Warmist crooks above: Keith "One tree" Briffa; Michael "Bristlecone" Mann; James "data distorter" Hansen; Phil "data destroyer" Jones -- Leading members in the cabal of climate quacks

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

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

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30 November, 2010

Sir John Beddington Finally Sees The Light

The [British] government’s chief scientist has dismissed hopes for a deal at this week’s United Nations climate change conference — and said Britain should start preparing for a warmer world.

Speaking before talks begin in Cancun, Mexico, Sir John Beddington told The Sunday Times: “There is very little chance of reaching a comprehensive agreement in Cancun, and it is not certain if we will get one at next year’s talks in South Africa.”

His stark prediction comes as the United Nations attempts to repair the damage caused by the near-collapse of similar negotiations in Copenhagen last year.

Beddington said it was “very unwise” to think that the UN would achieve its target of limiting global temperature rises to a maximum of 2C.

Britain, he suggested, should press for progress in the talks but should also make preparations for a world that could warm rapidly during the rest of the century.

“If we are in a situation where, over the next 10 years, those decisions are not taken then we have to think about what to do. That means we have to focus on adaptation to climate change. It would be very unwise to think that the 2C goal will happen.”

Britain has one of the best records of any country in addressing climate change, including cutting emissions and passing laws to ensure the decline continues. Beddington warned, however, that Britain and Europe could not continue to take such action alone without putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

More here

At Long Last: The Economist Adapts To Political Reality

See below:

Adapting to climate change: Facing the consequences - Global action is not going to stop climate change. The world needs to look harder at how to live with it.

ON NOVEMBER 29th representatives of countries from around the world will gather in Cancún, Mexico, for the first high-level climate talks since those in Copenhagen last December. The organisers hope the meeting in Mexico, unlike the one in Denmark, will be unshowy but solid, leading to decisions about finance, forestry and technology transfer that will leave the world better placed to do something about global warming. Incremental progress is possible, but continued deadlock is likelier. What is out of reach, as at Copenhagen, is agreement on a plausible programme for keeping climate change in check.

The world warmed by about 0.7°C in the 20th century. Every year in this century has been warmer than all but one in the last (1998, since you ask). If carbon-dioxide levels were magically to stabilise where they are now (almost 390 parts per million, 40% more than before the industrial revolution) the world would probably warm by a further half a degree or so as the ocean, which is slow to change its temperature, caught up. But CO2 levels continue to rise. Despite 20 years of climate negotiation, the world is still on an emissions trajectory that fits pretty easily into the “business as usual” scenarios drawn up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Copenhagen accord, a non-binding document which was the best that could be salvaged from the summit, talks of trying to keep the world less than 2°C warmer than in pre-industrial times—a level that is rather arbitrarily seen as the threshold for danger. Many countries have, in signing the accord, promised actions that will or should reduce carbon emissions. In the World Energy Outlook, recently published by the International Energy Agency, an assessment of these promises forms the basis of a “new policies scenario” for the next 25 years (see chart 1). According to the IEA, the scenario puts the world on course to warm by 3.5°C by 2100. For comparison, the difference in global mean temperature between the pre-industrial age and the ice ages was about 6°C.

The IEA also looked at what it might take to hit a two-degree target; the answer, says the agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, is “too good to be believed”. Every signatory of the Copenhagen accord would have to hit the top of its range of commitments. That would provide a worldwide rate of decarbonisation (reduction in carbon emitted per unit of GDP) twice as large in the decade to come as in the one just past: 2.8% a year, not 1.4%. Mr Birol notes that the highest annual rate on record is 2.5%, in the wake of the first oil shock.

But for the two-degree scenario 2.8% is just the beginning; from 2020 to 2035 the rate of decarbonisation needs to double again, to 5.5%. Though they are unwilling to say it in public, the sheer improbability of such success has led many climate scientists, campaigners and policymakers to conclude that, in the words of Bob Watson, once the head of the IPCC and now the chief scientist at Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, “Two degrees is a wishful dream.”

The fight to limit global warming to easily tolerated levels is thus over. Analysts who have long worked on adaptation to climate change—finding ways to live with scarcer water, higher peak temperatures, higher sea levels and weather patterns at odds with those under which today’s settled patterns of farming developed—are starting to see their day in the uncomfortably hot sun. That such measures cannot protect everyone from all harm that climate change may bring does not mean that they should be ignored. On the contrary, they are sorely needed.


There Are Black Days Ahead For The Carbon Industry

It might seem mildly entertaining that the media's warmist groupies, led by the BBC, have been so eager to report the latest claims of James Hansen and Phil Jones – of Climategate fame – that 2010 is the hottest year in history, while inches of "global warming" cover Britain with its most extensive November snowfall in 17 years, heralding what promises to be our fourth unusually cold winter in a row. The explanation for the recent renewed spate of warmist scare stories lies, of course, in the fact that several thousand politicians, officials and lobbyists from all over the world are today arriving in the Mexican holiday resort of Cancun, where they hope to salvage a binding UN treaty from the wreckage of last December's fiasco in Copenhagen.

None of the lobbying has been more telling than a statement issued by 259 investment organisations, controlling "collective assets totalling over $15 trillion" – including major banks, insurance companies and pension funds. These are the bodies calling most stridently for "government action on climate change", because they are the ones who hope to make vast sums of money out of it. They are desperate for a treaty of the type they failed to get at Copenhagen – even more so since the collapse of the US cap and trade bill – because they see their chance of turning global warming into the most lucrative fruit machine in history dwindling by the month.

Top of their wish list is "a rapid time-frame" for implementing the UN's REDD scheme, which would enable them to make hundreds of billions of dollars by selling the CO2 locked up in the world's tropical rainforests as "carbon offsets", thus allowing firms from the developed world to continue emitting CO2. Under this scheme, for instance, environmental bodies including the WWF hope to share in the $60 billion which they estimate as the "carbon value" of the Brazilian rainforest.

But nothing better betrays their gloom about any result from Cancun than that they at least want it to give "a clear mandate" for the adoption of "a legally binding agreement" at the UN's next conference, due in South Africa next year. This year, next year, sometime… With so much money at stake, they won't give up. But as the climate scare dies, the sound of whistling in the dark grows ever louder.


Can Environmentalism Be Saved From Itself?

Mercifully, nobody will pay attention to the climate conference at Cancun next week, where a much-reduced group of delegates will go through the motions. The delusional dream of global action to combat climate change is dead. Maybe it was just a bad dream.

Just a year ago, 15,000 of the world’s leaders, diplomats, and UN officials were gearing up to descend on Copenhagen to forge a global treaty that would save the planet. The world’s media delivered massive coverage. Important newspapers printed urgent front-page calls for action, and a popular new U.S. President waded in to put his reputation on the line. The climate talks opened with a video showing a little girl’s nightmare encounter with drought, storms, eruptions, floods and other man-made climate disasters. “Please help the world,” she pleads.

After two weeks of chaos, the talks collapsed in a smouldering heap of wreckage. The only surprise was that this outcome should have come as a surprise to so many intelligent people. These people actually seemed to believe that experts and politicians have supernatural powers to predict the future and control the climate. They believed that experts know how fast temperatures will rise by when, and what the consequences will be, and that we know what to do about it. They believed that despite the recent abject failure of Kyoto (to say nothing of other well-intentioned international treaties), the nations of the world would willingly join hands and sacrifice their sovereignty in order to sign on to a vast scheme of unimaginable scope, untold cost and certain damage to their own interests.

Copenhagen was not a political breakdown. It was an intellectual breakdown so astonishing that future generations will marvel at our blind credulity. Copenhagen was a classic case of the emperor with no clothes.

Mercifully, nobody will pay attention to the climate conference at Cancun next week, where a much-reduced group of delegates will go through the motions. The delusional dream of global action to combat climate change is dead. Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme is dead. Chicago’s carbon-trading market is dead. The European Union’s supposed reduction in carbon emissions has been exposed as a giant fraud. (The EU is actually responsible for 40 per cent more CO2 today than it was in 1990, if you count the goods and services it consumed as opposed to the ones that it produced.) Public interest in climate change has plunged, and the media have radically reduced their climate coverage.

The biggest loser is the environmental movement. For years, its activists neglected almost everything but climate change. They behaved as if they’d cornered the market on wisdom, truth and certainty, and they demonized anyone who dared to disagree. They got a fabulous free ride from politicians and the media, who parroted their claims like Sunday-school children reciting Scripture. No interest group in modern times has been so free from skepticism, scrutiny or simple accountability as the environmental establishment.

Perhaps some good will emerge from the wreckage. (Humility, for example.) Now that global warming has stopped sucking all the oxygen out of the room, some of those who care about the planet will turn to other – and more pressing – problems. There are plenty. Humans are encroaching everywhere on habitats and species. Don’t worry about the polar bears, which have survived hundreds of thousands of years of melting and freezing ice. Worry instead about the lions and tigers, which face extinction within our lifetime. Their problem isn’t climate change. It’s us.

A century ago, there were more than 100,000 wild tigers in Asia. Today there are just 3,200. Civilization is squeezing them, and poachers hunt them for their skin and body parts. This week, the unlikely team of Vladimir Putin and Leonardo DiCaprio headlined a 13-country tiger summit in St. Petersburg that is tackling the challenge of making live tigers worth as much as dead ones.

Then there are the lions. They’re not as scarce as tigers – yet – but their habitats are ideal for ranching, and they face increasing pressure from population growth. Or how about the bluefin tuna? This one is close to home – we catch them and sell them to Japan – and Canada is on the wrong side of the issue. If the World Wildlife Fund could whip up as much alarm over the bluefin tuna as it tried to whip up over fictitious drowning polar bears, I might even be persuaded to send them money again.

Before they were sucked into the giant vortex of global warming, environmentalists did useful things. They protested against massive Third World dams that would ruin both natural and human habitats. They warned about invasive species and diseases that could tear through our forests and wreck our water systems. They fought for national parks and greenbelts and protected areas. They talked about the big things too – such as how the world could feed another three billion people without destroying all the rain forests and running out of water. They believed in conservation – conserving this beautiful planet of ours from the worst of human despoliation – rather than false claims to scientific certainty about the future, unenforceable treaties and radical utopian social reform.

“How high a price must the world pay for green folly?” asked the thinker Walter Russell Mead. “How many years will be lost, how much credibility forfeited, how much money wasted before we have an environmental movement that has the intellectual rigour, political wisdom and mature, sober judgment needed to address the great issues we face?”

The answer is too high, too many and too much. Please grow up, people. You have important work to do.


Climate Change Is Still About Chinese Coal

The climate change conference starting in Cancun Monday is doomed to failure. Many factors contribute to this, such as a healthy skepticism about how much should be spent to remediate climate change, but one alone guarantees failure: Chinese coal production and policy.

When climate change soared up the American agenda with the election of President Obama, those not swept up in blind optimism were doubtful China could be convinced to go along. The debacle of the Copenhagen summit last year finally brought the administration and its supporters back to reality.

Prior to Copenhagen, it was already clear that Chinese coal was an insuperable obstacle to an international agreement on greenhouse gases. The past year has made the situation that much starker.

In 2000, the official figure for Chinese coal production was 880 million tons. In less than a decade, it more than tripled to 2.96 billion tons for 2009. In the first quarter of this year, coal production jumped another 28 percent. China, which was a net exporter of coal as recently as 2008, was the world’s largest importer of coal in the first three quarters of this year and far more in the way of imports are on the way.

China is spending a good deal of money on “green energy” and it is constantly praised for doing so. The praise is somewhat strange: the supposed switch from “black” to “green” has done nothing at all to stop coal: production growth was faster in 2008 than 2007, despite the financial crisis, and steady in 2009 before accelerating early this year. It very well may be that the PRC now accounts for half the world’s coal use.

This is the other facet of Chinese coal policy and is just as disturbing. “It may very well be” that China accounts for half the world’s coal use because there is no longer an easy way to know. China stopped publishing coal production figures in March, possibly because it was about to cross the threshold of half of global consumption and certainly because the coal figures are embarrassing on a number of dimensions.

The PRC has been at odds with the U.S. and other countries about monitoring and enforcement of any international environmental treaty. But how could anyone trust China to monitor itself when it is no longer even willing to provide the most basic and critical piece of information?

The answer is that no sane person could. Cancun will be as useless as Copenhagen was, and for the same principal reason: Chinese coal. This time, however, no one will be surprised.


The Wet Office! Snow and record low November temperatures follow 'mild winter prediction'

Britain is shivering in record-breaking cold weather for November despite data from the Met Office that we could be in for an unusually dry and mild winter.

Parts of the country saw the coldest November night for 25 years over the weekend as forecasters warned the big freeze is likely to continue for at least another week.

However, the Met Office indicated last month that it was probable this winter would be less harsh than the last for London, eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Data generated by its new £33 million supercomputer suggested average temperatures could be about 3.4F (2C) higher than last winter when heavy snow and ice paralysed Britain.

The Met Office has insisted that the data was not a forecast but rather one component of the information it provides to researchers, and should not be considered in isolation.

A Met Office spokeswoman said: "We have made it clear that this information was merely a part of the data that goes into long range forecasting.

"It's not a forecast in itself, just one element that we provide to the research community.....



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29 November, 2010

The Naomi Oreskes witchhunt comes to Australia

Jo Nova comments below on the professional slanderer and her Australian apostle, Nick Stekete, writing in The Australian. In good Warmist form, Stekete mentions not one scientific fact in support of Warmism. The way Warmists worship authority is positively North Korean

Some people just can’t think. Naomi Oreskes “reasons” by Remarkable Parallels, which is as bogus a way of thinking as any tea-leaf-incantation that we thought we left behind in the caves.

She thinks that because she can find parallels between Tobacco and Climate Skeptics, therefore skeptics are wrong about climate sensitivity due to a trace gas. Go figure why anyone struggles to analyze ice cores when they could have just done a Google search?

I can find remarkable parallels between Lysenko and modern climate science, but I don’t bother writing a book on it. If I want answers about the climate I look at the data from the planet, not data about personalities.

Mike Steketee (Some sceptics make it a habit to be wrong) has learnt a new way to throw names from Oreskes. Nick Minchin (recently retired Senator from the conservative opposition) is just the latest target of this effusion of confusion. Now anyone who raises points against a policy can be called a “doubt-monger” and the Orwellian destruction of our language advances one more notch.

Naomi Oreskes IS the Merchant of Doubt

Ponder the irony of what Oreskes herself is doing. Is she not profiteering from being a doubt-monger about scientist’s reputations? Is she not a conspiracy theorist about webs of vested interests among conservative speakers? Could it be that her entire reasoning dies by its own sword and her claims turn out to be as hypocritical as they are mindless?

Is there any possibility that governments can become too big, too powerful? Not according to Oreskes. Now anyone who even questions the growth of government power can be spat into the box called “conspiracy theorist” or “ideologue”. The mindless vacuity of Oreskes’ reasoning sucks sensible discussion into the black hole of tribal name-calling. Mike Steketee applauds from the sidelines.

Redefining “extreme”

Can governments become too large? Just ask one of the hundred million victims of states where state-power crushed individual rights to speak. Except you won’t get many answers because those victims not only lost their right to speak, they lost their right to breathe. (Think Soviet Russia, Communist China, Communist Cambodia, Nazi Germany,…)

Nothing made by man has killed more people than overbearing government. Yet now, anyone who even questions the creeping growth of government power is dismissed as an “extremist”. There is no balance allowed in this debate.

Attacking reputations to silence a scientific debate

Ad hominem attacks are always a fallacy in science. Fred Singer and Frederick Seitz held esteemed positions for decades of public service, and yet because they were ever involved with anything to do with a program or study that had the words “tobacco” in it (even if it was just a statistical test on the dangers of passive smoke), their views on global warming are therefore wrong. Thus is the great catastrophe “proved” by Oreskes and her ilk.

Nick Minchin has, of course, committed the unforgiveable sin of declaring that smokers have the right to do what they want, and not to be bossed around by the overbearing domineers who want to meddle with other people’s lives. Thus, he’s uttered the word “tobacco” and didn’t chant the right line, comrade!

What Orsekes and Steketee have discovered is merely that people who don’t want to be sock puppet citizens have principles. They don’t want to foist their own non-smoking habit on anyone else, just as they don’t want to foist an unnecessary carbon scheme on the masses. Some people are not gullible.

Why does The Australian think this transparent failure of reasoning is worth publishing in the first place? Every other newspaper in the country has soaked up the smear campaign as if it was science, but we hope The Australian might be the last hold out bastion of reason, where people don’t self-satirize themselves, and journalists don’t mistake a kindergarten name-calling program for an unbiased historical analysis.

The Questions no one can answer

Oreskes is selling doubt mongering, and the skeptics like Nick Minchin are merely asking questions no one in the western climate establishment can answer. Questions like this:

Where are the global records of raw temperature data used to calculate the global warming graphs? No one can find them.

Where are the latest global results from the ARGO oceanic temperature network, and why aren’t they published monthly on a public website?

Where is the empirical evidence for warming greater than 1.2 degrees? No one can name and explain a single paper that shows long term positive feedback that amplifies the warming, as the climate alarmists assert.

Because those who want to alarm us and control us have not got scientific evidence, they resort to the smear campaign to try to diminish the influence of the great independent minds who seek answers we ought to have.

Mankind faces the “greatest threat ever known” — supposedly. So why are the raw data, adjustments, and methods used to study this threat so difficult to find?


Wacky Leftist doctors ignore the obvious

Cold is far more dangerous to health than warmth. There is a lot more illness and death in winter than in summer. And they of all people should know that. They should be CHEERING a warmer climate. Though I suppose that cold weather IS good for business

And while it is true that replacing cow-dung fires in India with electric cookers would be a big health improvement, Greenies do their utmost to PREVENT poor countries generating more electricity -- with bans on lending for dam building and demonstrations against power station construction

It looks like the right hand of the Green/Left doesn't know what the left hand is doing

A network of the world’s leading medical academies on Friday urged nations to adopt policies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants because it would have a salutary effect not just on the planet but on human health.

The InterAcademy Medical Panel said in a report that while addressing climate change by moving to a low-carbon economy might be technically and economically difficult, it will pay substantial dividends in health improvements, particularly in poorer regions of the globe.

It said that global climate change poses large risks to human health through increased spread of disease, large-scale displacement of people, malnutrition, fast-spreading infections, pulmonary disorders and increased heat stress. The effects are expected to be greatest in the areas of the world that have contributed the least to carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and are most vulnerable to sea-level rise, malnutrition and crop destruction.

The panel said that while mitigating climate change would be costly, some of those expenses might be offset by lower spending on health care. As an example, the report said that replacing inefficient cookstoves or open fires for cooking and heating would substantially reduce emissions of soot and other health-damaging pollutants. Introducing 150 million low-emission cookstoves in India would prevent as many as two million premature deaths from lung disease and infections in women and children.

The report said that switching to mass transit, bicycles or walking in major cities would reduce pollution and improve cardiovascular health. It also suggested that reducing meat consumption would improve human diets and cut down on climate-altering methane emissions from cattle.

The report, signed by health academies from 40 countries, including the United States, was timed to ignite discussion as negotiators gather in Cancún, Mexico, for the annual United Nations climate change conference.


UK shivers in record low temperatures

Obviously caused by global warming. EVERYTHING is caused by global warming

PARTS of Britain have experienced record low temperatures, including minus 17 Celsius in Wales, forecasters say, amid warnings of more heavy snow to come. "You are seeing some ridiculously low temperatures - it has been a bit like it is in the middle of Scandinavia," weather forecaster Michael Dukes said.

The temperature in Llysdinam near Llandrindod Wells in Wales plunged to minus 17.3C at the weekend - the principality's lowest ever temperature for November and Britain's coldest for the month since 1985.

The Met Office, Britain's national forecaster, issued severe weather warnings yesterday for large chunks of eastern and southern Scotland and eastern England, warning of heavy snowfalls.

Ireland also experienced heavy snow and Dublin airport was disrupted, with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan among those delayed as the weather made him late for crucial EU talks in Brussels on an international bailout for his country.

Drivers have been urged to be careful in badly-hit areas, and roadside emergency firms in Britain reported a huge surge in calls for help.

The weather has also disrupted several sporting events - Dundee United's match against Rangers in Scotland's Premier League was abandoned and several FA Cup second round fixtures were postponed.

Parts of Scotland and north-east England have already seen well over 30cm of snow since the start of the cold snap last week, and forecasters say the flurries could reach London in the coming days.


New wisdom from the British Met office: Pollution is good and the sun DOES affect global temperature

The latest figures from more than 20 scientific institutions around the world show that global temperatures are higher than ever.

However the gradual rise in temperatures over the last 30 years is slowing slightly. Global warming since the 1970s has been 0.16C (0.3F) but the rise in the last decade was just 0.05C (0.09F), according to the Met Office. Sceptics claim this as evidence man made global warming is a myth.

But in a new report the Met Office said the reduced rate of warming can be easily explained by a number of factors. And indeed the true rate of warming caused by man made greenhouse gases could be greater than ever.

One of the major factors is pollution over Asia, where the huge growth in coal-fired power stations mean aerosols like sulphur are being pumped into the air. This reflects sunlight, cooling the land surface temperature.

Dr Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice, said pollution may be causing a cooling effect. “A possible increase in aerosol emissions from Asia in the last decade may have contributed to substantially to the recent slowdown,” she said. “Aerosols cool the climate by reflecting the sunlight.”

Another factor that has reduced the rate of warming is a prolonged minimum in the solar cycle, meaning the Earth is receiving slightly less heat from the sun.

Also short term weather patterns such as the tropical storms El Nino and La Nina.

Dr Pope pointed out that the global temperature is still rising and 2010 is set to be the second warmest year on record, according to the Met Office. Other groups, including Nasa, think it will be the hottest year on record at about 0.5C above the 1961-1990 average of 14C. [More false prophecies. But they know that the media will cover for them when it does not come true]

Dr Pope warned that the world should not be lulled into a false sense of security because the warming trend has recently slowed down. In Britain especially, people have been persuaded that global warming is slowing down because of a run of cold winters, including blizzards this weekend. But this is just a short term trend.

In the long term the whole world, including Britain, is warming, according to Dr Pope. “In the grip of a cold spell people find it difficult to understand global warming. But if you look at the long term trends we are in fact experiencing fewer freezing winters and more heatwaves,” she said.

At the moment global temperature rise is 0.8C (1.4F)above pre-industrial levels. [Wow! A fraction of one degree. That's a BIG rise over a couple of hundred years! I'm shaking in my boots!]

More here

Germany shows the way in "Green" folly

It always has. Nature worship goes back a long way in Germany. Even Hitler co-opted it

In Germany, where the government tries to plan pretty much everything, 470,000 people used to work in the Ruhr Valley’s filthy coal mines. That was in 1957, when the country began shoveling billions into an industry it pretty well knew was doomed because (a) its workers regularly command very high salaries, making the product unaffordable and (b) coal mining is practically a guarantor of early death.

A half century later, most of those 140 mines were shut down, and only 34,000 were still working amidst the coal dust. Within four to eight years there will likely be none.

These days unemployment in the area is at 13 percent, although there are cities, most notably in neighborhoods where former Turkish “guest-workers” reside, where it is as high as 25 percent.

CIVIL TOLERANCE! COURAGE! DEMOCRACY! plead large posters slapped onto city walls.

But exhortations from on high aren’t the only means of calming a populace. The Ruhr is trying to go green — forest green: mines have been transformed into mining museums, complete with photographs depicting how awful the mining profession used to be. A beer factory (once owned by mine tycoons to keep workers in a permanent state of stupefication) has been turned into a museum costing $40 million. Wind parks are erected on coal dumps, as are solar panels, and large pieces of modern art.

And how does all this translate into jobs? It just doesn’t. It can’t. It never will. The newest technologies deployed by RWE, a northern German utility company that is designing the charging infrastructure for electric cars manufactured by, among others, Peugeot and Tesla, provide employment for … just 50 people.

And in the US, where, according to Tuesday’s Washington Post, the Obama administration has dropped $90 billion of the economic stimulus package into clean energy technology and training: the same results. The jobs are few — even in Florida, a state where you might think solar energy would have a fairly predictable and easygoing future. The government, any government really, can only do so much with Western economies in their current state: as wild-eyed and skittish as horses fleeing a burning barn.

So right now the United States might as well be the Ruhr Valley, sacrificing one generation, or perhaps two, for the benefit of some vague and indefinite future. Except for one thing: In the Ruhr, all those middle-aged unemployed miners receive a fairly substantial non-working salary until they reach age 60, at which point social security kicks in. In other words, their lives are over, but their existence is cosseted. One can just imagine the results.

I don’t know what to make of Germany’s peculiar resolution to the insoluble. Paying workers not to work is as corrupt as that US specialty, paying farmers not to farm. But I do know that what the US is doing for most of its unemployed right now — i.e., nothing at all — is more indefensible still.


Latest Warmist gabfest unlikely to achieve anything

It's just a way for Warmists to enjoy a vacation in 5 star luxury. That's why they have so many of these conferences -- at least 2 a year -- while achieving nothing

Today, U.N. negotiators will begin two weeks of meetings in Cancun, Mexico, looking for a way to move the climate action agenda forward, impose global carbon emissions caps and compel countries to pay a series of new international taxes to underwrite environmental programs. Maybe they'll get what they want when hell freezes over.

The mood of climate alarmists going into Cancun is decidedly downbeat. The sense of impending doom they had cultivated over the last decade or so has largely evaporated. The Climategate scandal took a severe toll on the credibility of some of the climate theology's leading high priests, and subsequent investigations into some of the more outlandish claims on which their doomsaying was based found them to be either exaggerated or fabricated. The November demise of the Chicago Climate Exchange - which sought to transfer billions of dollars to political insiders trading in government-rigged carbon markets - signaled that there was no money in the game anymore. Last week, even Al Gore admitted his fallibility when he retracted his earlier support for ethanol fuels. The god bleeds.

Last year's Copenhagen confab was intended to seal a comprehensive global climate deal but turned into an exercise in humiliation. The imagined 2009 treaty - originally billed as "the single most important piece of paper in the world today" - would have instituted global governance of carbon emissions enforced by an international body with the power to levy taxes to force countries to impose its will. But the final, hastily written three-page agreement contained none of those controversial proposals and was simply a nonbinding statement regarding voluntary emissions caps. The most significant event at last year's summit was when the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa unceremoniously snubbed President Obama, who was reduced to barging his way into their meeting uninvited. It was a low moment for the president personally, and a poor showing for what is under most circumstances the strongest country in the world.

The principal goal of this year's meeting seems to be to hang on to the meager gains made in 2009 and to discuss what to do about the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire at the end of 2012. The green utopians are up against more immediate problems than their imagined impending climate catastrophe. The debt crisis in Europe will blunt the enthusiasm of countries in the Eurozone to underwrite expensive new international initiatives. China, India, Brazil and South Africa, among others, will be even less willing to agree to cut back growth than they were when they scuttled the Copenhagen deal. The United States delegation will have to accept the fact that whatever schemes they would like to agree to, any treaty language would have to meet the approval of the incoming more conservative Senate, a highly unlikely proposition. Cancun will be dead on arrival.

One benefit of meeting in Mexico is that the conference will avoid the embarrassment last year when the Copenhagen meeting ended in an unexpected blizzard. It's harder to sell global warming to world leaders who have to flee the city before their flights are grounded by an ice storm. The worst the Cancun conferees will have to deal with is the threat of being kidnapped by heavily armed gangs of drug dealers.



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


28 November, 2010

British Met office still asserting that hot weather proves man-made global warming

It's an assertion offered without any proof -- because there is no proof. And with breathtaking intellectual dishonesty they always say that cold weather does not prove global cooling. If weather is evidence in one case why is it not evidence in both cases? Don't expect science from the British Met office. The Pope at the Met office (Dr Vicky Pope) is clearly a religious leader too.

And the amusing thing is that with the recent savage onset of a very cold winter in England and elsewhere, 2010 is clearly NOT going to be unusually warm overall anyway

The latest temperature statistics are a sign of man-made global warming, the Met Office says. This year is heading to be the hottest or second hottest on record, according to the Met Office. It says the past 12 months are the warmest recorded by Nasa, and are second in the UK data set, HadCRUT3.

The Met Office says it is very confident that man-made global warming is forcing up temperatures.

Until now, the hottest year on record has been 1998, when temperatures were pushed up by a strong El Nino - a warming event in the Pacific. This year saw a weaker El Nino, and that fizzled out to be replaced by a La Nina cooling event.

So scientists might have expected this year's temperatures to be substantially lower than 1998 - but they are not. Within the bounds of statistical error, the two years are likely to be the same. "It's a sign that we've got man-made global warming," said Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate science advice at the Met Office.

Climate sceptics say that until now, warming has plateaued over the last decade. The Met Office agrees that the rate of warming has slowed - but it maintains that is due to natural variability, not because man-made warming has stopped.

They think factors in the slower warming may have been - a natural downturn in solar radiation; a small reduction in water vapour in the stratosphere; a possible increase in aerosol emissions from Asia; and the fact that strong warming in the Arctic is poorly represented in the way data is collected.

There is a question over how many times the Met Office has forecast a record previously. Dr Pope said they had not done so from her recollection. But a Met Office press release shows a forecast that 2007 would probably beat 1998. And a BBC report implies that they made the same prediction for the other El Nino year of 2003. Sceptics say this could prove the third time they have been wrong.

Professor John Christy, a climate sceptic from the University of Alabama in Hunstville, said global temperature had plunged in the past two weeks, so 2010 was likely to remain in second place.

He challenged the Met Office conviction that greenhouse gases were to blame for the warmth. "The cause of the warmth is speculation. There are numerous feedbacks at work (many of which are poorly modelled if at all), and it seems to me unimaginative to conclude that greenhouse gases are the dominant cause," he said.

"There is no proof of such a cause in classical scientific sense - so we end up with a lot of opinions on the matter. Evidence is strong that centuries in the past 10,000 years were warmer than today without influences from human-related greenhouse gases."


The latest insight from "New Scientist": Melting Antarctic ice will cause the sea level to FALL

The latest wriggle-out from the pesky state of the sea levels? The theories change but they always lead to the same foreordained conclusion: Man-made global warming is happening!

The vast ice sheets of the Antarctic may be more stable than we thought, because a key piece of physics has been overlooked.

Glaciologists have long worried that the West Antarctic ice sheet will collapse over the next few centuries, raising sea levels dramatically. At present the ice sheet is grounded on underwater islands, which insulate some of the ice from the melting effect of the seawater upon which the rest of the sheet floats. But because the ice has started to melt because of climate change, more water is probably flowing underneath the sheet over the surface of the islands, accelerating its destruction.

The ice sheet has a defence mechanism, however. As it melts, sea levels around it will fall, say Natalya Gomez and Jerry Mitrovica of Harvard University and colleagues. That is counterintuitive, because the ice sheet will release extra water into the sea – but because the mass of ice has shrunk, its gravitational pull on the seawater will be weaker. Also, the bedrock will rise up as the weight of ice on it drops.

"You get a fall in sea level within 2000 kilometres of the ice sheet," Mitrovica says. This means there will be less water sloshing around the sheet's base, so it will last longer. "It will slow down the retreat," says Gomez.

The findings need to be included in the models used to predict ice sheet melting, says David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. But he says the gravitational effect would only make a big difference if the entire sheet were melting at once – which so far it isn't.


Statisticians debunk the proxies behind the "hockey stick"

The divergence of tree ring "proxies" from the thermometer readings in the second half of the 20th century would be enough evidence for me that the alleged proxies are NOT in fact proxies for temperature but the authors below have gone much further than that -- JR

Major doubts have been raised about the reliability of the historical temperature record by two US statisticians in a paper that has yet to be published but has already provoked a strong response from leading US climate scientists.

The paper re-opens the controversy over the so-called hockey stick graph, made famous by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth”, and may re-energise climate change sceptics in the wake of “climategate” and on the eve of the United Nations Cancun climate conference.

The hockey-stick graph, constructed mainly from tree ring “proxy” data by US climate scientist Michael Mann, shows historic temperatures remaining fairly steady and then rising sharply since the industrial revolution. But statisticians Blakeley McShane of Northwestern University in the US and Abraham Wyner of the University of Pennsylvania in the US write in a new paper that “we conclude unequivocally that the evidence for a ”long-handled” hockey stick (where the shaft of the hockey stick extends to the year 1000 AD) is lacking in the data”.

Temperature records reconstructed from tree rings, ice cores and other so called proxies that give indications of ancient temperatures “do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature”, McShane and Wyner state in their paper which has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Applied Statistics.

The two statisticians conclude that climate scientists “have greatly underestimated the uncertainty of proxy based reconstructions and hence have been overconfident in their models”. They comment that the long flat handle of the hockey stick is best understood to be a feature of the data processing and “less a reflection of our knowledge of the truth”.

“The fundamental problem is that there is a limited amount of proxy data which dates back to 1000 AD; what is available is weakly predictive of global annual temperature,” McShane and Wyner comment in their paper which is called “A Statistical Analysis Of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions Of Surface Temperatures Over The Last 1000 Years Reliable?".

The paper is due to be published early in 2011 but has already met a robust response from climate scientists including hockey stick graph creator Michael Mann, from Pennsylvania State University in the US, and Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Schmidt and Mann have, with Scott Rutherford of Roger Williams University in the US, written a comment paper, accepted for publication by the same journal, in which they contest the methods used by McShane and Wyner. In it Schmidt and colleagues say “the absence of both proper data quality control and appropriate “pseudoproxy” tests” by McShane and Wyner “to assess the performance of their methods invalidate their main conclusions.”

The McShane and Wyner paper is being published as a “discussion paper” and the editor of Annals of Applied Statistics has invited contributions commenting on this work. Reporting Climate Science.Com understands that there are 13 papers “in press” (that is, still to be published) including the piece by Schmidt, Mann and Rutherford, that comment on the original paper.

McShane and Wyner are preparing a response to all the issues raised by these various comment papers. Reporting Climate Science.Com understands that all the papers – the discussion paper, the comments and the response - will be published together in the first 2011 issue of Annals of Applied Statistics. Typically a discussion paper in an academic journal will have three or four other papers commenting on it – the fact that this paper has attracted 13 is a measure of its importance.

McShane and Wyner have told Reporting Climate Science.Com that they did not want to respond to the points raised in the various comment papers on the record until their formal response has been finalised for publication. However, Wyner wanted to stress that they were “not saying that proxies have no value for reconstructing temperatures at all”. He pointed out that their claim is actually much more narrow, and is as follows: that proxies can not reliably reconstruct temperatures over epochs of time that are relatively short (1000 years), nor can they be used to reliably detect rapid changes in temperature over a period of say 30-50 years. And this is the rationale for their view that it can not be said that the modern period is an anomaly with statistical certainty.

A scientific controversy first erupted over the hockey stick in 2003 when Canadian mathematician Stephen McIntyre and Canadian economist Ross McKitrick, from the University of Guelph, questioned the statistical methods used by Michael Mann and colleagues. This was vigorously rebutted by Mann.

It is a complicated process to reconstruct a record of ancient temperatures. There were no thermometer measurements until around 150 years ago. This means that scientists must look at so called proxies such as tree rings, ice cores, corals, plant remains, or sediment cores from lakes, among many others. These all exhibit features that are affected by the temperature and can help scientists to infer what temperatures were in the past.

Scientists must extract the data from the proxy and then convert it into a record of surface temperatures – this enables them to “backcast” or ”reconstruct” historical temperature records. This involves significant statistical analysis and it is this part of the process that McShane and Wyner have criticised. “Our paper is an effort to apply some modern statistical methods to these problems,” they state. “While our results agree with the climate scientists findings in some respects, our methods of estimating model uncertainty and accuracy are in sharp disagreement.“


Tuvalu - the touchstone of global warming and rising sea level

Even frantic and nonsensical "adjustments" to the sea-level record can't save the Warmist case

By Cliff Ollier


I taught an introductory course in Geology at the University of the South Pacific in 1977. Each of the countries that participated in USP was invited to send 2 students. They had varying interests, and it was amusing to watch how they woke up when we were teaching geology relating to their own job. Some were interested in gold mining, others in highways and landslides, some in coastal erosion, others in active volcanoes. It was rather a surprise when the sole student from Tuvalu approached me one day and said "Sir, this is all wasted on me. My island is just made of sand." Any news from Tuvalu always struck a chord from that moment.

Since then, of course, Tuvalu has become "hot news" as the favourite island to be doomed by sea level rise driven by global warming, allegedly caused in turn by anthropogenic carbon dioxide. If you look up Tuvalu on the internet you are inundated with articles about its impending fate. Tuvalu has become the touchstone for alarm about global warming and rising sea level.

The geological background

There may have been good reason to think that Tuvalu was doomed anyway. Charles Darwin, who was a geologist before he became a biologist, gave us the Darwin theory of coral islands which has been largely substantiated since his time. The idea is this: When a new volcano erupts above sea level in the tropical ocean, corals eventually colonise the shore. They can grow upwards and outwards (away from the volcanic island) but they can’t grow above sea level. The coral first forms a fringing reef, in contact with the island. As it grows outwards a lagoon forms between the island and the living reef, which is then a barrier reef. If the original volcano sinks beneath the waves a ring of coral betrays its location as an atoll.

But besides the slow sinking of the volcanic base there are variations of sea level due to many causes such as tectonics (Earth movements) and climate change. If sea level rises the coral has to grow up to the higher sea level. Many reefs have managed this to a remarkable extent. Drilling on the coral islands Bikini and Eniwetok shows about 1500m thickness of limestone and therefore of subsidence. Coral cannot start growing on a deep basement, because it needs sunlight and normally grows down to only 50 m.

If the island is sinking slowly (or relative sea level rising slowly) the growth of coral can keep up with it. In the right circumstances some corals can grow over 2 cm in a year, but growth rate depends on many factors.

Sometimes the relative subsidence is too great for the coral to keep pace. Hundreds of flat-topped sea mountains called guyots, some capped by coral, lie at various depths below sea level. They indicate places where relative sea level rise was too fast for coral growth to keep pace.

Sea level and coral islands in the last twenty years

What about the present day situation? The alarmist view that Tuvalu is drowning has been forced upon us for twenty years, but the island is still there. What about the changes in sea level?

Rather than accept my interpretation, look at the data for yourself. First take a regional view. For a number of well-studied islands it can be located here. The Tuvalu data is provided here.

The results are shown graphically in their Figure 15 and reproduced here.

Graph of sea levels in Tuvalu

These island data have never been published in a "peer reviewed" journal. They are only available on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website in a series of Monthly Reports, as in the examples given above. Some measure of the reliability and responsibility may be gauged from the disclaimer at the start of the document:

"Disclaimer. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)". But the names of the authors are not provided.

As you can see, apart from a low in the early records, which seem to be associated with a tropical cyclone, there seems to be no great change in sea level since the early 1990s.

Explaining it away

Vincent Gray explained in his newsletter, NZCLIMATE AND ENVIRO TRUTH NO 181 13th August 2008, that something had to be done to maintain rising sea level alarm, and it was done by in a paper by John R Hunter here.

Hunter first applies a linear regression to the chart for Tuvalu. He gets -1.0±13.7mm/yr so Tuvalu is actually rising! The inaccuracy is entirely due to the ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) effect at the beginning. He then tries to incorporate old measurements made with inferior equipment and attempts to correct for positioning errors. He gets a "cautious" estimate for Tuvalu of 0.8±1.9mm/yr. He then tries to remove ENSO to his own satisfaction, and now his "less cautious" estimate is 1.2 ± 0.8mm/yr.

Does this show the island is rising? Just look at the inaccuracy. The commonsense interpretation of the sea level graphs is surely that Tuvalu, and 11 other Pacific Islands, are not sinking over the time span concerned. The sea level is virtually constant.

Similar manipulation of sea level data is described in Church and others (2006), who consider the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. Their best estimate for sea level rise at Tuvalu is 2 ± 1 mm/yr from 1950-2001. They wrote "The analysis clearly indicates that sea-level in this region is rising." Does this square with simple observation of the data in Figure 15? They further comment: "We expect that the continued and increasing rate of sea-level rise and any resulting increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme-sea-level events will cause serious problems for the inhabitants of some of these islands during the 21st century." The data in Figure 15 simply do not support this excessive alarmism.

Models and ground truth

Before getting on to the next part of the story I shall digress on to the topic of "models’ versus "ground truth’. The past twenty years might be seen as the time of the models. Computers abounded, and it was all too easy to make a mathematical model, pump in some numbers, and see what the model predicted. It became evident very early that the models depended on the data that was fed in, and we all know the phrase "Garbage in, Garbage out". But the models themselves do not get the scrutiny they should. Models are invariably simplifications of the natural world, and it is all too easy to leave out vital factors.

"Ground Truth’ is what emerges when the actual situation in a place at the present time, regardless of theories or models. It is a factual base that may help to distinguish between different models that predict different outcomes - just what did happen, and what can we see today.

In the case of Tuvalu’s alleged drowning, we are usually presented with a simple model of a static island and a rising sea level. As Webb and Knetch expressed it: "Typically, these studies treat islands as static landforms". "However, such approaches have not incorporated a full appreciation of the contemporary morphodynamics of landforms nor considered the style and magnitude of changes that may be expected in the future. Reef islands are dynamic landforms that are able to reorganise their sediment reservoir in response to changing boundary conditions (wind, waves and sea-level)".

In simple language we have to include coral growth, erosion, transport and deposition of sediment and many other aspects of coral island evolution. The very fact that we have so many coral islands in the world, despite a rise in sea level of over 100 m since the last ice age, shows that coral islands are resilient - they don’t drown easily.

The actual growth of islands in the past twenty years

Webb and Kench studied the changes in plan of 27 atoll islands located in the central Pacific. They found that the total change in area of reef islands (aggregated for all islands in the study) is an increase in land area of 63 hectares representing 7% of the total land area of all islands studied. The majority of islands appear to have either remained stable or increased in area (86%).

Forty three percent of islands have remained relatively stable (< ±3% change) over the period of analysis. A further 43% of islands (12 in total) have increased in area by more than 3%. The remaining 15% of islands underwent net reduction in island area of more than 3%.

Of the islands that show a net increase in island area six have increased by more than 10% of their original area. Three of these islands were in Funafuti; Funamanu increased by 28.2%, Falefatu 13.3% and Paava Island by 10%. The Funafuti islands exhibited differing physical adjustments over the 19 years of analysis. Six of the islands have undergone little change in area (< ± 3%). Seven islands have increased in area by more than 3%. Maximum increases have occurred on Funamanu (28.2%), Falefatu (13.3%) and Paava (10.1%). In contrast, four islands decreased in area by more than 3%.


In summary Webb and Kench found island area has remained largely stable or increased over the timeframe of their study, and one of the largest increases was the 28.3% on one of the islands of Tuvalu. This destroys the argument that the islands are drowning.

Vincent Gray, an IPCC reviewer from the start, has written SOUTH PACIFIC SEA LEVEL: A REASSESSMENT, which can be seen here

For Tuvalu he comments that "If the depression of the 1998 cyclone is ignored there was no change in sea level at Tuvalu between 1994 and 2008; 14 years. The claim of a trend of + 6.0 mm/yr is without any justification".


Church, J.A., White, N.J. and Hunter, J.R., 2006. Sea-level rise at tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. Global and Planetary Change, v. 53, p. 155-168.

Webb, A. P., Kench, P. S. 2010. The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific, Global and Planetary Change, v. 72, p. 234-246.


An amusing false prophecy from Warmists in the year 2000

See below:

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event". "Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

More stupidity HERE

Growing opposition to Australia's windmill lunacy

Australia is not nearly as far down the windmill road as Britain and there seems a good chance that it never will be

JOHN Coombs, the former maritime union heavyweight who refused to let radioactive waste cross the nation's docks, has experienced a change of heart.

He reckons it's time Australia went nuclear. And that's the message he wants to send to the man who stood beside him during the waterfront dispute - former ACTU secretary, now Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet.

His conversion is part of a new world of climate change politics, in which unlikely alliances are being formed and long-held positions being revised.

Mr Coombs, long retired as national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, now finds himself in the same camp as ABC chairman and former Australian Securities Exchange chair Maurice Newman.

Both own property at Crookwell on the NSW southern tablelands, a couple of hours southwest of Sydney. And both have serious doubts about the wisdom of a planned explosion of wind-power developments in the area. "There is a view that wind power will turn out to be for electricity generation what the Zeppelin was for air transportation," Mr Newman said. "It looked promising but was not the answer."

The concerns expressed by Mr Coombs and Mr Newman mirror doubts being expressed in South Australia and southwest Victoria about the cost, efficiency, social impacts and health effects of the new-generation wind turbines that cost more than $2 million each and are as tall as a 45-storey building with blades that take up more than 1ha of sky and create enough turbulence to tear apart any bird that strays too close. Since Australia's first large-scale wind turbine was installed at Breamlea, near Geelong in Victoria, in 1987, more than 1000 have sprung up in wind farms built in every state, with almost half in South Australia. Together they generate about 1.5 per cent of the nation's electricity needs - enough to power 770,000 homes. But there are plans for a multi-billion-dollar, 10-fold increase in the amount of power generated from wind as the federal government pursues a target of generating 20 per cent of our power needs from renewable resources by 2020 as part of its carbon reduction plans. It is estimated that about 40 per cent of the renewable energy target will come from wind.

Yet there is a growing tide of concern that Australia is tying too much of its energy future on a technology that is less efficient, less carbon-friendly and ultimately more expensive for consumers than alternative electricity sources, such as natural gas, coal-fired power with carbon capture and storage technology and nuclear.

Then there are the side-effects of wind turbines - their visual impact, the way they divide rural neighbours when a farm springs up on one property, their effect on wildlife and, potentially, on the health of nearby communities.

Family First senator Steve Fielding has established a Senate inquiry to investigate the health impacts of living near windmills, including concerns over noise and vibrations and the effect of rural wind farms on property values.

Submissions are rolling in and calls are growing for a re-evaluation of nuclear energy.

In Canberra this week, International Energy Agency executive director Nobuo Tanaka said it would be "very difficult" for Australia to meet its target of a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if its gamble on carbon capture and storage - the burial of carbon emissions in deep underground reservoirs - failed and it did not have nuclear power as a back-up. His comments came as a review of international studies, published by Australian researchers in the journal Energy, identified nuclear energy as the cheapest technology to help tackle global warming.

With the billions of dollars earmarked for wind power, which costs more than twice as much as electricity from coal or gas, Mr Coombs said the sensible thing was to consider nuclear energy.

"Of course if you were to mention me (politicians) could say, 'That bloke fought against nuclear waste going out of this country for 20 years', and I did.

"For 20 years I . . . stopped any ship coming in to pick (nuclear waste) up because we refused to let it go to Third World countries.

"Politically, a lot of members were opposed to nuclear energy but it was a long time ago and I gave up the fight . . . to try to stop the use of nuclear power in this country. Of course nuclear power is a reasonable thing to consider."



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


27 November, 2010

New book

The book is written by the most skeptical scientists of all: Those who think that the Greenhouse theory runs contrary to basic physics and hence a greenhouse effect CANNOT exist. I agree. The book is called "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory". The blurb at Amazon below:

Even before publication, Slaying the Sky Dragon was destined to be the benchmark for future generations of climate researchers. This is the world's first and only full volume refutation of the greenhouse gas theory of man-made global warming.

Nine leading international experts methodically expose how willful fakery and outright incompetence were hidden within the politicized realm of government climatology. Applying a thoughtful and sympathetic writing style, the authors help even the untrained mind to navigate the maze of atmospheric thermodynamics. Step-by-step the reader is shown why the so-called greenhouse effect cannot possibly exist in nature.

By deft statistical analysis the cornerstones of climate equations – incorrectly calculated by an incredible factor of three - are exposed then shattered.

This volume is a scientific tour de force and the game-changer for international environmental policymakers as well as being a joy to read for hard-pressed taxpayers everywhere.

Only the Kindle edition seems to be out so far but a paperback edition is due in a few weeks

Global cooling hits Britain again

The worst November snow for 17 years hit Britain yesterday shutting dozens of schools, ­closing roads and bringing chaos for millions of drivers.

Up to six inches fell in parts of the country as bitter Arctic winds brought an early taste of winter.

Last night forecasters warned the Big Chill could last for at least a fortnight and that more snow and ice were on the way over the next few days. ‘This is the most widespread November snow since 1993,’ said Met Office spokesman Dave Britton. ‘The snow will spread south over the next few days and we could get ten inches on high ground.

‘Next week it’s going to turn colder and it will stay cold. The winds will be picking up and will come from the east so it will feel very raw.’

In icy conditions last night, a plane with 196 passengers overshot its landing position at Newcastle airport. No-one on board the Thomsonfly Boeing 737-800 from Lanzarote was injured, but the airport was closed for a time after the incident.

Temperatures could drop to -6c (21f) over the next few days, far lower than normal for November. The mercury is unlikely to rise much above 2c to 5c (36f to 41f) during the day, and could be lower in exposed areas.

Millions woke to wintry scenes and freezing temperatures yesterday as snow ploughs and gritters were out in force.

Scotland saw the worst of the snow, with six inches falling overnight in Aberdeenshire, while ­Durham and Newcastle had four inches. Although the North and East were worst hit, there were wintery showers as far apart as Cornwall, Wales and the Midlands.

Children in Northumbria and North Yorkshire got an unexpected holiday as 50 schools were forced to shut for the day.

And the ice and snow brought havoc to the roads. The AA said it was called to around 14,000 breakdowns – a 50 per cent increase on a normal November working day. Spokesman Paul Leather said motorists should carry warm clothing and a fully charged mobile phone. He added: ‘Our concern is black ice. If possible, people should stick to the gritted main roads and keep their speed down.’

The charity Living Streets urged councils to use volunteers to keep pavements gritted after last year’s icy conditions caused 7,000 hospital admissions.

Chief executive Tony Armstrong said: ‘We are issuing an ice warning to local authorities to take the needs of people on foot seriously. Last winter, we were shocked to hear a number of stories from older people who did not leave their house for days for fear of slipping.’

Last night, the Met Office issued weather warnings for icy roads and heavy snow across the North-East, Yorkshire, East Midlands, the East and South West of England – as well as parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Snow is forecast to spread south by Saturday, when it could reach Kent and London. Higher ground could see ten inches by the weekend.

According to the Met Office, nine of the past 50 Novembers have had snowfall of at least 11.8in. In 1993, the Highlands had around 12in, while North Yorkshire had 10.5in.

The big chill is being caused by a ridge of high pressure over Greenland which has brought cold air down from Scandinavia.

And the Met Office’s long-range forecast says the cold conditions are likely to continue in the run up to Christmas – with a risk of more sleet, snow and hard frosts.


Bubble has burst: 'Carbon jobs are dying': U.S. Carbon Trading Goes Up in Smoke‏

Buying and selling carbon permits in the emerging market designed to control global-warming pollution is no longer a career prospect in the U.S., though California is moving ahead with its own program

Just three years ago, George H. Stein, a managing director at New York-based recruiter Commodity Talent, was seeing a brisk volume in calls from Wall Streeters looking to make a career switch. While oil traders were getting pilloried on Capitol Hill, a new line of work promised to deliver wealth and social benefits: buying and selling carbon permits in the emerging market designed to control global warming pollution. "There was such a great deal of interest in carbon trading," recalls Stein.

U.S. states were uniting to go on low-carbon diets. Companies were stepping up their own with targets. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that under a cap-and-trade plan, the U.S. market for the permits, which companies would need in order to emit CO2, could be worth as much as $300 billion by 2020. Today, with prospects for a federal cap-and-trade program dead and prices in voluntary carbon markets in the U.S. collapsing, "Carbon traders are calling to ask me what they should do now," says Stein.

Energy trading consultant Peter Fusaro says he recently counseled a college grad looking to get into emissions trading to find a job on an oil and gas desk and bide his time until carbon comes back. "Carbon trading in the U.S.," says Fusaro—"there's no there there."

The European Union's carbon market, which has been operating since 2005, continues to grow. Trading volumes were up 8 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year. In the U.S., what activity there was is withering. The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCS), once billed as a Nasdaq for CO2, saw carbon prices drop to a nickel per ton before announcing on Nov. 17 that it would cease operations at the end of the year. CCS was founded in 2003 by Richard L. Sandor, an economist who's been called the father of financial futures. Some 450 companies, including DuPont (DD), Honeywell (HON), and several utilities, signed legally binding contracts to reduce their emissions. Those who succeeded in cutting CO2 could sell their credits to others that were having a harder time complying with CCS emission targets.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported on Oct. 1 on the "collapse" of trading in another U.S. market, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a consortium of ten Northeastern states that joined together to cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The RGGI's stated goal: cutting utility emissions by 10 percent by 2018.

Carbon jobs are dying, too: Last year JPMorgan Chase (JPM) acquired carbon brokerage EcoSecurities for $206 million. It has since cut staff and pulled out of projects. "There's not enough clarity to continue to be able to invest in the market robustly," EcoSecurities Chief Executive Officer Paul M. Kelly said at a conference in May.


A carbon tax will be good for you, even if climate change theory is wrong (?)

The arguments for more government control are getting ever more desperate. The claim below that a carbon tax will make "alternative energy more competitive" is the flaw in the argument. It's just pie in the sky. The wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine

Just because nobody knows the future is no excuse to do nothing in the face of worrisome possibilities, says Dan Gardner, the author of a solidly researched new book that makes it clear just how shaky – if not dead wrong – expert predictions usually are.

Good policy, Gardner writes in Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail – and Why We Believe Them Anyway, stands up as worthwhile even if the forecast that prompted it turns out to be wrong.

He cites as an example “a stiff carbon tax with the revenues returned to the economy in the form of cuts to other taxes” – which is what we have in B.C., except our carbon tax isn’t so stiff.

“Would it deliver even if climate change turns out to be bunk?” he asks.

“Absolutely. Carbon taxes raise the effective cost of fossil fuels, making alternative energy more competitive and spurring research and development. And reducing the use of fossil fuels while increasing the diversity of our energy sources would be wonderful for a whole host of reasons aside from climate change. It would reduce local air pollution, reduce the risk of catastrophic oil spills, buffer economies against the massive shocks inflicted by oil price spikes, and lessen the world’s vulnerability to instability in the Middle East and elsewhere. It would also reduce the torrent of cash flowing from the developed world to the thuggish governments that control most oil-producing nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia. And of course there’s peak oil. If the peaksters turn out to be right, finally, how much of our economy is fuelled by oil will determine how badly we will suffer – so carbon taxes would steadily reduce that threat, too.”


Big Brother Is Watching You Recycle

In 2009, after four years of controversial and piecemeal policies intended to enforce recycling, England imposed a complex and compulsory system of garbage-sorting on homeowners.

Citing the British model, Cleveland, Ohio, is taking a giant step toward a similar scheme of compulsory recycling. In 2011 some 25,000 households will be required to use recycling bins fitted with radio-frequency identification tags (RFIDs)—tiny computer chips that can remotely provide information such as the weight of the bin’s contents and that allow passing garbage trucks to verify their presence. If a household does not put its recycle bin out on the curb, an inspector could check its garbage for improperly discarded recyclables and fine the scofflaws $100. Moreover, if a bin is put out in a tardy manner or left out too long, the household could be fined. Cleveland plans to implement the system citywide within six years.

Extreme recycling programs are nothing new, even in American cities. In San Francisco recycling and composting are mandatory; trash is sorted into three different bins with compliance enforced through fines. New York City has a similar program.

Neither are RFID bins new. They were introduced on London streets in 2005 ostensibly to track the amount of trash households produced and to discourage “overproduction,” but they have also had trials in American cities. Earlier this year, Alexandria, Virginia, approved such bins, which were to be placed with households this autumn.

Cleveland is particularly important, however, because of its size. Cash-starved local governments will be watching to see if an American city as big as Cleveland can use RFID bins to increase revenues. The revenues would flow from three basic sources: a trash-collection fee that could be increased, as in Alexandria; the imposition of fines; and the profit, if any, from selling recyclables. The last source should not be dismissed. Recycling programs are not generally cost-efficient, but much of the reason is that collections need to be cleaned and re-sorted at their destination.

If households can be forced to assume these labor-intensive tasks, then selling recyclables—especially such goods as aluminum cans—is more likely to be profitable. (Perversely, the demand for volume recycling may hit the poor the hardest; in the wake of recession, it is becoming increasingly common for people to hoard their aluminum cans in order to turn them in for cash.)

The British Model

Since the British system is praised as a model, it is useful to examine its specifics.

An estimated 2.6 million Britons now have RFID bins monitoring how and when they sort garbage from recyclables. Implementation varies from borough to borough since trash collection, as in America, is under local jurisdiction. But the basics of the scheme are the same, with fines for noncompliance ranging up to £1,000 (over $1,500).

Councils routinely employ “rubbish police,” who fine households that commit offenses such as producing “excessive” trash. For example, Oxford employs “waste education officers” who go through household bins and instruct the owners on proper sorting and disposal; the officers also fine residents 80 pounds if the trash overflows the 240-litre bin, which is emptied fortnightly. Of course, this makes trash from a large party or other events like Christmas problematic. (Such a fine differs from a fee for additional service in at least two ways. The “customer” is unable to cancel the service and go to a competitor, and the fine is absurdly high, especially given the extremely low service provided.)

The policing of trash bins is also enforced by surveillance cameras; this practice became evident in a recent controversy when a Coventry woman was captured on video throwing a cat in a trash bin.

The British system also mandates how trash is to be sorted. The U.K. website Green Launches explained gleefully:

"The next time you dump your garbage in a bin, make sure you have it sorted well and dropped in the correct bin. Or else, you’ll probably burn a £1,000 fine in your pocket. Household waste like food scraps, tea bags etc in the wrong bin will have the family penalized. This forces families to use up to five different types of bins for waste separation and encourages picking up of recyclable products. This will also include the compulsory use of slop buckets to get rid of food waste".

The Orwellian intrusion into the lives of peaceful Britons is justified primarily on the same grounds used by Cleveland: It is a “green” measure to preserve the environment. Green Launches continued, “Environment secretary, Hilary Benn came up with this idea that will help reduce green house gas emissions. These strict and hefty rules are sure to raise a cry amongst taxpayers and residents. But these rules will also help increase the production and use of greener energy resources and at the same time, decrease those mounting piles in landfills.”

Cleveland echoes the environmental justification.

In It for the Money

The British also justify the draconian trash system on financial grounds. Benn once exclaimed to the press, “What sort of a society would throw away aluminium cans worth £500 a ton when producers are crying out for the raw material?” Generally speaking, however, the Brits downplay the government’s financial motives.

Here Cleveland parts company with its British counterparts and makes it abundantly clear that money is a driving factor. City waste-collection commissioner Ronnie Owens, who perhaps remembers the municipal bankruptcy of the 1980s, says, “The Division of Waste Collection is on track to meet its goal of issuing 4,000 citations this year.” In short the goal is revenue enhancement not perfect compliance. Indeed, the two stand in conflict with each other. Bloggers have widely speculated that the recycling scheme is an excuse to create noncompliance and thus maximize the payment of fines.

Bankrupt cities across North America will be watching the Cleveland experiment. At the first indication of success—that is, of revenue enhancement—debates on mandatory recycling will break out in a multitude of city council chambers. It is not enough to hope that the Cleveland experiment will be a debacle; it almost certainly will be one but, nonetheless, debacles are often profitable to those who conduct them.

Perhaps, unlike the British, Americans will object to an RFID chip monitoring their garbage on privacy grounds. This objection may well be valid but it does not touch on the motives of local governments that consider mandatory recycling schemes. Nevertheless, it may well be the strongest defense that can be mounted.


Australia: No one fired or demoted over disastrous Greenie scheme

Isn't it grand to be a bureaucrat or a politician?

NO POLITICIAN, nor any bureaucrat, has been held responsible for Kevin Rudd's disastrous home insulation scheme.

Even as police continue to investigate whether a series of house fires, some involving fatalities, were linked to the scheme, the Government admitted no one had been sacked or demoted over the program, under which taxpayers funded the installation of insulation material in tens of thousands of homes.

Earlier this year, Julia Gillard described the home insulation scheme as "a mess" after confirmation that shoddy installers attracted to the subsidies had improperly installed the insulation, leaving some homes live with electricity.

Despite this, the Prime Minister defied opposition demands that she sack former environment minister Peter Garrett, arguing he had been poorly served by his department and reappointing him to cabinet as Schools Minister.

However, despite Ms Gillard blaming the department, no one has been held accountable in the bureaucracy.

When The Australian recently asked Climate Change Minister Greg Combet where the buck had stopped, he referred the inquiry to his parliamentary secretary, Mark Dreyfus.

Yesterday Mr Dreyfus produced a short statement suggesting no one had been sacked or demoted but insisting the government had "learnt the lessons" of the program.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said Ms Gillard had attempted to blame the bureaucracy when she should have simply sacked Mr Garrett. "The department from the outset recognised the risk, warned about the risk and was overridden for political reasons," Mr Hunt said. "Responsibility rests with the then minister and the current prime minister."

Mr Hunt said the government had whitewashed what was "arguably the greatest failing of ministerial accountability" since World War II. "Peter Garrett should not be a minister," he said. "The Prime Minister owns this issue now because she was part of the gang of four that overrode the department's advice. She promoted Peter Garrett and she is complicit."



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26 November, 2010

Warmists get desperate: Trash their own measurement methods to explain why the seas are not warming

But the measurement methods were fine while they supported Warmism

Claims that global warming has slowed down over the past decade were partly based on faulty data. Instead, the change in the rate of global warming was underestimated because of a new way of measuring sea-surface temperatures, suggests a new study.

Since the 1970s average global temperatures have risen by 0.16 °C per decade, but over the past decade they seemed to rise by only 0.09 °C, an apparent slowdown of 0.07 °C. John Kennedy and colleagues at the UK Met Office have now found that the real slowdown was smaller.

Over the past decade, sea-surface temperature has mostly been measured by thermometers on buoys, whereas previously it was measured aboard ships. Ship measurements tend to be too high because the water warms up as it is taken on board.

So although the newer buoy measurements are more accurate, the switch in method has erroneously shown sea-surface temperatures appearing to level off. "Compared with ships, buoys show cooler temperatures," says Vicky Pope at the Met Office. "You have to be careful of false signals."

Kennedy says the underestimation of the change in sea-surface temperature could account for up to 0.03 °C of the apparent slowdown in global temperatures. The correction could mean that 2010 will be the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998 and 2005.

Part of the apparent slowdown in temperature rise does appear to be genuine, however. Earlier this year, Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, and colleagues found there was less water vapour in the stratosphere after 2000, weakening the greenhouse effect and taking 0.04 °C off the temperature in the past decade.

Taken together, the mismatch in sea-surface temperature data and the fall in water vapour levels account for almost all of the slowdown that earlier studies had suggested.

From now on climate measurements from the buoys will be "corrected" [Won't that be fun?] so that they can be compared with the decades of data from ship measurements, and vice versa. It's not the first time measurements have had to be corrected: a change in how ships measured sea temperatures caused the apparent cooling in the 1940s.


Hansen And Jones Need To Sharpen Up Their Maths

I think it’s too close to call. Based on these numbers it’ll be second, but it depends on how warm November and December are,” said Dr Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), at the University of East Anglia, which says 1998 was the record year so far.

The graph above shows how HadCRUT 2010 compares to 1998 through the end of October. The 1998 average through October is 0.56, and the 2010 average is 0.49. In order to beat 1998, November and December would have to average more than 0.38 above the same months in 1998. The graph below shows what would have to happen the remainder of the year to make Hansen an honest man.

“I would not be surprised if most or all groups found that 2010 was tied for the warmest year,” said Nasa’s Dr James Hansen.

Are Hansen and Jones both unaware that we are having a near record La Niña event, and that temperatures are plummeting?

These guys are supposed to be the world’s best climatologists, yet they seem to be out of touch with the fundamentals of both climate science and mathematics

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate Change Idiocy and The Economist

By Alan Caruba

For a brief period I subscribed to The Economist, the London-based internationally distributed magazine, but I stopped as it became obvious that its editors are idiots and the general purpose of the magazine is to ignore any and all facts that might contradict their obsession with “global warming” and now “climate change.”

Last year, The Economist had a cover that said, “Stop Climate Change.” That’s like saying stop the Earth from circumnavigating the Sun. The issue came out about the same time as the entire fictitious infrastructure of “global warming” came undone and resulted in the collapse of the last United Nations conference of liars who had gathered in Copenhagen to impose the purchase, sale and trade of “carbon credits” on the world.

A year later, the Chicago Exchange that had been set up to cash in on the scam had closed its doors. The one in Europe is selling carbon credits for pennies these days. Naturally, California, besotted with global warming idiocy, is preparing to have its own exchanges.

Apparently, despite glaring headlines in British newspapers, no one at The Economist was aware that the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia University had been found to be rigging the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data for years. Having collected millions of pounds for its dubious research, we look forward to its director, Phil Jones, facing whatever legal proceedings may be appropriate in the circumstances.

Did the Economist’s editors learn anything in the past year? No. Indeed, its latest issue sports a cover that says “How to Live with Climate Change.” In a year’s time, they have gone from saying stop climate change to learn to live with it. Is there a choice?

This is not the most original idea given the fact that human beings have been living with climate change since we climbed down from the trees and began walking upright, developing language, and spreading across the face of the Earth.

Eskimos found ways to survive in the Arctic. Polynesians learned to travel among Pacific islands. Everywhere civilizations came and went while agriculture was introduced to feed more and more people who, in turn, preferred living in cities as opposed to plowing the soil. The art and science of war flourished.

The Economist focused its attention on next week’s “meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”, the subject of a conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico.

You may recall that President Obama attended last year’s conference in Copenhagen that foundered on the news that there never was any dramatic increase in the Earth’s temperature.

Leaked emails revealed that the only “proof” of “global warming” could be found in corrupt, falsified computer models churned out by the CRU and a coordinated climate scam out of Pennsylvania State University, the recipient of comparable “climate research” funding.

The President had to depart early because of a massive blizzard that enveloped Copenhagen.

Even the Economist had to admit that “in the wake of the Copenhagen summit, there is a growing acceptance that the effort to avert serious climate change has run out of steam.” That’s also likely due to the fact that there is no way to “avert serious climate change.”

The Economist, however, held out hope that “a few climatic disasters” might get the scam going again.

It is an act of journalistic criminality to publish outright lies, but The Economist is not deterred by anything resembling the truth. It asserts a “likelihood “ that “the Earth will be at least 3 degrees Celsius warmer at the end of this century than it was at the beginning of the industrial revolution, less warming is possible, but so is more, and quicker.” So there could be less, but there could be more

This is utter rot.

It is typical of the way “global warming” was always predicted to arrive twenty, fifty or a hundred years from now; all based on manipulated and mendacious computer models. The usual predictions of heat waves, droughts, along with melting poles and glaciers are cited in its cover editorial.

Just as the Cancun festival of climate lies will do, The Economist rhapsodizes about a massive redistribution of wealth from industrialized developed nations to those in the grip of despots, Islam, communism or other systems that keep them poor. When interviewed recently, IPCC official, Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist, bluntly said that “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy,”

So what is climate change policy really about? It is about how “we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth….” If this sounds like the usual communist claptrap, it is.


The Lomborg alternative

Intellectual honesty is a very rare commodity, especially in areas where there is great political pressure to conform to some Received View.

Such is the case with the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The majority of climate scientists think that AGW, as represented in theory, is a well-established phenomenon; but a fairly large minority apparently doesn’t. Enter the activists, who react to the theory of AGW in one of two ways. The True Believers take the theory of AGW as proven beyond all doubt and use it to argue for massively costly and disruptive policies, such as cap-and-trade laws and Green energy schemes. The True Deniers deny AGW altogether, dismissing the ever-increasing amounts of burned fossil fuel as having no effect whatsoever on the planet, and viewing the scientists who believe in AGW as deluded fools, or part of some pseudo-scientific cult.

Rare are moderate voices. Perhaps the best known voice of this kind is Bjorn Lomborg, the author of a number of books, including The Skeptical Environmentalist and Smart Solutions to Climate Change, and the subject of a great little documentary, Cool It, playing now in limited release.

Lomborg is a Danish economist and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a policy thinktank based in Denmark that specializes in formulating economically sound policies for private and governmental aid programs. He grew up as a devout Green and a member of Greenpeace but was awakened from his dogmatic environmentalist slumbers when he read the work of economist Julian Simon. Simon was an iconoclast who argued that the world’s environment is getting better and that human beings are the planet’s greatest resource. Lomborg set out to refute Simon but after doing the research was forced to admit that he was largely correct. It dawned on Lomborg that much of the environmentalist agenda was counterproductive and driven by inaccurate propaganda.

Cool It, co-written by Lomborg and directed by well-known documentary film maker Ondi Timoner, surveys Lomborg’s works and thoughts, but focuses on refuting Al Gore’s classic of environmentalist propaganda, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Lomborg believes that AGW is real, but that it doesn’t pose the profound and immediate threat to the ecosystem that Gore and his ilk claim it does. Lomborg also holds that the vast amount of money being spent to combat AGW would be better spent on more immediate human needs, while we develop better solutions.

For this, Lomborg is reviled. For example: in one scene of the movie we see Stephen Schneider, long-time proponent of the theory of AGW, waxing furious as he discusses Lomborg’s perspective. This fanatical, venomous creature stands in stark contrast with the optimistic, sincere, and decent Lomborg — as does the ever-pompous Al Gore. In another scene, we listen to Lomborg recount how he was hauled before the Danish Committee on Scientific Discovery, where his political enemies tried to destroy his career for his outrageous view that the world is not headed for an ecological Armageddon. He survived that Kafkaesque Star Chamber, but it took its toll on the poor fellow.

Besides being an introduction to Lomborg and his work, Cool It is meant to be a counter to Al Gore’s undeservedly famous movie. In one powerful sequence, Lomborg interacts with some British schoolchildren who have obviously been indoctrinated, very thoroughly, with the theory of AGW in its most extreme, apocalyptic version.

These pathetic kids are convinced that they are all but doomed, by Evil Man’s Hideous Works, to melt beneath an unrelenting, merciless sun. It turns your stomach to watch this. In my view, the people who manipulate children to further their policy agenda deserve to melt in an unrelenting, merciless Hell.

Cool It specifically refutes four major contentions of Gore’s movie: that the seas are going to rise over 20 feet and inundate vast portions of land, that AGW has increased the amount of malaria (because of increased mosquito populations), that AGW is threatening the polar bear population, and that AGW is causing increasingly severe hurricanes.

The essence of Lomborg’s thinking is neatly summarized by one of his lines: “If we only listen to worst-case scenarios, that’s unlikely to make good public priorities.” I would add that it is even less likely to make good public priorities if those worst-case scenarios are based on highly politicized, agenda driven science.

To give a flavor of Lomborg’s views, consider his analysis of the EU’s proposed carbon-cutting eco-regimen, projected to cost the citizens of Europe about $250 billion a year, while producing only slight effects in terms of slowing AGW. Lomborg would rather the EU spend $100 billion on R&D on non-fossil-fuel power (including — gasp! — nuclear power, something that Gore abhors), about a billion dollars on geoengineering solutions to AGW (such as putting more white clouds in the sky to reflect the solar rays), and $48 billion on projects to mitigate flooding (such as building decent levees to protect New Orleans) and reduce the “heat-island” effects of cities, and the remaining money (on the order of a $100 billion) to lessen malnourishment, broaden access to healthcare, and ameliorate under-education among the world’s poor.

The scene in which we see him talking to kids in Africa about what they fear — fears quite different from those that afflict the upper-middle class British kids — brings home his honest desire to see those poor kids helped.

I have two areas of disagreement with Lomborg, whom I esteem highly as a paragon of Enlightenment thinking in our postmodern era. Both are areas in which I fear that he is rather too naïve, sincere as he surely is.

The first area has to do with his idea that if we (as we should) eschew harsh measures to stop AGW, we could effectively spend the money saved to alleviate the underdeveloped world’s problems — lack of food, potable water, and education. In reality, international aid money gets channeled through either third-world governments or various NGOs (supposedly neutral aid organizations); the former are notoriously corrupt and incompetent — which is why their citizens languish in poverty to begin with — and the latter are notoriously inefficient and contaminated by political agendas.

Would it not be better economics just to let taxpayers keep the money saved by killing the more outré environmentalist schemes, money that the taxpayers would spend more productively, and push for free trade agreements with all the underdeveloped countries so that they could, well, you know, develop?

Proceeding to the second area of disagreement: Lomborg doesn’t seem to understand that a large faction of the environmentalist community views Homo sapiens as the plague of the planet, and wants to see the world’s population decline dramatically, from the present 7 billion to perhaps 400,000 in the dreams of some of the “environmentalists.” The most zealous crusaders, whose thinking drives the movement, despise the very idea of using natural resources to make people better off materially. They want monstrously costly “solutions” to environmental “catastrophes” (both real and imagined) precisely because those “solutions” will impoverish Evil Humankind.

Put in another way: in the environmentalist eschatology, human flourishing is cardinally sinful per se, and deserves the most lethal punishment. Instead of the old Christian idea, “in Adam’s fall, we sinned all,” these theologians of the environmentalist faith believe that “in Adam’s exaltation, the world suffered degradation.”


Media Rush to Defend LSU “Blood Will Be on Your Hands” Prof

What do the higher ed media do when a professor is caught blustering and biased—on camera? They scramble to defend him, of course.

A few weeks ago after getting a tip from a student at Louisiana State University, Campus Reform, a web-based organization that fights political correctness in higher education, sent a cameraman into class. The course, intended for freshmen, was Astronomy 1101 “The Solar System,” and the class was devoted entirely to the discussion of global warming.

Nothing in the terse description in LSU’s course catalog indicated that the professor would focus on terrestrial politics. The course description simply says that “The Solar System” will deal with “fundamental principles of the solar system.”

This week, Campus Reform released three video excerpts from that class (part 1, part 2, part 3). The videos show the professor, Bradley E. Schaefer, denouncing students for their views on global warming. He asks the class to sit according to actions they think the government should take, ranging from “U.S. should do nothing” to “Mandatory birth control” and “Eliminate all engines.”

To students who take their seats on the right side of the room (the “U.S. should do nothing” side), Professor Schaefer scoffs: “Oh boy, that’s really good for you, at least for the next decade or two. And then you will remember having sat on that corner, because you will not want to tell your children, if they live, why you’re sitting on that corner, that you were part of the trouble, right? Do you realize that?”

He goes on, “The more you’re sitting over here, the more you’re wanting to keep your hedonistic luxury at the cost of your children.” To one student he says, “Too little, too late. Blood will be on your hands.”

Campus Reform’s videos are short, 1-3 minute clips that highlight Schaefer’s most vigorous statements. When the organization published the first installment of the series, it wrote that this “shows what happens when a professor brings his politics into the classroom.”

Campus Reform has provided one of the clearest examples ever documented of liberal bias in academe. Defenders of the status quo saw its potential for serious damage and immediately set out to discredit it.

Both the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed published articles that essentially say: Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes? It’s not what it looks like. It was taken out of context. He yelled at liberal students too. The Chronicle article, “Video Seems to Catch Professor in a Liberal Rant, But There’s More to the Story,” paraphrases Schaefer: “He was actually challenging all of his students, both liberal and conservative, he says, and not chastising any of them for their beliefs.”

Indeed, Professor Schaefer did mock the “Eliminate all engines” segment of the class as well. He said, “The other side – they’re just as bad also.” When students asked him where he would sit, he said he didn’t know but that “I would not sit on either of the two edges. I think those are insane.”

What Schaefer doesn’t realize is that he shouldn’t be jeering at students on either side of a debate he has staged with an invitation to take positions that he believes to be extreme. When he asks students to sit according to their beliefs, then ridicules them for doing so—no matter what their politics are, he is in the wrong. As a professor, his job is not to belittle both sides equally but to instruct impartially.

At the request of the Chronicle, Campus Reform published the full, unedited, 40-minute long video of the class. It doesn’t help Schaeffer’s case. Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle probably bet that most people would read their headlines, accept the notion that Campus Reform deviously and “selectively edited,” and not take the time to watch the longer version.

Those who do watch the full video will see that there’s nothing in it to exonerate Schaefer or prove that he was unfairly treated by Campus Reform. After his first round of deriding students for their views, he gives a melodramatic lecture on global warming, comprised mostly of his avowals that global warming exists and will cause untold deaths. He declares, “Global warming is real; it’s caused by humanity,” and repeatedly says, “It’s only going to get worse.”

Schaefer says “About fifteen years ago Exxon suddenly decided, ‘Oh geez, this is going to be bad for our bottom line,’ and they started pouring vast sums of money into saying, ‘Oh, global warming doesn’t exist.’ That’s completely false.”

“There is universal agreement among scientists,” he proclaims, echoing Al Gore’s “The debate is over.”

Professor Schaefer fails to mention the many respected scientists who have made public their skepticism of anthropogenic global warming. Among them is Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and finds evidence that global warming alarmism has been greatly exaggerated for political purposes.

Another is Australian geologist Ian Plimer, who writes in his book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science, “Climate has always changed. It always has and always will [...] If we humans, in a fit of ego, think we can change these normal planetary processes, then we need stronger medication.” Saying “there is universal agreement among scientists” is an outright lie.

Another lie is recorded in the Chronicle, where Schaefer is quoted defending himself, “I put forth no opinions on how humanity should respond to global warming.” No opinions on how we should respond? Try:

"The solution has to come with some combination of not having as many people and not being as luxurious. So you can have a smaller population of high luxury or, you know, take your choice. If we go on as we are, you’ll have deaths in the billions, and that will solve the problem for you. That is not a good solution."

Later, a student asks about volcanoes, and Schaefer replies, “There are all sorts of natural catastrophes. This is one we made ourselves, and this is one we can control.”

At the end of the class he has the students do a group exercise and gives each section different questions for which they must present an answer to the class. The group on the right side of the room is given a piece of paper that says:

"Your professed policies have a substantial likelihood of leading to the death of a billion people or more. (A) Estimate the probability that you personally will be killed in an ugly way because of your decision? (B) What is the probability that any children of yours will die in ugly ways due to your current decision."

Die in ugly ways? This professor has decided to try to weed out anyone who disagrees with him by using scare and guilt tactics. He sustains the violent imagery through the entire class, telling students, “Blood will be on your hands,” and pooh-poohing deaths from September 11th (“3,000? Whatever.”) in light of the toll global warming would take. Toward the end of his lecture he indicts the students who prefer no new legislation on climate change:

"So, you see, the trouble here is the people on that corner [points at right side of room]. They’re wanting to do nothing. They’re wanting to let global warming take its toll. People decades from now will have deaths in the billions if we do nothing, and that will solve the problem."

Campus Reform’s video #2 points out that when the spokesman from that side stands up to share his group’s answers to the “die in ugly ways” questions, Schaefer repeatedly interrupts him. Several students ask the professor to let the spokesman talk, which Schaefer does, collapsing into a theatrical fit of laughter, holding his sides, bobbing his head, and gesturing to imply that he thinks the student is spouting idiocy.

The mockery, of course, does far more to discredit the integrity of the teacher than the opinions of the students. But the most chilling moment in the class wasn’t included in the shorter Campus Reform videos. It’s what the group on the other side of the room has to say.

The young woman speaking for her section reads the question, “Would you personally aim to have no more than 2 children?” Out of about 50 students, 45 said yes, she reports. “So I think that’s a pretty good number, and if, I mean, if the whole country decided to do that it would make a big impact.”

Forty-five students make a verbal pledge not to have more than two children. And they hope the whole country will do the same. If these students are in earnest, they have drunk the Kool-Aid. If they are bluffing, Schaefer was successful in his intimidation tactics. He is so bold as to guide students to limit the size of their future families—and they readily go along in the direction he nudges them.

As for the students over on the right side of the room, Schaefer continues to denounce them as unethical and foolish: “Screwing with the science is WRONG. You’re an ostrich putting your head in the sand.” After the spokesman says, “We personally don’t believe that we will be killed due to our current position because—” Schaefer cuts him off, shouting, “Remember that you gave that answer, okay? You’re going to be accountable for this!”

What about Professor Schaefer? Will he be held accountable? Not likely. The LSU department chair told the Chronicle he did not think any action would be taken to punish or even reprimand Schaeffer. He did say that he would take seriously any student complaints if he hears any.

But why wait to hear from students, who may not complain if they want to preserve their grades, when all the evidence is in? The footage from this class is a smoking gun, and LSU is too deeply invested in maintaining the politically correct system to take responsibility and do the right thing.

Cary Nelson, of course, defended Professor Schaefer. The president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Nelson believes that academic freedom is essentially a professor’s ability to say whatever he wants in the classroom. He told Inside Higher Ed that:

"academic freedom and completely honest communication in the classroom requires a certain degree of privacy for all the people there, that they need to be able to be frank, that they need to express their emotions honestly, that the classroom is not a stage, that it’s not designed to be a public performance".

Perhaps Nelson should communicate this directly with Schaefer, who used his authority to put on what amounted to a big performance.

What is truly amazing about this story is the ease with which Schaefer’s defenders can turn a blind eye to his totally unprofessional behavior and point the blame at the messengers. In this way, it resembles the episode at Wesleyan University in which students and faculty were enraged by an affirmative action bake sale because it was “offensive,” but they failed to see the inherent offensiveness of racial preferences portrayed by the bake sale. Once again, blame is shifted to those holding up the mirror.

A year ago “Climategate” exposed the secret steps researchers at East Anglia University had taken to suppress views that did not support climate change orthodoxy. Hundreds of emails came to the surface, undeniable evidence of a conspiracy propping up the supposed “scientific consensus.” Then, as now, the guilty party exonerated itself simply by playing the martyr and repeating declarations of its own innocence.

So what, ideally, should LSU do to assure students, their parents, and the public that Astronomy 1101 isn’t just an occasion for Professor Schaefer to rant about global warming and attempt to humiliate students who disagree with him? How can this be handled without violating the principle of academic freedom? Well, first of all, the University needs to recognize that students have academic freedom too – freedom to be taught by scholars who do not engage in propagandistic bombast, but instead provide a conscientious account of the relevant facts – in this case, about “The Solar System.” The AAUP laid this out definitively in its 1915 Declaration of Principles:

"The liberty of the scholar within the university to set forth his conclusions, be they what they may, is conditioned by their being conclusions gained by a scholar’s method and held in a scholar’s spirit; that is to say, they must be the fruits of competent and patient and sincere inquiry, and they should be set forth with dignity, courtesy, and temperateness of language".

Professor Schaefer appears to have violated these principles as vividly as it might be possible to do. He deserves, at the least, a suspension from teaching until such time as he shows himself ready to teach in a manner appropriate to his position.


Australian newspaper editor to sue over Warmist lies

As is normal with Murdoch media properties, "The Australian" tries to give both sides of politics a run. But ANY covering of climate skepticism evokes rage and abuse from devotees of the Warmist religion. Warmism and Islam have a lot in common

The Australian's editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, said he will sue journalism academic and prolific twitter user Julie Posetti for defamation.

This follows Posetti’s tweet yesterday from a journalism conference at the University of Technology Sydney in which Posetti quoted The Australian’s former rural reporter Asa Walhquist as allegedly saying "in the lead up to the election the Ed in Chief was increasingly telling me what to write".

Mitchell rejects the allegation and Walhquist has also denied it, saying she has never spoken to Mitchell about climate change.

Mitchell said his lawyers were given a brief yesterday. Posetti is a journalism lecturer at the University of Canberra. "I am not one who believes new media should be exempt from the normal laws of the land," Mitchell said. "Asa may or may not have said what the tweeter alleges. She denies to me that she did. But either way the allegations are a lie and Asa has admitted as much.

"There is not protection from the law in repeating accurately allegations falsely made. Asa works from home and I have neither seen her nor spoken to her in years, as anyone on the paper would attest."

The legal action comes after Mitchell contacted Walhquist yesterday after seeing the reported comments, also saying in an email to her that he had "never spoken" to her about climate change and “have never stood over you about ANY of your stories". "Indeed, I have not spoken to you in at least eight years. And I have never stood over people writing stories in 19 years as an editor."

Mitchell adds he is proud of the paper's environmental coverage. He said The Australian's editorials on climate change "would make it clear that for several years the paper has accepted man-made climate change as fact".

"It has supported market mechanisms to reduce carbon output for the best part of a decade. What people do not like is that I publish people such as Bjorn Lomborg. I will continue to do so, but would suggest my environment writer, Graham Lloyd, who is a passionate environmentalist, gets a very good run in the paper."

The tweets from Posetti yesterday included her quoting Walhquist as saying that writing on climate change for The Australian was "absolutely excruciating. It was torture".

Walhquist responded to Mitchell she had been quoted inaccurately and taken out of context and adding that "I do not think twitters from unnamed third parties should be regarded as an accurate news source. As a journalist I would never rely on information from such a source." "I would like to place on record the fact I have never had a conversation with the Editor-in-Chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, about climate change," Walhquist wrote. "In fact I have not had any conversations with Mr Mitchell on any subject for a number of years."

SOURCE. The tweets concerned are at the moment here


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


25 November, 2010

New Paper: Compelling Evidence of Cosmic Ray-Climate Relationship

A paper published today in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds "perhaps the most compelling evidence presented thus far of a GCR [Galactic Cosmic Ray]-climate relationship." The galactic cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al explains how small changes in the solar magnetic field during solar cycles can be amplified via effects on galactic cosmic rays, which in turn seed cloud formation to affect global climate.

Dr. Roy Spencer illustrates the magnitude of poorly-understood cloud effects on climate in his new book, "The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling."

As also noted in a paper presented earlier this year by physicist Dr. Horst Borchert, satellite measurements show that global warming between about 1980 to 2008 was "not anthropogenic but caused by natural activities of the Sun’s surface" via the GCR-climate relationship.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 10941-10948, 2010

Cosmic rays linked to rapid mid-latitude cloud changes

B. A. Laken et al.


The effect of the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) flux on Earth's climate is highly uncertain. Using a novel sampling approach based around observing periods of significant cloud changes, a statistically robust relationship is identified between short-term GCR flux changes and the most rapid mid-latitude (60°–30° N/S) cloud decreases operating over daily timescales; this signal is verified in surface level air temperature (SLAT) reanalysis data.
A General Circulation Model (GCM) experiment is used to test the causal relationship of the observed cloud changes to the detected SLAT anomalies.

Results indicate that the anomalous cloud changes were responsible for producing the observed SLAT changes, implying that if there is a causal relationship between significant decreases in the rate of GCR flux (~0.79 GU, where GU denotes a change of 1% of the 11-year solar cycle amplitude in four days) and decreases in cloud cover (~1.9 CU, where CU denotes a change of 1% cloud cover in four days), an increase in SLAT (~0.05 KU, where KU denotes a temperature change of 1 K in four days) can be expected.

The influence of GCRs is clearly distinguishable from changes in solar irradiance and the interplanetary magnetic field. However, the results of the GCM experiment are found to be somewhat limited by the ability of the model to successfully reproduce observed cloud cover.

These results provide perhaps the most compelling evidence presented thus far of a GCR-climate relationship. From this analysis we conclude that a GCR-climate relationship is governed by both short-term GCR changes and internal atmospheric precursor conditions.


Game Over In The Carbon War?

While the next climate summit in Cancun, Mexico at the end of this month will make a show of sifting the geopolitical wreckage from last December’s climate summit, any real prospect for coordinated international action is, post-Copenhagen, dead in the political water. As if that were not enough, the bête noire of climate alarmists, King Coal, is, once again, reigning supreme.

All of which begs the question: with all hopes for a global CO2 impact blown away, why are politicians tenaciously clinging to the fiction that regionalised carbon trading schemes – like the Western Climate Initiative – can succeed where national and international ones have failed?

Speaking to Energy Tribune, Dalibor Rohac, Research Fellow at London’s Legatum Institute which produces the annual Legatum Global Prosperity Index, explains, “If you believe that CO2 emissions are a major factor driving climate change you need to reduce emissions globally. Cutting emissions unilaterally through, say, increasing the price of carbon in one country or group of countries, leads to carbon leakage as carbon-intensive industries will move to jurisdictions where emissions are not restricted.”

Without international and national binding agreements the reluctance of industry to participate is already reflected in the slow death of carbon trading initiatives.

CCX closing – ECX next?

By the end of the year, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the only U.S. national carbon market which trades all six greenhouse gases, will quietly close its doors to its carbon credits business – the main purpose for which it was set up. Not that this major turning point warranted much coverage in the mainstream media which has made a new genre out of the war on CO2. While the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange only purchased the CCX last April, its voluntary but legally binding system has reportedly ground to a halt in the absence of a federally-enacted cap and trade scheme.

Meanwhile, across the water the European Climate Exchange (ECX), the leading platform for the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, is still trading. But when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 with its requirement for mandatory carbon caps, it is widely expected to go the way of its Chicago sister – and a new British report makes clear why.

According to the report by Sandbag, a group calling for even tighter greenhouse controls, the entire five-year period of the EU’s ETS is set to deliver miniscule carbon savings of less than one third of 1 per cent of total emissions. The world’s oldest carbon trading scheme has simply failed to make any serious impact on global carbon emissions, the purpose for which all such schemes exist.

In June 2010, Japan put on hold plans to introduce emission trading laws. Australia has delayed any decision on a carbon trading scheme until 2013 at the earliest and at the Copenhagen conference India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh stated flatly, “India will not accept any emission reduction target – period.”

In North America, however, local politicians still insist that regional initiatives, including the Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the east of the United States and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) in the west and Canada, could prosper. The WCI, for instance, is a partnership of seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. The WCI wants to establish a cap and trade system by January 2012 that, ultimately, aims to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

“This is simply puzzling,” says Rohac. “Regional initiatives are unlikely to have any effect whatsoever on global emissions and therefore on climate change.”

Coal’s renaissance

Far from being over the age of coal is experiencing a renaissance. Just as in the West, coal is driving growing economic prosperity of China, India, Brazil and other fast-industrializing nations.

Rohac told Energy Tribune, “Cheap coal and the wide availability of shale gas make decarbonisation in the near future very unlikely. Even if developed countries committed to switch to renewables, this would be offset by the rising emissions in China.”

As our former colleague Robert Bryce recently pointed out, such is the current and prospective growth in coal use that investment bankers, like Tudor Pickering & Co in the U.S., are once again advising there’s plenty of money to be made in buying coal stocks. In 2009, U.S. coal consumption averaged 10 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day – a 52.3 per cent increase over 1973 levels. Over the same period, natural gas consumption increased by just 3.8 per cent and oil by just 3 per cent. The importance of coal to the U.S. economy cannot be overstated. Globally too, coal consumption currently totals around 66 million boe per day, a 107 per cent increase since 1973.

In today’s global commodities market King Coal still reigns supreme. The International Energy Agency projects global coal consumption will increase by more than 50 per cent by 2030. 97 per cent of that increased coal consumption will be in Asia. China is currently opening one coal-fired power station every week, a process set to continue for years to come.

The World Bank meanwhile has been severely criticised for continuing to support investment in coal-fired power stations in places like India and South Africa; in the latter case the electricity produced also serves surrounding countries. The simple fact is that coal is cheap and accessible and a coal-fired power station can be up to eight times more efficient in electricity generation than renewable energy projects.

As the World Bank maintains, it is hard to fight poverty for people without any electricity. Put bluntly, when it comes to the developing world, investment in efficient poverty-eradicating electricity projects ranks morally higher than fighting a war against carbon that is based on a speculative theory, and which is, as the statistics make abundantly clear, already lost.

As Rohac puts it, “Decarbonisation has never been in the interest of developing countries.” But given that the fast-industrialization of the developing nations will continue to eclipse all Western carbon initiatives, it is hard to disagree with Rohac’s assessment that “Western carbon-cutting efforts are mostly a waste of effort and resources.”


Scaring for money

John Stossel

If you’re a scientist working for private industry, it helps to invent something useful. But if you’re a scientist trying to get funding from the government, you’re better off telling the world how horrible things are. And once people are scared, they pay attention. They may even demand the government give you more money to solve the problem.

Usually the horrible disaster never happens. Chaos from Y2K. An epidemic of deaths from SARS or mad cow disease. Cancer from Three Mile Island. We quickly forget. We move on to the next warnings.

This is the story of a looming disaster that never became an actual disaster — because the science that led to the terror was never sound science at all.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the media used a few small studies of babies born of cocaine-addicted mothers to convince America that thousands of children were permanently damaged. Dr. Ira Chasnoff, of the National Association for Perinatal Addiction Research and Education, after studying only 23 babies, reported that mothers were delivering babies who “could not respond to them emotionally.” He told People magazine the infants “couldn’t respond to a human voice.” This led to a frenzy of stories on “crack babies.” Many people still believe “crack babies” are handicapped for life.

It isn’t true. It turns out there is no proof that crack babies do worse than anyone else. In fact, they do better, on average, than children born of alcoholic mothers.

Nevertheless, Rolling Stone told us these children were “like no others.” They were “automatons,” “oblivious to affection,” and “the damage doesn’t go away.” Education magazines warned that soon these children would reach the schools, which would be unable to control them. It was terrifying news — thousands of children likely to grow up wild and dangerous.

It wasn’t until several years later that the myth started to unravel. Emory University psychologist Claire Coles had her graduate students spend hours observing “crack babies” and normal babies. Her students did not see what Chasnoff had seen. In fact, they couldn’t tell which children had been exposed to cocaine.

Coles told me, “They couldn’t really tell whether they were looking at the effects of cocaine or the effects of alcohol or the effects of poverty, and everybody ignored that. They just said, ‘This is cocaine.’”

How could that happen? “Well,” Coles said,” they wanted to get published.” It is easier to get your work published, and, more importantly, funded by the taxpayers, if you find something dramatic. Coles said, “If you go to an agency and say, ‘I don’t think there’s a big problem here, I’d like you to give me $1 million,’ the probability for getting the money is very low.”

It’s also easier to get funded if what you conclude feeds someone’s political agenda. The idea of crack babies was perfect. It met the needs of liberals and conservatives. Conservatives wanted to demonize cocaine users. Liberals wanted more money for social programs.

When Dr. Coles dared suggest that crack babies were not permanently damaged, she was attacked by politicians, called incompetent, accused of making data up or advocating drug abuse. Dr. Chasnoff, who helped start the scare, did not receive similar criticism. After his scare was shown to have been exaggerated, he denied that he had pushed any agenda: “Neither I nor any of my colleagues were ever pushing junk science. Is everything we thought then — do we know that every bit of that is correct now? Well, obviously, the answer is no. But that’s the process of science.”

He said People and Rolling Stone exaggerated the implications of his research — took him “out of context.” Perhaps. Journalists hype risks constantly. But Chasnoff didn’t ask the magazines to correct or clarify their reports. So people continued expecting the crack babies — the real human beings who had to grow up with that label — to be walking disasters.

Next time you hear dire “scientific” warnings — and demands to surrender more control over your life to the government in order to avert disaster — remember the crack babies. The only disaster coming may be an activist-induced panic. Think about that when you hear dire predictions about global warming.



Four current articles below

Cars, Cattle and Ethanol

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused climate alarmists of scientific incompetence in promoting ethanol as an offset to animal emissions.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, was responding to claims by Mr Combet that agriculture (mainly cattle and sheep) “made up 23% of Australia’s emissions”.

“Why are emissions from cattle eating grain classed as bad whereas emissions from cars burning grain ethanol are good?

“Consider a paddock of corn. Most of the carbon in the growing plant comes from carbon dioxide in the air and is converted to plant material using solar energy via the magic of photosynthesis. Some comes from the atmosphere via microbes in the soil. “This plant material, either biomass or grain, can be fed to cattle or made into ethanol for motor fuel.

“Both cattle and cars then use an internal digestion/combustion process to extract the energy stored in the plant material.

“Both processes produce gaseous emissions. In cars, virtually every atom of ethanol carbon burnt produces one molecule of carbon dioxide. In cattle, some of the plant’s carbon is stored for a while in flesh and bones, and the rest is emitted as the natural gases carbon dioxide and methane. This methane is soon oxidised in the atmosphere to produce carbon dioxide.

“Over the life of a car or a cow, they both produce the same carbon emissions. Every atom of carbon extracted from the air by the green plant eventually returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the plant food. This is the cycle of life.

“It is therefore scientific incompetence or deliberate fraud by government climate alarmists to claim that consuming ethanol in cars is good and should be subsidised but consuming the same plant material in cows must be rationed and taxed.

“An ethanol industry propped up by subsidies and mandates is not sustainable. This industry damages taxpayers and pushes up the cost of grains, beef, pork, eggs, milk and cereals.

“Subsidising ethanol brings no environmental benefits and is the enemy of the poor and hungry of the world. Its special privileges should be immediately removed.”

Received by email from Viv Forbes []

A reply to ABC smears

In their usual way, Australia's national broadcasters have unleashed another attack on people who are not true believers in Global warming -- along the way showing their usual inability to set out a scientific case for their addled belief system.

The stalwarts of the ABC show were sloppy American Green/Left "historian" Naomi Oreskes and journalist Graham Readfearn. Jo Nova below has some comments on their effusions

The battle cry: the “skeptics” are shills of big oil, has become an own goal. The PR team for the catastrophic theory have no new evidence of Big Oil funding and thousands of people now point out that the UNskeptics were paid 3500 times as much (at least). So they are moving on…

the religiously devout believers can’t admit they were wrong, and nor can they look at the evidence, so what’s left? Post hoc random over-analysis of the irrelevant. Before, skeptics were paid hacks… and now they’re wrong because they … are ideologically against big government and regulation. From one ad hom to another.

And again, the ABC uses our taxes to promote the smear campaign, support neolithic reasoning, and does everything it can to stop people talking about scientific evidence (by spreading misinformation or slurs about all the characters on one side).

Oreskes and freelance writer Graham Readfearn can’t discuss the evidence (or lack of) for their favourite faith, but they spend a lot of time digging up irrelevant details instead.

Are man-made emissions a problem? How would we find the answer? Look not at sedimentary rocks but at stationery and submissions. As if the answer to tropical convective processes might be hidden on IPA letterhead, or in subliminal messages coded in the number of peer reviewed reports. It’s tea-leaves and rune-stones stuff, and people kid themselves that Blackberries or Androids make us modern, but the writing of people like Oreskes and Readfearn reminds us that human brains still carry software from the paleolithic.

They simply can’t string a reasoned scientific argument together, but instead reflexively resort to discussing motivations, character, ideology or just gossip about “who their friends are”.

Here’s Oreskes. She “knows” she’s right, she just has to figure why other people haven’t seen the light too:

“It’s part of this whole ideological program of challenging any science that could lead to government regulation, because it’s part of an ideological conviction that all regulation is bad, that any time the government steps in to ‘protect’ us from harm, that we’re on the slippery slope to socialism, and this is the ideology that you see underlying a kind of almost paranoid anti-communism. So even after the Cold War is over, these people are seeing reds under the bed.”

Ponder the inanity of “paranoid anti-communism?”

The Death Toll from far-left governments has been tagged at more than 100 million which is about three times higher than the current known death toll from AIDS. You can see how meaningless the Oreskes line-of-wordsmithing becomes. What’s the difference: paranoid anti-communism, or paranoid anti-AIDSism? The difference is, Oreskes won’t be trying to inanely badge or label the AIDS workers.

What is a rational fear if being afraid of mass murder is “paranoid”?

The double fallacy: When the ad hom isn’t even correct: Evidence matters so little to the smear campaigners that Readfearn doesn’t even bother to research his ad hominem targets:

"You can’t help but think that Roskam must have been chuckling to himself as he wrote that statement, given the paucity of actual peer-reviewed scientific research on climate change amongst the book’s contributors, which included Ian Plimer, Richard Lindzen, Nigel Lawson, William Kininmonth, Willie Soon, Christopher Monckton, Garth Paltridge plus the IPA’s own Alan Moran and Roskam himself".

Thus, hundreds of peer reviewed papers are described as a paucity. Richard Lindzen: 235 peer reviewed papers. Garth Paltridge: scores (in journals like Nature, J. Geophys. Res., J. Atmos. Sci., Q. J. Roy.Meteor. Soc), Willie Soon: dozens (Like Climate Research, Energy & Environment, and The Astrophysical Journal).

Ten minutes to google and Readfearn couldn’t be bothered. He apparently wants everyone to think that only people with peer reviewed climate papers should be listened to, but while he thinks climate scientists with hundreds of papers are worth mocking, he’s proud of his own climate science record. His opinions on the climate are worth televising… (According to him, and, of course, the ABC):

"Earlier this year, Lord Monckton was featured heavily in newspaper coverage when he conducted a speaking tour in towns and cities across the country, including a debate in Brisbane which was televised by the ABC (featuring yours truly). Monckton, like the majority of sceptics, has no science training and while he is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile sceptics, he has never had a peer-reviewed climate science paper published".

And Readfearn of course has not published a peer reviewed paper either. But he’s a journalist. Again, one of the anointed for whom the laws of logic part like the Red Sea.

On the plus side though, Readfearn is flexible – it’s not just ad hominem attacks and argument from authority — he can do other logical fallacies too. When he needs to, he can confuse cause and effect:

"At one point or another, pretty much every one of these climate sceptics (or sceptics of the need for action) have also been hosted by one or more of the US-based free-market think-tanks".

He think the “links” are meaningful as if correlation was causation.

The free market think tanks — shock me — approach people who have also come to similar conclusions. And passionate scientists not-so-surprisingly seek out groups and conferences of like-minded people.

Though as it happens the dastardly think tanks also approached Al Gore. The only difference is that Al was too scared to speak at one of the free market think tank events, even if they paid him. He knows he can’t answer their questions.

Oreskes and Readfearn’s ability to reason is so confused they can’t think their way out of a paragraph. You know you’ve found another taxpayer funded cesspit of reason when the writers can’t even pass their own flawed “tests”.


Green/Left attacking Australia's fishing indusrty

THE days of being able to buy fresh, local prawns are under threat from Federal and State Labor following the release of plans to prohibit prawn trawling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park, Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker said.

The NSW Government yesterday announced a proposed new plan of management to expand the sanctuary zone from 12 to 20 per cent and to totally prohibit prawn trawling in the park within two years.

“The extreme actions of the NSW Government follow the Rudd Government’s announcement to further assess an area up to 80 kilometres off shore in order to establish a new Commonwealth Marine Reserve," mr Hartsuyker said. “The local commercial fishing industry understandably feels very threatened by both Federal and State Labor. “The NSW Government has now made it very clear that they want the commercial fishers gone. There is nothing balanced about this approach.

"Both Federal and State Labor want to rip the heart and soul out of the local commercial fishing industry. “If Labor gets its ways we will no longer be able to catch local prawns and consumers will have no choice but to purchase imported seafood."

Mr Hartsuyker said it would not only cost jobs, but would also be a boon for the seafood black market.

“Today’s announcement also highlights why the local fishing and tourism industries are so concerned about the process to establish commonwealth marine reserves," he said. “There are serious concerns that Federal Minister Peter Garrett will be guided by the extreme ideology in his department. "Those concerns are now well based given what the NSW Government has now announced.

“The flow on effect to commonwealth waters is scary. "Sustainable fishing is vital, but I believe it is wrong to blanket ban prawn trawling over the complete area.”

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, has slammed the decision by NSW Minister Frank Sartor to place further restrictions on the Solitary Island Marine Park.

Mr Fraser said it was obvious this decision was being made in an order to garner Green preference in Labor-held marginal seats in Sydney such as Balmain and Marrickville. “The decision to ban prawn trawling in the marine reserve cannot be supported by any scientific evidence as prawn trawling is done in areas where there are no reefs, because reefs will damage fishing nets worth thousands of dollars," Mr Fraser said.

“I believe recreational fishers will also be severely impacted with sanctuary zones being increased from 12 per cent to 20 per cent as sanctuary zones are only the reef areas and the vast majority of reefs and islands are already sanctuary zones.

“This will mean that fishing competitions such as the Easter Classic could disappear altogether because if you can’t fish where the fish are, you can’t catch any fish and therefore, you can’t have a competition.”

Mr Fraser is urging Coffs Coast residents to make a submission objecting the proposal. “I totally agree with Mr Sartor when he says 87% of people favour the marine park, but if he locks it up to the extent that is being planned he will find that people’s support of the marine park will disappear," Mr Fraser said. “All sensitive areas are currently protected and commercial and recreational fishing can take place without damaging the Marine Park.

"My message to Mr Sartor is to stop destroying a recreational and commercial fishing industry in Coffs Harbour in order to gain preferences from the Greens in Sydney’s marginal seats.

“If the prawn and fisheries close we will have increasing imports, and industry sources have advised me that black market reef fish will be purchased by restaurants as they won’t be able to buy it locally.”


Coal: Realism trumps Warmism

The Australian State of Queensland to increase coal production by 80 per cent over next two decades

DESPITE global concern over climate change and carbon emissions, Queensland will increase coal production by almost 80 per cent over the next two decades, Premier Anna Bligh says.

Making her annual address to the Queensland Resources Council before an audience of 900 miners and business people from related industries today, Ms Bligh announced the Government's new coal plan. "The coal plan estimates that over the next 20 years, the Queensland coal industry has the potential to significantly increase its production of saleable coal from approximately 190 million tonnes per annum up to 340 million tonnes per annum," Ms Bligh said. "That is an increase of almost 80 per cent."

Ms Bligh said the plan outlined how demand for coal will outstrip all other fuels in absolute terms. "But 97 per cent of projected growth is expected to come from non-OECD countries like China and India," she said. "Developed countries on the other hand, like South Korea, are looking to reduce their reliance on coal."

She said South Korea will use Queensland gas to meet its growing energy demands. "I think it speaks volumes about the diversification of the Queensland resource industry and about Queensland as a mines and energy powerhouse of Australia and the region," Ms Bligh said.

Ms Bligh, responding to a "Lock the Gate" campaign launched by farmers in southern Queensland earlier this week, said the state's Strategic Cropping Land policy had been released for public discussion. She said there was a need to provide certainty for miners and farmers. "Government has an obligation to prevent the permanent alienation of the best of the best food producing country in Queensland."

Outside the QRC luncheon in Brisbane, Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said the Government had gone a long way to meeting the concerns of landholders who are objecting to the activities of coal and gas explorers on their land.

Mr Robertson said the Government had redressed the lack of balance, which had favoured miners. "New laws have been put in place to recognise the rights of landholders," he said. "I don't like to see people involved in this type of (protest) action when government has clearly demonstrated a preparedness to listen to their concerns and act on those concerns, and that's what we've done," Mr Robertson said.

The QRC also launched a website it says details the contribution mining makes to the Queensland economy, and it quickly drew fire from the Queensland Conservation Council. Toby Hutcheon, executive director of the QCC, said fossil fuel exports have a questionable future.



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


24 November, 2010

Gore does 180 on ethanol, blames “politics”

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore reportedly has had a change of heart on ethanol, telling a conference on green energy in Europe that he only supported tax breaks for the alternative fuel to pander to farmers in his home state of Tennessee and the first-in-the-nation caucuses state of Iowa.

Speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank, Gore said the lobbyists have wrongly kept alive the program he once touted.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Reuters quoted Gore saying of the U.S. policy that is about to come up for congressional review. "First-generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president," the wire service reported Gore saying.

Credits for corn ethanol subsidies expire at the end of the year unless Congress moves to renew the $7.7 billion annual program. Opponents of the corn subsidies say that it removes valuable food products from the table because the U.S. ethanol industry drives up the price of corn.

Reuters reported that Gore attributed a variety of factors to the food pricing crisis that has emerged, but that biofuels definitely have had an effect. "The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first-generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices," he said. "The competition with food prices is real."

Ethanol production this year will reportedly consume 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop and 15 percent of the global corn crop. Last month, the Agriculture Department said corn crop production would fall this year and attributed the decline to the increase in the price of corn.

More than half of all corn production in the U.S. goes to feeding livestock. On Monday, Agrinet news reported that the USDA's world outlook board has found that the quality of corn production, despite the lower production level, had improved livestock weights, making beef, pork and chicken healthier and therefore able to feed more people.

Reuters reported that Gore had less concern about second-generation ethanol production, which does not compete with food since it uses chemicals or enzymes to extract sugar from fiber in wood, waste or grass. "I do think second and third generation that don't compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels," Gore reportedly said.

The Media Research Center's Noel Sheppard noted that as vice president, Gore was the tie-breaking vote in 1994 when the Senate voted to authorize ethanol production. Sheppard said that those who question Gore's motives behind the climate change movement that landed the former vice president a Nobel prize and Oscar should also look to his comments on ethanol.

"So more than 10 years ago, Gore supported an expensive, 'not good policy' because he thought it would help him get elected president. Yet media don't believe he'd misrepresent the threat of manmade global warming in order to become extremely rich," Sheppard wrote Monday.


An American Solution for Energy Independence

Bobby Jindal

In the wake of Republicans’ takeover of the House, many pundits are convinced that the federal government will be at a stalemate for the next two years, unable to get anything done. I believe we can—and should—do better. One area where I believe we can make significant strides with common sense solutions is in energy.

As governor of one of America’s largest oil producing states, you could reasonably assume that I’m a proponent of fossil fuels. Guilty as charged—and the 2010 oil spill off the Louisiana coast, awful as it is, hasn’t changed that.

But what may surprise you is that along with being a big supporter of fossil fuels, I’m also a big proponent of developing any and all methods of producing energy that works. I even support pursuing technologies that don’t exist yet. Not all of them will succeed, but we have to consider every option in order to make more America energy independent.

The problem is that many Washington decision makers are either seriously misinformed or willfully ignorant about energy. Republicans seem instinctively to oppose cultivating energy sources favored by the environmental movement, such as solar and wind power. Likewise, Democrats often stridently oppose the expansion of traditional energy sources such as oil, coal, and nuclear power. Here’s an idea: how about we do it all? That’s not a Republican or Democrat solution. That’s an American solution.

One green technology largely ignored by the Left is nuclear power. You heard me right, nuclear energy is in fact a green technology, and it’s one of the best options we have to simultaneously make our country’s economy grow and protect our environment. Nuclear power is safe, reliable, emission free, and can create a steady supply of energy. One reactor can produce on average as much power as thousands of wind turbines at a fraction of the cost.

There is no excuse for us to be lagging behind many other countries in nuclear power. Today we get about 20 percent of our electricity from America’s 104 nuclear power plants. But France gets 79 percent, Sweden 45 percent, South Korea 38 percent, and Belgium 56 percent of their electricity from nuclear reactors.

While conservatives need to embrace the possibilities of green energy, the Left has to also understand that the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, is not a four-letter word. The bottom line is this: scaling back domestic drilling, and preventing drilling in ANWR, won’t cut our use of oil and natural gas. It just means even more of our supply will come from foreign countries.

America has tremendous energy resources, but a lot of them sit under federal land. And 94 percent of federal land has been put off-limits to energy development. We have more coal than any other country, but we’re prevented from accessing a lot of it. In Alaska’s vast and frozen ANWR, we could produce an estimated 15 billion gallons of oil annually from an area roughly the size of an airport. Within ANWR, that’s the equivalent of drilling on an area the size of a postage stamp placed on a football field. The new Congress must ease our reliance on foreign oil by opening up ANWR to drilling.

We also need to access our offshore oil reserves that are currently blocked by the federal government. The Interior Department estimates the U.S. continental shelf contains 115 billion barrels of oil and 633 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s enough oil to fuel our country for sixteen years and enough natural gas for twenty-five years.

I’m not talking about putting oil rigs on Miami Beach—I’m simply calling for balance. Many people will point to the recent oil spill of the Deepwater Horizon rig off Louisiana as a reason to halt new offshore drilling. As one of the governors who has to deal with this mess, I’m not going to sugarcoat it—the oil spill was a tragedy, costing eleven people their lives. Thousands of square miles of ocean have been contaminated, hundreds of species may be affected, and countless fishermen have been cut off from their livelihoods. We will need to focus state and federal agencies to clean it up and make sure those responsible ultimately pay the bill. However, we shouldn’t overreact to the spill with a knee-jerk move to ban new offshore drilling.

I say let the people of each state choose whether they want offshore drilling, and let them share in the royalties if they do. We’ve been drilling off the Louisiana coast since 1947 and now produce 91 percent of the oil and 72 percent of the natural gas that comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Offshore drilling has its risks, as we’ve seen firsthand in my state. But for Louisiana it’s meant thousands of jobs and billions in revenue to help fund schools and to improve our residents’ lives in many other ways. And it’s meant more domestically produced energy for all of America. If we want to keep America strong and prosperous, we need a policy that aims for energy independence. Forget the self-serving cries from interest groups that want to favor one energy source over the other. The smart thing—the common-sense solution—is to pursue them all.


Even NPR sees that the climate debate is not about science

So they interview below Andrew Hoffman, a professor of sustainable enterprise at the University of Michigan. Hoffman thinks that psychology has a lot to do with it but, not being a psychologist, he is not sure what


Little debate persists in the scientific community on climate change, yet a Pew survey last month showed a major ideological rift. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats say there's solid evidence of global warming. Thirty-eight percent of Republicans agreed. When an issue becomes that polarized, discussion often turns into argument, and many decide to steer clear of the topic. Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan, believes his fellow social scientists have ignored this cultural divide over climate change and could contribute a lot more to the debate.

Andrew Hoffman is a professor of sustainable enterprise at the University of Michigan and joins us on the phone from Montreal today. Nice to have you with us.

Professor ANDREW HOFFMAN (Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan): Oh, it's a pleasure to be here.

CONAN: And if the public debate over climate change isn't really about the scientists - about the science, what is it about?

Prof. HOFFMAN: Well, we can say it's not about the science, but it's also a cultural issue, that the difference you described between Democrats and Republicans is a really interesting one, that there's something deeper at play here. And you can just focus on parts per million, but there's an underlying thread of issues about personal freedom, access to science, the role of big government. There's a lot of cultural underpinnings to this debate. And any kind of proposed policy changes are not - it's not politically inert. It does invoke cultural frames that are part of the debate.

CONAN: And the way you described those cultural frames, they are more or less mutually exclusive.

Prof. HOFFMAN: Well, you know, there are some that are places where people can talk about a common issue. But the one danger is a logic schism, or what Roger Pielke describes as abortion politics, where the two sides are talking about two completely separate issues and only look for information that confirms their opinion and disconfirms the other. And the danger is whether climate change will reach that level of schism.

CONAN: And it is beginning to approach that, at least according to some of your research.

Prof. HOFFMAN: Well, we're still working through the data and trying to answer that question. But there is - there are some sharp differences in terms of the logics, the frames and the culture, between the climate-skeptical, what we're describing, and also the climate-convinced.

CONAN: And the - part of the problem seems to be the attitude of some of those who argue strongly for the case for global warming. And they have the science on their side, it has to be admitted, but their attitude towards those who are skeptics suggesting that this conversation is not very productive if you begin with the attitude that your opponents are stupid.

Prof. HOFFMAN: Mm-hmm. I think that if you draw a bell curve of the debate, it's the tails that are dominating our conversation. And that's true with many debates, whether it's climate change or abortion, gun control or health care, and that rational dialogue or a thoughtful dialogue occurs in the middle. And somehow we have to get it out of the polarizing positions on the two tails of the bell curve and try to focus on what are the real issues at play here.

CONAN: And have you, in your effort to bring social science to - have you done research on this?

CONAN: There was an interesting piece in The New York Times that quoted, among others, you. But one of the people they quoted was Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who was less than impressed by this proposed field of research. He said: From this confusion they pretend to play Jane Goodall peering in on a strange culture standing in their way. He wrote to the Times in an email: Sorry I'm too busy to give something like that a whole lot of thought right now.

Some of the skeptics' objections are that science - these are elite, elitist scientists and they would put you in that same category.

Prof. HOFFMAN: I guess they would. This is the kind of polarizing language, you know, demonizing one side versus the other. You know, the idea of studying cultures, studying values systems, studying beliefs, this is what the field of sociology and organizational theory does. And it's not, you know, to set it up as studying some culture that's standing in their way. That's not what this is about. It's about promoting understanding of the complex debate that's before us.

CONAN: Are you studying both sides or just...

Prof. HOFFMAN: Yes. Yes. We're studying the differences. We're trying to understand what frames and logic are used on one side, what frames and logic are used on the other side, and are they talking a similar language and similar frames or are they talking different frames.


Another Top International Scientist Jumps off Global Warming ‘Titanic’

By John O'Sullivan

A top East European climatologist, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with UN global warming colleagues, jumps a sinking ship as ocean data signals a cooler climate.

Dr. Lucka Kajfež Bogataj left cold clear water between herself and her former UN shipmates by declaring that rising levels of airborne carbon dioxide probably don’t cause global temperatures to rise. The news scuppers hope for a change in fortune for the beleagured UN climate agency.

The Slovenian climate professor made the chilling announcement last month in an obscure foreign language journal that has only now been translated into English. The lambast came in the publication Delo Polet (18/11/2010), translated into English as, “Inconvenient Truth.”

Buried in an otherwise drab study on paleo - and proxy methods, Dr. Bogataj admitted to what skeptics have long been saying and what the ice core proxy data shows: that rises in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) are proven to mostly, if not always, occur AFTER rises in temperature.

The eminent Slovenian expert is also key climate change adviser to her nation’s president, Danilo Turk. Bogataj’s article, translated into English by her countryman, Miso Alkalaj, makes a startling admission:

“A detailed comparison of temperature data and the quantity of carbon dioxide captured in the ice shows, that sometimes it warmed up first and then the concentration of carbon dioxide increased, and sometimes vice versa, but on average the temperature changed first and some 700 years later a change in aerial content of carbon dioxide followed.”


Eastern Europe Puts Emergency Brakes On Solar Energy

In order to avoid higher electricity prices, Prague is slowing the solar power boom and is slapping a new tax on it. It will be the death knell for smaller operators - up to 1450 companies are seriously affected by the new tax

A change in the law with radical implications for solar energy investors is stirring controversy in the Czech Republic. While the world is trying to increase the share of renewable energy, the Czech Republic is increasingly concerned about renewable energy, especially with regards expensive solar power. A solar boom has raised fears that electricity prices could explode and networks could become unstable.

As a result, the lower house of the Czech parliament has voted, by a large majority, for a new law put forward by the center-right government. It has been welcomed almost universally by the media as necessary “photovoltaic breaks.” The law slaps a 26 percent tax on any revenue from the operation of solar energy projects put into operation since last year.

Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek expects more than four billion kronor (160 million euros) in additional tax revenues. He will, however, pass on the revenue to energy distributors so that they will not pass on the expected increase in electricity prices to consumers. For solar installations that will be available from next year, feed-in tariffs will be reduced by more than half.

President Klaus: "Promotion was nonsense"

The operators of solar energy consider the legal amendment as a death sentence: "What my father and I have invested in our system, we will never recuperate during my life time" one of the smaller private operators complained on television. Especially for smaller investors, the new solar tax will certainly be disastrous, complained another.

In order to make the construction of new solar energy projects less attractive in the future, the MPs also decided to increase the fee for the conversion of farmland for the purpose of generating renewable energy.

President Vaclav Klaus makes no secret of his support for the new law: "Everyone knows that we all are going to pay for decades for the nonsense to promote photovoltaics." The opposition is largely supportive of the government’s action, but points to a risk: Because the law is going to apply retroactively in some cases, operators are threatening to take legal action. This could result in fines of several billion euros, warned Social Democrat MP David Rath.

Up to 1450 companies are going to be affected by the new tax, according to estimates by the association of solar energy operators. Thanks to a 2005 law, investors in solar energy, but also of other forms of renewables, were promised a guaranteed price above the market price, calculated on the basis of what was then still high construction costs.

Rapidly falling construction costs, however, turned especially photovoltaic energy projects into a lucrative business. According to media reports, they already reach a total capacity of 1034 MW, more capacity than one block of the nuclear power plant in Temelin.

Guaranteed market remains

The amount of solar energy generation is increasing fast, but it is more expensive compared to nuclear power and conventional energy. Because utilities are still obligated to buy solar energy, Czech electricity prices would have increased by up to 20 percent this year, according to the government. This would have triggered a consumer uprising.

It would have been easier to ditch the renewables obligation altogether instead of the legal amendment now chosen. But this would have posed a greater risk of billions of euros in compensation claims against the Czech Republic, says the energy law specialist, Austrian lawyer Bernhard Hager.

In the neighbouring country of Slovakia, an amendment to the Energy Law was adopted in May which has severely curtailed the potential for solar energy investment.


Costly Greenie energy fanaticism killing old people in Britain

All Brits have to subsidize the vast windmill craze through their power bills

Nine elderly people died every hour from cold-related illnesses last winter against a background of soaring energy bills. Official figures show the number of deaths linked to cold over the four-month period reached 25,400 in England and Wales, plus 2,760 in Scotland.

Charities and energy company critics claim the UK has the highest winter death rate in northern Europe, even worse than much colder countries such as Finland and Sweden.

There are fears the toll could rise this year following a recent barrage of price rises that may frighten elderly people into not turning on their heating.

While the UK death rate is high, the total was down by around 30 per cent compared with 2008/9 because there were fewer flu outbreaks, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Dot Gibson, of the National Pensioners Convention, said: ‘Since 1997 we have lost more than 300,000 pensioners during the winter months because of cold-related illnesses, yet the Government seems incapable of acting. No other section of our society is so vulnerable and treated so badly. ‘Pensioners see rising fuel bills and are constantly worried about whether or not they can afford to put their heating on.’ She added: ‘Around 3.5million pensioner households are spending more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel bills and are living in fuel poverty.’

The Coalition government has kept the last administration’s Winter Fuel Allowance payments of £250 for pensioners and £400 for those over 80. But the allowance should be raised, said Miss Gibson, adding: ‘What these people need now is more money so they can avoid having to decide whether to heat or eat.’

Maria Wardrobe, of the charity National Energy Action, said: ‘Britain still has the highest number of excess winter deaths in northern Europe which is a national disgrace, and more needs to be done to tackle the problem of fuel poverty. ‘Those most at risk to the effects of cold weather must not have to make a choice over whether to heat their homes or end up ill and in debt to their energy supplier.’

Dave Timms, from Friends of the Earth, said: ‘Living in a cold, damp house can make heart disease and strokes more likely. It’s a disgrace that millions of vulnerable people in Britain live in homes lacking basic insulation.’ He said the Government’s Energy Bill, which is to be published next month, should include a programme to insulate all the nation’s homes.

Michelle Mitchell, director of the charity Age UK, said:'It’s still unacceptable that in this day and age tens of thousands more older people die in this country every winter from the effects of the cold weather.

'As another winter sets in, plummeting temperatures will once again spell misery, ill-health and, in some cases, even death for too many people in later life across the country.

'The simple fact that the UK has one of the highest winter mortality rates in Europe – higher than even Sweden or Finland – makes it clear this is very much a home-grown problem. 'These are avoidable deaths due not just to the cold weather in itself but to the country’s inability to meet the challenge of dropping temperatures.'

Public health minister Anne Milton said: ‘Information to help vulnerable people keep warm and well will be made available to GP surgeries and local organisations. 'The elderly, and those who are ill, are particularly vulnerable during cold weather. 'We all have a role to play in remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk especially at this time of year.’



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


23 November, 2010

Deciding the conclusion before examining the evidence?

It's not science but it is standard IPCC procedure

United Nations leaders will demand "concrete results" from the looming Cancun climate summit as global warming is accelerating, a top UN organizer of the event said Monday.

Robert Orr, UN under secretary general for planning, said the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming will be much worse than the last one. [How does he know? I think I know!]

Representatives from 194 countries are to meet in the Mexican resort city of Cancun from November 29 to December 10 for a new attempt to strike a deal to curb greenhouse gases after 2012.

Orr told reporters that negotiators heading for the Cancun conference "need to remind themselves, the longer we delay, the more we will pay both in terms of lives and in terms of money."
He said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would make it clear to world leaders in Cancun "that we should not take any comfort in the climate deniers' siren call."

"The evidence shows us quite the opposite-- that we can't rest easy at all" as scientists agree that climate change "is happening in an accelerated way."

"As preparations are underway for the next IPCC report, just about everything that you will see in the next report will be more dramatic than the last report, because that is where all the data is pointing."

The fourth IPCC assessment released in 2007 said that global warming is "unequivocal" and mainly caused by human activity.
Its next report, involving contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, is due in 2014.

With many countries fearful of a repeat of last year's bitter Copenhagen summit failure, Orr said that progress is possible in Cancun. If governments "understand the peril that their populations are in, it is much easier to get over the political hurdles to do what you have to do," he said.


Somerville, Oreskes Refuse To Debate Fred Singer

Fred Singer offered to debate Richard Somerville and Naomi Oreskes in January in San Diego. Both declined. Oreskes said she didn’t want to debate someone “with a known record of promoting public misrepresentation of science.”

Richard Somerville works in La Jolla and claims that sea level is rising “at the high end of forecasts.” This in spite of the fact that the beach outside his office has shown little visible change in sea level over the last 140 years – as seen in the animation below.

The NOAA tide gauge in La Jolla shows no change over at least the last 25 years, and only a few inches difference in the last 80 years.

Perhaps what Oreskes meant to say was that she didn’t want to debate someone “with a known record of exposing public misrepresentation of science.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Fred Singer comments: I fully understand the unwillingness of Somerville (and Oreskes) to debate the scientific evidence underlying current fears of Global Warming. They obviously prefer to avoid scrutiny of the 'facts' that they so widely trumpet.

In Oreskes' case, a debate would also constitute a tacit admission that there is no complete 'scientific consensus,' and thereby destroy her dogmatic claims.

"Climate scientists are more than willing, at any time, any place, to explain their science and show their results to anybody that asks"

As long as you are not Fred Singer, presumably, and as long as you are allowed to "hide the decline"

Recently I got the chance to speak with Michael Mann—by far the most attacked climate researcher on the planet—and to ask what he was expecting from the next Congress, and how he might respond. Mann pulled no punches. “I think I speak for the entire scientific community,” he answered, “in saying that if scientists are subject to the sorts of McCarthyite witch hunts that took place during the 1950s, there will I suspect be a very fierce pushback by the scientific community, and by public interest groups that support science.” ....

One type of hearing would be open minded and informational, calling upon scientists to testify about their federally funded research and its implications. That’s what Congress ought to be doing, and scientists will participate eagerly. “Climate scientists are more than willing, at any time, any place, to explain their science and show their results to anybody that asks,” observes climate modeler Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who along with Mann created the leading climate science website “Real Climate.”


Experts Tell Global Warming Liars to Lie Differently Not to Stop Lying

So climate change experts having finally got the message. And the message is: their message sucks. In fact, their “Scare the hell out of us” screed was so awful, researchers claim, that it actually undermined their mission. Which, I always thought, was to scare the hell out of us.

Yep, according to Cal-Berkeley shrinks, dire predictions about global warming can “backfire if presented too negatively.” Of course that raises one question: how to do present dire predictions, positively? “Hey, were all gunna die. LOL.”

Which leads me to a theory: these Berkeley researchers are dopes. Look the fact is, people like me questioned global warming evidence because we’d seen this hysteria before – with emotional warnings about the coming ice age, the dangers of nuclear power, artificial sweeteners and DDT.

And this caused us to grow cold to such crap, and overlook real threats like terrorism, the resurgence of malaria, and of course, the rise of Ed Hardy t-shirts. Worse, with global warming, we saw that anyone who dare to question the hysteria would be labeled a “skeptic,” and treated like a “leper.” And never get “laid.”

But the climategate scandal proved that inevitably, these cocky GW experts would overstep the science, get humbled, retreat into therapy. (Have you seen Gore lately?)

So now, finally, shrinks are saying these experts should rethink their messaging.

Of course, this is still not tackling the real problem. Note that the shrinks aren’t telling experts to stop exaggerating consequences – instead, they say, “present solutions to global warming.”

Meaning: just assume your lies were right all along and push the curly light bulbs.

That ain’t gunna work either. And if you disagree with me you’re a racist homophobic globalphobe.


A leading environmental group (John Muir Trust) speaks against wind energy plans

The Scottish Government has no way of verifying claims by wind-farm developers on the carbon footprint of their turbines, a leading wildlife charity has revealed.

Now the John Muir Trust claims no large wind farms should be approved by planners until developers' environmental claims can be independently confirmed by government scientists.

Both the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) say verifying claims of "carbon payback" by wind-farm companies is not part of their remit.

The carbon payback period - the length of time it will take for the wind farm to compensate for carbon emissions resulting from its development - is often highlighted by firms to promote their green credentials.

In their response to the proposed Viking wind farm on Shetland, SEPA said they had been requested by the Scottish Government to review the carbon balance of wind developments but that they had no funding or expertise available.

Helen McDade, head of policy for the John Muir Trust, said it was "extraordinary" that no government agency is equipped to give an independent answer on carbon payback. She added: "For the Scottish Government to deliver on its commitment to reducing carbon emissions, it needs to give its agencies the resources to effectively review this important aspect of applications.

"Without independent auditing of carbon payback, we are basically forced to rely on the word of developers who stand to make millions of pounds if an application goes ahead. "We need to stick to a precautionary principle and avoid siting major developments of this scale on fragile peatlands, which are an important carbon store."

SNH, which is officially consulted by the Scottish Government over the impact of wind farms, confirmed that it does not assess carbon payback claims made by developers. Spokesman Calum Macfarlane said: "It is not part of our remit. If a carbon payback figure is mentioned by a developer, it is not something that features in our response. We look at landscape, wildlife and habitat considerations."

SEPA also confirmed it does not carry out its own audit of developers' carbon payback claims.

Viking Energy has cut the number of turbines proposed for its contentious wind farm by 23 and says the carbon payback time for the £685 million project will be less than one year. The downward revision of the carbon payback time stems from an estimate that more than two-thirds of peat on the site is "already deteriorating and releasing stored carbon".


There Will Be Fossil Fuels in Abundance – For Decades To Come

THREE summers ago, the world’s supertankers were racing across the oceans as fast as they could to deliver oil to markets growing increasingly thirsty for energy. Americans were grumbling about paying as much as $4 a gallon for gasoline, as the price of crude oil leapt to $147 a barrel. Natural gas prices were vaulting too, sending home electricity bills soaring.

A book making the rounds at the time, “Twilight in the Desert,” by Matthew R. Simmons, seemed to sum up the conventional wisdom: the age of cheap, plentiful oil and gas was over. “Sooner or later, the worldwide use of oil must peak,” the book concluded, “because oil, like the other two fossil fuels, coal and natural gas, is nonrenewable.”

But no sooner did the demand-and-supply equation shift out of kilter than it swung back into something more palatable and familiar. Just as it seemed that the world was running on fumes, giant oil fields were discovered off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, and Canadian oil sands projects expanded so fast, they now provide North America with more oil than Saudi Arabia. In addition, the United States has increased domestic oil production for the first time in a generation.

Meanwhile, another wave of natural gas drilling has taken off in shale rock fields across the United States, and more shale gas drilling is just beginning in Europe and Asia. Add to that an increase in liquefied natural gas export terminals around the world that connected gas, which once had to be flared off, to the world market, and gas prices have plummeted.

Energy experts now predict decades of residential and commercial power at reasonable prices. Simply put, the world of energy has once again been turned upside down.

“Oil and gas will continue to be pillars for global energy supply for decades to come,” said James Burkhard, a managing director of IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm. “The competitiveness of oil and gas and the scale at which they are produced mean that there are no readily available substitutes in either one year or 20 years.”

Some unpleasant though predictable consequences are likely, of course, as the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this spring demonstrated. Some environmentalists say that gas from shale depends on drilling techniques and chemicals that may jeopardize groundwater supplies, and that a growing dependence on Canadian oil sands is more dangerous for the climate than most conventional oils because mining and processing of the sands require so much energy and a loss of forests.

And while moderately priced oil and gas bring economic relief, they also make renewable sources of energy like wind and solar relatively expensive and less attractive to investors unless governments impose a price on carbon emissions.

“When wind guys talk to each other,” said Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy Partners, a developer of transmission lines for renewable energy, “they say, ‘Damn, what are we going to do about the price of natural gas?’ ”

Oil and gas executives say they provide a necessary energy bridge; that because both oil and gas have a fraction of the carbon-burning intensity of coal, it makes sense to use them until wind, solar, geothermal and the rest become commercially viable.

“We should celebrate the fact that we have enough oil and gas to carry us forward until a new energy technology can take their place,” said Robert N. Ryan Jr., Chevron’s vice president for global exploration.

Mr. Skelly and other renewable energy entrepreneurs counter that without a government policy fixing a price on carbon emissions through a tax or cap and trade, the hydrocarbon bridge could go on and on without end.



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


22 November, 2010

The Week That Was (To November 20, 2010)

Excerpt from Ken Haapala

This week the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the US House of Representatives held a hearing entitled: "A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, and the Response." We attended the first two panels of three panels of this almost 4 hour long hearing.

Since the new Congress does not convene until January, the hearing was held under a House controlled by the Democratic Party. The following are a few impressions of the proceedings.

Several members commented how unusual it was to have one dissenter on each panel. The usual practice has been one dissenter for the entire hearing. This change, no doubt, was in response to the elections. Chairman Brian Baird (D) of Washington chose not to run again in a contested district and Ranking Member Bob Inglis (R) of South Carolina lost his primary election to a tea party candidate. Both Baird and Inglis expressed great concern over ocean acidification from increased carbon dioxide.

Returning Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) from Maryland advocates electricity from alternative sources. Among other reasons he believes in "peak oil" and that a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) is needed to compete with China as well as for national security. Apparently, he is unaware that only 1% of electricity is generated from oil and RES will do virtually nothing to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

Also returning are Rep. Ralph Hall (R, Texas) and Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R, CA). Hall read into the record a statement questioning global warming claims and supporting industry. Rohrabacher stayed for much of the portion we attended, asking questions from the witnesses and submitting into the record President Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation in which he cautions the public of the dangers of a military-industrial complex and a scientific-technological elite controlling public policy.

On the first panel the advocates were represented by Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, Gerald Meehl of National Center for Atmospheric Research (NACR), and Heidi Cullen of Climate Central. The dissident was Richard Lindzen of MIT.

In the oral testimony and the Q & A Cicerone and Meehl were typical, both relying heavily on models and authority. Both asserted that warming causes changes in cloud cover (clouds are a feedback). Cicerone claimed sea level rise is increasing. Meehl asserted increases in climate extremes and temperature extremes in the past decade. He ignored the 1930s. Politely described, Heidi's comments are forgettable.

In the oral testimony and the Q & A, Lindzen was exceptional. He asserted that the wrong question is being asked - the key consideration is climate sensitivity. He outlined areas of general agreement, for example, that the calculated effect of a doubling of CO2 will likely result in an increase in temperatures of about 1 deg. C and observations indicate one half that. He pointed out that the different models use different values for aerosols [values which are not empirically determined] but are adjusted by the modelers. Lindzen asserted the influence of clouds is some 20 times the influence of CO2. When asked how much cooler would the earth be would be without CO2, Lindzen said about 2.5 deg. C. The others questioned this estimate but gave no meaningful rationale for their doubt.

The advocates on the second panel were Benjamin Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Richard Alley of Penn State, and Richard Feely of NOAA. The dissident was Patrick Michaels of Cato.

The Q & A during the second panel was quite interesting. Michaels held his own against Santer, who obviously believes that anyone who disagrees with him is absolutely, totally, undeniably wrong.

No doubt some of the committee members were disturbed by the testimony and comments by Richard Feely of NOAA. He claimed ocean acidification has increased 20% which is resulting in dire coral die off, and if it continues, millions of species will become extinct. Feely claimed sea organisms are already becoming smaller. During the Q & A he asserted that a pH of 7.7 [a base] will cause the Arctic and Antarctic oceans to become corrosive from top to bottom. No doubt under the current administration, "ocean acidification" is becoming a big push from NOAA as one of the scary consequences of increasing CO2.

[Fortunately, the website CO2 Science continues to compile the largest online database on ocean acidification. Craig Idso states: "for the degree of pH decline that is projected, we do not find the disaster that is promulgated by the alarmists." Populations of some organisms may decline, but populations of many others will likely grow. See here]

Evidently, Rep. Inglis is so taken by the term "ocean acidification" that he produced an egg in which the shell had been dissolved by a combination of water and vinegar, which is an acid. Apparently, he believes oceans will become an acid rather then become less alkaline.

The advocates repeated the slogan: multiple lines of evidence. What is meant by lines of evidence is not clear.


November 20, 2010 marks the one-year anniversary of the appearance of the Climategate emails. Thus far, there are no official announcements of who did the deed - a leaker or a hacker. Over the year, the transformation is remarkable. A year ago it appeared likely that an international agreement would be reached whereby Western nations, at least, would permit an international organization to control the use of fossil fuels. Today it appears unlikely for many of these nations. A year ago the slogan was Climate Justice, which is rapidly disappearing. As importantly, after two decades of propaganda a monolithic belief has been cracked and in many circles open questioning of this belief is permitted.


Of course there are some organizations in which the monolithic belief continues, including Science Magazine, which reviewed a defamation of character of those who questioned this belief as a serious work of history and refused to publish the rebuttal by the only surviving member of those defamed. [Now online here -- but behind paywall]


The US EPA continues its march to impose highly restrictive regulations on a nation that is suffering from high unemployment. One new effort is the issuance of a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) policy guidance to state agencies for issuing permits power plants and other stationary sources of greenhouse gases.

By issuing vague guidance rather than clear rules, the EPA cleverly manipulates the system. First, the comment period is very short. Second, it allows the EPA arbitrary power to what complies with the guidelines and what does not. Third, it may allow-third party green industry groups to sue to develop friendly out-of-court settlements that ignore the affected parties. The last is common in environmental regulations such as "wetlands." It appears that Texas is refusing to go along.


Radicals get rich while the truth suffers

THERE could hardly be a more pleasant discovery. It is when we find that our political preferences, professional interests and friendship networks all stand in perfect alignment, like an eclipse of the sun.

Out of this delightful conjunction of the planets we discover ourselves free to advance our career under the mask of political rectitude, even as we enforce our political prejudices on others under the description of scholarly research, all the while convincing ourselves that we are acting from the loftiest of motives.

Last week the journal Nature interviewed professor Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, the man whose email inbox was spread out across the internet a year ago like a patient etherised upon the operating table, revealing a decades-long pattern of professional misbehaviour.

Any journal that dared to publish a rival point of view was blacklisted; any paper for review which varied from his own view was rejected out of hand; any element of professional doubt demanded expulsion from the climate science garden, much as Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden for eating promiscuously from the tree of knowledge.

Needless to say, Jones is neither repentant nor self-critical. Rather, his tone is a curious blend of bewilderment, self-pity and ennui, leavened only by the occasional obscure consciousness of impropriety. Even today he apparently believes it to be professionally appropriate to respond to a request for information thus: "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

In truth Jones's dilemma is a nice one. Having built an entire scholarly career on a brief but influential 1990 study in Nature that purported to prove planetary warming on the basis of Russian weather-station data that has turned out to be less than robust, he has spent the past 20 years stubbornly defending his record and the future of the planet as if they were the same thing. As a consequence he has trashed his own career, while damaging the reputations of scrupulous climate scientists by association.

You can say many things for and against the older generation of political activists from the 1960s and 70s: they championed the underdog in their own countries, even as they legitimised terror and oppression across the globe under the banner of solidarity.

However, you do have to grant them this: what they did, for better and for worse, they did generally out of their own time, and at the expense of their career advancement and retirement income. They followed their lights, and will be less financially comfortable in old age as a result.

The problem with the modern planets-in-alignment school of professorial radicalism is that it too often rewards bad behaviour with an enhanced superannuation payout, even as it provides scholarly mechanisms for the elimination of heterodoxy and independence of spirit.


Climate Talks or Wealth Redistribution Talks?

Typically the largest wealth distribution program that occurs in Cancun, Mexico, is college students spending their parents' money. That could change at the upcoming United Nations climate summit if developing countries clamoring for money to cope with global warming get their wish. With each passing year, it's clear that international climate change talks are less about climate and more about wealth redistribution.

The latest case in point comes from United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official Ottmar Edenhofer. In a recent interview with Germany's NZZ Online, Edenhofer lays out just what the climate talks are all about:

NZZ: The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.

Edenhofer: That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.

NZZ: That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.

Edenhofer: Basically it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet-and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400-there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.

NZZ: De facto, this means an expropriation of the countries with natural resources. This leads to a very different development from that which has been triggered by development policy.

Edenhofer: First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

This shouldn't be all too surprising. The Copenhagen conference last year quickly devolved from a discussion on how to cost-effectively curtail greenhouse gas emissions-the primary culprit behind global warming, according to the U.N.-into a browbeating session designed to get developed countries to accept massive economic costs arising from carbon dioxide cuts and to provide billions of dollars in wealth transfers (up to $100 billion annually was discussed in Copenhagen last year) to help developing nations cope with the projected consequences of a changing climate. Meanwhile, developing countries (even the large developing country emitters like India and China) were being exempted from emissions restrictions even though that would undermine any possibility of meeting emissions targets.

Last year in Copenhagen, Janos Pasztor, the director of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Climate Change Support Team, admitted: "This is not a climate-change negotiation. . It's about something much more fundamental. It's about economic strength." The nations at the negotiation, he added, "just have to slug it out."

It goes to show how ill-suited the United Nations is at handling a climate treaty. The competing interests of U.N. member states make it extremely difficult to for the negotiations not to get sidetracked.

In the end, there is a reason why these conferences are often held in exotic locales. But instead of college kids spending their parents' money on spring break, it's international diplomats spending our taxpayer dollars on conferences focused on how to they can spend even more down the road.


Climate change no longer scary in Europe

Hans Labohm

Bjorn Lomborg's ongoing publicity campaign for his new film makes it obvious that the fight against the delusion of dangerous man-made global warming remains an uphill struggle.

For decades the climate debate has been obfuscated by cherry-picking, spin-doctoring and scare-mongering by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climate alarmists, including the environmental movement and mainstream media. Their massive effort to overstate the threat of man-made warming has left its imprint on public opinion.

But the tide seems to be turning. The Climate Conference fiasco in Copenhagen, Climategate scandal and stabilization of worldwide temperatures since 1995 have given rise to growing doubts about the putative threat of "dangerous global warming" or "global climate disruption." Indeed, even Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and one of the main players in Climategate, now acknowledges that there has been no measurable warming since 1995, despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide.

People are paying attention, and opinion polls in many countries show a dramatic fall in the ranking of climate change among people's major concerns. They are also beginning to understand that major rain and snow storms, hurricanes and other weather extremes are caused by solar-driven changes in global jet streams and warm-cold fronts, not by CO2, and that claims about recent years being the "warmest ever" are based on false or falsified temperature data.

In various parts of the world, the climate debate displays different features. The US and other parts of the non-European Anglo-Saxon world feature highly polarized and politicized debates along the left/right divide. In Europe, all major political parties are still toeing the "official" IPCC line. In both arenas, with a few notable exceptions, skeptical views - even from well-known scientists with impeccable credentials - tend to be ignored and/or actively suppressed by governments, academia and the media.

However, skepticism about manmade climate disasters is gradually gaining ground nevertheless. In my own country, The Netherlands, for instance, it has even received some official recognition, thus dissolving the information monopoly of climate alarmists. The Standing Committee on Environment of the Lower House even organized a one-day hearing, where both climate chaos adherents and disaster skeptics could freely discuss their different views before key parliamentarians who decide climate policy.

This hearing was followed by a special seminar organized by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, using the same format but focusing on scientific topics. The Academy will soon publish a report about this seminar.

Europe often brags about its emission trading scheme (ETS), regarding itself as the vanguard of an international climate policy. In the European view, the Copenhagen climate summit should have produced a worldwide extension and sharpening of its ETS. But the vast majority of countries in the world refused to follow Europe's example, so the meeting turned into a fiasco. Its follow-up in Cancun at year's end will surely produce a similar result. And for good reason.

Contrary to official claims, Europe's experience with ETS is dismally bad. The system is expensive and prone to massive fraud. More importantly, it serves no useful purpose.

The European Environmental Agency tracks Europe's performance regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions. Its latest report states: "The European Union's greenhouse gas inventory report . shows that emissions have not only continued their downward trend in 2008, but have also picked up pace. The EU-27's emissions stood 11.3% below their 1990 levels, while EU-15 achieved a reduction of 6.9% compared to Kyoto base-year levels."

On the face of it, the scheme seems to be pretty successful. However, much of the downward trend was due to the global economic recession, not to the ETS. Moreover, both climate chaos proponents and climate disaster skeptics agree that the scheme will have no detectable impact whatsoever on worldwide temperatures - perhaps 0.1 degrees - though this crucial piece of information has been carefully and deliberately shielded from the public eye.

What about renewable energy as an alternative? Consider these EU costs for various sources of electricity in cents per kilowatt-hour: nuclear 4, coal 4, natural gas 5, onshore wind 13, biomass 16 . solar 56!

Obviously, the price tag for renewables is extremely high, compared to hydrocarbons. The additional costs can be justified either by imminent fossil fuel scarcity (the "oil peak"), which would send petroleum and coal prices through the roof, or by the threat of man-made global warming. But on closer inspection neither argument is tenable.

The authoritative International Energy Agency does not foresee any substantial scarcity of oil and gas in the near to medium future, and coal reserves remain sufficient for centuries to come. As to global warming, the absence of a statistically significant increase in average worldwide temperatures since 1995 obliterates that assertion.

Meanwhile, recent peer-reviewed studies indicate that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere (natural or man-made) have minimal effects on climate change - while others demonstrate that, on balance, this plant-fertilizing gas is beneficial, rather than harmful, for mankind and the biosphere.

All this argues for a closer look at the cost/benefit relationship of investing in renewable energy projects, to prevent a massive waste of financial and natural resources on unreliable and thus uncompetitive forms of energy. Since every cloud has a silver lining, the ongoing economic crisis might give extra impetus toward that end.


The Global Warming Court Battle

By S. Fred Singer

Kenneth Cuccinelli II, elected as the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia in November 2009, has demanded from the University of Virginia (my university) the e-mails and other information of Dr. Michael Mann, who was an assistant professor of environmental sciences there from 1995 to 2005.

From the e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the so-called Climategate affair, we know that Professor Phil Jones was at the center of a conspiracy to manipulate temperature data. His American analogue was Michael Mann. Even though Jones recommended deletion of all e-mails, it is possible that many e-mails will still be found on the UVA server and furnish the "smoking gun" that can tell us just how the temperature data had been manipulated.

The UEA e-mails tell us of attempts to "hide the decline" (of temperature) using "Mike [Mann]'s Nature trick." It is important now to discover the truth, either from e-mail evidence or by direct testimony. Unfortunately, none of the investigations so far have delved into this matter, but instead have produced what amounts to a series of whitewashes.

The University of Virginia is fighting the demand for the data using outside lawyers and claiming "academic freedom" among other such excuses. I cannot comment on the legal implications of the AG's investigation. It should be noted, however, that UVA was quite willing to deliver up the e-mails of Professor Pat Michaels when Greenpeace asked for them in December 2009. It makes the UVA protestations sound rather hypocritical.

We live in an Orwellian world where myth and propaganda have replaced science and reason, even at the highest levels of discourse. In May 2010, Science ran a letter signed by 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences attacking Cuccinelli. The letter contained numerous spurious assertions as if they were scientific fact. Lacking expertise and ignorant of the actual data, the signers simply accepted a story that matched their ideological convictions.

Then, on May 13, Nature ran an editorial ("Science subpoenaed") attacking Cuccinelli, and in the process labeled those who dared question Mann's science as "climate-change deniers." That term would seem to include all of us who recognize that for the past two million years, the climate has been changing, dominated by ice ages, interrupted only by brief warm periods; that for the past ten thousand years, the earth has been both warmer and colder than today; and that there was a Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and a Little Ice Age (LIA). Who indeed can deny that climate changes?

The Nature editorial refers to Michael Mann as "internationally respected." I would use more neutral language, like "prominently mentioned in the UEA e-mails, aka Climategate." The editorial states states, correctly, that "no evidence was given of wrongdoing [by Mann]." But isn't that the purpose of the AG's investigation? Certainly, the references in the e-mails to "Mike's Nature trick" in order to "hide the decline" might lead one to think that there has been some skullduggery.

The editorial then identifies Mann with the infamous hockey stick graph (published first in Nature, 1998), which did away with the Medieval Warm Period and also the Little Ice Age from which the global climate is just now recovering. It may have escaped notice that Mann has now discovered the existence of the MWP and LIA (PNAS 2008), which has bent the shaft of the hockey stick all out of shape. Well, who says that the age of miracles has passed?

Fortunately for climate alarmists, the upturned "blade" of the hockey stick is still there, showing rapidly rising temperatures over the past thirty years -- thanks to the valiant efforts of Prof. Phil Jones. We are breathlessly waiting for expert scrutiny of his methods of selecting data from thousands of weather stations to arrive at a single number for "global temperature." Perhaps Jones will reveal the algorithms he devised to "adjust and correct" the raw data. But unfortunately, he did not save the original temperature records; as the saying goes, "The dog ate them."

The editorial then states that the UEA e-mails were "stolen." Perhaps they were; but until one has evidence, one may be accusing an unknown whistle-blower who resented what was being done to the climate data and to science. I won't even mention what the resulting climate scares are doing to the economies of nations and the living standards of their populations.

I was wondering just how long it would take the Nature editorial to suggest a parallel between climate skepticism and the tobacco lobby. Well done! It's too bad that global warming cannot be shown to cause lung cancer -- not yet, at any rate. But more research money may yet uncover such a connection. There's still hope.

The Washington Post weighed in with an editorial on October 6, 2010 ("Cuccinelli seems determined to embarrass Virginia"). Among many misstatements of fact, it cites a 2006 inquiry from the National Academy of Sciences on reconstructing historical temperature data and then claims that Mann's "basic conclusions appear sound." But the NAS inquiry into Prof. Mann's "hockey stick" did not support his basic conclusion -- that the 20th century was the warmest in the past thousand years.

Beyond this, the "Climategate" e-mails released in November 2009 put Mann at the center of an international conspiracy to manipulate the temperature data that form the basis of worldwide political action (including by the U.S. Congress) to "combat climate change." We also learned that the same group of scientists actively urged the deletion of any e-mails that might implicate them in this conspiracy to "hide the decline" of temperatures that were supposed to be rising. Unfortunately, the Post editorial ignores these relevant facts.

As if by pre-arrangement, on October 8, the Post carried an op-ed by Mann which attacked preemptively Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the potential chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who will likely launch an investigation of Climategate. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) may do the same if he takes over a Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security. Mann asks, What could Issa, Sensenbrenner, and Cuccinelli possibly think they might uncover now, a year after the e-mails were published? He claims that he has been fully exonerated by several internal investigations of Penn State (his present employer), UEA, and the EPA and again appeals to the failed science of the IPCC (which, however, no longer gives any credence to his hockey stick result).

Rep Joe Barton (R-TX), in a letter to the Post (October 12) reminds that his public hearings in 2006 "made it clear that Mr. Mann's global warming projections were rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as 'consensus' by a closed network of friends."

In responding to Barton's letter of October 12, the chairman of the National Academy panel Prof. Gerald North (Letter, October 17) then claims that "we have not found any evidence that his [Mann's] results were incorrect or even out of line with other works published since his original papers." North's statement is factually incorrect: There are numerous papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, which show clearly that the 20th century was not the warmest in the past thousand years (as claimed by Mann). Medieval temperatures were substantially greater -- and so were temperatures during the earlier Roman Warm Period. All of this is in addition to the valid criticism of Mann's statistical methodology. Tellingly, Canadian Prof. Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (M&M) showed that even random data fed into the Mann algorithm would always yield a warmest 20th century.

Some final thoughts: Being charitable, I will assume that Mann made honest statistical and other errors in his 1998 and 1999 papers. But after these errors were published widely by M&M, Mann's behavior has been unethical to say the least. He has not replied to the critiques, nor even referenced them. He has just ignored them and tried to muddle the situation. (The National Academy report did the same.)

Is Mann guilty of fraud? I don't know; much depends on what Cuccinelli uncovers. But I am of the opinion that Mann should formally withdraw his flawed papers and no longer refer to them in his bibliography or in grant applications without at least a footnote. Formal withdrawal could create a storm, however, since the 2001 IPCC report built its case for man-made global warming on the validity of the hockey stick. There may be interesting times ahead.


Kracked Up Over Krakatoa: Only unrealistic models gave the desired Warmist conclusions

It was all the rage a few years back to claim that long ago volcanic eruptions—for instance Krakatoa in 1883—were still acting to mask a large fraction of the oceanic warming that should have occurred because of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The epitome of this argument was published in Nature magazine, by an all-star cast of scientists ever-eager to suggest that it is all our fault and then some. The authors included Tom Wigley, Ben Santer, Karl Taylor, Krishna AchutaRao, Jonathan Gregory, and lead author Peter Gleckler.

The accompanying Editors’ Summary of the 2006 Nature article by Gleckler et al. provides the gist:

"The 1883 eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in Indonesia has echoed down the centuries in art and in legend. Now an analysis of a suite of 12 climate models shows that Krakatoa also made its presence felt well into the twentieth century in the form of reduced ocean warming and sea-level rise. The changes lasted much longer than was previously suspected and were sufficient to offset much of the ocean warming and sea-level rise caused by more recent human activities".

The IPCC incorporated this finding into their Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) to show that models better match the observed history of the increase in oceanic heat content and sea level rise from thermal expansion when modern (since 1880) volcanic eruptions were included along with anthropogenic forcings. The implication was two-fold; 1) the climate models were now able to closely match reality (so they should be considered reliable), and 2) the cooling from volcanoes was offsetting a large fraction of the influence of anthropogenic global warming (i.e. our influence was even worse than we thought).

Now, a new study comes along, performed by one of the et al.’s of the Gleckler study, that basically shows that the conclusions of that original paper were quite likely incorrect, because the climate models examined had been equilibrated to an improper set of “background” conditions—conditions unnaturally free of any and all volcanic eruptions.

Had the climate models been equilibrated to more realistic conditions—after all, big climatologically important volcanic eruption are a fairly common part of the earth’s natural environment and not just a phenomenon of the pat 120 years—Krakatoa and subsequent volcanoes would not have induced a large, long-term warming-offsetting cooling tendency. And in that case, the apparent match between climate models and reality would fall apart as models would be warming their oceans far more rapidly than observations show the real oceans are (i.e., the models don’t work so well after all).

Jonathan Gregory writing in Geophysical Research Letters put it this way: "This artefact [the model response to improper equilibration] could be misleading in comparisons and attribution of observed and simulated changes in ocean heat content".

No kidding.



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


21 November, 2010

New scientific paper: 'AGW is erroneous'; 'No climate catastrophe in the making'

An invited paper submitted to the International Journal of Energy and the Environment written by two university professors in Portugal states the man-made global warming hypothesis ("AGW") is erroneous, that the current trend of low solar activity will lead to a new "Little Ice Age" by mid-century, and that wasteful, expensive, and unnecessary green fuels/green energy/carbon credits be abandoned in favor of "productive, economically viable and morally acceptable solutions."

Title of the Paper: "Climate Change Policies for the XXIst Century: Mechanisms, Predictions and Recommendations"

Authors: Igor Khmelinskii and Peter Stallinga


Recent experimental works demonstrated that the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis, embodied in a series of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global climate models, is erroneous. These works prove that atmospheric carbon dioxide contributes only very moderately to the observed warming, and that there is no climatic catastrophe in the making, independent on whether or not carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced. In view of these developments, we discuss climate predictions for the XXIst century. Based on the solar activity tendencies, a new Little Ice Age is predicted by the middle of this century, with significantly lower global temperatures.

We also show that IPCC climate models can't produce any information regarding future climate, due to essential physical phenomena lacking in those, and that the current budget deficit in many EU countries is mainly caused by the policies promoting renewable energies and other AGW-motivated measures.

In absence of any predictable adverse climate consequences of carbon dioxide emissions, and with no predictable shortage of fossil fuels, we argue for recalling of all policies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and usage of expensive renewable energy sources. The concepts of carbon credits, green energy and green fuels should be abandoned in favor of productive, economically viable and morally acceptable solutions.


Repent! The end is nigh!

Warnings of impending hell and damnation used to be the preserve of certain Christian fundamentalists but they have now been muscled out of that business by Greenies -- complete with appeals to Holy writ and the invocation of demons as justification for their warnings. The scary sermon excerpt below is by Peter H. Gleick, Co-founder/President of an obscure sect called the Pacific Institute

It's too late. The world has missed the opportunity to avoid serious, damaging human-induced climate change. For a variety of reasons ranging from ignorance to political ideology to commercial self-interest to inertia to intentional misrepresentations and misdirections on the part of a small number of committed climate deniers, the United States and the rest of the world have waited too long to act to cut the emissions of damaging greenhouse gas pollutants. We are now committed to irreversible long-term and inevitably damaging consequences ranging from rapidly rising sea levels, far greater heat stress and damages, disappearing glaciers and snowpack, more flooding and droughts, and far, far more.

For over two decades, there have only been a few people and groups that have argued against climate change, and very few of these have done so in good faith (though there is no denying that they've been effective). Sometimes they have tried to hide behind scientific "uncertainty" to mask their anti-climate-change arguments. But the fundamental science has long been irrefutable, and so recently, we've seen all pretense of caring about science thrown out the door by elected officials such as Congressman John Shimkus simply (vice chairman of the Republican Party's Congressional campaign committee and vying to become chair of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee), who rejects climate change by turning to the Bible to refute the science or as justification to ignore it....

No scientific body of national or international standing rejects the findings that humans are changing the climate. Indeed, every single legitimate scientific organization and society that works on atmospheric, climatological, meteorological, geological, hydrological, ecological, physical, chemical, and biological sciences supports the scientific findings of human-induced climate change. All of them. Here are a few examples.

For reasons well described by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, the media has also failed to distinguish between correct and incorrect, because it is far easier simply to describe this as a debate between equals. Like the argument about the health consequences of tobacco, it is inevitable that reality will ultimately win over fantasy and that the truth about the seriousness of climate change will become widely accepted. But as I argue above, that inevitability will come too late, leading to another inevitability: unavoidable, severe climate impacts to all of us (or to coming generations).

As a result, in twenty more years, the Earth will be even hotter, sea levels will be higher and rising faster, water and food resources will be increasingly stressed, extinction rates will accelerate, and our forced expenditures for climate adaptation will be far, far greater than they would otherwise have been.

For example, at the request of three separate California state agencies, the Pacific Institute recently completed a comprehensive assessment of the vulnerabilities of the California coast to accelerating sea-level rise (using scenarios of sea-level rise that may turn out to be far too low). There is already over $100 billion in infrastructure (housing, airports, wastewater treatment plants, schools, hospitals, roads, power plants) and a population of nearly 500,000 people at risk of increased coastal flooding, and we estimated that adaptation costs just to protect existing infrastructure will run around $15 billion, plus high annual costs to maintain these protections. Other major areas and populations simply cannot be realistically protected and will have to be abandoned, with people forced to move over time. And this is just one small piece of the coming threats for one small part of the country. How bad it ultimately gets depends on how much longer we fail to act and how much longer Congress and others hide behind ignorance, political ideology, and religion to deny the reality of climate change.


Canadian Senate kills climate change bill

(The Canadian Senate is similar to the British House of Lords, in that members are appointed rather than elected)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has defended Tory senators who voted down a climate change bill ahead of an upcoming United Nations meeting on the issue in Mexico. Harper, in responding to a query from NDP Leader Jack Layton in question period Wednesday in Ottawa, said Conservatives have been consistent and clear in their opposition to Bill C-311, which the prime minister called "a completely irresponsible bill."

"It sets irresponsible targets, doesn't lay out any measure of achieving them other than ... by shutting down sections of the Canadian economy and throwing hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people out of work," Harper said. "Of course, we will never support such legislation."

Layton argued Harper had no right to use his "unelected senator friends" to kill the bill, which he called the will of the House. "He's lost his moral centre," Layton said. "He's fundamentally undemocratic, Mr. Speaker. Let's be clear about it, that's the truth. He broke his promise to bring our troops home, which this House asked for. He broke his promise to have votes on the use of our troops in foreign wars.

"He broke his promise never to appoint unelected senators, and now, he's using them to subvert the will of this House. It's never happened before. It should not be permitted, and where is his democratic impulse?" said Layton.

Earlier in the day, another NDP MP called it "another ambush move" by the Harper government. "I'm still reeling from the shock, but after no debate, no consideration at all, all of a sudden in another ambush move by Stephen Harper, the Senate voted yesterday to kill the climate change [bill] without debate," said Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North.

Bill C-311, which was voted down 43-32 late Tuesday, would have called on the government to establish five-year plans to meet greenhouse gas emission targets by 2050, according to Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell, the author of the bill in the Senate. The bill was passed in May by the House and went to the Senate for final approval. There is debate about who actually initiated the Senate vote, with each side saying the other was responsible.

"Killing Bill C-311 shows a fundamental lack of respect for the many Canadians who care deeply about climate change. They had a right to have this bill debated properly," Mitchell said in a news release. Mitchell later told reporters in Ottawa that it was an unprecedented move to defeat a bill that had been passed by Parliament.

"They would defeat a bill in the Senate that was passed in the House of Commons by a majority of elected members of Parliament," he said. "Not only did they defeat it but defeated [it] before it even got to a committee stage, where it could have more airing."

The bill - the Climate Change Accountability Act - has spent the last year or so bouncing between the full House of Commons and its environment committee. The legislation called for greenhouse gases to be cut 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. That level is more stringent than the Harper government's goal of a 17 per cent emissions cut from 2005 levels by 2020, which is in line with the U.S. administration's targets.

"We worked on this bill for five years. The vast majority of our elected representatives voted for it. It was killed in the night by trickery," said John Bennett, executive director of Sierra Club Canada. "We aren't giving up. We will continue to work with mothers and fathers who want a brighter future for their children. We will find the solutions," said Bennett.

The Sierra Club said the bill was developed with the participation of scientists and environmentalists and "was passed by a significant majority of members of Parliament and was supported by a petition signed by more than 150,000 Canadians."

The government can prevent any bill from coming on to the Senate floor for debate, said the NDP's Hyer, and "they've done that for 193 days, and the first opportunity they got after not enough Liberals were around, they moved quickly to kill the bill."

"A number of our Conservative senators - who darn it, won't go on the record - have told me that the [Prime Minister's Office] has ordered them not to speak about the climate change bill, not to allow it to come up for a vote and to kill it when they could," Hyer said.

Canada has one of the worst records in the world on climate change and the Tories are using the Senate "as a strictly political tool," he said. "Everyone is in shock about this."


Feedlot cattle are better (than free-range) for the environment

There will be kneejerk disagreement with this from the Greenies. They are as much atavists as anything else

John Stossel

It's not what we don't know that causes us trouble. It's what we know that isn't so. Whichever famous writer said that (it's been attributed to many), what he said carries truth.

What are some of the things we know that aren't so? Here's one: Grass-fed "free-range" beef cattle are better for the environment -- and for you -- than factory-farmed corn-fed cattle. It does seem to make sense that the steer raised in the more "natural" environment would be better for the world.

Michael Pollan, the prolific food author and activist, wrote in The New York Times that "what was once a solar-powered ruminant (grass-fed steer) (has been turned) into the very last thing we need: another fossil-fuel machine" ( How so? Farmers burn fossil fuels to ship corn to feed cows instead of letting them eat what's naturally under their feet.

Restaurants serving burgers supposedly made from grass-fed beef self-servingly claim their foods are healthier for the planet. The American Grassfed Association -- surprise, surprise -- says its cattle are better for the environment because harmony is created between the land and the animals.

People believe. Nobody likes the idea of cattle jammed into feedlots. When we asked people, in preparing this week's Fox Business show, which kind of cattle were better, we got the expected answers:

"Free roaming."

"Cows should be outside."

"Free-roaming grass-fed cows, because you've got happy cows. They've lived a happy life out in sunshine."

It's logical to think that grass-fed steers might be better for the environment, but so often what sounds logical is just wrong.

Don't believe me? Dr. Jude Capper, an assistant professor of dairy sciences at Washington State University, has studied the data ( Capper said: "There's a perception out there that grass-fed animals are frolicking in the sunshine, kicking their heels up full of joy and pleasure. What we actually found was from the land-use basis, from the energy, from water and, particularly, based on the carbon footprints, grass-fed is far worse than corn-fed."

How can that be? "Simply because they have a far lower efficiency, far lower productivity. The animals take 23 months to grow. (Corn-fed cattle need only 15.) That's eight extra months of feed, of water, land use, obviously, and also an awful lot of waste. If we have a grass-fed animal, compared to a corn-fed animal, that's like adding almost one car to the road for every single animal. That's a huge increase in carbon footprints."

Once again, modern technology saves money and is better for the earth. By stuffing the feedlot animals with corn, farmers get them to grow faster. Therefore they can slaughter them sooner, which is better for the earth than letting them live longer and do all the environmentally damaging things natural cows do while they are alive. "Absolutely right," Capper said. "Every single day, they need feed, they need water, and they give off methane nitrous oxide -- very potent greenhouse gases that do damage."

But what about damage to people? Some advocates of grass-fed beef claim that the more naturally raised animals are healthier to eat. "There is absolutely no scientific evidence based on that. Absolutely none," she replied. "There is some very slight difference in fatty acids, for example, but they are so minor that they don't make any significant human health impact."

But what about those hormones the cows are given? Surely that cannot be good for us. "What we have to remember is every food we eat -- whether it's tofu, whether it's beef, whether it's apples -- they all contain hormones. There's nothing, apart from salts, that doesn't have some kind of hormone in them."

So the next time you reach for that package of beef in the grocery store tagged with all the latest grass-fed, free-range lingo, remember: Not only does it often cost twice as much, but there's no evidence it's better for the environment or better for you. It's just another food myth.


Australia: Fruit-Loop Mayor of Sydney wants to swap harmless CO2 for dangerous nitrogen oxides

Clover Moore has heard of co-generation (widely used in Russia) and wants to build a plant in Sydney city. That it would have to be shut down most of the time (whenever atmospheric NOx levels in the CBD exceed permissible limits) she is turning a blind eye to.

THE network of gas-fired engines that are planned to power the Sydney CBD could emit up to 660kg of harmful nitrogen dioxide every hour. That is more than the combined emissions from the Shell and Caltex oil refineries in the region.

Estimates of the pollution produced by these new-generation power plants are contained in an interim policy paper by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change.

The City of Sydney has pledged to install more than 100 trigeneration turbines - which burn gas to generate electricity and then capture the exhaust to heat and cool buildings as necessary - in a bid to reduce carbon emissions and ease the strain on the existing electricity grid.

They also potentially pose a risk to air quality - and in turn the health of all those who live and work in Australia's largest city.

The network, championed by Lord Mayor Clover Moore, is expected to generate 330 megawatts of electricity, meeting about 70 per cent of Sydney's energy needs.

But, according to the DECC interim paper, the Sydney CBD could accommodate uncontrolled emissions from just 10MW of "co-generation" (a similar engine that heats but doesn't cool buildings) before "health-based nitrogen dioxide goals" are possibly exceeded. Furthermore, emissions from about 200MW of power would result in those nitrogen levels being breached "across the CBD".

High levels of nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and other nitrogen compounds in the atmosphere are linked with a raft of serious health issues, such as respiratory illness and asthma. Children are considered particularly vulnerable.

The City of Sydney defended its plans, saying in a statement last night that the figures cited in the interim report were based on untreated emissions which "are not relevant" to the energy proposal. "Our master plan . . . will comply fully with . . . NOx guidelines," the statement said.

However, that report specifically cites the council's trigeneration strategy by name and was cited in the council's own briefing paper, entitled Removal of the Barriers to Trigeneration. "On an hourly basis 330MW of gas-fired co-generation (the amount envisioned in the City of Sydney strategic plan) could emit up to 660kg per hour of NOx; this is more NOx than the combined emissions from the Shell and Caltex oil refineries in Sydney," the department's report reads.

It also highlights that the proposal is centred on the CBD, where pollution levels are already the highest. "As a result there is little 'headroom' available to accommodate uncontrolled emissions from cogeneration without causing local health impacts," it says.

The National Environment Protection Council has developed air quality standards that govern the allowable levels of nitrogen dioxide that can be released. The benchmark is 0.03 parts per million, averaged over a year.

The City of Sydney would not comment on the implications of meeting the NEPC standards. However, the council said it would find reductions in NOx emissions from cars through its integrated transport plan. "The vast majority of NOx come from motor vehicles. The city's cycling, walking, car-share and public transport strategies will also see real reductions in local NOx," the statement said.


Australia: Billions of dollars likely to be wasted on Qld. water projects

All this has been caused by a Leftist State government believing the Warmist crap about ever-worsening drought -- ignoring the traditional observation that Australia is a land "of drought and flooding rains". The Queensland State government failed to anticipate the "flooding rains" that we have now just had -- and are continuing to have. Only someone blinded by ideology would be unaware that droughts and floods alternate in Australia -- which is why Australia has so many dams and weirs

BILLIONS of dollars worth of newly built Bligh Government water projects responsible for driving up household water bills could be shut down and become white elephants.

A leaked Queensland Water Commission report, submitted to State Cabinet last week, proposes "mothballing" a raft of major water-treatment plants, all but closing the $1.2 billion Tugun Desalination Plant, and deferring building another water plant for 18 years.

Described as "Cabinet-in-confidence", the report gives three options to cut bulk-water prices after an update last month showed the price should be $133/ML less than the 2008 forecast after the aborted Traveston Dam.

The revelations come as the Government scrambles to stem the fallout over soaring water bills, with households hit with rises between $100 and $300 a year to pay for building the water grid.

The report's first option says do nothing, pay off water grid debt two years early and do not risk the "high probability" of reversing cuts if conditions change.

The second option outlines household savings of $4.62 in 2011-12 and $9.23 in 2012-13 - but only if the Tugun plant is run at 33 per cent for 10 years and then 67 per cent thereafter.

An extreme alternative - allowing a $11.53 household saving in 2011-12 - involves a "hot standby" by stopping the plant from feeding into the grid but being available on 24 hours' notice.

Set for mothballing are the Bundamba water treatment plant, either the Gibson Island or Luggage Point plants, and the Brisbane Aquifer Project. The first stage of the Cedar Grove plant at Wyaralong Dam near Beaudesert would be delayed until 2014-15 instead of 2012, with other stages to follow in 2028-29. But the extreme plan defers the whole plant until 2028-2029.

A third option for Cabinet is to announce an "intention" to reduce the destination bulk-water price by $37/ML in 2013-14.



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


20 November, 2010

A reply to Germany's Greenshirts

Statement by EIKE in response to the Short Query from Green parliamentarians submitted to the German Government; Printed Document No. 17/3613; dated 3 November 2010

By Michael Limburg, Vice President, EIKE and Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, Press Spokesman EIKE

On November 3, 2010, the faction of BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS) submitted a short query, document number 17/3613, titled Deniers Of Climate Change In The Coalition Government (Leugner des Klimawandels in der Regierungskoalition) to the German Government. Named as its authors were parliamentarians Dr. Hermann Ott (formerly of the Wuppertal Institute), Bärbel Höhn, Hans-Josef Fell, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, Oliver Krischer, Undine Kurth (Quedlinburg), Nicole Maisch, Dorothea Steiner and the ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS party.

Its text (partially quoted herein) cites slander appearing in the Financial Times Deutschland and news magazine Der Spiegel without any check for accuracy on the defamation of Prof. Singer and EIKE, or checking whether these sources were later corrected. The daily Rheinische Merkur followed and repeated the same slander in an article appearing 28 October 2010 (History of Looking Away, by Hans-Jochen Luhmann, who was acting in a fulltime position as Director for Principle Issues at the Wuppertal Institute).

Because of the widespread nature of these publications, the articles being almost identical in content, and their timing with the Short Query from the Green parliamentarians, it is plain to see that this is an orchestrated campaign against the climate realists (also called climate sceptics, or intentionally "climate deniers"). And when looking at earlier comments made by the lead author of the Short Query, Dr. Ott, on 17 September 2010, one sees that comments critical of climate must be “massively attacked” from now on, see here.

The objective is to manoeuvre them into the same boat as Holocaust deniers, in thought and morally. The primary target of the attacks is Prof. Dr. S. Fred Singer and the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), and their supporters. Obviously those in the climate religion see themselves seriously threatened and deeply fear being exposed. The scientific arguments to counter climate realists are simply missing, and so personal attacks using half-truths, distortions, and even slander, have to be used.

As a gesture to open up the channels of communication and to return to professionalism, we cordially invite all parliamentarians of the German Parliament and Ministry employees to the 3rd International Climate and Energy Congress on December 3 -4, 2010 in Berlin. There you can get all the facts on the subject of climate change. Details here. Getting informed of both sides of an issue is a fundamental prerequiste for a functioning democracy and so we hope parliamentarians will take advantage of this.

We now respond to the Short Query - first its preamble: "The so-called “climate change sceptics” or “climate change deniers” for years have been a permanent fixture in American politics. They are mainly supported and funded by the fossil fuels industry like Exxon (Esso) or Koch Industries."

It is true that the climate realists have been able to get their word out in the USA, and that public opinion on climate change has swayed dramatically in favour of climate realism. Currently the proponents of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis have lost much ground in public opinion, and are now about even with those who dispute it (See a Pew survey from October of this year: here), and some surveys even indicate a substantial majority for those who reject the hypothesis (e.g. here). To what extent these surveys are representative, we cannot ascertain.

The preamble is also correct in describing the recognisable fear that the results of the latest US elections will have a notable impact on US climate policy. All measures in implementing Cap & Trade have all but been abandoned and the environmental protection agency (EPA) will not be able to implement its factually absurd determination that CO2 is a pollutant (every child learns at school that CO2 is the main component in the photosynthesis process – a natural gas that is vital for all life). [From Cooler Heads Digest]:

Significant is the fact that the new Republican majority in the House is largely skeptical of the claim that global warming is a potential crisis and is close to unanimously opposed to cap-and-trade and other energy-rationing measures. Not only is cap-and-trade dead, but there is a good chance that the House next year will move legislation to block or delay the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The question is, can such a measure pass the Democratic-controlled Senate? There is certainly a majority in the Senate for blocking EPA, but sixty votes will be needed. My guess is that there will be more than sixty votes.

As EPA regulations start to bite next year, Senators will start to hear complaints from their constituents. And a number of Democratic Senators are up for re-election in 2012 and will want to avoid the fate of so many of their colleagues this year. Whether or not the named “fossil fuel“ industries, like Exxon or the Koch Industries, have swayed public opinion, we are unable to say. But one can plainly discern that the authors of the Short Query have a complete lack of understanding of democratic principles when they on one hand complain about completely legal funding by companies, but on the other hand enthusiastically support the billions of dollars and euros in funding that flow to the proponents of the AGW hypothesis.

In addition to state funding of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Wuppertal Institute and other green organisations, companies like Münchner Rück Re-Insurer, Siemens and others, and companies in Germany such as BP, and Shell in foreign companies pour millions into the green coffers of environmental organisations as well.

Also stated in the preamble: “In the past weeks various press releases and other reports have appeared in the Financial Times Deutschland and news magazine Der Spiegel about how certain climate change deniers were given a discussion forum by the CDU and FDP Bundestag’s factions and that some parliamentarians of the ruling CDU and FDP factions were sympathetic to the ideas put forth by climate denier Fred Singer.”

As we have already pointed out, here one finds the repeated use of the term "denier", which attempts to destroy the right to freedom of expression, which every parliamentarian is also granted by the German Constitution. Moreover, there is absolutely no evidence – not even from the IPCC, in scientific literature that can be easily checked, that shows climate change is induced by anthropogenic CO2. To the contrary, the views and claims of natural climate change asserted by the climate realists are supported by the main report of the Non-Governmental IPCC NIPCC (see here) with over 4000 peer-reviewed papers listed.

The German summary version of this report "Nature, Not Human Activites, Drive the Climate" lists over 200 peer-reviewed references. Because of these facts, one must have the right to question the fixed belief of the single scientific view that the authors hold, which is in no way shared by the majority of all scientists involved. Moreover, the authors defend this fixed belief using an agenda that is completely foreign to democratic principles.

On question no. 1: 1. Is the German Government aware of a scientifically published paper that has been subjected to peer-review that questions climate change caused by man, and that is supported by scientific data? This question shows that its writers have a complete lack of knowledge of the scientific literature, and they did not even bother to inform themselves. There are numerous papers available in scientific journals. The following question no. 2 also falls into the same category. It even poses the strange question of whether or not climate change is even happening:

"2. In the view of the German Government's leadership, is there a scientific discussion on whether climate change is taking place and whether man has a decisive impact on climate?"

Only an individual who is completely ignorant of climate science would claim there is no climate change. All climates in all the different climate zones on earth change naturally, and have been so for over 4 billion years. Sometimes it changes quickly, and sometimes slowly, and at times abruptly - and of course without human influence, as shown by climate palaeontology.

Question 2 has to be answered with “yes“. Indeed a comprehensive discussion is taking place on whether climate is influenced by man or to what extent. In the scientific literature, the search for anthropogenic influences on climate parameters is referred to as the attribution and detection problem. The facts simply do not change even when attempts are made to silence those who disagree, or to deny them resources or to morally discredit them.

On question no. 3: 3. "Is the German Government aware of the publications from American physicist Fred Singer on the subject of climate protection? How does the German Government view the scientific reputation of Mr Singer in regards to climate protection?"

Also here a search in the Internet would have quickly shown that the scientific publications and honours of Prof. Singer1 are numerous, and include several books. His book "Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1500 Years" was on the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. A very important publication of his on the subject appeared in the renowned International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society in 2008, which shows that actual observations of climate did not agree with model predictions.

On question 4: 4. For the German Government, do the arguments made by Fred Singer and other arguments presented have merit and are they "enlightening”? How do you assess the statements by Mr Singer that "Politicians that are embedded in climate change are more dangerous than climate change itself?“

The numerous publications by Prof. Singer – especially the above mentioned disagreement between model projections and actual observation – has lead to a broad scientific discussion, and for this reason it should be reasonable and enlightening for the German Government. And when taking into account the extremely high costs arising from the completely useless policy of CO2 prevention and considering that the hard-earned standard of living for future generations of the entire population will be massively impacted, the statements made by Prof. Singer are justified.

Concerning question no. 5: 5. Is the German Government aware of the ideas Mr Singer has previously promoted? What is your view on the fact that he, for example, questioned the hazards of passive smoke, or that he contested the fact the ozone layer was damaged by CFCs, or that he trivialized acid rain? With this background, how does the German Government judge the credibility of Fred Singer's activities with regards to climate protection?

Here the authors, particularly former Wuppertal Institute employee Dr. Hermann Ott, cite claims made by environmental activists (and repeated by careless journalists) without first checking sources. The claims made do not withstand objective review. The target is to discredit the moral credibility of Prof. Singer. What is correct: Singer neither supports smoking, nor passive smoking. He has been a non-smoker his entire life and has never worked for the tobacco industry, whose excise taxes have flowed into all government coffers worldwide. Just recently tobacco taxes have once again been increased in Germany.

Singer only determined that the statistical analysis on passive smoking made by the EPA is faulty, a conclusion that every honest scientists would reach. Hermann Ott and his colleagues misinterpret, either on purpose or just cluelessly, the statements Prof. Singer made on the ozone layer. Singer never questioned the impact of CFC gases on the depletion of ozone. The only question that was discussed was whether or not the natural sources of chlorine from e.g. oceanic salt mist or volcanic activity could play a more major role than CFCs. On the subject of acid rain: A clear answer would have been obtained simply by referring to the plentifully available literature about the German-made phantom of Waldsterben (Dying of Forests). Has this idea never occurred to them?

In question no. 6: 6. Is the German Government aware of who financed Mr Singer for his activities? Is the Federal Government aware of the funders who - like Exxon und Koch Industries in den USA - fund the activities of the climate change deniers in Germany?

As usual, here once again the term “climate denier” pops up. This nonsense has already been addressed numerous times in the past. Here again this is an attempt to attack the freedom of science. Obviously the authors surrounding Mr Ott, believe that only money flowing to “green activists” is morally justifiable. The reality is that the money that the opponents of this new religion receive is orders of magnitude less than the huge sums showered on activists of anthropogenic global climate change that come from an array and state and corporate sources (Münchner Rück, Deutsche Bank, BP, Shell, etc.) as well as various ministries and groups.

Except for funds to Prof Singer from company Exxon for approx. $10,000 about 10 years ago, other funds are unknown. Singer denies receiving all other donations. Until today, his numerous adversaries have yet to produce any proof to support their accusations. And concerning EIKE, it receives exclusively private contributions, donations and fees for studies and presentations.

On question no. 7: 7. Does the German Government share the opinion that events involving Mr Singer provide a forum for the pure interests of the fossil fuel industry, and thus enhance their unscientific work and non-serious activities?

First of all, the so-called fossil fuels industry has made our high standard of living possible. These companies are not criminal and they pay their taxes like every other company does. Although no one has to like them, insinuating that these companies work unscientifically and in a non-serious manner indicates a complete lack of seriousness by those attacking them. The question is rhetorical and non-pertinent. The rights to freedom of expression are not reserved only for certain persons or groups, such as green activists. Every citizen and every private group is guaranteed the right to free expression by the German Constitution, and this includes companies who produce fuel, gas, and coal.

In fact, they are obligated to express themselves in the interest of protecting the jobs and livelihoods of their employees, which are expected to be sacrificed because of the dubious assertions of a man-made climate change.

Because of a lack of research and competence, those posing the questions to the German Government are simply ducking the science put forth by the climate realists. This is demagoguery. Should the German Government answer this question with “yes”, then it would only be putting itself in the same boat as the demagogues.

On question no 8: 8. Are there voices within the German Government who question the anthropogenic causes of climate change? The German government may know this, but it is not obligated to know. According to our knowledge, due to the overwhelming evidence and observation of natural climate change, there is a steadily growing number parliamentarians who question the dogma of man-made climate change. And, looking at the immense damage caused by climate policy so far, this is long overdue.

On question no. 9: 9. How does the German Government view the activities of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) with regards to climate change? EIKE is supported by Fred Singer. In the Federal Government's view, does the Institute work on the scientific question regarding the subject of climate change?

EIKE is a privately operating scientific think tank and it is known to the German government. Various correspondence have been sent from EIKE to the responsible ministers, under-secretaries and department managers. In particular an open letter which was signed by over 400 scientists and highly qualified citizens was sent to Chancellor Merkel dated 26 July 2009 (here). This open letter still remains unanswered today.

The signatories of the open letter have exercised the rights granted by Article 17 of the German Constitution very seriously, which gives every citizen the right to appeal to a representative of the state. It states: “Every person has the right, either individually or as a group, to make in writing a request or complaint to the appropriate offices and representatives of the citizens“.

For this reason, it is that much more regrettable that an acknowledgement of receipt of this letter still has not been received thus far, thus indicating a rather ominous regard for the Constitution. In addition a letter was forwarded to Environment Minister Dr. Röttgen on 20 June 2010 (here), which in turn was tersely and non-directly responded to by the department director of the Ministry of Environment Josef Schafhausen, who particularly dodged our request a second opinion on the question of climate change be summoned.

The fact is that EIKE supports Dr. Singer, and Dr. Singer supports EIKE. In addition to advising and performing public relations work, EIKE also conducts – without any public funds or support – scientific research on the subject of the fertilization effect of CO2, the quality of historical CO2-temperature and sea level data, the analysis of this data using the most advanced statistical and mathematical methods, and research on the influence of the sun on our climate.

The scientists who work with and for us are working on a voluntary basis for the most part. More information on this can be gladly provided by our members, especially by press spokesman Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke. It is unknown whether the German Government is aware of this. Other institutions such as PIK or VDI know this.

The remaining questions posed by the parliamentary query are irrelevant, and are at times insistent and slanderous, and are therefore unworthy of response. And finally, to the best of our knowledge, the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung for Liberty has never held an event called Climate Change Deniers in Germany, nor would it support such a conference.

Footnote 1.

Prof. Dr. S. Fred Singer was born in Vienna and is an atmospheric and space physicist, is founder and chairman of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), Project Science and Environmental Policy, which is a community research and education organisation in Arlington, Virginia. He is professor emeritus in the field of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. Singer has authored a number of books and scientific articles. Last year he published a second printing of the book he authored together with Dennis T. Avery Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1,500 Years, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. His earlier books include The Greenhouse Debate Continued: An Analysis and Criticism of the IPCC Climate Assessment, ICS Press, 1992), Climate Policy - From Rio to Kyoto, Hoover Institution, 2000 and Hot Talk, Cold Science - Global Warming's Unfinished Debate, in dependent Institute, 1997, 1999). Singer was a leading scientist at the US Dept. of Transportation (1987-89), as deputy assistant and administrator for policy in the US Dept. of Environment (1970-71) and acted as deputy assistant secretary for Water Quality and Research in the US Dept. of Interior (1967-70). He also was one of the founders of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences (Faculty of Science of the Environment and Planet) at the University of Miami (1964-67), first director of the "National Weather Satellite Service, 1962-64 and Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space at the University of Maryland (1953-62). In the 1980s, Prof. Singer was Vice Chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Oceans and Atmosphere NACOA for period of five years. Currently he is directing the Science and Environmental Policy Project, which he founded in 1990. You can find more information at SEPP website:

Document received by email

The German Ecological-Industrial Complex

Germans are the most eager sorters of trash. They dutifully bring their light bulbs and batteries to special recycling points, introduced deposits on bottles and cans seven years ago, build tunnels under highways so frogs can safely cross. They fight for every endangered tree and animal. More and more windmills dominate the landscape. Environmental studies is taught in school, and the German chancellor's work for climate protection is one of her trademarks.

Historically and psychologically, this close connection to ecology is understandable. The Germans need some sort of ideology. They've had bad experiences with fascism and communism and had to be painstakingly educated in the ideals of freedom and democratic virtue. So ecology was the right idea at the right time. Germans believe it gives them a vision that puts them, for the first time, on the right side of history, the side of the good and of the future.

This explains the inexorable rise of the Greens. For the last five weeks, the party has been polling ahead of the Social Democrats (SPD), replacing them as the second strongest political force. Only slightly behind the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Greens could even appoint the chancellor in a coalition with the SPD if national elections were held today.

The Greens' voters long ago stopped coming primarily from the left-wing alternative milieu. Their strongest supporters now come from the well-off middle class. According to the polling institute Forsa, 37% of German civil servants would vote Green. Among upper-level civil servants the figure is as high as 41%. Nearly one in three self-employed voters supports the environmental party. Green voters are "well-off post-materialists": Their average household income is higher than that of the supporters of any other party. Workers and retirees go elsewhere.

That said, all of Germany's other parties have long-since discovered ecology as well. Chancellor Angela Merkel was once the federal environmental minister, as was (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel. Even the market-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) have turned greenish. The governing CDU-FDP coalition recently adopted the world's most ambitious climate-protection program. "Clean Energy For Everyone" was the slogan. Wind parks in the sea, solar plants, energy storage facilities, energy-saving renovations: The goal is that by 2050, Germany should be able to power itself almost entirely through regenerative energy while the carbon dioxide emissions of all buildings will be reduced to zero.

This will be enormously expensive, but that doesn't bother the Germans. Energy prices have already risen drastically, and Mrs. Merkel has prepared the country for rent increases. "Of course, at first glance not everyone likes that," she says, but in the long run everyone will gain. There is consensus that current generations must bear the main burden of ecologically restructuring Germany's energy system. We're the good guys.

And these days, being good even pays off. Given the increasingly global regulations to curb pollution and carbon emissions, exporting countries hope to make environmentally friendly technology the leading industry of the 21st century. In 15 years, according to a government-sponsored study, green technology will overtake the automobile industry as Germany's core industry. A multi-billion-dollar market has developed, and Germany is the leader in many emerging branches, with a worldwide market share in green technology of around 16%. Some 1.5 million Germans already work in the green industry.

Ecology has become an economic "stimulus" program of sorts. Consumers are forced to buy new versions of expensive everyday products—from refrigerators to cars—not because of age or deterioration, but because they no longer conform to the most recent environmental standards. These norms also serve as wonderful import-defense weapons. No dirty plastic dolls from China can enter, no gene-manipulated food may be purchased. Germany's purity law has turned into a type of national environmentalism. Our morality protects our markets.

But it's the consumer who pays the piper. Climate-friendly retrofitting of Germany's buildings might cost some €2.5 trillion. Building owners can transfer these costs to tenants. That means that rents will rise steeply for years. In Berlin alone, according to estimates by tenants' associations, nearly one in three households will have to move because they will no longer be able to afford their old apartments. This will primarily affect the unemployed and those with low income.

You have to be able to afford ecology. The Greens can, but weaker social groups will suffer. Expensive organic products, kerosene surcharges, gas price increases, higher parking fees, rising energy prices and rents—ecology makes the poor poorer. And for those who can no longer afford to fly to Mallorca, the Greens graciously recommend taking a vacation at home. That will boost domestic tourism.

Those who believe they are on the right side of history may view the social consequences of radical environmentalism, in coldly arrogant tones, as unavoidable collateral damage. And wasn't it always unpleasant for Germany's well-off to share the beaches in exotic vacation locales with simple workingclass families, just because of those cheap charter flights?

The Greens like to portray themselves as fighting against the excesses of capitalism. Now it's clear that the ecological-industrial complex increases inequality more than neo-liberal policies ever could.


Britain's Green Energy Policy Is Killing The Old And Vulnerable

MORE than five million British households will struggle to stay warm this winter and the number of people likely to die in freezing temperatures is set to rise sharply, a leading charity warned yesterday.

There are increasing concerns for poorer pensioners and other vulnerable people, said National Energy Action.

Fuel poverty is defined as when a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income keeping warm. Campaigners say it is caused by poorly insulated homes, low incomes, and the continued high cost of energy bills. Gas and electricity prices have soared more than 80 per cent in the last five years.

Just last week British Gas announced a seven per cent hike despite owners Centrica showing profits of more than £2.2billion. The rise comes as the number of families struggling to pay their heating bills reaches 5.5million and excess winter deaths this year are expected to be higher than ever.

Action’s Maria Wardrobe said: “The reality of fuel poverty is living in a cold, damp home, which can lead to health problems and seriously worsen existing conditions such as chest complaints with the possibility of this leading to heart attacks and strokes.

“Fuel poverty will continue to grow at alarming rates unless people are able to reduce their energy bills by a national programme of energy efficiency and Government schemes must be effective at targeting help at the most vulnerable.”


Green Energy As A Threat To Energy Security

Development of abundant power and fuel sources is being restrained by regulatory headlocks in favor of much higher-cost green alternatives with relatively scant capacity prospects.

Current Obama administration battle strategies directed toward futile wars to control climate change and free America from fossil dependence are hindering, not advancing, progress toward lasting energy security. Development of abundant power and fuel sources--which we will continue to rely on--is being restrained by regulatory headlocks in favor of much higher-cost "renewable" and "green" alternatives with relatively scant capacity prospects.

Proponents of such policies would have us imagine an autonomous nation powered and fueled by limitless sunbeams, friendly breezes and amber waves of grain-producing-alcohol that sever reliance upon dirty coal mines, oil rigs and smokestacks (those ugly industries that presently heat our homes, fuel our cars and power our computers). How can we possibly resist such a vision? Well maybe it's a bit easier to do so after we observe European experiences.

The E.U., which like the U.S. relies heavily upon coal and oil, has found little salvation through enormous investments in renewable alternatives. This realization is now causing large measures of buyer's remorse and pain. Members are witnessing their already shaky economies further destabilized by rampant fuel hikes, menacing power shortages and costly, yet unsuccessful, CO2 emission reduction efforts.

Massive European subsidies for expensive wind and solar projects have delivered poor investment/return ratios, and the food-vs.-fuel debate has deflated an earlier biofuels bubble. Loud protests have influenced the Scottish Parliament to deny permission to develop a huge Isle of Lewis wind farm, and other wind proposals have drawn similar opposition due to large land tracts required. Offshore wind farms are extremely costly to build and maintain. Wind is also an intermittent, undependable power source, which is often not in synch with high demand periods.

Much to the chagrin of some U.S. Department of Energy folks and other advocates, a report from Spain discredited the notion of wind power as a job creator, a claim touted by the Obama administration. Researchers at King Juan Carlos University concluded that every "green" job created by the wind industry eliminated 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the Spanish economy. And while the research director Gabriel Calzada Alverez didn't fundamentally object to wind power, he did find that when a government artificially props up the industry with subsidies, higher electrical costs (in Spain's case 31%) and tax hikes (5%) along with government debt follow. Every job created was estimated to cost $800,000 to create, and 90% of these were temporary. Alverez specifically presented lessons for the U.S., warning that potential "self-inflicted wounds" could cost our country 6.6 million jobs if we follow Spain's example.

Does the wind industry create jobs? In all fairness, yes. For example, a new wind farm in West Texas created 2,800 of them. Unfortunately, 2,400 of them were in China, with only about 400 temporary positions in the U.S. And all of the jobs imposed big opportunity costs. The taxpayer subsidies that created them, along with high wind power utility premiums passed on to customers, might have been spent in product and service markets that employed many more.

Solar power, like wind, is a natural, free source of energy--provided that public subsidies and customers of high-priced electricity cover the costs. Also, like wind, it is severely constrained by geography and is intermittent. Very high capital cost is an additional consideration, but let's assume that better technologies come along to cure that problem--as well they might. Even under the best geographical sky and climate conditions there is still a recurring problem. It's called "night."

Europe, like America, sits on vast quantities of coal that are coming to be appreciated more and more. Yet Germany's recently announced plans for many new-generation coal-fired plants have hit a green wall due to environmental resistance to (gasp!) carbon emissions.

The European Commission has finally concluded that nuclear power offers the only clean energy solution that can avert a rapidly approaching energy crisis. Germany has reversed previous intentions to phase nuclear out. Even formerly anti-nuclear Italy, weary of paying the highest electricity prices in Europe, plans to begin building nuclear plants. France, of course, is way ahead of the game. It obtains about 80% of its electricity from nuclear, and is a major global nuclear power technology developer and exporter. [....]

Let's also heed lessons from Europe's failed green adventures: Develop all practical energy alternatives, but let free markets, not government, pick the winners.


The British police have sat on their hands over "Climategate"

by John O'Sullivan

Skeptics refuse to let Climategate go away quietly. As we shall see below - even 12 months on – legal analysts show how climate criminals can still be put behind bars. If only UK police applied a more powerful legal instrument: the Fraud Act (2006) discredited government scientists could be prosecuted today.

Those of us with a modicum of legal training have been saying it all along; with the expertise of the Serious Fraud Office instead of those dawdling backwoods country bobbies, Professor Phil Jones and other accomplices linked with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia, England could all be put behind bars serving a ten-year stretch.

Any Crown prosecutor would slaver over the evidence against Jones. The leaked emails conclusively proved Jones admitted his criminal intent. Not only did he implicate himself he asked his colleagues to conspire with him to destroy key data because he said he would destroy everything in his possession rather than comply with the law.

Indeed, when the police went in they found that Jones had carried out his threat- all the metadata - the calculations used to dishonestly ‘homogenize’ cooler raw temperatures into warmer ‘official’ data were gone. The ‘Jones dog ate it.’ What more proof does it take get the British government to admit that climate crimes were committed?

Some of us with legal training smelt a rat when the investigation was first entrusted to Norfolk Constabulary. Why was this case, potentially the biggest international criminal fraud of all time palmed off onto plodding country constables?

But then it got worse! Almost immediately it was announced that ‘aiding’ Norfolk’s ‘finest’ was a secretive private police unit, the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET). Yes, you read that right- a private police unit was in on the act. Now why would this be, we may wonder? Perhaps its may have to do with their pension fund?

And where the hell was the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) when required? The SFO are mandated under law to take over any fraud case where more than £500,000 is involved and/or there’s an international dimension. Moreover, unlike the SFO the NDET were under no obligation to abide by the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Act. Like Jones, they got a green light from the authorities to play fast and loose with the evidence and then get away with it.

So throughout the coldest winter for 30 years progress in the investigations froze as completely as the weather. With no SFO in the picture (publicly accountable) and ACPO and NDET not accountable, being totally exempt from freedom of information laws (FOIA) this investigation is going nowhere fast.

Today we see the same navel-gazing mainstream media not telling you the truth about how Jones and his accomplices can still be arrested, tried and jailed under the Fraud Act. Unlike that lesser toothless statute there is no time bar at all under the tougher Fraud Act when hunting down such complex international criminal conspiracies.


End the Ethanol Subsidies

What am I missing? There must be some aspect of our insane energy policies that I fail to appreciate. “We the People” just booted a boatload of spendthrifts out of Congress, after they helped engineer a $1.3 trillion deficit on America’s FY-2010 budget and balloon our cumulative national debt to $13.7 trillion.

The “bipartisan White House deficit reduction panel” chimed in with a 50-page draft proposal, offering suggestions for $3.8 trillion in future budgetary savings. The proposal targets $100 billion in Defense Department weapons programs, healthcare benefits and overseas bases. It also proposes a $13-billion cutback in the federal workforce and lining out $400 million in unnecessary printing costs. And yet, amazingly, not even this independent commission was willing to eliminate the $6-billion sacred cow of annual ethanol subsidies. The current 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline automatically expires December 31, as does the 54-cents-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. So all senators and congressmen need to do is nothing, and beleaguered taxpayers will save six billion bucks.

We can only hope. Unfortunately, renewable fuel lobbyists will try to use the lame duck session to perpetuate the special treatment. The National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, ADM and POET ethanol count as friends incoming House Speaker John Boehner, incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, other influential Republicans and scores of prominent Democrats.

Perhaps if DePuy or Sofamor Danek donates some spinal implants, enough wavering legislators will find the backbone to challenge the subsidizers and ensure a little adult supervision over the budget process. If this election was about anything, it was about ending business as usual, ensuring energy and economic common sense, and not bankrupting the United States. Ethanol and earmarks represent a key litmus test for Republicans and fiscal conservatives. Failure to hold the line will create a rocky road for credibility and progress next year. It should be an easy decision. It’s time for action – or more accurately, inaction.

Federal laws already require that gasoline be 10% ethanol, and EPA has announced that it will now allow up to 15% ethanol blends for cars and trucks built since 2007. These mandates already require that ethanol use increase from 13 billion gallons today to 36 billion by 2022, ensuring profitable markets for corn growers and ethanol producers, without subsidies. Even large corn ethanol producers like Green Plains Energy now say the subsidies are no longer needed.

The subsidies and tariffs only fatten profit margins, reduce competition, increase consumer prices, cause frayed relations with Brazil over barriers to its sugar-cane ethanol entering US markets, and stifle technological innovation that could improve production efficiencies and lessen environmental impacts. As Examiner columnist Timothy Carney observes, “the tax credit won't boost ethanol consumption at all in the future, because the mandate will set demand. So the tax credit will simply subsidize the ethanol that blenders – ie, oil companies – would have bought anyway.”

The corn/ethanol lobby says ending the subsidies would cost up to 160,000 jobs. However, a recent study by leading agricultural economists at Iowa State University concludes that only 300 jobs would be lost. If so, preserving the subsidies works out to $20 million for each job saved. Meanwhile, says Louisiana State University professor Joseph Mason, the Interior Department’s heavy-handed offshore drilling moratorium could cost up to 155,000 Gulf Coast jobs. That’s on top of countless billions of lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax dollars the US Treasury will never see, because Interior, EPA, Congress and the White House have made billions of barrels of offshore, Alaskan and Lower 48 oil and gas off limits.

America could produce 670 billion gallons of oil (including 480 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel) from a splinter of ANWR equal to 1/20 of Washington, DC. Doing so would generate enormous revenues, instead of requiring perpetual subsidies. By contrast, reaching the 36-billion-gallon biofuel mandate would require 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol from cropland and wildlife habitat the size of Georgia, and 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuel from switchgrass grown on additional acreage the size of South Carolina.

Opposition to extending the tax credit and tariffs also comes from a growing coalition of meat and food producers, environmental groups and consumer organizations. They emphasize that corn ethanol production increases corn prices, reduces farmland available for other crops, and drives up the price of beef, pork, poultry, eggs, corn syrup and all groceries made with those products. It means fewer malnourished people can be fed under current USAID and World Food Organization budgets. The coalition also points out that growing and processing corn into ethanol requires enormous amounts of water for every gallon of alcohol fuel produced. (Cornell University agriculture professor David Pimental estimates the inputs at 8,000 gallons of water per gallon of corn-based ethanol.) Much of the water comes from already stressed aquifers – and growing the crops results in significant pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer runoff into our rivers, lakes, bays and oceans.

Producing ethanol from sugar cane carries much lower water demands and environmental impacts. Pro-subsidy factions say $6 billion is pocket change in a $3.6-trillion federal budget. It may indeed be a small step. But all the caterwauling suggests it is a giant step for Congress – and a hugely symbolic one that can no longer be avoided. Moreover, if reductions like this are to be rejected as too trivial to trifle with, how do Nanny State legislators justify their intrusive rules on toilets, washing machines, plastic bags and light bulbs? How do they suppose cash-strapped families balance their budgets? The ethanol mandates are enough interference in what should be a highly competitive marketplace of ideas and technologies for America’s energy future. Congress should not muddy the waters even further, by extending the subsidies and protective tariffs.

(While they’re at it, the lawmakers should also pull the plug on chicken-fat-to-biofuel subsidies. This tax credit is just another unaffordable, feel-good “green energy” boondoggle – that turns waste fat into wasted tax dollars. Reducing effluent streams, garnering positive PR, and selling their “alternative fuel” to oil companies and the Air Force, under utopian biofuel mandates, ought to be adequate incentive.) It should be an easy decision. It merely takes commitment to principles – something our legislators better start discovering, if they want to be around after the next election cycle.



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


19 November, 2010

Intellectual incest at the United nations

"Objective" seems to be a lost adjective at the U.N. -- and don't anybody bother their silly little heads about conflict of interest either

Koko Warner is an American citizen who was selected to be a lead author of the next edition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. For these purposes, it has been decided that she officially represents the country of Germany. [see p. 8 of this 27-page PDF]

Warner is one of at least four people assigned to work on the new IPCC report who is employed by an entity called the United Nations University. First and foremost, this institution exists to further “the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

I can’t be the only one who finds this troubling. Scholarship is one thing. Scholarship sponsored and supervised by bureaucrats perched atop the world’s political org chart is surely another. Why does the United Nations feel the need to cultivate its own army of scholars? Of all the things in this messed up world on which the UN could be spending its money how can this be a priority?

Is it not also awkward that the IPCC – itself a UN body – thinks UN employees are the sort of experts who should be writing what is supposed to be a dispassionate climate change report? Is there no concern that the UN appears to be influencing the outcome? After all, in one chapter of the upcoming climate bible (Working Group 2′s Chapter 24) two of the 11 people responsible for writing it are affiliated with this university.

Warner herself will contribute to a chapter titled Climate-resilient pathways: adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development – which will be produced by eight authors backed up by three review editors. As one of those eight authors, her judgment will inform this chapter’s findings.

So what do we know about her? For one thing, she is the lead author of a lavishly illustrated document (36-page PDF here) titled In Search of Shelter published in May 2009. Rather than being a scholarly work, this is a glossy public relations brochure – an overt example of advocacy literature. We know this because the first sentence on the acknowledgments page admits as much: "This report and related activities advocating for the protection of environmental migrants are possible due to generous support from the UN Refugee Agency…"

Numerous people connected to a range of United Nations bodies are thanked for their assistance with this report, individually as well as collectively. For example, the authors acknowledge receiving “constructive feedback from the [United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention] and other UN…organizations.”

Cue the alarm bells. The UNFCCC is an international treaty. It is an entirely political mechanism. The people involved in that organization are political animals. Period.

One of Warner’s coauthors is an employee of CARE International, an anti-poverty NGO. The report advises us that media inquiries regarding this report should be directed to an e-mail address at The report then thanks seven additional CARE employees by name, a couple of employees of another NGO called Germanwatch, and someone from Oxfam.

In other words, this document has been produced by people who have agendas – agendas that cannot be pursued unless others (nations, foundations, and private citizens) fund them via charitable donations. Which means these people, no matter how well-intentioned they might be, have an enormous incentive to exaggerate and dramatize their subject matter.

In a subsequent blog post I’ll discuss the report itself. But for now it’s worth noticing that this non-peer-reviewed document was officially released during the Bonn Climate Change talks in June 2009. Rather than being a run-of-the-mill academic study whose findings are released to the media whenever it gets published in a peer-reviewed journal, this report received very special and unusual treatment.

It wasn’t merely accorded its own press conference at a larger event in which representatives of the world’s media were already in attendance. Rather, its findings were delivered under the guise of a Media Training Workshop sponsored by the UNFCCC itself. In a video of that event it is a representative of the UNFFCC who introduces Warner and her co-author to the press corps.

What does all this mean? It means Warner is not an independent scholar. She is a UN employee. Her research has been funded by the United Nations and brazenly promoted by the United Nations in a manner intended to advance the United Nations’ climate change agenda.

And now she is an IPCC lead author.


Hot air from a political nobody

THE United States will be banned from selling goods to many countries if it continues to shirk its promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Lord Stern, the world's leading climate change economist, said nations that were taking strong action on emissions could start imposing restrictions on "dirty" US exports by 2020.

Lord Stern, who advises several G20 leaders and is one of the key players in the international negotiations seeking a deal on emissions, made his comments 10 days before the annual United Nations climate change conference opens in Cancun, Mexico. They reflect the feeling in many countries that a lack of action on emissions in the US is delaying progress in the talks.

"The US will increasingly see the risks of being left behind, and 10 years from now they would have to start worrying about being shut out of markets because their production is dirty," Lord Stern said. "If they persist in being slow about reducing emissions, US exports will start to look more carbon intensive. [Countries] will start measuring the carbon content of exports."

President Obama pledged before the Copenhagen climate conference last December to cut US emissions by 17 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020. But his efforts to introduce legislation on emissions have been blocked by Congress. Republican gains in the midterm elections mean that there is little chance of legislation being passed in the next two years.

The US emits more than twice as much CO2 per capita as the EU and almost three times as much as China.

Lord Stern said that Europe and the Far East were forging ahead of the US in controlling emissions and switching to low carbon sources of energy. They would not tolerate having their industries undermined by American competitors that had not paid for their emissions.

"If you are charging properly for carbon and other people are not, you will take that into account," he said. "Many of the more forward-looking people in the US are thinking about this. If they see a danger on the trade front to US exports that could influence public discussion."

Asked what type of US products could face restrictions, Lord Stern said: "Aircraft, clearly, some cars, machine tools - it's not simply what's in the capital good, it's what kind of processes the capital good is facilitating."

Lord Stern said that a complete ban on some goods was also possible. He said the American people should overcome their historical antipathy to taxation and accept that emissions needed to be controlled either through a tax or a trading scheme.

"It goes back to the War of Independence. It's a country that is very sensitive to big government and taxation for understandable historical reasons," he said, adding that it was a "conceptual mistake" to see charging for emissions as a tax. "This is about stopping subsidising by stopping people being allowed to pollute for free."

Lord Stern said that China was taking far greater action on climate change than the US and was winning the race to develop clean technology to sell to the rest of the world. "The Chinese have declared very strongly for change. They are already talking about a tax on coal and natural resources. They have been quite drastic in closing a number of the dirtier factories."

He said that China was also considering a cap on overall energy use by 2015. "The Chinese are very serious about this because they know just how vulnerable China is, with big populations on the coastline. They also know that the green race for the new industrial revolution is on and they see that as a big source of growth."

He said other countries were no longer willing to allow the US to block progress. "The big blocs, the EU, Brazil, China, India, are asking now,'What should we be doing in a world where we can't be sure that the US will be a leader in the near future? Do we all wait, or do we get on with this new industrial revolution?'"

Todd Stern, the US lead negotiator on climate change, said earlier this year that it was in America's own economic interest to impose emissions controls. Speaking to the Centre for American Progress, he said: "This is something we must do for our own good, to contain the gathering storm that threatens to ravage our natural world."


NYT Does a Great Disservice to its Readership on Climate Change Coverage, U.N. Critic Says

Precious little progress has been made from the alarmist perspective since the United Nations climate change conference held last December in Copenhagen, Denmark, a blogger for the New York Times concedes. Looking ahead to the next conference, which opens at the end of November in Cancun, Mexico there is now speculation that this may be last gathering.

Although green activists continue to push for a binding international agreement to lower emissions, government officials are unlikely to advance any substantive measures.

“Now many are wondering whether the process itself, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is so flawed that it should be scrapped,” the blog says. “Is it realistic to expect that 200 nations with vastly different interests, from China to Saudi Arabia to Bolivia to Micronesia, can come together to address a problem that will affect them in vastly different ways? Is there a better way to attack a global problem largely caused by a handful of large industrialized countries? Should the next so-called `conference of the parties’ be the last?”

Since the mid-1990s, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been invoked as the final authority on the question of man-made global warming. But it has come under severe criticism recently over its methodologies and procedures.

The U.N. tasked The InterAcademy Council (IAC), based in Amsterdam, to investigate the IPCC. Its findings, published on August 30th concluded that the IPCC was predisposed toward conflicts of interest, made multiple assertions about climate change that lack scientific support, and inappropriately interjected itself into the policy making process.

Yes, the process is flawed but somehow the Times never gets around to raising questions about the so-called scientific consensus that has been used as a rationale for international regulatory agreements.

“A relatively small group of countries — the United States, China, Russia, India, Brazil and the European Union — are responsible for the vast bulk of global carbon emissions,” the blogger observes. “Why can’t they get together and agree on some common steps and a plan for providing aid to smaller, more vulnerable countries? Why do Cuba and Sudan have to sign onto whatever they agree to? In fact, such discussions now regularly take place outside the United Nations ambit, whether in the Group of 20 or other international forums, or in bilateral talks like those between the United States and China on clean energy innovation.”

Just prior to the November elections, the Times ran yet another editorial criticizing public officials who have raised questions about the evidence offered to support the idea that human activity has been driving climate change. This despite an avalanche of data that shows nature forces are largely responsible for warming and cooling trends.

Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist and professor emeritus with the University of Virginia, suggests in a recent essay for The American Thinker that NYT become better acquainted with recent developments and the sentiment of its own readership.

“The NY Times may be seriously out of step with its own readers,” he wrote. “At least that’s how I would judge the results of a survey of readers of Scientific American, a magazine that has been just as alarmist about AGW as the Times:

“**77% believe that current climate change is caused by natural processes

“**68% think we should do nothing about climate change, are powerless to stop it

“**90% approve of climate scientists debating the issue in public forums

“**83% believe that the UN-IPCC is corrupt, prone to groupthink, and has a political agenda.

“The New York Times is doing a disservice to its readers and to the U.S. public in stoking unreasonable fears not based on solid science,” Singer concluded. But were we expecting anything else?


How EPA could destroy 7.3 million jobs

Environmental Protection Agency officials Wednesday provided power companies and states with new guidance on EPA’s plans to regulate greenhouse gases. A D.C. lobbyist for two major power companies told Bloomberg News that “the energy and manufacturing sectors will essentially be in a construction moratorium” as a consequence.

Here we are, with 15 million Americans unemployed and millions more underemployed, and the EPA is moving blindly ahead with new regulations that will increase dramatically the energy costs of U.S. industries, reducing their competitiveness and profitability, and making it less likely they will hire.

EPA’s action amounts to rewriting the Clean Air Act to suit its own bureaucratic and ideological objectives. At a time when the Obama administration should be focused on job creation and the nation’s economic recovery, promulgating stringent new environmental rules should be its last priority.

The new EPA rules call for a reduction in the national ambient air-quality standard for ground-level ozone, a precursor of smog, from 75 parts per billion to between 60 and 70 parts per billion, a cut of up to 20 percent.

While this might seem innocuous enough, setting a more-stringent ozone standard will in fact cause economic havoc.

Hundreds of U.S. cities and counties already don’t meet the current standard. If the EPA tightens the rules, these counties will fall permanently into noncompliance, even with costly investments in new pollution controls.

Under the Clean Air Act’s nondegradation provision, state and local governments are not permitted to take actions that would worsen air quality, even if the area is in compliance with EPA standards.

If a county or city is not in compliance, its economy won’t be able to grow—so the EPA’s proposal would spell economic stagnation for many communities.

A study by the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, a 75-year old organization that provides economic research and training for business executives, warns that the new standard would destroy an estimated 7.3 million jobs nationwide and add $1 trillion annually in new regulatory costs beginning in 2020.

In Mississippi, the EPA proposal would kill an estimated 130,000 jobs and add $32.2 billion annually in new regulatory costs from 2020 to 2030.

Direct compliance costs are only part of the burden, however. If the new standards go into effect, the costs of nearly everything we buy also will go up, as higher energy prices raise production costs.

This huge price tag, however, wouldn’t appreciably improve public health. So it’s fair to ask why a more stringent ozone standard is even needed. Efforts to achieve cleaner air over the past 20 years have been extraordinarily successful, with pollution in some places cut in half.

If we’ve learned anything from clean-air regulation to date, it is that there is no low-cost way of substantially curtailing ground-level ozone or greenhouse-gas emissions within a relatively short time frame, which the EPA insists is necessary.

Fossil fuels account for 85 percent of America’s energy resources. We use oil, natural gas and coal—and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future—because they are plentiful and affordable.

All EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions will accomplish is to impoverish America, while doing little to cut emissions globally.

Increased energy consumption in China and other developing economies will offset any reductions in the United States. It is an unwise and dangerous move that would compel us unilaterally to curtail our use of fossil fuels significantly, one consequence of which would be a decline in our country’s economic well-being.

The EPA’s proposed ozone standard exemplifies arbitrary over-regulation that will destroy jobs and harm our economy without any offsetting benefit. Congress should block the EPA move.


Amid the climate gloom life goes on and nature thrives

Comment from Australia

Left orthodoxy maintains that the story of man's interaction with the ecosphere is a story of habitat degradation leading to species extinction. That's the headline. But by overstating the risks of climate change, and underestimating the capacity of humans and other species to adapt, we risk missing the chance to address real, pressing, soluble environmental problems.

Scientists at James Cook University last week announced they have discovered an exquisite new species of pygmy seahorse, 200 kilometres off the coast of Cairns. At less than half a centimetre long, the tiny creature may be the smallest vertebrate.

The discovery adds to the work of 2700 scientists from 80 countries who just completed the first Census of Marine Life. The census increased the estimate of known species from 230,000 to 250,000, finding "an unanticipated riot of species, which are the currency of diversity".

A startling find is the "rare biosphere" of microbes - species surviving in numbers of less than one in 10,000. These tiny cohorts subsist among masses of a dominant competitor, apparently waiting and hoping that conditions will change to allow their moment on the evolutionary stage. They seem to be a planetary insurance policy so that even if nutrient or temperature conditions change over time, there will still be an abundance of microscopic sea life in the food chain.

Outbreaks of the crown of thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef have reduced by half over the past decade. Scientists have no way of explaining their pattern of aggression and regression but it is clear that runoff from the farmers of north Queensland is not the main culprit.

Our lack of perspective derives in part from shortness of memory. It is not possible to recall the five mass extinction events that have, independent of man, wiped out more than 90 per cent of all species that ever lived - only to be followed, in each case, by an explosion of new life. Virtually no large land animals survived the end Cretaceous mass extinction 65 million years ago. As global temperatures rose six to 14 degrees higher than current levels, most plants and tropical marine life were decimated but all life on earth today is descended from the 10 to 15 per cent of species that survived that terrible wipeout.

The alarmist claims of eco-warriors such as Al Gore have suggested melting polar ice caps will cause sea levels to rise by seven metres over the next century, with catastrophic results for coastal cities globally. The best guess of the United Nations climate panel says that sea levels will not rise more than half a metre in that period. The climate economist Richard Tol has shown that rising temperatures would actually deliver a range of benefits to the planet and to mankind, including reduced energy costs for many. For most of earth's 4.5 billion year history, life has developed most quickly, with the greatest diversity, in periods without ice caps.

Life on land continues to prove highly adaptable, too. For some time it was illegal to feed native birds in NSW. The authorities in Sydney realised that prohibiting feeding was simply removing birds from the cityscape and repressing a natural behaviour in humans. Recently, they relented. The lorikeets and kookaburras are back on balconies of Meriton Apartments, eating seed meal from Woolworths. It is no Arcadian idyll but it is successful adaptation.

Meanwhile, the government of China is taking responsibility for groundwater salinity and urban pollution with a determination that no other country could contemplate. Tokyo has adapted to man-induced subsidence of four metres over the past 70 years. Ingenious Dutch dykes and barrages have made habitable and productive a country with one-fifth of its landmass below sea level. Professor Bjorn Lomborg estimates that further adaptation to sea level rises over the next century will cost one-tenth of 1 per cent of Holland's gross domestic product.

This year's inundation has let the mouth of the Murray River spring back to life with death-defying audacity. Inflows in October were the highest in a decade. Shellfish middens dotting the dunes attest that this special place has sustained human and marine life throughout droughts and floods for 30,000 years.

While we obsess about a global price for carbon (without which there would be no life at all), we risk failing to respond adequately to soluble problems like why marine mammals beach or how to repel the European carp from Australian rivers and arrest the southern march of the cane toad. We can and must tackle the boring but important challenges of noxious weeds and feral cats. All are responsive to effort, ingenuity and leadership.

Humankind must be accountable for its ability to affect the quality of life of all species on the planet we share but let's admit it is not possible for 6 billion humans to live anywhere in a "steady state". Nature doesn't. We mustn't get depressed by the hellfire gloom of those trying to scare us into submission. The story of life on earth is one of stunning resilience, abundance and diversity.


Star warmists are ripping us off

By Andrew Bolt, commenting from Australia

DICK Smith and his two helicopters aren't just evidence that global warming is the first faith preached exclusively by hypocrites. Our petrol-powered greenie also demonstrates a bizarre chasm between private behaviour and public policy that should warn us we're being ripped off.

Smith, in a profile in Good Weekend on Saturday, once more banged his warmist drum. Having criss-crossed the world by chopper and private plane, the entrepreneur declared: "After my research, it is most likely that humans are affecting climate." Er, one human in particular, Dick.

As the same article made clear, few of us would have pumped out more emissions than Smith, even though he's the one claiming these gases are suffocating the planet. For instance: "He has a holiday house, a farm with a homestead, a large house with a swimming pool, two cars, a steam train and all that owning three separate households entails. "He's very open but for some reason refuses to confirm just how many aircraft he owns - there are at least two helicopters and a jet."

Smith objects that cutting back on his joy rides would "make no measurable difference", and change really had to come from governments. Decoded, that means governments must pass laws to force the rest of us to make the sacrifices Smith will not. Or put it this way: Smith wants governments to force up the bills for the power you need to cook dinner and wash the kids' clothes, but won't voluntarily cut down on his helicopter trips to watch birds.

You may say I've picked an extreme example, but how many would you like?

There's Virgin boss Sir Richard Brazen, for instance, who says we must cut our emissions, but then drops in to Brisbane in a private helicopter (yes, him, too) to flog his new line of business - joy rides into outer space.

Or take our own Alarmist of the Year, Tim Flannery, now a consultant for Brazen's gassy Virgin Galactic despite demanding we cut the emissions that "threaten civilisation as we know it".

Or how about Al Gore, the global warming billionaire, who says we must save the world by leaving a smaller footprint, yet recently bought his fourth big house. Or was it his fifth?

Then there's supermodel Gisele Bundchen becoming a United Nations environmental ambassador, then ordering herself a new 20,000sq ft home with a six-car garage, lagoon and lift.

Have I missed anyone? Oprah Winfrey, perhaps, who urges her viewers to "see what you can do to stop global warming", but then announces she'll fly 300 of them to Australia. She herself will probably take her private plane.

And how could I forget Laurie David, producer of Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, the propaganda tape for the warming faithful, who admits: "Yes, I take a private plane on holiday a couple of times a year," but says she has the right attitude: "I feel horribly guilty."

Or director James Cameron, who sold his crazy environmental movie Avatar as a plea to "live with less", yet lives in a Malibu mansion with no less than six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a tennis court, a swimming pool, a guest house and an indoor cinema.

Sorry, but you shouldn't get me started about these celebrity warmists, each blinder than the last.

Take film star Jeremy Irons, who insists "people must drop their standard of living", while enjoying his six houses and a pink castle. Couldn't he at least paint the damn thing green?

But I won't go on. Point made. Well, half the point. Against the refusal of the loudest warming preachers to make observable sacrifices of their own, set the sacrifices demanded of much poorer taxpayers.

See, the thing about global warming is that it not just licenses closet totalitarians to design ways to force others to live more virtuously, but also excuses any harebrained scheme. After all, they're "saving" the planet. How could you question that great work?

And so one planet-saving scheme after another is proposed by governments that achieve nothing and cost a bomb - often so much, that even a Labor politician must finally choke.

Some examples? The NSW government last month had to slash a subsidy for solar panels to stop it from blowing out by $2.5 billion.

The Rudd government's own solar rebates had to be scrapped completely, along with the much-rorted [defrauded] "green loans" scheme and the "free insulation" disaster, in which $2.4 billion was frittered on often substandard or even lethal batts and foil.

Still going is the $100 million a year the Gillard Government is investing into the El Dorado of carbon capture - a quixotic scheme to catch and bury emissions of our power stations. Add the countless millions in subsidies and padded prices paid for wind power and you'll know part of the reason for your power bills soaring.

Rod Mills, head of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, explained it last week to the Labor-Greens carbon price committee: "Household solar and wind generation in particular ... are high-cost measures and ones where the cost is added to the bills of all electricity consumers."

Compare: making electricity with brown coal costs less than $40 a megawatt hour; with wind more than $100, and with solar about $300.

And the sick joke is that solar does little to stop any warming anyway. An Australian National University review of the scrapped federal scheme says it wasted $1 billion to cut our emissions by a microscopic 0.015 per cent, and mostly by importing solar panels from China.

All of it charged to you, dear reader, in the hope that because we're "saving the planet" you won't ask such awkward questions as "will it actually work?" and "how much will it cost?" and "are you out of your freaking mind?"

How else to explain the Gillard Government's "cash for clunkers" scheme, in which owners of old bombs will be paid up to $2000 if they scrap them and buy a "green" car instead. That works out to a lunatic $400 for each tonne of carbon dioxide "saved", even accepting the Government's own figures. Put that in context: the emissions trading scheme proposed by Kevin Rudd planned to start with an effective tax of just $23 a tonne.

Here's a tip for Smith and his kind. You think this joke can go on for much longer, with warming preachers belching hot air while everyone else must cork their own? If the planet really is threatened with warming doom, why don't you act like you believe it?

In truth, a Smith demonstrates the real question we must calmly consider: would each sacrifice we're told to make in fact make so much difference that we should make it? Hear that choppering high over your head? That's Smith's answer.



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


18 November, 2010

'I want to be remembered for the science' says Phil 'Climategate' Jones to chorus of titters

Professor Phil Jones, the ’scientist’ at the heart of the Climategate emails has spoken out. “Hopefully they will remember me for the scientific papers I have written rather than the emails,” he has said in an interview with the mysterious, paywall-hidden void that used to be known as the Times.

Unsurprisingly, Prof Jones repeated the popular ecofascist mantra that the reason increasingly large numbers of people are sceptical of “Climate Change” is not because of the science but because it suits their evil, selfish, comfort-centric lifestyles.

“I think some people want to believe that we are not able to affect the climate and want to use any bit of evidence to promote the case for doing nothing. They think that [to do something] might lead to such a change in our lifestyles.”

Apparently, says Prof Jones, things have got so bad that there is almost no good science anywhere on the internet any more. According to the Times, channeling Jones: "Google searches for key scientific papers yielded long lists of dismissive postings by sceptics and it was hard to find the actual research. “It’s way down there because of the way Google works. People will potentially get the misinformation first.”

To which this blog says: “Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!” And then adds ruefully: “If bloody only!”

Jones goes on to express his “regrets” for the various incriminating emails which made him a global laughing stock and destroyed the credibility of the Climatic Research Unit, the IPCC and the junk science of the AGW industry generally. Apparently, emails like the one where he referred to “Mike’s Nature Trick” being used to “Hide the decline”, and the one where he encouraged colleagues to breach FOI laws by deleting emails, were “sent in haste.”

Unlike the normal emails the rest of us send, presumably, over which we deliberate for hours and send very, very slowly.

Oh, and it turns out the real villain of the piece is George Monbiot. Jones is still spitting blood over Monbiot’s call for his resignation in the wake of the Climategate emails. “He didn’t retract it for months until after the Muir Russell review came out and even then it was somewhat begrudging. To me it showed he didn’t understand how science was done.”

With you, there, Prof. With you totally.


Astrophyscist and forecaster Piers Corbyn comments:

Well! I will remember Phil Jones even if his tricks get forgotten. I will remember that:

1) In his Emails he named me (in haste??) as Public Enemy number ONE on the Europe side of the Atlantic - in terms of opposing his CO2-led theory of climate change;

2) In E mails, he and his cronies declared they would move heaven and Earth through their very extensive network to prevent publication of work from 'skeptics' such as me and others. And then his crew and the like complain that I haven't published enough!!! Do they really want more?

3) ALL the predictions since 2000 of Jones' et al's CO2 warmist theory have FAILED. CO2 theory can predict nothing, whereas our solar-magnetic lunar approach has proven success and independently proven significant skill - for example in correctly predicting the last two cold & snowy winters and previous floody summers, wheres traditional warmest meteorology predicted the opposite.

Jones, these are scientific tests. You failed.

For the record there is NO EVIDENCE that CO2 changes drive world temperature or climate change in the REAL world & biosphere; and the campaign to reverse the insanity of CO2 Warmist fraudulent pseudo-science and abolish the Climate Change Act is gathering strength - see the report & pics! of Climate Fools Day Conference 27 Oct in Parliament via and links therein

California's Destructive Green Jobs Lobby

Silicon Valley, once synonymous with productivity-enhancing innovation, is now looking to make money on feel-good government handouts


California officials acknowledged last Thursday that the state faces $20 billion deficits every year from now to 2016. At the same time, California's state Treasurer entered bond markets to sell some $14 billion in "revenue anticipation notes" over the next two weeks. Worst of all, economic sanity lost out in what may have been the most important election on Nov. 2—and, no, I'm not talking about the gubernatorial or senate races.

This was the California referendum to repeal Assembly Bill 32, the so-called Global Warming Solutions Act, which ratchets the state's economy back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020. That's a 30% drop followed by a mandated 80% overall drop by 2050. Together with a $500 billion public-pension overhang, the new energy cap dooms the state to bankruptcy.

Conservative pundits have lavished mock pity on the state. But as America's chief fount of technology, California cannot go down the drain without dragging the rest of the country with it.

The irony is that a century-long trend of advance in conventional "non-renewable" energy—from wood to oil to natural gas and nuclear—has already wrought a roughly 60% drop in carbon emissions per watt. Thus the long-term California targets might well be achieved globally in the normal course of technological advance. The obvious next step is aggressive exploitation of the trillions of cubic feet of low-carbon natural gas discovered over the last two years, essentially ending the U.S. energy crisis.

The massive vote against repeal of the California law—62% to 38%—supports an economy-crushing drive to suppress CO2 emissions from natural gas and everything else. In a parody of supply-side economics, advocates of AB 32 envisage the substitution of alternative energy sources that create new revenue sources, new jobs and industries. Their economic model sees new wealth emerge from jobs dismantling the existing energy economy and replacing it with a medieval system of windmills and solar collectors. By this logic we could all get rich by razing the existing housing plant and replacing it with new-fangled tents.

All the so-called "renewables" programs waste and desecrate the precious resource of arable land that feeds the world. Every dollar of new wages for green workers will result in several dollars of reduced pay and employment for the state's and the nation's other workers—and reduced revenues for the government.

Most destructive of all is the bill's stultifying effect on America's and California's most important asset: the venture capital industry, which accounts for the nation's technological leadership, military power, and roughly a fifth of GDP.

Led by Al Gore's investment affiliate, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, the campaign to save AB 32 raised $31 million—more than three times the $10 million that the oil companies raised for repeal. Pouring in millions were such promethean venturers as John Doerr and Vinod Khosla of Kleiner Perkins, Eric Schmidt and Sergei Brin of Google, and the legendary Gordon Moore and Andrew Grove of Intel. The campaign even managed to shake down a contribution from the state's public utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, and gained the backing of the GOP's eBay billionaire gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman.

What is wrong with California's plutocratic geniuses? They are simply out of their depth in a field they do not understand. Solar panels are not digital. They may be made of silicon but they benefit from no magic of miniaturization like the Moore's Law multiplication of transistors on microchips. There is no reasonable way to change the wavelengths of sunlight to fit in drastically smaller photo receptors. Biofuels are even less promising. Even if all Americans stopped eating (saving about 100 thermal watts per capita on average) and devoted all of our current farmland to biofuels, the output could not fill much more than 2% of our energy needs.

In the past, Kleiner Perkins funded scores of vital ventures, from Apple and Applied Materials to Amazon and Google. But now Kleiner is moving on to such government- dependent firms as Miasole, Amyris Biofuels, Segway and Upwind Solutions. Many have ingenious technology and employ thousands of brilliant engineers, but they are mostly wasted on pork catchers.

Other venturers plunged into solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received some $500 million in federal subsidies and a campaign visit from Barack Obama before laying off 17% of its work force and giving up on a new factory that was supposed to create 1,000 green jobs.

Many of these green companies, behaving like the public-service unions they resemble, diverted some of their government subsidies into the AB 32 campaign for more subsidies. Virtually every new venture investment proposal harbors a "green" angle that turns it from a potential economic asset into a government dependent.

A partial solution is a suit by four attorneys general outside of California. They argue that the California law violates the Constitution's interstate commerce clause because of the limits it places on electricity generated by out-of-state, coal-fired power plants. But ultimately the new Congress must act. The Center for American Progress has found that 50 out of 100 or so new Republican congressmen elected earlier this month are "climate-change skeptics." But Republican leaders such as incoming Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor show dangerous gullibility in the face of environmentalist claims.

Co-sponsoring a disgraceful bill introduced in September to force utilities to expand their use of "renewable energy" to 15% by 2021 are Republican Sens. Sam Brownback and Susan Collins. Republican politicians are apparently lower in climate skepticism than readers of Scientific American, which recently discovered to its horror that some 80% of its subscribers, mostly American scientists, reject man-made global warming catastrophe fears.

Republicans may delude themselves that the U.S. can undertake a costly, inefficient and disruptive transformation of the energy economy, estimated by the International Energy Agency to cost some $45 trillion over 40 years, while meeting our global military challenges and huge debt overhang. But the green campaign wastes scarce and precious technological and entrepreneurial resources indispensable to the nation's future. Now it is debauching America's most precious venture assets. It must be defeated, not appeased.


A fanatic at work

LSU astronomy Professor Mocks, Berates Students for Conservative Views. The amusing thing is that the fanatic would deny that astronomy has anything to do with global warming -- so how is his diatribe relevant to what he is supposed to be teaching?, a network of conservative and libertarian student activists, acquired video of a Louisiana State University astronomy professor who seated students by their political views on global warming in class and then openly mocked conservative students. The first of three videos was released today.

In the video, Professor Bradley Schaeffer tells students who support limited government regulation for global warming that "blood will be on your hands" because of their political opinions.

As part of the coursework, the professor asked the students who favored no or limited government response to global warming this question in writing:

"Your professed policies have a substantial likelihood of leading to the death of a billion or more people. (A) Estimate the probability that you personally will be killed in an ugly way because of your current decision? (B) What is the probability that any children of yours will die in ugly ways due to your current decision?"

Schaeffer later compares deaths from European heat waves to the deaths of Americans who died on September 11. "Now remember, how many people got killed on 9/11?" he says to the class. "What was it? One thousand? Two thousand? Something like that. Three thousand, whatever. It's [9/11] dwarfed by this [heat waves]. Why aren't people reacting?"

The first video is available at

The video was taken through the Leadership Institute's National Field Program, which sends field representatives to support conservative and libertarian students at colleges across the country each fall. The video and accompanying story were then posted on, a project of the Leadership Institute.


So much for biodiversity!

Spain is preparing to rid its shores of foreign species of plants and animals that are considered a danger to the ecosystem says The Telegraph.

Successful species which threaten weaker species but which are considered “foreign” are to be eliminated by human intervention – and all in the name of biodiversity!

An exhaustive list of non-native species has been targeted for control or eradication by Spain’s Environment Ministry to protect the country’s own flora and fauna.

The inventory of 168 “alien invaders” that were introduced accidentally or deliberately to the Iberian Peninsula and are now not welcome includes the American mink and raccoon, which found their way from commercial fur farms into Spain’s countryside where their population has boomed.

Other species have been introduced intentionally but are deemed a threat to native varieties. The Zebra Mussel and Red Swamp Crayfish have both been identified as causing serious harm to indigenous species and habitats and with causing “a negative impact on agricultural production”.

The Ruddy Duck, introduced to Europe as an ornamental species, is one of the worst culprits because of its aggressive courting behaviour and willingness to interbreed with endangered, native duck species.

Besides the impact on biodiversity and agriculture some species can also cause problems for human health.

The Asian Tiger mosquito originally native to areas of south-east Asia has in the last couple of decades invaded many countries because of increasing international travel and transport of goods. The insect is a vector for Chikungunya fever which can cause severe illness in humans. Invasive plants species, such as the Galenia pubescens and Water hyacinth are choking the sand dunes of southern Spain and clogging water courses.

But not all foreign species are considered a threat. The draft proposal includes a measure that will exempt from extermination those species considered beneficial to the environment. The Barbary Sheep, native to North Africa and introduced to a national park in Murcia, will be offered protection. Certain fish species, notably carp, pike and bass, will be restocked in the rivers Ebro and Tagus.


November 20, 2009: The Day "Global Warming" Ended

By Alan Caruba

November 20, 2009 is an important date because it was the day that “global warming” ended. It was the day that a total fabrication, a hoax, was revealed to be the work of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), aided and abetted by a vast network of governmental and business leaders, a compliant media, and scientists who sold their souls for grants and other funding.

It was the day that Al Gore was shown to be unworthy to share a Nobel Peace Prize with the iniquitous IPCC, nor an Oscar for his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

It was the day that Cap-and-Trade legislation, the largest tax ever on energy use, was eviscerated as lacking any basis in science. The legislation proposed to establish a “carbon credits” trade that would have enriched the Chicago Climate Exchange created by investors that included Goldman Sachs. Following the "global warming" hoax revelations, the Exchange would close its doors within a year.

November 20 was the day that three thousand emails between the meteorologists at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England, specifically its director, Phil Jones, and Penn State’s Michael Mann, as well as others involved in the hoax were made available on the Internet.

The Washington Times reported that “Obama administration climate czar Carol Browner rejected the revelations in the email exchanges, saying “I’m sticking with the 2,500,” referring to the IPCC climate science members. “These people have been studying this issue for a very long time and agree this problem is real.” This, like all the other assertions about “global warming” was a lie.

It must be noted that President Barack Obama continues to talk about “climate change”, the term used to replace “global warming”. His administration has many “global warming” advocates including his science advisor, Dr. John Holden, and Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu. The Environmental Protection Agency is engaged in securing authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas emissions” as this is being written.

The administration’s funding through subsidies and mandates for “renewable energy” sources such as solar and wind energy is entirely based on the assertion that the generation of energy by coal-fired plants, is causing “global warming.” Neither solar, nor wind can even begin to provide sufficient energy for the nation, now or in the future. Support for ethanol, a biofuel, is equally without merit.

The primary assertion behind “global warming” was that it was “anthropogenic”, created by human activity, primarily the burning of “fossil fuels” by utilities to generate electricity and by industrial users. Similarly the use of oil derivatives, gasoline and diesel for transportation is blamed.

A segment of IPCC members did not support the global warming hoax and tried for years to marshall opposition to the Panel’s findings, published in reports shot through with baseless distortions and assertions that the Earth was heating to an extraordinary degree. Over time, they came forth and publicly disputed the IPCC for spreading the "global warming" hoax.

A year earlier in 2008, testifying before a congressional committee, Dr. Roy Spencer, the principal research scientist of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said, “Despite decades of persistent uncertainty over how sensitive the climate system is to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we now have new satellite evidence which strongly suggests that the climate system is much less sensitive than is claimed by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

“The warming we have experienced in the last 100 years is mostly natural,” said Dr. Spencer, adding that whatever warming had occurred had since been replaced by satellite data documenting that the Earth had “not warmed for at least seven years now.”

A “little ice age” from about 1300 to 1850 was well known to meteorologists and climate scientists.. Dennis T. Avery, the director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute, noted in April 2008 that “The Earth’s warming since 1850 totals about 0.7 degrees C. Most of this occurred before 1940.” The global warming hoax went into high gear in the late 1980s when no significant warming was occurring. Avery, too, noted that “The Earth has experienced no discernible temperature increase since 1998, nearly nine years ago.”

Following the leaked emails, on November 26, 2009, an editorial in The Wall Street Journal concluded that “the impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.”

By then, however, the lies put forth by the IPCC had been debunked by a series of international conferences on climate change sponsored by The Heartland Institute. Participants represented many internationally respected climate scientists.

How profitable was it for those involved? Al Gore and others are alleged to have made millions from the now defunct Chicago-based Climate Change Exchange. The emails revealed that CRU director Phil Jones had, since 1990, collected a staggering 13.7 million British pounds (about #22.6 million US) in grants.

In the United States, an estimated $50 to $60 billion in government grants for climate research had been squandered since the late 1980s when James E. Hansen, a NASA employee, Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), testified before a congressional committee claiming that a massive heating of the Earth was occurring.

Drs. Mann and Jones have both been exonerated by the universities for their work, but there has been a seismic shift in the scientific community as institutions such as the Royal Society in England have begun to back off from their support of the “global warming” hoax.

The “global warming” hoax was supported vociferously by the mainstream media in the U.S. and around the world. The worst offenders have been The New York Times, Newsweek and Time magazines, but there are others too numerous to list, including leading scientific publications.

On November 20, 2009, the world began to awake from a totally fictitious nightmare called “global warming.” It persists among those desperate to keep the truth from reaching a world that has been duped by the largest collection of governmental leaders, politicians, scientists, and media collaborators ever to engage in such a Big Lie.



This is a list of blogs and sites that have a skeptical view of climate and energy issues, not blindly accepting mainstream AGW views. While English blogs are well known (you should start with Anthony Watt's Watts Up With That? and with his own list), blogs in other languages are more difficult to find. A few English sites, from non native English speaking countries have also been included.

A lot of good work is being done, in other languages, to audit the pseudo-science behind most of the Media hype regarding Climate, Energy and the Environment. In some countries, a little few are battling a great crowd, and that is particularly true in countries where the Green movement is widespread, like in Germany and Denmark. In some cases, the sites are not dedicated to these issues, and I have linked only the relevant parts, involving specific tags and categories.

The list below is ordered by language, and then by importance of the sites. I've used mainly Google Pagerank and post activity to rank the sites. Please notice that you can order the table by the columns; just click on the headers to sort by a specific column. Please also notice translation of the sites through Google translate, into five major spoken languages.

While I have checked all the sites through Google translate, some issues might have been left behind. If you don't want your site referenced here, or if you have some suggestions, send me an email (email on the top left). I can't guarantee a prompt reply, but I'll look into it. If you're one of the top sites for your country, and would like to help, I'm trying to get a fixed list of contacts that can evaluate further requests in the language that you know better than me.

Klimaatveranderingen: fabels en
Dr. C. (Kees) le Pairwww.clepair.netDutchNetherlands
de Groene Rekenkamerwww.groenerekenkamer.nlDutchNetherlands
De Klimatosoofwww.klimatosoof.nlDutchNetherlands
The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGEomniclimate.wordpress.c...EnglishItaly
The Reference Republic
Die Klimazwiebelklimazwiebel.blogspot.c...EnglishGermany
Pensée Uniquewww.pensee-unique.frFrenchFrance
Changement Climatiquewww.skyfall.frFrenchFrance
Objectif Liberté
ICE Blogiceblog.over-blog.comFrenchFrance
Vincent Courtillot (Blog non-officiel) vincentcourtillot.blogs...FrenchFrance
Réchauffement médiatiquewww.rechauffementmediat...FrenchCanada
Climat Sceptique climat-sceptique.over-b...FrenchFrance
Le Blogue du Québécois
EIKE - Europäisches Institut für Klima und Energiewww.eike-klima-energie....GermanGermany
Klima-Schwindel www.klima-schwindel.comGermanSwitzerland
NIPCC - Suissewww.nipcc.chGermanSwitzerland
Mittelalterliche Warmperiode mittelalterlichewarmper...GermanGermany
Der Wettermannwww.derwettermann.deGermanGermany
New Ice Agedaltonsminima.altervist...ItalianItaly
Il Tafano Climaticoiltafanoclimatico.wordp...ItalianItaly
Mitos Climáticosmitos-climaticos.blogsp...PortuguesePortugal
Fiel Inimigofiel-inimigo.blogspot.c...PortuguesePortugal
Sol e Mudanças Climáticassandcarioca.wordpress.c...PortugueseBrazil
Ciência Alternativabetoorcy.blogspot.comPortugueseBrazil
Espectador Interessadoespectadorinteressado.b...PortuguesePortugal
Clima: Virtual vs Realclima-virtual-vs-real.b...PortuguesePortugal
A Ciência não é neutraa-ciencia-nao-e-neutra....PortuguesePortugal
As escolhas do
Verde: a cor nova do comunismoecologia-clima-aquecime...PortugueseBrazil
Falar do tempofalardotempo.blogspot.c...PortuguesePortugal
Mata Alheia Mamata No$$amataalheiamamatanossa.b...PortugueseBrazil
Só me apetece cobrir!
A Nova Ordem Mundialwww.anovaordemmundial.c...PortugueseBrazil
A Grande Farsa do Aquecimento Globalagfdag.wordpress.comPortugueseBrazil
Aliança Nacionalnacionalismo-de-futuro....PortuguesePortugal
A Conspiraçã
co2 antonuriarte.blogspot.c...SpanishSpain
Ecología: Mitos y
amazing snowamazingsnow.wordpress.c...SpanishSpain
La nueva edad de hielo
Banquisa en el Ártico: el blog del hielo marino diablobanquisa.wordpres...SpanishSpain
Desde el
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For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


17 November, 2010

A probably inadvertent admission from Fred Krupp, Head of the Environmental Defense Fund

His advice that "Our response to this political problem must be to engage more widely and listen more carefully, not dismiss or belittle those with whom we disagree" is certainly a welcome change but do the words highlighted below in red reveal the reasons for that stance?

His accusation that big companies are what is preventing Warmist laws is a laugh of course. He doesn't name a single such company! The truth is that it is Congressmen who fear for the jobs of their voters who are the biggest block in his way. Despite saying lots of Warmist things in his article, he has clearly put no effort into his argument for it

Every major reform in our nation's history has suffered defeats on the path to victory. From free trade to civil rights, setbacks have been a part of progress. But ultimate victory comes to those who learn from their defeats and press forward with new determination and perseverance.

The failure of the United States Senate to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year was a serious setback for America, and for the world. The continuing cascade of scientific evidence shows that we are dangerously changing our climate, and the urgent need to act remains. So what do we do?

Our view is that we must be much more aggressive in pursuing pollution reductions under existing law, through America's never-ending ability to innovate, and through partnerships with companies that can transform the marketplace. There are many companies making real change, and we intend to work with them.

However, we have well-financed enemies in this fight, and it is time to sharpen the nation's focus on the businesses that obstruct vital progress.

For EDF, that means our historic interest in cooperation over confrontation will be recalibrated. We will always negotiate where possible, and we will continue to look for collaborative opportunities and flexible solutions. That is who we are, and we will continue to pursue those goals.

But there are companies that continue to choose short-term profits over public health, and who feel they are better off opposing progress. These companies have friends in the Congress, and they believe they will have more political leverage against the Environmental Protection Agency as the balance of power shifts in Washington next year.

Meanwhile, they are already marching into the courts to challenge virtually every breath EPA takes in this area. Our view is that the public and the investor community need to have far greater awareness of the companies engaged in indiscriminate obstructionism. We will look for ways to hold them accountable through every reasonable lever at our disposal. We will learn to be as tough with them as they have been with us.

We are evaluating everything from engaging more actively in corporate governance -- the annual meeting of shareholders and outreach to boards of directors -- to more active involvement in state Public Utility Commissions where the rubber meets the road on the scope of pollution -- or pollution reductions -- associated with major capital investments. And we are looking at a variety of ways to involve the public more actively in a conversation about who the big emitters are, where they operate, and what steps they are taking to reduce their pollution.

It doesn't have to be this way, and we would rather spend our time working on smart policy and win-win solutions. But we have no choice. We cannot allow the efforts of a few powerful companies to block necessary progress for the rest of us.

At the same time, we must accept the reality that climate change has a political problem. For too many people, opposing a solution to climate change has become a political and ideological dogma. As long as many in Congress feel required to oppose any measure in this area, we will not succeed.

If we are going to de-carbonize our economy, we have to de-polarize the politics surrounding the conversation. It is worth remembering that no major environmental law has ever passed without substantial bipartisan support. This has always been the case -- but the incoming Congress is a fresh reminder that bipartisanship must be the foundation of future progress.

In short, while being more aggressive and vigorously fighting to achieve critical emissions reductions, we -- the environmental community -- must be more open. Our response to this political problem must be to engage more widely and listen more carefully, not dismiss or belittle those with whom we disagree.

We will have to reach out to new partners, make new allies, and engage new constituencies. We have done so with a large part of the business community, and we will learn to do so with others.

We cannot expect that the public will support change without understanding the reasons for it. But we cannot browbeat our way to a broader understanding of the science behind climate change and the benefits of taking action. We need to start with the real problems people face in America today - from jobs and energy security to clean air and water -- and work with them to find answers to those problems and the common challenge that faces all of us.


So climate change is not a real problem?

Amusing: Global warming could make us cooler, say Germany's chief Warmists

They sure know how to cover their bets with their silly computer games. Press Release below from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) []

The shrinking of sea-ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional heating of the lower levels of air - which may lead to strong anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents, a study recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows.

"These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia," says Vladimir Petoukhov, lead author of the study and climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

"Recent severe winters like last year's or the one of 2005-06 do not conflict with the global warming picture, but rather supplement it."

The researchers base their assumptions on simulations with an elaborate computer model of general circulation, ECHAM5, focusing on the Barents-Kara Sea north of Norway and Russia where a drastic reduction of ice was observed in the cold European winter of 2005-06. Those surfaces of the sea lacking the ice cover lose a lot of warmth to the normally cold and windy arctic atmosphere.

What the researchers did was to feed the computer with data, gradually reducing the sea ice cover in the eastern Arctic from 100 percent to 1 percent in order to analyse the relative sensitivity of wintertime atmospheric circulation.

"Our simulations reveal a rather pronounced nonlinear response of air temperatures and winds to the changes of sea-ice cover," Petoukhov, a physicist, says. "It ranges from warming to cooling to warming again, as sea ice decreases."

An abrupt transition between different regimes of the atmospheric circulation in the sub-polar and polar regions may be very likely. Warming of the air over the Barents-Kara Sea seems to bring cold winter winds to Europe. "This is not what one would expect," Petoukhov says.

"Whoever thinks that the shrinking of some far away sea-ice won't bother him could be wrong. There are complex teleconnections in the climate system, and in the Barents-Kara Sea we might have discovered a powerful feedback mechanism."

Other approaches to the issue of cold winters and global warming referring to reduced sun activity or most recently the gulf stream "tend to exaggerate the effects," Petoukhov says. The correlation between these phenomena and cold winters is relatively weak, compared to the new findings referring to the processes in the Barents-Kara Sea.

Petoukhov also points out that during the cold winter of 2005-06 with temperatures of ten degrees below the normal level in Siberia, no anomalies in the north Atlantic oscillation have been observed. These are fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure between the Icelandic low and the Azores high which are commonly associated with temperature anomalies over Europe.

But temperatures in the eastern arctic were up to 14 degrees above normal level. However, distinct anomalies in the north Atlantic oscillation could interact with sea-ice decrease, the study concludes. One could amplify the other and more anomalies would be the result.

Petoukhov's study is not about tomorrow's weather forecast but about longtime probabilities of climate change. "I suppose nobody knows," he says, "how harsh this year's winter will be."

Article: Petoukhov, V., and V. A. Semenov (2010), A link between reduced Barents-Kara sea ice and cold winter extremes over northern continents, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D21111 [doi:10.1029/2009JD013568]

How narrow can a "consensus" get?

It has been found that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been embarrassed by a Thomson Reuters analysis in which it found there is very little peer-reviewed literature backing up climate alarmism.

In their ‘Essential Science Indicators (Research Fronts 2004-09),’ Reuters proved that the IPCC uses only 13 peer-reviewed papers to justify blaming human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) for global warming; thus disproving the so-called "consensus" of world scientists

Indeed, the IPPC stands very much apart from most scientists in predicting climate catastrophes. In their 2007 ‘Summary for Policymakers’ the IPPC use the word ‘catastrophe’ or its conjugated derivatives no less than 338 times despite the word never appearing in any of the scientific literature.

Moreover, so scant was IPCC regard for expert opinion about the role of the sun that they entrusted its analysis to just one expert. But worse, that sole IPCC scientist referred only to her own studies - a clear conflict of interest that no mainstream media outlet has ever addressed.

So poor was the examination of the role of the sun that the issue of cosmic rays was ignored completely even though it is considered a key climate factor by most scientists and a world leading theorist on this issue, Henrik Svensmark.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Climate scare no longer important enough for Congress to bother with?

Global warming skeptics eager to see ascendant House Republicans put climate science under the microscope might be disappointed in Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Issa – the likely chairman the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the next Congress – signaled to reporters Monday that his interest in probing “climate-gate” has waned.

“I will have limited resources and limited time. I am looking at things that fall between the cracks, but also I am looking for the largest dollars of waste, and although this is a significant issue, it may not be the issue that first comes to my committee, and we are willing to realize that I only have so many resources and so much time,” he told reporters in the Capitol Monday evening.

The comments appear to mark a change in position for Issa. In the past has called attention to emails among climate scientists associated with the Climatic Research Unit – a prominent U.K. institute – that were made public late last year.

Climate skeptics — including a host of GOP lawmakers — have alleged the messages revealed efforts to squelch information that undercuts evidence of human-induced climate change. However, multiple probes of the researchers in the “climate-gate” affair have concluded the scientists did not seek to manipulate or suppress data.

Issa last year slammed what he called a White House refusal to probe the matter and called for inquiries.

And Issa has said he would probe the emails and climate science if Republicans regained the House, according to ClimateWire, the New Yorker and other outlets.

But Monday Issa downplayed the prospect. He said that climate science overall is a matter for other House committees, including the Science and Technology Committee, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming if it remains intact next year.

“A lot of it will, rightfully so, fall to the Science Committee,” he said. “We are not a committee of jurisdiction on the science of it. We are about waste, fraud and abuse, and organization and cost. So probably a lot of that is going to fall to the committees of jurisdiction.”

“We haven’t made any plans on climate change because, quite frankly, the lead committee will look at what part they will take,” Issa added. He didn’t slam the door completely, noting, “there may be a piece for us,” but overall indicated that the committee's emphasis will lie elsewhere.


As cap 'n trade dies, a new threat emerges

Although preparations are in place for a summit on climate change in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of November, it is clear that the goal of cutting carbon emissions through coordinated action by the world's governments is dead. Nevertheless, it would be too early to celebrate, as the threat of fear-driven and economically costly climate policies is not gone yet. It is merely being transformed into a more subtle - and potentially more dangerous - agenda.

The Copenhagen summit last year was the last nail in the coffin of the Kyoto process. Under Kyoto, countries would agree to specific emission targets and then use "cap-and-trade" to allocate the limited amount of carbon emissions to various industrial uses. However, in 2009, the world's leaders failed to agree on any measurable commitment to cutting carbon emissions by this method.

In fact, they did so for a very good reason. Meeting the initially envisaged objectives of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050 and 80 percent by 2100 is, under current technology, not feasible without drastic reductions in economic activity and, therefore, standards of living. This may not seem like much to Western politicians and celebrities. However, for the political leaders of large emerging economies such as China and India, forestalling their current economic expansion in order to obtain very uncertain benefits some hundred years from now would be the height of folly.

The dominant view that animated Kyoto and Copenhagen - and is now disintegrating in view of the latter's failure - was focused on reducing emissions through massive deployment of currently existing sources of "clean" energy. Notwithstanding the cheerleading about wind farms and solar panels, these methods proved to be overly expensive and were introduced and sustained in the first place only by government subsidies. In times of financial crisis, they have become burdensome political liabilities, and their widespread use in emerging countries, which need cheap and readily available sources of energy, is unthinkable. If we are fortunate, they will be abandoned over time.

However, while the climate-change alarmists are slowly becoming aware of the impasse the traditional approach has created, their agenda has not gone away. A number of thinkers from across the political spectrum are progressively gaining influence and are likely to be the ones who will set the tone for climate and energy policies in the years to come.

This rising group is a heterogeneous bunch. It includes Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics in England, Roger Pielke Jr., author of "The Climate Fix," and the "skeptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg, who is releasing his new movie focused on climate-change policies, "Cool It." Finally, it includes experts from both the American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Brookings Institution in the United States, who recently published a joint proposal for fostering energy innovation.

This last fact is probably the most disturbing. Whenever the most influential left-wing and right-wing experts agree, the odds are that the matter will involve expanding government and taking resources away from the private sphere.

The central argument made by this group is as follows: Because emission cuts using current technologies are not practicable, the main thrust of new policies should lie in subsidizing research and development so that a new "breakthrough" technology can arise, which will allow easy and costless "decarbonization" of the world economy in the future.

This argument relies on a rather naive understanding of the economics of innovation. It is simply assumed that pouring money into research will bring the desired technology - and also that this technology could not have been obtained through privately funded research technology alone.

Furthermore, where is the compelling argument that governments are especially qualified to identify those technologies that have a high social but low private return - technologies that are worth developing but that no private organization has the incentive to bring about? More commonly, governments fund research-and-development projects that would have been very profitable anyway. As a result, companies just save their own resources that they would have used for the research and development and use the public money instead....

In short, as this new research-and-development-centered approach gains prominence, we are likely to be in for more government spending and waste. Instead of celebrating the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the old-style climate alarmism, we should be wary of its new form - perhaps subtler but no less damaging to the economy and to the future of free societies.


Rage at the Washingtom Post

Strenous efforts at character assassination and nothing more. That Fred Singer is "aging" is even held against him! See below

Last week, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) announced it would assist journalists covering the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Mexico by linking reporters with climate science experts who can field science-related queries. This Q&A service was first tried last year during the Copenhagen climate talks, when several high profile publications utilized the service, including Newsweek and National Public Radio.

A nonprofit scientific society, the AGU is not an advocacy organization, and the goals of the effort, as explained on its website, include aiding journalists who are "seeking to communicate climate science" and to "contribute to raising the overall level of understanding of climate science among journalists and the general public."

Sounds innocent enough, right?

Not to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Editorial Board, which published an online video accusing the AGU of weeding out at least three scientists who have climate science expertise, but who may question the scientific consensus that human activities are likely responsible for much of the planet's recent warming.

In a segment of the WSJ "Opinion Journal" web video program, editorial writer Anne Jolis criticizes the AGU's innocuous effort for selectively excluding three climate skeptics: Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, and John R. Christy.

Notably, Jolis describes the three skeptics as "very renowned in explicitly climate-related fields."

That is certainly true in Christy's case. A professor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Christy studies temperature readings taken by satellites and weather balloons, has served as a lead or contributing author for multiple U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, and has received awards from the American Meteorological Society, among others. But Christy is not without his detractors and is a controversial figure in the climate science community.

Similarly, while Lindzen is well-regarded in some scientific circles, he has increasingly ruffled feathers in the community and been subject to criticism.

As for the aging Singer, very few climate scientists would describe him as "renowned" for his climate research. He has long headed up his own think tank, the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), and has ties to the fossil fuel industry. According to the DeSmogBlog, a website that aims to counter climate skeptics, although Singer has published about 45 papers on climate science in the peer-reviewed literature during the course of his career, he is affiliated with numerous conservative interest groups and think tanks, many of which receive funding from the fossil fuel industry. He has also argued against the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, according to DeSmogBlog.

Nevertheless, in the video Jolis says other scientists told her the work of the three skeptics is "very valuable," and need to be part of "the debate."

"The question is, are journalists going to have access to their work?" she says, raising the disturbing - and illusory - specter of a world in which the AGU controls who the press can and can't talk to, via a voluntary Q&A service.

"Talking to someone like John Christy would be extremely valuable to get the full picture of the knowledge that's out there and the uncertainties that remain, and it seems unfortunate if this initiative didn't include someone like that...." Jolis says.

"Obviously journalists could call them on their own," she admits. (Seems to me like she had no trouble getting in touch with them).

Jolis doesn't discuss the possibility that Singer, Lindzen and Christy received the email solicitation to participate in the initiative, but ignored it or deleted it. She also fails to indicate whether she even reached out to the AGU to check if the three researchers were included in the voluntary effort, which netted about 700 participants.

According to Jolis, the AGU, which has 58,000 members in more than 135 countries, is deliberately excluding people like Christy and Lindzen from an initiative aimed at improving climate scientists' engagement with the media. This accusation was termed "ignorant and dishonest" in a tweet by climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe, who is helping to oversee the AGU project. "How can the WSJ get away with this?" Hayhoe asked.

Unfortunately, spouting ridiculous climate science conspiracy theories is nothing new for the WSJ editorial board, which is legendary within the climate science community for distorting the vast body of evidence pointing to the role of human activities in helping to drive the recent increase in global temperatures. Despite the solid science reporting that is printed within the paper's news pages, the influential editorial board has held onto the view that climate science is unreliable, poorly established, and essentially little more than junk science.


Fred Singer comments:

So, the AGU is NOT an advocacy organization? Read their incendiary Climate Statement.

And, Christy has "detractors" and is "controversial." Lindzen has "ruffled feathers" and "been subject to criticism". Singer is described as "aging" [but very gracefully, I should note] and "affiliated with numerous conservative interest groups and think tanks, many of which receive funding from the fossil fuel industry"

The WSJ comes in for castigation "from sources as varied as the Real Climate blog to Jeffrey Sachs, the noted economist who heads up Columbia University's Earth Institute." And worse, they "knock Al Gore, and cast doubts on businesses that work in the clean energy and carbon trading sectors. "

This whole thing is just too funny and reads like a parody.

Look at the Readers' comments. No support for the WaPo


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


16 November, 2010

Retired meteorologist Martin Hertzberg [] has been writing to the NYT again

Since they won't publish it, I will. I think you will see WHY they won't publish it!

The article by Justin Gillis on "rising seas" again demonstrated that the Times continues to display scientific malfeasance as an enabler of the "global warming hoax".

A single measurement of a water temperature of 40 F in one fjord in Greenland is utterly meaningless. Citing and emphasizing that one data point is typical of your regurgitation of anecdotal fear-mongering clap trap.

Not a single person quoted in the article is qualified to talk authoritatively about changes in sea level. The attached article is an authoritative review of the question that relies on knowledgeable scientist, none of whom Gillis bothered to check with.

The Gillis article is typical of your slip-shod and disgraceful approach to the issue. You keep failing miserably to exercise due diligence as you ignore the totality of the data available.

Received by email. The NYT rubbish referred to is here. The scholarly article Hertzberg refers to is here

Debunking the debunkers

There have been many scientific papers (peer-reviewed and published) dealing with the real climate, and not the worship of global warming theory. Skeptics have collated such papers and used the collation as refutation of the claim that all real scientists support global warming. In reply, Warmists have tried to debunk the work of the non-believers. So now there are many additions to the list: Replies debunking the would-be debunkers -- as outlined below

The Climate Science blog published a reminder today of the list of papers which have been collated at Popular Technology:

These are papers which do not pursue alarm about CO2. They support a sceptical view of that alarm, as befits scientists of integrity. One day, our school and college textbooks will given them the prominence they deserve, but a lot of troubled and turbulent political water will have to pass under the bridge before that day arrives - such is the sorry state of modern climate science (and of modern politics).

The list has been edited and updated, and now includes a section of responses to criticisms of the earlier lists:

'The following papers support skepticism of AGW or the negative environmental or economic effects of AGW. Addendums, comments, corrections, erratum, replies, responses and submitted papers are not included in the peer-reviewed paper count. These are included as references in defense of various papers. There are many more listings than just the 800 counted papers. This list will be updated and corrected as necessary.

Criticisms: All criticisms of this list have been refuted or a change made to correct the issue. Please see the notes following the list for defenses of common criticisms. I make every attempt to defend the list where possible, in many cases my comments correcting the misinformation stated about the list are deleted and I am blocked from replying. Please email me if you have any questions or need me to address something, populartechnology (at) gmail (dot) com.'

Their rebuttals of criticisms:

'Failed attempts at "debunking" this list include:

- Lying about the paper counting method used. (Addendums, Comments, Corrections, Erratum, Replies, Responses and Submitted papers are not counted. These are included as references in defense of various papers. There are many more listings than just the 800 papers. If they were counted the paper count would be +50 papers.)

- Lying about the list being debunked because certain papers on the list do not "refute" AGW theory. (All papers support either skepticism of AGW or the negative environmental or economic effects of AGW.)

- Lying about peer-reviewed journals not being peer-reviewed. (Every journal listed is peer-reviewed.)

- Lying about the inclusion of a paper on this list as a representation of the personal position of it's author in regards to AGW theory. (It is explicitly stated in the disclaimer that "The inclusion of a paper in this list does not imply a specific personal position to any of the authors".)

- Lying about all climate related papers not on this list endorsing AGW theory. (There are thousands of climate related papers but only a small percentage of these explicitly endorse AGW theory.)

- Lying that certain paper's age make them "outdated". (The age of any scientific paper is irrelevant. Using this logic all of science would become irrelevant after a certain amount of time, which is obviously ridiculous. This would mean dismissing Svante Arrhenius's 1896 paper "On the influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the ground" and the basis for greenhouse theory. There are over 650 papers published since 2000 on the list.)

- Lying that Blog posts, Wiki pages and YouTube videos "refute" peer-reviewed papers. (That is not how peer-reviewed papers are challenged. Any valid criticisms would follow the established peer-review process of submitting a comment for publication in the same journal, which allows the author of the original paper a chance to publish a rebuttal in defense of their paper.)

- Lying that broken links somehow invalidate the list. (Anyone with an elementary knowledge of the Internet knows that links can break at any time for a myriad of reasons. All broken links are fixed when notified or found. Regardless the full citation is provided so there is no excuse about not being able to locate the paper.)

- Lying that since some of the papers are mutually exclusive the list is falsified. (The purpose of the list is to provide a resource for the skeptical arguments being made in peer-reviewed journals and to demonstrate the existence of these papers. It is not supposed to be a single argument but rather a resource for all of them.)'

Link to the list here


Deutsche Bank's Green Politics

David Henderson

In relation to climate change issues, two recent initiatives on the part of the Deutsche Bank Group give grounds for concern.

(1) In September, the Bank's 'Climate Change Advisors' issued a document entitled Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments: it was authored by three climate scientists at Columbia University. In an editorial introduction, the Bank's Global Head of Climate Change Investment Research describes it as "a balanced, detailed and expert assessment of the scientific case for climate change that will help investors navigate these extremely complex issues".

The document's claims to accuracy as a navigational guide were promptly put in question by Ross McKitrick, one of the 'skeptics' supposedly disposed of within it. McKitrick's paper, entitled Response to Misinformation from Deutsche Bank, is dated 12 September. It identifies and spells out an array of errors and misrepresentations.

In response, the authors of the document have now put out a new text which supersedes the original. In this new version they have added a three-page Response to McKitrick where they admit to a few 'mischaracterizations' and offer amended versions of three sentences that they acknowledge to have been misleading. However, the original wording of these faulty sentences remains unchanged and unfootnoted in an unaltered main text: McKitrick has described this behaviour as 'unsporting', while others might characterise it as unprofessional.

In a second piece, dated 8 November, McKitrick has responded to the revised report. In this paper he extends and reinforces his critique. Viewed together, his twin presentations appear as unanswerable. As a guide to investors, or indeed for any other purpose, the document is worthless.

It would be interesting to know whether the Deutsche Bank officials who sponsored and approved this deeply flawed initiative took the precaution of submitting a draft for expert review to persons not already firmly convinced that the 'skeptics' have been refuted.

Looking at the list, it would seem that no such person is to be found among the eminent individuals who make up the Deutsche Bank's Climate Advisory Board: all appear as people who are (to quote a nice phrase from Clive Crook) 'precommitted to the urgency of the climate cause'. A more representative Board, spanning a wider range of opinions. might have taken more trouble to ensure that any published work issued under its auspices would measure up to professional standards.

(2) In the recent Californian elections, voters were invited to accept or reject Proposition 23, which would have placed strict constraints on the state government's plans to introduce further curbs on CO2 emissions. A few days before the vote, a Financial Times report noted that:

'Sixty-eight big investors, managing $415bn in assets, have united to urge Californians to vote against efforts to roll back the state's carbon legislation ... Signatories include ... Deutsche Bank Climate Advisers ...'

If this report is correct, it would seem that its Climate Advisory Board took a strong position on the Bank's behalf on a controversial political matter.

As its website confirms, Deutsche Bank is fully is committed to Corporate Social Responsibility. How far its current handling of climate change issues can be judged to be responsible is open to debate.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Phil Jones rehabilitated?

There has just appeared in "Nature" magazine a large and sympathetic article about climate-crook Phil Jones. It accepts all his assertions at face value. Below is one blogger's comment on the matter

In 2008, in an message titled “IPCC and FOI“, Phil Jones asked Michael Mann to delete emails he might have gotten from Kieth Briffa, assuring him that Briffa would delete such emails as well. He said ’they’ was going to get in touch with Caspar Ammann asking him to delete emails too. Responding to Jones, Michael Mann replied sphinx-like, that he would get in touch with Eugene Wahl about the matter.

Four scientists – Kieth Briffa, Michael Mann, Caspar Ammann, Eugene Wahl – all being set into motion by Phil Jones, deleting emails relating to the IPCC fourth assessment report – this is the picture we get, from one the emails in Climategate. The alleged email exchange is below:
From: Michael Mann
To: Phil Jones
Subject: Re: IPCC & FOI
Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 08:12:02 -0400

Hi Phil,
laughable that CA would claim to have discovered the problem. They would have run off to the Wall Street Journal for an exclusive were that to have been true.
I'll contact Gene about this ASAP. His new email is:
talk to you later,


Phil Jones wrote:

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He's not in at the moment - minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don't have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!


Now, a year after these series of exchanges were made public by Climategate, Jones, we are informed by Nature magazine, deleted the emails from just “bravado”.
“We just thought if they’re going to ask for more, we might as well not have them”

Apparently Jones deleted these emails, to “simplify his life”, by “not having them”, if they were requested by people “in the future”. Mindblowing.

The Nature article potrays Jones’ story through Climategate year One. He is shown as a sensitive man, sucked into a vortex of reactive maneuvers, outwitting critics, bloggers and sceptics, deleting emails in the process. As much as one hopes for more transparency and data openness, one hopes Jones finds the right rationalizations to put his mind at rest first. Meanwhile the skeptics are not going to get anything in the near future, it seems.

Here is an interesting bit of “search-box” investigation you can perform. Look for the words ‘denier’ or ’fossil-fuel’ in the article – you might just be surprised by the results.


Great News! Sarkozy Kills French Super Environment Ministry "Medad"

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pulled the plug on the French prestige project, a super ministry of environment, dubbed "Medad" (MinistŠre du D‚veloppement durable). This piece of good news is brought to us by German warmist website here in a piece written by Susanne G”tze in Paris.

Gone with Medad are its former director Jean-Louis Borloo, and with him, the last hope for a real breakthrough in environmental and climate policy in France. As a result, no one believes the CO2 tax, once promised by Sarkozy 2 years ago, has any chance today. Good riddance.

Klimaretter writes:

"For three years, the super ministry "Medad" was in charge of sustainable development, environmental protection, energy and raw materials, as well as industry safety, transport, agriculture, urban planning and even the oceans. Sarkozy and his Premier Fillon have removed the Ministry's hard functions and have even ushered in a paradigm shift: the Ministry for Environmental Protection, Oceans and Sustainable Development and Energy will be transformed to only a Department of Environment, Sustainable Development, Traffic and Housing."

The all important sector of energy has been brought back under the control of the Economics Ministry. In summary, Medad was a bureaucratic monstrosity that would have regulated everything. Sarkozy killed it. The omnipotent ministry that treehuggers had been salivating over for the last 3 years has been reduced to a boring second-tier government department.

Free enterprise and liberty-loving citizens can all breath a sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, environmental organisations like Friends of the Earth and the Germany-based BUND howled in protest. As klimaretter blog site reports: "Sarkozy's once promised green revolution now seems to be over." RIP!


The Copenhagen emissions gap

Peter Foster

Actual carbon dioxide emissions will be far above what the IPCC wants

Long-range economic projections are usually useless, but this week's World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency is immediately revealing. It emphasizes the massive failure of the United Nations-based climate agenda to stampede nations into suicidal commitments to slash growth and curtail freedom in order to make the world safe for bureaucracy.

Not that you will find any politicians acknowledging that. Nor is it that the IEA isn't on board with the climate agenda (after all, it's a global bureaucracy), it's just that its forecast can't possibly hide that emissions are set to climb to a level that alarmists tell us will lead to climate apocalypse.

The IEA confirms why radical green NGOs were so apoplectic about this year's Copenhagen Accord. It did little except embody vague non-binding commitments to reduce emissions, crank up subsidies to alternative energy, and ship yet more cash to keep poor countries dependent. Even if developed countries did live up to their Copenhagen commitments, which the IEA dubs the "New Policies Scenario" (and doubts), primary fuel demand will still climb by a third by 2035, and fossil fuel will still be king.

The IEA's projections thus render farcical the solemn commitments by global politicians to slash emissions by 80% by 2050, relying on the fact that they'll all be safely dead, or that the private sector will have developed some unforeseen wonder technology by then.

It is also within this context that should be seen the G20's bold statement this week that: "We reaffirm our resolute commitment to fight climate change.. We will spare no effort to reach a balanced and successful outcome in Cancun" (next month's latest mega climate conference). Somebody at the G20 forgot to check with the World Energy Outlook report, which turns the G20 commitment into so much (additional) posturing and hypocrisy, which, fortunately, is going nowhere.



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


15 November, 2010

Remarkable new paper on the influence of the sun on global warming

Find it here

It is by De Jager and Duhau. Page 99 onwards is probably the most interesting part. I haven't been able to download any part of it and Google does not know of it but it is a chapter in a book about global warming in the 21st century. The authors are students of what goes on in the sun, with particular reference to solar cycles.

They find that solar activity has a large influence on earth's temperature, with only a third of one degree of global warming over the last 400 years NOT predictable from solar activity. And that component could well be due to errors of measurement on the ground.

Of greatest interest, however, they say that we have just finished a grand maximum of temperature and are now headed downhill for a grand minimum -- with a forecast drop of around 4 degrees this century. That's roughly the inverse of what the IPCC predict (a median rise of about 4 degrees)

Given the high degree of correlation between solar activity and terrestrial temperature that the authors report, their prediction is many orders of magnitude more reliable than the output of the chaotic IPCC models that discount any influence from the sun. So global cooling here we come!

And People Made Fun Of Nancy Reagan’s Astrologer

Secretary Chu can see the danger coming. And he knows the future.
In Midwest cities such as St. Louis, Mo., one-third of the year — 120 days — will be above 90 degrees.

The real danger with global warming will be the tipping point, he said. As polar ice caps melt, the thaws could expose microbes, which would release carbon dioxide in quantities that would outstrip any reductions humans could make in their carbon-dioxide emissions.

“For the first time in human history, science has shown that we are altering the destiny of our planet. At no other time in the history of science have we been able to say what the future will be 100 years from now

Soothsayer Chu seems to be unaware that Missouri summer temperatures have been in sharp decline over the last 80 years. He might be a good candidate for the Pravda Principle [i.e. The State defines the truth].

More HERE (See the original for links & graphics)

The Week That Was (To November 13, 2010)

Excerpts from Ken Haapala

Distinguished physicist Hal Lewis caused a furor when he submitted his letter of resignation to the American Physical Society (APS). The response from APS was more typical of an authoritarian organization than a scientific society. This week, Hal Lewis sent his response to APS which was posted, at his request, on Anthony Watts' web site Watts Up With That. Lewis insists the statement by APS embracing the IPCC version of global warming must be retracted and proposes two reforms to the society.


The American Thinker published a piece by Fred Singer demonstrating that the biases in New York Times editorials lead to ludicrous assertions such as the newspaper accusing those who do not subscribe to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) as denying climate change - something that has been taking place for millions of years. Such claims are the result of the failure by the newspaper to listen to the assertions those who challenge the IPCC and AGW advocates.


When the IPCC insisted that its 2007 Assessment Report was correct and the glaciers of the Himalayan Mountains will melt by 2035, the government of India engaged Indian Himalayan expert V.K. Raina to make an independent report. The independent report noted that some glaciers are receding and others are advancing. Sometimes different tongues of the same glacier are moving in opposite directions, one receding while another is advancing. There is no general trend. To double check this work, the government of India engaged Australian ice expert Cliff Ollier who described the work of V.K. Rina as splendid and found the IPCC claims are "unsupported, unscientific, and wrong."

The Global Warming Policy Forum published an exceptional article by Cliff Ollier on the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Ollier devastates the naiveté displayed by alarmists in making their assertions. Apparently, many of these alarmists do not understand difference in the movement of ice if it is in a bowl that is right side up, or on a bowl that is upside down.


On Monday, the Tribune Newspapers, to include the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, carried an article announcing that several groups, including the American Geophysical Union (AGU), are preparing scientists to speak out against those who question that humans are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming. This effort is apparently in response to polls showing that fewer people believe the AGW claim. The mantra of AGW enthusiasts is that the "deniers" are engaged in a well-funded, effective, and professionally run disinformation campaign in which AGW climate scientists cannot compete. They claim that this disinformation campaign supposedly creates confusion among the populace causing many people to think climate science is unreliable or controversial.

Roy Spencer quickly posted an effective rebuttal pointing out that it is the alarmists who have received billions of dollars for their work and have spent large sums on advertising campaigns. [The 2007 grand announcement of the Fourth IPCC Summary for Policymakers comes to mind, which was complete with glorious fireworks near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.]

AGU quickly announced a qualifying statement saying it would enlist 700 climate scientists to respond to questions from journalists. Needless to say, skeptics need not apply.

If scientific organizations are truly interested in communicating the science of AGW to the public, they would disavow the propaganda that has infected the entire issue for decades. Necessary steps include stopping the use of scientifically meaningless slogans such as climate change, disruptive climate change, or climate protection as substitutes for the real issue: are humans causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming?

Those who wish to communicate science to the public should object to propaganda photos that commonly accompany articles on carbon dioxide. These ubiquitous photos show emissions from smokestacks at power plants blackening the sky. Carbon dioxide is invisible. What appears to be blackening the sky is water vapor condensing under certain atmospheric conditions and exceptional lighting conditions.

Those organizations claiming to be scientific should recognize ad hominem propaganda attacks, such the recent book by Oreskes and Conway, for what they are, and denounce those attacks rather than treat them as scientific works. And, of course, objective scientific organizations should proclaim the results of the IPCC models are sophisticated speculation from unverified models rather than scientifically supported predictions.


A Wall Street Journal article on a leaked White House memo contained the Quote of the Week. Apparently the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Treasury question the wisdom of huge subsidies for wind farms, thus are delaying approvals for massive amounts of subsidies under the stimulus bill. According to the article, a wind farm at Shepherds Flat, Oregon will receive a total of $1.2 Billion in Federal, state, and ratepayer subsidies. According to another article, the total permanent jobs created will be 35. This works out to over $34 Million per job.


THE NUMBER OF THE WEEK is 65.8 GWe to 0.7 GWe. This is the NET increase in capacity from coal-fired electrical generation for 2008 in China and in the US, respectively. According to the World Nuclear Association, referenced in an earlier TWTW, in 2008 China added 91.8 GWe of capacity in new coal-fired plants while closing 26 GWe in old coal-fired plants. According to the US Energy Information Administration the US added 1.5 GWe in new coal-fired plants while closing 0.8 GWe in old coal-fired plants. The additions were on existing sites.

Solar and wind advocates claim the US is losing the race with China for so - called 21st Century energy. Once again, it appears China is in a different race.

More HERE (See the original for links)

The 1930s all over again in Germany

Only the colour of the shirts has changed

What is it with these intolerant zealots who refuse to learn anything from history?

Right smack on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, German Parliamentarians, in a frontal assault, are now openly calling out and branding scientists for the crime of scientific dissent. These out-of-control parliamentarians are demanding that the German government take a position against dissenting views in climate science.

What follows makes McCarthyism look like a treasure hunt. What a number of zealous German parliamentarians are calling for borders on a call to launch a science pogrom.

The climate dogmatists are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the scepticism, free speech, and dissent now spreading in Germany and Europe, and therefore want to stamp it out using the might of the federal government – and now.

The upcoming 3rd International Climate and Energy Conference, REGISTER HERE, has got them spooked as well.

Journalist Dirk Maxeiner here brings our attention to the latest development on the exploding intolerance that has gripped certain factions in Germany. Maxeiner publishes the text of a query written by the Green parliamentarians sent to the German government, read below.

As the text shows, branding of climate science dissenters has begun. Fred Singer and EIKE (European Institute For Climate and Energy) are the first to feel the sting of the denier-branding-iron. German greenshirts have sent the bloodhounds afterFred Singer because of his speech in a German parliamentary forum discussion on the economic impacts of climate protection held by the FDP Free Democrats, the junior coalition partner of Angela Merkel’s CDU/FDP coalition government. Read background here.

Some may think that I’m being over-dramatic here. I am not. The situation that the few, yet very vocal, sceptics face here is precarious. Just read the following query written by a faction of Parliamentarians to the German Government, translated of the German text presented at Dirk Maxeiner’s site (emphasis added, and note the use of the term “denier” throughout the text)......

There it is folks. All this because some people are asking questions about the science. These Green radicals are scared crapless. Their media hacks did everything possible to slander and destroy Fred Singer, EIKE, and other dissenting German scientists – to no avail.

Now for the first time they’re going after the liberty-oriented Liberal Institute of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation. They are de facto demanding a declaration of war on scientists and groups that have a different opinion. This level of intolerance has not been seen in Germany in over 65 years. This is their “Either-you’re-with-us-or-against us” declaration to Angela Merkel’s coalition government made up of the CDU Christian Democratic Union and FDP Free Democratic Party.


'Bonkers' green energy policies risk power shortages in Scotland

Scotland is in “serious danger” of suffering power shortages over the next decade thanks to Alex Salmond’s “bonkers” green energy policies, the head of one of the country’s largest generators has warned.

Rupert Soames, chief executive of Aggreko, said Scotland’s lights will be “perilously close” to going out because a huge proportion of existing coal, oil and nuclear power stations are due to shut down over the next eight years.

He accused politicians of “holding hands and singing Kumbaya to the great green God” but warned the reality is it will be many decades before renewable energy can plug the gap left by traditional sources of power.

Unless Mr Salmond ends his ‘wishful thinking’ and draws up alternative plans, Mr Soames warned Scotland will be in “deep trouble” by 2018

But SNP ministers dismissed his claims last night and argued their target of generating 80 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 was realistic, despite the cost and unproven nature of the technology involved.

Mr Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill and brother of the Tory politician Nicholas Soames, was speaking at business conference at the Scottish Parliament.

Although his comments addressed an impending energy crisis across the UK, he suggested the problem is more acute in Scotland. The SNP has refused to allow the construction of new nuclear power stations north of the Border.

“How is Scotland going to react to the fact the national grid, on which we all depend, will lose 30 per cent of its generating capacity by 2013?” he asked delegates. “We may wish the replacement to be wind, we may wish the replacement to be tidal but wishing isn’t going to make it happen and I think you have responsibly to have a Plan B. We have to move on from the days of holding hands and singing Kumbaya to the great green God or believing that Scotland is going to be the centre of the universe for renewables.”

The largest offshore wind farms are actually being built off the east coast of England, he said, which is closer to the major centres of energy demand.

Mr Salmond’s policies fail to recognise “the cold realities” of financing and engineering expensive new forms of green technology, Mr Soames continued. He warned it will require Scottish politicians to display considerable leadership to “avert a very real energy crisis that will hit us in less than ten years time.”

“My concern is that not the long-term vision is wrong, but policy-making is so focused on the end of the road that you can’t see the giant pothole 300 yards ahead,” he said.

He mocked the ever-increasing climate change targets imposed by politicians – Mr Salmond’s original 2020 green energy target was 50 per cent – as they suggest “all this can be achieved without any consequences, no matter how bonkers the policy”.

Instead he argued the deadlines for existing targets should be pushed back a decade, adding: “We cannot live without electricity and even brief shortfalls would be catastrophic.”

A third of the UK’s energy capacity from coal, two-thirds from oil and nearly three-quarters from nuclear generation will end over the next eight years, he said. “Without an immediate programme of building new power stations, with concrete being poured in the next two years, we will be in serious danger of lights going out,” Mr Soames said.

Without naming Mr Salmond specifically, he said anyone who believes nuclear power is dispensable and more than 10 per cent of energy will come from the wind, is talking “nonsense” and should be “banned” from formulating energy policy.

Similarly, he argued that it is unrealistic to believe that targets to cut energy consumption by 30 per cent by 2020 can be met, or that tidal power is going to make a “meaningful contribution” in the next 15 years.

Glasgow-based Aggreko is a FTSE 100-listed company and operates in 29 countries worldwide. Mr Salmond also spoke at the conference, but had left by the time Mr Soames made his address.

A Scottish Executive spokesman said the First Minister “is confident of meeting our targets for the industry, and with some 7GW of renewable electricity in Scotland in production, under construction or consented, we are well on track to exceed our interim target for next year.”

He highlighted a new £70 million fund for green energy announced by Mr Salmond last week, saying this demonstrated his commitment “to ensuring Scotland seizes the once-in-a generation opportunity presented by renewable resources.”

But Gavin Brown, Scottish Tory energy spokesman, said: “The SNP needs to listen to the CEO of one of Scotland’s most successful companies, a real energy expert, and find a credible policy for our energy needs. “It is the SNP’s blinkered dogma which is threatening to turn out the lights across Scotland by refusing to consider continued nuclear power as part of the energy mix.”


$1.1bn wasted on solar power in Australia

MORE than $1 billion of taxpayers' money was wasted on subsidies for household solar roof panels that favoured the rich and did little to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, a scathing review has found.

The review of the now scrapped federal government solar rebate scheme, conducted by ANU researchers Andrew Macintosh and Deb Wilkinson, also found the rebates did little to generate a solar manufacturing industry in Australia, instead sending hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars offshore.

Mr Macintosh, deputy head of ANU's Centre for Climate Law and Policy, told The Age yesterday the rebate had been "beautiful politics, terrible policy".

"I can't see there is anything to be gained continuing to subsidise rooftop solar PV [photovoltaics] in areas where households have easy access to the energy grid," he said.

The program, started in 2000 with lower rebates, offered households an $8000 rebate to install solar panels on their roofs. In total, the government spent $1.1 billion installing 107,000 rooftop solar panels.

In June last year the Rudd government cancelled the program with less than 24 hours notice after surging demand rendered the scheme financially unsustainable. A less generous solar credits program has since replaced the rebate.

The report did not make any conclusion on the merits of the new scheme, or existing state-based solar programs.

By using documents obtained from the federal Environment Department, the researchers found 66 per cent of the solar systems installed under the program were on homes in suburbs with at least a "medium-high" socio-economic status.

All solar panel systems installed under the program combined reduced Australia's emissions by just 0.015 per cent, and cost up to $301 per tonne of carbon saved - hundreds more than the cost of emissions reductions with a carbon price.

In other findings, Mr Macintosh and Ms Wilkinson say while the program drove a six-fold increase in the generation capacity of rooftop solar panels, the technology still generates only 0.1 per cent of electricity output in Australia.

While the rebate benefited the domestic solar industry by up to $780 million, it did little to develop a value-adding manufacturing industry in Australia. Instead solar panels imports, mainly from China, rose from $17 million to $295 million between 2002 and 2009.

Mr Macintosh and Ms Wilkinson's review concludes the experience with the popular solar rebate program "highlights how care needs to be taken to ensure that renewable energy programs are designed and administered to generate public benefit outcomes".

"When poorly targeted and designed, these programs can be wasteful and produce predominantly private rather than public benefits," it says.

Mr Macintosh warned there were several environment programs still on the government's books that had similar flaws as the solar rebate, including the cash-for-clunkers program, which offers motorists $2000 to junk old cars if they buy a new fuel-efficient vehicle.

The chief executive of the Australian Solar Energy Society, John Grimes, said the solar industry needed a clear policy to ensure long-term growth. He said the solar industry had suffered from boom-bust policies, including the sudden closure of the program and the decision by the NSW government to scale down its feed-in tariff.



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


14 November, 2010

World's forests can adapt to climate change, study says

Even under the absurd assumptions of the Warmists. A warmer ocean would INCREASE rainfall overall, not reduce it. Ever watched a kettle boil? That's what happens as water warms. It gives off vapour. It doesn't suck it up!

It is generally acknowledged that a warming world will harm the world's forests. Higher temperatures mean water becomes more scarce, spelling death for plants - or perhaps not always.

According to a study of ancient rainforests, trees may be hardier than previously thought. Carlos Jaramillo, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), examined pollen from ancient plants trapped in rocks in Colombia and Venezuela. "There are many climactic models today suggesting that . if the temperature increases in the tropics by a couple of degrees, most of the forest is going to be extinct," he said. "What we found was the opposite to what we were expecting: we didn't find any extinction event [in plants] associated with the increase in temperature, we didn't find that the precipitation decreased."

In a study published todayin Science, Jaramillo and his team studied pollen grains and other biological indicators of plant life embedded in rocks formed around 56m years ago, during an abrupt period of warming called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. CO2 levels had doubled in 10,000 years and the world was warmer by 3C-5C for 200,000 years.

Contrary to expectations, he found that forests bloomed with diversity. New species of plants, including those from the passionflower and chocolate families, evolved quicker as others became extinct. The study also shows moisture levels did not decrease significantly during the warm period. "It was totally unexpected," Jaramillo said of the findings.

Klaus Winter of the STRI added: "It is remarkable that there is so much concern about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests. However, these horror scenarios probably have some validity if increased temperatures lead to more frequent or severe drought as some of the current predictions suggest."

Last year, researchers at the Met Office Hadley Centre reported that a 2C rise above pre-industrial levels, widely considered the best-case scenario, would still see 20-40% of the Amazon die off within 100 years. A 3C rise would see 75% of the forest destroyed by drought in the next century, while a 4C rise would kill 85%.

Jaramillo found that the plants he studied seemed to become more efficient with their water use when it became more scarce. But he also cautioned that future risks for the world's plant species did not end with climate change. Human action would continue to determine the fate of the world's forests, he said.

"What the fossil record is showing is that plants have already the genetic variability to cope with high temperature and high levels of CO2.

"Rather than global warming, the [trouble] for tropical plants is deforestation. The fossil record shows that, when you don't have humans around, the plants can deal with high temperatures and CO2."


Noah is back -- This time as a Greenie

The suggestion at the end of this article would undoubtedly induce some badly needed sobriety in the modern-day prophets of doom

Scientists continue to scare the world population with imminent disasters. This time, the role of the force of nature that will destroy the planet was given to the Global Flood. Spanish hydrologists believe that it can occur in the beginning of this century due to the melting of the glaciers. Will their predictions come true?

Modeling of changes in the Atlantic currents that took place in the past allowed the international team of scientists to calculate the speed at which the level of the World Ocean is rising. Hydrologists believe that in this century the water can claim the territory of the largest sea powers. Traditionally, scientists blame this on the notorious global warming, whose existence has not been proved.

The researchers from Seville University believe that as the global warming progresses, the underwater currents in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans grow stronger. Yet, they cannot answer the question why this happens (logically, the effect should be the opposite because warming reduces the difference between the temperature of water at the equator and the poles that creates global oceanic currents similar to the Gulf Stream).

Hydrologists think that additional redistribution of water that occurs due to these phenomena speeds up the approaching of the ocean. This statement seems doubtful because it violates the law of mass preservation, because stronger currents cannot create additional volume of water out of nothing. Yet, according to the forecast of the Spanish specialists, this will happen in the middle of the 21 century. As a result, the larger part of Island, nearly entire Scotland and many northern islands will be covered with water. Denmark and Netherlands are also threatened with floods.

Besides, the authors of this forecast are convinced that melting of the arctic ice will cause cooling of the Gulf Stream. It is not very clear how this is connected to the global warming that is to cause the rise of the water temperature in the tropics where the Gulf Stream starts. In addition, it seems that two mutually exclusive processes will occur on Earth simultaneously - rising of the temperature and glaciers melting, and cooling of the Gulf Stream.

But back to our climate-related horror story invented by the Spanish hydrologists. The cooling of the Gulf Stream will destroy the temperature balance in the north. The world population will not be able to live on the remaining territories of Great Britain, Ireland and partially Canada. The melting of the southern glaciers threatens nearly all the rest of island countries in the Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as Australia and South America.

What is the conclusion of the story? It looks like there will be simultaneous global warming and new ice age. However, this idea is so absurd that even school kids are not scared by it. Yet, the researchers might have meant something else.

It looks like they suggested the following scheme of the catastrophe. First, global warming will cause mass melting of the glaciers, which will result in a temporary rise of the level of the world ocean and some inhibited territories will be flooded. Significant masses of cold water that formed as a result of glaciers melting will cause the Gulf Stream to stop, and the climate in the Northern hemisphere will get colder. It will stop the glaciers melting and a part of water that caused the Global Flood will freeze again.

The level of the world ocean will drop again, the flooded lands will be out of the water, but will be so cold that life on them will be impossible. This theory looks most logical since in this interpretation it, at the very least, does not contradict itself.

But how realistic is it? Mostly likely, not at all, and here is why. Even if we imagine that all ice of Arctic and Antarctic melt for a short period of time, not all the water will get to the ocean. The rise of average temperature on the planet will cause the water to evaporate faster. As a result, rain clouds will form which do not always pour their water on the ocean. A large part of rains will get to the land.

These rains may "soak" the territories of huge deserts like Sahara, Gobi, Kara Kum and Kyzyl Kum. The freed-up water will form new rivers and lakes on their territories. Of course, it will eventually make its way to the ocean, but this process will be lengthy and will not cause an immediate change in the level of the ocean.

Additionally, enhanced snow precipitation on the poles will cause formation of new ice. The summer on the poles is short and not very hot, so all the snow that falls in the winter will not melt. It will be accumulating and will eventually turn into ice.

This means that our planet is capable of regulating the level of the ocean on its own. Possibly, the process described above will take hundreds of thousands or even millions of years, and during these regulations transgression may occur, however, it is hardly likely that it will be catastrophic. It should be remembered that any transgression causes flooding of some territories and "rising" of other ones from the water (the law of preservation still works here).

As for the "stop" of the Gulf Stream, according to the studies of Russian paleoscientists conducted back in the 20th century, it was to cause global warming, not global cooling of the area near the poles. What are the sources of the "raw material" for the polar ice? They are snow precipitation brought by this warm current. If the Gulf Stream does not supply snow to the north, then the ice will not be able to recreate and will eventually melt.

The situation with the South Pole and Antarctic is even more interesting. The masses of water that formed due to the melting of the glaciers cannot depart from the continent because they will not be stopped by cold currents "covering" the ice continent. Accumulation of cold water around Antarctic will cause a local drop of temperature and formation of new masses of ice. This means that Australians, New Zealanders and residents of Oceania do not have reasons to worry.

As you can see, the prediction of Spanish hydrologists will hardly come true. Most likely, the scientists understand it themselves. Perhaps, the model was meant to scare the taxpayers and pump out more money for research.

Unfortunately, this method to get new grants is becoming increasingly more popular because people are ready to pay to avoid catastrophic events. If the catastrophe does not happen (which is most likely), the researchers will not have to account for the money they have spent.

These apocalyptic events are so tiring that there is a great temptation to adopt the method of an ancient Chinese Emperor who would generously pay for predictions, but if they would not come true, would have the "fortune tellers" and their families executed.


CA: Green jobs cut despite government subsidy

Listening to outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and incoming Gov. Jerry Brown, Californians might think the California economy's salvation lies in so-called "green jobs," which now account for about 3 percent of the state's workforce.

What boosters of green jobs don't usually mention is most of these jobs require substantial taxpayer subsidies and other special government treatment even to exist in a competitive market. It appears now that even a half-billion dollars in government aid is no guarantee of success.

Despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Solyndra, a maker of solar panels in the southeast San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, will close one of its manufacturing plants, lay off 40 permanent and 150 contract workers, delay expansion plans of a new plant largely financed with the government-guaranteed loan and scale back production capacity more than 50 percent.

Despite the hype and tax money, Solyndra seems unable to compete with Chinese manufacturers, whose prices are lower. This is the latest bad news for the company touted by Mr. Schwarzenegger and President Barack Obama as one of the green industry's supposed shining lights. President Obama visited Solyndra in May, calling the operation "a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism."

But, truth be told, Solyndra is more of a testament to taxpayers' hard-earned money pledged to guarantee 73 percent of the cost of building its new facility. Closure of its older plant, located nearby, is a testament to the reality that, even if massively underwritten by taxpayers, renewable energy operations aren't certain to find a profitable niche in the open market.

Shortly after the president's visit, the company announced in June that weak demand in capital markets, high costs and "a prodigious cash burn," as put it, forced withdrawal of plans for an initial public stock offering. In July, its CEO was replaced. The company found itself "struggling to justify the early hype by bringing down costs from $3 per watt to $2 per watt by 2013," reported.

"The company is the most prominent of a wave of Silicon Valley solar start-ups that hoped to transform the economics of the industry," commented But the market is oblivious to hype and government edicts. Solar module prices declined dramatically as low-cost Chinese manufacturers churned out a more conventional product at lower cost. Consequently, Solyndra has scaled back projected production capacity of 610 megawatts by 2013 to between 285 and 300 megawatts.

At the online blog GlobalEnergyMagazine, correspondent Dolores Fernandez wrote that Solyndra's announced closure "was delayed until after polls closed on congressional elections."

Many alternative-energy interests that stand to gain from taxpayers artificially propping up their industry and subsidizing their businesses campaigned aggressively to defeat Proposition 23 on last week's ballot because they said it would prevent expansion of green jobs. The proposition, which was voted down, would have delayed California's global warming regulations that promote renewable energy and penalize fossil fuel-based energy manufacturers.


Why The Global Cooling Scare Is So Important In The Anthropogenic Global Warming Debate

On the face of it, the whole debate about "global cooling in the 1970?s" is a matter of despair. If we can't agree on what has happened less than 40 years ago, and is still remembered by many people, despite the avalanche of available snippets of information, a great deal of them accessible to all via the Internet.then what can we agree on? And what is the meaning of "history" at all??

So the only way to rescue our knowledge of the Renaissance, Ancient Rome or the Pharaohs is by establishing that there is something special about the "global cooling the 1970?s debate", something the unfortunately gets in the way and prevents people from recognizing what has happened within living memory. What is it?

The story so far: Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling? Yes. A paper by Mitchell in 1972 consolidated the idea. The Peterson, Connolley and Fleck article usually paraded around says just as much. Here I quote them again, with some added emphasis for those hard of seeing:
By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972),


,albeit poorly understood

In fact, we now know that "the world" was not cooling at the time, but "the Northern Hemisphere" was. Only thing, the scientists in 1972 had no way to know it was just a Northern Hemisphere thing. All of this is actually quite inconsequential to the original question (once again: "Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling?").

Anyway: in the published scientific literature, the global cooling idea started in fact evaporating in 1975, and had been replaced by global warming at full speed from 1979 or so (curiously, in sync with the PDO.). The same happened but much more slowly outside the world of research, so most people have been exposed to "global cooling" (actually, to global cooling consensus) well into the 1980s.

I am not saying I have found the last word on this, but the story above makes much more sense than the usual worldwide newsmedia sensationalism conspiracy as suggested by those adamantly opposed to any memory of the global cooling scare. What is it, that they can't digest, to the point of denying recent history even if it stares at them from the ink of their own writing?

If one believes in contemporary global warming, the most obvious and logical reply to anybody saying "there was a global cooling consensus in the 1970s" should be "Yes, but." followed by a long explanation on why the consensus is right this time and was wrong at the time. After all some consensuses have been right in the past, and some wrong.

This would cut off all sorts of sterile polemics and actually contribute to an increase in reputation of the average warmist daring to launch into such an argument, facing reality rather than fudging it. But nobody goes in that direction. Why?

As far as I can understand it to date, there are two main reasons for such a peculiar behavior: the AGWers' unhealthy attachment to catastrophism (that forces them into defending absurdist ocean-boiling claims), and their single-minded determination not to allow the mere possibility of anybody uttering any suggestion that anything about AGW could be wrong, unless "it's worse than we thought!" (that forces them into trying to rewrite history, personally attack any disbeliever, blowing up schoolchildren in comedy videos, and all sorts of nasty stuff).

In the AGWer world it is worse than blasphemous even to try to remember that, not so many years ago, there was indeed a climate worry, only it was a worry about the world getting cooler, rather than warmer. With so many easy-to-spot mirror claims (eg Pakistan floods because of cooling then, Pakistan floods because of warming now) logic dictates that the wall of evidence needed to convince people to really care about AGW becomes taller by the minute. And the one needed to acquire the political will to work against catastrophic climate change, it becomes impassable.

This explains why the discussion about global cooling in the 1970s often degenerates with people stupidly claiming "there was no consensus in the 1970s about an ice age". Yes, there wasn't. But who cares? Even a cooling of a few degrees, not exactly an ice age, was presented as very worrying, and potentially as harbinger of catastrophes. Hence, the "ice age" mention is pointless.

Like the "AGW is a logical impossibility" page, the discussion about the global cooling consensus in the 1970s on this blog by itself will never be enough to put the antiscientific claims about upcoming catastrophic AGW to rest. At the end of the day, those pages are "just" reminders that we should avoid leaps in the dark, and always be very aware of our hubris.


Prisoners in Scotland to be given flat screen televisions to meet green targets

I may well be wrong but I had the idea that the old cathode ray tubes used the least power

Inmates are to be given hundreds flat screen televisions in an attempt by prison bosses to meet energy efficiency targets. The Scottish Prison Service has ordered 1,600 of the 19-inch flat screen television sets to allow prisoners to watch programmes in their cells.

Opposition politicians criticised the move, but the prison service insisted that the televisions will not cost the taxpayer any money.

Among the prisons where the TVs will be distributed is the maximum security Shotts prison, which houses some of Scotland's most dangerous criminals.

Richard Baker, Labour's justice spokesman in the Scottish Parliament, said: "Many of my constituents can't afford new televisions, and particularly not swanky 19-inch flat-screen affairs. What sort of message does this send?"

The SPS said TVs have been "a feature" of prisons since 1999 when Labour began eight years in administration at Holyrood. A spokesman for the service said: "SPS are seeking a future supply of in-cell televisions which are energy efficient to meet SPS green targets. "It will require that the supplier holds stock that prisons will draw down as required."

The spokesman added: "Prisoners are charged œ1 per week for televisions and we have around 7,800 prisoners at the moment. There is, therefore, no cost to the taxpayer. "Televisions are not a right but a privilege, and prisoners have them at the discretion of the governor."


Australian psychologists are deep Greens

See an except from an official Australian Psychological Society emission below. That they are so clueless about climate science is entirely to be expected from their cluelessness about psychological science -- which I have often set out at psychology conferences and in the academic journals -- including Australian psychology journals and conferences. See here. Note that there is not a shadow of scientific caution expressed below. Green/Left faith is all that they have

Climate change and other environmental problems are fast becoming daily news items in the media. As our awareness of environmental problems increases, many strong emotions can surface. But climate change doesn't need to be faced with dread. It also needn't require missing out on things, or living a less pleasurable life. There is a lot of information available about what we need to do to combat environmental problems, and many changes are very easy to make. Change can also mean we end up living better.

This information booklet is aimed at helping people cope with the many environmental threats facing us. It offers suggestions for dealing with distressing feelings when learning about environmental problems. It also provides tips for people who want to do something about environmental problems, but may be having difficulty getting started. Finally, the booklet aims to help people work out how to talk with others about these issues, and how to encourage others to join in making positive changes.

* Common reactions to learning about environmental problems

* Managing the feelings climate change can generate

* How to change your own behaviour

* Encouraging others to change

Common reactions to learning about environmental problems

It is common for people to experience a range of emotions and psychological reactions when faced with information about environmental threats and predictions of an uncertain future. People may feel anxious, scared, sad, depressed, numb, helpless and hopeless, frustrated or angry.

Sometimes, if the information is too unsettling and the solutions seem too difficult, people can cope by minimising or denying that there is a problem, or avoiding thinking about the problems.

Being sceptical about the problems is another way that people may react. The caution expressed by climate change sceptics could be a form of denial, where it involves minimising the weight of scientific evidence/consensus on the subject. Or it could indicate that they perceive the risks of change to be greater than the risks of not changing, for themselves or their interests.

Another common reaction is to become desensitised to information about environmental problems. Stories and images relating to climate change flood our daily news. People can become desensitised to the stories, and mentally switch off when the next one comes. The fact that these problems are not easily fixed, and seem to go on and on without resolution, increases the chances that we will tune out, thus minimising our stress and continuing with business as usual.

Once people believe that they cannot do anything to change a situation, they tend to react in all sorts of unhelpful ways. They may become dependent on others (i.e., by believing that the government or corporations will fix things, or that technology has all the answers), resigned ("if it happens, it happens"), cynical ("there's no way you can stop people from driving their cars everywhere - convenience is more important to most people than looking after the environment"), or fed up with the topic.

Managing the feelings climate change can generate

Although environmental threats are real and can be frightening, remaining in a state of heightened distress is not helpful for ourselves or for others. We generally cope better, and are more effective at making changes, when we are calm and rational.
Be optimistic about the future

It can help to remind ourselves that the future is not all bleak. There are millions of people all over the world who share our concerns and are working on protecting the environment, helping others to change their behaviour, and finding other solutions. We already have a lot of information about what we need to do (like reducing greenhouse gas emissions), and what we need to stop doing (like wasting water), and there are tremendous advances in technology being developed every day to help us live sustainably and well.

The power of the individual - taking action

The other good news is that a lot of desirable goals are easily achievable by people simply making changes to their personal life. These changes don't need to be difficult, nor do they need to involve giving up a lifestyle that we enjoy. When everyone makes a commitment to purchasing green energy from renewable sources, reducing petrol use, and making sustainable choices as consumers, then whole communities and nations can drastically reduce their emissions, reduce the pollution of air and water, and develop sustainable ways of living.

Reminding ourselves that there is a lot that we can personally do, and starting to take action to manage the environment better, can help us move from despair and hopelessness to a sense of empowerment.



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


13 November, 2010

A United Nations prophecy from Tues. Oct. 11, 2005

Just another false prophecy of course: Excerpt:

As Ranks of “Environmental Refugees” Swell Worldwide, Calls Grow for Better Definition, Recognition, Support Amid predictions that by 2010 the world will need to cope with as many as 50 million people escaping the effects of creeping environmental deterioration, United Nations University experts say the international community urgently needs to define, recognize and extend support to this new category of ‘refugee’.

In a statement to mark the UN Day for Disaster Reduction (October 12), UNU’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn says such problems as sea level rise, expanding deserts and catastrophic weather-induced flooding have already contributed to large permanent migrations and could eventually displace hundreds of millions.

Unlike victims of political upheaval or violence, however, who have access through governments and international organizations to such assistance as financial grants, food, tools, shelter, schools and clinics, “environmental refugees” are not yet recognized in world conventions.


Where did those 50 million refugees go?

Glacier boffins rubbish IPCC apocalypse claims

Glacier and climate boffins have issued a stinging poohpooh to recent alarmist pronouncements on climate-change-driven glacier melt - in particular from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“In the last few years numbers have been named that do not pass a closer examination,“ says glaciologist and climatologist Georg Kaser of Innsbruck uni. “It is an exaggeration when it is claimed that the melting of glaciers endangers the water supply of two billion people.”

Famously the IPCC, the world body coordinating the human race's response to climate change, chose in 2007 to state that major glaciers in the Himalayas would disappear by the year 2035. This would lead to mighty river systems such as the Ganges, Indus, Changjiang etc becoming "seasonal" - so spelling doom for many inhabitants of the densely populated North Indian plains and other areas.

This was, however, completely without basis. It had originated as an off-the-cuff remark by an Indian scientist who later disowned the estimate, reported by well-known warmo journo Fred Pearce of New Scientist and then retailed to the IPCC in a pamphlet from hard-green campaigning organisation WWF, which wields an almost unbelievable amount of influence over the IPCC.

Kaser and his colleagues have now done a proper academic study on just how glacier melt contributes to the water supplies of different populations around the world, and what the impacts might actually be in the coming decades. They suggest that the IPCC might like to consider using their research as a basis for the next international report, rather than bogus WWF propaganda.

“With regard to the next report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our data can be seen as the basis for regionally more precise estimations and they show that the impact of the expected climate change may be higher in some regions than in others,” says Kaser, chief of Innsbruck's Tropical Glaciology Group.

In essence, the Innsbruck boffins' study says that the only people who need worry about glacier effects on their water supply are small populations who live high up in the mountains. The teeming billions of the Asian river basins will not be affected.

The scientists' article Contribution potential of glaciers to water availability in different climate regimes is published (free as of press time) in the Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences. They write:
We find that the seasonally delayed glacier contribution is largest where rivers enter seasonally arid regions and negligible in the lowlands of river basins governed by monsoon climates. By comparing monthly glacier melt contributions with population densities in different altitude bands within each river basin, we demonstrate that strong human dependence on glacier melt is not collocated with highest population densities in most basins.

“By all means, the expected climatic development may have detrimental effects for smaller high-mountain communities," comments Kaser.

But the spectre of imminent thirst and/or starvation for billions by 2035 from melting glaciers would appear to have been confirmed as the worst kind of alarmist scaremongering. ®


No Cause For Alarm Over Sea Level Or Ice Sheets

By Professor Cliff Ollier, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia

John Le Mesurier’s recent article in On Line Opinion, “The Creeping Menace”, re-hashes the alarmism about rising sea levels. Much has happened, however, since Al Gore scared the world with visions of metre high seas flooding New York.

First, there is still no proof the Earth is experiencing “dangerous” warming. Temperatures have levelled off since 1998. Many measuring locations are also located in unsuitable areas. Furthermore, the methodologies of averaging temperature are inconsistent and full of problems. This is why “Global Warming” was replaced as a slogan by “Climate Change” (nobody denies that climate changes), and more recently by “Climate Disruption” (which is impossible define or prove).

Second, the increased temperature is supposed to increase sea level mainly by melting the ice-caps, which is impossible. Thermal expansion of the oceans seems to be of little consequence at present because the satellite measurements show the oceans are cooling. Le Mesurier gilds his picture with a few asides on “extreme climatic events” in general and hurricanes in particular. Recent studies, however, show no increase in hurricane activity in the last 40 years.

With regard to sea level, I have come to the view the IPCC and Australian Bureau of Meteorology, run by CSIRO, are unreliable sources of data after critically assessing their statements on this subject for some time. Direct studies of sea level are showing only small rises. You can see the sea level data for yourself for the United States and a few other countries here. Most stations show a rise of sea level of about 2mm per year, but note the considerable variation even within a single state.

Models depend on what is put into them. For example, a 2009 report by the CSIRO for the Victorian Government’s Future Coasts Program on The Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Sea Levels in Port Phillip Bay based its model on temperature projections to 2100 of up to 6.4 degrees. That is the most extreme, fuel intensive, scenario of the IPCC and implies unbelievable CO2 concentration levels in 2100 of approximately 1550 parts per million (expressed in CO2 equivalent). Usage of all known fossil fuel reserves would only achieve half of this and continuation of the current rate of increase in concentration levels would result in only 550ppm by 2100.

In terms of sea levels, the result is a CSIRO predicted rise for Port Phillip Bay by 2100 of 82cm and, with the help of the Bureau of Meteorology, an increase due to wind to 98cm. That is not only well above even the top level projected by the latest IPCC report but is also well above any projections from the last 20 to 100 years.

Two favourites of sea level alarmists are Tuvalu and the Maldives. Sea level measurements for Tuvalu (and 10 other stations) between 1992 and 2006 are available on Fig. 13 on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website (PDF 1.97MB). For about the past eight years the sea level seems to be virtually constant.

Vincent Gray has reviewed the evidence and finds virtually stable sea levels in the South West Pacific, and he also discusses how the data have been manipulated to suggest rising sea level.

Sea level in the Maldives was studied in enormous detail by the doyen of sea level scientists, Niklas Axel-Mörner. His team determined the sea level curve over the past 5,000 years based on evidence of morphology, stratigraphy, biology and archaeology supported by extensive C14 dating, and found that “All over the Maldives there is evidence of a sub-recent sea level some 20cm higher than the present one. In the 1970s, sea level fell to its present position.” (My italics.)

Incidentally a recent study of coral islands in the Pacific by Webb and Kench showed the islands are actually growing larger despite any possible sea level rise.

Holland is very low and would be particularly vulnerable to any large rise of sea level. It is also a world leader in coastal study and engineering, and the Dutch are not alarmed. In the December 11, 2008, issue of NRC/Handelsblad (Rotterdam’s counterpart to The Australian or The Age) Wilco Hazeleger, a senior scientist in the global climate research group at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute wrote:

In the past century the sea level has risen twenty centimetres. There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rise. It is my opinion that there is no need for drastic measures. Fortunately, the time rate of climate change is slow compared to the life span of the defense structures along our coast. There is enough time for adaptation.

What about the alleged cause of most of the scary sea level rise – the melting of ice-caps? This idea of rapid loss of ice is based on the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming.

In reality the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets occupy kilometre-deep basins. If sliding were operative they could only slide into the basin. Virtually all the studies on which alarmist conclusions are based are on the outflowing glaciers around the edges of Greenland where glaciers can flow downhill, and where there is some melting. There is no melting in the interior of ice sheets - it is far too cold.

Glaciers have a budget, with accumulation of snow, conversion to ice, flow of ice, and eventual destruction by melting, ablation or collapse. The centres of the ice sheets, occupying basins, flow only at the base, warmed by geothermal heat and driven by the weight of the overlying ice. There is no direct flow of the near-surface ice in the centre of an ice sheet to the outflow glaciers.

The accumulation of kilometres of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no gaps in the record caused by melting. The existence of such layers, youngest at the top and oldest at the bottom, enables the glacial ice to be studied through time, a basic source of data on temperature and carbon dioxide in the past.

In the Greenland ice sheet several cores have more than 3km of undisturbed ice which go back in time for over 105,000 years (much less than the Antarctic equivalent). The Vostok cores in Antarctica provide data for the past 414,000 years before the ice starts to be deformed by flow (induced by the weight of the overlying ice and geothermal heat). The Epica core in Antarctica goes back to 760,000 years. The cores show there have been many times when the climate was much warmer than today (e.g. Mediaeval Warm Period). It is fanciful to conclude kilometres of ice can suddenly melt when the records show no melting whatsoever in the ice sheet accumulation areas.

After considering the evidence of three quarters of a million years of documented continuous accumulation, how can we rationally accept that right now the world's ice sheets are collapsing?

The idea of a glacier sliding downhill on a base lubricated by meltwater seemed a good idea when first presented by de Saussure in 1779, but a lot has been learned since then. Not even alpine valley glaciers or the outflow glaciers of Greenland move this way, but by a process called creep, best known from metallurgy. This process explains why the crystals of ice in the snout of a glacier are about a thousand times bigger than the first crystals in the snowfall. Sliding cannot account for this.

Collapse of ice sheets is commonly shown to stir fears of rising sea levels. Yet wherever ice sheets or glaciers reach the sea, the ice floats and eventually breaks off to form icebergs. It is part of the glacial budget: the glaciers never did flow on to the equator. Icebergs have always been with us. Captain Cook saw them on his search for the Great South Land.

Observers frequently seem surprised by the size and suddenness of what they see. In 2007, when a piece of the Greenland ice shelf broke away, the scientists who were interviewed said they were surprised at how suddenly it happened. How else but suddenly would a piece of ice shelf break off? The actual break is inevitably a sudden event - but one that can easily be built into a global warming horror scenario. The point to remember is that the release of icebergs at the edge of an ice cap does not in any way reflect present-day temperature. It takes thousands of years for the ice to move from accumulation area to ice front.

The Hubbard Glacier in Alaska has long been a favourite place for tourists to witness the collapse of an ice front, 10km long and 27m high, sometimes producing icebergs the size of ten-storey buildings. One tourist wrote “Hubbard Glacier is very active and we didn’t have long to wait for it to calve”. Yet the Hubbard Glacier is advancing at 25 metres per year, and has been doing so at least since its discovery in 1895.

Variations in melting or calving around the edges of ice sheets are no indication that they are collapsing, but reflect past rates of snow and ice accumulation in their interior.

Despite alarmist propaganda there is much evidence to suggest that the ice sheets are in good health. For example, one recent paper is entitled “A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850” (Thomas et al. 2008).

Another reports that “The East Antarctic ice-sheet north of 81.60S increased in mass by 45 ± 7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003 … enough to slow sea-level rise by 0.12 ±0.002 millimetres per year” (Davis et al. 2005).

Wingham et al. (2006) wrote: “We show that 72 per cent of the Antarctic ice sheet is gaining 27 ± 29 Gt yr-1, a sink of ocean mass sufficient to lower global sea levels by 0.08 mm yr-1.”

Johannessen and colleagues analysed satellite data on the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003. They found an increase of 6.4 ± 0.2 centimetres per year in the vast interior areas above 1500 metres, in contrast to previous reports of high-elevation balance. Below 1500 metres, the elevation-change rate is -2.0 ± 0.9 cm/year.

Of course even if we believe global sea level is rising, it takes another leap of faith to accept that it is caused by minuscule increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by human activity.


How the EPA cripples the American economy

President Barack Obama seems more concerned with appeasing environmental extremists in his administration than he is with the lost jobs of poor Americans. He’s letting the environmentalists run wild with long pent-up schemes to force a change in the American way of life that includes small cars, small apartments and, for many, a return to an idealized 19th century lifestyle. It’s not China that’s responsible for American job losses; it’s Washington’s fault for shutting down whole industries and preventing new jobs from being created.

What’s happened is that Obama has given the environmental extremists the power to make some of their wish list come true. Modern measurement techniques allow scientists to measure tiny parts per million; much of the technology did not exist when the Clean Air Act was first legislated in 1990. Using these new techniques environmentalists are able to impose their fantasies upon American business and labor. For industry, removing the last parts per million is prohibitively costly. For instance, technology which could have removed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because the discharged ocean water would still contain more than 15 parts per million of oil.

When the American economy was growing fast these EPA job killers were not so damaging. Now, in slower times, they are proving deadly.

Below are eight areas where the environmental extremists hope to wreak havoc on the American economy.

Carbon Dioxide. Human activity accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions and CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. Water vapor accounts for most of the other 80 percent. The actual quantity of C02 in the Earth's atmosphere is about 0.0387 percent, or 387 parts per million. The Christian Science Monitor recently published an excellent analysis of how the EPA’s plans for reducing carbon dioxide could cause the loss of over a million jobs and raise every family’s energy costs by over $1,200.

Factory boilers. The EPA wants new, more stringent limits on soot emissions from industrial and factory boilers. This would cost $9.5 billion according to the EPA, or over $20 billion according to the American Chemistry Council. A study released by the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners says the new rules would put 300,000 to 800,000 jobs at risk as industries opted to close plants rather than pay the expensive new costs. The ruling includes boilers used in manufacturing, processing, mining, and refining, as well as shopping malls, laundromats, apartments, restaurants, and hotels.

Home Remodeling. Some contractors are refusing to work on houses built before 1979 (when lead paint use was discontinued) because of stringent new EPA permitting required for lead paint removal. Lead paint in powdered or edible form can hurt growing children. It was once used in the hard gloss paint for wood surfaces, but has been painted over with non-lead-based paint during the past 30 years. The new fines of $37,000 per day are ruinous for smaller contractors and individual workers. Many jobs will therefore not be created as smaller contractors stop replacing window frames or turn down other work where lead paint may be present.

Ground Level Ozone. AutoBlog reports that the EPA has asked the U.S. government to enact draconian new smog regulations for ground-level ozone. The request to cut levels to .006 to .007 parts per million comes less than two years after standards were set at .0075 particles of pollutants per one million. As AutoBlog notes, “That doesn't sound like a very big change, but the New York Times reports that the agency quotes the price tag of such a change at between $19 billion and $100 billion per year by 2020. Oil manufacturers, manufacturing and utility companies are the main source of air pollution and they will have to spend heavily to meet the proposed regulation.”

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Fish and Wildlife Service is drawing up plans that define more parts of ANWR as “wilderness” thereby permanently removing any possibility for oil drilling in the vast field. The full Alaskan nature reserve is the size of South Carolina while the proposed drilling area would be the size of Dulles Airport.

Alaska Oil. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has prohibited all off-shore drilling until further notice, although Shell Oil and others’ proposed sites are in less than 150 feet of water and use fixed drilling platforms, not the floating kind used for deep water in the Gulf of Mexico. Potentially vast oil fields and the accompanying jobs are therefore on hold.

Cement Kiln Regulations. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who led the fight to expose so called man-made global warming, warns of a new EPA job-killing plan. “EPA’s new cement kiln regulation could shut down 18 plants, threatening 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs,” he writes. “According to an analysis of EPA’s rule by King’s College (London) Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, EPA could send 28 million tons of U.S. cement production offshore, mainly to China.”

The above are all large-scale restrictions. There are also many smaller, mostly unreported new regulations. A Heritage Foundation study describes 43 such restrictions imposed during 2010 and totaled up their cost as well over $26 billion. As Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) complained before her defeat, farmers, ranchers, and foresters “are increasingly frustrated and bewildered by vague, overreaching, and unnecessarily burdensome EPA regulations, each of which will add to their costs, making it harder for them to compete.”

Gulf of Mexico Oil. While Salazar ostensibly lifted his illegal and unnecessary suspension of all oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, we don’t yet know if he has put up interminable, cost-wrecking regulations in the ban’s place. Just one of his changes, allowing government bureaucrats 90 days instead of the prior 30 days to issue every decision, may be enough to ruin future oil drilling. The big floating rigs rent for over half a million dollars a day to operate. Just the threat of non-decisions along the chain of government command may be fatal and do to oil drilling what the environmentalists did to nuclear energy—namely, shutting down all new plants by making the costs and risks prohibitive. Michael Bromwich, Salazar’s director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said that there were only 10 new well permits pending, but according to The Washington Post there were 69 unapproved exploration and development plans sitting in his office. Even simple, continued drilling in already producing oil sands, where the geological conditions are measured and known, has been suspended.

Salazar also suspended shallow well drilling in less than 500 feet depth from fixed platforms. Washington only issued 13 such shallow well permits in the seven months since the Macondo blowout in April. Before that it was issuing about 13 shallow well permits per month. As is often the case with Washington’s heavy-handed regulators, it is the smaller companies, doing less costly drilling closer to shore, that are bankrupted or driven out of business by these costly and burdensome rules. All this comes after 40 years of successful drilling without a major blowout or spill.

Government restrictions and environmentalist lawsuits also affect other mining activity. For example, there is currently a shortage in Chinese rare earth elements, which are essential to a number of technologies, including hard drives and environmentalist-friendly hybrid-car batteries. Yet despite an abundance of rare earth reserves in the U.S., domestic production has been essentially shut down by the president’s allies.

It’s time for Congress to investigate what the EPA and its reckless agenda is costing American workers, businesses, and taxpayers.


Throw Carol Browner Under the Bus

Michelle Malkin

Energy czar Carol Browner needs to go the way of disgraced green jobs czar Van Jones: under the bus and stripped of her unbridled power to destroy jobs and lives in the name of saving the planet. ASAP.

One of the Beltway's most influential, entrenched and unaccountable left-wing radicals, Browner has now been called out twice by President Obama's own federal BP oil spill commission and Interior Department inspector general. How many strikes should a woman who circumvented the Senate confirmation process and boasts a sordid history of abusing public office get?

Pushing the question -- and shining a bright, hot spotlight on Browner's behind-the-scenes maneuvering -- should be a top priority of the new House GOP majority. Not least of all because Washington insiders are still buzzing about possible White House plans to increase her policy role and elevate her status with Team Obama.

First, the BP oil spill panel dinged her for disseminating misleading information to the public about the scope of the disaster. In the aftermath of the spill, she falsely claimed that 75 percent of the spill was "now completely gone from the system" and falsely claimed that the administration's August report on the disaster was "peer-reviewed." The false claim "contributed to public perception" of Browner's calculation as "more exact and complete" than it was ever designed to be, the oil spill commission concluded in October.

This week, the Interior Department inspector general singled out Browner's office for butchering peer-reviewed scientists' conclusions in a key report about the administration's preordained deepwater drilling moratorium. The scientists first blew the whistle on the administration's monkey business this summer. A federal judge sided with the misrepresented scientists and blasted the Interior Department's big green lie that its moratorium was "peer-reviewed" and endorsed by "seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering."

As the court concluded: "Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they 'do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium' on floating drilling."

It was Browner's office behind the hatchet job. After cutting, pasting and tweaking the drilling moratorium report, one of Browner's staff members sent a 2 a.m. e-mail back to the Interior Department on May 27 with edited versions that implied that the outside scientists endorsed the moratorium. The Interior Department inspector general tip-toed around Browner's responsibility for fudging the truth, using passive language to describe how the edited versions "caused the distinction" between what the administration wanted and what the scientists believed "to become effectively lost."

Nonsense. The distinction didn't "become" lost. Browner's office disappeared it, doctored it and obliterated it. Browner's wordsmiths played Mad Libs with the report until it fit their agenda. There was "no intent to mislead the public," Browner's office claims. But this eco-data doctoring fits a long pattern of politicized science over which Browner has presided.

While head of the Clinton administration's EPA, she ordered a staffer to purge and delete her computer files to evade a public disclosure lawsuit. Lambasted by the judge for "contumacious" behavior and contempt of court, Browner claimed it was all an innocent mistake -- and blamed her young son for downloading games on her work computer that she was trying to erase.

During her tenure as EPA chief, she was also caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to more than 100 grassroots environmental lobbying organizations. Browner exploited her office to orchestrate a political campaign by left-wing groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform.

According to the left-leaning Atlantic, Obama has increasingly relied on Browner's counsel on issues beyond her environmental portfolio. Which means he's listening to her advice and strategizing on how to apply her truth-fudging, transparency-evading tactics to the rest of the economy and domestic policy.

Browner, a darling of left-wing billionaire George Soros' environmental justice circles and the wife of a top energy lobbyist, is a dangerous woman whose ideological zeal has helped power the Democrats' war on prosperity. Sunlight, as always, is the best disinfectant -- and a much-needed monkey wrench in the Obama job-killing machine.


George Soros U.N. Panel Organizes $100 Billion Climate Change Shakedown Aimed Against U.S.

George Soros, the radical, far-left billionaire, with a long history of antipathy toward American interests, now sits on a United Nations (UN) panel charged with organizing a $100 billion wealth transfer from the developed world to the underdeveloped world in the name of environmentalism. News of his involvement here is buried away in a New York Times report but it should be the lead sentence.

Developing countries must help combat the many challenges associated with global warming, according to a UN panel. That is assuming all concerned parties accept the premise of catastrophic human induced climate change and the New York Times certainly does. The price tag has been fixed at $100 billion and the villain here is of course the United States, which refuses to comply with anti-emissions regulations.

It’s a familiar script that is wearing thin. The alarmist rationale has been dealt serious setbacks in recent months thanks to updated research and the growing “climategate” scandal. But international bureaucrats and transnationalists opposed to America’s free market system remain undeterred in their course of action.

Last December, “international leaders” agreed that it would be necessary for the developed world to fork over $100 billion by 2020 during the Copenhagen climate summit. But the methodology and details of this transfer remain a point of consternation and contention. The U.N. panel has just released a report that offers up some suggestions.

“The attitude of the developing nations was that the industrialized world caused the pollution, so the richer states should cut a check for reparations and another check to help pursue clean development,” the Times report notes. “The richer nations balked at the prospect. Some of those differences remain in the report: the developing world thinks the financing should come in the form of public aid, whereas the developed world wants to rely heavily on private investment, for example. The differences were indeed on display during the release of the report.”

The nexus between environmentalism and anti-Americanism is not difficult to unravel. Van Jones, an avowed communist, who previously served as a czar for the Obama Administration, was forced to step down when far left history came to light. Buried deep in the NYT piece is a revealing nugget that should have been in the lead.

“The 21-member United Nations panel included Lawrence H. Summers, the White House’s departing national economics adviser; the billionaire financier George Soros; Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, the finance minister of Mexico; and Christine Lagarde, the French economic minister,” the Times reports.

That’s right, the same George Soros who has railed against American independence and sovereignty is now organization a massive wealth transfer to third world countries in the name of environmentalism.

The headline should read: George Soros Led United Nations Panel Organizes $100 Billion Anti-U.S. Shakedown Effort. But that it does not should surprise none.



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


12 November, 2010

Think the Earth's resources are finite? Think again

When modern Malthusians insist that resources are finite, they only expose their historical illiteracy, misanthropy and social pessimism. "What makes something a resource?" is the question they fail to consider. I have been pointing that out since 1974 with negligible impact but I hope that the two excellent articles immediately below will be more persuasive -- JR

Brendan O'Neill

The main Malthusian idea I think we should challenge is the idea that resources are finite. The idea that the Earth itself is finite. The idea that we live on a finite planet and therefore we can only have a certain number of people, living in a certain number of homes, eating a certain amount of food.

Because it seems to me that the population-control lobby’s obsession with finiteness really exposes what it is all about. It reveals the historical illiteracy and the social pessimism that underpin the pseudo-scientific movement of Malthusianism. The Malthusians’ focus on finiteness explains firstly why they are always wrong about everything; secondly why they are so misanthropic; and thirdly why they put forward such illiberal proposals, dressed up, of course, in the language of ‘female empowerment’.

On the first point, Malthusians are simply wrong to say that resources are fixed, that we can measure and predict when they will run out. It seems commonsensical to say that the Earth is finite, and a bit mad to say that it isn’t, but it’s important to recognise how fluid and changeable resources are. It’s important to recognise that the usefulness and longevity of a resource is determined as much by us – by the level of social development we have reached – as it is by the existence of that resource in the first place.

Resources are not fixed in any meaningful sense. Resources have a history and a future, just as human beings do. The question of what we consider to be a resource changes as society changes.

So in Ancient Rome, one of the main uses of coal was to make jewellery. Women liked the look of this glinting black rock hanging around their necks. No one could have imagined that thousands of years later, coal would be used to power massive steam engines and an entire Industrial Revolution, forever changing how we produce things and transport them around the world.

Two thousand years ago, the only way people used uranium was to make glass look more yellow. It was used to decorate windows and mirrors. You would probably have been locked up, or subjected to an exorcism, if you had suggested that one day uranium might be used to light up and heat entire cities – or indeed destroy entire cities at the push of a button.

The exact same resource can do very, very different things, depending on social and technological development. It was social limits, not physical limits, which meant that Ancient Romans could not use coal to make things move and other ancient communities could only use uranium to make glass look yellow. And the main problem with resource-pessimists such as Malthusians is that they continually misinterpret social limits as physical limits. They naturalise social limits, reinterpreting and re-presenting problems of social development as problems of nature’s shrinking bounty. They make the fatal flaw of arguing that the main barrier to progress and human comfort is the barrier erected by nature’s limited resources, when in fact it is the barrier erected by crises of social imagination.

That is why they are wrong about absolutely everything, why every prediction made by every population scaremonger throughout history has failed to materialise. A very early resource panicker was the second-century Christian philosopher Tertullian. In 200AD, Tertullian said: ‘We are burdensome to the world, the resources are scarcely adequate for us… already nature does not sustain us.’

But back then, there were only 180 million human beings on the entire planet – about the same number that currently lives in the eastern part of the United States. The problem for Tertullian was his understandably limited imagination. In his time, pretty much the only known resources were animals, plants and various metals and minerals. Tertullian had no way of conceiving of the enormous abundance of resources inside the Earth, which lay dormant because of social limitations not natural ones.

Thomas Malthus himself, the messiah of modern-day Malthusianism, argued in the early 1800s that food production wouldn’t be able to keep pace with human reproduction, and as a result there would be ‘epidemics, pestilence and plagues’ that would sweep off millions of people. Yet in his era, there were only 980 million people on Earth – today there are more than that in China alone and they all have food to eat. Malthus’s problem was that he also saw natural limits where in fact there were social limits. His fundamental pessimism meant he considered it impossible for mankind to develop beyond a certain, nature-enforced point. And yet, shortly after he made his population pronouncements, through the industrial revolution and various social revolutions, mankind did overcome many social limitations and found new ways to make food and deliver it to people around the globe.

It is their limits-obsessed outlook which means that Malthusians are always spectacularly wrong. You would be better off listening to Mystic Meg than the Optimum Population Trust (OPT). Malthusians pose as a science-based, rationalist movement that has worked out through equations and pie charts what the carrying capacity of the Earth is. But actually they continually make a schoolboy scientific error. Their error is to imagine that population is the only variable, the only thing that grows and grows, while everything else – including resources, society, progress and discovery – stays roughly the same.

But the truth, as history shows us, is that population is not the only variable. Resources are a variable, too. So is mankind’s vision, determination, and ability to rethink and tackle problems. These things grow and change just as population does. Malthusians’ mathematics doesn’t add up, because their social pessimism means that they fail to factor in possibly the most important and decisive variable of all: mankind’s ingenuity.

It seems very clear to me that today, still, the main problem we face is absolutely social rather than natural. We now live under a cult of sustainability, a social and political framework which says that we should never overhaul what exists and should instead make do with the world as it is. The idea of sustainability is anti-exploration, anti-experimentation, anti-risk – all the qualities we need if we are going to make the kind of breakthroughs that earlier generations made with coal and uranium and other resources. In contrast to the past, today human society is accommodating to social limitations, and accepting the idea that they are natural, rather than trying to break through them. The Malthusian mindset is winning, and that is a tragedy for all of us.

The second important thing about the Malthusians’ focus on finiteness is that it helps to explain why they are so misanthropic.

Over the past 200 years, Malthusians have tended to look at people as simply the users-up of scarce resources. They have tended to view nature as the producer of things and mankind as the consumer of things. And their view of people as little more than consumers – almost as parasites – inevitably leads to them seeing human beings as the cause of every modern ill, and therefore reducing the number of human beings as the solution to every modern ill. Their focus on finiteness means they conceive of humanity as a kind of bovine force, hoovering up everything that it comes across.

The ascendancy of the Malthusian outlook can really be seen in the way people are frequently discussed these days: as exploiters, the mere users of resources, the destroyers of things.

So mankind’s building of cities and factories is increasingly referred to as an ‘eco-footprint’, as if it is something dirty and destructive. Our use of natural resources such as wood and oil is referred to as ‘the rape of the planet’. Even our use of water is now problematised, with various charities telling us to measure our ‘water footprint’ and only to shower every other day. We are encouraged to be ‘water neutral’. In the past there was another word for ‘water neutrality’ – death. No living creature known to man can survive without water and yet today we’re supposed to feel guilty about using it.

This popular depiction of mankind as gorging on nature’s fragile resources is not actually based on scientific fact or hard proof of widespread resource depletion. That is clear from the fact that even water is now included in the list of resources we should use rarely and sparingly – only a mad person could believe that water will ever run out. No, this view is based on a profound, philosophical shift in our attitudes towards ourselves, a shift from viewing humanity as the tamer of the planet and the creator of society, towards viewing humanity as a plague on the planet and the destroyer of our surroundings.

It is a spectacularly one-sided view of people. Because we don’t only use resources; we also create them. We are not only consumers; we are also producers. In fact, I would argue that we have realised the potential of this planet. Without us it would just be another ball spinning through space stuffed with useless coal and pointless uranium. We extracted that coal and uranium and made something amazing with it: modern human society. We created the social conditions in which the Earth’s resources could be used to their full potential; we created the means for extracting and transforming those resources; we created cities, workplaces and homes on the back of those resources; and every time, we managed to get more and more stuff from fewer resources and created new resources along the way.

The Malthusian view of humans as little more than consumers leads to some very dodgy ideas. So last year, the OPT launched a website called PopOffsets, which involved encouraging well-off Westerners to offset their carbon emissions by paying for people in the Third World to stop procreating.

The idea is that you log on, enter information about a flight you recently took or how much you have been driving your car, and then the site tells you how much carbon you have used and therefore how much you should donate to a Third World reproductive charity. That charity makes up for your carbon-use by cutting back on the pitter-patter of tiny carbon footprints in countries like Kenya. So if you took a round-trip from London to Sydney, that adds up to 10 tonnes of carbon, in which case you are asked to donate £40 to help prevent the birth of one child in Africa.

That is the value that modern-day Malthusians put on new human life: it is roughly equal to 10 tonnes of carbon, or one holiday Down Under. Apparently these lives have no intrinsic worth, no moral or cultural meaning; they’re simply bargaining chips in some wealthy Westerner’s desire to absolve himself of eco-guilt.

Such misanthropy is a direct result of the fetish of finiteness. Because when you view human beings as the ravenous users of resources, then you start to see human life itself as a pollutant, a drain on the planet. That is why Malthusians constantly refer to every newborn child in Africa as ‘another mouth to feed’. In their worldview, another child is not something to celebrate; it is simply an eating machine that needs to be attended to. We have lost sight of the fact that human beings are not just mouths to feed – they are also brains that can think, minds that can create, and hands that can work.

And thirdly, and finally, the elevation of the Malthusian idea of finiteness gives rise to authoritarianism. When you see everything as running out, when you believe that anarchy is potentially just around the corner, then you become a bit like those strange men in Alabama who think the world is coming to an end, so they stock up on guns and baked beans and never leave the house. You develop a siege mentality. You see other people as a tsunami of destruction, and almost any measure can be justified to hold back that tsunami.

Of course, the Malthusians have learned from their past. They have learned from their earlier dalliances with eugenics in the 1930s and forced sterilisation in India in the 1970s, and from their complicity in the development of China’s one-child policy in the 1980s; they know that population authoritarianism is not popular. Women don’t like being told what to do with their wombs, and men don’t like being forced into vasectomies. So modern-day Malthusians have adopted the language of ‘reproductive choice’ and ‘female empowerment’ instead. But this is deeply, deeply disingenuous.

Because when you promote family planning on the basis that too many children will destroy the planet, on the basis that women are creating future pollutants, on the basis that our offspring will turn into planet-rapists, then you are not giving women real reproductive choice, which is something I fully support; no, you are giving them an ultimatum. You are instructing them that if they carry on breeding, then they will be responsible for natural disasters and carnage on a Biblical scale. That is coercion; it is an invasion of women’s free will. And it is the end result of a misanthropic outlook which says that the worst thing a human being can do is create another human being.


A Primer on Natural Resources and the Environment

by George Reisman

There is a fundamental fact about the world that has profound implications for the supply of natural resources and for the relationship between production and economic activity on the one side and man's environment on the other. This is the fact that the entire earth consists of solidly packed chemical elements. There is not a single cubic centimeter either on or within the earth that is not some chemical element or other, or some combination of chemical elements. Any scoop of earth, taken from anywhere, reveals itself upon analysis to be nothing but a mix of elements ranging from aluminum to zirconium. Measured from the upper reaches of its atmosphere 4,000 miles straight down to its center, the magnitude of the chemical elements constituting the earth is 260 billion cubic miles.

This enormous quantity of chemical elements is the supply of natural resources provided by nature. It is joined by all of the energy forces within and surrounding the earth, from the sun and the heat supplied by billions of cubic miles of molten iron at the earth's core to the movement of the tectonic plates that form its crust, and the hurricanes and tornadoes that dot its surface.

Of course, in and of itself, this supply of natural resources is largely useless. What is important from the perspective of economic activity and production is the subset of natural resources that human intelligence has identified as possessing properties capable of serving human needs and wants and over which human beings have gained the power actually to direct to the satisfaction of their needs and wants, and to do so without expending inordinate amounts of labor. This is the supply of economically usable natural resources.

The supply of economically usable natural resources is always only a small fraction of the overall supply of natural resources provided by nature. With the exception of natural gas, even now, after more than two centuries of rapid economic progress, the total of the supply of minerals mined by man each year amounts to substantially less than 25 cubic miles. This is a rate that could be sustained for the next 100 million years before it amounted to something approaching 1 percent of the supply represented by the earth. (These estimates follow from such facts as that the total annual global production of oil, iron, coal, and aluminum can be respectively fitted into spaces of 1.15, 0.14, 0.5, and 0.04 cubic miles, based on the number of units produced and the quantity that fits into one cubic meter. Natural gas production amounts to more than 600 cubic miles, but reduces to 1.1 cubic miles when liquefied.) Along the same lines, the entire supply of energy produced by the human race in a year is still far less than that generated by a single hurricane.

In view of such facts, it should not be surprising that the supply of economically usable natural resources is not something that is fixed and given and that man's economic activities deplete. To the contrary, it is not only a very small fraction of the supply of natural resources provided by nature but a fraction that is capable of substantial enlargement for a considerable time to come. Mining operations could be carried on at 100 times their present scale for a million years and still claim less than 1 percent of the earth.

The supply of economically usable natural resources expands as man increases his knowledge of nature and his physical power over it. It expands as he advances in science and technology and improves and enlarges his supply of capital equipment.

For example, the supply of iron as an economically usable natural resource was zero for the people of the Stone Ages. It became an economically usable natural resource only after uses were discovered for it and it was realized that iron could contribute to human life and well-being once it was forged into various objects. The supply of economically usable iron was one thing when it could be mined only by means of digging for it with shovels. It became substantially greater when bulldozers and steam shovels replaced hand shovels. It became greater still when methods were found to separate it from compounds containing sulfur. And so it has been, and can continue to be, with every economically usable natural resource. Their supply has increased and can continue to increase for an indefinite time.

The fact that the earth is made of chemical elements that man neither creates nor destroys implies that, from the point of view of physical science, production and economic activity can be understood as constituting merely changes in the locations and combinations of the chemical elements. Thus, for example, the production of automobiles represents a movement of some of the world's iron from such locations as the Mesabi Range in Minnesota to the rest of the country and, in the process, the separation of the iron from elements such as oxygen and sulfur and its recombination with other elements such as chrome and nickel.

The changes in the locations and combinations of the chemical elements that constitute production and economic activity are not at all random but rather are aimed precisely at improving the relationship of the chemical elements to human life and well-being. Iron in automobiles and appliances and in the steel girders that support buildings and bridges stands in a far more useful and valuable relationship to human life and well-being than does iron in the ground. The same is true of oil and coal when brought into a position in which they can be used to heat and light homes and provide power for man's tools and machines. The same is true of the relationship between all chemical elements that have come to constitute the material stuff of products compared with those elements lying in the ground.

Insofar as the essential nature of production and economic activity is to improve the relationship between the chemical elements constituting the earth and man's life and well-being, it is also necessarily to improve man's environment, which is nothing other than those very same chemical elements and their associated energy forces. The notion that production and economic activity are harmful to the environment rests on the abandonment of man and his life as the source of value in the world, and its replacement by a nonhuman standard of value — i.e., the belief that nature is intrinsically valuable.

With man and his life as the standard of value, the environment is improved when it is filled with houses, farms, factories, and roads, all of which serve directly or indirectly to make his life easier. When nature in and of itself is seen as valuable, then the environment is harmed whenever man creates any of these things or does anything whatever that changes the existing state of nature, for he is then destroying alleged intrinsic values.

A final inference that may be drawn is that a leading problem of our time is not environmental pollution but philosophical corruption. It is this that underlies the belief that improvement precisely in the external material conditions of human life is somehow environmentally harmful.


A reply to a civil Warmist

One Warmist tries rationality -- but Matt Ridley shows that if this is their best shot at arguing their case, the case is lost

Some weeks ago I wrote an article for The Times about why I no longer find persuasive the IPCC's arguments that today's climate change is unprecedented, fast and dangerous.

I was delighted to receive a long and courteous letter from David MacKay, the chief scientific advisor to Britain's Department of Energy and Climate Change. With his permission I am publishing my reply to that letter.

The remarkable thing about this exchange is that far from weakening my doubts about the IPCC case, it has strengthened them. The letter explains why. Essentially, I have realised that almost the only weapons left in the alarm locker are the retreat of the Arctic sea ice and an event that happened 55m years ago and was probably not caused by CO2 at all. Everything else -- the CO2-temperature correlation in the Antarctic ice core, the hockey stick, storm frequency, phenology, etc etc -- no longer supports the argument that something unprecedented in magnitude or rate is happening. Remarkable. Here is my letter:

Dear David

I am honoured that you liked my book and I liked yours very much indeed: a brilliant and necessary contribution to the debate. Though it arrived late in my writing process, I managed to squeeze in several references to it in the penultimate chapter of mine.

Thank you for taking the trouble to give such a detailed reply to my Times article – much longer than the constraints of the Times op-ed page allowed for me! I shall now indulge in a longer reply. It is certainly nice that the political `climate’ (sic) now allows articles like mine to receive serious replies, rather than accusations of heresy or sin or threats of prosecution as a criminal against humanity. I appreciate that very much. I surmise from your covering note that perhaps your letter is circulated more widely among DECC colleagues and I would be glad for you to circulate this reply, not least to the secretary of state who showed you my article. I shall post this letter on my blog.

I am surprised to find that I agree with much of your letter, but it changes almost none of my conclusions. How can this be? The gap between the science and how it has been presented is huge. This is as much the fault of bodies like the Royal Society, which should have been a brake on politically inspired extreme statements but was not, as it is of the media. You say scientists know how big the uncertainties are and that the failure to ensure that uncertainties are reported has contributed to the problem. I agree and I wish that the science establishment had paid this issue more attention. They allowed and encouraged their spokesmen to peddle the very opposite impression.

Consider this statement for example: `Earth's climate can only be stabilized by bringing carbon dioxide emissions under control in the twenty-first century.’ That is the opening sentence of a paper in Nature Geoscience last month. It is shocking that it got past the editors and reviewers. After 4 billion years of climatic volatility, much of it not caused by CO2 but by orbital variations, solar cycles and so on, how on earth are we to `stabilise’ earth’s climate by adjusting just one forcing factor? I refuse to accept that the climate could ever be stabilised, let alone by adjusting one factor. That sentence has no place in a scientific journal.

Taking your points in turn, then:

You say most climate scientists are nicer than their caricature on the web. I agree, but so are most sceptics. The image of the politicised, right-wing, anti-science zealot fits some, of course, just as the reverse fits Jim Hansen, Bob Ward and Joe Romm, but the ones whose work I have got to know, such as Andrew Montford and Steve McIntyre are quite different. The polarisation of this issue is a real problem. I learned from writing about the nature-nurture debate that arguments get polarised because people only read their friends’ caricatures of their opponents’ works; it is vital that we all read all sides of the argument.

Next you criticise my argument that current warming is not `unprecedented’ by reference to the Arctic sea ice graph. But this only goes back to 1979! Blackpool’s Football League table position is unprecedented since 1979. In a brief period of warming, of course the warming is unprecedented. You will know the ample anecdotal evidence that Arctic sea ice retreated just as much in the 1920s and 1930s: remember `Warming island’ for example. There is also good evidence from wave-made beaches and driftwood in Northern Greenland of probably ice-free summer months in the Arctic 7,000 years ago. A study published in the journal Quaternary Research of sea sediment cores in the Chukchi Sea shelf in the Arctic Ocean concluded that `during the middle Holocene the August sea surface temperature fluctuated by 5°C and was 3-7°C warmer than it is today'.

(Incidentally, I am keen to see a proper test of the hypothesis that black carbon is the main cause of the Arctic sea ice summer retreat of recent years and that cleaning up Chinese coal power stations will reverse the trend. The argument seems quite plausible – and it might explain why Antarctic sea ice has been expanding during the same period -- but it needs a test.)

To be honest, whenever that sea-ice graph is used as an argument, I become a little bit more sceptical. If that is the best evidence of something unprecedented, then the case must be weaker than I thought. It is a change that is not even likely to threaten human or animal livelihoods: even with a total late-summer melt (I presume you do not belong to the school of thought that the ice could fail to reform in winter), there is no great albedo feedback at such latitudes because of the angle of the sun in August, and polar bears will expand their range further north or will survive ice-free summer months onshore as they do already in Hudson’s Bay, on Wrangel island and parts of Svalbard (where one once walked round my tent while I slept).

Then you say that if I mean `not unprecedented on 100m year timescales’... But those are not the only two options! I mean not unprecedented in centuries and millennia, ie in human history. It is hugely relevant whether the warming of 1910-40 was as fast as 1980-2010 (it was). It is hugely relevant if the climate was as warm in 1100 AD as now (it probably was) both in attributing cause and in making conclusions about sensitivity.

You will have seen this graph, one of many now making it amply clear that the warmth of the Holocene optimum, peaking about 7,000 years ago, was both global in extent and considerably warmer than today:

Next you disagree with my characterization that recent warming is not `fast’. Phil Jones himself confirms that the rate of warming in 1975-2009 is statistically indistinguishable in rate from the two other periods of warming in the past 150 years: this is from his interview with the BBC.....

I contend that none of these rates are `fast’. Contrast them with the rate of change now known from 12,000 years ago, characterized by `local, regional, and more-widespread climate conditions [which] demonstrate that much of the Earth experienced abrupt climate changes synchronous with Greenland within thirty years or less’ (Alley 2000. Quaternary Science Reviews 213-226), including `a warming of 7 °C in South Greenland [that] was completed in about 50 years’ (Dansgaard, White and Johnsen 1989, Nature 339: 532).

That is a change roughly nine times as fast as has happened since 1980 – in Greenland or anywhere else. Another study gives even bigger numbers, saying that the `abrupt warming (10 ± 4 °C)’ at the end of the Younger Dryas and the warming at the end of a short lived cooler interval known as the Preboreal Oscillation `may have occurred within a few years’ (Kobashi et al 2008 Earth and Planetary Sciences 268:397). Nor was this rate of change confined to Greenland. As one article summarises, `temperatures from the end of the Younger Dryas Period to the beginning of the Holocene some 12,500 years ago rose about 20 degrees Fahrenheit in a 50-year period in Antarctica, much of it in several major leaps lasting less than a decade.’ (Science Daily, Oct 2 1998).

You concede that the rise is running at just 1C per century over the past 50 years, though you do not recognise the degree to which even this is only true of the instrumental record, as adjusted and homogenised by the USHCN and similar bodies. These adjustments have come under question recently since it has become clear that far from correcting for urban warming they seem to be exaggerating it. So the true figure, without adjustments, is probably much closer to that recorded by the SST record and the satellite record, considerably lower than 1C. Here is the US raw data:

The climate is going to have to get a move on if it is hit 3C this century. One-tenth of the century now over and no significant warming yet. This should have been the fastest bit: since the curve is logarithmic, the first 100 ppm of CO2 should produce as much warming as the next 200 ppm.

You then say we should not be blasé about 2C in 200 years. I am sorry but I do not find this convincing for four reasons:

If anybody had adopted a policy in 1810 to affect the climate in 2010, they would have made absurd decisions because of uninvented technologies, etc.

There is lots of evidence that climate change is positive in its impacts up to 2C, especially if it takes 200 years to get there.

Remember most of this warming is predicted to be in cold regions, in winter and at night. The daytime temperature changes in temperate regions in summer would be less than 2C.

The thing I think we should not be blasé about is the cost of measures we are taking today. Biofuel policies have caused real hunger. Wind power policies have caused real fuel poverty. Yet these measures would do a statistically insignificant asterisk towards solving the problem even if the warming was happening fast. I refuse to be blasé about the jobs not created, the landscapes spoiled, the deaths caused by indoor air pollution in Africa because people cook over charcoal and above all the distraction and diversion of funds from real problems, including environmental ones.

You then ask me what I think the sensitivity to CO2 doubling is and you guess that I must think it is outside the range 1.5-4.5C. Actually, I think there are lots of sensitivities within that range that are `fairly minor problems’ and so do many of the studies cited by the IPCC. For Malaria, for example, 2C will produce less than 30,000 extra annual deaths on the million we see today. I think the million is a major problem, the 30,000 in a century’s time is a minor problem. Water shortages? The evidence of Arnell 2004 suggests that 2C of warming will reduce the net number of people at risk of water shortage. Etc etc.

So what do I think the sensitivity is? I have no idea. It could be 1C or lower, it could be 3C, but I think it very unlikely from the latest data that it is going to be as high as 4.5C. (Actually, IPCC says that is unlikely, too, if you read the probability right.)

I do know this though: the IPCC’s estimates of the sensitivity are utterly worthless because they all – all – assume net positive feedback. You are quite right that we do not know that clouds have negative feedback for sure, but there is good evidence that they probably do, and just 2% change in the albedo of cloudiness could reverse all CO2’s marginal effect. And you imply that Spencer is a lonely voice in arguing this case. May I refer you to the Nature Geoscience paper quoted above. Despite its catechistic opening sentence, it goes on to say:

"It is at present impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity (defined as the equilibrium warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations) from past records, partly because carbon dioxide and short-lived species have increased together over the industrial era. Warming over the past 100 years is consistent with high climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide combined with a large cooling effect from short-lived aerosol pollutants, but it could equally be attributed to a low climate sensitivity coupled with a small effect from aerosols. These two possibilities lead to very different projections for future climate change."

Anyway, you agree that climate sensitivity could conceivably be as low as 1C, which is more than the IPCC does, so I should accept this concession with gratitude and I do. It’s a huge change from what was being said by the science establishment two years ago and is still being said by many, namely that 2C is unavoidable.

Then you describe the PETM (it is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum – the Pliocene came much later), suggesting that I might not know of it. I not only know it but know the more recent data suggesting that carbon emissions can no longer be reliably interpreted as the main cause of warming then. Gerald Dickens of Rice University last year concluded that CO2 did not even double during the PETM and that something other than carbon dioxide caused much of the heating.

I do think it is revealing how much scientists who are alarmed about climate refer to the PETM. Imagine if the sceptics relied heavily on one episode of uncertain causation and effect, little known and not repeated for 55m years! You would say: is that really the best they can do?

You mention the Toarcian event of 183m years ago, which is new to me, but sounds interesting (by the way I do long to get back to a world where one can discuss paleoclimatic episodes as thrilling stories in their own right without having to draw political lessons from them). Yet the very first abstract I read on the subject after googling it talked about species shifting range in response to `a rapid cooling and their gradual return to former habitat areas in the period of warming’. I will need more evidence that carbon was cause rather than effect here: sounds more like a classic volcanic winter story.

Next you say that sea level is a case where the IPCC has been too conservative. But the graph you show has a trend of 3.1mm per year. This equates to 31cm in a century, comfortably within the IPCC’s estimate of 18-59cm in the present century.

Let me make two final points. I have argued that the two main examples you cite – the Arctic sea ice retreat and the PETM – are weak examples on which to build your case. Five or ten years ago I suspect that you would have cited the Vostok ice core record, showing CO2 and temperature in lockstep, and the Hockey Stick graph, showing recent temperature rises to be unprecedented in a thousand years. These two graphs were very, very important in persuading me to rejoin the consensus view in the mid 2000s, after I had moved towards cautious scepticism in the late 1990s.

The fact that both are now discredited as evidence of CO2 attribution has been very, very important in sending me back towards scepticism. When the facts changed, I changed my mind. The Vostok graph now unambiguously shows that CO2 rises follow rather than precede warming. The impact of that discovery is huge. The Hockey Stick graph is largely a statistical artefact caused by the inappropriate use of short-centred principal component analysis and heavily reliant on geographically narrow and methodologically suspect samples of tree rings. If you have not read Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion to understand this, I do beg you to do so.

My last point is this. We always discuss climate change in isolation, as a unique issue. Yet we cannot ignore the history of past environmental alarms, which I catalogue in my book: on population, famine, pesticides and cancer, desertification, sperm counts, acid rain, GM crops, and many other issues, we have been promised catastrophe, often with the backing of peer-reviewed science, and repeatedly these hopes have been dashed. (You may need to remember to switch your sarcasm detector on when reading the last sentence.)

My position is heavily influenced by having been science editor of The Economist during the acid rain scare and having been a full-scale alarmist at the time myself. In 1984 I wrote: `Forests are beginning to die at a catastrophic rate. One year ago, West Germany estimated that 8% of its trees were in trouble. Now 34% are...that forests are in trouble is now indisputable.’ Experts told me all Germany’s conifers would be gone by 1990 and the Federal Ministry of the Interior predicted all forests would be gone by 2002. I was wrong. German forest biomass increased during all these years. Of course, the boy who cries wolf may be right one day. But we are right to grow more sceptical when he keeps being wrong.

Now, if for the past 20 years we had been told that there is a probability of some change in the climate due to CO2, and a very small possibility that it is likely to lead to a drastic lurch, then I could join with you and the consensus. Instead of which I have been repeatedly told that trillions must be spent urgently because there are only a few months to save the world and it is the most urgent problem, more urgent than hunger, malaria and indoor air pollution, likely to lead to the collapse of the entire economy and moreover that the science is settled and to question it is to be equivalent to a criminal.

So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year. Ask yourself if these emails had been within a drug company about a drug trial, whether the establishment would have been so determined to excuse them.

Again, I thank you for the courtesy of a proper reply. This is more than I get from most scientists and journalists on this topic. I do not envy the difficult decisions you and your political colleagues face, but I do beg you to review the latest evidence and increase your doubts about the likelihood of catastrophe; also to increase your concern for the costs and damages caused by renewable energy policies.

More HERE (See the original for graphics etc.)

Climate campaigners' classroom turpitude captured for future studies of depravity at work

'Why did they think ruthlessly killing children was funny? –
because in their heads, they weren’t killing children, …they were killing deniers.'

Jo Nova has done sterling work in documenting and providing insight into what led to the 10:10 video in which the producers fantasise about utterly destroying, at the press of a button, those who show the slightest reluctance to toe the party line on climate. Including young children in a classroom.

The whole thing deserves deep study. The paper by Jo Nova has been published by the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), and can be downloaded as a pdf from here: (1)

Kudos to the SPPI for publishing this. Kudos to Jo Nova for creating it. She gives a summary and background at her own blog (2).

It provides some provocative speculations as to what led to the creation of the video, speculations which deserve to be shared widely and investigated further. Given that the scientific case for alarm about CO2 in the atmosphere is so shoddy, the motivation for such an arrogant, aggressive, and deeply malevolent video must come from elsewhere. Is it the same motivation that drove Maurice Strong to call for the destruction of industrial civilisation? (more background on Strong here: refs (3) below). Is it the same motivation that led James Lee to terrorise the employees of a broadcasting company in the States? (4). Or, at the milder end of this sorry spectrum, was it what led three women to barge their way into the offices of a newspaper whose editorials they happened to disagree with? (5)

Meanwhile, and more in the background, there seems no end to the initiatives aimed at pushing children into conformance to the party line on climate. Here is a recent report of one in the States called ACE (6). Links to many more can be found on the Page on climate sites aimed at schools (7). Many of them do not hesitate to use scary imagery and doomladen notions to win attention and obedience.

This is a veritable moral swamp that needs to be drained. Standing at the edges of it, we can see unpleasantness, scaremongering, arrogance, ignorance, intolerance, brutality, destructiveness, and terrorism. Quite a result to follow from the speculative insertion of a dramatic effect for CO2 into computer models of the climate! Fortunately the real climate has displayed no such role for this beneficial gas. In our world, the dramatic role for CO2 is found in its impact on plant growth.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Why are young people more likely to be Warmist believers?

For the same reasons why they tend Left generally -- but most people drift rightward as they grow up and learn more about reality

The midterm elections brought an unprecedented number of climate skeptics into Congress, with no incoming Republicans acknowledging the existence of man-made climate change. Environmentalists have all but given up on passing significant climate legislation in the near future, but in the long term, it may be difficult for climate skeptics to hold their ranks: Young Americans are significantly more concerned about global warming than older generations, and there are no major organizations of young climate skeptics.

This raises the question: What will come of climate skeptics as young people begin to rise to positions of power?

The Washington Independent put this question to Warren Meyer, who runs the website Meyer, in an email, said younger generations are drawn to “the ‘civilization in peril’ line,” and he suggested that people’s views change over time. “The lack of teenage skeptics today is meaningless for whether there will be skeptics in 20 years,” he said.

Meyer said young people will eventually become more attuned to the economic cost associated with lowering greenhouse gas emissions. “This seems really compelling to the young,” he said. “Until you understand that on the other side of the equation is a 100% chance of really high economic costs.”

There is evidence to suggest that older people care much more about the cost of policies like cap-and-trade than younger people. A June National Journal/Society for Human Resources Management poll shows that while 65 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds favor “protecting the environment” — to 29 percent concerned with “keeping prices low” — those numbers change for older people: 40 percent of people over 65 care about protecting the environment, while 47 percent are concerned with keeping prices low.

Overall though, the issue breaks down along party lines. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that about 79 percent of Democrats and just 38 percent of Republicans believe the earth is warming. Among Republicans who identify with the Tea Party, just 23 percent say there is solid evidence of climate change. The majority of Tea Partiers are over 45, with just 7 percent between the ages of 18 and 29, according to an April New York Times poll.

In an effort to find young people who question the science behind global warming, I allowed Meyer to put a call out on his blog. During the last several weeks, I’ve heard from about half a dozen young people who question climate science.

Andrew Funk, a 27-year-old biologist at the Department of Agriculture, is one of those people. Funk rejects the term climate skeptic in favor of “rational optimist.” In a phone conversation, Funk said he believes climate science is “pretty shaky.” He added, “I think it’s a shaky platform to re-engineer large portions of society.”

In a city flush with young Democrats, Funk said he has found a small group of like-minded individuals. “I end up hanging out with friends that are more independent, a little more libertarian-minded,” he said.

Other skeptics preferred to remain anonymous. For example, one 26-year-old graduate student at the University of Maryland said in an email:

It would be imprudent of me to let my heterodoxy on this issue be publicly known, as, sadly, I feel this has become more of a political matter in academic circles than a scientific one. I would rather my name not be associated with dissent on this matter.

The student’s comments say a great deal about the way young people think about climate change and the potential implications for somebody who questions the broad scientific consensus on the issue.

Anthony Watts, a prominent climate skeptic who runs the popular and controversial site “Watts Up With That,” blamed the “liberal” education system for the lack of young climate skeptics. “I suppose such a group would be unlikely because our children are conditioned by textbooks and a generally liberal education process to believe in the [man-made global warming] premise as factual and without question,” he said.

“In colleges, there are so many activist groups recruiting to ‘save the planet’ that skepticism generally gets drowned in the cacophony,” he added.

Polling shows that climate skepticism has increased significantly in the last couple of years, as the issue has heated up in Congress. A recent Pew Research Center poll shows that between April 2008 and October 2009 — a period that saw the passage of a cap-and-trade bill in the House and the beginning of debate on a similar bill in the Senate — the percentage of Americans who believe there is “solid evidence” that the earth is warming fell drastically, from 71 percent to 57 percent.


Inconvenient nonsense infiltrates Australian classrooms

Al Gore's flawed climate change film is to be included in the new national English curriculum. Amusing that it's not in the science curriculum, though

In 2006, former US vice-president Al Gore made a movie and companion book about global warming called An Inconvenient Truth. Gore undertook many speaking tours to publicise his film, and his PowerPoint slide show has been shown by thousands of his acolytes spreading a relentless message of warming alarmism across the globe.

But while audiences reacted positively and emotionally to the film's message - which was that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming - some independent scientists pointed out that An Inconvenient Truth represented well-made propaganda for the warming cause and presented an unreliable, biased account of climate science.

For nowhere in his film does Gore say that the phenomena he describes falls within the natural range of environmental change on our planet. Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.

In early February 2007, the Department for Education and Skills in Britain, apparently ignorant that the film was scientifically defective, announced that all secondary schools were to be provided with a climate change information pack that contained a copy of Gore's by then notorious film. Many parents were scandalised at this attempt to propagandise their children on such an important environmental issue.

One parent, school governor Stuart Dimmock who had two sons at a state school in southern England, took legal action against the secretary for education in the High Court, and sought the film's withdrawal from schools.

In a famous judgment in October 2007, Justice Burton, discerning that Gore was on a "crusade", commented that "the claimant substantially won this case", and ruled that the science in the film had been used "to make a political statement and to support a political program" and that the film contained nine fundamental errors of fact out of the 35 listed by Dimmock's scientific advisers. Justice Burton required that these errors be summarised in new guidance notes for screenings.

In effect, the High Court judgment typed Gore and his supporters as evangelistic proselytisers for an environmental cause.

Fast forward to this month and many Australian parents have been surprised to learn Gore's film "will be incorporated in the [new] national [English] curriculum ), as part of a bid to teach students on environmental sustainability across all subjects".

It is, I suppose, some relief the film has not been recommended for inclusion in the science syllabus. Instead, Banquo's ghost has risen to haunt English teachers, doubtless in class time that might otherwise have been devoted to learning grammar.

Some Australian English teachers may feel competent to advise pupils on the science content of An Inconvenient Truth, but I wouldn't bank on it. Of course, the same teachers have to feel competent also to shepherd their flock on to the green pastures of sustainability, that other pseudo-scientific concept so beloved by the keepers of our society's virtue.

Australian schools are being transformed from institutions that impart a rigorous education into social reform factories that manufacture right-thinking (which is to say, left-thinking) young clones ready to be admitted into the chattering classes. This process is manifest in other aspects of the new syllabuses.

Two other biases in the public debate about global warming have occurred recently. The first was the launching of the website Power Shift 2009, which describes itself as "Australia's first national youth climate summit. It's the moment where [sic] our fast-growing youth movement for a safe climate future [whatever that might be] comes together".

In reality, this is simply another website aimed at indoctrinating children regarding global warming, and while it's not surprising to see Greenpeace and GetUp are involved, it is disappointing to see the involvement of persons with the mana of Ian Thorpe.

The second recent bias has been the broadcast on ABC Radio National of the George Munster Award Forum from the Sydney University of Technology. Here, a panel of "Australia's top journalists" examined the proposition: "Telling both sides of the story is a basic rule of journalism, but should it apply to reporting climate change?"

Stellar contributions made by the journalists involved included the notions that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, that 97 per cent of all climate scientists agree that dangerous human-caused global warming is happening, and that there is no real debate about climate change. Independent scientists who question these specious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change orthodoxies - for the good reason that they are untrue - were referred to as denialists, fruitcakes, clowns and fools who had "invaded the ABC". Giving them airtime was said to "attack the essence of journalism".

The reporting of email leaks from the University of East Anglia last year was "a terrible and wrong disturbance" in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference, and the astonishing claim was even made that Fairfax and the ABC "have delivered the objective, factual scientific stories on climate change".

This farrago of nonsense was described by one US scientist who listened as "probably the most horrifying and disturbing Big Ideas-Small Minds discussion by journalists I have ever heard". Book-burning parties for Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth or my own Climate: the Counter Consensus can't be far away, and if the persons involved in the forum were Australia's top environmental journalists, then God help us all.

Australia is rightly vigilant about preventing child abuse and guarding the freedom of the press. Why, then, are we so willing to tolerate the abuse of educational indoctrination of our children and the deliberate limitation on the scope of the media discussions they will be exposed to as adults?

Gore's movie and book are an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but are often unable to state publicly) his crusade is mostly based on junk science.

If allowed in Australian schools at all, An Inconvenient Truth belongs not alongside Jane Austen and Tim Winton, nor with Charles Darwin and Richard Feynman, but with the works of authors such as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells in the science-fiction section of the library.



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


11 November, 2010

A response to some credulous comments on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show

An email sent on 10th. by Dr. Martin Hertzberg [] below. Dr. Hertzberg is sure the email will be ignored but at least it is made public by my posting it here

Dear Rachel:

Your reference last night to the investigations that "cleared" those involved in the climategate scandal ignores the fact that those investigations were complete "whitewashes" conducted by those same institutions who profited from the research contracts that the climategate scientists brought to their institutions. Those involved in the Parliamentary inquiry into the matter were similarly steeped in conflicts of interest. Those investigations are about as credible as a BP investigation of its explosion and oil spill in the Gulf.

I have studied the theory that human emission of CO2 is causing "global warming/climate change" for years, and the overwhelming evidence proves rather convincingly that the theory is completely false. Although I am a lifelong liberal Democrat, if the Republicans actually hold hearings on the issue, I would feel that it is my public duty to testify at such hearings and summarize the wealth of data available that proves the falsity of that theory.

But if the Republicans actually hold such hearings, they would be making fools of themselves because they would be "beating a dead horse".

You, on the other hand, are making a bigger fool of yourself, by trying to prop up the dead horse on its four legs so that you can ride it! Please, both of you, do the public a great favor and arrange for its decent burial.

Received via email

The vast imprecision of IPCC "science" renders it absurd

By geologist Marc Hendrickx, commenting from Australia

ABC Unleashed’s favourite psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky once again takes aim at those suggesting it might be prudent to wait for the facts to come in, before turning society on its head. All to combat a climate crisis that has been manufactured up by activists with a poor appreciation of what constitutes a hazard; generally inner city folk. [In Australia, inner city areas tend to be prestigious, due to the lack of crime-prone minorities]

This time round in a piece titled “Climate change: are you willing to take the risk?” Lewandowsky suggests the level of certainty in climate science is similar to other well founded scientific principles like gravity. He contends that if climate science has the same veracity as evolution for example, who wouldn’t be prepared to sell their children and prepare for climate Armageddon? However, if we apply the same level of uncertainty inherent in climate science concepts to other disciplines it seems there is little to justify Lewandowsky’s level of confidence.

If IPCC Climate scientists were Physicists: The IPCC has found that the total net anthropogenic forcing is 1.6 W.m-2 with an error range of 0.6 to 2.4 W.m-2. If the IPCC’s same errors for Radiative Forcing Components were applied to the universal gravitational constant, IPCC climate scientists would tell us that the UGC is 6.67 × 10-11 N·m2/kg2 with a range of 2.5-10 N·m2/kg2. They would then assure us there is 90% certainty that acceleration due to gravity on Earth at sea level is in the range 3.7 to 14.7 m.s-2. IPCC climate scientists would tell us apples may be as light as a feather or as heavy as a brick. They would tell us apples fall down, but they’d be unable to tell us how fast, and occasionally they may actually fall upwards. As a result of their endeavours, Newtonian physics and Relativity would be tossed on its head. Quantum physics, built on the uncertainty principal, would have no place in a world where the science is settled. Speaking about gravity IPCC climate scientists would say things like: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of gravity at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." They would earnestly explain that there was no statistically significant gravity from 1995, and suggest that anyone disagreeing with their assessment must be a gravity denier.

If IPCC Climate Scientists were engineers: If IPCC climate scientists were engineers they wouldn’t use rulers to measure distance, they’d use the wind. IPCC climate models predict a hot-spot over the tropics but thermometers attached to weather balloons show no sign of it, the hotspot is missing. So with no warming in the thermometers IPCC climate modelers looked elsewhere and claimed to have found it in wind shear. Throw away your calculators, they would tell the engineers the answer is blowing in the wind. So how would IPCC climate scientists go at engineering? Early attempts at engineering by IPCC climate scientists are documented in the image to accompany this piece above; the effect of wind shear not accounted for in this case: Would you trust an IPCC climate scientist to build your building?

If IPCC Climate scientists were laser eye surgeons. In a report titled "Draft Water Sharing Plan Greater Metropolitan Region unregulated river water sources.", the NSW Office of Water has forecast rainfall and runoff across NSW using 15 global climate models for the IPCC SRES A1B climate scenario; finding:
For the Greater Metropolitan Region the worst case forecast is a 5-10 per cent reduction in mean annual rainfall by 2030, while the best case is a 5-10 per cent increase in mean annual rainfall. 7 of 15 models predict that mean annual rainfall would decrease by between 2 and 10 per cent, while 8 of 15 models predict that rainfall would increase by between 2 and 10 per cent by 2030.

Half of these models are wrong! What other science happily promotes incorrect models and expects politicians to make decisions based on spurious outputs? And Lewandowsky suggests that IPCC climate science has the same precision as laser surgery!

Applying the same laser like precision of the climate models to eye surgery in 7 out of 15 cases IPCC climate scientists as laser surgeons would blind the left eye, while in 8 out of 15 cases they would blind the right.

If IPCC climate scientists were historians. The palaeo-temperature study that gave the world the Hockey Stick Graph has now been debunked so many times that even the Australian Academy of Sciences concedes the existence of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. Based on the mess they made of the last 1000 years of climate, if IPCC climate scientists were historians they’d find no evidence for the French and Russian Revolutions. Copernicus, Galileo and Einstein would be cast into the dustbin denounced as deniers of prevailing authority. They would ignore Napoleon’s defeat in Russia because the weather could never have been so cold in the 19th century. There’d be no Renaissance, the authorities would not allow it. Aristotelian philosophy would rule supreme over the scientific method. If IPCC climate scientists were historians, history would only record those events officially sanctioned by governments, queen and kings. Only those facts that supported the prevailing view would be recorded for posterity; inconvenient truths have no place in the official accounts. Thankfully IPCC climate scientists are hopeless at history.

If IPCC Climate scientists were climate scientists: With current warming trends at about 0.1 degrees C per decade, well short of the warming required to lend credence to IPCC climate models that forecast rates of 0.3 to 0.7 degrees C per decade it seems climate scientists are not even capable of doing their own job let alone anyone else’s.

And if IPCC climate scientists were fruit pickers: they would obviously pick the cherry. They appear so used to cherry picking data to fit the models there simply is no other fruit, except perhaps the Durian, which is a nice metaphor for the current state of the IPCC.

IPCC science: are you willing to take the risk?


Big G20 talk about Fossil Fuel Subsidy Phase-out comes to nothing

Politicians just can't get past the fact that people NEED those hated fossil fuels

This report, prepared by Oil Change International and Earth Track, is the first independent evaluation of the success of the G20 Pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. The report reveals large gaps in the reporting of subsidies and that no new actions have been taken by G20 nations as a result of their commitment in Pittsburgh to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

In Pittsburgh in September 2009, G20 leaders pledged to “rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.” Reports and country submissions documenting G20 progress were released publicly in August 2010. Oil Change International and Earth Track examined and evaluated these public documents to conduct the study.

“The G20 is neither revealing nor removing fossil fuel subsidies,” said Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International. “Each G20 country has defined ‘inefficient fossil fuel subsidy’ as they like, reported on what they want, and then listed either no subsidies, or things that they had already said they were doing.”

“There is no accountability, no oversight and review, no actual mechanism to hold these leaders to their words. Some of the analysis coming out of the OECD and IEA is quite helpful, but so far, in the process itself, there’s just no action behind the words of the G20,” said Kretzmann.

The report evaluates the quality of the reporting on subsidies by comparing G20 data with other available sets of data on subsidies. It also analyzes the reasons given for excluding subsidies from phase out and provides recommendations for ways forward on subsidy reform with the G20, or another institution such as the World Trade Organization or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Greenwashing America

Alan Caruba

Every time you see some product being sold as “Green”, allegedly safer or beneficial for the environment, you can be sure that it is more expensive than a comparable product that does the same thing without making this claim.

Everything you eat, drink, wear or use begins as a “natural” product. It is absurd to think that calling it “Green” improves it in any fashion. Countless inspections before anything reaches the marketplace ensure product safety. To put it another way, a carrot is a carrot is a carrot.

Recently I received a news release from a public relations firm touting clients selling Green products such as “Parsley Plus All-Purpose Cleaner”, along with “stylish organic bed linens, “natural and organic clothing”, a “99.6% natural line” of shampoos, and, “100% Bamboo towels.”

In a similar fashion, every time you hear a corporation claiming it is concerned about the environment you can be sure that it is trying to protect itself against lawsuits from environmental groups or Environmental Protection Agency action that will eat into its profits and dividends.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “Misleading Claims on ‘Green’ Labeling” cited a study asserting that “more than 95% of consumer products examined committed at least one offense of ‘greenwashing’, a term used to describe unproven environmental claims, according to TerraChoice, a North American environmental-marketing company that issued the report.”

“Environmental-marketing company”? By reading further down in the article, one learns that “TerraChoice was recently acquired by Underwriters Laboratories, an independent product-safety certification organization”, adding that both companies “could benefit if more manufacturers seek third-party verification of the eco-claims.” You think?

Consumers Union, an independent testing company, has built its reputation on its review of various products. Underwriters Laboratories has done the same, but there is no reason to believe any Green product claim, particularly since TerraChoice has announced it is probably a scam. Not surprisingly, third party certification has been offered by some major environmental organizations as yet another way to raise a few bucks.

It is no accident that the term “greenwashing” is akin to “brainwashing”, a term that came out of the Korean War when it was learned that American prisoners of war were subjected to “re-education” by their captors.

Communists have always been big on re-education, a practice of nations such as China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, and others where you were expected change your mind and learn to love Big Brother. The alternative was that you either stayed in their concentration camps or were systematically murdered for the crime of having been an intellectual, a landowner, or a bourgeois capitalist.

Communism murdered more people in the last century than all its wars combined.

Environmental organizations, in league with an unquestioning mainstream media, have been greenwashing and brainwashing the public for decades. It usually takes the form of scare campaigns and, in the case of supermarket products, it is directed a chemicals, plastics, how livestock is raised, or some other totally superfluous “issue” that has nothing to do with the quality, price or safety of the product. The object is always the same, to lay a guilt trip on the consumer, i.e., to greenwash them.

Green product claims go hand-in-hand with the metastasizing Green regulations whose bottom line raises the costs of everything in America these days. Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute is an expert on regulatory affairs. When it comes to the environment, Congress passed 1,163 new laws between 1973 and 2006. Ms. Logomasini found that only 85 of those statutes reduced government regulation, while 795 increased it. The remaining were deemed to lack significant regulatory impact.

Five of the fifty volumes containing the federal regulatory code are devoted exclusively to environmental regulation and an additional twelve also address environmental regulation in some respect. The Small Business Administration concluded that environmental regulation is the leading regulatory expense for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, averaging $3,296 per worker.

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency that generates the new laws and regulations is totally out of control. It has been on a regulatory binge anticipating a Congress controlled by Republicans. Nothing rational explains President Obama’s continued reference to greenhouse gas emissions, Green cars, and, especially, Green jobs when so many Americans are out of work..

The EPA, created by Richard Nixon with an executive order in 1970, has to be downsized to its original mandate, ensuring clean air and clean water. When it began to define rain puddles as navigable waters and ordinary dust as a pollutant, you have to know just how crazed and dangerous it has become.

It will take a generation or two for Americans to shake loose of the insanity that is environmentalism. Long seen as a religion, it seeks total control over every aspect of your life.


Tree Hugger Hypocrisy

Tibor R. Machan

I live in Silverado Canyon, about 7 miles east of Irvine Lake in Orange County, California, and it is a very pleasant place except for the fact that there is a small group of residents who want to dominate the place with their personal life style. They are bent on imposing their private preferences and policies on everyone else without, however, footing the cost of doing so.

Like most canyon communities, Silverado Canyon, an unincorporated part of Orange County located on the edge of the Cleveland National Forest, is populated by a highly diverse group of residents. Rich and poor, professional and amateur, nature lover and hermit, and so forth, there are all kinds of people who live there. And most of them confine their influence to the region they rightfully occupy and for which they paid and keep paying good money. So long as they do not dump any harmful activities or their results on their neighbors, this is just as it should be.

By all rights and common sense, if I want to start managing my neighbors’ lands, I must buy it from them. I do not get to select the TV programs they watch, the garden they wish to cultivate, the stuff they store in their garage, etc., etc. unless I obtain permission from them. That is what property rights mean–you get to decide what you do with or to your property, not others around you unless you gave them permission to butt in.

But the people who are intent on forcing their ideas on everyone else in Silverado Canyon do not have any respect for human rights. One may wonder whether they also believe that women have no rights over their own bodies, or newspapers over the content of their editorials, or authors over the plots of their novels. It makes sense that if they think they are authorized to determine the use of my property in Silverad Canyon, they would also believe they are authorized to determine the use of whatever else is mine, including my body, my novel, my column, etc. I have to assume, then, that they pose a serious hazard to our freedom on all fronts since they believe others’ freedom to make use of their land is open to them to violate just because they feel like it.

Yes, sometimes one’s neighbors engage in undesirable activities on their property but unless this intrudes on others, violates other people’s rights, they must use friendly persuasion to dissuade them, not coercive force. At one time a neighbor of mine across the street from my home in Santa Barbara kept filling up his front yard with a lot of junk auto parts and I finally had enough, so I wrote to him, a friendly but pretty firm letter imploring him to clean up the mess. But I also acknowledged that the front yard belongs to him, not to me, so I need to ask his cooperation and not simply impose my will on him–maybe sneak over in the middle of the night and clear it of the mess on my own. I did not have this authority, not by any reasonable morality and certainly not by any just law. So I asked, implored, urged, and did not demand! And I did actually manage to convince my neighbor and the front yard got cleaned up in no time. And I expressed my sincere appreciation and we remained cordial neighbors for years thereafter.

Alas, the group in Silverado Canyon, members of which refer to themselves as Tree Huggers, does not possess the kind of civility that my Santa Barbara neighbor and I did. Instead of going through the proper process of buying up the land they wish to control or persuading their neighbors to fall in line with their plans, they just make use of all kinds of legal technicalities and pressures that circumvent the rights of their neighbors so as to get their way.

That is the method of an unruly mob, not of citizens of a free society. That is how barbarians behave, not people who have an awareness of the rights of their fellow human beings. And since they refuse to move away from the lands they wish to preserve, keep rural, they are rank hypocrites to boot.


The Green/Left Alliance in the Australian parliament

Senator Chris Back

A year is a long time in politics. Barack Obama has learned this as he counts the Democrats' loss of control in the US House of Representatives during the mid-term election. The Republicans have come in from the wilderness.

In December 2009, many respected Australian political commentators dismissed the Liberal/National Coalition as rabble. Most confidently predicted we could not win government for at least three more terms (nine years).

Nine months later, in the August 2010 federal election, the newly elected Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott ran a conservative campaign which not only improved party support, but finished with more seats and 700,000 more primary votes than its centre-left Labor rival.

In that time, then Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, still in his first term, descended from the height of popularity to be knifed by his deputy and her "gang of four" and was removed from office. It created Australian political history.

On 24th June, then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard led the coup to oust Rudd because in her own words, "the government had lost its way". A strange admission from one who was at the centre of every decision it made.

Rudd's sin? The likelihood of losing the upcoming Australian federal election. Why? Because he abandoned his much trumpeted Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Emissions Trading Scheme or ETS) so soon after the disastrous Copenhagen Climate Change conference in December 2009. As a result, the focus groups caned him. In Australian Labor language, that spells death.

Tuesday 1st December 2009 was significant for both major political parties in Australia. The Liberal (Conservative) Party changed its leader from Malcolm Turnbull, who supported Emissions Trading and a price on carbon, to Tony Abbott who did not. Later that day, with the support of the Greens and Independents, the Coalition voted down Labor's ETS in the Australian Senate.

Rudd went to Copenhagen without his prize and came home empty handed. He had earlier claimed that increased carbon emissions, caused by humans, were the "greatest economic and moral challenges of our time". When his support reversed in the opinion polls, he dropped climate change like a hot coal. He never recovered.

Gillard promptly called the federal election for 21st August and ruled out a tax on carbon. She wasn’t about to repeat Rudd's mistake. "There will be no tax on carbon in any government I lead", was the mantra.

But even a week is a long time in politics. Early in the election battle, Labor's campaign unravelled. Cabinet leaks abounded. To shore up her support, Labor and the far-left wing party the "Greens" signed a preference deal. Gillard and Greens’ leader Senator Bob Brown denied knowledge of its details.

Pigs were flying over Parliament House. It worked. Seventy five percent of Greens preferences went to Labor. Eight Labor MP's are in the Lower House (the House of Representatives) on Greens preferences and each can thank the other for a new Senator when the Senate changes in July 2011.

There was no policy change on carbon taxing revealed in the deal. Instead Gillard announced that she would establish a 150 member citizens’ assembly to engage the community and discuss issues relating to climate change.

That was strange! Most Australians actually thought we had a House of Representatives of 150 members, and 76 Senators, to undertake this task. Politicians get elected by the populace to perform the role. That is what everyone goes to the polls for. Voting is compulsory in Australia. Gillard's citizens' assembly was widely derided. The idea was quietly dropped after the election and a climate change committee, made up of politicians, took its place.

By the way, the principal criterion for selection to this august body is to pledge your allegiance to the religious mantra of climate change caused by increased carbon dioxide, caused by humans! No heretics allowed.

Want to place a bet on the outcome? The 21st August election resulted in a hung parliament. There were no winners and certainly, no party earned a mandate to govern. The horse trading commenced in earnest.

On September 1st, still awaiting the final result of the election, Gillard signed a formal deal with the Greens to boost her chances of forming government.

On 7th September, ending two weeks of speculation and stalemate, two Independents leant their support to Gillard to form a minority government. This cacophony of convenience cobbled together everyone from far left communist/socialists to far right rural independents, including a past military whistleblower.

During the election campaign Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan, her deputy and treasurer consistently denied they would introduce a tax on carbon. Post election, with the Greens now calling the tune, Gillard immediately announced circumstances had changed and a "price on carbon" must now be considered!

Climate change is not the only battleground on which the Greens are now driving the Australian political agenda. Gillard and her Labor mates have already been neutered although the Greens will not hold the balance of power in the Senate until mid 2011.

At the insistence of Greens’ leader Senator Bob Brown, the Australian Parliament has already debated our military commitment in Afghanistan and euthanasia. Furthermore they are dictating Labor's failing policy on the tsunami of asylum seekers heading to Australia's shores. Changing the law for same sex relationships is next on their agenda. How predictable.

The key battleground for Labor and the Greens is now the Murray-Darling basin. This consists of two major rivers impacting on the four eastern mainland states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia). It is the food bowl of Australia but is a wasteland politically for Labor and the Greens.

Management of the system has been fragmented. Disputes between irrigators, environmentalists and governments are endless. Severe drought over the last eight years had reduced the once majestic rivers to trickles. Interstate rivalries overflowed in direct proportion to declining water supplies.

South Australia, at the end of the Murray, was in a desperate way. Ironically, now the drought has been broken and the rivers are returning to health, the political storm about water rights is now unleashed. Climate change, global warming and long-term mismanagement count amongst the accused.

The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) was established to investigate the issues and advise governments on solutions. The obvious environmental preference is to limit irrigation and return more water to meet environmental goals.

The Greens are in this corner. However, it is argued by the many thousands of Riverland residents attending recent protest meetings that the MDBA failed to adequately consider massive social and economic impacts along the river catchments. Where Labor lands on this will be a litmus test of Prime Minister Gillard's mettle. It may well point to how long she holds the job she so desperately coveted.

Whose voice will sound the loudest?



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


10 November, 2010

The Warmists need an absurd theory to account for the temperature standstill of the past 10-15 years

David Whitehouse

It seems probable that 2010 will be in terms of global annual average temperature statistically identical to the annual temperatures of the past decade. Some eminent climatologists, such as Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, suggest the global annual average temperatures haven’t changed for the past 15 years. We are reaching the point where the temperature standstill is becoming the major feature of the recent global warm period that began in 1980. In brief, the global temperature has remained constant for longer than it has increased. Perhaps this should not be surprising as in the seven decades since 1940 the world has gotten warmer in only two of them, and if one considers each decade individually the increase in temperature in each has barely been statistically significant. Only when the warming in the 1980’s is added to that of the first half of the 1990’s does the change exceed the noise in the system.

But what does this 10-15 year temperature standstill mean?

For some it means nothing. Ten to fifteen years is too short a time period to say anything about climate they would argue pointing out that at least thirty years is needed to see significant changes. They also point out that this decade is warmer than the 1990’s and the 1990’s were warmer than the 1980’s and that is a clear demonstration of global warming.

I know few who would argue that we don’t live in the warmest decade for probably a millennium and there are now few who would argue that the period of warming ended about a decade ago leaving us with a plateau of annual temperatures. However, there is information in the decadal structure of the present warming spell that can say something about what is happening.

All would agree that the global climate is changing constantly within certain limits due to the combination of anthropogenic and natural factors. The manmade factors are postulated to be responsible for climate change whereas the natural factors are taken to be agents of climate variability. The additional greenhouse effect caused by mankind’s emissions is a unique climatic forcing factor in that it operates in one direction only, that of increasing the temperature. If that is the case then something has been cooling the planet. We can say something about what is cooling the earth. The key point about the greenhouse effect in this context is that it depends upon one factor – the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

In the past decade the atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from 370 ppm to 390 ppm and using those figure the IPCC once estimated that the world should have warmed by at least 0.2 deg C. The fact that the world has not warmed at all means that all the other climatic factors have had a net effect of producing 0.2 deg C of cooling.

But there is more. The counterbalancing climatic factors have not only compensated for the postulated AGW at the end of the decade they have kept the global annual average temperature constant throughout the past 10-15 years when the AGW effect wants to increase it. The key point that makes this constancy fascinating is that for every value of CO2 there is an equilibrium temperature that is higher the greater the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. In other words, the higher CO2 concentration at the end of the decade exerts a stronger climate forcing than at the beginning of the decade.

Mirror Image

This makes what has happened in the past decade all the more remarkable. Because the greenhouse effect wants to force the temperature up which in the absence of a cooling influence is what would have happened, the fact that the temperature has remained constant indicates that whatever has been cooling the planet has had to increase in strength at precisely the same rate as the CO2 warming in order to keep the temperature a constant straight line.

This means that for 10-15 years the combined effect of all the Earth’s climate variability factors have increased in such a way as to exactly compensate for the rise in temperature that the increased CO2 would have given us. It is not a question of the earth’s decadal climate cycles adding up to produce a constant cooling effect, they must produce an increasing cooling effect that increases in strength at exactly the same rate as the enhanced greenhouse effect so as to keep the earth’s temperature constant.

Can it really be the case that over the past 15 years the sum total of all the earth’s natural climatic variables such as changes in solar irradiance, volcanoes, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Arctic Oscillation, all of which can change from cooling to warming over decadal timescales, have behaved in such as way as to produce a cooling effect that is the mirror image of the warming postulated by the anthropogenic climate forcings from CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, from the changing water vapour, from tropospheric ozone, and from a clearing aerosol burden?

Am I alone in thinking that in the dynamically changing global climate this looks like a contrived, indeed scientifically suspicious, situation?

Is it a coincidence that the human and natural factors balance out this way? I am reminded of a line written by Agatha Christie: “Any coincidence”, said Miss Marple to herself, “is always worth noticing. You can throw it away later if it is only a coincidence.”


Why do alarmists fear global warming hearings?

One of the most troubling developments likely to result from last Tuesday’s elections, according to the dinosaur media, is a desire among newly empowered House Republicans to hold hearings on global warming claims and the misconduct and fraud perpetrated during the Climategate scandal.

It is quite curious that global warming alarmists are in a panic about potentially getting an opportunity to testify in front of Congress. They have been complaining for years that Congress and the American public won’t listen to them, but as soon as they get the opportunity to testify in front of Congress, they cry “Witch Hunt!” This begs the question, what are they so afraid of? There are hundreds of skeptical scientists who would love to have the opportunity to explain their research to Congress, in either the Republican-controlled House or the Democratic Senate. Yet why are the alarmists so afraid of answering questions from anyone other than a fully sympathetic audience? Have they been hanging around Al Gore too long?

The same alarmists who are organizing outraged resistance to congressional hearings are the same alarmists who petition the federal government for billions of dollars each year to produce their controversial findings. People who ask for and accept taxpayer dollars shouldn’t get all bent out of shape about being asked to account for their use of those funds. The national budget deficit is spiraling out of control, while the federal government is handing out billions of dollars each year in research grants to global warming alarmists – many of whom are unabashed activists who have apparently been cooking the books and engaging in scientific misconduct. Why shouldn’t Congress want to make sure that taxpayer money is being well-spent? And why are the alarmists so afraid to explain themselves?


Ethanol to 15% = harm to the environment

The ethanol industry has told us for years that using ethanol is good for the environment because it cuts down on gasoline usage while doing nothing to harm small engines. The truth is quite different from the claims.

Ever wonder why you have so much trouble starting your lawn mower, particularly if it doesn't have a choke? You're not alone.

The recent announcement by the EPA that it is increasing the allowable amount of ethanol in gasoline is bad news for anyone who operates a lawn mower, snow blower, string trimmer, boat motor, jet ski, chain saw, leaf blower, electricity backup generator, or any of the other small, gasoline engines available today.

I shot a 9-minute video yesterday which illustrates the real facts and placed it on YouTube. It features a small engine mechanic doing a show-and-tell presentation on what ethanol mixed into gasoline does to small engines. You'll be dismayed by what he has to show you. Take a look:

As you can see in the video, even 10% ethanol is systematically destroying our small engines. As Ken Francis, the small engine mechanic featured in the short video clearly demonstrates, ethanol ruins hoses, gums up diaphrams in carburetors, eats away at hoses, puts large amounts of water into gas tanks, and forces owners to start up their machines during the winter at least once every three weeks or thereabouts, just to insure that they'll start up without problems the following spring.

All the damage done by ethanol is great for Ken's small engine repair business, but lousy for the rest of us.

Particularly alarming was his report that some gasoline service stations have been caught with gasoline containing levels of ethanol up to 37% of the total product. When you see the evidence of the damage done that Ken shows you, it makes you wonder just when the EPA and Congress are going to wake up to the tremendous amounts of damage they have wrought on unsuspecting Americans everywhere.

Now, with the EPA allowing an increase to 15% ethanol in gasoline, there's no doubt whose side they're on: the Republican-backed corporate farming interests in Iowa and throughout the Midwest wherever corn is grown in huge quantities for turning into ethanol.


"Renewable" energy loses clout

Michael Polsky’s wind farm company was doing so well in 2008 that banks were happy to lend millions for his effort to light up America with clean electricity. But two years later, Mr. Polsky has a product he is hard-pressed to sell.

His company, Invenergy, had a contract to sell power to a utility in Virginia, but state regulators rejected the deal, citing the recession and the lower prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels. “The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high,” the regulators said. Wind power would have increased the monthly bill of a typical residential customer by 0.2 percent.

Even as many politicians, environmentalists and consumers want renewable energy and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, a growing number of projects are being canceled or delayed because governments are unwilling to add even small amounts to consumers’ electricity bills. Deals to buy renewable power have been scuttled or slowed in states including Florida, Idaho and Kentucky as well as Virginia. By the end of the third quarter, year-to-date installations of new wind power dropped 72 percent from 2009 levels, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group.

Electricity generated from wind or sun still generally costs more — and sometimes a lot more — than the power squeezed from coal or natural gas. Prices for fossil fuels have dropped in part because the recession has reduced demand. In the case of natural gas, newer drilling techniques have opened the possibility of vast new supplies for years to come.

The gap in price can pit regulators, who see their job as protecting consumers from unreasonable rates, against renewable energy developers and utility companies, many of which are willing to pay higher prices now to ensure a broader energy portfolio in the future.

In April, for example, the state public utilities commission in Rhode Island rejected a power-purchase deal for an offshore wind project that would have cost 24.4 cents a kilowatt-hour. The utility now pays about 9.5 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity from fossil fuels. The state legislature responded by passing a bill allowing the regulators to consider factors other than price. The commission then approved an agreement to buy electricity from a smaller wind farm, although that decision is being challenged in the courts.

Similarly, in Kentucky this year, the public service commission voted down a contract for a local utility, Kentucky Power, to buy electricity from NextEra Energy Resources in Illinois. According to the commission, Kentucky Power argued that the contract would position the utility “to better meet growing environmental requirements and impending government portfolio mandates for renewable energy” and that it would benefit customers.

But Kentucky’s attorney general, Jack Conway, joined by business and industrial electricity users, opposed the deal, contending that it would have increased a typical residential customer’s rates by about 0.7 percent and was “a discretionary expense” that the utility’s customers could ill afford. Commissioner James W. Gardner, the lone dissenting commissioner, protested that “there is a necessity for this power” and said that “there are great pressures nationally and in Kentucky to increase renewables.”

In Europe, many national governments have guaranteed prices for energy from sun or wind. As a result, renewable advocates say, many countries are on track to meet the European Union’s goal of 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The United States has relied on a combination of state renewable energy mandates and federal tax credits to encourage greater reliance on energy from renewable sources. Legislation that would have set a price on carbon-dioxide emissions and included a standard for increasing the share of clean energy in the nation’s electricity portfolio failed in Congress this year.

“Our investors tell us they’re nervous about all the uncertainty,” said John Cusack, the president of Gifford Park Associates, a sustainability management and investment consulting firm in Eastchester, N.Y. “They don’t know what’s going to happen.”

To be sure, a lot of renewable power development is still going forward. The American Wind Energy Association estimates that wind farms capable of producing 6,300 megawatts of wind power are under construction, and that a busy second half of 2010 would leave installations about 50 percent behind last year. Solar power is becoming less expensive, and its use is expanding rapidly. But it still accounts for less than 1 percent of the nation’s electricity needs, providing enough to serve about 350,000 homes.

Renewable energy supporters argue that higher fossil fuel prices will eventually make renewable energy more competitive — and at times over the last two decades, when the price for natural gas has spiked, wind power in particular has been a relative bargain. Advocates also argue that while the costs might be higher now, as the technology matures and supply chains and manufacturing bases take root, clean sources of power will become more attractive.


Britain's garbage tyranny

Around two-thirds of local authorities now only empty the bins once a fortnight. This is despite the fact that the ­Conservatives came to power promising to restore weekly collections.

Town Halls (many of them Tory-­controlled) have simply ignored ministers and pressed on regardless. LARAC ­actually claims that there have been ‘high levels of satisfaction’ among ­householders in areas where weekly rounds have been withdrawn.

The fact that we pay ever higher taxes for an ever decreasing level of service is seen as a cause for celebration. These people regard themselves not as a public servants, but as environmental warriors.

The tone for this awards ceremony was set by WRAP, the recycling quango responsible for the increasingly ­draconian and bizarre rules governing refuse ­collection. WRAP published an absurd glossy ­magazine depicting its senior ­officials as comic book super­heroes. The chief ­executive was done up as Wonder Woman.

They were billed as ‘The Hot 100 agents of change’. The accompanying text read: ‘Ever wanted to find out who’s got superhuman powers, who can see through walls of legislation, or has the strength to zap excess packaging into oblivion.’ Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s the dustman.

Far from experiencing ‘high ­levels of satisfaction’ most people are furious that the simple business of emptying the dustbins has been turned into a cross between a political crusade and a protection racket, complete with an exciting array of fines and punishments.

For instance, Gateshead was up for a gong for introducing a new range of blue bins, designed to encourage ‘behavioural change’.North London Waste Authority was nominated for publishing a Food Lovers’ Cookbook, containing recipes for left-overs. Slop bucket stew, anyone? We pay them to empty the bins, not to play Delia Smith.

Strongly fancied for next year’s Lonnie Donegan Memorial Award is East Renfrewshire, which has reduced its recycling collection service to just once a month.

Most of the new rules are ­introduced simply to save money and show us who’s boss, as well as making the mundane business of emptying the dustbins more interesting.

Sentimental nonsense about the polar bears is used to justify harsh penalties for anyone putting out their rubbish on the wrong day or accidentally ‘contaminating’ a box earmarked for plastic with a stray envelope.


Leftist Australian PM still hot to trot on a carbon tax

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has vowed to put a price on carbon even if the United States scraps plans to address climate change.

The opposition has called for the federal government to renege on a carbon tax after US President Barack Obama was dealt a serious blow in the US mid-term elections last week.

A Republican majority in the US House of Representatives is likely to curtail the plans of President Obama, a Democrat, for a cap and trade system to curb emissions.

But Ms Gillard said Australia would persist with plans to put a price on carbon even if the US, the world's biggest economy, didn't.

"On climate change, President Obama is obviously defining the strategy for his country, in circumstances where the Congress has been difficult for President Obama to deliver his reform agenda on climate change, and post the mid-term elections, it is going to be increasingly difficult," she told the Nine Network.

"We are great friends and allies of America, but we are not an American State. We are our own country, we will determine our own strategy."

Ms Gillard said she looked forward to meeting President Obama at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Yokohama this week.



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


9 November, 2010

Mann concedes uncertainty about feedbacks

Yet feedbacks are the key factor in Warmism. Without the postulated feedbacks, the 21st century temperature rise would most plausibly be like the 20th century temperature rise -- with a trivial rise of less than one degree Celsius. So this is a critical backdown, for all the bluster he hides behind

If anyone thinks that climate scientist Michael Mann has been cowed by last year's controversy over stolen e-mails, known as Climategate ... or by last week's election, which could lead to congressional hearings that target Mann and his colleagues ... well, think again.

"They can threaten whatever they want," the Penn State professor told me on Sunday, after his talk at the New Horizons in Science meeting at Yale University. "I'm quite confident to fight those sorts of witch-hunt attempts."

Mann is already fighting an investigation by Virginia's attorney general, who has been pressing the University of Virginia to provide copies of Mann's e-mail correspondence from the years when he was a professor there. And at least some House Republicans have signaled that they want to mount their own investigation of climate scientists.

Although Mann didn't exactly say "Bring it on," he did note that "those on the other side of the aisle will see this as an opportunity." He doesn't think scientists will be pushed on the defensive by their congressional critics. "We should look at this as an opportunity for offense," he said.

What's all the fuss about?

Those House Republicans, as well as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, may be anxious to expose the "climate hoax." But the way Mann sees it, there's not much question that greenhouse-gas levels are going up, that global average temperatures are rising, and that industrial activity is playing a role in that rise. "You might not gather that from the nature of the discourse today," he admitted.

During Sunday's talk, he traced the chain of evidence once again, as he and fellow scientists did in research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Mann's modeling of climate data shows what's known as a "hockey stick" of rapidly rising temperatures. That statistical jump has been hotly contested by climate skeptics, but Mann said the sharp rise shows up in at least a dozen other studies. "It's not a hockey stick -- it's a hockey league," he joked.

At the same time, he acknowledged that there have been uncertainties in the data, as well as missteps in the way those data have been presented.

For example, one study that became the focus of the Climategate e-mail debate used tree-ring measurements as a proxy for temperatures up to 1960, but switched to a different data set after that point. Mann said that the tree-ring data stopped reflecting true temperatures 50 years ago for reasons that are not yet fully known -- but he added that it was a mistake not to show the data anyway. "That was bad," he said. (A British inquiry into Climategate criticized the "misleading" portrayal of tree-ring data as one of the few scientific lapses in the scientists' conduct. One of the researchers said in an e-mail that he picked up the tree-ring "trick" from Mann.)

The uncertainties have more to do with exactly how hot things will get if current trends continue, rather than whether or not global temperatures will heat up. Mann said it's not known just how much of a positive feedback effect a warmer, moister atmosphere and the increased cloud cover might have -- which is why projections for the global temperature rise by 2100 vary by several degrees. Also, it remains to be seen how well scientists are modeling the effect of weather patterns such as El Nino and La Nina. If the models are off, "maybe we can't trust what they're predicting" when it comes to climate change on a region-by-region level.

But under any scenario, the models point to "an array of potentially deleterious effects" that will accompany rising global temperatures, ranging from stronger storms to the loss of polar ice sheets.

"The ice sheets are not Republican or Democrat," Mann said. "They don't have a political agenda as they disappear."

During his talk, Mann flashed a picture of his daughter and a polar bear at a zoo. "I can't imagine having to tell my daughter when she's grown up that polar bears became extinct ... because we didn't act soon enough to combat a problem that we knew was real, but we couldn't convince the public because we faced so much opposition from a very well-funded, very well-organized effort to distract the public," Mann said.

What is to be done?

Mann said scientists "can do our best to call out the disinformation where we see it." One example of this was how Mann reacted to a Climategate op-ed written by former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin for The Washington Post. He persuaded the Post to publish his own op-ed, responding to Palin's claims.

Mann praised the American Geophysical Union for setting up a "rapid response task force" to parry efforts aimed at discrediting climate scientists. He said journalists also should exercise their traditional role as a "critical and independent arbiter" of the policy debate, particularly in the midst of "politically motivated inquiries that we haven't seen in this country since the 1950s."

It might sound as if Mann relishes the fight, but he acknowledged that life after Climategate has not been easy for him. His routine now includes dealing with veiled death threats as well as investigations such as the one in Virginia. (The University of Virginia has reportedly run up a legal tab totaling $350,000 to fend off the state attorney general.) Mann is doing less research, and more speaking and writing. (For example, he's one of the scientists behind the RealClimate blog.)


AGU running scared: Backing down on their willingness to debate

The backdown below. Will answer email questions from journalists only

An article appearing in the Los Angeles Times, and then picked up by media outlets far and wide, misrepresents the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and a climate science project the AGU is about to relaunch. The project, called Climate Q&A Service, aims simply to provide accurate scientific answers to questions from journalists about climate science.

“In contrast to what has been reported in the LA Times and elsewhere, there is no campaign by AGU against climate skeptics or congressional conservatives,” says Christine McEntee, Executive Director and CEO of the American Geophysical Union. “AGU will continue to provide accurate scientific information on Earth and space topics to inform the general public and to support sound public policy development.”

AGU is the world's largest, not-for-profit, professional society of Earth and space scientists, with more than 58,000 members in over 135 countries.

“AGU is a scientific society, not an advocacy organization,” says climate scientist and AGU President Michael J. McPhaden. “The organization is committed to promoting scientific discovery and to disseminating to the scientific community, policy makers, the media, and the public, peer-reviewed scientific findings across a broad range of Earth and space sciences.”

AGU initiated a climate science Q&A service for the first time in 2009 to provide accurate scientific information for journalists covering the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. AGU has been working over the past year on how to provide this service once again in association with the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

AGU's Climate Q&A service addresses scientific questions only. It does not involve any commentary on policy. Journalists are able to submit questions via email, and AGU member-volunteers with Ph.D.s in climate science-related fields provide answers via email.

The relaunch of the Climate Q&A service is pending. When AGU is ready to announce the service, we will notify journalists on our distribution list via a media advisory that the service is once again available for their use.

For additional information about the Q&A service please see a 2 March 2010 article [pdf] about the 2009 Q&A service that was published in AGU's weekly newspaper Eos, and a blog post about the service on AGU's science communication blog The Plainspoken Scientist.


Wind, Solar and Drilling: The Face of Energy Policy is About to Change

“As energy takes the stage, Republicans need to remember why they are in the majority,” says Americans for Limited Government’s President Bill Wilson. “It’s not because of their past energy agendas; it is so they can bring the right kind of energy policies to America that will limit government involvement in the sector — something they haven’t always done in the past.”

It is important to note that both Republicans and Democrats have been partial to government-funded subsidies for the energy sector. Though the Democrats prefer to subsidize renewable energies and the Republicans tend to support nuclear energy and natural gas production through similar tax credits and subsidies, it’s all the same, and it’s not good for America’s free market system.

Because Obama lost control of the government’s purse strings — the House — he might be more inclined to try to push making natural gas, oil and coal more expensive and more difficult to produce in America rather than a hefty cap-and-trade bill. The EPA has already had a big hand in this with its expanding regulations on dust; ozone; conductivity of water in Appalachia, which would essentially put a stop to coal mining in the U.S.; industrial boilers; and water-cooling intakes.

Though Republicans would do well to stand against all of this, including putting a stop to the EPA’s egregious actions, they haven’t always in the past.

The 2004 Republican platform largely supported President George W. Bush’s strong backing of using ethanol as fuel. It wasn’t until 2008 that the Republican’s changed their stance, touting that the government should end its ethanol mandate and let the free market work. Let’s hope this current Republican platform sticks for these next two years.

Another key component as to what Republicans will support or oppose in the ways of energy policies can be derived from looking at the encouraged policies of the possible Committee Chairmen for the House Committees on Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce.

The probable Chairman for the House Committee on Natural Resources is Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA). According to his website, Rep. Hastings supports an “All-Of-The-Above” Energy Plan, which consists of:

• Promotes alternative energy sources like wind and solar.

• Expands non-emitting nuclear power- and moves Yucca Mountain forward.

• Protects clean, renewable hydropower dams from those who are trying to tear them out.

• Drills offshore, in Alaska and on federal lands.

Tom Pyle, President of the Institute of Energy Research (IER), in post-election release expressed concern with an “All-Of-The-Above” approach to energy because, “With this new political landscape, President Obama will try to advance his energy agenda in piecemeal fashion. Some Republicans will be tempted to go along with the President to support misguided notions of their ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy. While ‘all-of-the-above’ makes for a good rhetorical device, it is deeply flawed as an actual policy since it seeks to increase federal involvement in all types of energy production.”

In his defense, Rep. Hastings has a strong record of encouraging energy production and exploration in America and even on its protected federal lands.

One contender of the Chairman for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is current ranking member Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). Though Rep. Barton faces the hurdle of term limits set by the GOP, he has asked for a waiver in order to serve as Chairman of the committee.

In his letter asking for support to become Chairman, he wrote, “Over the past four years, as Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, I have led the charge against radical cap-and-trade legislation, fought the new entitlements and mandates that are the rotten core of President Obama’s health care law, and consistently applied free market principles to legislative decisions.”

If Rep. Barton does not make the cut, the next favored Chairman of the committee is Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), states a committee press release. Rep. Upton is the current chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee and also supports the “All-Of-The-Above” American Energy Act (H.R. 2846).

All of these ranking members, presumably soon to become Chairmen of these committees, know the nation’s energy problems and have some good ideas as to how to fix them.

The new House of Representatives is tasked with finding solutions and compromises to America’s energy needs while remaining true to its pledges to the American people. As proved Nov. 2, the American people’s patience is running thin.

The Republicans have the power to do things right and create a sustainable, cost-effective and efficient energy plan for America. If they don’t, their majority in the House might be short-lived.


No foreseeable energy shortage

Not even a hydrocarbon shortage

Venture capitalists who remain committed to so-called alternative energy sources, could lose out over the long-term as a result of key technological breakthroughs that have caught the attention of magazine publisher Steve Forbes. The relatively cheap, reliable energy sources that are most in use today could become more widely available over time thanks to new extraction techniques, he explains.

In his most recent “Fact and Comment” column, Forbes describes how “hydraulic fracturing” and “horizontal drilling” could help position the U.S. as a leading natural gas exporter. Oil production could increase dramatically over time, Forbes informs readers. Savvy investors with an eye toward the future should carefully weigh the opportunity costs of unreliable, intermittent wind and solar power against the development of new technology that accelerates access to oil and natural gas.

“With fracking, drillers inject water, sand and chemicals deep underground to crack gas-bearing rock,” Forbes writes. “The technology, which has been around a long time has advanced dramatically. Literally trillions of dollars’ worth of shale oil and gas can be economically extracted.”

Horizontal drilling also puts the U.S. in a position to extract oil and gas resources that were beyond reach just recently. The developments here could dramatically transform America’s energy portfolio.

“Environmentalists worry that fracking might poison our water, even though the drilling takes place thousands of feet below the water table,” Forbes observes. “Fortunately, the technology is there to get at these reserves in an extremely safe way. The Earth is awash in energy.”


The solar panel gold rush that threatens to ruin Britain's countryside...and make millions for the Germans and Chinese

Farmers are being offered up to £50,000 a year to fill fields with solar panels under a Government-backed green initiative that threatens to change the face of the British countryside.

More than 100 planning applications have been submitted and work on a large-scale installation in Wiltshire is due to begin later this month.

But with a 30-acre farm able to accommodate up to 18,000 of the 2ft-high panels, campaigners fear some rural areas could be submerged by a sea of black silicon slabs.

The ‘Feed-in Tariff’ scheme was launched in April as part of an attempt to meet European Union targets on renewable energy. But the financial incentives are so generous that farmers are being cold-called by developers keen to sign contracts before the ­payment structure is reviewed in 2012.

The influx is led by German and Chinese companies, but there is also interest from speculators who have seen profits slump since similar schemes were scaled down or abandoned in Spain, Italy and Germany to cut costs.

Dustin Benton, senior policy officer at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: ‘There is a real push now by developers to make the most of the short time-window. Solar panels are a useful form of renewable energy but there are many places where they should not go.’

Farmers can deal directly with their power supplier or go into partnership with a renewable energy developer or a private investor who will set up a company to run the business. The company is paid by the power supplier for the electricity it generates and the farmer gets rent for the use of his land.

The average rental price for land in Cornwall, where the weather is judged to be most suitable for renewable energy, is £1,500 an acre, which means a farmer with 35 acres to spare could receive £52,500 a year.

At the other end of the spectrum, the owner of a one-acre field might be in line for £2,000 a year. But industry experts said this smaller area would be less attractive to developers because of the proportionately higher cost of ­installing the panels and cables.

A minimum tax-free return is guaranteed for 25 years. The farmer also receives a payment for any power transmitted from his land to the National Grid.

Energy regulator Ofgem, which runs the scheme on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, says it will promote small-scale, low-carbon power generation. But experts have estimated the cost to consumers, via higher energy bills, at £8.6 billion. They also claim the initiative will bring relatively few environmental benefits compared with those in hotter climates.

Dr Jonathan Scurlock, the chief adviser on renewable energy for the National ­Farmers’ Union, said the scheme could help struggling parts of the agricultural sector. But he admitted opposition was inevitable due to the ‘industrial’ look of the panels. ‘

Lansdowne RE, a property agent in Mayfair, Central London, has been asked to find sites in England suited to solar developments by an Austrian company. Rupert Hoffen, of the Mayfair firm, said: ‘The 25-year tariffs are very appealing to overseas investors.’

Russell Hayman, who runs a farm near Honiton, Devon, was cold-called by a land agent who offered an annual £500 an acre in return for installing hundreds of solar panels in his fields. Mr Hayman, who turned down the proposal, said: ‘If the subsidy was abolished, that would leave me with no income and a load of wires lying across my land.’

South West England is at the centre of what has been called the ‘sun rush’ with up to 70 planning applications submitted to local authorities. Lucy Hunt of the Cornwall Development Company, which promotes investment in the county, said: ‘We are seeing the start of a solar gold rush.’ One of the world’s biggest makers of solar panels is Yingli Green Energy of China, which is now turning its attention from ­continental Europe to Britain.

Another leading manufacturer, SolarWorld of Germany, claims solar power will enable farmers ‘to expand their business’.

Work on Britain’s first full-scale solar farm is due to start this month near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. Anthony Hibbard, who owns the site and is a director of solar-energy company Sunstroom, said: ‘This is a ­relatively small development which will produce enough electricity for 20 homes.’

Conservative MP and former Cabinet Minister Peter Lilley said: ‘It is bizarre, in these cost-cutting times, to have a scheme which will cost 20 times as much as the benefits it will produce in terms of reduced CO2 emissions. Far from ­creating green jobs in Britain, it will create jobs in China.’

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘Our Feed-in Tariff is designed to encourage people to generate their own energy and contribute to the security of our energy supplies. ‘Thanks to these incentives, farmers have an opportunity to embrace renewable energy.’


How many excuses does it take?

Foreword by Joanne Nova to "Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt?" by Dr. David Evans

The Western Climate Establishment has allowed egregious mistakes, major errors, and obvious biases to accumulate — each factor on its own might be hard to pin down, but the pattern is undeniable.

The Western Climate Establishment is cheating:

1. Official thermometers are overwhelmingly in warm localities such as near air conditioner exhaust vents, buildings, concrete, tarmac, or asphalt.

2. Officials hide the Argo data, which shows the world’s oceans are cooling.

3. They ignore hundreds of thousands of weather balloon results that show the climate models overestimate future warming by at least 300%.

4. Climate scientists frequently point to the last 130 years of global warming, but don’t mention the full story: the planet started warming before 1700, over a century before humans started pumping out meaningful amounts of CO2.

5. Leading authors publish a crucial graph with a deceptive colour scheme that imitates the results they wish they’d got. Why did a leading peer-reviewed climate journal publish such a naked and childish attempt at cheating?

6. The Russian, Chinese and Indian climate establishments, which are financially independent of the western climate establishment, are all skeptical. As are many scientists from other branches of science, and many retired climate scientists (who no longer have anything to lose by speaking their minds).

Only a fool would ignore the message in the pattern

Once one or two major news outlets start printing these photos of official thermometers near artificial heating sources, and point out the deception, the rush will be on for our elected representatives to abandon the Global Warming Crusade. No one wants to be seen to be taken in by half-truths and shameless deception. Who wants to look gullible because they didn’t ask the obvious burning questions?

Those who support conclusions based on corrupt behaviour will be seen as negligent for not having considered the serious evidence here.

Dr Evans is a scientist who was on the climate gravy train, and was horrified by what he saw. He first blew the whistle in a polite way in 2008. Too many of the world’s politicians have not yet woken up, so here he collects the worst examples of climate shenanigans and explains them powerfully in terms that any politician can understand.

These photos speak for themselves. The corruption of climate science has become so blatant, so obvious, that even non-scientists can no longer throw their hands in the air and say “I didn’t know”. You don’t need a PhD to know it is cheating to place thermometers near artificial heat sources and call it “global warming”.



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


8 November, 2010

The Week That Was (To November 6, 2010)

Excerpts from Ken Haapala

The US news this week was dominated by the elections during which the Republicans won convincing control of the House of Representatives. By the Constitution, the House controls the purse strings of the US government. To a large part, the election was driven by middle class voters who appear to feel disenfranchised by Washington. Because many of the supporters of the "tea party" are not committed to the Republican Party, the Republican hold may be temporary. Nonetheless, we can expect changes in Washington that may have a significant bearing on the scientific and environmental policies of the Federal government.

The general view is that cap-and-trade and energy taxes have no hope in the new Congress. However, there is concern that in spite of the significant losses of energy control politicians, the current Congress may pass a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). The current Congress will reconvene on November 15 in what is called a "lame duck session" and the new Congress does not assume power until January 3, 2011.

Some members of the science establishment have resorted to denouncing many of the winners as "anti-science" because they do not accept the claim that man's emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming. The accusers often claim that these politicians are misguided by a cabal of deniers funded by the fossil fuel industry.

An example of an extreme article is "Professional climate change deniers' crusade" by Michael Mann, published in New Scientist, who declares any challenge to his work is an attack on science. Mr. Mann still does not admit that his "hockey stick" model fails a basic test for verification - it produces a "hockey stick" from white noise.

Another attack on human caused global warming skeptics is "A New Kind of Crime Against Humanity?" by Donald Brown, an Associate Professor of Climate Ethics at Penn State University. As with similar attacks, Brown is strongly ad hominem and weak on facts. That certain entities in the scientific establishment publish such unsubstantiated attacks does not serve the interest of science or the public.


California, where the environmental groups won, will continue to exemplify the consequences the energy schemes created by the environmental industry, and their political enablers. Voters defeated a proposal not to implement a massive cap-and-trade scheme until the California unemployment rate falls to 5.5%. The current unemployment rate in California is about 12.4%. During past recessions, California unemployment rate usually was well below the U.S. rate. But in this recession it is well above the US rate of 9.6% -- the highest US sustained rate since the Great Depression.

The American founding fathers believed that states would provide excellent laboratories to test what policies succeed and what do not. The environmental industry told the voters of California that the renewable energy industry ("clean energy") will lead the state out of its recession. It would be well for other states and the Federal government to wait to see if the experiment is successful.

In spite of the election, bureaucrats in New Mexico approved aggressive cap-and-trade regulations for New Mexico even though voters elected a new governor opposed to such measures. No doubt, there will be major issues when the new governor assumes office.


On a more positive note, according to a publication on its website, the American Physical Society (APS) is planning to form a new Topical Group on the physics of climate. This is largely in response to a petition, organized by APS Fellow Roger Cohen and a few others, and signed by 200 members. A poll of the membership drew some 800 members in support of such a group. At this time it appears that the organizing chair will be Nobel laureate Jerome Friedman of MIT, one of the signers of the Cohen petition. All are to be congratulated for opening up a forum to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the physics of global warming and climate change. See here


Litigation involving SEPP opposing the EPA Endangerment Finding that carbon dioxide endangers public health and welfare is proceeding with glacial speed. However, there are several other litigation issues of interest.

According to a Washington Post article, a Federal judge has set December 23 as a deadline for the Interior Department to explain why polar bears were listed as "threatened" and not "endangered." Of course, polar bear populations are increasing and there is no scientific reason to list them as either. But by obtaining a listing as "threatened" the environmental industry was able to claim that vast areas off the north coast of Alaska should be off limits to oil and natural gas exploration. As suggested in the article, a listing of "endangered" could be used as another means for the Federal government to control carbon dioxide emissions.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas is the only state that is not establishing regulations for greenhouse gases or allowing EPA to establish them, as EPA asserts it has the power to do under its Endangerment Finding. This may lead to a Texas showdown.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is following up its litigation against NASA for the failure of NASA to release information CEI demanded as early as 2007 under the Freedom Of Information Act. These requests include explanation of changes NASA made to the historic temperature record, work by NASA scientists for private blogs while working at NASA, and some 3500 emails relating to this work. The changing of the historic temperature record may have significant bearing on the EPA Endangerment Finding as well as claim that the NASA-GISS data set is not independent as EPA asserted. Unfortunately, the inappropriate actions of NASA-GISS may reflect on NASA itself.


Roy Spencer has posted the latest University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) Globally Averaged Satellite Based Temperature Anomaly of the Lower Atmosphere for October: +0.42 deg. C - the lowest of 2010. Comparing 2010 with 1998, from January to October, 2010 is slightly below 1998 but not statistically significantly so. Sea surface temperatures continue to fall dramatically.


THE NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 20.1 GWe to 0 GWe. According to the World Nuclear Association (cited in TWTW last week), China added 20.1 GWe of hydroelectric generating capacity in 2008. According to the US Energy Information Administration the US added 0 GWe of hydroelectric generating capacity in 2008. [Please note: that due to heavy spring rains in the southeast, total generation in the US went up in 2008 compared to 2007, but there was no increase in actual capacity. The environmental industry long ago successfully shut down any major increase in US capacity.]

Renewable energy advocates fail to mention the giant steps China is making in the expansion of hydroelectric power, which expansion the US has stopped. Instead, the advocates mention only solar and wind. Yet in 2008, China expanded wind power capacity by only 4.7 GWe - less than one-quarter of its expansion of hydroelectric capacity. [Effective capacities of each type were not identified, but the dispatchable (reliable) capacity of wind is tiny compared to hydro.]

What is a supreme irony in environmental industry policies is that some of the increase in China's hydroelectric capacity is being financed by carbon credits from Europe that are imposed by green policies. According to the NYT's article "A Carbon Trading System ...", the U.N. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows companies in industrialized countries to sponsor a greenhouse gas (GHG) reducing project in developing countries. The sponsoring country picks up carbon credits and the developing country gets the cash. As of 2008, the total cash transferred was close to $7 Billion. No wonder China is closing old inefficient coal burning plants. It is getting cash from Europe for doing so and replacing these with hydro! (All the while opening up new coal fired plants at an amazing rate.)

According to a NYT article, the UN Environment Program's data base shows the executive board of CDM approved 1,668 hydroelectric power projects of which 1,060 are in China.


The French Academy Lays an Egg

S Fred Singer

The august French Academy has spoken. After a cursory examination of the climate issue, a day of selected testimonies, and some internal discussion among admitted non-experts, their Oct. 28 report to the French science minister concluded that global warming is "real and anthropogenic." Too bad; this report will remain as a stain on the Academy's reputation for years to come -- once the true scientific facts gain acceptance.

How could the Academy reach such a conclusion? Simply by ignoring any contrary evidence -- all published in peer-reviewed journals and readily available. So another interesting question is: Why did they ignore contrary evidence? For the answer, we would have to turn to psychologists or sociologists. On the other hand, the French Academy should be praised for organizing a debate on climate, however imperfect. I cannot imagine that the U.S. National Academy would even consider such an idea.

The global climate indeed warmed between 1910 and 1940, but due to natural causes, and at a time when the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases was relatively low. There is little dispute about the reality of this rise in temperature and about the subsequent cooling from 1940 to 1975, which was also seen in proxy records (such as ice cores, tree rings, etc.) independent of thermometers. The Academy, following the U.N.-supported IPCC, then reports a sudden climate jump around 1977-1978, followed by a steady increase in temperature until at least 1997. It is this steady increase that is in doubt; it cannot be seen in the proxy records.

Even more important, weather satellite data, which furnish the best global temperature data for the atmosphere, show essentially no warming between 1979 and 1997. According to well-established textbook theories of the atmosphere, the surface warming must be smaller than the atmospheric trend by roughly a factor of two. But one half of zero is still zero. It suggests that the surface warming reported by the IPCC, based on weather-station data that had been processed by the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University (CRU-EAU) may not exist.

How could this have come about? We will get the answer once we learn how the CRU selected particular weather stations (from some thousands worldwide) to use for their global product and how they then corrected the actual data (to remove urban influences and other effects). So far, none of the several investigations of "Climategate" has delved into these all-important details. Nor have they established the exact nature of the "trick" used by the CRU and fellow conspirators to "hide the decline" (of temperature) -- referred to in the leaked Climategate e-mails.

The disparity between surface trends and atmospheric data as measured by satellites (and independently also by radiosondes in weather balloons) has been known for more than a decade. Yet it has been steadfastly ignored by the IPCC's Summary for Policymakers and also by the French Academy. Evidently, it is not a subject they wish to discuss.

In my book, Hot Talk, Cold Science, published in 1997, I show a graph that clearly delineates the difference between surface and atmospheric trends in the tropical region. In 2000, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences even published a study called "Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change"; this work tried to account for the discrepancy between atmospheric and surface trends (between 1979 and 1997) and concluded that they could not. A federal report of 2006 by the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP-SAP-1.1) shows again the same disparity. Yet an obvious way to solve the puzzle is to conclude that the surface trends are vastly exaggerated and may even be close to zero.

Of course, it is also necessary to deal with sea surface temperatures, since oceans cover 71% of the earth's surface. An analysis of the available data shows again no appreciable warming trend after appropriate corrections have been made. As suggested in studies published in 2005, the reported warming trend of SST may be based on an artifact and is not real. So it becomes clear that the French Academy's conclusion (that global warming is "real and anthropogenic") does not accord with observed facts.

An obvious question is why these facts were not publicized earlier. I can say only that any such claim of "no global warming in the 1980s and 1990s" would have been shouted down and discounted by the scientific community and the public. However, "Climategate" and the subsequent discovery of many errors and shortcomings by the IPCC have changed the situation drastically. It is now OK to express what previously might have been considered heretical.


Not the Last You Will See of "Climate" Oversight

Last night the Competitive Enterprise Institute, through its outside counsel Gibson Dunn, filed its brief arguing against NASA's rather scattershot and contradictory effort to dismiss our lawsuit requesting certain documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)(press release available here).

Our suit, CEI vs. NASA (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), followed on the heels of ClimateGate, and a December 2009 Notice of Intent to Sue if NASA did not turn over certain records withheld since CEI sought them in August 2007 and January 2008 requests. That Notice was eleven months ago and, despite NASA offering some documents and admitting -- temporarily -- that certain others relating to the advocacy site used by NASA scientists, were "agency records", NASA then ceased its brief steps to comply with the transparency statute FOIA.

Despite NASA stonewalling CEI has already learned, for example, that NASA does not, contrary to widespread media and pressure group claims, have an independent temperature data set. Instead, as NASA told USA Today in an email, despite its serial, breathless press releases trumpeting some new temperature high, it actually is just a modeling office, which also (for unknown reasons, possibly extra attention and importance, or mere advocacy) cobbles together some US data from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) with that of the Climatic Research Unit's temperature history. You may recall how CRU withdrew its claim to a temperature history data set after ClimateGate led to an admission it actually lost its data.

Specifically, CEI's FOIA suit seeks documents and emails relating to NASA's temperature record, which NASA was forced to correct in response to criticism from a leading climate watchdog, Steve McIntyre. Those corrections destroyed NASA's stance that U.S. temperatures have been steadily rising in recent years and returned 1934, not 1998, to being the warmest year on record. NASA refuses to give CEI the computer file they used to make these changes, whose title includes "Steve" and "alternate cleaning."

CEI also seeks emails from NASA scientists using Real on official time using official resources, often to advance what NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (its climate activist office) has decided is appropriate public advocacy.

In addition to uncovering the "Steve"/"cleaning" file, a few of the more interesting pieces of evidence expounded upon in CEI's brief include:

* After CEI filed the FOIA seeking RealClimate emails, administrators at Real Climate deleted all timestamps on all of their postings, making it impossible to show they were made during work hours. But we kept color copies of the original posts.

* NASA admits that it discovered 3,500 emails on Dr. Schmidt's NASA computer related to his work on RealClimate but won't produce them.

* NASA did not ask Dr. Schmidt to look for responsive records until 22 months after we sent them the FOIA and threatened to sue. It is highly likely relevant emails were destroyed during this period.

* NASA's delay in responding to CEI's FOIA requests was extraordinary, far outside its normal or even most egregious examples of delay or non-compliance. For instance:

o NASA took more than 900 days to produce documents pursuant to CEI's two 2007 requests. The agency took more than 700 days to produce records in response to CEI's 2008 request. NASA does not explain these delays. FOIA requires that an agency produce responsive records within 20 days. Although agencies rarely meet that deadline, even for "complex" FOIA requests, NASA's average processing time is under 100 days. In 2008, NASA processed complex requests in 82 days, on average. In 2009, it processed such requests in 89 days, on average.

o Prompted by congressional inquiries, the NASA Inspector General investigated the delay associated with these FOIA Requests. The Inspector General determined that the delays were caused by "inadequate direction" as to what documents were requested; "inadequate communication between NASA personnel; and "inadequate staffing" at the Goddard FOIA office. In reality, one of the primary reasons for the delay was that NASA did not inform GISS officials about one of the requests and inexplicably held documents for years instead of producing them on a rolling basis, as requested.

We should argue this within the month. CEI requests the court allow it to proceed to the discovery stage next, examining records and deposing relevant witnesses.


Diminishing Returns From Multi-Decadal Global Climate Model Simulations

I have posted that the NSF is funding grants which as part of (or all) of their focus is to provide multi-decadal global and regional climate model projections; i.e. see The National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Decadal Climate Predictions Without An Ability To Verify Their Skill.

The NSF is also perpetuating an erroneously narrow view of the climate system, as I posted in Comments On An NSF Webcast On "Will Clouds - The Wild Card of Climate Change - Speed Or Slow Warming?" By David A. Randall. These claims and projections are based on global climate models.

Judy Curry, on her weblog Climate Etc has very effectively summarized the diminishing scientific responses from the use of these models in her post Decision making under climate uncertainty: Part I where she wrote
“So it seems like we are gearing up for much more model development in terms of higher resolution and adding additional complexity. Yes, we will learn more about the climate models and possibly something new about how the climate system works. But it is not clear that any of this will provide useful information for decision makers on a time scale of less than 10 years to support decision making on stabilization targets, beyond the information presented in the AR4.”

I agree with this viewpoint. This culture of using models as the tool to communicate to policymakers is an inappropriate and misleading use of the scientific method. I also discussed this misuse of models in my post Comments On Numerical Modeling As The New Climate Science Paradigm where Dick Lindzen is quoted
"In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage."

Hopefully, the NSF (and other agencies) will soon realize that most of this funding is a waste of taxpayers money and could be better spent on other research uses in climate and elsewhere.


Warmists finally agree to debate the issue

But will they be game to debate heavyweight skeptics like Lord Monckton? Not likely but amusing if they try. So far it just sounds like plans for TV appearances in front of friendly interviewers

On Monday, the American Geophysical Union, the country's largest association of climate scientists, plans to announce that 700 climate scientists have agreed to speak out as experts on questions about global warming and the role of man-made air pollution.

John Abraham of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, who last May wrote a widely disseminated response to climate-change skeptics, is also pulling together a "Climate Rapid Response Team," which includes scientists prepared to go before what they consider potentially hostile audiences on conservative talk-radio and television shows.

"This group feels strongly that science and politics can't be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians who attack climate science and its scientists," said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

"We are taking the fight to them because we are . tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has changed."

During the recent campaigns, skepticism about climate change became a rallying cry for many Republican candidates. Of the more than 100 new GOP members of Congress, 50% are climate-change skeptics, according to an analysis of campaign statements by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Prominent Republican congressmen such as Darrell Issa of Vista, Joe L. Barton of Texas and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin have pledged to investigate the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. They say they also intend to probe the so-called Climategate scandal, in which thousands of e-mails of leading climate scientists were hacked and released to the public late last year.

Climate-change skeptics argued that the sniping in some e-mails showed that scientists suppressed research by skeptics and manipulated data. Five independent panels subsequently cleared the researchers involved and validated the science.

"People who ask for and accept taxpayer dollars shouldn't get bent out of shape when asked to account for the money," said James M. Taylor, a senior fellow and a specialist in global warming at the conservative Heartland Institute in Chicago. "The budget is spiraling out of control while government is handing out billions of dollars in grants to climate scientists, many of whom are unabashed activists."

Ongoing public interest in Climategate has prompted the scientists to act.

The American Geological Union plan has attracted a large number of scientists in a short time because they were eager to address what they see as climate misinformation, said Jeffrey Taylor, research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado and manager of the project.

Still, the scope of the group's work is limited, reflecting the ongoing reluctance among many scientists to venture into politics.

The rapid-response team, however, is willing to delve into politics. In the week that Abraham and others have been marshaling the team, 39 scientists agreed to participate, including Richard Feely, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University.

"People who've already dug their heels in, we're not going to change their opinions," Mandia said. "We're trying to reach people who may not have an opinion or opinion based on limited information."


Greenies hate people

Comment from Australia by Dr. Oliver Marc Hartwich

MORE than 40 years ago, American biologist Paul Ehrlich sketched a doomsday scenario for planet Earth in his book The Population Bomb.

Adding more people to the planet would inevitably lead to mass starvation and ecological disaster.

Since the publication of the book, the global population has nearly doubled but most of its gloomy predictions have not come true. However, this has not stopped its author from campaigning against further population growth, this time in Australia.

As he prepared for a series of lectures to the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide, Ehrlich warned that Australia was full.

As always in Ehrlich's predictions, a bigger population equals disaster. No doubt, he is striking a chord with many Australians who believe that there are enough of them. At least this is what an Australian National University poll suggests.

In the ANU survey, half the respondents said that families should consider having three or fewer children, in order to save the planet. A majority of 52 per cent claimed that Australia had enough people, and further population growth would harm the environment and place pressure on water resources.

It is remarkable that people now regularly put "nature" and "the environment" ahead of all other concerns. Historically, this is an oddity because not long ago taming nature and overcoming a hostile environment were humankind's priorities. In this sense, the ANU survey does not reveal an Australian eccentricity but it is very much a sign of our times. The new misanthropists are everywhere.

Across the globe, environmentalists are preaching that nature is always good and humanity always a problem. People are seen as some kind of pollution; a book that imagines "the world without us" has become an international bestseller.

This is a remarkable change in human attitudes towards nature. Life in the bad old days was nasty, brutish and short, to quote Thomas Hobbes. Nature was something to be dealt with, controlled or used. "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it," the Bible taught.

The only positive thing about this long-gone age is that at least people would not have been bored to death. They simply didn't have time to worry about their carbon footprint or overpopulation.

Our perception of nature has taken a U-turn since then. No longer do we aim to subdue the earth, but we happily surrender to the goddess of nature. The wealthier parts of the world are so well protected against the dangers of nature that we have almost forgotten that nature is more than cute polar bears, cuddly koalas, and clumsy penguins.

We can trace the origins of this thought to the Gaia theory of British scientist James Lovelock. He claims that the planet is just like one big organism. "Gaia", as he called it, fights back against humanity because she has simply had enough of us. From such a perspective, epidemics, starvation, and natural disasters may well be the planet's response to the human disease.

It looks like Lovelock's followers are no longer satisfied leaving it to the planet to seek revenge on humanity. Rather, they would take matters in their own hands. Having identified humanity as the cancer on the face of the earth, they are advocating more hands-on approaches to reduce humankind's footprint on the planet. Or maybe even reduce the world's population. This is what the ANU survey confirms.

Let's not be fooled by these new disciples of Gaia, though. What is disguised by nice, touchy-feely slogans about sustainability, nature and the environment is often just misanthropy by another name. It has no respect for people in developed countries and is completely oblivious to the needs of people in poorer places.

Just consider the case of urban density. In order to save land from development, city dwellers are advised to live at much higher densities.

Gone are nice front patios and green backyards, leafy suburbs and playing fields. For the planet's sake, let's live on top of one another in tiny boxes, ideally next to busy train and tram lines, they preach. It's a victory of nature over the quality of life in our cities.

Things get even more cynical when our subservience to the planet dictates what we allow poorer peoples to do. The thought that millions of Indians would want to drive their own little cars drives Western environmentalists crazy. They would never admit it, but deep down they wish these poor Indians would just remain poor; all for the sake of the planet, of course.

Worshipping their new goddess nature, the environmentalists have forgotten something. We human beings may not all be cute and cuddly, but we deserve at least as much love and attention as our distant relatives in the animal kingdom.



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


7 November, 2010

This must be the best laugh of the week for climate skeptics

The results of a survey carried out among readers of the frantically Warmist "Scientific American" are now available.

It must have nearly choked them to publish the results. It's a wonder they didn't "fudge" the results, in fact. Fudging results is standard operating procedure for Warmists. See HERE or HERE for instance

Go Here to see all.

Talk about a propaganda fail! And this was among a readership that would have been highly literate scientifically.

Impotent rage at the dying of the light from the zombies of the Left

They've looked at what the new GOP congressmen think about global warming and see their vision -- CONTROL -- slipping away from them. All they can do is project and call skeptics "zombies". Zombies just march along as their authorities tell them. Only skeptics stop and challenge the direction of travel. So who are the real zombies?

Following the Tea Party wave of the midterm elections, half of the Republican caucus in the U.S. Congress now questions the scientific consensus that greenhouse pollution is a civilizational threat. Analysis by the Wonk Room, with research by Daily Kos's RL Miller, finds that 45 of 97 Republican freshmen and 85 of 166 reelected Republicans are confirmed climate zombies. There are no Republican freshmen, in the House or Senate, who admit the science is real. New members include William Marcy (MS-2) - who warns of "Global Warming Environmental Terrorists" - and Kristi Noem (SD-AL) - who voted for a resolution that "astrological" and "thermological" dynamics "effect" the weather.

The U.S. Senate, as the Wonk Room has previously described, has a monolithic Republican bloc against climate action, with incoming Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repudiating their past support for cap-and-trade legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives now only has four Republicans who publicly admit that global warming pollution is real:

- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18): "Global warming is real and man-made."

- Rep. Judy Biggert (IL-13): "The science behind climate change is sound."

- Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-06): "Congressman Gerlach believes we have a responsibility as legislators and citizens to reduce our imprint on the Earth and reverse the effects of science-based climate change for both current and future generations."

- Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-01): "I believe that global warming is real. The National Academy of Sciences has presented evidence that the Earth's surface is warming because of human activities, including increased worldwide industrial development, over the past several decades."

However, none of these four voted in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act to combat climate pollution and support a clean energy economy. All five Republicans who did support the legislation and ran for re-election won: Reps. Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Dave Reichert (WA-8), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), Chris Smith (NJ-4), and Leonard Lance (NJ-7). None of them have spoken publicly about the science of climate change.

It remains to be seen whether these nine Republican climate realists will do anything to stop the impending witch hunt against climate scientists by their conspiracy-minded caucus.


They Can’t Model Clouds, They Can’t Model Feedback, But They Can Forecast The Temperature In 90 Years Within A Tenth Of A Degree


If Al Gore's Chicago Climate Exchange Suffers Total Failure, Does the MSM Make a Sound?

The CCX was the topic of thousands of MSM articles over the years, but not a single article reported their recent demise. Hmmm.

by Steve Milloy

Global warming-inspired cap and trade has been one of the most stridently debated public policy controversies of the past 15 years. But it is dying a quiet death. In a little reported move, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced on Oct. 21 that it will be ending carbon trading - the only purpose for which it was founded - this year.

Although the trading in carbon emissions credits was voluntary, the CCX was intended to be the hub of the mandatory carbon trading established by a cap-and-trade law, like the Waxman-Markey scheme passed by the House in June 2009.

At its founding in November 2000, it was estimated that the size of CCX's carbon trading market could reach $500 billion. That estimate ballooned over the years to $10 trillion.

Al Capone tried to use Prohibition to muscle in on a piece of all the action in Chicago. The CCX's backers wanted to use a new prohibition on carbon emissions to muscle in on a piece of, quite literally, all the action in the world.

The CCX was the brainchild of Northwestern University business professor Richard Sandor, who used $1.1 million in grants from the Chicago-based left-wing Joyce Foundation to launch the CCX. For his efforts, Time named Sandor as one of its Heroes of the Planet in 2002 and one of its Heroes of the Environment in 2007.

The CCX seemed to have a lock on success. Not only was a young Barack Obama a board member of the Joyce Foundation that funded the fledgling CCX, but over the years it attracted such big name climate investors as Goldman Sachs and Al Gore's Generation Investment Management.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the CCX's highly anticipated looting of taxpayers and consumers - cap-and-trade imploded following its high water mark of the House passage of the Waxman-Markey bill. With ongoing economic recession, Climategate, and the tea party movement, what once seemed like a certainty became anything but.

CCX's panicked original investors bailed out this spring, unloading the dog and its across-the-pond cousin, the European Climate Exchange (ECX), for $600 million to the New York Stock Exchange-traded Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) - an electronic futures and derivatives platform based in Atlanta and London. (Luckier than the CCX, the ECX continues to exist thanks to the mandatory carbon caps of the Kyoto Protocol.)

The ECX may soon follow the CCX into oblivion, however - the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. No new international treaty is anywhere in sight.

While we don't know how well Al Gore and Goldman Sachs fared on their investments in the CCX, we do know that there's no reason to cry for Sandor. He received $98.5 million for his 16.5% stake in CCX when it was sold. Not bad for a failure that somebody else financed.

Incredibly (but not surprisingly), although thousands of news articles have been published about CCX by the lamestream media over the years, a Nexis search conducted a week after CCX's announcement revealed no news articles published about its demise.

Outside of a report in Crain's Chicago Business and a soft-pedaled article in a small trade publication, the media has entirely ignored the demise of the only U.S. effort at carbon trading. Even Glenn Beck, who has dedicated quite a bit of Fox News airtime to exposing the CCX, has yet to mention the news.

Despite ending carbon trading, the CCX isn't vanishing altogether. It intends to transition into the murky world of dealing in carbon offsets. Once again, however, with the tide leaving on carbon regulation and increased concerns about fraudulent carbon offsets, the future of that market is quite uncertain.

With the demise of CCX carbon trading, only the still-pending Waxman-Markey bill is keeping cap and trade alive - technically, at least - in the U.S. According to's Cap-and-Trade Death Clock, however, Waxman-Markey only has about 60 days of life left before it, too, turns into a pumpkin.

Despite this good news, opponents of carbon regulation will need to remain vigilant. While radical greens and the rent-seeking "clean energy" industry are down, they are not out.

Though they will never again dare utter the term "cap and trade," they will reformulate and rebrand carbon regulation in the form of a national "renewable electricity standard" (RES), a "carbon tax," or perhaps something even more innocent and cuddly - like "free cotton candy for everyone (FCCE)."

The global warming mob will be back, with their old agenda and new deceit, in 2011. Given that Republican politicians have a long history of squishiness on environmental issues, the rest of us will need to be prepared to continue the battle against Marxist/socialist and economy-killing energy rationing and taxes.


California's global warming law given 'full speed ahead' on Nov. 2 -- but still faces long road

California is pushing ahead with efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions after voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposition to suspend the state's global warming law. The 61 percent-to-39 percent vote Tuesday against Proposition 23 re-energized the California Air Resources Board and other agencies charged with implementing the state's climate change agenda.

"It's full speed ahead," Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

Requirements to cut pollution apply mainly to companies that use lots of energy - oil refineries, cement manufacturers and utilities, for instance. But consumers could feel the impact of the climate-change law in coming years through higher gasoline costs and utility bills.

California needs to put about 70 different global warming measures into place before 2020. Nearly half of them will be implemented in the next two years.

Three of those programs, which account for about 45 percent of the greenhouse gas reductions envisioned under the law, are monumental undertakings. They include:

A cap-and-trade system that would place a ceiling on the amount of carbon that oil refiners and utilities can emit each year.

The low-carbon fuel standard, which requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon content of gasoline and other transportation fuels.

The Pavley Vehicle Standards, which set new emission standards for cars and light trucks built after 2009.

Signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the climate change law, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 or AB 32, seeks to reduce the amount of carbon emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020.

That represents a decline of about 174 million metric tons of carbon a year - or about 15 percent - from today's levels.

Proposition 23, which was backed financially by out-of-state oil companies, would have suspended AB 32 until the state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters, from the current 12.4 percent.

Jon Costantino, a former ARB official and a senior adviser with the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, said the state faces a tremendous task in setting up the programs now that the ballot-initiative challenge is over.

In the short term, he said, the agency will focus much of its energy on cap-and-trade, the biggest program. The cap-and-trade system, set to begin operating in January 2012, will limit the amount of carbon the state's 500 largest polluters can send into the air. Each company will receive an allowance for the amount it is allowed to emit.

Companies that pollute less then their limit can sell their unused allowances to companies that pollute heavily, creating market incentives for everyone to reduce emissions voluntarily. By gradually lowering the total emissions cap over time, the state hopes to achieve overall reductions in carbon.

Late last month, the air board issued more than 3,000 pages of proposed rules outlining how the cap-and-trade system would work. The board is scheduled to vote on them in December. "It's going to be critical for them to get it right because there's going to be political pressure the whole way," Costantino said.

Proposition 23's supporters say they will continue trying to exert influence on the rule-writing process. They predict the climate change law will kill jobs, increase consumers' energy bills and raise the cost of doing business in the state.

"As the actual regulations under the global warming law begin to take effect, it will become obvious that the costs far outweigh the benefits," Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and co-chairman of the California Jobs Initiative committee, said in a news release. "Families and taxpayers will learn too late that the bill for California's multibillion dollar hidden energy tax will fall squarely on their shoulders."


Australia: Green party gain from Labor party pain

Australia has a Green party that gets a significant share of the vote. They are far-Leftists so are siphoning off votes from the major Leftist party -- The Labor party

Arbib, together with Karl Bitar, is held responsible for urging Rudd to make the fatal mistake of his prime ministership. This was Rudd's decision to abandon the fight for an emissions trading system.

That one decision fractured Rudd's personal approval ratings, savaged Labor's share of the vote, demolished Rudd's credibility, and sent half a million disenchanted voters into the waiting arms of Bob Brown and his Greens party. This decision destroyed Rudd.

Arbib stands accused of urging Rudd to abandon his election promise to take the counsel of pragmatic politics, to walk away from "the great moral and economic challenge of our times" because focus groups showed that it would be too hard to fight an election against Tony Abbott's attack that an emissions trading scheme would be "a great big new tax."

A section of the Left sees him as having handed Labor's idealism, its soul, and its progressive voting base, to the Greens.

Gillard has moved back to the Left to embrace climate change, but Brown doesn't think it will work politically for Labor: "They will try to take some of the steam out of the Greens cooker, but they can't do what we can do because they're too tied to vested interests."

Even after moving to act on climate change, even after announcing a more humane approach to refugees, Gillard's government has not won any credit in the polls. But the Greens' share of the vote has continued to gain. Now the Greens are enthused about their prospects at the Victorian and NSW state elections. They hope to win lower house seats in both states.

If Labor continues to stagnate and the Greens continue to build, Labor ultimately will lose its ability to run as a stand-alone party able to govern in its own right.

"We have shown we're not the Democrats," says Brown. "We have broken into the House of Representatives. We have the highest share of the vote for any minor party since World War II. We aren't there to keep the bastards honest" [the famous slogan of the now-defunct Democrats]. "We're there to replace the bastards."



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


6 November, 2010

A positive feedback loop in climate alarmism, if not in the climate itself

by Judith Curry, a climatologist who is now much more skeptical about Warmism than she once was

I’m at Purdue University, preparing for a panel discussion with Andy Revkin and Roger Pielke Jr. on “Beyond Climategate.” The following three questions have been posed:

* Have scientists become ‘too political’ in their advocacy of particular climate change mitigation and adaptation policies? Do the benefits of engaging in political advocacy outweigh the risks of losing their credibility as scientists?

* What role has the media, including the blogosphere and the Internet, played in this growing contradiction? How has the media shaped the way that climate science is debated, disputed, and created? Is there a ‘better’ way for climate scientists to work with the media?

* Moving forward, is there a better role for climate scientists in political and policy debates, and if so, what would it look like?

Well, in the wake of Climategate, I have been trying to understand the crazy dynamics of climate science and policy and politics, and how things went so terribly wrong. I don’t think this is easily explained by any of the following explanations that are commonly put forth:

* either too little or too much PR and activism/advocacy by climate scientists

* the merchants of doubt and deniers won because of better PR and activism

* the scientists are corrupt and politically (or financially) motivated

The positive feedback loop

I think the dynamics are much more complicated, and can only be understood by considering the ever vexatious feedback loop. There has been a particularly toxic positive feedback loop between climate science and policy and politics, whose direction has arguably been reversed as result of Climategate.

The scientists provided the initial impulse for this feedback loop back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The enviro advocacy groups quickly saw the possibilities and ran with it, with the scientists’ blessing. The enviro advocacy groups saw the climate change issue as an opportunity to enlist scientific support for their preferred energy policy solution. Libertarian think tanks, the traditional foes of the enviro advocacy groups, began countering with doubts about the science. International efforts to deal with the climate change problem were launched in 1992 with the UNFCCC treaty.

Wait a minute, what climate change problem? In 1992, we had just completed the first IPCC assessment report, here was their conclusion: “The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability. . . The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.”

Nevertheless, the policy cart was put before the scientific horse, justified by the precautionary principle. Once the UNFCCC treaty was a done deal, the IPCC and its scientific conclusions were set on a track to become a self fulfilling prophecy. The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets. National and international science programs were funded to support the IPCC objectives. What should have been a political debate about energy policy, environmental quality, and reducing vulnerability to weather and climate disasters, became a debate about the nuances of climate science, with climate scientists as the pawns and whipping boys.

So were the scientists innocent victims and pawns in all this? Were they just hardworking scientists doing their best to address the impossible expectations of the policy makers? Well, many of them were. However, at the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC. These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise.

The advantages of dogma

When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC. Who are these priests of the IPCC? Some are mid to late career middle ranking scientists who have done ok in terms of the academic meritocracy. Others were still graduate students when they were appointed as lead authors for the IPCC. These scientists have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers. This advancement of their careers is done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund science. Eager for the publicity, high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative.

Especially in the renascent subfields such as econology and public health, these publications and the media attention help steer money in the direction of these scientists, which buys them loyalty from their institutions, who appreciate the publicity and the dollars.

Further, the institutions that support science use the publicity to argue for more funding to support climate research and its impacts. And the broader scientific community inadvertently becomes complicit in all this. While the IPCC priests loudly cry out against the heretical skeptical scientists and the dark influences of big oil and right wing ideology that are anti-science, we all join in bemoaning these dark forces that are fighting a war against science, and support the IPCC against its critics. The media also bought into this, by eliminating balance in favor of the IPCC dogma.

So do I think these priests of the IPCC are policy advocates? They are mainly concerned with preserving the importance of the IPCC, which has become central to their professional success, funding, and influence. Supporting the emissions and stabilization policies that they think logically follows from the science is part and parcel of this. Most don’t understand the policy process or the policy specifics; they view the policy as part an parcel of the IPCC dogma that must be protected and preserved at all cost, else their success, funding and influence will be in jeopardy.

Reversing the direction of the feedback

So this positive feedback continued to reinforce itself, entraining more and more of the broader scientific community who deplored the political war on science. Now the interesting thing about a positive feedback is that this doesn’t say anything about the trajectory of the actual chain of events. A year ago, on November 19, this seemingly unstoppable juggernaut received a major impulse in the opposite direction with the unauthorized release of the emails from the University of East Anglia. A year later, there has been some rather spectacular unraveling of the climate change juggernaut, although the high priests of the IPCC don’t quite realize it yet: the positive feedback at work, but in the opposite direction.

I along with much of the rest of the world viewed the IPCC as a group of highly meritorious scientists, working hard and digging deep to assess the science, all the while fighting against the dark forces of politics and big oil. The biggest shock from reading the emails was that the IPCC assessment process had a substantial element of schoolyard bullies, trying to insulate their shoddy science from outside scrutiny and attacks by skeptics, over concern with their press and media attention, discrediting skeptics, etc. Now the argument is rightly made that behavior of scientists is not relevant to the truth of science. However, when the assessment of the science rests largely on expert judgment, the behavior and credibility of the experts becomes a very important issue.

At this point, the whole thing would have been salvageable if scientists and the institutions that support science would have spoken up for the integrity of climate science, demanding greater transparency, etc. Instead, silence. A few statements were made by individuals and professional societies saying that the science remained sound, the emails don’t change the science.

I started speaking up about integrity and transparency, and I was told that this wasn’t helping, and was advised to stay off the blogs. And why was this? Central to protecting the IPCC dogma is the UNFCCC process, and we mustn’t allow this illegal hack to derail the policy activity in Copenhagen. Well, its hard to tell to what extent Climategate contributed to the failure of Copenhagen; it seems that raw politics was much more in play than the politics of science.

Then we saw errors in the IPCC reports, with the nature of the response by the IPCC further damaging their credibility. Investigations of scientists at East Anglia and Penn State were widely regarded to be whitewashes; in the U.K. the investigations themselves are now being investigated. Then we saw the collapse of 7 years of work in the U.S. senate for a carbon cap and trade bill. And allegations of conflicts of interest for the IPCC’s leader, Rachendra Pachauri.

The structure that has provide the basis for the IPCC priesthood to play power politics with their expertise in the arena of energy policy has all but collapsed. If this was just about science, this shouldn’t matter to the scientists. That the power is now in the hands of economists was bemoaned by Kevin Trenberth last week.

The blogosphere

The other hit to IPCC’s influence in power politics has come from the “radical implications of the blogosphere” in changing the dynamics of expertise. The blogosphere has provided a technological base for people such as Steve McIntyre, who is either the villain or hero of Climategate, depending on your perspective.

I’ve had my pulse on the blogosphere since 2005, and have experimented with it as a way of communicating climate science and engaging with skeptics. When I first saw the emails on the internet, I knew immediately that this was going to go viral at least in the blogosphere, and I saw the IPCC as being in major jeopardy because of this. To try to calm things down, I posted two essays in the blogosphere on issues related to the integrity of climate science. I was hoping to keep a dialogue open with the skeptics so this whole thing didn’t explode.

Well, I was pretty much the only voice out there amongst the scientists that were supporters of the IPCC. I became deafened by the silence of my colleagues, and more important from the institutions that support science. Pachauri’s defense of the IPCC, and his apparent conflicts of interest, added fuel to the fire. I began asking whether the IPCC could survive this, and even whether it should survive this. I began trying to provide some constructive suggestions for the community to rebuild trust through greater transparency and greater attention to uncertainties. Not only did I receive virtually no support from my colleagues, but they started to view me as part of the problem.

At some point, I decided that I could no longer in good faith support the IPCC and its assessments. At the moment, it seems that many regard me as the main problem. Many of my colleagues wonder why I am being so “mavericky.” Here are some of the explanations that have been put forward over the last two weeks to explain my apparently inexplicable behavior:

* I been duped by big oil and/or right wing think tanks

* I have opened my mind so wide to skeptics that my brains have fallen out

* I’m in the pay of big oil or right wing think tanks

* I’m being blackmailed

* I have become either physically or mentally disabled

So what am I doing and why? I’m trying to get the public perception of climate science back on track so that our field can regain some respect. That respect will not be regained by better PR; rather it is essential to increase transparency, engage with skeptics, and pay more attention to uncertainty. I’m trying to put the blogosphere to work to reduce the polarization on this topic. My new blog is Climate Etc. at

On the role of scientists in public debates

So in closing, I would like to address the last question, regarding the role of scientists in public and policy debates. Well, first we have to remind ourselves that we are scientists, and that integrity is of particular importance in public and policy debates. Feynman describes scientific integrity in his Cargo Cult Science talk:

“[A]lthough you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. . . The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”

Much of what I have been saying over the past year is about uncertainty, and what I view is an inadequate job of characterizing uncertainty by the IPCC. When I start using the words uncertainty and doubt, people immediately assume that I am a merchant of doubt in the pay of big oil, since doubt is used to diminish the political will to act. Well, get over it, “everything is uncertain except death and taxes,” as the saying goes.

Robust decision making incorporates information about uncertainty into the decision making process. And characterizing uncertainty for policy makers is what we should be doing as scientists. Exploring the uncertainty, help understand the risks, and help assess the impacts and efficacy of various policy options. The role of scientists should not be to develop political will to act by hiding or simplifying the uncertainties.


More on the feedback loop between scientists and politics

by Judith Curry

I can’t predict in advance when a thread will generate a lot of activity; I’m learning that anything with “climategate” in it is likely to have a lot of traffic. Since the first thread has almost 500 comments, I would like to address some of the questions and issues raised, and redirect the discussion.

The previous post was written for the Purdue event, I had 10-15 minutes to make a statement. I put forth an argument (the feedback loop) with premises. To many, the premises I put forth seem self evident. Others are demanding “proof” and “evidence” of my premises. My argument, and the premises that it is based on, are offered up for discussion on this blog.

Are any of you tired of the endless debate over who is hero and who is villain in the scenario unfolded in the CRU emails? Even if we were to get rid of all of the “objectionable” characters on both sides of this, would climate science be fixed? Would we have sensible energy policies? No and no. And we can’t frame/narrate/communicate our way out of this either. The problems and the issues are much bigger: geopolitics, economics, clashes of values. An extremely wicked problem for which science does not provide a solution.

I’m surprised that people thought I was attacking climate scientists in my original post. Climate scientists have been pawns in all this; some have been victims and others have benefitted. If anyone can be labeled as a “villain” in all this, it would arguably be the UNEP/UNFCCC; but in a way that begs the question of how all this started and who started it.

The point of my previous essay is that there was a complex set of mutual reinforcing motives and policies that snowballed without any checks and balances. The “system” was running out of control.

So on this thread, I would like to talk about big picture issues related to the institutions and the larger forces at play in all this. And speculate on how we can fix this situation, or at least get some checks and balances in the system.

Once the UNFCCC treaty was in place, there was pressure on the IPCC to back this up with science. Hence the “discernible” in the SAR. Ben Santer has taken huge heat for that, but look at where the pressure was coming from. The whole UNFCCC treaty wouldn’t make sense unless there was at least “discernible” evidence that this was actually happening.

Once the Kyoto Protocol was in place, the emphasis of WGIII was clearly on mitigation and stabilization targets (the FAR WGIII was on mitigation and adaptation, and the SAR WGIII was on robust policies, the TAR and AR4 are on mitigation). Building political will for the Kyoto Protocol was a high priority for the TAR. The hockey stick icon fit the bill, with Michael Mann plucked from graduate school to serve as a lead author.

With political will not solidifying around the Kyoto Protocol, there was pressure on the AR4. We are now seeing the words “unequivocal” and very likely, although there wasn’t really much evidence beyond that provided in the TAR. In the AR4, political pressure actually acted to moderate the conclusions.

The “discernible” and the hockey stick should never have made it into the summary for policy makers. Do we blame Mann and Santer for this? Heck no (well they were complicit, but not to blame). These were decisions made by people that were higher up and with pressure from policy makers. At the time of publication of the TAR in 2001, Mann was 3 years post Ph.D. Santer is a few years younger than I am, which was pretty young (early 40’s) in the early 1990′s when the SAR was being prepared. Whatever their scientific talents or contributions, they were put into a highly political situation that required a lot of judgment and experience to navigate these things.

In spite of being “burned” as part of the IPCC process, both Mann and Santer remained very loyal to the IPCC and defensive of it, and have been rewarded professionally. I argue that they have also been victimized by the IPCC (they can hardly enjoy the threats, etc.) Some prominent climate scientists left the field because it was too political, notably Starley Thompson.

So, do we spend time beating up or defending scientists like Mann and Santer, or do we try to understand the nature of the system that both victimize and rewarded scientists like Mann and Santer? I for one am trying to get at the issues with the system and to understand how this all went so wrong.


Alarmist spammer unleashes Twitterbot to stifle climate debate

Nigel Leck, an Australian software developer, grew tired of debating climate realists on Twitter so he created a spambot to "wear down" his opponents. The bot, @AI_AGW, scans Twitter every five minutes looking for key phrases commonly used by those who challenge the global warming orthodoxy. It then posts one of hundreds of canned responses hoping to frustrate skeptics. CFACT's Twitter account @CFACT (follow us!) often receives many of these unsolicited messages each day. Since the bot became active on May 26, 2010, it has sent out over 40,000 tweets, or an average of more than 240 updates per day!

Technology Review gushed that Leck's bot "answers Twitter users who aren't even aware of their own ignorance." Leck claims that his little bit of trollware is commonly mistaken as a genuine Twitter user leading the unsuspecting to sometimes debate it for days. Eventually it wears people down.

Leck's bot is an innovative, yet appalling new tactic in the ongoing campaign by global warming proponents to stifle debate and end discussion of climate science and policy. Spamming Twitter users is a tactic that is likely to backfire, as have so many of the ploys alarmists have tried in the past. There is nothing internet users find so annoying as trolls using spam to shut down online discussions.

Over the last year we have witnessed the large-scale collapse of public trust in global warming science and policy. The warmist's Climategate emails, relentless propagandizing, refusals to debate, carbon profiteering and lecturing by celebrities who lead lavish lifestyles while preaching austerity for the rest of us, have offended people's intelligence and sense of fair play. Using a spambot to harass climate realists will do nothing to ingratiate the warming argument with anyone with an open mind.

Should climate realists put up a bot of their own? Should we let the two bots debate each other and leave it to the machines? CFACT knows better. When you interact with our @CFACT account on Twitter, you are talking with a live human being. Science demands an open, honest give and take. So does public policy making in a free republic. Harassment and spam is not the answer. Mr. Leck, tear down this bot!


Why being Green means never having to say you're sorry

One of the stories from the Bible I’ve never quite understood is the parable of the Prodigal Son. So this utterly useless git prematurely grabs his share of his inheritance, goes out into the world, blows it on being stupid, loses everything, then comes back to his father with his tail between his legs and what happens? Why his father, sap that he is, decides to reward him for being wrong and stupid and useless by greeting him, well, like a prodigal son and killing the fatted calf. No wonder the Other Son – the sensible, intelligent one who was right all along – feels so mightily peeved. If people don’t get their just deserts in life, what’s the point even bothering to do the right thing in the first place?

Anyway, watching Channel 4’s "What The Green Movement Got Wrong" last night I felt very much like the Other Son. The documentary was a celebration of the fact that two notable green campaigners – Mark Lynas and Stewart Brand (creator of the Whole Earth Catalog) had finally come round to appreciating that some of the key tenets of their Green religion were flawed and had in fact done more harm than good.

GM crops such as “golden rice” and vitamin-enhanced millet, they cheerily conceded, were not evil “Frankenfoods” after all but a vital way of averting malnutrition in the Third World.

Nuclear power, they agreed, was way more efficient at producing clean energy than the coal alternative. Furthermore, the fuss about Chernobyl had been horribly overdone.

The near global ban on DDT – inspired by Rachel Carson’s junk science bestseller Silent Spring – had caused millions to die of malaria. And so on.

Well bully for Lynas and Brand. But why, pray, do they deserve any credit for reaching conclusions that those of us who aren’t blinkered eco-zealots reached years ago?

What about the hundreds – perhaps thousands – of starving Zambians who died in the 2002 famine when, thanks to the misinformed campaigning of green activists like Lynas, the Zambian government refused to distribute US foreign aid packages of GM food?

What about all the honest, decent scientists and agricultural engineers and nuclear workers whose career path was stymied as a result of green hysteria?

What about the brown-outs and power shortages and energy insecurity this country is going to suffer as a direct result of the Greenie anti-nuclear hysteria which prevented us replacing our old nuclear power stations?

What ABOUT those millions and millions that Rachel Carson inadvertently massacred with her entirely unfounded claims about the effects of DDT on birdlife?

Green campaigners like Brand and Lynas have not only caused massive damage to the global economy – the biotech and nuclear industry, especially – but they have also almost certainly contributed to numerous deaths in the Third World. And we’re – what? – supposed to cosy up to them now and go: “Well done, lads! You’ve seen the light! Here’s a bung and a nice promo video from your mates at Channel 4?”

What sticks in my craw still further is that neither Brand nor Lynas actually HAS seen the light. As the programme went on to demonstrate, both men remain wedded to the equally wrong-headed theory of Man Made Climate Change. The final part of the programme, both could be heard fantasising at the kind of Geo Engineering that might be necessary – a recreation of the dust clouds of the Mt Pinatubo volcanic eruption which caused world temperatures to drop by around 3 degrees C, say – in order to avert “Global Warming.” Come back Dr Strangelove, all is forgiven.

Had these Greenies been capable of a scrap of insight or self-analysis, they would have understood that the current (now fading) hysteria about AGW comes from exactly the same school of junk science and muddled thinking that gave us Atomkraft Nein Danke and know-nothing idiots in masks and white jumpsuits (Lynas among them) destroying fields of GM crops.

But obviously it wouldn’t be in Lynas’s interest because that might jeopardise the rather cushy number he’s landed these last few years from the Maldives Government, advising it on how best to squeeze yet more guilt-money out of the global taxpayer (it was Lynas who dreamed up that photo of the Maldives government holding a cabinet meeting underwater) in the name of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

And the readers over at Komment Macht Frei would seem to agree with me. Definitely worth a trip to see the comments below the Moonbat’s blog on the same subject. The Moonbat, of course, being cross for reasons entirely different to mine.

"Environmentalism is not just about replacing one set of technologies with another. Technological change is important, but it will protect the biosphere only if we also tackle issues such as economic growth, consumerism and corporate power. These are the challenges the green movement asks us to address. These are the issues the film ignores."

And there you have it: the true voice of the Green movement – red in tooth and ideology. It’s not about easy fixes. It’s not about making things better. It’s about advancing the Marxist war on capitalism by other means. Thanks George, for reminding us where you stand.


Australia’s High Quality temperature Data: 12-year-sites used for “long term” trends

What would you say if you knew our high quality temperature record included sites with 100 year long “records” which were based on just 12 years of data and some undisclosed method was used to construct 90% of the graph?

Wow? I mean, Wow?! Why are these sites with such little actual data being included in a series called “high quality”?

Presumably the “adjusted” trends were recreated (in a sense) by homogenizing data from nearby stations, but why not use just the stations with long records in the first place? Out in the vast outback there are long distances between stations, and while a “splice” might overlap for ten years, who knows whether the dramatic PDO oscillations don’t shift weather patterns during their 30 year cycle and mean that any ten year period is not indicative of the longer time frame.

BOM compensate for the Urban Heat Island effect by making adjustments that essentially result in almost no change in the trend. They remove the “urban” stations, but UHI affects even small populations, and Andrew Barnham speculates that the largest changes in the UHI effect may occur in these smaller rural locations that are still included.

Andrew Barnham has done an independent assessment of the BOM trends, using a slightly different methodology to Ken Stewart, but like Ken, this raises grave doubts that our high quality records are done in a rigorous manner. We need both the BOM and CSIRO audited, independently.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


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


5 November, 2010

Obama abandons cap 'n trade

Many diverse groups in the environmentalist groups and industries are ready to take on yet another battle. This battle is over the regulation of greenhouse gases. President Barack Obama has stated that he will look for newer more efficient ways to control global warming pollution other than the road block created by Congress. This road block seemed like a sure victory for those who feel greenhouses don’t effect the globe. But, with Obama backing a new plan there has to be a way by just to give us a new idea of protection.

“Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way,” Obama stated at a news conference Wednesday, soon after Democrats lost control of the House. “I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.” Obama said sounding optimistically pleased with what his team and agenda was going to represent in the near future.

Obama went on to say, “I don’t think … the desire is to somehow be protective of their powers here. One of the things that’s very important for me is not to have us ignore the science, but rather to find ways that we can solve these problems that don’t hurt the economy, that encourage the development of clean energy in this country, that, in fact, may give us opportunities to create entire new industries and create jobs.” At least Obama knows what his team needs to take care of, working on it could be a great next step.

The dropped global warming plan has upset quite a few in a turnout that could eventually raise pollutants in the air. Whenever a new measure is announced, you can trust that it will be watched with a close eye! Maybe EPA authorities will not have to feel attacked in calls like this when it comes to the U.S. Congress’s say.


More USHCN Comedy in D.C.

More crooked "adjustments" to the temperature record from official American climatologists

As if the Lincoln, Virginia USHCN comedy wasn’t enough fun, this story gets even better. The next closest station to Washington D.C. is at Fredericksburg, Virginia, about 50 km to the south.

Like Lincoln, the USHCN Fredericksburg adjusted graph shows steady warming since the 1960s. In fact it shows almost identical warming to Lincoln.

But there is something a little different about the Fredericksburg graph of raw data. Can you spot it below?

Besides the obvious fact that the adjustments completely change the shape of the graph, it turns out that USHCN doesn’t actually have any readings at Fredricksburg after 1994. Raw data shown in blue below, adjusted in red.

So where did they get the post -1994 data for Fredricksburg? You guessed it. They took the adjusted upwards trend from Lincoln, added three degrees to it, and basically plastered it onto the end of the Fredricksburg graph. Fredericksburg in blue below, Lincoln in red.

How cool is that? They were able to take the manufactured Lincoln rise in temperatures, and “fix” the record of a second station using the same data! They took a downwards temperature trend at Lincoln, flipped it upwards, and got a double global warming bonus from one roll of the dice.

And who would have thought that the weather is more than three degrees warmer just 70 km to the south of Lincoln? We are so lucky to have such clever scientists fixing the data for us. Otherwise, we would have just assumed that Washington D.C. was getting cooler – like the thermometers say.


COP10 was much noise and no substance – thank goodness!

My first impressions after the COP10 UN conference on biodiversity held in Nagoya was of a jamboree involving 5,000 people mouthing diffuse platitudes and woolly goals which had little to do with the further development of the human species. The Japanese hosts came up with 2 billion $ in the last few days of the conference to assuage some of the demands being made by developing countries and to be able to mount a PR exercise about the great success it had all been.

I don’t often agree with George Monbiot of The Guardian but this time I think he gets it right. It was a con. There was no substance in the declarations made at the end of the conference. The only point of difference is that I am profoundly thankful that there was no substance to something which has no real objectives whereas Monbiot believes that this was a minor tragedy. He writes:
We’ve been conned. The deal to save the natural world never happened. The so-called summit in Japan won’t stop anyone trashing the planet. Only economic risks seem to make governments act.

‘Countries join forces to save life on Earth”, the front page of the Independent told us. “Historic”, “a landmark”, a “much-needed morale booster”, the other papers chorused. The declaration agreed last week at the summit in Japan to protect the world’s wild species and places was proclaimed by almost everyone a great success. There is one problem: none of the journalists who made these claims has seen it.

I checked with as many of them as I could reach by phone: all they had read was a press release which, though three pages long, is almost content-free. The reporters can’t be blamed for this – it was approved on Friday but the declaration has still not been published. I’ve pursued people on three continents to try to obtain it, without success. Having secured the headlines it wanted, the entire senior staff of the convention on biological diversity has gone to ground, and my calls and emails remain unanswered. The British government, which lavishly praised the declaration, tells me it has no printed copies. I’ve never seen this situation before. Every other international agreement I’ve followed was published as soon as it was approved.

The evidence suggests that we’ve been conned. The draft agreement, published a month ago, contained no binding obligations. Nothing I’ve heard from Japan suggests that this has changed. The draft saw the targets for 2020 that governments were asked to adopt as nothing more than “aspirations for achievement at the global level” and a “flexible framework”, within which countries can do as they wish. No government, if the draft has been approved, is obliged to change its policies.


Greenies losing in Canada

A Greenie wail below

Environmental groups say they may have lost their "best hope" for change within Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government following the departure of Jim Prentice as environment minister.

But after three ministers in the same portfolio, they say they remain skeptical about whether anyone can get Harper to take significant action to protect the environment, rather than the interests of oil and gas companies.

"At the end of the day, they've all been good soldiers in terms of carrying on what is effectively an irresponsible climate-change policy that the prime minster has actually designed," said Graham Saul, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, a coalition of environmental, faith-based and labour groups.

"He was our best hope of getting action from the Conservative party, and even he wasn't able to push the prime minister to do anything of confidence. It's like a revolving door at this stage."

Prentice has been praised by some groups for continuing the work of his predecessor, John Baird, in expanding protected areas with sensitive ecosystems and species. But groups also note that he weakened targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change and that he has failed to deliver regulations to crack down on pollution from industrial facilities.

A leaked memo from the Finance Department last spring provided the only evidence suggesting Prentice was at odds with his government over the oil and gas industry. The memo revealed that Prentice had written to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, urging him to announce a phase out of tax incentives and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry in the 2010 budget as part of a strategy to encourage renewable energy with a smaller environmental footprint. But no changes were made in the end.

However, Prentice has been credited by Pollution Probe, an environmental group based in Ontario, for working with the U.S. administration in delivering new regulations to crack down on tailpipe emissions from new vehicles.

Saul said that on other files, Prentice failed to break ranks with his government on policies that could harm the environment.

"It would be nice to think that he was a well-intentioned red Tory who was frustrated by Prime Minister Harper but, at the end of the day, there's no real evidence to suggest that he pushed very hard," said Saul. "At the end of the day, most of the evidence suggests that he was actively involved in trying to figure out how to promote the short-term interests of oil companies."

Steven Guilbeault, the co-founder of Equiterre, a Quebec-based environmental group, said he was concerned about Harper's decision to appoint Baird, now the government House leader, to the environment portfolio on an interim basis.

It could mean that Baird would be representing Canada at the next international climate change summit, which begins on Nov. 29 in Cancun, Mexico, after generating some controversy at a 2007 global warming summit in Indonesia. "He's one of the most partisan ministers I've ever encountered," said Guilbeault. "It's very difficult to have any kind of constructive conversation with him."

But Harper's office would not say whether Baird would still be the minister leading Canada's delegation at the summit. "I won't speculate on timelines," said Harper's spokesman, Andrew MacDougall. "Rest assured, Canada will be well-represented in Cancun."


Green mirage is killing our future

Comment from Australia by Andrew Bolt

When we will wake up? We’re destroying our future by chasing a green mirage:
South Korea and Taiwan are managing to produce cheaper power than Australia, even though they have to ship the Australian coal that fires their furnaces.

In self-sufficient Australia, households are paying one-third more for electricity than those in Taiwan and South Korea - two of the biggest buyers of Australian coal. Residential power prices in Australia have surged 12.4 per cent in the past year, four times the rate of inflation…

Industrialists yesterday declared that Australia’s surging power prices could rob the manufacturing and mining sectors of their competitive edge…

The Energy Users Association of Australia yesterday claimed power prices were on track to double within five years and triple within a decade as utilities spent billions of dollars on infrastructure, and the federal government forced them to source one-fifth of their supplies from renewable energy by 2020…

Industry analyst Ben Freund, the chief executive of energy price comparison website GoSwitch, ... said Australia had not built any new coal-fired power stations for two decades, despite surging demand from a growing population fond of power-hungry air-conditioning, clothes dryers and flat-screen TVs…

“If demand is increasing, we should just be producing more of it; supply should meet demand as it does for any other commodity and we shouldn’t be seeing these sorts of skyrocketing prices.”

Way to go. We’re pricing ourselves out of the market in part by demanding much more expensive ”green power” - a largely token gesture - and frightening off investment in coal-fired power by threatening an emissions trading system.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Selling out their craft to the global warming cause

Andrew Bolt

Should journalists report the views of global warming sceptics - even just for balance?

A panel of “top” journalists and journalism academics, as chosen by the University of Technology Sydney’s far Left Centre of “Independent Journalism” and broadcast by the ABC, agree that on the whole the answer is ... no, or rarely. (Listen at the link.)

Naturally, in accord with their commitment to debate, not one person on the panel is a sceptic, or challenges this group think.
The ABC’s Sarah Clarke says she prefers to rely on material given the “all clear” by the IPCC, and praises the ABC and Fairfax papers for having been two “responsible” outlets that have been “objective” on global warming.

Monash University’s Philip Chubb says the debate “doesn’t need to go outside the halls of climate change”.

Warmist academic Anne Henderson-Sellers, who says she sets her students the homework of watching the propagandist An Inconvenient Truth and The Age of Stupid to inform themselves, demands to know why journalists didn’t describe Lord Monckton as a “fruitcake” so her hairdresser wouldn’t be so impressed. Chubb calls him a “clown”.

No one panellist, because of this lack of debate, raises one of the more obvious questions. For instance:

- Where on earth is the evidence that media outlets have given an equal hearing to sceptics? For instance, which sceptical scientist here has got equal media time to Tim Flannery? Which sceptical film maker has received the air time of Al Gore? Which media outlets have backed a sceptical propaganda event as they have Earth Hour? Which media outlets have run sceptical specials as they’ve run specials warning of apocalyptic warning? Where is the sceptic on this very panel?

- How would these journalists justify treating as the “truth”, not to be questioned by outsiders, of statements by the IPCC since proved to be false or highly questionable? Are they to be treated as true until the IPCC admits they are not? Are outsiders who point out their error to be ignored unless the IPCC gives the “all clear” to report them?

- How can journalists justify suppressing a debate when even the leading warmist authority, the IPCC, says the chances of its theories of man-made warming being correct are ”at least a 9 out of ten” - which suggests there’s perhaps a 10 per cent chance they are wrong? Does this mean the media cannot even report the IPCC scientists who doubt? And how can mere journalists justify ignoring the views of sceptics as learned and prominent in their field as, say, Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT? Would these journalists have refused to report the views of Galileo? Of that mere assistant patent examiner Einstein?

- Why does the astonishingly certain and peremptory Henderson-Sellers praise An Inconvenient Truth, and use it as a teaching aide, yet demand the media not report the sceptics who have proved that it is in fact riddled with errors and exaggerations? Why must a warmist as untrained and prone to exaggerate as Al Gore be spared scrutiny?

- How broadly should this restriction on reporting sceptics be applied? Should it also include not reporting them when they point out failed predictions? The vested interests , sheer nuttiness, religious fervor, totalitarian tendency or extraordinary hypocrisy of some warmists? The threat to freedom of some “solutions” the warmists proposed? The extraordinary futility and economic cost of Australia taking the lead on emissions trading, or adopting grand schemes for ”green energy”? Examples of mere alarmism? After all, these are subjects which surely may be discussed intelligently even by those “outside the halls of climate change”.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


4 November, 2010

Obama to Face New Foes In Global Warming Fight

Report from the NYT below so the slanted presentation is to be expected

The Obama administration and the new Congress appear headed for early confrontations over the reach of environmental regulation and federal subsidies for fossil fuel development.

The administration is moving determinedly forward on a series of actions to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, to restrict some coal mining practices and to eliminate multibillion-dollar tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.

Those initiatives have already generated bipartisan objections in both houses of Congress, and the numbers in opposition grew with Tuesday’s voting. Many of the newly elected members have expressed skepticism about the existence of global warming and say they strongly oppose government action to combat it.

The presumptive new Republican speaker of the House, John A. Boehner of Ohio, has dismissed the idea that carbon dioxide is affecting the climate and has characterized cap and trade and other proposed solutions to global warming as job-killing energy taxes.

He and other Republican leaders in both houses, along with many Democrats and a number of state attorneys general, support measures to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, as it plans to do starting in January.

They will find fervent and well-financed support from business interests that fear the effect of such regulation on their cost of doing business. John Engler, the former Republican governor of Michigan and now president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said on Wednesday that the new Congress should assert stronger control over E.P.A., which, as he put it, “is getting way outside its authority in trying to regulate that which cannot pass in the legislative process.”

Mr. Obama has clearly narrowed his ambitions on environmental and energy policy, scrapping any hope of enacting comprehensive legislation to deal with climate change and the nation’s dependence on imported oil. He said he was not seeking confrontation with Congress over regulation of greenhouse gases.

“Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way” Mr. Obama said in his press conference Wednesday. “And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem. And I think the E.P.A. wants help from the legislature on this. I don’t think that, you know, the desire is to somehow be protective of their powers here. I think what they want to do is make sure that the issue’s being dealt with.”

Instead of seeking a broad approach to energy and climate change, Mr. Obama said, he would look for smaller policy bites that could attract Republican support. He said he hoped to generate wide support in the new Congress for further development of electric vehicles, for converting some of the nation’s heavy truck fleet to run on natural gas, for incentives for energy efficiency in buildings and appliances, and for more emphasis on renewable energy and nuclear power. He said such programs lead to innovation and can create thousands of jobs.

Tuesday’s voting offered a brutal verdict for many of those members of the House who had voted for the cap-and-trade approach that Mr. Obama has now abandoned. Some three dozen House Democrats who supported the 2009 climate bill were turned out of office.

Supporters of the measure, sponsored by Democratic Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, noted that more than half of the 43 Democrats who voted against the measure also lost their seats, meaning that for most voters the election was not simply a referendum on the climate bill.

Even as voters in many states were issuing a rebuke to lawmakers who supported climate change legislation in Washington, the people of California, as is their custom, were moving in a different direction. They soundly defeated Proposition 23, an oil-industry-sponsored measure to gut the state’s landmark global warming law that will set strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions and create a trading system for pollution permits.

California voters also re-elected the Democrat Barbara Boxer to the Senate and returned a Democrat, Jerry Brown, to the governor’s office — both strong supporters of state and federal action on climate change.


Even National Geographic now acknowledges the Medieval Warm Period

Excerpt below:

As Greenland returns to the warm climate that allowed Vikings to colonize it in the Middle Ages, its isolated and dependent people dream of greener fields and pastures—and also of oil from ice-free waters.

A little north and west of Greenland's stormy southern tip, on a steep hillside above an iceberg-clotted fjord first explored by Erik the Red more than a thousand years ago, sprout some horticultural anomalies: a trim lawn of Kentucky bluegrass, some rhubarb, and a few spruce, poplar, fir, and willow trees. They're in the town of Qaqortoq, 60° 43' north latitude, in Kenneth Høegh's backyard, about 400 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

"We had frost last night," Høegh says as we walk around his yard on a warm July morning, examining his plants while mosquitoes examine us. Qaqortoq's harbor glitters sapphire blue below us in the bright sun. A small iceberg—about the size of a city bus—has drifted within a few feet of the town's dock. Brightly painted clapboard homes, built with wood imported from Europe, freckle the nearly bare granite hills that rise like an amphitheater over the harbor.


2010 Russian Heat Wave Was Only 20% Caused by “Climate Change”, Says Academy Of Sciences

Note there is no mention at all of “man-made” here

In the coming weeks Russian scientists plan to publish the results of their work on their investigation of the cause of the extremely hot 2010 Russian summer. This was reported yesterday in the German edition of Ria Novosti here.

The study was conducted by the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Control (Rosgidromet), headed by Alexander Frolow, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Both organizations analyzed the summer weather anomaly.

Ria Novosti writes: "According to Frolow, the situation was influenced by a group of causes, among them a stubborn high pressure area and an unfavorable combination of ocean temperature anomalies. The situation in the European part of Russia was worsened by dry winds coming from other regions. According to estimates by the scientists, this weather anomaly was caused 20% by global climate change."

Note there is no mention in the Ria Novosti report of “man-made climate change” – only “climate change”. Since climate is always changing naturally, in sync with other cycles like ocean and solar cycles, evidence of a human greenhouse gas fingerprint as the cause would seem to be impossible to discern.


Troubling Global Volcanic Activity on the Rise

By Alan Caruba

The news is all about the Tuesday’s U.S. elections, but some of us are concerned about the news on Monday regarding a possible eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland. Never heard of it? You will.

Grimsvotn is the most active volcano in Iceland. The one that made a lot of news earlier in 2010 was Eyjafjallajokull that, while relatively small, generated such a huge cloud of ash that it disrupted air travel across western and northern Europe for six days in April.

Here’s why volcano watchers around the world are on high alert.

This past week, in Indonesia, after a tsunami killed several hundred people, Mount Merapi rumbled to life forcing thousands to flee back to evacuation centers as 38 lava avalanches occurred with pyroclastic flows down the south and west slopes running outward for seven kilometers. They incinerate everything in their path.

In August, a volcano on Sumatra erupted for the first time in 400 years.

There is a “Ring of Fire” that stretches approximately 25,000 miles in a horseshoe from eastern Asia to the western shores of North and South America. It has 452 volcanoes of which 75% are the world’s most active or dormant.

On August 25, Italy’s Etna volcano and Columbia’s Galeros volcano both erupted.

In the U.S. the last major volcanic eruption was Mount St. Helens in 1980, but it is just one volcano in Washington State that includes Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Adams, and Mount Rainier, all part of a Cascade Range that reaches down into California. Mount Rainer is a massive stratovolcano located just 54 miles southeast of Seattle.

In June 1991, Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines sending millions of tons of ash and dust into the Earth’s atmosphere. It caused the global temperature to drop at least a degree or two for a few years.

Why talk about volcanoes in the aftermath of a historic election? Because there has been a significant increase in volcanic activity of late. That is never a good thing.

In his book, “Not by Fire but by Ice” the foremost authority on ice ages and magnetic reversals, Robert W. Felix, quoted Peter Vogt of the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office who warned that, “Almost all tectonic movement can be linked to magnetic reversals. Seafloor spreading, sea level changes, mountain growth, earthquakes, and volcanism all seem to speed up whenever the frequency of reversals speeds up.”

Magnetic reversals are part of the cycles scientists have determined existed over the 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s existence. They range from the most ancient, the Devonian, to the Holocene, from 10,000 years ago to the present. “At least twelve (magnetic) reversals can be linked to extinctions and climatic deterioration during the last three million years alone,” says Felix.

Significantly, the aftermath of magnetic reversals are linked to the emergence of new species in ways that Charles Darwin never knew or dreamed of. What we call “evolution” is far more likely the result of magnetic reversals. “Mass extinctions have been the rule, rather than the exception, for the 3.5 billion years that life has existed on this planet,” says Felix.

One of those species is Homo sapiens, human beings, and we have existed for a mere 200,000 years. Civilization as we know it is about 5,000 years old; a blink of the eye in terms of the age of the Earth.

Thus, all this volcanic activity occurring around the world may be signaling the advent of a new magnetic reversal and, as bad as volcanoes are, a magnetic reversal is the very definition of a cataclysm on such an order that it defies the imagination. Think of the sudden end of dinosaurs.

I tell you this because of all the blather of biodiversity, predicted species extinctions, and similar nonsense that is now following in the wake of the corpse formerly known as “global warming.” It is the new deception.

The real action is that of the Earth and the Sun. Though a predictable solar cycle, the Sun has gone “quiet” of late with few sunspots, the popular name for gigantic magnetic storms seen on the surface of the Sun. They almost always precede cooling cycles of shorter or longer duration and the worst of these are ice ages.

We are at the end of the latest interglacial period of 11,500 years and the next ice age will come on with blinding speed.

When you tie volcanic activity, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural events together, it behooves the human race to be far more humble about our so-called affect on the Earth’s environment. Our home is a small planet in a very large universe.


Prominent Australian Greenie false prophet

Tim Flannery does it again

I’m astonished that people still take this shameless alarmist seriously despite all his dud predictions. The latest example. Tim Flannery in The Sydney Morning Herald, February 12, 2009:
THE day after the great fire burnt through central Victoria, I drove from Sydney to Melbourne. Smoke obscured the horizon, entering my air-conditioned car and carrying with it that distinctive scent so strongly signifying death or, to Aboriginal people, cleansing. It was as if a great cremation had taken place.

I didn’t know then how many people had died in their cars and homes, or while fleeing, but by the time I reached the scorched ground just north of Melbourne, the dreadful news was trickling in. And the trauma will be with us forever.

I was born in Victoria, and over five decades I’ve watched as the state has changed. The long, wet and cold winters that seemed insufferable to me as a boy vanished decades ago, and for the past 12 years a new, drier climate has established itself.

Bureau of Meteorology Monthly Weather Review, Victoria, August this year:
OVER half the state recorded rainfall in the highest 10 per cent of previous totals, with some locations in the western district, specifically Weeaproinah, Cape Otway Lighthouse and Apollo Bay, all highest on record. In fact, Weeaproinah experienced not only their wettest August on record, but also their wettest month on record, with a 628mm soaking.

BOM, Melbourne Metropolitan Area, last month: WETTEST since 1975.


How Australia's main public broadcaster shields the Greens

They are a Green/Left outfit that wouldn't know what a free and fair debate even looked like

The Australian Conservative describes how ABC host Jon Faine shut down an attempt to question a Greens supporter:
Melbourne ABC radio presenter Jon Faine threatened to switch off his guest panellists’ microphones this morning when one of them—IPA executive director John Roskam—tried to press questions on the policies of the Australian Greens.

Faine’s threat came after Roskam tried to question “Rob of Monbulk”, a Greens’ supporter, during the program’s talkback segment.

The caller phoned in to criticise Roskam over the IPA boss’s opposition to trialling drug injection rooms. But when Roskam attempted to ask the caller about the Greens’ policies on euthanasia and carbon taxes, Faine would not let him do so, declaring that he wanted to “move on”.

Roskam said this was an example of why the Greens are enjoying growing electoral support – “no one has ever held them to account"…

When Roskam attempted to question the caller about electricity prices, his co-panellist, former editor of The Monthly, Sally Warhaft, urged the Greens’ supporter not to answer.

Jon Faine said, “And we’re moving on, we’re moving on, we’re moving on, we’re moving on, and we’re moving on. I can turn your microphones off, but it would be a drastic step to do so.”

This report doesn’t even describe just how desperately loaded this “conversation” was. Listen at the link. The Greens-leaning Warhaft was allowed to speak long and uninterrupted by Faine, himself Greens-sympathetic. The Greens caller was allowed to speak at length, even when he falsely accused Roskam of being a liar. But whenever the outnumbered Roskam attempted to speak as the lone voice of the non-Greens majority…

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


3 November, 2010

New House majority should investigate a Warmist security blanket

Can you investigate a blanket? Why not! Warmists have for many years now been using their version of a comment from a coal industry body to prop up their belief that opposition to their cause comes mainly from what they invariably call "well-funded" sources -- with the funding coming from "Big coal", "Big oil" and various other boogeymen. They need to believe that so that they can avoid looking at the EVIDENCE against their beliefs

Russell Cook

Has the so-called global warming crisis been propped up in the media and on the internet as the result of a single phrase?

Astute Breitbart readers will know the IPCC theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is crumbling apart at an exponential rate, as can be seen in a daily roundup of the news at web sites like, WattsUpWithThat, SPPIblog, and PlanetGore. That’s the skeptic scientists at work, exposing the faults of the IPCC and all the people surrounding it, but has news of this been seen anywhere in the mainstream media?

No. Why not? A single phrase made famous by an enviro-advocacy group and its anti-skeptic book author “star” may have been the primary reason the MSM felt a compulsion to exclude any news of, debates of, and discussions with skeptic scientists. What was this phrase? “Reposition global warming as theory rather than fact.”

Not exactly a smooth sounding sentence. If the average disinterested citizen was presented with compelling evidence that human activity is not causing global warming, and compared it to Al Gore declaring the debate over, he or she would probably say something more like, “We should show how the global warming debate isn’t settled yet.”

Back in late 1990, that is essentially exactly what happened, except that the specific people who wanted to counter-argue Al Gore’s surging rhetoric were members of a coal producers’ association. They formed the Information Council on the Environment (ICE) sometime around January 1991, and one of the documents used by its public relations personnel did NOT contain the more mundane sentence I have above.

Instead, its #1 sentence on a strategies page was this verbatim version: “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” It’s #2 sentence was, “Target print and radio media for maximum effectiveness.” The #9 one was, “Use a spokesman from the scientific community.”

Most anyone would interpret this paper to be what it is, pointers for PR workers to follow. A scan of the paper can be seen when you click on the page 10 thumbnail at Greenpeace archives here.

For a phrase that is cited in those two variations in a viral manner across the internet, you’d think there would be a few dozen other places where it could be seen, but here’s a small homework assignment for anyone willing to undertake it: try finding any internet site that shows either its complete transcript or a link to that Greenpeace scan. I’ll bet you can’t, with two exceptions, the Greenpeace archive scan page itself, and my own July 6 American Thinker article, “Smearing Global Warming Skeptics,” where I went into great detail about the origins of the phrase and the enviro-advocacy group that ended up making it famous. There are so many other red flags attached to the phrase and its promoters that I ended up writing three other articles about them, along with a blog piece prior to those that basically started me on this path of investigation, “The Lack of Climate Skeptics on PBS’s ‘NewsHour.’”

The enviro-advocacy group is Ozone Action, founded in ‘92 or ‘93 (depending on which of its personnel got the date right) to fight ozone depletion. Its “star” is former Boston Globe reporter Ross Gelbspan, who repeated the “reposition” phrase in a December 1995 NPR radio interview that coincidentally is the same month that Ozone Action said it started “working on climate change” – have a look again at the “‘93″ link in my previous sentence. In April 1996, an Ozone Action report proclaimed the “reposition” phrase was in a set of memos “obtained by Ozone Action and by Ross Gelbspan.” He went on to publish two global warming themed books with noticeable anti-skeptic scientist tones, and watch Al Gore show the “reposition” phrase in An Inconvenient Truth full screen for six seconds at the 1 hour 12 minute 55 second point of the movie.

Gore hasn’t let go of that phrase, either. As recently as May 8, 2010 in The New Republic (full text here), he said, “The largest carbon polluters have, for the last 17 years, sought to manipulate public opinion with a massive and continuing propaganda campaign, using TV advertisements and all other forms of mass persuasion. It is a game plan spelled out in one of their internal documents, which was leaked to an enterprising reporter, that stated: ‘reposition global warming as theory rather than fact’.” As I showed in my July 6 American Thinker article, the documents were not leaked to Gelbspan, and perhaps more of an inconvenient truth, Gelbspan is not actually a Pulitzer winner.

When it comes to the November mid-term elections and the near-certainty of a GOP House takeover – there is one instance where a repetition of the “reposition” phrase could prompt congressional inquiry under GOP committee leadership. On May 28, 2007, Sheldon Rampton of PRWatch said at the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight (starting around the 42:30 point of the video):

“One of the first campaigns of this type began in the early 1990s funded by groups like the National Coal Association, the Western Fuels Association, and it was called the Information Council for the Environment, and its goal was to, in their words, reposition global warming as a theory, not fact… And the effect is to amplify the views of a relatively small number of scientists and make it seem like that is, like there is a huge scientific debate going on when, in fact, there is not.” Where did Rampton source what sounds like Gelbspan’s talking points? In a 1998 piece about the subject, Rampton cited Gelbspan, of course, along with two others who in turn cited Gelbspan and Ozone Action.

Notice the ironic title of the hearing, “Shaping the Message, Distorting the Science: Media Strategies to Influence Public Policy.” Republican James Sensenbrenner is currently serving on that main committee, and more important, is the ranking member on one of Nancy Pelosi’s creations, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. On Sept 28, Politico reported that Sensenbrenner “wants to keep the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming alive so it can investigate climate science and police President Barack Obama’s green policies.”

As Breitbart readers might guess, I’ve already used the contact form at the CEI & GW web page to suggest a specific investigation.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Hollywood Leftists, Green Groups Outspend Supporters of California Proposition to Suspend Regulations

Despite being heavily outspent, the proponents of Proposition 23 in California are within range of an election victory that could help unravel energy rationing schemes that originated in their state. Outgoing Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed off the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) in September, 2006.

The law, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2012, would set emissions restrictions and renewable mandates that would raise energy prices and increase jobless rates, new studies show.

Proposition 23 calls for the law to be suspended until after unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters. This stipulation would effectively kill the legislation. Although media reports tend to focus on the support Proposition 23 has received from business interests, the opposing side actually has a huge financial advantage that has gone unreported., a non-partisan group that tracks campaign funding has produced some telling statistics that deserve greater publicity and attention. Liberal activist Thomas Steyer has spent $5 million to defeat Prop 23, while the National Wildlife Foundation has spent $3 million, and the Sierra Club has spent another $1.2 million. Just those three sources, have spent more money than all of the Prop 23 supporters combined.

“Green activists and allied rent seekers like to portray themselves as the underdogs against big business in their environmental causes,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow for environmental policy has observed. “The battle over Proposition 23 — the California ballot measure to suspend the state’s global warming law until unemployment is under control — is certainly no exception. But they have David and Goliath backwards here; those spending to defeat the measure and keep California cap and tax in place have outgunned supporters of reform by at least 3 to 1.”

Only a small percentage of the amount spent against Prop 23 comes from average in-state residents, Lieberman points out.

“In fact, most of the money has come in the form of six and seven figure contributions from big environmental groups, Hollywood bigshots, and, most disturbingly, opportunists like venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, who hope to secure a guaranteed market selling alternative energy and vehicles far too expensive to compete otherwise,” he has written.

Most recently, Gov. Schwarzenegger teamed up with his former Hollywood Director James Cameron to defeat the proposition. Cameron has pumped $1 million into the “No on 23″ efforts.

Recent polls show voter sentiments are evenly split. If the proposition does pass, it could doom “cap and trade” laws that were passed in other states in response to AB-32.


New climate change game reveals the misanthropy that motivates the Green/Left

An educational computer game in which users have to save the world from climate change offers an interesting solution – decide the problem is overpopulation and design a virus to kill millions.

Fate of the World goes on sale on Tuesday and has been praised by gaming experts and climate campaigners as a way of reaching new audiences in the fight against carbon emissions.

However, climate change sceptics may be surprised and angered by some of the strategies on offer in the game which is being released on PCs and Apple Macs.

As the head of a fictional international body the user must save the world from soaring temperatures, increasing floods and deadly droughts.

The game, developed by Red Redemption, an Oxford-based design company, uses real data and input from scientists and has best been described as a Football Manager for eco-enthusiasts.

Users are presented with a budget, environmental data, and a series of energy policies which range from emissions caps and investment in biofuels to continue investing in fossil fuels.

Other more extreme policies are also available such as creating a disease to reduce the world's population or geoengineering, such as cloud seeding from planes.

The game, described on its website as a "dramatic global strategy game", takes you forward 200 years to see the outcome of your decisions, including whether major species such as the polar bear have been condemned to extinction.

The blurb reads: "You must manage a balancing act of protecting the Earth. Resources and climate versus the needs of an ever-growing world population, who are demanding ever more food, power, and living space. Will you help the whole planet or will you be an agent of destruction?"


Global warming as the latest version of the Devil's work

Some history from Sallie L. Baliunas, Astrophysicist, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

This is a brief lesson in history about fear and ignorance of extreme weather 500 years ago. Now, as impossible as it is to comprehend events in the 20th century without understanding totalitarianism, it is likewise impossible to understand Europe’s 16th century without recognizing the role of superstition. Magic, witchcraft, sorcery and superstition pervaded every scale of culture from the smallest corner to the cosmic.

Now, an equable climate had pertained in Europe about a thousand years ago, and by the 14th century, that had deteriorated into a long period called the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age saw harsh winters, severe storms, and also extreme variability. That means you could see mild winters and then very severe winters, summer heat waves, droughts, sea storms and floods. The Little Ice Age persisted about 500 years, abating only in the 19th century in some places.

Now the most severe period of that 500-year period of the Little Ice Age occurred in Europe between 1550 and 1700. That was also probably the harshest period of weather in the last thousand years, if not longer. Now the severe conditions and climate brought about crop failure, starvation, disease, death and social unrest. But it was already occurring in a period of great upheaval, as the Reformation, the counter-Reformation and warfare battered Europe.

Now how unusual was this very intense period of the Little Ice Age? On the afternoon of August 3, 1562, a thunderstorm struck central Europe across a front several hundred kilometers long. After raging for several hours, the storm unleashed a terrific hail that continued until midnight. It destroyed crops. It destroyed vineyards, birds and unprotected horses and cows.

Diarists then noted something that we hear today. They said for a hundred years, such a storm had not been seen. The storm was deemed so unusual in this period of superstition that it had to be unnatural. It had to be supernatural. Thus, superstition and witchcraft bred a precautionary response. Eradicate those responsible for the storm and this period of new storminess.

Now, it was well known that people could cook weather with the help of Satan, so thus did extreme conditions of the severest part of the Little Ice Age contribute to Europe’s most horrific period of mass executions and witch trials. This was completely legal, and it was undertaken, administered, by highly educated upper social strata. These were institutionally legalized executions for sorcery. There are many reasons for these trials, but some of them are related to weather cooking, that is, working with Satan to produce these severe storms. The estimates now are about 50,000 executions across Europe, and no country was spared of this.

There were skeptics who stood up, but they were often accused of or threatened to be accused of sorcery to squash any debate. So legal philosopher Jean Bodin in 1580 noted that witchcraft was the most terrible problem facing humankind. Again, a very modern note.

Bodin championed the international attack against skeptics like Johann Beyer. Now, Johann Beyer was a physician, and Beyer argued that the accused sorcerers seemed to be suffering from what he thought were medical conditions we would modernly term mood disorders. He also thought it was theologically impossible for Satan to work through such people to do his work. Beyer then declared that confessions that had to be extracted by torture because there was very little direct proof of witchcraft—well, these confessions were extracted by torture, and he found this torture immoral.

So the response? Jean Bodin decided to accuse him of witchcraft, so any feeble notes of humane skepticism had to be wrenched out of society. Jean Bodin wrote in response to Beyer’s humane skepticism, “Any country which tolerates these skeptics will be struck by plagues, famines and wars.” Now since it was known that witches caused weather and this unusual weather raged, so did the tortures and executions.

How severe did it get? Well, on May 24, 1626, a hailstorm struck central Germany and dropped one meter of hail. Two days later, an arctic front descended onto central Europe and bit hard. Rivers froze, grape vines exploded, the rye and barley crops were destroyed. Tree leaves were blackened and fell to the ground and denuded the trees, and people thought it was Y2K.

Now, the lord mayor of Zeil in Franconia, Johann Langens wrote, “Everything was destroyed by the frost, which had never happened in people’s memory.” Which was true. Probably a frost that severe hadn’t occurred in 500 years, but since it was so unusual, it had to be unnatural, given that century’s reigning paradigms. “Whereupon,” continues Johann Langens, “whereupon an intensive pleading and begging started among the rabble. Why did the authorities tolerate these sorcerers and witches? The sorcerers and witches must be punished.”

So punish them, the authorities did. In this area of central Germany in 1626 alone, Bamberg executed 600, Wurtzburg 900, in electorate Mantz, 900 more were executed, and Westphalia, 2,000. That’s just the result of the 1626 frost, and those are directly related to weather cooking.

Science is the only successful means we know of to explain nature, and growth of wealth is the only successful means we have to afford prediction, preparation for and survival—in order to survive extreme weather, which has always happened and always will. But science needs special societal protection, and without that protection, science will just be dialed out and in its place will be substituted the myths that humans love to create, myths like weather cooking.


Some excited geologists

There's rarely anything too exciting in geology so perhaps a wish for drama can be understood. A conference of geologists has just declared that the earth will take 100,000 years to recover from global warming. That the recovery actually took place about 10 years ago seems to be overlooked. And it took place while CO2 levels continued to rise! Pesky! But when you've got a model, who needs facts?

A conference organised by the Geological Society in London this week will bring together scientists from around the world to look at how the world coped with climate change in the past.

By studying rock sediments from millions of years ago geologists have been able to model how increases in greenhouse gases led to temperature change and extinction of species.

Professor Jim Zachos, of the University of California, said that 55 million years ago volcanic activity caused around 4,500 gigatons of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere over thousands of years. This caused the planet to warm by 6C (10.8F), forcing whole ecosystems, including early mammals, to adapt, migrate or die out in certain areas.

Prof Zachos said that if the world continues to pump out greenhouse gases at the current rate, around 5,000 gigatons of greenhouse gases will be released into the atmosphere over a few hundred years. He said this will cause a more rapid temperature rise that at any other time in history and could cause “mass extinction of species”.

“The impacts will be pretty severe compared to 55 million years ago in terms of evolution of this planet,” he said.

The Geological Society warned that it could take the Earth 100,000 years to recover. A statement read: “The geological evidence from the 55 million year event and from earlier warming episodes suggests that such an addition [a massive increase in greenhouse gases caused by the activities of mankind] is likely to raise average global temperatures by at least 5 to 6C, and possibly more, and that recovery of the Earth’s climate in the absence of mitigation measures could take 100,000 years or more.

Numerical models of the climate system support such an interpretation. In the light of the evidence presented here it is reasonable to conclude that emitting further large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over time is likely to be unwise, uncomfortable though that fact may be.”


Jewellers won't touch Alaskan gold

This is empty tokenism. Asians are huge buyers of gold and they won't bother where it came from

FIFTY of the world's leading jewellers have pledged to blackball gold mined by Anglo American in Alaska. The jewellers fear that they could be tarnished by any future environmental disaster.

Tiffany, Zale, Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland and Fraser Hart are among those that have said they will not sell gold from the proposed Pebble Mine in western Alaska.

The gold and copper mine is on the shores of Bristol Bay, home to the world's largest wild salmon fishery. Opencast goldmines are notorious for the ecological damage they can cause as a result of leaks and spills and the local community is concerned that the salmon industry, worth $US400 million a year, could be harmed.

It is not unusual for North American communities to try to block construction of a mine, but the Bristol Bay campaigners are unique in having gathered so much support from big retailers.

The jewellers, which had sales of more than $US1.6 billion last year, are understood to be concerned that any future environmental disaster at the mine could tarnish gold's reputation for purity.

Consumers are said to be increasingly interested in the provenance of the jewellery they buy in the wake of publicity during the past decade about blood diamonds - precious stones sold by warlords to further conflicts in countries such as Sierra Leone. Moreover, interest in "ethical" gold will probably increase next year when the Fairtrade kitemark is applied to the metal.

Noel Coyle, chief executive of Fraser Hart, a British jeweller, said: "In some areas, mining of precious metals presents too great a risk to communities and the environment. Bristol Bay is such an area."

At Pebble Mine, the concern is that leaks or spills could dump toxic heavy metals and cyanide into Bristol Bay. Modern goldmining uses vast quantities of cyanide to leach gold out of the ore, which is an efficient and cost-effective process but one that is also susceptible to accidents.

Everett Thompson, a commercial fisherman from Bristol Bay, told The Times: "The salmon have provided for us for 9000 years and they are the economic engine of our region. "We are trying to keep our waters pristine so our salmon will support us for generations to come."

More than 5000 people are employed in the Bristol Bay fishing industry and about 40 per cent of the world's supply of sockeye salmon comes from the region. Every year about 170,000,000lb of salmon is caught and a large portion of it is canned for Britain, which is the world's largest consumer.

Anglo American is exploring the proposed site for Pebble Mine and has yet to submit an application for a mining permit. Its primary interest in the site, which is owned by the state of Alaska, is for copper production. Gold would be a potentially lucrative byproduct.

A spokesman for Anglo American said: "Pebble is still an exploration project and, as such, there is not yet a mine plan on which all interested parties could make an informed judgment of what may be proposed."

A group of four Bristol Bay residents are in London this week to talk about the project with jewellers and to meet Anglo American executives. Mr Thompson said: "We are not against mining or miners and we don't want to go fist-to-fist with them. "But they are coming into our backyard and we will protect our jobs."



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


2 November, 2010

Leading environmental campaigners now support nuclear and GM

Leading environmental campaigners have performed a u-turn on two key technologies they have opposed for decades by openly calling for greater use of nuclear power and genetically modified crops to help the world tackle climate change.

For years they campaigned against nuclear power and genetically-modified food. But now some leading environmental campaigners have performed a U-turn and said that they got it wrong.

The activists now say that by opposing nuclear power they encouraged the use of polluting coal-fired power stations, while by protesting against GM crops they prevented developing countries from benefiting from a technology that could have helped feed the hungry.

Mark Lynas, a campaigner who has been a member of action groups on GM foods and climate change, said the environmental lobby was losing the battle for public opinion on climate change because it had made too many apocalyptic prophecies and exaggerated claims. He said: "We have got to find a more pragmatic and realistic way of engaging with people."

Stewart Brand, an American activist and former editor of Whole Earth Catalog, said: "I would like to see an environmental movement that says it turns out our fears about genetically engineered food crops were exaggerated and we are glad about that. It is a humble and modest stance to take to the real world.

"Environmentalists did harm by being ignorant and ideological and unwilling to change their mind based on actual evidence. As a result we have done harm and I regret it."

Patrick Moore, one of the founding members of environmental campaign group Greenpeace, added: "We were right that the nuclear industry had problems, but that didn't mean we should be against nuclear energy completely. "We have caused extra gigatons of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere by being so precious about nuclear."

The activists feature in the [British] Channel 4 documentary What the Green Movement Got Wrong, which will be broadcast this week.

They say that by successfully lobbying against the building of new nuclear power stations, environmentalists forced governments around the world to build new coal fired power stations instead, resulting in billions of extra tonnes of carbon dioxide and pollution being poured into the atmosphere.

Mr Lynas, who along with other activists ripped up trial GM crops in the 1990s, said that GM food had now been consumed by millions of people in the US for more than 10 years without harm, and this had convinced him to change his views.

The campaigners say that since they expressed their change of position, they have been vilified by traditional sections of the environmental movement.


No fun, please, we’re British environmentalists

Just in time for the winter holidays, the government has announced that it plans to hike the Air Passenger Duty by up to 50%. The measure is defended as a revenue-raising ‘green’ measure, but it fails on both counts. What’s more, it’s the worst kind of tax – one which directly penalizes fun.

The first defence of the levy is that it will raise revenue for the government. Maybe so – any form of taxation will do so. But this is the sort of tax that has a strong disincentivizing effect on people’s decisions about where to travel. The levy for European flights is one sixth of that of, say, a flight to the Caribbean. The government already massively taxes air travel, and adding more taxes will simply kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The Laffer curve applies as much to consumption taxes as to anything else – tax something too much and revenues will decline as the cost of that activity outweighs the benefits.

The second defence of the levy is that it is ‘green’. Again, this is partially true – if you stop people from doing things that generate CO2, you will marginally reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. But the Air Passenger Duty is a blunt tool – it doesn’t differentiation between airplanes of differing CO2 output, and it taxes flights to the Bahamas (4,347 miles from London) more than to Los Angeles (5,448 miles) or Hawai’i (7234 miles). I’m not convinced of the need for any anti-CO2 measures, but even I was, this would be a bad way of going about it.

This duty hike is especially rotten because it taxes one of the most fun things most people have in their lives. Spending months toiling in boring jobs, with even lower-rate taxpayers already forced to pay nearly 40% of it to the government through income tax and VAT, is often only bearable because of the hope of a few weeks away in an exotic country. Certainly, the ministers behind the hike won’t be affected, and like cigarette and alcohol duties this is a regressive tax that will hit the people least able to pay the hardest. Adam Smith once wrote that taxes should be proportionate, nonarbitrary, convenient and low. I’d add one point – that they don’t try to stamp out fun.


Greenie BBC journalist: "We may be the only reliably independent source our audiences have"

These guys don't know how funny they sound. Note the contradiction between the 6th and 7th paragraphs below. It's perilously close to mental illness. Psychiatrists call it "compartmentalization"

A FORMER environmental correspondent with BBC, Alex Kirby says Journalists’ roles are to keep the public informed about climate change issues. Mr Kirby explained this during his presentation at the Climate Action Conference in Brussels, Belgium last week.

About 96 journalists from European Union and other countries outside the continent have attended the conference.

The conference was aimed to give journalists the EU’s perspective ahead of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico next month.

Kirby said: “We need to keep telling our audiences that climate change is happening, that it’s happening fast, that scientists cannot explain what is happening unless they factor in the influence of human activities, that decisions and actions we take – or fail to take - today may have effects decades and centuries ahead, and that apart from anything else climate change will make other problems – like water shortage, hunger and species loss – even harder to solve,” he said.

Mr Kirby said reporters should not be entertainers or campaigners either. “On one level, our job is what it always has been, and that is to remain just simple and effective reporters. “That makes a number of demands of us. Perhaps the first demand is to remember that we may be the only reliably independent source our audiences have.

6. “More and more people, some with the best of motives, want to turn us into useful megaphones. Governments, NGOs, industry, negotiating blocs, parts of the UN would all like us to join their search for a better world,” he said.

7. However, Mr Kirby said good reporters remember that climate change is already changing and shortening lives. “It’s not just an abstraction to be argued over in Cancun, or Brussels, or wherever. It’s the thinning Arctic ice which lets hunters fall through to their deaths. “It’s persistent drought and unusually frequent flooding. It’s flesh-and-blood stories that need telling, best of all through the words of the people who are living them,” he said.

But Kirby warns that journalists should now allow the climate skeptics to call the tune. “Time and again in my early BBC environment days I would write a piece on climate and be told: “OK, now get a skeptic to provide balance.” Perhaps we’ve moved on. But those who deny the science still hold undue sway over many news desks.

“In fact the most skeptical people I know include the climate scientists themselves, because they know that’s how science works. It’s always worth asking skeptics whether they have had their claims peer-reviewed and published.

“And it’s worth remembering the advice of the British journalist Hannen Swaffer about our own need to be consistently skeptical. “When a journalist is speaking to a politician”, he said, “there is only one question he needs to ask himself. It is this: ‘Why is this lying bastard telling me this particular lie at this particular moment?’” He was of course speaking about British politicians in office during his lifetime, and I quote him strictly within that context. But if we are not always deeply skeptical, we shall not deserve to survive in journalism,” he said.


Skeptics seen on Russian TV

Global warming skeptics have gathered to air their views in the UK on what they have dubbed 'Climate Fools Day'.

It is also the second anniversary of the signing of the UK Climate Change Bill, which critics say is simply a waste of tax-payers' money.

The skeptics claim that the global warming issue has become a business scheme to tax industry and consumers, and make money from ‘green’ schemes.

Global warming has simply been made up, insists Piers Corbyn, one of the organizers of the annual Weather Action Climate Fools Day conference.

“There’s no evidence for carbon-dioxide driving temperatures or climate whatsoever in the last thousand years,” he told RT.

Corbyn claims that the fight against global warming is a myth, supported by government imposed policy all over Europe. “We’ve got basically a one-party state operating which is imposing taxes and restrictions on production of carbon-dioxide,” he said.

“If these politicians really cared about people, they would actually make use of effective long-range forecasts which can forecast hazards and even very damaging incidents which can cause deaths,” added Corbyn.

Climate change is a natural thing, where man’s amount of carbon dioxide represents a tiny proportion of the shift, only about four percent, stated Reverend Philip Foster, a colleague of Piers Corbyn.

“Extreme weather events always take place, always have and always will, and to blame them on human emissions is simply pointless, as there is no real connection,” he told RT.

Nobody disagrees that climate change is happening, echoes writer and legal analyst John O’Sullivan.

“The climate has changed for 4.5 billion years,” O’Sullivan said. “We are not arguing about something trivial like the issues of climate change. We are looking at corruption issues here that are not made known to the public. Today in parliament we put evidence to parliamentarians to show that around the world climate skeptics are bringing into court national government weather agencies and showing that they do not have a bona fide climate record.”

“What we’ve tried to do is ask the governments around the world to show us the evidence,” he added. “It’s not good enough to tell us that they have the records. We have found time after time here in England and recently in New Zealand that when challenged, government agencies cannot produce the records.”

The first Climate Fools Day was held in the UK in October 2008, as British legislators passed the Climate Change Bill. The Bill is aimed at stimulating a low-carbon economy and gives ministers powers to introduce the measures necessary to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The Bill makes the government responsible for ensuring that by 2050, the net UK carbon account for six greenhouse gases is at least 80 per cent lower than the baseline set in 1990. An independent Committee on Climate Change has been created under the Act to provide advice to the UK Government on the issue.

Full interview with Piers Corbyn below:


EcoFascists oppress Norfolk Islanders

Norfolk Island is an isolated part of Australia. The scheme is apparently "voluntary" but it will cost you money if you do not take part -- because the Warmists will control food import and sale. I'm guessing that a lot of islanders will take up fishing

The global warming faith is just the latest vehicle for people who like to order other people around “for their own good”. Nothing reveals its appeal to the inner totalitarian better than the latest taxpayer-funded research of the Southern Cross University:
Southern Cross University is set to lead a project testing the world’s first Personal Carbon Trading program conducted in a ‘closed system’ island environment on Norfolk Island commencing early next year.

This follows the announcement this week of a Linkage Projects grant by the Australian Research Council valued at $390,000.

Leading chief investigator Professor Garry Egger, a Professor of Lifestyle Medicine and Applied Health Promotion at Southern Cross University, said the main goals of the project were to test the effectiveness of a Personal Carbon Trading scheme over a three year period; reduce per capita carbon emissions and reduce obesity and obesity related behaviours…

“This is a project for looking at reducing climate change and obesity in the one hit…

“The way the system will work is basically it will involve giving everyone on the island a carbon card, like a credit or debit card, and they will get carbon units on that card. Then every time they go and pay for their petrol or their power - and from the second year their food - it will not only be paid for in money but it will also come off the carbon units that they are given for free at the start of the program.

“If they’re frugal and don’t buy a lot of petrol or power or fatty foods, then they can actually have units to spare at the end of a set time period so that they can cash those in at the bank and make money from them.

“If they aren’t frugal and they are very wasteful and they produce a lot of carbon and consume unhealthy foods then every year they will have to buy extra units. Also over time - as we target lower carbon emissions and increasing health goals - the number of carbon units they are given will go down and therefore the price for the individual will go up to sustain that lifestyle they are not prepared to forego...”

Of course, to fulfil its mission, the experiment will have to include the bit where emissions are forced down if the guinea pigs don’t respond to the bribes.


On MTR 1377 this morning, Professor Egger told me his idea was borrowed from this British proposal:
The Environment Agency will argue today that carbon rationing is the fairest and most effective way for the UK to meet its legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Agency’s chairman, Lord Smith, will propose at the organisation’s annual conference in London that every citizen be provided with a “carbon account” and unique number that they submit when buying carbon-intensive items such as petrol, electricity or airline tickets.

Individuals would then periodically receive statements that show the carbon impact of each purchase and how much of their annual ration has been used up. If they exceeded this ration, they would need to buy extra credits from those people that have not used their full allowance, in a similar fashion to existing emission cap-and-trade schemes.

Lord Smith, former culture secretary under the Blair Government, is expected to say that carbon rationing will help citizens “judge how they want to develop their own quality of life in a sustainable way”.

Nor was this proposal just the thought-bubble of some out-of-control quango:
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee called on the Government last year (2008) to resume research on a rationing scheme and to be “courageous” in seeking to overcome likely public hostility to the idea…

The committee concluded: “Widespread public acceptance, while desirable, should not be a pre-condition for a personal carbon trading scheme; the need to reduce emissions is simply too urgent.”

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, called for a “thought experiment” on carbon rationing when he was Environment Secretary in 2006.

But although the idea has kicked around for a while, it seems that some basic questions have not been answered.

Egger told me his carbon-rationing plan could be one day spread to the whole mainland, so that citizens who’d blown their ration by buying too much fatty food, for instance, would find that buying more “credits” prohibitively expensive. I asked what would happen to a fat and poor family who’d maxed out on their ration card. Would they then starve? Egger said this was a problem they’d have to work on.

Er, right.


More on the trial:
Each year the quota of carbon units will be reduced, and the price of a high carbon emission lifestyle will rise.

Although it will be a voluntary scheme, the incentive to participate was obvious, Professor Egger said: ‘’People can make money out of it.’’…

The Norfolk Island trial will determine whether the approach is acceptable to people or not. If so, it could eventually be scaled up to a country level, and then world level, he said.

So those who look like making money will join, and those who’d blow their rations can opt out - for now. Some test.

Egger himself should be overdrawn on his carbon rations - if the scheme was made to apply to him, too: He has been invited to speak to business people at the United Nations climate change conference in Mexico in December.


Propagandizing little kids

After her second day at school, my four-year-old daughter sat me down at the kitchen table for a conversation. She wanted me to explain exactly how I take her to school each morning.

I learned later that upon arrival at her reception class each day pupils have to tick a box on a piece of paper denoting how they journeyed to school that morning. Though they are never told in quite so many words that cars are actually bad, they are nevertheless steered, by their eco-aware teacher, towards the two former modes of transport – because cycling and walking are both environmentally friendly, and environmentally friendly, as my daughter appears already to know, is "good".

A week later, and we had a similar kind of conversation, this one about the fact that we currently grow no fruit or vegetables in our small garden. I informed her of the wonders of Ocado, but she insisted that self-sufficiency was better. At school, my daughter explained, they have an allotment where they grow tomatoes and strawberries, possibly potatoes and almost certainly marrows. She wants us now to do likewise.

Friends who have children older than my own have told me this is just the tip of an iceberg which (so long as the iceberg doesn't inconveniently melt due to global warming) will continue to grow as she does.

"Mine told me to turn off the hoover the other day," a father said to me, "because it used too much energy. She also stands by me while I brush my teeth, to make sure I have the tap turned off while I'm doing it."

This, I know now, is pester power in action. And in a world where we must all become more green aware, it is children who are at the very forefront of the movement, children who collectively soak up all the information like the sponges they are, before disseminating it in a manner that, rather winningly, brooks no argument.

In the UK today, more than 67 per cent of schools have now signed up to the Eco-Schools Programme.

A global award programme that guides schools onto a sustainable journey, it helps provide a framework to embed environmentally aware principles into the very heart of modern school life. Keep Britain Tidy, which administers the programme, hopes that the remaining 33 per cent of schools will follow shortly. There are 46 countries around the world already signed up, linking more than 40,000 schools to share with one another their initiatives and successes.

The programme was set in motion after the 1994 Rio Earth Summit, but took hold fully four years ago, as climate change increasingly became a staple of news bulletins. Eco-Schools essentially encourage pupils to account for energy and water waste in daily life, to collect litter, and grow their own food. It rewards all efforts too, and achievements are marked by bronze, silver and green flags.

"What we want is for schools to put sustainability at the very heart of everything they do," says Andrew Suter, education project manager at Keep Britain Tidy. "We'd like to help change the whole behavioural framework for schools, to encourage them to identify their own specific issues, and also to then create solutions for them."

This doesn't merely mean through solar panels and wind turbines, but also by simply observing good behaviour. The Switch Off Campaign, he explains, has proved particularly effective, largely because it is so easily implemented. Pupils now ensure that before they leave their desks and rooms all the computers are off, as are the lights.

The manner in which eco-awareness is first introduced to children is basic, but effective: the ice caps are melting and the polar bears have nowhere to live. Children, in the main, says Andrew Suter, very much want polar bears to have somewhere to live. From this spark, they begin to comprehend that the world is in peril, and they want to help.

Their first port of call is at home, where they educate their parents accordingly. Successfully, too. A 2008 poll of 1,500 parents showed that24 per cent cited their children as a key green motivator. Only 2 per cent said they took their cue from politicians. And an increasing number of books targeted directly at children, are being published on the subject. How To Turn Your Parents Green by James Russell, for example, is a pocket-sized manifesto that encourages its youthful readership to monitor their parents' behaviour and punish them should they refuse to heed the eco-message.

And then there is television.

Somewhere within the labyrinth of BBC TV Centre, Clare Bradley, a producer for CBeebies, is explaining the thinking behind Green Balloon Club. The show's largely pre-teen cast, one dog and an appropriately coloured hand puppet (green) extol the many virtues of becoming environmentally aware.

Essentially, Bradley says, she wanted to make a children's version of Springwatch, the BBC show presented by Chris Packham and Kate Humble which observed the wonders of nature through night-vision glasses and open jaws.

"Springwatch was fiendishly popular in my house, my children dropping everything to watch it," she recounts. "It made sense, then, to want to do something similar – but this time specifically for, and presented by, younger people."

It was one of the few programmes she has produced that came with its own mission statement. "I had lofty objectives, I suppose. I wanted it to inform children about their world, [to encourage them] to care about it and to become the stewards for the next generation," she says. "An ambitious plan, I'll grant you, but one I felt sure would catch on."

She was right; it did. Many might expect kids to want to focus more on the cartoon world than on the real one, far less a real world that required of them an awful lot of grunt work (viewers are encouraged to get out into the mud and ramble, plant, dig and recycle). But Green Balloon Club ran for two series.

The first series even managed something no other CBeebies show had: to run once a week for a full year. This allowed it to fully chart the incremental changing of the seasons, as the young viewers watched planted seeds grew to fruition.

Green Balloon Club hasn't been commissioned for a third series, largely because CBeebies tends to repeat its programmes ad infinitum (children love repetition, and repeats are cheaper).

However the channel is planning several more green-flavoured shows, among them Mr Bloom's Nursery, which, from early next year, will encourage children to nurture their own homegrown produce. Bradley says that though CBeebies doesn't have a specific mandate from the BBC to enlighten its viewers on environmental matters, it wants keenly to reflect what is going on in the world.

"You should never underestimate children, because they really do care," she says. "Kids today have a far more global view than we ever did. When I was growing up I remember my father constantly reminding me to switch off the lights. Now it's my children who tell me to turn off the lights. They know all about wasted energy, and how to avoid it. The environment has become a big concern for them – as it should."

But pester power is not without its share of controversies. Not all -parents, after all, necessarily want their children at such a young age to get on such a high horse, not least when an increasing number of people are starting to feel that the purported realities of global warming have been exaggerated, perhaps for politically motivated reasons.

"Not all parents appreciate the message," Andrew Suter says, "and, yes, we do occasionally encounter scepticism. But our response to that is simply to say that all we are really doing is encouraging children to care about the world around them, and to do positive things in it. Nobody, surely, could have an issue with that."

He concludes, pointedly, by saying that children themselves have yet to question the veracity of climate change, "chiefly because they are children. They are not cynical yet."



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


1 November, 2010

The Week That Was (To October 30, 2010)

Excerpts from Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project

On Thursday, The French Academy of Sciences released a report declaring the global warming exists and is unquestionably due to human activity. The academy president declared the debate is over. Former education minister Claude Allegre, who questioned the orthodoxy, signed off on what he considered a compromise report stating: "I have not evolved, I still say the same thing, that the exact role of carbon dioxide in the environment has not been shown."

The report recognized uncertainties in solar influence, clouds, oceans and atmosphere. Those who believe that human carbon dioxide emissions may have some warming effect, but are not the dominant driver of climate change, may find the report acceptable except that it gives carbon dioxide a principal role in climate change. We await the translation of the full report, but apparently there is no precision in the report. A vague statement, no matter how forcefully made, remains vague.


In an article published on October 12, Bjorn Lomborg discusses the change in the vocabulary of the global warming alarmists. No longer is global warming, or climate change, the major theme. Instead, it has been replaced by clean energy, clean jobs - a green economy. Lomborg also discusses how much a green economy is costing his native country, Denmark. He believes that drastic carbon cuts are a poor response to global warming.


The Department of Interior has approved the building of what is called the world's largest solar-thermal power plant on 7,000 acres of Federal land in the desert of Southern California. The project is a venture by two German companies. The first half of the project could be eligible for a cash subsidy of $900,000,000 from the stimulus bill. The cash subsidy program ends on December 31, 2010. Also, the companies are seeking Federal loan guarantees and, no doubt, an array of benefits from the state.

To put the cash subsidy perspective, it is useful to calculate the employment benefits. The administration claims this project will provide up to 300 new permanent jobs. This calculates out to $3,000,000 per permanent job. At that rate it would cost about $20.27 Trillion to reduce the current unemployment rate (9.2% est. by US Bureau of Labor Statistics) to the rough average over the past 15 years of 5%. $20.27 Trillion is about 1.4 times the entire gross domestic product of the US in 2009 (estimated to be $14.26 Trillion by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis). The expenditure is enormous, but does it benefit the citizens of California by providing affordable electricity?

As seen in other reports there are additional solar projects in California which promoters are trying to start before December 31. These stories indicate that even after subsidies, the cost of the electricity generated will be 30 to 70 percent more expensive than electricity generated by natural gas, the dominant electricity generating fuel in California. The promoters of the projects consider a 30 to 70 percent increase in cost to be competitive - a clear consequence of the state's renewable energy mandates. Only in California!


Why the Confusion about Global Warming?

S. Fred Singer

No one denies that the Earth has warmed in the past century. So of course, the past decade must be the warmest - even though there has been no upward trend since the 1998 temperature peak. [Note the important distinction between temperature level (measured in deg C or deg F) and trend (expressed in deg C per year).] The dispute is (and always has been) about the cause of the warming.

In fact, the major warming during the first 50 years of the 20th century and the latter part of the 19th century is generally accepted to be natural - a recovery from the Little Ice Age. But there's no credible evidence that identifies the most recent warming as human-caused. On the contrary, while the UN's IPCC claims to be quite certain that it is anthropogenic, the independent NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) concludes that "Nature - Not Human Activity - Rules the Climate." See here

In this connection note the obfuscatory language used by the EPA in turning down all of the 'Petitions for Reconsideration' of its Endangerment finding on CO2: "The scientific evidence supporting EPA's finding is robust, voluminous, and compelling. Climate change is happening now, and humans are contributing to it. Multiple lines of evidence show a global warming trend over the past 100 years. Beyond this, melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, altered precipitation patterns, and shifting patterns of ecosystems and wildlife habitats all confirm that our climate is changing."

Yet there is no evidence at all that humans are indeed contributing to warming in a significant way. We'll see you in court, dear EPA, and gladly examine your "compelling" evidence!

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #32-2010 (Oct. 30, 2010)

EU derails the biodiversity bandwagon -- on behalf of windmills

Silly EU politicians are still on that windmill kick. That is now old hat among Greenies. Windmills kill "diverse" creatures, apparently

On October 29th in Japan, EU countries committed themselves with other members of the international convention to give protection status to 17% of the land on the planet. The purpose of this Nagoya summit was to protect biodiversity in a context of rapid human expansion, unsustainable exploitation of natural habitats, and the resulting regression of plant and wildlife leading to the extinction of a great many species.

The success of the summit has been applauded, as it should be, but in a less publicized document released practically at the same time* the EU reaffirms that its own protected areas will not be off limits to industrial development, and in particular to windfarms.

* EU guidance document on Windfarms in Natura 2000 areas – October 2010

Conservationists worldwide are disappointed, to say the least, by this double talk from the European Union.

Save The Eagles International (STEI) have warned the European Commission about the deleterious effects of wind turbines on bird and bat populations. In a recent release, the conservation organization provided evidence that a biased environmental assessment had condemned the endangered Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle to extinction through mortality by collision with wind turbines. STEI president, Mark Duchamp, stressed the fact that, depending on wind speed, the turbine blades travel at 150-300 kph at the tip, and that raptors, like bats, are attracted to windfarms. This has been demonstrated time and again, he said, by Dr Shawn Smallwood in his extensive studies on the matter.

Duchamp regrets that the EU has turned a deaf ear to their whistle blowing, ignoring scientific documents and bird kill statistics submitted as evidence. Likewise, he notes that bird societies have failed to publish this crucial information on their websites, conflicting as it does with their policy of advocacy and activism in favor of the wind industry.

Building windfarms in the EU’s “Natura 2000” network of nature reserves is not much different from Tanzania´s current plan to build a highway across the Serengeti National Park, he adds, and can only regret that the European Commission doesn’t know better.

STEI predict that, with such a gaping hole under the flotation line, the conservation of European biodiversity will be short-lived. As for the credibility of the EU’s green leadership, they regret to see it sink to new lows.

It is hardly responsible, says Duchamp, to sacrifice biodiversity to the impossible promise of running the EU´s economy on unreliable energy, costing (including backup and new transmission lines) three to five times more than conventional methods.

He concludes: absurdity is creating nature reserves and opening their gates to industrial development.


High Priests Of (Climate) Science

By W. Briggs, statistician

There exists a strain of criticism that suggests science is just “another way of knowing”, and that “science” is no different than any other religious belief system. It has its dogmas, myths, rituals. This criticism is misguided and ultimately wrong, but it’s not hard to see how it arises.

Many people are like the terrified villager in the movie Young Frankenstein who, upon learning that scientist and grandson of Baron von Frankenstein Gene Wilder moved to town, said “All those scientists are the same. They say they’re working for us. But what they really want is to rule the world!.” In my case this is, of course, literally true. But it isn’t so for most scientists, whose biggest ambition is to have all their grants funded and to get out of teaching Freshman Science 101.

Another reason people don’t trust scientists is they are perpetually patting themselves on the back. I was reminded of this when reading a rambling and often self-contradictory editorial by Richard C. J. Somerville “How much should the public know about climate science?” in the journal Climatic Change (DOI 10.1007/s10584-010-9938-y). Somerville displays a typical scientific ego:
Science has its own high standards. It does not work by unqualified people making claims on television or the Internet. It works by expert scientists doing research and publishing it in carefully reviewed research journals. Other scientists examine the research and repeat it and extend it. Valid results are confirmed, and wrong ones are exposed and abandoned. Science is self-correcting. People who are not experts, who are not trained and experienced in this field, who do not do research and publish it following standard scientific practice, are not doing science. When they claim that they are the real experts, they are just plain wrong.

In reality there are only beliefs that are true, those that are false, those that are uncertain, and those that are nonsensical. There do not exist scientific truths, scientific falsities, scientific uncertainties. Saying that a truth has been proved scientifically is no different than saying that a truth has been proved—period. The only usefulness in the word “science” lies in its categorizing certain branches of investigation. “Scientist” is a job description, not an imprimatur.

It matters not one bit how one reveals a truth, whether the person who discovers it wears a white coat, or whether the discoverer discusses his truth on television or on the pages of a journal. This is obvious: what’s true is true, what’s false is false. A person with a credential does not make a truth truer, nor a falsehood falser. Just as a person without a credential does not make a truth falser, nor a falsehood truer.

Somerville, like many before him, often tout that “Science is self-correcting.” To which we can say, “Oh yeah? How do you know?” Many scientists made false statements before Somerville, so what makes him sure that what he believes now won’t be proven wrong by the scientists that come after him? It is human nature —a commonplace in science— to believe that wherever you stand is the pinnacle. After all, whenever we look up we are blinded by the light of our own knowledge. All we can see clearly is that who came before us were not as high on the mountain as they thought they were.

It is true that, through history, knowledge has increased, but it is not necessary that it always should. This is because is also true that falsehood has, at times, increased. If Somerville believes he has a truth that bears emphasis, it would be better for him to lay out the evidence which he believes prove his truth (he only provides guesses of the future). He should not rely on the fallacy that what he believes is true because he is a scientist.


GOP plans attacks on the EPA and climate scientists

If the GOP wins control of the House next week, senior congressional Republicans plan to launch a blistering attack on the Obama administration's environmental policies, as well as on scientists who link air pollution to climate change.

The GOP's fire will be concentrated especially on the administration's efforts to use the Environmental Protection Agency's authority over air pollution to tighten emissions controls on coal, oil and other carbon fuels that scientists say contribute to global warming.

The attack, according to senior Republicans, will seek to portray the EPA as abusing its authority and damaging the economy with needless government regulations.

In addition, GOP leaders say, they will focus on what they see as distortions of scientific evidence regarding climate change and on Obama administration efforts to achieve by executive rule-making what it failed to win from Congress.

Even if Republicans should win majorities in both the House and Senate, they would face difficulties putting their views into legislative form, since Senate Democrats could use the threat of filibuster to block bills just as the GOP did on climate and other issues during the past year. Also, Obama could use his veto power.

But the GOP's plans for wide-ranging and sustained investigations by congressional committees could put the EPA and administration environmental policymakers on the defensive and create political pressures that could cause Obama to pull back on environmental issues as the 2012 presidential election draws closer.

In comments last week, White House officials said they are considering hiring more lawyers to the Office of Legal Counsel to gird for the possible battles ahead. Yet even with the White House running interference for the EPA and other agencies, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson conceded that a Republican anti-regulatory campaign could end up effectively hamstringing her agency's work.

The new rules EPA has issued over the last year on vehicle emissions and those expected soon for industry, Jackson said, "would be endangered by many, if not all, of the efforts we've seen to take away the agency's greenhouse gas authority."

Over the last two years, the Obama administration and the EPA have stepped up pressure on industry, utilities and states to curtail pollution. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling opened the door for the EPA to use its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in new rules for vehicle emissions and, starting early next year, regulations for emissions from utilities.

In contrast to the previous administration, the Obama White House has also embraced the broad consensus within the scientific community that human activity, mainly through the emitting of carbon dioxide, has led to global warming.

All that will be up for scrutiny in the event of a Republican takeover of the House, which political analysts are predicting. The Republican Party has hammered at the administration's environmental agenda during the campaign. And rejecting the work of climate scientists has become increasingly common among conservatives.

Several key Republican Congressmen — most notably Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who could take over the chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — have said they plan to investigate climate scientists they contend manipulated data to prove the case that human activity is contributing to global warming.

Using control of congressional committees — and their investigative powers — to attack the opposition is not a new idea. After Democrats gained control of Congress in 2006, they held critical hearings on everything from an energy task force run by Vice President Dick Cheney to the Bush administration's support of abstinence-only sex education.

Similarly, during the Clinton administration, when Republicans took over they appointed independent counsels to investigate various aspects of the administration, leading to the Whitewater probe and the impeachment proceedings, among others.

In a recent op-ed article, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, declared that the GOP is preparing to "declare war on the regulatory state."

A steady flow of letters, subpoenas and congressional hearings would prove "incredibly disruptive" to an agency's ability to work and promulgate rules, said Kate Gordon, of the energy policy project at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research and advocacy group in Washington.

Congressional inquiries also offer a platform for energizing the GOP's conservative base in the run-up to the 2012 elections.

The investigations are expected to target questions about EPA's preparedness for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Already, House Republicans have written letters to the Interior Department questioning the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling that the administration invoked after the explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil.

But the primary focus will be on the EPA's determination last year that carbon dioxide and other emissions endanger public welfare by contributing to climate change. Armed with this finding, the EPA has moved to reduce greenhouse gases by mandating emissions reductions in vehicles and will soon move to regulate stationary sources like power plants and factories.

House Republicans like Issa and James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming have criticized the EPA for basing its endangerment finding on what they consider flawed research. Republicans assert that the science on climate change is not yet "settled," despite the vast global scientific consensus about its human causes.

Specifically, Issa has said he wants to investigate the "Climategate" scandal that broke late last year, when hackers illegally obtained and released thousands of emails of climate scientists working with a leading British laboratory.

Climate skeptics, among them House Republicans like Issa, contend that the sniping and harshness in some emails prove that climate scientists suppressed dissenting studies and that science showing the link between greenhouse gases and climate change is biased and tainted.

Several independent panels abroad and in the U.S. that reviewed the emails cleared the scientists of wrongdoing and found their research to be reliable. The EPA has also said that "nothing in the emails undermines the science upon which" the endangerment findings are based.

Like officials within the administration, scientists around the country who expect to be investigated by Issa and others are getting legal advice on how to best protect themselves. Among them is Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State University and one of the researchers who developed the "hockey stick" graph that shows a recent spike in global temperatures. Issa named Mann in a letter to the EPA as a scientist whose work was not "unbiased, accurate or reliable."

"I don't think we can cower under the politically motivated attacks by the forces of anti-science, which includes prominent politicians who are in the pay of the fossil fuel industry," Mann said in a telephone interview about his approach to possible congressional investigations. "One prepares for this by doing one's best to get the truth out because we have nothing to hide as climate scientists: We can stand proudly on our research," he said. [Standing on it might squash it!]


Australia: Water bills in Victoria 'to double again' -- due to desalination costs

This is the State that lets dam water flow out to sea as "environmental flows"

THE true costs of Australia's largest desalination plant are becoming clearer, with Melburnians said to be facing another doubling of water bills to pay for the Brumby government's $5.7 billion plant.

Consumers, who have already been slugged with a doubling of bills from 2009 to 2013, face further hikes as Melbourne Water's costs soar, an analysis of Auditor-General figures shows.

In the face of the government's repeated refusals to reveal the bill increases for desalinated water, the opposition has analysed figures in the Auditor-General's October finance report and found that Melbourne Water's costs per kilolitre, or 1000 litres, could increase by up to 130 per cent.

These costs are passed on to the retail water companies - City West Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water - which then pass them on to customers.

On average, the retailers pay Melbourne Water 70¢ a kilolitre. But the opposition's figures show that once the desalination plant is operating, it will cost Melbourne Water $1.60 to buy a kilolitre of water.

"These figures show there will be a dramatic rise in Melbourne Water's wholesale costs," Coalition scrutiny of government spokesman David Davis said, warning that the rise could mean a quadrupling of water prices.

"Victorian households should prepare to pay up to $2000 a year in water bills … for the exorbitant mismanaged costs of the desalination plant."

The government yesterday rejected the opposition's claim as "back of the envelope" calculations aimed at scaring Victorians.

"We emphatically reject these grossly exaggerated figures, which do not in any way represent what household water bills will look like in the coming years," said a spokesman for Water Minister Tim Holding.

But the government refused, again, to provide an estimate of water bills after 2013 and would not say if the impact on bills had been modelled.

The new water figures come as the Brumby government faces an election backlash on cost-of-living increases, with power bills also set to rise.

On Friday, the Australian Energy Regulator approved an increase of up to $82 on a $1600 bill from next year. This follows the government's mandatory $1.6 billion smart-meter rollout, which added $68 to bills this year and will add $72 next year.

To calculate the water figures, the opposition has taken the cost of the desalination plant in today's dollars and assumed that the maximum 150 billion litres will be taken from the plant each year.

According to the Auditor-General's figures, the plant will cost, in today's dollars, $5.4 billion for its construction and operation, and a further $1.2 billion if the state buys all the available water, taking the overall cost to $6.6 billion.

But a government spokesman said the opposition's figures were wrong because Melbourne Water's costs only made up half the costs on household water bills. The figures were also based on the state ordering a maximum of 150 billion litres a year from the plant, but the opposition had already said this amount would not be required.

The spokesman added that the opposition's figures were inflated because it ignored the fixed component in bills. The costs would be shared between both the fixed and kilolitre, or volume, charges, which would make the volume charge much lower than the opposition claimed.

Also, households would not bear the costs alone: industry, local councils and businesses, as well as water users in Geelong, South Gippsland and Western Port would also contribute.

In 2009, the government signed a public-private partnership with Aquasure, a consortium of three companies. The government has repeatedly cited commercial-in-confidence as a reason not to release information about payments to the consortium. It has also refused to talk about the impact of water bills after 2013, which are regulated by the Essential Services Commission.

To pay for the desalination plant, north-south pipeline and other works to boost Melbourne's water supply, the commission has approved price rises that will push a typical household bill for South East Water from $566 in 2008-2009 to $894 in 2013. The desalination plant is due to come online at the end of next year.



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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

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

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

My academic background is in the social sciences so it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me both from what you see above and from what you see elsewhere on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics. So the explanation for such beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one

Motives: 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.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. Logical? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)