Tracking the politics of fear....  

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

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

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31 December, 2008

The Church of the Environment puts its money where its mouth is

Did someone mention the name "Madoff"? I am going to enjoy seeing the outcome of this. "A fool and his money are soon parted"

The Church of England's Church Commissioners have gone green, investing 150 million pounds with former US Vice-President Al Gore's environmentally minded investment firm, Generation Investment Management.

On Nov 18 the First Church Estates Commissioner, Andreas Whittam Smith reported that in late September the Commissioners had placed the funds with Gore's boutique management firm which follows an "environmentally sustainable global equities mandate." Funding for the investment came from "cash and Treasury bills", he said, and not from the sale of UK equities as initially planned.

In Oct 2007 Mr Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in raising awareness of the potential threats from climate change. Generation Investment Management was founded in 2004 by Mr Gore and David Blood, former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and had almost œ5 billion under management before the market collapse. The firm invests in companies that follow "socially responsible" business model such as insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk, Swiss food conglomerate Nestl‚, and San Francisco's New Resource Bank --- a "green" lender in the US.

Speaking at a press conference last March in Geneva, Mr Gore said private industry should take the lead in creating environmentally friendly market capitalism noting that "more money is allocated by markets around the world in one hour than by all the governments on the planet in a full year." "The principles and ways and values that have an impact on the way markets allocate resources can have an enormous effect" in tackling climate change, he said.

Institutional investors in his fund are "more attracted to the strategy we follow are managing long-term assets toward long-term goals." "Those looking for a quick hit in the market place, to skim the cream and go somewhere else, those are not the investors attracted to this strategy," Mr Gore said, according to wire service reports.


Record cold in Europe

Skiers are declaring snow conditions in Europe the best for a generation. Despite the strength of the euro, British bargain hunters are heading to the snow-covered mountains of Europe to enjoy the best start to a skiing season for more than 20 years. Record snowfalls and an oversupply of accommodation caused by the credit crunch have prompted a last-minute rush to snap up savings worth hundreds of pounds., the largest ski holiday retailer in Britain, is offering luxury chalet holidays with discounts of up to 360 pounds per person. It also has budget family deals for as little as 229 a head. Simone Clark, the company's sales and marketing director, said: "We have been bombarded by people looking for last-minute trips. They're not necessarily looking for really cheap, but good value. It is driven by the conditions. Two seasons ago, when the snow was poor, we had holidays for 99 pounds and no one wanted them."

Skiers say that these are the best European conditions for a generation, with the deepest snow to be found in the Swiss resorts of Saas-Fee and Andermatt, where the base is more than 3m (11ft) thick.

Graeme Spratley, publisher of Snow magazine, said: "I have friends in Sauze d'Oulx in Italy who say it usually looks like Basingstoke in December but this year it's thick with snow. If you've got the money, it's a great year. There is no shortage of bargains."

The "deal of the day" yesterday with Inghams, the largest independent ski tour operator, was seven nights in late February in Borovets, Bulgaria, for œ199 per person including half-board. Lynsey Devon, the company's public relations manager, said: "It's one of the best-value seasons you're ever going to see because the snow is phenomenal everywhere. On Boxing Day, the phones just went nuts. People thought, "Things are not as bad as we thought, we still have jobs, so let's see what's out there.'"


Record cold in Britain

Millions of people are expected to brave sub-zero temperatures tonight to welcome in 2009, in what is forecast to be the coldest New Year's Eve since the mid-1990s. The credit crunch will cast a further chill over celebrations, with tickets being offered at discounted prices in many venues yesterday as promoters struggled to fill events. More than a third of Britons will shun bars and clubs and stay at home to save money, a YouGov survey has found.

The Met Office warned those who do venture outside to wrap up well in readiness for a return to the deep freeze of a few weeks ago, during the coldest start to December for more than a decade. Temperatures could drop to minus 6C (21F) in parts of Scotland and minus 4C (25F) in England. "Many parts will be below zero and very frosty. It's a big contrast to the milder weather we've had in the past five years or so," a Met Office spokesman said.

In London, up to half a million people are expected to gather beside the Thames for one of the world's biggest parties. Having approved a budget for the event of 1.6 million pounds, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, appears to have the same enthusiasm for fireworks as his predecessor, Ken Livingstone.

The cold outlook was good news for Edinburgh, where heavy rain has forced the cancellations of the Hogmanay celebrations in the past. With clear skies and little wind, the conditions were considered almost perfect. At least 100,000 people are expected to cram into the city centre for the street party. Organisers released extra passes yesterday after the first 50,000 sold out four days earlier than last year, despite doubling in cost from 5 to 10 pounds.


Spokane roofs collapsing under record snow

The weight of record snowfall has caused roofs to collapse in the Spokane area, while snow was blamed for at least one death. Portions of the roof at a church, a grocery store and a building supply company were among 19 collapses attributed to the wet, heavy snow, officials said.

The latest snowstorm that brought some 10 inches to the Spokane area this week was also blamed for the death of Venita Johnson, 85, of Rockford, about 15 miles southeast of Spokane, the Spokane County sheriff's office said. She suffocated over the weekend when snow apparently fell from her rooftop and buried her as she shoveled her sidewalk, the sheriff's office said. A neighbor stopped by the victim's home Sunday and found the front door open. He checked the yard and found her body, deputies said.

More than 59 inches of snow has fallen in Spokane in December, a record for one month.

The Spokane Fire Department responded to several collapsed roofs, including one at a Rosauers grocery store on Monday that caused one minor injury. Roofs also partially collapsed Tuesday at Evergreen Building Supply and at Trinity Baptist Church. There were no injuries, officials said.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday forecast more hazardous weather for Eastern Washington. Snowfall ranging for 1 to 3 inches was expected in the Wenatchee, Omak, Spokane and Pullman areas Tuesday evening. A major winter storm also was forecast to begin New Years' Day and last into Friday, followed by another storm Sunday, bringing moderate to heavy snow accumulations.

Elsewhere in Washington, a winter storm warning was posted for the Olympics and Cascades through Wednesday afternoon, with a strong weather system bringing 1 to 2 feet of new snow. Much of Western Washington, including Seattle and the Puget Sound area, can expect rain and gusty winds of up to 50 mph as the storm blows through.

As of Tuesday, the weather service said Spokane had received 59.7 inches of snow in December., breaking the one-month record of 56.9 inches set in January 1950. Snowfall records in the area have been kept since 1893.


Australia: Greenie laws create shark danger for swimmers

The number of man-eating sharks in Australian waters is growing, according to experts, who blame the surging numbers on a ban on killing the predators. Marine biologist Adam Smith said initial research and accounts from fishermen and divers pointed to a rise in the number of sharks in Australian waters. Dr Smith, who has created the Great Australian Shark Count to obtain firm data on numbers, said great white sharks were no longer allowed to be hunted and fishermen faced fines of about $20,000 and a possible jail sentence for breaking the law, The Australian reports. "They were once targeted as trophy fish by game fishermen, or caught by commercial fishermen because they were a nuisance," he said. Dr Smith said globally shark numbers were under threat, but Australian law protected them.

Shark researcher Terry Peake, who established the Shark Research Institute of Australia, agreed that the ban on killing great whites had helped their numbers. "Nobody is fishing for the great white, it has no human predators and commercial fisherman are telling us they're seeing an increase in numbers," he said. Mr Peake also warned that increasing contact between great whites and humans could occur as many of the shark's traditional food sources, including salmon species, are more aggressively fished. "For every one shark attack, there are reports of 20-50 close calls," he said.

The news came as a Western Australian couple reported a close encounter with a 5m shark in the same waters where a 51-year-old man was killed in a shark attack four days ago.


Below is the sort of thing Australians now have to put up with. I think it would chill the bones of most people:

A man has described how a giant shark eyeballed him and his wife while crabbing off the Port Kennedy beach where Brian Guest was killed on Saturday. The Warnbro pair was tending crab pots when the shark -- that they said was longer than their 4.5m boat -- swam alongside and rolled over before swimming off. The terrified couple immediately headed for shore and raised the alarm.

The sighting came just before 9.30am and authorities were quick to get people out of the water and clear the beach. Water police, sea rescue vessels and aircraft were sent to the area and the shark was spotted heading out to deep water.

Paul Vickery and his wife Lesley from Warnbro were fishing and drop-netting for crabs when the shark came out of the water. ``We were about 50m off the beach and pretty close to where the guy (Brian Guest) got taken the other day. ``We had burlied up and had the crab nets down in the water when he came up and had a look at us. ``It was just like Jaws except he had his mouth closed. ``The boat lurched when he rolled over and he either touched it or the displacement of water made us tip. ``It was pretty violent and gave us a bit of a scare. ``He seemed to be curious. I don't think he was going to attack but we weren't hanging around to see if he was coming back. ``It scared the 'bejesus' out of us. ``We got out of there as quickly as we could and a guy on the beach who saw it had already rung the police. ``When we were on the beach the shark started to feed in the shallows. ``We normally go snorkelling but in light of what happened we thought we'd take the boat out. ``My wife didn't even want to go and my name's mud now. She was crying on the beach afterwards.''

Fisheries boat tracks giant shark: ``They've noticed quite a large shark swim under their boat and . . . decided the best course of action was to head back,'' Fisheries regional manager Tony Cappelluti said. ``Our boat then immediately headed in that direction and picked up a shark, which was reported to be about three to four metres. ``They followed it but it went into the weed and disappeared . . . so they then proceeded back to shore to help these people back to the boat ramp. ``About half-way there they saw some swimmers in the water so they thought it prudent that the swimmers got out. ``So the couple (who) had originally seen the shark made their own way back to the boat ramp and our boat then rounded up any swimmers and told them to get out of the water.''



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


30 December, 2008

"Clouds" Spencer has a new site

Prof. Roy Spencer has many distinctions but an important one is that he is a leading researcher into the way clouds affect the earth's climate. Greenies generally seem to feel that they need no such knowledge. They just assume that they know what cloud effects to plug into their models. Spencer's research tends to indicate, however, that those assumptions are the reverse of the truth -- with the result that the models predict far more warming than is in fact likely. Prof. Spencer has set up a new site to help circulate knowledge of what really happens. It is here. But below is the general introduction from his new site:

'Global warming' refers to the global-average temperature increase that has been observed over the last one hundred years or more. But to many politicians and the public, the term carries the implication that mankind is responsible for that warming. This website describes evidence from my group's government-funded research that suggests global warming is mostly natural, and that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity's greenhouse gas emissions and aerosol pollution.

Believe it or not, very little research has ever been funded to search for natural mechanisms of has simply been assumed that global warming is manmade. This assumption is rather easy for scientists since we do not have enough accurate global data for a long enough period of time to see whether there are natural warming mechanisms at work.

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that the only way they can get their computerized climate models to produce the observed warming is with anthropogenic (human-caused) pollution. But they're not going to find something if they don't search for it. More than one scientist has asked me, "What else COULD it be?" Well, the answer to that takes a little digging... and as I show, one doesn't have to dig very far.

But first let's examine the basics of why so many scientists think global warming is manmade. Earth's atmosphere contains natural greenhouse gases (mostly water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane) which act to keep the lower layers of the atmosphere warmer that they otherwise would be without those gases. Greenhouse gases trap infrared radiation -- the radiant heat energy that the Earth naturally emits to outer space in response to solar heating. Mankind's burning of fossil fuels (mostly coal, petroleum, and natural gas) releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this is believed to be enhancing the Earth's natural greenhouse effect. As of 2008, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 40% to 45% higher than it was before the start of the industrial revolution in the 1800's.

It is interesting to note that, even though carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth to exist, there is precious little of it in Earth's atmosphere. As of 2008, only 39 out of every 100,000 molecules of air were CO2, and it will take mankind's CO2 emissions 5 more years to increase that number by 1, to 40.

The "Holy Grail": Climate Sensitivity: Figuring out how much past warming is due to mankind, and how much more we can expect in the future, depends upon something called "climate sensitivity". This is the temperature response of the Earth to a given amount of 'radiative forcing', of which there are two kinds: a change in either the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth, or in the infrared energy the Earth emits to outer space.

The 'consensus' of opinion is that the Earth's climate sensitivity is quite high, and so warming of about 0.25 deg. C to 0.5 deg. C (about 0.5 deg. F to 0.9 deg. F) every 10 years can be expected for as long as mankind continues to use fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. NASA's James Hansen claims that climate sensitivity is very high, and that we have already put too much extra CO2 in the atmosphere. Presumably this is why he and Al Gore are campaigning for a moratorium on the construction of any more coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

You would think that we'd know the Earth's 'climate sensitivity' by now, but it has been surprisingly difficult to determine. How atmospheric processes like clouds and precipitation systems respond to warming is critical, as they are either amplifying the warming, or reducing it. This website currently concentrates on the response of clouds to warming, an issue which I am now convinced the scientific community has totally misinterpreted when they have measured natural, year-to-year fluctuations in the climate system. As a result of that confusion, they have the mistaken belief that climate sensitivity is high, when in fact the satellite evidence suggests climate sensitivity is low.

The case for natural climate change: I also present an analysis of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which shows that most climate change might well be the result of....the climate system itself! Because small, chaotic fluctuations in atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems can cause small changes in global average cloudiness, this is all that is necessary to cause climate change. You don't need the sun, or any other 'external' influence (although these are also possible...but for now I'll let others work on that). It is simply what the climate system does. This is actually quite easy for meteorologists to believe, since we understand how complex weather processes are. Your local TV meteorologist is probably a closet 'skeptic' regarding mankind's influence on climate.

Climate change -- it happens, with or without our help.

Scrooge was a people hater
"Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.'' "Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'' "If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
That phrase--surplus population--is what first tipped me off to Dickens' philosophical agenda. He's taking aim at the father of the zero-growth philosophy, Thomas Malthus. Malthus' ideas were still current in British intellectual life at the time A Christmas Carol was written. Malthus, himself, had joined the surplus generation only nine years before. But his ideas have proved more durable.

Malthus taught the world to fear new people. An amateur economist, he created a theoretical model which allegedly proved that mass starvation was an inevitable result of population growth. Populations grow, he said, geometrically, but wealth only grows arithmetically. In other words, new people create more new people, but new food doesn't create new food.

Malthus' influence, unfortunately, grew geometrically and not arithmetically. His ideas provided fodder for Darwin, and Darwin's lesser mutations used the model to argue for the value of mass human extinction.

Hitler's hard eugenics and Sanger's (founder of Planned Parenthood) softer one, both owed a great debt of gratitude to Thomas Malthus. So do the zero-growth, sustainable-growth, right-to-die, duty-to-die, life boat bio-ethicists who dominate so much of our intellectual discussion. Malthus turned out to be, ironically, right in some sense. His prediction of mass death has taken place; not because he was right, but because he was believed.

Dickens, I think, saw it first. Ebenezer Scrooge was clearly a Malthusian. When he turns away an opportunity for alms giving, he uses the zero growth rationale. When he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, he reiterates it:
"You have never seen the like of me before!'' exclaimed the Spirit.

"Never,'' Scrooge made answer to it.

"Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family; meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years?'' pursued the Phantom.

"I don't think I have,'' said Scrooge. "I am afraid I have not. Have you had many brothers, Spirit?''

"More than eighteen hundred,'' said the Ghost.

"A tremendous family to provide for!'' muttered Scrooge.
At this, the Ghost rose in what I presume is indignation. Scrooge cowers and submits. Then the ghost raises his torch (in the shape of a cornucopia) and leads Scrooge to the public market, brimming with food from all around the world. Dickens especially emphasizes the fruits of trade: almonds, Spanish onions and oranges (in winter, no less). The message is clear: The dirge-ists of the day are wrong. England, even with its poor classes, is a prosperous society. The world is abundant. Rest is possible. So is generosity.

Scrooge's philosophy is not one based on the evidence; he ignores the evidence. He keeps setting aside the evidence of his senses with reference to the secular philosophy of his time. When he sees a spirit, he says that it's just a piece of undigested beef causing him to hallucinate. He denies the realm of the spirit until it becomes simply undeniable.

Scrooge is not following reason; he's following trauma. His mother died when he was young. He was sent to a boarding home where he and the other children were poorly fed. By the time he was brought back from exile to his home (which his sister said is 'like heaven'), the damage to his core personality was done.

Dickens' message is clear enough: The Malthusians of his day did not need evidence (which they ignored every day in the marketplace) or reason. They needed conversion. They needed healing. They needed to be reminded on the day where the world celebrates the birth of a child whom Rome and Herod try to assign to the role of 'surplus population,' that the frightened men who rule the world in the name of scarcity should not be followed, but saved.


"A Scam, With No Basis In Science"

Our friend William Katz has been corresponding with physicist and mathematician Frank Tipler at Urgent Agenda on the subject of global warming. A few excerpts from Professor Tipler's letter to Katz:
As regards global warming, my view is essentially the same as yours: Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a scam, with no basis in science.

It is obvious that anthropogenic global warming is not science at all, because a scientific theory makes non-obvious predictions which are then compared with observations that the average person can check for himself. As we both know from our own observations, AGW theory has spectacularly failed to do this. The theory has predicted steadily increasing global temperatures, and this has been refuted by experience. NOW the global warmers claim that the Earth will enter a cooling period. In other words, whether the ice caps melt, or expand --- whatever happens --- the AGW theorists claim it confirms their theory. A perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology.

In contrast, the alternative theory, that the increase and decrease of the Earth's average temperature in the near term follows the sunspot number, agrees (roughly) with observation. And the observations were predicted before they occurred. This is good science.

I no longer trust "scientists" to report observations correctly. I think the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW. We've seen many recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies. In one case, Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record. Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used September's temperatures for Russia rather than October's. I'm not surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern hemisphere.

Another shocking thing about the AGW theory is that it is generating a loss of true scientific knowledge. The great astronomer William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, observed in the early 1800's that warm weather was correlated with sunspot number. Herschel noticed that warmer weather meant better crops, and thus fewer sunspots meant higher grain prices. The AGW people are trying to do a disappearing act on these observations. Some are trying to deny the existence of the Maunder Minimum.
Professor Tipler notes the discreditable role played by Obama's chief science adviser, the left-wing partisan John Holdren:
AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one's scientific opponents. The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative. Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark. Shortly after his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the "consensus" view on AGW and other environmental questions. Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would have been fired. ...

I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition's case against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama's new science advisor. Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are "dangerous." I think it is people like Holdren who are dangerous, because they are willing to use state power to silence their scientific opponents.
Finally, he points out how toxic the combination of government (which is to say, politics) and science can be:
I agree with Dick Lindzen that the AGW nonsense is generated by government funding of science. If a guy agrees with AGW, then he can get a government contract. If he is a skeptic, then no contract.

This is why I am astounded that people who should know better, like Newt Gingrich, advocate increased government funding for scientific research. We had better science, and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no centralized government funding for science. Einstein discovered relativity on his own time, while he was employed as a patent clerk. Where are the Einsteins of today? They would never be able to get a university job...

Science is an economic good like everything else, and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to control the means of production. Why can't Newt Gingrich understand this? Milton Friedman understood it, and advocated cutting off government funding for science.
Provocative stuff, but clearly correct insofar as it relates to global warming. In the Telegraph, Christopher Booker writes, "2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved." As usual, though, the politicians are lagging far behind the advance of scientific knowledge.


Optimistic Data Pessimistic Reporting

Washington Post correspondant Juliet Eilperin, in her 12-26-08 report entitled "New climate change estimates more pessimistic," dutifully surveys the latest bleak findings of the climate change community. Her primary source is a recently released survey comissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program - expanding on the findings of the 2007 4th IPPC Report on Climate Change. Apparently this "new assessment suggests that earlier projections may have underestimated the climatic shifts that could take place by 2100." One of Eilperin's primary examples of alarming new data is reported as follows:
"In one of the reports most worrisome findings, the agency estimates that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea level rise could be as much as 4 feet by 2100. The IPCC had projected a sea level rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the past two years show the world's major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are now losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice that exists in the Alps."
This indeed sounds ominous, until one recalls the data from just over two years ago, released and reported with similar overtones of dreadful urgency. Our October 20th, 2006 report entitled "Greenland's Ice Melting Slowly" referenced then recent findings from NASA indicating that Greenland's ice was melting at "a net loss of 27 cubic miles of ice per year."

In our above-noted critique of this 2006 NASA report, we correctly noted 27 cubic miles of new water in the world's oceans per year would result in a net rise of sea level of 1.2 inches per century. The calculations for this claim are fairly straightforward and are outlined in that post. Now in this new 2008 report in the Washington Post, not only Greenland, but Antarctica as well are only combining to contribute 48 cubic miles of net ice-melt per year into the world's oceans on average during the last three years. That is about 2.0 inches per century, and clearly these datapoints don't indicate a trend towards faster melting, when Antarctica's ice mass is nearly 10x that of the Greenland ice cap.

It would help if Eilperin and others would have included links to the original just-released study from the USGS Climate Change Science Program, "Abrupt Climate Change." Using the key words "USGS faster climate change feared," the many, many links found on, including the Washington Post story's own link to the study, only reference the Washington Post story itself. And despite the overwhelming intent of all these posts spawned by Eilperin's latest dispatch, to crow yet again that our worst primal diluvian fears could come true, the most supposedly alarming data they themselves have cited suggest strongly otherwise. Three years ago what NASA quantified as an alarming loss of annual ice loss from Greenland was easily demonstrated at that time to be an insignificant loss, and today NASA's updated data appears to suggest the annual rate of global polar ice loss has actually decreased since then.



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


29 December, 2008

The Worst Climate Predictions of 2008

"2008 will be the hottest year in a century:" The Old Farmers' Almanac, September 11, 2008. We're now well into the earth's third straight harsher winter-but in late 2007 it was still hard to forget 22 straight years of global warming from 1976-1998. So the Old Farmer's Almanac predicted 2008 would be the hottest year in the last 100.

But sunspots had been predicting major cooling since 2000, and global temperatures turned downward in early 2007. The sunspots have had a 79 percent correlation with the earth's thermometers since 1860. Today's temperatures are about on a par with 1940. For 2008, the Almanac hired a new climatologist, Joe D'Aleo, who says the declining sunspots and the cool phase of the Pacific Ocean predict 25-30 years of cooler temperatures for the planet.

"You could potentially sail, kayak or even swim to the North Pole by the end of the summer. Climate scientists say that the Arctic ice . . . is currently on track to melt sometime in 2008." Ted Alvarez, Backpacker Magazine Blogs, June, 2008. Soon after this prediction, a huge Russian icebreaker got trapped in the thick ice of the Northwest Passage for a full week. The Arctic ice hadn't melted in 2007, it got blown into warmer southern waters. Now it's back.

Remember too the Arctic has its own 70-year climate cycle. Polish climatologist Rajmund Przbylak says "the highest temperatures since the beginning of instrumental observation occurred clearly in the 1930s" based on more than 40 Arctic temperature stations.

"Australia's Cities Will Run Out of Drinking Water Due to Global Warming." Tim Flannery was named Australia's Man of the Year in 2007-for predicting that Australian cities will run out of water. He predicted Perth would become the "first 21st century ghost city,' and that Sydney would be out of water by 2007. Today however, Australia's city reservoirs are amply filled. Andrew Bolt of the Melbourne Herald-Sun reminds us Australia is truly a land of long droughts and flooding rains.

"Hurricane Effects Will Only Get Worse." Live Science, September 19, 2008. So wrote the on-line tech website Live Science, but the number of Atlantic hurricanes 2006-2008 has been 22 percent below average, with insured losses more than 50 percent below average. The British Navy recorded more than twice as many major land-falling Caribbean hurricanes in the last part of the Little Ice Age (1700-1850) as during the much-warmer last half of the 20th century.

"Corals will become increasingly rare on reef systems." Dr. Hans Hoegh-Guldberg, head of Queensland University (Australia) marine studies. In 2006, Dr. Hoegh-Guldberg warned that high temperatures might kill 30-40 percent of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef "within a month." In 2007, he said global warming temperatures were bleaching [potentially killing] the reef. But, in 2008, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network said climate change had not damaged the "well-managed" reef in the four years since its last report. Veteran diver Ben Cropp said that in 50 years he'd seen no heat damage to the reef at all. "The only change I've seen has been the result of over-fishing, pollution, too many tourists or people dropping anchors on the reef," he said.

No More Skiing? "Climate Change and Aspen," Aspen, CO city-funded study, June, 2007. Aspen's study predicted global warming would change the climate to resemble hot, dry Amarillo, Texas. But in 2008, European ski resorts opened a month early, after Switzerland recorded more October snow than ever before. Would-be skiers in Aspen had lots of winter snow-but a chill factor of 18 below zero F. kept them at their fireplaces instead of on the slopes.

More here

'Earth's average temperature showed no detectable warming from December 1978 until the 1997 El Nino'

The satellite data gives a very different picture from ground-based thermometers -- with all their known problems of heat-island effects, incautious siting and uneven distribution etc.

This has been in my inbox for a couple of weeks, so on a fairly quiet day for weather, I thought I'd put this out there. John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville reported earlier this month that the Earth's climate change over the past 30 years has been rather uneven: It's gotten much warmer in the Arctic and, at the same time, cooler in the Antarctic. Christy and his colleague Roy Spencer, who are known in some quarters as global warming skeptics, use data from satellites to measure the temperature of the Earth. The more well-known NASA GISS and National Climatic Data Center data sets primarily measure surface temperatures.

Overall, Christy found that Earth's atmosphere warmed an average of about about 0.72 degree F in the past 30 years, according to NOAA and NASA satellites. More than 80 percent of the globe warmed by some amount. However, while parts of the Arctic have warmed by as much as 4.6 degrees F in 30 years, Christy says that much of the Antarctic has cooled, with parts of the continent cooling as much as the Arctic has warmed. "If you look at the 30-year graph of month-to-month temperature anomalies, the most obvious feature is the series of warmer-than-normal months that followed the major El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event of 1997-1998," says Christy. "Right now we are coming out of one La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event and we might be heading into another. It should be interesting over the next several years to see whether the post La Nina climate 're-sets' to the cooler seasonal norms we saw before 1997 or the warmer levels seen since then," he says. He adds that most of the warming found in the satellite data has taken place since the beginning of the 1997-98 El Nino, and that Earth's average temperature showed no detectable warming from December 1978 until the 1997 El Nino.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported yesterday that the USA "faces the possibility of much more rapid climate change by the end of the century than previous studies have suggested, according to a report led by the U.S. Geological Survey."


Skeptical scientist profile: Dr. John Brignell

I've been wanting to do this for sometime, because I've linked to Dr. Brignell's warmlist page a countless number of times. From his CV:
Professor Emeritus (ESD) John Brignell was educated at Stationers' Company's School and began his career as an apprentice at STC. He studied at Northampton Engineering College (which became The City University, London) and took the degrees of BSc(Eng) and PhD of London University. He joined the staff at Northampton and was successively Research Assistant, Research Fellow and Lecturer. He worked in a number of areas including dielectric liquids and computer aided measurement, co-authoring a book "Laboratory on-line computing" in 1975.

He was for ten years Reader in Electronics at The City University and held the Chair in Industrial Instrumentation at Southampton for twenty years from 1980. He has researched and written extensively in the area of sensors and their applications, and in 1994 co-authored a book with Neil White on "Intelligent sensor systems". He had an extensive private consultancy practice for many years and has advised some of the larger international companies, as well as many small ones in the UK, on all aspects of industrial instrumentation. He pioneered the use of a number of technologies in sensing, such as thick film, and latterly turned his attention to the considerable possibilities of micro-engineering.

He was elected Fellow of IOP, InstMC, IEE and RSA. In 1994 he was awarded the Callendar Silver Medal by InstMC. He served on the ISAT Committee of IoP from its inception and was the founding chairman of the first joint professional group of the IEE (J1), having served on both its predecessors (E1 and C11).
What Dr. Brignell has done is simple genius--keep a linked list of actual media stories and articles that purport to show the horrors--both past, present, and future--associated with manmade global warming and climate change. Simply reading the mass of links is mind-boggling; in my opinion, visiting this one page is all that one needs to do to understand how stupid this global warming hoax is.

Dr. Brignell goes further with his entire Number Watch site--he's showing us how the media can misbehave when using numbers and statistics. Thank you, Dr. Brignell, for being brave enough to stick your neck out in this politically correct environment. As he says: Number Watch - All about the scares, scams, junk, panics, and flummery cooked up by the media, politicians, bureaucrats, so-called scientists and others who try to confuse you with wrong numbers.


Global cooling bites Britain: 'set for shockingly cold weather'

It's time to get out the thermal underwear and thickest pullovers - Britain is set for shockingly cold weather for at least the next couple of weeks. After a glorious Christmas, with not a hint of a snowflake, temperatures have been slipping steadily downwards, with minus 11C (12F) recorded in Aviemore, in the Highlands, on Saturday night. The plunge into a Siberian blast of cold will worsen in the coming week as raw easterlies freeze the country. "This coming week, maximum daytime temperatures will be between 2C (36F) and 4C (39F) but temperatures at night could be well below zero for many places," said Stephen Holman, forecaster at the Met Office.

The freezing conditions are being swept down from a strong high-pressure system anchored close to Scandinavia. Like a boulder firmly stuck in a river, this anticyclone is refusing to budge and sending our usual wet and windy winter weather on a wide detour, a system known as a blocking weather pattern.

Although it will feel bitterly cold, conditions will also largely be dry, at least for the next few days, and no significant snowfall is expected, although northern and eastern regions could experience some snow. Exactly how cold it will become largely depends on where the high pressure sits and how much cloud it drags off the North Sea. And cloudy skies are needed, because they act like a duvet cover, helping to prevent some of the heat loss from the ground. If the nights turn clear and winds are light, though, temperatures could plummet as low as minus 10C (14F) even in the South of England in the next fortnight.

In winter, low pressure tends to dominate over Iceland and high pressure to the south, over the Azores. These two pressure systems dance in tune with each other and drive our winter weather, in what is known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When the Icelandic low and Azores high are strong, they steer wet and mild weather over the UK; but when they slacken off in a negative phase, that turns the UK bitterly cold. At present the NAO is turning negative, sending a powerful signal that the weather is set to continue cold.

How bad could this winter sink? The weather maps are a chilling reminder of some our most savage winters, such as the notorious 1962-63 winter, the coldest for 180 years. This was when the sea froze around the coast of southeast England and crops were dug out of frozen ground with pneumatic drills and blizzards paralysed the nation. Even if next month is freezing, the Met's long-range forecast predicts that the winter will melt away into warmer conditions in February.



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28 December, 2008

The costs of environmental protection

How many plankton can fit on the head of a pin? And how much are they worth? In an environmental case argued this month, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether any cost is too high for limiting damage to the environment. How the Justices decide will have important consequences for energy efficiency and the future cost of electricity. Entergy Corporation v. Riverkeeper deals with the interpretation of a provision of the Clean Water Act. Under the Act, power plants are required to use the best technology available for reducing their impact on the environment. It's up to the EPA to measure the cost of technological upgrades against their marginal benefits to the environment.

That, at least, has been the operating procedure for decades, whereby the EPA could decide against requiring fixes to power plants and manufacturing facilities when the cost of the new system was "wholly disproportionate to the benefits." During oral argument, Justice David Souter asked, "Are a thousand plankton worth a million dollars? I don't know."

In Entergy, a green lobby named Riverkeeper is seeking to make power plants go beyond what was judged necessary by the EPA's cost-benefit analysis. According to Riverkeeper's lawyer, Richard Lazarus, "The EPA has no authority in any circumstance to decide that fish aren't worth a certain amount of cost." In other words, while EPA may consider whether the industry is able to bear the costs, it should not weigh those costs against harm to the environment.

If it sounds fishy, that's exactly what the environmentalists have in mind. When power plants draw in water from lakes and rivers to circulate into coolant systems for power generation, some fish and marine life forms are harmed. To reduce the mortality rate, the enviros suggest, a better option would be cooling systems that recycle water or air within the plant. Small problem: The conversion cost can run to hundreds of millions of dollars per plant, while decreasing efficiency. According to EPA estimates, 20 new power plants would have to be built nationwide to compensate for the new cooling process.

As technology marches forward, there will be a great many improvements in the way companies are able to deflect their environmental impact. Already, using things like fish screens and barrier nets, companies are able to reduce the fish harm by 80% to 95%. That's a level of effectiveness approaching the fancier systems at a fraction of the cost.

Green groups have a history of rejecting cost-benefit analysis as a matter of ideology more than utility. They don't trust business, and they believe that their own specific environmental goals are a higher public good than whatever is lost to society from exorbitant costs. But there is a price for everything in life, and reasonable regulation ought to include a judgment about relative costs and benefits.

If anything the EPA considers costs far too little in writing its rules. Yet in Entergy, the greens want the High Court to demand an even higher standard. If it does, everyone will pay, and sooner or later so will the plankton as a poorer America has less ability to afford the investments that will kill fewer of them while generating electricity.


Obama may have committed environmental crime by pouring grandmother's ashes into the sea

A ceremony arranged for his grandmother, whom he lost during the election process, may end up causing quite a headache for Barack Obama. In a ceremony held in Hawaii, Obama, teary-eyed, poured his grandmother's ashes into the sea from the sand-lined shore.

Environmentalists were quick to stand up against the move. The reason behind the contention was the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources Protection Law, which prohibits ashes from being dropped into the ocean. According to the regulation in place, ashes must be poured at a distance of at least three nautical miles. It has not yet been determined whether Obama will receive a fine for his actions.


2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved

Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph. The first, on May 21, headed Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts, reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation, reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. Last winter, as temperatures plummeted, many parts of the world had snowfalls on a scale not seen for decades. This winter, with the whole of Canada and half the US under snow, looks likely to be even worse. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.

Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free - as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.

Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favour of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artefact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.

Thirdly, as banks collapsed and the global economy plunged into its worst recession for decades, harsh reality at last began to break in on those self-deluding dreams which have for so long possessed almost every politician in the western world. As we saw in this month's Poznan conference, when 10,000 politicians, officials and "environmentalists" gathered to plan next year's "son of Kyoto" treaty in Copenhagen, panicking politicians are waking up to the fact that the world can no longer afford all those quixotic schemes for "combating climate change" with which they were so happy to indulge themselves in more comfortable times.

Suddenly it has become rather less appealing that we should divert trillions of dollars, pounds and euros into the fantasy that we could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent. All those grandiose projects for "emissions trading", "carbon capture", building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to "biofuels", are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess.

As 2009 dawns, it is time we in Britain faced up to the genuine crisis now fast approaching from the fact that - unless we get on very soon with building enough proper power stations to fill our looming "energy gap" - within a few years our lights will go out and what remains of our economy will judder to a halt. After years of infantile displacement activity, it is high time our politicians - along with those of the EU and President Obama's US - were brought back with a mighty jolt into contact with the real world.


'Dear Mr. Obama,' Why are our Kids so Brainwashed?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has launched a wonderful little feature that will run until Barack Obama takes the oath of office next month. They are calling it "Dear Mr. Obama" and it is a heartwarming exercise in child indoctrination and brainwashing. The Post-Gazette will be publishing letters from local students to Obama asking him for all sorts of global warming fixes, Iraq war enders, and big government programs.

Sadly, it appears that the government schools these kids have been subjected to have failed to teach their charges about anything like the American system, federalism, even science seems neglected. But they SURE taught their kiddies that government is there to spend, spend, spend, that government is to be treated like our collective parents, and that the war in Iraq is obviously an evil venture. Obviously.

And, yes little kiddies, The One, your very own Obamessiah, is flying to the rescue like a super hero. Cue the theme music -- I'd suggest the theme to 2001, like Elvis used, is appropriate for the sentiment here. The Obamessiah has entered the building!

The tykes are all about the alternative energy these days. They are full of exhortations to The One that he should force upon us all a reliance on wind power and solar cells. Obviously these youngsters have not been taught that no alternative energy source has thus far been found that is cheaper than oil and the fossil fuels. These kids are under the illusion that just instituting a government program is all it takes to overcome the science of the matter and make them cost effective and feasible. Yes, all we need is a word from our new religious icon in Washington DC cum Obamalot.

The first letter was amusing for its complete fraud. It is supposed to be from a ten-year-old child, yet it talks about alternative energy, the war in "Irak" and lays out a fairly detailed idea for a new method of education. It is painfully obvious that no ten-year-old ever wrote this letter.

Also we see little Neil Pandya, age 10, who asked Obama to lower the age limit on driving. Apparently, Neil was not told that states are supposed to legislate that restriction, not the federal government. Sadly, states' rights is not a subject taught to our young Mr. Pandya.

Several of the children are worried about mythical man-made, global warming and have been indoctrinated that Obama can control such things from the Mount Olympus of Washington. Here, for instance, are the worries of little Anna Devinney.
The first one is pollution. A lot of animals are dying because of pollution. Fish are dying from garbage being dumped into their habitat. People are dumping barrels of toxins into the oceans and many sea animals are losing food. Another problem in the U.S. is global warming. In the future, all the land will be flooded with water because the icebergs are melting and the sea level is rising.
To be so misled by one's teachers is so disheartening. The thing we can take from this is that who ever said kid's can't learn is way off base. Unfortunately, what they are learning is a thorough left-wing agenda. To paraphrase a famous saying, it isn't that our kids don't know anything. It's that what they know is all wrong. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, thinking it's cute, is all too willing to display for all to see what a failed education looks like.


27 December, 2008

Possible climate effects of variations in Earth's orbit

An interesting email below. Comments sought

I have been desparately seeking ratification of a theory I have that explains the Little Ice Age and the current climate shift (if there really is one). I will make the assumption that you are aware of the relationship between the effects on the absorption of the sun's energy by the eliptical shape of the Eart's orbit plus the 23.5 degree angle of the axis of rotation.

Every thing I've read points to the fact that the northern hemisphere is hotter in the summer because of the sub-solar near-perpendicularity with the northern land masses and the longer summer due to the further distance from the sun at the aphelion. During the winter, the Earth is at perihelon and the southern waters absorb the sun's rays and distribute the heat around the planet.

Nowhere has the phenomenon, which I call the Leap Year Effect, been used to explain climate change, such as that which occurred 200-500 years ago, the Little Ice Age (LIA). It's incredible that this has been overlooked and that I am the only person aware of it. I hope you can verify the following....

Since every 4 years we have to add a day (Leap Year) to accomodate the calendar and make it coincide with the seasons, it also means that the Earth is also approximately 1 degree of longitude further advanced relative to its position in its orbit 4 years earlier. No big deal, but that means that in 720 years the earth will have rotated 180 degrees from it's position at the aphelion, and at the perihelion as well, since the axis of rotation has gone thru insignificant precession.

The effects are self evident, the southern waters are heating up, sending more warm water north, but the heat reflecting land masses are cooler. This is what happened in the LIA, and we are headed for another one right now, with more and more evaporated water in the air condensing in the cold air of the northern hemisphere at the same time as the higher density water is melting the Artic ice from below. If I'm wrong, please tell me why.


After various helpful comments from readers, the author of the above concludes that he was in error in what he said.

Solar Meets Polar as Winter Curbs Clean Energy

Old Man Winter, it turns out, is no friend of renewable energy. This time of year, wind turbine blades ice up, biodiesel congeals in tanks and solar panels produce less power because there is not as much sun. And perhaps most irritating to the people who own them, the panels become covered with snow, rendering them useless even in bright winter sunshine. So in regions where homeowners have long rolled their eyes at shoveling driveways, add another cold-weather chore: cleaning off the solar panels. "At least I can get to them with a long pole and a squeegee," said Alan Stankevitz, a homeowner in southeast Minnesota.

As concern has grown about global warming, many utilities and homeowners have been trying to shrink their emissions of carbon dioxide - their carbon footprints - by installing solar panels, wind turbines and even generators powered by tides or rivers. But for the moment, at least, the planet is still cold enough to deal nasty winter blows to some of this green machinery.

In January 2007, a bus stalled in the middle of the night on Interstate 70 in the Colorado mountains. The culprit was a 20 percent biodiesel blend that congealed in the freezing weather, according to John Jones, the transit director for the bus line, Summit Stage. (Biodiesel is a diesel substitute, typically made from vegetable oil, that is used to displace some fossil fuels.) The passengers got out of that situation intact, but Summit Stage, which serves ski resorts, now avoids biodiesel from November to March, and uses only a 5 percent blend in the summertime, when it can still get cold in the mountains. "We can't have people sitting on buses freezing to death while we get out there trying to get them restarted," Mr. Jones said.

Winter may pose even bigger safety hazards in the vicinity of wind turbines. Some observers say the machines can hurl chunks of ice as they rotate. "It's like you throw a plate out there and that plate breaks," said Ralph Brokaw, a cattle rancher in southeast Wyoming who has 69 wind turbines on his property. When his turbines ice up, he stays out of the way. The wind industry admits that turbines can drop ice, like a lamppost or any tall structure. To ameliorate the hazard, some turbines are painted black to absorb sunlight and melt the ice faster. But Ron Stimmel, an expert on small wind turbines at the American Wind Energy Association, denies that the whirling blades tend to hurl icy javelins. Large turbines turn off automatically as ice builds up, and small turbines will slow and stop because the ice prevents them from spinning - "just like a plane's wing needs to be de-iced to fly," Mr. Stimmel said. Mr. Brokaw says that his turbines do turn off when they are too icy, but the danger sometimes comes right before the turbines shut down, after a wet, warm snow causes ice buildup.

From the standpoint of generating power, winter is actually good for wind turbines, because it is generally windier than summer. In Vermont, for example, Green Mountain Power, which operates a small wind farm in the southeastern part of the state, gets more than twice the monthly production in winter as in August.

The opposite is true, however, for solar power. Days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky during the winter, ensuring less power production. Even in northern California, with mild winters and little snow, solar panels can generate about half as much as in the summer, depending on how much they are tilted, according to Rob Erlichman, chief executive of Sunlight Electric, a San Francisco solar company.

Operators of the electrical grid do not worry much about the seasonal swings, because the percentage of production from renewable energy is still so low - around 1 percent of the country's power comes from wind, and less from solar panels. In addition, Americans use slightly less electricity in the winter than in the summer because air conditioners are not running. This is especially true in sunny areas, so solar panels' peak production matches the spikes in demand.

But as renewable energy becomes a bigger part of the nation's power mix, the seasonable variability could become more of a problem. Already, power developers are learning that they must make careful plans to avoid the worst impacts of ice and snow. Trey Taylor, the president of Verdant Power, which has put small turbines in the tidal East River in New York City and plans more for the St. Lawrence River in Canada, said that ice chunks could slide over one another "like a deck of cards," pushing ice below and harming turbines. That may rule out parts of otherwise promising sites like the Yukon River in Alaska, he said.

Kevin Devlin, the vice president for operations of Iberdrola Renewables, a wind developer, said that winter was probably the hardest time of year to maintain turbines, because workers must go out in snow and ice. Occasionally, he said, the turbines will shut down or set off alarms if it is too cold, and workers must brave the elements to fix them.

For homeowners, the upkeep of their power sources can also be a bother. Mr. Stankevitz keeps his panels tilted 40 degrees or higher, but they still become covered with snow - and experts say that if even one cell in a panel is covered, the panel will not produce power. On the other hand, the panels can get extra power from sunlight reflected off nearby snow. And like other electronic gear, solar panels work better when cold. Mr. Stankevitz said that on some rare winter days, when the Minnesota sky is clear, the weather is freezing and the sun is shining brightly, his panels can briefly churn out more electricity than they were designed to produce, more than on the balmiest days of summer.


No Matter What Happens, Someone Will Blame Global Warming

Global warming was blamed for everything from beasts gone wild to anorexic whales to the complete breakdown of human society this year -- showing that no matter what it is and where it happens, scientists, explorers, politicians and those who track the Loch Ness Monster are comfortable scapegoating the weather. takes a look back at 10 things that global warming allegedly caused - or will no doubt soon be responsible for - as reported in the news around the world in 2008.

1. Cannibalism

In April, media mogul Ted Turner told PBS's Charlie Rose that global warming would make the world 8 degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years. "Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state, like Somalia or Sudan, and living conditions will be intolerable," he said. Turner blamed global warming on overpopulation, saying "too many people are using too much stuff." Crops won't grow and "most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," Turner said.

2. The Death of the Loch Ness Monster

In February, Scotland's Daily Mirror reported that 85-year-old American Robert Rines would be giving up his quest for Scotland's most famous underwater denizen. A World War II veteran, Rines has spent 37 years hunting for Nessie with sonar equipment. In 2008, "despite having hundreds of sonar contacts over the years, the trail has since gone cold and Rines believes that Nessie may be dead, a victim of global warming."

3. Beer Gets More Expensive

In April, the Associated Press reported that global warming was going to hit beer drinkers in the wallet because the cost of barley would increase, driving up the price of a pint. Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said Australia would be particularly hard hit as droughts caused a decline in malting barley production in parts of New Zealand and Australia. "It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," Salinger said at a beer brewer's convention, the AP reported.

4. Pythons Take Over America

Giant Burmese pythons - big enough to eat alligators and deer in a single mouthful - will be capable of living in one-third of continental U.S. as global warming makes more of the country hospitable to the cold-blooded predators, according to an April report from The U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the spread of "invasive snakes," like the pythons, brought to the U.S. as pets. The Burmese pythons' potential American habitat would expand by 2100, according to global warming models, the paper reported. "We were surprised by the map. It was bigger than we thought it was going to be," says Gordon Rodda, zoologist and lead project researcher, told "They are moving northward, there's no question."

5. Kidney Stones

A University of Texas study said global warming will cause an increase in kidney stones over the next 30 years, the Globe and Mail reported in July. Scientists predict that higher temperatures will lead to more dehydration and therefore to more kidney stones. "This will come and get you in your home," said Dr. Tom Brikowski, lead researcher and an associate professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. "It will make life just uncomfortable enough that maybe people will slow down and think what they're doing to the climate."

6. Skinny Whales

Japanese scientists, who have claimed that the country's controversial whaling program is all in the name of science, said in August that if they hadn't been going around killing whales, they never would have discovered that the creatures were significantly skinnier than whales killed in the late 1980s, the Guardian reported in August. The researchers said the study was the first evidence that global warming was harming whales by restricting their food supplies. As water warmed around the Antarctic Peninsula, the krill population shrank by 80 percent as sea ice declined, eliminating much of the preferred food of the minke whale. The whales studied had lost the same amount of blubber as they would have by starving for 36 days, but the global warming connection couldn't be proven because no krill measurements are taken in different regions.

7. Shark Attacks

A surge in fatal shark attacks was the handiwork of global warming, according to a report in the Guardian in May. George Burgess of Florida University, a shark expert that maintains an attack database, told the Guardian that shark attacks were caused by human activity. "As the population continues to rise, so does the number of people in the water for recreation. And as long as we have an increase in human hours in the water, we will have an increase in shark bites," he said. Shark attacks could also be the result of global warming and rising sea temperatures, the Guardian said. "You'll find that some species will begin to appear in places they didn't in the past with some regularity," Burgess said.

8. Black Hawk Down

Although it happened in 1993, the crash of a U.S. military helicopter in Mogadishu that became the film "Black Hawk Down" was blamed on global warming by a Massachusetts congressman in 2008. "In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine," Rep. Edward Markey told a group of students who had come to the Capitol to discuss global warming, according to "That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down."

9. Frozen Penguin Babies

Penguin babies, whose water-repellant feathers had not grown in yet, froze to death after torrential rains, National Geographic reported in July. "Many, many, many of them-thousands of them-were dying," explorer Jon Bowermaster told National Geographic. Witnessing the mass penguin death "painted a clear and grim picture" of global warming. "It's not just melting ice," Bowermaster said. "It's actually killing these cute little birds that are so popular in the movies."

10. Killer Stingray Invasion

Global warming is going to drive killer stingrays, like the one that killed Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, to the shores of Britain after a 5-foot -long marbled stingray was captured by fishermen, the Daily Mail reported in June. A single touch can zap a man with enough electricity to kill, the Mail said, and global warming is bringing the Mediterranean killers north. "Rising sea temperatures may well have brought an influx of warm water visitors," sea life curator Alex Gerrard told the Mail. "Where there's one electric ray, it's quite likely that there are more."


The Great Seattle Salt Silliness: Sand on roads worse than salt, scientists say

Sand — one of Seattle's main weapons against icy streets — is more likely to harm aquatic life than the salt the city refuses to use out of concern for its environmental effects. That's the opinion of scientists who have studied the issue and officials from other cities that use salt to clear icy roads.

Seattle doesn't use salt, an effective ice-buster used widely by other cities and the state Department of Transportation, because of environmental concerns. Since last Thursday, Seattle has sprinkled more than 6,000 tons of sand on city streets and this week ordered 700 more tons for storage.

Instead of clearing major roads, Seattle aims to create a "hard-packed" snow surface suitable for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, and front-wheel-drive vehicles with chains. The packed snow is then sprinkled with sand and sprayed with de-icer. The strategy failed to clear ice from many streets, leaving drivers struggling to navigate this week. More snow was expected overnight.

Richard Sheridan, of the Seattle Department of Transportation, said the city is less concerned about sand because the streets are swept once the snow is gone. Seattle has not used salt since the mid-1990s, he said, because it corrodes metal bridges and "degrades" the marine environment. But he could not say which areas the city is concerned about. Sheridan said sand is more environmentally friendly than salt, but scientists say sand damages waterways by clogging the spaces in gravel where insects live, making it hard for them to cling to rocks. Insects, a key part of the food chain, are an indicator of stream health.

Salt is less an issue because melting snow dilutes it, according to two scientists who studied effects of road salting on aquatic life. "In general, what my colleagues have found, and I have found, is that sand actually has a greater impact, at least on stream systems," said University of Dayton (Ohio) professor Eric Benbow, an aquatic ecologist. "Sand's the problem, as much as people don't want to recognize it."

Canadian studies on road salting in the late 1990s found potential impacts on groundwater, roadside plants and creatures in streams near roads where large amounts of salt were used. In a place such as Seattle, where salt is used infrequently, Benbow said he couldn't imagine the concentrations getting high enough to do any harm. Doug Myers, of the environmental group People for Puget Sound, said salt on city streets would not likely impact saltwater in the Sound. He said he is concerned about the impact on creeks that feed the Sound because they may contain species sensitive to salt or creatures already compromised by toxic chemicals. The group has not taken a position on the use of sand, he said.

Seattle's aversion to salt is shared by Bellevue and Spokane, which use chemical de-icers. Judy Johnson, Bellevue's street-maintenance superintendent, said the city used nothing to clear icy streets for a while. But the streets were too slick, so the city started using calcium chloride, which contains a rust inhibitor to protect cars. "We needed something in the toolbox for ice, for safety reasons," Johnson said, noting the decision to use chemicals was driven in part by concerns about the harm from sand. "It's a balancing act," she said. "You don't want to use a lot of any of this stuff. It's all got environmental effects."

Tacoma uses a saltwater brine before and after it snows, then follows up with a mixture of salt and sand. It has used 2,000 tons of the salt and sand mixture already this year. Environmental concerns about salt haven't garnered a lot of attention in Tacoma, but community-relations manager Rob McNair-Huff said sand is actually of larger concern. "It both clogs up the drainage systems and can be damaging as far as the habitats of macroinvertebrates [insects] and salmon," he said.

Everett has tried several products, but its standby is an 8-to-1 mix of sand and salt, said Kate Reardon, the city's spokeswoman. Since the city's drainage is treated in combined sewers or detention ponds, it doesn't drain directly to the Sound, she said. Vancouver, B.C., also uses salt and sand.

Decisions about snow clearance are influenced as much by social, financial and political concerns as by science, said Mark Devries, chairman of the winter-maintenance committee for the American Public Works Association, a professional organization. "We're driven by our budgets, we're driven by the level of service we're expected to give and we're driven by what's available to us in our areas," said Devries, the maintenance supervisor for McHenry County, Ill.

Professor Wilfrid Nixon, a winter-highway-maintenance expert at the University of Iowa College of Engineering, said salt is the best ice-buster around and that using it should be weighed against the environmental costs of other measures. Plows burn more fuel when they have to plow more, and accidents caused by icy roads have environmental consequences, too, he said. "Every crash in the winter is an environmental disaster," Nixon said. "You have spills of engine oil, gas, coolant. ... It may not be hundreds of miles of road, but the effect is intensely local."


Emailed comment from W. F. Lenihan [] on the story above:

Gov Gregoire had no choice. The roads throughout the state are a mess. More snow has fallen in the Seattle area recently than any other time except the winter of 1942-43. I am a Seattle native and 78. I had a paper route in 1942 and had to slog through snow 2 to 3 feet deep dragging a sled. This snow pack remained for four or five weeks.

The real stupidity by far is that of Mayor Nickels, who prohibited the use of salt on roads because it might harm fish in Puget Sound (salt water). See: here. You will FDLOL.

The spin from the mayor is that rubber edges on plow blades that pack the snow on the roads rather than remove it is used in NY and Chicago, both of which have flat terrain while Seattle's is more hilly than SF. Nickels and the entire city council should be recalled for stupidity.

Another point that is not clear from your post is that Gregroire's pride is enacting the Western Climate Initiative (Little Kyoto cap and trade system) involving 7 states and 4 Canadian Provences. Already a hundred or so employees are busy inventorying emission levels and determining the CO2 emission quotas for all emitters notwithstanding the fact that WA has one of the smallest carbon footprints in the nation.

A $6.5 billion deficit is anticipated for the current budget cycle, that is large enough to bankrupt the state. The idiot Dems that control the Legislature and run the State and major cities are determined to ruin the economy while solving non-existent problems.


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


26 December, 2008

Statewide emergency declared in Washington state as snowfall reaches record levels

Gov. Gregoire is a Warmist. Will she let such close-up reality interfere with her Warmist faith? Unlikely

On Christmas Eve, Gov. Chris Gregoire proclaimed a state of emergency in Washington due to the state's ongoing series of winter weather and storms. Gregoire notes snowfall has reached record or near-record level in 30 of Washington's 39 counties.The proclamation enables the state to respond quickly to local requests for emergency support and assistance arising from new storms.

Prior to the Governor's declaration the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) convened an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss current conditions and the forecast for two major winter storm systems that could bring another 18 inches of fresh snow to the region. After a lengthy discussion that included representatives from emergency management, the BOCC determined that Spokane County is responding in every way possible and will remain on high alert status. However the BOCC said they would not declare a state of emergency until all available County resources have been depleted.

In the course of the discussion, it was determined that no additional funding or resources would be available from the State of Washington, until the County could verify that all its own resources had been exhausted. At such time, the County Commissioners will convene an emergency meeting to declare an official, countywide State of Emergency. Governor Chris Gregoire has been in contact with the BOCC and offered whatever assistance the State can provide at the time an emergency is officially declared.

Meanwhile, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner Wednesday declared an emergency within the City of Spokane as a result of record snowfall in the past week and forecasts for continuing snow today and throughout the week. December 2008 already is the fifth snowiest on record, with more than a week to go. The emergency declaration is the first step in seeking a "Proclamation of Emergency" from Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire to gain access to state and federal assistance. The County Commissioners were also briefed that road crews have finished plowing primary arterials and emergency routes, and are currently working on secondary arterials and well-traveled hills. With more snow in the forecast through Monday, residential areas may not be serviced for several days.


Some more pesky findings

Here's a Christmas present for all greenhouse skeptics . three scientists from the meteorology program at Northern Illinois University collected data on the 241 largest snowstorms in the eastern two-thirds of the United States over the period 1950-2000. As seen in Figure 2, there is considerable variability in the number of large storms, but no trend whatsoever. Changnon et al. describe their results:
The average was 4.8; however, there was great year-to-year variability (i.e., standard deviation of 2.2) with the numbers ranging from 1 large snowstorm per winter (1973/74, 1980/81, and 1991/92) to 10 storms (1993/94). The winter values did not exhibit any long-term up or down trend during the 50-yr period. A 5-yr running mean also had no trend. The winter counts for each decade showed that the frequency peaked in the 1950s with a minimum occurring in the 1970s and 1980s. None of these decadal mean values were significantly different than the average for the rest of the period when using the Student's t test.
Granddad and grandmom may not believe it, but there is absolutely no trend whatsoever in the data. Apparently global warming causes neither a decrease nor an increase in big snowstorms in the U.S.

Figure 2. The number of large snowstorms occurring east of the U.S. Rockies each winter, 1950/51-1999/2000. Five-year running mean value is shown by the line (from Changnon et al., 2008).
Many might argue that the United States is only 1.54% of the planet, and since Changnon et al. examined the eastern two-thirds of the country, they were studying only one percent of the Earth. If we really want to talk snow and ice on a grand scale, we need to look to Antarctica. If we do a web search on "Global Warming and Antarctica," we are treated to 1.5 million sites, with many arguing that the snowpack and sea ice are melting away (despite the fact that the UN IPCC says the ice is thickening).

An article entitled "Antarctic sea ice variability and trends, 1979-2006" appeared recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research, and one sentence in the abstract caught our eye stating "The total Antarctic sea ice extent trend increased slightly, from 0.96 ~ 0.61% decade-1 to 1.0 ~ 0.4% decade-1, from the 20- to 28-year period, reflecting contrasting changes in the sector trends." It seems from the outset of this article that sea ice around Antarctica is expanding and the expansion has increased in the most recent eight years . our kind of results at World Climate Report.

The work was conducted by two scientists with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and financial support for the research was provided by NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Program and by NASA's Earth Observing System. Cavalieri and Parkinson begin by correctly noting that "A great deal of attention has been paid recently to the decline of the Arctic sea ice cover as observed by satellites over the past several decades. In contrast to the Arctic, the total Antarctic sea ice cover has been gradually increasing from the mid-1970s through 2002." We would add that while a great deal of attention has been paid recently to the Arctic (where the trend seems to broadly fit the global warming script), very little attention has been paid to the Antarctic where the trend in sea ice seems at odds with expectations for a warming world. We are sure there is no media bias here, just a convenient oversight on journalists around the world. The scientists use passive microwave data to accurately map the extent of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere, and their results are shown below (Figure 3). They explain:
The yearly and seasonally averaged extents all show positive trends. The yearly trend in sea ice extents is 11,500 ~ 4,600 km2 a-1 [per year]. This trend is somewhat greater than the value 11,000 ~ 7,000 km2 a-1 reported previously for the 20-year period 1978-1998 and is statistically significant at the 95% level. On a seasonal basis autumn shows the largest positive km2 a-1 trend followed by the winter trend. The spring and summer trends are about half those for autumn.
Sure enough, the sea ice is expanding, the expansion is increasing in the most recent period, and the trends are statistically significant.

Figure 3. Time series of (a) monthly averages of sea ice extent for the Southern Hemisphere from November 1978 through December 2006. The inset shows the annual cycle computed from the 28 years of data, (b) monthly deviations of sea ice extent fitted with a linear least squares best fit trend line, (c) yearly and seasonal averages of sea ice extents with linear least squares best fit trend line. Summer averages (Su) are for January-March, autumn averages (A) are for April-June, winter averages (W) are for July-September, and spring averages (Sp) are for October-December (from Cavalieri and Parkinson, 2008).
While the greenhouse crusade is all too quick to blame the retreat of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere on global warming, blaming this statistically significant expansion of sea ice on global warming would be a stretch, to say the least-but don't think folks aren't working on it! Cavalieri and Parkinson conclude that in Antarctica "the question of what is driving the observed changes remains unanswered, and the physical mechanisms explaining these changes remain to be determined."

Enjoy the holiday season, with or without snow-but just don't blame global warming for whatever you get!

More here

Solar Activity Between 1250-1850 Linked To Temperature Changes In Siberia

Here is a very mixed bag of reporting from ScienceDaily, when you read this article it says it's the Sun and then says it's not the Sun. What it is trying to say is that they can follow a correlation in the solar activity in the past but are unable to apply the same logic in recent years as the CO2 theory would not work!

The reason they are unable to apply the solar activity in modern times is that it will put a spanner in the works. A higher amount of solar activity since the 1950's has warmed the oceans releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. This article does not account for this, instead it insists the extra CO2 from man made emissions has driven world temperatures out of control, if this is the case then why are world temperatures falling and CO2 is still rising?
"While changes in the solar activity were a main driver of temperature variations in the pre-industrial period, the temperatures in the Altai have shown a much higher rate of increase than that of solar activity during the past 150 years. The strong increase in the industrial period, however, correlates with the increase in the concentration of the greenhouse gas CO2 over this time.
This article is full of contradictions, but still worth a read.


The Unscientific American

"Top 10 Places Already Affected by Climate Change"

1. What caused the drought that (the article says) caused the slaughter in Darfur: AGW.

2. What caused the hurricanes that hit the Gulf coast: AGW.

3. What caused the chikungunya (dengue fever variant) epidemic in Italy: AGW.

4. What caused wine quality to improve in northern Europe (SciAm thinks this is a problem): AGW.

5. What caused bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef: AGW.

6. What caused subsidence of some of the island nations: AGW.

7. What caused illegal aliens to come to the United States: AGW.

8. What caused sea ice changes in the arctic: AGW.

9. What caused the (alleged) decline (it's not) of skiing in the Alps: AGW.

10. What caused enviro crusaders to expel the hill farmers from their land in Uganda, prompting armed resistance: AGW.

Every one of the above propositions is easily disproved. "Scientific" American should return to science and abandon religion. What an embarrassment.



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


25 December, 2008

The Frigid Future Is Upon Us

The heated debate about global warming suddenly has cooled off. It's no longer between the fanatic adherents of global warming (AGWers - Anthroprogenic [human-caused] Global Warming adherents) and the more sober-minded, so-called "deniers." It's now between the warmiacs and Mother Nature, and she's winning handily. If you doubt that, take a look a national temperature charts that show below-zero temperatures as far south as the nation's lower midsection, a blizzard in Las Vegas and snow in New Orleans, and a fire-ravaged Malibu - and all happening before winter really sets in.

This is only the beginning. If I'm correct about what I've been saying since 1997, (The Ice Man Cometh) the onset of an ice age, little or big, is now upon us, and what's ahead is anything but pretty. This winter will tell the story. What we're experiencing now is going to prove mild in comparison to what is waiting in the wings. Before this winter ends - and that won't be until late May or early June - most of the world will be in the deep freezer and under the incredible amounts of snow that record-breaking blizzards will continue to bring us.

This is not to say that the now-panicky members of the Gore brigade will throw in the towel - they'll be telling us that the frigid weather is a result of global warming. But by that time, nobody will be listening, and even if they were, they wouldn't be able to hear anything through their earmuffs. What we are now witnessing is the triumph of reality over shabby and fraudulent scientific theory. The only hockey sticks we'll be seeing will be in the frozen hands of NHL players.

In my 1997 series, I showed how the scientific community was wedded to the possibility that we were approaching the end of the present interglacial period and headed for a new ice age. "Understanding Climate Change," which the National Academy of Sciences published in 1975, makes these observations on page 181: "The present interglacial interval - which has now lasted for about 10,000 years - represents a climatic regime that is relatively rare during the past million years, most of which has been occupied by colder, glacial regimes. Only during about 8 percent of the past 700,000 years has the earth experienced climates as warm or warmer than the present. "The penultimate interglacial age began about 125,000 years ago, and lasted for approximately 10,000 years. Similar interglacial ages - each lasting 10,000 plus or minus 2000 years and each followed by a glacial maximum - have occurred on the average every 100,000 years during at least the past half-million years. "During this period, fluctuations of the northern hemisphere ice sheets caused sea level variations of the order of 100 meters."

On page 189, the question is asked: "When will the present interglacial [period] end? "Few paleoclimatoligists would dispute that the prominent warm periods (or interglacials) that have followed each of the terminations of the major glaciations have had durations of 10,000 plus or minus 2000 years. In each case, a period of considerably colder climate has followed immediately after the interglacial interval. "Since about 10,000 years have passed since the onset of the present period of prominent warmth, the question naturally arises as to whether we are indeed on the brink of a period of colder climate." "The question remains unsolved. If the end of the interglacial is episodic in character, we are moving toward a rather sudden climatic change of unknown timing ... If on the other hand, these changes are more sinusoidal in character, then the climate should decline gradually over a period of a thousand years."

A study prepared for the 95th Congress in 1978 agreed with the National Academy of Sciences position as explained in the above-quoted study. The document "Weather Modification: Programs, Problems, Policy and Potential" warned: "In geological prospective, the case for cooling is strong ... If this interglacial age lasts no longer than a dozen earlier ones in the past million years, as recorded in deep sea sediments, we may reasonably suppose the world is about due to slide into the next ice age."

That made sense then, before the global-warming gravy train brought billions in research grants to global warming researchers, and it makes sense now. Moreover, Mother Nature has now begun to show her hand by pouring ice water on the AGW hoax. The mere fact that we are overdue for a new ice age itself lends great credence to the idea that the great freeze is upon us. Current increasingly frigid weather enhances it. In a contest between Al Gore and Mother Nature, she holds all the cards. And she's playing them now.


Festive feasts 'contributing to climate change'

A fanatical voice is heard from Australia

Wasted food at Christmas time is now being highlighted as an environmental problem. Jon Dee, the chairman of Do Something, says gases from leftover food rotting in landfill are 20 times more potent than the carbon pollution from car exhausts.

Mr Dee says there are simple ways to avoid over-catering at Christmas and damaging the environment. "Australians waste more than 3 million tonnes of food every year and of course a lot of that food is wasted at Christmas," he said. "It's really basic. Draw up a shopping list and stick to it and try and not cook more than you need, and if you do have leftovers you can always put it in tupperware and freeze it."


Bloggers find a hole in official arctic ice data

You may recall the guest post from Jeff Id of the Air Vent I carried about a week ago called Global Sea Ice Trend Since 1979 - surprising In that post, a note of correction was issued because that we were led to believe (by Tamino) that the entire post was "invalidated" due to an error in accounting for ice area very near the pole. Both Jeff and I were roundly criticized for "not reading the documentation", which was one of the more civil criticisms over there at Tamino's site.

After further investigation It turns out that the error was in NSIDC's public documentation, and they have issued a correction to it. Even more importantly the correction now affects NSIDC's own trend graph, and they are considering how to handle it.

This episode illustrates how citizen science can be useful. Sometimes people too close to the science they publish can make mistakes, (we've all been there) which is why peer review of papers is important. But "web review" in this day and age of instant publication is equally important. It also illustrates how mistakes, however embarrassing initially, can be useful if you learn from them and study the cause. There is no shame in mistakes if they are corrected and you learn from them. But, the blogospheric noise of angry and sometimes juvenile criticism (on both sides) really isn't useful as it often masks the real issue. The key is to put that aside and find the truth behind the error....

If we assume worst case that the NH hole in the data was 100% filled with ice (it wasn't), the calculation from before produces a slight downslope in comparison to the flat trendless line in my original post. The result is only a trend equaling a 4% reduction in global sea ice over a nearly 30 year period. Not exactly disastrous either way. I am going to continue my work on this by matching (regressing) the last two years from other sites on the end of the data. With the recent global cooling, it should be interesting to see where global sea ice is today.

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

Madison on the brink of impressive snow record for December 2008

The approach of Christmas Eve -- and still more imminent storms -- heightens the temptation to talk about the weather this December in biblical terms. As of Monday morning, the National Weather Service Milwaukee/Sulllivan office was reporting 30.1 inches of snowfall on Madison for the first three weeks of the month. That's well ahead of the pace observed during last year's seasonal snow record, when a mere 23.6 inches had fallen over the same period. The NWS daily summary for December 21 in Madison also notes that the seasonal total for 2008 is likewise ahead of the 2007 pace. So far this winter, 34.4 inches of snow have fallen on Mad City. That's almost 10 inches more than the 25.1 that fell through Dec. 21, 2007.

To see what this looks like in chart form, check out the NWS comparisons here. A winter weather advisory is in effect on Tuesday, with light snow falling overnight and an additional accumulation of several inches expected through the day. An overlapping winter storm watch is scheduled to take effect late Tuesday and extend through Wednesday afternoon, meanwhile, with still another four to five inches of snow forecast for that period. Total projection for Madison between now and Christmas Eve: nine to 11 inches. This puts the city on the brink of its snowiest December on record, with figures dating back to 1871. The record: 35 inches, measured between December 1-31, 2000.

Adding the nine to 11 inches of snow forecast between now and Christmas Eve to the 30.1 inches that have fallen since the beginning of December, and we're looking at snowfall totals in the neighborhood of 40 inches for the month -- with another full week to go before we turn the page from into the new year. This is great news for skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts, kids with sleds, people who like to shovel and anyone else who subscribes to the notion that as long as it's going to be cold outside, there might as well be plenty of snow to enjoy. Not so great for iceboaters and ice-skating enthusiasts. But if everyone was happy all at once, life might be so enjoyable we wouldn't be able to bear all that good fortune.


British extremists face long jail sentences after blackmail conviction

Four animal rights extremists involved in a six-year hate campaign against people and companies linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) each face up to 14 years in jail after being convicted of conspiracy to blackmail. The two men and two women were found guilty yesterday of orchestrating the campaign designed to shut down HLS, one of the world's largest contract research companies.

The convictions follow a two-year, 3.5 million pound police investigation into Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), an international campaign against the company, which has an animal testing laboratory in Cambridgeshire. The campaign was funded in large part by public donations collected on the high streets. Two founding members, Gregg Avery, 41, and his wife Natasha, 39, along with fellow activist Daniel Amos, 22, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to blackmail. Prosecutors believe that among these members of SHAC's hierarchy were some of the key figures in the Animal Liberation Front, the movement that acts as an umbrella for much animal rights extremism worldwide.

Yesterday, after a three-month trial at Winchester Crown Court, Heather Nicholson, 41, Avery's former wife and fellow SHAC founder, was found guilty of the same offence, as were three further conspirators, Daniel Wadham, 21, Gerrah Selby, 20, and Gavin Medd-Hall, 45. All will be sentenced next month. An eighth defendant, Trevor Holmes, 51, from Newcastle, was acquitted.

HLS, which tests pharmaceutical and other products for clients around the globe, became a focal point for anti-vivisection campaigners partly because of the scale of its operation. SHAC's victims, who worked for companies that did business directly or indirectly with HLS, received threatening letters, hoax bombs and sanitary towels allegedly contaminated with the HIV virus, while their neighbours were sent anonymous letters warning them that they lived near a paedophile.

The managing director of one targeted company received a letter in December 2006 that threatened: "We will attack your property, your family or you, whichever we see fit. . . The screams of the animals are in our heads. We will not fail them. You will pay for their agony." Nocturnal "home visits" from extremists left cars covered in acid, menacing messages painted on houses and ALF slogans daubed on nearby roads. Victims were targeted after they were listed as "collaborators" on SHAC's website, a process that involved detailed research and was co-ordinated by the Averys and their fellow conspirators, who knew what the likely result of that listing would be.

Michael Bowes, QC, for the prosecution, said that although the darker part of the campaign was labelled ALF, the attacks that followed a victim's appearance on the SHAC website were "all part and parcel of the conspiracy". SHAC still lists "targets" on its website, although it claims to engage only in legal activity. A spokeswoman told The Times: "We have absolutely no control over what happens to that information."

Operation Achilles, a two-year investigation that included bugging SHAC's Hampshire headquarters, culminated in the arrests of 32 people in a series of raids involving 700 police officers across Britain and in Belgium and the Netherlands in May last year. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Robbins, of Kent Police, who led the operation, said: "The public should be aware that money donated in good faith to SHAC was in fact being used to finance this criminal conduct."



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


24 December, 2008

NOTE: Posting here is likely to be reduced over the Christmas period

Is this a new low point for Greenie stupidity?

Seattle is known as a place where the rain never stops, but lately it's been snowing, and the roads have been icy. On Friday the result, as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported, was a near-disaster:
Two Northwestern Trailways buses slid down the snow-covered cobblestones of East Thomas on Capitol Hill and smashed into each other, careening through a guardrail on Melrose Avenue East, 20 to 30 feet above Interstate 5.
Fortunately, the buses did not fall onto the highway below. They "came to rest with their front ends hanging over I-5." It turns out there's a reason Seattle's roads are so icy. Today's Seattle Times reports:
There's snow and ice left on major arterials by design. "We're trying to create a hard-packed surface," said Alex Wiggins, chief of staff for the Seattle Department of Transportation. "It doesn't look like anything you'd find in Chicago or New York." . . .

The icy streets are the result of Seattle's refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows. "If we were using salt, you'd see patches of bare road because salt is very effective," Wiggins said. "We decided not to utilize salt because it's not a healthy addition to Puget Sound."
Puget Sound is a saltwater estuary. That's right--Seattle officials are making their roads more dangerous because they're trying to keep salt out of the ocean.

Source (See the original for links)

It's Cold Outside, But Global Warming Industry Still Hard At Work

The most expensive secret you're not supposed to know is that George W. Bush leaves office with the planet cooler than when he entered. This dangerous trend threatens the multi-billion dollar "global warming" industry, adding new urgency to the ritual shriek of "we must act now!" in the scramble to impose a costly regime of mandates and energy taxes.

The global warming industry's tactics already range from comical to reprehensible. As a result of a cooling atmosphere -- which thanks to the "global cooling" panic we began measuring in 1979 -- you are distracted with irrelevant surface temperatures. This is possibly because more than 90% of our surface thermometer network is in violation of rules for locating the instruments. For example, why are so many now on asphalt parking lots, black tar roofs, airport tarmacs, and even hanging directly above barbeque grills?

Such childishness is only the tip of the iceberg of outrages employed to advance an ideological agenda. Our schools torment those whom they are charged with protecting from abuse, with night terrors among the less egregious outcomes. Their brainwashing includes hate mail campaigns to skeptics, reporting on their parents' willingness to adopt an agenda, and even emotional breakdown requiring institutionalization.

High government officials around the world abuse their powers to expand government's powers. The media moved from pushing catastrophism in order to sell copy, to expressly abandoning journalistic principles and declaring that, regarding global warming, "balance is bias."

Last year, after Kevin Rudd was elected Australia's Prime Minister, he addressed a gathering of that nation's "best and brightest" pondering how to achieve their policy dreams. One idea floated was to strip Aussies of their citizenship if they expressed doubts about man-made climate catastrophe. So as to not be extremist, however, this allowed for the prospect of restoring one's standing upon -- you guessed it -- reeducation.

The mostly taxpayer-funded science community is repeatedly caught fudging their numbers to exaggerate and even manufacture warming. Peer-review journals place hurdles in the "skeptic" path to publication while publishing demonstrable falsehoods without bothering to check the claims' viability.

Gang Green smears any who dare speak out as unqualified or shills corrupted by "Big Oil" money. Media and lawmakers repeat the claims, yet show no curiosity about the staggering $300 million given to Al Gore. Who is it so covetous of frightening you into accepting costly policies in the name of a "climate crisis" as to underwrite this aggressive lobbying and re-branding blitz? Gore won't tell us, but you can bet they stand to profit at your expense.

The establishment furiously engages to shout down, censor and shut down dissent. They now have the active participation of the National Academy of Sciences thanks to a back door created to elect "environmentalists" who otherwise would not attain this status and who then exercise a veto over others who do not share their worldview. Forget the policy implications, and consider how this threatens the various institutions of science once the entire enterprise is inevitably exposed.

It is now mainstream in the campaign to suppress speech to call for criminalization of skepticism (that is, of science) and imprisonment of its practitioners. British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett publicly demands that media outlets refuse to grant "skeptics" space, on the grounds that they are just like Islamic terrorists.

Who, then, is surprised that scientists receive professional and even death threats for their heresy, and one in Norway had the wheels fall off of his car -- twice -- after speaking out, once when his young daughter was a passenger? His mechanic said the lugs had been loosened. Apparently dissent is not patriotic to the global warming industry.

One prominent former CEO now pushing alarmism says that continued opposition to "climate" policies, specifically a supranational organization to which we cede the necessary authority, will be "paralyzing" and "suffocating". Officials and opinion leaders similarly argue that the global warming issue is simply too important to be left to democracy and that we must suspend certain such arcane notions, if just for this one issue. This is madness. It has to stop. The first step in our recovery is to have a public discussion about why proponents of the global warming agenda must stoop to these tactics.



Last year, during an interview with Vaclav Smil, I asked the distinguished professor of geography at the University of Manitoba why there was such a paucity of informed discussion about energy issues. He replied "There has never been such a depth of scientific illiteracy and basic innumeracy as we see today."

That line comes to mind amid the continuing calls for phasing out coal in the U.S. In July, Al Gore, the former vice president and recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, declared that the U.S. should "commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years." In November, in an op-ed in the New York Times, Gore insisted that the U.S. must replace "dangerous and expensive carbon-based fuels with 21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth." Gore's calls have been seconded by groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace as well as by the International Energy Agency. On November 25, the I.E.A.'s executive director, Nobuo Tanaka, said that "Preventing irreversible damage to the global climate ultimately requires a major decarbonisation of world energy sources."

While Tanaka, Gore, and others may agree on the need to phase out coal, the world is heading the other direction. On November 12, the I.E.A. released its World Energy Outlook, and the second page of the agency's briefing slides show that coal is gaining - not losing - market share. Between 2000 and 2007, global coal use increased by 4.8 percent. That's three times the growth rate seen in oil consumption (which grew by 1.6 percent) and nearly twice the rate in natural gas use (which climbed by 2.6 percent.) Further, the I.E.A. expects that through 2030, about 60 percent of incremental energy demand in non-O.E.C.D. countries will be met with coal. (In the O.E.C.D., coal will likely provide less than 10 percent of incremental new demand over that same time period.)

None of this is to argue that coal is good or bad. Rather, it is to provide a bit of numeracy. If the U.S. and the rest of the world really want to replace coal with some other form of energy, then it is essential to understand the size of the challenge. Let's look at the U.S., second only to China in terms of total coal consumption. In 2007, the U.S. used about 1.1 billion tons of coal. That's the energy equivalent of about 4.2 billion barrels of oil per year or about 11.5 million barrels of oil per day.

Here's the key comparison: America's daily coal ration contains more energy than Saudi Arabia's daily oil production. Indeed, the scale of U.S. coal consumption boggles the mind. In 2007, the amount of energy America used in the form of coal exceeded the total energy consumption - from all sources, coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear - of all of the countries of Central and South America combined. Just as important as the scale of America's coal consumption is this fact: U.S. coal use has increased faster in recent decades than has oil or natural gas consumption. Between 1973 and 2007, U.S. coal consumption jumped by 75.5 percent. During that same time period, U.S. oil consumption increased by 15.2 percent and natural gas consumption increased by just 5 percent.

Here's another comparison: On a daily basis, global coal consumption is equivalent to about 63.8 million barrels of oil. Thus, replacing the world's coal habit with something else will require finding an energy source (or sources) that can supplant the equivalent of six new Saudi Arabias. Or consider China. On an average day, its coal use provides the energy equivalent of 26.3 million barrels of oil, or about two and a half Saudi Arabias. By any measure, those are daunting numbers. U.S. and global policymakers may not like coal, but given the enormous scale of the coal business, it's obvious that the U.S. and the rest of the world will be relying on the black fuel for many years to come.


Australia: Attention-seeking a*holes warn Christmas lights harm the planet

Just for that I am going to leave my Xmas lights on day and night

Scientists have warned that Christmas lights are bad for the planet due to huge electricity waste and urged people to get energy efficient festive bulbs. CSIRO researchers said householders should know that each bulb turned on in the name of Christmas will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr Glenn Platt, who leads research on energy demand, said Australia got 80 per cent of its electricity by burning coal which pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere. He said: "Energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, and putting your Christmas lights on a timer are two very easy ways to minimise the amount of electricity you use to power your lights." He said the nation's electricity came from "centralised carbon intensive, coal-based power stations" which were responsible for emitting over one third of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Dr Platt added: "For a zero-emission Christmas light show, you may consider using solar powered lights or sourcing your electricity from verified green power suppliers."



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


23 December, 2008

Prominent Scientist Fired By Gore Says Warming Alarm `Mistaken'

Award winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer, who was reportedly fired by former Vice President Al Gore in 1993 for failing to adhere to Gore's scientific views, has now declared man-made global warming fears "mistaken." "I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken," Happer, who has published over 200 scientific papers, told EPW on December 22, 2008. Happer made his remarks while requesting to join the 2008 U.S. Senate Minority Report from Environment and Public Works Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) of over 650 (and growing) dissenting international scientists disputing anthropogenic climate fears. [Note: Joining Happer as new additions to the Senate report, are at least 10 more scientists, including meteorologists from Germany, Netherlands and CNN, as well as a professors from MIT and University of Arizona.]

"I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore, since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly," Happer said this week. Happer is a Professor at the Department of Physics at Princeton University and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993, has published over 200 scientific papers, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Senator Inhofe said that the continued outpouring of prominent scientists like Happer -- who are willing to publicly dissent from climate fears -- are yet another strike to the UN, Gore and the media's claims about global warming. "The endless claims of a 'consensus' about man-made global warming grow less-and-less credible every day," Inhofe said.

Happer, who served as the Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy in 1993, says he was fired by Gore in 1993 for not going along with Gore's scientific views on ozone and climate issues. "I was told that science was not going to intrude on policy," Happer explained in 1993. "I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect, for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow," Happer said this week. "Fears about man-made global warming are unwarranted and are not based on good science. The earth's climate is changing now, as it always has. There is no evidence that the changes differ in any qualitative way from those of the past," he added.

"Over the past 500 million years since the Cambrian, when fossils of multicellular life first became abundant, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been much higher than current levels, about 3 times higher on average. Life on earth flourished with these higher levels of carbon dioxide," he explained. "Computer models used to generate frightening scenarios from increasing levels of carbon dioxide have scant credibility," Happer added.


Will Canada see its first white Christmas since '71?

The first day of winter brought wind-chill warnings, snow and a bevy of storms to cities across Canada on Sunday, potentially laying the groundwork for the first cross-country white Christmas in nearly four decades. Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV Newsnet that "it looks like a very good chance" it will be a white Christmas for all parts of Canada for the first time since 1971. "It's just sort of the beginning of winter, and it's a little much to expect when we have so many different climatic types in this country for it to be frozen and snow-covered from right across the huge country," he told CTV Newsnet on Sunday.

But with so much snow already on the ground, the veteran weather prognosticator said he thinks that any upcoming balmy Christmas Day temperatures will not be able to melt away the growing snowfall base. "It may be in 40 years, the first one," he said.

As for Sunday's weather conditions, Phillips didn't mince words. "In 10 provinces, every one of them has got some weather misery out there, and an advisory," he said. "About the only areas not showing any advisory or warning situations are the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut."

Environment Canada snowfall warnings for Vancouver predict that up to 20 centimetres of snow will fall by Sunday evening, accompanied by bone-chilling wind-chill effects throughout the evening and into Monday. Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson told The Canadian Press that the Prairies would see very low temperatures, falling into the -30s by Sunday evening. The storm system that began in southwestern Ontario Sunday morning has left as much as 20 cm of additional snow in some areas, and is now making its way eastward. However, much of the region is still under blowing snow warnings thanks to high winds that could gust up to 90 kilometres per hour....

Phillips said some parts of the country are seeing snowfall amounts that have outpaced last year's record and near-record totals at this point in the season. But he also said it's unlikely that trend will continue.


New paper: Sunspot data vital clue to climate change

New discoveries linking periodic changes in the Sun's magnetic field with global weather patterns could enable scientists to gain a clearer understanding of how additional factors - such as greenhouse gases - contribute to those weather patterns. A newly-published paper by the University of New England's Dr Robert Baker establishes the connection between solar cycles and the weather by correlating sunspot activity and rainfall figures for south-eastern Australia over the past 130 years.

Cycles of sunspot activity are a visible indication of the periodic changes in magnetic forces within the Sun. The most well-known sunspot cycle is the 11-year "Schwab" cycle, which comprises alternating five-and-a-half-year periods of relatively high and low sunspot activity.

Dr Baker's paper, "Exploratory analysis of similarities in solar cycle magnetic phases with Southern Oscillation Index fluctuations in Eastern Australia9 D (Geographical Research, December 2008), shows that periods of increased sunspot activity are consistently associated with those periods of high rainfall in south-eastern Australia predicted by the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). Periods of drought, such as that which has afflicted Australia for the past six years, are associated with minimal sunspot activity.

Dr Baker is an Associate Professor in UNE's School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences. His paper compares sunspot / weather patterns in all 23 of the documented "Schwab" cycles, noting particularly the similarity between Cycle 15 (1914-1924) and the current Cycle 23. "Such comparisons between the current cycle and past cycles have important implications for both weather prediction and the monitoring of climate change," Dr Baker said. "They could not only allow us to forecast farther into the future, but - through analysing differences in weather patterns between the current cycle and a past cycle with similar sunspot activity - they could help us to isolate the effect of recent additions to the system such as greenhouse gases."

"We have to benchmark the natural system (i.e., the Sun) before looking at additions to it (e.g. carbon dioxide)," he explained. "Comparing current data with those of a century ago can give us an idea of the added effect of greenhouse gases. But sticking your head in the sand and saying the Sun has no effect on20climate change is a virtual denial of historical reality." "I'm not a `climate-change sceptic'," he added. "But although carbon dioxide could be a major contributor to global warming, it's just one part of a complex system." That system is so complex, he said, that the short-term temperature trend in the Southern Hemisphere (since 2002) is actually down rather than up.

Dr Baker is keeping a keen eye on daily reports of solar activity. "The Sun isn't powering up," he said. "The period of minimum sunspots signalling the completion of Cycle 23, although due to end in October 2007, is continuing. We could, in fact, be entering a prolonged period of minimal sunspot activity such as the one that brought the `Federation droughts' around the turn of the twentieth century and a dip in global temperatures for a decade."


Ho, Ho, Ho: Green Santa Has Some Seeing Red

If you've got rugrats of a certain age, you don't have to wait till January to gauge the country's new environmental tenor. Just watch your kid's school Christmas play. "Santa Goes Green" is the theme of elementary-school productions across the country, apparently involving plans to retool Santa's sleigh into a more efficient electric model and getting Rudolph's nose up to code, efficiency-wise. That's got some people grinchlike already, by the looks of it:
I was not prepared when I was tricked into sitting through a half hour long political statement on "Global Warming." I was not appreciative that my grand-daughter is being taught this unproven theory of mankind destroying the Earth, and that even Santa must do something to prevent its self-destruction.
Actually, Santa's role is key. In a new children's book with the same title, a little boy eschews toys and urges Santa Claus to throw his considerable weight behind the global warming fight in order to save his (presumably herbivorous) polar bear friend. The book's author, Anne Margaret Lewis, told USA Today that inspiration struck after reading a magazine story on melting glaciers with her 6-year old son:
"He asked how we could help the polar bears, so we started going around the house every time we left a room and shut the lights off. Then we would say, `We just saved another polar bear,' " she says. "I was trying to convince him that you can make a difference, and it worked."

That got Lewis to wondering whether s he could write a book that would pass along the feeling. "I wanted it to be about polar bears because of how it came to be," she says. "And then I thought, who would a child think is the most powerful person who could help him do that? Santa. The story just started evolving."
The book ends with a note from Santa to the "children of the world," directing them to a website where the newly-green elf promises some climate-saving tips. But for folks horrified at the thought of indoctrinated children dashing off checks to Al Gore, the tips aren't terribly ambitious or controversial: "Turn off the tap water while you brush your teeth; turn off the lights and the TV when you are through with them." No word yet on what kind of electricity is powering the web site's servers.


Completely inadequate IPCC models produce the ultimate deception about man made global warming

The only place where CO2 is causing temperature increase is in the IPCC computer models

E. R. Beadle said, "Half the work done in the world is to make things appear what they are not." The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does this with purpose and great effect. They built the difference between appearance and reality into their process. Unlike procedure used elsewhere, they produce and release a summary report independently and before the actual technical report is completed. This way the summary gets maximum media attention and becomes the public understanding of what the scientists said. Climate science is made to appear what it is not. Indeed, it is not even what is in their Scientific Report.

The pattern of falsifying appearances began early. Although he works at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Stephen Schneider was heavily employed in the work of the IPCC as this biography notes. Much of Schneider's time is taken up by what he calls his "pro bono day job" for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He was a Coordinating Lead Author in Working Group II of the IPCC from 1997 to 2001 and a lead author in Working Group I from 1994 to 1996. Currently, he is a Coordinating Lead Author for the controversial chapter on "Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and the Risks from Climate Change," in short, defining "dangerous" climate change." - He continued this work by helping prepare the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) released in April 2007.

Schneider, among others, created the appearance that the Summary was representative of the Science Report. However, he provides an early insight into the thinking when speaking about global warming to Discovery magazine (October 1989) he said scientists need, "to get some broader based support, to capture the public's imagination.that, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts we may have.each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective, and being honest." The last sentence is deeply disturbing--there is no decision required.

The Summary for Policymakers is designed to convince everyone that global warming is due to human production of CO2. In SPM AR4 issued in April 2007 they say, "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations." The term "very likely" is from a table reportedly produced by Schneider and means greater than 90%. Professor Roy Spencer says about probabilities in this context. "Any statements of probability are meaningless and misleading. I think the IPCC made a big mistake. They're pandering to the public not understanding probabilities. When they say 90 percent, they make it sound like they've come up with some kind of objective, independent, quantitative way of estimating probabilities related to this stuff. It isn't. All it is is a statement of faith."

So they create an appearance of certainty about a human cause of warming. But what is the reality? The only place where CO2 is causing temperature increase is in the IPCC computer models. In every record of any duration for any time period in the history of the Earth, temperature increase precedes CO2 increase. So an incorrect assumption that a CO2 increase will cause temperature increase is built into the computer models. That is damaging enough, but the computer models themselves are completely inadequate to represent global climate or make any predictions about future climate. But don't believe me. The IPCC Technical Report ("The Physical Science Basis") produced by Working Group I and released in November 2007, says so.

Problems begin with the definition of climate change used because it requires they only consider human causes. From the United Nations Environment Program (article 1) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods." But you cannot determine the human portion unless you understand natural climate change. As Professor Roy Spencer said in his testimony before the US Senate EPW Committee, "And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research."

Media and public are allowed to believe the IPCC make climate predictions, but they don't. The First Assessment Report (Climate Change 1992) said, "Scenarios are not predictions of the future and should not be used as such." While the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios says; "Scenarios are images of the future or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Climate Change 2001 continues the warnings; "The possibility that any single in emissions path will occur as described in this scenario is highly uncertain." In the same Report they say, "No judgment is offered in this report as to the preference for any of the scenarios and they are not assigned probabilities of recurrence, neither must they be interpreted as policy recommendations." This is a reference to the range of scenarios they produce using different future possible economic conditions. Of course, they didn't build in the recent financial collapse.

Climate Change 2001 substitutes the word projection for prediction. Projection is defined as follows, "A projection is a potential future evolution of a quantity or set of quantities, often computed with the help of a model. Projections are distinguished from predictions in order to emphasise that projections involve assumptions concerning e.g. future socio-economic and technological developments that may or may not be realised and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty".

This and similar statements are based on the unproven hypothesis that human produced CO2 is causing warming and or climate change. The evidence is based solely on the output of 18 computer climate models selected by the IPCC. There are a multitude of problems including the fact that every time they run them they produce different results. They use an average of all the runs. The IPCC then take the average results of the 18 models and average them for the results in their Reports.

Tim Palmer, a leading climate modeler at the European Centre for Medium - Range Weather Forecasts said, "I don't want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain." This comment is partly explained by the scale of the General Circulation Models (GCM). The models are mathematical constructs that divide the world into rectangles. Size of the rectangles is critical to the abilities of the models as the IPCC AR4 acknowledges. "Computational constraints restrict the resolution that is possible in the discretized equations, and some representation of the large-scale impacts of unresolved processes is required (the parametrization problem). " (AR4 Chapter 8. p.596.)

The IPCC uses surface weather data, which means there is inadequate data in space and time for most of the world to create an accurate model. Limitations of the surface data are surpassed by an almost complete lack of information above the surface. An illustration of the surface problem is identified by the IPCC comment of the problems of modeling Arctic climates: "Despite advances since the TAR, substantial uncertainty remains in the magnitude of cryospheric feedbacks within AOGCMs. This contributes to a spread of modelled climate response, particularly at high latitudes. At the global scale, the surface albedo feedback is positive in all the models, and varies between models much less than cloud feedbacks. Understanding and evaluating sea ice feedbacks is complicated by the strong coupling to polar cloud processes and ocean heat and freshwater transport. Scarcity of observations in polar regions also hampers evaluation." (AR4.,Chapter 8, p593.)

Most of the information for the Arctic came from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and a diagram from that report illustrates the problem. The very large area labeled "No Data" covers most of the Arctic Basin, an area of approximately 14,250,000 km2 (5,500,000) square miles). Remember, certainties of arctic ice conditions are core to Gore's alarmism.

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

Muddle-headed Greens see themselves starring in a Thoreauvian romance

Comment from Australia

Our age presents itself as a historical hall of mirrors. Every new turning reminds us disconcertingly of somewhere we've been before. New songs on the radio have the obscure savour of melodies from times past; new movies seem to reproduce older ones, like ghostly tableaux vivants. No wonder young people often seem nostalgic for the blurred images of movements that expired long before they were born. After all, they're staggering into this mirror maze unaided. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the grand spectacle of outrage last week against the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme white paper had such a familiar appearance.

Uni students in dreadlocks and cheesecloth sandbagged ministers' electorate offices, as if miming the apocalyptic imagery of the unilateral disarmament movement in the death throes of the Cold War. Green leaders called for a human chain to surround Parliament House for the first sitting day of 2009 as if, like those yippies and hippies who encircled the Pentagon 40 years ago, they might cause it to levitate by collectively incanting the word om.

Most strikingly of all, green groups called for a national campaign of civil disobedience, roughly after the manner prescribed by the earliest hippie of them all, 19th-century American solitary sojourner Henry David Thoreau. Like their orange boiler-suited colleagues in Europe, activists plan to shackle themselves to existing power plants or disrupt the building of newones. Then, like the sage of Walden Pond, they can act out the belief that, under an unjust government, "the true place for a just man is also a prison".

Green groups have been channelling the spirit of Thoreau for some time. In September the inimitable Al Gore made headlines by calling for Thoreauian civil disobedience on a global scale. Why, if only he were young again, he told us, he'd be chaining himself to coal-fired power plants, too. Greenpeace's Indian division, inevitably, has invoked the spirit of Mohandas Gandhi, the most famous of Thoreau's acolytes and a well-known enemy to all types of industry.

Now Greenpeace Australia's climate change campaign co-ordinator tells us that, by lamentably failing the planet on climate change, Kevin Rudd has sent conscientious activists everywhere "a clear signal that our political system is not up to the task". This means "people who are demanding action on climate change have little choice but to take matters into their own hands". Thoreau and Gandhi all rolled into one.

No doubt, if you're caught up in our hall of historical mirrors, it's gratifying to gaze into the glass and see in your reflection the image of those noble souls who ended the slave trade in the 1830s, opposed chattel slavery in the decades leading up to the American Civil War or brought down the Goliath of British colonialism. The problem with channelling the past in this purely intuitive way, though, is we necessarily do so through the distorting glass of our imaginations.

For Thoreau, my ineffable human conscience is always the most important thing, and I'm not fully human until I choose freely to express it in all of my deeds and words. However, the mass of men, being mere dutiful citizens, are not like this. Because they refrain from freely exercising their moral sense and subsume their will to the wishes of the magistrate, "they have the same sort of worth only as horses or dogs". At the same time, Thoreau insisted, any and every man could experience this special insight themselves, would they but take the time. Just exile yourself to a lonely pond and the essential truths of life will unfold. This spiritual vocabulary is still alive in the grand oratory of climate change. Simplicity v excess. Purity v impurity and cleanliness v dirt. The moral integrity of the individual v the snares and wiles of the wicked world.

Yet the Thoreauian analogy works only up to a point. You can look into your heart and see that the slave trade and chattel slavery are offences against human nature simply because we're all humans and our god (whichever they may be) has decreed us all to be free and equal. Yet like most Australians, I expect, I have no capacity to judge the scientific debates on climate change and its causes in any fashion that would satisfy my inner voice. In practice, I'm forced to rely on my commonsense intuition that so many scientists and public authorities wouldn't be expending so much time and money on the issue unless they were sincerely worried about something. In Thoreau's terms, I'm forced to subordinate the call of my conscience to the expertise of others, like it or not.

None of the alternatives to this posture are particularly credible. You can lapse into a kind of political mysticism, according to which the voice of Gaia somehow speaks through you, regardless of your personal competence. Or else you can simply echo the instincts of others around you who happen to think and dress much as you do, who have the same tastes in interior furnishings and who choose to live in the same neighbourhoods. But that's hardly an expression of individuality.

In the end, the most troubling aspect of the bluster on climate change policy is that, in its implausible claim to have some private access to the truth, it devalues the currency of truth altogether. Perhaps the most striking table in the white paper is the one that compares emission projections with projections for population growth. If that table is correct, the Government's 5 per cent to 15 per cent targeted reductions are broadly in line with those of the European Union and significantly in advance of the promises of president-elect Barack Obama. I have no idea whether the data in that table is reliable. But I haven't yet seen any of those uttering howls of outrage contesting it.

As it happens, Greenpeace recently commissioned its own proposal for a global energy revolution. Figure seven of the document's executive summary compares energy output from different sources, if Greenpeace's own recommendations are accepted. On these figures, renewable energy sources would almost double as a percentage of output between 2005 and 2020. But coal-fired power output (now with capture and storage, presumably) would stay more or less constant. This sounds plausible but also rather spiritually unsatisfying.

And it's hard to see how exactly it can be reconciled with Greenpeace's other call, the one that asks for a new generation of Thoreaus to chain themselves to the gates of the world's coal-fired power stations. Before they stride out on their private journeys to Walden Pond, I'd suggest those earnest, idealistic young folks prepare themselves a few packed lunches.



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


22 December, 2008

Rumors of the Death of Arctic Sea Ice Greatly Exaggerated

Even if polar bears really are drowning, the melt is likely a natural, not man-made, phenomenon

Mark Twain, ever the wry observer of human nature, once famously quipped that "everybody complains about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it." (Actually, Twain was quoting the essayist and novelist Charles Dudley Warner, but the colorful humorist gets credit for the line.) Whoever deserves the credit, the point was that there is a folly to human arrogance and some things cannot be "fixed," are outside of the powers of man. The weather, for example, is governed by forces beyond human control.

But the arrogance of the race is boundless, and there are those who actually believe that man is in the process of destroying the Earth's weather, or at least climate. Al Gore, the leader of the Gang Green, tramps about the planet in his fuel-guzzling, greenhouse gas-spewing jets to tell people that the world is burning - his speeches are usually given on days of bitter cold - because they are living too extravagantly by, well, heating their homes when cold and driving their cars to work. James Hansen of NASA gives hysterical lectures to Congress and the news media, claiming we face fire and brimstone. Repeatedly we have been told we have ten years left, starting in the 1980s; much like those old end-of-the-world preachers, the date for the end time keeps extending.

In short, there are people who believe that, yes indeedy, we can do something about the weather, or at least the climate. If we just live more frugally, share our wealth, eat lots of natural foods like tofu and pine nuts, and hold hands while visualizing world peace, we can bring carbon dioxide and methane levels down and the world will become a pastoral paradise.

The Gang Green - those who believe that man is destroying the planet via our release of industrial emissions - have struggled to convince the populace that their viewpoint, based almost entirely on computer simulations and not on actual recorded data, is correct. (I often refer to global warming as the Goldilocks theory; if it is too hot, too cold, or just right it must be global warming!) Every time Al Gore gives a speech the temperature drops into single digits. We haven't had any real planetary warming since 1998, and this year has been unseasonably cool, a likely result of an anemic sunspot cycle and reversals in wind and wave oscillations in the Pacific. So the alarmists are forced to making desperate pronouncements designed to panic the average Joe.

One issue that they've employed to good advantage is the loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Just run a quick Google search on "Arctic sea ice vanishing" and you will find a series of breathless warnings of coming doom and pictures of drowning polar bears. The alarmist will triumphantly point to the opening of the Northwest Passage and the unusually low ice levels of 2007 and 2008, claiming this is absolute proof that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW) is wrecking the planet. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for example, recently released a dire warning that "between 1.5 and 2 trillion tons of ice have melted in Greenland, Antarctica, and Alaska" and that this proves that we are in the throes of a man-made crisis, one that will trigger massive sea level rise as polar ice melts away. Clearly human greenhouse gas emissions are becoming a planetary emergency.

But are they? Climate Science, the weblog of climatologist Roger Pielke Sr., discusses the issue of Arctic sea ice melt and explains why the freeze and thaw dates are important to establishing whether ice loss/gain is related to greenhouse gases. The upshot of his argument is that the start of the freeze-up should come later in the fall, as the melt should likewise begin earlier. It's not simply a matter of how much ice is lost, but when it is lost. Dr. Pielke Sr. quotes from a recent paper on the matter:
Indeed, this is what is claimed in a recent talk by Mark C. Serreze of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences/National Snow and Ice Data Center (CIRES/NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder (November 10, 2008, titled "The Emergence of Arctic Amplification") . The abstract includes the statement "As the climate warms, the summer melt season lengthens."
So, we should be able to discern if the season is actually lengthening by examining the melt/thaw dates. Which is precisely what William Chapman, author of the Cryosphere Today blog, has done. Here is a table showing the melt and thaw periods with the minimum and maximum ice level dates starting in 1979; you will note that this year's maximum was equal to 1981 (at .1943), and the minimum at .6876 is likewise equal to 1981. So, does that mean we are in a greenhouse warming cycle reminiscent of 27 years prior?

Actually, the chart shows no discernible pattern whatsoever, with 1985 representing the high for the maximum and 2005 representing the nadir of the minimum, a close second to 1985. In short, there is no evidence for an increase in warming - at least not in regards to when sea ice freezes and melts.

This is interesting because it logically ties in with sea level rise. Sea levels have been rising for the last 10,000 years - since the end of the last ice age - and an increase in ice melt should coincide with an increase in the rate that the sea level is rising. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report from 2001: "No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected." And in 2007 the IPCC reported: "Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear."

According to the University of Colorado, the short-term rate of sea level rise has been leveling off. Yet Jay Zwally from NASA claims that Greenland has lost 150 gigatons of water - enough to raise sea levels by 5 mm per year. So, either NASA is right and the IPCC wrong, or the IPCC is right and NASA has blown the data. It should be pointed out that GISS has made serious errors before, including proclaiming 1998 the hottest year on record (they quietly corrected it to 1934 without announcing their error) and releasing September temperature records this year in October, proclaiming it the warmest October on record (until they were caught). I'll put my money on the IPCC in this instance.

Furthermore, the loss of sea ice that we have witnessed in the Arctic can be explained by natural forces. During the summer, the doomsayers - particularly the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado - and their minions in the mainstream media were breathlessly proclaiming an ice-free Arctic, with hysterical reports that the ice was melting at an unprecedented rate. Arctic sea ice did drop dramatically in August, which is hardly surprising since this was new, uncompacted ice left over from 2007, which was a record low year. As of October it was up 27% from the previous October.

It must be understood that the Arctic is subject to the effects of the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, the El Nino Southern Oscillation, etc. These oscillations move air masses and water into and out of the Arctic Ocean, and during their warm phases sea ice melts. There is every reason to believe that these cycles were warming the Arctic and that the recent reversal of these cycles will eventually lead to more ice. It is also reasonable to conclude that much of the warming we have witnessed - especially in the Northern Hemisphere - during the 20th century is at least partly attributable to these same oscillations.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center had this to say about the current slow growth of Arctic sea ice: "Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean stayed well above average during November, partly because of continued heat release from the ocean to the atmosphere and partly because of a pattern of atmospheric circulation transporting warm air into the region." So, the Arctic has been experiencing warm air patterns, which help to explain the loss of ice over the last couple of years.

It appears that wind and atmospheric circulation of sea ice is a critical influence on the Arctic ice cap and the loss of ice in Greenland was accelerated by warm ocean currents. Bear in mind that 2.85 million cubic kilometers of ice will take a long time to melt at an annual mean temperature between -24 and -4 degrees F.

A guest post at Anthony Watts' website illustrates that this claim of massive ice melt isn't so well founded when the Arctic basin is looked at as a whole - and depending on how the raw data is processed. Here is a graph showing that overall ice area has not changed much outside of the summer drop-off. And here is the thirty-year anomaly (variation from the norm) graph; note the year-end high is almost as high as in 2000. A 2006 survey by the same Jay Zwally showed that Greenland had gained ice mass between 1992 and 2002:

When the scientists added up the gains and losses of ice from the Greenland and Antarctic sheets, there was a net loss of ice to the sea. The Greenland ice sheet annually gained approximately 11 billion tons of water, while Antarctica lost about 31 billion tons per year. Yet now Antarctica is gaining ice (see graph) and Greenland losing it. Fickle behavior, that! Oh, and glaciers in Norway were making a dandy recovery until someone tampered with the graph and the Varangians [The Byzantine word for Norsemen] lost 500,000 square miles of sea ice!

It should also be pointed out that there were huge undersea volcanic eruptions earlier in the year along the Gakkel ridge, which may be at least partly responsible for the loss of sea ice and glacial ice along land's end.

So, what does this tell us? It appears that the melting of Arctic ice is a natural phenomenon, likely related to non-anthropogenic causes. Couple this with the other failures of AGW theory - the non-warming of the oceans; the lack of predicted warming at the tropical tropopause; the fact that methane was released simultaneously in both hemispheres in contradiction to AGW theory; that, as of 2004, there has been no net worldwide increase in precipitation, contrary to AGW theory; that we haven't had any global warming since 1998; etc. - all contribute to what should be the end of this generation-long War of the Worlds scare. But this thing has a life of its own, with a religious force to some and promises of lots and lots of money to others. Climatology was a sleepy backwater before global warming - now it is a well-funded science. Green gang-bangers like Al Gore are making fortunes off carbon offsets for guilt-ridden people across the globe. Children are being taught to believe more in Gaia than in God.

The more we learn, the more it seems that we really can't do anything about the weather! But the doomsayers continue to ignore the reality around them, clinging to the dogma of their beliefs. "We not only can do something, but we will, whether our actions are of any benefit or not!" It bears keeping in mind that people - many people - die from serious economic downturns, while nobody has ever been documented to have died from global warming, except maybe a crackpot from the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. The disastrous economic policies of cap and trade will kill many in the Third World, and millions will suffer hunger and deprivation to satisfy our Western egos. To paraphrase another famous quip from the great Mr. Clemens, "Rumors of the death of Arctic sea ice are greatly exaggerated!"

Source (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Britain facing blackouts because of Greenie harassment of power provision

Britain could face regular blackouts within seven years if the Government does not intervene in the energy market to ensure that more power stations are built, the head of National Grid says today. In an interview with The Times, Steve Holliday, chief executive of the company that operates the power and gas transmission network, said that Britain was facing an acute shortage of generating capacity because a string of ageing nuclear and coal-fired plants were due to be retired from service. The warning came after Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, said on Friday that it was to consider fresh incentives to encourage the development of renewable energy schemes in Britain.

Mr Holliday said that National Grid's own analysis indicated that, under a business-as-usual scenario, Britain would fail to attract enough investment in new plants and would lack sufficient generating capacity to meet peak demand around 2015. "We are OK for a period of time . . . but when you go out to the medium term you can begin to see there is not enough collective generation being built in the UK. "We will need to watch that very carefully over the next 18 months to ensure that window gets shut," Mr Holliday said.

He said that the Government would need to introduce fresh incentives to guarantee that 100 billion pounds of investment is made over the next decade to ensure the stability of the power grid. This could include placing a floor on the price of carbon - a measure that would help to boost investment in new nuclear reactors and offshore windfarms. "What is happening that people are not wanting to build enough power stations? The Government has an obligation to make sure that the markets are delivering," Mr Holliday said. "You can't afford for it to fail."

Mr Holliday's comments reflected similar remarks recently from Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of Ofgem, and Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary. Last week Mr Buchanan said that the falling price of oil and carbon had dealt a "punch in the stomach" to Britain's energy markets. On Friday, Ofgem revealed fresh details of a consultation designed to boost investment in Britain's renewable energy industry. National Grid is investing 3 billion per year in the power and gas transmission network to replace ageing wires and pipes and tie in new power plants and windfarms. Critics say National Grid is being too slow in connecting many of these projects to the grid, as many renewable projects face long delays in obtaining planning consent. Ofgem's proposals include offering electricity transmission companies better returns to build grid connections that anticipate future demand and to invest in the expansion of networks, particularly to remote areas.

Britain has committed itself to ambitious new European Union targets to generate 20 per cent of all energy from renewable energy such as wind and solar power by 2020. The European Commission is expected to report today on whether to allow the proposed 12.4 billion pounds takeover of Britain's nuclear industry by EDF, the French state-controlled energy company, or whether to recommend a detailed competition inquiry. EDF wants to use its acquisition of British Energy as a platform to build a new generation of nuclear reactors in Britain to replace the current fleet, which are old and unreliable. Critics say that the deal would discourage competition in Britain's heavily consolidated, wholesale electricity markets.


BOOK REVIEW of Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey By William Tucker. Review by Max Schulz

ONE CLEAR MEASURE OF of nuclear power's rising fortunes is that both presidential candidates this year came out in favor of harnessing the power of the atom to address our nation's energy and environmental challenges. It wasn't too long ago that politicians avoided talking about nuclear energy, or if they did, it was to call for shutting down the nation's fleet of reactors. Times are certainly changing. John McCain called for building 45 new reactors. Barack Obama claimed to be for nuclear power as well, though he did say he doesn't "think it's our optimal energy source." Still, that's a big concession from the nominee of a party that largely takes its cues from decidedly anti-nuke environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace.

Someone who does think nuclear power is our optimal energy source, and the answer to all our energy and environmental problems, is veteran journalist (and American Spectator contributor) William Tucker. Tucker has emerged as a true evangelist with his book Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey. The book's premise is simple: "The only way we are ever going to supply ourselves with enough energy while reducing our carbon emission is through a revival of nuclear power." Addressing longtime fears about this strange technology, he notes, "Nuclear power is a perfectly natural phenomenon, as natural as the warmth in the ground beneath our feet."

Powerfully written, Terrestrial Energy is a remarkably accessible book that should convert any number of skeptics with its pro-nuclear sermon. However, its strength lies not in the zeal this preacher brings, but in the dispassionate way he makes the case for nuclear in the context of all our energy options. More than just filing a brief for nuclear power, Terrestrial Energy really offers a first-rate primer on energy.

Almost all the conventional energy sources we employ are forms of solar power, Tucker notes, including fossil fuels. When we burn coal and oil, we unlock stored solar energy that originally rained down from the sun. Or we can "turn to a variety of technologies that tap the sun's rays directly or draw on physical processes driven by the sun's heat," like solar panels and windmills.

Nuclear power is different. The energy source comes not from the sun, but from deep within the earth (hence the title). "There is one great difference between terrestrial energy and solar energy," writes Tucker, "and that is the energy density. Terrestrial energy is far more concentrated--by a factor of about two million." This can have dangerous possibilities--just one gram of matter was turned into the energy that annihilated Hiroshima. But it also offers an almost boundless opportunity to provide the energy humanity needs at a time when we are accustomed to think of our resources as limited. Tiny amounts of material and land can generate enormous volumes of power, without pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.

Compare that to the environmental footprint of other "clean" technologies. Tucker describes one cutting-edge thermal solar project in Spain as "a remarkably futuristic 30-story structure that looks like a giant carpenter's level stuck the ground after arriving from outer space. The facility uses 136 acres to generate 11 MW." That's not much power for a lot of land. Extrapolate from that, and "to get 1,000 MW--an average commercial plant--it would have to cover twenty square miles." Photovoltaic solar panels are worse; they would need 50 square miles. For all those Greens who talk of the virtually limitless resources of the sun, Tucker points out that "land, after all, is also a limited resource."

Wind is hardly better, similarly requiring large tracts of land. Plus, it doesn't always blow, meaning that windmills generate electricity no more than 30 percent of the time. You couldn't power the grid solely on wind, writes Tucker. Wind may be able to play a marginal role in our energy economy--energy expert and Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens says that, in a perfect world, wind might supply as much as 20 percent of our electricity. But that's an optimistic assessment, and no one thinks wind is anything more than a partial contributor to our energy solutions. At bottom, writes Tucker, wind "remains a medieval technology."

Tucker ably dispatches the fuzzy thinking that has muddied our energy and environmental debates for decades. A particular target is environmental guru Amory Lovins, father of the "soft energy" movement, who thinks we can jettison fossil fuels and nukes and instead power the economy on efficiency and windmills and solar panels. Lovins's influence is outsized; he is almost singularly responsible for California's refusal to build any new power plants during the 1990s, even though demand kept rising. Result? The rolling blackouts in 2000 and 2001 that made California a laughingstock and helped bounce governor Gray Davis. Tucker eviscerates Lovins for peddling a doctrine that conveniently ignores elemental facts about where we get our energy from and what we use it for.

A THOROUGH JOURNALIST, Tucker travels the globe to get to the bottom of the 21st-century energy story. He visits coal plants in Ohio as well as nuclear reactors in France (a country that produces 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power). His journalistic sense of fairness leads him to seek an interview with Lovins. This is where Terrestrial Energy takes on a "Roger and Me" quality, as Lovins won't talk to him and is conveniently absent when Tucker treks all the way to his Snowmass, Colorado home. The account is hilarious, as is Tucker's chance meeting with celebrity New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. The author of several bestselling books on global economic trends, Friedman holds considerable sway on energy and environmental topics. Yet Tucker exposes Friedman as fundamentally unserious for his abrupt dismissal of nuclear power.

Despite the evident benefits of nuclear power, it's the downside that has made Americans hesitant since Three Mile Island (TMI) and Chernobyl. Tucker addresses those worries, noting the heroic reforms undertaken by the nuclear industry to instill a culture of safety after TMI (a not-very-serious accident that served as a dramatic wake-up call). He also calls out extremist environmentalist claims that any amount of radiation is dangerous. "If swallowing 100 aspirins will kill 100 out of 100 people," Tucker notes, "that does not mean taking 2 aspirin will kill 2 people. Clearly there are thresholds below which the body's defenses can deal with an environmental insult."

The public (and our politicians) is slowly coming to the conclusion that we should build new nuclear power plants to address our energy and climate change challenges. Kudos to Tucker for showing why we can, and why we should.


Diverse landscapes are better: Policymakers urged to think broadly about biofuel crops

Diversity is valuable socially, economically and now environmentally. Research by Michigan State University scientists has found that growing more corn to produce ethanol - creating less diverse landscapes - reduces the ability of beneficial insects to control pests, a loss valued at about $58 million per year in the four states studied (Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin).

"Corn is a less favorable habitat for many ladybird beetles (ladybugs) and other beneficial insects that feed on pests such as the soybean aphid," said Doug Landis, MSU professor of entomology. "As we plant more corn, we reduce the ability of that landscape to supply beneficial predators to control pests in soybeans and other crops. This results in increased pesticide use and yield losses. This research estimates the value of this biological pest control service in soybeans (in the four states) to be about $240 million each year." The research was published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

From 2006 to 2007, corn acreage increased by 19 percent in the United States, reducing landscape diversity in many areas, according to the scientists. "Over-reliance on any one crop is likely to reduce the value of natural control of pest insects by beneficial insects," said Scott Swinton, MSU professor of agricultural, food and resource economics and paper co-author. "If we look at farmers who grow only corn and soybeans, increasing corn acreage and reducing soybean acreage will probably mean higher costs for soybean pest control. Beneficial insects help control pests so growers have lower pest control costs."

Both Landis and Swinton are members of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, a partnership between Michigan State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct basic research aimed at solving complex problems in converting natural materials to energy.

The researchers say achieving the biofuel production levels mandated by Congress will take millions of acres to provide the necessary raw materials and will change agricultural landscapes. Understanding how these landscape changes affect the sustainability of biofuel production is the overall goal of the research.

"Ultimately, we hope this helps policymakers think about which and how much of any biofuel crop, as well as the location of the crop, makes sense for a particular landscape," Landis said. "We could choose to create monocultures of a single biofuel crop or have diverse mixtures of many biomass sources including perennial trees and grasses as well as corn. Diverse landscapes often support higher levels of vital ecosystems services such as pest suppression and pollination. Our goal is to provide information so people can make more informed decisions."


The Global Warming Gospel

The Lausanne Movement was founded by evangelist Billy Graham, starting with the Berlin Congress on Evangelism in1966, to host periodic mass gatherings of global evangelical leaders. The next one, scheduled for Cape Town, South Africa in 2010, evidently will highlight the urgency of Global Warming. "Climate change is the biggest threat on the planet - it's bigger than global terrorism," claimed Lindsay Brown, international director of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He was speaking at a recent organizational meeting for evangelicals in Sydney, Australia who are preparing for Cape Town. Brown is British and formerly headed an international group for evangelical students.

Typically these Lausanne gatherings have attracted thousands of evangelicals to deliberate over strategies for evangelism. Four thousand are expected in Cape Town. Evidently Brown said that climate change, urbanization and the moral failures of evangelicals will rank as top topics for the jamboree. Most of the attendees will come from the Global South, where they struggle with extreme poverty, epidemics, child mortality, and lack of clean drinking water, not to mention persecution by socialist or Islamist regimes. For these preachers representing hundreds of millions of evangelicals in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Global Warming is probably not the major issue.

But for wealthy and sometimes self-absorbed evangelicals in the West, climate change is a convenient issue with which to showcase global empathy and compassion at minimal cost to themselves. For most in the materially comfortable West, the activist Global Warming agenda calls for reduced consumption and ostensibly "sustainable" living. They envision such sacrifices as more bike riding, avoiding Styrofoam and paying a little more for electricity generated by earth friendly renewables rather than sinister carbon producing fossil fuels.

A thoroughly enacted Global Warming agenda for the impoverished billions of the Global South would carry a more dramatically severe cost. It would preclude any hope of electricity, refrigeration, central heating, air conditioning, or personal vehicles. So that wealthy Westerners could feel smug in their climate consciousness, hundreds of millions of Asians and Africans and Latins would have continue to live primitively in huts and shacks, with dung as their fuel source for heat and cooking, with mules and carts as their primary transportation, and with uninhibited exposure to the raw elements, virtually unimproved from a hundred generations before.

Such a grim future is hardly appealing for most of the world's population. This miserly message could hardly be successful for evangelicals aiming to share their Gospel with several billion people who have not yet heard it. Historically, evangelicals have proclaimed a message of economic and political progress. They traditionally saw Western Civilization as a product of Christianity, and they believed that technology and economic prosperity, if founded upon virtue and law, were the rightful companions of true religion. In other words, they offered hope.

The grim Malthusians who dominate the Global Warming movement, which now includes the Evangelical Left, believe that Western Civilization is a blight upon the planet. Its industries and engines for wealth creation are causes for remorse, not celebration. Atonement for the West's sins shall include sparing the rest of the world the benefits of Western, carbon-producing prosperity and technology. The world's poor would prefer to remain in their ostensible natural habitats, living organically, uncorrupted by the ease of running water or the nuisance of long life spans.

Global Warming's fervent adherents base all their demands on "science." A leading voice for persuading British and American evangelicals has been John Theodore Houghton, who has served with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and who teaches atmospheric physics at the University of Oxford. Himself a Christian, he spoke to the National Association of Evangelicals in the U.S. in 2005, where he preached the usual apocalyptic demand that the West must repent of its carbon producing sins.

"We, in the developed countries, have already benefited over many generations from abundant fossil fuel energy," Houghton told the American evangelicals. "There is already a strong tendency in the world for the rich to get even richer while the poor get poorer. The impacts of human induced climate change will tend to further bolster that trend." Global Warming alarmists like to broadcast concern for poor nations by claiming that Western fuel extravagance will precipitate famine, flood and disease in the Global South. Such alarmists never explain that their agenda demands that the world's poor largely abandon any hope of economic betterment, which the planet's atmosphere ostensibly cannot afford. Houghton naturally talked of transitioning to energy generated by tides, the sun, rivers and the wind, all very exciting prospects for Western environmentalists. But wind farms and solar panels, so appealing to green suburbanites in Colorado or Connecticut, probably will not meaningfully help many energy starved Congolese, Brazilians, Bangladeshis, or Chinese.

One of Houghton's chief disciples is Richard Cizik, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals, who recently told a Council on Foreign Relations conference call that climate change is possibly a "love letter" from God to awaken wicked humanity from the consequences of its "greed."

"I sort of think it's [climate change is] a love letter from God that says that if you're going to continue to live this way-pride, apathy, and greed-then you're going to have consequences," he discerned, prophetically. Enthusiastic about evangelicals embracing the Global Warming agenda, Cizik claimed: "[W]hat's happening in the religious community is nothing less than a renaissance; a spiritual transformation, I think, of significant proportions that's cutting across all faiths and denominations."

Cizik, like other true believers, sees Global Warming activism as a panacea. It "connects with everything else. Even the crash on Wall Street-I don't see how to solve some of these problems, economic and otherwise, without also bringing in the green issue. One of the ways saving the financial system is to. restore the climate and expand the green industry."

For the Evangelical Left, what used to be good news has become grim news. Perhaps at the 2010 gathering in Cape Town, more realistic Global South evangelicals will let their Western colleagues know about more pressing human concerns than the environmental hobbies of wealthy environmentalists in America and Europe.


Australia's proposed Warmist laws a big pain for little gain

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model of dangerous, human-caused climate change has failed. Independent science relevant to supposed human-caused global warming is clear, and can be summarised in four briefpoints.

* First, global temperature warmed slightly in the late 20th century and has been cooling since 2002. Neither the warming nor the cooling were of unusual rate or magnitude.

* Second, humans have an effect on local climate but, despite the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($70 billion) looking for it since 1990, no globally summed human effect has ever been measured. Therefore, any human signal must lie buried in the variability of the natural climate system.

* Third, we live on a dynamic planet; change occurs in Earth's geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans all the time and all over the world. No substantive evidence exists that modern rates of global environmental change (ice volume; sea level) lie outside historic natural bounds.

* Last, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, be it in Australia or worldwide, will likely result in no measurable change in future climate, because extra increments of atmospheric CO2 cause diminishing warming for each unit of increase; at most, a few tenths of a degree of extra warming would result from a completion of doubling of CO2 since pre-industrial times.

These facts notwithstanding, the Rudd Government is poised to introduce a CO2 taxation bill on doubly spurious grounds. It presumes, first, that dangerous warming caused by human emissions is occurring, or will shortly occur. And, second, that cuts to emissions will prevent significant amounts of future warming. There is, therefore, now a dramatic disjunction between scientific reality and the stranglehold that global warming alarmism has on planned Australian climate policy. Today's public views about climate change are based upon 20 years of promulgation of dangerous global warming by what has become a hugely powerful coalition of self-interested groups and agencies.

Beneficiaries of warming alarmism include individual scientists, managers of research centres, morally pretentious environmental non-government organisations, prestigious science academies and societies, bureaucrats from government greenhouse and climate agencies, big businesses poised for carbon trading (think Enron and Lehman Brothers), alternative energy providers, those in the media who remorselessly promulgate environmental alarm stories, and, last but not least, those uninformed politicians who seek political advantage from cynical exploitation of the public's fear of global warming.

The Australian Government does not possess a national climate policy; instead, it has an imaginary global warming policy, based on sub-prime science, sub-prime economics and sub-prime politics. In dealing with the certainties and uncertainties of real climate change, the key issues are prudent risk assessment and adaptive response. As is the case for other unpredictable and unpreventable natural planetary hazards, policy to deal with climate change should be based on adaptation to change as it happens, including the appropriate mitigation of undesirable socioeconomic and environmental effects. We therefore need, first, to monitor climate change accurately in an ongoing way; and, second, to respond and adapt to any changes -- including long-term warmings, the likely more damaging coolings, and severe weather or climatic events such as cyclones -- in the same way that government and voluntary disaster services now deal with hazardous natural events such as bushfires, droughts and floods.

The main certainty is that natural climate change and variation are going to continue, and that some manifestations -- droughts, storms and sea-level change, for example -- will be expensive to adapt to. Adaptation will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of Australia's energy economy in pursuit of the chimera of "stopping" an alleged dangerous human-caused global warming that can neither be demonstrated nor measured. In reality, too, our lack of understanding of all the climatic feedback loops is such that cutting CO2 emissions is as likely to "harm" as to "help" future climate.

New Zealand already has a national monitoring and response system in place for earthquake, volcanic and flood disasters (GeoNet). This is linked, appropriately, to a parallel compensation and insurance system that recompenses victims of natural disaster (the Earthquake Commission). Even if generous funding were to be provided in Australia towards a similar preparation for climatic disasters (of which drought and flood relief are part), the net cost would still be orders of magnitude less than will be engendered by a fundamentally misconceived emissions trading scheme. To boot, contingent damage to the economy, the standard of living and the world food supply would be avoided.

Attempting to "stop global warming" by limiting CO2 emissions is simply an arcadian fantasy, since making deep cuts to Australia's emissions would at best help to avert or delay warming by about a miniscule one-thousandth of a degree. Australia needs a national climate policy that is rooted in sound science, sensible precaution, prudent risk assessment, and efficient and effective disaster relief. Lacking all such elements, the Australian Government's global warming policy fails the basic test of duty to care for the citizenry.



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21 December, 2008

Is human activity preventing an Ice Age?

If so we should lock up Al Gore

Although humancaused global warming is potentially leading the world into ecological catastrophe, it may also be sparing us from one of the Earth's periodic ice ages, some researchers say. The claim, even if correct, by no means indicate global warming is good: its future effects are quite unknown, scientists say, whereas ice ages, while certainly unpleasant, at least have precedents.

But as a matter of scientific curiosity, it's worth noting that "increased glaciation... would probably be happening today" if humans weren't here, said John Kutzbach, a climate modeler at the University of WisconsinMadison. The theory is reminiscent of another recent piece of research, suggesting a bout of global warming may have kept Earth from totally freezing over hundreds of millions of years ago. Only now, researchers, say, something similar could be happening today.

The controversial ideafirst proposed by University of Virginia climatologist William F. Ruddimanis based on the contention that human-induced global warming started long before it's generally accepted to have begun.

The common wisdom is that the advent of the steam engine and the coalfueled industrial age two centuries ago marked the beginning of human influence on global climate. But Kutzbach and likeminded scientists contend it really started thousands of years ago with large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe. Although these processes would have been a much weaker influence on climate than industrial activity, their effect becomes important because of the longer time period involved, said Stephen Vavrus, a climatologist at the university.

Both ancient and modern global warming would have had the same source: the release into the atmosphere of so-called greenhouse gases that act like a blanket, trapping heat on Earth. Greenhouse gases would have taken the form of methane from terraced rice paddies in Asia and carbon dioxide from burning forests in Europe. The resulting warmer atmosphere would have heated the oceans, making them much less efficient storehouses of carbon dioxide, reinforcing global warming, according to Kutzbach and Vavrus.

The pair presented their research along with Gwena%lle Philippon of the Saclay Center of Studies in L'Orme des Merisiers, France, at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco Dec. 17. "No one disputes the large rate of increase in greenhouse gases with the Industrial Revolution," Kutzbach notes. "The large-scale burning of coal for industry has swamped everything else" in the record, he added.

But looking earlier, using climatic archives such as 850,000yearold ice from Antarctica, scientists are teasing out evidence of past greenhouse gases in the form of fossil air trapped in the ice, the group said. That ancient air, the researchers said, contains the signature of increased levels of atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide beginning thousands of years before the industrial age. "Between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago, both methane and carbon dioxide started an upward trend," explains Kutzbach.

Ice ages, or glacial periods, have occurred at regular 100,000year intervals during the last million years. Each period has been paced by regular and predictable changes in the orbit of the Earth known as Milankovitch cycles, a mechanism thought to kick start glacial cycles, Kutzbach and colleagues explained. "We're at a very favorable state right now for increased glaciation," said Kutzbach. "Nature is favoring it at this time in orbital cycles." Importantly, the new research underscores the key role of greenhouse gases in influencing Earth's climate, he added. Whereas decreasing greenhouse gases in the past helped initiate glaciations, the early agricultural and recent industrial increases in greenhouse gases may be forestalling them, say Kutzbach and Vavrus.


Australian farmers reject Warmism

They KNOW climate

Many farmers in central Victoria are sceptical that global warming is real, despite the scientific evidence and the world-wide push for a carbon trading scheme.

Hot air hitting the dusty road ahead of Tom Lucas' farm resembles a dirty big puddle, which pools across the dividing line. Far beyond Mr Lucas' stunted wheat crops, soaked by an ill-timed wash of summer rain, the Prime Minister is calling climate change "an inconvenient truth" we can no longer ignore. Eight in 10 Australians believe urgent action is needed to save the planet, according to polls, and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says Australians have "had enough of the denial and scepticism of the past".

But across the dry paddocks of central Victoria, they are not so sure. "I think it's rot," says Mr Lucas, 72, a mixed farmer north of Bendigo. He stretches his worn hands over a home-made rainfall graph, pointing to the regular cycles of peaks and troughs on his Bridgewater farm since 1962. "It'll be OK," he says. "I think when we go back to a cycle of a few good years, everybody will forget about climate change and say: 'What was all that about?"'

There is a city-country divide on global warming. The Government's carbon emissions trading scheme was denounced by environmentalists, who said that if it was adopted globally it would guarantee the loss of the Great Barrier Reef and the Kakadu wetlands. But out here, many farmers denounce "scaremongers" and ridicule activists such as former US vice-president Al Gore. A new qualitative study of 36 landholders in the north-central catchment area, north and south of Bendigo, found that about half did not believe climate change was real. Many landholders pointed to past droughts and wet periods as proof the current dry spell was part of a natural cycle.

"A lot of them are experiencing a change in the climate and are quite happy to talk about seasons of change - such as having more summer rain and less spring rain. But the term 'climate change' has such loaded meaning for them," says the study's co-ordinator, Dr Rik Thwaites, of Charles Sturt University's Institute for Land, Water and Society.

In Bridgewater, Mr Lucas' neighbour, Andrew Broad, who is vice-president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, likens climate change to the emperor's new clothes. The farmers' group says the Federal Government's new 5 per cent emissions reduction target, which exempts agriculture until 2015, will indirectly hurt farmers by raising costs such as energy. "For Kevin Rudd to say if we don't introduce a carbon trading scheme, the Great Barrier Reef will be bleached and Kakadu lost, and for the electorate to believe it, is surprising," he says. "In Australia, it's almost blind acceptance that this is happening."

At Bendigo's sheep sales, stock and station agent Luke Nevins says the divide between the big city and the bush on climate change is staggering. Bagshot sheep farmer John Vincent, 83 - who recalls how the 1940s' summer dust storms were so dense you couldn't see across the road - reckons the climate will right itself within a year. Newly married Ryan Doak, 23, who works his father's mixed farm in Axedale, east of Bendigo, has not lived nearly so long but is no less passionate. "There's been droughts for the past 150 years; it's just a part of life. I reckon climate change is bull----. I think there's too many greenies out there getting into the Government's ear."

Dr Thwaites says talk of a two-degree average warming across the globe has no meaning for farmers. "You've got to understand how conservative these people are, and that the political baggage of climate change over the years doesn't just melt away overnight. They look at their own patterns and own records and they can't see the trends - maybe because they don't want to see trends," he says. "One farmer told me, 'If I believed it wasn't going to get any better, I'd slash my wrists'. Some are being driven not to believe because they think it means things will get worse and worse, whereas the reality is there will continue to be wet and dry years. But the modelling of climate change suggests the dry years might be dryer and more common."

Non-believers were also more confident in their ability to adapt to a dry climate through techniques such as direct-drilling crops, reducing livestock numbers and growing fodder crops such as lucerne. "There are plenty of people who don't believe in climate change who have managed to respond quite well," says Dr Thwaites.

By the roadside at Dingee, north of Bendigo, grain grower Colin Falls says his philosophy is to "live like today is your last day but farm like you're gonna farm forever". He has switched to sowing fields of wheat and lucerne over more spring rain-dependent crops such as canola. Excess grain is stored within the tall silos he started installing in 2000, to keep stock in reserve for lean years. "I believe God created the earth and one day he's going to let it crash and burn," he says. "I don't think there's anything man can do to control the climate, but you can adapt to it." He gestures from one side of the road to the other. "Country people see it this side and city people see it this side, and there's got to be a balance in between. In the country you're more aware of the earth because it's more than concrete, roads, pollution and noise. Farming is about extremes. We are probably sceptical about climate change because we are used to adapting to seasonal conditions."

And yet, there are signs of change. Bridgewater mixed farmer Chris Pollock says blossoms have started reappearing on the yellow box trees throughout his 647 hectares. He believes the drought is part of a 50-year cycle and doubts humans are to blame for climate change, but admits "something is happening" that he can't explain. "If you asked me 10 years ago about climate change, I would have told you it was bunkum. Five years ago I would have said it was bull----." And now? "You can't say no, can you. I can't farm as I did 10 years ago when I was certain it was going to rain. I used to use the spring flush to finish the feeding of my lambs and now I can't, so I'm lambing earlier."

Climate change was the feature exhibit at this year's Elmore Field Days, north of Bendigo, complete with school kids offering to calculate visitors' carbon emissions at the door - until one farmer told a year 3 student to "f--- off".

Field days treasurer Frank Harney - who last week housed a new load of 10-week-old piglets in RSPCA-accredited eco-shelters next to his grain crops - says farmers should see the opportunities offered up by climate change, such as potentially earning credits by sequestering carbon in the soil or by planting trees. "There was one bloke on the field days committee who helped me put up the sign for the feature and he said, 'You know, I'm dead against this climate change'. And I said, 'It's not about climate change, it's about having an awareness of what's going on in the world around you," Mr Harney says. "They can argue the cyclical thing, but something has changed that's stretching the parameters. Let's accept that and be smart about it. Otherwise you might as well stick your head in the sand and park a bike up your arse."


Warmist laws completely unnecessary

Rather surprisingly, the article below appeared on the website of Australia's major public broadcaster

Rudd has failed to see through the vested interests that promote anthropogenic global warming (AGW), the theory that human emissions of carbon cause global warming. Though masquerading as "science based", the promoters of AGW have a medieval outlook and are in fact anti-science. Meanwhile carbon is innocent, and the political class is plunging ahead with making us poorer because they do not understand what science really is or what the real science is.

The Renaissance began when the absolute authority of the church and ancient texts was overthrown. Science then evolved as our most reliable method for acquiring knowledge, free of superstition and political authority. Suppose you wanted to know whether big cannonballs or small cannonballs fell faster. In medieval times you argued theoretically with what could be gleaned from the Bible, the works of Aristotle, or maybe a Papal announcement. In the Renaissance you ignored the authorities and simply dropped cannon balls from a tower and observed what happened - this was science, where empirical evidence trumps theory.

From 1975 to 2001 the global temperature trended up. How do you empirically determine the cause of this global warming? It turns out we can learn a lot simply by observing where the warming occurred: each possible cause of global warming heats the atmosphere differently, heating some parts before others. The pattern of warming is the cause's "signature".

The signature of an increased greenhouse effect consists of two features: a hotspot about 10 km up in the atmosphere over the tropics, and a combination of broad stratospheric cooling and broad tropospheric warming. The signature of ozone depletion consists just of the second feature. These signatures are theoretically derived by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and are integral to our understanding of how the atmosphere works. [1]

We have been observing temperatures in the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes - weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. The radiosonde measurements for 1979-1999 show broad stratospheric cooling and broad tropospheric warming, but they show no tropical hotspot. Not even a small one. [2]

Empirically, we therefore know that an increased greenhouse effect was not a significant cause of the recent global warming. (Either that or the signatures from the IPCC are wrong, so its climate models and predictions are rubbish anyway.)

Human carbon emissions were occurring at the time but the greenhouse effect did not increase. Therefore human carbon emissions did not increase the greenhouse effect, and did not cause global warming. So AGW is wrong, and carbon is innocent. Suspect exonerated - wrong signature.

Alarmist scientists (supporters of AGW) objected that the radiosonde thermometers were not accurate and maybe the hotspot was there but went undetected. But there were hundreds of radiosondes, so statistically this is unlikely. They have also suggested we ignore the radiosonde thermometers, and use the radiosonde wind measurements instead. When combined with a theory about wind shear they estimated the temperatures on their computers - and say that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hotspot. But thermometers are designed to measure temperature, so it's a bit of a stretch to claim that wind gauges are accidentally better at it. Serious alarmist scientists do not claim that the hotspot was found, only that we might have missed it. The obvious conclusion is that the hotspot was too weak to be easily detected. We cannot collect any more data from the past warming, and there is no sign of the hotspot in the data that was collected - so the occasional claims that appear on the Internet that the hotspot has been found are simply wrong. [3]

So can we tell from the observed warming pattern what did cause the global warming? Unfortunately we have little idea of the signatures of some of the suspects, such as cosmic rays or the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, so we cannot say except to note that ozone depletion was one of the causes.

Is there any observational evidence in favor of AGW? As of 2003, none at all.

The only supporting evidence for AGW was the old ice core data. The old ice core data, gathered from 1985, showed that in the past half million years, through several global warmings and coolings, the earth's temperature and atmospheric carbon levels rose and fell in lockstep. AGW was coming into vogue in the 1980s, so it was widely assumed that it was the carbon changes causing the temperature changes.

By the late 1990s ice core techniques had improved. In the old ice cores the data points were a few thousand years apart, but in the new ice core data they were only a few hundred years apart. In the early 1990s, New Scientist magazine anticipated that the higher-resolution data would seal the case for AGW.

But the opposite occurred. By 2003 it had been established to everyone's satisfaction that temperature changes preceded corresponding carbon changes by an average of 800 years: so temperature changes caused carbon changes - a warmer ocean supports more carbon in the atmosphere, after delays due to mixing. [4] So the ice core data no longer supported AGW. The alarmists failed to effectively notify the public.

After several prominent public claims by skeptics in 2008 that there is no evidence left for AGW, alarmist scientists offered only two points.

First, laboratory tests prove that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. But that observation tells us nothing about how much the global temperature changes if extra carbon enters the real, complicated atmosphere. Every emitted carbon atom raises the global temperature, but the missing hotspot shows that the effect is negligible.

Second, computer models. Computer models are just huge concatenations of calculations that, individually, could have been performed on a handheld calculator. They are theory, not evidence.

Governments have spent over $50 billion on climate research since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence for AGW. [5]

So if there is no evidence to support AGW, and the missing hotspot shows that AGW is wrong, why does most of the world still believe in AGW?

Part of the answer is that science changed direction after a large constituency of vested interests had invested in AGW. The old ice core data provided support from 1985, the IPCC was established by the UN in 1988 to look into human changes to climate, and the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997 to limit carbon emissions. By 1999 the western political class were doing something, the western media were rallying behind "saving the planet", and scientists were being paid by governments to research the effects of human-caused global warming.

But then the evidence took science off in a different direction: the new ice core data in 2003, the missing hotspot in 2007, and the global temperature has stopped trending up since 2001 [6]. Governments, the media, and many scientists did not notice.

The remainder of the answer for the current belief in AGW is darker and more political. An offbeat theory in the 1970s, AGW was adopted by a group of about 45 atmospheric modelers and physicists. That group dominated climate science journals, peer reviewed each others papers, and hindered competing ideas by underhand methods [7]. AGW gained political support from proponents of nuclear power, and vice-president Gore appointed AGW supporters to science positions in the USA.

AGW grabbed control of climate funding in key western countries. Lack of diversity in science funding has been a major problem since government took over funding science in WWII. Science is like a courtroom - protagonists put forward their best cases, and out of the argument some truth emerges. But if only one side is funded and heard, then truth tends not to emerge. This happened in climate science, which is almost completely government funded and has been dominated by AGW for two decades. Skeptics are mainly scientists who are retired or who have moved on to other areas - their funding no longer depends on allegiance to AGW. The alarmists are full time, well funded, and hog the megaphone.

AGW was always promoted as being supported by nearly all scientists (though polls and history do not support this). Counting numbers of supporters and creating a bandwagon effect by announcing you are in the majority is a political tactic.

AGW always advanced principally by political means; as a scientific theory it was always weak, and now the evidence contradicts it. It's like a return to medieval times, where authority rules and evidence is ignored. Notice how the proponents of AGW don't want to talk about evidence of the causes? Anything but evidence of cause - attack people's motives, someone else "has the evidence", theoretical models, evidence that global warming is occurring, how important they are, what credentials they have, how worthy they are, the dog ate my evidence, "the science is settled", polar bears, anything. Talking about the evidence of the cause of global warming does not advance their cause. Politics says AGW is correct; science says it is wrong.

Science demands evidence. Evidence trumps theory, no matter what the political authority of those promoting the theory, even if they dress up in lab coats and have job titles that say "scientist". The hotspot is missing and there is no evidence for AGW. The alarmists cannot ignore this and continue to play political games forever. They are entitled to argue the case for AGW, but they should also acknowledge the evidence and inform the political class that AGW appears to be wrong - even if it means risking their status and their jobs (and yes, we scientists are also people who have kids and mortgages).

There are two central lies in the political promotion of AGW.

The first appears in Gore's movie. He gave the old ice core data as the sole reason for believing AGW (the rest of the movie presents evidence that global warming occurred, a separate issue). He said that increases in carbon caused increases in temperature in the past warming events. But Gore made his movie in 2005, two years after the new ice core data had established the opposite! Gore's weasel words when he introduced that segment show he knew what he was about to say was false. Who would have believed his pitch if he added "and each temperature rise occurred 800 years before the corresponding rise in carbon that caused it"? [8]

The second lie is the hockey stick graph, which presented the last thousand years of global temperature as the flat handle of a hockey stick and the next hundred as the sharply rising blade [9]. The hockey stick graph was heavily promoted by the IPCC in 2001, and the IPCC even adopted it as its logo before it got discredited. It is significant because most non-scientist AGW supporters seem to believe some version of the hockey stick. When the IPCC "scientists" who produced the graph were asked to show their data for past temperatures, they refused (true scientists share data). But one of those scientists was a British academic and subject to the British Freedom of Information Act, and after two years of stonewalling all was revealed. It showed they had grossly skewed the data (even omitting inconvenient data to a folder labeled "Censored"), and that the computer program used to process the data had the hockey stick shape built into it - you could feed it stock market data instead of tree ring data and you would still get a hockey stick! In reality it was warmer in the Middle Ages than today, and there was a mini ice age around 1700 from which we have since been warming ever since. [10] Finally, the sharply rising blade of the hockey stick is contradicted so far by actual temperatures, which from 2001 to 2008 have been flat - something all of the climate models got wrong.

Among non-scientists, AGW appeals strongly to two groups. Those who support big government love the idea of carbon regulations - if you control carbon emissions then you control most human activity. And those who like to feel morally superior to the bulk of their fellow citizens by virtue of a belief (the "warm inner glow" and moral vanity of the politically correct) are firmly attached to AGW. These groups are politically adept, are planning to spend your money and tell you how to eat, travel and how to live, and they are strenuously avoiding the evidence.

The media has avoided presenting information that undermines AGW, until recently. Instead they promoted alarmism, and discredited skeptics as being in the pay of big oil - while giving a free pass to Gore, who made a movie based on an obvious lie then made millions selling carbon offsets. The media is very keen to present evidence that global warming is occurring, but have you noticed how quiet it is on evidence that carbon emissions caused it?

In 2007 almost no one in the west knew that the hotspot was missing, that there was no evidence for AGW, that temperatures had been flat for six years, that the hockey stick was a fraud, or that Al Gore lied when he gave the old ice core data as a reason for blaming carbon. But due to the Internet the public is gradually finding out anyway, which risks further discrediting many media outlets. Why buy a newspaper if it's not going to tell you the actual news?

And as the public become generally aware, what politician is going to risk being so ideologically stupid as to unnecessarily wreck the economy by slashing carbon emissions? Hmmm, Kevin Rudd?



The climate change summit may have ended in failure, but it showed rare unity of purpose between India and China which took on the industrialised world together at the closing moments of the climate summit here. The Indian position also received support from Pakistan. Knowing that developing countries had failed to get the industrialised world to part with even one extra percent of their profits from carbon trade, India started the note of dissent at the final session of the Dec 1-12 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Industrialised countries led by the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia and Russia had refused to part with the money sought by developing countries to help them cope with climate change effects. That had happened behind closed doors. Then the Indian delegation chose to make the matter public in a dramatic finale.

Prodipto Ghosh, member of the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, rose on a point of order in the final open session of the Conference of Parties (CoP) - which is held in the same way as a UN General Assembly session - and said: In the 12 CoPs I have been privileged to attend so far, this is one of the saddest moments I have witnessed. As CoP president and Poland's Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki fumbled with his response to Ghosh's impassioned speech, the Chinese delegate rose on one point of order after another, excitedly banging on his country's name plate with his pen, to support the Indian stand again and again, to oppose the supposedly-consensual conclusions reached by Nowicki. His manner made evident the extent to which developing countries were angry by what they saw as a cynical refusal to help on the part of industrialised countries that had put almost all excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in the first place. The excess is leading to climate change, which is already lowering farm output, leading to more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and raising the sea level, with developing countries bearing the brunt.

While the Chinese delegate kept objecting to Nowicki, delegates from Pakistan, Gabon, Colombia, the Maldives and a number of other developing countries came out into the open to strongly support the Indian position and take on the industrialised world.

The Colombian delegate was especially eloquent in his denunciation of industrialised countries, a surprise to most observers given the close ties between the governments of Colombia and the US. But the Poznan climate summit reiterated that over climate change virtually the entire developing world is together.

What was this divisive issue? Minutes before Ghosh's intervention, Nowicki had announced that an Adaptation Fund that would provide money to least developed countries (LDC) to cope with climate change effects had become operational at the Poznan summit. But the fund now has less than one percent of the money developing countries need to cope with climate change effects, as estimated by the UN Development Programme. Its funding comes from a two percent levy on money that industrialised countries make through carbon trading. Developing countries wanted to raise this two percent levy to three percent to help put more money into the Adaptation Fund. Industrialised countries refused.

Ghosh said the agreement fell apart for one, and one reason only. That is the refusal of some parties (countries) to experience the least loss of profits from trading in carbon. Let us look at why this refusal is tragic and painful, Ghosh told those of the over 3,000 delegates from 186 countries who were still left in the final plenary session. Even now, millions of poor people in developing countries are losing their homes, their livelihoods, and their lives from impacts of climate change. Most live in extreme privation at the best of times; climate change takes away their pitiable homes, hearths and bread.

We can all of us now see clearly what lies ahead at Copenhagen. Copenhagen will host the next summit in December 2009, by when the world is expected to conclude a fresh deal to combat climate change.

Nowicki said after the closing session here: I fully understand and support the feelings of disappointment expressed by some countries.



First there was the dotcom bust of the late 1990s, then came the real-estate bubble that's deflating before our eyes. Next up: the green bubble. Alternative energy ventures have received a lot of great press, heavy investment and lip service from politicians in the last couple of years, but many of the nascent green industry's balance sheets are beginning to bleed red.

Among the hardest hit is T. Boone Pickens and his alternative energy hedge fund BP Capital, which has reportedly lost some $2 billion. The Oklahoma oil tycoon who leased hundreds of thousands of acres in West Texas for a giant wind farm, has put that project on hold, saying he'll have to wait for fossil-fuel prices to rise again in order to make the project economically viable. Oil was at $48 a barrel this week, down from a peak of $147 in July. Another canary in the coal mine: the once soaring market for carbon credits in Europe has tanked, as manufacturing firms worldwide slow production. Even the once promising sector of corn ethanol has gone bust, with the American company VeraSun declaring bankruptcy in October and other publicly held ethanol companies reduced to penny stocks.

More here


Claims in a Government-commissioned report that wind power can supply a third of Britain's electricity have been condemned as wildly optimistic by leading experts. Researchers and parliamentarians warned that a heavy reliance on wind energy would place Britain's energy supplies at risk.

A report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), published last week, maintained that wind farms could play a major role in helping Britain cut its harmful carbon emissions by 34 per cent in 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050. It stated: "Despite the inherent intermittency of wind power supply, wind generation could make a significant contribution to total global electricity generation and be a major source of electricity in the UK (eg 30 per cent by 2020 and more beyond)."

The CCC, chaired by Lord Turner, the former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said that new techniques of energy storage would overcome the problem of maintaining a regular supply when the wind is not blowing. But sceptics say this is far too ambitious because experts have not yet been able to devise effective ways of capturing and storing electricity generated by wind. That means a backup system, in the form of nuclear or coal- or gas-fired power stations, would always be needed.

John Constable, director of policy and research at the Renewable Energy Foundation, a think tank, said: "To generate 30 or 40 per cent of our electrical energy from wind power would present unmanageable and unaffordable difficulties at the present. "The CCC's assertion to the contrary is simply out of step with the state of theoretical and empirical knowledge in the field. Betting on very heavy commitment to wind for carbon reduction is irrational and will result in the inevitable failure of our climate change policy. Wind has a role, but this role will be modest in scale."

A report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, published last month, also cast doubt on the merits of wind turbines.

More here

Warming threatens Christmas trees!

North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler and forestry observers are warning that climate change could alter the state's Christmas trees. Shuler and others scheduled a press conference Thursday to discuss the impact of climate change.

North Carolina's large growth of Fraser firs make the state a leader in Christmas tree production. This year, one of the state's Fraser firs is featured in the White House. The trees rely on the cool temperatures in the southern Appalachians, however. Environmental scientists say global warming could make it difficult for Fraser firs to continue growing in the state.

The Christmas tree industry accounts for over $100 million annually in western North Carolina.



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


20 December, 2008

Give us the money

An insightful email from a British reader below:

After forty years of listening to greenie scare stories, (even believing some of them at one time) I think I am starting to see a pattern emerging. It seems to start as:

Plan A: The Scam

We have identified an ecological disaster and HUMANS ARE TO BLAME. But if you pay us lots of money and do exactly what we say, we may be able to fix it in time.

For some inexplicable reason, this does not convince everyone, so we need:

Plan B: The Precautionary Principle

Well, even if we're wrong, you still ought to pay us lots of money and do exactly what we say.

For some inexplicable reason, this also does not convince everyone, so we need:

Plan C: The Tipping Point

OK. So nothing is happening and there isn't any evidence, but there will be soon if you don't PAY US THE MONEY!

This method seems to be a limp-wristed version of that used by Ronnie and Reggie in the East End of London many years ago, and was known then as extortion, or, "demanding money with menaces." (but now it is called "environmentalism." I suppose at least we have a longer word.) Although the Kray's methods seem to have been:

a. less verbose

b. arguably more cost-effective, and

c. they had the balls to do their own dirty work.

The greenie extortionists, having failed at plan C, exhort the legal authorities to silence the dissenters. And if that doesn't work they incite young, idealistic and naive people into acquiring a criminal record on their behalf. Maybe we should just say "BOO" to the greenies for a change. Being polite only lets them get away with it.

Science's Ordinary Magisterium

"Scientists have found two large leaks in Earth's magnetosphere, the region around our planet that shields us from severe solar storms," reports:
The leaks are defying many of scientists' previous ideas on how the interaction between Earth's magnetosphere and solar wind occurs: The leaks are in an unexpected location, let in solar particles in faster than expected and the whole interaction works in a manner that is completely the opposite of what scientists had thought.
Laymen may be confused by the notion of a scientific discovery "that is completely the opposite of what scientists had thought." After all, we keep reading that all scientists agree about global warming and no one may question it. Is science infallible or isn't it?

The answer is: It depends. Scientific teachings that are part of the "ordinary magisterium," such as those involving the interaction between Earth's magnetosphere and solar wind, are not infallible. But global warming is what scientists call an ex cathedra doctrine.


The mocking post by Taranto above is comparing Warmism to Catholicism. Catholics believe in the magisterium of the Pope, which includes the claim that the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals

Flawed Science Advice for Obama?

Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? Apparently not, judging by reports from DotEarth and ScienceInsider that Barack Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor on Saturday.

Dr. Holdren, now a physicist at Harvard, was one of the experts in natural resources whom Paul Ehrlich enlisted in his famous bet against the economist Julian Simon during20the "energy crisis of the 1980s. Dr. Simon, who disagreed with environmentalists' predictions of a new "age of scarcity" of natural resources, offered to bet that any natural resource would be cheaper at any date in the future. Dr. Ehrlich accepted the challenge and asked Dr. Holdren, then the co-director of the graduate program in energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, and another Berkeley professor, John Harte, for help in choosing which resources would become scarce.

In 1980 Dr. Holdren helped select five metals - chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten - and joined Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Harte in betting $1,000 that those metals would be more expensive ten years later. They turned out to be wrong on all five metals, and had to pay up when the bet came due in 1990.

Now, you could argue that anyone's entitled to a mistake, and that mistakes can be valuable if people learn to become open to ideas that conflict with their preconceptions and ideology. That could be a useful skill in an advisor who's supposed to be presenting the president with a wide range of views. Someone who'd seen how wrong environmentalists had been in ridiculing Dr. Simon's predictions could, in theory, become more open to dissenting from today's environmentalist orthodoxy. But I haven't seen much evidence of such open-mindedness in Dr. Holdren.

Consider what happened when a successor to Dr. Simon, Bjorn Lomborg, published "The Skeptical Environmentalist" in 2001. Dr. Holdren joined in an an extraordinary attack on the book in Scientific American - an attack that I thought did far more harm to the magazine's reputation than to Dr. Lomborg's. The Economist called the critique "strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance"; Dr. Lomborg's defenders said the critics made more mistakes in 11 pages than they were able to find in his 540-page book. (You can read Dr. Lomborg's rebuttal here.) In an earlier post, I wrote about Dr. Holdren's critique of the chapter on energy, in which Dr. Lomborg reviewed the history of energy scares and predicted there would not be dire shortages in the future:

Dr. Holdren began his critique by complaining that Dr. Lomborg was "asking the wrong question" because environmentalists had known for decades that there was no danger of energy being in short supply. This struck me as an odd bit of revisionist history, given both the "energy crisis" rhetoric of the 1970s and Dr. Holdren's own bet that resources would become more scarce. Then, in the rest of the critique, Dr. Holdren faulted Dr. Lomborg for not paying enough attention to the reasons that there could be future problems with energy supplies.

Dr. Holdren's resistance to dissenting views was also on display earlier this year in an article asserting that climate skeptics are "dangerous." (You can read about the response to that article at DotEarth.)

Dr. Holdren is certainly entitled to his views, but what concerns me is his tendency to conflate the science of climate change with prescriptions to cut greenhouse emissions. Even if most climate scientists agree on the anthropogenic causes of global warming, that doesn't imply that the best way to deal with the problem is through drastic cuts in greenhouse emissions. There are other ways to cope, and there's no "scientific consensus" on which path looks best.

Roger A. Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and the author of "The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics," discussed Dr. Holdren's conflation of science and politics in a post on the Prometheus blog:
The notion that science tells us what to do leads Holdren to appeal to authority to suggest that not only are his scientific views correct, but because his scientific views are correct, then so too are his political views.
At the Reason Hit & Run blog, Ronald Bailey reviews some of Dr. Holdren's work and notes that in a 1995 essay, he and his coauthors (Gretchen C. Daily and Dr. Ehrlich) "acknowledge ecological ignorance about the principles of economics, but don't express any urgency in learning about them."

At, the Competitive Enterprise Institute blog, Chris Horner criticizes the reported Holdren appointment and suggests that Dr. Holdren got in to the National Academy of Sciences through a "back door." What kind of White House science advisor you think Dr. Holdren would make?


A Glimpse Inside the Global Warming Controversy: Why You Need to Consider Both Sides

By Dr. William DiPuccio, a retired weather forecaster in the US Navy and former Meteorological Technician for the National Weather Service

"Do you believe in Global Warming?" I have often been asked this question by people with little or no scientific background. It seems like a simple question that demands a "yes" or "no" answer. But in reality it is a complex question that cannot be reduced to an unqualified "yea" or "nay". The intent of this paper is not to resolve this question by rallying evidence for or against Global Warming (as if that can be done in a few pages!), but rather to lay bare the complexity of the climate change issue. Those who come to appreciate this fact will likely agree that simple answers are not only bad education, but can lead to bad policies.

The controversy surrounding global warming is not centered so much on the increase in global temperature over the last 150 years, but on the primary cause of this increase-natural, human, or a combination of the two. The theory in question is called Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

There is actually more than one AGW theory, and they vary considerably as to the causes and extent of human induced climate change. The most prevalent model is based on projections from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is this version of the AGW hypothesis that has become the focus of so much controversy.

According the IPCC model, solar radiation that is absorbed by the earth's surface is reradiated and absorbed by atmospheric CO2 (and other trace greenhouse gases). This produces a slight warming in the troposphere which sets into motion a chain of events that will cause global temperature to rise by 2-6 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. Such an increase could have disastrous regional and even global effects (extreme heat, glacial melt, sea level rises, droughts, floods, powerful storms, etc.). In order to mitigate this potential danger, the emission of CO2 by industry and consumers must be vastly reduced by limiting the use of fossil fuels and/or sequestering CO2.

The IPCC's AGW hypothesis has not gone unchallenged in scientific journals. There are at least eight major issues where the data and/or the conclusions are being disputed in the scientific community with increasing frequency:

1. Reconstructing the Past: One of the challenges of climate science is to understand the causes of past climate change in order to isolate the fingerprint of CO2 warming. To do this, we must construct a reliable record of historical temperatures prior to the extensive use of fossil fuels. Since instrumental measurements were not widespread until c. 1850, climate scientists must use "proxies", such as tree rings, ice cores, and corals, to determine temperature. Unfortunately, proxies are not always precise. Some do not show a linear response to temperature change and many are sensitive to other factors in the environment (e.g., rainfall) which can lead to interpretive errors. Major disagreements surround the reconstruction of the medieval warm period, including the assertion by some scientists that recent temperatures are the highest they have been in thousands of years (the so-called "hockey stick" controversy).

It may come as a surprise to some that even the instrumental temperature record of the last 150 years is skewed. Though showing a general upward trend, part of the recorded increase in land based temperatures may be more apparent than real-caused by poor siting of climate stations and the growth of cities ("urban heat islands"). Adjusting the raw data to compensate for these artifacts is not an exact science, as shown by the differences in land based global temperature reported each month by the major data centers.

Since 1979, the use of satellite data has provided a more reliable and accurate determination of global temperatures. Unlike land based instruments, satellite temperatures include data from the worlds oceans as well as from remote areas that were previously inaccessible. But at least two more decades of satellite data are needed to establish long term climate trends.

2. Climate Sensitivity: Most scientists agree that if CO2 is doubled by the end of the century, it can only account for a .3 to 1.2 degree C rise in temperature, acting alone. The rest depends on whether the climate amplifies (+ feedback) or diminishes (- feedback) this forcing. Therein lies the real dispute and that's where the hypothesis starts to run thin. Climate sensitivity is based on many complex interactions that are not fully understood. A number of these interactions are discussed in the paragraphs which follow.

3. Water Vapor: This is actually the largest greenhouse gas by far, and will ultimately determine whether the atmosphere amplifies or diminishes CO2 radiative forcing. Unfortunately, it is also one of the least understood components. The extent, type, opacity, and height of cloud cover that develops in response to CO2 forcing can make or break the IPCC's AGW hypothesis (e.g., a 1% error in cloud cover equals 5 million square kilometers of clouds over the earth's surface). Some clouds enhance warming by trapping heat, others prevent warming by blocking sunshine. There are no physical equations for predicting this as of yet.

As research scientist Roy Spencer has pointed out, there are still open questions about cause and effect. According to the IPCC, changes in cloud cover will amplify CO2 radiative forcing (+ feedback). But there are many other factors, unrelated to CO2 forcing, which can influence cloud formation (e.g., ocean temperature fluctuations). It may be that these unrelated changes in cloud cover are actually a primary cause of warming and not an effect of CO2 forcing. By erroneously attributing changes in cloud cover to CO2 forcing, the climate system will appear more sensitive than it really is. More research is needed to untangle this problem.

4. The Oceans: Our understanding of the ocean-climate connection is still emerging. Studies have intensified, thanks in part to this controversy. We now know that oceans undergo decadal and multi-decadal oscillations due to salinity and temperature gradients (and, perhaps, solar and gravitational cycles). There is a high degree of correlation between these oscillations and global temperature. According to climate specialist Joseph D'Aleo, this correlation has been known for years, but it is largely ignored by IPCC climate models.

Since water has a much higher specific heat than air (4x), some scientists suggest that global temperature cannot be measured by surface stations alone, but must include the enormous heat capacity of the oceans. Recent cooling in the upper layers of the ocean (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) implies a loss of heat in the climate system rather an increase. Computer climate models have not yet caught up to this science. In the end we may discover that the oceans, not CO2, are the real climate drivers.

5. The Role of CO2: IPCC climate models assume that an increase in CO2 will be followed by a rise in global temperature. This assumption is based on a well known physical constant: the absorption of energy at different wavelengths by CO2. But the cause and effect relationship of CO2 to the climate system may not be that simple. The IPCC acknowledges that, based on ice core samples over the past 420,000 years, CO2 increases followed temperature increases by centuries (other paleoclimate studies have confirmed this relationship elsewhere). As the oceans (and soil) warm, CO2 escapes (outgassing) much like the gas escaping from soda pop left on the kitchen counter. This may explain why fluctuations in CO2 levels occurred even prior to the industrial era.

The current increase in average global temperature since the mid nineteenth century began decades before CO2 levels started to rise dramatically due to industrialization (around 1940). During the twentieth century, global temperatures fell from the 1940's to the 1970's, as CO2 continued to rise. Some scientists speculate that this negative correlation to temperature may have been caused by sulfur emissions (sulfur crystals reflect sunlight). But it may also suggest that the relationship of CO2 to climate change is more complex than climate modelers assume. Temperatures have been flat, even slightly down, over the last decade as CO2 levels continue to rise.

Finally, there are disagreements surrounding the residence time of CO2-i.e., how long it remains in the atmosphere before being absorbed. Does it continue to accumulate for centuries as some scientists contend, or is it absorbed more rapidly by "sinks" such as vegetation (which thrive on increased CO2 levels) and oceans as suggested by some data?

6. The Sun: Temperatures have been slowly rising since the end of the Little Ice Age which ran from ~1600 to ~1850. This cold period was marked by a quiet sun with very low sunspot counts (Maunder Minimum and Dalton Minimum). A number of solar scientists believe that even slight fluctuations in the sun's irradiance can precipitate significant climate changes even though the mechanisms involved are not well understood. Attempts to correlate solar irradiance to climate change are being proposed and tested at different levels, including its influence on the ozone layer and the possible role of cosmic rays in cloud nucleation (CERN's CLOUD Project).

The IPCC has thus far rejected the use of solar correlation because the physics are not well understood. But, do you have to understand the complexities of atmospheric pressure in order to use a barometer? There is no doubt that solar fluctuations have played a role in past climate changes and will continue to do so. Some solar scientists are now suggesting that the sun may be entering another minimum which could bring about a protracted stagnation or decrease in global temperatures.

7. Falsifiability: Skeptics of the IPCC's AGW hypothesis claim that proponents of the theory have failed to adequately separate natural and manmade climate signals. Consequently global warming is cited as a cause for phenomena that may lie within the envelope of natural variability (e.g., glacial melt, hurricanes, even heavy snows!, etc.). What changes in climate would falsify the IPCC's AGW theory? Do we have to wait until the end of the century? All climate scientists agree that the recent flattening and decline in global temperature over the last decade is due to natural variability. Though this decline was not anticipated by climate models, IPCC supporters are confident that warming will resume in the next decade or so.

But, as climate scientist Roger Pielke Sr. has observed, it seems that no matter what changes take place in weather or climate-i.e., extreme heat or extreme cold-they are said to verify the IPCC's hypothesis. Consequently there can be no falsifying evidence against it, at least not on a decadal scale. Scientists like Pielke (who believes that humans are altering climate, but not primarily through CO2) are asking for specific, quantitative criteria that will allow us to prove or falsify the theory on a decadal scale rather than pushing this question into the indefinite future. Part of the urgency stems from the influence the IPCC is having on public policy. Policymakers need reliable information, especially when billions of dollars are at stake.

8. Computer Modeling: There are two basic modeling systems for climate prediction: Dynamical and Statistical. The latter bases predictions on long-term statistical trends and historical analogs (i.e., pattern repetition). The former calculates atmospheric parameters at different grid points around the globe using physical equations. Essentially it is a 3D mathematical model of the atmosphere. Some models use a combination of these methods. IPCC projections of global warming are based almost entirely on dynamical modeling.

The main dispute centers on the shortcomings of these dynamical models. AGW is so complex-intertwining ocean and land temperatures, ocean currents and oscillations, changes in the cryosphere, biosphere, solar irradiance, aerosols, cloud formation, CO2 levels, etc.-that some statisticians and climate scientists believe the level of confidence with which the IPCC puts forth its projections (90-95%) are entirely unjustified. There are no physical equations for some of the key parameters (e.g., extent and type cloud formation) and the models do not take into account oceanic and solar oscillations (though this is being improved). Indeed, many aspects of climate sensitivity are not derived as an output from the model's physical equations. Rather, they are an input by the modelers and represent their best guess (parameterization). The model's projections, then, will reflect the bias of the modeler (typically tilted toward higher sensitivity). Though computer modeling appears promising at first glance, the skill of such models in projecting global and regional climate over decades may be worthless, if not misleading.

Some critics of the dynamical modeling approach also point out that in operational meteorology, dynamic models (used by the National Weather Service to make our daily forecasts) break down in less than 10 days even though they are "initialized" using thousands of current observations at every level of the atmosphere. As Edward Lorenz (1963) and F. Giorgi (2005) concluded regarding complex, non-linear systems, it is not possible to reliably model even simple parameters over a long period of time, in an open, chaotic system like the atmosphere.

Finally, there is the larger methodological question about the way computer models are used in climate science. The notion, held by some climate scientists, that computer simulations can test the validity of a hypothesis is not scientifically sound. The computer simulation IS the hypothesis, and it must be validated against real world data. Without adequate data input, the use of such models constitutes circular reasoning.


Many proponents of the IPCC's AGW hypothesis consider the evidence for their theory incontrovertible and view it as "settled science." They reject all skepticism as mere denial, and appeal to the consensus of the climate science community against the "deniers." There are, of course, crackpots on both sides of the issue who receive frequent attention from the media. However, the "skeptics" are by no means without credentials. They are former NASA scientists, university professors, physicists, climatologists, and National Academy of Science researchers, who are highly respected in their fields.

The media coverage of this issue might lead one to believe that the debate is over. But, papers and articles continue to be published by recognized scientists and authors like Roy Spencer, Roger Pielke Sr., Richard Lindzen, Douglas Hoyt, William Cotton, Robert Carter, and Willie Soon. These scientists maintain that (1) many of the projections put forth by the IPCC lack adequate scientific support; (2) too much emphasis has been placed upon the role of CO2; (3) the level of confidence in computer modeling is misplaced; and (4) the IPCC has overemphasized the anthropogenic contribution to climate change by underrating natural fluctuations in climate, some of which are not yet fully understood.

Scientists who disagree with the IPCC's science do not necessarily rule out an anthropogenic contribution to climate change. What they do oppose, however, is reducing a complex problem like climate change to one primary forcing agent, namely, CO2. According to the National Academy of Science, other types of human activity such as land use changes (e.g., deforestation, urbanization) and aerosol pollution (e.g., soot, sulfur, etc.) may contribute significantly to human induced climate change, especially on a regional basis. The IPCC has largely ignored these factors. There is a wide range of opinions on the long distance effects of such regional forcings (teleconnections), and how much overall impact they have on global climate. Much more data would be needed in order to answer these questions. Nevertheless, these types of human activity demand very different intervention strategies than we are pursuing at present, with the reduction and sequestration of CO2 emissions.

In my view, the IPCC's AGW hypothesis provides a foundation upon which a more complex model of climate change can be built. In the meantime, we should be cautious about placing our faith in climate models that vastly oversimplify the actual climate system. Supporting evidence for the IPCC's projections does not warrant the high level (90%-95%) of confidence exhibited by its authors. Much less should these projections be used, at this point, for making public policy decisions. Though the latest IPCC report (2007) concludes that global warming, due to increased CO2, is a virtual certainty, the authors themselves raise fundamental doubts about our scientific understanding of radiative forcing agents and climate change, both past and present.

Why this confidence, then, in the IPCC's AGW hypothesis? Just as many IPCC defenders accuse skeptics of receiving funding from big oil, so skeptics assert that the rush to go public was driven by scientists and administrators who are either committed to environmentalist ideologies or have direct ties to environmental groups. Consequently, the power of the IPCC's projections to influence public policy has, in turn, energized and funded environmentalism. This funding includes large government and corporate grants on AGW research, and enormous spending on the reduction of carbon emissions.

Regardless of motives or incentives on either side, it is clear that crucial aspects of the anthropogenic global warming theory are still in a state of flux. Someone sounded the alarm too soon and policy has outrun scientific certitude. Those who question the IPCC hypothesis may be in a minority (albeit a growing minority), but science is not a democracy. Controversies are settled by facts, not by votes. As the history of science has shown, the majority are not always right.

In the mean time, the media will continue to hype this issue, focusing on the most sensational statements and events. Apocalyptic views, like those of Al Gore and James Hansen (NASA), have dominated the public discussion and classroom education. Yet, these views do not even represent the IPCC's projections, which are far more conservative and a lot less theatrical. Of course, alternate models of climate change are not even considered. This one sidedness only proves how desperately good education is needed on this issue.


CNN Meteorologist: Manmade Global Warming Theory 'Arrogant'

Network's second meteorologist to challenge notion man can alter climate.

Unprecedented snow in Las Vegas has some scratching their heads - how can there be global warming with this unusual winter weather? CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers had never bought into the notion that man can alter the climate and the Vegas snowstorm didn't impact his opinion. Myers, an American Meteorological Society certified meteorologist, explained on CNN's Dec. 18 "Lou Dobbs Tonight" that the whole idea is arrogant and mankind was in danger of dying from other natural events more so than global warming. "You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant," Myers said. "Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big - I think we're going to die from a lack of fresh water or we're going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure."

Myers is the second CNN meteorologist to challenge the global warming conventions common in the media. He also said trying to determine patterns occurring in the climate would be difficult based on such a short span. "But this is like, you know you said - in your career - my career has been 22 years long," Myers said. "That's a good career in TV, but talking about climate - it's like having a car for three days and saying, `This is a great car.' Well, yeah - it was for three days, but maybe in days five, six and seven it won't be so good. And that's what we're doing here." "We have 100 years worth of data, not millions of years that the world's been around," Myers continued.

Dr. Jay Lehr, an expert on environmental policy, told "Lou Dobbs Tonight" viewers you can detect subtle patterns over recorded history, but that dates back to the 13th Century: "If we go back really, in recorded human history, in the 13th Century, we were probably 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than we are now and it was a very prosperous time for mankind," Lehr said. "If go back to the Revolutionary War 300 years ago, it was very, very cold. We've been warming out of that cold spell from the Revolutionary War period and now we're back into a cooling cycle."

Lehr suggested the earth is presently entering a cooling cycle - a result of nature, not man. "The last 10 years have been quite cool," Lehr continued. "And right now, I think we're going into cooling rather than warming and that should be a much greater concern for humankind. But, all we can do is adapt. It is the sun that does it, not man." Lehr is a senior fellow and science director of20The Heartland Institute, an organization that will be holding the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change in New York March 8-10.

Another CNN meteorologist attacked the concept that man is somehow responsible for changes in climate last year. Rob Marciano charged Al Gore's 2006 movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," had some inaccuracies. "There are definitely some inaccuracies," Marciano said during the Oct. 4, 2007 broadcast of CNN's "American Morning." "The biggest thing I have a problem with is this implication that Katrina was caused by global warming."

Marciano also said that, "global warming does not conclusively cause stronger hurricanes like we've seen," pointing out th at "by the end of this century we might get about a 5 percent increase." His comments drew a strong response and he recanted the next day saying "the globe is getting warmer and humans are the likely the main cause of it."


The Cap and Trade Fraud

The buying, selling, and trading of carbon credits will not remove one molecule of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The big buzz in the political world is "cap and trade." What is cap and trade and where did this idea come from? The cap and trade concept came from the UN's Kyoto Protocols. Cap and trade is based on the flawed premise that anthropogenic activities (humans) are causing global warming by increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The American Physical Society (APS), which represents nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its previous position on climate change. APS editor Jeffrey Marque said, "There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the ICCP (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution." The UN IPCC computer modeling contains numerous exaggerations and extensive errors which led to the global warming hoax.

Virtually all human activities (work and play) result in the release of CO2. A cap and trade scheme would limit the release of CO2 that countries, corporations, and individuals could emit. Those that exceed this arbitrary carbon cap would be required to buy or trade a carbon credit from a country, corporation or individual that did not exceed the arbitrary cap. A carbon credit is a permit that allows a country, corporation, or an individual to emit a specified amount of carbon dioxide. These credits are bought and sold on carbon trading markets just like stocks. Contrary to stocks that have an actual value, the value of carbon credits is artificially created by governments for the sole purpose of generating income from a commodity that has no actual value. In a free market economy no one in their right mind would pay good money for a commodity that has no value without government coercion.

The buying, selling, and trading of carbon credits will not remove one molecule of CO2 from the atmosphere. But, the purpose is not to eliminate CO2, it is to generate income for the government, redistribute wealth, and control the people. Yet Obama said, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it - whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers."

According to the Congressional Budget Office this new energy tax will cost businesses and individuals trillions of dollars. In addition, legislative analysts have predicted that millions of jobs will be lost if legislation implementing the cap and trade proposal is passed. Once these schemes are allowed, the government will be able to regulate and control all carbon emissions. This will give the government complete control over travel, lifestyle and whatever businesses and citizens consume and produce. This is the change Obama desires.

Cap and trade advocates chose the Hegelian Dialectic to sell this draconian plan. Georg Hegel's theory of the dialectic was used by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels to sell their economic theory of Communism. The Hegelian Dialectic is used to guide thoughts and actions that lead to a predetermined solution. Here is how it's done:

First, create a problem of monumental proportions.

Second, stir up hysteria by every means possible.

Third, when people hysterically demand a solution to the contrived problem, offer predetermined solutions that will take away rights, cost considerable money, and put more power in the hands of the power-grabbing bureaucrats.

Global warming zealots are using the Hegelian Dialectic to push their environmental agenda to the detriment of the American people. People are being brainwashed into believing the planet is being threatened by global warming. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even claims that she was elected to "save the planet." Al Gore, the self-appointed high priest of global warming, lectures everyone to reduce their energy consumption. But don't be fooled. Neither Peolsi nor Gore walks the walk. Both are multi-millionaires who live in energy-gobbling mansions.

These elitist Liberals want to re-create a serf/royalty society, with liberals representing the royalty class. You will know when this global warming hype is for real when Gore, Pelosi, and their ilk give up the amenities of the "rich and famous" and live in 1,600 sq. ft. houses, fly coach, and use mass transit. Until then, their hot air is the cause of global warming. Every aspect of your life will be adversely affected if our politicians are allowed to implement any of these fraudulent cap and trade schemes.



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


19 December, 2008


An email from Wendell Krossa [] to Benny Peiser:

Thanks for the good reporting on issues related to the climate alarm. Bibi van der Zee (Time to give up on saving the planet) expressed well much of the grassroots perspective on all this doom that has been beaten into public consciousness so relentlessly over the past few decades. I would suggest to Bibi that a good antidote to such depressing alarmism is to refresh one's grip on the brilliant insights of Julian Simon re short term setbacks, downturns ("blips") and long-term trends.

Simon outlined many of those long term trends in the book Its Getting Better All The Time, as well as in Ultimate Resource. Bjorn Lomberg and Indur Goklany, among others, have done similar work in their books Skeptical Environmentalist and The Improving State of the World. Focusing on these trends helps in grasping the overall trajectory of life and civilization and the most fundamental fact that life and civilization exhibit irreversible rise and progress over the long term.

This information is valuable in shaping one's basic worldview with the hopefulness that whatever problems we encounter in our era, we have the resources (intellectual, material) to solve the problems and continue the rise and progress of life. Our track record has been good so far and there is no evidence that things are any different now than in the past (Bill Rees- ecological footprint originator- has argued that we are in a unique situation now with a much larger world population and fewer natural resources than at any time in the past, but the man is a committed apocalyptic specialist who scours the world for evidence of decline and collapse and thereby distorts the true state of life).

Apocalyptic operates today in an insane self-reinforcing cycle. Someone- usually some authority figure such as a scientist or environmental NGO spokesperson- starts a scare with some comment that expresses more junk science than rationality. These comments may be in reference to some setback or unnatural event often taken out of its long-term context. The media then pick up on these comments, liberally spicing reporting with extremist and fear-engendering language to upgrade the sense of panic and looming disaster in order to capture public attention. Note the repeated use of words in headlines such as crisis, peril, threat, catastrophe, cataclysm, meltdown, alarming, and so on (media sociologist David Altheide refers to this use of alarmist language in Creating Fear). Polling organizations then take the public pulse and report back statistical levels of public fear and worry.

The political elites then take the polling results as evidence of public support for more interventionist policies which further weaken economies and, along with other unintended consequences, tend to do more damage than good in the area the fear has focused attention on (of recent note here was, for instance, the rush into biofuels based on global warming alarmism and the consequences of rising food prices which hurt the poorest most). Polices enacted in response to public panic are usually costly and damaging to public good. Another instance would be here in Canada where we are facing mounting pressure to take huge sums of money and just basically throw it to the wind in a desperate attempt to "stimulate the economy" (Keynesianism revived).

Perhaps the worst impact from all this irresponsible scare-mongering is the frightening of the general population that may not have informed themselves as to more detailed evidence regarding any given issue that the alarmists are highlighting. Frightened people are more easily manipulated by politicians and less inclined to fully engage life and progress (for instance, less inclined to support important new technology such as GM food research- e.g. Europe).

If I could contact Bibi I would tell her to take a short break and read someone like Simon. Good factual information on the long-term trends will dispel the doom she may be feeling over all this endless media-generated alarmism over short-term reversals, downturns, or aberrational events in longer-term trends. Remember, as David Altheide noted, the media are not truth-seekers but entertainers competing with the movie industry for audience. And fear is the primary tool they employ to generate audience response. Just watch someone like Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer at work.

This may be the greatest battle that humanity is facing at present- the fight against the despair and hopelessness generated by the distorting apocalyptic view of reality. The endless repetition of such a view in public reinforces a perverse narrative about life, deepens gloom, and weakens the ability of people to engage life positively and fully.


Malaria today is most common in tropical countries so Greenie "scientists" assume that it is a warm-climate phenomenon and predict that global warming will spread it into Europe and the United States. Below are some excerpts from an academic journal specializing in malaria studies which show that malaria is NOT limited by climate and that epidemics of it have been known as far North as Finland. So it is not climate that limits malaria but public health measures. Climate is irrelevant. Note that what is true of malaria should also be true of other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and Ross river virus

Global warming and malaria: knowing the horse before hitching the cart

By Paul Reiter


Speculations on the potential impact of climate change on human health frequently focus on malaria. Predictions are common that in the coming decades, tens - even hundreds - of millions more cases will occur in regions where the disease is already present, and that transmission will extend to higher latitudes and altitudes. Such predictions, sometimes supported by simple models, are persuasive because they are intuitive, but they sidestep factors that are key to the transmission and epidemiology of the disease: the ecology and behaviour of both humans and vectors, and the immunity of the human population. A holistic view of the natural history of the disease, in the context of these factors and in the precise setting where it is transmitted, is the only valid starting point for assessing the likely significance of future changes in climate.

Common misconceptions

There is a widespread misconception that mosquito-borne diseases require tropical temperatures, or at least the temperatures of the warmer temperate regions. A glance at a map of global isotherms reveals that summer temperatures in many temperate regions are at least as high as in the warmest seasons of many regions in the tropics. The crucial difference is that the tropics do not have cold winters. Moreover, if tropical mosquito-borne pathogens are introduced to temperate regions in the right season, they can be transmitted, if suitable vectors are present

In Lapland, in the past, anopheline species survived the winter in houses and stables, feeding occasionally, and transmitting malaria when outdoor temperatures were below -40°C. These examples underline the limited value of meteorological variables as a guide to the behaviour and geographic range of vector species, and of the pathogens they transmit. Few people are aware that it is less than forty years since the final eradication of malaria in Europe and the United States. Indeed, the disease was common in the period from the 16th to 18th centuries that climatologists term the Little Ice Age and data from burial records around the Thames estuary reveal that mortality in "marsh parishes" of England was comparable to that in areas of transmission in sub-Saharan Africa today

Until the mid-19th century, the northern limit of transmission was roughly defined by the present 15°C July isotherm. Denmark and parts of Sweden suffered devastating epidemics until the 1860s. Incidence diminished thereafter and the disease had essentially disappeared around the turn of the 20th Century. The same was true in Finland, except for a brief recrudescence in 1941, during the Russo-Finnish war.


Simplistic reasoning on the future prevalence of malaria is ill-founded; malaria is not limited by climate in most temperate regions, nor in the tropics, and in nearly all cases, "new" malaria at high altitudes is well below the maximum altitudinal limits for transmission. Future changes in climate may alter the prevalence and incidence of the disease, but obsessive emphasis on "global warming" as a dominant parameter is indefensible; the principal determinants are linked to ecological and societal change, politics and economics. There is a critical need for cheap, effective control campaigns, as were implemented during the DDT era. A creative and organized search for new strategies, perhaps based on new technologies, is urgently required, irrespective of future climate change.

Malaria Journal 2008, 7(Suppl 1)

Top 10 dud climate predictions

By Andrew Bolt

Global warming preachers have had a shocking 2008. So many of their predictions this year went splat. Here's their problem: they've been scaring us for so long that it's now possible to check if things are turning out as hot as they warned. And good news! I bring you Christmas cheer - the top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year. Read, so you can end 2008 with optimism, knowing this Christmas won't be the last for you, the planet or even the polar bears.


Tim Flannery, an expert in bones, has made a fortune from books and lectures warning that we face global warming doom. He scared us so well that we last year made him Australian of the Year. In March, Flannery said: "The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009." In fact, Adelaide's reservoirs are now 75 per cent full, just weeks from 2009.

In June last year, Flannery warned Brisbane's "water supplies are so low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months". In fact, 18 months later, its dams are 46 per cent full after Brisbane's wettest spring in 27 years.

In 2005, Flannery predicted Sydney's dams could be dry in just two years. In fact, three years later its dams are 63 per cent full, not least because June last year was its wettest since 1951.

In 2004, Flannery said global warming would cause such droughts that "there is a fair chance Perth will be the 21st century's first ghost metropolis". In fact, Perth now has the lowest water restrictions of any state capital, thanks to its desalination plant and dams that are 40 per cent full after the city's wettest November in 17 years.

Lesson: This truly is a land "of drought and flooding rains". Distrust a professional panic merchant who predicts the first but ignores the second.


PROFESSOR Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, of Queensland University, is Australia's most quoted reef expert. He's advised business, green and government groups, and won our rich Eureka Prize for scares about our reef. He's chaired a $20 million global warming study of the World Bank. In 1999, Hoegh-Guldberg warned that the Great Barrier Reef was under pressure from global warming, and much of it had turned white. In fact, he later admitted the reef had made a "surprising" recovery.

In 2006, he warned high temperatures meant "between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland's great Barrier Reef could die within a month". In fact, he later admitted this bleaching had "a minimal impact".

In 2007, he warned that temperature changes of the kind caused by global warming were again bleaching the reef. In fact, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network last week said there had been no big damage to the reef caused by climate change in the four years since its last report, and veteran diver Ben Cropp said this week that in 50 years he'd seen none at all.

Lesson: Reefs adapt, like so much of nature. Learn again that scares make big headlines and bigger careers.


In April this year, the papers were full of warnings the Arctic ice could all melt. "We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time," claimed Dr David Barber, of Manitoba University, ignoring the many earlier times the Pole has been ice free. "It's hard to see how the system may bounce back (this year)," fretted Dr Ignatius Rigor, of Washington University's polar science centre. Tim Flannery also warned "this may be the Arctic's first ice-free year", and the ABC and Age got reporter Marian Wilkinson to go stare at the ice and wail: "Here you can see climate change happening before your eyes."

In fact, the Arctic's ice cover this year was almost 10 per cent above last year's great low, and has refrozen rapidly since. Meanwhile, sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing. Been told either cool fact? Yet Barber is again in the news this month, predicting an ice-free Arctic now in six years. Did anyone ask him how he got his last prediction wrong?

Lesson: The media prefers hot scares to cool truths. And it rarely holds its pet scaremongers to account.


Al Gore sold his scary global warming film, An Inconvenient Truth, shown in almost every school in the country, with a poster of a terrible hurricane. Former US president Bill Clinton later gloated: "It is now generally recognised that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming. . . It's going to lead to more hurricanes." In fact, there is still no proof of a link between any warming and hurricanes. Australia is actually getting fewer cyclones, and last month researchers at Florida State University concluded that the 2007 and 2008 hurricane seasons had the least tropical activity in the Northern Hemisphere in 30 years.

Lesson: Beware of politicians riding the warming bandwagon.


Ross Garnaut, a professor of economics, is the guru behind the Rudd Government's global warming policies. He this year defended the ugly curved steel roof he'd planned at the rear of his city property, telling angry locals he was protecting himself from climate change: "Severe and more frequent hailstones will be a feature of this change," he said. In fact, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits "decreases in hail frequency are simulated for Melbourne. . ."

Lesson: Beware also of government advisers on that warming wagon.


A bad ski season three years ago - right after a great one - had The Age and other alarmists blaming global warming. The CSIRO, once our top science body, fanned the fear by claiming resorts such as Mt Hotham and Mt Buller could lose a quarter of their snow by 2020. In fact, this year was another boom one for skiing, with Mt Hotham and Mt Buller covered in snow five weeks before the season started.

What's more, a study this year in the Hydrological Sciences Journal checked six climate models, including one used by the CSIRO. It found they couldn't even predict the regional climate we'd had already: "Local model projections cannot be credible . . ." It also confirmed the finding of a study last year in the International Journal of Climatology that the 22 most cited global warming models could not "accurately explain the (global) climate from the recent past". As for predicting the future. . .

Lesson: The CSIRO's scary predictions are near worthless.


The CSIRO last year claimed Perth was "particularly vulnerable" and had a 90 per cent chance of getting less rain and higher temperatures. "There are not many other parts of the world where the IPCC has made a prediction that a drop in rainfall is highly likely," it said. In fact, Perth has just had its coldest and wettest November since 1991.

Lesson: As I said, don't trust the CSIRO's model or its warnings.


The seas will rise up to 100m by 2100, claims ABC Science Show host Robyn Williams. Six metres, suggests Al Gore. So let's take in "climate refugees" from low-lying Tuvalu, says federal Labor. And ban coastal development, says the Brumby Government. In fact, while the seas have slowly risen since the last ice age, before man got gassy, they've stopped rising for the last two, according to data from the Jason-1 satellite. "There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rises," the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute declared last month.

Lesson: Trust the data, not the politicians.


The British Met Office is home to the Hadley Centre, one of the top centres of the man-made global warming faith. In April it predicted: "The coming summer is expected to be a 'typical British summer'. . ." In fact, in August it admitted: "(This) summer . . . has been one of the wettest on record across the UK." In September it predicted: "The coming winter (is) likely to be milder than average." In fact, winter has been so cold that London had its first October snow in 74 years -- and on the day Parliament voted to fight "global warming".

Lesson: If the Met can't predict the weather three months out, what can it know of the climate 100 years hence?


Speaking of the Met, it has so far predicted 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007 would be the world's hottest or second-hottest year on record, but nine of the past 10 years it predicted temperatures too high. In fact, the Met this month conceded 2008 would be the coldest year this century. That makes 1998 still the hottest year on record since the Medieval Warm Period some 1000 years ago. Indeed, temperatures have slowly fallen since around 2002. As Roger Pielke Sr, Professor Emeritus of Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science, declared this month: "Global warming has stopped for the last few years."

Lesson: Something is wrong with warming models that predict warming in a cooling world, especially when we're each year pumping out even more greenhouse gases. Be sceptical.

Those, then, are the top 10 dud predictions of that hooting, screaming and screeching tribe of warming alarmists. Look and laugh. And dare to believe the world is bright and reason may yet triumph.



The article below is from a "moderate" Warmist site that accepts an influence of CO2 on temperature but says that the size of the effect has been exaggerated. It is a rare sober look at the Warmist case. The article points out that the recent cooling trend could well be temporary and that the trend over the last 150 years as given by Hadley is still one of rising temperatures. It also points out, however, that there has been no acceleration of warming in recent decades and does not offer any evidence that the warming is an effect of CO2. They also acknowledge via a link that the Hadley trend could be exaggerated by heat island effects etc. They show that natural oscillations such as the PDO are the largest influences on global temperature. See the original for graphs

As 2008 nears an end, there are a lot of folks waiting to see where the final number is going to come in for this year's global average temperature. It's likely that the average temperature for 2008 will fall below the value for 2007 and quite possibly be the coldest year of the (official) 21st century. 2008 will add another to the growing recent string of years during which time global average temperatures have not risen. Does this mean that pressure of "global warming" fuelled by increasing greenhouse gas emissions from human activity has abated? The answer is a qualified "no"-it seems that natural variations have been flexing their muscles and offsetting anthropogenic warming.

Figure 1 shows the time series of monthly average global temperatures from January 1850 to October 2008, as given by Britain's Hadley Centre. Clearly, overall, temperatures have risen. (We have noted elsewhere that there is probably an overestimation of warming in recent decades).

Figure 1b shows the same history since 1965. The overall rise is still clear, but the temperatures during the last several years have just as clearly remained relatively level.

So what does this say about the rates of global warming? Is the lack of temperature rise in recent years unusual? To examine better this, we calculated the linear trend through the most recent 10 years of temperature data and compared it to the trend through all other 10-yr periods during the past 40 years. Our results are shown in Figure 2. As can be seen, recent trends are not particularly unusual in the broader context.

To see if our analysis was sensitive to the length of the trend we selected, we did the same thing for 8-yr trends and 15-year trends. The results we found were similar (Figure 3). In each case, recent trends are relatively low, but not unprecedented in the past 40 years.

The reason for the rise and fall of the trend values is that, over these time scales, natural variations-primarily the cycle of El Nino/La Nina and volcanic eruptions-can and do impart a sizable signal to global temperatures. Compare the variations in the strength of El Nino/La Nina as depicted in Figure 4 with the variations in the magnitude of the short-term (8- and 10-yr) trends depicted in Figure 3. Also notice that the trace of the 15-yr trend in Figure 3 is much less sensitive to El Nino/La Nina variations.

Some of you may have noticed that there is a statistically significant positive trend in each of the three (8-yr, 10-yr, and 15yr) trend time series (Figure 3). A trend of a trend is an indication of an acceleration taking place. But don't go and get too excited about this. The reason for this acceleration is, as they say, "more apparent than real."

It is not from increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, but instead, is an artifact of the eruptions of El Chicon and Mt. Pinatubo, which acted to cool temperatures in the early-to-mid 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s beneath where they otherwise would have been. To demonstrate their effect on the trend calculations, we statistically adjust the temperature record to approximate what it likely would have been had these large volcanic eruptions not occurred. Figure 5 shows our results. Note that the large 1982-83 El Nino signal seen in Figure 4 (a warming) becomes much more pronounced as does the warming signal of the extended moderate El Nino in the early 1990s. The warming influence of these El Nino events had been offset by the contemporaneous cooling of the volcanic eruptions.

So what effect does the removal of the volcanic signal have on the running trends? The putative acceleration of global warming vanishes.

Figure 6 shows the 10-yr running trend through the observed global temperatures along with the 10-yr running trend through the global temperatures with the effect of volcanoes removed. The trend through the trends is now gone, and the amount of variation is slightly reduced. Also notice in Figure 6 that still, even after accounting for the onset and recovery from volcanic eruptions, the low trend values in recent years are still not particularly unusual.

But, there is an interesting recent development that may be an indication that the ongoing slowdown in the global temperature rise will last longer than other recent ones, and therefore become unprecedented in this era. This concerns the large-scale behavior of the sea surface temperature (SST) patterns in the Pacific Ocean-a phenomenon known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO for short. The PDO represents a flip-flopping of the persistent patterns of SST across the Pacific and seems to change its state every several decades (Figure 7). In its positive state, global temperatures seem to rise, while in its negative state, they seem to fall. There was a change in the PDO from positive to negative in the early 1940s and again from negative to positive in the mid-late 1970s. This matches well with the character of global temperature over the past century-an increase into the early 1940s, a cooler period from the early 1940s to the mid 1970s and increasing temperature again since the late 1970s (see Figure 1).

A close look at the recent values of the PDO index values shows that there is some indication that it may be in the process of switching from positive to negative. In fact, the folks at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have begun to suggest that this is a real possibility. If it proves to be true, then we may see an extended period of time, perhaps even several decades, in which a natural cooling offsets at least a portion of the growing warming pressure of an increasing greenhouse effect. The rise in global temperature could be stopped for years to come.

If, on the other hand, the PDO is just flirting with negative territory, and instead returns back to the positive state that has marked the period since 1976, then global temperature may soon begin again their upward climb. Only time will tell.

The bottom line is this: the anthropogenic influence on global temperatures, while surely omnipresent, is not of a magnitude which prevents the influence of natural variations within the earth's climate system from dominating the global temperature record for periods of years to perhaps even decades-with the downstream effects impacting the ultimate course that climate will take during the coming century. While the anthropogenic pressure towards global warming has not stopped, it most definitely has been sidetracked.


Global cooling hits Las Vegas

A rare snowfall has blanketed Las Vegas, cancelling all flights in and out of the city, snarling traffic and dusting palm trees and marquees along the Strip. Forecasters were predicting the Las Vegas Strip could receive more then seven centimetres of snow overnight. Other locations were forecast to receive as much as 20 centimetres of snow in the second winter storm this week to drop snow on the desert city.

Snow piled up around the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign on the south end of the Strip, as visitors parked and posed for pictures wearing hooded jackets. In other parts of the Las Vegas valley, snow toppled trees, blanketed rooftops and delighted residents who rarely get to see winter weather. "Sometimes you have to travel to the mountains to see the snow, and now you don't have to," said Jose Villeda, 38, as he stuck his tongue out to catch snowflakes outside of Lavo, a restaurant and nightclub at the Palazzo hotel-casino. Snowfall is common in nearby mountains, but not on the Strip or surrounding neighbourhoods.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Gorelow said seven centimetres of accumulation on the Strip would break the December record of five centimetres set in 1967, but wouldn't match the Las Vegas winter record of 22.5 centimetres set in 1974.

The unusually strong arctic blast dumped snow over a large swathe of Southern California mountains and high deserts, shutting down some of the state's busiest freeways, stranding thousands of motorists and cutting off several communities. The storm's combination of frigid air, powerful winds and heavy precipitation dropped the snow level to an unusually low 610 metres, with 12.5 centimetres in the hills above Malibu. Forecasters expect the cold to continue as the storm moves out, but another storm is expected to hit the region on Sunday.

Snow and ice shut down three of California's key north-south routes - Interstate 5, Interstate 15 and State Route 14 - along with numerous mountain roads and desert highways. The closures caused traffic nightmares for drivers trying to get in or out of Southern California. The severity of the storm caught many by surprise, leaving them stranded on the side of freeways, at rest stops and trying to stay warm inside their cars along snow-packed roads. Flooded streets were reported in Palm Springs.



The European Parliament voted to approve the EU's climate package today, removing the final hurdle to new laws intended to cut Europe's carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. Large majorities of MEPs voted to back the package of four laws, including reform of the emissions trading scheme after 2012, targets to reduce non-industrial emissions ('effort-sharing'), the creation of a legal framework for carbon capture and storage technology and plans to derive 20% of EU energy from renewable sources by 2020. The MEPs also backed laws to reduce emissions from fossil fuels - the fuel-quality directive - and on emissions standards for new passenger cars....

The final deal means that the EU will be able to outsource 50% of its industrial emissions and around 80% of non-industrial emissions (sectors including buildings and agriculture), according to Commission estimates. EU politicians were quick to hail the outcome as historic, but green campaigners criticised the Parliament for failing to reverse decisions taken at the Brussels summit. "The Parliament has marginalised itself by lacking the courage to make even small changes to the compromises negotiated by the EU summit last Friday," said Joris den Blanken, the climate and energy policy director for Greenpeace EU. "Europe promised leadership on climate, but so far it has led us up the garden path."

Heavy-polluting industries said they had mixed feelings about the final agreement. Gordon Moffatt, the director-general of the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (Eurofer), said they welcomed "the effort of several member states to protect the competitiveness of the European industry", but that "the risk of carbon leakage" - companies moving to less-regulated countries - had not been "entirely lifted".

The Green group accused the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert P”ttering, and the large political groups of 'steamrolling' the climate package through the Parliament with block votes. A majority of Green MEPs voted against the effort-sharing proposal, which enables the EU to meet its targets by buying credits, but it still passed with ease.



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18 December, 2008


An email from Steve Short [] of Ecoengineers Pty Ltd, He points out that even a doubling of CO2 could lead to a temperture rise of only one degree

Garth Paltridge, then a senior Australian CSIRO researcher, published in 1974 one of the very earliest papers (following Ralph Lorenz in 1960) on what is the burgeoning technical field of Maximum Entropy Production (MEP). The science of MEP, which now generates a substantial amount of mainstream literature every year, is resulting in a thorough review of the science of Earth's climate and of Global Circulation Models (GCMs).

It is already becoming clear this spells the death knell for a high temperature sensitivity to a CO2 doubling. For example: Kleidon et al. (2006) Maximum entropy production and the strength of boundary layer exchange in an atmospheric general circulation model. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L06706 show that the climate sensitivity to a 10x increase in atmospheric CO2 is about 3.3 K. Noting the usual log-linear relationship this is equivalent to a climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 of only about 1.0 K.

In this setup, entropy was produced by radiative transfer (absorption of solar and terrestrial radiation at the surface and in the atmosphere), the turbulent transport of sensible heat in the vertical, and horizontal heat transport by large-scale atmospheric circulation. Due to the exclusion of the water cycle (evapotranspiration, latent heat transport), entropy production associated with the hydrologic cycle [Paulius and Held, 2002a, 2002b] was not considered. Inclusion of the water cycle would mean the sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is very likely to be even significantly less than 1 deg. C. I don't think I have to spell out to you what this implied for even the lower limit to CO2 sensitivity vis-a-vis IPCC AR4 2007.

Yet nowhere in IPCC AR4 2007 will you find a single reference to the now 38 year long MEP-based literature record! This despite a steady groundswell of papers and the publication of an excellent review text edited by Axel Kleidon and Ralph Lorenz in 2005 (Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics and the production of Entropy. Life, Earth and Beyond. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg).

As CO2 goes up and tends to increase troposphere temperature, MEP requires that meridional, latitudinal and convective movement must increase. This in turn increases cloudiness (both convective and orographic) and hence rainfall thereby increasing the net amount by which clouds reduce the radiative heating of the planet i.e. presently the -13 - -21 W/m^2 which we know acts against the ~4 W/m^2 predicted for a doubling of CO2.

I would also note that biotic processes are also subject to MEP. Rising CO2 increases continental plant biomass (already observed) and oceanic cyanobacterial primary productivity (earlier this year I posted the clear evidence for that for the Southern Ocean from NOAA's own data on Jennifer Marohasy's blog) simply due to CO2 fertilization which increases biogenic aerosol production rate which in turn increases both cloud nucleation rate and cloud-based opacity/albedo. This aspect is the as-yet almost forgotten biotic sibling of abiotic MEP.

Thanks to both abiotic and (soon) biotic MEP we can expect a cloudier, rainier planet rather than a hotter one.

Atmospheric CO2 may go where it will but I suspect in due course its rate of increase will eventually slow. The same thing will happen to any oceanic pH decline as increased raininess increases continental weathering rates which increases the export of total alkalinity, Fe and Si into the ocean (which in turn tends to CO2-absorbing primary productivity, neutralize CO2-induced acidity and so on).


* the lack of the IPCC-predicted stratospheric heating;

* the observed reduction in tropical-polar temperature gradients (underestimated by GCMs);

* the known 30 year trends in continental potential evaporation (down), cloudiness, rainfall (both up), oceanic wind speeds (up) etc; and

* the confounding 20 year surface temperature record just before and since the 1998 El Nino (up then down),

I think we can reasonably expect to see a majority of top level climate researchers in the next few years cautiously promulgating a more moderate view of global climate CO2 sensitivity and a more optimistic view on climate homeostasis and so-called ocean acidification. It is already happening at various reputable overseas universities (e.g. MIT, several Max Planck Institutes, Uni. Hamburg etc) and even now is slowly creeping into other institutions, including here in Australia.

Of course the monstrous egos, the chronically dogmatic, the hopelessly compromised, the committed members of the AGW herd won't like it but, hey, that's entropy for you.

Scientists Call AP Report on Global Warming 'Hysteria'

Scientists skeptical of the assertion that climate change is the result of man's activites are criticizing a recent Associated Press report on global warming, calling it "irrational hysteria," "horrifically bad" and "incredibly biased." They say the report, which was published on Monday, contained sweeping scientific errors and was a one-sided portrayal of a complicated issue. "If the issues weren't so serious and the ramifications so profound, I would have to laugh at it," said David Deming, a geology professor at the University of Oklahoma who has been critical of media reporting on the climate change issue.

In the article, Obama Left with Little Time to Curb Global Warming, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein wrote that global warming is "a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid," and that "global warming is accelerating."

Deming, in an interview, took issue with Borenstein's characterization of a problem he says doesn't exist. "He says global warming is accelerating. Not only is it continuing, it's accelerating, and whether it's continuing that was completely beyond the evidence," Deming told "The mean global temperature, at least as measured by satellite, is now the same as it was in the year 1980. In the last couple of years sea level has stopped rising. Hurricane and cyclone activity in the northern hemisphere is at a 24-year low and sea ice globally is also the same as it was in 1980."

Deming said the article is further evidence of the media's decision to talk about global warming as fact, despite what he says is a lack of evidence. "Reporters, as I understand reporters, are supposed to report facts,"Deming said. "What he's doing here is he's writing a polemic and reporting it as fact, and that's not right. It's not reporting. It's propaganda. "This reads like a press release for an environmental advocacy group like Greenpeace. It's not fair and balanced."

A spokesman for the Associated Press said that the news agency stands by its story. "It's a news story, based on fact and the clearly expressed views of President-elect Barack Obama and others," spokesman Paul Colford told in an e-mail.

Michael R. Fox, a retired nuclear scientist and chemistry professor from the University of Idaho, is another academic who found serious flaws with the AP story's approach to the issue. "There's very little that's right about it," Fox said. "And it's really harmful to the United States because people like this Borenstein working for AP have an enormous impact on everyone, because AP sells their news service to a thousand news outlets. "One guy like him can be very destructive and alarming. Yeah it's freedom of speech, but its dishonest."

Like Deming, Fox said global warming is not accelerating. "These kinds of temperatures cycle up and down and have been doing so for millions of years," he said. He said there is little evidence to believe that man-made carbon dioxide is causing temperature fluctuation. "It's silly to lay it all on man-made carbon dioxide," Fox said. "It was El Nino in 1998 that caused the big spike in global warming and little to do with carbon dioxide." Other factors, including sun spots, solar winds, variations in the solar magnetic field and solar irradiation, could all be affecting temperature changes, he said.

James O'Brien, an emeritus professor at Florida State University who studies climate variability and the oceans, said that global climate change is very important for the country and that Americans need to make sure they have the right answers for policy decisions. But he said he worries that scientists and policymakers are rushing to make changes based on bad science. "Global climate change is occurring in many places in the world," O'Brien said. "But everything that's attributed to global warming, almost none of it is global warming."

He took issue with the AP article's assertion that melting Arctic ice will cause global sea levels to rise. "When the Arctic Ocean ice melts, it never raises sea level because floating ice is floating ice, because it's displacing water," O'Brien said. "When the ice melts, sea level actually goes down. "I call it a fourth grade science experiment. Take a glass, put some ice in it. Put water in it. Mark level where water is. Let it met. After the ice melts, the sea level didn't go up in your glass of water. It's called the Archimedes Principle." He called sea level changes a "major scare tactic used by the global warming people."

O'Brien said he doesn't discount the potential effects man is having on the environment, but he cautioned that government should not make hasty decisions. "There is no question that the Obama administration is green and I'm green, and there's no question that they're going to really take a careful look at what we need to do and attack problems, and I applaud that," O'Brien said. "But I'm really concerned that they're going to spend all the money on implementation of mitigation, rather than supporting the science."



Those interested in the full details of the European climate agreement reached last week in Brussels can examine it in all of its gory details here (in PDF). It is, to put it mildly, complicated. So in the interests of those just wanting the bottom line, here I offer a simplified version of the policy.

The emissions reduction goal is 20% below 1990 emissions levels. As the graph below shows (from the EEA), Europe has a head start on this goal as emissions have decreased since 1990, especially because of the enlargement of the EU to include eastern European countries. The relevant line for the goal of a 20% reduction from 1990s levels is shown in green. So to achieve the goal Europe actually needs a further reduction of about 12% from 1990 levels.

The plan allows European countries to offset 3% or 4% of their emissions reductions via paying for emissions reductions in developing countries (a dodgy proposition, but I digress). This means that the emissions reductions will not occur in Europe. So this reduces to the goal to about 9%.

The agreement allows countries to exceed their annual emissions targets by 5% annually. So this extra headroom reduces the total emissions reduction goal to about a 4% reduction (very similar to what WWF calculates). A 4% reduction is not so far from business as usual (under some projections), which of course is why the package passed.

And this does not get into any of the other loopholes, like for Lithuanian nuclear plants, the Polish, German, Italian, etc. economies, or unusually cold or warm weather. Oh yeah, the entire agreement is subject to review and is contingent upon what happens in Copenhagen. The Obama administration should be paying attention.


Nuke interest widespread but not in the USA

The PowerGen Conference is a gathering of power generators from around the world sponsored by PennWell, the Oklahoma publishing empire. Its gathering in Orlando in early December was the largest ever, attended by 18,000 people. Energy is a hot topic these days. Windmill companies abounded. Vesta, the Danish supplier, had several scale models on the exhibition floor and did a wraparound cover over free copies of the Wall Street Journal. "Denmark's pretty filled up with windmills but we're moving offshore," explained a Vesta salesman, standing beneath a 25-foot replica of the 450-foot structures. "The wind over the ocean is stronger with less variation."

But for all the contemporary appeal of wind, however, the underlying theme of the conference was how fast the revival of nuclear power is taking shape. "The nuclear renaissance isn't something in the far-off future," said J.M. Bernhard, Jr., CEO of the Shaw Group, in giving the keynote address. "It's already happening today. With greenhouse gases in the mix, we believe nuclear is where we need to go."

Nuclear is coming along so fast that PennWell split out a separate "Nuclear Power International" section with an eye to creating a stand-alone conference in the future. (Oil and renewables already have their own events.) The American nuclear industry -- such as it is -- was well represented in the exhibition booths. GE, the last man standing from the earlier nuclear era, now does most of its business in partnership with Hitachi. Newcomers such as Hyperion are blazing a trail by building miniature reactors (60 megawatt as opposed to the standard 1,000). But the horrible truth remains that, if there is a nuclear renaissance going on in the world, it is happening mostly outside our borders, pioneered by companies that never were or are no longer American.

The most entertaining keynote speaker, for example, was Jacques Besnainou, the puckish American director of Areva, the French nuclear giant. ("When I first came to this country, I spent two years living in New Jersey," began Besnainou in his heavy French accent. "Therefore as you see I have a very strong New Jersey accent.") Besnainou and Areva are on a roll of late, having announced the construction of a uranium enrichment plant in Idaho last May -- the first built here in twenty years -- and then announcing in October that it will build a manufacturing plant for nuclear components in partnership with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News.

The French embrace of nuclear has left the Gauls paying the cheapest electrical rates in Europe, importing only half as much natural gas from Russia and Britain and Germany, and making money hand-over-fist by exporting kilowatts to Germany and Italy. When asked how Areva planned to finance the Newport News facility in the face of a worldwide credit crunch, Besnainou answered with one word: "Cash."

The lag in America's nuclear effort was reflected by a comment heard over and over from vendors of nuclear accessories. "We're doing a great business," said one after another. "But most of it is abroad." HERE'S THE SCORECARD on what's going on the in the rest of the world:

Europe. Finland is building the first new reactor in Europe in twenty years, a 1,200-MW unit at Olkiluoto. The project has fallen two years behind schedule -- largely because Finnish environmental officials are taking three times as long as planned to approve blueprints -- but it undoubtedly opens the door for other projects. The French are now building an identical plant at Flammanville. Sweden, which is 50 percent nuclear and 40 percent hydro, has even lower carbon emissions than France and has all but abandoned a 1980 vow to shut down its reactors by 2010.

Germany agreed to shutter its nuclear component when Social Democrats were admitted to the ruling coalition in 2001. Two small reactors have been mothballed, but four more generating 4000 MW are scheduled for shutdown in 2009 and Germans are now awakening to the possibility of losing 30 percent of their generating capacity by 2020. Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked for reconsideration. Italy shut its four reactors after a referendum held shortly after Chernobyl but recently started suffering blackouts because of electrical shortages. In May Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced plans to revive reactor construction by 2013.

More here

U.N.: Oblivious to science

"Yes, we can!" former Vice President Al Gore bellowed as the crowd went wild during his closing day speech at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poznan, Poland, Friday. But it was not Barack Obama's meaningless campaign motto they were excited about; instead, it was the prospect of using the U.N.'s global warming propaganda to spread American wealth. In reality, the hit on the U.S. economy by the U.N.'s legally binding 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the planned 2009 Copenhagen treaty would drastically reduce America's ability to make wealth, much less to increase its foreign aid and technology transfers, the essence of both treaties.

Most astonishing is that the global warming treaty is not based on sound science. The U.N. created its own political entity, the International Panel on Climate Change, to produce its own global warming conclusions. The U.N.'s IPCC conveniently ignores data and has made significant alterations to scientific documents after scientists approved them in order to convey human influence on climate. It was because of politics, not science, that the IPCC and Gore were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the U.N.-supported International Year of the Planet puts it this way: "The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds. I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists."

The U.N. ignores the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's petition signed by more than 31,000 scientists that states, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." And the U.N. ignores the new U.S. Senate report in which more than 650 international scientists dispute manmade global warming.

Even so, three groups brought science to the forefront in Poland. Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Greener Horizon Films, Ltd. and Eagle Forum showed a sneak preview of a new documentary film entitled, "Not Evil, Just Wrong." The responses were edifying:

One attendee said that climate change is real, he was "making money" from it, and he could not believe that anyone would dare speak against it, especially at a U.N. meeting.

Another complained that the film was not relevant because it addressed the impact of increased energy prices and limited energy availability for Americans. He said that climate change was a matter of "survival" for the rest of the world and that the developed world must "take the lead," a U.N. euphemism for "spread their wealth."

Others defended renewable energy, regardless of the excessive cost and acute unreliability.

A devout believer in global warming, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, called for a "Green New Deal" and told delegates, "We all know the science judging from the evidence presented over the past few years and days; we know the problem is growing worse."

But such "evidence" does not exist in peer-reviewed science. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change was created to counter the IPCC's propaganda with peer-reviewed science. The NIPCC's new book, "Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate: Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change," was published by the Heartland Institute and edited by Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. The book presents three central problems for policymakers and offers peer-reviewed scientific answers:

Is the reported warming trend rea,l and how significant is it? The only truly global observations come from weather satellites, and they have shown no warming trend over the past decade. Computer climate models are unreliable, as they are unable to accurately factor sun activity, ocean currents and winds.

How much of the warming trend is due to natural causes, and how much is due to human-generated greenhouse gases? The 20th century is in no way unusual, and warming periods of greater magnitude have occurred in the historic past - without any catastrophic consequences. Human greenhouse gas contributions to current warming are insignificant; rather, it is primarily of natural origin. Would the effects of continued warming be harmful or beneficial to plant and wildlife and to human civilization? Science refutes the threat of rising sea levels and reasons that rising carbon dioxide levels are likely to be benign, promoting not only the growth of crops and forests but also benefiting human health.

The report concludes, "Any control efforts currently contemplated would give only feeble results. . The Kyoto Protocol would decrease calculated future temperatures by only 0.02 degrees C by 2050, an undetectable amount." Science does not warrant the U.N.'s call for a "Green New Deal" to supposedly produce a utopian "more equitable and prosperous future." The U.N. has failed miserably to live up to its promises for world peace - is anyone so na‹ve to think that it can produce global prosperity?


Global cooling hits the Australian State of Victoria

Where have Victoria's days of summer gone? Cool and cloudy days have forced beach lovers indoors, and bikini and ice cream sales have slumped. One ray of sunshine is a bright outlook for Christmas - long range forecaster John Moore says Christmas Eve will be fine and 26 [Celsius], and Christmas Day fine and 25. But he says showers will return on Boxing Day. Melbourne has seen an average of just seven hours' sunshine a day this month, well down on the December average of 8.3 hours.

The silver lining is that parts of Victoria had more than their December average of rain in just one day - last Friday - and Melbourne's December fall is already well above average.

While no one needs an expert to work it out, Dr Harvey Stern, at the Bureau of Meteorology, confirmed it was unusual to have so few hot days in December. "There's no sign of really hot weather in the next week," he said. "Mostly we are looking at temperatures in the 20s."

Summer swimwear retailers have been particularly hit by the cold weather, many brands reporting a drop in bikini and board short sales. Rip Curl marketing manager Nick Russell is really looking forward to a break in the weather. The surf brand's bikini sales are well down on previous years, especially in coastal holiday spots. "We would be significantly better off if it had have been 35C and beautiful for the past fortnight or so," he said. Mark Mariotti, who owns St Kilda ice cream store Seven Apples, said his business was losing thousands of dollars a week. "My business is all about summer and sales and it's not happening . . . we want some sun," he said.

Dr Stern said Melbourne's rainfall of 67mm this month was 10mm above average. Melbourne Water's supply manager John Woodland said an average of 65mm of rain fell over Melbourne's major catchments, boosting the city's water storages by 11 billion litres. The rain topped up catchments by 0.6 per cent, taking the nine reservoirs to 34.6 per cent of capacity, compared with 39.1 per cent at the same time last year. Smaller gains are expected for the rest of the week as more water flows from streams across the 160,000ha catchment area. Mr Woodland said despite the downpours the city's storages still faced an 80 billion litre shortfall.

Dr Harry Hemley, vice-president of the Australian Medical Association Victoria, said GPs had been flooded with patients complaining of common colds during the cold snap. "There has been an influx since we've had the cold spell of weather and people have been indoors coughing over each other," Dr Hemley said. "Prior to this little cold spell we had more hay fever coming in and that seems to have declined and now we've got more upper respiratory infections."



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


17 December, 2008



Participants at last week's United Nations climate conference in Poznan, Poland, were taken aback by a world seemingly turned upside-down. The traditional villains and heroes of the international climate narrative, the wicked U.S. and the noble European Union, had unexpectedly swapped roles. For once, it was the EU that was criticized for backpedalling on its CO2 targets while Europe's climate nemesis, the U.S., found itself commended for electing an environmental champion as president.

The wrangle over the EU's controversial climate package at a separate summit in Brussels wrong-footed the world's green bureaucracy. The EU climate deal was diluted beyond recognition. Instead of standing by plans to cut CO2 emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, the actual reductions might be as trivial as 4% if all exemptions are factored in.

The Brussels summit symbolizes a turning point. The watered-down climate deal epitomizes the onset of a cooling period in Europe's hitherto overheated climate debate. It may lead eventually to the complete abandonment of the unilateral climate agenda that has shaped Europe's green philosophy for nearly 20 years.

The reasons for the changing political atmosphere in Europe are manifold. First, the global economic crisis has demoted green policies nearer to the bottom of the political agenda. Saving the economy and creating jobs take priority now.

Second, disillusionment with the failed Kyoto Protocol has turned utopian thinking into sobriety. After all, most of the Kyoto signatories failed to reduce their CO2 emissions during the last 10 years. There are also growing doubts about the long-term viability of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme. The price of carbon credits has collapsed as a result of the financial crisis. The drop in demand and the recession are likely to depress carbon prices for years to come. As a result, the effectiveness of the extremely volatile scheme is increasingly questioned.

Third, a number of countries have experienced a political backlash over their renewable energy schemes. Tens of billions of euros of taxpayers' money have been pumped into projects that depend on endless government handouts. Each of the 35,000 solar jobs in Germany, for instance, is subsidized to the tune of _130,000. According to estimates by the Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research, green subsidies will cost German electricity consumers nearly _27 billion in the next two years.

Perhaps even more important is the growing realization that the warming trend of the late 20th century has, for the last 10 years or so, essentially come to a temporary halt. The data collected by international meteorological offices confirm this. This most peculiar fact is rarely mentioned in policy debates, but it certainly provides decision makers with a vital respite to reconsider their climate policy options.

Above all, Europe's politicians have recognized that green taxes have turned into liabilities that may undermine economic stability and their chances of re-election. As German radio Deutsche Welle put it last week: "With the recession tightening its grip on the German economy, [Chancellor Angela] Merkel is betting that job reassurance is more important to the average worker than being a pioneer in tackling climate change."

Nowhere has the fundamental change of the political landscape been more pronounced and less expected than in Germany. For more than 20 years, Europe's economic powerhouse has been the major bastion of green politics.

In the 1990s, Angela Merkel steered and implemented Europe's Kyoto policy as Germany's first environment minister. Now serving as chancellor, she was hailed as Europe's climate savior after playing host to last year's G-8 summit in Heiligendamm. Only 18 months later, however, she no longer wears a halo. As a result of a concerted campaign by Germany's heavy industry, as well as growing opposition from within her Christian Democratic party, Mrs. Merkel has been forced to abandon her green principles and image.

The deepening economic crisis seems to transform the mood of the German public. Next year's general election looms large, and voters right now are worried about the economy and jobs, and not green issues. In early December, more than 10,000 angry metal workers and trade unionists -- most of them from Germany -- protested outside the European Parliament in Brussels against the EU's climate policy, which they fear will increase unemployment.

For many international observers, the ease with which Mrs. Merkel overturned her celebrated climate policy has come as a shock. But she was almost the last member of her Christian Democratic party willing to accept that a change in strategy was necessary given the immense costs of the EU's original climate plans. In fact, her party demanded that Mrs. Merkel veto the climate package if German industry did not receive an exemption from the Emissions Trading Scheme's auctioning of carbon credits. The exemption was duly granted.

Perhaps the most critical factor for Mrs. Merkel's almost unchallenged about-face is the vanishing strength of the Social Democratic Party, whose members were once among the most forceful climate alarmists. Mrs. Merkel's junior coalition partner has lost much of its support in recent years. And amid growing fears of a deepening recession, there are also signs of a split within the party on climate and energy issues.

At the forefront of the left-wing opposition to the EU's climate policy has been EU Industry Commissioner Gnter Verheugen. The German Social Democrat has been arguing throughout the year that the climate targets should only be accepted if "truly cost-effective solutions" could be found. Other prominent dissenters in his party include Hubertus Schmoldt, the head of the mining, chemical and energy industrial union, who has recently called for a two-year postponement of the climate package.

In part as a result of German -- as well as Italian and Polish -- objections, Europe's climate package did not survive in its original form. The inclusion of a revision clause, pushed by Italy, is particularly significant as it makes the EU's climate targets conditional on the outcome of international climate talks. If the U.N.'s Copenhagen conference in 2009 fails to seal a post-Kyoto deal, it is as good as certain that some of the EU's targets will be further cut. By linking its decisions to those of the rest of the world, Europe has begun to act as a more rational player on the stage of international climate diplomacy.

Instead of yielding to the siren calls of climate alarmists, European governments would be well advised to focus their attention on developing pragmatic policies capable of safeguarding their industries, labor forces and environment at the same time.


Global Warming's Last Gasp

You folks in Fargo, N.D., who think you are shivering because it's 11 degrees below zero are badly mistaken - according to the precious computer models global warming alarmists use, it can't be that bitterly cold.

Their models show conclusively that the world is heating up. How can it be minus 11 degrees in Fargo? The models never showed it would get cooler.

Well it is, but they prefer to ignore such facts that might poke a large hole in their pet global warming theory that keeps their bank accounts fat and healthy with the grants that fund their researching of a scientific scam.

In the midst of an early winter vicious cold front that has plunged large areas of the northern United States into sub-zero temperatures, an Associated Press journalist has penned an absurd report warning that the world is in the process of being spit roasted by the alleged warming of the planet.

In a hysterical report, "Obama left with little time to curb global warming," AP writer Seth Borenstein warned that global warming "is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid."

He went on to repeat a series of discredited claims that allegedly prove that the earth is rapidly heating dangerously, claiming such nonsense that "Since Clinton's inauguration, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the equivalent of Alaska, California, and Texas. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it." NewsBusters' associate editor, Noel Sheppard, rounded up comments by top climate experts disproving Borenstein's claims.

"How can this guy call himself a `science reporter?'" asked David Deming of the University of Oklahoma. "He is perhaps the worst propagandist in all the media, and that's stating s omething. In his latest screed, he screams: 'global warming is accelerating.'

"How then does he explain the fact that the mean global temperature [as measured by satellite] is the same as it was in 1980? How can global warming be 'accelerating' when the last two years have seen dramatic cooling? Is this guy totally removed from all reality? He completely ignores any evidence contrary to his personal beliefs, and twists everything to meet his preconceived notions."

Richard S. Courtney, a U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expert reviewer and a U.K.-based climate and atmospheric science consultant snorted, "Rubbish! Global warming is not 'accelerating.' Global warming has stopped. There has been no statistically significant rise in [mean global temperature or MGT] since 1995 and MGT has fallen since 1998 . . .

"Arctic ice advances and recedes over decades. 2007 saw a minimum in Arctic ice cover in the short period that it has been monitored using satellites. But 2008 saw the most rapid growth in Arctic ice cover in that same period and Arctic ice cover is now back to the average it has had in the period.

"Also, 95 percent of polar ice is in the Antarctic, and Antarctic ice is increasing. Nobody can know if the recent halt to global warming is temporary, permanent, or the start of a new warming or cooling phase. But it is certain that anybody who proclaims that20'Global warming is accelerating' is a liar, a fool, or both."

James A. Peden, atmospheric physicist formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, wrote, "The Great Global Warming Hoax appears to be a collaborative effort between the world's incompetent scientists and the world's scientifically illiterate journalists.

"Science Illiterates like Borenstein are the Chicken Littles of the 21st Century, spreading climate change poppycock like bread crumbs in the forest. The crumbs, hopefully, will lead them to a paycheck at the end of the week from their similarly science-illiterate employers. Well, the lower-I.Q. portion of the population has to eat, too."

Added Chemical Scientist Dr. Brian G. Valentine of the U.S. Department of Energy who has studied computational fluid dynamics and modeling of complex systems, "The world hasn't 'warmed' in a dozen years, and over the past year not even [NASA's] Jim Hansen and his magic bag of tricks can make it appear we're all getting 'warmer.'"

Hans Schreuder, analytical chemist and webmaster of in Ipswich, England, explained, "One further critical aspect of global warming alarmists that is so fiercely debated by all is the "climate forcing" property of carbon dioxide . . . The climate forcing ability of carbon dioxide equals exactly zero - not 4 degrees C, not 1 degree C, not even 0.0001 degr ee C. Just plain zero. Even the much heralded graphic indicating that the first 20ppmv of carbon dioxide makes a difference to the air temperature that is much greater than any subsequent increase in concentration is a useless bit of info based on laboratory tests that have absolutely no relation to the open atmosphere.

"There exists not one single laboratory test on climate that can be extrapolated to mimic the open atmosphere, and that includes the most advanced computers that in any case treat the earth as a flat disc with a 24 hour haze of solar radiation - about as far removed from reality as is possible."

And Don J. Easterbrook, Ph.D., emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, asked, "What does it take to ignore 10 years of global cooling, sharply declining temperatures the last couple of years, record setting lack of sun spots . . . failure of computer models to predict real climate, predictable warming and cooling climates for the past 500 years. The answer is really quite simple - just follow the money!"


'The end' as a weapon

Some environmentalists have their own fixation with the apocalypse - just not the biblical one. This involves the wrath of nature and the ecological end times. But fear is an ineffective tool for any cause.

There is, in progressive circles, a certain fascination with those apocalyptic prophecies that seem to hold so many religious conservatives in thrall. From the sensation over the megaselling Left Behind book series to more recent media flare-ups around figures such as John Hagee (the television pastor of countdown-to-Armageddon fame), the end times seem to be looming at all times.

Turn your attention to a strain of thought ascendant in secular, environmentalist America and you might be surprised to find a similar apocalypse fixation, minus the Book of Revelation and anti-Christ parts. Call it the secular theology of environmental collapse - the fearful conviction that the hopelessly corrupt world as we know it has entered its death throes, with massive destruction stalking ever nearer.

Given the huge challenges facing this country and the constant barrage of "be afraid!" messages from politics and pulpits, it's understandable that many of us have a close relationship with dread. Yet we should remain wary of doomsday fantasizing, in either its religious or secular form. For history shows that such thinking, whether it revolves around the wrath of God or the rage of nature, has a way of embarrassing the doomsayers - and, more important, hampering much needed progress along the way.

Like many Americans, I've always been fascinated by the scary prophecies. (I do mean "many"; according to a 2004 Newsweek poll, 55%of Americans believe in the rapture, in which true Christian believers are swept up by God, with everyone else "left behind" to endure civilization's trial, tribulation and destruction before Jesus returns to usher in a new and godly age.) I read Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth in my teens, Nostradamus' spooky visions in college and ecological meltdown scenarios in adulthood. "Let's wipe it all out and start again!" holds a certain appeal when the present state of affairs is looking irredeemably bad. Especially to the beholders who believe they'll be among the "saved," whether through divine intervention or, at least, by being on the right side of the argument.

More and more, I'm seeing the error of these ways, thanks mainly to my exposure to some of the new-wave thinkers in environmentalism and the related sustainability movement. Two such people are Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, whose widely circulated "death of environmentalism"arguments have shaken up the green establishment. They call for an end to the old disaster-is-coming talk in favor of a positive, solutions-oriented approach to the climate challenge.

Another is Jim Proctor, head of environmental studies at Lewis & Clark (the college where I work in Portland, Ore.). Proctor is also a teacher and researcher with academic training in religion as well as environmental studies. Through many intense conversations with Proctor, I've begun to suspect that secular liberals who joke about right-wing Christians' doomsday scenarios fall for some of the same unproductive thinking and believing.

The ecopocalypse

Waiting for the rapture has its secular analog in a phenomenon you might term "dystopian dread": a growing sense of imminent ecological collapse - the ecopocalypse, if you will. Particularly ascendant here in the lush green and relatively unchurched Pacific Northwest, the narrative offers a form of secular theology that resembles aspects of the Left Behind scenarios. Instead of God, nature unleashes its wrath on "sinful" humanity; instead of the savior's second coming, ecotheology awaits a green utopia in which electric cars, locally grown organic food and post-consumer-culture sustainability rise in the ashes of disaster.

Proctor and a research team are exploring the phenomenon through interviews with members of utopian communities in Oregon and surveys of the general population. The preliminary polling results point in an intriguing direction. Secular Americans who regard nature as inherently sacred (a cohort that could include 20% of the population or more) identify strongly with concepts of an environmentalist utopia. And those who yearn for green perfection often struggle with expectations of its dark-side twin: "dystopian" doom. "You find that people working for a utopian future have tremendous fear about things turning out differently," Proctor explains. "Utopias are often framed against a dystopian nightmare," he adds, producing a kind of all-or-nothing fixation on perfection and its perfect opposite.

Reality, in truth, is usually grayer and messier. Wind turbines, for instance, can certainly mar pristine views and wildlife habitat, and concerns of precisely that sort have been raised against wind-power farms in the Mojave Desert and elsewhere. Is the regrettable blemish a worthwhile price to pay to advance green energy? As the dilemma suggests, maybe we should spend less time and angst on utopias and doomsdays and focus on the less dramatic question: Short of perfect, how do we make things simply better?

In certain conservative Christian circles, the rapture is viewed with something approaching gleeful excitement. As one devotee told CBS in a 2004 report on evangelical America, "I think (the rapture) would be really cool." I suppose - if you find something "cool" about untold millions stranded on a doomed earth and left to endure hellish suffering and death on an unprecedented scale.

Those sounding the alarm about ecological end times might not share the happy anticipation of the above-mentioned rapture diviner, but they might have more in common with his lot than they realize: the conviction, in particular, that civilization is hopelessly fallen and deserves whatever doom might be coming our way.

What this moment requires, instead, is acknowledgment of the inevitable uncertainty about where all this is heading, and clear thinking about what's going to be effective in dealing with it.

Damaging the cause

If history has taught us anything, Jim Proctor notes, it's the prevalence, and folly, of end-of-the-world predictions. "How many times," Proctor asks, "have religious figures and others prophesized the end - and then had to revise their predictions when it didn't happen? And how much less did people listen to them and believe them after that?"

Though fear might seem a good rally-the-masses motivator, it can actually operate in the opposite way, by making the general public cynical and disengaged on one hand, or overwhelmed by fear and fatalism on the other. Yes, there is plenty to fear these days, and stoking that fear in the quest for supporters, donations and votes is the popular politics of our time.

As he assumes the presidency, Barack Obama would do well to reprise the line of a transformative president from the past century who urged calm and confidence through tough times. As Franklin D. Roosevelt wisely declared, fear itself is what we ought to fear the most. As Roosevelt evidently knew, fear has an uncanny ability to stymie progress. And, worse yet, to turn its dark visions into self-fulfilling prophecies.



Three current articles below

Rudd throws off the idealist mask to reveal a pragmatist underneath

A harbinger of how Obama will end up? There are already signs that Obama is moving in a similar direction

EVERY now and then you have to be grateful when you discover our political leaders have told a deliberate, calculated lie. Monday was such a day. Kevin Rudd's announcement of a carbon emissions reduction target of 5 per cent by 2020 demonstrated that his pre-election claim that climate change was the great moral issue of our time, and demanding that Australia lead the way, was what Winston Churchill would call a terminological inexactitude: a whopper, a piece of bare-faced duplicity of epic proportions. But thank goodness Rudd and his colleagues deceived us.

And deceive us they did. At the election last year, Rudd said Australian wanted real action on climate change. And Rudd acted, in a real symbolic kind of way. He ratified the Kyoto Protocol. More symbolism when he promised to cut emissions by 60 per cent on 2000 levels by 2050, 41 years away.

While most of the media has failed to take Rudd to task, the truth is that if the Rudd Government genuinely believed climate change to be the greatest moral threat facing humanity, and if it fully accepted the findings of the UN panel that laid down a minimum target cut of 25 per cent to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 to prevent catastrophic climate change, then we now would have bigger cuts. A true believer in those claims could do no less.

To a true believer, policy responses to a temporary global financial crisis could not compete with the sort of policies required to stem permanent, irrevocable damage caused by climate change. But, thank God, Rudd and his ministers are not in fact true believers. Rudd's higher carbon reduction target of 15 per cent is predicated on other key economies committing to target reductions comparable to Australia. In other words, Australia follows, rather than leads. Rudd's caution on targets is unquestionably driven by, dare one use the word, scepticism about the world's ability to reach consensus on tackling climate change. In other words, Rudd sounds more and more like John Howard every day.

The alternative - that Australia lead the climate change parade rather than sitting comfortably in middle of the pack - is the kind of moral narcissism only the Greens and like-minded eco-fundamentalists can afford. Bob Brown, who has the luxury of a public platform without the attendant responsibility, will always take the most extreme position, as he did on the weekend. He claimed that a target of 5 per cent to 15 per cent reductions by 2020 was "effectively running up the white flag on climate change". Without any of the embarrassment deception would cause a real political leader, Brown implied that setting a low target for Australia limiting global greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to 550 parts per million would lead to the loss of the Great Barrier Reef, and the devastation of Kakadu and our alpine snowfields. Similarly, only the politically naive Clive Hamilton could defend mainstream environmental organisations for pushing a moderate position, without flinching with equal embarrassment.

What Brown and his overzealous supporters don't tell us is that whatever target Australia chooses is irrelevant to global greenhouse gas concentrations. Australia's emissions are such a tiny percentage of total global greenhouse gas emissions that we could adopt a target 10, 20 or 100 times more stringent than what Brown advocates but have zero effect on saving the reef, Kakadu or the snowfields if China, India, the US and other big emitters don't join in.

Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong have no such luxury. They lead a Government and know that putting Australia at the leading edge of climate change targets will put Australia at the bleeding edge of policy mistakes, where real people lose their jobs. Brown's pseudo-religious rhetoric may appeal to some ALP voters but Rudd knows it would be the kiss of death to the Australian economy without securing any corresponding benefit to global carbon levels. Indeed, adopting 25 per cent to 40per cent targets if big emitters such as China don't do the same could do great damage to the Australian economy and the world's greenhouse gas levels.

If Australia adopts draconian targets but China does not, Australia's emission-intensive industries will become uncompetitive with Chinese competitors, shifting production from less dirty Australian industry to dirtier Chinese competitors. It is a double whammy, at a stroke wiping out Australian jobs and damaging the environment.

Rudd and Wong have done the right thing in adopting the minimum targets they could get away with. They did the right thing by not taking ambitious targets to Poznan last week despite the hysterical claims by Greenpeace International that Australia, and the other usual suspects, were not doing enough to set up a framework for a new climate change deal. Governments, weighed down by the responsibility of governing, know and have always known that the rhetoric of climate change as the great moral issue of our time was bunkum.

Climate change is an economic issue and a policy challenge that demands the kind of careful, pragmatic balancing act that the Rudd Government embraces as its touchstone. Rudd, of course, has form when it comes to discovering that what was a great moral issue on the campaign stump has become, in office, a policy issue requiring nuance and responsible pragmatism. In Opposition, Rudd described the day the GST came into effect as "fundamental injustice" day. In office, the Prime Minister has discovered it is a fundamental injustice delivering streams of money he cannot do without. Similarly, campaigning Rudd slyly hinted that he had policies that would lower food and fuel prices. In office, he produced the demonstrably toothless FuelWatch and GroceryChoice. These deceptions pale into insignificance beside the spectacularly dishonest claims about moral leadership on climate change. Yet, paradoxically, all the pieces of cynical manipulation have one thing in common. They are good policy and we should be grateful to have been deceived.

The dishonesty underlying the position of Brown and activists such as Hamilton is of an altogether more sinister kind. They want Australia to adopt targets they know will decimate Australian industry without producing any noticeable benefit for total global greenhouse concentrations. Underlying their policies is an undisclosed secret agenda. Brown and many of his followers don't like industry, think Australians are too materialistic and should be forced back to a simpler but poorer life: a compulsory downshift, if you will, imposed by stealth. The choice between Brown and Rudd may be completely unappealing. However, offered the choice between two political shysters, go for the pragmatic one. The worst combination by far is deception married with moral delusion.


Industry revolt on green plan as miners sacked

Can ANY government last long as a destroyer of jobs?

Heavy industry is demanding further concessions in the Rudd Government's modest emissions trading scheme, saying it will still cost jobs, stymie investment and exacerbate the effects of the economic downturn.

Environmentalists are outraged at the Prime Minister's commitment to cut carbon emissions by just five per cent. 16/12/2008. Conservationists have panned the scheme for pandering to "dirty" industry, saying it will not help the environment and offers overly generous compensation that transfers $2.24 billion from taxpayers to major polluters in 2010, potentially rising to $12.25billion in 2020.

But industries such as cement, aluminium and coalmining say that although the Government increased compensation and announced modest emission reduction targets in the scheme unveiled on Monday, they would lobby for further concessions, either in draft legislation to be released early next year or through Coalition-supported amendments in the Senate. Cement manufacturers are being offered an initial 90 per cent of their carbon permits for free, but Cement Australia chief executive Chris Leon said the fact that the permits covered only some of his operational processes and declined by 1.3 per cent each year meant the scheme still put a proposed $700 million expansion to his Gladstone plant in jeopardy. "The Government has offered improvements, but I am very concerned this will tip our Gladstone project over the edge. It is now much less likely we will build this investment here and more likely we will invest in Indonesia or Thailand," he said. The Cement Industry Federation has already begun its Senate lobbying, taking Coalition senators to cement plants to explain the industry's economics.

As conservationists staged nationwide protests yesterday against the Government's ETS - which promises a 2020 emissions reduction target of between 5 per cent and 15 per cent depending on the ambition of an international climate change deal - Kevin Rudd insisted it was appropriate for the economic times. "The Australian Government, given the global financial crisis, makes no apologies whatsoever for introducing responsible medium-term targets to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions, capable of being built on in the future more ambitiously," the Prime Minister said. Mr Rudd has also been hitting the phones explaining his scheme to other world leaders, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

But Malcolm Turnbull, whose support Mr Rudd is seeking for the Senate passage of his scheme, was immediately confronted with deep splits within his own party. The Opposition Leader and his spokesman, Andrew Robb, have said they have an "open mind" on the scheme and have sought to buy time to formulate a united response by commissioning a study that will not report until February. But in an emailed newsletter sent yesterday, Liberal senator Cory Bernardi said he remained "unconvinced about the need for an ETS given that carbon dioxide is vital for life on earth and the earth hasn't warmed since 1998". Nationals senators have also come out against the scheme.

The Greens have said they will hold a Senate inquiry next year into the "inadequacy" of the Government's proposed targets.

The union movement has split in its response to the ETS. Australian Workers Union head and ACTU vice-president Paul Howes slammed ACTU president Sharan Burrow for calling on the Government to commit to tougher 2020 targets, and urged the Opposition to support the proposal in the Senate. "The ACTU proposition is something I cannot support at this stage. I believe this ETS strikes the right balance between doing what's right for the environment and protecting Australian jobs," Mr Howes said.

Meanwhile, the coal industry, where declining commodity prices have led to two coalmines announcing more than 400 job losses yesterday, said it would continue to lobby to be included in the more generous compensation formula announced by the Government. Methane emissions from different coalmines vary according to geology, and the Government has offered $500 million over five years to help the gassiest mines buy some of their permits and a further $250 million to help mines install abatement technologies. The Australian Coal Association says the industry should qualify for the far more generous assistance offered under the broader compensation scheme.

The aluminium industry - which does qualify for 90 per cent free permits in the initial years - is also lobbying for the Government to lower the annual rate at which it withdraws the free permits. "In its first year of operation, the current proposal is likely to add costs of over $150 million per year to the Australian alumina and aluminium industry," said the president of the Australian Aluminium Council, Steve Hodgson. "This cost will then increase as emissions-intensive assistance is eroded and the price of carbon increases. "We argue the assistance should not be reduced in the absence of a global climate change agreement."


Big-boy's toy with Greenie spin

Greenpeace are big on this too. They like playing around in boats

The record-breaking, biodiesel-powered Earthrace vessel is visiting Queensland promoting the use of environmentally sound fuels. The unique craft - like something out of Mad Max on water - this year set a new record for a powerboat to circle the globe. Using renewable biodiesel fuel for a net zero carbon footprint, the 24,000 nautical mile voyage took 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes, smashing the record by over two weeks. Earthrace skipper Pete Bethune said the vessel's tour aimed to connect with people and encourage debate on environmental issues.



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


16 December, 2008


Now that the Australian government has released its detailed carbon-control policies, there is a huge debate ongoing in Australia's newspapers. Most writers approve of the very limited nature of the proposals but the Greens have turned purple with rage. From the big spate of articles, I have chosen to put up below three surprisingly skeptical articles from the "Canberra Times", the newspaper of Australia's capital city -- usually thought to be rather Left-leaning. I then add a short overview article.

Who's afraid of a war on carbon?

The last thing that Kevin Rudd needs in his War on Carbon is for the underlying rationale to be undermined by global-warming sceptics. But in the sceptic community there is a growing confidence that the scientific consensus is weakening, amidst an increasing number of questions about the evidence for human-induced global warming.

"The sceptics are growing in confidence and becoming emboldened," says Ray Evans, secretary of the sceptic organisation The Lavoisier Group. "In terms of morale, the atmosphere in the blogosphere is very cocky. The chief weapon brandished by tile sceptics is the raw temperature measurements from the British Government's Hadley Centre, which shows that global temperatures peaked in 1998 and have been cooler ever since. Climate change believers hate this evidence, saying that it is misleading and are urging people to concentrate on the longer-term trend where the evidence of warming is stronger.

The newly elected centre-right Government of New Zealand has angered environmentalists by announcing a review of "the scientific aspects of climate change", including an examination of "the quality and impartiality of official advice". The stakes on the science being right could not be higher. With governments around the world set to make multi-trillion dollar economy-changing policy decisions, and with businesses already pouring billions into addressing the issue, the rationale for these decisions is, one would hope, based on solid ground. The major scientific organisations in Australia such as the CSTRO, Bureau of Meteorology and Chief Scientist, and the major scientific organisations overseas, such as the Royal Society, NASA, the United Stltes National Academy of 5ciences, and so on, all concur with the general thesis of global warming.

But if it does turn out that human induced global warming was all a false theory, it would represent the greatest scientific embarrassment in history. The confidence and conformity with which the institutional scientific community has pronounced on the issue will be seen as a shockingly black mark against the professionalism an integrity of a generation of scientists.

Unanimity of views can he highly costly, as recent history has shown. The unanimity of views on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the politicians' rush to build on that consensus shows us the risks involved. Sceptics believe that climate scientists will eventually be forced to apologise for their own "slam dunk" evidence, while political leaders will be humiliated for having declared a war on carbon based on sexed-up" intelligence. The difficulty for the sceptics, however, is that the so-called scientific consensus has not collapsed yet, and is unlikely to in a hurry, and indeed may never fall over at all.

If the consensus amongst institutions did start to crumble, that would immediately present a major challenge to supporters of action on climate change, but to date the institutions remain solid. The sceptics remain a group of interested and sometimes clamorous individuals, and whilst some are highly qualified, they lack the heft required to truly change the debate.

Governments are by and large obliged to act on the evidence of their most authoritative scientific advisers, and it would be a courageous leader that overrode their advice, relying on other sources. That said, there is a strong case to be made, given the magnitude of the changes that the Government is set to embark upon, for a New Zealand style select Parliamentary enquiry into climate science in Australia. Much would be learnt, the public would be enthralled. Surely there is nothing to lose?

The above article appeared in the "Canberra Times" on 13th but does not appear to be online there

Climate scepticism is good

"I am not a climate sceptic," said Senator Nick Xenophon in a recent ABC interview, and went on to explain why. He said he found the case for human-induced global warming generally convincing, though far from certain, and believed governments should take action to reduce greenhouse emissions because of the greater risk of doing nothing.

On most everyday understandings of the term ''scepticism'', the senator was in fact displaying a sceptical attitude towards the issue: he denied that the evidence about global warming was certain and was prepared to entertain doubts about the degree of probability for global warming. His refusal to be labelled a ''climate sceptic'', however, shows how the term has become hijacked in public debate.

''Climate scepticism'' now stands for a policy stance, opposition to the case for emission reduction. It has become detached from its normal sense of reasonable doubt about the science. The confusion is important and reflects a dangerous misunderstanding of how far policy can be based on robust evidence.

In principle, all scientific theories are open to falsification by new evidence and therefore no science can ever be entirely certain. In practice, however, many areas of science are sufficiently well grounded in reliable evidence to be accepted beyond reasonable doubt. But climate science is not among them.

Everyone knows the limitations of short-term weather forecasting. Climate scientists confirm that the large number of independent factors influencing climatic events rules out precise explanation or prediction. With climate change, uncertainty is compounded by the lack of reliable historical data from before the modern period. This does not mean that nothing can be known about climate change or that no predictions are worth making. But it does mean nothing can be known for certain or even with the degree of certainty that can apply in aspects of other sciences, such as physics or chemistry.

Uncertainty pervades the entire field of climate change. Scepticism should therefore be the natural attitude of any intelligent student of the topic. Proponents of emission reduction policy do their case a disservice by disowning scepticism and reserving ''climate sceptic'' as a term for those who reject their policy. To cast the debate as one between believers and sceptics implies that some sort of faith or belief is needed in order to accept climate change policy. It rules out the more reasoned, sceptical approach that recognises doubts about the evidence for global warming yet decides, on balance, that the risks of inaction are higher than those of inaction.

The faith-versus-scepticism dichotomy also hands an easy propaganda victory to the opponents of climate change policy. Any doubts about the science can be claimed as automatically strengthening the case for inaction. Conversely, supporters of climate change policy are forced into dismissing and disparaging any sceptical voices. But, once the debate is seen to be between various levels of climate scepticism and risk assessment, any new challenge on a point of evidence is simply one more element in the assessment, not a knock-down refutation.

Many proponents of climate change policy are obviously uneasy about admitting the level of doubt that surrounds the science. The recent conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change, that evidence of climate change is unequivocal and that greenhouse gases are ''very likely'' (90per cent or more probability) to be the cause of such warming, surely overstate the case. The experts clearly fear that no action will be taken unless public opinion believes in the certainty of human-induced global warming.

But hoping for certainty sets the bar for action too high. It also reflects a misunderstanding of the role of knowledge in policy-making. Good policy needs to be informed, where possible, by robust, relevant evidence. But policymakers often have to act without knowing what is happening or what will work. In the current financial crisis, for example, governments find themselves in uncharted waters but cannot afford to delay decisions. No one is requiring certainty before acting or equating uncertainty with inaction.

The same should apply to climate change and environmental policy generally. To look for certainty or near-certainty leads experts into professional dishonesty, forcing them to hide their doubts and the limitations of their evidence. It also encourages ideological thinking, where public debate becomes polarised between opposing camps unable to admit any contrary evidence that might unsettle their convictions and weaken their advocacy. Climate change policy, like most major policy, is not a matter of conviction or cast-iron proof but of assessing risks in the context of uncertainty.


Does Kevin Rudd believe Kevin Rudd?

The Prime Minister's actions don't remotely match his words

Is Kevin Rudd wilting under the heat of global warming? Only last year the Labor leader was brimming with evangelical fervour as he pronounced climate change as ''the greatest moral challenge of our time''. Climate change, the Prime Minister said, ''threatens the security and stability of us all'', and a failure to act would be judged harshly by future generations.

But now we see the Government's moral resolve melting away before our eyes. After the initial symbolic act of signing Kyoto, the Government has been slowly but steadily downsizing its rhetoric and expectations. The cooling-off from the pre-election passion began immediately after signing the Kyoto Protocol at the Bali climate conference, when the Prime Minister shocked environmental supporters by distancing himself from tougher short-term targets being agreed to by other countries. Those targets of between 25 and 40per cent reductions by 2020 were said by scientists from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be necessary to limit global warming to acceptably low levels. Fast-forward to the present, and the Government's emissions targets, set to be announced on Monday, are reported to be as low as a 5 to 15 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.

The weakening is even more pronounced when you take into account that the 5 to 15 per cent target is based on a baseline of emissions in 2000, where the United Nations uses the tougher baseline of emissions in 1990. The Prime Minister, who regularly invoked former US vice-president Al Gore and British economist Nicholas Stern as climate change authorities, is now being directly urged by them to stop dragging the chain. Prior to the election, the rhetoric was all about the need to act now, or even yesterday, while this year the urgency has diminished to the point where the Prime Minister this week pointed to a ''very gradual'' introduction of the emissions trading scheme.

The past insistence that the targets should be dictated by the science has now changed into a formulation which says that the targets should be ''guided'' by the science. ''Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth and is more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than any other industrialised nation,'' Rudd said early this year, but the Government's actions have not matched the rhetoric.

If the Government really believes that Australia will be the worst-affected of any developed nation, then why is it not leading the world in advocating a comprehensive global solution? Why has Australia's international diplomacy been so weak? If we are the country with the most to lose, why has the Government not been campaigning furiously, vocally, and with greater resources to maximise the chances of an effective solution? The key principle to a successful reduction in emissions is to share the burden as widely as possible; the more countries that participate in a meaningful way, the lighter the burden on all. If Australia is to convince others of the need for serious emissions cuts, it would need to show that it is willing to support serious cuts itself, and so far it has not done that....

There is one issue that illustrates the increasingly blase attitude of the Government towards the environment, and that is the fact that it is prepared to countenance the loss of the Great Barrier Reef in setting targets. The Government's chief climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, has said that if CO2 levels reach 550 parts per million then this ''would be expected to lead to the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef''. Yet Professor Garnaut has ''reluctantly'' concluded that because tougher targets are unrealistic, Australia should attempt to secure a global agreement with 550ppm as the official target, and then down the track encourage countries on to a lower-emissions path. In other words, the Government's chief adviser is settled on an official global target that sees the end of the reef, in the hope that the world might lift its game at some point in the future....

Why is the Government countenancing the elimination of the Great Barrier Reef at all? Could it be possible that an Australian Prime Minister, from Queensland, would support a global target entailing the reef's destruction? ''Australia's greatest natural asset'', was how Rudd described the reef during the election campaign last year, ''generating more than $6billion in GDP each year and employing more than 63,000 people.'' But this year the Government refuses to even answer questions about whether the reef is worth saving.

The Opposition is no different, with its environment spokesperson, Greg Hunt, saying that, ''Our goal is to not wave the white flag on the Great Barrier Reef'', leaving the gate wide open for its demise. The only senior politician to have made a concrete statement is Peter Costello, who has said that no prime minister could pursue a policy allowing the destruction of the reef.

The reason that the Government will not answer questions about the reef is simply that it fears the potential economic costs, or more specifically the political backlash from the potential economic costs, of locking in to reef-saving targets. How well-founded are these fears? The Treasury modelling found that in the toughest option, a 25 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 off a baseline of emissions in 2000, average annual GNP growth per capita would be 1.1 per cent rather than 1.2per cent. Treasury's conclusion was that ''Even ambitious emission-reduction goals have little impact on growth in Australia's economy and in household incomes.''

The boiled-down big picture confronting the Government now is this. Its scientific advisers say that Australia stands to lose more than any other country if serious emissions cuts are not made, and its economic advisers say that ambitious reductions will have little impact on Australia's economy. So why is the Government baulking?

More here

Lefties hit by reality

All social democratic governments face the moment Kevin Rudd confronted yesterday when starry-eyed supporters to the Left are mugged by reality. The Hawke government faced just such a moment in 1984 when it approved an expansion of Australia's uranium industry. Party members burnt their ALP tickets and marched in the streets. Greens leader Bob Brown fronted the television cameras after Rudd announced his emissions trading scheme and found it difficult to go beyond the words "dismal" and "disappointing".

This represents a fundamental breach between the Government and the Greens and could prove difficult for Rudd in the Senate - not so much on this package, which will clearly pass with at least Liberal support. It will be a problem if the Greens use their opposition to the ETS to block other legislation.

The scheme itself has hit the target that Rudd and his ministers wanted. It is being opposed vigorously by those on the Left and has been criticised to varying degrees by some business groups and those who do not believe climate change is a problem deserving of this response. This allows Rudd to position himself in the mainstream middle, which is where the Government hopes general public sentiment lies.

The key difference between the July Green Paper and the December White Paper is that the same amount of money is being raised and distributed for compensation on the basis of a much more modest and cautious scheme. This allows the Government to be more generous and spread its safety net - especially for business - much wider.

Two things have driven this shrinking of ambition. First, it's the economy and the global recession that's enveloping just about all nations. Rudd seeks to use some semantic and accounting tricks to sell his 5 per cent bottom line as being bolder than it is, especially the suggestion that when population growth is considered Australia is being as ambitious as the European target of 20 per cent (which is still rubbery) agreed last week. This argument is not going to wash with other countries.

But Rudd's own language exposes his timid approach. When dealing with the economic crisis, the Prime Minister always talks about "bold and decisive" action. Yesterday he described the design of his emissions trading scheme as "reasonable and responsible action".



President-elect Barack Obama recently declared his intention to mitigate global warming by enacting a cap-and-trade policy that would reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by the year 2050. But the last two years of global cooling have nearly erased 30 years of temperature increase. To the extent that global warming ever existed, it is now officially over, says David Deming, a geophysicist and adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis. In fact, there is worldwide evidence of the end of global warming, says Deming:
* By the end of January 2008, blizzards and cold temperatures in China killed 60 people, caused millions to lose electric service, damaged nearly a million buildings, airports had to close and Hong Kong had the second-longest cold spell since 1885.

* In February, cold in the northern half of Vietnam wiped out 40 percent of the rice crop and killed 33,000 head of livestock, and the city of Mumbai, India recorded the lowest temperatures of the last 40 years.

* In the United States, the city of International Falls, Minn., set a new record low temperature of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the old record of minus 37 (1967); in Reading, Pa., the temperature stayed below 40 degrees for 6 consecutive days and for the first time since the 18th century, Alaskan glaciers grew.
These cold weather events are not abnormal or isolated incidents; global measures of climatic conditions indicate significant cooling. Moreover, NASA reports that oceans have been cooling for the last five years, sea level has stopped rising and Northern Hemisphere cyclone and hurricane activity is at a 24-year low.

But even though global warming is over, politicians are still trying to enact solutions to a non-existent problem. Instead, we must recognize that weather and climate change are natural processes beyond human control. To argue otherwise is to deny the factual evidence, says Deming.


Defying Predictions, Sea Level Rise Begins to Slow

World's oceans rise slower since 2005, fail to display predicted accelerating trend

Satellite altimetry data indicates that the rate at which the world's oceans are rising has slowed significantly since 2005. Before the decrease, sea level had been rising by more than 3mm/year, which corresponds to an increase of about one foot per century. Since 2005, however, the rate has been closer to 2mm/year.

The decrease is significant as global climate models predict sea level rise to accelerate as atmospheric CO2 continues to increase. In the 1990s, when such acceleration appeared to be occurring, some scientists pointed to it as confirmation the models were operating correctly.

Sea level rise was calculated from altimetry data from the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 satellite missions, published by the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Dr. James Choe, a research associate with the University of Colorado, says the decrease is temporary. "Interannual variations often cause the rate to rise or fall", he says. Choe believes an accelerating trend will reappear within the next few years. Oceanographer Gary Mitchum of the University of South Florida, says making any judgement from the limited data available is "statistically so uncertain as to be meaningless".

Others disagree. Dr. Vincent Gray, a New Zealand based climatologist and expert reviewer for the IPCC, believes that the accelerated trends seen earlier were simply an artifact of poor measurements. "The satellite system has undoubtedly shown a rise since 1992, but it has leveled off", he tells DailyTech. "They had some bad calibration errors at the beginning." Gray points to a study done by Flanders University using tide gauges which, he says, measured no perceptible increase in sea level over its entire 15 year period.

Sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age, some 20,000 years ago. During an episode known as "Meltwater Pulse 1A", the world's oceans rose by more than 5 meters per century, a rate about 20 times faster than the current increase.

TOPEX/Poseidon was launched by NASA in 1992, and collected data until 2005. In 2001, NASA and France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) launched its follow-up mission, Jason-1. Jason-2 was launched in June of this year.



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15 December, 2008


An email from retired metallurgist John Harborne, MIEAust, CPEng. []

For several years now, "clean" coal, involving carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, has been touted as the means of mitigating global warming, supposedly arising from fossil-fuel-burning power stations. But, of course, this necessarily comes at a considerable price increase for electricity.

It is not well-known that a huge drawback to the substantially unproven CCS process is that every cubic metre of (solid) coal that is burnt produces about six cubic metres of liquefied CO2. (The actual amount of super-critical fluid, or near-liquid, CO2, is based on complete combustion of the coal, its complete capture, and the actual carbon content of the coal ... an 80% carbon coal yields six cu. metres of near-liquid CO2.)

It doesn't take an Einstein to realise the immense logistics and difficulties of dealing with the around-sixfold increase in volume from coal to near-liquid CO2. Unless power generators have a ready sink in which to inject the voluminous CO2 (such as a depleted oil well), it won't take long before multiple injection points have to be created, because the CO2 will readily exhaust the brine-filled pores of a deep, geologically acceptable rock stratum, such as sandstone (which must have an impermeable caprock anyway). If the geosequestration point is well away from the power station, huge costs in infrastructure to transport the large volumes of near-liquid CO2 (pipelines or tankers) will be inevitable.

Apart from the above, it is easy to gloss over other problems with the CO2, once underground. The volumes have to be retained in the rock forever, which is a huge ask, because near-liquid CO2 has extremely low viscosity and will sneak out of any fissure. Also, the CO2, being acidic, is highly reactive to organic and mineral constituents, possibly leading to fouling of aquifers for human or animal consumption.

"Clean" coal does not appear to be a realistic solution.

Hot air from Obama

Comment from Bjorn Lomborg

In one of his first public policy statements as America's president-elect, Barack Obama focused on climate change, and clearly stated both his priorities and the facts on which these priorities rest. Unfortunately, both are weak, or even wrong.

Obama's policy outline was presented via video to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Governors' Global Warming Summit, and has again been shown in Poznan, Poland, to leaders assembled to flesh out a global warming road map. According to Obama, "few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change". Such a statement is now commonplace for most political leaders across the world, even though it neglects to address the question of how much we can do to help America and the world through climate policies v other policies.

Consider, for example, hurricanes in America. Clearly, a policy of reducing CO2 emissions would have had zero consequence on Katrina's devastating effect on New Orleans, where such a disaster was long expected. Over the next half-century, even large reductions in CO2 emissions would have only a negligible effect.

Instead, direct policies to address New Orleans' vulnerabilities could have avoided the huge and unnecessary cost in human misery and economic loss. These should have included stricter building codes, smarter evacuation policies and better preservation of wetlands (which could have reduced the ferociousness of the hurricane). Most importantly, a greater focus on upkeep and restoration of the levees could have spared the city entirely. Perhaps these types of preventative actions should be Obama's priority.

Likewise, consider world hunger. Pleas for action on climate change reflect fears that global warming may undermine agricultural production, especially in the developing world. But global agricultural/economic models indicate that even under the most pessimistic assumptions, global warming would reduce agricultural production by just 1.4p er cent by the end of the century. Because agricultural output will more than double during this period, climate change would at worst cause global food production to double not in 2080 but in 2081. Moreover, implementing the Kyoto Protocol at a cost of $180 billion annually would keep two million people from going hungry only by the end of the century. Yet by spending just $10 billion annually, the UN estimates that we could help 229 million hungry people today. Every time spending on climate policies saves one person from hunger in 100 years, the same amount could have saved 5000 people now. Arguably, this should be among Obama's top priorities.

Obama went on to say why he wants to prioritise global warming policies: "The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season." Yes, global warming is happening, and mankind is partly responsible, but these statements are - however eloquent - seriously wrong or misleading.

Sea levels are rising, but they have been rising at least since the early 1800s. In the era of satellite measurements, the rise has not accelerated (actually we've seen a sea-level fall during the past two years). The UN expects about a 30cm sea-level rise during this century, about what we saw during the past 150 years. In that period, many coastlines increased, most obviously The Netherlands, because rich countries can easily protect and even expand their territory. But even for oft-cited Bangladesh, scientists just this year showed that the country grows by 20sq km each year, because river sedimentation wins out over rising sea levels.

Obama's claim about record droughts similarly fails even on a cursory level: the US has in all academic estimates been getting wetter through the past the century (with the 1930s dust bowl setting the drought high point). This is even true globally during the past half-century, as one of the most recent scientific studies of actual soil moisture shows: "There is an overall small wetting trend in global soil moisture."

Furthermore, famine has declined rapidly in the past half century. The main deviation has been the past two years of record-high food prices, caused not by climate change but by the policies designed to combat it: the dash for ethanol, which put food into cars and thus upward pressure on food prices. The World Bank estimates that this policy has driven at least 30 million more people into hunger. To cite policy-driven famine as an argument for more of the same policy seems unreasonable, to say the least.

Finally, it is simply wrong to say that storms are growing stronger every hurricane season. Even for the Atlantic hurricane basin, which we tend to hear about most, the total hurricane energy (ACE) as measured by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declined by two-thirds since the record was set in 2005. For the world, this trend has been more decisive: maximum ACE was reached in 1994 and has plummeted for the past three years, while hurricanes across the world for the past year have been about as inactive as at any time since records began to be kept.

Global warming should be tackled, but smartly through research and development of low-carbon alternatives. If we are to get our policies right, it is crucial that we get our facts right.



And so the great climate change circus moves on. Over the past few days we have had the European Union climate summit in Brussels and the United Nations climate summit in Poznan. The EU summit was intended to confirm Europe's much-proclaimed "world leadership" on the issue by reaffirming its earlier "20-20-20" commitment: that by 2020 it would have reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent and raised to 20 per cent the proportion of its energy generated by non-nuclear renewable sources. This commitment, which had been made in 2007, had latterly been called into question as the seven accession states and Italy declined to accept their share in it.

The outcome was a compromise, hailed as "quite historic" by President Sarkozy, under which the targets would be nominally retained but the means of achieving them - sharp rises in the cost of carbon-based energy - abandoned. This was a great relief in particular to Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who had made clear her unwillingness to allow her country's important energy-intensive industries to be harmed in this way in the current harsh economic climate. In addition, it was agreed that the EU commitment would be provisional at this point, and reviewed in 2010.

So onto Poznan, where, despite this example of "quite historic" EU leadership, all that emerged on the global warming front was a great deal of hot air, and an agreement that a serious global accord on drastic, mandatory, enforceable and enforced cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions, to succeed the Kyoto Agreement which expires in 2012, would be concluded in Copenhagen next year. If you believe that, you will believe anything. It is abundantly clear that the whole Kyoto approach is a nonsense.

The first harsh reality is the very different perspectives of the developed and the developing world. China, already the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, and India, coming up fast, have both made clear, for very good reasons, their unwillingness to accept mandatory emissions restrictions for the foreseeable future. Even before the current world recession they were not prepared to accept the economic cost and brake on their economic development that this would require. Now, with the recession, they are even less willing to assume this additional burden - not least, in China's case, because of worries about internal political stability. The developing countries' case is that it is the responsibility of the developed world to cut back. But anything short of a global cutback is self-evidently futile.

In any case, even if there were an agreement, it would not be enforceable. Professor Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics, a distinguished political scientist who, as it happens, accepts the majority view of the climate science, has pointed out why, for this and other reasons, the Kyoto approach is doomed. But the vested interest of the great climate change circus, and the gratifying opportunities it presents for global grandstanding, have ensured that his analysis is ignored.

At the heart of this is the very heavy cost of decarbonisation, an unfortunate truth which most of its advocates feel obliged to deny. Thus the International Monetary Fund, which once was a serious economic organisation, has called for a 96 per cent cut in global carbon dioxide emissions (compared with business-as-usual projections) by 2100. To achieve this, it concluded, "Increases in world carbon prices need not be large - say a $0.01 initial increase in the price of a gallon of gasoline that rises by $0.02 every three years". At that rate, it would take the US more than 350 years to reach the level of petrol tax we already have in the UK.

The first report of the UK's Committee on Climate Change, headed by Lord (Adair) Turner, and published a few days ago, is little better. The 480 pages certainly make up in quantity for what they conspicuously lack in intellectual quality. Following the passage of the absurd Climate Change Act, under which this country has unilaterally bound itself, by law, to near-total decarbonisation of the economy by 2050, in an effort to demonstrate (once again) "global leadership", the report claims that this "can be achieved at a cost of 1-2 per cent of GDP in 2050. This order of magnitude is consistent with cost estimates from the Stern Review".

Since the committee uses the same methodology and indeed the same model as the Stern Review (which was not peer-reviewed), it is hardly surprising that it comes to the same conclusion. It reminds me of the man who, concerned about the authenticity of a report in his newspaper, bought a second copy of the paper to confirm it.

But as Britain's most eminent energy economist, Professor Dieter Helm, writes in the current issue of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, "the Stern Report's 1 per cent on which politicians are relying is an assumed number. the cost numbers. [are] all but useless for the purposes of public policy design and implementation". Professor Helm, incidentally, accepts a view of the climate science at the alarmist end of the spectrum. But that does not attract him to shoddy economics.

It is quite clear that, short of a breakthrough in the technology of non-carbon energy - which may happen, but may not - the only cost-effective response to any feared global warming is to adapt to the consequences.

The dirty little secret is that, so far this century, there has been no recorded global warming; as the Met Office the other day pointed out, sotto voce, 2008 has been, globally, the coldest year of all. That has not stopped the flood of claims of increasing evidence of "climate change" all around us.

Of course, there may well be, as most climate scientists predict, global warming in the future. Meanwhile, welcome to the new science paradigm, in which effects precede cause. I have to confess my own limitations. Unlike Mr Al Gore, Lord Stern, and Lord Turner, I do not know what is going to happen to the planet in the next 100-200 years. But I do know nonsense when I see it.



A concession of defeat from the Leftist "Guardian"

After the failure in Poznan, it's time to be honest: the world is not going to be cutting greenhouse gases anytime soon. The world's environmental leaders have spent the past two weeks meeting in Poznan, Poland, pretending that they're carrying on the fight against global warming first addressed by the Kyoto Protocol. You recall the Kyoto Protocol. It was never ratified by the United States - defeated 95-0 in the US Senate in 1997, in fact - and has proven just as ineffective elsewhere around the world. It was supposed to be first step in the world's cutback of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are warming our atmosphere. The hard truth be told, essentially none of those who signed onto the treaty have been able to cutback their greenhouse gas emissions.

People - surprise, surprise - demand to be warm at the cheapest prices. Developing countries like China and India have ignored it completely, with their emission rising at 6% to 8% a year. China now emits more greenhouse gases than even the United States. Carbon dioxide emissions, which were increasing about 1% a year in the 1990s, are increasing about 3% percent a year in this decade. Leaders all across the world, including Barack Obama, continue to look straight into the camera and proclaim that they are going to solve the global warming crisis - by 2020, or 2050, or 2100 or . sometime soon.

The world desperately needs to get serious, including President-elect Obama, Europe's leaders and every UN bureaucrat who dined handsomely in the evenings in Poznan. The truth is, the world is not going to be cutting greenhouse gases anytime soon. If ever. There are simply no reasonable alternatives. Wind power is too scant. Nuclear power is too controversial. Solar power is stuck in a dream world. It gets a little better every year, but it will never be good enough. Nuclear fusion is hopeless, perpetually 25 years in the future.

Not one of us - you, me, Obama or the greenest activist anywhere in the world - is willing to live without the comforts fossil fuels provide us - heat, light, instant hot food, convenient transportation, modern agriculture and airplane travel.

There are too many factors pointing strongly in the wrong direction: the demonstrated refusal of western countries to sacrifice in the face of the climate problem they created; the insistence of developing countries that they be able to live at least as well as the US and Europe and their unwillingness to cut back greenhouse gas emissions as long as first world countries - who largely created this mess - refuse to do so. The lack of any reasonable alternatives, and our lack of interest in developing them, further hinders the ability to find a solution.

We are never going to live as cheaply as we possibly can, especially here in the US, and we simply do not have the wisdom to sacrifice for the sake of those who will live decades ahead of us. From the time we landed on the Atlantic coast and pushed westward, it is simply not bred in the American bone.

Obama will not change this. Americans will not accept large increases in what we pay for gasoline and electricity. President-elect Obama says he is going to solve the financial crisis, the healthcare crisis, the infrastructure crisis, the energy crisis, the climate crisis and perhaps even the intolerable shortage of magic pixie dust. The man is quite the optimist. But let's not be completely stupid.

Our problems, especially the climate crisis, are not going away anytime soon. The alternative technologies we need to reduce our carbon emissions to essentially zero - what scientists are now telling us is necessary - simply aren't there, and won't be anytime soon. Nor is the sense of crisis really there. Those claiming we are near some kind of catastrophic tipping point simply have no science to back up their claims.

Those expecting that we are going to reduce our atmosphere's carbon dioxide content to 350 parts per million are na‹ve activists perhaps living off the donations to their organisations. In any case, they are dreaming in la-la land. There is no crisis that will change our minds - not heat waves in France, not Katrina, not the disappearance of Arctic ice up north. We want what we want, and our species is lousy at planning for the future. Even the world's climate organisers do not hesitate to fly thousands of miles to Poland and live high on the hog.

Given this, what can we do? Be realistic, first of all. Let's fund geo-engineering research to the hilt, exploring how we can someday modify our planet's natural systems to produce a slight atmospheric cooling. It is our destiny. But most of all, let's open our eyes and begin to be honest. You will fly to Jamaica this winter instead of cutting your greenhouse gases. Fine. Can we please accept this and begin to move on?



Indians do not believe the environment is in crisis, but they think it is important to take environmentally-friendly actions and it is a high priority for them. Hence, 88 percent of Indian consumers are prepared to pay more for goods that are environmentally friendly against 82 percent in China. In Japan, only 68 percent of consumers feel the environment is the most important issue.

Unlike their peers in every other country, respondents in India believe there is too much fuss about the environment (79 percent) and they do not believe the world is experiencing global warming (56 percent). Still, 92 percent feel it is their duty to contribute to a better society and environment.

These are some of the interesting findings to emerge from a study of consumers in India, China and Japan, part of a 10-market global study called 'goodpurpose' conducted by Edelman, the world's largest independent PR firm.

More here

Centre-Left Australian government not Green enough

Kevin Rudd became a target himself today after he announced modest and conditional targets to cut greenhouse gases, thought to be responsible for global warming. As the Prime Minister saud there would be an unconditional 5 per cent cut in emissions by 2010, which could increase to a maximum 15 per cent if the rest of the world agreed to a similar target, a single female protester screamed: "No!" It was a sentiment shared by the Australian Greens, scientists, environmental experts and other protesters, many of who had advocated cuts of 25 to 40 per cent to avert catastrophic climate change.

Meanwhile business labelled the proposed scheme "high risk" at a time of global recession despite billions being handed out to cushion the economic blow for the power industry, other businesses and consumers.

Critics complained the compensation measures would effectively cancel out the scheme's effectiveness at modifying behaviour and also left next to no money to invest in energy efficiency and green alternatives.

Mr Rudd said today's white paper targets represented a responsible course of action. "We are not going to make promises that cannot be delivered,'' he told the National Press Club in Canberra today. "We are starting the scheme with appropriate and responsible targets, targets that are broadly consistent with other developed countries.'' The targets deliver necessary reform to tackle climate change while supporting Australia's economy and securing jobs during the global recession, he said. "Treasury modelling demonstrates that we can deliver on this 5 to 15 per cent commitment while maintaining solid economic growth.''

As Mr Rudd spoke a female protester screamed "No!'' and kept shouting as she was removed from the National Press Club in Canberra. The protester is believed to be Annika Dean, who released a press release earlier in the day detailing the planned protest. "This announcement means the Australian Government is willing to sacrifice the Great Barrier Reef to appease the big polluting companies that are fuelling global climate change,'' Ms Dean said.

In Brisbane protesters from the Brisbane Southside Climate Action Group staged a sit in at the foyer of Kevin Rudd's local electorate office, describing today's targets as "weak". This afternoon Australian Greens leader Bob Brown called the plan an example of Mr Rudd's "dismal politics" and a "failure of leadership".

Leading scientists also expressed dismay. "The 14 per cent cut in our total emissions by 2020 announced today is such a pitifully inadequate attempt to stop dangerous climate change that we may as well wave the white flag now," climate scientist Professor Barry Brook, from the University of Adelaide, said.

Environmental activists Greenpeace also accused Mr Rudd of betraying Australians with a pathetic emissions reduction target "The Government's target of 5 per cent by 2020 is totally unacceptable and cannot be allowed to stand," Greenpeace climate campaign co-ordinator John Hepburn said. "Mr Rudd has betrayed the science, betrayed the community and betrayed the next generation who will have to live with climate change impacts. "He has caved in to the bullying tactics of the coal and other polluting industries," Mr Hepburn said

Despite the modest targets and a compensation package worth more than $1bn to help business and community groups adjust to emissions trading, Australia's leading business group labelled the scheme "high risk" during a time of global recession. "But it does beg the basic question and that is whether or not these costs can be borne by business in the first place at a time when Australia is going through an international economic firestorm,'' Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson told ABC Television. "We need to come through that economic firestorm with a strong economy and placing domestic stress on the economy is going to just make that more difficult.''



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


14 December, 2008

Italy makes climate deal conditional

Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Friday said he was satisfied that Italy's requests had been accommodated in a compromise on the European Union's climate package. "Once again our tactical ability has paid off," he said after the leaders of the 27 member states hammered out a new deal on the climate package that takes the global economic crisis into account. Berlusconi said Europe was now at the forefront of the battle against climate change but insisted that it could not be ''left to foot the bill on its own''. "The other carbon-dioxide emitting countries must also make a commitment at the Copenhagen world climate conference in 2009," Berlusconi said.

The new deal accommodates two Italian demands that Foreign Minister Franco Frattini described as deal-breakers earlier this week. In one new clause, the entire climate package will be reviewed in March 2010 after the Copenhagen conference in December 2009 in order to ensure Europe is not isolated, and therefore penalised economically, in its fight against climate change.

In a second major concession to Italy, the Italian manufacturing sector will receive free 'polluting permits' when European industries and companies have to start 'paying to pollute' via an auction system in 2013. "No Italian jobs will be put in jeopardy and the manufacturing industry will be fully safeguarded," said Italian EU Affairs Minister Andrea Ronchi. Renewable energy credits generated by Italian-funded projects in non-European countries, such as Albanian windfarms, will also be viable on the European market until 2016.

Germany, Poland and other eastern European countries who had expressed concerns about the package also found satisfactory compromises on Friday. "We reached an accord that on one hand stands firm on the aims of greenhouse gas emission reduction and on the other takes into account the needs of the various member states, emphasising the sustainability of the measures by the various national economies as Italy had requested," Italian Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who led the talks, thanked Berlusconi for helping to reach the deal quickly, while Berlusconi paid tribute to Sarkozy's "intelligence and dedication".

On Thursday the Italian premier had repeated a threat to veto the package if Italy's demands were not met, and said in a frank exchange with journalists that he thought it was "absurd" to be talking about carbon emissions in the face of the more pressing financial crisis. "It's like someone with pneumonia thinking about having a hairdo," he said.

The climate package sticks to its original aims of a 2020 deadline to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% below 1990 levels through a 20% increase in the use of renewable energy and a 20% boost in energy efficiency.

However, environmental groups including Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam and Friends of the Earth branded the new deal a "failure", saying it was now dramatically watered down with compromises.


Comment from Benny Peiser: As I expected, the EU climate summit ended with an extremely woolly compromise. While European leaders hailed the agreement as 'historic,' radical environmentalists denounced it as a complete and utter failure. As usual, the political reality lies somewhere in between these extremes. On the whole, however, I would suggest that the EU's climate rebels, Italy foremost, won the day.

Italy's demand for a revision clause that will make the EU climate package conditional, was unanimously agreed yesterday at the EU summit in Brussels yesterday. Crucially, Italy's 'red line,' i.e. its demand for a revision clause that will make the EU climate package conditional, was unanimously agreed yesterday at the EU summit in Brussels yesterday. It is now fully incorporated in the new EU climate package: The crucial paragraph reads: "The Commission shall submit to the European Council in March 2010 a detailed analysis of the results of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, particularly in relation to the goals of reducing emissions by 20% to 30%. The European Council will, on this basis, make an assessment of the situation, including the effects on the competitiveness of European industry and other economic sectors." (Paragraph 23 of the EU summit declaration).

In other words: If the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009 fails to agree on a post-Kyoto deal, it is almost certain that the EU climate package and its conditional targets will be further watered down accordingly. As a result of this new revision clause, the EU has ensured that any enforcement of the EU climate package ultimately depends on the outcome of future international climate negotiations. As Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi stressed yesterday, his shrewd strategy seems to have paid off.


President-elect Barack Obama's administration is prepared to embrace mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States but will push through Congress a new international climate treaty only if China and other big emitters join in a "global solution," Sen. John Kerry warned at the latest round of climate talks Thursday in Poland.

Kerry (D-Mass.), widely viewed as Obama's unofficial representative at the UN meeting, praised China-which recently surpassed the United States as the world's biggest greenhouse gas producer-for taking a variety of climate-friendly actions, including establishing auto emissions standards tougher than those in the United States and setting ambitious goals to improve energy efficiency.

But unless China and other powerhouses in the developing world agree to quickly follow the U.S. toward large-scale emissions cuts, "there's no way for us to get from here to there" in terms of holding climate change to less than catastrophic levels, he said at a news conference.

More here


Russia may not join a new global deal to fight climate change if it is against Moscow's interests and will set a national mid-term target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year, an official said on Friday. "If the conditions for the international agreement are not favorable for us we may not join such an agreement," Alexander Pankin, deputy head of the Russian delegation at U.N.-led December 1-12 climate negotiations in Poland, told Reuters.

If a new U.N. climate pact meant to be agreed in Copenhagen at end-2009 was unfair and failed to set comparable commitments for countries according to their economic and social standing, Russia would not sign, he said. "If you are better off than me, why should I make a stronger commitment than you," he said.

Pankin said Russia's ambition was to stabilize emissions at around 30 percent below 1990 and then reduce them further but did not give a percentage about possible cuts by 2020. "We will have our national commitment. We will see what is achievable for Russia, we will do it at a government level and we will say this is the Russian target," he said. "Definitely we have to do it within the next year."

Russia would set its own "achievable and realistic" target and would not tolerate pressure from the European Union or others for emission cuts of 20 or 30 percent by 2020. The EU leaders approved on Friday a 20-percent target by 2020. "We take our national actions not because there's international pressure on us, we take action because we want to live in a cleaner world," Pankin said.

Russia, the world's number three greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the United States, ratified the current U.N. Kyoto Protocol in 2004 only after years of debate about whether to take on targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

Fears of global recession have now made many rich nations reluctant to launch costly new projects to fight climate change, or push ahead with ever deeper greenhouse gas cuts.

Pankin said talking about a collective mid-term global target for curbing emissions was not realistic because many countries were not ready to commit to combating climate change with concrete actions. Emissions in the oil and gas-rich Russia, mainly from burning fossil fuels, have plunged by about a third since the collapse of Soviet-era smokestack industries. Its goal under Kyoto is to keep emissions below 1990 levels until 2012.

Moscow has previously feared its emissions may surpass 1990 levels in coming years because of strong economic growth. But the financial crisis has hit growth and Pankin said emissions would likely fall due to declining demand for commodities.



Peering nervously into the dark tunnel of climate change policy, Europe's political leaders hesitate. Gordon Brown says he can see a chink of light in the distance and he stumbles into the gloom. Silvio Berlusconi says the British are silly and declines to follow. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, says she can see the dim glow but wonders whether it might be a train.

She is right; the light at the end of the tunnel is a coal train, a diesel juggernaut pulling 100 wagons laden with dusty, carbon-rich but very cheap fuel. Even as European Union leaders were preparing to meet in Brussels on Thursday for talks on cutting carbon emissions, the world's energy marketplace was rushing towards them, pistons pumping and whistle blowing.

Can they hear it? Europe's CO2 emissions are falling. Deutsche Bank is forecasting a 10 per cent fall in emissions in 2009 against last year's level. The price of coal, gas and oil is cheaper by the day and, even more embarrassing, the price of a permit to emit a tonne of carbon has collapsed on Europe's emissions trading system.

With fuel prices as they are, the margin from burning coal is unbeatable, even after adding the cost of buying carbon allowances at _14 a tonne. According to Deutsche Bank's calculations, a fuel switch from dirty coal to cleaner natural gas would require a carbon price of between _25 and _30 a tonne. Estimates of the long-running carbon price needed to justify investment in carbon capture and storage technology vary between _40 and _50 a tonne.

Forget it. This much-lauded technology of stripping out CO2 and pumping it into spent oil wells is at the heart of many cherished plans and projections, but where is the full-scale demonstration plant? Where are the wagons of cheap coal being transformed economically into kilowatt hours with carbon dioxide piped harmlessly into subterranean pits?

For the next two or three decades, the picture is emerging of coal for the poor, more expensive gas and nuclear power for those on middle incomes and wind turbines for the super-wealthy. Wind is a fringe benefit for Britain: it works at the margins but it is too unreliable and expensive to replace the 22 gigawatts of baseload power that this country needs if it is to replace elderly power stations over the next 15 years. Nuclear will fill some of the gap but Europe's nuclear industry is just recovering after decades of ruinous neglect. For an electricity generator, the market signal is absolutely clear: burn coal, make cheap power and speed the economic recovery.

The market wants to go with coal and there is the rub. Having erected this fantastic mechanism - the emissions trading system - and puffed its merit on political platforms worldwide, Europe's leaders are now embarrassed, frantically brushing the coal dust off their cuffs. The original idea behind the scheme was that it puts a price on carbon by enabling companies to trade permits, known as EU allowances to emit CO2. These allowances were issued free by governments in the early stages of the ETS. Too many were issued and falling industrial output now means that companies need fewer of them. Unless governments drastically curtail the number of permits in the future by forcing companies to pay for them, the cost of carbon pollution will continue to fall. Deutsche Bank reckons a decline to less than _12 a tonne is possible. but the auctioning of permits will push up power prices as the recession deepens. A politically dangerous strategy.

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Global cooling hits Britain

Raw Arctic winds have left Britain shivering in its coldest start to winter for three decades. According to the Met Office, the average temperature for the first third of December has been 1.7C (35F), well down on the long-term average for this time of 4.7C (40.5F). The bitter cold is a rude reminder of what winter used to be like and in stark contrast to the recent run of remarkably mild winters, when trees hung on to their leaves well into December and frogs were seen spawning in ponds. An early taste of winter came with the freakish snows of October, and this month could prove to be the worst month of the year for underpar temperatures. The last time that the country suffered such an outrageous early winter bout of cold was in December 1976, when the average temperature was a bonechilling 0.8C (33.4F).

Much of the driving force behind this recent cold is the jetstream, a ribbon of winds a few miles high that blow eastwards around the globe and are generated by a battle between Arctic air col-liding with warm subtropical air. Because the jetstream has swung south around the UK, it has left the country under a mass of frigid air.This pattern has been locked in for some time, and although there will be some respite this weekend, with an intrusion of milder, wetter Atlantic air, the cold is expected to return next week. The jetstream is believed to be behaving like this because of events thousands of miles away, in the Pacific Ocean. For more than two years, the tropical waters of the Pacific have turned unusually cool, a phenomenon called La Ni€a. This has upset the pressure systems across the Pacific and knocked the jetstream off course.

Like a wave rolling around the world, the jetstream was shunted farther south than usual around Britain. This gave us the past two soaking-wet summers. The same jetstream pattern tends to produce a cold, dry start to the winter but ends much milder and wetter in late winter and early spring. Hence the Met Office is sticking by its seasonal forecast, which predicted the cold start to the winter, followed by milder conditions during January and February, although interspersed with cold snaps at times. And for the past two years its winter long-range forecasts have proved correct.

"This has been an unusually long episode of La Nina, and could last well into spring," Adam Scaife, of the Met Office, explained. "It pushes the probabilities towards a drier, colder early winter and a warmer, wetter end to winter - but can't guarantee it because all these signals can be outweighed by atmospheric chaos." In other words, the day-to-day weather throughout winter can still blow hot and cold.


Road congestion scheme knocked on the head in Britain

It was the "Green" alternative to road improvement. It had already failed in London

Road pricing, the Government's favoured policy for dealing with congestion, has been roundly rejected in a referendum in Manchester. There now appears little chance of any pay-as-you-drive schemes being introduced for the next decade at least. Manchester's proposal for peak-time tolls of up to 5 pounds a day was defeated by 4 to 1. The scheme was rejected in separate votes held in all ten Greater Manchester boroughs. Just over a million people voted, 53 per cent of the 1.9 million balloted. Electors were not persuaded by the promise of 1.5 billion of government money for public transport and 10,000 extra jobs.

The result is undoubtedly a severe embarrassment for the Government, which has created a 2 billion Transport Innovation Fund to reward councils that introduce pricing schemes to reduce congestion. The Department for Transport said last night that the rules of the fund would remain. They state that any council bidding for a share of the fund would have to introduce a form of "demand management", such as congestion charging or a levy on workplace parking spaces. Other authorities that had been considering charging schemes distanced themselves from the policy after hearing the Manchester result.

Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council, said: "We are doing a survey but we are a million miles from having any recommendations. I don't like the blackmail and the bullying. The Government must rethink its policy of making the funding conditional on demand management."

Cambridgeshire County Council, which has proposed a charge of up to 5 pounds to drive into Cambridge in the morning at peak times, also retreated.Matt Bradney, the council's cabinet member for infrastructure, said: "Now that congestion charging has been proven so unpopular, we think the Government should not be putting the handcuffs on us. We are urging it to change the rules of the fund." The West of England Partnership, representing four councils in the Bristol area, said it was still considering a charging scheme but the Manchester result "highlights certain challenges we might have".

Labour politicians in Manchester, working closely with the DfT, had tried everything they could to make the congestion charge attractive to the majority. Charging would not have started until 2013, by which time 80 per cent of the public transport improvements would have been completed. There would have been discounts for the low-paid and exemptions for areas that would have to wait longer for improved public transport. Only one in ten people would have paid the charge and no drivers would have been affected in two thirds of households. A spokesman for the "yes" campaign blamed the downturn in the economy for the strength of the "no" vote. "People were not willing to embrace an additional charge when they were worried about their jobs," he said, "even though only a small minority would have paid."



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


13 December, 2008

Romm versus Motl

Lubos Motl, my favourite Pilsener, recently made some comments about the recent paper by Eichler et al., which I mentioned here on 12th. Abstract follows:
"The role of the sun on Earth's climate variability is still much debated. Here we present an ice core oxygen isotope record from the continental Siberian Altai, serving as a high-resolution temperature proxy for the last 750 years. The strong correlation between reconstructed temperature and solar activity suggests solar forcing as a main driver for temperature variations during the period 1250-1850 in this region. The precisely dated record allowed for the identification of a 10-30 year lag between solar forcing and temperature response, underlining the importance of indirect sun-climate mechanisms involving ocean-induced changes in atmospheric circulation. Solar contribution to temperature change became less important during industrial period 1850- 2000 in the Altai region."
So Eichler et al used data from the Siberian Altai region to show that solar fluctuations correlated strongly with temperature cycles up to 1850 but correlated much more weakly thereafter -- which is a rather curious finding. After 1850, CO2 took over as the major influence, we are asked to believe. Eichler et al. did however concede that even in the modern era, "up to approximately 50%" was the contribution of the sun to temperature change -- concurring with previous research that estimates 50% as the solar contribution. So Motl simply spoke of "50%" in his heading but noted in his text that Eichler spoke of "up to approximately 50%".

Big-time Warmist Joe Romm, however, seized on Motl's comment -- mistakenly attributing it to Marc Morano -- and made much of the "inaccurate" heading. Romm even went to the author of the paper to get her confirmation that "up to approximately 50%" did not mean "50%".

Motl can and no doubt will defend himself, if he thinks such a storm in a teacup is important, but I can see no fault in his logic. Why would the sun stop having an influence on climate in 1850? Who threw the switch? Because there is no such switch known or even imaginable, Motl took the high end of the estimate.

Pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today. How and why we are told otherwise?

How many failed predictions, discredited assumptions and evidence of incorrect data are required before an idea loses credibility? CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. It is not a toxic substance or a pollutant. Despite this President Elect Obama met with Al Gore on December 9 no doubt to plan a climate change strategy based on these problems. They make any plan to reduce of CO2 completely unnecessary.

Proponents of human induced warming and climate change told us that an increase in CO2 precedes and causes temperature increases. They were wrong. They told us the late 20th century was the warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us, using the infamous "hockey stick" graph, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) did not exist. They were wrong. They told us global temperatures would increase through 2008 as CO2 increased. They were wrong. They told us Arctic ice would continue to decrease in area through 2008. They were wrong. They told us October 2008 was the second warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us 1998 was the warmest year on record in the US. They were wrong it was 1934. They told us current atmospheric levels of CO2 are the highest on record. They are wrong. They told us pre-industrial atmospheric levels of CO2 were approximately 100 parts per million (ppm) lower than the present 385 ppm. They are wrong.

This last is critical because the claim is basic to the argument that humans are causing warming and climate change by increasing the levels of atmospheric CO2 and have throughout the Industrial era. In fact, pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today, but how did they conclude they were lower?

In a paper submitted to the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski explains,
The basis of most of the IPCC conclusions on anthropogenic causes and on projections of climatic change is the assumption of low level of CO2 in the pre-industrial atmosphere. This assumption, based on glaciological studies, is false."
Ice cores provide the historic record and data collected at Mauna Loa the recent record. Both records are drastically modified to produce a smooth continuous curve with little variability. This was necessary to confirm the evidence falsely concluded from many 19th century measures that pre-industrial levels were approximately 280 ppm and didn't vary much. So how did they engineer the smooth curves and ignore the fact the 19th century record shows a global average of 335 ppm and considerable variability from year to year?

Most people don't know that thousands of direct measures of atmospheric CO2 were made beginning in 1812. Scientists took the readings with calibrated instruments and precise measurements as the work of Ernst-Georg Beck has thoroughly documented.

Guy Stewart Callendar was an earlier visitor to these records. He rejected most of the records including 69% of the 19th century records and only selected certain records that established the pre-industrial level as 280 ppm. Here is a plot of the records with those Callendar selections circled.

It is clear how only low readings were chosen. Also notice how the slope and trend is changed compared to the entire record. As Jaworowski notes,
"The notion of low pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric level, based on such poor knowledge, became a widely accepted Holy Grail of climate warming models. The modelers ignored the evidence from direct measurements of CO2 in atmospheric air indicating that in 19th century its average concentration was 335 ppmv."
Beck recently confirmed Jaworowski's research. A September 2008 article in Energy and Environment examined the readings in great detail and validated the 19th century findings. In a devastating conclusion Beck writes,
Modern greenhouse hypothesis is based on the work of G.S. Callendar and C.D. Keeling, following S. Arrhenius, as latterly popularized by the IPCC. Review of available literature raise the question if these authors have systematically discarded a large number of valid technical papers and older atmospheric CO2 determinations because they did not fit their hypothesis? Obviously they use only a few carefully selected values from the older literature, invariably choosing results that are consistent with the hypothesis of an induced rise of CO2 in air caused by the burning of fossil fuel.
So the pre-industrial level is at least 50 ppm higher than the level put into the computer models that produce all future climate predictions. The models also incorrectly assume uniform atmospheric global distribution and virtually no variability of CO2 from year to year.

Beck found, "Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm." Here is a plot from Beck comparing 19th century readings with ice core and Mauna Loa data.

Compare the variability of the atmospheric measures with the smooth line of the ice core record. Eliminating extreme readings and then applying a long term smoothing average achieved this. When smoothing is done on the scale of the ice core record a great deal of information is lost. Elimination of high readings prior to the smoothing makes the loss even greater. Also note that as with all known records the temperature changes before the CO2, in this record by approximately 5 years.

Elimination of data is also done with the Mauna Loa and other atmospheric readings, which can vary up to 600 ppm in the course of a day. Beck explains how Charles Keeling established the Mauna Loa readings by using the lowest readings of the afternoon. He ignored natural sources, a practice that continues. Beck presumes Keeling decided to avoid these low level natural sources by establishing the station at 4000 meters (m) up the volcano. As Beck notes "Mauna Loa does not represent the typical atmospheric CO2 on different global locations but is typical only for this volcano at a maritime location in about 4000 m altitude at that latitude." (Beck, 2008, "50 Years of Continuous Measurement of CO2 on Mauna Loa" Energy and Environment, Vol 19, No.7.)

Keeling's son continues to operate the Mauna Loa facility and as Beck notes, "owns the global monopoly of calibration of all CO2 measurements." Since the young Keeling is a co-author of the IPCC reports they accept the version that Mauna Loa is representative of global readings and that they reflect an increase since pre-industrial levels.

More here

An old scare

It WAS warmer in the 30s -- but then it got colder again -- as it is doing now

"Breakthrough" in Poznan

An agreement to keep talking!

The process of shaping a new climate change package in the two years between last year's Bali conference and next December's meeting in Copenhagen had already slipped behind schedule during the past six months and the workmanlike outcome of Poznan meant that 2009 would see an even steeper road to Copenhagen.

Yvo de Boer, the Dutchman who was convener of the talks, adopted a wounded tone as he defended the Poznan meeting, stressing that quite apart from the distraction of Obama's absence this was always supposed to be a low-key meeting in which the emphasis was on avoiding breakdowns rather than finding breakthroughs. "This is a blue-collar conference," he said yesterday. "It is a conference about getting a job done, it is not a conference about spectacle or breakthroughs.

"The main purpose of this conference has been to agree the negotiating agenda for the coming year: to agree on an intensification of negotiations and to provide (officials) with a mandate to come up with a negotiating text and advance the process, and this blue-collar conference has delivered on those two goals."

The conference did indeed keep the show on the road but last night delegates were left pondering whether the compromises and fudges had left a process that could come up with a worthwhile climate change agreement by the planned date of December 2009. "I don't think where we are now it is going to be feasible to develop a fully elaborated, long-term response to climate change in Copenhagen," de Boer conceded. ..


Dutch professor laments climate 'hype' --concedes she is ' increasingly ill at ease about the debate'

Like so many climate change conferences before it, the one in Poznan, Poland this week will likely end in disappointment. The issue of global warming still isn't taken seriously enough to bridge opposing interests and mobilize the funding needed to deal with the problem.

I confess that I am increasingly uncomfortable with what is being called the travelling climate circus: this incessant and expensive series of conferences about the climate. Last year in Bali, next year in Copenhagen, now in the Polish city of Poznan, where over 11,000 people from 190 countries are gathered to make agreements about the follow-up to the Kyoto protocol.

There are no less than 700 pages of proposals which are supposed to lead to a new treaty on reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the end of 2009. As the current round of talks is again threatening to end in a fiasco, the organization in Proznan is keeping its options open (they are now talking only about a "political understanding on the most important elements" rather than a binding treaty, which was the original plan).

Almost without exception, such conferences end in disappointment. Few people wonder why the climate negotiations are so difficult compared to other international agreements. It can't just be because of the considerable conflict of interests between countries -- these also exist in negotiations about world trade, which are now close to completion.

There are, I believe, two reasons for the dark clouds surrounding the climate summits: There is still no undisputed package of steps that need to be taken and the problem is clearly not considered urgent enough, despite all the testimonies, to bridge the opposing interests and mobilize funding.

This is in sharp contrast to the decisiveness and unity revealed during the credit crisis. That is clearly an urgent problem affecting all citizens directly and one which governments want to be seen tackling immediately, even if the measures involved are very expensive.

I am far from being a climate skeptic. On the contrary, I believe the evidence of man's impact on the planet is overwhelming. But I am increasingly ill at ease about the debate itself. I have just finished reading another large pile of articles about the topic and listening to various speeches. And the elements of hype and carelessness I have come across are increasing. All sorts of things are thrown together under the banner of climate change as if it is responsible for all of the world's problems.

From a practical viewpoint, it is impossible to unravel what is caused by weather fluctuations, the lack of economic growth or failed government policy -- to say nothing of proving the current effects of structural changes in the climate.

For example, everyone quotes the number of "200 million climate refugees". But closer examination reveals that migrants name drought as the least important reason for leaving their country. If at all. Even where drought is involved, it cannot be determined with certainty that it is due to climate change, because weather fluctuations happen all the time.

There are authors who claim that fertile land has already been lost to the rising sea level, a claim for which there is little evidence.

I also regularly read articles stating that climate change is leading to a decrease in food production and is behind the recent explosion in food prices. That notion that food production will decrease in the long term is still questionable -- in some areas production could even increase, and recent price increases have nothing to do with climate change. Such a suggestion is misleading at best, if not fraudulent.

And then there are the politicians who repeatedly state that we cannot continue with business as usual, like the Polish president said last week. But we are long past that point. Sustainable production has penetrated our way of thinking. It is not enough by any stretch of the imagination, but you can't maintain that we haven't learned anything.

Attempts to present these issues as dramatically as possible come from the understandable frustration about the lack of success in the climate negotiations. The louder the calls for change, the less credible they become; and the slower the progress in the negotiations, the louder the calls. The climate problem is complex and tenacious and is not helped by an inaccurate presentation of the facts.

There are enough reasons to take action, with sustainable economic growth in the forefront. But if I have to choose between alleviating hunger and poverty today and preventing CO2 emissions tomorrow, then I choose the former, in the firm conviction that only prosperity will lead to a change in mentality and the financing of energy-saving measures.


False economy: E10 fuel isn't cheaper or greener

Comment from Australia

A fuel derived from plants might appear to be a cheap and green alternative but exclusive Drive research proves this is not the case. A fuel-efficiency showdown between the three most-popular types of petrol [gasoline] on the market concludes the ethanol blend will cost you more in the long run and may not even help the environment. Ethanol-blend fuels are about three cents a litre cheaper than regular unleaded at the pump but Drive found bills are higher overall because it burns less efficiently.

The findings throw into question NSW Government claims that E10 provides cost savings for motorists. The NSW Government has mandated the sale of E10 in NSW, requiring petrol company sales to include at least 2 percent ethanol. The mandate in effect requires companies to ensure that 20 percent of the fuel they sell is E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent petrol. At the time of the announcement last year, then premier Morris Iemma described the decision as a "win for the hip pocket when it comes to fuel costs for families". Our figures prove otherwise.

Drive put the three fuels to the test, driving three identical Toyota Camrys more than 2000 kilometres in a range of conditions to see which fuel drives your dollar further. The E10-fuelled Camry in the test cost $276.55 to run, while the regular unleaded version cost $271.56 and the premium unleaded fuel version, which cost, on average, 15 cents a litre more than E10, cost $285.54. The car running on premium unleaded consumed 9.06 litres/ 100km, compared with 9.41L/100km for the regular unleaded car and 9.81 litres for the E10 vehicle.

The test-drive route covered a range of conditions, from freeway driving to off-peak and peak-hour city driving. City driving exposed E10's efficiency shortcomings -- almost as expensive as using premium unleaded, despite the huge gap in pump prices. In the700 kilometres of city driving, our E10 Camry used almost 10 litres more fuel than our premium-fuel car. The comparative fuel bills for the three cars were: E10, $105; premium, $105.91; and regular unleaded, $100.33. Had we used thirstier six-cylinder cars or less-efficient used cars, the equation would probably have strengthened further in favour of unleaded and premium fuel.

During our test, unleaded petrol was priced at $1.30 a litre, which meant the three cents a litre less we paid for E10 amounted to a 2.3 percent discount. But our figures show that the car using E10 used 4.2 percent more fuel than the car using regular unleaded fuel. During city driving, the discount remained the same but we used 7.2percent more E10 than regular and 11.2percent more than premium unleaded. Since our test, the drop in petrol prices has made E10 more attractive, because a three cents- a-litre discount translates to a 3 percent discount if fuel is priced at $1. Our findings contrast starkly with the claims made by some petrol distributors.

United Petroleum general manager David Szymczak says overseas studies find the fuel consumption difference between E10 and unleaded can be as low as1 percent. United's E10 fuel has a higher octane rating (95RON ) than that of other distributors. "When you consider that you can get 3 percent to5 percent better economy just by having the right air [pressure] in your tyres, it's a very minor issue," Szymczaksays.

Caltex spokesman Frank Topham says the fuel-consumption differences vary widely from vehicle to vehicle. "It is such an individual thing with each vehicle," he says. "People should check it out for themselves and see if they find any appreciable difference." But the head of engine development for Porsche's Cayman sports car, Jurgen Kapfer, says there is no doubt E10 is less efficient. Kapfer should know. He's just been through the certification process for Euro V, the fuel standard about to be adopted in Europe. Unlike previous fuel standards, Euro V demands car companies use an E10 blend in their cars when they complete their fuel consumption test cycle.

Under the current standard, the published fuel-consumption figures are based on a test that replicates city and country driving using premium unleaded, or 95RON, fuel. That's why Porsche published two sets of fuel-consumption figures for the Cayman at the car's global launch in Spain recently. The first set was for the current standard, Euro IV, while the second set had fuel consumption for the Euro V standard. Using E10, the base model Cayman's fuel consumption increases about 3 percent, from 8.9L/100km to 9.2L/100km.

This is what Porsche's official press information says about the switch: "When homologating a car to EU5 [Euro V], the manufacturer must provide for a new fuel grade with a higher share of ethanol. "Displacing the same volume, such fuel has a lower calorific value than the fuel required for homologation to EU4. Hence, fuel consumption under the EU5 standard is slightly higher than with EU4 on the same carbon dioxide emissions." The translation, according to Kapfer, is that the two are line-ball on saving the planet. E10 emits less carbon dioxide but you use more of it, so the benefits are negligible.....



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


12 December, 2008

Big upset? Climate change not imminent danger, UN panel chief says

There is no clear evidence that global warming is an imminent danger to the world, says Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Even so, it would be good for governments to go further with proposed cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions to deal with dire predictions made in a 2007 panel report, he told the Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday. "I don't think we should jump to conclusions if we get material that is based on the last one or two years," he said. But governments should rethink their responses to the panel's 2007 report, which predicted sea levels would rise by 40 centimetres to 1.4 metres even if drastic cuts were made in carbon emissions.

Now he has warned that if gigantic ice sheets in Greenland or Antarctica melt, the sea could rise even more, flooding coastal areas and islands and causing widespread environmental disruptions. The report recommended large drops in carbon emissions after 2015 to contain the changes, but governments should reconsider whether even those targets go far enough, Pachauri said.

He made the comments at a meeting in Poznan, Poland, where more than 10,000 delegates and environmentalists are trying to hammer out an international treaty to cut greenhouse gases. It is intended to to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Pachauri is worried that the negotiators would leave the key decisions to the end of the meeting, producing "a weak agreement that doesn't really address the problem."

Government officials are working on the treaty before politicians arrive to address the issue later this week. Canada's Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, is expected to address the meeting on Thursday. Prentice has said that he will not agree to the deep emission cuts that environmentalists want. Canadian environmental organizations and northern indigenous groups want emissions reduced by 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020; Prentice said he wants a 20 per cent reduction of 2006 levels to avoid economic damage. The federal Conservatives have been criticized for substituting lower targets for the level set in the Kyoto deal, signed by not implemented by the Liberals.



Angela Merkel was once the Green Goddess who pushed through tough climate change targets to show that Europe could lead the world in beating global warming. Under huge pressure to shield German industry from the cost of going green, however, she has been transformed into Frau Nein - fighting to reverse key goals that she once championed.

As EU leaders meet to complete the targets today the German Chancellor, who was so firmly in Europe's driving seat just a year ago, also seems off-message over the other main item on the agenda: the size of the recovery plan needed to beat the recession.

Berlin is being accused of resorting to national self-interest just when Europe needs to pull together. Moreover, the importance of Europe sticking to its ambitious target of cutting CO2 by 20 per cent by 2020 has never been greater, with the chance of liaising with a sympathetic new US president to push for a global successor to the Kyoto Protocol fast approaching. "On a broad range of issues the Germans seem to think the European Union no longer advances their interests and are more prone to go their own way," said Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform. "In Brussels, Paris, Washington and other capitals, one increasingly hears the same complaint: Germany is acting unilaterally."

A fierce battle has been raging behind the scenes in Europe's capitals ever since Mrs Merkel proudly announced the so-called 20/20/20 targets, under the German presidency of the EU in March last year. The goals would be for a 20 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, combined with 20 per cent of fuel to come from renewable sources and a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency. The targets themselves have survived - just - but the hard part has been putting them into practice by making sure that each country does its share.

One of the key mechanisms is the EU's emissions trading scheme, which, from 2013, will force companies to buy carbon credits - each worth one metric tonne of CO2 - which they can trade if they cut pollution. Since the scheme was drawn up, however, the recession has given extra weight to arguments that the rump of European industry will be forced out of business by the extra costs. German industry, in particular, has complained that it faces "carbon leakage" - the relocation of steel, aluminium and cement production to countries much less scrupulous about pollution and free from targets and emissions trading.

Mrs Merkel arrives in Brussels today demanding free carbon credits for 90 to 100 per cent of German factories until 2020 - blowing a hole in a key climate change scheme.

Where Germany leads, others follow. Mrs Merkel's demands have strengthened calls from a group of nine former Iron Curtain countries, led by Poland, for free credits and for massive cash subsidies from Western Europe to fund green technology. The European Commission has proposed a "solidarity fund" for the coal-dependent countries worth 7.5 billion euros in sales of carbon credits. They want twice as much; Britain opposes the principle of the subsidy.

President Sarkozy, who holds the EU's rotating leadership until the end of the month, is determined to resolve the climate clash over the two-day EU gathering, not least to send a positive signal to UN climate change talks held at the same time in Poznan, Poland. His relations with Mrs Merkel have been difficult and he has not been helped by a piece of clumsy diplomacy which took him to London on Monday to meet Gordon Brown and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, in what looked to some Germans like a conspiracy. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister and also Mrs Merkel's rival for the Chancellorship in next year's elections, took the opportunity to make a barbed comment. "I do not think it is good that the three are meeting alone and that the Chancellor is not there," he said. It showed that open sparring has already started before next summer's election, which will serve to make Mrs Merkel more likely to put domestic self-interest first at the EU summit.

Jan Kowalzig, a climate change campaigner with Oxfam in Germany, said: "Angela Merkel was the first Environment Minister that Germany ever had. We were surprised at how progressive she was at first but she has now come back more to her conservative party position. In the context of the elections next year, she is giving the impression that German jobs are more important than climate change."



'We Can't Kill the Business Climate,' Says Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). One of Barack Obama's closest allies in the Senate said Tuesday that she hopes the economic downturn can induce the incoming president to delay the centerpiece of his plan for reducing carbon emissions. "Let me speak for me here because I think this is very dangerous," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. "I would like to keep my relationship with Barack at this point. Let me speak for me."

McCaskill said she hoped Obama would delay a plan to institute a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. "I think a delay may be necessary," she continued. "Yes, we've got to do something. Yes, we have to move forward. But we can't kill the business climate at the same time. I'm from a state where most of the people who turn on the lights in the state get it from utility companies that depend on coal. And the cost of switching all that to clean coal technology or to alternative sources is going to be borne by them -- by regular folks who are trying to figure out how to pay their mortgages right now."

McCaskill cemented her ties to Obama during the Democratic presidential primary campaign by becoming the first female senator to endorse him over Hillary Clinton. She made her cap-and-trade comments to Ron Brownstein, the political director of Atlantic Media, during a National Journal discussion of Obama's "First 100 Days" held in Washington, D.C.

Under the Obama plan, the federal government would set a ceiling on carbon emissions and require companies to bid for permits to emit greenhouse gases through an auction. The government would gradually lower the amount of credits available.

Firms that reduced their emissions below the required level could sell leftover credits to other polluters. Obama would take a small portion of the auction receipts, $15 billion per year, and use it on energy efficiency, alternative fuels, and what his campaign promise book, "Change We Can Believe In," refers to as "other measures to help the economy adjust."

Raising concerns about cap-and-trade is nothing new for McCaskill. In June she was one of 10 Democratic senators to sign a letter criticizing a cap-and-trade proposal sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. The letter said that a federal cap-and-trade program must ensure that consumers and workers in all regions of the country are protected from "undue hardship." Opponents of the Boxer plan worried that it would raise the cost for electricity generated from fossil fuels. "I'm one of the senators that signed a letter on cap-and-trade," McCaskill said Tuesday. "We've got to find a more moderate middle here because you're playing with fire."

Consumer cost is not McCaskill's only concern. She also criticized the logrolling that took place in June when the Senate considered Boxer's cap-and-trade proposal. Boxer's legislation would have raised an estimated $3.4 trillion in federal revenue over the next four decades. To build support for the cap-and-trade proposal, its backers promised to allocate anticipated proceeds from the auction on legislators' preferred causes. "I'm not big on buying people off," said McCaskill. "As a former auditor, that makes chills run up my spine."

Obama's transition office had no immediate comment.


Scientists abandon global warming 'lie'

650 to dissent at U.N. climate change conference

A United Nations climate change conference in Poland is about to get a surprise from 650 leading scientists who scoff at doomsday reports of man-made global warming - labeling them variously a lie, a hoax and part of a new religion. Later today, their voices will be heard in a U.S. Senate minority report quoting the scientists, many of whom are current and former members of the U.N.'s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. About 250 of the scientists quoted in the report have joined the dissenting scientists in the last year alone. In fact, the total number of scientists represented in the report is 12 times the number of U.N. scientists who authored the official IPCC 2007 report. Here are some choice excerpts from the report:
"I am a skeptic ... . Global warming has become a new religion." -- Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

"Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly ... . As a scientist I remain skeptical." -- Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called "among the most pre-eminent scientists of the last 100 years."

Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history ... . When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." -- U.N. IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning Ph.D. environmental physical chemist.

"The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds ... . I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists." -- Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the U.N.-supported International Year of the Planet.

"The models and forecasts of the U.N. IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity." -- Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

"It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming." -- U.S. Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapor and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will." -- Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

"After reading [U.N. IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet." -- Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who 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.

"For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" -- Geologist Dr. David Gee, the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer-reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

"Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp ... . Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact." -- Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch U.N. IPCC committee.

"Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined." -- Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

"Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense ... . The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning." -- Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

"CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another ... . Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so ... . Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot." -- Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

"The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds." -- Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata.
The report also includes new peer-reviewed scientific studies and analyses refuting man-made warming fears and a climate developments that contradict the theory. It is 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) today in Poznan, Poland, where the U.N. conference is being held.



There is a new paper 'in press' in Geophysical Research Letters by Eichler et al entitled, 'Temperature response in the Altai region lags solar forcing'. The Abstract states:
The role of the sun on Earth's climate variability is still much debated. Here we present an ice core oxygen isotope record from the continental Siberian Altai, serving as a high-resolution temperature proxy for the last 750 years. The strong correlation between reconstructed temperature and solar activity suggests solar forcing as a main driver for temperature variations during the period 1250-1850 in this region. The precisely dated record allowed for the identification of a 10-30 year lag between solar forcing and temperature response, underlining the importance of indirect sun-climate mechanisms involving ocean induced changes in atmospheric circulation. Solar contribution to temperature change became less important during industrial period 1850-2000 in the Altai region.
In the Results and Discussion the authors write:
"Our reconstructed temperatures are significantly correlated with the 10Be and 14C based solar activity reconstructions in the period 1250-1850, but not with the greenhouse gas CO2 (Figure 2b). This indicates that solar activity changes are a main driver for the temperature variation in the Altai region during the pre industrial time. However, during the industrial period (1850-2000) solar forcing became less important and only the CO2 concentrations show a significant correlation with the temperature record. Our results are in agreement with studies based on NH temperature reconstructions [Scafetta et al., 2007] revealing that only up to approximately 50% of the observed global warming in the last 100 years can be explained by the Sun."
Whilst this paper supports studies by Scafetta et al, it is clear that solar factors are still poorly understood, and there are many factors other than CO2 or Solar involved in climate change. A correlation with post industrial CO2 does not necessarily imply causation. For example, Tsonis et al, 2007 investigated the collective behavior of known climate cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, and the North Pacific Oscillation. By studying the last 100 years of these cycles' patterns, they found that the systems synchronized several times. In cases where the synchronous state was followed by an increase in the coupling strength among the cycles, the synchronous state was destroyed. Then, a new climate state emerged, associated with global temperature changes and El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability. The suggestion is that this mechanism explains all global temperature tendency changes and El Nino variability in the 20th century.


Seaweed to the rescue

Comment from Australia

There are many reasons for wanting to reduce our dependence on oil: the increasing cost, reliability of supply, finite resources, the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming. Yet when people talk about alternative sources of fuel they mostly discuss the conversion of food, such as corn, into ethanol, which puts enormous pressure on food supplies. During the past year, demands for food and fuel have combined to drive up food prices sharply, which has particularly important ramifications in developing countries.

When one adds to the mix growing populations and global environmental change, with the pressures these impose on our ability to maintain high crop yields, the prospects for providing sufficient food for all are not good. So, the idea of converting a significant proportion of our food into fuel for vehicles or diverting agricultural land to grow biomass seems misguided.

Although the growth of biomass on marginal lands has some prospect, the impact on nature conservation must be considered. Furthermore, the contribution that such areas can make to global liquid fuel needs will always be modest. Marginal lands provide only low-density cropping potential and biomass from plants or crop residues generally has a low energy density, while a significant proportion of the energy gained from the biomass will be consumed in the process of moving the biomass to the processing centres.

Yet one group of plants could make a sustainable, significant contribution to world energy supply. They do not require agricultural land and need only minimal processing. Single-celled algae can grow very rapidly in low quality water, producing biomass at 10 to 30 times the rate of terrestrial plants. They can do this mainly because the cells are immersed in a medium providing all their needs, including physical support, and so the cells have no need to build infrastructure to move materials and to support themselves. A pond 60km by 60km (less than 500,000ha) well stocked with a vigorous microalga would go close to producing sufficient biomass to meet most of Australia's liquid fuel needs.

Furthermore, algae have remarkable biochemical abilities: some strains produce oils that could be used unmodified in diesel engines. Indeed, there is good evidence that many of the world's vast reserves of fossil liquid fuels are the products of ancient algal activity. The demands of algae are simple: sunlight, warmth, water, nutrients and, most significantly, carbon dioxide, the much maligned gas that is a major contributor to global warming.

Australia has more sunshine and warmth than any other developed country, and seawater is common, thanks to our extended coastline. Augmentation of seawater with waste water from sewage treatment plants could completely satisfy algal nutrient demands and would have the side benefit of treating the wastewater. Significantly, carbon dioxide can be delivered to the algal cells either direct from the atmosphere or in a concentrated form from cement factories and electricity stations. The algae can also be engineered to convert waste carbon dioxide to produce valuable products, such as liquid fuels.

Consequently, this process has much greater economic potential to be an economic option than, for example, carbon capture and storage, which, other than the carbon credits, produces no useful product. In addition to the production of liquid fuels, the algae can be used in other ways: there is potential for the cells to be pyrolysed to char for burial, which effectively removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or they could be used as animal food.

Across the world, including in Australia, pilot programs are pioneering this new biotechnology. The main engineering challenge is efficiently harvesting the algae. The biological challenges would not surprise anyone who has attempted to keep an aquarium clean. The algae must be resistant to pests and pathogens and must be able to outcompete other algae that are likely to contaminate the ponds. Reliable containment methods, such as those used for bacteria and fungi in research laboratories for decades, are also necessary to prevent the escape of the microalgae into our waterways. The use of algae that have evolved in natural ecosystems will not be adequate. To optimise productivity, alteration of the algae will be necessary, including their genetic modification.

Globally, most of the research on algal biofuels is in private hands. Recently, Bill Gates invested in a US company developing algae as a fuel. But if industry is to bridge the gap between theory and reality, large companies will need to dig deep in order to develop long-term research programs. Perhaps some government-sponsored research is also necessary. Support for the integration of algal production systems with existing infrastructure - power stations and waste treatment works - will also require government intervention. But, on the whole, this new and exciting area of research and development is likely to be driven by the private sector.

Meanwhile, the Government is grappling with solutions to climate change without factoring in new technology. The international community is meeting this week in Poznan, Poland, to try to negotiate a global agreement on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. These negotiations are bound to be diabolically difficult, to use Ross Garnaut's phrase. There will be heated discussions about what the level of greenhouse gas emissions should be in 25 years and in 50 years. It is as if a conference were being held in 1908 on global transport for the 20th century without taking into account the work of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Nobody imagined that their rickety plane would transform the world. But it did.

In the 21st century we need to build on this understanding of the power of technology to transform the way we live. As Rupert Murdoch observed when he delivered his first Boyer Lecture last month, there will be great rewards for Australians who discover new ways of reducing emissions or cleaning the environment.

With some hard economic analyses, some cutting-edge plant biotechnology and engineering that balances economic and biological demands, algal liquid fuel production could provide us with the most sustainable and economically viable biofuels option and a contribution to greenhouse gas reductions.



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


11 December, 2008

No independent minds in official Britain

An email from David Henderson [] to Benny Peiser

See the text that I used as the basis for a recent invited lecture in Edinburgh at Heriot-Watt University. Most of the ideas are in earlier publications of mine, but the following excerpts are new thoughts (for me)

" ... economists, here as elsewhere, are not agreed. Some of our differences on climate change relate to already familiar issues which arise in other areas of policy: a leading instance, and an important one in this context where distant possibilities are in question, is the choice of an appropriate rate of interest for discounting projected future costs and benefits. But the dividing line between upholders and dissenters in economics falls outside the accepted bounds of our subject. It concerns the choice of a point of departure; and this choice depends on a judgement as to what conclusions it is appropriate to draw from arguments and evidence that are scientific rather than economic. Received opinion among economists takes as given what it sees as firm scientific conclusions. Thus the Stern Review says at the start that 'The scientific evidence that climate change is a serious and urgent issue is now compelling', while the Garnaut Report take a similar line. For me, such unqualified assertions presume too much."

"Where so much remains uncertain, unsettled or unknown, policies should be evolutionary and adaptive, rather than presumptive; and their evolution should be linked to a process of inquiry and review which is more thorough, balanced, open and objective than is now the case.

As things are, there is little or no chance that such a new framework could emerge in Britain. Policy and research alike are almost entirely in the hands of institutions that appear as firmly committed to currently received opinion. The list of those involved in the advisory and policy process, and spending public money accordingly, includes the new Department of Energy and Climate Change and the relevant segments of some other departments of state, the Office of Climate Change, the Committee on Climate Change, the Hadley Centre, the Tyndall Centre, the National Environment Research Council, the Energy Research Centre, the Carbon Trust, the Environment Agency, and the Sustainable Development Commission.

I do not offer the above list as exclusive; and indeed, sad to say, Her Majesty's Treasury has to be added to it. When I started work on climate change issues, I argued that it was high time for the Treasury to become seriously involved with them. Subsequent events, including the Stern Review, have brought home to me the old adage, 'Be careful what you wish for'.

In all these official bodies, as also in the growing number of non-governmental research centres that have been set up in Britain to work on issues relating to climate change, a common way of thinking prevails. I doubt whether among them there is today, or could ever be as things now are, a single professional staff member who could be identified as even a mild dissenter or non-subscriber: there is no place for such minority thoughts, and no point in voicing them. Her Majesty's Government, with a good deal of unofficial backing, have created and financed a dominant culture of conformity. Other OECD member governments, and the European Commission, have taken much the same path.


An email from David Whitehouse [] to Benny Peiser

I speculated on Dec 1 about the ways that some in the media would react to the forthcoming data that will likely show that 2008 will be the coldest year since 2001. One would have thought that any dispassionate and scientifically rigorous look at the general temperature standstill since 2001, and now a slight fall in the average annual global temperature record would provide pause for thought about what is really going on, and, whatever side of the fence you sit, perhaps a humble appreciation that we do not by any means know as much about the complexities of the climate as some say we do.

And so it happened. The headline in the Guardian said:
"2008 will be coolest year of the decade; Global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, but cooler temperature is not evidence that global warming is slowing, say climate scientists"
If I may quote from the article;
"Prof Myles Allen at Oxford University who runs the website, said he feared climate sceptics would overinterpret the figure. 'You can bet your life there will be a lot of fuss about what a cold year it is. Actually no, its not been that cold a year, but the human memory is not very long, we are used to warm years,' he said, 'Even in the 80s [this year] would have felt like a warm year.'

And 2008 would have been a scorcher in Charles Dickens's time - without human-induced warming there would have been a one in a hundred chance of getting a year this hot. 'For Dickens this would have been an extremely warm year,' he said. On the flip side, in the current climate there is a roughly one in 10 chance of having a year this cool."
Overinterpret? Is that a new way of saying don't look at all the relevant data because it might be inconvenient?

As I pointed out, this is not telling the whole story, nor even putting it into a proper context. The important point evaded is not that 2008 would have been hot for Dickens but how hot is it with respect to the current warming spell. Nobody is arguing that the past decade is not warmer than previous ones and that the world1s glaciers and ecosystems are not reacting to it. If 2008 is the coldest year since 2001 and the global average temperature didn't change at all between 2001 - 2007 one should ask why! Talking about 2008 on its own and comparing it to Victorian times is misleading.

Then a few days later in the Guardian the environmental campaigner George Monbiot wrote, in response to the first article that "In the physical world global warming appears to be spilling over into runaway feedback."

Really? What a load of nonsense. It's statements like these that make me wonder if I am either living in the same physical world and if we need real world data at all?

It is said in that article that it's all right because the Met Office predicted that 2008 would be cool because of the la Nina effect. What it didn't say is that the previous year was predicted by the Met Office to be the warmest ever and it wasn't. la Ninas come along regularly and it's no great scientific achievement to say that when one occurs the world will cool. A failed prediction of warming however is highly significant especially given the faith put in computer modelling.

Also this supposed explanation is not in itself adequate. If the predicted cooling by la Nina had not occurred then 2008 would probably have been the same temperature (given the uncertainties) as every year since 2001 and that in itself would require explanation.

Later on in the Monbiot article we have, as I predicted, the tired old cliche about "professional deniers employed by fossil fuel companies." Where I wonder are their counterparts, the professional campaigners whose vested interests make them see a runaway warming world despite what the real world the data says?

I am broadly in favour of the global warming -CO2 hypothesis but I know it is just that, a hypothesis - and that needs testing against real observations in the physical world. If it isn't, then it's not science.


Despite "significant steps" taken to soften the impact of the EU's climate change goals on its industry, Italy yesterday (8 December) continued to maintain a tough negotiating line ahead of a decisive EU summit on 11-12 December.

During separate meetings of foreign affairs and energy ministers in Brussels, the Italian government firmly restated its intention to obtain exemptions from the package for its energy-intensive industrial sectors such as paper, glass, steel and brick industries. "It is one of our red lines," stressed Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, formerly vice-president of the European Commission.

Under the draft package to be discussed by EU heads of state and government this week, energy-intensive industries will be asked, as of 2013, to gradually pay for the right to emit CO2. But Italy, Germany and other Eastern European countries claim the rules, if applied too strictly, will force energy-intensive sectors to close down factories and move abroad, leading to job losses and rising CO2 emissions outside Europe ('carbon leakage').

Most EU countries seem ready to make concessions to those industries and the diplomatic battle is now focusing on how to measure the actual risk for individual sectors which claim to be more exposed than others to international competition. Diplomats will gather in Brussels on 10 December to attempt striking a deal ahead of meeting of EU leaders at the end of the week, where decisions on the package will have to be taken by unanimity.

As one of its "red lines", Rome is pushing for the inclusion of a general revision clause for the entire package after a UN conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, which will aim to agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Italy wants to link the implementation of the EU climate package to the outcome of the Copenhagen talks, namely in the form of a commitment from the US and China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. China and the US currently have no binding commitment to reduce their emissions and getting them onboard is one of the EU's main objectives in the negotiation.

EU energy minister made more concessions to Italy by introducing a mid-term review clause (in 2014) to a proposal aimed at boosting the share of renewable energies to 20% of the EU's energy mix by 2020 (see Links Dossier). "The compromise makes clear that the mid-term targets will be only indicative and not binding as we requested," the Italian minister for economic development Claudio Scajola told journalists after the Energy Council on Monday (8 December).

However, the revision clause will not put into question the 20% target by 2020, stressed Jean-Louis Borloo, French Energy minister, who was chairing the meeting. The European Parliament will now be asked to give its green light to the deal in a vote scheduled on 17 December.


Comment from Benny Peiser: I expect that the EU summit at the weekend will come up with a very similar fudge - as usual. I also expect that the green media and climate activists are likely to hail it as a 'historic' breakthrough - as usual. But let's not beat around the bush: whatever the EU summit may or may not decide at the weekend, you can be absolutely sure that it will not be legally binding targets. This original plan has now been abandoned - full stop. Without binding targets, however, the EU will signal unambiguously that it is waiting for the rest of the world to move - before it will make *any* binding commitments. And that, we know, could take for ever.


Below, Benny Peiser has translated excerpts from an interview in "Die Welt" with Professor Carl Christian von Weizsaecker of the Max Planck Institute, one of Germany's most eminent economists. He says that whether the IPCC is right or not, present environmental policies are irrational

Carl Christian von Weizsaecker: Is the IPCC right or not? On both sides of the argument there are reputable scientists. But I am not the expert. I put myself in the shoes of those who say that there is this climate effect. This is the more pessimistic version. The precautionary principle makes me say: as long as we do not know, we should rather take the bleaker version. I am quite skeptical of what the mainstream says. But I'm not a natural scientist, and I cannot adequately assess the question. That's why I say: If the IPCC is right, then I think, as an economist who does understand something about economics, that a rational climate policy must be different to the one we now operate.

For example, with regards to renewable energy. The belief in these sources bears even religious forms. Here, dogmatic beliefs that are financially well underpinned are propagated by means of lobbying interests. In previous ages it was said: "The church has a good stomach." Religion has always managed to make people pay.

Die Welt: What would happen if we focused not on prevention of but on adaptation to climate change?

Von Weizsaecker: The furore caused by the Stern Report was based on his conclusion that the costs of climate change would be an order of magnitude greater than the costs of its avoidance. Now all the costs of climate change that Stern lists are adjustment costs. In other words, unique investments that we must make to adapt to new circumstances. If sea levels rise, you need to build new dams. once we have adapted to a changed climate, these costs are no longer there. In sum, calculated over a millennium, it may even be that the benefits of a warmer climate outweigh the disadvantages.

More here. (in German)


More big effects we did not know previously and which are NOT therefore in the models

The latest image of sea-surface height measurements from the U.S./French Jason-1 oceanography satellite shows the Pacific Ocean remains locked in a strong, cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a large, long-lived pattern of climate variability in the Pacific associated with a general cooling of Pacific waters. The image also confirms that El Nino and La Nina remain absent from the tropical Pacific. The new image is available online here

The image is based on the average of 10 days of data centered on Nov. 15, 2008, compared to the long-term average of observations from 1993 through 2008. In the image, places where the Pacific sea-surface height is higher (warmer) than normal are yellow and red, and places where the sea surface is lower (cooler) than normal are blue and purple. Green shows where conditions are near normal. Sea-surface height is an indicator of the heat content of the upper ocean.

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a long-term fluctuation of the Pacific Ocean that waxes and wanes between cool and warm phases approximately every five to 20 years. In the present cool phase, higher-than-normal sea-surface heights caused by warm water form a horseshoe pattern that connects the north, west and southern Pacific. This is in contrast to a cool wedge of lower-than-normal sea-surface heights spreading from the Americas into the eastern equatorial Pacific. During most of the 1980s and 1990s, the Pacific was locked in the oscillation's warm phase, during which these warm and cool regions are reversed. For an explanation of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and its present state, see here and here

Sea-surface temperature satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration mirror Jason sea-surface height measurements, clearly showing a cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation pattern, as seen here.

"This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation 'cool' trend can cause La Nina-like impacts around the Pacific basin," said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The present cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation will have significant implications for shifts in marine ecosystems, and for land temperature and rainfall patterns around the Pacific basin."

According to Nathan Mantua of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, Seattle, whose research contributed to the early understanding of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, "Even with the strong La Ni€a event fading in the tropics last spring, the North Pacific's sea surface temperature anomaly pattern has remained strongly negative since last fall. This cool phase will likely persist this winter and, perhaps, beyond. Historically, this situation has been associated with favorable ocean conditions for the return of U.S. west coast Coho and Chinook salmon, but it translates to low odds for abundant winter/spring precipitation in the southwest (including Southern California)."

Jason's follow-on mission, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2, was successfully launched this past June and will extend to two decades the continuous data record of sea surface heights begun by Topex/Poseidon in 1992. The new mission has produced excellent data, which have recently been certified for operational use. Fully calibrated and validated data for science use will be released next spring.


There's nothing new under the sun

The crack automobile designers in Congress want the big 3 to make Greener cars in return for the "loan" the big 3 want. But it has all been tried before -- by Ford. But a big reality got in the way: COST. Excerpts below from a Greenie magazine

On july 27, 2000, Jacques Nasser, then president and ceo of the Ford Motor Company, stood before a packed audience at the National Press Club and made a surprising declaration. Ford, he pledged, would boost the fuel economy of its suvs by 25 percent within five years. Reporters scribbled furiously as Nasser spoke; this was not the sort of thing anyone in Detroit went around promising, least of all America's most iconic automaker, flush with profits from its big trucks and suvs and a recent victory putting the kibosh on tougher federal mileage standards.

Then again, no other company had a chairman quite like William Clay Ford Jr. A self-described environmentalist, Bill Ford was fighting a dramatic battle to transform his great-grandfather's company into a model of sustainability. (Full disclosure: I was a Ford media liaison for six months in 2000.) Unlike other auto execs, he acknowledged the problem of global climate change and his industry's role in it. He drove an electric Ford Ranger truck and successfully launched a $2 billion renovation that made the company's Rouge assembly plant one of the industry's greenest. He talked up fuel efficiency and promised to expand hybrid production. "There is a rising tide of environmental awareness and activism among consumers that is going to swell to undreamed-of heights in the 21st century," Ford told Automotive News after being named chairman-elect in September 1998. "Smart companies will get ahead of that wave, and ride it to success and prosperity. Those that don't are headed for a wipeout."

But if outsiders were impressed with Nasser's "25 by 5" announcement, many within the company saw the project as doa. Jim Schroer, then Ford's global marketing chief, had first heard about it two months earlier at an executive test-drive of a prototype tricked out for fuel efficiency. "I'm sitting there, and I think, 'Oh boy, that's not going to happen,'" he recalls. Sure, Ford knew what it would take --- the necessary technologies, such as ultralight carbon-fiber parts and advanced electronics, had all been tested by its labs -- but adding those features would cost more, and Schroer didn't think American consumers would put up with that. "By anybody's financial present-value calculation, you'd be crazy to do it," he says....

In theory, the gangbuster sales should have given executives leeway to experiment. Bill Ford also had Nasser, a president and ceo 10 years his senior with the clout to implement his vision. Former company executives say there's a reason Nasser, not Ford, announced the fuel-economy initiative: "Nobody dared defy him," one of them recalls. "Nobody was afraid of Bill Ford."

Indeed, nearly everyone I spoke with -- from auto executives and industry analysts to environmentalists and activist shareholders -- agreed that no matter his personal convictions, Bill Ford had neither the operational skills nor the management talent to make his green aspirations a reality. Instead, the chairman tried to tack environmental changes onto a business model focused obsessively on bigger, badder trucks -- Built Ford Tough. "Bill is a very idealistic guy, very principled," says David Cole, chair of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a longtime informal adviser to Ford and other automakers. "But he was relatively young and he had never been in the trenches. Now all of a sudden he is captain of a ship and he hadn't been in the engine room...Ultimately, that kept his wish from being fulfilled."

Bill Ford's -- indeed, the company's -- greatest environmental accomplishment has been the Rouge factory overhaul. The rebuilt plant has one of the world's largest living roofs, plus solar cells and skylights to reduce lighting costs. Rouge now serves as a benchmark for Ford's other factories; overall the automaker has reduced energy use by 30 percent and trimmed emissions from its manufacturing facilities by 39 percent since 2000, boasts John Viera, the company's director of sustainable business strategies. However, as Jennifer Krill of the Rainforest Action Network points out, "They are still building F-150s under that green roof."

Indeed, on the product end, top executives viewed their chairman's vision as a "nice thing to do," according to one insider -- not as a must-have for the company's future. "The premise of what Bill Ford did, and it tends to be the premise that a lot of corporate environmentalists take, comes from a kind of noblesse oblige approach. It's about what we will deign to do," says John DeCicco, a senior fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund who has long been involved with automotive issues. "The '25 by 5' pledge is a very instructive story because it really points out the inability of the individual corporate actor to go in a different direction from where the competitive marketplace wants to go."

In fact, when Nasser announced Ford's fuel-economy plan, environmentalists wondered whether the company had even considered how it would pull it off. "What they always said to me is, 'Look, we chose a goal somewhat arbitrarily in order to please people like you,'" says Dan Becker, former director of the Sierra Club's global warming program, who attended Nasser's National Press Club speech. "Bottom line," says Viera, who back then was a chief engineer on Ford's Ranger pickup, "the cost of the technologies at that point wasn't aligned with the price the customer was willing to pay. So we didn't have any business case at all."

Lacking clear direction, Ford usa reverted to what it knew best: making and selling powerful trucks, which made the company profitable for a couple more years. But the writing was on the wall. Ford's Escape Hybrid suv didn't hit the market until 2004, five years after Honda's Insight first appeared on US dealers' lots. And while Toyota has been selling hybrid cars in the US for almost a decade, Ford won't have its first one on the market until 2009. Ford didn't even have much of a conventional small-car business to fall back on when US consumers pulled a U-turn.

Publicly, Bill Ford pinned his failure on consumer behavior. The market had demanded bigger and bigger vehicles despite his warnings, so that's what Ford provided. "Gasoline prices were cheap," he recently told a columnist for Business Week, "and customers were buying many more of our big F-150s than they were of our Escape hybrids. Now everyone's aligned behind this [fuel-efficiency] vision."

Mulally has given sustainability top billing in the Ford hierarchy, promoting a senior vice president to oversee it, and Viera leads a four-person corporate sustainability team. That Ford plucked him, a truck guy, to handle the new push, Viera says, shows that the company is getting serious. "My previous 22-plus years were all on the product-development side, from trucks [to] large suvs," he says. "I've had a lot of experience driving concepts into production and into reality." He's also well aware of the pitfalls.

Ford's most recent sustainability report lays out a blueprint for reducing its new cars' CO2 emissions by 30 percent in Europe and the US by 2020. This will require increasing fuel economy by 40 percent to 35 mpg, a target identical to the one Congress mandated last year. Viera insists that Ford set its goals before the bill was passed. "Climate stabilization: That is how we set our target," he says. Environmentalists, burned by Ford's past broken promises, remain skeptical. "Why should we believe anything Ford tells us?" asks Becker, summarizing the attitude of green groups in the wake of the "25 by 5" debacle.


Australia: Bankrupt advice on carbon emissions

By Paul Howes (Paul Howes is the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union. The AWU is a big union but not as Leftist as most. Its skeptical voice will certainly be heard loud and clear by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd)

The hypocrisy of big banks such as Westpac and National Australia Bank that signed up to a corporate communique on climate change calling for aggressive unilateral targets needs to be exposed. Having participated in what can be described only as a global stuff-up of our financial system, they now are trying to tell Australian corporations that operate in the real economy, and generate real wealth and real jobs, how to behave on climate change.

It's time their dishonest motivation was exposed. Now that the huge profits made out of shoring up risky mortgage markets and fancy financial products have unwound - devastating the lives of countless millions of ordinary citizens - the banks are looking to create a new source of revenue from carbon-trading markets.

I wonder how responsive they will be, safely wrapped in the cocoon of a government guarantee, when Australia's coal-fired power generators come knocking on the door for debt refinancing to help them cope with the new carbon-trading world.

The ANZ bank already has announced hundreds of job cuts, said to be more than 2per cent of its workforce. Employees at Westpac and elsewhere are steeling themselves for cuts. These bank workers, and the families they support, are the ones who will pay for the irresponsible management of financial regulation and poor loan practices of the past several years. Now the same people responsible for that debacle want to kill jobs in the real economy by calling for action far in excess of what Australia can realistically achieve without a comprehensive global agreement.

The Australian Workers Union has been active in the climate change debate because the future of our members depends on the design and implementation of a fair and balanced emissions trading scheme in Australia. Ross Garnaut rightly calls for abandoning differentiation of effort between developed and developing countries as a flawed model that will fail the world beyond the Kyoto Protocol. He is also right to call for a per capita-based reduction target that would deliver fair burden-sharing arrangements. Any successor agreement that does not include burden-sharing commitments by significant emitter countries, particularly China and India, will be harmful to the national economy and the global environment.

Leakage of investment and jobs to unregulated jurisdictions would be the direct consequence of any policy that sees Australia going it alone in the absence of global agreements. Growing energy intensity and dependence on coal in big developing nations - especially China - will render useless the efforts of developed countries to reduce emissions on their own, no matter how deep the cuts. Garnaut has called such an approach delusional because it denies reality on the causes of and solutions to increased CO2 emissions.

Industries in which my members work make things with their enterprise and skills. Paper-shuffling is not what my members are good at. Establishing an emissions trading scheme will guarantee a lot of paper shuffling and work for consultants, especially in the finance sector.

But adopting a longer term view shows that losing industries from Australia is not good for business and that making the transition to a lower carbon economy cannot and should not occur overnight. We are making progress on sectoral agreements and we should be trying to use these as one way towards an internationally binding future agreement. The industries I represent, in mineral and metal processing including steel, alumina, aluminium, manganese, zinc, ceramics, cement, pulp and paper, plastics, oil refining, petrochemicals and liquefied natural gas, are valuable Australian assets accounting for a huge 65 per cent of Australia's total exports, and $550 billion worth of avoided imports a year.

My members and their wives, husbands and children are getting pretty tired of being told their jobs are dirty and polluting, particularly by bankers relentlessly pocketing their money and frittering away superannuation. They work for sophisticated companies that are at the leading edge of efficient technology, environmental management and workplace safety. They are proud of what they do, how they do it and the products they produce that help the rest of the world reduce their carbon footprint.

Industries such as LNG mean cleaner energy in Japan and China; aluminium can provide lighter cars. All of these jobs should be seen as part of a real green jobs solution for Australia's economy. Our members are at the core of a new green deal. I support Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong taking forward an inclusive and comprehensive new green deal.

While carbon trading may well assist in establishing new industries and opportunities, it is not necessary to lay waste to our existing world-class industries to achieve this. Policies that deny costs or view traditional industries as the problem are bound to create costs for us all. A sensible transition to carbon trading will see traditional industries becoming sustainable and growing stronger during the long term. The world will use more aluminium, steel, cement, coal, gas, timber and paper, plastics and chemicals - not less - and more transport.

If policy settings are balanced and fair, Australia's trade exposed, energy-intensive sector also will be part of the climate change solution by applying best practice know-how and leading the world by example as part of a joint global action plan.



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


10 December, 2008

Upper crust arrogance in Britain

Thousands of ordinary families faced airport hell yesterday - as well-heeled youngsters blockaded Stansted's runway in a demo over climate change. The protesters - whose Plane Stupid campaign counts sons and daughters of peers among activists - chained themselves together to halt flights.

Armed police took five hours to clear them as more than 150 take-offs and landings were delayed or cancelled at the Essex airport - Britain's third-busiest. Fuming passengers almost came to blows in the scramble to check in for alternative flights - as gun cops battled to keep order amid chaos.

Last night the campaigners - 57 of whom were arrested - were blasted for causing planes to be diverted . . . putting MORE carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Adam May, 24, from Clapham, South London, whose flight to meet his girlfriend in Berlin was scuppered, raged: "It makes no sense. They should be banged up." [i.e. put in jail]

Demonstrators held by cops included Olivia Chessell, 20, whose family hails from posh East Dulwich in South East London. She took part in a demo on the roof of the Commons in February against a new runway at Heathrow. Tamsin Omond, 23 - a baronet's grandaughter - was also part of that protest, along with Leo Murray, 31, who is the grandson of the late Labour peer Anthony Greenwood. Another arrested was campaigner Liz Snook, 30, from Harlow, Essex. [Snook on the left in the pic below. Kember on the right]

In yesterday's demo, chained protesters surrounded themselves with a "cage" of fencing. As police cut them out, Plane Stupid's Lily Kember, 21, defended her group's protest about greenhouse gas emissions, insisting: "It's a strong message." She was taught at 15,000 pounds-a-year Godolphin and Latymer school in Hammersmith, West London.

More than 3,500 Ryanair passengers were among those hit as the budget carrier cancelled 56 flights. The airline blasted Stansted's security after the protesters breached the airport's 5ft perimeter fence with wire-cutters at 3am. Among those forced to scrap holiday plans were 20 excited pupils aged 11 to 12 heading for Hamburg. Teacher Vanessa Lamb said: "The children are obviously upset."


A fumbling, stumbling Warmist "scientist"

As usual, it's all abuse, not science. "How dare people rat on the club of the holy and the righteous!" is his underlying attitude

Someone just sent me a transcript of a taped interview with Jerry North of Texas A&M doing what he can to diminish climate skepticism and some individual skeptics - and, in the process, merely diminishing himself.

North was the Chairman of the National Research Council Committee empanelled on the hockey stick, at the request of the former congressman from the Sierra Club, Sherwood Boehlert (R., NY). They were tasked not with evaluating the hockey stick proper, but with critiquing the exposes of said icon which, when finally assessed, got pantsed by the Wegman Report, along with the rest of the insular "climate" community (see Red Hot Lies pp. 326-28).

During these proceedings, North aggressively fended off criticism of and sought to rehabilitate the hockey stick — only to admit finally that he agreed with Wegman’s defrocking of the sham. As MIT’s Richard Lindzen notes,
one of the reports assessing the Mann et al Hockey Stick was prepared by a committee of the US National Research Counsel (a branch of the National Academy) chaired by Gerald North (North, 2006). The report concluded that the analysis used was totally unreliable for periods longer ago than about 400 years. In point of fact, the only basis for the 400 year choice was that this brought one to the midst of the Little Ice Age, and there is essentially nothing surprising about a conclusion that we are now warmer. Still, without any basis at all, the report also concluded that despite the inadequacy of the Mann et al analysis, the conclusion might still be correct. It was this baseless conjecture that received most of the publicity surrounding the report.
North doesn’t seem to like that Lindzen notes things such as these. Here is North, the apparently reluctant if highly sought-after orator, in the interview:
So, you know, by - by this time I'm not a publicity seeker. I'm happy to do this. And I never asked to do something like this, I'm always asked to do it. And I think most people who you see doing it are in that category, except for the skeptics. The skeptics in global warming are - they're - and it's the same ones over and over again. You might notice, they're always there. They're always at the phone ready to be - and they take - they take lessons on debating, and so on. They're very good at it.

It's only a handful of guys. Same ones over and over. There's this guy at University of Virginia, and there - there's a guy at Huntsville Alabama, there - two of them there. And they're, you know, a half a dozen people, and they're always the same guys. Same guys. And you don't see the same guy on the other side, because there are thousands of us. So - so that's - that's another little sociological issue there.

Some of them for religious purposes, you know. They're - they do - they don't believe. I know two people who are very religious. And they're good scientists, outspoken, but they're skeptics because they really just don't believe that the earth is changing. They just don't believe this can happen. So - that happens. .
Finally wrapping up, about two minutes later:
You know, de - good debaters, that - that's not - ha - it has nothing to do with their expertise, it's their expertise in debating that matters. You know, they know how to pull strings, and you know, put your buttons, and - they're good.
I haven't caught any debates involving UVA's Pat Michaels, or John Christy and Roy Spencer (the two prominent denizens of Hunstville) up against alarmists - who generally decline the prospect, though such events may have taken place. I do know about the one involving Richard Lindzen, who is obviously the ultimate target of North's ire ("the famous skeptic from MIT. Hope he doesn't see this"; read the rant for yourself, at minutes 33-35).

But what a sniveling take on things - oh, and what sort of publicity seeker agrees to an interview, make that interviews, by the way? - just because the skeptic scientists clean the alarmists' clock in the rare debate means they must have taken debating lessons, a supposition which in turn means something, if one left unsaid.

Also notice the reasoning: the fact that it's usually one of a specific few skeptics who gets called for the "but, not everyone agrees" line that a handful of journalists feel it their duty to include in a climate piece - that they should dare to answer the phone for a media inquiry (obviously something no alarmist would ever do) - is evidence that a small group of skeptics exist, and they are publicity seekers.

This childishly blinkered thinking comes from an intellectual, mind you. The fact the media turn to the same small group of alarmists says nothing about anyone, except about the media for the sloth of only turning to the same small group of skeptics for the throwaway skeptic line.

Now name alarmists featured in these scare stories other than the half-dozen usual-suspects, apparently self-promoting phone-answerers. Of course, other alarmists do get in print for alarmist claims - that's the principal day-to-day focus of their industry, for heaven's sake, and what the media thrive on.

Then the press tosses in the "but, not everyone agrees" line . . . sometimes. I suggest a comparison is in order: how often are the noisiest four alarmists quoted, vs. how often North's four targets get ink? I recall how North's pal Michael Mann was the go-to guy for every sort of alarmist story for years, until his "hockey stick" was finally subjected to scrutiny, and debunked. And James Hansen has apparently been on every reporter's speed dial, giving 1,400 interviews over the period of time he claimed to have been "muzzled" by this Bush administration (just as he claimed to have been by the first Bush administration, both of which assertions are demonstrably false).

North doesn't say what these examples tell him. To be charitable, North's commentary reflects a double standard. To be more direct, it's whiny nonsense from someone who proves that alarmists not only have a poor track record at debating, they do themselves no favors when given an open mic.



Seldom has a politician's call to action been so rapidly answered. Mr Ed Miliband gives a newspaper interview in which he demands "popular mobilisation" to force the world's governments to push through an agreement to limit carbon emissions. Within hours, members of the Plane Stupid campaign occupy the runway at Stansted Airport, causing arriving planes to circle for hours before being diverted. Well done, Ed!

In fact the Secretary of State for the Environment's demand for a "countervailing force" to be applied to the carbon foot-draggers was anticipated: last week, "climate protesters" broke into one of Britain's biggest power stations, managing to cut almost two per cent of the nation's power supplies. I imagine that the Secretary of State for Energy will be having stern words with Ed Miliband. This, though, would mean Mr Miliband shouting at himself, like a lunatic on a street-corner, since he is the Secretary of State for Energy, as well. Who says we don't have joined-up government?

Both of these "mobilisations" were presumably designed, … la Miliband, to put pressure on the world's environment ministers who are now gathering in the Polish city of Poznan to come up with the outlines of a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Accord, which expires in 2012. The truth, however, is that Kyoto, as a means to reduce carbon emissions, has been like Monty Python's parrot, long dead, despite all the protestations to the contrary by its salesmen.

You don't have to be a "climate change sceptic" to assert this unwelcome fact. Professor Gwyn Prins, Director of the LSE's Mackinder Centre for the Study of Long Wave Events, has been advocating measures to reduce what he sees as man-made climate change since 1986. He was a lead author on the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and on the Advisory Board of Friends of the Earth UK. For some years now, Prof Prins has been warning that the Kyoto approach is hopelessly flawed - and his unpopularity in the environment ministries of Europe has grown, precisely as his criticisms of their approach have been vindicated.

His basic critique was originally outlined in a paper entitled "The Wrong Trousers" (after the Wallace and Gromit film): "The Kyoto Protocol seeks to square a circle. It seeks to articulate a market-driven trading mechanism, with a top-down detailed specification of how it will work. It is an example of a form of output target-setting that seeks to prevail by institutional fiat, based on over-confident assertion of fragile knowledge, through the sanction of tax and associated punishment. It has been applied to an entirely novel, indeed, a fabricated market."

This fabricated market in carbon has at its heart the UN's Clean Development Mechanism. This is how the EU, which had an obligation under Kyoto to reduce its emissions by two per cent by 2012, has managed to claim success while actually increasing its emissions by 13 per cent. By purchasing so called "offsets" from countries such as China, Britain, for example, proclaims itself a "leader in the fight against climate change".

Most of this is entirely fraudulent, in the sense that the Chinese have been paid billions to destroy particular atmospheric pollutants, such as CFC-23, which have actually been manufactured in order to be destroyed - and for no other purpose. This is hardly surprising: if something is accorded a price (especially a fixed one) then companies will queue up to produce it.

The EU is inordinately proud of its Emissions Trading Scheme - which it calls "the world's first carbon market" - and it is this scheme which has created the creative accounting scam known as "offsets". Even mortgage-backed securities, the financial instrument at the heart of the credit crunch, at least had something useful - houses - at the bottom of the pile of junk. Some people have described offsets as the carbon market equivalent of the mediaeval sale of Indulgences by the Catholic Church; but as Prof Prins points out, the Church sold them only as a means of atoning for the sins of the past - "carbon offsets" are sold to absolve us from sins in the future, an even more preposterous transaction.

Now that the EU is attempting at Poznan to set up a scheme which will make its industries buy carbon allocations via an auction, rather than simply receiving them free of charge, reality is finally intruding on the madness. Angela Merkel, as environment minister in Helmut Kohl's administration, was noted for her promotion of policies solely designed to reduce Germany's carbon emissions. As Chancellor, however, she has become better acquainted with the arguments of her country's industrial base. Thus last week in Berlin Merkel declared: "We must ensure that our energy-intensive industry, which is driven by exports, is of course excluded from the emissions quotas. We cannot stand by while jobs in the chemicals, steel and other industries move to regions of the world where climate protection is less stringent than here."

Similar remarks have been made in the run-up to Poznan by Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister. It is not thought that Signor Berlusconi had read the Kyoto treaty, when he signed it during his previous term of office-but then the most convincing fraudulent documents have real signatures.

As for the host nation Poland, it produces 94 per cent of its energy from its own supplies of coal - the devil's fuel, according to the Kyoto process. Other European countries have, in effect, attempted to bribe the Poles to agree to take Russian gas instead of using their own coal to keep the country going. If they understood anything about the history of Poland, they would surely realise that there is not a chance that the Poles would voluntarily make themselves reliant on Russia to keep the lights on. I wonder if the hosts might suddenly arrange to have the delegates' hotel heating turned off in freezing Poznan, just to get the point across.

I tuned in to the BBC's Today programme yesterday morning to hear someone expostulating passionately on this general issue. He exclaimed: "I really can not believe that the EU will not come up with a deal [in Poznan]. The EU can not afford to fail on this. Our credibility will be absolutely nil." I wondered which member of Plane Stupid was talking; but then the presenter said: "Thank you, Roger Harrabin," and I realised that I had been listening to the BBC's "Environment Analyst".

Mr Harrabin's evident panic at the idea that the EU might appear to fail to keep the "Kyoto process" alive is, in a way, understandable: the Corporation's coverage of this issue has been at all times based on the idea that the Kyoto Treaty is A Good Thing: as that rare subversive, Jeremy Paxman, said last year, "The BBC's coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago." This is why you won't be hearing Prof Prins being interviewed by Mr Harrabin.

Never mind. As with Monty Python's rigid Norwegian Blue, it doesn't matter how desperately convincing the salesman is: in the end, the public knows a dead parrot when it sees one.


Obama's "Green Jobs" Plan Will Not Work

Obama's "green jobs" plan would indeed create jobs, but it would do so by killing other jobs

There may be good reasons to switch from existing energy sources to renewable. But President-elect Barack Obama's energy plans have significant costs. His energy promises rely on questionable science and even more questionable economics. Creating "green jobs" would kill other jobs.

Obama has put energy policy at the forefront of his agenda. He says that his plan will boost our national security, help us achieve "energy independence," reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote job creation. Indeed, Obama vows to create around 5 million new jobs by increasing federal spending on renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels.

As many experts have observed, the science behind the Obama plan is dubious, particularly when it comes to ethanol. The renewable energy industry simply does not have the capacity--at least not yet--to power large swathes of our fossil fuel-driven economy. Just look at the United Kingdom, where a shortage of windmill-building capability has hindered the government's plan to replace aging nuclear reactors with wind power.

If Obama's energy promises rely on questionable science, they rely on even more questionable economics. We are to believe that replacing conventional energy sources (especially coal) with renewables (especially wind) will create 5 million new "green jobs." The hope is that armies of workers will be enlisted to build tens of thousands of windmills; to manufacture and deploy solar-power installations; to harvest, transport, and process huge amounts of biofuel feedstock; and to string the power lines that will allow the U.S. power grid to incorporate a major expansion of intermittent energy.

Unfortunately, the idea of government "job creation" is a classic example of the broken window fallacy, which was explained by French economist Fr‚d‚ric Bastiat way back in 1850. It is discouraging to think that nearly 160 years later, politicians still do not understand Bastiat's basic economic insight.

He explained the fallacy as follows: Imagine some shopkeepers get their windows broken by a rock-throwing child. At first, people sympathize with the shopkeepers, until someone claims that the broken windows really are not that bad. After all, they "create work" for the glassmaker, who might then be able to buy more food, benefiting the grocer, or buy more clothes, benefiting the tailor. If enough windows are broken, the glassmaker might even hire an assistant, creating a job.

Did the child therefore do a public service by breaking the windows? No. We must also consider what the shopkeepers would have done with the money they used to fix their windows had those windows not been broken. Most likely, the shopkeepers would have plowed that money back into their store: perhaps they would have bought more stock from their suppliers, or maybe they would have hired new employees. Before the windows were broken, the shopkeepers had intact windows and the money to purchase more goods or hire new workers. After the windows were broken, they had to use that money to repair the windows and thus were unable to expand their businesses.

Now consider Obama's "green jobs" plan, which includes regulations, subsidies, and renewable-power mandates. The "broken windows" in this case would be lost jobs and lost capital in the coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and automobile industries. Currently, these industries directly employ more than 1 million people. Conventional power plants would be closed, and massive amounts of energy infrastructure would be dismantled. After breaking these windows, the Obama plan would then create new jobs in the renewable energy sector. The costs of replacing those windows would ultimately be passed on to taxpayers and energy consumers.

In short, the Obama plan reflects fallacious thinking of the first order. There may be sound reasons to switch from existing energy sources to renewables, including the need to slash greenhouse gas emissions, the need to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and the need to meet growing energy demand. If Americans wish to pay for a wholesale transformation of the energy industry, that is their choice. But let us not lie about the costs, and let us not espouse an economic fallacy that is nearly 160 years old. Obama's "green jobs" plan would indeed create jobs, but it would do so by killing other jobs. Is that really the type of energy policy Americans want?


Rare 50 year Arctic Blast Set for Southern California

With a warm November, Southern California is finally ready for cold storms to make their way in. Resort level snow will be likely next week, and in pretty hefty amounts if things stay on track. Meteorologist Kevin Martin predicts a 50 year event. While Martin is usually conservative on these events, the pattern highly favors it. "We are in a pre-1950 type pattern, "said Martin. "We know we are due for a winter storm sometime this year. The type we may be dealing with will be ranked up there with the known years before 1950, which set record low daytime temperatures into the forecast region. With this, may come low elevation snow."

Forecaster Cameron Venable is seeing very cold temperatures in the Los Angeles areas as well. Torrance is not usually known for winter weather, thus making this an interesting event for Venable to track.

"Temperatures in Siberia, Russia will be -81 degrees this week, "said Martin. "With those type of temperatures the arctic air mass has to spill somewhere. Our answer of the exact track will become more clear this week. All residents in the mountain communities should prepare this week for very cold, winter weather, with snow." Indications are a second, colder storm could hit near the 18th-22nd time-frame. The details on that will have to be sorted out.


Australia: Conservative Senator refuses to back Warmist laws during economic downturn

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce has insisted he cannot support an emissions trading scheme during an economic downturn, again setting himself at odds with Coalition leader Malcolm Turnbull. The Opposition Leader is struggling to maintain unity as he ends the year with both the Coalition and his own satisfaction levels sliding in the polls, and divisions emerging on key issues including emissions trading and industrial relations.

Former Liberal president Shane Stone yesterday suggested Senator Joyce and his fellow Nationals in the Senate should leave the Coalition so they could find out how effective they would be as independents, but Mr Turnbull is trying to defuse the row that erupted when the Nationals senators twice ignored his voting instructions in parliament's final week.

Senator Joyce was being careful with his words yesterday, saying he did not want to inflame the Coalition dispute, but he did say there was no way he could support an ETS in the current financial climate.

Mr Turnbull fiercely resisted attempts by his predecessor, Brendan Nelson, to adopt a more sceptical policy on the Government's proposed ETS, which will be introduced in 2010. Mr Turnbull and others successfully insisted the Coalition stick by the position that it would offer in-principle support for an ETS but push for a delay -- until 2011 or 2012 -- to allow for proper implementation.

The Rudd Government, which will unveil the final design of its scheme on Monday, has said it wants to negotiate it through the Senate next year with the support of the Coalition -- rather than the Greens, independent Nick Xenophon and Family First's Steve Fielding -- delivering a clear message to business that it expects the Senate to soften the impact of the scheme. But Senator Joyce, who leads the Nationals' four-person Senate team, told The Australian he believed the ETS should be delayed until the downturn was over. "I do not believe in an ETS when we are in the middle of a recession. Full stop," he said. "It's fiscally imprudent to impose a new tax in this environment. "We don't support it in its current form and it's not a matter of delaying it for a year, or for two years, we just don't support it in these financial times and they're going to last for quite some years yet."

The Coalition position is that the ETS should be informed by the outcome of next year's UN meeting in Copenhagen on a global climate change deal and that if the rest of the world fails to agree, then Australia's ETS scheme should start very slowly and with a low carbon price. Apart from the start date, the Coalition's conditions are broadly in line with what the Government is expected to announce.



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


9 December, 2008


They now want "technology" to be the solution. George Bush must be laughing. That was his idea but he was howled down over it

Barack Obama's great virtue is his ability to behave like a cynical politician without getting a reputation as a cynical politician. The latest example is his left-pleasing promise during the campaign for a windfall oil tax, now quietly removed from his transition Web site. Explained an aide, the tax was all along meant to apply only if oil prices are over $80 a barrel. "They are below that now and expected to stay below that."

Mr. Obama here makes a choice in favor of good economic policy. But there's something else going on. He's a student of the late radical thinker Saul Alinsky, who argued that you do or say what's necessary in a democracy to gain power, while keeping your true aims to yourself. Mr. Obama's novel contribution has been to turn this exploitation on his supporters on the left (who admittedly are so wedded to their hero that, so far, they don't seem to mind).

His next big challenge is an upcoming conference updating the Kyoto targets. Mr. Obama has not backed off his overwrought climate rhetoric, but listen carefully to Al Gore. Now that Democrats are on the verge of power, he's backing off cap-and-trade and carbon-tax proposals (i.e. visible energy price hikes for consumers) in favor of a new approach -- massive government subsidies for "green technology."

Two fans, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaustell, co-founders of the Breakthrough Institute, write approvingly of what they call Mr. Gore's highly "significant shift." "He knows that cap-and-trade, and most any new regulation, would raise energy prices -- a political nonstarter during a recession."

Uh huh. Mr. Gore, when he's close to power, always drops the politically unpopular medicine his climate views would seem to necessitate. When he ran for president, he tried to lower gasoline prices by opening up the petroleum reserve. There was no recession at the time.

But the former veep is perfectly in sync with Mr. Obama. Energy taxes popular with the left but unpopular with voters will soon be off the table to preserve his second-term hopes. But that doesn't mean an end to "climate policy, " which can still be used to foster a network of trade groups willing to kick back some of their taxpayer subsidies to maintain Democrats in power. This will do nothing for climate change (and indeed nothing proposed or entertained in Washington would make a difference to climate). But it will help cement Democratic ascendancy over Washington's iron triangle of interest groups, politicians and the bureaucracy.

Indeed, Mr. Gore, as an investor and promoter of several green energy funds himself, is a walking conflict of interest here -- one whose bogus credibility Mr. Obama will happily make use of. Alinsky would be proud.


Blame our droughts on the sun

Robert Baker of the University of New England blames our drought on the sun, not man-made "global warming". Here's the abstract of his new paper for Geographical Research:
There is growing interest in the role that the Sun's magnetic field has on weather and climatic parameters, particularly the ~11 year sunspot (Schwab) cycle, the ~22 yr magnetic field (Hale) cycle and the ~88 yr (Gleissberg) cycle. These cycles and the derivative harmonics are part of the peculiar periodic behaviour of the solar magnetic field. Using data from 1876 to the present, the exploratory analysis suggests that when the Sun's South Pole is positive in the Hale Cycle, the likelihood of strongly positive and negative Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values increase after certain phases in the cyclic ~22 yr solar magnetic field. The SOI is also shown to track the pairing of sunspot cycles in ~88 yr periods. This coupling of odd cycles, 23-15, 21-13 and 19-11, produces an apparently close charting in positive and negative SOI fluctuations for each grouping.

This Gleissberg effect is also apparent for the southern hemisphere rainfall anomaly. Over the last decade, the SOI and rainfall fluctuations have been tracking similar values to that recorded in Cycle 15 (1914-1924). This discovery has important implications for future drought predictions in Australia and in countries in the northern and southern hemispheres which have been shown to be influenced by the sunspot cycle. Further, it provides a benchmark for long-term SOI behaviour.
If true, our governments are making false predictions on false evidence and pushing for false solutions.


Creeping do-gooder Fascism

From the trans-fat Nazis in the Northeast to those on duty keeping school bake-sales safe for humanity out West; from banning plastic shopping bags - which were foisted on us by greenies to begin with - to fines for "light pollution," one can't help but think that our once-free country is in the final stages of nannydom and well on its way toward total government control of our lives.

Many folks calmly accepted the banishment of smokers and nodded in submissive agreement that our public schools should control the sexual, moral and nutritional upbringing of our children, and most seem to think that the plethora of laws regulating an ever-growing list of our daily activities are relatively unobtrusive. After all, they mostly apply to public places and have no bearing on our actual home lives, right?

Well now, we have the fireplace police out in force in California's Bay Area, sniffing out illicit smoke. Under a law passed in July, on so-called Spare the Air days this winter, it will be illegal for 1.4 million residents to burn wood in the fireplaces on their own private property. And they will enforce it with all the gusto that liberal busybodies can muster. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "The fireplace police say they are determined to keep law and order in the living room."

Color me confused, but does the liberal mantra that the government is to stay out of our bedrooms not apply to the rest of the house? Nevertheless, no matter what room you use to try and hide out from government intrusion, you'd best be sure to do it with the lights off, unless the bulbs therein meet with the approval of you-know-who.

What can be the reason for denying citizens the warmth of a winter fire that would save them lots of money during these hard times? Says a district spokeswoman: "This is a major health threat. The weather conditions are such that smoke is trapped closer to the ground and anyone with respiratory problems will have a hard time breathing." So once again, the tyranny of the minority shall rule the land in the form of a few unfortunates who have breathing woes.

So, anyone who is against the ban and would suggest that those poor souls merely stay indoors during high pollutant periods must be an insensitive lout, yes? But what about the ghastly pollutants that occur in the summer time? What does our nanny recommend then? "People who are especially sensitive to pollution are advised to limit their time outdoors, particularly in the afternoon hours."

The bureaucrats in charge of enforcement of this heinous dictate also helpfully provide a toll-free number (1-877-4NO-BURN) so you can snitch on your inconsiderate and Earth-hating neighbors. This little trick was a favorite of fascists and Communists for decades, so no one should be surprised that dropping a dime on your fellow Americans is considered by liberals to be a civic-minded duty. Indeed, pediatricians around the country are already inducing children to inform on their parents' habits; nothing like giving the little tykes a lesson in citizenship.

Now, some in California might choose to employ their little gray cells and ask why officials - bowing to extreme environmentalist groups - refuse to allow routine maintenance of heavily wooded areas to prevent huge and devastating forest fires which throw more "pollution" into the air than fireplaces ever could, but then they might risk being sent to "smoke education class."

So far I've never been to one of these re-education camps but I would imagine the teaching goes something like this: many of the practices of humans dating back thousands of years have now been found to be harmful; like burning wood for warmth and cooking, parental control of child-rearing, and the right to eat whatever one darn well pleases. Conversely, many of the practices banned by human beings for thousands of years have now been found to be beneficial to society; like abortion, gay marriage and pornography on demand.

And it's not going to get better any time soon. Our recent elections have led to a perfect storm for big government control freaks: our nation's capitol in the hands of liberal Democrats. But some of our time-honored, constitutionally-guaranteed rights may still remain: it's unclear if it's legal to burn the American flag on Spare the Air nights, so use caution.



By Jeff Jacoby

The mail brings an invitation to register for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, which convenes on March 8 in New York City. Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a prominent Chicago-based think tank, the conference will host an international lineup of climate scientists and researchers, from institutions as varied as the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Pasteur Institute in France, and the University of Alaska. According to the invitation, the participants will focus on four broad areas: climatology, paleoclimatology, the impact of climate change, and climate-change politics and economics.

But if last year's gathering is any indication, the conference is likely to cover the climate-change waterfront. There were dozens of presentations in 2008, including: "Strengths and Weaknesses of Climate Models," "Ecological and Demographic Perspectives on the Status of Polar Bears," "Climate Change and Human Health," and "The Overstated Role of Carbon Dioxide in Climate Change."

Just another forum, then, sounding the usual alarums on the looming threat from global warming? Actually, no. The scientists and scholars Heartland is assembling are not members of the gloom-and-doom chorus. They dispute the frantic claims that global warming is an onrushing catastrophe; many are skeptical of the notion that human activity has a significant effect on the planet's climate, or that such an effect can be reliably measured or predicted. Some point out that global temperatures peaked in 1998 and have been falling since then. Indeed, several argue that a period of global cooling is on the way. Nearly all would argue that climate is always changing, and that no one really knows whether current computer models can reliably account for the myriad of factors that cause that natural variability.

They are far from monolithic, but on this they would all agree: Science is not settled by majority vote, especially in a field as young as climate science. Skepticism and inquiry go to the essence of scientific progress. It is always legitimate to challenge the existing "consensus" with new data or an alternative hypothesis. Those who insist that dissent be silenced or even punished are not the allies of science, but something closer to religious fanatics.

Unfortunately, when it comes to climate change, far too many people have been all too ready to play the Grand Inquisitor. For example, The Weather Channel's senior climatologist, Heidi Cullen, has recommended that meteorologists be denied professional certification if they voice doubts about global-warming alarmism. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wants oil-company executives put on trial for "crimes against humanity if they continue to dispute what is understood scientifically" about global warming. Al Gore frequently derides those who dispute his climate dogma as fools who should be ignored. "Climate deniers fall into the same camp as people who still don't believe we landed on the moon," Gore's spokeswoman told The Politico a few days ago.

But as the list of confirmed speakers for Heartland's climate-change conference makes clear, it is Gore whose eyes are shut to reality. Among the "climate deniers" lined up to speak are Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT; the University of Alabama's Roy W. Spencer, a pioneer in the monitoring of global temperatures by satellite; Stephen McIntyre, primary author of the influential Climate Audit blog; and meteorologist John Coleman, who founded the Weather Channel in 1982. They may not stand with the majority in debates over climate science, but -- Gore's dismissal notwithstanding -- they are far from alone.

In fact, what prompted The Politico to solicit Gore's comment was its decision to report on the mounting dissent from global-warming orthodoxy. "Scientists urge caution on global warming," the story was headlined; it opened by noting "a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation."

Coverage of such skepticism is increasing. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael Scott reported last week that meteorologists at each of Cleveland's TV stations dissent from the alarmists' scenario. In the Canadian province of Alberta, the Edmonton Journal found, 68 percent of climate scientists and engineers do not believe "the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled." Expect to see more of this. The debate goes on, as it should.



Just days before the EU Summit, Germany's federal government is coming under increasing pressure to reverse it climate politics: With reference to the economic recession, Germany's most important states have warned Chancellor Angela Merkel against climate policies that put additional burden on German companies.

Massive resistance is growing in Germany against the EU's energy and climate package which Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as the other heads of state and government, intend to decide at the weekend in Brussels. German federal states run by the governing Christian Democrats are vehemently calling for significant corrections of the current mode of climate politics. The view is expressed ever more strongly that companies and industries should not be burdened with additional costs in face of the economic downturn.

"The management of the global economic crisis must now be given priority also in the European Union," J_rgen R_ttgers (CDU), the North-Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister demands. Above all, the EU's emissions trading scheme should not be allowed to undermine the competitiveness of enterprises, the Prime Ministers of Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Saarland, Saxonia as well as the Hessian Finance Minister are demanding.

For the chancellor, who spoke with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy about the topic on Sunday, the demand by the federal states is not binding. However, as leader of the ruling Christian Democrats, Angela Merkel can ill-afford to ignore such a united front of Prime Ministers.

More here. [transl. BJP]

Uncertainty Doublespeak

Last week the Boston Globe reported that a new report from the U.S. military included a few sentences on climate change suggesting the existence of uncertainty on the issue, prompting outrage in some quarters: The report, titled Joint Operating Environment 2008, states that "the impact of global warming and its potential to cause natural disasters and other harmful phenomena such as rising sea levels has become a prominent - and controversial - national and international concern. Some argue that there will be more and greater storms and natural disasters, others that there will be fewer."

The Boston Globe reported MIT's Kerry Emanuel "took issue with the report's assertions about future storm intensity." The report's entire discussion of future storm behavior is as follows: "Some argue that there will be more and greater storms and natural disasters, others that there will be fewer". To justify this sentence the report cites a 2008 paper titled "Hurricanes and Climate Change" that Emanuel was the lead author on.

That paper concludes: "These simulations show potentially large changes in tropical cyclone activity in response to global warming, though the sign and magnitude of the changes vary a great deal from basin to basin and from model to model, reflecting large regional differences in the global model predictions as well as natural multidecadal variability in each model that cannot be averaged out over the 20-yr periods considered here".

But what is really interesting is Emanuel's quote in the Globe article explaining why the military's assertion of arguing scientists on this issue is incorrect: "Everyone pretty much agrees that the intensity of events could go up with global warming, although we argue how much". So Emanuel says that the military's reports assertion of scientists arguing over future storm activity is incorrect, but Emanuel asserts that the scientists argue??? Hmmmm . . . OK.

Here is the entire discussion of climate change from the military report (available here in PDF), which I should add, seems spot on to me:
G. Climate Change and Natural Disasters The impact of global warming and its potential to cause natural disasters and other harmful phenomena such as rising sea levels has become a prominent-and controversial-national and international concern. Some argue that there will be more and greater storms an natural disasters, others that there will be fewer. In many respects, scientific conclusions about the causes and potential effects of global warming are contradictory.

Whatever their provenance, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes have been and will continue to be a concern of joint force commanders. In particular, where natural disasters collide with growing urban sprawl, widespread human misery could be the final straw that breaks the back of a weak state.

In the 2030s as in the past, the ability of U.S. military forces to relieve the victims of natural disasters could help the United States' image around the world. For example, the contribution of U.S. and partner forces to relieving the distress caused by the catastrophic Pacific tsunami of December 2006 reversed the perceptions of America held by many Indonesians.

Perhaps no other mission performed by the Joint Force provides so much benefit to the interests of the United States at so little cost.


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


8 December, 2008


Below is an email from Prof. George Chilingar [], one of the best-known petroleum geologists in the world and the founder of several prestigious journals in the oil and gas industry

Please allow me to pose an important question to you. Why are we going to spend trillions of dollars sequestering CO2 to mitigate global atmospheric warming, while our empirically-tested temperature models (e.g., see “Greenhouse Gases and Greenhouse Effect”, published in the last issue of Environmental Geology, or “Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission”, published this year in Energy Sources Journal) shows that increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere causes cooling rather than warming?

In the dense earth’s troposphere, the heat from the Earth’s surface is mostly transferred by convection, approximately 67%. Radiation accounts for approximately 8%. Why is this important fact ignored by most scientists?

Also, why do peaks in the solar irradiation precede the peaks in the CO2 concentration in atmosphere? The answer is that as the temperature increases, CO2 evaporates from the ocean water, which is a great storehouse of CO2. Is the cause and effect reversed in the mind of many scientists? What is the common cause of “simultaneous” warming on Earth, Mars, Pluto and Jupiter? This is more than coincidence.

Any attempts to mitigate undesirable climate changes using restrictive regulations are doomed to failure because the global forces of nature are at least 4-5 orders of magnitude greater than the available human controls (e.g., see recently published, 2007, book by Elsevier Publishing Co. entitled "Global Warming and Global Cooling. Evolution of Climate on Earth").

This is a critical issue because to misappropriate limited financial resources will create a deeper global economic crisis and pull away sorely needed moneys that currently help underdeveloped nations and the poor around the world.

When Silvio Berlusconi brilliantly stated that fighting global warming is like battling windmills, he was obviously referring to Don Quixote de la Mancha fighting imaginary monsters based on distorted perceptions.

Unfortunately the “Global Warming” issue has become an emotionally-, politically-, and economically-motivated issue that has warped into a form of religious dogma founded on erroneous perceptual beliefs in the face of contradicting facts. Like a religion, it is becoming a sacred cow, impossible to touch.

As far as alternate sources of energy are concerned, do the proponents of this issue realize that all alternate sources of energy put together will satisfy only around 35% of the World demand for energy?

The reality is that in order to survive we will need to take, at the minimum, 2 tracks simultaneously. The first one is to tap all available sources of energy: oil shales, geothermal, gasification and liquefaction of coal, expanding drilling for oil and gas offshore and in Alaska; also adapting cars to run on natural gas and hydrogen. The second one is to explore alternate sources of energy, but not because of combating global warming. Most importantly, clean energy is necessary for health reasons (e.g., respiratory and other health related issues).

Finally, we must also plan to eventually stop burning petroleum in our cars because it is a far more valuable resource than human kind currently appreciates. Petroleum is a critical component for medical and other highly valued applications, in particular plastics. Is it an understatement to state that if we run out of petroleum we will be in great trouble?

As a petroleum engineer and geologist, I can assure you that drilling for oil and gas offshore and in Alaska can be done in an environmentally safe manner.

Another feedback mechanism that is not in the models

Collapsing antarctic ice sheets, which have become potent symbols of global warming, may actually turn out to help in the battle against climate change and soaring carbon emissions.

Professor Rob Raiswell, a geologist at the University of Leeds, says that as the sheets break off the ice covering the continent, floating icebergs are produced that gouge minerals from the bedrock as they make their way to the sea. Raiswell believes that the accumulated frozen mud could breathe life into the icy waters around Antarctica, triggering a large, natural removal of carbon dioxide from the at mosphere.

And as rising temperatures cause the ice sheets to break up faster, creating more icebergs, the amount of carbon dioxide removed will also rise. Raiswell says: 'It won't solve the problem, but it might buy us some time.'

More here


A new US military report has come under scrutiny for asserting that the scientific data on what is causing global warming is "contradictory" - a position one leading specialist said indicates the government still hasn't fully embraced the urgency of climate change.

The long-range planning document, published Thursday by the US Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for developing blueprints for future military strategy, is intended to provide a "basis for thinking about the world a quarter of a century from now."

But a section of the 56-page report on climate change and natural disasters prompted criticism yesterday from some leading specialists who said that spreading the inaccurate perception that the causes of climate change remain an open question could result in government agencies not taking the issue seriously enough.

The report, titled Joint Operating Environment 2008, states that "the impact of global warming and its potential to cause natural disasters and other harmful phenomena such as rising sea levels has become a prominent - and controversial - national and international concern.

Some argue that there will be more and greater storms and natural disasters, others that there will be fewer." It adds: "In many respects, scientific conclusions about the causes and potential effects of global warming are contradictory."

That last line in particular was singled out at a panel discussion hosted yesterday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, on the topic of climate change and national security. Sharon Burke, a former Pentagon and State Department official who is now a specialist at the Center for a New American Security, said the report was factually "wrong" and "out of line," saying that there is a wide consensus that human activity, namely the production of greenhouse gases, is responsible for global warming.

Other specialists had similar reactions when they read the report."It's very wrong," said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose work was cited in the military report. "The jury is not out" on what is causing global warming, he added. "I don't know where that statement came from, but it's pretty bizarre."

Emanuel also took issue with the report's assertions about future storm intensity."Everyone pretty much agrees that the intensity of events could go up with global warming, although we argue how much," he said in an interview.

The Joint Forces Command maintains that it is fully cognizant of the threat posed by climate change, saying the purpose of the report was not to debate what is or isn't causing global warming. "We are in complete agreement that climate change will be a national security driver in the future," said Rear Admiral John M. Richardson, director of strategy for the command. "We are focused on the implications of climate change. We see what is happening. What is causing it is not in our purview. The commanders have to deal with the effects." He added in an interview yesterday: "Don't take away that we think it is any less important."

More here


JIM RATCLIFFE, the reclusive billionaire behind Ineos, Britain’s largest private company, has warned Gordon Brown that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost if the prime minister commits Britain to tougher EU curbs on carbon emissions.

Ratcliffe issued the warning in a letter last week that was also signed by Paul Thompson, chief executive of GrowHow, the UK’s last remaining fertiliser manufacturer, and Steve Elliott, head of the Chemical Industries Association.

It is part of a feverish, last-ditch effort by the chemicals industry and other big energy users to force changes to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week in Brussels, where they are expected to sign off on a bloc-wide climate-change package.

The industry argues that the next phase of the ETS — which proposes to incorporate industries now excluded from the programme such as chemicals, cement and glassmakers from 2013 – will lead to “carbon leakage” as companies relocate to countries where they are not forced to pay to pollute. The chemical industry employs, directly and indirectly, 600,000 people in the UK.

In its current form, the ETS will impose carbon-emissions caps on industrial polluters from 2013 and force them to pay for 100% of their permits by 2020. Ratcliffe said that doing so would be “truly horrendous” for the industry and make it uncompetitive. Instead, he says that chemicals manufacturers should be allocated permits for free and agree on less stringent pollution caps because they compete against rivals in countries not subject to such rules.

Ratcliffe, who has been locked in crisis talks with banks after a sharp downturn in business put his company in danger of breaching covenants, said: “We believe there is a significant danger to our 60 billion pound industry if phase three of EU ETS becomes law in its current form. "Chemical businesses situated throughout the UK, especially in the north of England and central Scotland, with 80% of them foreign-owned, will be ‘decimated’, putting almost 200,000 jobs at risk,” he added.

Emissions permits go for 15.49 euros per tonne, but are expected to roughly triple when phase three of the ETS begins in 2013. The energy industry, one of the largest polluters, has already accepted that it will have to pay for 100% of its permits from 2013.

It is thought that EU leaders may have been persuaded by the industry’s arguments and will soften their stance. An increase in free allocations to polluting sectors will bring howls from environmentalists who claim that the industry is overdramatising the threat posed by the ETS.

Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary who met European ministers in Poznan, Poland, for talks on climate change last week, said: “The [climate] package must retain its environmental integrity. This means a commitment to reducing our emissions by 30% following a global deal.

“It means a tough and declining cap in the ETS and an ambitious increase in the auctioning of ETS allowances. It means addressing competitiveness, but only on the basis of firm evidence of sectors at genuine risk of carbon leakage.”


Tax on livestock farting planned

For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes law. Farmers so far are turning their noses up at the notion, which is one of several put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution. "This is one of the most ridiculous things the federal government has tried to do," said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, an outspoken opponent of the proposal.

It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog. The executive vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton, estimated the fee would cost owners of a modest-sized cattle ranch $30,000 to $40,000 a year. He said he has talked to a number of livestock owners about the proposals, and "all have said if the fees were carried out, it would bankrupt them."

Sparks said Wednesday he's worried the fee could be extended to chickens and other farm animals and cause more meat to be imported. "We'll let other countries put food on our tables like they are putting gas in our cars. Other countries don't have the health standards we have," Sparks said.

EPA spokesman Nick Butterfield said the fee was proposed for farms with livestock operations that emit more than 100 tons of carbon emissions in a year and fall under federal Clean Air Act provisions. Butterfield said the EPA has not taken a position on any of the proposals. But farmers from across the country have expressed outrage over the idea, both on Internet sites and in opinions sent to EPA during a public comment period that ended last week.

"It's something that really has a very big potential adverse impact for the livestock industry," said Rick Krause, the senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation. The fee would cover the cost of a permit for the livestock operations.

While farmers say it would drive them out of business, an organization supporting the proposal hopes it forces the farms and ranches to switch to healthier crops. "It makes perfect sense if you are looking for ways to cut down on meat consumption and recoup environmental losses," said Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman in Washington for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "We certainly support making factory farms pay their fair share," he said.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, a Republican from Haleyville in northwest Alabama, said he has spoken with EPA officials and doesn't believe the cow tax is a serious proposal that will ever be adopted by the agency. "Who comes up with this kind of stuff?" said Perry Mobley, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation's beef division. "It seems there is an ulterior motive, to destroy livestock farms. This would certainly put them out of business."

Butterfield said the EPA is reviewing the public comments and didn't have a timetable for the next steps.


Australia's top climate adviser warns: don't go alone on global warming

Slowly backing away from the Messianic nonsense

CLIMATE change adviser Ross Garnaut has warned that developed nations will be unable to avert global warming by simply setting exemplary emissions targets in the hope that developing nations will follow, saying China and India must join a global action plan from the start if there is to be any hope of success. As Climate Change Minister Penny Wong prepares to fly out today for talks in Poland on a post-Kyoto agreement, Professor Garnaut says the current framework is obsolete, arguing that there must be progress on a global plan within months based on a per capita allocation of emissions.

Writing in The Australian today, he warns that reaching agreement on climate change will be harder than reaching accord on trade liberalisation or arms control. But time is running short if there is to be progress at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December next year, Professor Garnaut says. "Unless there is a coalescing of international support around clear principles through the first half of 2009, there is no prospect that a good agreement will be reached in December at Copenhagen," he writes. "In the absence of early constraints that hold developing-country emissions well below business as usual, no degree of constraint from developed countries will avoid high risks of dangerous climate change."

While global business leaders will today urge deep cuts to emissions in a communique signed by Westpac and NAB, Australia is expected on December 15 to announce a "soft start" to pollution-reduction targets of between 5 and 15 per cent by 2020.

Professor Garnaut argues that even a cut of 10 per cent by 2020 would be much more significant on a per capita basis than European targets of 20 per cent. He says equality on per capita emissions targets by developed and developing countries should be the long-term goal, and with Australia being one of the world's largest per capita emitters, a reduction of 10 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020 "would represent a full proportionate contribution to a global effort".

"Most of the growth in emissions over the next two decades and beyond will be from the developing countries," Professor Garnaut warns. "No country acting alone not even the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, the US and China can cause the risks of dangerous climate change to fall substantially by its own actions alone. "Any allocation of emissions entitlements with any prospects of being accepted by most developing countries must be based on convergence towards low levels of per capita entitlements at some time in the future."

Senator Wong has played down the prospect of binding commitments this week, but a spokeswoman confirmed that the Government had outlined in submissions to the talks that "Australia considers that per capita effort is an important consideration in determining the action each country should take to reduce emissions as part of a global agreement". "This is a negotiation and Australia absolutely recognises our obligations as a developed nation to ensure that we reduce our carbon pollution," Senator Wong said yesterday.

In the past, nations including China have argued developed countries should continue bearing the burden of slashing emissions because they have created most of the carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere.

But Professor Garnaut said the approach to allocating emissions entitlements at Kyoto, and by default being taken into the discussions at Poznan, "will not serve". "Within principles designed to reduce global emissions through convergence over time towards equal per capita entitlements, a reduction of 10 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020 in Australia would represent a full proportionate contribution to a global effort to hold concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalents to 550ppm," Professor Garnaut said. "It would represent a larger per capita reduction than was required of the US or the European Union. It would represent a larger per capita reduction for Australia than the European Union's implementation of its proposed unconditional commitment to reduce emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels."

He proposes the future agreement would need to include development assistance for complying developing countries to adapt to climate change. "It could be supported by WTO rules that constrained individual countries' measures to restrict trade with countries that are not reasonably complying with the requirements of an international mitigation effort," he said.

But the Climate Institute and the newly formed Global Climate Network will argue today that an emissions gap, or the difference between the developed countries' overall pollution reduction target and the global target with extra developing country effort, would cause an overshoot in the safe global pollution levels. "To close the gap and engage developing countries, developed countries need to bolster their 2020 targets and support proposals for multi-billion dollar investments in new clean technology in developing countries," Climate Institute director of policy Erwin Jackson said. "Australia can't help close the emissions gap if our target is just a 15 per cent reduction by 2020 and there is no plan to provide finance through emissions trading permit revenue or other sources."

Global business leaders are also urging Australia and other developed nations to agree on immediate deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The leaders of 140 global companies have rejected arguments that the economic downturn is reason to tread softly, saying decisive action now will stimulate economic activity. They said even an immediate peak in global emissions would require a subsequent reduction of 50 to 85 per cent by 2050.



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


7 December, 2008

All politics and no science

The Warmists are feeling the heat -- as it were -- and the following article from a promninent Warmist blog is a response to that. But see if you can find a single reference to any scientific fact in it. There is none. They have NO scientific facts on their side and it shows. All they have is abuse and accusation -- and that certainly shows

Just when you thought it was safe to acknowledge the unequivocal reality of global warming... Just when you thought the U.S. government was ready to admit that it has a serious emissions problem, and do something about it.. Just when you thought the skeptic party was over.

No way: There has been a strong run of nonsense from global warming "skeptics" and deniers lately. They are not ashamed, and they are not changing their tune. In fact, it sounds like they are gearing up for the next battle.

The George C. Marshall Institute is planning an event with Roy Spencer, of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, postulating that global warming isn't human caused after all--it's the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation." Never mind the IPCC, which is beyond confident at this point that what we're seeing has human, and not natural causes.

The Heritage Foundation is convening an event to draw attention to Christopher Horner's next book, Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed. It's the same tune they've always been singing, and they don't know any other.

And of course, Marc Morano keeps it up endlessly. Consider the stark contrast between the current majority and minority headlines at the Senate's Environmental and Public Works' webpage. The Majority announces Senator Barbara Boxer's Action Plan on global warming while the minority reads, "UN Data shows `Warming has Stopped!'" It's one of many last ditch attempts to infuse doubt by the losing side.

What's going on here? One hypothesis would be that while the climate change denial camp has been on a high for eight long sordid years under the Bush administration, now they feel the winds of change just like anyone else.

Barack Obama has promised to lead the nation in a massive climate intervention and reengage with the international community on climate change. The past weeks have also seen progressive environmentalist Rep. Henry Waxman take over as chairman of the House Energy and Environment Committee and Senator Barbara Boxer announce plans to introduce two major climate bills early next year. The first hearing that she will hold in January will be titled, "How Fighting Global Warming is Good for the Economy and Will Create Jobs."

In other words, the deniers are gearing up for yet another fight against reality--this time, political reality as much as scientific reality. Unlike President George W. Bush, who at best played the role of apathetic substitute teacher to the United States, President-elect Obama is preparing to lay down the law. He's made it clear that our planetary fever will be taken seriously under his watch.

Now obviously, skeptic articles and online commentary do not hold much of a candle to the Nobel Prize winning Fourth Assessment by the International Panel on Climate Change; a report from more than 2500 scientific expert reviewers and 800 contributing authors (some of whom are my friends here at Duke), and over 450 lead authors. Still, we have to remain wary. We know from experience that climate change denial groups can put up a nasty fight, and know how to curry interest.

Groups like the George Marshall Institute continue to regularly make the rounds on Capitol Hill wooing staffers to briefings with tasty luncheons, free copies of their book "Shattered Consensus," and charismatic speakers who notoriously overuse the words "uncertainty," "debate," and like to allude to the storytelling of Michael Crichton. Having been "educated" at one of such events, I can assure readers that, while they are well organized, these tiresome exercises become more of an antiquated dog and pony show with each passing day. And in general, congressional staffers are smart enough to know when they're being taken for a ride. Often it's interns and staff assistants who occupy the seats, more interested in the free food than the subject.

So on the one hand, you might think of the flurry of denialist rhetoric as the result of a realization that they are now fighting a losing battle--a last-ditch effort to seem relevant that only serves to exhibit desperation. But on the other, it's worth remembering how effective they have been in the past, that they can still gum up the works, and that the fight is by no means over.

In the final months of 2008, the deniers are restless.


Satellite derived sea level updated- short term trend has been shrinking since 2005

We've been waiting for the UC web page to be updated with the most recent sea level data. It finally has been updated for 2008. It looks like the steady upward trend of sea level as measured by satellite has stumbled since 2005. The 60 day line in blue tells the story.

From the University of Colorado web page:
Since August 1992 the satellite altimeters have been measuring sea level on a global basis with unprecedented accuracy. The TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) satellite mission provided observations of sea level change from 1992 until 2005. Jason-1, launched in late 2001 as the successor to T/P, continues this record by providing an estimate of global mean sea level every 10 days with an uncertainty of 3-4 mm.
They also say:
Long-term mean sea level change is a variable of considerable interest in the studies of global climate change. The measurement of long-term changes in global mean sea level can provide an important corroboration of predictions by climate models of global warming. Long term sea level variations are primarily determined with two different methods.
Yes, I would agree, it is indeed a variable of considerable interest. The question now is, how is it linked to global climate change (aka global warming) if CO2 continues to increase, and sea level does not?


Some on Left Join Fight to Expose the Lie that is Cap and Trade

This past summer when the Senate debated the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade plan, conservatives (and libertarians) were alone in fighting to expose the lie that cap and trade is anything other than a massive energy tax that can only harm our economy. Now, more and more on the left are wising up and taking a more honest approach. Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, Ralph Nader and Toby Heaps wrote:
Cap-and-traders assume, without much justification, that one country can put a price on carbon emissions while another doesn't without affecting trade or investment decisions. This is a bad assumption, given false comfort by the Montreal Protocol treaty, which took this approach to successfully rein in ozone-depleting gases. Chlorofluorocarbons are not pervasive like greenhouse gases (GHGs); nor was the economy of 1987 hyperglobalized like ours today.

Good intentions to limit big polluters in some countries but not others will turn any meaningful cap into Swiss cheese. It can be avoided by relocating existing and new production of various kinds of CO2-emitting industries to jurisdictions with no or virtually no limits. This is known as carbon leakage, and it leads to trade anarchy.

How? The most advanced piece of climate legislation at the moment, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, contains provisions for retaliatory action to be taken against imports from carbon free-riding nations. Married with the current economic malaise, the temptation to slide into a righteous but runaway environmental protectionism - which Washington's K Street lobbyists would be only too happy to grease - would almost certainly lead to a collapse of the multilateral trading system.
Even global warming icon James Hansen has joined the cap and trade truth bandwagon. In his letter to Obama, Hansen writes:
A tax should be called a tax. The public can understand this and will accept a tax if it is clearly explained and if 100 percent of the money is returned to the public. Not one dime should go to Washington for politicians to pick winners. No lobbyists need be employed.

Beware of alternative approaches, such as `percent emission reduction goals' and `cap and trade'. These are subterfuges designed to allow business-as-usual to continue, under a pretense of action, a greenwashing. Hordes of lobbyists will argue for these approaches, which assure their continued employment. The ineffectiveness of `goals' and `caps' is made blatantly obvious by the fact that the countries promoting them are planning to build more coal-fired power plants.


Obama adviser: Green energy investments may be 'totally impractical' and 'could end up making the economic situation worse'

Funding alternative energy wouldn't provide the best bang for the buck in a U.S. economic stimulus package, some economists said. Peter Orszag, President-elect Barack Obama's chief budget adviser, wrote in January that some investments in alternative energy were "totally impractical" and others "could end up making the economic situation worse," USA Today reported Friday. Orszag wrote his comments in January while serving as head of the Congressional Budget Office, the newspaper reported.

Economist Vincent Reinhart of the American Enterprise Institute has also said stimulus money would be better invested elsewhere. Funding for research adds few jobs and is, essentially, "a transfer (of funds) to Ph.D. students," Reinhart said.

Obama has said he would create jobs in part by funneling money toward wind farms, solar panel projects and fuel-efficient cars. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the next economic stimulus bill could include up to $100 billion devoted to alternative-energy projects.

In the short-term, however, "the very best things to do" for the economy would be to increase unemployment benefits and food stamps, Robert Pollin at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, told USA Today.


Greenpeace activities may get banned in India for being 'detrimental' to development

The [Orissa] state government is contemplating on initiating action against the international NGO Greenpeace for its activities in the state.

Transport minister Mr Jayanarayan Mishra today said that certain activities of Greenpeace were detrimental to the development of Dhamra port project and the state government had refuted the campaign launched by Greenpeace as far as the environmental impact of the port was concerned. Mr Mishra said: "The planning and coordination department has been asked to initiate appropriate action against the NGO and restrain or ban its activities in the state."

The minister was responding to questions raised by Congress MLA Mr LB Mohapatra in the Assembly today."However, the flow of foreign funds to the said organisation has not yet been probed by the commerce department," said Mr Mishra.

It may be noted here that Greepeace has repeatedly raised environmental issues relating to the proposed port project. It has also questioned a EIA study and claimed that movement of Olive Ridley turtles may been impacted by the port.The state transport department as well as the North Orissa University authorities who had carried out a study in this regard had both refuted the contention of Greenpeace.


Son loathed Greenie mother

Sounds like her big ego and self-righteousness got too much for him

A man who admitted stabbing his mother to death says he is not in the least remorseful or repentant but regrets not doing it 20 yeas ago. And Adam Patrick Owens, 33, scolded the prosecution during sentencing today for trying to mitigate what he did, saying it sent a "terrible message to the public".

Owens, 35, of Cremorne on Sydney's north shore, admitted murdering Doris Owens, 69, between September 6 and 9, 2006 just before he was due to face trial last month. Ms Owens was known as a staunch environmental campaigner in the seaside village of Swanhaven, near Sussex Inlet on the New South Wales south coast.

During sentencing submissions in the Supreme Court today, Owens asked for any mitigating factors to be ignored by the judge and a maximum sentence imposed. "I knew exactly what I was doing. My intention was to kill her and anything else is incorrect," Owens told the court. "It was quite clear what I was doing. I'm not in the least remorseful, nor am I repentant. Given the time over, I would do the same again. "I regret, perhaps, not doing it 20 years earlier."

Owens criticised crown prosecutor Ron Hoenig for bringing up his earlier depression. "Please stop trying to mitigate the offence," he said. "It sends a terrible message to the public."

Owens's younger brother Caleb read a victim impact statement to the court in which he described his mother as an "indestructible advocate". "She was an advocate for the weak and for those without a voice," [A bigmouth?] he told the court. "The world was a better place with Doris Owens." Justice Lucy McCallum will hand down a sentence on December 19.



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


6 December, 2008


She needs the USA to say "no deal" so she can save German industry without losing face. Once again blaming America would be useful

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday the European Union's efforts to lead the way on climate change would fail without a "sensible" global deal in 2009 that involved the United States. "Europe accounts for 15 percent of the world's CO2 emissions," Merkel told parliament in a speech that was also a warning shot ahead of what she said would be an "exciting and tough" EU summit next week. "If the United States does not participate, if we don't agree next year on a sensible international deal, then our efforts in Europe to lead the way will of course fail."

Her remarks came part way through United Nations climate talks in Poland, where representatives from around the world were attempting to lay the groundwork for a new global climate pact to be signed in Copenhagen in December 2009. The forum of the 192-member UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Poznan, Poland, which runs until December 12, comes halfway through a two-year process launched in Bali, Indonesia a year ago.

Merkel said she "welcomes emphatically" indications from US president-elect Barack Obama that he would "engage more strongly" in global efforts on climate change than his predecessor. Obama, who takes office January 20, has set a goal of reducing US emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050, using a cap-and-trade system and a 10-year programme worth 150 billion dollars in renewable energy.

Efforts by the European Union to agree on a joint climate strategy were due to come to a head at a summit of leaders on December 11-12 in Brussels. The EU has fixed a triple objective for 2020: cutting greenhouse gases 20 percent from 1990 levels, lowering energy use by 20 percent, and generating 20 percent of its energy needs with renewable sources like solar and wind power.

But many EU members, including Germany, are keen to protect their national industries from the costs the targets would involve, and the economic crisis has complicated the chances of an agreement. The package narrowly avoided falling apart in October. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi only withdrew their vetoes when some decisions were put off to this month's summit.

Merkel called Thursday for energy-intensive industries to be exempt from a proposed scheme involving the auctioning of emissions quotas from 2013 that is part of the package, in order to stop firms moving jobs out of Europe. "We must ... ensure that our energy-intensive industry, which is driven by exports, is of course excluded from the trading of (emissions quotas) in order to make sure they are not disadvantaged on the global market... "The way things stand, we cannot spoil our export chances and stand by while jobs in the chemicals, steel and other industries move to regions of the world where climate protection is less stringent than here."

She said that Germany had "few allies" on this issue because its economy was by far the most dependent among the 27 members of the EU on heavy industry, accounting for around 15 percent of the country's output. But if these countries wanted Germany "to remain the locomotive of the European economy" then the EU needed to ensure that German firms had "tolerable conditions and that firms do not relocate elsewhere," Merkel warned.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was due to hold talks in Gdansk, Poland on Saturday in an effort to win support for the climate package from sceptical eastern European leaders.



Despite marathon negotiations, the EU remains deadlocked over its disputed climate package. At their meeting in Brussels yesterday, the EU environment ministers were unable to agree on new compromises. The emissions trading scheme is the biggest problem they faced. Nightlong marathon sessions by European ambassadors, regular telephone calls between the federal Chancellery in Berlin and the Elysee Palace in Paris, secret meetings of the most important negotiators - only the 27 European environment ministers who are technically responsible for climate policy making have nothing to decide anymore. Although the climate package is the EU's most expensive legislation of all time, the corridors of the Council of Ministers and the European Commission buildings in Brussels have been thrust in total chaos....

EU officials have been stressing repeatedly that there is no plan B. Not only does the EU want to set a good example with respect to the UNFCCC negotiations in Poland of a new climate deal, running in parallel, in order to encourage climate sinners like the USA or China to join the treaty. Next spring, new elections to the EU Parliament will be held. Thus, the election campaign will start in earnest in early 2009 - which is why no more time remains after December.

More here. [transl. BJP]


Roger Helmer MEP, Chairman of The Freedom Association, has led the growing opposition to the EU's plans to destroy jobs through its draconian attempts to reduce CO2 emissions. Here is the speech he made in the European Parliament today: "I have no doubt that we are facing the greatest threat we have seen in my lifetime. That threat is posed not by global warming, but our policy responses to it.

The world has certainly been warming, slightly and intermittently, for the last 150 years. But that warming is entirely consistent with well established, natural, long-term climate cycles established over thousands of years. We have seen the Holocene Maxima, the Roman Optimum, the Mediaeval Warm Period. We now seem to be entering a new 21st Century Climate Optimum.

The fact is that sea level is rising no faster than it has done for centuries. The fact is that total global ice mass is broadly constant. The fact is that extreme weather events are no more common now than they were a century ago. The Polar Bear, far from facing extinction, has seen a massive population increase in recent decades.

It is true that CO2 is a greenhouse gas - but a less important greenhouse gas than water vapour. The climate forcing effect of CO2 is not linear. It is a law of diminishing returns. From current level of around 380 ppm, further CO2 increases will have a trivial effect.

Meantime our emissions policies are having a devastating effect. They are doing vast economic damage. Our unachievable renewables targets, especially with regard to wind power, threaten widespread black-outs and power shortages. These measures will fail, just as Kyoto has failed. Even if the West cuts emissions, China and India will not. CO2 levels will keep rising for at least half a century.

The fact is that 1998 was the hottest year in living memory. Since then, we have seen ten years of global cooling. In that context, the climate policies we are debating today represent an unprecedented collective flight from reality."



This morning I awoke to a truly hilarious (if inadvertent) moment on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme ['Listen Again' from 07.17 am onwards]. There was good old Roger Harrabin sounding like some doleful Eeyore braying on about how terrible it was that Italy, Poland, France, and all the rest were likely to scupper the EU's efforts to save us all from "dangerous climate change", only to be followed by an item from a poor soul who was stuck up North somewhere because of heavy and unseasonal snow. The cognitive dissonance was deafening, yet none of the presenters flinched, nor had the wit to make a comment, such is the BBC's increasing deafness on the subject of climate change.

Here is what the 'Today' programme website says about Roger's item: "Environment analyst Roger Harrabin reports on the threat from Italy, Poland and other East European nations to veto the climate package because, they say, it would cost too much." The choice of the word "threat" speaks volumes; it never crosses the mind of the BBC that Italy, Poland, and the rest may actually be correct. I for one believe that they are, and so do millions of other people.

Sadly, I thus think that the situation at the BBC is now a serious one with respect to their uncritical reporting of climate change. Around the world, the grand narrative of 'global warming' is dying, strangled by the cold realities of the economic crisis, by world politics, by the fact that an increasing number of people are seeing through the exaggerations and distortions of much of the Green movement, but, above all, because of climate itself.

We now know that the world's average surface temperature has flat-lined, and then fallen, since at least 2001, but possibly since 1998. Indeed, during the last two years, the curve has plummeted, leading to severe winters in many countries. It is further arguable that we are about to enter a significant cooling phase, partly driven by two specific phenomena, the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (PMO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), coupled with the lateness and the weakness of Solar Cycle 24, leading to low sunspot activity.

What is worse, climate models have failed to predict these trends, a fact which is hardly surprising, because we know so little about 80% of the variables - from cosmic rays to clouds and water vapour - driving climate. Belief in 'global warming' is a little like crossing a bridge for which the engineers have understood about 20% (if that) of the forces involved. Moreover, modelling is essentially 'soft' science, dependent on the choice of factors inputted. Models are thus less subject to rigorous falsification, and they can only be judged with respect to historical contingency and real-world outcomes - like heavy snow in Yorkshire!

This would indeed all be hilarious, if the impacts of our ridiculous climate-change policies in the UK were not so potentially damaging economically. In these most straightened of times, they could well undermine our economy yet further, and thus our future capacity to adapt to climate change, whatever its direction, hot, wet, cold, or dry. If this happens, we must hold both the BBC and our bandwagon politicians fully accountable.

Worldwide, 'global warming' as a trope is on its way out [this is partly why I have moved to this more general blog from my old blog, 'Global Warming Politics' - it was becoming so old hat and boring]. Furthermore, we should not be kidded by Obama's team on this; although America will surely 'talk-the-talk', their prime interest is always going to be in energy security (and rightly so).

The BBC really does need to chill out over its coverage of 'global warming', and quickly. Regrettably, however, I suspect that the 'global warming' corpse will still be twitching in the UK when the stake has gone through its heart in pretty well every other country.


A real problem in the atmosphere

Representatives from more than 192 countries have gathered at a UN climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, to find a way to stop global warming. But a delegation from the [British] Met Office said it is just as important for the world to stop pollution, which is set to kill 800 more people every year by 2020 in the UK alone.

Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said new scientific evidence shows pollution is a bigger problem in terms of human health than previously thought. She says that it can exacerbate the effects of climate change with deadly consequences. This is because increased pollution not only heats the planet through the greenhouse effect but stops plants from absorbing carbon, which in turn increases pollution again.

She pointed out that polluting gases are already killing 1,500 people in the UK every year and that is expected to increase to around 2,391 deaths a year by 2020. By the 2090s close to one-fifth of the world's population will be exposed to pollution well above the World Health Organization recommended safe-health level. This is expected to cause deaths from respiratory problems on top of the destruction caused by climate change.

Dr Pope will be lobbying the conference to try to reduce pollution as well as climate change at the conference. She said: "It is not just a question of climate change and rainfall change and the impact of that. A lot more people suffer from air quality problems than suffer from heat. It is an additional problem that people have not really taken into consideration that now needs to be looked at as part of climate change negotiations."


Bed bugs rife in Australia again -- thanks to the Greenies

Banning DDT has brought them back. And killing them is very difficult without DDT

BLAME everything from council clean-up scabs to dirt cheap airfares, Sydney's bed bug problem has exploded with a 4500 per cent increase in treatments for the tiny pests. It has become so bad Westmead Hospital will, for the first time, run courses on how to detect and control the blood suckers next year.

Summer's warmth kicks the creatures into active mode and yesterday Australia's top bed bug expert, Westmead Hospital entomologist Stephen Doggett, said: "In the past few weeks I've had a lot of calls and I expect an explosion of calls now it's getting warmer. Everywhere from five-star hotels to family homes can be infested. Between 2000 and 2006 there was a 4500 per cent increase in calls."

Mr Doggett said the bugs were now resistant to common insecticides after being wiped out in Australia during the 1950s with the aid of the now banned chemical DDT.

Cheap airfares had fueled a big increase in travel, including to poorer countries. "Bed bugs can travel in luggage and what do people do when they first get to a hotel, they put their luggage on the hotel bed infecting it too," Mr Doggett said. He said Westmead's entomology unit had calculated the bugs cost $100million in lost hotel revenue and eradication costs in Australia between 2000 and 2006. "The accommodation industry does not want to admit the scale of the problem," he said.

Bed bug killers San Souci's Pink Pest Services said pleas for help had doubled in recent years as the bug invasion spread. "Worst areas in homes are Bondi, Surry Hills and Redfern," a spokesman said.



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


5 December, 2008

GLOBAL WARMING HAS STOPPED -- And EW (Extreme Weather) never started!

An email from Madhav Khandekar [], IPCC Reviewer 2007

Allow me to make additional remarks to my earlier commentary on "Global Warming has stopped"

As the 10,000 or more delegates at the Poznan meeting of the UNFCCC are intensely debating how to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) globally and "bring down" earth's mean temperature so as to reduce dangers of future EW (extreme weather) events, I urge these delegates to take some time out and look at the real climate as it has evolved over the past 25 years and more.

The EW events world-wide during the past 25 years have NOT increased at all! It is our perception about increasing EW primarily driven by the media which keep reporting EW happening anywhere in the world almost instantaneously these days, that has changed. This perception is also aided by publication of results from flawed climate models which keep telling us about future EW events increasing.

In reality EW events have remained about the same world-wide over the past 50 to 100 years. Even during the period 1945-78 when the earth's temp declined by about 0.25C, EW were occurring with about the same frequency, something that the climate models and the modellers never analyzed adequately. Among some of the noted EW events of 1945-78 period:

1. Indian Monsoon experienced heaviest summer ( June-Sept) rains in 150 years with devastating floods in many parts of the country

2. Only 11 year later the Monsoon of 1972 was one of the driest which resulted in severe shortfall in grain (rice in particular) yield and caused considerable hardship for next several years.

3. In November 1970 Bangladesh (then east Pakistan) was hit by a cyclone which killed about 200,000 people, largest single fatality due to meteorological disaster.

4. During 2-3 April 1974, there was a spectacular outbreak of tornadoes in USA which spawned largest number of tornadoes (~200 or more) in a two-day period.

5. Hurricane Camille struck the US Gulf Coast in July 1969 and was one of the deadliest with about 100 or so fatalities.

There are many such EW events that occurred during the cooling period of 1945-78, however none of the environmentalists or the AGW adherent suggested "dangerous climate change" then! Why are UNFCCC delegates worried about "dangerous future climate" now?

I once again urge the UNFCCC delegates in Poznan (Poland) to take a closer look at the reality of climate and stop worrying about future 'dangerous' climate. There are more dangerous events happening in the world today, especially in India where I have just arrived a few days after the ghastly massacre of innocent lives in Mumbai.

As I am sifting through dozens of news papers in India, every one here is worried about global terrorism and how to stop such ghastly events from happening again in future. None of the newspapers in India carried any news item about the UNFCCC meeting in Poland in the last four days, not even on the back page of any newspaper!


The United Nations Climate Change Conference is underway this week in Poznan, Poland, and literally thousands of folks have convened and reinforced the notion that the buildup of greenhouse gases has caused substantial warming in recent decades and that left unchecked, the continued buildup will undoubtedly cause significant warming in the decades to come. Believe it or not, it is possible that aspects of the traditional greenhouse gas explanation could be largely wrong, and if you think we are crazy, let's visit an article just published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics.

The interesting (to say the least) work was conducted Gilbert Compo and Prashant Sardeshmukh of the Climate Diagnostics Center, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Physical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (these guys must have oversized business cards) and the work was supported financially by the NOAA Climate Program Office. The first sentence of the abstract reads: "Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land."

This sentence certainly captured our interest at World Climate Report - anyone suggesting that some warming may have been caused by something other than the buildup of greenhouse gases will always get a second look. The approach used by Compo and Sardeshmukh is actually quite simple and clever. The pair collected sea surface temperature data from 1961 to 2006 and they determined the difference between the 1991-2006 and 1961-1990 sub-periods. As seen in the Figure 1 below, the oceans of the world generally warmed between the two sub-periods.

Next, they took only the change in SSTs [Sea Surface Temperastures] to force global climate responses in a suite of climate models. Basically, instead of increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration to examine the global climate response, they wondered how the climate would be impacted by the spatial pattern of sea surface temperature changes over the global oceans. In addition, they conducted a set of numerical modeling experiments that did include the set of known forcings "included time-varying solar irradiance and volcanic aerosols, anthropogenic sulfate aerosols, tropospheric and stratospheric ozone, well-mixed GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O), halocarbons, and black carbon aerosols." In the second sentence of their abstract, Compo and Sardeshmukh tell us "Atmospheric model simulations of the last half-century with prescribed observed ocean temperature changes, but without prescribed GHG changes, account for most of the land warming."

Are they kidding? Are they really suggesting that the warming of the land areas of the Earth may not have been caused directly by the increased concentration of greenhouse gases? The answer is ... yes! Their figure (Figure 2 below) shows the results and to the amazement of the greenhouse advocates, the model runs forced by SSTs only did as good a job replicating the observed temperature rise as the model runs with elevated greenhouse gases or the many other forcings explored in their research.

In explaining their results, the scientists write "In summary, our results emphasize the significant role of remote oceanic influences, rather than the direct local effect of anthropogenic radiative forcings, in the recent continental warming. They suggest that the recent oceanic warming has caused the continents to warm through a different set of mechanisms than usually identified with the global impacts of SST changes. It has increased the humidity of the atmosphere, altered the atmospheric vertical motion and associated cloud fields, and perturbed the longwave and shortwave radiative fluxes at the continental surface."

It only gets better as they state "Although not a focus of this study, the degree to which the oceans themselves have recently warmed due to increased GHG, other anthropogenic, natural solar and volcanic forcings, or internal multi-decadal climate variations is a matter of active investigation." That's interesting - it seems there is some lingering debate about why the oceans have warmed, and they note "a role for natural causes of at least some of the recent oceanic warming should not be ruled out."

Here at World Climate Report, we never rule out the role of natural variability of the climate system. Their final paragraph has some priceless phrases as they report "Regardless of whether or not the rapid recent oceanic warming has occurred largely from anthropogenic or natural influences, our study highlights its importance in accounting for the recent observed continental warming. Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from our analysis is that the recent acceleration [sic-see our last couple of WCRs demonstrating a slowdown of recent warming trends] of global warming may not be occurring in quite the manner one might have imagined. The indirect and substantial role of the oceans in causing the recent continental warming emphasizes the need to generate reliable projections of ocean temperature changes over the next century, in order to generate more reliable projections of not just the global mean temperature and precipitation changes, but also regional climate changes."

Stating "global warming may not be occurring in quite the manner one might have imagined" is an interesting way to report that the entire global warming - greenhouse gas buildup link (largely unchallenged) may be a quite a bit off. Time will tell, but don't look for a lot of press coverage coming from the Poland meeting of this interesting research challenging the gospel of global warming.

Reference: Compo, G.P. and P.D. Sardeshmukh. 2008. Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Climate Dynamics.



Stephen Hockman QC-which, if you read Rumpole, you know means queer customer-is a European (I can't say Englishman, because an Englishman would not voluntarily cede his country's sovereignty to a foreign body) who is proposing to create an International Court of Environmental Justice, whose purpose will be to "punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change."

Isn't that nice? Besides providing make-work employment for obscure politicians, "[T]he court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the 'right to a healthy environment'." It would first create this new "right to a healthy environment and provide a higher body for individuals or non-governmental organisations to protest against an environmental injustice."

Both Gordon Brown and Judi Dench have come out in favor of this new governing body, so we can guess it's only a matter of time before it is started. You might suppose that I, being a self-named climate inactivist and advocate of limited government, would be against this development, but except for one caveat, I am not. Here's why.

More here

Windmills to power Hawaii's cars

What a laugh! Have they added up how many windmills they would need to do that? Hawaii wouldn't be big enough

Hawaii is to become the first US state to create a transport infrastructure that will allow cars to run almost entirely on electricity. The plan involves building up to 100,000 charging stations in car parks and streets by 2012 and importing electric vehicles manufactured by a joint venture between Nissan and Renault. Motorists who buy the cars will be able to purchase mileage plans - including recharging services and battery swaps - or use the charging stations on a pay-as-you-go basis. Linda Lingle, the Governor of Hawaii, said that the programme would help the six large islands in the state to meet the goal of reducing the use of fossil fuels by 70 per cent within the next 30 years.

About 1.3 million people live in Hawaii, most of them in Honolulu. The islands import 90 per cent of their oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia, an arrangement that costs an estimated $7 billion a year. "Today is a part of the execution of our energy independence [strategy], and our getting off the addiction to oil," Ms Lingle said.

Most of the infrastructure will be provided and funded by Better Place, a Silicon Valley company - although the $75 million-$100 million cost of the project has yet to be raised. It will build the charging stations and provide charged batteries. The electricity is expected to come from renewable sources, such as wind power. All of this will require a significant investment, however, because Hawaii has limited wind power and there are no transmission lines to carry electricity between the islands.

Shai Agassi, the founder and chief executive of Better Place, said electric cars would cost the same as petrol vehicles but that over time they would become cheaper because they used half as many parts as cars with internal combustion engines. He added that Hawaii was an ideal place to show off the technology because the state hosts more than five million tourists every year. "If we can get them into electric cars when they rent we do two great things," he said. "One, we avoid emissions, and two, we use the opportunity to educate them, to teach them in Hawaii how it needs to be done in the rest of the world."

Other parts of the US, including the San Francisco bay area, and Israel, Denmark and Australia, plan to host Better Place recharging stations.

- Hawaii had 1.28 million people and 1.13 million registered motor vehicles last year

- Imported petroleum is used for 90 per cent of its primary energy

- About 80,000 Hawaiian homes are fitted with solar water heaters

- Wind power provides 1 per cent of Hawaii's energy


Britain's nukes in trouble

Blind Freddy knows that any government timetable will blow out by years so this is no surprise but it does show that the risk of blackouts is great unless money can be diverted from useless windmills to build more coal-fired plants

Widespread doubts about the ability of nuclear power to bring a new generation of reactors on stream at the right time and on budget were raised today within an industry that the UK government is relying on to meet its climate change and energy security goals. EDF Energy, the French power company that has been positioning itself as one of the leading future players in the UK market, admitted that its new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) at Flamanville in France had already run 20% over budget while major delays continue to plague a Finnish facility, the only other new plant under construction in Europe.

Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, which also wants to construct two nuclear facilities in Britain, said the 2017 target for a first new reactor in this country was "extremely ambitious" and he urged ministers to proceed with a new generation of coal plants, such as the controversial Kingsnorth scheme, to fill the growing energy gap. He was talking at a London conference organised by the Nuclear Industries Association, which was told by another top industry official that although the industry might have a range of problems to overcome, it had recently achieved an extraordinary transformation and was now perceived externally as "sexy".

Lady Barbara Judge, chairwoman of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), highlighted skills shortages and waste disposal as potential difficulties but felt they could be overcome. "Atomic was a dirty word but now it's certainly a sexy one," she argued. But she did warn that the safety of existing stations remained paramount and while the difficulties of the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters had been overcome, they could be repeated. "Everyone knows just one accident and the industry will be shut down for 20 years."

Golby raised concerns about the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate which governs the industry's health and safety but questioned whether 2017 was a realistic date for a new station. A colleague had suggested that atomic power would be available to cook the Christmas lunch that year but he said: "I have a fear it will be humble pie we will be eating rather rather than turkey."

Meanwhile at an investors' day in Paris, EDF said the EPR which is being built in Flamanville would cost 4bn euros at 2008 prices instead of 3.3bn . "This update takes into account increase in prices and the effects of some contractual indexes due to higher raw material costs and the impact of technical and regulatory evolutions," explained EDF. The new total cost of the electricity generated is 54/MW hour in 2008, instead of the 46 announced when the project was launched in May 2006.

Luc Oursel, a president at Areva, said despite the Flamanville problems and rising costs and delays at the Olkiluoto plant in Finland still made commercial sense. He insisted the mistakes learned would help build plants in Britain on schedule. Mike O'Brien, the energy minister, said he was confident industry would do all it could to deliver on time and dismissed concerns about any delays affecting climate change policies. He added: "All you can do is work towards it (a target) by a particular date."


Australia: The "Greenhouse" retreat begins

The battle with climate hobgoblins is slowly giving way to reality

FEDERAL cabinet is finalising a cautious emissions trading scheme offering higher compensation to big trade-exposed polluters and a "soft" start in pollution-reduction targets. With concern growing in the Rudd cabinet about the emissions trading scheme's potential to exacerbate already rising unemployment, particularly in crucial marginal regional seats, the target range for the regime to be released on Monday week is widely expected to be between 5 per cent and 15 per cent by 2020. But the emissions trading white paper will tie Australian emissions reduction targets to the ambition of next year's Copenhagen agreement on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

After months of furious lobbying from key industries, including LNG, cement and steel, the Government will offer significant changes to its original formula offering wider compensation to trade-exposed emissions-intensive industries to ameliorate corporate concern about jobs and investment moving offshore.

Senior sources also say the Government's strategy is to negotiate the scheme through the Senate next year with the Coalition, rather than the Greens and independents, meaning its final impact is likely to be even softer when an amended version finally starts in 2010.

Conservationists and renewable energy industry advocates have in recent weeks implored the Government to keep open the possibility of deeper emission cuts of 25per cent by 2020 to maximise the chances of an international deal that could limit global warming to 2C, a level that can still avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change.

The Government remains determined to press ahead with its emissions trading scheme despite the global financial crisis, but in his speech to the parliament yesterday Kevin Rudd made it clear he was very worried about rising unemployment. "We have had a debate in here from time to time about where the global financial crisis goes," the Prime Minister said. "It is going to affect a lot of people who will lose their jobs. That is the truth and it is an awful thing. "Whatever our policy debates may be about that, the other thing we need to be reminded of at a time like this is, through our own work in local community, to support people who find themselves in those positions in the period ahead."

The Government's green paper released in July proposed handing out for free up to 20 per cent of permits to heavy industry in the period before an international agreement imposed similar costs on their competitors, and 30 per cent once agriculture was included in the scheme in 2015. The remainder of the permits would be auctioned. But in recent weeks officials have canvassed the prospect that this strict cap on the proportion of free permits could be increased - to about 25 per cent, or 35 per cent after the inclusion of agriculture, with more sectors qualifying for at least some free permits and companies being able to apply for permits for new projects as well. They have suggested that industry sectors could be allowed to choose between two possible formulas for calculating their eligibility for free permits and that industries previously missing out on permits - such as oil refining and some chemical production - could now be offered 30 per cent of their necessary permits for free.

But the cabinet subcommittee is understood to have considered it politically unacceptable to offer 30 per cent free permits for the methane emissions from coalmines, even though coal would probably have been eligible under the revised plans, ordering further negotiations to narrow the government assistance to the sector. No other country has plans to require coalmines to buy permits for methane emissions for many years.

Many industries that miss out on free permits are also being offered "structural adjustment" assistance from the proposed multi-billion-dollar Climate Change Adjustment Fund, created from the proceeds of permit auctions, to ease the burden from the introduction of the emissions trading scheme. The Government is also holding detailed discussions with industry about the implementation of its promised national renewable energy target (RET) alongside the ETS, with another discussion paper on the much-delayed RET set to be released before the end of the year.

Yesterday, leading economists - including nabCapital chief economist Rob Henderson, ANZ chief economist Saul Eslake, and Macquarie Group chief economist Richard Gibbs - wrote an open letter to the Government. They urged it to apply the ETS as broadly as possible, including to petrol, which the Government has pledged to exempt for the first three years of the scheme, and to set any carbon-price safety cap very high to allow the new market in carbon permits to work.

The cabinet subcommittee on emissions trading has met twice this week and the full cabinet was also scheduled to discuss the issue yesterday as the Government raced to finalise the design of its scheme ahead of its release on December 15. Cabinet is very conscious that Labor's hold on marginal seats, including Capricornia, Flynn, Dawson, Corangamite and Solomon could be strongly affected by the decisions taken.



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


4 December, 2008


We see below where researchers use sun cycles to predict rainfall fluctuations. Rather a nasty blow to the legions of "scientists" who have attributed recent droughts to global warming

The sun's magnetic field may have a significant impact on weather and climatic parameters in Australia and other countries in the northern and southern hemispheres. According to a study in Geographical Research published by Wiley-Blackwell, the droughts in eastern Australia are related to the solar magnetic phases and not the greenhouse effect.

The study titled "Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuation in Eastern Australia" uses data from 1876 to the present to examine the correlation between solar cycles and the extreme rainfall in Australia. It finds that the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) - the basic tool for forecasting variations in global and oceanic patterns - and rainfall fluctuations recorded over the last decade are similar to those in 1914 -1924.

Author Professor Robert G. V. Baker from the School of Environmental Studies, University of New England, Australia, says, "The interaction between the directionality in the Sun's and Earth's magnetic fields, the incidence of ultraviolet radiation over the tropical Pacific, and changes in sea surface temperatures with cloud cover, could contribute to an explanation of substantial changes in the SOI from solar cycle fluctuations. If solar cycles continue to show relational values to climate patterns, there is the potential for more accurate forecasting through to 2010 and possibly beyond."

The SOI-solar association has been investigated recently due to increasing interest in the relationship between the sun's cycles and the climate. The solar application offers the potential for the long-range prediction of SOI behavior and associated rainfall variations, since quasi-periodicity in solar activity results in an expected cycle of situations and phases that are not random events.

Professor Baker adds, "This discovery could substantially advance forecasting from months to decades. It should result in much better long-term management of agricultural production and water resources, in areas where rainfall is correlated to SOI and El Nino (ENSO) events."

This paper is published in the December 2008 issue of Geographical Research Vol. 46 Issue 4.


Global cooling harasses the Brits

Road and rail travellers face misery as blizzard blows in

Blizzards and snowdrifts threaten to disrupt rail services and motorways today as heavy snow and high winds make milder winters seem a distant memory. From Scotland to the Midlands, snowfalls of up to 20 centimetres are expected to play havoc with travel arrangements, and even London can expect traces of snow among the rain.

Trains equipped with snowploughs have been placed on standby by rail operators to clear routes crossing the Pennines, where the heaviest conditions are expected. During the night, Network Rail was using special trains to spray warm deicer on mainline stretches of track on lines in the North West and North East. Drivers setting out overnight or early today were being advised to travel with warm clothing and an emergency pack including food and water, boots, windscreen deicer and a shovel.

Helen Chivers, at the Met Office, said: "We are expecting the heaviest fall to be over the Pennines, the North York Moors, and the Cumbrian Fells, which could get anywhere between 10cm and 20cm of snow. And it will be drifting, because it will be accompanied by higher winds, and higher roads could well be quite badly affected by blizzards well into the rush hour."

Severe weather warnings have been issued for parts of the country as far south as Birmingham, and authorities in London and across the South have been warned that heavy rain could turn into brief spells of snow and ice during today's rush hour. People who have become used to milder winters will be well advised to wrap up against temperatures that could fall as low as minus 10C (14F) in parts of Scotland, although the South Coast could reach 10C later in the day.

The cold weather, which has lasted two weeks, has felt unusually harsh after a series of mild Decembers.


Electric shock as sales of green cars go into reverse in Britain

Sales of electric cars have fallen by more than half this year, according to figures released two days after the Government's climate change advisory body predicted a huge increase. Only 156 electric cars were sold from January to October, compared with 374 for the same period last year.

Nice Car Company, one of the two main British distributors of electric cars, went into administration yesterday. Set up in 2006, the company had been selling an all-electric version of the French-made Aixam Mega. It had also planned to bring a range of new models to market by the end of the year. However, sales dropped to fewer than one car a week.

Richard Bremner, editor of, which specialises in green motoring, said: "While volumes are still tiny, any drop in electric car sales will come as a shock. Buyers could be holding off for cars from mainstream manufacturers, although they may still have years to wait."

The Committee on Climate Change said on Monday it expected electric and hybrid vehicles to form up to 40 per cent of cars on the road by 2020. There are about 1,100 all-electric cars currently on British roads - 0.004 per cent of the total. Most are owned by Londoners and are quadricycles, not fully type-approved cars.

Congestion-charge concessions for all-electric vehicles helped to create the market, but drivers have since opted for new small diesel cars with very low carbon emissions.


How Science Actually Works

Here's a fascinating little story from the science section of the New York Times:
Scars on the surface of the Moon record a hail of impacts during what is called the Late Heavy Bombardment. The Earth would have received an even more intense bombardment, and the common thinking until recently was that life could not have emerged on Earth until the bombardment eased about 3.85 billion years ago.

Norman H. Sleep, a professor of geophysics at Stanford, recalled that in 1986 he submitted a paper that calculated the probability of life surviving one of the giant, early impacts. It was summarily rejected because a reviewer said that obviously nothing could have lived then.

That is no longer thought to be true. "We thought we knew something we didn't," said T. Mark Harrison, a professor of geochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. In hindsight the evidence was just not there. And new evidence has suggested a new view of the early Earth.
This, of course, is how science actually works. All scientific knowledge is tentative, subject to constant challenge by new hypotheses and new evidence. Keep this in mind every time a global warmist claims that the "scientific consensus" about "climate change" is unchallengeable.



About 11,000 workers from the steel industry in European countries gathered on Tuesday in Brussels to protest the European Union's climate change policy which they fear might make them lose their jobs. The European Parliament and the French Presidency of the European Union agreed Monday on details of future targets on emissions from cars, setting the target for 2020 at 95 g CO2 per kilometer. "We don't want to lose our job," one protester said, adding that the new regulations will possibly kill the steel industry in Europe. Several protesters held a coffin to indicate that the European steel industry will die when EU's climate change plan is implemented.

Under the new regulations, from 2012 to 2018 manufacturers exceeding the carbon dioxide targets set by the regulation will have to pay fines 5 euros for the first gram of CO2, 15 euros for the second gram of CO2 and 95 euros from the fourth gram of CO2. From 2019, car manufacturers will have to pay 95 euro for each gram exceeding the target.

The protesters, most of who come from the car industry giant Germany, marched around the European Parliament building and other EU institutions. The protest was organized by the European Metalworkers' Federation (EMF). The federation criticized the EU's plan to cut CO2 emissions, saying it endangers production and jobs in the steel and non-ferrous metal sectors. In a statement, the EMF said that European producers "are confronted with increasing international competition from producers who do not meet European norms."



Climate Change: Policymakers and other busybodies trying to save the planet will one day learn that, despite all the hype about global warming, most people are focused on issues that for them are more meaningful. During economic boom times, developed and developing nations have the luxury to indulge in meaningless gestures, such as the trendy campaign to beat global warming. But when the economy slows and energy costs increase, the people in those nations become a bit more focused and find that environmental issues might not be as important as they thought.

This evolution of thought can be tracked by looking at how the public regards global warming now compared with last year. A recent survey of 12,000 people across 11 countries commissioned by financial institution HSBC and environmental groups clearly confirms the progression. The poll found that only 47% say they are willing to change their lives to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, down from 58% last year. A mere 37% say they are willing to increase the time or effort they put into cutting carbon emissions. Last year, 45% said they would. When it comes to finances, people are even more restrained. One in five say this year that they would be willing to spend more money on the environment while 28% said the same when the poll was taken in April 2007. Just four in 10 say they are more worried about global warming than they are about the world economy.

Earthwatch, one of the environmental groups that commissioned the survey, claims the answers show that consumers would rather governments lead on the climate change issue. But given the weak support for the Kyoto global warming protocol - 27% want their countries to participate in international emissions-cutting agreements - and the fact that less than half (48%) actually say that governments should take the lead role on climate change, that seems like a shaky proposition.

A better interpretation of the results would be that a world that has been hammered incessantly by a global warming fear campaign, but which has yet to see any actual warming, has developed a healthy skepticism. That same world has also had a good look at the reality of current economic difficulties and found them more pressing than speculative disasters. No doubt some of those surveyed see the current slump as a forerunner of the environmentalists' economy, a state of affairs in which the steep cost of curbing global warming is an economy that is permanently sluggish, and decided that some misty climate threat is preferable to endless recession.

Consumers, particularly in the U.S., have also been traumatized by shockingly expensive gasoline. While prices have mercifully receded, the mark they left on wallets and the fear that they will be driven back up by a carbon tax is real and legitimate. Consumers also have been alarmed by Barack Obama's warnings that environmental policy under his administration would bankrupt any energy provider that tried to open a new coal-fired power plant, and his promise that under his greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade plan "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

Nor are consumers unaware of the costs that a crackdown on carbon dioxide emissions would have. They might not know the specifics - millions of jobs lost and a 1.5% to 4% GDP drop in the EU, 4.9 million jobs and a $400 billion hit on the economy each year in the U.S. to comply with the Kyoto pact. But they understand that attempts to fight global warming will hit them in the wallets.

The alarmists are busy this week at a United Nations climate conference in Poland, making absurd claims that humanity will suffer from increased war, hunger, disease, catastrophic weather and poverty if global warming is not brought under control. But it's clear the world, much like kids who eventually come to understand that bedtime stories are generally fantasies, has grown wise to the environmental propaganda.



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


3 December, 2008


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch []

The official Name of the Kyoto Accord is: KYOTO PROTOCOL TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE. The objective of the Accord is to reduce the impact of observed increases in global temperatures using 1990 as the reference year for a target.

If we take the average global temperature in 1990 as a "zero reference", the average temperature for 2002 can be seen to be about 0.35øC, and the average temperature for the last 12 months is back down to about 0.05øC. The best fit linear trend since 2002 is about 0.025øC/year of cooling, and at this rate we will have met the Kyoto target of 1990 temperature in just two years without having done anything!

(Temperature graph is posted on the front page of the Friends of Science website )

If the Kyoto target of 1990 global temperature will be met in just two years in spite of the continued increase in CO2 emissions, doesn't it seem a bit odd that the world leaders are willing to sacrifice the global economy to reduce CO2 emissions as though CO2 emissions reductions, and not global temperature stabilization, was the objective of the Kyoto Protocol?


An email from Madhav Khandekar [], an IPCC reviewer:

I fully share the commentaries and views expressed by David Whitehouse & Paul Biggs yesterday. It is now generally accepted by most scientists (except some die-hard AGW adherents) that the earth's mean temperature has NOT (I repeat NOT) increased in the last few years, OR to be precise, NOT increased since about mid-1998, when the SSTs (Sea Surface temperatures) started to decline. Since then, SSTs have declined steadily over world-oceans and as a result the land area mean temperature has stayed essentially the same over Northern Hemisphere (due to large urban effects which the AGW adherents refuse to accept) while in the Southern Hemisphere the mean temperature has definitely declined, as shown clearly by the satellite data.

Yes, the 1980s and 1990s did see some warming, as commented by David Whitehouse, but the first decade of the 21st century is definitely cooler than the 1990s so far and should remain so over the next three years. This year 2008 will probably come up to about 0.39C above the 1961-1990 mean and that will make 2008 about 9th warmest in the last 15 years. The last year 2007 was seventh warmest, according to the UK Met Office (per Phil Jones), with mean temperature about 0.41C above 1961-90 mean, while 1998 still remains the warmest (hottest!) year in the last 150 years, with mean temperature about 0.52C above 1961-90 mean.

There have been NO major heat waves anywhere since the 2003 summer heat wave in Europe. Over North America 1998 summer was probably the hottest in the last 25 years and since then there have been NO major heat wave episodes. Over the Indian subcontinent, there have been No major pre-monsoon heat wave episodes, since June 1998, when parts of central & northern India experienced record-high temperatures of 47-50C for a couple of weeks.

In the Southern Hemisphere, there were no major heat waves anywhere in the last five years or so. The entire continent of South America was one of the coldest in 2007. The city of Buenos Aires received about 6 cm of snowfall in July 2007, the last time it snowed in the city was in 1918!

I like to ask my favorite question one more time: Where is Global Warmimg? Delegates attending the UNFCCC Meeting in Poland please take note: Global Warming has stopped!


Gwyn Prins, of the London School of Economics, has written a follow-on piece to his collaboration with Steve Rayner that appeared in Nature just over a year ago. (Time to Ditch Kyoto, a shorter version of The Wrong Trousers, PDF). Prins' follow on is published in the Delegate's Book to the Poznan Climate Conference, and I am happy to provide a copy here in PDF.

Here is an excerpt:
'Time to ditch Kyoto' elicited considerable public and professional reaction, as did the underpinning study in which we documented its central claims (The Wrong Trousers: radically rethinking climate policy, James Martin Institute, University of Oxford/Mackinder Centre, London School of Economics, November 2007 - available at the relevant websites). Last year, our position was seen by some to be heretical. Today, outside the circle of those officials, carbon traders, think-tankers, journalists and academics professionally involved in the promotion of the Kyoto approach, that is no longer so. Last year, we suggested that the objective of the Bali Conference in December 2007 should be to switch tracks to a radically different type of climate policy which might have a hope of producing real changes in the real world of emissions reductions. Has that in fact happened?

It has not. We enter the Poznan conference with the European Union's climate policy holed and sinking, but with the emergence elsewhere than in Europe of the principles of what a viable climate policy might actually look like. The challenge of Poznan is therefore the same as the challenge of Bali: namely to find a path from the 'Kyoto Road' to a new road based on a deal which has a chance of working. Such a deal will not involve the leading instruments of the current conventional wisdom among the expert community of climate policymakers. So what has happened between Bali and Poznan?
For the answer, read the whole thing (PDF): here.


The Real Cost of Global Warming

Legislation designed to address global warming failed in Congress this year, largely due to concerns about its high costs and adverse impact on an already weakening economy. The congressional debate will likely resume in 2009, as legislators try again to bal-ance the environmental and economic considerations on this complex issue. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pursuant to a 2007 Supreme Court decision, has initiated steps toward bypassing the legislative process and regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) is nothing less than the most costly, compli-cated, and unworkable regulatory scheme ever pro-posed. Under ANPR, nearly every product, business, and building that uses fossil fuels could face require-ments that border on the impossible. The overall cost of this agenda would likely exceed that of the legisla-tion rejected by Congress, reaching well into the tril-lions of dollars while destroying millions of jobs in the manufacturing sector.[1] The ANPR is clearly not in the best interests of Americans, and the EPA should not proceed to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and final rule based upon it.

Climate Legislation

Concern that carbon dioxide and other green-house gases are gradually warming the planet has emerged as the major environmental issue of the day, and certainly the most hyped one. Carbon diox-ide is a naturally occurring component of the air, but is also the ubiquitous and unavoidable by-product of fossil fuel combustion, which currently provides 85 percent of America's energy. Thus, any effort to substantially curtail such emissions would have extremely costly and disruptive impacts on the economy and on living standards.

For this reason, the federal government has been cautious about embarking on mandatory carbon reductions. In 1997, the U.S. Senate unanimously resolved to reject any international climate change treaty that unduly burdened the U.S. economy or failed to engage all major emitting nations, such as China and India. Although the Kyoto Protocol was signed by the U.S. later that year, neither President Bill Clinton nor President George W. Bush ever sub-mitted the treaty to the Senate for the required ratifi-cation. This has shown itself to be a wise move: Many, if not most, of the European and other devel-oped nations that ratified the treaty are failing to reduce their emissions due to the prohibitive costs in doing so.

Legislatively, Congress has thus far rejected every attempt to control carbon dioxide emissions. Chief among the legislative proposals in 2008 was S. 2191, the America's Climate Security Act of 2007, originally sponsored by Senators Joe Lieber-man (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA). This was a so-called cap-and-trade bill that would set a limit on the emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. Each power plant, factory, refin-ery, or other regulated entity would have been allo-cated rights to emit limited amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Those entities that reduced their emissions below their annual allotment could sell their excess allowances to those that did not--the trade part of cap and trade. The bill would start with a mandated emissions freeze at 2005 levels in 2012, and end with a 70 percent reduction by 2050.

In effect, this bill would have acted like a tax on energy, driving up its cost so that businesses and consumers are forced to use less.

Last June, America's Climate Security Act was withdrawn by its Senate supporters after only three days of debate. A Heritage Foundation analysis de-tailed the costs of the bill, which included a 29 per-cent increase in the price of gasoline, net job losses well into the hundreds of thousands, and an overall reduction in gross domestic product of $1.7 to $4.8 trillion by 2030.[2] At the time of the debate, gasoline was approaching $4 per gallon for the first time in history, and signs of a slowing economy were begin-ning to emerge. Economically speaking, the bill was one of the last items on the agenda that Americans wanted, and its Senate sponsors recognized that. Beyond the costs, the bill would have--even assum-ing the worst case scenarios of future warming-- likely reduced the earth's future temperature by an amount too small to verify.[3]

The debate is sure to resume in 2009, but the economic concerns about such measures remain. Though gasoline prices may be lower next year than the last time climate legislation came to a vote, unemployment will likely be higher as will unease about the overall state of the economy. Thus, the legislative effort to place costly restrictions on energy still faces an economic headwind. Notwith-standing the state of the economy, such measures will always fail any reasonable cost-benefit test given their high costs and environmental benefits that are marginal at best.

Regulation as an Alternative to Legislation

While proponents of greenhouse gas restrictions have lobbied for additional legislation, they have also tried to force the EPA to regulate carbon diox-ide as a pollutant under existing law. In 1999, an environmental activist group sued the EPA over its refusal to restrict such emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which in April 2007 ruled in a five-to-four decision against the EPA.

The decision did not require the EPA to change its position and begin regulating carbon dioxide from vehi-cle exhaust; it only required the agency to demonstrate that whatever it chooses to do complies with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Nonetheless, the agency's detailed ANPR, published on July 30, 2008, appears to treat such regulation as a foregone conclusion. Although the ANPR is preliminary in nature, the level of detail (the ANPR and supporting documentation exceed 18,000 pages) suggests that the EPA has already decided to impose regula-tions that are unprecedented in their cost, complexity, and reach.

The reasons for Congress's reluc-tance to enact global warming legisla-tion are every bit as relevant to the debate over whether or not the EPA should achieve the same results through regulations. This is espe-cially true given the many shortcomings of the Clean Air Act as an instrument for regulating carbon diox-ide emissions--for which the statute was not intended. In effect, the measures detailed in the ANPR would require action at least as costly as com-parable cap-and-trade bills, and likely more so given the added difficulty of doing it in a much more con-voluted fashion.

Regulating Vehicles--and Almost Everything Else

Because no technology exists to date that offers the possibility to filter out carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicle exhaust, the only way to reduce emissions is to use less fuel. In the ANPR, the EPA contemplates higher gas mileage standards for motor vehicles beyond those already scheduled to be imposed in accordance with the 2007 Energy Inde-pendence and Security Act. The EPA also discusses strict requirements for everything from airplanes to ships to trains to lawnmowers, all of which could be subject to new design specifications and usage limi-tations as well as fuel economy standards, as described in painstaking detail in the ANPR.

Beyond regulating anything that is mobile and uses energy, the ANPR also contemplates targeting anything that is immobile and uses energy--com-mercial and non-commercial buildings, large and small businesses, and farms. Under the Clean Air Act, once carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles are regulated, emissions from stationary sources must also be controlled under the New Source Review (NSR) and other Clean Air Act pro-grams because they apply to all pollutants subject to regulation anywhere else in the statute. Even if the agency tries to rein in the reach of its regulation, it will almost certainly face litiga-tion by environmentalists opposing such restraint.

Given that the existing threshold for regulation under the Clean Air Act--250 tons of emissions per year, and in some cases as little as 100 tons per year--is easily met in the case of carbon dioxide emissions, the agency could impose new and onerous NSR requirements heretofore limited to major industrial facilities. Other Clean Air Act programs, such as the Title V permitting program and the hazardous-air-pollutants program, have even lower thresholds, creat-ing a regulatory maze both restric-tive and redundant.

Most pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act are trace com-pounds like ozone or mercury that are typically measured in parts per billion, so these threshold levels are sensible to distinguish de minimis contributors from significant ones. But carbon dioxide is not a trace compound, thus, existing Clean Air Act thresholds are ill suited. Background levels alone account for 275 parts per million, and even relatively small usage of fossil fuels could reach these thresholds. Thus, even the kitchen in a res-taurant, the heating system in an apartment or office building, or the activities associated with running a farm could cause these and other enti-ties--potentially more than a million buildings, 200,000 manufacturing operations, and 20,000 farms[4]--to face substantial and unprecedented requirements. Churches, hospitals, schools, and government buildings could also be subjected to these requirements.

This type of industrial-strength EPA red tape that imposes an average of $125,000 in costs and takes 866 hours to complete[5] could now be imposed, for the first time, on a million or more entities beyond the large power plants and factories that have tradi-tionally already been regulated in this manner. Even more significant than the administrative costs is that all of these entities would be required to install costly technologies and operate under certain restrictions, as determined by EPA bureaucrats.

In sum, a host of complicated and redundant regulations could be applied to nearly every prod-uct, nearly every business, and nearly every build-ing in America that uses fossil fuels. The ANPR, if finalized in anything near its current form, would create an environmental regulatory scheme more costly and intrusive than all the others combined.

The Costs of the ANPR

Either through legislation or regu-lation, efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions will impose costs through-out the economy. For purposes of this analysis of the ANPR, the Heritage Foundation ignores the up-front administrative and compliance costs of imposing such an unprecedented crackdown both for regulated entities and for federal and state regulators. Heritage analysts instead assume the unlikely scenario of successful ANPR implementation and focus only on the cost of the rules in the form of higher energy costs.

The impact on the overall econ-omy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is substantial. The cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per house-hold. (See Chart 1.) Job losses are expected to exceed 800,000 in some years, and exceed at least 500,000 from 2015 through 2026. (See Chart 2). Note that these are net job losses, after any jobs created by compliance with the regulations--so-called green jobs--are taken into account. Hardest-hit are man-ufacturing jobs, with losses approaching 3 million. (See Chart 3). Particularly vulnerable are jobs in durable manufacturing (28 percent job losses), machinery manufacturing (57 percent), textiles (27.6 percent), electrical equipment and appli-ances (22 percent), paper (36 percent), and plastics and rubber products (54 percent). It should be noted that since the EPA rule is unilateral and few other nations are likely to follow the U.S. lead, many of these manufacturing jobs will be out-sourced overseas.

The job losses or shifts to lower paying jobs are substantial, leading to declines in disposable income of $145 billion by 2015--more than $1,000 per household.


Virtually every concern heightened by the eco-nomic downturn, especially job losses, would be exacerbated under the ANPR. As with cap-and-trade legislation, the EPA's suggested rulemaking would be poison to an already sick economy. But even in the best of economic times, this policy would likely end them. The estimated costs--close to $7 trillion dollars and 3 million manufacturing jobs lost--are staggering. So is the sweep of regula-tions that could severely affect nearly every major energy-using product from cars to lawnmowers, and a million or more businesses and buildings of all types. And all of this sacrifice is in order to make, at best, a minuscule contribution to an overstated environmental threat. Congress has wisely resisted implementing anything this costly and impractical. The fact that unelected and unaccountable EPA bureaucrats are trying to do the opposite is all the more objectionable.


Shaping Economic Analysis to Suit Climate Politics

Today's ClimateWire reports that California's proposed climate policy - known by its bill number as AB32 - has been soundly criticized by a distinguished panel of six internationally recognized economists with expertise in carbon policies: California intentionally skewed its analysis of the economic effects of its climate change plan, according to a review by state-commissioned economists. All six economists found the analysis deeply flawed, and several even said the state hand-picked data to improve the economic case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Wow. When policy makers and experts shape an analysis to suit a political agenda some people have been known to throw around terms like a "war on science". Somehow I doubt that we'll hear any concerns about a "war on economics" being waged by the state of California.;-) More seriously, what is going on here is that advocates for certain policies face temptations to present those policies in the best possible light in order to increase the chances that the proposed actions will be adopted. As we've argued here for a long time, such biased analyses can be found across issues and the political spectrum, even in the case of California's carbon policy.

The fact that California's AB32 has failed peer review does not mean that it is necessarily a bad idea, it just means that policy makers and Californians really have no idea what the effects of the proposed policy will actually be when implemented. The consensus of the peer reviewers is that the costs of the proposed policy are likely to be much higher than the state's economic analysis suggests, and there are far more uncertainties than the analysis considers.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the state of California largely brushes off the peer review comments with the following rather amazing dismissal: "Economic modeling is not an exact science, and there will always be different opinions about assumptions and how to apply the available tools. This is to be expected."

So if economic modeling is really about opinions, of which there are many, then why in the world submit any such analysis for peer review? Below are a few excerpts from the peer review submissions, which include some very strong criticisms. The peer review report can be found here in PDF

Janet Pearce and Liwayway Adkins of the Pew Center on Climate Change write: "the analysis gives the appearance of justifying the chosen package of regulatory measures rather than evaluating it."

Matthew Kahn of UCLA writes (emphasis in original): "While I support the Governor's broad AB32 goals, I am troubled by the economic modeling analysis that I have been asked to read. AB32 is presented as a riskless "free lunch" for Californians. These economic models predict that this regulation will offer us a "win-win" of much lower greenhouse gas emissions and increased economic growth. According to my arithmetic and the information provided in Table I-2 of the Economic Evaluation Supplement, the 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard, the Pavley Light Truck regulations, the Low Carbon Fuel Standards and the building energy efficiency programs will together mitigate 95.6 MMTCO2 (57% of the AB32 2020 mitigation goal) at a net negative cost of $132 million per year. This would be a large free lunch! I would like to believe this claim but after reading through the Economic Analysis and the five appendices there are too many uncertainties and open microeconomic questions for me to believe this.

The net dollar cost of each of these regulations is likely to be much larger than what is reported in Table I-2 . . .

. . . AB32 is a gamble . . .

. . . I hope I am wrong about this but it appears that the model is based on "best case scenario" planning.

Robert Stavins of Harvard wites: "The California Air Resources Board (CARB) merits credit for having provided an economic analysis of its "Draft Scoping Plan" for achieving AB 32's targets, but for the reasons I describe in this brief memo, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the economic analysis is terribly deficient in critical ways and should not be used by the State government or the public for the purpose of assessing the likely costs of CARB's plans. I say this with some sadness, because I was hopeful that CARB would produce sensible policy proposals analyzed with sound scientific and economic analysis."


Global warming kills possum?

More Greenie attention-seeking lies. If the possum was on way to extinction anyway, how do we know that warming made any difference? They cite hot weather in 2005 but there was no global warming in 2005. Any extra heat at that time would be due to other, more local, weather influences

SCIENTISTS say a white possum native to Queensland's Daintree forest has become the first mammal to become extinct due to man-made global warming. The Courier-Mail reports the white lemuroid possum, a rare creature found only above 1000m in the mountain forests of far north Queensland, has not been seen for three years. Experts fear climate change is to blame for the disappearance of the highly vulnerable species thanks to a temperature rise of up to 0.8C.

Researchers will mount a last-ditch expedition early next year deep into the untouched "cloud forests" of the Carbine range near Mt Lewis, three hours north of Cairns, in search of the tiny tree-dweller, dubbed the "Dodo of the Daintree".

Scientists believe some frog, bug and insects species have also been killed off by climate change. But this would be the first known loss of a mammal and the most significant since the extinction of the Dodo and the Tasmanian Tiger. "It is not looking good," researcher Steve Williams said. "If they have died out it would be first example of something that has gone extinct purely because of global warming." [Fact-free assertion]

Professor Williams, director of the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University, said the white lemuroid possum had been identified as highly vulnerable five years ago. "It only takes four or five hours of temperatures above 30C to kill this highly vulnerable species," he said. "They live off the moisture in the trees in the cooler, high-altitude cloud forests and, under extreme heat, they are unable to maintain their body temperature." He said record high temperatures in the summer of 2005 could have caused a massive die-off.

"Prior to 2005 we were seeing a lemuroid every 45 minutes of spotlighting at one main site at Mt Lewis," Professor Williams said. "But, in three years, in more than 20 hours of intensive spotlighting, none has been sighted."

Reef and Rainforest Research Centre chief executive Sheridan Morris said the "eyes of the world" would be on next year's the expedition to find the little creature. "If it has died out it will be devastating," Ms Morris said. "It is a big one, and a big one to bang the drum over. "It is equally as shocking as losing an iconic marine species like a whale or the dugong."

Source. And Andrew Bolt gives the lies a detailed debunking.


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2 December, 2008


An email from David Whitehouse []

In a few weeks the data will be in on the global average temperature for 2008. Although one should always be wary about assumptions regarding data (the December data hasn1t been measured yet) it does seem highly likely that 2008 will continue the trend seen in recent years (since 2001) of no increase in global temperatures. In most people's minds the question is how much cooler it will turn out to be than previous years. Personally, I expect the errors will make it unlikely that anything other than a flat line will be justifiable, but I may be wrong.

Given this, the spin regarding these figures has already begun presumably intended to avoid any misinterpretation by so-called climate skeptics and the media. This is what I expect.

In January's press releases about the data it will no doubt be emphasised that as 2008 was in the top ten or fifteen warmest years since records began it shows that global warming is still taking place. Take a look at the UK Met Office 'Fact 2' in their section on their website on climate change myths. It says that despite the static trend the public are not to be confused as global warming is continuing, as the last decade is warmer than the pervious one. Therefore the long-term trend is for rising temperatures. This is a misleading approach to the data ignoring parts of the data that are in some people1s view problematic (it is the same approach as adopted by the IPCC). True, the last decade is warmer than the previous one, nobody is seriously disputing that, but the important question is has it got any warmer in the past decade. The answer to that direct question is obviously that the data says no, it hasn't.

But does it matter? Is the fact that the world hasn1t got any warmer since 1998 and has had an impeccably constant temperature since 2001 of any significance? This period has been called a 'short interval' and the lack of change merely 'year on year variability.' Frankly, this analysis is wearing thin. It is beginning to strain credibility to ascribe 2008 to yet another example of unchanging 'year on year variability.'

The recent warming trend began in 1980 and continued to 1998. During that time there was a general temperature increase modified by the Pinatubo and El Chichon volcanic eruptions and the 1998 strong El Nino. Without the 1998 El Nino the increase would not have been so great, shown by the fact that when it subsided the temperature declined and did not continue to increase.

Since 1998 there were two cooler years then a slight increase and since 2001 there has been no increase, the difference between years being much smaller than the error of measurement. Another important point is that since 1998 there has been no volcanic effect. It is the effect of Pinatubo and El Chicon, coupled with a selective choice of time intervals, that can falsely give the impression through the judicious use of 'trend lines' that there were periods of standstill and temperature decline between 1980 and 1998 and that therefore the post 2001 standstill is nothing unusual.

It is now obvious that the recent global warming period has two components - a rise between 1980 and 1997-8 and a subsequent standstill.

It has been said that this was not unexpected and that nobody ever said there would be an ever increasing rise in temperature even as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increased. Ups and down were always part of the picture. Well, just look at the IPCC reports and find where they said that? Until mid 2007 many scientists refused to even countenance the idea that there could possibly be a standstill.

That has now changed. Nobody can ignore this data any more. If nothing else the important paper in Nature earlier this year by Keenlyside et al showed that the change in the data required an explanation which they suggested was due to ocean turnover. Despite this some scientists savagely attacked the Keenlyside paper showing that there is no scientific consensus about global warming data.

One should also raise the important point that if the observed period of global warming was, as is claimed by some, so unusual and strong then why have natural processes been able to counteract it so effectively. I thought the whole point was that man's effects were greater than that produced by natural processes!

One should also ask why the annual global temperature has remained constant when the CO2 concentration is going ever upward. The effect of increasing CO2, according to the greenhouse hypothesis, is to provide a 'force' that drives temperature up. For each year that the temperature remains constant and the CO2 increases the greater is that force. This implies that whatever is keeping the earth at a constant temperature is increasing its effectiveness in step with increasing CO2 and having to produce more and more cooling each year to maintain a constant temperature. This is a highly unphysical and contrived situation.

In climate terms ten years is long enough to get an indication of what is going on and to smooth out any yearly variability. One should not read too much into it but the data is not meaningless and should not be ignored or dismissed as statistical fluctuation. Remember that when James Hansen testified in front of the US Government about the perils of global warming he did so in 1988 with less than a decade of credible warming data to back up his views. If one was generous with an interpretation of his analysis of the available scientific data of the time one would say he was acting in precautionary mode. But what is the difference in terms of science and philosophy from using less than a decade of warming data to say 'look there might be something going on here' from looking at a longer period of no increase of global average temperatures and saying 'look there may be something going on here.'

Also, I wonder if is too much to hope for a more good natured and scientifically informed debate about these figures and not have accusations of lying and spreading disinformation on behalf of big oil and conservative think tanks. This is a clich‚, unscientific, inaccurate and increasingly missing the point as more and more reputable scientists ask serious questions about what is going on. To respond to such scientific enquiry with snide innuendo and implied associations is to spread disinformation. Next time someone insists there is no problem with the global warming data and attacks the credibility of those who ask a perfectly reasonable scientific question, ask yourself where their beliefs come from? Perhaps they make a living writing unbalanced books and op eds about the impending catastrophe, or make a living studying it, and therefore have a vested interest. Worse, perhaps they believe that unscientific extremism is justified to get the public's attention.

The graphs we will see in January about the 2008 data and the 1980 - 2008 warming period will no doubt have their x-axis squashed so that the past ten years are not easily discernable. The temperature axis will be expansive and one-sigma error bars will be used. If the data were published with two-sigma bars and just for the past 50 years then they would give an entirely different impression.

But don't worry. It will all pick up in 2009. The UK Met office has said that global warming will begin in earnest in 2009 because by that time greenhouse emissions will overtake natural climate variability!

So that's the world we live in, spin and disinformation by vested interests who find real world data inconvenient - data deniers. The world is warmer than in previous decades but is, for the moment at least, not getting warmer, despite as one scientist from the Tyndall Centre said 'since 2000 the world has gone ballistic in terms of carbon emissions.' Global warming is coming, next year, or in a decade or so after understandable global cooling. If temperature increases it is global warming, if it does otherwise it is climate change.

Leave the models to one side for a moment and ponder that the only way to prove the global warming hypothesis is wrong is if the temperatures doesn't rise as the CO2 does. If that happened what will real world data look like?


There are still a few Warmists who attempt a serious defence of their house of straw. One of them is Andrew Glikson. You can judge the adequacy of his efforts by the systematic reply to his points below. Reply by Paul Biggs []

1) Arctic/Antarctic:

Why compare current Arctic temperatures with the arbitrary period cherry picked period 1951-1980? Why not compare the Arctic warming around the 1920s-1930s, or 1000 years ago, or even 6000-7000 years ago?

Less ice in the Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 years ago: Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free. "The climate in the northern regions has never been milder since the last Ice Age than it was about 6000-7000 years ago. We still don't know whether the Arctic Ocean was completely ice free, but there was more open water in the area north of Greenland than there is today," says Astrid Lys†, a geologist and researcher at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU). See here

Arctic sea ice has undergone a strong recovery this year following the peak melt, putting the recovery on a par with 2002. Winds and atmospheric circulations have played a significant role in recent sea ice losses. See papers referenced at my website Climate Research News:

New Papers on the Role of Winds and Atmospheric Circulations in Arctic Sea Ice Loss: See here

Winds are Dominant Cause of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet Losses: See here

The East and West Antarctic ice sheets have demonstrated divergent climate histories over the past 14 million years, a phenomenon that persists today. Data from the Dry Valleys reveals an East Antarctic Ice Sheet that is high, dry, cold, and stable, at least in its central area. The ANDRILL cores suggest a more volatile West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is subject to the changing temperatures of the sea in which it wades. (ANTARCTICA: Freeze-Dried Findings Support a Tale of Two Ancient Climates. Science 30 May 2008: 1152-1154)

Glaciers in Norway Growing Again. See here

Bad weather was good for Alaska glaciers. See here

2) Slow-down of the North Atlantic thermohaline conveyor belt:

The 2005 Bryden et al paper Glikson refers to was debunked in Science magazine: 'False Alarm: Atlantic Conveyor Belt Hasn't Slowed Down, Kerr, Science 17 November 2006: 1064a'

3) Hurricanes:

The attempts to link hurricane frequency or intensity with 'global warming' have floundered, e.g. 'Multi-decadal variability of Atlantic hurricane activity: 1851-2007,' by Petr Chylek and Glen Lesins, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres (doi:10.1029/2008JD010036) (2008).

The Abstract states: An analysis of Atlantic hurricane data (HURDAT), using a hurricane activity index that integrates over hurricane numbers, durations and strengths during the years 1851-2007, suggests a quasi-periodic behavior with a period around 60 years superimposed upon a linearly increasing background. The linearly increasing background is significantly reduced or removed when various corrections were applied for hurricane under-counting in the early portion of the record. The periodic-like behavior is persistent in uncorrected HURDAT data as well as in data corrected for possible missing storms. The record contains two complete cycles: 1860-1920 and 1920-1980. The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were unusual in that two intense hurricane seasons occurred in consecutive years. The probability for this happening in any given year is estimated to be less then 1%. Comparing the last 28 years (1980-2007) with the preceding 28 years (1953-1980) we find a modest increase in the number of minor hurricanes (category 1 and 2), however, we find no increase in the number of major hurricanes (category 3-5). The hurricane activity index is found to be highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Mode (AMM).

A document-based 318-year record of tropical cyclones in the Lesser Antilles, 1690-2007 by Michael Chenoweth and Dmitry Divine, GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, VOL. 9, Q08013, doi:10.1029/2008GC002066, 2008

Abstract: The most comprehensive and longest document-based time series of tropical cyclone activity for any area of the world is presented for the Atlantic and Caribbean region of the Lesser Antilles for the years 1690-2007. Newspaper accounts, ships' logbooks, meteorological journals, and other document sources were used to create this new data set, and a new methodology was applied for classifying historical tropical cyclone intensity. This compilation estimates the position and intensity of each tropical cyclone that passes through the 61.5øW meridian from the coast of South America northward through 25.0øN. The additional resources used here fills in gaps in the HURDAT record, which undercounts tropical storms and hurricanes by 28% (7%) in the years 1851-1898 (1899-1930) over populated islands from 12 to 18øN. The numbers of tropical cyclones show no trends that were significant at the 5% level. The time span 1968-1977 was probably the most inactive period since the islands were settled in the 1620s and 1630s.


2007 Global Atmospheric Methane Rise Not Due to Man:

Boston (MA) - Scientists at MIT have recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels. This is the first increase in ten years, and what baffles science is that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature - and not the direct result of man's contributions. T G daily: MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data.

Rigby, M., R. Prinn, P. Fraser, P. Simmonds, R. Langenfelds, J. Huang, D. Cunnold, P. Steele, P. Krummel, R. Weiss, S. O'Doherty, P. Salameh, H. Wang, C. Harth, J. Mhle, and L. Porter (2008), Renewed growth of atmospheric methane, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL036037

Arctic 'Methane Chimneys' Alarmism - A Note of Caution. See here

Scientists claim to have discovered evidence for large releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen seabed stores off the northern coast of Siberia. But climate experts have expressed caution at the claims, which have yet to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. Methane release from stores of so-called gas hydrates, that can form on land or under the sea, is not new to researchers. Huge quantities are known to exist in the Arctic, but special circumstances would need to exist for significant releases to occur.

5) Sea level rise:

Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise, W. T. Pfeffer, J. T. Harper, S. O'Neel, Science, 5 September 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5894, pp. 1340 - 1343. DOI: 10.1126/science.1159099

Abstract: On the basis of climate modelling 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.

6) Climate sensitivity to CO2:

3C for a doubling of CO2 is not a 'conservative estimate,' but the midpoint of the IPCC modelled scenarios which range from 1.1C to 6.4C. Climate models may well have a large positive feedback bias:

Potential Biases in Feedback Diagnosis from Observational Data: A Simple Model Demonstration by Roy W. Spencer and William D. Braswell. Journal of Climate, Volume 21, Issue 21 (November 2008) Article: pp. 5624-5628

Abstract: Feedbacks are widely considered to be the largest source of uncertainty in determining the sensitivity of the climate system to increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, yet our ability to diagnose them from observations has remained controversial. Here we use a simple model to demonstrate that any non-feedback source of top-of-atmosphere radiative flux variations can cause temperature variability which then results in a positive bias in diagnosed feedbacks. We demonstrate this effect with daily random flux variations, as might be caused by stochastic fluctuations in low cloud cover. The daily noise in radiative flux then causes interannual and decadal temperature variations in the model's 50 m deep swamp ocean. The amount of bias in the feedbacks diagnosed from time-averaged model output depends upon the size of the non-feedback flux variability relative to the surface temperature variability, as well as the sign and magnitude of the specified (true) feedback. For model runs producing monthly shortwave flux anomaly and temperature anomaly statistics similar to those measured by satellites, the diagnosed feedbacks have positive biases generally in the range of ?0.3 to ?0.8 W m?2 K?1. These results suggest that current observational diagnoses of cloud feedback - and possibly other feedbacks - could be significantly biased in the positive direction.

I could go on, but it suffices to say that global warming seems to have stopped for now at least. There has been no warming trend since about 2001, and no increase in ocean heat content since 2003, despite rising CO2 emissions. We seem to have entered a cooling phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) which should last to about 2030. Looking at the UAH Globally Averaged Satellite-Based Temperature (1979 - 2008), as Roy Spencer points out, "when one takes into consideration that the early 1990s cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption and the warming from the 1997-98 El Nino warming event were not part of any underlying long-term trend, globally-averaged temperatures were flat from 1990 until 2000, then there was a brief warming until about 2002, after which temperatures have once again remained flat. Note that the longer temperatures remain flat the greater the warming that will be required to put us back 'on track' to match the climate model projections used by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."


HOUSEHOLDS are facing large rises in their electricity bills in the coming decade because of the "dash" for renewables, according to an influential House of Lords report.

Consumers across Britain face an extra œ80 a year on their energy bills as a result of the Government's commitment to source 15% of the UK's power from renewables by 2020. In Scotland, the target is higher, with ministers pledging to source 50% of the country's electricity from renewables by that year.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said it was "sceptical" that the UK Government's 20% target could be met by 2020 and warned that the plans could lead to an over-reliance on "intermittent sources" such as wind.

Other sources of energy would be required to back up wind as a result, the committee warned, meaning that the costs of electricity production would rise to œ6.8bn a year - or œ80 a year more on annual fuel bills.

The report - entitled the Economics of Renewables Energy - comes amid a growing row between UK and Scottish ministers over energy generation. It comes with the EU demanding that all member states boost the amount of energy they source from renewables sources over the coming decade. Scottish ministers have ruled out the use of nuclear energy, insisting that Scotland can rely on wind, wave and carbon capture storage.

The House of Lords committee has now warned that even the UK Government's less ambitious plans are a cause of concern.

It declared that the full costs of wind power "remained significantly higher" than coal, gas or nuclear energy. It also warned that wind power "cannot be relied upon to meet peak demand".

More here


Repeated very pleasant travel experiences for the hordes of taxpayer-supported parasites who attend

Delegates from 186 nations are in Poznan, Poland today (1 December) to launch 12 days of talks designed to bring forward an international deal to tackle climate change. But the conference is currently overshadowed by an EU internal row over how to share the 'effort' of reducing CO2 emissions. "Even if it is too early to expect major breakthroughs, the Poznan conference must shift gear from exploratory discussions to concrete negotiations," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stated on 28 November.

There are hopes that Poznan, which runs from 1-12 December, will produce a text, accompanied by a detailed work programme, that can provide the basis for detailed negotiations to prepare for a global deal during the December 2009 conference in Copenhagen.

But while the European Commission has high hopes for Poznan, the EU, which has repeatedly championed its own 'leadership' in global efforts to address climate change, has been increasingly flirting with a loss of face and international credibility as its member states bicker over the details of their climate and energy package.

Failure to reach a deal would not only be embarrassing for the EU, but would send the wrong signal to Poznan, according to groups like the WWF.

Brussels is seeking to downplay the situation. "We don't have a position on the distribution of the efforts internally, but what parties are interested in is not how much the package will cost to Poland or to Germany (sic), but they are interested that the EU has decided targets at the highest political level and that they stick to these targets and that becomes the law," a Commission spokesperson said in Brussels on 28 November.

This year's conference will conclude at the same time as the EU summit of 11-12 December, when the bloc's heads of state and government are scheduled to wrap up their discussions on the climate and energy package.....

High-level meetings between heads of state, meanwhile, are reserved for the last two to three days of the conference and will thus be held in parallel to the EU summit. The precise level of interplay between the EU summit and the last days of Poznan remains uncertain.


When the Warmest in History Isn't

Here's another reason why people don't trust newspapers. When science reporters write about, say, hormone therapy or drinking red wine, they report on studies that find that hormones or red wine can be good for you, as well as studies that suggest otherwise. Any science involving complex organisms is rarely black and white. When it comes to global warming, newspapers play up stories that reinforce the prevalent the-sky-is-falling belief that global warming is human-caused and catastrophic. But if a study or scientist does not portend the end of the world as we know it, it rarely rates as news.

In that spirit, many papers (including The Chronicle) have reported on a UC San Diego science historian who reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles on global warming published between 1993 and 2003, and concluded, "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position." Over 10 years, not one study challenged the orthodoxy -- does that sound right to you? If that were true, it would strongly suggest that, despite conflicting evidence in this wide and changing world, no scientist dares challenge the politically correct position on the issue.

No wonder, David Bellamy -- a botanist who was involved in some 400 TV productions, only to see his TV career go south after he questioned global warming orthodoxy -- wrote in The Australian last week, "It's not even science anymore; it's anti-science." Bellamy notes that official data show that "in every year since 1998, world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased." Exhibit B: Richard S. Lindzen, the MIT Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, recently wrote, "There has been no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995."

Such findings rarely are reported, even as, Marc Morano, communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee told me, "Scientists keep coming out of the woodwork" to challenge the so-called consensus. "It's almost like a bandwagon effect."

The Global Warming Petition Project urges Washington to reject the Kyoto international global warming pact as there is "no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." So far, The Politico reports, more than 31,000 scientists have signed it.

The latest skirmish in the global warming war -- barely reported in America -- occurred after two bloggers found that the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies data wrongly cast this October as the warmest in recorded history. It turns out that the mistake was due to an error that wrongly tapped September temperature records from Russia. Christopher Booker of The Sunday Telegraph of London found the mistake "startling" in light of other contrary climate statistics, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration findings of 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month.

In an e-mail, Goddard researcher Gavin Schmidt explained, "The incorrect analysis was online for less than 24 hours." (Thank bloggers Anthony Watts, an American meteorologist, and Canadian computer analyst Steve McIntyre for catching the mistake.) The error occurred because a report "had the wrong month label attached. There is quality control at NOAA and GISS but this particular problem had not been noticed before and the existing QC procedures didn't catch it. These have now been amended." As for the snowfall records and low temperatures cited by Booker, Schmidt chalked them up to "cherry picking" data. He added, "Far more important are the long-term trends."

Now, honest mistakes happen -- even in high-powered, well-funded research facilities. Just last year -- again thanks to the vigilance of Watts and McIntyre -- Goddard had to reconfigure its findings and recognize 1934 -- not 1998, as it had figured -- as the hottest year on record in American history.

Alas, it is hard to see Goddard as objective when its director, James Hansen, testified in a London court in September in support of six eco-vandals. A jury then acquitted the six Greenpeace activists on charges of vandalizing a British coal-fired power plant based on the "lawful excuse" defense that their use of force would prevent greater damage to the environment after Hansen predicted the one Kingsnorth plant could push "400 species" into extinction. Of course, he could be wrong.


Australian Federal Parliament closes its ears to climate facts

Note what Labor does when Liberal MP Dennis Jensen tries to table evidence in Parliament that directly contradicts the global warming hype:
Dr JENSEN_ (Tangney) (8:10 PM) -I support the motion put forward-in particular real assessment of the scientific data. The global water cycle atlas based on the IPCC fourth assessment report climate models by Lim and Roderick was published this year, using the same dataset for precipitation models as used by the fourth IPCC report. In the 39 models examined, the Australian average precipitation from 1970 to 1990 varied from-get this-190.6 millimetres to 1,059.1 millimetres per year. The observed annual precipitation for Australia over the 20th century falls in the range of 400 to 500 per year. Hence there were large differences between model simulated precipitation and observations.

Of the 39 model runs examined for the A1B scenario, 24 showed increases in Australian precipitation to the end of the 21st century while 15 showed decreases. The overall average across all model runs was for a small increase in Australian annual precipitation of eight millimetres per year by the end of the 21st century. Within that average, some models predict a drop in annual precipitation of as much as 100 millimetres per year-notably CSIRO-while others predict increases of the same order. Note that CSIRO is one of the most pessimistic models in terms of future rainfall predictions. Guess which model the Garnaut report relied on.

Much discussion of the Murray-Darling Basin relates to inflows. This is fair enough in terms of examining what is important, which is water in the system, but allows blame to be attributed to climate change. This is baloney, as can be seen by the Bureau of Meteorology rainfall charts, where it can clearly be seen that rainfall in the Murray-Darling Basin is normal. The reasons for reduced run-off are more plantations in the top of the catchments; catchment-wide drainage management plans put in place in the 1980s and 1990s to lower water tables and more efficient water use resulting in less leakage.

So much for the science being settled; we now have bad policy based on bad science. At present, green ideology is inhibiting the correct definition of the problem, and the Murray-Darling will continue to suffer as a result. Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to table these documents.
Leave NOT granted.

Jensen's wider point - that the regional models of global warming touted by the CSIRO are useless - have been confirmed by other studies. No doubt that's something else Parliament will refuse to hear.



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


1 December, 2008


An email from Henry N. Geraedts, PhD []

Might we be witnessing the third morphing of "Man-made Global Warming/Climate Change" politics? I think so. The first iteration was the original "Man-made-CO2-driven Anthropogenic Global Warming" [AGW], aka Hansen and Gore, Opus 1, 1988. When however, it became evident to all but the most shuttered dogmatists that global temperatures peaked in 1998, levelled off and that since 2003 key temperature metrics show what appears to be an accelerating decline, AGW handlers deftly and conveniently morphed it into its second iteration, and it took on the more nebulous form of man-made "Climate Change".

So what if the data runs counter to your contention that [Man-made] CO2 is the causal agent in "Global Warming"? Just buttress CO2 with other previously insignificant "greenhouse gases" [at all cost avoiding mentioning water vapour, by far the dominant GHG but likely a negative forcing..] and voila, the man-made component of the "climate crisis" can now again be held up as the determining driver in what just happens to be the most complex, multi-variate, non-linear and poorly understood system known to mankind. The fact that all of this irrevocably relegated the AGW/ACC case to the realms of alchemy, astrology and other pseudo "sciences" didn't bother the dogmatists in the least.

Inconveniently however, "climate change" for the past 6 years or so has meant an increasingly well documented global cooling trend. To the point where this is becoming politically bothersome. Two governments with enough backbone to do so -in New Zealand and Canada respectively- have ever so cautiously indicated that there are sufficient question marks in the margin to slow down the pace of environmental policy commitments, focus firmly on economic matters and even [may the heavens forbid] undertake a critical review of the "science" said to prove "man-made climate change". In the recent election, Canadian voters singularly punished the Liberal Party which ran on a carbon tax based "Green Shift" platform.

My sense is that given that the enviro-political gearbox clearly is not meshing as smoothly as before, we are starting to witness AGW's third political morphing in which both the EU and the US serve up to their voters a reworked political message about the need for GHG reductions, gradually unwinding the purported "climate crisis" argument in favour of the a new and overarching need to secure "energy independence" [from Russia for Europe and OPEC for the US]? Current attempts to salvage the EU's 20/20/20 GHG mitigation program are increasingly being held up in that light, and Obama's read-between-the-lines messages about the environment and energy appear to fit the mould.


And the Greenies are squawking. They know it is much more comfortable sucking on the government teat

PLANS to privatise the Exeter-based Met Office will short-change the taxpayer by millions of pounds, the union representing more than 1,250 scientists and other staff at the UK forecaster said yesterday.

The union Prospect was responding to the announcement in yesterday's pre-budget report that the Met Office is to be examined with a view to privatisation. Negotiations Officer Philippa Childs said: "It is incredible that the government would even consider selling off its main centre of climate change expertise, not only after numerous previous investigations into the merits of privatisation have concluded it should be left as a public service, but at a time when the general economic climate will fail to provide an adequate return.

"As well as providing the National Meteorological Service for the UK, its combined weather and climate change research and expertise is relied on by MOD, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Defra. "Privatisation would denude the government of this intelligence. How can an agency that is a key contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change be privatised and still be expected to provide objective information?"

More here

Oceans acidifying much faster than was thought

Another "model" failure -- showing how little we understand about climate phenomena

The oceans are becoming more acidic, and much faster than previously thought, scientists say. The process, a possible threat to some ocean life, seems to be linked with rising levels of atmospheric gases that are blamed for global warming, according to the researchers.

University of Chicago scientists detailed the new findings in a paper published online by the research journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Nov. 24. The study is based on 24,519 measurements of ocean acidity spanning eight years. During that time, "the acidity increased more than 10 times faster" than climate change models and other studies had predicted, said the university's J. Timothy Wootton, lead author of the study.

"This increase will have a severe impact on marine food webs." Wootton and colleagues said the process seems to be occuring in step with increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a key "greenhouse gas," a compound that researchers say acts as a largescale blanket in the atmosphere, trapping heat on Earth and thus driving global warming. When the carbon dioxide dissolves in water it forms carbonic acid.

Abnormally acidic water harms certain sea animals, the authors said. "Many sea creatures have shells or skeletons made of calcium carbonate, which the acid can dissolve," said the university's Catherine Pfister, a coauthor of the study. They added that the acidity could reduce the ocean's ability to soak up more carbon dioxide, a process which some have hoped would mitigate climate change.


OIL AND GAS: Interior Dept. alters land-use plans to allow shale development

The Interior Department is amending land-use plans in Western states to pave the way for commercial oil-shale and tar-sands leasing, but environmentalists and some lawmakers are mulling ways to restrict or prevent the development. Stephen Allred, Interior's assistant secretary for land and minerals management, signed a formal "record of decision" on amending 10 land-use plans in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to make about 2 million acres available for oil shale leasing and 430,000 acres available for tar sands leasing.

The decision follows final commercial leasing rules announced last week, although Allred said potential large-scale development is not expected for at least five to 10 years (Greenwire, Nov. 17). The land-use plan changes are needed to allow future lease sales. A major 2005 energy law called on Interior to craft plans for developing the unconventional resources.

The record of decision to change the land-use plans will "serve as the first step in the process to establish a commercial oil shale and tar sands program that meets the intent of Congress while taking advantage of the best available information and practices to minimize impacts and ensure that states, local communities, and the public have the opportunity to be involved," states the document. The decision is slated to be announced in Friday's Federal Register.

Oil shale is found in abundance in the Green River formation, which spans sections of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. It may hold as much as 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to Interior's Bureau of Land Management.

Interior says that future development will be subject to site-specific environmental analysis that could prompt required mitigation measures, moving proposed leases or not issuing them. In addition, the record of decision lists a slate of proposed conservation measures to accompany development that are aimed at protecting endangered species, such as the Colorado River cutthroat trout and other endangered fish, bald eagles and other creatures.

But environmentalists oppose development of the fuels due to greenhouse gas emissions and potential harms to wildlife and surrounding water. A lengthy set of proposals that environmental groups gave President-elect Barack Obama's transition team this week includes the repeal of recently enacted tax incentives for refinery projects to process oil shale and tar sands. The groups also say the commercial leasing rules lack adequate environmental safeguards. They want the new administration to review the rule's "defects" and take steps to correct them.

In addition, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) said this month that he may introduce legislation that would impose new restrictions on development. He alleges that the Bush administration is moving ahead with the development program despite unanswered questions about the environmental effects (E&ENews PM, Nov. 18).


The Global Warming Goons Want Your Little Ones

I bet Jim Jones is tooling around hell right now green with envy over the mind manipulation the global warming greenies are wielding upon our culture. We've got green jobs, green cars, green dogs, green houses, green toilet paper and environmentally friendly green condoms. Everything now must become green or it is gone, mama. I'm sure Kermit the frog, iguanas, the Grinch, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Gumby are seriously ticked off regarding the liberal alarmists' hysterical hijacking of the color they have previously owned, loved and profited from for so many years.

I'm an oil painter, and as an artist I, naturally, love colors-all kinds of colors-but not anymore. Because of the global warming alarmists, as of right now, I officially hate the color green (nothing personal, green). I'm just sick of hearing about you. You are everywhere. It's that whole overexposure thing . . . that Kathie Lee Gifford, incessant yacking about Cody and Cassidy mind numbing malaise that just the mention of your name now spawns.

Because of the sick amount of cash involved, both sides of the political aisle have drunk so much of the Global Warming Kool-Aid that they are peeing green, and if we the sheeple don't lock step to these unhinged fascist demands then we're the devil, Bobby Boucher. There are several things that get me heated up over the global warmers' hyperventilated horse smack. It's stuff like:

- The specious science the global warblers put forth which establishes truth not by facts but through non-stop repetition.

- How the taxpayer dollar is floating this flotsam to the tune of $6 billion a year. That's more than we send to the National Cancer Institute and to AIDS research.

- The Gestapoesque censorship of "dissenters" and "deniers" of the global warming "facts" by the greenies. God help you if you don't parrot their apocalyptic projections. If you don't believe me, just ask the "climate criminals" NASA chief Michael Griffin and NYT bestselling author Christopher Horner. Yep, if science is your field and you don't inhale what the alarmists are trying to sell then you are SOL regarding a J-O-B.

- Actors in Hollywood who won't hump a tree and trade in their H2 for a Huffy might as well slap a Bush/Cheney sticker on their truck and drive back to wherever the heck they hail from.

- College students who dare to question their panic-stricken prof's apocalyptic predictions will endure more scorn than a nice old Christian lady holding a Styrofoam cross at a gay activist rally.

- Everything is now being blamed on global warming from summer frost in Africa, freezing penguin chicks, poorly rising bread dough, impoverished fashion houses and the recent economic downturn suffered by Bulgarian whorehouses.

- The MSM's obvious omission of the fact that birds, fleas, and trees crank out more CO2 than humans. Hey, MSM greenie weenie, a cow's tailpipe puts out more pollutants than a BMW's. How are you going to guilt trip the flora and fauna into following you? They don't watch your morning "news" or Hollywood's stupid Leo DeCaprio and Al Gore end of the world fear flicks. How are you going to get them to step and fetch?

- Congress is currently deliberating whether or not they should make "environment literacy training" a required course for your kids before they get to graduate.

Which brings me to the main point of this column and that which really ticks me off about the green freaks: namely, how they're after our kids with their gospel of green. Here's the rationale behind their brainwashing our young `uns: A lot of thinking adults (as in the multiple millions) think that the greenies are pretty much off their rocker. Since the greenies can't have us arrested (yet), they have decided to get their agenda going via our children, primarily through the agency of the public school system. Yep, if they can get little kids who still eat their boogers to believe in their boogie man then they will morph into half-pint climate nags who will be an emotional guilt tripping Disney-fueled pain in the butt to the parents who are destroying the earth by not using low flow toilets.

Our kids are being hammered with green hysteria from K through 12. Yep, on a regular basis they are spoon fed apocalyptic children's books meant to scare the crap out of them and paint the F-150 father as a bad, bad man. In addition, many schools force the kids to view chunky butt, hypocrite extraordinaire Al Gore's daft film and do chants and life pledges to save the earth. The global warmers are serious as a heart attack about making our children "Inconvenient Youths, veritable eco-warriors who will go after their parents for environmental offenses."

To help you help yourself and yours steer clear from these terra firma fascists, NYT bestselling author Christopher Horner has penned a new book that is must for those who do not wish to be gang tackled by the green gang. In Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed, Horner reveals how the greenies are about to go into overdrive, forcing new legislation, killing our weak economy, squelching our freedoms, and quashing all dissenting opinion about the causes and effects of climate change.

He has a particularly freaky chapter on how the greenies are gunning for our children, indoctrinating them to the extent that they blame their own parents for the "warming globe." This heavily footnoted book body slams the global warming alarmists and their junk science. Get one for yourself and your kids and become a "climate criminal" with me!

Since gas prices are now plummeting, I'm off to the Ford dealership. I'm thinking about ordering their spankin' new pickup truck, the 2009 Ford F-666 Global Warmer, with the El Diablo package. Varooom!


Australia squibs on climate promise

Reality is slowly encroaching

The Rudd Government has reneged on a commitment to present its 2020 target to cut greenhouse gases to UN climate talks that start today. The back-pedalling comes amid wrangling in cabinet over how far to go with curbing emissions. The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, yesterday defended the decision not to announce the target before she left for the talks in the Polish city of Poznan. She refused to comment on whether cabinet was divided over the target, which is expected to fall significantly below the level called for by European ministers, climate scientists and environmentalists who will attend the talks. "It is the case that we said we would release the targets in December and we had indicated before Poznan," she said. But she said it was important to postpone the announcement until she released the final version of the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme on December 15 - after she returned from Poland.

Until late last week Senator Wong repeatedly said the range of emissions cuts for the 2020 target would be set before she went to Poznan. "The intention is to announce, as I have said, our midterm target range prior to the Poznan negotiations. And that's the terms, the timetable, the Government's working on," she said on October 2.

Under intense lobbying from business and on the advice of senior officials, the Government is discussing setting a range of targets to cut greenhouse emissions by 2020. The target is now expected to be cuts between 5 per cent and 15 per cent of emissions, based on 2000 levels. This is significantly below the cuts of 25 to 40 per cent being called for by the European Union and climate scientists. The European environment ministers argue that developed countries such as Australia must agree to the higher cuts if they want to secure a new global agreement that will avoid dangerous climate change.

At last year's UN climate talks in Bali, all developed countries that had signed the Kyoto Protocol, including Australia, agreed to cuts between 25 and 40 per cent. China, India and Brazil, the fastest growing greenhouse gas polluters, argue that they will not make commitments to slow their emissions if developed countries fail to agree to this level of cuts. By delaying the announcement of Australia's 2020 target, Senator Wong will avoid intense international criticism of Australia from European negotiators and environment groups if cabinet sets a weaker 2020 target range.

"It's a disappointment," said John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute, who has been lobbying the Government for the more ambitious 2020 target. But he said he believed the Government was still discussing higher emissions cuts of 25 per cent. "It's still alive. We're working as hard as we can to keep it alive", he told the Herald, but he described business's lobbying against a 25 per cent target as "nothing short of brutal".

The chief executive of the environment group WWF, Greg Bourne, said Senator Wong would "be laughed out of Poznan" if she announced at the UN talks that Australia's 2020 target was between 5 and 15 per cent. Asked if she was avoiding making the announcement in Poland because of the international criticism, Senator Wong said: "I am not going to comment on a hypothetical." The head of the Australian Conservation Council, Don Henry, said Australia needed to cut its emissions by at least a third by 2020 if it wanted to be a credible player at the UN talks.

While Europe has already promised cuts of 20 per cent, Senator Wong said few countries had yet announced firm targets for their cuts and many would not be completed until the final round of talks next year in Copenhagen. The scale of the energy revolution being proposed by Europe has some business leaders in Australia deeply concerned.



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