Tracking the politics of fear....  

The blogspot version of this blog is HERE. The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email John Ray here. Other sites viewable in China: Political Correctness Watch, Dissecting Leftism, Education Watch, Australian Politics, Recipes, Socialized Medicine, Food & Health Skeptic, Tongue Tied and Gun Watch. For a list of second backups, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing). The archive for this mirror site is here or here.

31 March, 2007

A nice bit of sarcasm from Taranto

A Scientific Survey?

Christopher Mims of Scientific American, a global-warmist magazine, trumpets as a "reality check" a new poll result:

Via the very-much-worth-checking-out Sietch Blog:

In what can only be considered a tidal wave of public opinion, a new Yale research survey reveals a significant shift in public attitudes toward the environment and global warming. Fully 83 percent of Americans now say global warming is a "serious" problem, up from 70 percent in 2004. Most dramatically, the survey of 1,000 adults nationwide shows that 63 percent of Americans agree that the United States "is in as much danger from environmental hazards, such as air pollution and global warming, as it is from terrorists."
In other words, 63% of the American public now agrees with the 2003 Pentagon report that, while speculative, said as much.

(The rest of the survey results are well worth reading, and demonstrate U.S. citizens' growing concern about extinction, air pollution, and other environmental issues.)
Well, if 63% of the American public says it, it must be true, right? That's how science works! So we checked the survey results (PDF), as Mims recommended, and we found another interesting finding: 58% agree that "as the Bible says, the world was literally created in six days." So according to Scientific American, the biblical story of creation has only slightly less scientific merit than global warming. And if you think the people in the survey are unqualified to weigh in on such matters, they beg to differ: 71% of them agreed with the statement "I consider myself an intellectual," and 59% agreed that "I have more ability than most people." We'll bet a high proportion of them read Scientific American.



NASA's Jim Hansen has discovered STS (science and technology studies, i.e., social scientists who study science), and he is using it to justify why the IPCC is wrong and he, and he alone, is correct on predictions of future sea level rise and as well on calls for certain political actions, like campaign finance reform. In a new paper, Dr. Hansen conveniently selects a notable 1961 paper on the sociology of scientific discovery from Science to suggest that scientific reticence can be used to predict where future research results will lead. And he finds, interestingly enough, that they lead exactly to where his views are today.

What evidence does Dr. Hansen provide to indicate that his views on sea level rise are correct and those presented by the IPCC, which he openly disagrees with, are wrong? Well, for one he explains that no glaciologist agrees with his views (as they are apparently reticent), suggesting that in fact his views must be correct (a creative use of STS if I've ever seen one;-). If holding a minority view is a standard for predicting future scientific understandings then we should therefore apparently pay more attention to all those lonely skeptics crying out in the wilderness, no?

I find it simply amazing that Dr. Hansen has the moxie to invoke the STS literature to support his scientific arguments when that literature, had he looked at maybe one more paper, indicates that Bernard Barber's 1961 essay, while provocative is not widely accepted (see, e.g., this book or this paper). And even if one accepts Barber's article at face value which argues that scientists resist new discoveries (Thomas Kuhn, hello?), what Dr. Hansen doesn't explain (as he is throwing out the IPCC model of scientific consensus) is why his views are those that will prove to be proven correct in the future rather than those other scientific perspectives that are not endorsed by the IPCC. (Dr. Hansen appears to ignore Barber's argument in the same paper suggesting that older scientists are more likely to be captured by political or other interests when presenting their science.)

If we can use the sociology of science to foretell where science is headed, we could save a lot of money not having to in fact do the research. The climate issue is full of surprises and this one just about takes the cake for me. Now I've seen everything!



Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance market, on Thursday reported a pretax profit of 3.66 billion pounds (5.4 billion euros, US$7.2 billion) in 2006, a year of few global catastrophes. That reversed Lloyd's 2005 result of a loss of 103 million pounds (152 million euros, US$202 million) because of hurricane damage claims.

"During the year, we benefited from strong underlying conditions and an exceptionally low level of catastrophes," said Lord Levene, Lloyd's chairman. "However, it would be unrealistic to expect such a favorable claims experience this year."

The 2005 season was the most destructive in recorded history, with 27 named storms and 14 hurricanes, including Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi in the U.S. and killed more than 1,300 people.



According to a new study, climate targets agreed in March by EU member states could result in immense costs: In the next 14 years, European Union member states would have to fork out 1.1 trillion Euro for climate protection. With reference to a study by the management consultancy firm McKinsey, the German newspaper "Die Welt" reports that the total costs are estimated between 800 billion and 1.1 trillion euro by the year 2020.

The European Union heads of state and government decided on 9 March to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. However, the summit did not consider the actual costs or concrete measures, let alone how this goal was to be achieved...

Source. (Translation by Benny Peiser)


Environmentalists and globalization foes are united in their fear that greater population and consumption of energy, materials, and chemicals accompanying economic growth, technological change and free trade-the mainstays of globalization-degrade human and environmental well-being. Indeed, the 20th century saw the United States' population multiply by four, income by seven, carbon dioxide emissions by nine, use of materials by 27, and use of chemicals by more than 100.

Yet life expectancy increased from 47 years to 77 years. Onset of major disease such as cancer, heart, and respiratory disease has been postponed between eight and eleven years in the past century. Heart disease and cancer rates have been in rapid decline over the last two decades, and total cancer deaths have actually declined the last two years, despite increases in population. Among the very young, infant mortality has declined from 100 deaths per 1,000 births in 1913 to just seven per 1,000 today.

These improvements haven't been restricted to the United States. It's a global phenomenon. Worldwide, life expectancy has more than doubled, from 31 years in 1900 to 67 years today. India's and China's infant mortalities exceeded 190 per 1,000 births in the early 1950s; today they are 62 and 26, respectively. In the developing world, the proportion of the population suffering from chronic hunger declined from 37 percent to 17 percent between 1970 and 2001 despite a 83 percent increase in population. Globally average annual incomes in real dollars have tripled since 1950. Consequently, the proportion of the planet's developing-world population living in absolute poverty has halved since 1981, from 40 percent to 20 percent. Child labor in low income countries declined from 30 percent to 18 percent between 1960 and 2003.

Equally important, the world is more literate and better educated than ever. People are freer politically, economically, and socially to pursue their well-being as they see fit. More people choose their own rulers, and have freedom of expression. They are more likely to live under rule of law, and less likely to be arbitrarily deprived of life, limb, and property.

Social and professional mobility have also never been greater. It's easier than ever for people across the world to transcend the bonds of caste, place, gender, and other accidents of birth. People today work fewer hours and have more money and better health to enjoy their leisure time than their ancestors.

Man's environmental record is more complex. The early stages of development can indeed cause some environmental deterioration as societies pursue first-order problems affecting human well-being. These include hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, and lack of education, basic public health services, safe water, sanitation, mobility, and ready sources of energy.

Because greater wealth alleviates these problems while providing basic creature comforts, individuals and societies initially focus on economic development, often neglecting other aspects of environmental quality. In time, however, they recognize that environmental deterioration reduces their quality of life. Accordingly, they put more of their recently acquired wealth and human capital into developing and implementing cleaner technologies. This brings about an environmental transition via the twin forces of economic development and technological progress, which begin to provide solutions to environmental problems instead of creating those problems.

All of which is why we today find that the richest countries are also the cleanest. And while many developing countries have yet to get past the "green ceiling," they are nevertheless ahead of where today's developed countries used to be when they were equally wealthy. The point of transition from "industrial period" to "environmental conscious" continues to fall. For example, the US introduced unleaded gasoline only after its GDP per capita exceeded $16,000. India and China did the same before they reached $3,000 per capita.

This progress is a testament to the power of globalization and the transfer of ideas and knowledge (that lead is harmful, for example). It's also testament to the importance of trade in transferring technology from developed to developing countries-in this case, the technology needed to remove lead from gasoline.

This hints at the answer to the question of why some parts of the world have been left behind while the rest of the world has thrived. Why have improvements in well-being stalled in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab world? The proximate cause of improvements in well-being is a "cycle of progress" composed of the mutually reinforcing forces of economic development and technological progress. But that cycle itself is propelled by a web of essential institutions, particularly property rights, free markets, and rule of law. Other important institutions would include science- and technology-based problem-solving founded on skepticism and experimentation; receptiveness to new technologies and ideas; and freer trade in goods, services-most importantly in knowledge and ideas. In short, free and open societies prosper. Isolation, intolerance, and hostility to the free exchange of knowledge, technology, people, and goods breed stagnation or regression.

Despite all of this progress and good news, then, there is still much unfinished business. Millions of people die from hunger, malnutrition, and preventable disease such as malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhea. Over a billion people still live in absolute poverty, defined as less than a dollar per day. A third of the world's eligible population is still not enrolled in secondary school. Barriers to globalization, economic development, and technological change-such as the use of DDT to eradicate malaria, genetic engineering, and biotechnology-are a big source of the problem.

Moreover, the global population will grow 50 percent to 100 percent this century, and per capita consumption of energy and materials will likely increase with wealth. Merely preserving the status quo is not enough. We need to protect the important sustaining institutions responsible for all of this progress in the developed world, and we need to foster and nurture them in countries that are still developing.

Man's remarkable progress over the last 100 years is unprecedented in human history. It's also one of the more neglected big-picture stories. Ensuring that our incredible progress continues will require not only recognizing and appreciating the progress itself, but also recognizing and preserving the important ideas and institutions that caused it, and ensuring that they endure.



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

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


30 March, 2007


A comment from Russia

If all ice on the earth melted, the level of the oceans would rise by 64 meters. Many coastal cities would be under water, and so would the Netherlands, a significant part of which lies below sea level. However, the Dutch and the rest of the planet may rest assured: this hypothetical catastrophe could not take place anytime within the next thousand years.

Our institute has prepared an atlas of the world's snow and ice resources, which describes all the ice on the earth and even offers a map of the world without ice. It is, however, a model, not a forecast. Yet there are forecasts warning that if the global warming seen at the end of the 20th century continues for several decades, a lot of ice in the Artic Ocean will melt.

There is, however, a subtle but important qualification: if Artic ice should melt, the sea level will not change because the volume of water created by melting ice is equal to the volume of water that ice displaces when floating. The danger is different: warming could lead to the melting of huge island and continental glaciers.

The biggest of them cover the Antarctic, where 90% of the world's ice is accumulated, and Greenland. The melting of this ice could lead to a catastrophe. But is there any reason to panic? The temperature rise of 3-6 degrees Celsius over the next century promised by pessimists could not have a significant influence on the Antarctic, where the average temperature is less than 40 degrees below zero.

The processes ongoing in the permafrost are even more complicated than those in the ice. All the winters of the last decade were more or less abnormal. Because of that, the permafrost in areas just beyond the Artic began receding and melting. The period of warming was tangible, but now it may be drawing to a close. Most natural processes on the earth are cyclical, having a shorter or longer rhythm. Yet no matter how these sinusoids look, a temperature rise is inevitably followed by a decline, and vice versa.

Studies of the ice core retrieved by Russia's Vostok Antarctic station show that this is what has been happening on earth for at least the last 400,000 years. Today, scientists say that the melting of the permafrost has stalled, which has been proved by data obtained by meteorological stations along Russia's Artic coast. We are now studying the influence of the atmosphere and snow cover on permafrost in space and time. In the permafrost zones, a layer melts in the summer, when the temperature rises above zero. However, in the winter this layer freezes again. This is a normal process: what melts, freezes. Yet if a winter is abnormally warm, this seasonal melted layer may not freeze back. Then the so-called "talik," a layer with a temperature of around zero, is formed. This is a very unpleasant thing for buildings and pipelines.

It seems that the permafrost should be melting if the temperature is rising. However, many areas are witnessing the opposite. The average annual temperature is getting higher, but the permafrost remains and has even started to spread. Why? An important factor is the snow cover. Global warming reduces it, therefore making the heat insulator for the permafrost thinner. Then even weak frosts are enough to freeze the ground deeper below the surface.

In many places, the frozen ground is 500-800 meters deep. Even if the highest warming forecast comes true and the temperature rises by 3-6 degrees, no more than 20 meters of frozen ground will melt. Some people are afraid that the melting permafrost will pollute the air with methane. However, frozen water takes up only 15% of the 20-meter layer, and the amount of gases dissolved there is insignificant. So we are unlikely to receive such unpleasant surprises from the permafrost within the next hundred years.

Today, scientists fear not so much global warming as changes in atmospheric circulation. In recent years, the so-called western shift has dominated, which means that air masses have been moving from the west eastwards. There has been little mention of the so-called meridian masses, moving from the south to the north and back. Now, however, the meridian shift has become more frequent.

If it goes south, it causes a spell of cold weather; if it goes north, it brings warm air masses with a lot of precipitation in the winter. This results in thaws and snow drifts on plains and in heavy snowfalls, avalanches and mudflows in the mountains. Meridian processes have been gaining in frequency lately, which promises different weather anomalies: unusually high and low temperatures, heavy rains and snowfalls and longer droughts, which in turn may lead to natural calamities.



A comment from Nederland: "Global" concerns are causing neglect of important local problems

Recently, the IPCC, the climate panel of the United Nations, issued a new report. It focuses on the relation between the emission of greenhouse gases and the rise in globally averaged temperatures in the next one hundred years. A few degrees centigrade are forecast; in all likelihood this must be ascribed to the burning of fossil fuels. The sea level rise expected by the IPCC is on the order of four millimeters per year.

Though it would be easy to write an extensive commentary about these predictions, I feel no need to take issue with the IPCC on this point. Taking into account that the worldwide supplies of oil and gas are shrinking, and that Mr. Putin has threatened more than once to shut off the supply of natural gas to Europe, I agree it is necessary to pay more attention to energy-saving technology. Energy policy requires a high priority, both nationally and internationally.

But this does not mean that the climate debate is over now. I just mention a few points that bug me. Assuming that the IPCC numbers are reliable, I find the doomsday picture Al Gore is painting -- a six-meter sea level rise, fifteen times the IPCC number -- entirely without merit. The IPCC would have substantially lessened the acrimony in the climate debate if it had said so explicitly. It would have credited IPCC also if it had taken issue against the pressure exerted on professionals who doubt the majority view. It is unbecoming that American television weather forecasters who express doubts about global warming are likely to lose their jobs. The planned removal of State Climatologists George Taylor (Oregon), David Legates (Delaware), and Patrick Michaels (Virginia) also does not contribute to an atmosphere of unfettered professional discourse.

I protest the tendency to simplify the climate debate to a matter of fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, and a relatively minor global temperature increase. I protest the rude way geologists and astronomers are shoved aside. Whatever the IPCC staff thinks, it is not at all inconceivable that decreasing solar activity will lead to some cooling ten years from now. And if we look at the climate with a geologist's eye, we see all kinds of changes that have no discernible origin. In the long run we will enter a new ice age, but in the mean time we may encounter all kinds of ups and downs. The climate is always changing; that happened also when there were yet no people on this planet.

I protest vigorously the idea that the climate reacts like a home heating system to a changed setting of the thermostat: just turn the dial, and the desired temperature will soon be reached. We cannot run the climate as we wish. That is fortunate, because a bad season for farmers may be a boon for the tourist industry, deteriorating conditions for French farmers may mean improving conditions for their Polish colleagues, what is good for winter wheat may make things worse for corn, and so on. We are not dealing with a machine, but with Nature herself, and she is not easily mocked.

I want some fresh air in the climate debate, free of the acrimony surrounding the IPCC report. Fortunately there is plenty room for a breath of fresh air if we stop focusing on greenhouse gases to the exclusion of other matters. We obtain that freedom if we decide to think and act not only globally, but primarily locally. My colleague Roger Pielke Sr., professor emeritus of meteorology at Colorado State University and presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, has been investigating the effects of changing agricultural and forestry practices for many years. He doesn't stop at commiserating, as so many do, the climatic effects of tropical deforestation. He has demonstrated that increasing irrigation leads to enhanced summer precipitation, for example, in Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He also charted the effects of southward moving orange plantations on Florida's microclimate and found that the frost risks for the orange crops had moved southward as fast as the plantations themselves. Local climates can change this much by aggressive farming practices.

Another perspective opened by letting some fresh air in is to consider the concrete vulnerability of societies, in particular those in poor countries, to present climate. This is the vulnerability paradigm proposed by Pielke's son Roger Jr., who is a political scientist at the University of Colorado, and his colleague Daniel Sarewitz of Arizona State University. If the present climate problems of vulnerable regions are addressed forcefully, then 90% of the future problems there have become manageable. Don't bother to ponder whether or not climate change is responsible for Katrina's destructive impact, but state boldly that local, regional, and national authorities have ignored the warnings issued by the US Corps of Engineers for some twenty years. In my little lowlands country something similar has happened. Twenty years of warnings by the engineers in the Ministry of Public Works were thoughtlessly laid aside by the Dutch government. It finally woke up when the storm surge of February 1, 1953 claimed nearly two thousand lives. Then it was too late.

Let me summarize. In the climate, much more is at stake than the probable consequences of a slight temperature rise. The dwindling supplies of gas and oil and the direct effects of greenhouse gases get more than sufficient attention from the global community. But next to that there is a wide, only partially explored territory of local and regional vulnerabilities. Due to the incessant emphasis on the global aspects of the climate problem, this territory does not receive the attention it deserves. That is a shame.

Source. Translation above from the Dutch by Hendrik Tennekes

Is this the cleverest "climate" policy yet?

Plan to rescue the world's forests

AUSTRALIA will form a global fund to fight illegal logging and forest destruction worldwide with the aim of halving the rate of deforestation and achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions 10 times greater than under the Kyoto Protocol. Along the lines of the AP6 Asia-Pacific climate pact, the $200 million Australian initiative will operate outside the Kyoto climate change protocol and will be funded by other developed nations to help developing nations preserve forests.

Germany, Britain and the US are expected soon to contribute to the fund, which will have Indonesia as its prime target. The UN has identified Indonesia as having the world's highest rate of forest clearing. Yesterday, British economist and climate change expert Nicholas Stern said Indonesia ranked third in the world as a greenhouse gas emitter, after the US and China, because of the destruction of forests.

The new world fund - with a similar structure to the six-party Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate created early last year - will give John Howard momentum on the climate change issue as Labor paints him as negative and reluctant on global warming. Labor yesterday peppered the Prime Minister with questions on global warming and promised a $50 million program to subsidise solar panels on homes to cut power consumption and greenhouse emissions.

Mr Howard responded in parliament by pointing to a split between the state Labor governments and federal ALP over compulsory targets for solar and wind power. Mr Howard and Kevin Rudd yesterday both met Sir Nicholas, who said in his report on the effects of climate change last year that deforestation in developing countries was one of the greatest contributors to global warming. Sir Nicholas's report for the British Government predicted dire consequences unless immediate steps were taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Howard will announce the start of the global fund today as the Government attempts to take the political initiative on climate change. The forest fund, to be managed by the World Bank, is designed to help developing countries start sustainable forest industries, plant new forests, stop illegal destruction of rainforests, provide monitoring of forest production, education in forest management and help communities dependent on illegal rainforest timber find alternative jobs.

Deforestation accounts for 20per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and it is estimated that a tonne of CO2 can be sequestered - or taken out of the atmosphere - through tropical reforestation for just $US2, a fraction of the cost of other technologies. The World Bank has estimated the mismanagement of forests costs the global economy $US10billion a year and says 85 per cent of the world's forests are not managed in a sustainable way.

In its submission to the Prime Minister's taskforce on global warming and emissions trading, the National Association of Forest Industries says forests "can play a significant role in addressing climate change concerns through the benefits of carbon sequestration and managed native forests and plantations".

Mr Howard told parliament yesterday that Australia would work towards achieving its target in cutting greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol but said he would not adopt policies that cost jobs. "Whilst there are quite a lot of things in Stern's report and in his work that we agree with, we will take decisions in the national interest," Mr Howard said. "History is littered with examples of nations having overreacted to presumed threats to their great long-term disadvantage."

Mr Howard highlighted a split between the state Labor governments and federal ALP over the policy on renewable energy to combat climate change. In a submission to the Prime Minister's taskforce, the state governments have recommended that mandatory targets for generating power from solar, wind and other renewable sources be phased out when anemissions trading system is introduced. The states say a market-based system of encouraging greenhouse gas reduction through emissions trading is not compatible with mandatory targets. The federal ALP's policy "supports a mandatory renewable energy target which will promote the growth of renewable energy industries such as solar and wind power". "Labor will ensure a genuine and substantial increase in the percentage of Australia's energy generated from renewable sources," the policy says.

But the states have recommended mandatory renewable energy schemes be discontinued or not renewed. When asked about renewable energy targets in parliament, Mr Howard said that as he was being asked to expand mandatory targets the states wanted to phase them out. "This is at the heart of this debate - you cannot run power stations on renewables. Yet the Leader of the Opposition and those who sit behind him believe you can," he said.


Stern warnings on climate consensus: The thinking man's climate change extremist hits town

An editorial from "the Australian" below

BRITAIN'S climate change emissary, Nicholas Stern, has left something for everyone in his lightning visit to Australia to warn of the likely costs of not taking precautionary action on global warming. The federal Government was given a tick for considering nuclear energy as an answer to cutting carbon emissions. Labor was given encouragement for setting a target to reduce the emissions. The coal industry was assured it was a logical long-term player in the world energy business and that Australia was perfectly placed to research clean coal technology, which would make a profound impact if it proved viable.

Global warming activists, meanwhile, would be heartened by Sir Nicholas's view that Australia should sign the Kyoto climate change protocol and was morally obliged to act on cutting its carbon emissions, even though in real terms any cuts would have a negligible impact on the global situation.

Set against Al Gore's hyperbolic visions of doom, Sir Nicholas can appear to be almost a voice of reason. This is because, unlike Mr Gore, who may morph into a climate change- fuelled US presidential candidate at any moment, Sir Nicholas is a serious bureaucrat and former World Bank chief economist. This should not obscure the fact, however, that he was handpicked to undertake the review of climate change by British Prime Minister Tony Blair for political as much as altruistic reasons.

British politicians have seized on climate change with what appears an almost religious zeal. Both major parties are attempting to outbid each other with climate change responses that promise austere measures for British citizens including the possibility of rations and progressive taxes on air travel. While there have been criticisms of Sir Nicholas's research, including from this newspaper, he has succeed in engaging business in the debate. Where Mr Gore has adopted the rhetoric of zealotry and exaggeration, Sir Nicholas has employed the logic of an insurance actuary. He has persuaded business to accept it makes economic sense to address the issue of climate change now, because if the science proves true, the cost will be much higher the longer it is left. This precautionary principle is well understood by the business mind, which also sees the potential for profit in a carbon trading regime.

That said, Sir Nicholas has not been shy of indulging in a little headline-grabbing of his own, with warnings that the cost of responding to climate change will equal two world wars and a depression. However, he has not overdramatised the state of scientific confidence on the impact of global warming, or the human contribution to climate change, to the same extent as others, notably Mr Gore and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery. Nonetheless, Sir Nicholas's call for harsh carbon emission targets, with reductions of between 60and 90 per cent, are best viewed in the context of the continuing need to draw attention to the issue. A target will always only be a target, and success in meeting it will depend on the success of new technology and innovation.

In political terms, John Howard had little choice but to meet Sir Nicholas, but the Prime Minister has made it clear the Government's response would be guided by protecting jobs and safeguarding the economy. If the Opposition sees Sir Nicholas's visit as a welcome precursor to this weekend's climate change talkfest, it would be wise to take a leaf from the Stern book of diplomacy and ability to deal with business. Having succeeded in getting business to the table, Labor must now satisfying the diverse groups without wrecking its claim to economic credibility.

For a lesson in the art of clever climate change solutions and politics, it's hard to beat Mr Howard's plan to combat illegal global logging, which could deliver 10 times the carbon savings of Kyoto.


Just another end-is-nigh climate guy?

A comment from Canada

Here's the headline news from Tim Flannery, Australian of the Year: The climate is changing much faster than we thought even a short time ago. These changes will be vast and certainly catastrophic if we do not act. Thousands of species -- including our polar bear -- are headed for extinction. The collapse of the Gulf Stream could trigger a new nuclear arms race and usher in a nightmare era of global conflict. Left unchecked, climate change could well bring about the end of our civilization.

Whew. Pretty grim stuff. Yet Mr. Flannery swears he's no alarmist. "Just because the news is alarming doesn't mean the messenger is alarmist." His book The Weather Makers is riding high on the international bestseller lists, and he's a hot commodity on the speaking circuit. (He's addressing a think-tank conference for Canadian politicians today.) In Australia, where a severe drought has pushed climate change to the top of the agenda, he's at least as influential as Al Gore. The two have other things in common. Both simplify the science, cherry-pick the evidence and play down the uncertainties. They make it seem as if massive action is a no-brainer.

Too right, mate. We all want to do something. But what? How? What kinds of policies make sense? And what about the rest of the world? China, the fastest-growing carbon emitter on the planet, is building a new coal plant every week. Why should it sacrifice its prosperity to save our polar bears?

Mr. Flannery confesses that he gave short shrift to the dilemma of big developing countries. "The reason I don't talk about that is that it's a perfect formula for doing nothing." The flip side of this end-is-nigh pessimism is a remarkably cheery faith in new technologies and the prospect of global co-operation. "There is quite a significant shift even in China," he says optimistically. "They're talking a lot about renewable energy. The richest man in China makes solar panels." One day, he predicts, China could be the supplier of cheap solar panels to the world.

Maybe so. But Mr. Flannery prefers to gloss over the unpalatable economic tradeoffs that people and their governments are probably not prepared to make. For example, he thinks Australia ought to get out of the coal business. Like Mr. Gore (and unlike David Suzuki, who believes we must drastically cut our standard of living in order to avert Armageddon), Mr. Flannery basically promises climate gain without pain. He's also partial to massive social-engineering schemes. For example, he argues that the only equitable way to reduce emissions is to grant every human being an equal "right to pollute" with greenhouse gases. Under this system, developed countries would have to buy enough carbon credits from poor countries to cover their emissions. This would have the added (in his view) advantage of redistributing wealth from the greedy West to the impoverished rest. Does such a scheme have a chance? Not on this planet.

Mr. Flannery admits that emissions trading in Europe has been a flop (he blames the Italians for gaming the system, although they're not the only ones), and that the Kyoto targets are meaningless. He's for Kyoto anyway. "It's like a baby. It's useless when it's born. It needs nurturing, and then you can build it into anything you want it to be." He also points out that everything in his book is based on reputable scientific studies published in major journals, such as Nature.

What he doesn't say is that he tends to pick the most sensational studies and ignore the ones that contradict them. About the starving polar bears, he writes: "It looks as if the loss of nanuk may mark the beginning of the collapse of the entire Arctic ecosystem." Just one problem. The polar bear population is booming. And they've weathered climate changes far longer than humans have. Mr. Flannery was a bit defensive when I raised this. "You'll always find an expert to contradict any study."

Mr. Flannery is a very influential man. I hope his predictions of imminent catastrophe are wrong, because his ideas for tackling global warming are pretty lame. Do I have better ones? Nope. My point is, the real debates have only just begun.



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

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


29 March, 2007


Ice-core expert, Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski [] writes from Poland below in answer to the following question: "Given the capability of the biosphere to absorb a surplus of CO2 as small as the human contribution, why do most AGW skeptics go along with the assumption that humans are wholly responsible for the rise in atmospheric CO2 in the last 150 years?".

It seems that they did not spend enough time to peruse in-depth the glaciological papers on CO2, and the original papers on the carbon cycle. They rather glanced over the photos, figures, tables, and read mostly abstracts and conclusions, which tell that for the past >500,000 years almost always "atmospheric" CO2 levels were lower than 290 ppmv, even in periods when the surface temperature was higher than now.

The sceptics credulously accepted the glaciologists' claim that the proxy CO2 determinations in the ice cores, are not proxies but rather direct measurements of this gas in the original ancient atmospheric air, trapped in the allegedly closed system of ice, miraculously not changed by brutal drilling procedures, and tens of physical and chemical processes in the ice sheets and in the ice cores, to say nothing of the liquid water present in the cold Antarctic ice.

The peace of mind of sceptics was not disturbed even by a total disappearance of air inclusions in all deep ice cores. They did not notice this, or what?

The carbon cycle models were all founded on an assumption of low pre-industrial CO2 level of 290 ppmv, even before the glaciological support. A component of these models is the buffer factor, in which the assumption of a pre-industrial CO2 level of 290 is the most important parameter. Future historians of science will probably eagerly study this phenomenon of groupthink, common in evironmental research.

In the light of Prof. Beck's recent paper questioning the accuracy of ice-core data, it is interesting that Prof. Jaworowski's long-known skepticism about the same data does not appear to have been dented by recent attempts (in new drilling) to allow for his criticisms. The points he makes do appear to be powerful ones. That the pre-industrial "stability" seen in pre-industrial ice cores might be nothing more than a methodological artifact (akin to Mann's "hockeystick") seems a very strong possibility


The United Nations graph below is one of the longest time series relevant to global temperature trends that is based on actual direct measurements rather than on inferences from proxies.

You can see that there was a warming trend going on long before industrialization -- which did not hit Finland to any significant degree until the 20th century. So the warming is a natural phenomenon, not one caused by industrialization. See also the article immediately below this one for a comment on the generality of the phenomenon.



Syun-Ichi Akasofu's greatest successes in a career of studying the aurora came when he questioned the conventional ideas about the phenomenon. "I always become suspicious when many scientists agree on some interpretation," he said.

Now in retirement, the 76-year-old former director of both UAF's Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center is digging in on a new idea that runs contrary to popular beliefs-that today's global warming might be more due to the planet's natural recovery from its last cold period than from our pumping of greenhouse gases into the air. Akasofu recently gave a talk at the International Arctic Research Center in which he presented evidence for how the world has warmed in a steady fashion from well before the Industrial Revolution to the current day.

"If you look back far enough, we have a bunch of data that show that warming has gone on from the 1600s with an almost linear increase to the present," Akasofu said. He showed ice core data from the Russian Arctic that shows warming starting from the early 1700s, temperature records from England showing the same trend back to 1660, and ice breakup dates at Tallinn, Estonia, that show a general warming since the year 1500.

Akasofu said scientists who support the manmade greenhouse gas theory disregard information from centuries ago when exploring the issue of global warming. Satellite images of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean have only been available in the satellite era since the 1960s and 1970s. "Young researchers are interested in satellite data, which became available after 1975," he said. "All the papers since (the advent of satellites) show warming. That's what I call 'instant climatology.' I'm trying to tell young scientists, 'You can't study climatology unless you look at a much longer time period.'"

Melting glaciers, permafrost, and other signs of warming might be Earth's natural recovery from a period known as the Little Ice Age, Akasofu said. The Little Ice Age featured several centuries of very cold temperatures. The Thames River and New York Harbor often froze, and Vikings might have abandoned settlements at the time.

Akasofu said there is no data that "most" of the present warming is due to the manmade greenhouse effect, as the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote in February. He pointed out that the atmosphere cooled from 1940 to 1975 despite a rapid increase in carbon dioxide emissions during the same period. "Nature changes all the time," he said. "The natural component is there. Until you remove it, you don't know the manmade effect."

Akasofu said he could recall in the 1960s and 1970s when some scientists were talking about an approaching ice age. In the 1980s, global warming became a popular topic. "I think the initial motivation by the IPCC (established in 1988) was good; it was an attempt to promote this particular scientific field," he said. "But so many (scientists) jumped in, and the media is looking for a disaster story, and the whole thing got out of control."

Akasofu said his tendency to go against the flow has been with him since he was a child in Japan. He looked beyond the accepted theory at the time to discover such things as the auroral substorm, the idea that the aurora explodes with activity more than once each night. In his career, he's seen many unconventional ideas become accepted theories. "Although the Anchorage Daily News called me 'Alaska's best-known climate-change skeptic,' I believe I am a critic," he said. "That is the only way science can advance."


Green Fascism just around the corner in Britain

Something disturbing and ominous is happening in Great Britain as the country embarks on an all-out fight against the threat of global warming. Intent on making Britain the world's first "green" economy, the government will soon introduce legislation designed to take SUVs and other "gas guzzling" vehicles off the road. By sharply increasing driving levies, the authorities intend to force car owners into making "more sustainable travel choices, including greater use of public transport, walking and cycling."

At the same time, homeowners will be asked to make their homes "carbon neutral" and required to draw their energy primarily from low or zero carbon sources such as wave, tide, solar or nuclear power. To ensure compliance, the government will send out inspectors to scrutinize everything from how a home is insulated to the kind of appliances it uses. Those who fail to meet the decreed standards will be fined and penalized. Just how serious the government is about enforcement can be sensed from the words of Environment Secretary David Miliband who stated -- while unveiling the program -- that it would be "painful" for home owners to continue to have an "energy inefficient home."

These sentiments were echoed by a group of cabinet ministers who said that complying with the new regulations will necessitate sweeping changes in lifestyle across the board. Everybody in Britain, they concurred, will have to "live, work and travel differently."

It is essential that we see these developments for what they really are: A thinly-veiled attempt by devotees of the state to take over a western society the like of which has not been seen since the Soviet-sponsored revolutions of the late 1940s.

The practical consequence of these plans -- should they succeed -- will be a radical empowerment of the state which will end up with virtually unlimited powers to regulate nearly every facet of life. Everything from the way people travel to the manner in which they furnish and maintain their homes will now be subject to governmental decree and oversight. Those who refuse to comply will be punished -- and severely so -- if the words of Miliband are anything to go by.

This is precisely why the idea of man-made global warming so appeals to those on the political left. Being ideological cousins of erstwhile socialists, they share a desire to expand government regardless of the cause or issue they ostensibly espouse. In global warming they have sensed the perfect opportunity, for if the underlying claim is true and the planet is indeed headed for destruction, then the impending catastrophe can only be averted by united action on a grand scale. And such action can only be taken by a strong state which has been granted a wide range of powers to deal with this life-or-death crisis.

What makes the global warming scenario even more appealing is that the chief perpetrator is none other than the left's perennial villain -- the business establishment. After all, most of the pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere by unscrupulous businesses as a by-product of their relentless pursuit of ever greater profits. Close second on the list of culprits are us the people whose excessive consumption, runaway appetites and outright recklessness further exacerbate the already critical situation.

The way to safeguard our survival, then, is for government to exercise strict control over both business and the masses. This will be done through taxation and regulation, which, admittedly, will have to be severe at times. But no one should object or complain, since it is only to be expected that this extreme emergency calls for extreme measures. Thus the alleged threat of man-made global warming is used as a means of realizing the left's perennial dream of society administered by a powerful state.

Those on the left have sought to affect this state of affairs for many decades, but until now their efforts have met with vigorous resistance throughout much of the Western world. Not surprisingly, given that it is a world built on the ideals of economic and individual freedom and the principle of limited government.

But by invoking the specter of global warming, the left no longer has to fight tooth and nail for every tax increase or additional regulation. Alarmed by apocalyptic predictions, the frightened populations will now voluntarily and even eagerly turn over their money, freedoms and rights. Fearing for our lives, no tax will seem too excessive or regulatory burden too intrusive. After all, no decree or law can seem too extreme if our very survival is at stake. Believing we face an imminent doom, we shall readily submit to a governmentally mandated compact we would never agree to under normal circumstances.

This time there will be no resistance to this revolution as the state refashions almost all existing relations and usurps the rights and powers that properly belong to the private sphere. There will be no fierce street fighting such as accompanied the bloody revolutions of the past. This time around people will give up their freedoms willingly and even with gladness.

Even Karl Marx himself could not be wholly displeased with the state of affairs toward which the global warming alarmism is inexorably inclining: A vastly empowered state exercising tight oversight over virtually every dimension of life. The only departure from Marx's original vision is the means by which this will be achieved. It will not come about as a result of bitter class struggle, but of a crusade by environmental activists to save the planet.

The tremendous efficacy of the global warming frenzy in advancing the left's agenda can be seen in Britain where state zealots are in the process of taking over one of the world's oldest democracies. Above all, no one should make the mistake of assuming that this is the work of environmental extremists who have somehow managed to worm their way into positions of power and influence. Rather it is the inevitable consequence of accepting the claim of man-made global warming. As such, it is a dire warning of what lies in store for all those who receive this left-induced hysteria as unassailable truth.

When similar measures are finally proposed in America -- as they inevitably will be -- we must be prepared to expose and call them for what they really are: A ruse to bring about the socialist dream of an all-powerful state in charge of every aspect of our lives.



If you could divide Europe's nations and regions into "red" and "blue" states on the American model, very few would be colored "red" -- Poland, some other East European countries, rural regions across the continent, etc. Most nations would be cheerfully "blue." But all Europe would be ''green.'' Green is the universal sign of conspicuous virtue, of concern for planet, of a new paganism that worships the goddess Gaia and treats the Earth as itself a single living organism.

Anyone who questions this newly fashionable faith is regarded as a dangerous heretic to be cast into the outer darkness. A minister in the British government suggested to the BBC that it should not allow air time to any scientists who doubted ''global warming'' (a minority of scientists but a distinguished group). Other high priests of the creed have called for "Nuremberg trials" of "climate change deniers."

In this ovebearing moral atmosphere politicians are likely to salute any green flag that the environmentalists run up. And, sure enough, in 10 days there has been in succession:

1. A "summit" of European Union leaders that pledged to cut Europe's carbon emissions by 20 percent from their 1990 levels and, if other countries (especially America) follow their example, by 30 percent.

2. The publication in Britain of a Climate Change Bill, supported by all major parties, that would set legally binding targets to cut Britain's carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050.

3. A proposal by the supposedly free-market Conservative Party to "allow" every citizen one untaxed air flight a year but then to levy heavy taxes on additional flights in order to discourage air travel.

4. Leaks from Whitehall that Finance Minister Gordon Brown will double fuel taxes in Wednesday's budget as another green measure.

All this is likely to be applauded by the voters -- who are swept up in this green tornado quite as much as the media and politicians -- but will they applaud its effects, large and small, when they pinch? Take small effects first. Under the EU summit agreement, the familiar light bulb is to be outlawed in the next few years in favor of a more carbon-neutral one. Unfortunately, the new bulb is several times more expensive than the existing one and it sheds much less light. Those who can afford the (considerable) expense will use more bulbs to illuminate the same space. Poorer people will develop eye problems and push up health costs. Such are the unintended consequences of thoughtless legislation.

What of large matters? The idea underlying the EU proposals and the British climate change bill is that governments will both impose binding limits on the carbon emissions that industries emit and instruct them to use low-carbon fuels such as wind and solar power. In other words, the EU and Britain are embracing a new form of central planning based on energy-use quotas rather than output quotas. But central planning is a synonym for economic inefficiency and waste. These things happen when green daydreams encounter realities or what Al Gore calls inconvenient truths. Here are a few more of them:

* Almost all the European countries have already failed to meet much lower carbon emission targets under Kyoto than the new targets they adopted 10 days ago.

* When Brown increased fuel taxes six years ago in Britain, nationwide blockades by truck drivers almost brought down the government.

* The British economy accounts for only 2 percent of global carbon emissions. If it were to close down entirely, it would have little or no impact on the world's total carbon output -- and even less impact on the willingness of the Indian and Chinese governments to cut back on building power stations that they consider essential to their nation's prosperity but that are now the main drivers of increased carbon usage.

Britain and Europe's governments are committing themselves to systems of carbon rationing bound to run up against strong consumer and voter resistance within a few years for very little practical gain. Why? Europe's green establishment believes that global warming is caused by carbon usage and thus can be solved only by its massive reduction.

But global warming has several possible causes, some of which, such as the activity of the sun, are unrelated to humans.

While we are seeking to understand global warming scientifically, we should adapt to it -- shoring up coasts against erosion, changing the use of agricultural land to suit the changing climate, building dams, developing new technologies. Adaptation would include measures to encourage the use of cleaner fuels, notably nuclear energy. It would be a practical solution to the effects of warming, whatever science eventually established definitively as its cause.

To be sure, adaptation would be expensive. Not nearly so expensive, however, as trying to close down the free market in Europe and to reverse the Industrial Revolution in Asia. But Gaia is a jealous goddess and does not consider costs.



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

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


28 March, 2007

Deconstructing Al

Gore Hurts Global Warming Cause

I have long suspected that Al Gore hurt the very cause - anthropogenic global warming - he is famous for espousing. Now I have some evidence of that in a new Rasmussen Poll saying only 24% percent of Americans consider the former veep a global warming expert. Furthermore, "just 36% of Americans say that Gore knows what he is talking about when it comes to the environment and Global Warming. [caps theirs]"

Gore's problem may stem from the attitude inherent in his remark before a Congressional Committee quoted further down in the Rasmussen article: "Global Warming is 'not a partisan issue; it's a moral issue.'" Wrong, Al. It's neither. It's a scientific issue.. And, considering the Rasmussen Poll, most of us apparently know it.

When I first viewed Gore's Oscar-winning movie, it was that very thing that immediately occurred to me: why am I listening to a politician talk about this? Why not a scientist or scientists? You could cut the inauthenticity of the whole enterprise with a knife, starting with pseudo-self-deprecating joke about his near presidential victory to the recitation of facts that seemed to support his cause (but perhaps didn't, we later learned). The documentary form, of course, allows for these kinds of distortions. How many serious scientific arguments can you fit in an eighty minute film? How deep can you go? Not very far. So someone must select. And with selection comes unscientific bias.

So coming back to the "deconstruction of it all," I will give my visceral reaction to the documentary. After viewing the movie I was less troubled with the global warming issue and more troubled by Gore's narcissism - not exactly the result intended. In fact, the reverse. And evidently, from the poll results, I am not alone. (Something for the Oscar documentary committee to ponder.)

And to be clear, I am personally concerned about global warming. I want to learn more. Even though I am aware of reports that Mars and other planets are currently heating up as well as Earth, this is not by itself proof that the warming cycle here does not have a significant anthropogenic component. I simply don't know. (Neither, I would wager, does Al Gore, in his heart).

So, considering that I am predisposed to worry about such things as global warming, and that I would support some government actions if I were scientifically convinced of the problem, that I might buy a hybrid car, etc.... that I responded negatively to Gore and his film should be of interest, if only because, on this subject at least, I seem to be an average American.


Impact of green hypocrisy

FORGIVE me Al Gore, for I have sinned. My last confession was 20 minutes ago, when I admitted that my need to see the planet preserved for future generations was being superseded by the overwhelming urge to take a polystyrene bat to several of my candle-burning, compost-loving, carbon-eschewing contemporaries. The inconvenient truth is this: while many of those who get a green star for living cleanly are undoubtedly doing the Earth lots of favours, their particular brand of sanctimony is starting to get up my chemically-powdered nose.

The latest in a long line of those doing their bit for the world's quota of hot air is Colin Beavan, a 43-year-old non-fiction writer from New York, who describes himself as a "tree-hugging lunatic" and whose quest to save the planet, one square of toilet paper at a time, was detailed in a US newspaper last week. Beavan, his magazine journalist wife Michelle Conlin and their two-year-old daughter Isabella (who, it must be said, bears no responsibility for the science project-like nature of her surroundings) are turning their apartment into a "no-impact" environment, which, for the uninitiated, means plenty of compost, no carbon-fuelled transport and no mod-cons. Toothpaste has been substituted with baking soda and water, lifts are off limits and then there's the whole toilet paper issue - it, too, has been banned in favour of "bowls of water and lots of air drying" for the duration of the 12-month experiment, which the family is a third of the way through.

But those planning to offer asylum to Isabella - arguably the world's first environmental refugee - should first consider that her parents have been thoughtful enough to keep the maid on at their ritzy Manhattan apartment, and the family's clothes are still being cleaned by (water-guzzling) washing machine. Aside from the notoriety, there's another pay-off involved for Beavan - he's set to chronicle the experience of going green in a book, which, presumably, will be printed on some of the toilet paper saved over the next eight months or so.

Not that he's in for the money or anything. "I am just a liberal schlub who got sick of not putting my money where my mouth was. In a way, the whole project is a protest against my highly-principled, lowly-actioned former self," he says. Oh, well, that's all right then.

But for anyone worried about missing the gory details of using baking soda as a deodorant or travelling home from work on a scooter during a snowstorm, Beavan's website contains accounts of each, which can be accessed on the last of the great environmentally-friendly mediums: the computer. The irony of this last point wasn't lost on one reader, who wrote that, "Getting people to read a blog on their 50-watt LCD monitors and buy a bound volume of post-consumer paper ... sounds like non-impact man is leading to a lot of impact." Another reader more scathingly wrote: "You'd do the world a bigger favour if you gave up smugness for a year." The frustrating part about the Beavan family is that even those who sympathise with their cause are isolated by their holier-than-thou attitude and the project's implicit contradictions, which render its objectives largely obsolete.

The same applies to Earth Hour, an attempt to get Sydney residents to show a commitment to reducing global warning by turning off their lights for 60 minutes this Saturday. On the night, celebrity chef Neil Perry has pledged to fill his restaurant with "hundreds of tea-light candles", while singer Deni Hines will perform at a concert in the Opera House. TV newsreader Tracey Spicer has also weighed in with some solemn words of encouragement for those thinking about taking part.

They are admirable gestures. However, in the lead-up to the date, ads spruiking Earth Hour have been shown on electronic billboards across the city, which begs the question: Given the efforts to reduce environment-polluting emissions, are the signs being powered by air? Hardly.

All of which brings us back to you, Gore. In a Beavan-esque nod to the screaming hypocrisy of those who shout loudest in the climate change debate, I was very sorry to learn late last week that you wouldn't be taking the challenge thrown down by your very own documentary. The 95-minute film asks the question: "Are you ready to change the way you live?" I admit that I, for one, have been slow to respond. That said, I would be broke within a week if my household's energy consumption bill was anywhere near yours, which, at nearly 221,000kW/h last year, was 20 times greater than the average American family's.

Ever the politician, you refused to take the challenge to get that figure down to something approaching normal, which strongly suggests that you and the rest of your family had better join me in the climate change confessional. The movement has found a new hero. Now Gore, repeat after me, "Forgive me, Colin Beavan, for I have sinned. My last confession was ..."


Green pain coming to Britain

Homeowners who refuse to make their properties energy efficient will face financial penalties under drastic government plans to transform Britain into the world's first 'green' economy. Ministers yesterday promised deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions that they warned would mean everyone in the country having to 'live, work and travel differently'. They compared the scale of change that was necessary to reduce emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 to the industrial revolution of the 18th century.

The Government said that every new home should be 'carbon neutral' within ten years - and existing properties subject to a 'home energy audit' to assess how green they are. Householders would be given access to 'hassle-free' renovation services to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. They would be able to 'buy now, pay later' for green improvements as their fuel bills decreased. Zero carbon homes are insulated to reduce heating costs, use solar panels, windpower or other renewable energy sources, are made with environmentally friendly materials and use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances.

Critics said the plans raised the prospect of 'eco-snoopers' inspecting homes. Blair Gibbs, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "It's bad enough that politicians want to take so much of our money away in tax. For them also to intrude into our homes in order to have the ability to penalise us even further is simply unacceptable."

Unveiling the plans, Environment Secretary David Miliband said it would be "painful" to continue to have an "energy inefficient home". Those that did would face higher bills, he added. Transport will also undergo radical overhaul as Britain moves towards becoming a "low- carbon economy", the Government said. Vehicles will be made more fuel efficient, effectively forcing current gas-guzzling models off the road. The Government is to work with the EU on new laws setting a new average emissions target of 130g of carbon dioxide per kilometre - well below most of today's models - with further reductions to follow.

People are to be encouraged to make 'more sustainable' travel choices, including greater use of public transport, walking and cycling. The Government is also to invest in solar, wind and wave power. A draft Climate Change Bill published yesterday dismissed sceptics, insisting there was 'no longer any real debate' that climate change was happening and man-made emissions were the main cause. In a sign of the importance the Government attaches to the legislation, the Prime Minister, his expected successor Gordon Brown, and Mr Miliband, touted as a future Labour leader, unveiled the Bill together in Downing Street.

Mr Blair compared the fight against climate change to the battle against fascism. Labour's legislation sets an interim target of a 26 per cent to 32 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and 60 per cent by 2050. It will make Britain the first country in the world with legally binding targets. A panel will advise ministers on carbon targets every five years. If they miss the figure, future governments will face court action. The draft Bill will now be subject to consultation, but the Government hopes it will be law by Easter 2008. Mr Brown, who doubled air passenger duty last year, said he would not impose further 'green taxes' on aviation in next week's Budget.

But airlines suggested fares may have to rise anyway under the Government's plans. British Airways bosses told MPs ticket hikes could result from plans to include airlines in an EU emissions trading scheme - in which firms receive credits which allow them to emit specific amounts of greenhouse gases, but have to buy more if they exceed their limit.

Opposition politicians and green campaigners said the Government's proposals did not go far enough, insisting binding targets on emissions should be annual. Tory spokesman Peter Ainsworth said: "There is a danger that the fiveyear approach will enable responsibility for failure to be shunted on from one government to another."


Clean coal is all hot air

Comment by Australian economist Alex Robson

LAST month Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd announced Labor's National Clean Coal Initiative. Roughly speaking, the term clean coal refers to various technologies for removing carbon dioxide from coal when it is used to generate electricity, both before and after combustion occurs. The term encompasses carbon capture and storage technologies. Rudd's policy commits $500 million of taxpayer funds on the development of these technologies, with the proviso that each taxpayer dollar must be matched by two private sector dollars. Rudd also proclaimed that Labor would establish an emissions trading scheme, set renewable energy targets, develop plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, convene a summit on climate change and ratify the Kyoto protocol.

Apart from ratifying an obsolete international treaty and organising yet another Canberra talkfest, Labor's policy of subsidising corporations, making grandiose plans and setting impressive-sounding targets is eerily similar to existing Government policy.

The Howard Government happily boasts about Australia meeting its Kyoto targets and has already set up a taskforce to examine emissions trading schemes. Its Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund has committed taxpayer funds of $500 million for research, with the proviso that each taxpayer dollar must be matched by - you guessed it - two private sector dollars. Additional funding is planned for future years. This subsidy is simply a form of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare, with no discernible benefit to Australia in terms of the effect on climate change.

Neither Rudd, Howard nor any other Canberra politician seem to be willing to admit that none of these policies will have any impact on global temperatures. Indeed, even if Tasmanian Senator Bob Brown got his wish and shut down Australia's coal industry overnight, it would not make a whit of difference to climate change.

So much for Rudd providing sensible policy alternatives. The only real difference between the two spending initiatives is that Labor will revert to its unhealthy old ways and explicitly try to pick winners by directly focusing the subsidy on clean coal technology. In contrast, the current government subsidy is neutral with respect to the technology used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

These minor differences are simply political manoeuvring. Labor is attempting to appeal to green voters, appease the coal mining unions, and shore up votes in marginal coal-producing electorates. But in the rush to get on board the clean coal bandwagon, both parties seem to have ignored the Howard battlers - ordinary taxpayers with mortgages and electricity bills.

When it comes to clean coal, there is a gigantic elephant in the room. Although $500 million is a significant amount of money to spend on corporate welfare, it is a drop in the ocean compared with the higher costs of electricity generation that are involved in the use of clean coal technology, and the effects that these higher costs will have on consumer prices. The vast majority (77 per cent) of Australia's electricity is produced using black and brown coal. As Labor's policy announcement acknowledges, CSIRO scientists have estimated that carbon capture and storage technologies are not commercially viable (and will not be for many years), and would effectively double the cost of producing electricity. It is also estimated that electricity prices could rise by 40 per cent.

There is no way that individual electricity producers will voluntarily double their generating costs unless they plan on going out of business. Thus clean coal technology will not be adopted unless governments force producers to use it, taxpayers directly subsidise it or if an artificial price (effectively a tax) is placed on carbon emissions. Forcing electricity generators to adopt this cost-doubling technology is equivalent to imposing a 100 per cent tax on the consumption of coal, without the government collecting any revenue. Both parties seem to believe that such a policy will somehow put the coal industry on a sustainable footing and protect coal jobs. This is pure economic fantasy. Doubling the effective cost of coal will likely lead to a significant reduction in coal demand and significant job cuts in the coal industry.

Similarly, the idea that such large increases in consumer electricity prices will not lead to higher inflation and higher mortgage interest rates is completely divorced from economic reality. The only alternative is to shift the costs to the taxpayer by directly subsidising clean coal electricity generation. Inevitably Howard's battlers will end up footing the bill for a bipartisan clean coal policy that will have absolutely no effect on climate change. No wonder neither side wants to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

Dr Alex Robson teaches economics at the Australian National University



Post below lifted from CSM

For Warmie hysterics, there's nothing better than raising ocean levels. Tropical islands under water! Flooded coastal cities! Drowned polar bears! Good stuff for fundraising and political power -- but what if you knew that Al Gore's much-disputed 20-foot ocean increases were a mere drop in the oceanic bucket compared to what we've already been through? What if oceans had already risen 400 feet? Wouldn't Al and the Warmies just seem a bit hysterical over next to nothing?

Let's start where my paper trail started, with a FEMA report from 1991, before global warming was all the rage. The report was provided to me by my friend Neil, who is a bit of a data packrat. To my knowledge, it's not available on-line, but it worries over the insurance ramifications of a one-foot or a three-foot rise in sea level:

Based on these findings, the aspects of flood insurance rate-making that already account for the possibility of increasing risk, and the tendency of new construction to be built more than one foot above the base flood elevation, the NIFP [National Flood Insurance Program] would not be significantly impacted under a one-foot rise in sea level by the year 2100. For the high projection of a 3-foot rise, the incremental increase of the first foot would not be expected until the year 2050.

What was FEMA doing projecting a 3-foot rise in ocean levels in 1991? Neil had a simple answer:

There is global warming and there is Global Warming. The former started happening about 10,000 years ago. The latter started happening a few years ago and has reached a fevered pitch unaccompanied by a proportional increase in global temperature or sea level.

The real global warming started at the end of the last ice age and has long been recognized by the scientific community. Enough of the ocean water was trapped in continental glaciers to cause the sea level to be over 100 m (or about 400 feet) lower than now. Much of the present continental shelf was exposed dry land, and rivers cut through to reach the then-ocean shore. As global warming progressed and the ice melted, sea levels started to rise, drowning the rivers and forming some of what are now called submarine canyons. Some, but not all, of these canyons can be attributed to sea level rise. The deepest canyons, deeper than the lowest prehistoric sea level, appear to be cut by density or turbidity currents that are still occurring today. (Wikipedia)

So, sea level has been rising gradually for a long time, but the rise didn't reach Congressional radar screens until recently. That probably prompted FEMA's early work done in the pleasant interlude between initial realization and the latest shrieking.

The rise of the oceans has been occurring since long, long before SUVs and incandescent light bulbs -- it is a major, long-term force of nature that won't stop until a cooling cycle begins -- which could be soon since the Hysterics were predicting it in the 1970s.

Why should we sacrifice our quality of life, why should we short-change health and hunger fixes that are real in the name of costly global warming fixes that are specious, if this has been going on for centuries? Global warming clearly doesn't need us and isn't much impacted by us. It will march on until it stops, with or without us.

Let's let it march without us. We've got better things to do with our time, resources and emotions than fret over three feet or two, three or 20 feet of ocean level increases if the Earth has already poved its abilitity to raise the oceans 400 feet.


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

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


27 March, 2007

The Gospel according to St. Al.

Post lifted from Classically Liberal

I’ve been searching for Al Gore’s testimony before Congress on global warming. I wanted to see what he said and report on it. Along the way I went by the doom prophets of Grist, a rather Left the-end-of-the-world-is-coming environmental web site. The sort of people who worship the water Al Gore walks upon.

I found their report prior to his testimony where they were salivating in anticipation. Apparently this was something of a Greenies wet dream. They refer to his testimony, before he gave it, as “what may be the blockbuster hit of the political season”. Yawn! They say “there’s sure to be drama”. No doubt, fiction is often dramatic. Reality, however, often isn’t. Now remember this is the very publication that printed Gore’s statement that he exaggerates the facts in order to get people’s attention.

Of course they were upset that anyone disagreeing with St. Albert of Gore is allowed to counter the prophet at the same hearing. So they run down Prof. Lomborg and make a snide remark about how the subcommittee chairman “thinks Bjorn Lomborg is of commensurate intellectual and political status.”

Interesting. Why does “political status” matter at all? This is supposed to be a scientific debate. Or is it? By now you know that I contend that many of these warming hysterics (not all) are pushing these claims because of the perceived ability to impose socialism as part of the solution. They are control freaks. Regulations, taxes, controls, are their solutions to almost every problem they invent or exaggerate. In a previous era they would be in jackboots and brown shirts. Some are sincere. But many are not. By the way the same is true on the other side of the debate though the control freak label doesn’t apply as often.

As for being of “commensurate” intellectual status let’s explore that for a second. Commensurate means of equal status. The implication is that Gore has intellectual status and Prof. Lomborg does not. Odd since Lomborg is actually a university professor while Gore is a politician. Gore was born into a political family and has basically been a politician his entire life. He entered Congress in his late 20s.

His academic career, what there is of it, was that he went to university. Not taught just attended. He first studied English and then switched to his passion “government”. He took some theology courses, and it was actually there that he became an environmental catastrophist. He studied law but dropped out to run for office. That is his academic career. Unless I missed something he earned an undergraduate degree in government and nothing else.

Prof. Lomborg received an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia (even if he is Danish). He got a Master’s degree from the University of Aarhus and then received a Ph.d from the University of Copenhagen. He was an assistant professor in statistics at the University of Aarhus then became an associate professor there. He then became an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. And in 2002 he was appointed to run the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute. It’s true Lomborg’s intellectual status is NOT commensurate with Mr. Gore, it is vastly superior. Of course the faithful won’t see it that way.

Since I reported what Lomborg said, and urged you to read the entire thing, I will do the same for Gore. (Note: PDF document.)

Now, Al, is no hysteric preaching doom. Not at all. He started out saying we face “a planetary emergency--a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth.” “Global warming is real and human activity is the main cause. The consequences are mainly negative and headed toward catastrophic unless we act.”

Next he uses the old line about the Chinese word “crisis” meaning danger and opportunity. (Is that true or an urban legend? Anyone know? UPDATE: I checked. It is basically an urban legend. The literal meaning is “dangerous moment” which make sense. Poor Al didn’t even get that right.)

St. Al warns that “Hurricanes are getting stronger”. Actually they aren’t. (Also here.) “Sea levels are rising.” Well, yes and no. In some places they are rising and in others they are not (and here) and there is no change in the long term trends. “Mountain glaciers are receding around the world.” Technically yes, and they are also expanding around the world. Some expand, some contract and they are located all around the world. See here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

After telling Congress that disaster and catastrophe is around the corner Gore then says: “New evidence shows that it may be even worse than we thought.” Worse than catastrophe?

Next he talks about how various political bodies are taking “action”. And he says that since “the climate crisis is, by its nature, a global problem” then “ultimately the solution must be global as well.” He next compares this to the crisis of “global Fascism” which England “and then America and our allies rose to meet”.

He told Congress that “This is not ultimately about any scientific discussion” but like the fight against Fascism “is a moral moment” “about who we are as human beings and our capacity to transcend our limitations and rise to meet this challenge.”

He assured everyone that “if we solve” this crisis “in the right way, we will save money and boost productivity.” No details about “the right way” were given. Next, he presented an image of future grandchildren begging to know why we didn’t save the planet for them, and how if we do save it, i.e. give politicians more control, they will thank us.

Odd that he compares this to fighting Fascism while simultaneously requesting greater control of the economy. Fascism is an economic system where the means of productions are privately owned but regulated and controlled by the state in the name of the “collective good”. In one sentence he invokes the moral courage of standing up to “global Fascism” while in the next he is basically advocating another form of global Fascism.

There is hyperbole, rhetoric, emotional images, sentimentality, fear mongering, etc . What is missing is science. But as he said “this is not ultimately about any scientific discussion”. Gore didn’t present testimony, not in the sense of offering evidence, he preached a sermon. Fundamentalists love sermons so the Green fundies will be shouting “Amen, brother”. The only thing missing was an altar call and the choir singing “Just as I Am” as sinners come down the sawdust trail promising to never emit carbon again.

As I’ve said repeatedly, go ahead and read the testimony yourself. Compare what Gore had to say, how he said it, and the evidence he presented (or failed to present) to that of what Lomborg said and the evidence he presented. With Lomborg’s testimony I said I left out the copious footnotes that present his sources. With Gore I didn’t but then I didn’t need to. Gore didn’t have any.

Given the quality of testimony from St. Al and that of Prof. Lomborg one can understand why Gore has refused to talk to Lomborg and why he refused to do an interview if Lomborg was allowed to forumulate any of the questions. Religion just doesn’t hold up to rational scrutiny well. And what Gore presents is apocalyptic religion at it’s best.

Britain: Any shade of politics you like, so long as it's green

The dangers of the new consensus around the politics of global warming

Listening to this week's statements about global warming made it sound as if the political climate is the one experiencing rapid change. UK prime minister Tony Blair claims his government's new Climate Change Bill is `revolutionary' and compares the challenge of global warming to the struggle against the Nazis and the Soviet Union. Prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown declares that it will require a `new world order' to save the planet from man-made global warming. David Cameron, Conservative Party leader and favourite to win the next General Election, says he will `open up a second front in the green revolution' to combat climate change. Meanwhile, commentators talk of global warming as `the key battleground in British politics' and warn that the parties are `set for war over climate change'.

Blimey. Revolutions, political wars and new world orders? Rarely do we hear such passionate talk in the dull world of managerial politics today. So what revolutionary measures are the political leaders fighting for? Behind which banners are they fighting their civil war over the future of the planet? Err, Blair and Brown's New Labour wants to abolish incandescent lightbulbs and standby switches on television sets. And Cameron's Conservatives want to tax us more for flying. To the barricades!

This week's explosion of hot air over global warming marks a new record in the denigration of political language. Behind the overcooked talk about changing the world and saving the planet, the crusade against global warming represents the latest stage in the politics of low expectations and small-mindedness. And far from climate change being a battlefield for any big political `war', the issue is being used to confine debate to an even narrower, more conformist strip of ground.

We have been told many times by political leaders that ours is the era when `choice' is king. Now we can see what they meant. We can choose any shade of politics we like, just so long as it is green. This fits into the pattern of what they call `informed choice', whereby we are expected to make the choices that they inform us are the correct ones.

If we hope to live in a democratic society, any attempt to limit political debate or banish alternative views must be seriously put to question. And there are good reasons for questioning this new political consensus that are quite separate from any debate about the science of climate change. First because, despite the bold talk of all the party leaders, it represents the abdication of political leadership. And second because it reflects an underlying anti-humanist mood in public life.

What we normally call a political consensus is not formed by different parties spontaneously reaching the same conclusions. It comes about when one party imposes its principles on the political agenda, shifting the middle ground and forcing its opponents to accommodate to its programme. That was what the postwar Labour government achieved in the 1940s, and what Margaret Thatcher's Tory governments managed in the 1980s.

Today's consensus around the politics of global warming is different. Nobody could seriously suggest that the UK's invisible Green Party has redrawn the political map. Instead the major parties have all gravitated towards greenery on global warming because they lack any political principles of their own.

With their public standing at an all-time low, politicians are attracted to the issue of climate change because it allows them to scramble out of the mire and back on to the moral high ground. Rather than fending off endless allegations of sleaze or trying to explain why they cannot run a decent health service, Blair and Brown are set free to make portentous speeches about saving the planet. And instead of tackling the tricky issues of coming up with alternative policies on the economy or Iraq, Cameron can strike statesmanlike poses while hugging a glacier.

Blair's remarks this week hinted at how he has suddenly seized upon the global warming issue to provide an ersatz sense of mission for his faltering government. `People that have been in Downing Street over the years have faced issues to do with the Cold War, the Depression and the rise of fascism', the prime minister told a group of teenagers. `Climate change is a bit of a different type of challenge, but a challenge I believe is the biggest long-term threat facing our world.' By recasting climate change as a sort of Nazi or Soviet threat facing the current generation of leaders, Blair elevates himself on to a higher plane of history.

The rise and rise of the politics of global warming also reveals another big problem with leaders today. Lacking any of the political authority of their predecessors, they are continually looking for something else to lean on as a source of public legitimacy. Here they have sought to latch on to the science of climate change. They are dragging scientists on to the stage to try to justify their own petty authoritarian policies, in an echo of the way that the tobacco industry once used men in white coats to advertise its wares.

I am all for the elevation of science and respect for scientists. But this attempt to use science to lend some respect and authority to politicians who lack it represents something far less noble: the abdication of political leadership. Rather than forging and fighting for their own political vision of the future, party leaders are hiding behind scientists and claiming that the science proves that the time for debate is over.

Let us leave aside for now the vexed and complex question of the actual science of climate change. I am no climatologist, but then you surely do not need to be to see that the simplistic, conformist politics of global warming are about something else. Even if we were to accept that some of the far-reaching expert predictions about climate change were true, there would be no necessary straight line from those scientists' estimates to the sort of policies now being proposed by Brown or David Miliband or Cameron. Instead, they are using the language of science to express their own politics of low expectations and policing our behaviour.

When humanity has been faced with great challenges in history, the solution has been to go forward, to apply human ingenuity and endeavour to overcoming problems by advancing society. There is no record of tackling future problems by going backwards or restraining development. Yet that is what is effectively proposed through the politics of global warming.

It is about rationing, giving up the gains of the past, flying less and making do and mending more - a message captured in Brown's typically penny-pinching statement that in future people will have to `count the carbon as well as the pennies'. And as for the developing world, they can forget about getting anywhere near the semi-civilised standards of living achieved in the West. It is strikingly ironic in this context to hear the likes of Cameron talk about a `green revolution' - a term which, only a few years ago, described the use of new science and technology to revolutionise industrial food production in Africa, an advance that the new green (counter-)revolution of `sustainable agriculture' frowns upon.

The adoption of these attitudes across the political class represents something far more important than the cynical tax grab which some critics have claimed it all is. The crusade against manmade global warming is underpinned by a much broader loss of faith in our manmade society and its once-proud accomplishments, from industrialised farming to flying the world. You only had to listen to Cameron, supposedly the great white hope of UK politics, sounding off this week about how many species are threatened with extinction `because of mankind's relentless grab for the finite resources of our shared home' to realise how mainstream mankind-bashing has now become.

Forget the revolutionary rhetoric; these ideas are deeply conservative, backward, and reactionary. To challenge them is not a job for scientific inquiry, since that is not really what such prejudices are based upon, but for political argument. The pressing need is to recast notions of human agency, and develop a future-oriented vision based on a belief in our ability to tackle problems through economic and social advance.

For starters, here is one straightforward historical idea that might sound `revolutionary' today: the more control humanity is able to exercise over nature, and the larger the `footprint' we make on the planet, the better the future is likely to be.



"My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It's not a political issue. It's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it." -- Al Gore, accepting an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth"

Global warming has gone Hollywood, literally and figuratively. The script is plain. As Gore says, solutions are at hand. We can switch to renewable fuels and embrace energy-saving technologies, once the dark forces of doubt are defeated. It's smart and caring people against the stupid and selfish.

Sooner or later, Americans will discover that this Hollywood version of global warming (largely mirrored in the media) is mostly make-believe. Most of the many reports on global warming have a different plot. Despite variations, these studies reach similar conclusions. Regardless of how serious the threat, the available technologies promise at best a holding action against greenhouse gas emissions. Even massive gains in renewables (solar, wind, biomass) and more efficient vehicles and appliances would merely stabilize annual emissions near present levels by 2050. The reason: Economic growth, especially in poor countries, will sharply increase energy use and emissions.

The latest report came last week from 12 scientists, engineers and social scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The report, " The Future of Coal," was mostly ignored by the media. It makes some admittedly optimistic assumptions: "carbon capture and storage" technologies prove commercially feasible; governments around the world adopt a sizable charge (a.k.a. tax) on carbon fuel emissions. Still, annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 are roughly at today's levels. Without action, they'd be more than twice as high.

Coal, as the report notes, is essential. It provides about 40 percent of global electricity. It's cheap (about a third of the cost of oil) and abundant. It poses no security threats. Especially in poor countries, coal use is expanding dramatically. The United States has the equivalent of more than 500 coal-fired power plants with a capacity of 500 megawatts each. China is building two such plants a week. Coal use in poor countries is projected to double by 2030 and would be about twice that of rich countries (mainly the United States, Europe and Japan).

Unfortunately, coal also generates almost 40 percent of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2), a prime greenhouse gas. Unless we can replace coal or neutralize its CO2emissions, curbing greenhouse gases is probably impossible. Substitution seems unlikely, simply because coal use is so massive. Consider a separate study by Wood Mackenzie, a consulting firm. It simulated a fivefold increase in U.S. electricity from renewables by 2026. Despite that, more coal generating capacity would be needed to satisfy growth in demand.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a bright spot: Catch the CO2 and put it underground. On this, the MIT study is mildly optimistic. The technologies exist, it says. Similarly, geologic formations -- depleted oil fields, unusable coal seams -- provide adequate storage space, at least in the United States.

But two problems loom: First, capture and storage adds to power costs; and second, its practicality remains suspect until it's demonstrated on a large scale. No amount of political will can erase these problems. If we want poorer countries to adopt CCS, then the economics will have to be attractive. Right now, they're not. Capturing CO2and transporting it to storage spaces uses energy and requires costlier plants.

On the basis of present studies, the MIT report says that the most attractive plants with CCS would produce almost 20 percent less electricity than conventional plants and could cost almost 40 percent more. Pay more, get less -- that's not a compelling argument. Moreover, older plants can't easily be retrofitted. Some lack space for additions; for others costs would be prohibitive.

To find cheaper technologies, the MIT study proposes more government research and development. The study's proposal of a stiff charge on carbon fuel -- to be increased 4 percent annually -- is intended to promote energy efficiency and create a price umbrella to make CCS more economically viable. But there are no instant solutions, and a political dilemma dogs most possibilities. What's most popular and acceptable (say, more solar) may be the least consequential in its effects; and what's most consequential in its effects (a hefty energy tax) may be the least popular and acceptable.

The actual politics of global warming defies Hollywood's stereotypes. It's not saints vs. sinners. The lifestyles that produce greenhouse gases are deeply ingrained in modern economies and societies. Without major changes in technology, the consequences may be unalterable. Those who believe that addressing global warming is a moral imperative face an equivalent moral imperative to be candid about the costs, difficulties and uncertainties.


Ways to make ethanol more practical

The obstacles are mainly political. Can you say "Farm lobby"? Post below lifted from Fausta

In The Economist, an article about ethanol, Fuel for friendship
Firms around the world are trying to make biofuel out of everything from trees to cooking oil. To make ethanol from corn or wheat, as Americans and Europeans tend to do, distillers must first convert the starch in those crops into sugars. But Brazilian distillers dispense with this expensive step, as they use sugarcane as a feedstock. So Brazil can produce ethanol for 22 cents a litre, compared with 30 cents a litre for corn-based ethanol, according to Icone, a Brazilian think-tank. That makes it cheaper than petrol, and therefore lucrative for farmers without subsidies.
U.S. sugar is too expensive to convert to fuel, thanks to a complicated system of tariffs and quotas that keeps the U.S. price of sugar artificially high, and the US can't produce enough sugar to meet an increasing demand in ethanol. Those are two reasons why import it.

However, as I mentioned in yesterday's Blog Talk Radio with WC of The Gathering Storm, the ethanol produced in Brazil is subject to a 54-cents-a-gallon US tarriff.

Since Brazil's ethanol has too much water (and is quite similar to rum), the way to get around this tarriff is for Brazil to ship its ethanol to dehidration factories in one of two dozen Caribbean countries that are exempt from the tarriff, and then take it to the US by tanker where a gasline refiner makes it undrinkable and blends it with gasoline. The blended ethanol is then shipped to gas stations.

The lobbyists and the politicians are to blame for this tarrif:
The ethanol industry not only receives billions of dollars in subsidies each year, but governmental protection from international competitors as well.
But back to The Economist,
Brazil is not the only country in Latin America that sees great promise in ethanol. Colombia now has five distilleries amid the sugarcane fields of the Cauca Valley, which produce 360m litres a year. Two more are under construction elsewhere. These producers are guaranteed a market, since regulations oblige fuel merchants to mix ethanol into petrol. By 2009 the required blend will be 10% ethanol and will gradually rise to 25% thereafter. Costa Rica has a similar policy, and Panama is contemplating one.

Indeed, since sugarcane is grown throughout the region, most Latin American countries could benefit. A recent study from the Inter-American Development Bank argued that replacing 10% of Mexico's petrol consumption with locally refined ethanol would save $2 billion a year and create 400,000 jobs. Several Caribbean governments hope that the ethanol boom could help revive their ailing sugarcane farms.

The greatest lure would be access to the American market. Various Central American, Caribbean and Andean countries can already send ethanol to America tariff-free, thanks to concessionary trade agreements. Maple, an American energy investment group, plans to spend $120m on an ethanol plant in Peru to take advantage of such a waiver. A pipeline running out into the nearby Pacific Ocean will deliver the plant's output directly to tankers bound for America. Proponents of the project say it will create 3,200 jobs. If all goes well, exports could reach 120m litres a year by 2010, and perhaps as much as 400m in the more distant future.

The United States, for its part, has several reasons to encourage ethanol production in Latin America. For one thing, it will need seven times more of the stuff than it currently produces to meet Mr Bush's 35 billion-gallon target. There simply is not enough spare land in America to grow adequate feedstock for such an amount, unless scientists find a way to make ethanol cheaply from abundant materials such as wood or grass. Although Mr Bush's ultimate goal is energy independence, he would presumably prefer to be dependent on ethanol from friendly countries such as Brazil and Colombia than on oil from hostile places like Iran and Venezuela.

An ethanol boom in Latin America would also attract investment to rural areas and create lots of jobs. That might help to reduce the steady northward stream of illegal immigrants. It would certainly burnish America's image, and stem support for anti-American tub-thumpers such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. He has won friends throughout the region by selling oil cheaply. By sharing technology and promoting investment in ethanol, America would also be reducing Latin America's fuel bill. If it bought lots of ethanol from its neighbours, it would be providing them with a lucrative export of their own.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Brazilian counterpart signed an energy agreement making ethanol an internationally traded commodity.

This can be a first step that the US takes to unleash a new area of prosperity in Latin America. Let's create free markets, and create wealth by abolishing all farm subsidies and trade barriers with Latin American countries that are willing to provide property rights, democracy and the rule of law for their citizens.

President Bush went to Brazil and will also visit Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. Robert Mayer has more thoughts on the subject.


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

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


26 March, 2007


Cloud formation is a vital input to all climate models. According to the cloud assumptions you feed in the earth is predicted to get either warmer or cooler. And what has been fed in so far has now been shown to be garbage. The fact is that cloudiness has changed hardly at all -- just like average temperature. No story! We live in an era of unusual climate STABILITY!

Proponents of the catastrophic effects of global warming on the Earth's climate often point (somewhat contradictorily) to either heat-related clear-sky drought or evidence of increased heavy rains when discussing global warming. Both of these phenomena would undoubtedly be closely linked to variations in cloudiness around world-either marked increases or marked decreases. The rather obvious question one might ask, based on these statements, is simply: "Have we actually observed changes in cloudiness around the world?" If so, we might have a relatively clear indicator of climate change.

"Are there changes in cloudiness" would seem to be a rather simple question that can be answered in a straightforward manner. Not so fast, say the authors of a recent 2007 study published in the respected science journal Geophysical Research Letters. Amato Evan of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues critically examined the primary data source for cloud studies, the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project's (ISCCP) multi-decadal record of cloudiness.

They conceived this project in part as response to the many studies (some published in such prestigious journals as Science) that have indicated the ISCCP cloud record demonstrates a widespread increase in surface solar heating, an associated decrease in the planet's albedo, and that these trends linked to cloudiness may result from global warming.

Yet, Evan and his colleagues point out that one of the fundamental problems with ISCCP is that other records (specifically those involving surface observations and other satellite records) have simply not reflected these marked trends in total cloudiness seen in the ISCCP data. So in their article "Arguments against a physical long-term trend in global ISCCP cloud amounts," the Wisconsin researchers took a very critical look at exactly how these well-regarded and well-used ISCCP data are computed and the potential problems inherent in using such data.

Before we can discuss the problems, it is necessary to give some background on this major cloud database that everybody uses. The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project's (ISCCP) multi-decadal record of cloudiness uses reflectance information from a series of geostationary satellites to create three-hourly maps of cloudiness that are then compiled for use in other projects such as numerical climate modeling. For the polar regions (not easily visible from the equatorial geostationary satellites), the project incorporates the microwave emittance data (from which cloud information can be extracted) taken from polar orbiting satellites.

In their analysis of the ISCCP dataset, Evans and his colleagues meticulously examined all of the ISCCP data for extraneous influences. First, they removed any effects associated with the major climate phenomenon called El Nino/Southern Oscillation. Then they set out to determine which regions of the world contribute most to these upward/downward global trends that have been reported in global cloudiness. In their words, "the most striking features [linked to these trends]...are the circular patterns centered in the Atlantic, Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific Oceans."

Intriguingly, these circular patterns correspond to the exact orbital locations of the geostationary satellites or "footprints" as Evans and his colleagues called them. Further analysis indicated that the observed cloud patterns (and consequently the trends) are the result of biases introduced by the orbital angles of the satellites. Specifically, as the viewing angle of the satellites is increased (in essence, 'looking' away from regions directly below the platform) a so-called "limb darkening" effect is created.

What this means is that the satellite "sees" more clouds than actually exist for the more distant regions away from the satellite's point over the Earth. This fact coupled with the realization that the geostationary satellites are located over ocean regions explains why many researchers had long maintained that the ISCCP time series consistently better represented ocean areas than land areas.

That was a troubling finding-large portions of the earth simply aren't being measured correctly with regard to clouds. But was that all? Were there any other potential problems with the ISCCP data? The Wisconsin researchers re-emphasized their concern with the cloudiness data by determining if the changes in actual number of orbiting satellites over the length of record have had an impact on the overall trends in cloudiness. To do this, they first compared how precisely the changes in satellite geometries may be creating the 'trends' in the ISCCP data by creating a time series involving the satellite zenith angle. The satellite zenith angle is the angle between the local zenith and the line of sight to the satellite. They then examined that time series of angles in relation to specific cloud amount and found that major abrupt changes in cloud amount correlated with the introduction of new geostationary satellites or the repositioning of old satellites.

What was their basic "take-home" message? They found that if the spurious "limb darkening" effect is removed from the ISCCP dataset, "the ISCCP would exhibit no significant long term upward ... and downward ... trends in cloudiness."

And what does this mean for long-term climate studies? According the Wisconsin researchers, "Although the ISCCP data [are] very appropriate for many applications, clearly its use in global multi-decadal studies is troubling." Why is this the case? Why should we be concerned if trends in one of the most-used datasets on clouds are simply wrong?

Clouds are some of the most basic meteorological phenomena in our earth/atmosphere system. Yet for all of their basic nature, researchers for many years have acknowledged that we do not have an adequate conceptual modeling representation of clouds in the many climate models that attempt to simulate global warming. This study by Evan and colleagues dramatically points out that we even have major difficulties in observing cloud from space over many years. As Evan and his colleagues warn, if we continue to use such flawed datasets to examine questions involving global warming, we may expect to encounter the infamous GIGO rule: "Garbage In, Garbage Out." Fundamentally, it is very hard to reach good, viable conclusions about climate change when the basic input data are inherently bad.



Lots of Greenies -- including the "New Propagandist" -- are now AGAINST the IPCC because it showed a bit more scientific caution this year. The co-ordinating lead authors of Working Group 1 of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report protest that below:

The article and editorial about David Wasdell's review of the contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contain several wrong statements and false claims (10 March, p 10 and p 5). As coordinating lead authors (CLAs) of this report we wish to correct these.

Wasdell appears to be ill-informed about the processes involved in drafting this report. According to established IPCC procedure this report went through several formal and fully documented expert and government review processes, where many thousands of comments were responded to. It assessed the peer-reviewed literature published prior to July 2006.

At all stages, including at the final plenary in Paris, the authors had control over the text; all CLAs were present in Paris. Any draft versions of the chapters or the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) were just that, documents in which inconsistencies were rectified, gaps were closed, and complicated matters were explained more clearly and in more accessible terms.

The accusation that subtle changes watered down the report is plain wrong and indicates the ignorance of the details of the process leading up to the SPM draft and the proceedings during the Paris plenary. In particular, our co-chair Susan Solomon is robustly independent and has been determined to maintain the credibility of the science throughout the four-year process. A webcast by her to the US House of Representatives science committee illustrates this point. It can be seen here.

The entire SPM had wording which followed logically, or even verbatim, from the chapters and which was firmly rooted in the assessed scientific literature. The changes enumerated by Wasdell are largely minor corrections that eliminated items that did not stand up to scrutiny.

A case in point is the removal of statements about acceleration of sea level rise. Based on available data, sea level has risen as rapidly during some periods in the past 50 years as it is rising today, so an assessment of "acceleration" would be premature.

The wide participation of the scientific community, the scientific accuracy and the absence of any policy prescription in this report are the characteristics that render this report so powerful. This is precisely why it serves a unique role in informing policy-makers, as well as others such as industry and the broad public. Public understanding of the IPCC process is important. A legitimate criticism perhaps is the poor communication to the general public of IPCC procedures. For example, the drafting process was designed to identify incomplete or inaccurate scientific statements in the early drafts and keep them from entering the public domain.

Another related misconception, promulgated by Wasdell, is that the Summary for Policymakers was written by and for the government delegations, and changes were made to the scientific conclusions before and during the Paris plenary for political purposes. In fact, the Summary for Policymakers was written by the scientists who also wrote the underlying chapters. The purpose of the Paris plenary was to make clarifications in order to more succinctly and accessibly communicate the science to the policy-makers. The scientists were present in Paris to ensure scientific accuracy and consistency with the underlying report. Those of us also involved in previous assessments were pleasantly surprised that there were far fewer alterations made to the text at this final meeting, and that there were very few attempts at political interference. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is currently the most comprehensive assessment of the scientific literature on climate change, and effectively and accurately communicates to policymakers and the public the state of human knowledge on this topic.


Keep politics out of science – and vice versa

Comment from Britain

Since Channel 4 aired Martin Durkin’s film The Great Global Warming Swindle on 8 March, in which various scientists questioned the scientific consensus that manmade carbon emissions are causing global warming, there has been an increasingly shrill spat between mainstream climate change scientists and an ever-dwindling number of climate change sceptics. ‘We are right and you are wrong’, say the mainstream scientists. ‘No, we are right and you are wrong’, claim the sceptics. Both sides have wheeled out graphs and pie charts to demonstrate their rightness and their opponents’ wrongness, giving rise to a war of words and stats and scientific facts that has no doubt helped to bamboozle great numbers of the Great British public.

For me, the infuriating thing about this debate is that it overlooks the main problem with the mainstream science on global warming. No, not that it is wrong, or that it is ‘swindling’ people, but rather that it has become deeply, almost irrevocably politicised. As a layperson largely following this debate via my laptop, I can see that a scientific consensus has been reached which says there has been some global warming, and most scientists believe that man’s carbon emissions are contributing to that warming. There is still a clear need for debate, it seems, over whether manmade CO2 alone is the cause of warming, how much warmer the planet is likely to get, and what the consequences will be. The problem, however, is that this scientific consensus is being used by the powers-that-be to justify all sorts of inhumane, illiberal and repressive political measures, often with the support, or at least complicity, of the scientists.

Even when the science is ‘right’, it is never right to prostitute science for political ends. History shows us that the mixing of science and values, the use and abuse of science to direct the political and social life of a society, is never a good idea. It is bad for politics, and it is bad for science.

Spiked is all in favour of good and rigorous science. We have frequently challenged the petty and pernicious government restrictions on scientific endeavour, especially in relation to stem-cell research and animal experimentation. And we have ruthlessly challenged the panics around the genetic modification of crops and food, the bad science that informed the MMR-autism debacle of the past 10 years, and the lazy pseudo-medical science that says an ‘obesity epidemic’ means that the kids of today are unhealthier than earlier generations and will likely die before their parents (1). Some of those currently posing as defenders of scientific integrity in relation to global warming have not been so keen to defend science in these instances. Today, newspaper columnists such as George Monbiot at the Guardian and Geoffrey Lean at the Independent write long pieces attacking Durkin as a lone maverick undermining the scientific consensus. In the past, however, they bigged up lone mavericks who made scary and unsubstantiated claims about how GM foods might poison humans, increase the risk of miscarriage amongst women, and even cause cancer – all of which went against the sensible scientific consensus that GM is actually safe.

Spiked has also consistently called for scientists to be given the independence and the resources they need in order to experiment, discover, improve our understanding of the natural world. That is how science works best: as a kind of pool of fascinating findings and ideas that progressive societies can draw inspiration from, in the name of developing medicine, technology and exploration. Science can inform open political debate, for example in areas of health, but it should not determine it.

Something very different – and dangerous – is happening with the science of global warming. Public figures are using the language of climate change science to force through a new political consensus. The scientific consensus around CO2 emissions and global warming is now used to justify reining in development, narrowing people’s ambitions, and policing our behaviour in an ever-more petty fashion. Elites don the garb of ‘scientific fact’ as a cover for their own loss of nerve and ambition, and as an argument for holding back the potential for further progress and development. From the demand for small-scale ‘sustainable development’ in Africa to new taxes designed to determine what kind of cars we Westerners drive and how many holidays we may take a year, politicians, activists and commentators increasingly marshal the men in white coats to show that we have no choice but to narrow our horizons because the science demands it.

In truth, there is no straight or logical line from the scientific finding that manmade CO2 is contributing to warming and the demand that we slow down development and change the way we live. Rather, such small-minded policies are a product of today’s politics of low expectations, which is dressed up in the language of science. In the past, humanity faced up to great challenges, whether they were thrown up by nature or by man’s own actions, by seeking to forge ahead and advance society, by applying the greatest minds to come up with solutions to our problems. Today we are told that the only legitimate response to predictions of global warming is to drive less, build less, develop less and generally do less in the here and now. George Monbiot confesses that one of his aims is to ‘make people so depressed about the state of the world that they stay in bed all day, thereby reducing their consumption of fossil fuel’ (2). The science demands it, apparently.

Scandalously, over the past five to 10 years the science of climate change has been used as a political weapon, both to transform our behaviour and to silence those who dare to question today’s narrow political outlook. And some mainstream scientists, by allowing this to happen, have been far more complicit in the bastardisation of science than those small numbers of climate change sceptics with their allegedly dodgy graphs. While mainstream science writers attack Martin Durkin and the various talking heads in his film for muddying the science on global warming, they seem blind to the far graver undermining of scientific integrity represented by the relentless politicisation of climate change science.

Over the past two weeks, a handful of climate change scientists have instinctively kicked against the politicisation of their work. At a conference in Oxford, England last weekend, Professors Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier of the Royal Meteorological Society slated the ‘catastrophism’ of scientists who predict that climate change will cause floods, droughts, famines and other assorted horrors. ‘There is no evidence to show we’re all due for very short-term devastating impacts as a result of global warming’, said Professor Hardaker, warning that mixing ‘science with unscientific assumptions’ is a dangerous pastime (3).

Last week some very respectable scientists told the New York Times that some of the claims made by Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth were exaggerated and erroneous. (Funnily enough, these scientists were not given anywhere near the same amount of airtime as those who claim to have been duped into appearing in Durkin’s documentary.) ‘I don’t want to pick on Al Gore’, said Don J Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University. ‘But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.’ (4) In both Oxford and New York, serious scientists seem to be reacting against the use of science to tell a fearful and exaggerated tale about the fate awaiting humanity. In the words of Professor Hardaker, they seem uncomfortable with the mixing of ‘science’ (the data drawn up in labs and research units) and ‘unscientific assumptions’ (the notion that we are all doomed).

Also last week, in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Hans von Storch, one of Germany’s leading researchers on climate change, attacked scientists for ‘doom-mongering’ over global warming. Von Storch compared the moral message that is attached to today’s climate change science with earlier religious and mythical stories about the Earth punishing humanity for its hubris. ‘The fear of climatic catastrophes is an ancient one’, he said. In reference to the tendency to single out flying holidaymakers in particular as the new ‘sinners’, von Stroch argued: ‘In the past, people believed that the climate almost always changes for the worse, and only rarely for the better – God’s punishment for sinful behaviour. And nowadays, it’s those hedonistic wastrels who pollute the air so that they can look at some pretty fish in the South Seas. It would be better if we only ever rode bikes. Oh, there’s always someone wagging a finger in disapproval.’ (5)

None of these scientists can be denounced as ‘climate change deniers’, the scurrilous tag normally attached to anybody who questions the consensus on global warming – all of them accept that manmade carbon emissions are contributing to the warming of the planet. Nor can they be written off as oily mouthpieces for ExxonMobil or some other fat conglomerate – they work/did work at respectable universities and institutions. Rather they are voicing their discomfort with certain scientists’ willingness to see their work used to tell stories of catastrophe and to shape people’s behaviour and expectations.

The real scandal in the debate about the science of global warming is not the airing of sceptical or dissenting or plain wrong views, but the exploitation of those who claim to be ‘right’ in order to push forward some pretty poisonous political campaigning. The subordination of science to politics has a horrendous historical track record. In Russia in the 1930s and 40s, the Stalinists championed the ‘agricultural science’ of Trofim Denisovich Lysenko in order to clamp down on research and advances in genetics, which they viewed as ‘bourgeois science’. That had a dire impact on the forward development of agriculture in Russia for more than 30 years. (Interestingly, Lysenko was celebrated in the slavish Soviet press as a natural, earth-loving ‘barefoot scientist’, a little bit like the Observer’s trendy green columnist the ‘barefoot doctor’, perhaps.) The Nazis, of course, used the science of eugenics to justify their racism and anti-Semitism.

The Stalinists’ and Nazis’ science may have been junk, whereas the consensus around manmade global warming is more respectable. Yet the marshalling of the science of global warming to bolster political campaigns today has echoes of the Nazis’ use of science to back up their poisonous politics of race and the Stalinists’ use of science to stifle research on genetics. Whether your science is right or wrong, respectable or racist, its prostitution for political ends is bad news – both for politics and for science.

It is bad for politics because it rigidifies debate. Great important questions about people’s lives and futures are reduced to findings made by scientists and plotted on a line graph. Decisions are taken less on the basis of human interest and need, and more on the basis of what scientists predict is possible and desirable. So today we have the quite shocking situation where the Third World is discussed in terms of how much the River Nile might rise by over the next 100 years, as ruminated over by scientists and experts, rather than in terms of what living, breathing Africans need and expect from life today. The use of science for political ends dehumanises debate. The Nazis’ scurrilous science reduced humans to a hierarchy of beasts. Today’s exploitation of the science of global warming by political elites doesn’t do that, of course, but it does reduce humans to Problems, who are apparently both causing global warming and whose needs and desires cannot be met because to do so would further contribute to global warming.

The use of science in politics also serves to shut down genuine, open political debate. When one side can argue that its political programme is underpinned by Scientific Truth, then its opponents and critics can easily be written off as ‘deniers’ of the Truth, as ‘liars’ and ‘anti-science charlatans’. Question the agenda of ‘sustainable development’ in Africa, which consigns millions to grinding poverty, and you will be accused of ‘ignoring the facts on global warming’; ask whether it is right to restrict people’s ability to travel the world in aeroplanes, one of the great advances of the past hundred years, and you will be told to ‘look at the science!’ Political criticisms are written off as anti-science yelps. The exploitation of science by political elements gives rise to a politics that is narrow, fatalistic and censorious.

The use and abuse of climate change science is bad for science, too. When politicians look to science for their moral authority, believing that scientists can provide a gravitas to their political campaigning, it inevitably pollutes science. The aim of science becomes less to uncover scientific truths than to lend authority to political prejudices – and science inevitably becomes bent in the process. While some scientists, such as those in Oxford, New York and Germany cited above, seem keen to resist the pollution of science by ‘unscientific assumptions’, others have unfortunately gone along with the use of their work to back up political campaigning.

As Professor Hardaker in Oxford pointed out, even an august body such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science talks about global warming in hysterical, unscientific terms, predicting ‘intensification of droughts, heatwaves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms….’ (6) The politicisation of the science of climate change may have the long-term effect of skewing the science, as some scientists fall for the promise of global authority – stardom, no less – if their findings can be made to fit in with today’s narrow political priorities.

There has been a great deal of witch-hunting of Martin Durkin and the contributors to his film The Great Global Warming Swindle over the past two weeks. This witch hunt does not only point to a high level of intolerance in the global warming debate – it also suggests widespread ignorance about who and what is really undermining science today. It is not Durkin, a lone filmmaker with few friends in high places, who is damaging science, but rather those mainstream figures in politics and the media who are using science for cynical and narrow political campaigns.

There is something profoundly inhumane in the politics of global warming, in the widespread discussion of humans as problems to be worked around rather than beings with needs and desires. Anyone interested in real and meaningful dissent today – who believes that questions about the future of humanity are not reducible to graphs and pie charts – should aim their fire at the denigration of both science and politics by today’s Great Global Warming Consensus.



"Warming" makes poor people feel the cold

The number of households facing a choice between heating and eating has almost doubled in the past two years. Spiralling gas and electricity bills have left nearly 4m having to spend at least 10% of their disposable income on heating and lighting - the definition of 'fuel poverty'. This is an increase of more than 1.7m, according to an independent study.

The research was commissioned by the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes - a group of 700 industry bodies concerned with domestic energy efficiency. It shows that the Government is hopelessly failing to hit its own targets to stamp out fuel poverty. In 2001, the Government publicly stated that it would eradicate fuel poverty for all vulnerable and low-income households by 2010 and all other households by 2016. Given the increase in the problem over the last two years, it would seem that this is now an impossible task.

The research pointed out that electricity prices surged by 39% and gas prices by 61% between 2003 and 2006. The Government has cashed in on the increases, with a huge rise in the tax paid by North Sea gas companies and VAT on bills. Very little of this has been used to help families struggling with their bills, however. Some 650,000 local authority or housing association households - one in three of the total - struggled to meet rising energy bills in 2006, paying an average 814 pounds a year. These households are now three times more likely to be fuel poor than tenants in 2004, who spent 590 pounds a year on bills.

The report was commissioned by the Managed Homes subgroup of the EEPH which is chaired by Places for People - the UK's largest housing and regeneration group which is responsible for 60,000 homes across the country Project director Nicholas Doyle warned: 'For thousands of people, the prospect of a warm and comfortable home is now a luxury that they cannot afford. The stark reality is that many people from low-income backgrounds are now faced with the choice of deciding whether to heat their home or provide for their family. ...



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

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


25 March, 2007


Prof. Beck's paper "180 YEARS OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 GAS ANALYSIS BY CHEMICAL METHODS" has now been published in the journal Energy and Environment. A PDF copy of the full paper can be obtained from the author: Excerpt below. It shows that actual past measurements of atmospheric CO2 have undergone great variation in levels from time to time in the period surveyed. Levels were not "flat" before the 20th century, as is usually asserted. There is a discussion of the paper here. I mentioned this matter previously on March 9th. -- where there is also a link to an early version of the full paper.


More than 90,000 accurate chemical analyses of CO2 in air since 1812 are summarised. The historic chemical data reveal that changes in CO2 track changes in temperature, and therefore climate in contrast to the simple, monotonically increasing CO2 trend depicted in the post-1990 literature on climate-change.

Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm. Between 1857 and 1958, the Pettenkofer process was the standard analytical method for determining atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and usually achieved an accuracy better than 3%. These determinations were made by several scientists of Nobel Prize level distinction.

Following Callendar (1938), modern climatologists have generally ignored the historic determinations of CO2, despite the techniques being standard text book procedures in several different disciplines. Chemical methods were discredited as unreliable, choosing only few which fit the assumption of a climate CO2 connection.


The causes, development and future projection of climate change are summarized in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body that is responsible for advising governments. The four consecutive Assessment Reports of the IPCC - issued in 1992, 1995, 2001 and 2007 - follow closely the views of three influential scientists, Arrhenius, Callendar and Keeling on the importance of CO2 as a control on climate change.

Quote from Keeling (1978, p. 1 [1]). "The idea that CO2 from fossil fuel burning might accumulate in air and cause a warming of the lower atmosphere was speculated upon as early as the latter half of the nineteenth century (Arrhenius, 1903). At that time the use of fossil fuel was too slight to expect a rise in atmospheric CO2 to be detectable. The idea was again convincingly expressed by Callendar (1938, 1940) but still without solid evidence of a rise in CO2."

Following this line of argument, the IPCC's Third Assessment Report (IPCC, 2001, chapter 3.1 [2]) contained the further explanation which makes it entirely explicit that direct measurements can only be relied on post 1957 and prior direct measurements can be disregarded in favour of indirect measurements made of air trapped in ice: "The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen from close to 280 parts per million (ppm) in 1800, at first slowly and then progressively faster to a value of 367 ppm in 1999, echoing the increasing pace of global agricultural and industrial development. This is known from numerous, well-replicated measurements of the composition of air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice. Atmospheric CO2 concentration have been measured directly with high precision since 1957; these measurements agree with ice-core measurements, and show a continuation of the increasing trend up to the present."

In 1958 C.D. Keeling, University of California, San Diego, USA, introduced a new technique for the accurate measurement of atmospheric CO2. Keeling used cryogenic condensation of air samples followed by NDIR spectroscopic analysis against a reference gas, using manometric calibration. Subsequently, this technique was adopted as an analytical standard for CO2 determination throughout the world, including by the World Meteorological Association (WMO) [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13].

CO2 measuring stations are distributed across the globe. Most, however, are located in coastal or island areas in order to obtain air without contamination from vegetation, organisms and industrial activity, i.e. to establish the so-called background level of CO2. In considering such measurements, account should be taken of the established fact that land-derived air flowing seawards loses about 10 ppm of its carbon dioxide to dissolution in the oceans, and even more in colder waters (Henrys Law).


A major issue regarding the IPCC approach to linking climate and CO2 is the assumption that prior to the industrial revolution the level of atmospheric CO2 was in an equilibrium state of about 280 ppm, around which little or no variation occurred. This presumption of constancy and equilibrium is based upon a critical review of the older literature on atmospheric CO2 content by Callendar and Keeling. (See Table 1). Between 1800 and 1961, more than 380 technical papers that were published on air gas analysis contained data on atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Callendar [16, 20, 24] Keeling and the IPCC did not provide a thorough evaluation of these papers and the standard chemical methods that they deployed. Rather, they discredited these techniques and data, and rejected most as faulty or highly inaccurate [20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27]. Though they acknowledge the concept of an 'unpolluted background level' for CO2, these authors only examined about 10% of the available literature, asserting from that that only 1% of all previous data could be viewed as accurate (Muentz [28, 29, 30], Reiset [31], Buch [32]).


During my own review of the literature, I observed that the evaluation of Reiset's and Muentz's work by Callendar and Keeling was erroneous. This made me investigate carefully the criteria that were used by these and other authors to accept or to reject such historical data. The data accepted by Callendar and Keeling had to be sufficiently low to be consistent with the greenhouse hypothesis of climate change controlled by rising CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning. Callendar rejected nearly all data before 1870 because of "relatively crude instrumentation" and reported only twelve suitable data sets in 20th century as known to him [20] out of 99 made available by Stepanova 1952 [18].

The intent of these authors was to identify CO2 determinations that were made using pure unpolluted air, in order to assess the true background level of CO2. Callendar set out the criteria that he used to judge whether older determinations were "allowable" in his 1958 paper [20] which presents only data that fell within 10% of a longer yearly average estimated for the region, and also rejected all measurements, however accurate, that were "measurements intended for special purposes, such as biological, soil air, atmospheric pollution".

Next I cite the conclusion of the analysis of 19th centuries CO2 data by Keeling back in 1986 (From/Keeling 1986, pp. 101-103 [23]): "Our original goal was to find, if possible, a seasonal cycle in the nineteenth century atmospheric CO2 data in agreement with modern observations by applying the air mass criteria of Callendar (1940a) to screen out contaminated data. This goal we have demonstrated to be unachievable. We find, after screening out suspicious data on the basis of air mass, that none of the five data sets of Callendar show the seasonal cycle which Callendar found in combination. Brown and Escombe (1905b) investigated atmospheric carbon dioxide only as a sideline to botanical studies. They provide minimal information on methodology and weather conditions. A few of their data seem abnormally low. Their sampling was sporadic over a four year period at a site poorly chosen to study CO2, albeit convenient to their botanical laboratory. Their results are of interest mainly because they used an apparatus similar to Reiset's which had been carefully tested by an independent method." "In conclusion, the measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide carried out by Reiset (1882) from 1872 to 1880 on the coast of northern France appear to be valid. They indicate a mean annual concentration, with respect to dry air, of 292.4 ~ 1.2 ppm. Comparisons with other possibly valid contemporary data suggest that these data are not biased by more than 10 ppm. It is thus unlikely that the CO2 concentration was less than 282 ppm in the late nineteenth century, and was probably close to 292 ppm."

There was no verification or falsification of results and methods used by other authors, especially those published in the 20th century (e.g. Lundegardh [35, 36], Duerst [37], Kreutz[38], Misra [39], Scholander [40]), with exception of Buch 1935 [32], lying on the "fuel line" (Callendar 1958 [20]). According to Callendar, Keeling and the IPCC, CO2 variations to be observed in air were due diurnal, and seasonal cycles, or to glacial/ interglacial fluctuations. Natural concentrations are assumed to have been in equilibrium until mankind disturbed the natural situation. In this way, any long term observations that might display decadal to centennial natural variations in atmospheric CO2 are ruled out a priori by Callendar and Keeling. As I discuss further below, these criticisms by Callendar and Keeling, and the selective way in which they discarded previous data, are not able to be justified. Their most egregious error was perhaps the dismissal of all data which showed variations from their presupposed average. That said, it is of course the case that some of the older data has to be viewed as less reliable for technical, analytical reasons, as also indicated below.



During the late 20th century, the hypothesis that the ongoing rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is a result of fossil fuel burning became the dominant paradigm. To establish this paradigm, and increasingly since then, historical measurements indicating fluctuating CO2 levels between 300 and more than 400 ppmv have been neglected. A re-evaluation has been undertaken of the historical literature on atmospheric CO2 levels since the introduction of reliable chemical measuring techniques in the early to middle 19th century. More than 90,000 individual determinations of CO2 levels are reported between 1812 and 1961. The great majority of these determinations were made by skilled investigators using well established laboratory analytical techniques. Data from 138 sources and locations have been combined to produce a yearly average atmospheric CO2 curve for the northern hemisphere.

The historical data that I have considered to be reliable can, of course, be challenged on the grounds that they represent local measurements only, and are therefore not representative on a global scale. Strong evidence that this is not the case, and that the composite historical CO2 curve is globally meaningful, comes from the correspondence between the curve and other global phenomena, including both sunspot cycles and the moon phases, the latter presented here probably for the first time in the literature, and the average global temperature statistic. Furthermore, that the historical data are reliable in themselves is supported by the credible seasonal, monthly and daily variations that they display, the pattern of which corresponds with modern measurements.

It is indeed surprising that the quality and accuracy of these historic CO2 measurements has escaped the attention of other researchers. How to interpret the monthly variation of CO2 (see Fig. 5, 7, 9 and modern measurements e.g. Mauna Loa), which indicates a coincidence with the lunar phases, is another question to be dealt within a paper in preparation.

Modern greenhouse hypothesis is based on the work of G.S. Callendar and C.D. Keeling, following S. Arrhenius, as latterly popularized by the IPCC. Review of available literature raise the question if these authors have systematically discarded a large number of valid technical papers and older atmospheric CO2 determinations because they did not fit their hypothesis? Obviously they use only a few carefully selected values from the older literature, invariably choosing results that are consistent with the hypothesis of an induced rise of CO2 in air caused by the burning of fossil fuel. Evidence for lacking evaluation of methods results from the finding that as accurate selected results show systematic errors in the order of at least 20 ppm. Most authors and sources have summarised the historical CO2 determinations by chemical methods incorrectly and promulgated the unjustifiable view that historical methods of analysis were unreliable and produced poor quality results

The Limousine Global Warming Zealots

Post below lifted from Flopping Aces

Now this is called a smackdown:

Goldman Sachs has been one of the most aggressive firms on Wall Street about taking action on climate change; the company sends its bankers home at night in hybrid limousines.

--The New York Times, Feb. 25

Written without a hint of irony--if only your neighborhood dry cleaner sent his employees home by hybrid limousine--this front-page dispatch captured perfectly the eco-pretensions of the rich and the stupefying gullibility with which they are received.

Remember the Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore global-warming pitch at the Academy Awards? Before they spoke, the screen at the back of the stage flashed not-so-subliminal messages about how to save the planet. My personal favorite was "Ride mass transit." This to a conclave of Hollywood plutocrats who have not seen the inside of a subway since the moon landing and for whom mass transit means a stretch limo seating no fewer than 10.

Leo and Al then portentously announced that for the first time ever, the Academy Awards ceremony had gone green. What did that mean? Solar panels in the designer gowns? It turns out that the Academy neutralized the evening's "carbon footprint" by buying carbon credits. That means it sent money to a "carbon broker," who promised, after taking his cut, to reduce carbon emissions somewhere on the planet equivalent to what the stars spewed into the atmosphere while flying in on their private planes.

In other words, the rich reduce their carbon output by not one ounce. But drawing on the hundreds of millions of net worth in the Kodak Theatre, they pull out lunch money to buy ecological indulgences. The last time the selling of pardons was prevalent--in a predecessor religion to environmentalism called Christianity--Martin Luther lost his temper and launched the Reformation.

Charles Krauthammer, the author of this smackdown, goes on to detail the results of these carbon offsets to third world countries....and it's not pretty.  I'm continually amazed that people buy into scams such as these but it appears people will fall for anything if it makes them feel good.  Why should I take a bus when I can just take my limo and spend a few extra bucks for someone else to ride the bus.

Hell, Charles left out an important point.  The fact that the Goracle is the Chairman of the company he pays for the he buys them from himself.

What a scam....what utter hypocrisy.

Gore and his minions run around telling the world that the "debate is over", there is a scientific consensus.  But they also fail to point out that the "scientific consensus" is not really a consensus at all.  The consensus he talks about is the meta study by Naomi Oreskes (a professor of history...cough) which has been thoroughly and utterly debunked:

Oreskes claims to have analysed 928 abstracts she found listed on the ISI database using the keywords "climate change". However, a search on the ISI database using the keywords "climate change" for the years 1993 - 2003 reveals that almost 12,000 papers were published during the decade in question. What happened to the countless research papers that show that global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today; that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change, and that climate modeling is highly uncertain?

These objections were put to Oreskes by science writer David Appell. On 15 December 2004, she admitted that there was indeed a serious mistake in her Science essay. According to Oreskes, her study was not based on the keywords "climate change," but on "global climate change"
According to an essay by Naomi Oreskes, published by Science in December, 2004, there is unanimous "scientific consensus" on the anthropogenic causes of recent global warming. Oreskes, a professor of history, claims to have analyzed 928 abstracts on global climate change, of which 75% either explicitly or implicitly accept the view that most of the recent warming trend is man-made. When I checked the same set of abstracts [plus an additional two hundred found in the same ISI data bank], I discovered that just over a dozen explicitly endorse the "consensus," while the vast majority of abstracts does not mention anthropogenic global warming. Oreskes even claims that this universal agreement had not been questioned once in any of the papers since 1993 and concludes: "This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect."

What happened to the countless research papers that show global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period, when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today; that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change, and that climate modeling is highly uncertain? An unbiased analysis of the peer-reviewed literature on global warming will find hundreds of papers (many of them written by the world's leading experts in the field) that have raised serious reservations and outright rejection of the concept of a  "scientific consensus on climate change." The truth is, there is no such thing.
And the last debunking of this study can be found here in which the debunker, Dr. Benny Peiser, puts up all the papers he found:

I have posted all documents and abstracts listed in the ISI database under the key words “global climate change” (for the period 1993 – 2003) below, arranged by year. Check for yourself!
None of this stuff finds it's way into our MSM, into Hollywood, instead it is ignored.  Because you all know what happens when you debunk a get some mighty pissed off people.

Then you have to check out this news, good for a laugh:
The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they care. Unfortunately for them, their ultimate ‘green car’ is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America; it takes more combined energy per Prius to produce than a Hummer.


Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?

Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet.

When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer - the Prius’s arch nemesis.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

I will end this post with an editorial written by the director of the Global Warming Swindle in which he laughs at those who feebly try to attack his film.  It's a must read.

If you want a DVD of this film I have converted it into DVD format and will send one out to you, free of charge.  If your so inclined you can donate a few coins via the paypal donate button on the me with your snail mail address and I will get it out asap. 


In a formal invitation sent to former Vice-President Al Gore's Tennessee address and released to the public, Lord Monckton has thrown down the gauntlet to challenge Gore to what he terms "the Second Great Debate," an internationally televised, head-to-head, nation-unto-nation confrontation on the question, "That our effect on climate is not dangerous."
Alas, we know Gore will never agree to this.  He would be demolished.

And the latest fad in global warming?  Global Warming Porn.


GLOBAL-WARMING sceptics, says Al Gore, are looking at a burning cradle and speculating that perhaps the baby is flame-resistant. Testifying before Congress on March 21st, the former vice-president was as cautious and understated as any other movie star. Mankind faces "a planetary emergency", he said; "a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilisation and the habitability of the Earth."

He proposed a series of measures that might ward off the environmental apocalypse. First, freeze America's level of carbon dioxide emissions immediately, and then reduce it by 90% by 2050. Second, tear up the tax code. Without altering the total tax burden, Mr Gore thinks America should replace taxes on employment and production with taxes on pollution, particularly carbon dioxide. Third, use public money to help the poor make the transition to a low-carbon lifestyle. Fourth, forge a strong global treaty to cut emissions and put it into effect by 2010, two years earlier than currently envisaged. Fifth, stop building new coal-fired power plants, unless they can capture and sequester the carbon they emit.

With the Democrats in control of Congress, environmentalists are more optimistic than they were last year that it might enact curbs on greenhouse gases. About a dozen bills are currently being considered. But nothing as radical as Mr Gore's proposals is likely to pass. Few in Congress deny that the earth is getting warmer or that man is at least partly to blame. But few can agree what to do about it, either.

One obstacle is cost. Though Mr Gore denies it, freezing CO2 emissions straight away would be ferociously expensive. That worries both parties. One Republican congressman fretted that Mr Gore's plan would mean no new industry, no new cars and no new people in America. John Dingell, a Democrat from the Detroit suburbs, lamented the rows of empty houses he sees in the city since the American car industry fell on hard times.

Another obstacle is inertia. If Congress were creating a tax code from scratch, it might well discourage pollution rather than work, as Mr Gore demands. But since it is not starting from scratch, such a big change will hurt a lot of people now in pursuit of benefits a generation hence.

A third obstacle is that many in Congress are reluctant to make big sacrifices if China and India do not also sign up to them, which neither wants to. Mr Gore says it is up to America to show leadership. The Democrats have two options. They can push now for the toughest carbon-curbing law that will survive a filibuster in the Senate and a possible veto by President George Bush. Or they can wait two years and hope to pass something tougher in 2009, with someone greener in the White House.

Mr Gore says there is no time to waste, but Congress may waste it anyway. Meanwhile, Mr Gore appears to be enjoying the limelight. He says he will not seek the presidency again, but many Democrats wish he would. Since he quit politics for advocacy, he has sounded more passionate and less calculating than Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. But still, only 7% of Americans think the environment or global warming should be the government's priority.


Crocodiles before people?

Crocodiles swarming across northern Australia are heading for a victory - people are to be fined for getting in their way. Abundant food supplies and a ban on hunting have led to an explosion in crocodile numbers, forcing frequent beach closures in the far northern city of Cairns. This week residents in Townsville, further south, were alarmed when crocodiles were sighted swimming alongside the main thoroughfare of the city. Now the state of Queensland's new saltwater crocodile conservation plan proposes to fine swimmers caught in designated crocodile waters up to A$7,500.

The proposal is intended to give the crocodiles more space and limit their contact with humans. But capitulation to the crocodiles in the land that spawned the Crocodile Dundee films has not been welcomed by residents. Bob Katter, an Independent MP in the national Parliament, ridiculed the plan. "It is a classic example of lateral thinking," he said. "Instead of removing the crocs, they are going to remove the human beings."

Commercial hunting of crocodiles was banned 32 years ago and many now believe that the ban has led to an explosion in crocodile numbers, combined with the ready availability of crocodile foods.

Mr Katter said yesterday: "Action needs to be taken to cull them and push them out of settled areas. Shoot the bastards. The people who tell us we can't shoot them would die of fright if they saw one."

Lindy Nelson-Carr, the Queensland environment minister, denied that the population of crocodiles had spiralled out of control and said that the state's protection plan was a balanced approach to managing them. "It is more likely that more people are visiting or moving into croc habitat, and so more people are noticing crocs," she said, when publishing a conservation plan that would provide for fines for people found in crocodile habitat. Ms Nelson-Carr claimed that only about 30,000 saltwater crocodiles remained in the Queensland wilderness. Her figures were disputed by crocodile experts, who said that the numbers could be between 65,000 and 70,000.

Cathy Groundwater, who lives just south of Cairns, said yesterday that crocodiles had slowly colonised freshwater swimming holes that had been used for years by residents and tourists. "I think crocodiles should be culled because they are not endangered," she said. "I learnt to swim in this river, my kids learnt to swim here. It would be nice for my grandson to be able to, as well."


Kiss that light bulb goodbye -- And hello more mercury!

And don't Greenies just LOVE mercury!

How many socialists does it take to change your light bulb? Millions. All over the world - and right here in the U.S. - there is a movement afoot to ban the incandescent light bulb. It's one of the not-so-bright ideas put forward by Al Gore and his Oscar-winning pseudo-documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." If only people would replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs, we're told, we could cut down on energy use and "global warming." Since socialists know that you are not smart enough to make good choices yourself, they have prepared to make them for you....

The tiny minority of people pushing this down our throats explain that if everyone using incandescent light bulbs switched over to fluorescent, less energy would be required to produce the same light. My strong preference for incandescent light is, thus, irrelevant. We now live in a world where elites decide what is best for us. There will be no informed debate tolerated on this subject any more than Al Gore would debate global warming with Vaclev Klaus.

And mark my words, 10 years from now - or even less - the same people demanding a switch to fluorescent bulbs will be hysterical about the environmental nightmare they created with their own plan. What do I mean? Well, there is at least one big problem with fluorescent light bulbs - maybe more. They contain the deadly pollutant mercury. You can't just throw them in your garbage can when they burn out or they will break and contaminate land and water. Instead, you'll find out after this switch is mandated that you have to take the dead bulbs to hazardous-waste sites. Either that, or expensive new recycling programs will have to be instituted. In all likelihood, they will involve gasoline-burning trucks rumbling through your neighborhood and highly trained hazardous-materials teams.

In no time, it will be a criminal offense for you to throw away light bulbs in your garbage can - something you routinely do safely with those obsolete incandescents. Yet that may not be the only problem with fluorescent lights. Studies have linked them with depression, suicide rates, skin cancer, anxiety, sleep disorders, attention-deficit disorders, electro-magnetic pollution, headaches, eye strain and DNA damage from radiation. Now, I don't know if those studies are all accurate. I don't know if any of them are true. But I don't think Al Gore does either.



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

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


23 March, 2007

Al Gore Challenged to International TV Debate on Global Warming

Gore won't accept. Monckton really knows science and Gore knows that Monckton would make mincemeat out of him

In a formal invitation sent to former Vice-President Al Gore's Tennessee address and released to the public, Lord Monckton has thrown down the gauntlet to challenge Gore to what he terms "the Second Great Debate," an internationally televised, head-to-head, nation-unto-nation confrontation on the question, "That our effect on climate is not dangerous." See here.

Monckton, a former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher during her years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said, "A careful study of the substantial corpus of peer-reviewed science reveals that Mr. Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, is a foofaraw of pseudo-science, exaggerations, and errors, now being peddled to innocent schoolchildren worldwide." Monckton and Gore have once before clashed head to head on the science, politics, and religion of global warming in the usually-decorous pages of the London Sunday Telegraph last November.

Monckton calls on the former Vice President to "step up to the plate and defend his advocacy of policies that could do grave harm to the welfare of the world's poor. If Mr. Gore really believes global warming is the defining issue of our time, the greatest threat human civilization has ever faced, then he should welcome the opportunity to raise the profile of the issue before a worldwide audience of billions by defining and defending his claims against a serious, science-based challenge."

The arena of the glittering "Second Great Debate" will be the elegant, Victorian-Gothic Library of the Oxford Museum of Natural History, which was the setting for the "Great Debate" between the natural scientist T. H. Huxley and Bishop "Soapy Sam" Wilberforce on the theory of evolution, following the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species. Lord Monckton says he chose this historic venue "not only because the magnificent, Gothic architecture will be a visually-stunning setting for the debate but also because I hope that in this lofty atmosphere the caution and scepticism of true science will once again prevail, this time over the shibboleths and nostrums of the false, new religion of climate alarmism."

Lord Monckton's resounding challenge to Al Gore reads as follows -- "The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley presents his compliments to Vice- President Albert Gore and by these presents challenges the said former Vice-President to a head-to-head, internationally-televised debate upon the question, 'That our effect on climate is not dangerous,' to be held in the Library of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History at a date of the Vice-President's choosing. "Forasmuch as it is His Lordship who now flings down the gauntlet to the Vice-President, it shall be the Vice-President's prerogative and right to choose his weapons by specifying the form of the Great Debate. May the Truth win! Magna est veritas, et praevalet. God Bless America! God Save the Queen!"



UK's climate change agenda 'is a turn-off' Britain's mainstream political agenda on climate change risks intruding into people's lives, threatens individual freedom and could turn voters off the fight against global warming, [the European Commission President] Mr Barroso warns.

As the architect of EU proposals on fighting climate change and measures to set tough binding limits and reductions for CO2 emissions, the Commission President's intervention is a particular setback for ideas given high-profile personal backing by the Environment Secretary, David Miliband, and the Conservative leader, David Cameron.

Mr Barroso hails cheap air travel as "a great thing for our civilisation" and expresses grave concerns over fashionable plans, floated by Mr Miliband, for personal carbon rationing. He suspects that the proposals to restrict CO2 emissions from an individual's activities will lead to intrusive surveillance into private lives. "I do not see any need to establish these intrusive approaches that may reduce the freedom of our societies," he says. "We have to find the right balance and I believe the right balance is not found if we start giving these kind of personal good or bad behaviour certificates to people."

Mr Barroso's views on tackling global warming also clash with Mr Cameron's plans to introduce green taxes and individual allowances on air travel should the Tories win the next election. "Cheap air travel is great for our civilisation. When we think now that people have the freedom to circulate instead of being confined to a small territory, it is great progress," he says.

He is convinced that targeting individuals with such measures will fracture the current popular consensus on climate change. "We should set binding standards and targets by law but to come to specific individual targets is counter-productive. It can turn people against the cause. Let's do it, collectively with a good spirit but without being intrusive in people's lives."

Recent polls have found that two thirds of Britons fear politicians will use climate change as the excuse to raise taxes and 60 per cent oppose higher levies on cheap flights.

Source. For the Telegraph's Barroso interview, see here

JPL Scientists Find Sun-Climate Connection in Nile Pyramids

The Greenie monomania about carbon dioxide completely ignores the fact that the big ball up in the sky changes too -- something we have known ever since Galileo first observed sunspots through his telescope

Long-term climate records are a key to understanding how Earth's climate changed in the past and how it may change in the future. Direct measurements of light energy emitted by the sun, taken by satellites and other modern scientific techniques, suggest variations in the sun's activity influence Earth's long-term climate. However, there were no measured climate records of this type until the relatively recent scientific past.

Scientists have traditionally relied upon indirect data gathering methods to study climate in the Earth's past, such as drilling ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica. Such samples of accumulated snow and ice drilled from deep within ice sheets or glaciers contain trapped air bubbles whose composition can provide a picture of past climate conditions. Now, however, a group of NASA and university scientists has found a convincing link between long-term solar and climate variability in a unique and unexpected source: directly measured ancient water level records of the Nile, Earth's longest river.

Alexander Ruzmaikin and Joan Feynman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., together with Dr. Yuk Yung of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., have analyzed Egyptian records of annual Nile water levels collected between 622 and 1470 A.D. at Rawdah Island in Cairo. These records were then compared to another well-documented human record from the same time period: observations of the number of auroras reported per decade in the Northern Hemisphere. Auroras are bright glows in the night sky that happen when mass is rapidly ejected from the sun's corona, or following solar flares. They are an excellent means of tracking variations in the sun's activity.

Feynman said that while ancient Nile and auroral records are generally "spotty," that was not the case for the particular 850-year period they studied.

"Since the time of the pharaohs, the water levels of the Nile were accurately measured, since they were critically important for agriculture and the preservation of temples in Egypt," she said. "These records are highly accurate and were obtained directly, making them a rare and unique resource for climatologists to peer back in time."

A similarly accurate record exists for auroral activity during the same time period in northern Europe and the Far East. People there routinely and carefully observed and recorded auroral activity, because auroras were believed to portend future disasters, such as droughts and the deaths of kings.

"A great deal of modern scientific effort has gone into collecting these ancient auroral records, inter-comparing them and evaluating their accuracy," Ruzmaikin said. "They have been successfully used by aurora experts around the world to study longer time scale variations."

The researchers found some clear links between the sun's activity and climate variations. The Nile water levels and aurora records had two somewhat regularly occurring variations in common - one with a period of about 88 years and the second with a period of about 200 years.

The researchers said the findings have climate implications that extend far beyond the Nile River basin.

"Our results characterize not just a small region of the upper Nile, but a much more extended part of Africa," said Ruzmaikin. "The Nile River provides drainage for approximately 10 percent of the African continent. Its two main sources - Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya - are in equatorial Africa. Since Africa's climate is interrelated to climate variability in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, these findings help us better understand climate change on a global basis."

So what causes these cyclical links between solar variability and the Nile? The authors suggest that variations in the sun's ultraviolet energy cause adjustments in a climate pattern called the Northern Annular Mode, which affects climate in the atmosphere of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter. At sea level, this mode becomes the North Atlantic Oscillation, a large-scale seesaw in atmospheric mass that affects how air circulates over the Atlantic Ocean. During periods of high solar activity, the North Atlantic Oscillation's influence extends to the Indian Ocean. These adjustments may affect the distribution of air temperatures, which subsequently influence air circulation and rainfall at the Nile River's sources in eastern equatorial Africa. When solar activity is high, conditions are drier, and when it is low, conditions are wetter.


Is Global Warming Really Just Global Brightening?

Post below from Cheat Seeking Missiles

Oh, it just gets complexer and complexer!

Now NASA tells us -- after nearly 30 years of attacking pollution -- that drops in pollution and global aerosols may actually be exacerbating temperature rise.
A new NASA study has found that an important counter-balance to the warming of our planet by greenhouse gases - sunlight blocked by dust, pollution and other aerosol particles - appears to have lost ground.

The thinning of Earth's "sunscreen" of aerosols since the early 1990s could have given an extra push to the rise in global surface temperatures. The finding, published today in the journal Science, may lead to an improved understanding of recent climate change. ...

"When more sunlight can get through the atmosphere and warm Earth's surface, you're going to have an effect on climate and temperature," said lead author Michael Mishchenko of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York. "Knowing what aerosols are doing globally gives us an important missing piece of the big picture of the forces at work on climate."

The study uses the longest uninterrupted satellite record of aerosols in the lower atmosphere, a unique set of global estimates funded by NASA. Scientists at GISS created the Global Aerosol Climatology Project by extracting a clear aerosol signal from satellite measurements originally designed to observe clouds and weather systems that date back to 1978. The resulting data show large, short-lived spikes in global aerosols caused by major volcanic eruptions in 1982 and 1991, but a gradual decline since about 1990. By 2005, global aerosols had dropped as much as 20 percent from the relatively stable level between 1986 and 1991.

The NASA study also sheds light on the puzzling observations by other scientists that the amount of sunlight reaching Earth's surface, which had been steadily declining in recent decades, suddenly started to rebound around 1990. This switch from a "global dimming" trend to a "brightening" trend happened just as global aerosol levels started to decline, Mishchenko said. (source)
Put another way, about the time everyone started fretting about global climate change because of big, bad humans, the nice humans were cutting pollution, causing more sunlight to hit the earth, and temperatures to climb.

So is global warming really just a dearth of volcanic activity? Or is it the fact that we're doing such a good job of cutting our pollution? Or is it cataclysmic changes in global patterns that will kill us all and make Al Gore rich?

It's anyone's guess, so count on opportunistic politicians and panic-prone lefties to call for cuts in industrial production, higher taxes and big government programs to attack the problem!

Gee, perhaps if we just took off enough of the pollution control equipment to let the atmosphere really gunk up again, we'd enter a period of global dimming, and voila!, no more global warming!


But I thought the science was "settled"??

The restless bubbling and frothing of the Sun's chaotic surface is astonishing astronomers who have been treated to detailed new images from a Japanese space telescope called Hinode. The observatory will have as dramatic an impact on our understanding of the Sun as the Hubble Space Telescope has had on our view of the universe beyond, scientists told a NASA press conference in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday. "Everything we thought we knew about X-ray images of the Sun is now out of date," says Leon Golub from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. "We've seen many new and unexpected things. For that reason alone, the mission is already a success."

Hinode (Japanese for "sunrise") was launched in September 2006 to study the solar magnetic field and how magnetic energy is released as the field rises into the Sun's outer atmosphere. The mission was formerly known as Solar-B.

Seething and swaying

The spacecraft carries an optical solar telescope (SOT), an X-ray telescope (XRT) and an ultraviolet spectrometer. It orbits the Earth in a permanent twilight zone between night and day, which gives it a continuous view of the Sun. Hinode has sent back startling images of the Sun's outer limb. Where astronomers expected to see a calm region called the chromosphere, they saw a seething mass of swaying spikes. "These structures are 8000 kilometres long and some extend twice that high," says SOT science team member Alan Title from Lockheed Martin Advance Technology Center in Palo Alto, California, US. "Their speed is such that if you sat on the end of one, which I don't recommend, you could travel from Washington, DC, to San Francisco in about four minutes. These things are really moving."

Crashing loops

Another surprise sighting is that of giant magnetic field loops crashing down onto the Sun's surface as if they were collapsing from exhaustion, a finding that Golub describes as "impossible". Previously, scientists thought they should emerge from the Sun and continue blowing out into space. "Almost every day, we look at the data and we say - what the heck was that?" says Golub, a member of the XRT science team.

Astronomers do not yet know what to make of the surprises, but they hope Hinode will help solve many big puzzles. One is that the temperature of the Sun's tenuous outermost atmosphere, or corona, is far hotter than the layers underneath, which are nearer its energy-generating core. Scientists believe that tangled magnetic fields must somehow dump energy in the corona. "Theorists suggested that twisted, tangled magnetic fields might exist," says Golub. "With the XRT, we can see them clearly for the first time."

Astronomers hope Hinode's clear view of the Sun will also help them identify the magnetic field configurations that lead to the most explosive energy releases of all. That would enable better forecasts of stormy "space weather", when solar eruptions can interfere with satellite communications and disrupt electricity supply networks on the ground.



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

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


23 March, 2007

Officials Urged to Grill Al Gore About His Rich-Get-Warmer, Poor-Get-Colder Global Warming Offset Proposals

Climate Regulations and Carbon Offsets Would Harm Poor and Minority Households, Says Project 21

Members of the black leadership network Project 21 urge elected representatives to use Al Gore's appearances today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to ask the former Vice President about his own lavish energy consumption -- and his advocacy of a society in which only the wealthy could enjoy amenities most Americans currently take for granted, like home heating. Gore's proposals would result in a society in which the rich get warmer and the poor get colder.

While Gore is a long-time proponent of personal energy conservation and draconian regulations to mandate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research revealed that Gore's mansion in the exclusive Belle Meade neighborhood of Nashville uses more than 20 times the national household average of electricity.

In response, Gore's office said the Gores "do the carbon emissions offset" -- such as making environment-related investments -- that allegedly neutralize the environmental harm related to their extraordinarily-high energy use.

Gore receives his offsets as a benefit from a company that he co-founded -- Generation Investment Management -- and reportedly does not pay for them himself. Interestingly, Carbon Neutral Company, which provides Generation Investment Management with its offsets, says its offsets "will be unable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions... in the short term."

If Gore's "buying offsets" strategy were to be adopted nationally, the average consumer would essentially be expected to pay twice for heat and power: first for the energy itself, then for offsets to atone for them.

Such double-billing would be particularly harmful to poor households, which, disproportionately, are minority.

"Al Gore may sleep well at night thinking he's not contributing to global warming, but if he expects everyone to be able to buy their way out of the sin of using electricity, natural gas and driving their cars to work and errands without having to cut back on necessities he is badly mistaken," said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. "From the looks of their utility bills, the Gores kept their home warm and toasty this winter. Have they thought about the single mother who provides for her family on a paycheck-by-paycheck basis? I don't think she could afford an offset to heat her home without cutting back on something vital such as nutritional food and health care for herself and her children."

According to the federal Energy Information Agency, in an analysis released during the Clinton-Gore administration, imposing the restrictions mandated by the United Nation's Kyoto Global Warming Treaty would cost the U.S. economy $400 billion per year and would raise utility bills by 86 percent and gasoline by 66 cents a gallon.

An econometric study commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce and other groups found that Kyoto regulations could put 3.2 million American jobs at risk -- including 864,000 jobs held by blacks and 511,000 held by Hispanics.

Already this winter, eight states, including Gore's Tennessee, report they have run out of money to help poor households pay for heating bills. Households that cannot afford to heat their homes, let alone pay for offsets.

"People are already freezing because they can't pay their bills and aid to help them is already stretched too thin. Al Gore would only make things worse if he imposed increased regulations on public utilities," said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. "If he wants to create a society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, Gore's got the right idea with his global warming offsets and regulations."

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.



Discussing: Yancheva, G., Nowaczyk, N.R., Mingram, J., Dulski, P., Schettler, G., Negendank, J.F.W., Liu, J., Sigman, D.M., Peterson, L.C. and Haug, G.H. 2007. "Influence of the intertropical convergence zone on the East Asian monsoon". Nature 445: 74-77.

What was done

The authors derived a 16,200-year-long palaeoclimatic record with nearly annual time-resolution from a sediment core extracted from Lake Huguang Maar (21ø9'N, 110ø17'E) in southeast China, based on continuous measurements of sediment titanium content and magnetic susceptibility and the acquisition of accelerator mass spectrometry 14C dates of five leaves and four bulk sediment samples.

What was learned

Yancheva et al. report that comparison of the titanium record they obtained from Lake Huguang Maar with the titanium record obtained by Haug et al. (2001) from the Cariaco Basin on the Northern Shelf of Venezuela "reveals similarities, including both a general shift towards drier climate at about AD 750 and a series of three multi-year rainfall minima within that generally dry period, the last of which coincides with the final stage of Maya collapse [AD 910] as well as the end of the Tang dynasty [AD 907]."

What it means

The ten researchers say the two sets of observations from opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean suggest the occurrence of "global climatic changes" - in this case a worsening period of reduced precipitation interspersed with socially-devastating multi-year droughts - driven by "migrations of the intertropical convergence zone," which a number of studies, in addition to theirs, place at the approximate time-of-transition from the Dark Ages Cold Period to the Medieval Warm Period....

Consequently, the study of Yancheva et al. adds further credence to the ever-more-hard-to-deny fact that a non-anthropogenic-induced millennial-scale oscillation of climate is what produced the Roman Warm Period, Dark Ages Cold Period, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, and the Current Warm Period.


Another way politics distorts science

Excerpt from a statement by Roy Spencer, the former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama

During my fifteen years as a NASA employee, I was well aware that any interaction between scientists and the press was to be coordinated through NASA management and public affairs. Understandably, NASA managers do not appreciate first reading of their scientists opinions in the morning newspaper. I understood that my position as a NASA employee was a privilege, not a right, and that there were rules I was expected to abide by. Partly because of those limits on what I could and couldn't say to the press on the subject of global warming, I voluntarily resigned from the government in the fall of 2001.

Some level of political influence on government-funded climate science has always existed, and likely always will exist. The influence began many years ago when the government climate research programs were first established. For instance, I once heard a high-level government official say that his success at helping to formulate the Montreal Protocol restricting the manufacture of ozone-depleting chemicals was an example of the kind of success that global warming research could achieve to help restrict fossil fuel use. This is clearly a case of political and policy biases driving a scientific research agenda...

Government agencies and their managers have a long history of requiring employees to coordinate research results with management and public affairs officials before talking to the press. As a NASA employee of fifteen years I accepted this as part of my responsibility to support NASA's mission as a "team player" in support of overarching agency goals, and I believe there are good reasons for maintaining such a practice.

A much bigger political influence problem is the governmental bias towards a specific type of climate research that supports specific political or policy outcomes. This research is almost always biased toward the finding of climate destabilizing mechanisms, rather than climate stabilizing mechanisms. Because it takes a higher level of complexity in any physical system to produce self-regulation and stabilization, such findings do not naturally flow out of the existing research. An active effort, analogous to the Department of Defense "Red Team" approach, could be utilized to alleviate this inequity. Given the immense cost (especially to the poor) of proposed carbon control policies that most economists foresee, it is not helpful for tax dollars to be funneled in a research direction that unfairly favors certain political or policy outcomes.


More Non-Scientific BS From GW "Scientists"

Post below lifted from Strata Sphere

When scientists outright lie about science where can people go to expose this outrageous behavior? For example, here is a story proposing a whole new, unfounded and unsusbtantiated theory that biological clocks are tied to the length of day (or when the Sun finally returns being fully overhead at the equator during the Spring Equinox) and nothing else:

Spring officially starts on Wednesday at 0007 GMT when the sun passes north over the celestial equator but scientists say the biological clocks of animals and plants are running ahead of time, perhaps upset by global warming. Orange trees, olives and peaches are blooming weeks ahead of schedule in Greece, geese are cutting down on migrations in Canada and the United States and bears have been unable to hibernate in Bulgaria.

Animals and plants take advantage of all sorts of signals and indicators so they can maximize their resource intake. Many plant seeds will not sprout until they have experienced fire or a freeze in the soil. Many animals cue on temperature so they do not leave to early from the warmer climates or arrive too late to take advantage of the food that is abundant. By saying migrations are `early' because of Global warming is a lie - they are exactly on time because palnts animals use more than the length of day to make seasonal transitions.

Is this wrong? Hell no - it is NATURAL! By using temperature AND daylight length animals optimize their travels. Implying this is new or different or bad is a lie. So where do we go to deal with scientific balderdash? This is not the first time migrations have begun this early - not by a long shot. When snow covered Greenland was mostly green land, migrations were probably earlier than this year. But that was long before man could be the fantasy scapegoat for natural processes.


Householders who keep putting out their bins on the wrong day could be caught out by secret spy cameras hidden in tin cans and bricks and branded "envirocriminals". Ealing Council in west London is using the hidden cameras to catch people committing "major envirocrimes" such as graffiti and fly-tipping on main roads. However council tax payers who put out their bins on the wrong day could also be caught up in the push. The cameras, which cost around œ200 each, are triggered by built-in movement sensors. The council, which is Conservative controlled, said in a newsletter to local residents: "To catch vandals and envirocriminals, cameras disguised as anything from tin cans to house bricks will instantly email images to the council's CCTV control centre."



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

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


22 March, 2007


Ice shed from the giant sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland is responsible for just 12% of the current rate of global sea level rise, according to a new review. The authors emphasise that it is now clear that the ice caps are losing ice faster than it is being replenished by snowfall. But exactly why this is happening remains unknown, making it difficult to predict the extent of future sea level rises.

The remaining 88% of the current rise is due to the expansion of water as it warms, and melting from mountain glaciers and ice caps outside Greenland and Antarctica. Yet the shrinking of Greenland and Antarctica remains crucial because together they hold enough water to make sea levels rise by 70 metres, submerging vast swathes of land and displacing millions.

Over the past 10 years, satellite measurements have vastly improved the quality of data detailing changes in the ice sheets, say Duncan Wingham from University College London and Andrew Shepherd from the University of Edinburgh, both in the UK. Having reviewed the latest data, the pair conclude that losses from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contribute 0.35 millimetres per year to the total rate of sea level rise, estimated at 3 mm per year. This contribution is close to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest estimate of 0.41 mm from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. According to the IPCC, measurements since 1993 show that the thermal expansion of water is responsible for 1.6 mm of the annual rise and other melting glaciers and ice caps for 0.77 mm.

Ice flow

The satellite data have revealed how the ice sheets are losing mass. "It has become very clear over the past five years that these sheets are not losing most of their mass through melting, they are losing it because the ice is flowing into the ocean faster than the snow is replacing it," Wingham told New Scientist (see Greenland's glaciers are speeding to the ocean). The bases of the glaciers appear to be able to slip more easily at their base than in the past, so they slide into the sea faster.

And this is where uncertainties arise. In Greenland, it is possible that water from melting ice at the surface of the glaciers is boring holes through the ice sheets and lubricating their base. "It is at least possible," says Wingham, that global warming is causing this to happen now more than before. But Antarctica is much colder than Greenland, so there is no such melt-water to travel down to the base of the glaciers. "Most people don't realise that Antarctica is so cold there isn't much melting going on," Wingham told New Scientist. Whatever is causing Antarctic glaciers to flow faster than before, he says, it is not melting of their surfaces.

Increased snowfall

Wingham and Shepherd's review of recent research on Antarctica did find that four Antarctic glaciers that are retreating in unison share a common feature: they are all in direct contact with the sea. "Our assessment confirms that just one type of glacier in Antarctica is retreating today - those that are seated in deep submarine basins and flow directly into the oceans," says Shepherd. "These glaciers are vulnerable to small changes in ocean temperature, such as those that have occurred over the 20th century and those predicted for the 21st century. A rise of less than 0.5 oC could have triggered the present imbalance."

Climate modelling predicts that snowfall on the ice caps will increase over the 21st century. But the researchers warn that the processes that are causing ice sheets to shrink - with surface melting in Greenland and changes in sea temperatures in Antarctica as possible candidates - could in the 21st century rapidly counteract the ice gained from increased snowfall.

They say continued observations by satellite and on the ground in both regions are essential to improve predictions of sea-level rises. In a separate review paper, also in Science on 15 March, David Vaughan and Robert Arthern of the British Antarctic Survey agree that there are two main obstacles to predicting the future of ice sheets: more needs to be known about what is going on underneath the ice sheets, and what happens at their edges where they meet ocean waters.



An article has appeared in a recent issue of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics with a curious title "Multi-scale analysis of global temperature changes and trend of a drop in temperature in the next 20 years."

Wow, that's a mouthful! Imagine publishing a paper in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal in which you predict global cooling over the next few decades? Apparently, the authors were not moved by the 46.6 million websites found when doing a quick search of the internet for "global warming." The article was produced by Lin Zhen-Shan and Sun Xian of the Nanjing Normal University in China (obviously, English is not their first language, if you couldn't tell from the title, and some of the following quotes from their article are a bit awkward).

The work was funded by the Chinese National Science Foundation, and not by coal interests in China. We have no reason to suspect that Zhen-Shan and Xian are puppets of any group with any interest in denying global warming in the coming decades.

Zhen-Shan and Xian gathered temperature data for the globe, the Northern Hemisphere, and 10 regions in China from 1881 to 2002; the datasets they chose are the same ones used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They also gathered data for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations over the same 1881 to 2002 period, and again, they selected the data commonly used by climate scientists throughout the world. Anyone criticizing their conclusions would be hard-pressed to argue that Zhen-Shan and Xian used inappropriate data sets.

Any long time series of data can be statistically decomposed into various components - the time series may have some underlying linear trend up or down, the trend could be highly non-linear, there could be breakpoints in the time series, there could be high or low frequency periodicities in the data, the record could change its variability during various periods - you name it. These patterns underlying the data can be clearly identified so that when they are all added together, the original time series is reproduced.

Climatologists have been decomposing time series for many decades using statistical techniques that carry fancy names like Fourier analysis, harmonic analysis, spectral analysis, empirical orthogonal function analysis, and classical factor analysis. Each statistical technique has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each technique has its loyal fan base as well as groups of highly critical scientists. The various techniques make assumptions about the time series being analyzed, they handle missing data in differing ways, and they produce various outputs that can be useful in some investigations but rather useless in others.

In our world of celebrating statistical diversity, Zhen-Shan and Xian roll-out something developed in 1998 called Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) that identifies the Intrinsic Mode Function (IMF) components underlying a time series. They show the basic equations for the technique, they argue the advantages of using the technique in analyzing climate data, and they obviously convinced the reviewers and editors of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics that their work was credible and of potential interest to the atmospheric science community at large.

Figure 1 is a decomposition of the global temperature record since 1881 and it indicates that global temperature variation contains "four quasi-period oscillations on various timescales and a trend of larger timescale in the last century." They note that "IMF3 with quasi 20-year periodicity oscillation and IMF4 with quasi 60-year periodicity oscillation in global" temperature "have been decreasing since the year 2000. Hence, we consider that global temperature will witness a drop on 20-60-year timescales in the following 20 years." They reproduced the analyses for the Northern Hemisphere and the 10 regions in China and find much of the same, and in fact, they argue that the cooling in China is already well underway since 2000.

The global mean temperature is decomposed into four intrinsic mode functions (IMF) and a trend by EMD method. The first IMF is 3-4-year period. The second IMF has 6-8-year period. The third IMF corresponds to 20-year period. The fourth IMF contains 60-year cycles. The Res indicates larger timescale oscillation (from Zhen-Shan and Xian, 2007)

Recall that the pair of scientists also decomposed the annual CO2 since 1881 and compared those IMFs with the global temperature reconstruction. Not very surprisingly, they discovered that "the greenhouse effect of CO2 in the atmosphere on global temperature variation is mainly the century scale trend. And CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has little effect on periodical variation on the rest of the timescale."

That makes perfect sense - the ongoing buildup of greenhouse gases should explain the upward trend in the data but could hardly explain periodicities in the record.

Through more statistical wizardry, they found "the contribution of CO2 concentration to global temperature variation is no more than 40.19%, or in other words, 59.81% of the weight of global temperature variation is caused by non-greenhouse effect."

They report that "Despite the increasing trend of atmospheric CO2 concentration, the components IMF2, IMF3 and IMF4 of global temperature changes are all in falling" and that "the effect of greenhouse warming is deficient in counterchecking the natural cooling of global climate change in the coming 20 years. Consequently, we believe global climate changes will be in a trend of falling in the following 20 years."

They were on a roll and they continued stating "The global climate warming is not solely affected by the CO2 greenhouse effect. The best example is temperature obviously cooling however atmospheric CO2 concentration is ascending from 1940s to 1970s. Although the CO2 greenhouse effect on global climate changes is unsuspicious, it could have been excessively exaggerated. It is high time to re-consider the global climate changes."

Quite a conclusion! Whether this paper falls into the "if you torture the data long enough it will confess" category or not will be determined by the temperature trend in the coming years. As for us, we're not taking any bets on this one.


Global Warming Is Not a Crisis

From the Babylon of Gilgamesh to the post-Eden of Noah, every age has viewed climate change cataclysmically, as retribution for human greed and sinfulness. In the 1970s, the fear was "global cooling." The Christian Science Monitor then declaimed, "Warning: Earth's climate is changing faster than even experts expect," while The New York Times announced, "A major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable." Sound familiar? Global warming represents the latest doom-laden "crisis," one demanding sacrifice to Gaia for our wicked fossil-fuel-driven ways. But neither history nor science bolsters such an apocalyptic faith.

Extreme weather events are ever present, and there is no evidence of systematic increases. Outside the tropics, variability should decrease in a warmer world. If this is a "crisis," then the world is in permanent "crisis," but will be less prone to "crisis" with warming.

Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age, most rapidly about 12,000 years ago. In recent centuries, the average rate has been relatively uniform. The rate was higher during the first half of the 20th century than during the second. At around a couple of millimeters per year, it is a residual of much larger positive and negative changes locally. The risk from global warming is less than that from other factors (primarily geological).

The impact on agriculture is equivocal. India warmed during the second half of the 20th century, yet agricultural output increased markedly. The impact on disease is dubious. Infectious diseases, like malaria, are not so much a matter of temperature as of poverty and public health. Malaria remains endemic in Siberia, and was once so in Michigan and Europe. Exposure to cold is generally more dangerous.

So, does the claim that humans are the primary cause of recent warming imply "crisis"? The impact on temperature per unit CO2 goes down, not up, with increasing CO2. The role of human-induced greenhouse gases does not relate directly to emission rate, nor even to CO2 levels, but rather to the radiative (or greenhouse) impact. Doubling CO2 is a convenient benchmark. It is claimed, on the basis of computer models, that this should lead to 1.1 - 6.4 C warming.



America's drive for energy independence and clean air could threaten orangutans, Sumatran tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses and the world's largest butterflies. All could be hurt as the rainforests of Southeast Asia are cleared to produce palm oil for use in biodiesel. It's the downside of the crash effort to rein in global warming.

And the owners of what will be the largest biodiesel plant in the nation - at a deepwater port on Washington state's coast - are well aware of the environmental consequences of logging and burning some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world to provide the prime ingredient for a much-in-demand clean fuel. "We recognize there are serious deforestation issues," said John Plaza, the founder of Imperium Renewables, which is building the plant in the Port of Grays Harbor. "It's not OK to clear rainforest to put palm down. But to demonize an entire industry doesn't do anyone any good. We need to solve these issues." Besides palm, the Grays Harbor plant will convert soy, canola and other feedstocks directly into biodiesel without blending it with any petroleum products.

Oil palm growers, processors, traders, users and several environmental groups have formed the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, which is developing regulations to ensure an eco-friendly supply of palm oil. Imperium and other U.S. biodiesel manufacturers have joined the roundtable. But some remain wary of the roundtable, and even Plaza is frustrated by how long it's taking to develop sustainable standards. An earlier report prepared for Friends of the Earth, a member of the roundtable, found that the "actual on-the-ground impact of these private-sector initiatives remains negligible at present." The report went on to warn that the palm-oil industry may be incapable of self-regulation.

Efforts to police the palm industry come at a time when worldwide demand for palm oil is soaring, driven mostly by what's expected to be a doubling in biodiesel production by the end of next year.

Billions of people around the world use palm oil for cooking, and it's found in thousands of products including soaps, shampoos, cosmetics and detergents, along with such foods as margarine, mayonnaise, salad oil, potato chips and other snacks, confectionaries, cakes, pastry, bread and ice cream.

Existing biodiesel plants and those on the drawing boards will easily "soak up" all of the palm oil currently available, according to a January report from the financial company Credit Suisse.

More than 85 percent of the world's supply of palm oil comes from two nations - Indonesia and Malaysia. The rainforests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra are ground zero in the dispute over expanding palm plantations. The forests are logged and burned to make way for the plantations, at times producing a thick blanket of smog that can cover parts of Southeast Asia for weeks and release millions of tons of greenhouse gases. The plantations also are moving into peat swamps, which are drained. As the peat dries, it also releases tons of carbon dioxide. The trend is accelerating. Indonesia is already the third-largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, behind the United States and China. By 2015, an area of Indonesia the size of West Virginia is expected to be covered with palm plantations. "It's absolutely disingenuous to suggest that biodiesel made from palm oil is green or sustainable," said David Waskow, international program director for Friends of the Earth.



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

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


21 March, 2007

'The global-warmers were bound to attack, but why are they so feeble?'

'The Great Global Warming Swindle', broadcast by Channel 4, put the case for scepticism about man-made climate change. The programme sparked a heated debate and charges of scientific inaccuracy. Here, its director, Martin Durkin, responds to the critics

On March 8, Channel 4 broadcast my programme. Since then, supporters of the theory of man-made global warming have published frothing criticism. I am attacked for using an "old" graph depicting temperature over the past 1,000 years. They say I should have used a "new" graph - one used by Al Gore, known as the "hockey stick", because it looks like one. But the hockey stick has been utterly discredited. The computer programme used to generate it was found to produce hockey-stick shapes even when fed random data (I refer readers to the work of McIntyre & McKitrick and to the Wegman Report, all available on the internet). Other than the discredited hockey stick, the graph used by us (and published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is the standard, accepted record of temperature in this period.

A critic claims that one of the graphs cited by us, illustrating the extraordinarily close correlation between solar variation and temperature change, has since been "corrected". It most certainly has not. The graph was produced by Prof Eigil Friis-Christensen, the head of the Danish National Space Centre, who says it still stands. But if the global-warmers don't like that graph, there are plenty of others that say the same thing.

No one any longer seriously disputes the link between solar activity and temperature in earth's climate history. I urge readers to look up on the net: Veizer, Geoscience Canada, 2005; and Soon, Geophysical Research Letters, 2005.

In the film, we used three graphs depicting temperature change in the 20th century. On one there was an error in the dates on the bottom. This was corrected for the second transmission of the programme, on More4, last Monday. It made no difference. Global-warmers can pick whichever graph they like. The problem for them remains the same. The temperature rise at the beginning of the century (prior to 1940, when human emissions of CO2 were relatively insignificant) was as great, most graphs show greater, than the temperature rise at the end of the century.

So what else do they hit me with? Prof Carl Wunsch, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who appeared in the film, later claimed he was duped into taking part. He was not.

The remarkable thing is not that I was attacked. But that the attacks have been so feeble. The ice-core data was the jewel in the global-warming crown, cited again and again as evidence that carbon dioxide 'drives' the earth's climate. In fact, as its advocates have been forced to admit, the ice-core data says the opposite. Temperature change always precedes changes in CO2 by several hundred years. Temperature drives CO2, not the other way round. The global-warmers do not deny this. They cannot.

During the post-war economic boom, while industrial emissions of CO2 went up, the temperature went down (hence the great global-cooling scare in the 1970s). Why? They say maybe the cooling was caused by SO2 (sulphur dioxide) produced by industry. But they say it mumbling under their breath, because they know it makes no sense. Thanks to China and the rest, SO2 levels are far, far higher now than they were back then. Why isn't it perishing cold?

Too many journalists and scientists have built their careers on the global-warming alarm. Certain newspapers have staked their reputation on it. The death of this theory will be painful and ugly. But it will die. Because it is wrong, wrong, wrong.



Locked in a struggle for control of the environmental agenda, Britain's political leaders have committed the nation, and its taxpayers, to stringent new carbon-cutting policies. But, reveals Richard Gray, they are facing tough questions over how much gain there will be for the pain

As David Cameron planted a tree in north London last weekend, it was his funky trainers as much as his handy spadework that caught the attention of onlookers. Cameron was officially marking the Conservative Party's "Green Action Day", but there was also a message in his green-laced, camouflage-soled footwear. Central Office was happy to let it be known that they were, in fact, recycled from old firemen's trousers and car seats, part of a limited edition of 400 pairs produced to mark last year's 15th anniversary of The Big Issue. As a symbol, it was true to form from a politician who, since taking over his party's leadership, has rarely missed an opportunity to advertise his green credentials, whether by cycling to work or putting a windmill on his house.

Whoever are the short-term winners and losers at Westminster, it is clear that an environmental "arms race" has begun. For the foreseeable future, our politics will no longer be simply blue, red and yellow, but made up of different shades of green. Voters be warned: Britain is going to save the planet. It is, to put it mildly, an ambitious goal. And this weekend, a number of searching questions are being asked. For example, can a country that contributes just 2 per cent of the world's carbon emissions really make much of a difference to the planet? And, if not, are politicians justified in asking the voters to dramatically change their lifestyles and, inevitably, pay more tax? Similarly prohibitive measures are not being undertaken by China, India and America, the world's largest polluters.

In fact, with the science around global warming still evolving, some ask whether now is the right time to fix on specific policy commitments at all. And then there is the basic question: has it been definitively proved that human behaviour is causing the planet to warm?.... The sceptics accept that the earth is heating up. But they think the warming is due to its natural cycles, and so doubt that humans are the cause. Therefore there is little humans can do to stop it.

Prof Bob Carter, a marine geophysicist at James Cook University, in Queensland, Australia, argues: "Public utterances by prominent persons are marked by an ignorance of the important facts and uncertainties of climate science. "The evidence for dangerous human-caused global-warming forced by human carbon-dioxide emissions is extremely weak. That the satellite temperature record shows no substantial warming since 1978, and that even the ground-based thermometer statistic records no warming since 1998, indicates that a key line of circumstantial evidence for human-caused change to 2026 is now negated."

The debate is far from over. The arguments of doubters suffered a significant blow when Channel 4's recent high-profile programme, The Great Climate Change Swindle, which presented the sceptical view, was accused of inaccuracy. One contributor claims he was misled over the programme's content. But there is also flak heading the way of Al Gore, the former US vice-president, who won an Academy Award for his film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. At the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, Prof Don Easterbrook, a geologist from Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts of his concerns at "inaccuracies" in Mr Gore's arguments: "The real danger of the IPCC report and Al Gore's film is they suggest that, by diminishing carbon dioxide levels, it will solve the global-warming problem and we won't have to worry about the catastrophe they are predicting."

For the public, the science of global warming remains baffling. Advocates on both sides of the argument can produce reams of statistics to support their opposing views. A poll by ICM, published yesterday in the Guardian, revealed that voters are less engaged with green issues, and more doubtful of the ability of politicians to tackle climate change, than either Gordon Brown or David Cameron might have thought. More than a third said they did not believe MPs could tackle climate change at all. Between them, the Tories and Labour attracted only 30 per cent support for their green strategies.

This growing public disaffection may be behind a sudden move by some prominent climate-change scientists to warn against sensationalist predictions on the part of the environmental lobby. "It is dangerous for politicians to say the science of climate change is now complete," said Dr Piers Forster, an earth and environment researcher at the University of Leeds and a lead author on the UN's influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr Forster believes human activities are without doubt causing the climate to warm, but insists that it is impossible to make clear policy decisions at local or even on continental-wide levels at this stage. "We really don't know how it is going to effect our day-to-day lives over the next 100 years," he states. "People are making decisions about exactly what to do without making sure they are based on the best scientific evidence we have."

Fears about this "eco-hype" were echoed yesterday by two senior members of the Royal Meteorological Society at a conference in Oxford. Profs Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier hit out at researchers who, they say, are "overplaying" the global warming message. Some of their peers, they warn, are making claims about future impacts that cannot be justified by the science. Regardless of the ongoing debate, Britain's political parties have chosen to fight among themselves for the privilege of saving the planet....

Despite their embrace of radical environmental policies, neither party has a convincing answer as to why Britain should take the global lead on climate change, other than as a "moral obligation". In worldwide terms, Britain contributes just a fraction of total carbon emissions - about 544 million tons. By comparison, America pumps out more than 5,844 million tons. China and India, two of the fastest-growing economies, emit 3,263 million tons and 1,220 million tons respectively. China alone has more than 2,000 coal-fired power stations in operation and a new one opens every four days. If the UK stopped all of its emissions today, China would have replaced the lot within a year.

"The climate debate has been captured by people who have at heart an interest in exerting control over people's lives rather than letting them live better lives," said Julian Morris, from IPN. "It is extremely sad to see Britain's political parties trying to capitalise on this."

More here


It is customary for old-fashioned religion to threaten those whose way of life is not to its satisfaction, with the prospect of hell in the afterlife. Substitute for the afterlife, life on earth in centuries to come, and it is possible to see that environmentalism and the rest of the left are now doing essentially the same thing. They hate the American way of life because of its comfort and luxury, which they contemptuously dismiss as "conspicuous consumption." And to frighten people into abandoning it, they are threatening them with a global-warming version of hell.

This is not yet so open and explicit as to be obvious to everyone. Nevertheless, it is clearly present. It is hinted at in allusions to the possibility of temperature increases beyond the likely range of 3.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit projected in the recent United Nations report on global warming. For example, according to The New York Times, "the report says there is a more than a 1-in-10 chance of much greater warming, a risk that many experts say is far too high to ignore."

Environmentalist threats of hell can be expected to become more blatant and shrill if the movement's present efforts to frighten the people of the United States into supporting its program of caps and reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions appear to be insufficient. Hell is the environmentalists' ultimate threat.

So let us assume that it were true that global warming might proceed to such an extent as to cause temperature and/or sea-level increases so great as to be simply intolerable or, indeed, literally to roast and boil the earth. Even so, it would still not follow that industrial civilization should be abandoned or in any way compromised. In that case, all that would be necessary is to seek out a different means of deliberately cooling the earth.

It should be realized that the environmentalists' policy of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is itself a policy of cooling the earth. But it is surely among the most stupid and self-destructive such policies imaginable. What it claims is that if we destroy our capacity to produce and operate refrigerators and air conditioners, we shall be better protected from hot weather than if we retain and enlarge that capacity. What it claims is that if we destroy the energy base needed to produce and operate the construction equipment required to build strong, well-made, comfortable houses for hundreds of millions of people, we shall be safer from hurricanes and floods than if we retain and enlarge that energy base. This is the meaning of the claim that retaining and enlarging this capacity will bring highly destructive global warming, while destroying it will avoid such global warming.

In contrast to the policy of the environmentalists, there are rational ways of cooling the earth if that is what should actually be necessary, ways that would take advantage of the vast energy base of the modern world and of the still greater energy base that can be present in the future if it is not aborted by the kind of policies urged by the environmentalists.

Ironically, the core principle of one such method has been put forward by voices within the environmental movement itself, though not at all for this purpose. Years ago, back in the days of the Cold War, many environmentalists raised the specter of a "nuclear winter." According to them, a large-scale atomic war could be expected to release so much particulate matter into the atmosphere as to block out sunlight and cause weather so severely cold that crops would not be able to grow.

Wikipedia, the encyclopedia of the internet, describes the mechanism as follows:

Large quantities of aerosol particles dispersed into the atmosphere would significantly reduce the amount of sunlight that reached the surface, and could potentially remain in the stratosphere for months or even years. The ash and dust would be carried by the midlatitude west-to-east winds, forming a uniform belt of particles encircling the northern hemisphere from 30ø to 60ø latitude (as the main targets of most nuclear war scenarios are located almost exclusively in these latitudes). The dust clouds would then block out much of the sun's light, causing surface temperatures to drop drastically.

Certainly, there is no case to be made for an atomic war. But there is a case for considering the possible detonation, on uninhabited land north of 70ø latitude, say, of a limited number of hydrogen bombs. The detonation of these bombs would operate in the same manner as described above, but the effect would be a belt of particles starting at a latitude of 70ø instead of 30ø. The presence of those particles would serve to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching most of the Arctic's surface. The effect would be to maintain the frigid climate of the region and to prevent the further melting of its ice or, if necessary, to increase the amount of its ice. Moreover, the process could be conducted starting on a relatively small scale, and then proceed slowly. This would allow essential empirical observations to be made and also allow the process to be stopped at any time before it went too far.

This is certainly something that should be seriously considered by everyone who is concerned with global warming and who also desires to preserve modern industrial civilization and retain and increase its amenities. If there really is any possibility of global warming so great as to cause major disturbances, this kind of solution should be studied and perfected. Atomic testing should be resumed for the purpose of empirically testing its feasibility.

If there is any remnant of the left of an earlier era, which still respected science and technology, and championed industrial civilization, it might be expected to offer additional possible solutions for excessive global warming, probably solutions of a kind requiring grandiose construction projects. For example, one might expect to hear from it proposals for ringing North Africa and Australia with desalinization plants powered by atomic energy. The purpose would be to bring massive amounts of fresh water to the Sahara Desert and the deserts of Australia, with the further purpose of making possible the growth of billions of trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Another possibility would be an alternative proposal simply to pump an amount of sea water into confined areas in those deserts sufficient to provide an outlet for a growing volume of global seawater other than heavily inhabited coastal regions. (I would not be ready to endorse any such costly proposals, but they would be a vast improvement over the left's only current proposal, which is simply the crippling of industrial civilization.)

Once people begin to put their minds to the problem, it is possible that a variety of effective and relatively low-cost solutions for global warming will be found. The two essential parameters of such a solution would be the recognition of the existence of possibly excessive global warming, on the one side, and unswerving loyalty to the value of the American standard of living and the American way of life, on the other. That is, more fundamentally, unswerving loyalty to the values of individual freedom, continuing economic progress, and the maintenance and further development of industrial civilization and its foundation of man-made power.

Global warming is not a threat. But environmentalism's destructive response to it is.

In claims to want to act in the name of avoiding the risk of alleged dreadful dangers lying decades and centuries in the future. But its means of avoiding those alleged dangers is to rush ahead today to cripple industrial civilization by means of crippling its essential foundation of man-made power. In so doing, it gives no consideration whatever to the risks of this or to any possible alternatives to this policy. It contents itself with offering to the public what is virtually merely the hope and prayer of the timely discovery of radically new alternative technologies to replace the ones it seeks to destroy. Such pie in the sky is a nothing but a lie, intended to prevent people from recognizing the plunge in their standard of living that will result if the environmentalists' program is enacted.

As I've written before, if the economic progress of the last two hundred years or more is to continue, if its existing benefits are to be maintained and enlarged, the people of the United States, and hopefully of the rest of the world as well, must turn their backs on environmentalism. They must recognize it for the profoundly destructive, misanthropic philosophy that it is.

They must solve any possible problem of global warming on the foundation of industrial civilization, not on a foundation of its ruins.


Michael Mann's beloved bristlecone data

After his "hockeystick" was debunked as a mathematical artifact and he had to do some real analyses, Mann relied on Bristlecone pine tree-rings to support his picture of the climatic past. Below is a brief excerpt that comments on that procedure:

What were those bad numbers Mann plugged in to get his fake results? Modern bristlecone pine tree-ring data in which recent tree rings showed the widths that would normally mean unusually warm weather.

However, these trees were located near temperature recording stations that showed lower than usual temperatures. So instead of being a sign of warmer temperatures, the tree rings are actually responding to the increased CO2 levels.

Even the heading on this bristlecone pine study clearly stated that the wider tree rings did not indicate higher temperatures. But Mann plugged them in as if they did, producing the one dataset that showed "warmer weather" (i.e., wider tree rings) in recent years, allowing the defective software to produce its hockey-stick result.

The bristlecone pine study was real science. Mann's use of it was deliberately fraudulent.


Global warmers call for faith

CLIMATE change activists are asking global warming fence-sitters not to be put off by figures that show losses related to natural disasters fell in 2006. Swiss Re, the world's largest reinsurer, said insured losses were $US15.9 billion ($A20.46 billion) last year. Accounting for inflation, only 1997 and 1988 have been cheaper.

But Insurance Australia Group executive, culture and reputation, Sam Mostyn - named by chief executive Michael Hawker as a guiding figure in IAG's global warming campaign - said single years or events should not be held up as conclusive evidence for or against global warming. "Climate modelling and the impact of climate change must be analysed over the long term," Ms Mostyn said. "IAG's research confirms the view that the effects of climate change will increase over time and so IAG supports the case for early action."

Swiss Re's sigma study showed 349 natural catastrophes and man-made disasters claimed more than 31,000 lives around the world. But most disastrous events were in developing countries, resulting in "comparatively light economic losses" of $US48 billion ($A61.56 billion). "Low insurance penetration in developing countries also meant that only one-third of these economic losses in 2006 was actually covered by insurance," Swiss Re said.

"Over the past decades, insured losses have shown a rising trend, due mainly to weather-related catastrophes. This also reflects an increasing concentration of property values and urban encroachment into highly exposed regions."



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

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


20 March, 2007


An amused email below from S. Fred Singer [] to Benny Peiser

I have just looked at The Guardian's Climate Summit to be held in London on June 11. What an assembly of Britain's finest! What a wonderful choir - with no dissonant voices to mar the harmony. No climate scientists, of course. After all, isn't the science all settled? But not even a critical observer, like Dr Philip Stott or Melanie Phillips. Only one problem: The lead sponsor of this remarkable celebration is a major oil company. I don't know if one can trust such an assembly if the funds come from Big Oil. Surely, we all realize that such money is tainted. I pray The Guardian will have the good sense to refuse to be bought, to become a lackey to an industry that thrives on bloated profits, etc, etc. Now where did we read this just recently?


The gulf stream in the North Atlantic has not been slowing down so far, despite climate change. This has been confirmed by new long-term measurements published by the German Leibniz-Institute for Oceanic Research, IFM Geomar. Europe owes its mild climate to the warm gulf stream (sic). Contrary to what was expected, flow measurements at the exit of the Labrador sea show large fluctuations over periods of weeks and months, but no dramatic long-term trends which would indicate a reduction of the circulation.

"Until now, almost all climate models assume that the gulf stream will weaken in the future", professor Claus Boening of the IFM Geomar pointed out. Some researchers have claimed to have identified first signs of a slow-down in measuring data. "However, this is not confirmed by our long-term observations." The measurements taken since 1996 "showed strong natural fluctuations in the North Atlantic, but there are no signs for any weakening".

Translation above by Benny Peiser. FULL STORY here


Two leading UK climate researchers have criticised those among their peers who they say are "overplaying" the global warming message. Professors Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier, both Royal Meteorological Society figures, are voicing their concern at a conference in Oxford. They say some researchers make claims about possible future impacts that cannot be justified by the science. The pair believe this damages the credibility of all climate scientists. They think catastrophism and the "Hollywoodisation" of weather and climate only work to create confusion in the public mind. They argue for a more sober and reasoned explanation of the uncertainties about possible future changes in the Earth's climate.

As an example, they point to a recent statement from one of the foremost US science bodies - the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The association released a strongly worded statement at its last annual meeting in San Francisco in February which said: "As expected, intensification of droughts, heatwaves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms is occurring, with a mounting toll on vulnerable ecosystems and societies. "These events are early warning signs of even more devastating damage to come, some of which will be irreversible."

According to Professors Hardaker and Collier, this may well turn out to be true, but convincing evidence to back the claims has not yet emerged. "It's certainly a very strong statement," Professor Collier told BBC News. "I suspect it refers to evidence that hurricanes have increased as a result of global warming; but to make the blanket assumption that all extreme events are increasing is a bit too early yet."

A former president of the Royal Meteorological Society, Professor Collier is concerned that the serious message about the real risks posed by global warming could be undermined by making premature claims. "I think there is a good chance of that," he said. "We must guard against that - it would be very damaging. "I've no doubt that global warming is occurring, but we don't want to undermine that case by crying wolf."

This view is shared by Professor Hardaker, the society's chief executive. "Organisations have been guilty of overplaying the message," he says. "There's no evidence to show we're all due for very short-term devastating impacts as a result of global warming; so I think these statements can be dangerous where you mix in the science with unscientific assumptions."

The AAAS said it would not be commenting directly on the professors' remarks. "We feel that the recent consensus statement of the AAAS Board of Directors speaks for itself and stands on its own," a spokesperson explained. "The AAAS Board statement references (at the end), the scientific basis upon which the conclusions are based, including the joint National Academies' statement and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

Professor Hardaker also believes that overblown statements play into the hands of those who say that scientists are wrong on climate change - that global warming is a myth. "I think we do have to be careful as scientists not to overstate the case because it does damage the credibility of the many other things that we have greater certainty about," he said. "We have to stick to what the science is telling us; and I don't think making that sound more sensational, or more sexy, because it gets us more newspaper columns, is the right thing for us to be doing. "We have to let the science argument win out."


The bear necessities of climate change politics

More Greenie deception: A photo of two polar bears seemingly stranded on an ice floe has come to symbolise man’s destruction of nature. But is it all that it seems?

‘They cling precariously to the top of what is left of the ice floe, their fragile grip the perfect symbol of the tragedy of global warming. Captured on film by Canadian environmentalists, the pair of polar bears look stranded on chunks of broken ice….’

That is how an article in Australia’s Daily Telegraph, entitled ‘A planet on the edge’, chose to open a discussion of the latest climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (1). To view the article, and the photo of the polar bears, click here. The student who took the photograph, however, gives a slightly different account: ‘They were on the ice when we found them and on the ice when we left. They were healthy, fat and seemed comfortable on their iceberg.’

Amanda Byrd, an Australian graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), says she took the picture around three years ago - in the summer. The photograph was not ‘taken by environmentalists’ but as part of a field trip with the university.

Over the past few months the photo has been published widely as a snapshot of the dangers of global warming. Byrd, however, is wary of seeing the photo as direct evidence of manmade climate change. ‘I believe in the climate change phenomena, but for me to say that the image is a direct link, I would be speculating’, she tells spiked. ‘The ice in the Arctic is definitely growing less, and the bears in the migratory route in the Beaufort Sea (where this image was taken, 90 miles off Barrow) have to swim further.’ Byrd is clearly a little miffed that ‘the image you have seen around the world was distributed without my consent, and [with] the wrong byline’.

That hasn’t stopped others from using the image to back up stories about climate change. Science Panel Calls Global Warming ‘Unequivocal’ declared the New York Times recently, in an article illustrated by the polar-bear photo. (The NYT, like others before it, also attributed the photo to the wrong person). Such is the controversy over the photo that getting permission to republish it is very difficult now, hence our provision of the link above for those who want to see it.

It seems that facts such as who took the photo, when it was taken and what it really shows do not matter so long as a Greater Truth is revealed in its republication. And polar bears have become the ‘poster species’ for revealing that truth. As Simon Garfield noted in the UK Observer Magazine: ‘In the past few weeks it has become difficult to open a newspaper or webpage without seeing photographs of the beautiful yellowy-white animals leaping, or lying on sea ice in the Arctic, the newly helpless emblem of climate change.’ (2)

‘Helpless’ is a strange way to describe a half-tonne predator. As the BBC website notes: ‘The polar bear is the largest land carnivore and has a reputation as the only animal that actively hunts humans.’ Stranger still is the transformation of polar bears into the fluffy victims of our age: ‘Polar bears are predominantly carnivorous, and mainly feed on ringed seals and less so on bearded seals. A small part of their diet includes beluga, narwhal, walrus, fish, seabirds, reindeer and carrion.’ (3) It wasn’t so long ago that seals were every green’s favourite victim animal. Now it seems that seals are out, and seal-scoffing bears are in.

While Byrd’s photo has been doing the rounds, the photographic stock libraries of the world have been heavily raided for other ‘polar bear, sea ice’ pictures. Consider the leaflet that fell out of my newspaper, and maybe yours too, on Sunday. ‘THE BIG HEAT: a story of greed, broken promises and wilful ignorance - and you get to write the ending’, it said, leading up to an invitation to join Friends of the Earth (see a section of the leaflet below). The leaflet continues: ‘The warmer climate is killing wildlife and the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, threatening already endangered species like polar bears.’ It’s all accompanied, of course, by a photo of a polar bear alone on broken-up sea ice, looking longingly up towards, well, presumably a helicopter in which the photographer was probably perched.

For all the polar bear stories, it is far from clear that these bears are an endangered species. Even if a warming world did make things more difficult for them, Arctic temperatures have been considerably warmer in the past – and polar bears survived those periods. It’s not even clear that polar bear numbers are in decline.

In January, Kassie Siegel from the conservation lobby group the Center for Biological Diversity wrote in the Los Angeles Times: ‘The bear is entirely dependent on sea ice, using it as a platform on which to travel, hunt and give birth. Yet each year, as the Arctic warms, the sea ice shrinks. Polar bear populations are already suffering from drowning, starvation and lower cub survival. Absent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the summer sea ice, and the polar bear, may disappear entirely in less than 40 years.’ (4) Yet others disagree – including Mitchell Taylor, a Canadian polar bear biologist.

Last May, Taylor wrote: ‘Climate change is having an effect on the West Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present. It is noteworthy that the neighbouring population of southern Hudson Bay does not appear to have declined, and another southern population (Davis Strait) may actually be over-abundant.’ (5)

Counting polar bears must in any event be a rather difficult process. They are well-camouflaged beasts (their fur is actually translucent) and are generally solitary, except when breeding, spending most of their time wandering around a very large, white barren wilderness. Saying anything for certain about them must be pretty tricky.

Yet the recent elevation of the polar bear into a victim of mankind’s recklessness isn’t really based on the facts or figures of polar bear life. Rather, these bears have become a big blank white canvas on to which any fairytale of human destructiveness can be written. To return to the Friends of the Earth leaflet – it says: ‘There are some voices, including slippery politicians and greedy commercial interests, who will tell you there is nothing to worry about.’ Its picture of the polar bear demonstrates otherwise, apparently. This is the Disneyfication of politics: bad, greedy people on one side, and ‘cuddly’, helpless polar bears on the other. How long till we get an animated fable about polar bears to sit alongside the penguin eco-flick Happy Feet?

Whatever the truth about climate change, we need to get beyond these childish tales of two legs bad, four legs good – of wicked man, and innocent beast. If the world is getting warmer due to human action, it may still make perfect sense to continue burning fossil fuels. What we need is a cool-headed and balanced discussion about the costs and benefits of different courses of action, from Kyoto-style emissions cuts and new, non-carbon technologies, to adaptive measures and the promotion of economic growth as a means of coping with problems. And we need to start putting the interests of human beings first.

The debate we’re getting – simple but cynical tales of human greed, backed by cute photos of cuddly creatures – is the polar opposite of the debate we need.


Sun's pulse a good predictor of weather outlook in Australia

Cough! Splutter! Choke! I live in an area of pretty average rainfall in Eastern Australia (Brisbane) and it rains nearly every second day here so do take the "DROUGHT-BREAKING rains across eastern Australia" below with a grain of salt. And I suppose it would be churlish of me to mention that there has recently been flooding right up and down the Eastern seaboard of Australia -- from North Queensland to Tasmania. Journalistic silliness does not however detract from the research reported below

DROUGHT-BREAKING rains across eastern Australia have been predicted in new modelling by a scientist who believes massive pulses in the sun's magnetic field are helping to drive the Earth's climate systems. If proven, the research will make the prediction of floods and droughts in Australia far more reliable and influence models projecting future climate change.

Robert Baker, from the University of New England, claims to have found a strong relationship between the rhythmic pulsing of the sun's magnetic field and weather systems, particularly in the southern hemisphere. The sun's magnetic emissions are known to peak every 11 years, a phenomenon demonstrated by increased sunspot activity. The sun also switches poles every 11 years. It last flipped in 2001. Associate Professor Baker said modelling of the sun's magnetic activity showed high rainfall during times of high activity and drought when the sun was stable. This suggested the fluctuations impacted on the upper atmosphere, which was in turn reflected in changes in the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), the measure of air pressure over the Pacific Ocean used as a reliable indicator of drought and flood.

Dr Baker said the most intense droughts in eastern Australia, including the Federation drought, tended to occur every 22 years, about a year after the southern pole of the sun flipped and became positively charged. In a paper, which has been submitted to the journal Solar Terrestrial Physics for peer review, he claims changes in solar magnetic fields can explain about 50 per cent of the variation in the SOI. The impact of solar magnetism is more noticeable in the southern hemisphere and in regions such as eastern Australia because more variable climate is driven by proximity to large oceans.

He said this relationship between the sun and climate required further research because it might help to explain an important but little understood natural cycle influencing the Earth's climate systems. "The sun drives the whole system," he said. "There is a natural impact that the sun has in terms of weather patterns maybe over a century." Dr Baker said the sun appeared to follow a longer-term magnetic cycle of about 80 years, meaning it might be possible to predict floods and droughts for the next 30 years based on historical records from the mid-1920s.

Dr Baker said the SOI was currently following a similar pattern to that recorded after 1924 when eastern Australia enjoyed heavy falls after a period of prolonged drought. Dr Baker's model puts a more scientific and transparent theory to the concepts first developed by long-range weather forecasters Lennox Walker and Inigo Jones. It also suggests there may be a longer 500-year solar cycle, which may help explain climate variability over the past centuries, including periods of unexplained climate variability such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.

Dr Baker said he was concerned about the welfare of rural communities amid unfounded speculation the current drought might continue for decades.



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

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


19 March, 2007


Why can't the damned stuff just MELT, like the Greenies want it to?

How quickly sea level will rise as climate warms depends mainly on how much the ocean expands from warming, how fast the polar ice sheets melt, and how fast the ice sheets discharge frozen ice into the ocean. This third process is by far the most poorly constrained, but in recent years large and rapid increases have occurred in the discharge rates of some of these outlet glaciers--as much as doubling in less than 1 year (see the Perspectives by Vaughan and Arthern and by Truffer and Fahnestock). Fricker et al. (p. 1544, published online 15 February) analyzed ice-surface elevations obtained from satellite laser altimetry in the vicinity of two important Antarctic ice streams and found rapid, local changes in the height of the ice on annual time scales. They interpret these results as the signatures of subglacial water movement between lakes at the base of the ice sheet. Howat et al. (p. 1559, published online 8 February) show that glacial discharge from ice streams in Greenland can decrease as suddenly as it can increase. Their findings illustrate the difficulty of extrapolating short-term trends in ice mass balance to longer intervals.



What has happened to all those species that global warming will send extinct?

What causes the latitudinal gradient in species diversity, with greater species richness in the tropics? Weir and Schluter (p. 1574) present data and simulations that together point to high speciation rates, not in the tropics as often assumed, but rather at temperate latitudes and low extinction rates in the tropics. This finding contradicts the hypothesis that the tropics have an elevated speciation rate relative to the temperate zones, as previously suggested.



From "GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS", VOL. 34, L05711. A demonstration from China that increased measured terrestrial temperatures can be due to urban heat island effects rather than anything in the atmosphere


Temporal change in urbanization-induced warming at two national basic meteorological stations of China and its contribution to the overall warming are analyzed. Annual and seasonal mean surface air temperature for time periods of 1961~2000 and 1981~2000 at the two stations of Beijing and Wuhan Cities and their nearby rural stations all significantly increase. Annual and seasonal urbanization-induced warming for the two periods at Beijing and Wuhan stations is also generally significant, with the annual urban warming accounting for about 65~80% of the overall warming in 1961~2000 and about 40~61% of the overall warming in 1981~2000. This result along with the previous researches indicates a need to pay more attention to the urbanization-induced bias probably existing in the current surface air temperature records of the national basic stations. Urbanization may have affected the surface air temperature (SAT) records at many city stations in continents, especially in industrial regions like Europe, North America and East Asia. However, this issue is still under debate at present. It is generally hold that urban heat island effect is of secondary importance, and it is unlikely to surpass 0.05øC in the past a hundred years on global average, a magnitude lower than the optimal estimation of the global average annual mean SAT change of 0.6øC [Jones et al., 1990; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001; Peterson, 2003; Li et al., 2004a]. On the other hand, some researches have shown that the urban heat island effect may play a significant role in the global and regional SAT trend estimated up to date, which should be paid more attention to and should be emended [Hansen et al., 2001; Kalnay and Cai, 2003; Zhou et al., 2004; Zhou and Ren, 2005].


In summary, temporal trends of annual and seasonal mean SAT for time periods of 1961~2000 and 1981~2000 at Beijing and Wuhan stations and their nearby rural stations are all significantly positive, and the annual and seasonal urban warming for the two periods for Beijing and Wuhan stations is also positive and significant. The annual urban warming at the city stations can account for about 65~80% of the overall warming in 1961~2000, and about 40~61% of the overall warming in 1981~2000. The quality control and the in-homogeneity examination and adjustment for the data of the stations used for the analysis have been made.



No dissent allowed by these modern-day Torquemadas

On Tuesday, The New York Times carried a story that could signal a turn in the global warming debate. It said that many scientists believed that Al Gore and his allies were guilty of exaggerations and overstatements.

"Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change. But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore's central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism. "I don't want to pick on Al Gore," Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. "But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data."

When I made similar points a month or two ago, I received incensed e-mails telling me I was a fool. So I was sure The New York Times would find itself under fire from political (as opposed to scientific) environmentalists. Sure enough, the executive director of the Sierra Club is peeved at the NYT for going off-message.

Incredibly enough, a New Republic pundit compared the NYT to National Review, home to the world's loudest global warming skeptics. What a churlish bunch. They got upset with the New York Times for running one skeptical article under the fold on the cover of the weekly Science section and forget about the 318 stories that have mentioned global warming on the NYT's front page -- few of which did anything to throw water on the contentions of political environmentalists that global warming is the moral/political/scientific crisis of modern times.

318 to one, and they're not satisfied. How did I come up with the 318 figure? I did an open-ended Nexis search for New York Times articles mentioning global warming that appeared in Section A on Pg. 1 or Page 1.



Some excerpts below from an interview conducted by Benny Peiser with Freeman Dyson. Dyson is "a British-born American physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum mechanics, solid-state physics, nuclear weapons design and policy, and for his serious theorizing in futurism and science fiction concepts, including the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He is a lifelong opponent of nationalism, and proponent of nuclear disarmament and international cooperation" (Quote from Wikipedia). Lubos Motl also picks out some highlights of the interview

Benny Peiser: Britain's leading cosmologists seem to be particularly gloomy about the future of civilisation and humankind. The so-called Doomsday Argument seems to have had a significant influence on many Cambridge-based scientists. It has induced among them a conviction that global catastrophe is almost imminent. Martin Rees, for instance, estimates that there is a 50% chance of human extinction during the next 100 years. How do you explain this apocalyptic mood among leading cosmologists in Britain and the almost desperate tone of their pronouncements?

Freeman Dyson: My view of the prevalence of doom-and-gloom in Cambridge is that it is a result of the English class system. In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status. As a child of the academic middle class, I learned to look on the commercial middle class with loathing and contempt. Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher, which was also the revenge of the commercial middle class. The academics lost their power and prestige and the business people took over. The academics never forgave Thatcher and have been gloomy ever since.

Benny Peiser: Your sociological reading raises the question whether the current fashion of issuing doomsday predictions could be interpreted as the revenge by leading academics against the business community? After all, their very activities, success and societal role are blamed for impending catastrophe. Could it be that the scientific prophets of doom are trying to regain some of their lost influence by portraying themselves as saviours who, at the same time, provide governments with strong incentives for increased state power and intervention?

Freeman Dyson: I agree with your diagnosis of the academic disease. The academics are suffering from business envy, in the USA as well as in Britain. And of course there are companies like Halliburton that it is reasonable to hate, enjoying political power in the Bush government and profiteering from the war that they encouraged Bush to start. Opposition to the war is mixed up with opposition to the business community. But I agree with you that there is a longer-lasting envy of the business community that has nothing to do with the war. The academics preaching doom and gloom are indeed hoping to take their revenge on the business community by capturing the government.

Benny Peiser: There has been an apparent shift among the political left and liberals from what used to be called progressive ideas to more dystopian anxieties. What are the reasons that you have not been carried away by this tide of cultural and technological pessimism. And why have so few academics and authors of popular science been able to resist this shift towards unhappiness and desperation? In other words, how much of our optimism is shaped by people around us and positive experiences, and how much is due to rational thought, I wonder?

Freeman Dyson: I do not agree that there has been a recent shift from progressive ideas to dystopian anxieties. The best writers have always been dystopian. In the 1890s we had Wells's Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau'. In the 1930s Huxley's Brave New World. These were the classics that I grew up with seventy years ago. Nothing that has been written recently is gloomier than Wells and Huxley. And in spite of that, there have always been optimists like me and Amory Lovins. I recommend Amory Lovins as an antidote to gloom and doom.

Benny Peiser: Finally, let me ask you about your thoughts regarding Britain, the country of your birth, the USA, the country of your choice, and the future of the Western democracies. At the end of your new book you write that "without religion, the life of a country would be greatly impoverished." Perhaps nothing symbolises the glaring differences between Britain and the USA more than the gradual fading of religion in the cultural life of the UK and the profound permeation of religion on public life in the US. Sometimes I wonder whether both extremes may be detrimental to a stable, liberal and open-minded society. In a world of mounting intellectual dogmatism, is there, in your view, a middle way between the Scylla of nihilist despair and the Carybis of fundamentalist unreasonableness?

Freeman Dyson: I do not agree with your assessment of religion in Britain and the USA. The extremes of religious dogmatism in the USA and of atheistic dogmatism in Britain are greatly exaggerated by the media. In both countries, the average atheist and the average Christian are not dogmatic or unreasonable. So far as I can see, there is about the same variety of beliefs on both sides of the ocean. Certainly we do not need any accurate navigation to find a middle way between the two extremes. Probably ninety percent of the population are somewhere in the middle. It is also interesting in this connection to observe the similarity, in optimistic mood and rapid material progress, between China and India. Although China is traditionally non-religious and India is traditionally permeated with religion, this does not seem to make much difference. In both countries, rapidly growing wealth and technological progress create a mood of optimism, with or without religion.


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

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


18 March, 2007


The latest IPCC report which reduces expected sea-level rise from feet to inches has got the Greenies rattled. Wretchard comments below on the rather amazing retreat from reality by a prominent global warmer -- who says that Greenies must trade "normal" truth for influence. It is a pretty good admission that global warming is not true in any normal sense.

The "precautionary principle" he invokes is in any case a philosophically silly detour. What do we take precautions against? A new ice age? One of those is geologically overdue. So you get straight back to a need to evaluate the evidence. What we do would be the opposite if we thought that a new ice age were more probable -- which it is.

Melanie Phillips is scathing about the anti-scientific Prof. Hulme too and Lubos Motl also weighs in

Mike Hulme, the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, argues in the Guardian that while scientific evidence may cast doubt on Global Warming why believe science? When a larger truth must be expressed, then "post-normal" science must be employed. (Hat tip: Melanie Philips and a Belmont Club reader)

Hulme argues that Global Warming is so important that everyone must act to stop it, whether or not it is scientifically known to exist.

Philosophers and practitioners of science have identified this particular mode of scientific activity as one that occurs where the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent, and where values are embedded in the way science is done and spoken.

It has been labelled "post-normal" science. ... The danger of a "normal" reading of science is that it assumes science can first find truth, then speak truth to power, and that truth-based policy will then follow. ... If only climate change were such a phenomenon and if only science held such an ascendancy over our personal, social and political life and decisions. In fact, in order to make progress about how we manage climate change we have to take science off centre stage. ...

What matters about climate change is not whether we can predict the future with some desired level of certainty and accuracy; it is whether we have sufficient foresight, supported by wisdom, to allow our perspective about the future, and our responsibility for it, to be altered. All of us alive today have a stake in the future, and so we should all play a role in generating sufficient, inclusive and imposing knowledge about the future. Climate change is too important to be left to scientists - least of all the normal ones.

It is an argument superficially similar in structure to Pascal's Wager, which is an expected value argument for the existence of God.

Pascal argued that it is a better "bet" to believe that God exists, because the expected value of believing that God exists is always greater than the expected value resulting from non-belief. Indeed, he claimed that the expected value is infinite. Pascal believed that it was inexcusable not to investigate this question: "Before entering into the proofs of the Christian religion, I find it necessary to point out the sinfulness of those men who live in indifference to the search for truth in a matter which is so important to them, and which touches them so nearly." Pascal's Wager is an argument for belief in God that he made and used because he hoped it would convert those to Christianity, who were ignorant, uninterested, or unconvinced by the arguments for the existence of God.
But any resemblance between Pascal and Hulme ends there. While Pascal's Wager describes an approach to problems which are in principle unknowable to science because they are unobservable, at least with present methods, Hulme on the other hand, exiles phenomena which are entirely observable and which ought to be primarily in the domain of science to the realm of political activism. While in Pascal's Wager a personal bet on the existence of God can never alter the fact of His actual existence or non-existence and is therefore entirely private, Hulme's exhortation to base a global program of social and climate engineering on "post-normal" political science amounts to a kind of self-appointed and potentially catastrophic tyranny.

In declaring himself free of the traditional scientific burden of proof Hulme finally abandons any pretense to authority. He has no rigorous way to tell us what is going to happen next. Nor is he willing to discuss it with those who do. There are two ways to predict the future. Statistics can help us predict the future based on trends which arise from the past, like driving a car with a blacked-out windshield by extrapolating from the scene in the rearview mirror. The stronger way is to possess an analytic model of the phenomenon such that we can "see" the future in the way that we can predict the future position of Mars by celestial mechanics in order to meet it with a space probe. Of the two ways Hulme has neither, nor did the Global Warming crowd ever even pretend to have the second; but now there is no requirement to even have the first. Presumably Hulme would object to being labeled a jackass using the "post-normal" methods he advocates. It might be a false accusation, but then we're not talking about proof, are we?


Here's a YouTube clip from a Harvard astrosphysicist on the subject of "precautionary principle" as applied to weather engineering and the punishment its critics faced half a millenium ago. She has another word from the "post-normal" method of thinking: superstition. Click here

Scientific Smackdown: Skeptics Voted The Clear Winners Against Global Warming Believers in Heated NYC Debate

Just days before former Vice President Al Gore's scheduled visit to testify about global warming before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, a high profile climate debate between prominent scientists Wednesday evening ended with global warming skeptics being voted the clear winner by a tough New York City audience of hundreds of people.

Before the start of the nearly two hour debate the audience polled 57.3% to 29.9% in favor of believing that Global Warming was a "crisis", but following the debate the numbers completely flipped to 46.2% to 42.2% in favor of the skeptical point of view. The audience also found humor at the expense of former Vice President Gore's reportedly excessive home energy use.

After the stunning victory, one of the scientists on the side promoting the belief in a climate "crisis" appeared to concede defeat by noting his debate team was `pretty dull" and at "a sharp disadvantage" against the skeptics.'s blog agreed, saying the believers in a man-made climate catastrophe "seemed underarmed for the debate and, not surprising, it swung against them."

The New York City audience laughed as Gore became the butt of humor during the debate. "What we see in this is an enormous danger for politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I'm not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. But it is a very serious point," quipped University of London emeritus professor Philip Stott to laughter from the audience.

The audience also applauded a call by novelist Michael Crichton to stop the hypocrisy of environmentalists and Hollywood liberals by enacting a ban on private jet travel. "Let's have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [power] grid. They must live in the way that they're telling everyone else to live. And if they won't do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously?" Crichton said to applause audience.

The debate was sponsored by the Oxford-style debating group Intelligence Squared and featured such prominent man-made global warming skeptics as MIT scientist Richard Lindzen, the University of London emeritus professor of biogeography Philip Stott and Physician turned Novelist/filmmaker Michael Crichton on one side. The scientists arguing for a climate `crisis' were NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt, meteorologist Richard C.J. Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The event, which was moderated by New York Public Radio's Brian Lehrer, debated the proposition: "Global warming is not a crisis."

The skeptics achieved the vote victory despite facing an audience that had voted 57% in favor of the belief that mankind has created a climate "crisis" moments before the debate began. But by the end of the debate, the audience dramatically reversed themselves and became convinced by the arguments presented by the skeptical scientists. At the conclusion, the audience voted for the views of the skeptics by a margin of 46.2% to 42.2%. Skeptical audience members grew from a pre-debate low of 29.9% to a post debate high of 46.2% -- a jump of nearly 17 percentage points.

NASA's Gavin Schmidt, one of the scientists debating for the notion of a man-made global warming "crisis" conceded after the debate that his side was `pretty dull' and was at "a sharp disadvantage." Schmidt made the comments in a March 15 blog posting at ".I'm afraid the actual audience (who by temperament I'd say were split roughly half/half on the question) were apparently more convinced by the entertaining narratives from [Novelist Michael] Crichton and [UK's Philip] Stott (not so sure about Lindzen) than they were by our drier fare. Entertainment-wise it's hard to blame them. Crichton is extremely polished and Stott has a touch of the revivalist preacher about him. Comparatively, we were pretty dull," Schmidt wrote.

The's blog also declared the global warming skeptics the clear winner of the debate in a March 15 post titled: "Debate Skills? Advantage: Climate Contrarians." "The proponents [of a climate crisis] seemed underarmed for the debate and, not surprisingly, it swung against them, particularly when Schmidt made the fatal debating error of dismissing the ability of the audience to judge the scientific nuances,"'s David Biello wrote.

The advocates of climate alarmism "were faced with the folksy anecdotes of Crichton and the oratorical fire of Stott," Biello wrote at Biello concluded, ".the audience responded to Crichton's satirical call for a ban on private jets more than Ekwurzel's vague we need to throw `everything we can at the climate crisis.' By the final vote, 46 percent of the audience had been convinced that global warming was indeed not a crisis, while just 42 percent persisted in their opinion that it was." Biello also criticized climate "crisis" advocate Richard Somerville as "perplexed" and "hardly inspiring."

Debate participant Schmidt lamented that the evening turned into one of futility for believers in a man-made global warming catastrophe. "Crichton went with the crowd-pleasing condemnation of private jet-flying liberals - very popular, even among the private jet-flying Eastsiders present and the apparent hypocrisy of people who think that global warming is a problem using any energy at all." Schmidt continued, "Stott is a bit of a force of nature and essentially accused anyone who thinks global warming is a problem of explicitly rooting for misery and poverty in the third world. He also brought up the whole cosmic ray issue as the next big thing in climate science." Schmidt appeared so demoralized that he mused that debates equally split between believers of a climate `crisis' and scientific skeptics are probably not "worthwhile" to ever agree to again.

Skeptical quotes from Novelist Michael Crichton:

"I would like to suggest a few symbolic actions that right-might really mean something. One of them, which is very simple, 99% of the American population doesn't care, is ban private jets. Nobody needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition, [APPLAUSE] "Let's have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [electrical] grid. They must live in the way that they're telling everyone else to live. And if they won't do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously? [APPLAUSE]"

"I suddenly think about my friends, you know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know, maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is mouth a few platitudes, show a good, expression of concern on our faces, buy a Prius, drive it around for a while and give it to the maid, attend a few fundraisers and you're done. Because, actually, all anybody really wants to do is talk about it."

"I mean, haven't we actually raised temperatures so much that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the questions that friends of mine ask as they are getting on board their private jets to fly to their second and third homes. [LAUGHTER]"

"Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn't have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water. We have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we care about this? It seems that we don't. It seems that we would rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to what's going on now. I think that's unacceptable. I think that's really a disgrace."

Skeptical quotes of University of London's emeritus professor of biogeography Philip Stott:

"What we see in this is an enormous danger for politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I'm not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. [LAUGHTER] But it is a very serious point."

"In the early 20th century, 95% of scientists believed in eugenics. [LAUGHTER] Science does not progress by consensus, it progresses by falsification and by what we call paradigm shifts."

"The first Earth Day in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling, the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by the year 2000. And of the average calorie intake of the average American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, would God it were. [LAUGHTER] It's nonsense and very dangerous. And what we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes."

"Angela Merkel the German chancellor, my own good prime minister (Tony Blair) for whom I voted -- let me emphasize, arguing in public two weeks ago as to who in Annie get the gun style could produce the best temperature. `I could do two degrees C said Angela.' `No, I could only do three said Tony.' [LAUGHTER] Stand back a minute, those are politicians, telling you that they can control climate to a degree Celsius."

"And can I remind everybody that IPCC that we keep talking about, very honestly admits that we know very little about 80% of the factors behind climate change. Well let's use an engineer; I don't think I'd want to cross Brooklyn Bridge if it were built by an engineer who only understood 80% of the forces on that bridge. [LAUGHTER]"


Summary of skeptical film

As Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" becomes mandatory viewing for many U.S. school children and nears becoming the "official truth" about global warming, it comes as most welcome news that an absolutely gripping film rebuttal has made its international debut, much to the chagrin of true believers in man-made climate change.

Last week, the UK's Channel 4 premiered a 75-minute film entitled, "The Great Global Warming Swindle." Through interviews with prize-winning climate experts and others, this masterful documentary explains the origins of global warming alarmism; debunks claims of man-made global climate change; exposes the motivations of organizations, scientists and activists sounding the alarm; and explains why it's been extremely difficult, if not downright dangerous, for climate scientists to question global warming orthodoxy publicly.

The entire film, which is creating quite a stir among tens of thousands of web viewers, can be viewed online at

According to the film, the origins of global warming alarmism had its roots in the 1970s-era fears of global cooling and an impending ice age, resulting from the 1940-1970 global temperature decline. Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin suggested at the time that man-made greenhouse gas emissions might offset the cooling by warming the atmosphere.

When Margaret Thatcher became UK Prime Minister in 1979, her mandate was to reduce Britain's economic decline. Thatcher wanted to make the UK energy-independent through nuclear power - she didn't like her country's reliance on coal, which politically empowered the coal miner unions, or oil, which empowered Middle Eastern states.

So Thatcher latched onto Bolin's notion that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide warmed the planet in a harmful way, thereby providing the perfect political cover for advancing her nuclear power agenda without having to fight the miners or Arab oil states.

She empowered the U.K. Meteorological Office to begin global climate change research, a move that eventually led to the 1988 creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations' group that has come to be the "official" international agency for global warming alarmism.

At about the same time, as Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore explains on-camera, environmentalism became more extreme. By the mid-1980s, environmental goals - e.g., clean air and clean water - had become so mainstream that activists had to adopt more extreme positions to remain anti-establishment.

Then when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended, many "peace-niks" and political activists moved over to environmental activism, bringing their "neo-Marxist" political philosophy with them. As Moore puts it, environmentalism became the "new guise for anti-capitalism."

Global warming alarmism was thus borne from this combination of official British policy, environmentalism's rejection of its own success and political opportunism by "unemployed" left-wing political activists.

With such an inglorious heritage, it's no wonder the scientists in "The Great Global Warming Swindle" have little trouble dismantling climate myths. Perhaps the most important bit of scientific knowledge presented is the actual relationship between temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide. In "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore disingenuously describes the relationship as "complex" while implying that higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels cause higher global temperatures. But according to the geological record and data from ice cores, higher temperatures actually precede higher carbon dioxide levels by about 800 years. Twentieth century data support this idea in at least two ways. First, most of the 20th century's warming occurred before 1940, while most of the century's greenhouse gas emissions occurred after 1940. Next, when manmade greenhouse gas emissions soared in the post World War II industrial boom, global temperatures declined until the mid-1970s, leading to the aforementioned global cooling concerns.

The Channel 4 program notes that ongoing temperature measurements contradict global warming theory. According to the theory, lower atmosphere temperatures should be warming at a much faster rate than those at the Earth's surface. In reality, however, just the opposite is occurring.

Then there's the sun - the gigantic yellow ball in the sky that climate alarmists want all of us to ignore in favor of minute emissions of an invisible gas that makes up less than one-half of one percent of the Earth's atmosphere. As it turns out, solar activity - unlike atmospheric carbon dioxide levels - correlates quite well with historic temperature changes, including through its effects on cosmic rays and clouds, as the film demonstrates quite effectively.

So why does the world seem to be caught up in the vise-like grip of a controversy that is contradicted by available scientific data and its own dubious heritage According to the scientists in the movie, there is an intolerance of dissent on global warming. Official government sanction of global warming opened the floodgates of funding to climate researchers, who previously worked in obscurity.

NASA scientist Roy Spencer says in the program that climate scientists need for there to be problems to get more funding. IPCC contributor John Christy says of climate scientists, "We have a vested interest in creating panic because money with then flow to climate scientists." University of London biogeographer Philip Stott says that "If the global warming virago collapses, there will be an awful lot of people out of jobs."

The film also debunks the IPCC claim that the 2,500 scientists contributing to its reports also support its alarmist conclusions. One key IPCC contributor for example, the Pasteur Institute's Paul Reiter, threatened to sue the IPCC if the group didn't remove his name from a chapter with which he disagreed.

When I met Al Gore in January 2006 after a presentation of his climate slideshow, I asked him if he'd be interested in setting up a public debate between climate scientists. He declined - twice. At this point, I'd settle for a movie face-off - "An Inconvenient Truth" vs. "The Great Global Warming Swindle." Let the public see both sides of the story and then we'll see who's believable and who's not.



So how can it be warming?

A Danish scientist said the idea of a "global temperature" and global warming is more political than scientific. University of Copenhagen Professor Bjarne Andresen has analyzed the topic in collaboration with Canadian Professors Christopher Essex from the University of Western Ontario and Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph.

It is generally assumed the Earth's atmosphere and oceans have grown warmer during the recent 50 years because of an upward trend in the so-called global temperature, which is the result of complex calculations and averaging of air temperature measurements taken around the world.

"It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth," said Andresen, an expert on thermodynamics. "A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate". He says the currently used method of determining the global temperature -- and any conclusion drawn from it -- is more political than scientific. The argument is presented in the Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics


Sun findings energize climate skeptics

The science of how global warming occurs has become crucial to our economy. So why are dissenting explanations of the sun's influence on our fate being pushed aside, asks Matthew Warren, environment writer for "The Australian"

It says a lot about the complexity of climate science that we can put a man on the moon but we still can't predict the weather beyond the next few days. The warming of the planet, and man's contribution to this phenomenon, has become the top scientific issue of this generation.

Science by its very nature is an argument. But apparently not this one any more. Yet a minority of scientists are still lining up to challenge the accepted wisdom with their claim that global warming is being principally driven by the sun, not by human activity. The mainstream view is that an accumulation of greenhouse gases, mostly due to human activity, is trapping too much of the sun's heat within our atmosphere. But the rebels against this dominant view suggest massive variations in the sun's heat radiation are far more influential in warming than accumulating greenhouse gases.

The UN-linked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the executive summary of the science of its fourth assessment report in February. It reported "90 per cent" certainty among consulted scientists that the 0.6C average temperature increase measured during the 20th century was largely caused by the release of greenhouse gases, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels by industrialised economies. In other words, by humans.

Although the scale of warming predictions had altered little during the preceding six years of research, politicians and mainstream climate-change scientists queued up to declare the argument about human-caused climate change was officially over. Despite such confidence, hundreds of blogs across the world continue to run charged claims and counterclaims on the internet about the various positions adopted by climate scientists. The scale of the argument is unprecedented and reflects considerable uncertainty. By comparison, there are no blogs debating the validity of the periodic table of elements, for example.

Despite these claims, the minority of scientists who disagree with the mainstream view are still at large and remain unmoved by the latest IPCC report. Their views have recently been exhumed by two equally contentious, polar opposite documentaries profiling them on British and Canadian television. Last month, the ABC's Four Corners screened the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program The Denial Machine, which claimed the campaign for caution about human-caused climate change was conceived by spin doctors and driven and funded by oil and coal companies. Produced last November, the program compared scientific scepticism on climate change to the tobacco industry's much publicised one-time campaign to discredit links between smoking and lung cancer.

Then last week Channel 4 in Britain screened a program called The Great Global Warming Swindle, in which many of the same scientists from the CBC program were interviewed to put the dissenting sceptics' sun-driven case on human-caused climate change. Yet to be screened in Australia, and unlikely to make its way on to Four Corners, the program argued the warming measured during the 20th century was the result of changes in solar activity, not increases in carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. It also took issue with what it described as a multibillion-dollar global warming industry that continued to play up the threat to support research, funding and relevance.

The debate over climate change has become increasingly stifling and intolerant to dissenting voices as the mainstream position has become more secure. Some argue it is appropriate, indeed necessary, to censor such dissent for fear it will delay action on the increasingly urgent policy response needed to make deep cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Unsurprisingly, the program sparked considerable controversy. One of the scientists interviewed claims he was misrepresented not so much by what he said on air, but by being associated with the thesis of such a one-sided polemic. Main British media outlets subsequently committed considerable space to attack what they claimed were the half-truths and discredited facts, as well as the credibility of the dissenting scientists who made them. While not interviewed for Channel 4, hydro-climatologist Stewart Franks at Newcastle University in NSW is one such scientist. Like all other scientists quoted in this article, he says he has never received any funding from any industry, but is increasingly uneasy about the dangerous path the debate is taking, where alternative views are discouraged and reputations attacked and discredited.

Franks says our understanding of the physics of climate is still so limited, we cannot explain natural variability or predict when droughts will break, or the when and why clouds form, which makes him wary of mainstream claims projecting temperature changes over the next century. He argues that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere account for only about 2 per cent to 3 per cent of the overall warming effect, meaning even major increases in gases lead to only slight shifts in temperature: between 0.5C and 1C. He is less certain than other dissenting scientists that variation in solar activity is the cause, but doubts that greenhouse gases are the main driver of temperature changes. "It's clear that we don't understand enough of the physics of climate to understand natural variability but I don't expect climate change from CO2 to be particularly significant at any point in the future," he says.

Franks points to new modelling which has measured changes in the Earth's albedo or reflectance, driven mainly by cloud formation. The paper by a team of geophysicists reported an unexplained decline in cloud cover until 1998, which caused the Earth to absorb more heat from the atmosphere. This resulted in increases in incoming solar radiation more than 10 times bigger than the same effect attributed to greenhouse gases. Franks says the current IPCC models assume albedo is constant but such research should be added to the body of knowledge, not excluded or rejected. "It's reached the point that anyone who offers an open mind publicly is basically criticised and put down," he says.

New Zealand climatologist Associate Professor Chris de Freitas says it is generally agreed greenhouse gases are having a warming effect on the radiation balance of the Earth, but there is disagreement on the extent of positive feedbacks. The IPCC models claim the warming caused by the release of carbon dioxide encourages accelerated warming, with the system spiralling slowly but insiduously upwards. The IPCC models predict a range of temperature increases from 1.1C to 6.4C by 2100. So much for certainty.

De Freitas, unlike the IPCC, thinks the warming effect of carbon dioxide decreases over time as it becomes more saturated in the atmosphere. "There is so much scope for disagreement because there is so much uncertainty. This was one of the most outrageous implications of the first IPCC report - claiming that the science was settled," he says. "The big problem is the feedbacks warming accelerates itself . We don't still understand the very complex climate system. None of the models have proved to be accurate at all. So using the outputs of models is fallacious because they're not evidence of anything, they're just hypotheses. "The IPCC started it in their first report by calling it a 'consensus view' to shut down debate. By calling their critics deniers, they are saying, 'look these guys are arguing against the impossible'."

The IPCC is the scientific and political engine room of the climate-change debate. It's "consensus view" is based on 19 different computer models to project temperature changes based on known increases in greenhouse gases. At least one of the 1500 "leading scientists" it quotes as its underpinning authority is also one of its staunchest critics, Richard Lindzen, who is Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a contributing author to this year's fourth IPCC assessment report but remains highly critical of how the panel operates, claiming it is largely a political process underpinned by science, which carefully stage-manages the release of its reports to maximise political impact.

The IPCC made headlines across the world in February with the release of the executive summary of its assessment report, which Lindzen says was severely modified by the political session that writes it and which is now modifying the full scientific report to fit for release in May. "That's a very funny procedure by most standards," he said. "You don't appeal to consensus if you have a scientific argument. "Very few of the models are independent and they all share certain profound difficulties. They all get clouds hugely wrong and a small change in clouds has a much bigger effect than doubling CO2."

Bob Carter, who is a research professor in marine geology at James Cook University, says there are some excellent scientists involved in the IPCC process and the actual report is likely to be both sound and useful science. But he is even more scathing of the process. "I think it is probably without precedent in any Western democratic process, the idea that you would publish an executive summary before the report and then openly say that 'we need a few more weeks to work on the report to make sure it is consistent with the executive summary'," he says. "I don't know how anybody can take them seriously. It's become a religion. I have no doubt that a number of the IPCC supporters genuinely believe. Others know very well that the evidence isn't there, but it suits them to believe. "I'm agnostic. And when the evidence is there I shall be perfectly happy to believe the hypothesis. But the evidence is not there."

In his Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, former US vice-president Al Gore's central claim in his description of the science was his correlation of 650,000 years of temperature changes with atmospheric carbon concentrations using polar ice-core samples. Gore described the relationship as complex, but made the most of the theatre, climbing up on a crane to accentuate the scale of the increases in greenhouse gas. But the sceptics point to a paper published in Nature and Science magazines showing the historical relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature has the gas lagging, not leading. That is, greenhouse gas rises occurred about 800 years later than allegedly matching temperature change, as the warming seas released more gas into the atmosphere and trapped it when cooling.

This doesn't discredit the mainstream theory that present levels of greenhouse gases are still well above historical levels, but it is one of several areas where even mainstream scientists believe Gore appears loose with the science to make his film more dramatic. The CBC documentary referred to predictions of sea-level rises of up to 24m as a result of climate change. The IPCC predicts rises at worst of about 50cm by 2100. If it's not OK to mislead the public in criticising climate-change science, why is it OK to mislead people in selling it?

Recently Prime Minister John Howard was effectively forced to recant a comment made in parliament that the science was uncertain. Clean Up Australia boss Ian Kiernan recently accused federal Finance Minister Nick Minchin of being an "unscientific looney" because he expressed some doubts about the validity of the climate-change science. Suddenly it's not just unfashionable to hold some doubts or keep an open mind on the science of climate change.

Having accepted the risk flagged by the mainstream science that the planet is warming, by developing an appropriate policy response, the debate in Australia has effectively decoupled the science from the policy response. We have agreed the issue is too important to wait for more conclusive answers, that we are prepared to act comprehensively on climate change, possibly at considerable cost, on the trust that most respected, credible scientists are deeply concerned about the seriousness of this threat. Greenpeace played an important role in its formative years by challenging companies, and governments developed economies. Why was that OK then, but this is not 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

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


17 March, 2007

Washington State truth-teller penalized for refusing to be gagged

These censorship attempts alone tell you all you need to know about the shakiness of global warming theory

The number is eye-popping, and it was repeated so often it became gospel. The snowpack in the Cascades, it was said, shrank by 50 percent in the last half-century. It's been presented as glaring evidence of the cost exacted by global warming - the drying up of a vital water source. That statistic has been repeated in a government report, on environmental-advocacy Web sites and in media coverage. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels recently mentioned it in a guest column in The Seattle Times. Here's the problem: The number is dead wrong.

The debunking of this statistic, and the question of just how much the state's snowpack shrank, is stirring up a heated debate among the region's climate scientists. On Monday, it escalated further when University of Washington researcher and State Climatologist Philip Mote stripped a colleague of his title as associate state climatologist, triggering concerns that scientific dissent is being quashed. Losing the title doesn't affect the man's employment at the UW.

The affair might be dismissed as a tempest in an ivory-tower teapot. But it comes at a time when the science of climate change is getting more attention from policy-makers and the public. University of Washington scientists are in a tense dispute over what has happened to snowpack in the Cascade Mountains, considered a critical potential effect of global warming.

The arguments and who's behind them:

50 percent decrease since 1950: Widely used as recently as this year, now dismissed by scientists on all sides as a major overstatement.

35 percent decrease since the mid-1940s: Offered by Washington State Climatologist and UW climate scientist Philip Mote.

30 percent decrease since 1945: Professor Dennis Hartmann, chair of the Atmospheric Sciences Department, after a meeting with the different sides and consultations with other scientists.

10 to 15 percent decrease since the mid-1940s: Professor Cliff Mass, in association with meteorologist Mark Albright

It illustrates the challenge of teasing apart how global climate change affects a small region like the Northwest. It shows how a single statistic can take on a life of its own in this politically charged debate, batted around from politicians' speeches to newspapers (including information from a Seattle official in a May 2006 story in The Seattle Times). And it reflects the pressures and scrutiny surrounding politicians' use of science as global warming gains more attention. Recently, some scientists have been criticizing claims in the Oscar-winning climate-change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," which stars Al Gore.

Shrinking, sure, but ...

The debate in Seattle started with Mark Albright, a part-time UW meteorologist and, until this week, the associate state climatologist. After reading Nickels' February essay in The Times, Albright sent an e-mail to colleagues saying he didn't see evidence that snowpack was steadily shrinking, much less by 50 percent. A back-and-forth ensued, involving Albright, co-worker and meteorologist Cliff Mass, and several scientists with the UW's Climate Impacts Group, a federally funded team of researchers that plays a prominent role analyzing climate change in the Northwest. All quickly agreed that the 50 percent number was wrong. It may have originally come from an editing error in a 2004 report issued by an Oregon panel of scientists. "No one believes in this 50 percent number anymore," Mass said.

The mistake doesn't discredit projections that the state's snowpack will shrink in the future due to climate change, Mass and Mote agree. But Mass said it underscores the uncertainty around predicting what will happen. And it leaves people like Nickels vulnerable to attack from people questioning the importance of climate change. "To allow him [Nickels] to be out there with numbers that are unsupportable, it's setting him up to walk the plank," Mass said.

Todd Myers, a critic of Nickels' global-warming strategy and director of the local free-market policy group the Center for Environmental Policy, said this shows the danger of science getting distorted for political goals. "If you have people who are campaigners in one direction or the other, you're going to get data out there that's used incorrectly," Myers said.

So what is the right number? That's where things have gotten testy. On one side, Mass, who is working with Albright, said they see only a small downward trend in Cascade Mountain snowpacks, perhaps 10 to 15 percent since the 1940s. The measurement can be exaggerated by starting during a time of high snowfall, in 1950, and ending at a time of low snowfall in the mid-1990s, Mass said. But snowfall has increased again in recent years, and there is little overall change in snowpack in the past 30 years, Mass said. Mass stressed that he is not one of the small number of scientists disputing that humans are causing the planet to heat up.

Albright, in an e-mail, said the evidence doesn't support claims of a dramatically shrinking snowpack. But he didn't answer questions on his disagreements with Mote. Mote, meanwhile, questioned the methods Albright and Mass are using to analyze data, mostly gathered from weather stations in the mountains that track snowfall. Mote, a member of the Climate Impacts Group who rose to prominence partly due to his work documenting shrinking snowpack around the West, said the decline is more like 35 percent.

In late February, professor Dennis Hartmann, chair of the UW Atmospheric Sciences Department, stepped in to referee. After a meeting with the researchers, Hartmann issued a statement saying that snowpack appears to have dropped 30 percent, and that warming in the future will likely affect snowpack, particularly at lower elevations.

Since then, the debate has gotten more heated. Mote, upset that Albright was broadly distributing e-mails about the issue, last week told Albright that he would have to let Mote preview any e-mails before sending them out, if he was tying his work to the state climatologist's office. Mote's position as the state climatologist is a volunteer job that doesn't carry any official recognition or rules. Mote agreed to do the job several years ago, and his colleagues accepted it. The office collects and disseminates climate information and advises the state on climate-related issues. When Albright refused Mote's ultimatum, Mote barred him from associating himself with the state climatologist's office.

Mote said Albright was sending out messages showing just his side of the story, and airing an analysis that hadn't gone through proper quality checks. As a representative of the climatologist's office, there needed to be standards, he said. "I'm not trying to squelch debate by any means," Mote said. [Except that he is]

But Mass said Albright was doing nothing wrong - simply airing his analysis and seeking feedback as he researched further. "In all my years of doing science, I've never seen this sort of gag-order approach to doing science," he said. Meanwhile, Nickels' office has switched to using the 30 percent figure announced by Hartmann, the department chair. "Obviously we're going to use whatever number the scientists at UW say is accurate," Nickels spokesman Marty McOmber said.


Those who cry global warming often have a political agenda

Now that Al Gore has his Oscar, the truth of catastrophic manmade global warming surely has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, right? Sure, just ask noted climatologist Leonardo DiCaprio. I have to admit, I find myself resisting to much of the message of the global warming activists because the global warming crowd exhibits a political agenda and a sort of radical fanaticism that is troubling. Even to a simple layman like myself, they appear to ignore and misrepresent any evidence that may call into question the conclusions of the global warming orthodoxy.

In fact, without a lot of study or research, I have found examples of data being covered up. For instance, in a nonfiction appendix to his novel "State of Fear," Michael Crichton reveals that after the hardcover publication of the book, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies actually changed its Web site to withhold data that creates some doubt regarding global warming. Crichton writes, "GISS changed its Web site to show less data. The station data no longer goes back before 1880 and thus heightens the appearance of a steady rise in temperature." That's hard to believe, but check it out in Appendix II of the paperback publication of "State of Fear," by Michael Crichton. If the scientific conclusions of the global warming activists are true, then data should not have to be covered up or hidden. There should be no need to hide any facts.

If you do a little research on the subject -- honestly, it doesn't take much -- you find there really is not a scientific consensus regarding global warming and its causes. You find there are facts about the history of the Earth's climate that often don't get mentioned because they are, ironically, inconvenient for the global warming crowd. And you find that there seem to be out-and-out political bullying tactics within the scientific community toward those who question the politically correct position on the subject.

If some of the scientific data seems to point toward global warming caused by human activity and some of it does not, then, the solution would be to maintain a genuinely open and curious mind while further research is conducted. Politically motivated bully tactics and celebrity endorsements will not change scientific facts. Although, I understand Britney has released a statement regarding her opinions on the "medieval climate optimum," and I'm dying to read it.

I remain much more skeptical of the global warming message when it appears that the global warming activists are more interested in pushing an agenda and achieving a mission -- a political one -- than pursuing the truth.


Offsetting your "carbon footprint" takes decades

SCHEMES used by environmentally conscious consumers to cut their "carbon footprint" could take up to a century to deliver the promised benefits, a study has suggested. Researchers found it takes that length of time for "carbon offsetting" - which often involves the planting of trees in the developing world - to absorb the greenhouse gases emitted by a single flight. Dozens of fortunes have been made in recent years by entrepreneurs offering people and businesses the chance to neutralise their carbon emissions for a fee.

The new research, carried out by scientists at the Tyndall Centre, based at the University of East Anglia, and Sweden's Lund University, suggests that such schemes may, in fact, do little more than salve the consciences of those paying for them. "What we are seeing here is the emergence of a new and completely unregulated financial market," said Lund's Professor Stefan Gossling, who led the study. "These schemes may eventually recapture the carbon people emit now but will only finish the job after most of them have died. That is too long."

The schemes studied by Gossling included one offered by British Airways to its passengers through Climate Care, a British carbon offsetting company. It found that an offset bought through the scheme would take about 100 years to recapture the carbon emitted by a flight. This is because Climate Care includes forestry in its offsetting portfolio, meaning that carbon emitted can be recaptured only as fast as a tree can grow.

The research coincides with a sharp rise in the political temperature over climate change. Last week EU leaders agreed to cut European carbon emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020. The voluntary carbon offsetting market has sprung from the same global concern over carbon emissions. There are now dozens of companies charging fees to help people and organisations deal with their carbon emissions. One of the richest is Climate Change Capital, a merchant bank specialising in low-carbon investments, which controls funds of more than 500 million pounds and has made millionaires of its founders, James Cameron and Lionel Fretz. The firm specialises in big industrial projects. Most offsetting companies prefer, however, to support smaller energy-efficiency projects and renewable energy schemes.

A favourite is to buy low-energy lightbulbs for distribution in developing countries. Such schemes can take years to recover the carbon emitted by, say, a flight, but when forestry is the chosen offset mechanism this can stretch into decades. "When companies offer to offset a single flight over a period of 100 years then the schemes lose credibility," said Gossling. "How can anyone predict the fate of a forest? A hundred years from now it could burn down and all that carbon would be released."

Some forestry projects have ended in spectacular failures. Coldplay, the rock group, sponsored 10,000 mango trees in southern India to offset the environmental impact of its 2002 album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. By last year, however, the trees, supplied by Future Forests, now The CarbonNeutral Company, had withered and died. Jonathan Shopley, chief executive of The CarbonNeutral Company, said the firm had since moved out of forestry and in to schemes such as wind farms and low-energy lighting. "Any offsets taken out with us in future will recover the relevant carbon emissions within four years," he said.

The turnover of the CarbonNeutral Company has risen sharply to 4 million pounds a year and it has just signed up Silverjet, a new air-line dedicated to business class passengers. It charges an average 999 for a return flight between New York and London - of which 11 goes towards offsetting each passenger's carbon emissions. David Wellington, managing director of Climate Care, said: "Many of the criticisms raised over offsetting were valid. This is a young industry and it is still settling down, but the standards are improving very fast. For example, we have already moved out of forestry into renewable energy projects that reduce the time over which offsets take effect."

But others believe that carbon offsetting is deeply flawed. Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, said it was little more than a mechanism to allow rich westerners to ease their consciences. "What we are really doing is paying poor people to reduce their carbon emissions so that we can maintain our luxury lifestyles. If we really want to live sustainably we are going to have to accept the knocks and give up things like flying. In the end they are unsustainable," he said.


Skeptical New Zealanders

Angry forest owners have dominated meetings held by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry around the country to receive feedback on proposals the Government has put up to deal with climate change in the farm and forestry sectors. It is plain many of the hundreds who have turned up are not interested in the proposals. Instead, they have passed resolutions calling for the Government to leave the Kyoto Protocol immediately and dismissed climate change science as "bullshit".

One old-timer says he hasn't seen this much passion at farmer meetings since the Rogernomics roadshows of the mid-80s. This time it is the forest owners who are leading the charge. But as in the mid-80s, the calls for U-turns will be ignored and the farmers will have missed a chance to influence climate change policy. A Labour-led government will not turn its back on Kyoto and though National has indicated it would review the Kyoto commitment it would be a big call to repudiate a big international treaty.

What the big forest owners regard as particularly iniquitous is the Government's decision to claim an estimated $2.5 billion in carbon credits from forests planted after 1990, the start of the Kyoto agreement. They are further incensed by one proposal that would see them penalised if deforested land is converted to farming use. In particular, this would hit a few corporate investors in the central North Island who want to convert their forests to dairying.

The Government has responded by saying its preference is for tradable permits that would involve no taxation and allow foresters to trade among themselves to set their own value on deforested land. For farmers, the most likely policies won't have a harsh impact. The cutting of small forestry blocks would be exempt from a permit regime, though where the line would be drawn hasn't been spelled out. It's too early to be sure, but some observers are picking the Government will settle on a two-pronged attack.

One would be the linked proposals to provide an incentive to use sprays and additives that reduce nitrous oxide emissions from animal waste and fertiliser and at the same time to place a charge on the use of nitrogen fertiliser. While this will affect dairying, it won't mean much to sheep and beef farmers. These farmers will be hoping for a minimum threshold on the use of nitrogen as small dressings are a valuable pasture tool and cause few extra emissions.

The other prong and the big hope in reducing farming's high rate of greenhouse gas emissions will lie in results from animal and plant research, which till now have made slow progress. The Government will want to invest more money in this but will expect farmers to contribute too. The last time this was proposed, farmers marched on Parliament and the Government backed away from the so- called fart tax.

This time, public support isn't so well-assured and farmers may have to foot the bill. Another proposal of trading permits that farmers could buy from each other to offset gas emissions would prove exorbitantly expensive and cumbersome to administer. If this is favoured by the Government it can expect a tidal wave of farmer protest, justifiably angry at the imposition of the mother of all compliance costs.


CSR and Global Warming Economics

Well, either you're closing your eyes
To a situation you do now wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated

While Harold was talking about the perils of a pool table in River City, today the "Music Man" would be talking about the perils of global warming. In fact, these lines could easily appear in the musical sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth" - sung by Al Gore of course. But just as Harold was a con-artist, the global warming activists have their own cure-all scheme that warrants the same skepticism given to the snake-oil salesmen of old.

The global warming scam has nothing to do with the science behind global warming. It has everything to do with the economics. Oil, coal, or any other energy source is an economic good that is no different than any other product or service. Issues of supply and demand dictate the quantity and price of current energy sources as well as the incentive for suppliers to create viable energy alternatives.

Then there are externalities. An externality is defined as a cost (or benefit) that is imposed on somebody that is neither the seller nor the purchaser of the product or service in question. The pollution and greenhouse gases emitted from energy use are negative externalities. However, the economic growth, wealth, and poverty reduction that individuals leverage from energy use are a positive externality. Perhaps more importantly, economic growth and pollution are inter-twined in complex ways. There is ample evidence from recent history that greater economic growth, past a certain threshold, can actually reduce the amount of pollution a society creates.

Appropriately incorporating these externalities is no simple affair. Blind demands to force nations and companies to exclusively focus on reducing the negative externality, while politically popular, may cause more harm than good.

Despite these complexities, the business leaders embracing the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement are getting into the act. Several of these executives are supporting global warming regulations through a movement called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP). The USCAP alliance boasts major corporate members such as GE, Alcoa, BP, Caterpillar, DuPont, Lehman Brothers, and PG&E. One of the basic principles of the alliance is to encourage the U.S. to impose a carbon emissions cap and trade scheme.

Because major corporations, under the guise of CSR, have joined the alliance, there is a false impression that the free-market system has given the new regulatory regime its blessings and that the economic costs from capping carbon emissions is small. According to the USCAP report, "In our view, the climate change challenge, like other challenges our country has confronted in the past, will create more economic opportunities than risks for the U.S. economy."

Espousing such "cost-free" rhetoric is the essence of the global warming scam. Perhaps man-made global warming requires drastic action. Nevertheless, these actions will not come without economic consequences and attempting to sell the regulations as if they "create more economic opportunities" than costs is disingenuous.

Energy use and economic growth go hand-in-hand. Carbon-based energy still supplies the vast majority of our current energy needs. Restricting our energy options by meaningfully capping the amount of carbon the U.S. emits will raise the country's energy costs, at least in the short-run. As the recent rise of oil to over $80 a barrel attested, higher energy costs impose a net cost on our economy, and can be particularly painful for poorer families that are already having a difficult time making ends meet.

The Carbon emission regime could also backfire. Even if the U.S. implemented a carbon cap, worldwide carbon emissions may not be reduced; instead, the likely outcome is that carbon emissions will be simply redistributed from the U.S. to places like China and India. The economic costs borne by U.S. residents will consequently be borne in vain as there would be no net positive impact on the environment from the carbon cap policy. In fact, to the extent that the industrialized countries use cleaner technologies, the regulations could actually have a net negative impact on the environment.

In order to ensure that there is not a net negative impact on the environment, it will be necessary to impose carbon emission caps on the developing countries as well. Such a policy endangers the economic growth these countries so desperately need. China is a classic example. China's economy has been growing at a furious pace. As a result, millions of people have been lifted out of desperate poverty. Capping emissions in China jeopardizes its economic growth and with it the country's ability to further reduce the extreme poverty that still afflicts far too many of its citizens.

These trade-offs must be a central part of any global warming debate. Simply advocating for emissions caps while ignoring the real economic costs the caps create will not lead to sustainable environmental or economic policies. CSR is dangerous in this realm because it provides a credibly-viewed messenger that we can cap our carbon emissions without cost. We cannot.

Instead, we must ask some fundamental questions about our environmental policies: What is the problem? What are we asking for? Does this make sense? What are the implications? Are the tradeoffs worthwhile? With such basic questions answered, we will be empowered to intelligently design environmental and economic policies that do the most good. However, just as the typical "snake oil" customer discovered, if we don't ask the right questions upfront, then we shouldn't be surprised when the product fails to deliver on its promises.



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

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


16 March, 2007

Nuclear Power Industry Wins First Site Approval in 30 Years

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Thursday approved the first Early Site Permit for a nuclear power plant - demonstrating a new and previously untested licensing process for locating new nuclear plants in the United States. Critics say new nuclear plants are not needed if energy conservation is implemented. The approval - for Exelon Generation Company's Clinton site, in central Illinois - was hailed by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman as "a major milestone" in the Bush administration's plan to expand the use of nuclear power. "NRC approval of the Clinton Early Site Permit represents a major accomplishment in this administration's effort to address the barriers and stimulate deployment of new nuclear power plants in the United States," Bodman said. "By demonstrating effectiveness and predictability in the licensing process, utilities will have the information they need to make sound business decisions that can lead to the construction of new nuclear power plants," he said.

The Early Site Permit resolves environmental, site suitability and emergency planning issues with regard to the possible construction and operation of a new nuclear plant next to the Clinton Power Station in Clinton, Illinois. Exelon has not decided to move forward with building a new nuclear plant.

President Bush's Fiscal Year 2008 budget requests $874.2 million, a 38.2 percent increase over the FY'07 request, for theOffice of Nuclear Energy. Of that request, $114 million has been allocated to complete the remaining Early Site Permit demonstration projects and continue the New Nuclear Plant Licensing Demonstration projects.

Paul Leventhal, the long-time head of the nongovernmental Nuclear Control Institute, NCI, says there is "ample evidence" that "conservation alone could eliminate the need for the existing fleet of nuclear power plants, let alone new ones." Before establishing NCI, based in Washington, DC, Leventhal held senior staff positions in the U.S. Senate on nuclear power and proliferation issues. He served as co-director of the bipartisan Senate Special Investigation of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident, and helped to draft the 1974 legislation that established the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "The public has yet to be heard from," said Leventhal. "The NRC is going to grant permits at existing sites assuming that these commmunities have already accepted nuclear power plants. If there was an accident, that could change overnight." He is critical of the NRC's close working relationship with the nuclear industry, saying that the "NRC could be perceived as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Energy Institute," a nuclear industry association.

Nuclear Energy Institute's president and chief executive officer, Frank "Skip" Bowman, said Thursday, "History will record this day as one of the early milestones in the era of new nuclear power plant construction in the United States. Approval of the Clinton early site permit application by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission - the first such siting permit in the agency's history - is a momentous occurrence." "Site pre-approval provided through the early site permit process holds the potential to shorten the time required to bring a new nuclear power plant to market," said Bowman. "As our nation seeks to increase its reliance on nuclear energy to strengthen U.S. energy diversity and security with a reliable electricity source that keeps the air clean, today's action marks a promising day for a brighter energy future for the American people," he said.

Leventhal said, "The nuclear renaissance is in the eyes of the beholder. The administration has tried to build a solid case for nuclear power based on global warming and electricity needs beyond current capacity." But, in his view, the risks outweigh the benefits. "I'm not anti-nuclear, and I have taken a neutral position on nuclear power," Leventhal said. "It can be acceptable if it is operated as safely as humanly possible." "But nuclear power plants in today's security environment should be regarded as strategic targets in the United States with the fullest protection the federal government can provide," Leventhal said. "They should be protected with ground to air missiles integrated into both the military and the Federal Aviation Administration systems with careful command and control systems. There may have to be permanent troops or special federal protection forces." But Leventhal says the industry opposes the federal government stepping in because it might alarm the public into recognizing that nuclear power plants are vulnerable. "So you have nuclear power plants protected by rent-a-cops."

Energy Secretary Bodman characterizes nuclear power as "clean" and "safe" and says "nuclear power will play an increasingly important role as the demand for electricity grows worldwide." "Government's role is to create an environment in which clean energy can flourish, and I'm proud to say that we're helping doing just that," said Bodman Thursday.

But Leventhal is not reassured. "There's lots of loosey, goosey stuff that makes plants vulnerable to attack," he said. "The public doesn't want to know, they're in denial." "We cannot today protect against an attack like 911," Leventhal warned. "If plants are hit in the big metropolitan areas such as Chicago or New York, the effects would be catastrophic, rendering these cities uninhabitable."


Climate Change: Could It Be Random?

Severe climate changes during the last ice-age could have been caused by random chaotic variations on Earth and not governed by external periodic influences from the Sun. This has been shown in new calculations by a researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University.

Several large international projects have succeeded in drilling ice-cores from the top of the Greenland inland ice through the more than 3 km thick ice sheet. The ice is a frozen archive of the climate of the past, which has been dated back all the way to the previous interglacial Eem-period more than 120.000 years ago. The ice archive shows that the climate has experienced very severe changes during the glacial period. During the glacial period there were 26 abrupt temperature increases of about 7-10 degrees. These glacial warm periods are named Dansgaard-Oeschger events after the two scientists first observing them.

The global warming we experience presently will cause a temperature increase of perhaps 2-5 degrees in the next century if greenhouse gas emissions continue, researchers claim. This will lead to increased sea levels and more severe weather with terrible consequences. The temperature rise during the glacial period were much larger and happened much faster. Temperature increased by 10 degrees in less than 50 years with changes to the ocean currents and the whole ecosystem. These changes have caused sea level rises up to perhaps as much as 8 meters and large changes to the vegetation.

The 26 climate shifts are apparently periodic. They seem to occur with a period of 1470 years. Every now and then a period is skipped and the shifts occur 3-4000 years apart. Professor Peter Ditlevsen at the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University wanted to investigate the periodicity of the climate shifts. He asked: "Could it be that the shifts are chaotic and random, they just look periodic by pure coincidence. How probable is that?"

Using mathematical models of the climate shifts he calculated the probability of the periodicity. He focused on the time intervals between the climate shifts. How regular are they really? As a baton, periodically beating, how far from the beating are the climate shifts? If the distances are perfectly periodic 100% is obtained. It turned out that the climate shifts hit the beats of the baton by 70%. He then had the computer spreading the shifts over the ice age randomly. He did this 1000 times with different random time intervals. In this he got between 40% and 90% right hits. The major part of the calculations was between 55% and 75%. Then he calculated the opposite assumption, that the climate shifts has a period. Again he made 1000 calculations, but this time the numbers came out between 80% and 100%. The major part came out above 90%. But 90% is not the regularity for the real climate changes, they occur with 70%.

The conclusion drawn by Peter Ditlevsen is that the probability of hitting 70% is less if the climate shifts are periodic than if they are random. This is very important for understanding the cause of the climate changes and especially for predicting climate shifts. If they are random and chaotic they are fundamentally unpredictable.


Death Threats for climate skeptic Tim Ball

Warning: Debating global warming from science rather than politics could be a challenge to your health. In fact death threats come in fives to scientists who write that global warming is not man-made. Canadian climatologist Dr. Tim Ball, who has been questioning man-made global warming for 30 years, has received five death threats by email.

Resentment toward Ball escalated when his Canada Free Press (CFP) February 5th column, "Global Warming: The Cold Hard Facts?" was posted by the Drudge Report. "We're worried about him," Ball's wife told CFP on Thursday. Her husband continues with his speaking engagements and will be in Washington next week to address a group of American senators prior to Al Gore's appearance before Senator Barbara Boxer's Environment and Public Works Committee.

"Man-made Global Warming crusaders don't tolerate dissent. There's billions of dollars at stake," says Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.

While Ball--who was told in one email that if he continued to speak out would not live to see another global warming--takes the threats to his life in stride, CFP thinks the IPO addresses of the email writers should be forwarded to the police.

While the proponents of man-made global warming have made it the new religion, Ball and some of his colleagues remember when global cooling was all the rage. His prediction that the United Nations authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would be soon making wildly alarmist statements came true over the weekend. Within just a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people will die for lack of water, scientists on the panel intend to declare in Belgium next month.

"Things are happening and happening faster than we expected," said Patricia Romero Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., one of the many co-authors of the new report. "The draft document says scientists are highly confident that many current problems--change in species' habits and habitats, more acidified oceans, loss of wetlands, bleaching of coral reefs, and increases in allergy-inducing pollen--can be blamed on global warming." (My Way News, 11/03/07.) "And co-author Terry Root of Stanford University said: "We truly are standing at the edge of mass extinction of species."

While the UN body is doing its best to spread its alarmist theories, Hollywood will weigh in by making the environmental villain the quintessential "Bad Guy" of the silver screen with movies like James Cameron's Avatar.

"Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist," Ball wrote in his Drudge pick up CFP column. "And I am not the only one trying to make people open their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was one of the first Canadian PhDs 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," Dr. Ball wrote. "Few listen, even though I have a PhD, (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."

"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."

Things are so hot on the global warming front, scientists who question mankind's impact on climate change have been thrown into the category of Holocaust deniers. "Western governments have pumped billions of dollars into careers and institutes and they feel threatened," says Ball. "I can tolerate being called a sceptic because all scientists should be skeptics, but then they started calling us deniers, with all the connotations of the Holocaust. That is an obscenity. It has really got nasty and personal."

The proverbial cat seems to have been sent in with the pigeons last week when Ball and his colleagues appeared in "The Great Global Warming Swindle", a British Channel 4 documentary in which several scientists, claimed the theory of man-made global warming had become a "religion", forcing alternative explanations to be ignored.

Richard Lindzen, the professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who also appeared on the documentary recently claimed: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labeled as industry stooges." (, 11/03/07). "Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science.

"Dr. Myles Allen, from Oxford University. Agreed. He said: "The Green movement has hijacked the issue of climate change. It is ludicrous to suggest the only way to deal with the problem is to start micro managing everyone, which is what environmentalists seem to want to do."

"Nigel Calder, a former editor of New Scientist, said: "Governments are trying to achieve unanimity by stifling any scientist who disagrees. Einstein could not have got funding under the present system."

Meanwhile, CFP staff is currently collalting the more than 2,000 emails sent to Dr. Ball and will publish the death threats with their email and IPO addresses.


Arrogant and aggressive Greenies

I have myself seen many examples of similar cyclist aggressiveness towards others

I resent the sentiments expressed in the Herald's letters pages that cyclists are all lovely, patient, clean, green folk generally entrusted with saving the planet - and that people are trying to kill them. I think they are trying to kill us. Enjoying a pleasant moonlight after-dinner stroll around the bay with three friends, I heard a strange chirruping noise. Looking back into the gloom, we saw a flashing Christmas tree bearing down on us at great speed. We scuttled out of the way but the rider expressed displeasure that we hadn't moved uniformly to the left as he powered between us. Foolishly, I suggested it might have helped if he'd slowed down.

Suddenly brakes - which until then he had he appeared reluctant to use - were employed in an emergency stop and he returned to inform us angrily that we were on a cycleway. I pointed out it was a shared footpath. Unfortunately, this led to such spittle-spraying vituperation that it became impossible to add that, not 50 metres back, he had passed a sign which stated: "Cyclists must give way to pedestrians." Perhaps he was going too fast to notice, or maybe there was a literacy problem. There was certainly a safety issue.

There's a pleasant park in our municipality. One side has a dogs-off-leads exercising area, the other a well-equipped children's playground. You'd have to have the brain of a gnat to cycle at high speed through either. Well, it happens every day. There's a switch in some cyclists' brains which flips to "everyone must get out of my way" mode as soon their buttocks touch those little triangular seats.

Recently on the Iron Cove Bridge, as I stepped from the stairwell onto the footpath, I was nearly T-boned by a bicycle rider travelling at more than 80 kmh (he had a strong tail wind). If he'd cleaned me up (there were only millimetres in it), I would have been slammed into the wall and he would have been thrown out into the path of the traffic. It was a very, very close call.

During my many kilometres of walking each week I find competitive, risk-taking, goal-fixated cyclists are more common than ever before, and that's a big worry for someone who takes most of his exercise on foot. Cycling far too close to walkers, dogs, children; not offering fair warning of their approach; travelling ridiculously fast in the company of people on foot; and generally assuming that they have the right to exclusive use of the byways is not only arrogant, it is totally contrary to the concept of saving the planet. And I hold the (probably forlorn) hope that I'd still like to be around to see it saved.


Something else the climate "experts" don't understand

But it will be blamed on global warming, of course

A massive whirlpool has developed off the coast of NSW, dragging down the sea surface by almost a metre, diverting a mighty ocean current and chilling Sydney beachgoers. The mysterious whirlpool is 200 kilometres across and 1000 metres deep, reaching the ocean floor, CSIRO oceanographers say. The centre is 100 kilometres from the coast and could stay there for several months. And another eddy of similar proportions is sitting further off the coast.

CSIRO satellite oceanographer Dr David Griffin said that, while cold-water eddies regularly appeared off Sydney, scientists knew very little about what causes them or the influence they have in the Tasman Sea ecosystem. "What we do know is that this is a very powerful natural feature which tends to push everything else aside - even the mighty East Australian Current," said Dr Griffin.

The sea level has dropped 70 centimetres at its centre while the water 400 metres below the surface is 6 degrees centigrade colder than normal. The colder water has helped bring down the average water temperature at Sydney beaches by several degrees. At the eddy's centre, cold water from 400m is raised about 200m. The sea surface, conversely, is lowered by 70cm. This dip in the surface of the ocean is invisible to the eye, but it can be accurately measured by satellites and a robotic Argo float deployed by the CSIRO. The eddies are invisible to the human eye but would contribute to cooler beach swimming conditions, said Dr Griffin.



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

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


15 March, 2007


Dr. Ian Wilson of the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Australia has sent me a VERY interesting graph that supports the Svensmark account of solar influence on the earth's temperature. I gather that the graph comes from data in the following two references:

Hoyt, D. V.: Using the boundary conditions of sunspots as a technique for monitoring solar luminosity variations. In: K. H. Schatten & A. Arking, Hsg.: Climate impact of solar variability. Greenbelt, NASA, 1990, 44.

Hoyt, D. V. & Schatten, K. H.: The role of the sun in climate change. New York-Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997, 61, 70, 86, 184,188,194, 214

The graph follows:

Dr Wilson comments: It shows that the amount of heating here on the Earth's surface appears to be directly dependent on the relative strength of the magnetic field on the Sun. NOTE: An assumption is being made here that strong longitudinal fields in sunspots means a strong toroidal/dipolar field for the Sun as whole. This would support the contention that the strength of the magnetic field on the Sun controls the cosmic ray flux here on Earth which in turn regulates the world's mean temperature through the amount of low level cloud formation.


There are heresies in astrophysics too. Some well-informed scientists even claim that the sun is mostly solid. Another heresy is the electic universe claim. One of the electic universe protagonists has written to me as follows about the post above:

"In addition to the reasons you posted on your blog, the reason that the earth's temperature correlates so well with the sun's magnetic field is because common to both bodies are the electric currents connecting them via the electric plasma of space.

All magnetic fields are produced by electric currents, without exception. So if the sun's magnetic field gets stronger, so also the electric current driving it. If that current has increased then so also the electric currents to the earth.

Electric currents passing through resistive loads like the earth's atmosphere and crust will generate heat, in addition to that received by solar radiation and the effect of the cosmic rays that are actually electric currents too.

Until astrophysicists and climate scientists start to include the largest force in the universe in their modelling, flawed interpretations and conclusion will continue to be made in our understanding of the earth and its relationship to the rest of solar system. It is this electrical interaction that actually drives the earth's surface conditions, or climate"


Even Greenies who knew it well found it a lot colder than they expected. But they still believe that it is warming, of course. A picture of one of the stupid publicity-seekers below. I am guessing that she likes women a lot more than she likes men

A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite.

The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment. "Ann said losing toes and going forward at all costs was never part of the journey," said Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition. On Monday, the pair was at Canada's Ward Hunt Island, awaiting a plane to take them to Resolute, Canada, where they were to return to Minneapolis later this week.

Bancroft, 51, became the first woman to cross the North Pole on a 1986 expedition. She and Arnesen, 53, of Oslo, Norway, were the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001. But the latest trek got off to a bad start. The day they set off from Ward Hunt Island, a plane landing near the women hit their gear, punching a hole in Bancroft's sled and damaging one of Arnesen's snowshoes. They repaired the snowshoe with binding from a ski, but Atwood said the patch job created pressure on Arnesen's left foot, which led to blisters that then turned into frostbite.

Then there was the cold - quite a bit colder, Atwood said, then Bancroft and Arnesen had expected. One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times, Atwood said...

The explorers had planned to call in regular updates to school groups by satellite phone, and had planned online posts with photographic evidence of global warming. In contrast to Bancroft's 1986 trek across the Arctic with fellow Minnesota explorer Will Steger, this time she and Arnesen were prepared to don body suits and swim through areas where polar ice has melted.

Atwood said there was some irony that a trip to call attention to global warming was scuttled in part by extreme cold temperatures. "They were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming," Atwood said.


Global Warming: The Left's Anti-Religion

Post lifted from Riehl World

Global Warming (GW) is increasingly being called the religion of the Left. While many Leftists do seem to embrace the cause with all the fervor one usually sees in religious fanatics, as currently comprised, I think that GW actually functions more as a non- or anti-religion for many on the Left.

Since man discovered he could think, he has been wrestling to define himself within the context of a larger world he cannot fully comprehend. Over time, different religions have served that purpose well for many groups. But the secular humanists of the Left abhor religion. Their desire is to not believe in anything being supreme to man. And that speaks to how I believe they came to embrace GW in the manner they have today.

The world has increased in warmth about one-half a degree centigrade in the last 100 years. Why? Frankly, there are some good emerging ideas - a combination of the Sun, water vapor and who knows what number of interactive processes. But accepting that our knowledge is still very limited, putting us at the mercy of vast, not fully knowable cosmic forces is the very thing the Left fears when it comes to religion - it demands one give up a certain amount of control. It also resigns one to being small, insignificant, without some grand calling, or cause. That position often exposes one to increased existential anxiety, as your, and the planet's fate are not ultimately in your own hands.

So what do they do? They embrace a human cause for GW. That way they continue to remain, in their minds, supreme, or in control. If it is our fault, we can fix, or control it. If there's nothing we can do about it, we may be forced to grab onto some other system of faith to ease our minds. God forbid, saith the Left.

The danger we face is twofold. Neo-Marxists are capitalizing on the GW movement to a significant degree. And, as can happen with any religion, the Left is likely to cling to their stilted view of this issue more strongly than they've ever clung to anything else; at least until the next safe haven for their basically weak minds comes along. I suppose we should be grateful they're currently fixated on carbon and have yet to take up a belief in, or the practice of radical Islam and jihad. Who knows what direction the half-crazed, spiritually vapid, pillar to post neo-Liberals of today might go next?


Environmentalism is a religion that is based more on political ambitions than science, the president of the Czech Republic warned Friday. Speaking at the Cato Institute, a public policy think-tank, President Vaclav Klaus said that environmentalists who clamor for policy change to combat global warming "only pretend" to be promoting environmental protection, and are actually being driven by a political agenda. "Environmentalism should belong in the social sciences," much like the idea of communism or other "-isms" such as feminism, Klaus said, adding that "environmentalism is a religion" that seeks to reorganize the world order as well as social behavior and value systems worldwide.

As for government spending on global warming studies, the former finance minister and of the Eastern European nation and trained economist said that such efforts were a "waste of money," adding that there was already sufficient scientific evidence for those seeking policy change to back up their proposals. Meanwhile, he pointed out that those seeking to protect the environment could do a great deal under the existing political framework and with existing technologies, such as importing less goods from far-flung regions that require enormous jet fuel use. Klaus concluded Friday his week-long tour of the United States, having met with a number of senior Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney.



Poland has accepted the European Union's compromise solution on boosting the share of renewable energy in total energy production to 20% and lowering carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2020, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said Friday. "At first reading of the initial proposal, it would seem that each EU country would need to have 20% of renewable energy sources and to cut emission by 20%, also cutting energy consumption," Kaczynski told a press conference in Brussels. "It is now apparent that every country may adopt tasks that are compliant with its own point of departure."

Poland refused to support EU plans of increasing the share of renewable source in the Polish energy production to 20%, since its current share is at just 5.5%, according to President Kaczynski. The president said the targets set by the EU leaders apply to the entire bloc and not to individual countries. "Also, no country will be forced to adopt measures in this field without its consent," Kaczynski also said. German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday EU states agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by the year 2020. She called the goals set in the EU's declaration on the matter as "ambitious and credible." "[The leaders' intention] is to reach 20% of generation from renewable energy sources as a European average," Merkel said at a separate press conference in Brussels.



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

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


14 March, 2007


And here are the gory details:

Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change. But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism. “I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.” Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.” Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe’s recent warming. The question is whether Mr. Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence. “He’s a very polarizing figure in the science community,” said Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental scientist who is a colleague of Dr. Vranes at the University of Colorado center. “Very quickly, these discussions turn from the issue to the person, and become a referendum on Mr. Gore.”

“An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, was released last May and took in more than $46 million, making it one of the top-grossing documentaries ever. The companion book by Mr. Gore quickly became a best seller, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times list. Mr. Gore depicted a future in which temperatures soar, ice sheets melt, seas rise, hurricanes batter the coasts and people die en masse. “Unless we act boldly,” he wrote, “our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes.”

He clearly has supporters among leading scientists, who commend his popularizations and call his science basically sound. In December, he spoke in San Francisco to the American Geophysical Union and got a reception fit for a rock star from thousands of attendees. “He has credibility in this community,” said Tim Killeen, the group’s president and director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a top group studying climate change. “There’s no question he’s read a lot and is able to respond in a very effective way.”

Some backers concede minor inaccuracies but see them as reasonable for a politician. James E. Hansen, an environmental scientist, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a top adviser to Mr. Gore, said, “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees,” adding that Mr. Gore often did so “better than scientists.” Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States. “We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. “On the other hand,” Dr. Hansen said, “he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporization, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate.”

In his e-mail message, Mr. Gore defended his work as fundamentally accurate. “Of course,” he said, “there will always be questions around the edges of the science, and we have to rely upon the scientific community to continue to ask and to challenge and to answer those questions.” He said “not every single adviser” agreed with him on every point, “but we do agree on the fundamentals” — that warming is real and caused by humans. Mr. Gore added that he perceived no general backlash among scientists against his work. “I have received a great deal of positive feedback,” he said. “I have also received comments about items that should be changed, and I have updated the book and slideshow to reflect these comments.” He gave no specifics on which points he had revised. He said that after 30 years of trying to communicate the dangers of global warming, “I think that I’m finally getting a little better at it.”

While reviewers tended to praise the book and movie, vocal skeptics of global warming protested almost immediately. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.”

Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process. It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.

Bjorn Lomborg, a statistician and political scientist in Denmark long skeptical of catastrophic global warming, said in a syndicated article that the panel, unlike Mr. Gore, had refrained from scaremongering. “Climate change is a real and serious problem” that calls for careful analysis and sound policy, Dr. Lomborg said. “The cacophony of screaming,” he added, “does not help.” So too, a report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.

Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore’s film did “indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios.” But the June report, he added, shows “that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.”

Other critics have zeroed in on Mr. Gore’s claim that the energy industry ran a “disinformation campaign” that produced false discord on global warming. The truth, he said, was that virtually all unbiased scientists agreed that humans were the main culprits. But Benny J. Peiser, a social anthropologist in Britain who runs the Cambridge-Conference Network, or CCNet, an Internet newsletter on climate change and natural disasters, challenged the claim of scientific consensus with examples of pointed disagreement. “Hardly a week goes by,” Dr. Peiser said, “without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,” including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.

Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms. “Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change. Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.” Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”

Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming’s effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria. “For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,” Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. “We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”

Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton who advised Mr. Gore on the book and movie, said that reasonable scientists disagreed on the malaria issue and other points that the critics had raised. In general, he said, Mr. Gore had distinguished himself for integrity. “On balance, he did quite well — a credible and entertaining job on a difficult subject,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “For that, he deserves a lot of credit. If you rake him over the coals, you’re going to find people who disagree. But in terms of the big picture, he got it right.”


Global warming extremists will never be satisfied

An editorial from "The Australian":

The highly polluting nature of Victoria's brown coal, which it uses to generate electricity, has always been a great anomaly in the Bracks Government's claim to leadership in combating climate change. It would therefore be reasonable to assume that yesterday's announcement of a $100 million federal government contribution to improving the environmental profile of burning brown coal would be cause for celebration by those who campaign hardest to stop global warming.

Think again. Greens leader Bob Brown says the Government should fund only renewable energies such as wind and solar. And Greenpeace has denounced the Victorian clean-coal deal on the basis that even though carbon emissions might be less, a new plant would still cause an overall increase.

Such extreme positions demonstrate once again that these groups are not serious about tackling the substance of the problem. This is because, if successful, the Victorian project would reduce the carbon emissions from burning brown coal by up to 50 per cent, making it a more environmentally benign than the higher value black coal reserves of NSW and Queensland. What's more, the research is being undertaken in association with Chinese interests and is therefore directly relevant to helping address the world's most pressing climate change issue, China's rapid industrialisation.

That climate change politics represents the new front line for anti-capitalist, anti-globalisation campaigners is not new. This is why the Government is right to reject climate change demands that risk economic wellbeing, both for Australia and the developing world. And it is why Labor must be careful how it handles the debate.

While Australian commercial television networks are jumping on the climate change bandwagon with sophisticated graphics showing tornadoes ripping through Sydney Harbour Bridge, debate is increasing about the quality of the science underpinning global warming hysteria. A recent Channel Four documentary in Britain, The Great Climate Change Swindle, presents a coherent argument for why governments must hasten slowly in responding. The British documentary highlights the anomaly that temperatures are rising faster at the earth's surface than in the upper atmosphere, directly contradicting the greenhouse hypothesis. It also highlights the fact that ice core data relied on by global warming alarmists actually shows world temperature increases occurred hundreds of years before corresponding rises in the level of atmospheric C02, again contradicting greenhouse theory. The program puts forward evidence to show the world's climate is controlled by clouds, which are controlled by cosmic rays, which are in turn controlled by the sun.

This is not to suggest the Government should not help fund ways to improve the environmental performance of Australia's coal industry. But as the Victorian example shows, some will accept nothing less than overturning the world's industrial order, dooming billions to continued poverty in the Third World.



With a leadership change and an election on the horizon, British politics are getting frenetic -- with the environment a major taliking point. Below are three skeptical comments on the latest episodes. The first is from a Leftist newspaper, the second from a conservative newspaper and the third is from a regional newspaper:

It's just politics

Environmental expert PHILIP STOTT, Professor of Biogeography at the University of London, explains why we shouldn't panic - and why he believes global warming is just another political bandwagon

Every ambitious politician pays lip service to the daft idea that we can control climate, using "global warming" for their own political ends, from forcing you to wear hemp underpants to establishing a new generation of nuclear reactors. But look beyond the rising rhetoric ... what climate are these politicians hoping to produce? The biting cold of 1947, when the sea froze over? They have abandoned reason.

More worryingly, elitist green agendas, like carbon taxes and road pricing, have terrible repercussions for the poor.

Climate is chaos. It is the most complex system, driven by volcanoes, the oceans, clouds, a wobbly Earth, a pulsing sun, and cosmic rays from exploding stars. Dealing with one factor at the margins - human emissions of carbon dioxide - is utterly pointless. Climate is change. It has flipped between hot and cold, dry and wet for 4.5 billion years.

Unfortunately, our politicians have forgotten that a mammoth Ice Age ended only 12,000 years ago; that Medieval England was a balmy vineyard; that the Little Ice Age blasted Europe from the 14th Century onwards, producing the violent winds that sank the Spanish Armada. Samuel Johnson tells us of an Astronomer who claims that he can control climate: "...the sun has listened to my dictates, and passed from tropic to tropic by my direction ..." Unfortunately, the Astronomer was mad. And so are we if we give such nonsense credence.

Nobody, not even Mr Bush and Mr Blair, can fine tune climate to a degree Celsius. Yet, what about the future? The latest summary from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a possible rise in temperature of between 1.1 to 6.4 degC. Other groups say we shall enter a cooling phase, up to minus-two degC in 2012. That's a range of eight degrees - what's that supposed to tell us?

We should focus instead on bringing four billion people out of poverty, providing them with clean water and modern sources of energy. The richer one is, the better one can cope with change. Our "global warming" political agenda is dangerously misguided.


Green lobby must not stifle debate

The Tories are on about airfares yet again. This week, David Cameron and Gordon Brown will conduct a Dutch auction in how much to penalise you for environmental crimes.

There is something oddly familiar about all this. Perhaps I am sceptical about the climate change campaign because its exponents remind me so much of the people I knew years ago on the Marxist Left: repressive, self-righteous, and inherently totalitarian. Because of what they see as the indubitable rightness, and the absolute moral transcendence, of their cause, they can justify demonising anyone who criticises or dissents from it. Back then, the comrades used to shame those of us who blanched at their ideological ruthlessness with the epithet "wishy-washy liberal": the exploitation of the working classes was the all-encompassing evil that had to be fought with whatever weapon it took.

These days you are castigated for worrying about self-indulgent luxuries such as free speech and open debate when we are all about to fry - or drown, depending on where you happen to be on the stricken planet when the apocalypse arrives. I am not a scientist. I do not have the expertise or the qualifications to adjudicate on the conflicting arguments on offer in this issue. But one thing that is quite clear to me is that there are different authoritative views on the data, and on the extrapolations that are being made from the data, on global warming - particularly on the question of whether such warming as has been identified is caused by human activity.

Before I became a journalist, I was an academic and one of the things most rigorously impressed upon me during my years in academia was that intellectual progress can only come through argument and self-criticism. It is quite antithetical to scholarly endeavour, not to say the spirit of Western enlightenment, for researchers to seek to close down opposition to a theory or a thesis.

But greenery is no longer scholarship: it is politics. The discussion has been taken over by politically driven forces with little interest in the value of free intellectual enquiry. Some of the dissident voices on climate change were rounded up for last week's polemical Channel 4 documentary made by Martin Durkin, The Great Global Warming Swindle (repeated tonight on the digital channel More4).

Whether or not you were persuaded by their articulate doubts, you could not help being struck by the McCarthyite persecution (up to and including death threats) which their non-conformist opinions had attracted. Scientists with impeccable credentials, emeritus professors and acknowledged experts in the field being hounded and professionally discredited for their reservations about an established orthodoxy: not a pretty sight. Hundreds of years after Galileo, we are apparently still prepared to suppress inconvenient intellectual opposition once political interests have become entrenched.

Among those who attempted to prevent the film being shown at all was the Liberal Democrat spokesman on the environment, Chris Huhne, who, without having seen the programme, wrote to Channel 4 executives advising them in the gravest terms to reconsider their decision to broadcast it.

One respect in which the green lobby is significantly unlike the Trotskyist movement of my youth is that it seems not to give a stuff about the poor. Green taxes are regressive: they hit the lower paid, (who can actually be forced to cut back on their air travel and their heating) much harder than the affluent, who can simply absorb the extra costs and carry on living and flying as they always have. Mr Cameron and Mr Brown both profess themselves committed to the needs of families. Who would be hit harder by increases in the cost of home heating fuel and the use of water meters: young parents who bath their children every night and use their washing machine every day, or rich singles who eat out every night and take their laundry to the dry cleaners?

And, of course, the same logic applies to big business - which can easily absorb the added cost of green regulations - as opposed to small businesses, which cannot. Big corporations and retailing chains win all round: they can get political credit for going green while happily watching their small competitors driven out of business by the price of meeting environmental rules.

There is big money to be made now out of climate change, and not just by huge supermarket chains and manufacturers cashing in on the government grants and the contracting market which will be produced by eliminating smaller suppliers. Clever entrepreneurs have seen an opening: "carbon offsetting" is a completely unregulated growth industry that offers to take your money in return for cancelling out your contribution to global warming, by all sorts of dubious means such as planting forests, which may or may not survive. Rather like the medieval papacy selling indulgences, the offset people give absolution to the better-off in return for cash.

But the lower-paid in Europe will be less hard hit in the green scenario than the wretchedly poor of the developing world. One of the disturbing points in the Durkin documentary was that some of the most desperately backward areas of sub-Saharan Africa are being told that they must not exploit their oil reserves to create electricity because more use of fossil fuel would damage the planet. Without using oil to electrify the countryside, these African nations will be effectively prevented from bringing the benefits of modern life - safe water supplies, irrigation and lighting - to the mass of their peoples within a generation.

Well, the green apologists say, even if our computer models are flawed, and our extrapolations prove unsound, isn't it better to "clean up the planet" anyway? Why not take the steps to reduce carbon emissions and pay the hard price just in case it is all true? I don't know about you, but before I can feel comfortable asking people in emerging economies such as India to forgo the benefits of economic growth and mass prosperity, before I can sentence some of the poorest people in the world to living indefinitely without modern technology, before I am even prepared to ask the lower-paid of this country to give up the improvements in their quality of life to which they have only just become accustomed - I want to hear any and every argument that is to be had about this theory.

And to the comrades in the green movement, I would say this: before you slam the lid on debate, and put your invasive restrictions into place to deny people freedoms and comforts that have transformed their condition, you had better be damned sure that you are right.


Frederick Forsyth says Britain in the grip of climate hysteria

AUTHOR Frederick Forsyth has claimed we are becoming hysterical about climate change - a phenomenon he believes could be purely natural. Mr Forsyth, who lives on a farm in East End Green, near Hertingfordbury, found himself in a minority as he spoke on BBC1's Question Time last Thursday night. David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, told the programme: "Just last Friday, we had 2,500 scientists from around the world saying this is much more urgent that politicians have recognised. "I'm 41. This is an issue for my lifetime, not just an issue for my grandchildren's lifetime."

But Mr Forsyth, the author of best-selling novels like The Odessa File and The Fourth Protocol, countered: "I'm very sceptical about some of the excesses that I regard the Milibands of this world are leading towards. When you think about it, it's all been incredibly rapid - a year, a year and a half. And it's not a concern: it's an obsession. It's something very close to hysteria.

"But there are a lot of questions about the whole business of climatology that I cannot secure answers to. Most scientists/climatologists admit that 90 per cent of the questions they pose to themselves they cannot answer: too many variables, too many unknowns. "Why, for example, could the Romans in 200AD grow grapes on Hadrian's Wall? "Is it true that the climate of the planet changes roughly every 500 years, warming and cooling, warming and cooling. If it is true, what percentage is down to man and what percentage is down to nature?"

Simon Hughes, the president of the Liberal Democrats, responded: "Frederick writes stories and I think this is a story that is valid historically but I prefer David's evidence-based answer." He called for an end to planes flying "half-empty", called on the Government to stop airport expansion and for incentives to encourage children to cycle to school.

Tory MP Ken Clarke, a former Chancellor, said: "I think Freddie is right in saying the temperature is back to what it was in the time of the Romans." But he felt it was "overwhelmingly probable" that human activity was contributing to global warming.



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

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


13 March, 2007

Prof. Wunsch is feeling the heat

He is probably under a lot of pressure now so one cannot really blame him for trying to back off. Post below lifted from Global Warming Hyperbole

The following articles pegged the bullshit meter all the way off the scale.

Climate scientist 'duped to deny global warming' - Ben Goldacre and David Adam, yes David Adam, Environmental Corespondent for the Guardian, the same David Adam that blogged his comments on the program without even watching it first! (03/10/07)

Climate change: An inconvenient truth... for C4
This expert in oceanography quoted in last week's debunking of the Gore green theory says he was 'seriously misrepresented' - By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor (03/10/07)

Less than 48 hours after this controversial new documentary challenging some of the assertions that man made CO2 is causing global warming aired on British TV, one of it's participants is claiming that his views were "grossly distorted" by the film. Professor Carl wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology continued to say that not only was he "totally misled" and "completely misrepresented" but also that the film was "as close to pure propaganda as anything since World War II."

According to Independent, Professor Wunsch said "I am angry because they completely misrepresented me. My views were distorted by the context in which they placed them. I was misled as to what it was going to be about. I was told about six months ago that this was to be a program about how complicated it is to understand what is going on. If they had told me even the title of the program, I would have absolutely refused to be on it. I am the one who has been swindled".

The Professor went on to say that he believes it is "an almost inescapable conclusion" that "if man adds excess CO2 to the atmosphere, the climate will warm".

After viewing these comments by the professor only hours after watching the program, I was shocked. I decided to go back and analyze the scenes in which the good professor appeared, and see if I could possibly imagine a "context" in which the actual words uttered by Professor Wunsch would have had a significantly different meaning. I could not. Maybe you can. I have printed the Professor's words as they appeared in the film, and the time at which they appeared. The film is currently available on Google Video but I don't know how long it will be there.

In this portion of the discussion, Professor Wunsch begins by explaining how the ocean's surface temperature plays a role in the exchange of carbon dioxide. He later comments on the vastness of the oceans, and their extremely slow reaction to any changes in climate as a result of such vastness.

Professor Wunsch:
25:43 The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.

Professor Wunsch:
26:44 - The ocean has a memory of past events ugh running out as far as 10,000 years. So for example, if somebody says oh I'm seeing changes in the North Atlantic, this must mean that the climate system is changing, it may only mean that something happened in a remote part of the ocean decades or hundreds of years ago who's effects are now beginning to show up in the North Atlantic.

In this portion of the film, the professor is speaking about the complexity of climate models and how their results can be greatly influenced by the input data they are given.

Professor Wunsch:
49:22 - The models are so complicated, you can often adjust them is such a way that they do something very exciting.

Professor Wunsch:
50:46 - Even within the scientific community you see, it's a problem. If I run a complicated model and I do something to it like ugh melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, ugh it's not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model, and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation like the heat transport turns off, ugh it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked by the media. So there is a bias, there's is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable. If Earth freezes over, that's a much more interesting story than saying well you know it ugh fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10%, sometimes it goes down by 20%, but eventually it comes back. Well you know, which would you do a story on? That's what it's about.

I've watched this video several times now and I can't believe the comments made in the film, and those in the above mentioned articles came from the same man. In my opinion, the Professor's words speak for themselves. I don't see how they could mean anything other than what they mean.

The heat is from the Sun

We live in extraordinarily hot times, says Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany. In 2004, he led a team of scientists that, for the first time, quantitatively reconstructed the sun's activity since the last Ice Age, some 11,400 years ago. Earth hasn't been this hot in 8,000 years and, he predicts, the hot spell will carry on for a few more decades before the sun turns down the heat.

The 19th and 20th centuries are especially noteworthy. "The sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently -- in the last 100 to 150 years," he says. "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."

Dr. Solanki gives cold comfort to those who claim that global warming took off with the Industrial Revolution, and that the warming we've seen over the last century is mostly man-made. To demonstrate how unlikely this is, Dr. Solanki shows an almost perfect correlation between solar cycles and air temperatures over the land masses in the Northern hemisphere, going back to the mid 19th century.

For example, when the length of solar cycle increased dramatically, as it did in from 1910 to 1940, so did the temperature on Earth; when it decreased, as it did from the 1940s to the 1960s, so too did Earth temperatures. Dr. Solanki's startling correlation marked a pivotal point in the climate change debate: Its publication, more than any other single event, caused researchers around the world to examine the role that the sun plays in heating and cooling our planet.

Not that Dr. Solanki discredits the role of man-made greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. These have probably played a large role in Earth's climate, he believes, but only since 1980 or so, when the sun's almost perfect correlation with Earth temperatures ended. He also believes that evidence that greenhouse gases have played a larger role in climate change may some day turn up, because his near-perfect correlation does not constitute proof. To date, however, he hasn't seen anything compelling that undermines his own findings.

The answer to most of the global warming we have seen over the past century, Dr. Solanki believes, will likely be somehow associated with the sun, and involve one or more of its parameters. It could be the sun's total irradiance, he states, citing work by others that he respects, or it could be the solar spectral irradiance, in particular with regard to ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere. Or it could be the sun's open magnetic flux, which modulates the galactic cosmic-ray flux. Or it could be other factors -- many potential solar drivers of our climate exist.

Dr. Solanki is especially taken with the work of the Danish National Space Agency, which demonstrated the dramatic effect that cosmic rays can have on cloud formation, and thus temperatures -- "the mechanism is just too beautiful to ignore," he offers.

Among the factors that he believes hold great promise, and that cry out for investigation, are the sun's irradiance and its magnetic field, which underlie all solar activity. "Unfortunately, regular and detailed measurements of the sun's surface magnetic field are only available for a few decades, not long enough for comparison with climate," he says on his Web site. "Records of the solar irradiance are available for an even shorter length of time" -- accurate measurements began in 1978 using instrumentation aboard spacecraft. With knowledge of these fundamental determinants of Earth's climate still in their infancy, we cannot act with confidence on climate change.


How winter became cooler than global warming

If this is global warming, we could do with a lot more (or a lot less) of it, depending on how you choose to look at February's sub-zero temperatures. Actually, the pieces were already in place last summer for a severe winter. This one was just a little late in arriving -- groundhog or not.

Six months ago, NASA satellites, scanning the northern Pacific Ocean, showed water temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska dipping below what they had been for much of the previous decade (what are called negative anomalies). A few climate experts, paying attention to this new development, suggested we might be getting close to turning the corner in this latest warming, but their observations went unheeded in the media.

Cooling Pacific waters may be hinting that the rising global temperature is already beginning to reverse a 30-year trend.

No element of climate exerts more influence on weather patterns in the short or long term than does the Pacific Ocean. Last summer the media were preoccupied instead with another El Nino weather pattern. That same El Nino was to play a role at the beginning of the upcoming winter.

As winter approached, I began to notice a steady buildup of cold air (by recent standards) over northeast Asia (eastern Siberia) and Alaska throughout December. Since then, Anchorage was treated to record snowfalls that brought the moose to town. Full-blown frigid air masses continued to press east and southward, as they are inclined, from northwestern Canada.

One after another, the cold fronts rolled first into the Pacific coast states (freezing California oranges), then into the Rocky Mountains during January. Record snows paralyzed Denver as the cold air collided with recurrent wet El Nino air masses from the Pacific.

In recent weeks, the battle ground of dueling air masses shifted to the Plains and the Great Lakes regions with the result that snow now has covered half the land area of the country and, in some places, in record depths. It seems odd that associates convinced themselves and me (well, almost) that there would be no more really cold winters, that old-fashioned winter was just a fading memory.

Our problem in coming to grips with climate changes (climates have continually changed since Earth first had oceans and an atmosphere) lies more in perceptions, abetted by short memories and constant stoking by story-hungry media. In actuality, we and our forebears have been blessed beyond comprehension with a comparatively stable climate, permitting the development of civilization, during the 10,000 years following the retreat of the continental glaciers.

Advocates have tried to convince us that what may turn out to be only the natural ebb and flow in climate patterns portends a dangerous upward trend in global temperature. I recall how, as a young man involved in research back in the 1970s, some of the same voices now warning of an impending runaway greenhouse effect were then warning of an impending return of the glaciers. They almost had me convinced. Then along came the great Pacific climate shift (1976-77) and that was the end of "global cooling."

The coldest outbreak of Arctic air the United States has seen in more than three decades is more than a little ironic, coming on the heels of Al Gore's Oscar win for his global warming movie and the United Nations climate committee's press release previewing their pending report.


Australia: TV viewers keen to save the planet? Not really

TEN Network's programmers are baffled. With so much attention on climate change and consumer research indicating viewers were keenly interested in a 2« hour feast of practical advice on how they might save the planet, Ten's ratings for the Cool Aid blockbuster on Sunday night were still a disaster. Viewing numbers peaked at 618,000, compared with more than 1.6 million each for Grey's Anatomy and CSI on Seven and Nine respectively, and averaged just 464,000 people across the country.

"Truthfully, we're confused," says Ten's network head of programming, Beverley McGarvey. "They didn't come. It's not like they came to the show, sampled it and went away. They didn't come. "We had study guides in schools, we had the full support of the print media, [Natch!] both editorially and with advertising, and an extensive [Ten Network] on-air campaign with a number of different creative treatments and different stances. "We spent a fortune to get the audience there and it didn't work. We've talked about it quite a lot internally. We're disappointed."

Ten isn't alone. Despite the focus on climate change, the green conundrum is alive across myriad product categories, including toilet paper. Australians spend $500 million a year on the stuff but just $20 million each year goes to brands using recycled paper. Since 2005 the category has been in decline, although it showed some promise in the latter part of last year.

The success story for Australian paper manufacturer ABC in the past 18 month has been its conventional brand Quilton stealing market share from big brands such as Sorbent and Kleenex, rather than improved sales of its recycled Naturale range. "Recycled as a category is bugger all," says Joe Hancock, managing director of Gorilla Communications which developed the Quilton ad campaign Loves your Bum. "Using recycled toilet paper is a no-brainer yet people are not prepared to make the sacrifice on their arse." Toilet paper and TV shows are entirely different categories but both are facing the same challenge on the green front - how to get mass appeal and then turn a buck.

The latest research says it should be possible. Grey Global's annual Eye on Australia consumer trends study is about to release its findings for 2007. On the environmental front, Australians say they're interested in environmental issues and behavioural change. "For the first time this year people say they can make a difference when it comes to the environment," says Grey's managing director, Jane Emery. "Roughly 60 per cent say they can make a difference." The biggest shock in this year's survey, however, is that 50 per cent of Australians now say they will need to start "dobbing each other in" for bad environmental behaviour such as wasting water resources. "That's a major change," says Emery.

But between all the pro-environment rhetoric from consumers, Grey also found disparities between sentiment and behaviour. Part of the Eye on Australia work includes an ethnographic study where researchers visit homes. "People are quite passionate about it but when you wander around the house, all they've got is a bucket in the shower," says Emery. "They don't know what to do." If Ten Network's experience means anything, the masses may not really want to.

Planet Ark's chairman and Australian frontman for Al Gore's hit documentary An Inconvenient Truth, John Dee, begs to differ. "We are naive if we think everyone is going to drop their spending habits overnight," he says. "To get people to switch brands, you are striking at the heart of why people buy brands. "When people say they really care about the environment they really do care. What gets in the way of rhetoric and action is price and quality." Dee argues education is critical, pointing to a mail-out of "how to save" leaflets to 5 million homes last week by companies such as Bunnings, Philips, Hills Industries, CSR's Bradford Insulation, and mailhouse Salmat. "So much of the Government rhetoric which has gone out to combat climate change has been around costing jobs and damaging the economy that households don't realise many of the changes they can make can actually save money," says Dee.


Australia: Queenslanders to shower by the clock

Where Greenie dam-hatred has got Queensland

A small, plastic egg timer is the latest weapon in the fight to keep southeast Queensland from running dry. The Queensland Water Commission today announced level five water restrictions that will target in-home water use. The commission says shower timers hold the key to making huge savings in the home. The timers will be distributed widely as part of an education campaign encouraging people to spend just four minutes per day in the shower - down from the average seven-minute wash - to save 36 litres, per person, a day.

But commission chair Elizabeth Nosworthy denied the shower reductions would trigger a body odour problem in the state's south-east. "It's not a big thing," she said. "We're not asking them to give up a huge lot to go from a shower of seven minutes to a shower of four minutes." She said cutting showering times - which could include turning water off while soaping up - was the easiest and quickest way to achieve massive water savings in the home.

Residents will also be encouraged to plug sinks rather than let taps run, run full dishwashers on economy settings, use washing machines only with full loads and use grey water or shower water on gardens. Together with shorter showers, this would save 61 litres per person each day. Water savings devices such as dual flush toilets, water tanks, and water efficient shower heads, dishwashers, and washing machines will also be encouraged. Ms Nosworthy said the education campaign was about changing people's behaviour for the long term.



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

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


12 March, 2007

‘Apocalypse my arse’

Martin Durkin, director of The Great Global Warming Swindle, on green intolerance, soft censorship and his ‘dodgy’ Marxist background. See the video version of the film here. The article below is from one of the retired Marxists at "Spiked"

‘I wanted to call it “Apocalypse My Arse”, but in the end we decided on “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. It’s a provocative title, which helps with ratings.’

Martin Durkin has a hangover. And a cold. He spent last night, Thursday 8 March, watching the Channel 4 screening of his film The Great Global Warming Swindle in a pub with friends and colleagues. ‘It’s better than watching it at home. That can be an isolating experience. You become convinced you’re the only person in the country watching it.’ Now, this morning, he has some things to get off his chest – about the green movement’s demonisation of him for daring to question environmentalist orthodoxy; the ‘soft censorship’ of his earlier programmes; and the endless revelations that he had an apparently dodgy Marxist background. ‘Shock, horror’, he says. ‘Exposing that a journalist has a Marxist background is like exposing that he wears trousers.’

Durkin’s latest film has won him the accolade – or perhaps slur – of being the ‘anti-Al Gore’. Where the American president-who-never-was transformed his rather dull PowerPoint presentation on the threat of global warming into a marginally less dull big box office flick – An Inconvenient Truth – Durkin has directed a 90-minute made-for-TV movie that basically says: ‘Everything you know about global warming is wrong!’

Its title a knowing, punk-rebellious nod to the Sex Pistols film The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle, The Great Global Warming Swindle featured scientists questioning whether global warming is manmade. Some of them argued that the Sun - directly, or through its effect on cosmic rays - causes global warming. Others claimed that CO2 levels are influenced by changes in temperature rather than the other way around. If this were the case, it would turn on its head every fundamental assumption underpinning not just the green movement but also national and international politics, a whole new genre of global warming literature and research, and much of the newly greened education system in Britain: those assumptions being that a rise in CO2 is causing the Earth to warm, that man is responsible for that rise in CO2, and thus we must rein man in. No wonder many seem miffed by Durkin’s film.

Whatever viewers may have thought about the new theories put forward in Swindle to explain global warming (personally, I found the replacement of the widespread, all-encompassing manmade theory with an all-encompassing cosmic ray theory – sort of ‘It’s the Sun wot done it!’ – a little unconvincing), there’s no denying that the film poked some very big holes in the global warming consensus.

Professor Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, one of the world’s leading experts on malaria, was a revelation. He explained how he had to threaten legal action against the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to have his name removed from the list of ‘2,000 of the world’s leading scientists’ who apparently backed its summary published last month. The problem? Professor Reiter didn’t back it, instead arguing that it was a ‘sham’. The IPCC ‘make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed, but it’s not true’, he said.

And leaving to one side the science of global warming, there was also some stirring stuff on the impact of the environmentalist ethos on political debate and human ambition – especially in relation to the developing world. Many of the talking heads argued that our obsession with restraining development in order to ‘save the planet’ will consign the world’s poorest to a life of grime and squalor. And, ironically, pollution. As one contributor pointed out, the smoke from cowshit and other items that some in the developing world burn in order to warm their homes – because they don’t have electricity and because the only solution put forward for their predicament is that they should use expensive and ineffectual ‘sustainable’ solar and wind power – is recognised by the World Health Organisation as one of the worst pollutants in the world. Tens of thousands of children in the developing world die every year from respiratory problems brought on by such in-house smog. It is peasantry, rather than modernity, that kills them; shit, not cars.

Watching The Great Global Warming Swindle felt a little bit naughty, even subversive. You simply never hear stark criticisms of the politics of global warming in the mainstream media very much. And yet, as Durkin points out, the response to his film has pretty much been a shrill: How can Channel 4 show this stuff?!

‘Some people seem really outraged that 90 minutes of airtime was given to “the other side”’, he says. He describes as ‘surreal’ the accusation that Channel 4, in airing his film, is somehow distorting the debate about global warming. One commentator declared: ‘Channel 4 has done a huge public disservice. Or are they planning to show a follow-up that takes apart last night’s wayward thesis?’ (1) ‘These people talk about balance, but the environmentalist view is everywhere!’, says Durkin. Indeed, even Durkin’s film was not allowed to stand alone: earlier in the week Channel 4 showed a Dispatches documentary made by green Guardian columnist George Monbiot to ‘balance out’ Durkin’s film, and then repeated it again last night after Durkin’s film. So even when you get to criticise the prevailing view, you have to be sandwiched in between two slabs of Monbiot.

TV has been well and truly greened: there are hectoring lifestyle shows like No Waste Like Home and It’s Not Easy Being Green, the greening of various soap characters, the unwritten law that says all wildlife documentaries must pass comment on how man has endangered tigers/whales/polar bears (usually polar bears), and news programmes frequently leading on The Threat of Global Warming to Life As We Know It, complete with Peter Snow-style swingometer graphics showing creeping deserts, disappearing glaciers and, of course, stranded bloody polar bears.

And yet some have branded Channel 4 as irresponsible for showing a 90-minute critical film which Durkin says he struggled for 10 years to have commissioned. ‘It shows that environmentalists and journalists can be utterly intolerant’, he says. ‘They simply will not tolerate any dissenting view. Straight away they try to take it down. You can see that in the kind of language they use – they say “the jury is in” on global warming, or “the science is done and dusted”, or you’re a “denier” if you question the consensus. This is not about having a debate but about shutting down debate.’

Indeed, many of Durkin’s critics have responded to The Great Global Warming Swindle by trying to slur Durkin and the participants in the film. Or they have gone running to the Office of Communications (Ofcom) to demand that it rap Durkin’s knuckles – a bit like overgrown school sissies squealing to teacher about the boy they don’t like in the hope that teacher will give him a jolly good thrashing.

Before the film aired, a contributor to a green-leaning website advised fellow contributors to keep an eye out for who is due to appear in the film ‘and more importantly who they work for’ (my italics). This sums up the approach of trying to demolish the arguer rather than his argument, to expose people’s alleged funding or leanings rather than to take up the substance of what they say. (For what it’s worth, most of the participants in the film said they hadn’t received a penny from oil companies, much as they would have liked to.)

In today’s Guardian, Zoe Williams seems to make a sly dig at one of the participants (Professor Tim Ball) on the basis that he is from Winnipeg. Apparently, being based on Farringdon Road in central London is a far better qualification for commenting on climate change, even if you are a ditzy la-la columnist and the weird Winnipeg man a professor of climatology (2). (Durkin points out the irony of people ‘exposing’ that he doesn’t have a background in science. If everyone who doesn’t have a background in science was forbidden from researching or talking about global warming, he says, then that would mean silencing some of the leading environmentalist thinkers and just about every newspaper columnist, who can always be relied upon to churn out an ‘I’m Scared of Global Warming and So Should You Be!’ column despite not knowing what a test tube is.)

On Wednesday, before the film even aired, a left-leaning website provided readers with a link to Ofcom’s website and the instruction: ‘Please do complain [about The Great Global Warming Swindle], and please do publicise this link and ask others to complain.’ It gave a link to the Channel 4 complaints website, too, saying that if Channel 4 ‘get a number of complaints then they will find it harder to commission future programmes from Durkin’ (3). This represents a new low in the discussion of environmentalism. Instead of having an upfront, open debate about the science, and the social and political courses of action that might be required to alleviate pollution while still meeting people’s needs and desires, some try to have a film written off by the suited and booted powers-that-be at Ofcom and a director excommunicated from the world of TV.

Durkin has been here before. His 1997 series, Against Nature, also an impassioned critique of environmentalism, was similarly the subject of a concerted complaints effort. This led to the Independent Television Commission (subsequently superseded by Ofcom) chastising Durkin and Channel 4 for using ‘underhand editing techniques’.

‘It is soft censorship’, Durkin insists. ‘If there is a huge response to a programme, then the ITC and now Ofcom feel the need to do something. So they end up censuring seriously controversial work. I mean, Channel 4 shows a lot of rubbish, like “wank week”. But because hardly anyone complains about that, Ofcom doesn’t say anything. And then people complain about my work, which is serious, and these bodies take action. It might not be formal censorship, but it is a kind of invisible censorship. The end result is phoney controversialism on TV but not much real controversialism. Ofcom is supposed to uphold standards but it does the opposite.’

He believes that such official chastisement – which was widely celebrated by some greens in relation to Against Nature and which is being demanded again for The Great Global Warming Swindle – has a ‘chilling effect’ on TV output. The big broadcasters, desperate to avoid being ticked off by Ofcom, will avoid showing anything liable to invite large numbers of complaints. So they stick with the wankers of ‘wank week’ instead. A far safer bet.

Durkin’s experiences with Against Nature also showed that the cheap and conspiratorial shot of denouncing someone by associating them with others can be used to stifle genuine debate. Who was he sinisterly associated with over the Against Nature controversy? Why, LM, the predecessor magazine to spiked which was edited by Mick Hume.

Scour the web for commentary on Against Nature (only if you have absolutely nothing else to do – seriously) and you will find shrill, green-ink enviro-babble about how we sinister Marxists at LM pulled the puppet-strings of Against Nature in order to do big business’s bidding against the poor, beleaguered environmentalist movement. Or something. In fact, a few people who contributed articles to LM appeared as talking heads on Against Nature. That’s all. Not as exciting as the crazed and wide-eyed web conspiracy theories make it sound, I know. Sorry.

Yet that hasn’t stopped the anti-LM conspiracy-mongering from making a comeback to coincide with the airing of The Great Global Warming Swindle - 10 years after Against Nature was first shown and seven years since LM was forced to close following a libel action brought by ITN. The new Channel 4 film has been described as ‘The Great LM Swindle’. Anti-globalisation author Paul Kingsnorth has written a satirical skit about what might have happened at the Channel 4 offices when they decided to commission Durkin’s latest film. It ends with one of the C4 bosses saying: ‘Brilliant work everyone. Lunch at the Groucho to celebrate? spiked is paying.’ (4) As well as being spectacularly unfunny (miserabilists can’t do satire), the skit is, of course, pure fantasy: spiked had no involvement in The Great Global Warming Swindle and we never buy anyone lunch. Our petty cash is so petty it doesn’t stretch to that.

Durkin laughs about the fact that many environmentalists fancy themselves as leftists, yet ‘they are always exposing me…as a leftist!’ It is indeed surreal – pure madness, in fact – for environmentalist writers, activists, politicians, TV-makers and the rest to complain about the showing of Durkin’s film, when their arguments are so widespread and so rarely challenged. Talking to Durkin, it is clear he is nobody’s stooge – not Big Oil’s, not Big Science’s, and certainly not mine or spiked’s. Whether he’s exposing the origins of environmentalism, the scare about GM food or the global warming consensus, he makes film about things that he believes in; it’s just that his beliefs don’t chime with what we’re ‘supposed’ to believe today. In these uncritical, unquestioning times, we could do with more anti-conformist films from ‘mavericks’ like Durkin.

The various attempts to have him shut up, denounced, sacked or whatever speak to a worryingly censorious climate in the climate change debate. And whatever the sceptics in the Swindle film might think, such a climate has not come about as a result of a handful of greens conspiratorially plotting to take down Durkin and anyone else who stands in their way. Rather, it is a product of a broader, society-wide attitude of ‘You can’t say that!’ in relation to discussions of global warming, development, man’s intervention in nature and the future of humanity itself. If we want a proper debate about these issues, we need an open and rigorous public life, rather than sneaky accusations of secret conspiracies and demands for censure.



A survey of the animals' numbers in Canada's eastern Arctic has revealed that they are thriving, not declining, because of mankind's interference in the environment. In the Davis Strait area, a 140,000-square kilometre region, the polar bear population has grown from 850 in the mid-1980s to 2,100 today. "There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears," said Mitch Taylor, a polar bear biologist who has spent 20 years studying the animals. His findings back the claims of Inuit hunters who have long claimed that they were seeing more bears. "Scientific knowledge has demonstrated that Inuit knowledge was right," said Mr Taylor.

While fellow scientists have accepted Mr Taylor's findings, critics point out that his study was commissioned by the Inuit-dominated government of Nunavit. Critics claim the government has an agenda to encourage polar bear hunting and keep the animals off the endangered species list. In small Inuit communities, hunters kill bears that wander too close to human settlements and, in this particular region, they are licensed to kill six polar bears a year.

Polar bear experts said that numbers had increased not because of climate change but due to the efforts of conservationists. The battle to ban the hunting of Harp seal pups has meant the seal population has soared - boosting the bears' food supply. At the same time, fewer seal hunters are around to hunt bears.

"I don't think there is any question polar bears are in danger from global warming," said Andrew Derocher of the World Conservation Union, and a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "People who deny that have a clear interest in hunting bears." Bear numbers on the west coast of Hudson's Bay had shrunk by 22 per cent over the past decade, he said. "They are declining due to global warming and changes in when the ice freezes and melts in Hudson's Bay," he added. He and other scientists in his group are concerned that the retreating ice in the Arctic may pose a danger to future generations of polar bears because of 'habitat loss'. "The critical problem is the sea ice is changing. "We're looking ahead three generations, 30 to 50 years. "To say that bear populations are growing in one area now is irrelevant."

However, Prof Derocher conceded that some polar bear-related evidence of the damaging effect of global warming was misplaced. Contrary to concern over a celebrated photograph of a bear and its cub floating on a tiny iceberg, the animals often travel in that way, he said. "Bears will often hang out on glacier ice or large pieces of multi-year ice," he said.

The state of Alaska yesterday questioned the scientific justification for proposals to add polar bears to the US endangered species list. Tina Cunnings, a biologist attached to the Alaskan government, questioned whether they needed sea ice to survive, saying they could adapt to hunt on land and find alternative food sources to seals. Prof Derocher said the theory was "absolutely fanciful".


Europe agrees to embrace nuclear option in battle to "save the planet"

That old planet sure seems to need a lot of saving

The role of nuclear power in Europe received an unexpected boost yesterday as EU leaders hailed a landmark climate change deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and switch to renewable fuels.

Environmentalists complained that an ambitious headline goal to cut Europe's CO emissions by a fifth by 2020 had been weakened by concessions to the main nuclear nations and the biggest polluters in Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, will use the agreement struck at the spring EU summit in Brussels to put pressure on world leaders to follow suit when she hosts the G8 meeting in June. China, India and Brazil will join that summit and, like the US, be challenged to accept the principle of binding CO cuts for the first time.

As well as agreeing in principle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, EU leaders pledged to ensure that 20 per cent of Europe's energy will come from renewable sources by 2020. The commitment of all 27 member nations is legally enforceable by the European Court of Justice.

Months of haggling will follow as diplomats argue over targets for individual countries. Each will contribute a different amount, and diplomats made clear that less would be expected of the heaviest-polluting former Communist countries. The Czechs and Slovaks had both complained that they had only just left decades of five-year plans behind them. In a sop to France and the Czech Republic, a country's nuclear power capability will be taken into account when calculating national commitments to renewable energy. France produces 80 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power stations and insisted that this "noncarbon" source of fuel should be taken into consideration. French diplomats believe this will lessen the EU demand for more renewable sources such as wave, wind and solar power.

Jacques Chirac, the outgoing French President, welcomed the deal as one of the top three achievements of the EU during his 12 years in the Elysee Palace. Tony Blair was also pleased with the concession towards the nuclear powers. The outcome will give a boost to his plans to rebuild Britain's ageing nuclear power stations which suffered a setback last month when the High Court ruled that the consultation process was seriously flawed. Mr Blair said: "There is then the 20 per cent target on renewable energy. In setting that, there will be permission to look at the energy mix that countries have . . . including nuclear technology, which obviously helps the UK as well."

Environmentalists were less enthusiastic. Friends of the Earth said the targets were timid. A spokesman said: "Heads of States gave a modest boost to the uptake of renewable energies, but agreed that the EU should aim low on cutting greenhouse gases, and failed again to agree any concrete commitment towards reducing Europe's appalling waste of energy."

Mr Blair and Mr Chirac were full of praise for the handling of the summit by Mrs Merkel, who faced strong opposition to her climate change ambitions from several nations, not least in eastern European countries such as Poland, which still rely heavily on fossil fuels. But she was determined to give herself the best possible leverage on members of the G8 to persuade them to follow suit and prepare a post-Kyoto global framework for cutting harmful emissions. President Chirac described the outcome as "one of the great moments of European history". He said: "It was not easy, but Mrs Merkel achieved it with lots of intelligence and brio."

Key to any new global deal will be the United States, where Congress refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol, but also China, India and Brazil, which were all excused Kyoto targets because they were classed as developing nations in the 1990s. The EU deal allows Mrs Merkel to challenge other global players to match the EU's commitment - with the extra pledge that Europe will go further and cut emissions by up to 30 per cent if others are prepared to follow suit.


Forcing Africans to ‘adapt’ to poverty

By blaming climate change for Africa's problems, green groups have become apologists for inequality and underdevelopment.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published on Friday, seems likely to conclude that Africa is particularly vulnerable to global warming. Responses to climate change increasingly fall into two categories: the first urges cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions from the developed states; the second, dealing with the symptoms, urges greater support for Africa, the continent held to be most in need of external assistance.  Assistance programmes for Africa under the internationally agreed ‘adaptation agenda’ are seen as essential to prevent the impact of climate change from undermining African development.

This essay questions the views of African development implicit in the ‘adaptation agenda’ and suggests that its implementation will institutionalise African poverty and dependency. Those who suggest that this agenda is empowering are not only patronising African people but also seeking to exploit African poverty to reinforce climate change advocacy in the West itself.

The adaptation agenda

According to the UK Government’s latest White Paper on development, Making Governance Work for the Poor, ‘climate change poses the most serious long term threat to development and the Millennium Development Goals’.  The poverty agenda and the climate change agenda have come together in their shared focus on Africa. In the wake of international support for poverty reduction and debt relief, many international NGOs, international institutions and Western states have called for climate change to be seen as the central challenge facing African development. African poverty and poor governance are held to combine to increase Africa’s vulnerability, while the solution is held to lie with international programmes of assistance, funded and led by Western states, held to be chiefly responsible for global warming.

This agenda appears to be more pro-African than the interventionist agendas of the 1990s in which good governance and democracy promotion seemed to put Western states in the position of lecturing and hectoring African states. Building on the poverty reduction and debt-relief approaches of the early part of this decade, assistance to cope with climate change is billed as a way of empowering Africans and learning from them in an attempt to develop ‘shared approaches to shared problems’.

The ‘adaptation agenda’ highlights the increasingly interventionist demand for ‘grand strategies’ and new, more comprehensive, Western agendas to manage Africa. In the midst of the Make Poverty History campaign, which won the support of millions of people for debt-relief and poverty reduction strategies linked to the Development Millennium Goals, a group of major international NGOs already questioned the lack of strategic linking of the UK government’s chief themes - Africa and climate change.  The NGO Working Group on Climate Change and Development called for a new test for every international policy and aid project, ‘in which the key question will be, “Are you increasing or decreasing people’s vulnerability to the climate?”’ The threat of climate change in Africa was held to necessitate ‘a new flexibility and not a one-size-fits-all, neoliberal-driven approach to development’.

The ‘adaptation agenda’ brings together the concerns of poverty reduction and responses to climate change by understanding poverty, not in terms of income or in relation to social or economic development, but in terms of ‘vulnerability to climate change’. This position has been widely articulated by the international NGOs most actively concerned with the climate change agenda. Tony Jupiter, executive director of Friends of the Earth, argues that ‘Policies to end poverty in Africa are conceived as if the threat of climatic disruption did not exist’.  Nicola Saltman, from the World Wide Fund for Nature, similarly feels that ‘All the aid we pour into Africa will be inconsequential if we don’t tackle climate change’.  This position is shared by the UK Department for International Development, whose chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir Gordon Conway, states that African poverty reduction strategies have not factored in the burdens of climate change on African capacities. He argues that there are three principles for adaptation:

  1. Adopt a gradual process of adaptation;
  2. Build on disaster preparedness;
  3. Develop resilience.

The focus of the adaptation agenda puts the emphasis on the lives and survival strategies of Africa’s poor. Professor Conway argues that, with this emphasis:

‘Africa is well prepared to deal with many of the impacts of climate change. Many poor Africans experience severe disasters on an annual or even more frequent basis. This has been true for decades. The challenge is whether we can build on this experience.’

The focus on the survival strategies of Africa’s poor is central to notions of strengthening African ‘resilience’ to climate change. This approach has been counterposed to development approaches that focus on questions of socio-economic development dependent on the application of higher levels of science and technology and the modernisation of agriculture. As the Working Group report states: ‘Recently the role of developing new technology has been strongly emphasised…There is a consensus among development groups, however, that a greater and more urgent challenge is strengthening communities from the bottom-up, and building on their own coping strategies to live with global warming.’ Despite the claims that ‘good adaptation also makes good development’, it would appear that the adaptation to climate change agenda is more like sustained disaster-relief management than a strategy for African development. 

Redefining poverty as ‘vulnerability to climate change’

The focus on ‘bottom-up’ strategies that can increase communities’ resilience to climate change fundamentally challenges traditional approaches to development.  Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation and lead author of the report Africa – Up in Smoke?, challenges the ‘top-down’ focus on poverty reduction of the G8 aid and debt-relief provisions arguing that resilience should be seen as the key problem:

‘Many places in Africa are overwhelmingly dependent on rain-fed agriculture and so they are vulnerable to even the early phases of climate change: any slight exaggeration of peaks and troughs of climate extremes hits them instantly.’

The adaptation agenda focuses on individuals’ vulnerability to climate change rather than looking at the possible responses from ‘top-down’. This may appear to be empowering and ‘community-focused’ but it misses the bigger picture. The ‘bottom-up’ approach, focusing on community resilience, suggests that large-scale development projects that seek to industrialise agricultural production are unnecessary. According to Simms:

‘[T]here has been a lot of emphasis on the commercialisation of agriculture. But people have not thought about whether the development of luxury horticulture from the west coast is going to enhance the resilience of people in the face of massive shifts in climate, when what you may really need is a massive amount of support to small-scale agriculture.’

In re-describing poverty as ‘vulnerability to climate change’, the result appears to be a rejection of aspirations to modernise agriculture. Instead, there is the opposite emphasis: the design of plans that reinforce the social and economic marginalisation of many African people. Rather than development being safeguarded by the modernisation and transformation of African society, underdevelopment is subsidised through the provision of social support for subsistence farming and nomadic pastoralism.

Once poverty is redefined as ‘vulnerability’ then the emphasis is on the survival strategies of the poorest and most marginalised, rather than the broader social and economic relations which force them into a marginalised existence. According to the NGO Working Group:

‘[T]he majority of the continent’s poorest and most undernourished people live in rural areas – especially smallholders, nomadic pastoralists, and women. The joint effort to eradicate poverty promised by African governments and donor governments must therefore deliver rural policies that involve and prioritise these vulnerable groups.’

The Working Group’s follow-up report, Africa – Up in Smoke 2, argues that the problem is not one of underdevelopment in Africa, instead, ‘it is primarily politics’ which explains, for example, the poverty of nomadic pastoralists. To this end, Oxfam and others have put pressure on the Kenyan government to do more to support nomadic groups, arguing that with the right government policies ‘pastoralism could still, despite climate change, be not only a viable way of life, but a profitable one too’. 

Aid agencies, like Oxfam and Practical Action are encouraging the provision of a safety net of external subsidy to pastoral groups, by buying animals (usually goats which would die in drought conditions) at a fair price, slaughtering them and returning the meat and hide to the sellers, which they can then sell on to buy provisions.  Other social safety nets include the provision of cash for work, direct cash relief, free veterinary services, seed distribution etc. 

Policies that make sense in a temporary emergency situation, where famine can be prevented through the provision of government relief, are now promoted as the way forward to increase the ‘resilience’ of the poor to climate change.  Pastoralism is seen as unproblematic in itself. The fact that pastoralists live a life of dependency on the weather and are consigned to poverty is seen as a problem of ‘climate vulnerability’ to be ameliorated by government sponsorship.

The reality is that Africa’s poverty has absolutely nothing to do with global warming. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from underdevelopment that puts people’s lives and livelihoods at constant risk regardless of what happens to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the next hundred years. People’s lives are at the mercy of the weather and the forces of nature more generally, because low levels of development prevent the application of existing levels of science and technology. Reliance on support for traditional coping strategies such as nomadic pastoralism or subsistence farming can only ensure that Africa’s poor remain poor and at the mercies of the climate (whether it changes or not).



The British mandarin behind a gloomy report on climate change has had to run a gauntlet of American economists

PUNCH "Sir Nicholas Stern" into Factiva, the news clippings database, and you'll find only 38 references to him in the American press over the past 12 months. In Britain the quality papers alone have mentioned him more than 501 times (make that 502).

Commissioned by the government to look at the impact of climate change, Stern published his review last October and it makes sober reading. Unless drastic action is taken - and soon - 200m people are likely to be displaced by floods by 2050, Stern concluded. According to his 600-page report the global economy could shrink by between 5% and 20% over the next two centuries because of the likely disruption to people's way of life caused by global warming. Taking action now to reduce carbon emissions would involve a "significant but manageable" one-off cost of 1% of global economic output by 2050. Not taking action would be disastrous: "Our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and economic depression of the first half of the 20th century," wrote the former World Bank chief economist.

Until recently America's ruling party was in a state of denial about global warming. President George W. Bush appeared to believe it was a hoax. His critics accused the former Texan oilman of letting the world burn to protect business interests.

Mid-term elections have given the Democrats the upper hand in Washington and global warming has become a hot topic, fuelled by former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore and his Oscar-nominated documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

Stern was in Washington this month to address Congress about his report - an audience, it would be fair to assume, more receptive to his words than at any other point in the Bush administration. Stern pressed Congress to consider adopting new regulations, funding new technologies and establishing a system of trading carbon-dioxide-emission credits to try to limit gases that spur global warming. "Leadership in the world's largest markets sets the pace elsewhere," he told the Senate's energy and natural resources committee. "Now is the time to act urgently, strongly and internationally."

But while the politicians were at least paying lip service, America's academics were taking their gloves off. On a trip to Yale, Stern was compared to the Wizard of Oz, his frightening picture a projection of badly flawed economics. Unlike Bush, it is not that Yale's economists doubt that the earth is getting hotter, or that human activity is the cause of global warming. The clear implication is that Stern overstated his case for political reasons.

Stern's biggest critic is William Nordhaus, an expert on the economics of global warming at Yale. In a public debate Nordhaus said the report "commits cruel and unusual punishment on the English language", adding that the British government's opinion on climate change was no more infallible than its prewar view about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Fellow Yale economist Robert Mendelsohn was blunter still. He was "awestruck" by the report, comparing Stern to "The Wizard of Oz". "My job is to be Toto [Dorothy's terrier, which unmasks the wizard]," he added.

Commenting on the dispute, Paul Joskow, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, said: "I don't think that there is a disagreement in terms of policy. The US needs to get on board and control greenhouse gases." Even Nordhaus has called Stern "fundamentally correct in sign if not in size". "The problems have been with the way in which the analysis in the report has been packaged," said Joskow. Academics felt the damage attributed to climate change was "chosen from the high side of the probability distribution" and likely costs "from the low side", Joskow said.

More criticism will soon be forthcoming. Harvard economics professor Martin Weitzman, in a soon-to-be published report in the Journal of Economic Literature, has made another attack on Stern's methodology. He argues that the UK government official overcooked his figures. The Stern report is biased toward gloom, argues Weitzman. According to "a generous interpretation of its not-so-great economic analysis," the report "has its heart in the right place" but its numbers do not back up its "alarmist tone", he writes.

The main economic objection to Stern centres on "the discount rate". Stern's headline numbers assumed that a dollar of economic damage prevented a century from now (adjusted for inflation) is roughly as valuable as a dollar spent reducing emissions today. The figure makes the cost of disaster to our grandchildren equal to the cost of the same disaster to ourselves.

Morally, the approach is unimpeachable; economically, its critics argue it is a nonsense. The world's economy is set to grow at 4.1% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Already today's dollar is looking like it is worth less than it will be worth tomorrow. If growth rates continue at present levels, then in 100 years' time there will be no comparison between the two figures. A richer and more technologically advanced society will be better able to deal with tomorrow's problems than we are today, argue Stern's critics.

The Stern Review team has begun to address these criticisms and published a defence of its methodology. The easiest part of the argument to follow is that "business-as-usual emissions of GHGs (greenhouse gases) could radically reduce the standard of living of future generations".

But his critics say it is still Stern's convictions, not his numbers, that buttress his argument. "I think very highly of Nick," said Joskow. "There's always a question if you are an economist: should you be stepping over the line and become a politician and a promoter? Nick has come to believe that this is a very serious problem, and drastic measures need to be taken. The very large numbers in the Stern review are at best speculative."

The report has certainly ignited a heated academic debate. But so far Stern's words do not appear to have reached a mass audience in America in the same way they have in Europe.

"These kinds of problem get you all tied up with the dilemmas of the infinite. We don't know a lot of things and 100 years away is a very long time," said Joskow. "Getting away from the precise numbers, the fact that it has helped to invigorate a debate about climate change and how we deal with it is very good. Maybe that was the intent: to shock people and get them to think."



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

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


11 March, 2007


Salvation by environmentalism or salvation by the one who said that his kingdom is not of this world?

Leaders of several conservative Christian groups have sent a letter urging the National Association of Evangelicals to force its policy director in Washington to stop speaking out on global warming. The conservative leaders say they are not convinced that global warming is human-induced or that human intervention can prevent it. And they accuse the director, the Rev. Richard Cizik, the association's vice president for government affairs, of diverting the evangelical movement from what they deem more important issues, like abortion and homosexuality. The letter underlines a struggle between established conservative Christian leaders, whose priority has long been sexual morality, and challengers who are pushing to expand the evangelical movement's agenda to include issues like climate change and human rights.

"We have observed," the letter says, "that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time." Those issues, the signers say, are a need to campaign against abortion and same-sex marriage and to promote "the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children." The letter, dated Thursday, is signed by leaders like James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family; Gary L. Bauer, once a Republican presidential candidate and now president of Coalitions for America; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Paul Weyrich, a longtime political strategist who is chairman of American Values. They acknowledge in the letter that none of their groups belong to the National Association of Evangelicals, a broad coalition that represents 30 million Christians in hundreds of denominations, organizations and academic institutions. But, they say, if Mr. Cizik "cannot be trusted to articulate the views of American evangelicals," then he should be encouraged to resign.



The ethanol boom is coming. The twin threats of climate change and energy security are creating an unprecedented thirst for alternative energy with ethanol leading the way. That process is set to reach a landmark on Thursday when the US President, George Bush, arrives in Brazil to kick-start the creation of an international market for ethanol that could one day rival oil as a global commodity. The expected creation of an "Opec for ethanol" replicating the cartel of major oil producers has spurred frenzied investment in biofuels across the Americas.

But a growing number of economists, scientists and environmentalists are calling for a "time out" and warning that the headlong rush into massive ethanol production is creating more problems than it is solving. To its advocates, ethanol, which can be made from corn, barley, wheat, sugar cane or beet is a green panacea - a clean-burning, renewable energy source that will see us switch from dwindling oil wells to boundless fields of crops to satisfy our energy needs. Dr Plinio Mario Nastari, one of Brazil's leading economists and an expert in biofuels, sees a bright future for an energy sector in which his country is the acknowledged world leader: "We are on the brink of a new era, ethanol is changing a lot of things but in a positive sense."

In its first major acknowledgment of the dangers of climate change, the White House this year committed itself to substituting 20 per cent of the petroleum it uses for ethanol by 2017. In Brazil, that switch is more advanced than anywhere in the world and it has already substituted 40 per cent of its gasoline usage. Ethanol is nothing new in Brazil. It has been used as fuel since 1925. But the real boom came after the oil crisis of 1973 spurred the military dictatorship to lessen the country's reliance on foreign imports of fossil fuels. The generals poured public subsidies and incentives into the sugar industry to produce ethanol. Today, the congested streets of Sao Paolo are packed with flex-fuel cars that run off a growing menu of bio and fossil fuel mixtures, and all filling stations offer "alcohol" and "gas" at the pump, with the latter at roughly twice the price by volume.

But there is a darker side to this green revolution, which argues for a cautious assessment of how big a role ethanol can play in filling the developed world's fuel tank. The prospect of a sudden surge in demand for ethanol is causing serious concerns even in Brazil. The ethanol industry has been linked with air and water pollution on an epic scale, along with deforestation in both the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests, as well as the wholesale destruction of Brazil's unique savannah land.

Fabio Feldman, a leading Brazilian environmentalist and former member of Congress who helped to pass the law mandating a 23 per cent mix of ethanol to be added to all petroleum supplies in the country, believes that Brazil's trailblazing switch has had serious side effects. "Some of the cane plantations are the size of European states, these vast monocultures have replaced important eco-systems," he said. "If you see the size of the plantations in the state of Sao Paolo they are oceans of sugar cane. In order to harvest you must burn the plantations which creates a serious air pollution problem in the city."

Despite its leading role in biofuels, Brazil remains the fourth largest producer of carbon emissions in the world due to deforestation. Dr Nastarti rejects any linkage between deforestation and ethanol and argues that cane production accounts for little more than 10 per cent of Brazil's farmland. However, Dr Nastari is calling for new legislation in Brazil to ensure that mushrooming sugar plantations do not directly or indirectly contribute to the destruction of vital forest preserves.

Sceptics, however, point out that existing legislation is unenforceable and agri-business from banned GM cotton to soy beans has been able to ignore legislation. "In large areas of Brazil there is a total absence of the state and no respect for environmental legislation," said Mr Feldman. "Ethanol can be a good alternative in the fight against global warming but at the same time we must make sure we are not creating a worse problem than the one we are trying to solve."

The conditions for a true nightmare scenario are being created not in Brazil, despite its environment concerns, but in the US's own domestic ethanol industry. While Brazil's tropical climate allows it to source alcohol from its sugar crop, the US has turned to its industrialised corn belt for the raw material to substitute oil. The American economist Lester R Brown, from the Earth Policy Institute, is leading the warning voices: "The competition for grain between the world's 800 million motorists who want to maintain their mobility and its two billion poorest people who are simply trying to stay alive is emerging as an epic issue."

Speaking in Sao Paolo, where the ethanol boom is expected to take off with a US-Brazil trade deal this Thursday, Fabio Feldman, said: "We must stop and take a breath and consider the consequences."



Claude Allegre, one of France's leading socialists and among her most celebrated scientists, was among the first to sound the alarm about the dangers of global warming. "By burning fossil fuels, man increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which, for example, has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Dr. Allegre, a renowned geochemist, wrote 20 years ago in Cles pour la geologie.." Fifteen years ago, Dr. Allegre was among the 1500 prominent scientists who signed "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity," a highly publicized letter stressing that global warming's "potential risks are very great" and demanding a new caring ethic that recognizes the globe's fragility in order to stave off "spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic and environmental collapse." In the 1980s and early 1990s, when concern about global warming was in its infancy, little was known about the mechanics of how it could occur, or the consequences that could befall us. Since then, governments throughout the western world and bodies such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have commissioned billions of dollars worth of research by thousands of scientists.

With a wealth of data now in, Dr. Allegre has recanted his views. To his surprise, the many climate models and studies failed dismally in establishing a man-made cause of catastrophic global warming. Meanwhile, increasing evidence indicates that most of the warming comes of natural phenomena. Dr. Allegre now sees global warming as over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank. His break with what he now sees as environmental cant on climate change came in September, in an article entitled "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" in l' Express, the French weekly. His article cited evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice and that Kilimanjaro's retreating snow caps, among other global-warming concerns, come from natural causes. "The cause of this climate change is unknown," he states matter of factly. There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the "science is settled."

Dr. Allegre's skepticism is noteworthy in several respects. For one, he is an exalted member of France's political establishment, a friend of former Socialist president Lionel Jospin, and, from 1997 to 2000, his minister of education, research and technology, charged with improving the quality of government research through closer co-operation with France's educational institutions. For another, Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution.

His break with scientific dogma over global warming came at a personal cost: Colleagues in both the governmental and environmental spheres were aghast that he could publicly question the science behind climate change. But Dr. Allegre had allegiances to more than his socialist and environmental colleagues. He is, above all, a scientist of the first order, the architect of isotope geodynamics, which showed that the atmosphere was primarily formed early in the history of the Earth, and the geochemical modeller of the early solar system.

Because of his path-breaking cosmochemical research, NASA asked Dr. Allegre to participate in the Apollo lunar program, where he helped determine the age of the Moon. Matching his scientific accomplishments in the cosmos are his accomplishments at home: Dr. Allegre is perhaps best known for his research on the structural and geochemical evolution of the Earth's crust and the creation of its mountains, explaining both the title of his article in l' Express and his revulsion at the nihilistic nature of the climate research debate.

Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers," Dr. Allegre especially despairs at "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02.

His dream, he says, is to see "ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."


Brockovich: A Greenie fraud

Comment from Australia

This week the legendary anti-chemical campaigner Erin Brockovich was paraded before Sydney by a new political group seeking our votes. The Climate Change Coalition thinks Brockovich's views on the environment are worth our attention. But once you know the facts about Brockovich and the movie that was made about her, you might wonder.

As anyone who's seen the film starring Julia Roberts knows, Brockovich was a legal file clerk who helped persuade about 650 residents of Hinkley, California, to sue the power company Pacific Gas and Electric. A rust inhibitor named chromium 6 had leaked from one of PG&E's facilities into the town's water supply. Brockovich and her bosses claimed drinking this had caused a wide variety of illnesses in residents, from nosebleeds to cancer. In 1996 PG&E paid $US333 million. The lawyers pocketed 40 per cent of this and paid Brockovich some $US2 million for her sterling efforts.

Brockovich, an attractive single parent, became a heroine. Julia Roberts was paid $US20 million to don the high heels and push-up bra again and play her in the film. Roberts won an Oscar and the movie grossed more than $US125 million in its first six months.

So far, so familiar. But then an investigative journalist named Michael Fumento started to look at the facts behind the case. He found that cancer rates in Hinkley were no higher than the Californian averages. He found chromium 6 causes cancer if breathed in large quantities, but there is no evidence it causes cancer if swallowed. (Information on the websites of the US Environment Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and Australia's Department of Environment and Water Resources suggests he's right.) And he found that no known agent can cause more than a handful of the symptoms attributed by Brockovich and her colleagues to chromium 6. In other words, the case was a crock.

So why did PG&E pay up? We don't know, but Fumento believes it was because it was being commercially damaged by the wave of bad publicity. During the case, Brockovich's company formed an alliance with two of California's largest legal firms, and between them they used the media brilliantly. The ABC television network was just one major media outlet that pushed the Brockovich line. PG&E, a retail company in a competitive market, was suffering (so Fumento's argument goes) and decided to pay for the problem to go away. The costs could, after all, be passed on to consumers.

If Fumento is right, the whole Brockovich story is a myth. It's an attractive myth, the story of a beautiful individual who brings a dangerous corporation to its knees. A myth made for the media and Hollywood and the Climate Change Coalition. But a myth nonetheless.

Brockovich's problematic record where science is concerned is a real issue when it comes to talking about climate change. We need credible guidance, not least in helping us understand what we do and do not know. Much of what is said publicly on the subject assumes a far greater level of certainty than in fact exists. One example of this is the models that produce the forecasts or predictions used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others to suggest how the climate will change. Many scientists have noted that we just don't understand how the climate works well enough to place as much credence on these models as many people, particularly activists, now do.

We were reminded of another important aspect of our uncertainty over climate yesterday in the Herald by the climate expert Professor Andy Pitman, who's about to become co-head of a new climate change research centre at the University of NSW. Referring to this state he said: "We do not know why we are in such a severe drought, nor if this is natural or significantly enhanced through human activities via global warming."

The problem with climate change now is that it's difficult to keep one's sense of proportion because of the alarmism that's so widespread. There used to be a phrase, "the gravy train", to describe some fad or enterprise people could board to make money. I think we need a new concept, "the carbon train", to describe what's happening now. As well as all those sincerely concerned, there are lots of people jumping on board the climate issue for money, publicity or votes, or just to feel good.

The Federal Government has hopped on just as the train's leaving the station. Sceptics wonder if its concern will extend beyond giving the appearance of action. My heart sank this week when Malcolm Turnbull announced $52.8 million would be spent before the federal election to send a booklet to every household in Australia urging it to use less power.

Business is clambering on board the carbon train. A few years ago environmentalists became excited when the insurance industry announced it believed in global warming as a serious threat to humanity. Activists assured us global warming "must" be a threat if "even" big business accepted it. The fact this gave insurers a reason to ramp up premiums, and therefore profits, was rarely noted.

The truth is, business is happy to believe in anything if it will reduce uncertainty and any extra costs incurred can be passed on to the consumer (see PG&E above). If you can also make more profit along the way, all the better.



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

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


10 March, 2007

Has the Global Warming Frenzy passed its peak?

A certifiable paranoiac would have a high old time tracing out the patterns behind the global warming campaign of the past month. The effort has the feel of something long planned, well scripted, and worked out to the final detail. It's hard to avoid thoughts of conspiracy when contemplating the activities of the Greens.

Not that it's necessary to believe any such thing. (In analyzing cases like this, I apply Dunn's First Law: With enough idiots, you don't need a conspiracy.) It's part of the natural order -- birds flock, insects swarm, and Greens campaign. But the actual point is, whether carefully-hatched scheme, herd instinct, or sheer accident, it's clear at this juncture that the effort has failed.

Let's take a closer look at those patterns. First we have the release of the International Panel on Climate Change "report" (still referred to that way throughout the legacy media, despite the fact that the actual report isn't due out for several months yet). This was followed by weeks of mounting hysteria in every possible media outlet, culminating in Al Gore's Norma Desmond moment at the Oscars. Then at last, the universal sigh of relief as the climate program telling us exactly what we need to do to save ourselves was presented to the UN by 18 (count `em, 18 -- all mainstream, too!) scientists.

The big report you never heard about

What's that? You didn't catch that last part? Neither did anybody else. (Notice that the link leads to the Voice of America, the only site where I could find a complete report, and not the New York Times or Washington Post) And that's an odd thing. The entire effort was obviously building up to the revelation of What Must Be Done, to be delivered in tones of thunder to a world agonized to the breaking point. Instead it comes across as the standard piece of useless UN paper - of the type dealing with fisheries policy in the Maldives or primary schooling in Slovakia.

But this particular report went effectively uncovered, unmentioned, and ignored - an awfully strange response to the solution to the most terrifying threat in human history. Clearly, something went wrong. If the campaign had been a success, it would have been covered, all right - as much as the IPCC summary and then some. Al would have been at the UN. So would Hillary, Chuck, and Nancy, more than likely. There would have been speeches, and plenty of them. Parked SUV's would have been trashed all around Manhattan. Somebody would have pointed out that Turtle Bay would in short order be twenty, or forty, or sixty feet underwater.

None of that happened - the unveiling of the grand solution was a complete washout. (And what was the solution? Umm... carbon taxes and... I forget.) With a failure as abject as this, there's no simple means of recovery. The entire effort to sell anthropogenic global warming will have to be redone from scratch. Look for another buildup when the actual IPCC report is released sometime this Spring. It's a good thing they can't do the Academy Awards all over again. Three major factors are responsible for the Green's failure:

* The weather
* Al Gore
* Science

Bad timing: a seasonal obsession

The weather is the key factor, the one that rendered it impossible to push the warming thesis as an accomplished fact. The IPCC report was released during the first days of the worst six weeks of weather in several decades. While the UN, Al, and the media jabbered about how hot it was getting, the rest of the northern hemisphere was digging out of blizzards, enduring colder temperatures than any in recent memory (this was the worst run of continuous low temperatures I have seen personally since the infamous "ice age winter" of 1975), and in some cases simply trying to live through it. Europe was hit by killer blizzards, one of which shut down all of southeastern England. Japan, China, and Korea suffered bone-chilling readings. Cambodia was treated to temperatures of an unthinkable 40 degrees Fahrenheit, prompting the distribution of blankets to the poor. The central and northern U.S. went through weeks of below-freezing temperatures, (two and half weeks here in western PA), with much of the rest of the country enduring less than normal levels. Excessive snow, often reaching blizzard heights, added to everyone's pleasure. Some are still going fighting their way through it - on March 1, Governor Culver declared all of Iowa a disaster area after an extra foot of snow fell in one 24-hour period.

The result was a general popular tacit dismissal of "global warming" talk as elitist nonsense, something to occupy the time of people who don't have to dig out their sidewalks, free their cars, or rescue stranded travelers.

Of course, weather is not climate - but the distinction is irrelevant, as far as public attitudes are concerned. And as has been pointed out here previously, there is a direct correlation to global warming as a scientific proposition. The most plausible warming models predict that the bulk of temperature rises will occur during the winter in high latitudes. After thirty-odd years of uninterrupted warming, we should be seeing some sign of this, and not a return to bitter mid-70s winters. This is a case where the public mind is correct even when it's wrong.

The possibility of something like this could have been foreseen. February, after all, is the generally the coldest month of the year. Could it be that the IPCC release was arranged by a UN bureaucrat from a tropical country, one not all that familiar with northern weather patterns? Whatever the case, the lesson to draw from this is: don't put out your global warming material in mid-winter in the Northern Hemisphere industrialized countries.

Al Gore

The second factor is something vaster and more certain than mere weather or climate: Al Gore's arrogance.

It can't be said that Al didn't deserve what he got. The revelation that his Nashville mansion uses more electricity each month than the last twelve Olympics (he must have felt right at home among all those spotlights on Oscar night) has struck his halo of Green rectitude a serious blow. Later revelations that his explanation was bogus may well have shattered it. (He claimed to be making up for all that power usage by purchasing carbon offsets.

The problem is that they were being purchased from Generation Investment Management -- chairman, Albert Gore, Jr. In other words, Al was paying Al for the privilege of wasting electricity. It's as if Gandhi had been photographed inside his ashram wearing spats and a waistcoat and sipping Boodles gin. From now on all the little gestures - riding in the hybrid limo, having the private jet pilot sign the carbon offset certificate, and for all we know, touring the North American continent in a solar-powered blimp - are going to look just the slightest bit hollow.

Gore can't help this. He was born to make the wrong move at the absolute worst time. Any doubts about that are erased by two even more recent incidents: sneaking his party past security at Nashville airport ("It's okay, they know me here..."), and, as Iowa was being shut down by the worst blizzards since the retreat of the glaciers, giving his customary warming Jeremiad to a crowd in Oklahoma only a few hundred miles south.

What this means is that the Greens will have to cultivate a new messiah. Gore's campaign will continue, and media inertia being what it is (don't you feel sorry for all those people predicting his run for the presidency in `08?) he'll get plenty of coverage. But his effectiveness as a spokesman for the Green cause is nil. Al Gore has once again become what he was after his post-2000 election tantrum -- a joke. And while there are second acts in American lives, pushing for a third is really tempting the fates.

The Science

The final element is science - namely, its lack of respect for anybody's opinion, even that of its own most mainstream elements. "The debate is over" was supposed to be one of those catchphrases that enters common usage and sweeps all resistance before it, like "Women don't lie" or "We want change". But even as the warming campaign was unfolding, we were given a clear demonstration that science never produces final answers. Over the past month, two scientific challenges to the warming thesis were made public, one of them speculative, the other damning.

The speculative aspect is provided by a theory advanced by Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark of the Center for Sun-Climate Research. Svensmark's theory is complex, but can be summarized easily enough. It is based on the observation that cosmic rays assist in cloud formation by encouraging condensation. A rise in solar activity strengthens the sun's magnetic field, which shields the inner solar system from cosmic rays. Cloud formation drops slightly but significantly, lowering the earth's albedo - its reflectivity - resulting in increased temperatures.

Solar activity is currently at all-time high, with the intensity of incoming cosmic rays correspondingly low. Have rising temperatures been a mere coincidence? Svensmark doesn't think so, and has convinced one of Britain's premier science writers, Nigel Calder, to collaborate with him on a book, The Chilling Stars, not yet published in the U.S.

The other challenge was embodied in an op-ed by NASA climate scientist Roy W. Spencer in the New York Post. Not your average scientific journal, it's true, but it's been along time since this was merely a scientific question. Spencer points out a glaring omission in nearly all climatology dealing with warming: a complete neglect of the phenomenon of precipitation. Spencer explains that precipitation lowers atmospheric temperature, with effects on the climate in general that remain unknown. The lack of consideration of precipitation in the global warming model is a gross error, on the level of putting the wrong lenses on the Hubble Telescope or confusing metric and English measurements while constructing the lost Mars probe.

How much is overall temperature lowered by precipitation? We don't know. Has the level and frequency of precipitation increased? We don't know that either. Precipitation is probably the least understood element of climate. We don't even know the total amount of precipitation in the world. A clearer indictment of warming "science" is impossible to make.

Svensmark's theory remains to be tested, and the data concerning the effects of precipitation need to be collated and analyzed. But their implications cannot be ignored. The fact that two such major elements, one cosmic, one prosaic, have been overlooked undercuts the warming thesis completely. The warming theorist's obsession with carbon dioxide buildup - only one factor in an infinitely complex system - has blinded them to everything else. They're in the position of a pack of hounds so intent on the rabbit that they missed the cliff edge right in front of them.

It's heartening to see that the Greens, whether technical, political, or media, have retained their basic ineptness. They're such cookie-cutter true believers that they really can't grasp how they can go wrong or why anyone wouldn't listen to them. As a result they begin their push in the middle of winter, choose the current prince of the also-rans as their champion (such individuals, who include figures such as Wendell Wilkie and Hubert Humphrey, can often go on to make serious and valuable contributions. But not this time.), and ignore the fact that science marches on without regard to anybody's agenda.

The campaign will continue. We'll be hearing about global warming until the glaciers return, the same way we occasionally still hear a few frightened voices crying about overpopulation, in a world where population collapse is the challenge. The Greens may pass some taxes, get some cosmetic programs pushed through, but the idea of a Green millennium, of some kind of apocalyptic phase-change resulting in a global environmentalist state, is something we can forget about.

They had their shot, and they have blown it. The past few weeks could serve well as a textbook example of how not to influence public opinion. In time (and it can't be soon enough), global warming will take its place in the museum of folly alongside overpopulation, nuclear winter, and the coming ice age. There aren't any spotlights there, and they don't give out prizes either.


Eco-Nazis trivialize the Holocaust

Post lifted from "The American Thinker". In history, Kristallnacht was the first big slaughter of Jews by the Nazis

First came Ellen Goodman's offensive column, in which she likened global warming "deniers" to Holocaust deniers. Recent commentary  about Al Gore and his energy usage has brought me into contact with his claim in Earth in the Balance, published in 2000, that global warming
"threatens an environmental holocaust... today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin."

Al Gore lives the lifestyle of a movie star, with limos, private jets, a mansion, and 20 times the average electricity consumption of the ordinary American. It is beyond repugnant that such a man lecture us on the virtues of consuming less, no matter how rich he might get off the sale of carbon credit indulgences.

If Al invokes Kristallnact, it should be spelled "Cristal"nacht - as in the very expensive French champagne favored by movie stars, drug dealers, and Wall Street hotshots as they nightclub away at glamour spots in Hollywood. Or maybe "crystal," as in Baccarat crystal stemware.

Perhaps if the Gestapo had shined fluorescent bulbs while interrogating prisoners, they could have also participated in saving the earth.

Come to think of it, how many carbon credits did the Nazis earn by lowering the electricity usage of 6 million Jews, as well as by getting many of them to travel by freight train instead of private automobile to concentration camps? In Al Gore's Brave New World, removing human beings from the earth is real plus.

I actually once spoke with someone who told me he knew of a car enthusiast in Israel whose father in Poland was wealthy enough to own a Buick, which he used to take his family to the Russian-controlled eastern part of the country early in World War II, thus saving their lives. I am hoping that since they carpooled, Al Gore has no objections, even though their vehicle wasn't a hybrid and didn't get 45 miles to the gallon.

Global warming crusaders are taking a distinctly anti-human view, seeing people as the disease, and prosperity the symptom. They would condem 2 billion Indians and Chinese to sweat out their lives without air conditioning, and implicitly count every American death as a victory for reducing carbon emissions.

This sort of thinking is anti-human, and their sloganeering a shameless appropriation of the Holocaust redefining the language in order to to redefine reality, something described in Robert Cheek's AT article Solzhenitsyn, the Prophet. Gore's Redefinition of Reality, coming to a theater near you. Don't buy a ticket.


The right to own a gas-guzzling car was indignantly compared with other fundamental human freedoms, such as the choice of a sexual and family life, by Jose Manuel Barroso, head of the European Commission yesterday. Mr Barroso was challenged about his ownership of a large SUV (sports utility vehicle), minutes after warning Europe's leaders that the eyes of the world would be upon them tomorrow at a summit at which he wants to set ambitious targets to cut greenhouse gases.

He denied that his choice of vehicle contradicted Commission plans to limit CO2 emissions from cars to 130 grammes per km. His personal Volkswagen Touareg 4x4 pumps out 265 g/ km but he argues that it is mostly used by his wife, Margarida. On official business he tends to use a top-of-the range Mercedes with CO2 emissions of 270 g/km. He said: "I never see myself as an example. A moralistic approach is not mine. We are setting public targets and should avoid giving certificates of good behaviour to individuals."

Asked whether he should set an example in his own vehicle choice, he added: "People are responsible and should take their decisions. "If you start on the environment you could go on to the family, sexual, etc. You have to respect the law and what we are doing is pushing for a more ambitious law."

The proposed target of 130 g/km CO2 across all cars sold in Europe by 2012 would leave manufacturers free to produce big cars, provided that average emissions met the target.

Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Mr Barroso claims to be committed to fighting climate change while driving a big gas-guzzling car in the narrow roads of Brussels. As a high-profile politician he should be making significant changes to his own lifestyle." Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, said: "The Commission's own website urges people to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. I recommend that Mr Barroso reads the website and gives some political leadership on climate change." Other politicians in Europe have adapted their travel habits. David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, for example, offsets his flights.

Mr Barroso was speaking at a preview of the two-day leaders' summit in Brussels that will consider ambitious climate change goals, including a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and a target to use 10 per cent more biofuels. A call for a binding target of 20 per cent for renewable energy across Europe is being resisted by the Poles and the Czechs. Mr Barroso declared: "This is an opportunity for European leaders to match intentions with deeds, to turn words into actions. " Mr Barroso said that tackling climate change "must be a defining mission for the European Union for the future" and featured in the Berlin declaration on March 25, a statement of EU achievements in the 50 years since it was formed.



Jeremy Paxman has been encouraging people to throw rubbish out of their car windows. He didn't mean to. He didn't want to. But he did. Yesterday morning the Newsnight presenter produced an article in The Guardian bemoaning the "uglification" of Britain. He rejected the assertion of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign that "litter levels in England have fallen to a five-year low". "How can they claim the country is so clean," asks Paxman "when the evidence of our eyes suggests quite the reverse?" The TV man conducted an informal survey on a quiet stretch of country road. He hadn't gone 500 yards before counting 100 pieces of rubbish. "Most - sandwich wrappers, McDonald's bags, crisp packets and endless plastic bottles - had been deliberately jettisoned."

How can I argue that this passionate and in many ways highly admirable attack on littering encourages people to litter? Let me tell you a story. Actually it's not my story. It was told to the Prime Minister's advisers by the social psychologist Professor Robert Cialdini when he went to 10 Downing Street recently to discuss environmental issues. One of the professor's students visited the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona with his fianc,e, a notably honest woman, someone who wouldn't borrow a paperclip without returning it. As they entered, the couple encountered a sign cautioning against stealing petrified wood. "Our heritage is being vandalised by the theft of 14 tons of wood every year." The fiancee's reaction was quite unexpected. "We'd better get ours now," she whispered.

Unwittingly the sign provided visitors with two pieces of information that made them more likely to steal wood. The first was that the forest was being depleted rapidly, wood was running out, you better get a move on. They may as well have put up a sign reading: "Hurry now, while stocks last." Nothing moves goods quite as rapidly as the idea that the product is scarce, as any retailer will tell you. The other information provided by the sign was that it was quite normal to steal wood. Lots of people steal wood, it's commonplace, go on, you'll not be different from the rest.

Information about social norms - how other people behave - is an extremely powerful influence on behaviour. It's the reason why bandwagons get going in by-elections. And the information need not be accurate to alter people's conduct. Less than 3 per cent of the park's visitors had ever stolen wood, contrary to the impression given by the sign.

So when the Paxman article appeared, he doubtless hoped that we would be shamed into tidier ways. But, sad to report, the attitude of many of his readers will be to open their windows and toss out some more rubbish. I've always been a tidy person, they'll think, but I read a piece in the paper by that clever bloke off of University Challenge that says that these days no one else is bothered much with tidiness. I don't see why I should go all the way to the bin, I'll just drop my Twix wrapper on the pavement like all the rest do. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign leads its website with this claim: "Half of us boast impeccable habits." This may be impossibly optimistic for your tastes, but it certainly demonstrates a solid grasp of the principles of social psychology.

Almost every day in the media there is a Paxman-type story - an attempt to persuade people to behave differently by telling us all how bad things are getting. Over the past fortnight, for example, there have been countless articles about the decline in marriage. And every one of them encourages a further decline. If you wanted to increase marriage rates you would be emphasising how usual it is to get married, how despite all you've heard it's still the norm. People like you get married and stay together, that's the message you want people to hear. If you make deserting your children seem like a normal thing to do, more will do it. Same with drink-driving, shoplifting, drug-taking, gang membership, whatever.

Last week I called myself a social responsibility militant, picking up a phrase of David Cameron's that describes his policy of altering behaviour through persuasion rather than the law. I argued that laws are often ineffective. There is a wealth of data showing that if you, say, make wearing a seat belt compulsory, drivers buckle up before speeding up and killing others. Persuade drivers to take safety seriously and you may get somewhere.

The petrified forest story and the example of Jeremy Paxman's article show why, despite all the data on the clumsiness of the law, politicians continue to prefer legislative initiatives. It's because legislating is so much easier.



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

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


9 March, 2007

The Fraud of Global Warming: True C02 Record Buried

This article comes from a dubious source and I have not been able to find on the net the original research report referred to in the article -- even though I have found the home page of the alleged author. The question it raises about ACTUAL measurements of ambient CO2 as opposed to levels of CO2 inferred from ice cores is however an interesting one. I gather that CO2 levels in cores dating back more than 100 years are remarkably uniform. Given the known variation in CO2 levels, that strongly suggests a methodological artifact to me. It sounds as if an amount of CO2 "leaks" down to a certain level either before or after the core is drilled -- the residual level being determined by the strength of the forces that drive the leaks. Jaworowski is of course a strong proponent of that view and efforts have been made to allow for his criticisms in more recent drilling but it seems probable to me that there are dynamics in old ice cores that are not yet known or understood. Real-world checking does therefore assume considerable importance. I would be interested to see a copy of the alleged Beck report if anyone can locate it


A reader writes:

"The Beck paper has not yet been published. It is still undergoing peer review and is expected to be published, by E&E, later this year"

Update 2:

An email from Ernst Beck:

Next week my paper "180 Years of atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical methods" will be published in Energy& Environment (UK) which is 20 pages fraction of the 120 pages monograph I have written including all data, evaluations of locations and methods. Meanwhile I have almost finished translation to English. Do you publish monographs or do you know possibilities ?

Update 3

I have put up a very rough preliminary draft of Prof. Beck's paper here

The historical record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the justification for greenhouse gas reduction, is a fraud. Research by a Freiburg, Germany professor, Ernst-Georg Beck of the Merian-Schule, shows that the IPCC construed and concocted the pre-1957 CO2 record from measurements on recently drilled ice cores, ignoring more than 90,000 direct measurements by chemical methods from 1857 to 1957.

The IPCC's hoked-up record attempts to prove that CO2 concentrations have been steadily increasing with the progress of human industrial civilization. Beck's work confirms a wealth of previous investigations which demonstrate that the IPCC cherrypicked its data in an attempt to prove that we must stop industrial development and return to the horse-and-buggy age, or face oppressive heat and melting of the polar ice caps. It shows that the Kyoto Treaty on reduction of greenhouse gases was based on a scientific fraud which violates the laws of the universe, denying the well-established determination of climate by cyclical variations in the Earth-Sun orbital relationship and in the Sun's heat output.

In a thorough review of 175 scientific papers, Professor Beck found that the founders of modern greenhouse theory, Guy Stewart Callendar and Charles David Keeling (a special idol of Al Gore's), had completely ignored careful and systematic measurements by some of the most famous names of physical chemistry, among them several Nobel prize winners. Measurements by these chemists showed that today's atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 380 parts per million (ppm) have been exceeded in the past, including a period from 1936 to 1944, when the CO2 levels varied from 393.0 to 454.7 ppm.

There were also measurements, accurate to within 3%, of 375.00 ppm in 1885 (Hempel in Dresden), 390.0 in 1866 (Gorup, Erlangen), and 416.0 in 1857 and 1858 (von Gilm, Innsbruck). Ironically, although the 1940s increase correlated with a period of average atmospheric warming, Beck and others have shown that the warming preceded the increase in CO2 concentrations.

The data reviewed by Beck came mainly from the northern hemisphere, geographically spread from Alaska over Europe to Poona, India, nearly all taken from rural areas or the periphery of towns without contamination by industry, at a measuring height of approximately 2 meters above ground. Evaluation of chemical methods revealed a maximum error of 3% down to 1% in the best cases.

By contrast, the measurements hoked up from ice cores, show a rather steady increase in CO2 levels, conveniently corresponding to the preconceived idea that increasing industrial activity has produced a steady CO2 increase. As Beck's collaborator, Dr. Zbigniew Jaworoswki, former senior advisor to the Polish radiation monitoring service and a veteran mountaineer who has excavated ice from 17 glaciers on six continents, has shown, the gaseous inclusions in ice cores have no validity as historical proxies for atmospheric concentrations. The continual freezing, refreezing, and pressurization of ice columns drastically alters the original atmospheric concentrations of the gas bubbles.

According to the greenhouse warming theory, the increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration caused by human activity, such as burning of fossil fuels, acts like the glass in a greenhouse to prevent the re-radiation of solar heat from near the Earth's surface. Although such an effect exists, carbon dioxide is low on the list of greenhouse gases, accounting for at most 2 or 3 percent of the greenhouse effect. By far the most important greenhouse gas is water vapor. However, water in the form of clouds can reflect back solar radiation, causing temperature reduction. There are so many interrelated effects, that correlating global temperature to CO2 concentration is like attempting to predict the value of a hedge fund by the phases of the Moon.

To concoct a convincing case of such correlation requires ample, sophisticated lying, and the greenhouse theorists have been caught at it. By a delightful historical irony, it could be said that it is the founder of modern science, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), who has caught them. Our modern understanding of photosynthesis began when the Flemish researcher Jan Baptist van Helmont took up Cusa's challenge (stated in the "De Staticis" section of his Idiota de mente, the Layman: About Mind) to weigh a plant and its soil before and after growth. Van Helmont discovered (circa 1620) that the soil supporting a willow tree, which had grown to 169 pounds in five years, had changed weight by less than a few ounces. Whence did the solid mass of the tree derive? Ironically, Van Helmont, who had introduced the word "gas" to science, mistakenly concluded that the plant's mass had come solely from the water applied.

It took almost two more centuries to uncover the astounding fact that much of the mass of the plant, and all of its structural backbone, derives from the invisible and apparently weightless air, most especially the carbon dioxide component of it. That was the achievement of the revolution in chemistry launched by Lavoisier, and pushed forward by Gay-Lussac, Avogadro, Gerhardt, and others at the beginning of the 19th Century. The ability to place two invisible gases in a balance and compare their weights, proved to be the secret to the determination of atomic weights, and from that the unlocking of the secrets of both the atom and the cell.

Unfortunately for the liars at the IPCC, the measurement of atmospheric CO2 concentration had been a special focus of chemists since that early 19th Century elaboration of the process of photosynthesis, and their carefully recorded measurements remain with us. The inconvenient truth is that Al Gore still exists, but only fools and Presidential "front-runners," so named for the ample leaks of bodily fluids from their anterior orifices, give serious credence to his emissions.


Why is "coldest" so little reported? "Hottest" gets prominent reports all the time

Post lifted from Don Surber

Updating my mid-February post: Coldest. February. Ever.

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette: "City endures third-coldest February"

Toledo Blade: "February is ranked as city’s 6th-coldest"

Muncie Star-Press: "This February was coldest, snowiest in decades"

Youngstown Vindicator: "February made us shiver with near record lows, lots of snow"

Toronto Star: "February was the coldest in 28 years . . ."

570 News (Canada): "The University of Waterloo Weather Station says it's the coldest February they have ever tracked."

Roanoke Times: "We may be living in cold, historic times . . . If the month had ended Monday, this would be the coldest February on record at Roanoke, edging out the only other two Februarys with an average temperature below 30 degrees — February 1978 (29.5 degrees) and February 1979 ( 29.3 degrees)."

Ag "FEBRUARY SUMMARY: It was the coldest February since at least 1989 (18 years) and possibly 1979 for the nation as a whole, and the month is expected to rank between the 8th and 15th coldest in 113 years of national records. National precipitation trended up 134% over last year with snowfall up 60% over last year. Tornadoes and severe weather were also up with 89 during the month vs only 12 last year. Gasoline prices trended up 6% vs last year and were at the highest levels since middle September."

Chicago Tribune: "9th coldest February in 137 years; 4th snowiest since 1929."

Indianapolis Star: "The rising temperatures will be a sharp contrast to the bitter cold Hoosiers experienced during February, which was among the five coldest and snowiest months ever recorded for the metro area."

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Capping one of the most radical winter flip-flops on record, the region has just endured its coldest February since Jimmy Carter was president and Frank Rizzo was Philadelphia’s mayor."

Aberdeen American News: "It is likely February 2007 will end up being the second coldest February on record."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported: “South Korea Has Warmest Winter in 100 Years on Global Warming

They˜have politicized the weather. None of the coldest February stories mention climate.

New Report Finds Red-faced Errors by IPCC and Gore

An analysis of the United Nations widely-touted 2007 IPCC Global Warming Summary for Policymakers by UK Lord Viscount Monckton has found 31 errors and exaggerations. Since Lord Monckton alerted the UN about its errors, the UN substantially rewrote and corrected the report, Monckton claims in his new analysis. (see here)

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, an aide to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, sent the UN a list of 31 errors and exaggerations shortly after launch of the summary in February 2007 of its latest report on the science of climate change.

The UN's climate-change body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, did not reply directly to Lord Monckton's criticism, but made many of the corrections nevertheless. "The tradition of elementary but serious scientific errors, of which the notorious `hockey-stick' graph of estimated global temperatures over the past 1,000 years is an example, is alive and well in the UN's 2007 report," Lord Monckton said.

"The UN has still not corrected or apologized for the `hockey-stick', by which it falsely abolished the mediaeval warm period, when temperatures were 2 or 3C warmer than today, and disaster failed to ensue. But it has been forced to correct several schoolboy howlers - though it has not had the honesty to announce publicly and clearly that it has done so," Monckton said. "The heavily-corrected version of the IPCC report has been furtively posted on the IPCC's website, There has been no public statement by the IPCC admitting to the errors," Monckton added.

The UN has been forced to halve its high-end estimate of the rise in sea-level to 2100, and it has also sharply reduced its estimate of our entire effect on the climate since 1750, according to Monckton. Monckton echoed UK Lord Nigel Lawson's call that the IPCC be disbanded. "It is too politicized and too incompetent to serve any useful purpose," Monckton said.

Monckton's new analysis also points out significant science errors in Al Gore's Oscar winning film "An Inconvenient Truth." "The IPCC's exaggerations and errors parallel those of Al Gore in his notorious sci-fi horror film An Inconvenient Truth, now being peddled to schoolchildren worldwide," Monckton said.


Another assumption of the climate "models" crumbles

The growth of methane -- one of the most potent global warming gases -- has stalled after rapidly rising in the Earth's atmosphere for more than a century, Oregon scientists say. In the most detailed look at methane measurements, researchers at Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University find that the buildup of methane in the atmosphere has been slowing for nearly a quarter of a century. And the Oregon scientists don't foresee methane emissions increasing again anytime soon because of human activities. "It's good news because you have one global-warming gas that's not increasing very rapidly, or at all," said Aslam Khalil, an atmospheric physicist at PSU.

Khalil -- with PSU doctoral student Christopher Butenhoff and atmospheric chemist Rei Rasmussen of OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering -- reported the results this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

A key reason for the flattened methane levels may be changes in the way China grows rice, Khalil and PSU researcher Martha Shearer found in another study. In the past 30 years, China has reduced rice-growing areas and replaced methane-generating organic fertilizers -- animal and human excrement -- with nitrogen-based fertilizers, they said. In addition, the growers are using less water, which also reduces methane emissions. "There may be methane sources that are increasing, but they're being balanced by the decrease in methane from rice fields," Khalil said. "So I don't think methane is going to go up unless there's some new force that has been increasing and hasn't kicked in yet."

Methane -- 20 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat on Earth -- has more than doubled in the atmosphere in the past two centuries. It is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, which is more prevalent and lasts longer in the atmosphere. Emissions of methane can be traced to human activities -- such as rice paddies, landfills, cattle-raising and fossil-fuel extraction -- as well as natural sources such as wetlands and termites.

Khalil and Rasmussen have teamed up for more than two decades to measure and assess the growing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In 1981, they were the first scientists to identify and report that methane was increasing in the atmosphere. Their latest work reveals that the leveling-off period for methane is longer than other scientists had found. In the recent study, the researchers found that annual increases in methane concentrations have gradually slowed from about 25 parts per billion in 1980 to about 5 parts per billion in 2004. Because of this, Khalil said, climate models and scenarios that include a steady rise in methane may need to be revised.

The researchers looked at methane measurements taken between 1981 and 2004 at a network of sites -- including a station at Cape Meares -- that OGI once operated and by an array of sampling sites now operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The 23-year emission data really says there has been no continued increase in methane into the atmosphere," said Rasmussen. "For all practical purposes, the amount that is being emitted into the atmosphere is being destroyed in the atmosphere at about the same rate."

More here

Those pesky Polar bears won't do what the Greenies want them to

Their status ranges from a "vulnerable" to "endangered" and could be declared "threatened" if the U.S. decides the polar bear is collateral damage of climate change. Nobody talks about "overpopulated" when discussing the bears' outlook. Yet despite the Canadian government 's $150-million commitment last week to fund 44 International Polar Year research projects, a key question is not up for detailed scientific assessment: If the polar bear is the 650-kilogram canary in the climate change coal mine, why are its numbers INCREASING?

The latest government survey of polar bears roaming the vast Arctic expanses of northern Quebec, Labrador and southern Baffin Island show the population of polar bears has jumped to 2,100 animals from around 800 in the mid-1980s. As recently as three years ago, a less official count placed the number at 1,400. The Inuit have always insisted the bears' demise was greatly exaggerated by scientists doing projections based on fly-over counts, but their input was usually dismissed as the ramblings of self-interested hunters. As Nunavut government biologist Mitch Taylor observed in a front-page story in the Nunatsiaq News last month, "the Inuit were right. There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears."

Their widely portrayed lurch toward extinction on a steadily melting ice cap is not supported by bear counts in other Arctic regions either. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collecting feedback on whether to declare the polar bear "threatened" under its Endangered Species Act, joining the likes of the rare red-cockaded woodpecker, the lesser prairie chicken and the Sonoran pronghorn, which are afforded official protection and species recovery management. The service held its first public hearing on the polar bear project last night in Washington D.C.

But background papers for the debate hardly justify a rush to protect the bear from extinction if its icy habitat fades to green. The service identifies six Arctic regions where data are insufficient to make a call on the population, including the aforementioned Baffin shores area. Another six areas are listed as having stable counts, three experienced reduced numbers and two have seen their bears increase. Inuit also argue the bear population is on the rise along western Hudson Bay, in sharp contrast to the Canadian Wildlife Service, which projects a 22% decline in bear numbers.

Far be it for me to act as a climate- change denier, but that's hardly overwhelming proof of a species in peril in Canada, which claims roughly two thirds of the world's polar bear population. Reading international coverage of the bear, it's obvious Canada has become home to the official poster species for extinction by climate change. Everywhere you look, the "doomed" polar bear's story is illustrated with the classic photo of a mother and cub teetering on an fragile-looking ice floe, the ice full of holes and seemingly about to disappear into the sea. "The drama is clear: This is truly the tip of an iceberg, the bears are desperately stranded as the water swells around them," according to a recent article in The Observer magazine carrying the photo.

Something's always bothered me about that photo, which has been vilified on the Internet as a fake. Even if it's the real thing, the photographer was clearly standing on something solid not far from his forlorn looking subjects. For a species that can swim dozens of kilometres to find a decent seal dinner, a few hundred metres to shore is a leisurely doggie paddle to safety. So much for the optic of a doomed global warming victim on ice.

Of course, tracking polar bear populations is an inexact science. They roam about, which lends itself to double counting, and they're not easy to identify from any distance. Besides, polar bears do live on ice and satellite photos show the sea ice is down 7.7% in the last decade. So something is happening up there. But while Prime Minister Stephen Harper has embraced the religion of climate change and vows to combat it with billions of new dollars, the bear facts suggest the challenge facing our great white symbol may be more about too many bears than too little ice.



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

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


8 March, 2007


(Paper from Advances in Space Research)


If solar variability affects human culture it most likely does so by changing the climate in which the culture operates. Variations in the solar radiative input to the Earth's atmosphere have often been suggested as a cause of such climate change on time scales from decades to tens of millennia. In the last 20 years there has been enormous progress in our knowledge of the many fields of research that impinge on this problem; the history of the solar output, the effect of solar variability on the Earth's mean climate and its regional patterns, the history of the Earth's climate and the history of mankind and human culture. This new knowledge encourages revisiting the question asked in the title of this talk.

Several important historical events have been reliably related to climate change including the Little Ice Age in Northern Europe and the collapse of the Classical Mayan civilization in the 9th century AD. In the first section of this paper we discus these historical events and review the evidence that they were caused by changes in the solar output.

Perhaps the most important event in the history of mankind was the development of agricultural societies. This began to occur almost 12,000 years ago when the climate changed from the Pleistocene to the modern climate of the Holocene. In the second section of the paper we will discuss the suggestion that climate variability was the reason agriculture developed when it did and not before.

1. Introduction

Three types of information need to be compared to address the subject assigned to me by the organizers of this conference, the history of the Sun, the history of climate, and the history of human culture. All of these fields are now going through a "Golden Period" of development, and studies of the connections between them are in their infancy. The pictures of their interconnections can now only be drawn with broad strokes. In this paper we are interested in effects of climate change on human life, in particular the effects of a variable Sun.

Modern man developed in East Africa about 130,000 years ago and spread to the rest of the world beginning sometime about 55,000 years ago. We will not be concerned with any solar changes that took place before the exit from Africa. A major source for the radiative history of the Sun comes from radioactive 14C and 10Be produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere (Beer et al., 1994). The intergalactic cosmic rays reach the Earth after having been modulated by the solar wind. In general, the faster the solar wind and the larger its magnetic field, the lower the change in radiocarbon 14C (Stuiver & Braziunas, 1988).

The history of 14C for the last 1,200 years is illustrated in Figure 1 taken from the cited paper. Higher 14C indicates a less active Sun. For an estimate of the history of solar activity for the last 11,000 years see Solanki et al. (2004). Information on past climates is available from historical records and can also be found by the study of the records of the Earth's climate imprinted in a variety of climate proxies. Perhaps the best known of these "data banks" are the polar ice cores from Greenland. These ice cores contain proxy records of diverse climate variables. For example, the oxygen isotopes in snow characterize temperatures (Grootes & Stuiver, 1997; Cuffey & Clow, 1997), while sea salt blown from the ocean reflect atmospheric winds. The records from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) (Mayewski et al., 1997) have been analyzed extensively to describe past climate (Meeker et al., 1997). A large number of other Climate Proxy Records (CPR) of various types have been collected from wide spread regions of the globe. Examples of CPR include ice cores from the Antarctica and high-altitude mountain glaciers, and sea sediment cores (Peterson et al., 2000). Many CPR have been intercalibrated to obtain well-dated records of tracers of worldwide climate change (De Angelis et al., 1997; Hughen et al., 2000).

There are now many empirical and modeling studies that demonstrate that changes in the solar output are associated with widespread changes in climate (Lean & Rind, 2001) and climate patterns (Ruzmaikin et al., 2004). The development of quantitative models and a physical understanding of all the underlying mechanisms involved is currently a rapidly developing field of study. Information on human cultures come from historical and archeological studies and studies of the genetics of humans, animals and plants.


4. Discussion

In section 2 we showed two examples of the stresses that relatively small climate variability presented for well-established cultures. In these cases evidence was given that the variations were part of a worldwide response pattern and that they were associated with the Sun. In section 3 we demonstrated that there were very large continuous climate variations throughout the Pleistocene. From the Holocene experience we can speculate these changes must surely have interfered with early domestication where they occurred. In both Greenland and the Caribbean our data show that the changes continued throughout the glacial and interglacial periods before the Holocene. They also occurred in both the Greenland ice sheets and the ice-free Caribbean.

We also know that temperatures are now organized in hemisphere-wide strongly correlated patterns (Quadrelli & Wallace, 2004). Climate modeling shows that although there were differences in the glacial and interglacial patterns, in both those periods large strongly correlated patterns existed (Toracinta et al., 2004). It is therefore not such a stretch of the imagination to hypothesize that the rapid variations in temperature seen in Greenland and the Caribbean were part of such patterns.

There is less evidence that they were solar driven during the Pleistocene, but apparently smaller climate variations were solar driven during the Holocene, and the Sun must also have varied in the same manner during the Pleistocene.

In summary there is considerable evidence that climate variations in response to low frequency solar variations have had major effects on cultures during the last fifteen hundred years. We also hypothesize that the large climate variations in the same frequency range may have had a role in inhibiting the development of agriculture during the Pleistocene and it was their marked decrease in amplitude that allowed agriculture to develop independently almost simultaneously in multiple regions of the world when the Holocene began at the end of the YD.

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


(Paper from Advances in Space Research)


While it is well-known that solar variability influences the near-Earth Space environment at short timescales of days -- an effect collectively termed as SpaceWeather, a more subtle influence of solar variability at longer timescales is also present and just beginning to be appreciated. Long-term solar forcing and its consequences -- which has come to be known as Space Climate -- has important consequences for the formation and evolution of planetary atmospheres, the evolution of life and global climate on Earth.

Understanding the Sun's variability and its heliospheric influence at such scales, stretching from decennia to stellar and planetary evolutionary timescales, is therefore of fundamental importance. However, our knowledge of this variability, which is in part due to the evolution of the solar magnetic dynamo, is limited by direct solar observations which exist only from early 17th Century onwards.

In this review we introduce a novel concept -- how the Solar-Stellar connection can be exploited to understand the long-term variability of the Sun and its influence on Space Climate. We present some preliminary studies, in which, through theoretical dynamo modeling and analysis of magnetic activity observations of solar-like stars at various evolutionary phases relative to the Sun, we show how the above concept is implemented in practice.


5. Concluding Remarks

Here we have outlined a novel concept -- utilizing the solar-stellar connection to decipher long-term solar variability. We have also presented preliminary results from the "Stars as Suns" project to demonstrate how this concept can be implemented in practice. Our focus is to illuminate the relatively unexplored role played by solar forcing in shaping planetary climate and habitat by uncovering the long-term evolution of the Sun's activity.

In our studies we are exploring the Solar-Stellar connection; there is much to be learned from the stars. On the one hand we are studying the theoretical aspects of solar and stellar magnetic field generation and its evolution with stellar age through dynamo modeling. On the other hand, we are complementing this by observational analysis of stellar luminosity and magnetic activity data. This dataset is not complete, and indeed sparse, but work is ongoing to supplement it. In this context, a targeted space mission to study the magnetic activity in various wavelengths of a wide sample of solar-like stars would be extremely timely. Our studies also need to be supplemented by detailed numerical MHD modelling of stellar evolution and the variation of stellar processes such as differential rotation and meridional circulation (that have implications for the dynamo mechanism) with stellar age; such efforts are just beginning (Allan Sacha Brun, private communication).

The wider implication of the evolution of the solar dynamo mechanism in the context of Space Climate research has become evident in recent times and so have the scope and relevance of the "Stars as Suns" project become substantially larger and important. Beyond its connection with just the global temperature as suggested by the climatological record, the changing Sun and its changing radiation over the past billions of years must have played a crucial role in the modulation of the climate system of the "young" Earth and in the evolution of primitive life-forms in planetary atmospheres. For example, the "young" Sun's higher EUV radiation or lower luminosity could have affected the synthesis of amino acids and nucleic acids; thus a quantitative estimate of the early Earth's radiation environment is crucial for discriminating between competing theories for the origin of life, e.g., the cold incubator versus the hot primordial soup (John Priscu, private communication). Conversely, solar radiation could have played a negative role in the destruction of life-forms on planets lacking a protective magnetosphere. Looking ahead, for long term planning of the future direction of humans and other living organisms on Earth and associated technologies, one needs to have an idea of how solar activity will change in the distant future. Indeed, the stakes for unravelling long-term solar variability and its impact on Space Climate are high.

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


Global warming belief is beginning to go where the money dictates. And money is where the EU is hurting

EU industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen has warned against hysteria in the climate change debate as the bloc considers setting stringent new caps for greenhouse gas emissions at a summit later this week. Sounding a dissonant note amid calls to make the EU a global leader in emissions cutting over the coming decade, Mr Verheugen told Germany's Bild am Sonntag that while climate change ought to be fought on all fronts, the EU "should not descend into hysterical action."

The German commissioner also went on to speak about "strange trends" in public debate saying "two years ago, it was all 'jobs, jobs, jobs' now it's 'climate, climate, climate.'" He reiterated his fear - expressed most recently at EU plans to get the car industry to make cars that pollute less - that by trying to raise the environment bar within the EU, the bloc risks losing out on competitiveness to other, less green, regions in the world. "Our most important task will be to make sure that the US, China, India and Russia are just as engaged in climate protection as we are."

Mr Verheugen's words capture the current political struggle within the EU on how to reconcile being green with being competitive. This division is likely to be played out at a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday as they meet and debate whether to set binding targets for carbon dioxide emission reduction and reliance on renewable energy. The European Commission, headed by Jose Manuel Barroso - a recent convert to the economic arguments for fighting climate change - is pushing for concrete targets, fearing that vague commitments will undermine the EU's environment rhetoric.

Last week, the current head of the EU, German chancellor Angela Merkel, said the EU must demonstrate that it is possible to be both economically progressive and environmentally friendly and is set to push for ambitious targets in the summit's conclusions this week. German daily Handelsblatt reported on Monday that Berlin wants the EU to promote big long-term cuts by industrial nations in CO2 emissions - 60 to 80 percent by 2050 - and a 30 percent cut for the EU by 2020.

But although it will make for headlines around the world if the EU sets stringent long-term goals, the devil will remain in the detail with entrenched behind-the-scenes squabbling expected as governments barter over how much of the burden they should each carry. EU environment ministers agreed last month to a 20 percent emissions cut by 2020, but the bloc is already scrambling to meet its target of an 8 percent reduction in CO2 emissions agreed under the international Kyoto protocol.

Meanwhile, countries such as the UK, which lately has been promoting its green credentials, are also having problems. UK daily the Guardian reports that an independent scientific audit of the country's climate change policies has predicted that Britain will fall well below its target of a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.



Global warming isn't the only debate that may be over. Governments and policymakers around the world also seem to have settled on a solution. "A responsible approach to solving this crisis," Al Gore said recently at New York University's Law School, would be "to authorize the trading of emissions ... globally." Emissions trading, also called carbon trading, is being expanded in the European Union and Japan. And in many places where it's yet to take hold, like Sacramento, Sydney and Beijing, politicians are embracing it.

Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank and Europe's foremost political expert on global warming, predicts that the value of carbon credits in circulation, now about $28 billion, will climb to $40 billion by 2010. This should be great news for the environment, but many experts have their doubts. The notion that emissions trading is going to make a significant dent in global warming is deeply flawed, they say.

Current emissions-trading schemes have proved to be little more than a shell game, allowing polluters in the developed world to shift the burden of making cuts onto factories in the developing world. Too often factory owners use the additional profits banked from carbon credits to expand their dirty factories. Even more worrying, emissions trading may have set back the battle against climate change by diverting investment from renewable-energy technology, which arguably is essential to any long-term solution.

So far, the real winners in emissions trading have been polluting factory owners who can sell menial cuts for massive profits, and the brokers who pocket fees each time a company buys or sells the right to pollute.


Solar System Warming?

Post lifted from Strata Sphere

Global warming on Neptune’s moon Triton as well as Jupiter and Pluto, and now Mars has some scratching their heads over what could possibly be in common with the warming of all these planets.

In the meantime, some have noticed an interesting relationship between solar activity and temperature proxies via ice cores going back thousands of years:

I still don’t know. Could there be something in common with all the planets in our solar system that might cause them all to warm at the same time?


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

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


7 March, 2007


(From Physics Today, March 2007)

Barbara Goss Levi's Search and Discovery story (PHYSICS TODAY, April 2006, page 26) discusses evidence of weakening ocean circulation and its possible connection to global warming. The Atlantic Ocean circulation across 25ø N latitude has been used as a benchmark for characterizing the mass and heat transport from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The upper portion of this transport includes the Gulf Stream, which is at least partially responsible for a moderate climate in Europe. A weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and of the Gulf Stream might have the unpleasant consequence of cooling Europe's climate.

The PHYSICS TODAY piece is based on analysis of work by Harry Bryden, Hannah Longworth, and Stuart Cunningham, which concluded that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation slowed by about 30% between 1957 and 2004. Their work inspired speculations that the anthropogenic increase in carbon dioxide may be responsible for the weakening of heat transport from the tropics, and that such an effect has now been detected.

The conclusion that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation has decreased by 30% does not follow from the data presented by Bryden and coauthors, but is based on an incorrect treatment of measurement errors. According to Bryden and coauthors, the 1957 transport in a layer shallower than 1000 m was 22.9 ~ 6 Sverdrups (1 Sv = 106 m3/s) compared with the transport of 14.8 ~ 6 Sv in 2004. The ~ 6 Sv represents an uncorrelated error of each measurement. Bryden subtracts the two quantities and presents the results as 8.1 ~ 6 Sv (instead of 8.1 ~ 12 Sv or ~ 8.5 Sv, depending on the character of errors), which is an incorrect result.

It is a mystery how such an error was missed by Levi and by the editors and reviewers of the original paper. The observed change of 8.1 Sv is well within the uncertainty of the measurement. The correct conclusion from the data presented in Bryden's paper should have been that no statistically significant change in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 25ø N between 1957 and 2004 has been detected.

Such a conclusion is in agreement with the earlier analysis of essentially the same data (between 1957 and 1999) by Alexandre Ganachaud and Carl Wunsch. Research also failed to detect any slowing and one of the relevant papers concludes that "there is no sign of any Meridional Overturning Circulation slowdown trend over the past decade, contrary to some recent suggestions."

In defense of Bryden and his coauthors, I must share a comment from a personal communication I had with Bryden shortly after his Nature paper was published. Bryden's paper as submitted for publication to Nature included a question mark at the end of the title, suggesting only a possibility that the circulation might be slowing down. On the editor's insistence, the question mark was removed, and the title was changed into a positive statement that caused a considerable stir.

Comment from Benny Peiser:

The failure to spot a rather trivial error raises the question whether the editors of Nature rushed to publish a fatally flawed paper for political purposes. If this were the case, it may explain "the mystery of how such an error was missed by the editors and reviewers of the original paper." In fact, this could easily explain the unauthorised doctoring and hyping up of the original title. It will be interesting to hear what the Nature editors have to say in their defence about the failure of quality control and the manipulation of the paper's original title.

How Gore's massive energy consumption saves the world


Stop me if you've heard this before, but the other day the Rev. Al Gore declared that "climate change" was "the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.'' Ever. I believe that was the same day it was revealed that George W. Bush's ranch in Texas is more environmentally friendly than the Gore mansion in Tennessee. According to the Nashville Electric Service, the Eco-Messiah's house uses 20 times more electricity than the average American home. The average household consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours. In 2006, the Gores wolfed down nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours.

Two hundred twenty-one thousand kilowatt-hours? What's he doing in there? Clamping Tipper to the electrodes and zapping her across the rec room every night? No, no, don't worry. Al's massive energy consumption is due entirely to his concern about the way we're depleting the Earth's resources. When I say "we," I don't mean Al, of course. I mean you -- yes, you, Earl Schlub, in the basement apartment at 29 Elm St. You're irresponsibly depleting the Earth's resources by using that electric washer when you could be down by the river with the native women beating your loin cloth dry on the rock while singing traditional village work chants all morning long. But up at the Gore mansion -- the Nashville Electric Service's own personal gold mine, the shining Cathedral of St. Al, Tennessee's very own Palace of Versal -- the Reverend Al is being far more environmentally responsible. As his spokesperson attempted to argue, his high energy usage derives from his brave calls for low energy usage. He's burning up all that electricity by sending out faxes every couple of minutes urging you to use less electricity.

Also he buys -- and if you're a practicing Ecopalyptic please prostrate yourself before the Recycling Bin and make the sign of the HDPE -- Al buys "carbon offsets," or "carbon credits." Or, as his spokesperson Kalee Kreider put it (and, incidentally, speaking through a spokesperson is another way Al dramatically reduces his own emissions), the Gores "also do the carbon emissions offset."

They do the Carbon Emissions Offset? What is that -- a '60s dance craze? No, it's way hotter. I mean, cooler. All the movie stars are doing it. In fact, this year's Oscar goodie-bag that all the nominees get included a year's worth of carbon offsets. Totally free. So even the stars' offsets are offset. No wonder that, when they're off the set, they all do the offset. Look at Leonardo DiCaprio: He's loaded with 'em, and the chicks think he's totally eco-cool. Tall and tan and young and lovely, the boy with carbon offsets goes walking and when he passes each one he passes goes aaaiiieeeeeeeee!

How do "carbon offsets" work? Well, let's say you're a former vice president and you want to reduce your "carbon footprint," but the gorgeous go-go Gore gals are using the hair dryer every night. So you go to a carbon-credits firm and pay some money and they'll find a way of getting somebody on the other side of the planet to reduce his emissions and the net result will be "carbon neutral." It's like in Henry VIII's day. He'd be planning a big ox roast and piling on the calories but he'd give a groat to a starving peasant to carry on starving for another day and the result would be calorie-neutral.

So in the Reverend Al's case it doesn't matter that he's lit up like Times Square on V-E Day. Because he's paid for his extravagant emissions. He has a carbon-offset trader in an environmentally friendly carbon-credits office suite who buys "carbon offsets" for Al from, say, a terrorist mastermind in a cave in the Pakistani tribal lands who's dramatically reduced his energy usage mainly because every time he powers up his cell phone or laptop a light goes on in Washington and an unmanned drone starts heading his way. So, aside from a basic cable subscription to cheer himself up watching U.S. senators talking about "exit strategies" on CNN 24/7, the terrorist mastermind doesn't deplete a lot of resources. Which means Tipper can watch Al give a speech on a widescreen plasma TV, where Al looks almost as wide as in life, and she doesn't have to feel guilty because it all comes out . . . carbon-neutral!

And, in fact, in the Reverend Al's case it's even better than that. Al buys his carbon offsets from Generation Investment Management LLP, which is "an independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 and with offices in London and Washington, D.C.," that, for a fee, will invest your money in "high-quality companies at attractive prices that will deliver superior long-term investment returns." Generation is a tax-exempt U.S. 501(c)3. And who's the chairman and founding partner? Al Gore.

So Al can buy his carbon offsets from himself. Better yet, he can buy them with the money he gets from his long-time relationship with Occidental Petroleum. See how easy it is to be carbon-neutral? All you have do is own a gazillion stocks in Big Oil, start an eco-stockbroking firm to make eco-friendly investments, use a small portion of your oil company's profits to buy some tax-deductible carbon offsets from your own investment firm, and you too can save the planet while making money and leaving a carbon footprint roughly the size of Godzilla's at the start of the movie when they're all standing around in the little toe wondering what the strange depression in the landscape is.

A couple of days before the Oscars, the Reverend Al gave a sell-out performance at the University of Toronto. "From my perspective, it is a form of religion," said Bruce Crofts of the East Toronto Climate Action Group, who compared the former vice president to Jesus Christ, both men being (as the Globe And Mail put it) "great leaders who stepped forward when called upon by circumstance." Unlike Christ, the Eco-Messiah cannot yet walk on water, but then, neither can the polar bears. However, only Al can survey the melting ice caps and turn water into whine. One lady unable to land a ticket frantically begged the university for an audience with His Goriness. As the National Post reported, "Her daughter hadn't been able to sleep since seeing ''An Inconvenient Truth.'' She claimed that seeing Mr. Gore in person might make her daughter feel better." Well, it worked for Leonardo DiCaprio.

Are eco-celebrities buying ridiculousness-emissions credits from exhausted run-of-the-mill celebrities like Paris, Britney and Anna Nicole? Ah, well. The Eco-Messiah sternly talks up the old Nazi comparisons: What we're facing is an "ecological Holocaust, and "the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin." That 221,000 kilowatt-hours might suggest that, if this is the ecological Holocaust, Gore's pad is Auschwitz. But, as his spokesperson would no doubt argue, when you're faced with ecological Holocausts and ecological Kristallnachts, sometimes the only way to bring it to an end is with an ecological Hiroshima. The Gore electric bill is the eco-atom bomb: You have to light up the world in order to save it.


Greenie foot-shooting in Australia

Ironic: Their global warming hysteria is giving them something they REALLY hate

Fear of global warming has dramatically reversed Australians' attitude to nuclear energy, with more people supporting nuclear power for the first time. In the past four months, support for nuclear power has risen from just 35 per cent to 45 per cent, and opposition has fallen in the same time from 50 per cent to 40 per cent. But people are still overwhelming opposed to having a nuclear power plant in their backyard.

The Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian last weekend, is the first survey showing more support for, than opposition to, nuclear power stations in Australia. Previous Newspoll surveys, in May and December last year, had the highest support at 38 per cent and lowest opposition at 50 per cent, with 40 per cent being "strongly opposed".

The key difference in the survey results stems from the question of trying to reduce greenhouse gases. John Howard has been campaigning for a nuclear debate in Australia and ordered a report on nuclear power on the basis of fighting global warming. The Prime Minister has constantly referred to nuclear power as "clean and green" and an option that has to be considered to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. From strong opposition to nuclear power, the balance of opinion has turned to being slightly in favour when linked with cutting greenhouse gas emissions....

Mr Howard has been running a campaign on the benefits of nuclear power in fighting greenhouse gas emissions, although Labor is opposed to nuclear energy. The Government commissioned a study into nuclear options for Australia by former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski. Yesterday, Labor launched an extraordinary attack against the integrity of the businessman, claiming he had been put in charge of the nation's nuclear research organisation to campaign for nuclear power.

Opposition industry spokesman Kim Carr said Dr Switkowski could not be trusted as the new chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation because he had accepted an invitation to write a report on the prospects for nuclear power. "Once again, Mr Howard has put his own political interests ahead of the nation's, appointing a cheerleader for nuclear power as chair of the board for the nation's only research organisation devoted solely to nuclear science and technology," he said. "There is no doubt Dr Switkowski has qualifications in the area - in nuclear engineering and high-level management - and Labor does not call those into question. "However, Dr Switkowski has also earned his political stripes writing the recent report for the PM recommending that nuclear power is imposed on Australia." ...

Dr Switkowski's interim report found that nuclear energy would not be competitive against coal and gas power for at least a decade, but by the middle of the century the nation could feasibly host 25 nuclear power stations along the eastern seaboard.



Officially, the state of Alaska has not decided whether to back a federal proposal to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. But speaking at a federal hearing, Gov. Sarah Palin's point person on polar bears stopped just short of saying it was a lousy idea. Tina Cunnings, a biologist and a special assistant to the commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game, questioned whether polar bears really need sea ice to survive. She said polar bears are adaptable to use land for hunting, and though their preferred food, ice seals, may be declining, bears are adapting to alternative food sources. She also testified that a listing in the United States ultimately could harm bears in Canada because Inuit villagers would no longer have an incentive to preserve them for American hunters. An ESA listing would ban importation of polar bear trophy hides. "We are concerned that a listing of polar bears under ESA in the United States may actually be harmful for the conservation of polar bear populations internationally," she said.



British Greenies hate air travel (except for their own use, of course) so this will rile them -- as it takes away the only alternative

Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are double those of aviation and increasing at an alarming rate which will have a serious impact on global warming, according to research by the industry and European academics. Separate studies suggest that maritime carbon dioxide emissions are not only higher than previously thought, but could rise by as much as 75% in the next 15 to 20 years if world trade continues to grow and no action is taken.

The figures from the oil giant BP, which owns 50 tankers, and researchers at the Institute for Physics and Atmosphere in Wessling, Germany reveal that annual emissions from shipping range between 600 and 800m tonnes of carbon dioxide, or up to 5% of the global total. This is nearly double Britain's total emissions and more than all African countries combined.

Carbon dioxide emissions from ships do not come under the Kyoto agreement or any proposed European legislation and few studies have been made of them, even though they are set to increase. Aviation carbon dioxide emissions, estimated to be about 2% of the global total, have been at the forefront of the climate change debate because of the sharp increase in cheap flights, whereas shipping emissions have risen nearly as fast in the past 20 years but have been ignored by governments and environmental groups. Shipping is responsible for transporting 90% of world trade which has doubled in 25 years.



The energy consumed by data center servers, cooling equipment, and related infrastructure more than doubled in the United States and worldwide between 2000 and 2005, according to a new study. A jump in the number of servers--especially lower-end servers costing less than $25,000--accounts for 90% of the additional power consumption, says the study's author, Jonathan Koomey, a consulting professor at Stanford University and a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The study was commissioned by Advanced Micro Devices, which is touting its energy-efficient processors. Only 5% to 8% of the increase in data center electricity consumption is attributed to power use per unit. Driving the server proliferation is the insatiable appetite for Web content, such as video on demand, music downloads, and Internet telephony, Koomey says. The total electricity bill to operate data center servers and related infrastructure equipment in the United States was $2.7 billion in 2005, compared with $1.3 billion in 2000. Worldwide, the total bill was $7.2 billion in 2005, compared with $3.2 billion in 2000.



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 March, 2007


Papal watchers are wondering what message Pope Benedict XVI was giving when he selected retired Bologna archbishop Cardinal Giacomo Biffi to preach the annual Lenten retreat to the Pope and the top members of the Vatican.

Rocco Palmo, expert Vatican reporter for The Tablet, the international Catholic weekly published in London England has noted the significance of the selection of the Lenten retreat preacher. "Since time immemorial -- or, at least, the retreat's heightened profile over the 20th century -- the selection of the preacher has become a closely-watched indicator of the prevailing winds in the papal apartment," said Palmo on his blog. "(T)he choice often falling to a voice the Pope might like to tout... and not just for a higher prominence on the preaching circuit."

Palmo added weight to his remarks noting that "Before their respective elections to the papacy, both Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wojtyla were tapped to lead the annual exercises."

This year's selection when it became known created a stir since Cardinal Biffi, while he is known for orthodox faith and frank words, is most well known, at least in the secular media, for his preaching on the Antichrist. In fact, the Times of London reported in 2004 that the Cardinal described the Antichrist as "walking among us".

The Lenten retreat did not disappoint. Cardinal Biffi picked up on his oft repeated theme of the Antichrist, basing his remarks on the works of Vladimir Soloviev, a Russian theologian who has received praise from Pope Benedict prior to his elevation to the pontificate.

Quoting Soloviev, the Cardinal said "the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist."

"He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants," he said according to a Zenit translation of a Vatican Radio summary here: .

In his "Tale of the Antichrist" Solovyov foresees that a small group of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants will resist and will say to the Antichrist: "You give us everything, except what interests us, Jesus Christ". For Cardinal Biffi, this narrative is a warning: "Today, in fact, we run the risk of having a Christianity which puts aside Jesus with his cross and resurrection."

The 78-year-old cardinal added that if Christians "limited themselves to speaking of shared values they would be more accepted on television programs and in social groups. But in this way, they will have renounced Jesus, the overwhelming reality of the resurrection."

The cardinal said he believes that this is "the danger that Christians face in our days . the Son of God cannot be reduced to a series of good projects sanctioned by the prevailing worldly mentality."

The preacher of the Spiritual Exercises added that "there are relative values, such as solidarity, love of peace and respect for nature. If these become absolute, uprooting or even opposing the proclamation of the event of salvation, then these values become an instigation to idolatry and obstacles on the way of salvation."

Cardinal Biffi affirmed that "if Christianity -- on opening itself to the world and dialoguing with all -- dilutes the salvific event, it closes itself to a personal relationship with Jesus and places itself on the side of the Antichrist."

Cardinal Biffi's reflections, in fact, are very similar to remarks Pope Benedict made last Fall in a meeting with Swiss Bishops. While Pope Benedict did not speak of the Antichrist, he spoke of a new false or "substitute" religion, calling it also a "successor" of religion.

"Modern society is not simply without morality, but it has, so to speak, 'discovered' and professes a part of morality", the Pope told the Swiss bishops. "These are the great themes of peace, non-violence, justice for all, concern for the poor, and respect for creation."

However, the Pope warned that these "great moral themes" have "become an ethical complex that, precisely as a political force, has great power and constitutes for many the substitute for religion, or its successor."

"It is only if human life is respected from conception to death that the ethics of peace is also possible and credible," concluded the Pope. "It is only then that non-violence can express itself in every direction; only then that we truly welcome creation, and only then that we can arrive at true justice."


GE goes Green but likely to become unglued

Karl Marx once remarked, "The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope." However, Marx had no idea the rope would be corporate social responsibility (CSR) and not greed. In keeping with CSR doctrine, CEOs are opening their doors to activist groups with great fanfare in hopes of maximizing both "the social good" and corporate profits. Regrettably, these CEO's are maximizing neither.

Social activists are not concerned with corporate profits, shareholder returns or economic growth. Their sole mission is to transform corporations into agents to advance their social and political agenda. By allowing social activists to influence business decisions, CEOs are choosing socialism over capitalism and by doing so; they are undermining the very foundations of our free society.

General Electric's CEO, Jeff Immelt, is a classic example. His management of the $350 billion company using an outdated 1960's style conglomerate model is failing. Since Immelt took the helm in 2001, GE has significantly underperformed the market - GE's share price has not increased while the S&P 500 index is up 30%. On top of all this, he is under pressure to fill Jack Welch's shoes.

Immelt desperately needs a new strategy for growth. Enter CSR. In 2002, a group of Catholic nuns filed a shareholder proposal asking the company for a report on GE's greenhouse gas emissions and ways for the company to address climate change. According to The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda, the nun's proposal made Immelt recognize the reputation and revenue opportunities by addressing climate change. Three years later, GE announced Ecomagination - a marketing campaign that promotes environmentally friendly fuel-efficient products including engines, locomotives, wind turbines and clean coal processing technologies.

Not taking any chances with the free-market system, Immelt wants government regulation to guarantee Ecomagination's success. GE is a member of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) - a coalition of corporations and environmental activist groups "that have come together to call on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions." Immelt's rent seeking math is simple: limits on carbon dioxide will drive sales for his products and the Left will adore him like Al Gore. Unfortunately, for his employees and shareholders, Immelt's statism strategy is backfiring.

While global warming fears may aid one part of GE's business, the macroeconomic impact of high-energy prices and the hysteria surrounding climate change is harming its other businesses. For example, last years' high-energy prices gave us a preview of the business impact of future global warming regulations on the company. GE's most recent earnings were hurt because the high cost of oil-based raw materials squeezed margins from its plastics business. Because of its drag on earnings, GE is looking to sell its plastics unit.

Then there is the legislative threat posed by politicians looking to exploit the global warming frenzy by banning the incandescent light bulb. Ironically, not only is the incandescent light bulb a GE product, it was created by GE's founder Thomas Edison. A worldwide movement to require fluorescent bulbs because they use far less energy and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions is gaining momentum. A California legislator introduced legislation to ban incandescent bulbs; Australia plans to ban traditional light bulbs by 2010; and Greenpeace wants India to follow Australia's lead.

Making matters worse, Wal-Mart is looking to use its muscle to score global warming public relations points by pushing florescent bulbs into 100 million homes. By doing so Wal-Mart is putting GE's traditional bulb business in jeopardy. According to a New York Times story a "meeting with executives from General Electric, Wal-Mart's largest bulb supplier, the message from G.E. was, `Don't go too fast. We have all these plants that produce traditional bulbs' ."

Finally, GE's clean coal technology for power plants is also in question. So far, utility companies are unwilling to gamble on the new technology because of its expense and questionable reliability.

Immelt's scheme of leveraging climate change for both profit and popularity is flawed. His quest to create new markets by fueling global warming fears has unleashed the uncontrollable force of politicians, media and activists. Immelt's lobbyists are now working at cross-purposes: his federal agents are lobbying for global warming regulations while his California lobbyists are trying to save the light bulb.

However, on the popularity front, Immelt is winning the hearts and minds of the Left. At the 25th anniversary dinner of the World Resources Institute (WRI), Al Gore presented Immelt with the "Courage to Lead Award" for his leadership on tackling global warming.

Like James Taggart, the villain in Ayn Rand's classic Atlas Shrugged, Immelt will discover that relying on government favors and appealing to "the social good" is the path to destroy both his business and capitalism - leaving everyone in the dark.


Experts: California bulb plan no simple switch

The compact fluorescent models may save energy but don't always work as well as incandescents.

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine holds two compact fluorescent lights he hopes will replace incandescent bulbs like the one in the center. Levine's bill would phase out the sale of the common light bulb by 2012 in California. Supporters say the change would save energy and help the environment, but critics say fluorescent lights have drawbacks.

Californians have screwed them in, turned them off, read by them and depended on them for everything from showering to dining to changing diapers.

So Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, has sparked a firestorm by proposing to dump common light bulbs.

Levine's proposal to phase out the sale of general-purpose incandescent bulbs in California by 2012 has been characterized as everything from a bright idea to a dim mistake.

Lee Kasten, a nuclear operator from San Luis Obispo, claims the change would save energy and help the environment.

"It's a slam-dunk," he said.

But John Clark, a Roseville retiree, said lawmakers should leave the market alone.

"We didn't have to ban the dial telephone," he said. "We just worked into a better technology, and people accepted it."

Controversy has focused largely on whether the common bulb's most likely replacement, compact fluorescent models, would work just as well.

The answer from experts? Not always.

"We do need to move to much greater use of low-energy light bulbs," said Severin Borenstein, director of the University of California Energy Institute. "But there are a number of uses in which they're not economic or not appropriate."

Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California, Davis, said the state should push for more energy efficiency in incandescent bulbs rather than ban them.

"I think we need to have multiple technologies," he said. "Multiple arrows in our quiver."

Consumers have numerous complaints about compact fluorescent bulbs, some real, some exaggerated, some a hangover from old products sold years ago, some stemming from buying the lowest-quality models on today's market, and some caused by unfamiliarity with specialized bulbs designed for specific functions, experts said.

"Compact fluorescents have gotten kind of a bad rap," said Siminovitch, whose center at UC Davis conducts lighting research. "Some of it was well-deserved, but I think we've come out of that."

Widespread frustration persists over using compact fluorescents with dimmer switches.

Unlike the common household bulb, most compact fluorescents are not dimmable -- and many consumers don't know that, don't check the label and end up buying the wrong model, Siminovitch said.

"They get it home, and the thing doesn't work," he said. "Know what I mean?"

To complicate matters, even dimmable compact fluorescents do not always provide the same range of low light that incandescents do, he said.

"Compact fluorescents are a tremendous, energy-efficient lighting source, but they're probably not ideal for certain applications," said Kim Freeman, spokeswoman for GE, formerly known as General Electric Co., a leading manufacturer of traditional and fluorescent bulbs.

Freeman, citing one example, said compact fluorescents may not provide the sparkle desired from many dining-room chandeliers.

"Consumer choice is very important," she said. "(Offering) as many energy-efficient choices as possible is our goal."

Levine said fluorescent technology is improving rapidly.

"In elementary school, I used to get headaches if I didn't sit near a window, because of the fluorescent lights," he said. "Now, my bedside reading light is a compact fluorescent light bulb."

Levine's Assembly Bill 722 has prompted many consumers to share their frustrations.

Separate legislation takes a different tack.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, is proposing a light bulb efficiency standard and a statewide recycling program. Compact fluorescents contain tiny amounts of mercury, a toxic chemical.

Jeff Aran of Sacramento said compact fluorescents burn out relatively quickly in recessed lighting at his home.

Bob Boyer of Sacramento said not all compact fluorescents fit his lampshades.

Siminovitch agreed that heat from recessed lighting fixtures can damage the performance of compact fluorescents, but he said specialty bulbs can be bought for hot environments.

Boyer's complaint about fitting compact fluorescents into lampshades was common years ago, but the problem largely has been solved by producing multiple sizes and shapes, Siminovitch said.

Siminovitch, public utility officials and three Sacramento-area lighting stores said compact fluorescents produce a wide range of light and tend to work well with timers, and that past problems of flickering or humming have been largely or completely eliminated.

But several potential drawbacks with the energy-efficient bulbs continue to exist, they said, including:

• Turning compact fluorescents off and on frequently can shorten their life.

• They don't always work perfectly with photocell devices that activate a light at nightfall.

• Some bulbs can take a few seconds -- perhaps a minute -- to reach peak brilliance.

• Depending on bulb quality and type, compact fluorescents can distort the color of clothing in a closet or interfere with operation of a cordless phone or television.

Compact fluorescents can cost several dollars more than a traditional bulb, but subsidies from utility companies often drop their price below $1.

Because compact fluorescents consume less energy and burn much longer, using one instead of a 100-watt incandescent can save about $60 over the life of the bulb, Freeman said.



An interesting article from the heart of America's academic Left

The world is getting warmer, the high priests of science intone. No legitimate dissent is possible, we are told, since the science is effectively conclusive.

I am not a climatologist, and so I will take these scientists at their word that the warming is real, and that human action in particular, industrial emission of carbon dioxide has made the world somewhat warmer than it otherwise would be. Therefore, so the environmentalists tell us, the United States needs to implement the Kyoto treaty and cut our national CO2 emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels.

But the same science that demonstrates the reality of global warming demonstrates the futility of the Kyoto treaty, and of the whole emissions-cuts approach. The Kyoto treaty caps CO2 emissions from the developed world slightly below their 1990 levels. The nations of the "developing world", including China (the number two emitter of CO2) are under no obligations even though their CO2 emissions are rising rapidly. China and India have both made clear that they do not intend to impose emissions caps to control CO2 output at any time in the foreseeable future. Indeed, China is building a large number of new coal power plants to keep up with rapidly rising power demand. By the most conservative estimates, the new emissions from these plants will offset all of the emissions cuts imposed by Kyoto. That's China alone. Add in the rest of the developing world, and it's pretty clear that even if Kyoto were implemented perfectly, world CO2 emissions would still rise for some time to come.

The Kyoto target is 5 percent below 1990 emissions levels; recall that even in the late 1980s, quite a number of environmentalists were hysterical about global warming. More fundamentally, atmospheric CO2 levels will keep rising even if emissions start to fall. Emissions cuts that are deep enough to really tackle the problem would dwarf the Kyoto regime in cost and difficulty. Kyoto is a very small step towards solving the problem. Indeed, according to the most frequently cited study on the topic, published in Geophysical Review Letters by Wigley in 1998, the Kyoto treaty would reduce warming by around 7 percent, with most of the benefit taking decades to become apparent.

As Greenpeace and most other major environmental groups freely admit, Kyoto is a purely symbolic first step. It is, however, a very costly symbol. The vast bulk of CO2 emissions are from energy and transportation. Reducing CO2 emissions will put significant strain on the economy, and is projected to have an astronomical cost. One estimate by Nordhaus and Boyer of the Yale economics department, published in The Energy Journal a few years ago, puts the cost to the U.S. at half a trillion dollars. That's a lot of money diverted from other worthy causes such as poverty and disease for a benefit that will not even be detectable for decades. Kyoto represents a level of emissions cuts that was too high to be politically feasible in the U.S., and too high for China and India to even consider. Kyoto promises too little and asks too much.

If the emissions-cut route were the only imaginable path forward, environmentalists might be justified in straining every muscle to convince the U.S. to start down it, no matter what the cost. In fact, however, there is another way. Our understanding of climatic science is improving rapidly, and as models become more sophisticated, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a number of variables strongly affect climate. The earth is a very complicated system, and we have, or will have, more tools at hand to influence it than trying to limit civilization's CO2 output.

Atmospheric dust, surface land use and methane and other gas emissions all have substantial influence on world climate. Whereas CO2 is an inevitable byproduct of combustion, these other emissions are essentially waste products from inefficient processes. Consequently, they are likely easier to reduce than CO2 emissions. As long as we're turning civilization upside down to prevent future global warming, we should examine alternatives to emissions cuts.

There has been promising research into a number of options. The most obvious is to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it in some stable form. This might be done by promoting plant growth, perhaps through large-scale fertilization of barren ocean regions. Another and still bolder approach would be to reduce the solar radiation falling on earth with stratospheric aerosols or orbital mirrors and diffraction gratings. These approaches are as of yet unproven; however, the savings from not embarking on a futile emissions control regime ought to more than cover the necessary research and development costs.

The environmental movement is gravely remiss in failing to forcefully advocate this sort of research, which offers a good chance of preventing the many damaging consequences of global warming. Carbon sequestration and reduction of solar radiation would require ambitious engineering and large expense.

Of course, reducing CO2 emissions globally would require vast re-engineering of transportation, energy production, and the whole global economy. This would also be fabulously expensive. As long as we're doing mega-scale engineering, we might as well pick the approach that has the best chance of working.

Environmentalists cannot have it both ways. If they demand that the world unhesitatingly follow the current best predictions of climatic science, then they cannot in good conscience demand that the world implement a treaty that has been scientifically shown to be utterly inadequate for preventing global warming yet so expensive as to strangle the search for better approaches. The environmental movement is right to push for alternatives to oil, but it should also push for alternatives to Kyoto.



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 March, 2007

Cap and Charade: The political and business self-interest behind carbon limits

The idea of a cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. has become all the rage. Earlier this year, 10 big American companies formed the Climate Action Partnership to lobby for government action on climate change. And this week the private-equity consortium that is bidding to take over Texas utility TXU announced that, as part of the buyout, it would join the forces lobbying for a cap on carbon emissions. But this is not, as Lenin once said, a case of capitalists selling the rope to hang themselves with. In most cases, it is good old-fashioned rent-seeking with a climate-change patina.

Start with the name. Most of those pushing this idea want you to think about it as cap-and-trade with emphasis on the trading part. Senator Barbara Boxer touts all the jobs that would be created for people trying to game the system--er, save the planet. And her colleague Jeff Bingaman calls cap-and-trade "market based," because, you know, people would trade stuff.

But for that to happen, the government would first have to put a cap on CO2 emissions, either for certain industries or even the economy as a whole. At the same time, it would allocate quotas for CO2 emissions, either based on current emissions, or on energy output, or some other standard. If a company then "over-complied," which means it produced less carbon dioxide than it was allowed to under the rules, it could sell the excess allowance to someone else. That someone else would buy the right to produce CO2 if doing so cost less than actually reducing emissions.

In this way, emissions would be reduced in an relatively efficient way: Those for whom reductions were cheap or easy would reduce, and if they reduced enough, they could sell their excess allowance to someone for whom the reductions were harder or more expensive. This kind of trading works, and we've argued in these columns that cap-and-trade beats the pants off just plain capping by lowering the overall economic burden of a cap.

The difficulties don't lie with the trading, but with the cap, which is where the companies lobbying for restrictions come in. James Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, put it plainly earlier this year: "If you're not at the table when these negotiations are going on, you're going to be on the menu." Translation: If a cap is coming, better to design it in a way that you profit from it, instead of being killed by it.

Which is why the emphasis really should be cap-and-trade. It's all about the cap, because without it there's no trading. We don't buy our daily ration of oxygen because it's in abundant supply. Same with carbon dioxide--there's no constraint on your ability to produce CO2 until the government creates one. When it does, it creates an artificial scarcity. What Duke, Entergy, TXU, BP, Dupont and all the rest want is to make sure that when the right to produce CO2 becomes limited, they're the ones that end up owning the allowances. Because that would mean they could sell them, and make money off something that previously wasn't worth a dime.

Thus, Entergy, a utility that relies heavily on natural gas and nuclear power and thus produces relatively less CO2, would love a cap that distributes the allowances based on how much electricity you churn out, rather than on how much CO2 you produce. Entergy's "carbon footprint" is small compared to some other utilities, so an electrical-output-based cap would be windfall city. Dupont, meanwhile, wants credit for reductions already made because it sees instant profit in costs already paid. It also wants a cap to cover as many industries as possible so it can make money selling emissions-reduction products.

We don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to make a buck. But there's a difference between making money by producing things people want and making money by gaming the regulatory process. There's no market here unless the government creates one, and who has the profit opportunity depends entirely on who the government picks as the winners and the losers in designing this market in the first place. So it's no wonder that almost any business that has ever put an ounce of CO2 into the atmosphere is rushing to show its cap-and-trade bona fides.

By far the biggest question, however, is where the cap is set. The trading of emissions credits does nothing to lower the quantity of emissions--it merely shifts around the right to emit. It's the cap that sets the amount of CO2 put into the air. And as Europe has learned, that figure is a political football unto itself. When the EU started emissions trading in 2005, the price of a ton of CO2 quickly tripled before cratering when participants realized that the cap hadn't been set low enough to create a genuine shortage.

The European Commission is now in the process of reviewing each country's plans for allocating emissions allowances for 2008, but in the first round it found that all but one national plan had set the cap too high to comply with Kyoto's 2008-2012 limits. Of course, even a stringent cap means nothing if countries don't comply, and so far Europe's commitment to Kyoto has been more hot air than action.

The reason is hardly a secret, though you rarely see climate-change activists admitting it. Despite all the talk of "alternative" fuels, some 80% of the energy that the world produces today comes from carbon-based fuels. Barring cold fusion or some other miracle technology, that ratio won't change much for decades to come. That means, in turn, that any stringent CO2 cap would inevitably have serious economic costs. We doubt voters will elect politicians who tell them the cost of reducing their "carbon footprint" is more blackouts or a lower standard of living. And in any case China is putting up a new coal-fired plant every week, raising emissions that will overwhelm whatever reductions cap-and-trade would yield in the U.S.

The emerging alliance of business and environmental special interests may well prove powerful enough to give us cap-and-trade in CO2. It would make Hollywood elites feel virtuous, and it would make money for some very large corporations. But don't believe for a minute that this charade would do much about global warming.



FRANCE dug its heels in yesterday against setting a binding target for renewable energy sources in the European Union, setting up a potential clash with its closest ally Germany at an EU summit next week. A French official said Paris continued to oppose making the goal of obtaining 20 percent of the EU's energy needs by 2020 from renewable sources such as solar and wind power mandatory as part of the 27-nation bloc's long-term energy strategy.

However, diplomats said Germany was insisting on a binding target to underpin the EU's drive for world leadership in the fight against climate change and had maintained that objective in a draft communique for the March 8-9 EU summit.

"We are not in favor of fixing binding targets in renewable energy," said the French official after EU ambassadors argued over the draft statement on Wednesday. "It is up to each member state, in all flexibility and subsidiarity, to set its own objective. Our position has not changed," he said. Subsidiarity is the principle that decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level of government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will chair the summit under Germany's EU presidency, omitted any mention of a mandatory target for renewables in a speech to parliament in Berlin. She urged EU leaders to approve bold steps to combat climate change but said Germany was not prepared to shoulder the same heavy burden of emissions cuts as it has in the past. Merkel voiced support for European Commission proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the 27-nation bloc by 20 percent by 2020 and 30 percent if other big industrial nations join in.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman confirmed he had dropped resistance to a binding target after Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso convinced him it would give the EU's green leadership greater credibility.


Britain: Red Ken's green tyranny

A 50-Year Plan of petty rules: the London mayor's climate change proposals show you can justify anything in the name of 'saving the planet'

The `climate change manifesto' is one of the few bold political statements on the public landscape today. London mayor Ken Livingstone has now added to the genre with his `climate change action plan', a grandiose piece of political pomposity that future generations will find it hard to beat.

The climate change manifesto goes something like this (delete where necessary): a politician/writer/environmentalist decides on a target for how much he/she thinks a particular city/country/continent needs to cut its carbon emissions. Then they consider various options, and put together their favoured portfolio for how this figure can be reached. Once published, their report is all but chiselled in tablets of holy rock. They have done the figures, and the figures add up: now we must all obey.

Livingstone's target is a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2025. Around half of this will be achieved by telling Londoners how to live, and around half by telling UK and European governments which laws to pass. There will be a `major marketing campaign' to inform Londoners of the changes they can make to cut their emissions, from turning off appliances to installing renewable energy sources in their homes. A pilot Green Homes `concierge service' will carry out energy audits of people's homes, and help them manage the transition to greener ways of living.

Livingstone sees no barriers to his effort to get Londoners to reduce their collective carbon footprint. He tells us which method of transport to use, steering us away from the private motor car and plane, by `promoting alternatives to the car' and `educating Londoners and advocating alternatives to air travel'.

He tells us which model of car to drive: `a gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicle' should be `no more sociably acceptable' than to `dump rubbish in the street', and so these drivers will pay 25 pounds congestion charge, while low pollution cars drive free. He even tells us how to drive: `The mayor will promote ecodriving (for example, smoother acceleration/braking and proper vehicle maintenance) by all car, freight, taxi and public transport drivers.' Pity the poor employees at the mayor's own Greater London Authority, who will get an extra programme `promoting staff energy-savings behaviour at home and at work by running ongoing staff campaigns'.

In order for Livingstone's target to be met, he also requires `a small number of key national regulatory and policy changes' from UK and EU governments. He elaborates: `Action will be necessary at a national and European level to save the further 13.4million tonnes needed each year to constrain London's total carbon dioxide emissions to 600 million tonnes between now and 2025.'

Government must apparently introduce a `comprehensive system of carbon pricing', and bring through `regulatory change to incentivise widespread rollout of decentralised energy [solar panels and wind turbines on houses]'. Meanwhile, EU and international authorities have responsibilities, including the `earliest possible inclusion of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) and levying duty on aviation fuel'.

In the name of tackling the climate emergency, it seems that anything can be justified. `London must...', we read; `it is imperative that we do find ways to meet these targets'; `action will be necessary'. The normal mechanisms of politics - proposals, debates, arguments - are apparently suspended. Once an individual can pose as the mouthpiece for the needs of the planet, there is no limit to their authority. Indeed, that individual's authority even stretches way into the future: Livingstone's plan goes 45 years hence. By 2050, he tells us, the majority of London's energy will be supplied by his favoured decentralised energy systems. By 2050? Livingstone is coming up for re-election in two years.

Now, it may be the case that London should bring through a change in its energy economy. The capital has done so simply and effectively before, with the 1956 Clean Air Act, which set up `smokeless' zones and persuaded Londoners and industry to shift from coal to smokeless forms of energy. Within 10 years, emissions fell by 74 per cent.

But any change in energy use should be the outcome of measured public debate about the different practical options - and one proviso should be minimal disruption to Londoners' lives and lifestyle choices. By contrast, Livingstone's plan for tackling climate change is a high-impact plan, with targeted fallout on everything from bus-drivers' acceleration to EU emissions legislation.

This is what happens when environmental management becomes a political and moral programme rather than a pragmatic response to a particular problem. The aim becomes to have a bigger and more far-reaching impact on people's lives, to design measures that we notice. After all, if Livingstone's action plan didn't affect us that much, it wouldn't be such a radical political statement, would it?

Livingstone's report reveals the true colours of the climate change manifesto. We see how the justification of environmental emergency gives a local mayor carte blanche to lord it over not just the capital, but Europe as a whole. Small wonder that one Livingstone aide described climate change as `the defining issue' that lay at the heart of his political programme. Perhaps we should use that election in two years' time to show Livingstone that political authority does have its limits after all.


The separation of environment and state

Religion: a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

Movement: a progressive development of ideas toward a particular conclusion.

Let us examine the key word in each of the above definitions. In religion it is beliefs; in movement it is ideas. If you look at these two words together, you see what both Christians and Environmentalists have in common.a set of OPINIONS that require faith and a conviction that what they believe is true. Yet, the Christian Religion and Environmental Movement are treated completely different by the United States Government, and the politicians who make the laws.

Let us start with the question plaguing the environmentalists.are not climate change and global warming caused by humans? Well, it depends on who you ask. Is there definitive PROOF? No. There are individuals who believe that humans cause global warming. There are those who believe that global warming is a cycle caused by solar activity. Both sides site evidence to support their case, but in reality, it comes down to each side's own belief system.

Now, we should be able to see the next question coming.Are not Christianity and Jesus Christ the One True Faith? Well, again, it depends on who you ask. Is there definitive PROOF? No. There are individuals who believe that Jesus Christ was exactly who he claimed to be, God on Earth. There are others who say he was just a prophet/man/phony, etc. Both sides have evidence to support their case, but in reality, it comes down to each side's own belief system.

One belief system comes from our former Vice President, Al Gore. He says that the `climate emergency' is about morality and not politics.

I completely agree! So, under the Constitution of the United States, and more specifically, the Supreme Court of the United States which has declared there to be a "separation of church and state," should there also be a "Separation of Environment and State?" Why is legislating the particulars of a religion ANY different than legislating climate change laws? The United States Government has expressly said that it will not advance the ideas of one particular religion over another (the 1st Amendment), yet the United States Government, as Al Gore and climate alarmists believe, is "morally obligated" to advance the opinions of climate change/global warming and create laws based on those opinions.

Why should climate change alarmists be given the bully pulpit of the United States Government when Christians are denied the exact same option everyday? Just as religious organizations recruit individuals and preach their message to them; maybe the environmental movement should structure their own ways to recruit individuals with their belief system. My guess is that those responsible for the climate change/global warming movement do not follow their own advice, i.e. conservation. It is a little tough to preach to someone about conservation when you arrive in a caravan of gas guzzling SUV's and limousines. (I wonder how Al Gore got to the Academy Awards anyway. Commercial aviation to a Hybrid to the red carpet.I think not).

Maybe, the climate change alarmists know the best way to `recruit' is to mandate. Take away choice and force individuals/corporations to accept their belief system, or else. I wonder what the reaction would be if Christian churches were to do the same through the United States Government? I think the word Bigotry comes to mind.



Stewart Brand has become a heretic to environmentalism, a movement he helped found, but he doesn't plan to be isolated for long. He expects that environmentalists will soon share his affection for nuclear power. They'll lose their fear of population growth and start appreciating sprawling megacities. They'll stop worrying about "frankenfoods" and embrace genetic engineering. He predicts that all this will happen in the next decade, which sounds rather improbable -- or at least it would if anyone else had made the prediction. But when it comes to anticipating the zeitgeist, never underestimate Stewart Brand.

He divides environmentalists into romantics and scientists, the two cultures he's been straddling and blending since the 1960s. He was with the Merry Pranksters and the Grateful Dead at their famous Trips Festival in San Francisco, directing a multimedia show called 'America Needs Indians.' That's somewhere in the neighborhood of romantic. But he created the shows drawing on the cybernetic theories of Norbert Wiener, the M.I.T. mathematician who applied principles of machines and electrical networks to social institutions.

Mr. Brand imagined replacing the old technocratic hierarchies with horizontal information networks -- a scientific vision that seemed quaintly abstract until the Internet came along. Mr. Brand, who is now 68 and lives on a tugboat in Sausalito, Calif., has stayed ahead of the curve for so long -- as a publisher, writer, techno-guru, enviro-philosopher, supreme networker -- that he's become a cottage industry in academia.

Last year, Fred Turner of Stanford published 'From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism.' This fall Andy Kirk of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is putting out 'Counterculture Green: The Environmentalism of Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Catalog.' By next year we should be due for a revisionist historian's discovery of a modern social movement that Mr. Brand did not orchestrate. In addition to publishing the Whole Earth Catalog, he organized the first Hackers Conference, in 1984, and helped found The WELL, the early electronic community that was a sort of prototype of the Web. In Professor Turner's history, he was the impresario who knew everyone and brought the counterculture and the cyberculture together, from the Homebrew Computer Club in the 1970s to Wired magazine in the 1990s.

He is now promoting environmental heresies, as he called them in Technology Review. He sees genetic engineering as a tool for environmental protection: crops designed to grow on less land with less pesticide; new microbes that protect ecosystems against invasive species, produce new fuels and maybe sequester carbon. He thinks the fears of genetically engineered bugs causing disaster are as overstated as the counterculture's fears of computers turning into Big Brother. 'Starting in the 1960s, hackers turned computers from organizational control machines into individual freedom machines,' he told Conservation magazine last year. 'Where are the green biotech hackers?'

He's also looking for green nuclear engineers, and says he feels guilty that he and his fellow environmentalists created so much fear of nuclear power. Alternative energy and conservation are fine steps to reduce carbon emissions, he says, but now nuclear power is a proven technology working on a scale to make a serious difference. 'There were legitimate reasons to worry about nuclear power, but now that we know about the threat of climate change, we have to put the risks in perspective,' he says. 'Sure, nuclear waste is a problem, but the great thing about it is you know where it is and you can guard it. The bad thing about coal waste is that you don't know where it is and you don't know what it's doing. The carbon dioxide is in everybody's atmosphere.'

Mr. Brand predicts that his heresies will become accepted in the next decade as the scientific minority in the environmental movement persuades the romantic majority. He still considers himself a member of both factions, just as in the days of the Merry Pranksters, but he's been shifting toward the minority.



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 March, 2007


It won't have made up for seeing the Presidency of the United States snatched away in a late flurry of Floridian hanging chads, but at least Al Gore now has the satisfaction of seeing his climate change manifesto An Inconvenient Truth elected best documentary film by the American Academy of Motion Pictures in that peculiarly self-regarding ballot known as "the Oscars".

As Gore beatifically absorbed the standing ovation from all those who had cruised via private jet and stretch-limo to the ceremony in Los Angeles, he could also smile in the knowledge of another piece of good news: the British Government had agreed to send An Inconvenient Truth to every secondary school in the country. Announcing this unexpected bit of promotion, the Environment Secretary, David Miliband, declared: "I was struck by the visual evidence the film provides, making it clear that the changing climate is already having an impact on our world today, from Mt Kilimanjaro to the Himalayan mountains."

I shall be fascinated to learn what accolades Mr Miliband will bestow on another film about climate change, which is to be shown on Channel 4 next Thursday. This one is different, very different. The Great Global Warming Swindle claims to be nothing less than: "The morality tale of the decade." The film's director is Martin Durkin. That name might mean nothing to you, but among many British environmentalists it is more hated than that of any multinational oil company chairman.

In 1997, Channel 4 broadcast an earlier film of Durkin's - Against Nature. This was a three-hour long polemic which tore into organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for the way in which they sought to deny the Third World the benefits of industrialisation which have given us lives of hygiene and plenty. Durkin examined the Green campaigns against hydroelectric dams which would have brought clean water to parts of the subcontinent ravaged by water-borne disease, but which were opposed as "damaging to local biodiversity" - the same sort of argument, in fact, which caused countless millions of African children to die of malaria unnecessarily because the Green lobby successfully blocked the use of DDT.

Immediately after it was broadcast there was a concerted howl of rage from the eco-warriors interviewed by Durkin. Channel 4 felt obliged to broadcast an apology, confessing that some interviewees had been misled as to the ultimate content of the programme. Still, as Simon Hoggart wrote at the time: "The Greens have pulled the same dishonest stunts many, many times. It will do them tremendous good to get a taste of their own medicine." The then environment editor of the Guardian immediately accused the programme makers of being in league with the far right, describing them, bafflingly, as "overtly racist".

If there had been any extreme political input, it was from quite another direction. Durkin and a number of others involved in the film had in fact been closely connected to the Revolutionary Communist Party. They felt passionately that the Green Movement was a deeply reactionary form of Western imperialism, which put improvement through science and industry of the welfare of people in Africa and the Asian subcontinent below its own decadent obsessions with biodiversity and so-called "sustainable development".

A similar theme pervades The Great Global Warming Swindle. We are taken to those vast tracts of Africa where there is no electricity, and see families huddled round a fire in their mud hut. Then we are told that "five million children under five die every year as a result of respiratory diseases from indoor smoke". Remember that, the next time you read about the ecological purity of heating derived from "biomass".

Next we are taken to some godforsaken health centre in the Kenyan hinterland, struggling to get by with electricity from a dilapidated but undeniably politically correct solar panel. It just about manages to keep alive the fridge with the medicine inside. Despite such scenes, Durkin's latest effort is not a manipulative tear-jerker - there's none of Gore's politically practised treaclyness ("Our children will say: what were our parents thinkin' about?"). Most of the advocacy is handed across to a series of eminent scientists, a number of whom have been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They all believe that man's responsibility for the slight warming (of 0.6C) over the past century is much less than the "consensus" view - and ridicule the more alarmist predictions of future "man-made" climate change.

One, Professor Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, fulminates that "consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science" and says that it wasn't until he threatened legal action that the IPCC reluctantly removed his name from an assessment with which he profoundly disagreed: "That's how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed. It's not true."

At this point you will probably want to know: if these people claim that man isn't responsible for such global warming as has undoubtedly occurred in the past 30 years, then who or what is? The brief answer is: the Sun. Durkin gives most airtime to the theory recently advanced by Doctors Friis-Christensen and Svensmark of the Danish Meteorological Institute. It goes (I think) like this: C02 is a very small element among greenhouse gases; far and away the most significant element is water vapour - which forms clouds. When the sun is very active it emits more intense bursts of cosmic rays which, inter alia, have the effect of dissipating clouds on Earth, and therefore increasing temperatures.

On its own, this is just a theory - and not an entirely new one, but Friis-Christensen and Svensmark have accompanied it with a very detailed multi-era superimposition of global temperatures against solar activity (measured by sunspots). The correlation turns out to be striking, to put it mildly. As I said, the idea itself is not breathtakingly new: a long-dead British astronomer, E W Maunder, noted that the coldest part of the "Little Ice Age" (1645 to 1715) coincided with a period of very few detectable solar eruptions - now gratifyingly referred to in the textbooks as "the Maunder Minimum".

Even if you don't buy that, you should definitely watch the programme, if only to see the head of the International Arctic Research Centre, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, describe how "the Arctic has always been expanding and contracting ... the press come here all the time and ask us: will you say something about the Greenhouse disaster? And I say: there is none." Then Dr Akasofu emits a tiny laugh - the laugh of a true scientist at the idiocy and hysteria of the world's media and politicians



Nowadays, shopping ethically is such a mindf*ck. Once upon a time, you knew to plump for the backstreet shop that stank of hemp and was stocked with African sackcloth, but now every boutique on the high street promises to sell you something that's super-moral for the new, ethical you. It's not a question of what's hot this season; it's a case of what's right this season.

On London's Brick Lane, French boutique, Miame, sells belts made out of old bicycle tyres, instantly branding your hips with proof of your commitment to the green routine of `reduce, reuse, recycle'. If you happen to have a toddler available you can mark out its green credentials with outfits made out of discarded cord and worn-out workshirts from (a snip at just 32.99 plus postage and packaging).

Oasis and Topshop are at the vanguard of the high street green crusaders. Topshop has teamed up with People Tree to produce a range of nine fair trade tops just in time for Fairtrade Fortnight. Marks and Spencer, meanwhile, is proud of the fact that it is `the first major high street retailer' to support fair trade clothing, and it also enacts a double whammy on your conscience by promising organic fair trade cotton, using adverts to promote the range in-house, like `Bless our organic cotton socks'. It's a great way to make things difficult for Marks and Spencer's `thousands of fair trade farmers in India and West Africa': cotton is the world's most sprayed crop, using a quarter of the world's insecticides each year - for a reason.

But then there are the air miles, that indelible carbon footprint. Restitch, the small, ethical company for toddlers, has got this covered. Justin Freeman, a spokesperson for the brand, highlights that their material is all `sourced in the UK and handmade by locally based seamstresses. Moving along the line of production from raw material to shop window involves each item travelling on average less than nine miles.'

He poured scorn on other companies who make ethical clothing abroad and ship it to the UK. The concept of a product being `carbon neutral', he argued, is not one that `has been properly worked out', and lack of debate on what can be done to cancel out a garment's carbon footprint might leave `the average punter disillusioned, despondent and resigned to the status quo - still buying [children's clothes] from a supermarket for an unbelievably low price.... Someone somewhere is paying for the fact that a school uniform can be bought for œ20. You're very unlikely to meet them and planting a tree in Ross-on-Wye isn't going to effectively compensate them.'

So when you're in the city centre this Saturday, jostled by bargain hunters, red-faced and huffing in the changing rooms or queuing at the slowest till, the message is to look down at your assorted purchases and think, is it fair trade, is it organic, is it reused, is it recycled, is it sourced from the UK or shipped from abroad, how many trees have been planted for it, was it made in an ethical workplace, what are its `toxins' and what, ultimately, will its impact be on the planet? Am I purchasing a handbag or pushing the climate into apocalypse?

The irony of ethical fashion is that it demonstrates not that fashion can become ethical, but that `being ethical' is a fashion statement. Being `seen to be green' - whether it's with your hybrid car, your roof turbine or your fair trade threads - is all the rage. And if buying a recycled workshirt does, in reality, bugger all for the planet, it certainly does wonders for the mental well-being of `me, me, me'.



'Enviro-crimes' such as fly tipping, letting your dog foul the footpath and dropping litter are being dealt with in new and quite authoritarian ways. For instance, council street wardens in Gloucester, England, have taken to walking around with video cameras strapped to their heads. Anyone caught dropping litter can be videoed and a still image put on the council's website, which looks like a poor man's version of the FBI's Most Wanted List

The photo accompanying this article shows Gloucester council's latest alleged offender. (spiked has blacked out the woman's identity, on the basis that we're not really interested in doing Gloucester council's dirty work for it.) This young woman was filmed on Valentine's Day, by street wardens who were clearly not interested in spreading love. She is `suspected' of `littering offences in the city'.

Now you may not like litterbugs. However, in this woman's defence, she has not even been proven guilty of littering offences. The council wardens taking photos of those they observe dropping litter - and thus whom they suspect of committing littering offences - are overturning a fundamental principle of justice: that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. It is unclear from the council website exactly what the woman is supposed to have done, and what evidence there is to prove that she did it. Besides, why should a case of littering give the council the right to display an individual's image, as if she's a known murderer or in some other way a danger to society?

The social repercussions of naming and shaming people who litter go way beyond a potential fine of 75 pounds. Publishing these sorts of images might lead to the individual under suspicion being ridiculed, by workmates, perhaps, or strangers in the street. It could even cause them to lose their job, if their boss decides that they are a liability, someone held up publicly as being irresponsible and uncaring. This is precisely the kind of negative publicity that companies are keen to avoid, especially today, when all companies are supposed to be super green and environmentally aware.

Anyone reading the Gloucester council website - and you are forced to wonder what kind of sad individual scrolls through a council site on the lookout for misbehaving citizens he or she might recognise - is invited to provide the authorities with the alleged offender's name and address. That is, to grass people up. You can do it by email or by phone. Encouraging people to dob others in is bad enough. Encouraging them to dob others in over something as trivial as, say, a discarded Wrigley's chewing gum wrapper is bizarre.

Surely it would make more sense for council workers to walk the streets with cleaning equipment rather than helmet-video-cameras, so that they can clear up the litter rather than film people allegedly dropping it. The council puts forward a financial argument for its actions, claiming that it costs the council œ1million a year to clean the streets. Yet raising 75 pounds in fine money every time someone is spotted and convicted of littering is not going to make up such a sum of money. Rather, targeting people through the filming, naming and shaming method is about more than raising money and keeping the streets clean - it shows the extent to which environmentalism is becoming a moral crusade aimed at correcting our individual behaviour. So instead of Gloucester council collectively resolving to keep the streets spotless, it actively goes looking for `enviro-criminals' whom it can make an example of. What next? Will they bring back the stocks and encourage residents to throw gone-off vegetables (recyclable, of course) at those who have sinned against the green ethos?

This petty approach to environmental issues is not confined to littering. I spoke to an environmental health worker last week who joked that, such is her power and authority over local bin use, she is known as `Dusty Bin.' Under the 2005 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environmental Act, councils have to fulfill targets on cleaning up the environment. This means their dustbin men can now look through your recycling bin. And if you've `contaminated' it with the wrong kind of rubbish, you could be fined up to 100 pounds - never mind the privacy implications of local authorities knowing your consumption habits. There are signs of a growing opposition to this bin snooping. Someone has launched an e-petition on the British government's No.10 website to oppose `smart bins', which record what kind of rubbish is being deposited in the bin and can identify which house the said bin belongs to.

Councils should stop their fanciful hunting of `enviro criminals', and provide us instead with more bins and street cleaners.



Comment from Britain

The BBC thinks climate change is the biggest threat to mankind. Not a week passes without scary new 'revelations' about the harm being done by carbon emissions, and the inevitable admonitions that we should turn off our lights, not leave our televisions on 'stand-by' and limit our use of cars and aeroplanes. Four weeks ago, the publication of a new report by the International Panel on Climate Change was greeted by the BBC with even more hysteria than usual. The report's terrifying warnings of the effects of global warming were accorded the status of holy writ. Unless mankind quickly changes its ways, we were informed, we are many of us doomed.

Alas, the BBC evinces very few signs of reforming itself. New figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Corporation spent a stupendous amount on air travel in the year to April 1, 2006. There were 41,355 journeys by air (equating to almost two flights per employee), collectively notching up 125 million miles, giving an average of 3,000 miles per journey.

Anyone who knows the ways of the BBC will hardly be surprised. The Corporation is in the habit of sending dozens of employees to cover international events while other media organisations make do with much smaller numbers. Despite its finger-wagging, the BBC is prodigal when it comes to dispatching its employees around the globe. Its own Jeremy Paxman has recently rightly taken a swipe at the BBC for adopting 'a high moral tone' over climate change while doing little to clean up its own act. In short, it is guilty of hypocrisy. Unfortunately, Paxo was recently spotted driving around London in a four-wheel drive 'all road' vehicle that belches humongous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

He would appear to be guilty of the very charge he levels at the BBC. It is an extraordinary fact that those who moan loudest about global warming, and enjoin us to alter our lifestyles so as to minimise emissions, are very often themselves prodigious producers of carbon dioxide. This is not a case of sinners who have repented urging us in the ways of righteousness. These people are asking us to do what they refuse to do themselves.

Earlier this week, we learnt that in the past 12 months the use of cars by government ministers climbed by 20 per cent over the previous year. They bang on about global warming and threaten us with new green taxes while actually increasing their own carbon emissions.

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, is another case in point. A couple of days ago, he unveiled a plan to make the capital the greenest city in the world. He wants swingeing new taxes for air travel. And yet this same Mr Livingstone and his deputy and staff have made 231 foreign trips since January 2005. The Mayor himself is a serial flyer, accounting for 15 official flights abroad during this period, few of which can have been absolutely necessary to the proper discharging of his duties.

Even the saintly American politician Al Gore, whose powerful film warned of the terrible dangers of global warming, stands accused of consuming more electricity in his magnificent 20-room Tennessee home in a single month than an average U.S. household uses in a whole year. Despite his belief that civilisation is threatened by man-made global warming, Mr Gore has been unable to summon up the will to move into more modest premises, or to live by candlelight in his existing mansion. And so it goes on. Show me a global warming zealot and I will very often show you a hypocrite.

Not long ago, the Environment Secretary David Miliband upbraided Prince Charles for flying to America to collect an award, saying 'a lot of business can be done by telephone and video link these days'. Perfectly true. Yet shortly afterwards, Mr Miliband cast aside his own video link and flew to India with a retinue of four to attend a conference on 'sustainable development and climate change'.

And, oh dear, Prince Charles himself, who has often inveighed against the dangers of global warming and made one or two minor well-publicised sacrifices, recently flew to the Gulf with an entourage of 20 in a 140-seat aircraft adapted to accommodate 29 people in some luxury. The accompanying media pack were told there was no room for them aboard the Airbus 319, and that they would have to make their own travel arrangements.

My list could go on, but the point is made. There are many powerful individuals and institutions exhorting us to change our lifestyles while doing absolutely nothing to alter their own. The rest of us - who probably account for the production of much less carbon than those who lecture us so overbearingly - are entitled to ask why we should change our ways when the global warming extremists are so often disinclined to change theirs.

What is the explanation for the startling contradiction between theory and practice on the part of these people? We could settle for the charge of hypocrisy I have already mentioned. The zealots reason with one part of their brains, and act with an another. They may think that they are so important that they should be exempt from the restrictions which they thrust at the rest of us.

There is a further possible explanation - that these zealots do not believe in global warming as unreservedly as they appear to. Even accepting the natural human tendency towards hypocrisy, it is hard to believe that so many true believers in global warming could act in total opposition to their most deeply held convictions.

Entertaining doubts about man-made global warming is hardly a crime. Though far from being a 'global warming denier', I am sceptical about the newfound absoluteness of the doom-mongers and dismayed that so many journalists, whose job it is to be questioning, should have uncritically jumped aboard the global warming bandwagon.

What is interesting, is if my analysis is right, is that some of the ayatollahs of man-made global warming should themselves harbour secret doubts which the rest of us may feel about the phenomenon. This suggests they have other motives for instructing us how to live our lives while ignoring their own exhortations. Global warming has supplied politicians and law-makers with a new lever to control and fashion our behaviour, while also offering a justification for extracting extra tax revenue.

Man-made global warming surely exists in some measure. My point is that the terror and fear which the zealots attempt to instil in us partly derive from a desire for control - and may also reflect a new puritanism. They want us to feel guilty and yet, rather amazingly, their inability to live by their proclaimed values does not induce any guilt in them.

If the zealots followed their own advice, if they showed us how it is possible to lead a full life while creating fewer carbon emissions, we would still not have the ultimate proof that global warning is man-made. But we would at least have an example to follow. No one is going to take seriously a politician who tells us to do one thing and then does another.



As Prime Minister Helen Clark was outlining the Government's goal for "carbon neutrality" at Parliament last month, her message was being drowned out by trees coming down in the central North Island and on the Canterbury plains. Increasing New Zealand's forestry plantation is one of the Government's key climate change levers. Carbon-absorbing forests are vital in offsetting pollution from agricultural, transport and industrial emissions. They also help reduce the bill, now estimated at $563 million, that the Government will have to pay for emissions during the first Kyoto protocol commitment period from 2008-12. But, ironically, large-scale conversions of forestry to farming are taking place in the central North Island and on the Canterbury plains. Smaller investors, spooked by the threat of Kyoto-related intervention in the sector, appear to be being put off forestry as an investment choice. For the first time in recent history, New Zealand cut down more trees last year than were planted.



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 March, 2007


Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes have a natural-and not a human-induced-cause, according to one scientist's controversial theory. Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures. In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row. Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun. "The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said.

Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun's heat output can account for almost all the climate changes we see on both planets. Mars and Earth, for instance, have experienced periodic ice ages throughout their histories. "Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance," Abdussamatov said.

By studying fluctuations in the warmth of the sun, Abdussamatov believes he can see a pattern that fits with the ups and downs in climate we see on Earth and Mars. Abdussamatov's work, however, has not been well received by other climate scientists. "His views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion," said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England's Oxford University. "And they contradict the extensive evidence presented in the most recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report." Amato Evan, a climate scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, added that "the idea just isn't supported by the theory or by the observations."

The conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in the sun. "Wobbles in the orbit of Mars are the main cause of its climate change in the current era," Oxford's Wilson explained. All planets experience a few wobbles as they make their journey around the sun.

Earth's wobbles are known as Milankovitch cycles and occur on time scales of between 20,000 and 100,000 years. These fluctuations change the tilt of Earth's axis and its distance from the sun and are thought to be responsible for the waxing and waning of ice ages on Earth. Mars and Earth wobble in different ways, and most scientists think it is pure coincidence that both planets are between ice ages right now. "Mars has no moon, which makes its wobbles much larger, and hence the swings in climate are greater too," Wilson said.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in Abdussamatov's theory is his dismissal of the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide help keep heat trapped near the planet's surface. He claims that carbon dioxide has only a small influence on Earth's climate and virtually no influence on Mars. But "without the greenhouse effect there would be very little, if any, life on Earth, since our planet would pretty much be a big ball of ice," said Evan, of the University of Wisconsin.

Most scientists now fear that the massive amount of carbon dioxide humans are pumping into the air will lead to a catastrophic rise in Earth's temperatures, dramatically raising sea levels as glaciers melt and leading to extreme weather worldwide. Abdussamatov remains contrarian, however, suggesting that the sun holds something quite different in store. "The solar irradiance began to drop in the 1990s, and a minimum will be reached by approximately 2040," Abdussamatov said. "It will cause a steep cooling of the climate on Earth in 15 to 20 years."


Proof that warming in Western Australia is all about the sun

Post lifted from Gust of Hot Air

I promised you some good analysis on Southern Pilbara (central-west Western Australia) yesterday when I analysed the temperatures and I keep to my promise so here it is:

Yesterday we came up with the very unusual result that despite the fact that there was no significant increases in temperature from 9pm to 6am in southern Pilbara - and not even any recogniseable patterns - we found that the area recorded a significant increase in minimum temperature. This is very surprising. We also found that in the area temperatures were significantly higher from 9am thru to 3pm when the sun is at it's hottest.

At first look it's quite clear that the reason southern Pilbara is heating up is solely due to the sun. The sun is just getting damned hotter. So why the increase in minimum temperatures, especially when there is no difference in temperatures throughout the night?

I decided to have a look at the differences in temperature anomalies for neighboring times over the years. In other words, I looked at the temperature anomalies for Midnight minus 9pm. As previously noted, 9pm doesn't have a lot of data for Southern Pilbara so it is hard to find a pattern, and the statistics suggest no difference (t = 0.24, p = 0.81). In other words, Midnight has not been heating up at a quicker rate than 9pm over the years in Southern Pilbara.

The same goes for 3am minus Midnight, only this time we have a good amount of data. There is no pattern. Temperatuers at 3am have not been heating up quicker or slower than Midnight over the years (t = 1.4, p = 0.15).

But wow, look at this. When looking at 6am minus 3am, we find that temperatures have increased at a significantly higher rate at 6am than 3am (t = 5.3, p < 0.01). Keeping in mind that we did not find a significant increase in temperature at 6am, however we have found that the temperature increase at 6am is significantly greater than 3am. This has occurred with especial magnitude in the last 10 years as shown in the graph.

And a similar pattern occurs when looking at the 9am - 6am anomalies. A significant increase occurs (t = 6.04, p < 0.01). With temperatures increasing on average 0.5 degrees more in the past 10 years. If you look at the 6am and 9am graphs, this makes sence, as in the last 10 years 6am was about average temperature whilst 9am temperatures were about 0.5 degrees above the norm.

Surprisingly this is where the large boom stops. Analysis of Noon minus 9am temperatures suggest no increase or decrease in temperature (t = -0.6, p =0.55). A cyclic pattern can be seen, but this could be purely due to random variation.

And now for the even more surprising results. 3pm minus Noon saw a significant decrease in anomaly temperatures (t = -8.1, p < 0.01). The decrease is almost perfectly linear and is clearly obvious. So despite significant increase in temperature for south Pilbara for Noon and 3pm, 3pm isn't heating up as much as it has been 3 hours before.

The obvious linear line in the graph of 6pm to 3pm is startling. So perfect is the line, that the amount of variability is very small. The decreasing trend is very significant (t = -10.8, p < 0.01).

There was no significant difference in temperatures when looking at the differences between the 9pm and 6pm anomalies, however a smaller database for temperatures at 9pm could have been a factor (t = 1.3, p = 0.18).

So what does all this mean? How is this all relevant. Well let's summarise what we have just found. The rate of increase or decrease in temperatures with respect to the time 3 years prior makes little difference at night, but when the sun is a factor the difference is significant. Temperature anomalies at 6am and 9am have increased significantly with respect to the time 3 hours previous over the years, whilst temperatures at 3pm and 6pm have decreased significantly with respect to the time 3 hours previous.

But to understand fully what this means, we have to discuss very briefly how daily temperature works. Basically we reach a maximum temperature, and from that point on the temperature generally decreases. When the sun as set, there is no general reason why temperatures will be on the rise, so they decrease until the sun makes an appearance again. In southern Pilbara the sun rises in general half way between 6am and 9am depending on the season.

We suggested before that is was relatively obvious that the sun was a major factor in determining the average maximum temperature in Southern Pilbara, as we saw no increases in temperature over night. We have also proven that the sun has made significant increases in maximum temperature rather than minimum during years when Australia is heating up. So would a stronger sun therefore also have an influence on minimum temperatures? Our analysis suggests so.

Whilst no increases in temperature were found for Southern Pilbara from between 9pm and 6am when the sun was set, at 6am, the temperature increase as compared to 3am was highly significant. The sun, whilst not risen, quite possibly was warming up neighbouring areas more than normal, and adding heat to the air above at a greater rate than normal. Thus paving the way for when it makes its grand entrance at sunrise.

Hence, whilst not making a significant temperature difference at 6am before sunrise, it made a significant increase in temperature compared to 3 hours prior at a time where normally the minimum temperature would have been reached. This extra layer of heat paved the way for massive increases in temperature at 9am after the sun had risen. Following, due to the massive increases in temperature 9am, Noon and 3pm also had increasing temperatures due to the intensity of the sun, but not quite as dramatic as that when the sun rose. Hence we have a situation where we have a significant increase in temperature at 3pm but a highly significant decrease in temperature at 3pm with relation to Noon. I guess there's only so much difference that the sun can make.

So what can we conclude about Southern Pilbara? That increases in the suns intensity has caused the area to heat up during the day, to stay at a constant temperature during the night, and most importantly, that increased intensity in the sun has not only caused increases in maximum temperatures but also increases in minimum temperatures.

Who would have thought that the sun has something to do with heat?


On Sunday, Al Gore's film about climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, won two Oscars. Today, the Royal Society starts a two-day event showcasing the science of climate change according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Both the film and conference are based on an understanding that the science is settled. It isn't. But, in the meantime, the environmental bandwagon rolls on, and no self-respecting politician wants to be left without a seat.

Over the past century, the average global temperature rose by about 0.6C. This doesn't sound a lot, but represents changes noticeable to all of us. At the same time, levels of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) in the atmosphere have also risen, due, almost certainly, to our increasing use of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas. All else being equal, this would be expected to lead to some moderate warming, as experienced.

The mainstream view, promulgated by the IPCC, is that this moderate warming is enhanced by the extra water vapour that higher temperatures put into the atmosphere. This positive feedback leads, in theory, to a much greater temperature rise and has led to speculation about runaway global warming.

But there are good reasons to believe that such a catastrophe is a remote possibility, rather than a near certainty. The rise in temperature has been far from smooth. The early decades of the 20th century showed a distinct warming trend, peaking in the 1930s. However, from the 1940s through to the early 1970s, temperatures fell - sufficiently for commentators to raise the spectre of global cooling as we slid into the next ice age. A sudden jump in the mid-1970s heralded the return of a warming trend and led to the current concern about global warming. But peak temperatures were recorded in 1998; since then, we have had eight years with no warming. In the meantime, CO2 levels have risen inexorably.

Since we cannot experiment to test the effect of this on climate, scientists rely on observation and, in parallel, produce mathematical models of how the climate system operates. These models - fed with a range of assumptions about how population and energy use may change - are run on the world's most powerful supercomputers to give projections for future climate changes. It is these on which tales of future catastrophe are based.

But the climate over the past century has not behaved as simple models predict. Scientists have tweaked the models to reproduce the stop/start pattern, by adding in the effect of volcanic eruptions and man-made sulphate aerosols. Because they can be made to simulate the actual pattern of 20th-century temperature change, the assumption is that they provide a good model of future changes.

What the modellers do not explain are documented changes to the climate during recorded history. During the Roman Warm Period, England was a significant wine producer, a thousand years later Greenland was settled and farmed during the Medieval Warm Period, and harvests failed and ice fairs were held on the frozen Thames in the Little Ice Age of the 17th and 18th centuries. None of it was a result of man-made CO2 emissions.

The answer may lie in the ultimate source of warmth and life on Earth: the sun. Solar activity varies in a cyclic way, with sunspots being an obvious sign of changes. The more spots, the more active the sun. On a simple level, we know that the Little Ice Age coincided with a very low level of solar activity. We also know that the sun is currently in a particularly active phase.

The IPCC's view is that these changes are too small to cause the climate changes we have seen. But there is another factor, about which they are equally dismissive: variations in the sun's magnetic field can have a significant effect by influencing cloudiness. It has been suggested that high energy cosmic rays, which arrive at the Earth's surface all the time, could induce cloud formation. Recently, experiments have shown that this can happen. And clouds, as we are all aware, have a major effect on temperatures. The hypothesis is that the more intense magnetic field of an active sun shields the Earth from some of the rays. So, if we have a more active sun, we should have fewer clouds and higher temperatures. This is not fully tested, but seems as plausible a mechanism for climate variation as the greenhouse effect. Knowledge of solar cycles may be a better guide.

The scientific mainstream, however, refuses to concede that it could be wrong. It insists we must act now to decarbonise our economy, whatever the consequences. If the science were as certain as suggested, it would have a point. But it isn't and, in the meantime, we are being forced down a single policy direction that may be ineffectual and takes resources away from the real and present problems in the world. Increasing food security, providing access to clean water and basic education, building defences against the floods that inevitably hit low-lying regions: these are the sort of initiatives that have to take second place to the drive to reduce carbon emissions.

In any case, there is little likelihood that a global carbon reduction regime can be made to work. Most EU member states will not meet their commitments under the Kyoto protocol. How likely is it, then, that China and other expanding economies will compromise their growth to meet much more demanding targets? To shut down debate is unscientific. Science progresses by observation and deduction, by setting up hypotheses and testing them. Allowing one view to be pushed forward with no dissent sets a precedent that will stifle innovative thinking. Whatever Al Gore may believe, there is an even more inconvenient truth: he could be wrong.


Al Gore Is a Greenhouse Gasbag

Democrat-voting Penn geology professor puts science before politics

A recent Time magazine cover featured a polar bear in danger of drowning and the warning: "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." I've come to Penn to see the skeptic. In Room 100 of the classic Christopher Wren-inspired Towne Building, Robert Giegengack seems much less than worried. The 67-year-old professor is preparing to give one of the semester's final lectures to his 150-student class in environmental analysis, a popular science elective among Penn's arts and sciences undergrads.

For decades, Giegengack was content to be a relatively obscure geologist who taught more than he published. Recently, though, he's stepped into the swirling tempest surrounding global warming, in part because he says it's not even one of the top 10 environmental problems we face. To make that point, he occasionally joins in a panel discussion, or gives a quote to a science writer. He's thinking about writing something for one of the smarty-pants magazines. "I've always been interested in this question," he says, "but when I first started working, no one cared - you couldn't get an article published if you wanted to." Now, though, "The public appetite for all this crap seems to be insatiable." ....

There's no way to watch An Inconvenient Truth without getting worried - at least a little worried. Not Bob Giegengack. He has described Al Gore's documentary as "a political statement timed to present him as a presidential candidate in 2008." And he added, "The glossy production is replete with inaccuracies and misrepresentations, and appeals to public fear as shamelessly as any other political statement that hopes to unite the public behind a particular ideology." This from a guy who voted for Gore in 2000 and says he'd probably vote for him again....

A few years ago, Giegengack told the Pennsylvania Gazette, the school's alumni magazine, that the environmental analysis course he's teaching today often attracts students who want to be environmental activists and carry picket signs outside the offices of the bad guys in the military-industrial complex. "But I want them to understand that these questions are enormously complex," he went on.

Yes, they are. I ask Gieg for a private tutorial based on the lectures he gives his students to make them consider the scientific complications of climate change. We sit one afternoon at a conference table near his office, his laptop open and the PowerPoint ready to go. Charts appear, one after another.

Giegengack may have a personal 50-year perspective on global warming, but the time range he prefers to consult is more on the geologists' scale. The Earth has been warming, he says, for about 20,000 years. We've only been collecting data on that trend for about 200 years. "For most of Earth history," he says, "the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has only rarely been cooler." Those cooler periods have meant things like two miles of ice piled over much of what is now North America. Nothing to be nostalgic for.

The professor hits a button on his computer, and the really long-term view appears - the past 650,000 years. In that time, the Earth's temperature has gone through regular cycles of rise and fall. The best explanation of those cycles was conceived by a Serbian amateur scientist named Milutin Milankovic. Very basically, Milankovic said this: The Earth's orbit around the sun is more or less circular, but when other planets align in certain ways and their gravitational forces tug at the Earth, the orbit stretches into a more elliptical shape. Combined with the tilt of the Earth on its axis as it spins, that greater or lesser distance from the sun, plus the consequent difference in solar radiation that reaches our planet, is responsible for long-term climate change.

NOW TO THE CRUX OF THE Al Gore argument - the idea that rising carbon dioxide levels are causing an increase in temperature. To determine temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in the distant past, scientists rely on what they call the "proxy record." There weren't thermometers. So researchers drill deep down into the Antarctic ice sheet and the ocean floor and pull up core samples, whose varying chemical elements let them gauge both the CO2 levels and the temperatures of the distant past.

Gieg clicks a button, and three charts come together. The peaks and valleys of the Milankovi'c cycles for planetary temperature align well with the ocean-floor estimates, and those match closely the records of carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature indications from ice cores. So, the professor maintains, these core samples from the polar ice and ocean floor help show that the Earth's temperature and the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been in lockstep for tens of thousands of years.

Of course, that was long before anybody was burning fossil fuels. So Giegengack tells his students they might want to consider that "natural" climatic temperature cycles control carbon dioxide levels, not the other way around. That's the crux of his argument with Gore's view of global warming - he says carbon dioxide doesn't control global temperature, and certainly not in a direct, linear way.

Gieg has lots more slides to show. He points out that within his lifetime, there was a three-decade period of unusually low temperatures that culminated in the popular consciousness with the awful winter of 1976-77. Back then, scientists started sounding the alarm about a new ice age.

Of course, it's long been thought that the world would end either in fire or in ice. These days, the scientists are shouting fire. And in all his years around environmental issues, Giegengack has never heard so much shouting. "I don't think we're going to have a rational discussion of this question in the present environment," he says. "The scientists are mad because they think nobody in Washington is listening to them. So it's all either apocalyptic disaster or conflict of interest. If you suggest that we're not going to hell in a handbasket because the rate of global warming is low compared to so many other environmental issues that we're enduring, then you're accused of being in the employ of the oil companies and you're labeled a Republican." ....

It’s afternoon in America, and Oprah is offering her millions of viewers a class with Dr. Gore that the producers are calling Global Warming 101. I’ve asked Gieg to watch it with me. The show turns out to be pretty much a synopsis of An Inconvenient Truth, with Gore clicking through his hyper-produced PowerPoint program and Oprah exclaiming “Wow! Wow!” with dramatic concern. To dramatize the melting of the floating ice cap at the North Pole, Gore has inserted an animated clip of a polar bear swimming desperately to a tiny ice floe that isn’t strong enough to hold him. Global warming is drowning helpless bears. Oprah thinks it’s the coolest and saddest thing in Gore’s whole movie. Gieg starts shouting:

“We don’t know that. We don’t know that! We don’t know that polar bears haven’t drowned in every interglacial period. Nobody was watching them back then.”

It’s got to be a frustrating experience, seeing a topic you’ve spent some 50 years studying turned into an Oprah episode. “I like her,” Gieg says. “She’d beat Al Gore if she ran for president.” Then Gore clicks again to dramatic footage of a collapsing polar ice shelf. “That’s irresponsible,” Gieg says. “What he’s doing is no less than the scare tactics used by people like Karl Rove.”

Oprah says she had no idea all these terrible things were happening until she interviewed the noted authority Leonardo DiCaprio. Gore is now into his segment on the melting of glaciers and the possibility of catastrophe if Greenland goes, or parts of Antarctica. The deadly blue water seeping over the world’s great lowland cities comes onto the screen. “Sea level is rising,” Giegengack agrees, switching off the sound. But, he explains, it’s been rising ever since warming set in 18,000 years ago. The rate of rise has been pretty slow — only about 400 feet so far. And recently — meaning in the thousands of years — the rate has slowed even more. The Earth’s global ocean level is only going up 1.8 millimeters per year. That’s less than the thickness of one nickel. For the catastrophe of flooded cities and millions of refugees that Gore envisions, sea levels would have to rise about 20 feet. “At the present rate of sea-level rise,” Gieg says, “it’s going to take 3,500 years to get up there. So if for some reason this warming process that melts ice is cutting loose and accelerating, sea level doesn’t know it. And sea level, we think, is the best indicator of global warming.”

By now, Al Gore is taking Oprah on an anti-global-warming shopping trip, buying compact fluorescent light bulbs and programmable thermostats. We should all buy those things, the professor says, but he’s had just about enough of Dr. Gore. “See,” Gieg says, “the thing he doesn’t mention is that there are 2.4 billion people in India and China who have launched a campaign that will increase their energy consumption by a factor of 10. No matter what we do. If we somehow cut our CO2 emissions in half, you wouldn’t be able to measure the difference because of the role played by India and China. “It’s over. If CO2 is the problem, we’ve already lost.”

When Gieg gets to this point in his argument, as he often does when talking about global warming, he gets a little frustrated. “I always get sidetracked because, first of all, the science isn’t good. Second, there are all these other interpretations for what we see. Third, it doesn’t make any difference, and fourth, it’s distracting us from environmental problems that really matter.” Among those, Gieg says, are the millions of people a year who die from smoking and two million people a year who die because they don’t have access to clean water.

Bob Giegengack likes to point out that there was a time when people like him were called natural philosophers, and he wouldn’t mind a return to the days when scientists spent more time asking questions and less time testifying before committees. But that won’t happen soon. Now that Democrats run Congress again, they’re likely to ramp up the hearings to chide the Republicans for what they see as nearly a decade of stonewalling and misinformation on global warming. After all, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment, Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, ignited a wildfire in the groves of environmentalism when he called the idea of catastrophic global warming a “hoax.”

In the long view, a geologist like Giegengack can take some comfort in, well, the long view. “There’s all this stuff about saving the planet,” he says. “The Earth is fine. The Earth was fine before we got here, and it’ll be fine long after we’re gone.”

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.


2 March, 2007


The motto of all environmentalists should be "Thank goodness for the internal combustion engine." The abuse heaped on the internal combustion engine by environmentalists was never justified. But a recent story on cow flatulence in the British newspaper, The Independent, makes the environmental benefits from gasoline-powered engines even more obvious. Based on a recent study by the Food and Agricultural Organization, The Independent reports that "livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together."

Long before global warming became an environmental concern, however, the move from the power provided by animals to that provided by gasoline had greatly improved the environment. The emissions that came out of the tailpipes of horses were much more lethal pollutants that those now coming out of the tailpipes of cars. Horse emissions did more than make our town and cities stink; they spread fly-borne diseases and polluted water supplies that killed people at a far greater rate than the pollution from cars and trucks ever have. Photochemical smog is clearly a health risk, but not nearly the health risk of cholera, diphtheria and tetanus that have been largely eliminated with the help of gasoline powered transportation.

Before the internal combustion engine it wasn't just cows, sheep and pigs emitting pollution down on the farm. Tractors and other types of gas-powered farm machinery eliminated the horses, mules and oxen that had provided most of the power necessary to grow and harvest our food and fiber. This not only reduced the problem that still exists from animal waste that environmentalists, with justification, still complain about. The internal combustion engine also eliminated the need to produce food to fuel millions upon millions of agricultural beasts of burden. It has been estimated that in 1900 it took about 93 million acres of land to grow the food for the farm animals that were replaced by current farm machinery. Most of that land has now gone back to woodlands, greatly increasing the number of trees that are reducing the problem of global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide.

The above consideration should have been enough to warrant an environmental shrine to the internal combustion engine. And now we find that by eliminating all those farm-yard animals, the internal combustion engine also eliminated vast amounts of methane-producing flatulence, which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide produce by burning gasoline.

Even though the internal combustion engine is less polluting than what it replaced, it is obviously not pollution-free. Efforts should, and will be made to make it even less polluting than it is, and some day internal combustion will be replaced by an even less polluting technology. But history will look kindly on the internal combustion engine as a major contributor to the steady progress toward a healthier environment that has been made over the centuries.



By Richard W. Rahn

Do you think those who have reservations about whether man is creating global warming should lose their jobs and be denied the right to present their views? Over the last few months, there has been a concerted effort to silence those who have doubts about global warming and man's effect on the climate. The Oregon State climatologist was fired for disagreeing with the "conventional wisdom." A meteorologist with the weather channel demanded that dissenting views not be broadcast. CNN, in particular, has treated skeptics with great disdain.

As an economist, I do not claim to know for certain who is right and who is wrong in this debate, but I do know that attempts to shut down debate are both wrong and dangerous. When I was a student, Keynesian economics was the "consensus," and those few who disagreed, like Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek, were ridiculed by the economic establishment, and students in many universities were not even exposed to their views.

By the late 1970s, it was apparent to those who cared to look at the data and the world around them that Keynesian economics had all been wrong and Friedman and Hayek had been right. Once Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and other government leaders adopted the Friedman/Hayek model, their economies and also the world economy, entered the longest and highest rate of growth ever.

History is filled with those who dissented against the conventional wisdom but were proved correct, such as Copernicus, Galileo, Albert Einstein and many others. The doomsayers in the media and political classes were all atwitter last month when the most recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released, saying humans were partly to blame for global warming -- so I decided to read the report.

Let's do a mind game. The authors of the report predict average temperature will increase between 3.2 and 7.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century, and that sea levels will rise between 7 and 23 inches. Assume, for the moment, that mankind can do nothing about this projected climate change. Given that information, how would you change your behavior? If you are like most people, you would do nothing but enjoy the few extra days of summer and swimming. If you were going to build a house on the sea, you might build it a couple of feet higher than the existing codes require -- no big deal. Unless you enjoy shoveling the snow, having a little less of if to contend with each winter probably would bring more pleasure than pain.

Now, let us assume mankind might be able to slowly reduce global warming by drastically reducing carbon emissions. This can be done by increasing the cost of power and fuel. How much would you be willing to pay to make these changes for something you would barely notice over your lifetime? Would you be willing to take on these extra costs, knowing they would accomplish very little if the citizens of the rest of planet did not do the same?

What do this and other reports about climate change tell us? A majority agrees the most notable temperature increases will be in upper Canada and Siberia, and the moisture these areas receive will increase -- which means much better and longer growing seasons in these areas. These favorable developments will be partially offset by longer droughts in some localities. But given that both these positive and negative changes will occur slowly over a century, humankind will have plenty of time to adapt, and on balance it will be easier and less costly to produce food. If you are a skier, your season will be shortened, but if you play baseball, football, golf or swim, your season will be longer.

However, if the politicians on the left operate true to course, they will propose even more costly regulations and higher taxes, without any offsetting tax reduction. This will unnecessarily make the poor poorer and reduce job creation. The brains of many on the left (and some on the right) seem unable to understand second-order effects of policies and actions, which tends to make them overstate problems and come up with solutions that do more harm than good.

Vaclav Klaus, who is both a distinguished economist and president of the Czech Republic, criticized the new U.N. report on global warming, saying it was a political document, "without scientific basis." He also said, "a sane person can't conclude that we are ruining the planet" as Al Gore has said, given that the planet is now far more user friendly for humans than it has ever been in the past.

It is worth remembering that, as recently as the 1970s, a consensus held we were in a period of global cooling and might face a new ice age. Those who seek to shut down the debate are only revealing their ignorance of history and disdain for liberty.



Developing countries, including emerging economic giants China and India, are not prepared to take the blame for climate change, the head of the G77 group of developing nations said on Tuesday. Some countries in Europe and North America want developing countries to accept limits on their emissions of greenhouse gases when the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012, but the G77 looks likely to oppose that.

"Most environmental degradation that's happened has been historically caused by the industrial world," said Munir Akram, Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations and chairman of the G77 group in New York. "China, India and others are at the stage where they are now taking off and it's quite natural that their emissions of carbon are increasing," he told a news conference after a two-day meeting of G77 diplomats in Rome. "There's a sort of propaganda effort to try to shift the blame for environmental degradation on to these fast-growing economies, and the motives are not very well disguised."

One of the main reasons U.S. President George W. Bush pulled his country out of Kyoto was that the 1997 U.N. treaty only imposed emissions limits on developed countries. The European Union remained in the pact but wants developing countries included in a second phase treaty which will be discussed at a U.N. climate change meeting in Bali, Indonesia in December.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest report, released earlier this month, predicted global temperatures would rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 Celsius (3.2 and 7.8 Fahrenheit) this century due to the greenhouse effect. Emissions from industry and transport, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), a by-product of burning fossil fuels like oil and coal, are blamed for trapping heat in the atmosphere in a process set to increase disasters like floods and droughts.

"The developing countries contribute the least to environmental degradation but are affected the most," read a statement issued by the G77 after the Rome meeting, which covered everything from aid to U.N. reform. With China's economy growing at 10 percent a year its appetite for fuel is increasing rapidly and the country is believed to be building a coal-fired power station every five days -- a major source of CO2. But Akram said any efforts to limit developing country emissions in the coming years would be viewed with suspicion, especially as most developed nations had made little progress in cutting theirs.

"Unless the North comes to grips with its responsibility it will be difficult to come to an international consensus by which all of us can contribute to halting the degradation of the environment, and certainly stopping the development of developing countries is not the answer."

Source. The full G77 Statement can be accessed here.

Global Hurricane Intensity NOT Increasing

Global hurricane intensity NOT increasing -- so concludes a just-published paper by University of Wisconsin atmospheric scientist Jim Kossin and colleagues. In order that we can't be accused of misrepresenting the authors' meaning, here is the complete conclusion section of their Geophysical Research Letters paper.

"The time-dependent differences between the UW/NCDC and JTWC best track records underscores the potential for data inconsistencies to introduce spurious (or spuriously large) upward trends in longer-term measures of hurricane activity. Using a homogeneous record, we were not able to corroborate the presence of upward trends in hurricane intensity over the past two decades in any basin other than the Atlantic. Since the Atlantic basin accounts for less than 15% of global hurricane activity, this result poses a challenge to hypotheses that directly relate globally increasing tropical SST to increases in long-term mean global hurricane intensity.

Efforts are presently underway to maximize the length of our new homogeneous data record but at most we can add another 6-7 years, and whether meaningful trends can be measured or inferred in a 30-year data record remains very much an open question. Given these limitations of the data, the question of whether hurricane intensity is globally trending upwards in a warming climate will likely remain a point of debate in the foreseeable future. Still, the very real and dangerous increases in recent Atlantic hurricane activity will no doubt continue to provide a heightened sense of purpose to research addressing how hurricane behavior might change in our changing climate, and further efforts toward improvement of archival data quality are expected to continue in parallel with efforts to better reconcile the physical processes involved. If our 23-year record is in fact representative of the longer record, then we need to better understand why hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin is varying in a fundamentally different way than the rest of the world despite similar upward trends of SST in each basin.

All we can say is "oh my." Can it be possible that the small band of global warming alarmists who is going around pushing the concept that global warming has led to measurably more dangerous hurricanes is wrong? Horrors. Let's see what the IPCC has to say about this. Here is the section on hurricanes from their recent Summary for Policymakers (SPM):

There is observational evidence for an increase of intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic since about 1970, correlated with increases of tropical sea surface temperatures. There are also suggestions of increased intense tropical cyclone activity in some other regions where concerns over data quality are greater. Multi-decadal variability and the quality of the tropical cyclone records prior to routine satellite observations in about 1970 complicate the detection of long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity. There is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.

Well, it looks like the SPM authors decided to play it a bit cautious. Only reporting "suggestions" of increases in oceans basins other than the Atlantic. Wise move. These suggestions now seem to be wrong.

Certainly it is true that tropical cyclones have increased in frequency and intensity in the Atlantic Ocean over the past 30 years. And certainly sea surface temperatures have risen there as well. But as we have been harping on over and over and over again, this does not mean that anthropogenic alterations to the earth's atmospheric composition are the primary reason why (see any of the articles listed here). Many other factors besides sea surface temperatures impact the tendency for weak tropical disturbances to grow into fierce hurricanes. And many of these other factors have been trending in a way that is towards favoring stronger storms, but that is away from the direction that global warming should be taking them. Yes, you read it correctly, aside from increasing sea surface temperatures, anthropogenic climate changes from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are generally projected to make the tropical environment less favorable for tropical cyclone intensification. Nobody told you that one before, did they (besides us, of course)?

What about the high profile results from papers in Nature (Emanuel, 2005) and Science (Webster et al, 2005) that made a lot of noise that intense hurricanes were increasing the world over and that anthropogenic global warming was to blame? Well, according to the new results by Kossin et al., and as has been suggested by Landsea (2006) and others, it looks like they were the result of a reliance on poor quality data.

More here

The abstract of the paper referred to above:

Recently documented trends in the existing records of hurricane intensity and their relationship to increasing sea surface temperatures suggest that hurricane intensity may be increasing due to global warming. However, it is presently being argued that the existing global hurricane records are too inconsistent to accurately measure trends. As a first step in addressing this debate, we constructed a more homogeneous global record of hurricane intensity and found that previously documented trends in some ocean basins are well supported, but in others the existing records contain trends that may be inflated or spurious.

Environmentalism: More facts, less evangelism needed

Comment by columnist Janet Albrechtsen

The timing is perfect. Al Gore wins an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth. If Rolling Stone is right, Gore will soon be running for president with his “save the world” message. Then, next month, Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, will be in Australia preaching the same message. His visit will be the 21st-century version of a Billy Graham crusade, complete with demands that we come to Jesus. Sinners - those sceptics of the Stern gospel on global warming - will be urged to repent. Many of them, overcome by emotion and group hysteria, will do so. And if the eco-evangelists could arrange it, there would be television cameras to capture images of new believers swooning into their saviour’s arms.

Even for those of us who realise the human psyche is drawn to emotional claims of doom and gloom, it’s easy to fall for the hype. Catch a few glimpses of the Christmas bush fires, the drought, Gore looking like an ageing Superman impersonator predicting cities being swamped and headlines that Bondi beach is under threat. Add more headlines about the ostensible consensus among experts that humans are causing catastrophic global warming. Employees soon start to question the big companies they work for because, these days, big is synonymous with bad. The big bosses start embracing global warming so they look lean and clean in a competitive marketplace for goods, services and employees. People start calling on governments to do something. Governments then get drawn into the whirlwind of global warming, overreacting on the basis of emotion, not fact.

Before Stern arrives, it’s time to visit the other camps on climate change. Those who are sceptical of the degree and dangers of warming predicted by Stern and co. Those who point out there are benefits to global warming. And those who warn against regulatory overreach. Relegated to economic and scientific journals, the serious rebuttals of Stern rarely get a mention.

Instead, the sceptics of the global warming orthodoxy are the deniers. But when The Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman recently wrote: “Let’s just say that global-warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers”, it unveiled the emotion and zealotry driving this debate. In fact, it’s not a debate at all. If it were, we might see a headline along the lines of “Experts sink Stern” because that is precisely what a group of eminent scientists and economists did late last year.

The Stern Review: A Dual Critique in the December edition of World Economics debunked Stern’s claim that “much of the debate over the attribution of climate change has now been settled”. It warned that Stern’s exaggerated predictions depend on a selective and biased treatment of scientific sources and evidence. Stern’s review is classic come-to-Jesus stuff for those searching for a utopian, post-carbon world. No cost-benefit analysis of global warming. No careful prodding of uncertain studies. Just end-of-the-world scenarios. And the saviour is Stern’s prescription of hiked-up carbon taxes.

Stern points to emissions driving global temperatures to dangerous levels. The critique of Stern points out that the rate of warming during the late 20th century was similar to an earlier natural warming period between 1905 and 1940, a period preceding industrial-driven greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the recent warming, according to these scientists, was of less magnitude than earlier millennial warmings during the medieval, Roman and Minoan warm periods. And a rapid rise in CO2 emissions for the two decades after 1940 was accompanied by a fall in temperature. That’s right: cooler temperatures.

In fact, scientists such as Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, and Bob Carter from James Cook University point to the real possibility of global cooling should the sun revert to the lazier position associated with the Little Ice Age. The Russian Academy of Science has issued similar warnings.

Stern predicts a global population of 15 billion by 2100. More people means more suffering. Yet, according to the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, there is only a 2.5 per cent probability that world population will exceed 14.4billion by 2100.

Fewer people means less suffering, but that doesn’t suit Stern’s exaggerated claims. Stern’s executive summary points to anywhere from 15 per cent to 50 per cent of species facing risks of extinction if temperatures rise by even 2C. The critique points out that higher CO2 emissions will boost plant growth, promoting biodiversity that may assist ecosystems, something Stern ignores. The scientists conclude that Stern’s assessment, based on studies that are “fraught with uncertainties”, presents a “worse-than-worst scenario, based on a naive and one-sided appeal to literature”.

Stern’s most glaring omission is the human ability to adapt to changes. Apparently climates change but humans do not. Stern’s black predictions of declining agricultural yields and global hunger - “250 million to 550 million additional people may be at risk” - are based on studies that ignore human ingenuity: people developing new technologies, planting new crops, choosing different animal breeds and so on. As the critique points out, estimating “the impacts of climate change decades from now is tantamount to estimating today’s level of hunger (and agricultural production) based on technology of 50 years ago”.

Technology has transformed the world because people adapt. Ignoring such a basic feature of human history and progress tells you much about the lack of rigour behind the evangelists who preach the global warming message.

But wait, there’s more. The critique reveals that Stern relies on information from groups that have an “explicit policy of refusing to allow external examination” of their data. They point to the Climatic Research Unit, whose data feeds into global temperature predictions used by Stern. Phil Jones from the CRU has said: “Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

The so-called consensus on global warming is a manufactured one built by those whose careers depend on acceptance of climate change fundamentalism. And the peer-review process means drawing peers from the same global warming orthodoxy milieu as the authors. But brace yourself for more preaching. Stern’s visit will be followed by Earth Hour, supported by the City of Sydney, the NSW Government and an array of businesses, when Sydneysiders will be asked to turn off their lights for one hour. Then a surge of electricity will be needed when the Save Our Selves from climate change 24-hour concert hits Sydney later this year. When we get more facts and less gimmicks, there will be a real debate on global warming. Until then, governments should tread carefully.



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 March, 2007


By Prof. Roy Spencer. Roy W. Spencer is principal research scientist at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center of the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Ala. He is also U.S. team leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA's Terra satellite

Reports on the global-warming debate have now become part of our daily diet of news. Actors, musicians, politicians, columnists and even the occasional climate scientist all weigh in on how soon planetary disaster will strike, who's to blame and what we should do about it. With claims that manmade warming is anywhere from an undeniable fact to a hoax, anyone can be excused for feeling a little bit confused.

The media is, almost by definition, most interested in extreme views on the issue, so reporting seldom reveals that broad scientific uncertainty still exists. In fact, a silent majority of scientists still think that global warming could end up falling anywhere between a real problem and a minor nuisance: They can see reasons for it going either way. Call them the global-warming moderates.

How can different scientists look at the same atmosphere and yet come to such a wide variety of conclusions? It all depends on their level of faith in our understanding of the atmosphere. We put equations into a computer that describe the basics of how we think the atmosphere works, and then we expect the computer to predict how much warming we will get when we turn up the greenhouse gas "knob." The Earth's natural "greenhouse effect" traps infrared (heat) radiation because of water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide and methane.

You have probably heard that the greenhouse effect keeps the Earth "habitably warm." So if burning of fossil fuels keeps adding more of a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2), the Earth should keep on warming up, right? Well . . . it's not that simple. CO2 concentrations - now running at 380 parts per million (ppm), up about 40 percent in the last century - are indeed one possible explanation for our current warmth. But we also know that our climate is a nonlinear, dynamic system - which can go through sizeable gyrations all by itself.

Contrary to popular accounts, very few scientists in the world - possibly none - have a sufficiently thorough, "big picture" understanding of the climate system to be relied upon for a prediction of the magnitude of global warming. To the public, we all might seem like experts, but the vast majority of us work on only a small portion of the problem.

Here, for example, is an insight that even many climate scientists are unaware of: The one atmospheric process that has the greatest control on the Earth's climate is the one we understand the least - precipitation. Over most of the planet, water is continuously evaporating, humidifying the air to form the Earth's dominant greenhouse gas: water vapor. Climate scientists will tell you that the extra CO2 we are putting in the atmosphere causes a "warming tendency" at the surface, which will evaporate even more water, which will amplify the warming. This positive water vapor feedback, so the theory goes, ends up turning the relative benign direct warming effect of CO2 - only 1 degree of warming late in this century - into a much more serious problem.

But surface evaporation is not what determines how much water vapor, on average, resides in the atmosphere - precipitation systems do. These not only control the water-vapor portion of the greenhouse effect, they directly or indirectly control most of the next most important greenhouse ingredient: clouds. These systems continuously recycle the Earth's air, and so exert strong controls over the entire climate system. For instance, the rising air in precipitation systems is what causes the sinking, cloudless air over desert areas. Vast oceanic areas of stratus clouds form below a temperature inversion that is also caused by air being forced to sink by precipitation systems, usually thousands of miles away.

So, what does all this have to do with global warming? Unless we know how the greenhouse-limiting properties of precipitation systems change with warming, we don't know how much of our current warmth is due to mankind, and we can't estimate how much future warming there will be, either. To solve the global-warming puzzle, we first need to learn much more about the precipitation-system puzzle.

What little evidence we now have suggests that precipitation systems act as a natural thermostat to reduce warming. For instance, warm, tropical systems are more efficient at converting water vapor to precipitation than their cool high-latitude cousins. Hurricanes are believed to be the most efficient of all. I believe that negative feedbacks such as this are the only way to explain the relative stability of our climate.

Computerized models of our climate have had a habit of "drifting" too warm or too cold. This because they still don't contain all of the temperature-stabilizing processes that exist in nature. In fact, for the amount of solar energy available to it, our climate seems to have a "preferred" average temperature, damping out swings beyond 1 degree or so. I believe that, through various negative feedback mechanisms, the atmosphere "decides" how much of the available sunlight will be allowed in, how much greenhouse effect it will generate in response, and what the average temperature will be.

Finally, remember that phrase, "the Earth's greenhouse effect keeps the Earth habitably warm?" I'll bet you never heard the phrase that is, quantitatively, more accurate: "Weather processes keep the Earth habitably cool." Were it not for weather, the natural greenhouse effect would cause the surface of the Earth to average 140 degrees. Wonder why we never hear that fact stated?

I believe that when the stabilizing effects of precipitation systems are better understood and included into the models, predictions of global warming will be scaled back. Despite current inadequacies, climate models are still our best tools for forecasting global warming. Those tools just aren't sharp enough yet.



Can biofuels save Europe, or the planet?

When all else fails, agree on biofuels. That has been the reassuring mantra of European Union energy policy, plagued by disagreements on unbundling over-mighty power firms, haggles over carbon trading and worries about dependence on Russian gas. But a forthcoming report from the EU's own environment agency argues that the beloved biofuels--ethanol, rapeseed biodiesel and the like--have big drawbacks.

Last week EU energy ministers endorsed a European Commission proposal that biofuels should make up a mandatory 10% of the EU's fuel consumption by 2020; the current voluntary target is 5.75% by 2012. European heads of government are likely to back that deal at a summit next month in Germany.

Despite this apparent enthusiasm, most EU members will struggle to meet even the existing target. Only Sweden and Germany fulfilled an earlier goal of 2% renewable-fuel use by 2005. The main problem is that biofuels are expensive. According to KBC Peel Hunt, a stockbroking firm in London, diesel made from rapeseed costs roughly EURO0.3 ($0.39) a litre more than the ordinary sort, despite benefiting from various agricultural subsidies. British biofuel firms are struggling to sell their output even with a tax rebate of 20p ($0.39) per litre. The government, naturally, is reluctant to erode its lucrative fuel-tax revenues by increasing the rebate.

Several countries are trying to pass on the cost of adopting biofuels to motorists. Germany, the most biofuelled nation in Europe, has replaced a tax break with a straightforward legal obligation for refiners to blend a certain proportion of biofuels into their wares. From next year, Britain will do the same, and fine firms 15p a litre if they do not meet the required level. But French firms, which are already subject to a similar policy, often find it cheaper to pay the fine than to bother with high-minded greenery.

Worse, biofuels can generate as much pollution as the fossil fuels they are replacing, depending on how they are made. If electricity from coal is used to convert wheat into ethanol, say, the benefits in terms of emissions of carbon dioxide are negligible. By the same token, if rapeseed is grown using lots of fertiliser made from natural gas, then the resulting biodiesel brings relatively little reduction in emissions or fuel imports.

Yet blenders and consumers have no means of distinguishing good biofuel from bad. Biofuels from poor but sunny countries, where crops yield much more energy and costs are lower, tend to be both cheaper and more environmentally friendly. But protectionist European farmers dislike them. The EU imposes a stiff tariff on Brazilian ethanol; its specifications for biodiesel favour expensive local rapeseed oil over cheap imported palm oil.

In any case, destructive farming practices in exporting countries sometimes do more damage to the environment than burning oil or gas. Last year a Dutch study found that draining Indonesian swamps to make way for oil-palm plantations resulted in 33 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions for each tonne of palm oil produced, by speeding up the decomposition of the peaty soil. Yet burning a tonne of palm oil instead of fossil fuel saves only three tonnes of emissions.

Faced with these findings, the Dutch government has apologised for promoting palm oil, and several Dutch firms have vowed to stop using it. Instead of trying to turn crops into fuel for transport, Europe would do better to burn them for power, says Peder Jensen, of the European Environment Agency. That would save the energy used in the conversion process. It would also generate more energy, since power plants are more efficient than car engines. On February 26th the agency will produce a report that underlines such arguments. But there is no guarantee that Europe's leaders will read it before their summit.



Germany produces some of the fastest and most luxurious cars in the world, but is that yesterday's game?

Earlier this month Germany's carmakers were hit by new emission limits proposed by the European Commission. There were howls of protest, not least from Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. So the proposed ceiling was raised a little, to 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre to be met by 2012. This still left the makers of many of the world's most prestigious cars with the most work: in the European Union only six German-made models meet the target, but 34 of those made by competitors do.

Moreover, of all the cars on sale in Germany which pump out more than 200g of CO2 per kilometre, most are German. This is not a happy state of affairs for a country that likes to lead the way on the environment. Nor does it bode well for Germany's biggest industry, which employs one in seven of the country's manufacturing workforce. Germany's carmakers should benefit from spreading their escalating costs of research and development across a greater volume of vehicles. But attempts to drive into mass markets have failed, with BMW's disastrous takeover of Britain's Rover Group and DaimlerChrysler's marriage now facing divorce.

For the time being, life still looks rosy. Volkswagen this week announced a 52% increase in operating profits for 2006. Mercedes, the car division of DaimlerChrysler, has bounced back from a couple of bad years. Sales of Porsches and BMWs seem almost insensitive to the price of petrol. The German stockmarket barely flinched at the new CO2 standards. Yet Germany's carmakers are less well-placed for the future than are other European producers, let alone the Japanese. German cars may well continue to dominate the performance parts of the luxury market-after all they are crammed with state-of-the-art technology. But buyers' tastes are changing and they have increasing qualms about the environment. This shift in the market is what has hit Chrysler's sales in America, because it is highly dependent on fuel-thirsty sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-up trucks.



Greece is veering dangerously away from targets for greenhouse gas emissions and urgently needs to take corrective measures, European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas warned the Greek Parliament's European Affairs and Environment Committees on Friday. "Carbon dioxide emissions, based on the Kyoto Protocol and Community levels, should increase by just 25% in Greece [relative to levels in 1990]. We are at 26% and if we do not take immediate and strict measures we will reach 40%," the Greek Commissioner told MPs. Stressing his grave concern about the direct and indirect repercussions of global warming and climate change, Dimas said that an international agreement for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions "was the first and urgent priority"....


Australia: Greenhouse sceptics to congregate

Hard-core global warming sceptics will descend on Canberra today for the release of a book claiming environmentalism is the new religion. Former mining executive Arvi Parbo will launch Ray Evans' new publication, Nine Facts About Climate Change, at a function at Parliament House. The book claims climate change is nothing new and declares Howard Government investments in solar power and in cleaning up coal a "complete waste of taxpayers' money".

"Environmentalism has largely superseded Christianity as the religion of the upper classes in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States," Mr Evans says in the publication. "It is a form of religious belief which fosters a sense of moral superiority in the believer, but which places no importance on telling the truth," he says. "The global warming scam has been, arguably, the most extraordinary example of scientific fraud in the postwar period."

The function is organised by the Lavoisier Group, founded in 2000 by Ray Evans and former mining executive Hugh Morgan to test claims that global warming is the result of human activity. Mr Evans is a longstanding friend and colleague of Mr Morgan and a committed activist on issues such as workplace reform through the HR Nicholls Society, which he founded with federal Treasurer Peter Costello.

Former Labor minister Peter Walsh also will attend today's function, and the group will hold a dinner to be addressed by climate-change sceptic Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor in the School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science at Auckland University. Liberal MP Dennis Jensen has organised the function on behalf of the Lavoisier Group and expects about 50 people to attend the dinner. Dr Jensen, a nuclear physicist, has said he is not convinced that human activity is responsible for global warming.

In an interview with The Age last month, Mr Evans acknowledged that last September's visit by former US vice-president Al Gore to promote his Oscar-winning global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth had helped generate a lot of publicity on climate change. But he described Mr Gore's film as "bullshit from beginning to end". [Some good Australian bluntness] "The science from the anthropology point of view has collapsed. The carbon-dioxide link is increasingly recognised as irrelevant," Mr Evans said. "But the Government's frightened. "Cabinet, from what I understand, is by and large still sceptical of climate change, but it is scared of the drought and worried about how Labor will make use of 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.