Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monckton's mocking reply to an email from a "Thermista" in the Canadian Civil Service

Lord Monckton read classics at Cambridge so he enjoys his Latin and Greek but I doubt that "Thermista" will replace "Warmist" any time soon. There may be some American readers who do not recognize the salutation "Sir Humphrey" in the letter so maybe I should note that it is an allusion to a dyed-in-the-wool bureaucrat in the BBC comedy "Yes Minister"

Dear Sir Humphrey - The "Abundance of scientific statements" that you mention is no sound or logical basis for deciding or believing anything. The question is whether the scientific statements have any rational justification, and whether those making them are in effect making statements that are political rather than scientific, rent-seeking rather than objective. After all, this is the age of reason (or it was). Therefore, one should not accord to "scientists" the status of infallible high priests merely because they mumble a hieratic language with which one is unfamiliar. There is clear, compelling evidence that many of the major conclusions of the IPCC, your new religion's constantly-changing Holy Book, are based on evidence that has been fabricated. The "hockey stick" graph that purported to abolish the mediaeval warm period is just one example. So let me try to lure you away from feeble-minded, religious belief in the Church of "Global Warming" and back towards the use of the faculty of reason.

Let us begin with the "devastation of New Orleans" that you mention. Even the High Priests of your Church are entirely clear that individual extreme-weather events such as Hurricane Katrina cannot, repeat cannot, be attributed to "global warming". Even the Holy Book makes this entirely plain. There was one priest - Emanuel (a good, religious name) - who had suggested there might be a link between "global warming" and hurricanes; but he has recently recanted, at least to some extent. Very nearly all others in the hierarchy of your Church are clear that ascribing individual extreme-weather events to "global warming" is impossible. Why? Well, let's take the question of landfalling Atlantic hurricanes such as Katrina. The implication of your attribution of Hurricane Katrina to "global warming" is twofold: that "global warming" is happening, and that in consequence either the frequency or the intensity of tropical weather systems such as hurricanes is increasing.

Neither of these propositions is true. Yes, there has been "global warming" for 300 years, since the end of the 60-year period of unusually low solar activity known as the Maunder Minimum (after the celebrated Astronomer Royal who studied it). But there has been no net warming since 1995, and Keenlyside et al, in the theological journal Nature a few months ago, say they do not expect a new record year for global temperatures until 2015 at the earliest. If these theologians are correct, there will have been a 20-year period of no net "global warming" even though the presence of the devil Siotu in the ether grows inexorably stronger. And, secondly, the number of Atlantic hurricanes making landfall has actually fallen throughout the 20th century, even as temperatures have risen. Indeed, some theologians have argued that warmer weather actually reduces the temperature differential between sea and sky that generates hurricanes, reducing their frequency, and that the extra heat in the coupled ocean-atmosphere system increases wind-shear in tropical storms, tending to reduce their intensity. Certainly the frequency of intense tropical cyclones has fallen throughout the 30-year satellite record, even though temperatures have increased compared with 30 years ago. Also, the damage done by Hurricane Katrina was chiefly caused by the failure of the Democrat-led city administration to heed repeated warnings from the Corps of Engineers that the levees needed to be strengthened.

Next, you mention the recent earthquake damage at Galveston, and you imply that this is something new and terrible. Perhaps you would like to do some research of your own to verify whether the High Priests of your Church, some of whom have blamed the Galveston incident on the wrath of the devil Siotu, are likely to be telling the truth. And how, you may ask, may a non-theologian such as yourself argue theology with your High Priests? Well, the Galveston incident will give you just one indication of the many ways in which a lay member of the Church of "Global Warming" may verify for himself whether or not the Great Druids of his religion are speaking the truth from their pulpits in the media. Cast your eye back just over a century, to 1906, and look up what happened to Galveston then. Which was worse - Galveston 2008 or Galveston 1906? Next, check the global mean surface temperature in 1906: many theology faculties compile surface temperature data and make it publicly available to the faithful and to infidels alike. Was the global mean surface temperature significantly lower or significantly higher in 2008 than in 1906? What implications do your two answers have for your proposition that Galveston 2008 can be attributed to "global warming"?

Next, you mention fires in California. Once again, you can either sit slumped in your pew, gazing in adoration at the Archdruids as their pious faces flicker across your television screen, or you can do a little research for yourself. It may, for instance, occur to you to ask whether droughts were worse in the United States in the second half of the 20th century than they were in the first half. Once again, you may want to check with your local theological faculty to obtain the answer to this question. Or you may like to pick up a copy of The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. And you may want to verify whether temperatures in the second half of the 20th century were warmer than in the first half. Once again, what are the implications of your two answers for your proposition that "global warming" is causing forest fires? You could also talk to the Fire Department in California and obtain its data on the causes of forest fires. You might be mightily surprised by the answers you get.

Next, you talk of beetles in your forests destroying natural resources. Here, you could ask the Druids just a couple of simple questions. What evidence do they have, if any, that whichever species of beetle you have in mind has not wrought havoc in the forests before? And, even if your clergy think that they have evidence that the beetle-damage is new, what evidence do they have, if any, that the beetle-damage is greater because of "global warming" than it would otherwise have been? Of course, you could ask them the wider question what evidence there is that anthropogenic "global warming", as opposed to solar warming, is the reason for the temperature increases that have occurred over the past 300 years. The more honest parish priests will admit that for 250 of the past 300 years none of the inferred warming can be attributed to human industry. They will also be compelled to concede, if you press them, that the warming of the most recent 50 years has not occurred at a rate any greater than that which was observed before, so that it is in fact very difficult to discern any anthropogenic signal at all in the temperature record.

Next, you talk of people migrating from one place to another because in some places water has become scarce. Once again, it is easy for a layman, whether a true believer such as yourself or not, to verify whether such migrations are as a result of "global warming". For instance, you could ask whether there have been changing patterns of drought and flood before in human history. Once you have collected some historical data - most theological faculties have quite a lot of this available, though you may have to dig a little to get it - you could compare previous migrations with those of which you now speak. And you could also ask your local parish priest whether a theological phenomenon known as the Clausius-Clapeyron relation mandates that, as the atmosphere warms, the carrying-capacity of the space occupied by the atmosphere for water vapor decreases, remains static, or increases near-exponentially. Once you have found the answers to these not particularly difficult questions, you may like to spend some of your devotional time meditating on the question whether, or to what extent, the changes in patterns of flood and drought that have occurred in the past give you any confidence that such changes occurring today are either worse than those in the past or attributable to "global warming", whether caused by the increasing presence of the devil Siotu in the atmosphere or by the natural evolution of the climate. During your meditation, you may like to refer to the passage from the 2001 edition of the Holy Book of the IPCC that describes the climate as "a complex, non-linear, chaotic object" whose long-term future evolution cannot reliably be predicted.

If you are willing to reflect a little on the questions I have raised - and, with the exception of the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, I have done my best to avoid anything that might be too technical for a layman to find out for himself - you will perhaps come to realize that there is very little basis in scientific fact for the alarmist, hellfire preaching in which your clergy love to indulge. And you may even find your faith in your new religion beginning to weaken a little in the face of the truths that you will have unearthed by the not particularly difficult process of simply checking those statements of your clergy that you can easily and independently verify. There are, of course, many environmental problems posed by the astonishing recent success of humankind. If you were concerned, for instance, about deforestation, or the loss of species whose habitats have been displaced by humans, then your concerns would have a good grounding in fact. But, given the abject failure of global temperatures to rise as the Druids had forecast, it must surely be clear to you that the influence of the devil Siotu on global temperatures - your theologians call this "climate sensitivity" - must be a great deal smaller than your Holy Book asks you to believe.

Finally, you may wonder why I have so scathingly described your pious belief in your new religion as founded upon blind faith rather than upon the light of reason. I have drafted this email in this way so that you can perhaps come to see for yourself just how baffling it is to the likes of me, who were educated in the light of TH Huxley's dictum that the first duty of the scientist is skepticism, to see how easily your hierarchy is able to prey upon your naive credulity. I do not target this comment at you alone: there are far too many others who, like you, are in positions of some authority and whose duty to think these things through logically is great, and yet who simply fail to ask even the most elementary and blindingly obvious questions before sappily, happily, clappily believing in, and parroting by rote, whatever the current Establishment proposes. I do not know whether you merely believe all that you are told by the Druids because otherwise you will find yourself in conflict with other true believers among your colleagues or, worse, among your superiors. If you are under pressures of this kind, I do sympathize. But if you are free to think for yourself without penalty, may I beg you - in the name of humanity - to give the use of reason a try?

Why "in the name of humanity"? Because, although the noisy preachers from the media pulpits have found it expedient not to say so, there have been food riots all round the world as the biofuel scam whipped up by the High Priests of your religion takes vast tracts of agricultural land out of food production. Millions are now starving because the price of food has doubled in little more than a year. A leaked report by the World Bank says that fully three-quarters of that doubling has occurred as a direct result of the biofuel scam. So your religion is causing mass starvation in faraway countries, and is even causing hardship to the poorest in your own country. Can you, in conscience, look away from the sufferings that your beliefs are inflicting upon the poorest and most helpless people in the world? - Monckton of Brenchley

The Nonsense of Global Warming

By Paul Johnson, eminent British historian and author

August was one of the nastiest months I can remember: torrential rain; a hailstorm or two; cold, bitter winds; and mists. But we are accustomed to such weather in England. Lord Byron used to say that an English summer begins on July 31 and ends on Aug. 1. He called 1816 "the year without a summer." He spent it gazing across Lake Geneva, watching the storms, with 18-year-old Mary Shelley. The lightening flickering across the lake inspired her Frankenstein, the tale of the man-made monster galvanized into life by electricity.

This summer's atrocious weather tempted me to tease a Green whom I know. "Well, what about your weather theory now?" (One of the characteristics of Greens is that they know no history.) He replied: "Yes, this weather is unprecedented. England has never had such an August before. It's global warming, of course." That's the Greens' stock response to anything weather-related. Too much sun? "Global warming." Too little sun? "Global warming." Drought? "Global warming." Floods? "Global warming." Freezing cold? "Global warming."

I wish the great philosopher Sir Karl Popper were alive to denounce the unscientific nature of global warming. He was a student when Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was first published and then successfully tested. Einstein said that for his theory to be valid it would have to pass three tests. "If," Einstein wrote to British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington, "it were proved that this effect does not exist in nature, then the whole theory would have to be abandoned."

To Popper, this was a true scientific approach. "What impressed me most," he wrote, "was Einstein's own clear statement that he would regard his theory as untenable if it should fail in certain tests." In contrast, Popper pointed out, there were pseudo-scientists, such as Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Marx claimed to be constructing a theory of scientific materialism based on scientific history and economic science. "Science" and "scientific" were words Marx used constantly. Far from formulating his theory with a high degree of scientific content and encouraging empirical testing and refutation, Marx made it vague and general. When evidence turned up that appeared to refute his theory, the theory was modified to accommodate the new evidence. It's no wonder that when communist regimes applied Marxism it proved a costly failure.

Freud's theories were also nonspecific, and he, too, was willing to adjust them to take in new science. We now know that many of Freud's central ideas have no basis in biology. They were formulated before Mendel's Laws were widely known and accepted and before the chromosomal theory of inheritance, the recognition of inborn metabolic errors, the existence of hormones and the mechanism of nervous impulse were known. As the scientist Sir Peter Medawar put it, Freud's psychoanalysis is akin to mesmerism and phrenology; it contains isolated nuggets of truth, but the general theory as a whole is false.

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

Those who buy in to global warming wish to drastically curb human economic and industrial activities, regardless of the consequences for people, especially the poor. If the theory's conclusions are accepted and agreed upon, the destructive results will be felt most severely in those states that adhere to the rule of law and will observe restrictions most faithfully. The global warming activists' target is the U.S. If America is driven to accept crippling restraints on its economy it will rapidly become unable to shoulder its burdens as the world's sole superpower and ultimate defender of human freedoms. We shall all suffer, however, as progress falters and then ceases and living standards decline.

Out of Balance

When I'm driving to my country home in Somerset, I pass two examples of the damage Greens can cause when their views are accepted and applied. Thanks to heavy government subsidies, many farmers switched from growing food to biofuel crops--perhaps the most expensive form of energy ever devised. The result has been a world shortage of food, with near starvation in some places, and a rise in the cost of food for everyone. We're now getting wise to this ridiculous experiment; shares in biofuels have fallen, and farmers are switching back to their proper work. But the cost has been enormous.

The other thing I pass is a new windmill, spinning slowly around. Windmills were the great invention of the early Middle Ages--man harnessing nature and using it to replace muscle power. When I was a boy more than 70 years ago there were still a few windmills, but nobody doubted they were on their way out. The thought of going back to wind power would have seemed preposterous. Nevertheless, under pressure from Greens this has happened. Wind power is a grotesquely expensive and inefficient form of energy, and the new windmills are hideous things, ruining the landscape and making an infernal noise.

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


Big eco-brother is watching you!

Keeping track of your carbon footprint could become as simple as slipping a mobile phone in your pocket: a London-based start-up company has developed software for mobile phones that uses global positioning satellites to work out automatically whether you are walking, driving or flying and then calculate your impact on the environment.

Carbon Diem's inventors claim that, by using GPS to measure the speed and pattern of movement, their algorithm can identify the mode of transport being used. It can therefore calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that a journey has emitted into the atmosphere - without any need for input from the traveller.

The system's inventor, Andreas Zachariah, a graduate student of the Royal College of Art in London and chief executive of the Carbon Hero company, said that Carbon Diem is the world's first automated carbon calculator.

Because it keeps a constantly updated diary of a person's carbon emissions, Zachariah said that a user can easily track their environmental impact and, if they choose, modify their behaviour to lower-carbon alternatives.

"We're facilitating people to make little changes and allow those changes to be noted and registered and possibly shared," he said. "If lots of people realise we're in this marathon [in tackling climate change] and we're not running alone, then we actually think people will be motivated to stick to changes."

He has tested the software in Nokia and Blackberry phones, using computer algorithms to predict the kind of transport a person is taking. He claims that in tests over the past year, the software was almost 100% accurate in working out when people were on airplanes or trains; it was between 65-75% accurate at guessing when people travelled on buses.

Zachariah said he had the idea for Carbon Diem when he tried to work out his own carbon footprint using the many online calculators available. These usually involve manually entering the details of type of transport and the length of a journey. "The whole process is so painful," Zachariah said. "That's when I realised it had to be effortless."

Zachariah believes companies could also benefit from the software, as firms committing to reducing their environmental impact may need to collect travel data on their employees. He accepts there could be concerns over privacy but says the software can be used to record only the carbon impact, not the actual routes.

Friends of the Earth's climate campaigner, Robin Webster, said: "Individuals have an important role to play in tackling climate change - and technologies like the Carbon Diem could help people cut their carbon footprint."

The European Space Agency (Esa) gave the Carbon Diem software a regional award last year in its European satellite navigation competition. It will launch commercially in spring next year.


Reality Check: McCain Prius Backlash

In the battleground state of Michigan, John McCain is taking heat in recent days for purchasing foreign cars - especially the pet Prius he bought his daughter.

Welcome back to the real world, candidate McCain. As a senator, McCain has basked in the approving glow of Washington and press elites who think that purchasing a Toyota Prius is a high moral achievement. McCain was quick to note to the Detroit News, when he visited us during the primaries, that he had purchased the Japanese-made hybrid for his daughter - part of his moral duty to "do everything" to "save the planet." His hybrid investment no doubt is also well received at Georgetown and Sedona diner parties.

But now that he is campaigning in the industrial Midwest, his purchase is being seen in a wholly different moral light: A betrayal of American industries trying to "save American jobs." Union independents - so-called Reagan Democrats - are crucial to McCain winning here in November, a fact that Obama-supporting UAW President Ron Gettelfinger knows all too well. So Gettelfinger has unleashed a fusillade of criticism aimed at McCain for buying foreign.

It's not that the UAW chief is opposed to hybrids, mind you. But if it's green McCain wants, he should buy a Ford Escape hybrid as Gettelfinger's man Obama has done. Never mind that McCain's personal car (he owns 13 vehicles in all, just three of them foreign) - a Cadillac CTS - contains 82 percent of domestic-manufactured parts while Obama's Ford contains only 63 percent.

"`Buy American' can't just be a slogan John McCain rolls out when he's in Michigan," Gettelfinger said Sunday. "We are going to make an all-out, full-court press to make sure these issues get out in front of our members and the general public." Saving the planet apparently isn't common cocktail conversation with these voters.

All of which serves as a reminder that green is an upper-class thing. Those politicians who think it trumps middle-class pocketbook issues need only look at how easily Mr. McCain's Prius can be exploited.


'World is riding a 50-million-year-long cooling trend'

With all the focus on human-triggered global warming, it may be hard to imagine that the world is riding a 50-million-year-long cooling trend. But it is, and blame the trend on a continental-scale collision, say geophysicists Dennis Kent of Rutgers University and Giovanni Muttoni of the University of Milan in Italy.

Researchers say there is strong evidence that increases in atmospheric CO2 contributed to a warm spell 50 million years ago dubbed the Early Eocene climate optimum - the warmest period in 65 million years. But over the following 15 million years, deep sea temperatures fell by about 10.8 degrees F., reflecting a significant cooling at the surface. This cooling ultimately allowed the cycle of ice ages to emerge.

Drs. Kent and Muttoni have mined paleomagnetic and other data and suggest that atmospheric CO2 dropped because India collided with Eurasia, shutting down a productive, natural CO2 factory.

Some 120 million years ago, the subcontinent that is now India was migrating north from Antarctica. As it moved, it shoved the ocean crust that was ahead of it under an existing crustal plate. As long as this zone off the Eurasian coast was under water, bottom muck enriched by carbon from the biologically-rich ocean plunged under the plate. It got recycled as lava in volcanoes along a geological feature dubbed the Kohistan Arc, as well as in a vast lava-oozing formation called the Deccan Traps. The eruptions released the carbon as CO2, which helped warm the climate. But once India collided with Eurasia 50 million years ago, India rode over the top of the zone and shut off the process. This, plus changes in ocean circulation as continents rearranged themselves, contributed to the long chill, the researchers suggest.

The results appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Australia: Professor "Think of a number"

It is clear that there is no science involved here -- just rather inept politics

The federal government's top climate change adviser Ross Garnaut has toughened his recommended greenhouse targets - but fears they won't come to pass. After infuriating green groups earlier this month by recommending a 10 per cent greenhouse target by 2020, he's now more open to a 25 per cent cut in emissions. He also aspires to a 90 per cent target by 2050, compared with the Federal Government's 60 per cent goal.

Professor Garnaut today released his long-awaited 620-page final report on what the nation should do about climate change. "Strong mitigation, with Australia playing its proportionate part, is in Australia's interests,'' the report says. ''(Australia) should express its willingness to reduce its own entitlements to emissions from 2000 levels by 25 per cent by 2020, and by 90 per cent by 2050 in the context of an international agreement.'' [The escape hatch]



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


Monday, September 29, 2008

Blind Greenie propaganda in "The Economist"

A comment in reply by Philip Stott, Emeritus professor of biogeography from the University of London

Your assertion that "global warming is happening faster than expected" exhibits a disturbing degree of cognitive dissonance ("Adapt or die ", September 13th). Since 1998 the world's average surface temperature has exhibited no warming, according to all the main temperature records. The trend has been a combination of flatlining and cooling, with a marked plunge over the past year; many countries, including Australia, Canada, China and the United States, experienced severe winters.

Moreover, recent work demonstrates that the Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for at least a further decade through the impact of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. In addition, the next 11-year cycle of solar storms-Solar Cycle 24-is late by more than two years. The sun is currently spotless, conditions that obtained during the "Dalton Minimum", an especially cold period that lasted several decades starting from 1790 and which was implicated in the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812.

Finally, one expert, Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, has gone so far as to give warning that the Earth may enter a new "Little Ice Age" for up to 80 years because of decreases in solar activity. The immediate portents thus point in the direction of a cooling period.

Whatever one thinks about longer-term trends in world average temperatures and their possible relationship with carbon emissions, it cannot be claimed that currently "global warming is happening faster than expected". It troubles me when a publication with the standing of The Economist permits such a gap between observed reality and political rhetoric.



Governor Patrick says there's a real possibility that people in America could freeze to death this winter due to the soaring cost of home heating fuel. Patrick met today with members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation on Capitol Hill and later testified before a House panel on the need for heating aid in cold-weather states.

Patrick said the cost of heating a home -- whether by electricity, gas or oil -- is expected to cost between 20 and 31 percent more than a year ago. He said that will have an impact on many families, and not just those who are defined as low-income.

The House has approved legislation to double the government's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to 5.1 billion dollars for the coming winter. Massachusetts would receive 163 million dollars under the plan, an increase of 36 million dollars from the last fiscal year.


Japanese convenience stores under attack

Facing attack from critics that want convenience stores to shut down at night as a measure to prevent global warming, the Japan Franchise Association has responded by stating that convenience stores play a crucial role as safe havens for lost children and victims of crime:
More than 13,000 cases of women finding refuge in convenience stores across the country were reported during fiscal 2007. Nearly half of them occurred after 11 p.m. and about 40 percent were due to stalkers and molesters, the association said. In addition, there were 6,000 cases of lost children requiring assistance and 12,000 cases of elderly people found wandering the streets alone.

The 12 companies that comprise the JFA operate around 42,000 convenience stores. Explaining the significance of convenience stores, a JFA official said they provide a "substitute for `koban' (police boxes) and streetlights in the middle of the night."

The National Police Agency says that koban and "hashutsujo" police branch offices are located at about 13,000 places across the country, but that number is down by around 1,000 from five years earlier.

In addition, the JFA has also stated that convenience stores with limited nighttime hours would still have to keep on their refrigeration systems when closed, so the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be negligible.


British Green heretic persecuted for his nuclear views

The climate change expert Mark Lynas has been scorned by eco-colleagues for daring to speak up for atomic power. He states his case below

I know I should be furious. The EDF takeover of British Energy means that four nuclear power stations could now be built around the UK, the first nuclear new build in a generation. As a long-standing Green party member, one who chops his own wood, grows his own leeks, keeps chickens and puts the kids in washable nappies, antinuclear indignation should spring easily to my lips.

After all, energy is something I care about. The last time I checked my carbon budget, I came in at a fifth of the national average. I rarely fly, even when booked to address faraway audiences about my personal obsession, climate change - a subject I've covered in three books. Whenever the word "nuclear" comes up at my talks, a shudder runs through the room. Because everyone knows that real environmentalists loathe nuclear power. It is just evil. Full stop.

Except, well, I don't believe that any more. Just a month ago I had a Damascene conversion: the Green case against nuclear power is based largely on myth and dogma. My tipping point came when I discovered just how much nuclear power has changed since I first set my mind against it. Prescription for the Planet, a new book by the American writer Tom Blees, opened my eyes to fourth-generation "fast-breeder" reactors, which use fuel much more efficiently than the old-style reactors, produce shorter-lived waste and can also be designed to be "walk-away safe".

Best of all, these new reactors - prototypes of which have already been tested - can produce power by burning up existing stocks of nuclear waste. As Blees puts it: "Thus we have a prodigious supply of free fuel that is actually even better than free, for it is material that we are quite desperate to get rid of." Who could object to that?

Just about everyone on the eco-scene, it turned out. I began to receive e-mails from friends and colleagues warning me off the topic. Did I really want to risk my entire reputation by alienating the green movement? The backlash to my first magazine article on the subject prompted my inbox to collapse, the blogs to drip with venom, the dirty looks to multiply.

A former Greenpeace campaigner posted on my website that I needed to show "a bit of humility" and "less arrogance". On Greenpeace's blog my views were mocked as "wishful thinking of the day". On Radio 4's Today programme, Green party leader Caroline Lucas accused me of having "lost the plot". When I argued back, she accused me of "just being silly". I was a traitor.

This was a moment I had been dreading for nearly three years, ever since I first suspected that much of what I had been brought up to believe about nuclear power - that it is, without exception, dirty, dangerous and unnecessary - was untrue. Science has moved on. The old figures just don't stack up any more.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nuclear is just as low-carbon a power source as wind and solar: the world's 439 operating nuclear reactors save the planet from 2 billion extra tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which would have been emitted had coal been used instead.

And those dangers? They're still there but we need to discuss them truthfully. Take Chernobyl. We all know it was a disaster: the Greenpeace website states a death toll of 60,000 already and predicts another 140,000 deaths in the future. But these statistics fly in the face of mainstream science: according to the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 28 people died in the initial phase and several thousand more have suffered from nonfatal thyroid cancer because of the accident. The UN report concludes that "there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident" - so the real death toll from the world's worst nuclear accident is tiny. On a deaths per gigawatt-year basis, nuclear is safer than coal and oil.

Curiosity whetted, I searched the scientific literature for evidence to support the other great green charge levelled at nuclear power: it kills its neighbours. I sifted through piles of rigorous epidemiological studies from all over the world, searching for proof that people who live near nuclear sites are more prone to cancer and leukaemia. None of the reputable journals turned up a link. These are just two examples of eco-myths: there are many more. If only we were allowed to discuss them without being flayed for heresy.

When I e-mailed a senior ecological scientist with my conclusions, he agreed, but only privately. "Do not cite me as promoting nuclear," he begged. I am still shocked that people of his stature are too intimidated to speak out. The result of this fear is that the public is dangerously misinformed about nuclear power.

I have finally thought of something useful that I can do with my Green party membership card: I'll auction it on eBay and send the money to EDF - with a suggestion that it beefs up its marketing department. Any bids?


Global warming has paused: We still need to study nature's contribution to trend

By Syun-Ichi Akasofu, a former director of the Geophysical Institute and the International Arctic Research Center, both on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Recent studies by the Hadley Climate Research Center (UK), the Japan Meteorological Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of East Anglia (UK) and the University of Alabama Huntsville show clearly that the rising trend of global average temperature stopped in 2000-2001. Further, NASA data shows that warming in the southern hemisphere has stopped, and that ocean temperatures also have stopped rising.

The global average temperature had been rising until about 2000-2001. The International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and many scientists hypothesize rising temperatures were mostly caused by the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide (CO2), and they predicted further temperature increases after 2000. It was natural to assume that CO2 was responsible for the rise, because CO2 molecules in the atmosphere tend to reflect back the infrared radiation to the ground, preventing cooling (the greenhouse effect) and also because CO2 concentrations have been rapidly increasing since 1946. But, this hypothesis on the cause of global warming is just one of several.

Unfortunately, many scientists appear to forget that weather and climate also are controlled by nature, as we witness weather changes every day and climate changes in longer terms. During the last several years, I have suggested that it is important to identify the natural effects and subtract them from the temperature changes. Only then can we be sure of the man-made contributions. This suggestion brought me the dubious honor of being designated "Alaska's most famous climate change skeptic."

The stopping of the rise in global average temperature after 2000-2001 indicates that the hypothesis and prediction made by the IPCC need serious revision. I have been suggesting during the last several years that there are at least two natural components that cause long-term climate changes.

The first is the recovery (namely, warming) from the Little Ice Age, which occured approximately 1800-1850. The other is what we call the multi-decadal oscillation. In the recent past, this component had a positive gradient (warming) from 1910 to 1940, a negative gradient (cooling - many Fairbanksans remember the very cold winters in the 1960s) from 1940 to 1975, and then again a positive gradient (warming - many Fairbanksans have enjoyed the comfortable winters of the last few decades or so) from 1975 to about 2000. The multi-decadal oscillation peaked around 2000, and a negative trend began at that time.

The second component has a large amplitude and can overwhelm the first, and I believe that this is the reason for the stopping of the temperature rise. Since CO2 has only a positive effect, the new trend indicates that natural changes are greater than the CO2 effect, as I have stated during the last several years.

Future changes in global temperature depend on the combination of both the recovery from the Little Ice Age (positive) and the multi-decadal oscillation (both positive and negative). We have an urgent need to learn more about these natural changes to aid us in predicting future changes.


Climate change only the 5th priority for Australians

AUSTRALIANS rate protecting jobs and strengthening the economy ahead of tackling climate change on a list of foreign policy goals, according to a new poll. In a rearrangement of priorities reflecting the level of global financial uncertainty, climate change tumbled from being the most important issue in last year's pre-federal election Lowy Institute Poll to just equal fifth this year. A majority still said climate was a highly important issue, but the drop was significant - from 75% to 66%.

Comparatively, the importance of keeping the economy strong (79%) and job protection (70%) both increased. "Concern over economic issues has risen at the expense of the environment," Lowy Institute executive director Allan Gyngell said.

Environmental issues seem to create a disconnect in the public. While an overwhelming majority want action on climate change, more than half of those polled - 53% - were not willing to pay more than $10 extra a month on their electricity bill to help the fight against rising greenhouse gas.

Political leaders are often quick to highlight the limits on Australia's ability to combat global environment problems alone. However, recent surveys indicate Australians are more attuned to climate concerns. A Melbourne University AsiaLink poll earlier this month showed almost 60% of Australians ranked climate change as their main worry, compared with barely 20% of Indonesians. While in the United States, a poll in March suggested almost 60% of Americans did not believe global warming would pose a serious threat to their way of life.



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


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Going over the top in the `climate war'

A recent BBC series showed how dubious scientific conclusions are weapons in the politicised debate over global warming

`Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand. The evidence is clear - the long-term trend in global temperatures is rising, and humans are largely responsible for this rise.' (1) This emphatic statement from the UK Met Office yesterday is just the latest shot in the `climate war'. But in truth, the polarised and highly politicised nature of the current discussion on global warming features plenty of people on both sides with their heads firmly buried, using `science' to disguise the real debate about the future political and economic direction of society.

This was neatly illustrated by a recent BBC TV series, Earth: The Climate Wars, which ended on Sunday. Last week's episode, entitled `Fightback' was a particularly one-sided attempt to undermine the critics of the orthodox position on global warming.

Iain Stewart, professor of geosciences communication at Plymouth University, introduced last week's instalment with the words: `Global warming - the defining challenge of the twenty-first century.' The programme examined the arguments made by the two putative `sides' in the global warming debate, to show `how [the sceptic's] positions have changed over time'. But Stewart misconstrued scepticism of the idea that `global warming is the defining issue of our time' with scepticism of climate research. In this story, `the scientists' occupied one camp (situated conveniently on the moral high ground) and the bad-minded, politically and financially motivated sceptics the other. But there was no nuance, no depth and no justice done to the debate in this unsophisticated tale, and it did nothing to help the audience understand the science.

`At the start of the 1990s it seemed the world was united', Stewart told us. World leaders were gathered at the Rio Summit to sign up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the instrument that would pave the way for the Kyoto Protocol. He recalled the excitement felt by researchers at the prospect of the world being united by concern for the environment. `Even George Bush [Senior] was there. But the consensus didn't last.' Sceptics, it seems, are responsible, not just for the imminent end of the world, but also for corroding global unity.

Stewart's intention was to show that `the scientific consensus' existed prior to international agreements to prevent climate change. But the basis of the UNFCCC was not a consensus about scientific facts. It could not have been, because scientific facts about human influence on the climate did not exist in 1992, as is revealed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) First Assessment Report in 1990, which concluded that `The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.' Even the second IPCC assessment report in 1995 did not provide the world with the certainty that Stewart claims: `Our ability to quantify the human influence on global climate is currently limited because the expected signal is still emerging from the noise of natural variability, and because there are uncertainties in key factors.' (2)

Instead of consensus and certainty, the UNFCCC was driven by the precautionary principle. Principle 15 of the Rio declaration states: `In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.'

Omitting the role of the precautionary principle creates the idea that scientists have always known that industrial activity caused global warming. So, with the benefit of hindsight, Stewart could lump various objections to the interpretation of controversial evidence which existed at the time into one `sceptic' category. Not according to the scientific substance of the argument, but according to whether the argument was later vindicated; not by the consistency of the argument with reality, but whether or not it `supported' the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

In 1992, the data simply wasn't available to conclude with any great confidence that global warming was happening. But by the logic of Stewart's argument, as long as you were right about global warming being a `fact' at that time - even if that meant in reality you were wrongly interpreting the evidence available - you were a `scientist'. But, if you were right about the unreliability of data in 1992, then you were wrong in 2001, because you were a `sceptic'. If this were just a debate within an academic discipline, such challenges would not have any major significance outside of it. But Stewart, like many others, takes routine and isolated differences of scientific opinion, and groups them to imbue them with political significance.

A warming world?

The first scientific debate Stewart presented concerned the reliability of data generated by compiling the records of tens of thousands of surface-based weather stations. Sceptics had argued that these installations were too sparsely distributed and data from them had been contaminated by urbanisation over the twentieth century. Stewart demonstrated that this is indeed a problem. He used the example of the temperature at Las Vegas Airport - home to a monitoring station and heavily urbanised since it was originally set up - and compared it with the temperature outside the city limits, which was markedly cooler. This suggests that making comparisons over time using data from many such stations, where the local environment has changed, may result in over-stating global warming.

The sceptics' argument was seemingly corroborated in the 1990s by satellite data that showed a slight cooling trend over the 1980s. Ten years later, it turned out that the satellite data had been flawed, Stewart told us. The satellite's orbits had been drifting downward, and the data they had produced improperly compiled. A correction to the data revealed a warming trend. `The sceptics had to admit the world was warming', said Stewart.

But here again, we see an artefact of the retrospective polarisation of the `climate wars'. The truth was that both `sides' were wrong while they had invested their confidence either in the surface station data or the satellite data; both sets of data were `wrong' - Stewart had just demonstrated it himself. But the nuances of the debate don't interest Stewart. `The scientists' are vindicated by any evidence which shows that `the earth is warming', regardless of its quality. The sceptics, on the other hand, are not vindicated for having pointed out that the surface station record was questionable.

The not-so jolly `hockey stick'

Stewart then examined the sceptic claim that an episode in Earth's history known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) shows that current temperatures are not unprecedented in recent geological history. This was countered by climate researcher Michael Mann, who reconstructed past temperatures where no instrument data were available. By analysing `proxies', such as tree-ring width, ice cores, and coral reefs, he produced a graph which apparently revealed that the MWP was not a global phenomenon, and showed current temperatures to be in excess of anything in the previous millennium.

`Sceptics hated it' announced Stewart. Indeed they did. Mann's study remains highly controversial for good reasons. But Stewart gave no time to explaining the objection to these reconstructions, other than to characterise them as `personal attacks' against Mann. The graphic had been the centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 Third Assessment Report, used to demonstrate the unequivocal influence of human activity on the climate.

Yet perhaps one of the reasons it was so prominent - in spite of criticism - is that Mann himself was a lead author on the chapter which featured it (3). The IPCC is understood to be a meta-review of the available literature on climate change, but allowing authors to review their own work represents something of a departure from the scientific process. In 2007, following continued criticism of Mann's method, the IPCC were far more circumspect about the value of such reconstructions. Where Stewart presented these reconstructions as `proof' of todays high temperatures, the IPCC give the statement that `twentieth century was the warmest in at least the past [1,300 years]' just 66 per cent confidence (4).

Sceptical `guns for hire'

It is only Stewart's binary treatment of the issue into true and false and `scientists'/'sceptics' that allowed him to reach his conclusion: `There are a lot of people who don't want global warming to be true', he tells us. `Cutting back on greenhouse gases threatens the freedom of companies to go about their business.' According to Stewart, companies used the media to emphasise the uncertainties in climate science for their own ends - profit - a cause and strategy taken up by the Bush administration.

This is an almost verbatim copy of an argument put forward by a prominent climate change advocate and science historian at the University of California, San Diego, Naomi Oreskes. She had claimed that the `climate change denial' movement comprised the same individuals and network of organisations that had been instrumental in denying the link between smoking and cancer (5). By emphasising doubt and uncertainty in the claims of honest and decent scientists, Oreskes claims, `the tobacco strategy' aimed to influence public opinion to secure the interests of oil and tobacco companies, and the political Right. It should be no surprise then, that Naomi Oreskes was credited on the first episode of the series.

Stewart's and Oreskes' conspiracy theories depend on reducing scientific arguments to meaningless factoids, and casting the debate as one between goodies and baddies. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the film's closing moments. In order to demonstrate that `the sceptics' had changed their arguments in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, the film used footage from the Manhattan Conference on Climate Change earlier this year, a meeting that featured a large number of sceptical writers and researchers.

`For years, climatologist Pat Michaels has been one of the most vocal sceptics. And yet, today, he's in surprising agreement with the advocates of global warming', said Stewart. Michaels is then shown giving his talk, saying `global warming is real, and in the second half of the twentieth century, humans had something to do with it'. But there is nothing surprising about Michael's apparent turnaround, because it isn't one. A 2002 article in the Journal of Climatic Research, authored by Michaels et al argued for a revision of the IPCC's projections for the year 2100. Instead of saying that there would be no warming, the paper concluded that rises of `of 1.0 to 3.0 degrees Celsius, with a central value that averages 1.8 degrees Celsius' were more likely than the IPCC's range of 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (6). Hardly climate change denial.

What could have been an interesting film was instead a fiction. It attached fictional arguments to fictional interests to legitimise the politicisation of the debate - exactly what it accused the sceptics of. Rather than concentrating on the arguments that have actually been made, Stewart invented the sceptic's argument to turn climate science into an arena for an exhausted political argument for `change' that has failed to engage the public.

The real `climate war' is between those who do not believe that our future is determined by the weather and those who think that `climate change is the defining challenge of our time' and define themselves - and everybody else - accordingly. Don't expect a documentary film about it any time soon.


BBC investigated after peer says climate change programme was biased 'one-sided polemic'

The BBC is being investigated by television watchdogs after a leading climate change sceptic claimed his views were deliberately misrepresented. Lord Monckton, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, says he was made to look like a `potty peer' on a TV programme that `was a one-sided polemic for the new religion of global warming'.

Earth: The Climate Wars, which was broadcast on BBC 2, was billed as a definitive guide to the history of global warming, including arguments for and against. During the series, Dr Iain Stewart, a geologist, interviewed leading climate change sceptics, including Lord Monckton. But the peer complained to Ofcom that the broadcast had been unfairly edited.

`I very much hope Ofcom will do something about this,' he said yesterday. `The BBC very gravely misrepresented me and several others, as well as the science behind our argument. It is a breach of its code of conduct. `I was interviewed for 90 minutes and all my views were backed up by sound scientific data, but this was all omitted. They made it sound as if these were just my personal views, as if I was some potty peer. It was caddish of them.'

Ofcom confirmed it was looking into a `fairness complaint' about the documentary. A BBC spokesman said: `We stand by the programme.'

Lord Monckton, 56, a former journalist and Cambridge graduate, says scientific data shows the world is cooler today than in the Middle Ages. He appeared alongside other sceptics including distinguished Florida-based meteorologist Professor Fred Singer, John Christy, a climate change expert and adviser to the U.S. government and the climatologist Dr Patrick Michaels, of the University of Virginia. All their interviews, he claims, were heavily cut so that they appeared as personal views.

`We do not dispute that there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but we do dispute its effects', he said. `The data shows that 2008 is the same temperature as 1980 and that the effects of these changes in the atmosphere are not negative but more likely to be beneficial.'

Lord Monckton played a key role in a legal challenge heard in the High Court in October 2007 in an effort to prevent Al Gore's film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, from being shown in English schools.


GAO Faults 'Credibility' Of CO2-Offset Market

The growing U.S. market for carbon offsets -- vouchers that let companies and individuals project an environmentally friendly image by paying others to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions -- is so opaque and loosely regulated that it offers consumers "limited assurance of credibility," according to a federal audit. The report, expected to be published on Friday, stops short of recommending new regulations. But it suggests members of Congress think carefully before letting companies use offsets as a means of complying with legislation to control carbon-dioxide emissions, which are not currently regulated by the U.S. government.

Estimates vary on the size of the U.S. offset market, with some analysts putting the value of U.S. carbon offsets traded in 2006 at $91.6 million, an amount expected to grow sharply as more companies and individuals seek to lighten their impact on the atmosphere, or at least appear to be trying. Some companies are also betting the offsets they buy now will count toward their obligations under a future mandatory U.S. emissions-reduction system.

As purchases of voluntary offsets have soared in recent years, so have questions about whether money being spent on them funds real emissions cuts. Such offsets, which are often bought by consumers from online sellers, are supposed to represent emissions avoided through projects such as installing wind turbines or planting trees. Skeptics -- including some members of Congress -- have questioned how consumers can know in the absence of federal regulation whether such cuts are actually being implemented, or would have happened anyway.

While the findings of the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, are generally consistent with those criticisms and don't break new ground, they could help influence the design of whatever mandatory program for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions emerges from Washington.

The report says that in purchasing offsets from 33 retail providers, the GAO "did not always obtain sufficient information to understand exactly what we received as a result of the transaction." Because there is no single registry for keeping track of offset projects -- and ensuring that projects are not counted multiple times -- "it is difficult for consumers to determine the quality of the offsets they purchase," the report says.

Some kinds of offsets also are more credible than others, the auditors added. Planting trees, for example, "may not be permanent, because disturbances such as insect outbreaks and fire can return stored carbon to the atmosphere."

The report doesn't call for specific new regulations for the voluntary U.S. market. Instead, it suggests that if lawmakers decide to allow offsets in a mandatory scheme for reducing carbon emissions, they should consider setting clear rules on the types of projects that companies can use and a registry for tracking the creation and ownership of offsets.

Some of the GAO's other findings are likely to add fuel to a long-simmering conflict between Democrats and Republicans over the way that House Democratic leaders have gone about trying to make the Capitol's operations more environmentally friendly. The report finds that because of an error, the House chief administrative officer, Daniel Beard, last year bought $24,447 more offsets than were needed under a broad effort by Democrats to reduce the House's carbon footprint.

"In our rush to demonstrate our green bona fides, we failed to remember our No. 1 mission -- to safeguard the public's money," said Rep. Tom Davis (R., Va.). A spokesman for Mr. Beard acknowledged the error but said the additional credits are in an account with the Chicago Climate Exchange, a voluntary greenhouse-gas reduction and trading system whose members commit to cutting their emissions. The extra credits, the spokesman added, will be used to reduce the House's carbon footprint in 2009. "We regard the over-purchase as an investment in future attempts to offset our emissions," the spokesman added.


Fires of the Feds: How the Government Has Destroyed Forests

As the wildfires in California and elsewhere burn forests, homes, and businesses, and as a Katrina-sized evacuation continues, environmentalists and the media are making new claims: these disasters are the results of global warming.

According to a recent "60 Minutes" broadcast and new claims on CNN, global warming is causing these newest disasters, and if we wish to have fewer fires in the future, we need to "change our lifestyles" now. Declares one environmentalist publication:
The wildfires consuming Southern California are extraordinary: Extraordinary because they have claimed so many homes. [E]xtraordinary because they started so quickly and have burned so intensely. Extraordinary because they are exhausting the formidable firefighting resources in a region used to wildfire.

But in the years to come, they may become ordinary. Scientists have already tied increased frequency and intensity of wildfires to the changing climate, and scientists are confident that the conditions that will be brought on by global warming will only make conditions more ripe for wildfire.

Says Anderson Cooper of CNN, in plugging CNN's "Planet in Peril":
At the top of the next hour . the big picture. These fires are really a piece of it. Fire, drought, global warming, climate change, deforestation, it is all connected, tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. "Planet in Peril" starts in just 30 minutes.

There are even scientists providing the "fig leaf" for this new theory of forest fires, like this recent article from Science:
Western United States forest wildfire activity is widely thought to have increased in recent decades, yet neither the extent of recent changes nor the degree to which climate may be driving regional changes in wildfire has been systematically documented. Much of the public and scientific discussion of changes in western United States wildfire has focused instead on the effects of 19th- and 20th-century land-use history. We compiled a comprehensive database of large wildfires in western United States forests since 1970 and compared it with hydroclimatic and land-surface data. Here, we show that large wildfire activity increased suddenly and markedly in the mid-1980s, with higher large-wildfire frequency, longer wildfire durations, and longer wildfire seasons. The greatest increases occurred in mid-elevation, Northern Rockies forests, where land-use histories have relatively little effect on fire risks and are strongly associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snowmelt.

The translation is this: government forest management has been just fine; global warming is the cause of the modern forest fires that are consuming huge acreage in the American West. Perhaps it is convenient that government-paid scientists tell us that the real problem is private enterprise producing all that carbon dioxide that is supposedly killing us all.

There is this little problem, however, of government management of western forests for more than a century that has given us a situation that has inevitably led to what we are now seeing. A recent paper by Alison Berry of the Property and Environment Research Center points to a much different - but familiar - culprit, the federal government. Writes Berry:
For most of the 20th century, U.S. federal fire policy focused on suppressing all fires on national forests. The goal was to protect timber resources and rural communities, but this policy ignored the ecological importance of fire. North American forests have evolved with fire for thousands of years. Fire returns nutrients to soils, encourages growth of older fire-resistant trees, and promotes establishment of seedlings.

Decades of fire exclusion have produced uncharacteristically dense forests in many areas. Some forests, which previously burned lightly every 15-30 years, are now choked with vegetation. If ignited, these forests erupt into conflagrations of much higher intensity than historic levels. Grasses, shrubs, and saplings in the understory now form a fuel ladder, through which flames can climb to the forest canopy, killing entire forest stands.

The fire problem is exacerbated by decreasing federal timber harvests since the late 1980s. In the absence of fire, and with reduced timber harvests and thinning, numerous small diameter trees have proliferated. Stressed trees compete for scarce water, sunlight, and growing space.

To understand how we came to this place, we have to remember that we are dealing with old political legacies. First, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 placed all new western lands in the hands of the federal government. Even today, the government owns more than half of all western lands.

Second, the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt gave us more than just belligerence and anti-business rhetoric; it also gave us socialistic government land policies. Roosevelt was strongly influenced by Gifford Pinchot, a Progressive who held to the view that the state would be a better manager of lands than private enterprise. According to Wikipedia:
Pinchot sought to turn public land policy from one that dispersed resources to private holdings to one that maintained federal ownership and management of public land. He was a Progressive who strongly believed in the Efficiency Movement. The most economically efficient use of natural resources was his goal; waste was his great enemy. His successes, in part, were grounded in the personal networks that he started developing as a student at Yale and continuing through his career. His personal involvement in the recruitment process led to high esprit de corps in the Forest Service and allowed him to avoid partisan political patronage. Pinchot capitalized on his professional expertise to gain adherents in an age when professionalism and science were greatly valued. He made it a high priority to professionalize the Forest Service; to that end he helped found the Yale School of Forestry as a source of highly trained men.

At the time, loggers were clear cutting large expanses of private forests, and some conservationists expressed alarm, fearing that all US forests could disappear soon. (Like so many other dire predictions, this one had no basis in fact, but was nonetheless a useful rhetorical tool to spread fear among the public, and to empower the state.)....

Simply put, the state knew best. During much of the 20th century, government forests were "managed" mostly to serve timber interests, and often engaged in outright policies of subsidizing logging firms. While the lumber industry thrived under those conditions, there were two problems. First, there was the issue of economic calculation in which the value of things depended as much on the political whims of Congress and the executive branch as the value that such resources would have in a free market.

Second, and more important to the present-day situation, the politics of forest management and fire suppression underwent important changes. While the Forest Service temporarily suspended its "Smokey the Bear" policy, a spate of huge wildfires in 1988, including the conflagration at Yellowstone National Park in which a "let it burn" policy was in effect, led to a huge public (or more specifically, political) outcry, so the policy was abandoned and Congress once again demanded fire suppression.

During the late 1980s, and especially during the Bush I and Clinton administrations, the government began to aggressively push the Endangered Species Act as a way to "preserve" western forests. Doing an about-face from its policies of permitting lumber firms from logging western forests, the policies were changed to "leave the forests absolutely alone," a policy that changed the character of the forests.

For one thing, no logging meant that trees would grow more closely together, making forests so dense that it became inevitable that once-routine fires would turn into conflagrations. While these policies were popular with environmentalists, they were disastrous for people who once depended on logging for a livelihood. (Let me also point out that many of the anti-logging and anti-mining directives of the Clinton Administration had the effect of impoverishing those counties that had the effrontery of voting for Clinton's political opponents in presidential elections. Whether this was by coincidence or by design is left up to the reader to decide.)

But while the loggers moved out, the millionaires moved in. Wealthy people who wanted to get away from the crowded West Coast cities built new homes in areas adjacent to national forests. However, environmentalist-dominated governments refused permission to these homeowners to clear land near their homes, which meant that if the nearby forests caught on fire, their homes would almost certainly burn down. Application of the Endangered Species Act to prevent homeowners from removing nearby natural fire hazards also helped to ensure that new homes would be vulnerable to fires.

This is especially true in the coastal mountains of Southern California, where the latest spate of fires have occurred. People have built their "dream homes" in the cooler and more scenic higher elevations, hoping that the danger of fire would remain only a danger and not reality. State and federal policies, citing the Endangered Species Act, have specifically prohibited individual landowners from protecting their own homes and property by changing the nearby landscape to lessen fire dangers.

Fires are natural in that they have always occurred on earth, and will continue to occur. The real problem with the current fires, however, is government. Governments - in the name of "scientific" and "ecological" management - have grossly mismanaged the natural environment. Environmental policy has operated on the assumption - as so eloquently stated by Lew Rockwell - that "private ownership is the enemy." He writes that environmentalists believe:
Nature is an end in itself. So it must be owned publicly, that is, by the state. The state, in its management of this land, must not do anything to it. There must not be controlled burning, brush clearing, clear cutting, or even tourism. We can admire it from afar, but the work of human hands must never intervene.

Indeed, we see the handiwork of such policies: utter destruction of human and animal habitat. Those endangered species that the law was supposed to protect are swallowed up along with the million-dollar houses that environmentalists hate. So much for the state that "protects" nature. In fact, government has dealt with the natural environment in much the same way that the US Armed Forces dealt with Vietnam: they have destroyed it in order to "save" it.


Carbon gas continues to rise -- while the weather gets COLDER!

The warming is just theory, not fact. Only the CO2 rise is fact. Report from Australia below does not mention that

GLOBAL carbon emissions are continuing to rise at alarming rates despite efforts by households and governments across the developed world to go green. Official new figures show the rate of emissions is increasing at an alarming 3.5 per cent a year - exceeding the worst-case scenarios of the UN's peak scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Despite years of effort to change our ways, the Global Carbon Project report shows that for the first time, humans are now emitting more than 10 billion tonnes of carbon annually. And the emissions are accelerating, having already increased over the past eight years at four times the rate in the 1990s.

The biggest problems have come from the developing world, which now accounts for more emissions than rich nations. China has overtaken the US as the world's biggest carbon emitter, two years earlier than expected and India is set to relegate Russia to fourth place within a year.

In Australia, meanwhile, the situation is just as worrying. Local fossil fuel emissions are growing by 2 per cent a year, despite all other developed nations cutting their pollution.

Perhaps most alarmingly, the report found that, globally, atmospheric carbon dioxide growth is now outstripping the growth of natural carbon dioxide sinks such as forests and oceans. And the figures only relate to carbon dioxide emissions. While the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at 383 parts per million (ppm), the concentration of total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is now about 410 ppm. According to the most recent UN political scientific reports, if the concentrations topped 450 ppm the world risks mass extinction of species and temperatures would soar more than 2.5C.

The report said the findings revealed a concerning trend in light of much-touted global efforts to curb emissions. All of these changes characterise a carbon cycle that is generating stronger climate forcing, and sooner than expected, it warned. British climate expert Corinne Le Quere said the numbers provided a stark reality check. The scale of efforts (to tackle emissions) is not enough, she said.

Meanwhile, the State Government announced it had purchased 18 per cent of its total energy bill last year from carbon offsets, hydro energy, wind farms and bagasse - a sugar cane by-product. But Queensland's 68,000 tonne reduction pales in comparison to the 1.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases produced by China last year - 26,470 times the State Government's energy offset.



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


Saturday, September 27, 2008

BBC2 still furiously biased

The Climate Wars is at the centre of a new TV global warming row after four contributors claimed it misrepresented them.The complaints surround the 14 September episode of the three-part, in-house programme, in which presenter Dr Iain Stewart interviewed key global warming sceptics, including Lord Monckton of Brenchley.

Lord Monckton has made a formal complaint to Ofcom and the BBC Trust that the programme-makers unfairly misrepresented him in a 90-minute interview. "In the two minutes it [BBC2] broadcast, it omitted all my scientific points, including my criticism of the defective 'hockey-stick' graph which the presenter had questioned me about," Monckton told Broadcast.

Canadian climate expert Dr Tim Ball and fellow contributor Dr Fred Singer also told Broadcast that they would complain to Ofcom and another scientist, Dr Roy Spencer, said he was considering complaining to both Ofcom and the BBC Trust.

The row follows the controversy that surrounded Channel 4's 2007 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle.

Ofcom said it had received four complaints from viewers about the 14 September episode of Climate Wars. The BBC said it stood by the programme.


Another skeptic: Dr. Martin Hertzberg, a retired Navy meteorologist with a PhD in physical chemistry

A letter to USA Today from Dr. Hertzberg [ruthhertzberg@msn.com]:

As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming (the Levi, Borgerson article of 9/24/08) to be a disservice to science, to your readers, and to the quality of the political dialogue leading up to the election. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows that the Gore-IPCC theory that human activity is causing global warming is false. For details see my article, "The Lynching of Carbon Dioxide", in the "guest authors" section of www.carbon-sense.com .

The difference between a scientist and propagandist is clear. If a scientist has a theory, he searches diligently for data that might contradict it so that he can test it further or refine it. The propagandist carefully selects only the data that agrees with his theory and dutifully ignores any that contradicts it. The global warming alarmists don't even bother with data! All they have are half-baked computer models that are totally out of touch with reality and have already been proven to be false.

Here is some of the latest data. From the El Nino year of 1998 until Jan., 2007, the average temperature of the earth's atmosphere near its surface decreased some 0.25 C. From Jan., 2007 until the Spring of 2008, it dropped a whopping 0.75 C. The National Weather Service just issued a Sea Ice Advisory for the Western and Arctic Alaskan Coastal waters for significant ice developing in the next 10 to 14 days, with sea surface temperatures some 2 to 8 C colder than last year. Such recent data is "just the tip of the iceberg" that is in process of sinking the Gore-IPCC ship of cards.

Strong heat island effect now recognized by NASA

Summer 2008 in Southern California goes down in the books as cooler than normal. The thermometer in downtown Los Angeles topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) just once in July, August and the first two-thirds of September. But don't expect this summer's respite from the usual blistering heat to continue in the years to come, cautions a group of NASA and university scientists: The long-term forecast calls for increased numbers of scorching days and longer, more frequent heat waves.

One hundred years of daily temperature data in Los Angeles were analyzed by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the University of California, Berkeley; and California State University, Los Angeles. They found that the number of extreme heat days (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32.2 degrees Celsius in downtown Los Angeles) has increased sharply over the past century. A century ago, the region averaged about two such days a year; today the average is more than 25. In addition, the duration of heat waves (two or more extreme heat days in a row) has also soared, from two-day events a century ago to one- to two-week events today.

"We found an astonishing trend - a dramatic increase in the number of heat waves per year," says Arbi Tamrazian, lead author of the study, and a senior at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tamrazian and his colleagues analyzed data from Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in downtown Los Angeles. They tracked the number of extreme heat days and heat waves from 1906 to 2006. The team found that the average annual maximum daytime temperature in Los Angeles has risen by 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 degrees Celsius) over the past century, and the minimum nighttime temperature has increased nearly as much. They also found that heat waves lasting six or more days have been occurring regularly since the 1970s. More recently, two-week heat waves have become more common....

So what's behind this long-term warming trend? Patzert says global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases is responsible for some of the overall heating observed in Los Angeles and the rest of California. Most of the increase in heat days and length of heat waves, however, is due to a phenomenon called the "urban heat island effect."

Heat island-induced heat waves are a growing concern for urban and suburban dwellers worldwide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, studies around the world have shown that this effect makes urban areas from 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 6 degrees Celsius) warmer than their surrounding rural areas. Patzert says this effect is steadily warming Southern California, though more modestly than some larger urban areas around the world. "Dramatic urbanization has resulted in an extreme makeover for Southern California, with more homes, lawns, shopping centers, traffic, freeways and agriculture, all absorbing and retaining solar radiation, making our megalopolis warmer," Patzert said.

These trends may capture the attention of utility companies and public health officials. "We'll be using more power and water to stay cool," says study co-author Steve LaDochy of California State University, Los Angeles. "Extreme heat, both day and night, will become more and more dangerous, even deadly."


Shrinking Glaciers and Presidential Politics

CO2 Truth-Alert: Are earth's glaciers wasting away at an accelerating pace as a result of CO2-induced global warming? John McCain and Barack Obama believe they are, and they have plans for massive government programs to reverse the dreaded meltdown by reducing our country's CO2 emissions. But are these actions needed? Watch the video to find out.


There is No Natural Evidence for Man-made Global Warming

This is the third in a seven part series detailing our objections to plans by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to claim unlimited power over the life of every American. Those plans were laid out in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), dated July 11, 2008. The EPA is inviting comments to this advance notice. This article explains the second of our six major objections to the EPA plans. The total of our objections, including our letter, our comments, and a link to the EPA website, may be accessed here

We oppose these measures on the grounds of natural history, because claims to man-made global warming contradict the evidence from Earth's past and present.

The provisions in the ANPR are based on a specious, unproven, scientifically unsupported, a-historical claim that impending disaster is caused by our very prosperity. This claim is leading us into the clear and present danger of federal economic controls imposed on a scale previously intolerable in the United States.

As a bedrock to its proposals the EPA has accepted the conclusions of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that man-made global warming is a settled issue. But the evidence of natural history shows no causal connection between so-called greenhouse gases and global temperatures. For a half a billion years, temperatures have risen and fallen independently of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations.

The EPA is also following the decision of the US Supreme Court that CO2, a natural compound vital to all living organisms, is a "pollutant." This ruling contradicts the evidence of natural history, the facts of biology, and the wisdom gleaned by farmers from 8,000 years of agriculture.

Claims that the Earth is now undergoing an unprecedented rise in temperature-both in absolute terms and in the rate of increase-should be examined using precedents from the long-term history of the Earth.[1] At least seven major ice age cycles have occurred in the last billion years, when mile-deep ice sheets periodically advanced beyond polar areas and engulfed regions that were once warm, before again melting in retreat. On a shorter timescale, some eleven glacial and interglacial periods have cycled during the past one million years. We are now living in a temporary interglacial warm period, the Holocene, that began with a relatively sudden rise in temperature about 11,000 years ago. We should expect the next glacial period to begin in the near future, meaning a few thousand years. These cyclical temperature changes in the Earth's prehistory have far surpassed the lesser variations since the dawn of industrial life.

What causes such temperature variations? One of the central tenets of the man-made global warming hypothesis is that high atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) have a direct effect on temperatures around the globe. The thermometer, however, was not invented until the Renaissance. Scientists must study ancient temperatures and chemical concentrations indirectly, by gathering "proxy data" taken from fossils, tree rings, ice cores, coral reefs, peat bog cellulose and other evidence. All of this requires highly technical scientific interpretation, and is subject to new discoveries and complex methods of statistical analysis.

Using information derived from such proxy measurements, it is possible to reconstruct, at least roughly, temperature levels and the CO2 concentrations going back into the Earth's deep history. Dr. Christopher Scotese, a geologist at the University of Texas at Arlington, used ancient evidence and computer models to determine average temperatures going back over 600 million years ago (mya).[2] Other scientists have worked to determine CO2 concentrations.[3] A basic outline of these CO2 and temperature reconstructions is as follows (values are rounded to the accuracy implied in the figures). Bear in mind that the average temperature today is about 59øF, and CO2 is about 380 parts per million (ppm):

From 600 to 430 mya, CO2 was about 5000ppm; temperature was about 72øF. (One model has CO2 up to 7000 ppm, another as lower than 5000 ppm)

From 430 to 360 mya, CO2 fell below 1500ppm; temperatures shifted from 72øF to 54øF, then back up to 72øF

From 360 to 245 mya, CO2 fell to about 1000ppm; temperatures fell back to 54øF, then returned to 72øF, after a spike to 74øF

From 245 to 146 mya, CO2 held near 1000ppm; temperature stayed near 72øF, until falling to about 60øF. (Other reconstructions show CO2 as rising to about 2000 ppm about 200 mya, until falling again)

From 146 to 65 mya, CO2 decreased to 750ppm or less; temperatures-trending opposite to CO2-rose to 72øF

From 65 into the present, CO2 decreased to under 300ppm. Temperatures held at 72øF-far higher than today-then fell to 54øF before beginning to rise

This graph, Figure 1, illustrates these general trends. The heavy line shows average temperatures, the thin line shows a rough average of atmospheric CO2 concentrations:

Overall, the average global temperature has moved up and down between 54øF to 72øF, while atmospheric CO2 concentrations dropped from about 5000 to under 300ppm. If man-made global warming theory is correct, the Earth should have been blistering hot when CO2 was 16 times higher than today, and temperatures should have fallen when CO2 levels moved below 1000ppm. Even if other factors mitigated extreme temperature changes, there should be some correlation between temperatures and CO2. The Earth's temperatures, however, varied independently of the CO2. The Earth was an average of 72øF-far higher than today-when CO2 was both 5000ppm and under 750ppm.

Dr. R. Tim Patterson, professor of geology at Carleton University and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, wonders "whether Earth's climate record actually supports the assumption that CO2 is a major climate driver."[4] He reminds us that during an ice age about 450 million years ago, carbon dioxide concentrations were about 15 times higher than at present. He concludes that there is "no statistical correlation between the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the last 500 million years and the temperature record in this interval."

Scientists from the University of New Mexico wrote that their studies of goethite [iron oxide] formations in Wisconsin "suggest that 440 Myr ago [million years ago] atmospheric CO2 was ~ 16 times higher than today. However, this enhanced level of atmospheric CO2 does not seem to have been accompanied by unusually warm temperatures in the tropics, and in fact may have been contemporaneous with high-latitude continental glaciation on Gondwanaland [the southern super-continent]."[5]

Some scientists will dispute the precise figures here, and man-made global warming supporters will attack this overview as simplistic, but it remains clear that overall, global temperatures and CO2 variables have not at all correlated as the man-made global warming hypothesis requires and its proponents have maintained. This strongly suggests that other natural factors, not atmospheric CO2 concentrations, were controlling the temperature changes.

Variations During the Past Five-hundred Thousand Years

A picture of the more immediate past is seen in reconstructions of temperatures and CO2 concentrations derived from Antarctic ice core samples collected at the Russian Vostok Research Station. The ice core reached down over 3300 meters to reveal ice as old as 422,000 years. Scientists determine ancient temperatures by analyzing the ratio of heavier oxygen-18 to ordinary oxygen-16, and heavier deuterium-2 to ordinary hydrogen-1, in the ice.

Over the 422,000 years, temperatures have varied nearly 22øF, from about 16øF below to 6øF above the temperatures of the past century.[6] Scientists have noted that CO2 levels today "seem to have been unprecedented during the past 420,000 years."[7] But the highest temperatures recorded in the ice core samples are about 6øF higher than today, at 128,357 and 323,482 years ago. If CO2 levels today are "unprecedented" and CO2 causes warming, then why are temperatures today lower than at several times in the Antarctic past?

Scientists working under the auspices of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography brought greater precision to their reading of the Vostok data. In the abstract of their published research, they wrote: "High-resolution records from Antarctic ice cores show that carbon dioxide concentrations increased by 80 to 100 parts per million by volume 600 ñ 400 years after the warming of the last three deglaciations. Despite strongly decreasing temperatures, high carbon dioxide concentrations can be sustained for thousands of years during glaciations . . ." (emphasis added)[8]

Patterson recognized that the time lag between rising or falling temperature and rising or falling CO2 is about 800 years. To illustrate the causal implications of this relationship, he draws an analogy with human history. If you think that climate is being driven by CO2, "then you probably would have no difficulty in accepting the idea that Winston Churchill was instrumental in the defeat of King Herold by Duke William of Orange at the Battle of Hastings in 1066."

Dr. Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics agrees that "Atmospheric CO2 variations generally follow changes in temperature and other climatic variables rather than preceding them." [9]

In his book An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore ignores this time lag in order to create a false image of a frightening rise in temperature caused by CO2 emissions today.[10] He graphs CO2 and temperatures as rising and falling in parallel, thus depicting the "repeating correlation" that Patterson discussed: the two lines move in tandem, and the spike in CO2 to over 350ppm today runs ominously off the graph.

But Gore's visually impressive graph distorts the issue in two ways. First, it does not accommodate the earlier CO2 levels of up to 5000ppm, or 16 times those of today. The graph we have presented in this article, Figure 1 above, has a higher vertical CO2 axis, and depicts today's CO2 variations in accurate proportion to earlier changes: as tiny waves at the bottom right-hand side of the graph. Gore also omits values on the temperature axis, an egregious omission that makes it impossible to quantify the scale of temperature variations.

Second, Gore adds to the confusion by conflating correlation with causation. His parallel CO2 and temperature lines obscure the fact that large temperature rises preceded small CO2 rises by 500 to 1500 years. Perhaps it is inconvenient for Gore to accept that the huge 22øF temperature changes in the Vostok ice core samples cannot be explained by the tiny-100ppm-changes in CO2 that followed those temperature changes.

Gore's CO2 / temperature graph is a distortion of the historical record designed to elicit an emotional response for a political purpose.

More here

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

AUSTRALIA'S most active unionist pushing for clean coal technology says the Greens are becoming increasingly marginalised by maintaining their opposition to clean coal. Greenies will never be happy because what they want is self-contradictory: A return to a primitive past plus all the comforts of modern life

CFMEU mining division president Tony Maher said his union had done polling that showed roughly 5 per cent of the population supported the Greens' position of opposition to clean coal. "A few years ago there was some scepticism about clean coal, but now you even have environmentalists ... like Tim Flannery who say 'we've got to fix coal'," Mr Maher said.

"I don't think their position has any environmental credibility or any economic credibility. On the environmental front, while coal is a big industry for Australia, we still only produce 4 per cent of the world's coal. We could shut down the industry tomorrow and other countries would just pick up the slack. And economically it would throw a huge amount of people out of work."

He said clean coal research in Australia was moving to a new level and that, while individual states had pursued worthwhile projects in the area, there was now a need for a nationally co-ordinated approach.

Mr Maher said as the states had control of the power system - and in the case of Queensland, were active participants in power generation - it was natural they would initially do most research into clean coal technology. He said that he was hopeful that Kevin Rudd's Global Institute for Carbon Capture and Storage, announced last week, would be able to fill such a role. "Energy is a state-based matter, and while all the research so far has been great, it all needs a bit of direction," Mr Maher said.

"The missing link so far has been co-ordination. In my view there's sufficient money now from both government and industry to get us to the stage of building pilot plants with zero emissions. But the real issue will be the large-scale plants which are commercially viable. Being able to get them coming on stream will mean you're going to have to guarantee commercial viability, and that will need a solid business case, and that's where you need to put together all this research that's being done."

He said Queensland had been the most active state in clean coal research, followed by Victoria. "NSW have got a bit of ground to make up," he said. "There is some research being done at Newcastle University, but it's nowhere near the amount being done in Queensland with Zerogen and with Victoria's Otway Basin project."

The Queensland Government has put $300 million towards the Zerogen project in central Queensland, which involves the construction of a zero-emissions pilot plant near Rockhampton. The Howard government refused to back the project, which is proceeding on a new basis with mining companies putting in extra money. The Queensland Resources Council, which represents coal mining companies, said that, while there was a need for more research, the issue was who paid for it.

QRC chief executive Michael Roche said: "The coal industry knows that in the long term, its social licence to operate does depend on successful commercialisation of low-emission coal technologies. "And as Professor Ross Garnaut has pointed out, this will require a huge investment of public funds, alongside industry funds, over the coming decade."



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


Friday, September 26, 2008

Ludicrous upcoming PBS special "Heat"

See Press Release and Trailer for the October 21, 2008 2-hour PBS Frontline Special "Heat" here. Looks like it will really be laughable. Marc Morano sent the following note to one of the producers of the PBS special

Just wanted to let you my thoughts after viewing the trailer for the Frontline global warming special now posted online. What a comedy your Frontline special appears to be! Correspondent Martin Smith apparently outdoes himself with some really schlocky bad reporting. Tell him I wish him luck and am sure he will win "awards" from the usual bunch for this seemingly laughable special. Can you please forward him this email?

Your Frontline "Heat" trailer claims global warming is "most important issue of our time" and claims that global warming "is probably the most urgent problem facing the next president." See Trailer for the October 21, 2008 2-hour PBS Frontline Special "Heat.".

Smith is very comfortable in the roles as the warming fear advocate stating "But nothing matches climate change in scope and severity." Oh really Mr. Smith? You can't think of any other more "urgent" issues for a President to address? Surely you jest.

Is Mr. Smith not aware that Hurricanes are declining? That there are no long term increases in drought? See this report: Excerpt: There have been no observed changes in the occurrence of tornadoes or thunderstorms - There have been no long-term increases in strong East Coast winter storms (ECWS), called Nor'easters - There are no long-term trends in either heat waves or cold spells, though there are trends within shorter time periods in the overall record. But all of the above appear to be INCREASING in unverified climate models. See: here

Is Smith aware that sea level is failing to rise at any type of alarming rate? See this report: Scientists Counter Computer Model Sea Level Rise Fears See also: Global warming may not affect sea levels, study finds - Jan 11, 2008

It appears Frontline is completely ignorant of the latest science developments of 2007 and 2008? The latest peer-reviewed studies and prominent scientists continue to debunk man-made climate fears. See: `Consensus' On Man-Made Global Warming Collapses in 2008

I enjoyed meeting Mr. Smith on September 7, 2007 at the Senate. He appeared at the time to be interested in actually understanding the complexities of the climate issue. But it now appears that Smith may be more suited to write a newsletter for Gore than attempt to do actual objective climate reporting. Granted, I may change my mind after viewing the full program, but it looks like balance, objectivity and yes - accuracy - are not being striven for in this latest PBS Frontline silliness.

Global cooling hits Moscow

For the past two weeks, Alexandra Shuvalova has spent almost every evening sitting in a bathtub filled with piping hot water. "I even read books in the tub. Any other place in the apartment is too cold for me," said Shuvalova, a 36-year-old nanny.

Moscow is caught in the grip of an unusually early winter chill and, with most apartments hooked up to the city's centralized heating system, residents are just plain cold. Authorities have avoided turning on the heat because of a rule that requires the outside temperature to remain below 8 degrees Celsius for more than five days in a row.

But City Hall decided this week to make an exception and turn on the heat for all apartments by next Wednesday -- two weeks earlier than usual. In the meantime, residents are shivering, buying electric heaters or just slipping into the hot tub, like Shuvalova.

Shuvalova lives in a typical 12-story Soviet-era apartment building on Ulitsa Mnyovniki in northwestern Moscow. Like most apartment buildings, it gets heating, hot water and electricity through a complicated system in which extra hot water used for power generation is pumped through the main pipes to neighborhood heat-exchange points. There, through special heat-exchange equipment, household water and the heating system are warmed up -- but not mixed with -- water from the power plants. The cooled-off steam is returned to the plants and reused for electricity production.

Central heating is installed in most new housing in Russian cities, as well as many places in northern Europe, where people seldom require air conditioning in their homes because of the temperate climate. But that means, of course, entire cities stay warm when the heating is turned on and shiver when it is off and the temperature falls.

Moscow temperatures were 8 to 10 C in the second and third weeks of September, 1 to 2 degrees lower than average for this time of year, said Nikolai Volobuyev, deputy head of the federal weather bureau. "This is a considerable drop for the fall, when every degree is important," he said. The temperature on Sept. 1, the first day of school, when outdoor welcoming ceremonies are held on school grounds around Moscow, was 8 C.

When Shuvalova brought Mark Latukhin, the 9-year-old boy she cares for, to School No. 142 in central Moscow, she saw some first graders being taken inside the building before the ceremony was over. "The small kids, the girls especially, were shivering while listening to the principal's welcome speech," she said.

Schools, hospitals and kindergartens have been able to receive heating since Sept. 16 if they applied for it, according to City Hall's fuel and energy department, which oversees the heating supply. Under city rules, the heat is turned on for residential buildings after the temperature is lower than 8 C for more than five days, which is usually the case in mid-October, department spokeswoman Marina Gaze said. City Hall decided Tuesday to turn on the system earlier, even though there have not been five full days with temperatures below 8 C, she said.

About 2,000 Moscow apartments, many of them in the Tverskoi and Fili districts, started receiving heat Wednesday in a check of the general condition of the system.

Gaze said changing the system was out of the question because it would require a major infrastructure overhaul. First, giant heating plants would need to be replaced with small boilers for each apartment building or each district. This would essentially involve doubling the number of pipes currently used to provide the city's hot water -- adding or reconstructing 4,000 kilometers of pipelines and replacing all old pipes with new ones made of modern materials, such as polyethylene and steel pipes in urethane isolation, according to Moscow United Energy, which holds the city administration's energy assets.

Some residents are fed up with the system. "I would prefer to decide for myself whether it is cold or warm in my apartment to start heating it," said Yelena Rusakova, a high school teacher browsing electric heaters at the Rizhsky market on Thursday. Rusakova, who bought two heaters, added that she was also tired of the centralized hot water system, which leads to hot water being turned off for several weeks every summer.

Moscow stores, meanwhile, are seeing the sale of electric heaters soar as people try to fight off the September cold. Sales at the Tekhnosila electronics chain have jumped more than 150 percent in the first three weeks of September in comparison to the same period last year, said store spokeswoman Nadezhda Senyuk. "We are really busy day and night trying to supply our stores with these kinds of things. On weekends, everything is usually sold out," she said.

The weather forecast for the next few days does not promise any relief. Rain is predicted for Saturday, and the temperature is expected to hover around 8 to 10 degrees throughout the next week.

But there is some good news, too. The cold spell came from the north, not the Atlantic, raising the possibility of an Indian summer with temperatures of up to 20 C in October, the federal weather bureau said.

The city administration, however, will not turn off central heating. Once it is turned on, it remains on until late spring.


Another Dissenter: 'Man-made global warming is 'junk' science' - declares analytical chemist?

As an analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, I am troubled by the lack of common sense regarding carbon dioxide emissions. Our greatest greenhouse gas is water. Atmospheric spectroscopy reveals why water has a 95 percent and CO2 a 3.6 percent contribution to the "greenhouse effect."

Carbon dioxide emissions worldwide each year total 3.2 billion tons. That equals about 0.0168 percent of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration of about 19 trillion tons. This results in a 0.00064 percent increase in the absorption of the sun's radiation. This is an insignificantly small number. The yearly increase is many orders of magnitude smaller than the standard deviation errors for CO2 concentration measurement.

"Scientific" computer simulations predict global warming based on increased greenhouse gas emissions over time. However, without water's contribution taken into account they omit the largest greenhouse gas from their equations. How can such egregious calculation errors be so blatantly ignored? This is why man-made global warming is "junk" science.

A 1998 scientific study shows that plants in North America's farmlands absorb about 2 billion tons more CO2 than the old forests they replaced. That's 0.5 billion tons more CO2 removed than the 1.5 billion tons generated in 1998 by burning fossil fuels.

Experiments show that higher atmospheric levels of CO2 result in larger and faster growing crops. This provides for more efficient food production and more CO2 removed from the atmosphere.

For a "greener" environment and balanced atmospheric CO2 concentration levels, we all should purchase both carbon credits and carbon debits.


Inhofe Report Exposes Environmental Groups as `Massive Democratic Political Machines'

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today released an updated comprehensive investigation into the financial and political activities employed by charitable and environmental organizations claiming to be non-partisan.

"Campaigns to `save the cuddly animals' or `protect the ancient forests' are really disguised efforts to raise money for Democratic political campaigns," Senator Inhofe said during a floor speech today presenting the new report. "Environmental organizations have become experts at duplicitous activity, skirting laws up to the edge of illegality, and burying their political activities under the guise of non-profit environmental improvement.

"Take this ad for example, displayed on the League of Conservation Voters, or LCV, website. This is LCV's standard text used to raise money for the nonprofit organization. In turn, LCV takes these donations, given to `save the environment' and uses them to fund ads for Democratic Candidates such as Ben Lujan from New Mexico. LCV, similar to other groups I'll highlight later, disguises itself as an environmental group dedicated to saving the environment, yet, as shown by this political ad, it is simply an extension of the Democratic political party.

"What we find now is the fleecing of the American public's pocketbooks by the environmental movement for their political gain. We also find exhausting litigation, instigation of false claims, misleading science, and scare tactics to fool Americans into believing disastrous environmental scenarios that are untrue. Especially in this election year, the American voter should see these groups and their many affiliate organizations as they are: the newest insidious conspiracy of political action committees and perhaps the newest multi-million dollar manipulation of federal election laws.

"As an American citizen concerned about our environment and our country, I'm dismayed and saddened by this deception. If these groups actually used the hundreds of millions of dollars they raise for actual environmental improvement, just think how many whales and forests we could save. These wolves should be seen for what they really are: massive democratic political machines, disguised as environmental causes."

Much more here

Michael "Hockeystick" Mann gets desperate: Cites "disappearing" snow of Kilimanjaro as proof of warming

(January 2008 pic of Kilimanjaro above)

Michael E. Mann, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, had just spent an hour explaining why he thinks there is virtual scientific consensus that people are causing the earth to warm and sea levels to rise, when a self-described "left-leaning, pro-environment person," a meteorologist, rose to angrily dispute him. The critic said thousands of scientists disagree with Mann's contention that carbon dioxide is causing climate change. Others have discredited Mann's figures on unprecedented temperature hikes. And some wish he would leave his university, Penn State.

The critic didn't give his name. But later Herb Stevens, a North Kingstown meteorologist who makes his living as the "Skiing Weatherman" on many local television stations, confirmed he was the critic. "I'm not some crackpot," he said. "I've spent a lot of time in the last 10 years researching this matter. It is the greatest hoax perpetrated on mankind."

Mann, who has been vilified by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and a host of other climate skeptics, responded calmly before an audience of nearly 1,000 on Tuesday. Natural forces don't account for the warming that is being observed, he said. Only carbon dioxide fits. Then he added: "A fossil-fuel funded amateur has a Web site that vilifies scientists in my field," he said. Questions about his data were rejected, he said, by the National Academy of Science and by the United Nations' International Panel on Climate Change. "I don't think by any stretch of the imagination has our science been discredited, except perhaps by some far-out fringe of the blogosphere." ....

He added that the globe is not warming uniformly. Land masses are warming more than oceans. But steadily, around the world, the warming is increasing. He showed pictures of the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro disappearing. They have been there for 12,000 years, and at the current rate of decline, Mann said they will be gone in two decades.

He said his so-called "hockey stick" curve on a graph, which shows warming sloping gently upward, and then shooting straight up, has been criticized by many skeptics, but supported by 10 more studies in the last decade.

One questioner said it was well known in the scientific community that disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro have nothing to do with climate change. But Mann said the questioner was wrong. The snows are melting and evaporating, both because of climate change, he said.

More here

Sampling of Scientific Reality Checks on Mount Kilimanjaro follows:

New Study in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research Reveals warming not cause of Kilimanjaro ice loss - September 24, 2008

Excerpt: It has become clear to all but the most blind, that rising temperatures have had little to do with Kilimanjaro's disappearing ice, as the findings of Duane et al. (2008) also suggest. [.] Stating that their work shows "the importance of moisture transport upslope to the summit of Kilimanjaro," Duane et al. thus come down on the side of the many other researchers who have concluded, in their words, that "the reasons for the rapid decline in Kilimanjaro's glaciers are not primarily due to increased air temperatures, but a lack of precipitation."

Yet another study disproves Gore's Kilimanjaro claims - July 28, 2008

Excerpt: The latest issue of Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research contains yet another article on the snows of Kilimanjaro that should further end the nonsense on this subject hyped by the global warming advocates. The work was conducted by scientists from Brunei, the United Kingdom, Massachusetts, and Arizona, and the work "is based in part on work supported by the National Science Foundation and NOAA Office of Global Programs, Climate Change Data and Detection Program." Duane et al. begin noting "The impact of any climate change on high altitude regions is of fundamental importance to the region itself, its resources, and its surrounding environments. [.] Map showing location of the 10 meteorological data logger sites on the south-western slopes of Kilimanjaro (from Duane et al., 2008). Figure 2 shows the average monthly temperatures for seven of the ten locations (as numbered in Figure 1), and what do you notice about the high elevation stations? Of course, the temperatures are consistently below freezing all year! Figure 3 shows the hourly temperatures for these stations, and again, the temperatures high on the mountain stay below freezing at all times of the day! Duane et al. conclude "It has been argued that the reasons for the rapid decline in Kilimanjaro's glaciers are not primarily due to increased air temperatures, but a lack of precipitation. Indeed our data show that temperatures remain well below freezing at site 10, with daytime maxima averaging -2.1øC. Such low air temperatures keep sensible heat supply to the glacier small and make radiative exchanges more significant. Thus, patterns of cloud cover and humidity are central to understanding glacier-climate interactions." In other words, even if Gore's claim of elevated temperatures in the region would be correct (and it isn't), the increase in temperatures thus far would have had no effect on the frozen world at the top of Kilimanjaro. [.] The mountaintop needs more water to sustain the snow, ice, and glaciers, and as many other have noted, any increase in global temperature should increase global evaporation thereby possibly saving the snows of Kilimanjaro.

Tanzania official now declares ice caps on Mt Kilimanjaro 'increasing' - May 2008

Excerpt: A Cabinet minister has allayed fears that ice caps on Mt Kilimanjaro that is a big tourist attraction in the region could disappear permanently. The minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Shamsa Mwangunga, says contrary to reports that the ice caps were decreasing owing to effects of global warming, indications were that the snow cover on Africa's highest mountain were now increasing. "Among the signs of more snow is the decrease in temperatures in areas surrounding the mountain, heavy rainfall this year and increased precipitation and spring water flow on the slopes of the mountain," she pointed out.

Researchers from the U.S. and Austria say global warming isn't the cause of Kilimanjaro ice loss - June 13, 2008

Excerpt: Al Gore has made the disappearing snows of Mount Kilimanjaro a cornerstone of his crusade against global warming. In his film "An Inconvenient Truth" for example, he says: "Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro." But now researchers from the U.S. and Austria say global warming isn't the cause, and the fluctuations are nothing new. American Science magazine reports most of the current snow retreat occurred before 1953 - nearly two decades before any conclusive evidence of atmospheric warming was available. One of the scientists writes: "It is certainly possible that the icecap has come and gone many times over hundreds of thousands of years." The article says the disappearance of Kilimanjaro's ice is not driven by warming air temperature, but by solar radiation - and that much of the ice is not melting, but vanishing by sublimation where ice at very low temperatures converts straight to water vapor.

Another study: `Deforestation behind loss of Mt Kili snow` - Using Kilimanjaro for warming called `awfully inaccurate' - August 14, 2008

Excerpt: A scientific theory has linked the loss of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro to deforestation and dismissed suggestions that the dwindling of glaciers on Africa`s highest peak was due to global warming. The theory is highlighted in a recent study report compiled by two researchers from Britain`s Portsmouth University, Nicholas Pepin and Martin Schaefer, who surveyed the mountain`s glaciers for 11 days. The researchers, who revealed their findings at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, said the mountain`s glacier surface had shrunk from 20 km in 1880 to a mere two kilometres in 2000. They said the development was caused more by local than regional factors, with Pepin suggesting that deforestation mainly due to extensive farming as the major cause. ``Deforestation of the mountain`s foothills is the most likely culprit because without forests there is too much evaporation of humidity into outer space. The result is that moisture-laden winds blowing across those forests have become drier and drier,`` he explained. [.] Revealing the findings they first published last year in the American Scientist magazine, the experts cautioned that using Mount Kilimanjaro as a ``poster child`` for climate change was awfully inaccurate.

Snow Returns to Mount Kilimanjaro (International Herald Tribune - January 21, 2008)

Excerpt: I had wanted to climb to the roof of Africa before climate change erased its ice fields and the romance of its iconic "Snows of Kilimanjaro" image. But as we trudged across the 12,000-foot Shira plateau on Day 2 of our weeklong climb and gazed at the whiteness of the vast, humpbacked summit, I thought maybe I needn't have worried. [.] And four days later, when we reached 19,340-foot Uhuru, the highest point on Kibo, we beheld snow and ice fields so enormous as to resemble the Arctic. It looked nothing like the photographs of Kibo nearly denuded of ice and snow in the Al Gore documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Nor did it seem to jibe with the film's narrative: "Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro." [.] But several weeks of heavy rain and snow preceded the arrival of our group, 10 mountaineering clients and a professional guide from International Mountain Guides, based near Seattle. That made for a freakishly well-fed snow pack and the classic snowy image portrayed on travel posters, the label of the local Kilimanjaro Premium Lager and the T-shirts hawked in Moshi's tourist bazaars. But to many climate scientists and glaciologists who have probed and measured, the disappearance of the summit's ice fields is inevitable and imminent. [.] Patchy snow covered the upper slopes above approximately 18,500 feet. At dawn, as we reached Stella Point at the lower lip of Kibo's summit crater, the fluted walls of the flat-topped Rebmann Glacier stretched out to our left. Snow blanketed the summit area, a mile and a half wide and hemmed by glaciers. Uhuru, the highest point in all Africa, was a 45-minute slog ahead.

etc, etc.


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


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Melting, Melting ... Well, Not Exactly

Predictions of an ice-free Arctic prove to be just a lot of hot air

With the "meltdown" on Wall Street, it looks like global warming is striking the financial markets. Don't laugh. It must have gone somewhere because it's not doing as the left and the media had warned. Just a few months ago, supposedly responsible journalists were telling us that the Arctic could be ice free this summer because of the dreaded realties of warming.

There are 1.74 million reasons why that didn't happen. That's how many square miles of ice are still standing after Arctic ice hit its low point for the season.

On July 28, NBC's Anne Thompson was the one on ice patrol. "But this summer, some scientists say that ice could retreat so dramatically that open water covers the North Pole, so much so that you could sail across it." She's probably right. You could sail across it - in a sleigh.

A Sept. 16 National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) report said ice loss was less than in 2007. "On Sept. 12, 2008, sea ice extent dropped to 4.52 million square kilometers (1.74 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest point of the year, as sea has now begun its annual cycle of growth in response to autumn cooling," according to the organization.

It's a far cry from how "Today" host Lester Holt described the story. He called it "surprising and, frankly, alarming news from the scientific community, a new report that says the North Pole could soon be ice-free."

To put what actually happened in perspective, there are only a handful of nations larger than the ice at its low point. It's more than twice as large as Mexico and about 10 times larger than Iraq. That's a pretty big error. One journalists are almost guaranteed to repeat until they get the facts they want.

Shortly after Thompson's report, on July 30, ABC weatherman Sam Champion repeated the warning about Arctic ice. He scared the "Good Morning America" audience that Arctic ice loss was at an all-time rate. "Every summer we're on a record pace for losing it last summer and this summer we're at the exact same pace."

Except that isn't accurate either. The final total for 2008 was 9.4% more than the record-setting 2007 minimum. The left will claim it's still part of a trend, but they don't know either. We've only been tracking satellite imagery of the Arctic since 1979 - not a huge amount of time given the age of the planet.

Is it any wonder that Americans are tuning out the entire global warming agenda? According to Gallup, the environment/global warming ranked dead last on a 22-category list of "most important reasons why you would vote for a preferred candidate."

Last. Behind international affairs, behind healthcare reform or even education. None of those issues matter to voters this election. And every one of them scored higher with voters than global warming.

Remember Al Gore's much ballyhooed We Campaign to bully Americans into backing climate change legislation? Politico dubbed it a "$300 million, bipartisan campaign to try to push climate change higher on the nation's political agenda." It debuted with fancy ads featuring Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton or Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi together declaring their abiding love for the global warming agenda. And it's been a miserable flop. The We Campaign ran smack dab into harsh fiscal realities of a declining stock market. It's had a wee impact.

Maybe that's because people have begun to tune out the green propaganda as journalists link everything from allergies to bigger storms to climate change. Even global warming hype machine Time magazine doesn't embrace all of the silly claims any more.

A recent Time issue explained that increased storm impact is manmade, just not the way Al Gore and his disciples would claim. "But there is another inconvenient truth out there: We are getting more vulnerable to weather mostly because of where we live, not just how we live," wrote Time.

Last year's cold winter has raised even more concerns that global warming advocates might be way off in their predictions. Investor's Business Daily reported that August was "extraordinary." "For the first time in nearly 100 years, the sun created no visible spots. The last time that happened: June 1913." Based on sunspot history, the sun may be "entering a down cycle."

Even the Old Farmer's Almanac is raising questions about a new "big chill" or little ice. "The next 20 years, it's going to be colder," Sarah Perreault, of the Old Farmer's Almanac, told Reuters. Maybe we'd be better off paying attention to old farmers instead of old media.


Claim: Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks

Notice that despite the alarmist headline, actual supporting material for cannibalism does not appear until the very end of the article and it is 2004 anecdotal info based on one polar bear! They are desperate!

Summer is over in the northern hemisphere, but it's been another chilling season for researchers who study Arctic sea ice. "It's definitely a bad report. We did pick up little bit from last year, but this is over 30 percent below what used to be normal," said Walt Meier, a research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. This past summer, the Arctic sea ice dwindled to its second lowest level. Arctic sea ice is usually one to three meters, or as much as 9 feet thick. It grows during autumn and winter and shrinks in the spring and summer.

Scientists have monitored sea ice conditions for about 50 years with the help of satellites. Changes in the past decade have been alarming to climate researchers and oceanographers. "It is the second lowest on record ... If anything it is reinforcing the long-term trend. We are still losing the ice cover at a rate of 10 percent per decade now, and that is quite an increase from five years ago," said Meier. "We are still heading toward an ice cover that is going to melt completely in the summertime in the Arctic."

Arctic ice helps regulate and temper the climate in many other parts of the world. The less ice there is, the more dramatic the impact. Huge sheets of ice reflect solar radiation, keeping our planet cool. When that ice melts, huge expanses of darker, open ocean water absorb the heat instead, warming things up.

While few humans live in the Arctic, the disappearance of this ice cover can have impacts far beyond the few residents and the wildlife of this harsh region. Ice cover loss can influence winds and precipitation on other continents, possibly leading to less rain in the western United States and creating more in Europe. "That warming is going to spread to the lower latitudes, to the United States, and it's going to affect storm systems and storm tracks, the jet stream; that's going to affect crops and all sorts of things," Meier predicts.

The best known consequence of disappearing sea ice in the Arctic is the loss of the polar bear habitat. "The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears," according to Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. "They are dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don't have access to their usual food sources."

Scientists have noticed increasing reports of starving Arctic polar bears attacking and feeding on one another in recent years. In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female's den and killed her.

In May, the U.S. Department of Interior listed the polar bear as a "threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act. In a news release, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne stated, "loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat. This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species."


Green idealists fail to make grade, says study

People who believe they have the greenest lifestyles can be seen as some of the main culprits behind global warming, says a team of researchers, who claim that many ideas about sustainable living are a myth. According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.

Stewart Barr, of Exeter University, who led the research, said: "Green living is largely something of a myth. There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights." Some people even said they deserved such flights as a reward for their green efforts, he added.

Only a very small number of citizens matched their eco-friendly behaviour at home by refusing to fly abroad, Barr told a climate change conference at Exeter University yesterday. The research team questioned 200 people on their environmental attitudes and split them into three groups, based on a commitment to green living. They found the longest and the most frequent flights were taken by those who were most aware of environmental issues, including the threat posed by climate change.

Questioned on their heavy use of flying, one respondent said: "I recycle 100% of what I can, there's not one piece of paper goes in my bin, so that makes me feel less guilty about flying as much as I do."

Barr said "green" lifestyles at home and frequent flying were linked to income, with wealthier people more likely to be engaged in both activities. He said: "The findings indicate that even those people who appear to be very committed to environmental action find it difficult to transfer these behaviours into more problematic contexts."

The team says the research is one of the first attempts to analyse how green intentions alter depending on context. It says the results reveal the scale of the challenge faced by policymakers who are trying to alter public behaviour to help tackle global warming.

The study concludes: "The notion that we can treat what we do in the home differently from what we do on holiday denies the existence of clearly related and complex lifestyle choices and practices. Yet even a focus on lifestyle groups who may be most likely to change their views will require both time and political will. The addiction to cheap flights and holidays will be very difficult to break."

The frequent flyers said they expected new technology to make aviation greener, echoing comments made by Tony Blair last year, who said it was "impractical" to expect people to take holidays closer to home. He said the solution was "to look at how you make air travel more energy-efficient, how you develop the new fuels that will allow us to burn less energy and emit less."


The Menace of Al Gore

Al Gore is back on the scene demanding that people use "civil disobedience" to stop the building of coal-fired power plants unless they have the technology to store carbon. He also wants people who disagree with him to go to prison.
"If you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration," Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause.

"I believe for a carbon company to spend money convincing the stock-buying public that the risk from the global climate crisis is not that great represents a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting a material fact," he said. "I hope these state attorney generals around the country will take some action on that."

Do not kid yourselves. There will be a time in this country when to deny the Al Gore version of global warming will be a crime akin to denying the Holocaust in Austria or Germany. People will be going to prison over this sooner than later. I would not be surprised to see the next Congress introduce a bill that will criminalize any disagreement with Gore.


They come and go

A letter from Ron Lee, a retired geologist

This is in regards to your articles of Sept. 14: "Gone within 50 years" and "The great melt." That global warming and cooling does occur is indisputable. However, Mauri Pelto and reporter K.C. Mehaffey insinuate the so-called global warming crisis is man-caused. I do not accept the premise and offer some facts to support my opinion.

As the ice recedes at Greenland - yes it is receding there also - archaeologists are finding evidence of less-icy times. Norse settlements abandoned in 1350 are being excavated from glacial sand. Google "James Brooke" about the site dubbed "Pompeii of the North." Could a few SUVs have saved the Norse settlements?

In the last major glaciation the continental glaciers came south to Indiana. What must early man have done to melt those glaciers back to the Rockies and Cascades?

Undoubtedly Pelto did wonderful work measuring and documenting the retreat of the glaciers, but geologic history has shown those glaciers could advance again or melt completely away. Either result would be completely normal. Glaciers do not get "in trouble" as Pelto says. They do advance, recede, and stagnate. They do not "live" or "die." They are not alive.

Pelto wonders "how people ... will react once they realize what it means to lose these frozen reservoirs." They'll adapt, just like they've always done. What if the continental glaciers come back? How do we explain global warming/cooling? The sun, and especially sunspot activity. Relatively low sunspot activity was used to explain the mini ice age of the 1800s.


That Would Be Courageous, Very Courageous, Mr Prime Minister

Comment from Australia

According to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd the most important challenge that Australia and indeed the world faces is global warming caused by man made carbon emissions. But what if its not? The issue is of such critical importance to the PM that during the last week's `one in a centuary" global financial meltdown, the Australian PM seemed hopelessly out of touch with reality.

As the global financial system and indeed Capitalism teetered on the verge of destruction, the PM's contribution was to announce the government was investing $100 million a year to make Australia the Hub of global climate change fighting technology. His other contribution was to announce a symposium of local government councilors. As Senator Barnaby Joyce put it so well on yesterday -
"This guy [the PM] is getting completely disconnected from what's going on and sooner or later he's going to realise that the main game is actually in this nation, not some other nation."

Indeed it is fair to say that the Kevin Rudd on the advice of his scientific adviser has staked his whole governments future on leading the world in the fight against global warming. But what if its not? What if James Hansen and his global spokesperson Al Gore are really the two swindlers from the fairy tale The Emperors New Clothes?

Certainly research from the Space and Science Research Center (SSRC) which quotes itself on its web site as "the leading science and engineering research company internationally, that specializes in the analysis of and planning for climate changes based upon the "Theory of Relational Cycles of Solar Activity," believes its not. In July of this year John L. Casey, Director of the Space and Science Research Center, Orlando Florida, issued what he described as a landmark declaration on climate change.
"After an exhaustive review of a substantial body of climate research, and in conjunction with the obvious and compelling new evidence that exists, it is time that the world community acknowledges that the Earth has begun its next climate change.

In an opinion echoed by many scientists around the world, the Space and Science Research Center (SSRC), today declares that the world's climate warming of the past decades has now come to an end. A new climate era has already started that is bringing predominantly colder global temperatures for many years into the future.

In some years this new climate will create dangerously cold weather with significant ill-effects world wide. Global warming is over - a new cold climate has begun."

In the statement Professor Casey specifically mentions the difficulty in over coming the dogma of political and media consensus on global warming.
"I have consulted with colleagues world wide who have reached a similar conclusion. They have likewise been attempting to advise their own governments and media of the impending cold era and the difficult times that the extreme cold weather may bring. They are to be commended for their bold public stances and publication of their research which of course has been in direct opposition to past conventional thought on the nature and causes of the last twenty years of global warming. "

Professor Phillip Stott in his article "Cogitative dissonance" details why the media and politician are having such difficulty with the world is not warming paradigm.
"How can you talk of the climate `warming' when, on the key measures, it isn't? .. Such media behaviour exhibits a classic condition known as `cognitive dissonance'

This is experienced when belief in a grand narrative persists blindly even when the facts in the real world begin to contradict what the narrative is saying.

Sadly, our media have come to have a vested interest in `global warming', as have so many politicians and activists.

Casey Goes on:
"Casey detailed the solar activity cycles that have been driving the Earth's climate for the past 1,200 years. He condemned the climate change confusion and alarmism which has accompanied seven separate periods over the past 100 years, where scientists and the media flip-flopped on reporting that the Earth was either entering a new `ice age' or headed for a global meltdown where melting glacial ice would swamp the planet's coastal cities.

Casey also touches on the impacts of the onset of global cooling on Agriculture.
"On the subject of cold climate effects on agriculture, Casey was not optimistic. "I can see," he added, "just like the last time this 206 year cycle brought cold, that there will be substantial damage to the world's agricultural systems. This time however we will have eight billion mouths to feed during the worst years around 2031 compared to previously when we had only one billion. Yet even then, many died from the combined effects of bitter cold and lack of food."

Casey called on all leaders to immediately move from the past global warming planning to prepare for the already started change to a cold climate.
"Now that the new cold climate has begun to arrive, we must immediately start the preparation, the adaptation process. At least because of the RC Theory we now have some advance warning. No longer do we need to wonder what the Earth's next climate changes will be two or three generations out. But we must nonetheless be ready to adjust with our now more predictable solar cycles that are the primary determinants of climate on Earth."

Now I'm not saying that John L Casey has got it right either. Readers should click on the links to his site and read the research. He certainly makes a compelling case and we will actually know if his research is ground breaking within the next 2 decades (as he predicts the planet will be 1-1.5 degrees C cooler between 2030 - 2040).

Certainly it is difficult to give the PM's science adviser James Hansen any where near the credibility that Kevin Rudd does after his warming predictions to date have been wildly inaccurate / over stated and his promotion of the universally discredited Mann Hockey Stick theory.

Is Prime Minister Rudd racing to far ahead of the science on global warming? If he is, he is doing the Nation of Australia and its people an enormous disservice and will be remembered by history as a "fool".

On the other hand if he has backed the right horse in James Hansen / Al Gores take on the science he will be viewed by history as a "great visionary" and will probably end up as head of the UN. One thing is for certain - ` he is willing to put it all on the line, no each way bets for our PM and he won't die wondering'. As a great fan of the BBC series Yes Minister, Sir Humphrey Appleby words of wisdom ring true: "That would be courageous, Minister, very courageous."



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


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Democrats to let offshore drilling ban expire

House Democrats will allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week. Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey is telling reporters that language continuing the moratorium will be omitted this year from a spending bill to keep the government in operating funds after Congress recesses for the election.

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign after gasoline prices soared beyond $4 a gallon this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July. The Interior Department estimates there are 18 billion barrels of recoverable oil beneath coastal waters now off-limits.


Below: Britain's Greenest newspaper blames increased incidence of Legionnaires' disease on global warming

As the figures from Britain's Hadley climate centre show, there has been no global warming since 1998, so the paper CANNOT be right! The disease may be exacerbated by hot weather but you don't need climate change to have hot weather! There have ALWAYS been spells of hot weather!

Britain has suffered its first deaths from infectious disease attributable to global warming, official figures suggest. Cases of Legionnaires' disease, the bacterial lung infection which kills more than one in 10 of those it infects, reached record levels in August and September and experts say the extreme summer weather is the most likely cause of the rise. Doctors say that as the world gets hotter, Britain could be threatened by diseases such as malaria, spreading from the tropics. In 2003, an estimated 2,000 UK deaths, mostly elderly people, were attributed to the 90-degree summer heatwave which was blamed on global warming. But the record levels of Legionnaires' disease reported by the Health Protection Agency this summer are believed to be the first example of an increase in infectious disease in Britain driven by climate change.

Legionnaires' disease is a bacterial infection spread through water. It is not transmitted from person to person and is caught only when infected water is inhaled as a vapour. Hotel showers are a particular risk. There were 128 cases of Legionnaires' in August, the highest since records began in 1980, and more than double the total in August 2005 of 63 cases. To the end of September this year, there have been 340 cases, almost 100 more than in the whole of last year, and the highest for the first nine months of any year. A total of 177 cases were diagnosed in August and September.

Public health experts blame the sudden leap on climate change. The hottest July on record, then a wetter than normal August are thought to have provided ideal breeding conditions for Legionella bacteria. Carol Joseph, a specialist in Legionnaires' at the HPA, said previous peaks had been linked to single outbreaks, such as that in Barrow-in-Furness in 2002 when 179 people were infected by a leaking cooling tower.

But the latest surge covers all regions and cannot be traced to one or two outbreaks. Dr Joseph said: "This latest peak [in August] is exceptional. We think this is some kind of weather effect. There are always more cases in August and September because of the warm weather and because more people stay in hotels. There is a definite link with hotels that have poor water systems and dodgy showers. Only a small proportion of these cases had travelled outside the UK.

Other countries such as Denmark had a similar rise in cases during hot spells of weather, Dr Joseph said. The annual total of cases in Britain is on course to exceed 400 for the first time this year. The total has exceeded 300 every year since 2002, having remained below 200 for the previous 20 years. Improved reporting had contributed to the rise.

Legionnaires' disease affects three times as many men as women and is commoner in those over 50, though it can strike at any age. It starts as a flu-like illness with muscle aches, fever and tiredness then pneumonia. It can be treated with antibiotics.

A Met Office spokesman said July was the hottest July since records began in 1659. In August, temperatures fell, rainfall was 10 per cent above average and sunshine 15 per cent below average. September was also the hottest on record. Asked about global warming, the spokesman said: "It is the sort of thing we would expect to see in accordance with the climate models."


UC hits tree-sitters with a richly deserved surprise

Berkeley's infamous tree-sitters have been hit with a rude surprise since they came down to earth: Judges are socking them with thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees. Ironically, much of the money - which could total more than $10,000 per sitter - is going straight to the University of California, the very institution the tree-sitters were protesting as they tried to save a grove of trees outside Memorial Stadium.

"It's really vindictive," said an attorney for some the sitters, Dennis Cunningham. "They don't have this kind of money." Maybe, but university lawyer Michael Goldstein isn't making any apologies. "We've asked the judge to throw the book at them," Goldstein said flatly.

UC Berkeley estimates it spent more than $800,000 on police and other security measures during the 22 months sitters were up in the trees. The university spent $40,000 alone on the scaffolding that went up around the final tree during the last day of the protest this month. Now, the school wants its pound of flesh.

So far, most of the 15 to 20 protesters arrested in the past year have been hit with fines of about $100 for trespassing and little or no jail time. Once they were back on the street, however, the university hauled them back into court on contempt charges for violating an order issued in October by Judge Richard Keller of Alameda County Superior Court that banned people from sitting in the trees or doing anything to help the protesters already up in the branches.

Protesters Eric Eisenberg, Michael Schuck, Gregg Horton, Terri Slanetz and Matthew Taylor were found guilty last month of violating Keller's injunction. Each was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, and two were sentenced to serve five extra days in jail. The university is also seeking as much as $10,000 from each of them for its attorney fees.

Five more protesters are to go to trial on contempt charges Oct. 1, and UC plans to file a contempt complaint against six others later this month - including the final four tree-sitters who came down Sept. 9. Lawyers on both sides said the tree-sitters' chances of beating the contempt charges are slim. As Cunningham noted, "You were either up in the trees or not. What's to argue?" To which Goldstein added, "Who said free speech is always free?"



by Jeffrey A. Glassman, PhD


Classical and advanced signal analysis techniques applied to the climate data of global temperature, solar wind, and El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) reveal new events and correlations in graphical form. The results include:

1. Major state changes appear in the global temperature record around 1934.4 and 1979.5.

2. A major state change occurred in the solar wind index around 1937 to 1939, and a secondary state change occurred in the 1970s.

3. Major state changes occurred in the Southern Oscillation Index beginning about 1919.3 and 1979.4. A large state change occurred during the brief period of 1940.2 to 1942.0.

4. The state changes are real in the records, but may be due either to data acquisition artifacts or to real physical phenomena.

5. The Southern Oscillation Index has a weak cyclic behavior with a period of 3.38 years.

6. Global temperature lags the Southern Oscillation Index by about 5 months.

7. The global temperature record appears to suffer from excessive processing.

8. High correlations found by other investigators may be the result of prior data smoothing.

9. The low level of correlation between temperature and other parameters may be due to excessive noise, equivalently due to low signal to noise ratio. More importantly, it may be due to the closed loop gain of a mechanism in the climate, unknown to the Consensus on Climate, that regulates global surface temperature.

10. Global temperature is weakly correlated with ENSO. The SOI could account for 4.6% of the measured variation in global temperature.

11. Global temperature and the solar wind index are correlated. The solar wind index may contribute as much as 8.9% of the processed global temperature variations.

12. Global temperature lags the solar wind index by about two to five years.

13. ENSO and the Southern Oscillation affect the global surface temperature. The reverse, that temperature might affect either, is not true.

ENSO may, as the Consensus says, devastate, but it has only half the capacity of the solar wind to warm the planet. By omitting the solar wind, the Consensus underestimates the natural causes of global warming, simultaneously overestimating the anthropogenic sources by the equivalent of two ENSOs, assigning the error to carbon dioxide emissions.

Much more here

Straight out lies from the AP

Greenie writer Seth Borenstein admits below that the sun has cooled but then asserts that a cooling sun will not affect temperatures on earth! Quite aside from being intrinsically improbable, that is demonstrably false. The correlation between solar activity and climate cycles on earth has been known for over 100 years -- though the mechanism is non-obvious. But the recent work by Svensmark has provided a reasonable answer regarding the mechanism

The sun has dialed back its furnace to the lowest levels seen in the space age, new measurements from a space probe show. But don't worry - it's too small a difference to change life on Earth, scientists said Tuesday. In fact, it means satellites can stay in orbit a little longer.

The solar wind - a stream of charged particles ejected from the sun's upper atmosphere at 1 million miles per hour - is significantly weaker, cooler and less dense than it has been in 50 years, according to new data from the NASA-European solar probe Ulysses. And for the first time in about a century, the sun went for two months this summer without sunspots, said NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. That record was broken Monday when a cluster of eight sunspots surfaced. Sunspots are temporary regions of high magnetic activity that from Earth appear to be black splotches.

The cause for the sun's slight weakening seems to be a change in its magnetic flux, said Dave McComas of the Southwest Research Institute. Why it's happening is a mystery, but it has fluctuated like this in the past. Weaker solar winds mean less drag on satellites so they can stay in orbit a bit longer. While that's good for satellites, it also means more space junk.

Normally the sun goes through an 11-year cycle of more, then fewer, sunspots and a similar cycle when it comes to solar wind strength. But scientists said Tuesday the sun is in "a very prolonged minimum." Typically a solar minimum lasts about a year, but this low point has gone on since the summer of 2006.

It is "like turning down the heat on a stove," said McComas, a scientist who used the Ulysses solar probe to document a significantly weaker solar wind. The 17-year-old space probe, which circles the sun from a distance of about 337 million miles, has been studying the environment above and below the poles of the sun. It is just months away from shutting down because of freezing fuel.

Recently, the solar wind has been about 14 percent cooler and 17 percent less dense, according to a paper by McComas in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

For the past 15 years or so, the sun's overall output seems to be lower than normal, even when it was at the maximum for its cycle about eight years ago, McComas said. It may be part of a centurylong trend, said Boston University space physicist Nancy Crooker.

Some people historically have connected sunspots to weather, such as the Old Farmer's Almanac. But solar scientists say there is no evidence to make any connection between solar activity and weather or long-term climate change.


New Australian envy tax watered down to almost nothing

The Greenies protect luxury car buyers!

The Federal Government's luxury car tax increase finally passed parliament's upper house tonight after being heavily amended by cross bench senators. The Government's four bills seek to lift the luxury car tax, which applies to cars worth more than $57,180, from 25 per cent to 33 per cent. The bills were defeated in the Senate earlier this month after Family First Senator Steve Fielding sided with the coalition to vote it down.

However, the Government resurrected the legislation after striking a deal with Senator Fielding to exempt primary producers and tourist operators from the increase. Senator Fielding's amendment was approved last night, against the wishes of the coalition. A Greens amendment to exempt fuel efficient cars from the tax was also passed. Under the Greens amendment, the tax would no longer apply to cars valued up to $75,000 which use no more than seven litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.

Twenty five imported car models - including the Audi A4, BMW 3 series and Jaguar X-type - would be exempted from the tax altogether as a result of the change.

Coalition front bencher Eric Abetz said only about 1500 of the one million cars sold in Australia each year would be affected by that change. "Nobody could argue that this is going to have a serious impact on climate change," Senator Abetz said. "Nothing but window-dressing."

The Senate also agreed to Senator Xenophon's request to apply a sunset clause to the tax's indexation to the controversial consumer price index for motor vehicles (CPIMV). It also approved Senator Xenophon's request to ensure the increase would not apply to people who entered into contracts before the night of the Federal Budget in May, when the Government announced its plan.

But the Senate rejected an Opposition proposal to have the tax increase applied only to vehicles worth more than $90,000. "This is just another part of the raid on the budget surplus," he said. Three of the four bills passed the Senate unchanged. The amended bill will now return to the lower house where the Government will approve the cross bench changes.

Government Senate leader Chris Evans said the legislation had passed with its major components intact. "We think it's a really useful measure, it provides revenue to the government, revenue that will assist us in dealing with really difficult economic times," he told the ABC. Senator Evans said he hoped the Opposition would abandon its stalling tactics and take a more constructive approach to the Government's other Budget bills.



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


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

As earth cools, get Ready For The Global Warming Propaganda

Now that government scientists recognize that the sun's lack of sun spot activity is going to significantly cool the solar system, get ready for the storm of propaganda. You'll hear something to this effect on every major news show and every major newspaper. "Global warming is still real. These colder temperatures just mean it could be a lot colder without global warming. We still must fight global warming because these colder temperatures will not last. We must still significantly reduce our carbon footprint."

Get ready to vomit. The real scientists know CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas with neglible effect on global temperatures and usually follow global warming rather than cause it. The sun and water in the atmosphere are the leading determination of global temperatures.

Increases in CO2 are usually balanced with increased plant life, especially in the oceans, which consume the CO2 and release O2. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere increases crop yield, which in times of food shortages, is actually very desired.

Be wary of scientists on government payroll and scientists and organizations who are paid by the trillionaire international bankers, the Rothschild family with an estimated worth of 100 trillion and Rockefeller family with an estimated net worth 10 trillion. These net worths are conservative estimates and growing exponentially as debts around the globe increase exponentially. They want global carbon tax to consolidate wealth and power globally.


AccuWeather meteorologist: Where is Global Warming??

(Above: Upstate New York after a spring lake-effect storm)

Welcome to my second posting. Hopefully you enjoyed my first, and it is the first of many future blogs. Last week, I came across an article about global cooling due to a decrease in sunspot activity and thus a decrease in the output of energy from the sun. I chose this week's article because it talks about the same thing, but it has a different cause for the cooling. The reason in this article is that changes in huge ocean currents, such as El Nino/ La Nina, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation are absorbing the excess heat in the atmosphere due to the increase in greenhouse gases and forcing it deep in the ocean and causing cooler deep ocean water to the surface, thus cooling the atmosphere. This article from The Tyee made me think about two main ideas, and I would like to read your comments and thoughts about these subjects.

First off, as mentioned by some of you in last week's comments, is there a way to get an accurate read of the temperature and thus temperature change of the earth? If we are not sure if how we measure temperature of the earth is accurate, how can we even debate whether or not climate change is occuring? With "urban heat islands" growing in size, are they influencing our weather stations, causing them to have a warm bias, and ruining our temperature data? Does moving weather stations, adding new ones, and removing some influence temperature data? Is satellite observation of temperature accurate and reliable? I think there can be a spirited debate on whether or not our current readings of the earth's temperature are an accurate representation of what is actually the earth's temperature and thus whether or not the temperature is changing.

Secondly, let's assume that the earth's temperature is changing. What is causing this change? Our climate and atmospheric systems are so complex that would we be able to pick out one thing and say that this or that is causing climate change? Would we be able to say that the change is natural? Man-made? Let's assume that it is a natural cause behind climate change. Would we be able to point out one thing and say that this THE cause, or is there more than one natural cause, or it is a combination of man-made and natural causes? Or are changes dependent on one another, ie. does one change lead to another, and then another? Do these "steps" balance each other out, or do they contribute to one another and "steamroll" in one direction or another? My point here is that, assuming that we can figure out the first problem mentioned (ie. an accurate way to measure temperature and thus temperature change) would we be able to pinpoint what is causing climate change? And, if we get to this point, what can we do to stop it and fix the problem? No wonder why there is so much debate and so many feathers ruffled when climate change is talked about.


UK forecast: 'Arctic winter with heavy snow and plummeting temperatures'

AN Arctic winter with heavy snow and plummeting temperatures lies in store for us all after one of the most miserable summers on record.
And we could even be in for a white Christmas, with the first snow due in December.
But the worst of the weather will come in the New Year, with icy storms bringing disruption to public services, roads, and schools.
The bitter cold will stretch into February, when daytime temperatures could struggle to rise above freezing point.
"It's going to be a colder than average winter," said forecaster Jonathan Powell of Positive Weather Solutions. "We can look forward to a lot of us seeing some snow throughout December, January and February, not to mention some raw temperatures."

There is a 45 per cent chance of snow on Christmas Day, particularly in the North and East, he forecast.
"In mid-February we'll see a sustained cold blast, with penetrating frosts by night, and also the threat of wintry conditions that will bring the UK to a grinding halt.
"Our daytime temperatures will struggle to get above freezing, with the wind-chill factor keeping the `real feel' temperature well below that for a period of time."

Despite the gloomy outlook, the Indian summer looks set to continue until at least the end of September. Much of the country has been enjoying the best weather in more than three months, with this week being the driest since June.
Temperatures will remain at 65F (18C), above the seasonal average, with plenty of sun and little rain.
"It's going to remain very nice indeed over the next 10 days or so," said Sarah Holland of the Met Office. "It is the belated summer eveyone has wanted."


South Africa faces 'winter wonderland' after snow and coldest September temps in recorded history

It is early spring in South Africa but spring is not springing very well

Parts of KwaZulu-Natal were transformed into a "winter wonderland" after snowfalls blanketed several areas of the province. Temperatures plummeted into the low teens, with residents of Kokstad and Giants Castle waking up to 0C. Durban experienced its coldest September night in recorded history on Friday night. Snowfalls were reported in Kokstad, Matatiele, Underberg, Mooi River, Bulwer, Himeville and Nottingham Road.

Several roads in the province were closed and people were advised not to go snow hunting, as they risked becoming stuck in traffic and not being able to keep themselves warm. The road between Harding and Kokstad was closed for most of yesterday, but has since been reopened.

Transport spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha said four accidents had been reported on the N3 freeway between Ashburton and Nottingham road as a result of the snow and several people had been seriously injured. "All motorists on the N3 are urged to reduce their speed," she said. The severe weather also disrupted power supplies in a number of areas including Underberg and Kokstad. Cellphone communication was also down.

The weather service said the cold spell was due to a high pressure system to the east of the country, and an upper air trough brought the cloudy and very cold conditions to parts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The weather service predicted further rain for Sunday.


Kansas Chamber of Commerce lends ear to scientist who disputes man-made global warming

Global warming? So what. That was the message Monday from research scientist and best-selling author Roy Spencer to legislative leaders, lobbyists and leading business officials at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce business and energy summit. Spencer is a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and author of "Climate Confusion."

Spencer doesn't deny that Earth is warming, but he attributes that to natural climate cycles and not to the increase in greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels "There are many of us skeptical of mankind being the cause of global warming," he said. And, he said, increased carbon dioxide is not a bad thing, and can either be absorbed by the environment or have positive effects, such as increased agricultural production.

Most scientists disagree with Spencer's findings. They believe increases in carbon dioxide from human burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, are causing climate changes that, if left unchecked, will result in catastrophic flooding, storms, famine and changes in the environment. But Spencer said nature is always changing in ways that produce winners and losers. Even if mankind is affecting the environment, he asked, "Why is it wrong for the climate to be different because we are here?"

During a question-and-answer session, Stormont-Vail HealthCare president and chief executive officer Maynard Oliverius noted that carbon dioxide emissions have skyrocketed in recent years. "So what?" Spencer said. "What's your point?"

Spencer also advised the several hundred people in attendance not to trust the mainstream media on the topic of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. "You will be misled on what is out there in the scientific literature," he said.

Nancy Jackson, executive director of the Climate and Energy Project at the Land Institute in Salina, attended the forum and said Spencer's talk supported the position of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, which has urged the construction of two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas. The proposed project has been rejected by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius because of concerns about carbon dioxide emissions. "I would clearly prefer that a forum on energy and business in the state of Kansas include diverse viewpoints," Jackson said. "I'm hopeful we will see that in the future."


Greenie laws threaten Australia's gas industry and would INCREASE CO2 emissions

AUSTRALIA'S $15 billion gas industry could shrink by more than a quarter by 2020 unless it is protected from the economic effects of the proposed emissions trading scheme. The industry will use new analysis to reinforce its concerns to the Rudd Government that excluding LNG from compensation under the proposed ETS will stall up to $60billion of new investment, and will actually worsen climate change by forcing developing economies, including China, to build more coal-fired power stations.

The new modelling, by Frontier Economics, estimates the 10 per cent cut in greenhouse emissions by 2020 proposed by the Government's chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, will require a $54 a tonne price for carbon and will slow the economy by nearly 2 per cent over the next 12 years.

Victoria's brown coal industry will be forced to halve its output, while the nation's natural gas and LNG projects would be cut by about 25 per cent because they are not eligible for compensation under the scheme outlined in the Rudd Government's green paper in July.

The Frontier report says LNG and natural gas will suffer from a shrinking electricity market and the perverse effects of downstream industries such as copper and gold processing not receiving compensation under the scheme, while rival sectors such as coal mining will be eligible.

The gas industry's warning of "carbon leakage" - the flight of investment to economies with no carbon price, resulting in no net benefit to the environment - is in direct retaliation to claims made last week that the $15 billion LNG industry should not be protected from a carbon price. A report commissioned by the Climate Institute questioned the effectiveness of any scheme to compensate trade-exposed industries such as LNG without detailed cost-benefit analysis. The analysis by economists McLennan Magasanik Associates said all global LNG resources were already being exploited, so any reduction in Australian production as a result of increased costs under an emissions trading scheme would have no impact on global investment.

But the chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Belinda Robinson, said yesterday less LNG production in Australia meant the emissions of Asia-Pacific countries would worsen as they used coal instead. "If the carbon pollution reduction scheme has the perverse outcome of penalising Australian LNG to the benefit of the Chinese coal industry, there will be massive carbon leakage and the Australian economy and the global environment will suffer for no good reason," she said. "We will be faced with a situation of leakage-plus, where lost Australian LNG production is replaced by coal production. "For every tonne of greenhouse gases emitted in Australia through the production of LNG, between 5.5 and 9.5 tonnes are saved in China."

Energy analysts Wood Mackenzie say Australia is substantially "underweight" as an LNG producer - accounting for only 8 per cent of the global market - and already supplies the most expensive LNG in the Asia-Pacific region.



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


Monday, September 22, 2008

Online Experiment With the Latest Hockey Stick

Ok, two days ago I published a report on the data called The All Important Blade of the Stick Uses Less Than 5% of the Data This report detailed what I consider powerful evidence that Mann and his group may have intentionally manipulated data in creating this paper. I don't say this lightly.

It is very clear that the proxies, which no one is sure represent temperature, were in fact extended using questionable statistics and then correlated to demonstrate that they match measured temperature. The addition of an up slope to 90% of the data was pasted on according to less than 5% of the data. I am very suspicious that this 5% was chosen specifically because of its up slope in recent times. Think about that only 55 series determined the outcome of the majority of the 1209 series data!!

What really tipped it though was that Mann and crew made graphs like this one below. I don't care how good of a statistician you think you are, the PINK extension of this graph is obvious CRAP and has absolutely nothing to do with temperature. A four year old child can pick out that the graph below isn't quite right!

So, my suspicions are so great now that I am putting my butt on the line here. There were 148 proxies available to Mann which were discarded for unknown reasons. These were accidentally posted on an NOAA server as original data for this paper. As far as I can tell these series were not discussed in his paper. Of the 148 - 64 had data in the current years which would have been very useful for calculating the pink extension. Why didn't he like these 64 series?

It is my contention that these series will have a negative slope or more negative slope than the 55 proxies which were used. I have no way of knowing that, but looking at the piles of BS data I have previously noted and considering the pressures on Mann (internal and external) I believe they may have taken the step of intentionally eliminating data which did not support their conclusion!!!

My belief (based only on what I say are suspicious methods) is that the critical end of the latest hockey stick has been created from cherry picked data! The experiment:


I am going to plot first the 5% which was used to put the end on the 1083 data series and I WILL POST IT FIRST. The critical portion of this 5% will be the last 50 years because this is what was used to insert (INVENT) data at the end of 1083 of the 1209 proxies. These proxies (after modification) will have an up slope at the end 50 years!! I have never seen one plotted by itself let alone an average of all of them.


I will plot the average of the 64 series which were long enough to be used for extending (INVENTING) data and I will lay it on top of the first. It is my contention that the up slope in the last 50 years of the rejected data will be visibly less than the up slope of the used data!!

Some proxies (series) will need to be cut from the 64 series group that Mann rejected, i.e. boreholes and Luterbacher simply because he stated he wouldn't use any data with temperature or historical information for pink colored proxy extensions either way. - Just following the paper.

PART 3 - What happens if I am wrong.

If I am wrong I will take the time to actually look up and name the whole Mann group here, list all of them by name and apologize for being so suspicious of them that I even ran this online experiment. Lets do this thang........

The final data!!!!

How did I guess? This experiment could have gone horribly wrong for me. The pink line represents the average of the not used data. Of the 64 series, there were a bunch of Luterbacher datasets so the 64 turned into 46 series to generate the purple line. There will be no apology today!


Mann used a select few data sets to paste an up slope on the end of 90% of the data in his latest paper. The series used to make the pink line above could have been used in the process but were conveniently eliminated from the paper without mention. Mann accidentally posted these series on a national server and cannot eliminate them easily.

It was my guess that these series would have a reduced up slope compared to the data selected in the last 50 years, I had no idea the selected data would demonstrate such an extreme slope so I could have lost. I can't prove it yet but this now looks like deliberate manipulation of data to me!

More here

Global Warming's Boom Bust

Global warming' is sub-prime science, sub-prime economics, and sub-prime politics, and it could well go down with the sub-prime mortgage.

Despite all the undoubted political and economic gloom, the delightful thing about today's Sunday newspapers is the virtual absence of the phrase `global warming'. `Global warming' has been effectively buried, by collapsing banks and plunging markets, by rising energy costs, by internal battling within the Labour Party, by pitbulls and the American election, by real threats, like knife crime and terrorism in Islamabad, and by the fact that, on nearly every bit of current evidence, the world is likely to enter a cooling phase - the BBC please note.

Interestingly, the final part of BBC 2's dire series, `Earth - The Climate Wars', which is to be shown this evening, has also fallen out of the ratings, not even, for example, being suggested under `Choice' in The Sunday Times television listings [see: `Culture', The Sunday Times, September 21, pp. 60 - 61]. Mind you, as I have already pointed out, this seriously-unbalanced programme has been well and truly `flounced', and rightly so, by BBC 1's new four-part costume drama, `Tess of the D'Urbervilles' [see: `Tess Trumps Trumpery', September 16]. The pretty Morris dancers have pranced all over it. And tonight, thank goodness, it doesn't stand a chance, as Angel Clare carries the four milkmaids, one by one, across that famous swollen stream. Guess which programme I'll be watching? Phwoar!

Double Whammy!

The only exception to all this is a double whammy against `global warming' by Christopher Booker writing in The Sunday Telegraph [`Financial crisis: Lehman misses out on carbon credit scam', The Sunday Telegraph, September 21].

First, we should note that Booker is also scathing about `Earth - The Climate Wars' [see the Section (scroll down): `BBC series stitches up sceptics in counter-attack over climate change' - thank goodness I wasn't interviewed!]: "There was no hint that the `hockey stick' is among the most completely discredited artefacts in the history of science, not least thanks to the devastating critique by Steve McIntyre, which showed that the graph's creators had an algorithm in their programme which could produce a hockey-stick shape whatever data were fed into it.

There was scarcely a frame of this clever exercise which did not distort or obscure some vital fact. Yet the `impartial' BBC is sending out this farrago of convenient untruths to schools, ensuring that the `march of the lie' continues."

Actually, I think that the BBC has made a somewhat more fundamental miscalculation. What strikes me about this programme is how old fashioned the whole concept now seems, how out-of-date the trope and the battle. It is as if world economics and politics have not changed dramatically over the last year. The brutal truth is that the `global warming' boom is bust. Fewer and fewer people are interested. Indeed, even I am bored to distraction by it , and as for Goodwife Stott ....

"The Economics Of The Madhouse"

But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Booker exposes the sheer economic idiocy behind `global warming', claiming: "What is the connection between the bankrupt Lehman Brothers [see left: photo by David Shankbone, reproduced under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, Version 1.2 or any later version] and the likelihood that in four years' time our electricity bills will jump another 25 per cent (on top of the rises likely from soaring coal and gas prices)?

The answer is that, before its collapse, Lehman was pitching to become the leader in the vast trade created by the new worldwide regulatory system to `fight climate change' by curbing emissions of carbon dioxide."

He goes on: "Advised by some of the world's leading global warming activists, such as Dr James Hansen and Al Gore (a close friend of the firm's erstwhile managing director Theodore Roosevelt IV), Lehman bought their message wholesale. GIM, the company set up by Gore to sell `carbon offsets' in return for planting trees, was a prized Lehman client.

The particular market that Lehman hoped to dominate is centred on the buying and selling of carbon permits, through the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) set up in 2005, the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the `cap and trade' system proposed for the US by both McCain and Obama. This may still seem abstract but it will affect all our lives, because ultimately we will all be paying for it, through the colossal costs it will impose on industry, not least electricity."

And Booker's overall conclusion is trenchant: "Everything about this grandiose scheme betokens the economics of the madhouse ... What is certain is that it will pile astronomic costs onto everyone in the EU, inevitably impacting most severely on poorer householders that will face bills they cannot afford. The only other certainty - perhaps a consolation - is that those sharing in this bonanza will not include Lehman Brothers, now excluded from cashing in on what threatens to become the maddest scam the world has ever seen."

Now, while I don't know the ins and outs of all this, of one thing I am certain. With a world likely to cool during the next decade, with a world economy set in austere mode, and with the new politics of China, India, Brazil, and the rest, Big Global Warming's boom days are surely coming to an end.


Basic physics rediscovered!

The warmer temperatures of the late 20th century brought more rain! Whoda thunk it?

FETCH the umbrella - global warming and cleaner skies are making it rain more. Martin Wild of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and his colleagues analysed global measurements of solar radiation and rainfall taken between 1986 and 2000. On average, surface solar radiation has increased by 0.21 watts per square metre per year over land, and rainfall has increased by 3.5 millimetres per year (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2008GL034842).

In recent decades, air pollution has dropped, so more sunlight is penetrating the atmosphere, says Wild. Meanwhile, rising levels of greenhouse gases are bouncing radiation back to Earth's surface. The extra energy has fuelled an increase in evaporation. "This intensification of the water cycle means more heavy precipitation events, more flooding, and more landslides, erosion and overloading of water management systems," says Wild.

The analysis only covers land areas, so it isn't clear whether the extra rain is coming from increased evaporation over land or oceans. The effects have not been distributed evenly, says Wild. Local factors, such as winds that carry rain elsewhere, mean some places have become drier, such as the south-west US and southern Asia. Climate Change - Want to know more about global warming: the science, impacts and political debate? Visit our continually updated special report.


Cap and Trade 'would create loopholes and opportunities for scamming on a grand scale'

Next year Congress seems likely to enact a "cap and trade" system to limit carbon dioxide emissions, to curb global warming. But Congress is considering a system that includes a provision called "offsets," which would create loopholes and opportunities for scamming on a grand scale

Cap and trade" is a plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions by selling (or giving) pollution permits (called "allowances") to big polluters. The total number of "allowances" is limited (the cap). If the polluters can reduce their emissions below their permitted amount, they can sell some of their "allowances" to other polluters (the trade) who can use them to continue polluting instead of reducing.

The plan before Congress has one more wrinkle: instead of reducing pollution at home, polluters would be able to earn "credits" by investing in supposedly-less-polluting activities in China or Africa (or anywhere) and thus "earn" the "right" to continue polluting at home because their home emissions are being "offset" by the pollution- reduction projects somewhere else in the world.

Selling these "offsets" is already a big business -- for example, people who feel guilty about flying can buy "offsets" or "credits" to (supposedly) make their flight "carbon neutral." At least that is the theory and the business hype. So what's wrong with this idea? Well, let's look at a fairly simple example: growing green plants to make ethanol (or other "biofuels" like "biodiesel") to power our transportation systems.

In the U.S., a scientific debate about biofuels has been raging for at least 5 years. In 2003, well-known agricultural researcher David Pimentel at Cornell published a paper showing that growing corn to make ethanol fuel requires more energy than it delivers in the ethanol. In other words, corn ethanol is an energy loser that will make global warming (and dependence on foreign oil) worse, not better, Pimentel concluded.

The following year Tad Patzek, an engineer at the University of California at Berkeley, published a paper showing that growing ethanol from corn was even worse than Pimentel had said it was. Because there is so much petroleum hidden in crops (in the fertilizer, the pesticides, the energy to make and run the tractors, and so on), growing ethanol requires more fossil energy than it returns in the ethanol itself, Patzek found.

Critics said, "OK, maybe corn isn't the right crop for making ethanol but what about making ethanol from soybeans or sun flowers or from a fast-growing grass like switchgrass?" In 2005 Patzek and Pimentel argued in a joint paper that growing plants for ethanol required more fossil-fuel energy than the resulting ethanol provided -- no matter whether the ethanol was made from corn or wood or soybeans or sunflowers or switchgrass. These five crops were all energy losers as sources of biofuels, Patzek and Pimental concluded.

With that, the critics of biofuels seemed to have won the debate. Nevertheless, in his state of the union address in January 2006 President Bush hyped the advantages of ethanol from switchgrass. And in 2007 Congress -- based on advice from industry experts -- passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, requiring the U.S. to produce 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels annually starting no later than 2022, with 15 billion of that required to come from corn ethanol. (It turned out this was a boon worth billions of dollars to corn farmers and to big corn processors like Archer Daniels Midland, which has entered the ethanol business in a big way.)

Then in January 2008 U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers published a paper showing that switchgrass ethanol yields a tremendous energy benefit, compared to the fossil fuels fuels required to grow it. They said they differed with Patzek and Pimental on diesel fuel usage, fertilizer requirements, electricity rates and machinery costs, among other things. Suddenly the biofuel advocates seemed to have the upper hand.

However, a month later two papers in Science magazine swung the debate the other way again: one paper showed that ethanol from switchgrass increases carbon emissions by 50% compared to gasoline; the other paper showed that clearing land to produce biofuels releases large quantities of carbon dioxide from the soil and that it takes decades or centuries for the debt to be repaid by burning ethanol instead of gasoline. In other words, in the short term -- precisely the time when we need to be reducing carbon dioxide emissions -- growing biofuels will increase carbon dioxide emissions. Advantage biofuel critics.

But wait -- not so fast!In June and August of this year, two articles were published arguing that biofuels made from algae can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 90% compared to gasoline. Both articles say we could get roughly 5000 gallons (roughly 15 metric tonnes) of fuel per acre per year by growing specially-selected algae in a carbon-dioxide- rich atmosphere in closed containers (closed to keep out wild, unproductive strains of algae and to maintain high levels of CO2). Five thousand gallons per acre is roughly 10 times the yield of corn ethanol and 100 times the yield of soybean ethanol. Advantage biofuel enthusiasts.

But could this make a dent in U.S. petroleum use? The U.S. uses roughly 4 billion (4E9) tonnes of petroleum each year. If we could grow algae to produce 15 tonnes of fuel per acre we would need 4E9/15 = 250 million acres of land, which is more than half the 450 million acres of cropland in the U.S. This is a ballpark calculation with every number rounded. But by any measure, it's a tremendous amount of land. And it is land that must be dedicated to biofuels, unlike wind turbine or even solar panels on tall stilts, which could allow other land uses like crops or grazing beneath them.

So what is the carbon impact of biofuels? As a writer in Environmental Health Perspectives concluded in June, "The answer depends on a slew of unknowns." What can we learn from this? Calculating the energetics of growing a crop to make fuel seems simple enough -- until you get into the details. It turns out the results are dependent upon dozens or hundreds of variables, many of them specific to a particular place -- soil type, soil carbon content, soil moisture, rainfall (including rainfall intensity, not just total rainfall), local pest populations, the particular cultivar, till or no-till... and on and on.

Will consultants in Kenya or Brazil (or on Wall Street) be able measure the actual carbon emission "savings" from a project that is planting, say, genetically-engineered Eucalyptus trees on depleted soil in Brazil so that a coal-fired power plant in Ohio can purchase an "offset" and take credit for reducing global emissions overall? If the best-known agricultural scientists in U.S. universites, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cannot reproduce each other's results -- how will "carbon offset consultants" be able to do it? After all, consultants on both sides of the bargain have an incentive to overestimate the carbon savings gained through each "offset." Both the buyer and the seller gain if someone fudges the numbers toward the high side and claims a carbon reduction where none exists.

Ordinarily, open scientific debate can resolve issues such as these. But with tens or hundreds of billions of dollars at stake -- at a time when the Wall Street banks have lost more than a trillion dollars on bad loans and are desperate to recoup their losses -- it is difficult to remain optimistic that mere facts will carry the day. No matter what the facts may be, some consulting scientist can always be found to put his or her name on a "research" paper ghost-written by an investment bank, a chemical company, or an oil giant, the purpose being to keep doubt and confusion alive.

It has happened before. Indeed, in the field of global warming science, this is widely known to be business as usual. In sum, cap and trade with offsets has the potential to become one of the largest business scams ever conceived. Wall Street banks are expecting this to be a new source of enormous profits regardless of whether it alleviates global warming. The enormous profits may indeed materialize. But in the process the "offsets" gimmick could very well (a) cause the entire cap and trade system to lose public confidence and thus fail; (b) increase rather than decrease global warming; and (c) cost us a crucial decade or more while the consultants confuse us into thinking things are going well when, in fact, the planet is being roasted alive.


Greenie jet unsafe

I am guessing here but I am almost certain that a major selling point for such a light plane was its low use of resources -- both in building it and in the fuel used to fly it. That would certainly explain the easy ride it got from the regulators

Federal aviation officials approved a new type of small jet despite problems with the plane's design and production, overruling safety concerns voiced by government engineers, inspectors and test pilots, according to federal and congressional investigators. Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin Scovel said in testimony prepared for a congressional hearing Wednesday that Federal Aviation Administration officials hastily certified the Eclipse 500 very light jet for flight despite "unresolved design problems" and such significant production problems that the manufacturer - Eclipse Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M. - had difficulty reproducing the jet.

The House transportation committee's staff, which also investigated FAA's approval of the Eclipse, said in a briefing paper for panel members that "there is a disturbing suggestion that there was a 'cozy relationship' and reduced level of vigilance" by the agency during the jet's approval process.

Even though the plane represented a new type of aircraft, powered by a new technology and produced by a new manufacturer, the FAA appears to have exercised much less scrutiny than when it certifies new aircraft produced by more established manufacturers, the briefing paper said. It recommended a review of FAA's entire aircraft certification program.

Very light jets are small aircraft usually seating five to 10 people with advanced technologies that cost less than other business jets. The FAA has been promoting the jets for several years as a means to bring convenient, fast air service to smaller communities. Aviation forecasters predict thousands of very light jets will start flying over the next two decades, servicing a new market for on-demand, point-to-point air taxis. The Eclipse weighs slightly less than 6,000 pounds - about the size of a fully loaded sport utility vehicle - and flies up to 425 miles per hour. About 250 of the jets are in service.

The FAA has been the target of strong criticism from Congress in recent months that it places too much emphasis on serving the needs of airlines and aircraft manufacturers and promoting commercial aviation rather than its primary mission, which is public safety. The agency and its defenders counter that modern aviation is so complex that safety is often better served by a climate in which airlines, manufacturers and others feel able to bring safety issues to the attention of regulators without fear of punitive action.

Nicholas Sabatini, FAA's associate administrator for safety, rejected investigators' findings that the agency ran roughshod over employees concerned about the Eclipse's safety. "FAA professionals would never - and in this case did not - certify an aircraft that they knew to be unsafe or one that did not meet standards," Sabatini said in prepared testimony.

Peg Billson, Eclipse's president and general manager, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Eclipse's safety record "is comparable if not better than any other" small or business airplane "that's been certified in the last 20 years." She said the planes have been flown 32,000 hours by 375 pilots "without a death or an injury." Billson also complained that Scovel did not interview Eclipse officials during his investigation, which is still under way. She said company officials are "confident they didn't get any special consideration. Nor did the FAA usurp any of their regulations during the entire process of certifying this airplane."

However, Scovel and other witnesses cite repeated instances in their testimony in which FAA officials applied pressure and stretched rules to gain the aircraft's design and production certifications, even removing some employees who raised safety concerns from the agency's certification team. Among the inspector general's findings:

The FAA gave Eclipse Aviation the power to approve and document aircraft parts as they were manufactured - an unusual move given Eclipse was "a new manufacturer with no history of manufacturing an aircraft or shepherding a design through the design certification process." FAA inspectors later found numerous deficiencies on the plane that had been accepted and approved by Eclipse inspectors.

The agency replaced the production inspection team that found deficiencies with the Eclipse and then limited the ability of the new inspection team "to fully inspect the aircraft for airworthiness."

The FAA chose to certify the Eclipse - as well as other light jets - using certification requirements for smaller, business aircraft with older technology rather than the more stringent requirements that apply to commercial airliners that have similar technology.

More than 80 "service difficulty reports" have been filed with the FAA by aircraft operators on problems they've encountered with the Eclipse. While service difficulty reports are to be expected with any new aircraft, Scovel said it is "troubling" that many of the problems "appear to relate back to design issues." For example, on June 5 a throttle failed on an Eclipse approaching Chicago's Midway Airport, resulting in both engines getting stuck on maximum power. The pilots were able to make an emergency landing. At the behest of the National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA issued a safety directive related to the throttle.

The NTSB, which investigated the incident, expressed concern the root of the problem might be a flaw in the design of the software that controls the engines. A re-examination of the software by FAA engineers found the flaw, which the manufacturer is currently working on.


Agricultural economists warn Australian agriculture is doomed under Emissions Trading Scheme

The current and former heads of ABARE have joined the growing chorus of Agricultural Economist who are warning that the Emissions Trading Scheme will have dire consequences for Australia's trade exposed Agricultural industry. Dr Brian Fisher, former head of ABARE for 18 years has expressed grave fears for the future of Australian Agriculture under the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme.

"Introducing a scheme ahead of other nations was not prosecuting Australia's national interest, it was prosecuting somebody else's and we are going to be damned if we do. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by going first here. We are a very, very small country. We constitute about 1.3 odd per cent of emissions on the planet. The government should focus its domestic climate change policy on adaptation because it will be "years" before there is an international agreement on emissions trading between the 190 countries involved in the ongoing negotiations."

Dr Fisher's views reinforce what Agmates said in the article: "ETS in Aust & NZ will Zero impact on global emissions" In fact if you are one of the 1,000's of informed Agmates readers you will have know for at least 2 months that the ETS in its existing form is disastrous for Australian farmers. Rural Press finally 10 weeks later have picked up on that fact. On the 5th of July we wrote:.
"What the main stream media have missed in the flood of coverage is the potential devastation to rural Australia the emission trading scheme will be."

Dr Fisher's successor at ABARE Phillip Glyde, supports his views. He points out that regardless of whether or not agriculture was included in the ETS from 2010, the impacts on farming through the use of emission intensive inputs would be significant.
"In the cropping sector, 39 per cent of the input costs to cropping came from emission-intensive inputs, while in livestock those costs were about 17 per cent. There's only one solution to all of this, particularly while the rest of the world doesn't introduce an ETS or have emissions trading schemes excluding agriculture - it is to continue down the path of productivity improvements.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), located in Canberra, is the Australian government's own economic research agency and is respected for its professional independent research and analysis. It is incredible that the chief architects of the Emissions Trading Scheme Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong are ignoring their own Economic experts advice.


Global cooling hits Western Australia

PERTH today shivered awake to its coldest September morning on record. The overnight temperature fell to a chilly 1C just before 6am. The previous coldest September morning was 1.5C, which was recorded in 2005.



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


Sunday, September 21, 2008

How Wall Street Lied to Its Computers

If the top-flight mathematicians employed by Wall St firms got their models disastrously wrong, what does it say about other complex models?

That's what has been running through my head as I watch some of the oldest and seemingly best-run firms on Wall Street implode because of what turned out to be really bad bets on mortgage securities. Before I started covering the Internet in 1997, I spent 13 years covering trading and finance. I covered my share of trading disasters from junk bonds, mortgage securities and the financial blank canvas known as derivatives. And I got to know bunch of quantitative analysts ("quants"): mathematicians, computer scientists and economists who were working on Wall Street to develop the art and science of risk management. They were developing systems that would comb through all of a firm's positions, analyze everything that might go wrong and estimate how much it might lose on a really bad day.

We've had some bad days lately, and it turns out Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and maybe some others bet far too much. Their quants didn't save them. I called some old timers in the risk-management world to see what went wrong. I fully expected them to tell me that the problem was that the alarms were blaring and red lights were flashing on the risk machines and greedy Wall Street bosses ignored the warnings to keep the profits flowing. Ultimately, the people who ran the firms must take responsibility, but it wasn't quite that simple.

In fact, most Wall Street computer models radically underestimated the risk of the complex mortgage securities, they said. That is partly because the level of financial distress is "the equivalent of the 100-year flood," in the words of Leslie Rahl, the president of Capital Market Risk Advisors, a consulting firm. But she and others say there is more to it: The people who ran the financial firms chose to program their risk-management systems with overly optimistic assumptions and to feed them oversimplified data. This kept them from sounding the alarm early enough.

Top bankers couldn't simply ignore the computer models, because after the last round of big financial losses, regulators now require them to monitor their risk positions. Indeed, if the models say a firm's risk has increased, the firm must either reduce its bets or set aside more capital as a cushion in case things go wrong. In other words, the computer is supposed to monitor the temperature of the party and drain the punch bowl as things get hot. And just as drunken revelers may want to put the thermostat in the freezer, Wall Street executives had lots of incentives to make sure their risk systems didn't see much risk.

"There was a willful designing of the systems to measure the risks in a certain way that would not necessarily pick up all the right risks," said Gregg Berman, the co-head of the risk-management group at RiskMetrics, a software company spun out of JPMorgan. "They wanted to keep their capital base as stable as possible so that the limits they imposed on their trading desks and portfolio managers would be stable."

One way they did this, Mr. Berman said, was to make sure the computer models looked at several years of trading history instead of just the last few months. The most important models calculate a measure known as Value at Risk - the amount of money you might lose in the worst plausible situation. They try to figure out what that worst case is by looking at how volatile markets have been in the past. But since the markets were placid for several years (as mortgage bankers busily lent money to anyone with a pulse), the computers were slow to say that risk had increased as defaults started to rise. It was like a weather forecaster in Houston last weekend talking about the onset of Hurricane Ike by giving the average wind speed for the previous month.

But many on Wall Street did even worse, as Mr. Berman describes it. They continued to trade very complex securities concocted by their most creative bankers even though their risk management systems weren't able to understand the details of what they owned. A lot of deals were nonstandard in many ways, "so you really had to go through the entire prospectus and read every single line to pick up all the nuances," Mr. Berman said. "And that slows down the process when mortgage yields looked very attractive."

So some trading desks took the most arcane security, made of slices of mortgages, and entered it into the computer if it were a simple bond with a set interest rate and duration. This seemed only like a tiny bit of corner-cutting because the credit-rating agencies declared that some of these securities were triple-A. (20/20 hindsight: not!) But once the mortgage market started to deteriorate, the computers were not able to identify all the parts of the portfolio that might be hurt. Lying to your risk-management computer is like lying to your doctor. You just aren't going to get the help you really need.

All this is not to say that the models would have gotten things right if only they were fed the most accurate information. Ms. Rahl said that it was now clear that the computers needed to assume extra risk in owning a newfangled security that had never been seen before. "New products, by definition, carry more risk," she said. The models should penalize investments that are complex, hard to understand and infrequently traded, she said. They didn't. "One of the things that has caused great pain is complex products," [And there's not much that is more complex than climate!] Ms. Rahl said.

That made me think back to some of the great trading debacles of the last century, such as the collapse of Askin Capital Management, a hedge fund that fell apart because of complex mortgage security investments gone bad. Wasn't the moral of those stories that you shouldn't put your money (or your client's money) in something you didn't understand? Furthermore, even if you are convinced you do understand it, you're not going to be able to sell it when you need the money if no one else does. "In some ways there is nothing new," said Ms. Rahl, who helped investigate what went wrong at Askin. "The big deals are front-page news, then they go into the recesses of people's memories."

And, ultimately, the most important risk-management systems are the ones that have gray hair. "It's not just the Ph.D.'s who must run risk management," Ms. Rahl said. "It is the people who know the markets and have lifelong perspective." And at too many firms it is those people who failed to make sure the quants really did their jobs.


Alaskan professor continues to question sources of global warming

Now that Sarah Palin has turned Alaska into a Leftist boogeyman, the "Alaskan" in the heading above is going to give any Green/Leftist a horn

A University of Alaska Fairbanks professor emeritus known for his belief that carbon dioxide is not the sole cause of climate change presented his latest research Thursday. More than 40 researchers and students gathered into a room at the International Arctic Research Center, now named after Syun-Ichi Akasofu, for the hour-long presentation. "Retirement is good because I can spend the time to correct information," Akasofu said.

For several years now, Akasofu has put forward the idea that while the world was warming for most of the 20th century, it stopped warming sometime around 2000 or 2001. He clarified Thursday that according to his latest research, the oceans have stopped warming since that time, but it appears as if temperatures are still rising if one only looks at land temperatures.

Akasofu also was skeptical of reported changes in lan d temperature, however. For example, he noted that while many scientists claim global temperatures have risen slightly less than one degree on average across the past few decades, their studies don't take urbanization into account. Tokyo, he said, appears to have warmed four degrees, but that does not take into account the fact that the number of dark manmade structures that absorb heat, raising temperatures in their vicinity.

The retired geophysics professor also questioned the accuracy of readings from weather stations where no one is there to regularly monitor the equipment. "A friend of mine found one station where the temperature gauge was just outside the air conditioner," he said.

Still, Akasofu doesn't completely deny the existence of climate change, so much as question what causes it. One culprit he suggested is the recent lack of sunspots. "Something is happening on the sun," he said. "There are no sunspots when there should be 50-100 right now, so people warn the sun has become warmer."

A similar phenomenon was observed between 1650 and 1700, which coincides with what researchers call the Little Ice Age, a period of widespread cooling that came shortly after a warming trend may have peaked sometime around 1000 AD.

However, Akasofu didn't necessarily connect that warming period to what the planet is experiencing now. "Some people say i t was a degree higher or about the same, but there were no thermometers, so how accurate were they?" he said.


Endless Winter: 'It is difficult to know when last winter ends and this winter begins' in Europe

With skiing and snowboarding continuing at a few European ski areas all year round, it is difficult to know when last winter ends and this winter begins. But some glacier resorts that closed in the Spring or Summer re-open in September and stay open right through to next Spring 2009, so September seems the best candidate for the month of the year in which to declare the new ski season 2008-9 officially underway!

Fortunately, mother nature is playing ball too, with snow in the Alps last weekend. Although it is not yet open, www.Skiinfo.com reported that Val d'Isere received 9cm (just under four inches) of fresh snow at the weekend with more forecast later this week, building up their base ready for the season. It was a similar story across many other ski areas and www.Skiinfo.com works in partnership with the resorts to deliver the latest conditions several times daily....

The Dachstein Glacier re-opens for winter 2008-9 this Saturday, September 20th after a month's closure for annual maintenance. The first ski lift to open will be the "Austriascharte" serving slopes that are currently reporting a 50cm (20 inch) snow base with temperatures on the glacier below zero and thus helping to maintain snow quality....

Elsewhere in the Alps, some ski areas haven't really closed since last winter, are still open today and will stay open through to next winter. These include the Tux and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers in Austria. Tux is currently reporting 20cm of fresh snow and a 75cm base, but the Kitzsteinhorn glacier is not in such good shape and has had to suspend skiing temporarily whilst awaiting more fresh snow on top of the 4cm recently received.


Record snow in New Zealand

Another 24 hours of snow falling on the southern slopes of Mt Ruapehu has seen Turoa's snow base reach a record five metres today. In mid-August, the snow measuring stake at Turoa had to be extended from its previous maximum of 3.8m to allowed continued measurement as the snow kept coming. The skifield set a record for any ski area in New Zealand when its snow base reached 4.5m.

With the snow stake measuring 4.88m on Monday, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts announced that Turoa would extend its season until November 16. The Whakapapa side of the mountain currently has a base of 3.77m, the deepest since 1995.

Mt Ruapehu marketing manager Mike Smith said the continuous snowfalls from mid-July to late August had created the record conditions. Whakapapa plans to close as scheduled at Labour Weekend but will reopen for Christmas skiing from Boxing Day until early January 2009 if sufficient snow remains, Mr Smith said.


Chemist calls agw fears a 'blind adherence to people who don't know what they are talking about'

I have written a lot about global warming in this column challenging the argument that you and I are responsible. I do it to provide balance to the media coverage. They have failed to print both sides of this story. When questioned, many reporters say "the debate is over!" That's not their job! Back in the days when real journalism was practiced, we got both sides. The debate is never over as long as there is a strong argument from both sides of any question.

The media elite have bought into the propaganda that you and I are responsible. Yet, there are numerous experts who say the proponents are wrong. Their stories are not being told, which means pro-global warming tactics (to silence the opposition) have worked. "The argument is over," they declare. What that says to me is, "we're too lazy to investigate the other side." There are hundreds and perhaps even thousands of scientists out their that have their doubts about "man made global warming."

Here in Paradise we have a well-qualified voice speaking out against what many call the, "Global Warming Myth." His name is Paul Crapuchettes, who spent his lifetime working with General Electric and Litton Industries designing electron tubes. He also spent time overseeing the preservation of marshes and wetlands. "Opinions are opinions, not facts," he said. "We've known about greenhouse gases since the early 1800s green house gas (was discovered) in the early 1800s. The atmosphere was a greenhouse." We pay "carting costs" to haul waste that releases CO2 that, " should go to a digester, rather than the dump," he concludes.

Crapuchettes has strong qualifications. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and as a chemist he said the calculations to develop the global the warming theory have not been properly carried out.

"They (pro-global warming enthusiasts) only look at CO2 they need to check all gasses and the change in inventory and that's not being done!" The retired chemist notes, "we don't have enough data we have to know what's going on everywhere on the planet we have 17,000 weather stations in the world nowhere near enough (to get adequate data)."

He says our press corps is the major problem because they prefer using inadequate data and information to amplify problems that do not exist. "The spotted owl was not endangered yet thousands lost their jobs because of irrational and thoughtless reporting by the mainstream media." He's also challenging the idea of using "ethanol" as a means to eliminate carbon in the environment noting such actions will drive up the cost of food, and lower the mileage we presently get on gasoline produced in our refineries.

He believes the global warming movement is a, " blind adherence to people who don't know what they are talking about. Character assassination (a trait of the pro-global warming crowd who get angry when they are challenged) is abhorrent to me." The retired chemist concludes, " somebody has established an imperial relationship between themselves and melting ice they don't know why!" He concludes those pushing the issue such as Al Gore, " don't know what they are talking about."

Crapuchetts believes pro-global warming advocates are not using proper calculations to reach their conclusions. "They only use CO2 they need (to analyze) all gasses," he said, "then check the change in inventory (of those gasses), and there's no evidence that is being done! "We don't have enough data (to set up proper models)," he continued, " (to do that) we have to know what's going on everywhere on the planet." I'm a journalist, not a scientist, and I can't say at this time global warming is either a myth or fact. But, I know when we are being fed inadequate data to make claims about climate change that simply have not been proven.

Crapuchettes has worked in both the private and public sectors. Besides developing electron tubes, he's also worked in the environmental field over seeing marshes and other environmental habitats including Suisun marsh in the North part of San Francisco Bay, studying their relationship to our environmental balance.

It's more than unfortunate that reporters in the so-called main stream media will not talk to people like Crapuchettes and many others like him who are willing to speak out on the issue. There are many scientists on the college campuses who know Crapurchettes is right but are afraid to say so.

Anyone who has spent time on a University of California campus in recent years will tell you about the "tyrannical atmosphere" developing between social and "real" scientists.

Those that speak out on some campuses do so at the risk of losing their jobs, and that is dangerous. Only the media elite, social scientists and politicians support the global warming theory. Real scientists know we have a lot more to investigate before we make any solid conclusions.

We all need to pay more attention to people with solid credentials like Paul Crapuchettes, and less attention to "pseudo-scientists," like Al Gore.


Is Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd another James Hansen Disciple?

If you still have doubts about whether man made climate change is real, stop it because according to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:
We must prepare for a low-carbon economy, to delay any longer, to stay in denial as the climate change skeptics and some members opposite would have us do, is reckless and irresponsible.

The Prime Minister made that statement in an unexpected and impassioned speech yesterday near the end of a long parliamentary debate on a government bill that clears the way for millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide to be stored under the sea. Throughout the speech Rudd emphasized the need for URGENT action:
Expert analysis points to severe global and national consequences including rising sea levels, more severe weather events, water shortages, large-scale migration, increased threats to border security, loss of infrastructure and regional conflict over increasingly scarce resources.

He finished up with the following emotional call to action (more about this later):
"For our generation, for our kids and future generations, we must act now."

The Prime Minister has continually maintained that he takes his advice from the IPCC science on this matter. But who are these expert analysts? From the Prime Minister's agenda and language it would appear that his adviser on the science is none other than James Hansen. Hansen is the father of the Global warming alarmist movement since the 1980's and just happens to be AlGore's science adviser.

A personal letter written from James Hansen written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the 27th of March 2008 is most revealing. You can click through and read the letter in full at the Crikey web site, but here are some extract that show Rudd parroting what Hansen has written: In the letter Hansen urges Rudd to act - just notice how he plays to Rudd's ego and his ambition to be a major player on the world stage. Hansen lays it on with a trowel.
I recognize that for years you have been a strong supporter of aggressive forward-looking actions to mitigate dangerous climate change. Also, since your election as Prime Minister of Australia, your government has been active in pressing the international community to take appropriate actions. We are now at a point that bold leadership is needed, leadership that could change the course of human history.

Hansen then goes on to say the situation is URGENT, NEAR critical tipping points and then spells out what COULD happen:
"Global climate is near critical tipping points that could lead to .. progressive, unstoppable global sea level rise, shifting of climatic zones with extermination of many animal and plant species, reduction of freshwater supplies for hundreds of millions of people, and a more intense hydrologic cycle with stronger droughts and forest fires, but also heavier rains and floods, and stronger storms driven by latent heat, including tropical storms, tornados and thunderstorms.

Funny that's exactly what Rudd has been telling the Australian Public, almost word for word. Then Hansen goes on to chronicle the dangers of coal and recommend the development of the very thing that Rudd unexpectantly spoke so passionately about in Parliament yesterday, carbon capture. -
"Due to the dominant role of coal, solution to global warming must include phase-out of coal except for uses where the CO2 is captured and sequestered. Yet there are plans for continuing mining of coal, export of coal, and construction of new coal-fired power plants around the world, including in Australia, plants that would have a lifetime of half a century or more."

Then Hansen lays it on with a trowel again. Note the word COULD
Your leadership in halting these plans COULD seed a transition that is needed to solve the global warming problem. If Australia halted construction of coal-fired power plants that do not capture and sequester the CO2, it could be a tipping point for the world. There is still time to find that tipping point, but just barely. I hope that you will give these considerations your attention in setting your national policies. You have the potential to influence the future of the planet.

Prime Minister Rudd, we cannot avert our eyes from the basic fossil fuel facts, or the consequences for life on our planet of ignoring these fossil fuel facts. If we continue to build coal-fired power plants without carbon capture, we will lock in future climate disasters associated with passing climate tipping points. We must solve the coal problem now.

To finish, Hansen recommends 7 Australian scientist who are his disciples.... Oh don't forget the references to the little children. Hansen said:
Prospects for today's children, and especially the world's poor, hinge upon our success in stabilizing climate.

Or here from Hansen's report on his lobbying trips to the UK, Germany & Japan in July
If we continue to ignore obvious geophysical facts about the magnitude of fossil fuel reservoirs, our children and grandchildren will have little reason to forgive our obtuseness.

Kevin Rudd in Parliament yesterday:
"For our generation, for our kids and future generations, we must act now."

Or Here from his appearance on 60 minutes.
Look at your kids in the eye tonight and ask yourself this question - "If we have this much evidence available to us now "on climate change and just refuse to act, "then what are the consequences for them?"

It's comforting to know that an American NASA professor who cannot convince his own government to sign the Kyoto protocol is driving Australia to leading the world into a carbon constrained future. It appears that on the advice of a one US professor Kevin Rudd is about to launch Australia into the greatest shake up of our economy the nation has ever seen. By the time the Kevin Rudd / James Hansen agenda is in place we will be poorer as a nation, but at least we'll be cleaner.

Oh sorry I forgot because we only represent 1.3% of world CO2 emissions, cutting our Greenhouse gas emission will actually have zero impact on world emissions. But its important to be seen on the world stage as a visionary leader and savior of the planet, when you spend as much time overseas as Kevin Rudd does. Isn't it Kevin?



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


Saturday, September 20, 2008


And it was done without uttering an untruth!

Arguably the most influential graphic from the latest IPCC report is Figure SPM.2 from the IPCC WG 2's Summary for Policy Makers (on the impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change). This figure, titled "Key impacts as a function of increasing global average temperature change", also appears as Figure SPM.7 and Figure 3.6 of the IPCC Synthesis Report (available here). Versions also appear as Table 20.8 of the WG 2 report, and Table TS.3 in the WG 2 Technical Summary. Yet other versions are also available from the IPCC WG2's Graphics Presentations & Speeches, as well as in the WG 2's "official" Power Point presentations, e.g., the presentation at the UNFCCC in Bonn, May 2007 (available here).

Notably the SPMs, Technical Summary, Synthesis Report, and the versions made available as presentations are primarily for consumption by policy makers and other intelligent lay persons. As such, they are meant to be jargon-free, easy to understand, and should be designed to shed light rather than to mislead even as they stay faithful to the science. Let's focus on what Figure SPM.2 tells us about the impacts of climate change on water.

The third statement in the panel devoted to water impacts states, "Hundreds of millions of people exposed to increased water stress." If one traces from whence this statement came, one is led to Arnell (2004). [Figure SPM.2 misidentifies one of the sources as Table 3.3 of the IPCC WG 2 report. It ought to be Table 3.2. ]

What is evident is that while this third statement is correct, Figure SPM.2 neglects to inform us that water stress could be reduced for many hundreds of millions more - see Table 10 from the original reference, Arnell (2004). As a result, the net global population at risk of water stress might actually be reduced. And, that is precisely what Table 9 from Arnell (2004) shows. In fact, by the 2080s the net global population at risk declines by up to 2.1 billion people (depending on which scenario one wants to emphasize)!

And that is how a net positive impact of climate change is portrayed in Figure SPM.2 as a large negative impact. The recipe: provide numbers for the negative impact, but stay silent on the positive impact. That way no untruths are uttered, and only someone who has studied the original studies in depth will know what the true story is. It also reminds us as to why prior to testifying in court one swears to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

More here

NASA reveals 'sun's solar wind is at a 50-year low'

Cooling on the way! So spin, spin, spin!

NASA will hold a media teleconference Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 12:30 p.m. EDT, to discuss data from the joint NASA and European Space Agency Ulysses mission that reveals the sun's solar wind is at a 50-year low. The sun's current state could result in changing conditions in the solar system.

Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment above and below the poles of the sun. The reams of data Ulysses returned have changed forever the way scientists view our star and its effects. The venerable spacecraft has lasted more than 17 years - almost four times its expected mission lifetime.


Figures plucked out of the air

Comment by Prof. S.F. Singer

A new paper by Ramanathan and Feng [PNAS 17 Sept 2008], using IPCC estimates of climate sensitivity, concludes that the observed increase in GH gases has already committed the world to a warming of 2.4 degC [1.4-4.3 degC] above pre-industrial values. Any additional release of GHG would further increase the warming during the 21st century. Even the most aggressive CO2 mitigation cannot reduce the already committed warming of 2.4 degC.

Hmm, so all the calamities envisioned by Gore et al. will come true no matter what we do. Well not quite. First, and most important, the increase in GHG likely has nothing to do with the observed 20th century of 0.6 degC [see NIPCC Report].

And secondly, what about the crucial threshold temperature increase of 2 degC. Where did that come from? I think I can shed some light on this. An article I wrote in the Eos Forum [1997] was prompted by the claims of Swedish meteorologists Rodhe and Azar [1997] that the present level of CO2 would lead to a warming of 2 degC. And -- an obscure report by the Stockholm Environment Institute - likely a self-reference - had demonstrated that such a condition would be "dangerous to the climate system" (in the sense of Article 2 of the Global Climate Treaty).

They argued that one must reduce the CO2 concentration by reducing emissions by 60-80 percent. But there is sufficient evidence that historic temperatures exceeded the 2 degC level without having "endangered" the climate system [Singer 1998].

So how did 2 degC become so widely accepted as the `critical' level? I think it's because it is the "Goldilocks" solution: not too small, not too large, just right. If Rodhe and Azar had picked, say 0.5 degC, then we would all be long since dead, with the climate system in ruins, and nothing could help us. Perhaps people who moved to the Antarctic could survive, to paraphrase Sir David King. On the other hand, if they had picked 5.0 degC, then there would have been no need to do anything to mitigate CO2.

Apparently, enough political types thought that a 60-80 percent reduction was "reasonable" and doable. The Stern report propagates this kind of nonsense. That's what makes the Ramanathan-Feng paper so poignant. If R-F are correct and if Al Gore is correct, then the situation is hopeless and we might as well live it up.


Azar, C., and H. Rodhe, Targets for stabilization of atmospheric CO2, Science, 276, 1818-1819, 1997.

Singer, S. F., Unknowns about climate variability render treaty targets premature Eos, Trans. AGU, 78. 584, 1997.

Singer, S.F., Reply. EOS, Trans. AGU, 79, page 188, April 14,1998

Source. (Post of 20th.)


Writing about anything other than the financial crisis today seems akin to the house journalist on the Titanic penning an article on flower arranging - two hours after the ship hit the iceberg. The tale is told, though, of passengers on the deck some hours after the impact enjoying snowball fights, heedless of the danger they were in.

One is also conscious of the Jo Moore dictum that days like today are an extremely good time to bury bad news. While the media attention is focused on the gathering storm of the financial meltdown (or not), many other things are happening. One of those things is the latest bizarre (a word I am beginning to over-use . does anyone know a better one?) development in the long-running saga of the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) - that arcane subject which no one really wants to talk about but which, in the fullness of time is going to cost us all (collectively) many billions.

Anyhow, pushing the story on is The Guardian which tells us that "leaked papers" show that Britain is "trying to weaken plan for EU carbon cuts." See here. This is a move, storms this distinctly greenie paper which would "reduce efforts to cut domestic pollution" - by which, of course it means carbon dioxide, which isn't pollution at all, but never mind.

What this is all about is a British inspired idea (although other have had the same thought) of using carbon credits awarded to con artists entrepreneurs in the developing world who have learnt how to milk the system installed energy-saving technology and thus done their bit to make money save the planet.

Behind all this is that monument to insanity the ETS which, as readers will be aware, creates carbon allowances (called EU allowances or EUAs in the trade) to auction to industry, thus giving them permission to produce carbon dioxide and thus stay in business. Tied in with this is a plan, year on year, to reduce the number of allowances available, the theory being that this increases the cost of the allowances and thus creates a financial incentive to invest in carbon reduction measures which, collectively will reduce emissions and enable the EU to meet its self-imposed emission reduction targets.

That, at least, is the theory, with the major target being the electricity generation industry. And when the scheme was dreamed up, the EU was convinced that this would be achieve by moving away from burning fossil fuel - and especially coal - and creating zillions of giant subsidy wind farms, all with "zero" emissions.

However, no one with more than two brain cells (which of course excludes most greenies) is now labouring under the impression that wind energy is going to deliver the goods. And, far from coal disappearing, if anything usage is set to increase as pressure on gas supplies is set to make this energy source far more expensive.

This set the scene for the next fantasy option - carbon capture. Again, though no one with any brains is under any illusions that this will work, which means that we have a slight problem. As the years progress and the carbon allowances are cut, UK plc faces the situation of having electricity generators standing idle - fully tanked up and ready to go - but unable to operate because their owners have run out of allocations. This, as you can imagine, would not go down too well with the great unwashed.

Hence, someone in government with a residual capacity for thinking has come up with this bright idea of buying carbon credits off the developing world, an idea which now has The Guardian whipping up its frenzy. This would allow Europe to make less effort to cut its pollution, it says, enabling it to emit "an extra billion tonnes of CO2 from 2013-2020." The paper could have said it will also enable it to keep the lights on, but that is not the game here.

And, of course, the move has been "condemned" by the climate change industry environment campaigners, who are accusing the UK of "trying to undermine efforts to get European industry to reduce emissions." Says that great self-publicist and self-centred little madam Caroline Lucas, MEP extraordinaire and leader of the Green party: "The British government is trying to buy its way out of climate change targets using unreliable credits from abroad. It shows how much of the political talk on climate is empty rhetoric, when you have the UK talking up the need for action on one hand, and carrying out this kind of irresponsible climate vandalism on the other." Don't you just love the rhetoric: "climate vandalism". Never mind daubing power station chimneys - trying to keep the lights on is now "climate vandalism".

In the very near future, however, la Lucas had better turn her attention to her beloved EU - which pays her a salary ten time more than she would get if she had to market her skills. The commission and her MEP "colleagues" are working on proposals to combine the ETS with what is called the "clean development mechanism" (CDM) run by the UN to create a global money-making empire emissions market along the same lines that the British are mooting.

Still, when "climate vandalism" gravitates to "climate crime", la Lucas can lock us up in windowless cells with no lights and we can all reduce our carbon footprints that way. Before that, however, if would be nice if someone could actually demonstrate to this stupid woman the true meaning of vandalism, before she does any more damage.



Yesterday's New York Times had an article on the upcoming carbon dioxide auction of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) of 10 northeastern U.S. states participating in this new cap and trade program (h/t Adam Zemel at the BT blog). The evolving performance of RGGI should add weight to the argument that cap and trade is simply not up to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here is an excerpt from the NYT article:
The program is due to get off the ground in nine days, but already there are worries that it may fail to reduce pollution substantially in the Northeast, undermining a concept that is being watched carefully by the rest of the country, by Congress and by European regulators. . . The concept has been praised by environmentalists and state officials. But the emissions cap was based on overestimates of carbon dioxide output, which has dropped sharply from 2005 to 2006 and is on a lower trajectory than anticipated.

This means that there are more emissions permits available than emissions (can you say ETS Phase 1?). From the NYT again:
The trading scheme would hold carbon emissions to 188 million tons annually through 2014, and scale them back by 2.5 percent each year through 2018. The cap was set in 2004, based on analysis by energy experts and some pressure from the regulated utilities to keep the ceiling at or above the anticipated emissions. . . . Phil Giudice, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, said, "The 188 million tons estimate was put together a number of years ago from both an analytical aspect and, not surprisingly, a political one."

But in the end, emissions from the 10 states went down instead of up. After growing from 176.9 million tons in 2002 to 184.5 million tons in 2005, they dropped in 2006, the most recent year for which there is complete data, to 164.5 million tons. Estimated emissions for 2007 are 172.4 million tons, according to Environment Northeast, a research and policy organization.

A figure from a report from Environment Northeast (PDF), shown below, illustrates the problem.

Using the Environment Northeast data, I have calculated annual emissions for the 10 states since 2000 to their estimated 2008 value, and they have declined by just under 1% per year. If we take a look at the cumulative emissions allowed under RGGI for 2009-2018 we see that the total is about 1.83 GtC. Because emissions allowances that are unsold in one auction roll over to the next, it is the cumulative number of permits over the performance period that matters, not the annual amount.

The following figure shows that emissions will have to grow by more than 1% per year for the RGGI to even have any effect on business as usual. And even a growth rate of 2% would result in a reduction in emissions from 2008 of less than 4%. So for RGGI to actually make a difference on emissions trajectory for these 10 states will require a stark departure from emissions trends over the past 9 years. Energy prices, fuel switching, and the push for alternative energy all work against this for this region. Champions of cap and trade will find themselves in the awkward position of cheering for rapid emissions growth for RGGI to show any teeth. Otherwise, it is just business as usual.

Over at the BT blog a commenter observes:
It would seem that the problems are with the "political and economic realities", rather than with cap and auction. That is, the problem is that the RGGI cannot go back and lower its cap, or that it wasn't designed with a more flexible/current cap. That is a political problem. If there were great public outcry, it could get fixed; that there isn't says something about where we are.

And this is indeed the problem with cap and trade. Any policy, no matter how theoretically sound, that cannot meet the test of political and economic realities is indeed fatally flawed. RGGI may do many things, but reducing emissions does not seem to be among them. It is high time we started calling cap and trade what it really is - tax and charade.



The White House slammed an energy bill that the House of Representatives passed Tuesday night, calling it a waste of time. The administration accused House Democrats of lacing the bill with "poison pills" that demonstrate a "lack of seriousness about expanding access to the vast domestic energy resources" off U.S. coasts.

President Bush and Democrats have been tangling for months over drilling offshore in an area known as the outer continental shelf, which had been placed off-limits both by Congress and executive order for decades. Bush lifted the executive order this summer as oil prices shot up and gas prices reached record levels at the pump. He called on Congress to lift its ban but expressed "strong opposition" to the bill passed Tuesday.

The House bill passed by a vote of 236-189. After months of resisting pressure to allow oil and gas exploration off America's coasts, the Democrats yielded and included provisions to allow more offshore drilling. But the legislation includes a number of provisions Republicans do not like, including a repeal of tax cuts for the oil industry and a lack of incentive for states to allow drilling off their shores. "Many of the other provisions contained in this bill are taken from other House bills that failed to pass through the Congress, or have been subject to veto threats," the Executive Office of the President said in a statement Tuesday night as the House voted on the bill, officially known as House Resolution 6899. "If H.R. 6899 were presented to the president, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill," the White House said.

Bush may never have the chance. The Senate is unlikely to take up an energy bill before next week, and it is unclear whether there is enough time left in this Congress for the two houses to hammer out a mutually acceptable compromise to send to the president. Fifteen Republicans crossed the aisle to support the bill Tuesday. Thirteen Democrats voted against it.

The bill would allow drilling between 50 and 100 miles offshore, as opposed to the 3-mile line favored by Republicans. It would require states to give their permission for drilling off their shores. It also would include incentives for renewables, require the government to release oil from its emergency reserve and force oil companies to drill on federal areas they already lease from the government.



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Friday, September 19, 2008

Another scare bites the dust: Permafrost does not necessarily melt during Global Warming

Once again, reality does not fit the models

One of the potential consequences of a warmer world, according to scientists who study such things, is the deep thawing of the permafrost. Thawing could release huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, as vegetation, bones and other organic material, long locked up in the deep freezer that is the permafrost, decompose.

But a study published in Science suggests that the impact of warming on the permafrost may not be as bad as forecast. The evidence comes in the form of a wedge of ancient ice found at an old mining site in the Yukon in Canada. Ice wedges form in permafrost when the ground cracks because of cold, and spring meltwater seeps in and freezes. Over hundreds of years, the wedge builds up, like an in-ground icicle.

Duane G. Froese of the University of Alberta, the lead author of the study, said ice wedges could provide clues to the long-term stability of the permafrost. The problem is figuring out how old they are.In this case, the top of the wedge was a couple of yards deep in the permafrost, and the researchers found volcanic ash on its top surface. By dating the ash (which presumably came from eruptions in what is now southeastern Alaska), Dr. Froese and his colleagues were able to say how long the ice has been there: about 740,000 years. Because the ash had to have been deposited after the wedge formed, that's "very clear proof," Dr. Froese said, that the ice is at least that old.

That means the ice survived through several warming periods, including the last major one, 120,000 years ago. "The general view is that everything would have melted out back then," Dr. Froese said. The new finding suggests that wasn't the case, and that models of future melting need to be rethought.


Journal abstract follows:

Ancient Permafrost and a Future, Warmer Arctic

By Duane G. Froese et al.

Climate models predict extensive and severe degradation of permafrost in response to global warming, with a potential for release of large volumes of stored carbon. However, the accuracy of these models is difficult to evaluate because little is known of the history of permafrost and its response to past warm intervals of climate. We report the presence of relict ground ice in subarctic Canada that is greater than 700,000 years old, with the implication that ground ice in this area has survived past interglaciations that were warmer and of longer duration than the present interglaciation.

Science 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5896, p. 1648

Oops! Networks Wrong On Warming; Arctic Ice Still There

Wrong again! It must stink being a network global warming alarmist. They just can't seem to get their stories straight. It's only been a couple months when the networks were screaming about Arctic ice disappearing this summer. And, no surprise, they were entirely wrong. By 1.74 million square miles. As Maxwell Smart used to say: "Missed it by that much."

Less than three months ago, NBC's Anne Thompson was warning ominously of ice loss. "But this summer, some scientists say that ice could retreat so dramatically that open water covers the North Pole, so much so that you could sail across it." Or not. According to a September 16 National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) report, such predictions were off. Way off. NSIDC reported ice loss was less than in 2007. "On September 12, 2008, sea ice extent dropped to 4.52 million square kilometers (1.74 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest point of the year, as sea has now begun its annual cycle of growth in response to autumn cooling," according to the organization.

Two days after Thompson's report, on July 30, ABC weatherman Sam Champion told the "Good Morning America" audience that Arctic ice loss was on a record pace. "Every summer we're on a record pace for losing it last summer and this summer we're at the exact same pace."

The NSIDC assessment makes it clear that claim was also wrong, calling it "above the record minimum set on September 16, 2007." "The Arctic sea ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year, the second-lowest extent recorded since the dawn of the satellite era. "

Earlier in the summer, media outlets warned ominously that the ice could melt away. "Today" host Lester Holt described the story as "surprising and, frankly, alarming news from the scientific community, a new report that says the North Pole could soon be ice-free."

This fits an ongoing pattern of media hype about climate change where networks no longer report the issue with any=2 0sense of objectivity. A study published by the Business & Media Institute earlier this year showed how rarely dissenting voices were included in the climate debate. The study found that global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions. On average for every skeptic there were nearly 13 proponents featured. ABC did a slightly better job with a 7-to-1 ratio, while CBS's ratio was abysmal at nearly 38-to-1.


Linking sea-ice breakup to human activity is nothing but nonsense

Larry Venner's column (His Voice, Saturday, "The icy truth about global warming") is wrong and shows a lack of knowledge of the facts.

A recent report said that a huge chunk of sea ice had broken off an island in the Arctic, and all the "man-made" global-warming extremists jumped up and started crying about how we are all doomed, and how this sea ice was just another sign of the end of the world.

But if they had bothered to read to the end of the article, it also reported that the island had at one time been free of sea ice about 1,000 years ago. What does that mean? Well, it means that Earth was once so warm that that island had no sea ice attached, and that the increase or decrease of sea ice is not connected to man's impact on Earth.

How many cars were driving around 1,000 years ago? How many coal plants were running? Only ignorant, uninformed people believe that man is causing global warming.

The effect of the sun is the major reason for global warming, to the exclusion of all others. Solar flares and sun spots are the real reason Earth gets warmer or cooler.

If you chart the cycle of Earth's rising and falling temperatures and superimpose a chart of the solar temperature increases and decreases, they match perfectly.

The "man-made" global-warming crowd wants America to spend billions to reduce a naturally occurring gas (carbon dioxide) that has a virtually zero effect on global warming. This is insane. People who willfully set aside common sense and allow themselves and their children to be brainwashed and never question20what they are hearing are without excuse.


Astronomical Influences Affect Climate More Than CO2, Say Experts

Warming and cooling cycles are more directly tied in with astronomical influences than they are with human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, some scientists now say. Recent observations point to a strong link between "solar variability" - or fluctuations in the sun's radiation - and climate change on Earth, while other research sees the sun as just one of many heavenly bodies affecting global warming in the later half of the 20th century.

Contrary to what has been stated in a "Summary for Policymakers" attached to the United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report -- and in subsequent press coverage of the report -- there is scant evidence in favor of human-caused global warming, according to geologists, astrophysicists, and climatologists who have released updated studies. The IPCC report was issued most recently in February 2007.

An examination of warming and cooling trends over the last 400 years shows an "almost exact correlation" between all of the known climate changes that have occurred and solar energy transmitted to the Earth, while showing "no correlation at all with CO2," Don J. Easterbrook, a geologist with Western Washington Univers ity in Bellingham, Wash., told CNSNews.com.

The isotopes located in Greenland's ice core, along with layering features, make it possible to date and track some of the climate changes that have occurred, he explained. Consequently, he has identified about 30 warming and cooling cycles that have taken place reaching back over the past several hundred years. "Only one in 30 shows any correlation with CO2," he said. "So if you're a baseball player with 30 at bats, that's not a very good average."

The ice core records also show that after the last Ice Age ended, temperatures rose for about 800 years before CO2 increased, Easterbrook pointed out in a recent paper. This demonstrates that "climatic warming causes CO2 to rise, not vice-versa," he wrote. "There is no actual physical evidence you can point to that would say CO2 is causing climate change," he said in the interview. "If CO2 was causing global warming, you would be able to detect this warming in the lower part of the atmosphere (called th e troposphere) but there is no warming here, so the answer for some is to look the other way."

Unfortunately, the media at large is reticent to report on any evidence that contradicts human-caused global warming because there is a lot of money and political influence tied up with the theory, Easterbrook said. Meanwhile, other scientists are beginning to attach themselves to the idea that the sun, not mankind, is primarily responsible for driving global warming. Dr. Bruce West, the chief scientist of the U.S. Army Research Office's mathematical and information science directorate, sees a strong link between the dynamics of the sun and the Earth's ecosystem. In the March, 2008 issue of Physics Today, West wrote, "The Sun could account for as much as 69 percent of the increase in Earth's average temperature."

Although it was long assumed that the sun was a constant star, one that did not experience any variability in its irradiance, this is not the case, Fred Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist, pointed out in an interview. Solar variability - fluctuations in the sun's radiation - directly affects climate change on Earth, in his estimation. Unfortunately, the IPCC has overlooked some of the most important factors concerning solar activity, Singer argued. There are some significant solar changes involving solar wind, for instance, that have ramifications for Earth's climate, but those solar changes are de-emphasized in the IPPC studies, he said.

Singer co-authored and edited a report released earlier this year entitled "Nature, Not Human Activity Rules the Climate" in which he challenges some the assumptions made by IPPC and elaborates on some of his alternative theories. The report was produced on behalf of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). "By disregarding or ignoring the very much larger changes of solar ultraviolet or of the solar wind and its magnetic-field effect on cosmic rays and thus on cloud coverage, the IPCC has managed to trivialize the climate effects of solar variability," Singer's non-government report states.

Singer, in concert with some of his colleagues on the report, have identified cosmic rays as a primary factor driving climate change on Earth. Cosmic rays are high-energy particles of extraterrestrial origin that collide at almost the speed of light with atoms in the upper atmosphere of the earth.

The hypothesis is underpinned by the idea that variations in the sun's irradiance - electromagnetic energy emitted by the sun that reaches earth's surface - translate into climate changes on Earth in two key ways: 1) cosmic rays create either more or fewer low, cooling clouds in our planet's atmosphere; and 2) ozone changes driven by solar activity in the stratosphere create varying degrees of heating in the lower atmosphere. (Ozone refers to oxygen atoms that protect the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Ozone occurs naturally in the stratosphere, which is the upper atmosphere.)

Willie Soon, a climate scientist based in Massachusetts, agrees that natural forces are largely responsible for driving climate change on Earth, but he has some reservations about the cosmic ray theory. Instead, he sees a mix of astronomical influences that include the sun and other heavenly bodies. "It's a beautiful idea and I'm open-minded about it, but in the end I don't think cosmic rays are the ultimate answer," he said. "For me what works is to look at the powerful phenomenon attached to how the earth goes around the sun. Very slight changes [in the orbit] can lead to changes in the seasons."

Soon credits a mathematician named Milutin Milankovic from Yugoslavia (now Serbia) who formulated the "orbital theory of climate change" back during the World War II era for offering up an explanation that remains salient and relevant to this day. "So the way this theory works, we do not look at the energy of the sun itself," Soon said. "Instead we look at the way our earth is being pulled and tugged by bigger planets, including the sun and the most massive gas giants. This is how our orbit is changing. Seasons can be changed slightly and yet significantly by orbits being pulled and tucked."

From this larger astronomical perspective it also is possible to measure warming and cooling cycles that impact Earth's nearby neighbors, most notably Mars, Soon suggested. There is data going all the way back to 1976 that show Mars has also experienced global warming. The Martian ice cap has been melting during the same time perio d that human-caused emissions have been identified as the culprit behind global warming on Earth, he said. Soon acknowledges that the astronomical data is limited and that more research is required. Even so, for the moment, it is difficult to disprove the idea that heavenly influences are largely responsible for the warming trends over the past few decades, he added.

As it turns out, this warming trend could be over anyway, according to Easterbrook, the geologist from Washington State. A slight cooling period that began to take hold in 1998 could endure for the next 30 years, he forecasts. A phenomenon known as the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation" (warming and cooling modes in the Pacific Ocean) points the way, in his view. "It's practically a slam dunk that we are in for about 30 years of glob al cooling," he said. Not something you will read about in the media."


Polar bear politics

AT first it seemed like a joke. Unsolicited forumemails informed me I could buy badges (or buttons, as Americans call them) with the slogan Polar Bears for Obama. Then I heard there was a T-shirt, available from the CafePress online store for $26.99, that said Polar Bears for Obama-Biden beneath a picture of a sad-looking polar bear cub. You can also buy shopping bags, bumper stickers and mugs that celebrate the polar bear-Obama love-in. There is a website called PolarBears ForObama.com, which describes itself as a snow-roots campaign against Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who is a big meanie.

Good one, I thought. Sometimes elections need to be shaken up with a bit of quirkiness, and if it can be snow-coated, animal-related quirkiness, that's all the better. Only now I'm not so sure it was a joke after all. The polar bear issue - or what we may call, for want of a better and less insane phrase, the polar bear vote - has become big news. Serious newspapers have published articles titled "Love polar bears, loathe Sarah Palin". MSNBC analysed the differences between Palin and her boss, John McCain, on the polar bear issue. Palin is referred to as a polar bear hater, and at an anti-Republican rally in Alaska last week one protester wore a polar bear suit and wielded a sign saying: Polar Bear Moms Say No to Palin.

No doubt some will put this down to the nuttiness of US politics. In fact, it reveals more about the nuttiness of the politics of climate change. The politicisation of the polar bear in the US presidential campaign is hinged on Palin's opposition to the listing of polar bears as a threatened species. In May this year, Palin, as Governor of Alaska, said she would sue the federal Government for labelling polar bears as officially threatened. She argued that giving special protection to polar bear habitats would cripple oil and gas development off Alaska's northern and northwestern coasts. She also said there was not enough evidence to support the listing of polar bears. On this basis, she is known as a polar bear hater and campaigners are claiming that if polar bears had the vote they would definitely support Obama because, as one baby polar bear says, "My daddy says Sarah Palin doesn't like us."

Call me a polar bear hater (actually, some people already have), but it just so happens that Palin has a point. There is not exactly a groundswell of evidence that polar bears are going extinct. In fact, experts claim global polar bear numbers have increased during the past 40 years.

In 2001, the World Conservation Union found that of 20 polar bear populations, one or possibly two were in decline, while more than half were stable and two sub-populations were increasing. Its more recent study in 2006 found a somewhat less rosy picture, but it wasn't that bad: of 19 polar bear populations, five were declining, five were stable and two were increasing (there wasn't enough data to judge the fortunes of the remaining seven populations). The global population has increased from about 5000 in the 1960s to 25,000 today.

Today's widespread polar bear concern is shot through with myth and misinformation. One of the nine scientific errors found in Al Gore's horror film An Inconvenient Truth, following a case brought in the British High Court last year, concerned his claims about polar bears. Gore claimed a scientific study had discovered that polar bears were drowning because they had to swim long distances to find ice. Yet the only scientific study Gore's team could provide as evidence was one showing that four polar bears had recently been found drowned because of a storm. According to Bjorn Lomborg, the sceptical environmentalist, the international tale about polar bears suffering at the hands of ruthless mankind springs from this single sighting of four dead bears the day after an abrupt windstorm.

It may be true that as a result of hunting and human intervention around the North Pole, polar bears will suffer. But the politics of the polar bear is not a scientific, fact-driven phenomenon: it is a morality tale. It is an anthropomorphic story every bit as daft as Bambi in which the polar bear has become a symbolic victim of man's wanton destruction of the planet. The polar bear has become the poster boy of the green lobby. It featured heavily in An Inconvenient Truth. Leonardo DiCaprio posed with one on the front cover of a special green issue of Vanity Fair. The bear he posed with - Knut from Berlin Zoo - is having his life story turned into a blockbuster movie, with Suri Cruise (daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) reportedly lined up to provide his voice. Leaflets inviting people to join green movements now come with photos of stranded (or allegedly stranded) polar bears. So do adverts for low-energy light bulbs.

It was not scientific fact that elevated the polar bear to this privileged status of Bambi-style victimhood; it was the human self-loathing of the environmentalist moment. We are expected to believe that our most simple everyday activities, from what light bulbs we use to how many cups of tea we drink, are directly and terribly affecting polar bears thousands of kilometres away. So now you find serious green commentators saying things such as: The idea that turning on your kettle helps to drown polar bears has never really sunk in with many people. Yes, there's a reason for that: because when I turn on my kettle it has absolutely no effect whatsoever on any polar bear anywhere in the world. And that is a fact.

On the basis of some twisted or at least questionable facts, and conveniently cropped, heart-rending photos, the polar bear has come to represent human guilt and self-doubt. In the past, we Catholics were told not to misbehave because God would be displeased. It was said that if we wasted our food, then a little black baby would die. Today we are told that if we don't watch our energy use, trim our carbon footprint, follow Gore and make regular donations to various green groups, then polar bears will die. The great white bear of the north has taken the place of God in the clouds as the barometer of human behaviour and morality.

The political promotion of this animal represents the denigration of human desire, the subordination of the human will to the animalistic fearmongering of environmentalism.

In a more profound sense, then, the politics of the polar bear represents the disavowal of human interests, which come to be seen as grubby, greedy and destructive. The intervention of the polar bear even into the US election is striking. That many Democratic Party supporters and radical activists are claiming to act on behalf of the polar bear, even dressing up as bears for anti-Palin protests, shows the extent to which environmentalism threatens to empty politics of its human, self-interested, democratic component. Some people are not representing themselves in the election but are speaking for the cute (eh?), voiceless polar bear. Polar Bears for Obama does not spring from the typically dumb Disneyfication of US politics but from the misanthropic, people-less politics of being green.



Comment from Prof. Stott in Britain

The Green movement has become dangerous for the survival of our society. It is surely time to stop pandering to its often ridiculous whims and fancies. We have been far too kind to its utopianism. Politicians of all parties have become enfeebled by indulging its fanaticism and unrealistic proposals, especially on food and energy. This has led to inertia, and to a serious failure to act when action is urgently required, a situation often exacerbated by the ludicrous obligations laid on us through a bureaucratic and unaccountable EU.

But we have to act, and we are going to have to challenge the EU. We need no more reports. We do not have the time. We require new coal-powered plants, new nuclear power stations, additional LNG storage facilities, and the Seven Barrage. "And when do we want them? We want them now!"

Green gobbledygook over so-called 'renewables' has helped to undermine UK energy policy to such a degree that we are facing an energy gap of between 30% to 40%, a threat Global Warming Politics has highlighted over and over again [e.g., 'The Energy Elephant Trumpets At Last', August 4]. Today, thank goodness, this threat has been spelt out once more in a new report, and with 'Janet-and-John' simplicity: 'Power cuts warning must be taken seriously' (The Daily Telegraph, September 17): "Between now and 2020, 23 gigawatts of generating capacity will be lost as old coal and nuclear stations are de-commissioned. Yet Labour Ministers spent a decade twiddling their thumbs over energy policy.

Only last year, when our dangerous dependence on energy from either potentially hostile (Russia) or unstable (Middle East) sources finally registered, did the Government belatedly accept that there has to be a new generation of nuclear reactors to meet the shortfall. Since then, there has been precious little evidence of any sense of urgency in getting that programme under way.

Today's report shows how dangerously negligent this lackadaisical approach has been. It also confirms that wind power, on which the Government has expended the better part 1 billion a year in subsidies, is little more than environmental window dressing. Its unreliability - wind is not a constant - means it cannot replace a single watt of permanent generating capacity."

When we add to this Green unreality over energy a self-indulgent opposition to conventional agriculture and to GM crops, tropes which are now threatening the poor and the disadvantaged the world over; total confusion over biofuels; frequent support for protectionism against trade; the desire to heap increased costs and retrogressive taxes on everyone, but especially on the poor; the wish to force people into lifestyles that few can afford or want; and the championing of breaking the law when protesting, we can see that the moral charge sheet against the Greens is long and extending by the day.

The idea that the Greens hold any moral high ground is sentimental rubbish. Many of their so-called ethical investments will cripple us, while impoverishing the poor even further.

It really is time for both of our leading political parties [I have no hope whatsoever for the dire Liberal Democrats, whose 'leader', Nick Clegg, didn't even know the level of the State Pension when asked] to return to economic reality in an increasingly unforgiving world. We can no longer afford to play at Green fantasies. We must grow up. Indulging The Greens Must Stop



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


Thursday, September 18, 2008


An email from David Tyler [D.Tyler@mmu.ac.uk]:

I am planning to put in a complaint about the standard of Iain Stewart's coverage of the Climate Sceptic issue (BBC 2: The Climate Wars). He had plenty of clips showing them in denial, but very little allowing them to say why they take a dissenting position. He presented the Hockey Stick graph in a positive light, giving viewers very little appreciation of the scientific controversies that it has generated. For example, material the BBC itself has reported was omitted completely.

The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary got a mention, and the evidence for climate being driven by the sun was conceded to be relevant before the last few decades, but Stewart suggested that the temperature plots providing the demonstration for this finished prematurely. He provided an updating, which he said demonstrated the sceptics were wrong - but the global temperature data he presented showed an exponential increase - the reality is that the graph has plateaued since 2000. He provided no opportunity for a sceptic to comment on the point he was making and presented his own view as definitive. He did not work through the implications for the Hockey Stick graph if climate was driven by solar energy prior to 1960. He showed some clips of Christopher Monckton talking about his dissenting views, but this did not explore the science.

The body language of Stewart suggested that he was not interested in exploring the reasons for dissent. This programme is declared to be a feature by the BBC, but it shows a highly polarised perspective: science vs politically-inspired dissent. Viewers would come away with the view that climate sceptics are funded by organisations with vested interests, and that their dissent cannot be described as science. This message is a complete distortion of the situation, and consequently is not in the public interest.


British climate and energy policy is incoherent and needs an overhaul, dumping carbon targets and building more coal and nuclear power stations to stop the lights going out, a pro-nuclear scientist said. A report entitled "A Pragmatic Energy Policy for the UK", by Professor Ian Fells and Candida Whitmill, said renewables would not fill the impending energy gap so old nuclear and coal plants had to be kept going while new ones were built urgently. "Current UK energy policy is not fit for purpose. Something has to be done about it if we are not going to run into serious problems around about the middle of the next decade," Fells, an advocate of nuclear power, told reporters.

The government should guarantee a minimum electricity price to the power companies for the next 30 years to give them a secure investment outlook to finance the 4 billion pounds each nuclear power plant is likely to cost, he added. "We are looking at something that looks like a slow motion train crash," Fells said, accusing the government of vacillating over climate change and energy policy, starving the power industry of direction and reducing investment to a minimum.

The same held true across Europe where nuclear power was resurgent as governments woke up to the fact that they had delayed important baseload energy investment decisions for too long and placed too much reliance on intermittent renewables.

Environmentalists were outraged at the recommendations in the report, issued on Wednesday. "Professor Fells has a long standing love affair with the technologies of the 20th century, but as time goes by his fetish for coal and nuclear power looks increasingly naive," said Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr. "All over the world jobs are being created in the renewable energy sector, but Britain has been left behind for too long by the negative, white flag approach to climate change that this report represents."

The report, commissioned by industrialist Andrew Cook, who told the news conference he feared a complete societal breakdown if there were widespread power cuts, said energy security had now to be given absolute priority over climate change policies. It was a view echoed by Whitmill: "Today's credit crunch is a head cold compared with the double pneumonia this country will suffer if we don't implement an energy policy urgently."

Whitmill said one-third of Britain's electricity generating capacity was set for shutdown within 12 years either due to old age or European Union carbon emissions restrictions that come into force in 2015. The report said Britain, facing a yawning gulf between electricity demand and supply, had to breach the EU rules and keep the old coal plants going even though this went completely counter to climate policy of cutting carbon.



The EU parliament's legal affairs committee, which met on September 9th, has ruled that a regulation forcing car makers to cut average CO2 emissions is illegal. The legislation, which would see car producers having to make sure average emissions were 130 g/km or below for their model ranges, would allow authorities to levy substantial fines if it wasn't complied with. However, the ruling by the committee has prompted fears that negotiations on targets, fines and start-dates may have to start from scratch next year.

Members of the committee, according to cleangreencars, apparently stated they had "utmost misgivings" about the way fines would be collected from car makers and how these would then be used as revenue for EU budgets. "This decision is extremely serious," said Jay Nagley, cleangreencars' publisher. "The committee said that the proper legal basis for the regulation is Article 175 of the EC Treaty which deals with environmental laws. "But it has been drafted under Article 95, which prevents market distortions. This isn't just a technicality; the whole legal basis of the regulation could be challenged."

The new car CO2 regulation is self-evidently an environmental measure, so it is hardly surprising that this question has been raised. It appears that the EU wanted a single pan-European regulation, so has tried to squeeze it through under single market rules in Article 95. However, this looks like putting the cart before the horse as the regulation is primarily an environmental measure. What the EU is trying to avoid is a rule which would allow far more flexibility. If proposals were to be re-drafted under Article 175, one country could set tougher CO2 limits than those in a neighbouring state.



Great prophets!

Al Gore's carbon trading business GIM was banked with Lehman Bros. It will be interesting to see how this will play in the future but I suspect that this increases the risk of participating in Carbon trading. Merrill Lynch, was also deeply involved in this business.

Last year Lehman Brothers released a long and highly publicized report about climate change in which they preached about decarbonization, trying to make their investors keep getting high profits from the Kyoto carbon trade scheme and the support of huge public subventions. All that, of course, with the applause of the usual choir of politicians, the entire media and the Greens.

A year ago they couldn't predict their bankruptcy but were predicting the climate 100 years ahead. Thousands of green militants have been using the Lehman report as a proof of global warming and impending chaos. Lehman Bros said it! sacred words! Its scientific advisor is James Hansen! The report is the basis for policies on climate change in Spain, Argentina and several other countries playing the progress game; it is used by economy professors playing the climatologists; by newspapers editorials, and even by a State Secretary: Lehman Bros, said it!

Lehman Brothers spoke in his report about the climate in 2100 and its economic and financial projections, about climate change costs several decades away. They dared to recommend their investors what they considered a central value of the carbon ton in 50 years from now. Their sources and support references were taken from the IPCC AR4, AR3, and so on. Really impressive.

But even with their high ability to peek into the future, they couldn't predict their demise one year ahead though there were many people that had been warning about this present crash for years. But Lehman Bros were recommending investments 30, 50, 100 years ahead. Some days, reality imitates fiction. Who was Lehman Bros' 'scientific' adviser on climate? You guessed it, James Hansen, the same guy that wants to drive the world to bankruptcy as he did with Lehman's Bros.

But the story has some connections with Hansen being the 'scientific' adviser to Al Gore, who's the Chairman of the Board of the Alliance for Climate Protection. As seen in Alliance's website, the managing Director is none less than: Theodore Roosevelt IV. Managing Director, Lehman Brothers, Chair of the Pew Center for Global Climate Change.

Theodore Roosevelt IV is Managing Director at Lehman Brothers and a member of the Firm's senior client coverage group, which oversees the Firms client and customer relationships. Mr. Roosevelt is an active conservationist. He is Chair of the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, Vice Chair of the Wilderness Society, and a Trustee for the American Museum of Natural History, The World Resources Institute, the Institute for Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, and a Trustee of Trout Unlimited.

The Lehman reports in two parts can be found on this site 'Intellectual Capital'. In "The Business of Climate Change ll", the following acknowledgement is made: "On the scientific side, we are grateful to Dr. James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who, at the end of a particularly informative dinner hosted by Ben Cotton of the Man Group, gave generously of his time to clear up a number of scientific questions that had been niggling us. Dr. Peter Collins and Richard Heap of the Royal Society provided valuable input and brought us up to date on the more controversial areas of scientific developments in the domain of global climate change." H/T John McLean

Lehman's failure provides a preview of our future if more companies bank their future on the speculative advice of these advocacy scientists, politicians and environmental groups, while ignoring short term realities.


New oil from oilsand process looking good

If the Capri/Thai processes are successful then Canada's oilsands, other oilsands and heavy oil deposits around the world will have higher recovery rates using a more economic process and the oil will be upgrading in the ground to a higher and more valuable quality. This would be the technology that would crush peak oil for several decades and allow an orderly transition to a post oil world. The processes would enable trillions of barrels of oil to be economically accessed. In a few months the Capri process could be proven out and the energy world would be changed. Oil technology would change the world by unlocking the oilsand and heavy oil around the world. Trillions of barrels of oil would become economically feasible. It world and game changer.

More here

More deceitful climate propaganda in Australia

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Murray Darling Basin chief executive Dr Wendy Craik are adamant that the drought and water crisis in the Murray Darling Basin is caused by climate change. Rudd & Craik have both stated that the science proves the link between the current drought and global warming. But are they telling the truth?

Recently Rudd mocked opposition leader Brendan Nelson for saying that it had nothing to do with climate change.
BRENDAN Nelson was yesterday accused of being "blissfully immune" to the effects of climate change after he said the crisis in the Murray-Darling Basin was not linked to global warming. "You need to get with the science on this," the Prime Minister said. "Look at the technical report put together by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology."

Dr Wendy Craik says the current drought affecting Australia's largest river system has the fingerprints of climate change all over it. .
"from the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO and places, there are elements we're seeing in the current water shortage availability that are relevant to climate change. "The reduction in late winter and autumn rainfall is linked by the Bureau of Meteorology to the intensification of the subtropical ridge and that's linked to global warming. "There are features of the current phenomenon that we find ourselves in - water shortage, drought, whatever you want to call it - that are linked to climate change. "CSIRO scientists . say this drought has the fingerprints all over it"

Agmates has on a number of occasions pointed out how dodgy the science is that Kevin Rudd and Wendy Craik are relying on. Now Associate Professor Stewart Franks, a hydroclimatologist and an associate professor at the University of Newcastle School of Engineering, very clearly & precisely explains to Prime Minister Rudd and MDB chief Dr Wendy Craik what the science in fact does say:
IS the ongoing drought in the Murray-Darling Basin affected by climate change? The simple answer is that there is no evidence that CO2 has had any significant role. In fact, the drought was caused by an entirely natural phenomenon: the 2002 El Nino event. In short, the drought was initiated by El Nino, protracted by further El Nino events and perhaps more importantly, the absence of substantial La Nina events. A key claim is that the multiple occurrence of El Nino is a sign of climate change. This is speculative at best. Recent analysis showed the nine-year absence of La Nina was not unusual."

Franks then goes onto deal with Dr Craik's statements:
"Indeed, Wendy Craik, the chief executive of the Murray Darling Basin Commission has stated that temperatures were warmer, leading to more evaporation and drier catchments. This is disturbing to hear from the head of the MDBC, as it is completely at odds with the known physics of evaporation. [ Franks explains the science in detail here]. Craik is not alone in her desire to view CO2-induced climate change as proven and affecting the drought. Numerous politicians, environmentalists and especially scientists have made spectacular leaps of faith in their adherence to the doctrine of climate change over recent years, too many to document here."

Then Stewart Franks delivers a stinging rebuttal to the Prime Minister:
However, the most literally fantastic claim on climate change must go to Kevin Rudd, who has guaranteed that rainfall will decline over coming decades; one can only assume he's based his view on deficient climate models and bad advice. There is no direct evidence of CO2 impacts on the drought, nor is there any rational basis for predicting rainfall in 30 years time.

Franks last statement will put a chill up the spine of each of us that live and work in rural and regional Australia.
One just hopes that sensible and sustainable management from our leaders will enable struggling rural communities to weather the vagaries of climatic and political extremes.

So folks, that is what the science actually says. So why does Kevin Rudd and his long serving Public Servant Dr Wendy Craik keep churning out this global warming alarmist hype? Are Rudd & Craik deceiving the public or are they just hopelessly ill informed by the 100% Government funded CSIRO and BOM ?


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


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I used to put up occasional reports of cooling as a satire on the way Greenies and the media (But I repeat myself!) were constantly proclaiming any episode of hot weather as proof of global warming. Now, however, it seems clear that there really is global cooling going on so these few reports below really are just examples of a larger phenonenon.

I must say I do feel some pity for the travails that some people are enduring because of the real downturn in solar activity. Where I sit in subtropical Brisbane (where it is at the moment early Spring) temperatures are ALWAYS comfortable. I am, at the time of writing, sitting in front of my computer with my front door wide open and dressed only in boxer shorts -- as I do for most of the year.

Three cooling reports below:

California grape growers feeling the freeze

This year's grape harvest has manifested the impact of varying weather on the local winemaking industry, as many growers are reporting lower quantities due to frosting. Although the end result might be higher prices for your favorite wines in a couple of years, some winemakers also touted how the crop should produce better-tasting grapes, especially the Pinot variety common to San Benito County.

The local drop in production, though, is shared across California with many winemaking and vintner organizations reporting the same trend. Some state estimates indicate a 20 percent decrease from last year and one-third fewer grapes than in 2005. "In San Benito County, we had the same problem as everywhere else in California - terrible weather during the flowering season," said Steve Pessagno, owner of Pessagno Winery.

He noted that from April to May, cold weather and overcast skies created perfect conditions for frost. "My notebook reads, 'April 12 to 16, coldest string of five days in the last 70 years.'" The result is demonstrated in Pessagno's Syrah fields, where he obtained one ton of grapes per acre - about a third of a normal year's harvest. He wasn't the only one reporting such a stunning decline, as Rob Leve, a vineyard manager at Gimelli Wineries, gave a similar estimate. "And that gives winemakers a difficult time meeting demand or making a living with that type of yield," Pessagno said.

Josh Jensen, owner and winemaker at Calera Winery, had vineyards yielding as little as half a ton per acre where they usually produce around twelve times that in a good year. "We are seeing a very small harvest because we were absolutely slammed disastrously by the frosts during April," he said. Allessio Carli, Pietra Santa's winemaker, also reported a low-production harvest and said he hadn't seen frost - before 2008 - in his 18 years there. ...


Australia: Global cooling hits Sydney

After the coldest winter in a decade, weather experts are warning Sydney to expect an erratic summer....

Bureau of Meteorology climate officer Mike de Salis said the mercury plunged most in August. The average maximum temperature was 17.3 degrees, more than half a degree lower than the average and the coldest monthly average since 1989. The average maximum temperature throughout the three winter months was the lowest since 1998.

"That was due to a blocking system. [It was] a low pressure operating in the Tasman Sea for half the month [of August], dragging a whole lot of cold southerly air over NSW," Mr de Salis said. "It kept the temperatures down, day time and night time." ....


Temperatures plummet as cold wave breaks 83-year old records in Hungary

A cold weather record set in 1925 went by the books on Monday, as temperatures in Hungary plummeted. The coldest temperature on record as a daily maximum for September 15 was 10.5 degrees Celsius measured in the SW city of Zalaegerszeg 83 years ago. It fell by the wayside when the city of Sopron, in the NW, reported a high of 8.6 degrees, meteorologist Zoltan Fodor reported.

Budapest also set a cold record, with a high temperature of 11.5 degrees Celsius. That did in a record set on September 15, 1912, of 12.4 degrees. Fodor promised more of the same on Tuesday, with temperatures rising slightly afterwards, to peak at about 18 degrees Celsius on the weekend.


Thou shalt pump up thy tires!

Yet another of the endless stream of laws and regulations that are being heaped upon us by our "betters"

Just got a copy of a letter from Mary D. Nichols, Chairman of CARB (California Air Resources Board) inviting "all interested parties" to participate in a discussion for reducing the global warming impacts of under-inflated tires. The objective is to propose new regulations for drivers/riders with tires with a PSI under what is recommended by the manufacturer.

So, soon California will mobilize its police to check your tires PSI? Write tickets by missing PSI x the number of your tires? Welcome to California! Below, the letter of CARB.

"The Air Resources Board staff invites you Wednesday October 8,, 08 to participate in a public workshop meeting to discuss concepts for reducing the global warming impacts of under-inflated vehicle tires. It is estimated that greater than 70% of all vehicles operate on at east one under-inflated tire resulting in reduced gas mileage and increased emissions. At this workshop, ARB staff will discuss a proposed regulatory concept, implementation strategy, as well as inventory and cost effectiveness data." The agenda and presentation will be available prior to the workshop at the following website address: http://www.arb.ca.gov/tirepressure


Carbon Sequestration Plant Goes on stream -- Greenies Protest!

More proof that nothing will keep a Greenie happy

Carbon sequestration technology aims to store carbon, regardless of its source, whether it is from a new high-efficiency coal plant or an ancient relic of a plant. In the past, researchers looked at many ways of doing this. Some argued to put it in the sea while others argued to sink it in artificial wetlands.

However, the most popular idea is to pump it underground. The U.S. Department of Energy already launched an expensive initiative to test out such a system. Now Swedish power supplier Vattenfall has beat everyone to the punch, building and bringing online the world's first industrial-ready carbon sequestration plant, located in Brandenburg, Germany.

Construction on the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plant began two years ago. The plant cost $97.4M USD to construct. Many view it and other CCS plants as essential for coal to stay competitive against greener energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear power. The plant officially opened with a ceremony this Tuesday.

The power plant used by the facility is a specially built 45 MW plant 350 kilometers (217 miles) away. CO2 is delivered by the truckload to the waiting plant, where it is pumped underground into a natural gas reservoir. Vattenfall's main competitor, RWE, is looking to build a 450-megawatt CCS power plant in Hrth, nine kilometers southwest of Cologne.

The technology is thought to be viable at current carbon credit costs when it can be coupled with a plant with about 1,000 MW of capacity. Thus the current new plant is an experimental proposition, which is losing money in the short term.

At the new plant, gas is pumped into 800-meter-deep bore holes into the depleted reservoir. Estimates vary, but it is expected to be trapped there anywhere from 1,000 and 10,000 years.

While some power companies are promoting the technology as a green dream, interestingly many environmental groups are vocally opposing it. Over 99 organizations in a group called the "Climate Alliance" invited protesters to the opening of the plant. They say the technology is too unproven and CO2 separation also lowers plant efficiency to as little as 34 percent, from a typical efficiency of 44 percent. Further, they say it will slow the adoption of alternative energy sources, lulling people into a false sense of security.

While some, particularly in the green community are particularly opposed to the technology, it doesn't seem likely to go away anytime soon. SPD (Germany's top political party) head Kurt Beck acknowledged the criticism, but cautiously plugged the effort, stating, "One sees clearly that it is far more than just a theoretical beginning. It is one of a number of solutions to the climate problem."


"Green" MTV Trashes A Piece Of Rainforest For Their New Reality Show

On September 17, MTV is getting ready to show off a new reality show called "Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Island". Much like Survivor, it's supposed to show a bunch of people "roughing it" while completing tasks, acting like asses, and other dramatic moments.

As one would expect, the real "reality" is much less exciting. In fact, as was recently reported by Michael Drake on the Tree Climber's Coalition site, not only is the show basically scripted and shot in and around civilization, but it also appears to have done a good deal of environmental damage. Drake, along with others living on Boca del Drago Island in the Republic of Panama witnessed MTV clear a large section of rainforest for the set construction. In addition, they also trashed a pristine beach, disturbed a bird sanctuary island "off-limits" to human visitations, and left behind an insane amount of garbage, set debris, and refuse.

As Drake wrote, "MTV's behavior in this situation has been rampantly inconsistent with their self-proclaimed `MTV Green Crusade'. I sense a bit of hypocrisy and I question their commitment toward being `green'."

Of course, it's not uncommon for television and movie productions to adversely impact their surroundings. The uproar surrounding the environmental damage done by DiCaprio's film The Beach back in `99 comes to mind as something similar. What is surprising is that in this time of supposed "awareness" of these issues - and the efforts being done by studios like MTV to address them - that such a production would proceed forward without any care towards its impact. Not to mention the fact that they somehow figured nobody would care? Or talk about it online?

I encourage you to check out Drake's full report on MTV's negligence in Panama over on the Tree Climber's Coalition site. These personal reports are vital for keeping tabs on what's really happening behind the scenes - and we thank him for bringing it front and center. So MTV, what's the story?


Cynicism in Israel

Israel will have to continue to use oil and coal for the vast majority of its energy needs, according to a recent survey of Israeli scientists and other experts commissioned by the Environmental Protection Ministry.

The survey also found that there is no way of predicting climate changes in as small a land mass as Israel, and cast doubt on whether there is evidence of such changes in the country. Dr. Avraham Arbib, the Infrastructure Ministry's deputy chief scientist, said that while Israel needs to expand its use of renewable energy, such energy sources will still not meet most of the country's needs even in 30 years. "Some of the technology exists, like solar collectors on roofs," said Arbib. "But building solar power stations requires land and financial resources."

Many local climate experts also accused some researchers of using the increasingly popular issue to increase their chances of getting their studies funded. "There's no doubt that the slogan of climate change has been adopted by researchers from various disciplines to get research budgets because it is attractive to funding bodies in Israel and around the world," said Nurit Kliot, a member of the research team that conducted the survey and a professor in the University of Haifa's department of natural resources management.

Nonetheless, she said, "one cannot argue that the scientific findings themselves were twisted in order to prove that climate change exists." "Nothing like that was said by the researchers we interviewed," added Kliot. Indeed, most of the experts interviewed for the survey say they do not doubt that human activity can cause climate change, and call for saving energy and protecting water sources.

However, many are skeptical about the ability to predict climate change in Israel. "Most scientists think that just like you need to take out insurance, you also need to take cautionary measures and get ready for climate changes likely to take place," said Kliot.

The research team compiled their findings after interviewing 97 scientists and experts in diverse fields including climate, medicine, agriculture, water and energy. The researchers asked the experts to discuss scientific questions and speak out about necessary policies in light of possible future climate changes.

Prof. Uri Mingelgreen, a scientist at the government-run Agricultural Research Organization who used to serve as the Environmental Protection Ministry's chief scientist, called into question the ethics of some scientists. "Climate researchers are approaching the red line when it comes to the ethics of their work," he said. "It's hard to see research budgets in front of you and not go in the direction that the funding bodies want you to go in, instead of the directions that you think you should go."

Most of the scientists said the research was tilted toward studies highlighting the role of climate change in an effort to win funding, though they did not provide examples. The United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union are among the institutions that provide funding and organizational support for research on climate changes, in addition to private foundations around the world. "The research funders sometimes redirect the funds they have to researchers who show data that supports climate change," the report found.

Many scientists and experts said there is evidence of global warming in the Middle East and a reduction of precipitation, especially in the Kinneret area, but some prominent experts in the field of water and agriculture say it isn't so. Gerald Stanhill, a scientist at the Agricultural Research Center, said that as long as people don't examine the influence of phenomena such as particles in the air that are liable to reduce the intensity of solar radiation, it is difficult to predict changes in the climate.



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


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Would more rain be bad for us?

Below is an academic journal abstract preceded by a popular summary of it. It makes a point that I often make but which Greenies sedulously ignore: That warming would INCREASE rainfall overall -- which is of course great for crops. The idea that increased rainfall is a problem is laughable. I grew up in the tropics, where we measured our annual rainfall not in inches but in yards. And the rain was so heavy we used to say that it came down "in sheets". All that rain was slightly pesky at times (good for raincoat sales!) but the environment sure was lush and all the crops grew like mad. We had fields of grass that was over 6' high. And the grass concerned (sugar cane) was and is the world's cheapest source of sugar and ethanol. Heavier rain would be GREAT!

And India and much of Asia have lived with monsoonal rain (seasonal tempests) for millennia. They seem to have survived somehow. People actually welcome the monsoon there, funnily enough

The slim point that the Greenies have is that rainfall PATTERNS would change. Most areas would become wetter but some will become drier. But in large countries such as Australia, China, the USA, Russia and Canada, that would lead only to slightly different patterns of internal trade. Small countries would change their international trading patterns. Overall, food should become cheaper for everyone. Normal people would celebrate that but the Greenies hate it, of course.

The article below is in fact little more than a boring confirmation of basic precipitation physics. Amusingly, however, it once again finds that reality does not fit the Warmist models!
Global warming is expected to have a large effect on the amount and distribution of precipitation, with wet areas projected to become wetter and dry areas drier, and an overall increase in total rainfall. Another important aspect of these predicted changes is the frequency of extreme rainfall events, because the impact of a few heavy rain events is very different from that of many more moderate ones. Allan and Soden (p. 1481, published online 7 August) use satellite observations and model simulations to evaluate how climate warming is affecting the frequency and strength of rain events. Heavy rains are occurring with increasing frequency when it is warm and less often when it is cold, and these extremes are happening more frequently than models have suggested they should. This implies that the impacts of precipitation changes due to global warming could be greater than have been assumed.


Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes

By Richard P. Allan and Brian J. Soden

Climate models suggest that extreme precipitation events will become more common in an anthropogenically warmed climate. However, observational limitations have hindered a direct evaluation of model-projected changes in extreme precipitation. We used satellite observations and model simulations to examine the response of tropical precipitation events to naturally driven changes in surface temperature and atmospheric moisture content. These observations reveal a distinct link between rainfall extremes and temperature, with heavy rain events increasing during warm periods and decreasing during cold periods. Furthermore, the observed amplification of rainfall extremes is found to be larger than that predicted by models, implying that projections of future changes in rainfall extremes in response to anthropogenic global warming may be underestimated.


Friends of Science Society


One of the goals of the Friends of Science Society is to educate the public through dissemination of relevant, balanced and objective technical information on the scientific merit of the Kyoto Protocol and the global warming issue. The science of climate change is complex. Unfortunately, politics and the media has affected the science. Climate research institutions know that they must present scary climate forecasts to receive continued funding - no crisis means no funding.

The media presents stories of climate disaster to sell their products. Scientific research that suggests climate change is mostly natural does not receive much if any media coverage. These factors have caused the general public to be seriously misled on climate issues resulting in wasteful expenditures of billions of dollars in an ineffective attempt to control climate.

This document gives an overview of climate change issues as determined by a comprehensive review of the state of climate science.The graph above shows the temperature changes of the lower troposphere from the surface up to about 8 km as determined from the average of two analyses of satellite data. The best fit line from January 2002 to August 2008 indicates a decline of 0.30 Celsius/decade.

Surface temperature data is contaminated by the effects of urban development. The Sun's activity, which was increasing through most of the 20th century, has recently become quiet, causing a change of trend. The green line shows the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, as measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The ripple effect in the CO2 curve is due to the seasonal changes in biomass.

The Science in Summary

The history of the Earth tells us that the climate is always changing; from warm periods when the dinosaurs flourished, to the many ice ages when glaciers covered much of the land. Climate has always changed due to natural cycles without any help from people.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a political organization promoting a theory that recent minor temperature increases may be caused largely by man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

CO2 is an infrared gas, and increasing concentrations can potentially increase the average global temperature as the gas absorbs radiation from the Earth and emits the absorbed energy at longer wavelengths. However, the warming ability of CO2 is limited because much of the absorption spectrum is near or fully saturated.

When CO2 concentrations were ten times greater than today the Earth was in the grips of one of the coldest ice ages. The history of climate and CO2 concentration shows that temperature changes precede CO2 changes and can not be a significant driver of climate.

Temperature changes over different time scales have been well correlated to solar cycles, cosmic ray flux and cloud cover. Recent research shows that cosmic rays act as a catalyst to create low clouds, which cool the planet. When the Sun is more active, the solar wind repels the cosmic rays, reducing low cloud cover allowing the Sun to warm the planet.

Computer model results presented in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report shows that if CO2 is the main climate driver, the temperature profile in the atmosphere will show a unique and distinctive pattern - a CO2 fingerprint of global warming. Actual temperature data shows no such CO2 fingerprint. Therefore, the comparison of observed data to computer models proves that CO2 is not the main climate driver.

In atmosphere layers near 5 km, the modelled trend from 1980 is 100 to 300% higher than observed. Real world data shows that high clouds cause a strong negative feedback on climate, but climate models assume that clouds cause a positive feedback.

The computer models are programmed to forecast a constant water vapor relative humidity with increasing CO2 resulting in a large water vapor feedback. Actual data shows the relative humidity has fallen 21% since 1948 in the upper troposphere where the models predict the greatest feedback. A new greenhouse effect theory by Miskolczi shows that the Earth maintains a saturated greenhouse effect. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere just replaces an equivalent amount of water vapour to maintain an almost constant greenhouse effect.

Several planets and moons have warmed recently along with the Earth, confirming a natural warming trend. Over longer time periods, as the solar system moves in and out of the galactic arms the cosmic ray flux changes, causing ice ages and warm ages. A comparison of temperature and solar activity proxy data suggests that solar effects can explain at least 75% of the surface warming during the last 100 years.

CO2 is plant food and the increase in the CO2 concentration may have increased the global food production by 15% since 1950 resulting in huge benefits for people. For Canada, any CO2 warming effect would also benefit us by reducing our space heating costs and making a more pleasant climate.

Much more here

California's Sun King

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, thinks he has a partial solution to America's dependence on high-priced foreign oil. But he says liberals and environmentalists are rejecting it.

Mr. Rohrabacher -- who notes 130 pending applications for solar power projects on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management -- has introduced a bill to allow the building of such plants without environmental-impact studies. He tells me that though the BLM has lifted a moratorium on new solar projects on public land that it imposed in 2005, applications are still being clogged up in a bureaucratic pipeline and no new permits have been issued to date. "We need solutions on many levels, and freeing up solar power bottlenecks is one of them," he says.

Debbie Cook, Democratic mayor of Huntington Beach and Mr. Rohrabacher's opponent in this fall's election, opposes his bill as an "extreme position." Environmental groups also oppose it, saying large swaths of vegetation could be disrupted because a sizeable solar power facility requires up to two square miles of land. "If not properly scrutinized, the solar plants have the potential to destroy wildlife habitat, affect water resources, limit outdoor recreation opportunities and prove to be eyesores," is how the Daily Pilot, a local newspaper in Mr. Rohrabacher's Orange County district, summarized the objections of local environmentalists.

Mr. Rohrabacher is amused by the controversy. "Once again the environmental community has demonstrated that they care more about animals than about people," he told me. "I rest my case."



Prime Minister Rudd is unimaginative and conventional rather than extreme but his committment to introduce Warmist laws soon has concentrated minds. Four current articles below:

"The Green Paper? Almost Legless"

Press release from Viv Forbes, Chairman of Australia's Carbon Sense Coalition

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that Penny Wong's Green Paper on the Carbon Reduction Scheme had been overtaken by scientific and political developments and was now almost legless.

The Chairman of "Carbon Sense" Mr Viv Forbes said that of the three pillars of the government's climate change policy, only one was sensible - "Adapting to Climate change that we cannot avoid".

Politicians living in the Canberra hot house seem to think that controlling the climate is as simple as adjusting the thermostat in their air-conditioned offices. Man cannot control the weather and the only feasible climate policy is to make sure we have the brains, the freedom, the flexibility, the funds and the machinery to cope with whatever surprises the climate has in store for us. "Adapt or die" has been the guiding rule for every species since life began on this ever-changing earth.

The first pillar of the policy, "reducing greenhouse gas emissions" is based on flawed science and promoted by scare stories with no evidence to support them. The science shows clearly that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cannot be a significant driver of global warming. Moreover, records going back 10,000 years confirm that CO2 does not drive temperature. Thus any attempts to reduce carbon emissions will be "pain for no gain".

The third pillar of government climate change policy aims to "shape a global solution". This policy is also flawed and should be abandoned. India, China and Russia do not believe that CO2 drives global temperatures and will only join a global agreement if it costs them nothing or, even better, they get paid "carbon sin dispensation money" by silly western nations. Russia has already banked huge carbon credit receipts and other nations are hoping to jump on this gravy train.

Moreover, anyone with a sensitive political antenna can see that in places like Britain, Germany, Canada and the US, the rising costs of food and energy, and the Green destruction of jobs, are worrying electors far more than a mythical global warming bogey-man that never arrives.

More here

Too green is no good

Rudd's Warmist policies are unwise even from an environmental viewpoint

It is too risky for the environment and the economy for Australia to take up calls to commit to cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 per cent in little more than a decade. It could be even more dangerous in the unlikely event that Kevin Rudd convinced the rest of the industrialised world to sign on to such ambitious targets in the name of saving the planet.

Although this would be Nobel prize-winning form, such promises simply would not be credible. It may feel good to hope otherwise, but too much of the industrialised world has broken its Kyoto Protocol promises. It quickly would become clear that the rich world would not deliver on even more onerous vows. The ensuing disrepute and disillusion would provoke global political fractiousness, economic tit for tat and even raw aggression, particularly if a warmer planet became increasingly uncomfortable.

By going it alone, Australia could even make things worse for the global environment by sending its emission-intensive industries offshore to dirtier regimes. Unilateral steep cuts could be achieved only at an economic cost too large for Australia's political system to digest. The likelier outcome of missing the target by a wide margin would trash Rudd's hopes for Australia to lead the world on tackling climate change.

This has been evident enough for long enough to predict that Ross Garnaut eventually would reject steep unilateral targets for reducing Australian emissions. It is similarly predictable that Rudd will broadly follow suit. Australia's political class has spent the past generation locking in economic reforms that finally allowed Australia to exploit its comparative advantage in mining and energy. Just like John Howard, Rudd will not risk junking this.

Just as predictably, climate scientists and activists are dismayed by Garnaut's proposed targets, instead calling for Australia to commit to cutting emissions by 25 per cent to 40per cent below 2000 levels by 2020. But such targets would not have the credibility needed for creating durable new property rights - the right to emit carbon into the atmosphere - that can be traded between countries. Business will not invest in less carbon-intensive production if it does not believe the system for pricing carbon will stand up as advertised over decades. Without investment in cleaner capacity, the economic costs of meeting the targets will increase, along with the potential political backlash. And developing countries such as China and India will not buy into a global scheme if the developed nations assuage Western guilt by making promises they patently won't keep.

So far, the most industrialised economies have broken their Koyoto promises to cut emissions by 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. The former Soviet bloc looks good because of the post-Cold War collapse of its dirty industries, although Russia's emissions are rising on the back of its oil and gas boom. In lower-growth Europe, France will meet its target because it has gone nuclear. Britain is on track because it closed its uneconomic coalmines. But others will exceed their Kyoto targets by embarrassing margins. Japan hasn't developed its nuclear industry as foreshadowed and hasn't got the expected returns from technology investment.

Canada has abandoned its Kyoto target because higher crude oil prices have encouraged emission-intensive extraction from its vast northern deposits of tar sands. New Zealand won't be within cooee because East Asian income growth has boosted demand for its methane-rich meat and dairy production. Australia remains on target, but only because of a special deal allowing us to increase emissions to 108 per cent of 1990 levels and to include land clearing. On that basis, Australia's 2006 emissions were 4 per cent higher than in 1990. But excluding the one-off land clearing concession, Australia's 2006 emissions are 40 per cent higher, fuelled in part by the economy's China boom. That's the emissions trajectory we now aim to turn around.

As it is, Garnaut's proposal to commit Australia to reducing emissions by 10 per cent over 2000 levels by 2020 (and 80 per cent by 2050) will take a big effort. As Garnaut tells his scientific and environmental critics, a 10 per cent cut by 2020 amounts to a challenging 30 per cent reduction in per capita terms. And given our emissions are still rising, this would require Australia to cut absolute emissions by 17 per cent from 2012. A bigger, 25 per cent reductions target would amount to a 40 per cent cut in per capita terms and 35 per cent in absolute terms from 2012. Garnaut suggests that his 10 per cent target will require "significant structural change" and reduce national income growth by something approaching 0.2 percentage points a year. While this sounds small, it is a significant income loss in the context of issues such as the ageing of the population.

Even then, Garnaut's numbers assume Australia will spend big on planting forests in Indonesia or Papua New Guinea so we can, for instance, keep on smelting aluminium with coal-fired electricity. If the world doesn't set up a trading scheme to achieve a credible reductions target, the cost of achieving Australia's 10 per cent cut would escalate significantly. In this world, Garnaut lowers his 2020 target to a 5per cent emissions cut.

Garnaut's latest report encourages the idea that a full-blown global emissions trading scheme simply won't fly. Australia's other leading climate change economist, Warwick McKibbin, suggests that any such scheme would soon collapse because it would be too difficult to monitor and enforce each country's emissions targets, thus devaluing emissions permits. Leading US economist Jeffrey Sachs describes such schemes as an administrative mess.

Australians may feel good when telling pollsters they are prepared to sacrifice, but neither Rudd nor Brendan Nelson is game enough to test this by exposing motorists to climate change costs before 2013. Until the weekend, the Government of Australia's resources boom state banned the mining of uranium that could help other countries curb their emissions. That's hardly credible for a nation claiming it is prepared to wear the economic costs of leading the world in tackling climate change.


Rudd's Warmist policies threaten healthcare with $100m power bill

HOSPITALS and nursing homes face a $100 million jump in powerbills under a national emissions trading scheme, threatening to compromise future levels of service unless they are includedin government plans for compensation.

Most debate has focused on the appropriateness and scale of compensation for major emitters such as power stations, trade-exposed, energy-intense industries and low-income households. Australia's biggest not-for-profit health service provider, Catholic Health Australia, is concerned it has been overlooked in the debate, and says it is unable to pass on higher energy costs. Research by the CHA estimates the greenhouse footprint of each of the nation's 83,000 hospital beds is about 28 tonnes a year - double the emissions from an average household. When combined with the emissions from 170,000 nursing home beds and other aged-care services, the health sector accounts for about five million tonnes of CO2 a year.

CHA chief executive Martin Laverty said there was growing concern that not-for-profit organisations operating in this and other sectors would be forced to cut services as a result of an emissions trading scheme.

CHA manages about 9500 hospital beds, 19,000 aged-care beds and 6000 retirement units, and would face an increase in its energy bill of about $10 million a year at a starting price of $20 a tonne for CO2.

In CHA's submission to the Government's green paper, it has recommended all commonwealth or state healthcare funding mechanisms be indexed to compensate for the flow-on effects of a carbon price. "You must factor in a cap and trade indexation component of funding to aged care and public hospitals and private hospitals so the healthcare and aged-care sectors in Australia can play their role and not be a roadblock to climate change," Mr Laverty said yesterday.

"Any service provided by federal or local government operated by not-for-profit organisations will be in exactly the same boat. "I am concerned the green paper spent a long time arguing the science. What it should have done is look at the proper structural impacts across the entire economy, and given the start of the solution."

A coalition of civil society, representing unions, charities, churches and environment groups, yesterday called on the Rudd Government to spend up to half of all revenue from the sale of permits to assist households and vulnerable communities to cut energy consumption and adapt to higher prices. A research paper by left-wing think tank the Australia Institute has warned that the community sector has been overlooked for compensation payments, and could face increased costs in excess of $822 million under the scheme.

A spokeswoman for Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the Rudd Government welcomed constructive feedback from the not-for-profit sector. The Government is plannning to finalise the design of the national emissions trading scheme by December.


Emissions trading 'worse than drought'

The Rudd Government's attempts to combat climate change through an emissions trading scheme will do more damage to the farming sector than the drought, senior industry figures warned yesterday. The claims were made as new economic modelling showed farm profitability under the proposed trading scheme could drop to zero. The research by the Australian Farm Institute suggests that under an ETS, the $100 billion sector could be forced into debt, with livestock farms and smaller holdings worst affected. Using 10 model farm businesses and three future emissions price scenarios, the research showed far-reaching changes for the farm sector.

Institute head Mick Keogh said that even if agriculture were not included in the scheme until 2015, as recommended in the green paper from Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, the impact would hit the sector from 2010 because of the increased prices farmers will have to pay for inputs such as fuel, freight, electricity, fertilisers and chemicals. "Reductions in farm profitability of between 5 per cent and 10per cent are projected even with quite modest emission prices," Mr Keogh said. "Under scenarios where farmers are required to pay the full cost of estimated farm emissions, the modelling projects farm profit reductions of more than 100 per cent, especially for farms running sheep and cattle," he said. "The sector, which is fully trade-exposed, is going to be significantly impacted."

The institute's findings mirror recent modelling from New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture, which showed profitability across all farm types plummeting under an ETS. Farmer Howard Crozier, 72, is sceptical of global warming, and says the ETS is a waste of time. Speaking from his 1000ha farm at Bungendore, near Canberra, he said it would mean high input costs and lower profitability. "Even if they don't include agriculture before 2015, we're still going to have to pay the higher input costs, with no relief on the credit side," the cattle and sheep farmer said. "Our ability to sequester carbon won't be counted because native pastures and native forests aren't counted under Kyoto. "We have young earnest bureaucrats from Penny Wong's office saying all we have to do is adjust the prices of our products. How? There is no capacity for us to increase our prices to adjust to the huge losses we would suffer."

Queensland Farmers Federation chief executive John Cherry said the concerns of the rural sector were being ignored by the Government, even though the costs associated with an ETS will start to hit within 18 months. "We will be less competitive on world markets from 2010," Mr Cherry said. "With 70 per cent of agricultural produce exported, there is no opportunity to pass these costs on. It's going to cost a fortune. It is an insanity."



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


Monday, September 15, 2008

Climate change chicanery

By Christopher Booker

Recent events have seen the scare campaign over global warming descend to the level of a Monty Python sketch. Much publicity was given, for instance, to Lewis Gordon Pugh, who set out to paddle a kayak to the Pole to demonstrate the vanishing of the Arctic ice. At 80.5 degrees north, still 600 miles short of his goal, he met with ice so thick that he and his fossil-fuelled support ship had to turn back. But this did not prevent him receiving a congratulatory call from Gordon Brown, nor boasting that he had travelled "further north than anyone has kayaked so far".

It took the admirable Watts Up With That blog, run by the American meteorologist Anthony Watts, to point out that in 1893 the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen found the Arctic so ice-free that he was able to kayak above 82 degrees north, 100 miles nearer the Pole than our hapless campaigner against "unprecedented global warming".

Then there was the much-publicised speech to Compassion in World Farming by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pleading for people to give up meat, on the grounds that the digestive methane given off by cattle contributes more to greenhouse gases than all the world's transport.

Although hailed by the BBC as "the UN's top climate scientist", Dr Pachauri, who holds PhDs in economics and engineering, is nothing of the kind, but just an apparatchik. A vegetarian Hindu, Dr Pachauri not only used highly tendentious figures to promote his cause but said nothing about the contribution made to global warming by India's 400 million sacred cows, which presumably would still be free to vent wind even if the rest of humanity is converted to eating veggieburgers.

There has also been an acclaimed new paper by Michael Mann, the creator of the iconic "hockey stick" graph, purporting to show that the world has recently become hotter than at any time in recorded history, eliminating all the wealth of evidence to show that temperatures were higher in the Mediaeval Warm Period than today.

After being used obsessively by the IPCC's 2001 report to promote the cause, the "hockey stick" was comprehensively discredited, not least by Steve McIntyre, a Canadian computer analyst, who showed that Mann had built into his computer programme an algorithm (or "al-gore-ithm") which would produce the hockey stick shape even if the data fed in was just "random noise".

Two weeks ago Dr Mann published a new study, claiming to have used 1,209 new historic "temperature proxies" to show that his original graph was essentially correct after all. This was faithfully reported by the media as further confirmation that we live in a time of unprecedented warming. Steve McIntyre immediately got to work and, supported by expert readers on his Climate Audit website, shredded Mann's new version as mercilessly as he had the original.

He again showed how selective Mann had been in his new data, excluding anything which confirmed the Mediaeval Warming and concentrating on that showing temperatures recently rising to record levels.

Finnish experts pointed out that, where Mann placed emphasis on the evidence of sediments from Finnish lakes, there were particular reasons why these should have shown rising temperatures in recent years, such as expanding towns on their shores. McIntyre even discovered a part of Mann's programme akin to a disguised version of his earlier algorithm, which he now calls "Mannomatics".

But Mann's new study will surely be used to push the warmist party line in the run-up to the IPCC international conference in Copenhagen next year to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, temperatures continue to drop. The latest Nasa satellite readings on global temperatures from the University of Alabama, one of four officially recognised sources of temperature data, show that August was the fourth month this year when temperatures fell below their 30-year average, ie since satellite records began. The US National Climatic Data Center showsis showing that last month in the USA was only the 39th warmest since records began 113 years ago.

It is high time, however, that we took all this chicanery and wishful thinking seriously - as was evidenced in Maidstone Crown Court last Wednesday, by the acquittal of six Greenpeace campaigners tried for criminal damage to Kingsnorth power station. They were attempting to stop a new coal-fired power station being built, to produce 1,600 megawatts of electricity (two and a half times as much as is generated by all the 2,300 wind turbines so far built in Britain). As gleefully reported on the front page of The Independent, and at length by other promoters of warming alarmism such as the BBC and The Guardian, the jury agreed that the damage they had perpetrated was lawfully justified - because the damage done by the new power station, in raising global sea levels and contributing to the extinction of "a million species", would be far worse.

The court was swayed to this remarkable verdict by the evidence of two "expert witnesses" for the defence: Zac Goldsmith, one of David Cameron's envrionmental policy advisers and a prospective Conservative MP, and James Hansen, head of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr Hansen, who has been the world's leading global warming campaigner for 20 years (along with his ally Al Gore), claimed that the proposed Kingsnorth power station alone would be responsible for the extinction of "400 species".

It is extraordinary that two such partisan witnesses were accepted by the court in this role, since the rules, as defined by Mr Justice Cresswell in 1993, insist that the function of an "expert witness" is only to give "objective evidence". He must not be an "advocate" for one side or the other on any issue on which experts are divided.

This should have ruled Dr Hansen out at once. Question marks are raised over his institute's temperature data. Last year he was forced by Steve McIntyre to revise his figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as Hansen claimed, but the 1930s. He has also campaigned tirelessly for the scrapping of all coal-fired power stations.

Yet we are critically dependent on coal-generated power: it supplies 35 per cent of Britain's needs and 50 per cent of America's. Thanks to EU rules, we will be forced to close six coal-fired power stations before long, and without new ones, such as that proposed for Kingsnorth, our economy will judder to a halt.

David Cameron could well be prime minister by then. That one of his closest advisers believes that criminal damage is justified to stop coal-fired power plants being built is just as alarming as that the British courts now seem to agree with him.


The Warmists' sham cost estimates

The Warmists always assume that the costs that they want to subject us now to will be effective in averting future losses. But there is no way that is so. All of the feasible policies will have only minute effects on anything

By Bjorn Lomborg

One commonly repeated argument for doing something about climate change sounds compelling, but turns out to be almost fraudulent. It is based on comparing the cost of action with the cost of inaction, and almost every major politician in the world uses it. European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, for example, used this argument when he presented the European Union's proposal to tackle climate change earlier this year. The EU promised to cut its CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, at a cost the EC's own estimates put at about 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product, or roughly $100 billion per year. This is obviously a hefty price tag - at least a 50 per cent increase in the total cost of the EU - and it will likely be much higher (the EC has previously estimated the cost to be double its present estimate).

But Barroso's punchline was that "the cost is low compared to the high price of inaction". In fact, he forecast the price of doing nothing "could even approach 20 per cent of GDP". (Never mind that this cost estimate is probably wildly overestimated; most models show about 3 per cent damages.) So there you have it. Of course, politicians should be willing to spend 0.5 per cent of GDP to avoid a 20 per cent cost of GDP. This sounds eminently sensible, until you realise that Barroso is comparing two entirely different issues.

The 0.5-per-cent-of-GDP expense will reduce emissions ever so slightly (if everyone in the EU actually fulfills their requirements for the rest of the century, global emissions will fall by about 4 per cent). This would reduce the temperature increase expected by the end of the century by just 0.05C. Thus, the EU's immensely ambitious program will not stop or even have a significant impact on global warming.

In other words, if Barroso fears costs of 20 per cent of GDP in the year 2100, the 0.5 per cent payment every year of this century will do virtually nothing to change that cost. We would still have to pay by the end of the century, only now we would also have made ourselves poorer in the 90 years preceding it.

The sleight of hand works because we assume that the action will cancel all the effects of inaction, whereas of course, nothing like that is true. This becomes much clearer if we substitute much smaller action than Barroso envisions.

For example, say that the EU decides to put up a diamond-studded wind turbine at the Berlaymont headquarters, which will save 1 tonne of CO2 each year. The cost will be $1 billion, but the EU says that this is incredibly cheap when compared to the cost of inaction on climate change, which will run into the trillions. It should be obvious that the $1 billion windmill doesn't negate the trillions of dollars of damage from climate change that we still have to pay by the end of the century.

The EU's argument is similar to advising a man with a gangrenous leg that paying $50,000 for an aspirin is a good deal because the cost compares favourably to the cost of inaction, which is losing the leg. Of course, the aspirin doesn't prevent that outcome. The inaction argument is really terribly negligent, because it causes us to recommend aspirin and lose sight of smarter actions that may actually save the leg.

Likewise, it is negligent to focus on inefficiently cutting CO2 now because of costs in the distant future that in reality will not be avoided. It stops us from focusing on long-term strategies like investment in energy research and development that would actually solve climate change and at a much lower cost.

If Barroso were alone, perhaps we could let his statement go, but the same argument is used again and again by influential politicians. Germany's Angela Merkel says it "makes economic sense" to cut CO2, because the "the economic consequences of inaction will be dramatic for us all". Australia's Kevin Rudd agrees that "the cost of inaction will be far greater than the cost of action". UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has gone on record with the exact same words. In the US, both John McCain and Barack Obama use the cost of inaction as a pivotal reason to support carbon cuts.

Californian senator Diane Feinstein argues that we should curb carbon emissions because the Sierra snowpack, which accounts for much of California's drinking water, will be reduced by 40 per cent by 2050 due to global warming. What she fails to tell us is that even a substantial reduction in emissions - at a high cost - will have an unmeasurable effect on snowmelt by 2050. Instead, we should perhaps invest in water storage facilities.

Likewise, when politicians fret that we will lose a significant proportion of polar bears by 2050, they use it as an argument for cutting carbon, but forget to tell us that doing so will have no measurable effect on polar bear populations. Instead, we should perhaps stop shooting the 300 polar bears we hunt each year.

The inaction argument makes us spend vast resources on policies that will do virtually nothing to deal with climate change, thereby diverting those resources from policies that could actually make an impact.

We would never accept medical practitioners advising ultra-expensive and ineffective aspirins for gangrene because the cost of aspirin outweighs the cost of losing the leg. Why, then, should we tolerate such fallacious arguments when debating the costliest public policy decision in the history of mankind?


Fascism comes to New Hampshire

.00009 Degrees Cooler; Human Rights Gone

Over in New Hamshire, the rights of our fellow humans have a chance to be seriously infringed upon. The NH Climate Change Policy Task Force, created by Gov. John Lynch, is considering seriously scary government policies.

These include “taxing individuals for each pound of trash they produce; imposing higher automotive registration and insurance rates on individuals who drive more; increasing gasoline taxes; reducing the availability of parking; and establishing ‘Residential Behavior Change Programs’ that would employ community networks to intimidate individuals into ‘making sustained, socially beneficial changes at the household level.’”

Ok, so I’m assuming that this disturbing intrusion into American lives has a cause that justifies the actions. Let’s break this down.

The US, in 2004 was responsible for 22.2% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. China has passed us since then, meaning our percentage has gone down some, so I’ll estimate the number at 20% right now.

In 2005, the New Hampshire produced 21.21 Million Metric Tons of CO2. The entire US made 6,049,235 Thousand Metric Tons of CO2 in 2004. This is where it got tough, but I bore down and put my thinking cap on to figure it out. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that 21.21 Million Metric Tons is 21,210 Thousand Metric Tons.

That would make the percentage of carbon dioxide in the US that New Hampshire creates is a measly .35% of the total amount we produce. But wait, there’s more!

The US makes only 20% of the worlds CO2. So .35% multiplied by 20% equals……. only .07% of the worlds carbon dioxide production. That’s all New Hampshire makes.

We also know that the if every country accepted the Kyoto Protocol, the world's temperature would be reduced by only .06 degrees Celsius. The reductions Kyoto calls for are 5% below 1990 levels.

The worlds carbon emissions are expected to be 28,563 million metric tons in 2012. In 1990 it was 21,563, and 5% below that is 20,485 MMT. So essentially, getting rid of 8,078 MMT (per year) of CO2 will reduce global warming by .06 degrees.

What does that mean for New Hampshire? It means that if the state stoped producing carbon dioxide indefinitely, it would reduce global temperatures by approximately .00016 degrees Celcius by 2050.

Of course, completely halting production of CO2 won’t happen. Let’s say they reduce emission by 60% throught these policy changes, something which almost surely won’t happen, (unless nuclear was used) the temperature reductions would be .00009 degrees Celsius.

So that’s the dilemma. Reduce our emissions, resulting in a lower quality of life and government intrusion and regulation like none seen before in the US, and the result is a temperature reduction that is almost incomprehensibly small.

.00009 degrees Celsius. Human rights and living standards. Which one is more important? That’s up to you to figure out.

The data I used for this post are from these 3 sources:
World Energy Consumption and Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 1990-2025

List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions

Energy CO2 Emissions by State


Time Mag. Sept, 13, 1937: 'Northwest Passage's navigability was dramatically demonstrated'

Nothing new about recent summer openings in the Arctic ice

Last week this new, shorter Northwest Passage's navigability was dramatically demonstrated as Hudson Bay Company's Eastern Arctic Patrol Nascopie sounded her way through Bellot Strait. Snow shrouded the Arctic dusk as head on through the haze came the bow of another ship.

Nascopie's Captain Thomas Smellie's incredulous hail got a booming reply from veteran Arctic Trader Patsy Klingenberg, from the deck of the Schooner Aklavik, eastbound to Baffin Island, and astonished Eskimo cheers from both crews echoed through the rock-bound channel.

That night captains of both vessels described from their anchorages to Canadian Broadcasting Co. and NBC audiences their historic meeting. Hopeful for the growing trade of the North were residents and sponsors of Churchill that somehow Northwest Passage II would bring business, help redeem millions of dollars sunk in Canada's most northerly port.

Across the Pole is the Northeast Passage to China along the top of Norway & Russia. Sebastian Cabot initiated its search in 1553. Henry Hudson twice attempted a passage but it was not until 1879 that the route was navigated. Now Russia currently operates 160 freighters on summer schedules in the Northeast Passage's more open but colder waters.


A Spotless Sun and the Coming Ice Age

By Alan Caruba

There's a wonderful irony in the fact that, back in the 1970s, the Greens were issuing warnings and even writing books about the coming Ice Age. They would abandon this issue, based in well-known and accepted solar science, in favor of a vast international hoax alleging man-made global warming.

As the global warming hoax begins to lose its power to influence public opinion and policy, the Greens are not likely to be heeded for a long time to come because they were right about an Ice Age and lying through their teeth about global warming.

Scientists and laymen who follow the Ice Age cycles have been warning that, if not a full-fledged Ice Age, at the very least a Little Ice Age comparable to one that lasted from 1300 to around 1850 is on its way. Amidst all the media coverage of Hurricane Gustav and the Republican Convention, a report in DailyTech.com was not likely to get much attention, but it forecast a very cold world in the years to come. The Earth has already started to cool and scientists date the change from 1998.Headlined, "Drop in solar activity has potential effect for climate on Earth", the news is that, for the first time in 100 years, "an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted."

The author, Michael Asher, noted that "The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity-which determines the number of sunspots-is an influencing factor for climate on Earth."

My friend, Robert W. Felix, wrote an excellent book on this titled "Not by Fire, but by Ice" ($15.00, Sugarhouse Publishing, softcover, second edition) which can be purchased from his website at IceAgeNow.com. "We're beginning to realize that Earth is a violent and dangerous place to live," wrote Felix. "We're beginning to realize that mass extinctions have been the rule, rather than the exception, for the 3.5 billion years that life has existed on Earth."

Felix has a new book soon to be published that addresses magnetic reversals, another cyclical factor affecting life on Earth. "During the last 4.5 million years, at least six out of nine radiolarian extinctions occurred at magnetic reversals." They appear to be a factor in the sudden emergence of new species so Darwin's theory is likely to be reexamined.

As the DailyTech report notes, "In the past 1000 years, three previous such events, the Dalton, Maunder, and Sporer Minimums," of reduced sunspot activity, "have all led to rapid cooling," adding that, "For a society dependent on agriculture, cold is more damaging than heat. The growing season shortens, yields drop, and the occurrence of crop-destroying frosts increases."

An article by William Livingston and Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, "Sunspots May Vanish by 2015", predicts that sunspots will disappear completely. "Such an event would not be unprecedented, since during a famous episode from 1645-1715, known as the Maunder Minimum." That solar cycle "was shown to correspond with the reduced average global temperatures on the Earth."

In other words, it's going to get COLD.The Little Ice Age had an effect on history as you might imagine. The French Revolution is attributed to it insofar as the cost of bread rose as wheat crops failed. Riots followed. Similarly, Napoleon's invasion of Russia met with defeat thanks to a winter that killed thousands of his troops. In America, it was reflected in the travails of Valley Forge.

Over at IceAgeNow.com, Felix posts the latest news from around the world that tells of anomalous events ranging from freak early snow storms to expanding glaciers. Soon enough, those living in the northern hemisphere will become more aware as winters lengthen and become more severe. After that, the scenarios grow quite serious.

Even the venerable Old Farmers Almanac is making news these days forecasting a far cooler winter and suggesting that the Earth is already in a cooling cycle. No doubt some diehard Greens like Al Gore will continue to spout nonsense that the cold weather is due to global warming, but it has to do with the Sun that's gone quiet. It's not myth. It's reality.



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


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some REAL skepticism from Prof. Fred Singer

He questions even the pre-1998 warming

It's become quite clear that the climate has not warmed for a decade, since 1998, the year of the strong El Nino. But what about the two decades before 1998? The iconic graph of global mean surface temperature of the IPCC seems to show a strong warming trend of 0.2 degC per decade (see Fig 4a of NIPCC report, based on the GISS analysis).

But not so fast: The well-controlled US data show no such trend (NIPCC, Fig 4b). Tree-ring data (see "Hot Talk, Cold Science" Fig16), not subject to any local urban heating, show zero trends; ice core temperatures (NIPCC, Fig 2) show no warming either. The notorious Hockeystick proxy data mysteriously stop at 1980, just when things become interesting. But we have tropospheric temperature data from balloon-borne radiosondes and from microwave instruments in weather satellites. Both of these data sets show essentially no warming between 1979 and 1997. Climate models tell us that if greenhouse (GH) effects dominate, then the surface trend in the tropics should be about half that of the troposphere. And half of zero is zero.

Hmm, maybe there has been no significant GH warming between 1979 and 1997 at all, then an upward jump in 1998, followed by slight cooling. A look at the satellite data (NIPCC, Fig 13) seems to suggest just that.

Source (Editorial of 9/13/08)

Paint the rooftops!

Fifteen months ago I wrote a post in which I passed along the claim that painting roofs white would increase the planet's albedo (reflectivity) so much that temperatures might actually decline to pre-industrial levels notwithstanding higher levels of greenhouse gases. Now we have more evidence from FP Passport:
Stop the climate negotiations. There's a better answer. Two words: white roofs. If stats from a paper by Hashem Akbari of the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory are correct, re-roofing 100 global cities could stop 44 metric gigatons from entering the atmosphere -- more than all the countries in the world combined emit now.

The articles do not say so, but what would be the problem with whitewashing parking lots? You know, white pavement, black lines for the parking places? That would help, too.

There are, of course, enormous, almost insurmountable problems with this idea. First, it would be trivially inexpensive compared to forced reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Second, there would be no need to rush through a transformation of the mass consumer economy. Third, it would be reversable, on the off chance that the climate prediction models are wrong. Fourth, the lefties will never support it because it does not sufficiently damage capitalism. Oh well.


The Envirowacko Religion. Photo Proof

For the most part, extreme environmentalists are Godless. They often claim to be atheists or at least agnostics on the subject of religion. Many even ridicule religion, especially Christianity, calling it "superstition," "backwards," or "archaic." They often blame for what they claim is the destruction of the world's ecology on people who are religious and then use that as a basis to call hypocrisy on those same religious people. We've all seen it.

But, in general they also claim that their beliefs in humanism and nature are superior. However, they'd scoff at claims that they have merely replaced traditional religion with one of their own creation: environmentalism. They would argue that their beliefs are simply applied logic and does not represent that of religious zealotry.

Well, they say that pictures say a thousand words and the Los Angeles Times published a photo that puts the lie to the claim that environmentalism is not a religion:

This scene occurred as the last of the so-called "tree-sitters" were being removed from the trees in Berkeley, California. For the last 21 months these people have been trying to stop the felling of trees to make way for development.

The L.A.Times' caption reads: "Ken-Dru Van Jones is among those witnessing the removal of the tree sitters." It depicts supporters of the tree-sitters supplicating themselves before the trees and in obvious religious reverence, the kitchily named "Ken-Dru" Van Jones obviously clasping his hands in prayer. But, prayer for what, one wonders?

This photo is proof that these people treat their belief in religious terms, emotions and reactions - even dogma. It does not particularly matter that their "religion" is not in accordance with accepted religions. It is their own unique creation. But, regardless of its novelty, it is religious nonetheless.

In any case, this photo is a perfect example of the absurdity that is envirowackoism and the overwrought belief in "nature" as religious tenet. But, I'd remind these folks that trees don't need human reverence. It does them no good. Nature needs but human stewardship, not their "love" or religious devotion. And that stewardship is only necessary to keep men comfortable, not to the sole benefit of nature itself. Nature couldn't care less about concepts of benefit and love. It lacks any capacity to experience or return it.


Medieval Warm Period Strikes Back!

New paper by Craig Loehle confirms MWP and knocks down resurrected 'Hockey Stick' -- published in the journal Climate Change "A mathematical analysis of the divergence problem in dendroclimatology" - September 10, 2008


Tree rings provide a primary data source for reconstructing past climates, particularly over the past 1,000 years. However, divergence has been observed in twentieth century reconstructions. Divergence occurs when trees show a positive response to warming in the calibration period but a lesser or even negative response in recent decades. The mathematical implications of divergence for reconstructing climate are explored in this study. Divergence results either because of some unique environmental factor in recent decades, because trees reach an asymptotic maximum growth rate at some temperature, or because higher temperatures reduce tree growth. If trees show a nonlinear growth response, the result is to potentially truncate any historical temperatures higher than those in the calibration period, as well as to reduce the mean and range of reconstructed values compared to actual. This produces the divergence effect. This creates a cold bias in the reconstructed record and makes it impossible to make any statements about how warm recent decades are compared to historical periods. Some suggestions are made to overcome these problems....


In conclusion, the nonlinear response of trees to temperature explains the divergence problem, including cases where divergence was not found. The analysis here also shows why non-tree ring proxies often show the Medieval Warm Period but treering-based reconstructions more often do not. While Fritts (1976) notes the parabolic tree growth response to temperature, recent discussions of the divergence problem have not focused on this mechanism and climate reconstructions continue to be done using a linear response model. When the divergence problem clearly indicates that the linearity assumption is questionable, it is not good practice to carry on as if linearity is an established fact.


Problems with the Climate Models

By Michael R. Fox (who holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry and is a science analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level)

Recalling that people such as Robert F. Kennedy have called climate skeptics "traitors", David Suzuki calls for their jailing, the Grist website called for Nuremburg trials for them, NASA's Dr. Jim Hansen calling for their trials for treason, along with the habitual insults from Al Gore, its been difficult for anyone to respectfully dissent. It's been difficult to stick to the rules of hard science, by demanding evidence and replication, both of which require questioning but are often followed by insults and threats.

The world owes a lot to many climate sci entists who are closely studying and reviewing the claims of the global warming lobby. They are also attempting to replicate some of these findings without the traditional support of the originating authors. Ordinarily, in the world of hard nosed science, such scrutiny and replication has been historically welcomed. No longer. The well-known name calling, the dismissiveness, the ad hominem attacks, is regrettably now the standard level of discourse. Additionally, these include many laboratory directors, media editors, and Ph.D.s who for whatever reasons adopt the same low roads of discourse and the abandonment of science.

These are difficult times for traditional climate scientists who do practice good science, serious peer review, welcome scrutiny, replication, and the sharing of data. Thanks to the whole world of the global warm-mongers and indentured PhDs, the integrity of the entire world of science is being diminished, followed by a loss of trust and respect.

Among the giants challenging the global warming dogma has been Christopher Monckton. He has been a strong international leader, spokesman, and expert in unraveling the complexities of the man-made warming hypothesis.

The greatest drivers behind the hypothesis have not been the actual evidence, but computer models. Relative to the largely unknown climate complexities, these are still known to be primitive and incapable of replicating climate data as measured from observations. If a hypothesis can't explain actual evidence and climate observations, it is wrong, and needs to be modified or abandoned.

In a recent exchange with an expert modeler and believer of global warming, Monckton responded in incredible detail by identifying many of the problems found with the computer models themselves. Monckton is impressively expert in the minutiae of computer modeling, a skill which applies directly to the analyses of the computer climate models. Monckton has performed a detailed analysis of the IPCC's hypothesis of global warming and identified a long list of failings. They deserved much wider distribution, with an understanding of the serious implications. They and literature references can be found here (http://tinyurl.com/6edjzo).

Monckton is not alone in his concerns with computer modeling. Tens of thousands of scientists and engineers who have taken basic mathematics know of the problems and complexities with modeling even simple situations. This author has met a fellow scientist (a bit nerdy admittedly) who carried a long multi-variable multi-term equation on a paper kept in his wallet, which was the equation of the outline of his wife's face. The modeling problem is delightfully defined by atmospheric physicist Dr. James Peden, who recently said Climate Modeling is not science, it is computerized Tinkertoys, with which one can construct any outcome he chooses.. And for my nerdy modeler above, it's easy to change his wallet equation if he gets a new wife !

Monckton's analyses are summarized in a number of points below, which are devastating to the hypothesis and computer modeling. These have profound implications for policy makers and the energy and economic future of our country. We'd better learn these:

Point 1: There are. serial, serious failures of the computer models of climate ..the computer models upon which the UN's climate panel unwisely founds its entire case have failed and failed and failed again to predict major events in the real climate.

a. The models have not projected the current multidecadal stasis in "global warming":

b. no rise in temperatures since 1998; falling temperatures since late 2001; temperatures not expected to set a new record until 2015 (Keenlyside et al., 2008).

c. nor (until trained ex post facto) did they predict the fall in TS from 1940-1975;

d. nor 50 years' cooling in Antarctica (Doran et al., 2002) and the Arctic (Soon, 2005);

e. nor the absence of ocean warming since 2003 (Lyman et al., 2006; Gouretski & Koltermann, 2007);

f. nor the behavior of the great ocean oscillations (Lindzen, 2007),

g. nor the magnitude nor duration of multi-century events such as the Mediaeval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age;

h. nor the decline since 2000 in atmospheric methane concentration (IPCC, 2007);

i. nor the active 2004 hur ricane season;

j. nor the inactive subsequent seasons;

k. nor the UK flooding of 2007 (the Met Office had forecast a summer of prolonged droughts only six weeks previously);

l. nor the solar Grand Maximum of the past 70 years, during which the Sun was more active, for longer, than at almost any similar period in the past 11,400 years (Hathaway, 2004; Solanki et al., 2005);

m. nor the consequent surface "global warming" on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune's largest moon, and even distant Pluto;

n. nor the eerily-continuing 2006 solar minimum;

o. nor the consequent, precipitate decline of ~0.8 oC in surface temperature from January 2007 to May 2008 that has canceled out almost all of the observed warming of the 20th century.

As Monckton states, the computer models are demonstrable failures.

Point 2: The IPCC's method of evaluating climate sensitivity is inadequate and error-laden Monckton showed that the IPCC's method of evaluating climate sensitivity can be reproduced by nothing more complicated than a few equations which, if the IPCC's values for certain key parameters are input to them, generate the IPCC's central estimate of climate sensitivity to a high precision. Nowhere else has this method been so clearly or concisely expounded before.

And, once the IPCC's method is clearly seen for what it is, it is at once apparent that their method suffer s from a series of major defects that render it useless for its purpose. The laboratory experiments that form the basis for estimates of forcings do not translate easily to the real atmosphere, so that the IPCC's claimed "Levels of Scientific Understanding" for the forcings are exaggerated; its estimates of the feedbacks that account for two-thirds of total forcing are subject to enormous uncertainties not fairly reflected in the tight error-bars it assigns to them; the feedback-sum is unreasonably close to the point of instability in the Bode feedback equation (important in the study of circuit [and climate] feedbacks), which has in any event been incorrectly used for amplification in a chaotic system, when it was designed only for systems whose initial state was linear; the IPCC's value for the no-feedbacks climate sensitivity parameter is the highest in the mainstream literature, and is inconsistent with the value derivable from the 2001 report; the value of this and other parameters are not explicitly stated; etc., etc.

Point 3: The IPCC's value for climate sensitivity depends upon only four scientific papers Climate sensitivity is the central - properly speaking, the only - question in the debate about the extent to which "global warming" will happen. Monckton's presentation of the IPCC's method of calculating how much the world will warm in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration shows that the IPCC's values for the three key pa rameters whose product is climate sensitivity are taken not from 2,500 papers in the literature but from just four papers. Had a wider, more representative selection of papers been relied upon, a far lower climate sensitivity would have resulted.

Point 4: Uncertainty in evaluating climate sensitivity is far greater than the IPCC admits The IPCC baselessly states that it is 90% sure we (humans) caused most of the observed warming of the past half-century (or, more particularly, the warming in the 23 years between 1975 and 1998: the remaining 27 years were in periods of cooling). However, the uncertainties in the evaluation of climate sensitivity are so great that any conclusion of this kind is meaningless. None of the three key parameters whose product is climate sensitivity can be directly measured; attempts to infer their values by observation are thwarted by the inadequacies and uncertainties of the observations depended upon; and, in short, the IPCC's conclusions as to climate sensitivity are little better than guesswork.

Point 5: The published literature can be used to demonstrate lower climate sensitivity The second part of Monckton's paper examines the literature on climate sensitivity. A surprisingly small proportion of all papers on climate change consider this central question. The vast majority concentrate on assuming that the IPCC's climate-sensitivity estimate is right and then using it to predict consequences (though, as Schulte, 2008, has shown, none find that the consequenc es are likely to be catastrophic). Monckton demonstrates, using papers from the literature, that it is at least as plausible to find a climate sensitivity of <0.6 C as it is to find the IPCC's 3.3C ( a factor of 5--- such a large uncertainty does not inspire confidence).

Point 6: Even if climate sensitivity is high, adaptation is more cost-effective than mitigation Monckton concluded as follows: "Even if temperature had risen above natural variability, the recent solar Grand Maximum may have been chiefly responsible. Even if the sun were not chiefly to blame for the past half-century's warming, the IPCC has not demonstrated that, since CO2 occupies only one-ten-thousandth part more of the atmosphere that it did in 1750, it has contributed more than a small fraction of the warming.

Monckton's analysis here is a major contribution to understanding a difficult subject. He has broken through the dense modeling processes, not to mention the ad hominem attacks, in such a way that many more can understand its weaknesses.

It is time to break the relationship between energy policy and computer forecasting. The models are not sources of climate information so badly needed to formulate rational energy policy without the threats of economic suicide. The economic and energy future of our nation should not rest so completely on such primitive modeling.

It is well beyond the time when the policy makers, the educators, and the media, demand evidence instead of scare stories. Glossy documentaries won't do. As Dennis Avery said recently, co-author of the book "Unstoppable Global Warming", "We look forward to a full-scale exploration of the science. We have heard quite enough from the computers".


Antarctic winter ice gets bigger; Arctic shrinks

And BOTH are caused by global warming, according to the article below!

The amount of sea ice around Antarctica has grown in recent Septembers in what could be an unusual side-effect of global warming, experts said on Friday. In the southern hemisphere winter, when emperor penguins huddle together against the biting cold, ice on the sea around Antarctica has been increasing since the late 1970s, perhaps because climate change means shifts in winds, sea currents or snowfall.

At the other end of the planet, Arctic sea ice is now close to matching a September 2007 record low at the tail end of the northern summer in a threat to the hunting lifestyles of indigenous peoples and creatures such as polar bears.

"The Antarctic wintertime ice extent increased...at a rate of 0.6 percent per decade" from 1979-2006, said Donald Cavalieri, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. At 19 million sq kms (7.34 million sq mile), it is still slightly below records from the early 1970s of 20 million, he said. The average year-round ice extent has risen too.

Some climate sceptics point to the differing trends at the poles as a sign that worries about climate change are exaggerated. However, experts say they can explain the development. "What's happening is not unexpected...Climate modellers predicted a long time ago that the Arctic would warm fastest and the Antarctic would be stable for a long time," said Ted Maksym, a sea ice specialist at the British Antarctic Survey.

The U.N. Climate Panel says it is at least 90 percent sure that people are stoking global warming -- mainly by burning fossil fuels. But it says each region will react differently. A key difference is that Arctic ice floats on an ocean and is warmed by shifting currents and winds from the south. By contrast, Antarctica is an isolated continent bigger than the United States that creates its own deep freeze.

"The air temperature in Antarctica has increased very little compared to the Arctic," said Ola Johannessen, director of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway. "The reason is you have a huge ocean surrounding the land."

Cavalieri said some computer models indicate a reduction in the amount of heat coming up from the ocean around Antarctica as one possible explanation for growing ice.

Another theory was that warmer air absorbs more moisture and means more snow and rainfall, he said. That could mean more fresh water at the sea surface around Antarctica -- fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than salt water. "There has been a strengthening of the winds that circumnavigate the Antarctic," said Maksym. That might be linked to a thinning of the ozone layer high above the continent, blamed in turn on human use of chemicals used in refrigerants.

In some places, stronger winds might blow ice out to sea to areas where ice would not naturally form. Maksym predicted that global warming would eventually warm the southern oceans, and shrink the sea ice around Antarctica. "A lot of the modellers are predicting the turning point to be right about this time," he said.


Note: The Reuters article above appears to have missed this inconvenient study: "Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions"


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


Saturday, September 13, 2008


This is very big. Over in the UK, a group of Greenpeace supporters trespassed on to a coal-fired power station and started vandalizing it, painting a message to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown about global warming. They were arrested and prosecuted. Their defense strategy was to claim a "lawful excuse" on the grounds that their actions could help prevent significant damage to others' property that would result from global warming. Their defense witnesses included James Hansen, Al Gore's adviser and head of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, and Zac Goldsmith, ultra-wealthy heir of Sir James Goldsmith and a wannabe Tory MP. The strategy worked. Yesterday, a jury returned a majority verdict, acquiting the so-called Kingsnorth Six. As The Independent put it, the jury decided the "threat of global warming justifies breaking the law."

The ramifications are huge. Operators of coal-fired power stations in the UK have just been stripped of legal protection from the criminal actions of the environmental lobby (to call them extremists would be wrong - this is the mainstream). It is perfectly possible that a future jury will find differently, but the chances of that happening have fallen dramatically. Investor confidence in coal energy will therefore be damaged. There will be huge political risk in building a new coal plant. Existing coal plants will come under literal attack.

This is, as Matt Sinclair points out, the frosting on a cake of anti-energy pressures: We need to replace a huge share (PDF, pg. 67) of our generating capacity, at a cost of billions upon billions, in around a decade. The companies we are relying upon to do so already face a very tangible prospect of having the returns on their investment confiscated directly by windfall taxes or indirectly by threats of windfall taxes if they don't cough up. Their costs are constantly being pushed up by regulations and, when they pass that cost on to customers, they are demonised, in part by a Government funded pressure group. Now when their property is damaged to the value of $60,000 the perpetrators will be let off...

Coal is out. The same people hate nuclear and will work to delay new nuclear plants. Renewables are marginal, even according to the Renewable Energy Foundation. North Sea Gas is running out, so the only solution to keep the lights on is kowtowing to Vladimir Putin and Gazprom.

Let us also be quite clear why this has happened. The energy industry in the UK and Her Majesty's Government have allowed the environmental groups free rein to delegitimize coal (and oil for that matter). They have invested nothing in defending fossil fuels, legitimizing their product or in advancing strategies to combat global warming that do not involve getting rid of coal. As a result, the jury was, in a literal sense, prejudiced against coal. The benefits of affordable energy for the many must be championed, otherwise we will end up with expensive energy for the few.



Hyperion Power Generation, Inc., (HPG) with the assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory, is developing and commercializing a small, factory-sealed, mass-produced, transportable nuclear power module that is uniquely safe and proliferation-resistant. The technology utilizes and builds upon similar features of the 60+ TRIGA training reactors that have been safely operated for years in universities and laboratories around the globe. Current identified applications include industrial use (oil shale & sand retorting), power for military installation, homeland security, emergency disaster response, and remote community and infrastructure. As of September 9, 2008, HPG has ten installation commitments and 50 pending. The first HPG reactors should be ready in 2013.

Three factories, spread across the globe are planned by the company to produce and ship the approximately 4,000 units of the first design. (4,000 small units would generate more nuclear power than the 104 nuclear reactors currently used in the United States. 108 GW for 4000 HPG uranium hydride reactors versus 98GW in the US now). Inherently safe and proliferation-resistant, the HPM utilizes the energy of low-enriched uranium fuel.

Each unit produces 70 megawatts of thermal energy, or 27 megawatts of electricity when connected to a steam turbine. That amount is enough to provide electricity for 20,000 average-size American-style homes or the industrial equivalent. First sales commitments have come from companies building residential and mixed-use developments in Europe. This has been good because the HPM (Hyperion Power Module), meeting all the non-proliferation criteria of GNEP, is an excellent solution for any location. This new technology, encompassing the simple concepts of the world's very safe training reactors that have been in operation for decades, makes it possible to deliver continuous clean, emission-free energy with only a fraction of the human oversight and financial investment required by conventional nuclear power stations.

The Hyperion Power Generations new, small, transportable nuclear "battery" was presented at International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 52nd General Conference in Vienna, Austria.

More here

New research: 'Temperatures began to rise ~3000 years before atmospheric carbon dioxide"

Abstract below:

Northern Hemisphere Controls on Tropical Southeast African Climate During the Past 60,000 Years

By Jessica E. Tierney et al.

The processes that control climate in the tropics are poorly understood. Here, we apply compound-specific hydrogen isotopes (deltaD) and the TEX86 temperature proxy to sediment cores from Lake Tanganyika to independently reconstruct precipitation and temperature variations during the past 60,000 years. Tanganyika temperatures follow northern hemisphere insolation, and indicate that warming in tropical Southeast Africa during the last glacial termination began to rise ~3000 years before atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. deltaD data show that this region experienced abrupt changes in hydrology coeval with orbital and millennial-scale events recorded in northern hemisphere monsoonal climate records. This implies that precipitation in tropical Southeast Africa is more strongly controlled by changes in Indian Ocean sea-surface temperatures and the winter Indian monsoon than migration of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone.

Science September 11, 2008

New Paper: US Hurricane Counts are Significantly Related to Solar Activity

There is a new GRL paper in press by Elsner and Jagger entitled: 'United States and Caribbean tropical cyclone activity related to the solar cycle.'

The Abstract states:

The authors report on a finding that annual U.S hurricane counts are significantly related to solar activity. The relationship results from fewer intense tropical cyclones over the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico when sunspot numbers are high. The finding is in accord with the heat-engine theory of hurricanes that predicts a reduction in the maximum potential intensity with a warming in the layer near the top of the hurricane. An active sun warms the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere through ozone absorption of additional ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Since the dissipation of the hurricane's energy occurs through ocean mixing and atmospheric transport, tropical cyclones can act to amplify the effect of r elatively small changes in the sun's output thereby appreciably altering the climate. Results have implications for life and property throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and portions of the United States.


Hockey Stick? What Hockey Stick?

Written by the Right Honourable The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

An extraordinary series of postings at www.climateaudit.org, the deservedly well trafficked website of the courageous and tenacious Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, is a remarkable indictment of the corruption and cynicism that is rife among the alarmist climate scientists favored by the UN's discredited climate panel, the IPCC. In laymen's language, the present paper respectfully summarizes Dr. McIntyre's account of the systematically dishonest manner in which the "hockey-stick" graph falsely showing that today's temperatures are warmer than those that prevailed during the medieval climate optimum was fabricated in 1998/9, adopted as the poster-child of climate panic by the IPCC in its 2001 climate assessment, and then retained in its 2007 assessment report despite having been demolished in the scientific literature. It is a long tale, but well worth following. No one who reads it will ever again trust the IPCC or the "scientists" and environmental extremists who author its climate assessments.

Source. Full report here (PDF)

Another Australian climate skeptic

Dangerous human-caused warming can neither be demonstrated nor measured

By Physicist Dr. John Nicol, Chairman, Australia Climate Science Coalition, former Senior Lecturer in Physics at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

There is no evidence, neither empirical nor theoretical, that carbon dioxide emissions from industrial and other human activities can have any effect on global climate. In addition, the claims so often made that there is a consensus among climate scientists that global warming is the result of increased man-made emissions of CO2, has no basis in fact. The results of accurate measurements of global temperatures continue to be analysed by the international laboratories, now with 30 years experience in this process while a large number of scientists continue to perform high quality research. The results of these activities clearly demonstrate a wide range of errors in the IPCC projections.

Among the more obvious of these errors was the prediction of global warming expected by modelling of climate for the last three years. The actual measurements of global cooling in 2007/2008, flew directly in the face of these IPCC models. It would be difficult to find a more definitive illustration of an experimental error.

However, the claim of a consensus continues to be used in efforts to attract attention away from the lack of verifiable evidence, in a final desperate attempt to support the hypothesis that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming. In the past, verifiable and reproducible evidence was required before acknowledgement of a scientific truth. In regard to global warming, this principle has been replaced by a process involving a majority vote.

The fundamental requirement of reproducible evidence, has been lost in the process of promulgating the messages regarding the output from the experimental computer models providing suggestions of global warming for the IPCC reports. No two of these 23 models provide the same values of temperature - the results are not reproducible.

That human-caused global climate change is so small that it cannot yet be differentiated from natural changes, has not been accepted. Rather our governments are being subjected to calls to provide policies based on unsubstantiated assertions of largely non-scientific executives of the IPCC, who ignore the uncertainties expressed in the main scientific reports of the International Panel. Evidence that no changes have been observed in Monsoonal activity, snow in the Himalayas, the rate of glacial retreat and the rise of sea level is conveniently ignored or presented as perceived evidence of "change". Alarming reports are presented of the many natural processes of glacial cracking, ponding of water in the Arctic Ice and the common and repetitive droughts in the drier continents of Australia, America and Africa while insufficient attention is given to the many benefits of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which forms the basis for plant growth through photosynthesis.

In summary, the future global and local climate is as uncertain as it has always been. Multi-decadal warming, cooling trends and abrupt changes, will continue to occur. Appropriate climate related policies are needed that, first, closely monitor change; and, secondly, respond and adapt to deleterious climatic events in the same way that we already approach hazardous natural events such as droughts, storms and earthquakes. Measures include appropriate mitigation of undesirable socio-economic effects and other economic stresses resulting from changes of the world's climate.

The best scientific advice available at present is to "Follow the Sun".

Adaptation to climate change will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of the world's energy economy in pursuit of the mitigation of an alleged "dangerous human-caused warming" that can neither be demonstrated nor measured.



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


Thursday, September 11, 2008

PESKY! Melting ice caps could suck carbon from atmosphere

Something else that is not in the "models"

It's not often that disappearing Arctic ice is presented as good news for the planet. Yet new research suggests that as the northern polar cap melts, it could lift the lid off a new carbon sink capable of soaking up carbon dioxide. The findings, from two separate research groups, raise the possibility - albeit a remote one - of weakening the greenhouse effect. The researchers say the process of carbon sequestration is already underway. Even so, the new carbon sink is unlikely to make a significant dent in the huge amounts of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by industrial activities.

Kevin Arrigo and colleagues at Stanford University studied satellite data collected between 1998 and 2007 to see how sea surface temperatures and the quantities of sea ice and phytoplankton had changed during that time. Phytoplankton produce chlorophyll to obtain energy from CO2, and so increased phytoplankton productivity would remove carbon from the atmosphere. "We found that as sea ice diminishes, annual productivity goes up," says Arrigo. Satellite remote sensing measures the amount of chlorophyll in surface waters, and so provides an estimate of ocean productivity.

From one year to the next, the phytoplankton grew more in areas where the ice had disappeared: less ice meant more open water for longer, allowing the plankton to soak up more energy from the Sun. In some areas, production was boosted more than three-fold.

Ken Denman of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis warns that the Arctic sink as it stands is likely to have only a very small impact on human emissions. Typically between half and a quarter of the carbon soaked up by phytoplankton ends up stored at the bottom of the ocean. If the Arctic became completely ice-free and phytoplankton productivity levels were maintained, Arrigo and his colleagues calculated that the new carbon sink could in theory absorb an extra 160 million tonnes of carbon each year. "Given the current rate of human emissions, that would only account for 0.7% of total annual emissions," says Arrigo.

"When you look carefully at the amounts involved, they just are not significant relative to the massive amounts of CO2 that we are and will be putting into the atmosphere," agrees Denman. For the sink to have a larger effect, productivity would have to rise further, something Arrigo says is uncertain [Uncertainty?? We can't have that!]. "The Arctic has relatively low nutrients in surface waters, so once they are all used up production will not increase any further," he told New Scientist.

To sustain the growing phytoplankton, more nutrients would need to be brought to the surface waters, for instance from the silt on the seabed. Some studies have suggested that strong winds and more storms are mixing up Arctic waters and could eventually bring more nutrients to the surface. The findings, however, are debated.

What is clear is that the impacts of the melting Arctic ice are complex and will continue to unfold as temperatures rise. Less ice cover may mean more phytoplankton, but it also means a darker sea surface, which will reflect less solar energy back out into space.

What's more, the entire Arctic food chain could be affected, from top to bottom. "Food supplies for lower trophic levels may indeed be greater, but the loss of sea ice could precipitate profound ecological shifts," says Arrigo. Most likely, fish that live in open water would be favoured over the predators that rely on ice - ringed seals and polar bears for example - that dominate today.

"It is clear that careful monitoring of climate and ecosystem changes in the Arctic is necessary to determine the longer-term implications of substantial losses of Arctic sea ice," conclude the team. [In other words: "We don't know how it all works"]


McCain adviser backing away from Warmist policy

Appearing on the Glenn Beck radio show yesterday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) denigrated the science of climate change, saying the human impact on global warming was only "half a percent." He implied mandatory programs to reduce global warming emissions - like the cap-and-trade programs he has previously called for - would "wreck the economy." And he said that it's "understandable" that plans to fix global warming have "faded into the background" because of the "energy crisis":
But, you know, in my view is this: you can argue that the world, the globe is warming as it always has for natural reasons. But I think the weight of the science indicates that at least so me of it - you could argue it's half a percent or something more substantial - is caused by human behavior. . . But, in the wake of this energy crisis, where people are struggling to pay the bills, that debate on cap and trade has fallen to the background for understandable reasons.

Gov. Pawlenty has been a "driving force" for a regional cap-and-trade system, so it's unclear if he's just pandering to Beck, a notorious global warming denier, or if he's retreating from principle. This is not the first time an adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has denigrated the prospects for climate change legislation. In July, Steve Forbes told Glenn Beck that cap-and-trade and related proposals are not "going to get very far as people start to examine the details of them." And in May, Sen. McCain himself agreed with Beck that solutions to climate change can be delayed.


BECK: Help me make sense of something. You and McCain both are for cap and trade. The the one company that was the leading champion of cap and trade was Enron, because these big companies can trade - nothing. They can, can trade the air!

PAWLENTY: I would say a couple of things. First of all, anything that adds cost to energy prices right now is going to be viewed with a great amount of concern. And so, you notice the cap and trade debate has kind of faded into the background and it's unclear what that would look like when and if it re-emerges. I would also state Sen. McCain supports that approach, but how you do it is really important. And just cap and trade is not the same across the board. There's a lot that rises or falls depending on the details of that, so that's yet to come.

BECK: But all it is is another tax, that's all it is.

PAWLENTY: You know, it depends on how you do it. But, you know, in my view is this: you can argue that the world, the globe is warming as it always has for natural reasons. But I think the weight of the science indicates that at least some of it - you know you could argue it's half a percent or something more substantial, you know - is caused by human behavior. So there are some things that we can reasonably and voluntarily do to reduce the human impact without wrecking the economy or without violating, you know, Republican and conservative principles. And I think there's some room within those - that description to do something, but what you do and how you do it matters a lot. The details matter a lot. But, in the wake of this energy crisis, where people are, you know, struggling to pay the bills, that debate on cap and trade has fallen to the background for understandable reasons.


Old Farmers Almanac: Global cooling may be underway

The Old Farmer's Almanac is going further out on a limb than usual this year, not only forecasting a cooler winter, but looking ahead decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming. Based on the same time-honored, complex calculations it uses to predict weather, the Almanac hits the newsstands on Tuesday saying a study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate point to a cooler, not warmer, climate, for perhaps the next half century.

"We at the Almanac are among those who believe that sunspot cycles and their effects on oceans correlate with climate changes," writes meteorologist and climatologist Joseph D'Aleo. "Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future."

It remains to be seen, said Editor-in-Chief Jud Hale, whether the human impact on global temperatures will cancel out or override any cooling trend. "We say that if human beings were not contributing to global warming, it would become real cold in the next 50 years," Hale said.

For the near future, the Almanac predicts most of the country will be colder than normal in the coming winter, with heavy snow from the Ozarks into southern New England. Snow also is forecast for northern Texas, with a warmer than usual winter in the northern Plains.

Almanac believers will prepare for a hot summer in much of the nation's midsection, continuing drought conditions there and wild fire conditions in parts of California, with a cooler-than-normal season elsewhere. They'll also keep the car packed for the 2009 hurricane season, as the Alamanac predicts an active one, especially in Florida.

Last year, the Almanac correctly predicted "above-normal" snowfall in the Northeast - an understatement - and below-normal snowfall in the mid-Atlantic states. New Hampshire, home of the Almanac, saw the most snow in 134 years and missed an all-time record by 2.6 inches.

Established in 1792, the Old Farmer's Almanac is North America's oldest continuously published periodical. The little yellow magazine still comes with the hole in the corner so it can hang in outhouses. Boasting 18.5 million readers, this year's edition contains traditional tips on gardening and astronomical information and tide charts so accurate the government considered banning them during World War II, fearing they would help German spies.


Global Warming's Kaput; 2008 Coolest in 5 Years

The global warming theory is going into the freezer, some climate experts say. The first half of this year was the coolest in at least five years, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). And the global warming that has taken place during the past 30 years is over, says geologist Don J. Easterbrook, a professor emeritus at Western Washington University.

Easterbrook, who has written eight books and 150 journal publications, predicts that temperatures will cool between 2065 and 2100 and that global temperatures at the end of the century will be less than 1 degree cooler than now. This is in contrast to other theories saying that temperatures will warm by as much as 10 degrees by 2100.

In March, Easterbrook said he was putting his "reputation on the line" by predicting global cooling. "The average of the four main temperature measuring methods is slightly cooler since 2002 [except for a brief el Ni¤o interruption] and record breaking cooling this winter. The argument that this is too short a time period to be meaningful would be valid were it not for the fact that this cooling exactly fits the pattern of timing of warm/cool cycles over the past 400 years," Easterbrook wrote on March 1.

Added to his assertion was the WMO revelation that the first half of 2008 was the coolest for at least five years and that the rest of the year almost will certainly be cooler than recent years, although temperatures remain above the historical average.

The global mean temperature to the end of July was 0.28 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre for climate change research said Wednesday. That would make the first half of 2008 the coolest since 2000. Chillier weather this year is partly because of a global weather pattern called La Nina that follows a periodic warming effect called El Nino.

"We can expect with high probability this year will be cooler than the previous five years," said Omar Baddour, responsible for climate data and monitoring at the WMO. "Definitely the La Nina should have had an effect, how much we cannot say. Up to July 2008, this year has been cooler than the previous five years at least. It still looks like it's warmer than average."

Also snowing on the global warming enthusiasts is the highly respected "Farmer's Almanac," which predicts that the coming winter will be "catastrophic" because of bitter cold weather. People worried about the high cost of keeping warm this winter will draw little comfort from the prediction of below-average temperatures for most of the U.S., says the 192-year-old publication, famed for its accuracy of 80 percent to 85 percent. "Numb's the word," the almanac's 2009 edition says, adding that at least two-thirds of the country can expect colder-than-average temperatures, with only the far West and Southeast in line for near-normal readings.

"This is going to be catastrophic for millions of people," the almanac's editor, Peter Geiger, told The Associated Press, noting that the frigid forecast combined with high prices for heating fuel is sure to compound problems households will face in keeping warm.

The almanac predicts above-normal snowfall for the Great Lakes and Midwest, especially during January and February, and above-normal precipitation for the Southwest in December and for the Southeast in January and February, the almanac states. Also, the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic regions can expect an unusually wet or snowy February.

Ivy League geologist Robert Giegengack, a professor of Earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania, told phillymag.com that the history over the last 1 billion years on the planet reveals "only about 5 percent of that time has been characterized by conditions on Earth that were so cold that the poles could support masses of permanent ice." Giegengack also noted that, "for most of Earth's history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler."


Fear promotion is lucrative: Scientist wins nearly $1 million?

A Rockland scientist who was among the first to warn of global climate change has been awarded a nearly $1 million prize from a European foundation that honors initiatives that advance world peace. Wallace S. Broecker, a geochemist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a division of Columbia University, won the prestigious Balzan Prize. The $885,000 prize was announced last night in Milan and will be presented Nov. 21 in Rome.

Broecker is often credited with coining the phrase "global warming" more than 30 years ago.The 76-year-old scientist has spent his entire career at the institute, in Palisades. In 1975, he published a paper in a scientific journal in which he proposed that heat is transported around the world by massive ocean currents that interact with the atmosphere - the so-called great ocean conveyor, an idea still regarded as a breakthrough in climatology.

He is author of more than 400 other scientific articles and several textbooks.In 1996, he was among seven scientists awarded the National Medal of Science by President Bill Clinton for work on climate change.


Dispelling Delusions: Human-caused climate change and carbon "pollution" mythology

By Dr G LeBlanc Smith, PhD, AIG, AAPG, writing from Australia

As a retired CSIRO Principal Research Scientist (geosciences - sedimentology), I make this observation and comment on Minister Wong's statement, (and Professor Garnaut's commentary): "Climate change threatens . icons like the Great Barrier Reef, the Kakadu wetlands and the multi billion dollar tourism industries they support."

Knowing and understanding the past is a vital key to the future, and earth scientists can present much of this information in a context that can assist in exposing the truth and misrepresentations of the current "Climate Change" debate. It is fact that the vast bulk of the Great Barrier Reef area was exposed land and above sea level, prior to 10,000 years ago, when sea levels were over 70m lower than present. There was no great coral reef there until recently, and Kakadu was probably not a swampy wetland then either.

I suggest that statements from Ms Wong and Professor Garnaut should be challenged for veracity by all responsible Government advisors and the CSIRO at the very least, and by any observant scientist to test their logic against evidence. The evidence can be seen from the history of sea level variations mapped as a time-curve derived from joining dots of observed and dated sea levels that track the natural melt-out of the last glaciation ice sheets.

Sea level has risen about 130m in the 10,000 years between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago; with a maximum observed level ~8m above present sea level in marine deposits dated ~ 6000 years old in perched Antarctic lakes. It has subsequently fallen in steps as the planet has cooled to our present level. This is in the published science literature and much can be readily "Googled".

A useful summary sea level vs time graphic can be seen in Robert A. Rohde's artwork (see below) at the following internet address: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png#file. This is largely based on the established 1998 science paper by Fleming (and others) that closely mapped sea level vs time from many sites across the planet. This paper is viewable at the following URL: http://www.csse.uwa.edu.au/~paulj/publications/EPSL1998.pdf Page 1 of 4

The detailed bathymetry levels for the GBR areas can be seen in the many depth maps crafted by Adam Lewis (see below) and in the science paper at: http://www.reef.crc.org.au/publications/techreport/pdf/33 - Adam Lewis.zip

By contrasting the sea levels over time with the land surface elevations it is an obvious inference that the bulk of the GBR AREA would not have supported coral growth as it was above sea level until recently, and has drowned. Any talk of presently located GBR as hundred of millions of years old is incorrect and not based on available science.

The Wong statement should probably more correctly reflect that recent natural climate change did indeed threaten that environment; it drowned the GBR AREA, which was "polluted" by sea water and accompanied by local outbreaks of coral growth, that are now seen as beneficial to our country. On the positive side: a continual current of coral spawn flows down our coasts and will repopulate any suitable growth substrate within a year. This is self evident to any diver who has looked at the thumb-nail sized corals growing on sea grass stems. This holds true also for with the Leeuwin Current on the west coast of Australia.

The massive sea level rise at the termination of the last glaciation would likely also have affected the Kakadu environment, and it may well not have been swamp then, either. Consider the significant difference between ancient Bradshaw rock paintings, dated at around 17,000 years old, and the recent rock art, and the apparent lack of fish and crocodiles in the old artworks. Worth a further thought I would think, to get the true history for these areas in context, so that objective discussion and decisions based of real science can be derived.

More solid facts from the past: It is established fact that the ice core data from both Greenland and Antarctica show information that carbon dioxide variation lags behind temperature variation, throughout the nearly half a million year record contained in the ice cores. I have graphed the last deglaciation to present time (below), from publicly available data of high veracity, which is acknowledged in the graphic. Note the ~1000 year lag of CO2 variation changes behind temperature changes, which are highlighted by the black arrows targeting significant change points on the orange (CO2) and purple (Temp) curves of the EDC ice core. This lagging fact refutes the flawed contention that carbon dioxide is the driver of temperature change. The oceans de-gas and re-gas with CO2 as the global temperatures respectively warm and cool.

The inter-hemisphere variations are striking. The northern hemisphere (green curve) shows massive temperature spikes that range over 22C degrees, which we have not experienced in the southern hemisphere records (purple and blue curves) that reflect moderation with variations under 10C degrees across the deglaciation event. This argues well for Australia, which would appear to be largely exempt from these erratic fluctuations and the extremes of variation as seen in the Greenland records. This should be factored into our planning.

There is no atmospheric hot-spot from "greenhouse CO2" despite over 20 years of serious looking for it (read Dr Evans and Dr Spencer's recent media and US Senate evidence statements). Occam's razor would point to the sun as the driver of climate change of significance. Human generated carbon dioxide is arguably around 3% of the total carbon dioxide budget, and in the light of the above, we are effectively irrelevant to the natural climate change continuum.

Natural climate change has and will continue to pose challenges and threats to human kind. Some of these we can manage for, others we will have to adapt to. My current view is that the suggestion that human-caused carbon dioxide is driving these (natural) changes is built on bad science at best, and any carbon tax will be a fraud at worst.

Much of this above information was submitted into the Garnaut Review, and presented to the Parliamentary Ministers and parties (by me), yet has apparently been ignored.

I contend that those professional scientists and advisors that are knowingly complicit in climate science fraud and all that is derived from it, will continue to be exposed by the science itself.

I wonder if class action legal challenges will flow from any implementation of carbon tax in the future - once the foundations on which it is being built are exposed for what they are? I am surprised that the ACCC has not pulled the current "carbon pollution" advert off TV for lack of truth, and probable deceptions.

I remain open to be persuaded by evidence. In summary, I have yet to see credible proof of carbon dioxide driving climate change, let alone man-made CO2 driving it. The atmospheric hot-spot is missing and the ice core data refute this. When will we collectively awake from this deceptive delusion?

To end on a positive note - Try this for a solution to a non-problem: It is also possible to re-cycle carbon dioxide into food (protein) and fuel (microbial oil) on a sustainable basis. A method I have suggested when representing CSIRO at the 2003 Queensland Science in Parliament Day forum, is to pipe concentrated carbon dioxide generated from oxygen-fired base-load coal fired power stations into farms of solar-bio converters seeded with nutrients, algae, bacteria and yeasts. The pointers to this technology have been around since the 1980s (University Toronto). Our politicians and CSIRO are aware of this.

Using this approach it could be possible to engineer and sustainably generate sufficient microbial oil to supply much of Australian needs. If laboratory production rates (as recollected) are achieved it may be possible to do this with as under 5000 hectares of solar-bio-digesters - to generate 80Mbbl oil per year. Why do our collective government parties continue to ignore this? This sustained inaction has provided us with the opportunity to buy this technology back from overseas - see Sapphire Energy - The Product at http://www.sapphireenergy.com/product .

Key questions remain - What is the real agenda behind this pending carbon tax and is it a fraud? There are a lot of positives - none of which require a carbon tax.

Source (See the original for graphics)


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


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Somewhere between 1968 and 2008 the social messaging wires have gotten tangled.

Forty years after enlightened baby boomers and academics decried conformity and told the world to ignore "the establishment," to not kowtow to "the man," to "rap about problems to find solutions," and to "not guilt-trip or judge other people's life choices," those same sorts - the now firmly ensconced "establishment" pretending otherwise - are wondering why they can't get people to fall in line and do as they're told to do and think as they're told to think with respect to the environment and the "crisis" of "climate change," the "crisis" which used to be called "global warming" until the news got out that the earth has been cooling for the last ten years and the arctic ice is refusing to melt.

Now, these establishment Boomers want you to kowtow to "the man." They'll brook no open discussions and they prefer you would learn to judge others - and to scold them - for their own good and for the planet's. To encourage you in those noble endeavors, the new establishment is bringing in the psychologists:

Armed with new research into what makes some people environmentally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American Psychological Association is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet. "We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do," says Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin, association president. "We know what messages will work and what will not."

As to debating the issue or listening to opposing viewpoints, we won't see that: "News stories that provided a balanced view of climate change reduced people's beliefs that humans are at fault and also reduced the number of people who thought climate change would be bad, according to research by Stanford social psychologist Jon Krosnick."

It would seem that Al Gore was correct then, to eschew any debate on the topic of global warming, and correct again when he ordered the press to stop presenting balance and dissent in their global warming coverage - sorry, primary sources on that story can no longer be found in the archives of the obedient press. When you are trying to peddle the "crisis" mentality necessary to get Americans to hand over power, there is no room to "rap about" the questions or to introduce reason or balance into the non-discussion....

That's just what Americans need - more scolding. We don't get enough from the press, the political parties, and the establishment moralists; now we need to scold each other. Presumably, the next step after finger-wagging at our neighbors for their environmental failings will be informing on them - especially if we're suspected of not being "green enough" ourselves.

All of this manipulation and social engineering is necessary, you understand, because we're facing a "crisis." The environmental "crisis" is the mother lode of guilt-tripping; if it is successful - if people can be made to accept the unprovable theory that humankind, not nature, is responsible for "climate change" - then the tentacles of the nanny state will be able to reach into every aspect of every life, from how one may heat or cool one's home to how many children one may bear. It will be a necessary intrusion, meant to save the planet. For the children you should not have.

Americans - who are all for reasonable conservation measures, but not at the cost of our personal freedoms - are making it tough on our establishment betters. We're forcing them to play the headshrinker card on us. If only we would just conform, listen to "the man," stop questioning, and just judge others, the world would be a better and groovier place.

More here


Britain is "quite simply running out of power" and blackouts are almost inevitable within the next few years. This is the stark warning from the head of an energy think-tank who believes power cuts could be serious enough to spark civil disorder. Campbell Dunford of the respected Renewable Energy Foundation said: "It's almost too late to do anything about it. Nothing will stop us having to pay very high prices for power in future. "If we pull our finger out now we can limit blackouts but it's going to be pretty grim whatever happens."

Gordon Brown pledged last week to end Britain's reliance on the "dictatorship of oil" but Mr Dunford believes the Prime Minister's new interest in the security of energy supplies may have come too late. Only last Thursday, National Grid issued an urgent call for power after a series of power station breakdowns. Suppliers were asked to bring all their available generating capacity online, including costly oil-fired stations. In May, hundreds of thousands of people in Cleveland, Cheshire, Lincolnshire and London suffered blackouts when seven power stations were closed.

The electricity industry estimates it needs to spend œ100billion on new stations to ensure supplies. The "retirement" of a string of nuclear and coal-fired power stations will see 37 per cent of the UK's generation disappear by 2015, partly because of EU environmental directives.

An REF report predicts that the neglect of the power infrastructure will lead to a series of grim consequences, particularly electricity and gas price rises as Britain could be held to ransom by such foreign energy producers as Russia.

Blackouts could force the Government to impose electricity rationing, last seen in the Seventies. The REF report says the Government "should prepare itself to intervene with social policy to prevent hardship and maintain order". It criticises ministers for focusing too heavily on such untried renewable energy sources as wind and tide power, rather than making sure that secure new power generation was put in place.

The report concludes: "A near fatal preoccupation with politically attractive but marginal forms of renewables seems to have caused a blindness towards the weakening of the UK's power stations and a dangerous and helpless vulnerability to natural gas."

The REF warns that as many as nine million people could be plunged into fuel poverty, defined as spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy bills.

Ministers are already under massive pressure to do more to help people trapped in fuel poverty this winter because of soaring prices. Up to six million families are expected to face a stark choice between heating and eating following the series of massive energy price rises that have made a mockery of Labour's target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016.

Mr Dunford said worse was to come: "Certainly we're going to be heading to eight or nine million in fuel poverty. "The people who are vulnerable are old people and the single mums. They rely on power. "If you are a single mum 14 storeys up in Hackney, you depend on electricity for everything in your life, even the water pumped to your flat, the lifts, the food and so on. "There's a very real chance that power, will not even be there when you need it. That's when you start worrying about social disorder."

Ministers have launched a belated plan to plug Britain's energy gap, including the construction of a string of nuclear power stations. power stations take up to a decade to build though and many experts believe the Government's move has come too late.


Man-made global warming? Worry about the sun

The debate in Northern Ireland: Last week Environment Minister Sammy WIlson caused anger among some environmentalists by questioning whether global warming was caused by man. The Green Party has already hit back - now NIGEL CALDER, former editor of the New Scientist defends Mr Wilson's position

There are warnings of gales in Shannon, Rockall, Malin ... .' When shipping forecasts like that occur repeatedly in summertime, you have to wonder if the global cooling feared by the best-informed climate experts has already begun to bite. The UK's rotten summer weather of 2007 and 2008 is a good reason to reopen the debate about global warming, as Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Sammy Wilson proposes.

Unseasonable storms plagued the Spanish Armada too. After the fights in the English Channel, it escaped homeward around Scotland and Ireland. But high winds, in the late summer of 1588, wrecked two dozen ships on the north and west coasts of Ireland. As Queen Elizabeth's Armada medal put it 'God blew and they were scattered'.

Why is that 420-year-old weather bulletin relevant today? Because a worldwide cooling event, the Little Ice Age, was just then becoming serious. A local symptom was summer storms tracking across the British Isles, rather than passing to the north as in warmer medieval times. The gloomy and wet weather brought misery to farmers, and between 1550 and 1600 the price of wheat in England went up by 200 per cent. With occasional intermissions, and a maximum chill around 1700, the Little Ice Age continued until about 1850.

A lazy sun explains it. The solar magnetic shield was weak, and the Earth suffered a larger influx of swift atomic particles coming from exploded stars.

Those cosmic rays helped to make more low clouds, which cooled the world during the Little Ice Age. But in the 20th century the sun doubled its magnetic strength and cut the influx of cosmic rays. That meant fewer clouds and a warmer world.

This is no crackpot theory. A string of discoveries by the physicist Henrik Svensmark at the Danish National Space Institute backs it up. He and his small team have even traced the chemical action of cosmic rays involved in cloud-making. Evidence for the cosmic-ray theory is now far stronger than for the politically fashionable notion that carbon dioxide drives global warming. Dr Svensmark and I explain it all in plain language in our book The Chilling Stars, published by Icon Books in 2007.

So what's the problem? Precisely the lack of debate that Mr Wilson complains about. A group of scientists who make fanciful computer models of the climate for the United Nations have allied themselves with politicians in many Western countries, with environmental lobbyists, and with journalists who have forgotten to take official pronouncements with plenty of salt. The science of man-made global warming is settled, they chorus, and there's nothing to discuss except how to avoid the climatic apocalypse.

Future historians will laugh about how climate science went crazy, but meanwhile life is not so funny for my friend Henrik. For 12 years, I've watched scientists who take the official line bad-mouthing him, starving him of funds and making it hard for him to publish his reports. Other physicists who think that the Sun rules the climate, or merely criticise the man-made warming theory, report similar experiences. They've certainly not had the open discussion of the evidence that scientists are accustomed to expect.

I'm afraid that the issue will now be resolved, not by rational argument, but by unmistakable global cooling, which will be bad news for farmers and everyone else.

In the 1990s the sun ended its spurt of increasing activity, and as result there has been no rise in temperature since 1997, despite the continuing increase in carbon dioxide in the air. The global warmers explain away the 'pause' by changes in the oceans. Isn't it quaint that any mid-term cooling effect can be just a quirk of nature, while any mid-term warming is obviously our fault?

In an updated edition of The Chilling Stars, published earlier this year, Dr Svensmark and I remarked that we were advising friends to enjoy the global warming while it lasted. Since we wrote that, portents of a solar downturn, and possibly even a new little ice age, have become more sinister. The sun ought to be freckled with sunspots now, as a symptom of magnetic vigour, but instead we've had more than a year with very few spots. Global temperatures are down on last year and Australia and South America are just emerging from a bitter winter.

Not convinced? Well back in April the UK Met Office, one of the shrillest of global warming outfits, issued a forecast for summer 2008. It declared, 'the risk of exceptional rainfall, as seen last summer, is assessed as very low'. These are the folk who claim to tell you what the climate will be like 100 years from now.

As I finish writing, amid torrential rain in Sussex, I notice that my roof is starting to leak.


Science slows global warming!

Yes, kids, science is a wonderful thing. But not nearly as wonderful as climate modeling, which can perform supernatural miracles. Honest! Climate modeling can raise the level of the oceans (even without Obama's intervention), it can burn up the planet a hundred years from now, and Shazzam! -- the models can save us again -- all without leaving your video games, and without the benefit of the real-world data that you need for boring old regular science.

At least, that's what Nature -- the oldest science journal in the world, going back to Isaac Newton -- now claims. According to credulous journalist extraordinaire Katharine Sanderson (who has no degree in climatology), we are supposed to believe that "sophisticated climate chemistry models have shown that the (Montreal) Protocol has done much more than rescue the planet from sunburn."

For all you great unwashed, the Montreal Protocol prohibited CFC's, which used to keep our refrigerators cold. Now we find out that not only has Montreal saved the world's ozone layer, but it has even postponed the dreaded catastrophe of Global Warming! How do we know that? What's the actual evidence? Well, ummmm... well... duuuhhh

Oh yes, it's a "sophisticated climate chemistry model"! Phew. Nature.com tells us that
"The team worked out a predicted value for chlorine levels in the stratosphere ... in the year 2030, on the basis of how quickly chlorine levels were rising in the late 1960s and early 1970s. "Chlorine is known to be the main driver for atmospheric ozone depletion in the stratosphere, ... "They ran this value of chlorine -- 9 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) -- through their computer models simulating climate chemistry. For comparison, they also ran the models with a chlorine level of 3.5 ppbv, which was the level in the stratosphere by the late 1990s. ... (The computer model) showed what effect this ozone loss would have had on the planet's climate at the surface. And those changes are significant. "'What we're seeing here is a big signal,' says (John) Pyle (the Cambridge scientist who led the modeling team)."

So -- pay attention to this, now, kids -- these video gamers extrapolated the chlorine numbers from fifty years ago, before satellites were available to measure that stuff. Then they took another number from the 1990s. Then they projected two decades ahead to 2030 what would have been the value of chlorine without and without the Montreal Protocol. Then they took credit for the "improvement" in chlorine levels, which are supposed to stand for ozone levels, which are supposed to stand for global warming levels 22 years from now. Got that?

It is the ultimate example of scientific hubris. As Bjorn Lomborg just wrote in The Guardian, of all places,
"Much of the global warming debate is perhaps best described as a constant outbidding by frantic campaigners, producing a barrage of ever-more scary scenarios in an attempt to get the public to accept their civilisation-changing proposals. Unfortunately, the general public -- while concerned about the environment -- is distinctly unwilling to support questionable solutions with costs running into tens of trillions of pounds. Predictably, this makes the campaigners reach for even more outlandish scares."

And Freeman Dyson, who is a real Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, not the fake kind, wrote in his autobiography that:
"...all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. ... I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models."

In no other field of science can you create a garbage-in/garbage-out video game about one of the most complex nonlinear systems known to science, the earth climate, and make wild guesses and get paid for it -- not to mention being celebrated in the pages of Nature. You just take a data point from fifty years ago, add another point from the 1990s, project it all to 2030, make inferences from chlorine to ozone to global warming, publish the result, and get celebrated for your non-existent proof of current pop orthodoxy about Armageddon.

And no, this is not "a big signal" in climate evidence, Professor Pyle. It's a big signal in your model. If you tweak a dozen other variables you could change that result without ever leaving your desk. And what's more, you and all the other global warming frauds out there know that perfectly well.

This is a sad reflection of the corruption of the scientific enterprise. Non fingo hypothesi, said Newton when he was urged to perform a similar miracle in his time: I do not make wildly speculative hypotheses. Today we do perform miracles of prediction, and earn Nobel Peace Prizes for superannuated politicians, not to mention billions of dollars to support fraudulent superstition in the name of science.

Today's climate modeling has gone far beyond Isaac Newton. Or beyond any other scientist in history, for that matter. Today, we can not only predict the things that will happen to Planet Earth a hundred years from now within a few degrees Centigrade, we can also tell you about all the terrible things that woulda happened if our Green politicians hadn't passed the Montreal Protocol. Whoever said scientists don't believe in miracles?



Two articles below

Relax, truth has surfaced -- in Ross Garnaut's official climate report

Economist Garnaut says it's cheaper to do nothing!

Kevin Rudd's global warming guru has finally - and reluctantly - exposed the con. Ignore everything the Government has told you. The truth, conceded Professor Ross Garnaut last week, is that it really is cheaper for Australians to do nothing about global warming. And, no, it's not immoral to figure there's no point spending big money to "stop" this warming when it won't make a blind bit of difference.

No wonder the Rudd Government refuses to comment on Garnaut's latest report, released on Friday. Much of the argument for its grand plan to make us slash emissions from 2010 has just been destroyed. I guess it's just hoping no journalists, most of whom are warming believers, will care to notice what Garnaut has just admitted through gritted teeth. As far as I can tell, only the Daily Telegraph's Piers Akerman has drawn the unmistakable conclusions.

Let's assume just for now that man's carbon dioxide emissions really are heating the world. Let's also assume that heating would be bad, and wouldn't actually help crops grow. Let's also ignore that the world has in fact cooled since 2002. Even given all that, it's bizarre to think Australia should lead the world in slashing emissions, losing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. What difference to the world could Australia make, when we pump out less than 1.5 per cent of all man's greenhouse gases? Why make such sacrifices when giants such as China and India are stamping on the growth pedal, getting gassier by the week, and have vowed not to stop until they're rich? It's brainless, of course.

And to that argument, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has had one glib response: panic now or pay later. Or as he put it on June 23, and again on June 26: "The economic cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the economic cost of action." One government minister, from Treasurer Wayne Swan to Environment Minister Peter Garrett, after another repeated the mantra -- that we must pay now or pay more later. Here, for instance, is Climate Change Minister Penny Wong on June 24: "The economic costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of responsible action now."

But is all this actually true? As Akerman has pointed out, Garnaut in his draft report in July calculated the cost if we did nothing about "climate change" and just adapted to whatever turned up. The cost by 2020, he estimated then, would be a cut of 0.7 per cent in the GDP we'd normally expect. Now compare that claimed cost with what we'd pay if we actually tried to stop global warming. In his report last week, Garnaut says if we cut our emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, and the rest of the world somehow agreed to do likewise, our GDP would fall 1.6 per cent. If we cut emissions by 10 per cent, we'd lose 1.1 per cent. And if we simply adopted the weakest version of the Government's planned emissions trading scheme, even without actually cutting gases, we'd still lose 0.9 per cent.

That is: doing nothing about global warming turns out to be cheaper than "doing something" every single time. So Rudd is exactly wrong: the economic costs of action are far greater than the economic costs of inaction. That's according to Garnaut's own reports, which, incidentally, point out that whatever happens, we're still likely to be seven times richer in 2100 than we are today. That's assuming that any reliance can be placed on his models, which haven't been checked by anyone outside the loop.

Now before you dismiss Garnaut as just another evil sceptic, consider this. He's actually the deepest believer in the theory that man is heating the world to hell. In fact, he even asked the City of Yarra Council for permission to build a steel roof on his home on the grounds that global warming would cause "severe and more frequent hailstorms". And, like so many devout believers in global warming, Garnaut skips over inconvenient truths -- such as the fact that even the alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's four assessment reports admit that "decreases in hail frequency are simulated for Melbourne".

So Garnaut is a believer and confirmed catastrophist, but even he is now wondering how sane it is to slash our emissions when we're so irrelevant on our own. He now recommends that the Rudd Government promise only to cut our emissions by 10 per cent by 2020, a target that has horrified the green movement and warming scientists. Greens leader Bob Brown in particular is apoplectic, saying cuts of at least 40 per cent are needed to save us from Armageddon. Labor itself was thought to be toying with promising cuts of 20 per cent.

But now Garnaut says just 10 per cent is the most we can realistically hope to cut without sending jobs overseas for no real gain to the climate. Yet even that (relatively) modest target comes with a catch. Garnaut says that if the rest of the world doesn't promise at next year's Copenhagen Conference to make some cuts of their own -- even ones much less than ours -- we shouldn't even bother to cut our emissions by 10 per cent. Just half that would do, and even that would be just to set an inspiring example to the rest of the world that would "keep hopes alive of an international agreement, at reasonable cost".

Yeah, right. Like China and India are just waiting for a cue from Australia.

Why is Garnaut's concession so devastating to the Government? Because he's admitting that nothing we do on our own makes the slightest difference to the climate. Whether we cut our emissions by 5 per cent or 100, if the rest of the world, China and India in particular, keep gassing on, then the Great Barrier Reef will still die, polar bears still drown and St Kilda Beach will move to Fitzroy.

So much for Rudd's deceitful claim that, "if we do not begin reducing the nation's levels of carbon pollution, Australia's economy will face more frequent and severe droughts, less water, reduced food production and devastation of areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu wetlands". Rudd's own climate guru doesn't agree. And rightly so. (Oh, and relax: all that doom will only happen if man's gases are indeed frying the world, and even Garnaut admits "there is a large uncertainty" about that. He's not wrong.)

And here's the other damaging thing about Garnaut's report. He's suggesting it's not immoral to balance gain against pain, and to work out whether cutting emissions is a price worth paying for what little it achieves. Why, Garnaut is asking, must we add to our climate woes by cutting our economic throats as well? A good question. And I'd go still further than Garnaut yet dares, even though his own figures say he should: Why try to stop global warming, when doing nothing is cheaper? Indeed, why spend billions to stop a warming that in fact seems to have stopped already?


IPCC report the product of a small clique, not a broad consensus

ROSS Garnaut made it clear in his interim report that his climate change review takes as a starting point - not as a belief but on the balance of probabilities - that the claims made in the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are correct. Had he made even a cursory examination of the integrity of those IPCC claims he would have found a very troubling picture.

The IPCC encourages us to believe that about 2500 climate scientists supported the claim of a significant human influence on climate. It fails to clarify that the claim was made in chapter nine of the working group one contribution and that the contributions of working groups two and three were based on the assumption that the claim was correct. The first eight chapters of the WG1 contribution were mainly concerned with climatic observations and the authors expressed no opinion about the claim made in chapter nine, and chapters 10 and 11 assumed the claim to be correct. The entire IPCC thesis therefore stands or falls on the claims of just one chapter.

We are also led to believe that chapter nine was widely supported by hundreds of reviewers, but just 62 IPCC reviewers commented on its penultimate draft. Only five of those reviewers endorsed it but four of the five appear to have vested interests and the other made just one comment for the entire 11-chapter WG1 contribution.

As is the normal IPCC practice, chapter nine has co-ordinating lead authors, who are responsible for the chapter as a whole; lead authors, who are responsible for sections of the chapter; and contributing authors, who provide their thoughts to the lead authors but take no active part in thewriting. The IPCC procedures state that the authors at each level should reflect a wide range of views, but this is not true of chapter nine.

The expansion of the full list of authors of each paper cited by this chapter reveals that 37 of 53 chapter authors form a network of people who have previously co-authored scientific papers with each other: or make that 38 if we include a review editor. The two co-ordinating lead authors are members of this network. So are five of the seven lead authors. Thirty of 44 contributing authors are in the network and two other pairs of contributing authors have likewise co-authored scientific papers.

In other words, the supposedly 53 independent voices are in fact one dominant voice with 37 people behind it, two voices each with two people behind them, and perhaps 12 single voices. A closer check reveals that many of those 12 were academic or work colleagues of members of that larger network. One lead author was from the University of Michigan, as were three contributing authors, two of whom were not members of the network. Another lead author was associated with Britain's Hadley Centre, along with eight contributing authors, one of whom was not included in that network of co-authors.

All up, the 53 authors of this chapter came from just 31 establishments and there are worrying indications that certain lead authors were the superiors of contributing authors from the same organisation. The very few viewpoints in this chapter might be alleviated if it drew on a wide range of references, but among the co-authors of 40 per cent of the cited material are at least one chapter author. Scientists associated with the development and use of climate models dominate the clique of chapter nine authors and by extension the views expressed in that chapter.

Perhaps the increase in the processing power of their computers has increased their confidence in the software they have been nurturing for years. Imagine, though, the consequences were they to imply that the accuracy of the models had not improved despite the extra funding. These models are said to require a human component to reasonably match historical temperatures and the modellers claim that this proves a human influence on climate, but the human factor is an input so a corresponding output is no surprise. A more plausible reason for the mismatch without this influence is that the models are incomplete and contain errors, but of course chapter nine could never admit this.

Garnaut didn't need to evaluate the science behind the IPCC's claim to find that its integrity is questionable and that the report's key findings are the product of scientific cronyism. The IPCC has misled us into believing the primary claims were widely endorsed by authors and reviewers but in fact they received little support and came from a narrow self-interested coterie of climate modellers. We should now ask what else the IPCC has misled us about and why Garnaut, a skilled academic, so blithely accepted its claims.



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


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Environmentalism as hysteria

A short but totally crazy video here. I wonder who is the guy behind it. Another Jim Jones, I suspect.

As Mike Pechar said: "It displays complete, unadulterated, idiocy by people with too much time on their hands and in dire need of a new circle of friends.

It's sad comedy, a burgeoning genre, at its finest. It's also a reason that mental health counseling is always in demand.

By the way, after viewing the video, you'll have a better understanding about the three dozen Heaven's Gate people who committed mass suicide in preparation to embark on an imagined space ship that was following the Hale-Bopp comet.

An honest (sort of) post on "Real Climate"

"Real Climate" is the Warmist theological seminary so I had better reproduce the post below before they delete it. The author, Spencer Weart, points out how difficult it is to quantify climate phenomena and how multifarious are the factors involved -- meaning that any final numbers produced are inherently shaky. He is trying to convey that it is all too difficult for you peasants to understand so trust us experts and our mysterious calculations -- but he gives far too much away in the process

I often get emails from scientifically trained people who are looking for a straightforward calculation of the global warming that greenhouse gas emissions will bring. What are the physics equations and data on gases that predict just how far the temperature will rise? A natural question, when public expositions of the greenhouse effect usually present it as a matter of elementary physics. These people, typically senior engineers, get suspicious when experts seem to evade their question. Some try to work out the answer themselves (Lord Monckton for example) and complain that the experts dismiss their beautiful logic.

The engineers' demand that the case for dangerous global warming be proved with a page or so of equations does sound reasonable, and it has a long history. The history reveals how the nature of the climate system inevitably betrays a lover of simple answers.

The simplest approach to calculating the Earth's surface temperature would be to treat the atmosphere as a single uniform slab, like a pane of glass suspended above the surface (much as we see in elementary explanations of the "greenhouse" effect). But the equations do not yield a number for global warming that is even remotely plausible. You can't work with an average, squashing together the way heat radiation goes through the dense, warm, humid lower atmosphere with the way it goes through the thin, cold, dry upper atmosphere. Already in the 19th century, physicists moved on to a "one-dimensional" model. That is, they pretended that the atmosphere was the same everywhere around the planet, and studied how radiation was transmitted or absorbed as it went up or down through a column of air stretching from ground level to the top of the atmosphere. This is the study of "radiative transfer," an elegant and difficult branch of theory. You would figure how sunlight passed through each layer of the atmosphere to the surface, and how the heat energy that was radiated back up from the surface heated up each layer, and was shuttled back and forth among the layers, or escaped into space.

When students learn physics, they are taught about many simple systems that bow to the power of a few laws, yielding wonderfully precise answers: a page or so of equations and you're done. Teachers rarely point out that these systems are plucked from a far larger set of systems that are mostly nowhere near so tractable. The one-dimensional atmospheric model can't be solved with a page of mathematics. You have to divide the column of air into a set of levels, get out your pencil or computer, and calculate what happens at each level. Worse, carbon dioxide and water vapor (the two main greenhouse gases) absorb and scatter differently at different wavelengths. So you have to make the same long set of calculations repeatedly, once for each section of the radiation spectrum.

It was not until the 1950s that scientists had both good data on the absorption of infrared radiation, and digital computers that could speed through the multitudinous calculations. Gilbert N. Plass used the data and computers to demonstrate that adding carbon dioxide to a column of air would raise the surface temperature. But nobody believed the precise number he calculated (2.5§C of warming if the level of CO2 doubled). Critics pointed out that he had ignored a number of crucial effects. First of all, if global temperature started to rise, the atmosphere would contain more water vapor. Its own greenhouse effect would make for more warming. On the other hand, with more water vapor wouldn't there be more clouds? And wouldn't those shade the planet and make for less warming? Neither Plass nor anyone before him had tried to calculate changes in cloudiness. (For details and references see this history site.)

Fritz Moeller followed up with a pioneering computation that took into account the increase of absolute humidity with temperature. Oops. his results showed a monstrous feedback. As the humidity rose, the water vapor would add its greenhouse effect, and the temperature might soar. The model could give an almost arbitrarily high temperature! This weird result stimulated Syukuro Manabe to develop a more realistic one-dimensional model. He included in his column of air the way convective updrafts carry heat up from the surface, a basic process that nearly every earlier calculation had failed to take into account. It was no wonder M”ller's surface had heated up without limit: his model had not used the fact that hot air would rise. Manabe also worked up a rough calculation for the effects of clouds. By 1967, in collaboration with Richard Wetherald, he was ready to see what might result from raising the level of CO2. Their model predicted that if the amount of CO2 doubled, global temperature would rise roughly two degrees C. This was probably the first paper to convince many scientists that they needed to think seriously about greenhouse warming. The computation was, so to speak, a "proof of principle."

But it would do little good to present a copy of the Manabe-Wetherald paper to a senior engineer who demands a proof that global warming is a problem. The paper gives only a sketch of complex and lengthy computations that take place, so to speak, offstage. And nobody at the time or since would trust the paper's numbers as a precise prediction. There were still too many important factors that the model did not include. For example, it was only in the 1970s that scientists realized they had to take into account how smoke, dust and other aerosols from human activity interact with radiation, and how the aerosols affect cloudiness as well. And so on and so forth.

The greenhouse problem was not the first time climatologists hit this wall. Consider, for example, attempts to calculate the trade winds, a simple and important feature of the atmosphere. For generations, theorists wrote down the basic equations for fluid flow and heat transfer on the surface of a rotating sphere, aiming to produce a precise description of our planet's structure of convective cells and winds in a few lines of equations. or a few pages. or a few dozen pages. They always failed. It was only with the advent of powerful digital computers in the 1960s that people were able to solve the problem through millions of numerical computations. If someone asks for an "explanation" of the trade winds, we can wave our hands and talk about tropical heating, the rotation of the earth and baroclinic instability. But if we are pressed for details with actual numbers, we can do no more than dump a truckload of printouts showing all the arithmetic computations.

I'm not saying we don't understand the greenhouse effect. We understand the basic physics just fine, and can explain it in a minute to a curious non-scientist. (Like this: greenhouse gases let sunlight through to the Earth's surface, which gets warm; the surface sends infrared radiation back up, which is absorbed by the gases at various levels and warms up the air; the air radiates some of this energy back to the surface, keeping it warmer than it would be without the gases.) For a scientist, you can give a technical explanation in a few paragraphs. But if you want to get reliable numbers - if you want to know whether raising the level of greenhouse gases will bring a trivial warming or a catastrophe - you have to figure in humidity, convection, aerosol pollution, and a pile of other features of the climate system, all fitted together in lengthy computer runs.

Physics is rich in phenomena that are simple in appearance but cannot be calculated in simple terms. Global warming is like that. People may yearn for a short, clear way to predict how much warming we are likely to face. Alas, no such simple calculation exists. The actual temperature rise is an emergent property resulting from interactions among hundreds of factors [meaning that you have to quantify ALL those many factors correctly to get a correct answer. He has already shown above that getting the inputs wrong can produce spectacularly wrong answers]. People who refuse to acknowledge that complexity should not be surprised when their demands for an easy calculation go unanswered.


Report: Cool temperatures and frost to wreak havoc on U.S. agriculture?

Forecasts based on actual current data are talking about cooling, not warming

Cooling temperatures are going to wreak havoc on agriculture for the remainder of the growing season with the threat of an early frost greater than in years past, according to the latest research from Storm Exchange. Storm Exchange, Inc., a weather-risk management service based in New York, said in their Fall 2008 Weather Risk Outlook that in a 90-day projection based on a combination of atmospheric climate trends, advanced computer-driven seasonal prediction models and analog forecasts, this fall presents a classic weather hedging scenario.

"For the season ahead, we see agriculture still struggling to gain traction with an increased risk of frost threatening an already unstable corn crop while that same cool weather pattern is going to drive consumers into the mall for seasonal apparel," Paul Walsh, Storm Exchange Chief Strategy Officer, said in a press release. "This cooling trend will be set against the backdrop of a very active hurricane season that will continue to drive price volatility in the energy sector."

The Storm Exchange corn yield estimate stands at 144 bushels/acre. This number represents a 6% cut below trend and a sharp reduction from the USDA's August monthly prediction of 155 bushels per acre. The drop is attributed to delayed planting across the Corn Belt caused by the severe flooding that occurred in the Spring 2008, according to the Storm Exchange report. The flooding permanently impacted 10-12% of US corn, meaning that bumper crop yields would be needed to make up the difference, Storm Exchange analysts say.

It also means that the corn will require an extended warm growing season to mature safely before the first fall freeze. In Iowa, the likelihood of a severe freeze is 30% higher than historical average, according to Storm Exchange research. Across the corn-growing region of the U.S., approximately 15-25 percent of the U.S. corn crop is at risk of frost damage.

"With the crop going in the ground so late and not maturing quickly enough, we now have the double jeopardy situation of immature corn and cold weather on the horizon," Gail Martell, Storm Exchange Senior Agriculture Analyst, said in a Storm Exchange statement. "Whether we encounter freeze damage or not, there is simply no avoiding the fact that shallow kernels will develop in late-maturing corn with cool temperatures that hinder ear-filling."


Green activists 'are keeping Africa poor' by promoting traditional farming

And it's King of climate change saying it

Western do-gooders are impoverishing Africa by promoting traditional farming at the expense of modern scientific agriculture, according to Britain's former chief scientist. Anti-science attitudes among aid agencies, poverty campaigners and green activists are denying the continent access to technology that could improve millions of lives, Professor Sir David King will say today. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Europe and America are turning African countries against sophisticated farming methods, including GM crops, in favour of indigenous and organic approaches that cannot deliver the continent's much needed "green revolution", he believes.

Speaking before a keynote lecture tonight to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, of which he is president, Sir David said that the slow pace of African development was linked directly to Western influence. "I'm going to suggest, and I believe this very strongly, that a big part has been played in the impoverishment of that continent by the focus on nontechnological agricultural techniques, on techniques of farming that pertain to the history of that continent rather than techniques that pertain to modern technological capability.

Why has that continent not joined Asia in the big green revolutions that have taken place over the past few decades? The suffering within that continent, I believe, is largely driven by attitudes developed in the West which are somewhat anti-science, anti-technology - attitudes that lead towards organic farming, for example, attitudes that lead against the use of genetic technology for crops that could deal with increased salinity in the water, that can deal with flooding for rice crops, that can deal with drought resistance."

Sir David, who stepped down in December as the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, will use his presidential address to the BA Festival of Science in Liverpool to accuse governments and NGOs of confused thinking about African development. "Solutions will only emerge if full use is made of modern agricultural technology methods, under progressive, scientifically informed regulation," he will say.

"The most advanced form of plant breeding, using modern genetic techniques, is now available to us. Plant breeding needs to meet a range of demands, including defences against evolving plant diseases, drought resistance, saline resistance, and flood tolerance. The problem is that the Western-world move toward organic farming - a lifestyle choice for a community with surplus food - and against agricultural technology in general and GM in particular, has been adopted across Africa, with the exception of South Africa, with devastating consequences."

His remarks will place him in direct opposition to former Whitehall colleagues. The Government endorsed recently the International Assessement of Agricultural Science and Technology, a report from 400 scientists and development experts published in April, which championed small-scale farming and traditional knowledge. The exercise was led by Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Sir David said that its findings were short-sighted. "I hesitate to criticise Bob Watson, who I admire enormously, but I think that we have been overwhelmed by attitudes to Africa that for some reason are qualitatively different to attitudes elsewhere. "We have the technology to feed the population of the planet. The question is do we have the ability to understand that we have it, and to deliver?"

Sir David, who was born and brought up in South Africa, added: "I think there is a tremendous groundswell of feeling that we need to support tradition in Africa. What that actually means in practice is if you go to a marketplace in a lovely town like Livingstone in Zambia, near Victoria Falls, you will see hundreds of people with little piles of their crops for sale. "This is an extremely inefficient process. The sort of thing we're seeing existed in this country hundreds of years ago. I don't believe that will lead to the economic development of Africa."

He will cite the example of rice that can resist flooding, which has been developed by the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. Its development has been held up for several years because scientists felt they could not use GM techniques, such is the scale of Western-influenced opposition to the technology.

He will also accuse green groups such as the UN Environment Programme of agitating against new technologies on the basis of speculative risks, while ignoring potential benefits. "For example, Friends of the Earth in 1999 worried that drought-tolerant crops may have the potential to grow in habitats unavailable' to conventional crops.

The priority of providing food to an area of the world in greatest need appears to not have been noted.For decades, approaches to international development have been dominated by this well-meaning but fatally flawed doctrine."


Brookings Institute Trips over Climate Science

In the most recent edition of its influential ScareWatch series, the Science and Public Policy Institute questions whether the Brookings Institute is familiar with basic geography, to say nothing of climate science.

Says SPPI President, Robert Ferguson, "In an April 28 Washington Post opinion editorial worthy of a London tabloid, the President of Brookings and a resident policy wonk blamed Americans for the approaching reputed climate cataclysm, and listed out specific camp-fire apocalyptics - including the fanciful notion that the land-locked African nation of Mali will sink beneath the seas unless the American economy is shut down within the next seven years."

The co-authors, who are currently working with Stanford University on a "global governance" project, whatever that may be, recite a well-worn litany about the "momentous political challenge" faced by the next US President because of warmer weather.

They say greenhouse gases are warming the Earth; that it will warm by more than 4.5 F by as soon as 2050, causing "vast regions" to "slide towards being uninhabitable"; that arable land will turn into desert; that the sea will rise to flood coastal areas from Manhattan and Florida to Bangladesh, St. Petersburg, and Mali; that the Gulf Stream will be altered; that Nevada will have no water at all; that cap-`n'-trade, windmills, solar panels, biofuels, and carbon-capture are the answer to this "existential threat to civilization"; and that Americans are guilty because the United States emits four times as much carbon per head as the Chinese and 12 times as much as the Indians. SPPI examines each scare in turn. A few examples include:

"The planet will warm by 4.5 F by mid-century": "Here, the authors are predicting that temperatures over the next 40 years will rise by 0.1 F per year. Temperature has been falling throughout the past seven years, so this forecast is already looking over-ambitious. In fact, temperature rose by only 1 F between 1907 and 2007, a rate of just 0.01 F per year. There is no credible scientific evidence to the effect that this long-run warming rate, which began 300 years ago and shows absolutely no sign of increasing despite the extra carbon dioxide in the air, will suddenly accelerate tenfold. Forecasts of this kind are scaremongering plain and simple, and are no longer credible in the least degree.

"Arable land will turn into desert": "It will do no such thing. By the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, of which the Brookings Institute has perhaps not yet heard, in warmer weather the space occupied by the atmosphere is capable of carrying near-exponentially more water vapor than in colder weather. This relation establishes scientifically what has long been observed: that, in general, warmer weather is wetter weather."

"Cap-`n'-trade will Save The Planet": "Not that the planet needs saving: carbon dioxide concentrations were 20 times today's level back in the Cambrian era, and temperatures were only 12 F above today's. The planet survived just fine. The notion that emissions trading will make the slightest useful contribution to the future evolution of the Earth's climate is as absurd scientifically as it is economically. Transferring Western jobs and carbon emissions to China and India, which will be the direct result of any emissions-trading program, will actually increase the planet's carbon footprint. Also, carbon trading, which arbitrarily favors some industries at others' expense, is nothing more than a system of Socialist rationing under the pietistic guise of Saving The Planet."


Obama's energy plan does not compute

According to the Energy Information Administration, during the first half of 2008, the United States imported an average of 13.2 million barrels of oil per day. Of that, 6.1 million barrels came from OPEC suppliers and 2.5 million barrels came from inside the Persian Gulf.

So what will Obama do to free the United States from the scourge of foreign oil? Well, let's assume that he plans to replace those 6.1 million barrels of OPEC crude by electrifying a major segment of the U.S. auto fleet. If you assume a fleet of electric power plants operating with 30 percent efficiency, replacing that quantity of oil would require about 1.4 million megawatts of electric power capacity. (The same 30 percent efficiency rating would also apply if the electric supply came from wind turbines, which are available about one-third of the time.)

That's a huge amount of production capability, particularly when you consider that the entire U.S. power grid has about 986,000 megawatts of capacity. Thus, if Obama wants to replace OPEC supplies with electric cars, then, in just 10 years, he plans to: a) more than double America's existing power production capacity; and b) overhaul the power grid so that millions of cars can be recharged without causing blackouts.

Obama said he wants to invest heavily in solar power. That's fine. We're in favor of solar. So what would it take to replace OPEC oil if Obama wanted to just use electric cars supplied by solar power? If you assume a conversion efficiency of 12 percent, the United States would need about 3.5 million megawatts of installed solar capacity. That's more than three times the existing electric capacity in the country. It also translates into about 35.5 million acres of solar collectors, or an area about the size of the state of Illinois. and that assumes no room for roads or power lines or maintenance areas.

In his speech in Denver, Obama - a longtime supporter of the corn ethanol industry - didn't mention ethanol. These days, he prefers to talk about "advanced biofuels." Or, as he did in his acceptance speech, his desire to support "the next generation of biofuels." For people in the industry, that usually means cellulosic ethanol; that is, fuel made from biomass like switchgrass, wood chips or other plant matter.

So let's take a modest approach and assume that Obama wants to use cellulosic ethanol to replace the 2.5 million barrels of oil per day that come from the Persian Gulf. That would mean creating a domestic industry capable of producing 38.3 billion gallons of motor fuel per year. Sounds reasonable, right? Not so fast.

Companies that are trying to commercialize cellulosic ethanol are claiming that they can produce about 100 gallons of ethanol per ton of biomass. (That's about the same yield that can be obtained by using grain as a feedstock.) Thus, to produce 38.3 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol would require the annual harvest and transport of 383 million tons of biomass - enough material to fill 25.5 million semitrailers. Assuming each trailer is 48 feet long and holds 15 tons of biomass, the column of trailers (not including any trucks attached to them) to hold that volume of feedstock would stretch about 231,800 miles. That's long enough to encircle the Earth nine times.

It gets worse. Remember that ethanol's energy content is only about two-thirds that of gasoline. So to produce the energy equivalent of 38.3 billion gallons of conventional motor fuel, the United States would actually need to produce about 49.7 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. (And remember, that's just to replace the oil we get from the Persian Gulf, which supplies about 12 percent of U.S. needs.) What would that mean in terms of biomass? It would require a line of semitrailer loads that would cover some 301,000 miles - a span that would easily stretch from here to the moon, with enough room left over to get about one-fourth of the way back.....

I hope the NY Times Editorial Board looks at these figures and takes back their editorial complaining about the McCain energy plan which makes much more sense. The liberals are so fixed on getting off of carbon based energy they have lost perspective on the cost of doing so. It may happen someday, but forcing us into a lower standard of living to make it happen will not work and politically it is a loser.

It is hard to work numbers into an ad, but the examples given here need to be worked into a YouTube on the energy issue. The McCain team has become very good at riducling Obama positions and there is a lot of material for that in this piece. I hope they get on it. Energy may be the biggest issue in this election and showing how out of touch teh Democrats are would go a long way toward winning.



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


Monday, September 08, 2008

"Green" rules helped crash airliner

By Ray Massey

British pilots have called on regulators to reconsider some of the environmentally friendly requirements of planes, to prevent a repetition of the harrowing crash landing of a passenger jet at Heathrow in January. They said that green" rules demanding that planes burn less fuel could cause planes to crash, after investigators reported that a rush of ice crystals in fuel lines caused the British Airways accident, in which three passengers received minor injuries.

The ice choked off the fuel supply of the plane, which was carrying 135 passengers, less than a minute before the touchdown. The results of the eight-month investigation immediately sparked calls for world-wide safety checks.

David Reynolds, head of Britain's pilots' union, said: "These rules need to be looked at again. Fuel flow is an important factor in the safe running of an aircraft engine. With reduced burn, that means that less fuel is circulating, which makes it easier for water to separate and turn into ice "

Referring to the BA crash, Mr Reynolds said: "In this case, this was combined with very low temperatures and perhaps fuel which may have had a bit more water than usual - even though it complied with international standards. It was an unfortunate combination of circumstances but it does pose questions for all manufacturers, regulators and airlines.

In the wake of the incident, every long-haul passenger plane in the world faces strict new safety checks. They could also be ordered to fly at lower altitudes after investigators admitted they had no idea how many other planes may be vulnerable to the "previously unforeseen threat".

The investigators said they still did not know exactly how ice could have formed in the 777 - because it had not done so before during millions of flight hours. They now think a unique combination of three events conspired to create the conditions that choked off the fuel. They are:

* The length of time the fuel stayed in the tank at below freezing point in unusually cold weather over Siberia.

* The fact the plane was flying at a steady cruising speed and altitude for a long period, which allowed ice to form in the tank because it was using minimal fuel.

* The demand for a burst of fuel to the engines on landing, which went unmet as the ice blocked the pipes.

Emergency directives have been issued to all airlines, including BA, which operate Boeing 777s. They feature stop-gap measures to prevent a repeat of the conditions which led to the crash on January 17. This includes a requirement for planes to fly on maximum power mid-flight to prevent the long-term build up of ice in the tanks. One expert said, that in motoring terms, they have to "gun the accelerator", even when that is not necessary. Asking pilots to do this inevitably increased fuel consumption. With costs soaring, this may affect ticket prices.

The above report appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 7 September, 2008

Environmentalists can't corral Palin

By Dina Cappiello

Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has had frequent run-ins with environmentalists. At February's National Governors Association conference in Washington, where the Alaskan Governor first met her new boss John McCain, she was making her case to interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne against classifying the polar bear as a threatened species.

Months later she sued Mr Kempthorne, arguing that the Bush Administration didn't use the best science in concluding that. without further protection, the polar bear faced eventual extinction because of global warming causing sea ice to disappear. In her 20 months as Governor. she has also questioned the conclusions of federal marine scientists who say the Cook Inlet beluga whale needs protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

She has defended Alaska's right to shoot wolves from the air to boost caribou and moose herds for hunters and, contrary to a view held by Senator McCain. is not convinced that global warming is the result of human activity.

Environmentalists have nicknamed Governor Palin the "Killa from Wasilla". a reference to the small town where she was formerly mayor. "Her philosophy from our perspective is cut, kill, dig and drill," said John Toppenberg, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

While acknowledging that the climate is changing, Governor Palin expresses doubt as to whether emissions from human activities are the cause. Senator McCain supports legislation to reduce heat-trapping pollutants, primarily from burning oil and coal. "John McCain was all about global warming and the integrity of science. The selection of Sarah Palin is a complete reversal from that position," said Democratic Congressman Brad Miller, who went to the South Pole with Senator McCain to visit climate change scientists.

Supporters say Governor Palin, a self-described "hockey mom" (that's ice hockey) who knows how to shoot a gun and cut up a moose, is simply a reflection of her home state, where the extraction of oil, natural gas, gold, zinc, fish and other natural resources is the primary source of income and jobs.

The above report appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 7 September, 2008. There is an abbreviated version online here

Australian government climate assumptions proven to be hot air

By Piers Ackerman

No single issue better illustrates the Rudd Government's gross incompetence than its blindly ideological approach to the question of climate change. Fortunately, and perhaps accidentally, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's own hand-picked climate change guru, Professor Ross Garnaut, has now driven a truck through its principal argument.

In the 10 months since Rudd, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Environment Minister Peter Garrett have held office, the Government has constantly decried and denigrated as "irresponsible climate-change deniers" all who question their views. The snide use of the word "denier" to link sceptics with those who deny the actuality of the Holocaust is so obvious it hardly deserves mention. But its repeated usage is indicative of the gutter nature of the massive propaganda campaign waged by Rudd and his colleagues as they attempt to capitalise on their symbolic signing of the politically correct Kyoto Protocol.

Fixated with the flawed reports prepared by the totally partisan Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and falsely claiming there is a "consensus" among climate scientists that human activity is responsible for global warming, Rudd has pushed a warped agenda based on extraordinarily dubious modelling. And such an agenda can, in all reality, have no effect on the planet, let alone the behaviour of other nations.

For the whole of their period in office, federal Labor's mantra has been simple: the cost of doing nothing about climate change will be greater than the cost of doing something. Now, however, former foreign affairs mentor Professor Garnaut has revealed that mantra is false. First, though, let's look at Labor's determination to repeat that chorus, as captured by Hansard:
"All are familiar with the fact that the economic cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the economic cost of action on climate change" (Rudd, June 26).

"This government does understand that the cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the cost of action" (Swan, June 26).

"It is the case that the economic costs of inaction are greater than the costs of action" (Swan, June 24).

"Those of us on this side of the chamber understand that the economic costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of responsible action now" (Wong, June 24).

"On the question of emissions trading, we on this side of the House know a simple fact and it is this: the economic cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the economic cost of action on climate change" (Rudd, June 23).

"Australians recognise that tackling climate change will not be painless, but I think the Australian people have a very clear understanding that, as I said, the cost of inaction would be greater than the cost of responsible action now" (Wong, March 18).

"The fact of the matter is that it is the costs of inaction that outweigh the costs of action" (Garrett, March 17).

"And overall our view has long been, put in simple terms, that the costs of inaction on climate change are much greater than the costs of action" (Rudd, February 21).

"We on this side of the House recognise the costs of climate change and that the costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of action" (Swan, February 14).

But a comparison of tables taken from Professor Garnaut's July report and the paper he released on Friday shows that this is not so. In his July 4 draft, he stated that the cost of no mitigation - that is, if no action were taken on so-called greenhouse gases - would be minus 0.7 per cent of GDP in 2020. In his new paper he presents three scenarios for carbon-emission reductions by 2020.

At an "as-soon-as-possible" level of 450 ppm (parts per million) he says the cost would be minus 1.6 per cent of GDP.

At the "first best" conditional offer of 550 ppm the cost would be minus 1.1 per cent of GDP.

If a second-best "Copenhagen compromise" was followed, the cost would be minus 1.3 per cent of GDP.

It is highly revealing that in presenting his first specific trajectories and estimated costs of emissions reduction, Professor Garnaut has found that the cost of reducing emissions is greater than the cost of doing nothing - although that is not how he sold his paper. It is Rudd who is the denialist on the economics of climate change, if Professor Garnaut is to be believed. The costs of action outweigh the costs of inaction.

Rudd and Swan have already warned Australians they face increasing unemployment. To that must be added the costs of Labor's as-yet unspecific plans to deal with its over-hyped catastrophic view of climate change. Professor Garnaut's report indicates Labor's mantra on climate change to be false. Why does the ALP want to sacrifice the economy for a lie?


A troubling thought

Post below from a new skeptical blog: "Carbonated Climate"

Global warming alarmists exist today for one reason: to save the Earth. They go about doing this by calling for strict CO2 cuts, which in turn worsen the quality of life for everyone on the planet, but hey, they’re saving it, so who are we to complain about less money, comfort, and well being?

But have you ever paused to question whether these people really want the planet to stop heating up? Before you answermullthis over. The planet has stopped warming. We’ve been in a distinct cooling trend since 2002, despite ever rising CO2 levels. This does not mean that the Earth still won’t warm due to the accumulation of this greenhouse gas in the future (it has in the past, albeit modestly), but currently, for almost 7 years, it is not. This is a widely known fact. So the real question is this: why the hell aren’t those who predict doomsday rejoicing?

Should they not be ecstatic and overjoyed that the planet isn’t heating up? After all, they are the people that believe that all hell will break loose if the planet warms. So here the planet isn’t warming, and we haven’t even had to endure economic hardship! A double win, right? Unfortunately, no.

The obvious argument one could make is that this cooling is temporary, and by not acting now, we’re jeopardizing our future. This point does hold a bit of merit, but not much. There is no evidence of catastrophic climate change, and the last 7 years dampens those fears even more. However, the very least that should be expected is a consideration of this important cooling, and we have seen nothing of the sort.

That is becuase what the alarmists really want to do is change our way of life and gain political power. I am by no means the first to say this; hundreds have realized it before. With no climate crisis they have no means of getting their power and money. With no climate crisis, there is no avenue to criticize the American (read: prosperous) way of life. Never mind that the same people who demonize our country for its wastefulness and overconsumption don’t dare give up the benefits they get everyday from fossil fuels.

In any other issue, if a problem was being averted with no action taken, especially if that action had some very negative consequences, it would be reason for celebration. Only political issues react otherwise, because there is an agenda to push.

If you asked an alarmist the question, “If you could stop the Earth from warming and avoid taking the proposed policy changes, would you do it?” My guess is that most would say, “Of course I would.”(there are some who openly admit their distaste for Western lifestyle) However, the question posited above is occuring right now, and I have yet to see one alarmist or environmental group consider or even acknowledge it. Instead, they choose ignorance.

These alarmists and radical environmentalists would prefer that there be a problem, because then they can fulfill their goal to help pull you out of it. In other words, they are willing to sacrifice the welfare of some 6 billion people, because doing so benefits them and supports their worldview. That is the most troubling thing of all.


Summer has been one of Alaska's coldest

High temperatures this season were 3rd lowest on record

Those were the two July days the temperature at the offices of the National Weather Service in Anchorage hit 70 degrees or better. "Those temperatures occurred at the beginning of the month (of July) and were immediately followed by a long stretch of cool and wet weather. "With only two days above 70 degrees this year, that sets a new record for the fewest days to reach 70,'' the weather-watching agency reported Friday.

Add to the lack of heat and sunshine what the agency calls "an astonishing 77%" of days colder than normal, and you get the picture. This summer was every bit as bad as you thought it was. Gardens didn't grow. Salmon returned late. Bees didn't make honey. Swallows didn't breed. And the sunbathing, well, what sunbathing?

On average, Anchorage sees 16 days that hit 70 or better. Not this year. Not since 1980 has there been a summer less reflective of global warming than this one. Consider these 2008 benchmarks from the weather service that say this month won't be any better:

Over the course of the past 87 years, September temperatures have reached 70 only 17 times, and two of those 70-degree days came in the same year, according to the weather service. On average, a 70-degree September day comes along about once every five years, but those days also tend to come in warm years, not years like this one. Overall, the weather service ranks the summer of 2008 as having the third coolest average high temperatures since record keeping began. Only the summers of 1973 and 1971 were worse. In overall average daily temperatures, 2008 ranked 11th place.

All that stopped this summer from winning a place as coldest ever was, strangely enough, its cloudy grimness. "What seemed like endless days of cloud cover kept the daytime highs averaging 3 degrees below normal," according to the weather service. "Inversely, the cloud cover helped to keep overnight temperatures up. "The minimum temperatures in the summer of 2008 only ranked as the 34th coolest on record."


John Christy: A Sane Look at Climatological Models

"What Can a Climatologist Know About the Future? A Sane Look at Climatological Models". This question about the future of the climate is the leading idea of John R. Christy's essay in the book, "The Way We Will be 50 Years from Now"

Christy is professor of atmospheric science, and the director of the Earth System Science Center, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was awarded NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Advancement for developing a global temperature data set based upon the microwave data observed from satellites. He was also the lead author for the UN reports on climate change. He shared in the same Nobel Prize that was awarded to the whole group of scientists and former Vice-President Al Gore.

As a result of this fact I did not think his essay would provide much more than the usual "religious" babble on climate change. I was pleasantly stunned. As a result I now read Dr. Christy's reflections wherever I can find them on the Internet. (Do a Google search with his name.)

Christy freely admits that the climate system is so complicated, and the models used for predicting the future are so completely inadequate, that we cannot have "confident forecasts to describe future changes in the types of weather people really care about"

In an open letter that Dr. John R. Christy wrote just after receiving the Nobel Prize in 2007 he said: It is my turn to cringe when I hear overstated-confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next 100 years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system's behavior over the next five days. Mother Nature simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, beyond the mastery of mere mortals (such as scientists) and the tools available to us.

Christy's essay in "50 Years from Today" is worth the entire book. He says we can clean up our rivers and remove more and more of the waterborne diseases we now fight against if we work to improve the environment. But can we know whether temperature will be hotter or colder in the next fifty years? He simply says, "I can not know . . . though the sense today is that in most places the average temperature will be a bit warmer"

He also adds, "And I believe we shall be continually amazed at the resilience of the planet's living systems". For good measure he adds, "I can not know the extent of the Arctic Sea ice in 2058. But I believe that there will be at least as many polar bears as there are today because they are exceptionally adaptive creatures and I suspect more regulatory action to limit hunting quotas will likely occur"

He goes on to add an entire litany of things he says "I can not know," including the frequency of hurricanes, the rising or lowering of the sea level, what new forms of power generation will enhance our lives, or what forms of governance will be operational among the nations. Christy concludes, with a proper confidence and humility both, "In summary, I can not know what the trajectory of the climate system will be well enough to advise policy makers on what specific course it will take, or well enough to help them know what they could possibly do to tweak it toward a direction deemed 'safe,' or even well enough to appear exceptionally prescient to those reading the future"

But this is not the end of Dr. Christy's magnificent short essay. He writes:"But I do believe that the accumulating economic development throughout the world will not be sidetracked by calls to 'stop global warming,' which are ultimately designed to inhibit access to affordable energy. As a result, I believe more and more people will experience better health and security and that this will be accompanied by the additional bonus of a better-preserved natural environment"

I do wonder about Dr. Christy's personal faith and life. I would love to meet him, either way. He is an optimist in a field dominated by pessimists, which stands him in stark contrast to so many of those who also write in this book. He concludes his essay with this amazingly hopeful perspective:"In other word, I envy those in 2058, including my grandchildren who will then be about fifty-ish, living amidst the astounding advancements to come to pass, including the enhancements to both the environment and human prosperity now only a dream to billions"

If you wanted a summary of my own view of the "big" environmental issue, and the year 2058, there you have it. And the man who holds it is clearly not some hack writing for a political Web site with a particular conservative agenda. Environmental alarmists please take careful note here. Truly good science is not on your side.

What these secular alarmists have is an apocalyptically-driven religious view of the world that is as bad as that held by some radical millennialists inside the church. Thank God for men like Dr. John Christy in Huntsville.



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


Sunday, September 07, 2008

A new hockeystick?

After years of headscratching, Michael Mann thinks he has finally devised a new set of statistical procedures that will revive his discredited "hockeystick" graph. An email about it from John A [johna.sci@googlemail.com] below:

The BBC in their traditional position of custodian of climate science orthodoxy, have announced that Michael Mann has produced yet another Hockey Stick:

A new study by climate scientists behind the controversial 1998 "hockey stick" graph suggests their earlier analysis was broadly correct. Michael Mann's team analysed data for the last 2,000 years, and concluded that Northern Hemisphere temperatures now are "anomalously warm".

Yep, all the omens are good.
In their latest study, Dr Mann's group collated more than 1,200 proxy records - the majority from the Northern Hemisphere - and used different statistical methods to analyse their cumulative message. We used two different methods that are quite complementary in the assumptions they make about data, so that provides a test of the sensitivity of data to the methods used," he told BBC News. "We also made use of a far wider network of proxy data than previously available. "Ten years ago, the availability of data became quite sparse by the time you got back to 1,000 AD, and what we had then was weighted towards tree-ring data; but now you can go back 1,300 years without using tree-ring data at all and still get a verifiable conclusion."

Of course Dr Mann made this claim of robustness to the removal of dendroclimatic records last time, which turned out to be a flat out lie: The Hockey Stick shape disappeared when the bristlecone pines of Western Colorado were removed as Mann himself knows because he tested for their removal and then failed to report that salient and inconvenient truth (ie the CENSORED directories).
The same basic pattern emerged when tree-ring data - whose reliability has been questioned - was excluded from the analysis. "I think that having this extra data and using more methods to analyse it makes the conclusions more robust," commented Gabi Hegerl from the University of Edinburgh, UK, who was not involved in the research.

Yep. Of course Gabi Hegerl was involved in making her own proxy reconstruction of past climate using Michael Mann's same flawed method and incorporating Mann's PC1 as a proxy within her own limited set of proxies (where of course, it dominated the result). See here for this. Not exactly an unbiased observer, is she?

Do not smooth times series, you hockey puck!

Below a climate statistician helps break Mann's revived 'Hockey Stick'. The author below, Dr. William M. Briggs specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review

The advice which forms the title of this post would be how Don Rickles, if he were a statistician, would explain how not to conduct times series analysis. Judging by the methods I regularly see applied to data of this sort, Don's rebuke is sorely needed. The advice is particularly relevant now because there is a new hockey stick controversy brewing. Mann and others have published a new study melding together lots of data and they claim to have again shown that the here and now is hotter than the then and there. Go to climateaudit.org and read all about it. I can't do a better job than Steve, so I won't try. What I can do is to show you what not to do. I'm going to shout it, too, because I want to be sure you hear.

Mann includes at this site a large number of temperature proxy data series. Here is one of them called wy026.ppd (I just grabbed one out of the bunch). Here is the picture of this data:

The various black lines are the actual data! The red-line is a 10-year running mean smoother! I will call the black data the real data, and I will call the smoothed data the fictional data. Mann used a "low pass filter" different than the running mean to produce his fictional data, but a smoother is a smoother and what I'm about to say changes not one whit depending on what smoother you use.

Now I'm going to tell you the great truth of time series analysis. Ready? Unless the data is measured with error, you never, ever, for no reason, under no threat, SMOOTH the series! And if for some bizarre reason you do smooth it, you absolutely on pain of death do NOT use the smoothed series as input for other analyses! If the data is measured with error, you might attempt to model it (which means smooth it) in an attempt to estimate the measurement error, but even in these rare cases you have to have an outside (the learned word is "exogenous") estimate of that error, that is, one not based on your current data.

If, in a moment of insanity, you do smooth time series data and you do use it as input to other analyses, you dramatically increase the probability of fooling yourself! This is because smoothing induces spurious signals-signals that look real to other analytical methods. No matter what you will be too certain of your final results! Mann et al. first dramatically smoothed their series, then analyzed them separately. Regardless of whether their thesis is true-whether there really is a dramatic increase in temperature lately-it is guaranteed that they are now too certain of their conclusion.

There. Sorry for shouting, but I just had to get this off my chest. Now for some specifics, in no particular order.

A probability model should be used for only one thing: to quantify the uncertainty of data not yet seen. I go on and on and on about this because this simple fact, for reasons God only knows, is difficult to remember.

The corollary to this truth is the data in a time series analysis is the data. This tautology is there to make you think. The data is the data! The data is not some model of it. The real, actual data is the real, actual data. There is no secret, hidden "underlying process" that you can tease out with some statistical method, and which will show you the "genuine data". We already know the data and there it is. We do not smooth it to tell us what it "really is" because we already know what it "really is."

Thus, there are only two reasons (excepting measurement error) to ever model time series data: To associate the time series with external factors. This is the standard paradigm for 99% of all statistical analysis. Take several variables and try to quantify their correlation, etc. To predict future data. We do no need to predict the data we already have. Let me repeat that for ease of memorization: Notice that we do no need to predict the data we already have. We can only predict what we do not know, which is future data. Thus, we do not need to predict the tree ring proxy data because we already know it.

The tree ring data is not temperature (say that out loud). This is why it is called a proxy. It is a perfect proxy? Was that last question a rhetorical one? Was that one, too? Because it is a proxy, the uncertainty of its ability to predict temperature must be taken into account in the final results. Did Mann do this? And just what is a rhetorical question?

There are hundreds of time series analysis methods, most with the purpose of trying to understand the uncertainty of the process so that future data can be predicted, and the uncertainty of those predictions can be quantified (this is a huge area of study in, for example, financial markets, for good reason). This is a legitimate use of smoothing and modeling.

We certainly should model the relationship of the proxy and temperature, taking into account the changing nature of proxy through time, the differing physical processes that will cause the proxy to change regardless of temperature or how temperature exacerbates or quashes them, and on and on. But we should not stop, as everybody has stopped, with saying something about the parameters of the probability models used to quantify these relationships. Doing so makes use, once again, far too certain of the final results. We do not care how the proxy predicts the mean temperature, we do care how the proxy predicts temperature.

We do not need a statistical test to say whether a particular time series has increased since some time point. Why? If you do not know, go back and read these points from the beginning. It's because all we have to do is look at the data: if it has increased, we are allowed to say "It increased." If it did not increase or it decreased, then we are not allowed to say "It increased." It really is as simple as that.

You will now say to me "OK Mr Smarty Pants. What if we had several different time series from different locations? How can we tell if there is a general increase across all of them? We certainly need statistics and p-values and Monte Carol routines to tell us that they increased or that the `null hypothesis' of no increase is true." First, nobody has called me "Mr Smarty Pants" for a long time, so you'd better watch your language. Second, weren't you paying attention? If you want to say that 52 out 413 times series increased since some time point, then just go and look at the time series and count! If 52 out of 413 times series increased then you can say "52 out of 413 time series increased." If more or less than 52 out of 413 times series increased, then you cannot say that "52 out of 413 time series increased." Well, you can say it, but you would be lying. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to chatter about null hypotheses etc.

If the points-it really is just one point-I am making seem tedious to you, then I will have succeeded. The only fair way to talk about past, known data in statistics is just by looking at it. It is true that looking at massive data sets is difficult and still somewhat of an art. But looking is looking and it's utterly evenhanded. If you want to say how your data was related with other data, then again, all you have to do is look.

The only reason to create a statistical model is to predict data you have not seen. In the case of the proxy/temperature data, we have the proxies but we do not have temperature, so we can certainly use a probability model to quantify our uncertainty in the unseen temperatures. But we can only create these models when we have simultaneous measures of the proxies and temperature. After these models are created, we then go back to where we do not have temperature and we can predict it (remembering to predict not its mean but the actual values; you also have to take into account how the temperature/proxy relationship might have been different in the past, and how the other conditions extant would have modified this relationship, and on and on).

What you can not, or should not, do is to first model/smooth the proxy data to produce fictional data and then try to model the fictional data and temperature. This trick will always-simply always-make you too certain of yourself and will lead you astray. Notice how the read fictional data looks a hell of a lot more structured than the real data and you'll get the idea.

Next step is to start playing with the proxy data itself and see what is to see. As soon as I am granted my wish to have each day filled with 48 hours, I'll be able to do it.



Nothing like a bald assertion devoid of any scientific reasoning!

Forget global warming - the latest problem is global cooling. Conservation group WWF has blamed climate change for the coldest August in Sydney for more than 60 years.

The freezing temperatures are proof of the urgent need to cut carbon pollution, according to WWF development and sustainability program manager Paul Toni. "We can expect more extremes in climate," Mr Toni said. He said climate records had tumbled over the past year.

Australia had its driest May on record, Perth had its wettest April on record, and Tasmania recorded its hottest ever temperature, according to Mr Toni. He said climate extremes were affecting southern Australia in particular.

"This is consistent with climate modelling showing the southern states will feel the effects of climate change most severely," he said. Mr Toni said if action was not taken, more volatile weather would be on the radar.


Comment from Allan MacRae:

Some of us have been joking among ourselves that once natural cyclical cooling started, the global warming alarmists would blame it all on CO2. Well here we are - it has happened. "Conservation group WWF has blamed climate change for the coldest August in Sydney for more than 60 years." Could it be that the alarmists have known for years that warming has stopped, and is this why they changed their mantra from "stop global warming" to "stop climate change"? Scientifically, their AGW theory cannot support CO2 as the primary driver of both warming and cooling - this hypothesis is nonsense.
The only logical scientific conclusion, given the data, is that warming and cooling are overwhelmingly natural cycles, and the impact of human-made CO2 on these cycles is negligible.

The Russian bear submerging Greenie concerns in Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Union) has again reiterated the need for Germany to build coal-fired power plants. Merkel said in Hamm, North Rhine - Westphalia on Friday [29 August] that Germany would only be able to continue meeting its own demand for electricity if it built new and efficient power plants. Those preventing the construction of new power plants would accept "serious risks" for the economy, the labour market and the future of Germany. Rejecting new and modern power plants was also "counterproductive" in terms of environmental and climate policies.

On the occasion of the energy group RWE laying the cornerstone for a new hard-coal power plant, Merkel also came out in support of maintaining the energy mix consisting of coal, nuclear power and renewable energies. "We need both fossil fuels and the extension of renewable energies," she said. In view of the continuing debate over the phasing-out of nuclear power, she appealed to all parties to take the "initiative to let common sense prevail". "The operating life cycles of nuclear power plants must be determined in such a way that pricing is done on a reasonable basis."

The chancellor stressed that Germany must not become dependent on power supplies from abroad also in the future. "Generating electricity is Germany's strong point as an industrial nation," Merkel added. Also in view of the successful export deals involving German-made technology for modern coal-fired power plants, it was imperative to use the technology at home as well.


The Russian bear submerging Greenie concerns in Britain

Jeremy Leggett has an article up on Comment is Free urging people to "Beware the bear trap". Essentially, his case is that we need to pile on the renewable capacity in order to prevent Russia being able to use its fossil fuel resources as a weapon against us.

The first thing to note is that, while Western Europe is in an unenviable position relying on Russia for its gas, the Russian position isn't quite as strong as it looks. Each time oil and gas resources are used as a weapon they lose their impact. By making it clear that supplies aren't reliable you encourage your customer to put more effort into seeking alternatives or other sources of supply.

There is no doubt that recent Kremlin bolshiness has strengthened the case for Western Europe to revive its nuclear industry, for example, which could well mean threats to the gas supply are less potent next time around. We can only hope that there is someone in the European political elite with the basic strategic vision needed. Business, at least, will probably put more effort into exploiting alternative sources of hydrocarbons like Canadian tar sands.

The major problem with Leggett's article is that he sees renewables as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. In reality, one of the reasons why Britain is in such trouble is that over the last ten years we've had a Government with a fondness for airy, unrealistic fantasies that renewables can provide a substantial portion of the electricity we need. Our energy policy has been based, for a decade, on the ludicrous idea that a combination of gas and renewable energy can provide the stable, affordable and secure capacity we need.

While renewables can provide power, albeit often at great cost, their unreliability means they can't provide significant capacity when you need it (peak load capacity). The situation is stated pretty clearly in this REF report (PDF, pg. 94). As such, their contribution to energy security is negligible. If Russia were to cut off the gas all the wind power in the world would do pretty much nothing stop the lights going out on a cold evening. Other renewables have, at present, a limited ability to provide remotely affordable power. Unless unreliable or exceptionally expensive electricity is felt to be acceptable renewables can't deliver energy security.

So long as politicians listen to people like Jeremy Leggett, and his renewable energy fairy tales, serious solutions like Enhanced Oil Recovery in the North Sea and building coal and nuclear capacity won't get the attention they deserve. By the time we wake up, it might be too late.



Spare a thought for anyone on the Environment beat at the Guardian newspaper. It must be like working for Pravda during the Breznhev era. There, as the economy became ever more dysfunctional, reporters were obliged to pump out ever more absurd stories saluting record productivity and efficiency records. The triumph over capitalism was imminent!

A different time and a different place: but at the Graun [Guardian], the ideology is "Climate Change" - and the number of narratives permissible is similarly narrow, and rigidly defined from the top. For as regular readers of the paper will know, the climate can only change in one direction: for the worse. Apocalypse is imminent!

It's in this context you should spare a thought for David Adam, the newspaper's environment correspondent. He certainly has our sympathies. With hurricane Gustav set to devastate New Orleans, Adam was tasked with the job of showing how it's all down to Global Warming.

Tasteless ambulance-chasing like this is now commonplace. Both Believers and Skeptics are both guilty of making too much of the latest weather, and extrapolating from it a trend that suits them. Weather is not climate. But extreme weather tends to excite one side rather more than the other: because it follows the simple moral fable in which man's wickedness causes unnatural events. This pagan superstition was evident three years ago, the last time New Orleans took a battering. Barely a week had elapsed after Katrina struck, before Al Gore addressed the nation to blame it all on sinful mankind for causing Global Warming. Gore quoted Chamberlain - "this is only the beginning of the reckoning" - and for good measure, castigated American's "moral health".

So from the outset, it must have dawned on our heroic Graun correspondent that he had a task worthy of Hercules. Adam couldn't quote anything that contradicted the theological foundations of the orthodoxy that the occasion demanded - since that, presumably, would result in a rapid descent into Farringdon Road's piranha tank. But the problem is, there just isn't much evidence to support the idea that a warmer climate means worse weather, and the closer you look, the harder this is to prove. And so his soul-searching struggle is laid bare.

Adams begins confidently - "Meteorologists are predicting a more active hurricane season than usual this year..." But realises it's a lost cause almost immediately. "... but there is no way to know whether global warming has caused an individual event such as a hurricane, or whether it has made such storms worse," he writes.

That's not a promising start - and certainly not what the editors and eco-activists want to read. So like a hastily-constructed sea defence, the doubt is rapidly sandbagged: "On the other hand, some scientists argue that severe storms such as Gustav are more likely in a warming world, because warmer seas make more powerful storms," he continues. Phew.

Actually, it's more accurate to say that while non-scientists, such as Gore, are only too keen to draw links between warming and extreme weather (remember, man is responsible for all things unnatural), recent years have seen fading support for the notion.

Tom Knutson of NOAA's fluid dynamics lab published a paper this year arguing that a warmer climate means fewer hurricanes: 18 per cent fewer by the end of the century, he proposed. In another 2008 study, NOAA's Chris Landsea saw "nothing in the US hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts". And even the media's favourite hurricane doom-monger, Kerry Emanuel at MIT, an advocate of the link between a warmer climate and nastier storms for 20 years, is surprised by what his models now predict: a warmer planet means fewer hurricanes in 200 years.

(A caveat: like the much vaunted Global Climate Models (GCMs) Knutson and Emanuel's own models involve "parameterization". What this means is that left alone, computer models produce completely ridiculous results: "too many hurricanes", is how Knutson puts it. So the models are frigged massaged to produce something that's plausibly scary, but not so ridiculous that people notice. Such is the way "science" is conducted in the 21st Century...)

But back at El Graun, the unspeakable remains unpublishable. So instead of outlining the recent work, we get such platitudes such as "if anything, the science has become fuzzier in the years after Katrina", and "it is also unclear how reliably historical records of hurricane strength can be compared", and "no firm conclusion can be made at this point".

Well, wasn't that worthwhile? At least the party line remains intact. There's a slight problem, however. When the information needed to look beyond the "fuzziness" is at one's fingertips, and can be found in only a few seconds with Google, why would anyone want to bother with a report? There's one casualty of global warming that no one seems to have discussed yet - newspapers.



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


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Environment Minister for Northern Ireland calls global warming fears 'hysterical psuedo-religion'

The Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has angered green campaigners by describing their view on climate change as a "hysterical psuedo-religion". In an article in the News Letter, Mr Wilson said he believed it occurred naturally and was not man-made. "Resources should be used to adapt to the consequences of climate change, rather than King Canute-style vainly trying to stop it," said the minister. Peter Doran of the Green Party said it was a "deeply irresponsible message."

Mr Wilson said he refused to "blindly accept" the need to make significant changes to the economy to stop climate change. "The tactic used by the "green gang" is to label anyone who dares disagree with their view of climate change as some kind of nutcase who denies scientific fact," he said. The minister said he accepted climate change can occur, but does not believe the cause has been identified. "Reasoned debate must replace the scaremongering of the green climate alarmists."

John Woods of Friends of the Earth said Mr Wilson was "like a cigarette salesman denying that smoking causes cancer". "Ironically, if we listen to him Northern Ireland will suffer economically as we are left behind by smarter regions who are embracing the low carbon economy of the future."

It is the latest clash between Mr Wilson and green groups since his appointment as environment minister in June.


Landsea reponds to new hurricane study

Chris Landsea [Chris.Landsea@noaa.gov] is Science and Operations Officer at NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center 11691 S.W. 17th Street Miami, Florida. The comments below are his own and are not made on behalf of NOAA

Below are some comments I've sent to various reporters that have asked me my opinion about their study: I have read through the new paper (and the Supplementary Information) by Elsner et al. being published today in Nature. As is usual for a study led by Elsner, the statistical methodology is excellent. However, because of concerns with the data being utilized, I do not agree with the conclusion in the paper that "clearly show that the strongest tropical cyclones are getting stronger" around the world.

First off, I do not disagree with the finding that there has been a sizable increase in intensity for hurricanes in the Atlantic since the early 1980s. This is reconfirming work going back to conclusions that Goldenberg et al. initially showed in Science in 2001. My interpretation is that the Atlantic basin shows quasi-cyclic variations and that the current busy era (1995 onward) is quite similar to that which occurred from the late 1920s to the late 1960s (and the 1870s to the early 1900s). This current paper cannot address this cyclic variability for the Atlantic, as it starts with data in 1981.

Nor do I disagree with the findings that for the Northeast Pacific, the Northwest Pacific and the South Pacific there is either no change in intensity or a very minor, not statistically significant increase for up to 95% of all the tropical cyclones as is shown in the paper.

Where I believe that the study may not be reliable is in two key aspects: the treatment of the Indian Ocean tropical cyclone data and in the use of the data for the most extreme winds. Readers of this paper and the earlier groundbreaking one by Kossin et al. in Geophysical Research Letters in 2007 would note a huge difference in the South Indian and North Indian tropical cyclone intensity trends. In Kossin et al.'s earlier paper, the Indian Ocean basins had no trend in the number of extremely intense tropical cyclones, while in the current paper the Indian Ocean basins show a dramatic trend in intensities for the strongest third of the storms.

Why the big change between the two papers? It is mentioned in the Supplementary Information that a correction was applied to the infrared cloud top temperatures measured for the Indian Ocean tropical cyclones because of the very large change in the satellite view angle that occurred in 1997 (with the launch of Meteosat-7 satellite). This alteration the authors introduced would make for a more realistic (warmer) cloud top temperature for pre-1997 tropical cyclones.

However, while cloud top temperature is the most important factor for the average tropical cyclone, being able to accurately measure the eye temperature is crucial in correctly ascertaining the intensity of strong tropical cyclones. Because of the very oblique look-angle in pre-1997, one would not be able to see the warm eyes (and thus correctly identify the strongest cyclones). Correcting only for the cloud top temperatures but not taking into account unobserved warm eyes might well be fine for the average tropical cyclone, but it is not for the strongest storms. These big trends in the Indian Ocean tropical cyclone intensities may not be real.

The second key aspect is whether this dataset is appropriate for examining trends in the most intense tropical cyclones. Given the 8km resolution of the infrared satellite measurements, it is often the case that extremely intense tropical cyclones would have an eye that would barely - if at all - be resolved.

Moreover, the second author had stated previously that there is "a caveat to our analyses that limits its usefulness in the discussion [of trends in extreme tropical cyclones]. This regression-toward-the-mean aspect makes it less suitable for capturing the most extreme cases (Cat 5 intensities)." It is curious that the second author would previously issue caution in using this dataset for examining extreme tropical cyclone intensity trends and yet now in the current paper that is exactly what the authors are doing with the dataset and that is the focus of the paper: how have the extremely strong tropical cyclones changed? I would probably agree with what the second author said a few months ago, that this dataset is not very suitable for such analyses because of both the resolution and the regression methodology.

Lastly, just a comment about how the authors conclude that the new findings are "consistent with the theory". It's not. The latest numerical modeling and theoretical studies suggest a rather tiny 1-2% stronger tropical cyclones per degree C warming of the oceans (see, for example, Knutson et al. 2008 in Nature Geosciences or Emanuel et al. 2008 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society). Instead here they find a huge increase of 5-12% stronger per degree C. This is not consistent at all, as Elsner et al. are getting a much bigger sensitivity than the extremely small increase suggested by all of the modeling and theoretical studies.

So overall, the paper has some elegantly calculated statistics, but these are generated on data that are not - in my opinion - reliable for examining how the strongest tropical cyclones have changed around the world.


Pielke Sr. rips AP's Borenstein for 'misleading the public' on hurricane/warming?

There was a news release by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, entitled "Global warming's toasty water connection to Gustav." Among the statements in the text are
"Global warming has probably made Hurricane Gustav a bit stronger and wetter, some top scientists said Sunday, but the specific connection between climate change and stronger hurricanes remains an issue of debate."

"Measurements of the energy pumped into the air from the warm waters - essentially fuel for hurricanes - has increased dramatically since the mid 1990s, mostly in the strongest of hurricanes, according to a soon-to-be published paper in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo."

"Warmer water makes the surface air warmer, which means it could contain more moisture. That means more hot moist air rises up the hurricane, serving as both fuel for the storm and extra rainfall coming back down, said Peter Webster, professor of atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech."

Both the article and the statements by the scientists, however, mislead the public into thinking there is a clear relationship between global warming and Atlantic hurricane activity. This is a gross oversimplification of hurricane dynamics. Hurricanes respond to their immediate environment, not a global average increase in heat! The primary requirements for hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean Basin can be summarized as follows:

1. A preexisting source of circulation (more precisely a source of horizontal vorticity; examples of vorticity in the North American region, including part of the tropics and subtropical Atlantic can be viewed at http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/model/gfs000hr_500_vrt.gif). These preexisting circulations can occur, for example, from mesoscale convective systems that exit the west coast of Africa (with origins in the Ethiopian Highlands) which can develop into the so-called Cape Verde hurricanes. Circulations can also occur associated with the southern end of cold fronts as they enter the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.

2. A moist tropospheric atmosphere in which the circulation is embedded, which provides a favorable environment for sustained deep cumulonimbus clouds (the moist environment for deep cumulus convection in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and tropical Atlantic can be viewed at http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/model/gfs000hr_sfc_pwat.gif). A deep moist layer provides a favorable environment for prolonged deep cumulus convection to coexist with the circulation.

3. Weak changes of the large scale horizontal wind speed with altitude (i.e. low vertical wind shear). The upper tropospheric winds, which are an appropriate measure of vertical wind shear, can be viewed at http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/model/gfs000hr_250_wnd.gif. Low vertical wind shear permits the accumulation of heat from mesoscale clusters of deep cumulus so that pressures fall in the center of the circulation, thereby favoring further deep cumulus convection.

4. Warm ocean temperatures at or above about 26C (79F) in the upper tens of meters or more (the sea surface temperatures in the in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and tropical Atlantic can be viewed at http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/usatlant.cf.gif ). The warm ocean provides heat and moisture fluxes into the deep cumulus convection, which is the fuel for the hurricane. The warm ocean also provides the moisture to sustain a moist troposphere. The temperatures in the Atlantic Basin are above average at present (i.e. see http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anoma.9.1.2008.gif), although elsewhere in a number of regions of the tropics, the sea surface temperatures are below average (e.g. see http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomg.9.1.2008.gif)....

What this short summary tells us is that hurricanes develop and move in response to regional weather features, not a global average warming!

Moreover, as has been discussed on Climate Science frequently, humans are altering circulation in many ways beyond that associated with global average heat changes (e.g. see). Indeed, in one study that focused on the tropics and subtropics (see), we found from observations of the spatial distribution of human-caused aerosols in the atmosphere in the lower latitudes, that the aerosol effect on atmospheric circulations, as a result of their alteration in the heating of regions of the atmosphere, is 60 times greater than due to the heating effect of the human addition of well-mixed greenhouse gases!

The focusing on global warming as the reason for any hurricane (or making it more likely to occur or become more intense) ignores that natural variations are not only more important than indicated by the AP news story, but also that the human influence involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited global warming [which, of course, has not occurred since at least mid-2004!].

The bottom line conclusion is that the claim of a direct linkage between a global average metric (i.e. global warming) and hurricanes fails to accurately communicate that the hurricanes develop and respond to regional weather patterns. If there are to be skillful predictions of how natural and human caused climate variability and change affect hurricanes, it must have a regional focus.

More here

'An Inconvenient Truth' exaggerated sea level rise

More modelling in lieu of data but maybe it's better modelling. The work explores the physical limits on glacial melting and finds that a sea-level rise of even .8 of a meter (31.5 inches) by 2100 requires an acceleration of existing processes. See abstract below

Al Gore's Oscar-winning environmental documentary exaggerated the likely effects of global warming on sea levels, a new study shows. The film, An Inconvenient Truth, suggested that the sea would rise up to 20ft "in the near future" as the ice in Greenland or Western Antarctica melts. Other documentaries have picture Britain deluged with water, showing the House of Commons submerged.

However, while some mainstream predictions project sea levels 2 to 4 meters higher by 2100, a new study published today in Science concludes that a rise in sea level between 0.8 and 2 meters is much more likely.

While scientists agree that sea levels rose by six inches over the course of the 20th century, estimates of future rises remain hazy, mostly because there are many uncertainties, from the lack of data on what ice sheets did in the past to predict how they will react to warming, insufficient long-term satellite data to unpick the effects of natural climate change from that caused by man and a spottiness in the degree to which places such as Antarctica have warmed.

Prof Tad Pfeffer at University of Colorado in Boulder, Dr Joel Harper at University of Montana and Dr Shad O'Neel at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, reached these conclusions after studying the ice and water being discharged from Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. "We simply don't understand the physics of ice dynamics well enough to make accurate model predictions," says Dr Harper. "There are just too many uncertainties. So what we did is flip the problem on its head."

Unlike most past studies that try to add up the individual sources of ice and water discharge from the glaciers into the sea, their experiment calculated how much ice and water lost from Greenland and Antarctica that it would take for the world's seas to raise two meters. Then they calculated how fast contributing glaciers would need to move in order to dump that much ice into the sea. Their findings show that predictions of a two meter rise in sea level by 2100 would require significantly faster ice velocities from Greenland and Antarctica than has ever been reported before.

"We found you would need to have phenomenal calving, (calving is what happens when ice sheets meet the ocean and break apart to form icebergs)" said Dr Harper, who has lived and worked on the Greenland ice cap the past two summers, studying the increased melting there.

So if the glaciers continue to break up and melt like they are right now for 100 years, a two meter rise in sea level by 2100 would not be possible. For the Greenland ice sheet to do this, the glaciers moving into the island's calving fjords would have to increase their speed to 28.4 miles per year and sustain that speed until the end of the century.

For that reason, Prof Pfeffer and his colleagues argue that current projections of sea level rise should be updated to include more realistic rates of glacier break-up and melting in Greenland and Antarctica. They argue that their projection of as little as 0.8 meter rise in sea level by 2100 is much more realistic.

While the inflated rates often quoted by environmentalists are not completely out of the question, the authors argue that they should not be adopted as a central working hypothesis.

However, a rise of just a metre or more would wipe out the Norfolk Broads and the Wash, boosting the risk of devastating storm surges. And the new estimate does exceed that of thee latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report projects between 18 to 60 centimetres (7.2 to 24 inches) of sea level rise by 2100.

Dr David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey, commented: "while lower than a few of the wilder projections made by a fringe of activists, a rise of 0.8 to 2.0 metre in a century would cause enormous loss of life in the developing world and enormous cost in the developed world. "These are big numbers, higher than the IPCC projections that governments generally use as the basis for policy-making."


Journal abstract follows:

Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise

W. T. Pfeffer et al.

On the basis of climate modeling and analogies with past conditions, the potential for multimeter increases in sea level by the end of the 21st century has been proposed. We consider glaciological conditions required for large sea-level rise to occur by 2100 and conclude that increases in excess of 2 meters are physically untenable. We find that a total sea-level rise of about 2 meters by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits. More plausible but still accelerated conditions lead to total sea-level rise by 2100 of about 0.8 meter. These roughly constrained scenarios provide a "most likely" starting point for refinements in sea-level forecasts that include ice flow dynamics.

Science 5 September 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5894, pp. 1340 - 1343

Open Water Circling North Pole? Not Quite

The article below is by Revkin of the NYT. After his initial burst of interest in the facts below he goes on to some boilerplate Warmist propaganda. He has to

There have been some breathless headlines in the last few days about the North Pole's being an "island" for the first time in 125,000 years. Aside from the fact that 90 degrees north sits in the middle of a 2.5-mile-deep ocean, that's quite a statement considering two things: first, no one has been routinely monitoring sea ice along both coastlines between then and now, and second, the region was clearly warmer than it is today (in summers) around 8,000 to 10,000 years ago - on both the Siberian and North American sides.

And one of the groups focusing most closely on possible Arctic shipping lanes, the National Ice Center operated by the Navy and Commerce Department, says flatly that the satellites are misreading conditions in many spots and that there is too much ice in a critical spot along the Russian coast (highlighted in the smaller image above) to allow anything but ice-hardened ships to get through. In an e-mail message Wednesday, Sean R. Helfrich, a scientist at the ice center, said that ponds of meltwater pooling on sea ice could fool certain satellite-borne instruments into interpreting ice as open water, "suggesting areas that have substantial ice cover as being sea-ice free." The highlighted area is probably still impassible ice, including large amounts of thick old floes, he said. I sent the note to an array of sea-ice experts, and many, including Mark Serreze at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, concurred.

The article excerpted above WAS here but has since been deleted! LOL! It is however still at the moment viewable in the Google cache


As part of his grab for the center, he supports both

John McCain formally accepted the Republican Party's presidential nomination here on Thursday in a speech extolling the virtues of both oil drilling and green energy.

The Arizona senator received one of his loudest rounds of applause when he lashed out at his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, and characterized the dispute over oil drilling as a matter of international relations and security as well as economics.

"We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much," McCain said. "We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we'll drill them now."

He added: "Sen. Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that. We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet."

McCain's speech comes a day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, his vice presidential pick, said her state was ready to provide more energy for America. "The fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all," she said.

McCain went out of his way to tout green technology. In addition to building more nuclear power plants, he said: "We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar, and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles."

A comparison of McCain and Obama's energy plans shows that the Republican opposes existing federal government ethanol production targets and would eliminate a tariff on Brazilian ethanol, a move that would expose U.S. producers to more competition. Obama supports the ethanol regulations (one factor that has led to higher corn prices), wants to raise automotive fuel-efficiency rules, and is not willing at the moment to support expanding nuclear power.

Last month, Obama signaled he might be open to new offshore drilling in some circumstances.



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


Friday, September 05, 2008


Many have been keeping a watchful eye on solar activity recently. The most popular thing to watch has been sunspots. While not a direct indication of solar activity, they are a proxy for the sun's internal magnetic dynamo. There have been a number of indicators recently that it has been slowing down.

August 2008 has made solar history. As of 00 UTC (5PM PST) we just posted the first spotless calendar month since June 1913. Solar time is measured by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) so it is now September 1st in UTC time. I've determined this to be the first spotless calendar month according to sunspot data from NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center, which goes back to 1749. In the 95 years since 1913, we've had quite an active sun. But that has been changing in the last few years. The sun today is a nearly featureless sphere and has been for many days:

And there are other indicators. For example, some solar forecasts have been revised recently because the forecast models haven't matched the observations. Australia's space weather agency recently revised their solar cycle 24 forecast, pushing the expected date for a ramping up of cycle 24 sunspots into the future by six months.

More here

Another dissenter speaks out

Article below by Professor Geoffrey G Duffy, DEng, PhD, BSc, ASTC Dip., FRS NZ, FIChemE, CEng. Summary excerpt: "It is so easy to grab onto the notion that the increase in fossil-fuel burning and subsequent growth in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is directly the major cause. Even from season to season we see snow and ice-covered mountains thaw, and massive areas of the Antarctic ice shelf melt, but in just 6 or so months they are restored. We are not alarmed at these annual changes! So why can’t we see that climate changes occurring all over the world now (not as big as these dramatic annual changes) are simply similar but on a larger time-scale."

Climate is always changing, and always will. There are seasons. There are day-night (diurnal) cycles. At any one location, heat energy from the sun varies during the day. Energy from the sun is affected by local conditions and clouds. Heat absorption depends on whether it impacts water or land . and even then, the type of land (desert, forest, snow covered land), or the layout of the land (continental masses, or islands surrounded by seas). In some parts of the world temperatures are climbing on average, and in some areas they are dropping. Warming is not occurring everywhere at once and hence `global warming' is a misnomer.

So what are the key players in `Climate Change'? The major driver is the sun. Warming depends on the sun. Cooling is due to the lack of sun's energy. Radiant energy enters the earth's atmosphere. Air (on a dry basis) consists mainly of nitrogen 78.08% and oxygen 20.94%. Of the 0.98% remaining, 95% of that (ie 0.934%), or almost all is the inert gas argon. Carbon dioxide CO2 is a trace. It is less than 400ppm (parts per million) or 0.04% of all the atmosphere (on a dry basis). Surprisingly, less than a fifth of that is man-made CO2 (0.008% of the total), and that is only since the beginning of the industrial era and the rapid increase in world population.

The atmosphere however is not dry! The next major constituent of air apart from oxygen and nitrogen is water, as a vapour and a condensed liquid. The atmosphere is comprised of about 1-3% water vapour [At 200C and 100% humidity there is 0.015kg water/kg air or 1.5%: at 50% Humidity, 0.008kg water/kg air or 0.8%: and in warmer climate at say 300C, 100% humidity, 0.028kg water/kg air or 2.8%]. Water vapour condenses to form clouds and it is by far the most abundant and significant of the greenhouse gases. Water accounts for about 95% of the greenhouse effect. The main atmospheric `intermediary' between the sun and earth is water, and thus it dictates the behaviour of the earth's climate. Without water vapour in particular and other greenhouse gases in the air in general, the surface air temperatures worldwide would be well below freezing. The sun clearly must be a much bigger influence on global temperatures than any of the greenhouse gases, even water and CO2. Carbon dioxide is about 1/60 of water in air!! It clearly is not the major player even though it is wise to minimise man-made emissions like particulate emissions, and CO2 and other gases where practically possible.

Variable and unstable weather conditions are caused by local as well as large-scale differences in conditions (wind, rain, evaporation, topography etc). They naturally induce either warming or cooling locally, regionally, or worldwide. We all have experienced how on a cloudy/sunny day that clouds strongly affect our sensations of both heat and light (infrared energy and visible light). Clouds do several things! The atmosphere may be heated by clouds by emitting latent heat of condensation as water vapour condenses. But clouds can both heat the atmosphere by reducing the amount of radiation transmitted, or cool the atmosphere by reflecting radiation. So of all the affects that can influence heating and cooling in the atmosphere and on earth, clearly water is the main greenhouse `gas'. Other greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide CO2, methane CH4, oxides of nitrogen etc) are 1/60 to 1/30 smaller in both quantity and effect. So with all `greenhouse gases' including water, human activity accounts for only minute amounts, just 0.28% of the total greenhouse gases. If we exclude the key one, water, then human activity would only account for about 5.53% of the total greenhouse effect. This is minute in the total picture whatever way we look at it.

Unfortunately a lot of estimates and predictions are strongly based on theoretical computer models. Many now even trust models and their `theoretical results' more than actual measurements and facts from reality. Computer analysis requires that the earth be `cut' into small, separate areas (actually volumes), each being analysed for heat input/outputs and other gas/vapour fluxes. Even so the computational analysis domain size (basic computer grid elements) is huge, 150km x 150km by 1km high, with the current computer power. It is so large that the effects of even the very large clouds are not individually included; and that includes clouds in our visual horizon. The spatial resolution is therefore very poor. Supercomputers cannot give us the accuracy we need. Modellers therefore use parameters: `one factor fits' all, for each of the domains (a kind of a `fudge factor'). This is sad, as water as vapour in clouds is 30 to 60 times more significant than other minute amounts of other greenhouse gases.

Clearly climate simulations and thus predictions can be in serious error unless the actual cloud effects are well defined in the models. It is not only the number and spacing of the clouds in that 150 square kilometre area, but also cloud height effects, and cloud structure. These factors are not accounted for at all. Typhoons are still not represented in most models. Many tropical storms and local intense rain downfalls say in a 50km radius cannot be `seen' by the models. Volcanic eruptions and large forest fires are extremely difficult to model. These emit enormous tonnages of small particulate matter that have immense shielding effects and interactions in the atmosphere. The slow diffusion of the smoke on windless days, and the more rapid turbulent dissipation on windy days are both very difficult to model or predict. We are simply `not there yet' in the simplest events.

The inter-zonal effects of such larger-scale movements like the Gulf stream, or the El Nino-El Nina patterns, are not really greatly understood, and virtually impossible to model. The `noise' (random fluctuations) in the results from the computer models is often greater than the magnitude of the computer readout results themselves! It is really surprising why model computer-forecasts are trusted for periods of say 30 - 50 or so years, yet weather forecasts are often very inaccurate even over a 2 or 3 week period. A good model should be able to `predict even the recent past'. The fact that these models cannot, clearly shows that we should shift our thinking and trust away from computer models to longer-term analysis of actual data, and to understanding the real physical mechanisms and processes (the `cause' and `effect' factors). Someone has said; "if tomorrow's weather is inaccurately modelled and predicted, how can we pretend to predict long-term climate changes?"

Linearising short-term, random fluctuations in weather changes and temperature changes is scientifically untenable (weather and climate changes should be studied over very long periods if reliable trends are to be discerned). Much credence is given to the `hockey-stick effect' of temperature data (upward swing in mean temperature over just the last decade or so) proposed and adopted by the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Nations have grabbed this and are using this to base their policies for actions on global warming effects, and the implementation of controls on carbon-based emissions by carbon taxing. The very computer programme that gave IPPC those results was recently rigorously tested by inputing random numbers, and the computer-generated readout gave the same upward data trend with this meaningless input.

This makes a mockery out the IPPC report and subsequent actions. Of course IPPC cannot admit to that now, as their report has been regarded as `gospel' by many nations. In stunning direct contrast, actual data (not idealistic models) from remote sensors in satellites have continuously measured the world's temperature and have shown that the trend in the warming period ended in 2001. Actual satellite measurements show that the temperature has dropped about 0.60C in the past year, when compared to the mean recorded 1980 temperature. Observations from the Hadley Centre show that global temperature has changed by less than 0.050C over the past decade! Also 1998 was distinctly warmer than 2006 because of the El Nino event. Why can't we believe actual accurate data?

A man-made `greenhouse' does not create new heat. A man-made `greenhouse' can only increase the residence time or hold-up time of heat just like a blanket. Likewise in the atmosphere, the `greenhouse effect' acts as a mechanism to smooth out fluctuations or rises and falls in temperature (that is advantageous). It is a dampener! It cannot be a dominant factor for global temperature change. It is the sun that gives the heat energy and drives temperature change. Simply, if the sun's energy decreases, then the `global' temperature will fall; with or without any greenhouse effect (and vice-versa).

But we must also consider the location of the effects. The surface of Earth is 70 % water. Water has a far greater heat carrying capacity than land; or even the atmosphere itself. Most of the incoming heat from the sun is absorbed by the seas and lakes (simply because they occupy 70% of the world's surface area). When we compare that with land masses, a lower proportion of heat is reflected from watery zones to participate in the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is mainly a phenomenon of the land surface and the atmosphere because land masses lose most of the heat they receive during the day by the action of overnight radiation. To multiply that effect, the atmosphere loses heat rapidly out into space by rainfall, convection and radiation, despite the greenhouse effect. So the large surface area of water over the world and the heat storage of water, are far more significant than any atmospheric greenhouse effect. The oceans really control the transport of water vapour and latent heat changes into the atmosphere (latent heat is heat needed to convert water-to-vapour, or conversely is given up when vapour goes to water), and this is far more significant than sensible heat changes alone (non changes in the state of water).

The seas take a long time to warm up or cool down when compared to land. This means the storage of total heat by the oceans is immense. As mentioned, heat energy reaching the land by day is soon radiated back out into space at night. But there are also zonal differences! The sun's energy at the equator is consistent all year round, and in this region the larger proportion of surface area happens to be the ocean water. The dominant heat loss is primarily at the poles with each pole alternating as the main loser of heat. As a result there are severe cyclical variations in temperature with the seas and ice caps having the dominant effects in energy changes and hence temperature effects.

If the erroneously-called, 'global warming' was occurring now we should see it now. Oceans would be expanding and rising; in fact over the past two years, the global sea level has decreased not increased. Satellites orbiting the planet every 10 days have measured the global sea level to an accuracy of 3-4 millimeters (2/10 inch inches) [see sealevel.colorado.edu]. Many glaciers are receding but some are increasing. Glacial shelves at the poles melt and reform every year because there are periodic seasonal changes; these alone show dramatically just what changes can occur from summer-to-winter-to-summer again and again. Dramatic changes? Yes; but they are perfectly normal and to be expected.

Much more here


The number-one economic issue this election is gasoline prices at the pump. The tax-hike effect of surging oil on global markets that has translated to a huge spike at your local gas station has drained the economy of its vitality. It has damaged consumer purchasing power, made it tougher to pay mortgages on time, worsened the credit crunch, raised the inflation rate, undermined corporate profits, and thrown stocks into the first bear market in five years.

Of course, with all the political hoopla from the Denver Democrats, it's easy to forget the populist revolt against high gas prices at the pump. Sen. Obama never mentioned skyrocketing pump prices or their devastating economic impact on ordinary working-class folks. But this is the energy election. It will determine our future peace and prosperity. And Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has the energy answer: Our abundant country can produce more energy at lower cost if government gets out of the way.

Coming from the natural-resource rich state of Alaska, Palin is an experienced energy expert. She knows more about the economics of energy than senators McCain, Obama, or Biden. And in this year of the oil-shock economy, Palin's role will be absolutely crucial. "Obama is way off-base on all that. I think those politicians who don't understand that we need more domestic supply of energy flowing into our hungry markets [are] living in la-la land. And we're in a world of hurt if they're agenda continues to be to lock up these safe, secure, domestic supplies of energy."

That's what Palin told me in a CNBC interview in late June. I call it drill, drill, drill. But in fact it's a full-throated America-first energy policy that will create millions of high-paying jobs with complete government deregulation and decontrol of the full menu of energy sources: oil, natural gas, nuclear, clean coal, shale, and the alternative fuels of wind, solar, and cellulosic.

Why aren't all the candidates talking like Palin? How can this great country put its future growth and prosperity in the hands of enemies like Tsar Vladimir Putin, Ahmadinejad, and Hugo Chavez. Well, get ready for Sarah America to take on the fight against all comers.

The plain-talking governor is even tough on John McCain. The senator has said it's too pristine to drill in ANWR. But Palin told me in June that "Sen. McCain is wrong on that issue. . . . We're talking about a sliver of the coastal plain of Alaska being explored and drilled for oil. It's about a footprint of a 2,000-acre plot of land. That's smaller than the footprint of LAX."

Palin was pleased that McCain came around on the Outer Continental Shelf. But she intended to talk him into ANWR. Expect Mr. McCain to listen carefully. And she made this key point: The price of fuel will fall quickly in the expectation of more energy supplies, just as soon as Washington permits.

And when I interviewed her again in late July, she was justifiably furious that Congress was going on summer recess without a vote on rolling back its drilling moratorium. "Well," she said, "with all due respect to Congress, it's pretty pathetic." Meanwhile, she was taking action: Palin had just gotten the Alaska legislature to agree to a new natural-gas pipeline that was 30 years in the works.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are nearly 100 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic, with roughly one-third under sovereign U.S. territory in Alaska. There are at least 10 billion (and perhaps close to 20 billion) barrels of oil in ANWR, while old estimates suggest between 800 billion and 2 trillion barrels of oil in the Rocky Mountain shale formations.

It's also worth noting that 1.8 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf - with roughly 100 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 400 trillion feet of natural gas - are off-limits because of the congressional moratorium.

Palin grasps the strategic importance of all these domestic reserves. She's also a governor who fully understands the energy- and foreign-policy designs of Mr. Putin, who sits right across the pond from her native Alaska....



And this warning comes from a big-time Warmist!

Half a million people could be pushed into fuel poverty by the UK's drive for wind power, the government's former chief scientific adviser has said. Sir David King said: "If we overdo wind we are going to put up the price of electricity and that means more people will fall into the fuel poverty trap." The UK has signed up to an EU agreement for 20% of power to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Professor King told the BBC EU leaders did not understand their own targets. One of Tony Blair's last acts as Prime Minister was to sign up to an EU target to have 20% of Europe's energy from renewable sources by 2020. The UK currently generates around 2% of its electricity from wind power but to meet the EU's target the government estimates this will have to increase to around 35% by the end of the next decade. It will also lead to price rises, the government thinks around 10% for electricity and closer to 20% for gas.

Professor King who who served as chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, told BBC Radio 4's The Investigation that the government is placing too much emphasis on wind power to reach the target and this would mean more people suffering from fuel poverty. "These are difficult numbers to estimate but numbers around half a million are not at all unrealistic," he said.

Professor King said he thought that Mr Blair and the other EU leaders did not understand what they were committing themselves to. "I think there was some degree of confusion at the heads of states meeting dealing with this. "If they had said 20% renewables on the electricity grids across the European Union by 2020, we would have had a realistic target but by saying 20% of all energy, I actually wonder whether that wasn't a mistake." Professor King, who was chief scientific adviser at the time of the decision, added: "I was rather surprised when I heard what the decision was."

The EU needed to renegotiate a more achievable and less expensive target, and he added: "This is an issue which needs to be revisited and I say this as somebody who feels that we really have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions very substantially but in my view it is an expensive, and not a very clever route to go for 35 to 40% on wind turbines."

However Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of British Wind Energy Association countered: "We don't have to pay for wind power it just comes to us naturally and is totally sustainable. "The expectation is that it will in time drive down the basic cost of energy and actually help the fuel poverty situation, that certainly is our expectation"

A government spokesman said it believes the target is ambitious but is fully committed to meeting it and that the impact on energy bills in the short term will be small.



SOLAR PANELS are one of the least cost-effective ways of combating climate change and will take 100 years to pay back their installation costs, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) warned yesterday.

In a new guide on energy efficiency, Rics said that roof panels for heating water and generating power are unlikely to save enough from bills to make them financially viable in a householder's lifetime. In the case of solar panels to heat water for baths and showers, the institution estimates the payback time from money saved from electricity and gas bills will take more than 100 years - and up to 166 years in the worst case.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels for power - and domestic, mast-mounted wind turbines -will take between 50 and 100 years to pay back.

Given that the devices have a maximum lifetime of 30 years, they are never likely to recoup the 3,000 to 20,000 cost of their installation, according to Rics' building cost information service. Instead, it suggested people wanting to cut fuel bills should insulate lofts and cavity walls, install efficient light bulbs and seal windows.

Joe Martin, author of Rics' Greener Homes Prices Guide, said there was an argument for installing solar panels but it was not an economic one. "We wanted to bring some reality to this because there are a lot of missionaries out there. The whole push for household renewable power is that you can do these things and make back money but that's not true on existing property," he said.

The solar power industry accused Rics of failing to take account of the rising cost of energy and other financial benefits of renewable power in its figures. Jeremy Leggett, of Solar Century, said: "They are grossly irresponsible."

Rics assessed the cost, annual savings, disruption and payback time of various energy-saving methods and gave each an overall rating of one to five stars.

More here

Australia's Warmist guru calls for only 10 percent cut in greenhouse gases

These guys just make up numbers as they go along

AUSTRALIA'S climate change guru has softened his stand on greenhouse gases, saying we are a 'special case'. In a boost to business, government climate adviser Ross Garnaut has said Australia should try to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent by 2020, with immigration ruling out any greater reduction. And if the global community fails to act, that figure should drop back to five per cent.

In a major report released today, Professor Garnaut says high immigration growth makes Australia a special case and its emissions should be reduced by less than any other developed country. Australia's high level of immigration, he says, meant it cannot realistically cut emissions as much as other wealthy nations. And Prof Garnaut believes Australia should soften its target to a five per cent cut, based on 2000 levels, if an international climate pact is not forged.

The 10 per cent target will be a disappointment to the environmental lobby, which wants a cut of up to 40 per cent. But it will allay the concerns of business that emissions trading, due to start in 2010, would cost profits and jobs. The 2020 target will be a crucial factor in determining how much households and businesses will pay under emissions trading. The federal government has yet to set a 2020 target.

Prof Garnaut also recommended emissions trading start in 2010 with a fixed carbon price of $20 a tonne, indexed for inflation plus four per cent each year. The latest instalment of his advice to federal and state governments on what should be done about climate change doesn't make happy reading. He is pessimistic about the ability of the world to tackle climate change, and says there is "just a chance" that dangerous global warming can be avoided. The problem of climate change was "diabolical", "intractable" and "daunting", and the world was rapidly running out of time.

Other developed nations should do more than Australia to cut emissions, Prof Garnaut says. Canada should slash its emissions by a third, Japan by 27 per cent, the European Union by 14 per cent, and the US by 12 per cent. Australia had the "least stringent 2020 reductions targets of any of the developed countries/regions modelled". "Australia's population, because of the country's long-standing and large immigration program, has been and will be growing much faster than populations in other countries," Professor Garnaut said. "The allocation formula ... accommodates Australia's rapid population growth."

Prof Garnaut has recommended Australia adopt a more ambitious 80 per cent emissions reduction target by 2050. The government has committed to a 60 per cent target by then. He also thinks the world should move towards a per-capita system of emissions reductions, which would have a major impact on Australia because it has one of the world's highest rates of per-capita emissions. But the "per-capita" system would not kick in until 2050 under the Garnaut plan.

The report also includes some modelling on the costs of climate change. Prof Garnaut found not acting on climate change would cost Australia dearly, slashing eight per cent from gross national product by the end of this century. Wages would drop by 12 per cent. But taking action on climate change would have a "manageable" cost. Growth would be cut initially by 0.8 per cent, settling to 0.1 per cent in subsequent years. By 2060, taking action on climate change would have a net positive affect on the economy. Prof Garnaut's final report is due at the end of this month.



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


Thursday, September 04, 2008


Security: The impact of prolonged high oil prices is moving well beyond economics. Russia now takes license to assault Georgia, and intends worse. John McCain's Alaska running mate has the only weapon. When Alaska governor Sarah Palin was chosen for the McCain vice presidential ticket, most attention was on her beauty-queen past and down-home North Woods family life. In reality, she's the powerful governor of Alaska, the most pivotal state in the union for energy.

John McCain understood well that it's the one state that can liberate the U.S. not just from high prices but from increasingly threatening enemies whose power derives solely from high oil prices. Alaska was purchased in 1867 explicitly to ensure America's energy future. Palin's leadership has done much to develop Alaska's energy resources, but the state is still stonewalled by Congress.

Palin's strong Alaskan presence in Washington will change that. It's got to because America is nearly helpless in the face of a resurgent Russia intent on reclaiming its czarist empire, an Iran hellbent on acquiring nuclear weapons, a China making common cause with dictators to acquire energy and a menacing Venezuela aligning with Russia and Cuba to control sea lanes in the Caribbean, where 64% of all U.S.-bound tanker traffic passes.

These are all emerging threats. That's why Alaska has never been more critical to U.S. security interests. "Alaska should be the head, not the tail, to the energy solution," Palin told IBD last month. Alaska contains some 18.5% of America's proven oil reserves, but is only our No. 2 state supplier. With 31 billion barrels in official reserves, it ought to be No. 1. Alaska alone could supply the U.S. with energy for seven years.

Palin told IBD that Alaska is the biggest reason for McCain's interest in her leadership. "I think any kind of elevation of (my) national profile is for Alaska itself. People are looking up here (and saying) we need you as leaders for energy policy," Palin said.

No one has fought to bring Alaska front and center like Palin. She's warned the U.S. that Alaska's North Slope reserves peaked in 1988 and has called on Congress to remove restrictions on new drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, where 16 billion barrels of oil sit untapped. Palin knows that Alaska's 700-mile Trans-Alaska oil pipeline now flows at just one-third capacity due to Congress' refusal to lift the moratorium on new drilling.

Palin's also given Congress something it can do now - remove restrictions on drilling for 30 billion barrels in the Chukchi Sea and all the natural gas of Beaufort Sea in Alaska's offshore. As governor, she's already gotten the environmental impact work out of the way so shipments to the Lower 48 can start in as little as a year or two. "Congress can do that for us right now," she told IBD.

Palin knows energy. She's already figured out how to deliver energy to the U.S. without Congress - by championing state legislation to create a 1,712-mile natural gas pipeline across Canada to the U.S. It was a major feat, negotiating with the Canadian government, educating lawmakers and getting the public behind her. In a decade, the $30 billion project will ship 4.5 million cubic feet of gas a day from the North Slope to Houston's air conditioners, Iowa's farm machines and Boston's winter furnaces.

There's little doubt this is the kind of leadership the U.S. needs. Not only will getting serious about Alaska help the economy, it will also help our allies in Europe and the Far East whose economies are severely battered by high energy prices and who are seeing some of the most direct threats from the petrotyrants. John McCain's pick of Palin shows he's serious about energy - and about securing America's future. Congress mustn't ignore Alaska any longer. Petrotyranny is moving beyond economics and becoming a national security issue. Alaska is a big part of the answer.



When it comes to environmental concerns, more Americans are starting to think less about global warming and more about energy, according to a recent survey. The survey on environmental attitudes shows that 58 percent of Americans believe the environment is headed in the wrong direction.

Global warming has been a top environmental issue for many since the release of Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth." However, with a lagging economy, many Americans priorities have shifted towards pushing energy issues to the forefront, the survey showed.

Scott Siff of Penn Schoen and Berland, the company that conducts the survey on Green trends each year, said that since the energy crisis has hit Americans in the wallet, it is also affecting their point of view. According to Siff, Americans are also shifting the blame for environmental woes. Siff said many used to blame private industry but more now blame the government.

The survey, which polls about 1,500 people nationwide, said more Americans have also changed their behaviors in response to the environment, with more people going green and women leading the way.

The survey found that women are drawn to certain kinds of eco-friendly products, such as organic hygiene products. The Organic Trade Association estimates that organic products will surpass $25 billion in sales this year, which is a 20 percent increase from last year. Experts said that while organic and green products cost a bit more, people are willing to spend the extra cash.


A bonanza in Wales

VAST swathes of the South Wales coalfields could be at the centre of a multi-billion-pound gas industry, according to a global energy firm hoping to extract a valuable energy source. Australian-based company Eden Energy has announced that the coalfield beneath Bridgend, Pencoed, the Llynfi Valley and parts of Port Talbot is saturated with valuable methane. While methane was once the miner's deadliest enemy, causing devastating underground blasts, it could now be at the centre of a major energy supply business.

The clean coal technology firm yesterday made the first resource estimate from drilling for coal seam methane. And the results have been astonishing. Perth-based Eden says the prospective recoverable resource from just one of its drilling areas - Port Talbot - could provide heat to every home in a town the size of Maesteg for the next 670 years.

Eden has a joint arrangement with Pyle-based Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, run by Welsh businessman and energy expert Gerwyn Williams, to drill not only in Port Talbot but also in an area stretching to the Llynfi Valley above Maesteg to the north and Pencoed to the east.

Eden says the prospective recoverable methane in its Port Talbot area alone could raise 380 to 670 petajoules of methane energy. One petajoule is equivalent to a million gigajoules and the average, well insulated home can be heated using 50 gigajoules a year. At today's inflated gas prices, the value of the methane field in South Wales could run into hundreds of billions of pounds.

Eden Energy's executive chairman Greg Solomon said yesterday: "This initial estimate confirms what we have always suspected, that we are sitting on a major resource of coal seam methane at a time when prices for this commodity have never been so high.

More here

Australia: Leftist Federal government to support GM crops?

AUSTRALIA should accept that genetically modified crops will be crucial to meet the world food crisis, federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke says. State governments have imposed bans on most GM food crops, with the exception of canola in NSW and Victoria. Scientists and environmentalists are concerned that GM crops are difficult to contain and the long-term health effects are unknown.

Mr Burke, addressing an agriculture science conference in Canberra, said GM food crops would be necessary to address global food shortages. "I don't believe we should be turning our back on any part of science, including what I believe is an inevitable situation over time, that there will be growing acceptance of genetically modified crops," Mr Burke said. "This is not a time where I believe the world will avoid the inevitable, and that is that genetically modified crops will find themselves as one piece of the jigsaw in meeting the challenges of food production."

Mr Burke said climate change and growing input costs for producers had led to the demand for food outstripping supply. He said the food crisis was global and all governments have a responsibility to come up with new ways to tackle the issue. "All these issues come together in one simple concept - around the world it is becoming harder for families to feed themselves," he said. "It comes down to families around the table, either in wealthy nations where the shopping bill is higher than it used to be, or families in poorer nations sitting around a table where there is just not enough food to feed the people sitting around it. "The nature of this being a global crisis means new policy responses."

Mr Burke said biofuels had resulted in a reduction of staple crops being harvested for food, but it alone could not be blamed for the food crisis. "The public commentary on world food shortage has disproportionately looked to focus on biofuels as though biofuels are the be-all and end-all of the problem. "It would be a mistake for anyone to think that a reversal of those biofuels policies will get us out of the challenge that we face with global food shortages, because they won't."

Mr Burke said as oil prices continue to rise, markets would be looking towards biofuels. "That means we have the responsibility to try to drive research and development in biofuels away from initial staple food crops."

Mr Burke made the comments during his address to the ATSE Crawford Fund conference in Canberra. The annual conference brings together scientists, economists, policymakers and politicians to discuss the agriculture sector in Australia and abroad.


Unusual snow in New Zealand

Mt Taranaki has its thickest coating of snow in more than 25 years, says alpine guide Ian McAlpine. "There is heaps of snow up there. Bluffs that are usually visible are well under snow," Mr McAlpine said. At the weekend the summit was beautiful, with a cover of ice boulders caused by high winds. "Later in the year, when summer arrives people will need to take caution," Mr McAlpine said. "Conditions can change quickly if we get warm rain."

Things are looking good on the lower mountain, too. The Manganui skifield has exceeded last year's dismal three-day season, by clocking in 22 days on the bottom tow and more than 30 on the top. The skifield's area manager Todd Cations-Velvin says they have had a fantastic season. "Even though the weather hasn't been that good, we have still managed to get in some good days up the skifield," Mr Cations-Velvin said. "We are well ahead and people are taking advantage of the great conditions and snow coverage," he said. The season will last well into October.


Warmism and basic science

Every scientist, every science teacher, and possibly every gardener in the world knows that applying the terms `greenhouse effect' and `greenhouse gases' to the atmosphere, and to climate, is the most basic bunkum. Why then do we continue to propagate these two terms which are scientifically wrong and so misleading? Or, for some, does their propaganda value make the science irrelevant? It is no wonder that a physics teacher whom I met recently at one of our top schools was in despair: "How can we teach the kids real science if such nonsense is allowed into the curriculum?"

Wot No Convection!

So, back to basics. The atmosphere does not work like a garden greenhouse. In the simplest of terms, a greenhouse functions because the in-coming solar radiation - the sun - warms the soil, the tables, the plants, and the pathways inside it, which then, in turn, warm the air trapped within the closed greenhouse environment [remember that there is very little direct solar heating of the air]. The air then continues to remain warm because it is trapped within the closed greenhouse so that the heat cannot be lost through the process of convection, unlike in the air outside the greenhouse and in the atmosphere, where free convection is uninhibited. If you want to test this, or to cool your greenhouse, you must open the door, or, preferably, a window or two in the greenhouse roof, to permit convection to occur. Greenhouses work, first and foremost, because they prevent the normal processes of convection, not because of radiative forcing, precisely the opposite of what happens in the open atmosphere.

Our Radiative-Convective Atmosphere

Thus, the down-to-earth greenhouse effect does not, and can not, apply to the atmosphere, which experiences free convection. Indeed, so true is this fact that any complex model relating to climate must take it into account, so that we are not even dealing with a purely radiative effect, but with a much more complex, and still very little understood, set of radiative-convective effects. In essence, the `opacity' of the atmosphere to outgoing infrared radiation determines the height from which most photons will be emitted into space. The more `opaque' the atmosphere, the more the escaping photons will be emitted from higher in the atmosphere, and, because the emission of infrared radiation is a function of temperature, it is the temperature of the atmosphere, at this emission level, that will be determined by the requirement for the emitted flux to balance the absorbed solar flux.

We must further take into account the standard fact that the temperature of the atmosphere decreases with height at a rate of c. 6.5 øC per kilometer (on average), until the Stratosphere is attained (between 8 - 16 km above the surface) [we can assume for this purpose that the lapse rate is fixed by non-radiative energy fluxes]. If we then determine the temperature (and height) at the emission level of the infrared flux escaping into space, the surface temperature can be computed by increasing temperature at the rate of 6.5 øC per kilometer - the above-mentioned environmental lapse rate, reversed - until one reaches the surface. Thus, the more `opaque' the atmosphere, the higher will be the emission level of the escaping infrared radiation, and, consequently, the warmer the surface, since the lapse rate will occupy a longer distance in the vertical.

But, all this is going much farther than I need. The point is ever so simple. The atmosphere - carbon dioxide, methane, whatever - does not function like a greenhouse in our gardens. I must thus return to my initial question: "Why do we continue to propagate the nonsense of the `greenhouse' analogy?" Unfortunately, I think we know the answer all too well.

But, more worryingly, if such fundamental scientific bunkum is allowed to flourish in science itself, in public reports, and in the media, surely we must begin to wonder what other rubbish is being tolerated and employed for propaganda purposes? What else is being `trapped' by the emissions of bad science? This is a Green gobbledygook too far.



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


Tuesday, September 02, 2008


The blasphemy laws are dead and buried in Britain. Courtesy of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which passed into law on 8 July 2008, it is no longer a common law offence to speak or publish any contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous words relating to God, Jesus Christ or the Bible. Thank Christ (or whoever) for that.

Yet just as religious blasphemy collapses under the weight of satirical operas featuring Jesus Christ in a nappy and shelf-hogging books about why God is dead, or a bastard, or both, so a new form of scientific blasphemy is emerging to take its place.

You can say what you like about Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but say anything reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous about a climate change scientist and you will be punished. You won't receive a literal lashing, but you will get a metaphorical one. Speak ill of a climate expert and you're likely to be stuck in the stocks of the public media and branded as a fact-denying, truth-distorting threat to public morals.

Increasingly in the climate change debate, no dissent can be brooked. I mean none. That is why, from the thousands and thousands of hours of TV programming devoted to climate change issues last year - from news reports on the threat of global warming to the lifestyle makeover shows imploring us to Go Green - only one has been singled out for censure. The one that questioned whether climate change is occurring. The Great Global Warming Swindle by maverick filmmaker Martin Durkin.

Today, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) has published a lengthy document censuring Channel 4 for showing Durkin's film on 8 March 2007. Yet what is striking about Ofcom's ruling is that it slaps Channel 4's wrists, not for any inaccuracies in Durkin's film (of which, it is claimed, there are many), but for its `unfair treatment' of climate change experts.

Ofcom rejected complaints that Durkin's film was factually inaccurate on the basis that it did not `materially mislead the audience so as to cause harm or offence' (1). Yet it upheld or partly upheld complaints by Sir David King (Britain's former chief scientific adviser), Professor Carl Wunsch (of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all of whom say they were treated unfairly by the film.

Yet, as far as I can tell, King, Wunsch and the IPCC - an extremely powerful body which, come on, is surely robust enough to deal with one TV documentary having a pop at it - were simply submitted to the rough-and-tumble of testy journalistic debate.

Part of King's complaint is that during a lively interview in The Great Global Warming Swindle one of its contributors, Professor Frederick Singer, said we had now reached the mad situation where: `[T]he chief scientist of the UK [is] telling people that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the earth will be the Antarctic. And humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic.'

King says he didn't say that. Well, not in so many words. What he actually said during a testimony to a House of Commons Select Committee in 2004 was this: `Fifty-five million years ago was a time when there was no ice on the earth; the Antarctic was the most habitable place for mammals, because it was the coolest place, and the rest of the earth was rather inhabitable because it was so hot. It is estimated that it [the carbon dioxide level] was roughly 1,000 parts per million then, and the important thing is that if we carry on business as usual we will hit 1,000 parts per million around the end of the century.'

In short? If we keep on driving, flying, building and consuming then the earth in 90 years' time will resemble the earth 55 million years ago - when the Antarctic was `the most habitable place for mammals'. Okay, King didn't say the Antarctic would become the `only habitable' place for humans but he did very strongly imply it would become the `most habitable' place.

And in a speech to the Climate Group in April 2004, he reportedly went a step farther. The Independent on Sunday of 2 May 2004 reported: `Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the government's chief scientist Sir David King said last week.' King never complained about that report.

As for the second sentence in Frederick Singer's contested interview - where he said `And humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic' - this actually refers to a statement by James Lovelock, who said in 2006: `Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.'

Channel 4 says that, given that David King is on record as saying Antarctica could be the `only habitable place on earth' and `the rest of the globe could not sustain human life', it was not unreasonable to deduce that he, like Lovelock, was of the view that humanity could only survive if it started breeding in the Antarctic. Maybe. Maybe not. That point is up for debate. But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that in Durkin's film, King was simply paraphrased - and, yes, ridiculed - as part of a provocative, polemical interview. That kind of thing happens all the time.

Professor Wunsch complained that he was not told beforehand that the film was a polemic against global warming theories. That is unfortunate, but again it is quite common in journalism. Reporters frequently do not divulge their entire motivation when setting up interviews, because they know that if they did some interviewees would tell them to get stuffed.

Part of the IPCC's complaint is that one of the film's interviewees - Professor Philip Stott - said: `The IPCC, like any UN body, is political. The final conclusions are politically driven.' I'm sorry, but that is simply legitimate political criticism, whether the IPCC likes it or not. Why is a UN body, which is staffed by hundreds of people and funded by millions of pounds and which has access to thousands of normally compliant journalists, complaining to Ofcom about a 90-minute documentary shown on Channel 4? What is it saying exactly? That no one may criticise it, ever?

Of course it is very serious when journalists wilfully or maliciously misrepresent people's views, and when they do they should be reprimanded. Yet paraphrasing, mocking, criticising and not giving the entire reason for your investigations. if all of these journalistic tactics were censured every time they occurred, there would be no TV reporting left. Certainly there would be no documentaries worth watching.

The Ofcom report sends a clear message: climate experts are off limits. You can get your facts wrong; you can even use questionable graphs - but you must not be `unfair' to The Experts. It is striking how similar the new Climate Blasphemy is to the old religious blasphemy. It, too, is based on protecting named individuals from `scurrilous' or `hurtful' words. Those who commit Climate Blasphemy are said to have been duped or had their palms greased by wicked oil companies - the contemporary equivalent of saying they are possessed by the devil. And their utterances are said to threaten the survival of mankind - by giving people a green light to continue acting in an eco-irresponsible fashion - just as the old blasphemers were accused of jeopardising the saving of mankind with their warped, wicked words.

You don't have to endorse Durkin's film, or the `alternative' climate-change theories that he and others have put forward (I, for one, do not), to be concerned about the censuring of anyone who challenges any part of the politics or science of climate change today. Rather, this is about upholding openness, scepticism and the right to question everything, in the world of journalism and in the world of science.

Given today's blasphemous atmosphere, it is not surprising that serious voices are now calling for a law of blasphemy on environmental matters. Earlier this year in Philosophy Now, Paul Keeling said it might be time to restrict the `mockery of nature', by which he means `an insincere, disrespectful or trivialising portrayal of nature'. Such mockery `implicitly excuse[s] and perpetuate[s] our abuse of the natural world', he said, and by reining it in we could get rid of car adverts and holiday adverts and presumably pesky TV documentaries, too.

We've only just been liberated, far too late, from England's archaic laws of religious blasphemy. Let us not submit so easily to the informal laws of Climate Blasphemy emerging all around us.



The world's most feckless deliberative body, the New York City Council, is poised to pass an ordinance prohibiting large retailers from running in-store air-conditioning with their doors open - ostensibly to cut down on the city's "carbon footprint."

What's up with those losers, anyway? It's no idle question. Telling New Yorkers how to run their lives is just about the only thing council members seem interested in doing these days (at least when they're not busy trading taxpayer-funded pork projects for political chits). So it'd be of great interest whether they might fulfill the same carbon-cutting agenda simply by shutting their mouths once in a while.

That's unlikely, to put it mildly. Indeed, the sad fact is that Gotham's nannies-in-chief are already miles beyond parody. Just consider a measure recently introduced by Brooklyn's Domenic Recchia taking aim at what's apparently New York's next great health menace: Grapes. And peanuts.

No joke: Recchia's bill, if passed, would slap up to a $250 fine on merchants who fail to warn customers that certain products are a choking hazard for children under the age of 5. Which is about as close to a literal infantilization of ordinary New Yorkers as one's likely to see. Not to mention, an embarrassment to the city.

Ultimately, it reflects quite poorly on Council Speaker (and all-but-announced mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn. One wonders: If this is the kind of nonsense Quinn permits from the council, what are New Yorkers to expect if she ever gets to Gracie Mansion?



While Nordhaus's prescription may indeed be the most "optimal economic approach" to slow global warming, it isn't the optimal approach to addressing global warming. This is because it ignores adaptation. Some adaptations may reduce climate change damages more efficiently than mitigation... emission reductions that seem to be optimal [under Nordhaus's strategy] in the absence of adaptation may, once adaptation is thrown into the mix, no longer be optimal.

The Nordhaus analysis probably overestimates climate change damages. Nordhaus acknowledges to having "relatively little confidence in our projections beyond 2050" yet he stretches his analysis to 2200. Sometimes such long-range analyses are justified on the grounds that that's the best that can be done. But even if that's so, it misses the real issue, namely, whether even the best available analysis is good enough for making trillion-dollar decisions which, moreover, extend out centuries hence. At these temporal distances, Nostradamus may be just as credible as Nordhaus, or Nicholas Stern, for that matter. Believing such analyses demands, in Coleridge's words, "willing suspension of disbelief." Instead of suspending disbelief and succumbing to gullibility, I would recommend a somewhat different approach.

More here

Small is not beautiful

A new report on the `way forward for agriculture' has been used to justify dragging farming backwards - to the detriment of the poor.

A report published last week by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) has been cited as evidence that industrialised food production is screwing up the planet and impoverishing much of the world. Commentators and reporters have leapt upon the report to argue that the answer to the world's food problems is to have more small-scale production in the developing world and to reject many of the trappings of modern agriculture, including genetically modified (GM) crops. Is this really true? Or is this simply a case of environmental and development campaigners looking to impose their ideas on the Third World.

According to its website, the IAASTD is an `intergovernmental process with multi-stakeholder bureau comprised of 30 representatives from government and 30 from civil society', and it is based on `multiple international agency co-sponsorship (FAO, GEF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, World Bank, and WHO)'. Earlier this month, delegates met for a week in Johannesburg to put the finishing touches to the `synthesis report' of the project. And like many international reports these days, it is borderline unintelligible.

For example, consider the following extract from its `Statement from Governments', which opens the executive summary and is reminiscent of the worst verbal mangling of the People's Front of Judea in Monty Python's Life of Brian: `This Assessment is a constructive initiative and important contribution that all governments need to take forward to ensure that agricultural knowledge, science and technology fulfils its potential to meet the development and sustainability goals of the reduction of hunger and poverty, the improvement of rural livelihoods and human health, and facilitating equitable, socially, environmentally and economically sustainable development.'

A more comprehensible summation of the report was provided by IAASTD director, Bob Watson, at the launch in London last week: `We tried to assess the implications of agricultural knowledge, science and technology both past, present and future on a series of very critical issues. These issues are hunger and poverty; rural livelihoods; nutrition and human health. The key point is how do we address these issues in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable?'

Watson is right to point out that our current system of food production is failing to meet the needs of many people. `The price of food, in real terms, has gone down', he said. `Even today, many food commodities are comparable to the early 1990s; so what's the problem? Well, we still have over 800million people going to bed hungry every night. There have been some successes but if we look at it on a region-by-region basis, there have been uneven results.' He also noted the ecological downsides to current methods of food production. `We have lost some of our environmental sustainability. There have been adverse effects in some parts of the world on soils, water, biodiversity; our agricultural systems have contributed to human-induced climate change and, in turn, human-induced climate change threatens agricultural productivity.'

Greenpeace, which was heavily involved in producing the IAASTD report, was clearly cock-a-hoop at the outcome, declaring that the report `recommends small-scale farmers and agro-ecological methods are the way forward if the current food crisis is to be solved and to meet the needs of local communities, declaring indigenous and local knowledge play as important a role as formal science. A significant departure from the destructive chemical-dependent, one-size-fits-all model of industrial agriculture.'

In fact, this kind of response is at odds with reality. The expansion of agricultural productivity has been most dramatic in the developed world, where the full benefits of mechanisation, economies of scale, chemical inputs and greater agricultural education have been experienced by many people. Local knowledge may be useful in tweaking general lessons to particular circumstances, but what is required, surely, is the spread of well-established scientific understanding to the poor, not a celebration of mysticism.

If anything, farmers in the Third World need more agricultural productivity and mechanisation, not less. The productivity of agriculture in the developed world has risen far faster than in the developing world. As one writer notes: `The ratio of the productivity of the most advanced capitalist segment of the world's agriculture to the poorest, which was around 10-to-one before 1940, is now approaching 2,000-to-one! That means that productivity has progressed much more unequally in the area of agriculture and food production than in any other area. Simultaneously this evolution has led to the reduction of the relative prices of food products (in relation to other industrial and service products) to one fifth of what they were 50 years ago.'

Nor is it at all clear that Big Agriculture in the developed world, which has an interest in being able to continue to produce food into the future, is particularly destructive. For example, high agricultural productivity in the developed world has tended to mean low prices, leading to the retirement of land from production altogether - there simply hasn't been the need to continue growing on it. Big, professional agricultural organisations can afford to think about soil quality and sustainability more than poor farmers who live hand-to-mouth. It is people living on the edge that have to get by, come what may; that may mean planting crops on land with declining fertility, cutting down trees for fuel and myriad other desperate measures just to survive.

In one respect, the IAASTD report is right. A major part of the solution to the world's food problems will come from raising productivity. It's just that an emphasis on small-scale, organic agriculture that rejects GM crops is unlikely to achieve that. Notably, the USA and China both refused to support the IAASTD's summary on biotechnology, saying that they `do not believe this entire section is balanced and comprehensive'. Syngenta, a leading biotech company, walked out on the process altogether. Deborah Keith, a Syngenta worker involved in the process, noted in New Scientist that `there was blatant disregard for the benefits of existing technologies, and for technology's potential to support agriculture's efforts to meet future crop needs. I think this was in part because the differences between various participants' perceptions about these technologies, and the scientific facts, were not maintained and highlighted. Sadly, social science seems to have taken the place of scientific analysis.'

On the other hand, even the most basic inputs can make a big difference. In Malawi, after a disastrous corn harvest in 2005, the government started providing subsidies for fertiliser. Combined with better rains, the country's output increased dramatically, allowing it to become an exporter and greatly reduce its dependence on aid - and all against the advice of major Western donors who have tried to encourage the country to grow cash crops for the world market instead without subsidies. Even if there were no wider reform of agricultural production, a more complete application of the best available technology would at least allow producers to make the most of what they have.

Indeed, a recognition of the failure to invest in agriculture is central to the World Bank's World Development Report 2008. World Bank president Robert Zoellick noted at the launch of the report that investment in agriculture in the developing world has borne little relation to the importance of the sector, mainly due to the policies of Western donors.

Technical fixes alone will not be enough to really transform the situation of agriculture in the developing world; the various regimes of subsidies and trade barriers, for example, hurt farmers and consumers in the developing world by effectively denying them access to major markets while allowing subsidised crops from the West to undermine local markets. But to reject the best available technology in favour of a romanticised view of farming - one that reflects the prejudices of Western NGOs far more than the interests of poor farmers - is even worse.


NASA Climate Alarmist Attacks NewsBusters' Sheppard

Last Saturday, one of the nation's leading climate alarmists -- a government employee with a history of attacking people that don't agree with his views on anthropogenic global warming -- wrote rather disparagingly about a somewhat satirical NewsBusters piece. Despite claiming he typically doesn't comment on things "written about climate change in the more excitable parts of [sic] web," NASA's Gavin Schmidt took time out of his busy Saturday schedule to respond to something he described as "probably the most boneheaded article that I have seen in ages."

Was this an effort by one of the founding members of RealClimate - the world's leading website specializing in climate change hysteria - to correct errors he felt existed in my article? Or, was this a predictable attack on a popular conservative blog that not only regularly exposes the one-sided nature of media reports about global warming, but also frequently brings attention to studies that go counter to RealClimate's, and maybe more importantly, Schmidt's views?

After all, to climate alarmists like Schmidt, media shouldn't be reporting the realist (nee "skeptical") side of this issue as was made perfectly clear by Nobel Laureate Al Gore during an interview with NBC's Meredith Vieira during the November 5, 2007, installment of the "Today" show:
[P]art of the challenge the news media has had in covering this [global warming] story is the old habit of taking the "on the one hand, on the other hand" approach. There are still people who believe that the earth is flat. But when you're reporting on a story like the one you're covering today, where you have people all around the world, you don't take, you don't search out, for someone who still believes the earth is flat and give them equal time.

Ironically, even though Schmidt probably thinks NewsBusters and its readers believe the earth is flat, he did indeed search me out, and wrote:
I occasionally marvel at the amount of nonsense that is written about climate change in the more excitable parts of [sic] web, and most of the time, I don't bother to comment. But in relation to the issue of aerosols, chemistry and climate, I read yesterday (h/t Atmoz) probably the most boneheaded article that I have seen in ages (and that's saying a lot).

Schmidt then attacked my piece by employing a well-known albeit dishonest debate tactic of putting words in your opponent's mouth: "they confuse aerosols with photochemical smog." Did I? Well, not really. Although the word "aerosol" does appear in the NewScientist article I cited about cleaner air being responsible for rising temperatures in Europe, Reuters didn't mention "photochemical" in the piece I referenced concerning global warming increasing smog levels.and neither did I. This, of course, is why it's customary to cite, by direct quotation, when challenging a supposed mistake in another's work. I guess Schmidt is unaware of such journalistic etiquette.

It is also expected that when you suggest someone has misinterpreted articles written by others, you refer to and link to the same articles the author in question did. Schmidt didn't do this either:
The hook for this piece of foolishness were two interesting articles published this week by Ruckstuhl and colleagues and a draft EPA report on the impacts of climate on air quality.

No, not really, for the links inside "Ruckstuhl and colleagues" and "the impacts of climate on air quality" go to the American Geophysical Union and the National Center for Environmental Assessment respectively, the websites that published the studies in question. My piece linked to neither. Nice sleight of hand, wouldn't you agree?

Regardless of what was likely an innocent faux pas on Schmidt's part, assuming I had written about the relationship between aerosols and photochemical smog, it appears his concerns put him at odds with his beloved Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which defined the former:
A collection of airborne solid or liquid particles, with a typical size between 0.01 and 10 mm and residing in the atmosphere for at least several hours. Aerosols may be of either natural or anthropogenic origin. Aerosols may influence climate in two ways: directly through scattering and absorbing radiation, and indirectly through acting as condensation nuclei for cloud formation or modifying the optical properties and lifetime of clouds.

Embedded inside Schmidt's "photochemical smog" was a link that included the following (readers should take note that it goes to Wikipedia! Don't you love it when "scientists" use that website as a resource? We'll have more on that later.):
This forms when sunlight hits various pollutants in the air and forms a mix of inimical chemicals that can be very dangerous. A photochemical smog is the chemical reaction of sunlight, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere, which leaves airborne particles (called particulate matter) and ground-level ozone.

Nitrogen oxides are released by nitrogen and oxygen in the air reacting together under high temperature such as in the exhaust of fossil fuel-burning engines in cars, trucks, coal power plants, and industrial manufacturing factories. VOCs are released from man-made sources such as gasoline, paints, solvents, pesticides, and biogenic sources, such as pine and citrus tree emissions.

It would be interesting to get Schmidt's opinion about whether or not the "various pollutants in the air" described by Wikipedia fit under the IPCC's definition of aerosols? If so, aren't aerosols, therefore, involved in photochemical smog?

Speaking of Wikipedia and its use by folks like Schmidt, Lawrence Solomon wrote on July 8 about how this website is used by climate alarmists to spread misinformation about global warming around the world:
Ever wonder how Al Gore, the United Nations, and company continue to get away with their claim of a "scientific consensus" confirming their doomsday view of global warming? Look no farther than Wikipedia for a stunning example of how the global-warming propaganda machine works.

Not surprisingly, RealClimate recommends Wikipedia as a resource "that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change." Nothing like indoctrinating folks by sending them to sources that almost completely and exclusively agree with your views, don't you think?

Moving forward, Schmidt was also displeased by the following in my piece:
The next error is to equate changes in temperatures in Europe to the globe. While it would be true that if global aerosol levels declined it would lead to increased global warming, aerosol trends in Asia are increasing strongly, even while those in the US and Europe are dropping. The net effect is possibly a slight drop, but the impact on global temperature is as yet unclear.

This represented either a lack of arithmetic acumen that is totally astounding for someone of Schmidt's stature, or another attempt to discredit NewsBusters by misrepresenting the truth: since global temperature is an average of data-points around the world, a temperature increase in Europe due to cleaner air DOES drive up the mean. Any suggestion to the contrary is totally devoid of logic.

Does that mean the average can't drop? Certainly not. But, it assures that such a declining average is still HIGHER than what it would be if that continent's numbers were not being positively skewed by cleaner air. Moving forward, along with irony and simple arithmetic calculations, it appears hypothetical questions also challenge Schmidt, for as part of my conclusion, I posed the following:
Wouldn't it be fascinating if such efforts [involved in complying with the Montreal Protocol] lead to cleaner air around the world which ended up warming the planet, and that additional warmth is now breaking down the very ozone we thought we could save?

Schmidt seemed to miss the importance of the question-mark in that suggestion:
Every part of this sentence is wrong. The Montreal Protocol had no impact on cleaning the air, it stopped the growth of CFCs which are powerful greenhouse gases (in addition to their role in depleting stratospheric ozone), therefore it slowed global warming, rather than increasing it, and we aren't trying to save ground-level ozone. Had any of this been true it would indeed have been fascinating.

"Had any of this been true it would indeed have been fascinating." And that, indeed, was the point - wouldn't it be fascinating if true, especially since it might be? For instance, since Schmidt loves Wikipedia as a scientific source, it defines the 1990 Clean Air Act as "a piece of United States environmental policy relating to the reduction of smog and air pollution."

Smog and air pollution. Taking this a step further, isn't it interesting that the Act directly discussed the Montreal Protocol, as well as ozone protection:

In June 1989 President Bush proposed sweeping revisions to the Clean Air Act. Building on Congressional proposals advanced during the 1980s, the President proposed legislation designed to curb three major threats to the nation's environment and to the health of millions of Americans: acid rain, urban air pollution, and toxic air emissions. The proposal also called for establishing a national permits program to make the law more workable, and an improved enforcement program to help ensure better compliance with the Act.

By large votes, both the House of Representatives (401-21) and the Senate (89-11) passed Clean Air bills that contained the major components of the President's proposals. Both bills also added provisions requiring the phaseout of ozone-depleting chemicals, roughly according to the schedule outlined in international negotiations (Revised Montreal Protocol). [...]

The most widespread and persistent urban pollution problem is ozone. The causes of this and the lesser problem of carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM-10) pollution in our urban areas are largely due to the diversity and number of urban air pollution sources. One component of urban smog - hydrocarbons - comes from automobile emissions, petroleum refineries, chemical plants, dry cleaners, gasoline stations, house painting and printing shops. Another key component - nitrogen oxides - comes from the combustion of fuel for transportation, utilities and industries.

Let's recap the history of this Act, shall we?

The Montreal Protocol went into effect January 1, 1989, with the first meeting in Helsinki, Finland, in May of that year. The following month, President George H. W. Bush proposed a new Clean Air Act, signed into law in 1990, which, along with addressing ozone depletion and meeting the requirements of this Protocol, allowed the EPA to establish limits on the quantity of any pollutant that can be present in the air anywhere in this nation.

As a result, as far as the U.S. is concerned, the program designed to comply with the Montreal Protocol did IN FACT result in cleaner air. I guess Schmidt hadn't heard about this; it makes one wonder how many other nations did the very same thing at the very same time thereby making my hypothetical question even more fascinating.

In the end, two articles were published last week -- by NewScientist and Reuters -- which provided an example of just how contradictory global warming information can be, and why the assertion "the debate is over" defies reason. Yet, folks like Schmidt want people to think there's actually a consensus concerning this matter.

It seems obvious from their behavior, and from this piece by Schmidt, that one way alarmists create the appearance of a consensus is by attacking anyone that doesn't agree with them.

Maybe it's because some of these folks demolished Schmidt and two of his fellow alarmists in a March 2007 debate in New York City. Representing the realists at that event was Richard Lindzen, who Schmidt attacked the very next month. In fact, attacking the opposition seems to be a prerequisite at RealClimate as Roger Pielke, Jr., wrote on January 14, 2005:

The site's focus has been exclusively on attacking those who invoke science as the basis for their opposition to action on climate change, folks such as George Will, Senator James Inhofe, Michael Crichton, McIntyre and McKitrick, Fox News, and Myron Ebell. Whether intended or not, the site has clearly aligned itself squarely with one political position on climate change.

I guess this puts me in good company. Yet, potentially more disturbing is the power RealClimate has within the mainstream media, as well as who appears to be funding and/or supporting this website. Press members love to cite RealClimate as the final word on global warming, and virtually always refer to it and its writers in nothing but glowing terms as this piece at Time.com demonstrates:
The Internet wasn't invented for RealClimate specifically, but it's hard to imagine a site more in line with the Web's original purpose: scientific communication. An assembly of climate researchers gives readers what's lacking virtually everywhere else - straightforward presentation of the physical evidence for global warming, discussed with patience, precision and rigor.

Yes, a straightforward presentation that gives readers only one side of this controversial issue, a fact that some believe is guided by those behind RealClimate. In a February 14, 2005, article about the debate concerning Michael Mann's "hockey stick" theory of global temperatures -- which alarmists like Gore and Schmidt base much of their hysteria on, and was thoroughly debunked by Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick - the Wall Street Journal reported:
On a Web site launched with the help of an environmental group (www.realclimate.org), [Mann] has sought to debunk the debunking, and counter what he calls a campaign by fossil-fuel interests to discredit his work.

The folks at RealClimate responded quickly to this accusation:
Readers of the Feb. 14th, 2005 Wall Street Journal may have gotten the impression that RealClimate is in some way affiliated with an environmental organisation. We wish to stress that although our domain is being hosted by Environmental Media Services, and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications, neither organization was in any way involved in the initial planning for RealClimate, and have never had any editorial or other control over content. Neither Fenton nor EMS has ever paid any contributor to RealClimate.org any money for any purpose at any time. Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research.

Maybe so, but ActivistCash.com wrote the following about EMS et al:
EMS is the communications arm of leftist public relations firm Fenton Communications. Based in Washington, in the same office suite as Fenton, EMS claims to be "providing journalists with the most current information on environmental issues." A more accurate assessment might be that it spoon-feeds the news media sensationalized stories, based on questionable science, and featuring activist "experts," all designed to promote and enrich David Fenton's paying clients, and build credibility for the nonprofit ones. It's a clever racket, and EMS & Fenton have been running it since 1994.

It's called "black marketing," and Environmental Media Services has become the principal reason Fenton Communications is so good at it. EMS lends an air of legitimacy to what might otherwise be dismissed (and rightly so) as fear-mongering from the lunatic fringe. In addition to pre-packaged "story ideas" for the mass media, EMS provides commentaries, briefing papers, and even a stable of experts, all carefully calculated to win points for paying clients. These "experts," though, are also part of the ruse. Over 70% of them earn their paychecks from current or past Fenton clients, all of which have a financial stake in seeing to it that the scare tactics prevail. It's a clever deception perpetrated on journalists who generally don't consider do-gooder environmentalists to be capable of such blatant and duplicitous "spin."

[W]hile Environmental Media Services was started, and is still run, by staffers of Fenton Communications, it was officially instituted as a "project" of the Tides Center in 1994. This gave Fenton some plausible deniability and initially shielded him from the suggestion that EMS was just a shill for his clients. It has also provided a ready-made funding mechanism for foundations, "progressive" companies, and other Fenton clients who don't want their contributions to EMS noted for the public record [Editor's note: despite the logistical roadblocks set up by Tides, our research still has been able to reverse-engineer several million dollars in foundation grants to EMS].

For those that have forgotten, Tides is the far-left organization Teresa Heinz-Kerry contributes millions of her former husband's fortune to. Making things more interesting, the founder of EMS, Arlie Schardt, has "moonlighted" as a project director for Tides:
Schardt's career connections have resulted in a collaboration that has made EMS much more influential than its small size would suggest. Schardt, moonlighting as a project director at the Tides Center, saw just a hair under $1 million directed from Tides to EMS in 1999.

Upping the ante, Schardt has ties to Al Gore and the environmental group Friends of the Earth which runs BushGreenwatch.org. This is significant, for the EMS employee that registered RealClimate's domain name, Betsy Ensley, "manages BushGreenwatch.org, a joint EMS-MoveOn.org public awareness website."

As for Fenton Communications, recent announcements at its website are sure to raise some eyebrows. For instance, "Fenton Communications Launches Green-Tech Division" from May 27:
Fenton Communications has been deeply involved in environmental issues since its founding in 1982. The firm publicized the first reports of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, helped environmental NGOs at the Kyoto Global Warming Summit, and worked with Vice-President Al Gore to publicize the issues.

Or how about "Ad Age: Fenton, MoveOn Form Democratic Advertising Network to Help Win 2008 Elections from May 6:
Fenton Communications and client MoveOn.org announced today that the still unnamed "network" would use mainstream advertising executives to help produce advertising to help change the playing field this year.

At the moment, the team has no clear candidate to support. So it will go after presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. Mr. Fenton said the first ads to come out of the group will be aimed at McCain, "telling the truth about John McCain and his policies, some about McCain's reputation and his turnabout on bunch of positions as he panders to the right."

While MoveOn isn't going to be the only group to use the team, MoveOn will get the first ads, which the team hopes to have ready within six weeks.

Add it all up, and although RealClimate's website is hosted and supported by an organization with ties to Al Gore, George Soros's MoveOn.org, Tides, Friends of the Earth, and Fenton Communications, I'm sure none of these entities has any involvement in its content or funding. If you believe that, you probably also think humans can control the temperature of the planet.



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


Monday, September 01, 2008


Unusually cool weather from North to South in Australia. See three current reports below. And Australia is a big slice of the earth's landmass. See map.

Up until a couple of years ago, even isolated episodes of hot weather were proclaimed as "proof" of global warming. Now, however, we have endless reports of unusually cold weather from all over the world but they are always attributed to "normal variation". Could it be clearer that we are dealing with Leftist politics rather than science?

Coldest South Australian August in 35 years

ADELAIDE has recorded its coldest August in more than 35 years. The city had an average temperature of 14.8C for the last month of winter. That compared with a usual average of 16.6C for August. Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Allan Beattie said the previous record for a cold August was in 1970 when the average temperature was 14.4C. But the coldest August was in 1951 when the average temperature was 14.1C.

Adelaide's winter this year also had a below-average temperature of 15.5C, compared with the usual average of 16C. Last month was also wetter than usual for August. Adelaide received 85mm of rain compared with an average of 66.5mm, the wettest August since 2005. However, winter as a whole received average rainfall of 222mm of rain.

Adelaide's coldest maximum temperature this winter was 11.1C on July 7, Mr Beattie said, while the coldest minimum temperature was 0.7C on July 28.


Sydney August was coldest in 64 years

SYDNEY'S global warming sceptics have a new bit of ammunition - the harbour city just experienced its coldest August in 64 years. But the skies are expected to clear in September, that is once the current rainy spell clears later this week. With official monthly figures released today, meteorologists say Sydney is likely to clock an average temperature of 12.7C, the lowest since World War II.

Some suburbs experienced their chilliest August on record including Canterbury, Homebush, Penrith, and Richmond - all which started keeping records 12 years ago, along with Bankstown, Parramatta and Prospect Dam, which began keeping records 37 years ago. "They broke minimum temperature records," Weatherzone meteorologist Matt Pearce said.

He said the extreme - by NSW standards - cold was caused by a "longways trough", a large system pushing west to east, over the state. "There's no real indication that September's going to be as cold as August was."


Brisbane records coldest August in eight years

THE weather experts have confirmed what Brisbane people suspected - the city has just shivered through its coldest August in at least eight years. It also was the driest since 2001, with Brisbane picking up just 16mm of rain, below the long-term norm of 35mm.

Brisbane recorded an average minimum of 9C and an average maximum of 22C, slightly down on the long-term normal temperature for the month of 23C, Weatherzone meteorologist Matt Pearce said. "This made it the coolest August in terms of daytime temperatures since records began at the site in 2000," he said. "In fact, on the 18th, the temperature struggled to just 17C - the coldest August day in three years."

August nights also were cool in Brisbane. Gladstone, Yeppoon, Emerald, Toowoomba and Rainbow Beach also set record August lows. Wetter and warmer conditions are expected for the first week of September, with rain and maximum temperatures of 19C to 21C forecast to Friday.


Has Autumn come early to Britain?

With purple blooms of heather on the hills, crops of berries in the hedgerows and huge numbers of fungi fruiting around the country, the British countryside looks to have entered Autumn a month earlier than normal

Botanists and phenologists are reporting that the recent unseasonably miserable summer weather has caused widespread disruption to the normal ebb and flow of Britain's flora and fauna. On the rolling moors of Scotland and Yorkshire, dramatic blooms of heather have come out far earlier than normal while wild berries, which are normally the harbingers of autumn, have appeared on bushes nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.

Fungi has also enjoyed a bumper year and has been spotted sprouting on lawns and meadows in huge numbers for this time of the season. Mosses and liverworts in woodlands, which are normally shrivelled and dry over the summer months, have also flourished in the wet and humid August this year.

Botanists have reported unusual behaviour from flowers such as wood cranesbill and wisteria which have flowered twice within a few months. They believe the unsettled conditions have tricked the plants into believing it is spring again.

David Knot, curator of outdoor collections at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, said: "We had an excellent spring and together with the wet and humid summer it has led to a really good growing year. "In the south east of Scotland the wet conditions seem to have caused the fungi to appear in quite large numbers and the heather on the hills is looking spectacular."

But the abnormal August weather has also caused concern for some of the country's best loved animals and birds. Moth numbers have been drastically low, with some wildlife centres reporting half the average number of the insects compared to the previous 20 years. The early berry season has also worried some wildlife experts who fear that the crops, which provide vital food for animals and birds in the lead up to the cold winter months, may disappear too early. Dave Leech, head of the nest record scheme at the British Trust for Ornithology, said: "If the berry crop is extended then it could be a very good year for birds that eat them, as it will help them survive the winter, but if is early and short then it could be tough. "This year has been a poor breeding year for many birds like robins and blackbirds."

At the Cumbria Wildlife Trust's garden in Plumgarth, staff have reported lush moss carpets beneath the trees while rowan trees in the region have produced displays of golden-orange berries due to the mild and wet summer. Peter Bullard, director of the trust, said: "The other strange thing is that quite a few early summer flowers are reflowering. Wood cranesbill usually flowers in early June in Cumbria, making the roadsides a beautiful pale purple. This August the wood cranesbills have started flowering again, as have the wisteria. It's like a second spring, without a winter."

Mushrooms and fungi have sprung up in fields and woods in huge numbers in many parts of the country. Fungi often remain dormant beneath the ground for years until they get wet enough conditions to fruit, but the wet and humid weather has been perfect. The Woodland Trust, which runs a project monitoring reports of the changing seasons, has already had five reports of the fly agaric fungus, which is normally seen in September and October. The project has also received 465 records of ripe autumn berries appearing on a range of plant species, with the first appearing in Portsmouth on 13 July. Last year the first report of a ripe autumn berry was on 19 August.

In southern England, leaves on some trees have also started to change colour, but Dr Kate Lewthwaite, manager of the Nature's Calendar Project at the Woodland Trust, said this was mainly due to poor sunlight levels through the past month. She said: "It is not yet cold enough for the leaves to start changing colour, although species like the horse chestnut have had a bad year with diseases like bleeding canker and leaf miner."

This August has been far wetter than average. The daytime temperatures have also been cooler than normal but the nights have been warmer. In England the maximum temperature this August has been more than a degree cooler than the average reading of 19.6C. But forecasters claim that far from facing an early start to autumn, Britain could expect to enjoy an Indian summer with warmer, sunnier conditions returning to the country through September.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "It has been a very wet and humid August, but it is well within the natural variance of a British summer. The start of September is looking considerably better and more settled so we can expect it to be warmer with more sunshine."


August skiing in Europe?

Warm temperatures on Europe's glaciers have led some summer ski resorts to close early, but the majority remain open and the leading snow-reporting service Skiinfo.com has snow depth details for all of them. The company tracks snow conditions several times daily, year round, at more than a thousand European ski resorts, including the dozen that are currently offering summer snow sports. Remarkably, ski areas in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland have all reported fresh snow falling at times over the past fortnight.

The Tux glacier in Austria was amongst those recording fresh snowfall in the past week, topping up snow depths on the glacier to 105cm. Although temperatures have been variable, reaching +9C degrees at the bottom of the glacier ski area and +4C at the top, the centre currently has 13km of piste open , served by the three giant Glacier Bus lifts, one chair and five drag lifts. The ski day starts at 8.15 in the morning with the ski area winding down by 1pm daily because of the heat. The action then moves to the Treffpunkt Panoramaterrasse restaurant which also has specials on between 11am and 1pm. The lifts back down run to 4.30pm so there's no need to hurry!

You can also ski on the Dachstein Glacier, which has two kilometers of piste on a 180cm base available although the terrain park is now closed until (hopefully) September. The Molltal glacier is currently running three lifts, serving nine kilometers of slopes. A fourth choice, Kaprun, has about 70cm of snow on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier and five runs open served by six lifts. Several more glacier ski areas in Austria are due to re-open in September, including the Kaunertal, Pitztal and Stubai areas...

The Matterhorn Ski Paradise in Switzerland, above Zermatt and also accessed from Cervinia in Italy, is Europe's highest ski area, one of the largest summer snow operators, and one of the few remaining year-round operators. Following recent snowfalls glacier snow depths are around 190cm with 10km of runs available served by six lifts. The resort is currently installing a pioneering new snowmaking system from Israel that can make snow in plus temperatures which the resort hopes will bridge a piste-gap that has grown at the base of the glacier where it has melted away, so skiers no longer need to walk to the lift station but can ski there as they could 20 years ago.

Norway's three summer ski destinations remain open. Galdhoppigen has two kilometers of skiing and a snow depth of 180cm, Folgefonn four kilometers of piste and a snow depth of 120cm and Stryn five kilometres and a 150cm base.

More here

North Pole to remain frozen

Another Warmist prediction fails

Santa can rest easy. It’s looking like the ice at the North Pole won’t melt to water next month, as had been feared. It would have been the first time in thousands of years that the most northerly place on the planet would have been ice-free.“It’s quite unlikely at this point,” Walt Meier a research scientist at the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center, said today.

The ice in the Arctic Ocean is at near historic lows, and breaks records every couple of years due to human-caused global warming, the scientists at NSIDC say. This spring, it was looking like the ice might retreat so far that the North Pole itself would be ice-free for at least a day in September – the height of the ice-melt season. The chances were great enough that the scientists at NSIDC were laying almost even odds on it in an office pool.

But while global warming is playing an important role, seasonal variability does, too. And this summer turned out to be a little cooler than last summer, when the record for ice retreat was set, Meier said. “We only have about two or three weeks more of ice melt, and it’s not going to make it to the North Pole,” Meier said.

The Arctic Ocean has two types of ice. One type is the seasonal ice that starts forming in late September, typically reaches 10 to 15 feet thick, and may or may not survive the summer’s heat. The second type is the perennial ice that lasts year after year -- at least it has until the last couple decades when so much of it has melted.

NSIDC scientists got interested in a possibly ice-free North Pole this year when they noticed that that perennial ice had retreated south of the North Pole. That left only the seasonal ice. But the season was cooler than expected, so the seasonal ice is holding. “We’re not going to set a record every year,” Meier said.

More here

Record low for climate science

By Patrick Michaels

Ever since Soviet and Western climate scientists published the first international compendium on global warming, back in 1985, we have known that scaring people to death is very good for the environmentalist business. Such documents appear once or twice a year under the aegis of sundry governmental and international agencies, such as the United States' Climate Change Science Program (CCSP)...

Having been a climate scientist for about as long as these documents have been around, I have had the opportunity to review and comment on many documents that do this - not that my comments are listened to very much. I found two changes in the thousands of pages of the last (2007) IPCC report - after I sent in a 30,000-word point-by-point review. I'll be lucky to get even that much attention after my equally long critique of a new CCSP report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The sum of my analysis: This is the worst document in this genre I have ever seen. By comparison, it makes the 1962 Mets (or, for that matter, 2008's Washington Nationals) paragons of professional excellence.

Virtually every sentence can be contested or simply ignores published science that disagrees with CCSP's preconceived message. In its own words: "Aggressive near-term actions would be required to alter the future path of human-induced warming... future generations will inherit the legacy of our decisions." If "future generations" and "legacy of our decisions" sound more to you like politics rather than science, you're correct. The CCSP report isn't a science document at all. Not unless global warming science is a virtually one-sided world where almost everything is bad and getting worse, and where a moderate response dishonors our progenitors.

Of course, this can't be. Global warming lengthens growing seasons. Carbon dioxide, the cause of (part of the) warming (dormant for 11 years now) clearly improves crop yields in a world where stupid global warming policies (like burning our food supply in cars) are increasing food scarcity. If they have the money, by and large, Americans move to a warmer climate. And so on - which is why the CCSP document and the delete key should become intimate friends.

How did such a remarkable distortion see the light day? The "product lead" is Tom Karl, who heads the Commerce Department's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. He is perhaps the most political and politically savvy climate scientist in U.S. history. When Al Gore was vice president, he would issue monthly briefings on the horrors of climate change. When Mr. Gore exaggerated some local flood, or claimed Florida would burn because of global warming, Mr. Karl stood by and remained mute. But now, with the prospect of an increasingly Democratic Senate, and a president who will go along with the madness of climatically futile policies (Barack Obama or John McCain on global warming? Pick em!), Mr. Karl and CCSP have picked up the scent.

From a policy viewpoint, it's even worse. The current administration has punted to the next president the question of what rules EPA should make about global warming. All the levers of political power - the presidency, Congress and the relevant agencies - are therefore all pointed in the same direction. All will cite the CCSP as their bible, and anyone who voices a more factual opinion will in fact be marginalized as insane.

Want more evidence as to the perfidy of the CCSP process? The senior editor is no climate scientist; it's Susan J. Hassol, who wrote the HBO global warming "documentary," "Too Hot Not to Handle." Laurie David, the force behind Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," was the executive producer. This isn't science, it's science fiction. The first illustration inside the front cover gives away the spin. It's a picture of people of as many races and sexes as possible holding hands. What that has to do with climate change science is a mystery, but it certainly reflects a political view.

The draft CCSP report knowingly uses Photoshopped imagery of a flood, uncritically publishes a misleading temperature history, which splices together two completely different sets of climate data, and generally assumes people are stupid.

There's a wonderful picture on Page 55 of two senior citizens, captioned: "The elderly are especially vulnerable to extreme heat." If that's true, then there must be massive and increasing numbers of heat-related fatalities in hot cities with old populations. In fact, Tampa and Phoenix have a disproportionately elderly population and very few heat-related deaths; statistically, Tampa has the fewest of any major U.S. city. It may shock the CCSP, but when heat waves become more frequent, people change their habits and localities adapt their infrastructure to better deal with the heat.

Trash the entire report. It's neither scientific nor logical. It's a political document. Send the product lead back to Asheville and the senior editor back to Hollywood. But of course, that won't happen. Instead, the CCSP report and its production team will be lionized. It will serve as the basis for the most onerous environmental legislation and regulations in U.S. history. And when historians look back at a nation made poorer by foolish policies (which themselves will have no effect on warming), they will wonder how climate science could have gone so far into the wilderness of politics.



The European Union's main tool against global warming could be altered to lighten the impact on heavy industry and reduce the chances of the EU tightening its CO2 reduction goals, a document seen by Reuters shows. As part of its drive to lead the world in fighting climate change, the 27-country EU has committed to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by one fifth by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. It is also considering increasing the cut to 30 percent if big countries such as China and the United States commit to their own reductions.

But members of the European Parliament's influential industry committee are mulling an amendment that would demand a full impact assessment before cutting beyond 20 percent. Any such move to extend cuts would also be subjected to full legislative scrutiny by the EU's member states and EU lawmakers before becoming law.

Industry committee members returning to work this week are also considering amendments to alter the EU's flagship Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) so it has less impact on energy-intensive industries such as steel. The ETS seeks to put a cap on EU emissions by making polluters pay for permits to emit carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for climate change. The power sector, which now gets most of its permits for free, will have to pay for all of them from 2013, under European Commission proposals.

The power sector passes on the extra cost of carbon emissions permits to consumers, but companies which operate in globally competitive markets such as the steel sector are less able to do that. EU steelmakers say the current plans could cost the sector more than 50 billion euros ($78 billion) between 2013 and 2020 and put thousands of jobs at risk. The European Commission is considering whether to allow steel and other energy-intensive industry to continue to get free permits from 2013. The steel industry is particularly worried changes would require steelmakers to buy CO2 emissions permits for electricity that it produces by recycling waste gas from blast furnaces.

But the industry committee's proposed changes would exempt "electricity produced either in connection with industrial heat or from residues from an industrial process including waste gases", the parliamentary document of "compromise amendments" shows. Steelmakers say the Commission's plan to make power generators buy 100 percent of their emissions allowances at auction from 2013 would particularly raise costs for the most environmentally efficient electric arc furnaces that produce steel from scrap.

But the proposed amendments would allow the Commission to "allocate additional allowances to these installations to take into account the effect of pass through of the cost of allowances in the electricity price."



Households are paying hundreds of pounds more in "green taxes" than is justified by the environmental cost of their carbon emissions, a new study claims today. The Taxpayers' Alliance has calculated that every household in the UK is paying as much as $1600 a year more in environmental taxes than is necessary. Its analysis claims the Treasury made $40 billion in "excess" revenue from environmental taxes last year - from supposedly "green" levies on motoring, energy bills and waste disposal.

The report is the latest attack on the Government's use of green taxes and will strengthen suspicions that ministers are using the environment as a cover for revenue-raising measures. The TPA said its figures showed ministers were "wrapping revenue-raising tax hikes in a green banner." However, the Treasury rejected the group's figures as misleading.

More here

An academic's duty is to truth, not trends

By Bjorn Lomborg

Gary Yohe says I am a global warming naysayer - but just because a political movement has clarity, doesn't mean it's smart

Gary Yohe claims that I misrepresent and deliberately distort his findings. Curiously, the only example he submits is one in which I quote him correctly. While debating with Oliver Tickell in these pages, I referred to Yohe's paper. I said that "global warming will continue to be a net benefit until about 2070". Yohe finds that this is a "deliberate distortion of our conclusions". However, the paper he prepared for Copenhagen Consensus 2008 indeed shows that until about 2070, the net effect of climate change on global GDP is positive (see Figure 4.1, p25). It is - according to Yohe's own estimates - not until after 2070 that the net impact of climate change becomes negative. It is surprising that Yohe takes issue with my repetition of his own findings.

Yohe goes on to say that I distort his message because the distribution of the benefit is not equally felt. High latitude (often rich) countries will gain disproportionately, whereas low latitude (often poor) nations will gain less or lose. This is a point I have made countless times - but was not the debate in which I engaged Tickell. To claim that I am deliberately misrepresenting a statement by reproducing Yohe's own figure is simply wrong. To claim that whenever one talks about one climate change issue (net benefits) one must also talk about another (distribution of benefits) seems feebly engineered to allow complete control over any climate debate.

In the article that Yohe takes issue with, I described the goals and outcome of the Copenhagen Consensus 2008. The project clearly demonstrates that there are many ways to help the poor much better than by addressing climate change through mitigation. (Instead of avoiding a couple of thousand extra malaria deaths in a century through expensive CO2 cuts, maybe we should avoid a million malaria deaths now through low-cost health policies.)

I wrote that "the best climate solution from the top economists from the Copenhagen Consensus" shows that "we should focus on investing in finding cheaper low-carbon energy". Yohe claims that this misrepresents his findings. It does not, because in this instance I am not referring to his work. Let me explain.

Copenhagen Consensus is an effort to rank solutions between different major world problems, to identify the investments that would do the most good for the planet. Charles Krauthammer from the Washington Post has called it a "thought Olympics" because it makes academics from a lot of different fields compete to identify the best use of the world's scarce resources. We ask not only smart climate economists like Yohe to present their recommendations on climate, but also smart health economists to submit the smartest investments that could be made to tackle major world health issues. Eight of the world's best economists, including five Nobel Laureates, listened to all these recommendations and ranked the best investments for humanity. Unsurprisingly, the climate specialists would like to see their proposals ranked first, as would the health economists and everyone else. As in the real Olympics, not only is there a winner at the top of the podium, but there are also proposals that come in last. The proposals from Yohe came in at the bottom two places.

However, Professor Chris Green of McGill University showed that focusing much more on energy R&D, followed by eventual CO2 cuts, had a dramatically higher benefit for mankind - the estimate was three to four times better than Yohe's estimates for his solutions. This recommendation was ranked much more promising (at place 14 though by no means highest) by the Copenhagen Consensus panel. And this was the solution I was referring to.

Yohe claims that I say reducing CO2 emissions is a waste of resources. I have repeatedly gone on record arguing for a small reduction in emissions - it is a large reduction that I believe is a waste. And this is exactly what came out of Yohe's own analysis, showing that for each dollar spent on a simple reduction in carbon emissions, we would achieve about 90 cents worth of benefits.

After accusing me incorrectly of misquoting him, Yohe claims that I dismiss efforts to craft a global carbon cap as "constant outbidding by frantic campaigners". As Yohe should be aware, this quote refers to a debate with campaigners like Tickell who argue that a 4 degrees temperature rise would mean sea level rises of 70 metres and the extinction of the human race. Yohe, to his credit, makes no such claims, as he also follows the IPCC findings.

Yohe finally states sweepingly that there is now general agreement that we need a comprehensive solution to global warming, ostensibly involving immediate cuts in CO2. He laments that I am apparently a naysayer, who is confusing this "momentum and clarity". Of course, there have been many political movements in history with substantial momentum and clarity, and it doesn't mean they were all smart. It is an academic's duty not to be swept up in the tide but to state the evidence



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


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