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 September, 2010

Royal Society Bows (somewhat) To Climate Change Sceptics

Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.

The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.

"Climate change: a summary of the science" states that “some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced”. Unlike Climate change controversies, a simple guide — the document it replaces — it avoids making predictions about the impact of climate change and refrains from advising governments about how they should respond.

The new guide says: “The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”

The Royal Society even appears to criticise scientists who have made predictions about heatwaves and rising sea levels. It now says: “There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”

It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future. “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

The working group that produced the new guide took advice from two Royal Society fellows who have links to the climate-sceptic think-tank founded by Lord Lawson of Blaby.

Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge are members of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They were among 43 fellows who signed a petition sent to Lord Rees, the society’s president, asking for its statement on climate change to be rewritten to take more account of questions raised by sceptics.

Professor John Pethica, the society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.

Meanwhile, the Government is planning an exercise to test how England and Wales would cope with severe flooding caused by climate change. Exercise Watermark will take place in March and test emergency services and communities on a range of scenarios that could occur.


New Royal society document critiqued by astrophysicist

Piers Corbyn calls new Royal Society Climate Change document a "Continuing coverup & dereliction of duty" below

Curiously it has been suggested that the Royal Society is now somehow bowing to Climate Change Sceptics. Firstly the use of the word sceptics is inappropriate because no-one is sceptical of the fact that climate has been changing for millions of years. We who stand for the application of evidence-based science to the matter of climate change are better termed Climate Realists.

The Royal Society however do not appear to be bowing to anything. They may indeed be admitting the existence of Climate Realists a bit more but the new statement is a continuing cover for the failed science and fraudulent data of the ClimateChange lobby and a dereliction of the Royal Society's duty to uphold evidence-based science.

Professor John Pethica, the Royal Society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the new document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity. "The fact is", said Piers, "there is no such evidence. This is a false claim and if The Royal Society believe this they must show evidence. This is the founding principle of the scientific method.

"Rather than trying again to continue the cover-up of failed science and data fraud the Royal Society should support our call - from 'Climate-Sense' scientists -for an OPEN, HONEST EVIDENCE-BASED PUBLIC DEBATE ON CO2-Climate Change involving scientists and economists from all sides.".


Amping up the original eco-scare

The article below is rather amusing in the light of the article immediately following it

One-fifth of the world's plants - the foundation of life on Earth - are at risk of extinction, a study concludes. Researchers have sampled almost 4,000 species, and conclude that 22% should be classified as "threatened" - the same alarming rate as for mammals. A further 33% of species were too poorly understood to be assessed.

The analysis comes from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Natural History Museum and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

There are an estimated 380,000 plant species in all, and many are victims of habitat loss - typically the clearing of forests for agriculture. Species in tropical rainforests are found to be at greatest risk.

The study, known as the Sampled Red List Index for Plants, is an attempt to provide the most accurate assessment so far.

Previous studies have focused on the most threatened plants or particular regions. This one instead sampled species from each of the five main groups of plants, and its authors argue that as a result, their conclusions are more credible.

The report comes ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference in Nagoya in Japan next month where ministers are due to discuss why conservation targets keep being missed.

Launching the findings, Kew's director, Professor Stephen Hopper, said the study would provide a baseline from which to judge future losses. "We cannot sit back and watch plant species disappear - plants are the basis of all life on Earth, providing clean air, water, food and fuel. "Every breath we take involves interacting with plants. They're what we all depend on."

The study investigated the key types of plants, including mosses, ferns, orchids and legumes like peas and beans.

The fear among botanists is that species are being wiped out before they can be researched, potentially losing valuable medicinal properties. Plant-based remedies are the only source of healthcare in the world's poorest countries, and have proved essential in combating conditions including malaria and leukaemia.

Another concern is that we have become dependent on a narrow range of plants with a limited genetic base. The report estimates that 80% of the calories consumed worldwide are derived from just 12 different species.

The findings add urgency to the work of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst in Sussex, which has now gathered some 1.8 billion seeds from around the world. The samples are catalogued and stored in underground cold rooms as a safeguard against future losses. The collection includes seeds from plants that have already been judged extinct, including a species of tree from Pakistan and an orchid from Ecuador.

Another victim is a species of olive tree from the South Atlantic island of St Helena. The only traces of its existence are a few dried pressings of its leaves, and a tiny sample of DNA kept in a plastic test-tube in a freezer.


Back from the dead: One third of 'extinct' animals turn up again

And plants too, no doubt, perhaps even more so

Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said. A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.

Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.

The shy okapi – which resembles a cross between a zebra and a giraffe – was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1901. After increasingly rarer sightings, it vanished from the wildlife radar for decades from 1959, prompting fears that it had died out. But five years ago researchers working for the WWF found okapi tracks in the wild.

Other mammals ‘back from the dead’ include the rat-like Cuban solenodon, the Christmas Island shrew, the Vanikoro Flying Fox of the Solomon Islands, the Australian central rock rat and the Talaud Flying Fox of Indonesia.

The revelations come as the world’s leading conservationists prepare for a major United Nations summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month.

Many scientists believe the world is going through a new ‘mass extinction’ fuelled by mankind – and that more species are disappearing now than at any time since the dinosaurs vanished 65million years ago.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 22 per cent of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction. In Britain, more than two plant and animal species are being wiped out each year.

But while the report does not play down the threat from deforestation, overfishing or habitat destruction, it raises questions about the way species are classified as extinct.

Dr Diana Fisher, of the University of Queensland, Australia, compiled a list of all mammals declared extinct since the 16th century or which were flagged up as missing in scientific papers. ‘We identified 187 mammal species that have been missing since 1500,’ she wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. ‘In the complete data-set, 67 species that were once missing have been rediscovered. More than a third of mammal species that have been classified as extinct or possibly extinct, or flagged as missing, have been rediscovered.’

Mammals that suffered from loss of habitat were the most likely to have been declared extinct and then rediscovered, she said. Species spread out over larger areas were also more likely to be wrongly classified as extinct.

The mistakes cannot be blamed on primitive technology or old fashioned scientific methods. ‘Mammals missing in the 20th century were nearly three times as likely to be rediscovered as those that disappeared in the 19th century,’ Dr Fisher added.


News from the Southern hemisphere: Global cooling hits Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide

After their coldest winter in 13 years Sydney residents have just experienced their coldest September in five years, says.

However, the heat is on its way. "September was an unusual month in terms of the lack of warm days across much of south-eastern Australia," weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.

"A high pressure system over the Great Australian Bight acted as a blocking mechanism, keeping noticeably cool southerly winds blowing over South Australia, Victoria and NSW. "Significant warming will occur in the coming weeks as heat builds over the interior. All we will need is a day or two of westerly winds and we could exceed 30 degrees," Mr Dutschke said.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Sydney's average temperature this month came in at just under 17 degrees. This made it the coldest September in five years, despite being one degree above the long-term norm. It was also the coldest September in terms of daytime temperatures in three years.

During the month, the city had an average maximum temperature of 21 degrees, which is still warmer than the long-term norm of 20. It took until the 27th to warm up to 27 degrees, the longest in 17 years. There was a 23-day period that stayed colder than 25 degrees, the longest in September in 10 years.

The nights were not particularly cold overall, averaging a minimum of 12.3 degrees, one above the long-term average. This made it the coldest in terms of overnight minimums in two years. There were only six nights that cooled below 10 degrees; typically there are 11.

The cold was pronounced across southern and central NSW with several centres including Hay and Forbes having their coldest September in at least 15 years in terms of daytime temperatures.

Melbourne, Adelaide also cold

Residents of Melbourne have just experienced their coldest September days in 16 years, Mr Dutschke said. The city had an average maximum temperature of 16.6 degrees, about a half a degree below the long-term normal of 17.2. This made it the coldest September in terms of daytime temperatures since 1994.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Melbourne's average temperature came in at just under 13 degrees. This made it the coldest September in at least seven years, despite being about a half a degree above the the long term norm.

Warmer days ahead will provide Adelaide residents with a good thawing out after enduring their coldest September in 18 years, Mr Dutschke said. The city had an average maximum of just 17 degrees, two degrees colder than the long-term norm, making it the coldest September since 1992 in terms of daytime temperatures. In fact, there was only one day that warmed to 20 degrees, on Monday 13th, the fewest 20-degree days in September in 18 years.


Why I don’t recycle

The environmental benefits are outweighed by the costs

In several cities, Stimulus funds are being used to put RFID chips on trash cans and recycle bins to better monitor who is throwing stuff away "properly" and to impose heavy fines on violators.

Thankfully, I don't live in one of those towns. I am in fact completely liberated from recycling. I just moved to a remote village. For a flat monthly fee, a waste disposal service gives each customer one large bin, and there is weekly trash pickup.

There is no recycling that I know of. What I mean is the company may sort recyclables and sell any reusable material such as aluminum cans. I don't know if it does. But I do know I don't have to sort it myself.

Aluminum cans and glass bottles go into the same bin with all my regular garbage. My assumption is that if the garbage company believes it's worth it to sort the recyclables, it will.

I suppose I could sort recyclables myself and drive once a month to some recycling facility - if there is one nearby. But the closest town that even might possibly have such a facility is forty minutes away. Is making a special trip worth it? Wouldn't my conservation efforts be at least partially offset by the gasoline consumed on the drive?

Also, if the garbage company finds value in having its customers recycle in exchange for lower pickup fees, it will do that. I'm glad that it doesn't.

Recycling can be tedious, particularly if one has to wash recyclables before putting them in the proper bin. With water becoming a more scarce resource, it seems to me the benefits of recycling are partly offset by the water consumption. Recycling also takes up house space. Not only must one have two or more outside bins, but inside one must keep special bags or boxes: one for paper, one for aluminum and glass, one for regular garbage, etc.

I believe cities and towns across America are making a big mistake. If recycled aluminum, glass, paper, plastics, etc. was of any value, individuals would be able to sell their recyclables on their own.

Moreover, if it was cheaper to recycle than to, for instance, mine new aluminum and produce new glass, companies would, on their own, start their own deposit programs. They would charge $1.10 for a $1.0 bottle of pop, and then give back ten cents when the empty bottle is returned.

As Floy Lilley points out, "recycling itself uses three times more resources than does depositing waste in landfills" and we are NOT running out of landfill space. In fact, landfills are a source of natural gas and many sites are converting to become energy facilities. Lilley goes on to say, "The US Office of Technology Assessment says that it is 'usually not clear whether secondary manufacturing such as recycling produces less pollution per ton of material processed than primary manufacturing processes.'"

Indeed, "Manufacturing paper, glass, and plastic from recycled materials uses appreciably more energy and water, and produces as much or more air pollution, as manufacturing from raw materials does. Resources are not saved and the environment is not protected."

Not only am I guilt-free about not recycling, I'd probably feel guilty if I started recycling again. And I would resent living in any town that forced me to.



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29 September, 2010

The Teflon Doomsayers

In The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley offers example after spectacular example of a phenomenon that has baffled me ever since I began covering environmental issues in my first job in journalism thirty years ago: to wit, that while the entire presumable goal, purpose, and raison d'ˆtre of applied environmental science is to solve environmental problems, any environmental scientist who dares to suggest that problems are being solved is asking for trouble. As Ridley observes, we have arrived at a state where even the most wildly irrational pessimism is treated with reverence, while the most cautiously sober optimism is ridiculed.

Some of this is human nature and was ever thus; intellectuals, as The Rational Optimistreminds us, have been decrying modernism ever since modernism began. Actually, I wouldn't stop there: the belief in a lost golden age is as old as civilization, as is the intellectual vanity of casting oneself as the lone uncorrupted voice in the wilderness. A few thousand years before Dostoevsky, Malthus, George Orwell, and Paul Ehrlich, the Hebrew prophets were pouring out gloom and dismay with the best of them, dismissing the superficial comforts of the civilized world and its material rewards as a fool's paradise. Pessimism is what people with deep minds and deep souls have; optimism is what idiots with vacant grins on their faces have.

Pessimism is of course a proven fund-raising tool; "save the whales!" is always going to bring in more cash than "the whales are being saved!" But much more than that, we have today the amusingly ironic spectacle of tenured professors with salaries, health insurance, lifetime job security, and excellent retirement plans courtesy of TIAA-CREF being showered with worldly rewards (bestselling books, "genius" awards) for telling us that progress is an illusion and the end is near . . . while still preening themselves as daring outsiders courageously taking on the mighty and powerful. The fact that it takes no daring at all to adopt such an intellectual posture these days does not stop any of the practitioners of this business model from invariably announcing themselves to be the bearers of "dangerous" or "heretical" ideas and congratulating themselves for "speaking truth to power."

So there are understandable reasons why it pays to say that things have gone to hell and will continue to go to hell.

What I find almost inexplicable in all of this, however, is how the scientific doomsayers get away over and over again with making predictions that are fabulously, ridiculously - and demonstrably - incorrect, without the slightest repercussions upon their credibility or careers. Predictions of impending doom are published based on absurd methodologies and threadbare evidence of a kind that in the normal course of scientific affairs would be sufficient to ruin careers ten times over, and the authors walk away from them without a scratch.


Evidence of Solar Scientists Raise Fears of Imminent Ice Age

By John O'Sullivan

New study by American solar experts identifies a sharp fall in sunspot activity since 2007 that fits the hallmarks of a soon arriving ice age.

Solar scientists, not to be confused with climate scientists, study the most important heat engine driving our planet's temperatures-the sun.

Matthew Penn and William Livingston, solar astronomers with the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, have been following a marked decrease in sunspot activity recently. Reputable studies link a prolonged drop in sunspot activity to a cooling epoch or even a potential new ice age as more sunspots correlate with more global warming, while fewer sunspots are proven to match episodes of long-term cooling.

Since the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 the talk has been about global warming. But 22 years on the evidence has grown to raise fears of a catastrophic climate switch in the opposite direction. We look at the evidence that is raising some very serious questions in the scientific community.

Zeeman Splitting Technique Raises Solar Alarm

Penn and Livingston used a measuring technique known as Zeeman splitting to study the magnetic strength of sunspots. The technique measures the distance between a pair of infrared spectral lines in a spectrograph from the light emitted by iron atoms in the atmosphere of the sun.

After examining 1500 sunspots they found that the average strength of the magnetic field of the sunspots has dropped by almost 40 percent in recent years. The reasons for the decline are unknown, but Penn and Livingston predict only half of the normal sunspots may appear on the surface of the Sun by 2021. Below that strength the formation of sunspots becomes almost impossible.

Other Experts Confirm Fears

Backing up the claims is Australian Geophysicist, Phil Chapman, a former NASA astronaut. Chapman confirms the historic correlation of sunspots to global temperatures and points to the dearth of sunspots since 2007 as the reason why the world has since cooled by about 0.7C.

Writer, Alan Caruba (September 21, 2010) probes the story further after a June 14 article published in the New Scientist by Stuart Clark.

Caruba reports that Clark, "raised the question of why and where the sunspots have gone. Noting that they ebb and flow in cycles lasting about eleven years, Stuart said, "But for the last two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged in nearly 100 years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise."

Return to another Little Ice Age or Worse?

The last time sunspots disappeared altogether, during the Maunder Minimum (about 1645 to 1715), our planet descended into a lengthy period of cooling known as the Little Ice Age.

The last major ice age, known as the Younger Dryas happened 12,000 years ago. That sudden event plunged temperatures in the North Atlantic region to about 5øC colder with a 1000-year duration.

Global Cooling Impacts Being Felt Now

Today Californians just had the coldest summer in decades. Last year in the northern hemisphere, Britain suffered one of the worst winters in 100 years. While in the U.S. the National Weather Service (NWS) reported that the bitterly cold winter broke numerous temperature and snow extent records with the 4th coldest February on record. New York and much of the U.S. Northeast was pumelled by record snow falls that deposited about 60cm (2 feet) of snow in NYC alone. While in New Zealand tens of thousands of lambs have perished in bitter winter snows.

Worst Snow Falls Since 1970's

Rutgers University Global Snow Lab also confirms that the 2010 Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent was the second highest on record, at 52,166,840 km2 and second only to February, 1978 which was slightly higher at 53,647,305 km2.

Are we now seeing the specter of a return to the fears of the 1970s, when climatologists warned of `The Cooling World' (Newsweek, April 28, 1975)? Anna Petherick reporting for ( August 27, 2010) recently reported on the brutal northern winter that was quickly followed in the southern hemisphere by a viciously cold winter and Antarctic chills killing millions of aquatic animals in the Amazon.

So will these latest changes in the sun's behavior be a harbinger of more cold to come?

SOURCE (See the original for links and references)

Blog Warfare - Warmists attacks their own

Richard Black of the BBC finds out how ugly it can be when you make the mistake (the travesty!) of missing a chance to tell everyone that the Earth's falling apart due to Man-made Global Warming.

It's the first time Richard Black has been on the receiving end. He's a bit put out.
It seems that something new, and not altogether welcome, may be happening in the politicking over climate change.

I have written before of the orchestrated villification that comes the way of climate scientists from some people and organisations who are unconvinced of the case for human-induced climate change - "sceptics", "deniers", as you wish.

This week, for the first time, I am seeing the same pattern from their opponents.

Joe Romm, the physicist-cum-government-advisor-cum-polemicist, posted a blog entry highly critical of the Arctic ice article I wrote last week.

Joe Romm took him to task for doing a story on the hottest year without "mentioning the primary cause of global warming" (according to climate models which are known to be wrong). Romm set lots of emailers onto Black. The original "dreadful" story is just reporting how arctic ice melted fast, but didn't shrink as much as 2007.

Then you can see the cogs turning in Black's mind with the implications:
What about scientists? If researchers publish papers on climate change that do not include cataclysmic warnings of where the world is heading, will they receive the same treatment?

Hello, Richard, yes, exactly, and you are catching up fast on the world in 1990. Around then, an intolerant culture was established that scorned anyone who so much as asked difficult questions. Some eminent scientists were sacked. Al Gores staffers attacked Fred Singer so viperously, that he took them to court and won. But what message did that send to the world's scientists? You can speak your doubts on the hypothesis of man-made-catastrophe, but be prepared to spend thousands on lawyers, risk your job, and lose your friends. Singer won the battle, but Al won that war.

If Richard Black would like the debate to be less polarized and more scientific he could start by getting over his own noxious use of the derogatory term "denier".

This is good news for skeptics. Why, because when bullies do what bullies do, they bite back at their own. For people like Judith Curry and Richard Black, suddenly the depth of the vicious campaign becomes clear, and unless they have a religious belief in man-made global warming, this is the point when they start to wonder just how strong the scientific case is. I've written before about how the bullying creates only brittle support, working only until the tactic is exposed for all to see, and how it helps convert passive borderline skeptics into active trumpeting dissenters.

There is a serious slogging going on in the comments, and it's interesting to watch.

The once cohesive block of the believers in the Big Scare Campaign fragments a bit further. Piece by piece proponents will distance themselves from the unscientific advocacy until all that are left are the religious believers who won't be swayed by any amount of reason.

Bishop Hill points out that there's a BBC science review running at the moment, and wonders if that has had any effect on Richard Black's reporting. The BBC review is starting from a point 10-steps-to-the-left of impartial: Both quacks and climate deniers rarely have anything to say that is real science. That's right, even if you have a Nobel Physics Prize, a BBC editor can group you with "quacks" and ignore everything you say.


British councillors shelve planned housing estate... in case cats eat the local dormice

A site for a new housing estate was rejected after planning chiefs said residents' cats might eat dormice in a nearby wood. Councillors in Paddock Wood, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, voted down a proposed site for 600 homes after deciding it was `too dangerous' for the tiny creatures.

The native Hazel dormouse, which can hibernate for up to six months, is an endangered species in the UK and councillors were worried that the estate would mean scores of hungry cats arriving in the area. They said the cats would hunt in the 40-acre Foal Hurst Wood and devastate the dormouse population.

Labour councillor Ray Moon said the council had a `responsibility to maintain the wood for future generations' and that `having domestic cats living nearby would be disastrous for small mammals'. He said: `The Foal Hurst Wood is an ancient woodland, it has dormice, it offers so many different things to that area.

`I'm willing to stand up and defend the dormice of Foal Hurst Wood on the basis that our schoolchildren want to see our wildlife thriving. `I don't want my grandchildren to grow up and say: "I've never seen a dormouse, what's a dormouse?"'

But independent councillor Ron Goodman was angered by the ruling. He said: `You're trying to make a decision based on what's good for dormice. It's all nonsense. It's crazy.' Mr Goodman begged fellow councillors: `Don't make your mind up just because of some dormice.'

The site was rejected after seven councillors voted it the `least favoured option' of three proposed sites, with one vote against and two abstentions.

Resident Amy Little, 32, said: `How they can get in such a tizzy about dormice is ridiculous.'

Earlier this year, a council in South Wales spent œ190,000 on three 20ft-high road bridges for dormice to stop them being flattened by cars.


Attack on America's motor vehicles being stepped up

Environmental groups have launched a new effort, the Safe Climate Campaign, to radically transform the American automobile and fight climate change. Nathan Wilcox, global warming director at Environment America, states: “Americans want cars that go farther on a gallon of gas. They want our country to use less oil. They want our politicians doing more to address the problem of global warming, not less.” But the proposals are so extreme that the mini-van so loved by Soccer Moms may become an endangered species.

To kick off the campaign, nineteen environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, sent a letter on September 9 to President Obama calling for a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 60 miles-per-gallon (mpg). The memo also advocates a global warming tailpipe pollution standard of 143 grams-per-mile, both to be implemented by model year 2025. The memo states: “Setting strong global warming pollution and fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks is a key opportunity to put America on the right path.”

If adopted, these proposals will require that the average vehicle sold meet the standards or manufacturers pay a per-vehicle fine. Consumers will be forced to buy small high-mileage cars, primarily electric and hybrid, and forgo large vehicles based on the internal combustion engine, such as today’s mini-vans. Such emissions standards could significantly raise the price of our cars. Europe recently enacted similar emissions standards that are projected to boost prices by more than $8,000 per vehicle.

Congress is now an advocate of electric cars. The Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 (S. 3495), was introduced in the Senate in June. If passed, the act will direct state regulatory agencies and electric utilities to plan for electric vehicles and to deploy electric vehicle charging stations. The bill includes a “Targeted Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Communities Program,” authorizing the Secretary of Energy to grant $500 million in taxpayer money to each of up to 15 cities to “fund projects in the deployment community.” The goal is to achieve deployment of 700,000 plug-in vehicles at an estimated cost of $4 billion. A large share of these funds will be funneled to General Motors, majority-owned by the U.S. government. These subsidies will add to the $2.7 billion in electric car grants already provided by the 2009 Recovery Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aggressively moving to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. On April 1, the EPA established a new 35.5 mpg CAFE standard and a vehicle emissions standard of 250 grams per mile, effective for automobile model year 2016. The EPA has also proposed new “window stickers” with an “A+” through “D” grade based on fuel economy and emissions. Consumers may soon be told that plug-in electric vehicles rate an “A,” while SUVs get a “B” or lower. In the eyes of the EPA and climate alarmists, safety, roominess, driving range, acceleration, carrying capacity, and price/performance rate a lower grade than solving the climate crisis.

The danger is not that the government provides incentives to develop an electric vehicle industry, but that these policies become a coercive effort to force consumer purchases. Hybrid vehicles now account for only about 3% of U.S. annual vehicle sales and plug-in electric car sales are negligible. According to a 2010 National Academy of Sciences report, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with a 40-mile battery range will cost $14,000-18,000 more than a conventional car. Even with battery improvements, the PHEV will still cost $10,000 more by 2030. As an example, the recently announced sub-compact Chevrolet Volt has a 40-mile battery range and is priced at an expensive $41,000. Charging times are eight hours from a 120-volt electrical outlet, or a still-inconvenient three hours if a buyer purchases a 240-volt charging station for $2,000-$5,000. Coercive standards proposed by the Safe Climate Campaign will impose life-style changes and high costs on American citizens.

During the June Senate hearings on S.3495, “energy independence” or “reducing our dependence on foreign oil” were the often-stated reasons why we must adopt electric cars. Vehicles account for more than 70% of the seven billion barrels of annual U.S. oil consumption, 57% of which was imported in 2008. Advocates urge adoption of electric cars to reduce imports from nations such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Venezuela.

But we have a more practical solution available than forcing electric cars on Americans. By expanding imports from friendly nations, such as Canada (currently our largest oil partner), Mexico, and Brazil, and boosting domestic oil production, we can reduce our dependency on rogue nations. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 10.4 billion barrels of oil are available from our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), enough to replace imports from Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The continental U.S. also has 163 billion barrels of unproven reserves, but 85% of this total is currently in areas where exploration and drilling are banned. Yes, the recent BP oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was a tragedy. But the BP oil blowout in 2010, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, and the Santa Barbara blow-out in 1969 add up to only three major spills in the last 50 years. Improved safeguards should be able to lower the chance of such spills.

The letter to President Obama closes with the phrase: “With these standards you can ensure we take this opportunity on the path to ending our dependence on oil.” Note that it says “dependence on oil,” not “foreign oil.” A visit to the websites of environmental groups finds opposition to any efforts to grow U.S. oil production. They favor a ban on offshore drilling, and oppose drilling in ANWR, expansion of drilling in the continental United States, imports from Canadian oil sands, and construction of new oil pipelines and refineries. Indeed, these organizations also oppose the use of coal- and gas-fired electrical power plants. Energy independence is the often-stated reason for the electric car push, but the real reason is that our gasoline-burning cars are blamed for global warming.

Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate, is the ideology behind the attack on our cars. Earth’s surface temperature has warmed only about one degree in the last 100 years, but climate alarmists tell us that this warming is “unprecedented.” They demand that we switch to fluorescent lights, wind- and solar-generated electricity, vegetarian diets, and now electric cars.

Yet, geologists tell us that Chicago and New York City were covered by an ice sheet only 15,000 years ago. The Earth’s surface temperature warmed 10 to 20 degrees as the ice melted, providing the warm interglacial period we now enjoy. None of the post-ice age warm-up was due to emissions from SUVs, but alarmists are certain that the much smaller warming of the last 30 years is man-made. As a result, the American automobile is the target of Climatism.


Green/Left government committee ignores third way in tackling climate change, say Australia's conservatives

"Belief test" shows that it is religion, not science that is involved

THE Coalition has sharpened its attack on Labor's climate change committee, saying it's too secretive and based on accepting a pre-ordained outcome.

Squabbling over the committee intensified this morning before the official opening of the 43rd Australian parliament, the swearing-in of members and the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The government says members of the multi-party committee should be committed to establishing a price on carbon, and its deliberations will be in secret until an agreement is reached. The Coalition has refused the government's offer to sit on the committee.

Opposition spokesman for climate action Greg Hunt claimed today that a "belief test" had been imposed on the committee, saying the two options up for consideration were a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme. "Our view is that there is a third way in terms of market mechanisms," he told ABC radio.

"And that's the water buyback equivalent - what we would call direct action for a carbon buyback. "That's off the table. And you are not even allowed to participate in the committee unless you accept that the third way is not on the table," he said.

"And I'm not aware respectfully of a belief test ever having been imposed. It's almost Orwellian to say we have a new openness but now in fact we have a) almost the most secret committee ever and b) certainly the only belief test committee in parliamentary history."

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen said the government was effectively ruling him out of the committee, adding: "I'm probably the most highly qualified scientist in this place." He said he was being ruled out because he didn't "believe in a carbon price". "It's as simple as that. I'm being ruled out on that basis," he said.

"It would make no difference if I thought that there were other mechanisms to tackle things. "And I think that there are things that you can do responsibly without needing to go to a carbon price regardless of what's your philosophical viewpoint on whether human beings are causing climate change or not."

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet dismissed the criticisms as "hyperbole". He said on Sky News it was "complete rubbish" that the committee required its members to have a pre-ordained position.

Mr Combet said membership of the committee membership was based on whether a political party respected the climate science, saying it would provide common ground to "move forward". However, he confirmed the purpose of the committee was to "discuss the options for introducing a carbon price".

Mr Combet also defended the confidentiality arrangements, arguing there would be some "very commercially sensitive" information being considered. However, he added that some of the information being considered could also be useful in stimulating debate, citing an updated version of Professor Ross Garnaut's climate change review.



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


28 September, 2010

Thermometer Magic

Prior to the year 2000, the GISS US temperature graph appeared as below. Note that 1998 was more than half a degree C (almost 1§F) cooler than 1934.

In the year 2000, they switched places. 1998 became warmer than 1934. How did this magic occur?

You can see the trick behind the magic in the USHCN graph below. Most temperatures readings made prior to 1950 have been lowered ex post facto, and most years after 1950 have been raised successively higher.

In fact, all temperature readings taken after 1990 have more than 0.5 degrees F added on to what was actually measured by the thermometers!

Now, here comes the kicker. I overlaid the USHCN adjustments (thin blue line) on the current GISS US temperature graph below, lining up with the 1930s peak. The scale adjusted for Fahrenheit vs Centigrade of course.

As you can see, essentially all of the "warming" which is shown in the graph since the 1930s, is due to adjustments made to the thermometer readings.


Global Cooling and the New World Order

Bilderberg. Whether you believe it’s part of a sinister conspiracy which will lead inexorably to one world government or whether you think it’s just an innocent high-level talking shop, there’s one thing that can’t be denied: it knows which way the wind is blowing.

At its June meeting in Sitges, Spain (unreported and held in camera, as is Bilderberg’s way), some of the world’s most powerful CEOs rubbed shoulders with notable academics and leading politicians. They included: the chairman of Fiat, the Irish Attorney General Paul Gallagher, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Dick Perle, the Queen of the Netherlands, the editor of the Economist…. Definitely not Z-list, in other words.

Which is what makes one particular item on the group’s discussion agenda so tremendously significant. See if you can spot the one I mean:
The 58th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Sitges, Spain 3 – 6 June 2010. The Conference will deal mainly with Financial Reform, Security, Cyber Technology, Energy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, World Food Problem, Global Cooling, Social Networking, Medical Science, EU-US relations.

Yep, that’s right. Global Cooling.

Which means one of two things. Either it was a printing error. Or the global elite is perfectly well aware that global cooling represents a far more serious and imminent threat to the world than global warming, but is so far unwilling to admit it except behind closed doors.

Let me explain briefly why this is a bombshell waiting to explode.

Almost every government in the Western world from the USA to Britain to all the other EU states to Australia and New Zealand is currently committed to a policy of “decarbonisation.” This in turn is justified to (increasingly sceptical) electorates on the grounds that man-made CO2 is a prime driver of dangerous global warming and must therefore be reduced drastically, at no matter what social, economic and environmental cost. In the Eighties and Nineties, the global elite had a nice run of hot weather to support their (scientifically dubious) claims. But now they don’t. Winters are getting colder. Fuel bills are rising (in the name of combating climate change, natch). The wheels are starting to come off the AGW bandwagon. Ordinary people, resisting two decades of concerted brainwashing, are starting to notice.

All this, of course, spells big trouble for the global power elite. As well as leading to food shortages (as, for example, it becomes harder to grow wheat in northerly latitudes; adding, of course, to such already-present disasters as biofuels and the rejection of GM), global cooling is going to find electorates increasingly angry that they have been sold a pup.

Our fuel bills have risen inexorably; our countryside, our views and our property values have been ravaged by hideous wind farms; our holidays have been made more expensive; our cost of living has been driven up by green taxes; our freedoms have been curtailed in any number of pettily irritating ways from what kind of light bulbs we are permitted to use to how we dispose of our rubbish. And to what end? If man-made global warming was really happening and really a problem we might possibly have carried on putting up with all these constraints on our liberty and assaults on our income. But if it turns out to have been a myth……

Well then, all bets are off.

The next few years are going to be very interesting. Watch the global power elite squirming to reposition itself as it slowly distances itself from Anthropogenic Global Warming (”Who? Us? No. We never thought of it as more than a quaint theory…”), and tries to find new ways of justifying green taxation and control. (Ocean acidification; biodiversity; et al). You’ll notice sly shifts in policy spin. In Britain, for example, Chris “Chicken Little” Huhne’s suicidal “dash for wind” will be re-invented as a vital step towards “energy security.” There will be less talk of “combatting climate change” and more talk of “mitigation”. You’ll hear enviro-Nazis like Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren avoid reference to “global warming” like the plague, preferring the more reliably vague phrase “global climate disruption.”

And you know what the worst thing is? If we allow them to, they’re going to get away with it.

Our duty as free citizens over the next few years is to make sure that they don’t.

Al Gore, George Soros, Bill Gates, Carol Browner, John Holdren, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Tim Yeo, Michael Mann, Ted Turner, Robert Redford, Phil Jones, Chris Huhne, John Howard (yes really, he was supposed to be a conservative, but he was the man who kicked off Australia’s ETS), Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Yvo de Boer, Rajendra Pachauri….The list of the guilty goes on and on. Each in his own way – and whether through ignorance, naivety idealism or cynicism, it really doesn’t matter for the result has been the same – has done his bit to push the greatest con-trick in the history of science, forcing on global consumers the biggest bill in the history taxation, using “global warming” as an excuse to extend the reach of government further than it has ever gone before.

It is time we put a stop to this. In the US, the Tea Party movement is showing us the way. We need to punish these dodgy politicians at the ballot box. We need to ensure that those scientists guilty of malfeasance are, at the very least thrown out of the jobs which we taxpayers have been funding these last decades. We need to ensure that corporatist profiteers are no longer able to benefit from the distortion and corruption of the markets which result from green regulation.

We need a “Global Warming” Nuremberg.


Shale gas transforming energy outlook

Cheap, low-emission shale gas, with double the global reserves of conventional sources, will discourage investment in nuclear reactors and carbon storage that would fight climate change, a British study shows.

“In a world where there is the serious possibility of cheap, relatively clean gas, who will commit large sums of money to expensive pieces of equipment to lower carbon emissions?” Paul Stevens, senior research fellow at Chatham House, a London- based institute for the study of international affairs, wrote in the report published today.

Global shale gas reserves are estimated to be 456 trillion cubic meters (16,110 trillion cubic feet) compared with 187 trillion cubic meters for conventional gas, the London-based World Energy Council said in a 2010 report. More than 60 percent of shale gas deposits, or plays, are in North America and Russia.

Shale gas is considered unconventional because it is found in sedimentary rock, not in reservoirs. Tapping it requires more wells, advanced horizontal drilling and chemicals that can pollute ground water.

A confluence of drilling history, tax credits, emission goals, technology, and incentives for landowners to allow wells has reduced U.S. shale gas production costs to less than half of conventional gas in some places, Stevens wrote. That is shaking investor confidence in conventional gas.

Cheaper Than Conventional

The cost of producing shale gas is $3 or less per million British thermal units in the Texas plays of Barnett and Haynesville, Stevens wrote. Conventional gas drilling is about $10 per million Btu, said Chris Rowland, executive director of a research unit of Ecofin Ltd., a London-based investment management company.

“If gas is available at $5 per million Btu, the all-in price for gas-fired plants would fall to around 50 euros ($67) per megawatt-hour without carbon capture and storage, or 70 euros with it,” Rowland said. That compares with 160 euros for a coal plant with CCS, perhaps falling to 130 euros in 10 years, and 85 euros for a nuclear plant, Rowland said.

Natural gas has averaged $4.63 over the past year. Gas for October delivery settled at $4.019 yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


The Farm That Will Milk Britons Of Billions

In all the publicity given to the opening of "the world's largest wind farm" off the Kent coast last week, by far the most important and shocking aspect of this vast project was completely overlooked. Over the coming years we will be giving the wind farm's Swedish owners a total of £1.2 billion in subsidies. That same sum, invested now in a single nuclear power station, could yield a staggering 13 times more electricity, with much greater reliability.

The first all-too-common mistake in the glowing coverage accorded to the inauguration of this Thanet wind farm by the Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, was to accept unquestioningly the claims of the developer, Vattenfall, about its output. The array of 100 three-megawatt (MW) turbines, each the height of Blackpool Tower, will have, it was said, the "capacity" to produce 300MW of electricity, enough to "power" 200,000 (or even 240,000) homes.

This may be true at those rare moments when the wind is blowing at the right speeds. But the wind, of course, is intermittent, and the average output of these turbines will be barely a quarter of that figure. The latest official figures on the website of Mr Huhne's own department show that last year the average output (or "load factor") of Britain's offshore turbines was only 26 per cent of their capacity.

Due to its position, the wind farm's owners will be lucky to get, on average, 75MW from their windmills, a fraction of the output of a proper power station. The total amount of electricity the turbines actually produce will equate to the average electricity usage not of 240,000 homes, but of barely half that number.

A far more significant omission from the media reports, however, was any mention of the colossal subsidies this wind farm will earn. Wind energy is subsidised through the system of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs), unwittingly paid for by all of us through our electricity bills. Our electricity supply companies are obliged to buy offfshore wind energy at three times its normal price, so that each kilowatt hour of electricity receives a 200 per cent subsidy of £100.

This means that the 75MW produced on average by Thanet will receive subsidies of £60 million a year, on top of the £30-40 million cost of the electricity itself. This is guaranteed for the turbines' estimated working life of 20 years, which means that the total subsidy over the next two decades will be some £1.2 billion. Based on the costings of the current French nuclear programme, that would buy 1 gigawatt (1,000MW) of carbon-free nuclear generating capacity, reliably available 24 hours a day – more than 13 times the average output of the wind farm.

The 100 turbines opened last week cost £780 million to build, which means that the £100 million a year its owners hope to earn represents a 13 per cent return on capital, enough to excite the interest of any investor. And these turbines are only the first stage of a project eventually designed to include 341 of them, generating subsidies of £1 billion every five years.

A final claim for the Thanet wind farm (which Mr Huhne boasts is "only the beginning") is that it will create "green jobs" – although the developers say that only 21 of these will be permanent. These are thus costing, in "green subsidies" alone, £3 million per job per year, or £57 million for each job over the next 20 years. The Government gaily prattles about how it wants to create "400,000 green jobs", which on this basis would eventually cost us £22.8 trillion, or 17 times the entire annual output of the UK economy.

If all this sounds dizzyingly surreal, the fact remains that we must begin to grasp just what the green fantasies of Mr Huhne, the EU and the rest are costing us. Even the Queen, we learn, tried to claim a "fuel poverty" allowance for her soaring electricity bills, which have risen 50 per cent in the past year. But a crucial first step towards getting some grip on reality must be for those who report on these wind farms to stop hiding away the colossal price we are all now having to pay for one of the greatest scams of our age.



Comment from Britain's "Daily Express" newspaper (Circulation over 600,000)

THIS newspaper has long been in the sceptical camp when it comes to the great man-made global warming scare.

It is not the warnings of some scientists about the possible impact of climate change that are most objectionable but rather their elevation into an orthodoxy that it is not permissible to challenge.

Yet there has always been the whiff of hyperbole surrounding claims made by the high priests of the climate change

One of the most alarming predictions was the forecast of Dr Rajendra Pachauri that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035, causing an environmental disaster. As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the official United Nations body in this area, Dr Pachauri's warning commanded massive attention. But now even he admits it was not justified.

So no wonder he is under pressure to step down. In Britain even adherents of the climate change panic wish him to depart. As Tim Yeo, chairman of the all-party Commons committee on the subject, observes: "Climate science needs a guarantee of utmost reliability and Dr Pachauri can no longer guarantee that."

It is obvious that Dr Pachauri should resign and take the rest of his discredited panel with him. But there is a very good reason why those who first challenged his views need not bother to press the issue: while Dr Pachauri and his allies remain in place few people will believe future IPCC scare stories about the world drastically overheating.


An annoying regulation for every room in the house

The Obama administration isn’t satisfied giving the American people several big things we don’t want — the stimulus package, expanded bailouts, Obamacare — but it is also hitting us with a multitude of bothersome regulations. Perhaps most annoying of all is Washington’s attempt to redesign home appliances. Just weeks after taking office, the president announced an accelerated process to create stringent new energy efficiency standards for nearly everything around the house that uses energy. The Department of Energy is well on its way towards accomplishing this goal, boasting of more than 20 such regulations since President Obama came to office.

If past experience is any guide, these regulations will raise the purchase price of appliances — in some cases more than is ever likely to be earned back in the form of energy savings. Worse, several may adversely impact product performance and reliability. There are potentially problematic regulations on the way for virtually every room in the house.

The Basement — new standards are in the works for water heaters and furnaces. In the case of water heaters, the Department of Energy estimates price increases ranging from $67 to $974 depending on size and type.

The Bathroom — the same 1992 law that gave us those awful low-flush toilets also restricted the amount of water showerheads could use to 2.5 gallons per minute. Some consumers thought the flow from these showers too weak, and opted for models with two or more showerheads, each of which contributed 2.5 gallons per minute. But the Department of Energy recently eliminated this option by reinterpreting the law to require that the total flow must comply with the limit. It is good to know that regulators are hard at work ensuring that Americans can’t get what they want.

The Kitchen — there are pending regulations for refrigerators, dishwashers, conventional ovens, and microwaves. With refrigerators, it’s a clear case of regulatory overkill. They have already been subject to multiple rounds of increasingly tighter standards, with each new rule saving less energy than the last while adding to performance and reliability issues. One more regulation may well go beyond the point of diminishing marginal returns and be downright harmful.

The Laundry Room — New standards are on the way for both clothes washers and dryers. The last clothes washer regulation managed to both raise the cost of many models by hundreds of dollars while compromising cleaning ability. Yet another round could make things worse.

The Bedroom, Living Room (or any air-conditioned room) — both central air-conditioners and window units are scheduled for new regulations. Even the Department of Energy conceded when rolling out its last round of central air-conditioner standards in January 2001 (one of those last-minute Clinton administration regulatory surprises) that many homeowners would never recoup the additional up-front cost of compliant models. The new standards could be an even lousier deal.

These new Obama administration regulations come on top of all the previous ones, including the worst of them all — the Bush-era requirement that will effectively ban incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012.

In nearly every case, consumers who want more efficient appliances (or those compact fluorescent light bulbs) are free to buy them. Energy use labels provide all the information needed for consumers to make comparisons. The only thing federal regulations accomplish is to force the government’s preferred choice on everyone.

There are a lot of things coming from Washington that need to be revisited. These awful appliance efficiency standards should be high on that list.



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


27 September, 2010

What do we see when we use THREE centuries of temperature data?

German geologist Dr. Friedrich-Karl Ewert has asked that question and answered it. He notes that the German weather bureau has temperature records going back as far as 1701 so decided to use them all to calculate temperature changes over time. He found nearly as many cooling trends as warming trends -- giving an overall temperature change that is so small as to be best described as temperature stability.

Below is the introduction to an almost completely ignored press conference that he gave at the recent Bonn pow-wow. I also have the graphs accompanying the presentation and reproduce the first of them below.

The captions are in German but what he shows is the average temperature change over the period available for various centres. In brown are centres where there was warming and in blue are centres where there was no change or cooling. You can see that in all but a few cases the changes were in fractions of one degree Celsius, with the total changes in blue almost cancelling out the total of changes in brown and red.

No doubt various criticisms could be made of Dr Ewert's methods -- averaging time periods of different lengths etc. -- but Warmists are in much the same boat. As is well-known, James Hansen refuses outright to reveal the details and rationale of the methods he uses to account for various difficulties -- which surely speaks for itself

I have tidied up the German English somewhat below

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 13th Session of AWG-KP and 11th Session of AWG-LCA, 2 to 7 August 2010 in Bonn/Germany. Contribution by EIKE (Europaisches Institut fuer Klima und Energie). Press Conference:

Long-term temperature readings disprove man-made global warming

by Dipl.-Geol. Dr. Friedrich-Karl Ewert, Bad Driburg/Germany, Mail:


Temperature readings permit us to portray temperatures in the past and to correlate their development with influencing factors in order to check whether scenarios figured out for the future might be realistic - or not. For instance: the IPCC's postulation that anthropogenic CO2 will cause within the forthcoming decades a tremendous global warming cannot be true if already now worldwide cooling is taking place in spite of ongoing emissions.

It is surprising that temperature readings carried out during the 18th and 19th century have not yet been considered although they are available from 1701 onwards as monthly and annual averages in [The German Weather Bureau].

The author evaluated data from 46 stations worldwide and generated temperature curves with their trend-lines. They were used to ascertain the annual change rates of the temperature variations. These changes do not confirm the wide-spread conviction of a global climate change but identify merely rather small temperature variations. They yielded a slight warming in approx. two thirds of several regions but likewise a slight cooling in the others.

The positive experience gained with this first evaluation motivated one to determine the trends of NASA-temperature curves from 776 stations located all over the world. Stations established already in 1880 were preferably analysed. It became evident that warming within the pre-industrial age also occurred faster than nowadays. Invariable trends or even cooling were diagnosed for 74% of all stations, although with differences from continent to continent. These trends superimpose periodical temperature variations of second order and regional differences. Only 18.8% of the stations recorded warming, of which a substantial portion belongs still to the category of urban development since only very few and very clear cases were assigned to the Urban Heat Island Effect. Contrary to computer based scenarios - and hence contrary to what is generally believed -- anthropogenic CO2 is meaningless because its influence is not recognizable. Of course this result complies with the basic laws of physics and is not really surprising.

Received via email

The Week That Was (To September 25, 2010)

Excerpt from Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Apparently re-invigorated by its August holiday, this week Congress renewed its anti-energy proposals. Several senators introduced a bill requiring a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that 3% of US electricity be generated by renewable by 2012 and 15% by 2021. Fred Singer discussed RES in his August 7 Science Editorial in TWTW. Government favored industries, such as solar and wind industries, require such a bill. The subsidies found in the stimulus bill run out at the end of this year and these the favored industries could not stand up to price competition from coal or natural gas. Nuclear and hydro are also out of favor.

As discussed previously in TWTW, American prosperity was built on reliable affordable energy, especially electricity. With reliable electricity, came great efficiency. Manufacturing can be conducted with precision, office workers could depend that the lights would turn on, elevators would work, and high tech industries could rely on dependable computer power. Solar, and particularly wind, give none of this. And the required generation from back-up sources uses these sources inefficiently. Also, there are serious questions weather wind generation actually reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

In effect, many of our political leaders would have us believe that the 21st Century prosperity can be obtained by replacing the dependable family car with an expensive to purchase and operate exotic car that often does not start and frequently dies in heavy traffic when it is needed the most. It may be a burden on others, but it makes the politicians "feel good" they have "done something" to address a non-existent problem.

We can fully expect that such legislation will be supported by the chorus claiming that climate extremes demonstrate the need for action. Another claim will be to reduce oil imports for foreign countries; but, as mentioned in a previous TWTW only 1.1% of electricity generation comes from oil. And, of course, we will be bombarded with green jobs - which economic studies show are extremely expensive, temporary, and, generally, foreign-based. (Please see articles under "Subsidies and Mandates Forever."


Renewable Electricity Standard is in full force in California. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) decreed that in 10 years California must obtain 33% of its electricity from alternative sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal. California has 12% unemployment. Those pointing out that California can ill afford further job losses, that cost and benefits reports issued from CARB are hopelessly opportunistic, and that citizens will suffer from increases electricity rates are branded as being on the payroll of the oil industry and opposed to clean air.



Guest Editorial by Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt (Harrison H. Schmitt is a former United States Senator from New Mexico as well as a geologist and former Apollo Astronaut)

The scientific rationale behind the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed massive intrusion into American life in the name of fighting climate change has no scientific or constitutional justification. This hard left excursion into socialism, fully supported by the Congressional Leadership and the President, has no basis in observational science, as has been discussed previously relative to climate history, temperature, and carbon dioxide.

In addition, oceans of the Earth play the dominant role in the perpetuation and mediation of naturally induced change of global climate.[1] Density variations linking the Northern and Southern Hemisphere portions of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans through the Southern Ocean drive the primary circulation system that controls hemispheric and global climate. Differences in temperature and salt concentration produce these density variations that circulate heat around the planet. For the last several years in this circulating environment, the sea surface temperature of the oceans appears to be leveling off or decreasing[2] with no net heat increase for the last 58 years[3] and particularly since 2003[4] and possibly since 1990[5]. The long-term climatic implications of this recent broad scale cooling are not known.

Density increase due to evaporation in the North Atlantic creates a salt-rich, cold, deepwater current that flows south to join the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Upwelling from that Circumpolar Current brings nutrient and carbon dioxide-rich deep seawater into the upper Southern Ocean. This Southern Ocean water then moves north toward the equator where it joins a warm water current flowing from the North Pacific, through the tropics and the Indian Ocean, and then northward through the Atlantic to become the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream flows into the North Atlantic where, as part of a continuous process, wind-driven evaporation increases salt concentration and density and feeds the deepwater flow back to the south. Natural interference in the normal functioning of the ocean conveyor can occur. For example, melting of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, accumulation of melt-water behind ice dams, and abrupt fresh water inputs into the North Atlantic cause major disruptions in global ocean circulation. [6]

The oceans both moderate and intensify weather and decadal climate trends due to their great capacity to store solar heat as well as their global current structure, slow mixing, salinity variations, wind interactions, and oscillatory changes in heat distribution over large volumes. [7] The Northern Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), [8] the El Nino-La Nina Southern Pacific Oscillation (ENSO), [9] the long period anchovy-sardine Southern Pacific Oscillation, [10] the Gulf Stream Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), [11] the Indonesian Through-Flow (ITF), [12v the Agulhas Current[13], and other related ocean currents and cycles have demonstrably large, decadal scale effects on regional as well as global climate. [14]

Possibly the greatest oceanic influence on global climate results from the full hemispheric reach and scale of the Southern Ocean's Circumpolar Current as it circulates around Antarctica and between the continents of the Southern Hemisphere. [15] In particular, the northward migration of the cold to warm water front off South Africa during ice ages may restrict warm, salty water of the western Indian Ocean's Agulhas Current from entering the South Atlantic and eventually amplify ice age cooling in North America and Europe. [16]

In several major portions of the global ocean heat conveyor, natural variations in heating, evaporation, freshwater input, [17] atmospheric convection, surface winds, and cloud cover can influence the position and strengths of related, but local ocean currents near the continents. This variation in current positioning, therefore, modifies carbon dioxide uptake and release, storm patterns, tropical cyclone frequency, [18] phytoplankton abundance, [19] drought conditions, and sea level rise that drive the reality of, as well as our perceptions of climate change.

For example, since about 7000 years ago, sea level rise has averaged about eight inches (20cm) per century for a total of about 55 feet (16m). [20] This same approximate rate appears to have held from 1842 to the mid-1980s. [21] The trend in sea level rise between the early 1900s and 1940 showed no observable acceleration attributable to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. [22] Satellite data show an apparent 50% increase of this rate after 1992, but this presumably will slow again soon due to the effects of the current period of global cooling. If the current slow rate of long-term global warming should continue for 100 years, the total sea level rise attributable to worldwide glacier melting and ocean thermal expansion would be no more that about four inches (10cm). [23]

Greenland's ice sheet also plays a cyclic role in sea level changes. In the 1950s, Greenland's glaciers retreated significantly only to advance again between 1970 and 1995, [24] a pattern of retreat and then advance repeated again between 1995 and 2006[25]. Predicting future sea level rise from short-term observation of Greenland's glaciers would seem to have little validity, particularly as there appears to be a half a decade lag in observable melting and accretion responses relative to global temperature variations[26]. The same conclusion now can be made relative to Himalayan glaciers. [27]

There also seems to be little danger of a catastrophic melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that would cause a major rise in sea level. [28] Great uncertainty also exists relative to the natural dynamics and history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet with Ross Sea sedimentary cores suggesting that major cycles of ice cover changes have occurred over the last five million years. [29] Overall, short-term sea level changes relate more to local geological dynamics that to glacial variations. [30]

Compilations of temperature changes in the oceans and seas, as preserved by oxygen isotope variations in shells from cores of bottom sediments, provide a record of natural oceanic reactions to cycles of major climate change back for 1.8 million years. [31] For example, geological analysis of sea level changes over the last 500,000 years show a remarkable correlation with major natural climate change. [32] These data further indicate that the Earth probably is approaching the peak of the warming portion of a normal climate cycle that began with the end of the last Ice Age, about 10, 000 years ago. [33]

The oceans play the major role in removing carbon from the atmosphere. Seawater calcium and various inorganic and organic processes in the oceans fix carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide as calcium carbonate, [34] planktonic and benthic organisms, and inedible forms of suspended carbon[35]. In so doing, these processes constitute major factors in global cycles of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Calcium availability in the oceans, in turn, relates to major geological dynamics, including mountain building, volcanism, river flows, and the growth, alteration, and destruction of crustal plates beneath the oceans.

Over the last 28 million years, marked variations in precipitated seawater calcium isotopes, particularly beginning about 13 million years ago, indicate major changes in sources of calcium rather than major variations in the quantity of atmospheric carbon dioxide. [36] This change in seawater calcium isotopic makeup may relate to events that included the partial deglaciation of Antarctica[37]. As most plant activity requires carbon dioxide, low atmospheric carbon dioxide values would reduce the rate of biologically assisted rock weathering. A limit on such weathering may buffer minimum atmospheric carbon dioxide to between 150 and 250ppm by limiting levels of seawater calcium. [38]

Significant introductions of calcium into the oceans from any source would be expected to result in a drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide to maintain chemical balances in local as well as global seawater. Ultimately, the history of seawater calcium concentrations may explain many of the long-term variations in carbon dioxide levels shown in various studies; however, correlations between calcium dynamics and carbon dioxide levels are not at sufficient geological resolution to make firm, dated correlations.

Slightly increased acidification of the local environments of sea dwelling organisms in the oceans may occur related to the absorption of new emissions of carbon dioxide. On the other hand, in spite of extreme alarmist hand wringing to the contrary[39], loss of ocean carbon dioxide due to naturally rising temperature works to mitigate this trend as will the broad chemical buffering of ocean acidity by both organic and inorganic processes[40].

Iron ion and iron complex concentrations in seawater, mediated by oxidation potential (Eh) and hydrogen ion concentration (pH or acidity), play an additional role in organic carbon fixation. Relatively simple laboratory experiments suggest that increases in ocean acidity might reduce availability of chelated iron in the life cycle of phytoplankton. [41] The complexity of this process in nature, however, and the many other variables that potentially would play a role in iron metabolism, indicate a need for a much more comprehensive experimental analysis before conclusions can be drawn.

Exactly what may happen in specific ecosystems remains uncertain relative to small increases or decreases in the acidity of ocean habitats or the change in the ratios of dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide. Coral reefs, for example, have been very adaptable over geologic time and extensive research strongly suggests that they adapt well, on a global scale, to climatic changes and the small associated chemical changes in the oceans. [42] So far, research indicates that some organisms benefit and some do not, as might be expected. [43] Indeed, this interplay between losses and gains has occurred many times in the geologic past as nature has continuously adjusted to climatic changes much greater than the slow warming occurring at present. The Earth's vast layers of carbonate rocks derived from carbon fixing organisms, including ancient, now dead coral reefs, as well as deeply submerged coral reefs on existing sea mounts, [44] show that the production and evolution of such organisms remains a continuous, if possibly, locally or regionally punctuated process.

In the face of the overwhelming dominance of the oceans on climate variability, it would appear foolish in the extreme to give up liberties and incomes to politicians in Washington and at the United Nations in the name of "doing something" about slow climate change.

The President, regulators, and Congress have chosen to try to push Americans along an extraordinarily dangerous path. That path includes unconstitutional usurpation of the rights of the people and the constitutionally reserved powers of the States as well as the ruin of economic stagnation. The Congress that takes office in 2011 absolutely must get this right!

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #28-2010 (Sep 25, 2010)

Radical Environmental Groups Extorting Federal Money with Lawsuit Threats

A federal project comes up, radical groups threaten to entangle it in litigation, the government pays them to go away. Fundraising!

To avoid lawsuits, American tax dollars are being used to pay off radical environmental groups. The groups are using the money to threaten more lawsuits.

Research provided to the Western Legacy Alliance has documented payments of at least $4,697,978 in taxpayer dollars to 14 environmental groups in 19 states and the District of Columbia. These payments are not being made because the radical groups won a legal battle or proved that the federal government was destroying the environment. Instead, they are being made to get environmental groups to go away - supposedly, a better option than forcing these groups to prove their case in court.

And now these same radical groups are extorting millions from major corporations and local governments using the same tactics.

On July 15, 2010, it was announced that the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) extorted $22 million from El Paso Corporation to drop their legal protests of the Ruby Pipeline project. Ruby Pipeline is a 680-mile pipeline being constructed across four Western states to bring natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon. As part of the deal, El Paso did not change the route or any other aspect of the pipeline - it just paid ONDA and WWP to go away.

In another case, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) extorted almost $1 million from Alameda County in California in exchange for dropping its protests to a city's residential and commercial development project.

The general theme: money changes hands, development moves forward, and the taxpayers and consumers get stuck with the both the litigation bill and higher fuel, home, and other prices as corporations pass on the extortion payments to the consumer.

Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), attorneys are only supposed to be paid if they represent the prevailing parties in a lawsuit against the federal government. According to EAJA, a prevailing party must achieve a court-sanctioned change in the position of the federal agency through litigation.

Under other federal statutes with EAJA-like fee-shifting provisions whose funds come out of the Treasury Department's Judgment Fund, attorneys' fees are only to be paid if the attorney achieved some success in the litigation for the plaintiff. Thus, the plaintiffs had to achieve some benefit from the litigation through the courts.

All too often, however, radical environmental groups sue the federal government based on claims that the government engaged in a procedural violation of some federal statute or regulation. In just the last nine years, nine of the hundreds of radical environmental groups filed over 3500 lawsuits against the federal government. Most often, the statutes that the government is claimed to have violated are statutes that require a particular time frame, procedure, or process be followed. These statutes do not force the government to make a certain decision related to an environmental issue.

In many of these cases, these environmental groups do not show any concern about the environment.

The vast majority of groups that claim a concern for the environment do not engage in any on-the-ground environmental work. Rather, if you examine the goals of most of these groups, they intend to stop American industry, hurt security, and restrain independence under all circumstances in all locations. For example: there are groups who claim that cattle contribute to global warming by "belching carbon" as if the internal gas emissions of livestock are any different from the internal working of cats, dogs, or other wildlife. These cases aren't about the environment, but rather about eliminating land use and ownership.

In 21 percent of the cases where the federal government has been presented with a potential legal challenge, the government pays the radical group to withdraw its case. There is no court decision and no determination that the environmental group "prevailed." Just a request to withdraw the litigation, accompanied by taxpayer money.

These extortion payments are occurring when roads are widened, bridges are built, water supplies are updated, timber is cut, and fishermen are out to sea. In a time when Americans are looking for work and tax relief, our money should be spent to support American business, not restrain it.


Enviro and Media Agenda on Extreme Weather - State Climatologist Invited, then Uninvited to Rally

David R. Legates, Ph.D., C.C.M


On Wednesday, August 25, I was invited by Environment America to speak at its September 8 press conference on "Extreme Weather in Delaware", to promote the release of their new report on the subject at Legislative Hall. Ms. Hannah Leone was pleased to have me speak because my "knowledge on climate change and weather would be a great asset to the event."

On Friday, August 27, I was uninvited from the event by Ms. Leone, who noted that "I believe it is in the best interest of the success of our report that you do not participation [sic] in this event" but "as lead climatologist in the state, your opinion would be beneficial to us." She had earlier indicated to me in a telephone call that she wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page at the event.

I believe that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Delaware that my "knowledge on climate change and weather" is made public, in light of the biases that are potentially inherent in the Environment America report. I say `potentially inherent' because, although I was promised a copy of the report, even after I was uninvited, I have yet to receive it. However, Ms. Leone was kind enough to indicate the premise of the report in her first e-mail to me:

On September 8th we will be holding a press conference around our new Environment America Extreme Weather Report that examines the science linking global warming with hurricanes and tropical storms; coastal storms and sea level rise; flooding and extreme rainfall; snowstorms; and drought, wildfire and heat waves. The report includes snapshot case studies of these extreme weather events that have occurred in the U.S. since 2005, and the damage that they caused, including a case study in Delaware. We do not suggest that these extreme weather events were caused by global warming. Rather, the point of examining the recent extreme weather events - and the economic losses and other negative impacts they caused - is to document why we need to take action to protect against them, including by reducing emissions of pollutants that are changing our climate.

The contradictions and biases evidenced by my communications with Environment America are fascinating. Although they willingly admit that "we do not suggest that these extreme weather events were caused by global warming," they are willing to assert that: (1) average planetary temperatures continue to increase; (2) the frequency and/or intensity of these events are increasing; and (3) reducing `climate changing' CO2 emissions will protect against these events. I will argue that none of these assertions is true.


As a Delaware Native who has lived in this State for almost forty years, I care very much about the Diamond State and its ecology. I too am concerned that we act as good stewards of our environment. As a scientist, I have spent my entire professional career studying weather and climate and trying to understand climate change processes. I am therefore outraged when I see outright misstatements of fact being used for political gain. My concern is that there has been no significant increase in extreme weather - just an increase in its coverage with a more global media and an increase in its hype due to the political ramifications that climate change can have.

Environment America's claim that the alleged increase in extreme weather events can be alleviated by taking action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide is unfounded. These events have not been increasing in either frequency or intensity and they are clearly not linked to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide. Limiting carbon dioxide emissions will have no effect at all on the frequency or intensity of these events. Unfortunately the negative ramifications of attempting to limit such emissions will be far too real. Our best solution is to make the public more aware of these dangers, provide more timely detection and dissemination of potential extreme weather hazards (in which the National Weather Service and several State agencies have been actively engaged), and encourage people to stop building in hazardous locations, thereby putting the existing population more at risk.

See detailed analysis of all the weather threats claimed by Environment America and other environmental groups, psuedoscientists and mainstream media alarmists here.

It is clear these groups and their media messengers are uninterested in facts or the truth just in communicating the scare message that they think will bring their movement to success. This is just another example of the blatant hypocracy that the public must be made aware of.


Environmentalism - What Has It Become?

BY MICHAEL R. FOX (Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., is a nuclear scientist and a science and energy resource for Hawaii Reporter)

On May 18, 2010 Vice president Al Gore gave an incredibly depressing commencement speech at the University of Tennessee ( According to Gore, doom was imminent, even if he had to fudge the climate data to make it sound frightening. Glaciers are melting (some are growing, some are receding, as they have for centuries-Antarctica, for example, is growing, sea levels are rising-but very little. Just check with world expert Nils Axel Morner, ( It is difficult to measure Gore's impact on those who were there at Commencement or had read his speech, but it could not have been good.

Then on September 1, an environmental extremist named James Jay Lee took hostages at the Discovery Channel's office in Silver Springs, Maryland. He was armed and claimed also to have explosives with him ( Lee made some very extreme demands which he posted on the web. (

In the world most of us live in we are accountable for our own actions and beliefs. While some have unfairly suggested that gloomy, depressing, hateful speeches by Al Gore may have influenced Lee's actions, however that would be as easy as it would be wrong. Nobody made Lee kidnap those 3 people in the Discovery Channel's building, nobody made him threaten their lives, and nobody forced him to write his extreme manifesto. Unquestionably, however, there are many in the environmental movement who hold the same extreme views as quoted directly from his manifesto:

1. How people can live without producing more filthy children
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants
3. talk about ways to disassemble civilization
4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed.
5. Broadcast this message until the pollution of the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn't, then get hell off the planet!

There is much more but we can see the nature of his extreme, contemptible anti-human views. Hopefully we can all agree that these are very extreme views to be held by a fellow American. We should dismiss him as an extremist, a loner gone off the rails, with little or no political impact on the world, our nation, or those around him. He would have few, if any friends who would share these extremist views.

Consider another person with many similar extremist views. This fellow believed that

1. Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
2. The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
3. Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
4. People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" - in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
5. A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives - using an armed international police force.

You might want to dismiss these extreme statements also, as the words of some angry, anti-human crank. But they aren't. These are the words of Obama's science advisor, a man whom Obama seeks out for such scientific advice. These are the words of Dr. John Holdren. He co-authored the book, "Ecoscience" in 1977, where he wrote those words above. He and co-authors, Dr. Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, wrote this book and put many of their horrendous thoughts in writing. He is now the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology - informally known as the United States' Science Czar.

An extraordinary analysis of Holdren's writings appears at ( This is an incredibly detail analyses of Holdren's exact words, and goes right to the exact written source and the exact pages in Ecoscience where Holdren's horrendous quotes, values, and contempt for human life appeared. With the exact words and the exact pages presented, the doubters have no wiggle room.

What on Earth is it about Holdren which Obama approves, and would motivate him to appoint him to high office? Do they share the same values? What is it about the National Academy of Sciences which nominated him for membership in the National Academy of Sciences( NAS)? The NAS is just not that prestigious anymore, and is losing ground. What is it about the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which elected him their president? Should we conclude that Holdren's belief system of population control, sterilization of women, and the killing of infants is something deserving of the name "Science", and were so compelling that they elected him president by the AAAS?

Should we still presume that the AAAS can be serious about science and the horrendous people it elects to their high offices? Should we ever take seriously any document or policy statement from the National Academy of Sciences, so long as they have demonstrably bad judgment in nominating Holdren and Ehrlich to the NAS membership?

It seems strange that as a society we dismiss the rantings and extreme views of the gunman who held employees of the Discovery Channel hostage, and called for the cessation of producing "filthy children". On the other hand we highly honor a well-connected Ph.D., with similar extreme views, and even appoint him to be the president's science advisor. It makes no sense.

Strangely as a society we dismiss the rantings and extreme views of a gunman who held hostage employees of the Discovery channel, who called for the cessation of producing "filthy children". On the other hand we highly honor a well-connected Ph.D. with similar extreme views, by appointing him to be the president's science advisor. It makes no sense.

However, as Eric Hoffer observed "One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation." -as quoted by Thomas Sowell in his book, "Intellectuals and Society". Obama should know better. And Americans deserve better.



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


26 September, 2010

Correlating Temperature With CO2 before and after the matter became politicized

Amazing difference between pre-"adjustment" and post-"adjustment" graphs in the comparator below. This is outright fraud -- JR

NCAR graph from the 1970s

Now that at least one member of the Hockey team has acknowledged that the cooling in the 1970s was both real and natural, we can analyze older data which was not perturbed by people with an agenda to prove global warming. The graph below compares NCAR’s 1970s temperatures vs. atmospheric CO2.

As you can see, there isn’t much of a correlation – the graph is almost flat.

Since then, the official temperature data has been massaged many times to make the past colder and the present warmer. So it is useful to do a correlation using data from the pre-agenda climate era.

Blink comparator showing GISS US temperature changes from 1998 to present.

Here is what people wanted to do to solve the climate problem of 1975
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.


Northern Hemisphere Temperature Reconstruction Clearly Shows the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age (Plus a Whole Lot More)

Discussing: Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010. "A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical northern hemisphere during the last two millennia". Geografiska Annaler 92A: 339-351.

The pattern of temperature change over the past 2000 years is important for several reasons. First, if there has been no long-term pattern to it, then any warming in recent decades can more easily be attributed to human activity. On the other hand, if there have been natural cycles or centennial-scale excursions of temperature, then it is more difficult to claim that recent warming is unnatural or unprecedented. Second, impacts of climate change are often based on the assumption that "unusual" warmth is harmful to life and human society; but if it was equally warm, or warmer than today, a thousand years ago, then there is much less basis for predicting harm.

The study of Ljungqvist (2010) expands the data available for reconstructing past climate by utilizing 30 datasets. However, the author felt that data from arid zone tree species should be disqualified, due to the confounding of the effects of warm temperatures with those of drought stress. Thus, bristlecone pine, foxtail pine, and Mongolia data that show a pronounced (and likely spurious) hockey-stick shape were not used.

The CPS (Composite Plus Scale) method of analysis was employed; and the data were linearly interpolated. For each dataset, the data were normalized to zero mean and unit variance. The 30 data sets were combined by computing their mean. The composite score was shown to have a correlation of 0.95 with the Hadley instrumental temperature record for the zone 90-30°N and was scaled to match the variance of the Hadley data.

While the CPS method has the disadvantage that certain proxies which might not relate to local temperature are combined with others and correlated with the hemispheric temperature (vs. doing strictly local calibration), it has the advantage that individual proxies are given equal weights, so that one is not selectively picking out those with the "right" shape by chance and giving them too much influence.

The resulting reconstruction has values at each decade. It shows a clear repeating warm/cool pattern of Roman Warm Period, Dark Ages Cold Period, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and recent warming. This long-term pattern was stated to relate to the 1500-year Bond cycles. Looking at the reconstruction itself, the RWP and MWP were both warmer than the decades from 1961-1990; and the composite proxies do not show rapid warming after 1990. Thus, the study clearly shows that large temperature excursions on centennial scales are real features of the past 2000 years, and that recent warmth is not unprecedented.


Journal Abstract:

A new temperature reconstruction with decadal resolution, covering the last two millennia, is presented for the extratropical Northern Hemisphere (90–30°N), utilizing many palaeo-temperature proxy records never previously included in any large-scale temperature reconstruction. The amplitude of the reconstructed temperature variability on centennial time-scales exceeds 0.6°C. This reconstruction is the first to show a distinct Roman Warm Period c. ad 1–300, reaching up to the 1961–1990 mean temperature level, followed by the Dark Age Cold Period c. ad 300–800. The Medieval Warm Period is seen c. ad 800–1300 and the Little Ice Age is clearly visible c. ad 1300–1900, followed by a rapid temperature increase in the twentieth century. The highest average temperatures in the reconstruction are encountered in the mid to late tenth century and the lowest in the late seventeenth century. Decadal mean temperatures seem to have reached or exceeded the 1961–1990 mean temperature level during substantial parts of the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period. The temperature of the last two decades, however, is possibly higher than during any previous time in the past two millennia, although this is only seen in the instrumental temperature data and not in the multi-proxy reconstruction itself. Our temperature reconstruction agrees well with the reconstructions by Moberg et al. (2005) and Mann et al. (2008) with regard to the amplitude of the variability as well as the timing of warm and cold periods, except for the period c. ad 300–800, despite significant differences in both data coverage and methodology.

This combination of many proxies would seem to give results quite close to what I specified as a valid proxy on 20th. -- JR

New Scientist permits the sun to join the climate club

It does seem as if the AGW establishment are preparing the ground for admitting that the sun is perhaps critical for climate. The New Scientist runs an editorial today grudgingly admitting that “The sun’s activity has a place in climate science”.
FOR many years, any mention of the sun’s influence on climate has been greeted with suspicion.

People who believe human activity has no effect on the climate staked a claim on the sun’s role, declaring it responsible for the long-term warming trend in global temperatures. Climate scientists were often uneasy about discussing it, fearful that any concession would be misunderstood by the public and seen as an admission that climate sceptics are right.

No one has ever denied that the sun has an effect on climate. But the consensus view has always been that variations in the sun’s activity, such as the 11-year sunspot cycle, have insignificant effects. While this remains true, the latest findings show that the sun might be significant on a more regional scale. It seems changes in solar activity can have consequences ranging from higher rainfall in the tropics to extreme weather events in the north.

But then they go out of their way in this article (see “The sun joins the climate club”) to denigrate the sun.
THE idea that changes in the sun’s activity can influence the climate is making a comeback, after years of scientific vilification, thanks to major advances in our understanding of the atmosphere.

The findings do not suggest – as climate sceptics frequently do – that we can blame the rise of global temperatures since the early 20th century on the sun. “There are extravagant claims for the effects of the sun on global climate,” says Giles Harrison, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Reading, UK. “They are not supported.”

Where solar effects may play a role is in influencing regional weather patterns over the coming decades. Predictions on these scales of time and space are crucial for nations seeking to prepare for the future.

Over the famous 11-year solar cycle, the sun’s brightness varies by just 0.1 per cent. This was seen as too small a change to impinge on the global climate system, so solar effects have generally been left out of climate models. However, the latest research has changed this view, and the next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due in 2013, will include solar effects in its models.

But the sun does not much care (Beware the Icarus Syndrome) I think for the scientific establishment and will continue to do its own thing.


The oceans are getting an acknowledgement now too

"Der Spiegel" says: The Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought

Alex Bojanowski at Germany’s online Der Spiegel reports here on a new paper appearing in Nature that shows climate change in the 1970s was caused by ocean cooling. Climate simulation models once indicated that the cooling in the 1970s was due to sun-reflecting sulfur particles, emitted by industry. But now evidence points to the oceans.

I don’t know why this is news for the authors of the paper. Ocean cycles are well-known to all other scientists. The following graphic shows the AMO 60-year cycle, which is now about to head south.

Computer models simulating future climate once predicted that it would soon get warm because of increasing GHG emissions, but, writes Der Spiegel, citing Nature:
Now it turns out that the theory is incomplete. A sudden cooling of the oceans in the northern hemisphere played the decisive role in the drop of air temperatures.

The paper was authored by David W. J. Thompson, John M. Wallace, John J. Kennedy, and Phil D. Jones. The scientists discovered that ocean temperatures in the northern hemisphere dropped an enormous 0.3°C between 1968 and 1972. Der Spiegel writes:
A huge amount of energy was taken out of the oceans. The scientists said that it was surprising that the cooling was so fast.

This shows, again, that the climate simulation models used for predicting the future are inadequate. It’s not sure what caused the oceans to cool. But scientists are sure that aerosols were not the cause. Der Spiegel describes a possible scenario how the oceans may have cooled:
Huge amounts of melt water from Greenland’s glaciers poured into the Atlantic at the end of the 1960s, and formed a cover over the ocean. The melt water cooled the ocean for one thing, and acted to brake the Gulf Stream, which transports warm water from the tropics and delivers it to the north. The result: the air also cools down.

But, as Spiegel reports, that hardly explains why there was also cooling in the north Pacific. Der Spiegel:
The scientists will have to refine their climate simulations. The new study shows one thing: The influence of the oceans is greater than previously thought.

I’d say that’s a very polite way of saying: Your models have been crap, and it’s back to the drawing board. This time don’t forget to properly take the oceans and every thing else into account. Yes, there’s a quite a bit more to climate than a single trace gas in the atmosphere. Hooray – the warmists are finally beginning to realize it! (Maybe)


Unsustainable Cow Manure

Sustainable, affordable, eco-friendly renewable energy, my eye

"Seek a sustainable future! Wind, solar and biofuels will ensure an eco-friendly, climate-protecting, planet-saving, sustainable inheritance for our children". Or so we are told by activists and politicians intent on enacting new renewable energy standards, mandates and subsidies during a lame duck session. It may be useful to address some basic issues, before going further down the road to Renewable Utopia.

First, when exactly is something not sustainable? When known deposits (proven reserves) may be depleted in ten years? 50? 100? What if looming depletion results from government policies that forbid access to lands that might contain new deposits – as with US onshore and offshore prospects for oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earth minerals and other vital resources?

Rising prices, new theories about mineral formation, and improved discovery and extraction technologies and techniques typically expand energy and mineral reserves – postponing depletion by years or decades, as in the case of oil and natural gas. But legislation, regulation, taxation and litigation prevent these processes from working properly, hasten depletion, and make “sustainability” an even more politicized, manipulated and meaningless concept.

Second, should the quest for mandated “sustainable” technologies be based on real, immediate threats – or will imaginary or exaggerated crises suffice? Dangerous manmade global cooling morphed into dangerous manmade global warming, then into “global climate disruption” – driven by computer models and disaster scenarios, doctored temperature data, manipulated peer reviews, and bogus claims about melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Shouldn’t policies that replace reliable, affordable energy with expensive, intermittent, land-intensive, subsidized sources be based on solid, replicable science?

Third, shouldn’t inconvenient sustainability issues be resolved before we proceed any further, by applying the same guidelines to renewable energy as courts, regulators and eco-activists apply to petroleum?

Most oil, gas, coal and uranium operations impact limited acreage for limited times – and affected areas must be restored to natural conditions when production ends. Effects on air and water quality, habitats and protected species are addressed through regulations, lease restrictions and fines. The operations generate vast amounts of affordable, reliable energy from relatively small tracts of land, and substantial revenues.

Wind turbines generate small amounts of expensive, unreliable electricity from gargantuan installations on thousands of acres. Turbines and their associated transmission lines dominate scenic vistas, disrupt habitats and migratory routes, affect water drainage patterns, impede crop dusting and other activities, and kill bats, raptors and other birds, including endangered species that would bring major fines if the corporate killers were oil or mining companies. And yet, wind operators receive exemptions from environmental review, biodiversity and endangered species laws that traditional energy companies must follow – on the ground that such rules would raise costs and delay construction of “eco-friendly” projects.

Kentucky’s Cardinal coal mine alone produces 75% of the Btu energy generated by all the wind turbines and solar panels in the USA, Power Hungry author Robert Bryce calculates. Unspoiled vistas, rural and maritime tranquility, and bald eagles will all be endangered if 20% wind power mandates are enacted.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Power Station near Phoenix generates nearly 900 times more electricity than Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base photovoltaic panels, on less land, for 1/15 the cost per kWh – and does it 90% of the time, versus 30% of the time for the Nellis array. Generating Palo Verde’s electrical output via Nellis technology would require solar arrays across an area ten times larger than Washington, DC.

Building enough photovoltaic arrays to power Los Angeles would mean blanketing thousands of square miles of desert habitat. Once built, solar and wind systems will be there just this side of forever, since there will be no energy production if we let them decay, after shutting down whatever hydrocarbon operations aren’t needed to fuel backup generators that keep wind and solar facilities operational.

Wind and solar power also mean there is a sudden demand for tons of rare earth elements that weren’t terribly important a decade ago. They exist in very low concentrations, require mining and milling massive amounts of rock and ore to get the needed minerals, and thus impose huge ecological impacts.

If mountaintop removal to extract high quality coal at reduced risk to miners is unacceptable and unsustainable – how is it eco-friendly and sustainable to clear-cut mountain vistas for wind turbines? Blanket thousands of square miles with habitat-suffocating solar panels? Or remove mountains of rock to mine low-grade rare earth mineral deposits for solar panel films, hybrid batteries and turbine magnets?

Since any undiscovered US rare earth deposits are likely locked up in wilderness and other restricted land use areas, virtually no exploration or development will take place here. We will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers, like China, which are using them in their own manufacturing operations – and selling us finished wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid car batteries. The United States will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers for renewable energy, just as we rely on foreign countries for oil and uranium.

To claim any of this is ecologically or economically sustainable strains credulity.

Green jobs will mostly be overseas, subsidized by US tax and energy dollars – other people’s money (OPM). Indeed, Americans have already spent over $20 billion in stimulus money on “green” energy projects. However, 80% of the funding for some of them went to China, India, South Korea and Spain, and three-fourth of the turbines for eleven US wind projects were made overseas. This is intolerable, indefensible and unsustainable. But it gets worse.

Denver’s Nature and Science Museum used $720,000 in stimulus money to install photovoltaic panels and reduce its electricity bills by 20 percent. The panels may last 25 years, whereas it will take 110 years to save enough on those bills to pay for the panels – and by then four more sets of panels will be needed.

As to biofuels, the US Navy recently waxed ecstatic over its success with camellia-based eco-fuel in fighter jets. But the PC biofuel costs $67.50 per gallon, versus $5.00 per gallon for commercial jet fuel.

To meet the 36-billion-gallons-a-year-by-2022 federal ethanol diktat, we would have to grow corn on cropland and wildlife habitat the size of Georgia, to get 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol – plus switchgrass on farmlands and habitats the size of South Carolina, to produce 21 billion gallons of “advanced biofuel.” By contrast, we could produce 670 billion gallons of oil from frozen tundra equal to 1/20 of Washington, DC, if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge weren’t off limits.
OPM-subsidized ethanol also means a few corn growers and ethanol refiners make hefty profits. But chicken and beef producers, manufacturers that need corn syrup, and families of all stripes get pounded by soaring costs, to generate a fuel that gets one-third less mileage per tank than gasoline.

Hydrocarbons fueled the most amazing and sustained progress in human history. Rejecting further progress – in the name of sustainability or climate protection – requires solid evidence that we face catastrophes if we don’t switch to “sustainable” alternatives. Computer-generated disaster scenarios and bald assertions by Al Gore, Harry Reid, John Holdren and President Obama just don’t make the grade.

We need to improve energy efficiency and conserve resources. Science and technology will continue the great strides we have made in that regard. Politically motivated mandates will impose huge costs for few benefits. Sustainability claims will simply redistribute smaller shares of a shrinking economic pie.

“Renewable” energy subsidies may sustain the jobs of lobbyists, activists, politicians, bureaucrats and politically connected companies. But they will kill millions of other people’s jobs.

Let’s be sure to remind our elected officials of this along their campaign trails.


Another disastrous "Green" scheme in Australia

Home water tanks were subsidized by the government in lieu of building new dams

Three years ago, owning a water tank business was a licence to print money. Then the rebates were cut and the rains came. Now what was the busiest industry on the block is practically non-existent, as 400 water tank operators have been whittled to 12.

Millions of dollars have been lost, businesses have disappeared and customers wanting tanks for their homes have evaporated.

Leisa Donlan, from independent body the Association of Rotational Moulders, said it was the "industry that has been forgotten".

"Lives have been absolutely shattered by this. What the state government did by introducing the rebate and then cutting it all of a sudden was just awful," she said. "Family businesses have been ruined. Our staff have been suicidal some days after counselling the people involved. "Losing a business is a very human thing."

Department of Environment and Resource Management figures showed that across the state more than 250,000 Queenslanders claimed the rebate for a water tank.

"At the peak of the drought and the WaterWise Rebate Scheme, there were four-month waits. Manufacturers were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Ms Donlan said.

"State government ministers themselves came out and said that the industry needed to invest in better equipment to keep up with the demand, to step it up.

"Then, all of a sudden in June 2007, as quickly as it started, the rebate for the tanks stopped. Manufacturers had spent tens of millions of dollars buying new equipment to cope with the excessive demand and all of a sudden the demand was gone. Overnight. It was devastating."

Toby Peacock, owner of Brisbane water tank business QTank, said the abolition of the rebate, coupled with the breaking of the drought, had all but "killed" the industry.

"During the height of the drought, water was all everyone was talking about. People were desperate for water tanks, desperate to conserve water and everyone was wanting to safeguard themselves," he said.

"But once the rebate ended and the drought started to break, people moved on to talking about something else. They forgot how important it is to conserve water. Tanks were no longer fashionable."

Under Brisbane City Council planning regulations, all new dwellings must include a 5000-litre water tank to gain approval.

This regulation is the only thing keeping a handful of operators in business, Mr Peacock said. "Every night I go to bed nervous, praying that when I wake up in the morning, the government won’t have cancelled this regulation," he said.

Ms Donlan said the lack of support for the industry was disappointing because it was highly likely water consumption would be an issue again in the future.



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


25 September, 2010

Republicans Promise Climategate Investigation If They Win U.S. Elections

The House's top Republican watchdog is planning to launch an investigation into international climate data if he takes the helm of the chamber's oversight panel next year.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said a probe of the "Climategate" scandal will top his environmental agenda if the Republicans take over the House next year and he gets the chairmanship.

"I do have a backburner investigation that I'm going to want to have completed, and that is, we paid a lot of money to have international evaluation, most of it done in Britain, that turns out to have been less than truthful in some of the figures," he said. "We're going to want to not investigate to get our money back, but we're going to want to have a do-over of good numbers so that everyone can have confidence."

The disputed climate data became the subject of heated controversy last year when hackers released e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England. Climate skeptics pointed to the e-mails as evidence that prominent scientists tried to inappropriately manipulate and suppress raw climate data and silence their critics.

Investigative panels in Britain and the United States have since cleared researchers of any wrongdoing, but some Republican lawmakers remain unconvinced.

"For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data, then people negotiate and discuss and hypothecate from that data," Issa said. "If the raw data's in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn't exist. I want settled science."

Should Republicans win control of the House next year -- which many political analysts see as likely -- Issa and other top Republicans are expected to ramp up their oversight of federal agencies, including U.S. EPA.

Asked whether this Congress has been lax in its EPA oversight, Issa quipped, "You think?"

"We've seen no oversight, or virtually no oversight," he said.

"The amount of letters sent out to the administration by chairmen and so on speaks legions about it," Issa said. Former Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who now leads the Energy and Commerce Committee, "is sending out less than a quarter of what he was sending out when there was a different president and he was still chairman. And that's a shame, because he said that Republicans had not held President Bush to a high enough oversight standard."


A dodgy "melting icecap" paper in more ways than one

The methodology used is still experimental and gives some clearly wrong results; Its authors have tried (would you believe it?) to keep details of their work secret; and (not mentioned below): the time period covered is ludicrously short for any kind of generalization to be extracted.

There has recently been some discussion, already mentioned in ‘The Observatory,’ about a finding that the Greenland Ice Cap and part of the Antarctic Ice Cap are not melting as fast as once suggested. The conclusion was based on a new method of analysing data from the pair of GRACE gravity measuring satellites. However, it is a good example of how a simple conclusion can enter the climate change debate and be accepted as a fact when a closer look at the data shows much uncertainty. It illustrates that standing back and looking at the bigger picture, often reveals something quite different.

According to the new paper by Wu et al (2010) published in Nature Geoscience the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps are melting at half the rate previously measured.

The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps has been monitored since 2002 by the two GRACE satellites that detect small changes in the Earth's gravitational field that are related to the distribution of mass on Earth, including ice and water. When ice melts, or moves it has a small but measurable effect on the gravitational field that shows itself as minor perturbations in the orbits of the two GRACE satellites. The problem with the GRACE data is that it is extraordinarily difficult to calibrate requiring very sophisticated mathematics and tiny measurements in a sea of noise and undoubtedly many unknown effects.

Data has been extracted from GRACE and most scientists understand that they are feeling their way towards a better understanding of the satellites and their data. One study of the polar ice caps published in 2009 that has received much comment calculated that for Greenland the ice was melting at an accelerating rate. In 2002 – 2003 it was 137 Gigatons per year, whereas by 2007-2009 it had increased to 286 Gigatons a year.

For West Antarctica, the estimate was 104 Gigatons per year in 2002 – 2006 and in 2006 -2009 it had increased to 246 Gigatons per year.

But the new results by Wu at al (2010) change those figures drastically. According to Wu et al it appears that the previous results were not properly corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment, which is the rebound of the Earth’s crust as a result of the melting of the massive ice caps from the last major Ice Age about 20,000 years ago. These crustal movements have to be included in the calculations, since they alter the Earth’s mass distribution and affect the gravitational field. Wu’s figures are Greenland (2002 – 2008) 104 +/- 23 Gigatons a year and 64 +/- 32 Gigatons a year for West Antarctica. Wu’s figures are approximately half of those previously published. How can they be reconciled with the other observations?

Compare Wu’s figures to another recent study published in Nature Geoscience by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas. They conclude that the mass loss for Antarctica - 190 +/- 77 Gigatons a year averaged over 2002 - 2009. This shows the spread of ice loss measurements for Greenland and Antarctica and is much larger than previous estimates (although consistent with the most recent Synthetic Aperture Radar estimates of 196 +/- 92 Gigatons a year.)

Researchers have told me that the new analysis technique being developed by Wu et al is promising, and will no doubt be very useful in the future, but at present it is throwing up contradictions.

It produces a figure for Greenland’s Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) that is 12 times larger than that predicted by the models that have observational support from geological changes in sea levels.

The large present day GIA required by Wu et al would have to have a large ice mass loss occurring in the Holocene period. There is no evidence for this in geological ice-core data.

Wu et al predicts vigorous thickening of the central region of the Greenland Ice Cap, major ice losses in the southwest and thinning in the north. None of these things are seen.

Clearly, the GRACE approach to evaluating ocean mass and sea level trends still has a long way to go, and must develop a longer period of data acquisition, before it can ever be considered a reliable means of providing assessments of ocean mass and sea level change that are accurate enough to detect an anthropogenic signal that could be confidently distinguished from natural variability.

Consequently, is would be unwise to make too much of the new figures. Such caveats are not present in the associated NASA press release detailing this research.

Finally, the ice mass loss rates must be put into context. Clearly their rate of change is all-important, as is region from which the loss is occurring and its contribution to sea level change. However, a loss of 200 Gigatons per year from Antarctica seems a great deal. In absolute terms however it is tiny. The mass of the Antarctic ice sheet is estimated at 33 million Gigatons.

I am grateful to several glaciologists and climatologists for discussions about this work. It was however initially not possible to obtain a copy of the Wu et al (2010) Nature Geoscience paper for detailed scrutiny as the lead author refused to send a copy to me, and was only willing to share it with “colleagues.”


It's The End Of Britain's Green World As We Know It

More than 30 ‘green’ quangos are facing the axe and the budget for communities will be slashed by a third after George Osborne signed off massive cuts to two departments.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday agreed with the Treasury on how to slash spending in their departments.

The two ministers, dubbed the ‘King and Queen of quango cuts’ in Whitehall, impressed the Chancellor with their willingness to axe expensive bodies.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman have been dubbed the ‘King and Queen of quango cuts'

David Cameron has now agreed that they can join Mr Osborne’s ‘Star Chamber’, where senior ministers can pass judgment on the cuts plans of their colleagues...

Mrs Spelman has identified 30 quangos for the axe, including the Sustainable Development Commission and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.


French Academy of Science Allows Science Debate

Jean-Michel Bélouve

Two days ago, the French Académie des sciences organised a closed-door meeting on climate change: only scientists were invited. Le Monde had announced the secretive event two days earlier. The list of participants was published only after the meeting. The secrecy of the meeting has been criticized by media outlets given that the Academy’s main goal is to convey accurate knowledge and scientific understanding among the public. It seems that this choice was due to conditions of privacy requested bysome attendees to allow a genuine debate between proponents and critics of the conventional global warming theory.

On September 21, the Academie des sciences has published a short one page press release, the programme, and the list of participants. It seems that the panel was more or less balanced between advocates of the conventional view and climate sceptics. Among the critical speakers, among others, were Professor Richard Lindzen and Professor Vincent Courtillot. They were able to exchange their views with fellow climate researchers such as Jean Jouzel, Hervé Le Treut, Sandrine Bony (IPSL modeling specialist), Edouard Bard and others.

In its statement, the Académie points out that there are differences of opinions regarding the extend of solar influences. It also states that while there is general agreement about the fact that greenhouse gases have an impact on the climate, their indirect effects is controversial. In addition, the impact of clouds on the climate remains poorly understood and further research is required to improveunderstanding. A full report about the meeting will be published before the end of October.

Since no journalists were allowed to attend, the media could just report comments and assertions by some of the participants who generally chose to remain anonymous (which shows the climate of fear and suspicion among French climate researchers). This allowed the media to select statements which emphasised the conventional views and messages.

Le Monde, which is one of the most biased newspapers on global warming, writes that it was a serious and fair debate. However, it also choses to quote some participants who claim that the meeting was a “trap” against climate scientists, a “malicious venture… aimed at a part of the French scientific research”.

Many French papers just published the AFP wire story or the article in Le Monde. Some interesting comments were posted on websites. An anonymous scientist is quoted as saying that he regrets that the issue of oceans was not discussed at the meeting. This seems to be a relevant criticism since oceans play such an important role in a climate system that remains insufficiently understood.

Overall, I think that approach by the Academie des sciences is a positive development, even if it appears to be somewhat timid and lacks transparency. For a start, this is a serious attempt to foster a genuine scientific debate between opposing scientists - and that is really new in France. What is more, the Academy is trying to stand clear of supporting the claims and accusations that numerous climate scientists have made against climate sceptics. We have to wait for the full report to be issued in October to know whether or not it will commission a review of the state of science for the French public who have become less certain and more doubtful over the last couple of years. I am not convinced it will go that far. Nevertheless, I hope that it won't shut down what looks to me like the beginnings of a real scientific debate.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Koch Brothers, Private Industry Vilified by NYT for Advancing Calif. Initiative Aimed Against Global Warming Act

They cover a lot of bases here but omit any discussion of the environmental movement’s international dimensions. Polls shows that the public is evenly divided over a ballot initiative that would suspend California’s global warming law until after unemployment falls. Here, the NYT seeks to swing public sentiment by questioning the motives of private donors who are linked in with the Tea Party

A California ballot initiative that could potentially unravel the anti energy policies Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law four years ago is the subject of a report aimed against free market groups. Charles and David Koch described here as the “billionaires from Kansas who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement” are the primary targets. But out of state business interests also come in for criticism.

Both sides acknowledge that initiative could have national ramifications for the environmental movement and its pursuit of “cap and trade” policies. State-level regulatory efforts that mimic the Kyoto Protocol rippled out of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act and could recede if pro-energy activists prevail in November. The initiative, known formally as Proposition 23, calls for a suspension of anti-emissions restrictions until after unemployment falls to 5.5 percent or lower for at least four consecutive quarters.

Over the past year, the environmental movement has been beset with setbacks that undermine long-standing scientific and economic arguments activists and government officials have invoked to advance regulatory directives. It is evident from this report that the NYT and other left leaning media outlets are panicked by recent developments. The idea here is to discredit the opposition and explain away public opposition as an understandable, albeit misguided byproduct of the recession.

“Traditionally, public support for environmental measures suffers during tough economic times,” the report says. “Here in California, backers of the initiative have seized on that anxiety — which is particularly acute in this state, with its 12.3 percent unemployment rate — in search of a victory.”

The stipulations included in Proposition 23 “could have the practical effect of killing the law,” the NYT correctly notes. Over the past several decades, the unemployment rate as rarely fallen to such relatively low rate for an extended period of time. AB 32, the Global Warming statute, calls for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions to be reduced back to 1990 levels by 2020. Private industry officials say they that the high cost of compliance would result in job losses and rising gas prices.

There are a number of detailed, scholarly studies that bolster and substantiate the concerns of private industry. The Institute for Energy Research (IER), for instance, has published a report that goes into great detail about the higher costs attached to renewable standards and emissions restrictions. But these hard facts have no place in an agenda laced report that works over time to sully the reputation of business groups, Tea Party activists and individual donors who are committed to private enterprise.

“The campaign against California’s greenhouse gas law comes as business groups have invested heavily across the country in trying to defeat members of Congress who voted for a cap-and-trade bill that also mandated emission reductions; the bill passed the House but failed in the Senate in the face of strong opposition from lawmakers in industrial states,” the report says.

Looking ahead to November, current polls show that the competing sides are evenly matched.

“Yet supporters said they were concerned that the proposition could slip through at a time when Democratic spirits are low,” the NYT points out. “More significant is the question of how much more supporters of Prop 23 can raise to finance their campaign. Of the $8.2 million raised so far, $1 million came from the Koch firm, $4 million from the Valero Energy Corporation and $1.5 million from the Tesoro Corporation; both corporations are based in San Antonio.”

The article concludes with a spokesman from the NRDC quoted at length expressing concern over the influence and financial backing of anti-regulatory organizations. That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

“We have every reason to believe that they are going to put the money in to run a big television campaign in the most expensive media market in the country,” said Annie Notthoff, the California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “We certainly are expecting to have a fight on our hands.”

As of 2006, the NRDC has net assets in excess of $125 million and enjoys consistent, steady substantial support from well-endowed left-leaning foundations, according to The Capital Research Center.

NRDC is part of large, expansive network of left-wing organizations operating under the guise of environmentalism that have worked on national and international level to restrict and restrain America’s economic development.

These outside groups that operate in concert with the European Union and the United Nations at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and consumers deserve greater exposure and attention.

Former Secretary of State George Schultz, who supports Calif.’s global warming law, should be asked about the international backing of environmental groups like the NRDC receive since he’s so concerned about the activities of American citizens who favor affordable energy.


Incredible Greenie nonsense in Australia

Homeowners who sandbag coastal areas to protect their properties during storms could face fines up to $247,000 under tough new coastal protection laws. Councils will also be given the power to impose levies on coastal property owners to build sea walls.

Environment Minister Frank Sartor is in negotiations with the Greens to get his Coastal Protection Bill through Parliament, with the Opposition opposing it and organisations such as the Property Council lobbying to have it defeated.

The Bill includes provisions for $495,000 fines for corporations and $247,000 fines for residents who install illegal measures to protect their homes from sea level rises. Residents who do not gain approval for sandbagging would also pay up to $22,000 a day in fines if they continue.

Mr Sartor's laws - which he introduced into Parliament this week - have raised the ire of NSW coastal residents. The laws apply to properties within 1km of coastal rivers and estuaries as well as seafront properties.

Pat Aiken of Saratoga on the Central Coast has set up a community organisation to oppose the Bill. "Gosford Council has identified 9000 properties as potentially affected by sea level rise," he said. He said it was not just rich residents of Byron Bay who were affected but "people with the arse hanging out of their pants" in suburbs such as Woy Woy and Booker Bay.

"The estuary, river, bay and lagoon people probably have no idea what is about to come down on them - another big government tax on the back of climate change," he said.

Collaroy property owner Robert Wiggins said the Bill was about removing liability from government for not building sea walls.

Property Council of Australia acting executive director Edward Palmisano was "concerned that property owners who purchased or developed land in good faith will lose the capacity to take reasonable measures to protect their property from sea level rise".

"The Bill creates potential limitations on the opportunities available to homeowners to protect their property. Such restrictions do not apply to properties under threat from bushfires or floods, so why should sea level rise be treated any differently?" he asked.

Mr Palmisano said the Bill had the potential to impose "huge burdens on property owners" including "onerous new levies".



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


24 September, 2010

What The Guardian wouldn't print

In his usual abusive and ad hominem style, Georgie Moonbat has an article in the Guardian under the heading: "Are the climate change deniers with no evidence just naturally gullible?". Piers Corbyn put up a reply in their comments section which the paper deleted. The comment is below:

George, YOUR "poser" must be applied to yourself!
You ask: "Are people who entertain a range of strong beliefs for which there is no evidence naturally gullible?".

Well you are a person with a strong belief in man-made(CO2) Global Warming / Climate Change, and there is no evidence for it. So are you naturally gullible?

If you have observational data evidence for the theory - using available data for the last hundreds, thousands and millions of years - let's have it. We don't want your usual opinion-polls, bluster, innuendo and opinion of peoples' attitudes, vibes and mental states we want EVIDENCE-BASED SCIENCE.

There are three key points which must be be understood:

1. The theory of Man-made Global Warming & Climate Change is failed science based on fraudulent data. IT JUST DOESN'T ADD UP!

All the dire predictions of the UN (IPCC) since 2000 have failed. CO2 does not cause extreme weather. The world is cooling not warming. There is no evidence in 600, 600,000 or 600million years of data that changes in CO2 levels in the real atmosphere drive world temperatures or change climate; indeed it is temperatures which generally drive CO2 levels. - See . Extra CO2 has ZERO effect, and any concession to the notion there is somehow some 'weak' effect waiting to happen falls into the trap the Climate hype industry machine has set for the ill-informed and the usual Appeasement brigades who surface in all political conflicts.

2. The driver of all important weather extremes is solar activity.

In the end it is extreme weather that matters rather than averages and this is controlled by Jet stream shifts and extra activity of weather fronts, and These are driven by changes in solar activity and largely predictable – See ongoing discussion in Comments as link above, - espec comment Aug 8th concerning predicted changes in the jet stream + records of the solar activity that caused them.

3. MORE CO2 is GOOD not bad.

CO2 is plant food and more CO2 increases the productivity of agriculture. Carbon fixing policies are madness which if carried out in the name of ‘Clean coal’
[NB Smoke from coal is easily removed and should be, but that is another issue]
would double the cost of electricity and double the amount of coal used to produce power because carbon fixing (‘sequestration’) is very energy intensive.

Received via email

Canadian university persecutes skeptical scientist

The University of Ottawa has a notorious record regarding access to information and protection of personal information: LINK-1, LINK-2, LINK-3, LINK-4, LINK-5, LINK-6, LINK-7, LINK-8.

In a recent access to information (ATI) case in which a graduate student sought access to his personal information, the University made sustained but failed attempts over a period of two years to subvert the ATI law of Ontario.

In the end, on August 27, 2010, the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) Adjudicator Diane Smith ordered the University to immediately release the last contested document (IPC Order PO-2909-I).

The student, scholarship physics graduate student and elected University Senate member Joseph Hickey, has made the entire ordeal public on the web: HERE.

The released document shows that the University had no reasonable standing to argue that the document could not be released to the claimant. The University’s efforts in this direction appear to constitute either obstruction of justice or incompetence. Two lawyers were directly involved in this apparent cover up by making formal submissions to the IPC: Former VP-Governance Pamela Harrod and present University Legal Counsel Kathryn Prud’homme.

Indeed, to block the release of the document was to hide a gross (and illegal under labour law) violation of academic freedom, a foundational principle of universities in free and democratic societies.

Under academic freedom a university administration can in no way interfere with university research. Yet the document shows the dean of the Faculty of Science Andre E. Lalonde sending an email to the dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Gary Slater, to two University-hired corporate lawyers Andre Champagne and Lynn Harnden, and to the then VP-Governance Pamela Harrod stating (LINK):
“Gary, Andre, Lynn, Pamela,

The Chair of Physics [Bela Joos] has evidence that is not reproduced below that indicates the student wishes to research global climate change with Professor Rancourt. The professor has no scientific expertise in this scientific field whatsoever. I am strongly opposed to letting this student initiate such a study with Professor Rancourt.


The email also has VP-Academic Robert Major, the human resources boss Louise Page-Valin, and others in cc.

Note that Harrod was involved in BOTH the violation of academic freedom (and the student’s right to fair process without discrimination) AND the apparent attempted cover up with the IPC.

Such an intervention was unprecedented in physics professor Rancourt’s twenty-two-year academic career since:

(1) Rancourt was known for successfully changing scientific fields several times in his research career and was certified to supervise graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in both the Department of Physics and the Department of Earth Sciences.

(2) Rancourt had published (and been an invited conference speaker) in areas as diverse as nuclear spectroscopy, materials science, organic chemistry, soil science, metallurgy, magnetism, marine science, aquatic geochemistry, environmental nanoparticles, X-ray diffraction, and measurement theory, as both a theorist and a measurement scientist.

(3) Thanks to his scientific record, in 2000 Rancourt was awarded the largest Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Strategic Project Grant ever awarded at the University of Ottawa to lead a five-year project in lake environmental geochemistry and to supervise dozens of research students in the project, whereas he had never previously published in this area.

(4) Similarly, Rancourt had supervised a physics graduate research student in the area of “physics education”, having never at the time published in a peer-reviewed education journal. The physics student took courses out of faculty.

Rancourt had in February 2007 self-published (posted to the web) a damning scientific and societal/political critique of global warming science. The essay received some attention and criticism in the left media soon after its posting. His article has since catalyzed other studies and has been used in university courses.

Following this, Rancourt continued to research global warming science on his own and it was known that he had started conceiving graduate student research projects that would examine at the root the fundamental physical mechanisms behind such phenomena as an atmospheric greenhouse effect, radiative sublimation or melting of snow and ice, particulate effects on snow and ice radiation absorption, and the statistical and physical meaning of mean global temperature. (Recent articles HERE, HERE, HERE; and video interview HERE.)

In 2008 Rancourt discussed potential graduate student research projects with then undergraduate student Joseph Hickey. They agreed to work together and Mr. Hickey submitted his application accordingly, following established application procedures.

It appears that the dean’s October 2008 vehement intervention was aimed at squashing Rancourt’s research plans in the area of global climate science by barring supervisions in this area. NSERC research funds are tied to supervisions of students.

Rancourt was then in December 2008 suspended from all his supervisory duties, trespassed from campus and handcuffed and arrested while still a Full tenured professor, and ultimately fired in April 2009 under the false pretext of having arbitrarily attributed high grades in one advanced physics course in the winter semester of 2008. (LINK-1, LINK-2)

Yesterday (September 21, 2010) Rancourt sued by filing a labour law grievance against the University of Ottawa and those involved: HERE.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Polar bear mania: British TV station thinks a cow is a polar bear!

Remember the MSM boast about all that "fact checking" they do?

When reports came in that a polar bear had washed up on a Cornish beach, television presenter Naomi Lloyd was first with the news. The presenter of ITV's West Country breakfast bulletin informed astonished viewers that an animal more commonly spotted near the North Pole had turned up in the seaside town of Bude. Video footage showed a large, white beast lying on the shore.

"A walker in Cornwall has caught an extraordinary sight on camera. A polar bear has washed up on a beach near Bude," an excited Miss Lloyd said. "The bear comes from the Arctic Circle and an investigation is under way as to how it could have ended up there."

Alas for Miss Lloyd, the tale of the Cornish polar bear turned out to be several thousand miles wide of the mark. Closer inspection revealed that the polar bear was, in fact, a cow. The farm animal had been bleached white by sea water.

Red-faced bosses at ITV dropped the item from later bulletins, but insisted that it was an easy mistake. "The animal caused quite a stir in Bude. Several people has seen the animal from a cliff top and thought it was a polar bear," a spokesman said. "Its size and colour and its lying position on the beach did make it look like a polar bear and we had several calls. "But on closer inspection we discovered it was a cow. The tide was very strong and it did bring several dead animals in along that stretch of coast."

The spokesman conceded that the mistake was "a bit embarrassing".

ITV West Country has an available audience of up to two million viewers and the bulletin was broadcast at 7.55am.

Students of geography would have realised the unlikeliness of a polar bear appearing in the warm seas off Cornwall. The animals live on the Arctic sea ice and Greenland is the closest they get to Britain.


All is Not What It Appears to Be in "nature" documentaries

Hey! Did you know that what is depicted in those nature documentaries is not always genuinely "in the wild?" It's often set up in controlled circumstances, according to Chris Palmer, author of a new book that uncovers the tricks used by wildlife videographers. From the Washington Post:
...At 63, he has written a confessional for an entire industry. "Shooting in the Wild," published this year by Sierra Club Books, exposes the unpleasant secrets of environmental filmmaking: manufactured sounds, staged fights, wild animals that aren't quite wild filmed in nature that isn't entirely natural.

Nature documentaries "carry the promise of authenticity," Palmer said, speaking on a morning stroll through the manufactured wilderness of the National Zoo. Nature filmmakers profess to present animal life as it is lived, untouched by mankind. Yet human fingerprints are everywhere.

Palmer's book underscores the fundamental challenge of wildlife filmmaking: Nature is frequently boring. Wild animals prefer not to be seen....

Palmer asserts that manipulation pervades his field. Game farms, he writes, have built a cottage industry around supplying nature programs with exotic animals. Much of the sound in wildlife films is manufactured in the studio. Interactions between predator and prey are routinely staged.

What a surprise, that environmentalism devotees would distort reality to paint the picture they want in the minds of their viewing public. Even more so for those lying to push their agenda, like those who produced the anti-oil propaganda pic "Crude." Or "Gasland."


Another Global Warming Fable Bites The Dust

NCAR graph from 1975 showing rapid cooling after WWII.

Our friends didn’t like the fact that temperatures cooled dramatically when they were supposed to be rising (due to the carbon sins of mankind.) So they found a way to blame that on people too. They said the cooling was due to sulphur aerosols from fossil fuels -- For a while ….

But The Guardian now reports : Pollution not to blame for rapid ocean cooling, says Phil Jones paper. Research from UEA finds drop in temperature is too quick to be caused by the build-up of sulphur aerosols from fossil fuels

Quite a revelation that the climate has natural cycles, which are not controlled by man. The good news for the hockey team groupies is that they don’t have to keep denying that the ice age scare occurred – because Phil Jones has now confirmed the basis of it.

And John Holdren wrote a book about it at the time, in which he of course came to the wrong conclusion.

The next big step for the hockey team will be to admit that the rapid warming from 1880 to 1945 could not have been caused by CO2.


Clinton Initiative Looks To Stop Global Climate Disruption With New Stoves

On the surface, this seems like a good idea
At the Clinton Global Initiative today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and various partners described details of a plan to curb the clouds of toxic cooking smoke killing nearly 2 million people a year in the world’s poorest places. More than 2 billion people rely on firewood or dried dung for cooking and often burn these fuels in unvented stoves or fireplaces. (The photo above was shot for The Times in Kohlua, India, by Adam Ferguson.)

The lead organization, the United Nations Foundation, pledges to get cleaner, more efficient stoves into 100 million homes by 2020. Read John Broder’s news story for the basics, which include a commitment of $50.8 million over five years from the United States as seed money. Also visit the alliance Web site

Despite the fact that Mankind has been cooking with wood and dung since Prometheus stole fire from god, oh, OK, since man first noticed fire, the way many in poorer countries cook is not healthy. The smoke often stays in the domicile and causes health problems. Buuuuuuuut, is this really about helping the poor out?
The black smoke from such stoves also could be contributing to the melting of Himalayan snow and, by absorbing sunlight, can add local warming to whatever comes in a particular region from climate change.

And there you have it. It's about anthropogenic global warming. The article writer, Andrew Revkin, manages to cite the Himalayas, without mentioning that the evidence for the glacier melt was fabricated and a load of camel fritters. The Global Alliance For Cleaner Cookstoves also mentions globull warming as one of the reasons on their Overview pages. A lot. Anyone think that isn't the primary reason for this initiative? They also link in carbon credits, so, this could be a good way to attempt to make some cash off the plight of these poor people. Who often avoid using the "clean stoves", because they do not provide the heat necessary to cook their foods, such as breads.

I have a better idea: why not create power plants? Studies have shown again and again that the best way to pull people out of poverty is with modern energy. Instead of giving them climate change friendly stoves, how about bringing them electricity? Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot that our modern life is killing Gaia, so, we can't allow these folks living in real poverty to harm it more. Even though modern energy would decrease all the health problems this initiative mentions.



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


23 September, 2010

Joe Romm Forecasts 4C Warming From 2000-2080

"The rate of human-driven warming in the last century has exceeded the rate of the underlying natural trend by more than a factor of 10, possibly much more. And warming this century on our current path of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions is projected to cause a rate of warming that is another factor of 5 or more greater than that of the last century. We are punching the climate beast — and she ain’t happy about it!"


That works out to 0.5ºC warming per decade, starting in the year 2000. So how is he doing so far? I overlaid HadCrut (pink) on his graph at the same scale. The thin red line shows where we are “supposed to be” in 2010. Way off the mark.

Instead of warming 0.5ºC this past decade, temperatures barely warmed at all. Even more damning, half of the 20th century warming occurred with CO2 levels less than 320 ppm – barely above pre-industrial values.

The warming from 1910 to 1940 was just as great as the warming from 1970 to 2000, yet it can hardly be blamed on CO2. And the graph since 2000 is not even remotely following his forecast.


"Green" Spain in big trouble

"Renewable" electricity has virtually bankrupted the country

On one side, angry coal miners are striking to force the government to save their jobs from a torrent of inexpensive imports. On another, the solar power industry, which was once booming, complains that it is being crippled by the mere prospect of an end to generous state subsidies.

The natural gas and nuclear industries are having their own problems. Meanwhile, the shortfall accumulated since 2000 between the cost of power generation in Spain and what regulated rates bring in is expected to reach 20 billion euros, or $26.7 billion, by the end of the year — a bill the government, with its ailing public finances, can no longer afford.

A new energy strategy to raise self-sufficiency at an affordable cost was to be delivered before the summer break. But the government, which is aiming to erase the tariff deficit by 2013, has not yet presented any sort of plan. Critics say that in trying to please everyone, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is pursuing conflicting goals.

“The Spanish government’s energy strategy has been erratic and incoherent,” said Gonzalo Diaz-Rato, a partner at Gala Fund Management, which has invested across the Spanish energy sector. “The government wants to increase its green credentials by paying unsustainable subsidies to renewable producers and talking tough to the nuclear lobby, be price-friendly to end customers who are also the voters, while also supporting coal producers, even if that is economically unfeasible and not environmentally friendly.”

Coal producers, meanwhile, are also blaming other energy producers for their distress, particularly those of natural gas.

Years ago, when foreign coal was more expensive and renewables not yet widely developed, the government emphasized the increased use of natural gas. Today, there is something of a supply glut, which was exacerbated by Spain’s recession. Electricity demand in the country fell 4.4 percent last year.

The share of coal in Spain’s electricity production was 13.5 percent last year, about half its level from a decade earlier, according to data from the national grid operator. Gas and renewable energies each accounted for almost a third of overall production, while nuclear energy represented about 20 percent.

Until recently, solar energy was an undisputed source of national pride. “For the first time in our history, we can say that we have a real leadership position in such a sector,” Pedro Luis Marín, the Spanish secretary of state for energy, said in July.

The concern, however, is that this leadership position has come too quickly and too expensively. About 50,000 solar power installations in Spain operate with the support of guaranteed rates, representing an annual cost of about 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) to the government. In 2008 alone, Spain added 2,600 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity — more than five times what the government sought.

As a starting point for getting costs under control, the government has begun a review of the preferential rates it has set for green electricity, in particular for photovoltaic, which remains the most costly even though its costs have fallen about 50 percent in two years.

“Spain, which was a leader in renewable energies, has suddenly put the brake on the whole sector and created an environment of complete legal uncertainty that has made investors flee,” said Javier García Breva, a director of the Spanish Association of Renewable Energy Producers.

Reflecting falling margins in the Spanish market, some of the country’s largest power companies have shifted their growth ambitions overseas. Iberdrola, for instance, announced in February that the United States would account for almost 40 percent of its 18 billion euros ($23.6 billion) in planned capital spending until 2012.

The nuclear power industry has grown concerned about whether Spain might follow Germany’s lead in raising taxes on the sector, which is one of the most profitable.

Another way to sanitize the finances of Spain’s energy sector would be to allow utilities to significantly raise electricity prices, which, when adjusted for inflation, fell 38.8 percent from 1990 to 2008, Mr. García Breva said.

But amid a financial crisis and before pivotal regional elections, that option appears politically unpalatable. “There is a historic error that continues to be made in Spain, which is the belief that our energy policy must be aimed at not raising the electricity bill and allow people to believe that energy is an abundant and cheap asset,” Mr. García Breva said.

As to the forthcoming national energy strategy, few see the delay as a sign that politicians are working on a profound overhaul.

“The government must restructure the energy sector completely as the current situation is unsustainable,” said Mr. Diaz-Rato, the fund manager. “But this is politically very hard, as all stakeholders will need to suffer, and the government has little political capital to spend.”


Greenies fed up with Obama

Promising everything to everyone does catch up with you eventually. Excerpt from "Grist" below:

I confess that when I initially heard of it, I thought Bill McKibben's drive to return solar panels to the White House was essentially a waste of time: of all the things to ask the president, it seemed like the smallest, most insignificant, and easiest. It certainly wouldn’t solve the climate crisis. And it would allow President Obama to cloak himself in a symbolic green action that let him cover a rapidly worsening environmental record.

I realize now that its very simplicity made the solar panels a masterstroke that clearly exposed, more than any big policy ask ever would, President Obama's unwillingness or inability to confront our great planetary crisis. Because even in this smallest of disappointments, Obama responded in a way that was a caricature of his failure-by-committee administration: sending mid-level officials to tell the greatest American environmental activist of our time that the president was rejecting their request out of hand in favor of a continued "deliberative process." Huh? It's a solar panel, not the Afghanistan war strategy. Politico, in the course of its daily "mind-meld" with top White House officials, probably captured the truth behind the White House's craven response when they wrote that "the White House won’t like the symbolism" of anything associated with Jimmy Carter.

Of course, rejecting the solar panels, taken alone, is no reason to pass judgment on the entire administration. But this cowardly act came on the same day that the administration rolled out the latest plank in a growing legal assault on independent actions to fight climate change. On the ninth, the administration filed papers with the United Nations to try and prevent Europe from instituting pollution control measures on U.S. airlines' flights that take off or land in Europe. And just two weeks earlier, the Obama administration "appalled" environmentalists by intervening -- on the side of polluters -- in a lawsuit in which eight states and New York City are suing major Midwestern utilities to force them to clean up their carbon pollution (and doing so in a particularly egregious way, as outlined by Jonathan Zasloff of Legal Planet).

These aren’t the first times the Obama administration has weighed in for polluters -- they’ve also worked to stop environmentalists from using the Endangered Species Act to force polluters to clean up -- even though climate pollution is melting the sea ice that species like polar bears depend on for survival and imperiling more than a third of all species on Earth. Perhaps most tragically, they issued BP special permits exempting the Macondo well from several environmental laws -- and then assented to a sweetheart deal with BP that made BP’s compensation of people affected by the oil spill dependent on continued unsafe drilling in the Gulf.

To put the administration’s actions in context, it’s important to consider the seven major ways that progress has been made around the world against climate change: 1) Pollution caps instituted by Europe, Japan, and other Kyoto Protocol signatories 2) State-level action such as pollution caps in California and northeastern states, as well as state-level Renewable Energy Standards 3) Entrepreneurism and private investment 4) Voluntary actions by businesses to reduce pollution 5) Activism to pressure corporations, educational institutions, local governments, and other institutions to adopt climate-friendly measures 6) Lawsuits 7) Personal lifestyle changes.

Now the administration is actively working to undermine at least three of these seven pillars by fighting state efforts, publicly rejecting activist efforts such as the solar panel drive, and even going so far as meddling in efforts of other countries to tackle climate change.

Like many environmentalists, I’ve long criticized President Obama for not doing enough to protect the planet -- but now I fear that he is not only not doing enough, he is actively going out of his way to fight climate action on many fronts. It’s sad to say it, but he seems to prize the possibility of an unholy and illusory accommodation with polluters over a solution to the great environmental crisis that confronts us....

So what to do? As enthralled as environmentalists and progressives once were about Obama’s promise, we cannot ignore that for all his fine rhetoric, his accomodationism and reserve are allowing the planetary crisis to deteriorate and leaving America behind in the race for a clean energy economy. It pains me to say it, but success will require a new president -- and that means that after the midterm elections, we need to start looking for a primary challenger who has the heart and soul required to save the planet from catastrophe and rescue American from its economic morass -- even as we throw ourselves into grassroots action to do what we can to save the planet despite the president’s interference.


The waste of recycling

by Jeff Jacoby

I GENERALLY see her after dark: an old woman in a conical Vietnamese hat, making the rounds in my neighborhood the night before our weekly trash pickup. She is out in all kinds of weather, checking the bins that residents have set out on the curb, helping herself to the aluminum cans. I've smiled and nodded hello once or twice, but she looks right past me and moves on. I figure she's too busy working to lose any time on pleasantries.

That elderly woman engages in one of mankind's oldest means of employment: picking through rubbish, looking for things of value in other people's discards. Winslow Homer portrayed such scavengers — recyclers, we'd call them today — in Scene on the Back Bay Lands, Boston, an 1859 engraving of trash-pickers sorting through the landfill that eventually became one of Boston's most elegant neighborhoods.

Such "private sector recycling is as old as trash itself," notes Clemson University economist Daniel K. Benjamin, who reproduces the Homer image in Recycling Myths Revisited, a new monograph for PERC, the Montana-based Property & Environment Research Center. Like the "scow-trimmers" who once competed for the right to rummage through New York City's garbage barges, or like Cairo's modern-day "Zabbaleen," who collect much of that city's waste and support themselves by recycling what they find, Homer's Back Bay foragers were poor people who sifted through rubbish not because it was politically correct or required by law, but because it was a productive use of their time. It left them better off.

Similarly, the woman I see in my neighborhood pulls beverage cans out of trash bins not because she believes recycling is virtuous, but because there is a natural market demand for aluminum cans (bolstered by a 5-cent deposit) and she increases her wealth by supplying them.

By contrast, she doesn't take the old toothpaste tubes or Styrofoam cups that people have thrown out, because there is no natural market for them. That doesn't mean those items couldn't be recycled. It means that they're not worth recycling. To put it in environmental terms, recycling such rubbish would be a waste of resources.

Most of the stuff we throw out — aluminum cans are an exception — is cheaper to replace from scratch than to recycle. "Cheaper" is another way of saying "requires fewer resources." Green evangelists believe that recycling our trash is "good for the planet" — that it conserves resources and is more environmentally friendly. But recycling household waste consumes resources, too.

Extra trucks are required to pick up recyclables, and extra gas to fuel those trucks, and extra drivers to operate them. Collected recyclables have to be sorted, cleaned, and stored in facilities that consume still more fuel and manpower; then they have to be transported somewhere for post-consumer processing and manufacturing. Add up all the energy, time, emissions, supplies, water, space, and mental and physical labor involved, and mandatory recycling turns out to be largely unsustainable — an environmental burden, not a boon.

"Far from saving resources," Benjamin writes, "curbside recycling typically wastes resources — resources that could be used productively elsewhere in society."

Popular impressions to the contrary notwithstanding, we are not running out of places to dispose of garbage. Not only is US landfill capacity at an all-time high, but all of the country's rubbish for the next 100 years could comfortably fit into a landfill measuring 10 miles square. Benjamin puts that in perspective: "Ted Turner's Flying D ranch outside Bozeman, Mont., could handle all of America's trash for the next century — with 50,000 acres left over for his bison."

Nor do modern landfills — which are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency — pose a threat to human health or the environment. They must be sited far from wetlands and groundwater, thickly lined with clay and plastic, covered daily with fresh layers of soil, and equipped for drawing off the methane gas created by decomposition (the gas, in turn, is collected and purified for sale). Eventually they are capped, landscaped, and turned into public parks or other open space.

Recycling makes many people feel good, but feelings are not the best test of environmental soundness. When it makes more sense to recycle than to throw something away; government compulsion isn't needed. And when recycling is a profligate use of natural and human resources, government mandates can't change the fact. Big Brother can force you to recycle your garbage, but that doesn't make garbage-recycling green.


The bioethanol binge

Fuel made from corn is expensive, inefficient—and undrinkable

Aberdeen, South Dakota—“I’ve always wanted to know, can you drink what you guys make?,” I asked, sitting in Jim Lane’s office at the Advanced Bioenergy ethanol plant in Aberdeen, South Dakota. After all, ethanol plants ferment corn just like bourbon distilleries do. Lane smiled, pointed to a small jar of water-clear fluid on the table at which we were sitting, and said, “Open it up. Give it a smell.” I did. It felt like several layers of the cells lining my nostrils were being burned off. Lane smiled some more. The obvious answer was no. He explained that toxic stench in fuel ethanol emanates from fusel oil, a mixture of alcohols and fatty acids, which is used industrially to remove lacquer and enamel—that explains the eau de paint thinner—and is retained in fuel ethanol because it provides some extra energy. It also limits any temptation that a plant worker might have to take sip while on the job. In addition, to avoid paying beverage alcohol taxes the plant denatures its ethanol by adding two percent gasoline before shipping it.

Lane, a chemical engineer who is in charge of regulatory affairs at Advanced Bioenergy, generously agreed to give me a tour of the Aberdeen facility so that I could learn more about the process of producing fuel ethanol or bioethanol from corn. Last year, the country produced just over 11 billion gallons of bioethanol. In contrast, only about 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol were produced to drink in the form of wine, beer, and distilled spirits. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 [PDF] mandates that the country will use 36 billion gallons of ethanol for fuel by 2022, which is equal to about a quarter of the 138 billion gallons of gasoline consumed domestically last year.

Upon arriving at the Advanced Bioenergy facility, a pleasant, familiar smell pervaded the environs of the Aberdeen plant. As I later learned, what I was smelling was distillers grains, a close cousin to the sweet cattle feed we used to get from the Southern States mill when I was a farm kid. Distillers grains is the term for what is left over after alcohol has been extracted. As Lane explained, roughly about one-third of the corn is starch (converted to sugar) that is fermented into ethanol; another third, mostly proteins, becomes feed; and the last third is carbon dioxide produced by fermentation and which is vented into the atmosphere. Lane hastened to explain that the facility’s carbon dioxide emissions were recycled carbon dioxide captured by corn plants and did not add to the greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere. The livestock feed is an additional revenue stream for the plant (currently $147 per ton for wet and $120 per ton for dry distillers grains), but ethanol production always provides the larger share of the revenues.

The Aberdeen plant began as a small facility in 1992 producing just 3.5 million gallons annually. In 2008, the plant was expanded at a cost of about $100 million, and now produces about 50 million gallons of bioethanol per year. This is achieved by grinding up 51,000 bushels of corn (2.8 million pounds) per day 355 days per year for a total of more than 18 million bushels annually. Each bushel yields about 3 gallons of ethanol. The plant employs 45 full-time employees.

ethanol vatLane gave me a thorough tour of the plant, showing me where the corn was ground up, softened using enzymes into a mash, and dosed with brewers yeast. We climbed up to peer into one of the fermentation tanks in which the yellowish mash appeared to be boiling furiously, but was actually bubbling away carbon dioxide. It generally takes about 50 hours for one of the giant tanks to finish fermentation. Lane showed me how alcohol was distilled and stored.

After the alcohol has been extracted, the distillers grains are processed through centrifuges which remove water containing some solubles. An evaporator reduces them to a syrup that can be added later to enhance the nutritional value of the distillers grains. The solids leave the centrifuge and are dried to produce, yes, dry distillers grains. Lane also showed me the labs in which samples from the fermentation tanks are constantly tested to make sure that they have not become infected with bacteria. If an infection occurs, the tanks are treated with penicillin.

Lane is an earnest believer in the benefits of ethanol and was eager to persuade me that ethanol was good for the country and the economy. Like many others whom I’ve met in the renewable fuels sector, he forcefully argued that ethanol helped free us from foreign oil, provided good jobs, boosted the economies of rural communities, and helped reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. When I asked Lane about the $6 billion in tax credits given to the ethanol industry by the federal government last year, he retorted that oil companies get subsidies too. In fact, The New York Times reported in July that the oil industry got $4 billion in tax breaks last year. Many of the tax breaks, however, are standard ones like deducting interest expenses that nearly every industry enjoys.

Currently, corn-based ethanol producers receive a tax credit of 45 cents per gallon. The tax credit offsets some of the production costs of bioethanol making it more competitive to gasoline. In July, boosters of corn ethanol were dismayed by a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report [PDF] that found after adjusting for the difference in energy content between ethanol and gasoline plus adding in the amount of petroleum fuels burned to produce ethanol that actually the “the producers of ethanol made from corn receive 73 cents to provide an amount of biofuel with the energy equivalent to that in one gallon of gasoline.” The CBO further estimated that without the tax break bioethanol production would be about one-third lower than it is, which means that the “costs to taxpayers of using a biofuel to reduce gasoline consumption by one gallon are $1.78 for ethanol made from corn.” Historically, ethanol prices have generally been higher than gasoline prices [PDF], so ethanol has only been competitive with gasoline because of the tax subsidy.

And what about greenhouse gas reductions? The CBO cited life cycle calculations by the Argonne National Laboratory that found that a gallon of gasoline produces 12 kilograms of greenhouse gases whereas an energy equivalent amount of bioethanol produces 10 kilograms, about 20 percent less. So corn bioethanol would need to displace 424 gallons of gasoline in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 metric ton. Multiplying this figure by the $1.78 cost to taxpayers of displacing one gallon of gasoline by bioethanol yields a cost of $754 to cut one metric ton of carbon dioxide. At the moment, carbon emission permits in the European market are going for just under $20 per metric ton.

In fact, whether or not producing corn ethanol actually reduces carbon emissions is still a hotly contested scientific question. Some researchers argue that land clearing to grow additional corn releases more carbon dioxide than bioethanol displaces by reducing the consumption of gasoline. Let's not forget the issue of how turning one-third of America’s corn crop into fuel impacts food prices, especially the prices of corn-fed beef and pork.

It’s past time for the ethanol industry (and all other energy supply industries) to stand on their own. Although this is probably a pipe dream, all energy subsidies should be ended and the market allowed to determine which fuels win. The ethanol tax credit expires at the end of this year. Congress should let it die.

Note: I am traveling back to the East Coast over the next couple of weeks from a summer in Montana spent working on a new book. Along the way I am visiting various energy production facilities. The goal of this circuitous trip is for me to get a better understanding of energy production and to geek out on technological marvels.


Malthus not a good guide for population policy

Jessica Brown talks about a Greenie idol in the context of a debate in Australia about cutting back immigration

Thomas Malthus, the eighteenth century British thinker who predicted that over-population would lead to global famine, has lately had something of a resurgence. With everyone from Bob Brown to Bob Carr in wild agreement that Australia’s population growth must be cut, Malthusian prophecies of doom are back in fashion.

But a new book by Fred Pearce, Peoplequake: Mass Migration, Ageing Nations and the Coming Population Crash, highlights just what a nasty character Malthus actually was.

Malthus’ issue wasn’t really with the growth in England’s population but the growth in the number of poor people. His solution was to stop them from marrying and, therefore, procreating. He was virulent in his opposition to charity on the grounds that giving food to the poor would just prolong their inevitable deaths.

Malthus was immortalised as the detestable ‘Scrooge’ in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

But his legacy did not only live on in literature. His teachings informed officials in charge of coming up with a solution to the Irish potato famine of 1845 to 1849. Spurred on in part by hatred of the Irish and in part by Malthusian logic, one English Treasury official argued that the famine was a good ‘mechanism for reducing surplus population’ and ‘a direct strike of an all-wise and all-merciful Providence.’ In what became a self-fulfilling prophecy, an estimated one million people died.

While this example is perhaps extreme in the context of Australia’s current population debate, it nevertheless highlights why liberals should be wary of the new Malthusianism.

At its heart, the theory is profoundly illiberal. Malthusian thinking has spawned countless policies across the globe – forced sterilisations in India are the best known example – that have tossed aside the rights of the individual in order to achieve some perceived greater good.

It’s also fundamentally pessimistic. It assumes that catastrophic consequences of population growth are inevitable, so we shouldn’t bother looking for solutions.

Malthus was an eighteenth century country pastor who didn’t get out much. In a sense, it’s not surprising that he took such a dim view of the world.

But this is 2010, and we live in an open, successful and entrepreneurial country. Surely, in our population debate, we can do better.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 17 September. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


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


22 September, 2010

An amusing email recently received below

It is a promotion for a "pay to get published" academic journal. Any skeptic who published anything in it would be subjected to great derision -- but expect plenty of Warmist nonsense in it

Invitation to submit to Environmental Research Letters

From: Julian Norman

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If I can be of any further assistance or you would like any more information regarding the journal, please reply to this e-mail.

Leftists mixing science with religion

Evangelical Christians have a religious obligation to oppose carbon-based fuels and to support greenhouse gas reductions, if you believe the lame stream media. In delivering such a message, the media has publicized the efforts of a very few self-professed evangelicals whose views on the topic run counter to most evangelicals.

Bryan Fischer, host of the daily 'Focal Point' radio talk program of the American Family Association, this morning has published an excellent article on the topic. Fischer questions the motives of self-professed religious leaders who attempt to weigh in on such a secular issue as global warming science. The end result, he observes, is to diminish the credibility of the church.

According to Fischer, “This, by the way, ought to be a lesson to the church. Some leaders in the church, in their ongoing and misguided efforts to be cool, hip, and admired by the world, are always chasing after the latest public policy fad, and just about the time they catch up, the world moves on, leaving them looking silly and foolish. It's happened again.”

The Sierra Club, not known for outspoken support of evangelical Christian causes, has for the past several years been spearheading the effort to mislead evangelical Christians into believing they have a religious obligation to support greenhouse gas restrictions. You can read my thoughts on such tactics here.


Cassandra Says It Will Get Very Cold

By Alan Caruba

In the Greek myth about Cassandra, she could foresee the future, but no one believed her warnings. Her name is believed to be derived from the words for beauty and the sun.

Any number of solar scientists and others are warning that the Earth is on the brink of a new Ice Age at worst, a mini ice age at best. Dr. Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam has concluded that the next Ice Age will come on so swiftly that in barely a year much of the northern hemisphere will be incased in ice and snow.

The Little Ice Age from around 1300 to 1850 lasted long enough to transform European society and have a profound affect on the histories of America and France. In England, they went from growing grapes to skating on a completely frozen Thames.

All the signs are in place and throughout the northern hemisphere nations, their leaders prattle on about global warming, clean energy, endangered species, and all the other environmental foolishness without once casting an eye toward the source of all climate on Earth, the Sun!

While the warmists were trying to stir up hysteria over an Earth whose temperature was suppose to rise dramatically, Nature had other plans. For the past decade the magnetic field that triggers sunspots, magnetic storms on the face of the Sun, has been steadily declining and, with it, so has the overall temperature of planet Earth.

No matter what august figure blathers about climate change these days, they are either an ignorant fool or a charlatan seeking to enrich himself by one scheme or another. The situation for the warmists has become so dire that even the science advisor to the President, Dr. John Holdren, wants to change the terminology of global warming to “global climate disruption”, admitting the former is “a dangerous misnomer.”

It’s worse than that. It is a huge fraud, a hoax, a crime intended to deceive millions.

Okay, let’s all forget the millions of words and millions of dollars spent to convince us that “global warming” was such a sure thing that any scientist or reasonably intelligent person disputing it was labeled a denier, but the truth was that the data generated by the computer models to justify the claim was rigged!

My friend, Robert Felix, author of “Not by Fire, but by Ice”, and editor of, probably knows more about ice ages than anyone on the planet. In his book, he says “Ice ages begin and end abruptly every 11,500 years.” Guess what? We are now 11,500 years since the last Ice Age ended!

While idiots run about claiming that humans actually have any affect whatever on the climate and thus the fate of the Earth, Felix reminds us that “the Earth is a violent and dangerous place to live. We’re beginning to realize that mass extinctions have been the rule, rather than the exception, for the 3.5 billion years that life has existed on this planet.”

On June 14 in an article published in the New Scientist by Stuart Clark, he raised the question of why and where the sunspots of gone. Noting that they ebb and flow in cycles lasting about eleven years, Stuart said, “But for the last two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged in nearly 100 years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise.”

Not everyone, though. Felix believes we are on the cusp of the next Ice Age and, frankly, so do I. “This is not the calm before the storm,” says Felix. “This is the storm.”

If we’re lucky, it may just be a new Little Ice Age, but it could be a new Ice Age and, if that’s the case, a lot of life on planet Earth is going to be severely disrupted for a very long, long time.

Even a brief ice age of several hundred years will increase the demand for the generation of energy to keep us warm. All of a sudden everyone including the environmentalist liars will be crying out for more coal, more oil, and more natural gas.

Cassandra is saying bundle up!


Britain's Minister for Climate Change is dangerous delusional green Taliban, says successful British weather forecaster Piers Corbyn

“Chris Huhne – leader of the Coalition’s green Taliban, speaking as Energy & Climate Change Secretary 21 Sept, at the LibDem conference put forward a litany of deadly dangerous delusional diktats from the new Green Religion, and he must be stopped”, said Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist of long range weather and climate forecasters,

“Huhne listed recent weather extremes which in fact were caused by predicted solar driven changes in the jet-stream and frontal activity, but pretended they were CO2 driven; and quoted ‘warmest ever’ world temperature claims which rely on false data and he of course ignored supercold events in the Southern hemisphere this year. See here and here and Red bold items in Comments in here

“His policies benefit profiteering speculators and oil cartels, are anti-industry, anti-world development, anti-job and cause hunger, suffering and death – through:

- billionaire profiteering at the expense of the public though carbon trading;

- increasing world energy and oil prices which increase asset values & profits of Oil companies;

- increasing food prices from the burning of food (biofuels);

- the holding back of third world development (Africa needs cheap coal-fired electricity not windfarms which treble the price of electricity);

- deaths on UK & European roads when road salt ran out in the last two winters due to the MetOffice warmist mild-winter forecasts;

- politicians refusing to use solar-based forecasts – which would upset the CO2 lobby - which can warn of extreme deadly weather events around the world and save lives.

“His mad scheme of building more wind-farms if carried out would ensure the lights would have gone out over Europe last winter and would do in many winters to come. See slide 31 in presentation via WAnews27 - one of Red bold items in Comments section of here

“There are three key points which must be brought to politicians:

1. The theory of Man-made Global Warming & Climate Change is failed science based on fraudulent data. IT JUST DOESN'T ADD UP!

All the dire predictions of the UN (IPCC) since 2000 have failed. CO2 does not cause extreme weather. The world is cooling not warming. There is no evidence in 600, 600,000 or 600million years of data that changes in CO2 levels in the real atmosphere drive world temperatures or change climate; indeed it is temperatures which generally drive CO2 levels. - See here. Extra CO2 has ZERO effect, and any concession to the notion there is somehow some 'weak' effect waiting to happen falls into the trap the Climate hype industry machine has set for the ill-informed and the usual Appeasement brigades who surface in all political conflicts.

2. The driver of all important weather extremes is solar activity.

In the end it is extreme weather that matters rather than averages and this is controlled by Jet stream shifts and extra activity of weather fronts, and These are driven by changes in solar activity and largely predictable – See ongoing discussion in Comments as linked above, here - especially the comment of Aug 8th concerning predicted changes in the jet stream + records of the solar activity that caused them.

3. MORE CO2 is GOOD not bad.

CO2 is plant food and more CO2 increases the productivity of agriculture. Carbon fixing policies are madness which if carried out in the name of ‘Clean coal’ [NB Smoke from coal is easily removed and should be, but that is another issue] would double the cost of electricity and double the amount of coal used to produce power because carbon fixing (‘sequestration’) is very energy intensive.”



Piers Corbyn comments below on a recent report claiming that the ozone "hole" is shrinking because of the ban on CFC's. The report was noted on this blog on 18th -- under the heading "More false prophecies" -- JR

Beware of ANYONE bearing good news I would say - especially reports from the UN which actively opposes the application of evidence-based science to itself!

The Report is I have to say another of a growing avalanche of ideologically loaded, dishonest, self-serving, self-congratulatory, pseudo-scientific, tracts of made for brainwashing the world into accepting the man-made climate change RELIGION - aided by a supine media (but to be fair the Express largely reports The objective Realist view and is not so often duped).

The essential facts are of course that whatever man's role - and the science isn't settled!! - Ozone holes over the Antarctic must have been around for billions of years and need VERY COLD rather than warm conditions to grow; are affected by natural solar activity - charged particles and UV; and halogen compounds (halogens = Flourine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine) which appear to aid the process of ozone destruction are present naturally in the sea and picked up by the air and their concentration is enhanced by volcanoes at sea which, like the sea, have been around for billions of years.

There will be more ozone holes with or without man or the UN and more of these pseudo-sceince spin stories. To get to grips with what really does cause weather and climate change I suggest looking - for a short cut to issues - at the red bold items in the comments part on the ongoing Climate Realist piece "World cooling has...." - here


Is the Arctic ice getting thicker or thinner?

"There are claims coming from some communities that the Arctic sea ice is recovering, is getting thicker again,” Mark Serreze, director of the Colorado-based centre, told Postmedia News on Wednesday. That’s simply not the case. It’s continuing down in a death spiral.”"


US Navy PIPS2 maps show that the area of Arctic ice greater than 2 metres thick has increased by about 50% since the same date in 2008. The blink comparator below removes all ice reported as less than two metres thick.

Light green shows expansion of 2 metre thick ice since 2008

Original PIPS2 images are shown below.



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


21 September, 2010

The Anti-Engineering Crowd

by Steven Goddard

Engineers have to get things right. They design things which have to work in the real world. When bridges fall down, there are consequences. If your computer doesn’t work, there are consequences. If a rocket crashes, there are consequences.

By contrast, many scientists have the luxury of living in the world of thought. They can toy around with ideas and models and concepts, normally without consequence for being wrong. You would not want a scientist designing a bridge, or performing surgery. They generally don’t have the necessary skills.

We see the disconnect between climate science and reality constantly. One of my favorite examples is the idea of the “ice shelf collapse” due to “global warming.”

An engineer looks at this picture and sees stress fractures in a thick piece of ice. A polar scientist with global warming on his mind, might see CO2. There is no evidence of melt in this picture. None, zip, nada, nil. The idea that this clean, smooth crack is due to melt is ludicrous.

Another example is the idea of “ice sheet collapse” where the bulk of the Greenland Ice Sheet quickly slides off into the ocean. Again, we know that the ice sheet over Greenland has depressed the land underneath by several thousand feet. There are also mountains underneath the ice. Ice can not slide out of a 3,000 foot deep bowl. Again, the idea is ludicrous.

The idea that winter storms and winter snow extent are increasing due to “excess heat” defies any rational thought. Yet the idea is bandied around effortlessly by some in the climate science community.

The fact that GCMs do not verify would cause an engineer to be concerned. Yet some climate scientists march forwards with the blinders on. Because the anti-engineering crowd doesn’t believe there are consequences for being wrong.

We need both scientists and engineers. Scientists are the dreamers. Engineers are the boring, practical people. Any government daft enough to accede policy decisions to scientists will get exactly what they deserve.

BTW – I have degrees in both science and engineering …..


The original moonbat admits he was wrong -- grudgingly

He once claimed that Veganism was the only ethical behaviour -- but is now promoting meat! Do I hear the rustle of currency somewhere in the background?

George Monbiot, the original Moonbat Liberal, confessed in a column in the Guardian that going vegan will not save the planet from global cooling, global warming or whatever they are calling it today.

From George Monbiot: “In the Guardian in 2002 I discussed the sharp rise in the number of the world’s livestock, and the connection between their consumption of grain and human malnutrition. After reviewing the figures, I concluded that veganism ‘is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue.’

I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque. So does the book I’m about to discuss. I no longer believe that the only ethical response is to stop eating meat.”

Then he went on to plug a book about meat.

There is another religion that recently reversed itself on meat. The Catholic church in the 1960s decided eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays was OK.

Then there is this bit from George Monbiot: “Feeding meat and bone meal to cows was insane. Feeding it to pigs, whose natural diet incorporates a fair bit of meat, makes sense, as long as it is rendered properly. The same goes for swill. Giving sterilized scraps to pigs solves two problems at once: waste disposal and the diversion of grain.

Instead we now dump or incinerate millions of tonnes of possible pig food and replace it with soya whose production trashes the Amazon. Waste food in the UK, Fairlie calculates, could make 800,000 tonnes of pork, or one sixth of our total meat consumption.”

You control what people eat, you control people. This has been done with every religion. Monbiot’s pagan Gaia religion is only the latest.

Apparently going Vegan was a deal breaker for many and so like Saint Paul kicking circumcision to the curb goes Monbiot’s vegetarianism.


Warmist exaggerations exposed

So the claim that 'Warming patterns are consistent with model predictions' stands refuted

In 2008, there were two papers published in Nature which received quite a bit of attention. The papers are

Robert J. Allen & Steven C. Sherwood, 2008: Warming maximum in the tropical upper troposphere deduced from thermal winds Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo208

P. W. Thorne, 2008: “Atmospheric science: The answer is blowing in the wind; Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo209

I posted on these two papers in: "Use Of Winds To Diagnose Long Term Temperature Trends – Two New Papers"

Comments On The Science In The Nature Paper By Allen and Sherwood

It has taken over two years but in our paper:

Christy, J.R., Herman, B., Pielke, R., Sr., Klotzbach, P., McNider, R.T., Hnilo, J.J., Spencer, R.W., Chase, T., and Douglass, D. What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2148-2169

we refute the findings in the Allen and Sherwood (2008) and Thorne (2008) papers. In our paper in Section 3.1.3, we write

“The temperature trends derived from the thermal wind equation (TWE) (AS08 and C10) are indirect estimates and their magnitudes are significantly higher than the other products which measure the temperature directly.” [AS(08) = Allen and Sherwood (2008) and C10 = Christy et al (2010)]


“[W]e conclude that these trends calculated from the TWE, as applied for AS08 and here (C10), using the current radiosonde coverage and observational limitations (consistency, accuracy, etc.) do not produce results reliable enough for studies such as ours. In particular, AS08 and C10, with TLT trends of +0.29 and +0.28 °C decade−1 are almost three times that of the mean of the directly measured systems, and are values that are, in our view, simply not consistent with the countervailing, directly-measured evidence.”

In other words, The Allen and Sherwood (2008) finding that:

“Over the period of observations, we find a maximum warming trend of 0.650.47 K per decade near the 200 hPa pressure level, below the tropical tropopause. Warming patterns are consistent with model predictions except for small discrepancies close to the tropopause…… The agreement with models increases confidence in current model-based predictions of future climate change”

has been refuted as reported in the Christy et al 2010 paper.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The Deadly War against DDT

In its two decades of widespread use, DDT saved more lives than any other man-made chemical

Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan

A remarkable new documentary tells the story of how political and ideological forces combined to ban a widely and safely used chemical, DDT, leading to a surge of malaria deaths in developing countries like Kenya, Indonesia, and India.

3 Billion and Counting, which premieres this Friday in Manhattan, was produced by Dr. Rutledge Taylor, a California physician who specializes in preventive medicine. His film will both shock and anger you.

DDT was first synthesized in 1877, but it was not until 1940 that a Swiss chemist demonstrated that it could kill insects without any harm to humans. It was introduced into widespread use during World War II and became the single most important pesticide in maintaining human health for the next two decades. The scientist who discovered the insecticidal properties of DDT, Dr. Paul Mueller, was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on DDT. (In the 1940s and 1950s the chemical was the "secret" ingredient in a popular new cocktail, the Mickey Slim: gin, with a pinch of DDT.)

In 1962, Rachel Carson's lyrical but scientifically flawed book, Silent Spring, argued eloquently, but erroneously, that pesticides, especially DDT, were poisoning both wildlife and the environment - and also endangering human health. The National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the U.S. surgeon general were among those who dismissed these charges and came out in support of continuing to use DDT to fight disease and protect crops. A federal hearing was held on the safety of DDT, and in April 1972 Judge Edmund Sweeney concluded that not only was DDT safe, but it was an essential chemical.

Two months later, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, William Ruckelshaus - who had never attended a single day's session of the EPA's hearings and admitted that he had not read the transcripts - overturned the judge's decision, declaring, without evidence, that DDT was "a potential human carcinogen" and banned it for virtually all uses. The ban on DDT was considered to be the first major victory for the environmentalist movement in the United States, and countries around the world followed America's lead.

In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), DDT spraying had reduced malaria cases from 2.8 million in 1948 to 17 in 1963. After spraying stopped, malaria cases rose sharply, reaching 2.5 million over the next decade.

Scientists have never found an effective substitute for DDT - and so the malaria death rate has kept on soaring.

In his dissection of the rise of the environmental movement and the fall of science, Dr. Taylor not only educates us, but he also sparks outrage about the unforeseen consequences of a scientifically ignorant chemical witchhunt, one that has caused untold human suffering and billions of deaths, primarily among children. While any man-on-the-street interview will yield an overwhelming majority of negative comments about DDT - a "highly toxic, killer chemical" - the reality is that DDT has saved more lives than any other man-made chemical.


Get excited about recycling? Not me

Jeff Jacoby is NOT excited about environmental tyranny in the home

"GET EXCITED about Single Stream!" trills the flyer that comes in the mail from Town Hall. A letter from the commissioner of public works hails the "exciting change" beginning next month, when town residents will no longer be required to sort their recyclable trash into separate blue bins -- one for paper, the other for cans, bottles, and plastic containers. Instead recyclables will all go into 64-gallon "toters," which will be emptied at curbside on trash day into "single compartment trucks" using "automated equipment."

But for some reason the excitement of this eludes me, so I turn to the enclosed information sheet. A list of "frequently asked questions" and a letter from the town's Solid Waste Advisory Committee -- and what would town life be without one of those? -- assures me that single stream does away with "guesswork," making trash-disposal easier than ever. "By eliminating sorting," it reports, the new system may boost recycling rates by 30 percent or more. In large boldface print, it urges: "Get Excited!"

I gaze at the brightly-colored "Single-Stream Recycling Guide," with its illustrated array of trash items that can all go in the "toter" without sorting. There are pictures of bottle caps and egg cartons, books and tin cans, plastic jugs and newspapers. "All Together Now!" the leaflet proclaims. Hmm, I think, maybe this will be an improvement.

Then I start reading the fine print. It turns out that when the town says it is "eliminating sorting," what it means is that glass bottles and jars can be recycled, but not drinking glasses or window glass. It means plastic tubs are OK to toss in the toter, but plastic bags aren't. It means that while cardboard boxes must be flattened, milk and juice cartons must not be flattened. Reams of office paper are fine, but not the wrappers they came in. Tinfoil should be crushed into balls of 2" or larger; tin cans shouldn't be crushed at all.

"Please follow these guidelines carefully," the recycling guide directs. I don't think the Green Police will haul me off in handcuffs if I try to recycle an ice cream carton or a pizza box, but the town has warned that "there will be fines" for residents whose "recycling protocols" don't measure up to "basic community standards." Excited? Not.

To be fair, things could be worse. Clevelanders will soon have to use recycling carts equipped with radio-frequency ID chips and bar codes, the Plain Dealer reported last month. These will enable the city to remotely monitor residents' compliance with recycling regulations. "If a chip shows a recyclable cart hasn't been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables. Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine." In Britain, where a similar system is already in place, fines can reach as high as $1,500.

San Franciscans, meanwhile, must sort their garbage into three color-coded bins -- blue for recycling, green for compost, and black for trash -- and scofflaws who pitch teabags or coffee grounds into the wrong bin can be fined. In other cities, residents must bag their trash in clear plastic, lest they be tempted to toss recyclables out with the garbage.

Does any of this make sense? It certainly isn't economically rational. Unlike commercial and industrial recycling -- a thriving voluntary market that annually salvages tens of millions of tons of metal, paper, glass, and plastic -- mandatory household recycling is a money loser. Cost studies show that curbside recycling can cost, on average, 60 percent more per ton than conventional garbage disposal. In 2004, an analysis by New York's Independent Budget Office concluded, according to The New York Times, that "it cost anywhere from $34 to $48 a ton more to recycle material, than to send it off to landfills or incinerators"

"There is not a community curbside recycling program in the United States that covers its cost," says Jay Lehr, science director at the Heartland Institute and author of a handbook on environmental science and technology. They exist primarily to make people "feel warm and fuzzy about what they are doing for the environment."

But if recycling household trash makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, why does it have to be compulsory? Why the fines and computer chips? Mandatory recycling programs "force people to squander valuable resources in a quixotic quest to save what they would sensibly discard," writes Clemson University economist Daniel K. Benjamin. "On balance, recycling programs lower our wealth." Now whose idea of exciting is that?


Climatism: Redoubling Misguided Efforts

Undaunted by Climategate disclosures and the failure to pursue climate legislation in the Senate, the climate movement is stepping up the attack. At an August 10 virtual town hall held by Repower America, former Vice President Al Gore stated, "We are not defeated. We are redoubling our efforts ...We need to solve the climate crisis." Thousands of supporters listened to the call. Inspired by Mr. Gore, they intend to "roll up their sleeves" and "turn their attention to the future." Unfortunately, the climate movement is long on enthusiasm and ideology, but short on science and economic sense.

Climatism, the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is increasingly in doubt. It appears that the world jumped to conclusions in 1992 at the Rio de Janiero Earth Summit, when 41 nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For the last eighteen years, political leaders have been arguing about how much to reduce such emissions. But more and more science shows our climate to be dominated by natural cycles of Earth, driven by solar activity. Man-made carbon dioxide emissions play only an insignificant role in global warming.

On September 3, the BlueGreen Alliance completed a 17-state, 30-city bus tour, urging Senate action on comprehensive climate legislation. The BlueGreen Alliance was formed in 2006 by the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers as a national partnership to work for "expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean energy economy." Eight U.S. trade unions, comprising 8.5 million workers, have joined the Alliance and bought into the myth that Cap and Trade legislation will create a green jobs economy. Steel is an energy-intensive industry that would be harmed by legislation to restrict carbon emissions. It's a mystery why any steel worker would support Cap and Trade.

Economist Milton Friedman, as an advisor to a developing nation, reportedly visited a construction site and asked why laborers were using shovels instead of earth-moving equipment. When told that tractors would eliminate jobs, he said, "Why not give them spoons?" Real economic growth is achieved only by improving the productivity of the work force, not by artificial creation of jobs.

According to analysis from the Institute of Energy Research and the U.K. House of Lords, wind turbines and solar fields are less reliable and two to four times as expensive as traditional hydrocarbon fuels for producing electricity. An even greater deficiency is that wind and solar energy are intermittently generated. In 2009, the 33,000 U.S. wind turbine towers on average delivered only 23% of their rated power. Would you buy a car that starts only one-quarter of the time? Yet government subsidies and mandates are forcing substitution of these green "solutions." These policies are reducing the productivity of our energy industry, thereby hindering U.S. economic growth and resulting in net job losses. Expensive energy creates jobs only in the energy sector while resulting in greater job losses in the rest of the economy.

Sunday, October 10 will be a big day for the climate movement. The grassroots group is planning international demonstrations against man-made climate change. Tens of thousands of starry-eyed young people will take to the streets around the globe. Not one in ten will know that water vapor, not carbon dioxide, is Earth's primary greenhouse gas, but they'll be shouting for change just the same. These demonstrations are timed to call attention to the Cancun Climate Summit beginning at the end of November.

The United Nations 16th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change will convene in Cancun, Mexico on November 29. A year after the failed negotiations in Copenhagen, 193 nations and thousands of delegates will meet again to try to find a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save the environment. Yet such a meeting is ironic on a massive scale.

As pointed out by geologist Leighton Steward, carbon dioxide is green! Carbon dioxide is plant food. Hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies document that increased atmospheric CO2 causes plants and trees to grow faster and larger, increase their root systems, and improve their resistance to drought. Coincidentally, carbon dioxide emissions from our industries have probably done more for greening the Earth than every tree ever planted by a well-meaning environmentalist. Yet, it's damn the science and economics, full speed ahead.



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


20 September, 2010

Pick your proxy

What do we conclude when temperature proxies contradict both one another and real-world data?

We see here that a new proxy temperature measurement from South America shows the Medieval warm period and little ice age that Warmists like Michael Mann tried to "iron out" of their "hockey stick" graphs.

It also however shows a temperature upturn in the 20th century that exceeds the temperature observed in their proxy data for the Medieval warm period -- which contradicts what we certainly know about the Medieval warm period -- when the historical data that we have (Vikings farming in Greenland etc.) shows that period to be warmer than the present.

Additionally, we know that Briffa's Russian pine tree proxies showed a now famous DECLINE in 20th century temperatures -- a decline that Phil Jones & Co. famously used a "trick" to "hide". There is certainly no grounds from the thermometer readings to conclude that temperatures declined overall in the 20th century, though an argument could be made that there was no significant increase.

So where do we go from there? One could quite reasonably conclude that all temperatures are local and that we should not generalize from one place to another -- and that is a highly satisfactory conclusion for skeptics and a nasty one for the Greenies.

But my conclusion is even harsher than that. I don't see how we can trust ANY proxy unless we have ACTUAL temperatures to validate it against. And we just don't have such temperature data beyond about 150 years ago.

I am acutely aware of the validity issue because it lay at the heart of my own research into psychometrics. I was attempting in my work something just as daunting as what paleoclimatologists try to do. I was trying to put numbers to human attitudes and personalities.

One normally does that via a questionnaire. One uses questionnaires as proxies for what people are thinking. But how do you know that the answers to your questionnaire reflect anything real? You don't -- unless you seek some sort of validation for the measure you have constructed. You need some objective or independent data to compare your questionnaire answers with. And in my career I was a demon about insisting on such external validation.

Many of my colleagues were more insouciant however and took the questionnaire answers they had at face value. As a result I often was able to point out that they had got it wrong and that their research could not support the conclusions that the author concerned had drawn from it. I got a lot of papers published in the academic journals by pointing out such follies.

So if I had been in Briffa's shoes and found that the actual temperature record for the 20th century contradicted what my proxy data seemed to be showing, I would have concluded that the proxy was invalid and could not be used to support any conclusions. That is what any honest scientist would have done. Briffa, however, ignored the glaring invalidity of his proxy data and pretended to draw conclusions about temperatures for the last 1,000 years or so from it.

So from my perspective as a specialist in measurement, I can see no way of drawing sound conclusions about temperature from ANY proxy data so far available. The whole Warmist enterprise is an edifice built on sand.

Being a good scientist, however, I am going to specify what a valid temperature proxy would show. It would show the Roman warm period as warmest of all for the last 2500 years (when Hannibal took elephants over the Alps in WINTER and grapes grew in Northern England). It would show the Medieval Warm period as warmer than today (when Vikings farmed in Greenland). And it would show temperatures over the last 200 years as essentially flat (as even the Warmists claim a temperature rise of less than one degree Celsius over that period). I know of no such proxy in existence so far.

Given the inherently coarse resolution of proxies, it is in fact doubtful that any proxy COULD do what Warmists ask of it. Few people seem to realize that the graphs of leaping temperature that Warmists produce are calibrated in tenths of one degree. It may be possible to extract that degree of precision from thermometers but asking it of proxies is drawing a very long bow indeed.

I will stick with the well-established facts of history and conclude that present-day temperatures are in no way exceptionally warm. Publius Cornelius Scipio could well have made that sort of complaint but we cannot -- JR

Note that the article further down today by Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt also points out problems with proxies -- in his case ice core contents

Psychologizing climate skepticism

This is a standard tactic of the Left: Anybody who disagrees with them is either mad or stupid. In this case however the attempt has its amusing side: An alleged psychology paper published in a meteorology journal!

Many people don't believe in global warming because everyday life may have trained them to doubt it, according to a new University of NSW study that brings together climate science and cognitive psychology.

As the physical science underpinning human-induced climate change has grown more and more solid, more people have been growing sceptical of it, according to the paper The Psychology of Global Warming, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. "Simply presenting the facts and figures about global warming has failed to convince large portions of the general public, journalists and policy makers about the scale of the problem and the urgency of required action," the paper says.

"From a psychologist's perspective, this is not surprising."

Two Sydney researchers, psychology lecturer Ben Newell and climate scientist Professor Andy Pitman, identified different classes of perfectly normal psychological phenomena that can tend to turn people into so-called climate "deniers". The first concerns "sampling issues" - the idea that people normally try to refer to real-life examples to draw conclusions and may be heavily influenced by recent media coverage.

"For example, if you read or hear opinions from climate change sceptics about 50 per cent of the time then this could lead to a bias in the perception of the balance of evidence in your mind - that is, that the science is only about 50 per cent certain," Dr Newell said.

People are also heavily influenced by "framing issues" - dealing with how information is presented to them. The figure 0.2 means the same as 20 out of 100, but the latter proportion makes the information seem much more concrete.

People construct mental models which they use to judge new information, and these models are usually built only on a few fragments of information, the study said.

It used the analogy of most people's understanding of the link between cancer and smoking, which is not completely understood by most researchers yet widely accepted by the general public. "By contrast, understanding how and why an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to warming and how and what we do as individuals and communities affects the composition of the atmosphere is much harder," Dr Newell said. [It sure is!]

The authors drew on dozens of studies into people's reactions to news about climate change, some of which suggest that certain types of people [i.e. skeptics -- something that all scientists should be] are more likely to find the evidence for human-induced climate change less convincing than others.


Below is the journal abstract. It is clearly political campaigning, not science

The evidence in support of global warming and the lack of significant published evidence to the contrary provides an extraordinarily strong foundation for the scientific community's call for action on greenhouse gas emissions. However, public conviction about the threat posed by global warming appears to be on the decline. What can the scientific community do to communicate the message that global warming requires urgent action now, most likely via deep cuts in emissions? A clear impediment to this goal is that the issues are complex and the outcomes uncertain. As a step towards achieving this goal, the authors review some psychological phenomena that illuminate how humans make judgments and decisions when faced with complex uncertain problems. The authors suggest that an awareness of this research, combined with an indication of how lessons from it can be applied to the particular communication issues faced by climate scientists, could help in ensuring that the message of global warming is heard and heeded.

The Week That Was: (To September 18, 2010)


By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

As illustrated by the works of George Orwell, slogans are important to political movements. Effective slogans can persuade people to a cause and eliminate further thought on the subject. In his book Climate: The Counter Consensus, Bob Carter discusses how slogans become type of code. Do you believe in global warming is actually do you believe that mankind is causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming? Similarly, saying that someone is a "climate denier" is a pejorative way to describe a person who believes that climate change is normal and natural.

The slogans "global warming" and "climate change" appear to be losing their effectiveness with the public. President Obama's science advisor John Holdren has invented a replacement - "disruptive climate change." Of course, what the term means is not precisely defined. So it is appropriate to define it. For the past two million years the dominant climate is one of ice ages interrupted by brief warm periods. Thus, warm periods must be "disruptive climate changes" including the current one that has permitted humanity to thrive and gave rise to civilization. Please see the first article under "Defending the Orthodoxy."


Last week's TWTW referenced a criticism of a study by the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, produced for Deutsche Bank (DB) entitled: "Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments." According to reports, the Bank has a US $5 Billion portfolio for green investments, including carbon trading, so it is natural for the Bank to defend its portfolio. DB announcement of the report concludes that human caused dangerous warming is upon us and it will last for thousands of years.

Now the study is now being used to attack those skeptical about the IPCC. Thus, it is instructive to look at a few main points of the study which claims to summarize the arguments of the skeptics and effectively respond to them.

* The DB response to the claim that climate models cannot provide reliable projections is that the models have been improved and unanimously predict warming with increasing greenhouse gases.

SEPP response: A deficient model that has been improved but makes unverified predictions is still deficient.

* The DB response to the claim that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) existed is that the existence of the MWP does not challenge the case of anthropogenic warming.

SEPP response: it is the obligation of those claiming the 20th Century warming is different than past warm periods to scientifically explain the difference and demonstrate why 20th Century warming must be anthropogenic.

* In responding to the fact that ice cores reveal that temperatures changed first then carbon dioxide concentrations the study claims that carbon dioxide changes amplify the temperature changes.

SEPP response: The CO2 amplification claim avoids the issue of cause. For example, what causes temperatures to drop when carbon dioxide concentrations are rising? This is inconsistent with the IPCC models that project temperatures will only increase with rising carbon dioxide.

* The study states that skeptics claim "Earth's climate is driven only by the sun."

SEPP response: The authors of the study ignored the works of many skeptics, for example Joe D'Aleo and Roy Spencer.

* The DB response to water vapor being the most prevalent greenhouse gas is to assert that water vapor provides a positive feedback.

SEPP response: The water vapor feedback is precisely the assumption that must be - and has not been - tested.

Many similar issues in the paper can be refuted in a similar fashion.


Number of the Week: $237 per ton

One of the justifications for the Federal government's cash for clunkers program was that it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions. According to the referenced article "'Clunkers,' a classic government folly," researchers at the University of California, Davis estimate that it cost the Federal Government (i.e. taxpayers) $237 per ton of emissions reduced. The current posted price for a metric ton (1.1 US tons) on the Chicago Climate Exchange is $0.10. However, no one is buying.

It is interesting to speculate what the costs of reductions of emissions are from subsidizing and mandating wind and solar power.


In a rather long four part series posted in Master Resource, Jon Boone challenges the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to produce the empirical evidence supporting its claim that reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is "one of the universally recognized and uncontestable benefits of wind energy..." Independent researchers have great difficulty in obtaining the necessary data to evaluate the effectiveness of wind. The wind industry routinely denies access to the data claiming it is proprietary. It is unconscionable that legislators and other government officials subsidize and mandate the use of wind energy without full and transparent knowledge of the costs and the benefits to the citizen.


SEPP CORRECTIONS AND AMPLIFICATIONS: Reader Tom Sheahen pointed out that last week's discussion of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling did not sufficiently differentiate between the new techniques of drilling for natural gas and the old techniques of drilling for oil and natural gas in the East. In the past, the wells in the east were relatively shallow and vertical. Compared to wells in the West, they produced poorly. Solvents and even explosives were used to fracture rock and open pores to obtain the gas or oil. As a result, before solid regulations were established, solvents could appear in the ground water or drinking water.

The new techniques involved drilling deep wells thousands of feet below the surface through layers of impervious rock far below ground water and aquifers. The walls of the vertical and initial horizontal wells are sealed to prevent any seepage into porous layers. It is then that additional horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of the gas bearing shale commences. The amount of chemicals used is typically below 1% of the total fluids, the balance being water. When claims of pollution of drinking water, etc, are made, it is necessary to differentiate between the old techniques and the new.



Guest Editorial by Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt (Harrison H. Schmitt is a former United States Senator from New Mexico as well as a geologist and former Apollo Astronaut.)

Analysis of ice cores from Antarctica [1] and Greenland [2] play an important role in understanding the history of global temperatures and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases and aerosols. Through analysis of dust, they also provide up to 800,000-year chronologies of global scale volcanic eruptions and major trends toward desertification. Clearly, data from ice cores play a critical underlying role in the science of climate change.

Unfortunately, ice cores do not always appear to be a reliable record of past carbon dioxide or methane concentrations in the atmosphere. Their information needs to be confirmed by consistency with data from other sources. Particular care must be taken in the interpretation of the carbon dioxide "record" in ice cores due to uncertainties in the mechanics of gas preservation over time.[4]

In some cases, the trapped "atmosphere" in the ice sheets may not be part of a closed system. To be a closed system for carbon dioxide or methane, no gas components can escape or be added during the burial process; liquid water cannot have interacted with the gases; none of the trapped gas components can combine, separate, diffuse, or solidify; and all components must stay in the same proportions as pressure increases with time due to added ice above. The observational science of ice has demonstrated that for some cores all these conditions do not hold. Further, the process of core extraction from great depth to surface pressure may open and disturb the gas systems.

For example, the Siple Antarctic ice core indicates that carbon dioxide reached a level of about 330ppm in about 1900. Comparison with the 1960 initial Mauna Loa measurement of 260ppm suggests that either (1) the Siple data is just wrong, or (2) there was a drop of about 60ppm in carbon dioxide level between 1900 and 1960, or (3) it takes 80-some years for the carbon dioxide gas system to close.[4] This discrepancy does not appear to have been resolved;[5] but the smooth shape of the Siple core carbon dioxide curve as a function of core depth (approaching a constant level with increasing core depth/age) suggests it might not ever have been a closed system. Over time, carbon dioxide in the sampled Siple ice may have gradually equilibrated to a constant carbon dioxide value of about 280ppm now indicated for the 1720-year old and older layers. Also, this core suffered some melting during transport and prior to analysis.[6]

Not surprisingly, considering the known variability in ice preservation, measured carbon dioxide concentrations in the trapped gases of many cores older than about 300 years hold remarkably constant over the last 7-8000 years of ice accumulation.[7] This constancy is incompatible with other data, including that from other ice cores and from preserved Ginkgo leaf stomata, both indicating significant variation during that period. Stomata are pores through which a plant takes in carbon dioxide. They vary in size depending on the carbon dioxide concentration in the air, and preserved stomata suggest that carbon dioxide levels ranged between 270 and 326ppm over the last 7-8000 years.[8] Some Greenland ice cores do not show expected temperature-driven carbon dioxide increases during the Medieval Warm Period (~800-1300) or the expected decreases during the Little Ice Age (~1400-1900)[9], although these events show clearly in other cores[10]. This further indicates that some ice cores potentially give an unreliable history of atmospheric carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and methane concentrations. Analyses from the EPICA Dome C and Vostok cores of the Antarctic ice sheets, on the other hand, show plausible parameter variations. A strong correlation exists back to ~800,000 years ago between carbon dioxide and methane concentrations and deuterium and oxygen isotopic temperature determinations.[11] The five hundred year time resolution of these correlations, however, remains insufficient to determine if carbon dioxide and methane changes lead or lag temperature changes. Similarly, up to 123,000 years of climate temperature variations measured in three deep cores from the Greenland ice sheet (GRIP, GISP2, and NGRIP) appear to be consistent with other climate proxy data, such as North Atlantic sediment cores.[12] Although carbon dioxide measurements can be suspect in some ice cores, data from many others constitute extremely valuable records of additional parameters that exist within truly closed subsystems. For example, Greenland ice core data indicate that large climatic temperature shifts can occur over a very few years. Oxygen isotopes, deuterium, dust and calcium, sodium, and ice accumulation rates support data from cave deposits that indicate rapid cooling often follows periods of gradual natural warming.[13]

A particularly prolonged warm period between 9000 and 6000 years ago, within the current interglacial, has been documented, most recently in oxygen isotopic analyses of Greenland ice cores.[14] That prolonged warm period resulted in significant thinning of Greenland's ice sheet to thicknesses within a 100m of those of today. Several other warm periods have occurred since, the most pronounced of which has been termed the Medieval Warm Period (500-1300)[15]. Warm periods of this nature were initially highly beneficial to fledgling human cultures. During the latter centuries of the Medieval Warm Period, however, severe weather and drought, overpopulation relative to available agricultural technology, and other factors forced migrations from many centers of civilization,[16] primarily to locations with more reliable water resources and better defensive positioning.

Adverse effects of warming, however, stand in contrast to the general advancement of human civilization during the 10,000 years of warming since the last Ice Age. On the other hand, adaptation to the stresses of climate change, including cold periods, probably was a major factor in the evolution of modern humans.[17] The last Ice Age also permitted the advantageous migrations of modern humans from Asia into the Americas about 22,000 years ago. At that time, low sea levels created a land bridge between Asia and North America.[18] Adaptability has been the key for human survival and advancement.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #27-2010 (Sep 18, 2010)

Britain's energy policy is in crisis

The Government's policy on renewable energy is wasteful and counter-productive, says Christopher Booker.

Forget the latest proposal by Caroline Spelman, our Environment Secretary, that all hospitals should in future be built on hills, to stop them being submerged beneath the rising seas brought by global warming (even that serial panic-monger Al Gore predicts that sea levels will rise by only 20 feet). A more serious problem is the chaos inflicted on our energy policy by our willing compliance with an EU obligation to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent within 10 years.

Behind the fog of official spin, it becomes ever more obvious that the schemes devised to meet the EU target of generating nearly a third of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 - six times more than at present - are a massive self-delusion. Even though they will cost us hundreds of billions of pounds, paid largely through soaring electricity bills, the energy they produce will be derisory - certainly nowhere near enough to plug the looming 40 per cent shortfall in our supplies, as many of our older power stations are forced to close.

Take the Government's proposed Renewable Heat Incentive, the costs of which could, by 2030, outweigh its benefits by as much as £13 billion. The hope is that by 2020, Britain will have installed two million "heat pumps" to extract warmth from the air and soil. But a taxpayer-funded study by the Energy Saving Trust found that, of 83 air-sourced systems already installed at up to £20,000 each, only one was efficient enough to qualify as "renewable energy". This was so embarrassing that many of the higher figures have been given as estimates to provide a more reassuring picture.

Equally questionable is our enthusiasm for solar panels. Ignoring the costly disaster of similar schemes in Spain and Germany, we have now copied them by offering absurdly inflated subsidies ("feed-in tariffs") that force us all to pay their owners between three and eight times the going rate for the tiny amount of power they produce. Last year, solar's contribution to the grid averaged 2.3 megawatts - so minuscule that it was barely a 1,000th of the output of one large coal-fired power station.

Then there is the generation of power and heat from burning biomass, such as wood and straw. Drax, the giant 3.9-gigawatt coal-fired power station in Yorkshire, has the largest facility in the world for co-firing one of its six boilers with biomass. But so rigged against biomass is the subsidy structure that Drax cannot afford to use much of it, because its cost is a third higher than that of coal, under a system not due to be reviewed until 2013. Drax's plan to spend £2 billion on three dedicated biomass plants, generating more than 800 megawatts, has now been stalled for the same reason.

Next, there is the farce of those electric cars, which make no economic or environmental sense. Only a few thousand have been sold and, even with a £5,000 public subsidy, the forthcoming Nissan Leaf will cost £23,000 and be able to travel only 100 miles before its battery needs an eight-hour recharge, with electricity derived from fossil fuels, reducing any supposed saving on CO2.

At least the Government has dropped the idea of spending £30 billion on the Severn tidal barrage, which would produce little more electricity than a CO2-free nuclear power station, at 10 times the cost. But it has ruled that permission will be given to build four of the new coal-fired power stations we desperately need only if we pay £14 billion to fit them with "carbon capture and storage", piping off their CO2 to bury it in holes under the North Sea. This would double the cost of their electricity - and recent studies show it to be no more than a fantasy anyway, because the required injection rates would soon shatter the rock structure.

The Government's flagship "renewables" policy is to spend £100 billion on 10,000 onshore and offshore wind turbines, adding to the 3,000 we already have (which are so inefficient that their combined output last year was equivalent to one modest coal-fired plant). Apart from the colossal cost (suppliers must buy electricity from wind at double or treble the price of conventional power, passed on through our energy bills), there is no way that more than a fraction of the 6,000 offshore turbines the Government dreams of could be built by 2020, since this would require erecting two such huge structures every day for 10 years, when installing just one can take weeks. Even so, the more turbines we have, the more we will need new gas-fired power plants to provide back-up for when the wind drops - emitting as much CO2 as the turbines nominally save.

If all this sounds like pure lunacy, we must recall that two years ago, our MPs voted all but unanimously for the Climate Change Act. This commits Britain, uniquely in the world, to cutting its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, at a cost of up to £18 billion a year, or £734 billion in total. This is what our politicians have made the law of the land, although in practice it could only be achieved by closing down virtually all our economy.

Now, no doubt, we have to add in the cost of building all our hospitals on hilltops, to prevent them vanishing under those Noah-like inundations that our Environment Secretary is fixated on. But, of course, none of this will have any impact on reducing overall CO2 emissions. We contribute less than 2 per cent to the global total, while China's emissions alone increase by more than that every year.


AGW Today: Everybody Panic -- again

I guess the alarmists have to get in all their talking points before winter sets in, especially as they attempt to link cold weather and snow storms to man caused global warming, er, climate change, er global climate disruption, otherwise known as "what the Earth has been doing for billions of years." Though, that doesn't roll off the tongue as well as the others
A recent report by a national environmental organization claims that global warming will spawn more extreme weather events such as last March's rains in New England and big snowstorms like the so-called "Snowmageddon" that paralyzed the mid-Atlantic region last winter.

"This spring's flooding was just one example of how extreme weather causes big problems for the economy of Massachusetts and for our public safety," said Emily Fischer, an energy associate with Environment Massachusetts, which produced the report and is a branch of Environment America.

Because the Earth has never had flooding before. Ever. I believe they made the word "flooding" up around 1980 to account for this new phenomena.
The Environment Massachusetts report contains no ground-breaking research of its own but combines the results of recent scientific studies on the effects of climate change and storm activity. The report includes, for example, predictions of fewer but more intense high-category hurricanes. The most dangerous, Category 4 and 5 hurricanes could double in number over the next century, the report says. It also forecasts more frequent heavy downpours and snowfalls, as well as more wildfires and intense heat waves.

OK. Perhaps I should have named this the Prozac Diaries instead of AGW Today. Really, as an environmentalist myself, I wish these groups would spend more time dealing with real environmental issues. Because they beclown themselves and damage the movement, especially when we get

And then we have
Fairbanks faces a roughly 11-degree Fahrenheit temperature increase by 2100 if moderate climate-change models are used, Boone said during a talk Wednesday.

If that happens, the interior no longer will be characterized by permafrost and boreal forests, he said.

Chicken Little is pleased. But,
Climate change falling off public radar, speakers say

My goodness!
Climate change could benefit UK farmers

Remember how it was warmer back during the Global Climate Optiumum, and the Brits were making excellent wines, much to the dismay of the French?

Let's wrap up with some OMG, WE'RE DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED, shall we?
If we fail, I can imagine a thousand years from now a small fragment of humankind barely surviving the new planetary climate huddled round a fire in some remote northern latitude observing the night sky, subsisting perhaps as hunter-gatherers on a vastly different and biologically depleted planet listening to a tale vaguely recalled in ancestral memory by the local shaman.


War on excess packaging in Britain

I have some sympathy with the Greenies over this. I find that I need tools to get into a lot of the packaging around things that I buy

A landmark prosecution will heap pressure on Britain's supermarkets to end hugely wasteful food packaging. Sainsbury's is being taken to court for using excessive wrapping in a move that could open the door to a wave of similar charges being brought.

The store is the first supermarket to face official action over wasteful packaging. Grocery giants have dodged charges for years in an area of law riddled with loopholes.

But trading standards officers have acted decisively over Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Slow Matured Ultimate Beef. It not only comes in a plastic shrink-wrap, but is placed inside a plastic tray, topped with a transparent plastic lid and surrounded with a cardboard sleeve. The meat is a typical example of supermarkets' excess packaging and the resulting waste that campaigners say is turning the country into the `dustbin of Europe'.

Around 5 per cent of the average shopping basket is packaging and the UK produces 9.3million tons of waste packaging a year - the equivalent weight of 245 jumbo jets every week.

Sainsbury's last night said it was `surprised' by the legal action and is in the process of changing to slimmer packaging.

But it will be hard to appease campaigners who point out that more rubbish goes to landfill in Britain than in any other European country. With items such as shrink-wrapped coconuts and single bananas sold in plastic trays, shoppers are routinely charged extra for buying fruit and vegetables that are wrapped in plastic rather than sold loose.

Prepared meat cuts often come in plastic trays, while biscuit and cake manufacturers swathe their products in many layers of trays, sleeves and boxes.

The law on excess packaging was introduced in 1999 and appears to offer a simple route to outlawing waste. It says packaging should be limited to `the minimum adequate amount' to ensure safety and hygiene.

However, just four companies have been prosecuted, while the maximum fine is just £5,000. Councils argue that small print get-out clauses make it so difficult to prosecute that none has even tried to take a store or manufacturer to court since 2006. They have called for the law to be tightened up and backed by an increase in the maximum fine to £50,000.

The case against Sainsbury's was launched by Lincolnshire Trading Standards following a complaint from a resident earlier this year. Its head of trading standards, Peter Heafield, said he had `a duty to enforce regulations'.

The store expressed surprise at the legal threat. The company said it has been working on reducing packaging on products across the store. This includes a new way to wrap and present its Taste the Difference beef which, it claims, reduces the total amount of packaging by 53 per cent.

A spokesman said the store was hopeful the council would drop the case in the light of the changes. `We are surprised at the comments made by Lincolnshire County Council, which do not reflect the very positive outcome of our meeting with Lincolnshire's
packaging team,' he said. Some of the old packaging was still in stores yesterday, but the firm said this should be replaced by the slimmed down version over the next few days.

Margaret Eaton, of the Local Government Association, said: `Britain is the dustbin of Europe. Families are fed up with having to carry so much packaging home from the supermarket. Stores need to up their game so it's easier for people to do their bit to help the environment.'

Friends of the Earth welcomed the prosecution, saying: `There is far too much packaging on our food and I hope this prosecution will encourage other supermarkets to get their houses in order.

But the British Retail Consortium said stores are making great efforts to reduce packaging and waste because excess wrapping is a `pointless cost'. Sainsbury's added that packaging is essential to keep food fresh and therefore prevent food waste.



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


19 September, 2010


A new academic paper by Roy Clark


The long term trends in monthly minimum temperature from 34 California weather stations have been analyzed. These trends can be explained using a variable linear urban heat island effect superimposed on a baseline trend from the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The majority of the prevailing California weather systems originate in the N. Pacific Ocean. The average minimum monthly temperature is a measure of the surface air temperature of these weather systems. Changes in minimum surface temperature are an indicator of changes in the temperature of the tropospheric air column, not the ground surface temperature. The PDO provides a baseline minimum temperature trend that defines the California climate variation. This allows urban heat island effects and other possible anomalous temperature measurement effects to be identified and investigated. Some of the rural weather stations showed no urban heat island effects. Stations located in urban areas showed heat island effects ranging from 0.01 to over 0.04 C.yr-1. The analysis of minimum temperature data using the PDO as a reference baseline has been demonstrated as a powerful technique for climate trend evaluation. This technique may be extended to other regions using the appropriate local ocean surface temperature reference. The analysis found no evidence for CO2 induced warming trends in the California data. This confirms prior ‘Null Hypothesis’ work that it is impossible for a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration to cause any climate change.


Environmental tyranny

Post recycled from "Brutally Honest"

A week ago I vacationed in the area covered in the following piece... I saw the signs and didn't understand them all, didn't understand the driving forces behind them... I do now... and I'm enraged... you will be enraged... you need to watch the whole damned thing... you need to watch those impacted by environmental thuggery... then you need to pass this on... this needs to go viral... do your part:

Piping Mad: Fair People at the Mercy of a Government Gone Fowl from Kevin Hicks on Vimeo.


Naive climatology: what chance have the teachers when the Government Science Advisor holds such views?

Naive climatology in high places. Sir John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science, has produced some web pages to elaborate his position. His covering letter begins thus:
'The science of climate change

'Few areas of science have such profound implications for public policy and society as the study of climate change.

As one consequence, scientists who may have begun their careers in relative backwaters of research now find themselves thrown into the limelight.

Scientific points, and occasional errors, have become the subject of emotive debate and strong media interest. Frequently this has generated more heat than light, with polarised and ill-informed debates across the blogosphere - and indeed at times in the mainstream media.

My aim in developing these web pages is to set out what I believe to be key aspects of the scientific evidence on climate change. In a field so broad the material is necessarily selective, but I hope it presents in a clear and scientific manner an overview of some of the most important areas of study.

The evidence is compelling that climate change is happening, that human activities are the major driver for this and that the future risks are substantial. This evidence includes wide-ranging, long term and robust observations of changes that are taking place, and projections of possible future changes that are based on basic physical laws.'

I want to examine the last paragraph quoted, phrase by phrase:

'The evidence is compelling that climate change is happening'

Agreed. The climate has never stopped changing. Ever. This is a platitude, used I suspect to deploy the phrase 'the evidence is compelling' in the hope that the naive reader will assume that applies to human influence as well. Only the artificially contrived hockey-stick temperature plot showed little change (in temperature) until the 20th century, but it has now been exposed as an artefact due to peculiar choices in a particular statistical analysis of a noisy and complex set of data (1).

'that human activities are the major driver for this'

No. There is no compelling evidence for this - it is a theoretical speculation, enshrined as an added effect in computer models of climate, and that is all. Of course human activities affect both climate and weather - the debate is about how much and in which direction. Nothing extraordinary has been seen recently in any of the climate measures such as temperatures, ice extents, storm frequencies and intensities, rainfall, sea levels, etc. The climate remains within bounds, but within these bounds there is a great deal of variation.

Attempts to match CO2 levels with climate measurements have been particularly disappointing for those alarmed by this possibility. The warming and cooling cycles of the past 150 years or so, superimposed on a slowly rising (beneficially so, I would add) global temperatures (as 'averaged' in various ways - none of which are immune from problems) do not link convincingly to the rising CO2 level as a cause.

The last ten years or so have seen another break in this long-term rise in global 'average' temperature, and it is quite plausible that we are now in a cooling cycle that could last at least another 20 years. With regard to CO2, there are massive natural fluxes in and out of the air, such that the human-caused emissions (whose magnitude is only crudely guestimated) amount to a few percent (some say c. 3%). That alone makes the qualifier 'major' subject to doubt. Distinguished scientists are on record with their strong reservations e.g. (2), (3).

'and that the future risks are substantial'

Of course. Another platitude given that we are probably near the end of a mild inter-glacial period, and if so, a return of permanent ice cover to the UK and elsewhere is inevitable. There are substantial challenges from cooling, arguably far more challenging than from the more credible end of the range of warming projections promoted by the IPCC.

The response by some to the threat of warming has been to call for a crippling of our primary sources of reliable energy - coal, gas, oil, and even nuclear, and for a burden of new taxes to be added to other industries. This kind of self-harm does not seem a sensible thing to do when in fact more energy means more scope for dealing with climate challenges, as does more economic growth, not least in the poorer countries.

'This evidence includes wide-ranging, long term and robust observations of changes that are taking place,'

This is presumably referring to rising CO2 levels. Or is it another attempt to piggy-back on ordinary climate variation in order to bolster a weak case? There is evidence that rising temperatures cause increases in atmospheric CO2 on short and on geological timescales, the very reverse of the IPCC position, e.g. (4).

'and projections of possible future changes that are based on basic physical laws.'

Not exactly. This would have been more accurate: 'based on deliberately set parameters in global climate models whose own developers admit are not fit for making predictions'. Hence the term 'projections'.

The physical laws bit deserves further elucidation. I think the alarmists have now conceded that the optical properties of glass (specifically the ability to transmit visible light far more readily than infra-red) are not important for real greenhouses getting hot - their high temperatures are due to the dramatic reduction in mixing with outside air, and not from any 'trapping of infra-red'. How many school textbooks recognise this? It was established by experiment about 100 years ago.

The idea that just adding more CO2 must mean higher temperatures is also naive. Physicists, notably in Germany (5) (6), and from Hungary (7) and Russia (8), are arguing that if anything, it could lead to a small cooling (due to slightly increasing the density of air, and due to increasing the radiation of infrared into space higher up in the atmosphere).

There are other arguments, in particular the saturation effect, the logarithmic rather than linear response of the radiative effect of CO2 in a chamber of gas - so providing less thermal impact for each additional ppm of CO2 (9), and a broad one of negative feedback stability that is, I think, a bit more plausible than any positive feedback.

Core features of the 'greenhouse effect' modeling in the atmosphere have also been challenged (10), (11). Here is an example of a scientifically sceptical overview of the alarmist approach to climate science: (12).

The statements and position adopted by Professor Beddington are surely going to be influential. Any education authority or teacher wishing to take a broader, dare I say 'more inclusive', view of climate has to be ready to challenge such authority, and its ex-cathedra announcements. What are the chances of that happening soon? Low I guess, although I am convinced that it will happen eventually, as and when sound science, observation, and reasoning push speculative computer models back to where they belong - which is hidden away from the public gaze and from vulnerable and/or opportunistic politicians and environment campaigners.

SOURCE (See the original for links and references)

California Braces for Showdown on Emissions

The article below is from the NYT so don't expect any evidence for their assertions about "out-of-state oil companies".

A big leap for them however is that they do now acknowledge that Green policies have economic costs

A ballot initiative to suspend a milestone California law curbing greenhouse gas emissions is drawing a wave of contributions from out-of-state oil companies, raising concerns among conservationists as it emerges as a test of public support for potentially costly environmental measures during tough economic times.

A ballot intiative seeks to suspend a law that would force the power industry in California to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

Charles and David Koch, the billionaires from Kansas who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement, donated $1 million to the campaign to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act, which was passed four years ago, and signaled that they were prepared to invest more in the cause. With their contribution, proponents of the proposition have raised $8.2 million, with $7.9 million coming from energy companies, most of them out of state.

This latest embrace by the Koch brothers of a conservative cause jolted environmental leaders who are worried that a vote against the law in this state — with its long history of environmental activism — would amount to a powerful setback for emission control efforts in Washington and statehouses across the country.

“It would have big implications,” said George P. Shultz, the former secretary of state, who is a chairman of a campaign to defeat the ballot initiative. “That is one reason why these outside companies are pouring money in to try to derail the same thing. At the same time, the reverse is true: they put this fat in the fire and if we win, that also sends a message.”

Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, who has been traveling California to rally support against the proposition, called it “by far the single most important ballot measure to date testing public support for continuing to move to a clean energy economy.”

The campaign against California’s greenhouse gas law comes as business groups have invested heavily across the country in trying to defeat members of Congress who voted for a cap-and-trade bill that also mandated emission reductions; the bill passed the House but failed in the Senate in the face of strong opposition from lawmakers in industrial states.

Traditionally, public support for environmental measures suffers during tough economic times. Here in California, backers of the initiative have seized on that anxiety — which is particularly acute in this state, with its 12.3 percent unemployment rate — in search of a victory.

“I believe the battle over cap and trade in America is taking place in California on Nov. 2 of this year,” said Dan Logue, a Republican assemblyman from north-central California who wrote the ballot initiative. He added: “What we’re saying is, this is not the time for political correctness. This is a time for putting America back to work; let the experiments happen later.”

The law in question, known as A.B. 32, mandates slashing carbon and other greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, by forcing power companies and industries to cap their emissions and by slashing carbon in gasoline. Some oil industry leaders said it would force them to invest millions of dollars to comply, and asserted that it would force companies to cut jobs and raise the price of gas at the pumps.

Although the vast majority of the money being contributed to fight the law is coming from oil companies, the oil industry is clearly not united in opposition: some major California oil refineries, including Chevron, have notably stayed out of the battle so far.

The ballot initiative, known as Proposition 23, would suspend the law from going into effect as scheduled in 2012 until state unemployment falls to 5.5 percent or lower for at least four consecutive quarters. That has happened only three times over the last 40 years, state officials said; thus, the proposition could have the practical effect of killing the law.

“The company believes that implementing A.B. 32 will cause significant job losses and higher energy costs in California,” said Katie Stavinoha, a spokesman for Flint Hills Resources, the petroleum company in Wichita, Kan., owned by the Koch brothers. “What’s more, the company thinks it sets a bad precedent for other state and federal governments to do the same thing.”

That said, the issue hardly breaks cleanly along business lines, reflecting in part the diverse business environment in California, which has always had a strong research and development sector, powered by venture capitalists ready to finance cutting-edge technology. Many business groups have opposed the drive to suspend the greenhouse law, and the list of contributors backing the measure is notable for the absence of venture capitalists.

“There is a huge clean energy revolution going on: this is going to happen,” said Thomas F. Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management, a hedge fund in San Francisco, and a co-chairman with Mr. Shultz of the campaign to defeat the proposition. “If we’re not careful, it’s just not going to happen in the United States.”

Mr. Steyer has contributed $2.5 million to the effort to defeat the initiative and said he was prepared to contribute an additional $2.5 million.

Mr. Schultz said that since the passage of the law, “a whole industry is developing here, and I might say a lot of jobs are connected with it.”

“There’s been a virtual eruption of research and development activities of all kinds on alternate ways to produce and use energy,” he said.

In most years, this should not be a worrisome battleground for environmentalists. The greenhouse gas law enjoyed strong support from the public when it passed four years ago, according to polls. The roster of opponents to Proposition 23 includes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, who views the law as a defining accomplishment of his career here.

Early polling suggests that voters who know about the measure are evenly split.

Yet supporters said they were concerned that the proposition could slip through at a time when Democratic spirits are low. More significant is the question of how much more supporters of Prop 23 can raise to finance their campaign. Of the $8.2 million raised so far, $1 million came from the Koch firm, $4 million from the Valero Energy Corporation and $1.5 million from the Tesoro Corporation; both corporations are based in San Antonio.

“We have every reason to believe that they are going to put the money in to run a big television campaign in the most expensive media market in the country,” said Annie Notthoff, the California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “We certainly are expecting to have a fight on our hands.”

Supporters of the law, if nervous about the proposition, remain optimistic than they can beat it back at the polls in November, and hope that such an outcome would have the opposite effect nationally that opponents of the bill are seeking. “If the proposition loses, the lesson is going to be there’s no going back,” said Wesley P. Warren, director of programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Top Obama Advisor John Holdren Wants to "De-develop" America

Before you accuse the radicals surrounding Obama of being communists, bear in mind that Science Czar John Holdren wants to "use the free market" to "de-develop the United States."
"A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States," Holdren wrote along with Paul and Anne H. Ehrlich in the "recommendations" concluding their 1973 book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.

The economic effects of "de-developing" America are about what we've been seeing for the past two years. Maybe Obama has some clue what he's doing after all.

Holdren's scheme isn't all about suppressing economic activity. As always with environmentalism, wealth redistribution comes into play:
"Resources must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries," Holdren and his co-authors wrote. "This effort must be largely political, especially with regard to our overexploitation of world resources, but the campaign should be strongly supplemented by legal and boycott action against polluters and others whose activities damage the environment. The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being."

I've been to a country with a low-consumption economy and an "equitable distribution of wealth." It doesn't exist anymore, but it used to be called the Soviet Union.

The wild-eyed Malthusian Paul Ehrlich was totally discredited when his predictions that we would run out of most major resources by 1980 or so failed to come true — but not among his fellow antihuman lunatics. Holdren and friends still sing the same evil tune of radical population control and a drastically reduced standard of living. recently asked Holdren what he meant by de-developing America:
Holdren responded: "What we meant by that was stopping the kinds of activities that are destroying the environment and replacing them with activities that would produce both prosperity and environmental quality. Thanks a lot." then asked: "And how do you plan on implementing that?"

"Through the free market economy," Holdren said.

You see? He believes in the free market. Obama's advisors aren't communists after all.


Warmism a lucrative business

THE global climate change industry is now worth more than $528bn, powered by China's rise as one of the top nations for climate revenues.

As the debate on setting a price on carbon in Australia continues, HSBC Global Research issued a report on climate change that showed the sector had proved resilient to the global slowdown, seeing less than a 0.9 per cent decline in revenues in 2009, as companies push ahead with plans despite political uncertainty over green policies.

"Despite concerns over the risks that governments may retreat from their pledges to deliver emission reductions and continuing uncertainty surrounding the withdrawal of regulatory incentives in key markets, global climate revenues have held up remarkably well and in 2009 stood at $US530bn for listed companies," the report says.

The headline figure is greater than the global wireless telecoms services sector and comparable to the GDP of Switzerland, the report says.

The research also shows that private sector climate-related investment in China, which had grown thirtyfold since 2004, coupled with focused climate stimulus spend, is set to propel China to the forefront of developments in the emerging low-carbon economy.

HSBC says this will ultimately feed into the future growth of China's economy. "In terms of climate stimulus spend, China leads the pack, having already disbursed over 70 per cent of the funds it pledged two years ago," the report says.

The climate change debate in Australia was reignited this week when BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers called for the nation to lead the way and introduce a carbon tax before any international agreement.

John Atkinson, the managing director of White Energy, which focuses on clean coal technology, said he did not believe that businesses needed certainty on carbon tax today. "Other countries would be surprised if Australia took the lead on the issue," he said. "I would've thought that the more sensible approach is for the major emitters to agree on the issue and then implement what they agree."

But Mr Atkinson said it was good to have the debate, because the industry was not deterred by the political uncertainty and initiatives were being implemented on a global basis.

Just this week, White Energy announced that the US state of Kentucky had sought out the company to address an emissions problem around sulphur, offering White Energy accelerated permits and funding for low-sulphur fuel for the state's coal-fired power generating companies. "When people are faced with real problems, they look hard at trying to show they are doing something positive that can assist the situation long term," he said.

The HSBC report reveals that over the past year, despite a number of key countries wavering on their commitments to addressing the issues of climate change, the number of companies engaged in providing climate-related goods, products and services grew to 367, a 140 per cent rise since 2004.

The research also highlights that firms in key industries, which HSBC identified as being critical to the emerging low-carbon economy, continue to focus on growing climate revenues, relative to their other businesses.

Vijay Sumon, an index specialist at HSBC Global Research, said in the climate change sector, energy efficiency and energy management remained key areas. "Not only has this sub-sector performed well, but we predict that it is likely to continue to do so next year, as a beneficiary of further stimulus spend," he said. "We see it as a no-regrets option, as it makes sense for businesses regardless of climate change."



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


18 September, 2010

STOP PRESS: Global warming now REDUCES extreme weather

This is actually more in line with the data than the usual claims are

Global warming could halve the frequency of Arctic hurricanes – extreme storms that strike the north Atlantic during winter – by 2100, according to a new study, potentially encouraging exploitation of the region's oil reserves.

"Our results provide a rare example of climate change driving a decline in extreme weather, rather than an increase," says Matthias Zahn at the University of Reading. His study, published in the Nature journal, is the first to use a global climate model to assess how Arctic hurricanes may behave in a warmer world.

The results of his study may provide encouragement to oil and gas companies that currently consider drilling in the northern north Atlantic very risky, he says. "As the likelihood of hurricanes destroying oil rigs declines, drilling in the region may become a more attractive option."

Arctic hurricanes, also known as polar lows, are explosive storms that develop and die over a few days. They form when cold air from the Arctic flows south over warmer water: the air takes up heat, expands and rises, generating convection currents that sometimes snowball into storms.

Zahn and his colleague Hans von Storch, of the Meteorological Institute at Hamburg University, used a global climate model to project the impact of three scenarios on temperature, humidity and other variables in 2100. They then fed this data into a regional model to assess how polar lows may respond.

Assuming that greenhouse gas emissions rise rapidly in the future, the frequency of Arctic hurricanes could fall from an average of 36 per winter to about 17 by 2100, the model suggests. If emissions rise more slowly the number of hurricanes could fall to 23 per winter.

Polar lows are less likely to form in the future because climate change will warm up the air in the north Atlantic faster than it warms up the ocean, reducing the thermal difference and reducing the risk of convection currents forming.


The shifty Lord Oxburgh consulted the fox on how to guard the henhouse

Warmism just lives and breathes crookedness. Crookedness is essential to its continued existence

Steve McIntyre:

The Oxburgh Report stated: "The eleven representative publications that the Panel considered in detail are listed in Appendix B. The papers cover a period of more than twenty years and were selected on the advice of the Royal Society."

This statement has been questioned ever since the publication of the Oxburgh Report. That the Royal Society did not select the papers has been clear for some time.

In Oxburgh’s testimony to the Parliamentary Committee, Oxburgh stated:
Q – Right. Can you tell us how did you choose the 11 publications?

Ox- We didn’t choose the 11 publications. They were basically what… We needed something that would be provide a pretty good introduction to work of the unit as it had evolved over the years. The publications were suggested to us came via the university and by the royal society, I believe. We feel ..let me just emphasize..they were just a start… because all of us were novices in this area, we all felt that they were a very good introduction – we moved on. We looked at other publications… we asked for raw materials, things of that kind. The press made quite a meal out of the choice of publications. For anyone on the panel, this all seems over the top. It didn’t have that significance.

Q – there are two things that arise out of that. It was a small unit. Are you saying that Jones, the subject of the investigation, chose the papers that were to be investigated… and that it wasn’t the panel or royal Society?

Ox – No suggestion Jones chose them,

Q – Where did they come from?

Ox- I believe they came … I suspect that that the […] involved was Professor Liss who was acting head of the unit who’d been brought in from outside the unit…he’s been an chemical oceanographer who is broadly interested in area. he in consultation with people with royal society and maybe others outside the unit who had some familiarity.

Q -So the list did not come from the unit – you’re absolutely categorical ?

Ox – Well I cant

Q – So the list did not come from CRU?

Ox – I can’t prove a negative. There’s absolutely no indication that it did.

Q – Your publicity said that it came from Royal Society. The Panel given list before Royal Society asked.

Ox – I… Not as far as I know. You Might be right but I don’t believe so. No certainly I don’t think that can be true.

In a recent post, I observed that the list of eleven publications was sent out as early as March 4 – well before a perfunctory email from Trevor Davies to Martin Rees and Brian Hoskins of the Royal Society on March 12 saying that Oxburgh wanted to be able to say that the list had been chosen “in consultation with the Royal Society”, even though the list had already been sent out.

I recently noticed that Lisa Williams of the UEA Registrar’s Office was shown as the author of the list version sent to panelists – thereby offering a lead towards solving the authorship of the list, which was accompanied by the statement:
"These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails."

Today – after almost six months – the riddle of who prepared the list is resolved. Lisa Williams wrote:
Dear Mr McIntyre

In response to your recent enquiry I can provide the following information.

I understand that the list of 11 papers for the Oxburgh review was collated by Prof Trevor Davies, in consultation with others. He was also the author of the statement at the bottom of the list.

Yours sincerely, Lisa Williams

So the list was not selected by the Royal Society after all, but by Trevor Davies, the pro-VC of the University and former director of CRU. In consultation with “others”. Dare one hypothesize that these mysterious “others” will turn out to be Jones and Briffa after all?


IPCC, EPA Go On Trial in a courtroom

Essentially putting global warming science on trial, Texas officials on Thursday expanded their arguments in a lawsuit meant to prevent the federal regulation of greenhouse gases.

In motions submitted Thursday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott accused the federal Environmental Protection Agency of relying on faulty science for its proposals to regulate greenhouse gases.

The briefs build on a federal suit filed in February by Texas and other states against the EPA, which in December issued an endangerment finding that carbon dioxide emissions threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.

The endangerment finding, which opens the way to further regulations, spun out of a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

The EPA said its scientific conclusions were based on work by three groups: the U.S. Global Climate Research Program, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Research Council, which synthesize thousands of studies to convey a consensus on what scientific literature shows about climate, according to the agency.

In February, Abbott, who is seeking re-election this year, said that in relying on the U.N. panel's data, the EPA "outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy."

The American-Statesman's PolitiFact Texas team deemed "Barely True" Abbott's statement, which drew attention to claims that scientists for the U.N. panel from at least two universities had suppressed data that could undermine global warming work.

Since the February claim, independent reviews of work by climate scientists at East Anglia University in England and Penn State University found no evidence that they had actively suppressed or falsified data.

"By delegating its judgment on climate science to the (U.N. group) and others, EPA exposed its conclusions to the errors and biases of unaccountable volunteer scientists, and undermined the validity of the endangerment finding," reads a brief filed by the Texas attorney general's office.

The state is challenging proposals to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from light-duty-vehicle tailpipes and large industrial facilities.

Abbott and Gov. Rick Perry have said greenhouse gas rules could cripple the Texas economy.


EU gives up: Will No Longer Commit To Unilateral CO2 Targets

EU will no longer commit to unilateral obligations to reduce CO2 emissions. The EU climate change commissioner sees especially the United States under an obligation to commit to binding reduction targets. Only then Europe would do the same.

Setting a good example - this strategy will no longer apply for Europe at international climate negotiations. Climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU will no longer unconditionally play the lead role in the haggling over CO2 reduction targets. "We will only accept new commitments if others accept commitments too," Hedegaard said on Tuesday in Brussels.

Thus, the EU will not necessarily sign a new international climate agreement. In particular, the U.S. should commit to binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide, the Danish commissioner demanded. "It is not possible to persuade China, India or Brazil if the largest industrialized country is not contributing enough."

Hedegaard - then as Danish Environment Minister - had organised the ultimately unsuccessful 2009 Copenhagen summit negotiations on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol that expires at the end of 2012. In Copenhagen, the EU countries had committed to CO2 reductions and pledged initial funding for climate protection projects in developing countries even before the negotiations started.

But at the Copenhagen summit the other key emitters - especially the U.S. and China – refused to follow the example of the EU and did not to commit to reduction targets to prevent global warming of more than two degrees Celsius. [transl. Philipp Mueller]

Full story (in German)

More false prophecies

Ozone "hole" recovering? Anybody looking at the record can see that it just fluctuates randomly, with some of the largest "holes" in recent years

THE protective ozone layer in the Earth's upper atmosphere has stopped thinning and should largely be restored by mid-century thanks to a ban on harmful chemicals, UN scientists say.

The Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010 report says a 1987 treaty that phased out chlorofluorocarbons - substances used in refrigerators, aerosol sprays and some packing foams - had been successful.

Ozone provides a natural protective filter against harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, which can cause sunburn, cataracts and skin cancer as well as damage vegetation.

First observations of a seasonal ozone hole appearing over the Antarctic occurred in the 1970s and the alarm was raised in the 1980s after it was found to be worsening under the onslaught of CFCs, prompting 196 countries to join the Montreal Protocol.

"It has protected us from further ozone depleting over the past decades," Len Barrie, the World Meteorological Organisation head of research, said.

Scientists now expect the ozone layer will be restored to 1980 levels in 2045 to 2060.


Alarmist appointed to NOAA by Obama

Fishing endangered by a fanatic

The Obama Administration seems to seek out extremists to appoint to positions of power in the federal government. The latest outrage is Scott Doney, who has been nominated to the post of Chief Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A position which will have a profound a impact on the “science” of the global warming debate.

While the Chief Scientist position has been vacant for 14 years, stretching back to the middle of the Clinton Administration, apparently, the Obama Administration felt that it needs to be filled. And Doney, a long time alarmist about ocean acidification, is the man they have chosen for the Senate to consider.

Doney has made a living claiming that CO2 emissions are changing the pH levels in the ocean with disastrous effects looming. Doney clings to these claims in spite of his own 2008 admission while testifying before Congress that, “Major gaps exist in our current scientific understanding, limiting our ability to forecast the consequences of ocean acidification…”

Doney’s advocacy for a “precautionary approach to management, fishing pressure reduction and environmental stress minimization should therefore begin before acidification’s effects on marine resources become obvious,” admits that there is no current effect to marine resources, yet he still wants to significantly impact fishing, farming and energy industries in case he’s right.

NOAA, a heretofore little known agency outside of the always accurate weather bureau, is aggressively taking the lead in pushing global warming hysteria under the leadership of Obama appointee, Jane Lubchenco. While many find it ironic that an agency that cannot tell you for certain if it will rain this afternoon, is absolutely certain that climate change exists, and that it is a result of human activity.

Fishermen and those who live or work near coastal waterways should be particularly alarmed given Doney’s stated desire to limit fishing and coastal activities under the guise of “precautionary action.”

Americans for Limited Government’s Rebekah Rast has previously reported that NOAA is engaged in a massive effort to create ocean monuments and other designations that put vast areas off limits to commercial or even private use.

The Senate confirmation of Dr. Doney, should give the Senate an opportunity to fully examine the Administration’s far reaching ocean policy and whether someone who is the equivalent of the Chicken Little of the Seas, should be entrusted with controlling the “science” that NOAA uses.

Unfortunately, in Obama’s world, it appears that the only science that is valid is “political science,” and the Senate should reject Doney’s nomination. At a time when our economy is stumbling under the weight of uncertainty due to scheduled massive tax increases and voluminous regulations spewing from every portal of government, the last thing we need is a Chief Scientist at NOAA who is bent on attacking our fishing, farming and energy industries as a “precautionary measure.”

After all, NOAA survived just fine without a Chief Scientist since 1996, and they should be able to muddle along without one for a while more.



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


17 September, 2010


A site called Environmental Science degrees has put up a list of 50 climate blogs -- 25 believers and 25 skeptics. And this blog is actually listed ahead of Anthony Watts and Lubos Motl -- a distinction which I certainly don't deserve. Must be that the listing is in random order!

The New Graduate Who Served as IPCC Lead Author

by Donna Laframboise

I’ve been blogging about the climate bible’s health chapter. It’s worth remembering that this chapter, like the rest of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, is supposed to be a balanced, disinterested account of what the scientific literature says.

I’ve pointed out that Anthony McMichael, the person in charge when the IPCC first examined the human health implications of climate change, had made his activist leanings abundantly clear prior to landing the job. I’ve observed that Alistair Woodward, the senior person for the currently-in-progress health chapter update, is also an undisguised environmental activist.

So who else was a lead author when the IPCC initially looked at these important issues? [29-page chapter PDF]

Step forward Jonathan Patz. He qualified as a medical doctor in 1987 – his areas of study being family medicine and occupational/environmental medicine. In 1992, he graduated with a Masters degree in Public Health – the same area branch of medicine from which McMichael and Woodward hail. What appears to be Patz’s first paper – on surgery risks that extend beyond the operating room – was published in 1995.

Work on the climate bible’s health chapter appears to have begun in 1994. Which means that, a mere two years after Patz achieved his Masters, with no relevant publications whatsoever, he was one of nine people chosen to be a lead author of the IPCC’s health chapter. Remember, this is a report that is supposed to have been written by the world’s top experts.

It isn’t clear how this happened, but a recent incident provides a hint. In 2008, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (where Patz now teaches) added a book to its library on his behalf. The university explains that, when “faculty members are initially contacted, they are encouraged to select a book title representing something meaningful to them either professionally or personally” [p. 3 of this PDF].

Patz chose McMichael’s Planetary Overload (the book from which entire passages were then passed off as the original work of the health chapter writing team). In Patz’s words:
This was one of the first great books on global environmental health written by probably my most valued and respected mentor, Professor McMichael [bold added, p. 17 of this PDF].

Does Patz, like his mentor, seem closer to an environmental activist than a dispassionate scholar? Is the Pope Catholic? Patz believes we have an “urgent need to end our addiction to fossil fuels” and that we are “using up natural resources at an unsustainable rate.” Moreover, he seems to think that famine and disease aren’t conditions that have bedeviled humanity since the beginning of time. Rather, they’re the fault of the big bad Western world’s energy policies. In his words:
Considering that most developing nations are burdened by major infectious diseases and famine, which are highly dependent on climate, these countries are most vulnerable to the global warming that we in the industrialized world are causing. It’s a huge ethical problem. One could make the argument that our energy policy is indirectly exporting diseases to other parts of the world.

If an examination of the health implications of climate change is going to be relied on by health professionals, governments, scholars, and journalists should it not be produced by cool, dispassionate individuals?

Can anyone take seriously a report authored by people whose analysis is indistinguishable from that of Greenpeace?


Silly historians! Don't they know that science proves that couldn't have happened?

Recycled from Borepatch

Longtime readers know my skepticism about Anthropogenic Global Warming (the theory that man is causing an unprecedented, sudden, and catastrophic warming of the environment by burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide). The ultimate source of this skepticism is my study of history, particularly a study of the European Middle Ages which was a focus while I was in College. In particular, it seems indisputable that the Medieval Warm Period from around 800 AD to 1300 AD was as warm (if not warmer) than today. So much for "unprecedented".

Scientists say that the historical record must be wrong, and that they have scientific evidence - tree ring data - that demonstrates absolutely, positively that it was much colder in the Middle Ages than the chroniclers of the time said.

Stupid chroniclers!

There's a very interesting set of discussions going on now about the use of photographs to push the theory of AGW. The most notorious, of course, is the photo that Science Magazine published of a polar bear on a tiny ice flow, accompanying a letter from 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences saying it's really, really a crisis, mkay?

It was a Photoshop.

A lot of the debate was "It's just a picture, who cares?" More sophisticated was "You need more competent PR flacks" to hype the science - you know, ignore or downplay the margin of error, to overemphasize the worst possible - although vanishingly unlikely - case, and to find scary images that are less obviously faked.

Oooooh kaaaay.

You're still left with those stupid medieval chroniclers, writing about scientifically impossible events, and those stupid historians, writing books about what the stupid, unscientific chroniclers said.

Case in point: sea levels. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) writes in their Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) says that the science is clear that sea levels are rising fast and that large portions of the globe will be flooded out. ZOMG, unprecedented Thermageddon!

Except not so fast. This is all about us burning fossil fuels, right? If this sort of thing has been normal throughout history, that sort of kills the whole "unprecedented" thing, and that sort of kills the whole we-have-to-impoverish-the-world-by-giving-up-fossil-fuels thing. So what can we learn from history about sea levels? As it turns out, a lot.

Edward Longshanks was King of England in the thirteenth century (note to Climate Scientists: this is a documented fact. Srlsy!). Anyone who's seen Mel Gibson's Braveheart knows him as the Bad Guy who was trying to conquer Scotland and take away their Freeeeeeedom!

Which he did, crushing the Scots and carrying off to Westminster Abbey the Stone of Destiny (otherwise known as the Stone of Scone, but pronounced Stone of Scoon).

But Edward had first crushed the Welsh, and he did it by building a bunch of castles to dominate the Welsh landscape. Castles like Harlech.

Now take a look at this picture for a minute: you have a Castle built on a hill. Behind the castle - at the foot of the hill - is a wide plain sloping down to the sea. What's wrong with this picture? Remember, you're trying to conquer the Welsh, a feisty and unruly group, who keep raising armies to attack you. What's to stop their army from besieging the castle and starving it into submission? Stupid medieval castle builders, picking such a bad site!

Except not so fast. The chroniclers tell us that the castle was resupplied by sea. They're quite clear about this, about how ships used to sail right up to the foot of the cliff, and dock there. In other words, the sea level was higher in the Fourteenth Century than it is today. Strangely, this corroborates other historical records like the Domesday Book, which describes a large number of vineyards in England around 1090 AD. ZOMG, Medieval Thermageddon!

And so if Science Magazine can serve up a Photoshop, so can I. Here's Harlech Castle, circa 1350 AD:
Image modified by Borepatch, using The Gimp

The difference between the modification used by Science and the one that I made here, is that mine is actually backed up by the data. After all, the number of polar bears is increasing - they're not endangered at all. The sea did come right up to the foot of Harlech Castle's cliff. You might call mine "Fake But Accurate", as opposed to Science, who gave us "Fake But Inaccurate".

And so, the issue is not getting a higher caliber of PR Flack to torture the data to scare us with Thermageddon Just So stories. They need to stop disappearing data that falsifies their AGW theory of sudden and unprecedented warming.

The current computer models don't predict a Medieval Warm Period, nor do they predict the Little Ice Age that followed. But don't worry, say the Scientists, the current predictions are accurate. Srlsy. Trust us.

And listen to the PR Flacks. Unprecedented! Sudden! Thermageddon! On Noes - what, don't you love cute little polar bear cubs? You Denier scum. Get offa my lawn.

And this is precisely the heart of the problem: it's not at all clear that what's happening today is historically unprecedented. It's obvious that the Medieval Warm Period was warm, and it could not have been caused by all those dang coal fired power plants. In other words, we know from historical observation that the climate is variable, within the bounds of what is happening today.

So tell me again why we need to impoverish our children, and all of the Third World, by giving up fossil fuels. Come on Scientists - dazzle me.


Oh god, not another Greenpeace guilt-trip

Green advertising campaigns are aimed at scaring adults witless and turning kids into Mao-style mum-policing spies

‘Got oil? Is your pension invested in risky drilling?’ asks a newspaper advert currently running in Britain. The ad, featuring a smart-but-casual man with thick black tar on his hands, is promoting Go Beyond Oil, a Greenpeace campaign inspired by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. What the advert illustrates is the way environmental campaigning will happily alight on any passing fear in order to make us change our wicked ways.

The Go Beyond Oil website tells us: ‘Shell and BP are two of the key companies that our pension providers typically invest in heavily. In the past this has meant big returns for our pension funds. Before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, £1 in every £7 paid in dividends to UK pension funds by FTSE 100 companies came from BP. With about 18million people across the UK holding shares in the company or paying into pension funds that have BP shares and many more with links to other oil companies, we’ve all got a lot invested in keeping the oil industry going. But this also carries a big risk for our future.’

It continues: ‘Since the oil spill, BP has been forced to cancel dividend payments to shareholders, which will affect pension investments.’ So even if you don’t care about the planet, the oil-lacquered birds or the Louisiana fishing industry, you should pull your money out of oil anyway because things will only get worse and you’ll lose loads of money.

Clearly, we Brits are getting a bit bored of being told about all the droughts, floods, hurricanes and so on that global warming will apparently cause. So getting us to fret about an impecunious old age will just have to do instead. As investment advice, withdrawing your money from BP and Shell - the UK’s golden geese, it would seem - is pretty dumb. In a world where demand for oil is only likely to increase in the short-to-medium term, as all those Chinese, Indians and Brazilians get richer and start buying cars, putting your savings into oil shares seems like a fairly smart move. Deepwater Horizon is likely to be a four million-barrel blip.

Yet the wider justifications for this pension-shrinking policy seem even dumber. Since renewable energy sources are simply not ready to take up the job currently done very successfully by oil, the campaign should surely be renamed from ‘Go Beyond Oil’ to ‘Do Without Energy’.

If the idea of self-impoverishment doesn’t appeal, greens have in recent years simply recycled an even more cynical argument: wot about the kids, man? Like anti-tobacco campaigners, environmentalists have taken to foisting the faces of children upon us and assuring us that, even if we don’t care about our own futures, we’re leaving a ticking timebomb of tragedy for our offspring (assuming that we’ve been so utterly selfish as to procreate in the first place).

This video from three years ago - again, a Greenpeace production - manages to sum up this line of argument in less than two minutes, and all with an underlying edge that brings to mind the antics of the Red Guards in Mao’s Cultural Revolution. A young man wearing a hoodie - clearly chosen for having the most punchable face and grating vocal delivery at his stage school - hectors ‘adults’ about what they’ve done to the planet.

‘If drastic measures aren’t taken soon’, our hooded young ghoul assures us, ‘by the time I grow up there won’t be any fish left in the sea. Rainforests and clean air will be a thing of the past. The polar ice caps will be gone. Oceans will rise. Entire countries will disappear. Life will change in ways you can’t even imagine. There’ll be famine, worldwide epidemics, life expectancy will be lower. We’re not just talking about the future; we’re talking about my future.’

Admittedly, a reasonable-minded viewer may very well wish such a bleak future on this insufferable brat. But a reality check is required on this litany of eco-horror. While there has been an apparent trend for the relatively thin Arctic ice cap to shrink over the past few years, the vastly bigger Antarctic ice cap - which holds more than half the world’s fresh water - is, if anything, growing. Clean air may be at a premium in the cities of some developing countries, but London’s air is cleaner than it has been for hundreds of years, suggesting you can have wealthier people and healthier air. Oceans might rise, but insignificantly. Countries might disappear - but only tiny island states whose fate may well be more to do with geology and changing sea currents than the planet’s temperatures. And as for life expectancy… well, if it really were in decline, there would be no need to fret about those pensions, would there?

In fact, the teenage eco-terror can expect - if current trends continue - to live in a much richer world, with lots of new technology to help deal with any problems from changing climatic conditions. He’s more likely to get fat than suffer famine, while being a grumpy member of the wealthiest, most comfortable generation in human history. As a stereotypical old Yorkshireman might say, kids these days don’t know they’re born. And greens wish those kids never had been.

The really creepy thing is that it’s not some angry adolescent that wrote the words for this video, but a multinational environmentalist campaign (in tandem with its marketing advisers, no doubt). These are the self-hating words of the generation that is being attacked in the video. And Greenpeace is by no means alone in using this tactic. The cover of a 2007 book, You Can Save the Planet, tells kids: ‘WARNING: Your parent’s generation has messed up the planet, now it’s up to YOU to save it.’ James Russell, author of How to Turn Your Parents Green - who doesn’t exactly look like a teenager to me - suggests children should ‘nag, pester, bug, torment and punish the people who are merrily wrecking [their] world’.

What a fantastic effort all round to create intergenerational conflict! On the one hand, greens guilt-trip adults about the hot and humid climatic nightmare they are going to inflict on their children, and on the other hand these middle-aged eco-warriors propagandise to those same children about what a bunch of selfish, short-sighted scumbags their parents are. Now there is a pint-sized eco-spy in every home, lecturing adults on the need to recycle and turn down the heating, and a library full of green tracts in every school.

This fomenting of division between parents and children is bad enough, but it is also a desperate waste of the idealism of youth. Young people may see the world in black-and-white rather than shades of grey, but that energy and desire just to go out and bulldoze through the conservatism of mum and dad can be an extremely useful way of stirring society up and encouraging change. But green politics takes that idealism and cynically exploits it for the most misanthropic ends. Whether it’s pensions, polar bears or children in peril, green campaigners demand that we should have a conscience about what we’re doing to the planet – but they don’t seem to have much in the way of a conscience when it comes to scaring adults or manipulating children.


It starts in the schools

Growing up in the 1980s, I shared a common malady with most of my contemporaries. We were taught, from an early age, that we were all doomed. Television movies like "The Day After," not to mention the evening news, had us convinced that at any moment we could all be turned to piles of smoldering, irradiated ash. The specter of nuclear war hung low over our heads. While the ridiculous "duck and cover" drills of previous decades were before my time, the signs proclaiming my Depression-era middle school a "fallout shelter" were daily reminders. I don't imagine we'd have questioned it too much had our teachers taught us how to get under our desks, tuck our heads and kiss our posteriors goodbye. We were already being taught by hip new media outlets like MTV that life was a joke and the truly cool cared about nothing.

Those teenaged nihilist themes warred with much more deeply rooted childhood messages, however, in the form of the well-meaning (including stories like "The Lorax") to environmentalist indoctrination in school. I remember learning all about "pollution" during several weeks of "social studies" (a topic I've since learned is a euphemism for failing to teach "history" to our children) in third grade. I remember just how deeply concerned I became about the threat to the planet. I remember thinking that if we didn't do something, we were all, well, doomed. I remember how powerless I felt. Very briefly, I was poised to become an environmental activist, out of nothing so much as a deeply seated sense of worry over the future.

This anxiety is the driving force behind today's environmentalist activists. While I eventually came to my senses, developing an adult's sense of realism and the ability to use basic logic, many wide-eyed children never realize this innate capacity for reason. Primed by fear, worry and helplessness at an early age, they become the hectoring, self-righteous, insufferable "green" cultists who spend their time trying to make you toe their environmentalist line.

Previously in Technocracy, I described to you the spiritual fervor of these green religionists. If you won't listen to them voluntarily, then by Gaia, they'll make you listen by bludgeoning you with the force of law. Any violation of your rights as a free citizen is justified to the green religionists, because they're afraid. Their anxiety, their helplessness, instilled in them from childhood, is untempered by common sense, unleavened by pragmatism and touched by neither logic nor skepticism. They are true believers. In their minds, the failure to believe individually is a sentence of death collectively. Seeing them as frightened children, reading "The Lorax" with tears in their eyes, how can we not at least pity them?

The problem is that when such long-rooted anxieties run unchecked in adults, violently deranged environmental lunatics result. The famous Unabomber was one; he was an environmental activist who at least lived as he preached, withdrawing into a tarpaper shack in the woods … but when that didn't assuage his sense that something must be done, he started mailing bombs to people.

Fellow green religionist James Jay Lee protested against those he believed were helping to harm his precious environment. He hated his fellow human beings so much that when he took up a gun to make his murderous point, it should not have come as a big surprise to anyone who knew him. He, like his fellow traveler green religionists, was motivated by a child's fear and helplessness in the face of impending doom. "Do something!" is the rallying cry of all such activists, and violent outbursts are the predictable results.

When such activists – children in the bodies of adults – take political power, the violence done is not with guns, but with legislation. The American people are forced, at the barrel of government gunpoint, to comply with regulations that accomplish little toward the goal of "saving the environment" while harming the economy, infringing on individual liberties and expanding the invasive role of an increasingly all-powerful bureaucracy.

The phrase "penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind. It was a favorite of my mother's when I was growing up, and no aphorism, no homespun cliché, better characterizes the busybody environmentalists who run our lives. It is this concept and these green religionists who have effectively banned the very light bulbs I was holding in my hand when I thought of Dr. Seuss. It is they who killed the promising hydrogen car while inflicting the wretched Government Motors' Chevy Volt on drivers who don't want to buy it.

If we don't stop scaring our kids, we produce adults who are green religionists. When they take power, they pass bad laws. Denied power, they resort to violence. In every case, their anxiety is our responsibility. Worse, their fear is our shame. The Lorax may speak for the trees –but only responsible, reasoning adults can speak for the children.


Warmist Slander of Scientific Skeptics

Russell Cook notes that the Koch brothers are the new boogeymen for Warmists

Warmist true believers bitterly cling their mantra that only the corrupting influence sinister money could possibly explain skepticism toward the theory they embrace as gospel truth.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the simplicity of the man-caused global warming idea: overwhelming scientific conclusions say we are causing floods / droughts / blazing summers / intense winters, and don't listen to any skeptic scientists -- they're corrupt.

This mantra is fine until you start asking questions. On the so-called consensus of "numerous" IPCC scientists, it appears Donna Laframboise has now exposed a rather troubling set of problems with the IPCC's 1995 Health Chapter authors, and John O'Sullivan has just recently pointed out some details the NOAA would rather not have you know about, while Steve McIntyre continues to tear down the ClimateGate scandal with ever finer levels of detail.

Considering how Exxon, Chevron, and others have climbed on the CO2 reduction bandwagon, believers of man-caused global warming may have realized the "skeptic scientists corrupted by big oil" idea is rapidly losing credibility. Skeptic populations are increasing; somebody must be funding them.

Of course, the fundamental premise of "big coal/oil funding = corruption" has never been proven; the lack of such evidence becomes quite obvious when reading Ross Gelbspan's 1997 book The Heat is On. As Gelbspan is the most widely acknowledged promulgator of this accusation, it becomes quite a challenge to find people whose accusations against skeptic scientists aren't rooted in his 1997 book.

But if those big industries are politically correct now, meet the replacement: the Koch brothers and their foundation. The most prominent mention of them recently was Jane Mayer's New Yorker article, "Covert Operations, The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama." I'll leave the accusations of the Kochs fighting Obama to others and concentrate on Mayer's contention that "... organizations fighting legislation related to climate change [are] underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups." In a nutshell, "deniers" know we're causing global warming, but they are paid to lie about it being naturally caused.

On whom does she rely on to make this point? Greenpeace, Naomi Oreskes, Joe Romm, and the Center for Public Integrity. I've already detailed Greenpeace's / Ozone Action's ties to anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan and how they appear to be the epicenter of successful efforts to spread the corruption accusation starting in 1996. Regarding Naomi Oreskes, I detailed the strange two-step she took to cite Gelbspan's 1997 book in a response arising from one of my American Thinker pieces being reproduced at a different website.

Joe Romm is easily seen to be a Ross Gelbspan worshiper, where among the nine search results at his blog are two where he mistakenly calls Gelbspan a Pulitzer winner and a third where he recites a Gelbspan funding accusation verbatim. In a bit of closure, a circular reference in a Gelbspan book review goes right back to Romm.

Finally, we have the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), which Jane Mayer describes as "a nonpartisan watchdog group." A July 2008 "Denying Global Warming with John Stossel" blog piece at their website by Lisa Chiu leaves little doubt about their viewpoint on global warming. In her September 30, 2008 article, "Global Warming: Heated Denials The Organized Effort to Cast Doubt on Climate Change," she says:

"In 1991, a group of utility and coal companies created the Information Council on the Environment to lead an advertisement and public relations campaign to "reposition global warming as theory rather than fact," as author Ross Gelbspan wrote in his book The Heat is On".

A few paragraphs later, she quotes Greenpeace's Kert Davies. In 1998, Davies was the Science Policy Director of Ozone Action -- small world. Speaking of that, CPI's Chief Operating Officer Ellen McPeake is also a current Greenpeace Fund board member, along with being its former Chief Operating Officer.

If one circular reference involving Joe Romm weren't enough, there is this CPI page with a direct link to his dire blog "Memo to enviros, progressives: The deniers and dirty energy bunch are ‘full of passionate intensity' -- and eating our lunch on the climate bill!", while he cited CPI last December, and the prior February.

What's the common theme, from Mayer's New Yorker article to the 1991 NY Times article that was one of the first to report the "reposition global warming" phrase that Gelbspan adopted six years later? Industry funding = corruption. What's been the constant problem with that theme? No proof that skeptic scientists fabricated science conclusions or assessments because of the money. Borrowing a standard challenge seen in internet forums, "Show us photos, or it never happened."

In the seventh paragraph of his 9/7 U.K. Telegraph blog, James Delingpole says:

"How many times do I have to explain why the "funded by Big Oil" meme is little more than black propaganda put about by green activists? (For chapter and verse on this, read Russell Cook's superb piece of investigative journalism at American Thinker)".

I'm flattered and embarrassed. I'm no investigative journalist, I've never taken a journalism class, and I don't want to be a journalist when I grow up. I'm just a semi-retired idiot graphic artist who keeps asking how policymakers, environmentalists and mainstream news outlets justify their demand to regulate CO2 and why skeptic scientists should be silenced. I am persistent -- my question about that now appears for the third time at the PBS ombudsman's page, this time relative to the Koch accusation, under the heading "More on Koch." How will they be able to hold back a rising tide of people asking the same question?


They don’t give a dam about development

Greens must have very hard hearts if they can look at flood-hit Ethiopia and still say ‘don’t build dams’

Recently, a group of international NGOs has been leading a campaign to stop the building of the Gibe III hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia. They say the dam will disrupt the local ecosystem and the traditional lifestyles of ‘indigenous people’. So why are these groups, normally so vocal about geographical displacement, not up in arms about the tragedy that has unfolded in Ethiopia over the past few weeks? At least 19 people have died and 25,000 have been displaced because of floods.

The UN expects 300,000 to be affected by the floods in Ethiopia this month, and with the ensuing health risks, including malaria and Acute Watery Diarrhoea, as well as the severe damage caused to crops, livelihood assets and infrastructure, the impact of the heavy rains has certainly been devastating. One reason why this hasn’t been big news might be because Ethiopia experiences severe disruptions every year during the rainy season. Over 183,000 people were affected by floods in 2007, and the year before 600 people were killed, with a further 300,000 affected.

So why are NGOs like Survival International and International Rivers, which are spearheading the protest against Gibe III, not focusing their efforts on lobbying for investment in smart, ambitious and truly sustainable solutions to prevent the disastrous, and avoidable, effects of floods which every year displace, kill and plunge thousands into poverty? Why are they opposing large-scale development projects – like dams – that could contain the impact of both droughts and torrential downpours?

The answer is because their interest in preserving the lifestyles of ‘indigenous peoples’ really means that they do not want Ethiopia and other poor nations to modernise and have what we in the West have: industrialisation.

In the case of the anti-Gibe III campaign, NGOs say the dam will disrupt the lifestyles of tribes living along the Omo River, who depend on flood-retreat cultivation to (barely) sustain themselves. They say the dam will ‘end the [Omo] river’s natural flood cycle, on which the downstream communities have depended for growing food, fishing and grazing animals for thousands of years’. But this dependence effectively amounts to river-enslavement, with Ethiopians living at the mercy of nature rather than taming it.

The NGOs’ ostensibly humane impulse to protect ‘indigenous tribes’ in fact represents an abhorrent, paternalistic attitude to Africans, whom they treat in the same way that a zoologist might treat an exotic animal species. They regard these people as belonging to nature rather than to human society, as being part of a fragile ecosystem which should be preserved at the cost of social progress and material development.

International Rivers has described the Omo river as ‘the heartbeat’ of the region, and the floods as ‘nourishing’, providing the people living along the river’s banks with their most reliable sources of food. Yet these people live in abject poverty, with many suffering from chronic hunger. To describe their reliance on precarious flood-retreat farming practices as a sustainable, harmonious lifestyle is deranged.

The floods currently wrecking havoc in Ethiopia have been in the central and north-eastern parts of the country rather than in the southern Omo region. Yet this southern area has experienced devastating floods, too. In 2006, 400 people and thousands of livestock were washed away in the Omo delta and according to the United Nations World Food Programme, the floods there regularly inundate crops and have displaced over 20,000 people.

Ethiopia’s rivers will continue ruining lives unless controlled. Sure, dams are not risk-free and, like any large-scale development project, they force some people to move. Such people should of course be duly compensated. Yet instead of campaigning to halt development altogether, NGOs would do better to focus on ensuring that everyone benefits and no one is left behind. The environmentalists protesting against Gibe III do not seem interested in providing any alternative to people who live in abject poverty, or as they would say ‘who have traditional lifestyles’.

No doubt, a major objective for the investors in Gibe III, which, when completed, will be Africa’s second largest hydroelectric dam, is profit. In addition, however, the dam is expected to extend electricity access to large swathes of Ethiopia, a country where, in the year 2010, 70 per cent of the 80million-strong population still can’t even switch a light on in their homes. In addition, the impact of the droughts is expected to be reduced through new water storage capacities and the dam will regulate the flows of the Omo river, containing the impact of its annual floods.

It is not surprising that Ethiopians themselves find the Stop Gibe III Dam campaign patronising, insulting, irresponsible and dangerous. Some Ethiopians have launched a counter-petition called Stop the Campaign Against the Gibe III Dam of Ethiopia. It might not be the catchiest of campaign names, but anyone who believes that there should be more to life than survival would do well to support it.



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


16 September, 2010

Surprises Galore at Clean Energy Summit

Surprises ruled the day at the National Clean Energy Summit, held September 7 in Las Vegas. The Summit, coordinated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the leftist advocacy group Center for American Progress, featured surprise appearances by SUVs, environmental protesters, praise for hydropower, and a dreary, steady rain as speaker after speaker sang the praises of solar power.

As the Summit kicked off at 9:00 in the morning, approximately 50 environmental activists gathered in protest outside the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Thomas & Mack Center. Wearing t-shirts and carrying posters castigating coal and praising solar power, somebody forgot to tell the protesters that the Summit speakers actually agreed with them. Somebody also forgot to tell God or Mother Nature (take your pick) not to send a steady, gloomy rain to interrupt a solar power cheerleading session in the Mojave Desert. As the rain scattered the protesters before they could finish expressing their indignation about the lack of solar power, the National Clean Energy Summit would have been thrust into darkness if Nevada Energy or UNLV were following the protesters’ pro-solar advice.

Shortly before the rain hit, Harry Reid rushed out to assure the protesters that they and he were on the same team. Unable or unwilling to traverse the 100 yards of relatively empty parking lot between the Thomas & Mack Center and the protest on the sidewalk along Swenson Street, a caravan of gas-guzzling SUVs pulled up to the Mack Center to whisk Reid and a few aides to the protest. (Somebody must have Bogarted all the Priuses from the McCarron Airport Hertz station before Reid’s jet arrived from Washington.)

With the rabble finally mollified and dispersed, Reid hopped back into one of the SUVs in the caravan and made the lengthy 100-yard commute back to the Thomas & Mack Center. Inside, Reid praised the clean, renewable power provided by the Hoover Dam. To an audience of roughly 500 attendees, Reid said Las Vegas as we know it would not be possible without such a wonderful hydroelectric project. I quickly found a south-facing window to see if the Sierra Club activists were reassembling after Reid’s endorsement of one of their mortal enemy power sources, but apparently the Sierra Club and their fellow environmental activists had already taken Reid at his prior word and had completely dispersed.

Strolling among the exhibitor booths during a break, I came across a very pleasant, genuinely likeable fellow representing a solar power producer. The solar representative enthusiastically showed me literature for a solar power project being built in the Mojave Desert. I acknowledged that one can produce solar power less expensively in the Mojave Desert than anywhere else in the nation, and asked him if his company could produce solar power that was cost-competitive with coal, nuclear, or natural gas.

“Oh, we’re expensive,” the rep admitted, “but we just received a $2 billion grant from the federal government. We hope to be cost-competitive in a decade or so.”

This sounded an awful lot like, “We just received $2 billion last night from the tooth fairy. If we keep losing teeth at this pace, we might be able to turn a profit in a decade or so.”

After the break, speaker after speaker – including T. Boone Pickens, Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta, and Pacific Gas & Electric CEO Peter Darbee – spoke in broad terms and meaningless platitudes about the promise of renewable power. Nobody presented economic cost comparisons, nobody mentioned the billions of taxpayer dollars already being handed over to the renewable power industry every year, and nobody pointed out that T. Boone Pickens, PG&E, and the Center for American Progress all are in bed with the renewable power industry and have glaring conflicts of interest regarding renewable power issues.

As each successive speaker preached to the environmental choir but offered no economically viable plan of action, the legacy press in attendance fawned over Reid and laughed loudly at various weak jokes about the proponents of conventional energy.


Recycling the Big Green Lie

The Washington Post runs this cute item in the center of its opinion page by environmental scold Bill McKibben. Its on-line title is something less risible than in my print edition, tossed at the gym earlier, which was “Solar’s Shining Moment at the White House” or something very close to that. Fittingly, it is accompanied by a photo of Jimmy Carter.

Noting that the solar panels that Carter had installed during his one term (Obama, you might better hurry), McKibben tells a whopper when he says that the contraption provided cheap power. That must be why that industry wouldn’t exist without federal subsidies more than 100 times those granted oil and gas, per unit of energy produced. And now demands a law mandating that people buy their stuff (McKibben does implicitly admit all of this with his citation of failed climate legislation being the hurdle to our miracle power becoming reality…). Such are the perils of prosperity, we are to believe. Or, possibly, be distracted from.

Regardless, the underlying argument, that now is the time for symbolic gestures (and mandates and more subsidies) because solar can be the miracle breakthrough technology solving our energy needs shows a deep commitment to recycling.

Consider this headline from the Wall Street Journal. Note the date.

It isn’t that Carter didn’t try to nag, subsidize and mandate breakthrough technologies into existence. You can’t legislate around the laws of physics or make the uneconomic into the economic (though it is true that you can, as President Obama serially says, make certain kinds of energy technologies “the profitable kind”; begging the obvious answer of “at the taxpayer’s and ratepayer’s expense”).

Add to this the insulting talking point that we need to begin investing in uneconomic technologies to bail out Ponzi-style speculation, which is premised on a falsehood while also ignoring what deep down most citizens surely know: the search for the ideal energy source never ended.

In fact, that search launched into over-drive, if into a ditch filled with taxpayer subsidy-addled distortions, about the time of the (also tiresomely invoked) Apollo Project. And so far we’ve spent half of what we spent on Apollo chasing Flubber and flying cars, having gotten nowhere. “Nowhere”? Yes. They admit as much, even as they try to hide it, with the very same talking point of begin to invest. The entirety of McKibben’s piece begging for more puts the lie to that.

All those billions and we’re at square one. By these modern carnival barkers’ own admissions, made while coaxing Peter into forgetting he has already had billions robbed from him to give to Paul.

Drop the symbolic gestures. Oh, and the decades of wasteful wealth transfers and inefficiencies piled on the economy. If this isn’t the time to call Bull on these boondoggles, will there ever be one?


These guys know a racket when they see one

Mafia arrests reveal mob was 'going green'

Police in Italy have seized Mafia-linked assets worth $1.9 billion – the biggest mob haul ever – in an operation revealing that the crime group was trying to "go green" by laundering money through alternative energy companies.

Investigators said the assets included more than 40 companies, hundreds of parcels of land, buildings, factories, bank accounts, stocks, fast cars and luxury yachts.

Most of the seized assets were located in Sicily, home of the Cosa Nostra, and in southern Calabria, home of its sister crime organisation, the 'Ndrangheta.

At the centre of the investigation was Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri, 54, a man known as the "Lord of the Wind" because of his vast holdings in alternative energy concerns, mostly wind farms.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni called the operation "the largest seizure ever made" against the Mafia.

General Antonio Girone, head of the national anti-Mafia agency DIA, said Nicastri was linked to Matteo Messina Denaro, believed to be Mafia's current "boss of bosses".

Investigators said Nicastri's companies ran numerous wind farms as well as factories that produced solar energy panels.

"It's no surprise that the Sicilian Mafia was infiltrating profitable areas like wind and solar energy," Palermo magistrate Francesco Messineo told a news conference.

Officials said the operation was based on a 2,400-page investigative report and followed the arrest of Nicastri last year.

Senator Costantino Garraffa, a member of the parliamentary anti-Mafia committee, said the Mafia was trying to break into the "new economy," of alternative energy as it sought out virgin ventures to launder money from drugs and other rackets.


The Earth Doesn’t Care -- about what is done to or for it

The cover of The American Scholar quarterly carries an impertinent assertion: “The Earth Doesn’t Care if You Drive a Hybrid.” The essay inside is titled “What the Earth Knows.” What it knows, according to Robert B. Laughlin, co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics, is this: What humans do to, and ostensibly for, the earth does not matter in the long run, and the long run is what matters to the earth. We must, Laughlin says, think about the earth’s past in terms of geologic time.

For example: The world’s total precipitation in a year is about one meter—“the height of a golden retriever.” About 200 meters—the height of the Hoover Dam—have fallen on earth since the Industrial Revolution. Since the Ice Age ended, enough rain has fallen to fill all the oceans four times; since the dinosaurs died, rainfall has been sufficient to fill the oceans 20,000 times. Yet the amount of water on earth probably hasn’t changed significantly over geologic time.

Damaging this old earth is, Laughlin says, “easier to imagine than it is to accomplish.” There have been mass volcanic explosions, meteor impacts, “and all manner of other abuses greater than anything people could inflict, and it’s still here. It’s a survivor.”

Laughlin acknowledges that “a lot of responsible people” are worried about atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. This has, he says, “the potential” to modify the weather by raising average temperatures several degrees centigrade and that governments have taken “significant, although ineffective,” steps to slow the warming. “On the scales of time relevant to itself, the earth doesn’t care about any of these governments or their legislation.”

Buy a hybrid, turn off your air conditioner, unplug your refrigerator, yank your phone charger from the wall socket—such actions will “leave the end result exactly the same.” Someday, all the fossil fuels that used to be in the ground will be burned. After that, in about a millennium, the earth will dissolve most of the resulting carbon dioxide into the oceans. (The oceans have dissolved in them “40 times more carbon than the atmosphere contains, a total of 30 trillion tons, or 30 times the world’s coal reserves.”) The dissolving will leave the concentration in the atmosphere only slightly higher than today’s. Then “over tens of millennia, or perhaps hundreds” the earth will transfer the excess carbon dioxide into its rocks, “eventually returning levels in the sea and air to what they were before humans arrived on the scene.” This will take an eternity as humans reckon, but a blink in geologic time.

It seems, Laughlin says, that “something, presumably a geologic regulatory process, fixed the world’s carbon dioxide levels before humans arrived” with their SUVs and computers. Some scientists argue that “the photosynthetic machinery of plants seems optimized” to certain carbon dioxide levels. But “most models, even pessimistic ones,” envision “a thousand-year carbon dioxide pulse followed by glacially slow decay back to the pre-civilization situation.”

Laughlin believes that humans can “do damage persisting for geologic time” by “biodiversity loss”—extinctions that are, unlike carbon dioxide excesses, permanent. The earth did not reverse the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today extinctions result mostly from human population pressures—habitat destruction, pesticides, etc.—but “slowing man-made extinctions in a meaningful way would require drastically reducing the world’s human population.” Which will not happen.

There is something like a pathology of climatology. To avoid mixing fact and speculation, earth scientists are, Laughlin says, “ultraconservative,” meaning they focus on the present and the immediate future: “[They] go to extraordinary lengths to prove by means of measurement that the globe is warming now, the ocean is acidifying now, fossil fuel is being exhausted now, and so forth, even though these things are self-evident in geologic time.”

Climate change over geologic time is, Laughlin says, something the earth has done “on its own without asking anyone’s permission or explaining itself.” People can cause climate change, but major glacial episodes have occurred “at regular intervals of 100,000 years,” always “a slow, steady cooling followed by abrupt warming back to conditions similar to today’s.”

Six million years ago the Mediterranean dried up. Ninety million years ago there were alligators in the Arctic. Three hundred million years ago Northern Europe was a desert and coal formed in Antarctica. “One thing we know for sure,” Laughlin says about these convulsions, “is that people weren’t involved.”


Former British Civil Service Chief Calls For Climate Shakeup

The former head of the civil service has called for a new approach from scientists and policy makers to restore waning trust in climate scientists. Speaking to The Register, Lord Andrew Turnbull, former cabinet secretary and head of the Home Civil Service between 2002 and 2005, says the University of East Anglia's internal enquiries into the Climategate affair were hasty and superficial, and called for Parliament to sponsor two wide-ranging investigations.

One study should examine the "ethos and governance" of climate science. The other should conduct "a fundamental review of the science itself". He thinks policy makers are getting skewed and self-centered advice.

Was he speaking out because of the damage to Britain's academic reputation, or the implications for policy? Both, he told us. "The so-called guardians have bought into a particular narrative. I'm not a skeptic, I can compare what my childhood was like, and I can see climate change going on," said Turnbull. Nor does he contest the radiative properties of CO2. But the hypothesis depends on positive feedbacks that are far from certain, and these haven't been explained to the public, with confidence wrongly assumed.

"We get fed a Janet and John version - a simplified story, and the world's politicians use this to persuade the world's electorates to take action, and action soon."

Now we're in the internet age, he thinks is untenable. "This is backfiring because people are intelligent enough, and well-armed enough with information.

"The deference is no longer there. We don't live in that kind of world any more. People in the blogosphere don't have to accept these and other statements from the authorities, and they will challenge them. We have seen that they can challenge them quite effectively."

Trouble in Watermouth (Watermouth is a quiet and peaceful holiday resort --JR)

Did he think the inadequacy of the Climategate enquiries would leave lasting damage to the British reputation?

"I see some damage to British academia, and lasting damage to the [University of East Anglia] Climatic Research Unit which is possibly terminal, really. I don't see how it can now recover.

"The Russell Report talks about the 'rough and tumble' of academic argument. But all this is publicly funded research programs. They're not arguing about whether Dickens is better than Jane Austen - their work goes to the basis of public policy."

Wouldn't academics resent the intrusion, and defend the principle of academic freedom?

"Does academic freedom include the freedom to stop other people being published at all?" he asks.

"There's an observation in Muir Russell's report that's very good, you can't fault it, and I'll quote it. The report points out that 'It is important to recognise that science progresses by substantive challenges based on rigorously logical, published arguments that present a different view of reality from that which they challenge'. This is absolutely correct.

"But then you get the CRU scientists saying the opposite. They were engaging in groupthink. And having set out the principles the enquiries haven't used them to make judgement about what they found."

Parliament probably doesn't have the resources to conduct the two studies by itself, Turnbull says, and staffing them with people who haven't bought into the 'Janet and John' version might be tricky - but not impossible.

"There are some people in the Royal Society who think it's gone too hard over onto the simplified consensus. There are climate changers who believe in the most sophisticated version and who are prepared to be more admitting of doubt - but they all fear they get branded as 'deniers'

What do civil servants really think?

What about the civil service itself, we wondered. How deeply wedded is it to an increasingly unpopular position?

"It's almost totally embedded. Ministers don't get a range of views presented to them.

"The public is under pressure. If you take a family or small business, they're facing ten rather austere years. But they're also being asked to incur major costs and make significant changes to your lifestyle. So people ask 'do I really have to?'

"So three things happen. They begin to worry about the science. They see that the scientific consensus isn't as solid as they were led to believe. And they don't see other countries doing the same things - the prospects for another Kyoto are worse than ever.

"So if we decarbonise by 2050 there's a risk we'll suffer double jeopardy. We'll incur a cost to moving to higher-priced energy and others won't follow."

Turnbull adds that decarbonisation policies are now hugely unpopular with electorates, and led to the collapse of the Rudd government in Australia.

What's going to give, then? Not a lot, he thinks. "Initially I would predict there won't be very much change in attitudes. The scepticism isn't there. Ministers and civil servants still believe what the scientists tell them.

"We'll still pay lip service to all these obligations but the urgency will fade. It will be like the [Minimum Development Goals] commitment to devote 0.7 per cent of GDP to overseas aid - it will rest there. We will just fall further behind the schedule. Then, eventually, there'll be the dawning that we're doing this when nobody else is."

Turnbull makes his call for new enquiries in the foreword to analysis of the Climategate enquires published today. The review of the two internal University enquires - Sir Muir Russell's Climate Change Emails Review and Lord Oxburgh's Scientific Assessment Panel was conducted for the Global Warming Policy Foundation think-tank by Andrew Montford, author of The Hockey-Stick Illusion. More from the Foundation website later today. ®


More climate fraud: Australian Temperatures in cities adjusted up by 70%!?

Government meteorological records can now not be relied on

Ken Stewart has been hard at work again, this time analyzing the Australian urban records. While he expected that the cities and towns would show a larger rise than records in the country due to the Urban Heat Island Effect, what he found was that the raw records showed only a 0.4 degree rise, less than the rural records which went from a raw 0.6 to an adjusted 0.85 (a rise of 40%). What shocked him about the urban records were the adjustments… making the trend a full 70% warmer.

The largest adjustments to the raw records are cooling ones in the middle of last century. So 50 years after the measurements were recorded, officials realized they were artificially too high? Hopefully someone who knows can explain why so many thermometers were overestimating temperatures in the first half of the 1900’s.

50 years later?

The raw Australian urban temperature records are in blue. The adjusted records in red. Note that temperatures in the middle of last century appear to be adjusted downwards. These are the annual average recordings for all 34 sites.

Remember Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring and Prediction, National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology said: "On the issue of adjustments you find that these have a near zero impact on the all Australian temperature because these tend to be equally positive and negative across the network (as would be expected given they are adjustments for random station changes).”

Yet it’s obvious that there are far more warming adjustments than cooling ones, and remember, many (almost all?) of these urban sites will be markedly different places than what they were in say 1920. The encroachment of concrete, cars and exhaust vents can surely only go in one direction, though I guess, it’s possible all these sites have new sources of shade (why aren’t the themometers moved, if that’s the case?) Like the rural records, the temperatures overall are roughly a quarter of a degree higher after the “corrections”.

Ken explains:
The raw trend is about 0.4C (actually slightly less than 0.4C)- that’s a full 0.2C less than the non-urban raw trend using the same comparison; the adjusted trend is about 0.78C: and that’s a warming bias of 95%. (The 70% figure is based on averaging all the changes in trends- from the table of 34 towns. 95% is from plotting the average temperature for all sites each year, then calculating the trend from this average. It’s artificial as BOM say they don’t do it but it’s a way of comparing at the large scale. It removes much of the error.)

So much for “these tend to be equally positive and negative across the network”.

Of course, BOM says that this data is not used in their climate analyses, so my trend lines shown above are for illustration and comparison purposes only. However, they illustrate the problem quite well: there is a warming bias apparent in the High Quality data.

As well, the “quality” of the High Quality stations leaves much to be desired. Many of the sites have large slabs of data missing, with the HQ record showing “estimates” to fill in the missing years. Some sites should not be used at all: Moree, Grafton, Warnambool, Orange, Bowral, and Bairnsdale.

8 of the 34 are Reference Climate Stations (RCS) and were used by BOM and CSIRO in their State of the Climate Report released in March 2010.

What does it mean for our weather records?

These sites and trends are not used for analyzing Australia’s climate, but nonetheless, in some cities new records will be set that don’t really reflect what the raw data says, and while plenty of scientists don’t want to be seen talking about a single hot season (it’s weather, remember, not climate), there are plenty of other groups who issue press releases conflating a single season “heat wave” with carbon dioxide.

Ken sums up the problems
* The raw data and the adjusted data both show much less warming than the non-urban sites.

* Many of the sites show distinct cooling, especially in south east Australia.

* The data has been subjectively and manually adjusted.

* The methodology used is not uniformly followed, or else is not as described.

* Sites with poor comparative data have been included.

* Large quantities of data are not available, and have been filled in with estimates.

* The adjustments are not equally positive and negative, and have produced a major impact on the temperature record of many of the sites.

* The adjustments produce a trend in mean temperatures that is between roughly 0.3 degree Celsius and 0.38 degree Celsius per 100 years greater than the raw data does.

* The warming bias in the temperature trend is from 60% to 95% depending on the comparison method.

More HERE (See the original for links 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


15 September, 2010

Damning New Investigation Into Climategate Inquiries

The Global Warming Policy Foundation today publishes a detailed assessment of the Climategate inquiries set up by the University of East Anglia and others which finds that they avoided key questions and failed to probe some of the most serious allegations.

The report The Climategate Inquiries, written by Andrew Montford and with a foreword by Lord (Andrew) Turnbull, finds that the inquiries into the conduct and integrity of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia were rushed and seriously inadequate.

In particular, the report finds that:

#none of the Climategate panels mounted an inquiry that was comprehensive within their area of remit

#insufficient consideration in the choice of panel members led to a failure to ensure balance and independence

#none managed to be objective and comprehensive

#none made any serious attempt to consider the views and submissions of well-informed critics

#terms of reference were either vague or non-existent

#none of them performed their work in a way that is likely to restore confidence in the work of CRU.

Andrew Montford, the author of the GWPF report, said:

"The lack of impartiality manifested itself in the different ways the panels treated CRU scientists and their critics. While CRU justifications and explanations were willingly accepted without any serious probing, critics were denied adequate opportunity to respond and to counter demonstrably inaccurate claims."

"All in all, the evidence of the failings of the three UK inquiries is overwhelming. Public confidence in the reliability of climate science will not be restored until a thorough, independent and impartial investigation takes place," Andrew Montford warned.

Lord Turnbull, who wrote the foreword to the GWPF report, said:

"The report by Andrew Montford clearly demonstrates that all three inquiries have serious flaws. The result has been that the three investigations have failed to achieve their objective, ie early and conclusive closure and restoration of confidence."

"The new House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, which has rightly reopened the issue, would do well to study Andrew Montford's report and take evidence from him. It needs to satisfy itself as to whether the criticisms made are valid and whether the exoneration claimed is justified."

"Only if the integrity of the science is re-established and the strengths and weaknesses of the main propositions are acknowledged will there be the basis of trust with the public which policymakers need," Lord Turnbull said.

Lord Turnbull also called on the Government to look at the serious criticisms of the IPCC made in the recent InterAcademy Council Report. He said: "The Government should demand that the fundamental reforms recommended by the IAC in the practice, governance and leadership of the IPCC are implemented immediately for its Fifth Assessment."


Climategate whitewashers squirm like maggots on Bishop Hill's pin

Just back from the House of Lords for the launch of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s report on the failings of the three Climategate inquiries.

The official inquiries, as we know, found nothing untoward in any of the Climategate emails – nor in the behaviour of the scientists responsible for them. But the GWPF’s report, by Andrew “Bishop Hill” Montford, begs to differ. At the conference, one journalist asked Montford to try to summarise the juiciest of his allegations. Montford found this difficult: so many and varied are the failings of the three whitewash inquiries, he simply couldn’t decide which ones to choose.

Here, for example, are just a few criticisms of the Oxburgh whitewash.

* The panel appears to have been deliberately selected to have a majority who would not address the review objectively and to exclude sceptical views entirely.

* UEA appointed Oxburgh as chairman of the panel in the full knowledge that he had conflicts of interest.

* UEA restricted the scope of the Oxburgh inquiry to published papers only, avoiding the serious allegations related to the IPCC activities of CRU staff.

* The scope was further restricted to the conduct of the scientists. UEA had led the Science and Technology Committee members to believe that the quality of CRU’s scientific work would be re-assessed. The committee’s chairman, Phil Willis, felt that the UEA had misled them.

* Lord Oxburgh’s report misled the public by stating that the papers were chosen ‘on the advice of the Royal Society.’

* Lord Rees said that he had consulted with experts about the papers. In fact he had only discussed them with Sir Brian Hoskins, who had said he did not know CRU’s works.

While we’re on Lord Oxburgh, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how entirely unsuited to chairing a supposedly neutral inquiry on AGW this man is. Here’s an interview he gave to Guardian in 2005 in which he reveals why corporate Quislings like himself have so strong an interest in pushing the AGW agenda:
Oxburgh advocates that government uses the controls at its disposal: “Regulate biofuels. Or subsidise. Or tax” – any incentive really, but “what we don’t want to see is in two years’ time the government simply becoming bored with climate change after we’ve invested a lot of our shareholders’ money.”

Perhaps the most shocking new revelation in Andrew Montford’s report is that Sir Muir Russell appears to have been given evidence at the beginning of his inquiry that [paleoclimatologist] Keith Briffa had “taken steps that might be construed as an attempt to block Freedom of Information requests.”

Despite this, the Muir Russell report claimed “we have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete information in respect of a request already made.” Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser.


Coral Bleaching

Global warming causes coral bleaching – and there is absolutely no doubt about it, right? Tens of thousands of websites found searching for “Global warming and coral bleaching” seem to agree that when the ocean warms, the oxygen content reduces, and the corals become “bleached.” The heat affects the tiny algae which live symbiotically inside the corals and supply them with food. The heat stress damages the algae and in consequence leads to coral death.

The argument for the global warming/coral bleaching connection is bolstered by the massive El Niño event in 1997 and 1998 that led to unusually warm tropical waters throughout the world’s lower latitudes and coral bleaching in many locations. But, as with so many other topics covered in World Climate Report, the idea that corals are in peril because of global warming turns out to be considerably more complicated than is commonly presented to the public at large.

Three recent articles give us reason to question the alarmists’ claims that coral reefs are in deep trouble due to the buildup of greenhouse gases.

The first piece was published in Marine Environmental Research by M.J.C. Crabbe of the United Kingdom’s University of Bedfordshire (we cannot make this up – this marine scientist has the last name of Crabbe). Crabbe notes “Coral reefs throughout the world are under severe challenge from a variety of environmental factors including overfishing, destructive fishing practices, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, algal blooms, agricultural run-off, coastal and resort development, marine pollution, increasing coral diseases, invasive species, and hurricane/cyclone damage.”

We agree – coral reefs are facing no end of challenges in our modern world!

Crabbe studied reefs in Jamaica, and he notes that “The Jamaican reefs are subject to a number of both acute and chronic stressors, the last including overfishing and continuing coastal development, including the much-publicised development on land adjacent to Pear Tree Bottom reef and the resurfacing of the North Jamaican coastal highway.” Again, there is a lot more to the story of reefs than just global warming.

He studied various reefs from 2000 to 2008, and this period included a mass bleaching event in 2005. Crabbe concluded “Despite the multiple influences on the reef sites over the study period, the size classes of the corals studied showed resilience to change.”

We suspected this all along – the coral reefs have been around for 100’s of millions of years! He states “What is apparent from this study is that despite the chronic and acute disturbances between 2002 and 2008, demographic studies indicate good levels of coral resilience on the fringing reefs around Discovery Bay in Jamaica.”

Crabbe warns that “Unfortunately, previously successful efforts to engage the local fisherman in controlling catches around Discovery Bay have not been maintained, and it may be that the development of a Discovery Bay Marine Park is the only solution.”

We get the message – don’t blame global warming, blame the local fishermen!

Next up comes from two scientists from the University of Exeter’s Marine Spatial Ecology Lab who focused on coral in other Caribbean reefs; Mumby and Harborne noted that “Because the Bahamas was severely disturbed by the 1998 coral bleaching event, and later by hurricane Frances in the summer of 2004, coral cover was low at the beginning of the study, averaging only 7% at reserve and non-reserve sites.”

Corals have been around for eons, they have survived periods much hotter than anything experienced today, they have survived massive El Niño events, and as seen in their study area, the corals can be severely damaged by hurricanes. Delicate corals would have never made it – robust corals would win in the world of natural selection.

In the Caribbean, macroalgae compete vigorously with coral, and macroalgae are controlled to a large extent by herbivorous parrotfishes living within the reef. The parrotfish are more common in reserves than in non-protected areas, and sure enough “The proportional increase in coral cover after 2.5 years was fairly high at reserve sites (mean of 19% per site) and significantly greater than that in non-reserve sites which, on average, exhibited no net recovery.”

They conclude “Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.” An important implication of the research is that the long-term impact of and recovery from coral bleaching events may be largely controlled by herbivore fish – rather than just global warming.

Finally, we looked at a recent article from the scientific journal entitled Coral Reefs written by ten scientists from French Polynesia, France, Florida, and California. Apparently, doing work on the reefs of Moorea (an island in French Polynesia) attracts a crowd?

Adjeroud et al. studied the Tiahura Outer Reef Sector (TORS) in Moorea from 1991-2006 (sign us up for this duty) and they noted that “Coral assemblages in Moorea, French Polynesia, have been impacted by multiple disturbances (one cyclone and four bleaching events between 1991 and 2006).”

Their conclusions include the statement “In addition, our results reveal that corals can recover rapidly following a dramatic decline. Such decadal-scale recovery of coral cover has been documented at some locations, but our results are novel in demonstrating rapid recovery against a backdrop of ongoing, high frequency, and large-scale disturbances.” Enough said!


"Minuscule": Effects of European ETS on CO2 Emissions

The UK NGO Sandbag has released a report (PDF) evaluating the effects of the European Emissions Trading Scheme on the bloc's carbon dioxide emissions. Here is an excerpt from the report:
We are now two years into the second Phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and it is already clear that, like Phase I, Phase I I will fail to deliver significant abatement2. Policymakers set a Phase I I cap sitting just 6% below 2005 allocations3. But as 2005 was actually overallocated by more than 7% meaning Phase I I actually represents a 1% growth cap against 2005 emissions4. Furthermore, this unambitious Phase I I cap was almost immediately blindsided by the recession. In 2009 the recession dragged down production levels by 1 3.85%, reducing emissions by 1 1 .6%5.

Even with an aggressive economic recovery, our projections find it unlikely that the Phase I I cap would constrain emissions by more than 32Mt across the full 5 years of the phase (2008-1 2), a meagre 0.3% of the 1 0.5 billion tonnes we expect covered installations to emit across the period. To put this in context, the current phase of the ETS, which polices more than 12,000 installations, would have been almost twice as effective if it had simply enforced a cap on one of Europe's largest polluters: Drax power station in the UK is likely to face a shortfall of 60Mt across the same period, double the net effect of the entire scheme.

Furthermore, the low cost and high availability of offsets make it is highly unlikely that this meagre 32Mt of abatement will take place in Europe. I t is more probable that European emitters will purchase cheap offsets to give them a carbon space to grow domestic emissions. In fact, despite the promise of much more aggressive Phase I I I caps we find that on-going availability of cheap offsets could allow Europe’s domestic emissions to grow a staggering 34% from current levels by 2016.

In The Climate Fix, I present data suggesting that Europe's rate of decarbonization was essentially unchanged before and after implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, up to the period covered by the Sandbag analysis. The Sandbag analysis suggests that this finding holds to the present. The strong implication is the that EU ETS has not accelerated BAU decarbonization in Europe.

Of note, the European Commission agrees with the Sandbag analysis, but not the implications that they draw:
The European Commission agrees in broad terms with the analysis underlying the Sandbag report, in that supply exceeds demand for allowances in the current trading phase, Maria Kokkonen, spokeswoman for Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, told EurActiv.

"We do not, however, share all the policy conclusions drawn from it. The EU ETS has undergone a fundamental reform as part the climate and energy package and is on course to be even more effective in the future. The priority is to properly implement these fundamental reforms in a timely manner," she said.

This response would seem to suggest that the spell of emissions trading is still working its magic. It will be interesting to see how long this illusion can persist.


Only one Republican Senate Candidate Still Supporting Climate Fascism

I usually don't plug left wing websites, but this blog post from Think Progress is phenomenal. It details the statements of all Republican Senate candidates as it relates to Anthropogenic Global Warming. They note that all of the candidates are at least skeptical of AGW except..... you guessed it, Mike Castle. Here is what Castle writes on his congressional website:

Believing that we must act now to mitigate the impact of global warming pollution, Rep. Castle supports U.S. participation in international agreements and a cap-and-trade program based on the best available science, which will deliver the kind of reform business and industry need to grow the economy, stabilize the climate, and create more diverse and secure sources of energy. Since 2004, Rep. Castle has supported the Climate Stewardship Act. Rep. Castle believes we can achieve 15-20% reductions in global warming pollution by 2020 and reductions on the order of 80% by 2050.

Christine O'Donnell signed the Contract from America which pledges to oppose any climate tax. The choice tomorrow is clear.



DE: “Tea Party” candidate upsets GOP establishment pick for US Senate nod

“Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell, a perennial candidate with no government experience, soundly defeated veteran politician Mike Castle for the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware Tuesday — posing a major upset to the political establishment on the last big day of primaries. With all precincts reporting, O’Donnell beat Castle 53-47 percent.”


Another "Green" hit on the pocket of the Australian taxpayer

If the project below were commercially viable, it would not need government funding.

And the route makes no sense. Why send power underwater to Weipa? A route via Thursday Island and Cape York would require only a small fraction of the underwater cabling needed to send it to Weipa. And Weipa is a very small town unlikely to use much of the power itself. Weipa does of course have bauxite so the proposal might make some sense if an alumina smelter were envisaged there -- but you would hear Greenie shrieks from all sides if that were proposed

I guess an overland route via Cape York would involve more Aboriginal "land rights" issues but it would also allow the many towns -- including the city of Cairns -- between Cooktown and Townsville to be supplied. So this whole thing just reeks of crazy Leftist politics

Greenies hate dams anyway so that will probably knock the whole idea on the head

A massive hydro-electric plant in Papua New Guinea will supply power to Townsville via an underwater cable under a multi-billion dollar plan announced this morning. The plant would provide about three times the baseload power of a coal-fired power station.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told parliament Origin Energy and PNG Energy Developments would sign a memorandum of understanding to work toward the green-energy project, which could connect to the north Queensland city by 2020.

The project would use a “running” dam of the Purari River in Papua New Guinea's highlands to generate electricity before transferring it through a pipeline and into the Australian national electricity grid.

Ms Bligh likened the project to the 1940s Snowy River Scheme. “This project would mean our vision for stronger, greener Queensland could take a giant leap forward,” she said. “This proposal could generate 1800MW of renewable baseload electricity travelling via undersea cable to Weipa and could potentially plug directly into Townsville as early as 2020.”

The Queensland government has yet to contribute funding for the project, which has been studied by Origin for two years. A feasibility study, including environmental, sociological and engineering, is expected to be finalised in 2012.

PNG would be able to use the additional baseload power to compete for industrial projects in their resource-rich country. “This project would provide PNG with a reliable source of power for villages and rural communities and transform the economic development prospects of western Papua New Guinea,” Ms Bligh said. “It is clear that this is an idea of national and international significance.

“Like any large project there are many hurdles and requirements to be met and many questions to be answered before it becomes a reality but this is a first step toward making Queensland the renewable energy star of Australia.”

The Queensland government will assist to identify the pipeline corridor and land tenure issues.



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


14 September, 2010

Big backdown in British climate policy

Britain can no longer stop global warming and must instead focus on adapting to the ‘inevitable’ impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels, Government ministers will warn this week.

For the past few years Government policy has concentrated on trying to make people turn off lights and grow their own vegetables in an effort to bring down carbon emissions.

But as global greenhouse gases continue to increase, with the growth of developing countries like China and India, and the public purse tightens, the focus will increasingly be on adapting to climate change.

The Government will set out plans to protect power stations from flooding and ensure hospitals can cope with water shortages during dry summers.

Since the beginning of the industrial era, the temperature has already risen by 0.8C, according to the Met Office. [A whole fraction of one degree in a couple of hunded years! How Awful!]

Temperatures are expected to rise further because of greenhouse gases that are already “locked in” but will take decades to warm the atmosphere.

In her first speech on climate change since taking office Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, will speak about the need for Britain to adapt to rising temperatures. “It is vital that we carry on working to drastically cut our greenhouse gas emissions to stop the problem getting any worse,” she will say. “But we are already stuck with some unavoidable climate change. Because of this, we need to prepare for the best and worst cases which a changing climate will entail for our country.”

However environmental groups are nervous about the change in direction. They fear that the move away from tackling climate change is motivated by spending cuts rather than saving the planet. They also point out that no new money is being offered to help companies or the public sector adapt to climate change, preferring to leave it to ‘the Big Society’ and forward thinking businesses to come up with the cash.

Lord Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, said it was dangerous to rely on adaptation rather than trying to mitigate the effects of climate change. “If Caroline Spelman makes her first speech about adaptation and nothing about mitigation it spells out significant danger for all of us,” he said.

Mrs Spelman will be speaking in response to a hard-hitting report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), due out on Thursday. The committee, set up to advise the Government on tackling climate change, is expected to recommend specific actions to protect against global warming. For example flood defences in coastal areas at risk of rising sea levels. Emergency plans are recommended for coping with heatwaves in the summer that could kill thousands of elderly people and more floods throughout the year.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is also producing a report on the risk of climate change, which will also call for more efforts to prepare for the impact of rising remperatures.

The powerful group of businesses leaders will call for a new public information bank, easily accessible online, that explains the risks in the local area to companies and individuals. People will be able to type in a postcode and be told the likelihood of floods and droughts over the next few decades. The CBI said the current information available needs to be simplified so that businesses and home owners can protect themselves in future.

In a speech to the CBI, Lord Henley, the climate change minister, will warn that business, public bodies and each individual will have to adapt to climate change. “One way or another, climate change is going to affect every organisation and every individual in this country. If we are to thrive as a society, every organisation and every individual must adapt,” he will say.


Science in the service of big government

The fact that the fatuous former United States Vice President Albert Gore could actually be given a Nobel Prize (not to mention an Academy Award) for furthering the global warming hoax would be almost terminally repulsive and depressing—if it weren't also morbidly funny.

In my 1983 novel The Nagasaki Vector, I predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union. One way I knew the culture was doomed was that, for purposes of "security", its scientists weren't free to communicate with one another in their own country, but had to attend international conferences just in order to learn what their own colleagues were up to. The effect of political correctness on science is every bit as harmful.

It's not just global warming, and not just climate science. Over the past several decades, we've been warned, in the most hysterical of terms, about the dire threats represented by horrors like acid rain, ozone depletion, deforestation, desertification, the reduction of biodiversity, and overpopulation. If we're sane, we file these pronouncements away with other "menaces" that confront us, like smoking in bed (very big when I was in first grade), video arcades, and platform shoes. If we're not sane, we obligingly start to "run in circles, scream and shout" the way the con-men and the media want us to do. Along come the politicians to "fix" everything, and invariably we end up with less freedom, and more government control over our lives.

Yet, despite claims that practically everything we eat, drink, or breathe is toxic, we continue to live longer than our predecessors. Of course that's a dire threat, too, to demented individuals who, like the Discovery Channel gunman, hate their own species because they hate themselves.

It never fails to astonish me how many people don't understand what science is. Listening only to evolution-deniers, one would get the impression that it's some kind of cult or religion comparable with what they themselves believe, and that one accepts science on the same basis—the desire to believe it—that they have accepted what they believe.

Science is none of those things. At the same time, it is a very simple thing. Science is nothing more—or less—than a way of looking at reality that has produced vastly better results than any other way that people throughout history have tried. And it works for everyone, every day. You don't have to be an official, certified scientist.

Here's how it works: observe some aspect of the world around you. Find or think up an explanation for why that aspect is the way it is. Test your explanation. Form a new, improved explanation based on your test.

My rooster makes a lot of noise every morning. The sun comes up every morning. My explanation is that my rooster makes the sun come up. I test the explanation by gagging my rooster somehow, and then watching what the sun does. When the sun comes up anyway, I abandon my explanation and try to think of another that coincides better with reality.

Those simple steps, repeated a million times over a thousand years have taken us from the oxcart to the spaceship. They have shown us the true shape of reality from the whirling of unimaginably tiny subatomic particles to the great lacy fans formed by millions of galaxies, each of which is made up of billions of stars. They have lengthened human life expectancy from a little over 20 years to nearly 80 years. They have fed and clothed and housed the people of Western Civilization better than human beings have ever been fed or clothed or housed in history.

The opposite of science, shamanism, in any of the thousands of forms it assumes, always boils down to believing what you believe, not because it's consistent with reality, but because you want to believe it. Although it's been around for thousands of years, and may in fact predate our species, shamanism has failed to produce an inch or an ounce of progress, nor has it enabled people to live a microsecond longer, or—without the generosity of individuals who happen to be in better touch with reality—fed, housed, or clothed a single human being.

Science is often seen by government as a political weapon. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has absolutely no interest in seeing large numbers of taxpayers move away into space on a permanent basis, and for years, they have done whatever they could to prevent vital research in certain areas such as the effect of fractional gravity on human physiology. Similarly, the American Cancer Society, which might as well be a government agency, is infamous for controlling funds to prevent cancer research that they don't approve of.

And which might actually cure cancer, putting them out of a job.

In a more general sense, the substitution of statistics for actual science has had a negative effect on progress. Statistics teach us nothing new; they can be "cooked" to prove or disprove anything you like. For years, "social scientists" lied about the effect of private gun ownership on crime rates, causing countless individuals to lose their lives by being unequipped for self-defense. A so-called scholar, Michael Bellesiles, was caught falsifying data about gun ownership and was banished from academia, although he's currently trying to make a comeback.

On the other hand, Dr. Peter Deuseburg, among others, has been severely and unjustly punished, ostracized by establishment science for publicly pointing out certain questionable research practices and attitudes about Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Legionnaire's, and several other diseases. His first book on the subject, Why We Will Never Win the War Against AIDS, was actually suppressed by a court of law.

While it's undoubtedly true that corporate funding is generally results-oriented (which is supposed to be a good thing in engineering, but a bad thing in science), government funding of science is no less results-driven, and almost inevitably involves the misallocation of money for purely political reasons. What institution, for example, is going to pay for research that proves there's no global warming or that AIDS is caused by lifestyle choices rather than a pathogen? We've seen this clearly with stem cell research. We are left to wonder, if all this corruption is going on in plain sight, what's going on in areas of science too esoteric for the public to be interested in or understand?

In the same way Abraham Lincoln didn't really end slavery, as his admirers claim, but only nationalized it through military conscription and the income tax, frauds like Piltdown Man, the New York Sun Moon hoax, and the Cardiff giant were not eliminated through government involvement in science, they were just taken over by the government—an excellent example is secondhand smoke—to be used for its own purposes.

Often it works the other way. The brilliant promise of thermal depolymerization, which could solve most of our energy problems while dealing effectively with landfill pollution and used tires, has been brutally suppressed. I remember misleading headlines in Science News claiming that nobody could replicate Pons and Fleischman's "cold fusion"—mostly large "prestigious" universities that changed the experimental design—when the body of the article listed many more that had stuck with the design and proven that catalytic fusion is real.

There is another danger to real science here: the transparent fraud that is "climate change" is now being used by unscrupulous religionists to cast doubt on the reality of evolution by natural selection. This particular slippery slope leads directly downward into a new Dark Age. Thanks in large measure to Albert Gore and humbugsters like him—and what their behavior has to teach us—we can no longer be confident with the results produced by what is represented today as "science". Did smoking or chewing tobacco ever cause cancer? Who can say? Will using cellular telephones give us brain tumors? We might as well consult someone who looks for the truth in chicken entrails.

Science is too important to be left in the hands of government. In 19th century England, before the development of the greedy, voracious, income-taxing state, it was possible for "amateur" scientists, "living on the interest" to make all of the important discoveries in fields ranging from bacteriology and chemistry to astronomy and what became astrophysics.

What the United States of America need most, if they wish to undo the damage done to them by political correctness, and regain their previous position as the world's leaders in scientific endeavor and the exploration of the universe is a Constitutional amendment mandating formal separation of science—especially medicine—and state.


Must we do something, anything, about global warming?

Excerpt below is another demolition of the absurd "precautionary principle". There are any number of things we could take precautions against. We need good evidence in order to decide which is important.

The writer below points out what I have been pointing out for some time: Similar reasoning would support the invasion of Iraq -- so where are the Greenies supporting that?

A friend of mine sent me a link to a video labeled "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See." According to YouTube, this video has been viewed over 3.5 million times. Narrator Greg Craven, a high-school science teacher, presents an application of the precautionary principle to the debate over anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Craven claims to have found an argument that does not depend on the resolution of the scientific controversy — a "silver bullet argument," an argument that leads to an "inescapable conclusion," one "that even the most hardened skeptic and the most panicked activist can agree on."

I beg to differ. Craven starts out with the premise that we can reduce the problem to one of four possible outcomes, which he places on a grid (as shown below). The rows represent the proposition that the worst outcome of AGW (the end of human life on earth) is on its way or is not. The columns represent the choice to do something or do nothing. Craven then proceeds to examine the implications of ending up in each one of his four quadrants.

According to Craven, because we cannot be totally certain about the science, we need to find another way to choose our course of action. And Craven aims to show that this is possible. He states that "we begin by acknowledging that no one can know with absolute certainty what the future will bring." This argument is a variant of Pascal's Wager, which structures the issue of belief in God the same way, with punishment for nonbelievers as the worst case.

Craven's reasoning is that the objective of our decision-making process should be to avoid the top right cell. He observes that we cannot control which row we are in because we don't know for sure the outcome of the science; but we can avoid the top right cell (total disaster) because we can control which column we are in. We should choose to "do something" to ensure that we end up in the right column rather than the left column.

There are many problems with this approach.

The first problem is that this argument proves too much. The premise — that something really, really bad might happen — is undoubtedly true: there is a virtually unlimited supply of hypotheses about things that might go wrong. The less evidence required for any particular catastrophe, the longer the list of bad things we can make. Craven's mode of argument could be used to prove that we should "do something" about any — or all — of them.

Go through the entire video and replace "global warming" with "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction":
Saddam Hussein might have WMDs, which he could be planning to use against the United States. No one can prove that he does not because, as members of the neocon war party enjoyed pointing out, you can't prove a negative.

Even trying to use reason to figure out whether or not Saddam has WMDs is what Mr. Craven would call "row thinking," while what we need in dark times such as these is "column thinking."

As Craven would undoubtedly agree, we don't know whether Saddam has WMDs or not. In the worst case, Saddam has WMDs and he will use them against the United States. If we "take action" by invading Iraq and deposing Saddam, then we can eliminate the worst case. If we "do nothing" through "inaction" then the worst case might happen anyway.

It is true that we will incur costs by invading Iraq: dollars, some American deaths. Maybe we disrupt the lives of Iraqis a bit. But the cost of the worst case is incalculable.

The conclusion is therefore inescapable to all rational and right-minded people: we must invade Iraq.

Glenn Greenwald, in a recent piece, points out that this exact argument is being used to defend the decision to go to war in Iraq. And now the war party is using the same argument to lie the country into a war with Iran.

The second problem I will address is that Craven's argument proves nothing at all. His objective is to show that we should do something to avoid the worst case. But to prove that we must "do something" is to prove nothing. He organizes the problem around a set of abstract choices. But in life, we face only concrete choices, not abstract ones. While deciding to "do something" about an issue in your life that you have been ignoring might be an important psychological step, it is still not an actionable decision. What to do is the real decision and cannot be separated from the decision to "do something."

Another way of saying this is that the grid describing reality has more than two columns. It has infinitely many columns representing the infinite range of choices that exist in the real world. Craven's mode of argument provides no guidance as to how many resources should be expended or in what direction to address the problem.

The aim of Craven's argument is to show that we can avoid the worse case without resolving the science. But this is only true if we choose a concrete plan that has the desired result. We have an infinite range of choices that all involve doing something — and some other choices that involve watching and waiting. Because our resources are finite, we could not adopt all policy proposals. To avoid the worse case, we would have to evaluate whether each proposal might have any benefits at all and whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Should we choose one staggeringly expensive plan that might work? Or ten less expensive plans that each have a chance of working?

If we use up a vast amount of resources on one very small risk, then we will be in a worse position to deal with other problems that do materialize. Maybe the best course is to do nothing right now, relying on economic growth to increase our wealth and therefore our range of choices in the future?

The argument can be used to prove whatever conclusion you want, depending on what you posit as the worst case. For example, try using the argument on the following worst case: we implement restrictive carbon-emission legislation and that causes even worse climate change. Or this: destroy the world's economy fighting a problem that doesn't exist (AGW), and then a very real — and much bigger — crisis emerges (and, as Mr. Craven points out, science cannot prove whether this will or will not happen), but we have no more wealth left to address it. Craven's contention proves that we should do nothing now so that we can address the real worst case that has not yet shown its face.

This brings us to another gross deficiency in Craven's argument: the choice among the many concrete options that we have depends on our understanding the cause and effect of each choice. To "do something" is for us to create some causes that we believe have certain effects. We cannot evaluate the effect of any cause without relying on the science of the issue. The science applied to any concrete proposal is essentially the same controversial science that Craven claims we don't need in order to reach a conclusion about what to do.

As the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) explains in their excellent commentary on the precautionary principle,
[t]he precautionary principle is, however, a very useful one for consumer activists precisely because it prevents scientific debate. The burden of evidence and proof is taken away from those who make unjustified and often whimsical claims and placed on the scientific community which, because it proceeds logically and rationally, is often powerless to respond. This is what makes the principle so dangerous. It generates a quasi-religious bigotry which history should have has [sic] taught us to fear. Its inherent irrationality renders it unsustainable.

The deficiency is illustrated this way. If the goal is to avoid the worst possible outcome, then "do something" is not enough. We must do something effective. Some of the actions we might take would not be very costly but would also (probably) not meet Mr. Craven's criteria for effectiveness.

Suppose that we all wore Whip Global Warming Now buttons? Would that help us avoid the worst case? Some might say so, but the strongest objection to that plan would be that there is no scientific basis for the belief that wearing buttons has any impact on global climate change.

Suppose that I agreed with Craven's conclusion and suggested as the solution that we lengthen our commutes to work so we can drive more, and that we increase the use of coal-fired power plants. Oh, but that won't work, he might say, because it would increase carbon emissions. But this is only a constructive response if carbon emissions are really the cause of AGW. Without any science linking cause and effect, how do we know that reducing (not increasing) carbon emissions will help?

Though Craven doesn't present a concrete proposal, clearly he has something in mind — probably Cap and Tax or a similar scheme — because he is able to fill in the lower left quadrant of his grid with various economic costs — depression, lost jobs, lower wages, and the like. Similar legislative proposals would incur the absolutely stupefying cost of reducing carbon emissions to preindustrial levels.

So far I have been focusing on the columns. But there are also a lot more rows than Craven shows. His two rows representing AGW true/false correspond to the cases that either nothing much happens or it's the end of civilization. But there are a lot of points in between — something happens but it is benign, something bad happens but it is manageable, something really bad happens but it is not the end of human life altogether, etc.


Colorado’s great green deception

Last March, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (D) signed HB 1001, a mandate requiring investor-owned utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2020. The policy, known as a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), is the crown jewel of the Governor’s “New Energy Economy” agenda and the renewable energy model for the rest of America.

Governor Ritter boasted in a prepared statement, “Colorado is giving every state and the entire nation a template for tomorrow. This is a game-changer. We are transforming the future of Colorado and our country.” HB 1001 author State Rep. Max Tyler (D-Golden) wrote, “[R]equiring a third of our power to come from renewable sources is a great example of doing well by doing good. We will cut our carbon footprint, stabilize or even lower our energy costs, and remove pollutants from our air.”

If all this seems too good to be true, that is because it is. Critics charge that renewable energy is expensive, and the facts seem to be on their side. According to the federal Energy Information Administration’s projection of future electricity costs, in 2016 wind power will be nearly 50 percent more expensive than coal and nearly 80 percent more expensive than natural gas. Thermal solar generation is projected to be 150 percent more expensive than coal, and 200 percent more expensive than gas.

Proponents of HB 1001, however, claim that the law ensures that costs stay low. But all that means is that Colorado’s RES sets price controls as well as production quotas. HB 1001 limits the retail impact to 2 percent annually, which led Governor Ritter to brag in The Denver Post, “The legislation (HB 1001) also provides a statutory framework that will not increase cost to consumers.”

Rep. Tyler dismissed accusations that his legislation would raise the cost utility bills. “That’s absolutely wrong,” he told The Colorado Independent, “there’s a 2 percent cap.” But Tyler went even further when he implied that wind and solar are “free” sources of energy, “The sun will always shine for free, the winds will always blow for free, and our energy production will be cleaner.”

It is not the source, but converting that source to energy that costs money. While it’s impossible to know exactly how much the RES will cost Coloradans, we do know that 2 percent will be only a fraction of Coloradans’ green energy bill.


Green Buses Driving Costs Higher in Michigan

In Flint, the city's transit authority bought a pair of $1.1 million electric buses that are zero-emission. In Lansing, the city's transit authority purchased a 60-foot $783,000 hybrid bus.

Cities across Michigan are touting their new "green fleets" as good for the environment. Lansing's Capital Area Transit Authority claims its growing hybrid buses cut emissions by 90 percent.

But some transit experts are saying it is poor public policy and that the costs far exceed any environmental gain. The "eco" buses can cost anywhere from 50 to 100 percent more than a regular diesel bus, and that doesn't include the infrastructure costs that tag along. For example, Flint's Mass Transportation Authority's web site states it has plans to spend $10 million converting 50 diesel buses to hybrid technology, at a cost of $200,000 per bus. Flint transit also wants to spend $5.2 million to modify its facilities for compressed natural gas fuel.

"This is dreadful public policy," said Wendell Cox, principal of Demographia, a public policy consulting firm in St. Louis, Mo. "On one hand, we ought to do everything we can for the environment. We need to attach a cost to that. In general, transit agencies don't do that. And neither does government."

Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, studied hybrid buses in Minneapolis. He found that the cost to reduce carbon dioxide for the Minneapolis hybrid bus was $1,000 per metric ton. O'Toole said the going rate in the marketplace is $10 per metric ton. "I think it is a huge waste of money," O'Toole said. "Hybrid buses are not an effective way of reducing carbon emission."

O'Toole said municipalities don't take much easier and less expensive steps to reduce carbon dioxide, such as traffic signal coordination. He says a study by the Texas Transportation Institute found that 2.9 billion gallons of fuel are wasted in congested traffic each year.

So why are transit authorites gobbling up hybrid buses?

Lansing's CATA has 21 hybrid buses and is replacing the older diesel buses with the costlier green buses. CATA has gone to voters in its last two millages and asked for increases, both approved.

O'Toole said it is part of a public relations campaign by transit agencies to endear themselves to taxpayers, who fund 75 percent of their budgets. "Their real goal is to con taxpayers into giving them more money," O'Toole said. "Taxpayers will give them money for gee-whiz products that really sound good. ... Although transit likes to portray themselves as environmentally friendly, buses are extremely dirty. By switching to electric buses, they can honestly project themselves as holier-than-thou."


Foolish Greenie scare about "endangered" salmon in Canada

Canadian Greenies hate fish farms

Yesterday's closure of the Fraser River sockeye fishery -- along with accusations that it's premature and that too many salmon have been spared -- is a tad ironic, to say the least. For years, we've been led to believe by wild-eyed environmentalists and their media cheerleaders that the science is clear, that wild salmon on our coast are on the verge of extinction and that sea lice and disease from fish farms are to blame.

Last November, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an inquiry into the apparent decline in B.C. sockeye stocks, high-profile activist Alexandra Morton was quoted as saying "our sockeye are at the moment of no return."

The sockeye, however, have returned. In full force. This year's Fraser River run, numbering a projected 34 million fish, is being hailed as the largest since 1913. Bargain-hunters have been scooping up freezers-full of fish from off the Steveston dock. And grizzled commercial fishermen have been complaining there are scads of sockeye still to be netted.

So perhaps it's time the Harper-ordered inquiry, now being conducted by Justice Bruce Cohen, changed its mandate from one of investigating the decline in B.C. salmon stocks to probing the increase in them, instead.

Myself, I think we know very little about the reasons for the puzzling yearly changes in salmon returns. In fact, I think we -- and that includes virtually every organization from the federal fisheries department to the David Suzuki Foundation -- know almost as little about them as we do about global warming.

Dr. Carl Walters of the UBC Fisheries Centre, who's spent more than 40 years studying coastal salmon populations, told me Tuesday he thinks the public has been fed a whole bunch of misinformation about the state of sockeye and pink stocks. "Actually, our best evidence is that they're very close to their historical peak levels and have been for over a decade," he said.

Certainly, Walters doesn't think those much-hated B.C. fish farms have anything to do with the ups and downs in wild salmon returns.

My view is that it's largely emotion driving the predictions of the doom-and-gloom zealots -- at least when it's not the ready availability of grants from wealthy U.S. foundations.

Former fish-farm consultant Vivian Krause noted Tuesday that this year's bumper sockeye run disproves claims that sea lice from fish farms are destroying B.C.'s wild salmon. "I think we need to hit the reset button on the salmon-farming controversy," she said. "We need to reboot."

Yes, we need to address this controversy with far less self-righteous conviction, far greater humility . . . and a far more open mind. The Cohen commission, which holds a public forum next Monday in Steveston (at 6:30 p.m. at Steveston-London Secondary School), gives us a perfect chance to do this.

For too long, we seem to have been fed a bunch of lies, or at least half-truths, about the salmon-farming issue. The science surrounding it is not settled, not by a long way. Pretending it is won't make it so.



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


13 September, 2010

The Week That Was (To September 11, 2010)

By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

This week Nature published an editorial decrying the increase in skepticism of science among the public. Nature did not distinguish between advocacy of human caused global warming and science. The editorial blamed "deniers" and "right wing" US politicians.

Nature failed to note it published the now debunked "Hockey Stick" that went against the first two publications of the IPCC, a large body of scientific research, and human history and refused to publish careful research contradicting this computer model driven deceit.

The editorial illustrates a serious concern that it fails to make. The more intensely scientific institutions embrace the findings of the IPCC and its speculative computer projections, the greater the public backlash will be against all science. Thus it is important to differentiate between the politicized science of the IPCC and science in general, which the editorial does not.


For some time TWTW has mentioned the momentous change in the affordable energy prospects for the US, and for many other countries, since the development of practical hydraulic fracturing of shale containing natural gas, combined with horizontal drilling. The extent of this change has scarcely been noticed in the press and by official Washington. This week two items appeared of note. A company that owns a facility in Louisiana designed to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) received preliminary approval to use the facility to export LNG. The US has a number of LNG facilities that were built, some about 30 years ago, to be importers of LNG as the US was projected to run out of natural gas.

The second item is that the EPA is requesting drilling companies provide it with the chemicals used during drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Chemical fracturing of wells has been commonplace for many years and it is appropriate that the chemicals for hydraulic fracturing be known so that waste water can be properly treated.

However, given the recent history of the EPA in regulating energy producers, other than wind and solar, there is reason to be concerned that this request may be the beginning of an effort to hobble the very bright spot in the US energy picture and the US economy. The EPA's "scientific" finding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger human health and welfare is but one example of the extent to which EPA abuses its power.

Also, solar and wind have powerful political supporters in Washington and in many state government. The new wave of natural gas promises to overwhelm any practical prospects for wind and solar making the mandates of producing high percentages of electricity from solar and wind expensive and wasteful. Will these politicians try to hobble the promise of abundant, affordable natural gas?


My encounters with the "hockey stick"

By S. Fred Singer

I first learned of the Hockey Stick by reading the original paper by Mann, Bradley, and Hughes in Nature in 1998 and was surprised that it showed an extended decline of global (or NH) temperatures since the year 1000AD, until a sudden and major warming in the 20th century (the "blade" of the Hockey Stick). But providing some reassurance, there seemed to be good overlap between 1900 and 1980 with the instrumental record of Phil Jones, which showed a continuing rise in temperature from 1980 to the end of the century.

I had no basis to question the MBH work, but I noticed that the proxy record suddenly stopped in 1980 and did not extend beyond.

At that time, I was heavily influenced by the satellite data of Christy and Spencer that showed no atmospheric warming trend from 1979 to 1997 -- in contrast to Jones' surface data from weather stations. Since Mann was using the Jones temperature data for calibration of the proxy record, I asked Mann if he had any post-1980 proxies. He replied rather brusquely that there were no suitable data available. This was my only exchange with Mann, and I've preserved those emails.

Of course, I did not believe Mann, since I knew of tree ring data (by Jacoby in 1996) that showed no temperature rise since 1940 (see figure 16 in my 1997 book Hot Talk Cold Science). I also knew that Dahl-Jensen's ice cores showed no temperature rise since 1940. Hence I had doubts about the Jones data -- and still do.

Following this unsatisfactory e-mail exchange with Mann, I had correspondence with McIntyre, Charles Keller, and others, trying to collect some post-1980 proxies to decide whether the Jones record was sound -- and whether Mann had stopped his proxy record in 1980 because it did not agree with Jones. Today we know, thanks to Climategate, that this might have been "Mann's Nature trick" in order to "hide the decline [of temperature]."

I visited Ed Cook at the Lamont Geophysical Laboratory to get post-1980 tree ring data, but was unsuccessful and finally gave up and turned to other matters. I also had a chance to speak briefly to Mann at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, but could not extract any information from him. By then, he clearly regarded me as an 'enemy' and would not have given me anything of value.

My next encounter with the Hockey Stick was to review the IPCC's 3rd Assessment draft report in 2000. In the draft, the Hockey Stick was represented along with the Jones instrumental record, using colors of black and blue. I prevailed on IPCC to use colors that were easily distinguishable and was glad to see the Jones record appearing in red in the final IPCC version.

My next encounter came in 2003 when the editor of Energy & Environment sent me the first of the McIntyre and McKitrick papers for review. I was surprised to learn of some half dozen or so cases where Mann had clearly mishandled the data, even substituting imaginary sequences to fill gaps where data were not available. Of course, I endorsed publication of this first of the M&M attacks on the Hockey Stick.

I also witnessed the encounter between Mann and McIntyre at the hearings arraigned by the National Academy (NAS), charged to write a report on the Hockey Stick. Tellingly, Mann presented a brief account of his work and then immediately walked out without taking any questions or listening to the McIntyre presentation. It was a thoroughly disappointing performance, particularly since some have misinterpreted the NAS report as an endorsement of the Hockey Stick. Actually, it was just the opposite, but it was misleading. The NAS stated that the 20th century was the warmest in the last 400 years, without making it clear that 400 years ago the earth was in the depth of the Little Ice Age.

It is certainly noteworthy that the IPCC in its fourth assessment report [2007] no longer displays the Hockey Stick. It had been demolished by able statisticians like Wegman and von Storch. M&M had shown in the meantime that random numbers fed into the Mann algorithm would always produce a hockey-stick-shaped result.

The "Last Hurrah" for the Hockey Stick came in 2009 in a report by the United Nations Environment Program. Apparently, UNEP wanted to dramatize matters before the crucial Dec 2009 Copenhagen meeting and brought back the Hockey Stick in an inexpertly written report on climate change. They called it an "update" of the IPCC, but I'm sure that responsible IPCC scientists would not have agreed with that characterization.

When we inquired where their Hockey Stick graph originated, we were led to a Norwegian biologist who had republished a graph he had found in Wikipedia - too funny for words! UNEP immediately reissued their report and replaced their Hockey Stick graph with a less controversial one.

There is a serious matter, however, which bears discussion: Did Mann commit fraud? I would give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest that his initial Nature publication contained many errors, including major statistical ones, which he might not have been aware of. But certainly, after these errors had been pointed out to him in no uncertain terms, how could he maintain his original posture and claim that the Hockey Stick truly represented the global temperature record of the last 1000 years? All this in spite of many publications, both before and after 1998, that clearly told a different story: The compilation of temperature values by Soon and Baliunas, who were viciously attacked by the IPCC crowd; the isotope data of Cuffey; the global proxy data (omitting tree rings) of Loehle, which clearly showed the medieval warm period to be warmer than today; the deep-sea sediment record of Kegwin; and, of course, the historical record.

The Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Kenneth Cuccinelli, is currently engaged in extracting from the University of Virginia (where Mann was a faculty member from 1999 to 2005) the e-mail records and other material relating to Mann. The University is fighting this demand in court yet it had already agreed some months ago to deliver the e-mail records of Patrick Michaels to Greenpeace! At that time, no cries of "academic freedom" were raised by the usual suspects. The silence then, and vociferous objections now expose the hypocrisy of the UVa Faculty Senate, the AAUP, the AAAS, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

It is quite likely that Cuccinelli will discover a "smoking gun." Perhaps some of the emails that Phil Jones admitted to having deleted might tell us just when Mann became himself aware that the Hockey Stick was bogus and a fraud.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #25-2010 (Sep 11, 2010)

Putin dismisses alternatives to nuclear

It's a sad day that there is more sanity coming from Russia than there is from the USA. I am beginning to like Mr. Putin

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has said that nuclear energy is the only alternative to traditional energy sources, RIA Novosti reported. Speaking at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, he said that while the global gas market has been recovering from the recent economic downturn, demand for energy sources will soar over the next few years.

Putin noted, "You couldn't transfer large electric power stations to wind energy, however much you wanted to. In the next few decades, it will be impossible." He said that future energy consumption patterns will only undergo minor changes. Nuclear energy is the only "real and powerful alternative" to oil and gas, Putin asserted, calling other approaches to meeting future energy demand "claptrap."


Carbon offsets: Green project offends Indian farmers who lose land to windmills

A Dutch bank that bought carbon offsets to neutralize its carbon footprint was unaware that poor Indian farmers had been aggrieved by the green project.

Like his father before him, Yashwant Malche has worked the same piece of land on this parched plateau a day's drive and decades away from Mumbai. As an adivasi, or tribesman, he and his ancestors have been relegated to desolate land like this, mostly left out of India's modernization.

"That's the livelihood of my family, so I couldn't possibly sell...." Mr. Malche says he told them. "When I refused to take the money, the people said the windmill will stand there no matter what."

It did. The Dhule wind project brought the erection of about 550 windmills on land used by 2,000 adivasi. The tussle over the land resulted in a confrontation between stone-throwing tribesmen and truncheon-wielding police, bringing tear gas and arrests. Some 12,000 trees were cut to erect the turbines.

The footprint of one windmill took less than an acre from a corner of Malche's small farm. But the loss means he no longer earns enough farming and now must spend part of the year in another state working in sugar-cane fields. He used to own three sets of clothes, he now makes do with two.

The Dhule project is an example of the dark side of a new industry that harvests profits from green energy and carbon offsets through projects in developing countries. The eco-conscious buyers of carbon offsets rarely see the consequences of the projects.

The environmental payoff has been meager in the Dhule project, which produces significantly less renewable power from the windmills than expected by investors and regulators. In part that's because of theft of windmill parts, says one company that bought into the project, Essel Mining. The overall project, developed by Suzlon Energy Ltd., has spawned legal battles, a government investigation into deals involving tribal lands, and a cloud of acrimony and accusations.

All of this was news to Rabobank, a Dutch consortium that bought 175,000 tons of carbon offsets in 2008 to help the company become carbon neutral, says Bouwe Taverne, head of sustainable development for Rabobank in the Netherlands. "It's sad to hear. This was not what we were looking for."

In 2007, Rabobank launched an effort to negate the carbon footprint for its global operations, cutting air flights, reducing emissions, and switching to electricity created by natural gas. That achieved a savings of 40 percent, and the company asked for bids to offset its remaining emissions for 2007.

Offsets generated by Dhule windmills were assured by an independent verifier and vetted by Rabobank's financial auditors, and the bank paid about $8 a ton for them, Mr. Taverne says. "The offsets were verified. We were certain of the quality. We are a good brand worldwide. When we state we are carbon neutral, we have to prove it."

It didn't look that way in the Indian countryside, where adivasis – long promised legal paths to ownership of these lands – saw their hopes dashed by the windmill project.

"There were so many trees they took down," says Dharma Sonawane, a villager who resisted the developer's offer of money for land his family had worked for three generations. The project, he adds, "is taking land away from us and we are poor people."

Rabobank is now more wary about the unintended consequences of large offset projects in distant lands, Taverne says. To counterbalance the bank's emissions the following year, they bought other offsets in smaller projects. And the bank's goal is to use minimal offsets recommended by – and known to – Dutch nonprofit organizations.


The real energy future: Boutique nuclear

The Savannah River site could host the first Hyperion small reactor after a siting deal intended to allow rapid development of the new power generator.

A memorandum of understanding signed by Hyperion and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions "envisions collaboration with [site owner] the Department of Energy (DoE) on an array of technical and policy issues." Hyperion told World Nuclear News that as a DoE site, there is leeway to develop nuclear facilities at Savannah River without having fully completed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's usual licensing procedures. Nevertheless, the company stressed that the regulator still be closely involved.

The company told WNN the demonstration would cost "less than $50 million" and that it would hope to source this from the private sector. Hyperion declined to elaborate on a timeline for the development.

Installed underground, the unit would be small - "about the size of a refrigerator" - with a thermal capacity of 75 MW. From this is should be possible to generate 25 MWe, which Hyperion said is "enough to power a US military base, university or government complex."

The fast reactor design uses lead bismuth coolant and uranium nitride fuel enriched to almost 20% uranium-235. It would need refuelling only every ten years and this would be done by removing the entire power module, which includes the reactor core and primary coolant loop. At Savannah River the plan is to remove these in standard nuclear transport containers to a specialist facility so that no high-level radioactive materials are stored on site.

Hyperion CEO John Deal said, "Transportable, permanently sealed small reactors providing localized distributed power can be ideal for isolated locations that require an uninterruptible source of power, but they also have the potential to give utilities greater flexibility to add generation in a way that's comparatively inexpensive." He noted, "About 70% of the countries in the world don't have the capability to transmit electricity any appreciable distance and 25% of the planet's population has no electricity generation at all."

Signing the agreement for Savannah River Nuclear Services, pesident and CEO Garry Flowers said, "This is a another logical way to maximise the nation's return on 60 years of investment at Savannah River."


Australia's coal industry is safe, insists new Climate Change Minister Greg Combet

Putting a miners' representative in charge of the environment is amusing -- and very telling

THE nation's new Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, has vowed to bring "common sense" to the climate change debate, warning that he will fight for coal industry jobs as he pursues a price on carbon.

The former union leader has predicted the coal industry "absolutely" has a future as he pursues his three key policy reform objectives: pursuing renewable energy; energy efficiency; and the development of a carbon price for Australia.

Insisting the Climate Change portfolio was an economic reform challenge, he said: "You don't take the back of the axe to the fundamentals of the Australian economy."

Julia Gillard yesterday moved to stamp her authority on her new government after elevating her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, to the senior portfolio of Foreign Affairs and shifting Stephen Smith to Defence. With 42 ministers and parliamentary secretaries, the front bench and junior ministry now outnumber Labor's own back bench.

Among the biggest winners were senator Penny Wong, who was shifted from Climate Change to the important Finance portfolio, and Peter Garrett, who takes up the Schools portfolio, despite the insulation scheme debacle happening on his watch as environment minister. Mr Combet's new role puts him in cabinet for the first time.

As part of its deal to secure government, Labor signed a formal alliance with the Greens, whose policies include the eventual phasing out of the coal industry, Australia's biggest export earner. But in an interview with The Australian, Mr Combet said his background as a former coal engineer, union official and MP with coal workers in his NSW electorate meant he did not believe his job was to shut down the coal industry. "I don't agree with that. That's not part of my job at all," he said.

"I am acutely aware of the challenges that this policy presents. But people jump to these absolute positions, and I just don't think that's appropriate. "I've got a responsibility to support those people's jobs. The coal industry is a very vibrant industry with a strong future. What you've got to do is look to how we can achieve in the longer term things like carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power stations."

Greens leader Bob Brown has described Australia as being like a heroin addict "feeding the habit" of the world's reliance on coal. The party's stated policy is to oppose development of any new coalmines or the expansion of existing coalmines and to phase out all existing coal subsidies. It wants to work towards stopping the development and granting of export licences for all new coalmines.

But in a statement last night, Greens senator Christine Milne, who has the party's portfolio responsibility for climate change, said she did not intend to rehash the policy differences with Labor as she sought to build "trust" with the new Gillard government.

"I have put in a call to Greg Combet to congratulate him and begin the exciting conversation," she said.

"In the meantime, I hope we can all respect the delicate process of building trust between people coming from different policy positions so we can achieve the best outcomes possible for the climate."

Mr Combet said his job as minister was to build a stronger, deeper consensus on climate change issues, including election campaign policies to develop efficiency standards.

During the election campaign, the Prime Minister vowed to ban new coal-fired power stations that use "dirty" technology and require that any power station built can be retro-fitted with developing clean-coal technology.

But yesterday, Mr Combet said he was not in the business of applying the adjective "dirty" to coal.



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


12 September, 2010

Warmists finally concede that warming would bring more rain

Except in Russia, where it causes drought! In fact, if you look back at past Warmist pronouncements, ALL droughts are caused by global warming. But expecting consistency and logic from the Green/Left would be VERY optimistic

An environmental group pushing clean energy released a report Wednesday connecting 2010's bumper crop of extreme weather events to global warming from greenhouse gases. Those include wildfires in the West, drought-driven smog in Russia and historic floods in Pakistan and the U.S.

"We've had two once-in-500-years floods in the last 15 years in Iowa," Ken Bradley of Environment Minnesota told reporters, "As the earth warms up, and as the water evaporates from the ocean and other areas, that is what is increasing the precipitation."

Bradley released his group's "Extreme Weather Report" with the help of two heavy hitters in the climate change debate, polar explorer Will Steger and veteran meteorologist Paul Douglas. The press conference took place at WeatherNation, the private forecasting agency headed by Douglas in Excelsior.


Solar Power makes electricity an unattainable product for poor people

Comment from China

What can Solar power do, what can wind power do?

There is a very real problem staring everybody in the face. Solar power, wind power, can they be implemented on a large scale? Can they provide large scale industries with enough electricity? Can they supply trains with the power to fly along the tracks?

It is obvious, that the answer is in the negative.

Solar power is the same as wind power, not stable in the slightest. A cloudy or rainy day, and the ability of solar power to generate electricity is influenced, in a big way. We see that windmills will stand there, not moving for long periods of time, because wind is not constant, sometimes and sometimes not, it’ll lose its temper.

With the current state of technology, there are still many difficulties with storing electricity form large scale electricty [farms]. Just turn electrical power in to chemical power, and then turn it back in to electrical power at the time of need, is ok. But the efficiency of such conversions is not great, this still needs research.

One obvious conclusion is that: traditional energy sources are irreplacable, wind power, solar power and other new energy resources can only fill the gap over a long period of time. For these new energy resources to be used in large scale manufacturing industries, well, there is still a long way to go.

But in Africa, and many other non-developed coutries, we often see some green environmental organizations publicizing everywher all knids of save the environment theories, holding all kinds of training, and speeches, teachingthe local people how to use electricity, giving people the knowledge about how to nurture environmental conciousness; how to battle heavy pollution, avoid using oil, avoid using coal, and how it is best to use solar power and wind power.

Where did this solar and wind power equipment come from? The answer is Europe. Nuclear power tech is primarily in the hands of the French, whilst wind, solar, nuclear power techs are also concentrated in Eurpean, USA etc. countries.

In 2009, May, when the African Union were implementing these policies with Western enery experts, they were interviewed by [luxiushe], and said that electricity was terribly important for manufacturing, agriculture, and other industries, but only 30% of the population had access to electricity.

Africa has an incredible amount of coal and oil, yet in the eyes of the environmentalists, these resources are not to be touched. They can only use clean energy, and must wait for solar, wind and other new energy methods to mature, only then may they gain the opportunity to develop their economy.

In order to look after the environment, and not destroy nature, many countries in Africa must buy terribly expensive solar and wind power equipment from Europe. Yet this causes them to spend much of their hard earned money, and credit; and also causes them to forsake other development opportunities.

To use a metaphor, traditional energy sources are still the poor man’s staple food; whilst solar, wind power etc. can be eaten once in a while, anything more is rather idealistic. If poor people were to rely primarily on renewable energy sources, these beautiful, upmarket foodstuffs, then after a while they’d more than likely starve to death.

Currently, solar panels have an energy conversion rate of about 15-20%. Whilst newer, more advanced solar panels have an energy conversion rate that is limited at 29%. so, their cost is much higher than their returns. In a situation where there are no subsidies, there are absolutely no advantages to using solar and wind power over traditional coal and hydro etc.

If we take another look at Europe; although wind and solar have been implemented on a large scale, but they are still heavily reliant on traditional energy sources, like coal, and hydro. Solar panels have become one of the greatest modern status symbols for the wealthy.

Is solar power really clean? Investigations show that the base silicon that solar panels rely on is extracted via a energy intensive, heavily polluting industry. And where is this industry based? China.

China has already become the world’s biggest photovoltaic industrial market. The most important ingredient in solar power is polycrystalline silicon. The efficiency of manufacturing the panels is rather low, and a lot of pollution is generated as a by-product. When local industries started producing polycrystalline silicon, they were mostly reliant on outdated technology. Apart from high energy consumption, for every ton of pure polycrystalline silicon created, there were also more than 8 tons of ammonium chlorid[adized] silcon as by-product, as well as other things.

The prosperity of China’s solar power industry, at the price of the environment of those rather weak distant regions, in order to attract commerce and investment, in order to collect tax revenue, very many environmental appraisal programmes have not yet been strictly implemented.

Looking at China’s solar power market, and also nuclear technology, important raw materials, the sales market abroad, etc, China is only a simple processing factory, transporting profit abroad, its own body covered in grime and sweat.


Green police proliferating

Beware the green police. They don't carry guns and there's no police academy to train them, but if you don't recycle your trash properly, they can walk up your driveway and give you a $100 ticket.

They know what's in your trash, they know what you eat, they know how often you bring your recycles to the curb -- and they may be coming to your town soon. That is, if they're not already there.

In a growing number of cities across the U.S., local governments are placing computer chips in recycling bins to collect data on refuse disposal, and then fining residents who don't participate in recycling efforts and forcing others into educational programs meant to instill respect for the environment.

From Charlotte, N.C., to Cleveland, Ohio, from Boise, Idaho, to Flint, Mich., the green police are spreading out. And that alarms some privacy advocates who are asking: Should local governments have the right to monitor how you divide your paper cups from your plastic forks? Is that really the role of government?

In Dayton, Ohio, chips placed in recycle bins transmit information to garbage trucks to keep track of whether residents are recycling -- a program that incensed Arizona Sen. John McCain, who pointed out that the city was awarded half a million dollars in stimulus money for it.

Harry Lewis, a computer science professor at Harvard University and a noted privacy expert, cried foul about the "spy chips," which are already in use in several cities and are often funded by government stimulus programs. He noted that cattle farmers use the same chips to tell if Betsy the Cow has generated her milk quota for the day. "It's treating people like cattle!" Lewis cried. Are people "supposed to produce recyclable waste, rather than certain quantities of milk"? What, he asked, happens if you don't generate enough?

But there's a clear upside to the technology, said Michael Kanellos, editor in chief of GreenTech Media. "By tagging bins, haulers can weigh garbage, and weighing brings accountability. Consumers that diligently recycle will likely become eligible for rebates in some jurisdictions," he wrote recently. "Conversely, those who throw away excessive amounts of trash may face steeper tariffs in the future ... recycling, meanwhile, will go from being something that gives the consumer peace of mind to a way to reduce household bills."

Best and worse case scenarios

Dayton City Manager Thomas Ritchie said the city is using the chips to aid marketing campaigns, not to punish uncooperative citizens. "The data will be used to identify which residents participate in the recycling program, at what rate do they participate and the average weight of each participant’s recycling," he said.

Charlotte, N.C., also uses trash tags, and it gathers similar information. City spokeswoman Charita Curtis said the city uses the data from the tags -- low-power radio frequency IDs (RFIDs) -- to find which areas aren't recycling as often and to start education initiatives there. The data is not shared outside of the city, she stressed, and it's not used to track down specific residents. The RFID program is also voluntary.

“We can do targeted recycling education for areas with low participation, providing information on how to recycle, what can be recycled, the importance of recycling to encourage more recycling participation,” Curtis said. “Some residents may not participate simply because they don't know how to and we'd provide that education in hopes that they start recycling or recycle more.”

But there's no volunteering in Cleveland, where the trash police can fine you $100 for not recycling. Cleveland will run reports on who fails to recycle consistently, and then it will send out the green cops, waste collection commissioner Ronnie Owens told ABC News.

In late August, Cleveland's city council voted to roll out the tags to 25,000 residents, and it may extend the program to the entire city. It costs $30 per ton to haul away trash, but the city gets paid $26 per ton to recycle it. The program should generate about $170,000 annually in revenue for the city, the Washington Times reported.

But the new equipment and bins cost $2.5 million, so it will take about 15 years to recoup the costs of deploying the technology. Cleveland officials did not immediately respond to requests for more information, but reports indicate that officials will know when you bring your trash to the kerb -- and may go through your trash to ensure you're recycling properly.

Right to trash privacy

Privacy experts, meanwhile, are up in arms about how these chips are being used to collect data.

Lewis said Cleveland residents need to ask whether sacrificing their privacy -- having the government snoop through their trash -- is worth the environmental benefit. If not, he said, they should start a referendum to overthrow the ruling. Part of the issue, he said, is that the system is easy to fool: A neighbor, he said, might dump your recycling into his bin to avoid fines.

The trash police could unfairly give the worst citizens a pass, Lewis added. He warned that those generating the most waste by using bottled water instead of tap water (plastic water bottles are a major source of trash) could earn credits for recycling all those wasteful bottles -- a reward for a poor choice, in other words.

Mari Frank, a privacy expert and attorney, questioned the openness of the data. "It clearly looks like the reason for the RFID is to collect money, but the privacy issues are paramount," she said. "I believe these RFIDs are using technology to violate our Fourth Amendment rights of search and seizure," she said. "The community should have the right to informed consent."

What comes next?

Lewis says the solution lies in improving education and awareness, not punishment. He said economic incentives work for recycling -- getting money back for aluminum cans and newspapers is a proven tactic.

Frank was skeptical about the future potential exploitation of the RFID trash collection data, and questioned whether the next step might be to attach a GPS receiver to bins to see where residents put them and how they are used. Lewis wondered whether a city might use trash collection data for other, more invasive purposes.

"If the government wanted to know our drinking habits by neighborhood or household -- purely for 'public health reasons,' of course -- it could mandate RFIDs on liquor bottles and reprogram the scanners to collect data on where the most vodka is being consumed," he said.

"And it's not just the government either. Suppose a major distiller went to your town and offered to pay to collect data about who was throwing out which kinds of bottles. They might be prepared to chip the bottles without being told they had to -- and your town might be able to use the new revenue source to hold down its tax rate."


Barack Obama: 'no' to solar panels on the White House roof

A quest to get Barack Obama to shout his commitment to solar power from the roof tops - by re-installing vintage solar panels at the White House - ended in disappointment for environmental campaigners today.

Bill McKibben, the founder of, had led a group of environmental activists to Washington in a bio-diesel van hoping to persuade Obama to re-install a set of solar panels originally put up by Jimmy Carter.

The actual Carter-era solar panels - which weigh in at 55 kilograms and are nearly 2 metres long - are out-dated now. But campaigners had hoped that the White House would embrace at least the symbolism of going solar - much like Michelle Obama kicked off her healthy food movement by planting a vegetable garden.

"Clearly, a solar panel on the White House roof won't solve climate change - and we'd rather have strong presidential leadership on energy transformation. But given the political scene, this may be as good as we'll get for the moment," McKibben said in a Washington Post comment this morning.

A California company Sungevity had offered to equip the White House with the latest technology.

But the White House declined - twitchy perhaps about inviting any comparison to one-term Democratic president Carter in the run-up to the very difficult mid-term elections in November.


And Then There Was Light: Will Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs INCREASE Energy Use?

It seemed so simple: To reduce energy use, Americans must abandon the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb in favor of new energy-efficient lighting. Congress even passed legislation in 2007 mandating a phase-out of the familiar “Edison” bulb in the name of saving energy.

Now comes a study concluding that energy-efficient lighting will likely increase energy use. The study, sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is based on the observation that the percentage of gross national product spent on artificial lighting has remained remarkably constant for the past three hundred years. Instead of using advances in technology to reduce expenditures on energy, individuals have consistently opted to take advantage the lower costs made possible by those advances to increase the light around them.

The same result is likely with new technologies, the new study’s authors find, focusing particularly on solid-state lighting technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The increase in energy use may be substantial. The report estimates that the total consumption of light could increase by a factor of 10 over the next two decades. And the amount of energy used to produce that light could double.

That’s bad news if your only goal is to reduce energy consumption. But if you are actually concerned with improving human welfare, it’s quite good news. Benefits could range from increased workplace efficiency to reduced crime to fewer cases of depression. “[R]ather than functioning as an instrument of decreased energy use,” said lead author Jeff Tsao of Sandia, “LEDs may be instead the next step in increasing human productivity and quality of life.”

If that’s correct, there’s still no reason to make the new lighting technology mandatory. But for the reduce-energy-consumption-at-all-costs crowd, the prospects may create a dilemma. For them, as The Economist wrote, “the answer may not be to ban old-fashioned incandescent bulbs … but to make them mandatory.”


'Green' jobs no longer stimulating

Noticeably absent from President Obama's latest economic-stimulus package are any further attempts to create jobs through "green" energy projects, reflecting a year in which the administration's original, loudly trumpeted efforts proved largely unfruitful.

The long delays typical with environmentally friendly projects - combined with reports of green stimulus funds being used to create jobs in China and other countries, rather than in the U.S. - appear to have killed the administration's appetite for pushing green projects as an economic cure.

After months of hype about the potential for green energy to stimulate job growth and lead the economy out of a recession, the results turned out to be disappointing, if not dismal. About $92 billion - more than 11 percent - of Mr. Obama's original $814 billion of stimulus funds were targeted for renewable energy projects when the measure was pushed through Congress in early 2009.

Even some of the administration's liberal allies have expressed skepticism over the original stimulus package's use of green investments as a way to spur quick employment growth at home.

"Spending on renewables is slow to get out of the door. Leaks to foreign companies is an inadequate driver of jobs and growth and may not create a strong exporting industry," said Samuel Sherraden, an economic analyst at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based progressive think tank.

Only about $20 billion of the allotted funds have been spent - the slowest disbursement rate for any category of stimulus spending. Private analysts are skeptical of White House estimates that the green funding created 190,700 jobs.

The Department of Energy estimated that 82,000 jobs have been created and has acknowledged that as much as 80 percent of some green programs, including $2.3 billion of manufacturing tax credits, went to foreign firms that employed workers primarily in countries including China, South Korea and Spain, rather than in the United States.

Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland, said much of the green stimulus funding was "squandered." "Large grants to build green buildings don't generate many new jobs, except for a few architects," he said. "Subsidies for windmills and solar panels created lots of jobs in China," but few at home.

In one of several embarrassing disclosures for the administration, a report last fall by American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop found that 11 U.S. wind farms used their grants to purchase 695 out of 982 wind turbines from overseas suppliers.



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


11 September, 2010

EEEK! New paper shows that some pollutants have a major COOLING effect

Particularly pollutants emitted by ships, trains and power stations. Quote: "For rail travel however, the warming due to carbon emissions, ozone, and aerosols is more than offset by cooling from sulfate aerosols on short-time horizons. High SO2 emissions notably from the electricity produced in coal fired power plants lead to a strong cooling from sulfate aerosols"

Of the various forms of transport examined by the researchers, shipping is the other one most markedly affected by short-term climate impacts. Here, however, everything is in reverse because the major short-term effect of shipping is sulfate aerosol pollution. While they remain in the air, these aerosol particles bounce sunlight away from the earth and therefore cause cooling rather than warming. The extent of this effect is amazing: if I'm understanding the numbers correctly, over a five-year time frame the world's ships cause enough cooling to offset the total warming caused by every car, plane and bus combined.

Even over a 20-year time frame, shipping pollution still contributes an overall cooling effect – as do electric trains, due to the aerosol pollution kicked out from coal-fired power stations. This throws up a tricky issue for policy makers and industry. If we clean up some kinds of air pollution for the benefit of environmental and human health, then we stand to significantly accelerate global warming in the near-term.

However the world deals with that particular conundrum, the new paper is a useful reminder that carbon footprints are more multi-dimensional than is usually understood.

This issue isn't limited to transport, of course. Any activity that generates lots of methane, nitrous oxide or other non-CO2 greenhouse gases will have a much faster warming effect than its carbon footprint, as traditionally expressed, might suggest. That would include meat and rice farming, landfill sites and fridge production, for example.


Warmist lies never stop

Arctic Ocean sea ice has experienced another severe meltdown this year, with the approaching end-of-summer minimum representing the third-biggest thaw since satellite monitoring began about 30 years ago.

This year's retreat from a winter maximum of about 15 million square kilometres to a September coverage area of just five million square kilometres also means that the four greatest melts since satellite measurements began in the late 1970s have occurred in the past four years.

In a report released Tuesday, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center described the opening of the Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic islands and the "unusually fast" melting of ice in the Beaufort Sea as highlights of another extensive circumpolar thaw that has all northern nations — including Canada — scrambling to cope with increased Arctic ship traffic and to plan for potential oil and gas development.

"There are claims coming from some communities that the Arctic sea ice is recovering, is getting thicker again," Mark Serreze, director of the Colorado-based centre, told Postmedia News on Wednesday. "That's simply not the case. It's continuing down in a death spiral."


A strange death spiral. According to The National Snow and Ice Data Center of Sept. 7: "Average ice extent for August was 5.98 million square kilometers (2.31 million square miles), 1.69 million square kilometers (653,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average, but 620,000 square kilometers (240,000 square miles) above the average for August 2007"


The QUAD Cinema, one of New York City's leading art houses, presents the New York premiere of the provocative new documentary, 3 BILLION AND COUNTING (102 minutes), directed and produced by Dr. D. Rutledge Taylor.

Sure to spark outrage, Dr. Rutledge, a California physician specializing in preventative medicine, chronicles the effects of the world-wide ban on the pesticide DDT in 1972, a ban inspired by the first enviro-bestseller, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962). Rutledge's five-year-long effort is driven by his revulsion at millions of deaths, mostly of women and young children, in Africa and South East Asia, by the mosquito-borne disease, Malaria. According to a recent World Health Organization report, Malaria kills one million people annually, a disease, Rutledge confirms, that is wholly and immediately preventable.

A naturalist and a die-hard advocate of preventative medicine, Dr. Rutledge, in the long tradition of American debunkers, wanted to see first hand the extent of Malaria's worldwide impact, and to discover why policies are still in place that exacerbate the epidemic.

Dr. Rutledge and his Frog Bite Productions team, Co-Producer, Helen Udy, Cinematographer Aaron Krummel, and Project Coordinator, Russell Boast, take us on a 40-day investigative journey to South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Northern and Southern India, Bali, Indonesia, and Malaysia where they interview African and Indian Government officials, NGO's, charitable organizations, scientists, politicians, doctors, victims, and survivors. What they discover is a tangle of red tape, misguided prevention policies, and treatment that is ineffective in the face of continual re-infection. Above all they find willful deafness to the pleas of local populations to help them eradicate the mosquitoes that deliver the deadly cargo.

Dr. Rutledge and crew head for Washington, D.C. to document how the ban came about and to shed light on the politics of domestic and international environmentalism and its role in the death and suffering of billions. Dr. Rutledge confirms evidence that the research leading to the world-wide ban on DDT was precipitous, uninformed and fraudulent. America's decision makers -- political leaders and environmentalists -- buried evidence that contradicted their decisions. Dr. Rutledge builds a solid case that indicts our policies, regulatory agencies and uncovers deceit at the highest levels.

But when the EPA, Greenpeace, The Audubon Society, The World Wildlife Fund, and The Sierra Fund refuse interviews, Dr. Rutledge knows he has touched a nerve. Those most responsible for preserving and promoting the ban on DDT not only evade interviews but demand to know who's funding Dr. Rutledge, screening potential adversaries and in effect dropping an iron curtain around their work for all but those who agree with them -- this nearly 40 years after the initial ban and in the face of mountains of evidence against them.

Further, the film adds clarity to the record by showing that the effects of DDT were confused in the public's mind with the undeniably devastating effects on the environment and water ways of PCBs. Because both chemicals were in the news at the same time, the effects of DDT became linked with the harmful effects of PCBs. Environmental activists, medical experts, and advocates of its ban did nothing to eliminate this confusion.

In his dissection of the rise of the environmental movement and the fall of science, he drops one bomb after another -- a reputable scientist is caught manipulating test outcomes to prove the adverse effects of DDT; the man who started it all, William Ruckelshaus, the Administrator of the EPA in Richard Nixon's presidency, reverses his position on the harmlessness of DDT to appease the membership of The Environmental Defense Fund.

The documentary raises fundamental questions: whom can we trust; what do we have to know in order to trust them; and finally, will we make the effort to know it? The film begs us to educate ourselves. 3 BILLION AND COUNTING is instructive well beyond the outrage it inspires.


Members of British parliament mull 'climate enquiries' that failed to enquire

Might the University of East Anglia now rue its handling of the Climategate affair? An MP tells us that the University has ignored instructions given to it by the House of Commons Science Committee earlier this year, and MPs were given misleading impressions.

"Everybody on the Committee last time asked that there be no gaps between our report, and the Muir Russell report and the Oxburgh Report - but there are huge gaps. The Muir Russell people and the Oxburgh people didn't talk to each other, so there were bound to be gaps," says Committee veteran Graham Stringer MP. "We are left with the science left unlooked at."

The allegations of misconduct and intellectual corruption raised by the release of the emails, data and source code last November are amongst the most serious British academia has ever heard. UEA responded with two internal enquiries, but MPs won't let it lie. Members on the Commons Science Select Committee have summoned the two chairmen of the UEA enquiries back for further interrogation. At the first of these yesterday, the chairman of the Science Assessment Panel, Lord Ron Oxburgh, puzzled Committee MPs with his answers.

How the Panel was formed

When the University announced the composition and role of the Science Assessment Panel, it billed it as an "independent internal reappraisal of the science". In March the University's Vice Chancellor Lord Acton confirmed the impression, telling the select committee that Oxburgh's enquiry would "reassess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong".

That was misleading, Oxburgh told MPs yesterday. "I think that was inaccurate ... You have to bear in mind the Vice Chancellor had been in the post for a month or so. It came as rather a deluge."

Oxburgh pleaded time pressure. "They wanted something within a month. There was no way our panel could in that time validate the science. If you wanted the science validated, you'd appoint another panel. "We were meeting a deadline to help the University with a particular problem. Given our particular remit I don't think we needed any more time."

Oxburgh was proud that he'd used a non-confrontational approach. The CRU academics were interviewed just once, collectively, in private, and he'd rejected calls for televised proceedings. As Oxburgh described it, the enquiry sounded more like a health spa program for stressed executives.

"People wanted to bring television cameras in. Given the nature of the individuals concerned, we felt that we would get much more out of them, and get them to unwind and relax, and if indeed if they had chinks in their armour, to expose them, that if we did this in a much more relaxed way.

"Certainly one of the key people there is someone who is pretty highly-strung - and I think we were able to get him to relax and explain things." MPs were stone-faced at this. Oxburgh developed a nasty cough. So what had been the purpose of his enquiry?

Oxburgh at work

"I would chair a brief study, really, into the honesty of the people - not all the aspects of the science, we were not expected to go into the email saga. But they wanted evidence if people had been behaving dishonestly."

MPs wondered how he could measure honesty. "I think that we or the University would have been content had we said the researchers there were incompetent-but-honest, or misled-but-honest. We were looking for deliberate manipulation of data that led in a different direction to meet some pre-determined aspect of an agenda. We found none."

This failed to impress Committee member Stringer, the MP told us today. "One of the biggest attacks on Jones was by Professor [Doug] Keenan, it directly accused him of fraud. One would expect Jones' use of Chinese data to come up. They had been very selective with what they'd put in and left out of their graphs, even if they hadn't fiddled the figures," said Stringer.

Stringer says the practices exposed at CRU undermine the scientific value of paleoclimatology, in which CRU is a world leader. "When I asked Oxburgh if [Keith] Briffa [CRU academic] could reproduce his own results, he said in lots of cases he couldn't. "That just isn't science. It's literature. If somebody can't reproduce their own results, and nobody else can, then what is that work doing in the scientific journals?"

The depth and rigour of Oxburgh's panel also raised eyebrows. Oxburgh said the intensive interrogation (described above) had taken several days, but FOIA requests show his team of seven spent just two days on the job, clocking up "45 man hours" including lunches and coffee breaks. The final report amounted to five pages of assessment.

Although the Science Assessment Panel didn't publish notes, MPs have seen a highly critical assessment of CRU's work by Cambridge physics Professor Michael Kelly. [PDF, 540kb], who has acted as a scientific advisor to government. Kelly quoted Ernest Rutherford, who once said that "if your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment". Complex simulations that can't be exhaustively tested against 'real' data have limited value.

"I take real exception to having simulation runs described as experiments (without at least the qualification of 'computer' experiments). It does a disservice to centuries of real experimentation and allows simulations output to be considered as a real data. This last is a very serious matter, as it can lead to the idea that real 'real data' might be wrong simply because it disagrees with the models." ....

Where next?

The issue of publication and peer review is a troubling one. MPs didn't raise it yesterday, but may well follow-up with Muir Russell who is scheduled to appear before the Select Committee next month.

The emails show the academics rubber-stamping each other's work, pressuring publications to suppress critical academics, and in promising to subvert academic conventions to exclude papers from the IPCC. "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" wrote Jones in 2004. Another practice cited by critics is "check-kiting", where a climate paper cites a work that is never published.

Muir Russell will appear before the select committee next month, and Anglia's Vice Chancellor Acton has agreed to make a further appearance.

The composition of the Science Select Committee can hardly be described as skeptical. Its concern rather seems to be that of the reputation of British academia. A university - ultimately funded largely by the public - has had serious allegations levelled against it, while its own enquiries have failed accept that structural reform of scientific may be needed.


Western governments not about to put their money where their mouth is

Comment from India

Hope of progress on a global climate deal at the year-end Cancun summit is rapidly dimming with rich countries backtracking on their commitment to provide climate funds. Finance is a key issue for rebuilding trust among developing and developed countries.

The two-day informal Geneva Dialogue on Climate Finance held late last week focused on sources of long-term climate finance, particularly the role of public and private funds. The developing world is concerned about the increased emphasis by industrialised countries on private sources and markets for climate funds.

There is hesitation on the part of the rich countries to commit public funds on account of global financial crisis and the ensuing austerity cuts.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, who attended the meeting, cautioned industrialised countries not to walk away from their commitment because of the current financial crisis. According to Mr Ramesh, the Geneva meeting was “not a productive event” as there was “a conscious effort by developed countries to underplay finance and overplay the role of markets in climate finance.”

Industrialised countries are going back on their funding commitments made in Copenhagen. The developed countries had pledged to provide $30 billion as fast-track finance between 2010 and 2012 for poor developing countries. This was supposed to be new and additional funds.

In the Copenhagen Accord, the industrialised countries had pledged to mobilise $100 billion every year by 2020 to help fund climate change action in developing countries. This money was to be raised from a “wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of funding.”

Since the December 2009 climate summit there has been a concerted push to look to markets to raise climate funds. The industrialised countries have consistently pushed for a greater role of markets in climate finance. The European Union has been a prime mover for increased role of markets.

The pitch has become louder in view of the global crisis. This is not a viable option for the developing world, particularly the most vulnerable and the least developed.

“The whole financing game, with the financial squeeze in the developed countries, there is an attempt to redefine their obligations as part of paragraph 5 in the Copenhagen Accord,” Mr Ramesh stressed.

This attempt to redefine obligations is bound to have repercussions on the global climate talks, which has been dogged by an absence of trust between the developed and developing world. UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres acknowledges that finance is of critical importance for rebuilding trust between the rich developed and poor developing countries.

“If there is anybody who is backtracking on the Copenhagen agreement it is the Americans and the Europeans because they are reinterpreting the $100 billion by 2020.

By and large financing for adaptation has necessarily to be public financing, while mitigation will involve a mix of public and private funds.

Now they are trying to redefine the $100 billion by saying that if we come with ten billion and leverage the remaining $90 billion, we have met our target of $100 billion,” Mr Ramesh said.

Industrialised countries have argued that new "innovative" sources were always part of the long-term financing promise. The rich industrialised countries have suggested that “emerging” countries contribute to providing resources for climate financing. This is not acceptable to India and China, two key advanced developing countries.

The financial crisis has also cast doubt on how much of the $30 billion fast track finance is actually new and additional. "With the growing financial crisis in the developed countries, there is a visible backtracking on the public component of $ 100 billion and they are also redefining 'new and additional funds,” Mr Ramesh said.

There is growing apprehension that developed countries are re-routing existing developmental aid as climate fund. Ms Figueres, who also attended the Geneva meet said that the developing countries expectation that the fast track finance would “completely new and additional” was “very justifiable”.

Global climate talks have been hamstrung due to the slow progress and lack of clarity on funding for developing countries. Finance is one of the building blocks of the Bali Action Plan. Headway on funding of climate action is crucial for a global deal.

The Geneva dialogue was one of the informal ministerial being organised by Mexico, which holds the presidency of the 16th Conference of parties under the UNFCCC. These meetings are not part of the UNFCCC negotiations process but efforts to provide a constructive atmosphere for discussions and regaining trust in order to breathe life into the stalled process.


Germany’s energy problem solved “just like that”

Following prolonged meetings last week-end, Germany’s Coalition Government has decided to grant its 17 nuclear power stations operating-life extensions averaging 12 years. This decision reverses the controversial nuclear phase-out policy that was adopted in 2001, whereby all Germany’s nuclear plants would be closed by c2018.

The impact of this policy U-turn is wide-ranging. In effect, it should solve Germany’s energy supply problem at a stroke – or in the catchphrase of the late Tommy Cooper, ‘just like that’.

Of course, the new policy could fall apart either because it does not secure the necessary parliamentary and legal approvals or if the existing Coalition Government falls – given recent electoral setbacks, this is far from improbable. Assuming it does proceed, Germany’s leading energy companies, including E.On and RWE, will pay far more tax, notably through a c£2 billion per year nuclear fuel-rod levy. Part of this tax will be re-cycled into the renewable energy sector.

Do these developments have any lessons for the UK - apart from the possibility of imposing a nuclear fuel-rod tax on EdF’s UK nuclear assets? The uncomfortable reality for the UK – and for DECC – is that a viable solution to the UK’s lack of base-load generating capacity cannot be found so readily.

Of course, the life-spans of several UK nuclear plants could be extended, along with the deferral of the planned closure dates of the older coal-fired plants. But there is no easy answer - nor is there any way of conjuring up the size of surplus cash flow that will accrue to Germany’s nuclear generators.

Instead, the drive for UK new nuclear-build must continue, with every effort being made to propel EdF and the German Horizon consortium towards the first ‘concrete pour’. Germany may have found a neat solution but is time running out for the UK?



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


10 September, 2010

Is global warming bad for your health?

More debunking of an always ludicrous claim

An extensive literature exists linking global warming to human health and mortality. There is no doubt that atmospheric conditions have a profound effect on human health; outbreaks of pneumonia, influenza and bronchitis have been linked many times to both weather and climate. Pollen concentrations and pollution levels are certainly related to both weather and human health.

Furthermore, the impact of heat waves and cold outbreaks on health and mortality are well established. Humidity not only influences health in terms of allowing bodies to cool in hot periods, but on the other side of the coin, dry, cold air leads to excessive dehydration of nasal passages and the upper respiratory tract increasing chances of microbial and viral infection. Precipitation events, particularly large snowfalls, are directly linked to an immediate decline in human health and an increase in mortality.

Given the large literature on the subject, it has been fairly easy for alarmists to make claims that changes in weather and climate will result in higher mortality and an overall decrease in human health.

We have addressed the climate change—mortality connection many times in the past, and while scientists certainly exist claiming the impacts will be catastrophic, others come to the opposite conclusion suggesting global warming might improve human health and extend our lifetimes.

One recent article that we recently ran across appeared in Environmental Research dealing with the diurnal temperature range and daily mortality. Nine scientists from China and North Carolina gathered daily mortality and daily maximum and minimum temperature data from Shanghai, China over the period 2001 to 2004. Kan et al. state “Diurnal temperature range (DTR), defined as the difference between maximal and minimal temperatures within 1 day, is another meteorological indicator associated with global climate change and urbanization. In most urban regions of the world, DTR has been decreasing because nocturnal minimum temperatures have risen faster than daytime maximum temperatures.

In some areas (e.g. parts of New Zealand and alpine regions of central Europe) maximum and minimum temperatures have increased at similar rates, and thus DTR has remained constant. However, in other areas (e.g. India), DTR has increased as a result of a decrease in the minimum temperature”. They speculate “We hypothesized that large diurnal temperature change might be a source of additional environmental stress, and therefore a risk factor for death.”

Kan et al. used some statistical wizardry to control for day of week, air pollution, mean temperature, and relative humidity. They state “We found a strong association between DTR and daily mortality after adjustment for those potential confounders. A 1ºC increment of the 3-day moving average of DTR corresponded to a 1.37% increase in total non-accidental mortality, a 1.86% increase in cardiovascular mortality, and a 1.29% increase in respiratory mortality.”

They warn “In summary, we found that DTR is independently associated with daily mortality in Shanghai. Although the association between climate change and DTR varies across the globe and our results might not necessarily apply to other areas of world, our data suggest that even a slight increase in DTR is associated with a substantial increase in mortality.”

Of course, it would be just as valid to say “our data suggest that even a slight decrease in DTR is associated with a substantial decrease in mortality.” Kan et al. acknowledge that DTR is decreasing in most cities and DTR has generally decreased at the global scale. The latest United Nations IPCC report clearly states “Diurnal temperature range (DTR) decreased by 0.07°C per decade averaged over 1950 to 2004, but had little change from 1979 to 2004, as both maximum and minimum temperatures rose at similar rates.” Not much to get overly alarmed about.

Our second article on climate change and mortality appeared in Occupational and Environmental Medicine a couple of years ago and was written by seven scientists from the United States and the United Kingdom. Carder et al. begin noting “Mortality rates for cardiovascular and respiratory disease typically exhibit distinct seasonal variation with the highest rates occurring in the winter months. For Scotland, the percentage summer to winter difference in weekly all cause mortality rates is estimated to be in the order of 30%. The main factor considered to be influencing the observed seasonal pattern is the relation between mortality and temperature. The association between low temperature and increased morbidity and mortality is well recognised.”

To explore the mortality – low temperature connection, the team gathered daily mortality data for Scotland’s three largest cities for the period January 1981 to December 2001 (Scotland’s three largest cities are Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen). In addition to other goals, Carder et al. examined whether or not wind chill (which is markedly worsened by high wind speeds) would be a better predictor of mortality than temperature alone.

The article spares the reader all the gory details and includes a “Main messages” section in which Carder et al. write “Cold temperature is a strong predictor of mortality in the Scottish population. The strongest associations were observed between cold temperature and respiratory mortality. The effects of cold temperature on mortality persisted for periods in excess or two weeks. The evidence does not suggest that wind chill temperature, as measured by the Steadman Index, is likely to be a better predictor of mortality than dry bulb temperature.”

In a final summary section entitled “Policy implications”, Carder et al. state “Cold temperature is a public health problem. The most significant mortality outcomes are cardiovascular and respiratory although it is open to speculation as to whether people with prior cardiorespiratory disease are more susceptible to cold related mortality.” The root cause of the cold temperature – high mortality connection is suggested as “Cold related increases in respiratory mortality are generally attributed to cross infection from increased indoor crowding during colder months and to the detrimental effect of exposure to cold temperatures on the immune system’s resistance to respiratory infections. The observed relation between cold temperature and mortality was typically stronger among the elderly.”

In work done on weather-related mortality in major U.S. cities, Robert Davis and colleagues (which include several WCR contributors), also found a clear increase in mortality in the winter months (over the average mortality during the summer months). However, Davis et al. found only a very weak association between mortality and temperature during the winter months, and instead suggested that the mortality impact from influenza likely swamped any impact from temperature during this time of the year.

The bottom line though, is that the results from these studies suggest that the ultimate impact of climate change—especially a winter-dominated and/or nighttime-dominated warming—on weather-related mortality is likely minimal at worst, and perhaps, at best, even slightly beneficial.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Almanacs say Global cooling to continue

They use formulas based on sun, planets etc. and have an excellent record of predictive skill, something sadly lacking in the Warmist 'models"

Most of the country will see a colder-than-usual winter while summer and spring will be relatively cool and dry, according to the time-honored, complex calculations of the "Old Farmer's Almanac."

The 2011 issue of the almanac, which claims to be the nation's oldest continuously published periodical, was released Tuesday. It predicts that in the coming months, the Earth will continue to see a "gradual cooling of the atmosphere ... offset by any warming caused by increased greenhouse gases."

Janice Stillman, editor of the almanac, said that means much of the eastern half of the United States will experience lower-than-normal temperatures with less snow while Mid-Atlantic states will see more snowfall than usual. The West will see a mild winter with average precipitation, she said.

Meanwhile, the South will experience a cold and wet summer and the Rockies should see a mild and dry winter, according to the New Hampshire-based "Old Farmer's Almanac."

"It'll be cold. There will be no mistaking winter," Stillman said. "But it may be a little shorter or we may see some small warm spells in places like the East Coast."

The 219-year-old "Old Farmer's Almanac" and its longtime competitor, the Maine-based "Farmers' Almanac," still draw droves of fans despite it being the age of the Internet and mobile phone apps. The books, which use secret formulas to predict weather based on sunspots, planetary positions and other information, are popular at farmers markets and bookstores and have maintained a fan base that sometimes spans generations of families.

Both books have a circulation of around 3.2 million and feature a mix of helpful hints, recipes, gardening tips, jokes and inspirational messages. Their websites are full of videos, blogs, podcasts, Twitter accounts and Facebook fan pages.

In general, the almanacs' weather predictions are similar. The "Farmers' Almanac" predicts that it'll be cold but nothing like last winter. "Overall, it looks like it's going to be a kinder and gentler winter, especially in the areas that had a rough winter last year," said managing editor Sandi Duncan.

But the almanacs' forecasts are at odds with the National Weather Service's long-range outlook for the meteorological winter, which runs from December through February.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center anticipates a warmer-than-normal winter for the mid-Atlantic and Southeast and colder-than-normal weather in the Northwest. That puts it at odds with the almanac.

Ed O'Lenic from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said the scientific community doesn't accept tides, planetary alignment and sunspots as effective predictors of temperature or precipitation, but he stopped short of being critical of the almanac's meteorological methods.

Stillman said, however, she's confident about the weather predictions in the "Old Farmer's Almanac" because they tend to be 80 to 85 percent accurate - the same accuracy rate boasted by the Maine almanac.


If you have bedbugs, thank the Greenies

Bedbugs, those tiny indestructible creatures hiding in your bedding and couch just waiting to sneak up on you at night to feast on your blood, are making a comeback especially on the east coast. Not an indication of poverty or lack of cleanliness, the little bloodsuckers have been spotted in the buildings of such elite liberal bastions as the New York Times and Vanity Fair in addition to some of New York's finest hotels and apartments in the most expensive neighborhoods as well as homes, offices and other buildings all over the region.

But why, after years of relative disappearance, their sudden resurgence? Lena H. Sun of the Washington Post delicately slides: "A common household pest for centuries, bedbugs were virtually eradicated in the 1940s and '50s by the widespread use of DDT. That insecticide was banned in the 1970s, and the bugs developed resistance to chemicals that replaced it."

DDT was banned under the influence of Rachel Carson's 1960s book Silent Spring, the founding bible for the nascent eco and environmental movement. Advocating the now discredited theory that insecticides, especially DDT, which wiped common pests destroying crops, moved up the food chain into the birds, ultimately killing them, budding environmentalists lobbied vigorously until its use was prohibited. That was one of the earliest environmental victories in contemporary times.

While unpleasant, sometimes producing an itchy rash, bedbug bites are not fatal. But malaria is. Carried by mosquitoes, malaria was the scourge of what was once referred to as the Third World, killing millions, incapacitating millions more. DDT effectively wiped out untold billions of the malaria caring mosquitoes, saving millions of lives. But...not satisfied with eliminating DDT in their relatively healthy "developed" world, the environmentalists worked for and ultimately succeeded banning DDT world wide.

"Saving" the environment or killing people? Which should it be? The enviro imperialists went with the former, piously proclaiming mosquito netting, draining the water where mosquitoes breed and gentler, alternative ways of killing mosquitos would be just as effective without harming the environment. Wrong! While these methods should certainly be part of a program to destroy mosquitoes and conquer malaria it seemed that nothing was as effective at killing masses of malaria carrying mosquitoes as DDT. No DDT = more malaria.

Over 10 years ago, a group of doctors and scientists affiliated with the Malaria Foundation International sent a letter t o diplomats negotiating banning DDT, begging for the continued production of DDT. While agreeing that DDT does have unfavorable side effects so research on finding more effective insecticides without comparable side effects is important, presently DDT, while used carefully, is the most effective tool against the deadly mosquitoes. Banning its use presently is unethical, immoral--condoning mass murder essentially--as other insecticides aren't as powerful, the mosquitoes flourish, ultimately killing more people.


Unscientific attack on skeptics

By Roger A. Pielke Sr.

There is a weblog called “Skeptical Science – Getting Skeptical About Global Warming Skepticism” that has a misleading post on ocean heat content titled: "Ocean cooling: skeptic arguments drowned by data"

The post starts with:
In 2008, climate change sceptic Roger Pielke Sr said this: “Global warming, as diagnosed by upper ocean heat content has not been occurring since 2004”. It is a fine example of denialist spin, making several extraordinary leaps:

•that one symptom is indicative of the state of an entire malaise (e.g. not being short of breath one day means your lung cancer is cured).

•that one can claim significance about a four year period when it’s too short to draw any kind of conclusion

•that global warming has not been occurring on the basis of ocean temperatures alone

So much for the hype. What does the science say about the temperature of the oceans – which, after all, constitute about 70% of the Earth’s surface? The oceans store approximately 80% of all the energy in the Earth’s climate, so ocean temperatures are a key indicator for global warming.

No straight lines

Claims that the ocean has been cooling are correct. Claims that global warming has stopped are not. It is an illogical position: the climate is subject to a lot of natural variability, so the premise that changes should be ‘monotonic’ – temperatures rising in straight lines – ignores the fact that nature doesn’t work like that. This is why scientists normally discuss trends – 30 years or more – so that short term fluctuations can be seen as part of a greater pattern. (Other well-known cyclic phenomena like El Nino and La Nina play a part in these complex interactions).

The post starts by mislabeling me as a “climate change sceptic” and a “denialist”. Not only is this completely incorrect (as can be easily confirmed by reading our article in Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413.

but it sets the tone of their post as an ad hominem attack, rather than a discussion of the issue.

The author of this post documents in the figures that they present, that upper ocean heat, in terms of its annual average, did not accumulate during the period ~2004 through 2009. This means that global warming halted on this time period. There is no other way to spin this data.

The claim in the post (apparently written by Graham Wayne) Does ocean cooling prove global warming has ended? that:

“The most recent ocean measurements show consistent warming”

is false (unless the author of this post has new data since 2009 which may show warming). The recent lack of warming (the data do not support a cooling, despite what the Skeptical Science weblog reports) does not prove or disprove whether global warming over a longer term has ended.

However, the ocean heat content provides the most appropriate metric to diagnosis global warming in recent (since ~2004 when the Argo network became sufficiently dense) and upcoming years, as recommended, of example, in: Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.

The author of the post on Skeptical Science continues to present misinformation in their Intermediate level post where it is stated
“Early estimates of ocean heat from the Argo showed a cooling bias due to pressure sensor issues. Recent estimates of ocean heat that take this bias into account show continued warming of the upper ocean. This is confirmed by independent estimates of ocean heat as well as more comprehensive measurements of ocean heat down to 2000 metres deep.”

This is an erroneous statement. There was not continued warming for the time period 2004 to 2009, as confirmed by Josh Willis in:

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.

Recently, Josh Willis reported that an updated analysis will be available this Fall.

What the Skeptical Science fails to recognize is that with respect to the diagnosis of global warming using Joules of heat accumulation in the oceans, snapshots of heat content at different times are all that is needed. There is no time lag in heating or cooling. The Joules are either there or they are not. The assessment of a long-term linear trend is not needed.

For example, if the ocean lost its heat in one or two years (such as from a major volcanic eruption), the global warming “clock” would be reset. The Skeptical Science statements that:

“Claims that the ocean has been cooling are correct. Claims that global warming has stopped are not.”

illustrates their lack of understanding of the physics. If ocean cooling does occur, it DOES mean global warming has stopped during that time period.

What would be useful is for the weblog Skeptical Science authors to discuss the value of using (and issues with using) the accumulation of Joules in the climate system as the primary metric to monitor global warming


Warmists are getting rattled by GOP skeptics

By Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters.

Stephen Stromberg's Sept. 3 PostPartisan commentary, "A downside to Murkowski's exit," hit the nail on the head about a disturbing trend that has emerged this year among almost a dozen Republican Senate candidates. These candidates are full-fledged global-warming deniers. If they win, the number of card-carrying members of the Flat Earth Society will rise exponentially in the world's greatest deliberative body.

Wisconsin candidate Ron Johnson said, "I think it is far more likely it is just sunspots" rather than human actions causing global warming. Nevada candidate Sharron Angle said, "I don't . . . buy into the whole man-caused global warming . . . mantra of the left." Colorado candidate Ken Buck admitted, "I am one of those people that Al Gore refers to as a skeptic," and Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt said, "There isn't any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the Earth."

If candidates like these replace climate champions in November, we will feel more than just the loss of a few elected officials. We will lose out on a clean energy future that creates jobs, increases our national security and protects the planet for future generations.


Green Fascism costs American jobs

The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s. The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.

"Now what're we going to do?" said Toby Savolainen, 49, who like many others worked for decades at the factory, making bulbs now deemed wasteful.

During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences.

Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.

Consisting of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they require more hand labor, which is cheaper there. So though they were first developed by American engineers in the 1970s, none of the major brands make CFLs in the United States.

"Everybody's jumping on the green bandwagon," said Pat Doyle, 54, who has worked at the plant for 26 years. But "we've been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE. "

Doyle was speaking after a shift last month surrounded by several co-workers around a picnic table near the punch clock. Many of the workers have been at the plant for decades, and most appeared to be in their 40s and 50s. Several worried aloud about finding another job.

"When you're 50 years old, no one wants you," Savolainen said. It was meant half in jest, but some of the men nod grimly.



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


9 September, 2010

Nasty one for the Warmists: South Pacific sea levels stable

According to an instrumentality of the government of the State of Queensland (Australia)

Actual sea level rise measured by Maritime Safety Queensland = 0.0003m per year. Projecting over a century that would be 3 centimetres - just over an inch.

MSQ is responsible for people's lives and so highly unlikely to fudge numbers to obtain research grants. The actual measured annual rate of sea level change (0.3 mm) is less than the error involved in measuring. It's well below actual peak rates of natural sea level rises and falls experienced in the last 18,000 years.

Such reporters of weather, climate and sea level on which people's lives depend show there are no human induced changes occurring globally in climate as screamed by alarmists seeking political or financial gain.

Excerpt from the report:
Tidal Reference Frame For Queensland

Because the sea level rise is very low, averaging 0.0003 metres per annum for the Australian continent (Mitchell, 2002), the 15 to 19 years of readings available from Queensland tidal stations is not sufficient to calculate a reasonable estimate of sea level change. Accordingly an adjustment of 0.0003 metres per annum is made to the mean sea level within the tidal reference frame.

The allowance is been calculated from the central date of the observation period at each station to the central date of the tidal datum epoch (31 December 2001).

In time, it is expected that there will a sufficiently long span of readings and that it will be possible to obtain a refined estimate of the sea level rise at individual stations. The sea level change observed at each place can be incorporated into future primary determinations in lieu of the Australia wide rise incorporated at present.


Natural Resources Defense Council writer gets an erection about something that didn't happen

He sees a summer in one swallow -- the "defection" of Bjorn Lomborg. A classical example of Green/Left flawed logic and statistical ignorance.

But Lomborg did not defect from the skeptics camp because he was never in it. He has ALWAYS been an AGW believer. He has just had unorthodox views about how to deal with it -- and still does

Just as the science of climate change became more conclusive, the media became more fragmented. In order to compete against blogs and cable news, papers turned to more sensational, polarized coverage. “Thanks to pressure from climate skeptics,” Lemonick writes, “Some journalists started adding dissenting voices in an attempt to add "balance" to their stories.

But then something interesting happened. It became harder and harder to find quotable skeptics, because, “scientific skepticism about climate change has largely vanished among true experts. It now lies with nonexperts like Freeman Dyson -- scientists from unrelated fields who don't know much about climate science but weigh in anyway.”

Lemonick’s view about the shrinking number of skeptics was confirmed a few days ago when an article in The Week listed six influential climate skeptics who recently changed their minds, including Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish academic who wrote the 2001 book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. The book he published in 2010 is called Smart Solutions to Climate Change.

If the science is so unassailable that the last few hold outs are giving up their skeptical stands, isn’t it time for the media to stop trying to “balance” climate articles? The press doesn’t cover evolution or the physics of a hurricane’s path as if it were up for debate. Why should it persist in treating climate change like an open question.


Another example of a Warmist deriving generalizations from a single instance

I guess he missed the first lesson of Statistics 101. Warmism sure does seem to corrode the brain. He puts in some "Ifs" initially but proceeds to generalize anyway

Earlier this summer, a group of scientists spent two weeks in Indonesia atop a glacier called Puncak Jaya, one of the few remaining tropical glaciers in the world. They were taking samples of ice cores to study the impacts of climate change on the glacier.

Lonnie Thompson, a professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, led the team and what he witnessed shocked him: The glacier was literally melting under their feet.

Thompson tells NPR's Guy Raz he has conducted 57 expeditions around the world, but this trip was unusual. It was the first one where he experienced rain on the glacier every day. "Rain is probably the most effective way to ... cause the ice to melt," Thompson says. "So this was the first time you could see the surface actually lowering around you."

While Thompson and his team were there drilling cores, he says, they witnessed the glacier drop 12 inches in just two weeks. "If that's representative of the annual ice loss on these glaciers," he says, "you're looking at losing over seven meters of ice in a year. Unfortunately, that glacier's going to disappear in as little as five years if that rate continues."

Just because the melting of the glacier won't have a devastating impact on Indonesia doesn't mean it should be ignored, Thompson says. Rather, it's like the canary in the coal mine — an indicator of changes in the planet's warming trends. And one that should be seen with boots on.

"When we look at what's happening to the ice on the planet, we use satellites. The problem with the satellite or aerial photography is you don't see the vertical thinning that's taking place," Thompson says. "Consequently there'll come a year in the future that there'll appear to be a glacier but it will disappear the next year because of the thinning from the top down. And to me, that's very sobering."


Chris Dodd's last act: 'Control the people'

Alarms raised over Democrat senator's likely final major piece of legislation

Alarms are being raised over what probably is retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd's last major piece of legislation – the Livable Communities Act, which has been approved by the Senate Banking Committee and now is heading to the Senate floor – for its likely U.N. inspiration and goal of controlling people.

The plan would create a new federal bureaucracy, the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, armed with some $4 billion in federal grants, to pressure local communities into a more "green" development agenda.

Detractors say its priorities can be traced back to the U.N., which at an Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 adopted Agenda 21, outlining the goal of having government control over people.

On its face, the program would have grants to underwrite local community planning efforts that direct actions toward a "sustainable development."

Dodd, a scandal-plagued Connecticut Democrat, decided last year not to run for re-election in 2010.

The law is promoted as an effort to fight traffic congestion, strip malls and ugly urban sprawl. It would "encourage" local communities to create high-density population centers linked by mass transit networks.

Michael Shaw of Freedom Advocates, a pro-constitutional rights group, told WND, "They call it 'smart growth.' It literally means they draw a circle around the community and say nothing will be developed outside of this wall. Land inside the wall goes up in price as shortages develop. You end up with highrises, with people living on the top floors, stores on bottom floors and offices in the middle. Humans wind up living in the sky. They never touch the ground or leave the building."

The bill, approved by the Senate Banking Committee on a party-line vote in August, "is on a fast track," said Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots group promoting free markets and limited government. "The Democrats are doing everything they can before they lose power in the next election. They're working on a plethora of environmental bills we've been fighting for years, things that we thought were dead," he said.

DeWeese added, "What makes the Dodd bill unique is they've mostly done this through executive orders or grant programs, but now this is the first time they've put together a federal bill to put this stuff in place."

Shaw and DeWeese warn of numerous unpublicized consequences of the Livable Communities Act and similar "sustainable development" legislation.

It's a "socialist trap," DeWeese said. "The Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities would end up overseeing development in every community," he said. "They say it's voluntary, but it really isn't. The $4 billion in grants will be used by radical green groups, who helped write it, to force your city council to comply. If your city says no to the pressure to take the grant money, the radical greens will tell your citizens that their city officials are losing them millions of dollars that is owed to the community. Then, when the council caves into the pressure and takes the money, it will force compliance. That is not voluntary, it is blackmail."

Homeowners would end up paying exorbitant costs and losing control over their own homes, according to DeWeese.

"To get the money, a community must meet environmental standards," he said. "That requires houses to be equipped with new roofs, new windows, and efficient appliances. They did this last year in Oakland. It costs an estimated $35,000 to make a house comply with the environmental regulations. They say homeowners can't sell their houses if they don't meet these standards."

Shaw warned of its Big Brother-type impact. "It's the application of new technological breakthroughs to control people," he said. "Look at the new smart meters sweeping the nation."

The devices are being marketed as methods for reducing electricity expenses, but Shaw points out that energy companies and bureaucrats end up controlling the temperature in private homes.

Shaw believes the legislation traces back to Agenda 21, the U.N.-sponsored environmental initiative revealed at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. According to Shaw, Agenda 21 has three main goals: "1. Abolition of private property. 2. Education for global citizenship. 3. Control over human action."

Shaw, whose organization was created to inform the public about Agenda 21, said, "It originated in the U.N. 178 nations have signed onto it, including the U.S. in 1992. It's not a treaty, it's a soft law agreement, so it doesn't require treaty ratification. George H.W. Bush infused every federal department with sustainable development principles, and they've been followed by all three presidents since."


The Face of Eco-Terrorism

There’s no doubt that Discovery Channel gunman James Jay Lee was mentally unstable, but it should be equally clear that Lee is far from the first person – and surely not the last – to take their cues from an environmental movement that grows more delusional with each passing day.

Does that mean that we should blame Al Gore for Lee’s actions and death? No. Gore is far too savvy a huckster to endanger the green gold-mine that he helped create by encouraging violence among his followers. He would much prefer that the James Jay Lees of the world save the planet by making a substantial purchase of carbon credits on the CCX.

That said, Gore, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and all the rest of today’s self-proclaimed environmental champions surely share the blame for creating the atmosphere of fear and dread that permeates America’s attitude about our relationship with nature. It is the misguided notion that human beings are an infection on planet Earth, a feeling shared by millions of Americans, that provided James Jay Lee with an outlet for his paranoid delusions, just as it did for Ted Kaczynski thirty years ago.

Environmental advocates have continually upped the ante when it comes to doomsday rhetoric, to the point that they are now “all in.” They have progressed from the bird extinction delusions that Rachel Carson chronicled in Silent Spring to a crisis they claim is so acute, so immediate, that all forms of life on earth are in grave danger. Is it any wonder that some people might take them at their word and act accordingly? A mentally unstable man like James Jay Lee wielding a bomb might grab the spotlight for a few days, but he is hardly the only example of someone taking the Green movement’s message to its logical and extreme conclusions.

Consider the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement for example. Proudly proclaiming “may we all live long and die out,” VHEMT says that “phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.” Members aren’t inclined to hasten the process along by blowing fellow human beings up, but their goal is indistinguishable from James Jay Lee’s: once humans stop procreating, the world returns to pristine purity.

Less subtly, the Church of Euthanasia asks visitors to “Save the Plant: Kill Yourself” and instructs followers to abide by its “four pillars” of faith: suicide, abortion, cannibalism and sodomy. Are these two extreme examples? Sure, but theirs are hardly isolated points of view. A James Jay Lee would feel right at home commiserating with like-minded souls who belong to organizations like VHEMT or the Church of Euthanasia. Such organizations may have counseled Lee against violent means, but they surely would have sympathized with his ends.

The Earth First! movement proudly proclaims that it’s growing in size and importance. The radical organization urges people concerned with the fate of the planet to use any tactic, legal or illegal, to save the planet. The Earth First! Journal describes their mission thus: “Earth First! formed in 1979, in response to an increasingly corporate, compromising and ineffective environmental community. It is not an organization, but a movement. There are no “members” of EF!, only Earth First!ers.

We believe in using all of the tools in the toolbox, from grassroots and legal organizing to civil disobedience and monkeywrenching. When the law won’t fix the problem, we put our bodies on the line to stop the destruction.” The term “monkeywrenching” is of course code that covers a variety of offenses, from spiking trees to burning down subdivisions, all in the name of making the earth a better place in which to live.

At first blush it may seem ironic that radical groups and ideas like these could sprout up in a nation that has made such incredible strides in cleaning up the environment over the last forty years. Yet, upon closer inspection, it makes sense. America has dedicated billions and billions of dollars in both the public and private sector toward environmental protection and restoration. Congress has passed law after law that requires cleaner air, water and soil.

No matter. The tenor and substance of the message that people like Al Gore and organizations like the Sierra Club has not changed, no matter how much time and money we invest and how much progress me make. In fact, they never admit that we have made any progress all. In this circumstance, a committed environmentalist can only conclude that government is incapable of fixing the problem, either because politicians are incompetent, or because corporations are too powerful, or both.

The people that ardent environmentalists trust – like Gore and the Sierra Club – assure them that the planet is in worse danger than ever today. Government solutions have failed. So what’s left? Clearly, for folks like those represented by VHEMT, the Church of Euthanasia and Earth First! radical solutions are the only thing left. Nothing else has worked.

James Jay Lee is an extreme example of an illness that permeates American culture. While “mainstream” environmentalists and environmental groups may not condone his methods or his words, most are wholly committed to his goals. Environmentalists worry about over-population and civilization encroaching on wildlife habitats. James Jay Lee translated that into: “Saving the Planet means saving what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!”

Environmentalists wag their fingers and lecture that humans are responsible for pollution and so we must do more to clean up this dirty planet. James Jay Lee expressed that idea more succinctly: “Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet…”

Environmentalists wring their hands about endangered species and supposedly-endangered species (like polar bears). James Jay Lee took that message to heart: “Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.”

Environmental apologists on the left have attempted to condemn any attempt to link Lee to their movement, claiming that doing so exposes the hypocrisy of conservatives who complain about attempts to link violence and racism to the tea party movement. These two examples bear no practical resemblance to each other. The tea party movement’s focus is overwhelmingly on making a difference by working legally within our system of government. To wit: by exercising the movement’s power at the ballot box. The environmental movement has continually sent its followers the message that government has not and, by inference, cannot solve the global ecological “crisis”.

Additionally, while there are incidents of politically-motivated violence on the right, it would be very surprising to learn that such incidents outnumber those involving leftist-inspired violence. In the case of political causes, in other words, both sides are equally infected by extremists. But, when it comes to the environment however, extremism and violence is a one way affair. There is no group analogous to Earth First!, VHEMT or the Church of Euthanasia on the skeptical side of the environmental movement. There is no one analogous to James Jay Lee or Ted Kaczynski.

The strongest voices aligned against green extremists are lawful, non-violent think tanks like the Cato Institute and the Heartland Institute. While organizations like Heartland receive death threats from time to time, they don’t issue them and, more important, nothing they say or do would inspire their followers to believe that such violent measures are necessary.

Environmental groups can’t come close to making the same claims after decades of overblown hyperbole and scare-mongering. Al Gore and his cohorts, in other words, may not have pushed James Jay Lee over the edge, but there is no way that troubled man would have gotten close to his particular precipice but for Gore and his disciples.


Tax versus Trade

I feel like I keep stating the obvious. A carbon tax is bad because it’s unnecessary and nobody wastes money better than big government, but a carbon trading scheme is worse. The latter is a fake market that feeds corruption and creates it’s own vested industry of financial brokers who profit no matter what the price and no matter who buys or sells (they just need a government mandated scheme that forces businesses to buy and sell), and no matter whether anything useful happens to the environment. Once the financial houses are set (and they are already well advanced) how could this policy ever be unwound?

Carbon Tax = bad; Carbon Trade = sew raw steaks to your shirt and swim with sharks

So everyone has a handy pocket list as a reference:

1. Carbon trading is NOT a free market. (In a free market, no one would pay for an atmospheric nullity they can’t use. A carbon trading market is one where the government compels some parties to buy, so it is not free.)

2. It feeds the financial sharks. (Think “ENRON” x 100).

3. Its a magnet for corruption. (It’s easy to cheat in a fake market selling hard-to-verify nothings.)

4. Its permanent. (How do you ask a two trillion dollar industry to shut up and die once it’s protected by phalanxes of lobbyists and easy-cash to donate to “worthy causes”?)

The trading scheme needs brokers, auditors, assessors, marketers, lawyers, insurers and accountants, not to mention speculators, derivative traders, ratings agencies, specialist software, and a fleet of sales reps. A carbon tax needs none of these, just application at a few crucial points of sale of oil, coal etc like the current petrol tax.

Both the trading scheme and a tax would need technicians (to get that aerial fertilizer stuffed in a hole underground) and an entirely new source of global industrial and domestic energy. Once all these people are trained, employed, committed, and have their superannuation at risk, we have the Golden Gravy Express Train from Hell. Fifty million people to yell, scream and wail should the train slow down. It’s a massive industrial dead-end, all based on computer models that assumed things that have been shown to be wrong.

So “Why don’t we take insurance? What’s the harm?”

The harm? Every dollar we spend on a fake problem is a dollar we can’t spend on a real one. Worse, it’s a dollar that might be giving power and strength to frauds and parasites. Honest conscientious souls won’t screw the rules to their advantage, but unscrupulous overlords will be happy to push the envelope and use their extra power to crush a few more peasants. In a third world country, who will protect those victims?

Markets and currencies are powerful tools which have transformed civilization. But any tool can be used like a weapon.



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 September, 2010

Green Global Warming Editorial Gets it Wrong

By Alan Caruba

It's rare to come across a newspaper editorial in which virtually every assertion is false, but is absurdly titled "Face Facts."

Since 1988 the movement behind the global warming fraud has labored long and hard to mislead the citizens of the world to believe what is surely the greatest "science" hoax ever perpetrated.

However, when the leak of emails between the handful of climate scientists who conjured up the deliberately misleading data the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used hit the Internet, the November 2009 event was quickly dubbed "Climategate." In one exchange, they worried over the fact that, since the late 1990s, the Earth was demonstrably getting cooler.

It is hard to believe that any journalist could not know about Climategate or the subsequent failure of the IPCC's Copenhagen climate conference that even the President attended as the entire hoax came unraveled.
"The wildfires in Russia, the floods in Pakistan and the record heat this summer in New Jersey have one thing in common: They are exactly the kind of symptoms scientists predicted we'd experience as global warming occurs."

Only there is no global warming. The Earth has been in a decade-old cooling cycle.

Which scientists are being cited? What kind of scientists? The current IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri began his career in an Indian diesel-locomotive factory. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that, "As an academic, he staunchly defended his country's right to burn coal."

And what do isolated natural events that occur in a brief time span have to do with alleged climate trends that can only be measured in centuries? Did the editorial writer ever hear of the Medieval Warm Period or of the Little Ice Age that followed it? Both were spread over centuries, not a single summer.

"Glaciers that have been stable for centuries are now melting at an alarming rate." No, they're not. Indeed, many are melting less as the result of the current cooling cycle. The cooling is due to lower solar activity; the result of a significant reduction in solar storms that are commonly called sunspots. This is the stuff they teach in Meteorology 101.

"Hurricanes are becoming more severe as ocean temperatures rise." You mean like the Category 4 Hurricane named Earl that in a matter of two or three days became a Category 1 and then fizzled out as a tropical storm? The hurricane named Katrina was an anomaly, a category 5, and they don't occur that often. Consider the relatively tame hurricane seasons we've had since then.
"A rational person would look at this evidence and listen to the scientists who are warning of catastrophic impacts over the next few decades, such as coastal flooding and the collapse of rain-fed agriculture in many regions, especially Africa."

It's too bad the writer of this editorial didn't display enough rationality to even question what the unnamed "scientists" were saying; much in the same way Al Gore has been telling everyone the same thing only to be revealed as a charlatan seeking to enrich himself from hoped-for climate legislation. The Chicago Exchange that sells "carbon credits" is close to failure as this bogus "market" collapses from the revelation that there is no global warming.

Scientists constantly challenge one another's work. That is part of the scientific method. Journalists are supposed to exercise a healthy skepticism, but in the case of the scientists who did express skepticism, they were labeled "deniers" until the truth could no longer be hidden from the public.

"Republicans in Washington have killed any chance for climate change legislation, for now. Polls show that while most Americans believe climate change is occurring, most Republicans do not." So, apparently, the climate is determined by one's political affiliation. The polls show increasing doubt about global warming along with the trend that most Americans disapprove of the job President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress have done.
"The Environmental Protection Agency under Lisa Jackson is preparing to impose regulations on carbon emissions, as the Clean Air Act requires."

Wrong again. The Clean Air Act does not include carbon dioxide, even though the Supreme Court mistakenly called it a "pollutant." Carbon dioxide does not need to be regulated because it plays no role whatever as regards the planet's climate and because it is a gas that is vital to all vegetation on Earth in the same fashion oxygen is vital to animal life. The editorial writer is a complete moron.

"As the world dawdles, this problem will grow worse, and the solution will have to be more drastic, more expensive and disruptive. For that, we will have climate-change skeptics to thank." This editorial reeks of the same eco-lunacy that could be found in the Unabomber's manifesto or the Internet declaration posted by the lunatic who took hostages in Maryland a week ago, threatening to kill them unless the Discovery channel gave him a show of his own.

The newspaper was completely within its rights to publish the repetition of the kind of alarmism contained in the editorial, but it also has an obligation to get its facts right.

It reminded me of a comment by my friend, Dr. Richard Lindzen. He is one of the world's most respected climatologists, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Atmospheric Science.

"Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century's developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age."

The journalist H.L. Mencken had it right, "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."


Climate Change and African Civil War

Late last year the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a paper by Burke et al which claimed that climate change resulting from greenhouse gas emissions was dramatically increasing civil wars in Africa, and this trend would continue in the near term.

The Cal-Berkeley press release included this quote (and the image above) from one of the authors:
"We were definitely surprised that the linkages between temperature and recent conflict were so strong," said Edward Miguel, professor of economics at UC Berkeley and faculty director of UC Berkeley's Center for Evaluation for Global Action. "But the result makes sense. The large majority of the poor in most African countries depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, and their crops are quite sensitive to small changes in temperature. So when temperatures rise, the livelihoods of many in Africa suffer greatly, and the disadvantaged become more likely to take up arms."
Not long after, the paper was strongly criticized in a reply also published in PNAS:
[T]he proposition by Burke et al. (1) that warming may be a directly causative factor in the risk of civil war in Sub-Saharan Africa seems unlikely. . . Our greatest concern with the analysis is the characterization of the link between warming and large-scale conflict (>1,000 battle deaths). The title of the paper, “Warming Increases the Risk of Civil War in Africa,” suggests causation, but the evidence presented is not substantive enough to warrant such a conclusion. Although warming may serve as a proxy for correlated variables such as decreased soil moisture and reduced agricultural production, identifying warming, or even agricultural production, as primary factors in civil war oversimplifies systems affected by many geopolitical and social factors.
In their rejoinder to the reply Burke et al. appeared to back off their claims of causation:
Our paper does not argue that temperature is the only—or even the primary—determinant of civil war. Further work is needed to understand how climate affects civil war, and we note this clearly in our paper.
Just this week PNAS has published a new paper by Halvard Buhaug that thoroughly eviscerates Burke et al. Buhaug's conclusion is unambiguous (I do not see it at PNAS yet, but an early version is here in PDF):
The simple fact is this: climate characteristics and variability are unrelated to short-term variations in civil war risk in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary causes of civil war are political, not environmental, and although environmental conditions may change with future warming, general correlates of conflicts and wars are likely to prevail. . . The challenges imposed by future global warming are too daunting to let the debate on social effects and required countermeasures be sidetracked by atypical, nonrobust scientific findings and actors with vested interests.
Burke has reacted strongly against Buhaug, accusing him of having cherry-picked his datasets (Note: Figure 2 in Buhaug is pretty convincing to me.).  While climate change may not be the cause of African civil wars, it does seem to be the cause of civil wars in academia.



Critical Pacific Ocean subset of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) temperature data now to be examined by New Zealand High Court.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world, the newly formed New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust has taken legal action against the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), a `Crown Research Institute' contracted by the NZ Government to be its sole adviser on scientific issues relating to climate change. Instead of using the New Zealand Met Service temperature record that shows no warming during the last century, NIWA has adopted an "adjusted" record of seven surface stations that shows a 1 deg. C rise, almost 50% above the global average for that period.

Because there are very few long term temperature records in the Pacific Ocean, the NIWA record bears heavily disproportionate weight in determining multi-decadal trends in global average temperatures used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, the basis for the NIWA temperature adjustments is unknown, the data and calculations that underlie the adjustment method lost, and the originator of the technique of adjustment summarily dismissed from his position at NIWA.

Read news release from ICSC affiliate, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC), which has unsuccessfully sought access to the data and calculations behind the temperature adjustment since 2006.

Read November 2009 NZCSC paper on the scandal, "Are We Feeling Warmer Yet?", by Barry Brill, OBE.

Read May 2010 response to NIWA attempts to whitewash the affair.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climategate Was No Fluke

Comment from Brown University (a private Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island):

The mainstream alarmist posturing on climate change by the likes of Al Gore, regardless of whether it meets the demands of scientific accuracy or not, is resetting political priorities and imposing billions of dollars in costs for governments the world over.

Sustained inquiry, debate and scrutiny around the dealings of those involved - from scientific practitioners to powerful policymakers - are not only inevitable, but are also absolute imperatives. The taxpayer, after all, funds most of the climate research and his life is vastly affected by the domestic and international policies that it shapes. In particular, emerging economies across the world grapple with the burden of international pressures to "green up" versus their own aspirations to fully industrialize.

In that regard, the sensational November 2009 revelation of deplorable practices by leading climate change scientists cannot have been some blind chase driven by ideology, but a significant and irreversible turn in one of the greatest geopolitical debates of all time. Notwithstanding the supposed exonerations of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) scientists in question, their behavior remains unscrupulous. Moreover, for those manning the frontiers of an issue with such enormous global implications, "hiding the temperature decline" and destroying emails with critical evidence strikes me as just outright unacceptable.

Through his column, ("Scientific Misconduct," September 1), David Sheffield '11 would have us believe that the furor that arose from clear evidence of manipulating empirical data was misplaced - because no "scientific malpractice" was found by reviews. In other words, he renders the legitimacy of any criticism to the sole discretion of those tasked to "inquire" by the status quo, or those with zero incentives for objectiveness in the issue. The implications of this approach cannot be any trickier: all we need to settle this controversy is peer review by institutions whose credentials for objectiveness in this matter are questionable.

It should be noted that the implicated universities themselves - Penn State and the University of East Anglia - as the respective employers of the scientists in question, funded two of the supposedly independent inquiries into the CRU. Finding the scientists guilty on any count would also discredit these institutions and their status as the backbone of what Gore would like us to think as the "overwhelming scientific consensus" on climate change.

Sheffield's focus on the underlying issue is quite generic in that he merely states the outcomes of the inquiries but not the accusations in question. But his judgment on "deniers" is a little more detailed and sharp. He tags the critics as "ideologically driven" and "anti-scientific" crowds who are out to achieve self-serving ends. But nothing, however, can be truer about the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change whose figured scientists were tainted in the scandal. No objective scientist but in fact one driven by ideology, can go to the same lengths that the CRU experts went in actively trying to manipulate highly consequential empirical data.

Apologists of the status quo scientists will point to the fact that the evidence (or the lack thereof) was acquired illegally by a hacker, the fact remains that the conventional climate change science is rooted in the highly secretive work of men who we now know have the capacity and sometimes, motive to tailor some of their findings to suit certain goals - or ideologies, if you wish.

That climate change has become a multibillion dollar industry is not a mystery, nor is the fact that millions of "green" dollars are lining the personal pockets of those with enough clout on environmental policy. From federal grants to windfalls from energy companies, many incentives have clouded this industry and left total objectiveness wallowing away from the top of priority lists.

Therefore, with the far-reaching implications of global environmental policies, it is mandatory to keep relentless scrutiny as an indispensable part of that matrix of interconnectedness.

To make those critical of the questionable practices of authoritative scientists appear repulsive by tagging them as "anti-scientific" borders on some sort of censorship. It is no wonder bigger climate change fundamentalists are quick to address anyone skeptical of their sensation-seeking rhetoric as a heretic, or in the words of Bill Nye, "almost unpatriotic".

By analyzing both in the same side of his article, Sheffield paints climate change "deniers" with the same brush as those guilty of scientific misconduct, like disgraced academics of Marc Hauser's sort. The only problem is that while Hauser's case presents a black-and-white scenario whose verdict was easily delivered, the whitewash of the CRU by supposedly independent inquiries is not so simplistic. It is a mere microcosm of the fundamental global debate around global warming that is both complex, and far from over.

The jury is definitely still out on the so-called Climategate, and I don't think it is time for us here at Brown to conclusively hit that gavel yet - especially at the lead of inquiries that may have well chosen convenience over objectiveness. The enormity of the stakes worldwide does not allow us that luxury.


Climate Change and Precipitation - Another IPCC And Climate Science Failure

by Dr. Tim Ball

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field" -- Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Focus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is almost exclusively on temperature, particularly on warming. That alone should condemn their work because different weather has different implications for different activities and in most cases temperature is of little concern.

They have the world in a panic for no reason and real issues are confused by their work

They have the world in a panic for no reason and real issues are confused by their work. For example, farmers and agribusiness need to know about temperature shifts, but a gradual change is of little concern and easily accommodated. IPCC claim temperature has increased 1øC in the last 100 years and that's beyond a natural increase. It did not result in any negative impacts; in fact productivity has increased dramatically.

Their future scenarios include more serious rates but every one to date has not matched even minimum increases. As IPCC member Kevin Trenberth, wrote Wed, 14 Oct 2009, "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." Now consider the changes in science, technology and society in those 100 years. Unless free enterprise is completely stifled by political ideologies, we can expect similar advances in the next 100 years. It will not be 'business as usual" as environmentalists assume.

Dramatic temperature changes, like the nearly 2øC drop in global temperature after Mt. Tambora erupted in 1815 are relatively short-lived and today would have far less impact. A possible example of a temperature change comparable to the IPCC predictions but a cooling was the 70-year decline from 1530 to 1600. Lines delineate areas of arable land lost. Notice that between 1300 and 1600 approximately half the land went out of production. With today's science and technology, especially genetic modification, adaptation is much easier.

From year to year the single critical factor for plant growth is precipitation. Ignoring this allowed Michael Mann to use temperature as the sole cause of tree growth manifest in growth rings. Precipitation patterns are much more important for the short and medium term. The IPCC forecast increased droughts with global warming, which is counterintuitive. Higher temperatures cause increased evaporation and higher atmospheric moisture with greater potential for precipitation. The 2007 Report said, "very likely precipitation increases in high latitudes and likely decreases in most subtropical land regions, continuing observed recent trends." This is based on the assumption greatest warming will occur in high latitudes, but it is also illogical. As is the assumption that current trends will continue. Temperature determines the air's capacity to hold water. Polar temperature increase would have to be orders of magnitude greater than at middle and low latitude. But there they predict, "Decreasing water availability and increasing drought in mid-latitudes and semi-arid low latitudes."

Droughts at these latitudes are cyclical not related to temperature, although the temperature can modify the intensity of the drought. They ignored this research because they are related to solar cycles.

Generally the IPCC avoids doing anything with water.

Generally the IPCC avoids doing anything with water. This is especially true in their work on the greenhouse effect. In Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis Section 2 is titled, Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radioactive Forcing.

Section 2.3 discusses Chemically and Radioactively Important Gases but the only place where water vapor is mentioned is in a section on Stratospheric Water Vapor. This is a hangover from the original mandate to focus only on manmade causes of change, which is confirmed by a separate reference in Section 2.5 titled Tropospheric Water Vapor from Anthropogenic Sources. They changed the mandate because its limitations were identified, but they cynically changed little in the Report. It's impossible to know how much water vapor is from human sources, if you don't know natural amounts.

It is generally agreed that water vapor is 95 percent of the greenhouse gases by volume. There is complete disagreement about the effectiveness in delaying heat escape to space. Part of the problem is water vapor acts in some of the same wavelengths as CO2. Another is water exists as gas, liquid, or solid and each has a different effect. The complete inability of computer climate models to replicate the effect of clouds reflects these problems. Ironically, the only time the IPCC acknowledge water vapor is in their attempt to overcome the saturation effect of CO2. Even if CO2 doubles there is an upper limit to temperature increase. They said temperature increase due to CO2 would increase evaporation and this would create a positive feedback causing temperatures to continue to increase. This is now proven incorrect and a negative feedback with increased cloud blocking sunlight as a result.

There is also the problem of the percentages of water vapor throughout the atmosphere. The IPCC incorrectly assumes CO2 is uniformly distributed. They don't even grapple with the fact that water vapor in the atmosphere varies from almost zero in the polar regions to 4 percent in the tropics and is constantly changing from hour to hour. Rates of evaporation vary with temperature, but also with wind speed.

Computer models are built on data and temperature records are completely inadequate, which is a basic reason why the models fail. Records of precipitation are even worse. Accurate measurements of rainfall are very difficult; it`s even worse for snow. Even with adequate instruments, the number of stations is inadequate. Consider this comment about Africa. "One obvious problem is a lack of data. Africa's network of 1152 weather watch stations, which provide real-time data and supply international climate archives, is just one-eighth the minimum density recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Furthermore, the stations that do exist often fail to report." (4 Aug 2006 VOL 313 Science). It is little better for most of the world.

The IPCC is a scientific, economic and political failure

For most middle latitude agriculture (30ø to 65ø) there are three primary sources of precipitation. Winter snowfall, summer rainfall and condensation in spring and fall. Measurements of the first two are less than adequate and the third is ignored. One summer, forecasts for a poor harvest on the Canadian Prairies were confounded. The obvious, but overlooked, explanation was that as much as 2 inches of moisture from condensation occurred in the late summer. This was more effective than rainfall because it occurred at ground level at night so little went to evaporation, and was available to the plant with reduced heat stress and was very widespread.

The IPCC is a scientific, economic and political failure. Its political focus on CO2 diverts climate science from producing useful research to advance practical world knowledge and understanding of weather and climate. I am glad to rain on their parade: It must be eliminated.


FOI and universities

Tony Blair's recent expressions of regret over his introduction of the Freedom of Information Act has been much chewed over in the news recently.

If I sense things correctly this is just one symptom of something rather bigger. If I discern things correctly, there are moves afoot to start reining back on the scope of the Act. I can't quite recall what prompted me to do so, but a few weeks back I sent an FoI request to the Justice Ministry, the Whitehall department responsible for the FoI Act. I asked what meetings ministers and officials had had concerning possible changes to the application of the Act in universities. The answer came back that they "didn't hold the information". On its own this would be nothing, although a firmer answer - "no such meetings" would have been more encouraging.

But then there was this a heartfelt piece on the subject of FoI from Professor Edward Acton:
[T]here are dilemmas. If data gathered by researchers is to be disclosable before they have completed work on it, issues of commercial and intellectual property become acute. Take the recent ruling by the Information Commissioner (made under the FOIA's twin, the Environmental Information Regulation) to force Queen's University Belfast to hand over painstakingly assembled Irish Tree Ring data. Are we to find that commercial companies (located anywhere in the world - our FOIA is wonderfully cosmopolitan) may secure the release of the unworked data of every UK university?

As an aside, I think Doug Keenan, the man who forced QUB's hand on this issue, might take issue with some of this. For example, the data is decades old and so can hardly count as "unworked". Also, according to Queens itself, it was stored on an electronic medium that is already virtually obsolete - floppy disks, suggesting that it was not actually being used. Readers of the Hockey Stick Illusion will recognise these issues and will know that the data should have been stored in a secure repository designed for the purpose, such as the International Tree Ring Database.

But to return to the original theme, there has now been another strong hint that the bureaucrats are on the move. Today's You and Yours programme on BBC Radio 4 discussed the question of Freedom of Information and featured someone from the University of Warwick declaring that he felt that universities should be exempt.

His reasoning for this involved a delicious misleading of the interviewer, Julian Worricker. He informed Worricker that Warwick receives 77% of its income "competively" and 23% direct from the state. This suggestion then led neatly into an insinuation that Warwick is 23% state funded (all those grants are competitive, right?), and since 23% is much less than some charities get from the state, universities should be exempt. Here, for those who are interested, is the relevant extract from the Warwick accounts:

Anyway, take a listen. The universities section starts at about 20 mins. Heather Brooke is featured later on, together with some minor discussion of climate.

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


7 September, 2010

We live in an era of unusual climate stability!

That is what I have been pointing out for some years (though I was referring mainly to the 20th century) -- so it is interesting to see the same conclusion in reference to a much longer period in the chart below of Greenie origin. They are not content with the facts, though, so have tacked a crazy extrapolation onto the end of it. In terms of the geological time period that the chart covers, a severe downswing would be much more logical


Nazi Dreams were Green Dreams

The gates of Auschwitz, an infamous Nazi concentration camp

Alan Caruba mentions below some facts that I and a few others have long been pointing to -- JR

In a week when Jews will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the New Year--5771, the connection between the Nazi’s rebellion against the Judeo-Christian worldview and the present-day ideology that drives the environmental movement needs to be exposed.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe and elsewhere around the world, driven in part by the Islamic hatred of Jews, but also reflected in the liberal antipathy to corporations and the financial community, often portrayed as “Jewish bankers”, as history’s favorite scapegoat for economic problems. The situation mirrors Germany in the 1930s.

Few know of the connection, but it is spelled out in “Nazi Oaks” by R. Mark Musser ($12.75, Advantage Books, softcover, via Thanks to his research we learn that “the highway to modern environmentalism passed through Nazi Germany. By 1935, the Third Reich was the greenest regime on the planet.”

“It is no coincidence that sweeping Nazi environmental legislation preceded the racially charged anti-Semitic Nuremburg Laws.”

In the decades during which I have seen the rise of the environmental movement in America I have also seen its inherent totalitarian drive to not merely alter society, but to completely control the lives of all Americans. It is fundamentally an attack on the American credo of individual freedom and it has become commonplace to suggest that environmentalism has become a pseudo-religion.

Mark Musser is a 1989 graduate from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, widely regarded as one of the premier environmental institutions in the nation. In 1994, he received a Master of Divinity from Western Seminary in Portland and, for seven years, was a missionary in Belarus and the Ukraine. He is currently a pastor.

The history spelled out in Musser’s book needs to be understood in terms of what is occurring in America today. The title of the book comes from the fact that, “With the oak tree being such a powerful symbol of German nationalism and the German natural landscape, Hitler had oaks planted all over the Reich in hundreds of towns and villages.” The practice was dubbed by Nazi environmentalists as “concordant with the spirit of the Fuhrer.”

Just as America is passing through a period of economic stress, the Nazis in the 1930s sought to tap into the German psyche and a “return to nature” myth was seen as a unifying measure. The same regime that would later create the means to systematically kill Europe’s Jews shared a lot in common with any number of present-day environmentalist leaders and academics.

Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, is on record saying, “Christianity is our foe. If animal rights is to succeed, we must destroy the Judeo-Christian Religious tradition.”

Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the United Nations Environmental Program, said, “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our duty to bring that about?” When you contemplate the many measures taken by the U.S. government against the mining of coal, the drilling for oil, and even the shutdown of a nuclear waste repository, is it not obvious that denying America the energy it requires is one way to destroy its economy?

In one chilling way in particular, the hatred of the human race, does the environmental movement reflect the Nazi’s merciless destruction, not only of Jews, but of millions of others consigned to its concentration camps and the relentless killing wherever they sought conquest.

This is why the Club of Rome could say, “The earth has a cancer and the cancer is Man.” How does this differ from Hitler’s many expressions of hatred for Jews and others, Africans and Asians that he deemed to be “sub-human”?

This is the naked face of environmentalism.

Remember, too, this did not happen a long time ago. The “greatest generation”, some of whom still live, fought the Nazi regime a scant seventy years ago.

President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic warns that “it should be clear by now to everyone that environmental activism is becoming a general ideology about humans, about their freedom, about the relationship between the individual and the state, and about the manipulation of people under the guise of a ‘noble’ idea.”

Couple that with a torrent of falsified “science” and you have the modern environmental movement.

The single greatest threat to freedom in America is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current efforts to acquire the authority to regulate a gas that is responsible along with oxygen for all life on Earth, carbon dioxide (CO2).

If the EPA gets that control, it will be able to determine every aspect of life in America because it is the use of electricity, industrial and all other machine-based technology that generates carbon dioxide.

And it is the Big Lie that CO2 is causing global warming that is being used to justify the agency’s quest. There is no global warming. The Earth is in a natural cooling cycle.

The Nazi regime was made up of animal rights advocates, environmentalists, and vegetarians, of which Hitler was all three.


Bad motives behind the Greenie focus on children

Why would you believe this? 'And so we believe as adults we have a duty to change the world for them' -- The final phrase of the statement of position published on the now-defunct website for 'Schools' Low Carbon Day'.

This statement was the justification for their alarmism about climate, and their wish to alarm children in turn. I regard the phrase with considerable foreboding

We have seen that they are willing to manipulate children into political and economic activity (not least pressuring their families to sign up for so-called green electricity supplies via companies set up to exploit ludicrous and lucrative government subsidies).

And now we see they wish to feel a duty to 'change the world for them'.

Now if that change were merely to win customers for 'green electricity' suppliers that would merely be a somewhat ruthless commercial scam.

But the green movement is more sinister than that. It may be not be apparent to the creators of Schools' Low Carbon Day, but they were playing with political fire. The green extremists are a decidedly unsavoury lot, and they are not wackos way off in the sidelines. Instead they have played a part in designing and launching the IPCC, and other UN and US initiatives, and their EU and UK offshoots.

The "Nazi Dreams" post today by Alan Caruba captures some of the evidence for this

So, I do not trust their wish to 'change the world'. I think that they mean to harm our society, and that damaging our children is one of their strategies. I do not believe that such people should be allowed into schools to spread their poison to the young.

SOURCE. (This is the last in a series of posts. See the original for links to previous posts)

A cunning bid to shore up the ruins of the IPCC

The Inter-Academy report into the IPCC, led by Rajendra Pachauri, tiptoes around a mighty elephant in the room, argues Christopher Booker

A report on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on behalf of the world's leading scientific academies, last week provoked even some of the more committed believers in man-made global warming to demand the resignation of Dr Rajendra Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC. But is the report all that it seems?

Last winter, the progress of this belief – that the world faces catastrophe unless we spend trillions of dollars to halt global warming – suffered an unprecedented reverse. In Copenhagen, the world's leaders failed to agree a treaty designed to reshape the future of civilisation. This coincided with a series of scandals that blew up around the IPCC's 2007 report.

Since then several inquiries, including three into the leaked "Climategate" emails, have tried to hold the official line, all following a consistent pattern. Each has made a few peripheral criticisms, for plausibility, while deliberately avoiding the main issue. Each has then gone on to put over the required message: that the science of global warming remains unchallenged.

At first sight, last week's Inter-Academy report on the "processes and procedures of the IPCC" seems to have played it more cleverly. It criticises the IPCC's abuse of its own procedures in very trenchant terms, and suggests some radical reforms to them. Passages on "conflict of interest", and a recommendation that top officials should serve only one term, seem to hint that Dr Pachauri, reappointed to serve until 2014 after presiding over the IPCC's last controversial report, should step down. But, as with the reports that preceded it, this one also tiptoes round a mighty elephant in the room, in order to put over the familiar message: the IPCC has generally "served society well", the science remains unchallenged. It is as one might expect of a report produced on behalf of bodies such as Britain's Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, which have long been leading advocates for the belief in global waming.

When, some years ago, I began the research for my book The Real Global Warming Disaster, nothing surprised me more than discovering how widely the nature of the IPCC is misunderstood. It is invariably portrayed as a body representing the top scientists in the world, objectively weighing the complex forces that shape Earth's climate. In reality, it's nothing of the kind.

The men who set up the panel – led by its first chairman Bert Bolin, a Swedish meteorologist, and John Houghton, then head of the UK Met Office and first chairman of the IPCC's scientific working group – were already believers in what they called "human-induced climate change". The IPCC was, from the start, essentially a political pressure group, producing evidence to support the view that global warming was the most serious crisis facing the planet. This guided the selection of all the key scientists chosen to compile the IPCC's findings (such as those involved in the Climategate affair). And this explains all the searching questions that have built up around its hugely influential reports ever since.

The first major row over the IPCC came when it was revealed that the most widely publicised and alarmist claim in its second report, in 1995, was inserted after the text had been signed off by the other scientists involved – while 15 passages which countered alarm over climate change had been excised. This famously provoked Professor Fred Seitz, former president of the US National Academy of Sciences, to say that in 60 years as a scientist he had never seen a "more disturbing corruption" of scientific procedure.

Perhaps the most telling controversy arose over the notorious "hockey stick" graph, the centrepiece of the IPCC's third report in 2001. It rewrote climate history to show a world that was now dramatically hotter than it had been for at least 1,000 years. Promoted by Houghton and others as the ultimate emblem of the cause, it was eventually shown to have been no more than the result of trickery with a computer programme. But even after it been exposed, the IPCC establishment made the most tortuous efforts to defend it for their fourth report in 2007.

This became the most comprehensively discredited IPCC report of all. It was the first produced under the chairmanship of Dr Pachauri, who was appointed in 2002. One after another, its scariest and most widely publicised predictions – such as that Himalayan glaciers would largely have vanished by 2035, that climate change would kill off 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, that African crop-yields would be halved by 2050 – were found to have been based not on science at all, but on the reckless claims of environmental activists.

Not the least indictment of the IPCC's 2007 report was the revelation that, in clear breach of its own rules, more than 5,000 of its supposedly scientific claims were not peer-reviewed but came from advocacy groups, press releases, newspaper articles, even student theses. Yet Dr Pachauri himself has repeatedly insisted that everything in his report was based on "peer-reviewed" science.

Again and again the 2007 report has been found to be in flagrant breach of the IPCC's own rules. For instance, it cited no fewer than 16 articles from a single issue of one climate journal – which had been published after the IPCC's official cut-off date and should therefore have been disallowed. In each of the thousands of instances where the IPCC broke its rules, the claims it made were all in one direction: to hype up alarm over the extent and effects of climate change beyond anything science could justify. The most shameless instance was the claim about Himalayan glaciers, which two of the IPCC's own expert reviewers had pointed out was ridiculous even before it was published. Dr Pachauri dismissed this criticism as "voodoo science" (having employed the author of the claim at his own Delhi research institute).

Through all this the IPCC has been exposed for what it truly is: not a proper scientific body but an advocacy group, ready to stop at nothing in hijacking the prestige of science for its cause. But little of this might be guessed from the Inter-Academy report (jointly commissioned by Dr Pachauri himself and Ban Ki-Moon, the UN's Secretary General). Even if Dr Pachauri is forced to resign at a UN meeting in Korea next month, as seems possible, he will merely have been thrown off the sledge so that the all-important cause can survive.

Yet the IPCC is the body on whose authority our Parliament voted for the Climate Change Act, passed all but unanimously two years ago. This will land us, on the Government's own figures, with by far the biggest bill we have ever faced: up to £18 billion every year for the next 40 years – £734 billion in all – in order to cut our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent, something impossible to achieve except by closing down virtually all our industrial economy.

On the same authority, the rest of the world is being told that it must take similar steps, to avert a catastrophe dreamed up and promoted by no one more than those joint winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore and the IPCC. Does this not all add up to the most bizarre and outrageous scandal in the history of the world?


Global Warming would be a good thing for Northern Countries

A rare note of optimism from a Greenie:

Move over, Sunbelt. The New North is coming through, a UCLA geographer predicts in a new book.

As worldwide population increases by 40 percent over the next 40 years, sparsely populated Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the northern United States will become formidable economic powers and migration magnets, Laurence C. Smith writes in "The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future" (Dutton Books), scheduled for publication Sept. 23.

While wreaking havoc on the environment, global warming will liberate a treasure trove of oil, gas, water and other natural resources previously locked in the frozen north, enriching residents and attracting newcomers, according to Smith. And these resources will pour from northern rim countries -- or NORCs, as Smith calls them -- precisely at a time when natural resources elsewhere are becoming critically depleted, making them all the more valuable.

"In many ways, the New North is well positioned for the coming century even as its unique ecosystem is threatened by the linked forces of hydrocarbon development and amplified climate change," writes Smith, a UCLA professor of geography and of earth and space sciences.

Other tantalizing predictions:

* New shipping lanes will open during the summer in the Arctic, allowing Europe to realize its 500-year-old dream of direct trade between the Atlantic and the Far East, and resulting in new access to and economic development in the north.

* Oil resources in Canada will be second only to those in Saudi Arabia, and the country's population will swell by more than 30 percent, a growth rate rivaling India's and six times faster than China's.

* NORCs will be among the few place on Earth where crop production will likely increase due to climate change.

* NORCs collectively will constitute the fourth largest economy in the world, behind the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the European Union and the United States.

* NORCs will become the envy of the world for their reserves of fresh water, which may be sold and transported to other regions.

An Arctic scientist who has consistently sounded alarms about the approach of global warming, Smith is best known for determining the role of climate change in the disappearance of more than a thousand Arctic lakes over the last quarter of the 20th century. Discover magazine ranked Smith's finding among the top 100 scientific discoveries of 2005.

The geographer also has conducted research on the role of greenhouse gases in precipitating the end of the last Ice Age some 9,000 years ago.

Armed with a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, Smith set out in 2006 on a 15-month tour to assess the toll of global warming on the northern rim, especially among such indigenous peoples as Canada's Inuit and Scandinavia's Sami. He interviewed seal hunters, reindeer herders, fishermen, miners, farmers, oil company executives, biologists, climatologists, oceanographers, indigenous elders, restaurant operators, small-town mayors and big-time federal officials. But the scientist uncovered more than he expected.

"I kept badgering people for stories about climate change," Smith said. "They'd sigh and oblige me, but then say, 'There's also this oil plant going up behind me' or 'All these Filipino immigrants are pouring in.' Within about two months, I realized there is a lot more going on up there besides climate change. Climate change is a critical threat to many people, but it isn't the sole development in their lives." ...

Cities expected to increase in size and prominence over the next 40 years include Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Seattle, Calgary, Edmonton, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Ottawa, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Moscow, he writes.

"It's not that London or L.A. are going to become empty wastelands," Smith said. "Even in 2050, there will be far more people down here than in the north. But many northern places that are now marginal or not really thought much about will emerge as very nice places to be."

Of the 10 "ports of the future" cited by Smith, only three -- Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, Canada's Churchill and Iceland's Reykjavik -- will sound familiar. Future beneficiaries of increased Arctic traffic will also include Nuuk in Greenland; Hammerfest, Kirkenes and Tromsø in Norway; and Archangelsk, Dudinka and Murmansk in Russia.

Although they will be facing severe threats to their traditional culture, northern indigenous communities can be expected to share in the wealth, Smith predicts. In the northern U.S., Canada and Greenland, these societies are expected to trade harpoons for briefcases, as increasingly common self-determination agreements allow them to exploit natural resources just as climate change is making them more accessible.

"Northern aboriginal people don't like being portrayed as hapless victims of climate change," Smith said. "They want the power and resource revenues to save themselves, and at least in North America, it looks like they'll have it."

Research for the book in no way abated Smith's concern about the prospects of climate change, but it did leave him optimistic in a lot of ways.

"It's like the Louisiana Purchase of 1803," he said. "There's a new part of the world that's emerging, with vast continents and a harsh geographical gradient but also resource and immigration bonanzas. Humanity will increasingly look north in response to the four global pressures of rising population, resource demand, globalization and climate change."


A good example of how the dreaded "globalization" helps the world to cope with "resource" shortages

Russia has had a bad wheat season but Australia is having a bumper crop so the world will still easily be fed. Both Russia and Australia are usually major wheat exporters but are in two different hemispheres -- so the weather that affects the one is most unlikely to affect the other

AWB says drought in Russia and weather damage in Europe has helped lift interest for Australian wheat, which is likely to be a bumper crop. AWB general manager of commodities Mitch Morison said wheat buyers were looking to Australian producers to make up for lost volume in global trade and supply higher quality needs.

Mr Morison said winter crop harvest had commenced in central Queensland, and production prospects across the nation had received a boost from recent rain. "Notwithstanding the unfortunate people suffering from localised flooding in some areas, it's a great start to the spring growth period and the timing couldn't have been much better from the markets perspective," Mr Morison said.

"The market is aware that weather damage in northern Europe has reduced the supply of higher quality milling wheat in that region and drought has cut crops in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to the point that exports through the Black Sea will be very limited. "This means there is very strong interest for Australian wheat, both to make up for the lost volume in the global trade and supply higher quality needs."

He said there was keen world interest for the Australian product: "The interest is helping to generate better physical prices for Australian wheat on top of the general improvement in world prices," Mr Morison said in a statement. "So we are in a strong position talking to customers about shipments both in bulk and containers."

AWB on Tuesday raised its forecast wheat pool returns for the 2010-11 season for the third straight month, with various grades of wheat increased between $9 and $22.



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 September, 2010

The Week That Was (To September 4, 2010)

By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

The big news of the week is the report released by the InterAcademy Council investigating the IPCC. The Council reported severe failings in the procedures and mechanisms used by the IPCC including major errors in the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, 2007), mismanagement and lack of supervision to correct errors, use of gray literature, and the lack of transparency. Among the more specific criticisms is that there is no scientific basis for the probability statements found in the AR4 Summary for Policymakers and many statements are scientifically meaningless.

As such, it had a little for everyone. IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri claimed it was vindication of his work, and the advocacy group, Union of Concerned Scientists, claimed it would strengthen the science behind the claim of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Other comments were less sanguine. A number of newspapers editorials, including the formerly supportive Economist, ranged from calling it a sharp critique to a condemnation of the IPCC. Long range weather forecaster Piers Corbyn called a whitewash and climate change researcher Roy Spencer suggests dumping the entire IPCC process.

One of the more prudent remarks came from Craig Idso of CO2 Science and NIPCC who wrote to Harold Shapiro, chairman of the committee, pointing out that the IPCC systematically ignores a vast body of scientific research that contradicts its findings. As long as this research is ignored, IPCC reports are not scientific.

Given that the InterAcademy Council is an international organization with many members coming from the National Academies of various countries, the report may strike some as surprisingly tough. Many national academies have not only have embraced the findings of the IPCC but some, such as the US National Academy of Sciences, have actively promoted the findings as scientifically unquestionable. With their outright advocacy of scientifically questionable procedures, these organizations may be losing their prestige with developing nations. This report will not help reestablish that prestige.

The report did not go into the how the IPCC procedures violate principles of science including the principle of continuity. The Summary for Policymakers of AR4 covers warming for only the past 50 years as if the physical laws changed 50 years ago (the globe cooled from about 1940 to 1975). Also, AR4 twists the principles of hypothesis testing, as explained in the book review below.

Given the western political mania surrounding the global warming issue, perhaps the InterAcademy report is the best from an international organization one can expect at this time. At least the report substantiates a claim that the US EPA finding that human emissions of carbon dioxide endanger human health and welfare is premature and, perhaps, totally false.


In a new book, Bjorn Lomborg issued a call for the developed world to spend $100 Billion a year to combat global warming with most of the money being spent on clean energy and geo-engineering schemes. This has incurred the wrath of some skeptics of AGW as well as many environmentalists. The environmental industry wants the $100 Billion to be spent, but not for geo-engineering. Previously, Lomborg issued reports stating that addressing AGW was far down on the list of world needs. Apparently the latest announcement represents a shift in his thinking on priorities.

Before becoming too riled at this shift, one should remember that Lomborg always supported the concept of AGW and his forte is descriptive statistics, not scientific methodology. Descriptive statistics formed the basis of his trenchant work The Skeptical Environmentalist (1998 & 2001) in which he demonstrated that the environment, particularly in the developed world, is improving; not disintegrating. He exposed as false many of the environmental industry's claims of massive environmental destruction. Some of these false claims still appear in IPCC reports today.

For this, Lomborg endured a virulent campaign of personal attacks not only from recognized environmental groups, but also from scientific organizations and scientific journals such as Scientific American. One may not agree with his views on AGW, but Lomborg should be respected for expressing views contrary to the "environmental consensus."


Roy Spencer reports the global average temperature of the lower troposphere in August was 0.51° C above the norm for the 32 years of satellite temperature measurements. This continues to make 2010 slightly cooler, but not statistically so, than 1998, the warmest year measured by satellites. He also reports that sea surface temperatures continue to show a cooling and measurements of the lower troposphere are now beginning to show a cooling as well.


The Number of the Week is 800.

John Brignell has been compiling a list of things caused by global warming which passed 800 on August 19, 2010. "The honour of being number 800 goes to the story that truffles are increasing. You can find it just after truffle shortage and truffles down; which just about says it all."


Book of the Week:

Climate: The Counter Consensus, by Professor Robert M. Carter.

In his book, Professor Carter demonstrates a rare combination of talents - an accomplished researcher who writes lucidly. He fluidly takes the reader through the entire sordid mess of what has become generally accepted climate science and he does it in a clever way.

In the introduction Carter establishes the difference between physical reality and the virtual reality that is much of climate science. In the virtual reality of IPCC science, as remarked by Richard Lindzen, 'the consensus was reached before even the research had begun.' Man is the cause of global warming and his actions (carbon dioxide emissions) must be stopped. Great deterministic computer models were created to confirm the consensus.

This virtual reality has been successfully substituted for physical reality in the minds of many journalists, scientists, government officials, and, to a large part, the public. The question "Do you believe in global warming?" is actually a code for "do you believe in dangerous global warming caused by human carbon dioxide emissions?" Carter's response: "It depends." "For there are many different realities of climate change."

Carter then takes the reader through a brief summary of the earth's climate history, emphasizing that, although ice ages were the dominant climate, over the past 400,000 years and the past 10,000 years there have been periods warmer than today. Thus, climate change and global warming are entirely natural and normal and today's temperatures are not particularly high and the change is not particularly rapid. Carter establishes that the practice of using very brief meteorological periods to assert that there is something unusual about the recent temperature changes is logically and scientifically absurd. Throughout the discussion he presents natural influences on climate and temperatures that are ignored by the IPCC.

He then points out that the uncertainties of knowledge of the carbon dioxide cycle are far larger than known human emissions. Thus, attempts to correlate human emissions with temperature change in order to establish causation are statistically meaningless; the error ranges are too huge. In an effort to establish causation, the model builders use aerosols - virtually unknown variables the "effects" of which are determined by the models - a circular argument. [Some may call these variables "pixie dust."]

Carter sums the US Supreme Court's finding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant as "an abuse of language, an abuse of logic, and an abuse of science."

He rejects the claims of dramatic changes in the oceans as "hobgoblins of alarm" and demonstrates them to be such, including the notion of ocean acidification. He then demonstrates why the deterministic computer models used by the IPCC are not predictive tools and suggests simplistic models may be better, including statistical climate models that are ignored by the IPCC.

It is in the several chapters starting with "Circumstantial evidence and the null hypothesis" that Carter's excellent approach comes to the fore. By using circumstantial evidence, and by using an extensive marketing effort designed by international advertising agencies to support their claims, the IPCC and its environmental industry allies have disguised the need, at least thus far, to conduct proper hypothesis testing. They falsely assert that recent global warming is unprecedented and human caused.

Since climate change is natural and normal in the earth's history, natural and normal climate change is the proper null hypothesis. Thus, it is incumbent on the IPCC to test its hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing global warming. The IPCC does not do so because, if tested, such a hypothesis would quickly be rejected. Carter presents at least eight scientific reasons why. There is no physical evidence that human carbon dioxide emissions will cause little more than minor warming that probably cannot be measured from the background noise. [SEPP Comment: of course, humans cause climate change and urbanization is a classic example. However, an increase in thermometer readings in cities around the globe as the cities grow is not global warming; it is localized warming in many places.]

Carter offers a plan B that he thinks is necessary. Climate will continue to change and humans must be prepared. Carter presents the Köppen-Geiger classification in which the earth has 28 climatological zones with larger nations having several. In plan B, Carter suggests it is important to be prepared to prepare for climate change according to climatic region, rather than globally. [SEPP Comment: the 30 + year satellite record shows that temperature change is largely regional, not global.] This requires something akin to New Zealand's emergency civil defense organization GeoNet, rather than grand international schemes.

Carter concludes by stating the politicians, scientific organizations, and science journals advocating "global warming" are in self-denial after the failure to establish emissions controls in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, their advocacy will make the public suspicious of a realistic Plan B.

It is difficult to briefly summarize this well researched, well written, dispassionate analysis except to state that the public may have been better served if the members of the InterAcademy Council investigating the IPCC read Climate: The Counter Consensus before issuing their report.


Big backdown from NOAA: Weather cycle explains warmer ocean

They are still making entirely speculative links to global warming but note the long overdue doubt expressed in the final paragraph. For several years independent scientists have demonstrated that more frequent El Niños may be a cause of warming, which has been ignored by the Orthodoxy up until now

A relatively new type of El Niño, which has its warmest waters in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean, rather than in the eastern-equatorial Pacific, is becoming more common and progressively stronger, according to a new study by NASA and NOAA. The research may improve our understanding of the relationship between El Niños and climate change, and has potential significant implications for long-term weather forecasting.

Lead author Tong Lee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Michael McPhaden of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle measured changes in El Niño intensity since 1982. They analyzed NOAA satellite observations of sea surface temperature, checked against and blended with directly-measured ocean temperature data. The strength of each El Niño was gauged by how much its sea surface temperatures deviated from the average. They found the intensity of El Niños in the central Pacific has nearly doubled over the study period, with the most intense event occurring in 2009-10.

The scientists say the stronger El Niños help explain a steady rise in central Pacific sea surface temperatures observed over the past few decades in previous studies — a trend attributed by some to the effects of global warming. While Lee and McPhaden observed a rise in sea surface temperatures during El Niño years, no significant temperature increases were seen in years when ocean conditions were neutral, or when El Niño’s cool water counterpart, La Niña, was present.

“Our study concludes the long-term warming trend seen in the central Pacific is primarily due to more intense El Niños, rather than a general rise of background temperatures,” said Lee.

“These results suggest climate change may already be affecting El Niño by shifting the center of action from the eastern to the central Pacific,” said McPhaden. “El Niño’s impact on global weather patterns is different if ocean warming occurs primarily in the central Pacific, instead of the eastern Pacific.”

“If the trend we observe continues,” McPhaden continued, “it could throw a monkey wrench into long-range weather forecasting, which is largely based on our understanding of El Niños from the latter half of the 20th century.”

El Niño (Spanish for “the little boy”) is the oceanic component of a climate pattern called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which appears in the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every three to five years. The most dominant year-to-year fluctuating pattern in Earth’s climate system, El Niños have a powerful impact on the ocean and atmosphere, as well as important socioeconomic consequences. They can influence global weather patterns and the occurrence and frequency of hurricanes, droughts and floods; and can even raise or lower global temperatures by as much as 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

During a “classic” El Niño episode, the normally strong easterly trade winds in the tropical eastern Pacific weaken. That weakening suppresses the normal upward movement of cold subsurface waters and allows warm surface water from the central Pacific to shift toward the Americas. In these situations, unusually warm surface water occupies much of the tropical Pacific, with the maximum ocean warming remaining in the eastern-equatorial Pacific.

Since the early 1990s, however, scientists have noted a new type of El Niño that has been occurring with greater frequency. Known variously as “central-Pacific El Niño,” “warm-pool El Niño,” “dateline El Niño” or “El Niño Modoki” (Japanese for “similar but different”), the maximum ocean warming from such El Niños is found in the central-equatorial, rather than eastern, Pacific. Such central Pacific El Niño events were observed in 1991-92, 1994-95, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2009-10. Studies have hypothesized that global warming due to human-produced greenhouse gases could shift the warming center of El Niños from the eastern to the central Pacific, further increasing the frequency of such events in the future.

Lee said further research is needed to evaluate the impacts of these increasingly intense El Niños and determine why these changes are occurring. “It is important to know if the increasing intensity and frequency of these central Pacific El Niños are due to natural variations in climate or to climate change caused by human-produced greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Results of the study were published recently in Geophysical Research Letters.


Old ice core proxies seriously flawed. New and better ones show strong Medieval warm period

Discussing: Kobashi, T., Severinghaus, J.P., Barnola, J.-M., Kawamura, K., Carter, T. and Nakaegawa, T. 2010. "Persistent multi-decadal Greenland temperature fluctuation through the last millennium". Climatic Change 100: 733-756.

According to Kobashi et al. (2010) "in Greenland, oxygen isotopes of ice (Stuiver et al., 1995) have been extensively used as a temperature proxy, but the data are noisy and do not clearly show multi-centennial trends for the last 1,000 years in contrast to borehole temperature records that show a clear 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period' (Dahl-Jensen et al., 1998)." However, they note that nitrogen (N) and argon (Ar) isotopic ratios -- 15N/14N and 40Ar/36Ar, respectively -- can be used to construct a temperature record that "is not seasonally biased, and does not require any calibration to instrumental records, and resolves decadal to centennial temperature fluctuations." Kobashi et al. further describe the development of such an approach, after which they use it to construct a history of the last thousand years of central Greenland surface air temperature, based on values of isotopic ratios of nitrogen and argon previously derived by Kobashi et al. (2008) from air bubbles trapped in the GISP2 ice core that had been extracted from central Greenland (72°36'N, 38°30'W).

The figure below depicts the central Greenland surface temperature reconstruction produced by the six scientists; and as best as can be determined from this representation, the peak temperature of the latter part of the Medieval Warm Period -- which actually began some time prior to the start of their record, as demonstrated by the work of Dansgaard et al. (1975), Jennings and Weiner (1996), Johnsen et al. (2001) and Vinther et al. (2010) -- was approximately 0.33°C greater than the peak temperature of the Current Warm Period, and about 1.67°C greater than the temperature of the last decades of the 20th century. In addition, it is worthy to note that between about 1400 and 1460 there was also a period of notable warmth in Kobashi et al.'s temperature reconstruction, which aligns well with the "Little" Medieval Warm Period, the peak temperature of which was about 0.9°C greater than the temperature of the last decades of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century.

More HERE (See the original for graphics & references)

The Left's war on the gasoline-powered car

Move over smog ratings, smug factor is here

Professor Obama is looking to grade you on your car-buying preferences. Beginning with the 2012 model year, new vehicles will carry revised window stickers bearing ratings from "A+" to "D," with the highest marks reserved for choices the administration endorses and the lowest for those it frowns upon. This is just the latest example of the nanny state mentality that has taken hold inside the Beltway.

The schoolmarms at the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation jointly proposed the new labels Monday. The idea is to give government-subsidized electric vehicles - the only ones eligible for the A+ grade - a competitive advantage. Each vehicle will be judged by a combination of factors, including measurements of fuel economy and contributions to "smog" and purported "global warming." Modern technology already has reduced actual pollutants in vehicles to minuscule levels. That means the measure of carbon-dioxide (CO2) output, a so-called "greenhouse gas," takes prime importance. CO2 is essential to life on this planet; it allows plants to grow and thrive. Yet with eco-extremists at the government's helm, the gas you are emitting as you read this editorial is labeled a pollutant to further the left's real goal: the elimination of the internal-combustion engine.

After more than a century of refinement, the gasoline-powered automobile represents an unbeatable choice. It provides economical freedom of travel to more people than has been possible at any other time in the world's history. This galls the social planners who prefer to restrict movement and foster dependency. That's why electric cars are a favorite. Since they were first developed in the 1880s, they have been hobbled by range and carrying capacity limitations. The left has extracted tens of billions of dollars from the pockets of taxpayers and transferred this wealth to the companies that produce these vehicles that make leftists feel good about themselves. Despite subsidies and incentives like free solo use of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, most families still see electric vehicles and hybrids as unrealistic options.

That's why government bureaucrats must treat consumers as schoolchildren who need Uncle Sam to tell them what to buy. The new proposed window stickers will include a measure of estimated "fuel-cost savings" based on the operating costs of electrics and hybrids, compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. It would be far more honest for the government to report the per-vehicle federal and state subsidies that go into each car. That way, the public would see that all such "savings" are illusory.


A satirical comment by Peter Wells

Now that we are no longer experiencing global warming, but "climate change" instead (a.k.a. global cooling), I see that carbon dioxide emissions are still the culprit. However, no one seems to know how it could be that carbon dioxide has caused first warming and then cooling.

I have applied my scientific background to the problem, and come up with the answer. While it took some time for the plants to adapt, they are now doing so and the result is a big spurt in their growth rate. All of this additional plant growth means more shade, and as we all know, it is cooler in the shade than in the sun.

The obvious concern is that this plant growth will become excessive. Plants will end up growing one and two feet a day and completely take over the green areas of earth, forcing humans to wander in the deserts for years.

Greenpeace and the Carbon Coalition are going to jointly finance a new movie about this menace. It will, of course, be narrated by Al "Chicken Little" Gore. The Obama administration will make it required showing in all schools on a weekly basis along with instructions on how to minimize breathing, since our breathing puts more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The movie will incorporate terrifying scenes of super trees toppled by hurricane force winds and able to demolish tall buildings with a single crash. The proposed title for the movie is Little Planet of Horrors. Perhaps this will qualify as the next disaster of the decade.

Received by email direct from the author:


Australian public broadcaster backs down over Warming claims

ABC Audience and consumer affairs provide the following reply in regard to a complaint about its report "Melting ice making Everest climbs dangerous".
As previously advised, the ABC sourced the report it published as 'Melting ice making Everest climbs dangerous' from the BBC as part of an established agency arrangement. When your complaint was received, Audience and Consumer Affairs considered whether a significant error had been made which warranted correction. We noted that table 10.2 of the Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 did appear to show temperatures rising faster at Mount Everest than in the rest of South Asia. We do not claim that this was the source relied upon by the BBC in their original story.

We have noted the material you have provided questioning the veracity of a statement in the report. Since we have not been able to verify a source for the references to climate, and in view of the brevity and overall focus of the item, we have removed these references from the story and added an Editor's Note to this effect.

The editorial note reads "Editor's note (September 1, 2010): "A reference to studies of climate in the Himalayas has been removed from this story because the ABC was not able to verify its source."

Without a credible, verifiable source this story amounted to unsubstantiated rumour, and now without the climate aspect it is hardly newsworthy and probably should have been left in the editor's bin.

If only ABC News had spent a small amount of time checking its sources before getting carried away with unsubstantiated claims of climate alarm, ABC's audience would not have been mislead.

We have yet to receive a response from the BBC.

More HERE (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


5 September, 2010

Fears grow over global food supply

But NOT due to "resources" running out. The more governments meddle in agriculture, the more the food supply is compromised. Russia used to be a grain importer under Communism. It's only the retreat of government planning after the fall of the Soviets that enabled Russia to resume its historic role as a grain exporter. Russia has vast rich plains that are very good for grain production. But the meddling hand is again at work in Russia and, as usual, problems result

Two days of unrest in Maputo, Mozambique, left seven people dead and 280 injured after the government decided to raise bread prices by 30%. Wheat prices rose further on Friday in the wake of Russia's decision to extend its grain export ban by 12 months, raising fears about a return to the food shortages and riots of 2007-08. In Mozambique, where a 30 per cent rise in bread prices triggered riots on Wednesday and Thursday, the government said seven people had been killed and 288 wounded.

Vladimir Putin's announcement on Thursday extended an export ban first introduced last month until late December 2011, sending wheat and other cereals prices to a near two-year high. It came as the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation called an emergency meeting to discuss the wheat shortage.

In Maputo, trade and industry minister Antonio Fernandes told a national radio station on Friday that the riots had caused 122m meticais ($3.3m) of damage. Police opened fire on demonstrators after thousands turned out to protest against the price hikes, burning tyres and looting food warehouses.

Although agricultural officials and traders insist that wheat and other crop supplies are more abundant than in 2007-08, officials fear the food riots could spread.

Wheat prices remained high on Friday morning. Futures in Chicago were up 1.5 per cent at $6.91 a bushel, while European wheat futures remained at historically high levels above _230 a tonne, just shy of last month's two-year high of _236. Wheat prices have surged nearly 70 per cent since January, and analysts forecast further rises after Russia's decision and concerns about weather damage to Australia's crop.

The crop problems in Russia, which suffered its worst drought on record this summer, and elsewhere, have heaped pressure on US farmers to supply the world's wheat. The US Department of Agriculture has increased its estimates for US wheat exports to $8bn for the current crop year.

The 2007-08 food shortages, the most severe in 30 years, set off riots in countries from Bangladesh to Mexico, and helped to trigger the collapse of governments in Haiti and Madagascar.

The FAO said that "the concern about a possible repeat of the 2007-08 food crisis" had resulted in "an enormous number" of inquiries from member countries. "The purpose of holding this meeting is for exporting and importing countries to engage."

Russia is traditionally the world's fourth-largest wheat exporter, and the export ban has already forced importers in the Middle East and North Africa, the biggest buyers, to seek supplies in Europe and the US.

Mr Putin said Moscow could "only consider lifting the export ban after next year's crop has been harvested and we have clarity on the grain balances". He added that the decision to extend the ban was intended to "end unnecessary anxiety and to ensure a stable and predictable business environment for market participants".

"This is quite serious," said Abdolreza Abbassian, of the FAO in Rome. "Two years in a row without Russian exports creates quite a disturbance." Dan Manternach, chief wheat economist at Doane Agricultural Services in St Louis, added: "This is a wake-up call for importing nations about the reliability of Russia."

Jakkie Cilliers, director of South Africa's Institute of Security Studies, said there was concern over a repeat of the protests of 2008: "That certainly strengthened a return of the military in politics in Africa."


Top Russian scientist denies that there ever was an IPCC consensus

By Yuri Izrael (Yuri Izrael is director of the Global Climate and Ecology Institute and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

There has never been a consensus that man is to blame for global warming among the experts at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

I was among the fiercest opponents and have challenged that document because it is not scientifically valid. The UN Framework Climate Change Convention says the concentration of greenhouse gases must be such as to rule out the danger of anthropogenic impact on the climate. But where is that level? Nobody knows, so it can be fixed arbitrarily.

World leaders agreed in Copenhagen to use as a reference point the 1900 temperature, the pre-industrial era, and to do everything not to exceed this level by more than two degrees. This amounts to an admission, even if implicit, that man is the cause of warming. But there were periods in Earth’s history when man did not exist and the temperature exceeded current temperatures by 10-12C and the greenhouse concentration was 10 to 15 times higher.

Over the centuries, our temperature has waxed and waned for reasons that are not fully understood. Let us take the last 100 years. The average temperature decreased between 1900 and 1910, but increased by nearly 1C by the 1940s despite the wars when industry was in low gear and greenhouse emissions were comparatively low. How does one account for such a rise in temperature? Those who insist that there is global warming have no answer. Then the temperature began to decline even as industry recovered. The drop in temperature continued until 1975 before sharp growth set in, which continues to this day.

In this situation of uncertainty, it appears the Kyoto Protocol is costing trillions of dollars. That is what has to be spent to stop the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet even if such astronomical sums are spent, success is not assured.

On future cooling

Many scientists say that the climate will become colder and not warmer and that the planet is entering another cycle of cold. This is based on geological data collected over thousands of years. There is no direct proof that cooling will happen, but there is indirect evidence.

For example, 10,000 years ago the icing cycle ended and the warming phase set in. Maximum average temperatures were reached 5,500 years ago, and since then it has fallen. There have been temperature leaps, but the overall trend has been downward. On that basis, scientists predict a cold age and dismiss the current warming as another temperature spike.

The data on greenhouse concentrations are interesting. If their concentration reaches about 180-200 molecules per million molecules of air, the ice age on the earth will set in. In 1900, the figure was 280 molecules, today it is 380. For the sake of comparison, when the temperature on the planet was 10-12C higher than today, that figure was 4,000-6,000 molecules.

In other words, we are closer to an ice age but we are drifting away from that boundary. True, cycles last thousands of years and if the geologists are right, an ice age will occur in the distant future while a sharp temperature rise is already happening.

On the whole, I can say that science has no clear idea of how and why climate changes, there are many imponderables, which preclude any hard and fast conclusions. The chances to be wrong are too great.

More HERE. (He goes on to point out that the recent heatwave conditions in Russia have happened many times before)

Pesky plants not behaving themselves

The amount of CO2 they absorb and emit is not much affected by temperature -- so goodbye to one of the big "feedbacks" that Warmist models rely on

It is well known that carbon dioxide cannot directly account for the observed increase in global temperature over the past century. This has led climate scientists to theorize that many feedback relationships exists within the climate system, serving to amplify the impact of rising CO2 levels. One of these is the impact of rising temperature on the ability of the ecosystem to absorb CO2.

The temperature sensitivity of ecosystem respiratory processes (referred to as Q10) is a key determinant of the interaction between climate and the carbon cycle. New research, recently published in the journal Science, shows that the Q10 of ecosystem respiration is invariant with respect to mean annual temperature, and independent of the analyzed ecosystem type. This newly discovered temperature insensitivity suggests that climate sensitivity to CO2 is much smaller than assumed by climate models.

Climate sensitivity is generally given as how much temperature rise would result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels. Using IPCC figures for radiative forcing, a doubling of CO2 would lead to a temperature rise of about half a degree (see “Another Look at Climate Sensitivity”). Yet the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) gives a much higher value for climate sensitivity. It claims a 2°C to 4.5°C rise for a CO2 doubling, or from four to nine times higher than what is see in the real climate system. Why? Climate models assume that there are large positive feedbacks as Earth warms. Among these feedbacks is the impact of rising temperature on emission and absorption of CO2 by Earth's biota.

Accurately predicting future levels of atmospheric CO2 requires a clear understanding of how land and atmosphere exchange CO2. Each year, photosynthesizing land plants remove (fix) one in eight molecules of atmospheric CO2. Land plants and soil organisms return a similar amount of the dreaded greenhouse gas. The balance between removal and respiration determines whether terrestrial ecosystems are a net carbon sink or source. Two papers in the August 13, 2010, issue of Science bring a new understanding of land-atmosphere CO2 exchange.

In “Terrestrial Gross Carbon Dioxide Uptake: Global Distribution and Covariation with Climate,” Christian Beer et al. estimate total annual terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) in an approach more solidly based on data than previous approximations. Terrestrial GPP is the largest source of global carbon exchange. It drives many ecosystem functions, such as respiration and growth. Food, fiber, and wood production from plants are all part of terrestrial GPP. Moreover, GPP is one of the major processes controlling land-atmosphere CO2 exchange....

The most important statement from Beer et al. is that last line: “Most likely, the association of GPP and climate in process-oriented models can be improved by including negative feedback mechanisms (e.g., adaptation) that might stabilize the systems.” Instead of a positive feedback as is widely assumed in climate models, they suggest that the feedback should be reduced and may even be negative. There are even signs that the climate system adapts and self regulates. None of these factors are used in the IPCC's models....

The combined impact of these two papers is yet another blow to the validity of current computer models. Previous assumptions about the absorption and production of CO2 by terrestrial plants under changing conditions are in error. These new results imply that rising CO2 levels will not cause the temperature increases predicted by existing computer models. In an accompanying perspective article, Peter B. Reich, an environmental biologist at the University of Minnesota, summed up the implications of these papers:

Regardless of the difficulty of interpreting the processes underlying these numbers, the findings are important. Beer et al.'s value for GPP is our best and most broad-based estimate, despite its uncertainty. Mahecha et al.'s results are important because they suggest that, at week-to-month scales, R's relationship to temperature converges at a Q10 of 1.4 across many varied ecosystems. Their work also reduces fears that respiration fluxes may increase strongly with temperature, accelerating climate change....

More plainly put, making simplifying assumptions about nature has led to an over estimation of carbon dioxide's impact on temperature. As experienced modelers will tell you, simplifying assumptions can be the death of any simulation. Here is more proof that the climate models used by the IPCC and other climate researchers don't have a chance in hell

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

The folly of green protectionism

Here's a formula for you to study:

Green groups want less forestry in the developing world. Industry wants green protectionism to cut the volume of competitive imports. Unions want green protectionism to stop imports to ensure they can keep workers in high-paying jobs

So using the environment as an excuse, we have these three groups colluding to further their own agendas. Call it "green protectionism".

In a recent case it has been to keep toilet paper made in foreign countries out of Australia. That's right, toilet paper. Can anyone now figure, based on that formula, what the missing part of the equation might be? The part that is necessary to make such collusion pay off?

Yes, government. Certainly green groups can want less forestry in the developing world, and industry can wish for a way to cut the volume of competitive imports. And unions always hope to ensure high paying jobs.

But only one entity can actually make all those wishes, wants and hopes come true. If government becomes involved it has the power to fulfill the wishes and hopes of these three disparate special interest groups.

That's what happened in 2008 when two Australian toilet paper manufacturers, Kimberly Clark Australia and SCA Hygiene as well as the Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the World Wildlife Fund essentially colluded to keep foreign manufactured toilet paper, primarily from Indonesia and China out of the country. Their ostensible complaint was those countries were "dumping" their product in Australia.

For a short time they succeeded in getting imports restricted by the Australian Customs Service, until, it seems, the ACS did a study to determine the validity of the complaint. Their findings were significant. The Australian Customs Service report calculated that the potential downward pressure of imports could be as high as 42 percent of the price.

In other words, the collusion would cost consumers in Australia 42% more because the competitive pressure that kept prices low would have been removed. In addition, a recent report commissioned by the Australian government found that "illegally logged material" - one of the prime reasons these groups claimed Australia should ban imports of foreign wood products - only comprised 0.32 percent of the materials coming into Australia. In other words, the threat was insignificant.

That's Australia, but what about here? Well, we're hearing the same sorts of rumblings concerning "green protectionism".

Sadly these campaigns appear to be part of a spreading green protectionist disease, where industry, unions and green groups work together. In the United States the disease was brought to life by the Lacey Act, which imposes extra regulation on imported wood and wood products to certify their origin and make them less competitive.

The Lacey Act is actually an update of a 1900 law that banned the import of illegally caught wildlife. It now includes wood products (2008). And that means, since extra steps and cost are incurred by foreign manufacturers, that consumers are stuck with the increased cost.

While the reasons for protectionism may sound good on the surface - save the forests, higher wages, less competition to ensure jobs - it isn't a good thing. If freedom is defined by the variety of choices, what protectionism does is limit those choices and impose an unofficial tax on consumers. They end up paying the cost of collusive action between government and special interests.

So, each time your government announces that it is doing you the favor of limiting the imports of this commodity or that, based on "green" concerns, hold on to your wallet. Whatever the government is protecting you from, you can rest assured that the price of the domestic variety is headed up, since the other product of government intrusion is limiting competition. Rule of thumb: restricting free trade is rarely a good thing. And the only entity that can do so is government. "Green" is just the newest color in an old and costly game - protectionism.


More regulations coming from the EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will roll out more regulations on greenhouse gases and other pollution to help fight climate change, but they will not be as strong as action by Congress, a senior administration official said.

The agency "has a huge role to play in continuing the work to move from where we are now to lower carbon emissions", said the official, who did not want to be identified as the EPA policies are still being formed.

President Barack Obama, looking to take the lead in global talks on greenhouse gas emissions, has long warned that the EPA would take steps to regulate emissions if Congress failed to pass a climate bill.

The Senate has all but ruled out moving on greenhouse gases this year, even though the House of Representatives passed a bill last year. In late July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stripped climate provisions out of an energy bill, saying he could not get one Republican vote for them.

The senior official stopped short of saying the EPA alone would achieve Obama's goal of about 17 percent reductions in greenhouse gases by 2020 from 2005 levels. "With legislation you almost certainly get more emissions reductions than you get with existing authorities" that the EPA can use under the Clean Air Act, the official said.

And analysts say the EPA will not be able to achieve the far deeper cuts needed to help prevent the worst effects of climate change such as floods, droughts and heatwaves.

Though Congress will not likely move in 2010, the EPA expects it will do so in coming years, the official said.

EPA plans on smokestack emissions face obstacles in Congress and in the courts. Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, and other lawmakers hope to stop the EPA from regulating the emissions for two years.

Energy companies -- from wind and solar power makers to utilities -- are concerned about the regulatory uncertainties, with some analysts saying billions of dollars of investments are stymied by the lack of direction in Washington.

The official said the EPA rules would provide regulatory certainty that could help businesses get loans to build new plants. A two-year delay would only prolong the uncertainty, and hurt the chances of getting financing, the official said.

Starting next year the EPA will require large power plants, manufacturers and oil refiners to get permits for releasing greenhouse gas emissions, though details are unclear.

The EPA will also require industrial sources to submit analyses on the so-called "best available technology" they could add to their plants to cut emissions under the existing Clean Air Act.

The official said the EPA will put out guidance this month that would help companies determine which technologies -- perhaps moving to cleaner-burning natural gas and away from coal -- would make the most sense.

In addition, the EPA is working on rules to cut emissions of mercury from coal-burning power plants and cement plants and on toughening rules on coal ash. In combination, the rules could help force inefficient coal plants into early retirement.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson plans to attend a meeting in Mexico in October aimed at reducing emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the official said.


The thorium solution

If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.

We could then stop arguing about wind mills, deepwater drilling, IPCC hockey sticks, or strategic reliance on the Kremlin. History will move on fast.

Muddling on with the status quo is not a grown-up policy. The International Energy Agency says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock. The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.

There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

Thorium eats its own hazardous waste. It can even scavenge the plutonium left by uranium reactors, acting as an eco-cleaner. "It’s the Big One," said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA rocket engineer and now chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering.

"Once you start looking more closely, it blows your mind away. You can run civilisation on thorium for hundreds of thousands of years, and it’s essentially free. You don’t have to deal with uranium cartels," he said.

Thorium is so common that miners treat it as a nuisance, a radioactive by-product if they try to dig up rare earth metals. The US and Australia are full of the stuff. So are the granite rocks of Cornwall. You do not need much: all is potentially usable as fuel, compared to just 0.7pc for uranium.

After the Manhattan Project, US physicists in the late 1940s were tempted by thorium for use in civil reactors. It has a higher neutron yield per neutron absorbed. It does not require isotope separation, a big cost saving. But by then America needed the plutonium residue from uranium to build bombs.

"They were really going after the weapons," said Professor Egil Lillestol, a world authority on the thorium fuel-cycle at CERN. "It is almost impossible make nuclear weapons out of thorium because it is too difficult to handle. It wouldn’t be worth trying." It emits too many high gamma rays.

You might have thought that thorium reactors were the answer to every dream but when CERN went to the European Commission for development funds in 1999-2000, they were rebuffed.

Brussels turned to its technical experts, who happened to be French because the French dominate the EU’s nuclear industry. "They didn’t want competition because they had made a huge investment in the old technology," he said.

The Norwegian group Aker Solutions has bought Dr Rubbia’s patent for the thorium fuel-cycle, and is working on his design for a proton accelerator at its UK operation.

Victoria Ashley, the project manager, said it could lead to a network of pint-sized 600MW reactors that are lodged underground, can supply small grids, and do not require a safety citadel. It will take £2bn to build the first one, and Aker needs £100mn for the next test phase.

The UK has shown little appetite for what it regards as a "huge paradigm shift to a new technology". Too much work and sunk cost has already gone into the next generation of reactors, which have another 60 years of life.

So Aker is looking for tie-ups with the US, Russia, or China. The Indians have their own projects - none yet built - dating from days when they switched to thorium because their weapons programme prompted a uranium ban.

America should have fewer inhibitions than Europe in creating a leapfrog technology. The US allowed its nuclear industry to stagnate after Three Mile Island in 1979.

Anti-nuclear neorosis is at last ebbing. The White House has approved $8bn in loan guarantees for new reactors, yet America has been strangely passive. Where is the superb confidence that put a man on the moon?

Thorium-fluoride reactors can operate at atmospheric temperature. "The plants would be much smaller and less expensive. You wouldn’t need those huge containment domes because there’s no pressurized water in the reactor. It’s close-fitting," he said.

Nuclear power could become routine and unthreatening. But first there is the barrier of establishment prejudice.

When Hungarian scientists led by Leo Szilard tried to alert Washington in late 1939 that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb, they were brushed off with disbelief. Albert Einstein interceded through the Belgian queen mother, eventually getting a personal envoy into the Oval Office.

Roosevelt initially fobbed him off. He listened more closely at a second meeting over breakfast the next day, then made up his mind within minutes. "This needs action," he told his military aide. It was the birth of the Manhattan Project. As a result, the US had an atomic weapon early enough to deter Stalin from going too far in Europe.

The global energy crunch needs equal "action". If it works, Manhattan II could restore American optimism and strategic leadership at a stroke: if not, it is a boost for US science and surely a more fruitful way to pull the US out of perma-slump than scattershot stimulus. Even better, team up with China and do it together, for all our sakes.



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 September, 2010

Harvard Code of Conduct Contrasts with Penn State and UVa

By Charles Battig, M.D., President, Piedmont Chapter of Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, Charlottesville, VA

An insight into the apparent difference in how "scientific misconduct" at Harvard University is handled, and how it has been handled at Penn State and the University of Virginia in the matter of climatologist Michael Mann is now available.

Harvard professor of psychology Marc Hauser was found "solely responsible for eight instances of scientific misconduct" involving the "data acquisition, data analysis, data retention, and the reporting of research methodologies and results" according to the August 20, 2010 statement by Harvard dean Michael D. Smith. This finding was issued based on a faculty investigating committee study. The report noted that it began with an "inquiry phase" in response to "allegations of scientific misconduct." It seems that there were allegations of "monkey business" in his research on monkey cognition. Three papers by Hauser, presumably peer reviewed, will need to be corrected or retracted according to Dean Smith. The academic fate of the professor is yet to be decided.

In contrast, the two reviews of the behavior of climatologist M. Mann at Penn State seemed primarily focused on his data housekeeping habits and openness to sharing his data and analysis methodology. He was found to have acted within the "accepted practices within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research." The issues of data acquisition and analysis validity were not pursued; the number of awards and publications Mann received was cited as evidence of the validity of his work.

At the University of Virginia an "inquiry phase", such as noted in the Harvard protocol, was initiated by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli into the possible misuse of public funds by Mann in his pursuit of employment by the University and his use of such funds in his research activities there. Virginia state law gives wide discretion to the AG in the initiation of investigations into suspected misuse of state funds. This request was met with claims of impingement on sacred academic freedom, and chilling the environment for academic research in general by the university and its various supporters. Rather than welcome the chance to dispel the suspicion of scientific misconduct and protect its academic reputation, the university enlisted a high powered D.C. legal team to fight the AG request in court.

While this legal process plays out, the court of public opinion must wonder why the openness and direct dealing with such allegations exhibited by Harvard is not the model for the University of Virginia. Harvard is shown to be a scientifically open and self policing university; UVa is hiding behind its self -righteous claims of academic freedom and legal barricades. Whose research will the public more likely trust?

Comment above received via email from the author:

An alphabet soup of agencies is quietly arranging to install "Green" building codes across the USA

Making housing even more difficult to afford

Green building codes are hitting the radar screens of U.S. commercial real estate professionals as a result of recent initiatives. Widespread consideration of national model green building codes for inclusion in local and state building regulations, as well as by federal government agencies, is now underway, and crucial decisions concerning those efforts must be made by those who will be impacted by the potential imposition of these new regulations.

Landmark Agreement Energizes Move for Green Regulation
ICC and ASHRAE, along with the USGBC, Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), American Institute of Architects (AIA), and ASTM International, recently announced an agreement to merge two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green building codes. The announcement coincided with the launch of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) with the release of Version 1.0.

As this column mentioned a few months ago, the launch of the IGCC "establishes a previously unimaginable regulatory framework for the construction of high-performance commercial buildings that are safe and sustainable . through a delivery infrastructure [that can] reach all 50 states and more than 22,000 local jurisdictions."

In a critical development, the IGCC will include Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings as one compliance path jurisdictions may choose to follow. Standard 189.1 will also be included in its entirety in the distribution of the IGCC.

BOMA's Role

BOMA is pleased that this agreement has been reached between ICC, ASHRAE, and cooperating sponsors. It's consistent with BOMA's suggested solutions to the problems of redundant codes competing for adoption and implementation in municipal, state, and federal jurisdictions.

As reported in the March issue of BUILDINGS in this column, BOMA was part of the consensus committee and influenced the development of Standard 189.1 by securing more workable, cost-effective provisions and bringing considerations of project cost and the need to consider basic business investment principles to the process. BOMA will now participate in the ongoing development of the IGCC as it enters a comment period in 2010, and is subject to code change proposals and public hearings in 2011 in advance of the publication of the 2012 edition.

As green building codes are considered for adoption and enforcement by local and state jurisdictions, BOMA will work to preserve building owners' options in selecting designs, systems, or components that best meet their needs. BOMA will also work to ensure that the code is applicable only to buildings or projects specifically designated green, those participating in voluntary green building programs, or those where the building owners and managers have determined that compliance with green building codes is advantageous. BOMA doesn't support the adoption and implementation of green building codes intended to apply to all newly constructed buildings, or to all tenant improvement, additions, and major renovations to existing buildings.

The Challenge for Commercial Real Estate

There's widespread consensus that green codes are not intended to apply to every project, and they're not designed to replace current energy, building, mechanical, and other codes that set the baseline for all construction. Green codes are meant to reach beyond minimum requirements and specifically intended to achieve significant reductions in energy usage, address site development and land-use requirements, improve indoor environments, encourage water resource conservation, and support the use of renewable energy systems. Green codes also include measures to address post-occupancy building performance, as well as extensive owner and operator education to ensure that future efficiencies are realized.

Current voluntary green building programs reach only about 30 percent of the built environment. Would the initial application of green building regulations to that universe of buildings make the most sense? Should tenant improvement, remodeling, and renovation projects be included in green regulations? What about limiting green codes to government buildings or new building construction only? What are the likely impacts of a wider application of green codes, especially on at-risk U.S. commercial real estate markets? How can local priorities and conditions be included in green regulations?

The answers to these and other questions will be critical to the success of efforts to add regulations to voluntary, market-based programs to speed the introduction of more universal green and sustainable construction.


Climate Of Uncertainty

On Monday an independent review found that the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has downplayed uncertainties surrounding climate science. The review also found that the IPCC needs more robust safeguards against conflicts of interest, that it had committed "unnecessary errors" by failing to meet its own standards, that it had inadequately flagged its use of nonscientific sources, that it made claims with "high confidence" based on "weak evidentiary basis," and that it gave short shrift to dissenting scientists.

And for all that, the review added that the IPCC "has been successful overall and has served society well."

This week's report, in keeping with three earlier investigations into the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, limited its inquiry to the "processes and procedures" of the IPCC. While it found those wanting, it also saw no need to question their scientific result.

That's too bad, since the state of the science has moved on considerably since the IPCC concluded in its 2007 report that climate change was "unequivocal." A forthcoming paper in Annals of Applied Statistics details the uncertainties in trying to reconstruct historical temperatures using proxy data such as tree rings and ice cores. Statisticians Blakeley McShane and Abraham Wyner find that while proxy records may relate to temperatures, when it comes to forecasting the warming observed in the last 30 years, "the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature."

Also, last month, New Phytologist published a series of papers examining the Amazon rain forest's vulnerability to drought, following years of increasingly dire predictions that anthropogenic carbon emissions and global warming will kill off Amazon trees. Climatologist Peter Cox, a co-author on four of those papers, told us, "One of the things that turns out to be important is the extent to which tropical forests respond positively to CO2 increases."

The specifics of that relationship remain "a key uncertainty," Mr. Cox said, and recent findings have raised more questions than they've answered. But the fact that higher CO2 levels can make plants more efficient at using water means that not only might rain forests survive CO2-induced drought better than previously thought, but that carbon emissions overall might even be good for rain forests, up to a point. That's news, even if it has been little reported.

And while you've probably heard (frequently) that this summer appears to be the warmest on record, you may not have been told that an unusually cold spell in the Antarctic brought a chill to southern South America and is responsible for the deaths of six million fish and thousands of alligators, turtles and river dolphins, according to Nature News.

None of this proves or disproves anything, except that our understanding of how our climate works is still evolving. Is it too much to ask the climate establishment to acknowledge as much?


Pachauri: IAC Got It Wrong - Next IPCC Report Will Be Even More Political

Excerpts from the Times of India Interview with IPCC Head Rajendra Pachauri

TOI: Anything in the UN probe report you completely or partly disagree with?

RP: They have talked about quantifying uncertainties. To some extent, we are doing that, though not perfectly. But the issue is that in some cases, you really don't have a quantitative base by which you can attach a probability or a level of uncertainty that defines things in quantitative terms. And there, let's not take away the importance of expert judgment. And that is something the report has missed or at least not pointed out.

TOI: Does this raise a larger issue of how science is used by society? And is there a political guidance to it?

RP: Sure...

TOI: Stifling politics out of science, does that make it devoid of its real social purpose?

RP: Let's face it, we are an intergovernmental body and our strength and acceptability of what we produce is largely because we are owned by governments. If that was not the case, then we would be like any other scientific body that maybe producing first-rate reports but don't see the light of the day because they don't matter in policy-making. Now clearly, if it's an inter-governmental body and we want governments' ownership of what we produce, obviously they will give us guidance of what direction to follow, what are the questions they want answered.

Unfortunately, people have completely missed the original resolution by which IPCC was set up. It clearly says that our assessment should include realistic response strategies. If that is not an assessment of policies, then what does it represent?

And I am afraid, we have been, in my view, defensive in coming out with a whole range of policies and I am not saying we prescribe policy A or B or C but on the basis of science, we are looking at realistic response strategies. But that is exactly what this committee has recommended that we get out of - policy prescriptions. It is for this reason that I brought out that this what is written in the IPCC mandate. This is a misperception on the part of some people in the scientific community. And I hope I can correct it.

TOI: What are the new elements in the next climate assessment report (due in 2014)?

RP: Some of things that are certainly going to be included this time are issues of equity. It's yet to be accepted by the panel, so I can't really say definitely. At the meeting, we dwelt at length on Article 2 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which says the central objective of the convention is to prevent the anthropogenic interference with the climate system which is in terms of ecosystem, ensuring food security and ensuring that development can take place. These are three central pillars. This is something that science can't answer. Because what is perceived as dangerous, depends on value judgements. But science can provide as much information as possible by which the negotiators and decision-makers can decide what is dangerous and we are trying very hard to get this together.

TOI: Aren't you treading on more dangerous territory with this, because this is the most contentious bit of the negotiations - the North South divide?

RP: It is but I also believe this is something the IPCC must do. And I must say I owe it to what has happened over the past few months that I have certainly shed any inhibitions or feelings of cowardice. I believe this is now my opportunity to go out and do what I think is right. In the second term I may be little more uncomfortable for the people than I was in the first. Maybe they realize it.

TOI: So the issue of equity is central to the next report?

RP: Certainly, but not only equity, we have also used the word 'ethics'. There are certain ethical dimensions, even of the scientific assessment of climate change which we are going to try and assess.


Greenhouse protection racket - an update

Last week, the Obama Administration filed a brief on behalf of industry petitioners urging the Supreme Court to vacate an appeals court decision (State of Connecticut et al. v. American Electric Power et al.) that would allow States and private parties to sue coal-burning electric utilities for their alleged contribution to global warming-related "injuries."

The brief clearly lays out the absurdities of attempting to regulate greenhouse gases via common-law public nuisance litigation. Because global warming is, well, global, practically anyone on Earth could claim to be a victim. And because companies emit carbon dioxide (CO2) only as a byproduct of providing goods and services (electricity, cars, food, medical care, bites of information, etc.) to people, practically everyone on the planet could be sued as a contributor to the alleged injuries. In the memorable words of South Park's hilarious global warming episode, Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow, "We all broke the dam!"

In addition, the Obama brief points out that, "Establishing appropriate levels for the reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by a 'specified percentage each year for at least a decade' (as Plaintiffs request), would inevitably entail multifarious policy judgments, which should be made by decision-makers who are politically accountable, have expertise, and are able to pursue a coherent national or international strategy - either at a single stroke or incrementally."

Yet the brief stops short of reaching the obvious conclusion implied by its argument, namely, that climate policy is a "non-justiciable political question." Instead, it advises the Supreme Court to direct the court of appeals to reassess its decision on "prudential" grounds. Rather than seek a decision that would preempt all future CO2 litigation, the brief instead seeks to put one particular CO2 lawsuit on ice.

I smell a rat. The Administration, I suspect, does not want the Court to rule that the political question doctrine precludes public nuisance litigation against CO2-emitters, because it wants the only solid, durable shield against litigation chaos to be the EPA's "displacement" of common-law injury claims via the agency's endangerment rule and the ensuing regulatory cascade.

Just as the Administration used the endangerment rule to try and spook Congress and industry into supporting cap-and-trade, it is now using CO2 litigation to try and spook them into supporting - or at least not aggressively attacking - EPA regulation of greenhouse gases via the Clean Air Act.

In short, as I discuss in a column this week in Pajamas Media, the Administration needs to keep the prospect of CO2 litigation alive in order to sustain the "greenhouse protection racket" - the strategy of regulatory extortion - on which warmists increasingly rely to promote their agenda.


Redesigned Labels on New Cars Will Include Pollution Information

I guess that there may be a few chumps who take notice of such labels. Not many, though. Greenie policies need compulsion to do anything

The Obama administration is changing the fuel economy labels placed on the windows of new cars and light trucks so consumers can "make the best economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car."

The new labels will give consumers "simple, straightforward energy and environmental comparisons," including information about air pollutants emitted by the vehicle.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation proposed two new label designs for public comment.

One of the labels features a letter grade, ranging from A+ to D, to describe the vehicle's overall fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions performance. It also estimates how many grams of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits per mile.

The second proposed label shows how many miles the vehicle will get for each gallon of gas, and it lists the vehicle's annual fuel costs. This label uses a bar graph to show how the vehicle rates on a scale of carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions. A second bar graph shows how the vehicle's tailpipe emissions contribute to local and regional air pollution.

"We are asking the American people to tell us what they need to make the best economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "New fuel economy labels will keep pace with the new generation of fuel efficient cars and trucks rolling off the line, and provide simple, straightforward updates to inform consumers about their choices in a rapidly changing market. We want to help buyers find vehicles that meet their needs, keep the air clean and save them money at the pump."

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 specifically directs the EPA and DOT to rate vehicles according to fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and smog-forming pollutants.



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 September, 2010

James Lee is Al Gore is Prince Charles is the Unabomber

Al Gore’s Church of Climatism has claimed a new glorious martyr. His name is James Lee – the Discovery channel attempted eco-suicide-bomber – and if he’d had his way he wouldn’t have been the only one who ended up in the great recycling bin in the sky. That’s because, as far as the late James Lee was concerned, humans like the innocent Discovery channel employees he held hostage are the scum of the earth.

Just read some of the manifesto he posted on the internet and see for yourself:
The humans? The planet does not need humans.

You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY KNOW this!

Does this sound like the ravings of a sad, deranged loner on the wilder fringes of eco-fascist lunacy? Not to me it doesn’t. Strip away the block capitals and what you have, word for word, is the core manifesto of the entire global green movement.

Some greens, such as Al Gore, the Prince of Wales, the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt or that nice David Attenborough try to express their philosophy more diplomatically. Others, such as James Lee and his kindred spirit the Unabomber, are more forthright. Ideologically, however, there is not a cigarette paper’s difference between them. All cleave to the same fundamental tenet of the Church of Climatism: that humans are the problem not the solution.

It was for just this same strain of dodgy thinking that I castigated Boris Johnson yesterday. And the fact that people like Boris express their concerns about “overpopulation” jovially doesn’t make their stance any less reprehensible. In fact it probably makes it more so.

At least with the Unabomber or James Lee you know that you’re dealing with a nutcase. But when an apparently reasonable, decent, pukka fellow like Boris or the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt or the Prince of Wales or that nice David Attenborough off the TV expresses a similar opinion, there’s a strong risk that what is au fond exactly the kind of poisonous, misanthropy the Nazis took to its logical extreme begins to look moderate and sensible and considered.

What’s really depressing is that the philosophy expressed in James Lee’s (and the Unabomber’s) manifesto – which is also, incidentally, the philosophy expressed in Al Gore’s The Earth In Balance – is also the philosophy that is taught every day to our children in their schools: the world is fragile; human beings are a blot on the landscape; through our greed and selfishness we make everything worse; really it would be better if we vanished altogether and let all the lovely pure noble animals take over.

Or, as James Lee put it:
Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.

Not only do our schools teach our children this misanthropic – and deeply ahistoric – rot, but so also do broadcasters like the Discovery Channel. Their sister station, Animal Planet, for example, broadcasts a series called Whale Wars celebrating the real-life adventures of animal rights extremist Paul Watson.

It’s time we woke up to the threat posed by this mass brainwashing of the younger generation. We worry, rightly, about those Muslim children who are being indoctrinated with the extreme Wahaabist version of their faith. Yet we seem astonishingly complacent that every day, in schools of every kind throughout the Western world, our children are being taught by well-meaning teachers to view their world and culture through exactly the same anti-capitalist, anti-human, anti-growth eyes as James Lee and the Unabomber.

The modern environmental movement is not kind, caring or gentle. It is a series of ticking time bombs waiting to blow up in our face.


Alarmism fails again: Scientists Forced To Revise Arctic Sea Ice Projections Upwards

The September Arcus Sea Ice Forecast, August Report, is out, and quite naturally, the doom and gloom projections of a death spiral have returned to the closet, at least until next June.

The mean of the 16 projections provided by scientists is 4.9 +/- 0.51 million square kilometers, which is likely to be lower than what the final result will end up being. The July Report outlook was 4.8 +/- 0.62 million square kilometers. Even that knucklehead Wilson sobered up and realised that his July projection of 1.o million square kilometres was perhaps just a tad too low.

Why not make a projection for next year? NOAA is forecasting a brutally cold Arctic winter, meaning colder than normal, La Nina is strengthening, and the major ocean cycles have switched. These all point to more ice for next year. I’ll project 5.75 million square kilometers for September 2011. That’s what my top secret super model says.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo - We are headed for a Dalton Minimum

Who is Joe D'Aleo? He was the first Director of Meteorology at cable TV's Weather Channel, and Chief Meteorologist at the Weather Service's International Corporation. He has over 30 years experience as a meteorologist.

Kim Greenhouse recently interviewed Joseph D'Aleo and he was asked about global cooling: Listen to the interview HERE.

"I believe we're headed into at least a Dalton minimum kind of cooling which could be a degree or two Celsius below globally for over the next couple of decades," says D'Aleo.

"Three degrees Fahrenheit globally. You'll still get your heat waves. Winters will be colder and longer, more extreme. There will be plenty of snow, and snow in places where you usually don't see it.

"The point is that cold is much more dangerous than warmth. This could create crop failures and famines and plagues. "We believe strongly that cooling is coming. "We're preparing for something that is not coming."

SOURCE (See the original for links and video)

Greenland to Greenpeace: your hunger for publicity is putting our lives at risk

Those ingrate Inuit! They just don’t appreciate all the efforts that middle class Greenies are making on their behalf!

The prime minister of Greenland – a socialist, no less – has attacked Greenpeace for sabotaging an Arctic exploration rig. Kuupik Kleist is plainly not a politician given to circumlocution:
The cabinet regards Greenpeace’s action as very serious and an illegal attack on the country’s constitutional rights. It is worrying that Greenpeace, in their hunt for media exposure, violate security rules made to protect human lives and the environment.

My Leftie friends often take such rejection badly. Aboriginal peoples in poor countries are meant to be on their side. I remember how disconsolate Green and Socialist MEPs were when the main opposition to the EU’s ban on seal imports came, not from wicked multinational corporations, but from indigenous tribes in Canada.

Lefties have always liked the idea that they are speaking for those who would otherwise have no voice – which is, of course, a very creditable motive. The trouble is that, when the previously voiceless do find their tongues, they often say things that their erstwhile protectors find awkward.

A hundred years ago, socialists presumed to speak for the proletariat. When the proletariat turned out to have some uncomfortably conservative views, they shifted their attention to the oppressed peasantry of the Third World. When these, too, turned out not to have the correct opinions, they moved on to more recherché communities: hunter-gatherers in rainforests and the like.

Now even these groups have rejected the patronage of bien pensant whites. But there is one constituency left, one that can be guaranteed never to disown its self-appointed champions, namely dumb beasts. Hence the terrifying fervour of some animal rights activists: they have nowhere else to go.


Climategate: Carbon Dioxide Riches Disappear

The headlines report the way the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been lying and some, myself included, are calling for an end to this snakes’ nest of global deception.

I keep waiting for some environmental group to announce that the Earth is running out of oxygen. It’s the kind of huge lie that environmentalists of every description engage in. There’s plenty of oxygen and, despite the latest lies about carbon dioxide (CO2), the great oceans of the world are not turning into reservoirs of acidity. Together these two gases are the basis for all life on Earth.

If you remember nothing else, remember that any reference by anyone to “greenhouse gas emissions” involves the lie that they influence the weather or the world’s climate.

Since 1988, when the United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the vast global warming hoax existed for two purposes, the enrich those involved and to impose a one world government. The effort required mobilizing the leaders of nations to spread the word that the planet was dramatically warming and that carbon dioxide was the cause.

One has to marvel at the audacity of this scam. There were so many parties that had to be involved that it boggles the mind to consider that a mere handful of alleged “climate scientists” who created the computer models and provided the falsified data were able to corrupt so many real scientists into collaborating. The prospect of vast amounts of governmental and foundation funding made the process easier.

The scientists who spoke out against it were labeled “deniers”, but they were the truth-tellers and it took years of effort, culminating in four international conferences to debunk the global warming hoax. It was not, however, until November 2009 with the leak of the conspirators’ emails that the truth became widespread.

This evil scheme was supported and continues to be supported by many world leaders. President Obama traveled to Copenhagen in December 2009 to participate in a UN conference that was intended to impose one-world government and more recently the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, made mention of “climate change”, the code words that replaced global warming.

The IPCC was so successful that at its height in 2007 it shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. This prize is now so worthless that future recipients may not wish to be so honored.

Yes, there is climate change. There has, for 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s existence, always been climate change. There have been ice ages, magnetic reversals, volcanic activity, tsunamis, earthquakes and a host of other natural events.

To suggest, however, that climate change is influenced by too much carbon dioxide lacks all scientific merit. There simply isn’t enough CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere to have any impact.

The single most powerful determinant of the Earth’s climate was and is the Sun.

Putting aside the United Nations’ never-ending effort to exert authority over all the nations and all the peoples of the world, global warming was about an audacious scheme to monetize carbon dioxide; to sell “carbon credits” and, by doing so, enrich those who were behind the scheme.

Recently, Patrick Hennigsen, the editor of 21st Century Wire, penned a commentary, “The Great Collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange”, an excellent analysis of how the bottom fell out of the scheme to buy, sell, and trade “carbon credits” based on the fraudulent claim that “greenhouse gas emissions” had to be reduced worldwide to avoid global warming.

Hennigsen noted that Reuters had reported that the Intercontinental Exchange, Inc, the operating body of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), “will be scaling back major operations (in August), a move that includes massive layoffs. This is likely due to the complete market free-fall of their only product…carbon emissions.” In May and June 2008, the carbon credits were trading at $5.58 and $7.78 respectively” until it finally dawned on investors that they were utterly worthless.

“Unlike most real markets,” wrote Hennigsen, “the carbon market was created by banks and governments so that new investment opportunities could seamlessly dovetail with specific government policies. It’s a fantasy casino based on a doctrine of pure science fiction.”

The U.S. has thrown billions at so-called “climate research” since 1988 and has passed laws intended to reduce CO2 emissions. There is no scientific merit, nor any justification for the many limits imposed on the American consumer. The quest, for example, of ever-cleaner automobile exhausts has resulted in more expensive cars and more dangerous ones as their weight had to be successively reduced to meet the mandates.

The current governmental craze for “clean” energy alternatives such as wind and solar power will only serve to drive up the cost of electricity without significantly adding any new sources capable of meeting the nation’s growing needs. Only government subsidies and mandates keep these projects alive as opposed to coal-fired, natural gas, and nuclear plants.

The original investors such as Al Gore have long since gotten out of the carbon credits market, having known in advance about legislation and policy before the general public. What they did not anticipate, however, was the natural cooling of the Earth since 1998 as the Sun entered one of its predictable cycles of low activity.

There is no global warming. What warming occurred was entirely natural, a response to the end of a previous period of cooling that ended around 1850.

A lot of people should be sent to jail for engaging in this fraud, but they will not. The victims remain as does the drumbeat of lies about greenhouse gas emissions or claims of ocean acidification.

Every flood, hurricane, or other natural event will continue to be blamed on “climate change” until eventually even the compliant mainstream media finally stop publishing lies.


Diesels greener than battery cars, says Swiss gov report

Swiss boffins have mounted an investigation into the largely unknown environmental burdens of electric cars using lithium-ion batteries, and say that the manufacturing and disposal of batteries presents no insurmountable barriers to electric motoring. However, their analysis reveals that modern diesel cars are actually better for the environment than battery ones.

The revelations come in a new report issued by Swiss government research lab EMPA, titled Contribution of Li-Ion Batteries to the Environmental Impact of Electric Vehicles. The Swiss boffins, having done some major research into the environmental burdens of making and disposing of li-ion batteries - to add to the established bodies of work on existing cars - say that battery manufacture and disposal aren't that big a deal. However, in today's world, with electricity often made by burning coal or gas, a battery car is still a noticeable eco burden:
The main finding of this study is that the impact of a Li-ion battery used in [a battery-powered car] for transport service is relatively small. In contrast, it is the operation phase that remains the dominant contributor to the environmental burden caused by transport service as long as the electricity for the [battery car] is not produced by renewable hydropower ...

A break even analysis shows that an [internal combustion engined vehicle] would need to consume less than 3.9 L/100km to cause lower [environmental impacts] than a [battery car] ... Consumptions in this range are achieved by some small and very efficient diesel [cars], for example, from Ford and Volkswagen.

Actually quite a lot of the new diesels are in the better-than-battery ballpark, according to UK government figures. The notional battery car considered by the EMPA analysts was a Volkswagen Golf with its normal drivetrain replaced by a battery one: but it seems that you would be doing slightly better for the environment to buy an ordinary new Golf with a 1.6 litre "BlueMotion" injected turbodiesel - which would be a lot cheaper. That would consume 3.8 l/100km, not 3.9.

So would a new Mini Cooper D hatchback or a new Ford Focus, actually. And if you could bear to go for something a little smaller - VW Polo rather than Golf - you'd be streets ahead on the environmental front, down as low as 3.4 l/100km with more than 15 per cent of the car's in-service emissions clipped off compared to the 3.9 l/100km battery-car baseline. As the Swiss boffins tell us, it's the in-service energy use and emissions which count most.

You could even treat yourself to a small estate car - the Skoda Fabia - and beat a battery Golf by a large margin in terms of eco-credentials, according to the EMPA analysis.

Of course, battery car lovers will argue that's not the point. Swiss electricity is already largely generated by carbon-free nuclear and hydropower plants (carbon-free provided you don't count all the concrete used to build them, that is). These and other technologies not yet much used (solar, wind, tidal etc) may one day put the battery car far ahead of internal-combustion ones in terms of carbon emissions.

And if nobody buys battery cars now, they'll stay expensive and scarce forever, so it's still possible to view the act of buying one as green even today when they actually do more damage to the environment than the right internal-combustion model.

But if you just want to emit less carbon right away, it seems you should buy a modern eco-diesel rather than an electric vehicle. ®



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 September, 2010

The Orwellian EPA

by Alan Caruba

Every time I conclude that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot get crazier, they demonstrate they are not only crazy, but a continued threat to the health, national security, and the right of Americans to be free of incessant governmental intrusion into their lives and choices.

Mind you, they get lots of help from environmental organizations and the latest example was a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity asking the EPA to ban lead shot and bullets under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

There is, of course, no doubt that if you take a bullet to the brainpan, it is very likely to be lethal, but under the TSCA, it is not considered or defined as toxic.

Citing the TSCA as to when the EPA can regulate “chemical substances”, the National Rifle Association, in a letter to the EPA administration noted that “Congress explicitly excluded from this definition ‘any article the sale of which is subject to the tax imposed by section 4181 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986’” or as we call them, bullets!

Not being a lawyer, but being a longtime gun owner, my question to the EPA is this: How CRAZY do you have to be to even consider banning the manufacture, sale, and use of AMMUNITION?

By 2005, three out of ten Americans were gun owners. Since the election of Barack Obama, there has been a noticeable increase in gun sales. Among gun owners, some are hunters, some are into sport shooting, and some are homeowners or apartment dwellers who want the kind of protection a gun provides while waiting for the police to show up. There are lots of perfectly legitimate reasons to own a gun and the last time I checked the Second Amendment said you could.

In its letter to the EPA, the NRA pointed out that “This appears to be the first time since TSCA’s inception in 1976 that anyone has suggested that EPA may regulate projectiles used in firearms under the Act”, adding that it was manifestly clear that it was “congressional intent that TSCA not be a vehicle to implement gun control.”

The good news is that the EPA abandoned any further action regarding this perfectly insane effort to backdoor an effort to thwart our Second Amendment rights.

The EPA has already determined how much water can be used in your toilet bowl and wants to control how much water you use to shower. It has been instrumental in getting the incandescent light bulb banned from future sales and use. And it wants to legally define puddles after a rainstorm as navigable waters that boats and ships can sail upon.

Perhaps, however, you did not heard that the EPA is considering cracking down on DUST? Specifically farm dust.

On July 23, a number of farm state senators sent a letter to the EPA to indicate just how stupid and detrimental any additional regulation of dust would be. They called the proposal “the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation’s history.” Suffice it to say that livestock kick up dust, the use of combines to harvest crops on a dry day kicks up dust, or just driving a truck down a gravel road will kick up dust.

The EPA is about one thing and one thing only, CONTROL. Toward that end they are perfectly happy to put their snout into any aspect of life in America to see if they can extend their authority. No one is arguing that America should not have clean air and clean water, but the extent to which the EPA has taken its original mandates is galactic and Orwellian.

The EPA is the very definition of BIG GOVERNMENT run amok. I am still looking for the word “environment” in the U.S. Constitution.


Circuitous attempts to smear skeptical scientists

by Russell Cook

Note: Russell Cook, author of the recently published article "Silencing Global Warming Critics" specializes in exposing the kneejerk Leftist lies about skeptics being "in the pay" of some boogeyman or other. He traces a lot of the lies to book author Ross Gelbspan but cannot find where Gelbspan got his "information". Below he answers some critics of his work

One particular comment from an AGW believer following my article brings home the entire reason why I stopped focusing exclusively on finding science reports, papers and assessments that contradict the IPCC, to instead focus on accusations that skeptic scientists are 'corrupted by big oil, coal, tobacco, etc. Commenter "Derecho64" wondered why my comments were stuck on "Ross Gelbspan" (the anti-skeptic book author who is largely credited with 'exposing the corruption of skeptics'), and asked for my opinion of the recent James Hoggan / Richard Littlemore "Climate Cover-Up" book that supposedly proves skeptic scientists are corrupt.

"Derecho64" apparently was oblivious to the fact that Hoggan / Littlemore had to take an oddly circuitous route in their book to cite Ross Gelbspan for their source of the infamous 1991 "reposition global warming as theory rather than fact" coal industry internal PR memo that is the subject of my 7/6 American Thinker article which CCF reproduces here. Hoggan / Littlemore cite Naomi Oreskes' famous 2007 PowerPoint presentation as the source. (PDF file transcript here)

Oreskes' PPT cited pages 51-52 of Gelbspan's 2004 "Boiling Point" book for the source, in which Gelbspan cites his own 1997 "The Heat is On" book as the source. But of course, in his first book, he never said where he got the "reposition" memo, an inconvenient truth I pointed out in my 7/6 article.

The primary reason I ever got into this 'accusations against skeptics' angle was the result of an inadvertent prompting from Society of Environmental Journalists board member Robert McClure. That's the individual I mention in my 12/29 American Thinker piece " The lack of climate skeptics on PBS's 'Newshour' ", which CCF has here.

In his own blog last October, where McClure and I had an entertaining back-and-forth about skeptic scientists, McClure assured me "The first person to document widespread payments by industry to “skeptic” scientists, as far as I know, was journalist Ross Gelbspan in his book, circa 1997, “The Heat is On.” But it’s been documented since then, too." Dr S Fred Singer joined in the comment section there immediately afterward.

My questions to McClure about others 'documenting' the alleged corruption went unanswered. And that was the kicker - if he had those 'others' memorized or could look those up among his notes as a simple matter of educating me, why did he not do that?

It wasn't many days after that incident that I stumbled across the "reposition global warming" phrase in a web forum where I had seen it before, but had dismissed it as simply a preposterous accusation. That, and McClure's claim about Gelbspan and 'others', prompted me to look for answers on my own.

I didn't find nice easy answers, I kept finding book authors and article writers citing Gelbspan as their source for the "reposition" phrase. I began to wonder why this all kept spiraling back down to Gelbspan. Then I started finding book authors citing the phrase whose books predated Gelbspan's. All of this prompted more questions than answers, and more searches through name associations, which only provided more questions and more bizarre paths to follow.

This all isn't simply an issue about the science anymore, it spreads to all the unanswered questions about the way skeptics were and are being characterized deliberately or accidentally by the mainstream media and the internet, who collectively never seemed to have checked the veracity of the accusations. Would AGW have died of natural causes long ago, if it weren't for all these highly questionable efforts to make sure the public got only a particular impression of skeptic scientists, and only saw one side of the issue?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Is windpower safer?

We know it is expensive and unreliable. But a new study from the Heritage Foundation also shows that wind power could be more dangerous to worker safety than traditional energy sources.

The tragic explosions in Massey’s Upper Big Branch coal mine and the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig have very appropriately focused attention on workplace hazards. But it would be a mistake to presume that switching away from fossil fuels to renewable energy would reduce fatalities, David Kreutzer, a senior policy analyst in energy economics and climate change explains.

It is important to understand that the current low number of total deaths in the wind-power industry is largely a result of the very low amount of power generated by wind, Kreutzer points out in his study. To properly project the potential consequences of switching to wind from coal, it is necessary to calculate the mortality rate per megawatt-hour.

“On a million-megawatt-hour basis, the wind-energy industry has averaged 0.0220 deaths compared with 0.0147 for coal over the years 2003-2008,” the study says. “Even adding coal’s share of fatalities in the power-generation industry, which brings the rate up to 0.0164, still leaves wind power with a 34 percent higher mortality rate. For the record, the workplace fatality rate for wind also exceeds that for oil and gas on an equivalent-energy basis.”

The 20 percent renewable energy standard included as part of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill would require swapping about 800 million megawatt-hours of coal generated with current with 800 million megawatt-hours of wind power, Kreutzer notes. The end result here gives good reason for pause.

“Using the recent mortality rates as a guide, we would expect there to be 4-5 more workplace fatalities per year than if there were no wind power at all,” he wrote. “Even this comparison ignores the fatalities we could expect from the additional power lines needed for so much remote wind power.”

Kreutzer’s study calls attention to an unexplored dimension of the energy debate. The Obama Administration’s pursuit of so-called renewable energy could have unexpected and highly damaging consequences over time.


Hot it was not... Britain has coldest August for 17 years

It should have been the height of summer, but was notable only for its low temperatures. The UK has just endured its coldest August for 17 years, which was marked, say forecasters, by a complete absence of 'hot days'.

The month also saw the lowest single-day August temperature for 23 years, with it falling to 55f (12.8c) in Edgbaston, Birmingham, last Thursday. And several 'notably' cold nights were recorded last week.

An exceptionally cloudy period in the South East of England put something of a dampener on the holiday period as heavy rain fell across large swathes of the country.
weather graphic

The prolonged poor weather has been blamed on a band of low pressure being pushed across the country by the jet stream - the fast-flowing air currents in the upper atmosphere that move weather systems across the northern hemisphere - which was further north during the extended sunny spells of June and July.

It meant that by the end of August there had not been a single day when the mercury rose above 81f ( 27c), forecasters said. England and Wales enjoyed just 148 hours of sunshine last month - 25 per cent less than average - and 5cm more rain than usual.

Weather consultant Philip Eden, of MeteoGroup, said average temperatures for the month had been at their lowest since 1993. But he added that the soaring temperatures enjoyed in previous years had raised people' s expectations. He said: 'This is more a reflection of the warmth of recent Augusts rather than anything exceptional.

'During the last 100 years, 30 Augusts were cooler, 63 were warmer, and seven had the same overall mean temperature.'


Australian independent conservative rubbishes climate change experts

Dismissing economists as not expert about climate change is perfectly reasonable. Bob Katter comes from a National Party background so is basically very conservative. Given the "hung" nature of Australia's present parliament, Katter's vote will be crucial throughout the life of the parliament concerned

"Independent MP Bob Katter, who says he is a "hair's breadth" away from making a decision on who to support to form government, has dismissed as "lightweight" the positions held by internationally-recognised climate change experts Sir Nicholas Stern and Ross Garnaut.

While his fellow independents, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, held briefings yesterday with the climate experts, Mr Katter pointedly refused the invitation. "I think their (Garnaut and Stern) positions are fairly lightweight," Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter said while he was close to making up his own mind, he would wait until Mr Windsor and Mr Oakeshott determined their positions before revealing his hand. "I'm not likely to be making a decision outside of the decision of my colleagues," Mr Katter, the member for the Queensland seat of Kennedy, told ABC Radio.

With the best will in the world there should be a decision by the trio of independents by the end of the week or early next, Mr Katter said.

Numerous conversations with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey have filled Mr Katter's week.

Mr Katter said he wanted to keep Australia's agricultural industry alive. While the average Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development subsidy tariff level was 49 per cent, for Australian agriculturalists it was six per cent and falling, he said. "Do you really think that you're going to have any agriculture in this country in light of that competitive advantage that they enjoy?"


Australia: Shockwave sent through mining heartland after formal Green/Left alliance

Traditional voters for the Left may now have to reconsider their allegiances

LABOR'S alliance with the Greens has sent a shockwave through Australia's mining heartland. From the coalfields of the NSW Illawarra to Queensland's Bowen Basin, the pact has sparked fears among workers and bosses that the industry will come under attack through the introduction of an emissions trading scheme and possible changes to Labor's mining tax.

Senior mining executives warned that the Labor-Greens alliance had the potential to reignite the advertising war with the government because of perceptions in the industry that the Greens' policies were anti-mining.

Queensland miner Ross Robinson has a warning for Labor: "Go too green and give up any hope of winning back the Queensland seats lost at the election." A 30-year veteran of the industry, the machine operator says it is the new taxes - the carbon "tax" and the resources rent tax - that have his colleagues talking, despite their political leanings.

"It's quite often talked about," he said. "A big majority of the miners are dead against it. Labor lost Dawson and Flynn and they're both mining areas - it says a lot."

Down in the Illawarra, on the NSW south coast, coalminers Rod Boeck and Wilf O'Donnell need no reminding of the importance of the mining sector to the nation's economy, let alone the livelihood of thousands of local workers. "Mining is the backbone of the Illawarra region," Mr O'Donnell said."It provides three jobs off the mine site for every one job on the mine site." The men work at the NRE No 1 Colliery, which is owned and operated by Gujarat NRE Coking Coal Limited.

The Illawarra is rusted-on, blue-collar Labor territory, where coal mines are in easy reach of the export hub of Port Kembla.

In the two local federal seats of Cunningham and Throsby, the ALP MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones hold commanding leads, with more than 60 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote. And the prospect of a Gillard government siding with the Greens - the very party that could sink the mining sector with its push for an increased mining tax and a high price on carbon - is unlikely to be easily digested.

The mining industry is nervous about the Greens having influence over policymaking, given the party wants to stop any expansion of the coal industry, phase out coal power in favour of renewables, shut down uranium mining and reintroduce the RSPT.

Mr Robinson, a conservative voter from Blackwater, 840km northwest of Brisbane, said Labor would inevitably want taxes that would hurt the industry. "To get the Greens' support on passing legislation one way or another, they're going to be wanting concessions (from Labor) leaning towards their idealistic policies," he said.

Mr Robinson said a carbon tax would hurt the resources industry and move companies, and jobs, offshore. "I think that will be quite detrimental to the mining industry, if not in the immediate future, then further down the line," he said. "I don't think it's good for anybody. "I can't see any good coming of it. They're taxing everything, even the water - now they're taxing the air. It's not going to make any difference."

Mining is a key industry in the north Queensland region, where 8 per cent of workers in the surrounding electorate of Flynn and more than 5 per cent of workers in the neighbouring seat of Dawson are directly employed in the resources sector.

Both electorates fell to the Coalition at the August 21 election, among seven electorates won from Labor across Queensland, plus two seats held by the Liberal National Party despite having become notionally Labor.

In the mining-dominated town of nearby Nebo, Les Carlton runs a workshop that services machinery for the surrounding mines. He said an environment tax was a good idea in theory but the money generated would be spirited away with no accountability. "It will be another tax that has to be paid and no one will see any benefit," Mr Carlton said. "Everyday Joe Blow is not going to find out where that money goes. "I'm not saying it won't work (but) there needs to be accountability so that people can see that the money is being used."



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 September, 2010

Lomborg does U-turn?

Not at all. He has always been a Greenie and has always said he believes that global warming is real. He has always focused on how to get the biggest bang for your buck and his latest statements continue that. The difference is that he has become a convert to geoengineering. He has always criticized the ineffectiveness and waste of conventional attempts to reduce carbon dioxide levels and continues to do so

Support for geoengineering is rather weird from a Greenie though. They normally want to PRESERVE the natural envirobnent, not change it. But when have Greenies ever been logically consistent?

AN ECONOMIST dubbed the world's most prolific climate change sceptic finally admitted global warming was the biggest threat to the world and called for a $US100 billion fund to fight it.

Bjorn Lomborg previously accused scientists, campaigners and the media of exaggerating the rate of global warming and argued that resources should be spent on more immediate crises such as fighting malaria and Aids.

The Dane said a lot of money is being spent on climate change with very little being achieved.

But in a new book to be published next month he calls for a $US100 billion fund to tackle the problem and admits climate change is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today", The Guardian newspaper reported.

Mr Lomborg and his fellow economists recommend pumping money into researching and developing clean energy sources such as wind and wave, solar and nuclear power and more work on climate engineering ideas such as cloud whitening which reflects the sun's heat back into the outer atmosphere.

"The point I've always been making is it's not the end of the world. That's why we should be measuring up to what everybody else says, which is we should be spending money well," said Mr Lomborg, denying he was performing a U-turn. "If the world is going to spend hundreds of millions, where could you get the most bang for your buck?"

Mr Lomborg added that his approach is about examining not just the dominant international policies to cut carbon emissions but also to look at other "solutions" such as investment in technology, climate investment and planting more trees.


UN climate experts 'overstated dangers': Keep your noses out of politics, scientists told

UN climate change experts have been accused of making 'imprecise and vague' statements and over-egging the evidence. A scathing report into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for it to avoid politics and stick instead to predictions based on solid science.

The probe, by representatives of the Royal Society and foreign scientific academies, took a thinly-veiled swipe at Rajendra Pachauri, the panel's chairman for the past eight years.
Exaggerated? Science academies say the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relied on 'vague' predictions in making its reports

It recommended a new leader be appointed to bring a 'fresh approach' with the term of office cut from 12 years to six.

The IPCC is important because its reports are used by governments to set environmental policy.

The review, which focused on the day-to-day running of the panel, rather than its science, was commissioned after the UN body was accused of making glaring mistakes.

These included the claim that the Himalayan glaciers would vanish within 25 years - and that 55 per cent of the Netherlands was prone to flooding because it was below sea level. An email scandal involving experts at the University of East Anglia had already fuelled fears that global warming was being exaggerated.

The report demanded a more rigorous conflict of interest policy and said executives should have formal qualifications.

It said: 'Because the IPCC chair is both the leader and the face of the organisation, he or she must have strong credentials (including high professional standing in an area covered by IPCC assessments), international stature, a broad vision, strong leadership skills, considerable management experience at a senior level, and experience relevant to the assessment task.'

Dr Pachauri has a background in railway engineering rather than science and in recent months has been forced to deny profiting from his role at the IPCC.

When asked yesterday if he would consider resigning, he said he intended to continue working on the panel's next report on climate change but would abide by any decision the IPCC made. 'We've listened to and learnt from our critics,' he said. 'Now that the review has been carried out I believe I have a responsibility to help to implement the changes.

'I see this as a mission that I cannot shirk or walk away from. It's now up to the world's governments to decide when they want to implement the recommendations and which ones they want to implement.'

Roger Piekle Jnr, a University of Colorado professor and frequent critic of the IPCC, said: 'I interpret the review as an indirect call for Dr Pachauri to step down. That is what it says between the lines, whether or not he understands it. 'It is clearly a very, very strong criticism of his management and of him personally.

'The problem is that many in the international community regard him as damaged goods.' The investigation said the IPCC's mandate calls for it to be 'policy relevant' without 'straying into advocacy' which would hurt its credibility. The scientists charged with writing the IPCC assessments were criticised for saying they were 'highly confident' about statements without having the evidence.

One of the summary documents prepared for government use 'contains many such statements that are not supported sufficiently by the literature, not put into perspective or not expressed clearly'.

Achim Steiner, head of the UN's environmental programme, said the review of the IPCC 're-affirms the integrity, the importance and validity of the IPCC's work while recognising areas for improvement in a rapidly evolving field'.


Eco-Fascism again: You will lose your job if you question us

A longtime professor at UCLA, told that he would not be rehired because his "research is not aligned with the academic mission" of his department, says he's being fired after 36 years at the prestigious school because his scientific beliefs are "politically incorrect." But UCLA says Dr. James Enstrom's politics have nothing to do with its decision.

Enstrom, an epidemiologist at UCLA's School of Public Health, has a history of running against the grain. In 2003 he wrote a study, published in the British Medical Journal, in which he found no causal relationship between secondhand smoke and tobacco-related death – a conclusion that drew fire both because it was contrary to popular scientific belief and because it was funded by Philip Morris.

Now Enstrom says his studies show no causal link between diesel soot and death in California – findings that once again set him far apart from the pack and put him in direct conflict with the California Air Resources Board, which says its new standards on diesel emissions will save 9,400 lives between 2011 and 2025 and will reduce health care costs by as much as $68 billion in the state.

The expected benefits of the new standards have been used to justify their estimated $5.5 billion price tag, which opponents say will cripple the California trucking industry at a time when the state can least afford it. The new standards, the critics warn, also could set the stage for national regulations.

Enstrom questions the science behind the new emissions standards, and he has raised concerns about the two key reports on which they were based – exposing the author of one study as having faked his credentials and the panel that issued the other study as having violated its term limits.

He says his views are what have gotten him fired, raising serious concerns not only about the diesel regulations but about academic freedom and scientific research as a whole.

"It's quite unfortunate that it's come to this, considering I've been in this school 36 and three-quarter years," Enstrom said. "… but the reason I'm so passionate about this is because the careers of thousands of California businessmen are on the line."

Enstrom says he is committed to exposing flaws in the science and procedures by which the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a series of regulations on diesel exhaust, the last phase of which will require trucks and buses that enter the state either to be retrofitted or replaced entirely to meet new emission standards.

"The Scientific Review Panel of Toxic Air Contaminates in 1998 declared diesel exhaust a toxic substance based on studying truckers and railroaders from back in the '50s, '60s and '70s, when emissions were much higher," Enstrom told "They never factored in, for example, that a very high percentage of truckers are also smokers when evaluating heath issues they may have had, yet they were using this research to declare that all diesel exhaust is a toxic substance."

Enstrom also expressed concerns that the review panel "is supposed to have term limits of up to three years" to keep the panel from being dominated by one school of thought, yet "many of them had been in their posts for over 20 years."

He said he voiced those concerns in 2008 to CARB, former UC President Robert Dynes, and current UC President Mark Yudof. The UC president is charged with making nominations for the Scientific Review Panel. At least five of the nine panel members have since been replaced.

"Cal EPA had been talking internally for a while just about encouraging some more diversity on the board, in terms of expertise and in terms of opinion, so that's part of the reason for the new appointments," Lindsay VanLaningham, deputy secretary of communications for the California Environmental Protection Agency, told

VanLaningham said she wasn't sure what Enstrom's role was in the panel's recent changes, but she confirmed that some of the replaced members had been on the board past their term limits. "We were under the legal impression that they were permitted to serve if we didn't have a new appointment," she said. "… sometimes it's a lengthy process to find new appointees."

Enstrom also blew the whistle on a CARB staffer, Hien Tran, who authored a report that was central to the legislation – after faking his credentials. "He said he had a Ph.D. from UC Davis. Turns out he had bought his Ph.D. online for $1,000," Enstrom said.

Tran was demoted, but his report was still used to "set the context for the health benefits of reducing diesel emissions" when the board voted on the trucking regulations, CARB spokesman Stanley Young told

What the board didn't take into consideration, Enstrom says, were the many studies, including his own, that contradict its conclusion that diesel soot has caused premature deaths in California.

So in February, he and other scientists presented the board with some of their findings, and in June he co-authored an op-ed for in which he voiced his concerns with the regulations.

Less than a month later he received a letter from UCLA saying his contract would not be renewed because his "research is not aligned with the academic mission of the Department."

Dr. Michael Siegel, professor and associate chairman at Boston University's School of Public Health, says the reasoning raises some red flags. "The mission of the department is to study the impacts of the environment on human health and that's exactly what Enstrom does," Siegel told "…What the department appears to be saying is it's not the nature of his research but the nature of his findings."

Siegel says he doesn't even agree with a lot of Enstrom's findings, but he agrees with his right to relay them without fear of losing his job. "The significance of this is a threat to academic freedom and it's also a threat to academic science," Siegel said. "If scientists have to produce work that meets a certain view to keep their jobs, researchers are going to stop publishing negative findings for fear of being fired."

But UCLA says Enstrom's findings had nothing to do with his dismissal. "The nature of research results, political views or popularity are not appropriate factors and are not considered when evaluating individuals for reappointment," Hilary Godwin, associate dean for academic programs at UCLA's School of Public Health, said in a statement.

She said Enstrom's position at the school was non-tenured and was appointed for fixed terms that are renewable subject to established departmental and university review procedures.

When asked why Enstrom's contract wasn't renewed, UCLA spokeswoman Sarah Anderson said the school was unable to comment further because the issue "is considered a confidential personnel matter."


Seven myths about green jobs

Comment from Britain

Yet more proof that government mandates are not apt at solving problems, be it creating jobs or cutting carbon emissions. A study published today by International Policy Network, titled Seven Myths about Green Jobs reveals the hidden-costs of “green investments”. Resources will be wasted and growth will be slowed, while there is no guarantee that the environment will benefit.

The coalition government has announced a whole range of green measures to both cut emissions and create jobs: from low-carbon business support programmes to a Green Investment Bank. We can expect the initiatives to be cemented in legislation by this autumn, and rolled out through the country by 2012. After all, the Prime Minister pledged to deliver “the greenest government ever”. And best of all, Clegg assures us that he’ll impress us by “quietly getting on with the job”.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is.

What we are likely to see are more bureaucratic jobs, more red tape. And yet more resources siphoned away from productive sectors of the economy.

In fact, many green job proposals actively push for resources to be taken away from highly-productive activities. A United Nations report even calls for fruit to be picked by hand, rather than by machine.

As for the cost? Today’s “green investments” will just add to our already colossal national debt. Even the United Nations admits that a full-fledged green transition - the type they dream about – could cost hundreds of billions, maybe trillions of dollars.


Obama’s EPA: School Marms R Us

The Obama Administration’s EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) are proposing new rules “labeling each passenger car with a government letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The new rules “would be the most substantial changes in 30 years to the familiar price and mileage labels afixed to new cars on sale at dealership,” the article continues. Only in the make-work world of bureaucrats would the addition of the letters A, B, C, or D to product labels be considered “subtantial changes.”

The WSJ goes on to point out the obvious: “Currently the labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel costs. Under the rules proposed Monday, new labels would carry a letter grade assigned by regulators.” Electric vehicles and hybrids would get the highest grades while big, heavy, gas-guzzling SUVs would get the lowest grades. “We think a new label is absolutely needed to help consumers make the right decision for their wallets and the environment,” explained Gina McCarthy, EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation.

“Absolutely needed” — as in, we’d be lost without them.

The proposed rules imply two judgments about Americans. One is that we’re too stupid to understand how miles-per-gallon and estimated annual fuel costs affect our wallets. Our math skills are so poor that quantitative information must be supplemented with letter grades labeling “this car good, that car bad.”

The second judgment, closely related to the first, is that Americans are school children and EPA/NHTSA are the Nation’s teachers. The agency folks apparently think that no matter how old we get, we still want to be teacher’s pet.

I propose an alternative rule — a “substantial” change in the titles of both agencies to ”School Marms R Us!”

Am I going to comment on the proposed rule? Maybe I’ll just submit a bumper sticker with the words: “Honk if you’ve outgrown school marms.”


Britain's business bosses to host Climate Change debate

Former government chief scientist Sir David King, in the green corner, to take on arch-sceptic Lord Lawson in public showdown

The most prominent climate sceptic and the most vocal advocate of the cause in the UK are to take part in their first public debate on the subject.

The "clash of the titans" will be between Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative chancellor and chairman of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, and Sir David King, a former government chief scientist who once warned that climate change was "more serious even than the threat of terrorism".

The CBI will host the event at its annual climate change conference in November, and it is likely to inject renewed vigour into a deadlocked debate between two camps that seldom meet face to face and appear to be increasingly entrenched in their positions.

King, head of the Smith school of enterprise and the environment at Oxford University, told the Guardian he had accepted the challenge because he was concerned about a rise in public scepticism about climate change since the affair of the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia last year. These appeared to show that scientists had manipulated data and abused the academic review process, though they were later cleared of these charges.

"It is important to deal with the climate sceptics' arguments and deal with them fairly robustly," said King. "I usually avoid the climate sceptics because I seem to be giving them airtime. [But] Lawson is a well-known speaker, so it is not as though I'm taking somebody lightweight on."

In a written statement, Lawson said: "I have agreed to do this because this is clearly an important issue which needs to be properly debated, and those who promote the conventional wisdom on the issue are usually reluctant to engage in rational debate.

"The cause of reasoned debate on this issue in the UK is not helped, of course, by the fact that there is no difference between the policies of the three political parties so far as global warming is concerned."

Lawson has previously written that he accepts that global warming is happening, although he has also described climate science as "particularly uncertain". In a recent article, he repeated the sceptics' argument: "So far this century there has been no recorded warming at all."

Lawson also claims the impacts on humans have been exaggerated and is critical of current policies to tackle the problem by cutting carbon emissions, writing that the international political pledge to limit warming to 2C above the average before the industrial revolution is "devoid of either scientific basis or the slightest operational significance", and advocating mass spending on adapting to the changes instead.

King said that with 2010 projected to be the hottest year on record, it was a good time publicly to counter the claim that temperatures are not rising: although most years since 1998 had been cooler than that record hot year, they were still among the hottest years on record and above the long-term average.

Emma Wild, the CBI's principal policy adviser for climate change, said: "Both are high-profile figures and passionate advocates for their views. We expect a frank and engaging debate."

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


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.

Blog 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


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 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

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

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

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)