Tracking the politics of fear....  

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28 February, 2007


Not much doubt what it will be, though. Politics trumps science -- an email from F. James Cripwell [] below explains. (F. James Cripwell now lives in Ottawa, Canada but started his scientific career working in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge under Sir Gordon Sutherland, the UK's if not the world's leading expert in infra red spectroscopy and the various interactions between infra red (heat) radiation and other substances)

I downloaded an unofficial, not to be quoted, copy of the scientific papers for the IPCC AR4. In Chapter 2, subparagraph 7, there appears the following statement;

"Empirical associations have been reported between globally averaged low-level cloud cover and cosmic ray fluxes during 1984-1990 (Marsh and Svensmark, 2000a, 2000b). Hypothesized to result from changing ionization of the atmosphere from solar-modulated cosmic ray fluxes, this empirical association of cloud cover variations and the solar cycle remains controversial because of uncertainties about the reality of the decadal signal itself, the phasing or anti-phasing with solar activity, and its separate dependence for low, mid and high clouds, and alternative explanations such as ENSO. In particular, the cosmic ray time series does not correspond to global total cloud cover after 1991 or to global low-level cloud cover after 1994 (Kristjansson and Kristiansen, 2000; Sun and Bradley, 2002). Furthermore, the correlation is significant with low-level cloud cover based only on infrared (not visible) detection. Nor do multidecadal(1952-1997) time series of cloud cover from ship synoptic reports exhibit a relationship to cosmic ray flux. But cloud cover anomalies from 1900-1987 over the United States do have a signal at 11-years that is in phase (rather than anit-phased, as the GCRs are) with solar variability (Udelhofen and Cess, 2001). In this case the cloud variations are hypothesized to result from modulation of the atmospheric circulation by variations of the solar-UV-ozone-induced heating of the atmosphere."

When this was written, prior to October 2006, it, arguably, represented the science with respect to the effect of cosmic rays on climate change. However, in October 2006, Henrik Svensmark published his paper on the effect of cosmic rays on the earth's climate in Proceeding of the Royal Society A, and subsequently, with Nigel Calder, his book, The Chilling Stars. What I would suggest is that the current paragraph about cosmic rays in AR4, quoted above, is totally out of date, and scientifically incomplete. It might have passed a peer review process in September 2006 , but surely any proper peer review process done in February 2007 could not possibly agree with it's contents. By it's peculiar process, the IPCC first gets it's Summary for Policy Makers approved; a purely political document. This occurred on 2 Feb 2007. It then ensures that the so-called "scientific" document agrees with the conclusions that the politicians came to. So the "scientific" document of AR4 will not be published until May 2007.

It seems to me that the true scientists on the IPCC have a decision to make. Are they going to publish the sort of paragraph which I have quoted above, and which is clearly scientifically incorrect and out of date? Or are they going to update the scientific content of their AR4, and publish something that has scientific credibility, but does not agree with what the politicians agreed?

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own “Inconvenient Truth”

Gore’s home uses more than 20 times the national average. But a as a member of the elite he is "entitled" to, of course. It is only the saps who listen to him who have to cut back. And being a hypocrite doesn't bother Leftists anyway

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy. Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home. The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006. Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson. In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.


Virginia lawmaker wants U.S. to start using liquid fuel from coal

This makes slightly more sense than ethanol from corn so the Greenies will hate it. Coal=evil, for a start.

Rep. Rick Boucher believes liquid fuel derived from coal can help the U.S. break its dependence on foreign oil, and as the new chairman of a House Energy subcommittee he hopes to jump-start the process. Boucher is renewing legislation he first introduced last year that would provide price guarantees to investors to encourage construction of coal-to-liquids conversion plants. "The greatest challenge that we face in terms of a national energy policy is defining a strategy to move the country away from petroleum as the primary fuel," the southwest Virginia Democrat said in a telephone interview. An energy policy that reduces dependence on oil is necessary, he said, "both for economic and national security reasons."

Other nations, such as China and South Africa, use motor fuel derived from coal, but so far there are no coal-to-liquids plants in the U.S. More than a dozen are in the planning stages, according to information provided by Michael Karmis, director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech. Boucher, whose 9th District includes Virginia's coal region, noted that the nation has the largest coal reserves of any in the world.

The technology to convert coal into diesel fuel or gasoline has existed for decades. The Germans used liquefied coal during World War II after the Allies bombed their oil refineries. Nearly 30 percent of South Africa's fuel today is extracted from coal, but the conversion process is expensive. It can cost up $1 billion to get a coal-to-liquids plant up and running, Karmis said....

A study last year by the Southern States Energy Board called for coal-to-liquids to supply the greatest share - 29 percent - of alternative fuels needed to erase the nation's dependence on foreign oil by 2030. Alternative fuels would have to supply 60 percent of the fuel that now comes from imported oil. A greater amount of fuel could be produced from the high-quality coal mined in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky than the mineral found in other parts of the country, Karmis said. So far, the only conversion plant planned in the region is in Mingo County, W.Va.



Some of the effects of global warming will be positive, says Sean Thomas

Belief in global warming is nowadays almost universal, and for a good reason. The evidence exists. But there is another widespread belief which is less justifiable: that global warming will have only negative effects. Consider the distant past. Two hundred million years ago the earth was much warmer than it is now: dinosaurs roamed the Antarctic, which was then lush and tropical. No one claims that this warming was terrible for velociraptors. So why is a warmer earth seen as a disaster for man?

Of course, we all know global warming is going to cause dislocation. Increased storminess, desertification, and inundation from raised sea-levels are serious and understandable fears. There will inevitably be major costs as we adapt to our new environment.

But maybe there will be swift and enormous gains as well. One look at a world map shows that vast tracts of land - in Siberia and Canada, in Tibet and elsewhere - are at present too cold for widespread cultivation and settlement. With global warming these regions of the earth will, presumably, become fruitful. But you wouldn't know it by listening to the doomsayers of climate change. The way some people speak about global warming, and the damage it will wreak on the status quo, it's almost as if tundra and glaciers are intrinsically good things.

These global warming benefits might stretch further south. In Britain, areas that are now windy and cold - highland Scotland, the Pennines, Dartmoor - should become more hospitable. Intriguingly, Dartmoor was once fertile and widely settled, so this won't be the first time. Farmers will probably have longer growing periods, British summers will be drier and brighter, and so forth.

We are also told that many species will die out because of global warming. But can we know this for sure? It is arguable that many species will adapt, and previously threatened species may thrive. That, after all, is the theory of evolution. What is bad for snowgeese could be great for hummingbirds. Such claims may sound like wishful thinking. But many experts are ready to think along similar lines.

One of the most prominent is Thomas Moore, an economist at Stanford University. He's studied the potential impact of global warning and shown that death rates might actually decrease - as bronchitis, influenza, and other cold-weather ailments decline.

A warmer world will also need less fuel for heating. And crop failures might become a thing of the past at higher latitudes. Likewise, Bjorn Lomberg has talked about the upside, when those vast northerly areas (Canada and Siberia, etc) become cultivatable.

Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University, takes an even broader perspective: "From a purely evolutionary point of view, warm periods have been exceptionally good to mankind. Cold periods have been the troublesome ages."

The Arctic Council is another authority seeing benefits in a warmer planet. Oil and gas deposits hidden under ice will become accessible. Previously frozen sea lanes will open up: it is estimated that the sea-journey from Tokyo to London will be reduced by twelve days. The fabled Northwest passage, over the top of Canada, will finally be a reality. Grass has already started growing in the Antarctic, for the first time in many thousands of years.

There's more. Storms may become more widespread, but extra rainfall could benefit drought-stricken areas. In other regions, marshes will dry out and become lucrative farmland. As for the threatened spread of malaria, and other diseases, this may be an overblown problem. Singapore is in the tropics yet has low malaria rates: it's all about hygiene and sanitation, says Moore. Will global warming ultimately be good or bad? The truthful answer is: no one knows. But 'The end of the world is nigh' makes a much better headline


The train drain

The Brookings Institution is America's oldest public policy think tank. Based in Washington, DC, it is well-respected and generally considered to be moderate-liberal in orientation. As American Enterprise Institute is informally considered a place for Republican office-holders to reside when out of power, so Brookings is regarded for Democratic icons.

One of Brookings Institution's leading transportation policy experts is Clifford Winston, a well-respected economist and author of numerous books and papers dealing with transportation issues. His most recent paper is "On the Social Desirability of Urban Rail Systems," co-authored with Vikram Maheshri, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. It appears in the Journal of Urban Economics and is available online at

The purpose of the paper is to estimate the contribution of U.S. urban rail systems to social welfare. The authors define the net benefit of a rail transit system as the difference between its benefits, broadly measured, and its net cost to taxpayers. If this difference is positive, it means that the dollar value of the rail system's benefits is greater than its net cost to taxpayers (i.e., the difference between what the rail system's customers pay as fares and the total cost to build, operate, and maintain the rail system).

On average, rail transit systems cover about 40 percent of their operating costs from farebox revenues and none of their capital costs, according to figures in the National Transit Database. That means their net taxpayer subsidy is large.

Winston and Maheshri construct an elaborate econometric model to estimate the "consumer surplus" of 25 rail transit systems. This is economists' term for the benefits to users, over and above the fares they pay. The large systems (New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco's BART, etc.) all produce significant consumer surpluses. But most of the smaller ones do not.

Next, the authors compare the consumer surplus of each system with its net taxpayer cost. On this measure, every single one of the 25 systems has negative net benefits—i.e., the annual value of the benefits to users is much less than the annual cost to taxpayers. Surprisingly, this is true even for the massive New York City rail transit system, which by itself accounts for two-thirds of the nation's rail transit passenger miles.

But what about larger benefits to the metro area? Rail systems are advocated not just to benefit their riders, but because they are expected to reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, save energy, etc. So the final step in Winston and Maheshri's analysis was to estimate the value of these "externality" benefits.

They first conclude that the only one of these purported benefits large enough to make any difference is congestion relief. Adding the congestion savings to road users to the consumer surplus gives the total benefits of rail transit. When this total is compared with the net taxpayer costs, only San Francisco's BART produces net social benefits. Each year the system improves social welfare by an estimated $36 million. All 23 other U.S. rail transit systems are net losers. This means that each of those urban areas is made poorer by many millions of dollars each year.

Winston and Maheshri anticipate that some advocates of rail transit will protest that these systems offer other benefits that are not accounted for in their calculations. For example, rail supposedly stimulates development around rail stations: "But case studies have yet to show that after their construction transit systems have had a significant effect on employment or land use close to stations and that such benefits greatly exceed the benefits from commercial development that would have occurred elsewhere in the absence of rail construction."

And there is also the claim that rail systems increase the mobility of low-income residents. But the authors point out that the median annual income of rail users in 2001 exceeded $50,000, which was greater than the median income of the general population in that year. So rail's primary market is not the poor (unlike bus transit).

Overall, then, the authors conclude that rail transit is erroneously believed by the public to be socially desirable, because "supporters have sold [rail systems] as an antidote to the social costs associated with automobile travel, in spite of strong evidence to the contrary." They conclude that, in fact, rail transit is "an increasing drain on social welfare."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


27 February, 2007


Greenies and the media love to attribute extreme temperatures to global warming and say that global warming is steadily getting worse. But when have extreme temperatures mostly occurred? Recently? The graph above shows U.S. extreme temperatures as far back as records stretch. I think it speaks for itself. Temperatures were in fact unusually high in the depressed 1930s! See Hall of Record for the details.

Mon Dieu! Le Hornet! Le Global Warming!

Post lifted from Cheat-seeking Missiles

Asian hornets are spreading through Europe and have already killed off more than half of France's honeybees, which reportedly waved tiny white flags before succumbing to the new Yellow Peril.

The hornets arrived in a shipment of ceramic pots from China so we could blame globalization -- but how passe is that? No, let's pin it on global warming instead!

It's true -- the pinning part at least. The latest manefestation of Warmie hysterics is the Great Asian Hornet Invasion, so we're adding "habitat change" to "climate change" in the global vernacular. Here's the explain-o from the UK Telegraph:

"There's no doubt that these hornets are heading north and will probably find their way to Britain at some point," said Stuart Hine, manager of the Insect Information Service at London's Natural History Museum.

"Climate change certainly means they can cope with European summers. However, they would still have difficulty coping with our winter frosts."

It's bunk, of course. Europe's summers may be warmer than a few years ago (disputable), but they're still 10 degrees F colder than Beijing's, with mean August temps of 67 degrees in Paris and 77 degrees in Beijing. Relative to climate change increases in the hundreths of degrees, 10 degrees F is positively cataclysmic.

In the winter, Beijing is colder, 31 degrees mean to 40 degrees, so the idea that the hornets will have trouble surviving the European winters is climatological poppycock, as is so much of Warmie hysterics.

The climate differences between Beijing and Paris are naturally much, much greater than any changes brought by climate change, so let's attribute this to survivability, not SUVs. Hornets have survived the millenia through global cold spells and global hot spells more severe than what we're experiencing today ... but how many newspapers will that sell?

The theory that anything but sloppy customs checks is to blame for the spread of Asian hornets in Europe can be disproved in about two minutes on the Internet ... but apparently the crack reporters in the mainstream media are content to be spoon fed Warmie fantasies, so they can regurgitate them all over their readers.

Inconvenient Truths: Gore's science fiction on global warming

This Sunday, Al Gore will probably win an Academy Award for his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a riveting work of science fiction.

The main point of the movie is that, unless we do something very serious, very soon about carbon dioxide emissions, much of Greenland's 630,000 cubic miles of ice is going to fall into the ocean, raising sea levels over twenty feet by the year 2100.

Where's the scientific support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent Policymaker's Summary from the United Nations' much anticipated compendium on climate change. Under the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore's film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent.

Even 17 inches is likely to be high, because it assumes that the concentration of methane, an important greenhouse gas, is growing rapidly. Atmospheric methane concentration hasn't changed appreciably for seven years, and Nobel Laureate Sherwood Rowland recently pronounced the IPCC's methane emissions scenarios as "quite unlikely."

Nonetheless, the top end of the U.N.'s new projection is about 30-percent lower than it was in its last report in 2001. "The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica for the rates observed since 1993," according to the IPCC, "but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future."

According to satellite data published in Science in November 2005, Greenland was losing about 25 cubic miles of ice per year. Dividing that by 630,000 yields the annual percentage of ice loss, which, when multiplied by 100, shows that Greenland was shedding ice at 0.4 percent per century.

"Was" is the operative word. In early February, Science published another paper showing that the recent acceleration of Greenland's ice loss from its huge glaciers has suddenly reversed.

Nowhere in the traditionally refereed scientific literature do we find any support for Gore's hypothesis. Instead, there's an unrefereed editorial by NASA climate firebrand James E. Hansen, in the journal Climate Change - edited by Steven Schneider, of Stanford University, who said in 1989 that scientists had to choose "the right balance between being effective and honest" about global warming - and a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that was only reviewed by one person, chosen by the author, again Dr. Hansen.

These are the sources for the notion that we have only ten years to "do" something immediately to prevent an institutionalized tsunami. And given that Gore only conceived of his movie about two years ago, the real clock must be down to eight years!

It would be nice if my colleagues would actually level with politicians about various "solutions" for climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, if fulfilled by every signatory, would reduce global warming by 0.07 degrees Celsius per half-century. That's too small to measure, because the earth's temperature varies by more than that from year to year.

The Bingaman-Domenici bill in the Senate does less than Kyoto - i.e., less than nothing - for decades, before mandating larger cuts, which themselves will have only a minor effect out past somewhere around 2075. (Imagine, as a thought experiment, if the Senate of 1925 were to dictate our energy policy for today).

Mendacity on global warming is bipartisan. President Bush proposes that we replace 20 percent of our current gasoline consumption with ethanol over the next decade. But it's well-known that even if we turned every kernel of American corn into ethanol, it would displace only 12 percent of our annual gasoline consumption. The effect on global warming, like Kyoto, would be too small to measure, though the U.S. would become the first nation in history to burn up its food supply to please a political mob.

And even if we figured out how to process cellulose into ethanol efficiently, only one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Even the Pollyannish 20-percent displacement of gasoline would only reduce our total emissions by 7-percent below present levels - resulting in emissions about 20-percent higher than Kyoto allows.

And there's other legislation out there, mandating, variously, emissions reductions of 50, 66, and 80 percent by 2050. How do we get there if we can't even do Kyoto?

When it comes to global warming, apparently the truth is inconvenient. And it's not just Gore's movie that's fiction. It's the rhetoric of the Congress and the chief executive, too.



Last month the National Environment Research Council invited those sceptical of the science underpinning man's effect on the climate to challenge NERC's panel of experts in a web-based Climate Change Challenge. Alan Thorpe, NERC's chief executive, told contributors: "We are confident about the greenhouse effect. We are confident that warming is going on. We are confident that human activity is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The onus is now on those who deny this to say why that additional greenhouse effect is not responsible for warming the planet."

Although the perception is often of a polarised debate within the scientific community between a majority who endorse the IPCC viewpoint and a minority who attribute change to natural factors, this oversimplifies a discussion with many different facets and a diversity of views. Some scientists do believe that natural factors can explain climate change. In the book The chilling stars, to be published next month, Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder, the former editor of New Scientist, will point the finger at cosmic rays. Calder, writing in The Sunday Times last weekend, said: "More cosmic rays [equals] more clouds. The sun's magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world... We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle the book 'A new theory of climate change'."

Climate scientist Roger Pielke Snr of the University of Colorado, Boulder believes the IPCC and policy-makers generally are too focused on CO2 emissions. "Humans are significantly altering the global climate but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide," says Pielke, a former co-chief editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Science, on his Climate Science weblog.

He praises the analysis in the US National Research Council's 2005 report Radiative Forcing of Climate Change, which concluded that changes in land-use and industry emissions (aerosols) have much larger regional climate impacts than revealed in the way the IPCC calculates radiative forcing. Pielke says the spatial concentration of aerosol emissions and land-use changes means that they present a greater threat of bringing about 'threshold' changes to the climate system than rising global CO2 concentrations. "As a simple example of this, we find a greater impact of sunlight on a piece of paper when we focus it with a lens," he told LTT.

He says the emphasis on cutting CO2 to control temperature is "scientifically flawed", estimating that man's CO2 emissions have accounted for about 30% of warming up to the present - substantially lower than the IPCC estimates. Pielke (who is a co-author of the book Human impacts on weather and climate, the second edition of which is to be published by Cambridge University Press this month) also disputes many of the observational records that underpin the IPCC analysis, such as global surface land surface temperature, glacier retreat and ocean temperature. "The reported 'warming' from the Hadley Centre/University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit data [the source of the IPCC's 0.7C warming estimate] has a warm bias of significant value (certainly tenths of a degree) in its construction," he says.

On glacier evidence he says recent peer reviewed research shows that "the general message that glaciers are receding almost everywhere is clearly not accurate when the data is evaluated in detail".

Climate physicist Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US disagrees vehemently with alarming global warming predictions. Lindzen, who was a lead author for the IPCC's third assessment report, says there is broad agreement that the world warmed in the 20th century, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that man has been responsible for recent increases in CO2. But he says the temperature change of a few tenths of a degree recorded in the late 20th century is so small that it could be explained by nothing more than "natural, internal, unforced variability".

Lindzen says climate models vastly overestimate temperature changes resulting from increases in CO2. All other things being equal, Lindzen says a doubling of CO2 should result in a global mean warming of just 1C. "Alarming predictions all require that water vapour and clouds act so as to greatly amplify the impact of CO2," he (and fellow critics) say in a recent critique of the Stern Review published in World Economics. "But it is freely acknowledged, including by the IPCC, that water vapour and especially clouds are poorly modelled, while the underlying physics for determining their behaviour is missing or even unknown."

Pielke believes many scientists, policy-makers, journalists and other commentators place too much confidence in climate model results. "The overselling of regional and global models as robust projections rather than as sensitivity simulations, adds to the existing politicisation of climate science and provides justifiable criticism of the [IPCC] assessment reports," he says.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


26 February, 2007


An email from Robert D. Brinsmead []

One of the great achievements of the US Constitution was the separation of church and state, religion and politics. We take this for granted so much that we often fail to see the truly revolutionary nature of the American Revolution and its great contribution to the world. This revolution went way beyond anything that was achieved by the Protestant movement in its break from Rome. It is much easier to see now, in hindsight, how this mingling of "iron and clay" corrupted both religion and politics. In our time, the same thing has happened with science. In the whole global warming debate, science has become politicized. Scientists have become advocates for certain agendas - they have become believers and crusaders, forgetting that science moves forward and makes progress by skepticism rather than by the preservation of some status quo or some consensus position.

Politics by its very nature has to be cognizant of majority opinion and must be amendable to consensus. Real science pays no attention to such things as consensus, political correctness or orthodoxy - as exhibited by the church's opposition to Galileo or Darwin. All the evils of the failure to separate church from state are now being exhibited in this very corrupt mingling of science and politics. This has corrupted science in the same way as a similar union corrupted the Christian religion.

A few years ago Paul Gross (University of Virginia) and Norman Levitt (Rutgers University) wrote Higher Supersition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Among other things it contained a very insightful chapter on environmentalism. The book was almost prophetic. If updated, it could be subtitled, The Academic Left and its Capture of Science. My remarks here are not intended as an attack on the academic Left. Science in the grip of conservatism or the academic Right is just as evil. Galileo and Darwin are proof of that. It will take the same kind of vigilance to keep science separate from politics as it has historically taken to keep religion out of politics.


A letter to "Nature" magazine from Mike Hulme, Tyndall Centre, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. He was awarded, jointly, the Hugh Robert Mill Prize in 1995 by the Royal Meteorological Society


Your coverage of the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group included some exemplary Editorial and News headlines: "Light at the end of the tunnel", "What we don't know about climate change" and "From words to action" (Nature 445, 567 & 578-583; 2007). These convey the message about knowledge, ignorance and action that would be expected from a leading journal writing for a scientific readership.

Communicating science to wider, public audiences, however - in this case on matters of important public policy - is an art that requires careful message management and tone setting. It seems that confident and salient science, as presented by the IPCC, may be received by the public in non-productive ways, depending on the intervening media. With this in mind, I examined the coverage of the IPCC report in the ten main national UK newspapers for Saturday 3 February, the day after the report was released.

Only one newspaper failed to run at least one story on the report (one newspaper ran seven stories), but what was most striking was the tone. The four UK 'quality' newspapers all ran front-page headlines conveying a message of rising anxiety: "Final warning", "Worse than we thought", "New fears on climate raise heat on leaders" and "Only man can stop climate disaster". And all nine newspapers introduced one or more of the adjectives "catastrophic", "shocking", "terrifying" or "devastating" in their various qualifications of climate change.

Yet none of these words exist in the report, nor were they used in the scientists' presentations in Paris. Added to the front-page vocabulary of "final", "fears", "worse" and "disaster", they offer an insight into the likely response of the 20 million Britons who read these newspapers.

In contrast, an online search of some leading newspapers in the United States suggests a different media discourse. Thus, on the same day, one finds these headlines: "UN climate panel says warming is man-made", "New tack on global warming", "Warming report builds support for action" and "The basics: ever firmer statements on global warming". This suggests a more neutral representation in the United States of the IPCC's key message, and a tone that facilitates a less loaded or frenzied debate about options for action.

Campaigners, media and some scientists seem to be appealing to fear in order to generate a sense of urgency. If they want to engage the public in responding to climate change, this is unreliable at best and counter-productive at worst. As Susanne Moser and Lisa Dilling point out in Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007), such appeals often lead to denial, paralysis, apathy or even perverse reactive behaviour.

The journey from producing confident assessments of scientific knowledge to a destination of induced social change is a tortuous one, fraught with dangers and many blind alleys. The challenging policy choices that lie ahead will not be well served by the type of loaded reporting of science seen in the UK media described above.

Right warning, wrong crisis

According to the renowned climatologist Al Gore, the world is facing a crisis. Unless that crisis is resolved, the world is in serious trouble. The crisis, of course, is "global warming," and solving the crisis is simple. All it will take is the destruction of the United States, or at least the liberty and the technology that have made the United States what it is. "Never before," Gore recently intoned on the subject, "has all of civilization been threatened. We have everything we need to save it, with the possible exception of political will. But political will is a renewable resource."

There are, unfortunately, a few flaws in Gore's pseudo-logic. Despite the best efforts of the socialists who are using global warming as the latest means of stifling dissent and establishing their version of benign totalitarianism, there are an increasing number of legitimate scientists and climatologists who are not only questioning the entire premise of Gore and his accolytes, but who are presenting evidence to the contrary, that natural forces, like the sun, have a far greater impact on climate than anything man does.

In which case, the political will Gore speaks of is nothing more than incredible hubris. Despite all the technological advances that have been made in the last half-century, mankind remains as helpless in the face of the forces of nature, whether it be a hurricane or a tornado, an earthquake or a volcano, a blizzard or a heat wave, than did his prehistoric ancestors. The only difference now is that thanks to the technological advances, mankind is better able to adapt, and if the "political will" Gore speaks of can successfully implement the totalitarianism he and his ilk seek, further advances will be limited.

It is worth remembering, after all, that Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, was also a Gore accolyte, and had in his cabin a copy of what he deemed his bible, Gore's book "Earth in the Balance."

But as the global warming debate, despite the best efforts of its advocates to end all debate on the subject, continues to heat up (pun intended), it is pushing from discussion a very real, and more imminent, threat. That threat is international terrorism and the foremost purveyors of that threat, Islamofascists.

A threat to civilization? Although the Islamofascists seeking to impose Sharia law on the world, to establish a new Caliphate, don't look at it that way, their method of imposing that law is a threat. After all, under Sharia, women have only limited rights. Those who do not accept Islam must accept dhimmi, second class citizenship, and be willingly subject to Islamic regulations designed to make them feel "subdued." For those who accept Islam, there can be no turning back. Conversion from Islam means death.

Considering than Iran, or at least the Iranian leadership personified by Mahoud Ahmadinejad, is determined to build a nuclear device, it would seem that the greater threat to civilization would be the detonation of such a device in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, London or Paris, or New York or Los Angeles. The Iranians are not alone in their desire to destroy Western civilization. That has been the stated goal of virtually every Islamic organization, from Hamas to al-Qaeda to Hezbollah to the PLO.

More frightening has been the tacit acceptance of such aims by the politically correct. Recently, the Democratic National Committee, at its winter meetings, invited Husham Al-Husainy to deliver an invocation. Although the invitation may have been made in the name of politically correct diversity, there was nothing politically correct, nor diverse, is Al-Husainy's invocation.

An unabashed supporter of Hezbollah, even to the point of leading demonstrations against Israel's fight against the terrorist organization in Lebanon last summer, Al-Husainy essentially offered a prayer of conversion to the assembled Democrats, asking for guidance "to the right path. The path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom." The former are those who follow Islam; the latter include non-Muslims, particularly Jews.

The only "crisis" stemming from the perceived global warming threat is how far the socialist totalitarians will be able to advance their agenda. The real threat is that in not aggressively confronting Islamofascism, civilization, particularly Western civilization, is going to find itself coping with a nuclear attack and jihadist terrorism.


Reincarnation of the Reds

Primitive man worshipped nature and imbued inanimate things with human qualities. So do environmentalists. James Lovelock, one of the movement's godheads, and the godfather of the Gaia hypothesis, imbued the earth with mystical powers. The Lovelock-inspired concept of "planetary consciousness" is really a philosophical excrescence of Animism, "the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls."

Nature worship is a form of this Fetishism. Primitives worshipped idols and amulets, but also conferred divine honor on the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, trees, and animals; air, fire, and water. Environmental animists à la Lovelock believe that to tamper with one aspect of the interlocking system of "organisms, surface rocks, oceans and atmosphere" is to tempt fate. To quote Lovelock's adoring acolytes at the New York Review of Books, this balance is now being disrupted by "our brief binge of fossil fuel consumption." Reduce ocean levels of algae and "teeming billions will perish," or so they say.

Most of Lovelock's earlier gloomy predictions have not panned out, but this has done nothing to cool the reverence he receives from media. They, like Lovelock and his ilk, aim not to "save" man, but to subjugate him to Mother Earth. Indeed, major media have had a good reason for pushing apocalyptic climate-change theories for over a century. "A global central planning authority is implicit in all potential international efforts to combat alleged global problems," explains economist George Reisman. Environmentalism is socialism revived; the Greens are the Reds reincarnated.

More here

Greenies, want to save the world? Stay home

Australian columnist Caroline Overington wishes Greenies would do as they say

If we are to believe the opinion polls - and I suppose we must - then we in the West have descended into a state of near total panic about the impact our lives have on the planet. We know that we are using an incredible amount of the world's resources and we feel quite guilty about it. But what to do?

None of us really wants to give up our luxurious lives (by which I mean having a car instead of a horse, a house instead of a cave, a mobile telephone that is not an empty can on the end of some string). On the other hand, we do want to protect the environment. As it happens, you can apparently do both. Last week, I was asked to write a story about the ways in which Westerners could continue to live like kings but not feel so guilty about it. All one needs to do is buy what are known as carbon credits, which then can be used to offset the damage your lifestyle is doing to the planet.

If that's not entirely clear, let me explain it further: you can keep your four-wheel-drive and your babies can get about in disposable nappies, you can have a big house and travel by aeroplane, but you must accept that in doing so you are damaging the environment. Enter carbon credit companies. They come to your house, estimate the size of your "climate footprint" (that is, how much damage your lifestyle is doing to the planet) and put a price on it. For the average family, let's say it's $600 a year. You give that amount to any one of these companies and they will use the money to install energy-saving light bulbs in other people's homes. You haven't reduced your emissions but someone has, and therefore you can live a little less guiltily.

Under a similar program, you can offset your mother's farts or even your cat's farts (flatulence contains methane and therefore heats the planet) by paying money to green companies that will spend it on water-saving shower heads or planting trees to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. Now, when the story about cat farts and carbon credits appeared on the front page of this paper last week, I got quite a few emails, one of which said: "If you really want to end the damage done when your cat farts, wouldn't it be easier to put a sword through the cat." That's not very kind, is it? Another said people should keep their money and just learn to hang clothes on the line instead of using the dryer all the time.

The point they were making, I think, was that if global warming is a problem - we know it is happening, we know it's man-made, but the jury is still out on how much of a problem it's going to be - we in the West need to do more than pay green companies to offset foul smells made by our domestic pets. As any greenie will tell you, we would need to radically change our lifestyle.

The problem with this, however, is that a sudden, radical change to our lifestyles would destroy the economy. Any action we take would not necessarily save the lives of people who don't yet exist - that is, our children's grandchildren - but it would certainly kill real people right now in parts of Asia and Africa who depend on Western decadence for their incomes and their survival.

Also, I'm not sure that even the most committed greenie actually wants to make radical changes to their lifestyle. An example: I live in the Sydney beachside suburb of Bondi. In summer, the streets are flooded with backpackers, most of whom would claim to be travellers, not tourists, and would also claim, I'm sure, to be very concerned about the planet. Yet most of them arrive by plane. They travel across Australia in the cheapest, dirtiest VW vans they can find (most fuelled with leadedpetrol).

Sometimes they park these vans on the streets outside our home and, rather than pay $20 to stay in a backpacker lodge, they sleep in them. On hot nights, they keep the engines - and the airconditioning - running. Fumes pour out the exhaust, choking local cats. In the morning, they get up and pee and poop in the gutters.

Then they head down to the local internet cafe, where they use computers manufactured by enormous corporations, with operating systems made by Microsoft, and they send emails back home to their folks, doubtless complaining about the gap between the rich and the poor. All of this is OK, I suppose. But how come almost every single one of these Kombi vans have stickers on them that say things like: "Save the Planet"?

To the backpacker, that would mean: no more travelling to Thailand, Vietnam or Burma, or whatever is the fashionable place to be. It would mean no more driving in Kombi vans across the desert; no more jet boats out to the Barrier Reef; no more drinking mass-produced beer straight from the can, which is all the Bondi backpackers do all day.

The other sticker you often see on Kombi vans is: "Magic Happens." But it doesn't. It just seems that way. You flick a switch on the wall and the lights come on. You press a button on the toilet and your waste gets flushed away. You get a job, you save money, you get to travel places on planes and drive around in Kombi vans. It's not magic. It's progress. And it's bought to you by capitalism.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


25 February, 2007


In a sad world first, the Australian government has decided to burnish its Green credentials by banning ordinary light globes. In 3 years time, Australians will be able to buy compact fluorescents only. The idea is that the fluoros use electricity more efficiently. That much is true. But the drawbacks of the fluoros are many.

A major one is that they tend to blow up if you use them in conjunction with dimmer switches. That little detail aside, here is a full list (so far) of the problems:

1. Compact fluorescent bulbs are almost always Edison (screw) type, whereas most Australian lighting uses bayonet fittings. This could no doubt change but may push up costs because the lights would have to be made for just the Australian market.

2. They are often physically larger than the incandescent bulbs they replace and simply may not fit the lamp or fixture conveniently or at all. People often have very fancy light-fittings that cost hundreds of dollars. Millions of those may have to be abandoned.

3. The funny elongated or circular shape may result in a less optimal lighting pattern.

4. Many models have light output claims that are only achieved at the optimum operating temperature and/or in some optimum burning position that achieves an optimum internal temperature. Many light output claims are outright exaggerated, often by about 15 percent and in a few extreme cases by 25 percent.

5. Compact fluorescent lamps usually do not produce full light output until they warm up for a minute or two. A few models require about three minutes to fully warm up and produce as little as 20-25 percent of their full light output when first started.

6. Some types may produce an annoying 120 Hz (or 100 Hz) flicker.

7. There are many small incandescent lamps (e.g. in refrigerators) that could not conceivably be replaced by the bulky fluoros we have today. Technology MAY be able to solve that but the costs will probably be large. The compacts we have today are already the endpoint of a big effort at downsizing.

8. May produce Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).

9. The up-front cost is substantial (unless there is a large rebate): $10 to $20 for a compact fluorescent to replace a 60W incandescent bulb that costs 40 to 70c.

10. Due to the high up-front cost, the pay-back period may approach infinity.

11. While their life may be 20,000 hours, a wayward ball will break one of these $10 to $20 bulbs as easily as a 40 cent incandescent.

12. Few commonly available compact fluorescent lamps designed to fit into 240 volt ordinary light bulb sockets match or exceed the light output of a 100 watt standard incandescent lamp.

13. Lots of people just don't like the type of light they get from fluoros -- to glary, too white, too flickery etc.

What Wal-Mart have done in the USA -- make compact fluoros cheaper -- is all that reasonably should be done to promote energy savings from lighting. The new Australian policy is a classical example of how Green "alternatives" are generally very poor alternatives to what they replace.

For most of the info above I have drawn on this post. And Gust of hot air has some satirical comments on the matter.


A reader adds:

"The untold story here is that it is a tax grab by the gubmin. There are approx 7.4 million households in Australia and I would guesstimate there are on average 10 light bulbs per household. With the average cost of the fluoro replacement being $15.00 this generates $1.50 GST per unit fluoro to the gubmin x 10 x 7.4 million = $111 million tax grab. Added to this is the number in all other locations likely doubling the number of light bulbs. Since these fluoros are manufactured mainly overseas you can most likely double the tax take due to import tarrifs. We are looking at a half Billion Dollar rip-off by the gubmin."

Climate preoccupation unethical

On a scale of human misery, poverty is a bigger threat than climate change -- says Mirko Bagaric from Australia

How worried do you reckon people in developing nations -- who are dying from hunger and other causes at the rate of 30,000 a day -- are about global warming? It seems like a stupid question because the answer is so obvious. But the answer is all important. It demonstrates why the supposed No.1 ethical concern of our generation (global warming) is in the main misguided self-interest dressed up as a moral crusade.

Hundreds of millions of people are already living in environmental conditions that are far worse than anything that will occur as a result of greenhouse warming, even according to the grimmest projections by green groups. And our response? As a nation, we are now obsessed with fussing about speculative future harm while failing to come anywhere close to meeting the international benchmark of donating 0.7 per cent of gross national income to the developing world.

This gross distortion in our ethical priorities is so acute that it can't simply be explained as a judgment problem, something that will be corrected as we become more enlightened. It goes deeper than that. It highlights the overwhelmingly self-interested nature of the human species, which is exactly the reason, if climate warming projections are right, why we managed to mess up the planet. Scientists, social commentators and politicians are increasingly engaged in the complex process of sifting through the conflicting climate data to ascertain how much environmental degradation will occur in the foreseeable future.

The report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that increased temperatures will result in more storms, heatwaves and rises in the sea level. This might lead to geographical dislocation as millions of people move inland, and of course require a more expansive summer wardrobe.

The likes of Australian of the Year Tim Flannery are talking down the supposedly conservative nature of the UN report. But the debate is piffle. Will the sea level go up 18cm, 43cm or even 59cm? Is it going to get 1.1C hotter or up to 6.4C? From the perspective of net human suffering, the answers are close to immaterial.

Take the most catastrophic global warming outcome possible, and on a scale of human misery it is negligible compared with the abject destitution that hundreds of millions of (albeit distant) people are experiencing. Their environment is already largely incapable of supporting human life. Flannery says that climate change is the most pressing issue confronting humanity. That might be so for affluent misguided Australians, but the reaches of moral concern don't stop at the territorial seas of the Australian coastline.

There are lots of ethical theories doing the rounds of philosophy departments. Some ethicists prefer theories based on abstract notions such as rights; others, such as myself, are only concerned about maximising good consequences, even if it means trumping the occasional right.

Irrespective of which theory one endorses, there is one incontestable ethical truth: the interests of each person count equally. There is no logical or normative basis for ranking the interests of one person higher than those of another. An argument along the lines of "I am more important than you" is inherently discriminatory and morally vacuous. Moreover, it is incontestable that certain harm carries more weight than speculative harm in any moral calculus. These universal moral truths, coupled with the fact that present-day preventable suffering grossly exceeds the direst predictions of climatologists stemming from global warming, exposes the intractable ethical shortcomings of the environmental movement.

The predictable response to my argument is that we should multi-task and fix both: world poverty and the environment. This is code for moral nihilism. It is a sure-fire way of continuing to consign more people to early unmarked graves because of readily preventable causes. Concern for others, like economic resources, is finite. We have to be very strategic in how we empty our sympathy gland.

The history of humankind shows this. To avoid charges of moral bankruptcy, the green movement has to do more than make the glib statement that we should fix everything. To underpin its principal cause, it needs to spell out in definite terms the argument that will move self-obsessed Westerners to take seriously the pitiable plight of distant people so that the 1 per cent of gross domestic product that the Stern report stated was necessary to fix the environment is more than matched by money flowing to hungry parts of Africa.



"What is global warming?", asks Samuel Mauthike, a small scale vegetable farmer in Kirinyaga, Kenya's central province, as he crouches down compressing the moist soil around his green bean plants. "Is it something caused by us in Africa?" Mr Mauthike, 32, like so many of the two million Kenyans who rely on the western world to import their flowers, fruit and vegetables for their livelihoods, has never heard of a carbon footprint either. He points to the simple gravitational water irrigation system that flows through his smallholding, admitting he has never been in a plane, rarely travels by bus and uses nothing but his hands to grow, fertilise and harvest his top quality green beans, which then appear on a supermarket shelf in Europe.

Yet he and his fellow Kenyan farmers, whose lifelong carbon emissions are negligible compared with their counterparts in the West, are fast becoming the victims of a green campaign that could threaten their livelihoods. A recent bold statement by UK supermarket Tesco ushering in "carbon friendly" measures - such as restricting the imports of air freighted goods by half and the introduction of "carbon counting" labelling - has had environmentalists dancing in the fresh produce aisles, but has left African horticulturists confused and concerned.

Fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables make up 65% of all exports from Kenya to the European Union (EU), according to the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK). Half of this produce goes to the UK's supermarkets, generating at least 100 million pounds per year for this developing country. The dependence on the UK market cannot be underestimated, says Stephen Mbithi Mwikya, chief executive of FPEAK. For Kenya, horticulture is the country's second biggest foreign exchange earner after tourism. "This announcement from Tesco is devastating", says Mr Mbithi. "I think if things continue in this one-sided sensationalist way, purely targeting air freight, labelling our produce with aeroplanes and not looking at other aspects of production, it will cripple Kenya, it will cripple the economy," he says.



I read in the newspapers that the new Democratic Congress is going to hold hearings, call in oil company executives, and yell at them. I've testified before congressional committees (the hardest part is waiting for a bathroom break), and I used to write a lot of speeches. And I'm totally in love with the oil companies because they power my great cars and cool my house in the desert and get me where I want to be. So, completely unbidden, here's what I would say if I were the head of a giant oil company called to testify:

"Hello, honorable ladies and gentlemen. I am the chairman of Brigid Oil, a large, publicly held oil and gas producer, refiner, and distributor. I am here to talk a bit about our business. "Perhaps the easiest way to get into this subject is by noting that a beautiful environmentalist woman, who shall remain nameless, recently compared other oil executives and me to the heads of the tobacco companies back in the days when those folks denied tobacco was addictive or a threat to health."

"Nothing could be a more farfetched comparison, with all due respect to a conscientious woman like my critic. If the world suddenly lost all tobacco products tomorrow, we would have some very irritable people for a few weeks. After that, the world would work much better with less lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. "If we lost all oil and gas products tomorrow, however, the world would simply collapse. There would be an immense depression beyond anything we saw in the 1930s -- the economy would go back to a primitive state. There would simply not be a functioning society. It would be as if there had been nuclear war, minus the casualties from blast and radiation.

"In a word, we cannot as a modern society or even a modestly industrial society live without oil and gas. That is, we do not supply a luxury or a narcotic. We supply a basic necessity of life, as basic as almost any commodity there is."

"Not only is oil a vital commodity, but it's supplied with extreme efficiency and without the slightest serious hint of price-fixing. We buy the raw material at a world market price, refine it, and sell it at a market price. This is not the days of the Rockefellers. No one is sitting in a smoke-filled room fixing the price at monopoly levels far above the cost of production.

"When market forces move our way, we make money. When market forces move against us, or when political forces move against us, we lose money or make less money. "We at Brigid Oil and as an industry go to very considerable trouble and risk to bring oil to this country and to the world. We do our exploration and production in areas that are often dangerous in regards to climate and environment and politics and crime. Real people, real Americans who may be related to you and certainly live in your districts, put their lives on the line to bring you the oil you burn in your cars and your furnaces and your factories.

"We go to considerable economic risk to bring you oil. We need to -- and do -- invest vast amounts to explore for oil underwater and in hostile areas climatically and politically. When it works, we are paid for it, and when it doesn't -- when hostile political forces stymie us -- we lose money."

"There is little doubt that burning as much carbon-based product as is burned has some effect on the environment. We do not object to people saying it. But we believe that there are perfectly intelligent, open-minded people who question how much effect this burning has, whether it is all bad, and what the smartest way to deal with the problem is.

"We note that while there is something like a scientific consensus on carbon burning causing global climate change, there was once a lot of opinion that we were heading toward a new ice age -- and this was only within the past 40 years or so. We would like to be allowed to express our views about the whole subject, just as the environmentalist is allowed to express her views.

"If curbs on carbon are to be the law of the land, and if they are discussed and debated and enacted after full thoughtful consideration, of course we will obey them. We are citizens and bound to obey the law. We would just like free speech for us, as there is free speech for our critics."

"Two final points. Years ago, under the Clinton administration, we were given incentives to drill for oil and gas in very deep water in federally owned areas. Today, some say we were erroneously given more incentives than was originally intended. Specifically, such critics say that these incentives should have stopped if oil reached a certain price on world markets.

"We do not know if this was a mistake or not. We do know that it's the law, and we're following it as it was laid down to us. If some are now proposing that we be punished for obeying the law as the government dictated it, that is a Bill of Attainder pure and simple, and barred by the Constitution. We do not feel we have to give back money beyond what the law requires. Few taxpayers pay extra taxes, and we do not feel we have the right to do that with our stockholders' money.

"Finally, the oil business is a big business. For some of us, lately it has been a good business after many lean years. But we are not princes of heredity and blood. Anyone who wants to can go to work at an oil company. We have serious labor shortages and we welcome you. "More important, anyone who wants can buy stock in us can be an oil company owner. This business is open to anyone. If you think we make obscene profits, buy our stock. You'll soon find that our profits are not only not obscene, but far from certain or predictable."

"In conclusion, we sell a vital product within the law, at prices determined in the open market. We insist upon our rights of free speech and due process, and we welcome any of our critics to become our owners. And we ask you to consider what just one day without the stuff we sell would be like before you damn us for all eternity. "We also ask that you ask yourselves whether it is us or our critics -- the oil companies or the Sierra Club (of which I am a member) -- that gets you where you need to go each day, powers your furnace when it's cold, and cools your apartment when it's hot. "We all want a future that works, and together we can have it. Or we can just yell at each other and accomplish nothing. Thank you."



February has been a tough month for Global Warming doomsayers. First, their cataclysmic worst-case scenarios were debunked by the IPCC, which cut its own 2001 projections for temperature increase by a third and sea level rise completely in half. Then, just five days later, they learned that the environmentally irresponsible U.S was actually doing a better job of cutting CO2 emissions than their Kyoto-signing European Union heroes. And to top it off, attendees of a February 16th DC meeting of GLOBE nations agreed to abandon their adored Kyoto's economy-killing, energy-rationing, short-range, mandatory CO2 targets in favor of more realistic long-term goals.

The Valentine's week gathering of policy-makers from around the world was primarily the initiative of Britain's Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE). And, coming just 2 weeks after the announcement of a proposed EU carbon tax on non-Kyoto aligned nations from that French prince of pomposity, Jacques Chirac, it was a breath of lukewarm fresh air. After all, the nations meeting at the Washington Legislators Forum on Climate Change, the so called G8 Plus Five, were discussing an early retirement for the flawed and failed Kyoto protocols.

Ultimately, the group signed a declaration which established a long-term goal of stabilizing "greenhouse gas" (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level of between 450 and 550 parts per million (ppm). Most GHG advocates promote this as the range necessary to maintain their dream of a 2 degree Celsius maximum variance with pre-industrial temperatures. Of course, as the new goals conform more or less to Kyoto, fans of one should eagerly welcome the other, right? Not quite.

There's resistance brewing over this proposed post-Kyoto approach, which calls for a policy of measurable milestones addressing climate change over not the next 15 years, but rather the next century. Additionally, in the opposite corner, there remain many who disagree with the need for any action whatsoever and see the new plan as a design to bait otherwise unconvinced nations into nebulous indentures.

Superficially then, this month's revelations wouldn't appear to have brought conflicting sides of this ostensibly endless debate any closer to harmony. Yet, beneath the reputedly industrially polluted surface, hope glimmers. You see, while non-binding, this new agreement will form the foundation of an upcoming June G8 summit on the subject and, likely, a new accord. Granted, its aspirations are based upon the still unsettled science of anthropogenic Global Warming. Still, there are many benefits to the projected pragmatic 2009 alternative to a 2012 Kyoto renewal for lucid believers and skeptics alike. As to alarmists - the plan has something to offer them too - a long overdue reality check.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


24 February, 2007

It had to happen

Now climate change "deniers" are not only evil Nazi types but are also psychologically inadequate. Not a shred of research evidence for any of the assertions is offered, of course. Has the author below or anybody he quotes ever interviewed a single "denier"? There is no evidence of it. It is just armchair theorizing -- which can be used to justify anything. But the author is Dick Meyer, editorial director of, so I guess that makes it authoritative:

So what is it that makes some human brains dismiss or ignore global warming and others, far fewer, feel worried, threatened and called to action? Answering this question properly is probably far more important to future behavior and policy than endless arguments about how hot it will be in Cincinnati in 2077.

Charles Darwin explains a lot of this. Global warming simply does not present the kinds of stimuli that the human nervous system evolved to respond to in order to survive threats from bears, lightning, rolling boulders and mean cavemen. Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist who wrote "Stumbling on Happiness," summed up evolutionary psychology's perspective by noting how global warming lacked four traits "the human brain evolved to respond to."

First, the threat is not human and we "social mammals" are especially sensitive to dangers from other humans - and dangers that are intentional (terrorism) rather than accidental (floods). Similarly, homo sapiens respond with greater instinctive power to threats that violate group sensibilities or "moral emotions;" global warming doesn't spawn visceral feelings (for most) of something "indecent, impious or repulsive."

Third and most obvious, the threat of global warming is far, far away, not immediate, not something that makes you duck or twitch. In fact, a person really has to use the analytic brain hunks to get in a global warming lather, not the affective or emotional mechanisms that detect common threats and risks. As another scholar said, "risk is a feeling." Statistics and reports don't enter the brain through feeling portals. So after Hurricane Katrina, polling found concern about global warming ticked up.

Similarly, climate change is gradual. Indeed it is invisible; there are no "affective" sights and sounds to switch on the neurological special alert system - no infernos, poxes, pests and plagues.

The problem with the Darwinian angle here is that it doesn't explain why some human brains do feel threatened and worried by global warming and some don't. The biggest variable here is probably simple anthropology: as social mammals, we use the group to survive and thus tend to share the beliefs of our own group.

In modern society, groups are intangible and amorphous; they aren't discrete tribes gathering walnuts and spearing bison. Group ties are as often emotional or even ideological as geographic or even familial. You may identify, with varying degrees of self-consciousness, as a Catholic, a Green, a Jew, a small businessman, an African-American, a geek, a recovering alcoholic, a Republican, a liberal, a lesbian, an Italian-American, a Blue Blood, a Texan, an artist or a stamp collector. Most people cross-pollinate.

But these group affiliations are likely to be a strong determinant of your feelings about global warming (feelings you will call a "position"). Do you think global warming is an urgent problem because you are a Democrat or are you a Democrat because you think global warming is an urgent problem? Some variant of the former is most likely, I'm sorry to report.

Scandinavians and Germans have been the most alarmed and politically active about global warming. Why? Diet? Too much existentialism?

Compared to other countries, Americans display an unusually large disconnect in describing themselves as environmentalists by being broadly unwilling to support voluntary restraints and vigorous laws and regulations. (This comes from a paper called "The American Paradox" by Dale Jamieson of New York University, part of a fascinating collection of papers on "Global Warming: The Psychology of Long-Term Risk" in the July 2006 edition of a journal called, "Climactic Change.")

Group identification not only orients specific positions but what might be called the distribution of alarm. Elke Weber, also writing in "Climactic Change," notes that societies have a "finite pool of worry." Neither a group nor an individual can stay at red alert about terrorism, salmonella, bird flu, identity theft and global warming. We don't prioritize threats and risks rationally; we do it emotionally and through the genius or dumbness of crowds.

On top of all this very cool psycho-babble are some common-sense factors that keep global warming from triggering our inner worry monkeys. It's a hard problem to solve; OK, the world is warming, but it's not like you can go out and buy a Glock, duct tape or Cipro and do anything. Global warming is also the classic other guys' problem: leave it for the next generation; let the Chinese cut their pollution then we'll talk. It is also susceptible to optimism: American ingenuity will fix it.

"Global warming is a deadly threat precisely because it fails to trip the brain's alarm, leaving us soundly asleep in a burning bed," Daniel Gilbert wrote.

Scientists, economists and "ists" of all sorts have probably done all they can do to trigger our humanoid alarm systems. American politicians will probably hurt, not help. Bizarre and inconvenient as it sounds, effective and affective warnings and information about global warming will likely come from novelists, moviemakers and comedians.



Patriot Post are taking action. See below:

Please join fellow Patriots and sign this petition to Stop Albert Gore and Reject the UN's Global Warming Treaty (see text below). Gore is reenergizing the movement advocating Kyoto compliance. We urge you to sign this petition today, and reject Gore's advocacy for UN control of the U.S. economy.

In order to encourage serious consideration of this issue by the Bush administration and Congress, we must collect over 100,000 signatures. Please sign and then forward this invitation to all of your family members, friends and associates.

To sign this petition online, go here.

If you don't have Web access, you can sign this petition by sending a blank e-mail to: sign-stopgore@PatriotPetitions.US

Petition Text:

To President George Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

We urge the United States Senate to reject the 1997 United Nations Kyoto Protocols Treaty purporting to address global warming by constraining economic growth in the United States while allowing unmitigated growth in 129 other nations, included two of the largest world economies in China and India.

The Senate overwhelmingly rejected this Treaty (95-0) by way of the Byrd-Hagel Senate resolution in 1997, which objected to the lack of any "specific scheduled commitments" in regard to the CO2 output of "developing" countries."

We reject the Orwellian solutions proposed by Albert Arnold Gore and others who claim that the Kyoto Protocols must be adopted to stop global warming. The science of climate change is very imprecise, and current trends in climate change may have little or nothing to do with production of so-called "greenhouse gasses" such as carbon dioxide.

Albert Gore's solutions will only impede the advancement of scientific and technological innovation, and would impoverish hundreds of millions of people around the world.


A lot of Americans would LOVE a bit of global warming at the moment

This week-perhaps emboldened by the groundhog predicting an early spring-Old Man Winter came roaring back, blanketing much of the nation with a sheet of ice. In fact, a number of residents of the Midwest and Northeast felt as if they were living in a new Ice Age, thanks to a thick coat of ice that brought vehicular traffic to a standstill.

As they shivered amid wind-chill levels well below zero, it must have come as a comfort that Al "Global Warming" Gore is once again at work, trying to free the world from the tyranny of temperatures above the freezing mark.

Gore announced plans this week for a series of musical concerts designed to, in Gore's words, "solve the climate crisis." His accomplices in this mission of misguided mercy include musical artists ranging from the rapper Snoop Dogg to American Idol star Kelly Clarkson.

Venues for the "Live Earth" concerts include Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, London, and yet-to-be-determined cities in Japan, Brazil, and the U.S. The campaign behind this effort is ironically titled, "Save Our Selves."

Gore was quoted as saying, "We are launching SOS and Live Earth to begin a process of communication that will mobilize people all over the world to take action. The climate crisis will only be stopped by an unprecedented and sustained global movement. We hope to jump-start that movement right here, right now, and take it to a new level on July 7, 2007."

Earth to Gore: It's 12 degrees outside. Are we really suffering from global warming-or just a liberal propaganda campaign that's now gone musical?

It's heart-warming to see musical artists come together for a good cause-after all, what would Labor Day be without the Jerry Lewis Telethon? But fighting muscular dystrophy is one thing-fighting Mother Nature is quite another.

By trying to cast Mother Nature as an extremist, environmentalists such as Gore are trying to hide their own extremism. Their solution to the earth's problems is to regulate businesses out of existence. They'd sacrifice American jobs to save a single tree, and they often put animals on a pedestal above human beings. It's a world view that's positively frightening but, unfortunately, there are no rock concert promoters around who are willing to stage a musical extravaganza to combat environmental extremism.

Since when does a failed Presidential candidate have such pull with the music industry? I don't hear of Ross Perot getting the Black Eyed Peas to sing for his pet projects.

When the worlds of music and politics embrace, it is often a scary proposition for us all. Look at how many folk groups credited themselves with ending the Vietnam War. Forget military strategy and political acumen, to their way of thinking, it's four-part harmonies that determine victory or defeat on the battlefield.

I can only hope that, when the SOS concerts roll around, this week's deep freeze will be fresh in the memories of Americans who might otherwise be hoodwinked by the global warming crowd.



Buying organic food grown locally may sometimes be more damaging to the environment than nipping down to the supermarket for produce that has been driven hundreds of miles across the country, a new study suggests. Research looking at the environmental impact of food from farm to the plate and beyond suggests that locally-grown food may not be as environmentally friendly as it's said to be. Similarly, long-distance transportation may not deserve the demonisation it has received for the emissions of carbon dioxide it generates. However, scientists questioned the growing use of aircraft to carry foods around the world.

The findings, from a study commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to guide policy on which types of food production and consumption to encourage, prompted a furious response from the Soil Association, which promotes and certifies organic food.

The report concludes that so little is known about the overall environmental impact of any food produce that it is impossible to say which are the most environmentally friendly. But while the merits of some organic products were recognised by the study, researchers pointed out that others cause more damage than non-organic items.

Academics from the Manchester Business School, at the University of Manchester, carried out an assessment of 150 of the best-selling foods for the survey, dubbed the Shopping Trolley Report. "There is no clear-cut answer as to whether purchasing an organic or a conventional trolley of goods has more or less impact environmentally," they said. "For many foods the environmental impacts of organic agriculture are lower than for conventionally-grown food. "However, the evidence suggests that for some environmental themes organic agriculture has higher impacts than non-organic."

They said that calculations of every aspect of a food product's environmental impact - a life-cycle analysis - needs to be carried out to decide which forms of production are best. Factors would include uses of land, water, fertiliser, transportation, packaging and refrigeration. The impact of organic milk was singled out for doubts about its environmental-friendliness because, while having higher levels of nutrients and needing less fertiliser, its production generates more carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, it takes up 80 per cent more land.

Neither, said the researchers, was buying locally produced food a guarantee of being environmentally-friendly when considering the transportation system, particularly bulk haulage. They suggested that the best thing consumers could do to reduce the carbon footprint of food production and consumption was to leave their cars at home and walk or get public transport to the supermarket. "The available data suggests that, looking at UK food transportation as a whole, the environmental impacts of car-based shopping are greater than those of transport within the distribution system itself," the report said. "The environmental impact of aviation are important for air-freighted products but such products are a very small proportion of food consumed."

Professor Ken Green, who led the study, said: "If you are concerned about the carbon footprint of foods, there can be a good case for importing some of them even if they can be grown in the UK. The evidence available so far shows that local is not always the best option for the environment."

The Soil Association criticised the authors for ignoring many of the benefits of organic production, such as improving biodiversity, and accused them of relying on an inapproporaite study which looked at a type of organic farming that is not used in Britain. It said: "Organic farming is much better for the environment than industrial methods."


Windmill idiocy: "The problem with wind energy is that it is always fluctuating. The physics of windmills make it worse because output varies with the cube of the velocity. A 20 percent increase in wind speed will double output in a few minutes. Under these circumstances, large numbers of windmills are viewed by grid operators more as a liability than an asset. Unfortunately, where the wind is predictable, it doesn't co-ordinate very well [with] demand. The wind blows strongest at night and in the spring and fall. Electrical demand peaks in the daytime and summer and winter. This is why claims about wind's installed capacity have to be met with a grain of salt. At best, windmills produce electricity less than one-third of the time. Over the last ten years, California's 1500 MW have averaged only 25 percent of their 'nameplate' capacity. During peak summer demand it was only 9 percent. Germany has found its windmills producing only 6 percent of their nameplate capacity during hot summer days.... Still, as long as those windmills are turning, they must be producing some electricity, right? Unfortunately, even this may not be true. Because wind power is so unpredictable, fossil fuel plants must be kept running all the time anyway for backup."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


23 February, 2007


Once you look past the hype, the latest IPCC report on climate change is actually rather unfavorable to the Greenies -- something many of them have been squealing loudly about. The scientific findings just don't show what the Greenies want them to show.

Solution? Alter the data! Fudge the facts. In plain English: Lie.

Three major repositories of climate facts and figures are the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in England, The United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the USA. The remarkably restrained Steve McIntyre has been looking at some of the data they put out. And guess what? It has changed recently! They have revised the past. The figures they now give for temperatures during the 20th century have been changed! And you don't need to guess the direction of the change. They are now representing the late 20th century as being warmer than what they once said it was and the early 20th century as being cooler than what they once said it was.

And how do we know that? After all, they have expunged from the record all their earlier data and replaced it with their new "edited" versions. We know it because of that pesky internet! Steve McIntyre was able to find on the net a copy of the earlier data. He comments:

The effect of the adjustments since 2000 has been to bring the USHCN history more in line with the CRU version. One wonders exactly what adjustments have been performed by CRU and others and the recent admission by Brohan et al 2006 that original versions of many series have been lost (or never even collated by CRU in the first place) leaving only the adjusted versions at CRU (with the nature of some or all of the adjustments undocumented and unknown) is extremely disquieting.

Science has gone out the window when this sort of thing happens. It is a given in scientific discourse that you don't question the other guy's data. You just look for different explanations of it or misinterpretations of it. In climate "science", alas, that courtesy is no longer automatically possible. The pro-warming side of climate "science" must now be regarded as one big whirlpool of fraud. One can now safely accept nothing that they say. They are driven people, but respect for truth is no part of that drive.

Prof. Brignell also has some astringent comments on McIntyre's findings.


David Friedman writes:

I've recently been involved in an exchange with Mike Huben in the comments section of an earlier post to this blog, having to do with global warming, hurricanes, and Chris Landsea's pulling out of the IPCC-the group that does the "official" reports on world climate-a few years ago. Interested people may want to look at our exchange and at the web pages cited.

There is a more general issue that such disputes raise: How, in controversies where most of us do not know enough to form independent opinions, one should decide who to believe. One way is to look at the incentives various people have to express the views they do. Let me start with the case of nanotech-specifically, whether it presents dangers that call for government regulation. I've been involved, at least peripherally, for a long time and know some of the people at the Foresight Institute, the group that pushed the idea of nanotech for many years before it became suddenly fashionable.

One thing I know about them is that that their general political biases are libertarian. Hence when I observe them expressing serious concerns about the dangers of unregulated nanotech, I am inclined to take it seriously. They may be wrong, but they aren't believing it because they want to believe it.

Mike Huben, if I understand him correctly, wants to view criticism of evidence for global warming as the work of sinister interest groups, in particular energy companies. I suspect that to some degree he is right; clearly that are industries that will be injured if countries adopt the sorts of policies recommended by those concerned with the threat of global warming, and I expect such industries do their best to push arguments that it is in their interest to push.

On the other hand, a scientist such as Landsea, who apparently wrote a good deal of the relevant part of the previous IPCC report, has no such incentive-unless Mike can point to evidence that he is being secretly funded by the oil companies, which nobody seems to be claiming. It's hard to see any likely reason for his actions other than the belief that the scientific work of himself and others was being misrepresented in order to push a political agenda.

And the followup articles-the ones Mike found and pointed out to the rest of us-suggest that in fact Landsea's view of the subject was correct and that his protest was one factor in pushing the IPCC, in its most recent report, to give a mostly accurate account of the current consensus. Their summary account reported that there was no clear evidence of a trend to more hurricanes. One of the authors of the relevant part of the report, decrying misrepresentations in the media, wrote that: "We concluded that the question of whether there was a greenhouse-cyclone link was pretty much a toss of a coin at the present state of the science, with just a slight leaning towards the likelihood of such a link."

My current conclusion, looking over what I can see of the opinions of people who don't have an obvious axe to grind in either direction, is that global warming is probably real, is probably but not certainly anthropogenic, is probably not going to have large effects on size and frequency of hurricanes and is probably not going to have large effects on sea level. It is a real problem but not, on current evidence, an impending catastrophe.

Mike, and many other people, see it as a much bigger problem than I do. My reason for distrusting their conclusions is the same as Mike's reason for distrusting the conclusions of global warming sceptics: On the whole and with, I am sure, some exceptions, they appear to me to be believing what they want to believe. I see it that way because:

1. Governments, and people in government, seek power for obvious reasons. Over the past fifty years the intellectual justification for the large expansion in government power from about 1930-1970 has largely collapsed. The belief that capitalism is inherently unstable and inefficient and must be fixed with large elements of governmental intervention and central planning is no longer taken very seriously by either the general public or economists. Environmentalism in general and global warming in particular provide new arguments for expanded government power, new taxes, and the like.

That does not mean, of course, that those arguments are wrong, but it does mean that there are a lot of people who have an incentive to support them whether wrong or right. That seems to me consistent with what I observe-what is probably a real problem being extensively exaggerated for political reasons, with a predicted sea level rise of up to 80 cm over 93 years being reported in terms of massive flooding around the world, converting the World Trade Center Site into an aquarium in the piece I commented on in my earlier post.

2. Global warming provides arguments for things that a lot of people, mostly left of center, want to do anyway-shift lifestyles away from automobiles towards mass transit, reduce consumption of depletable resources, and the like. Environmentalism is in part a real argument, in part a religion, in part an aesthetic; the second and third parts make people too willing to accept the first.

Which gets me to Mike's various queries about why I choose to align myself with the forces of evil and ignorance by expressing skepticism about the horrors likely to arise from global warming. Simply put, I am skeptical of conclusions that appear to go well beyond the scientific evidence, pushed by people who have reasons to want other people to believe them.



When coastal engineers decide whether to dredge sand and pump it onto an eroded beach, they use mathematical models to predict how much sand they will need, when and where they must apply it, the rate it will move and how long the project will survive in the face of coastal storms and erosion. Orrin H. Pilkey, a coastal geologist and emeritus professor at Duke, recommends another approach: just dredge up a lot of sand and dump it on the beach willy-nilly. This "kamikaze engineering" might not last very long, he says, but projects built according to models do not usually last very long either, and at least his approach would not lull anyone into false mathematical certitude.

Now Dr. Pilkey and his daughter Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, a geologist in the Washington State Department of Geology, have expanded this view into an overall attack on the use of computer programs to model nature. Nature is too complex, they say, and depends on too many processes that are poorly understood or little monitored - whether the process is the feedback effects of cloud cover on global warming or the movement of grains of sand on a beach.

Their book, "Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future," originated in a seminar Dr. Pilkey organized at Duke to look into the performance of mathematical models used in coastal geology. Among other things, participants concluded that beach modelers applied too many fixed values to phenomena that actually change quite a lot. For example, "assumed average wave height," a variable crucial for many models, assumes that all waves hit the beach in the same way, that they are all the same height and that their patterns will not change over time. But, the authors say, that's not the way things work.

Also, modelers' formulas may include coefficients (the authors call them "fudge factors") to ensure that they come out right. And the modelers may not check to see whether projects performed as predicted. Eventually, the seminar participants widened the project, concluding that erroneous assumptions, fudge factors and the reluctance to check predictions against unruly natural outcomes produce models with, as the authors put it, "no demonstrable basis in nature."

Among other problems, they cite much-modeled but nevertheless collapsed North Atlantic fishing stocks, poisonous pools unexpectedly produced by open pit mining, and invasive plants and animals that routinely outflank their modelers. Two issues, the authors say, illustrate other problems with modeling.

One is climate change, in which, they say, experts' justifiable caution about model uncertainties can encourage them to ignore accumulating evidence from the real world. The other is the movement of nuclear waste through an underground storage site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, not because it has failed - it has yet to be built - but because they say it is unreasonable to expect accurate predictions of what will happen far into the future - in this extreme case, tens or even hundreds of thousands of years from now.

Along the way, Dr. Pilkey and Ms. Pilkey-Jarvis describe and explain a host of modeling terms, including quantitative and qualitative models (models that seek to answer precise questions with more or less precise numbers, as against models that seek to discern environmental trends). They also discuss concepts like model sensitivity - the analysis of parameters included in a model to see which ones, if changed, are most likely to change model results.

But, the authors say it is important to remember that model sensitivity assesses the parameter's importance in the model, not necessarily in nature. If a model itself is "a poor representation of reality," they write, "determining the sensitivity of an individual parameter in the model is a meaningless pursuit."

Given the problems with models, should we abandon them altogether? Perhaps, the authors say. Their favored alternative seems to be adaptive management, in which policymakers may start with a model of how a given ecosystem works, but make constant observations in the field, altering their policies as conditions change. But that approach has drawbacks, among them requirements for assiduous monitoring, flexible planning and a willingness to change courses in midstream. For practical and political reasons, all are hard to achieve. Besides, they acknowledge, people seem to have such a powerful desire to defend policies with formulas (or "fig leaves," as the authors call them), that managers keep applying them, long after their utility has been called into question.

So the authors offer some suggestions for using models better. We could, for example, pay more attention to nature, monitoring our streams, beaches, forests or fields to accumulate information on how living things and their environments interact. That kind of data is crucial for models. Modeling should be transparent. That is, any interested person should be able to see and understand how the model works - what factors it weighs heaviest, what coefficients it includes, what phenomena it leaves out, and so on.

Also, modelers should say explicitly what assumptions they make. And instead of demanding to know exactly how high seas will rise or how many fish will be left in them or what the average global temperature will be in 20 years, they argue, we should seek to discern simply whether seas are rising, fish stocks are falling and average temperatures are increasing.

And we should couple these models with observations from the field. Models should be regarded as producing "ballpark figures," they write, not accurate impact forecasts. "If we wish to stay within the bounds of reality we must look to a more qualitative future," the authors write, "a future where there will be no certain answers to many of the important questions we have about the future of human interactions with the earth."

Source. More information about the new book can be found here.


Some pretty unsettling science. Is this why there is some warming at our North pole but none at our South pole? The fact that the same pattern is seen on Mars makes it thought-provoking

One pole of the sun is cooler than the other. That's the surprising conclusion announced today by scientists who have been analyzing data from the ESA-NASA Ulysses spacecraft. Ulysses is the only ship in the NASA or European fleet capable of flying over the sun's poles, a result of the spacecraft's uniquely-tilted orbit. Its ability to study the sun's unexplored polar regions is prized by solar physicists. Ulysses' first polar flybys in 1994 and 1995 revealed the asymmetry-"a 7 to 8 percent difference in temperature," says Ulysses science team member George Gloeckler of the University of Maryland. The measurement was both mysterious and a little hard to believe. What would make the sun lopsided in this way? There's still no definitive answer to that question, but now at least researchers know the effect is real. Ulysses has returned to the sun's South Pole in 2007 and "recent observations show that the average temperature ... is virtually identical to what we saw 12 years ago," says Gloeckler.

Taking the sun's temperature is tricky business. The spacecraft can't descend to the surface and insert a thermometer. Instead, Ulysses samples the solar wind at a safe remove of 300 million km. "We measure the abundance of two oxygen ions found in the solar wind. The ratio O6+/O7+ tells us the temperature of the gas," explains Gloeckler. He is the principal investigator of the instrument onboard Ulysses that does this, the Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer or "SWICS." According to SWICS, the average temperature of the sun's polar wind is about one million degrees C. But over one pole the wind is about 80,000 degrees cooler than over the other pole. Researchers believe the solar wind at Ulysses is telling them something about polar conditions close to the surface of the sun. "The solar wind comes from the poles," explains Arik Posner, Ulysses Program Scientist at NASA headquarters. "The sun's magnetic field opens up over the poles and allows some of the sun's atmosphere to escape." These openings are called "coronal holes," and the hot atmosphere that rushes out is the solar wind.

Back to the original question: What does the temperature difference mean? "Perhaps the structure of the sun's atmosphere over the two poles is different," he speculates. We have an analogy here on Earth. The stratosphere over the South Pole is colder, on average, than the stratosphere over the North Pole. The reason has to do with the uneven distribution of land on Earth (most land is in the north) plus complex atmospheric circulation patterns.

In the case of the sun, the difference is not land but magnetism. Apparently, something about the sun's north magnetic pole keeps the solar atmosphere above it a trifle cooler. Proof: The "cool spot" follows the north magnetic pole when the sun's poles flip. "The sun's magnetic poles have reversed polarity since the 1994 flyby-an effect of the 11-year sunspot cycle," notes Posner. Lo and behold, "the temperature asymmetry has also reversed. So it appears to be a magnetic phenomenon."



By His Eminence, Dr. George Pell, Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney

Global warming doomsdayers were out and about in a big way recently, but the rain came in Central Queensland and then here in Sydney. January also was unusually cool. We have been subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters as some zealots have been painting extreme scenarios to frighten us. They claim ocean levels are about to rise spectacularly, that there could be the occasional tsunami as high as an eight story building, the Amazon basin could be destroyed as the ice cap in the Arctic and in Greenland melts. An overseas magazine called for Nuremberg-style trials for global warming skeptics while a U.S.A. television correspondent compared skeptics to "holocaust deniers".

A local newspaper editorial's complaint about the doomsdayers' religious enthusiasm is unfair to mainstream Christianity. Christians don't go against reason although we sometimes go beyond it in faith to embrace probabilities. What we were seeing from the doomsdayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria, semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition.

I am deeply skeptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence. I would be surprised if industrial pollution, and carbon emissions, had no ill effect at all. But enough is enough. A few fixed points might provide some light.

We know that enormous climate changes have occurred in world history, e.g. the Ice Ages and Noah's flood, where human causation could only be negligible. Neither should it be too surprising to learn that the media during the last 100 years has alternated between promoting fears of a coming Ice Age and fear of global warming! Terrible droughts are not infrequent in Australian history, sometimes lasting seven or eight years, as with the Federation Drought and in the 1930s. One drought lasted fourteen years.

We all know that a cool January does not mean much in the long run, but neither does evidence from a few years only. Scaremongers have used temperature fluctuations in limited periods and places to misrepresent longer patterns. The evidence on warming is mixed, often exaggerated, but often reassuring. Global warming has been increasing constantly since 1975 at the rate of less than one fifth of a degree centigrade per decade.

The concentration of carbon dioxide increased surface temperatures more in winter than in summer and especially in mid and high latitudes over land, while there was a global cooling of the stratosphere. The East Anglia university climate research unit found that global temperatures did not increase between 1998 - 2005 and a recent NASA satellite found that the Southern Hemisphere has not warmed in the past 25 years. Is mild global warming a Northern phenomenon?

While we might have been alarmed by the sighting of an iceberg off Dunedin as large as an aircraft carrier we should be consoled by the news that the Antarctic is getting colder and the ice is growing there. The science is more complicated than the propaganda!



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


22 February, 2007


"Global Warming" had a precursor in capturing the hearts and minds of the world. Michael Crichton, in his novel "State of Fear," brilliantly juxtaposes the world's current political embrace of "global warming" with the popular embrace of the "science" of eugenics a century ago. For nearly 50 years, from the late 1800s through the first half of the 20th century, there grew a common political acceptance by the world's thinkers, political leaders and media elite that the "science" of eugenics was settled science. There were a few lonely voices trying to be heard in the wilderness in opposition to this bogus science, but they were ridiculed or ignored.

Believers in eugenics argued that we could improve the human race by controlling reproduction. The most respected scientists from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other bastions of intellectual rigor retreated to a complex on Long Island named Cold Spring Harbor. Their support came from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman fortune working with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, State and other agencies.

The "science" was not lacking important public supporters. Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson were enthusiastic believers. The theory won approval of Supreme Court justices, leaders in higher education and Nobel Prize winners. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was one of the most vocal adherents. She established the first "birth control" clinic in 1916.

They believed that "the best" human beings were not having as many children as inferior ones -- the foreigners, immigrants, Jews, Blacks, degenerates, the unfit and the "feeble minded." Sanger said "fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is an extreme cruelty." She spoke of the burden of caring for "this dead weight of human waste." H.G. Wells spoke against "ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens." Roosevelt said, "Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind." George Bernard Shaw said that only eugenics could save mankind.

Twenty-nine states passed laws allowing sterilization. Ultimately, 60,000 Americans were sterilized -- some legally. The Germans were the most progressive. They had help. The Rockefeller Foundation funded the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists, one of whom was Josef Mengele.

Ultimately the "mental defectives" in Germany were brought to newly built houses where they were interviewed. They were then shown to a back room where they were gassed. Eventually the German program was expanded into a vast network that killed 10 million undesirables. After World War II many of the public adherents to the pseudoscience of eugenics went silent. Colleges removed the textbooks and stopped teaching it.

But not everyone went away. As recently as July 24, 2003 Tony Platt testified before the California Senate Judiciary Committee on S.R. 20 relative to eugenics. He agreed that the state should apologize for its actions.

One must ask, "How in the world did university researchers come to conclusions that defended this outrageous affront to society?" A look back at the research concluded that the researchers adjusted their outcomes to support the theory of those paying for the research. This is not unusual. It is very easy to believe that the settled science regarding climate change is just as suspicious, and indeed may be another example of pseudo-science capturing the imagination of politicians, actors and the media elite who have a desperate need to embrace some "science" which may force us to change the way we live our lives. H. L. Mencken once wrote, "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule it." We see pictures of huge blocks of ice crashing into the sea from the Antarctic Peninsula, which comprises about 2 percent of the continent. The fact that the remaining 98 percent of Antarctica is growing by 26.8 gigatons of ice per year is ignored.

We are told today that human activity is causing a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide levels that is responsible for "global warming." While a congressional delegation was visiting the Antarctic expedition in January of 2003 we were shown the results of the Vostok ice-sheet cores where temperatures and CO2 levels were measured as far as 400,000 years ago. At that time, the level of CO2 was 280 parts per million parts of atmosphere (ppm), about what it was 20 years ago. The levels of CO2 and temperature rode up and down in consonance over 400,00 years. "Who," I asked, "was burning the fossil fuels 400,000 years ago?" I was treated as though I was rude.

It has been known for years that most CO2 is dissolved in the oceans. It is called "carbon sinking." The oceans typically contain 60 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere. It is also known that colder waters dissolve more CO2 than warm waters. Which do you think is cause and which is effect? We currently have CO2 levels of about 380 ppm. A recent study completed at UC Davis concluded that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere 300 million years ago was on the order of 2,000 ppm. Then this, "the same increase that experts expect by the end of this century as remaining reserves of fossil fuels are burned." If it is a given that human burning of fossil fuels is what will cause an increase of CO2 levels up to 2,000 ppm in the next 93 years, don't they owe us an explanation as to who burned those fossil fuels 300 million years ago? In fact we are being treated to a modern scientific shell game. The most prevalent and efficient greenhouse gas is not CO2; it is water vapor, which accounts for about 60 percent of the heat-trapping gases while CO2 accounts for about 26 percent. So, why are we being served a daily diet of our destroying the environment with our behavior as it relates to CO2? Because our behavior has little to do with the amount of water vapor, so it is a non-starter when it comes to those whose principal goal is ruling our lives.

In order to focus on you and what you are doing to increase the CO2 in the atmosphere, which, as everyone knows will destroy the globe, we do not discuss the activities of termites. Fifteen years ago it was estimated that the digestive tracts of termites produce about 50 billion tons of CO2 and methane annually. That was more than the world's production from burning fossil fuel. Additionally, cattle, horses and other ruminant animals are huge producers of both CO2 and methane, but, being unable to respond to our demands on this issue, their activity is ignored.

When it comes to methane, another greenhouse gas, termites are responsible for 11 percent of the world's production from natural sources. Seventy-six percent comes from wetlands, which provide habitat conducive to bacteria, which produce 145 million metric tons of methane per year during the decomposition of organic material. It is curious that the very alarmists on climate change are alarmists on saving and increasing wetlands.

It becomes clear from the literature -- not to mention documentary films -- produced by the alarmists, that if human beings do not change the way we live the planet is doomed. This is not the first charge against human behavior. Many of you will remember the "scientific" studies 30 years ago about the destruction of the ozone layer, particularly at the poles, that would reduce the atmosphere's ability to stop infrared rays from the sun. We would see increasing incidence of skin cancer and increasing temperatures. It was theorized that this was caused by the increased production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were used -- as Freon -- in refrigeration units. When Freon was invented it was considered a miracle gas. It replaced, in refrigeration units, a combination of toxic gases that, if released, actually killed people. But the settled science concluded that human activity was a threat to the planet. We outlawed the production of CFCs and thousands of people across the world died from eating rancid food due to the loss of refrigeration.

The world's production of CFCs peaked at 1.1 million tons per year. If 100 percent of that was released it would have added 750,000 tons of chlorine into the atmosphere. That is insignificant compared to the 300 million tons the oceans yield annually by the evaporation of seawater alone. But that couldn't be controlled so the alarmists went after us. Indeed, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June of 1991 produced some of the highest levels of chlorine and bromines in history and led to some of the lowest ozone levels ever recorded. You would not know that today. The earth survived.

Today, if there is a settled science, it is adduced by climatologists who have been observing and studying the world for decades. Many are retired and not seeking government grants for research and thus not inclined to reach outcomes that are politically popular. Most have been through more than one alarmist cycle of doom. The predictions by scientists in Time magazine's "Another Ice Age?" in 1974 and Newsweek's "The Cooling World" in 1975 come to mind. The latter article stated that scientists "are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climactic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic."

But wise old heads believe that we are going through normal cycles of heating and cooling that we have seen over hundreds of millions of years as the earth heats and cools when the activity of the sun changes. The earth is heated by the sun. The sun is impacted by magnetic forces creating outbursts called sunspots, which increase the heat it imparts. During the coldest period in the Little Ice Age, which ended near the end of the 19th century, sunspots almost completely disappeared for 70 years. The earth cooled. Sunspot activity has been declining for a number of years and is expected decline by 40 percent over the next decade. The world is about to enter a cooling period. Be prepared to change your lifestyle.



E. Kasatkina et al.


Tree-ring series collected from different parts of Arctic (Fennoscandia, Kola Peninsula and Northern Siberia) are investigated by means of the multi-taped method (MTM) of spectral analysis. Results of spectral analysis allow us to select the main periods of solar variability (22-, 30--33- and 80--90-year solar cycles) in Kola and Fennoscandia tree-ring chronologies. Besides it was found that only periodicities of around 20 years are present in Siberian and Stockholm series, respectively.

With respect to 11-year periodicity, which is the most prominent one in sunspot number spectrum (Schwabe cycle) it may be said that it hardly appeared in Arctic tree-ring series. Although the 22-year cycles in climatic records are perceivable (it is also evident from our and other results), any physical mechanisms by which a reversal in the solar magnetic field could influence climate are still missing.

To our mind, a potential cause of this phenomenon seems to be a variation of stardust flux inside the solar system. The most recent observations in frame of the DUST experiment on board the Ulysses spacecraft have shown that stardust level inside of the solar system was trebled during the recent solar maximum (Landgraf et al., 2003. Penetration of the heliosphere by the interstellar dust stream during solar maximum. Journal Geophysical Research 108, 8030).

It is possible that the periodic increase of stardust in the solar system will influence the amount of extraterrestrial material that rains down to the Earth and consequently down to the Earth's atmosphere and may affect climate through alteration of atmospheric transparency and albedo.

(The Doi (permanent) address for the full academic article above is here)

The Earth was warming before global warming was cool.


Mr. du Pont is a former governor of Delaware. It is encouraging that the following summary of some simple facts was published in the widely-read Wall St. Journal

When Eric the Red led the Norwegian Vikings to Greenland in the late 900s, it was an ice-free farm country--grass for sheep and cattle, open water for fishing, a livable climate--so good a colony that by 1100 there were 3,000 people living there. Then came the Ice Age. By 1400, average temperatures had declined by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, the glaciers had crushed southward across the farmlands and harbors, and the Vikings did not survive.

Such global temperature fluctuations are not surprising, for looking back in history we see a regular pattern of warming and cooling. From 200 B.C. to A.D. 600 saw the Roman Warming period; from 600 to 900, the cold period of the Dark Ages; from 900 to 1300 was the Medieval warming period; and 1300 to 1850, the Little Ice Age.

During the 20th century the earth did indeed warm--by 1 degree Fahrenheit. But a look at the data shows that within the century temperatures varied with time: from 1900 to 1910 the world cooled; from 1910 to 1940 it warmed; from 1940 to the late 1970s it cooled again, and since then it has been warming. Today our climate is 1/20th of a degree Fahrenheit warmer than it was in 2001.

Many things are contributing to such global temperature changes. Solar radiation is one. Sunspot activity has reached a thousand-year high, according to European astronomy institutions. Solar radiation is reducing Mars's southern icecap, which has been shrinking for three summers despite the absence of SUVS and coal-fired electrical plants anywhere on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, a NASA study reports that solar radiation has increased in each of the past two decades, and environmental scholar Bjorn Lomborg, citing a 1997 atmosphere-ocean general circulation model, observes that "the increase in direct solar irradiation over the past 30 years is responsible for about 40 percent of the observed global warming."

Statistics suggest that while there has indeed been a slight warming in the past century, much of it was neither human-induced nor geographically uniform. Half of the past century's warming occurred before 1940, when the human population and its industrial base were far smaller than now. And while global temperatures are now slightly up, in some areas they are dramatically down. According to "Climate Change and Its Impacts," a study published last spring by the National Center for Policy Analysis, the ice mass in Greenland has grown, and "average summer temperatures at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet have decreased 4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the late 1980s." British environmental analyst Lord Christopher Monckton says that from 1993 through 2003 the Greenland ice sheet "grew an average extra thickness of 2 inches a year," and that in the past 30 years the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet has grown as well.

Earlier this month the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a summary of its fourth five-year report. Although the full report won't be out until May, the summary has reinvigorated the global warming discussion.

While global warming alarmism has become a daily American press feature, the IPCC, in its new report, is backtracking on its warming predictions. While Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" warns of up to 20 feet of sea-level increase, the IPCC has halved its estimate of the rise in sea level by the end of this century, to 17 inches from 36. It has reduced its estimate of the impact of global greenhouse-gas emissions on global climate by more than one-third, because, it says, pollutant particles reflect sunlight back into space and this has a cooling effect.

The IPCC confirms its 2001 conclusion that global warming will have little effect on the number of typhoons or hurricanes the world will experience, but it does not note that there has been a steady decrease in the number of global hurricane days since 1970--from 600 to 400 days, according to Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Peter Webster.

The IPCC does not explain why from 1940 to 1975, while carbon dioxide emissions were rising, global temperatures were falling, nor does it admit that its 2001 "hockey stick" graph showing a dramatic temperature increase beginning in 1970s had omitted the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warming temperature changes, apparently in order to make the new global warming increases appear more dramatic.

Sometimes the consequences of bad science can be serious. In a 2000 issue of Nature Medicine magazine, four international scientists observed that "in less than two decades, spraying of houses with DDT reduced Sri Lanka's malaria burden from 2.8 million cases and 7,000 deaths [in 1948] to 17 cases and no deaths" in 1963. Then came Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring," invigorating environmentalism and leading to outright bans of DDT in some countries. When Sri Lanka ended the use of DDT in 1968, instead of 17 malaria cases it had 480,000.

Yet the Sierra Club in 1971 demanded "a ban, not just a curb," on the use of DDT "even in the tropical countries where DDT has kept malaria under control." International environmental controls were more important than the lives of human beings. For more than three decades this view prevailed, until the restrictions were finally lifted last September.

As we have seen since the beginning of time, and from the Vikings' experience in Greenland, our world experiences cyclical climate changes. America needs to understand clearly what is happening and why before we sign onto U.N. environmental agreements, shut down our industries and power plants, and limit our economic growth.

A survival instinct gone awry?

Post lifted from Dinocrat

Many bright people have written that Global Warming functions in much the same way as a religion. Michael Crichton has an entertaining piece to that effect that we’ve written about before in this space. Richard Lindzen, professor at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, has said the same thing. So have many others. Standing as its own kind of proof of this thesis is the Wahhabi-like intensity that some believers (Ellen Goodman for example) have toward the crime of apostasy. Al Gore’s statement — really, a command — that “the debate…is over” conjures up an image of Torquemada, not of Galileo or Newton.

We are not here today to debate the merits of Global Warming. Frankly, we don’t care about the issue all that much. And to the extent there may actually be some global warming — manmade or otherwise — we’re all for it. As we have said, we plan to cash in big by buying muskeg in western Canada and hoping it becomes the New California someday.

Our question today is this: is there an survival purpose to the religious madness that grips the most fervent Global Warming adherents, turning them into harpies and hysterics? We think the answer is probably yes. The ancient story of Pharaoh’s dream tells us that the affluent and powerful have always had a little internal alarm bell warning them about the saven years of lean following the seven years of fat. Preparing for the lean times, and, as importantly, trying to ward them off, has been important for human survival — then and now.

Most people in America today have absolutely no idea how we became so rich over the last 130 years. They have no idea about the nexus of laws, an enterprising spirit of the people, available capital, good accounting, an expanding market, low cost resources, technology and engineering, and an adequate monetary policy that created the relative paradise that is capitalist America — a point we have made over and over again.

Moreover, the harpies and hysterics from the entertainment and political worlds are not only ignorant about how this prosperity came to be, they have themselves done almost nothing to create it — hence, in our opinion, they do not feel within themselves that they have earned the riches with which they have been showered. Thus, they seek, through magical incantations, to expiate their guilt at living, undeserved, in the seven years of fat, and hoping, through their professions of unworthiness and promises of self-abnegation, to ward off the anger of the gods. This kind of magical thinking should have become attenuated in the age of science and engineering, but these are people who haven’t the slightest clue about how an electric motor works, or why bad monetary policy causes inflation or depression. They are as kids in a candy store.

We comprehend the survival usefulness of an internal warning system for those who live lives of excess, but it is less clear why this has resulted in such hysteria, when a more appropriate response would simply be to consider better planning measures for the seven years of lean, in the event they arrive. Perhaps that comes from our ancient human history, when man had no technology to do any meaningful planning beyond a season or two into the future. Perhaps also the emotional agitation was a warning in the ancient days to be on the lookout for usurpers.

We note a final, amusing, parallelism from the time of Pharaoh to the modern potentates of our political and entertainment world. In both ages men worried and felt guilty about their privileged status, and wanted to ward off the seven years of lean by ritual incantations and professions of sorrow, penance, and self-abnegation. But when it came time for the actual ritual of human sacrifice, it was the little guy, not they, who paid the price to appease the gods.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


21 February, 2007


I am pleased that Professor Reid A. Bryson of the University of Wisconsin has agreed to post the guest weblog below on Climate Science. He is a Global 500 Laureate Senior Scientist, and Center for Climatic Research and Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography, and of Environmental Studies. His vita (see also here) documents his many invaluable contributions to climate science, as well as to other sciences. His expertise is summarized on his vita as "Much of Bryson's work has dealt with climate in relation to human ecology, and this has led him into extensive travel, especially to Asia where he worked primarily on anthropogenic changes of climate and landscape in general. His best-known laboratory works are in the development of new approaches to climatology, such as airstream analysis and quantitative, objective methods of reconstructing past climates. Dr. Bryson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Meteorological Society, and a charter member of the World Council for the Biosphere." He is eminently well qualified to present a weblog on Climate Science. The weblog post follows below.

GUEST WEBLOG: HISTORY!! (Getting Back To What It Sort Of Used To Be)

by Professor Reid A. Bryson

Remember Otzi, the Ice Man? The fellow that was found in the mountains between Austria and Italy a few years ago? He had been shot a little over 5000 years ago, and then covered with snow, and more snow, until a few years ago the snow melted back enough for Otzi to be found. Between his burial under snow and his exhumation by nature there was more snow and ice than before, or now. Are we just getting back to what the snow climate used to be?

When the Vikings settled part of Greenland circa 900 CE, they established a settlement that lasted longer than the United States has been around. There was a considerable amount of traffic between Greenland and Europe, by the standards of the time, so some skippers were making their first trip. The directions were, at first, to sail two and a half days west from Iceland to the shore of Greenland where there stood the landmark Blasark (black shirt) Mountain. Then sail down the coast to Eriksfjord, a beautiful broad straight passage across southern Greenland. Reaching the west coast they should turn right up the coast to the navigation marker on Herjolf's Ness. (About "Bluie West 3"in WW II.) Turning in to Tunugdliarfik Fjord Erik's homestead Brattahlid was only 75 miles at the end of the fjord (across from Bluie West 1, for you old timers).

After 1200 CE the directions changed. Sail one and a half days west from Iceland to the edge of the ice pack. If it is clear you might see the mountain Hvitsark to the west (snow covered now?), then go all the way down around hazardous Cap Farvel and up the other coast to Herjolf's Ness. Eriksfjord was no longer open, nor is it now. As of a decade or so ago there were two valley glaciers blocking it from the sides. Yes, I saw them. If Greenland ice diminishes some, will we be getting back to conditions like it used to be?

One of the well known climatic episodes (to well-educated climatologists) is the Little Ice Age. The hemispheric cooling started in the 1400s, really got going about 1570 (see Frobisher's journal) and was full-blown by mid-1600s. The Pilgrims picked a lousy time to come to America. After a little amelioration, things got worse culminating in the "Year Without a Summer".

Since then the hemispheric temperature has risen, and we even have thermometers to attest to it. Gee, getting back to what it used to be sure doesn't sound like the sky is falling and catastrophe looms. Besides, warmer weather reduces the Climatic Overhead and we get more income per unit of energy used.

Incidentally, this sequence can be modeled without even referring to anthropogenic carbon dioxide. The Northern Hemisphere temperature history as modeled using Milankovitch variations in solar radiation modulated by volcanic aerosols, using oceans and carbon dioxide only as minor dependent variables. (BP means before 1955 CE).

This figure captures very well, the "little ice age", the Medieval Warm Period, and other known variations of late BCE and early CE times. The drivers of this model are Milankovitch calculations (average for the entire Hemisphere) and the observed volcanic record described above. Carbon dioxide is treated as a very minor dependent variable. It is unlikely that a general circulation model which assumes a major role of carbon dioxide can duplicate this known climatic sequence.


IPCC's Artful Bias

Every trial lawyer will tell you that the key to presenting a strong case lies in carefully omitting the evidence against you. This is not lying, it is artful bias. Advocacy is the heart of our adversarial judicial system. Each side presents its case in the strongest possible terms, as though the other side's case did not exist. The jury hears both sides, puts the whole story together, then decides.

Anyone who doubts that the new IPCC Summary for Policy Makers is an advocacy document is ineligible for duty on the jury of reason. So what ain't they saying? Unfortunately the other side does not seem to be represented. We have looked in vain for the minority report. You would think that for $18 million they could afford one, but that just measures the advocationality of the thing. One side fits all.

Here is just a graphic peek at the missing side to give you the flavor of the game. Figure 2 shows a bunch of bars. Each represents one of the factors that is thought to have influenced global temperature. We see at once that all but one of these bars is human. Most are pretty big, especially the really big red one labeled CO2. There is one tiny natural bar labeled Solar.

There it is. Case closed. The jury can go home, no need to hear from the other side, it will only confuse them. We did it. The prosecution rests, let the persecution begin. Well not really, as always in these proceedings. A big pile of contrary science is missing here. Good science, interesting science, being carried on by a whole lot of real scientists.

For simplicity let's divide this mountain of contrary science into three high heaps. The first heap has to do with this little bitty solar bar. This bar is based on the relatively small amount of variable, direct radiant energy coming from the sun. What is omitted is a huge amount of research going on into indirect and amplified solar mechanisms. The reason for this research is the close correlation between solar variation and global temperature, seen over a lot of time scales. Something is going on but we don't know what and there are a lot of theories. Google Scholar lists over 500,000 scientific papers on solar variability. The IPCC omits this research because it does not help their case.

The second heap includes little things like the ocean, earth wobbles, etc., that are also thought to heavily influence climate. They get no bar at all, because we can't measure their influence either, even though we know it is there.

The third heap is ugly but very real. It is research into natural climate variability per se, something that has received a lot of attention. We now know that climate varies all the time, for reasons we do not understand. It has varied quite naturally a lot more than the little bit we are fussing with today. So today's warming may well be simply the emergence of mother earth from the famous Little Ice Age. But you can't put a bar on the LIA because we don't know what causes it. Looking at the IPCC bar chart you would never know there was a LIA, just a lot of human stuff and a bitty bit of sun. That is the truly artful part of their bias, simply ignore what we don't understand, like it did not exist.

In short, it is easy to argue that humans control climate, if you omit nature. That is just what the IPCC does, and it is very good advocacy. It's just not good science.


Gore's Bad Science

Al Gore's grasp of Earth science was dreadful in college and has gotten steadily worse, according to the embarrassing facts exposed in the "Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming," a book that declares: "Catastrophic Manmade global warming is not catastrophic, manmade, or global." It reveals that Gore's college grades were not anything to write home about:


Gore's favorite crusade of recent months, that global warming caused Katrina, is summarily dismissed in the book by the nation's top hurricane expert. "The degree to which you believe global warming is causing major hurricanes is inversely proportional to your knowledge about these storms," said Dr. William Gray, the leading Hurricane expert in the U.S.

"The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming" dismantles Gore's faulty science with hard facts ignored by the mainstream media:

* Gore's favorite animal, the polar bear, is thriving. Ten out of 12 polar bear populations are thriving, although the White House has recently said they are going extinct.

* Man is responsible for only 3% of all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

* Methane is a naturally occurring greenhouse gas that comes from decaying plants, seeps from swamps, bogs, rice paddies, and leaks out the front and back ends of masticating animals.

* The Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker and the South Pole is getting colder. The Southern hemisphere on the whole shows no appreciable rise in temperatures.

* Gore points out that the "snows of Kilimanjaro" are melting, but leaves out the fact that the temperature there is dropping.



We no longer build new roads in the UK. But we are world-leaders in constructing endless debates about roads - arguments that seem to go round and round in circles getting nowhere, like a long afternoon on the M25. The fewer miles we actually add to the road network, it seems, the more mileage there is in engineering big political controversies out of mundane roads-related matters. We could surely do with a u-turn in priorities here.

After years of pootling around the political backstreets, for example, road pricing - a system of charging motorists for the mileage they do - has been driven to the top of the agenda. Last year the government-initiated Eddington Report declared the need for a national system of road-charging to be an unarguable necessity - or an `economic no brainer' as former British Airways chief Rod Eddington put it.

Since then, no fewer than one-and-a-quarter million people - all of them presumably lacking a brain in the Treasury's view - have signed an online protest against the plans for road-pricing on the government's own petitions website. The idea that road-users are rising up against the authorities, over not only road-pricing but also congestion charges, speed cameras and the many other minor discomforts of driving, has reached the point where an unknown `disgruntled motorist' was made the prime suspect for the recent spate of little letter-bomb attacks, with some even implying that the government was to blame for `driving him to it'.

These rows are a sign that politics is currently on the road to nowhere. There is a crying need for investment in major new roads in the UK, an advanced economy with a sub-European road network that, in the past 10 years, has built barely 150 miles of new motorway to support traffic growth of more than 30 per cent. Yet the demand for substantial new roads is not even on the table in the `great congestion debate'. Instead we are left with an argument over how motorists should be made to make do and mend with what exists, which is about as productive as two motorists yelling at one another through a fug of exhaust fumes.

The Eddington Report was the latest example of how the authorities now routinely deploy green politics as the language of eco-austerity. In the spirit of other New Labour reports, it effectively sought to redefine the aim of government transport policy as making Britain less mobile, by using financial penalties to drive people off the roads (at least the busy ones they want to use, at the times they most want to use them) rather than expanding capacity to meet demand. It is another testament to the triumph of the miserly politics of lowering people's expectations.

Eddington suggests it is a no-brainer that we must have a national system of road-pricing, since the shock-horror alternative would be actually to invest in big new roads. He argues that smaller projects which fiddle with the existing system are best, and warns the government not to be seduced by `grand projects' (he is preaching to the converted there), before driving his point home by concluding that `ambitions and dreams of extensive new networks.should be put aside.. Some of the best projects are small-scale, such as walking and cycling.' That should get Britain moving!

As Austin Williams of the Future Cities Project has noted, what Eddington did was to reduce the planning of our future transport infrastructure to simple fiscal considerations, a crude cost-benefit analysis assuming the need for demand management (1). The wider needs of a modern, mobile society are discounted, any vision of a more free-travelling future dismissed as `dreams'. So at the same time as something as everyday as roads can be blown up into the stuff of political controversy, the issue can simultaneously be reduced to another of Gordon Brown's mean-spirited bean-counting exercises. And in another sign of the miserabilist times, Eddington makes clear that motorists must be punished if they insist on driving about doing their business - or in New Labour-speak, they must be made to `feel the consequences of their decisions'.

A few months on from the publication of the Eddington Report, however, it would appear that the government's attempt to start the road-pricing bandwagon has backfired. New Labour no doubt hoped that farming it out to `independent' experts (even if they were handpicked by the Treasury) would allow it to remain aloof. But fuelled by scaremongering headlines about how much it might cost mothers to take their kids to school or do the shopping etc, public opposition to the government has quickly blown up around the online petition.

Comparisons with the anti-poll tax protests that helped to bring down Margaret Thatcher have been overstated. But as they are popularly understood, the road-pricing proposals would appear to have one similar effect to the hated poll tax - making people pay more for less. You do not have to be an economist to grasp that the government already takes around œ45billion a year in taxes from road-users, and spends no more than œ7billion of it on the roads. The apparent prospect of paying more tax, with no promise of new investment, could hardly have been better designed to disgruntle middle-class motorists as well as white van man.

It looks like a classic New Labour cock-up. Deeply worried about its isolation from the electorate, the government sets up this website for public petitions, presumably on the basis that for a self-proclaimed `listening government', even having your policies complained about is better than being entirely ignored. Inevitably, however, given the breadth of cynicism about politics and government today, a big two-fingered protest soon emerges on the site - and perhaps equally inevitably, it is about the mundane stuff that seems to touch people's lives rather than Iraq.

And if the anti-road pricing petition confirms the isolation of the political class from the public, the government's response to it has made clear the deepening insecurity in Whitehall. No sooner had the million-signature petition started making headlines than ministers started suggesting there had been a misunderstanding and they wouldn't be bringing in any system of road-pricing that the public does not support.

Remember, the Tory poll tax had been in force for some time before the protests and a major riot in central London caused a government crisis in 1990. Nowadays all it takes to unnerve the authorities is a `virtual barricade' of an ephemeral online petition, at least five years before road-pricing could actually take effect. It appears that, in the last days of Tony Blair, New Labour has become even more shaky and bereft of a political sat-nav to guide it than when Mrs Thatcher's Conservative regime was in its final throes in the Downing Street bunker.

Yet at root this is another phoney war that New Labour and its opponents are fighting. One thing that is very unlikely to result is any fundamental change of policy as regards those seductive `grand projects' that Old Mother Eddington warned ministers about. The no-more-roads prejudice draws its authority from the green consensus that now extends pretty much across the mainstream political spectrum.

Although the likes of Tory leader David Cameron are now a prominent part of that consensus, it owes much of its strength to the old left. It was the rump of the left that helped to organise and support the anti-roads protests of the past 20 years, depicting motoring as an unnecessary evil and roads as a blot on the landscape. This attitude laid the foundations for today's narrow `debate' about how to restrict car travel; see for example the origins of London mayor Ken Livingstone's ever-expanding congestion charge in his statement, almost 20 years ago, that he hated cars and would like to `ban the lot'.

The left's enthusiastic embrace of the small-minded anti-road building lobby symbolised its political degeneration, its abandonment of the social - the progressive attempt to transform society through human action - in favour of the natural: the reactionary attempt to defend the environment against humanity.

In The Communist Manifesto, more than a century-and-a-half ago, Marx and Engels talked about the `wonders' of industrial capitalism. Now those wonders are condemned as evils. An understanding that capitalism had both a dynamic and a destructive aspect was always fundamental to a radical left view. More recently, however, what remains of the left has come to see them as the same thing, and to attack such modern achievements as flying or mass mobility as crimes against the environment. Throw in an unhealthy dose of antagonism towards the `greedy' cheap-flying, car-driving masses, and it becomes clear that while the left itself might have largely disappeared from the political roadmap, its misanthropic prejudices have done much to help consolidate the consensus against new road-building.

The fact remains, however, that our motorway-malnourished society needs bigger and better road networks, alongside a properly funded public transport system. We need far less effort to be put into constructing fuming rows about roads, and rather more into quietly building them. In the current phoney war over road-pricing, New Labour might think itself well-advised to follow the old advice: when in a hole, stop digging. But the authorities would do us all a favour if they also took heed of some alternative advice. When in a jam, start digging - more motorways.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


20 February, 2007


"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." -- Leo Tolstoy (1826-1910)

Clearly, Tolstoy -- the great Russian novelist -- wasn't writing about man-made global warming, since he predated this relatively recent hysteria. Nevertheless, the quote certainly applies to the global warming debate -- or should I say the climate change consensus? The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summary released last Friday inflates the language of doom even as it deflates its predictions of temperature and sea level increases from previous reports.

The IPCC Climate Change 2007 report predicts world temperatures will possibly rise 1.8C to 4C (3.25 to 7.2F) from 1990 levels to the year 2100 and that sea levels might rise 28 to 43 cm (11 to 17 inches). Just six years ago, however, the picture looked much bleaker.

The 2001 IPCC report predicted that from 1990 to 2100 temperatures would rise 1.4C to 5.8C causing sea levels to rise by .09 to .88 metres (3.5 to 34.6 inches or 9 to 88 cm). In other words, in just six years, predictions about temperature increases have plummeted by one-third and predictions about sea-level increases at the high end have been cut in half! At that rate, by my calculations, we'll just have to wait for two more reports and the IPCC will be predicting no measurable increases at all!

Incidentally, many climate scientists have been saying just that -- wait until 2025, when it's expected the sun's output may wane, leading to global cooling. Another measurement has had to be slashed by one-third as well. In 2001, the UN body said the global net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming with radiative forcing of 2.43 watts per square metre. Oops. Now they're saying it's 1.6 watts per square metre. Shouldn't someone at least be blushing? Shouldn't they apologize for getting all of this so wrong? If a large automobile executive got his predictions wrong by up to 50%, he'd be fired.

The IPCC, however, continues to fly around at great cost to the UN and the environment and they stay on board this great gig as long as they continue to tout the party line -- that Earth is going to hell, only it's going to be even hotter. What's most troubling about all of this is the 21-page, much-hyped summary is not referenced at all. The science that supposedly backs all of these predictions is nowhere to be found and won't be released until April and May.

This is problematic on many fronts, but as past IPCC reports have shown, the summary is not written by the scientists whose names appear on the cover, it's written by politicians and bureaucrats. Indeed, some of those scientists after the fact have complained their work has been grossly misrepresented.

In 2001, two scientists complained publicly their work was misrepresented by those who wrote the summary, including MIT physicist Richard Lindzen.

In June 1996, Dr. Frederick Seitz, past-president of the National Academy of Sciences and president emeritus of Rockefeller University, wrote with regard to the 1995 IPCC report: "I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report." He continued: "This report is not what it appears to be -- it is not the version approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page."

In other words, past IPCC reports have proven to be fraudulent and yet, to paraphrase Tolstoy, they have been woven into the public policy fabric of our lives.



You could be excused for thinking that we'll soon do something serious about global warming. Last Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- an international group of scientists -- concluded that, to a 90 percent probability, human activity is warming the Earth. Earlier, Democratic congressional leaders made global warming legislation a top priority; and 10 big U.S. companies (including General Electric and DuPont) endorsed federal regulation. Strong action seems at hand.

Don't be fooled. The dirty secret about global warming is this: We have no solution. About 80 percent of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), the main sources of man-made greenhouse gases. Energy use sustains economic growth, which -- in all modern societies -- buttresses political and social stability. Until we can replace fossil fuels or find practical ways to capture their emissions, governments will not sanction the deep energy cuts that would truly affect global warming. Considering this reality, you should treat the pious exhortations to "do something" with skepticism, disbelief or contempt. These pronouncements are (take your pick) naive, self-interested, misinformed, stupid or dishonest. Politicians mainly want to be seen as reducing global warming. Companies want to polish their images and exploit markets created by new environmental regulations. As for editorialists and pundits, there's no explanation except superficiality or herd behavior.

Anyone who honestly examines global energy trends must reach these harsh conclusions. In 2004, world emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, the main greenhouse gas) totaled 26 billion metric tons. Under plausible economic and population assumptions, CO2emissions will grow to 40 billion tons by 2030, projects the International Energy Agency. About three-quarters of the increase is forecast to come from developing countries, two-fifths from China alone. The IEA expects China to pass the United States as the largest source of carbon dioxide by 2009. Poor countries won't sacrifice economic growth -- lowering poverty, fostering political stability -- to placate the rich world's global warming fears. Why should they? On a per-person basis, their carbon dioxide emissions are only about one-fifth the level of rich countries. In Africa, less than 40 percent of the population even has electricity.

Nor will existing technologies, aggressively deployed, rescue us. The IEA studied an "alternative scenario" that simulated the effect of 1,400 policies to reduce fossil fuel use. Fuel economy for new U.S. vehicles was assumed to increase 30 percent by 2030; the global share of energy from "renewables" (solar, wind, hydropower, biomass) would quadruple, to 8 percent. The result: by 2030, annual carbon dioxide emissions would rise 31 percent instead of 55 percent. The concentration levels of emissions in the atmosphere (which presumably cause warming) would rise.

Since 1850, global temperatures have increased almost 1 degree Celsius. Sea level has risen about seven inches, though the connection is unclear. So far, global warming has been a change, not a calamity. The IPCC projects wide ranges for the next century: temperature increases from 1.1 degrees Celsius to 6.4 degrees; sea level rises from seven inches to almost two feet. People might easily adapt; or there might be costly disruptions (say, frequent flooding of coastal cities resulting from melting polar ice caps).

I do not say we should do nothing, but we should not delude ourselves. In the United States, the favored remedy is "cap and trade." It's environmental grandstanding -- politicians pretending they're doing something. Companies would receive or buy quotas ("caps") to emit carbon dioxide. To exceed the limits, they'd acquire some other company's unused quotas ("trade"). How simple. Just order companies to cut emissions. Businesses absorb all the costs. But in practice, no plausible "cap and trade" program would significantly curb global warming. To do that, quotas would have to be set so low as to shut down the economy. Or the cost of scarce quotas would skyrocket and be passed along to consumers through much higher energy prices. Neither outcome seems likely. Quotas would be lax. The program would be a regulatory burden with little benefit. It would also be a bonanza for lobbyists, lawyers and consultants, as industries and localities besieged Washington for exceptions and special treatment. Hello, influence-peddling and sleaze.

What we really need is a more urgent program of research and development, focusing on nuclear power, electric batteries, alternative fuels and the capture of carbon dioxide. Naturally, there's no guarantee that socially acceptable and cost-competitive technologies will result. But without them, global warming is more or less on automatic pilot. Only new technologies would enable countries -- rich and poor -- to reconcile the immediate imperative of economic growth with the potential hazards of climate change.

Meanwhile, we could temper our energy appetite. I've argued before for a high oil tax to prod Americans to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles. The main aim would be to limit insecure oil imports, but it would also check CO2emissions. Similarly, we might be better off shifting some of the tax burden from wages and profits to a broader tax on energy or carbon. That would favor more fuel-efficient light bulbs, appliances and industrial processes. It's a debate we ought to have -- but probably won't. Any realistic response would be costly, uncertain and no doubt unpopular. That's one truth too inconvenient for almost anyone to admit.



It is 25 degrees below freezing and work is going at full pace on a huge construction site on the west coast of Finland. Ice and snow crunch underfoot and the workers have a grim, focused look on their faces as they move between huge cranes and concrete slabs in their bright orange jackets and safety helmets.

This particular morning is not cold enough for work to be called off - that would take minus 30C - but it is cold enough to send Finland's national electricity consumption to its highest recorded level. That record surge was set last Wednesday as millions of homes and workplaces struggled to warm up, highlighting the importance to Finland of the construction project at Olkiluoto, a small island that used to be covered in coastal pines.

The orange-clad workers are building a nuclear power plant that is crucial to Finland - which has no oil, gas or coal of its own - and is seen by many experts as the future of the country's power industry. Of the 450 commercial reactors around the world, this is the one being most closely watched as Australia and other countries contemplate nuclear power as at least part of the solution to reducing carbon emissions and slowing climate change.

The first nuclear power station built in Western Europe since the Chernobyl disaster 20 years ago, the Olkiluoto III plant will be one of the largest in the world and the first "third generation" pressurised water reactor. With a price tag of well over E3 billion ($5billion), it will produce 1600 megawatts, close to the combined output of the two nuclear stations already operating at Olkiluoto. The new plant will alone account for about 15 per cent of Finland's electricity needs.

The sheer ambition and cutting-edge technology of the plant have already drawn Prime Minister John Howard's nuclear energy adviser Ziggy Switkowski and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to the island, with Switkowski using his visit to help conclude that Australia should go nuclear.

When Inquirer visited the site last week, its most striking feature was its remoteness. While Switkowski recommended the construction of up to 25 Australian plants "only tens of kilometres" from major centres - prompting Labor to warn of plants on the edges of capital cities - the Finnish plants are about as remote as southern Finland gets. Only 33 people live within 5km of the site.

A thin metal shelter has been built to keep the weather off the main reactor site, where workers have just finished laying the main base slab of concrete (3m deep and 60m in diameter) and have started on outer walls that will eventually rise 20 storeys. There will actually be two enormous outer walls, designed to withstand severe earthquakes or a direct hit by a commercial airliner fully loaded with fuel.

Most of the 1100-plus workers keep busy indoors, and the surprising quiet of the construction site is matched inside the nearby Olkiluoto I station, where even the main reactor hall is monitored electronically. The nearest town, Eurajoki (population 5800), is 15km away. The smokestacks of Rauma (pop 37,000), an industrial port about 20km away, can just be seen from the top of the power plants, and Pori (pop 76,000) is 30km to the north. With no big cities and with electricity-hungry timber mills spread through its north, Finland has a large grid and a far-flung network of power stations that do not need to sit near their consumers.

Those timber mills and the harsh climate make Finland one of the world's largest electricity consumers on a per capita basis. Its 5.3 million people use more than twice the electricity of nearby Denmark, which has 5.4 million. The Finnish people's awareness of their energy problems has helped to build support for the nuclear industry, and Howard's team might take heart from the fact that even the nearest neighbours of the Olkiluoto plants seem more interested in the economic benefits of the industry than the potential dangers.

The present construction workforce of 1180 will rise to 3000, and as many jobs again are believed to have been created in the local area. In the long term there will be about 150 people employed to operate the plant. Where the Finnish experience is less encouraging for Howard is in Switkowski's conclusion that Australia could have commercial plants up and running in as little as 10 to 15 years. Finland's politicians and voters have been through years of consultations, studies and debates but nuclear power is still a tough political and regulatory issue, and that is without the obstacles presented by ALP premiers determined to block the industry.

Environmental studies for Olkiluoto III began in 1998 and preparation of the site got under way in 2003, but civil construction did not begin until 2005 and it is not expected to be operating until 2011. That is a timeline of 13 years despite the fact that there were already nuclear plants at the site and that Finland has nuclear expertise dating back to 1977, when the first of its four plants came on line. Construction has fallen 18 months behind schedule due to delays that have left the owners and builders pointing fingers and fighting over money.

TVO, the Finnish energy company that owns the plant, has blamed the French-German builders Areva-Siemens, accusing them of design mistakes, poor supervision of sub-contractors, shoddy training and construction mishaps such as the use of the wrong concrete. The builders claim the schedule they were given was unrealistic, but TVO points out that the builders approved that schedule before starting work. Jorma Aurela, senior engineer in the Ministry of Trade and Industry's nuclear energy division, says both sides are to blame for the delays. "They did not estimate the length of the project properly. TVO, the main contractor Areva and all the sub-contractors made the same mistake," says Aurela, who writes Finland's nuclear power plant licences. "But every power plant in Finland has been built late, that's why the public is not that surprised or upset about it. What is important is that safety is OK."

In 1982, with four plants up and running, a Gallup poll found that just 24 per cent of Finns approved of nuclear power and 38 per cent were opposed. By 1985, approval had climbed to overtake opposition (35-32) - but then Chernobyl sent support plummeting and in 1993, parliament rejected a proposal for a fifth plant. It was not until 2002 that a fifth licence squeaked through on a vote of 107-92. Support has since climbed steadily so that 50 per cent now approve and only 20 per cent do not. Aurela says the key is that Finns believe they must diversify their sources of energy. "Australia is like Norway, you are lucky enough to be able to choose between various types of energy but we have to get it where we can," he says. "Right now our energy mix is very good as we have a variety of sources, but each source has its own problems."

Wind power, for instance, provided just 0.1 per cent of electricity generation in 2004 and offers little hope of growth as Finland has weak winds, especially in winter. Hydro provided 17 per cent of the country's electricity but it, too, has little potential for growth. Timber made up 12 per cent and peat another 7 per cent. Imported coal provided another 18 per cent, gas 12 per cent and oil 2 per cent but Finland's Kyoto commitments mean its coal usage must fall. Nuclear plants were the largest single source of electricity with 25 per cent, and the new plant will provide the equivalent of 15 per cent of current consumption.

Finnish President Tarja Halonen told The Australian last week climate change had been the big driver of public acceptance of nuclear fuel because global warming was no longer a debate, "it is a fact". But Halonen, who was in Australia this week, also said nuclear power risked distracting funds from renewable energies, a concern echoed by the Greens. "The greatest environmental hazard posed by nuclear power is that nuclear energy is being marketed as a magical solution to climate change, so that we would not really have to change anything," says Tapio Laakso, chairman of the Greens' youth organisation.

Aurela briefed Switkowski last year and warned that public acceptance can never be taken for granted by the industry. "An accident in any of the 450 plants in the world would jeopardise public support and could have the same effect on your industry that Chernobyl did on ours," he says. Aurela also said that if there is to be a nuclear power industry in Australia it must be driven by the private sector. "The industry should have no future in Australia if it is dependent on government money. Nuclear energy has to survive on its own commercial merits or it has no future," he says.

Another innovation that some in Australia would like to copy is unfolding just over a kilometre from the new plant. A plain two-lane road dips into a tunnel entrance running under a pine forest and disappears into the bedrock. The tunnel already reaches a depth of 180m and will eventually grow into a 42km maze. With a price tag of E2.5 billion, this will be the world's first permanent dump for the most dangerous of nuclear wastes, spent fuel rods.

All nuclear plants now use interim dumps but the Finns are working to bury their spent fuel under 520m of bedrock. The Swedes and Americans are planning to do the same thing and there have been determined calls in Australia to set up a dump as a money-making venture. Aurela says Finland sees the dump as one of the costs of nuclear fuel, not as a way of generating profits, and only Finnish waste will be stored there. While Britain and many other countries are facing taxpayer bills of billions of dollars to clean up power stations, the Finns decided back in 1983 to set a levy on nuclear fuel to fund a permanent dump. Some 5500 tonnes of spent fuel will be packed into 2800 airtight steel containers about 4m long and then encased in copper. They will then be placed in holes drilled a few metres apart in the floor of the new tunnels and surrounded with bentonite clay to protect the copper from salty groundwater. The tunnels will finally be filled in with a mixture of clay, sand and rock.

Aurela says the dump would be easier to build in Australia. "We have very old and stable bedrock but we do have groundwater. For Australia this waste question would not be that difficult. You have a huge country with plenty of desert and dry bedrock." However politically radioactive the idea of such a dump might be in Australia, it has been calmly accepted in Finland. And yet there is one part of the nuclear cycle that much of the Finnish public is balking at - uranium mining.

Recent proposals for mining leases have been opposed by environmentalists and local communities, with Antti Kokkonen, political editor of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, explaining that Finns are much more relaxed about nuclear dumps and power plants than they are about uranium mining. "Some of the uranium deposits are near populated areas and people seem to think that digging it up would be dangerous."



Czech MEP Miroslav Ouzky (Civic Democrats, ODS) is the first Czech to head the EP's environmental committee as he was elected its chairman in Brussels today. Ouzky replaced Christian Democrat Karl-Heinz Florenz, according to agreements within the conservative EP's group European People's Party-European Democrats (EPP-ED) of which ODS MEPs are members. Some MEPs, however expressed fears about Ouzky's qualification for the new post... Asked about global warming, Ouzky admitted the problem of greenhouse gases, but he said he cannot say to what extent they affect global warming. He, however added that the world must fight with this problem.


Global warming goes to court in Australia too

THERE are some decisions that are too important to be left to the judiciary. And a carbon tax is one of them. But while governments debate the issue and agonise about the details, green activists are working through the courts to bypass the democratic process and force such a tax on the coal industry. Unlike governments, judges and tribunal members cannot equip themselves with sufficient information to make an informed decision about how to deal with climate change. For this reason, they must be stripped of the power to intervene in this area before the environmental lobby persuades activist judges that they alone can save the world.

There is another reason why judges should bow out of this area. And it was spelt out as recently as last week by High Court Chief Justice Murray Gleeson. Judicial officers risk a loss of public confidence if their rulings are considered to be no more than the imposition of their personal social goals. The green campaign, which started in NSW, received a welcome setback in Queensland this week. A tribunal headed by Greg Koppenol exposed the flawed logic of those who wanted to use Mr Koppenol's tribunal to force a coalmine to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Had they succeeded, it would have had the same effect as a carbon tax: the cost of the mine's coal would have risen and consumers would have bought their coal elsewhere. And it would have been a tax that would have been passed without a single vote by a representative body. Mr Koppenol made the right call. But that's not the point. Unless the states prevent judges and tribunals from venturing into this area, the nation is at risk of being lumbered with an inconsistent network of court-imposed carbon taxes.

For proof, just look at last year's loopy decision by NSW Land and Environment Court judge Nicola Pain. She ruled that an environmental impact statement for the Anvil Hill coalmine in the Hunter Valley was invalid because it failed to consider the emission of greenhouse gases. Ms Pain was an environmental activist before she was appointed to the bench by NSW Attorney-General and Environment Minister Bob Debus.

On this issue, the NSW Labor Government has betrayed the coal industry. Coalmining jobs are now at risk because of the actions of the state Labor Government. Instead of legislating to overturn Ms Pain's ruling and seeking a consistent national approach, the NSW Government has embraced her mad plan. It has asked the mine to respond to a Greens suggestion that factor into its costbase $109 a tonne for carbon dioxide emissions. Such a tax, which was calculated according to data in the much-criticised Stern review of climate change, would render the mine economically unviable. The issue of climate change demands a national approach, not an ad hoc network of inconsistent state taxes. Despite what some governments might think, taxes are not the solution to all the world's problems.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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19 February, 2007


The excerpt below is yet more documentation for a continuing rise in CO2. But where is the warming that is supposed to go with that? Earth's average annual temperature has not risen since 1998

Yesterday, scientists produced the first evidence that the rampant growth of emerging economies like China is contributing to global warming.

The Norwegian Polar Institute which monitors the air in the Arctic circle, said that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at a new record and still rising fast. Airborne concentrations of have now reached 390 parts per million, up from 388 a year ago. Before Europe's industrial revolution in the 18th Century, concentrations are believed to have been largely stable at around 270 ppm for several thousand years.

But most scientists now believe that human activity, and especially the burning of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, has released ever more carbon into the atmosphere. Kim Holmen, research director at the institute, said that levels have risen particularly sharply since 2000, and those rises have coincided with the emergence of Asian economies like China and India. "The large increases in release rates are definitely in the Asian economies," Dr Holmen said.



By Ross McKitrick (McKitrick is associate professor of economics at the University of Guelph)

Last Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group charged with assessing the state of the world's climate, unveiled the summary of its latest report. The IPCC Web site claims an impressive number of participants: 450 lead authors, 800 contributors and 2,500 expert reviewers (of which I was one). But it would be a mistake to assume all these experts endorse everything in summary, including its bottom-line assessment: "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

Many disagree with the conclusion itself or the claimed level of certainty, but the fact is, we were never asked. Most participants worked only on small portions of the report, handed in final materials last summer and never ventured an opinion on claims made in the summary. Nor can readers check how well the summary reflects the underlying science. The report itself will not be distributed until May. Although it was officially "released" on Feb. 2, the IPCC is going over the wording to make sure it is consistent with the summary.

This is a curious and disconcerting aspect of IPCC procedures: it needs a couple of months to revise a detailed report prepared by hundreds of scientists, to ensure it agrees with a brief summary drafted by a few dozen scientists and edited by hundreds of bureaucrats and politicians. To be sure, the IPCC does an impressive job of mobilizing experts to produce a report it hopes will be of service to the world. No one should trivialize this achievement.

But let's not make the error of allowing a glossy summary to trivialize the complexities and uncertainties in climate change. After all, if the issues were so simple, you wouldn't need 3,700 experts to write the report. It is a paradox that some of the strongest claims of unanimity in science are made on a subject involving some of the deepest intellectual disagreements and uncertainties.

For instance, the study of climate begins with the movements of fluids: the oceans and atmosphere. The mathematics describing fluids in motion were derived by Claude-Louis Navier and George Gabriel Stokes more than a century ago, but no one has been able to put the equations in a form that would be useful for predicting many key climatic processes. The Clay Institute of Mathematics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers a $1 million prize for anyone who can solve the "Navier-Stokes problem," or even just prove that a solution is possible.

In lieu of a solution, scientists use computer models to approximate how the countless processes affecting the climate might behave over time. The IPCC report explains many important limitations of these models: the summary ignores them.

The report fails to achieve balance in other places. For instance, in its 2001 report, the IPCC effectively denied the view that the Earth's climate had cycled through warming and cooling for 10 centuries prior to today's warming. The famous "hockey stick" graph implied warming began with industrialization. I am skeptical of this claim, based on a lot of research-including some high-level expert reviews last year-that showed the data did not support the IPCC claim.

The 2007 report admits problems in this earlier view, but goes on to claim that climate is likely the warmest in 1300 years-precisely what the data don't support. The IPCC also denies that its estimate of rising temperatures, based on weather data collected in ground-level stations around the world, is affected by warming biases due to land-use change, urbanization and the sudden closure of half the world's monitoring stations in the early 1990s.

I am skeptical of their position, based on work I and others have done showing correlations between these influences and temperature trends. There are other examples. Numerous analyses of solar data suggest the sun's output has intensified since the 17th century, and its indirect effect on cloud formation may further amplify its influence on the climate, implying much of 20th-century climate change is natural.

One recent study, by contrast, suggests almost no solar intensification has occurred since the 17th century. That's the study you will read about most in the IPCC report summary. The IPCC leaders have a point of view. Think of their report as the case for the prosecution. Maybe this time the district attorney is right. Maybe not: that is why we need to hear from the defense as well.



By Arnold Kling

"Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future." -- Ellen Goodman

"Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment. Also, it's an undignified slapstick that people don't wait for the full report in May 2007 but instead respond, in such a serious way, to the summary for policymakers where all the "but's" are scratched, removed, and replaced by oversimplified theses. This is clearly such an incredible failure of so many people, from journalists to politicians." -- Czech President Vaclav Klaus

Pundits, politicians, and the public have a hard time coming to grips with uncertainty. This makes the atmosphere for debating global warming policy especially foul, because the key issues with global warming are the uncertainties involved. Those who would try to reduce the issue of global warming to a yes-or-no question ("do you believe or do you deny?") are not scientists. Real scientists understand uncertainty. Real science deals with uncertainty through relentless, skeptical inquiry. Real science resolves arguments not with consensus, but with data.

My understanding of global warming is influenced by my background in applied statistics and economics. There certainly are scientists who have spent more time than I have analyzing the meteorological data. However, before you call me a "hack," make sure that you are capable of understanding, say, Martin Weitzman's critique of the Stern report. [Excerpt immediately following below]

Two facts are known. One is that the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been climbing exponentially. In fact, the overall level of human activity, as measured by total Gross Domestic Product, is perhaps 50 times higher than it was one hundred years ago. Another fact is that over the past 30 years, the average global temperature has increased in total by between 0.5 degrees and one degree centigrade. That means that the average annual rate of increase has been less than one-tenth of one degree per year.

The global warming that has taken place so far is minor. The improvement in living standards that has taken place in the past one hundred years is enormous. The global warming issue has nothing to do with the global warming that has taken place to date. It has everything to do with the global warming that will take place in the future.

This is a matter that depends on climate forecasting. The climate forecasting challenge is to predict the rate of change of global temperature, based on the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide. From a purely statistical standpoint, we do not have the data to do this. The current level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is quite high, even relative to a quarter century ago. We probably have not had enough experience to know the rate of change in global temperature that will result from this high level.

The attempts to cope with this ignorance are known as climate models. Given the sheer complexity of global climate, it is impossible to have much confidence in these models. Perhaps they are better than nothing -- that is, better than a simple statistical extrapolation. However, my guess would be otherwise. For a decade, beginning in about 1978, the economics profession witnessed the utter discrediting of a similar exercise in complex modeling -- so-called macroeconometrics.

Macroeconometrics was supposed to enable you to do something like predict nominal GDP (GDP not adjusted for inflation) based on the money supply. Looking at historical data, this almost seems too easy -- the level of GDP and the level of the money supply both rise over time. Economists thought that they might remove this spurious correlation by "de-trending" the data and then looking at the correlation adjusted for this trend. Unfortunately -- and this is what began to hit home in the late 1970's -- "de-trending" did not remove the spurious correlation.

There was a lot of highly technical analysis undertaken, including work by Nobel Laureate Clive Granger. My take-away from this work is that the amount of meaningful information in macroeconomic data is much less than is necessary for macroeconometric models to be successful. Simple statistical extrapolations work just about as well, and often better. Climate data looks to me suspiciously like macroeconomic data. The true information content probably is not sufficient to produce a reliable model for forecasting.

"Just in Case"

If I thought that climate models were highly accurate, then I would be opposed to any major near-term policy to address global warming. The reason is that the climate models predict gradual, modest global warming over the next century. What that means is that, relative to future GDP, the costs are tolerable. As Weitzman points out, the mainstream economic approach to trading off tolerable future costs against current costs would argue against making significant sacrifices today.

However, Weitzman implicitly shares my concern with climate models. Obviously, we have nothing to worry about if the models are too pessimistic. If it turns out that over the next decade global temperatures edge down, or rise more slowly than the models predict, then we will be relieved. The troublesome possibility is that the models are not pessimistic enough. In fact, Weitzman would argue, and I concur, that the case for doing something today about global warming rests on the fear of the scenario of accelerated near-term climate change -- increases in temperature at a rate that is on the high end of the range being forecast by climate models.

The ideal approach would be a "just-in-case" climate-change mitigation plan. If global warming stays at or under current baseline projections, we probably would do best to simply just adapt. However, if global warming accelerates, we would want to take strong steps to counteract it. In that sense, climate engineering, in which we attempt to use technological means to manipulate global temperatures, would be a good fit. If we had such mechanisms, we could use them on an as-needed basis.

Martin Weitzman also discusses the issue of "just-in-case" policies. "...many hard questions need to be asked. What are early-warning signs of impending environmental disasters like melting ice sheets or thermohaline inversions? How much would it cost to put sensors in place that might detect early-warning signals of impending climatic catastrophes? How early might the warning be before the full effects are felt? What could we do as an emergency response if we received such an early-warning signal? Would last-ditch emergency measures help to ward off disaster by reversing the worst consequences of global warming in time?"

Weitzman concedes that the "just-in-case" approach may not be feasible. "It may well turn out that the option value of waiting for better information about catastrophic tail events is negligible (because early detection is impossible, or it is too expensive, or it comes too late, or because nothing practical can be done about undoing greenhouse warming anyway), but these are conclusions we need to reach empirically, rather than postulating them initially."

Stripped of jargon, what Weitzman is saying is that we should try to study whether a just-in-case approach can work, rather than limit ourselves to the choices of either making huge economic sacrifices or running the risk of climate catastrophe. If we lack "just-in-case" mechanisms, then any approach that we take toward climate change risks making significant errors. We might sacrifice a lot of the world's standard of living in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, only to discover that it was unnecessary, because global warming was not going to accelerate, regardless.

Conversely, the reductions that we carry out might turn out to be insufficient. If we do opt for sacrifice, then most economists would agree with Weitzman that the best approach would be to tax carbon emissions. "One can only wish that U.S. political leaders might have the insight to understand and the courage to act upon the breathtakingly-simple market-friendly idea that the right carbon tax could do way more to unleash the decentralized power of greedy, self-seeking American inventive genius on the problem of developing economically-feasible non-carbon-intensive alternative technologies than all of the command-and-control schemes and patchwork subsidies making the rounds in Washington these days." It is possible to have a civilized, sensible discussion about the issue of global climate change. However, doing so requires speaking in the language of uncertainty, rather than moral righteousness.



Martin L. Weitzman


The issue of global climate change and what to do about it has put economics to a severe test in which economists have been challenged to think anew about how to model (or at least how to envision) such fundamental concepts as risk, uncertainty, prediction, and discounting. There is nothing like being asked for a specific policy recommendation on a vivid actuality to put a little life into otherwise arcane matters of economic analysis. Beyond the issue of whether it is right or wrong in its conclusions, The Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change is an opportunity for economists to take stock of what we know about this subject, how we know it, what we don't know, and why we don't know it.

The Stern Review is a full-fledged economic analysis of climate change that was officially commissioned by the British government, and for both economic and political reasons is an unusual, and unusually important, document. Sir Nicholas Stern is a professional economist of high standing and a distinguished public servant. Weighing in at 600+ pages, the Stern Review is comprehensive in its scope and ambitious in its aims. A non-specialist economist wanting to get a feel for the basic issues of global climate change could do much worse than browse through this report, as it summarizes well the essentials.

A detailed Review of the Review is out of place here it would be too long, and besides the Stern Review reads well and is available on line. Instead I concentrate on trying to distil the Review down to its analytical essence as a piece of applied cost-benefit analysis, because it can be a bit difficult to see the forest for the trees.


On the political side of the Stern Review, my most-charitable interpretation of its urgent tone is that the report is an essay in persuasion that is more about gut instincts regarding the horrors of uncertain rare disasters whose probabilities we do not know than it is about economic analysis as that term is conventionally understood.

Although it is difficult enough to analyze people's motives, much less the motives of a 600-page document, I can't help but think after reading it that the strong tone of morality and alarm is mostly reflecting a fear of (in my ponderously esoteric Bayesian jargon) what is potentially out there in the thick left tail of the reduced-form posterior-predictive probability distribution of g under greenhouse warming. I have argued here that this thick left tail of g is an important aspect of the economics of climate change that every analyst - Stern and the critics of Stern - might do well to try to address more directly.

History will judge whether the economic analysis of the Stern Review was more wrong or more right, and, if it was more right, whether as pure economic analysis it was right for the right reasons or it was right for the wrong reasons.



By Philip Stott

I confess I was afflicted by a profound world-weariness following the release yesterday of the latest gloomy machinations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The U.N.'s global-warming caravanserai, founded in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, had this time pitched camp in Paris, in order to issue the "Summary for Policy Makers" relating to Working Group One of its "Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007."

This is the group that focuses on "The Physical Science Basis" of climate change, and its summary was greeted with the usual razzmatazz, the Eiffel Tower's 20,000 flashing bulbs being symbolically blacked out on the evening before. Further IPCC reports are due this year, one in April from Working Group Two, on the impacts of, and adaptation to, climate change, and another in May, from Working Group Three on climate-change mitigation.

But it is the science summary that always gives rise to the jamboree -- with journalists, politicians and eager environmentalists desperate to claim that this particular report is the last word on climate change, that it represents a true consensus, that the world is doomed, and that we must recant our fossil-fuel ways. Moreover, as in 2001 with the Third Assessment Report, Friday's release was preceded by speculative leaks, the political shenanigans and spinning beginning even before the final text had been haggled over and agreed upon.

Unfortunately, the IPCC represents science by supercommittee, as rule 10 of its procedures states: "In taking decisions, and approving, adopting and accepting reports, the Panel, its Working Groups and any Task Forces shall use all best endeavors to reach consensus." I bet Galileo would have had a rough time with that.

In this context, it is vital to remember that science progresses by skepticism and by paradigm shifts: A consensus early last century would have given us eugenics. Moreover, the IPCC does no original research, nor does it monitor climate-related data; its evidence is instead from selected secondary sources. But, above all, this supercommittee is more political than is often recognized, rule three firmly reminding delegates that: "documents should involve both peer review by experts and review by governments."

Friday's summary and "best estimates" of temperature-rise by 2100 (as compared to preindustrial times) are thus little more than a committee compromise chewed over by governments with different agendas: an average potential rise of three degrees Celsius (up from 2.5 degrees in 2001); a probable rise of between 1.8 to 4 degrees; a possible rise of between 1.1 to 6.4 degrees. So you can take your pick, also bearing in mind that there are groups outside the IPCC predicting cooling by one or two degrees Celsius.

Moreover, the conclusion that climate changes seen around the world are "very likely" to have a human cause is wonderful Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass talk. Unsurprisingly, the report will please neither a Humeian skeptic nor a rabid apocalyptic. Indeed, even before it appeared, environmentalists were incensed that predictions for the rise in sea levels this century have been lowered to between 28 and 43 cm (11 to 17 inches). They want the polar bears to be drowning now!



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


18 February, 2007

Panel of Broadcast Meteorologists Reject Man-Made Global Warming Fears- Claim 95% of Weathermen Skeptical

Climate alarmism is proving more unsustainable everyday. Increasing numbers of scientists and climate experts are growing more skeptical of predictions of a man-made catastrophe. For proof of the growing momentum, see previous EPW release: Climate Skeptics Vindicated as Growing Number of Scientists & Politicians Oppose Alarmism

Today's climate roundup includes articles about scientists standing up for climate realism.

1) Panel of Broadcast Meteorologists Reject Man-Made Global Warming Fears - Claim 95% of Weathermen Skeptical

From Crain's Cleveland publication on February 13, 2007:

The Ohio TV meteorologists, Dan Webster, Dick Goddard, Mark Johnson, Mark Nolan and John Loufman, mocked the UN's global warming alarmism. "You tell me you’re going to predict climate change based on 100 years of data for a rock that’s 6 billion years old?" Johnson said. "I’m not sure which is more arrogant — to say we caused (global warming) or that we can fix it," Nolan said. "Mr. Webster observed that in his dealings with meteorologists nationwide, ‘about 95%’ share his skepticism about global warming," the paper reported. 

 Also See: From The Cleveland Plain Dealer on February 16, 2007 : TV Weathermen Downplay Global Warming Fears

2) Meteorologist Dismisses UN IPCC Report

From Kentucky meteorologist Chris Allen blog on the 2007 UN IPCC global warming report:

"But, just because major environmental groups, big media and some politicians are buying this hook, line and sinker doesn't mean as a TV weatherperson I am supposed to act as a puppy on a leash and follow along," Allen said in his blog titled "Still Not Convinced" on February 7, 2007. Allen has the Seal of Approval of the National Weather Association and is the chairman of the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee.

As I have stated before, not only do I believe global climate change exists - it has always existed. There have been times of global warming and cooling," Allen, who is with WBKO in Bowling Green, added.


Antarctic monitoring gives pesky results

Actual Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions. Lots of excuses but it's just NOT warming down there -- exactly where the Green loons most want it to warm

A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models. This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity. It also follows a similar finding from last summer by the same research group that showed no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.

David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported on this work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Francisco. "It's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now," he said. "Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It's very hard in these polar latitudes to demonstrate a global warming signal. This is in marked contrast to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the Earth."

Bromwich says that the problem rises from several complications. The continent is vast, as large as the United States and Mexico combined. Only a small amount of detailed data is available - there are perhaps only 100 weather stations on that continent compared to the thousands spread across the U.S. and Europe . And the records that we have only date back a half-century. "The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from continental Antarctica . "We're looking for a small signal that represents the impact of human activity and it is hard to find it at the moment," he said.

Last year, Bromwich's research group reported in the journal Science that Antarctic snowfall hadn't increased in the last 50 years. "What we see now is that the temperature regime is broadly similar to what we saw before with snowfall. In the last decade or so, both have gone down," he said.

In addition to the new temperature records and earlier precipitation records, Bromwich's team also looked at the behavior of the circumpolar westerlies, the broad system of winds that surround the Antarctic continent. "The westerlies have intensified over the last four decades of so, increasing in strength by as much as perhaps 10 to 20 percent," he said. "This is a huge amount of ocean north of Antarctica and we're only now understanding just how important the winds are for things like mixing in the Southern Ocean." The ocean mixing both dissipates heat and absorbs carbon dioxide, one of the key greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Some researchers are suggesting that the strengthening of the westerlies may be playing a role in the collapse of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula. "The peninsula is the most northern point of Antarctica and it sticks out into the westerlies," Bromwich says. "If there is an increase in the westerly winds, it will have a warming impact on that part of the continent, thus helping to break up the ice shelves, he said. "Farther south, the impact would be modest, or even non-existent."

Bromwich said that the increase in the ozone hole [Increase? What increase? Isn't it supposed to be shrinking after all the wise Greenie bans on "harmful" chemicals like freon?] above the central Antarctic continent may also be affecting temperatures on the mainland. "If you have less ozone, there's less absorption of the ultraviolet light and the stratosphere doesn't warm as much." That would mean that winter-like conditions would remain later in the spring than normal, lowering temperatures. "In some sense, we might have competing effects going on in Antarctica where there is low-level CO2 warming but that may be swamped by the effects of ozone depletion," he said. "The year 2006 was the all-time maximum for ozone depletion over the Antarctic."

Bromwich said the disagreement between climate model predictions and the snowfall and temperature records doesn't necessarily mean that the models are wrong. [Theory trumps facts??] "It isn't surprising that these models are not doing as well in these remote parts of the world. These are global models and shouldn't be expected to be equally exact for all locations," [Even the most crucial ones?] he said.


Weapons of Global Warming Destruction

Since 9/11, there has been an international debate concerning a battle of civilizations. In the few short weeks since the Democrats officially took over Congress, a different war has taken shape within our own borders, and has morphed into a potentially more important conflagration, at least for the time being.
At the heart of the debate is anthropogenic global warming, and what America should do about it if anything. On the fringes is: the battle to unionize Wal-Mart; another push for universal healthcare; the perennial goal of raising taxes; the jealous desire to limit the pay of CEOs, and; a Hugo Chavez-like call to strip the oil companies of their profits.

As Americans, we should be almost as fearful of this ideological war as the one we are waging against Islamic extremists. After all, the first time capitalist principles lost out to socialist ones in the depths of the Great Depression, decades of budget deficits and exploding federal debt ensued that still threaten our financial solvency today, and our children's futures tomorrow.

In fact, two and a half decades since the start of the Reagan Revolution, the free market is once again under attack. If capitalists on both sides of the aisle don't take a stand to squelch this call for government to solve all of our problems, our children will be destined to live much more austerely than us, and become the first generation of Americans to be less successful than their parents.

Global Warming Deniers are now on a Par With Holocaust Deniers

The center of the battle between socialism and capitalism right now is clearly global warming, and it is fascinating to see what lengths the left will go to advance their forces on this issue. Such actions now include threats to people's jobs if they don't conform to the views expressed by liberals concerning man's "undeniable" role in causing the earth's temperatures to rise.

In late December, The Weather Channel's foremost climate expert Heidi Cullen called for meteorologists to be stripped of their certifications by the American Meteorological Society if they disagreed with the tenets of anthropogenic global warming.

Just last week, the Democrat governor of Oregon threatened to remove the mostly-ceremonial title of State Climatologist from a man that has held the position since 1991 all because the gentleman questions man's role in climate change.

On February 7, former Vice President Al Gore, the left's true champion on this issue, told a group he was speaking in front of in Madrid, Spain, that China is correct to blame America for global warming. Maybe more important, Gore stated to the crowd that this Asian country - which happens to possess the fastest growing economy on the planet with the largest population base - shouldn't be required to participate in climate solutions until the United States does its share.

Those familiar with the strategies employed by socialists must recognize the common tactic of blaming the world's problems on America while absolving all other nation's of any responsibility. Gore is indeed a master at this.

Of course, an interesting hypocrisy exists in this strategy as Gore travels the world stoking irrational fear to win over the simple-minded. After all, isn't he now doing exactly that which he accused President Bush of in 2004?

For those that have forgotten, this is what Gore said about President Bush and the war in Iraq on February 9, 2004, just prior to the Tennessee Democrat primary:
He betrayed this country! He played on our fears! He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place!
Remember this? How different is Gore's claim about the President three years ago from his current rant about civilization's imminent doom all based on a slide presentation that he created well before he was elected Vice President in 1992?

In reality, by exaggerating the dangers of global warming, as well as man's real or imagined role, Gore and his ilk are using exactly the same fear tactics they claim the Bush administration was guilty of in the lead up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Somehow, the media have all missed this extraordinarily delicious hypocrisy as they themselves fall hook, line, and sinker for the conclusions they so desire to hear from those they hold in highest esteem. A fine example was published in the February 9 Boston Globe, as liberal writer Ellen Goodman offensively proclaimed:
I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future [emphasis added].
Goodman was employing a common liberal tactic of eliminating debate on an issue by self-ordaining dissenters as vile vermin. This was especially offensive given a recent ACNielsen Internet poll which concluded that more than 50 percent of Americans don't believe humans are responsible for global warming.

Don't you love it when these sanctimonious socialists claim to be smarter than everyone else as they advocate taking away our money for our own good? If they'd only learn how to insult us in a fashion that wasn't so obvious, we'd gladly turn over all our worldly possessions for the causes they hold so dear.

Calling a Charade a Charade

In the end, that indeed is what this is all about: Global warming represents the Democrats' weapons of mass destruction. With it, they hope to scare enough Americans into sacrificing their own financial well-being all for the noble goal of saving the planet.

This is why the sudden urgency for action. After all, the Democrats and their media minions learned from their successful defeat of Social Security reform in 2005 that Americans aren't concerned about what they perceive as problems in the distant future.

As the left and the press were able to convince folks that Social Security insolvency wouldn't occur for at least another thirty years or more, the problem was easily swept far enough under the rug to be ignored. In this way, the largest and most obvious example of socialism in America was miraculously kept intact, for the time being of course, without the slightest capitalist tinkering.

However, by cleverly claiming that seas are going to rise and begin killing innocent people in ten years if nothing is done to stop it, the liberals have created an urgency about global warming that the Bush administration failed to with Social Security. As a result, the population is now ripe for listening to solutions for a problem that is significantly more a figment of the imagination than the mathematical certainty that America's largest entitlement program will go bankrupt if changes aren't enacted.

Put another way, two years ago, the left and the media were able to convince the American people that there was no consensus about when Social Security would run out of money, and though they agreed it will certainly happen at some point, Americans were more than happy to defer concern for this seemingly distant problem. Yet, two years later, these same politicians and press representatives have created an hysteria over an unproven theory, professing a consensus that they advertise as incontrovertible even though none exists, all over a calamity that might never actually occur.

Isn't that extraordinary?

But this is only part of the charade. As America has moved away from organized labor in the past two and a half decades, the stock market has exploded, as have real estate prices, wages, and the number of people on non-farm payrolls. During this period, the average net worth of the citizenry has dramatically outpaced inflation while the standard of living improved across all social strata.

Of course, this makes socialists despondent, for the better off people are, the less they need to rely on government.....

More here

Global warming: Just another liberal orthodoxy

An astounding range of absurd ideas have been incorporated into the "mainstream" of modern America, based not on any inherent merit, but rather on the benefits to liberalism that can be derived from them. So much of today's "conventional wisdom" represents neither convention nor wisdom, but instead results from a fundamentally leftist worldview, combined with a truly juvenile dosage of wishful thinking.

Consider, a few such pillars of the liberal faith, and more specifically how fragile they quickly become when placed under the hot lights of honest scrutiny.

As the American culture continues to crumble, we are incessantly reminded that "our diversity is our strength." Tell that to the people of the Balkans where, prior to U.S. intervention, centuries old feuds and tribalism had rendered the region little more than a wasteland of unending bloodshed between bickering "warlords."

Hardly any better is the current plight of those hapless Europeans, who pride themselves on that most virtuous of liberal precepts, their "tolerance" of other cultures. Yet on a daily basis they witness ever more of their heritage being eradicated by militant Muslims who are neither diverse nor tolerant. Barring a miraculous resurgence of fortitude and conviction of its former heritage, Europe's fate is sealed.

On this side of the ocean, American liberals claim a virtual monopoly of "tolerance." Yet the facts indicate otherwise. Under the preposterous auspices of "tolerance," liberals have over the past several decades sought to squash any stance, any opinion, or any logical question that threatens their agenda.

As it was with Cold War "compromise," whereby American negotiators were expected to abandon their positions in order to embrace those of the Soviet Union, the steadily emerging definition of "tolerance," from the liberal perspective, amounts to a demand that traditional America unquestioningly blesses their ideology, with no promise whatsoever of reciprocity.

Thus, in the name of "tolerance," liberals expunged any mention of God, the Bible, or America's Christian roots from the school system, and ultimately all other areas of public life. Concurrently, in the name of "diversity," they relentlessly work to replace those standards with the canons and icons of other, often pagan, cultures. And ultimately, in the place of traditional morality and faith, they seek to establish an orthodoxy of the secularist liberal state.

So it is no surprise that the latest catechism of their "true believers," is conversion, by force if necessary, to an acceptance of "global warming" and all of the necessary precepts of the liberal agenda needed to "fix" it. This mandatory conversion is being pursued with a fervor rarely witnessed outside of the most oppressive cults.

Humanity has been dealing with the extremes of climate since time immemorial. Admittedly during that entire period, eras of heightened temperatures, followed by cooler periods have been visited on the human race. Thus it is natural to react to such shifts with feelings of helplessness, and at times, foreboding.

To many, the dire implications of last summer's blistering high temperatures seemed irrefutable, at least until the record setting lows of this winter. So far, the inarguably "conclusive" proof offered by those who claim the planet is getting steadily warmer has borne little or no repeatable evidence of a scientifically established pattern.

We were likewise forewarned that the 2006 hurricane season would surely eclipse the devastation of Katrina, Rita, and the horrendous toll of 2005. Yet this proclamation of doom turned out to be a bust. Apparently the prophets of the left need a bit of honing on their skills. Nevertheless, to even question the legitimacy of their utterances is no less than "blasphemy," spawning instant calls for excommunication of the offending parties.

So, rather than dwelling for too long on such an unknown quantity as the weather, it is more relevant to consider the wholly anticipated patterns of liberalism. Among their ranks, far more than in the weekend forecast, can be found the underlying motives and workings of the current global warming hysteria.

In no other way can the sanctimonious rantings of Dr. Heidi Cullen of the now thoroughly politicized Weather Channel be explained. Cullen recently pushed for the professional disqualification of any meteorologist who refuses to profess the doctrine of man made global warming. And what, other than similarly mindless fanaticism can explain the behavior of the Grand Green Inquisitor himself, former vice-president Al Gore?

Elsewhere, the "hot earth society" seeks to denigrate skeptics as a class of politically incorrect social "pariahs," labeling them as "global warming deniers," a clear allusion to those anti-Semitic deniers of the Nazi holocaust.

Yet among few if any of these people is the primary goal to "save the planet," but rather to promote the liberal agenda, as their own unbridled usage of energy, and selective attacks against the "Great Polluters" clearly proves. Perhaps the most glaring evidence is that the Russians and Chinese, who pollute to a horrendous degree, get a "pass" on account of being good socialists. Meanwhile the United States is roundly condemned.

The '08 campaign season is already gearing up, and Democrats are desperate to frame the debate around anything other than traditional values or the terror war. So of course, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA) has been quick to jump onto this bandwagon. Expect Hillary to follow soon.

The randomness of sunspots and other factors quite beyond the understanding of humanity ultimately render it impossible for meteorologists to forecast the weekend weather with absolute certainty. In contrast, the actions and motives of the American left, committed always and only in pursuit of their own interests, are among the most predictable phenomena of the modern world.


How to coax climate science out of the cave of religion

Mark Bahner writes:

The U.S. government should set up a prize fund totaling $400 million, payable in 2031. The prize fund would be open to any U.S. university with accredited science or engineering programs. The fund would be awarded as $200 million for first place, $100 million for second, $50 million for third, $25 million for fourth, $12 million for fifth, $6 million for sixth, $3 million for seventh.and $1 million until we run out of money.

Prizes would be awarded for most closely predicting the following parameters:

1) globally averaged surface temperature anomaly for 2029-2031, relative to 1990;
2) globally averaged lower tropospheric temperature anomaly for 2029-2031, relative to 1990;
3) Atlantic hurricane basin sea surface temperature anomaly for 2029-2031, relative to 1990;
4) average insured U.S. hurricane losses for 2029-2031 ....

I see lots of problems with this approach. But I do think that the problem of coaxing climate science out of the cave of religion is worth thinking about. One idea would be a methodological audit conducted by statisticians, economists, and others who are outside the climate science field. Another idea would be a prediction market.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


17 February, 2007


Read the report below and then the skeptical report from India below that. Although it happens all the time, the term "local warming" seems to be entirely absent from the Greenie vocabulary. Note that the central United States experienced local COOLING during the 20th century

The principal glacier of the world's biggest tropical ice-cap could disappear within five years as a result of global warming. The imminent demise of the Qori Kalis glacier, the main component of the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, offers the starkest evidence yet of the effects of climate change, one of the world's leading glaciologists said today. Although scientists have known for decades that Qori Kalis and the other Quelccaya glaciers are melting, new observations indicate that the rate of retreat is increasing, Lonnie Thompson, of Ohio State University said.

When he visits this northern summer, he expects to find that the glacier has halved in size since last year, and he believes that Qori Kalis will be gone within five years. "This widespread retreat of mountain glaciers may be our clearest evidence of global warming as they integrate many climate variables," Professor Thompson told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco. "Most importantly, they have no political agenda."

The Quelccaya ice-cap, covering 44sq km in the Cordillera Oriental region of the Peruvian Andes, is the world's largest tropical ice mass. Qori Kalis, its biggest glacier, has receded by at least 1.1km since 1963, when the first formal measurements were made from aerial photographs. The rate of retreat has increased: between 1963 and 1978, it shrank by 6m a year, a rate that has now risen tenfold.

Professor Thompson predicted six years ago that the celebrated snows of Kilimanjaro would be gone from Africa's highest mountain by 2015, and he now thinks that that estimate may have been too conservative. He said: "Tropical glaciers are the canaries in the coalmine for our global climate system, as they integrate and respond to most of the key climatological variables - temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, humidity and radiation."

A critical piece of evidence from almost 50 scientific expeditions to seven shrinking tropical ice-caps points to global warming as the reason for their decline. In all but one case, snowfall has increased as ice volume has fallen. More snow should mean advancing glaciers, unless rising temperatures are melting the extra precipitation and the ice tongues themselves. The fate of tropical glaciers globally will have an impact on water supplies relied on by more than 4 billion people.



Believe it or not. There are only about a dozen scientists working on 9,575 glaciers in India under the aegis of the Geological Society of India. Is the available data enough to believe that the glaciers are retreating due to global warming? Some experts have questioned the alarmists theory on global warming leading to shrinkage of Himalayan glaciers.

VK Raina, a leading glaciologist and former ADG of Geological Society of India is one among them. He feels that the research on Indian glaciers is negligible. Nothing but the remote sensing data forms the basis of these alarmists observations and not on the spot research. Raina told the Hindustan Times that out of 9,575 glaciers in India, till date, research has been conducted only on about 50. Nearly 200 years data has shown that nothing abnormal has occurred in any of these glaciers.

It is simple. The issue of glacial retreat is being sensationalised by a few individuals, the septuagenarian Raina claimed. Throwing a gauntlet to the alarmist, he said the issue should be debated threadbare before drawing a conclusion.

However, Dr RK Pachouri, Chairman, Inter-Governmental Panel of Climatic Change said its recently released fourth assessment report has recorded increased glacier retreat since the 1980s. This he said was due to the fact that the carbon dioxide radioactive forcing has increased by 20 per cent particularly after 1995. And also that 11 of the last 12 years were among the warmest 12 years recorded so far.

Surprisingly, Raina, who has been associated with the research and data collection in over 25 glaciers in India and abroad, debunked the theory that Gangotri glacier is retreating alarmingly. Maintaining that the glaciers are undergoing natural changes, witnessed periodically, he said recent studies in the Gangotri and Zanskar areas (Drung- Drung, Kagriz glaciers) have not shown any evidence of major retreat. "Claims of global warming causing glacial melt in the Himalayas are based on wrong assumptions," Raina, a trained mountaineer and skiing expert said.

If he is to be believed, currently only about a dozen scientists are working on Indian glaciers. More alarming is the fact that some of them are above 50. How can one talk about the state of glaciers when not much research is being done on the ground, he wondered. In fact, it is difficult to ascertain the exact state of Himalayan glaciers as these are very dusty as compared to the ones in Alaska and the Alps. The present presumptions are based on the cosmetic study of the glacier surfaces. Nobody knows what is happening beneath the glaciers. What ever is being flaunted about the under surface activity of the glaciers, is merely presumptions, he claimed.

His views were echoed by Dr RK Ganjoo, Director, Regional Centre for Field Operations and Research on Himalayan Glaciology, who is supervising study of glaciers in Ladakh region including one in the Siachen area. He also maintained that nothing abnormal has been found in any of the Himalyan glaciers studied so far by him. Still, he wondered on the Himalayan glaciers being compared with those in Alaska or Europe to lend credence to the melt theory. Indian glaciers are at 3,500-4,000 meter above the sea level whereas those in the Alps are at much lower levels. Certainly, the conditions under which the glaciers in Alaska are retreating, are not prevailing in the Indian sub-continent, he explained.

Another leading geologist MN Koul of Jammu University, who is actively engaged in studying glacier dynamics in J&K and Himachal holds similar views. Referring to his research on Kol glacier ( Paddar, J&K) and Naradu (HP), he said both the glaciers have not changed much in the past two decades.


Unsustainable Environmentalism

Environmental activists use the term "sustainable development" to convey the notion that they're not merely knee-jerk anti-business zealots and that they are all in favor of eco-friendly economic development. That term is put to the test in a new documentary entitled "Mine Your Own Business." Made by Phelim McAleer, a former Financial Times correspondent, and wife Ann McElhinney, a fellow at the nonprofit Moving Pictures Institute, the film spotlights the efforts of environmentalists to block economic development projects in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America.

The film starts out in the remote and desolate Romanian village of Rosia Montana, home to a most eco-unfriendly state-run mine. Gabriel Resources, a Canadian Mining Company, is trying to open a new gold mine that meets or exceeds strict European Union standards, but it runs into opposition, not from local villagers, but from first-world non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Greenpeace. The NGOs, who don't seem particularly bothered by the poorly-operated state-owned mine, take the position in the film that the poverty-stricken residents of Rosia Montana don't need any economic opportunity and, instead, are willing to settle for being "poor but happy."

The film then moves to Madagascar where another development project is opposed by the World Wildlife Fund. In an interview that must be seen to be believed, the WWF spokesman defends his opposition to the project by noting that it would only bring stress to the lives of the local population. According to the WWF spokesman, the locals would rather sit around and smile than be burdened with economic progress, or in the alternative, would simply fritter their newfound wealth away on first-world decadence like beer, stereos and jeans.

The film winds up in Chile where NGO activists point to local opposition to a proposed mining project. But "Mine Your Own Business" exposes this local opposition as nothing more than nearby landowners who don't want to lose their employees to the higher-paying jobs created by the mining company.

The power of the movie's message is such that Greenpeace tried to block its Washington, DC premiere by pressuring the National Geographic Society to deny the Motion Picture Institute use of the Society's movie auditorium. Environmentalists have criticized the movie as being a propaganda film funded by Gabriel Resources. But while the idea to do a movie about sustainable development was the brainchild of Gabriel Resources CEO Alan Hill, filmmakers McAleer and McElhinney only agreed to do the movie if the company had no editorial control over the film.

If anything, "Mine Your Own Business" only scratches the surface of the problem; the film depicts but a microcosm of the tyranny exercised by NGOs over the developing world. NGOs, for example, have recently acquired the ability to veto third-world development through their influence over first-world banks. Many banks have signed on to the environmentalist-promoted Equator Principles, which ostensibly are guidelines to ensure that third-world development projects occur in an "eco-friendly" manner. In practice, however, the Equator Principles, serve more as a means for NGOs to stop most economic development projects.

Banking giant Citigroup, for example, has implemented the Equator Principles, much to the detriment of the developing world. According to a 2005 Citigroup report, the bank denied financing to 54 of the 74 projects reviewed according to the Equator Principles - projects worth as much as $75 billion in financing and that are economically sound.

Not only do the Equator Principles deny first-world funding to developing nations, they also drive desperately poor nations to seek financing from alternative (and less desirable) sources like China - which is not known to apply first-world environmental standards to the projects it finances.

In another example, NGOs stopped what would have been the largest-ever sustainable forestry project in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. The Washington state-based timber company Trillium Corporation purchased 800,000 acres in Chile and Argentina in 1993. Although Trillium could have clear-cut the forest at the time, it instead tried to work with NGOs to develop its sustainable forestry project of which it was rightfully proud.

The NGOs spent the next nine years blocking the project. One of Trillium's key lenders fell into financial difficulty and had to auction the loans that were secured by Trillium's land, allowing Goldman Sachs to swoop in and buy the notes, foreclose Trillium's mortgage and then donate the land to the Wildlife Conservation Society - a controversial use of shareholder assets that has been criticized by myself and others.

Needless to say, the Tierra del Fuego land won't be developed, Chileans won't be employed and the world was deprived of a much needed example of the ever-elusive "sustainable development." Though I have looked, I have yet to find a significant development project anywhere in the world that environmentalists and their NGO allies support as "sustainable." "Mine Your Own Business" is a terrific effort at documenting that fact.


Global Warming - It's How You Say It

Post lifted from Hall of Record. An amusing demonstration of how you can mislead by altering the scale of a graph

Sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Sometimes it's not what you show, it's how you show it.

I've retired from corporate America, but I've given a lot of presentations to a lot of people and one thing is clear: you can say something to someone, but what you show can tell a much different story... even if you show exactly what you said.

Here are three graphs with data spanning 120 years. All three show the temperature trending upward approximately 1 degree C over that time.

The first comes from a website by Dr. Richard A. Muller of the University of California, Berkeley.

Notice the dramatic increase in temperature over the recent 3 decades.

The next graph is adapted from a website by Dr. Richard A. Muller of the University of California, Berkeley.

Notice the moderate increase in temperature over the past 3 decades.

The last graph is adapted from a website by Dr. Richard A. Muller of the University of California, Berkeley.

Notice the negligible increase in temperature over the past 3 decades.

What vertical scale would you use to show temperature change over 120 years? Sometimes when something is very small, you have to exaggerate in order to display it in a way that grabs the attention of your audience.

Do your eyes tell you that you are looking at the same data... even though you were told that ahead of time?

What is 1 degree C? Dramatic? Moderate? Negligible?

If you didn't have graphs shown to you, what would you say?

Here's a frame of reference for you. Orlando, Florida has an average annual temperature of 72.4 degrees F (22.4 degrees C) and Detroit, Michigan has an average annual temperature of 48.6 degrees F (9.2 degrees C). If Detroit's annual average temperature increased by 1 degree C, it would still be 12.2 degrees C colder than Orlando.

So, I ask again: What is 1 degree C? Dramatic? Moderate? Negligible?

LET THE GREAT DEBATE ON CLIMATE CONTINUE: Science must not become a slave to its own orthodoxies

An editorial in "The Australian" below:

There is every indication that rather than being over, the real debate over climate change is only now getting started. On the one hand, the Australian Labor Party is once again high-stepping away from its greener elements, promising that if elected, Labor would not pull the plug on Australia's $23 billion coal export industry and would be tolerant of new coal explorations - so long as high standards are met.

What exactly such standards will be is not yet entirely clear. But there are foreshadowings in the revelation that the NSW Government is forcing Centennial Coal to factor into its costs $109 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted when the coal from its proposed Anvil Hill mine is burned. This price, based on the rate proposed by the widely criticised Stern Review, would make the mine financially unviable.

But on the other hand there is a growing chorus of murmurs against the received orthodoxy of climate change - and especially the dogmatic attempts by some scientists and politicians to shut down debate. While the recent IPCC report was held up as the last word on the subject, many scientists have pointed out that the 90 per cent certainty ascribed to the report's findings is in scientific terms not very certain at all.

Meanwhile, more attention is being paid to other levers that may influence the weather. For example, at the Danish National Space Centre in 2005 an experiment successfully linked cosmic rays to the formation of clouds. The discovery was significant because it adds weight to the link between cyclical sunspot activity and the climate here on Earth. At the same time it provides a more satisfactory explanation for contradictory Antarctic temperature trends that cannot be explained by conventional greenhouse global warming models.

Whatever the ultimate validity of the Danish experiment, it is worth applauding the determined scepticism in the face of orthodoxy demonstrated by the scientists behind it. For while there are many valid reasons to cut unhealthy smog-creating carbon emissions, there are also many reasons to be sceptical about the near-religious fervour with which the simplistic carbon-equals-warming equation is too often defended.

It is profoundly unscientific to say the debate is over and that sceptics are not only wrong on the facts but morally unhinged - as demonstrated by the unsubtle and offensive epithet "denier". It was scepticism that led Copernicus to challenge contemporary orthodoxy and assert that the Earth is not the centre of the universe. Today's scepticism could well prove that man-made carbon emissions are not the sole, or even primary, driver of climate change - a conclusion radically unsettling to those who believe that humanity is a destroyer rather than an improver of the Earth.

The fact is that our climate is infinitely complex. The models climatologists use to predict the future are incredibly sophisticated, yet blunt instruments. Scientists can never account for all the variables involved - indeed, no one has successfully come up with a mathematical equation to describe the formation of a single cloud. And scientists are often woefully out of their depth in the real world.

History is littered with lives and regimes that were wrecked when science was allowed to drive policy with no thought to humanity. Tearing down the global carbon-based economy to - in theory - replace it at a later date with unproven and undeveloped technologies would be a similar folly. It is only by tempering science with economics and the market, which is the most efficient arbiter of humanity's wants and needs, that smart climate policy can be made. Thus the old bumper sticker's exhortation to "Think locally, act globally" becomes a practical guidepost: think locally, by preserving jobs and investing time and money in creating a new complementary export industry around clean coal technology. And think globally by exporting our clean-burning, high-energy content anthracite coal and the technologies to ameliorate the effects of power generation to countries such as China, allowing them to develop their economies, improving air quality along with the quality of life.

It will be interesting, decades from now, to look back on the climate change debate. There is every chance we will regard today's headlines with the same bemusement with which we view the apocalyptic predictions of Thomas Malthus or the Club of Rome. Bob Brown's economically illiterate calls to shut the export coal industry and Tim Flannery's attempt to use two scant years' worth of data to predict the demise of the Arctic ice cap already look silly.

And for all the disasters predicted at the extreme ends of the climate change models, the developing world is suffering daily disasters in the form of preventable disease that stem not from too much growth, but too little, and which cost millions of lives a year. Here it will be economic growth, not carbon restrictions, that ends the tragedy. To say there are "limits to growth", as the Club of Rome's old saw goes, is to say there are limits to human potential and imagination. By all means let us take care of the planet and work to cut carbon emissions. But in the process let us not kick the ladder of development out from under us and consign the world to the sort of misery predicted by the doomsayers.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


16 February, 2007

Big money in being a top Greenie

Australian of the Year Tim Flannery is cashing in on his top gong while accusing industrial giants of running a smear campaign against him. The climate change crusader confirmed he was charging up to $US50,000 ($64,600) to deliver speeches to American corporations - making him Australia's all-time highest paid public speaker. "If it's investment banks and that sort of stuff, you charge them, you know," Professor Flannery said yesterday. He revealed he received $US50,000 for a speech last year - before he collected his award - and will soon be paid the same amount for stepping up to the microphone on an upcoming speaking tour of the US.

But he said he charged "much less" for speeches in Australia and often gave presentations for free. Professor Flannery said he intended to donate 10 per cent of his earnings to a yet-to-be-nominated environmental fund as demand for his services skyrocket. The scientist, explorer and best-selling author said he was fielding up to 20 speaking requests a day from around the world since being named Australian of the Year on January 26.

But he said the honour was soured by a campaign to "blacken his name" and discredit his views on global warming. "There is a real attempt to marginalise me and what I say," he said.

Professor Flannery, 51, stressed that he did not charge for any presentations directly related to his duties as Australian of the Year. And he said $US50,000 was at the extreme top end. But the $US50,000 price tag puts Professor Flannery ahead of other Australians including Paul Keating, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Ian Thorpe and Lleyton Hewitt. They are believed to charge up to $A35,000.

Yesterday Professor Flannery told the Australian Workers Union biannual meeting - in an appearance he did not charge for - that claims he wanted to shut down the coal industry were untrue. But he admitted he had some reservations about the viability of clean coal technology.

Greens leader Bob Brown meanwhile said the economic cost of pursuing so-called "clean coal" technology was comparable with shutting down the coal industry. He controversially proposed last week to ban coal exports and coal fired power generation, a move which would cost an estimated 20,000 jobs in Queensland and cripple the state's economy.


Up To $250k In Heinz-Kerry Money Went To So-Called Global Warming Expert

Post lifted from Riehl World

Amid unfounded and frivolous charges that the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute are involved in pay for play science on Global Warming, it seems Theresa Heinz Kerry previously directed an unrestricted cash gift of up to a quarter million dollars to a nuclear scientist become climatologist, now leading the charge of doom-sayers on Global Warming. Additionally, one scientist recently quoted by the New York Times now appears to be disagreeing with his own extensive research and an exclusive preview of a soon to be published research paper from another Harvard scientist raises serious questions about a key item Global Warming proponents have recently enlisted in their cause.

Al Gore: "The only thing they have left is cash and now they're offering cash for so-called skeptics who will try to confuse people about what the science really say. But it's unethical because now the time has come when we have to act.
Yet, in a recent major article on the topic, the New York Times frequently quoted scientist John P. Holdren, formerly of Berkeley and seemingly more qualified for his previous stint as an anti-nuke expert and the paper failed to point out that Holdren received an unrestricted cash prize of up to $250,000 from Theresa Heinz-Kerry. The money came from her late husband's estate and appears to be prior to Holdren's taking the lead on Global Warming as a current political cause. His interests and area of expertise had been mostly nuclear disarmament.

Award recipients receive a medallion and an unrestricted cash prize of up to $250,000.


July 2006 - Holdren co-writes article with Alan Leshner stating that there is no doubt about the reality of climate change and that the United States, "as the largest emitter of carbon dioxide on the planet, needs to become a leader in developing and deploying serious solutions." - The San Francisco Chronicle

John P. Holdren is Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School, as well as Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. Trained in aeronautics/astronautics and plasma physics at MIT and Stanford....
Had the New York Times been more thorough in reporting the previous research of another Global Warming authority it cited, Richard B. Alley, the story may have created more skeptics than believers in the purported threat.

This quote below is from Richard B. Alley in the recent New York Times piece:

"Policy makers paid us to do good science, and now we have very high scientific confidence in this work - this is real, this is real, this is real," said Richard B. Alley, one of the lead authors and a professor at Pennsylvania State University. "So now act, the ball's back in your court."

Here's what Alley was writing for profit as recently as 2002:

From Publishers Weekly
Recent news reports about large holes in the ice and open waters at the Arctic Circle have prompted renewed concerns about the effects of global warming. In measured tones, however, geoscientist Alley reminds us that during the last 100,000 years or so the earth has experienced a wildly varied climate pattern. Using readings of ice cores taken from Greenland, where he participated for several years in the '90s in far-reaching research projects, Alley demonstrates that periods of slow cooling and centuries of cold have been punctuated by periods of sudden warming. In fact, he notes, climatic stability is the exception rather than the rule, and he contends that the unusually warm, stable climate we have experienced for the past 10,000 years is an anomaly. Through his study of the two-mile-long ice cores, Alley reveals a number of elements that contribute to global climatic changes: wind patterns, drifting continents and ocean currents.

Alley may now be speculating that man is causing Global Warming, but that theorizing would seem to fly in the face of his own extensive scientific research from the nineties.

Along with the now infamous and subsequently debunked image of polar bears that accompanied the NY Times article, I've been permitted to review and summarize a research paper from Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Soon is also receiving Editor for New Astronomy and author of The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection (March 2004) The paper, "Polar bears of Western Hudson Bay and climate change: Are warming spring air temperatures the 'ultimate' survival control factor?," appears to undermine one of the fundamental charges behind the latest Global Warming kerfluffle and is slated to appear in Ecological Complexity in April 2007.

As previously documented, scientists have already admitted using alleged threats to polar bear and seal populations in an effort to manipulate public perception of the reality of Global Warming. Soon found that relevant spring air temperatures claimed to be endangering the Polar Bear actually show no significant warming trend and are more likely the result of natural climatic cycles, as opposed to any activity of man. It also appears as though some Global Warming advocates may have intentionally, or unwittingly reduced the time line for their analysis thereby suggesting a significant differentiation when none truly exists over a longer term. Soon defines any notion that climate changes are endangering Polar Bears as highly premature.

In a bit of irony, along with many more significant factors possibly impacting the health of Polar Bear populations, one issue may be increased human interaction as a result of science itself. It seems the animals are often tagged and observed most heavily during already stressful periods due to normal feeding and mating patterns.

Another key item is that Polar Bear populations where hunted, or thinned for years. As that ended through the eighties, naturally the population increased. Factors sited today as a result of Global Warming, lower body mass, a possible decline in numbers, could just as easily be a sign that the population has grown and is subsequently being regulated by natural forces such as food supply and range.

While a full public copy of the paper will not be available until April, it will be interesting to observe the reaction, assuming the Global Warming crowd isn't successful in keeping it out of the press, given that that seems to be a tactic they embrace.

In just the last year White said he has noticed a significant shift in media coverage of the subject.

"The reporting is better because I don't see the 'other side' anymore."

As Mark Steyn points out in a recent column, we should be slow to alter the world economy because of a slight temperature rise and the unproven claims of scientists who have been parroting one cause or another for years.

"Note that the IPCC report's conclusions were issued first, and the supporting research is now promised for several months from now. What does that tell you?"


Note that Iceland is adjacent to the Arctic -- where all that wicked warming is supposed to be happening

Fish merchants on the Humber [Britain] may be throwing up their hands in frustration at the worrying decline in fish supplies from Iceland since the beginning of the year. But the underlying cause is something they would never have guessed at - a massive deep freeze around the west coast of the country. While the rest of the world shudders at the prospect of global warming and all that it threatens to bring in the form of floods and soaring temperatures, Iceland has been bucking the trend - and it is having a dramatic effect on fishing activity around the island.

Thick packs of ice, which have not been seen for almost 40 years, have been moving into the western fjords across some of the best fishing grounds, followed by bitter winds and plummeting temperatures. The ice has proved to be a serious handicap (not to mention a shipping hazard) for fishermen who supply the Humber and other important centres in Western Europe, simply because they have been unable to put to sea. This has led to a marked drop in catches, a fact that has been noticed on the markets of Grimsby and Hull since they re-opened after Christmas.

Communities living around the fjord of Dryafjordur, have noticed that their inlets have been filled with ice in recent weeks - ice drifting in from Greenland and carrying dozens of polar bears on their floes. When chunks break off the bears become stranded, drifting helplessly on the floes. There have been a number of stories of bears making land around Iceland and having to be shot because they pose a danger to humans and livestock.

The return of pack ice to Iceland goes against all the forecasts of doom of global warming, although some forecasters think it may just be a climatic aberration.


Inhofe Praises Czech President’s Courage in Confronting Global Warming Alarmism

Climate Skeptics Vindicated as Growing Number of Scientists & Politicians Oppose Alarmism

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, congratulated Czech President Vaclav Klaus for speaking out against the fears of man-made global warming. Klaus told a Czech newspaper on February 8, 2007 that fears of catastrophic man-made global warming were a "myth" and critiqued the UN IPCC process, calling it a "political body", Klaus also said other government leaders would speak out, but "political correctness strangles their voice."

"President Klaus is to be commended for his courage in speaking not only the truth about the science behind global warming fears, but the reality of the politicization of the UN," Inhofe said.

"President Klaus’s reported comments questioning the fears of catastrophic man-made global warming are inline with a growing chorus of scientists, peer reviewed literature and government leaders who are finally realizing the true motivations behind climate scares. The scientific and political momentum is clearly shifting away from climate alarmists to climate realists," Inhofe said.

"The chorus of voices speaking out against the alarmist claims of man-made global warming comes as Europe and the rest of the world acknowledge the failure of the cap and trade approach of Kyoto. Perhaps now the alarmists will finally take note of the accomplishments of the Bush Administration in reducing U.S. emissions," Inhofe said. [Note: International Energy Agency records show that from 2000 to 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion grew by 1.7 percent, while in the European Union such emissions grew by 5 percent. (Link )

More here


Last week the Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing, Oversight of Recent EPA Decisions, in which one Senate Democrat made the assertion that the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list perchlorate on its second Unregulated Contaminated Monitoring Rule (UCMR) was an "environmental rollback." Dr. Gina Solomon, who testified at the hearing, echoed the sentiment that EPA's decision has put the health of America's at risk.

FACT: Perchlorate is not only an industrial product vital to our national defense industry and space exploration, but also a naturally occurring substance. It has been found in places where there is absolutely no possible connection nexus to the Department of Defense or NASA. It has also been found in our nation's food supply. So it is critical that EPA fully understand how much exposure comes from drinking water and how much comes from natural and other sources before we set out creating an unfunded mandate on our local drinking water systems requiring them to spend scarce water resources chasing after a chemical over which mother nature has significant control.

To regulate an unregulated contaminant like perchlorate, EPA must find that:

*The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons;

*The contaminant is known to occur or there is a substantial likelihood that the contaminant will occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern, and

*In the sole judgment of the Administrator, regulation of such contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems.

According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in a very conservative assessment, it recommended a safe level that is based upon a precursor to the adverse health effect which may occur at 24.5 ppb drinking water equivalent. The NAS chose this level to protect even the most sensitive members of our population from any effect of perchlorate. In order to determine if perchlorate is "known to occur" and "with a frequency and at levels of public health concern", EPA put perchlorate on the UCMR1 and gathered data from 3,722 drinking water systems. Only 4 percent found perchlorate and at an average concentration of 9.95 ppb, well below NAS's health effects level of 24.5ppb.

EPA must now determine the relative contribution of perchlorate from other sources to determine if a drinking water standard will present "a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction."

CDC researchers however found perchlorate in trace amounts in all of the over 2,000 participants in its recent study. The 2,000 participants are representative sample of the nation. If perchlorate is only in 4 percent of the drinking water systems, yet in all 2,000 of these participants, it clearly is coming from somewhere other than drinking water.

As Dr. Solomon noted in her testimony: "Research has also shown that perchlorate can concentrate in crops such as wheat, lettuce, alfalfa, and data have shown perchlorate contamination to be widespread in store-bought fruit, vegetables, cow's milk, beer and wine.

When asked at the hearing about the allegation not to list perchlorate on the UCMR2 was a rollback, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson replied: "If we had listed it, then we would have begun monitoring. That monitoring data would not have concluded until the year 2010. And I did not want to send any signal that we were going to wait until after 2010 to evaluate the science and make a decision as to whether a health advisory in MCL was appropriate."

Further, the American Water Works Association, whose membership includes the nation's smallest drinking water utilities, stated in its comments on EPA's proposal to include perchlorate on UCMR2. "With the UCMR2 monitoring being completed in 2010, this data would be too late for any potential perchlorate drinking water regulation that would likely be proposed in the next few years."

Listing perchlorate on the UCMR2 would have only served to delay the decision on whether or not to regulate perchlorate -clearly not the "rollback" some try to claim.


Note that good ol' California has already started to "phase out" perchlorate use. See my post of Jan. 29


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


15 February, 2007


An email from Joel Schwartz

You may have heard about a recent story in the British newspaper the Guardian insinuating that scholars from the American Enterprise Institute attempted to bribe climate scientists to lie about climate change with money supplied by ExxonMobil. The Guardian's false accusations, which appear to have been planted by Greenpeace and/or the Public Interest Research Group, are quickly unraveling. Here are the latest developments, as well as background information on the false allegations:

1. Steve Hayward and Ken Green, the AEI scholars accused by the Guardian, write about their experience and place it in the larger context of the climate debate in "Scenes from the Climate Inquisition" in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard.

2. Joe Nocera of the New York Times called the bribery charge "ridiculous" in an article on ExxonMobil a couple of days ago.

3. The British newspaper the Independent has retracted its charge that Exxon tried to bribe climate scientists, as reported in this blog (I confirmed the quote from the Independent with a Nexis search)

4. I've been told that National Public Radio also corrected its story, but I haven't been able to track down an actual transcript or audio file yet. If you have a link, or know when the retraction ran, please let me know.

5. Several senators sent AEI an "are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic"-style letter reiterating the bribery insinuation. Chris DeMuth, AEI's president, sent a reply. The reply includes the senators' original letter. It also includes Hayward and Green's original letters to climate scientists and economists inviting them to participate in the AEI project that was the subject of the Guardian's hit piece.

Something to keep in mind as you review these materials is that these same senators all voted to repudiate the Kyoto treaty in the Byrd-Hagel resolution (vote: 95-0). The Senate is also free to vote to ratify Kyoto at any time, but has so far chosen not to do so, despite senators' claimed worries over climate change and U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Senator Bernie Sanders's press release on the senators' letter described above. As of this writing, the press release is still posted on the Senator's web site.

7. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on the Guardian's smear story last Friday. See here

8. The New York Sun ran an editorial on the smear today. See here

9. AEI's David Frum wrote about the Guardian's tactics here. AEI has a web page devoted to the Guardian affair here.


Climate change in the coming decades may be even worse than predicted, according to German scientists, who say the dangers have been "underestimated." The new assessment comes in the wake of alarming data released earlier this month on observed climate trends from 1990 to the present day. The data included atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, global air temperatures and sea level. These measurements were then compared with the changes predicted in the 2001 Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Increases in average surface temperature of both land and sea were found to be in the upper part of the range predicted by the IPCC. Carbon dioxide concentration followed the IPCC forecast almost exactly, but sea levels appeared to be rising at a faster rate. Satellite readings showed an increase in sea level of 3.3 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2006.

The IPCC report predicted a best-estimate rise of less than two millimetres a year. But the German experts warned that the new estimate for how quickly sea level is rising was 25 per cent faster than the rate in any 20-year period over the past 115 years. The scientists, led by Dr Stefan Rahmstorf, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, wrote in the journal Science: "The data now available raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly than climate models indicate."


Satirical comment on the above report below by another German: Benny Peiser:

There you have it: The IPCC is misjudging the potential dangers of climate change and should not be trusted. Whatever happened to the scientific consensus? While climate alarmists claim that the IPCC is underestimating the dangers, other climate sceptics believe the IPCC is overestimating the risks. Welcome to the club, Dr Rahmstorf!

Please allow me a few words: Real Climate Alarmists would be well advised to concede that the IPCC not only rejected their claim of accelerating sea-level rise. It would also be wiser to acknowledge, instead of denying it, that the IPCC revised the estimates for 21st century sea-level rise slightly downwards (See here).

Be that as it may, I welcome your courage as a small minority of IPCC sceptics to stand up against the establishment and question their consensus. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Last week's news coverage on the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was some of the worst journalism I've seen in a long time. It was due largely to a disease that inflicts journalists from time to time - an illness known as pack journalism. Pack journalism is kind of like a cancer that can grow rapidly throughout the industry, turning otherwise nosy, inquisitive and skeptical people - qualities any half-decent reporter should have - into obedient, vacuous soldiers of some political agenda.

Like dogs, journalists sometimes behave differently in large packs, following each others behaviour with such wild abandon they forget some of the fundamentals of journalism. It doesn't occur that often. Normally, journalists ask the right questions and talk to enough relevant people in their stories so they can give their readers, listeners or viewers something as close to the truth as humanly possible. Some do it better than others. But more often than not, reporters try to give at least two sides of a story. It's pretty standard stuff. You can't inform the public about an issue without telling them who the winners and losers are, what benefits and harm may be caused or why there may be more than one interpretation of the issue at hand. We rely on reporters not only to give us the facts, but to also give us context, clarification and balance.

If government announces it's cutting taxes to help stimulate the economy, for example, it's incumbent upon the reporter to speak to opponents of the tax cut and have them explain why they think it's a bad thing. Sadly, this did not happen when the IPCC released its report earlier this month. Rather than question how the report was penned, what role government operatives - not scientists - played in writing the "consensus" document, reporters simply regurgitated the spin. Global catastrophe They reported as fact that humans were causing global warming and that if we don't drastically change our ways, we're headed for some type of global catastrophe.

In reality, the idea that humans are causing global warming is not a fact, it's a theory. Many would argue that it's a very solid theory supported by considerable scientific evidence. But it's still not a fact. It's a theory that remains the subject of a very vigorous debate in the scientific community. Just because one large group of scientists agrees that it's "very likely" that humans are causing global warming, it doesn't make it a fact. Unfortunately, it's been largely reported that way.

When I read or watch coverage of something like the release of the IPCC report, I want to know what the report says, what the proponents of it have to say and what it may mean for the world. But I also want to read what scientists with an opposing or different view have to say. Now, I didn't read every newspaper in Canada nor watch every TV network the weekend the report was released and maybe I missed something. But I consumed a considerable amount of mainstream media on the topic and I didn't read or see a single interview with a scientists who challenged the findings.

I read a couple of opinion columns challenging the findings. But I'm not talking about op-ed pieces here. I'm talking about news stories. I write op-ed pieces. I use facts to make an argument. But it's still my opinion. I'm not supposed to be balanced. I don't give the other side of the story. That's not what an opinion column is. A news story, on the other hand, is supposed to give us the other side of the story. And from what I read and saw on the release of this report, the other side got no coverage.

It's not because there aren't qualified scientists out there who are skeptical about the findings or who reject them entirely. There are plenty. I've heard from them before. But for some reason, reporters and editors chose not to tell that side of the story. I don't know exactly how or why pack journalism occurs. My theory is that it's borne out of fear of looking stupid. If all your colleagues are accepting a theory as fact and you challenge the theory by seeking out an informed, opposing few, you may fear ridicule from your peers. After all, some journalists that weekend were likening skeptics of the findings to flat Earthers - morons, essentially. Rather than risking ridicule, journalists just go along with the spin. And suddenly, without any new scientific information, the theory that humans are causing global warming became fact overnight.

I'm not a scientist. I have no idea if humans are responsible for some, most or all of global warming - or none at all. But I do know there's a pretty healthy debate on it by scientists who actually study this stuff. And I'm not talking about unqualified frog counters like David Suzuki, either. I'm talking about scientists who are knowledgeable in the field. I wanted to hear from them. I wanted the other side of the story and I didn't get it. The mainstream media let me down.



ARMAGEDDON is almost upon us if our modern doomsayers are to be believed: if climate change doesn't get rid of us, world terrorism will, or name your choice.

I seem to have always lived with prophets of gloom predicting the end of the world is nigh. When I was young we were going to ``nuke'' our world into oblivion or, if that didn't work, over-population was going to bring the end-time.

Throughout history, True Believers of one sort or another have prophesied imminent doom. Somehow we've managed to survive and, terrible isn't it, we've also prospered. Wealth today is shared much more equitably than at any previous time in history. This, despite the rent-a-mob deniers who turn up for every international finance meeting to push their case with violence rather than reason.

I'm of the generation in the 1960s who believed that ``Dr Strangelove'' was just around the corner, who worried population would outstrip food supply, a resurrection of the prophesies of 18th century English political economist, Thomas Robert Malthus. We watched as the non-violent armies of British philosopher Bertrand Russell's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament roamed the streets of the Western world, with their catchcry ``better Red than dead''.

But Communism is no more, while the birth control pill and scientific advances in agriculture helped bury Malthus again, at least for a time, despite unparalleled population growth. We lived through ``the second French Revolution'' in 1968 when students and young workers stormed the streets of Paris and then Germany, Holland, Czechoslovakia and the USA. Some saw the old world about to crumble!

That generation settled down and its Socialistic idealism somehow morphed into the materialism of the ``me'' generation, who built today's global capitalism. But, about this time, a much more important and longer-lasting revolution was taking place, led by a most unlikely figure. The book Silent Spring by American biologist, Rachel Carson, burst onto the scene in 1962 -- two years before the author's death -- warning that through pesticides and other means, man was destroying nature. Within a few years the international debate on ecology was joined. But we survived once again.

Nearly 50 years after her death, the end of the world as we know it is again being predicted because of global warming. And, Malthus is back again, with claims world population this century will grow from the current six billion to nine, or is it 11 or perhaps it's really 15 billion, but anyway, to a non-sustainable level.

Some things don't change! The modern True Believers pay homage to global warming and climate change, making catastrophic predictions if we don't act yesterday, but according to reports of the UN international meeting on climate change last week, the future is nowhere as bleak as the panic merchants make out.

Much more immediate problems are world poverty and, perhaps, population explosion, both of which impact on climate change. People with empty bellies, don't have the luxury of Western middle-class moralists to worry about what may or may not happen 100 years down the track. If their economic salvation, as in China, is a factory belching goo into the atmosphere, they're happy to live with that to put bread on the table.

China is the world's second biggest greenhouse polluter after the USA, but is happy to put the onus on the older industrialised countries to clean up their acts as it plays catch-up. Australia is a big greenhouse gas polluter -- per capita -- but minute on a world scale.

Most people now accept the fact of climate change and that our modern industrial society is one of its causes. Prime Minister John Howard warns against bringing Australia to its knees by devastating its coal industry, a major energy source, not only for Australia, but also for China. He also advocates nuclear energy for Australia because it is clean.

Conservationists, on the other hand, are quite happy to sacrifice the coal industry, among other things and will not even contemplate nuclear energy. Scientific advances, coupled with a little bit of old-fashioned common sense have upset the predictions of past generations of Doomsayers. I reckon this also will be the case in the future and that panic now, as in the past, serves no useful purpose.


The Warming religion in Australia leads to amazing academic dishonesty

Scarier than global warming is that even -- even? -- our top academics exaggerate so wildly about it. No, I'm not talking again about Tim Flannery, our Australian of the Year, but of his former friend and colleague, Mike Archer. Read on, to see again how recklessly even our men of science now feed you hype.

Archer is dean of science at the University of NSW, where, you'd hope, he teaches students to stick to the facts. But this week he wrote an apocalyptic piece on global warming for the Sydney Morning Herald, warning of a Noah's flood: "For example, if the Greenland and Antarctica icesheets melt (which they are doing in spectacular fashion), sea levels could rise, as they have done many times in the past, by 100m. If that were to happen, forget the metre-in-a-century mantra, and forget half of Sydney, along with most of the world's coastal populations."

Got it? Forget the seas rising a metre by 2100. Says Archer, the melt of Greenland and Antarctica is so "spectacular" our beach by then will start at Eltham. Except for this. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has whipped up most of the warming panic, but even its latest report -- out today -- will challenge every claim Archer makes. As Reuters reported yesterday, a draft of that report, the work of 2500 scientists, concedes that, no, Antarctica may well gain snow cover, even Greenland may not be melting overall and the seas will rise not by 100m in the 100 years, but at most by 43cm.

It continued: "More snows could also offset any thaw of the vast Antarctic ice cap and the smaller cap on Greenland. If both melted over thousands of years world sea levels would be about 65m . . . higher . . . (emphasis added). "In a warmer climate, models suggest that the ice sheets could accumulate more snowfall, tending to lower sea level," the draft says. But "rapid thawing at the fringes has probably outweighed any such trend in recent years."

Confirming what I wrote on Wednesday, Reuters added: "The IPCC is . . . set to predict sea level rises this century of between 28 and 43cm . . . a lower band than forecast in the 2001 report." So, how could a dean of science at a top university exaggerate so recklessly? Answer: because global warming is a religion, so facts don't count. Beware.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


14 February, 2007


By Jonah Goldberg

Public policy is all about trade-offs. Economists understand this better than politicians because voters want to have their cake and eat it too, and politicians think whatever is popular must also be true. Economists understand that if we put a chicken in every pot, it might cost us an aircraft carrier or a hospital. We can build a hospital, but it might come at the expense of a little patch of forest. We can protect a wetland, but that will make a new school more expensive. You get it already.

But in the history of trade-offs, never has there been a better one than trading a tiny amount of global warming for a massive amount of global prosperity. Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century while it increased its GDP by 1,800 percent, by one estimate. How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800 percent is unknowable, but let's stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity and that this warming is in fact indisputably bad (which is hardly obvious). That's still an amazing bargain.

Life expectancies in the United States increased from about 47 years to about 77 years. Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the course of the 20th century, at least in the prosperous West. Given the option of getting another 1,800 percent richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I'd take the heat in a heartbeat.

Of course, warming might get more expensive for us (and we might get a lot richer than 1,800 percent too). There are tipping points in every sphere of life, and what cost us little in the 20th century could cost us enormously in the 21st - at least that's what we're told. And boy, are we told. We're (deceitfully) told polar bears are the canaries in the global coal mine. Al Gore even hosts an apocalyptic infomercial on the subject, complete with fancy renderings of New York City underwater. Skeptics are heckled for calling attention to global warming scare tactics.

But the simple fact is that activists need to hype the threat, and not just because that's what the media demand of them. Their proposed remedies cost so much money - bidding starts at 1 percent of global GDP a year and rises quickly - they have to ratchet up the fear factor just to get the conversation started. The costs are just too high for too little payoff.....

Frankly, I don't think the trade-off is worth it - yet. The history of capitalism and technology tells us that what starts out expensive and arduous becomes cheap and easy over time. Lewis and Clark took months to do what a truck carrying Tickle-Me Elmos does every week. Technology 10 years from now could solve global warming at a fraction of today's costs. What technologies? I don't know. Maybe fusion. Maybe hydrogen. Maybe we'll harness the perpetual motion of Sen. Joe Biden's mouth.

The fact is we can't afford to fix global warming right now, in part because poor countries want to get rich, too. And rich countries, where the global warming debate is settled, are finding even the first of 30 Kyotos too fiscally onerous. There are no solutions in the realm of the politically possible. So why throw trillions of dollars into "remedies" that even their proponents concede won't solve the problem?



Cutting out meat could go a long way towards stabilising climate change, Ben Bradshaw has argued. Britain may need to go back to Second World War-style rationing if climate change runs out of control, environment minister Ben Bradshaw has warned. Mr Bradshaw pointed out that food production did just as much damage as private transport and housing.

He spoke out as a new government website advised shoppers to help the planet by avoiding meat, cheese and even British veg grown out of season. The website makes clear that eating beef, lamb, chicken and dairy products contributes to global warming because of the energy and land needed to rear animals. Sheep and cows also emit harmful methane gas.

Mr Bradshaw told a meeting of food experts that the public would not currently tolerate a "nanny state" approach to what they ate. But he warned: "If the impacts of climate change are as bad as predicted, we may need to go back to rationing." ...



The Valentine's Day bouquet - the gift that every woman in Britain will be waiting for next week - has become the latest bete noire among environmental campaigners. Latest Government figures show that the flowers that make up the average bunch have flown 33,800 miles to reach Britain. In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47 per cent to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39 per cent to 17,000 tons. Environmentalists warned that "flower miles" could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes.

Andrew Sims, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said: "There are plenty of flowers that grow in Britain in the winter and don't need to be hothoused. "Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming. "You can argue the planes would be flying anyway but the amount of greenhouse gases pumped out depends on the weight of the cargo." Vicky Hird, of Friends of the Earth, said: "We don't want to be killjoys because receiving flowers can be lovely but why not grow your own gift?"

The figures also revealed that imports of roses from Ethiopia have grown from zero to 130 tons a year since 2003. Kenya is the second biggest exporter of flowers after the Netherlands, followed by Colombia and Spain. In total, Britain imports more than 315 million pounds worth of flowers, with the typical Briton spending 39 pounds a year on them.

Source. (H/T Tim Worstall).



For half a century, Western guilt made the lives of the poor even worse by propping up despots and corrupt bureaucracies through foreign aid. A new form of Western guilt, environmental fundamentalism, is making the lives of the poor even worse in Mexico after triggering a huge rise in the price of corn -- the chief component of the tortilla -- thanks to a government-induced increase in the demand for ethanol in the United States.

This constitutes poignant evidence that the drive for carbon reduction can be costly. And not just for the poor: The majority of European countries, who attacked the U.S. savagely when it refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, will not meet their goals in terms of reducing emissions by 2012 because they have discovered what a high school student could have told them: Life is one constant trade-off. Meeting the Kyoto goals would mean sacrificing the economic well-being of many Europeans at a time when fewer and fewer people are sustaining an ever-growing number of retired citizens.

Environmental fundamentalism has made it a sacrilege to even raise a brow at some of the premises of those who predict an apocalypse if massive carbon reductions are not made mandatory. Even though a number of scientists indicate that global warming is not as bad as is generally assumed and that historical precedent points to recurring patterns, it is now very hard to argue that a much more thorough debate is needed before any drastic action is taken and that governments need to carefully weigh the consequences of the mandatory caps that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is proposing.

Scientists are good at making bad predictions. In 1972, The Club of Rome famously drew attention to the fact that the known reserves of oil would last only 30 years and that economic growth was doomed because the world was running out of raw materials. In the 1960s, it was fashionable to predict that, at the going trend, the total world population would soon exceed the capacity to produce food. And yet, in the last half-century developing countries have seen their agricultural output rise by more than 50%.


Australia's climate is changing: it always has

Post lifted from Gust of Hot Air

Tim Flannery has done it again. Recently given the status of Australian of the year for his scare mongering climate doomsday talk, he wrote this piece for the Age.

He suggests that current rainfall trends in Australia support the idea that farmers in the drought stricken south should move further north where the rain is plentiful.

"On the face of it, current rainfall trends would support this idea because southern Australia is receiving ever less rain, while larger and larger amounts are falling over the north, particularly the north-west."

"During the past 50 years, the shift in rainfall has been substantial, with some areas of southern and eastern Australia receiving 250 millimeters less rainfall than they did back then, while parts of the north-west are receiving 250 millimeters more."

He continues on saying:

"But before making large investments in the transfer of agriculture north, we would be wise to ask what is causing these changes in rainfall, and to try to determine whether the trends will continue."

Obviously a great idea. Neville Nicholls as commissioned by the Australian Greenhouse office conducted a study and concluded that

"there is strong scientific evidence that rising temperatures are being caused by an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

So a study funded by the greenhouse office concluded that greenhouse gases were the cause. Amazing!

But in the same paragraph suggests that

"These gases are also thought to be causing at least part of the rainfall decline across southern Australia, though land clearance and natural variability of rainfall may also be having an impact"

So in other words, we have no hard proof of why the rainfall has changed, if of course it has. It could be a number of different things. But let's jump to conclusions as Flannery does and suggest that

"it is our human pollution - from sources as diverse as power plants, motor vehicles, and farms - that is contributing to the drying of our country and causing immense hardship"

Astonishingly, Flannery goes on to say that

"Astonishingly, given the huge impact that the loss of rainfall in the east is having on Australia, there have been no detailed Australian studies of the cause of this rainfall loss."

What? So we have no significant research done in this area. But didn't Flannery just conclude that power plants, cars and other evils are the cause? All based on "no detailed Australian studies"? Talk about jumping to conclusions.

Ok, so let's do a simple analysis of the weather then. Once again as shown on the graph below, rainfall has been low in south eastern Australia the last 5 years, but not as low as it has been in the past. Last year south eastern Australia didn't have a lot of rain, but in 1982 we had a lot less. And despite the last 5 years having limited drizzle, the period of 1940 to 1944 had less rain than what we are experiencing now. To me, that just means natural variability, and our statistical analysis proves it so (t = 1.29 p = 0.20).

But what of southern Australia? The graph below shows rainfall for all of southern Australia since 1900. Last year we didn't have a lot of rain, but we still had 70 more millimeters than we did in 1940 and 64 more millimeters than we did in 1944. Looks like a case again for natural variability, although if you look hard enough you can see a slight increase in rainfall over the years. What does our statistical analysis say? Yes! Amazing. Our analysis suggests a statistically significant increase in rainfall in southern Australia (t = 2.06, p = 0.04) at the rate of an extra 0.44 millimeters per year.

So the south is getting more rain, despite not so in the last 5 years. Excellent news indeed.

Now let's head to the north, and we can see from the graph below we get a lot more variation in the year to year differences. We had a whole stack of rain from 1997 to 2001 as well as from 1973 to 1976. There looks to be an increase in rainfall from about this period onwards, but let's let the statistical analysis do the talking. And yes, we find a significant increase in rainfall across Northern Australia (t = 3.08, p = 0.003).

So what can we conclude from this? Well Flannery suggests the possibility that farmers spend millions relocating further up north to get more rain. And it seems that Northern Australia is getting more rainfall then previously, at a rate of an extra 1 millimeter per year. But what about the big dry down south? Well we proved that south-eastern Australia is not significantly drying up, and that southern Australia shows a significant increase in rainfall over the past 107 years.

Sure it's been a bit dry in the last 5 years, but not as dry as it has been previously. But Tim Flannery is correct, our climate is changing. In fact, it always has done.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


13 February, 2007

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

Writing in London's "The Times", Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months' time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

The small print explains "very likely" as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain's top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.

Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter's billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adelie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.

So one awkward question you can ask, when you're forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is "Why is east Antarctica getting colder?" It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you're at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it's confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.

The Chinese population doubled then, while in Europe the Vikings and cathedral-builders prospered. Fascinating relics of earlier episodes come from the Swiss Alps, with the rediscovery in 2003 of a long-forgotten pass used intermittently whenever the world was warm.

What does the Intergovernmental Panel do with such emphatic evidence for an alternation of warm and cold periods, linked to solar activity and going on long before human industry was a possible factor? Less than nothing. The 2007 Summary for Policymakers boasts of cutting in half a very small contribution by the sun to climate change conceded in a 2001 report.

Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun's brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun's magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark's idea - apart from its being politically incorrect - was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.

Thanks to having written The Manic Sun, a book about Svensmark's initial discovery published in 1997, I have been privileged to be on the inside track for reporting his struggles and successes since then. The outcome is a second book, The Chilling Stars, co-authored by the two of us and published next week by Icon books. We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle it "A new theory of climate change".

Where does all that leave the impact of greenhouse gases? Their effects are likely to be a good deal less than advertised, but nobody can really say until the implications of the new theory of climate change are more fully worked out.

The reappraisal starts with Antarctica, where those contradictory temperature trends are directly predicted by Svensmark's scenario, because the snow there is whiter than the cloud-tops. Meanwhile humility in face of Nature's marvels seems more appropriate than arrogant assertions that we can forecast and even control a climate ruled by the sun and the stars.


Below is the abstract the latest paper on the matters referred to above:


(From arXiv, December 2007)

By Henrik Svensmark

It has been proposed that galactic cosmic rays may influence the Earth's climate by affecting cloud formation. If changes in cloudiness play a part in climate change, their effect changes sign in Antarctica. Satellite data from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) are here used to calculate the changes in surface temperatures at all latitudes, due to small percentage changes in cloudiness. The results match the observed contrasts in temperature changes, globally and in Antarctica. Evidently clouds do not just respond passively to climate changes but take an active part in the forcing, in accordance with changes in the solar magnetic field that vary the cosmic-ray flux.

The green fervour: Is environmentalism the new religion?

In his new book Apollo's Arrow, ambitiously subtitled The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything, Vancouver-based author and mathematician David Orrell set out to explain why the mathematical models scientists use to predict the weather, the climate and the economy are not getting any better, just more refined in their uncertainty.

What he discovered, in trying to sketch the first principles of prophecy, was the religious nature of modern environmentalism. This is not to say that fearing for the future of the planet is irrational in the way supernatural belief arguably is, just that - in its myths of the Fall and the Apocalypse, its saints and heretics, its iconography and tithing, its reliance on prophecy, even its schisms - the green movement now exhibits the same psychology of compliance as religion.

Dr. Orrell is no climate-change denier. He calls himself green. But he understands the unjustified faith that arises from the psychological need tomake predictions "The track record of any kind of long-distance prediction is really bad, but everyone's still really interested in it. It's sort of a way of picturing the future. But we can't make long-term predictions of the economy, and we can't make long-term predictions of the climate," Dr. Orrell said in an interview. After all, he said, scientists cannot even write the equation of a cloud, let alone make a workable model of the climate.

Formerly of University College London, Dr. Orrell is best known among scientists for arguing that the failures of weather forecasting are not due to chaotic effects - as in the butterfly that causes the hurricane - but to errors of modelling. He sees the same problems in the predictions of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which he calls "extremely vague," and says there is no scientific reason to think the climate is more predictable than the weather. "Models will cheerfully boil away all the water in the oceans or cover the world in ice, even with pre-industrial levels of Co2," he writes in Apollo's Arrow . And so scientists use theoretical concepts like "flux adjustments" to make the models agree with reality. When models about the future climate are in agreement, "it says more about the self-regulating group psychology of the modelling community than it does about global warming and the economy."

In explaining such an arcane topic for a general audience, he found himself returning again and again to religious metaphors to explain our faith in predictions, referring to the "weather gods" and the "images of almost biblical wrath" in the literature. He sketched the rise of "the gospel of deterministic science," a faith system that was born with Isaac Newton and died with Albert Einstein. He said his own physics education felt like an "indoctrination" into the use of models, and that scientists in his field, "like priests... feel they are answering a higher calling." "If you go back to the oracles of ancient Greece, prediction has always been one function of religion," he said. "This role is coveted, and so there's not very much work done at questioning the prediction, because it's almost as if you were going to the priest and saying, `Look, I'm not sure about the Second Coming of Christ.' "

He is not the first to make this link. Forty years ago, shortly after Rachel Carson launched modern environmentalism by publishing leading to the first Earth Day in 1970, a Princeton history professor named LynnWhite wrote a seminal essay called "The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis." "By destroying pagan animism [the belief that natural objects have souls], Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects," he wrote in a 1967 issue of . "Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not." It was a prescient claim. In a 2003 speech in San Francisco, best-selling author Michael Crichton was among the first to explicitly close the circle, calling modern environmentalism "the religion of choice for urban atheists ... a perfect 21st century re-mapping of traditional JudeoChristian beliefs andmyths."

Today, the popularity of British author James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis - that the Earth itself functions as a living organism - confirms the return of a sort of idolatrous animism, a religion of nature. The recent IPCC report, and a week's worth of turgid headlines, did not create this faith, but certainly made it more evident.

It can be felt in the frisson of piety that comes with lighting an energy-saving light bulb, a modern votive candle. It is there in the pious propaganda of media outlets like the, Toronto Star, which on Jan. 28 made the completely implausible claim that, "The debate about greenhouse gas emissions appears to be over." It can be seen in the public ritual of cycling to work, in the veneer of saintliness on David Suzuki and Al Gore (the rush for tickets to the former vice-president's upcoming appearance crashed the server at the University of Toronto this week), in the high-profile conversion (honest or craven) of GeorgeW. Bush, and in the sinful guilt of throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage.

Adherents make arduous pilgrimages and call them ecotourism. Newspapers publish the iconography of polar bears. The IPCC reports carry the weight of scripture.

John Kay of the Financial Times wrote last month, about future climate chaos: "Christians look to the Second Coming, Marxists look to the collapse of capitalism, with the same mixture of fear and longing ... The discovery of global warming filled a gap in the canon ... [and] provides justification for the link between the sins of our past and the catastrophe of our future."

Like the tithe in Judaism and Christianity, the religiosity of green is seen in the suspiciously precise mathematics that allow companies such as Bullfrog Power or Offsetters to sell the supposed neutralization of the harmful emissions from household heating, air travel or transportation to a concert.

It is in the schism that has arisen over whether to renew or replace Kyoto, which, even if the scientific skeptics are completely discounted, has been a divisive force for environmentalists.

What was once called salvation - a nebulous state of grace - is now known as sustainability, a word that is equally resistant to precise definition. There is even a hymn, When the North Pole Melts, by James G. Titus, a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is not exactly How Great Thou Art, but serves a similar purpose.

Environmentalism even has its persecutors, embodied in the Bush White House attack dogs who have conducted no less than an Inquisition against climate scientists, which failed to bring them to heel but instead inspired potential martyrs. Of course, as religions tend to do, environmentalists commit persecution of their own, which has created heretics out of mere skeptics.

All of this might be fine if religions had a history of rational scientific inquiry and peaceful, tolerant implementation of their beliefs. As it is, however, many religions, environmentalism included, continue to struggle with the curse of literalism, and the resultant extremism. "Maybe I'm wrong, but I think all this is wrapped up in our belief that we can predict the future," said Dr. Orrell. "What we need is more of a sense that we're out of our depth, and that's more likely to promote a lasting change in behaviour." Projections are useful to "provoke ideas and aid thinking about the future," but as he writes in the book, "they should not be taken literally". The "fundamental danger of deterministic, objective science [is that] like a corny, overformulaic film, it imagines and presents the world as a predictable object. It has no sense of the mystery, magic, or surprise of life."

The solution, he thinks, is to adopt what the University of Toronto's Thomas Homer-Dixon calls a "prospective mind" - an intellectual stance that is "proactive, anticipatory, comfortable with change, and not surprised by surprise." In short, if we are to be good, future problem solvers, we must not be blinded by prophecy.

"I think [this stance] opens up the possibility for a more emotional and therefore more effective response," Dr. Orrell said. "There's a sense in which uncertainty is actually scarier and more likely to make us act than if you have bureaucrats saying, `Well, it's going to get warmer by about three degrees, and we know what's going to happen.'"



In a recent column Ellen Goodman says, "I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future."

In so doing, she reveals that she doesn't comprehend the issues. More important, she trivializes the Holocaust. First, the Holocaust is a part of history and, notwithstanding Ahmadinejad, can be verified as a fact. Similarly whether the present is warmer than the recent past is also verifiable, and no one, including so-called 'deniers' like Fred Singer or Richard Lindzen, denies that today is not warmer than, say, 150 years ago.

What they dispute is the amount of warming, the extent to which humanity is responsible for that warming, and the portion of the human-induced warming that can be ascribed to well-mixed greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane and nitrous oxides as opposed to other anthropogenic factors -- all critical questions if one wants to design effective policies to slow climate change, which presumably Ms. Goodman would also want.

Regarding the globally-warmed future, its consequences can be modeled but not verified, except after the fact. The best that can be done is to hazard an educated guess about its impacts. We do this using "models", so-called because they are not reality.

And where does Ellen Goodman get the notion that global warming will parallel the Holocaust? Will the toll from global warming rival that of the Holocaust? Is that written in the just-published IPCC summary for policy makers, which only addresses the science, but not the socioeconomic impacts of climate change?

Finally, lest we forget, remember that the Holocaust was enabled in part by the passive acquiescence of a population too cowed by authority to dissent from the orthodoxies of time and place. Perhaps more dissenting voices might have saved more lives from the Holocaust. More power to the dissenters... who refuse to march lockstep with -- and dare dissent from -- today's orthodoxies.



A perceptive Letter to "The Times" below:

Sir, I listened on Thursday to Melvin Bragg's excellent programme on Karl Popper. Afterwards I heard of David Milliband's remark that the scientific debate on global warming was now closed.

I am not sure if Popper would have laughed or raged - probably both. For him no scientific debate was ever closed, and he pointed out that the Newtonian "consensus" had lasted several centuries when Einstein came along and reopened the debate. Whether the "climate consensus" will last more than a few years before the debate needs to be reopened seems doubtful.

As I understand it, the climate modellers are using Newtonian mechanics to simulate a coupled nonlinear chaotic system. This raised questions as long ago as the early 1960s, and even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's own Third Assessment seemed a little concerned. The debate is clearly not closed at all.

Popper was the author of The Open Society and its Enemies. He would surely have numbered among these enemies those who attack scientists who express doubts about the conventional view of global warming.

TOM ADDISCOTT, Harpenden, Herts

Now Australia's "drought" hits Sydney

Every single Eastern Australian State has now had flooding but there are still severe water-usage restrictions in most places because no major dams have been built for many years -- under Greenie influence, of course. Using the "drought" and global warming as an excuse for an inadequate domestic water supply is getting to be the sort of "big lie" that Dr. Goebbels would be proud of.

While the east coast was yesterday buffetted by rain, leading to flash flooding and the collapse of a shopping centre roof in Sydney, in the central and southern parts of NSW wind and dust storms led to one death and cast an eerie glow across much of the Riverina.

The problems in Sydney began shortly after midday when sections of a roof fell in at the Campbelltown Shopping Mall in the southwest, leading to the evacuation of a thousand shoppers and staff. A NSW fire brigade spokesman said fire teams attended the collapse after automatic alarms were set off. The water was up to 1m deep in the loading dock and knee deep in other parts of the complex, with the situation exacerbated by overflowing stormwater drains.

The spokesman said large amounts of water had poured through the ceiling and entered the lower levels of the complex, damaging carpets and stock in more than 60 of the centre's 103 shops. Police were called in to assist with the evacuation and State Emergency Service teams built sandbag walls to prevent further water damage.

In separate incidents, two drivers became stranded during flash floods in the St Marys area of western Sydney. Both men were pulled to safety but their cars were substantially damaged.

In the state's Riverina district in the south, a man in his 20s was killed while driving his utility along Burley Griffin Way near Temora during a wind storm shortly after 3pm. Witnesses told police a large gum tree was uprooted and struck the man's vehicle. The local man sustained multiple injuries and died at the scene.

Senior forecaster with the Bureau of Metereology Neale Fraser said the eerie glow that had been cast by the dust storm across Griffith and surrounding towns was caused by a trough of low pressure heading west which had caused a surge of easterlies in its wake, with winds gusting up to 55km/h. He said the surge "looks spectacular because it is only a few thousand feet deep and is confined to that layer". "It is like a tongue of cooler air which picks up all the dust but is then confined," he said.

A spokesman for the NSW State Emergency Service, Phil Campbell, said there were more than 250 calls for help in the southwest of Sydney, mostly because of flash flooding. A "flood watch" alert has been issued by the Bureau of Metereology for the Georges River and SES volunteers closely monitored river heights overnight. While the east of the country was buffetted by storm pockets yesterday, the west remained hot and dry. Marble Bar in the Pilbara experienced its 36th day in succession with temperatures above 40C.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


12 February, 2007


The "Boston Globe" article excerpted below will be widely read. What is interesting about it is that an article with some sensible points to make is preceded by an attack on free speech via a spurious "Holocaust" comparison. It seems that an equation of climate-skeptics with holocaust-deniers has now become routine on the Green/Left. Claims that conservatives are Nazis or neo-Nazis are by now so routine (Bush=Hitler etc.) that this version of the claim is unlikely to do much more than give Leftists themselves a little spurt of self-righteous satisfaction.

Taranto has a comment on the article -- where he makes at some length the basic logical point that doubting a prediction about the future is in any case totally different from doubting an historical fact. We CAN know the past. We CANNOT know the future. And prophesies about the future are usually wrong -- sometimes spectacularly so. Doubting ANYTHING about the future is therefore categorically different from doubting anything in the past

By every measure, the U N 's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raises the level of alarm. The fact of global warming is "unequivocal." The certainty of the human role is now somewhere over 90 percent. Which is about as certain as scientists ever get. I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

But light bulbs aside -- I now have three and counting -- I don't expect that this report will set off some vast political uprising. The sorry fact is that the rising world thermometer hasn't translated into political climate change in America.

The folks at the Pew Research Center clocking public attitudes show that global warming remains 20th on the annual list of 23 policy priorities. Below terrorism, of course, but also below tax cuts, crime, morality, and illegal immigration. [Nice to hear that the average American is more in touch with reality than Green/Left columnists are]

One reason is that while poles are melting [Even the IPCC says that the South Pole is NOT melting] and polar bears are swimming between ice floes, American politics has remained polarized. There are astonishing gaps between Republican science and Democratic science. Try these numbers: Only 23 percent of college-educated Republicans believe the warming is due to humans, while 75 percent of college-educated Democrats believe it. [And close to 100% of conservative bloggers are skeptical to some degree. Al Gore has done skepticism a great favour by associating global warming faith with the Left.]

This great divide comes from the science-be-damned-and-debunked attitude of the Bush administration and its favorite media outlets. The day of the report, Big Oil Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma actually described it as "a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain." Speaking of corruption of science, the American Enterprise Institute, which has gotten $1.6 million over the years from Exxon Mobil, offered $10,000 last summer to scientists who would counter the IPCC report.

But there are psychological as well as political reasons why global warming remains in the cool basement of priorities. It may be, paradoxically, that framing this issue in catastrophic terms ends up paralyzing instead of motivating us. Remember the Time magazine cover story: "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." The essential environmental narrative is a hair-raising consciousness-raising: This is your Earth. This is your Earth on carbon emissions. This works for some. But a lot of social science research tells us something else. As Ross Gelbspan, author of "The Heat is On," says, "when people are confronted with an overwhelming threat and don't see a solution, it makes them feel impotent. So they shrug it off or go into deliberate denial."

Michael Shellenberger, co author of "The Death of Environmentalism," adds, "The dominant narrative of global warming has been that we're responsible and have to make changes or we're all going to die. It's tailor-made to ensure inaction." [Good to hear. Apathy has always been a help to conservatives]

American University's Matthew Nisbet is among those who see the importance of expanding the story beyond scientists. He is charting the reframing of climate change into a moral and religious issue -- see the greening of the evangelicals -- and into a corruption-of-science issue -- see big oil -- and an economic issue -- see the newer, greener technologies .

In addition, maybe we can turn denial into planning. "If the weatherman says there's a 75 percent chance of rain, you take your umbrella," Shellenberger tells groups. Even people who clutched denial as their last, best hope can prepare, he says, for the next Katrina. Global warming preparation is both his antidote for helplessness and goad to collective action.

The political economy of global warming

The din to do something about global warming appears to be deafening. Article after article in the media. The UN report. An Oscar nomination and maybe a Nobel Prize for Al Gore. A deafening din. A groundswell of concern. Unrelenting pressure to do something to save the earth. But I don't think much is going to happen in the policy arena, other than a few symbolic gestures. Here's why.

The average American doesn't really mind global warming. Remember those mild temperatures last month? It was in the 60s here in the DC area. People loved it. They certainly like those days better than yesterday when the temperature was in the single digits. People like cocaine, too. Most of us avoid it, though because we're worried about the short term consequences. But the short term consequences of global warming are tiny. Most of the serious consequences are at least 90 years away and even 90 years from now, a rational person is probably pretty optimistic that we'll cope with a sea level that's 23 inches higher. A rational person is also pretty skeptical about the ability of scientists to forecast sea level in 90 years. So there's no pressing demand by the average person to push politicians to pursue policies that lower our income today in return for something a century or more from now.

It's one thing to convince people that the earth is getting warmer. It's another thing to convince people that human actions are the cause of global warming. But it's a much harder thing still to convince people that the results of global warming will be something other than a more pleasant winter in Minnesota and a less pleasant summer in Arizona. You've got to convince people that we're making the earth less hospitable for human and other life forms. We all know that the earth goes through big climate swings. So how likely is it that we're actually going to destroy the earth? On top of all that, you've got to convince people we can actually do something about the problem. As Robert Samuelson points out, there's not that much we can do.

This short-run basic human pleasure most Americans get from warmer weather helps people feel good about being skeptical about the data and the science. How seriously can you take the scientific consensus when there's a debate about whether to use 90% or 99% as the likelihood that we're changing the earth's climate? That's not science. That's politics. How seriously can you take the scientific consensus when there are serious scientists suggesting the whole thing is a hoax. Jeff Jacoby lists a few here. And there are others. These folks aren't saying the estimates are off by 10%. They're saying the whole thing is a hoax. How seriously can you take the scientific consensus when you know that a lot of the experts are on the government and foundation funding gravy train and their livelihood depends on remaining on the right side?

But the biggest reason nothing is going to happen is that Al Gore Oscar nomination. Imagine ten years from now that the United States starts getting more protectionist. We start limiting imports and refusing to honor trade agreements. In response, George W. Bush does a brilliant documentary on the virtues of free trade. I don't care how brilliant and accurate and persuasive the documentary turns out. At least 40% of the American people (and maybe it will be a lot more than 40%) will decide that because it comes from George Bush, the whole thing must be garbage with a hidden political agenda. Well about 40% of the American people (and maybe a lot more than 40%) think that Al Gore has a political agenda and can't be trusted.

Having Al Gore as the most recognized advocate for action against global warming reduces the political likelihood of action. It politicizes something that should be pure science and reminds people that the solutions to global warming are going to come via the political process rather than from the experts.

The final reason we're not going to do anything about global warming is because the Chinese aren't going to do anything about global warming. If the Chinese don't do anything, our incentive is very small. We will have to take a big hit in standard of living to make up for the surge in the Chinese pollution that's coming. And I don't think the Chinese are going to do anything to reduce their march toward modernity.

A final thought: the experts on global warming bear little cost for making overly pessimistic predictions about the world in 2100. So they have an incentive to make overly pessimistic predictions. True, their reputations will be harmed. But right now they are all in the same boat. You don't look foolish predicting that Florida is going to disappear if almost everyone else with glowing credentials makes the same argument. So I'm a little skeptical of their pessimism given that the costs of pessimism is low and benefits in the form of being on the good side of the funding angels is high. But they could be right. Maybe the earth is headed toward a fiery end. But if I'm right about the politics, then we'll get to find out if the experts are right to be pessimistic. We'll find out, not because we'll all be alive in 2100, though many of us could be, but because we're going to get a lot more data in the next decade or two to see if the current pessimism is justified. So we'll talk again in 2020 and see whether the scientific consensus is as dire or direr than it is now.

That din we're hearing now is either going to keep getting louder or it's going to fade away. But because we're not likely to do anything serious, we're going to get a lot more data that will either enhance or destroy the current so-called consensus.



Predictions are cheap so let's have a positive one!

Climate change will boost the global economy and dominate financial markets over the next 25 years, a leading investment bank has predicted. In a new report, Barclays Capital challenges the conventional wisdom that global warming will have a devastating impact on economic growth. It believes the need to increase energy capacity by 50 per cent by 2035, while simultaneously reducing dependence on hydrocarbons, will spark an "energy revolution" reminiscent of the technology revolution which led to the boom. "If ever the time were ripe for such an energy revolution, it is now," said Tim Bond, global head of asset allocation at Barclays Capital, and author of the report. "And like all historical adoptions of general purpose technologies, the process should prove immensely stimulative to economic growth."

Mr Bond says that those who couch the climate change debate in terms of the cost to growth are underestimating the impact of an energy revolution. Last year's Stern Review concluded that if temperatures rise by five degrees celsius, up to 10 per cent of global output could be lost. "All of the historical changes in energy supply - from dung to wood to coal to oil - were stimulative for the economy concerned. Every major technological change was accompanied or followed by faster economic growth." he said. Like every revolution, there will be winners and losers, with the energy sector set to reap the biggest rewards.




From the "Environmental News Network": "Science Is Solid on Climate Change, Congress Told." "The science is solid," says Louise Frechette, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations. "The science is solid," says Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "The science is really solid," says TV meteorologist Heidi Cullen. "The science is very solid."

And at that point, on "Larry King Live" last week, Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT, remarked: "Heidi says the science is solid and I can't criticize her because she never says what science she's talking about."

Indeed. If the science is so solid, maybe they could drag it out to the Arctic for the poor polar bears to live on now that the ice is melting faster than a coed's heart at an Al Gore lecture.


Australia's "drought" hits Canberra

Despite floods in North Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria, Australia is still apparently in "drought" -- caused, of course, by that wicked global warming. No-one seems to want to admit that Australian rainfall has always been erratic and that there is always some region that is in "drought"

Dozens of homes in Canberra were damaged by flooding overnight by a severe thunderstorm. Residents in suburban Weston Creek and Tuggeranong reported leaking roofs and collapsed ceilings after 50mm of rain fell. The house of an 87-year-old woman in Stirling was flooded and a woman with a six-week-old baby was unable to leave her home in Kambah because her driveway was under a metre of water. ACT State Emergency Service deputy chief officer Bren Burkevics said the service had 61 calls and deployed 41 volunteers to help residents.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


11 February, 2007


A response by Benny Peiser [] to the many Greenies who are disappointed with the latest IPCC Summary -- in particular, the editors of "New Religion" (aka "New Scientist")

That the editors of New Scientist would be incensed by the IPCC AR4 report was to be expected. Most of the worst-case disaster scenarios they have peddled, pushed and published over the last few years have been either debunked altogether or are widely regarded as highly unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. The apparent disgruntlement voiced in today's editorial is thus a clear indication that climate alarmists are beginning to worry about the new, moderate mood within the IPCC.

Despite media campaigns, false leaks and antechambering, the SPM has thrown out the more extreme scenarios regarding sea level and temperature rise, polar ice melting, hurricane activity, the Gulf-Stream-collapse-ice-age, etc. Not surprisingly, this has come as a huge disappointment to many dogmatic neo-catastrophists. After all, these extreme scenarios have been carefully advanced by the disaster lobby since the notorious Met Office conference in Exeter ("Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change") exactly 2 years ago. Now they bitterly complain that "last week's [IPCC] summary report virtually ignored most of the Exeter findings.

One only has to compare the SPM with the Stern Review to appreciate just how much the IPCC has softened its assessment and estimates of core issues. Many doom merchants are fuming about the new moderate temper. Others are simply denying that any moderation has actually occurred. To make matters worse, every single government has now signed on to the IPCC consensus.

Some bloggers are seething about President Bush's conversion as this newfangled consensus deprives campaigners of a natural target in the "science wars." Now, that no government is disagreeing with the basic science, campaigners are forced to engage in the much more complex issues of climate policy and economic analysis. The issue is no longer about action versus inaction. Quite the opposite. The real debate about the most cost-effective ways of dealing with climate change: revolutionary change as advocated by climate alarmists, or gradual adjustment as suggested by climate moderates.

Nonetheless, I don't expect that the prophets of doom will surrender that easily and accept the IPCC consensus. In fact, I expect the stream of disaster predictions, catastrophe scenarios and hyped media alarmism to go on as usual, in the hope that -never mind the set back - the next IPCC report will, for sure, be more alarmist!

Indeed, the editors of New Scientists are as certain as true believers that this will happen in the end: "[The AR4] omits some very real risks either because we have not yet pinned down their full scale or because we do not yet know how likely they are... It's a fair bet that much of what we do not yet know for sure will turn out to be scarier than most of us like to imagine."

In sharp contrast to such statements of complete belief, I keep an open mind and will adjust my views on the potential risks of climate change as new data and observations emerge. Nevertheless, I will always defend the editors of New Scientist against accusations that they are too sceptical of the IPCC consensus and that they focus too much on minority positions among climate researchers [sarcasm]. Tolerance cuts both ways, doesn't it?


(From Science Magazine, 9 February 2007)

Small Phytoplankton and Carbon Export from the Surface Ocean

By Tammi L. Richardson and George A. Jackson

Autotrophic picoplankton dominate primary production over large oceanic regions but are believed to contribute relatively little to carbon export from surface layers. Using analyses of data from the equatorial Pacific Ocean and Arabian Sea, we show that the relative direct and indirect contribution of picoplankton to export is proportional to their total net primary production, despite their small size. We suggest that all primary producers, not just the large cells, can contribute to export from the surface layer of the ocean at rates proportional to their production rates.


Greenland isn't melting as fast as we feared. It was big news when the rate of melting suddenly doubled in 2004 as ice sheets began moving more quickly into the sea. That inspired predictions of the imminent demise of Greenland's ice - and a catastrophic rise in sea level. But a paper published online this afternoon by Science reports that two of the largest glaciers have suddenly slowed, bringing the rate of melting last year down to near the previous rate. At one glacier, Kangerdlugssuaq, "average thinning over the glacier during the summer of 2006 declined to near zero, with some apparent thickening in areas on the main trunk."

I asked the lead author of the paper, Ian Howat of the University of Washington, for some perspective. Here's his take: "Over the past few years there has been a major revolution in the way scientists think about ice sheet response to climate change. Previously, it was assumed that the big ice sheets react very slowly to climate, on the order of centuries to millenia. This is because surface melting and precipitation was thought to be the dominant way in which ice sheets gain and lose mass under changes in climate. However, over the past five years we have observed that the flow speed of the ice sheets, and therefore the rate at which the ice flows to ocean can change dramatically over very short time scales." By short, he means months or less.

I also asked Dr. Howat about the argument that, since Greenland went through decades of relatively warm weather in the first half of the 20th century without catastrophic consequences, it's unlikely that the glaciers are suddenly going to plunge into the ocean because of the current warming. His response: "Greenland was about as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's, and many of the glaciers were smaller than they are now. This was a period of rapid glacier shrinkage world-wide, followed by at least partial re-expansion during a colder period from the 1950's to the 1980's.

Of course, we don't know very much about how the glacier dynamics changed then because we didn't have satellites to observe it. However, it does suggest that large variations in ice sheet dynamics can occur from natural climate variability. The problem arises in the possibility that, due to anthropogenic warming, warm phases will become longer and more severe, so that each time the glaciers go through a period of retreat like this, they won't fully grow back and they will retreat farther the next time."

That sounds like a reasonable concern. But for now, with the glaciers moving in fits and starts, it's wise not to make any sweeping predictions based on a few measurements. Although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was criticized for not incorporating the recent scary data from Greenland into its long-range projections, these new results seem to vindicate its caution. As Dr. Howat and his co-authors warn: "Special care must be taken in how these and other mass-loss estimates are evaluated, particularly when extrapolating into the future because short-term spikes could yield erroneous long-term trends



(Below is the abstract of the research article mentioned above)

By Ian M. Howat et al.


Using satellite-derived surface elevation and velocity data, we find major short-term variations in recent ice discharge and mass-loss at two of Greenland's largest outlet glaciers. Their combined rate of mass-loss doubled in less than a year in 2004 and then decreased in 2006 to near the previous rates, likely due to fast re-equilibration of calving front geometry following retreat. Total mass-loss is a fraction of concurrent gravity-derived estimates, pointing to an alternative source of loss and the need for high-resolution observations of outlet dynamics and glacier geometry for sea-level rise predictions.



By Bjorn Lomborg

You would have had to be stuck in deepest Mongolia to avoid hearing that the United Nations' climate panel issued a new report last week. Perhaps even in the depths of Mongolia, you would have heard the dire warnings emitted by journalists. You would have distilled from these agonized noises that the report concluded that global warming is worse than we had imagined.

You would have been misinformed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, has produced a good report - an attempt to summarize what the world's scientists know about global warming. ....

But lost among the hype is the unexciting fact that this report is actually no more dire than the IPCC's last report, issued in 2001. The report contained two surprising facts. Both went unmentioned in most reports. First, the world's scientists have re-jigged their estimates about how much sea levels will rise. In the 1980s, America's Environmental Protection Agency expected oceans to rise by several meters by 2100. By the 1990s, the IPCC was expecting a 67-centimeter rise. Six years ago, it anticipated ocean levels would be 48.5 centimeters higher than they are currently. In this year's report, the estimated rise is 38.5 centimeters on average.

This is especially interesting since it fundamentally rejects one of the most harrowing scenes from Al Gore's movie - "An Inconvenient Truth." The report also revealed the improbability of another Gore scenario: That global warming could make the Gulf Stream shut down, turning Europe into a new Siberia. The IPCC simply and tersely tells us that this scenario - also vividly depicted in the Hollywood movie "The Day After Tomorrow" - is considered "very unlikely."


Greenie idiocy in Australia: Coal is "a deadly threat"

This story was headlined in some Australian newspapers -- to the implicit detriment of the Greenies

A Greens demand that Australia's entire coal industry be shut down within three years yesterday rocked the growing campaign against harmful emissions. A coal ban would cost the nation $25 billion-a-year in export earnings, eliminate thousands of jobs, and switch off five NSW power stations. Prime Minister John Howard called the idea reckless and job destroying and Labor said it was absurd.

But Greens Leader Bob Brown said it was necessary to reduce global climate change as Australia was the world's biggest coal exporter. "To suddenly ban coal exports would be massively dislocating but we have got to do it and we have to do it within a period (a three-year term) of a government," he said. "This is where politicians will panic. But we are exporting to the rest of the world what is effectively a deadly threat to the whole planet and our children." Some five billion tonnes of coal are consumed worldwide every year and Australia exports 230 million tonnes.

Other campaigners against dangerous emissions advocate a longer-term phasing out of the fuel. "No sane person wants to shut down the coal industry in NSW overnight," said Patrice Newell, a Climate Change Coalition candidate for the NSW Legislative Council.

The Prime Minister told The Saturday Daily Telegraph: "That is a reckless commitment. It would cost thousands of jobs and cause immense damage to the Australian economy. It's the very kind of knee-jerk reaction that we don't need."

Labor's Wayne Swan said: "It's absurd and ill-informed to assert that you can't have a strong coal industry as well as taking effective steps to combat climate change".

The Brown proposal would cost an estimated 50,000 jobs in mining, port handling, power generation and other related occupations. But Senator Brown said coal towns such as Newcastle and Wollongong would be helped to create other jobs in new renewable energy industries. "It is part of our responsibility to see that people can transform and go into jobs where they're creating a safe future." The Department of Industry and Resources said the number of people directly employed by the industry rose from a low of about 19,000 in 1999 to about 30,000 in 2005.



No mainstream support for Greenie madness in Australia

Opposition frontbenchers yesterday insisted the future of the coal industry was safe, amid fears within the party that an aggressive stance on climate change could unsettle mining and power workers, becoming a potent election liability. Still living with the political fallout of the disastrous timber policy pushed by former leader Mark Latham - which alienated blue-collar workers on the eve of the 2004 election - Labor yesterday rounded on Australian of the Year Tim Flannery as "irresponsible" for his plan to close the coal industry, calling it a recipe for massive job losses.

Some elements within Labor fear that by appearing too bullish on climate change, the party could raise concerns among workers that jobs will be sacrificed to the environment. This could push workers' votes towards an economically hard-nosed Howard Government. Others want their colleagues who represent mining seats to be more vocal.

New Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull last night warned, during his first live television debate with Opposition environment spokesman Peter Garrett, that Labor's climate change policies risked "enormous damage to jobs". Mr Turnbull accused Labor of scaremongering on climate change, but Mr Garrett used the debate on the ABC's 7.30 Report to accuse the Howard Government of failing to respond to the "crisis" of global warming.

Professor Flannery, the prominent environmental scientist, and the Greens have said that in an era of global warming, coal is losing its social legitimacy. Australia needed to close its coal-fired power plants, after developing less-polluting technologies, Professor Flannery said.

However, senior Labor figure Craig Emerson condemned him, saying a mix of policy responses to the greenhouse problem was needed. "But at the heart of those responses has to be a clean coal future for this country," he said. Opposition Treasury spokesman Wayne Swan insisted Labor was "proud of our heritage and our links to the mining" sector, and said reducing emissions did not mean wiping out the coal industry, which employs more than 30,000 people. "Setting ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions does not mean we have to eliminate coal exports or shut down the coal industry," Mr Swan said.

Professor Flannery on Wednesday urged Australia to leave the coal industry behind, saying that as the pollution problem grew, "the social licence to operate those old polluting technologies will be withdrawn". Mr Garrett said there was a "huge market out there for energy efficiency" and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal power.

But Mr Emerson said the country could not "simply rely on generating power in Australia by solar and other renewable sources". "Nor should we be saying to the rest of the world that it is wrong to generate electricity from coal," he said. "We should be investing and supporting the development of clean coal technologies." {which is what PM Howard also says!]

The Government is pushing substantial investment into clean coaltechnologies to help make cleaner coal exports, which generate $24.5 billion for the country each year. Mr Turnbull said clean coal technology "may well be the most important thing Australia does" to reduce emissions. He said with China consuming 2.2 billion tonnes of coal a year, that dependency was not going to change, and unless a technological solution could be found then any of the "sacrifices" in Australia would mean nothing. He accused Mr Garrett of wanting to sacrifice jobs to achieve cuts in emissions.

John Howard also accused Labor of putting ideology ahead of jobs, attacking Mr Garrett for refusing to endorse the expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine in outback South Australia, even though the state's Labor Premier, Mike Rann, was pushing for more uranium mining. "We do not want thousands of coalminers thrown out of work, and we do not want thousands of people denied an opportunity of employment in the development of the uranium mines of South Australia," he said.

Mr Garrett would not be drawn on the expansion of uranium as way of bolstering clean power production, insisting Labor was yet to have that debate.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


10 February, 2007


Canada Free Press is proof that not all Canadians are lily-livered "liberal" conformists. It follows a vigorous conservative line on most issues of the day and has had a whole series of cover-stories up that criticize the global warming religion that is so prevalent in Canada. Below are some excerpts from their current front page

At the United Nations, the Curious Career of Maurice Strong

NEW YORK: Before the United Nations can save the planet, it needs to clean up its own house. And as scandal after scandal has unfolded over the past decade, from Oil for Food to procurement fraud to peacekeeper rape, the size of that job has become stunningly clear. But any understanding of the real efforts that job entails should begin with a look at the long and murky career of Maurice Strong, the man who may have had the most to do with what the U.N. has become today, and still sparks controversy even after he claims to have cut his ties to the world organization.

Climatologist Timothy Ball sends PhD to Canada Free Press

"Rubbish". That's what Dr. Timothy Ball calls detractors' charges that he is not a climatologist. "That's absolute rubbish. I have a PhD in Geography with a specific focus on historical climatology from the University of London (England), Queen Mary College," Dr. Ball told Canada Free Press (CFP) yesterday in a telephone interview. Thousands of letters of support flooded CFP when Dr. Ball's article, Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts? was posted on Monday's Drudge Report. In the space of two days, CFP received 1 million page views courtesy of Drudge.

More "work" for beggars

Ontario's program for returning liquor bottles is now in effect. Beginning yesterday, purchasers of spirits were charged an additional 10 to 20 cents a bottle that will be refunded when these bottles are cashed in.

Threat of climate change more about politics than science

Okay. I admit it. No, I proudly proclaim that I am a denier of the theory that the current change in the planet's climate is man-made. Rather than cower before the left-lib juggernaut that demand dumb, blind, obedient faith in the precepts set forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), I prefer to join the ranks of the skeptics.

Global warming ethics, pork and profits

The ink has barely dried on its new code of conduct, and already Congress is redefining ethics and pork to fit a global warming agenda. As Will Rogers observed, "with Congress, every time they make a joke, it's a law. And every time they make a law, it's a joke."

U.N. Report: Humans are to Blame for Global Warming

GIBSON: The big debate now, are humans to blame for all this extreme weather. Well that's what a new United Nations report on climate change tells us. Not only are scientists saying they believe global warming is man-made, they're also saying it's now too late, it's all unstoppable. But the global warming debate has gotten so ugly now, some people are demanding that anyone who doesn't believe in these theories of climate change should be punished. Is it a legitimate point of view to question if these extreme weather changes are really a product of man-made global warming?

Economic suicide for Europe and the US

Europeans have worked themselves into such a lather over "climate chaos" that they've set themselves up for a head-on collision between eco-ideology and economic reality. With the new Democratic Congress poised to ram through heavy-handed climate legislation, the US may be heading down the same path.

Should We Believe the Latest UN Climate Report?

The UN Climate Change panel is asserting—again—that humans are overheating the planet.ÿ Again, they have no evidence to support their claim—but they want the U.S. to cut its energy use by perhaps 80 percent just in case. Stabilizing greenhouse gases means no personal cars, no air-conditioning, no vacation travel. Nancy Pelosi says one-third of the Senate want this too.ÿ

Global Warming Hypocrisy

The up-tick in global warming propaganda in recent days is to set the stage for the release of the Fourth Assessment Report from the International Panel on Climate Change. Surprise, surprise, the report will say the sky is falling - faster and faster.

The Green Juggernaut

As the news poured forth about the devastation wrought last week by a huge storm that swept across central Florida, I wondered to myself how anyone with any common sense could think that humans are responsible for the weather? Responsible? We have zero control over these events. And yet...

Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?

What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?

Media Promote Global Warming Fraud

When it comes to Iraq, our media have been preoccupied with the issue of whether there was adequate intelligence to justify the invasion and if policy-makers made up evidence before the war. But on the matter of global intervention to stop global warming, there seems to be no need for scientific evidence to justify what is shaping up as a global carbon tax of 35 cents a gallon of gas on the American people. 

Climate Change's Carnival Atmosphere

The global warming carnival hits its full stride this week with the release of the long-awaited and much-hyped United Nations report on global warming. It’s unfortunate for the climateers that this week’s climate science doesn’t live up to all the hoopla.

A man-made morality tale

How the IPCC’s fairly sober summary of climate science has been spun to tell a story of Fate, Doom and human folly.

On 2 February 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a summary of a report due to come out in three months’ time (1). Events surrounding it show how far both the professional drafting and media interpretation of science have become infused with today’s anti-humanist politics.

Politically spun and politically interpreted, science is first made incontrovertible and put on a pedestal; turned, in a word, into scientism. Then, science is used to close down political debate. Finally, it is said to confirm the folly, hubris, selfishness and general dirtiness of mankind. Whatever our pretensions, we are now supposed to be pretty loathsome compared with the grandeur of the polar ice caps that now face ruin at our hands. And, in the same spirit, what mankind could really be doing with technology becomes trivialised.

According to the Financial Times, ‘The world’s leading climate scientists on Friday swept away the last doubts surrounding global warming’ (2). Indeed Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a co-founder of the IPCC, says that the IPCC’s new report means that to resist laws making cuts in greenhouse gas emissions mandatory would now be ‘irresponsible’ (3).

So doubt, a key ingredient of the scientific method, is now out. Yet if science is abused in this way, it is also deified. UK environment minister David Miliband will make Britain the first nation in Europe to send Al Gore’s science slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth, to every school in the country. Even before that, Guardian columnist George Monbiot, in calling for a 90 per cent cut in CO2 emissions, insisted that this was ‘what the science appears to demand’ (4). Similarly, with last year’s Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, Sir Nicholas Stern declared that the structure of his economics was ‘essentially dictated by the structure of the science’ (5). From the bejeaned George Monbiot to the impeccably suited Sir Nicholas, climate science is now held to determine both politics and economics. Science seems to have become the Great Dictator, and no dissent can be allowed.

We refer to this as the New Scientism. We call it new to distinguish it from the old sort – the sort that, ironically enough, was organised by US imperialism in the Cold War. During that era, the RAND Corporation, a think-tank founded in 1948 by the US Air Force and loan guarantees from the Ford Foundation, ‘sought to reduce politics to a purely quantitative discipline, and… had no qualms about applying the most esoteric mathematical tools to the calibration of nuclear “collateral damage”’… It devised plans on how to ration access to nuclear fallout shelters. One of RAND’s suggestions was to let children into such shelters first, and then exclude their parents….’ (6)

Ironically, greens now rehabilitate the Cold War scientism of RAND, which they affect to hate so much, so as to legitimise not the Cold War, but today’s war on personal behaviour – the war to colonise people’s minds, make them internalise green mores, and make them spend all their time buying (and repairing) windmills, sorting their rubbish, and turning off their consumer electronics equipment. Instead of rationing access to fallout shelters, David Miliband wants a nationwide scheme to ration carbon. Why? To ‘empower’ individuals and local communities as part of ‘the mass mobilising movement of our age…cumulative, consistent radicalism’ (7).

As with the original Cold War scientism, the New Scientism perverts objective science towards questionable political ends. Consider the reaction to the IPCC report. Importantly, that report says, in bold type: ‘Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. This is an advance since the TAR’s [the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, 2001] conclusion that “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.’ (8)

First, it is not immediately clear, scientifically, how the IPCC went from ‘likely’ to ‘very likely’ on the question of the contribution of man’s emissions to climate change. It seems likely that political pressure played a role here. Secondly, how did the media universally translate the IPCC’s fairly careful account of ‘discernible human influences’? They translated it as mankind being, without doubt, ‘to blame’ for a future disaster. It seems the IPCC summary was not actually read, but rather simply corralled into the service of longstanding political views and prejudices.

Some have used the IPCC summary to assert that the debate on climate change is over. In part, this stems from the proclamations of the IPCC itself and its supporters. For example, Achim Steiner said that 2 February, the day the summary was published, would be ‘remembered as the day the question mark was removed’. Anyone interested in genuine scientific inquiry, not to mention political debate, should always be concerned when question marks are removed. And the chorus claiming that this is the ‘end of the debate’ overlooks the more tentative conclusions in the IPPC summary. When, as above, the IPCC uses terms such as ‘likely’, ‘very likely’ and so on, it does so as to indicate quantitative levels of probability. These levels sometimes have a basis in statistics, and sometimes represent an expert judgment. The number of times that each term is used in the report shows that its conclusions are built on a large number of probable lines of evidence. They are hardly definitive findings:

Neither in 2001 nor in 2007 has the IPCC itself asserted that debate on climate change is over (though it has moved in the direction of ‘removing question marks’, and thus helping to shut down discussion). Rather, advances in theory and observation, particularly around our understanding of atmospheric aerosol particles and the measurements of temperature taken by satellite, have allowed the IPCC to upgrade its levels of confidence from below 90 per cent to somewhere between 90 and 95.....

In principle the IPCC is supposed to be ‘policy neutral’, meaning that it is to present only the facts – the facts upon which policy can be based. But in today’s political culture, where so many insist that science should be read prescriptively, governments have taken a keen interest in IPCC Assessments, and the IPCC itself has become increasingly politicised. So although drafted by scientists, the summary now paraded by the world’s media is vetted line by line by government representatives, accompanied by observers from bodies including the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association and the International Aluminum Institute, as well as by observers from non-governmental organisations such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace (12).

The fact that governments may not, with any luck, intervene in this way in the full reports well captures official attitudes toward science today. The concern is not with science per se, but with the creation of a message that is usable for policy. We will have to wait until April and the full first volume of Climate Change 2007 to judge how far the summary is really an accurate digest of the evidence – or, indeed, whether the full volume is itself altered on the grounds of political expediency. We can however already see that despite some clear political compromises and expressions of green pessimism, it is a more sober document than most of the reporting of it, or of climate change in general, would lead us to believe.

By contrast with the forecasts made by others, those essayed in the summary are quite circumspect. We can see this, briefly, in its treatment of temperatures, and at greater length in its treatment of ice and sea levels. The potential temperature rises projected in the summary are not dramatically different from those in the IPCC’s 2001 Third Assessment Report. The ‘best estimate’ made by the summary is that of a temperature rise of between 1.8º and 4.0º by 2100. It considers ‘unlikely’ changes of less than 1.1º or more than 6.4º. Already this confirms the mischievousness of Monbiot and Stern. They mention figures as high as 11.5º (13).

What about ice and the sea? Gore warns that if Greenland’s or the Antarctic’s ice melt, sea levels would rise by up to six metres. His maps show the inundation of Florida, San Francisco, Beijing, Calcutta and the Netherlands. The front page of the UK Independent goes further. Invoking the summary as ‘the final warning’, environmentalist writer Mark Lynas says that, with a temperature rise of 5.4º, ‘the entire planet will become ice-free, and sea levels will be 70 metres higher than today’ (14). How do Gore’s six and the Independent’s 70 metres compare with the summary? It considers a variety of scenarios in which no special policies are implemented to deal with greenhouse emissions. Its conclusion: by 2100, sea levels could rise by between 18 and 59 centimetres.

All this is an order of magnitude less pessimistic than Gore and the Independent. When the summary speculates about ‘virtually complete elimination of the Greenland ice sheet and a resulting contribution to sea level rise of about seven metres’, that is in the context of melting being sustained not to 2100, but for millennia (15). And the Antarctic? The summary does say that a net loss of ice mass could occur if ‘dynamical ice discharge’ dominates the ice sheet – in other words, if bits of ice break off rather than melt. But it precedes that observation with the point that current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet ‘will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall’ (16).

Alarmists such as Gore make much of the recent suggestion that the world’s ice may be melting much more rapidly than previously thought. But once again the summary is more sober. It says: ‘Models used to date do not include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future.’ (17)

As for the newer studies, the summary suggests that increased melting might raise sea levels by between 10 and 20 centimetres. Larger values, it adds, cannot be excluded; but ‘understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise’ (18). All the most worrying scenarios for rises in sea levels rely on the melting of Greenland or Antarctic ice. As noted above, the IPCC suggests that such processes will take millennia. Gore, Monbiot and Stern and others claim that we should take seriously much shorter timescales. While the IPCC uses uncertainties about melting as a reason for withholding judgment, Stern, an economist, speculates that ocean warming and the acceleration of ice flows could lead to a ‘runaway discharge’ of ice.

As we have also seen, in 2001 the IPCC was merely 90 per cent confident that global warming had anthropogenic causes; but Stern chooses not to mention this. Instead, Stern arbitrarily bases himself on the chances of human extinction by the end of the century being almost 10 per cent; indeed, he maintains that that there was a weak case for them being ‘still higher’ (19). All of this degrades science. In the New Scientism, facts are cherry-picked always to show Fate and Doom. The content of the science barely gets a look-in.

More here


(Lord Monckton served (1982-1986) as Special Adviser to the Rt. Honorable Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in the Prime Minister's Policy Unit, 10 Downing Street, London)

Figures in the final draft of the UN's fourth five-year report on climate change show that the previous report, in 2001, had overestimated the human influence on the climate since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third. Also, the UN, in its 2007 report, has more than halved its high-end best estimate of the rise in sea level by 2100 from 3 feet to just 17 inches. It suggests that the rate of sea-level rise is up from 2mm/yr to 3mm/year - no more than one foot in a century.

UN scientists faced several problems their computer models had not predicted. Globally, temperature is not rising at all, and sea level is not rising anything like as fast as had been forecast. Concentrations of methane in the air are actually falling.

The Summary for Policymakers was issued February 2, 2007, but the report on which the Summary is based will not be published until May. This strange separation of the publication dates has raised in some minds the possibility that the Summary (written by political representatives of governments) will be taken as a basis for altering the science chapters (written by scientists, and supposedly finalized and closed in December 2006).

The draft of the science chapters, now being circulated to governments for last-minute comments, reveals that the tendency of computers to over-predict rises in temperature and sea level has forced a major rethink. The report's generally more cautiously-expressed projections confirm scientists' warnings that the UN's heavy reliance on computer models had exaggerated the temperature effect of greenhouse-gas emissions. Previous reports in 1990, 1995 and 2001 had been progressively more alarmist. In the final draft of the new report there is a change in tone. Though carbon dioxide in the air is increasing, global temperature is not.....


Australia: Greenie dam-hatred hits power supply

The Queensland Government could be forced to mothball two power stations that produce a quarter of the state's electricity if dam levels continue to fall. The Tarong power station near Kingaroy has already cut its overall power generation by about a quarter, hoping to extend the life of the Boondooma Dam until a recycled water pipeline arrives in June 2008.

Energy Minister Geoff Wilson told Parliament it was predicted that Tarong would have enough water to generate power "this summer and the next". But Wondai Shire Mayor David Carter said he understood Tarong would be on borrowed time after November. He said it was a "big ask" to expect the dam to hold out until mid-2008. Several hundred people in Proston and the northern end of the shire have no bores and depend entirely on the Boondooma Dam. "We are concerned about what will actually happen," Cr Carter said. "There are some very, very serious decisions to be made about who gets water and who doesn't. Current predictions don't look good."

Tarong draws between 50 million and 80 million litres a day from Boondooma, which is at 16 per cent of capacity and dropping faster than 1 per cent a month. At that rate, the dam would reach its "dead storage" level of 4 per cent early next year - months before the pipeline is due for completion. Tarong has already applied to the Department of Natural Resources and Water to access water below the dead storage level, and has implemented measures it claims will further cut its usage.

Meanwhile, fears are held for the future of the nearby Tarong North facility which draws 20 million litres a day from an intake pipeline in the upper reaches of the Wivenhoe Dam. The Wivenhoe system - Wivenhoe, North Pine and Somerset dams - is at 22 per cent and falling 1 per cent a month. It was feared the pipeline would not work if Wivenhoe Dam fell below 14 per cent capacity. However, it is now believed pumping could continue, as water there has been isolated.

Shutting down the power plants has been downplayed by the Government because of the commissioning of the Kogan Creek power plant, scheduled for September. Yet figures show Kogan will generate only 750 megawatts, compared with Tarong's joint output of 1900 megawatts. Extra power will also be required in 2009 for water grid pumping stations, a desalination plant and a growing population.

Mr Wilson said lines linking southern and central Queensland would add 4500 megawatts, with a total supply of 11,000 megawatts being enough to meet last month's demand. A Tarong Energy spokesman said output would also be reduced during off-peak times to ensure customers were not affected.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


9 February, 2007


(Some excerpts below from a review of the scientific literature which shows that both cosmic rays and a variable sun are major drivers of temperature change on Earth. From Space Science Reviews, 31 January 2007)

By K. Scherer et al.


In recent years the variability of the cosmic ray flux has become one of the main issues interpreting cosmogenic elements and especially their connection with climate. In this review, an interdisciplinary team of scientists brings together our knowledge of the evolution and modulation of the cosmic ray flux from its origin in the MilkyWay, during its propagation through the heliosphere, up to its interaction with the Earth's magnetosphere, resulting, finally, in the production of cosmogenic isotopes in the Earth' atmosphere. The interpretation of the cosmogenic isotopes and the cosmic ray - cloud connection are also intensively discussed. Finally, we discuss some open questions.


1. Interstellar-Terrestrial Relations: Definition and Evidence

There is evidence that the galactic environment of the Solar System leaves traces on Earth. Well-known are supernova explosions, which are responsible for an increased 3He abundance in marine sediments (O'Brien et al., 1991), or catastrophic cometary impacts, which are considered as causes for biological mass extinctions (Rampino et al., 1997; Rampino, 1998). These and other events, to which also gamma ray bursts (Thorsett, 1995) or close stellar encounters (Scherer, 2000) can be counted, can be considered as 'quasi-singular' and belong to so-called stellar-terrestrial relations. From those one should distinguish 'quasi-periodic' events, which are connected to encounters of different interstellar gas phases or molecular clouds (Frisch, 2000), to the crossing of the galactic plane (Schwartz and James, 1984), and to the passage through galactic spiral arms (Leitch and Vasisht, 1998). As will be explained in the following, these quasi-periodic changes influence the Earth and its environment and are, therefore, called interstellar-terrestrial relations. The mediators of such environmental changes are the interstellar plasma and neutral gas as well as the cosmic rays, all of which affect the structure and dynamics of the heliosphere.

The heliosphere, however, acts as a shield protecting the Earth from the direct contact with the hostile interstellar environment. From all particle populations that can penetrate this shield, only the flux variations of cosmic rays can be read off terrestrial archives, namely the depositories of cosmogenic isotopes, i.e. ice-cores, sediments, or meteorites. The typical periods of interstellar-terrestrial relations seen in these archives are determined by external (interstellar) triggers on time-scales longer than about ten thousand years, while those for shorter time-scales are governed by an internal (solar) trigger. The latter results from solar activity, which leads to variations of the cosmic ray flux with periods of the various solar cycles, like the Hale-, Schwabeand Gleissberg-cycle amongst others. The interpretation of the cosmogenic archives is of importance for our understanding of variations of the galactic cosmic ray spectra and of the solar dynamo and, therefore, of high interest to astrophysics.

Moreover, the correlation of cosmogenic with climate archives gives valuable information regarding the question to what extent the Earth climate is driven by extraterrestrial and extraheliospheric forces. Candidates for such climate drivers are the variable Sun (solar forcing), the planetary perturbations (Milankovitch forcing), the variable cosmic ray flux (cosmic ray forcing), and the varying atomic hydrogen inflow into the atmosphere of Earth (hydrogen forcing). The current debate concentrates on solar and cosmic ray forcing, because the Milankovitch forcing is well understood and the hydrogen forcing is highly speculative. While there exists a vast amount of literature, especially reviews and monographs, concerning the solar forcing, the work on cosmic ray forcing is still largely scattered and no comprehensive overview has been compiled so far. This review intends to make the first step to change that situation by bringing together our knowledge about cosmogenic archives, climate archives, cosmic ray transport and heliospheric dynamics.



Considering that the "consensus" view (IPCC, 2001) favours CO2 as the principal climate driver on most (Ruddiman, 2001), or at least the human, time scales, it is important to ask what is the "sensitivity" of climate to doubling of CO2 from its "pre-industrial" value of c. 280 ppm . Direct radiative forcing of 4 Wm-2 , attributed to CO2 doubling, should theoretically increase the global temperature by c. 1.25 degrees C, short of the predictions by general circulation models (GCMs) of 1.5-4.5 degrees C. Similarly, direct empirical surface measurements show a centennial temperature rise of only c. 0.6 degrees C (IPCC, 2001), of which c. 1/3 is attributed to the observed increase in solar brightness. The "anthropogenic" greenhouse effect, of c. 80-100 ppm CO2, should thus account for c. 0.4 degrees C. An extrapolation of these empirical data to CO2 doubling would therefore suggest that the real climate sensitivity to CO2 is closer to, or below, the minimal model predictions of 1.5 degrees C (Shaviv, 2005), consistent with the direct satellite and balloon observations for the mid-lower troposphere (Sherwood et al., 2005; Mears and Wentz, 2005; Pinker et al., 2005).

The amplification of temperatures in GCMs is thus mostly due to the positive feedback of higher atmospheric water vapour concentrations, and the large spread in their predictions reflects essentially the differences in model parameterization of clouds [i.e. nobody knows how clouds behave]. The attribution of only c. 1/3 of the centennial temperature rise to solar forcing (Mitchell et al., 2001), despite very good correlation, is based on the empirical observation that averaged over the 11-year solar cycle the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) variability is only 0.08% (1.1 Wm-2 ) (Lean, 2005; Gray et al., 2005), insufficient to account for the 0.6 degrees C centennial temperature rise in the GCMs.

An amplifier related to solar dynamics would therefore be required to explain the entire magnitude of the trend and the 1980-2002 satellite data (Scafetta and West, 2005, 2006) indeed show that the response to the 11-year TSI cycle is 1.5-3 times larger than in the GCM predictions. The galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux was briefly considered to be such an amplifier, but dismissed because of the lack of understanding of physical processes, particularly cloud formation, that could point to a climate connection (Ramaswamy et al., 2001). Recently, however, a spate of empirical observations demonstrates that the "Sun-climate connection is apparent in a plethora of high-fidelity climate indicators" (Lean, 2005), such as surface temperatures, cloud cover, drought, rainfall, cyclones, forest fires....


Resume 16. Where do we Stand?

In this review the evolution of the cosmic ray flux from its origin into the Earth atmosphere is presented. The consequences of variable cosmic ray fluxes for the Earth environment, i.e. the production of cosmogenic isotopes and the interpretation of the related archives as well as the influence on climate is discussed. Although many of the physical processes seem to be understood and others are actively researched, many open questions remain. As the explicit formulation of such questions depends on the research field, it seems better to identify the most obvious tasks for future research....

Climate: Empirical evidence for an influence of "space weather and climate" on planetary environments, especially on the terrestrial climate, exists for many time scales, from decades up to billion years. As shown in this review it makes sense to distinguish between solar-terrestrial and interstellar-terrestrial relations, i.e. to distinguish between an internal solar and external interstellar trigger for influence on Earth and its environment. In contrast to the solar forcing the cosmic ray forcing operates, in principle, on all time scales. For both forcings the processes relevant for an influence on climate are unclear. Nonetheless, the evidence for the cosmic ray forcing is increasing as is the understanding of its physical principles. Cosmic rays despite their negligible energy compared to that of solar irradiance, are the main source of ionization in the troposphere. The detailed chain of processes connecting the variable cosmic ray flux with the terrestrial climate (i.e. via cloud formation) has still to be identified....

Astray in Greenland

In very large type, the New York Times Jan. 16 proclaimed "The warming of Greenland." But as has become increasingly typical of their reporting on climate change, that's only about half the news that's fit to print. The big story, of course, is the melting of Greenland's ice, and threats of a major rise in sea level. After all, if the entire 630,000 cubic miles of it disappeared, the ocean would rise 23 feet. The Times relied on an off-the-cuff estimate of ice loss, given to it by Professor Carl Boggild from the University Center at Svalbard. The Times reported he "said Greenland could be losing more than 80 cubic miles of ice per year."

Nowhere did the Times give the amount determined by meticulous analysis of recent satellite data, which is around 25 cubic miles, published by NASA's Scott Luthcke in Science less than two months ago. It then quoted Richard Alley, from Penn State, who reported "a sea-level rise of a foot or two in the coming decades is entirely possible." Wrong. It's entirely impossible.

First, the current sea-level rise contributed by this amount of ice loss is probably too small to even be able to measure in coming decades. The satellite data show a reduction of 3 hundred-thousandths of Greenland's total ice per year (while Mr. Boggild's figure "could" be around 12 hundred-thousandths [0.000012]). Multiplying the satellite-based figure by 23 feet gives the annual rise in sea level of .01 inch per year. Averaged over three decades, that's a third of an inch, which indeed is too small to be detectable. Over a century, the rise becomes a bit more than an inch. Mr. Boggild's guesstimate yields 31/2 inches per century.

In fact, there's nothing very new going on in Greenland. While the Times pays great attention to ice-loss in eastern Greenland caused by current temperatures, it conveniently forgets to look at nearby temperature histories. The longest record is from Angmagssalik. In the summer (when Greenland's ice melts) the temperature has averaged 43.1 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 10 summers. There was one very warm summer, in 2003, but the other nine years aren't unusual at all.

From 1930 through 1960, the average was 43.7 degrees. In other words, it was warmer for three decades, and there was clearly no large rise in sea level. What happened between 1945 and the mid-1990s was a cooling trend, with 1985-95 being the coldest period in the entire Angmagssalik record, which goes back to the late 19th century. Only in recent years have temperatures begun to look like those that were characteristic of the early 20th century.

Petr Chylek, from Canada's Dalhousie University, recently summarized Greenland's climate history in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. He wrote that "Although the last decade of 1995-2005 was relatively warm, almost all decades within 1915 to 1965 were even warmer at both the southwestern [Godthab Nuuk] and southeastern [Ammassalik] coasts of Greenland."

In fact, the Times could have written pretty much the exact same story in 1948, before humans had much of a hand in anything climatic. That's when Hans Ahlman wrote, in the Geographical Journal, a publication of the British Royal Geographic Society, that "The last decades have reduced the ice in some parts of Greenland to such an extent that the whole landscape has changed in character." So it's hardly something new when the Times reports, almost 60 years later, that temperatures in Greenland "are changing the very geography of coastlines."

This isn't the first time the Times has misled its readers about climate change in high latitudes. On Aug. 19, 2000, based upon reports from a cruise ship floating at the North Pole, they reported that "the last time scientists can be certain that the Pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago." The report received top, Page One billing. But in fact, during the end of summer there's often some open water at very high latitudes. So 10 days later, on Aug. 29, buried on Page D-3, the Times admitted it had misstated the true condition of polar ice and that an ice-free North Pole is hardly unprecedented. Yet, in the same issue, the newspaper again misled, saying, "The data scientists are now studying reveal substantial evidence that on average Arctic temperatures in winter have risen 11 degrees [F] over the past 30 years." It claimed its statement was based upon a recent paper published in the journal Climatic Change by University of Colorado's Mark Serreze. The average winter rise in Mr. Serreze's paper is 2.7 degrees F. The Times never even retracted its fourfold exaggeration of Arctic warming. Nor did they say there was only one very small area in the Arctic where there was an 11-degree rise.

To most readers, "average Arctic temperatures" means "temperatures averaged over the Arctic," not temperature change at one location. So, the fact the recent Greenland story ignored the historical record and the refereed scientific literature is nothing new. On reporting about polar climate, the Gray Lady has a consistent record of hiding parts of the truth that are inconvenient to whatever story it is trying to sell.



The oceans may be warming and air temperatures rising, but in recent days Iceland has bucked the global climate trend. Thick pack ice, the like of which has not been seen for decades, stretched into the western fjords as temperatures plummeted and a bitter wind blew in from -Greenland. The ice has proved a headache for fishermen, who have been unable to put to sea, but it is what comes with pack ice that has caused most concern: polar bears.

People living around the fjord of Dyrafjordur, which last week was almost filled with the ice, were keeping an eye on the sea, conscious that the bears live on the pack ice that covers much of the Arctic ocean. When chunks break off, as appears to have happened last week, the bears become stranded, drifting wherever the ice takes them. There have been numerous accounts of bears making land on the shores of Iceland in the past. But it is the bears who tend to come off worse in encounters with the Icelanders, who take a distinctly unsentimental approach to wildlife.

In 1993, the last time a bear is known to have made it to Icelandic waters, it was caught by a fishing crew and killed. It is believed to have been stranded on a piece of pack ice that broke off the main pack and melted, leaving the animal swimming in the open ocean 70 miles from the main ice sheet. Five years earlier, the last bear to make it to shore was promptly shot when it turned up near the town of Haganesvik in the north of the country. Coastguard commander Asgrinur Asgrinsson remembers a polar bear coming ashore on the island of Grimsey, north of the mainland, when he was a child. It was shot and stuffed and now has pride of place in the museum in the town of Husavik.

There are thought to be about 25,000 polar bears in the wild and environmentalists have warned that they are in danger of becoming extinct as their habitat shrinks. Climate change scientists say that with temperatures rising, the pack ice may have melted completely by 2040, leaving the Arctic ocean navigable and the polar bears with nowhere to go.

Last week's return of the pack ice to Iceland initially suggested that those predictions might have been overly pessimistic. "I have lived here my whole life, but I have never seen so much pack ice before," said Helgi Arnason, a farmer in Dyrafjordur. "Forty years ago, large icebergs drifted on to beaches but it was nothing compared with this. "[Pack ice] used to be Iceland's ancient enemy, but we stay calm so long as the situation doesn't worsen. This is just to remind us where we live."

According to the coastguard, the build-up of ice was the result of a combination of a high pressure system to the south of the mainland coupled with winds blowing in from Greenland, 300 miles to the west. "It looked like the main pack ice had reached the coast," said Mr Asgrinsson. "But in fact it was a piece of the main pack that had broken away."



By Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, former Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University and internationally recognized expert in atmospheric boundary layer processes

Seventeen years ago, I wrote a column for Weather magazine, expressing my concerns about the lack of honesty, integrity and humility of many climate scientists. "I worry about the arrogance of scientists who claim they can help solve the climate problem, provided their research receives massive increases in funding", reads one line from my text. Unknown to me, my friend Richard Lindzen was working on his famous paper "Some Cooling Concerning Global Warming", which appeared in the Bulletin of the AMS at the same time. This was early 1990.

It is 2007 now, and I want to ring the alarm bell again. There is a difference, though: then I was worried, now I am angry. I am angry about the Climate Doomsday hype that politicians and scientists engage in. I am angry at Al Gore, I am angry at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for resetting its Doomsday clock, I am angry at Lord Martin Rees for using the full weight of the Royal Society in support of the Doomsday hype, I am angry at Paul Crutzen for his speculations about yet another technological fix, I am angry at the staff of IPCC for their preoccupation with carbon dioxide emissions, and I am angry at Jim Hansen for his efforts to sell a Greenland Ice Sheet Meltdown Catastrophe. Speaking of Hansen, Dick Lindzen and I wrote a lighthearted April Fools' Day parody of his concerns, which was published on Fred Singer's SEPP website (search for Greenland Green Again) last year.....

I agree with IPCC that there is a likely link between fossil fuel consumption and increased temperatures. But this is where the much proclaimed consensus ends. Just one example: the models do not include feedbacks between changing farming and forest harvesting practices and the atmospheric circulation. Partly for that reason, they cannot seem to agree on precipitation patterns. It so happens that precipitation is far more relevant to the world's food production than a slight increase in temperature....

But the mainstream of dynamic meteorology refuses to study the slow evolution of the general circulation. It has become so easy to run General Circulation Models on supercomputers that most atmospheric scientists shy away from matters like a thorough study of the interaction between the Polar Vortex and the Arctic Oscillation. Mike Wallace mailed me a year ago, saying that there is not a beginning of consensus on a theory of the Arctic Oscillation. This was one of the highlights in an advanced senior-citizens' class on climate change I taught a year ago. It was announced as "A Storm in the Greenhouse", referring primarily to the increasingly bitter debates of the past fifteen years.

How does this problem affect climate forecasts? If there is not even a rudimentary theory of the Polar Vortex, much less an established relation between rising greenhouse gas concentrations and systematic changes in the Arctic Oscillation, one cannot possibly make inferences about changes in precipitation patterns. We do not know, and for the time being cannot know anything about changing patterns of clouds, storms and rain.....

I want to lobby for decency, modesty, honesty, integrity and balance in climate research. I hope and pray we lose our obsession with climate forecasting. Climate simulations are best seen as sensitivity experiments, not as tools for policy makers. I said it in 1990 and I am saying it now: the constraints imposed by the planetary ecosystem require continuous adjustment and permanent adaptation. Predictive skills are of secondary importance. We should stop our support for the preoccupation with greenhouse gases our politicians indulge in. Global energy policy is their business, not ours.

We should not allow politicians to use fake doomsday projections as a cover-up for their real intentions. If IPCC does not come to its senses, I'll be happy to let it stew in its own juices. There is plenty of other work to do. In 1976, Steve (Stephen H.) Schneider published a book entitled The Genesis Strategy. It made quite an impact on me at the time, primarily because Schneider did not promote technological fixes, but a global strategy of what is now called Adaptation, an idea reluctantly and belatedly embraced by IPCC.

Those were the days of Nuclear Winter, weather modification, Project Stormfury, stratospheric ozone destruction, and the sick idea of seeding all Arctic ice with soot to prevent the next ice age. In the preface to his book, Schneider quotes Harvey Brooks, then Harvard dean of engineering: "Scientists can no longer afford to be naive about the political effects of publicly stated scientific opinions. If the effect of their scientific views is politically potent, they have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions, and to try to be honest with themselves, their colleagues and their audience about the degree to which their assumptions have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence". I rest my case.



Even as environmentalists and leaders pressed Australia to sign the Kyoto protocol in the wake of the latest UN report on global warming, the country's Prime Minister on Saturday maintained his stand to not sign the protocol as it excludes world's major polluters. "Signing Kyoto is not going to solve the problem because Kyoto does not include the world's major polluters. We've moved on from that and in any event, we are going to meet our target under Kyoto, many of our critics who have signed Kyoto will not do so," Prime Minister John Howard said in a statement on Saturday. "Australia has already undertaken number of measures to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. It will continue with those measures, but we will do it in a sensible, practical way which will make a contribution to solving the problem but will not do disproportionate and unfair damage to the Australian economy," he said.

The UN report that paints a bleak picture of higher sea levels and temperatures this century has urged the world to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but Howard said looking to solar and wind energy is not the solution. Calling for the use of nuclear energy as an alternative, he said, "There is no point in the face of such comprehensive challenge of ruling out a consideration that may over time provide part of the solution." "Let's be realistic - you can only run on fossil fuel or in time, nuclear power," he said. Federal Opposition environment spokesman, Peter Garrett said the Government should establish a national carbon emissions trading scheme and sign the Kyoto Protocol immediately.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


8 February, 2007


An email to Benny Peiser from S. Fred Singer []

1. Granted that world climate has warmed since 1975 - although it hasn't since 1998 - what is the cause? Is it natural or human? That's the key question. The IPCC claims it is "very likely" that human-produced greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are the main cause. But what is their evidence? Correlation does not establish a cause; what about 1940-1975 when climate cooled while CO2 rose?

2. Agreement of the global mean trend with the result of a particular climate model is certainly fortuitous. Models provide a wide choice of trends - from 1.4 C to 11.5 C per century. More important, the IPCC ignores the evidence that patterns of warming, temperature trends versus latitude and altitude, disagree with greenhouse models. The inevitable conclusion - in direct contradiction to IPCC - must be: The human contribution to current warming is minor; most of it must be due to natural causes.

3. If indeed natural causes, most likely solar variability, outweigh human causes, then there is little that one can do - even with extreme measures of mitigation. [It is agreed by all that Kyoto is quite ineffective; at very best, a reduction of only 0.07 C by 2050.]

4. So what is left? Adaptation to inevitable climate change - as humanity has done for millennia. And many economists conclude that a warmer climate would be beneficial overall. Temperatures will continue to fluctuate with natural cycles and sea levels will continue to rise, as they have since the peak of the most recent ice age 18,000 years ago.


Fear of runaway global warming pushed 46 countries to line up Saturday behind France's bid for a new environmental body that could single out - and perhaps police - nations that abuse the Earth. "It is our responsibility. The future of humanity demands it," President Jacques Chirac said in an appeal to put the environment at the top of the world's agenda. ...

"We have 700 multilateral environmental agreements, and none of them seem to work. Environmental institutions are extremely weak," said Cristian Maquieira, a Chilean government environment official. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said that creating a new environment organization would require too much time and money. Instead, he urged reforming the existing U.N. Environment Program and expanding its powers. He praised Chirac's efforts, however, as a "strong chess move" in the campaign to draw attention to the environment. ....


Global Warming: The Missing Headline

"The IPCC predicted global temperature increases of 1.8 to 4 degrees Celsius (3.2 to 7.1 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 and sea levels to rise between 7 and 23 inches (18 and 58 centimeters) by the end of the century. ...

"'An additional 3.9-7.8 inches (10-20 centimeters) are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues,' the report stated." (From CNN)

Talk about the danger of rising sea levels, at least in my experience, is usually accompanied by verbal images of Florida flooding, Manhattan and London under water, and similar catastrophes. If the IPCC figures are correct, the upper end of the range of what might actually happen is a rise of less than a meter over a century--considerably less than the distance between high tide and low. Popular talk about global warming, again in my experience, is usually put in terms quite a bit more apocalyptic than the IPCC's upper estimate of four degrees Celsius by 2100.

So far the only report I have seen is on CNN, but I will be pleasantly surprised if any newspaper headlines the story with "Global Warming a Wet Firecracker? International Panel finds temperature and sea level effects over the next century real but small."


What the IPPC climate report is not

With all the breathless hoopla in the popular media about the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fourth report on global warming, it's worth taking a look at what the report is not.

By the way, it's also worth noting that the reporting on the IPCC document in the U.S. print and broadcast media has been atrocious. It's largely been biased, credulous, or lazy, or all three. For example, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, which usually does a good job of representing various sides of issues, had an utterly skewed report from Margaret Warner, who interviewed two climate experts, Kevin Trenberth and Michael Oppenheimer. Both are well-known advocates, as well as scientists. Their views are worth coverage, but not alone. Warner did no interviews with climate skeptics. The News Hour seriously damaged its credibility.

The same was largely true elsewhere (I didn't expect anything remotely balanced from the New York Times and advocate Andrew Revkin, and I didn't get it). The only broadcast I heard that had a climate skeptic in an interview was the BBC News Hour on Washington's WAMU public radio outlet.

But on to the report and what it isn't. First, it isn't a "scientific" report, as generally portrayed in the media. It is clearly marked "summary for policy makers," which ought to raise red flags from the start. Indeed, the science won't be published until May, when the technical chapters of the IPCC report are released.

If the past is any guide, the technical chapters will be considerably more circumspect and humble than the summary, although there have been charges that the technical chapters are being message massaged to make sure they support the policy decisions... To give an idea of just how "scientific" the summary is, ponder the assertion that there is a 90% certainty that the tiny amount of warming we have seen in the past 50 plus years is manmade. Where does that number come from? How was it derived? What does it mean?

Second, the summary wasn't written by scientists, although the media have claimed that it is the result of the work of more than 2,500 boffins of first rank. Horsefeathers. It was written by UN politicos and bureaucrats, about 35 in all, in order to advance a policy agenda. The summary is an advocacy document. For a good explanation of just how the document was cooked, take a gander at the work of my friend and colleague David Wojick on his blog, The Washington Pest.

Third, the summary offers no practical way to combat the alleged crisis of climate change. The Kyoto Protocol has failed. China and India won't play these kinds of slow-growth games. The putative victim countries - the island and low-lying nations - want reparations in advance for something that isn't likely to occur. It's the feckless Law of the Sea Treaty fiasco all over again.

Finally, there's no reason to believe that the planet as a whole would be a loser in a warmer world. There would be losers (Miami real estate developers, perhaps), and winners (those evil Canadians). All of the hand wringing reports that have been done about the impacts of a warmer climate are essentially bogus, the very definition of junk science.


Putting some heat on global warming

In some ways, it's almost ironic. While the advocates of man-made global warming turn up the volume on their screeds against the United States, rather sizeable parts of the U.S. find themselves digging out after one of the worst winter storms on record. In California, the citrus industry took a huge hit from an ice storm. Denver was snowed in for the better part of a week. Blizzard conditions in the Great Plains, from Texas to Nebraska, created all sorts of problems, ranging from travel emergencies to extended periods without power to major threats to both humans and livestock. Less than a month after the man-made global warming advocates were pointing to what was deemed "the warmest winter on record," the unseasonably mild December weather, winter arrived with a vengeance.

But somehow, the man-made global warming advocates have been doing their best to spin the winter weather as further proof that Armageddon is rapidly approaching. Just as they have tried to do with any other empirical evidence questioning their beliefs.

Is global warming the danger that some would suggest? Despite the best efforts of the man-made global warming advocates to silence anyone suggesting otherwise, there are, indeed, a number of scientific critics who question whether global warming is a problem, and that the impact of human activity on global warming is negligible at best.

But because the global warming debate has long since become more political than scientific, there are increasingly fewer resources, and recourses, for anyone not in lockstep with man-made global warming advocates. As a result, those who would question the validity of the man-made global warming advocates find themselves facing a new inquisition. Recently, one of the man-made global warming advocates working for The Weather Channel, Heidi Cullen, stated "If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the (American Meteorological Society) shouldn't give them a seal of approval." Other man-made global warming advocates have been even more dismissive of critics. A CBS reporter compared skeptics to Holocaust deniers, and an environmentalist magazine writer states "We should have war crimes trials for these bastards (global warming skeptics), some sort of climate Nuremburg."

Somehow lost in the call for a new inquisition is the memory of the old inquisition, and how some 400 years ago, a scientist named Galileo was subject to some serious sanctions for his claim that the earth revolved around the sun, not, as the consensus of religious and scientific leaders believed, that the sun revolved around the earth. The modern-day environmental extremists, the foremost proponents of man-made global warming, are as fervent in their beliefs as the religious leaders of Galileo's time, and have embraced their religion of environmentalism as closely as did the Pope and the bishops who threatened Galileo with excommunication did their's. It is because of that extremist influence that many scientists have discovered the best way to get grant money is to curry the favor of those extremists, just as the scientists of Galileo's time discovered the best way to ensure their future was to avoid doing anything that would result in a charge of heresy.

Not surprisingly, scientists who are global warming skeptics are invariably castigated as being under the financial influence of the oil industry, or any other industry which questions global warming, while those who provide support for the environmental extremist cause are never questioned about their financial support.

Historically, there is no question that there has been significant climate change throughout the history of the earth. As recently as 200 years ago, the world was coming out of what has been termed the "Little Ice Age," a period that may have started as early as the 13th century or as late at the 16th, but which unquestionably created considerable havoc in societies which were ill-equipped to handle such changes. And it was only 30 years ago that there was more than a little concern about the possible arrival of a new period of global cooling, a potential new ice age.

Invariably, the man-made global warming advocates point to their computer models to portend the future and the severity of the global warming threat. That, however, can create inexplicable problems. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hammered New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, and Katrina wasn't the only hurricane to create havoc. The 2005 hurricane season was, the global warming advocates intoned, a precursor of what was to come, and what would be coming in 2006, they predicted, would be 17 major tropical storms, resulting in five major hurricanes that would savage the United States. As it turned out, the United States survived 2006 without a major hurricane. But somehow, a major winter storm showed up. Even if it didn't register on the latest computer models.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


7 February, 2007

'The Deniers,' an antidote to the IPCC

Post lifted from Ken Maize:

As an antidote to the credulous and clueless reporting about global climate change occasioned by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last week, I want to call your attention to a fine, 10-part series on climate science in Canada's National Post newspaper.

Written by Lawrence Solomon, the series examines many of the claims made about climate change from the so-called "mainstream" scientists and juxtaposes the views of some of those in the scientific community who are skeptical and questioning - distinguished meteorologists, earth scientists, astronomers and astrophysicists, economists, and the like. All acknowledged as experts in their fields, not, as the warming acolytes portray them, fringe-group nut cases.

The series adopts the pejorative and ad hominem phrase that the warming enthusiasts give to the skeptics: The Deniers, with the implication that they are the scientific equivalent of holocaust deniers.

Here are the titles of each of the article in the series:

Statistics needed -- The Deniers Part I
Warming is real -- and has benefits -- The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice -- The Deniers Part IV

The original denier: into the cold -- The Deniers Part V
The sun moves climate change -- The Deniers Part VI
Will the sun cool us? -- The Deniers Part VII
The limits of predictability -- The Deniers Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming -- The Deniers Part IX
Limited role for C02 -- the Deniers Part X

This is required reading for anyone who claims to be serious about the climate change issue, where a proponent or a skeptic. Mainstream U.S. journalists who profess a dedication to fair coverage and unbiased reporting should also take a close look at Solomon's work.

Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide

By Timothy Ball

Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition."Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg." . For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why:

What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?

Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.

I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.

Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.

No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.

I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.

In another instance, I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?

Personal attacks are difficult and shouldn't occur in a debate in a civilized society. I can only consider them from what they imply. They usually indicate a person or group is losing the debate. In this case, they also indicate how political the entire Global Warming debate has become. Both underline the lack of or even contradictory nature of the evidence.

I am not alone in this journey against the prevalent myth. Several well-known names have also raised their voices. Michael Crichton, the scientist, writer and filmmaker is one of them. In his latest book, "State of Fear" he takes time to explain, often in surprising detail, the flawed science behind Global Warming and other imagined environmental crises.

Another cry in the wildenerness is Richard Lindzen's. He is an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT, renowned for his research in dynamic meteorology - especially atmospheric waves. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has held positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and MIT. Linzen frequently speaks out against the notion that significant Global Warming is caused by humans. Yet nobody seems to listen.

I think it may be because most people don't understand the scientific method which Thomas Kuhn so skilfully and briefly set out in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." A scientist makes certain assumptions and then produces a theory which is only as valid as the assumptions. The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise. It was then theorized that since humans were producing more CO2 than before, the temperature would inevitably rise. The theory was accepted before testing had started, and effectively became a law.

As Lindzen said many years ago: "the consensus was reached before the research had even begun." Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.

Meanwhile, politicians are being listened to, even though most of them have no knowledge or understanding of science, especially the science of climate and climate change. Hence, they are in no position to question a policy on climate change when it threatens the entire planet. Moreover, using fear and creating hysteria makes it very difficult to make calm rational decisions about issues needing attention.

Until you have challenged the prevailing wisdom you have no idea how nasty people can be. Until you have re-examined any issue in an attempt to find out all the information, you cannot know how much misinformation exists in the supposed age of information.

I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction.



Astrophysicist Nir Shariv, one of Israel's top young scientists, describes the logic that led him -- and most everyone else -- to conclude that SUVs, coal plants and other things man-made cause global warming.

Step One Scientists for decades have postulated that increases in carbon dioxide and other gases could lead to a greenhouse effect.

Step Two As if on cue, the temperature rose over the course of the 20th century while greenhouse gases proliferated due to human activities.

Step Three No other mechanism explains the warming. Without another candidate, greenhouses gases necessarily became the cause.

Dr. Shariv, a prolific researcher who has made a name for himself assessing the movements of two-billion-year-old meteorites, no longer accepts this logic, or subscribes to these views. He has recanted: "Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. "In fact, there is much more than meets the eye."

Dr. Shariv's digging led him to the surprising discovery that there is no concrete evidence -- only speculation -- that man-made greenhouse gases cause global warming. Even research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-- the United Nations agency that heads the worldwide effort to combat global warming -- is bereft of anything here inspiring confidence. In fact, according to the IPCC's own findings, man's role is so uncertain that there is a strong possibility that we have been cooling, not warming, the Earth. Unfortunately, our tools are too crude to reveal what man's effect has been in the past, let alone predict how much warming or cooling we might cause in the future.

All we have on which to pin the blame on greenhouse gases, says Dr. Shaviv, is "incriminating circumstantial evidence," which explains why climate scientists speak in terms of finding "evidence of fingerprints." Circumstantial evidence might be a fine basis on which to justify reducing greenhouse gases, he adds, "without other 'suspects.' " However, Dr. Shaviv not only believes there are credible "other suspects," he believes that at least one provides a superior explanation for the 20th century's warming.

"Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming," he states, particularly because of the evidence that has been accumulating over the past decade of the strong relationship that cosmic- ray flux has on our atmosphere. So much evidence has by now been amassed, in fact, that "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist."

The sun's strong role indicates that greenhouse gases can't have much of an influence on the climate -- that C02 et al. don't dominate through some kind of leveraging effect that makes them especially potent drivers of climate change. The upshot of the Earth not being unduly sensitive to greenhouse gases is that neither increases nor cutbacks in future C02 emissions will matter much in terms of the climate.

Even doubling the amount of CO2 by 2100, for example, "will not dramatically increase the global temperature," Dr. Shaviv states. Put another way: "Even if we halved the CO2 output, and the CO2 increase by 2100 would be, say, a 50% increase relative to today instead of a doubled amount, the expected reduction in the rise of global temperature would be less than 0.5C. This is not significant."

The evidence from astrophysicists and cosmologists in laboratories around the world, on the other hand, could well be significant. In his study of meteorites, published in the prestigious journal, Physical Review Letters, Dr. Shaviv found that the meteorites that Earth collected during its passage through the arms of the Milky Way sustained up to 10% more cosmic ray damage than others. That kind of cosmic ray variation, Dr. Shaviv believes, could alter global temperatures by as much as 15% --sufficient to turn the ice ages on or off and evidence of the extent to which cosmic forces influence Earth's climate.

In another study, directly relevant to today's climate controversy, Dr. Shaviv reconstructed the temperature on Earth over the past 550 million years to find that cosmic ray flux variations explain more than two-thirds of Earth's temperature variance, making it the most dominant climate driver over geological time scales. The study also found that an upper limit can be placed on the relative role of CO2 as a climate driver, meaning that a large fraction of the global warming witnessed over the past century could not be due to CO2 -- instead it is attributable to the increased solar activity.

CO2 does play a role in climate, Dr. Shaviv believes, but a secondary role, one too small to preoccupy policymakers. Yet Dr. Shaviv also believes fossil fuels should be controlled, not because of their adverse affects on climate but to curb pollution. "I am therefore in favour of developing cheap alternatives such as solar power, wind, and of course fusion reactors (converting Deuterium into Helium), which we should have in a few decades, but this is an altogether different issue." His conclusion: "I am quite sure Kyoto is not the right way to go."


The latest U.N. report shows the "warming" debate is far from settled

Last week's headlines about the United Nation's latest report on global warming were typically breathless, predicting doom and human damnation like the most fervent religious evangelical. Yet the real news in the fourth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may be how far it is backpedaling on some key issues. Beware claims that the science of global warming is settled.

The document that caused such a stir was only a short policy report, a summary of the full scientific report due in May. Written mainly by policymakers (not scientists) who have a stake in the issue, the summary was long on dire predictions. The press reported the bullet points, noting that this latest summary pronounced with more than "90% confidence" that humans have been the main drivers of warming since the 1950s, and that higher temperatures and rising sea levels would result.

More pertinent is the underlying scientific report. And according to people who have seen that draft, it contains startling revisions of previous U.N. predictions. For example, the Center for Science and Public Policy has just released an illuminating analysis written by Lord Christopher Monckton, a one-time adviser to Margaret Thatcher who has become a voice of sanity on global warming.

Take rising sea levels. In its 2001 report, the U.N.'s best high-end estimate of the rise in sea levels by 2100 was three feet. Lord Monckton notes that the upcoming report's high-end best estimate is 17 inches, or half the previous prediction. Similarly, the new report shows that the 2001 assessment had overestimated the human influence on climate change since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.

Such reversals (and there are more) are remarkable, given that the IPCC's previous reports, in 1990, 1995 and 2001, have been steadily more urgent in their scientific claims and political tone. It's worth noting that many of the policymakers who tinker with the IPCC reports work for governments that have promoted climate fears as a way of justifying carbon-restriction policies. More skeptical scientists are routinely vetoed from contributing to the panel's work. The Pasteur Institute's Paul Reiter, a malaria expert who thinks global warming would have little impact on the spread of that disease, is one example.

U.N. scientists have relied heavily on computer models to predict future climate change, and these crystal balls are notoriously inaccurate. According to the models, for instance, global temperatures were supposed to have risen in recent years. Yet according to the U.S. National Climate Data Center, the world in 2006 was only 0.03 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in 2001--in the range of measurement error and thus not statistically significant.

The models also predicted that sea levels would rise much faster than they actually have. The models didn't predict the significant cooling the oceans have undergone since 2003--which is the opposite of what you'd expect with global warming. Cooler oceans have also put a damper on claims that global warming is the cause of more frequent or intense hurricanes. The models also failed to predict falling concentrations of methane in the atmosphere, another surprise.

Meanwhile, new scientific evidence keeps challenging previous assumptions. The latest report, for instance, takes greater note of the role of pollutant particles, which are thought to reflect sunlight back to space, supplying a cooling effect. More scientists are also studying the effect of solar activity on climate, and some believe it alone is responsible for recent warming.

All this appears to be resulting in a more cautious scientific approach, which is largely good news. We're told that the upcoming report is also missing any reference to the infamous "hockey stick," a study by Michael Mann that purported to show 900 years of minor fluctuations in temperature, followed by a dramatic spike over the past century. The IPCC featured the graph in 2001, but it has since been widely rebutted.

While everyone concedes that the Earth is about a degree Celsius warmer than it was a century ago, the debate continues over the cause and consequences. We don't deny that carbon emissions may play a role, but we don't believe that the case is sufficiently proven to justify a revolution in global energy use. The economic dislocations of such an abrupt policy change could be far more severe than warming itself, especially if it reduces the growth and innovation that would help the world cope with, say, rising sea levels. There are also other problems--AIDS, malaria and clean drinking water, for example--whose claims on scarce resources are at least as urgent as climate change.

The IPCC report should be understood as one more contribution to the warming debate, not some definitive last word that justifies radical policy change. It can be hard to keep one's head when everyone else is predicting the Apocalypse, but that's all the more reason to keep cool and focus on the actual science.

Wall St. Journal

How much hot air?

The article below by Jennifer Marohasy appeared in the Brisbane "Courier Mail", a mainstream Australian capital-city newspaper

Almost every day some report or event is claimed as evidence of global warming. Al Gore's recent movie An Inconvenient Truth went so far as to claim that we have a "climate crisis" right now. Do we?

It can be hard finding the real facts on climate change among all the hype. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has a mandate to deliver a comprehensive assessment of human-induced climate change every few years, and the Fourth Assessment Report, AR4, is due for release sometime this year.

You have possibly been led to believe, given all the media headlines, that this big report was released in Paris last Friday. It wasn't. Friday's document was just a 21-page summary of the first part of AR4, and doesn't even have a bibliography. That's right, just a summary of a quarter of the big report.

Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis - Summary for Policy Makers is nevertheless an important document, because it details the position of many global warming experts. So what does it say? For those who enjoy the thrill of the more extreme doomsayer predictions, the 21-page summary will be a disappointment.

For example, while Al Gore claimed that sea levels are about to rise by more than 6m, the IPCC summary indicates that sea levels have risen by just 17cm and may rise by no more than another 18cm, certainly no more than 59cm by 2099. The IPCC scientists predict temperatures will increase by 0.2C per decade for the next two decades, and that by the end of the century temperatures may have increased by as much as 4C or as little as 1.8C.

The 21-page summary indicates the world has warmed by 0.74C over the past 100 years. To put this in perspective, temperatures in Brisbane regularly fluctuate by as much as 10C in one day.

The IPCC summary explains that at the Arctic temperatures have increased at almost twice the global average, while at the Antarctic there has been no warming. That's right. No global warming at the South Pole.

The IPCC summary indicates there is no clear trend in numbers of cyclones, but their intensity has increased in the North Atlantic since 1970 and on balance there are likely to be more-intense cyclones in the future.

The IPCC summary does not explain why regions such as southeast Queensland have missed out, but perhaps this and many other issues will be detailed in the actual report when it is published in May.

It is unusual for the summary of a scientific report to be released before the actual report. Then again it is unusual for a report to be written by 600 scientists and reviewed by more than 113 governments; the process so far for just part one of AR4. Before May, all the contributing scientists are expected to refine the individual chapters in the report to make sure they all accord with the agreed summary.

Much has been written by philosophers about how scientists can get stuck within particular paradigms, unable to break free from the groupthink. Indeed, while it is useful to have a consensus from the United Nations on global warming, there must also be a place for dissent and debate. But the IPCC summary glosses over various anomalies. For example, while the global trend has been one of warming, a plot of mean temperatures since 1998 shows that there has been no warming since then, now eight years later. The IPCC summary does not acknowledge the current downward trend, which may or may not prove to be just a blip in the scheme of things. All in all, the IPCC summary paints a picture of a warming world, but I couldn't find a climate crisis.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


6 February, 2007


Greenies hate anything that would help meet their alleged goals -- from hydropower (damned DAMS!) to nuclear power to genetically modified organisms. And when people do begin to do what the Greenies demand, they oppose that too. Windmills, for instance, are now condemned for killing birds and blighting the landscape. The real Greenie agenda is to agitate, not to solve anything. It is a religion of self-display, nothing more. Another example of something practical below that they will undoubtedly oppose

If 4 million cars were taken off the road in a single year, stopping 9 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide being discharged, most environmentalists would whoop with joy. But what if the same saving came from planting genetically modified crops?

This is the claim of an annual audit of GM crops by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), which is funded largely by the GM industry.

The audit, published on 18 January, bases its estimate on GM planting in 2005 in the US, Canada and Argentina. Graham Brookes of PG Economics in Dorchester, UK, who supplied the data, says 85 per cent of the savings come from the fact that farmers growing weedkiller-resistant GM crops don't have to plough their fields to get rid of weeds, so organic matter in the soil is not exposed to the atmosphere. This, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, prevents the release of 300 kilograms of CO2 per year per hectare. The rest of the figure is from fuel savings (Agbioforum, vol 9, p 139).

Gundula Azeez of the Soil Association, which represents UK organic farmers, says the ISAAA is only interested in promoting GM crops.



Genetically modified bacteria can produce a biodiesel from plant materials, researchers have shown. The GM bugs could help cut carbon dioxide emissions while also reducing the need to grow crops to make greener fuels, they say. Biodiesel, also known as biologically-derived diesel substitute, can be made from rapeseed (canola), soy and oil palm, by heating it with a chemical catalyst. This type of fuel can help offset greenhouse gas emissions because it is made from organisms that naturally remove CO2 from the atmosphere. However, large areas of land are still needed to cultivate raw materials, and toxic chemicals are also used to process them. The machinery used to harvest the materials also consumes fuel and oil themselves.

"Biodiesel is a good alternative energy source and a substitute for petroleum-based diesel fuel," says Alexander Steinbuechel, who created the new form of biodiesel with colleagues at the University of Munster in Germany. "But the current method of production is still costly."

Steinbuechel's team created a fuel-refining strain of the common bacteria Escherichia coli by modifying it with genes taken from two other bacteria species. The modified E. coli were cultured in a mixture of glucose and the main constituent of olive oil, which it processed into a fatty acid diesel-substitute dubbed "microdiesel". The German team used two genes from the bacterium Zymomonas mobilis to give E. coli the ability to produce alcohol from the sugar. A third gene, taken from the bacterium Acinetobacter baylyi, enabled the E. coli to then combine this alcohol with plant oils to produce microdiesel.

Unlike regular biofuel, microdiesel is produced without toxic chemicals. Steinbuechel says future work could allow microdiesel to be made using plant waste instead of plant oils. As plant waste is regularly generated through food production this would reduce the need to grow crops specifically for biodiesel. "Due to the much lower price of those raw materials, as well as their great abundance, the microdiesel could result in a more widespread production of biofuel at a competitive price in the future", Steinbuechel says.

Microdiesel could also help alleviate demands on land, says Trevor Price, an environmental expert at Glamorgan University in Wales. "Biodiesel is seen by some as the answer to our problems with carbon dioxide and fossil fuels, but its does need a lot of land," he told New Scientist. "Borneo's rainforest is being destroyed for palm oil plantations and other countries may have to choose between food and fuel." However, Price says simply stepping up biodiesel production will not address environmental pollution. "Instead of trying to satisfy our demands for fuel by greener means we should first be trying to reduce them through better efficiency and other measures," he says.


Climate Dead Horse

"Fossil fuels are to blame, world scientists conclude", blare the headlines on USA Today. It's obviously a slow news week, the Iran nukes fail to spark into flame, the Hillary/Biden candidacy is a non-starter, the plunging value of dollar on world markets is ignored (again), and oil prices are falling (again). So why not fan the flames one more time on the global warming hysteria dead horse? This strident moan from government scientists for greater funding and wider powers is deafening, and it obscures the science.

It hurts to admit that I read USA Today, even if infrequently and always for free in a hotel lobby or looking down on a pile of them while waiting in a check out line at the mini-mart, but yes I do. As a devotee of LRC, Mises Institute and a fair amount of mathematical physics, this is tantamount to admission of a paid subscription to the Weekly World News (WWN). The painful truth is that both the McPaper and the WWN reach a wider audience than any of my favorites and that is the rub: allegation, posed as science, repeated uncritically ad nauseum, will be mistaken as science, and accepted as fact when it is not.

Patrick O'Driscoll and Dan Vergano, in USA Today report the finding of the "gold standard" Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents "a real convergence happening here, a consensus that this is a total global no-brainer," says U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, former director of the federal government's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in New Jersey. They go on with another bold quotation from this statist shill, I mean impartial scientist:

Mahlman, who crafted the IPCC language used to define levels of scientific certainty, says the new report will lay the blame at the feet of fossil fuels with "virtual certainty," meaning 99% sure. That's a significant jump from "likely," or 66% sure, in the group's last report in 2001, Mahlman says. His role in this year's effort involved spending two months reviewing the more than 1,600 pages of research that went into the new assessment.

Among the findings, Tebaldi says, is that even if people stopped burning the fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas blamed most for the warm-up, the effects of higher temperatures, including deadlier heat waves, coastal floods, longer droughts, worse wildfires and higher energy bills would not go away in our lifetime. "Most of the carbon dioxide still would just be sitting there, staring at us for the next century," Mahlman says.

Where is the science in this report? The claim that 66% has gone to 99% and is thus certain? The 1,600 pages are all government-funded research with funding allocated to those that already believe in the conclusion else there would have been no funding to begin with. This is a club after all and divergent opinions are not welcome and definitely not funded. The smacks of statistical legerdemain: questionable data followed by a foregone conclusion.

Let's look at some secondary school science. Carbon Dioxide is a basic food for the plant kingdom. The process of photosynthesis converts carbon dioxide into complex carbohydrates using sunlight as the free energy input on which the entire animal kingdom ultimately depends for food. The increase in carbon dioxide is measured in a few parts per million, whereas the oxygen content is almost 20%, a massive differential. Anybody think having more oxygen is a bad idea? Oxygen is the waste product of plant respiration.

We learned (should have anyway) in junior high science that a system which is disturbed from equilibrium will tend to oppose the disturbance over time. This might occur through higher crop yields which will mean more food produced at a lower cost for the world's hungry. Anybody think this is a bad idea?

The earth is near (in astronomical terms) a large fusion reactor we call the sun. One half of the surface of the earth subtends a very small solid angle of the solar sphere absorbing the life giving energy flux (we call this daytime). The amount of energy produced by the sun is immense and what the earth can absorb is tiny. The amount absorbed is proportional to the solid angle subtended of the solar flux. A reasonable estimate is 6 ten-billionths, a very tiny fraction overall. A miniscule variation in solar output would thus have a dramatic change on the earth and its ecosystems.

Solar models are notoriously poor, just like weather models. Why? The models are incomplete, inaccurate, with poor quality input data, with initial and boundary values conditions that are primarily designed to allow model convergence rather than to properly represent physical reality. To get a feel for the true dynamism of the sun you might check the Space Weather site, a quick perusal of its data and links will rapidly convince the skeptical that it is inherently a dynamo and little understood except in the crudest term. The sun actually has no physical boundary but is a gas polytrope so any boundary value condition is a figment of the user's imagination.

Global warming models fundamentally depend upon the rate with which earth radiates waste heat into space with the problem being that the heat is trapped by the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus warming it. The problem with this is that the carbon dioxide molecules have no directionality with respect heat flow, and just as they will keep ground radiation in, they will also keep incident solar radiation out (cooler on cloudy days), that old equilibrium thing again. In the long run, these effects may cancel.

I will spare readers any further diatribe about the bad math, bad modeling, and erroneous conclusions resulting from same. I covered those in a previous LRC article. They are true for these assertions as well. Serious climatologists can send me their models and I will critique and publish my comments on the LRC blog for this article.

I do agree with the data that lately things have been warming up, it's the weather after all and even most children know how unpredictable the weather is. I was raised in Michigan during the sixties and seventies when a return to a little ice age was feared by the scientific community. However, the same people that cannot get weather right for next week, or next year, should not be given free reign as omniscient experts for the future weather indefinitely, that is an obvious paradox.

It does not take a great deal of technical expertise to raise viable and serious objections to the unproven and unprovable assertions of statist scientist and environmentalists alike. The problem is that the unscientific and uncritical mass media accept this tripe as fact. This repetitious braying at the national level condition the populace to accept these assertions as fact which then rapidly turns into legislation which is quickly accompanied by the inevitable legions of bureaucrats, regulators, monitors, and agencies (real threats). These are all funded from the productive economy impoverishing the rest of us, all to save us from the peril of warm weather, and cheaper food.

Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. However, in climatology and environmental science we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:

* Buying a stronger whip.
* Changing riders.
* Saying things like "This is the way we always have ridden this horse."
* Appointing a committee to study the horse.
* Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
* Increasing the standards to qualify as a dead horse rider.
* Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse.
* Pass legislation declaring that "This horse is not dead."
* Unilaterally declaring, "No horse is too dead to beat."
* Blaming the horse's parents.
* Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.
* Do a Cost Analysis Study to see if government labs can ride the horse cheaper.
* Declare the horse is "better, faster and cheaper" dead.
* Revise the performance requirements for horses.


High price to pay for avoiding throw-away culture

Our DVD player stopped working the other day. There had been no hint of trouble beforehand. Presumably that part was specially programmed to self-destruct a few months after the warranty period had done its job. Now, this was not one of those $79 players of obscure branding you can pick up at the supermarket these days. This was a well-known Japanese brand, bought from a proper electrical outlet. I'm no overzealous greenie, but I hated the thought of just chucking it out and decided to get it repaired.

I logged on to a website to search for my "nearest" service centre. I found four, all conveniently located about 20 kilometres from my home. I should have stopped and reflected then, but by this time I was on a crusade. Off I set the next Monday, small child in tow. I headed east to one of those mysterious industrial suburbs you never normally visit. I got lost on the way, somehow ending up at the airport, and eventually arrived at my destination an hour after leaving home. I was advised that there was a minimum service fee of $88 and they would call me with a quote for the repair to see if I wanted to proceed.

I waited and waited for my call. On Friday I got fed up and called them. It was clear from the sheepish tone of the clerk that they had not even glanced at my machine. They said they would call "on Monday or Tuesday" with a quote. I said I would liked to be called Monday, thanks. The following week was particularly busy and it was not until late Tuesday that I realised I still had not got my quote. On Wednesday morning I was on the phone and the hapless clerk got the full force of my wrath. I did not swear, but in a particularly heated moment described their service as "pathetic". I'm not sure what they said about me after I hung up, but I'm pretty sure it was not very complimentary. Miraculously, I received my quote within the hour.

My DVD player received its stay of execution and is now back home. It took 10 days and cost the price of two supermarket DVD players to fix, but there is one less DVD player in landfill and I feel very virtuous. Admittedly any environmental benefit has probably been offset by the car emissions produced in my 80-kilometre drive to drop off and pick up. But hey, you can't have everything. More importantly the children are happy, at least until that special part programmed to self-destruct after the repair warranty period does its job. Then you'll see me at the supermarket.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


5 January, 2007


Senator Inhofe today commented on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Summary for Policymakers. "This is a political document, not a scientific report, and it is a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain. The media has failed to report that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers was not approved by scientists but by UN political delegates and bureaucrats," Senator Inhofe said. The IPCC is only releasing the Summary for Policymakers today, not the actual scientific report which is not due out until May 2007.

Sen. James Inhofe, (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, today commented on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Summary for Policymakers. Senator Inhofe said. The IPCC is only releasing the Summary for Policymakers today, not the actual scientific report which is not due out until May 2007.

"This is nothing new. On November 15th, 2005, I addressed my colleagues in the United States Senate to express the importance of returning integrity to the processes that govern the work of the IPCC. I outlined several concrete proposals to reform the IPCC process during this Senate Floor address and in a subsequent follow-up letter to the IPCC chairman," Senator Inhofe said. "On December 7, 2005, I followed up my speech with a letter to the IPCC Chairman noting that the `science had been manipulated in order to reach a predetermined conclusion.' Sadly, the IPCC has refused to make any of the reforms necessary to ensure scientific integrity," Senator Inhofe added."The UN guidelines themselves mandate that the science be altered to conform to the Summary for Policymakers which is not approved by the scientists, but by political delegates of the UN," Senator Inhofe said.

The IPCC concedes it alters the underlying scientific conclusions on page 4 of "Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work": "Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers or the Overview Chapter." "You don't need to look any farther than yesterday's AP article about the UN IPCC meeting in Paris where political delegates are arguing about the final wording of the Summary for Policymakers. Riibeta Abeta of the island nation Kiribati, openly admitted to the AP that the Summary for Policymakers is designed to convince world leaders to take action. `The purpose is to get [policymakers] moving,' Abeta said, according to the AP," Senator Inhofe explained.



The editorial below from Physics World displays proper scientific caution

There is strong evidence for the human impact on climate change, but we should not ignore those who think otherwise

Unseasonably warm weather in many parts of Europe and North America last month will probably have added to the impression in many people's minds that climate change is a reality and that humans are guilty of warming our planet. The several hundred members of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) certainly think that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is solid. Although Physics World was unable to obtain a copy of the IPCC's latest report on the science of climate change before its release date of 2 February - a clear sign of how sensitive its findings are - hints from those involved in writing the report suggest that the IPCC will have strengthened its conclusions, previously stated in 2001, that humans are heating up the Earth.

While most scientists probably share this view, there are some who think otherwise. Many of those are either scientifically ill-informed or have dubious links with the energy industry. But some have genuine doubts. One bona fide sceptic is Richard Lindzen, a climate physicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, who was involved in preparing the IPCC's 2001 scientific report. While he does not dispute that the Earth is getting hotter, Lindzen thinks that, in all probability, the warming is largely the result of natural variations in the Earth's climate (see "A climate of alarm").

Lindzen believes that climate models, although rooted in physics, contain far too many uncertainties to provide accurate forecasts. Indeed, mainstream climate physicists admit their computer models are far from perfect. Writing in their feature, for example, the chief scientist of the UK's Meteorological Office and colleagues describe how hard it is to incorporate the impact of clouds, which are much smaller than the resolution of the best models. They also warn that if clouds were modelled incorrectly, climate simulations "would be seriously in error".

Nevertheless, the balance of evidence does suggest that carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere is having a significant warming effect. It is therefore right and prudent to limit greenhouse-gas emissions as a way of dealing with the causes of climate change. There is even a small band of researchers proposing various outlandish schemes to deal with the effects of climate change - an approach known as "geoengineering" (see p10 print version only). Nobel-prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen, for example, has suggested pumping vast quantities of sulphur into the atmosphere to act as a huge Sun block, while others are considering sending solar reflectors into space or even painting roads white. These ideas are hugely expensive and possibly unfeasible, and it is to be hoped that we will never have to put them into action.

One may ask if this magazine should give space to Lindzen or those involved in geoengineering to air their views. Given the uncertainties still present within climate models and the potential costs of dealing with global warming, it would be wrong for Physics World to ignore those outside the mainstream. After all, as Richard Feynman once wrote: "There is no harm in doubt and scepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made." Physicists should never take anything at face value, not least a topic as important as climate change.


I think it's mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves.

And there's a lot of confusion in this and, you know, at the heart of it, we're talking of a few tenths of a degree change in temperature. None of it in the last eight years, by the way. And if we had warming, it should be accomplished by less storminess. But because the temperature itself is so unspectacular, we have developed all sorts of fear of prospect scenarios -- of flooding, of plague, of increased storminess when the physics says we should see less.

"[I]f there's anything that there is a consensus on, [it is that we] will do very little to affect climate. So right now despite all of the claims to the contrary, we're talking about symbolism. And I think Julian's point is correct. Do you spend a lot? Do you distort a great deal in the economy for symbolism? And I think future generations are not going to blame us for anything except for being silly, for letting a few tenths of a degree panic us.

And I think nobody is arguing about whether our climate is changing. It's always changing. Sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age. The experts on it in the IPCC have freely acknowledged there's no strong evidence it's accelerating.

Senator Inhofe was absolutely right. All that's coming out Friday is a summary for policymakers that is not prepared by scientists. Rob is wrong. It's not 2,500 people offering their consensus, I participated in that. Each person who is an author writes one or two pages in conjunction with someone else. They travel around the world several times a year for several years to write it and the summary for policymakers has the input of about 13 of the scientists, but ultimately, it is written by representatives of governments, of environmental organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, and industrial organizations, each seeking their own benefit.



But it has pluses and minuses

Some countries, including the United States and Australia, have been in denial about global warming. They cast doubt on the science that set alarm bells ringing. Other countries, such as the UK, are in panic, and want to make drastic cuts in greenhouse emissions. Both stances are irrelevant, because the fight is a hopeless one anyway. In spite of the recent hike in the price of oil, the stuff is still cheap enough to burn. Human nature being what it is, people will go on burning it until it starts running out and simple economics puts the brakes on. Meanwhile the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will just go on rising. Even if developed countries rein in their profligate use of fossil fuels, the emerging Asian giants of China and India will more than make up the difference. Rich countries, whose own wealth derives from decades of cheap energy, can hardly preach restraint to developing nations trying to climb the wealth ladder. And without the obvious solution - massive investment in nuclear energy - continued warming looks unstoppable.

Campaigners for cutting greenhouse emissions try to scare us by proclaiming that a warmer world is a worse world. My dangerous idea is that it probably won't be. Some bad things will happen. For example, the sea level will rise, drowning some heavily populated or fertile coastal areas. But in compensation Siberia may become the world's breadbasket. Some deserts may expand, but others may shrink. Some places will get drier, others wetter. The evidence that the world will be worse off overall is flimsy. What is certainly the case is that we will have to adjust, and adjustment is always painful. Populations will have to move. In 200 years some currently densely populated regions may be deserted. But the population movements over the past 200 years have been dramatic too. I doubt if anything more drastic will be necessary. Once it dawns on people that, yes, the world really is warming up and that, no, it doesn't imply Armageddon, then the international agreements like the Kyoto protocol will fall apart.


More news of Australia's "drought"

The Greenies and their sympathizers in the media and politics are ignoring the fact that rainfall has always been highly variable in Australia. There is always somewhere that is in "drought" and always plenty of floods too. But the latest episode is the craziest -- with heavy rainfall in many parts of Australia still being referred to as a "drought" and being blamed on global warming

It was Drysdale St by name but not by nature in the flooded north Queensland sugar town of Giru yesterday. The main street of the 600-resident town, just south of Townsville, was waist-deep in water as floods cut off the area for the second consecutive day. Continuous rain had brought floodwaters to the doorsteps of homes and businesses before they retreated, sparing residents from major damage. "No one's been injured, no real damage has been done, so everyone's just enjoying it at the moment," said Rosalie Hardie, 37, manager of the Giru International Hotel.

Residents had watched with alarm as waters broke the banks of the Haughton River and rushed towards the town late on Thursday. "It came in very fast - it was quite amazing to watch. I think we were blessed because it stopped," Ms Hardie said. "It got to the point where it's just lapping at everyone's door. If people were a little concerned yesterday, the concern has gone today because it hasn't gone any higher."

Residents were in good spirits when The Sunday Mail chartered a helicopter to make it into the town yesterday. Shane Cannon, 38, who works at the local mill, was among many residents who ventured out to wade through the floodwaters, his 11-year-old daughter Shae perched on his shoulders. "I love it when the weather's like this. We haven't had a really good wet season for a while," he said.

Outside the pub, where relaxed locals nonchalantly sipped cold beers with water lapping at their feet, dinghies and inflatable rafts had replaced cars on Drysdale St. Children took their lives in their hands to swim down the street. It wasn't just currents they had to worry about, but also the local wildlife, with a 2m crocodile seen swimming near the local school. Concerned police issued a crocodile warning.

Many homes in the flood-prone area are raised high off the ground, keeping them high and dry but surrounded by water....

Elsewhere, Emergency Management Queensland sent food and other supplies by helicopter to cut-off Jourama Falls ranger station, 80km north of Townsville, where two Belgian tourists were stranded.


But floods are a sign of global warming too, of course: "Queensland's Premier Peter Beattie has said today that flooding in North Queensland was another sign of global warming. "I'm delighted we're getting rain in north Queensland, although we never like getting too much because there's always floods," he told ABC Radio. "But the trouble is this, is what the future holds - this is what climate change is doing to us."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


4 February, 2007

It's almost certain: humans caused planet to heat up

The headline above and the text below is how "The Australian" (national daily) reported the latest IPCC report. It rightly notes the huge range in predictions offered and includes some skeptical comments. The range of predictions is a bit like a fortune-teller saying to someone: "One day you will be either a Prince or a pauper". I doubt that such a totally vague fortune-teller would stay in business long

Scientists are now almost certain temperature increases over the last half of the 20th century were caused by human activity, and have warned of ominous further increases up to 4C by 2100.

The world's most significant weather forecast, released last night in Paris, revealed growing confidence in climate modelling that suggests greenhouse gases are reaching dangerous levels and need to be reduced. The first volume of the fourth assessment report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported similar warming projections to its previous report six years ago. The new report is based on the results of 23 climate models, a three-fold increase from the seven models used in 2001 to deliver best estimates of temperature increases ranging from 1.8C to 4C. The increased number of models has widened the likely temperature ranges from 1.1C to 6.4C, compared with from 1.4C to 5.8C six years ago. [The 1.1C prediction is at least fairly consistent with the ACTUAL rise of .6C in the 20th century]

Significantly, the report finds man-made release of greenhouse gases is more than 90 per cent likely to have caused most of the observable increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century, about 0.65C.

The range of projected rises in global sea levels is from 0.18m [a mere 7 inches over an entire century] to 0.59m by 2100, driven largely by their expansion from rising water temperatures.

The IPCC also reports greater confidence in the projected patterns of warming and other regional-scale features, including contracting snow cover, shrinking sea ice on the poles and the high likelihood of more frequent hot extremes, heatwaves and heavy rainfall patterns.

The Antarctic ice sheets are predicted to remain too cold for widespread surface melting and are expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall. While the Greenland ice sheet is projected to contribute to sea-level rises after 2100, the report says this will need to be sustained for millenniums to result in its complete elimination and a resulting sea-level rise of about 7m.

The report predicts the emission of carbon dioxide this century will contribute to global warming and sea-level rises for the next millennium. The report predicts increasing intensity in cyclones, including higher peak wind speeds and more heavy rain patterns, but with the possibility of a reduction in their frequency. Other storms are likely to track towards the poles as the world's weather systems adapt to changes in heat in the atmosphere and deep oceans. Rainfall will shift from the subtropical regions towards the poles.

Australian Academy of Science president Kurt Lambeck praised the quality of the report by Working Group I of the IPCC. He urged governments and industries to take swift action to reduce the pace of change to give "societies and ecosystems" time to adapt to a warmer and more unstable world. "Climate change is here to stay," said Professor Lambeck. "We must open our eyes to what may be the most significant issue facing not only Australia but the planet."

In Britain, Royal Society president Martin Rees agreed, saying the report was a "comprehensive picture" of the latest scientific understanding of the nature, processes and likely outcomes of climate change. But he correctly predicted a "vocal minority" would raise objections to the findings.

In Melbourne, former head of the weather bureau's National Climate Centre William Kininmonth was among the sceptics. "My feeling is that the report is more alarmist than the evidence suggests," he said. He was particularly critical of the IPCC's interpretation of the data and of the separate computer modelling systems used to predict future climate changes. He added that, along with Canadian climate-change sceptic Ross McKitrick, he had contributed to an "independent summary for policymakers", to be released in London next Monday.

The current head of the NCC, Michael Coughlan, disputed Mr Kininmonth's objections. He said the latest report built on past work and reflected continuing refinement in the understanding of the complex processes of the climate system. Dr Coughlan said the new report fitted neatly with continuing observations of climate and ocean systems. "Globally, we're seeing the trends (noted in the report) being laid down now: warming nights and fewer colder days and more heatwaves and heavy precipitation events," he said. "These global trends are consistent with what we've been seeing in Australia over the past 50 to 100 years."

The head of the UN's Environment Program said last night the IPCC report had rendered "almost redundant" a European Union goal of limiting global warming to 2C. Achim Steiner said the new report "gives us a stark warning that the potential impact will be more dramatic, faster and more drastic in terms of consequences" than previously thought.


Delaware global warming skeptic stands pat

State climatologist on opposite side of governor in court case

Delaware's state climatologist has found himself in the middle of a political squall after taking skeptical stands on global warming and climate change -- in one case directly contradicting the state's own policy. David R. Legates, a University of Delaware geography professor, co-wrote a "friend of the court" brief that opposed Delaware's position in a multi-state U.S. Supreme Court case.

In the appeal, state regulators argued that carbon dioxide from new cars should be regulated because of evidence the gas was contributing to rising global temperatures, climate shifts and changes in the environment. The Bush administration and industry critics opposed the demand, saying the dire warnings are unproven.

Enter Legates, a Ph.D. climatologist who received the title of state climatologist in 2005 from Daniel Leathers, now the head of the University of Delaware's geography department. Legates joined a group of scientists late last year in urging the court to reject the state claims, in a brief filed by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute. "It is simply impossible to conclude that the net effect of greenhouse gases endangers human health and welfare," the brief said. The institute has sued the government in the past to block some fuel economy standards for automobiles.

Two sides of the coin

The appearance of Delaware's climatologist on the other side of the court case left some state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control officials frustrated. "He's taken a position that 'The climate is changing, but we don't have any danger signs,' " said Ali Mirzakhalili, air quality management chief for DNREC.

Recently branded "a favorite scientist of the global warming denial machine" by one national environmental group, Legates said he was following scientific evidence in arguing the institute's position in the court case. He has taken similar positions dating back to at least 1998, while a professor at Louisiana State University. "The science brought in by the one side had given a more extremist view of climate change," Legates said. "What we're trying to say is, the science isn't necessarily that well settled, and in many cases it isn't that extreme. I'm not saying it isn't a problem."

As state climatologist, a position the state doesn't fund, Legates collects and shares climate data with the National Climatic Data Center, the Northeast Regional Climate Center and the National Weather Service office in Mt. Holly, N.J. Similar positions exist in 41 other states and Puerto Rico, generally staffed by state employees or university staffers. "I don't think the doctor [Legates] speaks for the state's position," said Philip Cherry, a DNREC administrator who recently invited Legates to address agency employees. "I think the governor speaks for the state's position."

Delaware has accepted the view human activities contribute to global warming, and changes are needed to curb risks of sea level rise and climate change. The state adopted a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2000.

An updated report on global warming and its consequences by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due Friday, is expected to include forecasts of rising sea levels and changing weather and climate conditions worldwide.

Legates disputes warnings

Federal scientists have long warned that sea-level increases could be most pronounced along the mid-Atlantic, including the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. Some forecasts have predicted that Delaware could lose 50 percent or more of its tidal wetlands under worst-case scenarios. But during a presentation sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation last year, Legates said, "This has become climate alarmism."

Then in early 2006, the National Policy Research Center, a conservative think tank, published a paper by Legates saying science "does not support claims of drastic increases in global temperatures over the 21st century, nor does it support claims of human influence on weather events and other secondary effects of climate change."

NPRC listed Legates as an adjunct scholar at the time the paper was released, as well as director of the University of Delaware's Climatic Research Center. In 2003 Legates was called to testify in the U.S. Senate by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla, a global warming skeptic prone to talk of "debunking" scientific climate change conclusions that are now widely accepted.

During that testimony Legates disputed findings of the international panel, saying researchers failed to prove recent warming trends or that human causes are "the only significant factor."

Wilmington resident Chad Tolman, a retired DuPont Co. research scientist who held positions with the National Academy of Sciences, said Legates' position clashed awkwardly with most Delaware scientists. "I just don't know how, in the face of all the evidence, [he] maintains [his] position," Tolman said. Cherry, who is managing Delaware's efforts with other states to cap regional greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, said Legates was free to take a stand that contradicts Delaware. "But I have to say he's in the very small minority," Cherry said.


Empowering Africa?

The NGO Working Group on Climate Change argues that community empowerment has to be at the centre of the adaptation agenda:

‘Identifying what communities are already doing to adapt is an important step towards discovering what people’s priorities are and sharing their experiences, obstacles and positive initiatives with other communities and development policy-makers. Giving a voice to people in this way can help to grow confidence, as can valuing their knowledge and placing it alongside science-based knowledge.’

African ‘voices’ are central to climate change advocacy as the science of climate change leaves many questions unanswered, particularly with regard to the impact of climate change in Africa.  Information, to support the urgency of action in this area, is often obtained from those in Africa, patronised as having a ‘deeper’ understanding than that which can be provided by ‘Western’ science. For example, the views of Sesophio, a Maasai pastoralist from Tanzania are given prominence in the Africa – Up in Smoke 2 report:

‘It is this development, like cars, that is bringing stress to the land, and plastics are being burnt and are filling in the air. We think there is a lot of connection between that and what is happening now with the droughts. If you bring oil and petrol and throw it onto the grass it doesn’t grow, so what are all these cars and new innovations doing to a bigger area? Every day diseases are increasing, diseases we haven’t seen before.’

Climate change advocates patronisingly argue that they are empowering people like Sesophio by ‘valuing’ his knowledge and giving him a ‘voice’. In fact, they are exploiting Sesophio’s lack of knowledge about climate change and the fears and concerns generated by his marginal existence.....

‘To survive the droughts, people have had to resort to practices that damage their dignity and security, their long-term livelihoods, and their environment, including large-scale charcoal production that intensifies deforestation, fighting over water and pastures, selling livestock and dropping out of school.’

The view of climate change, rather than underdevelopment, as responsible for poverty, results in an outlook that tends to blame local survival strategies, such as cutting down trees to make some money from selling charcoal. When these views are reflected back to Western advocates, the African poor reflect Western views that they are part of the problem:

‘In nearby Goobato, a village with no cars, no motorcycles, no bicycles, no generators, no televisions, no mobile phones, and dozens of $5 radios, Nour, the village elder, said increased temperatures bake the soil… Nour also said villagers share the blame: “We cut trees just to survive, but we are part of the problem.”’

The strategy of adaptation, tends to problematise African survival strategies because, by talking up isolated positive examples of adaptation under international aid, it inevitably problematises the real life choices and decisions which poor Africans have to make.


Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate fluctuations because of a lack of development. The lack of development means that 70 percent of the working population (90 percent of Africa’s poor) rely on agriculture for a living, the vast majority of them by subsistence farming.  It is no coincidence that the continent with the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions is also the most vulnerable to climate change. The lesson of Africa is that development provides a better way of dealing with climate uncertainties than does concern with the individual lifestyles and survival strategies of the poor.

The ‘adaptation agenda’ allows Western governments, international institutions and international NGOs to claim they are doing something positive to address the impact of global warming but the consequences for Africa could be disastrous. ‘Learning from the poor’, ‘empowering the poor’ and strategies to increase their ‘resilience’, end up patronising Africa’s poor and supporting an anti-development agenda that would consign Africa to a future of poverty - and climate dependency.


Climate Change Contradictions and Inconsistencies

Karl Marx enthusiastically targeted the "Contradictions of Capitalism". His critics denounced Marx's "Internal Inconsistencies" with equal glee. Both Marx and his critics would have a field day if they were commentating on the New Zealand scene today. For example: The climate doomcasters' major message is that we have been "spewing" carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere and therefore temperatures are rising. The change is real, and is happening, and we must panic, before it's too late.

Measuring stations near, or within, large urban areas can give high readings. Hence we should look for locations as far as possible from human habitation to get the real picture. What could be further from human habitation than the South Pole? Gerrit van der Lingen of the NZ Climate Science Coalition has kindly prepared a graph which will, naturally, show that as CO2 concentrations rise, the temperature follows. And here it is.

Funny that the CO2 trend line goes up, while the temperature trend line goes down. How can this be? Would someone ask Al Gore?

The Expertise of Stern and Gore.

I routinely get kindly messages asking me to present my qualifications - the underlying assumption being that as a non-certified climate scientist I have no business having an opinion. Similar challenges were launched against Bjorn Lomborg, the non-dismal Dane, and author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist". He was criticized for being "just a statistician". But Lomborg was comparing claims with the evidence, which is what statisticians do - they analyse data. However, those who yearn for catastrophe have their own way of thinking. They have never challenged the credentials of Mr Stern, the Global International Banker, and they never question the credentials of Mr Gore, the American politician who developed his views on the environment while studying theology - not science.

One green commentator, no doubt resting up after an anti-American and anti-globalisation demonstration, recognized this contradiction but explained it away on the grounds that Al Gore has been passionate about climate change for a long time. So that's all right then.

Follow the Money.

Greenpeace routinely claims we skeptics are all in the pay of the oil companies in general and of Exxon Mobil in particular. Exxon Mobil has given several millions in grants to US think tanks, who then commission other people to do research. Naturally, all this research is corrupted by the money.

The US Government, has spent over $23 billion on climate-change related research to date. I wonder who got their hands on all that lolly? Presumably their work is corrupted too.

Some of us were surprised to learn that Al Gore is actually an owner and director of an investment fund, Generation Investment Management. This fund will invest in "sustainable" business and naturally the more we are scared of climate change the more attractive such investments will be. At least we now understand why he was invited to talk to our own Superannuation Fund. It's a useful device for siphoning money from my pockets into Al's. One commentator gushed that Mr Gore was "putting his money where his mouth is". Maybe he is putting his mouth where his money is.

A Stadium on the Waterfront.

Just after waxing lyrical over the wisdom of the great Al Gore, the Government announced a plan to build a 60,000 seat stadium on the waterfront even though Al Gore is convinced we are going to be awash under a 6 metre sea-level rise. None of the drawings suggest the stadium will be on 6 metre stilts. Seems that climate change is now like astrology. Even those who believe in it, really don't believe in it.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


3 February, 2007


The latest IPCC report is not scary enough for the Greenies. It says that sea levels are unlikely to rise much!

Climate experts have lashed out at a UN report which they say puts forward an unreasonably optimistic view of the global warming associated climate change. The report is the first of the four major global warming reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and is due to be out for a debate in Paris on Friday. The experts have argued that the report's prediction of slowly rising sea levels is not justified since it has not taken into account the melt-off of big ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. They "don't take into account the gorillas - Greenland and Antarctica," Lonnie Thompson, a polar ice specialist and an earth sciences professor at Ohio State University told the AP. "I think there are unpleasant surprises as we move into the 21st century." While the advocates of the report believe that ice melt is temporary, others are calling it an underestimation of the looming danger. ....



So the IPCC report that's going to be released on Friday isn't gloomy enough, eh? It will find less projected temperature rise and less predicted sea level rise than it did in 2001. Good news, no? Not even close. That simply isn't good enough for those who want to break the back of the world's energy system, so they have to attack it. For years, global warming alarmists built up "the consensus of scientists" as the answer to legitimate concerns of climate skeptics. Now that they have seemingly successfully shut skeptical voices out of the debate on global warming, they have embarked on a process of delegitimization of that very consensus. It is too cautious, they argue, too bureaucratic. They, the alarmists, are the only voices of truth in the debate and anyone else is incompetent, a fraud or a denier. The "consensus" scientists who went along with the alarmists will now find themselves the targets of abuse, insinuation and ad hominem attacks. Welcome to the club.


MIT Climate Scientist Calls Fears of Global Warming 'Silly' - Equates Concern to `Little Kids' Attempting to "Scare Each Other"

MIT's Richard Lindzen called fears of manmade global warming `silly" and debated PBS's Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and the controversial Weather Channel host Heidi Cullen on last night's Larry King Live. At one point, CNN host Larry King cautioned Nye against making a bet with Lindzen over who was correct about the science of global warming. "[Lindzen's] from M.I.T. he knows what he's talking about," King warned Nye.

Lindzen mocked fears of global warming by comparing them to children's imaginations. "I think it's mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves," Lindzen said.

Lindzen, a past UN IPCC contributor, also explained how only a dozen scientists were involved in writing the 2001 IPCC media-hyped "Summary For Policymakers" that purported to speak for thousands of scientists.

More here. Full CNN transcript here


From "Global and Planetary Change", Article in Press

Climate forced atmospheric CO2 variability in the early Holocene: A stomatal frequency reconstruction

C.A. Jessen et al.


The dynamic climate in the Northern Hemisphere during the early Holocene could be expected to have impacted on the global carbon cycle. Ice core studies however, show little variability in atmospheric CO2. Resolving any possible centennial to decadal CO2 changes is limited by gas diffusion through the firn layer during bubble enclosure. Here we apply the inverse relationship between stomatal index (measured on sub-fossil leaves) and atmospheric CO2 to complement ice core records between 11,230 and 10,330 cal. yr BP.

High-resolution sampling and radiocarbon dating of lake sediments from the Faroe Islands reconstruct a distinct CO2 decrease centred on ca. 11,050 cal. yr BP, a consistent and steady decline between ca. 10,900 and 10,600 cal. yr BP and an increased instability after ca. 10,550 cal. yr BP. The earliest decline lasting ca. 150 yr is probably associated with the Preboreal Oscillation, an abrupt climatic cooling affecting much of the Northern Hemisphere a few hundred years after the end of the Younger Dryas.

In the absence of known global climatic instability, the decline to ca. 10,600 cal. yr BP is possibly due to expanding vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere. The increasing instability in CO2 after 10,600 cal. yr BP occurs during a period of increasing cooling of surface waters in the North Atlantic and some increased variability in proxy climate indicators in the region.

The reconstructed CO2 changes also show a distinct similarity to indicators of changing solar activity. This may suggest that at least the Northern Hemisphere was particularly sensitive to changes in solar activity during this time and that atmospheric CO2 concentrations fluctuated via rapid responses in climate.

1. Introduction

On sub-millennial timescales, changes in global biomass and ocean temperatures/salinities control exchanges between the main global carbon reservoirs (oceans, terrestrial biosphere and atmosphere). In the Northern Hemisphere, the early Holocene (ca. 11,600 to 8000 cal. yr BP) was a climatically dynamic period with, for example, meltwater pulses, vegetational colonisation, soil formation and oceanic circulation reorganisations on decadal to centennial timescales. It is unlikely therefore, that atmospheric CO2 concentrations were stable during this period. However, ice core measurements of CO2 during the early Holocene show little variability (Monnin et al., 2001).

Atmospheric CO2 is a well-mixed atmospheric trace gas responding to carbon flux variations in both the Southern and Northern hemispheres. Carbon exchanges are both directly and indirectly related to climate and many proxy records register abrupt climatic events during the early Holocene (Behre, 1978, Bjorck et al., 1997, Hald and Hagen, 1998, Bjorck et al., 2001 and Sejrup et al., 2001). One of the most widespread cooling events occurred a few hundred years after the end of the Younger Dryas (YD) cold event and is generally known as the Preboreal Oscillation (PBO) (Bjorck et al., 1996 and Bjorck et al., 1997). The PBO is difficult to 14C date reliably but most probably lies ca. 11,300 to 11,150 cal. yr BP (Bjorck et al., 1997) and has been recognized for a number of years.

Other events, however, of varying magnitude, spatial scale and timing are now emerging from ice cores (Johnsen et al., 1992 and O'Brien et al., 1995), terrestrial (Bjorck et al., 2001) and marine (Hald and Hagen, 1998) sediment proxies. Measurements of past atmospheric CO2, and therefore indications of changing fluxes, are obtained directly from air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice cores and provide excellent records over long time periods (Fischer et al., 1999, Indermahle et al., 1999, Petit et al., 1999 and Monnin et al., 2001). The recognition of higher frequency changes in atmospheric CO2 is limited by the inherent smoothing of ice core gas records by diffusion (Trudinger et al., 2003). To obtain a better time resolution of CO2 changes it would be preferable to use the higher accumulation rates of Greenland sites but this is generally avoided due to the dust related in situ production of CO2 (Anklin et al., 1995 and Tschumi and Stauffer, 2000).

To investigate how strongly the records are smoothed, Spahni et al. (2003) applied a diffusion and enclosure model to a decrease in CH4 through the cooling event dated to ca. 8200 yr BP in both GRIP (Greenland) and Dome C (Antarctica) ice cores. The model estimated that only 34 to 59% of the original atmospheric amplitude shows up in the Dome C record for an event of ca. 100 to 200 yr and that only events of more than 500- (Dome C) and 62- (GRIP) year duration will register 95% of the actual atmospheric gas variation. Diffusion smoothing mechanisms affect CH4 and CO2 in the same way and it is therefore possible that any early Holocene short-term CO2 variations lasting less than 1 to 2 centuries are strongly dampened in the Antarctic ice core records. Dome C is generally considered the best resolved record of atmospheric CO2 over the early Holocene period (Monnin et al., 2004). However, it indicates maximum amplitude of variation of only 5 to 6 ppmv over this time period (i.e. similar to the modern annual variation). This limited variability is likely to partly reflect the relatively large age distribution per air sample (ca. 200 yr) for this ice core, and the difficulties in resolving changes on centennial or sub-centennial timescales create a need for other complementary methods.

Less direct, proxy reconstructions may therefore be the more sensitive archives when short-term, rapid changes are of interest. The relatively new method of stomatal frequency analysis applies the physiological response of certain C3 plants to changing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere (Woodward, 1987). Rapidly accumulating lake sediments, if supplied with sufficient numbers of leaves from the surrounding vegetation, allow the reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 changes on centennial to decadal timescales by applying its inverse relationship to stomatal frequency. This paper presents a stomatal frequency reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 at decadal resolution over the time period 11,230 to 10,330 cal. yr BP, supported by a highly resolved AMS radiocarbon chronology from lake sediments of the Faroe Islands (situated in the North Atlantic between south west Norway and Iceland).

As our atmospheric CO2 estimates should reflect the global net effect of carbon transfers between reservoirs responsive on sub-millennial to decadal timescales, we also discuss possible causes for the changes in reconstructed CO2 in relation to evidence of climate variation and solar activity during the early Holocene. [...] 8. Conclusions By using a stomatal index based proxy for atmospheric CO2 concentration we have reconstructed changes during the early Holocene period (11,230 to 10,330). We have shown that to resolve changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration on timescales representative of its response rate, a proxy complementing ice core measurements is necessary. In contrast to ice core measurements, which cannot resolve CO2 variability on these timescales, our results indicate that the global carbon cycle was not in steady state during this period of the early Holocene. The main conclusions can be summarized thus:

* Stomatal index reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 concentrations can record variability and trends on decadal timescales, complementing the inherently smoothed ice core records. The trends of changing atmospheric CO2(SI) during the early Holocene can be accounted for by the dynamic climatic changes in the Northern Hemisphere at this time.

* During the period ca. 11,230ƒ_"10,330 cal. yr BP, stomatal frequency-inferred atmospheric CO2 concentrations demonstrate variability on centennial timescales. This could indicate that the global carbon cycle was not in steady state as is suggested by ice core CO2 measurements, which cannot resolve changes on these scales.

* During a climatically stable Southern Hemisphere in the early Holocene, the regional dynamic climate of the Northern Hemisphere is reflected in global CO2 as reconstructed from stomatal frequency and is therefore a major contributor to changes in the global carbon cycle.

* The CO2(SI) reconstruction through the early Holocene bears a striking similarity to reconstructed solar activity changes. This may suggest a rapid response of climate to minor changes in solar activity during this dynamic period, which in turn impacted the global carbon cycle. This can, to some extent, also be seen in the climatic responses associated with the Maunder Minimum in the mid-17th to early 18th centuries. [i.e. Changes in the output of the sun came first and that caused changing CO2 levels -- so the same could be happening today. SUVs off the hook!]


Australia's "drought"

When it didn't rain for a short while in much of Australia, it was all due to global warming. Now there is flooding over much of Northern Australia and the dams are full to overflowing. So what caused that? Global cooling? Note that in the report below it is said that it is not raining in Southeast Queensland (where I live). I guess I must have imagined all the downpours of the last few days

North Queensland and the Northern Territory are on cyclone watch today amid concerns a tropical low on the Gulf of Carpentaria may develop into the season's first cyclone. The warning comes after heavy rains have already left dams overflowing, stranded airline passengers, and cut highways and railway lines. The Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin today issued a cyclone warning for Cape York and areas of the Northern Territory and will continue to monitor the area.

The low has already caused torrential downpours across much of Queensland's north with flood waters blocking roads and rail lines between Cairns and Mackay. Some areas have reported more than 400mm [15 inches] of rain.

About 230 people spent the night at Whitsunday airport, north of Mackay, after being stranded by flood waters. The passengers were due to board a flight about 8pm (AEST) yesterday but extreme weather caused the flight to be cancelled as water flooded over Lascelles Avenue, which runs from the Bruce Highway to the airport. More than 280mm has fallen at nearby Proserpine since 9am yesterday and rain is expected to continue over the next 48 hours. Meanwhile, Ingham, north of Townsville is isolated after flood waters blocked access roads. Flood warnings have been issued for rivers between Cooktown and Mackay and the Bruce Highway has been blocked in several places. The Bruce Highway is cut between Mackay and Townsville and north of Ingham, as more than 400mm of rainfall was recorded in parts of the state's north over a 24-hour period.

Queensland Rail has cancelled passenger and freight services until at least Saturday with flood damage to the rail network in a number of locations. The weather also affected schools, with ABC radio reporting some teachers had to spend the night in their classrooms. "And it is still raining," said senior bureau of meteorology forecaster Geoff Doueal.

Heavy rain from a monsoonal low is likely to continue for at least another two days. But the question everyone is asking "Can we send it down south?" is not likely to be answered anytime soon. "It is not expected to come down to southeast Queensland," Mr Doueal said. "We can expect mostly fine weather around Brisbane over the weekend and into early next week."

Less than a week ago, Townsville residents faced level 3 water restrictions and today the dam is full to its existing capacity (75,000 megalitres) and flooding 2m over the spillway. "We were as concerned as Brisbane a week ago," said NQ Water chairman Ian Hamilton. "But luckily we have now got rain and enough water reserves to last us for another year and a bit more."

Retired Townsville couple Merv and Wendy Newnham were among hundreds to witness the flooding over Aplins Weir in the lower reaches of Ross River. "It's been at least seven years since we have seen it so high," Mr Newnham said. "It is truly a sight to see."

Severe weather senior forecaster David Alexander said the tropical low in the Gulf could develop into a cyclone sometime today. "We are expecting it to re-curve through the Gulf and probably, if it goes ashore anywhere, it is likely to do so on the Northern Territory side of the border," Mr Alexander said.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


2 February, 2007


A central variable in their models is sheer guesswork

Predicting how clouds will form in a warmer world remains a haze in a UN climate report due on Friday, affecting projected rises in temperatures and sea levels, scientists say. The UN climate panel, an authoritative group on global warming numbering 2,500 experts, is set to give its strongest warning yet that human activities are heating the planet and that warming may cause huge damage to nature by 2100.

A draft report has plugged many gaps since a last report in 2001, such as anomalies between temperatures measured by satellites or at the earth's surface or how far tiny, glinting particles of air pollution reflect sunlight back into space. But cloud formation in the 21st century -- hard enough for weather forecasters to predict for tomorrow -- is among the remaining puzzles. "Large uncertainties remain about how clouds might respond to global climate change," according to a draft of the report under review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meeting in Paris. Warmer air can absorb more moisture, meaning more clouds and so more rain and snow in many regions. But much more cloud cover might also brake warming because more sunlight will bounce off the white tops back into space.

The report, the first of four on global climate this year by the IPCC, is due to be issued on Friday and will guide governments trying to work out policies to brake warming. The report says more water vapour will bring more rains and snow to many regions towards the poles, such as northern Europe, Canada, the northeast United States and the Arctic. In winter, precipitation would also increase in northern Asia and the Tibetan plateau, it says.

By contrast, rains are likely to decrease in many subtropical regions. And parts of Africa and Europe around the Mediterranean are likely to get drier, and winter rains would decrease in southwestern Australia, it says. In many regions, downpours will be more intense.

More snows could also offset any thaw of the vast Antarctic ice cap and the smaller cap on Greenland. If both melted over thousands of years world sea levels would be about 65 metres (around 215 ft) higher than today. "In a warmer climate, models suggest that the ice sheets could accumulate more snowfall, tending to lower sea level," the draft says. But it adds that rapid thawing at the fringes has probably outweighed any such trend in recent years. "In the interior of Greenland, the ice has been thickening," said Catherine Myrmehl, of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway, based upon satellite readings. Many scientists reckon Greenland is losing ice overall.

The IPCC is likely to predict a "best estimate" of a temperature rise of 3 Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) by 2100 over pre-industrial times. And it is set to predict sea level rises this century of between 28 and 43 cms (11-17 inches), a lower band than forecast in the 2001 report.



Discussing: Remy, F. and Frezzotti, M. 2006. "Antarctica ice sheet mass balance". Comptes Rendus Geoscience 338: 1084-1097.


The authors note that "each year, about 2200 gigatonnes of snow fall on the Antarctic ice sheet and sink toward deeper layers, where it slowly changes into ice," which ice "then flows toward the coast, where the same quantity of ice is rejected to the ocean much later," noting further that "this annual balance corresponds to 6.5 mm of sea level, so that a slight imbalance may have an impact on sea-level change."

What was done

To get a better feel for the current status of the mass balance the Antarctic Ice Sheet and what we might expect to occur in the near and far future, Remy and Frezzotti reviewed "the results given by three different ways of estimating mass balance, first by measuring the difference between mass input and output, second by monitoring the changing geometry of the continent, and third by modeling both the dynamic and climatic evolution of the continent."

What was learned

Quoting the conclusions of the two researchers, "the East Antarctica ice sheet is nowadays more or less in balance, while the West Antarctica ice sheet exhibits some changes likely to be related to climate change and is in negative balance." In addition, they report that "the current response of the Antarctica ice sheet is dominated by the background trend due to the retreat of the grounding line, leading to a sea-level rise of 0.4 mm/yr over the short-time scale," which they describe in terms of centuries. However, they note that "later, the precipitation increase will counterbalance this residual signal, leading to a thickening of the ice sheet and thus a decrease in sea level."

What it means

Although there is a potential for short-term climatic fluctuations to either increase or decrease the water equivalent of the Antarctic ice sheet and, thereby, correspondingly impact global sea level, there is as yet no conclusive evidence that the huge ice sheet covering East Antarctica is being affected to any significant degree, especially in the way suggested by climate alarmists, i.e., excessive mass loss that raises sea level. Recent analyses of global sea level trends also support this conclusion (Jevrejeva et al., 2006; Holgate, 2007). In fact, they suggest there may well have been a slight decrease in the rate-of-rise of the world's oceans over the 20th century, possibly indicating a net positive Antarctic ice sheet mass balance over this period.



Discussing: Kunkel, K.E., Liang, X.-Z., Zhu, J. and Lin, Y. 2006. "Can CGCMs simulate the twentieth-century "warming hole" in the central United States?" Journal of Climate 19: 4137-4153.


Citing the work of Folland et al. (2001), Robinson et al. (2002) and Pan et al. (2004), the authors note there was a lack of warming throughout the central and southeastern United States over the course of the 20th century, which phenomenon was dubbed a "warming hole" by the latter set of investigators.

What was done

For an area they denote the Central United States (CUS), which they describe as "one of the most agriculturally productive regions of the world and roughly defined around what is known as the 'Corn Belt'," Kunkel et al. used a data set of 252 surface climate stations with less than 10% missing temperature data over the period 1901-1999 to construct the CUS temperature time series plotted in the figure below, where mean global temperature as determined by Hansen et al. (2001) is also plotted. Then, for comparative purposes, they examined 55 coupled general circulation model (CGCM) simulations driven by "modern estimates of time-varying forcing," plus 19 pre-industrial unforced simulations, all derived from 18 CGCMs.

What was learned

It is obvious, as shown in the figure above, that the Central US 20th-century temperature series is vastly different from that of the globe as a whole, at least as it is represented by Hansen et al. In fact, rather than the final temperature of the 20th century being unprecedented over the past two millennia, as climate alarmists typically claim, the final 20th-century temperature of the Central US was more than 0.7 degrees cooler than it was a mere 65 years earlier. In addition, Kunkel et al. report that "the warming hole is not [our italics] a robust response of contemporary CGCMs to the estimated external forcings."

What it means

In the words of the researchers who conducted the study, "the warming hole indicates that anthropogenic forcing of the climate system can be accompanied by a regional temperature response different than expected," which fact "has important implications for impacts assessments." Indeed, it suggests that such model-based assessments can be radically wrong. It is also of interest to note that "during the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward" - as we repeat issue after issue in our Temperature Record of the Week feature - the bulk of the United States, whose 20th-century CO2 emissions exceeded those of all other nations, experienced no net warming. Pesky!



Two powerful new books say today's global warming is due not to human activity but primarily to a long, moderate solar-linked cycle. Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, by physicist Fred Singer and economist Dennis Avery was released just before Christmas. The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change, by Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark and former BBC science writer Nigel Calder (Icon Books), is due out in March.

Singer and Avery note that most of the earth's recent warming occurred before 1940, and thus before much human-emitted CO2. Moreover, physical evidence shows 600 moderate warmings in the earth's last million years. The evidence ranges from ancient Nile flood records, Chinese court documents and Roman wine grapes to modern spectral analysis of polar ice cores, deep seabed sediments, and layered cave stalagmites.

Unstoppable Global Warming shows the earth's temperatures following variations in solar intensity through centuries of sunspot records, and finds cycles of sun-linked isotopes in ice and tree rings. The book cites the work of Svensmark, who says cosmic rays vary the earth's temperatures by creating more or fewer of the low, wet clouds that cool the earth. It notes that global climate models can't accurately register cloud effects.

The Chilling Stars relates how Svensmark's team mimicked the chemistry of earth's atmosphere, by putting realistic mixtures of atmospheric gases into a large reaction chamber, with ultraviolet light as a stand-in for the sun. When they turned on the UV, microscopic droplets -- cloud seeds -- started floating through the chamber. "We were amazed by the speed and efficiency with which the electrons [generated by cosmic rays] do their work of creating the building blocks for the cloud condensation nuclei," says Svensmark.

The Chilling Stars documents how cosmic rays amplify small changes in the sun's irradiance fourfold, creating 1-2 degree C cycles in earth's temperatures: Cosmic rays continually slam into the earth's atmosphere from outer space, creating ion clusters that become seeds for small droplets of water and sulfuric acid. The droplets then form the low, wet clouds that reflect solar energy back into space. When the sun is more active, it shields the earth from some of the rays, clouds wane, and the planet warms.

Unstoppable Global Warming documents the reality of a moderate, natural, 1500-year climate cycle on the earth. The Chilling Stars explains the why and how.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 February, 2007

Coral reef may benefit from global warming

Jennifer Marohasy expands on the few points I made yesterday:

On Friday in Paris the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will launch a new report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, with an up-to-date assessment of likely temperature rises because of global warming. Three related reports will be released later in the year, including a report on the likely effects of the rise in temperature. The report on impacts is likely to include a chapter on Australia and a warning that corals on the Great Barrier Reef could die as a consequence of global warming.

The idea that the Great Barrier Reef may be destroyed by global warming is not new, but it is a myth. The expected rise in sea level associated with global warming may benefit coral reefs and the Great Barrier Reef is likely to extend its range further south. Global threats to the coral reefs of the world include damaging fish practices and pollution, and the UN should work harder to address these issues.

Most of the world's great reefs are tropical because corals like warm water. Many of the species found on the Great Barrier Reef can also be found in regions with much warmer water, for example around Papua New Guinea. Corals predate dinosaurs and over the past couple of hundred million years have shown themselves to be remarkably resistant to climate change, surviving both hotter and colder periods.

Interestingly, scientific studies show that over the past 100 years, a period of modest global warming, there has been a statistically significant increase in growth rates of coral species on the Great Barrier Reef. There have also been periods of coral bleaching, but no conclusive evidence to suggest that either the frequency or severity has increased.

Coral bleaching is a breakdown in the symbiotic relationship between corals and the algae that provide them with food. When coral becomes stressed from extreme heat or cold, the algae are expelled. Some corals are more susceptible to bleaching than others. Most corals can adapt to higher water temperatures.

There was damaging coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 and then again in 2002, but at different hot spots. The Great Barrier Reef comprises more than 3000 individual reefs extending for 2700km. The bleaching was associated with extended periods of calm weather and less wave action, with the hot spots rising in temperature by as much as 2C. Extended periods of calm weather are not predicted with global warming; when Cyclone Larry hit Innisfail last year, some claim it reduced the threat of bleaching at that time.

About 17 per cent of the world's reefs can be found around Australia and PNG. According to the last global assessment of the coral reefs of the world, Australian reefs are among the best protected in the world. And as a consequence of environmental campaigning there has been a significant commitment from the Queensland and commonwealth governments to further reduce fishing and the potential for pollution from land-based activities, including farming.

In other parts of the world many reefs are under increasing pressure from blast fishing, illegal capture of live fish for the restaurant trade in places such as Hong Kong, coral mining, industrial pollution, mine waste and land reclamation. In PNG, high sediment loads from uncontrolled forestry, with some of this wood probably ending up as furniture bought by Australians, has also affected coral reefs. There clearly are global threats to coral reefs, but reef ecosystems have historically been resilient to climate change, and global warming may bring more opportunities than threats.

Corals grow upwards. Interestingly, north of Cairns there are large areas of reef with dead coral because of localised falls in sea level. A significant rise in sea level as a consequence of global warming could make these reef flats come alive again. It will be the next ice age that will leave many of the world's coral reefs high and dry.

Global warming may be the big environmental issue of our times and the UN may feel compelled to include the world's main environmental symbols in its climate models and assessments. But there are higher priorities for the world's coral reefs.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef may actually benefit from some global warming. But other coral reefs are unlikely to benefit enough to survive the real and immediate threat from destructive and often illegal fishing practices and pollution.


Righteous carbon crusaders let down by the V8 under the cape

In my lifetime I've experienced two religious movements, Christianity and Marxism. Now there's a third, the belief our civilisation is doomed unless we take urgent and significant action to reduce our output of carbon dioxide. The three share several core characteristics. One is a possible explanation for what believers consider an important chunk of our existence. Another is a moral framework so we can identify goodies and baddies, something human beings seem compelled to do. A third is fundamentalism: believers ignore or downplay facts or events that don't support their proposition.

But if the carbon crusade is to succeed as a religion it needs to purge the insincerity that characterises many of its prophets. I find I'm often chastised for not taking global warming seriously enough by people who in their own lives produce far more carbon dioxide than I do. This raises questions about their sincerity and brings the cause into disrepute. You can't be a good priest if you lie with prostitutes, and you can't be a good Marxist if you exploit workers. And you shouldn't be taken seriously as a global warming prophet unless your actions reflect your words.

Here are a few guidelines. People who want to be taken seriously when they tell us to reduce our carbon dioxide output do not, in their own lives: drive much (and when they do, their cars have small motors); fly unnecessarily (and never on holidays); or use unnecessary power, such as dishwashing machines and air-conditioners. Nor will they, once Sydney gets its desalination plant, have gardens or swimming pools unless they supply the water for these from their own tanks. One could add to the list, but these are some basic requirements.

This raises the question of carbon offsets, the increasingly popular arrangement whereby you can buy trees to absorb the carbon you produce. Tony Blair is a recent convert. Launching the Stern review on global warming last October, Blair, with all the confidence of Moses descending the mountain, supported its conclusions and declared: "Unless we act now . these consequences [of global warming], disastrous as they are, will be irreversible." But this sense of urgency had mysteriously evaporated a few weeks ago, on his return from a vacation at the Miami mansion of Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Sky News asked him if maybe, given his great and commendable concern for the future of civilisation, the vacations by air should stop. "I personally think these things are a bit impractical," said the perky one, "actually to expect people to do that. It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere."

Britain was shocked. It was as if Winston Churchill, after announcing the need to fight on the beaches, had later conceded he hadn't actually meant any form of activity where people, well, him anyway, might get hurt. The press had a field day, and a few days later Blair announced he would offset his family's attack on the environment by purchasing 89.92 pounds (about $228) worth of carbon offsets.

It would have been better for Blair and everyone else if the Stern review had been more sceptically received. As it was, despite the political circumstances of its birth, the review was accepted instantly by a huge range of people, and is now pointed to as justification for certain behaviour with all the enthusiasm that earlier generations pointed to the Bible. I haven't seen one of its supporters explain why the review is superior to the far more sceptical report produced by the House of Lords a year earlier. That's fundamentalism in action.

In fact, there's reason to suspect the review is a prime example of what Britain's leftish Institute for Public Policy Research calls "climate porn". Late last year World Economics, a reputable and mainstream British academic journal, published a lengthy rebuttal of the review by 14 experts. It's worth quoting from the abstract at some length because the rebuttal has been almost completely ignored. Google Australia gives it 10 references compared with more than 10,000, mostly adulatory ones, for the Stern review itself. That's fundamentalism in action, too.

The authors in World Economics "conclude that the review fails to present an accurate picture of scientific understanding of climate change issues, and will reinforce ill-informed alarm about climate change. Two interrelated features of the Stern review are that it greatly understates the extent of uncertainty as to possible developments, in highly complex systems that are not well understood, over a period of two centuries or more; and its treatment of sources and evidence is persistently selective and biased . the Stern review mishandles data; gives too little attention to actual observation and evidence, as distinct from the results of model-based exercises; and takes no account of the failures of due disclosure, and the chronic limitations of peer reviewing, that have been characteristic of work relating to climate change which governments have commissioned and drawn on. As to specifically economic aspects . the review systematically overstates projected costs of climate change [and] underestimates the likely cost - including to the world's poor - of the drastic global mitigation program that it calls for."

The non-religious view of global warming is this: we know the world has warmed slightly over the past century, but we don't know how much of this was caused by humans and how much by the natural variations in temperature that occur frequently. We have no idea if the warming will continue or, if it does, whether this will be good or bad.

Source. (The author above, Michael Duffy, was Australian Federal Attorney General 1990-1993 in a Labor Party government)

5 Myths About Suburbia and Our Car-Happy Culture

They don't rate up there with cancer and al-Qaeda -- at least not yet -- but suburban sprawl and automobiles are rapidly acquiring a reputation as scourges of modern American society. Sprawl, goes the typical indictment, devours open space, exacerbates global warming and causes pollution, social alienation and even obesity. And cars are the evil co-conspirator -- the driving force, so to speak, behind sprawl. Yet the anti-suburbs culture has also fostered many myths about sprawl and driving, a few of which deserve to be reconsidered:

1.Americans are addicted to driving.

Actually, Americans aren't addicted to their cars any more than office workers are addicted to their computers. Both items are merely tools that allow people to accomplish tasks faster and more conveniently. The New York metropolitan area is home to the nation's most extensive transit system, yet even there it takes transit riders about twice as long as drivers to get to work.

In 1930, the interstate highway system and the rise of suburbia were still decades away, and yet car ownership was already widespread, with three in four households having an automobile. Look at any U.S. city and the car is the dominant mode of travel.

Some claim that Europeans have developed an enlightened alternative. Americans return from London and Paris and tell their friends that everyone gets around by transit. But tourists tend to confine themselves to the central cities. Europeans may enjoy top-notch transit and endure gasoline that costs $5 per gallon, but in fact they don't drive much less than we do. In the United States, automobiles account for about 88 percent of travel. In Europe, the figure is about 78 percent. And Europeans are gaining on us.

The key factor that affects driving habits isn't population density, public transit availability, gasoline taxes or even different attitudes. It's wealth. Europe and the United States are relatively wealthy, but American incomes are 15 to 40 percent higher than those in Western Europe. And as nations such as China and India become wealthier, the portion of their populations that drive cars will grow.

2.Public transit can reduce traffic congestion.

Transit has been on the slide for well more than half a century. Even though spending on public transportation has ballooned to more than seven times its 1960s levels, the percentage of people who use it to get to work fell 63 percent from 1960 to 2000 and now stands at just under 5 percent nationwide. Transit is also decreasing in Europe, down to 16 percent in 2000.

Like auto use, suburbanization is driven by wealth. Workers once left the fields to find better lives in the cities. Today more and more have decided that they can do so in the suburbs. Indeed, commuters are now increasingly likely to travel from one suburb to another or embark upon "reverse" commutes (from the city to the suburbs). Also, most American commuters (52 percent) do not go directly to and from work but stop along the way to pick up kids, drop off dry cleaning, buy a latte or complete some other errand.

We have to be realistic about what transit can accomplish. Suppose we could not only reverse transit's long slide but also triple the size of the nation's transit system and fill it with riders. Transportation guru Anthony Downs of the Brookings Institution notes that this enormous feat would be "extremely costly" and, even if it could be done, would not "notably reduce" rush-hour congestion, primarily because transit would continue to account for only a small percentage of commuting trips.

But public transit still has an important role. Millions of Americans rely on it as a primary means of transportation. Transit agencies should focus on serving those who need transit the most: the poor and the handicapped. They should also seek out the niches where they can be most useful, such as express bus service for commuters and high-volume local routes.

Many officials say we should reconfigure the landscape -- pack people in more tightly -- to make it fit better with a transit-oriented lifestyle. But that would mean increasing density in existing developments by bulldozing the low-density neighborhoods that countless families call home. Single-family houses, malls and shops would have to make way for a stacked-up style of living that most don't want. And even then the best-case scenario would be replicating New York, where only one in four commuters uses mass transit.

3.We can cut air pollution only if we stop driving.

Polls often show that Americans think that air quality is deteriorating. Yet air is getting much cleaner. We miss it because, while we see more people and more cars, we easily overlook the success of air-quality legislation and new technologies. In April 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that 474 counties in 31 states violated the Clean Air Act. But that doesn't mean that the air is dirtier. The widely publicized failing air-quality grades were a result of the EPA's adoption of tougher standards.

Air quality has been improving for a long time. More stringent regulations and better technology have allowed us to achieve what was previously unthinkable: driving more and getting cleaner. Since 1970, driving -- total vehicle miles traveled -- has increased 155 percent, and yet the EPA reports a dramatic decrease in every major pollutant it measures. Although driving is increasing by 1 to 3 percent each year, average vehicle emissions are dropping about 10 percent annually. Pollution will wane even more as motorists continue to replace older, dirtier cars with newer, cleaner models.

4.We're paving over America.

How much of the United States is developed? Twenty-five percent? Fifty? Seventy-five? How about 5.4 percent? That's the Census Bureau's figure. And even much of that is not exactly crowded: The bureau says that an area is "developed" when it has 30 or more people per square mile.

But most people do live in developed areas, so it's easy to get the impression that humans have trampled nature. One need only take a cross-country flight and look down, however, to realize that our nation is mostly open space. And there are signs that Mother Nature is gaining ground. After furious tree chopping during America's early years, forests have made a comeback. The U.S. Forest Service notes that the "total area of forests has been fairly stable since about 1920." Agricultural innovations have a lot to do with this. Farmers can raise more on less land.

Yes, American houses are getting bigger. From 1970 to 2000, the average size ballooned from 1,500 square feet to 2,260. But this hardly means we're gobbling up ever more land. U.S. homeowners are using land more efficiently. Between 1970 and 2000, the average lot size shrank from 14,000 square feet to 10,000.

In truth, housing in this country takes up less space than most people realize. If the nation were divided into four-person households and each household had an acre, everyone would fit in an area half the size of Texas. The United States is not coming anywhere close to becoming an "Asphalt Nation," to use the title of a book by Jane Holtz Kay.

5.We can't deal with global warming unless we stop driving.

What should be done about global warming? The Kyoto Protocol seeks to get the world to agree to burn less fossil fuel and emit less carbon dioxide, and much of that involves driving less. But even disregarding the treaty's economic costs, Kyoto's environmental impact would be slight. Tom M.L. Wigley, chief scientist at the U.S. Center for Atmospheric Research, calculates that even if every nation met its obligation to reduce greenhouse gas, the Earth would be only .07 degrees centigrade cooler by 2050.

Wigley favors a much more stringent plan than Kyoto, but such restrictions would severely restrict economic growth, particularly in the developing world. Nations such as China and India were excluded from the Kyoto Protocol; yet if we're serious about reversing global warming by driving less, the developing world will have to be included.

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that during the 20th century the Earth's temperature rose by 0.6 degrees centigrade and -- depending on which of the many climate models turn out to be closest to reality -- it expects the temperature to rise 1.4 to 5.8 degrees by 2100.

What does the IPCC think the effects of global warming may be? Flooding may increase. Infectious diseases may spread. Heat-related illness and death may increase. Yet as the IPCC notes repeatedly, the severity of such outcomes is enormously uncertain.

On the other hand, there's great certainty regarding who would be hurt the most: poor people in developing nations, especially those who lack clean, piped water and are thus vulnerable to waterborne disease. The IPCC points out that the quality of housing in those countries is important because simple measures such as adding screens to windows can help prevent diseases (including malaria, dengue and yellow fever) from entering homes. Fragile transportation systems can also frustrate disaster recovery efforts, as medical personnel are often unable to reach people trapped in flooded areas.

Two ways of dealing with global warming emerge. A more stringent version of Kyoto could be crafted to chase the unprecedented goal of trying to cool the atmosphere of the entire planet. Yet if such efforts resulted in lower economic growth, low-income populations in the United States and developing countries would be less able to protect themselves from the ill effects of extreme heat or other kinds of severe weather.

Alternatively, the focus could be on preventing the negative effects -- the disease and death -- that global warming might bring. Each year malaria kills 1 million to 3 million people, and one-third of the world's population is infected with water- or soil-borne parasitic diseases. It may well be that dealing with global warming by building resilience against its possible effects is more productive -- and more realistic -- than trying to solve the problem by driving our automobiles less.


Very, Very Big Corn: Ethanol and its consequences

How to lose all round

President Bush made a big push for alternative fuels in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, calling on Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20% over 10 years. And as soon as the sun rose on Wednesday, he set out to tour a DuPont facility in Delaware to tout the virtues of "cellulosic ethanol" and propose $2 billion in loans to promote the stuff. For a man who famously hasn't taken a drink for 20 years, that's a considerable intake of alcohol.

A bit of sobriety would go a long way in discussing this moonshine of the energy world, however. Cellulosic ethanol--which is derived from plants like switchgrass--will require a big technological breakthrough to have any impact on the fuel supply. That leaves corn- and sugar-based ethanol, which have been around long enough to understand their significant limitations. What we have here is a classic political stampede rooted more in hope and self-interest than science or logic.

Ostensibly, the great virtue of ethanol is that it represents a "sustainable," environmentally friendly source of energy--a source that is literally homegrown rather than imported from such unstable places as Nigeria or Iran. That's one reason why, as Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren note in the Milken Institute Review, federal and state subsidies for ethanol ran to about $6 billion last year, equivalent to roughly half its wholesale market price. Ethanol gets a 51-cent a gallon domestic subsidy, and there's another 54-cent a gallon tariff applied at the border against imported ethanol. Without those subsidies, hardly anyone would make the stuff, much less buy it--despite recent high oil prices. That's also why the percentage of the U.S. corn crop devoted to ethanol has risen to 20% from 3% in just five years, or about 8.6 million acres of farmland. Reaching the President's target of 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017 would, at present corn yields, require the entire U.S. corn harvest.

No wonder, then, that the price of corn rose nearly 80% in 2006 alone. (See the chart nearby.) Corn growers and their Congressmen love this, and naturally they are planting as much as they can. Look for a cornfield in your neighborhood soon. Yet for those of us who like our corn flakes in the morning, the higher price isn't such good news. It's even worse for cattle, poultry and hog farmers trying to adjust to suddenly exorbitant prices for feed corn--to pick just one industry example. The price of corn is making America's meat-packing industries, which are major exporters, less competitive.

In Mexico, the price of corn tortillas--the dietary staple of the country's poorest--has risen by about 30% in recent months, leading to widespread protests and price controls. In China, the government has put a halt to ethanol-plant construction for the threat it poses to the country's food security. Thus is a Beltway fad translated into Third World woes.

As for the environmental impact, well, where do we begin? As an oxygenate, ethanol increases the level of nitrous oxides in the atmosphere and thus causes smog. The scientific literature is also divided about whether the energy inputs required to produce ethanol actually exceed its energy output. It takes fertilizer to grow the corn, and fuel to ship and process it, and so forth. Even the most optimistic estimate says ethanol's net energy output is a marginal improvement of only 1.3 to one. For purposes of comparison, energy outputs from gasoline exceed inputs by an estimated 10 to one.

And because corn-based ethanol is less efficient than ordinary gasoline, using it to fuel cars means you need more gas to drive the same number of miles. This is not exactly a route to "independence" from Mideast, Venezuelan or any other tainted source of oil. Ethanol also cannot be shipped using existing pipelines (being alcohol, it eats the seals), so it must be trucked or sent by barge or train to its thousand-and-one destinations, at least until separate pipelines are built.

Even some environmentalists cry foul. Steve Sanderson, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, tells us that intensive, subsidized sugar farming in Brazil--where the use of ethanol is most widespread--has displaced small tenant farmers, many of whom have taken to cutting down and farming land in the Amazon rain forest.

In the U.S., there is now talk of taking the roughly 40 million acres currently tied up in the Agriculture Department's conservation reserve and security programs and putting them into production for ethanol-related plants. "The land at risk under this ethanol program is land that's shown by the USDA to have had great results for the restoration of wildlife," Mr. Sanderson says, pointing especially to the grasslands of eastern Montana and the Dakotas. Hello ethanol, goodbye bison.

But what about global warming, where ethanol, as a non-fossil fuel, is supposed to make a positive contribution? Actually, it barely makes a dent. Australian researcher Robert Niven finds that the use of ethanol in gasoline--the standard way in which ethanol is currently used--reduces greenhouse gas emissions by no more than 5%. As Messrs. Taylor and Van Doren observe, "employing ethanol to reduce greenhouse gases is fantastically inefficient," costing as much as 16 times the optimal abatement cost for removing a ton of carbon from the atmosphere

It's true that scientific advances will probably improve and perhaps even transform the utility of ethanol. Genetic modification will likely improve corn yields. And the President insists we are on the verge of breakthroughs in cellulosic technology, though experts tell us the technical hurdles are still huge. We'd be as happy as anyone if DuPont researchers finally discover the enzyme that can efficiently break down plants into starch, but betting billions of tax dollars and millions of acres of farmland on this hope strikes us as bad policy. If cellulose is going to be an energy miracle--an agricultural cold fusion--far better to let the market figure that out.

Not that any of these facts are likely to make much difference in the current Washington debate. The corn and sugar lobbies have their roots deep in both parties, and now they have the mantra of "energy independence" to invoke, however illusory it is. If anything, Congress may add to Mr. Bush's ethanol mandate requests. So here comes Big Corn. Make that Very, Very Big Corn. Sooner or later, our experience with this huge public gamble may make us yearn for the efficiency, capacity, lower cost and--yes--superior environmental record of "Big Oil."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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