is in place, it will be the nearest thing to eternal life here on Earth.

Graham tries to convince unenlightened Republicans that “killing a Senate [climate] bill is not success…given the threat of [EPA] regulation” of CO2 under the Clean Air Act. But Graham knows this is a straw man argument. The last thing the Obama administration or Congressional Democrats want to do is have EPA in charge of CO2 emissions. Former President Clinton’s Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, admitted this was a false threat on October 12, when he wrote: The EPA regulatory threat is “no real threat” because lawsuits would “keep the EPA tied up in litigation for years.” Graham is also touting a new U.N. climate treaty, urging the U.S. to be “in the lead again” and “produce a new international agreement on global warming.”

Graham is hopelessly naive about climate science realities, cap-and-trade economics and environmental politics. Sadly, he has morphed into a media sycophant who pines for every opportunity to get noticed by the mainstream media -- to hell with his home state voters’ wishes.

Graham's Senate website claims he “is known as a leader who never abandons his independence or strays from the conservative reform agenda." Though Graham does have a conservative voting record overall, he has broken ranks with his home state voters and the GOP on key policy decisions (votes on immigration, the bank bailout and Justice Sotomayor’s confirmation) that differ from his political base.

Graham’s embrace of the man-made global warming fear movement could literally snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when it comes to congressional cap-and-trade bills. Never underestimate the ability of rudderless Republicans like Graham to be the key difference in passing costly non-solutions to problems that do not even exist.

There exists in Washington pretenders who go along with the majority of beliefs of a political ideology or party platform just so they can bide their time -- waiting to really have the most impact (or do the most damage) on the key issues that matter most to their internal ideology.

Ladies and gentleman, meet Sen. Lindsey Graham: The most crystal clear example of everything that is wrong with politics (and the Republican Party) in Washington today.



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


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Maldives stunt: Sea level expert's open letter to the President of the Maldives

Letter below received by email. The author, Professor Dr. Nils-Axel Moerner, is a leading world authority on sea levels and coastal erosion who headed the Department of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at Stockholm University

Open Letter to President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives

Mr. President,

You have recently held an undersea Cabinet meeting to raise awareness of the idea that global sea level is rising and hence threatens to drown the Maldives. This proposition is not founded in observational facts and true scientific judgements, Accordingly it is incorrect. Therefore, I am most surprised at your action and must protest to its intended message.

In 2001, when our research group found overwhelming evidence that sea level was by no means in a rising mode in the Maldives, but had remained quite stable for the last 30 years, I thought it would not be respectful to the fine people of the Maldives if I were to return home and present our results in international fora. Therefore, I announced this happy news during an interview for your local TV station. However, your predecessor as president censored and stopped the broadcast.

When you became president, I was hoping both for democracy and for dialogue. However, I have written to you twice without reply. Your people ought not to have to suffer a constant claim that there is no future for them on their own islands. This terrible message is deeply inappropriate, since it is founded not upon reality but upon an imported concept, which lacks scientific justification and is thus untenable. There is simply no rational basis for it.

Let me summarize a few facts (see Fig. 1, and evidence presented in M”rner, 2007):

(1) In the last 2000 years, sea level has oscillated with 5 peaks reaching 0.6 to 1.2 m above the present sea level.

(2) From 1790 to 1970 sea level was about 20 cm higher than today.

(3) In the 1970s, sea level fell by about 20 cm to its present level.

(4) Sea level has remained stable for the last 30 years, implying that there are no traces of any alarming on-going sea level rise.

(5) Therefore, we are able to free the Maldives (and the rest of low-lying coasts and island around the globe) from the condemnation of becoming flooded in the near future.

When I was president for the INQUA commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution (1999-2003), we spent much effort on the question of present-to-future sea level changes. After intensive field studies, deliberation within the commission and discussions at five international meeting, we agreed on a "best estimate" for possible sea level changes by the year 2100. Our figure was +10 cm ñ10 cm. This figure was later revised at +5 cm ñ15 cm (as given in Fig. 1).

Such changes would imply small to negligible effects. From our sea level curve in Fig. 1, we can directly see that such a small rise would pose no threat for the Maldives. Rather, it would be a natural return to the conditions existing from 1790 to 1970; i.e. to the position before the sea level fall in the 1970s.

The same non-rising sea level story is recorded for all other areas claimed to be under a flooding already in progress; viz. Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Venice (Moerner, 2007b).

Besides, the proposed global trend derived from satellite altimetry has been tampered by a "personal correction" in order to create a rising trend (Moerner, 2008), actually not measured..

Thermal expansion of the water column may affect the ocean level by some centimetres to a decimetre. At the shore, however, the effect is zero (Moerner, 2000, 2005a, 2009a).

So, Mr. President, when you ignore to face available observational facts, refuse a normal democratic dialogue, and continue to menace your people with the imaginary threat of a disastrous flooding already in progress, I think you are doing a serious mistake.

Let us be constructive. Let us discuss available observational facts. Let us continue and extend our sea level project to new sites in the huge Maldivian atoll archipelago. And let us, for Heaven's sake, lift the terrible psychological burden that you and your predecessor have placed upon the shoulders of all people in the Maldives, who are now living with the imagined threat that flooding will soon drive them from their homes, a wholly false notion that is nothing but an armchair fiction artificially constructed by mere computer modelling constantly proven wrong by meticulous real-world observations.

Your cabinet meeting under the water is nothing but a misdirected gimmick or PR stunt. Al Gore is a master in such cheap techniques. But such misconduct is dishonest, unproductive and certainly most un-scientific.

Stockholm, Sweden, October 20, 2009 Nils-Axel Moerner Head of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at Stockholm University, Sweden (1991-2005) President of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution (1999-2003) Leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project (2000 on) Chairman of the INTAS project on Geomagnetism and Climate (1997-2003) Awarded the Golden Condrite of Merit from Algarve University (2008) "for his irreverence and contribution to our understanding of sea level change"


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch []

The pollution resulting from the rapid uncontrolled post war industrial expansion spawned two environmentalist movements. One group primarily composed of physical scientists and engineers set about to directly address the pollution problems by developing facilities and legislative controls that have to date virtually eliminated industrial contamination of soil, water and air.

A second group primarily composed of activists with little or no physical science background did nothing but protest against industry without ever having addressed a single environmental problem for which they created a solution.

While the physical scientists and engineers worked quietly with industry solving the environmental problems, the ideology driven environmentalist activists, used dramatic alarmist rhetoric to gain media control and have become a dominant political force capable of forcing their self serving ideologies on the general public with impunity.

The Earth entered a cooling phase in 1942, and by 1970 the environmentalists found a way to blame this cooling on industrial expansion. The concept was that particulate matter from fossil fuel usage was blocking energy from the sun giving this cooling effect. This concept was incorporated as a parameter in the crude climate models of the time, and the predictions from models run by James Hansen in 1971 projected fifty years of further cooling from the increased use of fossil fuels.

Only four years later, and in spite of the continued increase in fossil fuel usage global cooling came to an end, proving that the models did not have a proper physical basis for relating fossil fuel usage to global cooling.

By 1988, after 13 years of global warming the ideological environmentalists developed a new tact for blaming fossil fuels. The British Government had embarked on a political campaign to promote their nuclear industry and attack the powerful coal unions by creating alarmist scenarios of "runaway global warming" resulting from CO2 produced by coal and other fossil fuels. This was entirely political in nature with absolutely no scientific backing, but it did make the perfect weapon for the environmentalists to promote their anti energy (and anti humanity) ideology. All that was needed was some scientific justification.

As was done in 1971, climate models which were now far more sophisticated provided the science backing. Instead of blaming fossil fuels for blocking incoming solar radiation, the models removed this parameter and replaced it with a newly contrived parameter that now related global warming to the effect of fossil fuel sourced CO2 on the outgoing thermal radiation from the Earth.

This model also produced by James Hansen, projected warming for the next century because of the fossil fuel CO2 emissions that were increasing at a continued accelerated rate. As with the 1971 model, the 1988 model was proven to be false when global warming ended after 1998 even as CO2 emissions continued to rise at unprecedented rates. To make matters worse since 2002, the Earth has been cooling making all of the projections clearly in the wrong direction.

By even the most basic standards of ethical science, models that first predict cooling from fossil fuel usage that are discredited just four years later when warming occurs with increased usage, and then predict warming from fossil fuel usage and are again discredited ten years later as cooling reoccurs with increased usage, would be declared absolutely invalid; but when ideology is involved science protocol is totally abandoned.

As a result of the alarmist predictions of the 1988 climate models of Hansen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed under the auspices of the United Nations. This body was given a science mandate to investigate the possibility of human effects on climate to determine if the projections of Hansen were valid.

The true nature of the IPCC was not that of a science based body, but that of a political body to give scientific legitimacy to false alarmist predictions in order to meet a political self serving environmentalist agenda. Since its inception, the IPCC has used its position of authority to promote its agenda to the detriment of science and even more importantly to the detriment of the global population.

From 1997 to 1998 the average global temperature increased by over half a degree C and from 1998 to 1999 the average global temperature fell by over half a degree C. This was due to an extraordinary el Niño and has nothing to do with either the greenhouse effect or CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions increased from 24.0gt/y in 1997 to 24.2gt/y in 1998 to 24.4gt/y in 1999).

An honest scientific body would have made some sort of statement to this effect, but the IPCC in their 2001 Third Assessment Report and particularly in their Summary for Policy Makers for this report not only made no mention of the fact that from 1998 to 1999 the Earth cooled more than it had ever cooled during the entire global temperature record, but emphatically stated that from 1997 to 1998 the Earth had warmed more than it ever had.

This is an absolute violation of science ethics because the policy makers were purposely misinformed with alarmist rhetoric. This same 2001 report also stated that the observed global warming for the past century which they stated was attributable to CO2 emissions was measured at 0.60°C + 0.20°C. This is only 0.006°C per year making the el Niño temperature spike over eighty times greater than what the IPCC stated was attributable to CO2 emissions, so it is clear that this was stated for the purpose of politically motivated alarmism and not to properly convey information in a scientifically justified manner.

The 2001 IPCC report also included the infamous MBH98 “Hockey Stick” temperature proxy which used physical temperature measurement data up to and including 1998 which gave the alarmist impression of twice the 20th century warming because 1999 was not included.

The Hockey Stick graph became the pivotal evidence that convinced governments around the world to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, that has resulted in such detrimental effects to the global population and global economy.

In this regard the el Niño temperature spike of 1998 may be considered the most significant climate event in recent history, and when one considers the hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people starving because of Kyoto biofuel initiatives that has literally taken their food away and made it into “Kyoto friendly” fuel, this el Niño might also be considered the most tragic climate event as well.

Through diligence and hard work physical scientists were able to correct most of the environmental problems that had been created through industrialization, but there is no scientific effort capable of undoing the damage caused to the global population by the ideological environmentalists. This issue is now out of the hands of the scientists and the only salvation for the global population is the media who must readopt their lost journalistic integrity and expose the true nature of this global fraud.

This link to a 1999 article is very enlightening


An email from James Rust []

Recently New York Times Environment Reporter Andrew Revkin floated the idea of reducing the world's carbon footprint by giving carbon credits to families that have only one child. "Should--probably the single most concrete and substantial thing an American, young American, could do to lower our carbon footprint is not turning off the lights or driving a Prius, its having few kids, having fewer children," said Revkin. So shouldn't a one child family get credit as opposed to having two or three children.

To be fair to reporter Revkin, these remarks are ideas for discussion; he is not endorsing the idea.

Isn't this a great idea for America! America is the most productive nation in the world and already has a no growth birthrate among its educated population. In a few centuries, with one child families America could be removed as a leading, productive nation in the world.

I believe those on both sides of the anthropogenic global warming issue are honorable and have best interests of the world as their motivation. Those claiming increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide has a negligible influence on climate want a more prosperous world with abundant, affordable energy. Those wanting to reduce use of fossil fuels by 80-90 percent in the next forty years will necessarily have a population with reduced standard of living.

So keeping the best interests of the world in mind, one could float the idea of providing a financial reward for climate alarmists who have a vasectomy. This is just an idea for discussion; I am not endorsing the idea.

I think Rusty Jim is a bit too kind above. I think that the Warmists are motivated by a need for personal publicity rather than genuine concern for anything -- JR

British government in the scare business

The Advertising Standards Authority will investigate the Government's £6m TV spine-tingler designed to change our behaviour. 357 complaints have been made to the ASA, a self-regulatory body.

The first tasteless ad features a girl watching a cartoon dog drown, engulfed by a flood - with the advice that only by reducing "everyday things like keeping houses warm and driving cars" can we avert a watery fate for our pets, our children's pets, and our children's pets' children:

Most complaints focus on the fact that it is too terrifying - while others have complained that the scientific evidence doesn't justify the nightmare portrayed, albeit in cartoon form.

Ministers haven't helped in their statements defending the taxpayer-funded ad splurge. Minister Joan Ruddock claimed: "It is consistent with government policy on the issue, which is informed by the latest science and assessments of peer-reviewed, scientific literature made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other international bodies."

But that's not quite true.

In 2007 the IPCC released six scenarios generated from computer models. They projected rises of ranging from 0.18m - 0.38m to 0.26m - 0.58m, depending on how much the climate were to warm. That's barely enough to drown a kitten.

So if it's not rising sea levels, perhaps it's storm surges?

Alas, that's not borne out by the evidence. Southern Hemisphere cyclone energy has fallen to a 30-year low, and the long-term trend shows no significant increase in major hurricane activity, despite a warming period from the mid 1970s to 2000.

Barely a day passes without the climate refusing to conform to the models, and specifically the nightmare predictions they can generate with a crank of a handle. Just yesterday, we reported, dramatic ice loss reported in the Antarctic in 2007 turns out to have been overestimated.

Certainly, there's nothing that remotely justifies the dramatic cartoon disaster. Behaviour change has become an imperative with its own momentum. Much of it depends on huge sums being thrown at the advertising "industry", which is unlikely to bite the hand that feeds it. Think of it as a green jobs bonanza (at your expense).

Maybe Ruddock is thinking of Peerages, rather than Peer Review.


British government climate change figures 'are misleading'

A typical British "fudge". Nobody in the know believes British official statistics any more. They would do Stalin proud

The Government has been accused of exaggerating Britain’s success in fighting climate change by presenting “misleading” figures on carbon emissions. Sir Michael Scholar, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, said that presentation of data by the Department of Energy and Climate Change was “unsatisfactory”. In a letter to Tim Yeo, the chairman of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, he said that a statistical bulletin released in February “fell short” of the Government’s code of practice.

Sir Michael raised serious concerns about the claim that CO2 emissions had fallen by 12.8 per cent compared with 1990 levels. Nearly a third of that fall is made up of carbon credits purchased by polluters in an EU trading scheme and do not represent actual cuts in UK emissions. Without the credits, the fall is a much more modest 8.5 per cent.

Robin Oakley, head of Greenpeace’s energy and climate campaign, said: “Given that the government is falling short on just about every climate change emissions target going, apart from the pretty low Kyoto one, this really isn’t going to do much for their reputation in this area. "When the public see that emissions figures are going down, they want to be assured that global warming is actually being tackled, not that there’s been some creative accounting going on.”

It is not the first time that ministers have fallen foul of the government watchdog. In October last year, the Home Office was forced to admit that serious violent crime is much worse than they had been claimed because police forces had been failing to record offences properly. And in December Jacqui Smith had to backtrack on an announcement that knife crime had fallen after failing to substantiate it with statistical evidence.

The latest row is damaging for the Government as it casts doubt on whether people can believe official statistics on carbon emissions at a time when ministers are aiming to project an image of the UK as a world leader in the fight against climate change. "The fact that the authority has rapped the department's knuckles is quite a strong censure," said Nigel Hawkes, director of the campaign group Straight Statistics. "You've got Gordon Brown saying 'We've got 50 days to save the world', Ed Milliband appearing at an event at the Science Museum tomorrow. But frankly we're not in a position to lecture people if we're misrepresenting our own achievements"...


Reality ignored. Reuters spin GROWING Arctic ice by reporting on 'predictions' of an ice free Arctic

Despite the fact that 2009 has officially been “declared year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears,” there still remains many deep seated journalistic failings when it comes to the mainstream media's global warming coverage.

The global warming fear promoting media is particularly faced with a difficult challenge when it comes to the Arctic. How do you counter the climate reality of the latest inconvenient data about the expanding Arctic sea ice? See:

1) Arctic sea Ice GROWS by 'area one and a half times the size of Texas' - September 20, 2009

2) NYT: 'Spread of Thicker Arctic Ice Seen Last Summer' -- 'A substantial expansion of the extent of 'second year ice' - 'Gives some hope of stabilizing the ice cover over the next few years' - October 6, 2009

Despite this latest data, Reuters has made a woeful attempt to spin the reality of growing Arctic ice and ended up with a truly embarrassing article. An October 15, 2009 article by Peter Griffiths of Reuters, is so poorly written that it belongs in the same league as a press release for an environmental group. (Griffith's publicly available email address is:

In the article, entitled: “Arctic to be ice-free in summer in 20 years: scientist,” Griffiths refers to the green pressure group WWF, as an "environmental charity." How noble sounding and pure Reuters makes WWF sound.

The Reuters article also noted that "scientists" say the new Arctic sea ice predictions "should send a warning to world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December for U.N. talks on a new climate treaty." Reuters cites Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband who boldly announces the new Arctic ice prediction "further strengthens the case for an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen."

Gee. No ulterior motives by Reuters, WWF or Miliband are noticeable in this article, are they? In fact, the article drips with pure propaganda and pre-planned political activism to coincide with pending UN climate meeting in Copenhagen in December. Reuters seems to believe that “predictions” about Arctic ice conditions decades into the future are the some sort of “evidence.” (Note: The media's coverage of Arctic ice issues has always been problematic. See: Media Charged with Performing 'Climate Porn' on Arctic Ice Shipping Claims - Sept. 14, 2009)

The Reuters article is pure journalistic drivel. As the real world data fails to match the global warming claims, all the climate fear promoters have left are "scary" predictions of the future. When present day reality fails to alarm, Reuters is all too happy to help present a virtual world where scary scenarios can be effortlessly painted, all the while promoting the urgency of agreeing to a pending UN climate treaty.

The article claims "Global warming will leave the Arctic Ocean ice-free during the summer within 20 years, raising sea levels and harming wildlife such as seals and polar bears, a leading British polar scientist said on Thursday."

First off, it is hard to fathom how floating sea ice will "raise sea levels." (Yes, there is land based ice in Greenland, but Reuters specifically refers to "sea ice.") But that aside, the article -- in true "climate astrology" fashion -- is peppered with such phrases as "will be" and "melting will take place."

Reuters cites one scientist, Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, as the premier authority on Arctic ice. The article notes: "...the melting will take place within a decade, although the winter ice will stay for hundreds of years."

Huh? What does Reuters mean by "winter ice will stay for hundreds of years." Is Wadhams predicting or implying the loss of WINTER ice in several hundred years? If so, it would seem the more shocking lead of this article should have been something like: "Scientist claims Arctic WINTER ice will disappear in hundreds of years!"

For this feat to occur, it would likely mean the entire Northern Hemisphere winters would have to disappear completely. (Note: Obama science Czar John Holdren has also made this same incredible claim. See: Arctic could 'lose the WINTER sea ice' suggests Obama's Science Advisor John Holdren! - Warns of Year round ICE FREE Arctic - Feb. 6, 2009)

Reuters cites the Catlin Arctic Ice survey and presents their findings uncritically. But the ice survey has been surrounded in controversy. See: Meteorologist: 'The Top Ten Reasons why I think Catlin Arctic Ice Survey data can't be trusted' - October 15, 2009 & see: Arctic Comedy: Global warming trek 'makes it less than half way' to North Pole due to temps dropping below -40C! - May 13, 2009

As for the Reuters uncritical reporting of "predictions", a healthy dose of skepticism is in order on any climate predictions. See: Top forecasting experts now say the models violate the basic principles of forecasting. 1) Ivy League forecasting pioneer Dr. Scott Armstrong “Of 89 principles [of forecasting], the UN IPCC violated 72.” – January 28, 2009

More HERE (See the original for links)


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


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More on the new Canadian temperature "hockeystick"

The Mann and Briffa "hockeysticks" (records of a late 20th century temperature rise) were eventually shown to depend on just a few atypical tree rings, and tree-rings are an unreliable reflection of temperature anyway, so the latest "hockeystick", based on various creepy-crawlies found in a far-Northern Canadian lake, must be giving the Warmists frabjous joy. As I and various others pointed out yesterday, however, one swallow doesn't make a summer, and factors other than global warming could account for the changes observed.

Furthermore, evidence that the creepy-crawlies are NOT a good proxy for temperature is readily to hand. The whole point of their claim is that there has been a temperature upsurge just in the last 50 years -- and yet we have REAL temperature measurements for that time, and indeed for a century or so before that. So we can test the validity of using creepy-crawlies as a proxy for temperature. And a test shows them to be in fact invalid. They do not measure temperature. As a correspondent observed: "The original article is in PNAS and (like a lot of things in lightly reviewed PNAS) is a joke. Not one reference to real-world temperature records that are nearby and show nothing like what is in the paper."

Another correspondent draws attention to the fact that the paper depends on the old "correlation is causation" fallacy. They don't look for alternative explanations of what they have observed. The correspondent writes:
For what it's worth, two things occur to me.

1. "several types of mosquito-like midges that for many thousands of years thrived in cold climate surrounding the lake suddenly began declining at around 1950" — Have they accounted for the use of DDT, then? Seems to me that DDT on Baffin Island could have been very popular among trappers and the military in the 50s. Possibly pertinent too:

DDT and its breakdown products are transported from warmer regions of the world to the Arctic by the phenomenon of global distillation, where they then accumulate in the region's food web. See here. Thus there might be a human impact on this parameter, but of another kind.

Beyond that, though, if the authors are suggesting that CO2 has caused a mosquito or midge shortage up north, they should consult caribou herds, whose route of wandering is traceable to wind direction, so desperate are these animals to escape the floating bloodsuckers.

In the Canadian Arctic, researchers who bared their arms, legs, and torsos in an experiment reported as many as 9,000 [mosquito] bites per minute. See

Who knows, then? Changing wind patterns and a consequent shift of caribou migration (the supporting host) or DDT usage might account for the decline of midge bodies in this particular study of Ayr Lake. But CO2?

2. "The Earth is now some 600,000 miles (966,000 kilometers) further from the sun during the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice than it was at the time of Jesus Christ" — A sad example of allegation that’s already become a repeated "fact" simply because no one’s bothered to investigate it. I have, and find no indication that this million km claim is true.

Warmism is very destructive to real science.


As expected, it is looking very much like a one-off. Below is the abstract of what appears to be a very similar but more cautious study, complete with diatoms and chironomids (midge larvae) but with very dissimilar results.

Similarities and discrepancies between chironomid- and diatom-inferred temperature reconstructions through the Holocene at Lake 850, northern Sweden

By I. Larocque and C. Bigler


A quantitative temperature reconstruction using chironomids and diatoms has been attempted from a high elevation lake in northern Sweden (Lake 850). Since 7000 cal. years BP, both chironomids and diatoms recorded similar temperatures (in the range of present-day estimates) but the correspondence between chironomid and diatom-inferred temperatures was highest in the recent Holocene (2500 cal. years BP to the present). Between ca. 9000 and 7000 cal. years BP, inferred temperatures from chironomids were warmer than today (ca. 1–2°C), in accord with other climate reconstruction using pollen, plant macrofossils and oxygen isotope analysis in lakes of northern Scandinavia. In contrast, diatom analysis did not infer warmer temperatures during this period. The insensitivity of diatoms to temperature in Lake 850 between 9000 and 7000 cal. years BP could be attributed to other environmental factors affecting the diatom assemblages through time, especially lake-water pH. Diatom-inferred pH showed a gradual decrease (0.5 pH units) between 9000 and 7000 cal. years BP while it remained more or less constant since 7000 cal. years BP. Changes in lake-water pH acting on diatoms seem to mask the effect of climate, leading to temperature reconstructions that are inaccurate. Ways of disentangling climate and other environmental factors when attempting climate reconstruction should be further investigated.


Panic off: West Antarctic ice loss overestimated by NASA satellites

Inadequate allowance made for rebounding bedrock

Scientists using a network of ground sensors emplaced in Antarctica say that NASA satellites have overestimated the amount of ice that is melting and running off into the ocean from the polar continent.

The new results come from the West Antarctic GPS Network (WAGN), which uses 18 locator stations "bolted to bedrock outcrops" in the Western antarctic to discover "ground truth" regarding the phenomenon of "postglacial rebound", where the bedrock lifts as the mile-thick ice sheet atop it diminishes.

Postglacial rebound is important, as NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites estimate ice loss by measuring regional gravitational forces as they fly overhead. Both ice loss and bedrock rebound contribute to GRACE grav-scan readings, and according to the WAGN measurements, rebound figures used to estimate ice loss have now been shown to be wrong. "The take home message is that Antarctica is contributing to rising sea levels. It is the rate that is unclear," says Ian Dalziel, lead investigator for WAGN.

The WAGN boffins say they are sure that recent figures for ice loss calculated from GRACE readings have been overestimated, but they are not yet sure by how much. However, they say that there is no dispute about the fact that ice is disappearing from the antarctic sheet - this process has been underway for 20,000 years, since the thickness peaked during the last "glacial maximum". "The published results are very important because they provide precise, ground-truth GPS observations of the actual rebound of the continent," said Vladimir Papitashvili of the Antarctic Earth Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation, which supported the research.

The results are given in the paper "Geodetic Measurements of Vertical Crustal Velocity in West Antarctica and the Implications for Ice Mass Balance", published here in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (subscriber link). There's also some layman-level exposition from Texas uni here.

SOURCE (See the original for links).

Note also that nobody is claiming that East Antarctic is melting --and it accounts for much the largest part of Antarctic ice. ALL of Antarctica would have to melt to get Al-Gore-like sea-level rise and there is not the remotest sign of that happening. Most reports indicate an overall GAIN in Antarctic ice in recent years

German economists on "Green Jobs" in Germany

The "green jobs" hoax has been a fiasco wherever governments have tried to implement it. Most recently, the German think tank Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung has published a report titled Economic impacts from the promotion of renewable energies: The German experience. The report is well worth reading in its entirety. It points out that the "green jobs" that have been created through government subsidies are more than offset by the inefficiency of the resulting energy production:
While employment projections in the renewable sector convey seemingly impressive prospects for gross job growth, they typically obscure the broader implications for economic welfare by omitting any accounting of off-setting impacts. These impacts include, but are not limited to, job losses from crowding out of cheaper forms of conventional energy generation, indirect impacts on upstream industries, additional job losses from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices, private consumers' overall loss of purchasing power due to higher electricity prices, and diverting funds from other, possibly more beneficial investment.

I have often written that no government can create wealth by subsidizing the inefficient production of energy. The German think tank puts it in more official language:
Proponents of renewable energies often regard the requirement for more workers to produce a given amount of energy as a benefit, failing to recognize that this lowers the output potential of the economy and is hence counterproductive to net job creation. Significant research shows that initial employment benefits from renewable policies soon turn negative as additional costs are incurred.

The "green jobs" that have been produced in Germany are almost unbelievably expensive:
In the end, Germany's PV [solar energy] promotion has become a subsidization regime that, on a per-worker basis, has reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as 175,000 € (US $ 240,000).

The think tank also evaluated the claim that subsidizing "green jobs" is good because it leads to innovation:
Claims about technological innovation benefits of Germany's first-actor status are unsupportable. In fact, the regime appears to be counterproductive in that respect, stifling innovation by encouraging producers to lock into existing technologies.

Because the "green jobs" produced by government subsidies are absurdly inefficient--as noted above, up to $240,000 per job!--the report says that should subsidies be ended, nearly all of them would quickly disappear. There is one hope, though--the United States might be dumb enough to take this inefficient energy production off the German government's hands:
It is most likely that whatever jobs are created by renewable energy promotion would vanish as soon as government support is terminated, leaving only Germany's export sector to benefit from the possible continuation of renewables support in other countries such as the US.

The Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung's conclusion is sobering:
Although Germany's promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a "shining example in providing a harvest for the world" (The Guardian 2007), we would instead regard the country's experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.

The facts, of course, won't deter the Obama administration from making the subsidization of massively inefficient energy production a centerpiece of its economic policy. The effect will be to impoverish us all.


An excitable claim from Australia: Warming harms mental health

Warmists are certainly disturbing a lot of people (That's their aim) but there is no evidence that warming is, just assertions. The stuff below is just health academics trying to clamber aboard the global warming bandwagon

The negative impact on mental health worldwide may be one of the most severe effects of climate change, with children at greatest risk, according to experts. ["Experts" say that something "may" happen. Not much more persuasive than "My old Mommy told me"]

As climate change causes extreme weather events, drought, financial strain and changes in work and migration patterns, people will be at increasing risk from mental health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder and depression, said Dr Helen Berry from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University (ANU). Despite the risk, this is an area that has received little attention, she added.

She spoke at an Australian Science Media Centre online briefing on 16 October alongside Professor Brian Kelly, Director of the Centre for Rural and Remote Health at the University of Newcastle, and Dr Lyndall Strazdins, a Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and the ANU. "Mental health problems aren't just collateral damage from climate change, they could well be one of the most profound effects," said Dr Berry.

According to Dr Berry, scientists, health services and governments need to work together to stop the damage to mental health at a regional level before it becomes a serious problem. "It's becoming apparent that we're experience the IPCC's worst case scenario of climate change - or even worse," said Berry. "We need to address the impact that this will have on mental health, now."

Climate change can affect people in a number of different ways, according to Dr Berry. It can act directly on mental health through trauma exposure, for example a cyclone caused by increasing temperatures, or it can act indirectly via disease and community changes. "All of these factors interact and could result in a great increase in severe mental health problems," she added.

Currently half of all Australians will suffer mental illness at some point in their life, and this number is set to increase, according to the Dr Strazdins. "Mental health problems are already the second largest burden of disease in Australia, and by 2020 this is predicted to be the case worldwide," said Dr Strazdins. "Climate change amplifies the existing risks, particularly for children," she added.

According to Dr Strazdins, the mental health impacts of climate change will be more severe for children because they will be exposed to climate change for longer over their lifetime. Children are also less mentally prepared to deal with the stress from climate change related trauma, such as bushfires, which are set to increase by up to 75 per cent by 2050, said Dr Strazdins. A study on children whose school burnt down during the Canberra 2003 fires found that at least 40 per cent were suffering mild to moderate post traumatic stress disorder.

The impact that climate change has on others, such as financial strain put on parents, will also affect children, Dr Strazdins added. "A number of studies have revealed that children are already anxious and fearful about climate change. They need to be at the centre of the debate - yet the impact of climate change on children and the costs to future generations is not being discussed," said Dr Strazdins.

According to Professor Kelly, in order to minimise the problem we need to predict how people will adapt to and cope with climate change, and provide services that will help them to 'bounce back' more easily. "The people most at risk are those that are in isolated regions. In order to reach them, health services need to work very closely with organisations that respond to other impacts of climate change, such as financial counsellors, vets and local banks. "The aim is to try to see mental health as part of an overall strategy that deals with climate change impact," he said.

Despite their warnings, it's not all bad news - Dr Berry added that there could be a positive side effect to communities facing the risks of climate change. "Climate change could motivate collective action, which is the number one thing to protect mental health," she said.


Time for Inaction on Global Warming

Congress should consider the costs before passing "cap and trade."


"Global" and "warming" are perhaps the two most important words used to justify the approaching governmental control of our economy. In reality, global warming is barely occurring: In the 30 years starting in 1977, warming amounted to 0.32 degree Fahrenheit per decade, and in the next hundred years it is estimated to be about half a degree per decade.

So global warming looks like neither the alarmists' serious threat, nor an immediate crisis that requires governmental control of America's economy to reduce it. Nevertheless the government solution to these increases--the Waxman-Markey bill, which passed the House earlier this year--is estimated to lower global temperatures only about 0.18 degree Fahrenheit in the next 90 years.

And now comes the new Boxer-Kerry Senate bill, which would require a 20% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020.

As a practical matter, what would such a reduction mean to us and our economy? Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute calculates that a 20% reduction would mean cutting America's greenhouse gas emissions to our 1977 levels, and that would radically change both the U.S. economy and our personal lives.

As Mr. Hayward notes, we had 220 million people in America then; today we have 305 million. In 1977 our economy was produced $7.2 trillion (in 2008 dollars); today it is twice as large, at $14.2 trillion. Back then we had 145 million vehicles on the road; today we have 251 million. America has substantially grown, and our energy needs have grown as well.

So what would we have to do get back to 1977 emission levels and meet the Boxer-Kerry requirement? First, car and truck miles travelled would have to be reduced by one-third (or fuel efficiency improved by one-third, hard to do in 10 years), which would seriously reduce travel and transportation, and likely force changes in automobile design that consumers would not like.

Next, the amount of coal burned to generate electricity would have to be cut in half. So we would close more than 200 of our coal-fired power plants, and as Mr. Hayward says that would reduce our electricity supply by some 800 million megawatts. To replace those millions of megawatts with non-hydro renewable power sources like wind, solar and geothermal power would be virtually impossible. We have about 130,000 megawatts generated by them now, and the growth rate of these power sources over the last five years suggests it would take 97 years to make up for the shutdown of 200 coal-fired plants.

Nevertheless, the Boxer-Kerry bill, at least in its draft form, is an improvement over Waxman-Markey. It is in favor of nuclear power--which, in Sen. John Kerry's words, "needs to be a core component of electricity generation if we are to meet our emission reduction targets"--though it does not mention the construction of the 70 to 100 nuclear plants we would need to add to the 104 we now have in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is also in favor of expanding offshore drilling and natural-gas exploration and production, something that Waxman-Markey does not support.

On the other hand, Boxer-Kerry would be as bad for our economy as Waxman-Markey in two respects. First, it too contains the protectionism of the Waxman "border adjustment program" to begin a new American policy of putting tariffs on goods imported from counties that do not adopt acceptable environmental standards, which surely would result in retaliation tariffs on our exported goods.

And the bill aims to achieve targeted emission declines through a similar cap-and-trade program involving carbon permits. This is said to cover only 2% of U.S. businesses, but it would drive up the cost of electricity, food and other goods for all households and businesses, and its 20% emission reduction is even larger than the 17% in that bill (our current recession has already reduced emissions by 6%, which Sens. Kerry and Barbara Boxer apparently think is real progress). The bill would reduce the portion of emissions covered by the caps, eliminating regulation of methane emissions from coal mines, landfills, and oil and gas pipeline distribution.

Both bills include offsets which would allow emitters (and the politicians in Washington) to claim we are hitting our reduction targets while actually emitting more carbon by "investing" in projects in the U.S. and other countries that ostensibly reduce carbon (whether or not they actually do)--a process that is fraught with potentials for fraud and abuse.

And both bills suffer from the flawed logic of thinking a cap-and-trade system would actually work, when we know it has not worked in Europe, and that the only way a cap-and-trade system could meet its emission targets in the U.S. is by shrinking our economy.

Congressional Budget Office director Douglas W. Elmendorf testified last week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the cap-and-trade provisions of the House bill would reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by 0.25% to 0.75% in 2020 ($60 billion to $180 billion), and by 1.0% to 3.5% in 2050.

Like Waxman-Markey, Boxer-Kerry would expand the control the government has over the American economy, businesses, and individuals. It would have little impact on reducing global warming but would significantly depress our economy. One wonders if the purpose of the Boxer-Kerry bill is really just to give the U.S. something to take to Copenhagen for the United Nation's Climate Change Conference in December.

High-cost policies with low-impact results are not in America's best interests, so we should postpone both bills and think through more clearly our desired energy policies.



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


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We've had Briffa's "One tree" proof of global warming, now we have a "One lake" proof of global warming!

And the one lake could be as atypical as Briffa's solitary Russian tree. But Warmists are great cherry-pickers. Amusing that the front-page lead-in to the article below was: 'Proof' humans cause global warming -- with quotes around "Proof". Even some mainstream journalists are getting skeptical. The whole article is a laugh, however. They have produced possible evidence of warming but NO evidence of what caused the warming. They have not considered variations in solar output as a cause, for instance

SEDIMENT cores from a small Arctic lake in Canada stretching back 200,000 years show unprecedented gains in global warming since 1950, indicating human activity is the likely cause. "The past few decades have been unique in the past 200,000 years in terms of the changes we see in the biology and chemistry recorded in the cores,'' University of Colorado glaciologist Yarrow Axford said. "We see clear evidence for warming in one of the most remote places on Earth at a time when the Arctic should be cooling because of natural processes." Mr Axford is the chief author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For thousands of years, environmental changes in a remote lake on Canada's Baffin Island closely matched natural, cyclical climate changes such as those caused by the Earth's periodic wobble as it swings around the sun, the researchers said. However, lake sediment cores dating from 1950 show that expected climate cooling was overridden by human activity like greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers were able to reconstruct the local climate over the past 200,000 years by analysing algae, insect fossils and geochemical traces in sediment cores extracted from the 40ha lake. The cores stretch back 80,000 years further than existing Greenland ice cores, revealing environmental conditions prevalent during two earlier Ice Ages and three interglacial periods.

Researchers found that several types of mosquito-like midges that for many thousands of years thrived in cold climate surrounding the lake suddenly began declining at around 1950; two midge species adapted to the coldest weather disappeared altogether. And they further discovered that a species diatom that was relatively rare before the 20th Century, has made unprecedented gains in recent decades, possibly due to the thinning ice cover on the lake.

Another study published September in Science magazine that reconstructed 2000 years of Arctic temperatures from ice and lake sediment cores and tree rings, found that the recent global warming trend is overriding a natural cooling trend caused by Earth's periodic wobble.

The Earth is now some 966,000km further from the Sun during the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice than it was at the time of Jesus Christ, causing an overall cooling of the Arctic until recently, explained the researchers.



The IPCC "consensus" is substantially reliant on assumptions that have now been shown to be false in a new study. How amusing it is: "the correlation with the climatological variables was barely visible". Sad news for Briffa, Mann and all the other Warmist tree ring devotees. It looks like we have a lake and a stand of trees contradicting one-another! It should be fairly easy to see if the pattern is repeated in other dendrochronologies. Clearly, however, all climate reconstructions based on dendrochronology must now be regarded as suspect. With regard to the apparent contrast between the tree data and the lake data above, one is reminded of Einstein's saying: "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong". We now seem to have that single experiment as far putting any confidence in the dendrochronologists is concerned

The growth of British trees appears to follow a cosmic pattern, with trees growing faster when high levels of cosmic radiation arrive from space. Researchers made the discovery studying how growth rings of spruce trees have varied over the past half a century. As yet, they cannot explain the pattern, but variation in cosmic rays impacted tree growth more than changes in temperature or precipitation.

The study is published in the scientific journal New Phytologist. "We were originally interested in a different topic, the climatological factors influencing forest growth," says Ms Sigrid Dengel a postgraduate researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Science at the University of Edinburgh. To do this, Ms Dengel and University of Edinburgh colleagues Mr Dominik Aeby and Professor John Grace obtained slices of spruce tree trunks. These had been freshly-felled from the Forest of Ae in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, by Forest Research, the research branch of the UK's Forestry Commission. The trees had been planted in 1953 and felled in 2006.

The researchers froze the trunk slices, to prevent the wood shrinking, then scanned them on to a computer and used software to count the number and width of the growth rings. As the trees aged, they showed a usual decline in growth. However, during a number of years, the trees' growth also particularly slowed. These years correlated with periods when a relatively low level of cosmic rays reached the Earth's surface. When the intensity of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface was higher, the rate of tree growth was faster. The effect is not large, but it is statistically significant.

The intensity of cosmic rays also correlates better with the changes in tree growth than any other climatological factor, such as varying levels of temperature or precipitation over the years. "The correlation between growth and cosmic rays was moderately high, but the correlation with the climatological variables was barely visible," Ms Dengel told the BBC.

Cosmic rays are actually energetic particles, mainly protons, as well as electrons and the nuclei of helium atoms, that stream through space before hitting the Earth's atmosphere. The levels of cosmic rays reaching the Earth go up and down according to the activity of the Sun, which follows an 11-year cycle. Every 11 years or so, the Sun becomes more active, producing a peak of sunspots. These sunspots carry a magnetic field that blocks and slows the path of energetic particles.

When the researchers looked at their data, they found that tree growth was highest during periods of low sunspot activity, when most cosmic rays reached Earth. But growth slowed during the four periods of cosmic ray-blocking high sunspot activity, which have occurred between 1965 and 2005. "We tried to correlate the width of the rings, i.e. the growth rate, to climatological factors like temperature. We also thought it would be interesting to look for patterns related to solar activity, as a few people previously have suggested such a link," explains Ms Dengel. "We found them. And the relation of the rings to the solar cycle was much stronger than it was to any of the climatological factors we had looked at. We were quite hesitant at first, as solar cycles have been a controversial topic in climatology." "As for the mechanism, we are puzzled." ....


It’s raining, you’re snoring

In his book "The Audacity of Hope," Barack Obama acknowledged that "sometimes there are facts that cannot be spun, just as an argument about whether it's raining can usually be settled by stepping outside." Checking the conditions outside is precisely what The Washington Times failed to do before conveying, without balance or rebuttal, the claim by Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council that "there is no doubt that global temperatures are increasing" ("Maverick geologist lauds greenhouse gas," Plugged in, Tuesday).

It was bad enough to enable the NRDC spokesman's ritual claim of just how gauche it is to challenge science that has been declared "settled" without calling on him to enlighten readers as to when it was settled or what settled it. Even worse, the temperatures, like the rain, are easily accessible thanks to satellites placed in service in the late 1970s in response to the panic over supposed man-made global cooling. These satellites reveal that there has been no statistically significant warming for the past 13 years, a rapid cooling for the past eight years and otherwise plenty of doubt that global temperatures are increasing.

It is the job of the media to challenge, not perpetuate, such claims, particularly when the taxpayer spends many millions of dollars each year for the privilege of obtaining information that is proclaimed critically important and yet officially ignored in the rush to adopt a desired agenda.


E.ON condemns overambitious British government targets for green energy

Government plans to generate 30 per cent of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020 are doomed to failure, according to the chief executive of one of the world’s biggest utility companies.

Wulf Bernotat, chief executive of E.ON, said that British politicians needed to stop misleading the public about what was achievable. He said that British plans to build 33 gigawatts of offshore wind power, up from 0.6 gigawatts at present, was impossible, given the necessary investment and relatively short timeframe. “Politicians need to be more realistic,” he said. “If you just set out these targets without really taking the effort to square it with industry, then you end up with the dilemma of it not being achievable.”

E.ON, which reported 2008 revenues of €87 billion (£79 billion), more than any of its peers, plans to spend €10 billion a year globally on new power-generating equipment, including nuclear power plants, wind farms, gas and coal plants. It has invested about £930 million in Britain this year and is a key partner in London Array, a £3 billion project to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.

Mr Bernotat said that there was a bigger mismatch between government targets and what was achievable in Britain than in E.ON’s other key European markets, including its home market. “Germany started earlier and there is a bigger base to build on,” he said. “It’s not a question of willingness. Targets have to be ambitious but the expectation level should be realistic.” E.ON, which employs 88,000 people, has eight million customers in Britain through its UK subsidiary. Its ten coal, gas and oil-fired power stations generate about 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “We must clean up our energy supplies to meet our climate change goals and that will mean a massive expansion of renewable energy. Our target is ambitious but we have a strategy to meet it by 2020.”



India's environment and forest ministry and its space agency will jointly set up an institute in Bangalore for climate research and build homegrown capabilities and data on climate change to counter Western claims on the impact of India's greenhouse gas emissions.

The National Institute of Climate and Environment, or NICE, with a 100-member team of scientists, will begin work by March, said Jairam Ramesh, Union minister of state for environment and forests. "Studies about Himalayan glaciers on climate change and its impact on India comes from Western countries. Many of the Western sources are biased," said Ramesh. For instance, a 1990 US study that projected 38 million tonnes of methane gas emissions a year due to wet paddy cultivation in India was later countered by a top Indian climate scientist, A.P. Mitra, Ramesh said. Mitra proved it to between 2 and 6 million tonnes, which now has been accepted internationally.

Most studies by Western scientists on Himalayan glaciers are done using the arctic glaciers as a base, Ramesh said, although they are structurally different. "There has been no proper monitoring that has been done in India," he said. The environment ministry and the Indian Space Research Organisation, or Isro, have launched two programmes-one to study the impact of the melting of Himalayan glaciers on climate change and on the forest cover of the country.

Isro will launch two satellites-one for atmospheric change and another to study the methane and carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, crucial for climate change study by 2011, chairman G. Madhavan Nair said. Isro has satellite data for over 40 years of the Himalayan regions and the forest cover in the country, he said.

The space agency has an expert team that has published around 150 papers on climate change in international journals. This expertise will be used and an Isro scientist will be part of the Indian team for negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will be held in Copenhagen 7-18 December, Ramesh said.



Lots of big talk and destructive policies forthcoming but no significant reductions in CO2 emissions

By Roger Pielke, Jr.

For those reading the tea leaves to understand the actions of various countries preparing for the international climate negotiations later this year in Copenhagen, the broad outlines of the ultimate deal are starting to come into view. The picture being revealed is not a pretty one for anyone actually interested in reducing future emissions to very low levels.

To understand the international climate debate, it is necessary to understand the underlying dynamics that shape the behavior of governments around the world. It is crucial to understand that many elected officials and governments now in power achieved their position, at least in part, through very ambitious promises to take aggressive action to reduce future emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.

For example, in the United Kingdom, both the governing Labor party and the (perhaps soon-to-be-governing) Conservatives strongly supported legislation that passed last December promising to reduce emissions to at least 34% below 1990 levels by 2022. Similarly grandiose promises on climate policy have been a mainstay of governments across Europe for over a decade. In Australia, the Labor government of Kevin Rudd made climate policy a defining position in the campaign that swept him into office in 2007; his stand culminated in a standing ovation from representatives of governments around the world when he appeared at the international climate negotiations in Bali that December, promising that Australia would lead on climate. In the coming months, the Australian legislature faces the prospect of a rare "double dissolution" forced election if the Senate refuses for a second time to approve Rudd's emissions-trading legislation that promises to cut emissions to as much as 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Japan's remarkable election brought the Democratic Party of Japan into power. Prime Minister Hatoyama has asserted that his government will dramatically strengthen the emissions-reduction targets of the previous government, to an incredible 25% reduction by 2020. And of course US President Barack Obama promised in his inauguration speech that his administration would mark the time when the "rise of the oceans began to slow," by making climate policy a top priority after years of neglect by the Bush Administration. The US legislation that passed the House of Representatives last June promised to reduce US emissions 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, and is now being considered in the Senate.

The problem with all these promises to achieve deep and rapid cuts in emissions is that no one knows how these cuts are going to happen, and most simply cannot happen as promised. So these countries have turned to designing very complex policies full of accounting tricks, political pork, and policy misdirection. Not surprisingly, these sorts of policies have run into considerable opposition among policy makers and the public, have been hijacked by political interests, and appear to fall well short of what has been promised. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has sought to weaken the effects of European climate policies on the German automobile industry; and in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy saw his proposal for a new carbon tax strongly criticized as unfair and regressive by his former (and perhaps future) presidential rival and Socialist Party figure, Ségolène Royal. Australian Prime Minister Rudd and US President Obama face the threat of outright revolt by conservative minority parties looking to secure political advantage by opposing proposed emissions-trading programs.

Even with all the policy complexity and political noise, it has not been difficult for anyone paying attention to realize that climate policies are in deep trouble. So what has been the primary response of governments? The tried-and-true strategy is to identify an enemy and focus attention on anything but the failing climate policies. In this case, the enemies identified by the rich, Western countries are India and China, with their huge populations, rapid economic growth, and increasing carbon footprints to match. Repeating a refrain heard in 1997 during negotiations that resulted in the largely ineffectual Kyoto Protocol, we again hear that without action from India and China, the climate policies of the developed countries will all be for naught.

In recent months, China and India have responded to this finger-pointing by presenting projections of their future emissions that show, rather incredibly, that both China and India have already transformed their economies to support rapid economic growth with very low carbon dioxide emission. Adopting binding emissions targets, they argue, will be unnecessary. Those hoping to see action in Copenhagen have welcomed these fantastic claims to argue that China, in particular, is becoming a leader in responding to climate change as a prod to the United States in particular. Chief UN climate negotiator Yvo de Boaer said of China's claims, "This suite of policies will take China to be the world leader on addressing climate change. It will be quite ironic to hear that tomorrow, expressed in a country (the United States) that is firmly convinced that China is doing nothing to address climate change." India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh recently commented with apparent envy and skepticism on China's public-relations success: "China has raced way ahead of us, both in terms of emissions and in conveying the impression they are doing a lot on climate change."

Following China's lead, India has sought to change the way it is perceived in the international debate. India now says that it has already transformed its economy to one that is rapidly decarbonizing - it promises upwards of 8% annual growth in its GDP with an emissions growth of only about 2% per year for the next two decades, without the need for any new policies including those focused on emissions reductions. China has taken a very similar approach. China's carbon dioxide emissions increased by 12.2% per year from 2000 to 2007 but it now says that, based on its policies in place today, it expects its greenhouse gas emissions to increase only 2.5% per year until 2030, while maintaining a GDP growth of 9% per year. These numbers imply decarbonization of the Indian and Chinese economies at a rate of about 6% per year, which is far-fetched even under scenarios with aggressive new policies (which are not these scenarios), and preposterous under scenarios of business as usual. The fastest decarbonization rate of any large economy I know of occurred in the early 1980s, when Japan's economy achieved a decarbonization rate of about 4.4% per year due to aggressive energy efficiency policies as well as major changes in the Japanese economy. Even then, the rapid decarbonization of the Japanese economy slowed considerably by the mid-1980s, and has averaged about 1% per year since then.

India's Ramesh is so confident in the hand that his government has played that he has dared the developed countries to "call India's bluff." He knows full well that the developed countries cannot acknowledge the fictional nature of the Indian and Chinese emissions policies, because it would be only a short step from making such a claim to a broader recognition that climate policies of the developed world are built on similar foundations of sand. Ramesh is so confident that he has already declared the troubled bill now in the US Senate to be insufficient, even if it is somehow passed into law. "The bill . . . talks about a 20% cut on 2005 levels, which is really only a measly 5% reduction on 1990 levels." Such tough talk seems to make developed countries step back. Consider David Miliband, minister for Climate Change in the UK, who asserted that the Indian proposals might just get them off the hook of signing binding commitments at Copenhagen, because they have now demonstrated that they "took climate change seriously." Don't expect any governments in other developed countries to call Minister Ramesh's bluff either.

So where does this leave international climate policy? The good news for international negotiators and politicians who have promised action is that the stage is set for a global agreement of some sort but, we are told, perhaps not with I's dotted and t's crossed. This means that government claims to be taking action can be backed up with evidence of some sort of an agreement at Copenhagen, while at the same time ineffectual domestic actions can be sustained. If the negotiators are really clever, they will find a way to package the ineffectual domestic policies as a sort of patched-together global agreement.

However, for those who care about emissions reductions, especially leading environmental groups and activists in the science community, the joke will be on them - they will get just about everything they campaigned for, except any prospect for actual reductions in future emissions. Meanwhile, India and China will be able to continue their current round of securing oil, gas, and coal from sources around the world to fuel their booming economic growth.

Similarly, as we march toward Copenhagen, the Obama Administration has quietly set forth plans to build a pipeline from Canada to exploit carbon-intensive oil locked in tar sands. The United Kingdom and other EU countries are considering building new coal and gas plants to meet growing needs for power. As long as leaders of the climate movement continue to pretend that progress is being made, the climate policy charade will go on for a while longer, while business proceeds as usual.



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, October 19, 2009

The global thermometer network is JUNK

Temperature-recording stations are being closed willy-nilly, mostly in rural areas. Would the fact that rural areas usually record no warming be somehow involved?

In this recent post, we discussed the problems with global data which will be used to make critical economic decisions affecting all of the world's people in the months ahead.

The world's climate data has become increasingly sparse with a big dropoff around 1990. There was also a tenfold increase in missing months around the same time especially in the FSU [Former Soviet Union, the fifteen nations that broke away from the Soviet Republic in 1991] and Africa.

Instruments (90% in the United States which has the Cadillac data system) are poor to very poorly sited and not properly adjusted for urbanization. Instruments designed for aviation purposes with large error tolerances (1F) have been used along with instruments (HO-83 hygrometers) with known warm biases. With numerous peer review papers suggesting an exaggeration of the warming by 30%, 50% or even more.

The station dropout can be clearly seen in the two maps below with the number of station going from over 6000 to just 1079 from April 1978 to April 2008. See the big gaps in the recent data in Canada, Greenland, Africa, South America, parts of western Asia, parts of Australia.

Take this test yourself to show how bad a shape the global data base is, look for yourself following these directions. We will use the window into the NOAA GHCN data provided by NASA GISS here. Point to any location on the map. You will see a list of stations and approximate populations. Locations with less than 10,000 are assumed to be rural (even though Oke has shown that even a town of 1,000 can have an urban warming of 2.2C). You will see that the stations have a highly variable range of data. Try and find a few stations with data that extends to 2009.

To see how complete the data set is for that station, click in the bottom left of the graph. Download monthly data as text. For many, many stations, you will see the data set in a monthly tabular form had many missing data months mostly after 1990 (designated by 999.9). This required the data centers to estimate data for the grid box for that location with other stations nearby (homogenization).

In the 2008 plot above only 1079 stations were used. NASA went to locations within 250 km (155 miles) to find data for the grid boxes. For grid boxes without stations within 250 km, they are left blank, thus the large gaps. Most of the stations that dropped out were rural. More of the missing data points are having their missing months filled in with more urban data in the grid boxes.

One example of how well or badly this works is from Maine. Last summer, volunteers completed surveys of the United States Historic Climate Network (USHCN) temperature stations in Maine for the Anthony Watts surface station evaluation project. The survey determined that every one of the stations in Maine was subject to microclimate or urbanization biases. One station especially surprised the surveyors, Ripogenus Dam, a station that was officially closed in 1995. Despite being closed in 1995, USHCN data for this station is publicly available until 2006!

Part of the USHCN data is created by a computer program called "filnet" which estimates missing values. According to the NOAA, filnet works by using a weighted average of values from neighboring stations. In this example, data was created for a no longer existing station from surrounding stations, which in this case as we noted were all subject to microclimate and urban bias, no longer adjusted for.

Note the rise in temperatures after this, perhaps before the best sited truly rural station in Maine was closed. How can we trust NOAA/NASA/Hadley assessment of global changes given these and the other data integrity issues? Given that Hadley has destroyed old original data because they were running out of room in their data cabinet, can we ever hope to reconstruct the real truth? Read much more about the data issues here

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)

Climate Alarmists: Having their Cake and Eating It Too

The left-wing blogoworld was all in-a-tizzy yesterday over some (not so new) revelations about New York Times darlings Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner's new book SuperFreakonomics and specifically its chapter on global warming (or is it global cooling?). takes specific issue with this SuperFreakonomics statement:
In other words: it’s illogical to believe in a carbon-induced warming apocalypse and believe that such an apocalypse can be averted simply by curtailing new carbon emissions.

and offers their rejoinder:
For the record, it’s perfectly logical to believe that — indeed, I daresay most of the world’s leading climate scientists believe that if you could curtail all new carbon emissions (including from deforestation) starting now (or even starting soon), you would indeed avoid apocaplyse. is taking a very extreme interpretation of the word "curtail." A standard conservative critique, which I believe is being made here by Levitt and Dubner's book, goes something like this:

If you believe that global warming is a catastrophic problem that requires extreme action right now, you cannot also claim that we can combat it relatively painlessly. There must be sacrifices.

The global warming alarmists like Al Gore try to have their cake and eat it too by hyping up the near-term catastrophic implications of global warming but saying that all we need to do is start gradually curtailing (not immediately cutting to zero) carbon emissions.

Certainly if you believe that new carbon emissions are the problem, then you believe that cutting them to zero you would avoid the global warming apocalypse. This is impossible. Like it or not, the world still runs on carbon and will run on carbon by necessity for the foreseen future. If you believe that we're at the carbon tipping point, gradual and (relatively) painless measures like Waxman-Markey are unacceptable. Catastrophic global warming alarmists cannot have their cake and eat it too.


Hansen Still Embarrassing NASA After 2 Decades

It’s been more than 20 years since James Hansen first warned America of impending doom. On a hot summer day in June 1988, Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, announced before a Senate committee that “the greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now.”

The greenhouse effect would have looked obvious enough to anyone watching on television. The senators conducting the hearing, including Al Gore, had turned the committee room into an oven. That day it was a balmy 98 degrees, and as former Colorado Sen. Timothy Wirth later revealed, the committee members “went in the night before and opened all the windows. And so when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and [high ratings], but it was really hot.”

Holocaust Accusations

Hansen has been a star ever since. On the twentieth anniversary of his testimony to Congress, and still serving in the same role at NASA, Hansen was invited back for an encore performance where he warned that time was running out. He also conducted a media tour that included calling for the CEOs of fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy, to be put on trial for “high crimes against humanity and nature.”

If you hear the echo of Nuremberg in those trials, it’s because Hansen doesn’t shy away from Holocaust metaphors to make his point. In 2007, Hansen testified before the Iowa Utilities Board not in his capacity as a government employee but “as a private citizen, a resident of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, on behalf of the planet, of life on Earth, including all species.” Hansen told the board, “if we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains—no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.”

More recently, but presumably still in his capacity as a private citizen and defender of the Earth, Hansen wrote an op-ed for the Guardian in which he described coal-fired power plants as “factories of death.” This on the heels of testifying in a British court on behalf of six Greenpeace activists on trial for causing $60,000 in criminal damage to a coal-fired power station in England.

The Greenpeace activists had offered climate change as a “lawful excuse” for their actions, and with Hansen’s helpful testimony they were acquitted of all charges. Less than six months later, Hansen—a federal employee—would call for “the largest display of civil disobedience against global warming in U.S. history” as part of a protest at the Capitol power plant in Washington.

Prolific Alarmism

Hansen, by his own count, has conducted more than 1,400 interviews in recent years. Yet Hansen also would insist, in a speech just days before the 2004 presidential election, that the Bush administration had “muzzled” him because of his global warming activism.

When asked about this contradiction in 2007, Hansen told Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), “for the sake of the taxpayers, they should be availed of my expertise. I shouldn’t be required to parrot some company line.”

But Hansen has never parroted the company line. As the head of NASA’s Weather and Climate Research Program from 1982 to 1994, John Theon was James Hansen’s supervisor. Theon says Hansen’s testimony in 1988 was “a huge embarrassment” to NASA, and he remains skeptical of Hansen’s predictions. “I don’t have much faith in the models,” Theon says, pointing to the “huge uncertainty in the role clouds play.”

Theon describes Hansen as a “nice, likeable fellow,” but worries, “he’s been overcome by his belief—almost religious—that he’s going to save the world.”

Indeed, Roy Spencer, who served as the senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Center, puts Hansen “at the extreme end of global warming alarmism.” Spencer doesn’t know of anyone “who thinks it’s a bigger problem than [Hansen] does.”

Skeptic Muzzled

Spencer, a meteorologist by training and a skeptic of man-made global warming, was genuinely muzzled during the Clinton administration. “I would get the message down through the NASA chain [of command] of what I could and couldn’t say in testimony,” he says.

Spencer left NASA with little fuss for a job at the University of Alabama in 2001, but he still seems in awe of Hansen’s ability to do as he pleases. “For many years Hansen got away with going around NASA rules, and they looked the other way because it helped sell Mission to Planet Earth,” the NASA research program studying human effects on climate. Spencer figures that “at some point, someone in the Bush administration said ‘why don’t you start enforcing your rules?’”

Theon says the same kind of models that now predict runaway warming were predicting runaway cooling prior to 1975, when the popular fear was not melting ice caps but a new ice age, and “not one model predicted the cooling we’ve had since 1998.” Spencer insists “it’s all make believe—if you took one look at the assumptions that go into this, you’d laugh.” But none of that seems to matter too much.


Losing Their Religion: 2009 officially declared year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears

It has finally happened. We have reached the “tipping point.” 2009 can now be officially declared the year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears. Significant organs of the mainstream media are now officially abandoning one-sided man-made global warming fear promotion and alleged claims that the "debate is over."

The stunning media reversal has accelerated in recent weeks as top UN scientists have raised the specter of continued global cooling. See: UN Fears (More) Global Cooling Commeth! IPCC Scientist Warns UN: We may be about to enter 'one or even 2 decades during which temps cool' – Sept. 5, 2009

It appears at long last that media's faith is waning. Appeals to authority about the alleged global warming “consensus” are now being met with a healthy dose of skepticism by increasing large portions of the mainstream media. Statements like UN IPCC lead author Kevin Trenberth that the UN IPCC "has spoken" no longer have the comforting effect on many key members of the journalistic flock. [Disclaimer: This declaration does not mean the battle to improve the media's coverage of global warming is over. But it does mean that there have been significant developments in 2009 with the media's coverage of climate change. Promoters of man-made climate fears will now need a major reformation to win back the faith of key members of the media.]

A steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, a continued lack of global warming, real world data and scientists continuing to dissent, have finally moved major establishment media outlets to report that the debate not only is "not over" but that skeptics may have been correct all along. [Note: Journalists are now sensing what Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, warned about in 2008. “Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined," Peden said.]

Close followers of climate science development foresaw this collapse of the science is "settled" reporting way back in 2006. Here is a breakdown of how the science of man-made global warming and the alleged "consensus" has fared since 2006.

1) 2006: Year of Vindication for Skeptics: Renowned Scientist Defects From Belief in Global Warming – Caps Year of Vindication for Skeptics - October 17, 2006

2) 2007 - GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISM REACHES A TIPPING POINT - October 26, 2007 (Editor's Note: 2007 is also known as the year 'Anthropogenic global warming bites the dust' as 'New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears' - August 20, 2007

3) 2008: 'Consensus' On Man-Made Global Warming Collapses in 2008 – July 18, 2008

4) 2009: 'Consensus' Continues its Freefall – March 12, 2009

2009 can now be officially declared the year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears. [Note: The collapse of man-made climate fears has even prompted Al Gore's producer, environmental activist Laurie David, to already tout the next eco-scare. See: AGW RIP? Is It Time for Next Eco-Scare Already? Gore's producer Laure David touts plastic crisis: 'Plastic waste is in some ways more alarming for us humans than global warming' - July 31, 2009 & UK Green Party: 'There exists a more serious crisis than the 'CO2 crisis': the oxygen levels are dropping and the human activity has decreased them by 1/3 or ½']

In addition to the media, even climate and environmental activists are now questioning global warming. See: Climate Activists Shock Admission: 'Climate change campaigners should not have fixated on carbon dioxide' – Sept. 18, 2009 & See: Even activists at green festivals are now expressing doubts over man-made climate fears: 'I'm not sure climate change is real' - August 8, 2009.

The public has grown increasingly skeptical as the promoters of man-made climate fears have grown more dire. See: Climate Depot Factsheet on Public Opinion About Global Warming: Americans Growing Increasingly Skeptical - Sept. 22, 2009 & See: Climate Depot Factsheet on "climate astrology."

Houston Chronicle Reporter: 'I am confused'

Perhaps the most dramatic public announcement came in September from Houston Chronicle science reporter Eric Berger. See: Sept. 2009: Houston Chronicle Reporter Reconsiders Science is 'Settled' Claims! 'I am confused. Four years ago this all seemed like a fait accompli' - "Earth seems to have, at least temporarily, stopped warming," Berger wrote on September 6, 2009. "If we can't have confidence in short-term prognosis for climate change, how can we have full confidence in long-term?" Berger asked.

Other high profile climate reporters like Andrew Revkin of the New York Times are now writing articles about how the UN is failing to achieve scientific and political dominance. See: NYT's Moment of Clarity: UN faces challenge achieving climate treaty 'when global temps have been stable for a decade and may even drop in next few years' – Sept. 23, 2009. Also See: NYT's Moment of Clarity: 'Nobel Halo Fades Fast for UN IPCC Climate Change Panel' -- 'It could quickly lose relevance' - August 4, 2009

'What happened to global warming'

The BBC stunned the journalism community with its October 8, 2009 article by their climate correspondent Paul Hudson. The BBC headline reverberated across the globe: "What happened to global warming." The BBC article went on to explain in detail about the lack of global warming and the fact that many scientists are predicting a coming global cooling. See: Shock: BBC's Moment of Clarity: 'What happened to global warming?' -- 'Debate about what is causing it is far from over' – By BBC Climate Correspondent Paul Hudson - October 8, 2009

The scientific, cultural and political impact of the BBC's new perspective on man-made global warming was astounding. Headlines blared:

1) 'Frightening hysteria that so gripped the finally subsiding'

2) BBC article is 'a bit like the Catholic church questioning the existence of god'

3) 'The BBC's amazing U-turn on climate change'

4) Rare events: BBC questions global warming and Gore takes questions

5) Australian Herald Sun: Warming emperor suddenly naked: 'This is the like the moment in the Emperor's New Clothes, in which the boy calls out: 'But he's naked' - October 14, 2009

The BBC began exhibiting this new found climate skepticism in July 2009. See: Moment of Clarity: BBC Wakes Up To Benefits Of Warming -- And To Climate Skepticism! - July 30, 3009

BBC journalist Richard Black also appeared to shift his climate views in 2009. See: BBC's Richard Black Sees The Light -- Asks 'Does climate cloud the bigger picture?'- July 5, 2009 & BBC's Richard Black is asking the right questions! 'Has climate change hijacked the wider environmental agenda?' - August 27, 2009

Media Now Engaging in Frenzy of Skeptical Coverage

Not to be left out of the fresh air of journalistic balance and the new recognition of climate reality, the UK Times, UK Mail and the Christian Science Monitor jumped out of the gates with their own new found skeptical take on man-made climate fears in recent days.

See: 1) More Media Deserts Global Warming! UK Sunday Times: 'Why everything you think you know about global warming is wrong' – October 11, 2009

2) UK Mail: 'Whatever happened to global warming? How freezing temperatures are starting to shatter climate change theory' - October 14, 2009 (Note: Article mistakenly cites U.S. NASA temperature data as global)

3) Christian Science Monitor: 'Biggest news you've never heard: Earth isn't warming' – October 10, 2009

Even the Washington Post is finally coming around to balance objectivity in their climate reporting. See: Wash. Post reporting makes progress! Article concedes sea level computer model 'predictions could be flawed or flat wrong' - June 9, 2009

Sadly, not every reporter at the Post has kept up with the latest climate developments as the paper continued to churn out shoddy reporting from Post staff writer Juliet Eilperin. See: Wash. Post's Juliet Eilperin Rejects Journalistic Balance -- Touts 'Political' UN Climate Scare Report - September 25, 2009

On a more humorous note, Washington Post's Andrew Freedman has been reduced to blaming President Obama and Climate Depot for the failure of man-made climate fears to persuade the public. See: Wash. Post Blames Obama For Failure of Global Warming Movement! President's 'mistakes may cost the planet dearly' - Sept. 1, 2009

CNN's Lou Dobbs, also moved solidly into the skeptical camp in 2009. See: CNN's Lou Dobbs Becomes More Skeptical - Reconsiders Climate Views

Joining Dobbs in having an apparent conversion to skepticism was CBS newsman Charles Osgood. See: CBS Newsman Charles Osgood A Climate Skeptic? Questions Whether Quiet Sun May 'Counteract' Global Warming - April 21, 2009

National Geographic also wrote some very good articles presenting the potential benefits of any future global warming. See: National Geographic's Moment of Clarity: 'Emerging evidence' reveals 'rising temps could benefit millions of Africans in the driest parts of the continent' - July 31, 2009

Beyond Hope?

There are still many members of the mainstream media who are likely beyond hope in terms of shifting their woeful climate change reporting to reflect the new scientific realities. Among these lost souls are Bill Blakemore of ABC News and Scott Pelley of CBS News. No amount of deprogramming is likely to impact their orthodox climate beliefs. [See: ABC's Bill Blakemore's new reporting low: 'Rising temps are helping both heroin traffickers and their Taliban and al Qaeda supporters' - October 10, 2009 and see: “I don't like the word 'Balance''- Says ABC News Global Warming Reporter – October 30, 2006 - Also see: Scott Pelley of CBS News publicly compared scientists skeptical of global warming fears to Holocaust deniers: 'If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?' Pelley said in a March 23, 2006 interview with CBS News.]

The verdict is still out on the Associated Press climate reporter Seth Borenstein. Borenstein has shown the ability to do balanced global warming reporting, but more often than not, descends into lazy one-sided reporting. See: 'Long sad history of AP reporter Seth Borenstein's woeful global warming reporting' - August 21, 2009

CNN's Climate Coverage Improves

CNN's coverage of global warming radically improved in 2009, since the news network let go its climate fear promoting science reporter Miles O'Brien and his CNN producer Peter Dykstra. The same goes for The Weather Channel. The network's coverage of climate issues has improved dramatically since the woeful Heidi Cullen was let go. These are two ironclad instances where budget cutbacks and staff reductions noticeably improved climate news coverage.

Another key issue in 2009, was the intensification of threats and intimidation directed towards climate skeptics by the global warming faithful. See: 'Execute' Skeptics! Shock Call To Action: 'At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers' -- 'Shouldn't we start punishing them now?' - June 3, 2009

More HERE (See the original for links)

Global cooling hitting British Columbia too

"The lows aren't just slipping slightly below old records but "shattering" them"

A cold snap across B.C. broke another set of records early on Thanksgiving Day, including a low mark for this day at the Vancouver International Airport. The early-morning reading of 0.9 degrees Celsius was a low for Oct. 12 since weather records began being kept decades ago.

"I've counted in excess of 80 cold-temperature records set throughout the long weekend [across the province]," said Environment Canada meteorologist and Global BC weather expert Mark Madryga on Monday. In many cases, the lows aren't just slipping slightly below old records but "shattering" them, he said.

He cites Williams Lake, where yesterday's minus 13 low broke the old 2002 record of minus 6.5. "And most of these weather stations go back 50 or 60 years or more," he notes.....

Madryga said the cold snap is attributable to a strong upper-level jet-stream flow that's been steering in arctic air for several days in a row. "It just kept pushing, pushing, pushing the arctic air southward and took over the entire province," said Madryga. "It's very early in the year to get this kind of [sustained] arctic flow," he said. "This is more typical of mid- to late November."

But the weather, he said, is due to get back to more seasonal norms in the next couple of days. "The plan is for this all to ... dramatically change by midweek," he said, as a rainy southwest flow sweeps into the province. It will mean a "dramatic increase in temperatures," rain for the B.C. coast, and a bit of snow in the Interior that will quickly shift to rain. The wet stuff and milder temperatures should arrive by Wednesday and intensify by Thursday, he said.


See here for a similar report from Austria, half a world away from Canada: "Austria’s provincial capitals are expected to see their earliest snowfalls in history today". That jetstream sure is pesky!

Australia's proposed new Warmist laws will be costly but will not reduce power station emissions

The Greens and Nationals are both opposed to the scheme and new evidence supports their cause. In the odd way that is characteristic of political party names, the National Party represents rural and regional interests

ONE of the more genial aspects of the seemingly interminable debate over the emissions trading scheme is the way the Left and the Right bump up against each other in slightly comic fashion as the circle of debate closes. So, as it stands, you have both the Nationals' Barnaby Joyce and the Greens' Bob Brown vehemently opposed to Penny Wong's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. For completely different reasons, of course. Brown wants it to go further and greener. And Joyce wouldn't want the scheme even if he won it in a pub raffle.

But the intensity of their opposition is just the same politically. Wong will have to persuade them both if the CPRS is ever to become law. Unless, of course, Malcolm Turnbull miraculously convinces his entire party room to vote for an amended version of Wong and Kevin Rudd's proposed emissions trading scheme. Which he won't.

That would see Barnaby and Bob standing shoulder to shoulder against Rudd's ETS at any subsequent double dissolution election. But there's a way to go yet, including this week's supplementary Senate estimates hearings. The Department of the Environment, including Climate Change, is up Monday night and Tuesday. Treasury gets its go Thursday.

With that in mind, left-leaning think tank the Australia Institute has been doing its own research into the Treasury advice underpinning the ETS. In the context of the Left-Right ETS alignment discussed above, what the institute has found will please both Joyce and Brown, albeit for different reasons.

The institute plans to publish the results and analysis of its freedom of information requests to Treasury today as a research paper. According to the institute's executive director Richard Denniss, it should make Senate estimates a little more interesting, come Tuesday and Thursday. Part of what Denniss has uncovered concerns Treasury spreadsheets that underpin work appearing in the departmental publication entitled Australia's Low Pollution Future: the Economics of Climate Change Mitigation. The bottom-line charge is that while Wong has been relentlessly sounding the alarm about the dramatic action needed now to cut carbon pollution, Treasury modelling buttressing the CPRS shows it will in fact have little or no impact on one of the key offenders -- the coal-fired electricity generation industry -- in our lifetime.

Denniss takes up the story: "What she (Wong) doesn't tell us is that her CPRS, complex and impenetrable as it is, does not actually result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from our coal-fired power stations."

Using graphs taken from Treasury spreadsheets of the CPRS modelling, Denniss argues that when the CPRS comes in there is a slight reduction in the amount of electricity generated from black coal between 2010 and 2020 and virtually no reduction in brown coal electricity -- the dirtiest form of electricity generation -- over the same period.

After 2020, says Denniss, emissions from black coal-fired power stations are actually forecast to rise slightly before stabilising until about 2033. Brown coal emissions are also stable between 2020 and 2033. It's only after 2033 -- that is, in 24 years -- that emissions from black and brown coal both begin to fall rapidly.

Not only that. The decline in electricity generation from black coal is actually driven solely by the introduction of the government's 20per cent renewable energy arget, an entirely different policy instrument from the CPRS. It is the projected increase in the supply of renewable electricity -- unrelated to the introduction of the CPRS -- that will slightly reduce the amount of electricity generated by black coal power stations. The bigger polluting brown coal power stations will be virtually unaffected.

In light of the Treasury modelling, Denniss says: "After the 20 per cent renewable energy target is achieved in 2020 there is no further reduction in the amount of electricity generated by black and brown coal-fired power stations. "This is because the CPRS has no effect on the competitiveness of coal-fired power stations."

"The projected carbon price of around $20-$25 per tonne is significantly less than the cost difference between renewable electricity and coal-fired electricity. While the introduction of a carbon price will reduce the profits of the coal-fired power stations, it will not reduce the amount of electricity they generate."

And the reason emissions from black and brown coal-fired power stations plummet in 2033 also has nothing to do with the CPRS. According to Denniss, Treasury has simply assumed that in 2033 we will invent clean coal and that, having invented it, it will turn out to be cheap. Further, it assumes that between 2033 and 2043 we can replace or retrofit every coal-fired power station in Australia. Despite the fact that it takes five years to plan and build a normal one, Treasury seems to think we can replace them all in 10 years.

Based on his analysis of Treasury figuring, Denniss wants three questions thrown at the Treasury and Climate Change bureaucrats this week: first, is the government aware that Treasury modelling shows that emissions from black and brown coal don't fall until 2033? Second, is the government aware that they only fall after 2033 because of the assumed invention of clean coal? And finally, can the government describe the "transformation" of the coal-fired power industry that results from theCPRS?

All good questions. And all ones that Joyce and Brown would like asked. For different reasons, of course.



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, October 18, 2009

A Cherry-Picker’s Guide to Temperature Trends (down, flat–even up)

This is probably the best demolition of the "consensus" claim yet. Picking any climate trend one way or the other is poorly grounded so far

by climatologist Chip Knappenberger

Accusations of cherry-picking—that is, carefully choosing data to support a particular point—are constantly being hurled around by all sides of the climate change debate. Most recently, accusations of cherry-picking have been levied at analyses describing the recent behavior of global average temperature. Primarily, because claims about what the temperature record says run the gamut from accelerating warming to rapid cooling and everything in between—depending on who you ask and what point they are trying to make.

I am often asked as to what is the “right” answer is. What I can say for certain, is that the recent behavior of global temperatures demonstrates that global warming is occurring at a much slower rate than that projected by the ensemble of climate models, and that global warming is most definitely not accelerating.

Choice of Cherries

But as to questions concerning just how far beneath climate model predictions the rate of warming is, or for just how long the average temperature of the world has not warmed at all, the answers depend on several things, among them the dataset you want to use and the time period over which you examine—i.e., which cherries you wish to pick.

Figure 1 illustrates the various cherry varieties that you have to choose from. It shows the global temperature history during the past 20 years as compiled in five different datasets (three representing surface temperatures, and two representing the temperatures in the lower atmosphere as measured by satellites—the latter being relatively immune form the data handling issues which plague the surface records).

Figure 1. Global temperature anomalies from September 1989 through August 2009 as contained in five different data compilations. The GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies), NCDC (National Climate Data Center), and CRU (Climate Research Unit) data are all compiled from surface records, while the RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) and UAH (University of Alabama-Huntsville) data are compiled from satellite observations of the lower atmosphere.

To give you some guidance as to which cherries to use to make which ever point you want, I have constructed a Cherry-Pickers Guide to Global Temperature Trends (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Cherry-Pickers Guide to Global Temperature Trends. Each point on the chart represents the trend beginning in September of the year indicated along the x-axis and ending in August 2009. The trends which are statistically significant (p<0.05) are indicated by filled circles. The zero line (no trend) is indicated by the thin black horizontal line, and the climate model average projected trend is indicated by the thick red horizontal line.

It shows the current value (though August 2009) of trends of various lengths from all of the five commonly used global temperature compilations. I compute the trends as simple linear least-squares fits through the monthly global average temperature anomalies for each dataset (from Figure 1). Each point in Figure 2 (for each dataset) represents the trend value for a different length period, beginning in September in the year indicated along the horizontal axis and ending in August 2009.

Starting in September of particular year and ending in August of this year produces a trend with a length expressed in units of whole years. For example, a trend starting in September 1999 and ending in August 2009 include 120 months, or 10 complete years. The values for the 10-yr trend for each dataset are plotted on the chart directly above the value on the horizontal axis labeled 1999. If the trend value is statistically significant at the 1 in 20 level (p<0.05), I indicate that by filling in the appropriate marker on the chart.

I also include several other items of potential interest to the cherry harvesters; first is the dotted horizontal line representing a trend of zero—i.e., no change in global temperature, and second, the thick red horizontal lines which generally indicates the average trend projected to be occurring by the ensemble of climate models. Bear in mind that red line only represents the average model expectation, not the range of model variability. So it shouldn’t be used to rule out whether or not a particular observed value is consistent with model expectations, but does give you some guidance as to just how far from the average model expectation the current trend lies (a cherry picker is not usually worried about the finer details of the former, but, instead, the coarser picture presented by the latter).

General Conclusions

Here are a few general statements that can be supported with using my Cherry-Pickers Guide:

• For the past 8 years (96 months), no global warming is indicated by any of the five datasets.

• For the past 5 years (60 months), there is a statistically significant global cooling in all datasets.

• For the past 15 years, global warming has been occurring at a rate that is below the average climate model expected warming

And here are a few more specific examples that the seasoned cherry-picker could tease out:

• There has been no (statistically significant) warming for the past 13 years. [Using the satellite records of the lower atmosphere].

• The globe has been cooling rapidly for the past 8 years. [Using the CRU and satellite records]

Or on the other side of the coin:

• Global warming did not ‘stop’ 10 years ago, in fact, it was pretty close to model projections. [Using the GISS and NCDC records beginning in 1998 and 1999]

• Global warming is proceeding faster than expected. [Using the GISS record staring in 1991 or 1992—the cool years just after the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo]

I am sure the more creative of you can probably think of many others.

Judging the Cherry Pickers

Another use of my Cherry-Pickers Guide besides choosing your own analysis, is to check and see what level of cherry-picking was required to support some statement of the behavior of global temperatures that you saw somewhere.

For instance, in a recent post over at, Stefan Rahmstorf used about 10-yr to 11-yr trend in the GISS dataset to support the idea that global warming was proceeding pretty much according to plan, concluding “the observed warming over the last decade is 100% consistent with the expected anthropogenic warming trend of 0.2 ºC per decade, superimposed with short-term natural variability.”

A quick check of my Guide would show how carefully Rahmsdorf’s selection was made. Trends a few years longer or a few years shorter that the period selected by Rahmstorf would not have borne out his conclusion with as much conviction.

Another example of careful data selection can be found in recent claims made by Richard Lindzen who is fond of stating that “there has been no statistically significant net global warming for the last fourteen years.” A quick check of my Cherry-Pickers Guide shows Lindzen to be particularly crafty because there is no support for such a statement in any of the five datasets. So how did he arrive at that conclusion? By using annual data values instead of monthly data. Using fewer data points (14 annual values instead of 168 monthly ones) doesn’t affect the actual trend value so much, but it does affect the statistical significance of the trend. The fewer data points you use, the less significant the trend is. So by using annual data (from the CRU or satellite datasets), Lindzen is able to cite a 14-yr temperature trend that is not statistically significant.

The statements by Rahmstorf and Lindzen are not wrong, per se, but neither are they particularly robust.

So next time you encounter some claims about what recent temperatures tell us about global warming, or want to make one yourself, check my Cherry-Pickers Guide to get a full appreciation for the degree of grounding that such statements enjoy. And for those folks who want to push the envelope a bit, you’ve got to hope that your audience doesn’t have access to my Guide—otherwise, someone, somewhere, is sure to call you on it!


Deafening Silence on Real Climate Change

Antarctic Ice Melt Lowest Ever Measured. Where’s the headline? Where’s the television camera? Anyone out there? It’s right there in the September 24 issue of the refereed journal Geophysical Research Letters. The senior author is Marc Tedesco of City College of New York, not exactly off the mainstream media’s beaten path. The work was sponsored by NASA.

Every summer (our winter), the edges of Antarctica warm up just enough for some snow to melt. Obviously, a little warming will create quite a bit more melting, which is a factor in dreaded sea-level rise from global warming.

Satellites have been monitoring this activity in both the North and South polar regions since 1980. What Tedesco wrote was this: “A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008-09”.

It’s obvious that it’s not just this year that is of interest. The last three years are clearly those with the lowest aggregate melt on record. You might even see a downward trend since the beginning of the record in 1980.

It’s a reasonable surmise that there was no press coverage because there was no press release. NASA is keeping this thing hushed up. (We wouldn’t expect environmental journalists to occasionally glance at the scientific literature, such as Geophysical Research Letters, right?). The Agency is also highly selective about the global warming science it chooses to trumpet. For example, Tedesco has also published on melting in Greenland, and NASA wrote press releases on those papers, which were not nearly as newsworthy as the thirty-year decline in Antarctic melt. Examples:
May 29, 2007: NASA Researcher Finds Days of Snow Melting on the Rise in Greenland. “In 2006, Greenland experienced more days of melting snow and at higher altitudes than average over the past 18 years.” Stop the presses! The last we heard each and every year has a fifty-fifty chance of being above (or below) average.

September 20, 2007: NASA Researchers Find Snowmelt in Antarctica Creeping Inland. “…Only satellites can fully capture the extent of changes in snow melting…researchers [including Tedesco] …confirmed that Antarctic snow is melting farther inland…melting at higher altitudes than ever, and increasingly melting on Antarctica’s largest ice shelf.” How on earth does this square with the obvious decrease in melt just published by the same researchers? Doesn’t this press release demand another on the newer work?

Earth to NASA: The 2007 Antarctic paper used twenty years of data, the 2009 paper has the entire record back to 1980. Even looking at the graph through 1998, it’s apparent that there is no net increase in melt.

September 25, 2007: NASA finds Greenland Snow Melting Hit Record High in High Places. This one is unbelievably misleading. “In fact, the amount of snow that has melted this year over Greenland is the equivalent of more than twice the surface size of the U.S.”. This is patently impossible – as Greenland’s total area is about a quarter of that of the lower 48 states.

There’s more. In the most recent paper, Tedesco and his co-authors take pains not to step on a highly publicized study of surface temperature trends published by University of Washington’s Eric Steig that was hailed as evidence for human-induced warming. At the time it was published, critics pointed out that there was no trend whatsoever in recent decades and that what warming had occurred took place before the great increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Indeed, Tedesco begins his conclusions by stating that his results “do not contradict” the Steig study. Why? According to Tedesco, because Steig’s work begins in the 1950s, long before his 1980 start date. All this did was to confirm that warming pretty much stopped three decades ago. Where’s that press release?

NASA’s seems to beat the drum only when the news on global warming is bad, and remains mute when it is good. And, for that matter, so is that of the environmental journalism community, apparently incapable of filing an original story about an article from a refereed scientific journal that flies in the face of previous reportage on climate change.


A big chill on global warming

Something important is happening when even the BBC is compelled to ask, as it did this week, "What happened on global warming?" The British news organization has heretofore insisted that the scientific consensus was cemented long ago that global warming is real and is mainly caused by human use of carbon-based fossil fuels. Put simply, what has happened is global temperatures have dropped every year since 1998, recent peer-reviewed research has uncovered the decisive influence of hot and cold cycles in the oceans on land temperatures, and growing numbers of scientists with unquestioned credentials are stepping forward to question the conventional wisdom.

But reaching a new consensus will be exceedingly difficult because the raw data on which the landmark 1996 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based its conclusion has been destroyed. The University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit acknowledged in August that it discarded data that, in addition to the IPCC report, has been cited by other international studies as the main justification for severe restrictions on carbon emissions worldwide. This development raises more troubling doubts about global warming just as scientists and policymakers are expected to call for harsh new limits on energy use in its name when they meet in December in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Every schoolchild knows that the last step in the scientific method is independent reproduction of results. But lost climate data cannot be reproduced, which is a huge problem for everybody. "Every time CRU massaged the temperature data, they were getting more warming from the same numbers. It's incumbent upon scientists to find out why, but you can't find out if you don't have the data," Dr. Patrick Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, told The Examiner. "The data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared."

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has formally requested that the Environmental Protection Agency, which helps fund CRU, "reopen the record" and allow CEI and others to submit newly uncovered information regarding the East Anglia data destruction. The conservative think tank also wants to submit information about flaws in other data EPA is using as it devises stringent new anti-global warming regulations. Congress should also investigate the dumping of data partially paid for by U.S. taxpayers and other suspicious global warming anomalies, such as the temperature readings taken from "ghost weather stations" like the one at Maine's Ripogenus Dam. It was officially closed in 1995 but allegedly is still transmitting climate data 14 years later. Such questionable data sources must be eliminated if credible policy decisions are ever to be reached.



WUWT followed the entire activist affair disguised as a science expedition from the start. You can see all of the coverage here. It’s not pretty. When I say this expedition was the “scientific joke of 2009″, I mean it.

Top Ten Reasons why the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey data can’t be trusted

10. High profile news and PR from the beginning, plus an unrealistic vision of self importance related to the mission. The entire venture was publicized well in advance of the actual expedition, and the mission was “too important to fail” according to the January 23rd interview with The Guardian Catlin team leader Pen Hadow said: “During this mammoth expedition we will gather the essential data that scientists need to more accurately determine when the permanent floating sea ice will disappear altogether. We cannot afford to fail on this mission – there is too much at stake.”

With pronouncements like that, you also can’t afford not to bring home a result consistent with the theme of the expedition.

9. Reality Show Science as reported here, “The trio will be sending in regular diary entries, videos and photographs to BBC News throughout their expedition.” When you tie science too closely to the media from the beginning, it predetermines some outcomes. That pressure is always there to produce the story rather than focus on the task. This is why most proper science is done well away from the media and the results are reported afterwards.

8. Hadow, by his own admission, has an unrealistic and biased warmer view of the Arctic that doesn’t match the current data. In his Curriculum Vitae posted here, he writes: “Twenty years ago, you could walk to the North Pole – now you have to swim part of the way there.”

Only problem is, the satellite data showed a completely different picture of solid ice, and Hadow’s expedition encountered temperatures of -44F (-42C) along the way, and the vast majority of the trip was below 32F (0C). He didn’t encounter vast leads of water along the way, and in fact encountered ice conditions far worse than he expected. This shows his bias for a warmer trip from the start.

7. The Catlin team’s scientific advisor at the beginning of the trip seemed to already have a predetermined outcome for the Arctic. In this BBC article and interview they write of Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, a science advisor to the survey: “Ultimately, Professor Maslowski hopes to finesse his forecast for when the first ice-free summer might arrive. Currently, he has it down for 2013 – but with an uncertainty range between 2010 and 2016.”

So if they already had this figured out from the beginning, why make the trip at all? Is it so the BBC could recycle the headline again today saying Arctic to be ‘ice-free in summer’? Why do “science” at great personal risk when you already are sure of the end game? There’s also another nugget of predisposition wisdom by Catlin’s science advisor Professor Maslowski. Read on.

6. They failed to advise of major equipment failure in a timely manner, inviting suspicion. The ice radar sounding equipment that was designed to do the thickness survey failed miserably, almost from day one, yet even though they were “sending in regular diary entries, videos and photographs to BBC News throughout their expedition,” the world didn’t learn of that failure until day 44 of the 73 day expedition. When Apollo 13 had a problem, the world knew about it almost immediately. When Catlin had a problem, it was covered up for well over a month, yet that didn’t stop the BBC from paraphrasing Apollo 13’s famous words for a headline ‘London, we have a problem’ as if there was some parallel in integrity and timeliness here.

5. Hadow and his scientific advisor erroneously believed that their expedition was the only way ice thickness measurements could be done, and they seemed oblivious to other efforts and systems.

From this BBC article and interview: “No other information on ice thickness like this is expected to be made available to the scientific community in 2009,” explained Arctic ice modeller Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, a science advisor to the survey.

While this was obviously a selling point to sponsors and an ego boost for the team, it was flat wrong. For example, there’s a bouy network that provides ice thickness data,. Then there’s ICEsat which provides mass and balance measurements, as well as ice thickness maps, shown below:

As reported on WUWT, another data source of Arctic Ice thickness in 2009 came in the form of an aerial survey with a towed radar array from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. They didn’t have to risk lives, create drama, or bleat constant headlines to the BBC while doing the science. They simply flew the plane over the ice a few times.

Here’s some excerpts of what was reported on WUWT in the story Inconvenient Eisdicken – “surprising results” from the Arctic: At the North Pole ice sheet is thicker than expected

The “Polar 5″ in Bremerhaven

The research aircraft Polar 5 “ended today in Canada’s recent Arctic expedition. During the flight, researchers have measured the current Eisstärke measured at the North Pole, and in areas that have never before been overflown. Result: The sea-ice in the surveyed areas is apparently thicker than the researchers had suspected.

Normally, ice is newly formed after two years, over two meters thick. “Here were Eisdicken up to four meters,” said a spokesman of Bremerhaven’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. For scientists, this result is still in contradiction to the warming of the seawater.

Gosh. Where’s the polar death defying drama in that?

4. Due to the extreme cold conditions they were not fully prepared for, they completed less than half of the planned trip. Originally it was to be a 1000 kilometer trip to the North Pole which according to early interviews given by Hadow was easily done, yet they failed. The original start point was to be at 81N 130W but they actually started closer to the pole by about 100 kilometers.

According to the Google Earth KML file provided by Catlin, they started at 81.7N 129.7W and ended at 85.5N 125.6W for a total distance of approximately 435 kilometers over 73 days. Hardly a broad survey of the Arctic Ice when put into perspective on the Google Earth and ICEsat maps shown below:

Note that the ICEsat image is from Fall 2008, while the Catlin trip was in the Spring of 2009. Since we all know sea ice moves, often connected to the Beaufort Gyre, it is likely that the path depicted does not represent the ice Catlin actually traveled over. The sea ice may have moved so that the Catlin path traversed some of the thinner ice to the west, though some thickening of the ice would also be expected during the winter of 2009. The point of this map was to put the route in perspective.

3. There’s very little actual data return for 73 days on the ice, only 39 datapoints. See the dataset they provide in the Excel file here: CAS Snow Ice Measurements – Final 2009 - Final surveying results from the 2009 expedition.

The actual number of holes drilled and measured for ice thickness by Pen Hadow is said to be in the hundreds, and what we see in the Excel file is the average of those many holes at each drilling session. While I commend them for providing the raw hole data, problems with potential measurement bias don’t appear to be well addressed in the methodology paper they provide here (PDF) while it is mentioned in the preliminary June report: “One further consideration, when interpreting the ice thickness measurements made by the Catlin Arctic Survey team, may be navigational bias. Typically, the surface of First Year Ice floes are flatterthan that of multi‐year ice floes and because the team systematically seeks out flatter ice which is easier to travel over and camp on, there is a risk that the ice surveyed will not be representative.”

Since they make no mention of the potential measurement bias in the final report, it appears that there wasn’t anything but lip service consideration given to it in the early report, possibly to appease critics.

2. One of the most prominent sea ice researchers in the world, Dr. Walt Meier of NSIDC said he would not use the Catlin data saying in a post here on WUWT: “I don’t anticipate using the Catlin data.”

That begs the question then, beyond the use of the data for generating news stories like we’ve seen in the BBC and other media outlets, who will? Even the media outlets have ignored the actual data Catlin made available, preferring sound bites over data bytes.

1. The Catlin Arctic Ice Survey knowingly presented false data to the public and to the media in their web presentation.

As many WUWT readers recall, it was here that it was discovered that Catlin’s website had bogus telemetry data on it, giving the impression of “live data from the ice” when in fact the data repeated in an endless loop from a short period....

So the question to readers and media is: with these sorts of issues listed above, do you really want to trust the data from a group of people that perform and present “science” in this way? If you do, it would seem to me that you are putting form over substance. Even if we didn’t have these trust issues, are 39 datapoints over a short section of the Arctic really that useful given the other tools shown to be at the disposal of real science?

The Catlin Arctic Ice Survey is in my opinion, nothing more than a badly executed public relations stunt covered with the thinnest veneer of attempted science.


Living in Fear

"We live in an age of fear." The first line of Not Evil Just Wrong: The True Cost of Global Warming Hysteria reverberates throughout the documentary as an indictment of the modern environmental movement. The film delves deep into what the heart of environmentalism is: creating an artificial crisis and devaluing ordinary human worth.

Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney’s production, being released worldwide on October 18, takes global warming alarmists head-on with a convincing narrative of the methods of environmentalist panic. The movie’s principle action consists of a series of interviews from a wide-ranging group of voices, from scientists to journalists to environmental activists to expose how the environmental left manipulates the media and public opinion to propagate the anthropogenic global warming farce. Along the way, the filmmakers introduce us to leading lights in the environmental movement while highlighting some of the inexcusable fallacies the green leftists have foisted upon the world.

Over the course of the last fifty years, the modern environmental movement has attempted to turn every minor concern into an imminent crisis. One of the first major successes that they had was the worldwide demonization of the pesticide DDT. Used to great success in the United States in controlling the mosquito population and virtually eliminating malaria, environmentalists engaged in a smear campaign that led to the outlaw of the pesticide’s use in the developing world, where over one million people die every year from malaria. Exploring the DDT slur marks one of the film’s many high points, laying out the blueprint for how environmentalists will engage in an anti-science ideological campaign.

This system of crisis creation has been endemic to the modern environmentalist left. To them, every crisis needs a centrally-planned and government-administered solution. Every crisis requires a dramatic reorganization of society and the outlaw of new, useful technologies. These leftists see these crises in absolute moral terms. Conservatives take a far more reasonable approach: disagreements stem not from morality, but misunderstandings. Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality and a major contributor to the film, says

“These people [environmental activists] must be forced to consider the pragmatic consequences of what they hope for or what they believe. I don’t believe that the people… are evil people. But they’re people who are just wrong.”

Not Evil Just Wrong parallels the anti-DDT campaign with current activities being undertaken by environmentalists. The playbook remains the same: the pseudo-science, the exaggerations, the personal smears and the utter lack of compassion for humanity.

The filmmakers are in their element using music and stock footage to create a contrast with statements made by their interviewees. Many of the alarmist activists interviewed are wealthy Americans who will have to sacrifice nothing in order to implement their carbon reduction goals. Actor Ed Begley is shown to admire the “happy” way of life of Fiji while footage rolls portraying the poverty of most of the inhabitants of the small island nation. Testimonials urging the Earth to give up carbon clash with images of hardworking middle-Americans that rely on cheap coal energy to power their humble lifestyles. A particularly convincing segment of the film deals with the famous debunkers of the global warming “hockey stick” graph while interviewing an academic mathematician in the middle of a hockey game.

At its heart, the film extols the virtues of a modern society and the triumph of ordinary humanity over elitist alarmism. The leading advocates of global warming, the film teaches, are its biggest hypocrites. Jet-setting politicos like Al Gore who yearn to destroy cheap energy sources won’t be harmed as a result of the policies they endorse. They never stop to consider the consequences for Americans who may not be able to afford energy that comes from windmills.

Not Evil Just Wrong is both a lesson on environmentalists’ method of crisis creation and an expose on their disregard for basic humanity. McAleer and McIlhenney are accomplished filmmakers who put an important message into an easily-digestible package. This film is an important step to breaking the false elitist consensus on global warming and arming skeptics with important ammo to ward off the hypocrites. While the film does not break ground with people who have done their homework on the global warming mythos, it’s an indispensible introduction to the real debate that needs to occur.


Imagine no global warming, it's easy if you try...

Comment from New Zealand

Imagine if there was no climate change and no global warming and no problem to panic over. Imagine if the oceans were not really rising at a dangerous rate, and that when we went to the beach the tide simply came in and out as it has always done, and reached the same high water marks. Imagine if the summers were not getting so hot that we risked burning to ashes, and that there will always be hot days and cold ones as they always have been in the past. Imagine too, that the sky was not filling up with poisonous gas any time soon, and any wind around just blew it away as soon as it came out of a chimney or car tailpipe. What kind of an odd world would that be? How would regional councils pass the time without the need to endlessly debate the extent of imposing eco-regulations that may eventually govern every facet of our daily lives? Could we live in a world where no one was really certain whether or not oil was running out? Could we sleep at night, knowing that there was no obvious horrendous Armageddon looming, knowing that we did not have to pay a tax for the sunshine, for the right to light a camp fire when we slept in a tent on the beach and for the right to drive out of the city? How would we explain to our children that it was not their job to save the planet, and that they could actually enjoy their lives and go back to leaving lights on, cardigans off, and kicking aluminum cans along the sidewalk?

That the world is still beautiful, bountiful and big enough to absorb all mankind's difficulties and bungling mistakes and carry on functioning regardless is too impossible to imagine. But let's pretend that one day an enlightened scientist, coming from way left-field and acting purely on a bizarre intuitive hunch, was struck by a random thought that almost passed too quickly through his brilliant brain to be noticed, but luckily was picked up by a lonely and bored synapse that was half asleep and off duty and on vacation at the time. And further imagine that this revolutionary Nobel Prize winning at first too wacky and nonsensical thought was that weather and what caused it could be put down to a natural process. What howls of scorn, suppressed laughter and unkind guffaws would he have to endure from his peers! What a skyward rolling of the eyes when he approached, and how his family and acquaintances would be ostracized, for here would be a traitor, in league with the devil and heathen of the worst order. To entertain a notion that man was not responsible for the climate! Whatever next!

Imagine if he dared to follow that thought and see where it led. Why, it might as well occur to his brain that earthquakes and volcanoes were also part of nature, and that glaciers and ice sheets and deserts may also be subject to forces and cycles that were well beyond understanding and human influence.
There could be no stopping this insane speculation, as he might reflect that our Sun can be seen from hundreds of millions of miles away but the exhaust from a car from not half a mile, and that there is weather on other planets that oddly have no air and no emission trading schemes. He may get to wondering too, why the Arctic never keeps expanding until the whole world is covered in ice, nor does it keep reducing until there is no ice left. Rather, it seems to come and go on some regular cycle. Similarly he may notice that the mighty ocean has never kept warming until it boiled away, nor never kept cooling until it became a huge solid block of ice, but rather the temperature of that vast watery expanse seems perpetually and regularly over geological time to simply go up and down. He may also realize that almost everything that we used to call nature does go up and down, and in and out, and bigger and smaller, faster and slower, and backwards and forwards, amazingly all by itself and without our meddlesome hand. Small animals, insects and fish seem to thrive away from our kindly eyes, almost as if they had minds of their own.

But wait - this bloke's brain is just getting started. What if women did not, after all, come from someone's rib as the bible states, what if every species of animals, bird, fish and virus did not once cram into a tiny houseboat to ride out a storm, and what if whispering with your palms together does not get heard by the chap who made the world? What if Santa Claus does not live at the North Pole? What if 3 was actually unlucky? How will planting thousands of trees help change weather patterns, when weather is generated 6-8 miles up at the level Boeings fly, and trees are so far below they can't even be distinguished from land? Why are we being asked to pay for plastic supermarket bags but not for the plastic in other items, when one Coke bottle is equivalent to 50 plastic bags and one disposable nappy could make 150,000 bags?

We are more and more finding that in a previously free world, now some questions are not allowed to be asked. We cannot publicly conjecture on the effect an ETS will have on climate, for the ETS is the agenda and not transparency about the rationale for it. The government wants the ETS for two major reasons. In the grand scheme of politics, world trade and the world banking system wants it because it is another step towards world government by a banking elite that wants to suppress poorer countries so the latter can become slave labour for the west. Closer to home governments want it because the Greens want it and western governments want the Greens.The Greens want it because without it they have no point of difference and without a point of difference they are out of a job.

The irony is that following Green policies means eventually we will all be out of a job. Environmentalists do not seem to be aware that farming is not sustainable without allowing belches and farts to run footloose across our fields. Factories cannot function without workers being allowed to drive to them each morning. Food cannot stay fresh in supermarket shelves and freezers without plastic wrapping, without process and without freight. But who and what will pay for the added expenses incurred by not having these items of progress? Certainly not the Greens. We are not allowed to ask who will pick up the final bill for all these new eco restrictions, because the answer is every living breathing Australian and NZer. We are not allowed to ask how a huge thermal mass (oceans) heats dramatically and has its total acid balance disturbed due to the micro-heating from above of small thermal mass (air). Because the global warmers would be sprung with that simple silly question. By how much heat? Just 2degC over 100 years, according to the IPCC. Try putting an element that only warms to two degrees (a fluorescent bulb would do) into a big bowl of water and see if the water warms above room temperature. A lot of us have aquariums with tropcal fish. Have you noticed how they ALL simply LOVE swimming around the heater? So what's that about?? We do know that there is a major CO2 measuring station in Hawaii at a volcano, Mauna Loa. Hawaii is a major location of volcanic activity. There is a huge hot spot there. Lava is tumbling into the ocean right now. A new Hawaiian island is being formed right now. When hot lava enters the ocean, the localized heat source causes CO2 to outgas from the ocean. But we are not allowed to ask if this makes the station data biased.

But just imagine a world in which we could ask innocent questions like these and get honest answers, from someone knowledgeable and free enough to answer without fear of losing their job. Imagine if we lived in an environment of commonsense, perhaps with a Ministry of Kindness, where caring for truth became a national pursuit, and the rush to feather one's own nest or increase one's public standing came not at the expense of limiting freedoms of another, and greed, power and profit were not held up as good business ethics. That might just save human society on planet earth. And what a legacy to leave to our children.



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, October 17, 2009

Lord Monckton Warns of Obama's Copenhagen Threat

Lord Christopher Monckton is one of the last true Britons, a countermoonbat who has been eviscerating the global warming hoax for years. At a speech at the Minnesota Free Market Institute Wednesday, he warned of what Comrade Obama is planning to do to us in Copenhagen. From the transcript at Watt's Up With That:
At [the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in] Copenhagen, this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed. Your president will sign it. Most of the third world countries will sign it, because they think they're going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regimes from the European Union will rubber stamp it. Virtually nobody won't sign it.

I read that treaty. And what it says is this, that a world government is going to be created. The word "government" actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity. The second purpose is the transfer of wealth from the countries of the West to third world countries, in satisfaction of what is called, coyly, "climate debt" — because we've been burning CO2 and they haven't. We've been screwing up the climate and they haven't. And the third purpose of this new entity, this government, is enforcement.

How many of you think that the word "election" or "democracy" or "vote" or "ballot" occurs anywhere in the 200 pages of that treaty? Quite right, it doesn't appear once. So, at last, the communists who piled out of the Berlin Wall and into the environmental movement, who took over Greenpeace so that my friends who funded it left within a year, because [the communists] captured it — Now the apotheosis as at hand. They are about to impose a communist world government on the world. You have a president who has very strong sympathies with that point of view. He's going to sign it. He'll sign anything. He's a Nobel Peace Prize [winner]; of course he'll sign it.

The country that will be looted the most aggressively on behalf of socialist Third-World dictators for the greater glory of the radical left agenda will of course be the financially staggering USA.
So, thank you, America. You were the beacon of freedom to the world. It is a privilege merely to stand on this soil of freedom while it is still free. But, in the next few weeks, unless you stop it, your president will sign your freedom, your democracy, and your humanity away forever. And neither you nor any subsequent government you may elect will have any power whatsoever to take it back. That is how serious it is. I've read the treaty. I've seen this stuff about [world] government and climate debt and enforcement. They are going to do this to you whether you like it or not.

But I think it is here, here in your great nation, which I so love and I so admire — it is here that perhaps, at this eleventh hour, at the fifty-ninth minute and fifty-ninth second, you will rise up and you will stop your president from signing that dreadful treaty, that purposeless treaty. For there is no problem with climate and, even if there were, an economic treaty does nothing to [help] it.

Even the BBC is now admitting not only that economic freedom doesn't make it be too hot out, but that the climate has been cooling despite rising levels of harmless CO2. But by the time awareness that the grand global warming crisis is a complete and absolute farce fully penetrates the public, the socialists who have taken control of our country will have us locked into this treaty, subjugating American sovereignty to unaccountable, anti-democratic global entities and subjecting American taxpayers to slavery not just to generate wealth for the bloated pigs in Washington, but to buy palaces for Robert Mugabe types around the world.

Here's where we find out if we deserve to call ourselves Americans. If the radicals running the government aren't stopped, we don't.


The actual text of the delusional "treaty" can be found here. I think Viscount Monckton takes it a little more seriously than he should. No treaty would be enforceable against the USA unless the government of the USA wished it.

None Dare Call It Fraud

Imagine the reaction if investment companies provided only rosy stock and economic data to prospective investors; manufacturers withheld chemical spill statistics from government regulators; or medical device and pharmaceutical companies doctored data on patients injured by their products.

Media frenzies, congressional hearings, regulatory investigations, fines and jail sentences would come faster than you can say Henry Waxman. If those same standards were applied to global warming alarmists, many of them would be fined, dismissed and imprisoned; sanity might prevail, and the House-Senate cap-and-tax freight train would come to a screeching halt.

Fortunately for alarmists, corporate standards do not apply – even though sloppiness, ineptitude, cherry-picking, exaggeration, deception, falsification, concealed or lost data, flawed studies and virtual fraud have become systemic and epidemic. Instead of being investigated and incarcerated, the perpetrators are revered and rewarded, receiving billions in research grants, mandates, subsidies and other profit-making opportunities.

On this bogus foundation Congress, EPA and the White House propose to legislate and regulate our nation’s energy and economic future. Understanding the scams is essential. Here are just a few of them.

Michael Mann’s hockey-stick-shaped historical temperature chart supposedly proved that twentieth century warming was “unprecedented” in the last 2000 years. After it became the centerpiece of the UN climate group’s 2001 Third Assessment Report, Canadian analysts Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre asked Mann to divulge his data and statistical algorithms. Mann refused. Ultimately, Mc-Mc, the National Science Foundation and investigators led by renowned statistician Edward Wegman found that the hockey stick was based on cherry-picked tree-ring data and a computer program that generated temperature spikes even when random numbers were fed into it.

This year, another “unprecedented” warming study went down in flames. Lead scientist Keith Briffa managed to keep his "lost” (destroyed?) all the original data.

The supposedly “final” text of the IPCC’s 1995 Second Assessment Report emphasized that no studies had found clear evidence that observed climate changes could be attributed to greenhouse gases or other manmade causes. However, without the authors’ and reviewers’ knowledge or approval, lead author Dr. Ben Santer and alarmist colleagues revised the text and inserted the infamous assertion that there is “a discernable human influence” on Earth’s climate.

Highly accurate satellite measurements show no significant global warming, whereas ground-based temperature stations show warming since 1978. However, half of the surface monitoring stations are located close to concrete and asphalt parking lots, window or industrial-size air conditioning exhausts, highways, airport tarmac and even jetliner engines – all of which skew the data upward. The White House, EPA, IPCC and Congress use the deceptive data anyway, to promote their agenda.

With virtually no actual evidence to link CO2 and global warming, the climate chaos community has to rely increasingly on computer models. However, the models do a poor job of portraying an incredibly complex global climate system that scientists are only beginning to understand; assume carbon dioxide is a principle driving force; inadequately handle cloud, solar, precipitation and other critical factors; and incorporate assumptions and data that many experts say are inadequate or falsified. The models crank out (worst-case) climate change scenarios that often conflict with one another. Not one correctly forecast the planetary cooling that began earlier this century, as CO2 levels continued to climb.

Al Gore’s climate cataclysm movie is replete with assertions that are misleading, dishonest or what a British court chastised as “partisan” propaganda about melting ice caps, rising sea levels, hurricanes, malaria, “endangered” polar bears and other issues. But the film garnered him Oscar and Nobel awards, speaking and expert witness appearances, millions of dollars, and star status with UN and congressional interests that want to tax and penalize energy use and economic growth. Perhaps worse, a recent Society of Environmental Journalists meeting made it clear that those supposed professionals are solidly behind Mr. Gore and his apocalyptic beliefs, and will defend him against skeptics.

These and other scandals have slipped past the peer review process that is supposed to prevent them and ensure sound science for a simple reason. Global warming disaster papers are written and reviewed by closely knit groups of scientists, who mutually support one another’s work. The same names appear in different orders on a series of “independent” reports, all of which depend on the same original data, as in the Yamal case. Scientific journals refuse to demand the researchers’ data and methodologies. And as in the case of Briffa, the IPCC and journals typically ignore and refuse to publish contrary studies.

Scandals like these prompted EPA career analyst Alan Carlin to prepare a detailed report, arguing that the agency should not find that CO2 “endangers” human health and welfare, because climate disaster predictions were not based on sound science. EPA suppressed his report and told Carlin not to talk to anyone outside his immediate office, on the ground that his “comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” which the agency supposedly would not make for several more weeks.

The endless litany of scandals underscores the inconvenient truth about global warming hysteria. The White House, Congress and United Nations are imperiling our future on the basis of deceptive science, phony “evidence” and worthless computer models. The climate protection racket will enrich Al Gore, alarmist scientists who get the next $89 billion in US government research money, financial institutions that process trillion$$ in carbon trades, and certain companies, like those that recently left the US Chamber of Commerce. For everyone else, it will mean massive pain for no environmental gain.

Still not angry and disgusted? Read Chris Horner’s Red Hot Lies, Lawrence Solomon’s Financial Post articles, Steve Milloy’s Green Hell, and Benny Peiser’s CCNet daily climate policy review. Go to a premier showing of Not Evil Just Wrong.

Then get on your telephone or computer, and tell your legislators and local media this nonsense has got to stop. It may be that none dare call it fraud – but it comes perilously close.


Eliot Spitzer Attack on U.S. Chamber of Commerce is Left-Wing Politics at its Worst

This statement was issued today by Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the Free Enterprise Project:

"Eliot Sptizer's commentary in Slate ("Chamber of Horrors") calling for state pension funds to pressure corporations to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reminds us of his past efforts to climb the political ladder on the backs of business executives.

Instead of worrying about the Chamber, state officials should be investigating pension funds for potential conflicts of interest and using their shareholder standing to advance the left-wing agenda.

Spitzer's commentary exposes the left-wing strategy of using public money to advance its cause. Spitzer's political motivation is clear: because the Chamber is fighting cap-and-trade and "Card Check" they need to be taken out.

While Attorney General of New York, Spitzer used the power of the state and his sharp elbows to loot business leaders of their property and reputation. Spitzer's legal assault against former New York Stock Exchange head Dick Grasso serves as a prime example. In this case, New York was forced in to a drawn-out legal battle because Grasso and Ken Langone -- a NYSE board member -- refused to genuflect at Spitzer's altar. Spitzer's investigation "included 1,454 hours of depositions" and, ironically, he attacked Grasso's personal life. Spitzer deposed Grasso's secretary and inquired about an affair, and, during his nine-day deposition, Grasso was asked if he had a love child.

Paradoxically, it's the pension funds that need investigation by state officials. For years, state pension funds have been working with labor unions and environmental groups to advance the left-wing agenda, including pressuring corporations to address global warming. Pension funds, facing serious shortfalls, should focus their time and efforts on investment strategies -- not politics.

In fact, a front page story, "Calpers Rocked By 'Pay-to-Play;" in today's Wall Street Journal reports on a possible conflict of interest involving a former board member who "reaped more than $50 million in fees for arranging investments that could saddle state taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in losses."

Spitzer is nothing more than a left-wing political hack leading the charge against liberty and free-markets."


A chilly Chicago

Chicago remains mired in the chilliest early October in 22 years. Its opening 14 days -- with an average temperature of 47.6 degrees -- are well below the 57.3 degrees observed during the same period over the last 138 years -- and chilly enough to rank third coldest since 1871. The only Oct. 1 to 14 periods that have been colder occurred in 1876 (46 degrees) and 1987 (47.5).

Thursday likely will be the 18th straight day of below-normal temperatures and the sixth day highs fail to reach 50 degrees, establishing a record for the most early-season daytime readings that fail to break out of the 40s. With Friday and Saturday predicted to stay in the 40s, the string is likely to end up at seven days, which doesn't usually happen for another five weeks.


Snow in Central Europe brings death, chaos and start to ski season

A shepherd leads his flock through a street in Zakopane, Poland, after heavy snow. The unseasonable weather killed at least four Poles and cut power and heating to hundreds of thousands of homes in Central Europe.

Three people, including a shepherd, froze to death in the mountains of southern Poland and a man died when his car was blown off the road in the north of the country. In northeastern parts of the Czech Republic roads and railway lines were blocked by fallen trees after strong winds and snow about 50cm (20in) deep in the mountains.

Meteorologists said that snow flurries were not uncommon in Poland in October, but the conditions had been unexpectedly severe this week. In the Austrian Alps there has been up to 90cm of snow in the past two days. Several ski resorts in southern Styria have opened their slopes in the earliest start to the season on record.

The CEZ power group declared a state of emergency in eight Czech districts because power lines had been damaged and sent hundreds of workers to repair them. A malfunction in a heating plant left many of the 40,000 residents in Jablonec and Nisou without heat and the mayor was considering closing schools, a Czech news website reported.

Some Polish villagers suffered because they had not yet bought coal for the winter. There was snow in the mountain ranges of eastern Germany and overnight frost in the west, with temperatures falling as low as minus 8.5C (16.5F) (Reuters)


Environmental Swine

by Mike Adams

My friend Mary wrote the other day to tell me of her grandfather’s dilemma. He’s involved in important litigation aimed at saving his farm, his family business, and hundreds of agricultural jobs in North Carolina. His problems have been produced by a series of unfortunate events. Among them is a radical environmental movement that cares more about trees and fish than it does about human beings.

The Bunting family business was started in the 1950s by brothers C.B. and Duck Bunting. It’s a tough business that requires 365 days of work per year. C.B. and his sons still leave the family Christmas Day lunch every year to help load hogs and do other chores around the farm. C.B. is 84 years old but he still physically corrals the hogs into the truck. The work is not just strenuous. It’s dangerous, too.

Basically they grow and sell wean pigs and completely finished pigs through their own stock and a group of contract growers. Through their companies; Bunting Farms (the pig farm), Wilson Milling (a mill that supplies their feed), and Pine Ridge Foods (a plant that packs their own line of pork) they employ 200 to 300 people. They are the largest employer in Micro, NC, and among the largest in Pinetops, NC. Bunting Farms produces 400,000 head of hogs a year, with combined gross billings of $70,000,000 a year. They’ve been a real success in rural North Carolina.

But trouble began a few years back. Grain prices, which account for 75 % of the cost of raising a pig, began to skyrocket. They had been around $2.00 a bushel for over ten years. Then, in the summer of 2008, they hit $8.00 a bushel. This was despite two of the largest corn crops in U.S. History. The principal reason for the price hike was federally mandated use of corn to produce ethanol fuel.

Then the financing issues set in. In June 2008, Bunting Farms asked their banker of 30 years for a 2-3 million dollar line of credit to help them through the storm. Two weeks before their normal loan was to roll over they learned they were not going to receive an additional line of credit. Worse yet, they were not going to roll over their loan.

Imagine having your home mortgage start over each and every year. Further imagine your banker showing up one day and saying “Sorry, we are not going to renew your mortgage. You have two weeks to find and close another loan or we’re taking your house.” This is exactly what happened to the owners of Bunting Farms. And now almost 300 people are out of work. This is truly a tragedy in four parts:

1. Feed prices skyrocket due to radical environmentalist demands for more ethanol based fuels without consideration of consequences to the local farmers.

2. Financial institutions having to tighten lending exposure due to losses incurred during the home financial crisis.

3. Swine flu hysteria leads to a decrease in demand for pork products – all because of the misnaming of a virus that has nothing to do with hogs.

4. Rising labor costs due to a lack of willing migrant workers who would do the work most Americans don’t want to do.

So the problem is complex. But the solution begins with a call for the White House to take the lead on reversing federally mandated use of corn to produce ethanol fuel. Imagine how many jobs we could save if we turned away from ethanol mandates and towards drilling in ANWR.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for help from this White House. Out in California, water has been diverted from the San Joaquin Valley in order to save the two-inch hypomesus transpacificus fish – also known as the delta smelt. This has caused a severe drought in the area with some farming towns like Mendota seeing unemployment numbers of 40%.

In August, fifty mayors from the San Joaquin Valley asked President Obama to come see the devastation first-hand. He refused. Obama previously denied a request to designate California as a federal disaster area. To do so would have acknowledged the fact that Obama’s radical environmental policies are, quite literally, scorched earth policies. Just go to the San Joachim Valley and you’ll see plenty of scorched earth.

There’s little chance President Obama will take interest in the unforeseen effects his policies are having on the hog farming industry. In his part of the world there’s an endless supply of pork. And there’s no shortage of pigs feeding at the government trough.


Non-urban dwellers living near parks are healthier and less depressed

Another variation on an old theme. You would never guess from the media report below that this did NOT apply to city-dwellers (dwellers in "strongly urban areas"), which is an example of why it is important to go back to the original journal article, and the "Results" section of the article at that. I have found many times over the years that the conclusions don't reflect the results. So the findings in fact DISPROVE the claim that green surroundings are generally beneficial. The only reasonable conclusion from the research is that the minority who live in or near the countryside ("slightly urban areas") do so in part because it makes them feel better, which is not much of a discovery. It is just a finding of individual differences, not a finding about greenery in general. Some people like the countryside and some don't

City dwellers living near parks are healthier and suffer fewer bouts of depression, a study has revealed. The study was adjusted to take into account socio-economic background and found that the effect of green surroundings was greatest for people with low levels of education and income.

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that in urban zones where 90 per cent of the area was green space the incidence of anxiety disorders or depression was 18 people per thousand. In areas with only 10 per cent greenery the incidence was 26 per thousand.

The annual rates of more than a dozen disease types, including cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, digestive and mental disorders, were also lower for those living near parks. The impact on health was most marked in people who spent a lot of time in their green surroundings, especially children and people aged 45 to 65.

The findings are based on health records in the Netherlands for nearly 350,000 people registered with 195 family doctors in 95 practices across the country. “The role of green space in the living environment should not be underestimated,” the study concludes.


Abstract follows:

Morbidity is related to a green living environment

By Jolanda Maas1 et al.

Background: Due to increasing urbanisation, people face the prospect of living in environments with few green spaces. There is increasing evidence for a positive relation between green space in people's living environment and self-reported indicators of physical and mental health. This study investigates whether physician assessed morbidity is also related to green space in people's living environment.

Methods: Morbidity data were derived from electronic medical records of 195 general practitioners in 96 Dutch practices, serving a population of 345,143 people. Morbidity was classified by the general practitioners according to the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC). The percentage of green space within a one kilometre and three kilometre radius around the postal code coordinates was derived from an existing database and was calculated for each household. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed controlling for demographic and socio-economic characteristics.

Results: The annual prevalence rate of 15 of the 24 disease clusters was lower in living environments with more green space in a 1 km radius. The relation was strongest for anxiety disorder and depression. The relation was stronger for children and people with a lower socio-economic status. Furthermore, the relation was strongest in slightly urban areas and not apparent in very strongly urban areas.

Conclusion: This study indicates that the previously established relation between green space and a number of self-reported general indicators of physical and mental health can also be found for clusters of specific physician assessed morbidity. The study stresses the importance of green space close to home for children and lower socio-economic groups.

J. Epidemiol. Community Health, 2009


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, October 16, 2009

A skeptic got it right

Warmist theories about CO2 generated NO accurate predictions of 21st century climate changes but a skeptic basing his predictions solely on long-term regularities in ocean current changes scored several bullseyes. Accurate predictions are of course the acid test of any scientific theory. An interesting communication and an interesting document from distinguished meteorologist Bill Gray below:

At NOAA's 21st Climate Workshop in Huntsville, AL in 1996 I presented a paper titled "Forecast of Global Circulation Characteristics in the Next 25-30 Years." We are now 13 years along the way to this paper's verification. All the major features that were predicted are on target.

This 4-page paper's 25-30 year prediction (see below) was based on the known and characteristic multi-decadal changes in the Atlantic Ocean's circulation. It assumed a multi-decadal continuation of the positive change in the Atlantic Ocean Thermohaline Circulation (THC) which occurred in 1995. These changes in the Atlantic Ocean THC were predicted to continue and to result in the following changes in global weather features which have taken place during 1996-2009 in comparison to the similar observed parameter circulation features during the earlier 25-year period of 1970-1994.

1. More Northern Hemisphere blocking patterns - weaker North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)

2. Fewer El Nino activity (cooler ENSO conditions)

3. Increased Sahel rainfall

4. Much more Atlantic major hurricane activity

5. Small decrease in global mean surface temperature.

These and other predicted conditions are, so far, occurring and beginning to lead to verification of my forecast. This 1996 forecast was made from changing ocean circulation features alone. CO2 increases played no role in this forecast. Known natural climate features were unquestionably the dominant processes in causing such parameter alterations. If CO2 gas increases played any role at all its influence was in the noise level and undetectable. Please read the write-up of 13 years ago:

21st NOAA Climate Workshop, Huntsville, AL (1996)


By William M. Gray (written in 1996)

Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO 80523


Over the last quarter century the global circulation has behaved in a number ofdistinctive ways from its general characteristics in the prior quarter century (mid-1940s to late 1960s). In comparison with the earlier period or with long-term climatology, the period since 1970 has seen:

1. positive southern minus northern hemisphere SST anomaly conditions,

2. stronger middle latitude westerlies over the Pacific and Atlantic and less North Atlantic blocking action,

3. more frequent and stronger El Nino conditions,

4. Sahel drought conditions,

5. less frequent Atlantic major hurricane activity,

6. small increase of surface global temperatures, and

7. many other changes.

These recent quarter century changes appear to be of natural origin. The author hypothesizes that they are a consequence of the abrupt slowdown in the Atlantic thermohaline (or conveyor) circulation which occurred in the late 1960s. This oceanic circulation slowdown was a consequence of the sharp decrease in North Atlantic salinity at this time (The Great Salinity Anomaly). But more recent observations show that Atlantic salinity has been increasing in recent years. It is likely that we are presently seeing a change to a stronger thermohaline circulation. This will likely cause a reversal of the above listed conditions. Back and forth shifts in the strength of the thermohaline circulation on multi-decadal time scales have been documented or inferred from a variety of observational sources going back centuries and thousands of years to the last ice age.

If a return to global circulation conditions more typical of the period 25-50 years ago does occur in the next few years then we should see a general reversal of the above listed global circulation characteristics including a small decrease in average global surface temperature.

Many meteorologists have interpreted the increase in global surface temperature since the late 1960s, and the overall global surface temperature increases since 1900 as an indication that global warming from man induced greenhouse gases. But there are likely other more plausible explanations for such global temperature changes. It is more likely that the surface temperature changes of the last century are a response to naturally occurring temperature changes which are not or very little related to man-induced greenhouse gas increases. Surface temperature changes appear to have resulted from variations in the global ocean conveyor belt circulation.


It is likely that the multi-decadal alteration in the strength of the Atlantic Ocean's (Fig. 1) conveyor belt circulation is the driving mechanism for much of the global multi-decadal circulation and climate variations which have been observed over the last half century and in past periods. The Atlantic (or thermohaline) portion of the conveyor belt is part of a much larger global ocean conveyor circulation.

Figure 1: Conceptual illustration of the Atlantic conveyor belt circulation. High salinity water is chilled and sinks in the far North Atlantic, promoting a compensating northward surface layer flow of more warm, high salinity water (after Broecker, 1991).

When the Atlantic portion of the global conveyor belt flows stronger than normal, global circulations and ocean currents take on characteristic patterns which are different from those patterns when the conveyor belt circulation is weaker than normal.

During periods of strong conveyor belt circulation, North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) warms but other global SST temperatures tend to cool. Small global surface cooling results because more warm ocean water is taken away from the tropical oceans and advected to the North Atlantic where it sinks (due to its special high salt content). In addition, the eastern Pacific and southern hemisphere oceans, due to slackening of El Nino activity, do not then receive as much warm water from the western Pacific warm pool region. It is known that global surface temperatures tend to increase during El Nino events and be lower during non-El Nino periods.

Strong Atlantic conveyor belt circulation conditions lead to a gradual cooling of global surface temperatures. Such cooling conditions appear to have taken place during the periods of 1870-1899 and 1943-1968 when global surface temperatures were observed to gradually decrease (Fig. 2).

Opposite conditions occur when the Atlantic conveyor belt weakens. A weak conveyor belt leads to a cooling of North Atlantic surface waters. Some of the warmer upper ocean water normally supplied to the North Atlantic when the conveyor belt is strong remains instead over the broader portions of the oceans and affects a general area average temperature rise. It is during these periods of reduced conveyor belt circulation that the western Sahel experiences drought conditions, that Atlantic low latitude hurricane activity is suppressed, and that more frequent and stronger El Nino events occur. These are also the periods when global surface temperatures increase. Such conditions of weak conveyor belt circulation and global surface temperature increase occurred during the years of 1900-1942 and again since 1968.

Figure 2: Portrayal of four multi-decadal time periods with different conveyor belt strengths, Sahel rainfall, Atlantic hurricane activity and frequent major El Nino events, and global surface temperature tendency.

Such consistent variations of basic meteorological parameters which are associated with global surface temperature changes suggest a direct cause-effect relationship. It is likely that most of the global warming that has taken place since the late 1960s is due to alterations in the global's ocean circulations which has been driven by a substantial weakening in the strength of the Atlantic conveyor belt. Such basic ocean circulation changes should not be attributed to man-induced greenhouse gas increases.

As the North Atlantic is the primary ocean region where upper water (due to special higher salinity conditions) sinks to deep water levels, it is important to understand the causes of such sinking variation. If North Atlantic Ocean sinking were slowed down (such as apparently has occurred since the late 1960s) then the tropical oceans would advect less energy poleward into the North Atlantic. This normally exported energy to the North Atlantic would go instead into a slow warming of the other ocean regions which feed into it particularly the Indian ocean and the Western Pacific. A gradual and slow warming of the non-North Atlantic Oceans would occur. Such changes have occurred since the early 1970s.

It is observed that there has been a sharp rise in the frequency and intensity of El Nino events since the late 1960s when the Atlantic conveyor belt is believed to have undergone a substantial weakening. It should be noted that El Nino events were less frequent and generally weaker during the 25-year period of 1943-1967 when the Atlantic conveyor belt strength was believed to be much stronger. And El Nino events were also less prevalent during the last three decades of the 19th century (1870-1899) when Western Sahel rainfall and low latitude hurricane activity was enhanced and when global temperatures appear to have cooled somewhat.

Thus, it may be that the general warming of the globe's surface ocean temperatures that has been observed since the late 1960s are but a consequence of the typical multi-decadal alterations of the Atlantic ocean's conveyor belt and of the natural global temperature response to such conveyor belt strength changes.


It is likely that there has not been and will not be a significant warming of the global surface temperatures due to man-generated greenhouse gases over the next 25-50 years. How can this be true when most greenhouse gas models indicate a substantial warming?

Because the evidence for greenhouse gas warming has come from quite complicated numerical models which contain a number of physical assumptions related to moisture and cloud processes which may not well mimic the real atmosphere.

This is particularly the case with respect to the strong warming resulting from the positive water vapor feedback loop which is contained in almost all greenhouse gas modeling simulations.

Water vapor feedback processes represents approximately 75-80 percent of the 2-4oC global warming which modeling simulations show to occur as a result of a doubling of CO2. Nearly all greenhouse gas model results show that the atmosphere will increases its water vapor content as man-made greenhouse gases increase. It is this extra water vapor increase which is projected to cause the majority of the man-inducedgreenhouse gas warming in the global simulations. The author is of the view that middle and upper-level water vapor which undergo slight decreases (not increases) as anthropogenic greenhouse gases increase.


Since late 1994 an ongoing major rearrangement of the Atlantic Ocean SST features has been underway. These SST changes are broadscale and substantial in comparison with variations taking place during typical two year periods. These include a general warming of the North Atlantic and a cooling of the South Atlantic. We hypothesize that these changes aredue to a major change in the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline or ``conveyor belt" circulation. Salinity contents in the North Atlantic have shown a large increase. These changes are also consistent with other global circulation changes that have occurred during the last 1-2 years. It appears that we are now experiencing a major shift towards a stronger Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation. It has been nearly three decades since the SST anomaly patterns of the Atlantic Ocean has experienced such a strong north (warm) to south (cool) SST difference as now observed. We expect that these changing Atlantic SST patterns will lead to enhanced intense (or major) hurricane activity in coming years and to a small global surface temperature cooling. It is likely that the mean global surface temperature change in the next 20-30 years will be more driven by nature than by anthropogenic influences and be one of weak cooling, not warm.

Rationalizing rationing

Apple Inc. may have drunk the Kool-Aid, but most of the companies feuding with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over climate policy are energy-rationing profiteers ("Backers of climate bill quit chamber," Page 1, Tuesday).

Nike Inc., for example, manufactures sports shoes in factories in developing Asian countries. Unlike most businesses represented by the chamber, Nike would not face higher energy costs from either the Waxman-Markey bill (American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) or regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. What's more, if the successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol continues to exempt developing countries from binding emissions limits, the comparative advantage (lower energy costs) that developing countries already enjoy under Kyoto will increase, sharpening Nike's competitive edge.

Or consider Exelon Corp., the nation's largest nuclear power generator. The Waxman-Markey bill would lavish millions more tons' worth of energy-ration coupons on Exelon than the company would need to cover the CO2 emissions from its much smaller fleet of fossil electric generating units. As Amanda DeBard indicates, under Waxman-Markey, Exelon would reap about $1 billion in windfall profits annually from the sale of surplus ration coupons.

Exelon and its ilk put their special interest in short-term gains from market-rigging rules ahead of the business community's long-term general interest in limited government, economic growth and affordable energy.


Only belief in the gift of prophecy could explain the confidence of the latest Warmist prediction

The Arctic will be ice-free in summer within 20 years, they say, in defiance of recent trends. Definitely good imaginations, though

Ships will be able to sail in open water to the North Pole in the summer of 2020, according to a study that found a rapid acceleration in the loss of sea ice. The Arctic will be ice-free in summer within 20 years, the study found, while the Earth will lose the white cap that can be seen in photographs taken from space.

The Polar Ocean Physics Group from Cambridge University compared measurements of ice thickness recorded by a Royal Navy nuclear submarine with those taken two years later in the same area by Pen Hadow, the explorer. [Highly comparable and reliable, no doubt. And doing projections from just two years of data is about as dumb and statistically ignorant as you can get] The two sets of measurements were consistent, revealing that the findings by HMS Tireless in 2007 were not an aberration caused by a particularly warm year.

Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge, said that cargo ships would no longer need to rely on special ice-breaking vessels to cross from the Pacific to the Atlantic via the Northwest Passage. The route would be ice-free for several months every year, cutting more than 3,000 miles from the normal journey from the Far East to Europe via the Suez canal. "The North Pole will be exposed in ten years. You would be able to sail a Japanese car carrier across the North Pole and out into the Atlantic," Professor Wadhams said. "The ice will retreat to a zone north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island by 2020 and that area will be less than half the present summer area. The change in the Arctic summer sea ice is the biggest impact global warming is having on the physical appearance of the planet."

This month, the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, which is part of the University of Colorado, said that Arctic ice coverage was the third-lowest since satellite records began in 1979. The coverage was greater than in 2007 and 2008 largely because of cloudy skies during late summer. Each of the past five years has been one of the five lowest years.

Professor Wadhams, who was on board the submarine supervising sonar measurements of the ice, said that Mr Hadow's findings confirmed that the underlying trend was towards increasingly thin and patchy ice cover. Mr Hadow and his two team members spent 73 days between March 1 and May 7 this year walking 280 miles (450.6km) across the Arctic while taking measurements. They drilled 1,500 holes and found that the average thickness of ice floes was 1.8m (5.9ft). This was too thin to have survived the previous year's summer melting and indicated that the area of moving ice had been formed in open sea during the winter.

Mr Hadow said that future expeditions to the Arctic in summer would need to change their techniques and equipment to cope with more frequent stretches of open water. "A hundred years ago explorers used dogs to haul sledges and then we went through the stage of people hauling sledges," he said. "Now we have people wearing immersion suits and needing to swim, with the sledge floating. I foresee a time when the sledge will become more of a canoe." Mr Hadow said that he had decided to change the focus of his polar expeditions from exploration to collecting data that could help to predict changes in the climate.

Martin Summerkorn, climate change adviser to the WWF Arctic Programme, said that the loss of sea ice predicted by the Cambridge study would have profound consequences beyond the polar region. Without ice to reflect sunlight, the Arctic Ocean would warm more quickly, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases stored in the Arctic permafrost soils. These soils contain twice as much carbon as is in the atmosphere. Mr Summerkorn said that the warming of the Arctic surface waters would accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, speeding up the sea level rise. "This could lead to flooding affecting one quarter of the world's population and extreme global weather changes," he said.


Excuses for Lack of Global Warming

"What Happened to Global Warming?" asks Science, the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in its October 2, 2009, issue, before immediately answering, "Scientists Say Just Wait a Bit." By a "bit," AAAS means a "few years."

The "blogosphere," it seems, "has been having a field day with global warming's apparent decade-long stagnation." The world is supposed to sign a global warming agreement in a few years less than a bit, in Copenhagen in December, to be exact, but "What's the point, bloggers ask?"

So global warming skeptics are "bloggers." Here are a few of these bloggers:

* S. Fred Singer--first Director of the National Weather Satellite Service and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia

* Dr. David Bromwich--President of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology

* Prof. Hendrik Tennekes--Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

* Dr. Christopher Landsea--past Chairman of the American Meteorological Society's Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones

* Dr. Antonino Zichichi--one of the world's foremost physicists, former president of the European Physical Society

* Prof. Freeman Dyson-- another of the world's foremost physicists

* Prof. Tom V. Segalstad--head of the Geological Museum, University of Oslo

* Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu--founding director of the International Arctic Research Center

* Dr. Claude Allegre--member, United States National Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Science

* Dr. Richard Lindzen--Professor of Meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

* Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov--head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science's Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station's Astrometria Project

* Dr. Richard Tol--principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change at Carnegie Mellon University

* Dr. Sami Solanki--director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany

* Dr. Eigils Friis-Christensen--director of the Danish National Space Centre, Vice-President of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy

* Dr. Edward Wegman--former Chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences

For a less incomplete list of bloggers, see The Deniers by Lawrence Solomon. Another list can be found here. A list of 31,000 scientist-bloggers can be found here.

"Climate researchers" do not deign to answer back in the blogosphere, according to AAAS, preferring instead to reply "in their preferred venue, the peer-reviewed literature": "The pause in warming is real enough, but it's just temporary, they are argue from their analyses. A natural swing in climate to the cool side has been holding greenhouse warming back, and such swings don't last forever."

After pretending that global warming skeptics are bloggers, not scientists, and that their home is the blogosphere, not the peer-reviewed literature, AAAS attributes the more-than-decade-long failure of the globe to warm to a "natural swing in climate." In other words, when the climate warms, it is as a result of anthropogenic causes, but when it cools or fails to warm, it is as a result of natural causes. Increases of temperature are human-caused. Decreases are nature-caused.

Skeptics have been saying for decades that the warming from about 1978 to 1998, which was after all only 0.40C, was probably due to natural causes; now AAAS says that the flat or downward trend since 1998 is due to natural causes, which had nothing to do with the rise between 1978 and 1998. They told us that the temperature of the earth would continue to rise, and when it did not, they said, see, our critics were wrong.

People who argue this way are not scientists, but lawyers with a bad case.



Three current articles below

The beginning of the end?

The press are becoming less hysterical and more outspoken about challenges to "global warming". The video accessed below is from the Left-leaning Melbourne "Age" and while it's hardly ground breaking, it's not your typical doom and gloom story. Click HERE

Going fission: Is nuclear power the only way to meet Australia's future energy needs and cut carbon emissions?

Another surprisingly realistic article from "The Age" below. The "Age" is usually just a Leftist rag

THE 500 environmentalists who last month tried to shut down Hazelwood, Victoria's second-biggest power station, have inadvertently illuminated a distinctly Australian problem.

If asked, most Australians would profess to wanting to lower greenhouse gas emissions, now among the highest per person in the world. They would also want to retain living standards, supported by an economy that has slipped largely unscathed through the global financial crisis. And most would want this without resorting to a largely greenhouse-free energy source that has gained favour in many other advanced or growing economies: nuclear power.

The Rudd Government (and most of the states) walk a strange tightrope: they admit generating 80 per cent of the country's electricity with coal creates huge environmental problems but, unlike most other countries, have pinned hopes of future energy supply on unproven technologies to clean up coal, which, incidentally, is also our biggest export earner. The Federal Government's favourite option, carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), has not worked on a large scale and, even if it proves feasible, might be decades away. Says Professor Mark Diesendorf of the University of NSW's Institute of Environmental Studies: ''If it works, and if it is not as expensive as some of the overseas estimates suggest, you are looking at somewhere between 2025 and 2030 before CCS could start really making a difference.''

Three years ago Victoria was applauding a planned clean-coal power station for the Latrobe Valley, which Energy Minister Peter Batchelor said would make it a world leader in clean-coal technology. But last month the project was converted into a ''dual gas'' station. Carbon capture was scrapped. At the earliest, the plant will begin to produce power in 2013. The company responsible, HRL Technologies, says carbon-capture technology will be retro-fitted ''when commercially viable''.

CSIRO scientist Dr Lincoln Paterson, who is researching carbon dioxide storage, says all the elements of the technology exist, but have yet to be tied into a power station. A demonstration project at Loy Yang B is capturing carbon from flue gases. And in a demonstration near Port Campbell last year, 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide was removed from one underground ''reservoir'' and piped into another two kilometres away. ''If cost was not a factor you could do it today . but the reality is you can't ignore cost. Cost is a critical element of the practicality,'' Paterson says.

Against this backdrop, Australia, a uranium exporter, has about 39 per cent of the world's most easily accessible uranium (but political restrictions mean it supplies 19 per cent of the world's demand). The Federal Government even admits that nuclear power helps reduce greenhouse emissions - but refuses to consider using it. ''Nuclear power globally is part of the climate change solution,'' says federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson. ''The Government accepts that and we are committed to the development of the uranium mining industry with all the associated safeguards. Australia, unlike a lot of those other nations, is energy rich, hence our focus on the immediate energy options. Here there is no requirement on us as a nation to go down the nuclear path. ''It is the view of the Australian community that we should pursue all energy options other than nuclear.''

While no proposal to explore nuclear energy has been prepared or is under consideration for cabinet, senior Government figures are speculating about what Australia's options might be if renewable energy technologies and carbon capture don't deliver sufficient cuts in emissions and adequate energy supply.

The Government expects Australia's population to almost double to 35 million by 2049. Even with efficiencies, that is going to mean a big increase in electricity demand.

Professor John Price, of Monash University's mechanical engineering department, says: ''We are reaching a point where there are no choices available to us. What are we going to do in 10 years' time? We are going to have electric cars. We are going to have desalination plants in every capital city. These are huge new demands that are not yet on our electricity system. ''Nuclear energy requires carbon dioxide production during mining and construction, but after that it's really zero.''

Proponents of nuclear power say it is the only way to provide baseload power for a growing economy and meet climate change targets. But in July three high-profile supporters gave up the cause. Hugh Morgan, Ron Walker and Robert de Crespigny applied to deregister their company, Australian Nuclear Energy, in recognition of the Government's hostility. It had been set up in the last years of the Howard government, as the prime minister appointed former Telstra chief Dr Ziggy Switkowski to head an inquiry, which came down in favour of a domestic nuclear power industry.

Morgan says he believes Australia has left itself vulnerable to a future energy supply disaster by placing its hopes in unproven carbon capture and renewables: ''If you need high-voltage electricity to maintain any significant industry in the country you need regular baseload power that they can rely on in 20 or 30 years. That is the umbilical cord to everyone else's industrial investments.''

He says 450 new nuclear plants are planned or under construction globally, which will double the existing number of plants. But he fears even if Australia wanted to start building, because of global demand it would be way behind in the queue.

There is one Labor identity who has spoken out in support of an Australian nuclear industry. National secretary of the Australian Workers' Union Paul Howes says most of the opposition to nuclear power is seemingly from older people influenced by the Cold War nuclear disarmament movement. ''People are worried about nuclear waste, but they are only now beginning to consider the environmental costs of coal,'' says Howes. ''There are new generation reactors being developed which will largely eliminate radioactive waste. They say nuclear is more expensive, but it becomes cheaper than coal when we add a carbon price as well as the costs of carbon capture.''

Indeed, energy production has social costs that the independent Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering tried to quantify this year that are not included in any wholesale price. These include effects on human health, climate and crops. ''Combining greenhouse and health damage costs for Australia gives representative total external costs of $19 a megawatt hour for natural gas, $42 a megawatt hour for black coal and $52 a megawatt hour for brown coal,'' the academy says. These ''external costs'' were found to be much lower for renewable and nuclear energy: from $1.50 for wind power, $5 for solar photovoltaic and up to $7 a megawatt hour for nuclear energy.

IT IS a sparkling, blue-skied day above the hills of Toora, near Wilsons Promontory. From a distance the green ridges seem to have been colonised by a troupe of baton twirlers, as the blades of the wind farm respond to a rising south-westerly. It is about 100 metres to the tops of the blades, prompting critics to lament the industrialisation of the landscape.

Still, wind is the most practical of renewable sources right now, clean and cheap. Victoria has approved wind farms up to 2000 megawatt capacity (one megawatt equals 1 million watts, roughly enough to power 400 homes a year), with another 2500 megawatts in prospect, but since it is an intermittent resource, wind delivers only a third of its nominated capacity.

If fully deployed, Victoria's water desalination plant will consume 92 megawatts. To compensate, AGL will build a wind farm of more than 300 megawatt capacity. With more than 150 turbines, Macarthur will dwarf Toora's 12 turbines, but wind energy is only ever a top-up to baseload power. In Europe, particularly Germany, Denmark and Spain, experience has made energy authorities reinforce wind energy with baseload coal or nuclear up to 90 per cent of their potential.

Martin Ferguson adds that solar photovoltaic energy - which converts sunlight directly to electricity - is not a renewable energy answer.

Solar thermal energy may hold more potential. A German company, Solar Millennium AG, has built several solar thermal plants in southern Spain that, by storing heat during the day, can run at full power for 7« hours after sunset. ''Now that we have thermal storage it is no longer true that solar energy is not a baseload electricity source,'' says Diesendorf.

Solar Millennium is looking to Australia for expansion through the Federal Government's Solar Flagship program, but its existing plants are, at 50 megawatts, less than one-thirtieth the capacity of Hazelwood. The solar cause also suffered a huge setback last month when Australia's leading solar energy developer, Solar Systems, which was to build a 154-megawatt power station in Mildura, went into liquidation. The persistent doubt is that renewables may not economically deliver sufficient capacity to replace existing power stations.

Nuclear power, which does provide baseload power stations of similar capacity to coal, continues to be deeply opposed by many Australians. A poll conducted this year by the Uranium Information Centre found the 40 to 55 years age group most trenchantly opposed to nuclear power. This is the generation that grew up in the shadow of the Cold War; that experienced the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s; that witnessed Chernobyl and the breakdown of the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania, overlaid with cultural influences including films such as the apocalyptic Dr Strangelove and the nuclear industry conspiracies The China Syndrome and Silkwood.

In the face of climate change, younger people are less resistant.

However, the climate change threat has not diminished opposition from veteran anti-nuclear campaigner La Trobe University professor Joseph Camilleri. ''I don't think we have anywhere near a fully fledged, widely accepted, long-term system of waste disposal. Until and unless that comes through . to be thinking of a substantial expansion of the industry is foolhardy,'' he says.

Equally pertinent, he says, is that while nuclear power, in theory, may help counter climate change, in practice it is problematic. The reality is the sizeable expansion of nuclear energy would take place in parts of Asia and Latin America, which may not meet the operational and waste-handling challenges. There would be serious questions about ''the technical, regulatory and other requirements, and whether on grounds of safety, waste disposal and proliferation they would be able to meet the standard that we currently accept in most parts of the industrialised West'', Camilleri says.

But so-called fourth-generation nuclear reactors, which yield much more power with less nuclear fuel, actually consume large amounts of their own dangerous waste. Some have already been successfully tested in pilot plants.

Neverthless, Mark Wakeham, director of Environment Victoria's anti-Hazelwood campaign, says political and practical obstacles such as the long construction time for nuclear plants, stand in the way. ''It takes decades and we don't have decades,'' Wakeham says. ''Every proposed nuclear power plant in the last two decades internationally has delivered over budget and has been significantly delayed. Our view is it's inherently problematic. It's a very large consumer of water so there's very few locations that you could actually site a nuclear power station in Victoria. Basically it would need to be near Port Phillip Bay or Western Port Bay, and if you reckon it's hard to get a wind farm constructed in Victoria at the moment, try building a nuclear power station.''

Monash University's Price, who has worked as an engineer in the UK nuclear power industry, says that the public perception in Australia is at odds with reality. ''[Nuclear energy] is a great deal cheaper than wind power and solar power, though is more expensive than brown coal,'' Price says. ''There have been very few large accidents. In fact, only Chernobyl stands out, and that is not a reactor system that would have been approved in the West. The other reactor systems have all had terrific records.''

Although the Federal Government remains resolutely anti-nuclear, it has an agency that is quite the reverse. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) runs Australia's only nuclear plant at Lucas Heights in Sydney's outer south-west, the 20-megawatt OPAL reactor, a joint German-Argentinian design that opened last year. (Lucas Heights was founded in 1958 in the early stages of the Cold War by the Menzies government with a 10-megawatt reactor, which was mainly used for nuclear medicine.)

HEAD of ANSTO Ziggy Switkowski believes that in its opposition to nuclear power Australia is alone among developed countries committed to deep greenhouse reductions. ''Australia stands alone in claiming that we are different, that we have a whole range of alternatives that in combination will get us to our target. It is ambitious but the numbers just don't work,'' he says. ''[We must] provide for the next generation of baseload electricity generation with clean energy. The only way to do that is with nuclear power. There is no other alternative. ''If we accept we want to move to a carbon-free economy by 2050, while there will be contributions from solar, wind and geothermal, the largest driver of that transition globally will be nuclear power. I don't think the case can be made that Australia is different, because we are not.''

CSIRO's Lincoln Paterson says he is no advocate for the nuclear industry, but even accounting for the Chernobyl tragedy, nuclear is relatively low risk considering 6000 or so people die annually from coal mining in China. ''There is a risk with nuclear, but there's a pretty horrendous risk if we do nothing,'' Paterson says. ''I've flown in and out of Bangladesh and there are 160 million people within 10 metres of sea level, and you start wondering what's going to happen to them. ''Wind by itself can't do it. Carbon capture and storage by itself can't do it. Nuclear by itself can't do it. It's going to require all of those technologies to make a contribution, and that's going to depend on where you are in the world and what the particular attributes of your country are.''

It is, Camilleri says, one of the most serious challenges humanity has faced in the past several hundred years, calling for extraordinary political and technical responses. And we are not there yet.


Sun goes down on solar-powered Australian schools

I suppose we have to be thankful for small mercies but the amount of taxpayer funds already spent on Greenie tokenism that will achieve precisely nothing is a disgrace. Typical of uncaring Leftist waste of other people's money, though

THE Rudd government's $480 million "national solar schools" program was quietly suspended yesterday afternoon via a notice posted on the popular scheme's website. "The National Solar Schools Program has been suspended to any new claims in 2009-10. This suspension takes effect as of 3:00pm 15 October 2009," the notice said.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett, who did not formally announce the program's closure, said 1300 schools had been approved under the program last year and 500 had already been approved this financial year, with another 700 "still in the pipeline for assessment". Those 700 would be funded if eligible, and additional money made available if required. [Plenty of money for Greenie causes] But no more applications will now be considered until next financial year.

Announcing the program in July 2008, Mr Garrett said "the Rudd Labor government wants every Australian school -- primary, secondary, public and private -- to have the opportunity to become a 'solar school' and the commencement of this half-a-billion dollar program delivers on our election commitment." "... Industry too will benefit from the program from the $480 million federal funding injection, creating increased demand for large solar power systems for school roofs," Mr Garrett said at the time.

The suspension is the latest in a series of changes and cuts to government solar programs, including the introduction of a means test on the household solar panel rebate and the ending of the remote solar program.

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said it was "amazing that this government can waste $16billion on unwanted school halls but suspend a key solar program that every school appears to want".

The program has already hit implementation hurdles with NSW's centralised tendering process meaning no school had installed panels more than a year after the program started, and many schools running into problems hooking their panels into the power grid.

Mr Garrett's spokesman said the Department of the Environment would contact every school registered under the program as well as those with applications on hand to advise of the suspension until next year. Under the program schools were eligible for up to $50,000 to install solar power systems, or energy efficiency spending on items such as lighting, fans or awnings. Rainwater tanks, small wind turbines, small hydro power generators and skylights were also eligible.



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, October 15, 2009

They know that they don't know

If cap and trade is meant to solve our climate crisis, why does the bill include funding to understand climate change?

Section 451 of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade legislation includes funding to research the effects of “human-induced or natural changes in the global environment (including alterations in climate, land productivity, oceans or other water resources, atmospheric chemistry, biodiversity, and ecological systems) that may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life.” The government will pay for five-year reports on scientific knowledge regarding climate change and how various resource capacities are affected by it (Sec. 451).

The bill also establishes a National Climate Service to “advance understanding of climate variability and change at the global, national, regional and local levels,” among other climate change-related functions (Sec. 452, b1). Provisions for a report that will identify “specific needs for new climate products to be delivered by each Federal agency and its partner organizations,” as well as “potential user groups and stakeholders that may be served by expanding climate products and services” (Sec. 452, d2B(iii-iv)). It also creates a “Natural Resource Climate Change Adaptation Panel,” composed of the heads of various related government agencies, to serve as a forum for interagency consultation on the national resource climate change adaptation strategy.

A few things are certain. The verdict on climate change is quite uncertain. A recent BBC News article notes that “for the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.” The long-term trend of increasing temperatures is something to study, as is climate change in its entirety. If climate change is going to cause dramatic sea level rises or a new ice age, whether it’s human-induced or not, a changing climate could be a major problem. But it’s not right now and there’s no near-term imminent danger that would justify an expensive response, which most Americans seem to understand according to recent polling.

Indeed, it seems that they are seeing right through the façade of global warming alarmism. The American public requires more than overplayed claims by Vice President Gore that global warming not only caused Hurricane Katrina but that Katrina was itself evidence that we were entering a new era of deadly hurricanes. Despite these assertions, the hurricane seasons in 2006-09 have, by most measures, been quite normal. As Heritage energy and environment expert Ben Lieberman often states, everything that you hear about global warming that sounds terrifying is not true, and what is true is not particularly terrifying. The public gets this, which is why global warming ranks low as a priority of issues for Congress to address.

Studying the climate is worthwhile and Waxman-Markey would be an acceptable bill if it solely included these provisions for the world to better understand climate change. But pairing it with a costly cap and trade system, along with countless other problematic provisions, as the world recognizes that the scientific debate over global warming is far from over is not the solution to the nation’s dwindling climate concerns.


Apparently a Less-Warm Planet Requires Loads of Pork, Red Tape, and Union Favoritism

An Associated Press story last week related "good news" about expected heating costs this winter: namely, it will cost people less to heat their homes this year, according to the Energy Information Administration. To read the story, one would think that the government considers that to be good news, too.

Under a cap-and-trade regime, however, this same news would be considered calamitous. By the government, that is – consumers would, of course, remain consistent in their opinion that higher energy costs are bad news and lower costs, good. Making energy more expensive is what the whole cap-and-trade scheme depends on.

The House legislation known as cap-and-trade, HR 2454 (Waxman-Markey), is intended to limit (cap) greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States, including especially carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, starting in 2012. The cap would be set initially at a level 3 percent lower than U.S. emissions in 2005 and would tighten by 2050 to be at 83 percent lower than 2005 emissions.

It is important to understand that emissions are a byproduct of energy production, especially from fossil fuels, and 85 percent of U.S. energy is from fossil fuels. The cap would begin by restricting energy production until it is forced into so-called "green" energy alternatives (which never include emissions-free but maddeningly efficient nuclear power) — alternatives that are far too inefficient to work without government forcing people onto them.

By effectively limiting energy production and forcing new production to come from new, highly inefficient sources, the legislation would greatly increase the cost of electricity on everyone: the working poor, families struggling on the cusp of poverty, college students, elderly on fixed incomes, small businesses, everybody.

Think of every subgroup of people that has ever been held forth by the Democrats for universal sympathy as a substitute for an argument in favor of some piece of legislation. Think of every time the Democrats have ever said we must pass such-and-such bill because it would help this group of people and hey, the only conceivable reason someone wouldn't support this bill is if he hates those people. Well, of all those groups, every last one of them would be harmed by cap-and-trade. On purpose.

The ripple effects — the trickle-up misery — of the government deliberately raising the cost of energy in this country is hard to imagine even during a steep recession. According to Heritage Foundation research, it would reduce aggregate GDP by $9.4 trillion by 2035, kill about 1.15 million jobs per year, cause a 90-percent spike in electricity rates (adjusted for inflation), add to the federal debt nearly $30,000 per person (adjusted for inflation), and cause the average family's annual energy bill to jump by over $1,200 (inflation-adjusted).

The Heritage Foundation might even be sunshine optimists in their estimation. A Freedom of Information Act request by Christopher C. Horner at the Competitive Enterprise Institute resulted (eventually) in the public knowledge that the U.S. Treasury Dept. has estimated the total in new taxes under cap-and-trade would be between $100- to $200-billion per year, meaning the cost per American household would be over $1,700 per year.

Still, it's never enough to favor or oppose legislation based on looking at one side of the ledger sheet. Who would benefit under a cap-and-trade scheme as envisioned in Waxman-Markey?

One group that has already benefited has been swing-vote congressmen and their friends. The week that it passed the House, $130,000's worth of PAC donations were made to 41 swing Democrats, and where campaign donations weren't enough to do the trick, pork-barrel politicking was (a New York Times headline put it this way: "With Something for Everyone, Climate Bill Passed").

If the bill were to become law, then benefactors would also include the ever-growing list of favored businesses that would be granted free carbon allowances. Along with the arbitrary caps the government would place on emissions would be emissions permits, or allowances, that the government would institute. Allowances signify how much carbon a business could legally emit. With emissions capped, there would be only so many allowances available, and they would be valuable commodities that "cleaner and greener" businesses could sell to "still-polluting" firms (this is the "trade" portion of cap-and-trade). How to distribute those allowances initially would be very important; the Obama administration wants them auctioned off, whereas the House leadership found it necessary for the bill's passage to promise giveaways of allowances to firms in key representatives' districts.

The market for those allowances would be staggering; by some estimates, in five years it would become the largest commodities market in the world. Even White House budget director Peter Orszag said the prospect of giving firm the allowances for free "would represent the largest corporate welfare program that has ever been enacted in the history of the United States."

It follows, then, that other benefactors would be those involved in the newly created "carbon market" — energy companies, commodities brokers, government bureaucrats, and speculators. The bureaucrats would gain also from the many new government jobs needed for information gathering, a National Greenhouse Gas Registry, and the like. Corporate compliance officers would also find their services in more demand to help firms manage the even thornier red-tape jungle.

Domestic firms would benefit from embedded protectionist measures ostensibly to prevent "leakage," by which is meant imports produced by foreign firms untouched by emissions strictures or international firms moving jobs out of the U.S. in order to avoid them. The bill recognizes that it would impose such a massive cost on production that it would, if outside competitors didn't also have to bear it, cripple U.S. industry, so the answer is to institute an "Emission Allowance Rebate Program" for domestic firms and allow the president to require importers to show proof of carbon offsets or emissions allowances (which would amount to a tariff).

Carbon offsets, by the way, would be another way that firms who emit more than their "fair share" could legally continue to do so — they would have to purchase carbon offsets from landscapers and tree planters (everyone knows shrubs and trees scrub the environment of carbon pollution). Forestry interests would thereby be other significant benefactors of Waxman-Markey.

Labor unions would benefit from the bill's requirements of contractors and subcontractors to be subject to the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, especially the "prevailing wage" portion that so effectively prices out small and minority-owned businesses. And anyone with a project that can wrangle it a designation as a "Green Construction Careers Demonstration Project" would rest assured in the knowledge that the government would see to it the project would not fail. There is also a highly specific list of "targeted workers" for green construction projects who would also benefit, a few examples of which include child welfare recipients, residents in a community empowerment zone, residents in an area in which at least one-fifth of households during the past two years never exceeded 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, and displaced homemakers.

Finally, certain industries would benefit as well, including such pre-Industrial Revolution powerhouses as leather and allied goods, bags, paper, all kinds of publishing (newspapers, periodicals, books), and cutlery and hand tools.

Benefits to the planet itself — remember the ostensible reason for such a gargantuan program that only incidentally would raise over $1,700 in new taxes per American household? — are entirely theoretical. Apparently some estimates are that by 2050 the planet would be some very small fraction of a degree Celsius cooler-than-projected-warming (which means still warmer, but by a smidge less). Meanwhile, other, poorer nations will continue to chase after energy generation because it is so important to growing economies, lifting living standards, and in general improving life and the enjoyment thereof. China's rate of growth in its energy production is such that within another two decades its emissions level would equal that of the entire world's right now.

Again, weighing the full costs and benefits of proposed legislation is what responsible citizens do. Cap-and-trade's costs may be significant, but don't forget its benefits include increasing government corruption, growing bureaucracy, promoting pork-barrel politics, exploiting the poor, and empowering labor unions. Add to that freedom from the fear that winter heating costs might fall again as they did in 2009-10, and the true worth of the idea should become evident to all.


Apple, Nike and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Putting green politics above the interests of shareholders

The recent corporate resignations from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have played in the media as a case of enlightened corporate stewardship vs. blinkered old businesses. But there's far more to this story—not least the way that Apple and Nike are putting green political correctness above the long-term interests of their own shareholders.

The Chamber needs "a more progressive stance on this issue" of climate change, declared Apple Vice President Catherine Novelli in a letter of resignation from the business lobby on October 5. Added Nike, announcing its resignation on September 30 from the Chamber board though retaining its membership: "US businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change." Both decisions were ostentatiously leaked to the media.

The first point to understand is the role of Al Gore, who is a member of the Apple board and perhaps the leading supporter of President Obama's cap-and-tax anticarbon legislation. Mr. Gore has also invested in renewable energy technologies that could make him even richer than he already is if new climate rules make renewables more competitive with carbon energy.

Meanwhile, Apple's Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook happens to sit on the board of . . . Nike. We're told that Nike CEO Mike Parker didn't discuss the Chamber move with his full board of directors before it was announced, and Nike didn't return our phone call asking for comment. In any case, we doubt it's an accident that Nike and Apple acted against the Chamber at the same time—and just when Democrats are trying to build new momentum for cap and trade in the Senate.

Both companies may figure they can afford a U.S. carbon tax because most of their manufacturing is done outside the U.S. Apple has an enormous "carbon footprint" of some 10 million annual tons of emissions to make and use its power-hungry gadgets. But nearly all of those products are made in China and other Asian countries where there are no carbon limits and aren't likely to be any time soon, if ever. According to calculations based on Apple's emissions figures, were the company to manufacture in the U.S., the Boxer-Kerry bill pending in the Senate would hit Apple with carbon taxes between $43 million and $108 million a year.

Nike, meanwhile, makes most of its shoes and apparel in 700 contract factories in countries such as South Korea and Vietnam—which also won't sign up for the Boxer-Kerry energy tax. The larger point is that neither Apple nor Nike would pay as much under a cap-and-trade bill as, say, the maker of Bobcat excavators in Bismarck, N.D., or your average Midwest natural gas utility. Green virtue is easier when someone else is paying for it.

Yet even this self-interested calculation is likely to be short-sighted for both companies. Since climate change is a global issue, green activists won't stop their carbon pursuit at the U.S. border. It wouldn't be long after cap and trade passed in the U.S. that Nike and Apple were pressured to move their manufacturing out of countries that haven't signed Kyoto II. That would threaten their production lines and cost structure, with potential damage to sales and competitiveness.

And if the companies fail to relocate, the next anticarbon lobbying policy step will be a carbon tariff against products made in China or Vietnam and sold in the U.S. A carbon tariff is already part of the House cap-and-trade bill and is gaining currency among Congressional protectionists, most recently Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). As companies that import nearly all of their products, Apple and Nike would be especially vulnerable. We wonder if Messrs. Cook and Parker thought through any of this before committing their employees and investors to this crusade.

The Chamber's great sin, according to Nike and Apple, is that it questioned the Environmental Protection Agency's right to regulate all greenhouse gases without new legislation. The Chamber has said that while it supports Congressional efforts to regulate emissions, it opposes EPA's attempt to grab that power for itself on the basis of an elastic reading of the Clean Air Act. This is a major issue for many Chamber members.

If companies are going to dump the Chamber over a single dispute, then the overall influence of business in Washington is likely to decline. The Chamber's job isn't to favor one company's agenda over another but to stand broadly for free trade, low taxes and limited regulation—principles that help U.S. business as a whole.

Having abandoned their business allies on climate change, Apple and Nike might wake up one day to discover they need those friends on one of their crucial issues. It will serve them right if they find themselves alone in the Beltway square.


Whatever happened to global warming? How freezing temperatures are starting to shatter climate change theory

Article below from Britain's mainstream "Daily Mail"

In the freezing foothills of Montana, a distinctly bitter blast of revolution hangs in the air. And while the residents of the icy city of Missoula can stave off the -10C chill with thermals and fires, there may be no easy remedy for the wintry snap's repercussions. The temperature has shattered a 36-year record. Further into the heartlands of America, the city of Billings registered -12C on Sunday, breaking the 1959 barrier of -5C.

Closer to home, Austria is today seeing its earliest snowfall in history with 30 to 40 centimetres already predicted in the mountains.

Such dramatic falls in temperatures provide superficial evidence for those who doubt that the world is threatened by climate change. But most pertinent of all, of course, are the growing volume of statistics. According to the National Climatic Data Centre, Earth's hottest recorded year was 1998. If you put the same question to NASA, scientists will say it was 1934, followed by 1998. The next three runner-ups are 1921, 2006 and 1931.

Which all blows a rather large hole in the argument that the earth is hurtling towards an inescapable heat death prompted by man's abuse of the environment. Indeed, some experts believe we should forget global warming and turn our attention to an entirely differently phenomenon - global cooling.

The evidence for both remains inconclusive, which is unlikely to help the legions of world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December to negotiate a new climate change deal.

There is no doubt the amount of man-made carbon dioxide, the gas believed to be responsible for heating up the planet, has increased phenomenally over the last 100 years.

For the final few decades of the 20th century and as the atmosphere's composition changed, scientists recorded the planet was warming rapidly and made a positive correlation between the two. But then something went wrong. Rather then continuing to soar, the Earth's temperature appeared to stabilise, smashing all conventional predictions. The development seemed to support the view of climate change cynics who claimed global warming was simply a natural cycle and not caused by man.

Some doubters believe that the increase was actually down to the amount of energy from the Sun, which provides 98 per cent of the Earth's warmth.

Previously, the fluctuating amount of radiation given out by the sun was thought to play a large role in the climate. But Dr Piers Forster from Leeds University, who was part of the team to win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change, studied solar output - the heat leaving the sun's surface - and cosmic ray intensity over the last 40 years, and compared those figures with global average surface temperature. He told the BBC: 'Warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity.'

Scientists have intensified the search for alternative explanations. Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University believes the key to the connumdrum may be the temperature of the world's seas. Figures show the Pacific Ocean has been cooling over the last few years, and Easterbrook's research shows a correlation between this and global temperatures. He says the oceans have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically, known as Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO). And after a 30-year heating cycle in the 1980s and 1990s, pushing temperatures above average, we are now moving into a cooler period.

Professor Easterbrook said: 'In the last few years [the Pacific Ocean] has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down. 'The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling.' His figures show that the global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles.

Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), stressed the impact of the ocean currents in the North Atlantic - a phenomenon called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Meridional Oscillation. He believes we may be in a period of cooling - but that it will be temporary before global warming reasserts itself. He said the NAO may have been responsible for some of the rapid rise in temperatures of the last three decades. 'But how much? The jury is still out,' he said.

So is the sun really going down on global warming? The Met Office is not convinced. They incorporate solar and oceanic cycles into their models, and they say that - even if there are periods of slower warming, or temporary cooling, the long-term trend in global temperatures is still on the up.


Rainforests and the creatures in them FLOURISHED during prehistoric global warming

Fossil boffins say that dense triple-canopy rainforests, home among other things to gigantic one-tonne boa constrictors, flourished millions of years ago in temperatures 3-5°C warmer than those seen today - as hot as some of the more dire global-warming projections.

The new fossil evidence comes from the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia, previously the location where the remains of the gigantic 40-foot Titanoboa cerrejonensis were discovered. The snake's discoverers attracted flak from global-warming worriers at the time for saying that the cold-blooded creature would only have been able to survive in jungles a good bit hotter than Colombia's now are.

But now, according to further diggings, there is more evidence to support the idea that a proper rainforest similar to those now seen in the tropics existed at the time of the Titanoboa - despite the much hotter temperatures. This could be seen as conflicting with the idea that a rise of more than two or three degrees would kill off today's jungles with devastating consequences for the global ecosystem of which we are all part.

"Rainforests, with their palms and spectacular flowering-plant diversity, seem to have come into existence in the Paleocene epoch, shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago," says Carlos Jaramillo of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Forests before the mass extinction were quite different from our fossil rainforest at Cerrejón. We find new plant families, large, smooth-margined leaves and a three-tiered structure of forest floor, understory shrubs and high canopy."

Jaramillo and other boffins from the parent Smithsonian Institution in the US probed fossilised leaf remains and identified the plant families Araceae, Arecaceae, Fabaceae, Lauraceae, Malvaceae and Menispermaceae - which are apparently "still among the most common neotropical rainforest families".

The scientists say that leaf fossil evidence and the very size of the Titanoboa indicate that the jungles of the Paleocene saw temperatures of 30-32°C, as opposed to the 27°C common in the Colombian rainforest today.

A common goal of global-warming reduction efforts is to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees, though some say this is unachievable and a rise of at least 4 degrees is inevitable. The well-known Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 2007 predicted a rise of 3 degrees by 2100.

The new research could mean that - assuming the warming arrives on schedule - that the world's jungles will not turn to desert as is sometimes expected. Rather, a picture more like that of 65 million years ago might emerge.

"We're going to have a novel climate where it is very hot and very wet. How tropical forest species will respond to this novel climate, we don't know," senior Smithsonian boffin S Joseph Wright told the IPCC at the time.

Fortunately nobody seems to be suggesting that global warming will see the return of enormous 40-foot constrictors. Even the humdrum modern snakes of today's rainforest occasionally perform gut-busting feats such as scoffing entire jaguars, so Titanoboa would presumably have regarded a human being as merely a light snack.

It's possible that the lush superwarm jungles of the globally-warmed future might be a bit less diverse than today's, however, as it seems that the old-time ones were.

"We were very surprised by the low plant diversity of this rainforest. Either we are looking at a new type of plant community that still hadn't had time to diversify, or this forest was still recovering from the events that caused the mass extinction 65 million years ago," says Scott Wing, another Smithsonian scientist involved in the studies.

The scientists say their latest research will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal shortly.


"Drought" in some parts of Australia -- such as Melbourne -- is more a failure of "Green" governments than a failure of nature

ENOUGH water to supply Melbourne's needs for a month has been lost because of the Brumby Government's failure to live up to its own water-wise campaign. As Victorians endure tough restrictions, more than 30 billion litres of water was lost into Port Phillip Bay because there wasn't pumping capacity on the Yarra River to save it, the Herald Sun reports.

Thirty billion litres of water would:

* WATER our city parks for 60 years.

* SUPPLY Melbourne's water needs for a month.

* IRRIGATE 24,000ha of farmland.

* FILL 12,000 Olympic-sized pools.

Angry ratepayers, farmers and the Opposition all slammed this failure.

About 30 billion litres flowed down the Yarra River and overflowed from O'Shannassy Reservoir before it could be pumped to Sugarloaf Reservoir because the pump is limited to 1 billion litres a day.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu blamed penny-pinching by the State Government. "John Brumby spends plenty of taxpayers' money on TV ads lecturing Victorians about water use, but can't find the money to upgrade vital water pumps at Yering Gorge," he said.

Victorian Ratepayers Association president Jack Davis said it was a shame to waste even a drop of water when it was so desperately needed. "How many people are installing water tanks at their own expense ... while opportunities like this are missed," he said.

Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad said the water would have translated into millions of dollars in productivity among farmers. "When you consider that they are taking 75 billion litres down the north-south pipeline it would have been a whole lot cheaper to harvest this water."

Jan Beer, from a lobby group against the north-south pipeline, said it was "disgraceful" that the water flowed out to sea. "Why spend $1 billion to build the pipeline when they can catch the water in their own backyards?" she said.

Melbourne Water manager of water supply John Woodland said O'Shannassy was Victoria's smallest reservoir and didn't take much rain to fill. "When it spills, it spills into the Yarra and we pick as much of this as we can further down the river and pump it into Sugarloaf Reservoir."

Water Minister Tim Holding said Melbourne Water was taking as much as it was legally entitled to and protecting the health of the Yarra at the same time.


Comment on the above by Andrew Bolt

Oi, you! Yes, you under the umbrella. Splash over here and check out Melbourne Water's website. Look at its latest excuse for not building the dam that would have spared Melbourne its insane - and insanely expensive - water restrictions. "Why aren't we building another dam?" it burbles, shamed at last into defending its Labor masters' failure to build what we needed years ago.

"Unfortunately, we cannot rely on this kind of rainfall like we used to." We can't? Stick your head outside, sunshine. See those clouds? We've had a monster September for rain over our catchments - falls 60 per cent above average - and now check the latest forecast. More rain and showers for days.

No water for a new dam? Watch the last excuse for the Government's mismanagement of our water supplies being washed away. Good god, the water now flowing to waste in the sea, thanks to that bungling.

Check this time the flood warnings for the Yarra. Which government failed to put in bigger pumps that could have grabbed another 30 billion litres of this to fill our Sugarloaf Reservoir - or enough water to supply Melbourne for at least three weeks?

Check the O'Shannassy reservoir upstream, overflowing for almost two months now. Which government failed to make this puny dam bigger, not just to catch more of this water, but to help save the Upper Yarra from flooding? Check also the Glenmaggie Reservoir on the Macalister, which is now so full that it's had to tip out as much as 40 billion litres these past few days. That's as much water wasted as Melbourne uses in a whole month.

You see, the Glenmaggie is not only another reservoir that's too small, but it's even been left unconnected to Melbourne's water network.

Of course, decades ago, back when dams were no sin, there were government plans to build a bigger dam farther up the Macalister, and build a short diversion so the water could fill Melbourne's biggest reservoir, the still-two-thirds empty Thomson. But it wasn't done, was it? Dams were suddenly evil. Hear it from the Government's Water Resources Strategy Committee, which in 2003 ruled out any new dam because of its "unacceptable environmental and social cost". Or read it in the Government's 2006 "water strategy", which called dams "no longer ... socially acceptable".

In fact, so unacceptable were they to this green-maddened Government that it turned the dam reservation on Gippsland's Mitchell River into a national park. And, just to make doubly sure, it then declared the Mitchell a "heritage river" never to be dammed.

How the Government must now be praying the Mitchell does not again flood, too, this spring. Now that would really drive home to voters the vast stupidity of this irrational ban. Why so stupid? Because the Mitchell flows so strongly that a Melbourne University water resources audit published in the Federal Government's Natural Resources Atlas in 2000 estimated a new dam there could harvest 435 billion litres a year - or about all the water Melbourne now takes from its current 10 dams.

Indeed, in one flood two years ago, more water went to waste down the undammed Mitchell than Melbourne used last year. And how much would this dam cost? $1.4 billion, admitted Minister for (No) Water Tim Holding last year.

Let me draw a comparison that will put this blur of figures into sharp focus. To avoid a new dam, the Brumby Government will now build a $3.5 billion desalination plant to each year use expensive power to turn sea water into 150 billion litres of drinking water. That's right: the Government's plan will produce just a third of the water of a Mitchell dam, but at three times the price. Which, incidentally, is why your water bills are now going up, up, up.

What a price we're paying for the Government's green faith - and ours. Billions more for less water.

Even that isn't the full catastrophe. To "save" the environment from thirsty Victorians, the Government for years preached that all we needed do to survive its man-made shortage of water was to use less of the stuff. So to "save" a river, the Government vandalised a city. Its harsh water bans killed gardens, closed public fountains, shut ovals and forced home owners and councils to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on rainwater tanks and drought-resistant lawns instead.

Don't buy the excuse that all this is the fault not of blind politicians but of a never-before-seen drought, or even of "global warming". There's actually been no warming of the globe for eight years, and this drought is no worse than some others we've suffered in even the short time of white settlement.

This is, after all, the land of "drought and flooding rain", and the real story is this: Melbourne has grown by a million more people in the 26 years since we built our last dam. But rather than look for water, we went to water instead, and fell prey to a green faith that has left this city on water bans, even when our rivers are in flood and rains we were told had gone once more fall on our roofs.



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, October 14, 2009

The Briffa "hockeystick" was based on a SINGLE TREE!

A full examination of the data chosen by the Warmists themselves shows that we live in an era of exceptional temperature stability. There has been NO global warming over the last 2,000 years -- including the 20th century.

I originally reported Steve McIntyre's demolition of the Briffa "hockeystick" on Sept. 28 but I am still catching up with some details: It seems that Briffa's Russian trees are even more unsatisfactory proof of anything than Michael Mann's Bristlecone pines. Briffa's British "Hockeystick" graph is just as deceitful as Mann's American one.

Instead of the normal statistical practice of disregarding outliers (grossly atypical cases), Keith Briffa built his entire global temperature reconstruction on one! He used just one atypical Russian tree as his basis for describing 2000 years of world climate history! He is a disgrace to science, a disgrace to Britain's Met office and (probably) a disgrace to Malta. Anthony Watts has read Briffa's lame reply to Steve McIntyre and rebuts it as follows:
1. Plotting the entire Hantemirov and Shiyatov data set, as I’ve done here, shows it to be almost flat not only in the late 20th century, but through much of its period.

(Larger graph here)

How do you explain why your small set of 10 trees shows a late 20th century spike while the majority of Hantemirov and Shiyatov data does not? You write in your rebuttal: “He offers no justification for excluding the original data; and in one version of the chronology where he retains them, he appears to give them inappropriate low weights.”

Justify your own method of selecting 10 trees out of a much larger data set. You’ve failed to do that. That’s the million dollar question.

Briffa Writes: “My application of the Regional Curve Standardisation method to these same data was intended to better represent the multi-decadal to centennial growth variations necessary to infer the longer-term variability in average summer temperatures in the Yamal region: to provide a direct comparison with the chronology produced by Hantemirov and Shiyatov.“

OK Fair enough, but why not do it for the entire data set, why only a small subset?

2. It appears that your results are heavily influenced by a single tree, as Steve McIntyre has just demonstrated here.

10 CRU trees ending in 1990. Age-adjusted index

As McIntyre points out: “YAD061 reaches 8 sigma and is the most influential tree in the world.”

Seems like an outlier to me when you have one tree that can skew the entire climate record. Explain yourself on why you failed to catch this.

3. Why the hell did you wait 10 years to release the data? You did yourself no favors by deferring reasonable requests to archive data to enable replication. It was only when you became backed into a corner by The Royal Society that you made the data available. Your delays and roadblocks (such as providing an antique data format of the punched card era), plus refusing to provide metadata says more about your integrity than the data itself. Your actions make it appear that you did not want to release the data at all. Your actions are not consistent with the actions of the vast majority of scientists worldwide when asked for data for replication purposes. Making data available on paper publication for replication is the basis of proper science, which is why The Royal Society called you to task.

Yet while it takes years to produce your data despite repeated requests, you can mount a response to Steve McIntyre’s findings on that data in a couple of days, through illness even.

Do I believe Dr. Keith Briffa? No.

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

Below is the "unmassaged" temperature record as seen in Russian tree rings (From here). It is as flat as a tack. Yet Briffa published many papers in learned journals over the years claiming the contrary.

He has dragged the name of the Climatic Research Unit (at the University of East Anglia) through the mud. Will CRU fire him? We will see. They are all in pretty deep there. The journals that have published Briffa's papers should certainly withdraw them if they have any respect for their own good name. It is a rarity for a journal to withdraw an article. It is normally done only where there is a case of complete fraud. This is such an case.

I reproduce the graph above simply to show Briffa's dishonesty. Using tree rings to represent temperature is very dubious. Temperature is only one influence on tree rings. Actual thermometer data does however go back 350 years in central England and it shows the 20th century average temperature to be a touch COOLER than the pre-industrial 18th century. So, on that much firmer basis, human industrial activity has had NO effect on temperature.

For all we know, however, central England may be as atypical as Briffa's tree. It is claims that "the debate is over" that are the absurdity. It was never true and there is now no trace of truth in it. We may in fact NEVER have a precise reconstruction of past global temperatures. And even the concept of a global temperature may not make much sense, considering that one place on the globe may be unusually warm while another is unusually cool.

Given that onomastics has long been a hobby of mine (No. Onomastics has nothing to do with the sin of Onan) I would be interested to hear if anyone knows the meaning of the surname Briffa. It is a Maltese name as far as I know so if you know any Maltese, ask them.


Let us start from the data. The plot of the mean global temperature anomaly in deg C for the data from the Hadley Centre from year 1850 to 2008 is shown below.

Figure 1. Mean global temperature anomaly in deg C for data from the Hadley Centre

The above graph shows a linear warming trend line given by the following equation.

Linear Warming Component of Anomaly in deg C = 0.44(Year-1850)/100 - 0.52

Superimposed on this linear warming component of mean global temperature anomaly (linear anomaly), there is an oscillating component of the mean global temperature anomaly (oscillating anomaly) that moves up and down about the linear anomaly line given by the equation:

Oscillating Anomaly = Anomaly - Linear Anomaly.

Now, the question that must be answered is that after significant increase in human emission of CO2, do the temperature anomaly data show a shift in mean global temperatures in the last century?

In order to answer this question, let us address the following three questions:

1. How does the linear warming in the last century of 0.44 deg C/100 years, shown above, compare with the linear warming two centuries ago?

2. Is the oscillating anomaly in the last century, after widespread use of fossil fuels, unusual?

3. What is the current trend in the mean global temperature anomaly?

Global cooling by 0.71 deg C from 1878 to 1911, for 33 years.

Global warming by 0.53 deg C from 1911 to 1944, for 33 years.

Global cooling by 0.48 deg C from 1944 to 1976, for 32 years.

Global warming by 0.67 deg C from 1976 to 1998, for 22 years.

It was unfortunate that the maximum of the oscillating anomaly occurred in 1998 near the end of the last century. This was just a coincidence. At the end of the last century, if the oscillating anomaly had been at its minimum, as in 1911 with an oscillating anomaly of -0.33 deg C, there would not have been any significant change in mean global temperature (0.44 - 0.33 = +0.11 deg C) in the last century.

Science is about the data. Science is not about consensus or authority. The linear global warming of the last century was similar to that of two centuries ago. CO2 driven global warming is not supported by the data.

Much more HERE

To rebut Gore, filmmakers go grassroots

Unable to get Hollywood studio backing for their new documentary, "Not Evil Just Wrong" - an answer to Al Gore's climate-change lecture "An Inconvenient Truth" - husband-and-wife filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney have taken matters into their own hands.

Hoping to tap the surge of populist anger and activism on the right, they are bypassing traditional distribution avenues and bringing their film directly to motivated audiences through "cinematic tea parties," their term for the patchwork of grass-roots screenings in living rooms, campus auditoriums and rented theaters across the country that they have scheduled for Oct. 18.

Mr. McAleer and Ms. McElhinney are part of a new breed of guerrilla documentarians across the political spectrum. Taking advantage of cheaper, more accessible video-production technology and innovative, Internet-based direct marketing and distribution techniques, they are assembling new audiences for their films from the ground up - without the studio middlemen.

The average documentary is never seen by audiences outside of film festivals: Because of advertising, theater rentals and print costs, the price of putting movies in front of audiences across the country is prohibitive, and documentaries in particular are widely viewed as box-office poison. Even the exception to the rule, Michael Moore, is coming to be seen as a one-hit wonder. His most recent film, "Capitalism: A Love Story," tanked at the box office when it hit wide release, and his previous release, "Sicko," failed to gross his reported salary of $25 million.

"If you don't have $10 million, if you don't have a studio behind you or a massive budget behind you, it just can't be done," Mr. McAleer said of a wide release. It doesn't help that the sort of picture that he and his wife are selling - an expose of the negative consequences of drastic carbon reduction that questions the conventional wisdom regarding climate change - is political anathema to most of Hollywood. "No big studio would come behind us, even though the film has very high production values," Mr. McAleer said.

Effectively denied a theatrical release, the filmmakers have chosen a more direct approach: cinematic tea parties. The filmmakers have offered the organizers of the screening with the highest attendance a trip to their native Ireland. A $500 prize is awarded for the screening with the "most original" theme. Visitors to their Web site can pick up single DVDs for $19.99 or "premiere party packs" for $10 more; the party packs will include a poster, invitations and a piece of red carpet.

Mr. McAleer and Ms. McElhinney have experience with this sort of event: More than 100,000 copies of their previous feature, "Mine Your Own Business," were shipped through direct sales.... Mr. McAleer and Ms. McElhinney have taken the more direct approach in spreading the word about "Not Evil." "We're doing direct mailing, we're sending out lots of e-mails, we're doing lots of social networking," said Ms. McElhinney. "We're reaching out to groups around the country that feel that this is an important story, and we're asking them to help in a kind of grass-roots effort as well."

The directors hope those grass-roots efforts will lead to a total audience reaching the six figures at the premiere parties on Oct. 18. One party is being hosted by Casey Jo Cooper, a student at the University of Central Florida. Her premiere will feature "paparazzi" taking pictures while bouncers ensure those in attendance are "VIPs." The dress will be formal, and audiences will arrive on a red carpet.

Oregon State University will host another of the premiere parties. After seeing "Not Evil Just Wrong" at a conference in August, chemistry professor Nick Drapela thought it was imperative for those on his campus to check out the picture. "Seven years ago, I was teaching global-warming theory to my students," he said, "and there are no facts that substantiate the theory. There are a lot of things that are said, and there are a lot of models, but there are no facts."

After talking with the directors, Mr. Drapela offered to host a screening and began working with student Will Rogers to make that happen. "We're renting one of the auditoriums, and it holds at least 500-some people," said Mr. Rogers, executive director of the Liberty, a libertarian student-run newspaper at Oregon State. "I would hope for 150 people, but it depends on what sort of advertising we get."


Three Decades Of Global Cooling

As a Colorado Rockies playoff game is snowed out, scientists report that Arctic sea ice is thickening and Antarctic snow melt is the lowest in three decades. Whatever happened to global warming?

Al Gore wasn't there to throw out the first snowball, er, baseball, so he might not have noticed that Saturday's playoff game between the Colorado Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies was snowed out — in early October. The field should have been snow-free just as the North Pole was to be ice-free this year.

It seems that ice at both poles hasn't been paying attention to the computer models. The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic last week and reported a substantial expansion of "second-year ice" — ice thick enough to have persisted through two summers of seasonal melting.

According to the NSIDC, second-year ice this summer made up 32% of the total ice cover on the Arctic Ocean, compared with 21% in 2007 and 9% in 2008. Clearly, Arctic sea ice is not following the consensus touted by Gore and the warm-mongers.

This news coincides with a finding published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last month by Marco Tedesco, a research scientist at the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology. He reported that ice melt on Antarctica was the lowest in three decades during the ice-melt season.

Each year, millions of square miles of sea ice melt and refreeze. The amount varies from season to season. Despite pictures taken in summer of floating polar bears, data reported by the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center at the beginning of this year showed global sea ice levels the same as they were in 1979, when satellite observations began.

At the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by the Heartland Institute, the keynote speaker, Dr. Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute and the University of Virginia, debunked claims of "unprecedented" melting of Arctic ice. He showed how Arctic temperatures were warmer during the 1930s and that most of Antarctica is indeed cooling.

At the other end of the earth, we are told the Larsen B ice shelf on the western side of Antarctica is collapsing. That part is warming and has been for decades. But it comprises just 2% of the continent. The rest of the continent is cooling.

A report prepared by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research for last April's meeting of the Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington notes that the South Pole has in fact shown "significant cooling in recent decades."


Al Gore's First (and Probably Last) Q&A

Gore looked quite shaken by a critical question --JR

Before President Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize, the real signal that the Norwegian Nobel committee had become politicized was its 2007 prize to Al Gore, largely for his global warming film "An Inconvenient Truth."

For a public figure, Mr. Gore has been strangely reluctant to answer questions or debate the more controversial parts of his work. But over the weekend, he deigned to take a few questions during a meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Madison, Wisconsin.

Irish documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer was in the line. A former Financial Times journalist, his new film, "Not Evil, Just Wrong," is a direct refutation of Mr. Gore's thesis and warns that rushing to judgment in combating climate change would threaten the world's poor. When his turn came, Mr. McAleer asked Mr. Gore about a court case in Britain in which a parent had objected to "An Inconvenient Truth" being shown to British schoolchildren because it was largely propaganda, not science.

Mr. Gore swatted away the question by claiming the judge had found in favor of his film. He also briefly addressed one of the objections to his film by scoffing at claims that polar bears weren't an endangered species. Mr. McAleer tried to follow up by pointing out that polar bear populations were increasing, but his microphone was quickly cut off. Organizers insisted that several other people were waiting with questions and they had to move on.

In fact, Mr. Gore didn't answer Mr. McAleer's question and was wrong on the facts. The British court found that An Inconvenient Truth "is a political film" riddled with scientific errors. The judge also held that requiring the film to be shown in schools would be a violation of law, unless accompanied by "guidance" pointing out its errors. The judge concluded that the claimant who objected to the film "substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act."

As for polar bears, Mr. McAleer was correct: Surveys show their numbers are increasing.

Mr. McAleer, whose film premiers this weekend, says he's more disappointed in the environmental journalists who give Mr. Gore cover than in the former vice president. Mr. Gore is simply doing what any propagandist with a weak case would do -- avoiding serious debate or exchange. To quote the late William F. Buckley, "There is a reason that baloney rejects the grinder."


Greenie garbage tyranny in Britain

£1,000 fine for putting any food scraps in the dustbin as 'zero waste' policy could lead up to five-bin headache

Householders could be fined £1,000 if they throw food scraps and potato peelings into the dustbin under a Government 'zero waste' policy. They will be forced to sift through their rubbish for anything that can be recycled, reused, rotted or burnt for electricity. The crackdown will create so much recyclable material that homes could be given five wheelie bins and waste boxes to cope.

The controversial zero waste policy - part of the Government's drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions - will be unveiled tomorrow by Environment Minister Hilary Benn. The plans are due to be outlined at a 'waste summit' aimed at finding new ways to halve the 62million tons of rubbish sent to landfill each year. Ministers will discuss the issue with councils, businesses and waste experts.

Yesterday, Mr Benn said the Government would launch a consultation early next year into banning food, cans, paper and glass from landfill. Homes that persistently break the rules by putting food waste in the ordinary dustbin could face fines of £1,000 or more. 'One that we are going to consult on around the turn of the year is banning certain things from going into landfill,' he told the Politics Show on BBC1. 'Because does it make sense to put food into landfill? No it doesn't.' By 2020, all councils will be forced to offer a full recycling service, he said.

But the plans were condemned by critics. Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group, said: 'Voters are sceptical about recycling policy - particularly when they see recyclables being thrown on the same bins as landfill waste. 'The Government should sort out the current recycling policy before starting on new barmy ideas. 'The fact that food waste could be banned from landfill - effectively treating it as a kind of toxic waste - is a recipe for disaster.'

Under the Government's zero waste strategy, due to be phased in over the next few years, only items that have 'absolutely no other use' would be allowed to be buried. Slop buckets - already used to collect food scraps in millions of homes - would be extended across the whole country, adding another bin to the three or four in use in parts of the UK. Councils that collect paper, plastic, glass and cans in one bin will be encouraged to give homes more bins to reduce contamination and reduce the amount of recyclable waste that ends up being burnt or thrown onto rubbish tips.

Mr Benn also wants a crackdown on food packaging in shops. He will urge businesses to remove cellophane from vegetables and fruit and encourage people to bring jars to shops for top ups of coffee. He is also expected to draw up plans to generate electricity from waste. Rotting food releases methane - a potent greenhouse gas which can be burnt to create electricity. The Government will also announce six pilot schemes to cut waste and boost recycling.

Councils taking part in the experiment - in Suffolk, Oxfordshire, London and Shropshire - will be set tough recycling targets. A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'We won't be telling them what to do, but the idea is to encourage them to come up with innovative ideas.'

Some councils are already close to handing out five wheelie bins and recycling boxes. In the North London borough of Brent, householders face fines of up to £1,000 if they don't recycle. Householders are given a standard black dustbin for ordinary waste, a green compost bin for garden waste, vegetable peelings and cardboard and a green box for 12 types of recyclable. A fourth bin will be needed for kitchen slops to generate renewable energy from methane.

Earlier this year, the Daily Mail highlighted how the rise of wheelie bins is blighting British streets and homes and fuelling arson attacks. The Not in Our Front Yard campaign won the backing of English Heritage boss Simon Thurley, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, the TaxPayers' Alliance and the National Pensioners' Convention.



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, October 13, 2009

More "hidden" data: The Warmists are so crooked they couldn't lie straight in bed

Willie Soon [], who is a well-known Harvard astrophysicist, has been trying to prise out of Madame Schuckmann [] the data underlying her recent paper about the oceans warming while the land does not.

Rather predictably, she is not co-operating. Soon has copied the correspondence to me. It's just another example of the Warmists violating basic canons of science. And we know why. When skeptics DO get hold of the raw data, we find that the analyses have been "massaged" unmercifully to produce a Warmist conclusion. If global warming were simply a scientific question, the Warmists would have long ago been laughed into inspissated obscurity. That they instead command large audiences shows that they are for the moment almost entirely a political phenomenon: An integral part of the Protean sinister side of politics.


An email from David Whitehouse []

After years of commentators and activists cherry-picking data and misrepresenting the science we should be thankful that mother nature herself has come to the rescue, forcing a realistic debate about what is going on and showing that what is happening cannot be described by any simple slogan or 'settled' science.

Almost two years ago I wrote an article for the New Statesman that did little else than point out that global temperatures had not increased since 2001 whilst CO2 levels had. I thought it was just a simple description of the observations. After all, do we not teach young scientists to describe data dispassionately, and not through the prism of expectation? At the time relatively few had commented on the flatlining of the world’s temperature in the past decade. Of those that had, many said it was statistically unimportant, many said it was fiction, and no doubt many hoped it would go away if they ignored it.

I was surprised that the article became the most discussed piece in that magazine’s recent history. A few weeks later the New Statesman’s environmental correspondent, Mark Lynas, said my article must go down as the most controversial ever, that I had made an elementary error, and that, intentionally or otherwise, readers were misled. (Mr Lynas’s book “Six Degrees” has a cover that shows a huge wave towering over Big Ben! Nowhere in it does he mention any idea of a pause in global warming, indeed it just points out, skimpily, that the world is getting ever warmer.)

Mr Lynas said that I was wrong, totally wrong. I was allowed no right of reply to the accusation that I had deliberately misled the readers of New Statesman, ie that I had lied to them. The online editor said he didn’t want it to become an “exchange of views.”

Now we have just one more annual temperature data point with another due at the end of this year and what a difference they have made. Two years on such comments as made by Mr Lynas look even more unwise and unscientific than they did at the time -- as a growing band of other scientists and commentators repeat such “elementary errors” in magazines and learned peer-reviewed journals by confirming the reality of the temperature standstill. It is, as I said in the New Statesman, an observational fact. In this time we have seen the slow triumph of data over rhetoric, of hard science over platitudes and sloppyness by “activists.” If it has not quite been the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact, to paraphrase Thomas Huxley, the data did not go away. Indeed, the world shows no sign of warming, quite the contrary, and this had led to all kinds of awkwardness, explanations and about turns.

True, the CO2 goes ever upwards, but we have only had barely 18 years of warming since 1940 and since the latest warming spell started, in 1980, we are approaching the point whereby the standstill is of the same duration. In all of this the overwhelming impetus has been to preserve the status quo. The standstill is natural variability, the warming anthropogenic, isn’t it?

Even Mark Lynas has had to address the issue saying that the “global cooling” saga has very little basis in science and is “widely misunderstood.”

This is nonsense. There has been a recent spate of articles and research papers addressing the flatlining problem demonstrating, contrary to Mr Lynas’ assertion, that it does have a basis in science, and, as I have said in my recent review of some of them, the take-home message is that nobody knows what will happen in the future, warming, flatlining or cooling. Some, like the Met Office, say the warming will return with a vengeance and soon because the ever increasing CO2 in the atmosphere will exert its effect when whatever is causing the cooling declines in strength. We shall see. Some predict flatlining for 30 years. The Met Office says that the long-term trend is upwards because their computer models say it will be so. They said they can predict the conditions in 50 years better than they can in 1! This surprising statement is indeed true because their computers are pre-programmed to give the “right” answer whenever CO2 increases.

One of the most talked about of the recent articles is written by the BBC. The BBC’s article is interesting, if not completely scientifically accurate, in that its opening section is almost the same as my opening section for the New Statesman. If it represents a change of tack by BBC News in its policy of reporting climate change it is to be welcomed (though knowing the BBC it is just as likely that its left hand doesn’t know what its right hand is doing). That policy was espoused by the current head of BBC Newsgathering Fran Unsworth who, during a News Xchange conference in 2005, when asked about including questioning views in climate change reporting said that the BBC had gone beyond that and that the science was settled.

Journalistically, this was an awful thing to say, as the BBC Trust’s criticism later showed. Scientifically, it was an obvious hostage to fortune. Anyone, let alone an influential BBC middle manager with little understanding of science, who in any small way takes any interest in the complex dynamics of the sun’s interaction with the earth’s environment, its layered and complicated atmosphere, its land and its thermodynamically active oceans with their many contradictions and unknowns, has any clue as to the state of climate predictions using supercomputers, or takes any notice of the variations of the earth’s annual temperature over the past 30 years, would not have been so unwise to have said the science was settled.

It wasn’t true in 2005 and it is even less true now. One can however predict a few things. The global average temperature for 2009 will again show no change if the data so far this year is consistent; that there will be more debate about what is going on that will reach no consensus and, finally, a great many people will be watching the BBC.


An email from Jon Richfield [] regarding the NYT's Andrew Revkin and the challenge that skeptics should write for the academic journals. Richfield argues that peer review is obsolescent. As many of my papers have passed peer review, I might perhaps be expected to disagree and I do indeed think that peer review has some usefulness. As a source of authority it is however absurd. At best, it ensures that a few minimal criteria (not including truth) have been met and that is all. At worst, it filters out dissent -- JR

Revkin's blog entry certainly was trenchant, and the attached threads if anything more so. All very entertaining if that is the sort of thing that entertains one. In all it vividly recalled Bierce's definition: "CONTROVERSY, n. A battle in which spittle or ink replaces the injurious cannon-ball and the inconsiderate bayonet." Spittle had the upper hand in that blog, I should say.

However, the point I wish to make here hardly surfaced in the blog though it is the most important theme of this entire matter. If AGW or any other form of climate change begins to bite, the question of Humanity's continued survival eventually will assume a fascination all its own, but for the present there are more immediate concerns, in particular the question of the survival of integrity and sense in science, and the role of peer review.

Consider: "Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University said that if Mr. McIntyre wants to be taken seriously he has to move more from blogging to publishing in the refereed literature..." and "'Skepticism is essential for the functioning of science,' Dr. Mann said.'It yields an erratic path towards eventual truth. But legitimate scientific skepticism is exercised through formal scientific circles, in particular the peer review process... Those such as McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside of this system are not to be trusted."

Such stern sententiousness, irrespective of its source, should shame the most unregenerate cavillers to kennel, except those who pause slitty-eyed, to reflect on what he actually meant. "Peer review process", hmmm...? Those operating almost entirely *inside* of this system *are* to be trusted, are they? The same system that passed all sorts of publications of the most assorted standards during the last century or so, not to mention certain particularly embarrassing examples very recently? Publications that led to blushes inversely proportional to how effectively and for how long the parties concerned could distract attention from them? The same peer review process that has served as the most powerful tool for intimidating, quashing, and crippling the slightest dissent from the approved line? For punishing anyone who breaks the ranks of the favoured? For emasculating or deferring publication of the research of upstarts? The most powerful weapon for delaying outsiders' discoveries to the point of loss of priority of publication, or even to fatal obscurity?

Surely not! Which is fortunate, because that is not the point that I had referred to. Plenty of abler critics have raised similar objections more bitingly than ever I could.

No, the peer review that I write to praise and not to bury is the peer review that for generations of scientists has been the sentinel and shield against erosion of standards. It has been a sheet anchor both of the elite and the merely workmanlike journal, the means of assuring the editorial staff that the work they publish is sound, non-trivial, constructive, an advance on preceding work, a stone in the edifice of growing human knowledge. It has been an aid to efficiency, speeding the selection and augmenting the quality of the product of the researchers' labour and ingenuity; and of course (though perish the thought of any such sordid considerations crossing the mind of the authors) enhancing the kudos appertaining to the publication of the item.

Good stuff. Very good indeed. And yet I cannot rid my mind of a framed engineering degree on the wall of the office of an erstwhile young colleague of mine. It was in a large company, employing many graduates, and yet he was the only one that I remember nailing his colours to the er, wall in such a way. Any time the standard of his work or his good sense got challenged, he would point at his degree in rebuttal. Unanswerable of course. And yet he did not last long, strangely.

Am I the only one to see this anecdote as relevant? Sorry. . . Peer review as it should be used in a perfect world should not be a major concern of the author (except when a generous reviewer offers assistance or admonition, typically anonymous).

Peer review also should not be a major concern of the reader. If I read material dealing with a field I am so unfamiliar with that I cannot even follow the train of logic, then I act in bad faith and bad sense if I accept or condemn it on the grounds that it was or was not peer-reviewed. If however I can follow the logic, but without being able to challenge actual facts or observations, then I am able, with appropriate reservations, to accept, challenge, or reject the logic in good faith, but I still cannot justify my opinion by reliance on any peer review process. If I can claim to be fully conversant with the field, then I can accept, challenge, or reject any part, context or aspect of the work. If in doing so I need to defer to the dread dignity of peer reviewers, then how can I claim competence in the field at all? If I need to ask how it was reviewed before I consent to trust the work, then why am I reading such stuff, when there are plenty of Mills & Boone books to challenge my intellect?

Peer review or no review, it is for all readers to accept or reject research results according to what they find personally convincing. In good sense or good faith no research worker can justify a decision to accept or challenge work according to whether it had been peer reviewed.

*That is not what peer review is for.*

To criticise or praise a *journal* because of its eschewal or quality of peer review is reasonable in suitable contexts; even if one assumes that the editor is omniscient, it may be comforting to reflect that independent review guarantees lack of bias. However, to challenge the work of an *author* because it had not been favourably peer reviewed, is the most breathtakingly abject tactic I have seen, short of running to mummy because these nasty people had been disagreeing with ums. The more I contemplate it, the less it makes sense.

Consider what such justification for rejection amounts to: some third parties somewhere, who hadn't been asked to vet the work, but who might or might not have approved it if they had been asked, had not actually said anything about the work. Right? So because the work was not considered by those third parties, it thereby is errr. . . to be neglected without rebuttal by those in response to whose work it had been presented? Why should we respect authors who had been unable to assess the merits of criticism of their work or defend their work independently of peer reviewers? In the example under consideration, the criticism after all, did not involve novel work or novel techniques, but a critique of (peer reviewed) work. What role is peer review of the critique to play in such a case? What sort of peril would such peer review be intended to avert? Even in the top scientific journals, letters to the editor in response to peer reviewed articles are not in general peer reviewed. Right?

Never mind! Let's get back to the real world.

This much at least should be clear: science is passing through a most painful phase. (At least I hope that "passing" is not too optimistic a word!) As scientists we have a century or so of frequently (not invariably) inappropriate reliance on a cumbersome system. We have to deal with problems of ethics, politics, information explosion, population explosion, and technology explosion. In my opinion the peer review system *in its current form* has outlived its usefulness, in many respects even its viability. Whether the next generation is to rely on something totally new or on an amended review system, I cannot say, but what served for say the 1950s is hardly likely to serve for the 2050s. Some developments apparently in process within some Internet publications, in which pre-publications are exposed to public execration or appreciation before the final editing, may point the way to the future, but whatever form it takes, something new is needed.

Whether it turns out to be in the interest of the editorial staff, the author, or the reader, the fact remains that peer review as she currently is spoke, notionally is primarily for the benefit of the editorial staff, only contingently for the benefit of the author, and usually irrelevant to the reader, whether friend or enemy. But those who appeal to the process for shelter from unwelcome assessments of their work, or their duties to their readers; for some reason recall to me two lines of Burns written in a slightly different context:

From Envy and Hatred your corps is exempt,

But where is your shield from the darts of Contempt!

In case that strikes you as insulting, I invite you to consider it in the perspective of the insult to the reader at whom certain helpful remarks were directed -- remarks of the form: "Those such as McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside of this system [of the peer review process] are not to be trusted." We readers apparently are seen as stupid enough to swallow the hockey stick without choking on the mediaeval optimum or little ice age, but too stupid to gag at the implications of the physics of photon absorption, the history of volcanic influences on the climate, the principles of sample significance, or the implication of withheld data -- and far, far too stupid to read a statistical argument?

*Unless it is peer reviewed?*

No wonder Mann's best friends turned on him and bit him.


Another email from the irrepressible Norm Kalmanovitch [] below. His first sentence certainly sums up the matter most succinctly:

It is not that "the science of climate change is too doubtful" but that there is no science of climate change to be doubtful about.

In 1971 the climate models of James Hansen predicted that the observed global cooling would last for another 50 years and mindless environmentalists demanded that world governments should immediately undertake a program of spreading soot on the polar ice caps to stop the global cooling because of the horrific consequences continued global cooling would have on the environment. These models proved to be based on a false assumption just four years later when the Earth reverted back to warming.

In 1988 the climate models of the same James Hansen now predicted that the observed global warming would continue for 100 years because of CO2 emissions, and a doubling of concentration of atmospheric CO2 that would result from these emissions would cause catastrophic global warming of several degrees C.

In 1998 just a decade after these climate models predicted global warming resulting from the continued increase in CO2 emissions global warming stopped and by 2002 the Earth started to cool and has been cooling ever since in spite of the continued increase in both CO2 emissions and concentration.

I was watching a television show in Sydney called Q and A which features the "intellectual and political elite" debating issues in front of a studio audience.

On every subject there were opposing views debated, but when climate change became the topic there was not a single person amongst the debaters or in the audience who was aware that the Earth was cooling and the entire debate centred around whether the government was doing enough to stop global warming!

If the political and intellectual elite don't know that the Earth has been cooling for over seven years what hope is there for the common person to know the truth about global temperature considering that their only source of information is from media sources dominated by people who don't know that global warming ended over a decade ago.

Perhaps the only way to get the information public is to take a page out of the environmentalists' 1971 hand book and demand government action to protect the world against global cooling. Since the four polar bears drowned in the Beaufort Sea in 2006; four years after the current global cooling started, they obviously were the victims of global cooling and not global warming.

As global cooling worsens such tragedies will become more frequent as well the global food supply will diminish from reduced growing seasons. This is serious and more importantly unlike harmful effects from global warming; the detrimental effects of global cooling are real. "Save the polar bears stop global cooling" might be all that is needed to put an end to this global warming scam.


America is not going to bleed its wealth importing fuel. Russia's grip on Europe's gas will weaken. Improvident Britain may avoid paralysing blackouts by mid-decade after all. The World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires last week was one of those events that shatter assumptions. Advances in technology for extracting gas from shale and methane beds have quickened dramatically, altering the global balance of energy faster than almost anybody expected.

Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, said proven natural gas reserves around the world have risen to 1.2 trillion barrels of oil equivalent, enough for 60 years' supply – and rising fast. "There has been a revolution in the gas fields of North America. Reserve estimates are rising sharply as technology unlocks unconventional resources," he said.

This is almost unknown to the public, despite the efforts of Nick Grealy at "No Hot Air" who has been arguing for some time that Britain's shale reserves could replace declining North Sea output.

Rune Bjornson from Norway's StatoilHydro said exploitable reserves are much greater than supposed just three years ago and may meet global gas needs for generations. "The common wisdom was that unconventional gas was too difficult, too expensive and too demanding," he said, according to Petroleum Economist. "This has changed. If we ever doubted that gas was the fuel of the future – in many ways there's the answer."

The breakthrough has been to combine 3-D seismic imaging with new technologies to free "tight gas" by smashing rocks, known as hydro-fracturing or "fracking" in the trade.

The US is leading the charge. Operations in Pennsylvania and Texas have already been sufficient to cut US imports of liquefied natural gas (LGN) from Trinidad and Qatar to almost nil, with knock-on effects for the global gas market – and crude oil. It is one reason why spot prices for some LNG deliveries have dropped to 50pc of pipeline contracts.

Energy bulls gambling that the world economy will soon resume its bubble trajectory need to remember two facts: industrial production over the last year is still down 19pc in Japan, 18pc in Italy, 17pc in Germany, 15pc in Canada, 13pc in France and Russia. 11pc in the US and the UK and 10pc in Brazil. A 12pc rise in China does not offset this.

OPEC states are cheating on quota cuts. Non-compliance has fallen to 62pc from 82pc in March. Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela et al face a budget crunch. Why comply when non-OPEC Russia is pumping at breakneck speed?

The US Energy Department expects shale to meet half of US gas demand within 20 years, if not earlier. Projects are cranking up in eastern France and Poland. Exploration is under way in Australia, India and China.

Texas A&M University said US methods could increase global gas reserves by nine times to 16,000 TCF (trillion cubic feet). Almost a quarter is in China but it may lack the water resources to harness the technology given the depletion of the North China water basin.

Needless to say, the Kremlin is irked. "There's a lot of myths about shale production," said Gazprom's Alexander Medvedev.

If the new forecasts are accurate, Gazprom is not going to be the perennial cash cow funding Russia's great power resurgence. Russia's budget may be in structural deficit.


Cold temperatures threaten seed potato crop

Record-low temperatures in southwestern Idaho are threatening to destroy at least a portion of this season's crop of seed potatoes. Spuds still in the ground could be saved by a layer of snow; a dusting had fallen on Bozeman and the surrounding region by Sunday.

Nina Zydak, director of the Montana State University Potato Lab, said most area farmers have already started digging. But many farmers expect to lose some of their potatoes.

"It's over," Larry Van Dyke, who owns Van Dyke Farms in Townsend, told the Bozeman Chronicle. He says when it's this cold for too long, the frost penetrates and the taters are toast. The main goal now is to make sure the spoiled potatoes don't make it into his cellar.

Temperatures on Saturday evening dipped to 17 degrees; the last time it was this cold, this early, in southwestern Idaho was more than two decades ago, in 1985.



Motorists should be forced to pay to drive on the busiest roads to slash greenhouse gas emissions, the Government's climate change watchdog says today.

The Climate Change Committee, led by former CBI chief Lord Turner, wants ministers to introduce compulsory road pricing to prevent global warming.

Under the controversial scheme, cars would be fitted with electronic tags and tracked either by satellite or roadside beacon. Charges would rise at times of peak congestion to around £1.50 a mile.


Australians cooling on global warming

AUSTRALIANS are becoming less concerned about the threat of global warming, pushing environmental issues down the list of threats. Climate change is no longer rated the top foreign policy issue for the Federal Government, a Lowy Institute poll will reveal today. It was top of the list in 2007 but now is ranked seventh out of 10 policy priorities. Out of 12 possible threats, Australians rated global warming the fourth most critical, the survey found. However a significant majority of Australians, 76 per cent, still saw climate change as a problem.

The poll follows comments from Professor Ross Garnaut, author of the federal Government's climate change review, who claims the rancorous debate on an emissions trading scheme (ETS) is one of Australia's worst cases of policy making on a major issue. "I think this whole process of policy making over the ETS has been one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia,'' he told ABC television. "It is a very difficult issue so I suppose it was never going to be easy. But the way it has broken down is extraordinary.''

Professor Garnaut recommended the Labor legislation be passed. "If we could find it within ourselves to pass the ETS - and everyone knows that I don't think it is perfect - and then lay the base for implementing earlier rather than later, that would remove one bit of uncertainty in what is a very difficult and uncertain international climate for discussing these issues,'' he said.

The Government knows how difficult it would be to get its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation, which would set up an Emissions Trading Scheme, through the Senate. Preliminary negotiations underlined that the Government will need Opposition support if it is to get a moderate version of the Bill approved.

The Greens produced amendments - almost certain to be rejected by the Government - which called for harsher treatment of fossil fuel users, and Family First's Steve Fielding accused the Greens of wanting to send Australia back to the Stone Age. "If we did what the Greens propose, Australia would no longer exist because there'd be no industries left to drive our economy," he said. Their amendments yesterday called for limited compensation to emission-intensive industries.



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, October 12, 2009

British historian claims that present-day global warming is not our fault

He notes that Britain has been much warmer in the relatively recent but pre-industrial past

WE all try to recycle and cut down on our travel to help the environment. After all, experts have told us time and again that the planet is dying because of mankind's carbon-spewing behaviour. But after years of research, Derby historian Ron McKeown claims that global warming is not our fault. "I'm not expecting my ideas to be very popular," said Ron. "I am just voicing the conclusions that my research has naturally led me to."

Ron is a member of the Derby Heritage Forum and is keen to stress that he has no personal investment in the global warming debate. Nor is Ron denying the impact of the greenhouse effect on Earth and the reality of the thinning of the ozone layer – which many scientists believe man is largely responsible for. But Ron does say his studies imply that man's impact on global warming is fairly minimal in relation to other environmental influences, over which mankind has very little control. His findings can be read in his booklet, The Man-Made Global Warming Debate and Historical Contradictions.

It follows on from his publication, The Rivers of Time, in which he investigated the role played by the Derwent and Trent rivers in the development of the region.

Ron collected his evidence by examining local maps, documents and artefacts recovered from archeological digs in the area, many dating back to Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Viking times. According to his data, there have been huge changes in the local landscape with water levels rising and falling significantly over the years. Ron is particularly interested in evidence which suggests that large areas of Derby and its surrounding areas were once covered with water. Ron believes Derby was originally created on land around Markeaton Brook which was more like a river than a brook at the time. "My findings have led me to suggest that our climate has always fluctuated and that the earth has had periods when its climate was much warmer overall. "So global warming, melting ice caps and higher sea levels may not be just a modern phenomenon," he said.

Ron speculates that there could be several factors which contributed to Derby's watery past but he is convinced that, at times, the world's temperatures were much warmer than today. "In the past, Britain was described as the bread basket of Europe with two harvests a year. "This implies a much warmer climate. "It is possible that we are just emerging from a little ice age, which has misled scientists into believing that the earth should be 'naturally' cooler than it is at present.

"Temperatures will always fluctuate as a result of many environmental factors of which man is just one. "I would go as far as to suggest that man's activity throughout the 19th and 20th century, coupled with relatively frequent volcanic activity has actually been keeping the planet uncommonly cool." He goes on to explain his belief that layers of dust and pollution over many years may actually have insulated the earth from the heat of the sun's rays.

Ron's booklet on the evidence for his theories and on Derby's landscape though the ages can purchased from Darley Park Tea Rooms or by contacting Ron at THE MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING DEBATE AND HISTORICAL CONTRADICTIONS. BY: Ron McKeown.


Greenshirts out in force

Phelim McAleer, co-director/producer of “Not Evil Just Wrong” and asker of difficult questions, reportedly just had his microphone turned off a little while ago as he queried Al Gore at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Madison, Wisc.

If you want to see what a joke the SEJ and its meeting is, just take a look at their list of panels. Awards named for Rachel Carson and sponsored by Animal Planet and Planet Green; panels with titles like "Crane Conservation on our Fractured Landscape," "Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Justice," and "Green PR in the Blogosphere: How PR Practitioners are End-Running Professional Journalists and How We Should Respond;" and moderators from the ranks of the most activist of writers.

Phelim at work at the premiere of "The Age of Stupid:"

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Uh, Oh! More stuff that the modellers left out

Key new ingredient in climate model changes global predictions

For the first time, climate scientists from across the country have successfully incorporated the nitrogen cycle into global simulations for climate change, questioning previous assumptions regarding carbon feedback and potentially helping to refine model forecasts about global warming.

The results of the experiment at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and at the National Center for Atmospheric Research are published in the current issue of Biogeosciences. They illustrate the complexity of climate modeling by demonstrating how natural processes still have a strong effect on the carbon cycle and climate simulations. In this case, scientists found that the rate of climate change over the next century could be higher than previously anticipated when the requirement of plant nutrients are included in the climate model.

ORNL's Peter Thornton, lead author of the paper, describes the inclusion of these processes as a necessary step to improve the accuracy of climate change assessments. "We've shown that if all of the global modeling groups were to include some kind of nutrient dynamics, the range of model predictions would shrink because of the constraining effects of the carbon nutrient limitations, even though it's a more complex model."

To date, climate models ignored the nutrient requirements for new vegetation growth, assuming that all plants on earth had access to as much "plant food" as they needed. But by taking the natural demand for nutrients into account, the authors have shown that the stimulation of plant growth over the coming century may be two to three times smaller than previously predicted. Since less growth implies less CO2 absorbed by vegetation, the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are expected to increase.

However, this reduction in growth is partially offset by another effect on the nitrogen cycle: an increase in the availability of nutrients resulting from an accelerated rate of decomposition – the rotting of dead plants and other organic matter – that occurs with a rise in temperature.

Combining these two effects, the authors discovered that the increased availability of nutrients from more rapid decomposition did not counterbalance the reduced level of plant growth calculated by natural nutrient limitations; therefore less new growth and higher atmospheric CO¬2 concentrations are expected.

The study's author list, which consists of scientists from eight different institutions around the U.S. including ORNL, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory, and several research universities, exemplifies the broad expertise required to engage in the multidisciplinary field that is global climate modeling. "In order to do these experiments in the climate system model, expertise is needed in the nitrogen cycle, but there is also a need for climate modeling expertise, the ocean has to be involved properly, the atmospheric chemistry . . . and then there are a lot of observations that have been used to parameterize the model," said Thornton, who works in ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division. "The biggest challenge has been bridging this multidisciplinary gap and demonstrating to the very broad range of climate scientists who range everywhere from cloud dynamicists to deep ocean circulation specialists that [incorporating the nitrogen cycle] is a worthwhile and useful approach."

The ability to handle the increase in complexities of these models was facilitated by the capabilities of ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility, which currently houses the world's fastest supercomputer for civilian research. Jim Hack, director of the National Center for Computational Sciences, emphasizes that Thornton and his team were not limited by computational resources in the construction of his model. "It's one of the laboratory competencies, so we want to make sure we enable leadership science," he said.

This breakthrough is one more step toward a more realistic prediction for the future of the earth's climate. Nevertheless, potentially significant processes and dynamics are still missing from the simulations. Thornton also stresses the importance of long-term observation so scientists can better understand and model these processes.

A 15-year study of the role nitrogen plays in plant nutrition at Harvard Forest was an important observational source used to test their mathematical representation of the nitrogen cycle--a long experiment by any standards, but still an experiment that, according to Thornton, could improve the accuracy of the simulation if conducted even longer.

Other shortcomings of climate simulations include the disregard of changing vegetation patterns due to human land use and potential shifts in types of vegetation that might occur under a changing climate, although both topics are the focus of ongoing studies.


Saving the Earth by Hating Humanity

By Alan Caruba

As the greatest hoax of the modern era, “global warming”, bites the dust around the world, it behooves us all to contemplate why environmentalists—Greens—would attempt to hoodwink the world’s population into believing they could do anything to “control” the planet’s climate.

One singular fact stands out in all Green propaganda and permeates all the legislation and other programs they sponsor. It is a contempt and disdain for the Earth’s human population. The leaders of the movement hate humanity. Obsessed with population growth, anything that can reduce it—disease, poverty, famine, or lack of energy is pursued as part of the Green agenda.

The Green movement grew out of an earlier, more salutary one, conservation. We can surely thank Americans such as John Muir and others who sought to preserve tracts of wilderness such as Yellowstone and the nation’s forested areas from the rampant depredations of the 1800s and early 1900s. The nation owes a debt of gratitude to President Theodore Roosevelt for the initial creation of national parks and forests.

As the nation industrialized, rivers suffered pollution and the air was polluted by factories that befouled both. In 1970 President Richard M. Nixon signed into being the Environmental Protection Agency which, empowered by the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, can be credited to early success.

However, like all government agencies, the EPA has steadily sought to expand its powers and, aided by other environmentally related agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Corps of Engineers, it has relentless pursued ever larger control over all the land and waters of the nation, and by extension over everyone’s life.

They pose a threat to the constitutionally protected right to private property, vital to the nation’s economy and a keystone of capitalism.

The growth of literally hundreds of “environmental” organizations has led to an endless barrage of scare campaigns, often without any basis in science, and used to undermine the industrial, agricultural, and transportation sectors of the nation’s economy.

On a global scale, the United Nations Environmental Program and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have pursued an agenda devoid of scientific merit or justification.

Greens lie and they lie all the time. The lies about Alar came close to wrecking apple growers. The lies about the spotted owl species laid waste to the northwest’s timber industry. New claims about alleged dangers from plastic bottles are based on lies.

The lie that carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has anything to do with “warming” has driven the totally deceitful “global warming” hoax and is used to create a market for worthless “carbon credits” that ultimately increase the cost of energy and everything else.

The introduction of the Endangered Species Act is one long history of near constant failure in pursuit of a foolish goal, advocating for obscure species while thwarting all manner of projects useful to the human species. It has been used to impoverish farmers in Oregon and California.

The truth is that the Earth is actually cooling, not warming. Carbon Dioxide is not a “pollutant.” The North and South Poles are not melting. Sea levels worldwide are not rising any more than they have for millennia. Polar bears are thriving. Solar and wind energy is a bust, providing barely 1% of all electricity used daily nationwide.

The truth is that pesticides protect people against insect and rodent-borne diseases and property damage. Saving “endangered species” ignores the fact that 95% of all the species that previously existed are now extinct.

The truth is that nothing humans do has any affect on the climate that is dependent on solar and ocean cycles.

The Greens are now famous for their campaigns against products from toilet paper to plastic bags, bottles, and everything else made from plastic, a petroleum derivative. Anyone who buys “environmentally” approved products is being charged a premium for their own gullibility. Every supermarket and store in America has comparable, safe products at far lower costs.

Americans are constantly harangued to adopt Green lifestyles. Generations of young Americans have suffered the child abuse of being told that the Earth is doomed despite its 4.5 billion year existence.

Corporations that advertise and promote their “Green” credentials pander to environmental hoaxes in order to avoid criticism and generate an “environmentally friendly” public image.

The real environmental message speaks to a hatred of humanity and the many technological, medical, agricultural, and other achievements that have enhanced, improved, and saved the lives of millions.

If you hate energy, join an environmental organization.

If you hate science, join an environmental organization.

If you hate jobs in America, join an environmental organization.

If you hate industrial and agricultural development and progress, join an environmental organization.

And if you hate humanity, join an environmental organization.


Corporations and Left-Wing Activists Join Hands to Promote Cap-and-Trade

Big business continues to undermine our liberties. On the heels of the major drug companies working a deal with President Obama on health care reform, other corporations are partnering with environmental, labor and left-wing special interest groups in a last-ditch effort to jumpstart cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate.

This high-profile corporate support of Obama’s energy policy exposes a long-simmering development in public policy: the progressive takeover of the boardroom.

For years, left-wing activists have targeted big business in order to co-opt its resources to advance the liberal agenda. Today’s aggressive corporate support of cap-and-trade legislation is the culmination of that effort.

The unification of big business with liberal activist groups on important public policy issues poses a significant threat to liberty and limited government.

This week, We Can Lead, a broad-based corporation coalition of energy, technology and other companies, including Duke Energy, Hewlett Packard and Starbucks, is mounting a high-profile campaign to promote cap-and-trade legislation. Coalition members paid for ads in newspapers, including an open letter to President Obama and Congress urging action on cap-and-trade legislation, stating, “We need you to swiftly enact comprehensive legislation to cut carbon pollution and create an economy-wide cap and trade program.”

We Can Lead is also spearheading a “Business Advocacy Day” in Washington D.C. to advance the global warming bill directly with lawmakers. According to news reports, executives from more than a hundred businesses will participate in a two-day lobbying fest that includes briefing sessions, media training and speeches by Administration officials and Hill visits targeting key Senate offices.

The fine print disclosures about We Can Lead, reveal that two left-wing advocacy groups – Apollo Alliance and CERES – are behind the corporate effort.

The Apollo Alliance is “a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders” that seeks to advance a green energy economy that will produce “a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs.” Its board members include representatives from environmental organizations and labor unions – the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

CERES is a coalition of investors, labor and environmental organizations that pressures corporations to advance environmental policies, such as legislation to fight the perceived threat of global warming. Its board members include environmental and labor union representatives, and also state pension fund officials from the California State Teachers Retirement System (CSTRS), the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and representatives from the Connecticut State Treasurer and the New York City Comptroller’s office.

CERES played a major role in the corporate boardroom by leveraging the shareholder standing of the pension fund coalition members to sway corporate policies.

After years of environmental and labor activism targeting corporations, some CEOs have decided it’s easier to switch than fight. These executives realized that by supporting environmental initiatives they could avoid the headache of liberal activism while also reaping the reputational benefits of being perceived as “green.”

Some companies also realized they could profit by advancing environmental initiatives, such as global warming legislation.

Power companies such as Duke Energy, FPL Group and Exelon see green in being green – they were the biggest winners in the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that narrowly passed the House in May. Utilities won the "House bill lottery," receiving 35 percent of free allowances from a generous Congress – an amount that translates into billions of dollars to the companies. General Electric also gains by a federal mandate for electricity derived from renewable energy sources which would benefit its wind turbine business.

The profit motive also explains why Exelon decided to end its membership in the U.S Chamber of Commerce. The trade group is facing criticism from some of its members because it opposed the Waxman-Markey bill and it recently called on the EPA to review the science on climate change in a public hearing.

Nike and Starbucks are very active in pushing for cap-and-trade legislation through another business environmental coalition, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy. In this instance these companies are more concerned about generating a positive brand image than on making money on carbon credits. Whatever the reason, whether profit or image, companies lobbying for carbon dioxide emissions caps frequently ignore the economic consequences of the legislation.

Higher energy prices, slower economic growth and higher unemployment would likely harm companies that sell premium-priced consumer products such as Starbucks coffee and Nike sneakers that can sell for over $100.

Let’s face it, if Wall Street banks could not consider that housing prices don’t always rise, why should we be confident that CEOs are considering the implications of cap-and-trade legislation on their businesses? Those of us who believe in limited government must now deal with the threat posed by an emergence of a Fascist state where the powers of government, liberal activist groups and corporate interests loot us of our liberty.

But there is something we can do: Every day we have an opportunity to vote with our wallets by letting companies know there is a price to pay for colluding with those who oppose our values.


An Open Letter to the New Zealand Minister of Climate Change Issues

From Dr Muriel Newman [above], Director New Zealand Centre for Political Research
“I can assure you that the government has investigated the evidence on the science of climate change from a number of different sources and I can appreciate that there are many different perspectives on the matter. However, the government is convinced that climate change is a serious and legitimate issue and that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides the most reliable information on climate change science. In its most recent assessment, the IPCC states that the evidence for climate change is unequivocal, that humankind’s emissions are very likely the cause of these changes and that, unless action is taken to reduce emissions, dangerous changes in the climate system will result.”

- Hon Nick Smith, Minister for Climate Change Issues.

Dear Minister,

It is very clear that you have been able to convince the Prime Minister and your Caucus colleagues that the evidence for human induced catastrophic climate change presented by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is irrefutable. On behalf of those New Zealanders who despair at your actions - given the economic damage your emissions trading scheme (ETS) is going to cause to Kiwi families and small businesses - I would like to ask you to justify your stance by responding to the issues raised in this open letter.

First of all, why are you rushing the ETS legislation through Parliament, committing New Zealand to this course of action when you don’t even know what the rest of the world will decide at Copenhagen in December? Why not extend the two-week timeframe for submissions (which is scandalously short for a Bill of this magnitude) until Christmas and deliberate on the Bill next year, when your government will be able to make an informed decision?

Secondly, how can you reconcile implementing an ETS when it will totally undermine your government’s goal of catching and matching Australia by 2025? This is an especially important issue in light of the new Government requirement that is coming into force on November 2, which will require Ministers to sign a statement to justify that the benefits of their new legislation “not only exceed the costs but will deliver the highest level of net benefit of the practical regulatory options available”.[1] How can your ETS possibly pass such a test when it will not only cost jobs and destroy wealth, but it will make it virtually impossible for your government to achieve the three percent growth a year that will be needed to achieve its 2025 goal?

Thirdly, how can you claim that the “reliable information” provided by the IPCC is dependable enough to base the future of New Zealand on, when that body is now embroiled in a huge scandal over the fabrication of the data it has been using to claim that man-made global warming is causing catastrophic climate change? When the fraudulent data is removed from the IPCC’s climate models, modern day global temperatures are seen to exhibit natural climate variability – in other words, there is no man-made crisis demanding massive government intervention.

Minister, given that the scientific advice provided to yourself and the government appears to originate from state agencies that are heavily influenced by the IPCC - and is therefore unlikely to be independent - you may not have been briefed about this new development ... so let me explain.

You will be aware that since 2001 the IPCC has claimed that global temperatures in the late 20th century were hotter than at any other time over the last 900 years, and that this situation has been caused by man’s emissions of greenhouse gases. It is this claim that gave rise to the Kyoto Protocol and has led to world-wide attempts to restrict the production of greenhouse gases through emissions trading schemes like to one you are poised to impose on New Zealand.

Minister, the IPCC’s claim that the planet is hotter now than in the past is based on fraudulent data.[2] When the corrupted data is removed from the climate models, there is no late 20th century catastrophic warming. Below is a graph of the world’s climate that was published in the IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990. In this report the IPCC noted that the warming of the late 20th century - as the planet emerged from the Little Ice Age - was essentially within the bounds of natural variability. The Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings colonized Greenland, was seen to have temperatures greater than modern times - temperatures which were clearly unrelated to emissions of man-made greenhouse gases.

However, by 2001, the IPCC had changed its tune and the above graph of historic temperatures had not only vanished, but so too had the Medieval Warm Period. Without the Medieval Warm Period as a reference point, the IPCC was able to state that the late 20th century demonstrated unprecedented global warming: “the 1990s has been the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year of the millennium”.

The IPCC’s “hocky stick” graph became an overnight celebrity, starring in Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” and creating widespread fear of an impending climate Armageddon.

The “hockey stick” graph was based on the work of US climatologist Michael Mann, an IPCC lead author, who relied heavily on temperature “proxies” from some bristlecone pine trees found on Sheep Mountain in California. As you know, tree ring widths make good proxies for climate, since tree growth is largely dependent on temperature.

However, the bristlecone pine trees were problematic in that the 20th century growth spurt that they displayed was caused by a fertiliser effect, not by temperature, since the data did not match the records of a nearby weather station. When Michael Mann knowingly used the contaminated data, he was able to create the hockey stick and a climate crisis. Once the data was removed, the hockey stick shape disappeared from his graphs and the climate of the 20th century was seen to be unexceptional.

It was Canadian policy analyst Steven McIntyre along with Dr Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics at Guelph University, who uncovered the fraud. As a result the US Congress ordered two reviews into the matter both of which condemned the hockey stick graph, but in spite of this, while the IPCC dropped the offending graph, it refused to acknowledge the controversy and continued to deliberately misrepresent the warming of the late 20th century. To do this it used studies by a UK scientist Keith Biffra, who was using tree ring proxies from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia to create a similar classic hockey stick shape. As with Michael Mann, the IPCC appointed Keith Biffra as a lead author – ostensibly in recognition of his work, but in reality to prevent criticism of his highly controversial findings from surfacing in their reports.

On seeing the re-emergence of these hockey stick shaped graphs, Steve MacIntyre requested the data in order to examine the anomaly. While clear data-sharing scientific protocols exist, for nine years Steve’s requests were turned down. That is until recently when a journal editor finally ordered that the data be released. When it was analysed, the reason for the hockey stick anomaly became clear.

Professor Ross McKitrick, who worked with Steve MacIntyre to analyse the data, is this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator. He picks up the story:

“The sharp uptrend in the late 20th century came from cores of 10 living trees alive as of 1990, and five living trees alive as of 1995. Based on scientific standards, this is too small a sample on which to produce a publication-grade proxy composite. The 18th and 19th century portion of the sample, for instance, contains at least 30 trees per year. But that portion doesn’t show a warming spike. The only segment that does is the late 20th century, where the sample size collapses. Once again a dramatic hockey stick shape turns out to depend on the least reliable portion of a dataset.

“When the paleoclimate data archive was searched to see if there were other tree ring cores from at or near the Yamal site that could have been used to increase the sample size, a set of 34 up-to-date core samples, taken from living trees in Yamal were found. When these were added to the original small sample, the hockey stick spike collapsed and the temperature trend in the late 20th century was seen to be “unexceptional compared to the rest of the millennium”! To read Prof McKitrick’s article “Defects in key climate data are uncovered” click here >>>

In other words, Minister, the IPCC’s claims of catastrophic global warming – and the enormous policy consequences for countries all around the world including New Zealand - are based on a flawed analysis of tree ring data from 5 trees in Siberia. When the fraudulent data is removed from global climate reconstructions, the late twentieth century temperatures are seen to be within the norms of natural climate variability. That explains why global temperatures have been falling for the last 11 years, in spite of carbon dioxide levels rising - because the earth’s temperature is not driven by carbon dioxide.

So Minister, while you have convinced your colleagues that catastrophic climate change is such a real and dangerous threat to mankind that an ETS must be urgently imposed on New Zealand (even though at 0.2 percent we produce an almost infinitesimal proportion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions), your argument is based on fraudulent evidence. What’s more, you have asked New Zealanders to place their utmost trust in the IPCC, yet it is an organisation that has knowingly used this flawed evidence to maintain the perception of a global climate crisis.

What this means, Minister, is that your attempts to curb man-made greenhouse gases through your ETS will be a gross misuse of public funds that will seriously impede New Zealand’s chance of a prosperous future. And if you were not aware of the data scandals surrounding the IPCC, then I suggest you put your ETS on hold while you contact Dr McKitrick yourself.

Finally, Minister, when the Labour Government tried to introduce a “fart tax” in 2003, they failed because the public rose up in opposition. New Zealanders understood that trying to tax farmers for emissions from cows and sheep was a really dumb idea. In 2005, when Labour tried to introduce a carbon tax, you, Minister took a lead in campaigning against it, warning, “A further concern of the carbon tax is its impact on inflation, interest rates and the exchange rate. It will add to the costs of fuel and power and these flow right through the economy to basics like food. This puts pressure on inflation, which in turn drives up interest rates and the kiwi dollar. The Government’s carbon tax is a classic example of the way the Government is making things tougher for the productive exporting sector.[3]

If you re-read your statement at the time – see here>>> - you could have been talking about your ETS. The same principles apply. After all an ETS is a fart tax or a carbon tax by another name. You urged the public to actively oppose the 2005 tax stating that “We need to bury this lemon”. With respect, Minister, isn’t that is exactly what should happen to your 2009 ETS?

More HERE (See the original for links)


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


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Joe Romm gives us another chuckle

In his latest effusion Romm in essence concedes that the terrestrial temperature measurements are not going his way but he has found an "out" from that. He says that even if the earth's land surface is not warming, the oceans are! So now we have ocean warming but not global warming! One has to laugh at such an implausible proposition but, quite aside from that, Viscount Monckton says in an email: "The ARGO researchers disagree with this. See also Douglass & Knox, 2009, who find no net accumulation of heat in the oceans for the past 68 years."

One has to give Romm a tiny bit of credit, though. He says quite openly on his site that his aim is to present the "progressive" (Leftist) view. Scientific truth is clearly secondary. That is a contrast with James Hansen, who claims to be doing science. They do have in common a lack of hair, however.

Scientist: Carbon Dioxide Doesn't Cause Global Warming

A noted geologist who coauthored the New York Times bestseller "Sugar Busters" has turned his attention to convincing Congress that carbon dioxide emissions are good for the Earth and don't cause global warming. Leighton Steward is on Capitol Hill this week armed with studies and his book Fire, Ice and Paradise in a bid to show senators working on the energy bill that the carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme could actually hurt the environment by reducing CO2 levels. "I'm trying to kill the whole thing," he says. "We are tilting at windmills." He is meeting with several GOP lawmakers and has plans to meet with some Democrats later this week.

Much of the global warming debate has focused on reducing CO2 emissions because it is thought that the greenhouse gas produced mostly from fossil fuels is warming the planet. But Steward, who once believed CO2 caused global warming, is trying to fight that with a mountain of studies and scientific evidence that suggest CO2 is not the cause for warming. What's more, he says CO2 levels are so low that more, not less, is needed to sustain and expand plant growth.

Trying to debunk theories that higher CO2 levels cause warming, he cites studies that show CO2 levels following temperature spikes, prompting him to back other scientists who say that global warming is caused by solar activity.

In taking on lawmakers pushing for a cap-and-trade plan to deal with emissions, Steward tells Whispers that he's worried that the legislation will result in huge and unneeded taxes. Worse, if CO2 levels are cut, he warns, food production will slow because plants grown at higher CO2 levels make larger fruit and vegetables and also use less water. He also said that higher CO2 levels are not harmful to humans. As an example, he said that Earth's atmosphere currently has about 338 parts per million of CO2 and that in Navy subs, the danger level for carbon dioxide isn't reached until the air has 8,000 parts per million of CO2.


What happened to global warming?

A most surprising article from the BBC below. I guess all the accusations of bias have pushed them just a little in the right direction

This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998. But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on? Climate change sceptics, who passionately and consistently argue that man's influence on our climate is overstated, say they saw it coming. They argue that there are natural cycles, over which we have no control, that dictate how warm the planet is. But what is the evidence for this?

During the last few decades of the 20th Century, our planet did warm quickly. Sceptics argue that the warming we observed was down to the energy from the Sun increasing. After all 98% of the Earth's warmth comes from the Sun. But research conducted two years ago, and published by the Royal Society, seemed to rule out solar influences. The scientists' main approach was simple: to look at solar output and cosmic ray intensity over the last 30-40 years, and compare those trends with the graph for global average surface temperature. And the results were clear. "Warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity," said Dr Piers Forster from Leeds University, a leading contributor to this year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But one solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting, disagrees. He claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures. He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month. If proved correct, this could revolutionise the whole subject.

What is really interesting at the moment is what is happening to our oceans. They are the Earth's great heat stores. According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated. The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO). For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was in a positive cycle, that means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too. But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down. These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.

So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles. Professor Easterbrook says: "The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling."

So what does it all mean? Climate change sceptics argue that this is evidence that they have been right all along. They say there are so many other natural causes for warming and cooling, that even if man is warming the planet, it is a small part compared with nature.

But those scientists who are equally passionate about man's influence on global warming argue that their science is solid. The UK Met Office's Hadley Centre, responsible for future climate predictions, says it incorporates solar variation and ocean cycles into its climate models, and that they are nothing new. In fact, the centre says they are just two of the whole host of known factors that influence global temperatures - all of which are accounted for by its models.

In addition, say Met Office scientists, temperatures have never increased in a straight line, and there will always be periods of slower warming, or even temporary cooling. What is crucial, they say, is the long-term trend in global temperatures. And that, according to the Met office data, is clearly up.

To confuse the issue even further, last month Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years. Professor Latif is based at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany and is one of the world's top climate modellers. But he makes it clear that he has not become a sceptic; he believes that this cooling will be temporary, before the overwhelming force of man-made global warming reasserts itself.

So what can we expect in the next few years? Both sides have very different forecasts. The Met Office says that warming is set to resume quickly and strongly. It predicts that from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be hotter than the current hottest year on record (1998).

Sceptics disagree. They insist it is unlikely that temperatures will reach the dizzy heights of 1998 until 2030 at the earliest. It is possible, they say, that because of ocean and solar cycles a period of global cooling is more likely.

One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.


Biggest news you’ve never heard: Earth isn’t warming

The Christian Science monitor joins the BBC. See below

How do you reconcile the early snow in Minneapolis, ski resorts already opening in Nevada, and that August chill in North Dakota with expert warnings about a warming climate? You don’t. Why? The Earth isn’t warming right now, is why. It may even be cooling down somewhat.

Five major climate centers around the world agree that average global temperatures have not risen in the past 11 years, according to the BBC. In fact, in eight of those years, global average temperatures dipped a tad. Yes, there have been several record heat spikes during that time period. The Southern Hemisphere this summer saw the highest land and water temperatures ever recorded, for instance. But overall? Steady as she goes.

Reasons cited range from a slightly cooling Pacific — a major global heat trap — as well as renewed questions about the sun’s role in warming (about which there is much debate). Also, it’s possible, some say, that warming itself causes CO2 levels — which are associated with warming — instead of the other way around. As a result, “The depth of the cold of the coming winters will change the social and political climate in ways that only nature can orchestrate,” predicts meteorologist Art Horn.

To be sure, it’s way too early to close one’s ears to those who predict more global warming and sea level rises. The UN’s climate agency predicts that from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be hotter than the current hottest year on record, which was 1998. And as most of us know, the Earth warmed at historic rates in the latter half of the 20th century, leading to ice cap melts and ecological implications around the globe.

But the warming stall, some experts say, is giving at least some credence to the contrarian (and not always scientifically sound) notion that it may be natural and solar forces contributing as much, or more, than man-made CO2. At the very least, a delay in warming even as total CO2 emissions increase, throws some doubt on the cause-and-effect relationship between mankind’s activities and mean global temperatures.

Climate specialists say their models incorporate all this, and insist their predictions for continued warming will still hold true. (Here’s some data from the Guardian about why the “global warming is taking a break” theme may be off-base.) Meteorologists at the UK’s Hadley Centre, for instance, point out that global temperatures aren’t linear, and that all data sets — including solar phenomenon and ocean temperatures — indicate that warming will soon pick up again.

But as Paul Hudson, the BBC’s environment reporter, points out, Mojib Latif, a member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, agrees that the Earth may, in fact, continue to cool for another 10 to 20 years. Mr. Latif says that doesn’t make him a climate change skeptic, just a scientist. Eventually, he says, “the overwhelming force of man-made global warming reasserts itself,” according to the BBC.

Obviously, climate change has global ecological and political implications. The cap-and-trade bill and new auto emissions rules in the US are direct responses to climate implications of CO2. December’s Copenhagen climate conference will try to seek renewed global commitment to CO2 reduction.

Taken together, what does it all mean? “Climate change — no matter how benign or severe a course it takes — makes legislating during the 21st century one of the most complicated and complex tasks for elected officials in human history,” writes Morgan Josey Glover in the Greensboro, N.C., News-Record newspaper.


Lethal gas may have to be stored under British villages, says adviser

CO2 is a rather good example of a non-linear relationship: At low concentrations (as in the atmosphere) it is beneficial but in much higher concentrations it can indeed kill

Millions of tonnes of potentially lethal carbon dioxide may have to be stored deep under towns and villages to prevent climate change, according to a senior government adviser. The storage sites would have to be closely monitored to detect any leaks and an alarm system would be needed to warn nearby residents of the danger of asphyxiation. New bylaws might have to be passed prohibiting bedrooms on the ground floor [!!!!] because of the risk of CO2 poisoning as people slept.

Nick Riley, head of science policy at the British Geological Survey, was speaking at a Department of Energy and Climate Change briefing on the planned expansion of schemes to capture and store the carbon emitted by coal-fired power stations.

The Government is planning to subsidise several carbon capture and storage demonstration projects and next Tuesday will host a meeting on the issue in London attended by energy ministers from 20 countries.

Dr Riley, who advises the Government on carbon storage, said that the areas of Britain with suitable geology for carbon storage included parts of Dorset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Cheshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire. The proposed offshore storage sites in the North Sea and Irish Sea might not be practical for all the carbon produced by power stations, he said. “Onshore storage can be much cheaper because you don’t have the transport costs or the problem of building long pipelines, but then you have to persuade people it is safe.”

He said there was a risk that carbon injected into the ground under very high pressure could leak through bore holes or old mineshafts. “The worst-case scenario would be a situation where people were unaware there had been a leak,” he said. “In particular weather conditions or in confined spaces, those people could suffer asphyxiation.”

He said that Britain would need to learn from Ciampino near Rome, where CO2 leakage from the ground was a natural hazard controlled by monitoring and alarm systems. “People do make mistakes,” Dr Riley said. “You need to catch it early if there is a leakage before it gets to the situation where there could be injury or severe damage to the ecological system. “You can never say it could never go wrong but there are so many checks and balances that it is highly unlikely.”

Dr Riley said that the Government would have to make clear to people living near sites selected for storage that there were only a limited number of areas with suitable geology. “You cannot have local communities saying ‘why can’t you put it somewhere else’ if there is no geology where it can be put. I understand the concerns people have about storage but, speaking as a scientist, I can say they are not necessarily valid concerns.”

Carbon storage facilities in the Netherlands and Germany are being blocked by residents concerned about the risks. The Vattenfall plant in Spremberg, northern Germany, was meant to be Europe’s first demonstration capture and storage facility but is having to pump the carbon into the atmosphere because of local opposition.

Dr Riley said that the risk of leakage was highest while the carbon was being injected into the ground into layers of porous rock at least 800m (2,600ft) below the surface. Over time, the carbon would react with the rock and form more stable carbonates.


The week that was

Nobody really wants the EPA to control CO2 as a pollutant. Suspicion is ripe, however, that the White House is using potential EPA action to blackmail Congress (and industry) into adopting some version of Cap&Trade. However, EPA action (based on an Endangerment Finding) can be stopped (and, certainly, delayed) by litigation. Legislation, on the other hand, is hard to undo – once signed into law. So the emphasis has to be to call the WH bluff and defeat C&T (aka Ration & Tax, but deceptively titled “The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act”) in the Senate and allow no compromises.

EPA global warming regulation is a “backdoor energy tax” that “can drive stocks into the ground.” Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) claims that President Obama wants to “intimidate Congress” into passing “$300 to $400 billion a year” in taxes, so that the American people will blame Congress instead of him. See here
"The reason why I don’t think they’ll try to do that through [EPA] regulation is because certainly this president, President Obama, knows that once the American people find out that they’re going to pay about $2,000 a year in taxes for something that doesn’t do anything, there’s going to be an outrage. And they want to be able to say, “Oh, no, that was Congress that did it.” My feeling is they’re using this [EPA regs] for intimidation purposes and they’re going to try to intimidate Congress to do this [pass Cap&Trade].

Meanwhile, the pre-COP negotiations in Bangkok are ending in turmoil and disagreement. A self-styled Asian Peoples' Climate Court found the G-8 nations (that include the US) guilty of ‘planetary malpractice’ in violation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and subject to a lawsuit for unspecified damages. Expect the CPH meetings to degenerate into class-action demands by ad hoc ‘international tribunals’ for ‘reparations’ from ‘over-consuming’ nations. It’s the perennial call for a NIEO (New International Economic Order), now dressed up as climate change. Having hyped the threat of climate change (cf the British Stern Report) for so many years, maybe the G-8 deserve this kind of retribution: It’s a case of ‘the chickens are coming home to roost.’

Of course, if G-8 governments were not blinded by years of scientific mis-information, they could make the case that (i) industrial development and rising CO2 levels have insignificant influence on global climate; and in any case, (ii) higher CO2 levels benefit agriculture and keep developing nations from starvation. You will find the evidence in NIPCC reports and the new websites and

So how about making a reverse claim – and also, let’s all thank the Chinese for adding to atmospheric CO2

BTW, Bangkok also brought out the split within G-8 between EU and the US. Seems the US (under Obama) wants to do away with the Kyoto Protocol. Sounds suspiciously like George W Bush, doesn’t it?

SOURCE (Post of Oct. 10)


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, October 10, 2009


An email from Jon Richfield [] in South Africa re: "Whatever is going on here, it is not science." -- Ross McKitrick

When the first McIntyre-McKitrick report appeared, I had been a climate sceptic for years, not because I am a climatologist (I emphatically am nothing of the sort!) but because the claims that I saw were variously assailable, implausible, and above all, illogical. (Anyway, as I pointed out elsewhere, in my not tediously humble opinion as a qualified non-engineer, to correct the predicted global warming consequences struck me as a minor problem.) When McMc described their statistical work, I was deeply impressed, but it did not make as deep an impression as evidence of a more serious problem:

1: Mann et al had not published their raw data (Bad!)

2: Certain major journals had not followed up and demanded the data (Worse -- Mann might have been just a naughty little lad, but these journals were practically the long-standing gold standard for quality, ethics, and professionalism. It is as shocking an example as I have seen, of what happens when even the proudest standards of smug elites are not policed.)

3: Mann et al, in the face of legitimate requests, had privately and publicly refused to provide the data. They did so on grounds so puerile as to be nauseating. I was wondering whether there must be some misunderstanding. I thought myself pretty unshockable, but...!

4: Those journals did not react when their noses were publicly rubbed in the fact that their own public honour was at stake. They did not insist on release of the data, did not publish any sort of retraction, and in the face of mounting evidence that there was something seriously wrong with the material, something that surely must come to light sooner or later, they tried to sit on the mess and hope that no one important would notice. Other VIPs forgot or jettisoned the Nullius in verba principle, and eagerly joined the party or preached vapidities against denialist treasons. By that time I was seriously beginning to doubt the evidence of my sources or senses.

5: Major international organisations, whose conferences might have required re-steering or loss of prestige, sat determinedly on their own messes. This at least was not shocking; it was politics and self-interest. Honesty and ethics were not at issue and could safely be ignored as irrelevant to anybody's personal greed.

6: Certain persons' "Inconvenient Truth" proved to be such a scientifically vacuous sales job that its popularity led me to despair; if people would swallow *that*, then what was the point of arguing? If no would understand, what did it matter whether anyone would listen?

All this is by now old stuff. But in the light of recent revelations it raises certain points above and beyond the value of the by now widely contemptable peer-review "system":

A: Granting that no human system can be perfect, we have seen repeatedly in recent decades scientific fraud in pursuit of everything from personal prejudice, cronyism, material greed, advancement, and self aggrandisement, to downright malice. Such things may be in the minority, but nowhere far to seek. A particularly revolting corollary has been the degree to which whistle-blowing has amounted to career suicide, seen as treason, worse than the offence in some of the most flagrant cases of professional abuse.

B: The foregoing point, no matter how it may be denied, raises the commonsense observation that undetected abuses many times outnumber those that reach the public awareness. How many of us have seen theses with errors that no one could or wanted to mention? How many bosses have forbidden publication of results embarrassing either to themselves or cronies?

C: There are whole ranges of problems here, and not all of them simple to mitigate. However, to my mind the operative one is the fact that nearly all control of research is voluntary, which works fine until any conflict of interest arises. Then it instantly becomes a matter of personal ethics, in which the ethics of the most senior or esoteric of the dramatis personae generally prevail. People make all sorts of noises about how science sorts itself out sooner or later, but that is missing the point -- a whole bushel and a peck of points. The products of research, including the intangibles (Possibly the intangibles in particular!) are the concern of the community.

D: Increasingly, where communal interests are at stake, there is talk of enforceable communal sanctions. Fastidious persons do not like that idea, and neither do I, but what is the alternative? How many of us would like to be at the mercy of many people who would like to assume the prestige and power of doctors, if there were no enforceable controls? Log into for some ugly object lessons. But the system is leaky and creaky? Certainly! But it is better than nothing. And every time there is a major scandal, either there is a shake-up or the bad eggs become a little more careful for a while. Is that good enough? No. Is it better than nothing? It works in medicine, in law, and a few other fields... partly. In science one party might get slapped on the wrist, but seldom seriously, and usually indirectly, such as for fraud, rather than scientific misconduct.

Insult to the clean-handed workers? Rubbish! I do not live in a froth of indignation because there is a law against my committing burglary, even though I am not a burglar! My lab days are past, but I wouldn't have blinked at the idea that there was a law against misconduct, any more than because there was a law against burglary.

In short, I think that if there were a few dozen or so workers, among the referees, journalists, and research workers, who were at the moment contemplating possible long jail sentences for this global warming fiasco, (whether AGW is a material concern or not) that would be a salutary and salubrious thing. And the same would go for any other field of research.

E: Perhaps worst of all: if youngsters starting their scientific careers see such abuses as routine, then how long before the whole system all collapses into a morass of short-term self interest and corruption? The politics are bad enough already. Surely to avoid that is worth a little control?

More goofery: UN Climate Report Confuses Arctic and Antarctic

Yesterday Anthony Watts pointed out how the hockey stick graph had been removed from the United Nations Climate Report. Now Harold Ambler shows us the document has even more errors

Things get stranger and stranger with the United Nations’ climate change science compendium published two weeks back.

First, it was learned that the graph indicating temperature for the past 1,000 years had been taken from Wikipedia, where it had been deposited by a non-climatologist. Now, it comes to light that the report features a photograph purporting to show Arctic icebergs melting, when the actual image is of Antarctica.

As I looked through the updated report yesterday, in which the Wikipedia graph has been removed, I noticed that an image looked to have been misidentified. Fortunately for me, the UN had purchased the image on, where about an hour’s worth of sleuthing revealed that indeed this was not a picture from the top of the world, but rather from the bottom.

Some will say that it doesn’t matter. I think it does. The United Nations claims to be the steward of the best science on the planet. Wouldn’t one hope that it would have staff capable of differentiating between Antarctica and the Arctic? Of course, global warming alarmists, including those employed at the United Nations, have been using both polar ice caps’ supposed melt as evidence of runaway global warming for years now. Meanwhile, though, Antarctic sea ice has continued to increase in extent throughout the satellite era, and temperatures at the South Pole have slowly fallen.

Nonetheless, the fear-mongers in the media and at the United Nations strive to frighten the credulous into believing that Earth’s southernmost continent is on the verge of catastrophic melt. As for the Arctic misrepresented by the UN’s photograph, how many of the report’s editors even know that sea ice increased in 2009 in the Arctic for the second year in a row? At the United Nations Environment Program, the answer is evidently: none. A map with a list of “climate anomalies” from the last year indicates that 2009 was the second most significant melt in the Arctic. In fact, it was the third lowest melt and may very well represent a turnaround. Only time will tell. Even The New York Times has an article today addressing the seeming good news.

As for that list of “Significant Climate Anomalies from 2008/2009,” the great majority of items listed are weather, rather than climate. An example: the four passages of Tropical Storm Fay across Florida’s coastline. While interesting, Fay’s behavior does not have an apparent, or hidden, relationship to rising co2 levels according to any reputable scientist, nor does it cloak 2008’s quiet Atlantic tropical cyclone season. (For those keeping track at home, 2009’s has been quieter still.)

Another error in the UN report should give any follower of climatology pause: the Mauna Loa co2 record is shown as “Keeling 2009.” While the graph is rightly referred to by climate professionals as the Keeling Curve, Dr. Keeling has been unable to author any new articles of late, as he passed away in 2005. (Like the other misattributed graph in the report, this one has tell-tale signs that it was simply pulled from Wikipedia.)

The last mistake in the UN report that I will delve into today features a photo of the Hawaiian Islands with a menacing caption about sea levels – trouble in paradise! Here is the text from the caption: “In Hawaii, as the ocean continues to rise, flooding occurs in low-lying regions during rains because storm sewers back up with saltwater and coastal erosion accelerates on beaches. Source: L. Carey.”

There are a few problems here. One: “L. Carey” does not exist, at least not according to the author of the caption. That would be Chip Fletcher, director of the Coastal Geography Group at the University of Hawaii. Reached for comment, Fletcher said that he was flattered that the United Nations report had found his statement in an internal department newsletter to be useful. Two: Fletcher also acknowledged that all of the flooding described by his statement takes place in areas of landfill that are subsiding.

Did Fletcher think that it might be a good thing for the United Nations to note the landfill subsidence when using a single image, and a single statement, to convey the reality of “climate change” in the islands? “Listen, the world is a big place,” Fletcher said. “I have other things to worry about than that.” Were there other locations in the islands that saw such flooding? “Parts of Waikiki have,” Fletcher said. Aren’t those parts of Waikiki also landfill, though? “Actually, they are.”



It's hard to be green when you're red-faced all the time. It's easy to be red-faced when your cause is global warming doomsterism.

This week, the doomsters were embarrassed to learn, once again, that the planet was not in grave peril. Antarctica, their greatest candidate for catastrophe, was not melting at an ever-faster rate, according to a report in Geophysical Research Letters, but at the slowest rate in 30 years. To add to their frustration, they couldn't even lash out at the lead author, Marco Tedesco of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department of City College of New York - the doomsters had praised his previous reports showing high rates of Antarctic melt.

The latest news from the Arctic - delivered daily via satellite - is no better. Two years ago with the Arctic ice in rapid retreat, the doomsters, convinced of the coming of an ice-free Arctic, could scarcely contain themselves. Now, with the Arctic ice in rapid return, their anticipation of disaster seems more a cruel hoax of Nature. The doomsters now dread to track the satellite data beamed down to us courtesy of the International Arctic Research Center and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency - you can see why they cringe each day by going to the satellite website and following the red line: See here.

The red faces aren't all caused by Nature's refusal to cooperate in Earth's demise. The clean carbon folks have recently discovered that they've been in bed with organized crime. Scotland Yard and Europol, among numerous other law enforcement agencies across Europe, are hot on the trail of scam artists believed to have made off with £1-billion by illicitly trading carbon credits. In Australia, authorities are investigating claims that a supplier to Carbon Planet, a carbon trading business, has been using fake carbon trading certificates to persuade forest dwellers in Papua New Guinea to sign over the rights to their forests under a UN scheme called REDD, for "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.'' Australia's REDD-faced Climate Change Minister Penny Wong may now be unable to tout Carbon Planet - about to list on the Australian stock exchange on the promise of A$100-million in REDD assets - at the upcoming climate change meetings in Copenhagen. Other dodgy carbon dealings led to the suspension of the UK branch of SGS, one of the world's largest clean energy auditors, and of the Norwegian certification company DNV.

If universities could blush, Stanford would be setting the skies ablaze with its latest embarrassment, an attempt to censor a global warming documentary about to be released that had filmed one of its professors, global warming catastrophist Stephen Schneider. "You are prohibited from using any of the Stanford footage you shot, including your interview of Professor Stephen Schneider," Stanford demanded in a letter. "Professor Schneider likewise has requested that I inform you that he has withdrawn any permission for you to use his name, likeness or interview in connection with any film project you may undertake."

What caused Stanford and Schneider to go ballistic over the release of the documentary, Not Evil Just Wrong, by independent Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer? He asked Schneider about his many predictions of global cooling catastrophe in the 1970s.

Why did the filmmaker back down, even though he had obtained permission for the interview? In legal proceedings, a well-heeled bully has no difficulty beating up a poor guy with only right on his side. Not that the filmmaker lacked either spine or recourse. He then documented the bad behaviour of Stanford and Schneider by having an actor read Schneider`s words before a blank screen. After its release, on Oct. 18, the sky over Stanford will turn an even deeper hue of red.

This week of embarrassment for the global warmists does not look all that different from most weeks. Overzealous scientists and their enablers have a habit of selecting the data they like and setting the rest aside. Some - Schneider among them - have even justified exaggerating the dangers in the cause of making the public take note. When they get caught they often resort to obfuscations and cover-ups.

And red faces become the norm.


British Warmists getting desperate

Climate change doubters to be targeted by government advertisement in prime-time. This is great news. People are very skeptical of government propaganda and will suspect an attempt to pull the wool over their eyes

Climate change sceptics are to be targeted in a hard-hitting government advertising campaign that will be the first to state unequivocally that Man is causing global warming and endangering life on Earth.

The £6 million campaign, which begins tonight in the prime ITV1 slot during Coronation Street, is a direct response to government research showing that more than half the population think that climate change will have no effect on them.

Ministers sanctioned the campaign because of concern that scepticism about climate change was making it harder to introduce carbon-reducing policies such as higher energy bills.

The advertisement attempts to make adults feel guilty about their legacy to their children. It features a father telling his daughter a bedtime story of “a very very strange” world with “horrible consequences” for today’s children. The storybook shows a British town deep under water, with people and animals drowning.

Carbon dioxide is depicted as rising in clouds of black soot from cars and homes, including from a woman’s hairdryer. The soot gathers into a jagged-toothed monster menacing the town.

The daughter asks her father if the story has a happy ending and a voiceover cuts in, saying: “It’s up to us how the story ends” and directs viewers to the Government’s Act on CO2 website.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change publishes research today showing that 52 per cent of people think climate change will not significantly affect them. Only 33 per cent think that it will and 15 per cent do not know.

Fourteen per cent of people think that climate change will have no effect on Britain, even in their grandchildren’s lifetime. Twenty-six per cent said they could think of no action they could take that would help to reduce climate change.

When asked how they would react if they knew climate change were going to have a serious effect on their children’s lives, 74 per cent said that they would be willing to change their lifestyle. Fifteen per cent said that they would not make any changes.

The Met Office has predicted that the 2003 heatwave, which resulted in 2,000 premature deaths in Britain, could happen every other year from the 2040s.

Joan Ruddock, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, said: “The survey results show that people don’t realise that climate change is already under way and could have severe consequences. With over 40 per cent of the UK’s C02 emissions a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for individual behaviour change to lower emissions.”

But Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the University of London and a critic of the Government’s plan to cut CO2, said the advert was an attempt to manipulate people with alarmist language and apocalyptic imagery. “It is straight out of Orwell’s 1984: an attempt to control with images of a perpetual war against something, in this case climate change.”



Less than half of Britons believe climate change will affect them during their lifetime and fewer than a fifth think it will disturb their children, a government survey showed Friday.

In the YouGov poll for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 69 percent of respondents said flooding would be the most likely consequence in Britain, but only 26 percent believed the country was already feeling the impact of climate change. "Recent research shows the public are unclear on what causes climate change and what the effects are," the department said.

Scientists say rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, caused by burning fossil fuels through greater energy usage, mass deforestation and increased transportation, will lead not only to flooding, but widespread drought, famine and disease, especially in poor countries. People displaced by climate change, or 'climate refugees', was another consequence of a warmer world, and could weigh on Britain's economy and social services.

"The survey results show that people don't realise that climate change is already under way and could have very severe consequences for their children's lives," UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock said in a statement. "With over 40 percent of the UK's CO2 emissions a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for individual behaviour change to lower emissions."

To raise public awareness, the department is launching its first ever advertising campaign Friday "confirming the existence of climate change and its man-made origin."

To see the DECC television adverts, click here



The science of climate change is too doubtful to dramatically change Australia's national defence plans, according to a key adviser on the Australian Defence Force's recent White Paper. While the white paper acknowledges for the first time climate change is a potential security risk, it says large-scale strategic consequences of climate change are not likely to be felt before 2030.

A key adviser on the white paper, Professor Ross Babbage, says he is not convinced that climate change exists at all. "The data on what's really happening in climate change was looked at pretty closely and the main judgment reached was that it was pretty uncertain - it wasn't clear exactly what was going on," he said. "When you look at that data, it really does suggest that there hasn't been a major change in the last decade or so and certainly no major increase. So the sort of judgments that were required have to be fairly open at this stage."

However Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has frequently put forward the opposite view, and other security analysts believe Defence should not be debating the basic science of global warming. Anthony Bergin, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says the ADF's judgement goes against most scientific conclusions. "There was no supporting evidence presented in the Defence White Paper for the judgement that there would be no strategic impacts of climate change for 30 years," he said. "It seems to run counter to most of the scientific judgements that are now concluding that impact of climate change is indeed faster and more severe than previous estimates."

In the US and the UK, security agencies and the military are providing resources to prepare for potential new climate conflicts over water, food and refugees as well as increasingly frequent natural disasters. They are also moving to ensure defence equipment will function in more extreme weather conditions. Sydney University's Professor Alan Dupont says the CIA in the US had the right approach. "They accepted the scientific forecasts of the IPCC as their starting point because they thought they were not qualified to contest the scientific issues. And I would have thought the same applied to our own defence department."

At the internationally respected Royal United Services Institute in London, Dr Tobias Feakin, the director of national security says the Australian white paper is out of step. "Climate change is already happening, so to press pause on considering it as a strategic issue, I think, could be a mistake," he said. "The time cycles for buying equipment rotate in about 20-year cycles so you need to begin to make the decisions now to purchase the kinds of equipment that you'll need for climate change world. "So to not actually acknowledge the kind of changes that we will be seeing then, I think will be quite short-sighted."

Because of long lead times and high expense, Professor Babbage says Defence moves cautiously when it comes to adopting new planning scenarios. "At this stage there isn't really the case to fundamentally change the direction of the Defence Force as a consequence of what we are so far seeing in terms of climate change, given the uncertainties that we still see in the data sets. Professor Babbage says Defence considered a variety of climate scenarios and judged Australia's current defence capabilities and force structure would cope.

He points out that Prime Minister Rudd, as chairman of the National Security Council, signed off on the white paper's conclusions.


NOTE: The Australian Government's Defence White Paper is available here


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


Friday, October 09, 2009

NASA assuming what it has to prove -- as usual

The speaker reported below not only assumes that the Antarctic ice will melt but engages in outright deception when he says "A remarkable change is happening on Earth". That is the opposite of the truth. Given that the temperature rise across the entire 20th C was only a fraction of one degree, we in fact live in a time of exceptional temperature stability. Amusing, though, that he says of the change: "It's not an easy thing to observe"

NASA next week begins the most extensive aerial survey of Earth's surface to chart the impact of global warming, with six years of flights over Antarctica to understand the frozen continent's glaciers and ice sheets. The US space agency said the massive aerial survey, part of a program dubbed Operation Ice Bridge, will get underway on October 15.

Data gathered during the mission will help scientists predict how changes to the massive Antarctic ice sheet will contribute to a rise in sea levels around the world. Researchers will work from NASA's DC-8, an airborne laboratory equipped with laser mapping instruments, ice-penetrating radar and gravity instruments.

"A remarkable change is happening on Earth, truly one of the biggest changes in environmental conditions since the end of the ice age," said Tom Wagner, cryosphere program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "It's not an easy thing to observe, let alone predict what might happen next. Studies like Ice Bridge are key," he said.

Space officials said the plane, crew and scientists depart October 12 from NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California, and fly to Punta Arenas, Chile, where they will be based through mid-November.

Some 50 scientists and support personnel are part of the mission, which will involve 17 flights over the southern polar region.



In reference to an email from a non-panic-stricken Warmist that I put up yesterday, S. Fred Singer [] has emailed as follows:

Tom Fuller sounds reasonable -- that is, until you look more closely at his claim that a warming between 1975 and 1998 is evidence for AGW. He does not mention the well-established effects of solar variability.

There is no question that 1998 is a good deal warmer than 1975; his error is to draw a straight line between those two points and assume it is a GH-gas-produced 'trend.'

Far from it: Around 1976-77, we see a sudden climate warming, identified with a shift in the PDO-index. In 1998, we see an exceptionally large El Nino warming. There is hardly any trend between 1979 and, say, 1996 --while CO2 keeps increasing. This is quite apparent from the MSU satellite data. And according to GH models, the surface trend should be even less.

There are, of course, some publications that suggest such a trend, but they usually involve improper smoothing of the raw data; see, e.g., fig 2 of Duffy, Santer, and Wigley, in Physics Today, Jan 2009.

Fuller doesn't even mention, let alone discuss, the post-1998 absence of a warming trend, shown in the same figure, but ignored by the smoothing procedure.

The conclusion I would draw from all this is of an extremely small Climate Sensitivity -- not zero, of course, but close to it. It confirms the NIPCC result based on the independent 'fingerprint' method, applied to IPCC (and official CCSP) data; see figs 6-10 in "Nature - Not Human Activity - Rules the Climate"

To sum up: I don't share the view that GW is a problem.

The sun caused global warming in the past

So why not in more recent times?

Rocky deposits in caves in central China record the changes over time in the Asian Monsoon through the oxygen isotopic composition of the minerals from which they are formed. These deposits can be precisely dated and provide an absolute time line for climate system changes. Cheng et al. (p. 248; see the Perspective by Severinghaus) present oxygen isotope data from speleothems collected from Sanbao Cave, China, for the three glacial terminations that occurred between 120,000 and 350,000 years ago. The data reveal variations in the amount of precipitation delivered by the Asian Monsoon over time. Comparison of the timing of these changes with corresponding changes in ice core and marine sedimentary records provides mechanistic insights into how variations in insolation affect ice sheets and ice age terminations.


Journal abstract follows:

Ice Age Terminations

Hai Cheng et al.

230Th-dated oxygen isotope records of stalagmites from Sanbao Cave, China, characterize Asian Monsoon (AM) precipitation through the ends of the third- and fourthmost recent ice ages. As a result, AM records for the past four glacial terminations can now be precisely correlated with those from ice cores and marine sediments, establishing the timing and sequence of major events. In all four cases, observations are consistent with a classic Northern Hemisphere summer insolation intensity trigger for an initial retreat of northern ice sheets. Meltwater and icebergs entering the North Atlantic alter oceanic and atmospheric circulation and associated fluxes of heat and carbon, causing increases in atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperatures that drive the termination in the Southern Hemisphere. Increasing CO2 and summer insolation drive recession of northern ice sheets, with probable positive feedbacks between sea level and CO2.

Science, 2009, Vol. 326, no. 5950, pp. 248 - 252.


Senior G77 members walked out of a meeting during climate talks in the Thai capital saying they would not discuss a future without the Kyoto Protocol climate pact, delegates said on Wednesday.

South Africa's lead negotiator, China and OPEC countries left the informal session late on Tuesday that was discussing the shape of new climate agreement that would bind all nations in the fight against climate change.

Tensions have been rising during marathon U.N. climate talks in Bangkok that end on Friday over accusations rich nations are trying to kill off Kyoto, which binds 37 industrialised nations to emissions targets during its 2008-12 first commitment period.

The question negotiators are wrestling with is whether to extend Kyoto into a second commitment period from 2013, amend the pact or create a new one, a step many developing nations resist.

"The G77 is extremely concerned with the notion that there is a clear intention being shown that developed countries, who are party to the Kyoto Protocol, of not agreeing to new targets for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol," said Alf Wills, spokesman and lead negotiator for South Africa in the G77 of developing nations.

"The G77 rejects the notion and proposal to collapse or 'cut and paste the good parts of the Kyoto Protocol' (one wonders what the bad parts are) into a new single legal instrument under the Convention," Wills said in an email to Reuters, referring to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Kyoto Protocol falls under the convention. The United States is not part of Kyoto, failing to ratify it because the pact does not bind big developing nations to emissions targets. The United States is a party to the convention.

Negotiators in Bangkok are trying to find a formula that will bring the United States and developing nations into a framework that commits all nations to curb their emissions to prevent dangerous climate change.

The U.N. has set a December deadline for nations to agree to a broader pact at a major climate meeting in Copenhagen.


Feeling green while the poor starve

Of all the insanities committed in the name of green politics, one of the most insane is the production of biofuels from food crops. In pursuit of increased proportion of energy from renewable sources, governments have realized that wind and solar power cannot make sufficiently large contributions. They have therefore turned to biofuels, a move that hugely delights their farming lobbies.

Left at that, this might not have done too much damage outside of a massive misallocation of resources, but in a move that compounds insanity with thoughtless wickedness, they have chosen to do so out of food crops, rather than push forward the development of fuels from biological waste products such as husks, stalks and other cellulose surplus.

Now Robin Pagnamenta reports in the Times that "Britain's self-sufficiency in wheat will end next year because a giant new biofuel refinery needs so much of the staple crop that home-grown supplies will be exhausted." Yes, we are now buying wheat on world markets to turn into fuel that is more expensive than that we can buy elsewhere or pump out of North Sea wells. That puts upward pressure on world prices, forcing up the price of foodstuffs. To affluent people this will be an inconvenience; to the poor it might mean starvation.

We have, in effect, reintroduced the Corn Laws which were abolished in 1846, ensuring that the poor have to pay more for their bread as landowners and farmers benefit from higher prices. Well-to-do ladies driving their children to school in 4x4s can feel good that they are driving on 'green' fuel, even as people in poorer countries go hungry. Already there have been pasta protests in Italy and tortilla riots in Mexico, as poor people protest as the higher prices.

Why in the name of sanity and decency did governments not do the obvious thing and offer huge prizes to rush forward the development of biofuels from waste products instead? It has been achieved on small scale, and all it needs are the incentives and investment to roll it out on a larger scale. Biofuels from food crops is a profligate waste of precious food to satisfy green consciences, and the next government should pledge itself to stop it.


Australia's Warmist laws guaranteed to swell bureaucracy

Just what the country needs: Another army of tax-eating paper shufflers who produce nothing

ALTHOUGH the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme will put serious pressure on jobs in industries such as mining and agriculture, it will prove to be a significant boon for the federal public service.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull's decision to stake his future on securing concessions from the government over its climate change legislation will do nothing to avert this, regardless of what he can wring at thebargaining table to protect jobs in these industries.

The government is already well advanced in establishing a super bureaucracy to administer compliance with these laws even though its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is still awaiting its fate in parliament.

At the heart of this is the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority, which will be supported by a new division created within the Department of Climate Change.

Informed sources say that about 100 staff and officials will initially be involved in this operation, but this is likely to blow out dramatically when the full implications of what will effectively amount to a federal consumption tax on carbon emissions become clear.

This new regulatory agency will have sweeping powers to enforce the government's climate change regime. It will also issue and auction emissions permits and collect the revenue from these. The bill to provide for this agency went up to a Senate committee inquiry earlier this year but it received little attention as the focus was largely on the scope of the CPRS proposals.

In the May budget the government said this new agency would take over the existing functions of other regulators, limiting the risk of conflict, streamlining procedures and reducing the burden for business. Farmers in NSW won't be holding their breaths for this eventuality, having just found their rates have jumped by up to 120per cent after the state government created a new rural super bureaucracy.

Media advertisements for the head of a division of stakeholder support and engagement within the Department of Climate Change give some insight into how this new structure will operate. The division will be responsible for "building communications, outreach, audit and compliance capabilities for ACCRA". The job description goes on to state the division will develop and manage relationships with key stakeholders and devise and implement a range of communications, education and marketing strategies to build confidence in the regulator's administrative processes that will, in turn, support effective regulation and "foster voluntary compliance".

But the terms of employment for members of the regulatory agency and its support division inside the department show that businesses will be expected to make available highly sensitive commercial information about their operations.

In fact, legislation to establish the regulatory body says that given the potential scope and sensitivity of commercial information that will now be collected, penalties for its unauthorised use and disclosure are essential. As a result people working in this area will require a secret security clearance.

All this looks strikingly like the way the Australian Taxation Office operates. For example, the ATO works on a system of self-assessment supported by audit. And it is in this latter area that the requirement for significant staff numbers is generated.

And in setting out the qualities it is looking for in the head of its stakeholder support and engagement division, the department says this person will need to understand the importance of audit and compliance functions that will underpin the effectiveness of its CPRS regulatory framework.

So where does this leave business? Well, apart from meeting endless state-based compliance requirements and filing an annual tax return as well as quarterly business assessment statements, it will now also have to complete an annual energy or environmental tax return.

Tomorrow night Turnbull will address a key business function in Melbourne organised by the Liberal Party. The $1100-a-head dinner was primarily designed as a rallying call for business to get behind the beleaguered party. But Turnbull's response to Rudd's ETS has, instead, increased speculation about his leadership abilities and the possibility of a damaging split in the parliamentary party.

Rather than looking for a way to bring the government and the opposition together on an ETS to avoid the consequences of a double dissolution, Turnbull should be detailing an alternative to what is a clearly flawed policy. More to the point, he should be outlining his broad strategy for a fight back to the Treasury benches.

The reality is that his approach to the ETS issue is just confirming the fears of many Liberals that the party has lost its point of difference and become an mirror image of the ALP.



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, October 08, 2009

IPCC lies (1)

An email from David Holland [] below:

How confident should we be of the IPCC’s assessment of climate change, when the people they put in charge of it cannot explain correctly the procedures it uses and appear totally ignorant of the working groups’ failure to follow them?

Towards the end of his interview on 29 September with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, IPCC Chaiman, Dr Pachauri, said: “Whatever comments we get from the peer review process are posted on the website of the IPCC, and the reasons why we accept or reject those comments are clearly specified. Where we accept a comment we say, "Yes. Accepted." Where we don't, we have to adduce very clear reasons why the authors don't agree with the comment. So it's a very transparent process.”

The statement is entirely untrue and very misleading. No “comments” or “reasons” are posted at the IPCC website or ever have been so far as I know, and to my certain knowledge not all of them on the Fourth Assessment were ever published.

It is demonstrably untrue because no AR4 WGIII Lead Authors’ responses, or “reasons” as Dr Pachauri calls them, have ever made public and nor have the WGIII Review Editors’ Reports. Dr Pachauri should have been aware of this if the IPCC had any quality control system, and in any case since the new head of AR5 WGIII TSU, Dr Matschoss emailed me to state that he would raise the matter at the IPCC Bureau meeting of 16/17 September 2009.

It is also untrue, because the WGI TSU never published any of the comments it received from its unofficial and unpublished extension to the AR4 WGI second round of Expert and Government Review, which according to the timetable ended on 2 June 2006. Immediately after the Bergen Lead Authors’ meeting at the end of June 2006, the AR4 WGI TSU emailed all Review Editors, Authors, and Expert Reviewers - but not the British ‘focal point’ according to Defra. The TSU attached an undated, unsigned document which was also not on TSU letterhead, but included the following:

“Reviewers are invited to submit copies of additional papers that are either in-press or published in 2006, along with the chapter and section number to which this material could pertain, via email to, not later than July 24, 2006. In the case of in-press papers a copy of the final acceptance letter from the journal is requested for our records.”

The month’s extension to the review had allowed the Lead Authors to respond to those, including the Reviewer for the Govt of the USA, who had commented that the Wahl and Ammann, 2007 paper did not meet the TSU deadlines requirement to be genuinely “in press” by the “end February 2006”. The Lead Authors’ “reason” for ignoring the comments was[sic]:

Rejected, guidlines used for preparing the draft have been followed and new guidlines do not pose problems.

I have a copy of one critically important comment in accordance with this instruction and the acknowledgement of it by the TSU. This comment suggested two relevant critically important papers on the ‘hockey stick’ of Dr Mann and other studies alleged to support it. No “reason” or response has ever been published by the IPCC and nor has the comment itself.

Having been told more than once by Defra to complain to the IPCC, I wrote to the IPCC Secretary, Renate Christ on 28 May 2008. I raised the matter of the missing WGIII Lead Authors’ responses and asked to see the publisher’s letter confirming that the Wahl and Ammann paper was genuinely “in press”. I also asked for comments and responses for the extraordinary extension period in the WGI second review, and for all the Review Editors’ Reports. I have received no reply, despite emailing a reminder, but I would find it surprising if Dr Christ did not mention my letter to Dr Pachauri.

Dr Pachauri’s statement is very misleading because “posted on the website” implies an established IPCC policy with the sort of immediacy and interactivity we all expect in our 21st century electronic age. No comments and “reasons” were automatically put online or ever available to the public anywhere until long after the AR4 Summary for Policymakers and the Working Group reports were published online, and then only after Freedom of Information requests in the USA and UK.

Some Expert Reviewers (including WGIII’s who have not seen theirs) will not agree that “very clear reasons” were always given for rejecting their comments.

The working documents for the Third Assessment WGI are in 8 unindexed boxes in a Harvard library and, in emails to two AR4 Expert Reviewers who asked for comments on the more important second draft, the WGI TSU made it very clear that it was their original intention to do the same on AR4.

This is not the first time Dr Pachauri and his colleagues have demonstrated that they have no idea of how the IPCC should or actually does work, or that they are careless with their facts. Along with Sir John Houghton, Professors Parry and Watson, Dr Pachauri is reported to have “co-authorised” the complaint reported in Ofcom Bulletin 114 against the “Great Global Warming Swindle”.

The complaint stated that the film had been false and misleading, but if the Ofcom report is correct, the description of the IPCC Review Process which they “co-authorised” is also false and misleading. The complaint said it was Review Editors “who will make the final decision” on whether comments are accepted or rejected. This is untrue. Appendix A to the principles makes it clear that the Lead Authors have the final say. The rest of the description of the assessment process in the complaint suggests a far more interactive open and transparent process than had ever existed.

Defra, the British ‘focal point’ was neither consulted nor even given a copy of what Ofcom insist was an official IPCC complaint. Accordingly Dr Pachauri and his colleagues must have acted in breach of the Principles Governing IPCC Work agreed by the British and all other Panel members. Principle 4 states,

“Major decisions of the IPCC will be taken by the Panel in plenary meetings.”

If obliging the British Communications Regulator to undertake one of the largest and most expensive investigations ever into a TV programme is not a major IPCC decision I am not sure what would be. However, Principle 12 states,

“Conclusions drawn by IPCC Working Groups and any Task Forces are not official IPCC views until they have been accepted by the Panel in a plenary meeting.”

Accordingly, unless there is a session report of the Panel authorising the complaint – and of course there is not – the complaint is not an official IPCC view. The reality is that the IPCC process of peer-review is a sham and unlike even the poorest of journal peer-review procedures. Far worse is that Dr Pachauri demonstrates that there is no system of governance at the IPCC. Perhaps the management of Climate Change assessment is just too important to be left entirely to the same scientists who promote its conclusions.

IPCC lies (2)

An email from Ross McKitrick [] below:

Dr. Pachauri insinuates that reviewer comments are posted right away, or at least automatically if not right away, to the IPCC web site. I was a WG I reviewer, and like all the others our comments were submitted confidentially. We were instructed not to divulge the review materials publicly. The only reason WG I comments eventually got posted on the internet (months after the report was released) was that Steve McIntyre and David Holland pursued the IPCC with FOI requests. Having fought so long to keep the review comments from being released, it is rather rich for Pachauri now to invoke the fact that they (grudgingly) conceded the requests as a reason to boast about a process that apparently never had that outcome in view.

Furthermore, Pachauri does not mention that the review of the Second Order Draft was complete in June 2006, but the report went through 3 further revisions behind closed doors without the scientific review panel having any opportunity to comment. Where is the transparency in that? One of the revision rounds didn't take place until after the Summary for Policymakers was published in February 2007, which is why the report didn't appear until May 2007! There were important changes at each stage that were made with no opportunity for review. The text as it stood in June 2006, i.e. the Second Order Draft, did have many fine sections with balanced and reasonable discussions. But the notorious and controversial parts, such as the paleoclimate chapter, the section dealing with surface temperature contamination, "fingerprint" detection, etc., were very one-sided. The record shows that critical comments were not dealt with on the basis of "very clear" reasons for rejection. I spelled out some examples in my AIER chapter

The Green Depression

Wouldn't it be cool if the economy shrank even more? John Kerry seems to think so. John Kerry, the former junior senator from Massachusetts who by the way served in Vietnam, is leading the effort in the Senate to pass Cap'n Trade, a measure to combat so-called global warming by imposing massive taxes on energy. Blogger Dan Calabrese notes a revealing Kerry quote from last week: "Let me emphasize something very strongly as we begin this discussion. The United States has already this year alone achieved a 6% reduction in emissions simply because of the downturn in the economy, so we are effectively saying we need to go another 14%".

Wow. To accomplish Kerry's environmental goals, all we need to do is shrink the economy even more and keep it shrunken--in other words, for the recession to turn into a permanent depression. If you think that's a good idea, call your senator and urge him to vote "yes" on Cap'n Trade!

We Blame Global Warming:

* "Calif. Wildfire Stalled by Record Low Temperatures"--headline, Associated Press, Oct. 7

* "Some Idaho School Kids Enjoy an Early Snow Day"--headline, KTVB-TV Web site (Boise), Oct. 7


Fools Rush In

Last week, the EPA declared carbon dioxide a pollutant to be severely regulated under the Clean Air Act, even though CO2 is a naturally occurring substance in the atmosphere essential for the survival of life on the planet. Animals, including humans, breathe CO2 out, and plants must take in CO2 to grow. While CO2 in the atmosphere has increased during the industrial revolution, it is still at a very low level on an historical scale of thousands and millions of years.

The EPA and the ideologically rigid Barack Obama insist that CO2 emissions cause global warming. But the best science has now proven this doctrine false. Again, the definitive explanation of the falsity, indeed, even foolishness, of the theory of man-caused global warming is the 880 page treatise Climate Change Reconsidered published by the Heartland Institute. The scientists associated with Heartland and the Science and Environmental Policy Project ( are as first rate as any on the planet (look it up), including those at the U.N., which seeks to use the issue to create global governing powers for itself.

There is no actual evidence of significant man-caused global warming. Global atmospheric temperatures are down over the last 11 years, and the decline is accelerating and likely to continue for another 10-20 years, at least. The temperature patterns for the entire 20th century did not follow CO2 emissions up, but fluctuated up and down consistent with ocean current temperature trends, and solar activity. In other words, natural causes. The case for global warming is entirely based on computer models made up by biased UN scientists, which have failed to predict temperature trends accurately.

But President Obama's EPA is rushing ahead with regulatory burdens not needing legislative approval that will raise energy costs on the U.S. economy by $2 trillion. It will mean higher costs for electricity, gasoline, coal, natural gas, home heating oil, and everything that is made and transported using energy. This will hit the U.S. economy while temperatures continue to decline.

A huge political problem for Democrats is that their rhetoric has been so contrary to the reality they are now imposing. President Obama keeps saying that his brave new world powered by windmills and floating on sunbeams will create a booming economy spawned by high paying green jobs. But high cost energy is not a foundation for job creation or an economic boom. Obama's fantasy was already tried by the socialists in Spain, and they lost many more jobs on net than the "green jobs" created, which turned out to be mostly temporary construction jobs building mostly useless, massive, concrete windmills, good primarily for killing birds.



After Michael Mann's hockey stick chart was discredited by analyses done by the Ad Hoc Committee Report on the 'Hockey Stick' Global Climate Reconstruction led by Edward Wegman, and the somewhat less damning (but still critical) report by the National Academy of Sciences, more emphasis has been placed by supporters of a strong policy to counter AGW on the work of Keith Briffa and the co-authors of a series of papers, the central thrust of which is to insist that recent rises in temperature are unprecedented and presage continued warming in tandem with our release of CO2. Now that Briffa has released data that has been withheld for 10 years, it appears that this thesis will suffer the same fate as Mann's work.

If that happens (and it certainly has not happened yet), those looking at global warming may well return in the direction of my point of view. I believe that global warming due to human release of CO2 does happen (and has happened, most notably between 1975 and 1998), that it is a potential problem (despite its recent recovery, the average of Arctic sea ice extent and volume is quite low, historically speaking--just as climate science predicted), but that it is not the only factor, nor the only human factor affecting climate, which is why climate scientists can tell us that global warming may disappear for up to 30 years. Because other factors may well matter just as much or more than CO2. Such as, if I may paraphrase Roger Pielke Sr., deforestation, agriculture, other land-use changes, aquifer depletion, etc.

We may have to accept that global warming is just one of many issues that require attention. We may get to celebrate the fact that global warming will not destroy civilization--that there will be no massive flooding, extinctions, environmental migrations, mass evacuations of coastal and island areas. Sadly, our celebrations should be tempered by the knowledge that each of these events can and will occur without global warming.

It will be an ongoing problem, and it should hasten our conversion to green energy sources and smarter distribution. Even if there is no hockey stick, there is still global warming. Remember that what Steve McIntyre did with his analysis of Briffa's work is to call into question the shaft of the hockey stick, not the upturned blade. By which I mean, McIntyre's work leads to the strong suggestion that the warming experienced since 1880 and more emphatically between 1975 and 1998 is real, but not unprecedented. These global mean surface temperatures have been seen, during the Medieval Warming Period and the Roman Warming Period. As those periods of warming occurred without the benefit of human contributions of CO2, it removes some (not all) of the urgency from the arguments about global warming.

This, if true, is an unmitigated blessing, as it will allow us to plan for a future that has hope for the developing world and does not require us to throw the circuit breaker on energy consumption in the developed world. It does not mean we can ignore the issue--we do need to 'decarbonize' our way of life, and the sooner the better. But we can, if McIntyre is right, do it at a pace that allows time for adjustment, and continue to fund solutions to other problems as well.

I'm past caring about motives--if Briffa is wrong, let's find out fast. Let's find out even faster if he's right. Whatever political or economic imperatives have been pushing this line of thinking, they need to be either verified or falsified now. If global warming will raise the temperature of this planet by 2 degrees Celsius over the course of this century, it will be a problem. But it's a vastly different problem than the global warming of 7 to 9 degrees suggested by those who have been most alarmed.


Reduce carbon emissions? I'd rather keep flying, thanks

Airline passengers in Britain are refusing to fly less to reduce their carbon footprint, a study has found. Loughborough University research led by Tim Ryley shows fewer than one in five people in Britain are trying to cut the number of flights they take for environmental reasons. "While some people are willing to fly less and others are willing to pay more to fly to offset emissions, they remain the minority," Dr Ryley told The Guardian newspaper. "It is cost and not environmental consequences that deter people from flying more often."

Asked what increase in air fares would deter them from flying short-haul, 79 per cent of respondents said a STG50 ($A92) rise would make them fly less often. With just a STG10 ($A18) increase in short-haul fares to destinations such as Paris and Rome, only 21 per cent would probably take fewer flights.

The Propensity to Fly study also found the majority of the British public would rather cut energy use at home than go without flying for a year.

While most people said they were unwilling to pay more for their flights to offset the environmental cost, an increasing number - 32 per cent in 2009 compared with 19 per cent in 2007 - agreed passengers should pay more to account for aviation's environmental impact. The study included four surveys between 2007 and 2009, with sample sizes of between 300 and 615 people.

Air passenger duty, the UK government's tax on air fares, is changing to take account of distance later this year. The duty on short-haul flights will rise from STG10 ($A18) to STG11 ($20) in November and STG12 ($22) in 2010. Increases on long-haul trips will be higher, with tax on flights such as London to Sydney jumping from STG55 ($A100) to STG85 ($A156) next year.



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, October 07, 2009

More on the ocean acidity scare

There is quite a debate over ocean acidity going on among the skeptical community and I seem to get most of the emails copied to me. The debate is over just how ocean acidity works. The Warmists just assume they know but the facts contradict their ideas. I have no claims to being a chemist, however, so I am not going to post any more of the debate. I put up two excerpts yesterday so from now on I will wait until someone else who really knows the science puts it all together. Meanwhile, however, a reader has sent me some links that look very interesting:

See this PDF of pH measurements of "Monterey Bay Aquarium Incoming Seawater". Note that from when measurements started until the present, there is no trend. The range is from about 7.7 to 8.1, with the first and last being about 7.9, which is consistent with this PDF -- which makes clear that ocean pH is highly variable, with an "average" of around 7.6 (a skewed distribution?), meaning that the bay is more alkaline than average ocean water.

So any claim that there is a "given", global or proper level of ocean acidity is as absurd as the claim that there is a "given", global or proper level of temperature. Acidity is highly variable, follows no simple rule and we have much to learn about it. Warmist certainty in the matter is just the work of con-men with no respect for the facts.

Antarctic Ice Melt at Lowest Levels in Satellite Era

Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention? The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history. Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters: "A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980–2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008–2009 melt season."

Figure 1. Standardized values of the Antarctic snow melt index (October-January) from 1980-2009 (adapted from Tedesco and Monaghan, 2009).

The silence surrounding this publication was deafening. It would seem that with oft-stoked fears of a disastrous sea level rise coming this century any news that perhaps some signs may not be pointing to its imminent arrival would be greeted by a huge sigh of relief from all inhabitants of earth (not only the low-lying ones, but also the high-living ones, respectively under threat from rising seas or rising energy costs). But not a peep.

But such is not always the case—or rather, such is not ever the case when ice melt is pushing the other end of the record scale. For instance, below is a collection of NASA stories highlighting record high amounts of melting (or in most cases, simply higher than normal amounts in some regions) across Greenland in each of the past 3 years, as ascertained by Marco Tedesco (the lead author of the latest report on Antarctica):

NASA Researcher Finds Days of Snow Melting on the Rise in Greenland: “In 2006, Greenland experienced more days of melting snow and at higher altitudes than average over the past 18 years, according to a new NASA-funded project using satellite observations….”

NASA Finds Greenland Snow Melting Hit Record High in High Places: “A new NASA-supported study reports that 2007 marked an overall rise in the melting trend over the entire Greenland ice sheet and, remarkably, melting in high-altitude areas was greater than ever at 150 percent more than average. In fact, the amount of snow that has melted this year over Greenland is the equivalent of more than twice the surface size of the U.S…”

Melting on the Greenland Ice Cap, 2008: “The northern fringes of Greenland’s ice sheet experienced extreme melting in 2008, according to NASA scientist Marco Tedesco and his colleagues.”

And lest you think that perhaps NASA hasn’t had any data on ice melt across Antarctica in past years, we give you this one:

NASA Researchers Find Snowmelt in Antarctica Creeping Inland: “On the world’s coldest continent of Antarctica, the landscape is so vast and varied that only satellites can fully capture the extent of changes in the snow melting across its valleys, mountains, glaciers and ice shelves. In a new NASA study, researchers [including Marco Tedesco] using 20 years of data from space-based sensors have confirmed that Antarctic snow is melting farther inland from the coast over time, melting at higher altitudes than ever and increasingly melting on Antarctica’s largest ice shelf.”

But this time around, nothing, nada, zippo from NASA when their ice melt go-to guy Marco Tedesco reports that Antarctica has set a record for the lack of surface ice melt (even more interestingly coming on the heels of a near-record low ice-melt year last summer).

So, seriously, NASA, what gives? If ice melt is an important enough topic to warrant annual updates of the goings-on across Greenland, it is not important enough to elucidate the history and recent behavior across Antarctica? (These are not meant as rhetorical questions)

SOURCE (See the original for links)

But Revkin of the NYT makes some grudging admissions

Accompanied by speculation, as usual

The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic on Tuesday, noting a substantial expansion of the extent of “second-year ice” — floes thick enough to have persisted through two summers of melting. The result could be a reprieve, at least for a while, from the recent stretch of remarkable summer meltdowns.

According to the center, second-year ice this summer made up 32 percent of the total ice cover on the Arctic Ocean, compared with 21 percent in 2007 and 9 percent in 2008. The percentage of ice that was many years old, forming thick pancaked expanses, was at its lowest since satellite observations began 30 years ago. But that could change next year as the second-year ice adds mass through the long winter freeze.

Walt Meier, an ice center scientist, described the situation this way in a statement:
We’ve preserved a fair amount of first-year ice and second-year ice after this summer compared to the past couple of years. If this ice remains in the Arctic through the winter, it will thicken, which gives some hope of stabilizing the ice cover over the next few years. However, the ice is still much younger and thinner than it was in the 1980s, leaving it vulnerable to melt during the summer.

The shifting conditions raise a question. None of the sea-ice specialists I’ve interviewed since 2000 on Arctic trends ever predicted a straight-line path to an open-water Arctic, but quite a few have stressed the longstanding idea that as white ice retreats, solar energy that would have been reflected back into space is absorbed by the dark sea, with that heat then melting existing ice and shortening the winter frozen season. I’ve just sent out a query to a batch of experts, asking if the potential ice recovery now raises questions about the importance of that light-dark shift in albedo compared to other dynamics in the Arctic Ocean. I’ll update this post as responses come in.

The conditions also bolster the views of ice and climate specialists who have stressed that the many factors shaping Arctic conditions year by year, from winds and atmospheric pressure to highly variable ocean currents and soot, still dominate the influence of heat trapped by building greenhouse gases. So the “ death spiral of the Arctic ice system” could well be more like a series of descending loop the loops. Whether the Arctic’s 21st-century journey ends with a tipping-point style crash or a whimper remains uncertain, but — even with the current recovery — it’s hard to find a researcher probing Arctic ice trends who does not foresee open-water summers, and all that comes with them, in coming decades, as long as greenhouse gases keep accumulating in the atmosphere.


Stanford U. Censorship of Skeptical Climate Film

They are trying to protect a climate crook

Stanford University has banned a skeptical documentary film from airing a climate change interview with one of its prominent warming activist professors, Stephen Schneider. After legal threats from Stanford University -- apparently on behalf of Prof. Schneider -- the documentary filmmakers were forced to use a blank screen and an actor had to read the transcript of Schneider's already taped but legally banned climate interview. The skeptical global warming documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong”, set for its international premier on October 18, 2009, interviewed Schneider about his flip-flop from a coming ice age proponent in the 1970s to his current advocacy of man-made global warming fears. Schneider is a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University.

Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer told Climate Depot: “Lawyers for Stanford University have tried to ban our documentary from reporting on how one of their professors previously predicted an imminent ice-age, but is now a leading global warming advocate.” (Schneider joins others like Obama Science Czar John Holdren. See: Climate Depot's Factsheet on 1970s Coming 'Ice Age' Claims -- 'Fears of a coming ice age, showed up in peer-reviewed literature, at scientific conferences, by prominent scientists and throughout the media')

To watch the “banned” video excerpt from “Not Evil Just Wrong” of an actor portraying Schneider's interview click here.

Climate Depot has obtained a copy of Stanford University's legal letter prohibiting the Irish filmmakers from airing Schneider's already taped interview in which he was questioned about his inconvenient conversion from a global cooling advocate in the 1970s to a present day global warming activist.

Stanford University sent a scathing letter to the documentary makers declaring: “You are prohibited from using any of the Stanford footage you shot, including your interview of Professor Stephen Schneider. Professor Schneider likewise has requested that I inform you that he has withdrawn any permission for you to use his name, likeness or interview in connection with any film project you may undertake.”

The Stanford letter concluded: “Please confirm to me in writing that you have received and will comply with Stanford's directive that all shots of Stanford University (both indoors and outdoors) and all parts of Professor Schneider's interview will be removed from your footage. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter."

Climate Depot has also obtained the exclusive pre-release video and the transcript of Schneider's interview which Stanford University lawyers deemed too hot for broadcast. McAleer called on Stanford to withdraw the legal threat which has forced the filmmakers to use a blank screen and an actor's voice to read the text of Professor Schneider's interview about his changing climate positions. “The lawyers at Stanford sent the unprecedented letter after we asked Schneider about his flip-flopping on climate alarmism,” the film's director McAleer explained. McAleer said he is shocked at the legal maneuvering by Stanford to censor an interview with one of their most prominent professors. "This will have a chilling effect on academic freedom and students. It sends out the message - don't ask your professors embarrassing questions because they will not be tolerated,” McAleer said.

McAleer's documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong” takes a skeptical look at man-made global warming claims. “Not Evil Just Wrong” attempts to "show the human cost of extreme environmentalism." "It reveals how global warming legislation such as cap-and-trade will chase jobs out of America during one of the biggest recessions in living memory," McAleer said.

In the 1970s Professor Schneider was one of the leading voices warning the Earth was going to experience a catastrophic man-made ice-age. However he is now a member of the UN IPCC and is a leading advocate warning that the Earth is facing catastrophic global warming. In 1971, Schneider co-authored a paper warning of the possibility of a man-made “ice age.” See: Rasool S., & Schneider S."Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols - Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate", Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141 – Excerpt: 'The rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 deg. K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”

Schneider was still promoting the coming “ice age” in 1978. (See: Unearthed 1970's video: Global warming activist Stephen Schneider caught on 1978 TV show 'In Search Of...The Coming Ice Age' – September 20, 2009) By the 1980's, Schneider reversed himself and began touting man-made global warming. See: "The rate of [global warming] change is so fast that I don't hesitate to call it potentially catastrophic for ecosystems,” Schneider said on UK TV in 1990.

Schneider also has made controversial remarks advocating “scary scenarios” to convince the public of climate threat. “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have." (For full context of Schneider's quote see here.)

Schneider also reversed himself after issuing a public debate challenge to skeptical scientists in 2009. Schneider originally boasted that skeptics would be "slaughtered" in a debate, but after numerous challengers stepped forward, he quickly backed off and declared he would not "schedule some political show debate."

Despite many claims to the contrary, the 1970's global cooling fears appeared in peer-reviewed literature, scientific conferences and were widespread among many scientists and in the media. Newsweek Magazine even used the climate “tipping point” argument in 1975 to hype global cooling. Newsweek wrote April 28, 1975 article: "The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."

More HERE (See the original for links etc.)

UN Quietly Scrubs Embattled Graph from Climate Report

In yesterday’s article, UN Climate Reports: They Lie, we discussed the problems associated with a chart that appeared in the UN’s most recent climate report. One such issue was that the graphic, which claimed to establish a “correlation between temperature and CO2,” used a temperature plot immediately recognizable as the infamously debunked “Hockey Stick Graph.”

And the agency’s timing couldn’t have been worse. For starters, the immediate recognition of MBH98 on page 5 of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 sparked email exchanges which lead to this piece at Climate Audit, which, in turn, lead to immediate on-line outrage among many who write on the subject. Then, only days later, CA’s Steve Mcintyre received and analyzed data he had been denied for years, which allowed him to debunk the data alarmists had been using to defend the notion that 20th century warming was unprecedented for the millennium.

But as now reported by Anthony Watts at Watt’s Up With That, UNEP has replaced the embattled graphic, which was taken not from peer-reviewed journals but rather a 2005 Wikimedia posting by an unknown Norwegian research biologist, with a more traditional (and carbon free) chart from GISS.

Here’s the original page 5, as I first saw it on September 24th: And here’s what you’ll find if you pull the PDF today. Notice the new graph in the upper right hand corner.

Not surprisingly, as Anthony correctly points out, even in choosing the replacement graph -- the UN was less than honest. The reconstruction of Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change used was Hansen et al. (2006). But that chart has been replaced on the GISS data site by the one below, dated January 2009.

It appears the latest downtrend was just too much truth for these UN “scientists” to handle. Unbelievable. Still -- Any idea what may have prompted UNEP’s sudden chart switch decision?

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

More evidence that 20th century climate was similar to 18th century climate

Captain James Cook’s weather reports, which he logged meticulously at noon each day on his voyages to unknown lands, are helping scientists to predict changes in the climate. Ships’ logs from Cook’s Discovery and Resolution, William Bligh’s Bounty and 300 other 18th and 19th-century explorers’ vessels are being transcribed and digitised in a project that will allow climatologists to trace changing weather patterns.

The records, stored in the National Archives at Kew, contain a unique and highly accurate account of temperature, ice formation, air pressure and wind speed and direction in remote locations all over the world. There are plenty of land-based weather reports from this period, but very little is known about the climate history of the three quarters of the world’s surface covered by sea.

The UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks project, a partnership that includes the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of Sunderland, aims to make all the logs available online. The weather reports are being charted to allow instant comparisons between past observations and current conditions.

The log from HMS Isabella, which set out in 1818 to seek the fabled Northwest Passage, reveals that there was a small but significant decline in the sea ice in Baffin Bay over the past 190 years. Until now, scientists tracking sea ice formation have largely relied upon observations from satellites. However, some of the logs suggest that there has been little or no change in sea temperatures elsewhere in the Arctic. Climate change sceptics are likely to seize on these records as evidence that man-made greenhouse gases are having less impact than many scientists have claimed.

HMS Dorothea formed part of an 1818 Royal Navy expedition to the North Pole, commanded by David Buchan. He turned back after failing to penetrate the pack ice north of Svalbard. The ship’s log gives the earliest account of weather in the Norwegian Arctic and shows the summer of 1818 was not markedly colder than was typical in the late 20th century.

Most of the meteorological information in the logs was taken from each ship’s barometer and thermometer, which were extremely expensive instruments at the time and were usually kept in the captain’s cabin.

Dennis Wheeler, the project leader and a climatologist at the university, said that the thermometer readings were almost always taken in the shade of the unheated cabin and were therefore directly comparable with modern readings.

The absence of marine chronometers, which were invented by John Harrison in the mid-18th century but not widely used until the 19th century, has proved fortuitous for climate scientists. Without knowing the precise time, the captains needed to log very accurate weather details, including wind speed and direction, in order to gauge their longitude. Dr Wheeler said: “Reading these logs gives me a growing respect for the navigation skills of these captains and officers. The lives of everyone on board often depended on the accuracy of their observations. “Their conscientious and remarkably detailed reporting has given us an invaluable data resource which fills huge gaps in our knowledge about the history of the climate.”

He said that the logs helped to prove the effect on the climate of volcanic eruptions. Several captains observed a decline in temperature in 1816, which became known as the year without a summer. The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 sent so much sunreflecting sulphur into the atmosphere that global temperatures dipped the following year, with snow reported in June in New York State.



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, October 06, 2009

NYT misrepresents science

The NYT article below more or less claims that pure critique is not science. "Do better" instead of just criticizing is the challenge from the Warmists to the climate skeptics. But papers which simply rip existing research are normal in science. I myself have had a few dozen such published in the journals. There is no reason why the critic should also be the one who does better. In home-building, is the bulldozer driver who levels the site also the best one to lay the bricks? It is certainly true that better data or better analysis presented along with the criticism is more likely to get attention but that has no bearing on the importance or accuracy of the criticism.

McIntyre's point that (to put it bluntly) the sort of data the Warmists use is too crappy to be worth bothering with is also one I echo. I myself noted many years ago the misleading results that can come of a valiant attempt to salvage something from bad data. And I presented no new findings on that occasion either! Most of my publications have, however, been original research reports

Bloggers skeptical of global warming’s causes and commentators fighting restrictions on greenhouse gases have made much in recent days of a string of posts on, one of the most popular Web sites aiming to challenge the deep consensus among climatologists that humans are setting the stage for generations of disrupted climate and rising seas. In the posts, Stephen McIntyre, questions sets of tree-ring data used in, or excluded from, prominent studies concluding that recent warming is unusual even when compared with past warm periods in the last several millenniums (including the recent Kaufman et al. paper discussed here).

Mr. McIntyre has gained fame or notoriety, depending on whom you consult, for seeking weaknesses in NASA temperature data and efforts to assemble a climate record from indirect evidence like variations in tree rings. Last week the scientists who run, several of whom are authors of papers dissected by Mr. McIntyre, fired back. The Capital Weather Gang blog has just posted its analysis of the fight. One author of an underlying analysis of tree rings Keith Briffa, responded on his Web site and at on

What is novel about all of this is how the blog discussions have sidestepped the traditional process of peer review and publication, then review and publication of critiques, and counter-critiques, by which science normally does that herky-jerky thing called knowledge building. The result is quick fodder for those using the Instanet to reinforce intellectual silos of one kind or another.

I explored this shift in the discourse in some e-mail exchanges with Mr. McIntyre and some of his critics, including Thomas Crowley, a University of Edinburgh specialist in unraveling past climate patterns. Dr. Crowley and Mr. McIntyre went toe to toe from 2003 through 2005 over data and interpretations. I then forwarded to Mr. McIntyre what amounted to a challenge from Dr. Crowley:
Thomas Crowley (now in Edinburgh) has sent me a note essentially challenging you to develop your own time series [of past climate patterns] (kind of a “put up or shut up” challenge). Why not do some climate science and get it published in the literature rather than poking at studies online, having the blogosphere amplify or distort your findings in a kind of short circuit that may not help push forward understanding?

As [Dr. Crowley] puts it: “McIntyre is really tiresome - notice he never publishes an alternate reconstruction that he thinks is better, oh no, because that involves taking a risk of him being criticized. He just nitpicks others. I don’t know of anyone else in science who actually does such things but fails to do something constructive himself.”

Here’s Mr. McIntyre’s reply (to follow references to publications you’ll need to refer to the linked papers). In essence, he says he sees no use in trying his own temperature reconstruction given the questions about the various data sets one would need to utilize:
The idea that I’m afraid of “taking a risk” or “taking a risk of being criticized” is a very strange characterization of what I do. Merely venturing into this field by confronting the most prominent authors at my age and stage of life was a far riskier enterprise than Crowley gives credit for. And as for “taking a risk of being criticized”? Can you honestly think of anyone in this field who is subjected to more criticism than I am? Or someone who has more eyes on their work looking for some fatal error?

The underlying problem with trying to make reconstructions with finite confidence intervals from the present roster of proxies is the inconsistency of the “proxies,” a point noted in McIntyre and McKitrick (PNAS 2009) in connection with Mann et al 2008 (but applies to other studies as well) as follows:

Paleoclimate reconstructions are an application of multivariate calibration, which provides a theoretical basis for confidence interval calculation (e.g., refs. 2 and 3). Inconsistency among proxies sharply inflates confidence intervals (3). Applying the inconsistency test of ref. 3 to Mann et al. A.D. 1000 proxy data shows that finite confidence intervals cannot be defined before ~1800.

Until this problem is resolved, I don’t see what purpose is served by proposing another reconstruction.

Crowley interprets the inconsistency as evidence of past “regional” climate, but offers no support for this interpretation other than the inconsistency itself –- which could equally be due to the “proxies” not being temperature proxies. There are fundamental inconsistencies at the regional level as well, including key locations of California (bristlecones) and Siberia (Yamal), where other evidence is contradictory to Mann-Briffa approachs (e.g. Millar et al 2006 re California; Naurzbaev et al 2004 and Polar Urals re Siberia,) These were noted up in the N.A.S. panel report, but Briffa refused to include the references in I.P.C.C. AR4. Without such detailed regional reconciliations, it cannot be concluded that inconsistency is evidence of “regional” climate as opposed to inherent defects in the “proxies” themselves.

The fundamental requirement in this field is not the need for a fancier multivariate method to extract a “faint signal” from noise – such efforts are all too often plagued with unawareness of data mining and data snooping. These problems are all too common in this field (e.g. the repetitive use of the bristlecones and Yamal series). I think that I’ve made climate scientists far more aware of these and other statistical problems than previously, whether they are willing to acknowledge this in public or not, and that this is highly “constructive” for the field.

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

Atmospheric acid is good for oceanic life

Greenies have been moaning for years about the evils of acidic air pollution. Will this hold them up any? Unlikely

Scientists at the University of Leeds have proved that acid in the atmosphere breaks down large particles of iron found in dust into small and extremely soluble iron nanoparticles, which are more readily used by plankton. This is an important finding because lack of iron can be a limiting factor for plankton growth in the ocean - especially in the southern oceans and parts of the eastern Pacific. Addition of such iron nanoparticles would trigger increased absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

"This could be a very important discovery because there's only a very small amount of soluble iron in the ocean and if plankton use the iron nanoparticles formed in clouds then the whole flux of bioavailable iron to the oceans needs to be revised," says Dr Zongbo Shi, lead author of the research from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.

Water droplets in clouds generally form around dust and other particles. When clouds evaporate, as they often do naturally, the surface of the particle can become very acidic. This is especially true where the air is polluted.

Paradoxically, scientists suggest that large scale industry in countries like China could be combating global warming to some extent by creating more bioavailable iron in the oceans, and therefore increasing carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. "Man made pollution adds more acid to the atmosphere and therefore may encourage the formation of more iron nanoparticles," says Dr Shi.

Scientists carried out the research by simulating clouds in the laboratory to which they added Saharan dust samples. They were then able to mimic natural conditions in order to monitor the chemical processes happening in the system. The laboratory experiments have been confirmed in natural samples where such cloud processing is known to have occurred.

The findings highlight the complexity of the pattern of natural iron delivery to the oceans, throwing new light on recent high profile plans to add iron to the southern oceans artificially to stimulate plankton growth.

"This process is happening in clouds all over the world, but there are particularly interesting consequences for the oceans. What we have uncovered is a previously unknown source of bioavailable iron that is being delivered to the Earth's surface in precipitation," says Professor Michael Krom, the principal investigator of the research, also at the University of Leeds.


UN Climate Reports: They Lie

For years, claims that UN climate reports represent the consensus of the majority of international scientists have been mindlessly accepted and regurgitated by left-leaning policy makers and the media at large. But in the past week or so, it’s become more apparent than ever that those who’ve accused the international organization of politicizing science and manipulating data have been right all along.

This latest disclosure again concerns what has become the favorite propaganda propagation tool of climate activists -- the infamous “Hockey Stick Graph.” The familiar reconstruction, which deceitfully depicts last millennium’s global temperatures as flat prior to a dramatic upturn last century, has been displayed and touted ad nauseum as irrefutable proof of unprecedented and, therefore, anthropogenic, global warming (AGW).

Despite its previous debunking, the embattled AGW poster-child continues to languish in UN climate reports, which are unduly revered and quoted as gospel by all manner of proselytizers. In fact, just last week it had the bad timing to show up in a desperate UN compendium, released just days before Climate Audit published facts that promise to be the Hockey Stick’s (HS) long overdue epitaph. And those facts not only assuage any doubt of the chart’s fraudulence, but also of the deliberate and devious complicity of its creators, defenders and leading UN sponsors.

But before delving into the sordid details, perhaps a little background is in order.

The Real Inconvenient Truth

Prior to the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (TAR), the accepted depiction of the prior millennium’s warmth was that published in the panel’s 1990 maiden assessment. Specifically -- global temperatures had fluctuated drastically over the period. This schematic, taken from IPCC 1990 Figure 7c, clearly demonstrates the IPCC “consensus” of the time:

And data derived from sources including tree-rings, lake sediments, ice cores and historic documents bear that position out. Indeed, it’s abundantly evident that since the last glacial period ended, over 14,000 years ago, the Earth’s climate has undergone multi-century swings from warming to cooling that occur often and with remarkable rapidity. And not one but three such radical shifts occurred within the past millennium.

The years 900-1300 AD have been labeled the Medieval Warming Period (MWP), as global temperatures rose precipitously from the bitter cold of the previous epoch -- the Dark Ages -- to levels several degrees warmer than today. A sudden period of cooling then followed and lasted until the year 1850. This Little Ice Age (LIA) brought on extremely cold temperatures, corresponding with three periods of protracted solar inactivity, the lowest temperatures coinciding with the quietest of the three (The Maunder Minimum 1645-1710).

And then began the modern warming period, which, by the way, many scientists believe ended with the millennium itself.

Given these natural shifts over the past 1000 years, it’s certainly not surprising that after a period of cooling, which followed a period of warming, we’d again enter a period of warming.

And that, of course, presented quite the quandary to opportunists hell-bent on blaming warming on industrial revolution-triggered atmospheric CO2 increases. Something had to be done to convince the world that modern warming was unprecedented and could therefore only be explained by something unnatural, specifically -- the “Greenhouse Effect.” And something was.

The End of a Warming Era

During testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Hearing on Climate Change and the Media in 2006, University of Oklahoma geophysicist Dr. David Deming recalled “an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change” who told him that "we have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period." In June of this year, piece, Deming identified the year of that email as 1995 and the source only as a lead author of that month’s Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report.

Many believe that man to be Jonathan Overpeck – which Prof. Deming didn’t deny in an email response -- who would later also serve as an IPCC lead author. So it comes as no surprise that this reconstruction, which did indeed “get rid of the Medieval Warm Period,” was featured prominently in the subsequent 2001 TAR, particularly in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), the highly-politicized synopsis which commands the bulk of media and political attention.

This, the original and by far most ubiquitous version of the HS graph, was derived from a 1998 paper by Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes (MBH98). It was promptly met with challenges to both its proxy data and statistical analysis methodology. Of these, various papers by two Canadians -- statistician Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick -- stood out in dispelling the AGW-supporting hockey-stick shape arrived at by MBH, claiming it the result of severe data defects and flawed calculations, particularly an invalid principal component analysis.

In a coordinated effort to defend the refuted thesis, alarmed alarmists tendered a handful of supporting studies. Mann himself cheered those either attacking McIntyre and McKitrick or supporting his own reconstruction and dubbed them the “Hockey Team.” And the position of team forward and co-captain was bestowed upon Keith Briffa of Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), whose temperature graphs, derived from Yamal, Russia tree ring data were heavily cited by the IPCC as supporting evidence of MBH’s assertion of unprecedented 20th century warming.

While studies reaffirming both the MWP and LIA continued to be published, congressional hearings and expert panels found MBH to be largely unsupported by studies relying on legitimate proxy data other than Briffa’s. Still, most alarmists continued (and continue) to defend the HS on principle.

Which in no way dilutes this plain truth: By the time most Americans received their first lesson in climate hysteria in the Albert Gore lecture hall that was the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, the MBH chart the nutty professor stood before and offered as proof of impending doom was already held in disrepute by most serious persons of science.

Lest there be any doubt, why else would the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) -- notwithstanding the appointments of both Briffa and Overpeck as lead authors – give the graph short mention and exclude it entirely from the SPM?

It appeared the Hockey Team was being sent back to the minors. That is -- for the moment.

Desperate Times Call For Disparate Actions

Given the current economic and political climate, it’s not surprising that the globe’s climate ranks dead last when Americans are asked to name the “most important issue facing the country right now.” Needless to say, that’s an uncomfortable position for the Greenhouse Gas Team, what with a Senate Climate Bill promising even more government control than its House counterpart at the plate and the December Copenhagen Climate Summit on deck.

Accordingly, on September 24th, in a transparently desperate effort to stoke the coals, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released its Climate Change Science Compendium 2009. The eco-plea opens with these words from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “The science has become more irrevocable than ever: Climate change is happening. The evidence is all around us. And unless we act, we will see catastrophic consequences including rising sea-levels, droughts and famine, and the loss of up to a third of the world’s plant and animal species.”

Amazing. But the frantic hype of this call-to-pointless-action quickly segues to blatant lies just three sentences later when Ban states “that climate change is accelerating at a much faster pace than was previously thought by scientists.” It would appear the Sec-Gen believes that the cooling temperatures the new millennium issued in have somehow escaped everyone’s notice. Imagine the uphill battle he’ll face should predictions of the U.S. Northeast suffering its coldest winter in a decade due to a weak El Nino come true.

So it wasn’t all that shocking to spot this undeniably dramatic graph on only the fifth of this end-is-near report’s 75 pages. The striking chart is marked as Figure 1.3: Correlation between temperature and CO2. As its title suggests, it attempts to plot atmospheric CO2 concentrations and mean global temperature during the past millennium. Notice anything vaguely familiar about the temperature plot in red? Why, it’s our old friend, Mr. Hockey Stick – apparently having sat for a bit of a makeover.

Interestingly enough, this reconstruction wasn’t lifted from prior IPCC assessments, or, for that matter, any UN entity at all. No, the source was actually a graphic posted to Wikimedia in 2005 by Hanno Sandvik, a Norwegian research biologist. Sandvik cited two data sources for his temperature plot – a 2004 paper by Jones and Mann (abracadabra – no more MWP) for 1000-1880, and, for the remainder, “instrumental records published on the web” by Jones, Parker, Osborn and – wait for it …… Briffa.

So the chart the UN climate experts used to sell the CO2 -°C connection to an increasingly skeptical public was pulled from Wiki, crafted by an unknown biologist, conveniently ends about the same year warming ended, and based on a debunked temperature reconstruction.

It would therefore appear they consider Sanvik quite the unsung authority. Yet I wonder whether these geniuses are aware of this 2006 graphic, also from Sandvik, and plotting northern hemisphere temperatures over the past 2000 years. This one cites 2005 data published by Moberg, Sonechkin, Holmgren, Datsenko, Karlén, and Lauritzen as its source and paints a somewhat different picture. Hello MWP and LIA, where’ve you been? Any guesses whether or not UNEP would have used Sandvik’s chart had his temperature dataset been from Moberg et al. rather than Mann et al.?

I contacted Hanno Sandvik a week ago last Saturday and asked him essentially that same question. He responded that he was unaware of the UNEP Compendium and therefore had “no idea which graphics they may have chosen.” He also pointed out that while Mann’s was global data, Mobergs was northern hemisphere only -- a point well taken, however MHB98 was also derived from NH data yet remarkably resembles the Mann “global” data Sandvik used.

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

The ocean acidity panic ramped up

I reproduce the latest Warmist shriek below and at the foot of it give two comments from correspondence about the sheer ignorance of it

The Arctic Ocean is becoming acidic so quickly that it will reach corrosive levels within 10 years, a leading scientist has warned. Waters around the North Pole are absorbing carbon dioxide at such a rate that they will soon start dissolving the shells of living sea creatures. The potentially disastrous consequences for the food chain have been highlighted by Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France.

His team of oceanographers have produced startling predictions about the acidity of the Arctic Ocean after research carried out on the Svalbard archipelago, a group of islands half way between Norway and the North Pole, revealed that the problem is more advanced than scientists thought. Their forecasts suggest that by 2018, 10 per cent of the ocean will be corrosively acidic, rising to 50 per cent in 2050. By 2100 the entire Arctic Ocean will be inhospitable to shellfish, they predict.

"This is extremely worrying," Prof Gattuso told the Oceans of Tomorrow conference in Barcelona. "We knew that the seas were getting more acidic and this would disrupt the ability of shellfish – like mussels – to grow their shells. But now we realise the situation is much worse." One of the most vulnerable creatures is likely to be the mollusc Limacina helicina, which seabirds, whales and several species of fish rely on for food.

The process of acidification – by which carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere as pollution is absorbed by water and converted into carbonic acid – is taking places in seas and oceans across the world. But the prognosis is particularly bleak in the polar regions because the gas is more soluble in cold water than hot water. "Over the whole planet, there will be a threefold increase in the average acidity of the oceans, which is unprecedented during the past 20 million years," Prof Gattuso said. "That level of acidification will cause immense damage to the ecosystem and the food chain, particularly in the Arctic."

Prof Gattuso told the conference that hi-tech proposals for limiting the extent of climate change would have no affect on reducing the acidity of the oceans, and urged immediate action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "Scientists have proposed all sorts of geo-engineering solutions to global warming. For instance, they have proposed spraying the upper atmosphere with aerosol particles that would reduce sunlight reaching the Earth, mitigating the warming caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide," he said. "But these ideas miss the point. They will still allow carbon dioxide emissions to continue to increase – and thus the oceans to become more and more acidic. "There is only one way to stop the devastation the oceans are now facing and that is to limit carbon-dioxide emissions as a matter of urgency."

The increasing acidity of the Arctic Ocean may have a direct impact on the marine life of the British Isles, as the Lophelia pertusa coral responsible for creating reefs off the coast of Scotland is killed off.


Comment 1.
Alteration to oceanic pH water alters the equilibrium of dissolved CO2 in the water for a given atmospheric CO2 concentration at any given temperature. Hence, it is often assumed that changed atmospheric CO2 concentration of recent years is causal of observed alteration to ocean pH. But the alternative assumption may be true: i.e. the observed alteration to ocean pH may be causal of the changed atmospheric CO2 concentration of recent years. There is no definitive data that allows it to be determined which - if either - of these assumptions is correct.

Water of the thermohaline circulation sinks to ocean bottom, travels for 800 to 1000 years then returns to ocean surface. It can be expected to dissolve chemical ions during the 800 to 1000 years of its travel; e.g. by exposure to volcanism that may be temporary. And, therefore, it can be expected to alter the pH of the ocean surface layer when it returns to the surface. This explanation for varying ocean surface layer pH and varying atmospheric CO2 concentration is at least as plausible as the anthropogenic emission of CO2 (indeed, I think it is the much more likely explanation).

Whatever the cause of changed ocean surface layer pH and atmospheric CO2 concentration, Prof Gattuso is plain wrong if the article correctly reports him to have said: "We knew that the seas were getting more acidic and this would disrupt the ability of shellfish – like mussels – to grow their shells. But now we realise the situation is much worse.One of the most vulnerable creatures is likely to be the mollusc Limacina helicina, which seabirds, whales and several species of fish rely on for food ... "Over the whole planet, there will be a threefold increase in the average acidity of the oceans, which is unprecedented during the past 20 million years," Prof Gattuso said. "That level of acidification will cause immense damage to the ecosystem and the food chain, particularly in the Arctic.""

Prof Gattuso's assertions concerning shells are known to be plain wrong because much higher atmspheric CO2 concentrations existed in the past, and sea creatures then formed shells.

Has Prof Gattuso not heard of the White Cliffs of Dover? They are made of chalk. Most chalks - including the famous White Cliffs - formed during the Cretaceous period, between 100 and 60 million years ago. Chalks from this period can be found around the world, and they consist of the microscopic skeletons of oceanic plankton.

The Coccolithophores are the major group of chalk forming plankton. Their individual spherical skeletons are called cocospheres and they consist of a number of calcareous discs called coccoliths. After death of the plankton, the skeletons settled to the bottom of the sea and most coccospheres and coccoliths collapsed, but they can be clearly seen using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Indeed, back in my days working in a lab. I often used chalk as a demonstration of SEM to visiting parties of non-scientists because coccospheres are pretty.

Cretaceous chalks formed when global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration were higher than now. Indeed, global temperature was 5 to 6 deg.C higher than now and atmospheric carbon dioxide was 4 times higher than now. (See e.g. here).

But the calcerous skeletons of oceanic creatures from that time are so abundant that they now comprise many hills and mountains around the world. So, I wonder why some people fear that slightly higher global temperatures and slightly higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration than now would hinder formation of such shells?

Comment 2.
I want to call attention to this chart again:

Cold water absorbs CO2, right? And warm water releases it. So, on the premise that CO2 forms an acid in water, cold water should generally be more acidic and warm water be more basic. But one observes precisely the opposite: polar waters are generally more basic and equatorial waters more acidic! I draw two conclusions from this alone.

1. That Tom Segalstad is correct about CO2 being a very weak acid against the near-infinite buffering capacity of sea water, and

2. That Dr Floor Anthoni is correct, for aquatic life seemingly creates acidic conditions, in which it thrives

The more acidic the water, the higher biological productivity becomes, and the denser the amount of life. In the sea this is borne out by the observed fact that highly productive upwelling areas are more acidic. In other words, acidic seas are a good thing. See here.

Indeed, given what the chart indicates, it can’t be the relative dearth of CO2 in warm water that drives the pH down; it has to be something else. And it can’t be the abundance of CO2 in cold water that makes it more basic. Biology is the key factor here, not chemistry and Henry's Law.

Meteorologist dissents: 'We can’t keep a stray shower from ruining your picnic, so how are we going to stop' global warming?‏

Tom Russell is chief meteorologist at CBS Channel 21 in Harrisburg

Hey, the weather is changing! Somehow, just in the last week or two, things have gotten rap­idly cooler. Oh wait, it’s called fall. Seems to happen every year around this time. Funny how weather seems to work in cycles.

We know we had a cooler and wet­ter than average summer. But did you know the June-August 2009 tempera­ture for the whole U.S. was below av­erage? Yeah, despite the heat waves in the West and Southwest, the North­east had its eighth wettest June-to-August on record.

Does this prove there is no global warming? Of course not, no more than melting ice caps prove it does exist. Weather changes. It fluctuates minute by minute, hour by hour, weekly, yearly, by decade and by century. Those of us forecasting the stuff daily know what a fickle mistress Mother Nature can be.

So, when I see humans trying to blame weather cycles on something other than nature, I get incensed. I don’t know what’s more arrogant: Saying we caused it or saying we can stop it. Truth is, we can’t keep a stray shower from ruining your picnic, so how are we going to stop global weather patterns?

Ironically, the same people who tease me about not getting the seven-day forecast correct totally believe in the faulty science that says we can predict the weather 100 years from now.

When this global warming debate comes up, I always start with the premise “What is the ideal global temperature?” We only have 120 years of accurate records to tell us what “normal” is. We’ve been warmer in the past and we’ve been cooler in the past.

In his book “Climate Confusion,” Dr. Roy Spencer says attributing most or all of the current warmth to mankind is a statement of faith, because it assumes something we don’t know: How much natural climate variability has there been during the same period of time?

And then I continue with the basics. Despite what you’ve heard, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It’s kind of important to our survival. Research now shows that CO2 does not drive temperature but rather temperature drives CO2. Adding twice the CO2 does not double the effect. The initial tons of CO2 matter, but adding more has less and less effect. Imagine painting a window with black paint: The first coat does most of the work, the extra coats don’t matter much.

And even though I’m a big skeptic of anyone who says they can give you an accurate global temperature, satellite data show the world has not warmed since 2001, even though carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased.

The biggest change in this debate over the last 10 years isn’t temperature. It’s the change in the marketing from global warming to climate change. Climate change is a much better moniker, but for what? An agenda, of course.

So get ready, after the politicians put health care to bed, cap and trade is next up on the agenda. Imagine, making carbon a currency. That’s pretty ingenious, but it has nothing to do with the climate.


Unseasonal cold weather in New Zealand

Hundreds of cars trapped in snow

Hundreds of stranded New Zealand motorists faced a second night in emergency shelters on Monday after an estimated 1-metre snowfall on central North Island. A state of emergency was declared in the lakeside town of Taupo when about 900 motorists were forced to abandon their cars after being trapped by the unseasonal springtime snowfall, described as "a freak weather occurrence."

Police said the 145-kilometre stretch of highway between the east coast port of Napier and the lakeside town of Taupo was expected to remain closed for a second night because of abandoned vehicles blocking the road. Two stretches of the main highway between the capital, Wellington, and the country's biggest city Auckland were also likely to stay closed for another night.

At least 700 homes and farms in the affected region were without power after the snow brought down transmission lines.



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


Monday, October 05, 2009


An email from Lee Gerhard [] below

There has been much discussion about "running out" of some resource or another, mostly about oil now, but there have been others. I have lectured about this phenomenon over the years, with the succinct ending statement: We have never run out of any natural resource, nor will we.

Simply, resource richness is high initially and the price low. As resource richness declines with production, the price rises, dampening demand. Eventually, the price is high enough that s substitute makes economic sense, and the process is renewed. We will never run out of oil, but it may well become too expensive to burn in automobile engines. But the price will never preclude it being used for pharmaceuticals - we could mine it if necessary, because the resource cost of pharmaceuticals is so low compared to the R&D and production costs.

The rise in price of oil last year was due to the limited producibility volume of oil versus the demand. Demand has dropped, producibility now exceeds demand, and the price has fallen to intrinsic value.

We may be able to kill the last elk, but we can never produce the last barrel of oil or ton of iron ore. In human history, no natural resource has been completely depleted. Price rises will dampen demand until substitutes are found.

Interesting news from Canada

Part of an email from Norm Kalmanovitch [] below:

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce through Friends of Science and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, hosted a presentation by Lord Christopher Monckton titled “Apocalypse Cancelled; The Overheated Hype behind Global Warming”.

There were four members of the Alberta Provincial Legislature recognized by the host prior to the presentation. During his presentation, Monckton asked by a show of hands for those who did not support the concept of human caused global warming, and there was a unanimous response; when he asked for the supporters not a single hand went up.

The Alberta Government is spending $2billion in taxpayers’ money for CCS (carbon capture and sequestration). The rational given by the government for this ridiculous wastage is the IPCC, which they use as their sole basis for scientific support to the exclusion of all with contrary evidence. This means that members of the Alberta Legislature believe in human caused global warming, yet none of the four members in attendance raised their hands to show support for the government position.

This presentation puts the Members of the Legislature in the awkward position of being exposed to the hard physical facts that contradict their own government position. The simple question is what will they do when they get back to the Legislature? The government is already so committed to this endeavour with projects that are already underway, that it is a physical impossibility for the government to stop the process through political means without losing power.

This is the dilemma facing all world governments, no informed leadership can be unaware of the fact that the Earth is cooling in spite of the continued increase in global CO2 emissions, but all leaders are committed to doing something about “Climate Change” otherwise they will be put out of office. There is only one possible way out of this conundrum. The IPCC was formed under a “science mandate” and under this mandate science protocol demands that all postulations are backed up with physical facts. Since the physical facts clearly demonstrate that there is no possible connection between CO2 emissions and global warming, the IPCC must declare that it is not in the world’s interest to continue with Kyoto Initiatives to stop global warming because global warming has already stopped. Since the IPCC is the sole reference for all governments on this issue, this retraction will allow governments to put an end to the wastage without losing power. It is up to the IPCC to put an end to this fraud, and the world must force them to do so, or be held accountable for the food crisis, the economic crisis, and all of the other detrimental effects to the world population caused by this misrepresentation of facts.

There is a curious coincidence revealed by Lord Monckton. Monckton points to direct measurements in a new paper by Professor Richard Lindzen that shows the effect of doubling CO2 will produce less than 0.5°C of possible warming, in contrast to the model predictions of over 3°C. This is only one sixth of the catastrophic temperature predicted by the IPCC, and certainly nothing to worry about since at the current rate of 2ppmv/year it will take 193 years for this doubling and 0.5°C temperature increase to occur.

Over 20 years ago the whole global warming issue was started by climate models that used a forcing parameter based on 0.6°C of observed warming from a 100ppmv observed increase in atmospheric CO2. The world has been warming since the Little Ice Age at a rate of about 0.5°C/century, and since the observed warming of 0.6°C took place over a century the 0.5°C must be subtracted to determine the temperature increase attributable to CO2.

Since this is only 0.1°C but the climate models are based on 0.6°C the climate models have a forcing parameter that gives CO2 increases six times the forcing than what the measured values allow. It is this false six fold overstatement of the effect from CO2 that underlies the entire premise of AGW alarmism, and it has taken over two decades to finally develop physical proof that the models overstate global warming by a factor of six.

Since the work by Lindzen has clearly passed rigorous peer review, and unlike the MBH98 Temperature Proxy, there has not been a single piece of evidence, that contradicts the assertions of the Lindzen Paper, The IPCC has no choice because of its scientific mandate to discard the computer model projections and accept the six fold decrease in projected warming from CO2 as the physical basis for all further reports. This will put an end to global warming fallacies, and give world governments the “out” that they need to stop these wasteful policies addressing a problem that does not exist.


Poland on Friday put a giant spoke in European negotiations on financing the fight to tame global warming when it refused to stump up for richer, western partners. "Quite frankly, from our point of view it's totally unacceptable that the poor countries of Europe should help the rich countries of Europe to help the poor countries in the rest of the world," said Polish Finance Minister Jan Rostowski. "We will not agree to a mechanism which would lead to such a completely unjust proposal," he added.

European Union finance ministers are meeting in Gothenburg seeking to agree on who pays how much into a pot aimed at convincing newly industrialised countries to sign up to a post-2012 global pact. The European Commission estimates that five billion to seven billion euros annually will be needed in the 2010-2012 period until long-term "financial architecture" is put in place, hopefully, at a UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December. Brussels says the annual figure needed to help developing nations combat and deal with climate change will hit 100 billion euros (147 billion dollars) per year by 2020.

Polish heavy industry -- firmly at odds with the likes of nuclear-powered -- already scored a major victory last week when a top European court annulled the commission's attempt to limit the amount of greenhouse gases it can emit. Six other eastern EU countries -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania -- are pursuing similar appeals.

Disagreements have also emerged among EU member states on Franco-German ideas for a carbon tax on imports from regions with poor environmental standards.



The great global warming scare is over — it is well past its peak, very much a spent force, sputtering in fits and starts to a whimpering end. You may not know this yet. Or rather, you may know it but don’t want to acknowledge it until every one else does, and that won’t happen until the press, much of which also knows it, formally acknowledges it.

I know that the global warming scare is over but for the shouting because that’s what the polls show, at least those in the U.S., where unlike Canada the public is polled extensively on global warming. Most Americans don’t blame humans for climate change — they consider global warming to be a natural phenomenon. Even when the polls showed the public believed man was responsible for global warming, the public didn’t take the scare seriously. When asked to rank global warming’s importance compared to numerous other concerns — unemployment, trade, health care, poverty, crime, and education among them — global warming came in dead last. Fewer than 1% chose global warming as scare-worthy.

The informed members of the media read those polls and know the global warming scare is over, too. Andrew Revkin, The New York Times reporter entrusted with the global warming scare beat, has for months lamented “the public’s waning interest in global warming.” His colleague at The Washington Post, Andrew Freedman, does his best to revive public fear, and to get politicians to act, by urging experts to up their hype so that the press will have scarier material to run with.

The experts do their best to give us the willies. This week they offered up plagues of locusts in China and a warning that the 2016 Olympics “could be the last for mankind” because “the earth has passed the point of no return.” But the press has also begun to tire of Armageddon All-The-Time, and (I believe) to position itself for its inevitable attack on the doomsters. In an online article in June entitled “Massive Estimates of Death are in Vogue for Copenhagen,” Richard Cable of the BBC, until then the most stalwart of scare-mongers, rattled off the global warnings du jour – they included a comparison of global warming to nuclear war and a report from the former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, to the effect that “every year climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead, 325-million people seriously affected, and economic losses of US $125-billion.” Cable’s conclusion: “The problem is that once you’ve sat up and paid attention enough to examine them a bit more closely, you find that the means by which the figures were arrived at isn’t very compelling… The report contains so many extrapolations derived from guesswork based on estimates inferred from unsuitable data.”

The scientist-scare-mongers, seeing the diminishing returns that come of their escalating claims of catastrophe, also know their stock is falling. Until now, they have all toughed it out when the data disagreed with their findings – as it does on every major climate issue, without exception. Some scientists, like Germany’s Mojib Latif, have begun to break ranks. Frustrated by embarrassing questions about why the world hasn’t seen any warming over the last decade, Latif, a tireless veteran of the public speaking circuits, now explains that global warming has paused, to resume in 2020 or perhaps 2030. “People understand what I’m saying but then basically wind up saying, ‘We don’t believe anything,’” he told The New York Times this week.

And why should they believe anything that comes from the global warming camp? Not only has the globe not warmed over the last decade but the Arctic ice is returning, the Antarctic isn’t shrinking, polar bear populations aren’t diminishing, hurricanes aren’t becoming more extreme. The only thing that’s scary about the science is the frequency with which doomsayer data is hidden from public scrutiny, manipulated to mislead, or simply made up.

None of this matters anymore, I recently heard at the Global Business Forum in Banff, where a fellow panelist from the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change told the audience that, while she couldn’t dispute the claims I had made about the science being dubious, the rights and wrongs in the global warming debate are no longer relevant. “The train has left the station,” she cheerily told the business audience, meaning that the debate is over, global warming regulations are coming in, and everyone in the room — primarily business movers and shakers from Western Canada — had better learn to adapt.

Her advice was well accepted, chiefly because most in the room had already adapted — they are busy trying to cash in by obtaining carbon subsidies, building nuclear plants, or providing services to the new carbon economy.

My assessment for those wondering where we’re at: Yes, the train left the station some time ago. And it is now off the rails.


Green Is Red

I am sick to death of the economically illiterate environmental nonsense peddled in the media in an endless parade of bad thinking disguised as scientific discourse. The Green movement is a collectivist enterprise hell-bent on bending every knee in obeisance to a religious orthodoxy that will cripple the advancement of mankind and create third-world nations where first-world countries used to be, exponentially increasing infant mortality rates and reducing standards of living to make all of us look back on envy at the gold-plated living conditions of medieval serfs. The movement is a nasty brew of National Socialist "blood and soil" (see Anna Bramwells’s books), Marxist bromides and a child-like vision of how the universe works.

Central planning does not work. Larger entities that use force and coercion to make others do the right thing lead to national prison camps disguised as nation-states. Here’s a short quiz for you: grab the nearest envirus and ask him how would he suggest we improve the care and feeding of Mother Earth absent government intervention? He will splutter and get a very blank look in his vapid face as the synapses collapse and fail to function properly.

Use this rule of thumb: cost and benefit analysis will usually determine the economic efficacy of a given course of action. Prices are, among many attributes, the keenest indicator of scarcity or abundance of commodities or services. If recycling is such a great idea, why don’t they pay you to do it? If wind and solar energy are such ideal means to deliver power, why do they require massive subsidy and inevitably, the theft from private owners through eminent domain and other tools of economic oppression?

Speak truth to power because the Greens now have the upper hand. The government-media complex is now fully captive to the entire Green orthodoxy. Excepting shows like Bullshit! on Showtime, none questions the prevailing belief system; it is like a form of national psychosis although I feel the same way about the worship of the State. The environmental agenda is nothing less than a total renunciation of Western civilization and the requisite privileges of clean water, electricity, effective farming and a host of other modern conveniences.

The envirus views nature as a snapshot picture of the world frozen in time and unchanging; a static portraiture of life that possesses no adaptation and dynamism. Infantile views of nature which are most likely a result from having never tread upon it or lived in it. Rarely is the hunter or long-time ruralite seduced by the Disney visions of nature that dance in the heads of the Greens. A perspective further informed by the academic and media professionals whose worldview is shaped by a hive-like collectivist vision of human society in which all individuals are to be subordinated to the whims of what’s good for the herd as directed by omniscient strangers whose fatal conceit is that they are smarter than us so they know what is best for you.

Nature is cruel and dynamic. It is a daily massacre for the lame and the newborn. Vicious spasms of violence red in tooth and claw tempered by turns of weather that can kill and nourish in the same pastoral event. Most importantly, nature is capricious in the most practical sense: the complexity is so immense as to be almost incomprehensible to human cognition. Complexity theory has tried to capture the distillate of what appears to be random phenomenon but is actually a spontaneous order much like economic market forces. Which brings us to the cruelest joke of all on the Greens: they can’t possibly know what they are talking about.

Here’s the rub: there is no question of climate change, the riddle is to what extent man is a culprit. Once a given problem set has three or more variables, it becomes impossible to establish with any certitude correlative or causative connections between A and B and C. The global climate is a complex system far too large to isolate variables and know with pinpoint accuracy what makes it tick or respond to human influences. I don’t deny that humans have an impact on the climate but no one can prove to me what the extent is. No evidence emerges that the ice ages in medieval times were anthropogenic, they were simply within the observed cycle of cooling and warming that one would expect of a planetary ecosystem dependent on solar energy as a driver and engine of weather and life. There is a reason increased sunspot activity is coincident with warming trends. Man is not apart from nature, he is a part of nature. We are part of the infrastructure and no one can even address why carbon dioxide, if a pollutant, nourishes all earthly plant life excepting certain anaerobic moss. The government does not even want to have a discussion since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently muzzled one of its in-house climate skeptics.

Stand up to the Greens and call them on their idiocy. Question all their assumptions. Stand athwart their diktats and directives as they attempt to rule you as cattle. They are shutting down coal-fired plants by the dozen and seeking to bankrupt the nation by pursuing green technologies that the market has proven to be a technological & economic dead-end. Curiously, they object strenuously to the purest solar energy of all: nuclear energy which harnesses the power of the sun in a relatively clean fission package. One small ray of hope is the fact that the EPA will strangle and mangle all the emerging green technology. They will get all bureaucratically befuddled as the contesting envirus schisms like bird enthusiasts and wind generator proponents do battle. Pollution activists will discover the immense smog component of mass transit buses and the maintenance infrastructure. Electric car boosters will stand dumb-founded in their garages as the AC outlet fails to deliver power after the coal-fired grid is shut down through rolling brown-outs or blackouts. All done, of course, at taxpayer expense.

Under Obamunism, we have a wild ride ahead of us as the Green Reds at first have a terrific honeymoon with Middle America but soon discover the combination of economic illiteracy, scientific buffoonery and collectivist tyranny make for a lethal cocktail. It would be wonderful if we could just sit on the sidelines and observe the circus but the future of America is in the hazard. Indeed, the collectivists have other plans for us.



The majority of people in Britain are in denial about the risk of global warming in our lifetimes, according to a new study into the psychology of climate change.

The Met Office has warned that if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate temperatures will rise above four degrees C in the next fifty years. This will cause sea level rise, droughts, floods and mass collapse of eco-systems.

However Clive Hamilton, Professor of public ethics at the Australian National University, said the majority of the population is still in denial about the risks of climate change. He compared the situation to the psychology of the British and German populations before the Second World War and said the only way to make people change their behaviour is to "ramp up the fear factor."

Prof Hamilton applied traditional psychological reactions to the threat of future risk. In a paper presented to an Oxford University conference this week, he said people react in three different ways to a frightening situation: denial, apathy or action.

In the case of climate change, he said a minority of people in Britain are in complete denial and refuse to believe man-made greenhouse gases are causing the temperatures to rise. He said a smaller minority are taking action by lobbying Government and adapting their lifestyles through driving less, not eating meat and generally living a low carbon lifestyle.

However, Prof Hamilton said the majority of people use "maladaptive coping strategies" such as ignoring the situation, blaming someone else or simply having a good time. He said people do this to cope with the anxiety. "This means telling ourselves the scientists are probably exaggerating - if it was that bad surely the Government would be doing something," he said. "Or telling ourselves it is a long way off so I will worry about it then or if I change my light bulbs it will not be my fault. It can mean blaming other people like the Chinese for building more coal-fired power stations or pleasure seeking by driving fast cars, eating exotic food and living the high life."

Prof Hamilton said scientists have played down the risks of global warming for fear of overloading people with information. "There is a widespread belief in the scientific community that the public cannot handle the truth and so they have been pulling their punches. Global warming is unique amongst environmental problems - which are often exaggerated - in that it is now clear that the scientists have been understating the true implications."

In December more than 190 countries will meet in Copenhagen to try to thrash out a new international deal on climate change. For any agreement to be struck it is likely that rich countries will have to agree to cut carbon emissions by consuming less energy.

Prof Hamilton said scientists now have a duty to inform the public about the risks of climate change so action is taken and people are ready to adapt their lifestyles. "There is a view we should not scare people because it makes them go down their burrows and close the door but I think the situation is so serious that although people are afraid they are not fearful enough given the science," he said. "Personally I cannot see any alternative to ramping up the fear factor."



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, October 04, 2009

No Global Warming in 351 Year British Temperature Record

If people were interested in evidence, this would kill global warming stone dead

The Central England Temperature (CET) record, starting in 1659 and maintained by the UK Met Office, is the longest unbroken temperature record in the world. Temperature data is averaged for a number of weather stations regarded as being representative of Central England rather than measuring temperature at one arbitrary geographical point identified as the centre of England.

A Scottish statistician, Wilson Flood, has collected and analysed the 351 year CET record. Here is the comparison of the 18th Century with the 20th Century:

Wilson Flood comments: “Summers in the second half of the 20th century were warmer than those in the first half and it could be argued that this was a global warming signal. However, the average CET summer temperature in the 18th century was 15.46 degC while that for the 20th century was 15.35 degC. Far from being warmer due to assumed global warming, comparison of actual temperature data shows that UK summers in the 20th century were cooler than those of two centuries previously.”


A "Green car" boondoggle

Once upon a time, there was a country whose government had decided in all its wisdom that it was going to be good at making cars. It designed precisely one model and started producing it. And it kept building this car for three decades. There was so much demand for the car that people added their children’s names to the waiting lists at birth. Or was it just that production was so inefficient?

The car in question was, of course, the infamous East German Trabant. Notoriously unreliable, uncomfortable, and hopelessly out of date even at the time it was introduced, it became the clearest demonstration that governments should stay out of the car industry.

The sort of communism that brought the world cars like the Trabant has long gone, the Soviet bloc has disappeared, but we still have politicians who think they are the better car managers. The latest politician is none other than US President Barack Obama.

This week the US government announced its support for little-known car manufacturer Fisker. The company will receive more than half a billion US dollars in subsidised loans to build a hybrid sports car.

Never mind that at a retail price of US$89,000 the car will be out of reach of most consumers. Ignore the fact that sports cars are not really green cars. And forget that Fisker does not have much experience in building cars anyway.

What matters more than a viable business plan in these days of reborn socialism are your political connections. Or was it just a strange coincidence that one of Fisker’s top investors is former US Vice President Al Gore? It doesn’t hurt that his quest to save the world from climate change is incidentally helping fill his coffers with taxpayer cash.

The socialism of times past we have buried, but its flawed ideas are still haunting us from its grave.

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

Respecting Religious Belief

The belief in man-made global warming is a secular religious dogma, one which the rest of us should be allowed to respect without being compelled by the secular political state to suffer its disastrous consequences.

With cap-and trade regulation moving again to the top of Congress’s agenda, it’s time to revisit the true nature of the man-made global warming hypothesis.

While not all believers in the hypothesis of man-made global warming are worshippers of secular socialism and salvation through the political state, that hypothesis, as currently hyped by Al Gore, is a product of the secular religion of socialism.

Socialism’s beginnings are rooted in the scientism of gnostic revelation about the secrets of history’s presumed inevitable course. Forecasts about the inevitable climate disasters to beset the world within ten years, as Al Gore predicted a year or two ago, are just an extension of that brand of historicism.

Neither Auguste Comte’s, nor Karl Marx’s predictions about the socialistic course of world history have materialized. Similarly Al Gore’s predictions have been consistently wide of actual events, and his acolytes’ computer models can’t even conform to what actually happened in the past.

The Soviet Union, liberal-progressivism’s great hope for perfection of society, was one of history’s most brutal and destructive episodes. President Obama’s proposed regulation of our economy based upon Al Gore’s prescriptions for global warming will be more of the same.

In the classic gnostic pattern, liberal-progressives see political society as badly aligned, causing all sorts of human misery. Liberal-progressives are confident that their secret knowledge will enable them to restructure society and to free humanity from the bondage of inequities arising from protection of private property.

Lawyers will tell you that property is not a thing, but a bundle of rights: rights to use and to dispose of tangible and intangible possessions. Among those properties, as understood by the delegates who wrote the Constitution in 1787 and as outlined by John Locke in 1689, are the rights to determine for ourselves how we will build our homes, what automobiles we will drive, what forms of energy we will use, and the rights of entrepreneurs to conceive of new technology and to use it to found new businesses that create new jobs for our citizens.

Liberal-progressives, in the name of their special knowledge, propose to abrogate those rights, as they see it, for our own good. We the ordinary citizens of the United States are too ignorant to make proper choices for ourselves. As Bill Clinton said about proposed tax reductions, he would be favorably disposed, but people would just use the money for the wrong things.

The hypothesis of man-made global warming in its present-day emanation is a fuzzy, feel-good doctrine used to proselytize young students and ill-informed members of the public. Under its seemingly beneficent cover, however, is a fist of iron that will crush individual political liberties.

It is no accident that labor unions, a quintessential excrescence of socialism, strongly support President Obama’s efforts to impose Kyoto-style restrictions on business and individual choice. Resurgent anti-free-trade protectionism, under the sham of protecting the environment, is a logical implication of the liberal-progressive urge to micro-manage everything and everyone, as well as a political payoff to organized labor.

If Democrat/Socialist Party leaders have their way, the United States will be propelled into relative poverty. Our standard of living, if regulations to reduce carbon emissions to the extent proposed by President Obama are imposed, will be reduced to less than the standards prevailing when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Labor unions then will be positioned to resume medieval guild-style control of all production (much of which will of necessity be hand crafted, if San Francisco liberal-progressives like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi determine the model). Lucky labor union members will be assured of a monopoly position to limit the numbers of apprentices permitted to work in production of goods, while the public pays for their union luxury in fewer jobs, fewer goods, and higher prices.

There is plenty of evidence that the earth has gone through many climate cycles and that the earth has gradually been warming over millions of years. That, however, is a far cry from the presumption that humans are powerful enough to usurp God’s Will with respect to climate conditions. It is an equally far cry from handing over our nation’s fate to a socialist elite centered in the UN and the Brussels EU headquarters, an elite who presume themselves powerful enough to control the entire world’s climate.

Unfortunately for believers in this socialist dogma, evidence against it continues to mount. Its foot of clay is the complete inability of scientistic speculators to make their computer models predict accurately any actual weather behavior. With global temperatures moving over the past decade in the opposite direction from Al Gore’s predictions, believers are left to secular religious faith alone to sustain them. This, of course, they are free to do, but that is no warrant for compelling us to degrade our lives and the future for our children and grandchildren to support their secular religious belief.

Socialists have long recognized that their religion, which is resisted strongly wherever political freedom exists to any degree, must be imposed by force, either legislatively or by armies. Moreover, if socialism is to become the dominant religion in the United States, it must ultimately be imposed universally. Too many people defect from socialism when they can observe people in other nations living in free-market prosperity.

The Soviet Union’s continual drive to pull nations around the globe into its political and economic orbit was motivated by precisely that recognition. Lenin and other socialist theorists recognized that the imagined social and economic harmony of socialism could be realized only when the entire world had been converted or conscripted into the socialist religion.

This explains why, to promote the hypothesis of man-made global warming, President Obama and his socialistic confreres continually refer to so-called international law and to their vision of a world government.


Big green machine feeds off you

Lawmakers have made it abundantly clear to bailed-out banks and automakers that federal money comes with strings attached. New rules on executive compensation are only the tip of the iceberg for TARP-funded banks. For bailed out automakers, Congress has inserted itself into decisions about plant closings and dealerships. The President of the United States even fired GM's CEO.

But environmental groups face few such restrictions, which is how they can victimize the taxpayer two- or even three-fold. They freely sue dozens of federal government agencies even as they take federal money. Sometimes they take the money and spend equivalent amounts lobbying Congress to restrict consumers' freedom. Some of them even pay their executives large six-figure salaries.

The taxpayer finds himself in triple jeopardy. He funds these groups with grants and contracts, he can be on the hook for both sides' legal costs, and he risks the loss of freedoms to new laws and lawsuits -- his property rights, and his ability to buy affordable appliances, or even his livelihood.

Defenders of Wildlife, whose president makes more than $300,000 a year, has taken about $190,000 in federal grants since 2004. They are now suing the government to protect aggressive wolves that were recently introduced into the Mountain West and have since ravaged game and impoverished shepherds and ranchers. The group also spent nearly $150,000 in the first half of 2009 lobbying Congress -- among other things, to fight against a law allowing for wolf control. They have also received more than $80,000 in web development work since 2006 from the Agriculture and Interior Departments.

Not all of the groups cause so much damage with your money, but they take it anyway. The Nature Conservancy (CEO compensation: $349,000), best known for purchasing land to prevent its development, is a billion-dollar organization. That hasn't stopped it from taking $14.4 million in grants from the Department of the Interior and received $50 million in federal contracts.

The more radical Forest Guardians are true green believers who certainly do not overpay themselves - their top employee makes only $46,000 per year. During the western forest fires of 2002, they steadfastly opposed the reopening of fire roads and the thinning of at-risk forests unless "solar powered chainsaws" were used. Even a small group like this can find itself a piece of the pie. Government grants accounted for 10 percent of their revenues in 2006, according to the IRS.

And just this year, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has put a leg aboard the federal gravy train. The famous public interest group, whose president made a modest $433,000 in 2007, has received a $750,000 government grant from the State Department to encourage the Chinese to use less energy. In addition to suing at least seven government agencies, including recently the Navy, the group also spent more than $400,000 in the first six months of 2009 lobbying Congress to require higher efficiency standards - and thus higher prices - for all appliances.

There's nothing wrong with a gadfly - someone has to hold government accountable. But should you be forced to pay for it, especially when it comes from an ideology that could hurt your livelihood or even your life?

Gadflies might be parasites in nature, but the human ones don't usually double as leeches.


Cap-and-Trade Favors Corporate Interests Over National Interest

The "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act" introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) favors corporate interests over our national interest, says the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research. The bill calls for a 20% reduction in emissions, exceeding the 17% target in the House Waxman-Markey legislation passed in May.

Boxer-Kerry lacks many important details, including a disclosure of which industries will benefit from free emissions credits.

"In the rush to legislate, the Boxer-Kerry bill is silent on key elements, such as how the government will hand out free emissions allowances that are worth billions of dollars. With that amount of money left on the table it opens the door for a behind-the-scenes lobbying fest that will reward well connected companies while looting taxpayers," said Tom Borelli, PhD, director of the Free Enterprise Project.

Waxman-Markey awards most of the estimated $777.6 billion of free allowances to industry between 2012-2020. Utilities were the biggest winner in the "House bill lottery," receiving 35% of allowances.

President Obama originally wanted to auction all the emission credits with the revenue going to reduce the budget deficit.

In addition to the allowance windfall, a few select companies will benefit from specific provisions. Caterpillar would gain from sales of its newly-developed hybrid bulldozer, because the bill empowers the EPA to issue new emissions standards for "new heavy-duty vehicles and engines and for nonroad vehicles and engines."

The Caterpillar hybrid bulldozer is priced about $100,000 more than conventional bulldozers – an added cost that will be passed on to construction projects.

The Boxer gift to Caterpillar may be a reward for CEO Jim Owens. Under Owens, Caterpillar is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) – a coalition of corporate and environmental special interest groups lobbying for cap-and-trade. Owens is a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

"Owens is putting his personal short-term interest over our national interest. He has previously acknowledged that cap-and-trade can harm the competitiveness of our manufacturing industries, yet he remains a member of USCAP," added Borelli. "Owens' thirty pieces of silver is a hybrid bulldozer."

"It's clear the only winners with cap-and-trade will be the lobbyists, CEOs and their environmental allies. The bill represents a huge transfer of wealth in the amount of hundreds of billions of dollars to industry. While the Washington elite benefit, the rest of America will end up paying the cost through higher energy prices, slower economic growth and sending jobs overseas," said Borelli.


CA: San Joaquin River restoration to begin

California is supposed to be suffering from a water shortage -- but there's plenty of water to waste on Greenie romanticism

Federal officials are preparing to release the first surge of water from a Fresno-area dam to reawaken miles of the San Joaquin River and restore salmon runs that went dry in the 1940s.

The Bureau of Reclamation is set to begin the historic restoration of the state's second-largest river at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT) Thursday when officials release pulses of water along the dry riverbed.

The project to bring back salmon to the river is a milestone in a decades-long legal tussle between environmentalists, farmers and the federal government. Environmental groups had filed a lawsuit stemming from the opening of Friant Dam in 1949, which dried up portions of the river below the dam where salmon once ran thick. Congress approved a legal settlement in March that aims to bring back Chinook salmon by 2012.



In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is not impressed by Australia's "conservative" Federal parliamentary leader and his embrace of Warmism


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, October 03, 2009

New Greenie villain: Nitrous oxide!

It's not actually a new villain but it has now been upgraded to Jack-the-ripper status. Reading between the lines, this would appear to be an apology for the fact that the Antarctic ozone hole is just fluctuating as normal instead of shrinking -- despite the much touted ban on CFCs. An attempt to ban N2O would be a joke, though. There's a lot of it about

Stratospheric ozone is depleted by many different chemicals; most prominently, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) responsible for causing the Antarctic ozone hole. Nitrous oxide is also an ozone-depleting substance that has natural sources in addition to anthropogenic ones. Moreover, unlike CFCs, its use and emission are not regulated by the Montreal Protocol, which has helped to reverse the rate of growth of the ozone hole. Surprisingly, Ravishankara et al. (p. 123, published online 27 August; see the Perspective by Wuebbles) now show that nitrous oxide is the single greatest ozone-depleting substance that, if its emissions are not controlled, is expected to remain the dominant ozone-depleting substance throughout the 21st century. Reducing nitrous oxide emissions would thus enhance the rate of recovery of the ozone hole and reduce the anthropogenic forcing of climate.


Journal abstract follows:

Nitrous Oxide (N2O): The Dominant Ozone-Depleting Substance Emitted in the 21st Century

By A. R. Ravishankara et al.

By comparing the ozone depletion potential-weighted anthropogenic emissions of N2O with those of other ozone-depleting substances, we show that N2O emission currently is the single most important ozone-depleting emission and is expected to remain the largest throughout the 21st century. N2O is unregulated by the Montreal Protocol. Limiting future N2O emissions would enhance the recovery of the ozone layer from its depleted state and would also reduce the anthropogenic forcing of the climate system, representing a win-win for both ozone and climate.

Science 2 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5949, pp. 123 - 125


The discovery of more data distortion further undermines the claim of recent temperature records. The IPCC is now on wobbly legs at all four corners

The official United Nation’s global warming agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a four-legged stool that is fast losing its legs. To carry the message of man-made global warming theory to the world, the IPCC has depended on 1) computer models, 2) data collection, 3) long-range temperature forecasting and 4) communication. None of these efforts are sitting on firm ground.

Over the past month, one of the IPCC’s top climate scientists, Mojib Latif, attempted to explain that even if global temperatures were to cool over the next 10 to 20 years, that would not mean that man-made global warming is no longer catastrophic. It was a tough case to make, and it is not clear Mr. Latif succeeded. In a presentation to a world climate conference in early September, Mr. Latif rambled somewhat and veered off into inscrutable language that is now embedded in a million blog posts attempting to prove one thing or another.

A sample: “It may well happen that you enter a decade, or maybe even two, you know, when the temperature cools, all right, relative to the present level...And then, you know, I know what’s going to happen. You know, I will get, you know, millions of phone calls, you know —‘What’s going on?’ ‘So is global warming disappearing, you know?’ ‘Have you lied on us, you know?’ So, and, therefore, this is the reason why we need to address this decadal prediction issue.”

The decadal prediction issue appears to be a combination of computer model problems, the unpredictability of natural climate variation, and assorted uncertainties. Making all this clear to the average global citizen will not be easy and climate scientists need to be able to make it clear, said Mr. Latif. “We have to ask the nasty questions ourselves, all right, or some other people will do it.”

All this is still swirling around the global climate issue today. But now along comes another problem. Canadian data buster Steve McIntyre has spend most of the last three years deconstructing the IPCC’s famous claim that the last couple of decades of the 20th century were the hottest in a thousand years. Using what was called The Hockey Stick graph, the IPCC claimed to have the smoking gun that showed a sharp run up in global temperatures through to 1997. The validity of the IPCC data began to crumble when Mr. McIntyre and Ross McKitrick of Guelph University found serious data problems that raised doubts about the graph and the claims of record high temperatures.

As Ross McKitrick explains in his op-ed, Steve McIntyre has uncovered another data distortion that further undermines the original graphic claim that the world has set temperature records in recent years. If world temperatures may have been just as hot in the past as they have been recently, and if the the next two decades could be cooler than they have been recently, the theory of climate change becomes an even tougher case to make.

The IPCC is now on wobbly legs at all four corners. Its models are inadequate and need overhaul, data integrity is at issue, the climate is not quite following the script, and the communication program for the whole campaign is a growing struggle.


Defects in key climate data are uncovered

By Ross McKitrick (A professor of environmental economics at the University of Guelph). Prof. McKitrick is very restrained below. The evidence points strongly towards deliberate scientific fraud but McKitrick does not quite make that accusation

Beginning in 2003, I worked with Stephen McIntyre to replicate a famous result in paleoclimatology known as the Hockey Stick graph. Developed by a U.S. climatologist named Michael Mann, it was a statistical compilation of tree ring data supposedly proving that air temperatures had been stable for 900 years, then soared off the charts in the 20th century. Prior to the publication of the Hockey Stick, scientists had held that the medieval-era was warmer than the present, making the scale of 20th century global warming seem relatively unimportant. The dramatic revision to this view occasioned by the Hockey Stick’s publication made it the poster child of the global warming movement. It was featured prominently in a 2001 report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as government websites and countless review reports.

Steve and I showed that the mathematics behind the Mann Hockey Stick were badly flawed, such that its shape was determined by suspect bristlecone tree ring data. Controversies quickly piled up: Two expert panels involving the U.S. National Academy of Sciences were asked to investigate, the U.S. Congress held a hearing, and the media followed the story around the world.

The expert reports upheld all of our criticisms of the Mann Hockey Stick, both of the mathematics and of its reliance on flawed bristlecone pine data. One of the panels, however, argued that while the Mann Hockey Stick itself was flawed, a series of other studies published since 1998 had similar shapes, thus providing support for the view that the late 20th century is unusually warm. The IPCC also made this argument in its 2007 report. But the second expert panel, led by statistician Edward Wegman, pointed out that the other studies are not independent. They are written by the same small circle of authors, only the names are in different orders, and they reuse the same few data climate proxy series over and over.

Most of the proxy data does not show anything unusual about the 20th century. But two data series have reappeared over and over that do have a hockey stick shape. One was the flawed bristlecone data that the National Academy of Sciences panel said should not be used, so the studies using it can be set aside. The second was a tree ring curve from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, compiled by UK scientist Keith Briffa.

Briffa had published a paper in 1995 claiming that the medieval period actually contained the coldest year of the millennium. But this claim depended on just three tree ring records (called cores) from the Polar Urals. Later, a colleague of his named F. H. Schweingruber produced a much larger sample from the Polar Urals, but it told a very different story: The medieval era was actually quite warm and the late 20th century was unexceptional. Briffa and Schweingruber never published those data, instead they dropped the Polar Urals altogether from their climate reconstruction papers.

In its place they used a new series that Briffa had calculated from tree ring data from the nearby Yamal Peninsula that had a pronounced Hockey Stick shape: relatively flat for 900 years then sharply rising in the 20th century. This Yamal series was a composite of an undisclosed number of individual tree cores. In order to check the steps involved in producing the composite, it would be necessary to have the individual tree ring measurements themselves. But Briffa didn’t release his raw data.

Over the next nine years, at least one paper per year appeared in prominent journals using Briffa’s Yamal composite to support a hockey stick-like result. The IPCC relied on these studies to defend the Hockey Stick view, and since it had appointed Briffa himself to be the IPCC Lead Author for this topic, there was no chance it would question the Yamal data.

Despite the fact that these papers appeared in top journals like Nature and Science, none of the journal reviewers or editors ever required Briffa to release his Yamal data. Steve McIntyre’s repeated requests for them to uphold their own data disclosure rules were ignored.

Then in 2008 Briffa, Schweingruber and some colleagues published a paper using the Yamal series (again) in a journal called the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, which has very strict data-sharing rules. Steve sent in his customary request for the data, and this time an editor stepped up to the plate, ordering the authors to release their data. A short while ago the data appeared on the Internet. Steve could finally begin to unpack the Yamal composite.

It turns out that many of the samples were taken from dead (partially fossilized) trees and they have no particular trend. The sharp uptrend in the late 20th century came from cores of 10 living trees alive as of 1990, and five living trees alive as of 1995. Based on scientific standards, this is too small a sample on which to produce a publication-grade proxy composite. The 18th and 19th century portion of the sample, for instance, contains at least 30 trees per year. But that portion doesn’t show a warming spike. The only segment that does is the late 20th century, where the sample size collapses. Once again a dramatic hockey stick shape turns out to depend on the least reliable portion of a dataset.

But an even more disquieting discovery soon came to light. Steve searched a paleoclimate data archive to see if there were other tree ring cores from at or near the Yamal site that could have been used to increase the sample size. He quickly found a large set of 34 up-to-date core samples, taken from living trees in Yamal by none other than Schweingruber himself! Had these been added to Briffa’s small group the 20th century would simply be flat. It would appear completely unexceptional compared to the rest of the millennium.

Combining data from different samples would not have been an unusual step. Briffa added data from another Schweingruber site to a different composite, from the Taimyr Peninsula. The additional data were gathered more than 400 km away from the primary site. And in that case the primary site had three or four times as many cores to begin with as the Yamal site. Why did he not fill out the Yamal data with the readily-available data from his own coauthor? Why did Briffa seek out additional data for the already well-represented Taimyr site and not for the inadequate Yamal site?

Thus the key ingredient in most of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series, depends on the influence of a woefully thin subsample of trees and the exclusion of readily-available data for the same area. Whatever is going on here, it is not science.

I have been probing the arguments for global warming for well over a decade. In collaboration with a lot of excellent coauthors I have consistently found that when the layers get peeled back, what lies at the core is either flawed, misleading or simply non-existent. The surface temperature data is a contaminated mess with a significant warm bias, and as I have detailed elsewhere the IPCC fabricated evidence in its 2007 report to cover up the problem. Climate models are in gross disagreement with observations, and the discrepancy is growing with each passing year. The often-hyped claim that the modern climate has departed from natural variability depended on flawed statistical methods and low-quality data. The IPCC review process, of which I was a member last time, is nothing at all like what the public has been told: Conflicts of interest are endemic, critical evidence is systematically ignored and there are no effective checks and balances against bias or distortion.

I get exasperated with fellow academics, and others who ought to know better, who pile on to the supposed global warming consensus without bothering to investigate any of the glaring scientific discrepancies and procedural flaws. Over the coming few years, as the costs of global warming policies mount and the evidence of a crisis continues to collapse, perhaps it will become socially permissible for people to start thinking for themselves again. In the meantime I am grateful for those few independent thinkers, like Steve McIntyre, who continue to ask the right questions and insist on scientific standards of openness and transparency.


A Death Spiral for Climate Alarmism?

Desperation is setting in among climate alarmists who by their own math can see that the window is rapidly closing on “saving the planet.” James Hansen, for instance, said three years ago in the New York Review of Books: “We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.” That was also Al Gore’s estimate in “An Inconvenient Truth.” But the time has been ticking away, and it’s increasingly obvious that the Gore/Hansen “wrenching transformation” of the U.S. energy system is simply not going to happen. Perhaps Copenhagen will make it official.

U.S. cap-and-trade has become a big political liability, in particular, as polls show voters are relatively unconcerned about climate change, and are deeply averse to higher energy prices. That has led Senator John Kerry, for example, to try to hide the ball by changing the name of scheme to “pollution reduction” in order to obscure the reality that it’s basically a massive energy tax. Other Left-leaning politicians (the latest being Houston Mayor Bill White, who is running for the U.S. Senate) are announcing their opposition to cap-and-trade. (1)

Renewable energy is also getting more scrutiny than ever before, awakening not only cost-conscious middle America but grass-roots environmentalists concerned about negative local impacts and big-business intrusion.

Here is the death spiral that I believe the the Climate Crisis Industry fears (and is probably right to fear) consciously or subconsciously:

1. U.S. rejects cap-and-trade in 2009, leaving a climate bill in serious trouble for election-year 2010 and beyond.

2. Copenhagen flounders without any U.S. commitment and from developing country opposition, among other things. The failed Kyoto Protocol creeps toward its 2012 expiration date with an all pain, no gain tag.

3. EPA action is delayed by court action and public/political opposition, negating implementation for years and effective implementation for longer. Congressional action to de-authorize EPA becomes more and more likely as businesses, and electric utilities in particular, demand certainty to meet growing U.S. electricity demand coming out of a recession.

4. The climate continues its decade long trend of non-warming for another 10 years, as some scientists have predicted. The return of bitterly cold winters, and more years “without a summer” increases public skepticism about climate science. More revelations come out about data manipulation by NASA, and cherry-picking by scientists trying to paint a false picture of recent warming in historical perspective.

5. Climate initiatives (renewable energy subsidies, etc.) are increasingly scrutinized and attacked as job-destroying corporate welfare by the Right and political capitalism by the Left.

6. Grassroots opposition builds against wind and solar farms because of landscape, wildlife, and people issues –and with the knowledge that such are not going to make a climatological difference. Environmentalists continue to block renewable projects at the local level, making it increasingly obvious that the U.S. risks energy shortages as conventional power generation is also stalled

7. Given the political impasse, and feeling somewhat duped, more and more science writers and academics will start covering hard climate data/trends rather than uncritically flogging the latest garbage-in/garbage-out forecasting. [Okay, this could be wishful thinking on my part, based on a mistaken belief that left-leaning science writers actually care about balanced reporting, and that academics dependent on government grants might develop something resembling a spine, but a person can dream, can't they?]

8. More attention focuses on adaptation and climate engineering, both of which spark furious debates on the Left as, respectively, “defeatist” and “playing God with climate.”

9. The “Great Climate Scare” becomes scrutinized for bad behavior and lessons-learned–which magnifies the intellectual and media turnaround on the issue.

10. Political support ebbs for government-dependent wind, solar, and energy efficiency companies, deflating the bubble and leaving a sad industrial trail of broken, obsolete, or uneconomic wind turbines and solar panels.


In the face of the risks to the climate crisis agenda outlined above, we can expect the climate crisis industry to grow increasingly shrill, and increasingly hostile toward anyone who questions their authority. Politicians are likely to try to ram as much through as they can for their favored constituencies and technologies before the climate crisis runs out of steam, and public concern drops even lower. This is the time for those concerned about public policy to be on high alert, as panicked activists and politicians will be trying every trick in the book to enact their agenda by hook or by crook. Vigilance is called for more than ever in contentious climate debate.


Cooling Down the Cassandras

By George F. Will

Plateau in Temperatures Adds Difficulty to Task

In this headline on a New York Times story about the difficulties confronting people alarmed about global warming, note the word "plateau." It dismisses the unpleasant -- to some people -- fact that global warming is maddeningly (to the same people) slow to vindicate their apocalyptic warnings about it.

The "difficulty" -- the "intricate challenge," the Times says -- is "building momentum" for carbon reduction "when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years." That was in the Times's first paragraph.

In the fifth paragraph, a "few years" became "the next decade or so," according to Mojib Latif, a German "prize-winning climate and ocean scientist" who campaigns constantly to promote policies combating global warming. Actually, Latif has said he anticipates "maybe even two" decades in which temperatures cool. But stay with the Times's "decade or so." By asserting that the absence of significant warming since 1998 is a mere "plateau," not warming's apogee, the Times assures readers who are alarmed about climate change that the paper knows the future and that warming will continue: Do not despair, bad news will resume.

The Times reported that "scientists" -- all of them? -- say the 11 years of temperature stability has "no bearing," none, on long-term warming. Some scientists say "cool stretches are inevitable." Others say there may be growth of Arctic sea ice, but the growth will be "temporary." According to the Times, however, "scientists" say that "trying to communicate such scientific nuances to the public -- and to policymakers -- can be frustrating."

The Times says "a short-term trend gives ammunition to skeptics of climate change." Actually, what makes skeptics skeptical is the accumulating evidence that theories predicting catastrophe from man-made climate change are impervious to evidence. The theories are unfalsifiable, at least in the "short run." And the "short run" is defined as however many decades must pass until the evidence begins to fit the hypotheses.

The Post recently reported the theory of a University of Virginia professor emeritus who thinks that, many millennia ago, primitive agriculture -- burning forests, creating methane-emitting rice paddies, etc. -- produced enough greenhouse gases to warm the planet at least a degree. The theory is interesting. Even more interesting is the reaction to it by people such as the Columbia University professor who says it makes him "really upset" because it might encourage opponents of legislation combating global warming.

Warnings about cataclysmic warming increase in stridency as evidence of warming becomes more elusive. A recent report from the United Nations Environment Program predicts an enormous 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit increase by the end of the century even if nations fulfill their most ambitious pledges concerning reduction of carbon emissions. The U.S. goal is an 80 percent reduction by 2050. But Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute says that would require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the 1910 level. On a per capita basis, it would mean emissions approximately equal to those in 1875.

That will not happen. So, we are doomed. So, why try?

America needs a national commission appointed to assess the evidence about climate change. Alarmists will fight this because the first casualty would be the carefully cultivated and media-reinforced myth of consensus -- the bald assertion that no reputable scientist doubts the gravity of the crisis, doubts being conclusive evidence of disreputable motives or intellectual qualifications. The president, however, could support such a commission because he is sure "there's finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us." So he announced last week at the U.N. climate change summit, where he said the threat is so "serious" and "urgent" that unless all nations act "boldly, swiftly and together" -- "time . . . is running out" -- we risk "irreversible catastrophe." Prince Charles agrees. In March, seven months ago, he said humanity had 100 months -- until July 2017 -- to prevent "catastrophic climate change and the unimaginable horrors that this would bring." Evidently humanity will prevent this.

Charles Moore of the Spectator notes that in July, the prince said that by 2050 the planet will be imperiled by the existence of 9 billion people, a large portion of them consuming as much as Western people now do. Environmental Cassandras must be careful with their predictions lest they commit what climate alarmists consider the unpardonable faux pas of denying that the world is coming to an end.


Protectionist threats a lot of hot air

Comment from Australia:

THE threat of punitive tariffs on imports from countries not acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been raised by Kevin Rudd as a reason Australia should adopt his carbon pollution reduction scheme. He has cited threats apparently made by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and others. Provisions in the US emissions trading scheme bill are perceived the same way. Paul Kelly (The Weekend Australian, September 26-27) is one of the latest to retail these arguments.

This trade retaliation red herring, per se, is no reason to adopt the CPRS. It doesn't stand up to cursory analysis. At best, it adds another layer of confusion to a confused policy. At worst, it's rubbish.

Existing World Trade Organisation rules are clear. First, countries generally are not allowed to discriminate between imports from different countries by imposing border taxes (for example, tariffs) on imports differentiated by source country, unless that has been enshrined in existing agreements. No such agreements are based on whether different countries have adopted policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Punitive tariffs would violate existing WTO rules and constitute grounds for seeking remedies under WTO processes.

Second, countries are not allowed to discriminate in favour of locally produced goods and services by taxing them less than imports of the same products. Punitive tariffs (that is, higher ad valorem equivalent taxes on imports than applied to locally produced substitutes) would breach existing WTO rules and be a basis for seeking remedies under WTO processes.

In both cases, such punitive action is protectionist. The WTO's role is to punish those adopting such measures. Besides, widespread adoption ofsuch measures by relatively wealthy developed economies would amount to "doing a Samson" on world trade, dragging down global economic growth and living standards in the process. This is the trade policy bogeyman raised by our Prime Minister as a competitiveness threat to Australia if we don't adopt his CPRS. (Let's ignore the negative protection competitiveness threat embodied in the CPRS itself for now.)

Assume the threat is implemented. Assuming substantive failure at Copenhagen (however it's dressed up in the communique), it implies world trade collapses as the developed world, led by Europe, sets off a round of protectionist tariff increases, others retaliate, and chances of even an anaemic global economic recovery are destroyed. Everybody loses, including the European Union, which needs to seek out new, growing markets to buffer growth in living standards from its own slowing domestic markets driven by its ageing (in some cases shrinking) population.

This outcome implies the WTO is ineffective. (Given inaction against present breaches by most members of the Group of 20 - the so-called new driver of the global policy agenda - of their own pious communiques preaching the evils of protectionism, this may be plausible.)

But let's be more realistic. Assume instead all countries decide stronger world growth takes priority over trying to force some to adopt policies they don't want to adopt. That is, governments decide to trade off gains in near-term employment recovery against early action reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (The national politics are obvious. Large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions wrought by the global recession are a convenient excuse.)

What will governments do on climate policy? The easiest courses are (a) to implement "emissions watch" climate policies or (b) do nothing.

The first option has symbolic appeal but does little or nothing to reduce global greenhouse gases. For those adopting option (a), international competitiveness is not undermined (or at least not much). There is little need to violate WTO rules by imposing punitive border taxes on imports. In this case, the punitive tariff threat is empty and the climate policy adopted is pusillanimous. Interested in spin rather than substance? This policy is for you.

Option (b) is just the status quo for many. There's another option: comply with WTO rules and put a serious price on emissions, initially unilaterally. Do border tax adjustments have a place here? Absolutely.

Australian taxes differentiate between different products already. The GST is not uniform. Some food, health and education products are GST-free. So are imports of these products. Some are input-taxed under the GST, including imports. Most products are taxed at 10 per cent, including imports. The luxury car tax is a special higher tax on expensive cars, applied equally to locally produced cars and imports. The same applies to the wine equalisation tax. The excises applied to petroleum products, alcohol and tobacco produced in Australia apply equally to imports of these products (revenue customs duties).

The principle's clear. Whatever tax (as a percentage of value or as a dollar amount per physical quantity) is applied to locally produced goods and services can be applied to imports of those products under present WTO rules. Any country can set a tax on a given product, determined any way you like, apply it equally to local products and substitute imports, and not breach WTO rules.

Suppose any country sets such taxes based on (i) the carbon emissions price in that country and (ii) the emissions intensity of locally produced goods and services. Suppose that process also determines the border tax adjustment to be applied to imports of the same products, so that percentage or specific tax burdens on imports are the same as on local substitutes. Such border tax adjustments are WTO-compliant. They are not protectionist. They are competitiveness-neutral. They are an integral part of a national emissions consumption approach to climate policy.

By eliminating losses of trade competitiveness otherwise incurred by "first movers", they make an effective (as opposed to pusillanimous) global deal on climate policy likelier. They remove an obstacle impeding consummation of a global deal in this area since 1992 and, on present trends, likely to continue impeding such a deal in December and beyond.



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, October 02, 2009

Evidence of coal fired power stations in Antarctica 15 million years ago?

If natural events have been shown to produce a big warmup, why should we assume that the minute warming of the last century is somehow different? It's just an assertion to say so, a statement of faith rather than fact

For Sophie Warny, LSU assistant professor of geology and geophysics and curator at the LSU Museum of Natural Science, years of patience in analyzing Antarctic samples with low fossil recovery finally led to a scientific breakthrough. She and colleagues from around the world now have proof of a sudden, remarkably warm period in Antarctica that occurred about 15.7 million years ago and lasted for a few thousand years.

Last year, as Warny was studying samples sent to her from the latest Antarctic Geologic Drilling Program, or ANDRILL AND-2A, a multinational collaboration between the Antarctic Programs of the United States (funded by the National Science Foundation), New Zealand, Italy and Germany, one sample stood out as a complete anomaly.

"First I thought it was a mistake, that it was a sample from another location, not Antarctica, because of the unusual abundance in microscopic fossil cysts of marine algae called dinoflagellates. But it turned out not to be a mistake, it was just an amazingly rich layer," said Warny. "I immediately contacted my U.S. colleague, Rosemary Askin, our New Zealand colleagues, Michael Hannah and Ian Raine, and our German colleague, Barbara Mohr, to let them know about this unique sample as each of our countries had received a third of the ANDRILL samples."

Some colleagues had noted an increase in pollen grains of woody plants in the sample immediately above, but none of the other samples had such a unique abundance in algae, which at first gave Warny some doubts about potential contamination. "But the two scientists in charge of the drilling, David Harwood of University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Fabio Florindo of Italy, were equally excited about the discovery," said Warny. "They had noticed that this thin layer had a unique consistency that had been characterized by their team as a diatomite, which is a layer extremely rich in fossils of another algae called diatoms."

All research parties involved met at the Antarctic Research Facility at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Together, they sampled the zone of interest in great detail and processed the new samples in various labs. One month later, the unusual abundance in microfossils was confirmed. Among the 1,107 meters of sediments recovered and analyzed for microfossil content, a two-meter thick layer in the core displayed extremely rich fossil content. This is unusual because the Antarctic ice sheet was formed about 35 million years ago, and the frigid temperatures there impede the presence of woody plants and blooms of dinoflagellate algae.

"We all analyzed the new samples and saw a 2,000 fold increase in two species of fossil dinoflagellate cysts, a five-fold increase in freshwater algae and up to an 80-fold increase in terrestrial pollen," said Warny. "Together, these shifts in the microfossil assemblages represent a relatively short period of time during which Antarctica became abruptly much warmer." These palynomorphs, a term used to described dust-size organic material such as pollen, spores and cysts of dinoflagellates and other algae, provide hard evidence that Antarctica underwent a brief but rapid period of warming about 15 million years before present.

"This event will lead to a better understanding of global connections and climate forcing, in other words, it will provide a better understanding of how external factors imposed fluctuations in Earth's climate system," said Harwood. "The Mid-Miocene Climate Optimum has long been recognized in global proxy records outside of the Antarctic region. Direct information from a setting proximal to the dynamic Antarctic ice sheets responsible for driving many of these changes is vital to the correct calibration and interpretation of these proxy records."

These startling results will offer new insight into Antarctica's climatic past – insights that could potentially help climate scientists better understand the current climate change scenario. "In the case of these results, the microfossils provide us with quantitative data of what the environment was actually like in Antarctica at the time, showing how this continent reacted when climatic conditions were warmer than they are today," said Warny.

According to the researchers, these fossils show that land temperatures reached a January average of 10 degrees Celsius – the equivalent of approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit – and that estimated sea surface temperatures ranged between zero and 11.5 degrees Celsius. The presence of freshwater algae in the sediments suggests to researchers that an increase in meltwater and perhaps also in rainfall produced ponds and lakes adjacent to the Ross Sea during this warm period, which would obviously have resulted in some reduction in sea ice.

These findings most likely reflect a poleward shift of the jet stream in the Southern Hemisphere, which would have pushed warmer water toward the pole and allowed a few dinoflagellate species to flourish under such ice-free conditions. Researchers believe that shrub-like woody plants might also have been able to proliferate during an abrupt and brief warmer time interval.

"An understanding of this event, in the context of timing and magnitude of the change, has important implications for how the climate system operates and what the potential future response in a warmer global climate might be," said Harwood. "A clear understanding of what has happened in the past, and the integration of these data into ice sheet and climate models, are important steps in advancing the ability of these computer models to reproduce past conditions, and with improved models be able to better predict future climate responses."

While the results are certainly impressive, the work isn't yet complete. "The SMS Project Science Team is currently looking at the stratigraphic sequence and timing of climate events evident throughout the ANDRILL AND-2A drillcore, including those that enclose this event," said Florindo. "A broader understanding of ice sheet behavior under warmer-than-present conditions will emerge."


Stealing by Any Other Name

Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer can call the Waxman-Markey carbon cap-and-tax bill to be introduced in the Senate anything they want. “Pollution reduction.” “Cap-and-trade.” “Carbon limits.” But, at the end of the day, it’s still a tax.

And it’s still stealing. As a recent report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) reveals, Waxman-Markey is a regressive tax that will hit the poorest the hardest.

According to the independent, expert analysis, “On a gross basis, the bill would cost $106 billion per year or $892 per household, ranging from $451 to $1,531 depending on income. On a net basis, households in the four lowest-earning quintiles would pay between $31 and $512 per year, while households in the highest-earning quintile would actually profit by $604 per year—effectively redistributing roughly $14 billion per year to the highest earning households in the U.S.”

Making matters worse, according to the study’s lead author, Andrew Chamberlain, “the free allowances distributed under Waxman-Markey will result in large windfall profits for the corporate allies of the legislation.”

Which, of course, includes so-called “green” industries: companies—carbon capture and sequestration companies, energy efficiency producers, and solar and wind companies, and “companies engaged in ‘clean’ energy innovation, and ‘clean’ vehicle technology companies,” according to the report. The bill would result in a windfall of $10.6 billion and $18.7 billion every single year for these companies, with a total of $135.3 billion between 2012 and 2020.

What emerges from IER’s analysis is legislation that attempts to reorder the nation’s energy industry, by redirecting profits around, and by forcing consumers to pay more for goods and services that depend upon carbon-emitting fuels like coal, oil, and gasoline. And it is designed to especially victimize lower-income consumers.

The legislation, HR 2454, would force carbon-emitting industries coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas to purchase carbon permits. The bill aims to reduce industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

Meanwhile, “green” companies, which produce inefficient energy that will predictably result in inefficient transportation, manufacturing, and heavy industries, will be gaining a competitive advantage through the bill’s implementation. They will also be heavily subsidized through tax incentives and other favors, goodies, and kickbacks for their loyalty.

Really, the point is just to drive up the costs of gasoline, oil, and coal—energies the American people depend upon for electricity, transportation, heating, and just about everything else that makes America run. And it all comes at a time when the American people are desperately struggling just to make ends meet.

In the process, Congress will have handed over the nation’s energy policy to a radical faction that has but one agenda: to wreck the nation’s economic standing in the world by making energy unaffordable, eliminating real jobs, and sealing away American natural resources from an economy that will be unable to grow without them. All in the name of “saving mankind” – while destroying people.

The final House vote in favor of the legislation was a razor-thin 219 to 212. One can only hope that in the Senate, supposedly the most deliberative body in the world, the members of Congress will come to its senses.

Worst of all, according APS Physics, “Climate Sensitivity Revisited,” there is really no reason to reorganize the entire economy to affect “climate change” when the Monckton study raises serious doubts as to the accuracy of the UN International Panel on Climate Change’s computer models. The whole hypothesis is not even based on actual observable data. It turns out to be computer predictions that have proven to be wildly off.

All of which raises the question: Why? Why tax the poor to give to the rich, elite ruling class? Why destroy the economy when the nation is struggling to compete with China and India? Why open up this Pandora’s Box? Perhaps it’s because they are more interested in redirecting profits than with “saving the planet.” Perhaps, taking the charitable view, it is because they are horribly misguided and terminally naïve. Or, perhaps because it is just stealing by another name.


Another dishonest assertion-based scare

If they really think their theory would stand up to scientific testing, wouldn't it be better to do that testing of it, rather than make a film about it? The last paragraph below shows why they are making a film instead. Reality really is pesky for modernity-hating Greenies

Honey bees are being wiped out by a new generation of pesticides, it is claimed today. Chemicals routinely used on maize, oil seed rape and garden plants could be responsible for the mysterious decline, according to new documentary film Vanishing Of The Bees.

Honey bees are essential for the food supply and British farmers, contributing about £200million to the economy by pollinating crops. Scientists admit they are baffled by plummeting bee numbers in Europe and America over the past decade.

Last year nearly a fifth of UK colonies were wiped out - more than double the usual number that come into existence to replace them, according to beekeepers. The previous year, one in three colonies failed to survive the winter. Some keepers say Britain is starting to suffer from colony collapse disorder - a mysterious affliction that has devastated America since 2004 and sees entire hives disappear over the winter, leaving behind empty nests.

The new film suggests long-term exposure to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids is partly to blame. Introduced in the 1990s because, unlike previous pesticides, they appear to be harmless to mammals, neonicotinoids are applied to seeds. Now American beekeeper Dave Hackenberg, who appears in the film, says pesticides are the prime suspect. 'Pollen is being tainted with something which is not killing the adults that are gathering it,' he said. 'But they are bringing the pollen back and feeding it to their young.'

He believes neonicotinoids in pollen disrupt the nervous systems of young bees, making them vulnerable to disease and causing them to leave hives without returning. The Government says there is no evidence of an unacceptable risk to bees from neonicotinoids. It says bees have been hit by viruses and the varroa mite, a pest which feeds on bees and make them vulnerable to disease. Another theory is that they are suffering from the loss of habitat such as wild flowers, meadows, rough pasture and untidy gardens.

But the Co-op - the UK's biggest farmer and one of the documentary's backers - says pesticides have not properly been tested on bees and called for urgent research into the link.

A spokesman for Bayer - the German firm that makes many of the neonicotinoids - said: 'The healthiest bees in the world are in Australia, where they have lots of neonicotinoids but they don't have varroa. 'If you look at a country where they have restricted the use of neonicotinoids, France, they have a worse bee problem there than in the UK.'



Backroom lab boys in the US Navy say they have developed hugely more efficient desalination machinery, ideal for making seawater drinkable. The new tech, as well as saving space and energy aboard US warships, could also bring relief to water-poor areas around the world.

"They say that water is the next petroleum," comments J Paul Armistead of the US Office of Naval Research (ONR). "Around the globe there are a lot of countries with a lot of worse water problems than we have, so bringing down the cost to desalinate water should help a lot."

At present, modern warships replenish their freshwater supplies from the sea around them using basic Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants. There are also already some nations in part dependent on desalinisation to keep their onshore water systems running, such as Israel and the United Arab Emirates, though distillation has been more common than RO in shorebased installations. A large RO plant is even being built in London's Thames estuary to provide backup supplies for the capital in case of dry summers - despite initial opposition from former Mayor Ken Livingstone on the grounds that it would be irresponsible to use energy (and so drive up carbon emissions) for such a purpose.

Freshwater scarcity is a much more serious problem in many regions around the globe than it is in London, and where there is easy access to seawater desalinisation could offer a solution for routine use, not just emergencies. However, this involves the use of a lot of energy. Even aboard warships, the RO plants seldom offer enough output for sailors to use water as profligately as Western civilians do.

Step forward Armistead and the assembled boffins of the ONR, with their Expeditionary Unit Water Purification Program, EUWP. This has been running since 2004, and the navy lab is now on the second generation of kit. "We plan to build prototype desalination units that will use 65 percent less energy and be 40 percent smaller by weight and by volume relative to current Navy reverse osmosis systems," says Armistead. "They should require roughly 75 percent less maintenance."

According to the ONR, a Gen I EUWP rig was set up in Mississippi and used to supply potable water to a hospital whose supplies had been cut off by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Sucking saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico, the truck-portable unit pumped out 100,000 gallons of drinking water per day - the equivalent of a 24-hourly convoy of 18 road tankers. The Gen II gear, which has now been successfully tested, is supposed to be more puissant still.

The US navy's ships will start getting the new and enhanced water plants from 2014: and Armistead says that EUWP tech has already begun to spin out into civilian commercial applications. It would seem that the human race has no particular need to suffer from drought in future (at least that substantial majority of the human race which lives within reasonable reach of saltwater). Assuming that the human race has access to plentiful energy for running the desalination plants, anyway.

There's no such thing as a water shortage in particular, it would seem - just situations in which energy shortages can be even more damaging than you'd expect. But at least the new ONR kit will somewhat ease the growth of humanity's energy needs.


When Did Energy Become the Enemy?

By Alan Caruba

One of the most curious and, frankly, frightening aspects of environmentalism is its hatred of the use of energy. One can draw a straight line between the Carter administration that imposed a windfall tax on the U.S. oil industry and the present Obama administration that is all for offshore oil drilling just as long as it takes place in Brazil, not America. There is, in fact, offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly near Florida. The problem is that it is being undertaken by China and Russia.

In America, Ken Salazar, Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, is likely to slow offshore development, but it should be noted that 85% of the nation’s continental shelf has long been under a ban against exploration and development, and was throughout the eight years of the Bush Administration. The same holds true for vast oil deposits in Alaska’s ANWR area.

Until the 1970s, America’s economy thrived on affordable energy. Fully 85% of all the energy we need and use comes from coal, oil and natural gas. That is not going to change despite all the blather about “renewable energy” sources such as solar or wind. Neither of these has proven to be either reliable or affordable without huge government subsidies wherever they have been tried.

As Seldon B. Graham, Jr. notes in his book, “Why Your Gasoline Prices Are High”, in 1981 a windfall profits tax was imposed, “This tax, in effect, sent U.S.A. Oil’s exploration and drilling budgets straight to the government to spend as it pleased; thereby leaving little or no exploration and drilling budgets for USA Oil.” The result was “a death notice” to the industry. “Many U.S. oil and gas companies went bankrupt because of the windfall profits tax. Those U.S.A. oil companies which survived were forced to go overseas to explore and drill in foreign countries.”

The result of the windfall profits tax was that it forced “the U.S.A. to defend Middle East oil.” And that, dear reader, is why we are still in the Middle East providing an umbrella of protection, rescuing Kuwait from Iraq, then having to re-invade Iraq, and now faced with a decision to militarily end Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons with which to threaten other Middle East nations.

Graham, with more than fifty years experience in the oil industry, has also been vocal in opposition to yet another idiotic government mandate, the addition of ethanol to every gallon of gasoline drivers must purchase. Ethanol is touted as another “clean” energy alternative, but Graham notes that even as it reduces the mileage available from each gallon, it also emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. “Clean biofuel is the big lie”, says Graham. That said, carbon dioxide not only plays no role in “global warming”, but there is no global warming; the Earth being in a cooling cycle for the past ten years.

Just like Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama regards oil, natural gas, and coal as the enemy. Jerome Corsi of World Net Daily recently warned that “President Obama declared war on oil and natural gas at the United Nations global warming summit and he made the same pitch to the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh.” Obama told the UN, “I will work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so that we can better address our climate challenge.”

On September 10, Buddy Kleemeir, chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America told a Senate Finance Committee that “The Obama administration’s budget request would strip essential capital from new American natural gas and oil investment by radically raising taxes on American production.”

A recent New York Times article noted that “The oil industry has been on a hot streak this year, thanks to a series of major discoveries…these discoveries, spanning five continents, are the result of hefty investments that began earlier in the decade when oil prices rose…”

First, note that the discoveries are the result of risks taken nearly a decade ago. It takes a long time to find new oil reserves and it requires billions of dollars. Second, note that these discoveries have largely been in other continents.

Third, if U.S. policy deliberately reduces the ability to make those investments by phasing out “fossil fuel subsidies”, it ensures that the nation remains dependent on Middle East and other foreign oil imports. Fourth, it puts the lie to the endless talk of America becoming “energy independent.”

America has been systematically stripped of access to its own interior and offshore energy reserves since the 1970s and at the heart of this conspiracy have been the many environmental organizations that have first secured legislation to enable their obstruction and second to impose, often through the courts, measures that attack, not just energy, but agriculture, timber, and other formerly thriving elements of the nation’s economy. The destruction of America is moving apace and we have a president who continues to lie about “global warming” in order to further its decline.


Climate folly before failure

Comment from Australia

THE inconvenient truth is that there is no hope the UN climate change negotiations that start in Copenhagen on December 7 will deliver a new Kyoto treaty, with a global agreement on binding emissions targets. This was, of course, the original aim of the meeting but has been abandoned. On Monday The Guardian in Britain quoted a top European official who described the idea of negotiating on targets as naive and said the best that could be expected was that countries would put up what they wanted to commit to.

Just as well, really, if we consider figures published in an article in The Washington Post, also on Monday, by Danish statistician and environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg.

His Copenhagen Consensus Centre commissioned well-known climate economist Richard Tol, a contributor to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to estimate the cost of emissions targets needed to keep the rise in global temperature to under the 2C limit suggested by the IPCC's work. Tol's answer is a global price tag of $US40 trillion in 2100, to avoid expected climate damage costing $US1.1 trillion. These figures are based on mainstream economic models and subject to the usual limitations of modelling over long periods.

But the global warming projections behind all the alarm about climate change are based on complex climate models that also have serious limitations and, according to Lomborg, Tol's estimates are best-case outcomes. They aren't the only reason to be uneasy about the present thrust of UN climate change policy.

Kevin Rudd has been using various arguments to push his case for urgent, substantial action on climate change and one he used in the US last week is the threat of a European carbon tax on exports from countries "not doing their bit on climate change". Rudd only mentioned remarks by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but it is actually a joint initiative by France and Germany's newly re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel. Instead of, at least implicitly, accepting this as a legitimate tactic by the Europeans, Rudd should be denouncing it at every opportunity. The last thing Australia and the world need is a global trade war sparked by European attempts to bully the world into adopting its climate change policies, which are under attack in the EU itself, to shelter its industries from the economic damage its climate policies will impose.

Some more figures from Lomborg. Economic estimates suggest freer trade would deliver global benefits of the order of $US50trillion. Why put these gains at risk to avoid global warming damage estimated at $US1.1 trillion? Fortunately there has already been a reaction in Europe and in other countries against the Franco-German threat.

The looming failure at Copenhagen is a powerful argument against Australia rushing to pass the Rudd government's flawed emissions trading scheme, which isn't even proposed to start operating until 2011. For Australia, with an economic structure heavily dependent on cheap, carbon-based energy, to move ahead of the rest of the world is foolish.

Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong see things differently. In their view, getting the legislation through the Senate in November is essential for Australia's negotiating position at Copenhagen. According to Wong the eyes of the world are on us, waiting to see if the government succeeds. Nonsense, of course, as Rudd gave away in an interview with CNN in New York. Asked whether the US negotiating position had been weakened by the Obama administration's inability to get emissions trading legislation through the US Senate, Rudd replied that his own legislation had been recently blocked by Australia's Senate. He continued: "That doesn't impede me from being active in these negotiations and my observation of President Obama is that it doesn't impede him either." So much for the importance of passing legislation before Copenhagen and, in any case, the UN knows what Australia's position is on targets and emissions trading.

Rudd, of course, has other arguments. He declared in New York that what drove his government's interest in an emissions trading scheme was the need for business certainty. There can be no certainty in a scheme that has flexible emissions targets that will vary with global action.

Another scare tactic is to paint water problems in the Murray-Darling Basin as a product of climate change. More nonsense. The problems on the Murray-Darling rivers have nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with gutless and short-sighted politicians. Bureau of Meteorology records of rainfall during 108 years examined by Australian physicist Tom Quirk show no statistically significant trend, with rainfall variations entirely random. So much for the impact of global warming.

The government's attempts to create a sense of urgency and set a timetable that demands its legislation be passed in November are a stunt. The issue is whether Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has the courage to do what he says is the only sensible course of action, to wait until after we know the outcome in Copenhagen.

However, having said this, Turnbull, who is in a complete funk over the possibility of a double-dissolution election on the issue, left the door open to negotiate with the government to pass its legislation, with amendments, in November. A clear majority of his back bench and probably at least half his front bench don't agree with this policy.

Both former Labor prime minister and treasurer Paul Keating and former Liberal deputy leader and treasurer Peter Costello have warned a double dissolution is not without risks for Rudd because the electorate likes governments to run their full term. Rudd has said more than once he doesn't want a double dissolution and also believes governments should run their full term.

Turnbull should take him at his word and have the guts to stand by what he says he believes is the right policy, and is indeed the sensible policy: wait until after Copenhagen.



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, October 01, 2009

What Does the Last Decade Tell Us about Global Warming?
“Worldwide temperatures haven’t risen much in the past decade…. If you are a climate-change activist pointing to year after year of mounting climate crises, you might want to rethink your approach.”

- Richard Kerr, Science, May 2, 2008.

There has been a flurry of activity in recent weeks in the discussion as to the significance (scientific, political, social) of the evolution of the global average surface temperature during the past 10 years or so.

For those of you who don’t know, the surface temperature of the globe, as a whole, has not warmed-up by anyone’s calculation since at least the turn of the century (January 2001) and depending on your dataset and statistical technique of choice, perhaps as far back as January 1997. And all of this non-warming occurred over a period of time during which the global emissions of CO2 increased faster than ever before (thanks primarily to China). In fact, anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcing is about 5 percent greater now than a decade ago (about 16 parts per million).

To many folks who have, for years, been fed a constant course of “the-world-is-heating-up-faster-than-ever-before-and-you-are-the-cause,” 9 to 12 years of no warming at all seems to indicate that something is amiss with this mantra. This was reflected in a Gallup Poll last spring, which found the highest percentage yet of people who think that “global warming” is being “exaggerated.” And this number has been growing.

IPCC “Consensus” and Unwarming

The growth in climate realism (i.e., a realization that alarmists are overplaying the probable impact of CO2 emissions) has most certainly been sparked by the fact that the rate of the earth’s temperature rise has been slowing rather than accelerating, contrary to general IPCC conclusions. This development, naturally, plays into the political debate about (at the 11th hour if not midnight) “mitigating” potential climate change through carbon dioxide emissions reductions.

While the mainstream press has been slow to embrace the fact that the earth’s temperature rise has ground to a halt, Andy Revkin’s recent article in the New York Times has brought the issue the issue front and center. Already, there had been lively discussions on this subject in the halls of Congress and all across of the web. For instance, this past winter, the recent lack of warming was a focal point in testimony given by Dr. Patrick Michaels before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. More recently, this fact was included by Matt Rogers writing for the popular “Capital Weather Gang” blog as among his list of 10 reasons for his “Skeptical Take on Global Warming.” And the Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger made a pretty big deal about it in his recent SciGuy blog post, stating “But a funny thing happened on the way to the end of the world: hurricane activity on the global scale is near historical lows. And the Earth seems to have, at least temporarily, stopped warming”.

But the growing popularity of this line of reasoning and it potential to do a lot of public relations damage to the alarmist cause is not going unnoticed, whether at Climate Progress or other ‘alarmist’ bastions.

Pew Center Tries to Quiet Science Concern

In its recent update of its global-warming science material, the Pew Center included a list of climate “misconceptions.” Among them was this one:
The Misconception:

The last few years have been cooler, so global warming can’t be real;

Or, Global warming stopped in 1998;

Or, The world has been cooling for the past decade.

Pew reported that “The Reality” was:
The climate is defined by long-term averages in global temperature and other climate metrics, and those are still increasing.

This response basically avoided taking the original contention head-on. In fact, global warming has stopped. The question, thus, needs to be: “Since the average global surface temperature has remained relatively unchanged for the past decade or so, what does this mean for our understanding of what drives temperature changes, and what we may expect in the future?”

The answer to this question could be that there is something wrong with our scientific understanding of what makes the climate tick —or at least how this understanding is translated into the computer code of climate models—which of course would have all sorts of implications.

So, instead of going there, the primary effort to-date has been to try to demonstrate that there actually is no problem at all—that this lack of temperature rise is just what you would expect to occur with “global warming,” to go along with other expectations such as increasing sea ice in the Southern Ocean, increased ice accumulation across Antarctica (or should that be decreasing ice accumulation across Antarctica—I guess it all depends on what the latest study shows), more precipitation (or less depending on which is currently making the news), more hurricanes (well, not more in number, but more intense, or if not more intense, then they’ll be bigger in areal extent, or maybe…), cold outbreaks (when they occur, warm outbreaks otherwise), etc.

New Lines of ’Skeptic’ Research

The first paper in the scientific literature to tackle the issue of just how long a period of no warming should be expected was published a few months ago by David Easterling and Michael Wehner. They showed that a zero or negative trend of a decade in length should occur (according to climate models) about 10% of the time during the first half of the 21st century. Another paper appeared a couple of weeks ago, led by Jeffrey Knight, which also concluded that, according to climate models, a negative (or zero) 10-yr trend should be expected to occur about 10% of the time, and further, that a negative trend couldn’t be statistically ruled out as improbable until after about a 15-yr period.

But, these two studies are not the end all and be all on the topic. They both, to a certain degree, include sources of variability besides just intramodel “natural” variability when determining the distribution of the modeled temperature trends. This intermixing of various noise sources has the probable effect of enhancing the perceived degree of “climate” variability and thus making low trends seem more common they should be.

My colleagues and I are currently working up a few tests of our own to see just how common our current period of no global warming really is—at least from the standpoint of today’s climate models when run with projected changes in anthropogenic emissions (greenhouse gases and aerosols). Our results are indicating that 10-yr periods of no warming are much more infrequent in climate model projections than indicated by either Easterling and Wehner (2009) or Knight et al (2009). Hopefully, our results will make it into the scientific literature at some point in the near future and provide additional information to the debate.

But, regardless of the specific details, everyone who looks at it is finding something generally similar, that is, the current lack of warming is bumping against model expectations for the longest period of time over which natural variations could offset the warming pressure from increasing greenhouse gases.

The longer the lack of warming continues the more evidence builds that climate models don’t have a good handle on the situation of how the earth’s climate behaves—which erodes their usefulness as reliable indicators of future climate.

Climate modelers and other climate change (and emission regulation) hopefuls have been looking to the tropical Pacific for signs of the appearance of a strong El Niño to help right the ship and restart things on their warming way (El Niños tend to produce a rise in the earth’s average surface temperature), but the jury is still out as to what to expect from the developing situation there—there are indications that an El Niño is brewing, but just how strong it may become (and how much it will elevate global temperatures) is still a much debated topic (forecasting El Niño strength is notoriously unreliable).

El Niño?

But even a strong El Niño won’t quell the realists’ attack, for El Niños are temporary events and are typically followed by a couple years of cooler temperatures as La Niña conditions often move in to take their place. So, what everyone will be waiting for (if a big El Niño does develop) will be to see whether post-El Niño temperature settle down to pre-event values, or whether they remain relatively elevated. We won’t know this for at least several more years.

So the issue of a sluggishly warming world and what it means is going to be with us for a long time (several years at the very least), and some studies such as Keenlyside et al. (2008) and Swanson and Tsonis (2009) indicate that it will much longer than that. (Lindzen and Choi [2009] think it will be with us forever.) Its ultimate impact on climate science (and climate/energy policy) will hinge on whether or not (and if so, how severely) our understanding of climate processes will have to be altered in order to explain why it happened.

In the meantime, while all this is being sorted out, here is some good advice, meted out last year by Science magazine writer Richard Kerr: "Worldwide temperatures haven’t risen much in the past decade…. If you are a climate-change activist pointing to year after year of mounting climate crises, you might want to rethink your approach."


Global warming: If you don’t have good science, lose the science you have

One thing you can say about global warming/climate change alarmists is that (like all leftists), they are almost amusingly utilitarian, i.e. they will do or say anything to reach their goals, even if their goals are based on a concept that has no foundation. Actually, that’s not fair. It’s not that their goals have no foundation; it’s that their goals and the foundations are not what they claim.

For example, I’m sure there are a few global warming alarmists who really do believe the planet is warming and the end of the world is nigh. However, far more of them are simply anti-capitalists and big-government supporters and rent-seekers trying to gain wealth or power through psuedo-science.

As we all know, the public is becoming increasingly skeptical of global warming claims (not least because none of the major alarmist claims are true) and of the cost to address the non-problem.

President Obama spoke at the UN Climate Change summit last week and offered some of the same tired mythology that we hear from Algore, James Hansen, and other self-serving scare-mongers. In particular, he talked about a warming planet, rising seas, and increasing storm intensity. However, as the data show, the planet hasn’t warmed since about 1998 and has cooled since 2002. Sea levels are barely rising…to the tiny extent they are rising, it is much slower than in prior history. Also, “hurricane intensity is at its lowest since satellite monitoring began” and there is no evidence that droughts have been getting worse. In fact, in recent years, the planet has been getter greener, not dryer.

That’s the counter-alarmist side: The ACTUAL DATA show that the alarmists are wrong, not to mention the fundamental fact that they try to blame climate change on human-produced CO2 even though the data show that atmospheric CO2 concentrations primarily change AFTER, not before, temperature changes. In other words, a warmer climate releases more CO2 into the atmosphere.

So, what do you do if you’re an alarmist researcher and you realize that you’re losing the argument (and maybe the road to easy lifetime funding)? Apparently you lose the data which you collected with other scientists might be able to use to disprove your claims. In a remarkable story, climate scientist (and rather funny guy) Pat Michaels tells us the story of how “The Dog Ate Global Warming“, recounting how some of the people who had the oldest temperature sensor data in existence now say the data is gone, but only after asking one scientist who had requested the data “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

To quote Michaels: “Reread that statement, for it is breathtaking in its anti-scientific thrust. In fact, the entire purpose of replication is to ‘try and find something wrong.’ The ultimate objective of science is to do things so well that, indeed, nothing is wrong.”

As I said, it’s not surprising that the alarmists will cheat, lie, and destroy data to protect their precious government funding, their path toward regulating absolutely everything and taxing absolutely everything, and their rent-seeking behavior (not least by Algore.)

The public is slowly but surely catching on. Skepticism about people causing climate change is rising. In a Gallup survey earlier this year, two interesting highlights:

* Among all environmental issues, global warming was the one people cared about least

* The percentage of Americans who think the threat of global warming is exaggerated is at its highest level ever, and far exceeds the number who think the threat is underestimated, by 41% to 28%

A new Rasmussen poll shows that 65% of Americans believe creating jobs is more important than trying to stop global warming (as if stopping climate change is possible, anyway.) The rest of the poll is also interesting to read, for those of you interested in such things.

And separately, polls consistently show that support for climate change legislation or renewable energy mandates falls off a cliff when people learn how much their energy prices will rise if those things pass.

Americans are not stupid. They’re just mislead consistently by their (primarily Democrat) leaders and by the leftist media who love the idea of government regulation of everything (except of them, of course.)


Aristocrats can afford car-free days. Regular people need cars to live

In the early 1800s, when railroads first began to spread across Great Britain, the Duke of Wellington reportedly sneered that this innovation would "only encourage the common people to move about needlessly." For last week's World Car-Free Day, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, channeled the Duke of Wellington, complaining about the "domination of the car" and called for a new type of society "in which we are not dependent on it to such a great extent for our daily needs." The Prince reportedly owns two Audis, two Jaguars, a Range Rover and an Aston Martin. The Duke of Wellington undoubtedly had other means of getting around the British countryside, but despite being separated in time by two centuries, these two aristocrats had something in common --a distaste for commoners enjoying the mobility to which they themselves were born.

World Car-Free Day appeared, at first glance, to be a lifestyle event--a celebration of living without cars. But it had an underlying political agenda; its organizers call on "governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars." And these days, when the air is thick with claims of impending climate catastrophe and the need for so-called sustainability, calls for automotive restrictions are finding an increasingly receptive political audience.

But for most people in this country, the car-free life would be as desirable as being shackled to a ball-and-chain. It is easy to forget the incredibly liberating nature of the automobile. In the 1910s-1920s it ended the crushing isolation of rural life. In 1955-56, it enabled black people to boycott the segregated buses of Montgomery, Alabama. In the 1970s-1980s, it gave mothers the ability to enter the job market while still getting their kids to day care and putting food on the table. Today, the car allows new immigrants to enter the American mainstream by vastly expanding their choices of where to work and where to live.

Even in cities with well-functioning mass transit, a car can be essential if you're old or ill, or are carrying babies and groceries, or if the weather's miserable, or if you've got to get somewhere after the busses and subways have closed. It's no wonder that most promo shots of Car-Free Day events featured only the young and healthy, out on picture-perfect sunny days.

Being able to get around freely is not some superficial desire that can be dismissed as the product of an allegedly car-addicted Western culture. Some Americans may view India and China as countries happily populated by bicyclists and pedestrians, but consumer demand for cars in those countries is booming, especially with the introduction of new low-priced vehicles. The car, it appears, satisfies a pretty basic human need.

A philosophy professor who emigrated here from Eastern Europe once commented on Car-Free Day by noting that, given his time behind the Iron Curtain, he'd already endured enough car-free decades. Living car-free may be fine for many people during some phases of their lives, and it may be fine for some people for all of their lives, but it's no way for most of us to live--regardless of what Prince Charles and his fellow aristocrats may think.


The Imperial Presidency comes in green, too

Asked recently when the Senate might vote on cap-and-trade, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, demurred, muttering about "a busy, busy time the rest of this year." And yet last week, the Obama administration quietly moved forward with a plan to regulate power plants and other large stationary sources of greenhouse gases.

The Obama team appears to believe it has the authority to implement comprehensive climate change regulation, Congress be damned. Worse still, under current constitutional law--which has little to do with the actual Constitution--they're probably right.

In a democratic country, you'd think that before the executive branch could regulate CO2--a ubiquitous substance essential to life--the legislature would have to vote on the issue. But you'd be wrong. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1970 Clean Air Act's definition of air pollutant was broad enough to allow regulation of CO2 emissions from new cars, and that the EPA was required to regulate once it issued a finding that CO2 contributes to global warming. In fact, once the EPA rules that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant--as it did in April--regulation of industrial sources likely becomes mandatory as well.

But existing law still leaves the executive branch enormous discretionary power--and thus a hammer to hold over Congress's head. A report issued in April by the New York University Law School argues that "if Congress fails to act, President Obama has the power under the Clean Air Act to adopt a cap-and-trade system."

James Madison believed that there could be "no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person." And yet, here we are, with those powers united in the person of a president who has pledged to heal the planet and stop the oceans' rise.

This constitutional nightmare is the culmination of a trend many years in the making. The first sentence of the Constitution's first article says that "all legislative Powers herein granted" are vested in Congress. The Supreme Court once took that language seriously, as when, in 1935, it struck down a key New Deal program for delegating legislative power to the executive. Yet the Court eventually made its peace with statutes that allow the executive branch to both make and enforce the law. That paved the way for the modern administrative state, which looks a lot like the situation complained of in the Declaration of Independence, in which "a multitude of New Offices... harass our people and eat out their substance."

After 9/11, the phrase "unitary executive theory" (UET) came to stand for the idea that the president can do whatever he pleases in the national security arena. But it originally stood for a humbler proposition: UET's architects in the Reagan administration argued that the Constitution's grant of executive power to the president meant that he controlled the executive branch, and could therefore rein in aggressive regulatory agencies.

In an era when Republicans held a virtual lock on the Electoral College, that idea had some appeal. But as Elena Kagan, now President Obama's Solicitor General, pointed out in a 2001 Harvard Law Review article, there's little reason to think that "presidential supervision of administration inherently cuts in a deregulatory direction."

How far will Obama push in the other direction? He may be reluctant to stretch his authority as far as the law will allow, in a political climate where even green-leaning Democrats scream bloody murder every time gas prices rise. But as Kagan notes, after the Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994, President Clinton used his regulatory authority unilaterally to show progress, pushing "a distinctly activist and pro-regulatory agenda." As Obama's popularity erodes, he may come to like the idea of being the "decider."

Will liberals who decried George W. Bush's unilateralism object to this staggering concentration of executive power? Don't hold your breath.


Some intelligence from a moderate warmist:

Are you a global warming skeptic, or are you skeptical of the global warming skeptics? Your answer depends on how you answer these five questions:

1. Is the earth getting warmer?
2. Is the cause of global warming human activity?
3. How much warmer is it going to get?
4. What are the consequences of a warmer climate?
5. How much should we invest in altering the climate? Here are my answers.

Global warming is real and primarily human caused. With questions 3 and 4, however, estimates include error bars that grow wider the further out we run the models because complex systems like climate are notoriously difficult to predict. I provisionally accept the estimate of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the mean global temperature by 2100 will increase by 4.7 degrees Fahrenheit, and that sea levels will rise by about one foot (about the same as they have risen since 1860). Moderate warming with moderate changes.

Question 4 deserves even more skepticism. In his carefully-reasoned and politically-bipartisan book Cool It (Alfred Knopf, 2008), the “skeptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg notes that if global warming continues unchecked through the end of the century there will be 400,000 more heat-related deaths annually; there will be also be 1.8 million fewer cold-related deaths, for a net gain of 1.4 million lives. This is not to say that global warming is good, only that its consequences must be weighed in the balance. For example, Lomborg sites data from the World Wildlife Fund that at most we will lose 15 polar bears a year due to global warming, but what doesn’t get reported is that 49 bears are shot each year. What would be more cost-effective to save polar bear lives — spend hundreds of billions of dollars to lower CO2 emissions and (maybe) the mean global temperature, or limit hunting permits?

This leads to question 5 — the economics of global climate change — which I think needs a sound dose of skepticism, particularly since the collapse of our economy. Even if all countries had ratified the Kyoto Protocol and lived up to its standards (which most did not), according to the IPCC, at best it would have postponed the 4.70F average increase just five years from 2100 to 2105, at a cost of $180 billion a year! By comparison, although global warming may cause an increase of two million deaths due to hunger annually by 2100, the U.N. estimates that for $10 billion a year we could save 229 million people from hunger annually today. It’s time for economic triage.

Economics is about the efficient allocation of limited resources that have alternative uses. And after the U.S. government allocated a trillion dollars of our limited resources to shore up our flagging financial foundations, those alternative uses have never seemed so pressing. Should we (can we?) really allocate the equivalent of a Manhattan Project to lower CO2 emissions 50 percent by 2050 and 80 percent by 2100, as the IPCC recommends in order to divert disaster? My answer is no. Why? Because the potential benefits for the costs incurred are simply not warranted.

If you had, say, $50 billion a year to make the world a better place for more people, how would you spend it? In 2004, Lomborg asked this question to a group of scientists and world leaders, including four Nobel laureates. This “Copenhagen Consensus,” as it is called, ranked reduction of CO2 emissions 16th out of 17 challenges. The top four were: controlling HIV/AIDS, micronutrients for fighting malnutrition, free trade to attenuate poverty, and battling malaria. A 2006 Copenhagen Consensus of U.N. ambassadors constructed a similar list, with communicable diseases, clean drinking water, and malnutrition at the top, and climate change at the bottom. A late 2008 meeting that included five Nobel Laureates recommended that President-elect Barack Obama allocate his promised $150 billion in subsidies for new technologies and $50 billion in foreign aid be allocated for research on malnutrition, immunization, and agricultural technologies. For a cool Kyoto $180 billion you can buy a lot of condoms, vitamin tablets, and mosquito nets and rescue hundreds of millions of people from disease, starvation, and impoverishment.

If you are skeptical of Lomborg and his branch of environmental skepticism, read the Yale University economist William Nordhaus’ technical book A Question of Balance (Yale University Press, 2008). Nordhaus computes the costs-benefits of various recommendations for changing the climate by either 2105 or 2205, primarily focused on the cost of curbing carbon emissions. Economists like to compute future profits and losses based on investments made today, adjusting for the value of a future dollar at an average interest rate of four percent. If we spent a trillion dollars today (the equivalent of the recent bailout or the Iraq war), how much climate change would it buy us in a century at four percent interest? Nordhaus’s calculations are compared to doing nothing, where a plus value is better and a minus value worse than doing nothing. Kyoto with the U.S. is plus one and without the U.S. zero, for example, and a gradually increasing global carbon tax is a plus three. That is, a $1 trillion cost today buys us $3 trillion of benefits in a century. Al Gore’s proposals, by contrast, score a minus 21, where $1 trillion invested today in Gore’s plans would net us a loss of $21 trillion in 2105.

Add to these calculations the numerous other crises we face, such as the housing calamity, the financial meltdown, the coming collapse of social security and medicare, two wars, a failing public education system, etc.

In my opinion we need to chill out on all extremist plans that entail expenses best described as Brobdingnagian, require our intervention into developing countries best portrayed as imperialistic, or involve state controls best portrayed as fascistic. Give green technologies and free markets a chance.


India promises huge boost in nuclear power

India announced the world’s boldest nuclear power development plan yesterday, saying that it could boost its atomic capacity by 12,000 per cent by 2050 to end crippling power shortages while limiting carbon emissions. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister, predicted that India could produce 470 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2050, compared with the 3.8GW currently produced by its 17 reactors.

India’s target is almost five times the current nuclear power capacity of the United States — the world’s biggest producer with 100GW, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It far outstrips predicted US nuclear capacity in 2050 as well as China’s plans — previously the world’s most ambitious — to increase the power generated by its reactors from the current 9GW to about 300GW by that year.

“Our nuclear industry is poised for a major expansion and there will be huge opportunities for the global nuclear industry,” Dr Singh told an atomic energy conference in Delhi. “This will sharply reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and will be a major contribution to global efforts to combat climate change.”

India also announced yesterday that US companies would be allowed to set up “nuclear parks” at two sites in the states of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh under a landmark bilateral nuclear deal. The deal — struck in 2005 but approved by the US Congress only last year — lifts a ban on India buying US nuclear technology and fuel that was imposed after Delhi tested its first nuclear weapon in 1974.

Alan McDonald, an expert on nuclear power at the IAEA, told The Times that before the US deal India had set a target of generating about 270GW of nuclear power by 2050. He said the new target was roughly in line with the IAEA’s upper estimates up until 2030, but questioned how India would maintain momentum up until 2050. “That kind of growth for a decade is not unprecedented but maintaining it over four decades is probably a challenge,” he said. Mr McDonald said that the success of the plan would depend on factors including the cost of nuclear reactors, the price of fossil fuels and international efforts to impose binding caps on carbon emissions.

Many other experts also doubt that India will meet its target given the bureaucratic corruption and inefficiency that has stalled so many other infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, they welcome the Government’s new willingness to outline plans to meet India’s energy needs at the same time as tackling climate change.

India’s total power generation capacity is currently only 150GW — less than a fifth of China’s — and demand outstripped supply by 9.5 per cent between 2008-09, according to the Power Ministry. An estimated 600 million Indians are still not connected to the national grid.

India has long resisted Western pressure to agree to binding cuts on carbon emissions, arguing that it must first generate enough power to serve its 1.1 billion people. It has recently announced a series of proposals that have wrong-footed Western critics in the run-up to a UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December. India unveiled the world’s biggest solar power development plan last month, pledging to increase capacity from 0 to 20GW by 2020. The Government said this month that it was drafting legislation to set non-binding targets for mitigating carbon emissions. It agreed last week to provide annual updates on its progress to the UN.



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