GREENIE WATCH ARCHIVE  
Tracking the politics of fear....  

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

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

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31 August, 2007

THE LIBERALS' WAR AGAINST LIBERALISM

What is so scary about free thought?

Whatever happened to liberals? One thing I have learned by writing columns on global warming the past two weeks is that liberals are less interested in free expression of ideas than in total compliance with their ideas, less interested in critical thinking than in being critical, and less interested in the truth than in their truth.

It wasn't always so. In fact, considering that I was raised as a good Democrat and a proud liberal, it pains me to have to admit such distaste for the current state of liberalism. But how can I remain silent when so many people tell me that they agree with my ideas, but are afraid to speak up for themselves because of the names they will be called?

How can I remain silent when I have a position of power to defend myself, and I know that young people in colleges across this nation are afraid to turn in papers that contradict the liberal social agenda of their professors? How can I remain silent when there is so much at stake?

Week after week, I endeavor to write columns which raise questions and propose answers. Week after week I am told by my liberal friends that my questions are foolish and my answers are stupid. Yet I wait in vain for anyone to read my last two columns on global warming and show me where I went wrong. What I hear instead is that "all" the climate scientists in the world agree that global warming is man-made and ruinous, with the implication left hanging or spoken aloud that I am supposed to shut up, get in line and do what I am told.

Sorry, but I don't work that way. What I believe in is looking at the evidence for myself, weighing it with the scales of logic and reason, and then making up my own mind. I have been studying the evidence on global warming for more than two years, and for all the reasons already listed the past two weeks I am convinced that this is a manufactured crisis.

Telling me that “all” the climate scientists in the world disagree with me doesn’t counter my argument; rather, it demonstrates that my opponent is willing to fabricate evidence. Many, many scientists disagree with the hypothesis that human industry has accelerated global warming to a dangerous level. To claim otherwise does not make it so.

The other argument repeatedly used by global warming advocates to belittle their opponents is to say that their case is supported by “peer-reviewed” research. That’s fine, but many opponents of the Global Warming Movement have also published in “peer-reviewed” journals. Besides, peer review does not ensure that the conclusions of an article are correct — merely that the author followed accepted principles of the scientific method in striving to prove a significant hypothesis. It should also be noted that when a vast majority of scientists concur with a theory, peer review may easily turn into peer pressure. Thus peer review could be a form of peer-imposed censorship as alternative viewpoints are marginalized or denied publication.

It is certainly a form of elitism — basically limiting discussion of serious ideas to a few thousand degreed academicians. Well, sorry, but I spent eight years in college and graduate school, and I don’t buy the idea that universities are the fount of all knowledge. A good idea is just as good whether it came from the barbershop or the “Journal for the Preservation of Self-Important Professorships.” Indeed, the marketplace of ideas is of no value whatsoever unless it is an open market.

At least, that is what I believe. So, too, I think, did Socrates — the father of philosophy. And so too did liberals in the days when I counted myself among them. In fact, liberals are supposed to welcome debate, free expression and open exchange of ideas. But you would never know it when you read the words of the global warming cabal. They are intent on halting debate, even to the point of proposing to make it a crime to “deny” global warming.

It is almost as though liberals are at war with liberalism itself — with the spirit of freedom. Consider, for instance, what liberals themselves say they believe in. Geoffrey Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago, wrote an interesting essay on “What it means to be a liberal” in which he lists 10 fundamental principals that encapsulate the liberal position. Here are the first three:

1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others.

2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference.

3. Liberals believe individuals have a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate....”

Say what?

I just need to look at my mail bag to know that some liberals have gone seriously astray in their efforts to “doubt their own truths” and “be tolerant and respectful of difference.” And as for rights, the only one I know for sure that liberals apportion to me is “the right to remain silent.”

Much more here




How Greenies make droughts worse

Water shortages in California are nothing new; the last major drought occurred during the late 1980's and early 1990's. But there's a bitter irony in the critical shortage currently plaguing the state, which could cause major crop and pasture losses and widespread restrictions on water usage. Two of the three counties where water use is currently restricted by the local water authorities, Mendocino and Marin-both boasting chronically goofy, politically correct, far-left politics, not coincidentally-have banned a key technology that could conserve huge amounts of water.

This technology is gene-splicing, sometimes called genetic modification (GM), which gives plant breeders the tools to make old crop plants do spectacular new things, including conserve water. In the United States and at least 21 other countries, farmers are using gene-spliced crop varieties to produce higher yields, with lower water inputs and reduced impact on the environment. In spite of research being hampered by resistance from activists and discouraged by governmental over-regulation, gene-spliced crop varieties are slowly but surely trickling out of the development pipeline in many parts of the world. For the last decade, more than 100 million acres of them have been cultivated each year. Cumulatively, more than a billion acres have been cultivated worldwide during the past 15 years.

Farmers are using gene-spliced crop varieties to produce higher yields, with lower water inputs and reduced impact on the environment. Most of these new varieties are designed to be resistant to pests and diseases that ravage crops; or to be resistant to herbicides, so that farmers can adopt more environment-friendly no-till farming practices and more benign herbicides. Others possess improved nutritional quality. But the greatest boon of all both to food security and to the environment in the long term will likely be the ability of new crop varieties to tolerate periods of drought and other water-related stresses. Where water is unavailable for irrigation, the development of crop varieties able to grow under conditions of low moisture or temporary drought could both boost yields and lengthen the time that farmland is productive.

Even where irrigation is feasible, plants that use water more efficiently are needed. Irrigation for agriculture accounts for roughly 70 percent of the world's fresh water consumption-even more in areas of intensive farming and arid or semi-arid conditions, such as California-so the introduction of plants that grow with less water would allow much of that essential resource to be freed up for other uses. Especially during drought conditions, even a small percentage reduction in the use of water for irrigation could result in huge benefits. Plant biologists have identified genes that regulate water utilization and transferred them into important crop plants. These new varieties are able to grow with smaller amounts or lower quality water, such as water that has been recycled or that contains large amounts of natural mineral salts.

Aside from new varieties that have lower water requirements, pest and disease-resistant gene-spliced crop varieties also make water use more efficient indirectly. Because much of the loss to insects and diseases occurs after the plants are fully grown-that is, after most of the water required to grow a crop has already been applied-disease resistance means more agricultural output per unit of water invested. We get more crop for the drop. In spite of intensive cultivation of gene-spliced plants for more than a decade-during which time not a single person has been injured or an ecosystem disrupted-four California counties have banned them entirely!

The use of gene-splicing technology can conserve water in other ways as well. Salty soil is the enemy of agriculture: Fully one-third of irrigated land worldwide, including much of California, is unsuitable for growing crops because of the presence of salt, and every year nearly half a million acres of irrigated land is lost to cultivation. Repeated fertilization, growing seasons and cultivation causes this accumulation of salts. Scientists have enhanced salt tolerance in crops as diverse as tomatoes and canola. The transformed plants not only grow in salty soil, but also can be irrigated with brackish water, conserving fresh water for other uses.

Incredibly, in spite of intensive cultivation of gene-spliced plants for more than a decade-during which time not a single person has been injured or an ecosystem disrupted-four California counties have banned them entirely! These actions in Trinity, Mendocino, Marin, and Santa Cruz counties represent political leadership and voter ignorance at their worst. The measures are unscientific and logically inconsistent, in that their restrictions are inversely related to risk: They permit the use of microorganisms and plants that are crafted with less precise and predictable techniques but ban those made with more precise and predictable ones.

Even where gene-spliced crops are being cultivated, unscientific, overly burdensome regulation by the EPA and US Department of Agriculture has raised significantly the cost of producing new plant varieties and kept many potentially important crops from ever reaching the market. The deeply entrenched, discriminatory and excessive regulation-which flies in the face of scientific consensus that gene-splicing is essentially an extension, or refinement, of earlier techniques for crop improvement-adds millions of dollars to the development costs of each new gene-spliced crop variety. These extra costs, and also the endless (and gratuitous) controversy over cultivating these precisely crafted and highly predictable varieties, discourage research and development.

Agricultural innovation that uses gene-splicing techniques to conserve water has become very costly and risky. That should provide food for thought as farmers' profits dry up, our lawns turn brown, and the costs of food and water increase.

Source




The Dangers of Wind Power

Wind turbines continue to multiply the world over. But as they grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy? Report from Germany

It came without warning. A sudden gust of wind ripped the tip off of the rotor blade with a loud bang. The heavy, 10-meter (32 foot) fragment spun through the air, and crashed into a field some 200 meters away. The wind turbine, which is 100 meters (328 feet) tall, broke apart in early November 2006 in the region of Oldenburg in northern Germany -- and the consequences of the event are only now becoming apparent. Startled by the accident, the local building authority ordered the examination of six other wind turbines of the same model.

The results, which finally came in this summer, alarmed District Administrator Frank Eger. He immediately alerted the state government of Lower Saxony, writing that he had shut down four turbines due to safety concerns. It was already the second incident in his district, he wrote, adding that turbines of this type could pose a threat across the country. The expert evaluation had discovered possible manufacturing defects and irregularities.

Mishaps, Breakdowns and Accidents

After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.

Gearboxes have already had to be replaced "in large numbers," the German Insurance Association is now complaining. "In addition to generators and gearboxes, rotor blades also often display defects," a report on the technical shortcomings of wind turbines claims. The insurance companies are complaining of problems ranging from those caused by improper storage to dangerous cracks and fractures.

The frail turbines coming off the assembly lines at some manufacturers threaten to damage an industry that for years has been hailed as a wild success. As recently as the end of July, the German WindEnergy Association (BWE) crowed that business had once again hit record levels. The wind power industry expanded by a solid 40 percent in 2006, according to the BWE, and it now provides work for 74,000 people.

Germany, moreover, is the global leader when it comes to wind power: More than 19,000 windmills now dot the countryside -- more than in any other country. Green power has become a point of pride in Germany in recent years, and Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel would now like to construct vast new wind farms along the country's North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts.

No Time for Testing

Generous government subsidies have transformed wind power into a billion-euro industry within just a few years. Because energy providers have to purchase wind power at set prices, everyone, it seems, wants in. But it is precisely the industry's prodigious success that is leading to its technological shortcomings. "Many companies have sold an endless number of units," complains engineer Manfred Perkun, until recently a claims adjuster for R+V Insurance. "It hardly leaves any time for testing prototypes."

Wind power expert Martin Stoeckl knows the problems all too well. The Bavarian travels some 80,000 kilometers (49,710 miles) across Germany every year, but he is only rarely able to help the wind farmers. It is not just the rotors that, due to enormous worldwide demand, take forever to deliver, but simple replacement parts are likewise nowhere to be found. "You often have to wait 18 months for a new rotor mount, which means the turbine stands still for that long," says Stoeckl.

"Sales Top, Service Flop" is the headline on a recent cover story which appeared in the industry journal Erneuerbare Energien. The story reports the disastrous results of a questionnaire passed out to members of the German WindEnergy Association asking them to rank manufacturers. Only Enercon, based in Germany, managed a ranking of "good." The company produces wind turbines without gearboxes, eliminating one of the weakest links in the chain.

Even among insurers, who raced into the new market in the 1990s, wind power is now considered a risky sector. Industry giant Allianz was faced with around a thousand damage claims in 2006 alone. Jan Pohl, who works for Allianz in Munich, has calculated that on average "an operator has to expect damage to his facility every four years, not including malfunctions and uninsured breakdowns."

Many insurance companies have learned their lessons and are now writing maintenance requirements -- requiring wind farmers to replace vulnerable components such as gearboxes every five years -- directly into their contracts. But a gearbox replacement can cost up to 10 percent of the original construction price tag, enough to cut deep into anticipated profits. Indeed, many investors may be in for a nasty surprise. "Between 3,000 and 4,000 older facilities are currently due for new insurance policies," says Holger Martsfeld, head of technical insurance at Germany's leading wind turbine insurer Gothaer. "We know that many of these facilities have flaws."

Flaws And Dangers

And the technical hitches are not without their dangers. For example:

* In December of last year, fragments of a broken rotor blade landed on a road shortly before rush hour traffic near the city of Trier.

* Two wind turbines caught fire near Osnabrck and in the Havelland region in January. The firefighters could only watch: Their ladders were not tall enough to reach the burning casings.

* The same month, a 70-meter (230-foot) tall wind turbine folded in half in Schleswig-Holstein -- right next to a highway.

* The rotor blades of a wind turbine in Brandenburg ripped off at a height of 100 meters (328 feet). Fragments of the rotors stuck into a grain field near a road.

At the Allianz Technology Center (AZT) in Munich, the bits and pieces from wind turbine meltdowns are closely examined. "The force that comes to bear on the rotors is much greater than originally expected," says AZT evaluator Erwin Bauer. Wind speed is simply not consistent enough, he points out. "There are gusts and direction changes all the time," he says.

But instead of working to create more efficient technology, many manufacturers have simply elected to build even larger rotor blades, Bauer adds. "Large machines may have great capacity, but the strains they are subject to are even harder to control," he says. Even the technically basic concrete foundations are suffering from those strains. Vibrations and load changes cause fractures, water seeps into the cracks, and the rebar begins to rust. Repairs are difficult. "You can't look inside concrete," says Marc Gutermann, a professor for experimental statics in Bremen. "It's no use just closing the cracks from above."

The engineering expert suspects construction errors are to blame. "The facilities keep getting bigger," he says, "but the diameter of the masts has to remain the same because otherwise they would be too big to transport on the roadways."

Not Sufficiently Resilient

Still the wind power business is focusing on replacing smaller facilities with ever larger ones. With all the best sites already taken, boosting size is one of the few ways left to boost output. On land at least. So far, there are no offshore wind parks in German waters, a situation that Minister Gabriel hopes to change. He wants offshore wind farms to produce a total of 25,000 megawatts by 2030.

Perhaps by then, the lessons learned on land will ward off disaster at sea. Many constructors of such offshore facilities in other countries have run into difficulties. Danish company and world market leader Vestas, for example, had to remove the turbines from an entire wind park along Denmark's western coast in 2004 because the turbines were not sufficiently resilient to withstand the local sea and weather conditions. Similar problems were encountered off the British coast in 2005.

German wind turbine giant Enercon, for its part, considers the risks associated with offshore wind power generation too great, says Enercon spokesman Andreas Dueser says. While the growth potential is tempting, he says, the company does not want to lose its good standing on the high seas.

Source




WILL CLIMATE POLICY TRUMP PROTECTIONISM IN EUROPE?



The European Commission is heading for a tough meeting today, as its two commissioners, in charge of trade and industry, are locked in an internal struggle over whether to end import duties on low-energy light bulbs imported from China - a case also seen as a significant test of free trade. Later on Wednesday (29 August), EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson is set to push through the idea of lifting import duties imposed in 2002 to shield European lightbulb producers from the import and subsequent sale of Chinese bulbs on the EU market at below-cost price.

The tariffs add up to 66 percent on the value of bulbs, with critics claiming they harm European importers and retailers. However, EU industry commissioner Guenther Verheugen has rejected Mr Mandelson's call to scrap the duties, arguing it would result in job losses in Europe. Instead, he has suggested a two-year extension of the duties - an idea reportedly supported by several other commissioners, including commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

Industry has also stepped into the fighting arena, as many manufactures have already moved their production to China and will be greatly affected by Brussels' decision. Most European producers, led by Dutch electronics group Philips, have urged the commission to back Mr Mandelson's proposal, saying continuing protectionism would come at the expense of consumers as well as the EU's target to reduce energy use by 20 percent, by 2020.

FULL STORY here




Empty talk on climate policy from Australia's Left

NEXT week's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meeting in Sydney won't be its last, but if we accept Kevin Rudd's view of the world then, like John Howard, its days may be numbered. The press release accompanying Rudd's speech to the Australian Institute of International Affairs on Monday bore the headline, "APEC'S Future: Confront the Economic Challenge of Climate Change" . According to Labor's Great Helmsman, if it fails to embrace "real action" on climate change, APEC has "little future".

What does real action mean? To quote Rudd: "APEC must set concrete emissions targets, as it languishes behind the European Union and the G8 on tackling the economic impact of climate change." This is an interesting comparison, for reasons I will come to in a moment. But we already know that setting action plans in concrete is not APEC's modus operandi. China and the other Asian developing economies don't want anything to do with Kyoto-style targets, which would cripple their economic growth. Bringing their living standards up to those of the West is their greatest economic challenge, not climate change.

A leaked draft of the Sydney Declaration to be released at the end of next week's APEC meeting speaks only of a long-term aspirational target for emissions reductions. So presumably one of the early actions of a Rudd government will be to withdraw from APEC, an institution with little future. Or is Rudd just bluffing? His speech implies a readiness to compromise his policy ideals. After all, as he says, a Labor government helped create APEC.

The ambiguity is typical of the approach to climate change by all governments, for which we may be duly grateful when it becomes apparent the planet isn't on the brink of becoming uninhabitable without immediate, drastic action to stop global warming. The European Union and the G8, Rudd's exemplars of climate action, fall decidedly short when it comes to meeting commitments they have undertaken, notably in the Kyoto treaty (the US, of course, never ratified it). And several of the new eastern European members of the EU are refusing to accept emissions caps imposed by Brussels, for the same reason China and India don't want a bar of them: they inhibit economic and social development.

Yet on Monday, Rudd repeated that one of his first acts if he becomes prime minister will be to ratify Kyoto. This is just one more illustration of the fact that when deliberately created global warming hysteria takes hold, silliness isn't far behind. Kyoto is dead. It was never going to make any real difference to global warming anyway, and its most vociferous supporters will miss their emissions reduction targets, or meet them by fraud. Two weeks ago The Guardian newspaper reported a secret briefing to ministers that Britain had no hope of meeting the EU's target of 20 per cent energy from renewables by 2020. Former prime minister Tony Blair, an ardent climate change believer, signed up to the target only a few months ago.

However, the problem isn't missing these targets but that efforts will be redoubled to impose harsher ones to make up for backsliding, because despite claims of a scientific consensus, the science of climate change is not settled. For a start, the predictions of what is going to happen to the Earth's climate over the next 100 years are based on climate change models that are the subject of considerable dispute. Reputable climate change scientists such as Richard Lindzen and economists who specialise in forecasting have strongly criticised them.

For example, Scott Armstrong from the Wharton School in the US and Kesten Green from the Business and Economic Forecasting Unit at Monash University checked a set of forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change against 88 principles of sound forecasting and found the scientists had breached 72 of them.

The assumptions underlying the climate forecasts have also been frequently challenged. Critical assumptions about the role of clouds and water vapour, for example, are disputed by other scientists.

The economic modelling used to predict the economic costs and benefits of curbing greenhouse emissions, most notably in the British Stern report, has been widely challenged by leading economists. William Nordhaus, a world expert on the economics of climate change, has recently looked at the proposals by Al Gore and Stern to dramatically cut emissions of greenhouse gases. He found that the costs in both cases substantially exceeded the benefits. In the case of the Stern proposals for deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, Nordhaus found the benefits totalled $US13 trillion and the costs $US27 trillion.

As for the science, it is evolving and some assumptions made in the exercises carried out by the IPCC are being questioned and found wanting. One example is the so-called hockey stick, which was at one stage at the centre of IPCC findings on global warming, but has since been discredited. Recently, earlier findings that the behaviour of Atlantic Ocean currents, which climate change was reportedly causing to alter in ways that would bring a mini ice age to Europe, have been overturned. There are other examples.

Equally disturbing, there is evidence that some key IPCC scientists have been witholding data from independent reviewers wanting to look at their work, which goes right against the idea of how good science is done. There have also been cases of discrimination against scientists who don't toe the IPCC line.

In some ways most damning of all, there is a deliberate attempt to close down any public debate on climate change issues and brand those questioning the orthodoxies of the IPCC as climate change deniers, comparing them with Holocaust deniers or painting them as in the pay of big oil, big coal, or some other vested interest. While the suppression of dissenting views by the scientific establishment is hardly new, the increasingly shrill tone in the face of growing questioning of the work of the IPCC and the data and models it relies on is disturbing.

In the face of this, whatever its faults, Howard's cautious approach to climate policy looks much more sensible than the alternative, however unpopular it might be in the opinion polls.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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30 August, 2007

$100 million to promote global warming!

Not too long ago, a premier ad agency wouldn't touch a campaign warning about the effects of global warming, fearing backlash from the automakers and oil companies that keep Madison Avenue's lights on. But now one of the most hotly contended pitches out there is for the Alliance for Climate Protection, the organization formed last year by Al Gore.

Four elite agencies -- Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the Martin Agency and Y&R -- are squaring off for the business and are expected to present to the former vice president himself early next month, according to executives familiar with the review. The budget for the "historic, three-to-five-year, multimedia global campaign," as the request for proposals puts it, is contingent on how much money the alliance raises. Media spending will likely be more than $100 million a year.

That elite shops aren't scared off from crafting environmental messaging that could be tacitly critical of big business's sometimes unsustainable ways is yet another sign of the mainstreaming of green thinking within the corporate world at large. And within the ad community it points to newfound willingness to embrace hot-button social causes. The alliance account, some are saying, could even lend some luster to the winner's roster, given many major marketers' recent embrace of sustainability throughout their value chains, from product development to manufacturing to marketing communications.

Formerly taboo

Many agencies do high-profile and often award-winning work for causes such as smoking cessation, drug-use prevention and disaster relief, but they typically steer clear of more divisive issues and political campaigns, making executives who want to work on them do so outside the auspices of the agency.

Until very recently at least, global warming would have been seen as such an issue. Long accepted by the scientific community, research suggesting human activity is raising the earth's temperature with dire environmental consequences has been disputed by many in the business community, especially automakers and other sectors with big industrial outputs.

But corporate America has begun an about-face in the wake of a groundswell of popular interest, having seen what developing an environmentally friendly product such as the Prius has done for Toyota's reputation and its bottom line. July's Live Earth concert, whose proceeds are going to the alliance, was loaded down with corporate sponsors, among them Microsoft, whose MSN division had web rights to the show.

Chris Becker, chairman-chief creative officer of DraftFCB's New York office, said blowback from less-than-eco-friendly marketers is unlikely. "It's such a loud issue and so accepted that no one can get away with that," he said. "There's already such a broad platform for agencies."

Y&R, for instance, was involved in promoting Live Earth, despite counting oil giant Chevron as a client. Y&R CEO Hamish McLennan even appeared with Mr. Gore at this year's Cannes Advertising Festival. A Chevron spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment. And as more evidence of just how comfortable agencies are with the issue, DraftFCB last week sponsored an auction of global warming-inspired art created by employees at the agency that benefits an environmental nonprofit organization.

Doing something

The Alliance's RFP is, as you might expect, part inspirational -- quoting Gandhi, M. Scott Peck, Erik Erikson, and of course Mr. Gore -- and part detailed description of the task ahead for the winner. That will involve convincing people to making the climate issue, which already has high awareness, a more actionable priority.

"The world probably doesn't need much more meek communication on the issues of climate change," said David Hessekiel, founder and president of the Cause Marketing Forum. "Anybody with a pulse probably now knows that there are serious environmental issues facing us, but that doesn't mean there's been a huge sea change in consumption of energy."

A winner likely will be chosen shortly after the final pitches, given that the Alliance wants at least a soft launch online in September, with test-market advertising beginning later in the fall. A spokesman for the Alliance declined to comment, as did agency representatives.

Despite the big media budget attached, agencies eager to change the world shouldn't expect to get rich in the process. The winner won't be expected to work on a pro-bono basis, but the RFP cautions that most of the Alliance's partners are working "at below their regular market rates."

Source




Twisted science

The complexities of global warming, (renamed as climate change) should be the domain of scientific discussions. Such discussions should be held within the constraints of science, the scientific methods, the careful collection, management, and analyses of the climate data. There should include careful resolutions and explanations of conflicting data, replication, and passing the essential demands of explaining the observations of the climate data. I have never been in discussions of science and engineering issues where these values weren't highly respected and determinant. Even competing designs, processes, and theories were lightly defended since the common understanding was that the data would determine which was superior. In contrast, falsely representing the data supporting a particular theory or design, would have been severely dealt with and career limiting.

We have been told by Al Gore and others that there should be a grand debate about global warming. Yet there has been precious little debate worthy of the name. In fact the alarmists have spent much of their time hurling insults, ad hominem attacks, suppression of speech, termination of miniscule funding, calling for Nuremburg Trials, treating opponents as traitors, etc. The professionals in this group remain silent about these insults in apparent silent support of the nastiness and unprofessional conduct. This is not a debate, this is not science, this is bullying. This suggests there are weaknesses in the global warming theory which can't stand scrutiny.

One explanation of this may be described by John Ray (M.A., Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia: "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?"

This is not a scientific debate, it is not even science. It is too many people, some which Ph.D.s, hardwired into the $5 billion annually spent in the US on global warming issues. This amount of government money available each year is enough to alter human behavior and personal ethics for some people.

The nastiness has happened before many times. For example, consider the fate of Dr. William Happer who was dismissed from his position at the Department of Energy. At the time of his firing he was the Director of Energy Research at the DOE, and a past professor of physics at Princeton University with impressive scientific credentials. As described in the June 1993 issue of Physics Today, Happer was fired for his attempt to perform some excellent physics and resolve major uncertainties in national "ozone hole scare" of those days. At the time (and still so) major discrepancies existed between the estimated levels of UV-B radiation and actual measured levels of UV-B. He had proposed a network of UV monitors around the nation to perform the actual measurements and resolve the differences.

Such a program to minimize ozone uncertainties posed a threat to the environmentalists who had promoted ozone hole scare stories about skin cancers, cataracts in animals, and other musings. This proved to be too great a threat to the environmental myths, and Happer was fired. The guy behind the firing was the powerful and unscientific vice-president Al Gore. For the readers of the article in Physics Today, it was intimidating to see the firing of a resourceful scientist, the political suppression of sound science, and the irrelevance of science in environmental policies.

There were many more examples of hostility to such scientists. In a major dustup with Dr. Fred Singer (http://tinyurl.com/3xqyqe) misrepresenting his relationship with oceanographer and Al Gore mentor, Roger Revelle, Singer was forced to sue the Gore team for defamation of character which he subsequently won. This is how rough these people are willing to attack their opposition and bend the truth to suit their beliefs. Singer and Revelle had written a mild admonition about global warming. They had made the simple statement that "The scientific base for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time." This contradicted statements in Al Gore's book "Earth in the Balance", and as a result, Singer (Revelle had died by then) came under attack by the Gore machine.

Mr. Gore had even contacted Ted Koppel in 1994 to look into the skeptics of global warming. It backfired when Koppel concluded "There is some irony in the fact that Vice President Gore---one of the most scientifically literate men to sit in the White House in this century--[is] resorting to political means to achieve what should ultimately be resolved on a purely scientific basis. The measure of good science is neither the politics of the scientist nor the people with whom the scientist associates. It is the immersion of hypotheses into the acid of truth. That's the hard way to do it, but it's the only way that works.

The calls for a debate on global warming are empty. There has been little debate and instead personal attacks, threats, loss of funding, calls for speech suppression, and even Nuremburg Trials. In fact Al Gore has a number of unanswered standing offers to debate the global warming issues. (http://tinyurl.com/ypzsyt). This isn't science and it never was. It is naked power politics and very destructive and dangerous in the potential impact on the U.S. energy systems. To the extent that CO2 is the source of nearly all life on Earth, the control of CO2 would be a national nightmare. In the words of Richard Lindzen, the regulatory control of all life would be a bureaucrat's dream. All of this needs to be understood and avoided.

Source




CHINA HITS OUT ON CLIMATE CHANGE



The German chancellor's call for China to do more on climate change has drawn swift criticism from Beijing, which said developed countries had been polluting the skies for much longer than developing countries such as China. Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, said the Chinese, like all people, wished "for blue skies, green hills and clear water". But, he pointed out to the visiting Angela Merkel, that the task of reducing emissions in China was tougher than in Germany because it had more people and was still below the growth rate of industrialised countries. He added: "China has taken part of the responsibility for climate change for only 30 years while industrial countries have grown fast for the last 200 years."

Global problem

China is set to overtake the US as the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases by 2008. Merkel's remark on climate change comes four months before a scheduled meeting of environmental ministers in Bali, Indonesia, for fresh talks on extending the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. At a June summit chaired by Merkel, G8 leaders agreed to pursue substantial but unspecified cuts in greenhouse gases and work with the UN on a new deal to fight global warming. Kyoto obliges 35 rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but developing nations such as China - which is set to overtake the US by 2008 as the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases - are exempted.

Wen said "China's development is an opportunity, not a threat". Dispelling suspicions Merkel said she had attempted to dispel Chinese suspicions that other countries felt threatened by its development and were trying to block that growth. But she said China needed to respect international norms, a nod to recent scandals over tainted or poisonous Chinese exports, rampant copyright piracy, and human rights abuses.

"In our talks, I made clear that every country has the right to development," Merkel said. "But at present there are a great many large countries such as China that are developing fast and there is a need to respect the rules of the game."

She pressed for stronger protection of intellectual property rights and said the ground rules for gathering resources should be the same worldwide, an apparent criticism of China's relations with Sudan. China has sizeable economic interests in Sudan and Beijing has been accused of aiding Khartoum to feed the violence in the country's war-torn Darfur region.

Hacking concerns

Wen also responded to reports in a German magazine that Chinese hackers had infected government ministries, including Merkel's office, with spying programmes. "We in the government took it as a matter of grave concern," he said, adding that China would take "firm and effective action" to prevent hacking attacks. But he also said that "hackers breaking into and sabotaging computers is a problem faced by the entire world".

Merkel also met Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, on Monday and discussed human rights and ways of expanding relations beyond trade. "I pointed out that, especially with the [2008 Beijing] Olympic Games coming up, the world will be looking at China with increased scrutiny," she said. She will head to Japan on Wednesday where she will also address climate change and economic issues.

Source




TECHNOLOGY THE FOCUS OF US GLOBAL WARMING CONFERENCE

President George W. Bush has invited leaders of the world's "major economies" to a conference on climate change September 27 and 28 in Washington. In his letter of invitation to 15 national governments plus the European Union and the United Nations, the president said the conference will place "special emphasis" on technology. President Bush said he will address the conference, which will consider how to deal with global climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012. "At this meeting, we would seek agreement on the process by which the major economies would, by the end of 2008, agree upon a post-2012 framework that could include a long-term global goal, nationally defined mid-term goals and strategies, and sector-based approaches for improving energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Bush wrote. "We expect to place special emphasis on how major economies can, in close cooperation with the private sector, accelerate the development and deployment of clean technologies, a critical component of an effective global approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he wrote.

President Bush has long favored the technology rather than binding emissions limits as the best way to address climate change. The president's preferences run to nuclear power, clean coal, ethanol and other biofuels. The White House said in February that including the 2008 budget request the Bush administration "will have spent $15 billion since 2001 to develop cleaner, cheaper, more efficient, and more reliable energy sources." By contrast, the war in Iraq has cost more than $500 billion to date.

The Bush conference, where the United States will set the agenda, comes three days after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosts an international high-level climate conference just prior to the general debate of the incoming General Assembly. Ban will seek to advance progress towards negotiations on a new global agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions to follow the Kyoto Protocol, but Ban says he will not seek to engage governments in negotiations. Formal negotiations will begin at the annual UN climate conference that will be held this year in Bali, Indonesia in December.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel said that the Bush administration's conference is intended to support, not conflict with, the United Nations' work on climate change. "We feel that this effort is intended to aid the UN process that is ongoing," Stanzel said Friday, "We're pleased to have the support of the secretary-general and the head of the UNFCCC. We expect the results in 2008 from these major economies to contribute to the global agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change by 2009. So we think it can enhance that process."

Bush has designated Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to host the conference, which he told invitees is the first of a series of meetings throughout 2008 "to further refine our plans and accelerate our progress on this important challenge." James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will serve as the president's personal representative, and the U.S. delegation will consist of senior officials responsible for economic, energy, and climate policy, Bush said. Invited governments include - Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, plus the European Union and the United Nations.

Some environmentalists say that the Bush climate conference is an effort to deflect international pressure for the United States to accept mandatory greenhouse emissions gas limits, something the president still refuses to do. In response, Stanzel said, "We have always said that we think that this issue should be addressed with developing nations, with the countries that are involved today, that the President invited to this conference." "We think it's an opportunity for those nations and those countries to come together to talk about what we can do in the post-2012 environment to address greenhouse gas emissions; what we can do to advance new technologies to help those developing nations reduce their emissions and help us all have a cleaner environment with a healthy economy."

On May 31, 2007 when Bush first announced his intention to host a climate change conference, UNFCCC chief Yvo de Boer said Connaughton had personally promised him that the president's climate meeting would feed into the United Nations process. At the G8 meeting in Germany in June, Bush agreed with the other G8 leaders for the first time to establish common goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases as part of the United Nations process. Now the world's number two emitter of greenhouse gases, after China, the United States has refused to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which mandates cuts in the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. President Bush has cited the fact that the protocol does not apply to developing nations such as China and India as a major reason for not backing the protocol, which the United States signed during the Clinton administration.

Source




Rural Australians are climate atheists

Because climate is important to them, rural people know from experience and tradition that climate fluctuations are normal

ABOUT 98 per cent of rural people do not believe climate change exists, according to engineer Steve Posselt. He is paddling a canoe through inland waterways from Brisbane to Adelaide. Mr Posselt, who is delivering a message about the impact of climate change to rural communities on his nine-month adventure, said yesterday the strong anti-climate change beliefs might in part explain the lethargy of conservative politicians to the issue.

"About 98 per cent of adults I've met along the river say there's no such thing," Mr Posselt said. "They think it's just a short-term cycle and everything will soon be back to the way it used to be. "I've suggested to some councillors that maybe they should learn about the issue but they just say it's a load of crap. "They say, 'how can scientists get that right when they can't even tell us when it's going to rain'."

Mr Posselt, an Australian Water Association convener, sensed the beliefs were tied to the inherent conservatism of bush people who liked to work things out for themselves. The exceptions were schoolteachers and children.

Mr Posselt said his trek, which had taken him to Wentworth, at the confluence of the Murray and Darling rivers near the Victorian border, had also taught him that the level of water harvesting in the system was unsustainable. "There's not enough understanding of science behind things," he said. "To a man they think all you have to do is divert the Clarence River inland and everything will be all right. "It's just like in Queensland you get people saying the old Bradfield scheme (of diverting rivers inland) should go ahead. "Even people on the land do not make enough of the link between what you do on the surface and how this affects underground water supplies."

Four months into his trip Mr Posselt has so far walked 1011km, dragging his wheeled canoe, and paddled more than 1300km. Wentworth is 590km northwest of Melbourne and was once NSW's busiest inland port. He said he would be able to paddle the rest of the way to Adelaide.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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29 August, 2007

BBC news chiefs attack plans for climate change campaign

It shows how much pressure they have been under that the Beeb wants to return to impartiality

Two of the BBC's most senior news and current affairs executives attacked the corporation's plans yesterday for a Comic Relief-style day of programming on environmental issues, saying it was not the broadcaster's job to preach to viewers. The event, understood to have been 18 months in development, would see stars such as Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross take part in a "consciousness raising" event, provisionally titled Planet Relief, early next year.

But, speaking at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival yesterday, Newsnight's editor, Peter Barron, and the BBC's head of television news, Peter Horrocks, attacked the plan, which also seems to contradict the corporation's guidelines. Asked whether the BBC should campaign on issues such as climate change, Mr Horrocks said: "I absolutely don't think we should do that because it's not impartial. It's not our job to lead people and proselytise about it." Mr Barron said: "It is absolutely not the BBC's job to save the planet. I think there are a lot of people who think that, but it must be stopped."

Planet Relief appears to contradict BBC guidelines on impartiality. In June a BBC-endorsed report set out 12 principles on impartiality, warning that the broadcaster "has many public purposes of both ambition and merit - but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them". A BBC spokeswoman said: "This idea is still in development and the intention would be to debate the issue and in no way campaign on a single point of view."

Meanwhile, in a session at the festival yesterday titled How Green is TV, the documentary producer Martin Durkin attacked the BBC as stifling debate on climate change. Durkin, whose film The Great Global Warming Swindle attracted a large number of complaints when it was shown on Channel 4 this year, said: "The thing that disturbs me most is that the BBC has such a leviathan position ... that if it decides that it is going to adopt climate change as a moral purpose, I have got a lot of trouble with that. I don't think it is the role of the BBC to spend my money on a moral purpose."

Source




Key Lesson from the NASA temperature-record debacle

The key lesson here is not that NASA GISS or Jim Hansen or anyone else was intentionally making mistakes, but that in complex data compilations and analyses, no matter how diligent you try to be, mistakes work there way in. This is why it is important to be as open as possible as a scientist about what you did and how you did it, i.e. to make full disclosure of all your data and methods. This allows others to replicate your work and helps assure that science moves forward on the best possible footing, and that policy-makers operate off of factual data and not belief systems.

It is for this reason that it is of the gravest concern that leading climate scientists and organizations, up to and including even the IPCC, are still failing to make full disclosure regarding many of the data that they spin into the public domain. Stephen McIntyre's earlier work that exploded the myth of the hockey-stick temperature curve should have been all that was needed for politicians and agencies to enforce full disclosure of all data that is related to public climate policy formulation. Alas, McIntyre's revelations were not adequate to overcome the vested interests and bureaucratic inertia of the responsible persons, and so now he has had to repeat the dose of education with his second discovery regarding the flawed GISS temperature data. How many flaws is this unpaid investigator going to have to discover before someone establishes the needed climate audit agency (perhaps as an organ of the Asia-Pacific climate partnership)?

Policymakers and voters, take note

Surely there are other problems in the variety of temperature data collected and compiled on local, regional, national and international scales. Just in the past few days, there's been news about defects in all three of the global temperature datasets upon which the entire climate scare is founded. McIntyre and McKitrick have taken apart the Hansen GISS dataset as discussed above (www.climateaudit.org), of which there's always been suspicion; another researcher has accused Jones (who masterminds the Hadley/CRU dataset) of falsification of his results (http://www.informath.org/WCWF07a.pdf); and now NCDC, after exposure of the unsuitable heat-island locations of many of its US temperature stations, has responded by withdrawing from the public domain the list of station locations, which had previously been public for years, vacuously citing "privacy considerations (www.surfacestations.org)."

Conclusions

Errors of the sort described herein may sometimes lead to either an underestimate or overestimate of temperature trends, whereas other errors may have little impact at all. But one thing is certain, errors are undoubtedly present in all large, complex datasets. In reality, it is impossible to develop the one and only U.S. average temperature or THE global average temperature. There are simply too many confounding factors that cannot be accounted for. Policy makers also need to understand that one certainly cannot project temperature or climate trend decades or centuries into the future, however stridently the CGM modelers promulgate their wares.

So, next time you encounter a breathless announcement that we have set another "all-time record" high temperature, first realize that there is always a level of uncertainty in both what is being measured and how it is being compiled and interpreted. And second, reflect upon the fact that such records have absolutely no meaning unless they take account of the natural cyclicities that are present in all climatic data.

Has the earth been in a modern warming cycle coming out of the Little Ice Age? Yes. Is it therefore significant that any given year should be a couple of hundredths of degrees warmer or cooler , give or take, from some other nearby year in the record? Of course not . Unless, that is, someone is trying to sell you something, to con you, to raise taxes, to increase the reach of the state, or is simply trying to be elected President of the United States - or perhaps even all of the above.

More here




"Consensus"? What "Consensus"? Among Climate Scientists, The Debate Is Not Over

Abstract

It is often said that there is a scientific "consensus" to the effect that climate change will be "catastrophic" and that, on this question, "the debate is over". The present paper will demonstrate that the claim of unanimous scientific "consensus" was false, and known to be false, when it was first made; that the trend of opinion in the peer-reviewed journals and even in the UN's reports on climate is moving rapidly away from alarmism; that, among climate scientists, the debate on the causes and extent of climate change is by no means over; and that the evidence in the peer-reviewed literature conclusively demonstrates that, to the extent that there is a "consensus", that "consensus" does not endorse the notion of "catastrophic" climate change.

The origin of the claim of "consensus"

David Miliband, the Environment Minister of the United Kingdom, was greeted by cries of "Rubbish!" when he told a conference on climate change at the Holy See in the spring of 2007 that the science of climate and carbon dioxide was simple and settled. Yet Miliband was merely reciting a mantra that has been widely peddled by politicians such as Al Gore and political news media such as the BBC, which has long since abandoned its constitutional obligation of objectivity on this as on most political subjects, and has adopted a policy of not allowing equal air-time to opponents of the imagined "consensus".

The claim of "consensus" rests almost entirely on an inaccurate and now-outdated single-page comment in the journal Science entitled The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change (Oreskes, 2004). In this less than impressive "head-count" essay, Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science with no qualifications in climatology, defined the "consensus" in a very limited sense, quoting as follows from IPCC (2001) -

"Human activities . are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents . that absorb or scatter radiant energy. . most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

The limited definition of "consensus"

Oreskes' definition of "consensus" falls into two parts. First, she states that humankind is altering the composition of the atmosphere. This statement is uncontroversial: for measurement has established that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen over the past 250 years to such an extent that CO2 now constitutes almost 0.01 per cent more of the atmosphere than in the pre-industrial era. However, on the question whether that alteration has any detrimental climatic significance, there is no consensus, and Oreskes does not state that there is.

The second part of Oreskes' definition of the "consensus" is likewise limited in its scope. Since global temperatures have risen by about 0.4C in the past 50 years, humankind - according to Oreskes' definition of "consensus" - may have accounted for more than 0.2C.

Applying that rate of increase over the present century, and raising it by half to allow for the impact of fast-polluting developing countries such as China, temperature may rise by 0.6C in the present century, much as it did in the past century, always provided that the unprecedented (and now-declining) solar activity of the past 70 years ceases to decline and instead continues at its recent record level.

There is indeed a consensus that humankind is putting large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; that some warming has resulted; and that some further warming can be expected. However, there is less of a consensus about whether most of the past half-century's warming is anthropogenic, which is why, rightly, Oreskes is cautious enough to circumscribe her definition of the "consensus" about the anthropogenic contribution to warming over the past half-century with the qualifying adjective "likely".

There is no scientific consensus on how much the world has warmed or will warm; how much of the warming is natural; how much impact greenhouse gases have had or will have on temperature; how sea level, storms, droughts, floods, flora, and fauna will respond to warmer temperature; what mitigative steps - if any - we should take; whether (if at all) such steps would have sufficient (or any) climatic effect; or even whether we should take any steps at all.

Campaigners for climate alarm state or imply that there is a scientific consensus on all of these things, when in fact there is none. They imply that Oreskes' essay proves the consensus on all of these things. Al Gore, for instance, devoted a long segment of his film An Inconvenient Truth to predicting the imminent meltdown of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice-sheets, with a consequent global increase of 20 feet (6 m) in sea level that would flood Manhattan, Shanghai, Bangladesh, and other coastal settlements. He quoted Oreskes' essay as proving that all credible climate scientists were agreed on the supposed threat from climate change. He did not point out, however, that Oreskes' definition of the "consensus" on climate change did not encompass, still less justify, his alarmist notions.

Let us take just one example. The UN's latest report on climate change, which is claimed as representing and summarizing the state of the scientific "consensus" insofar as there is one, says that the total contribution of ice-melt from Greenland and Antarctica to the rise in sea level over the whole of the coming century will not be the 20 feet luridly illustrated by Al Gore in his movie, but just 2 inches.

Gore's film does not represent the "consensus" at all. Indeed, he exaggerates the supposed effects of ice-melt by some 12,000 per cent. The UN, on the other hand, estimates the probability that humankind has had any influence on sea level at little better than 50:50. The BBC, of course, has not headlined, or even reported, the UN's "counter-consensual" findings. Every time the BBC mentions "climate change", it shows the same tired footage of a glacier calving into the sea - which is what glaciers do every summer.

What Oreskes said

Oreskes (2004) said she had analyzed - "928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords `climate change'." She concluded that 75% of the papers either explicitly or implicitly accepted the "consensus" view; 25% took no position, being concerned with palaeoclimate rather than today's climate; and -

"Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position. . This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect. . Our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it. . There is a consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change."

It is not clear whether Oreskes' analysis was peer-reviewed, since it was presented as an essay and not as a scientific paper. However, there were numerous serious errors, effectively negating her conclusion, which suggest that the essay was either not reviewed at all or reviewed with undue indulgence by scientists who agreed with Oreskes' declared prejudice - shared by the editors of Science - in favour of the alarmist position.

Source




Sometimes "saving the planet" is even more harmful

There is a certain amount of amusement in watching the Greenies trip all over themselves trying to figure out what they can do to "save" Mother Earth. After all: the planet is dying! Now another one of their more radical exponents is complicating the simplistic views that Greens often love to embrace. For instance, they like the simple message that cars are bad and walking is good. Walking is natural where cars are evil since they are man-made. So save the planet and walk instead.

But Greenie Chris Goodall argues, in his book How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, that the choice isn't so simple. That is only one side of the equation. People know driving emits carbon but assume walking is carbon free. But it isn't. Goodall notes that if you walk you burn calories and calories need to be replenished or you die (which is the ultimate green solution). He says that if you walk 3 miles you burn 180 calories. If you replenish that with a piece of beef that would require 100 grams of meat.

A driving that distance, he says, would add about .9kg of carbon to the atmosphere. But the 100g of beef, he contends adds 3.5 kg of emission. Walking emits more carbon than driving. He says: "The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better." People forgot that walking consumes energy which requires replenishment which is also carbon based.

The Times of London notes that there are many such problems for the environmentalist.
Catching a diesel train is now twice as polluting as travelling by car for an average family, the Rail Safety and Standards Board admitted recently. Paper bags are worse for the environment than plastic because of the extra energy needed to manufacture and transport, the Government says.
The train issue is interesting because government policies are often based the simplistic slogans of the Greens. If cars are evil then mass transit is good, or at least less evil. So there has been a tendency to penalize driving and subsidize mass transit. But, in the case of these trains, that is actually increasing environmental impact not decreasing it.

It also appears that organic is not helpful either, at least not when it comes to cattle. Cows belch and belching releases methane so cows are killing Mother Earth. But the Times notes, "Organic beef is the most damaging because organic cattle emit more methane."

Mr. Goodall suggests a solution: "Don't buy anything from the supermarket or anything that's travelled too far." I suppose we are to forage like squirrels.

Alas Mr. Goodall still thinks life is simple when it comes to the distance food traveled. Apparently he assumes that food from a distance is more carbon intensive than local food. That is not necessarily the case. Mr. Goodall is only looking at that which is seen -- the miles traveled by the imported food.

James McWilliams, in the New York Times, says this concept of "food miles" "joins recycling, biking to work, and driving a hybrid as a realistic way that we can, as individuals shrink our carbon footprint and be good stewards of the environment." Apparently Mr. McWilliams, in promoting biking to work, is unaware of the point Mr. Goodall is making. But that's fair. Mr. Goodall seems to be oblivious to the point Mr. McWilliams makes regarding food miles.

McWilliams refers to a study undertaken by Lincoln University in New Zealand. They tried to look at a broader picture than just the simplistic miles traveled equation. They expanded,

...their equations to include other energy-consuming aspects of production - what economists call "factor inputs and externalities" - like water use, harvesting techniques, fertilizer outlays, renewable energy applications, means of transportation (and the kind of fuel used), the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed during photosynthesis, disposal of packaging, storage procedures and dozens of other cultivation inputs.
Once the broader picture were put into context the picture changes substantially.

Most notably, they found that lamb raised on New Zealand's clover-choked pastures and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produced 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton while British lamb produced 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton, in part because poorer British pastures force farmers to use feed. In other words, it is four times more energy-efficient for Londoners to buy lamb imported from the other side of the world than to buy it from a producer in their backyard. Similar figures were found for dairy products and fruit.
In reality the food mile scam is a combination of antiquated protectionism and counterproductive mercantilism. Many Greens would do well to read the essay by Frederic Bastiat, That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen. Understanding this one essay undoes a lot of economic fallacies.

The food miles are easy to see. That which is harder to see is the different kinds of input for agricultural products around the world. Miles are easy to measure. Total input is hard to discern, especially for the layman. Often the simplest statements in economics are riddled with falsehoods. There are two sides to the economic coin and proponents of new programs tend only to look at the benefits and never the costs. And if they do consider costs they do so in only the most cursory of ways.

For instance when a government has a "make work" project they focus only on the jobs created. Those are easy to see. The funds, however, came from the productive economy reducing demand there. The result is a decline in employment. At best the state has merely rearranged things, creating nothing in the process. In truth, it tends to produce something people didn't want as much, at the expense of something they wanted more, making the consumers worse off on average.

Food miles are a similar myth. The carbon reduction obtained by limiting miles traveled is seen easily. That this forces production away from more efficient producers to less efficient producers, increasing the carbon impact along the way, is far more difficult to see. It gets ignored and replaced with the simplistic sloganeering that is so prevalent among the Green Left.

Too much environmental slogans are based on one-sided thinking, focusing only on the most obvious costs and ignoring the benefits. Then they flip-flop when it comes to their solutions at which point they concentrate only on the benefits while ignoring the costs.

Source




INQUISITORS PROPAGATING THE THEORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE WON'T SUCCEED

Comment from India

Inquisitors propagating the theory of climate change cannot do today what had been done to Galileo. We recently went to see Bertolt Brecht's Galileo, which provides interesting parallels between the last large paradigm shift about Man's relationship to the stars, and the current one, in the new theory of cosmoclimatology discussed in my last column. The scientific establishment was wedded to a theory which the celestial observations of the scientific sceptics Copernicus and Galileo contradicted. The Inquisition tried to suppress the heretics, by excommunication (Copernicus) or silencing them through showing them the instruments of torture (Galileo).

Today, the peer reviewed process of funding and validation of scientific research in climatology is equally controlled by the modern equivalent of the Collegium Romanum (the Vatican's Institute of Research), the Inter-government Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). They in turn answer to the equivalent of the Inquisition, the Green ideologists, who, mercifully, can only torment through derision or denying the heretics research funding, and not the frightening instruments of torture.

But, even the Collegium Romanum was imbued by the rational scientific spirit and confirmed Galileo's discoveries in his lifetime, though it took the Pope till 1993 to formally recognise the validity of Galileo's work. Finally, in both cases the new theories were dismissed by the theologians as they seemed to downgrade the primacy of God's agents (human beings) in the universe.

Fortunately, it is much more difficult to suppress the scientific enterprise today. A recent seriously flawed paper (Lockwood and Froelich, Proc. R. Soc. A, 25 May, 2007) hyped in the media seeks to reinforce the CO2 theory. It argues that, whilst the sun had an effect on the climate during most of the 20th century, since 1988 its activity has declined but global warming has continued.

However, the paper's data stop in 2000. In fact, the global temperature record shows that, when the sun was active the world warmed, and since "it peaked in the late 1980's within a few years global warming stalled" (Whitehouse: "The truth is we can't ignore the sun," Sunday Telegraph, July 15, 2007).

When the CERN CLOUD experiment is completed in 2010 and (hopefully) vindicates Svensmark's cosmoclimatology theory, the CO2 theory of climate change will be buried. It will be recognised that humans cannot control the climate and must adapt as they have done for millennia to its continual changes. Hence it is ironic that many economists (and policymakers) base their climate change policy recommendations on acceptance of the CO2 theory upheld by the IPCC as the irrefutable scientific truth, the latest example being the Stern Review put out by the UK government.

There is nothing particularly novel about the cost-benefit methodology which is used, nor about the model used to incorporate the scientific judgments, as William Nordhaus (the author of the most serious previous study of the economics of climate change) has noted in a recent review (W D Nordhaus: "The 'Stern Review' of the Economics of Climate Change," NBER WP. 12741, December 2006). What is novel is its conclusion that, without drastic immediate action to curb greenhouse emissions, the world faces economic catastrophe "on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century".

This is a dramatically different conclusion from earlier models of climate change (Nordhaus: Managing the Global Commons, MIT, 1994; Nordhaus and Boyer: Warming the World, MIT, 2000) that find that the "optimal climate change" policies involve modest reductions in emissions in the near future. The reason for the contrary Stern results is the near zero social rate of discount used, representing a contentious ethical judgment of the weight placed on the consumption of future relative to present generations.

Apart from the "pure" time preference component of the discount rate, there is also the component that depends upon the fact that, with ongoing economic growth, future generations are going to be richer than the current generation. Hence a rupee accruing to the richer future generation should be less valuable than that accruing to the current poorer generation. How much less valuable depends upon the inter-generational distributional judgment. The discount rate crucially determines how far future costs and benefits need to be counted. If the discount rate is close to zero, the whole of the infinite future stream of costs and benefits becomes relevant.

Hence, the highly speculative economic damage the Stern Review adduces from rising temperatures two centuries from now can be valued equally with any economic costs we have to currently incur to mitigate them. But, as Nordhaus rightly notes, this low discount rate can lead to absurd results. It would imply trading off a large fraction of today's income to increase the income stream of those living two centuries from now by a tiny fraction. For, with a near zero discount rate, this tiny increase in the future generations income stream is cumulated to near infinity.

By contrast, the estimates I made for the Planning Commission in the early 1970s (see Lal: Prices for Planning, HEB, 1980) based on the same methodology as the Stern Review, but with more plausible parameters, yielded a social discount rate of 7 per cent for India. At this discount rate, the present value of Re 1 accruing 75 years from today would be worth nothing, making most of the speculative economic costs and benefits, and the apocalyptic predictions of the Stern Review, irrelevant for India.

This does not downgrade the serious current environmental problems caused by rapid growth in India and China. Anyone who has choked in the fetid air of Chungking, Xian, Beijing or Delhi will know that no climate scares are needed to provide a case for dealing with their unhealthy air pollution. Similarly India and China face a growing water crisis irrespective of what is happening to global CO2 emissions. Subsidies to energy and water use need to be removed for efficiency reasons.

Whilst, given the political instability and growing political determination of supplies of fossil fuels from the countries where they are concentrated, it is sensible to diversify energy sources. Both nuclear power and India's coal reserves provide more secure alternatives. Bio fuels, by contrast, have the disadvantage of competing for limited land with essentials like food.

However, the sun, which most probably controls the climate, also offers the backstop technology which will provide the unbounded energy for India's continuing economic growth. In thinking about all these economic issues, the changing climate is a red herring.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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28 August, 2007

Miserable, Cold, Wet Summer In France

Post below lifted from Blue Crab. See the original for links

Kind of interesting. France has had the third worst summer in recorded history, only 1954 and 1977 were more miserable. Most of the nation has been much wetter and considerably cooler than historical averages.
It's official: France's rainy, grey and generally cold summer has been the worst for the past 30 years, the weather service said Friday, but tourist arrivals were the highest in five years. July and August were wet across two-thirds of the country while the Mediterranean region was too dry, said Frederic Nathan, meteorologist at Meteo France. "Yes we can say that it was a rotten summer," said Nathan. But the summers of 1954 and 1977 were worse, he added..

..Rainfall in northwestern France reached record levels, with cities like Le Havre registering 21 days of rain in July, beating the previous record of 16 in 1980. In the northern city of Caen in Normandy, the weather service registered 592 hours of sunshine from May 1st to August 21, well below the average of 809 hours. Temperatures on the Atlantic coast have been on average two or three degrees Celsius below seasonal averages, said Jean-Marc Le Gallic from Meteo France.
Britain has also had a miserably wet and cold summer. Interesting, no?




The Return of the Old Gods: A Challenge to Green Evangelicals

"And the Lord spoke all these words:
I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. (Exodus 20: 1-3)


Their names are Legion, for they are many; the Romans knew them as Juno, or Diana, or Ops. Freyr, Gerd, Idun, and Jord ruled the Norse, Dziewona and Mokosh were their names to the Slavs. The Hawaiians had Papa, the Aztecs Coatlicue, the Egyptians had Geb and Nut. The Celts had many: Cerunno, Cyhiraet, Druantia, Maeva. The ancient Canaanites had their Baal, who would cause so much trouble for the Israelites. They are all gods and goddesses of the earth, of nature, the old rulers of the ancient world. Far older than Christianity, older even than Hinduism, worship of nature gods is a cultural element shared by every race and tribe of Man since before recorded history. They are the gods of the worldly, the gods of the Fall.

Their demands have differed, their gifts have traditionally been good fortune, magic and fertility. Often earth gods have doubled as fertility gods, and sex has often been an integral part of Gaia worship. Their rule over the world of Man lasted a long, long time, stretching back into the mists of prehistory. That rule was broken, perhaps, on Mt. Sinai when an old man trudged down from the peak carrying stone tablets and castigating a people who had made for themselves a graven image. Carved onto those tablets was the Command quoted above, an admonition against the old gods of this Earth. To make the matter beyond dispute, it was further commanded of those ancient Hebrews:

"Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live. Any woman using unnatural powers or secret arts is to be put to death." (Exodus 22:18)

Those secret arts were the magical practices of the nature worshipping people. Much later, Saul, the first King of Israel, would be cursed with madness for consulting such a practitioner.

The end of the reign of the natural gods may have come when the Man of Galilee cast the demon Legion into swine, or when He was put to death on a tree, or when He rose from the dead.

It may have come when the Emperor Constantine dreamed his momentous vision of the crucifix with the words "in hoc signo vinces," which roughly translate "in this sign you will conquer." It may have come at every juncture, with the blood of every martyr who preached to the worshippers of Legion, of every toiler in a savage wilderness who built and prayed and fought to survive amidst those who would kill him. But the end came, and the old gods crept back into the realm of shadows to await their opportunity.

In 1890 Sir James Frazer published the first volume of The Golden Bough. Building on the myth-collecting work of anthropologists such as Lewis Morgan, Frazer made a serious effort to compare and classify the details of disparate myths originating in very different cultures worldwide. He concluded that mythology was a type of primitive science, an attempt to explain the universe and man's place in it. This was a break from the Enlightenment view that mythmaking was an ignorant superstition, unworthy of the man of reason. According to Jacques Barzun in his book From Dawn to Decadence:

"For 200 years myths had been dismissed as ignorant superstitions, now they were seen as expressions of important thought. That they were richly symbolic comforted both the Symbolist poets and the critics of materialism in science, while the rehabilitation of the primitive mind encouraged the renouncers of civilization. The western mind was experiencing one of its attacks of primitivism." [emphasis added]

This primitivism had been around for some time; certainly it can be seen in Thoreau`s Walden, and philosophically it lies at the heart of Rousseau`s utopian vision with the concept of the "noble savage" free from the encumbrances of modernity. Based on a denial of the concept of Original Sin, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, argued at the beginning of the 18th century that Man is in a far happier and freer state when not shackled by the "arbitrary" rules and customs of civilization. It was further advanced at that time by Sir Richard Steele, and can be seen to a limited degree in John Locke and later 18th century Philosophes. Certainly the celebrity of Benjamin Franklin is attributable in no small part to his "primitive" background as a humble "Quaker" colonist and yet brilliant man of science. (Franklin had been raised an Episcopalian, and was probably a Deist as an adult, but many in Europe assumed him a Quaker.) It was thought that Franklin's intelligence was born of his "savage" upbringing in the hinterland.

Primitivism and Utopianism lie at the heart of modern Liberalism, and most certainly are the roots of the Green movement; many Greens want to return the Earth to a mythical pristine paradise, to expunge the "plague" of industrialism and bring back the forgotten Eden which we have despoiled.

This Primitivism flies in the face of the Christian tradition of rationalism, the heritage of Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, William of Occam, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, etc., and of the older Jewish tradition of scholarship and philosophy, as well as many of the Greek philosophers such as Aristotle. This Primitivism would find a home in the 19th century works of Nietzche with his belief in the self-willed Superman and his rejection of the intellect in favor of emotionalism. It would find a home in the psychological interests of Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung, who would seek after the unconscious "primitive" non-rational parts of the human psyche while curiously rejecting the God of the Bible. It would root itself in the irrational faith in Socialism that permeated the 19th century, a faith with no empirical basis. It would be at the heart of Nazism and Fascism, a belief in a fantasy golden age of the Volk, one ruled by the old gods who gave power to the Nation and who commanded the sacrifice of blood. It would be at the heart of the strange beliefs of Marxists who faithfully awaited the worker`s paradise.....

The goddess movement, such a large part of Wicca, leads naturally to Ecofeminism, the fusion of feminist thought with radical environmentalism. In short, earth worship is at the core of the modern environmentalist movement. Gaia Theory draws its name from the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth, and there is a touch of mysticism involved; the theory is that all life and the inorganic parts of the Earth are hopelessly interrelated to the point of forming a sort of berlife. Gaia theory is a major factor in the thinking of many environmentalists, and consequently looms large in the whole Global Warming debate.

So, too does socialism, that 19th century worship of blind economic processes, and the fusion of the two is called Ecosocialism. It is interesting to note the many socialists are involved in the "save the planet movement" -- most notably Mikhail Gorbachev, former dictator of the defunct Soviet Union. Why, one may ask, would environmentalism appeal to socialists? Every action of a human being has some affect on the environment. People must eat, which means someone must use land for farming, people must drink clean water, which means disturbing lakes, rivers, and wetlands, people must breathe which means exhaling the evil greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. By the very act of existence, a person necessarily disturbs his or her environment.

A doctrine which advocates the radical reorganization of civilization must find some impetus to compel people to make those radical changes. The promise of a future utopia was not enough to convince people to allow the communist yoke to remain around their necks, so the threat of extinction is being employed. We simply MUST force obedience to government if we are to survive! ....

Now the time has come for the environment, and Environmentalism is the perfect vehicle for promoting the materialist worldview. The sea change from conservationism to activist environmentalism occurred as a result of Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring. Before Carson, conservationists sought to preserve lands and forests, but the success of Carson's crusade to ban DDT -- which condemned millions of people in Third World countries to death by malaria -- led to the birth of a new movement, one which would use the courts, legal machinations, and traditional activist techniques to achieve specific environmental goals.

With the first Earth Day in 1970 the Left had a movement uniquely poised to damage free market economies worldwide, and both socialists and neo-pagans swarmed into the movement. The collapse of the Eastern Block in the `80's, followed by the rise of Global Warming theory, gave great impetus to those who believe in a command economy, as this movement had the means, the emotional appeal, and could be manipulated to produce the desired ends; the radical reorganization of Humanity.

So what we have witnessed in the Global Warming debate is a perfect storm of anti-Christian philosophies parading as science. Materialists, Socialists, and Left-leaning types found common cause with neo-pagans and anti-Christian spirituality to advocate a New World Order dressed as a movement to save the planet. A friendly media has nurtured and supported it, and it has advanced through a string of sacraments; separating trash, installing low wattage light bulbs, driving hybrid vehicles, etc. frightened by end-of-the-world scenarios by the prophets of doom while having the Green ethos inculcated in them through letter-writing campaigns and "Earth friendly" checklists. The Environmentalists, heavily financed by left-wing think tanks and environmental-activist organizations, are hurrying to push through Draconian emission standards and to stifle any debate-and that debate is plentiful, indeed.

This is not settled science, nor are scientists in agreement about this matter. Increasingly it is becoming obvious that the 1degree F warming we have witnessed in the last century is related to solar cycles. Many scientists have disagreed with this notion of Anthropogenic Global Warming from the beginning; we had the Statement by Atmospheric Scientists, The Oregon Petition, the Leipzig Petiton, and the Heidelberg Appeal. The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has a long list of scientists who have changed from believers into skeptics.

In fact, the consensus we are told exists among scientists appears to be largely hot air. Even Roger Revelle, one of the fathers of Global Warming theory and the man much touted by Al Gore in his mockumentary, came to, well, not disavow his theory, but to dismiss it as not any sort of credible threat to Mankind before he passed away. The reality is that a large body of science supports a different interpretation of the amazing 1degree rise in temperature; mainly, that normal cycles are at work. The Sun has been more active with extraordinary sunspot activity. A more active sun suggests a warmer sun, and a more active sun means a stronger solar wind to broom away cosmic rays, which means fewer clouds to reflect sunlight. Since the solar cycle has peaked the Earth`s albedo has increased, suggesting that Heinrick Svensmark`s theory about cosmic rays is correct....

Which brings us to the matter of Christian Environmentalism. The principal argument by Evangelicals is that the science is settled, that Man is causing an environmental catastrophe, and that, in the interest of being good stewards of God's creation, we should be active in keeping the Earth pristine. A number of Evangelical leaders have issued a statement calling for action on Global Warming, and have created an Evangelical environmental network. They base their thinking on Genesis 1:28-29:

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

Note that it says be fruitful and multiply, as well as replenish the earth and subdue it. It in no way mentions maintaining the Earth or saving it. In short, it does not call man to be God, and exercise Divine control for the sake of the natural world; on the contrary, it calls for Man to expand and improve things for man's benefit.

Environmentalist Christians are in a state of error in that they have placed their trust in the powers of Man rather than the absolute control of God. They rightly believe that we should not despoil nature, but this comes out of an arrogant belief in the divine powers of Man, while ignoring the fact that God is in control of things. The salvation of souls is the purpose of life, not the preservation of the lesser parts of creation, and environmentalist Christians have confused the issue, believing they are doing the Will of God when they are ultimately feeding their own egos......

This Green Evangelical attempt at "relevancy," this tossing of the ecumenical religious salad with a heavy dollop of green goddess dressing is more in line with the old-line liberal churches that long ago shook hands with the devil of Modernism. This is a turning away from the very principles on which Evangelicalism was founded. This is serving the creature over the Creator.

The Books of Daniel and Revelations both make it quite plain that environmental disasters come from the Almighty as punishment for Sin, and Christians are to have faith that God is in control. God was in control during Noah's flood, in the environmental plagues of Egypt, in the workings of Elijah, in the great storms and snake bites which plagued the early disciples. Biblically these things are from the Lord, yet Christian environmentalists refuse to accept the notion that God is firmly in charge. In many ways, this movement sets itself up in opposition to God`s purposes. In the Old Testament, God was quite severe when Israel worshipped strange gods; He made them wander in the desert for 40 years when they made a golden calf to worship as they were coming out of Egypt, and he exiled them for 70 years to Babylon when they worshipped the nature god Baal. He exiled them for 1,882 years for their acceptance of Pan Hellenism.

In the New Testament Jesus stated "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Environmentalism glorifies another god, an ancient serpent of the earth, one whose rule was broken with the coming of the Messiah. God is not amused by the acceptance of strange gods before Him. Why do the Green Evangelicals believe otherwise?

More here




Chickengreens of the upper crust

Since I've done my bit this morning to foster undifferentiated anxiety over global climate change, I feel that I have earned some skeptic-offsets that I can apply to bashing the chickengreens -- rich people who demand enormous sacrifices from not-rich people so as to reduce anthropogenic global warming, while dumping tons of carbon themselves to travel without having to rub elbows with the Great Unwashed. If you have access to today's Wall Street Journal, read "Living Large While Being Green" in today's "Wealth Report" column. If you do not have access, enjoy this fair use excerpt:
It's not easy being green -- especially if you're rich. With their growing fleets of yachts, jets and cars, and their sprawling estates, today's outsized wealthy have also become outsized polluters. There are now 10,000 private jets swarming American skies, all burning more than 15 times as much fuel per passenger as commercial planes. The summer seas are increasingly crowded with megayachts swallowing up to 80 gallons of fuel an hour.

Yet with the green movement in vogue, the rich are looking for ways to compensate for their carbon-dioxide generation, which is linked to global warming, without crimping their style. Some are buying carbon "offsets" for their private-jet flights, which help fund alternate-energy technologies such as windmills, or carbon dioxide-eating greenery such as trees. Others are installing ocean-monitoring equipment on their yachts. And a few are building green-certified mansions, complete with solar-heated indoor swimming pools....

Others say the efforts are little more than window-dressing, designed to ease the guilt of the wealthy or boost their status among an increasingly green elite. Environmentalists say that if the rich really wanted to help the environment, they would stop flying on private jets, live in smaller homes, and buy kayaks instead of yachts. "Carbon offsets and these other things are feel-good solutions," says Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute. "I'm always interested in people who buy a carbon offset for their jet to fly between their four big homes. These kinds of programs postpone more meaningful action."

Either way, an increasing number of companies are launching programs designed to help the rich live large while staying green. Jets.com, a private jet service, plans to start a program in early September in partnership with the Carbon Fund. After they take a trip, customers will get a statement on their bills telling them how much carbon dioxide their flight emitted and what it would cost to buy offsets from the fund. The offsets are a bargain compared with the flights: A round-trip private-jet flight between Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Boston costs about $20,000. The offsets for the 13 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted would cost about $74, the company says.

V1 Jets International, a jet charter company, rolled out its "Green Card" program that it says accentuates "the positive effect your flight emissions will have on the environment." The company calculates the total emissions from the trip and then buys a carbon offset from the Carbon Fund. "From a jet perspective, we have a responsibility to look after the damage that these planes do," says Andrew Zarrow, V1's president. The company also has created technologies designed to make flights more efficient by selling seats on "deadleg" trips -- flights that are returning empty from one-way trips.
A fully loaded Gulfstream G400 burns 100 gallons of fuel per passenger per hour. The comparable figure for a Boeing 777 is 6 gallons. Per hour, the Gulfstream dumps one ton of CO2 per passenger, compared to 0.06 tons for the Boeing. If you believe that incremental CO2 is driving changes in our climate which may lead to catastrophe, then there is simply no defense for routinely traveling by private jet.

Look, it is wonderful to fly by private jet, but it is also entirely unnecessary. Yes, celebrities particularly will bleat that it is uniquely burdensome for them to fly commercial, but that is basically hogwash. Twenty years ago one used to see celebrities and other wealthy people in the first class cabins of scheduled commercial flights. Only the ultra-rich had their own jets. Today, the fractional jet business has made private jet travel affordable for the merely wealthy. People spend the money for the extravagance because it is so much more pleasant and convenient than commercial travel. But that is all it is -- pleasant and convenient. Surely that is not a reason to destroy the world?

As Glenn Reynolds put it a few days ago, it would be much easier to believe that CO2 emissions have led to a crisis if the people who are most vocal in promoting that idea acted as if they believed it. One way they could do that is to buy offsets and not fly on private jets. The two actions, after all, are actually and morally independent. The linking of offsets to indulgence is either self-deceptive or propagandistic, but it is not logical or moral.

Source




GOVERNMENTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUES: THE CASE FOR RETHINK

By David Henderson

1. A flawed process

The Stern Review on the economics of climate change has given rise to a spirited professional debate. My purpose here is not so much to extend that debate as to comment on a related and wider topic, namely, the questionable treatment of climate change issues by governments across the world. The Review is best seen in context, and part of that context now is the massive Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since the Review appeared in final form, much though not the whole of AR4 has seen the light of day; and in particular, all three Summaries for Policymakers (SPMs), one for each of the IPCC's three Working Groups, are now in the public domain.

The whole of the Report is due to appear by November 2007. Altogether, AR4 may well run to 3,000 pages, and some 2,500 experts were apparently involved in preparing it: I refer to this array of persons as the IPCC network. A related document to be noted, since it formed the point of departure for AR4 as for its predecessor, is the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), commissioned by Working Group III and published in 2000.

Both the Stern Review and AR4 form part of a much wider picture. They are recent and important contributions to a large-scale worldwide continuing process which goes back over 20 years. Within it, governments are informing themselves about issues relating to climate change, defining and reviewing possible courses of action to deal with it, and shaping policies accordingly.

I have come to believe that this official process is seriously flawed. There are grounds for concern about the way in which governments across the world, and more particularly the governments of OECD member countries, are viewing and handling climate change issues. The concerns relate both to the basis and rationale for current policies, and to their actual content. Under both headings, a new and more considered approach is called for-a new framework for policy.

My main emphasis here is on the former area-that is, on the considerations which have formed the basis for official beliefs, actions, and proposals for further action. These considerations, the arguments and evidence which have carried weight, have chiefly emerged from the established official process of inquiry and review which is conducted through the mechanism of the IPCC and results in the Assessment Reports. Up-to-date top-level official confirmation that this is so is contained in the Declaration issued after the G8 Summit meeting of June 2007 (para 49): "Taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC reports, global greenhouse emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions."

Hence it is the IPCC process in particular that has to be a primary focus of attention: I give reasons for questioning it, and suggest ways in which it could be both strengthened and supplemented. To define the leading issue in this way does not at all imply a concern for procedures as opposed to substance. To the contrary: since the IPCC's assessments provide the basis and rationale for far-reaching conclusions, decisions and actions by governments everywhere, the reliability and integrity of the IPCC process constitutes a key substantive issue.

Governments and Climate Change Issues

The climate change agenda is not new, and governments are not starting from scratch. Policies to deal with perceived problems are well established and in course of being taken further. In the section that now follows, I sketch in some relevant background.

In Section 3, I comment on some aspects of both the Stern Review and AR4, and raise the question of how far the two documents convey the same central message. I note here, and comment on, the strong and growing official emphasis on the risks and dangers of global warming.

Section 4 sets out my central thesis. I outline what I call the problem of unwarranted trust in the IPCC process of inquiry and review: I put in question both the role of the Panel, as the chief instrument of governments, and the working assumptions of the departments and agencies that it reports to.

In the final sections, I turn from criticism to positive proposals, and sketch out a suggested alternative framework for policy. This alternative comprises two interrelated elements:

* measures to strengthen the basis for decisions, by providing for a more balanced treatment of the issues and the evidence (Section 5); and

* a more coherent and less presumptive approach to policy, together with a stronger emphasis on taxation, rather than regulation, as a means to curbing emissions (Section 6).

In the Annex I comment on disturbing features of some scientific contributions to the current debate on climate change.

Excerpt above from WORLD ECONOMICS * Vol. 8 * No. 2 * April-June 2007




Australia: Illegal fishing sunk by new rules

This is something that should even make the Greenies happy -- if there is such a thing as a happy Greenie. Australia's very extensive territorial waters are heavily protected from overfishing by Australian laws and therefore ensure extensive habitat preservation for marine species. But Australia's Muslim neighbours need heavy pressure before they will pay any attention to Australia's right to control its own waters and resources. They have negligently fished out their own extensive waters and see no reason why they should not steal fish from Australian waters. The Australian government does however now seem to have got the attention of most of them

MORE warships and planes, greater co-operation from Jakarta and tough new rules allowing the navy to "shoot to sink" the vessels of suspected poachers has led to a 90 per cent drop in the number of illegal fishing boats this year. And those boats that are spotted are more likely to be seized, with a doubling of the apprehension rate, defence spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic said yesterday.

Operation Resolute -- the name given to fisheries protection -- combines the resources of the Australian Defence Force, Customs and Quarantine and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. Orion spy planes, mine hunters, a missile-armed frigate and Armidale class patrol boats can be called on to enforce the vast northern fishery zone, Brigadier Nikolic said. In the 12 months to June 30, the navy alone had boarded 235 suspected illegal fishing boats, he said. Area surveillance had increased by about 10 per cent.

The figures indicate new federal government strategies to tackle the scourge of illegal fishing were beginning to work, a spokesman for Fisheries Minister Eric Abetz said. "In the 18 months since the ramped-up budget package came into place with an extra $390 million, we've seen a decline (in illegal fishing boat sightings) of around 90 per cent," he said. At the weekend, three Indonesian boats equipped with sophisticated diving gear were seized off Evans Shoal, 320km northwest of Darwin.

Last year's budget measures paved the way for a big boost in patrol hours and the deployment of additional maritime resources for cracking down on illegal fishing. A total of 365 illegal fishing boats were caught last year, compared with 281 in 2005. Still of concern to authorities were the estimated 6700 sightings last year of illegal vessels in Australian waters. While many of these are likely to have involved the same boat, the number is still high and according to federal Labor justifies its policy of a national coast guard service.

The cost for the (Indonesian) owners of losing their fishing boats has proven a decisive factor in the fall in the number of sightings this year, the minister's spokesman said. Relaxed rules of engagement also allow warships to fire on illegal fishing boats if they fail to heed warnings to stop. Education programs in poor Indonesian fishing communities and better co-operation between Australia and Indonesia since the 2006 Lombok Treaty were also helping stem illegal fishing.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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27 August, 2007

A hated airport

With the possible exception of the Bastille in July 1789, Heathrow Airport appears to have become the most loathed building in history. An extraordinarily wide range of people seem to have nothing but contempt for it. This coalition stretches from City types who condemn the time it takes to pass through check-in and security, more humble folk who find their flights delayed because the place is operating at well above capacity, almost anyone in West London whose life is blighted by aircraft noise to environmentalists who have fingered it as the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the country and who are targeting the place with "direct action" reminiscent of Greenham Common in the 1980s.

And at least some of this criticism is fair. It cannot be said that any of the terminals there are exemplars of architectural beauty (incidentally, when so many people are frightened of flying, was it such a smart idea to call an airline hub a "terminal"?). The security measures are tiresome and open to the charge that they are designed to prevent methods employed in past terrorist attacks being duplicated, rather than to anticipate the techniques that might be devised in future.

The advent of the smoking ban has led to the surreal spectacle of those addicted to the weed not merely being condemned to stand outside but also directed to a ludicrous small white box painted on the pavement which is the only spot where they are allowed to indulge their habit.

Heathrow seems, therefore, to be the only place in Britain which investment bankers, al-Qaeda sympathisers and Friends of the Earth have all decided for various reasons that they would like to be shot of. There is a consensus that the airport and what it represents -- inexpensive flying -- is "unsustainable". Who would be mad enough to defend it and, indeed, the aviation industry more broadly?

I would. For this airport is the victim of an unappealing mixture of hypocrisy and hyperbole. The analogy with Greenham Common is more appropriate than merely the appearance of the professional protesters who turned out then as now. The essential argument of those who set up camp in Berkshire in the early 1980s was that the deployment of cruise missiles on British soil made nuclear war, and with it the destruction of mankind, more probable. This, as history would illustrate, proved to be precisely the wrong thesis. The willingness of the West to match Russian rearmament would actually be the undoing of the Soviet Union. The Camp for Climate Action is similarly aiming its fire at what is a false villain.

There can be fewer hypocrisies greater than the rising percentage of people who claim to agree with the statement that there should be "less flying" and the surging proportion of the public who turn to the websites of easyJet and Ryanair in the hope of finding a seat to Venice for less than the price of a tank of petrol.

When most commentators demand less unnecessary flying, what they really mean is that other people should fly less, or that those poorer than themselves should be forced to fund the "full" cost of their travel through the imposition of new taxation on aviation fuel. It used to be said (correctly) that travel broadened the mind. It has become fashionable instead to portray it as a wanton act of rape and pillage upon the planet. Yet is it? Most serious analysts concede that flying is not at present a significant factor in overall carbon emissions, though they warn darkly that it might well become so at some unspecified moment in the future, with estimates ranging as high as a quarter of the British total of emissions in perhaps no more than two decades.

A sense of proportion here would be helpful. Airline emissions now account for 5.5 per cent of the 2 per cent of global carbon dioxide output for which the United Kingdom is responsible (which is to say, a rather small amount). To ratchet up the 5.5 to a prediction of 25 per cent in 2025 (by which time the UK's percentage of the entire carbon stock is forecast to fall) demands extrapolation that Malthus at his most apocalyptic could not have managed. It involves assuming that the phenomenal increase in passenger numbers of the past 50 years will be maintained at an equivalent rate (which is incredible) and takes little account of technological innovation by the industry. This innovation has already been substantial and there is every incentive for the airlines to continue to clean up further and faster.

So the charge that the present pattern of air travel is "unsustainable" is both true and immaterial. It is true in the sense that low-cost travel of the sort that has become familiar in the past decade will not be reinvented every decade hence, and so will not be sustained. It is immaterial because, even if the Camp for Climate Action were awarded its wish and flying priced out of existence, the effect on the environment would be meagre. It is convenient to pick on a big airport and those who own it, but the reality is that most of us are responsible for more carbon emissions through our lax attitudes to energy efficiency in the home, and more pollution because most of our car journeys are trips of two miles or less.

Heathrow will become a much less hellish experience when Terminal 5 is opened in March and the third runway is finally constructed. It will never rival the Taj Mahal as a visual landmark, nor will standing in line at security ever be enjoyable. But to treat Heathrow as if it were the Bastille and besiege it is crazy. "Let them eat cake" was the wrong response to events in France in the 18th century. "Stop them flying" is scarcely more rational now.

Source




EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES JOIN FORCES AGAINST EU CO2 EMISSION CAPS

The EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is under increasing pressure as eight of the bloc's 27 member states are threatening the Commission with legal action, following its decision to slash the amount of carbon allowances allocated to companies. The governments of Lithuania and Malta have announced they could join Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia and Latvia in challenging the EU's emissions-trading scheme, after the Commission ordered the two states to lower their proposed limits on national industrial carbon-dioxide emissions by 30% and 46% respectively. The eight Eastern European countries argue that the strict limits imposed by the EU executive are too low and will hurt their economies at a time when they are still playing 'catch-up' with the rest of the Union. They hope that the European Court of Justice will overrule the decision.

Latvian MEP and former Finance Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has accused the Commission of "bullying" new member states into taking on the larger part of the burden in the battle against climate change. In a letter to the Guardian on 20 August, he claims that most of the 12 new member states already meet their individual Kyoto target of cutting emissions by 8% from 1990 levels by 2010, whereas the 15 older member states are projected to achieve only a 4.6% reduction by that date. Yet, while new members have seen their requested quotas slashed by up to 55%, almost all of the older members received more than 90% of their requested pollution permits.

Dombrovskis said: "The Commission is shifting what should be a shared burden on to its newest members, which are already the most environmentally efficient in the European Union. In doing so, the Commission is rewarding inefficiency and reducing the effectiveness of its commitments to clean up the environment. [New members] need rapid economic growth to catch up with the rest of the EU. But their ability to grow is being impaired because they lack the resources to confront the massive business lobbies of the EU's most developed and richest countries. Making the union's newest members carry a disproportionate share of the burden of reducing the EU's total amount of pollution is both unjust and foolish."

The wave of challenges come at a time when the EU's ETS is already under sharp criticism for its failure to achieve real cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions after governments grossly overestimated the amount of pollution credits required by their industries during the first phase of the scheme, from 2005 to 2007, sending carbon prices crashing. A recent study by the UK-based think-tank Open Europe accuses the ETS of being an "embarrassing failure" and says that the second phase of the scheme, which will run from 2008 to 2012, "will see important new problems emerging", such as the possibility for companies to import permits from developing countries in order to offset their needs, making it unlikely that the ETS will reduce emissions or spur low carbon investment, and potentially depressing prices in the same way that the EU's own over-allocation did the first time around.

Source




Feedback Uncertainties

Feedbacks are at the heart of most disagreements over how serious man-induced global warming and climate change will be. To the climate community, a feedback is by definition a RESULT of surface temperature change. For instance, low cloud cover decreasing with surface warming would be a positive feedback on the temperature change by letting more shortwave solar radiation in.

But what never seems to be addressed is the question: What caused the temperature change in the first place? How do we know that the low cloud cover decreased as a response to the surface warming, rather than the other way around? ......

I think it is time to provoke some serious discussion and reconsideration regarding what we think we know about feedbacks in the real climate system, and therefore about climate sensitivity. While I've used the example of low cloud SW feedback, the potential problem exists with any kind of feedback.

For instance, everyone believes that water vapor feedback is positive, and conceptually justifies this by saying that a warmer surface causes more water to evaporate. But evaporation is only half the story in explaining the equilibrium concentration of atmospheric water vapor; precipitation is the other half. What if a decrease in precipitation efficiency is, instead, the cause of the surface warming, by not removing as much water vapor from the atmosphere? Then, it would be the water vapor increase driving the surface temperature change, and this would push the (unknown) diagnosed water vapor feedback in the positive direction.

Of course, researchers still have no clue about what control precipitation efficiency, although our new GRL paper suggests that, at least in the case of tropical intraseasonal oscillations, it increases with tropospheric warming.

What I fear is that we have been fooling ourselves with what we thought was positive cloud feedback in observational data, when in fact what we have been seeing was mostly non-feedback cloud "forcing" of surface temperature. In order to have any hope of ferreting out feedback signals, we must stop averaging observational data to long time scales, and instead examine short time-scale behavior. This is why our GRL paper addressed daily variability.

Will this guarantee that we will be able to observationally estimate feedbacks? No. It all depends upon how strong they are relative to other non-feedback forcings.

It seems like this whole issue should have been explored by someone else that I'm not aware of, and maybe someone here can point me in that direction. But I think that a simple model demonstration, like the one I've briefly presented, is the only way to convincingly demonstrate, in a quantitative fashion, how much of a problem this issue might be to the observational determination of climate sensitivity.

Much more here




CUTTING THE GORDIAN KNOT

A market solution to climate uncertainty

The emerging policy consensus that we ought to do something to limit carbon emissions faces two fundamental challenges. First, it remains difficult to measure the impact of any policy on the actual level of emissions. Second, these policies may impose substantial economic harms, which are also hard to measure.

An ideal policy response to the danger of global warming would both monitor the degree to which human activities are leading to warming, and adjust the incentives so that once the desired level of emissions reduction is reached, no further harm is imposed on the economy. Fortunately, economist Ross McKitrick has found a way to do just that with a very innovative twist on the carbon tax idea. McKitrick argues that for each country, the dollar rate of the carbon tax be pegged to the three-year average change in global tropical temperatures. The tax would be assessed per ton of carbon dioxide emissions, and updated annually. It would be administered for all domestic carbon dioxide emissions, be matched with income tax cuts and would come with no cap on emissions.

Implementing a carbon tax that is tied to warming and a futures market are ideas whose time has come. Currently, according to McKitrick, the tax would come out to $4.70 per ton, which is rather low. But if global warming forecasts are correct, the tax would eventually climb at a rate of between $4 and $24 per decade, according to McKitrick's findings. He calculates that if the current upper end of forecasts hold, the tax could reach $200 per ton by 2100, which would necessitate a move to non-carbon energy sources and an effort to cut carbon emissions.

Of course, it is possible that the current models will not hold, which would mean that the tax would increase very little, if at all. As McKitrick points out, it is even possible-according to some scientists-that we might experience global cooling, in which case we could end up subsidizing carbon emissions. These two scenarios-and all of the scenarios in between-highlight the uncertainty in our climate future. McKitrick's proposed carbon tax allows us to measure the degree to which human activity is contributing to global warming by looking at the tax rate. If increases in the tax rate lead to decreases in warming, then the alarmists are right about our impact on climate-if it doesn't, they are not. As McKitrick himself says, with this tax, "the regulator gets to call everyone's bluff at once, without gambling in advance on who is right."

Moreover, the structure of the tax will encourage both public and private sector forecasting that will take global warming into account and will decrease the lag between the effects of climate change and the design and implementation of policy options to address that change. We can add to or amend McKitrick's proposal by taking into account economist Arnold Kling's idea of having a futures market in the temperature indicator, where the tax is tied to the futures price.

I'm a big fan of futures markets; the Iowa Electronics Market has an excellent reputation for correctly predicting the outcome of Presidential elections and futures markets would even help forecast-and prevent-terrorist attacks if only people got over some of their squeamishness. Tying a futures market to the carbon tax McKitrick envisions would go a long way towards making the tax rational.

Implementing a carbon tax that is tied to warming and a futures market are ideas whose time has come. Both the tax and the futures market will help lend greater certainty to the climate debate. Intellectual checks and balances will be imposed on each side. And since no particular liberty principle is at issue, the taxation of externalities is certainly something free market types like me can get behind. It is better than the taxation of income, after all. Or as Bill Murray put it in Ghostbusters, "I like this plan! I'm proud to be a part of it!"

Source




More Greenie foot-shooting in Australia: Must wash clothes in cold water

But you would probably have to use more detergent in that case and we know how evil that is. And to get the extra detergent out afterwards you would probably have to use more water and we know how evil that is! The usual Greenie lose-lose situation

THE Victorian Government has launched a new campaign encouraging people to wash clothes in cold water to help cut household energy use. Minister for Climate Change Gavin Jennings today said it was important to encourage cold water washing, as water heating accounts for about 20 per cent of the average home's greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's small and simple actions like washing full loads of clothes in cold water that can make a big collective difference to our environment," Mr Jennings said. "Energy used for heating water for showers, washing and other household tasks costs the average household about $300 each year. "People need hot water to have a shower, but not necessarily to clean their clothes," he said. "By switching to a cold wash, you can cut 80-90 per cent off the running costs of doing a load of washing, and reduce your water heating by almost 10 per cent."

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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26 August, 2007

CLIMATOLOGY: THE MODERN ASTROLOGY THAT CAN EXPLAIN EVERYTHING

Take your pick below

(1) GLOBAL WARMING MAKES NORTH ATLANTIC LESS SALTY

Since the late 1960s, much of the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty, in part due to increases in fresh water runoff induced by global warming, scientists say. Now for the first time researchers have quantified this fresh water influx, allowing them to predict the long-term effects on a "conveyor belt" of ocean currents. Climate changes in the Northern Hemisphere have melted glaciers and brought more rain, dumping more fresh water into the oceans, according to the analysis. One of the expected high-profile consequences is a rising sea that will swamp coastal communities....

LiveScience, 29 June 2005

(2) GLOBAL WARMING MAKES NORTH ATLANTIC MORE SALTY

The surface waters of the North Atlantic are getting saltier, suggests a new study of records spanning over 50 years. And this might actually be good news for the effects of climate change on global ocean currents in the short-term, say the study's researchers. This is because saltier waters in the upper levels of the North Atlantic ocean may mean that the global ocean conveyor belt -- the vital piece of planetary plumbing which some scientists fear may slow down because of global warming -- will remain stable. The global ocean conveyor belt is the crucial circulation of ocean waters around the Earth. It helps drive the Gulf Stream and keeps Europe warm. The density of waters which drives the flow of ocean currents is dependent on temperature and salinity, so any change in saltiness may have an impact.

Tim Boyer of the US National Oceanographic Data Center and colleagues compiled salinity data gathered by fisheries, navy and research ships travelling across the North Atlantic between 1955 and 2006. They found that during this time, the layer of water that makes up the top 400 metres has gradually become saltier. The seawater is probably becoming saltier due to global warming, Boyer says. "We know that upper ocean is warming in the North Atlantic, so it stands to reason that there should be more evaporation, making waters more salty," he says.

New Scientist, 23 August 2007




TAMING THE HURRICANE: AN ANTIDOTE TO CLIMATE ALARMISM

On September 28, 1955, a Category 5 hurricane named Janet slammed into Chetumal, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, killing over 600 people. Hurricane Dean, another Category 5, and the third-strongest storm ever measured at landfall, hit in exactly the same place earlier this week (Tuesday, August 21,2007) and killed no one. Maximum winds in both storms were indistinguishable. The hurricane-hunter pilot who flew through the eyewall of the storm Tuesday reported severe turbulence, which is a temporary loss of aircraft control.

Probably for the first time in human history, a Category 5 storm hit a populated area and everyone lived. Because of its peculiar location, the Yucatan takes more big hurricane hits than just about anywhere else in the western hemisphere. When Mexico was dirt-poor, as it was in 1955, hurricanes could kill hundreds. They were warned, then, too. Hurricane-hunter planes also monitored Janet. Only one of these has ever been lost, and it as Janet was making landfall. Similar storms, huge storms, very different results. What's happening here?

Since then, people in the Yucatan have learned to adapt. While storms like these used to kill hundreds, even thousands, we now have the technology to forecast their tracks, at least for the critical last 24 hours, with reasonable confidence. Forecasting the intensity is a bit trickier, but everyone in the hurricane business was pretty convinced that Dean was going to bomb out sometime before it hit land.

After all, it was passing over the same region in which 1988 hurricane Gilbert set the record for the lowest barometric pressure ever measured in the Atlantic Basin. Gilbert was the second-strongest storm ever recorded at landfall, and also hit the Yucatan. While it was responsible for 202 deaths in Mexico, almost all of these were caused by mountain floods hundreds of miles away and days away from landfall.

Adaptation includes technology, infrastructure, and response. National Hurricane Center forecasts and data are available to everyone. But the infrastructure to respond to a forecast hurricane costs money, and poor nations don't have it. Among other things, it requires good roads for evacuation. Perhaps even more important, adaptation to hurricanes or other natural disasters is political. No elected official wants to be blamed for hundreds of preventable deaths, so the nations that can afford it develop evacuation plans, open shelters, and deliver people from danger.

When Janet killed hundreds, per-capita income in Mexico was less than a tenth of what it is now, when Dean killed no one. So why is it that people are wringing their hands about global warming causing more severe hurricanes and deaths? The best computer estimate for future hurricanes was published by Tom Knutson and Robert Tuleya in the Journal of Climate in 2004. They calculated that maximum winds should increase by about 6% over the next 75 years. Even this may be an overestimate because the method used assumes carbon dioxide "the main global warming emission" is increasing in the atmosphere about twice as fast as it actually is.

Clearly, this small increase in hurricane strength is going to be dramatically overshadowed by adaptation as the developing world continues to develop. Mexico is a case in point. We see other adaptations to climate change in our cities. In the United States, cities with the most frequent heat waves have the fewest heat-related deaths, and heat-related deaths are themselves dropping, as our cities warm. Remember, a city doesn't need global warming to get hot. All it needs is a skyline, and a lot of blacktop and concrete to impede the flow of air and retain heat. But in our warming cities, just as with hurricanes in the Yucatan, frequency + affluence = adaptation.

An odd example of this is that there is only one major U.S. city in which heat related deaths are increasing, and it is the coolest one in summer: Seattle. Anyone concerned about climate change should take a lesson from Hurricane Dean. Even if storms like this become more frequent in the future, people will adapt and survive if they have the financial resources. How silly it seems to take those resources away in futile attempts to "stop global warming" which no one even knows how to do when they could save lives by allowing people to adapt to our ever-changing climate. The truth is that money in the hand is a lot more useful than treaties on paper when it comes to sparing yourself and your family from bad weather. So people truly worried about climate change should be cheerleading for the global trade and economic development that will continue allowing us to adapt.

Source




UN DREAMING: MOST CO2 EMISSION CUTS HAVE TO COME FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

More than two thirds of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed by 2030 to fight climate change will have to come from developing countries, the United Nation's climate change secretariat said on Thursday. By 2030 the world will need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually to fight climate change, said the report on an "appropriate international response to climate change". "It's not just a question of throwing more money at the problem," the U.N.'s climate change chief, Yvo de Boer, told Reuters. "(It's) incredibly important to put in place policies and measures that guide those investments in the right direction." The report said emissions have to drop in the next 25 years to 2004 levels. Some 68 percent of emissions cuts must take place in developing countries, it added.

FULL STORY here




GREENHOUSE WARMING: WRONG ALTITUDE AND LATITUDE DEPENDENCE?



Figure 1: Predicted greenhouse warming (left) versus reality (right) as a function of latitude (x) and altitude (y)

Lord Monckton has written down a convincing paper showing that the greenhouse effect predicts a "hot spot" at certain rather high altitudes above the equatorial zones, something that isn't really observed:
Monckton's fingerprints HTML, PDF
This point was emphasized to me by Fred Singer half a year ago. Thanks to Robert Ferguson who also offers a text explaining that consensus is rubbish.

Source (Lubos Motl)




THE LOGIC OF GLOBAL WARMING JIHADISTS

In every child's life there comes a time when childhood fantasies are shattered and he or she is forced to accept reality - there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy; parents don't always mean it when they promise to stay married until parted by death. Grown-up scientists, theologians, historians, archaeologists and others who pursue facts and objective truths are rooted in reality and constantly adjusting their conclusions, theories and hypotheses when new information comes to light. Those who ignore facts and cling to outdated information, or outright falsehoods, can quickly embrace fanaticism.

So it is with "global warming," the secular religion of our day that even has a good number of adherents among people of faith. Having decided to focus less on the eternal and whether anyone dwells there, global warming fundamentalists are pushing planet worship on us in a manner that would make a jihadist proud. There are at least two characteristics all fundamentalists share. One is the exclusion and sometimes suppression of any and all information that challenges or contradicts the belief one wishes to impose on all. The other is the use of the state in pursuit of their objectives, overriding the majority's will.

With global warming, some members of the scientific community - not all of whom are climatologists, who disagree among themselves - have circled the wagons, denying access and labeling illegitimate any scientist who disagrees with the 'doctrines' of a recently warming planet. The big media have been complicit in this censorship or ridicule of alternative views, mostly refusing to interview anyone who does not push the global warming faith.

CBS News this week broadcast a four-part series on ''climate change.'' Newsweek magazine recently slammed global warming ''deniers.'' That brought a counterattack in the Aug. 20 issue from Newsweek contributor Robert Samuelson, who termed the article ''highly contrived'' and ''fundamentally misleading.'' In 1975, Newsweek was just as convinced - using ''scientific evidence'' - that a new ice age was upon us.

Many global warming fanatics have pointed to NASA as proof that their concerns about a warming planet are justified. They have repeatedly cited the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), whose director, James Hansen, has asserted that nine of the 10 warmest years in history have occurred since 1995, with 1998 the warmest. When NASA was confronted with evidence provided by Climate Audit, a blog run by Stephen McIntyre devoted to auditing the statistical methods and data used in historical reconstructions of past climate data, it reversed itself. Without the fanfare used to hype the global warming fanaticism it had earlier supported, NASA now says four of the top 10 years of high temperatures are from the 1930s. Several previously selected ''warm'' years - 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004 - fell behind 1900.

GISS now says its previous claim that 1998 was the warmest year in American history is no longer valid. The warmest year was 1934. Has any of this new information changed the minds of the global warming fundamentalists? Nope. Neither has much of it seen the light of day in the mainstream media, which continue to carry stories where seldom is heard an alternative word and the skies are polluted all day.

The New York Times ran a story in its Sunday Business section last week that said it would cost a lot of money to fight global warming. The implication being that this money should come from government (and taxpayers), along with more government regulations and control over our lives by the very people who seem to have difficulty winning wars and controlling spending.

The Earth has warmed and cooled over many centuries. One can get a sense of who is telling the truth about global warming by the company the concept keeps. Most of the disciples of global warming are liberal Democrats who never have enough of our money and believe there are never enough regulations concerning the way we lead our lives. That ought to be enough to give everyone pause, along with emerging evidence that the global warming jihadists may be more full of hot air than the climate they claim is about to burn us up.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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25 August, 2007

"KYOTO IS ILLOGICAL": UNITED NATIONS U-TURN ANGERS GREENS

Rich nations should be absolved from the need to cut emissions if they pay developing countries to do it on their behalf, a senior UN official has said. The controversial suggestion from Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has angered environmental groups. They say climate change will not be solved unless rich and poor nations both cut emissions together. But Mr de Boer said the challenge was so great that action was needed now.

The UN's binding global climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, currently requires industrialised nations to reduce the majority of emissions themselves. But Mr de Boer said this was illogical, adding that the scale of the problem facing the world meant that countries should be allowed to invest in emission cuts wherever in the world it was cheapest. "We have been reducing emissions and making energy use more efficient in industrialised countries for a long time," he told BBC News. "So it is quite expensive in these nations to reduce emissions any more. "But in developing nations, less has been done to reduce emissions and less has been done to address energy efficiency," Mr de Boer observed. "So it actually becomes economically quite attractive for a company, for example in the UK, that has a target to achieve this goal by reducing emissions in China." He said rich nations should be able to buy their way out of 100% of their responsibilities - though he doubted that any country would want to do so.

Green groups said the proposal was against the spirit of the UN, which agreed that wealthy countries - who were responsible for climate change - should do most to cure it. Mike Childs from Friends of the Earth said: "This proposal simply won't deliver the cuts we need in time. The scientists are telling us that we need to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) by 50-80% by 2050. "Unless rich countries start to wean themselves off fossil fuels right away this won't happen." Doug Parr of Greenpeace was equally critical of Mr de Boer's suggestion. "The current trading system is not delivering emissions reductions as it is," he said. "Expanding it like this to give rich countries a completely free hand will simply not work."

Source




It is the Greenies who keep America dependant on Arab oil

Just about everyone claims the U.S. must urgently become "energy independent," yet at the same time just about every policy that may actually serve that goal is met with environmentalist opposition. That contradiction has impeded the Bush Administration's attempts to increase domestic energy production. And even the modest progress so far may be blocked because litigation is driving the conflict out of politics and into the courts.

To see this trend at work, look north to Alaska, where lawsuits are blocking an offshore drilling program. Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay that will suspend all operations until at least September, when the court will hear full arguments. The decision noted that the litigants--environmental pressure groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council--had shown "a probability of success on the merits." Uh-oh.

This is bad news for Shell, whose three-year exploration program in the Beaufort Sea was green-lighted by the Department of the Interior in February. The company planned to sink up to four temporary wells this summer to determine the available resources. But there's a limited open-water window before the winter ice moves back in, so the Ninth Circuit could delay work for a year, even if it decides in Shell's favor.

The worst ramifications, however, could hit environmental and regulatory law. The greens argue that the environmental review process of the Interior agency responsible for domestic energy leasing, the Minerals Management Service, was incomplete. Allegedly, there are not enough protections for bowhead whales as they migrate to their winter grounds. They also say that the program could affect other wildlife and that there could be oil spills.

In fact MMS conducts a comprehensive environmental review. Ultimately, it found that the project would have "no significant impact" on the ecosystem. The agency has also spent more than $20 million studying the feeding and migratory behavior of the bowhead whales in the Beaufort Sea. Based on that research, it attached additional approval conditions on Shell beyond the statutory law designed to mitigate any possible effects.

Part of the environmental complaint was that Shell would disrupt the Inupiat Eskimos' annual subsistence whale hunt. But the company brokered a "conflict avoidance agreement" that will stop all work for part of the migration season. As for oil spills, the two drill ships Shell would deploy were specially engineered to operate safely in the conditions of the Beaufort Sea. Plus, they'd be attended by an armada of barges to respond in case of an accident.

Even this painstaking and very expensive process wasn't enough. In short, it's hard to imagine any further precautions that would satisfy the environmentalists--short of a total ban on offshore drilling, which of course is their real objective. The environmentalists are pursuing a litigation strategy against every government agency involved. They have appealed decisions of the Environmental Protection Agency, threatened to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service, among others, and even sued to retroactively roll back all lease sales. With the Ninth Circuit, they finally found a court partner amenable to their demands.

Precisely because of the stringency of the review process, the environmentalists are developing some creative legal theories. The 1970 National Environmental Policy Act requires an Environmental Impact Statement. This orders the government to consider a "range of alternatives" when issuing any permits, and then to choose the one that offers "maximum protection" to the environment. The greens say that the option that provides "maximum protection" is not drilling. Ergo, the courts should stretch the statute to ban any exploration whatsoever.

But Congress and the executive are charged with determining what areas should be opened to development, balancing the public interest with environmental concerns. The law then provides for "maximum protection" within that context, which MMS has clearly done here.

The public interest in this case is domestic energy. The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that chooses to lock up its natural resources. Since 2003, the Administration and Congress have lifted the federal moratoria on a few select areas of the Outer Continental Shelf. The Beaufort basin, which is estimated to hold 27.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 8.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil, was one of those. A successful exploratory program could open a new frontier of energy.

That public purpose is what drives the greens bonkers, so they're trying to create a legal backstop to prevent any Administration from doing what President Bush has done. The Shell case shows that even a long and expensive effort to address every conceivable concern can still be undone by lawsuits. If anyone wants to know why we're still "dependent on foreign oil," this is it.

Source




FOREST FIRES MAY DESTROY EUROPE'S EMISSION TRADING SCHEME

The European Union's emissions trading scheme could be pushed into meltdown by a repeat of this summer's forest fires in southern Europe if proposals to include woodlands within the scheme are approved, according to carbon traders and green groups. EU leaders agreed to examine the inclusion of forests in the emissions trading scheme in June after a lobbying campaign by countries with big landmasses, such as France and Poland, who could gain from the change.

Begun in 2005, the scheme has placed a cap on the amount of greenhouse gas industry can produce in an attempt to fight climate change. Businesses that exceed their cap must purchase permits in the form of tradable carbon credits. Under the proposed plan, forests and other land would be credited as stores of carbon, allowing landowners to sell the resulting permits on to factories that emit gases.

Many in the carbon market fear that fires or drought could result in a huge release of stored carbon as trees die, triggering a jump in the carbon price and crippling the trading system. Stephan Singer, who advises the European Commission on behalf of the conservation group WWF, said: "If you give the credit you have to debit too. You are cheating the atmosphere if losses from fires are not debited." Including forests could also flood the market with cheap credits, rendering the price useless as a means of encouraging businesses to cut emissions. Last year, the carbon price collapsed when it was discovered that governments had issued too many permits.

FULL STORY here




Childish Greenie "protesters"

Hard as it may seem to believe, I was a Direct Action Man in my time. In the 1980s I went on many a march, protest, picket line, blockade and occupation - in support of striking miners, nurses and students, against wars, invasions and police brutality, in defence of abortion rights, immigrants and free speech. And I would not apologise for any of it. Anybody with an idealistic bone in his youthful body ought to have taken some direct action, along with the drugs. However, at the risk of sounding like a grey talking head on the "Grumpy Old Marxists" show, I feel obliged to point out that young eco-protester puppies today don't know they are born, are degrading the good name of direct action, and would not know a police state if they found one in their muesli.

The news has been full of spokespersons from the Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow comparing their campaign of direct action with noble struggles of the past. One summed up the camp's aims as being "to show it's possible and pleasurable to live sustainably" (the joys of the composting toilet), and "to show that non-violent direct action works. Civil disobedience has in the past led to things like black people getting the vote."

Grow up and get an education. The campaign against Heathrow expansion bears no comparison to those that led to "things like black people getting the vote". Direct action is neither good nor bad in principle. It is just a tactic, used by all manner of protest movements. What matters most are the political aims and outlook informing the protests. In the past, direct action was employed by people fighting to defend their own interests - working people struggling for jobs and better pay, women demanding the vote, black people seeking civil rights. The pursuit of self-interest was the driving force for political change. Others such as we on the Left supported their struggles, but we acted in solidarity, not as self-appointed substitutes for the miners or disadvantaged minorities.

Today, by contrast, to take political action in your own interests seems frowned upon as greedy, even sleazy. Instead, the Heathrow protesters insist that they are acting altruistically "on behalf of" others, speaking for the "voiceless" - the poor of the developing world, unborn generations, or simply the planet. A picture from the weekend captures the essence of this direct-action-by-indirect-proxy. It shows a group of white, apparently well-heeled protesters, beneath a banner declaring "We are armed . . . only with peer-reviewed science" (we went armed with political arguments), while they carry huge posters of the supposed victims of climate change on whose behalf they are protesting - mostly impoverished-looking Africans and Asians.

Call me an old cynic, but these protesters look like the ones cynically exploiting the plight of the poor in the developing world, dragging them symbolically in front of the cameras to act as a stage army justifying their march through a field in suburban England. Because, of course, you don't really give the "voiceless" a voice - you speak and act for them, whether they want you to do so or not. Exactly how many of the impoverished global masses have been consulted about the Heathrow camp set up on their behalf? Did those whose placards boldly declared "You Fly - They Die" ask the millions of Africans and Asians who are dying to fly? And can we be certain that the hungry-looking people depicted in those posters really agree with one camp spokeswoman that "we have had enough of the prioritisation of economic growth over the future of the planet"?

Once, when I debated these issues with George Monbiot, a leading green writer, he declared that they had to take action for the sake of "the unborn". I pointed out that this apparently democratic mandate amounted to signing themselves a blank cheque to do as they see fit, since the unborn were hardly in a position to disagree or vote them down from the moral high ground.

The "grassroots" protest movement at Heathrow turns out to be an egotistical posture from self-appointed saviours who imagine that they are floating above the ignorant masses, acting for the planet. It might seem odd that such high-profile protests take place at a time of low-level interest in politics. In fact they are two sides of the same coin. Gestures of disengaged direct action, such as occupying the BAA car park in the middle of the night, are not trying to win an argument with anybody. They are media stunts designed to demonstrate that the protesters are parked on the side of the angels, armed with the (self) righteous sword of "peer-reviewed science" to smite anybody in their path.

This apparent taste for the dictatorship of an expert elite over the great unaware might be rather sinister if we took them seriously. But despite the high-minded declarations, these protesters are only playing at politics. There were not many clown outfits in evidence among the Sunday-best suits on the 1963 March on Washington.

Yet such are the rising levels of self-deluded preciousness among the protesters that some seem to believe they were subjected to historic levels of police oppression, because some officers "acted aggressively". They might care to look at what happened in the past when protests challenged the Establishment - the direct action did not remain nonviolent for long once the riot police started swinging. By contrast, eco-protests are now so mainstream and respectable that they are treated with kid gloves rather than the old iron fist. The only ones to receive that treatment in recent years were the pro-hunting protesters outside Parliament - they were the "wrong" sort of conservationists.

The last time there was real direct action at Heathrow was exactly two years ago, when the in-flight catering firm Gate Gourmet sacked 670 mostly Asian women workers, and baggage handlers and other ground staff walked out to support them. The activists who now march behind pictures of hard-pressed Asian women were nowhere to be seen. But the logic of their protests is that all such self-interested airport workers should be sacked. Such is the difference between direct action taken in solidarity, and that staged out of sanctimony.

Source




It's official: the British masses are not gullible

A new British government survey suggests that lots of us have an agnostic or atheist attitude to the cult of environmentalism

In spring 2007, researchers commissioned by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) interviewed 3,600 English people for an average of 51 minutes each about green issues (1).

As ever with market surveys, the content and style of questions asked, and the claims made in response to them, should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Still, the researchers' findings, which were published yesterday, are very revealing. Despite the incessant political and media barrage to make us all change our ignorant habits in relation to the environment, it appears that the English often keep a cool head about global warming. However, the results suggest that, at the same time, we now feel enough personal guilt to adopt, in everyday life, many of the pious rituals of environmental correctness. We are quite rational about climate change doom-mongering, and yet we're happy to change our behaviour in response to it.

Remarkably, people are less concerned about the environment than they were when DEFRA last conducted a similar survey, in 2001. Then, when asked without prompting what were the most important issues for the government to fix, 25 per cent mentioned the environment; today the figure is down to 19 per cent.

Thankfully, too, today's popular sense of impotence in the face of impending doom is very modest: only 17 per cent strongly agreed or tended to agree that it's too late to do anything about climate change. And 67 per cent said that humanity can find ways to solve environmental problems. A striking 19 per cent said they were convinced that scientists would find a solution to global warming without people having to make big changes to their lifestyles.

In the face of all the finger-wagging injunctions to change our carbon-producing behaviour, about a quarter of the survey respondents didn't believe that their lifestyles contributed to climate change; 18 per cent said that going green `takes too much effort'. More than two thirds said that buying food produced locally, rather than food produced abroad, would have little impact on the UK's contribution to climate change.

On the flipside, a solid 75 per cent said that more insulation and less energy use in the home, along with recycling and using cars and planes less, could have a major impact on the UK's contribution to climate change. But this sentiment was predicated on the idea that, for that kind of impact to happen, most people in UK would have to adopt such measures. And here, some commendable realism was on display. While more than half the respondents held that a lot or quite a lot of people would be willing to recycle their rubbish more or take new steps on the insulation of their homes, just 17 per cent thought that many would be willing to drive less - and only 13 per cent thought many would be willing to fly less.

Greens would say these attitudes show selfishness or cynicism. I think they show a refreshing refusal to tow the official line on climate. It's great to hear that 24 per cent threw PC etiquette to the winds and insisted they `didn't really' want to cut down on their use of cars. Intransigence about flying was even higher: 32 per cent didn't really want to cut down on their use of planes. A sizable minority of English people wants to get out more and refuses, it seems, to conform to today's green orthodoxy. And how many felt guilty about taking short-haul flights? Just 17 per cent.

However, the more worrying aspect of DEFRA's research concerns the claims people made about their own behaviour. Judging by their responses, people appear to have bought and then mentally internalised the view that it is consumers, rather than employers, who are to blame for environmental problems. However much rationality suggests that serious changes to levels of carbon emissions, for example, can only be made in the domain of energy supply, today's culture has successfully encouraged a majority to go through the irrational motions of saving the planet through cutting back on their personal energy demand (2).

Of course, when 71 per cent said they were personally recycling more, that may have been because their local council insists on such a policy. And when more than half said they had moved to low-energy light bulbs, or had taken to switching off equipment when not in use, that may reflect misguided hopes that they will significantly lower electricity bills, rather than still more misguided hopes that these actions will make a difference to the Earth's temperature. No fewer than 81 per cent of those surveyed strongly agreed or tended to agree that people have a duty to recycle.

The survey's seemingly contradictory findings are revealing. On one hand, people are quite robustly sceptical about the need to prioritise the environment over other important issues, and they believe that, with the help of science, we can deal with changes in the climate. And many of us do not believe that we are responsible for climatic doom, whatever the greens tell us. On the other hand, people claim to be carrying out new eco-rituals, such as recycling more and wasting less food. This shows up the religious character of environmentalism: we get on with our lives, but we feel guilty about doing so, and we try to offset that guilt by doing things we know won't make a great deal of difference. Quite a few people seem to have an atheist or agnostic attitude towards the cult of environmentalism, but that hasn't prevented them from believing that to consume is so sinful that one must perform Hail Marys at all hours of the day. That kind of saintliness has no impact on environmental degradation, of course. But it does degrade our minds, our conversations and our ambitions.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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24 August, 2007

Anti-GM fanatics: An email from Portugal

(From Miguel Noronha of http://www.oinsurgente.org)

I want to report something that has happened last week here in Portugal. As far as I'm aware this hasn't appeared in foreign media.

Last friday (17/08) in Algarve (south of Portugal) a Portuguese farmer who had planted a legal (even by tight EU standards) GMO crop saw its lands invaded and the corn crop destroyed by activists of a fringe ecologist organization with complete impunity, because the Portuguese police did not act to prevent or stop the wanton destruction.

The vandals' actions were praised by the extreme-left party Bloco de Esquerda, which has supported the activist organization in the past. Miguel Portas, an MEP for the Bloco de Esqueda supported this action as a "precautionary measure", an act of "civil disobedience" and "non-violent conflict". Even tough he acknowledged the destruction of property, Miguel Portas wrote that there was a "wider social benefit" by raising the public awareness of GMO's.

Meanwhile, the Minister responsible for internal security said the police did everything they could to stop the crop destruction (although it was indeed destroyed...) and that those involved were to be prosecuted. In response, the spokesman for the eco-barbarians deemed this a "waste of public money" that would be better employed in a public campaign against GMO's. Their goal is to "re-establish ecological, moral and democratic order" even at the expense of others, so it seems.

Here's a picure of the "merry" eco-barbarians:






ANOTHER CLIMATE MYTH DEBUNKED

Discussing: Beniston, M. and Goyette, S. 2007. Changes in variability and persistence of climate in Switzerland: Exploring 20th century observations and 21st century simulations. Global and Planetary Change 57: 1-15. Abstract follows the discussion

Background

The authors write that "it has been assumed in numerous investigations related to climatic change that a warmer climate may also be a more variable climate (e.g., Katz and Brown, 1992; IPCC, 2001; Schar et al., 2004)," noting that "such statements are often supported by climate models results, as for example in the analysis of GCM and/or RCM simulated temperature and precipitation (Mearns et al., 1995; Mearns et al., 1990)." Hence, they say "it is of interest to investigate whether, based on long time-series of observational data, this hypothesis is indeed verified in a climate that has experienced a warming of 2øC or more."

What was done

Noting that 20th-century warming in the alpine area of Europe "is 2-3 times greater than the global average (Jungo and Beniston, 2001) and provides an observational framework that allows to address the issue of links between mean temperature and its variance," the researchers focused on one Swiss site representative of low elevation (Basel, 369 m above sea level) and another Swiss site representative of high elevation (Saentis, 2500 m above sea level), both of which sites, in their words, "have proven their quality in a number of previous studies (Jungo and Beniston, 2001; Beniston and Jungo, 2002; Benisteon and Stephenson, 2004; Beniston and Diaz, 2004)," where they say it was determined that conclusions based on data from these sites "also apply to most of the other Swiss sites."

What was learned

Beniston and Goyette report that based upon observational data since 1900 at both the low and high elevation sites, "the inter-annual and decadal variability of both maximum and minimum daily temperatures has in fact decreased over the course of the 20th century despite the strong warming that has been observed in the intervening period. " What it means The Swiss researchers say their observations show that "contrary to what is commonly hypothesized, climate variability does not necessarily increase as climate warms." In fact, they emphasize that "the variance of temperature has actually decreased in Switzerland since the 1960s and 1970s at a time when mean temperatures have risen considerably. " What is more, they state that their findings "are consistent with the temperature analysis carried out by Michaels et al. (1998)," noting that the latter investigators' results "also do not support the hypothesis that temperatures have become more variable as global temperatures have increased over the 20th century."

Source

Changes in variability and persistence of climate in Switzerland: Exploring 20th century observations and 21st century simulations

By Martin Beniston et al.

Abstract

This paper investigates the shift in variance under conditions of atmospheric warming, under the paradigm that a warmer climate induces greater variability, as has been suggested by a number of other studies. Based upon observational data since 1900 at both a low and a high elevation site in Switzerland it is shown that, at least for these locations, the inter-annual and decadal variability of both maximum and minimum daily temperatures has in fact decreased over the course of the 20th century despite the strong warming that has been observed in the intervening period. The decrease in climate variability is attributed to changes in daily weather conditions as well as these aggregated in weather types, with an observed reduction in the more perturbed weather types and an increase in the weather patterns that exhibit greater persistence, particularly since the 1960s and 1970s. The greater persistence recorded in daily weather conditions associated with more elevated pressure fields helps to explain the decrease in variability during a period where minimum and maximum temperatures have been observed to rise considerably since 1900.

An insight into the future behavior of temperature variability in Switzerland, based on the daily results of a regional climate model applied to the IPCC A-2 emissions scenario (a high greenhouse-gas emissions scenario leading to strong climate forcing during the 21st century) suggests that a warmer climate may induce greater variability in maximum temperatures, but also greater persistence beyond selected thresholds; in the case of minimum temperatures, variance remains close to current conditions in the latter part of the 21st century, but the persistence of cold events diminishes substantially, as can be expected in a climate that is estimated by the climate model to warm by about 4 øC on average in Switzerland.....

Global and Planetary Change, May 2007, 57(1-2):1-15




Was Thomas Jefferson an alarmist?

Post below lifted from Lubos Motl

James Hansen has released a new scientific paper

The Real Deal: Usufruct & the Gorilla
reflecting the most rigorous kind of scientific "thinking" that this director of a NASA institute is capable or willing to perform these days. He explains that all global warming skeptics are court jesters controlled by big fish who cooperate with an 800-pound gorilla to "destroy Creation". He also argues that no errors in his work can ever matter. I suppose that everyone has already seen these "theories" and everyone could be bored if we responded again.

But there is a brand new "argument" in Hansen's new "paper", after all: it turns out that Thomas Jefferson was an AGW alarmist! Who could have thought? That should finally settle the question about global warming! :-)



How does Dr Hansen prove that Thomas Jefferson was an alarmist? Well, he quotes a letter (click) that Jefferson sent to James Madison during their discussion about the Bill of Rights.

The question whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government. ... I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, "that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;" that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. ...
Hansen interprets this letter by saying that Jefferson was an environmentalist and the Earth belongs to living beings of all generations. He apparently wants you to believe that the "living" in Jefferson's letter means "Gaia" - the union of all plants, animals, and bacteria of all generations.

If you actually read the whole letter, it is very obvious that Jefferson's point was exactly the opposite. Jefferson said very explicitly that the past generations - the dead people - or the people who are not yet living have no right to control the resources that exist at a given moment or bind the future generations to pay any money (or land). That's a good policy because otherwise we would be governed by zombies which would be bad unless they would be lively zombies. ;-) According to Jefferson as well as any other person who understands some of the basic principles of Western democracy, a generation has no right to bind another generation, e.g. by carbon targets or a territorial debt.

Jefferson declares clearly that everything about these resources should be decided by the people who live at the particular moment. The Earth belongs to them in "usufruct". The purpose of this word - meaning the right to use assets of someone else - seems controversial but I certainly assume that the actual owner according to Jefferson is God or Nature and not future generations or anything of this sort. In the fast comments, I explain why Jefferson's "owner" is a secular version of God whose gift is described in Genesis 1:26.

If you wonder why I seem to think to have so much understanding for Jefferson's feelings, it's because I have spent the last six years in the Jefferson Lab. ;-) More generally, we've made trips to the museums of the Founding Fathers around Boston and I was extremely impressed by their souls and minds. The prominent figures of the Czech National Revival were great guys too but the Founding Fathers were a category above them.

According to the Roman law, to own something in usufruct means to be allowed to use it, enjoy it, have profits from the "fruits" of the property (the word derives from "use" and "fruits"), sell it to someone else in usufruct, but the ownership in usufruct doesn't allow one to alienate the property or destroy its long-term potential to produce. Needless to say, what approach is the right one to use the fruits without destroying the long-term potential returns us to the beginning of the debate (see Rae Ann and Larry in the fast comments): should we preserve the economy or the concentration of CO2?

Nevertheless, it is very obvious that the "living" whom the Earth belongs to are those who live right now and not some people from other generations or even other animals. It is the living people who should decide how to use the resources. Only God or Nature - as the real owner - is above them and no other generation should have any impact on this behavior.

In the context of the environmentalist discussion, Jefferson explains that our generation will have no right to determine the rules of life for the future generations and no right to bind the future generations by protocols because in the future, we will be the dead people who have no business whatsoever to determine how they use Earth. And vice versa: no other generation has the right to determine how we use the resources today because only living people have powers and rights over Earth.

Jefferson even states another important rule quite crisply:

If the society has formed no rules for the appropriation of its lands in severalty, it will be taken by the first occupants.
In the context of fossil fuels, his sentence means that the first generation or generations have the right to use them. How it could be otherwise? The civilization would be completely dysfunctional if people who don't live right now had any rights to decide what happens tonight. Jefferson knows it, every sane person knows it - probably not only in the West. Hansen doesn't.

According to Jefferson, should our generation try to give gifts to the future generations out of the resources that, as he has explained, effectively belong to the living generation? Do these distant generations have such special relationships with each other and obligations with respect to each other? Once again, Jefferson is very transparent - maybe too transparent for our tastes, tastes of 21st century sissies - about the relationship that should exist between different generations:

... but that between society and society, or generation and generation, there is no municipal obligation, no umpire but the law of nature. We seem not to have perceived that, by the law of nature, one generation is to another as one independant nation to another.

If string theory or another law of Nature doesn't take care of it, there should exist no additional laws that would require societies or generations to sign "contracts" with others or feel any other kind of obligation. Can you read, Dr Hansen? Face it: environmentalism is a textbook example of the intellectual impurity that the Founding Fathers wanted America to be protected against.

While Jefferson says that different generations are independent and can't ever have any obligations to do something for other generations, Hansen "summarizes" Jefferson's principle as follows:

Jefferson's philosophy regarding generational relations was based on this "self-evident" principle. That we have an obligation to preserve Creation for today's and future generations is a widely held belief.
The operation that Hansen has performed is known as negation.

Because political correctness has confused many other topics including the natural relations between different nations, let me also say that when Jefferson talks about different nations, he means that the average love/hatred among them is also naturally near zero and they, too, have no lasting obligations in relations with each other. Do you find all these comments cruel? They may be cruel but they are the best definition of a fair relationship that the Founding Father ended up with after years of deep thought: a relationship based on free and dignified individuals, nations, societies, and generations who have the same rights during their lives.

At any rate, his principle doesn't sound like the environmentalist thesis that the well-being of other generations should play a crucial role in the decisions of our generation. Quite on the contrary: I think that Jefferson says exactly the opposite.

Summary

To summarize, I find it bizarre that a director of a NASA institute uses an interpretation of a private letter of a person who lived centuries ago to influence the debate about environmentalism. Why? Well, Thomas Jefferson is dead and no longer living. According to his own rules, he has thus no rights or powers to determine what we do today. ;-)

It is a free decision of the current people to have respect for his ideas and achievements.

But I find it equally worrisome that James Hansen is not even able to understand the point of the letter - and the basic values or at least dreams of the Western democracy - properly and prefers to present it upside-down. If Thomas Jefferson were alive, he would completely agree with your humble correspondent and others that it is self-evident that one can't justify a policy influencing land or resources by referring to generations that are not alive right now because such a non-existent generation can have no right or powers about the Earth the belongs to the living in usufruct.

If you want to do something nice because it may (or may not) bring benefits in the future, it's great (or not), but you can never add "votes" of non-existing people to justify your proposed policies. You must rely on your own vote only. If environmentalists want other people to pay 400 billion USD a year, they want the world to pay the money to themselves, the environmentalists, to satisfy their desires, and they can't hide behind generations that are not alive. Quite obviously, this is hardly acceptable and it won't work




Hansen and "The destruction of creation"

Hansen has followed up his "Lights Out Upstairs" outburst with another outburst dismissing critics as "court jesters" with whom he will have no truck. (Lights Out is now cited on the NASA website.) His new jeremiad re-iterated the position of NASA spokesman Gavin Schmidt that U.S. errors "didn't matter" because the U.S. was only 2% of the earth's surface. Today I'll take a look back at Hansen et al 1999 and, especially Hansen et al 2001, the latter entitled "A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change" and being entirely devoted to coaxing a few-tenths of temperature change out of the U.S. record, a matter now said to be unimportant. Hansen also linked interest in the NASA computer programming errors to somehow acquiescing in the "destruction of Creation".

Hansen's Recent Jeremiads

Hansen has a collection of his recent jeremiads online here. On August 10, 2007, shortly after NASA had changed their online data for over 1200 US HCN stations and for their U.S. temperature history, Hansen sent an email to reporters and others saying:

Sorry to send another e-mail so soon. No need to read further unless you are interested in temperature changes to a tenth of a degree over the U.S. . My apologies if the quick response that I sent to Andy Revkin and several other journalists, including the suggestion that it was a tempest inside somebody's teapot dome, and that perhaps a light was not on upstairs, was immoderate. It was not ad hominem, though.
As I will show below, Hansen himself thought otherwise in Hansen et al 2001 - an article which is devoted to nothing but this topic. Update Aug 21 9 am: At its webpage on Hansen's temperature index, NASA has added the following comment linking directly to Hansen's outburst - I wonder if it's covered by the Data Quality Act:

*** What's New *** Please see "A Light On Upstairs?" for discussions regarding the changes made on August 7, 2007 for 2000-2006 annual mean, U.S. mean temperatures.
Hansen's most recent epistle is well worth reading. The proximate occasion of this latest letter is Hansen's "Y2K" error. He says in the letter (but not at the NASA website) that the flaw affected temperatures in the U.S. "by about 0.15 deg C. only in 2000 and later" and that they patched the program, "thanked the fellow who pointed it out and thought that was the end of it." Hansen says that he will not "joust" with his critics, who he regards as mere "court jesters", since "Creation" itself is at stake:

if we, in effect, destroy Creation, passing on to our children, grandchildren, and the unborn a situation out of their control, the contrarians who work to deny and confuse will not be the principal culprits. The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point to joust with court jesters. They will always be present. They will continue to entertain even if the Titanic begins to take on water. Their role and consequence is only as a diversion from what is important.
It's as though Hansen, who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, has a Jor-El complex: Jor-El being familiar to young boys of a certain age as Superman's father who (per Wikipedia):

"was a highly respected scientist on the planet Krypton before its destruction. He foresaw the planet's fate, but was unable to convince his colleagues in time to save their race. Jor-El was, however, able to save his infant son, Kal-El, sending him in a homemade rocketship to the planet Earth just moments before Krypton's demise.
Look, there are lots of reasons to believe that climate change is a serious issue: I think that it's a serious issue. Personally I think that it's prudent on a number of grounds to generate electricity from nuclear rather than coal or oil - a policy advocated by Hansen here. Even if Hansen is right about all of the proximate effects of increased CO2, no one before him had projected that this would cause the destruction of "Creation" - and, to my knowledge, no such projections are included in even most pessimistic IPCC scenario.

More here




Mandate low gas standards for moose!



The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year -- equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey. Norway is concerned that its national animal, the moose, is harming the climate by emitting an estimated 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year through its belching and farting.

Norwegian newspapers, citing research from Norway's technical university, said a motorist would have to drive 13,000 kilometers in a car to emit as much CO2 as a moose does in a year.

Bacteria in a moose's stomach create methane gas which is considered even more destructive to the environment than carbon dioxide gas. Cows pose the same problem. Norway has some 120,000 moose but an estimated 35,000 are expected to be killed in this year's moose hunting season, which starts on September 25, Norwegian newspaper VG reported.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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23 August, 2007

EUROPE'S CARBON CON JOB

With all the supposed truths out there about global warming, here's one that doesn't get reported very often. Europe isn't the climate-change champion that its leaders, and their American apologists, would have you believe. It's true that emissions -- both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis -- remain higher in America than in the EU-15 (the countries that belonged to the European Union before its 2004 expansion, and which are widely used as a comparison for the U.S. when the subject is global warming). And when it comes to decrying the planet's impending doom and making grand gestures about preventing this, Europe is second to none.

Let's assume, though, for argument's sake, that most Americans believe global warming is a real danger, that carbon dioxide is public enemy No. 1, and that the only question is what to do about it. Before following Europe's lead in adopting a cap-and-trade system or mandatory renewable energy targets, wouldn't you want to know that those actions will lead to something better than the status quo? So would I. And the numbers show that if America is the Great Carbon Satan, Europe is certainly no angel.

Since 2000, emissions of CO2 have been growing more rapidly in Europe, with all its capping and yapping, than in the U.S., where there has been minimal government intervention so far. As of 2005, we're talking about a 3.8% rise in the EU-15 versus a 2.5% increase in the U.S., according to statistics from the United Nations. What's more, preliminary data indicate that America's CO2 output fell by 1.3% from 2005 to 2006.

If these numbers hold up, it would mean U.S. emissions growth is nearly flat so far this decade. Europe hasn't yet released figures for last year, but it did report in June that emissions from the participants in its carbon-trading scheme, which account for almost half of Europe's CO2 production, rose slightly in 2006. The news gets worse for Europe when you consider that during this decade, the U.S. population has grown at roughly double the rate of the EU-15 while the American economy has been expanding about 40% faster. It seems Europe is becoming less efficient in its carbon production while U.S. efficiency is improving.

Now, few people -- this writer included -- would look at these statistics and conclude that Europe should necessarily adopt America's more passive approach. When you talk about CO2 emissions during this decade, or even go back to the globally accepted "base year" of 1990, you're working with a small sample size. And there really isn't much difference between a change of 3.8% and one of 2.5%. So why would the U.S. instead want to adopt Europe's policies?

As a measure of the gap between Europe's rhetoric and its reality, nothing beats its emissions trading scheme. The idea is that CO2-intensive companies -- chiefly those that produce power or use a great deal of it -- receive a certain number of permits to emit the gas. If they reduce their emissions and end up with a surplus, they can sell the extra permits to firms needing more allowances. In this way, market mechanisms are supposed to punish or reward companies for their carbon output, encouraging them to reduce it in the long run.

In Europe, however, the "market" consists of demand that government has created artificially and -- more important -- supply that the state distributes arbitrarily. Not surprisingly, companies lobbied hard to ensure favorable allocations when trading began in 2005. The number of permits exceeded actual emissions and prices plummeted. Today, allowances for 1,000 tons of CO2 are priced at about 11 euro cents, hardly high enough to prod a company to cut its carbon instead of just buying more permits.

If you think the U.S. Congress -- whether led by Democrats or Republicans -- would be more likely to shun special interests in the name of environmentalism, then I've got some tariff-free Brazilian ethanol to sell you. Brussels claims it's correcting the system for the next trading period, which runs from 2008 to 2012, but a number of holes will remain. For instance, it's expected that companies will be able to buy permits outside the EU from other countries and then import them to cover their needs. A large influx of permits could depress prices in the same way that the EU's own overallocation did the first time around.

That's particularly true if third countries are lax in their issuance of permits. "These [non-EU] credits have already been exposed as highly flawed, and often fraudulent," Max Andersson, a Green member of the Swedish Parliament, wrote this month in a study for the think tank Open Europe. "They don't always reflect absolute reductions in emissions, whilst many of these credits are generated from projects in developing countries that would have happened anyway." The result, he concludes, is that emissions might not fall but rise.

Another potential problem: An energy-industry source says that, in many EU member states, the allocation will likely be done in a way that gives sufficient permits to most of the firms that use a lot of energy, leaving a shortage for electricity producers. There might be some logic in that -- instead of relying on manufacturers to reduce their energy consumption, power companies would have more of an incentive to produce electricity in a way that doesn't create as much carbon in the first place.

It would only work, though, as long as the power companies didn't buy additional permits and pass the cost along to customers instead of investing in real carbon-cutting measures. It would require competition to keep them from that temptation, though, and there's the rub: The main players in large markets like France and Germany are still effectively insulated from rivals and can set prices as they wish. Brussels has been trying for years to create a pan-European energy market, but it may be the better part of a decade before it's finished.

European policy makers have plenty of motivation to goad Washington into going along with their approach before too many people realize it isn't working. At a summit in March, EU national leaders dramatically raised the stakes by pledging a 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020. That's a real laugher considering their scant chances of meeting their Kyoto commitment of 8% by 2012. Their move is best seen as a bluff intended to pressure the U.S. into the game. Here in Europe, the grand gesture is always the most appealing play.

Source




"POLICYMAKERS THINK WE KNOW MORE THAN WE ACTUALLY KNOW"

Just how accurate are our weather-prediction models?

PREDICTING climate change is a tricky business, so thank heavens for computer programmes that can take a melting ice sheet here and an El Nino effect there and turn it into a recipe for disaster. But not so fast, says Lenny Smith, a statistician at the London School of Economics who is concerned by the "na‹ve realism" of climate modelling. "Our models are being over-interpreted and misinterpreted," he told a conference organised by the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. "They are getting better; I don't want to trash them per se. But as we change our predictions, how do we maintain the credibility of the science? We need to drop the pretence that they are nearly perfect."

Smith singles out the British Government's UK Climate Impacts Programme and the Met Office for making detailed climate projections for regions of the UK when the global models vary widely. Policymakers "think we know more than we actually know. We need to be more open about our uncertainties", Smith says. But that's not to say that there's any good news on climate change

Source




SHOCK! A BALANCED CLIMATE ARTICLE IN BRITAIN'S GREENEST NEWSPAPER

Is this a straw in the wind?

The Big Question: Are there more hurricanes, and are they the result of global warming? Why are we asking this now? Because hurricanes like the one which has careered across the Caribbean and was last night striking Mexico are only formed when the surface temperature of the ocean exceeds a specific point, which is 26C. As the oceans warm globally with climate change, much larger areas of water will exceed the threshold, and more energy will be available to power a given storm.

On the face of it, therefore, the connection might seem a reasonable, even a natural one. So is it happening already? Some scientists have put forward fairly dramatic evidence that it may be, and this has been seized on by the environmental community as another piece of the global warming jigsaw, to impress on governments the need to act to cut back on the carbon emissions causing the climate to heat up.

But other scientists resolutely dispute the proposition, and say it cannot be proved.... For the environmental community the two papers were yet another devastating indictment of the lack of action on climate change, especially by the US government of George W Bush. So is the connection proved? Not at all. It is hotly disputed. The difficulty lies in how we use and interpret the database of records of previous storms.

FULL STORY here




Warming has stopped

Brant Boucher, in his letter "Scientific consensus" (The Hill Times, Aug. 6, 2007), seems to naively believe that the climate change science espoused in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC documents represents "scientific consensus." Nothing could be further than the truth! As one of the invited expert reviewers for the 2007 IPCC documents, I have pointed out the flawed review process used by the IPCC scientists in one of my letters (The Hill Times, May 28, 2007).

I have also pointed out in my letter that an increasing number of scientists are now questioning the hypothesis of GHG-induced warming of the earth's surface and suggesting a stronger impact of solar variability and large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns on the observed temperature increase than previously believed. I would further politely ask Mr. Boucher to do a simple reality check regarding the earth's temperature change. Since mid-1998, the earth's mean temperature as a whole has not increased at all, despite billions of tonnes of human-added CO2 in the earth's atmosphere.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the land-area mean temperature has slowly but surely declined in the last few years. The city of Buenos Aires in Argentina received several centimetres of snowfall in early July, and the last time it snowed in Buenos Aires was in 1918! Most of Australia experienced one of its coldest months of June this year. Several other locations in the Southern Hemisphere have experienced lower temperatures in the last few years. Further, the SSTs (sea surface temperatures) over world oceans are slowly declining since mid-1998, according to a recent world-wide analysis of ocean surface temperatures.

It is important to first develop an improved understanding of the earth's temperature trends and changes before committing millions (billions!) of dollars to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs). Unfortunately, the IPCC climate change documents do not provide an objective assessment of the earth's temperature trends and associated climate change

Source




The Warmists' failings are cowardice and ignorance, not inaction

Virtually overnight, Portland (Maine) High School student Kristen Byrnes has become a climate change sensation and a role model for freethinking young people everywhere. As an extra credit project for an earth science course, she created "Ponder the Maunder", an attractive website designed to demonstrate "that the Earth's warming climate is a result of natural variance and that man-made changes in the warming climate in the last 40 years are negligible at best." After being highlighted in a number of articles in two local newspapers and on several prominent Web sites, "Ponder the Maunder" attracted over 500,000 hits in May.

Ms. Byrnes also demonstrates how simple it has become to effectively challenge today's climate change hysteria. To do so you need merely some elementary science knowledge and a modicum of courage. Amongst hundreds of western political leaders, only about five have had the strength of character to say in public what many must understand very well, namely that the global warming debate has been completely hijacked by anti-science propaganda. These brave souls are Czech President Vaclav Klaus, U.S. Senator James Inhofe, former U.K. Chancellor Sir Nigel Lawson, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder [I think the author meant Helmut Schmidt there] and former French Science Minister Claude Allegre.

Hats off to them! Not so long ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper would have made the list too but a single-minded quest for a majority government has frightened him into green rhetoric as silly as David Suzuki's.

Amongst other things that you can discover from Kristen's and similar sites, but not from most governments, is that the late 20th century warming that ended in 1998 fell well within earlier natural climate change variations. Despite the worldwide expenditure of more than US$50 billion on research since 1990 and the efforts of tens of thousands of scientists worldwide, no human climate signal has yet been detected that is distinct from natural variation.

Whence cometh, then, public frenzy about global warming? Is it really possible that the United Nations, many scientists, scientific academies, government agencies, politicians, church leaders, entertainers and other public celebrities are all wrong? That they are all part of one giant conspiracy?

The short answer to both these questions is "yes", although the conspiracy involved is mostly unconscious and organized within the subgroups rather than across the whole (not surprisingly, one of the aims of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection is to co-ordinate climate alarmism better across the many interest groups throughout the World). Nonetheless, the result has certainly affirmed the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. For our western world has come to believe - REALLY believe - that dangerous global warming is occurring and that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the cause.

This is largely the result of a brilliant, if unethical, PR campaign in which environmental lobbyists have turned global warming into a moral rather than a science issue. And as a moral issue it resonates deeply with western Christian roots. Most of us have parents who, in the interests of controlling family rambunctiousness, nurtured from an early age their children's instinctive guilt feelings. Thus do parents unwittingly make the soil fertile for the opinions of their maturing children to be infested with vigorous weeds by the brilliant eco-salvationist marketing campaigns of organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace.

Weed killer would, of course, quickly deal with the situation, but it too is prohibited by environmentalists. For the weed killer for unfounded science is a good understanding of real science methodology, an attribute that environmental organizations invariably fail to display. Equally damaging is the sheer ignorance of science and scientific method that is exhibited by the prominent personalities and politicians who now endlessly browbeat the public about global warming. Educated schoolchildren like Kristen may get it, but a profound lack of science understanding radiates from the West's political and business leaders. One of the many prices that Canada may soon pay for this failure is the widespread imposition of unnecessary, inefficient and ineffectual carbon taxes.

In the face of strong scientific evidence to the contrary, Mr. Gore and other environmental lobbyists have convinced western opinion that global warming is an urgent danger, and that doing something about it is a moral imperative. But the real morality of climate change is not concerned with trying to prevent it - which is unnecessary, futile and expensive - but rather with dealing with the all too human failings that alarmist hysteria has flushed into the open.

These moral failings are numerous. They include the role of individual scientists who deliberately put an alarmist spin on their results in order to maximize the chances of future funding; or the parallel behaviour by the managers of research centres whose funding depends upon there being a global warming problem. They include the spectacle of high-sounding environmental NGOs - in pursuit of membership subscriptions and political power - ignoring and distorting science results that do not suit their marketing agenda.

They include the behaviour of prestigious science academies that have, unbelievably, tried to suppress rather than foster scientific debate on climate change. They include the bureaucrats in government greenhouse gas agencies who are more interested in career advancement than in making known the fact that greenhouse theory has been tested, and failed. Particularly guilty are the many companies who shamelessly tout their solar, wind, ethanol and other alternative energy sources as a moral good, whereas in fact many of these are environmentally damaging and so expensive as to be entirely unable to compete in an open market without government subsidy and regulation.

Moral failings also include the vicious and libelous personal attacks made on independent scientists who try to present a balanced view on the climate change issue. The remorseless and shameless promulgation of environmental alarm stories by media in pursuit of greater daily sales and advertising revenues is another moral failing. And, finally, and most damaging are the actions of politicians who seek advantage from cynical exploitation of the public's fear of global warming - Harper's labeling "the fight against climate change [as] perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today" is a depressing example.

To step - as many climate alarmists and collaborators thus do - onto the slippery slope of "the ends justify the means" is to embark upon the moral decline that is now widely present in the global warming debate. A series of giant rock concerts, headlined by Madonna and under impresario Al Gore, was perhaps a not altogether inappropriate way of marking such a state of affairs.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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22 August, 2007

RHODES FAIRBRIDGE AND THE IDEA THAT THE SOLAR SYSTEM REGULATES THE EARTH'S CLIMATE

By Richard Mackey

Abstract

Rhodes Fairbridge died on 8th November, 2006. He was one of Australia's most accomplished scientists... Rhodes is one of the few scientists to research the sun/climate relationship in terms of the totality of the sun's impact on the earth (i.e. gravity, the electromagnetic force and output and their interaction). When the totality of the sun's impact is considered, having regard to the relevant research published over the last two decades, the influence of solar variability on the earth's climate is very strongly non-linear and stochastic. Rhodes also researched the idea that the planets might have a role in producing the sun's variable activity. If they do and if the sun's variable activity regulates climate, then ultimately the planets may regulate it. Recent research about the sun/climate relationship and the solar inertial motion (sim) hypothesis shows a large body of circumstantial evidence and several working hypotheses but no satisfactory account of a physical sim process. In 2007 Ulysses will send information about the solar poles. This could be decisive regarding the predictions about emergent Sunspot Cycle No 24, including the sim hypothesis. According to the sim hypothesis, this cycle should be like Sunspot Cycle No 14, and be followed by two that will create a brief ice age. During the 1920s and '30s Australia's Bureau of Meteorology published research about the sun/climate relationship, especially Sunspot Cycle No 14, showing that it probably caused the worst drought then on record.

FULL PAPER here




New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears

An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analysis, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming "bites the dust” and the scientific underpinnings for alarm may be "falling apart.”  The latest study to cast doubt on climate fears finds that even a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would not have the previously predicted dire impacts on global temperatures. This new study is not unique, as a host of recent peer-reviewed studies have cast a chill on global warming fears.

"Anthropogenic (man-made) global warming bites the dust,” declared astronomer Dr. Ian Wilson after reviewing the new study which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research.  Another scientist said the peer-reviewed study overturned "in one fell swoop” the climate fears promoted by the UN and former Vice President Al Gore. The study entitled "Heat Capacity, Time Constant, and Sensitivity of Earth’s Climate System,” was authored by Brookhaven National Lab scientist Stephen Schwartz. (LINK )

"Effectively, this (new study) means that the global economy will spend trillions of dollars trying to avoid a warming of ~ 1.0 K by 2100 A.D.” Dr. Wilson wrote in a note to the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on August 19, 2007.  Wilson, a former operations astronomer at the Hubble Space Telescope Institute in Baltimore MD, was referring to the trillions of dollars that would be spent under such international global warming treaties like the Kyoto Protocol.

"Previously, I have indicated that the widely accepted values for temperature increase associated with a doubling of CO2 were far too high i.e. 2 – 4.5 Kelvin. This new peer-reviewed paper claims a value of 1.1 +/- 0.5 K increase for a doubling of CO2,” he added.

Climate fears reduced to ‘children’s games’

Other scientists are echoing Wilson’s analysis. Former Harvard physicist Dr. Lubos Motl said the new study has reduced proponents of man-made climate fears to "playing the children’s game to scare each other.” "Recall that most of the 1.1 degree - about 0.7 degrees - has already occurred since the beginning of the industrial era. This fact itself is an indication that the climate sensitivity is unlikely to be much greater than 1 Celsius degree: the effect of most of the doubling has already been made and it led to 0.7 K of warming,” Motl wrote in an August 17, 2007 blog post. (LINK)

"By the end of the (CO2) doubling i.e. 560 ppm (parts per million) expected slightly before (the year) 2100 -- assuming a business-as-usual continued growth of CO2 that has been linear for some time -- Schwartz and others would expect 0.4 C of extra warming only - a typical fluctuation that occurs within four months and certainly nothing that the politicians should pay attention to,” Motl explained.

"As far as I can say, all the people who end up with 2 or even 3 Celsius degrees for the climate sensitivity are just playing the children's game to scare each other, as [MIT climate scientist] Richard Lindzen says, by making artificial biased assumptions about positive feedbacks. There is no reasonable, balanced, and self-consistent work that would lead to such a relatively high sensitivity,” Motl concluded.

Overturning IPCC consensus ‘in one fell swoop’

The new study was also touted as "overturning the UN IPCC ‘consensus’ in one fell swoop” by the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Joel Schwartz in an August 17, 2007 blog post. (LINK)

"New research from Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Lab concludes that the Earth’s climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the IPCC assumes,” wrote AEI’s Schwartz, who hold a master’s degree in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology.

The study’s "result is 63% lower than the IPCC’s estimate of 3 degrees C for a doubling of CO2 (2.0–4.5 degrees C, 2SD range). Right now we’re about 41% above the estimated pre-industrial CO2 level of 270 ppm. At the current rate of increase of about 0.55% per year, CO2 will double around 2070. Based on Schwartz’s results, we should expect about a 0.6 degrees C additional increase in temperature between now and 2070 due to this additional CO2. That doesn’t seem particularly alarming,” AEI’s Schwartz explained.

"In other words, there’s hardly any additional warming ‘in the pipeline’ from previous greenhouse gas emissions. This is in contrast to the IPCC, which predicts that the Earth’s average temperature will rise an additional 0.6 degrees C during the 21st Century even if greenhouse gas concentrations stopped increasing,” he added.

"Along with dozens of other studies in the scientific literature, [this] new study belies Al Gore’s claim that there is no legitimate scholarly alternative to climate catastrophism. Indeed, if Schwartz’s results are correct, that alone would be enough to overturn in one fell swoop the IPCC’s scientific ‘consensus’, the environmentalists’ climate hysteria, and the political pretext for the energy-restriction policies that have become so popular with the world’s environmental regulators, elected officials, and corporations. The question is, will anyone in the mainstream media notice?” AEI’s Schwartz concluded.

UK officially admits: Global warming has stopped!

Recent scientific studies may make 2007 go down in history as the "tipping point" of man-made global warming fears. A progression of peer-reviewed studies have been published which serve to debunk the United Nations, former Vice President Al Gore, and the media engineered "consensus” on climate change.

Paleoclimate scientist Bob Carter, who has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (LINK), in a June 18, 2007 essay that global warming has stopped.

"The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stasis has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2. Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 %),” (LINK)

In August 2007, the UK Met Office was finally forced to concede the obvious: global warming has stopped. (LINK)  The UK Met Office acknowledged the flat lining of global temperatures, but in an apparent attempt to keep stoking man-made climate alarm, the Met Office is now promoting more unproven dire computer model projections of the future. They now claim climate computer models predict "global warming will begin in earnest in 2009” because greenhouse emissions will then overtake natural climate variability.

Meteorologist Joseph Conklin who launched the skeptical website called www.Climatepolice.com  in February 2007, recently declared, "global warming movement [is] falling apart.” "A few months ago, a study came out that demonstrated global temperatures have leveled off.  But instead of possibly admitting that this whole global warming thing is a farce, a group of British scientists concluded that the real global warming won’t start until 2009,” Conklin wrote in an August 10, 2007 blog post on his website. (LINK)

But the credibility of these computer model predictions took a significant hit in June 2007 when Dr. Jim Renwick, a top UN IPCC scientist, admitted that climate models do not account for half the variability in nature and thus are not reliable. (LINK)  In addition, Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, former CEO and director of research for the Netherlands Royal National Meteorological Institute, recently compared scientists who promote computer models predicting future climate doom to unlicensed "software engineers" who were "unqualified to sell their products to society." (LINK)

Sampling of very recent inconvenient scientific developments for proponents of catastrophic man-made global warming: Prominent scientists speak out to calm CO2 emission fears

Many prominent scientists have spoken out in 2007 to debunk many fears relating to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball recently explained that one of the reasons climate models are failing is because they overestimate the warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. Ball described how CO2’s warming impact diminishes. "Even if CO2 concentration doubles or triples, the effect on temperature would be minimal. The relationship between temperature and CO2 is like painting a window black to block sunlight. The first coat blocks most of the light. Second and third coats reduce very little more. Current CO2 levels are like the first coat of black paint,” Ball explained in a June 6, 2007 article in Canada Free Press. (LINK)

Boston College paleoclimatologist Dr. Amy Frappier recently explained how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can cease to have a warming impact. Frappier noted in a February 1, 2007 article in Boston College’s newspaper The Heights, that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere do not consistently continue to have a warming effect on Earth, but gases instead stabilize in the atmosphere and cease having a warming effect. "At some point the heat-trapping capacity of [CO2] and its effect gets saturated," said Frappier, "and you don't have increased heating." (LINK) "The geologic record shows that many millions of years ago, CO2 levels were indeed higher - in some cases many times higher - than today," Frappier, who believes mankind is having an impact on the climate, explained. According the article, Frappier criticizes Gore because "the movie (An Inconvenient Truth) fails to mention any ancient incongruity between carbon dioxide and temperature.”

More here




GLOBAL WARMING: CASE NOT CLOSED

By Jeff Jacoby

If there's anything climate-change crusaders are adamant about, it is that the science of the matter is settled. That greenhouse gases emitted through human activity are causing the planet to warm dangerously, they say, is an established fact; only a charlatan would claim otherwise. In the words of Al Gore, America's leading global warming apostle: "The debate among the scientists is over. There's no more debate. We face a planetary emergency. . . . There is no more scientific debate among serious people who've looked at the evidence." But as with other claims Gore has made over the years ("I took the initiative in creating the Internet"), this one doesn't quite mesh with reality.

Scientists and other "serious people" who question the global warming disaster narrative are not hard to find. Last year 60 of them sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, urging him to undertake "a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science" and disputing the contention that "a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause." The letter cautioned that "observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models" and warned that since the study of climate change is relatively new, "it may be many years yet before we properly understand the earth's climate system."

Among those signing the letter to Harper were Fred Singer, the former director of the US Weather Satellite Service; Ian Clark, hydrogeology and paleoclimatology specialist at the University of Ottawa; Hendrik Tennekes, the former director of research at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute; physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton; the University of Alabama's Roy Spencer, formerly senior scientist in climate studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. -- plus 55 other specialists in climate science and related disciplines. The debate among the scientists is over?

NASA administrator Michael Griffin told National Public Radio in May that while the general trend of global warming exists, that doesn't make it "a problem we must wrestle with." To insist that any change in climate must be bad news "is to assume that the . . . earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have." The planet's temperature has been fluctuating for millennia, he added. "I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change."

In 2003, environmental scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch surveyed 530 of their peers in 27 countries on topics related to global warming. One question asked: "To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?" On a scale of 1 (strongly agree) to 7 (strongly disagree), the average score was 3.62, reflecting no clear consensus.

Asked whether abrupt climate changes will wreak devastation in some areas of the world, the percentage of scientists strongly agreeing (9.1) was nearly identical to the percentage strongly disagreeing (9.0). Another question asked: To what degree might global warming prove *beneficial* for some societies? A striking 34 percent of the scientists answered 1 or 2 (a great degree of benefit); just 8.3 percent answered 6 or 7 (very little/no benefit). Plainly, the science *isn't* settled. It changes all the time.

Take the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unlike its previous report in 2001, which foresaw a possible rise in sea levels over the next century of around 3 feet, the new report cuts that figure in half, to about 17 inches. Why the revision? "Mainly because of improved information," the IPCC notes in the fine print. It goes on to note that even its latest estimate involves some guesswork: "Understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood." The science is getting better, but it's far from settled.

Or take the discovery just this month that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in the continental United States since record-keeping began in 1880. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies quietly changed its ranking after a Canadian statistician discovered an error in the official calculations. Under the new data, five of the 10 hottest US years on record occurred before 1940; just three were in the past decade.

Climate scientists are still trying to get the basics right. The Aug. 10 issue of Science magazine notes that many researchers are only beginning to factor the planet's natural -- i.e., not anthropogenic -- climate variations into their calculations. "Until now," reports Science, "climate forecasters who worry about what greenhouse gases could be doing to climate have ignored what's happening naturally. . . . In this issue, researchers take their first stab at forecasting climate a decade ahead with current conditions in mind."

Their first stab, please note, not their last. The science of climate change is still young and unsettled. Years of trial and error are still to come. Al Gore notwithstanding, the debate is hardly over.




SCIENTIFIC SECRECY IS A DANGER TO ALL

The latest wrinkle in the global-warming controversy finds the National Aeronautics and Space Administration quietly correcting its historical data to compensate for an earlier error, a correction that should deflate some of the recent panic-mongering about an apparently warming Earth. The correction reduced the average temperatures for 2000-2006 in the continental United States by about 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit (with many stations showing lower readings and many showing readings much above average). That dethroned 1998 as the hottest year on record, a distinction in the NASA data set that now belongs to 1934 (by an insignificant margin over 1998). Several other recent hot years were moved down in the rankings, and the 1930s now account for four of the top 10.

The number changes don't greatly affect worldwide averages - but they reveal a disturbing arrogance among scientists in the community of global-warming true believers. The data-handling error - the assumption that one set of numbers was identical to another when it was not - was discovered by Canadian researcher Steve McIntyre, who notified NASA on Aug. 4. NASA almost immediately corrected its Web site, but without any notice of the changes. You can bet that if the correction had shifted the data the other way, there would have been press releases, news conferences and lugubrious music on the TV news. As it was, it was left to the conservative blogosphere to spread the word; the mainstream media ignored the episode.

That's not the worst of it. NASA refused to release to McIntyre the computer codes it used to make the correction, though a huge amount of the agency's other climate codes are online. McIntyre believes there are "real and interesting statistical issues" involved in the records of the observing stations on which NASA relies, issues of whether the proper corrections have been made for the well-known "heat island" effects of urban areas. Most warming believers take it on faith that they have; McIntyre says he knows of too many instances where a thermometer has been placed closer than 100 feet to a paved surface. Science is not supposed to work by secrecy. Stonewalling by NASA will only increase the number and fervor of the skeptics.

Source




Increased natural disasters claimed below but global warming gets only a passing mention -- how the tune has changed!

EXTREME natural disasters have become more frequent and their impact more severe, affecting about 250 million people around the world and costing more than $67 billion a year. Nine in 10 people affected by natural disasters and seven in 10 of those killed by natural disasters since 2000 lived in the APEC region, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Asia and Pacific regional chief, Terje Skavdal, said.

In an address to an APEC Emergency Management chief executives seminar in Cairns, Mr Skavdal said savage flooding across Asia and parts of South America, Africa and Europe served as a reminder that recent decades had brought a higher rate of extreme disasters. This was also brought home by the 2004 tsunami and the series of several record storm seasons in the Atlantic and Caribbean," he said.

The Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, which hit 14 countries on two continents, accounted for 37 per cent of all recorded fatalities from natural disasters since 2000, with most of the deaths in APEC states. [It WOULD be rather hard to blame that on global warming]

"Wars, poverty, and disease ... continue to spread human suffering, and there are new risks of mass terrorism and pandemics," Mr Skavdal said. "Nonetheless, the destructiveness of natural phenomena has grown disproportionately." He said disaster response collaboration had accelerated after the tsunami, particularly in the directly affected region, with strong and growing networks for civil-military collaboration. Even so, he said, the increased danger of natural disasters required an increased investment in risk reduction, which to date was falling short of agreed targets.

Climate change, population growth, urbanisation, environmental degradation and the rapid transformation of fertile land into desert had all accelerated the likelihood that natural disasters would have a serious impact on people's lives. "More and more people around the world live in an urban setting, and in Asia, in particular, many urban centres are in earthquake zones or areas vulnerable to flooding," Mr Skavdal said. "Risk management in cities is an especially complex endeavour."

Nevertheless, despite the increased frequency and destructiveness of disasters, the death toll had fallen compared with last century. In the past decade, fewer than one million people died in natural disasters worldwide, compared with three million deaths in the same period 40 years ago. "It is a tribute to the development of early warning systems and other preparedness efforts taken in your countries and on a regional level," Mr Skavdal said.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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21 August, 2007

GLOBAL WARMING OR COOLING?

An email from Peter R Odell, Professor Emeritus of International Energy Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam

The UK's Metereological Office research centre has now had to confirm a fall in average global temperatures since 1998 (The Guardian, 10 August 2007, pp1/2). This clearly opens to challenge the widely-held view that it is primarily the growth in carbon dioxide emissions, released by mankind's use of carbon fuels, that cause global warming. Indeed, since 1998 there has been a record near-25% increase in the production and use of coal, oil and natural gas - totalling an additional 2000 million tons of oil equivalent over the nine year period. Two-fifths of this has been coal, the most polluting of the three carbon fuels, so generating voluminous additional carbon dioxide for the atmosphere.

Yet, in spite of an all-time peak period of carbon fuels' use, it seems that no overall global warming phenomenon has been generated! Thus, instead of the Met Office's think-tank apparent acceptance of the concept of a demonstrable relationship between global warming and carbon dioxide emissions for its future forecasts, should it not first be held responsible for an explanation as to why this has not happened over the past nine years - and why it will not happen for at least the next three years?




GREENIE CONFUSION

Compare and contrast the next two articles below. Is planting trees good or bad? It illustrates the knots that stupid assumptions can get you into

Forget biofuels - burn oil and plant forests instead

It sounds counterintuitive, but burning oil and planting forests to compensate is more environmentally friendly than burning biofuel. So say scientists who have calculated the difference in net emissions between using land to produce biofuel and the alternative: fuelling cars with gasoline and replanting forests on the land instead. They recommend governments steer away from biofuel and focus on reforestation and maximising the efficiency of fossil fuels instead.

The reason is that producing biofuel is not a "green process". It requires tractors and fertilisers and land, all of which means burning fossil fuels to make "green" fuel. In the case of bioethanol produced from corn - an alternative to oil - "it's essentially a zero-sums game," says Ghislaine Kieffer, programme manager for Latin America at the International Energy Agency in Paris, France (see Complete carbon footprint of biofuel - or is it?).

What is more, environmentalists have expressed concerns that the growing political backing that biofuel is enjoying will mean forests will be chopped down to make room for biofuel crops such as maize and sugarcane. "When you do this, you immediately release between 100 and 200 tonnes of carbon [per hectare]," says Renton Righelato of the World Land Trust, UK, a conservation agency that seeks to preserve rainforests.

Righelato and Dominick Spracklen of the University of Leeds, UK, calculated how long it would take to compensate for those initial emissions by burning biofuel instead of gasoline. The answer is between 50 and 100 years. "We cannot afford that, in terms of climate change," says Righelato.

The researchers also compared how much carbon would be stored by replanting forests with how much is saved by burning biofuel grown on the land instead of gasoline. They found that reforestation would sequester between two and nine times as much carbon over 30 years than would be saved by burning biofuels instead of gasoline (see bar chart, right). "You get far more carbon sequestered by planting forests than you avoid emissions by producing biofuels on the same land," says Righelato.

He and Spracklen conclude that if the point of biofuels policies is to limit global warming, "policy makers may be better advised in the short term to focus on increasing the efficiency of fossil fuel use, to conserve existing forests and savannahs, and to restore natural forest and grassland habitats on cropland that is not needed for food." They do admit, however, that biofuels made from woody materials such as prairie grasses may have an advantage over reforestation - although it is difficult to say for now as such fuels are still in development.

Forests at high latitudes have been found to sequester less carbon than tropical forests. But Righelato says this does not affect his calculations as biofuel crops are not, by and large, grown in these areas.

Source




Trees don't work as carbon offset

As millions of Britons jet off to foreign climes for their holiday this month, the more environmentally minded travellers will have salved their consciences by paying for trees to be planted to compensate for the carbon emissions caused by their flight.

But a ground-breaking study has now called into question the effectiveness of using trees to "offset" emissions, suggesting that their ability to "lock-up" carbon dioxide has been greatly exaggerated.

Forests have long been seen as an effective way of absorbing the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which are thought to trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming. Celebrities, including the Rolling Stones and Leonardo DiCaprio, the film actor, have signed up to schemes to plant trees to offset their own emissions. However, the new research found that trees bathed in extra carbon dioxide grew more tissue, but did not necessarily store significant extra quantities of carbon. Instead, the tree's capacity to absorb the gas depended on water and nutrient levels.

The news will come as a blow to the carbon-offsetting industry, which has expanded rapidly as individuals and companies try to atone for their carbon dioxide emissions by paying companies to plant trees for them.....

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Britons spent 60 million pounds on such schemes last year. This is forecast to grow to 250 million annually by 2009.

The latest findings come from an ongoing study - known as the Free Air Carbon Enrichment project - which has been running for 13 years at Duke University, North Carolina, in the US. Researchers bathed plots of pine trees in extra carbon dioxide every day for 10 years and found that while the trees grew more tissue, only those that received the most water and nutrients stored enough carbon dioxide to offset the effects of global warming.

Ram Oren, the ecologist who led the project, said the research suggested that planting more trees would not be successful in slowing the pace of climate change. "More trees don't necessarily mean less carbon dioxide," he said. "Planting trees is not going to do a whole lot to decreasing carbon concentration. "What we're finding is that extra carbon very quickly goes back into the atmosphere if there are low nutrients and water available.

Source




STATISTICS AND CLIMATOLOGY: GAMBLING ON TOMORROW

Modelling the Earth's climate mathematically is hard already. Now a new difficulty is emerging

When the Royal Society, the world's oldest academy of the discipline, was founded in London in 1660, the subject was referred to as natural philosophy. In the 19th century, though, nature and philosophy went their separate ways as the natural philosophers grew in number, power and influence. Nevertheless, the link between the fields lingers on in the name of one of the Royal Society's journals, Philosophical Transactions. And appropriately, the latest edition of that publication, which is devoted to the science of climate modelling, is in part a discussion of the understanding and misunderstanding of the ideas of one particular 18th-century English philosopher, Thomas Bayes.

Bayes was one of two main influences on the early development of probability theory and statistics. The other was Blaise Pascal, a Frenchman. But, whereas Pascal's ideas are simple and widely understood, Bayes's have always been harder to grasp. Pascal's way of looking at the world was that of the gambler: each throw of the dice is independent of the previous one. Bayes's allows for the accumulation of experience, and its incorporation into a statistical model in the form of prior assumptions that can vary with circumstances. A good prior assumption about tomorrow's weather, for example, is that it will be similar to today's. Assumptions about the weather the day after tomorrow, though, will be modified by what actually happens tomorrow.

Psychologically, people tend to be Bayesians to the extent of often making false connections. And that risk of false connection is why scientists like Pascal's version of the world. It appears to be objective. But when models are built, it is almost impossible to avoid including Bayesian-style prior assumptions in them. By failing to acknowledge that, model builders risk making serious mistakes.

In one sense it is obvious that assumptions will affect outcomes -- another reason Bayes is not properly acknowledged. That obviousness, though, buries deeper subtleties. In one of the papers in Philosophical Transactions David Stainforth of Oxford University points out a pertinent example. Climate models have lots of parameters that are represented by numbers -- for example, how quickly snow crystals fall from clouds, or for how long they reside within those clouds. Actually, these are two different ways of measuring the same thing, so whether a model uses one or the other should make no difference to its predictions. And, on a single run, it does not.

But models are not given single runs. Since the future is uncertain, they are run thousands of times, with different values for the parameters, to produce a range of possible outcomes. The outcomes are assumed to cluster around the most probable version of the future. The particular range of values chosen for a parameter is an example of a Bayesian prior assumption, since it is derived from actual experience of how the climate behaves -- and may thus be modified in the light of experience.

But the way you pick the individual values to plug into the model can cause trouble. They might, for example, be assumed to be evenly spaced, say 1,2,3,4. But in the example of snow retention, evenly spacing both rate-of-fall and rate-of-residence-in-the-clouds values will give different distributions of result. That is because the second parameter is actually the reciprocal of the first. To make the two match, value for value, you would need, in the second case, to count 1, 1/2, 1/4 which is not evenly spaced. If you use evenly spaced values instead, the two models' outcomes will cluster differently.

Climate models have hundreds of parameters that might somehow be related in this sort of way. To be sure you are seeing valid results rather than artefacts of the models, you need to take account of all the ways that can happen. That logistical nightmare is only now being addressed, and its practical consequences have yet to be worked out. But because of their philosophical training in the rigours of Pascal's method, the Bayesian bolt-on does not come easily to scientists. As the old saw has it, garbage in, garbage out. The difficulty comes when you do not know what garbage looks like.

Source




Just When You Thought the `Green' Movement Couldn't Get Any Weirder

Post below lifted from Newsbusters.

Matt Damon dressed as gas pump? Ben Affleck as an ear of corn? No, it's not "Good Will Hunting," the sequel. It's a new set of videos promoting ethanol mandates on the Web site cleanmyride.org.

The Clean My Ride site is run by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, an arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress. The purpose of Clean My Ride is to urge Congress to mandate ethanol as a fuel.

Earlier this week, NBC's Lee Cowan admitted it was ethanol's fault milk prices were "skyrocketing." So which is it? Do environmentalists want better gas mileage or cheaper milk?

One of the other main points of the Web site is to try and get people to stop "running scared from Big Oil." The first video, which features Affleck in a corn costume - it's better than "Gigli" - even shows a sequence where "Big Oil" executives are chasing down an ear of corn and then bludgeoning it to death.

The site encourages visitors to send this message to Congress (emphasis added):

Dear Representative:America must increase its energy independence and stop global warming. To accomplish these goals, I strongly urge you to vote for provisions that require cars and light trucks get 35 miles per gallon by 2020, and to require some service stations sell ethanol for flexible fuel cars. These two measures will reduce oil use, save families money, and lower global warming pollution. Please support them as essential parts of energy legislation.

The site also features six videos following the main character "Phin" who does whatever he can to try and convince people to help him on "his quest to save the environment."

Other videos feature celebrities Sarah Silverman, Jason Biggs, Joshua Jackson and Jennifer Garner.

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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20 August, 2007

ASIA-PACIFIC NATIONS UNLIKELY TO ACCEPT BINDING EMISSION TARGETS

APEC member nations will not accept greenhouse gas emission targets to fight global climate change and creating energy-efficient economies is the way forward, Australia's environment minister said Saturday. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will focus on improving energy efficiency instead of setting specific gas emission reduction targets as the 1997 Kyoto Protocol did, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "Most of the fast-growing industrializing economies, China being the classic case ... are not going to agree to binding targets on the basis of the Kyoto model," Turnbull said.

The comments came a day after the environmental group Greenpeace said it obtained a proposed draft declaration circulated by Australia among APEC member states ahead of September's annual meeting in Sydney. The draft, viewed by The Associated Press on Friday, said Asia-Pacific governments have been asked to improve energy efficiency and increase forest cover throughout the region to stop climate change. However, no mention was made of mandatory targets to cut the amount of heat-trapping gasses released by human activity into the atmosphere.

Greenpeace criticized the plan saying without binding limits, climate change will continue unchecked. "Business needs certainty and setting targets that mean people generally need to do better just aren't going to happen," Greenpeace energy campaigner Ben Pearson said Saturday.

Turnbull said focusing on energy efficiency - such as redesigning buildings so they are less reliant on electric lighting and air conditioning - was the way forward. "The battle against global warming occurs on many fronts," he said. "If you use 25 percent less energy to get the same amount of economic product, then you've naturally ... made a very significant decrease in the amount of CO2."

According to the draft, APEC would agree to "work toward the goal" of reducing energy intensity - the amount of energy used to create a gross domestic product - by 25 percent by 2030. It also described an "aspirational goal" of expanding forest cover across the APEC region by 20 million hectares by 2020.

Pearson described the energy efficiency plan as "business as usual," saying improved efficiency is inevitable in a growing economy...

Source. FULL DRAFT DOCUMENT here




At last: A detailed Critique of the Lockwood & Froechlich Paper

Mike Lockwood and Claus Froehlich published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society which concludes that the Sun could not be responsible for the global temperature rise over the last twenty years. The BBC published a news story on the paper dated July 10, 2007.

Cosmic rays vary over an 11 year cycle with the sunspot cycle. Dr. Svensmark developed a theory that the Sun is a significant driver of climate change through its effects on the cosmic ray flux and cloud cover. The increased solar wind and magnetic field during times of high sunspot count repels cosmic rays that otherwise would hit the Earth's atmosphere, resulting is less aerosols in the lower atmosphere and thereby reducing low cloud formation. Fewer low clouds allows more solar radiation to reach the Earth's surface causing warming.

Image

The BBC article presents this graphic:

The BBC article is misleading because the graph titled "Cosmic ray count" is not of cosmic rays (neutrons) count at all. It is the result of a mathematical manipulation to eliminate the 11 year cosmic ray cycle. The curve is taken from the Lockwood paper. The actual cosmic ray count from the Climax neutron monitor is shown as the blue curve below.

Image

Note that the cosmic ray count shown above is identical to that given in the Svensmark paper shown below. The red curve shown below is the cosmic ray count variation. The blue line shows variations in global cloud cover.

The Lockwood paper is fundamentally flawed for several reasons. The paper states "Hence, all solar trends since 1987 have been in the opposite direction to those seen or inferred in the majority of the twentieth century—particularly in the first half of that century".

Image

This is not true for cosmic rays which shows very low counts during the 1990-1991 solar maximum; lower counts than the previous three cycles. This would have caused warming during the 1990's. The paper states "The Earth’s surface air temperature does not respond to the solar cycle."

This is false; the earth temperature does respond to the solar cycle as confirmed by numerous studies. The 11 year solar cycle is clearly shown in sediment cores obtained from Effington Inlet, Vancouver Island, B.C. by Dr. Tim Patterson, and in records of the Nile River, to name just two studies.

The paper continues with "Even a large amplitude modulation would be heavily damped in the global mean temperature record by the long thermal time constants associated with parts of the climate system, in particular the oceans (Wigley & Raper 1990)."

This is true. The oceans act as a hugh climate flywheel, which both smoothes and delays the effects of the climate forcings. Global temperatures do not react strongly to each 11 year cycle, but are smoothed out. Here is the World 1970 - 2006 land and sea-surface temperature data from HadCRUT3 database.

You can clearly see that when the cosmic ray counts are high, there is a temperature drop, 1974-77, 1986-87, 1995-97, and 2004 - 2006. The pink straight line best fit indicates 0.1880 Celsius per decade. Image

The Lockwood paper manipulates the cosmic ray count data to eliminate the 11 year cycle by extrapolating between the nodes of the cycles. The nodes are points where the top part of the cycle has the same mean as the lower part, approximately the midpoint of each cycle. The result is the "Cosmic ray count" graph shown in the BBC article and reproduced above. Note that this reveals a 22 year cycle. But totally eliminating the 11 year cycle implies that the damping effect of the oceans is near infinite, which would also eliminate a 22 year cycle, or any other cycle length. If the oceans really had a near infinite heat capacity, it would absorb all effects of the Sun and CO2 changes and global temperatures would not change! Lockwood essentially applies a 100% damping to the 11 year cycle but 0% damping to the 22 year cycle, which is complete nonsense.

The ocean's flywheel damping effect means that the temperature today is effected by the Suns activity over the last many years. The 2006 global temperature is effected mostly by the 2006 Sun's intensity, but also by the Sun's activity in previous years. Even the Sun's activity 20 years ago has an effect on the current temperature.

Below is a graph showing a hypothetical increase followed by a decrease in the Sun's forcing, and the resulting temperature change. The graph is only for illustrative purposes to show the climate smoothing and time lag effects on temperature. The units are arbitrary. Here I assume the temperature of a given year is effected by the Sun's forcing over the previous 24 years such that each prior year has 85% of the weighting of the next year.

Image

Note that the temperature continues to rise for several years after the Sun's forcing starts to decrease.

The Lockwood paper falsely assumes that the current Sun activity would have an immediate effect on temperature without a time lag. One should expect a time lag based on the length of the variation cycle. For example, each day the Sun's intensity peaks at noon but daily temperatures peak several hours later. Each year the Sun's intensity peaks at June 21, but July and August are the warmest months in the northern hemisphere.

The 11 year solar cycle causes about a 2 year lag in the temperature variation. The Sun's activity has been increasing though most of the twentieth century and one should expect about a decade of time lag. The graph below from here show the rising solar flux during most of the twentieth century.

Image

Since the cosmic ray count was a minimum in 1991 (the 2001-2002 minimum count was higher) we expect the temperature to increase for about a decade to about 2001 before falling. This is exactly what has happened!

All climatologists should know the the heat capacity of the oceans cause a large time lag in temperature response. The IPCC fourth assessment report includes computer model projections that show if the CO2 concentration is held constant at year 2000 levels, the global temperature will continue to rise over the next two decades. The same effect occurs for Sun activity as CO2.

Lockwood compares the cosmic ray (with the 11 year cycle removed) to a smoothed surface temperature graph. The Sun's climate forcings should be compared to the actual temperature curves, which show no increase in global temperatures since 2002.

The surface temperatures used by Lockwood are contaminated by the heat island effects and numerous quality control issues related to the individual station measurements and spatial placements. Lockwood should use the MSU (Microwave Sounding Units) satellite data which is truly a global measure of temperatures, as it is the troposphere temperature, and is not contaminated by the heat island effect.

The theory of CO2 temperature change shows that the enhanced greenhouse effect would increase temperatures faster in the troposphere where temperatures are cold and the water vapour content is low. All the climate models show that the troposphere temperatures should increase faster than the surface temperatures, especially in the tropics. The graph below shows the temperature in the tropics.

Image

The three curves are scaled so that the average of the first 5 years are the same. The GHCN curve is the land only surface temperature trend. It shows the highest rate of increase because it is contaminated by the heat island effect. The HadCRUT3 curve is the land and sea surface temperature trend. It is lower that the GHCN curve because the sea temperature data does not have any heat island effect. If the Sun had little effect on climate and CO2 was responsible for the twentieth century temperature rise, both of these curves should show a lower warming trend than the MSU, troposphere temperature, curve! It is illogical to believe that CO2 is the primary temperature driver and concurrently believe that the surface measurements are accurate.

The Lockwood paper only analyses the last 30 years of data which is too short of a time interval. A system that has 11 year cycles requires at least 110 years (10 cycles) of data to obtain meaningful statistical results.

The paper says in the conclusions "... there was a detectable influence of solar variability in the first half of the twentieth century". The BBC article quote Lockwood "It [the cosmic ray effect] might even have had a significant effect on pre-industrial climate; but you cannot apply it to what we're seeing now, because we're in a completely different ball game." The paper fails to explain what laws of physics have recently changed.

Solar activity correlates well with temperature over longer time scales. The graph below from Scafetta and West of Duke University compares solar proxies with the Northern hemisphere temperature reconstruction by Moberg et al. [2005].

Image

Solar activity can account for at least 50% of the warming since 1900. It is likely that both the Sun/Cosmic rays and CO2 emissions are affecting climate.

In summary, the Lockwood paper is seriously flawed by:

1. It falsely says the Sun's influence peaked by 1987. The cosmic ray count in 1991 is the lowest it has ever been, causing warming.

2. It falsely says the Earth's temperature does not respond to solar cycles.

3. It eliminates the 11 year solar cycle from the cosmic ray data, but does not smooth any other cycle.

4. It fails to account for the large time lag between the Sun forcings and temperature changes.

5. It uses smoothed surface temperatures rather than actual global satellite temperature data.

6. It analyses too short a time interval

7. It fails to explain why the cosmic ray influence apparently stopped twenty years ago.

This paper is so flawed that it is remarkable that it was published. My conclusion is that the recent Sun and cosmic ray data is entirely consistent with the position that the Sun is the primary driver of climate change.

Source. For the Full Report in PDF Form, please click here




Newsweek on climate change: Plus ca change

Post below lifted from Tigerhawk

The Extreme Mortman and Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby remind us why so many of us non-experts -- even those of us unaccountably not on the payroll of Big Oil -- do not believe the most hysterical claims made by journalists who in the case of the global climate change have turned into advocates. Jacoby:
Introducing Newsweek's Aug. 13 cover story on global warming "denial," editor Jon Meacham brings up an embarrassing blast from his magazine's past: an April 1975 story about global cooling, and the coming ice age that scientists then were predicting. Meacham concedes that "those who doubt that greenhouse gases are causing significant climate change have long pointed to the 1975 Newsweek piece as an example of how wrong journalists and researchers can be." But rather than acknowledge that the skeptics may have a point, Meacham dismisses it.

"On global cooling," he writes, "there was never anything even remotely approaching the current scientific consensus that the world is growing warmer because of the emission of greenhouse gases."

Really? Newsweek took rather a different line in 1975. Then, the magazine reported that scientists were "almost unanimous" in believing that the looming Big Chill would mean a decline in food production, with some warning that "the resulting famines could be catastrophic." Moreover, it said, "the evidence in support of these predictions" -- everything from shrinking growing seasons to increased North American snow cover -- had "begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it."

Yet Meacham, quoting none of this, simply brushes aside the 1975 report as "alarmist" and "discredited." Today, he assures his readers, Newsweek's climate-change anxieties rest "on the safest of scientific ground." (bold emphasis added)

The ExMort helpfully provides a copy of the original Newsweek piece from 32 years ago, and it is extraordinary. Read it below. My all-too-obvious commentary follows.


Newsweek article on global cooling


Commentary

In many ways, nothing has changed but the direction of the problem. You have the same claims of scientific consensus:

Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.

Well, we now know that meteorologists do not know jack about the foundations of agricultural productivity, which soared during the rest of the 20th century. If they were "almost unanimous" in 1975, then they were almost unanimously wrong.

But wait, there's more. Back in 1975, Newsweek cited random severe weather factoids in support of its argument:
Last April, in the most devestating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in thirteen U.S. states.

How similar is this to the claims post-Katrina that we were going to be blown away by an unprecedented surge in hurricanes, only to see the supposedly worse 2006 season fizzle into pacific calm?

There are the same references to historical climate data, which remind us that today's graphs that show global warming since the late 19th century reflect temperature increases over a very cold baseline:
Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the "little ice age" conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 -- years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.

And, of course, there is the same fretting that politicians will not take the extreme steps necessary to avert inevitable catastrophe:
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even 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.... The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

Now, Newsweek's stupendous wrongness in 1975 is hardly evidence that it is wrong today. Newsweek, after all, is just a magazine with reporters and editors who write the stuff that scientists say in as engaging a style as possible. However, a couple of implications do flow from this. First, everybody over the age of roughly 45-50 has heard all of these predictions of climate-induced disaster before, and none of them have come true. That has made those of us with memories understandably, well, skeptical. The skepticism that Newsweek ascribes to the perfidy of oil companies in fact derives from the misguided alarmism of the last generation of journalists, including particularly Newsweek. Newsweek essentially pre-impeached the argument it made in its cover story last week.

Second, Newsweek's cover story attributing global warming skepticism to subversive propaganda was not even useful to the climate change activists. Any lefty blogger could have done that much. The problem that the boosters of climate change theory have is that the boy has cried wolf before. As a practical matter, the alarmism of 30 years ago has made the burden of proof higher than it otherwise would be. Those of us worried about climate change -- and I am in that group -- need the professional journalists to write the substantive arguments in favor of and against the climate change theory clearly and in laymen's terms. We do not need them to level hysterical accusations that the skeptics are wrong because ExxonMobil gave some money to a few right-wing think tanks.

Third, we should figure out who all those "near unanimous" meteorologists were back in 1975. How many of those previously wrong climate scientists are still around and now taking the other side of the argument? They, at least, have a credibility problem, or at least some explaining to do. It seems to me that Newsweek is in a unique position to do an investigative story about climate scientists that previously warned of catastrophic global cooling. Indeed, in light of the various accusations it has leveled in the current debate, it would seem that Newsweek is virtually honor-bound to write such a story. If, that is, there is a shred of intellectual honesty left at that magazine, which is doubtful in light of Jon Meacham's misleading claims about the scientific consensus 32 years ago and today.




Washington Post distorts NASA climbdown

Post below lifted from American Thinker. See the original for links

On Tuesday, we noted that the media has been largely silent on the revisions to NASA's widely reported temperature data. On Wednesday, the Washington Post broke the news blackout giving NASA's James Hansen an exclusive platform to cast the changes in the most favorable light possible.

Rather than report on the substance of the actual changes to the data and the reasons they were compelled to make them, the Post used a not-so-clever trick, ascribing the controversy to, "Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh [who] used reports of the revisions to argue that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by scientists with liberal agendas."

Describing the changes as "slight" the Post uncritically accepts Hansen's bland explanation, "...the change is insignificant in terms of global warming and altered the overall global mean temperatures by one-one-thousandth of a degree."

One one-thousandth of degree overall? Prove it! Critics often argue that the global mean temperature is akin to taking the average of all the phone numbers in the phone book. In other words, it's meaningless.

Reporter Marc Kaufman allows Hansen to peddle one whopper after another. Hansen trots out well worn cliches he's used in the past like, "critics are making a mountain out of a molehill" and they're using this to "muddy the debate." Can't NASA's public information people come up with better lines than this? Unprompted, Hansen bamboozles Kaufman with this ridiculous non-excuse why NASA hides their data, "NASA generally does not release or discuss national weather statistics because it is more concerned with global patterns. The agency that pays more attention to American temperature trends is the American temperature trends is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration" And so why won't NASA release the data?

To obfuscate matters further, Kaufman concludes his story with an erroneous reference to the UN IPCC report. He writes that the report says, "global warming is definitely occurring and that greenhouse gases created by humans are the most likely cause."

Let's be precise here, the word "definite" is nowhere to be found in the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers and this document is written with much more certainty than the actual Technical Report or any of the sub-disciplinary segments. The entire report is filled with caveats and uncertainty. Words like, "may correlate" and "data suggests" preface nearly every assertion and conclusion.

The Washington Post has been carrying water for James Hansen and NASA GISS for several years now. This story fails to even address the most basic questions concerning the error. Instead they add to the confusion with more misinformation and spin. Why is the Washington Post shilling for James Hansen and the global warming special interest lobby?

We have no reason for faith in NASA's data and methods, since the agency has played such a cagey hand in fessing up to their errors and their significance. Until whole operation opens up for serious outside scrutiny, we'll have to rely on sleuths like Steve McIntyre to get to the truth.




The word about the NASA backdown is getting out in Australia

Australian columnist Michael Duffy, writing in the mass-circulation Sydney Morning Herald, reports on the recent NASA correction of their global warming figures. Duffy goes on in the excerpt below to note the really big emerging issue in the matter -- the dubious accuracy of the basic data. So Australians at least have the latest available info in their papers. Mainstream papers in Britain and the USA have now reported the NASA backdown but accompanied it with heavy spin about the changes being unimportant. They did not however mention the matters Duffy mentions below, as far as I saw

Strange as it might seem in a scientific field that spends some $6.4 billion a year on often abstruse research and computer modelling, the integrity of the basic temperature data is emerging as a serious problem. The Goddard Institute claims to correct data from poorly sited stations, but McIntyre says it refused to tell him how it does this in sufficient detail for him to check its results. When he obtained some of the raw data from specific sites and compared it with the processed temperatures created by the institute, he found problems. In one case data from a good site, at the Grand Canyon, had been changed to make the 1930s colder than they were.

Across the Atlantic, the British mathematician Douglas Keenan has claimed that two important academic papers on the reliability of Chinese weather stations are wrong. This is a major issue because one of the papers is cited by the IPCC to support its position that measurement errors owing to urbanisation and the "heat island effect" - which makes cities warmer than their surroundings - are insignificant. Keenan claims to have discovered that some of the Chinese stations have been moved a lot. One, for example, had five different locations from 1954 to 1983, over a distance of 41 kilometres. This makes the data largely useless.

It took several years to gain access to the information needed to reveal this fault with the papers, because the academics involved refused to release it. Keenan finally obtained it by the creative means of using Britain's Freedom of Information Act, on the grounds that an academic who had the information was a public servant.

The climate change establishment is represented by the website realclimate.org. Its response to McIntyre's success in getting the Goddard Institute to reduce US temperature figures for the period since 2000 has been to say that the implication for global averages is imperceptible, since the US is only a very small fraction of the global area. Strictly speaking this is correct, although America's figures are more important than its land area might indicate because they go back so far in an unbroken line, which is fairly unusual.

Since the break-up of the USSR, the number of weather stations in the world has declined by half. Many of them used to be in cold areas. The scientists who compile global averages presumably try to take this into account - although in light of some of the above stories you have to wonder just how well they succeed.

Whatever the scientific implications of McIntyre's revelation, the rhetorical one is huge. America is the centre of the global debate on climate change. No longer will Americans or anyone else be able to say the hottest year on record in their great nation was 1998. Looking at the new top 10, it's hard to see any signs of global warming. The ranking, starting from the hottest year, goes: 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939. It's a sad thought, but maybe we and our weather are not as unusual as some want to believe.

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowleging 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 be 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 a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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

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19 August, 2007

OVERTURNING THE IPCC "CONSENSUS" IN ONE FELL SWOOP?

New research from Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Lab concludes that the Earth's climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the IPCC assumes. Schwartz's study is "in press" at the Journal of Geophysical Research and you can download a preprint of the study here.

According to Schwartz's results, which are based on the empirical relationship between trends in surface temperature and ocean heat content, doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would result in a 1.1oC increase in average temperature (0.1 to 2.1oC, two standard deviation uncertainty range). Schwartz's result is 63% lower than the IPCC's estimate of 3oC for a doubling of CO2 (2.0 to 4.5oC, 2SD range).

Right now we're about 41% above the estimated pre-industrial CO2 level of 270 ppm. At the current rate of increase of about 0.55% per year, CO2 will double around 2070. Based on Schwartz's results, we should expect about a 0.6oC additional increase in temperature between now and 2070 due to this additional CO2. That doesn't seem particularly alarming. A couple of other interesting implications of Schwartz's results:

* Aerosols have a relatively small effect on temperature. A doubling of CO2 has an estimated climate "forcing" of 2.7 watts per square centimeter (W/cm2). In contrast, actual aerosol concentrations during the 20th Century had a forcing of -0.3 W/cm2 with a large uncertainty range that could mean either net cooling or net warming from aerosols.

* The response time, or "time constant", of the climate to greenhouse gas forcing is relatively small -- only five years. In other words, there's hardly any additional warming "in the pipeline" from previous greenhouse gas emissions. This is in contrast to the IPCC, which predicts that the Earth's average temperature will rise an additional 0.6oC during the 21st Century even if greenhouse gas concentrations stopped increasing.

Schwartz is careful to include the appropriate caveats to his results. But he also shows that his estimates are consistent with much of the previous literature on the subject. His study also has the virtue of relying largely on empirical measurements of actual climate behavior during the 20th Century, rather than on climate models.

Stephen Schwartz is a pretty mainstream climate scientist. Yet along with dozens of other studies in the scientific literature, his new study belies Al Gore's claim that there is no legitimate scholarly alternative to climate catastrophism. Indeed, if Schwartz's results are correct, that alone would be enough to overturn in one fell swoop the IPCC's scientific "consensus", the environmentalists' climate hysteria, and the political pretext for the energy-restriction policies that have become so popular with the world's environmental regulators, elected officials, and corporations. The question is, will anyone in the mainstream media notice?

Source




Weakening Gulf Stream story debunked again

In the north Atlantic, warm surface waters flow northward and eastward from the Florida Strait, and the northward flows return as southward-flowing deep water. This meridional overturning circulation (MOC) transports huge quantities of heat from low to high northern latitudes. Global climate models have suggested that the flux of water transported might be decreased by global warming, which could have an important effect on climate, particularly that of Europe.

However, there has not been a sufficiently long or detailed observational record to evaluate whether significant weakening has occurred (see the Perspective by Church). Cunningham et al. (p. 935) and Kanzow et al. (p. 938) now provide annual records of the strength of the MOC using an array of moored instruments deployed across the Atlantic basin at a latitude of 26.5 degrees N. The strength of the MOC varied by more than a factor of 8 during a 1-year period from a low of 4.0 sverdrups (1 Sv equals 1 million cubic meters per second) to a high of 34.9 Sv, with an average flow of 18.7 ¤ 5.6 Sv. Fluctuations of the different transport components of the MOC largely compensate each other, which means that robust estimates of the flow can be made over intra-annual periods.

Thus, an earlier claim that the MOC has decreased by 8 Sv during the past decade, made on the basis of only a few instantaneous measurements during that period, was premature and reflected short-term natural variability.

Source




THE IMPLICATIONS OF HANSEN'S BLUNDER

In retrospect, you knew there would be trouble when you put the people responsible for the Space Shuttle program in charge of tracking U.S. temperatures. So perhaps it shouldn't have come as a big surprise when it was revealed that NASA committed a bit of an oopsie regarding data constantly used by the mainstream media and other global warming proponents.

If you follow the global warming debate, you "know" that nine of the ten warmest years recorded in the U.S. lower 48 since 1880 have occurred since 1995, with the very hottest being 1998. But whaddya know! Those figures are wrong. Data from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) now show the hottest year since 1880 was 1934. Nineteen-ninety-eight dropped to second, while the third hottest year was way back in 1921. Indeed, four of the 10 hottest years were in the 1930s, while only three were in the past decade. The real 15 hottest years are spread over seven decades. Eight occurred before the chief "greenhouse gas," atmospheric carbon dioxide, began its sharp rise; seven occurred afterwards.

Rush Limbaugh was incorrect in saying the new figures are "just more evidence" that "this whole global warming thing is a scientific hoax." Conversely, global warming hotheads are also wrong in insisting the revelation belongs in a game of Trivial Pursuit. The GISS, which is directed by global warming guru James Hansen, is saying likewise. They're wrong, in part because of the importance of the data and in part because of what might be labeled a cover-up.

In pooh-poohing the revision, the GISS ignores the tremendous emotional impact it's had in practically claiming each year is hotter than the one before. Instead it observes (correctly) since the U.S. accounts for merely two percent of global land surface, a relatively small adjustment in its figures doesn't meaningfully impact the global picture.

But, notes Canadian mathematician Stephen McIntyre, who exposed the false figures, "The Hansen error ... has a significant impact on the GISS estimate of U.S. temperature history ..." (Emphasis added.) Is this important because we're a major world power or that we produce the best fried chicken? No, it's important because we have a far more sophisticated system of temperature monitoring than countries with far larger land masses. Hence, data from each of these nations affect the global model more than the American data.

"Many of the stations in China, Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere are in urban areas," observes McIntyre. This can produce hotter temperatures, yet some of the major trackers of the data from these countries, including the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, make no attempt to adjust for monitor placement errors. In any event, for some reason "the U.S. history has a rather minimal (warming) trend if any since the 1930s, while the ROW [rest of the world] has a very pronounced trend since the 1930s."

Thus if the U.S. model, by far the most accurate one, became the model, it would be a gut punch to those claiming we must take drastic, horrifically expense measures right now to ameliorate warming. Therefore, for the GISS to say this "only" affects the U.S. data is rather like a used car salesman insisting, "This automobile defect is trivial; it only affects steering and braking."

Then there's the issue of how the revised data came about and came to light. McIntyre discovered an error in GISS records for the years 2000 through 2006. In simplest terms, they hadn't been adjusted to compensate for the location or time of day where the data was gathered. Nobody at GISS ever correlated those newer figures with the older ones until McIntyre did, even though later Hansen admitted it was "easy to fix."

McIntyre published the data on his own website and got the agency to admit it was wrong and post new figures. Yet the GISS did absolutely nothing to alert scientists or the public to the new figures. This though it has published five global warming press releases so far this year, each one alarming. It took the blogosphere and radio talk show hosts to publicize the new figures even as the mainstream media initially ignored it.

Ultimately the greatest importance of all of this is that it strongly appears to substantiate the intuitive belief that, with scientist-politician Hansen at the helm the GISS, whose data are far more important to modeling global temperatures to and hence global warming policy to than it lets on, is not a neutral collector and disseminator of statistics but rather a politicized mouthpiece.

Source




TROUBLE IN CLIMATE-MODEL PARADISE

In an intriguing Climate Change report in Science, Wentz et al. (2007) note that the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, as well as various climate modeling analyses, predict an increase in precipitation on the order of 1 to 3% per øC of surface global warming. Hence, they decided to see what has happened in the real world in this regard over the last 19 years (1987-2006) of supposedly unprecedented global warming, when data from the Global Historical Climatology Network and satellite measurements of the lower troposphere have indicated a global temperature rise on the order of 0.20øC per decade.

Using satellite observations obtained from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), the four Remote Sensing Systems scientists derived precipitation trends for the world's oceans over this period; and using data obtained from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project that were acquired from both satellite and rain gauge measurements, they derived precipitation trends for the earth's continents.

Appropriately combining the results of these two endeavors, they then derived a real-world increase in precipitation on the order of 7% per øC of surface global warming, which is somewhere between 2.3 and 7 times larger than what is predicted by state-of-the-art climate models. How was this horrendous discrepancy to be resolved? Based on theoretical considerations, Wentz et al. concluded that the only way to bring the two results into harmony with each other was for there to have been a 19-year decline in global wind speeds. But when looking at the past 19 years of SSM/I wind retrievals, they found just the opposite, i.e., an increase in global wind speeds.

In quantitative terms, in fact, the two results were about as opposite as they could possibly be, as they report that "when averaged over the tropics from 30øS to 30øN, the winds increased by 0.04 m s-1 (0.6%) decade-1, and over all oceans the increase was 0.08 m s-1 (1.0%) decade-1," while global coupled ocean-atmosphere models or GCMs, in their words, "predict that the 1987-to-2006 warming should have been accompanied by a decrease in winds on the order of 0.8% decade-1."

In discussing these embarrassing results, Wentz et al. correctly state that "the reason for the discrepancy between the observational data and the GCMs is not clear." They also rightly state that this dramatic difference between the real world of nature and the virtual world of climate modeling "has enormous impact," concluding that the questions raised by the discrepancy "are far from being settled."

We agree. And until these "enormous impact questions" are settled, we wonder how anyone could conceivably think of acting upon the global energy policy prescriptions of the likes of Al Gore and James Hansen, who speak and write as if there was little more to do in the realm of climate-change prediction than a bit of fine-tuning.

Source




Australian Federal Parliamentary report derides 'Global Warming'

There has been quite a media blackout on this so I am pleased to have finally found a lead-in to the report

The Australian Federal Parliament's Standing Committee on Science and Innovation recently completed a report entitled Between a Rock and a Hard Place, on the subject of "Geosequestration of Carbon Dioxide". However, four members of that committee have issued a "Dissenting Report" which devastates the Committee's major premise-that mankind causes global warming.

The dissenting MPs are former CSIRO scientist Dr. Dennis Jensen, Hon Jackie Kelly, Hon Danna Vale and Mr. David Tollner. Their report was compiled with the assistance of a number of leading scientists, including climate scientist Dr. John Christy, former lead author of the IPCC. It is a must read for anyone concerned with the subject.

They state at the very outset that, "We disagree with the report's unequivocal support for the hypothesis that global warming is caused by man-so-called anthropogenic global warming (AGW). We are concerned that the Committee's report strays well outside its terms of reference. In fact, the committee did not take any evidence relating to anthropogenic global warming."

Some of the chief points of their refutation include:

* Global warming is observed on other planets or moons, including Mars, Jupiter, Triton, Pluto, Neptune and others. Did man cause this?

* That the so-called "overwhelming consensus" embodied in the IPCC report has nothing to do with science, nor does such a consensus even exist. It is in fact drawn from its "Summary for Policymakers" which was written by politicians, not by scientists, and its supposed "90% certainty" is backed up by nothing in the report, but is merely a "consensus opinion arrived at by IPCC bureaucrats"; and, in any case, so-called "democratic consensus" is entirely opposed to scientific method. "Consensus", for instance, once held that the earth was at the centre of the universe, and that it was flat.

* That the "Stern Review" upon which the Committee based its majority report, was drafted by a man who "acknowledges that he had zero understanding of the issue less than one year before the Stern Review . It is staggering that someone with essentially no scientific knowledge on greenhouse effect, within less than one year, had acquired the scientific knowledge to state that the 'scientific evidence is now overwhelming'."

"Indeed, if one paragraph clearly illustrates the one sided nature of this report," the dissenters say, "it is paragraph 5.59. Here, we have a captain of industry (Rupert Murdoch), who, by his own admission is not a scientist, quoted regarding his view on anthropogenic global warming and the need to take action", citing Murdoch's claims that "climate change poses clear catastrophic threats."

There is much more, on glaciers, rising sea levels, Australia's rainfall patterns, etc., and the report is extensively footnoted. It may be accessed here

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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18 August, 2007

HAS THE STERN REVIEW MISLED GOVERNMENTS AND THE PUBLIC?

Journal abstract and Introduction below:

Mistreatment of the economic impacts of extreme events in the Stern Review: Report on the Economics of Climate Change

By Roger Pielke Jr.

Abstract

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change has focused debate on the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action on climate change. This refocusing has helped to move debate away from science of the climate system and on to issues of policy. However, a careful examination of the Stern Review's treatment of the economics of extreme events in developed countries, such as floods and tropical cyclones, shows that the report is selective in its presentation of relevant impact studies and repeats a common error in impacts studies by confusing sensitivity analyses with projections of future impacts. The Stern Review's treatment of extreme events is misleading because it overestimates the future costs of extreme weather events in developed countries by an order of magnitude. Because the Stern Report extends these findings globally, the overestimate propagates through the report's estimate of future global losses. When extreme events are viewed more comprehensively the resulting perspective can be used to expand the scope of choice available to decision makers seeking to grapple with future disasters in the context of climate change. In particular, a more comprehensive analysis underscores the importance of adaptation in any comprehensive portfolio of responses to climate change.

Article Outline

1. Introduction: exploiting an excess of objectivity
2. Stern error #1: Selected Reference
3. Error #2: exploiting the unreality of a static society
4. How the Stern Review might have addressed the economics of extreme events: robust science for robust decision making
5. Conclusion: science advisors: issue advocate or honest broker?

1. Introduction: exploiting an excess of objectivity

In a provocative article titled "How Science Makes Environmental Controversies Worse" Daniel Sarewitz explains that scientific research results in an "excess of objectivity" in political debates (Sarewitz, 2004). What he means with this phrase is that in most (if not all) cases of political conflict involving science, available research is sufficiently diverse so as to provide a robust resource for political advocates to start with a conclusion and then selectively pick and choose among existing scientific studies to buttress their case. Simply put, to cherry pick, to take the best leave the rest. An "excess of objectivity," Sarewitz argues, stems not simply from the presence of scientific uncertainty, but also from the fact that, "...nature itself-the reality out there-is sufficiently rich and complex to support a science enterprise of enormous methodological, disciplinary, and institutional diversity. ...science, in doing its job well, presents this richness, through a proliferation of facts assembled via a variety of disciplinary lenses, in ways that can legitimately support, and are causally indistinguishable from, a range of competing, value-based political positions. ... from this perspective, scientific uncertainty, which so often occupies a central place in environmental controversies, can be understood not as a lack of scientific understanding but as the lack of coherence among competing scientific understandings."

Accepting Sarewitz's position complicates the challenge of effectively using science, or other facts, to argue for a particular course of action. The main peril is that an advocate for a particular agenda will first decide upon a course of action and then seek science useful in justifying that course of action. Of course, the advocate's political opponent will also settle on a (different) particular agenda and seek out their own justifying science. What then typically happens is that the political debate is transferred to the science used as justifications, rather than taking place explicitly in terms of the values or outcomes at stake that motivated the political controversy in the first place. Scientific debate then becomes a proxy for political debate, and gridlock and inaction often result because science alone cannot resolve political disputes.

One way out of this situation is for advisors to clearly associate scientific understandings with a wide range of possible policy options (Pielke, 2007). Rather than narrowing the scope of possible action justified by appeals to selected science, the point of such advice is to expand, or at least comprehensively map, policy options and their relationship to the diversity of current scientific understandings. Such an approach clearly distinguishes the role of advisor from advocate, and advisor from decision maker.

In the area of climate change, there have been countless efforts to provide scientific advice to decision makers. The Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change is one such effort (Stern, 2007). The Stern Review has already achieved several notable successes. Among them, it has focused attention on the challenge of climate change and helped to redirect attention away from debates over science and toward debates over the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. However, in making its case for the significant future economic costs of extreme weather events in developed countries the Stern Review commits two significant errors that affect its estimates.

In its Chapter 5 the Stern Review concludes, "The costs of climate change for developed countries could reach several percent of GDP as higher temperatures lead to a sharp increase in extreme weather events and large-scale changes." (Stern, 2007, p. 137). This conclusion cannot be supported by the Review's own analysis and references to literature. One error is a serious misrepresentation of the scientific literature, and the second is more subtle, but no less significant. The serious misrepresentation takes the form of inaccurately presenting the conclusions of an unpublished paper on trends in disaster losses.

The second error is more complex and involves conflating an analysis of the sensitivity of society to future changes in extreme events, assuming that society does not change, with a projection of how extreme event impacts will increase in the future under the integrated conditions of climatic and societal change.

The result of the errors in the Stern Review is a significant overstatement of the future costs of extreme climate events not simply in the developed world, but globally-by an order of magnitude. In light of these errors if the Stern Review is to be viewed as a means of supporting a particular political agenda, then it undercuts its own credibility and this risks its effectiveness. If instead the Stern Review is to be viewed as a policy analysis of the costs and benefits of alternative courses of actions on climate change, then at least in the case of extreme events it has missed an opportunity to clarify the scope of such actions and their possible consequences, and arguably misdirects attention away from those actions most likely to be effective with respect to future catastrophe losses.

In either case, on the issue of extreme events and climate change, the Stern Review must be judged a failure. This short paper documents these errors and suggests how an alternative approach might have been structured.

FULL PAPER at Global Environmental Change, Article in Press, 2007.




Doubts over 'green' solar panels

SOLAR panels fitted to homes may be harming the environment more than convenional sources of energy, according to a study by scientists. More energy is used to build, run, and recycle solar panels compared with that for fossil fuel systems, according to researchers.

The findings indicate that although large scale solar panel systems are beneficial, the environmental advantages of smaller scale systems such as the ones which can be fitted to ordinary homes are slim or non-existant.

The research was carried out by a team in Greece which looked at the reasons why renewable energy technology has not yet reached a high enough standard to compete with fossil fuel systems. They conclude a vast amount of energy is consumed during the manufacturing process of solar panels. The equipment, made from a variety of materials including aluminium, glass, Tedlar and EVA (a sealant product) and the waste products from such processes are damaging the environment. Glass and aluminium consume a lot of energy on production lines.

In contrast, the report says wind and geothermal energy are the most environmentally friendly. But it says renewable energy sources involve significantly less dangerous pollutants, and silicon - one of the main raw materials in solar panels - is available in abundance compared to fossil fuels.

Owen Davis, spokesman for Friends Of The Earth Scotland said: "There have always been concerns about the manufacturing of solar panels but if you compare, say over 25 years, the amount of pollution and energy used by a solar panel is minute compared to fossil fuels."

Source




STUDY ESTIMATES GLOBAL WARMING COSTS ON US ECONOMY

Making big cuts in emissions linked to global warming could come at considerable cost to the U.S. economy: between $400 billion and $1.8 trillion in reduced growth over the next four decades, a new study says.

The study published Monday by a nonprofit research group partially funded by the power industry concludes that reducing emissions of carbon dioxide -- the main greenhouse gas linked to global warming -- will require "fundamental" changes in energy production and consumption. The Electric Power Research Institute said the most cost-effective way to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to make many changes at once, including expanding nuclear power, developing renewable technologies and building systems to capture and store carbon dioxide emitted from coal plants. Reducing demand for fossil-fuel power is also key, the institute said.

The EPRI cost estimate is based on a 50 percent economy-wide cut in carbon emissions from 2010 levels by 2050. Without such a cut and the shifts in technology it would bring, the Energy Department projects that U.S. carbon emissions will rise from about 6 billion metric tons a year in 2005 to 8 billion metric tons by 2030. The report calls for more modest cuts in emissions than some proposals currently being considered in Congress. Bigger cuts could well be more expensive.

However, environmentalists said the study misses a key point: the economic costs of not doing anything to stop global warming -- which they warn will lead to problems as diverse as flooding damage, refugee crises and less snow at ski resorts. "We think it will be more expensive to do nothing," David G. Hawkins, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said. "We think the economy is going to be threatened by unabated global warming."

Revis James, one of the EPRI report's authors, said it would be difficult but possible for the electric power industry to cut back on its share of greenhouse gas emissions, which make up about one-third of total U.S. emissions. "It's not like hoping for a miracle," James said. "The manned space flight program happened because there was a very strong national consensus that it was important and it needed to be done...I think we are dealing with something here that is similar to that. It's going to take 25 years of concerted effort."

The report also concludes that making cuts in emissions more slowly rather than mandating big cuts right away, is the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because doing so gives advanced technologies more time to develop. EPRI uses 2000 dollars in its calculations, so adjusting for inflation, the economic effects would be far higher.

Earlier this month, Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Warner, R-Va., outlined a plan to cut U.S. economywide emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to 70 percent of current levels by 2050.

Over the past year, power industry officials have been gearing up for what many see as an inevitable move to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Several utility executives have testified in Congress in recent months in an effort to make sure their views will be considered. EPRI's researchers envision the power industry cutting greenhouse emissions though a fivefold increase in nuclear power from Energy Department projections, twice as much renewable power, more efficient coal plants, widespread adoption of technology to capture and store carbon emissions from coal plants and the spread of plug-in cars that can send electricity back to the power grid. In addition, demand growth would be held to 1.1 percent per year, compared with the 1.5 percent annual growth that the Energy Department projects.

Source




CARBON MARKET ENCOURAGES CHOPPING DOWN FORESTS

The current carbon market actually encourages cutting down some of the world's biggest forests, which would unleash tonnes of climate-warming carbon into the atmosphere, a new study reported on Monday.

Under the Kyoto Protocol aimed at stemming climate change, there is no profitable reason for the 10 countries and one French territory with 20 percent of Earth's intact tropical forest to maintain this resource, according to a study in the journal Public Library of Science Biology. The Kyoto treaty and other talks on global warming focus on so-called carbon credits for countries and companies that plant new trees where forests have been destroyed.

Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas emitted by petroleum-fueled vehicles, coal-fired power plants and humans. At this point, there is no credit for countries that keep the forests they have, the study said. "The countries that haven't really been the target of deforestation have nothing to sell because they haven't deforested anything," said Gustavo Fonseca, one of the study's authors.

"So that creates a perverse incentive for them to actually start deforesting, so that in the future, they might be allowed to actually cap-and-trade, as they call it: you put a cap on your deforestation and you trade that piece that hasn't been deforested," Fonseca said in a telephone interview.

The countries most at risk for this kind of deforestation, because they all have more than half their original forests intact, are Panama, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Belize, Gabon, Guyana, Suriname, Bhutan and Zambia, along with the French territory of French Guiana.

FULL STORY here




EU INDUSTRY COMMISSIONER: CAR MAKERS MORE IMPORTANT THAN GREEN IDEALS

EU industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen has spoken out in defence of manufacturers of large German cars saying they must not bear the greatest burden in the fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Mr Verheugen, himself a German, made it clear that he does not believe that large car manufacturers alone should be the ones making the biggest sacrifices in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. "We should not forget that luxury cars and upper mid-range cars are our particular strength."

He said that although he was expecting the greatest progress from the biggest models, he pointed out that smaller car makers also have a lot to do. "The threshold cannot be the same for every car," said the commissioner. His words come as the European Commission prepares what is to be a highly controversial plan on how car manufacturers should reach the headline goal of reducing CO2 emissions of all new cars to an average limit of 130 g/km by 2012. The goal was proposed in spring this year and is part of general EU plans to improve the bloc's environment record. The detailed plans are due by December at the latest.

Already the idea has pitted manufacturers of large cars - generally German - against those of smaller, often more fuel efficient cars - such as Italy's Fiat or France's Peugeot. French and Italian car-makers tend to argue that all car makers should meet the new EU limit, regardless of size. Germany is arguing that manufacturers such as Porsche should have more leeway on meeting the limits.

The German car industry - supported by Mr Verheugen - has mounted a lobbying action in Brussels to get their concerns taken into account. The run-up to the publishing of the 130 g/km goal in Spring was tarnished by a major spat between Mr Verheugen and his environment colleague Stavros Dimas. Earlier this week, newspaper reports suggested that car emission limits would be tailored according to the weight of the car. This is seen as more favourable to German car makers. Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler told German economic weekly Wirtschaftwoche that he would be in favour of a weight-based emissions initiative.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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17 August, 2007

MAJOR NEW THEORY PROPOSED TO EXPLAIN WARMING: Carbon-dioxide out; "synchronized chaos" in



"Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt"
--Washington Post headline, November 2, 1922.

If there was any doubt that fear-mongering has long been cherished by the media, the above headline should put the question to bed. But that 80-year old news story also illustrates two of the great problems for the global warming theory -- its inability to explain sudden climate shifts in the Earth's past, and to explain why the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are so unequally affected by warming.

A team of mathematicians have come forth with a startling new theory that solves both these problems. Led by Dr. Anastasios Tsonis, their model says the known cycles of the Earth's oceans -- the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, El Nino (Southern Oscillation) and the North Pacific Oscillation -- all tend to try to synchronize with each other.

The theory is based on a branch of mathematics known as Sychronized Chaos. The math predicts the degree of coupling to increase over time, causing the solution to "bifurcate," or split. Then, the synchronization vanishes. The result is a climate shift. Eventually the cycles begin to sync up again, causing a repeating pattern of warming and cooling, along with sudden changes in the frequency and strength of El Nino events.

Better yet, their theory has predictive power. The model predicts past shifts in the year 1913 (explaining the strong warming of the 20s and 30s), 1942 (resolving the post-WW2 cooling trend) and 1978 (covering our current warming). The model predicts another shift to occur around the year 2033.

Most shocking of all is their prediction for the year 2100 to be slightly cooler than present day, despite the assumption of a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels. Eye-popping indeed. Is carbon-dioxide really so ineffective at warming? A new study by Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute seems to think so. Its conclusion is that, while CO2 does have some effect, that "it can never play the decisive role attributed to it" in global warming, and that its effects have been grossly overstated.

Source




CARBON OFFSETTING DOES "MORE HARM THAN GOOD"

A leading scientist with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has warned that "doing nothing is better than offsetting" on the grounds that there is a serious risk that the practice is leading to increased emissions. Dr Kevin Anderson, an academic at the University of Manchester and energy programme leader for the Tyndall Centre, said that the failure by many offset firms to look at the wider implications of investing in carbon reduction projects in developing economies meant that they were guilty of inadvertently increasing carbon emissions. "Many of these schemes are not accounting for the economic multiplier effect of the offset investments," he said.

"For example, if you take one popular offset project in the form of donating low energy bulbs to a Jamaican hotel you have to ask, what is the full impact of that investment? Electricity in Jamaica is expensive, so what does the hotelier do with the money he saves? He may use it to pay for a flight for himself or he may invest in extending the hotel, both of which could cancel out the initial emission reductions." Anderson argued that there is no way that offset providers can guarantee that their investments will not spark significant multiplier effects that would ultimately lead to increased emissions.

FULL STORY here




HOT WORDS ON GLOBAL WARMING

By Jeff Jacoby

Introducing Newsweek's Aug. 13 cover story on global warming "denial," editor Jon Meacham brings up an embarrassing blast from his magazine's past: an April 1975 story about global cooling, and the coming ice age that scientists then were predicting. Meacham concedes that "those who doubt that greenhouse gases are causing significant climate change have long pointed to the 1975 Newsweek piece as an example of how wrong journalists and researchers can be." But rather than acknowledge that the skeptics may have a point, Meacham shrugs it off. "On global cooling," he writes, "there was never anything even remotely approaching the current scientific consensus that the world is growing warmer because of the emission of greenhouse gases."

Really? Newsweek took rather a different line in 1975. Then, the magazine reported that scientists were "almost unanimous" in believing that the looming Big Chill would mean a decline in food production, with some warning that "the resulting famines could be catastrophic." Moreover, it said, "the evidence in support of these predictions" -- everything from shrinking growing seasons to increased North American snow cover to record-setting tornado outbreaks -- had "begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it." Yet Meacham, quoting none of this, simply brushes aside the 1975 report as "alarmist" and "discredited." Today, he assures his readers, Newsweek's climate-change anxieties rest "on the safest of scientific ground."

Do they? Then why is the tone of Sharon Begley's cover story -- nine pages in which anyone skeptical of the claim that human activity is causing global warming is painted as a bought-and-paid-for lackey of the coal and oil industries -- so strident and censorious? Why the relentless labeling of those who point out weaknesses in the global-warming models as "deniers," or agents of the "denial machine," or deceptive practitioners of "denialism?" Wouldn't it be more effective to answer the challengers, some of whom are highly credentialed climate scientists in their own right, with scientific data and arguments, instead of snide insinuations of venality and deceit? Do Newsweek and Begley really believe that everyone who dissents from the global-warming doomsaying does so in bad faith?

Anthropogenic global warming is a scientific hypothesis, not an article of religious or ideological dogma. Skepticism and doubt are entirely appropriate in the realm of science, in which truth is determined by evidence, experimentation, and observation, not by consensus or revelation. Yet when it comes to global warming, dissent is treated as heresy -- as a pernicious belief whose exponents must be shamed, shunned, or silenced.

Newsweek is hardly the only offender. At the Live Earth concert in New Jersey last month, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. denounced climate-change skeptics as "corporate toadies" for "villainous" enemies of America and the human race. "This is treason," he shouted, "and we need to start treating them now as traitors." Some environmentalists and commentators have suggested that global-warming "denial" be made a crime, much as Holocaust denial is in some countries. Others have proposed that climate-change dissidents be prosecuted in Nuremberg-style trials. The Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen has suggested that television meteorologists be stripped of their American Meteorological Society certification if they dare to question predictions of catastrophic global warming.

A few weeks ago, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Marlo Lewis published an article opposing mandatory limits on carbon-dioxide emissions, arguing that Congress should not impose caps until the technology exists to produce energy that doesn't depend on carbon dioxide. In response to Lewis's reasonable piece, the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Michael Eckhart, issued a threat: "Take this warning from me, Marlo. It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America."

This is the zealotry and intolerance of the auto-da-fe [Inquisition]. The last place it belongs is in public-policy debate. The interesting and complicated phenomenon of climate change is still being figured out, and as much as those determined to turn it into a crusade of good vs. evil may insist otherwise, the issue of global warming isn't a closed book. Smearing those who buck the "scientific consensus" as traitors, toadies, or enemies of humankind may be emotionally satisfying and even professionally lucrative. It is also indefensible, hyperbolic bullying. That the bullies are sure they are doing the right thing is not a point in their defense. For as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote long ago, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."




KYOTO PROJECTS HARM THE OZONE LAYER, SAYS UN OFFICIAL

The biggest emissions-cutting projects under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming have directly contributed to an increase in the production of gases that destroy the ozone layer, a senior U.N. official says. In addition, evidence suggests that the same projects, in developing countries, have deliberately raised their emissions of greenhouse gases only to destroy these and therefore claim more carbon credits, said Stanford University's Michael Wara.

Kyoto is meant to curb emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, but is undermining a separate pact called the Montreal Protocol, meant to phase out gases which harm the earth's ozone layer. That layer in the atmosphere shields the planet from damaging ultra-violet rays that can cause skin cancer.

At the heart of the clash is a carbon trading scheme under Kyoto, worth $5 billion last year, whereby rich countries pay poorer ones to cut greenhouse gas emissions on their behalf, called the clean development mechanism (CDM). The most popular type of project has been to destroy a potent greenhouse gas known as HFC 23, one of a family of so-called hydrofluorocarbons, in China and India. The problem is that HFC 23 is a waste product in the manufacture of a refrigerant gas which damages the ozone layer, called HCFC 22, and chemical plants have used their CDM profits to ramp up production.

"This is certainly one of the major drivers now in the increase in production of HCFC 22," Rajendra Shende, director of ozone issues at the United Nations Environment Programme, which administers the Montreal Protocol, said on Monday. HCFC 22 now risked undoing recent repair to the ozone layer, Shende said in an interview.

FULL STORY here




CLIMATE HYSTERIA MAY FUEL POVERTY AND STARVATION

A global shift toward renewable energy could jack up food prices by up to 80 percent as crops and farmland are diverted to producing biofuels, an international agricultural think tank warned yesterday. Joachim von Braun, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute, said further crop yield improvements and increased efficiency of these alternative fuels were required if a global price shock were to be avoided.

Unless governments invest to improve farm productivity "so that we can cope with the increased demand for biofuels, the [food] prices may come up between 40 and 80 percent on top of what you can see," he told reporters on the sidelines of an agriculture and poverty conference in Manila. "If it's well managed and we have more investment in research and technology to bring up yield levels in the crops and improve the efficiency of biofuels, these price effects may only be between 5 and 15 percent. So it depends on government policy," he said.

Von Braun said that "globally, many countries have plans to scale up biofuel production in the order of covering 10, 20 percent of their transport fuel," chiefly ethanol and biodiesel. Brazil has committed to 25 percent while Europe plans to use biofuels for 10 percent of the countries' needs by 2020, he said. In Asia, he said the picture was mixed, which China having announced plans to shut down some of its ethanol plants "because of the concern for using too much grain for them." On the other hand, India has moved rapidly into ethanol production, Japan wants to import more biomass and Malaysia and Indonesia both want to be major suppliers of biodiesels based on palm oil.

FULL STORY here




CLIMATE HYSTERIA IS KILLING THE GREAT APES



The Orang-utans of Borneo are facing an unprecedented threat as their habitat is destroyed to satisfy increasing global demands for bio-fuel. As jungles are rapidly replaced by palm oil plantations, the great apes starve and are hunted, mutilated, burnt and snared by workers protecting their crops.

At a rehabilitation centre run by the charity Borneo Orang-utan Survival, there are more than 600, mostly orphaned babies. Lone Nielsen, the centre's director, estimates that for each of the 227 animals they rescued last year, five more were killed in central Borneo alone. "There are broken bones, cracked skulls, burns, internal injuries," said Miss Nielsen. "The plantation workers beat them because they want to catch them and the only way you can catch an orang-utan is to knock it unconscious."

Each orphan must be raised to the age of eight by a human "mother" who teaches it to be afraid of rubber snakes and other hazards before it can be released on to an island. The "children" engage in amusingly human antics - one of them walking with a stick like an old man. In Indonesian "orang-utan" means "forest people" and after humans they are the most intelligent primate.

In 2004 there were 37,000 living on Borneo and the only other wild population is around 7,000 on the neighbouring island of Sumatra. The palm oil crisis struck central Borneo in 2003, shortly after the Indonesian government declared it wanted to become the world's biggest producer. In 2004 a "master plan" was unveiled to create 40,000 square miles of plantations by 2010. Campaigners say 70 per cent of the plantations will replace existing forests.

As the plan is put into effect, each year provides more orang-utan casualties than the last for Miss Nielsen's centre. With the world desperate for "green" fuels, demand for palm oil, which is used in bio-diesel, is guaranteed to increase. According to European legislation two per cent of all diesel must be vegetable oil, rising to 5.7 per cent in 2010 and 10 per cent by 2020.

But in the areas where palm oil is produced, environmental concerns barely register with government authorities or the companies they licence. Global prices are rising and there is big money at stake. A common tactic, campaigners say, is for plantation firms to first burn the forest then buy up the degraded land for a pittance. Moses Nicodemus, the provincial government's chief environmental official, said: "The basis of palm oil development is sensitivity to community and environment." He denied that plantation companies were responsible for killing orang-utans.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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16 August, 2007

DEBUNKING THE FIXED-STOCK PARADIGM -- USING THE CASE OF COPPER

Recent journal abstract below -- plus part of the Introduction

Assessing the long-run availability of copper

By John E. Tilton et al.

Abstract

This study questions recent research [Gordon, R.B., Bertram, M., Graedel, T.E., 2006. Metal stocks and sustainability. Proc. Natl. Acad. USA 103(5), 1209-1214] that concludes that the world is likely to experience a growing scarcity of copper over this century. In particular, it focuses on the methodology used in this work that assumes the usable copper contained in the earth is a fixed amount. While the fixed-stock paradigm is intuitively appealing-after all the earth is finite so the amount of any commodity it contains must also be finite-and used with some frequency by others as well to assess long-run trends in the availability of non-renewable mineral resources, it is flawed and can lead to overly pessimistic as well as overly optimistic expectations. A more useful and appropriate approach, the opportunity-cost paradigm, assesses long-run trends in availability by real prices or alternative measures of what society has to give up or sacrifice to obtain another ton of copper or barrel of oil. This approach indicates that copper could conceivably become less scarce by the end of the century. Whether this will be the case or whether copper will be more scarce, however, depends on a number of factors, including the future course of technological change, whose influence no one can predict with any degree of certainty decades in advance.

Introduction

In a recent and interesting article Gordon et al. (2006), hereafter GBG, contend that the cumulative extraction of copper for the world has been growing faster than cumulative discovery and more disturbing that cumulative extractions are now approaching cumulative discoveries. They also estimate the copper the world will need by 2100 if population reaches 10 billion, as many now expect, and if the average stock of copper in use per person reaches 170 kg, the current per capita average for North America. The results show that the copper needed (1.7 billion tons) exceeds the total recoverable copper available in resources (estimated at 1.6 billon tons). In addition, they present new and interesting data indicating that 26 percent of the copper available in resources is either currently in use or has been discarded into wastes (from which its recovery and reuse they suggest is too costly to be economic). For these reasons, they conclude that the world will soon be running short of copper resources. As a result, real copper prices will rise over the current century promoting the more efficient use of copper. They anticipate as well that growing scarcity will foster a transition away from copper (and numerous other metals) and towards the geological more abundant metals, including iron, aluminum, and magnesium.

In the hope of initiating a debate over what we think is an important issue, we question these findings in the pages that follow, arguing that the evidence and analysis that GBG present do not in fact support their conclusion that copper is destined to grow scarcer over time. Instead, we contend, first, that copper could conceivably be less scarce by the end of the century, and second, that whether or not this is the case will depend on numerous factors, many of which one simply cannot predict with any degree of certainty.

Our second and more important objective, however, is to demonstrate that methodology matters in assessing the long-run availability of copper and other non-renewable mineral commodities. GBG use a fixed-stock paradigm. This approach sees the amount of usable copper in the earth as a given quantity, and then compares an estimate of this stock with the needs or demand of society at various points in the future or over time. Since the earth is finite and so the amount of copper it contains must also be finite, the fixed-stock paradigm seems quite logical. It has also been used by numerous researchers in the past. As shown below, however, this methodology can be misleading and in any case is less useful than the opportunity-cost paradigm, which uses prices and other measures of what society has to give up to produce another ton of a mineral commodity to assess the effects of depletion and long-run trends in availability. Reserves, resources, and the resource base...

We do know that current estimates are misleading when one assumes they reflect a fixed stock. The earth's crust contains prodigious amounts of copper, and once used and discarded copper is still physically available for reuse. As a result, unlike resources, the resource base actually is a fixed stock. Yet, it too is of little use in assessing future scarcity since much of the copper it contains presumably will never be profitable to exploit. An alternative approach that avoids the problems of the fixed stock paradigm focuses on trends in the opportunity costs of acquiring another ton of copper, measured usually by long-run trends in real copper prices. When real prices are rising, copper is growing more scarce in the sense that society has to give up more and more of other goods to obtain another ton of copper. When real prices are falling, just the opposite is the case.

The secular trend in real copper prices has been more or less flat over the past 130 years, as the cost-reducing effects of new technology have offset most or all of the cost-increasing effects of depletion. This means that, despite the explosion in consumption and production over this period, the availability of copper has changed little. In the future, the growth in copper demand should be somewhat more modest, and the slower the growth in demand the easier it is for new technology to offset the adverse effects of depletion. Nevertheless, the future course of copper prices is impossible to predict with any accuracy, given the great uncertainties surrounding (a) the pace and direction of innovation and technological change, (b) trends in population growth, per capita income, consumer preferences, material substitution, the recycling of copper, and the other determinants of future copper demand, and (c) the nature and incidence of copper-containing resources that are currently uneconomic to exploit.

For better or worse, the future is inherently uncertain. As a result, it is perhaps not surprising that the scientific community has been and continues to be divided regarding the long-run trends in the availability of copper and other mineral commodities. While some claim scarcity is not likely to ever be a problem, others such as GBG foresee growing scarcity during this century. Those who propose such scenarios are implicitly or explicitly asking the rest of us to accept their belief that technology will or will not continue to offset the cost-increasing effects of depletion.

In the case of copper, what we do know is that the US Geological Survey estimates for resources are currently 3.7 billion tons. This figure is more than double the 1.6 billion tons assumed by GBG, and more than is needed to supply the world's needs over the coming century even under optimistic assumptions regarding the growth of copper demand in the developing world. In addition, resources of copper are likely to increase over the coming decades. More importantly, there is no reason to believe that the cost-reducing effects of new technology will suddenly abate or cease in the future. As a result, while copper could conceivably grow increasingly scarce over the coming century, it could just as well become less scarce and more abundant. Given the many unknowns, there simply is no way to know the availability of copper decades in advance.

FULL PAPER here




Before Gore

D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt." The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."

Reacting yesterday to word that certain European governments and officials are suddenly trying to abandon their costly "global warming" policies, Royal Astronomical Society fellow Benny Peiser, of the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University in Great Britain, recalls the teachings of Marcus Aurelius: "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." [Where have I seen that quote before?]

Source




More perspective on the recent NASA temperature-record correction

Ever since the correction became a hot topic on blogs, the pro-warmers have tried to downplay its significance, insisting, for example, that the alterations merely amount to "very minor rearrangements in the various rankings." It's true the changes aren't dramatic. But the optics are.

Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. Imagine the shrieking of the warmers if we had previously thought that hot years were scattered throughout the past 130 years, but after a correction the warmest years could be seen to be concentrated in the past decade. They would insist the revised data proved their case. They would blitz every news organization and talk show. They would demand to be allowed to indoctrinate school children on the evils of cars and factories.

So they shouldn't be permitted to brush aside this new data, which makes their claims harder to prove. Ten years ago, warmers found a similarly small error in the temperature data collected by weather satellites. The satellites were a thorn in their sides because while the warmers were insisting the Earth was getting hotter, the satellites showed it was in fact cooling ever so slightly.

Then the warmers discovered that the scientists who maintained the orbiting thermometers had failed to account for orbital decay, the almost infinitesimally small downward drift of the "birds" every year. When the effects of drift were added into the observations, the cooling was found to be just 0.01 degree per decade rather than the 0.04 degrees previously claimed. On this basis, the warmers now insisted then that even the satellites were somehow in agreement with their theory.

Of course, the current NASA changes are only for data collected in the United States. But available surface temperature readings cover only half the planet even today. Before the Second World War, they covered less than a quarter. So U.S. readings for a period that goes as far back as 1880 are among the most reliable there are. Perhaps we will have uncontrollable warming in the future, but it likely hasn't started yet.

Source




It's Time to Worry about Global COOLING

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest solar cycle of the past two centuries. They say this will likely lead to unusually cool conditions on Earth. It is also predicted that this cool period will go much longer than the normal 11 year cycle, as the Little Ice Age did. The climate threat is actually cooling, especially to countries like Canada. On the northern limit to agriculture in the world, very little cooling would likely destroy much of its food crops.

The Little Ice Age-the coldest period in the past 1500 years-corresponded perfectly with the Maunder Minimum. There was virtually no sunspot activity for almost seven decades in the Maunder Minimum(per Willie Soon/ Harvard/Astrophysics). It turns out that for those 60-70 years the northern half of our globe was in a deep freeze. The New York harbor froze, allowing walkers to journey from Manhattan to Staten Island, and the Vikings abandoned Greenland--a once verdant land that became tundra. In that Little Ice Age, Finland lost 1/3 of its population and Iceland 1/2.

In the well-known 11-year "Schwabe" sunspot cycle, the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots are violent storms on the surface of the sun. Marine productivity and total irradiance match very well with records that have been kept for centuries on visible sunspots. Hundreds of studies of sunspots and earthly climate indicators(tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula, to water levels of the Nile) show exactly the same thing-that the sun drives climate change.

Even though it has been discovered that the sun is brighter now than anytime in the past 8000 years, the increase in solar output was not calculated to be sufficient to cause all of the past century's modest warming. But that amplifier was discovered(starting in 2002) with scientific papers from Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svendsmark(Danish National Space Agency).

All these scientists have proven (particularly w/Svendsmark) that the sun's protective solar wind(from sunspots) blows away deep-space cosmic rays. With fewer sunspots there is less solar wind, more cosmic rays, and more cloud formation from those cosmic rays. More cloud formation means more cooling effect on the planet.

In a 2003 poll, 2/3 of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries did not believe greenhouse gases were the main reason for global warming. In fact, overlays of CO2 variations show little correlation with earth's climate on long, medium, and even short time scales. The science is nowhere near settled.

Nigel Weiss (Mathematical Astrophysics/Cambridge) states that "Variable behavior of the sun is an obvious explanation." He admits that we are now living in a period of abnormally high solar activity, and that these hyperactive periods do not last long(50-100 years), then you get a crash. "It's a boom-bust system, and I would expect a crash soon." And when the crash occurs, the Earth can cool dramatically. [Weiss has now denied that he said that. Whether the denial was made under pressure we do not know]

Dr. Kukla (Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences) says he and many others realize that global warming always precedes an ice age. Each lasts about 100,000 years, punctuated by briefer, warmer periods called interglacials. We are in an interglacial now. This ongoing cycle closely matches cyclic variations in Earth's orbit around the sun. Kukla says "The relationship is just too clear and consistent to allow reasonable doubt. It's either that, or climate drives orbit, and that just doesn't make sense."

No one knows when a `crash' will occur, but scientists expect it soon. Mainly because the sun's polar field is now at its weakest since measurements began in the 1950's. A deep crash last occurred in the 17th century-and it was the Little Ice Age, or the Maunder Minimum. "Having a `crash' would certainly allow us to pin down the sun's true level of influence on the earth's climate," concludes Dr. Weiss. "Then we will be able to act on fact, rather than from fear." It's not likely greenhouse `gassers' will be converted in 12 years. They'll be busy looking for something humans have done to make it so cold.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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15 August, 2007

FOLLOW-UP TO THE RECENT NASA CLIMBDOWN

An excerpt below from a long post in which Steve McIntyre looks at the defensive reaction from warmists to the recent NASA adjustments of the U.S. temperature record. In the excerpt below he notes with remarkable politeness the problems inherent in using U.S. weather station records that are sited in artificially warm locations. He notes that adjustments have allegedly been made for such locational problems but is politely appalled by the secrecy surrounding the adjustments. Science that does not make available enough detail of its research to enable replication of that research by others is just not science. He notes that at least one adjustment was UPWARDS rather than downwards, as one would expect. He also notes that, corrupted though the US data may be, it is undoubtedley less corrupted than much of the ROW (rest of the world) data -- suggesting that the recently improved U.S. record may be a better model of world effects than the corrupt figures at present in use. It is at any event now clear that we do not have GLOBAL warming. Warming that leaves out the USA is not global. At most we have ROW warming. GISS is NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, led by the frantically Warmist James Hansen.

Can GISS Adjustments "Fix" Bad Data?

Now my original interest in GISS adjustments did not arise abstractly, but in the context of surface station quality. Climatological stations are supposed to meet a variety of quality standards, including the relatively undemanding requirement of being 100 feet (30 meters) from paved surfaces. Anthony Watts and volunteers of surfacestations.org have documented one defective site after another, including a weather station in a parking lot at the University of Arizona where MBH coauthor Malcolm Hughes is employed,

These revelations resulted in a variety of aggressive counter-attacks in the climate blogosphere, many of which argued that, while these individual sites may be contaminated, the "expert" software at GISS and NOAA could fix these problems

"Fixing" bad data with software is by no means an easy thing to do (as witness Mann's unreported modification of principal components methodology on tree ring networks.) The GISS adjustment schemes (despite protestations from Schmidt that they are "clearly outlined") are not at all easy to replicate using the existing opaque descriptions. For example, there is nothing in the methodological description that hints at the change in data provenance before and after 2000 that caused the Hansen error. Because many sites are affected by climate change, a general urban heat island effect and local microsite changes, adjustment for heat island effects and local microsite changes raises some complicated statistical questions, that are nowhere discussed in the underlying references (Hansen et al 1999, 2001). In particular, the adjustment methods are not techniques that can be looked up in statistical literature, where their properties and biases might be discerned. They are rather ad hoc and local techniques that may or may not be equal to the task of "fixing" the bad data.

Making readers run the gauntlet of trying to guess the precise data sets and precise methodologies obviously makes it very difficult to achieve any assessment of the statistical properties. In order to test the GISS adjustments, I requested that GISS provide me with details on their adjustment code. They refused. Nevertheless, there are enough different versions of U.S. station data (USHCN raw, USHCN time-of-observation adjusted, USHCN adjusted, GHCN raw, GHCN adjusted) that one can compare GISS raw and GISS adjusted data to other versions to get some idea of what they did.

In the course of reviewing quality problems at various surface sites, among other things, I compared these different versions of station data, including a comparison of the Tucson weather station shown above to the Grand Canyon weather station, which is presumably less affected by urban problems. This comparison demonstrated a very odd pattern discussed here. The adjustments show that the trend in the problematic Tucson site was reduced in the course of the adjustments, but they also showed that the Grand Canyon data was also adjusted, so that, instead of the 1930s being warmer than the present as in the raw data, the 2000s were warmer than the 1930s, with a sharp increase in the 2000s.

Now some portion of the post-2000 jump in adjusted Grand Canyon values shown here is due to Hansen's Y2K error, but it only accounts for a 0.5 deg C jump after 2000 and does not explain why Grand Canyon values should have been adjusted so much. In this case, the adjustments are primarily at the USHCN stage. The USHCN station history adjustments appear particularly troublesome to me, not just here but at other sites (e.g. Orland CA). They end up making material changes to sites identified as "good" sites and my impression is that the USHCN adjustment procedures may be adjusting some of the very "best" sites (in terms of appearance and reported history) to better fit histories from sites that are clearly non-compliant with WMO standards (e.g. Marysville, Tucson).

There are some real and interesting statistical issues with the USHCN station history adjustment procedure and it is ridiculous that the source code for these adjustments (and the subsequent GISS adjustments - see bottom panel) is not available

Closing the circle: my original interest in GISS adjustment procedures was not an abstract interest, but a specific interest in whether GISS adjustment procedures were equal to the challenge of "fixing" bad data. If one views the above assessment as a type of limited software audit (limited by lack of access to source code and operating manuals), one can say firmly that the GISS software had not only failed to pick up and correct fictitious steps of up to 1 deg C, but that GISS actually introduced this error in the course of their programming.

According to any reasonable audit standards, one would conclude that the GISS software had failed this particular test. While GISS can (and has) patched the particular error that I reported to them, their patching hardly proves the merit of the GISS (and USHCN) adjustment procedures. These need to be carefully examined. This was a crying need prior to the identification of the Hansen error and would have been a crying need even without the Hansen error.

The U.S. and the Rest of the World

Schmidt observed that the U.S. accounts for only 2% of the world's land surface and that the correction of this error in the U.S. has "minimal impact on the world data", which he illustrated by comparing the U.S. index to the global index. I've re-plotted this from original data on a common scale. Even without the recent changes, the U.S. history contrasts with the global history: the U.S. history has a rather minimal trend if any since the 1930s, while the ROW has a very pronounced trend since the 1930s

These differences are attributed to "regional" differences and it is quite possible that this is a complete explanation. However, this conclusion is complicated by a number of important methodological differences between the U.S. and the ROW. In the U.S., despite the criticisms being rendered at surfacestations.org, there are many rural stations that have been in existence over a relatively long period of time; while one may cavil at how NOAA and/or GISS have carried out adjustments, they have collected metadata for many stations and made a concerted effort to adjust for such metadata.

On the other hand, many of the stations in China, Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere are in urban areas (such as Shanghai or Beijing). In some of the major indexes (CRU,NOAA), there appears to be no attempt whatever to adjust for urbanization. GISS does report an effort to adjust for urbanization in some cases, but their ability to do so depends on the existence of nearby rural stations, which are not always available. Thus, ithere is a real concern that the need for urban adjustment is most severe in the very areas where adjustments are either not made or not accurately made.




HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

By Freeman Dyson (Freeman Dyson is a theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum mechanics, solid-state physics, nuclear weapons design and policy, and for his serious theorizing in futurism and science fiction concepts, including the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He is a lifelong opponent of nationalism and a proponent of nuclear disarmament and international cooperation)

My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

FULL ARTICLE here




Clouding The Issue

Climate Change: A new study indicates that poor Asians burning dung for energy may be a major cause of global warming. It may explain why glaciers are really melting - and why climate is more complicated than some think

It used to be a straight-line theory based on easily connected dots. The Earth was warming due to increased levels of carbon dioxide generated by man, his factories, power plants and vehicles. The U.S. and the industrialized world had to drastically reduce its CO2 levels to prevent the poles from melting and the seas from rising. But a new study in the Aug. 2 issue of the British science journal Nature suggests that the absence of technology, not its reckless use, may be a major factor in raising the Earth's global temperature.

The haze of pollution called the "Asian Brown Cloud," caused by wood and dung burned for fuel, may be doing more harm than the tailpipes of our SUVs. Researchers led by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California, launched three unmanned aircraft last March from the Maldives island of Hanimadhoo to fly through the Brown Cloud at various altitudes. A total of 18 missions were flown to explore the blanket of soot, dust and smoke that at times is two miles thick and covers an area about the size of the U.S. They found that the cloud of soot and particulate matter boosted the effect of solar heating on the surrounding air by as much as 50%. "These findings might seem to contradict the general notion of aerosol particulates as cooling agents in the global climate system . . . ." concluded the Nature article summing up the study. Dang. Just when we thought the science of global warming was settled.

These findings also may help to explain the rapid melting among the 46,000 glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau and why the Himalayan glaciers have been retreating since at least 1780. This phenomenon also might help explain why carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures don't track very well, if at all.

The Asian Brown Cloud was first discovered by Ramanathan in 1999. He had grown up near Madras, India, where his mother, like millions of other Indian homemakers, cooked with dried cow dung - a plentiful, and renewable, source of cheap fuel that was a good source of heat. One might call it the earliest form of biofuel. Such pollution, because it contains the residue from hundreds of millions of dung-fueled cooking fires and inefficient wood and coal furnaces, carries an unusually large amount of soot. It previously had been assumed that such particulate matter, like that from volcanic eruptions, had a cooling effect on the Earth. Guess not - at least not all the time.

A computer simulation run by Surabit Menon, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University, using Chinese weather reports calculated the warming effects of the cloud. Menon found the brown cloud as it spread around the globe contributed more to global warming than Western greenhouse gas emissions.

S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, finds it "ironic that much of (this) pollution could be avoided by the use of cleaner fossil fuels, like gas, oil, and even coal, all of which release CO2."

Ramanathan has found some resistance to his discovery and its conclusions. "My colleagues warned me when I got into this that global warming is not really pure science - politics is mixed in with it." An inconvenient truth for a dedicated scientist.

India, of course, is exempt from the Kyoto Protocol as a "developing" nation. It's not that easy to put a catalytic converter on a cow. Then there's the politics of the issue. It's easier to blame a soccer mom in her SUV than an Indian family struggling to get through the day.

Source




Sun's Shifts May Cause Global Warming

Interview with Svensmark

Most leading climate experts don't agree with Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen. In fact, he has taken a lot of blows for proposing that solar activity and cosmic rays are instrumental in determining the warming (and cooling) of Earth. His studies show that cosmic rays trigger cloud formation, suggesting that a high level of solar activity-which suppresses the flow of cosmic rays striking the atmosphere-could result in fewer clouds and a warmer planet. This, Svensmark contends, could account for most of the warming during the last century. Does this mean that carbon dioxide is less important than we've been led to believe? Yes, he says, but how much less is impossible to know because climate models are so limited.

There is probably no greater scientific heresy today than questioning the warming role of CO2, especially in the wake of the report issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That report warned that nations must cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, and insisted that "unless drastic action is taken . . . millions of poor people will suffer from hunger, thirst, floods, and disease." As astrophysicist ?Eugene Parker, the discoverer of solar wind, writes in the foreword to Svensmark's new book, The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change, "Global warming has become a political issue both in government and in the scientific community. The scientific lines have been drawn by `eminent' scientists, and an important new idea is an unwelcome intruder. It upsets the established orthodoxy." We talked with the unexpectedly modest and soft-spoken Henrik Svensmark about his work, the criticism it has received, and truth versus hype in climate science.

Q. Was there something in the Danish weather when you were growing up that inspired you to study clouds and climate?

I remember being fascinated by clouds when I was young, but I never suspected that I would one day be working on these problems, trying to solve the puzzle of how clouds are actually formed. My background is in physics, not in atmospheric science. At the time when I left school and began working, it was almost impossible to get any permanent work whatsoever in science. That was why, after doing a lot of physics on short-term things at various places, I took a job at the Meteorological Society. And once I was there I thought, "Well, I had better start doing something." So I started thinking about problems that were relevant in that field, and that was how I started thinking about the sun and how it might affect Earth.

It was a purely scientific impulse. With my background in theoretical physics, I had no-well, certainly not very much-knowledge about global warming. I simply thought that if there is a connection to the sun, that would be very interesting, and I certainly had no idea it would be viewed as so controversial.

Q. In 1996, when you reported that changes in the sun's activity could explain most or all of the recent rise in Earth's temperature, the chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel called your announcement "extremely naive and irresponsible." How did you react?

I was just stunned. I remember being shocked by how many thought what I was doing was terrible. I couldn't understand it because when you are a physicist, you are trained that when you find something that cannot be explained, something that doesn't fit, that is what you are excited about. If there is a possibility that you might have an explanation, that is something that everybody thinks is what you should pursue. Here was exactly the opposite reaction. It was as though people were saying to me, "This is something that you should not have done." That was very strange for me, and it has been more or less like that ever since.

Q. So it's difficult to do climate research without being suspected of having a hidden agenda?

Yes, it is frustrating. People can use this however they want, and I can't stop them. Some are accusing me of doing it for political reasons; some are saying I'm doing it for the oil companies. This is just ridiculous. I think there's a huge interest in discrediting what I'm doing, but I've sort of gotten used to this. I've convinced myself the only thing I can do is just to continue doing good science. And I think time will show that we are on the right track.

Q. Do you ever worry that people will take your findings and use them to support unwarranted or even harmful conclusions?

I would be happy to kill the project if I could find out that there was something that didn't fit or that I no longer believed in it. When we started, it was just a simple hypothesis based on a correlation, and correlations are, of course, something that could be quite dubious, and they could go away if you get better data. But this work has only strengthened itself over the years.

Q. What first made you suspect that changes in the sun are having a significant impact on global warming?

I began my investigations by studying work done in 1991 by Eigil Fiin-Christensen and Knud Lassen Fiin-Christensen. They had looked at solar activity over the last 100 years and found a remarkable correlation to temperatures. I knew that many people dismissed that result, but I thought the correlation was so good that I could not help but start speculating-what could be the relation? Then I heard a suggestion that it might be cosmic rays, changing the chemistry high up in the atmosphere. I immediately thought, "Well, if that is going to work, it has to be through the clouds."

That was the initial idea. Then I remembered seeing a science experiment at my high school in Elsinore, in which our teacher showed us what is called a cloud chamber, and seeing tracks of radioactive particles, which look like small droplets. So I thought to myself, "That would be the way to do it." I started to obtain data from satellites, which actually was quite a detective work at that time, but I did start to find data, and to my surprise there seems to be a correlation between changes in cosmic rays and changes in clouds. And I think in early January 1996, I finally got a curve, which was very impressive with respect to the correlation. It was only over a short period of time, because the data were covering just seven years or something like that. So it was almost nothing, but it was a nice correlation.

Q. How exactly does the mechanism work, linking changes in the sun with climate change on Earth?

The basic idea is that solar activity can turn the cloudiness up and down, which has an effect on the warming or cooling of Earth's surface temperature. The key agents in this are cosmic rays, which are energetic particles coming from the interstellar media-they come from remnants of supernova explosions mainly. These energetic particles have to enter into what we call the heliosphere, which is the large volume of space that is dominated by our sun, through the solar wind, which is a plasma of electrons, atomic nuclei, and associated magnetic fields that are streaming nonstop from the sun. Cosmic-ray particles have to penetrate the sun's magnetic field. And if the sun and the solar wind are very active-as they are right now-they will not allow so many cosmic rays to reach Earth. Fewer cosmic rays mean fewer clouds will be formed, and so there will be a warmer Earth. If the sun and the solar wind are not so active, then more cosmic rays can come in. That means more clouds [reflecting away more sunlight] and a cooler Earth.

Now it's well known that solar activity can turn up and down the amount of cosmic rays that come to Earth. But the next question was a complete unknown: Why should cosmic rays affect clouds? Because at that time, when we began this work, there was no mechanism that could explain this. Meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation.

Q. You and a half-dozen colleagues carried out a landmark study of cosmic rays and clouds while working in the basement of the Danish National Space Center. How did you do it?

We spent five or six years building an experiment here in Copenhagen, to see if we could find a connection. We named the experiment SKY, which means "cloud" in Danish. Natural cosmic rays came through the ceiling, and ultraviolet lamps played the part of the sun. We had a huge chamber, with about eight cubic meters of air, and the whole idea was to have air that is as clean as you have over the Pacific, and then of course, to be able to control what's in the chamber. So we had minute trace gases as you have in the real atmosphere, of sulfur dioxide and ozone and water vapor, and then by keeping these things constant and just changing the ionization [the abundance of electrically charged atoms] in the chamber a little bit, we could see that we could produce these small aerosols, which are the basic building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei.

So the idea is that in the atmosphere, the ionization is helping produce cloud condensation nuclei, and that changes the amount and type of clouds. If you change the clouds, of course, you change the amount of energy that reaches Earth's surface. So it's a very effective way, with almost no energy input, to change the energy balance of Earth and therefore the temperature.

More here




UK GOVERNMENT TRYING TO GET OUT OF EU CLIMATE POLICY

Government officials have secretly briefed ministers that Britain has no hope of getting remotely near the new European Union renewable energy target that Tony Blair signed up to in the spring - and have suggested that they find ways of wriggling out of it. In contrast to the government's claims to be leading the world on climate change, officials within the former Department of Trade and Industry have admitted that under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way. And their suggestion that "statistical interpretations of the target" be used rather than new ways to reach it has infuriated environmentalists.

An internal briefing paper for ministers, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, reveals that officials at the department, now the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, think the best the UK could hope for is 9% of energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydro by 2020. It says the UK "has achieved little so far on renewables" and that getting to 9%, from the current level of about 2%, would be "challenging".

The paper was produced in the early summer, around the time the government published its energy white paper. Under current policies renewables would account for only 5% of Britain's energy mix by 2020, the document says. The EU average is 7%; Germany is at 13%. It acknowledges that Germany, unlike Britain, has built a "strong and growing renewables industry".

EU leaders agreed the 20% target for the bloc in spring. The European Commission is working out how to reach this . DBERR officials fear that Britain may end up being told to get to 16%, which it describes as "very challenging". The paper suggests a number of ways ministers could wriggle out of specific commitments. It also suggests ministers lobby certain EU commissioners and countries such as France, Germany, Poland and Italy to agree to a more flexible interpretation of the target, by including nuclear power, for example, or investment in solar farms in Africa.

Officials ask ministers to examine "what options there are for statistical interpretations of the target that would make it easier to achieve". They suggest the target lacks credibility because it is so ambitious, while acknowledging that the Germans will be difficult to persuade because the Chancellor Angela Merkel is the champion of the 20% target and wants to commit Germany to 27%. "These flexible options are ones that may be difficult to negotiate with some member states such as Germany, who we expect to resist approaches that may be seen to water down the renewables target," the briefing says.

Environmentalists were shocked. "This briefing reads like a 'wriggle and squirm' paper," said Andrew Simms, director of the New Economics Foundation. "It combines almost comic desperation from civil servants suddenly realising that they actually have to do something to promote renewable energy, with a breathtaking cynicism as they explore every conceivable get-out clause to escape the UK's international commitments."

FULL STORY here

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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14 August, 2007

New attempts to predict climate risks

Amusing stuff below. They admit that their models are deficient but somehow think that pooling deficient predictions will give accurate predictions! Amazing thinking. They are really admitting that they haven't got a blind clue. So much for "consensus" and "settled science"!

SCIENTISTS are trying to improve predictions about the impact of global warming this century by pooling estimates about the risk of floods or desertification. "We feel certain about some of the aspects of future climate change, like that it is going to get warmer," said Matthew Collins of the British Met Office. "But on many of the details it's very difficult to say."

"The way we can deal with this is a new technique of expressing the predictions in terms of probabilities," Mr Collins said of climate research published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. Scientists in the UN climate panel, for instance, rely on several complex computer models to forecast the impacts of warming this century, ranging from changing rainfall patterns over Africa to rising global sea levels. But these have flaws because of a lack of understanding about how clouds form, for instance, or how Antarctica's ice will react to less cold. And reliable temperature records in most nations stretch back only about 150 years.

Under new techniques looking at probabilities, "predictions from different models are pooled to produces estimates of future climate change, together with their associated uncertainties", the Royal Society said. The approach might help quantify risks for a construction firm building homes in a flood-prone valley, for instance, or an insurance company wanting to work out what premiums to charge.

Mr Collins said uncertainties include how natural disasters out of human control affect the climate. A volcanic eruption, such of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, can temporarily cool the earth because the dust blocks sunlight. "Climate science is a very new science and we have only just begun to explore the uncertainties," said David Stainforth of Oxford University in England who contributed research to the Royal Society. "We should expect the uncertainty to increase rather than decrease" in coming years as scientists work to understand the climate, he said. [Spot on!] That would complicate the chances of assigning probabilities.

As an example, he said designers of schools in Europe wanted to know if there would be more heatwaves like one in 2003 when children were sometimes barred from playing outside because of the risks of sunburn and possible skin cancers. If so, they might design schools with a lot of shaded outdoor play areas. "But it might be the case that warmer temperatures mean more cloudiness, so then you won't get the risk of skin cancers," Mr Stainforth said. "Non-temperature factors are the hardest to predict."

Source




Newsweak eats crow

Below is a backdown from one of their editors - one who knows something about what he is discussing for a change

We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades. Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. Last week's NEWSWEEK cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It's an object lesson of how viewing the world as "good guys vs. bad guys" can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story. Global warming has clearly occurred; the hard question is what to do about it.

If you missed NEWSWEEK's story, here's the gist. A "well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change." This "denial machine" has obstructed action against global warming and is still "running at full throttle." The story's thrust: discredit the "denial machine," and the country can start the serious business of fighting global warming. The story was a wonderful read, marred only by its being fundamentally misleading.

The global-warming debate's great un-mentionable is this: we lack the technology to get from here to there. Just because Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to cut emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 doesn't mean it can happen. At best, we might curb emissions growth. Consider a 2006 study from the International Energy Agency. With present policies, it projected that carbon-dioxide emissions (a main greenhouse gas) would more than double by 2050; developing countries would account for almost 70 percent of the increase. The IEA then simulated an aggressive, global program to cut emissions based on the best available technologies: more solar, wind and biomass; more-efficient cars, appliances and buildings; more nuclear. Under this admitted fantasy, global emissions in 2050 would still slightly exceed 2003 levels.

Even the fantasy would be a stretch. In the United States, it would take massive regulations, higher energy taxes or both. Democracies don't easily adopt painful measures in the present to avert possible future problems. Examples abound. Since the 1973 Arab oil embargo, we've been on notice to limit dependence on insecure foreign oil. We've done little. In 1973, imports were 35 percent of U.S. oil use; in 2006, they were 60 percent. For decades we've known of the huge retirement costs of baby boomers. Little has been done.

One way or another, our assaults against global warming are likely to be symbolic, ineffective or both. But if we succeed in cutting emissions substantially, savings would probably be offset by gains in China and elsewhere. The McKinsey Global Institute projects that from 2003 to 2020, the number of China's vehicles will rise from 26 million to 120 million, average residential floor space will increase 50 percent and energy demand will grow 4.4 percent annually. Even with "best practices" energy efficiency, demand would still grow 2.8 percent a year, McKinsey estimates.

Against these real-world pressures, NEWSWEEK's "denial machine" is a peripheral and highly contrived story. NEWSWEEK implied, for example, that ExxonMobil used a think tank to pay academics to criticize global-warming science. Actually, this accusation was long ago discredited, and NEWSWEEK shouldn't have lent it respectability. (The company says it knew nothing of the global-warming grant, which involved issues of climate modeling. And its 2006 contribution to the think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, was small: $240,000 out of a $28 million budget.)

The alleged cabal's influence does not seem impressive. The mainstream media have generally been unsympathetic; they've treated global warming ominously. The first NEWSWEEK cover story in 1988 warned THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT. DANGER: MORE HOT SUMMERS AHEAD. A Time cover in 2006 was more alarmist: BE WORRIED, BE VERY WORRIED. Nor does public opinion seem much swayed. Although polls can be found to illustrate almost anything, the longest-running survey questions show a remarkable consistency. In 1989, Gallup found 63 percent of Americans worried "a great deal" or a "fair amount" about global warming; in 2007, 65 percent did.

What to do about global warming is a quandary. Certainly, more research and development. Advances in underground storage of carbon dioxide, battery technology (for plug-in hybrid cars), biomass or nuclear power could alter energy economics. To cut oil imports, I support a higher gasoline tax—$1 to $2 a gallon, introduced gradually—and higher fuel-economy standards for vehicles. These steps would also temper greenhouse-gas emissions. Drilling for more domestic natural gas (a low-emission fuel) would make sense. One test of greenhouse proposals: are they worth doing on other grounds?

But the overriding reality seems almost un-American: we simply don't have a solution for this problem. As we debate it, journalists should resist the temptation to portray global warming as a morality tale—as NEWSWEEK did—in which anyone who questions its gravity or proposed solutions may be ridiculed as a fool, a crank or an industry stooge. Dissent is, or should be, the lifeblood of a free society.

Source




British police to use terror laws on Heathrow climate protesters

Government has encouraged use of stop and search and detention without charge

Armed police will use anti-terrorism powers to "deal robustly" with climate change protesters at Heathrow next week, as confrontations threaten to bring major delays to the already overstretched airport. Up to 1,800 extra officers will be drafted in to prevent an estimated 1,500 people disrupting the airport over the period of the camp for climate change, which is due to begin on Tuesday. The police have been told to use stop and search powers against the protesters, who have pledged to take direct action on August 18 and 19 but not to endanger life.

The Metropolitan police chief, Sir Ian Blair, has said he fears a minority of protesters intent on breaking the law could cause massive disruption as Heathrow prepares for its busiest week of the year. Yesterday Met commander Jo Kaye, in charge of the specialist firearms unit, said some people would "want to get their message across using criminal means".

Scotland Yard's plans for handling the protests are revealed in a document seen by the Guardian, which was produced by Met commander Peter Broadhurst during a legal hearing at the high court which imposed restrictions on a number of named campaigners. "Should individuals or small groups seek to take action outside of lawful protest they will be dealt with robustly using terrorism powers. This is because the presence of large numbers of protesters at or near the airport will reduce our ability to proactively counter the terrorist act [threat]," the document says.

The police report makes it clear that the government has encouraged police forces to make greater use of terrorism powers "especially the use of stop and search powers under s44 Terrorism Act 2000". The law gives police powers to:

* Stop and search people and vehicles for anything that could be used in connection with terrorism

* Search people even if they do not have evidence to suspect them

* Hold people for up to a month without charge

* Search homes and remove protesters' outer clothes, such as hats, shoes and coats.

Last night the protesters said they would not be intimidated. "We are trying to prevent climate change by stopping the expansion of the airport. There is no intention to endanger life. Our quarrel is not with passengers but with BAA and the government," said a spokesman.

The civil rights group Liberty said it was alarmed at the police use of the anti-terrorism powers to deter peaceful protest. "Stop and search powers created to address the threat of terrorism should not be used routinely against peaceful demonstrators," said James Welch, Liberty's legal director.

The police tactics have echoes of the 2003 anti-war demo at RAF Fairford where law lords eventually ruled police had acted unlawfully in detaining two coachloads of protesters, who were stopped and searched and then turned back even though they were on their way to an authorised demonstration. Police used section 44 of the act 995 times at the Fairford peace camp, even though there was no suggestion of terrorist overtones.

The Guardian has established that at least two climate change campaigners have been arrested recently at Heathrow by officers using terrorism powers. Cristina Fraser, a student, was stopped when cycling near the airport with a friend and then charged under section 58 of the Terrorism Act. This makes it an offence to make a record of something that could be used in an act of terrorism. "I was arrested and held in a police cell for 30 hours. I was terrified. No one knew where I was. They knew I was not a terrorist," she said. Ms Fraser, a first-year London university anthropology student, has been on aviation demonstrations with the Plane Stupid campaign group, but claims she was carrying nothing at all. The police later recharged her with conspiring to cause a public nuisance.

Source




THE STEAMROLLERS OF CLIMATE SCIENCE

Almost from the beginning, critics have attacked the Bush administration for the way it has dealt with science. In many areas - and emblematically in the case of climate change - well-qualified accusers have complained that the White House and its political appointees across the federal government have interfered with the work of scientists, misrepresented their findings and censored their public statements....

To be sure, the administration has destroyed its own credibility on scientific integrity and has nobody to blame but itself. For the rest of us, however, this is a pity - because to put it bluntly the IPCC deserves the administration's disdain. It is a seriously flawed enterprise and unworthy of the slavish respect accorded to it by most governments and the media.

In the decisions which have already been made on climate-change mitigation, to say nothing of future decisions, the stakes are enormous. In guiding these momentous judgments, the flawed IPCC process has been granted, in effect, a monopoly of official wisdom. That needs to change and the IPCC itself must be reformed.

For a fully documented indictment, read the article by David Henderson in the current issue of World Economics. Mr Henderson, a distinguished academic economist and former head of economics at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, has been tangling with the IPCC for some time. Five years ago, he and Ian Castles (a former chief of the Australian Bureau of Statistics) first drew attention to a straightforward error in the way emissions scenarios were being calculated. The projections had used long-range cross-country projections of gross domestic product that were based on exchange rates unadjusted for purchasing power.

This mistake yielded projections for individual countries that were in some cases patently absurd. Far from acknowledging the point and correcting the projections, the IPCC treated these eminent former civil servants as uncredentialed troublemakers. Its head, Rajendra Pachauri, issued a prickly statement complaining about the spread of disinformation.

As Mr Henderson's new article makes clear, the episode was symptomatic of a wider pattern of error (often, in the case of economics, elementary error) and failure to correct it. How can this be possible? The IPCC prides itself on the extent of its network of scientific contributors and on its rigorous peer review. The problem is, although the contributors and peers are impressively numerous, they are drawn from a narrow professional circle. Expertise in economics and statistics is not to the fore; sympathetic clusters of co-authorship and pre-commitment to the urgency of the climate cause, on the other hand, are.

Add to this a sustained reluctance - and sometimes a refusal - to disclose data and methods that would allow results to be replicated. (Disclosure of that sort is common practice these days in leading scholarly journals). As a result, arresting but subsequently discredited findings - such as the notorious "hockey stick" chart showing the 1990s as the northern hemisphere's hottest decade of the millennium - are left to be challenged by troublesome outsiders.

Underlying it all is a pervasive bias. From the outset the IPCC network was fully invested in the idea that climate change is the most pressing challenge confronting mankind and that urgent action far beyond what is already in prospect will be needed to confront it. In the minds of the panel's leaders and spokesmen, this conviction justifies public pronouncements that often go beyond the analysis which the IPCC's own scientists have presented. Speaking of the panel's Fourth Assessment Report, Mr Pachauri said: "I hope this will shock people and governments into taking more serious action."

The rules under which the IPCC operates tell it to be "neutral with respect to policy" - and the reports themselves strive to comply. But statements such as that, and many more besides, align the institution and its network of scientists with a programme that goes much further than science alone dictates.

The IPCC may be right: climate change may indeed be mankind's biggest and most urgent challenge. It would be wrong to demand certainty before doing more. The scientific consensus, though not quite as strong as usually claimed, is surely strong enough to warrant a carbon tax or equivalent.

But if governments are to get the best advice, they need information and analysis from an open and disinterested source - or else from multiple dissenting sources. With the environmental risks calmly laid out, framing the right policies demands proper political accountability and a much wider range of opinion and expertise than the IPCC currently provides. One incompetent institution, committed to its own agenda, should never have been granted this degree of actual and moral authority over the science, over public presentation of the science and over calls for "more serious action" that go well beyond the science.

Source




Australia: RURAL CLIMATE CHANGE SCEPTICS SHOCK BELIEVER

A man paddling and pulling his kayak from Brisbane to Adelaide to promote the need for action on climate change says he is disappointed with the sceptical nature of outback Australians. Steve Posselt, who is pulling his kayak along the Darling River road due to a lack of water, says that many rural people do not believe in climate change. He says he did not expect so many people to doubt what the majority of climate scientists agree on. "I've been astounded by the actual lack of belief on this trip," he said. "Many people want to argue the issue about whether there is such a thing as global warming. "You can talk to blokes in the pub and they say yep winters aren't what they used to be, they're a lot shorter. "And you say, 'well do you believe in climate change? No, mate its just a cycle'."

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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13 August, 2007

Are Greenland's Glaciers Growing and Temperatures Cooling?

Post below lifted from Newsbusters. See the original for links

One of the keys to the manmade global warming myth being espoused by soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore and the good folks at the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that glaciers in Greenland have been melting in the last fifty years at an alarming rate. In fact, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) claimed to witness such evidence of global warming during recent trips there.

Yet, a paper written by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change, and published Monday by the Science and Public Policy Institute stated that not only have temperatures been declining in Greenland in recent years, but also glaciers have actually expanded a bit:

The Greenland ice sheet would appear to have experienced no net loss of mass over the last decade for which data are available. Quite to the contrary, in fact, it was likely host to a net accumulation of ice, which Zwally et al. found to be producing a 0.03 ñ 0.01 mm/year decline in sea-level.....

Hanna and Cappelen (2003) determined the air temperature history of coastal southern Greenland from 1958-2001, based on data from eight Danish Meteorological Institute stations in coastal and near-coastal southern Greenland, as well as the concomitant sea surface temperature (SST) history of the Labrador Sea off southwest Greenland, based on three previously published and subsequently extended SST data sets (Parker et al., 1995; Rayner et al., 1996; Kalnay et al., 1996). Their analyses revealed that the coastal temperature data showed a cooling of 1.29øC over the period of study, while two of the three SST databases also depicted cooling: by 0.44øC in one case and by 0.80øC in the other. In addition, it was determined that the cooling was "significantly inversely correlated with an increased phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation over the past few decades."

In an even broader study based on mean monthly temperatures of 37 Arctic and 7 sub-Arctic stations, as well as temperature anomalies of 30 grid-boxes from the updated data set of Jones, Przybylak (2000) found that (1) "in the Arctic, the highest temperatures since the beginning of instrumental observation occurred clearly in the 1930s," (2) "even in the 1950s the temperature was higher than in the last 10 years," (3) "since the mid-1970s, the annual temperature shows no clear trend," and (4) "the level of temperature in Greenland in the last 10-20 years is similar to that observed in the 19th century." These findings led him to conclude that the meteorological record "shows that the observed variations in air temperature in the real Arctic are in many aspects not consistent with the projected climatic changes computed by climatic models for the enhanced greenhouse effect," because, in his words, "the temperature predictions produced by numerical climate models significantly differ from those actually observed."
Hmmm. So, glaciers are actually expanding, and temperatures in this region are currently cooler than in the '30s and '50s. Not what the alarmists on the left and in the media want you to think, is it?




ANOTHER BLOW TO KEY GREENIE ASSUMPTIONS: WARMING THINS HEAT-TRAPPING CIRRUS CLOUDS

The widely accepted (albeit unproven) theory that manmade global warming will accelerate itself by creating more heat-trapping clouds is challenged this month in new research from The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Instead of creating more clouds, individual tropical warming cycles that served as proxies for global warming saw a decrease in the coverage of heat-trapping cirrus clouds, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in UAHuntsville's Earth System Science Center.

That was not what he expected to find. "All leading climate models forecast that as the atmosphere warms there should be an increase in high altitude cirrus clouds, which would amplify any warming caused by manmade greenhouse gases," he said. "That amplification is a positive feedback. What we found in month-to-month fluctuations of the tropical climate system was a strongly negative feedback. As the tropical atmosphere warms, cirrus clouds decrease. That allows more infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere to outer space."

The results of this research were published today in the American Geophysical Union's "Geophysical Research Letters" on-line edition. The paper was co-authored by UAHuntsville's Dr. John R. Christy and Dr. W. Danny Braswell, and Dr. Justin Hnilo of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA.

"While low clouds have a predominantly cooling effect due to their shading of sunlight, most cirrus clouds have a net warming effect on the Earth," Spencer said. With high altitude ice clouds their infrared heat trapping exceeds their solar shading effect. In the tropics most cirrus-type clouds flow out of the upper reaches of thunderstorm clouds. As the Earth's surface warms - due to either manmade greenhouse gases or natural fluctuations in the climate system - more water evaporates from the surface. Since more evaporation leads to more precipitation, most climate researchers expected increased cirrus cloudiness to follow warming.

"To give an idea of how strong this enhanced cooling mechanism is, if it was operating on global warming, it would reduce estimates of future warming by over 75 percent," Spencer said. "The big question that no one can answer right now is whether this enhanced cooling mechanism applies to global warming." The only way to see how these new findings impact global warming forecasts is to include them in computerized climate models. "The role of clouds in global warming is widely agreed to be pretty uncertain," Spencer said. "Right now, all climate models predict that clouds will amplify warming. I'm betting that if the climate models' 'clouds' were made to behave the way we see these clouds behave in nature, it would substantially reduce the amount of climate change the models predict for the coming decades."

The UAHuntsville research team used 30- to 60-day tropical temperature fluctuations - known as "intraseasonal oscillations" - as proxies for global warming. "Fifteen years ago, when we first started monitoring global temperatures with satellites, we noticed these big temperature fluctuations in the tropics," Spencer said. "What amounts to a decade of global warming routinely occurs in just a few weeks in the tropical atmosphere. Then, as if by flipping a switch, the rapid warming is replaced by strong cooling. It now looks like the change in cirrus cloud coverage is the major reason for this switch from warming to cooling."

The team analyzed six years of data from four instruments aboard three NASA and NOAA satellites. The researchers tracked precipitation amounts, air and sea surface temperatures, high and low altitude cloud cover, reflected sunlight, and infrared energy escaping out to space. When they tracked the daily evolution of a composite of fifteen of the strongest intraseasonal oscillations they found that although rainfall and air temperatures would be rising, the amount of infrared energy being trapped by the cloudy areas would start to decrease rapidly as the air warmed.

This unexpected behavior was traced to the decrease in cirrus cloud cover. The new results raise questions about some current theories regarding precipitation, clouds and the efficiency with which weather systems convert water vapor into rainfall. These are significant issues in the global warming debate. "Global warming theory says warming will generally be accompanied by more rainfall," Spencer said. "Everyone just assumed that more rainfall means more high altitude clouds. That would be your first guess and, since we didn't have any data to suggest otherwise ..."

There are significant gaps in the scientific understanding of precipitation systems and their interactions with the climate, he said. "At least 80 percent of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect is due to water vapor and clouds, and those are largely under the control of precipitation systems. "Until we understand how precipitation systems change with warming, I don't believe we can know how much of our current warming is manmade. Without that knowledge, we can't predict future climate change with any degree of certainty."

Spencer and his colleagues expect these new findings to be controversial. "I know some climate modelers will say that these results are interesting but that they probably don't apply to long-term global warming," he said. "But this represents a fundamental natural cooling process in the atmosphere. Let's see if climate models can get this part right before we rely on their long term projections.

Source




WHY WARMISM IS POPULAR

Post below excerpted from Word around the Net. See the original for links and a much wider discussion

Guilt and Works

Part of the reason is that most people, especially teens, feel that something is basically wrong. They know how things ought to be, deep down, but also know that this is not true in the world they see. There is a sneaking suspicion that something is wrong with the world, and what's more they suspect that we're to blame. This base feeling of guilt and concern is common to humanity, it is the basis for most religions and it is why psychiatrists and associated professionals can charge several hundred dollars an hour.

Global Warming gives people a tangible reason for this feeling. They can look at the world and believe that they have found there is something wrong, and what's better, something they can fix. If you believe that the world is warming up dangerously and catastrophe awaits, but your personal actions can stop this it not only appeals to this basic religious need, it appeals to ego and the desire to make things better for yourself. You can earn your way to global salvation by recycling and driving Prius (conveniently distinctive so everyone can see how pious you are).

This mechanism is why many religious are so successful. Take Islam, it has two basic principles: first that God is angry at humans because we do not do right, and second that you can have a paradise if only you will do the right thing. It has a terrible future - hell that you endure - if you fail to take action now, and a reward for your proper actions. A simple exchange of personal effort and reward. Many religions, even Christianity when taught falsely, follow this pattern: risk, personal works, reward. For AGW, the risk is a hellish future of catastrophe and doom, stopped by personal works that can prevent this, and a future that avoids this and is full of clean water and happy dancing children under rainbows.

Concern and Absolutes

Many of the people who believe in AGW and are calling for better management of resources and less pollution are not driven by a deep religious need or guilt, at least at a conscious level. Many are simply worried about what they see around them and want a better world to live in. Many are people who want us to not pollute as much, to care better for our world, and to have a better future. They aren't driven by hysteria, hatred of our economic system, or a desire to rush to the left, they are driven by genuine, proper concern.

Their problem for many is that without an absolute, objective basis for right and wrong, they cannot point to anything and say we ought to do something or that it is wrong to not do it. They have to find some manner of persuasion and some lever to call for change that avoids these "unfortunate relics of the past" such as morality and sin. So they climb on the bandwagon, too, even if they know it's not exactly accurate or scientifically valid.

Kneejerk Choice

Unfortunately, for many, this issue is not one that they choose sides on based on logic, reason, information, and scientific data. They choose sides based on who is on which side of the debate. For some, if Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson are on one side of an issue they must, by definition, without further examination or understanding be on the opposite side. For others, this is true for pundits like Al Gore and Michael Moore. This kind of ignorant side-taking is the primary cause of a sharp, shrill, and sometimes violent divide in our culture today: unthinking, kneejerk rejection or embrace of something merely based on voices that hold a position. That's mindless following of a leader that has led to unspeakable horrors in the past. Educate yourself.

Socialism

There are other reasons why AGW and the Global Warming hysterics are so well received. Consider Vice President Gore's recommendations for how to save us all before his ten-year deadline is up (summary courtesty Free Frank Warner):

* Ban any increase in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and then start reducing emissions. Tax CO2 emissions (and simultaneously eliminate all payroll taxes) to encourage clean-coal technology and other greenhouse gas reducers.

* Change the U.S. auto industry to reduce use of oil. Encourage GM and Ford to switch to flex-fuel, plug-in, hybrid vehicles. Gore says in the average gasoline-driven car today, 90 percent of the energy is wasted.

* Change U.S. factories, to penalize CO2 emissions, reward the capture and use of heat that now goes to waste, and encourage use of computerized energy-use monitors to save fuel.

* Encourage U.S. farms to produce more fuel, to plant more trees and to stop deforestation. In the timber industry, lengthen the harvest cycle, giving trees more time to make oxygen.

* Encourage retrofitting of U.S. homes for better fuel efficiency by making special low-interest mortgages available. Immediately require that architectural designs cut in half the use of fossil fuels in new buildings and make all new buildings "carbon neutral" by 2030.

* Encourage greater use of windmills and photovoltaic solar cells. Encourage more private buying and selling of U.S. electricity into the national grid. Increase ethanol and biodiesel production.

* Modestly increase use of nuclear power. Gore sees no significant increase in global electricity production from atomic power, first, because nuclear plants are expensive, and, second, because if nuclear power expands around the world, more nations will be tempted to use nuclear fuel for atomic weapons.

* Sign the US onto the Kyoto Treaty so we join the Carbon Credits trading (which, coincidentally, is a business that Al Gore owns).

Count, if you will, how many of these are government-mandated, top-down centrally planned ideas. Of the eight, six are government requirements, federal government power over the states and the people. This gives us a glimpse into how this appeals to many, particularly on the left. The solutions that the AGW prophets of doom offer almost always involve greater government control over the market, over businesses, and over individual behavior. There's a word for this, and it is called "socialism," the economic system in which the central government has direct control over business and the economy.

This idea is very popular on the left, who believe that centrally planned and regulated economies and businesses are fairer and better run than a free market economy. Other suggestions include a ban on cremation (all that CO2 released with fire!), changing Daylight Saving Time by a few weeks (no appreciable change in energy use), British efforts to control garbage by fines and limitations - including picking up the garbage half as often to encourage recycling (link requires subscription), and so on. Luxury taxes are proposed for excessive carbon use - a sort of required carbon credit purchase - legislation to limit the number and type of cars that can be owned and made, requirements on reducing emissions on cars already on the road, and so on are all proposed. The Kyoto Accords, a failure in every country except France, according to self-reporting from various countries requires a huge drop in several minor greenhouse gas emissions by the signatory countries. These reductions would require severe and extreme government regulation, slashing the economy and crippling business.

If there was any sort of reasonable basis for AGW as it was thought in the 90's, this might be something to consider. But since there is no basis for this and the best, most recent science points away from humans, this would cause a worldwide depression for no reason other than a desire to have governments control the economy and limit human activity. Particularly troubling is the idea that the UN or some intergovernmental panel would govern these changes, making the demands and recommendations that nations then would have to obey. So you can add loss of national sovereignty to the fun.

Even when the suggestions are not government mandates, they are extreme in many cases. One scientist demands reducing the population of the earth by 83% because humans are the "AIDS of the Earth," a thought echoed by Kate Templeton who calls having more than 2 children an "Eco-Crime," and Ms Behar on the View who called having many children "ecologically irresponsible" because they "snort up" all the oxygen.

This movement is not new. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote a book called The Population Bomb in which he examined global trends and food production, and declared catastrophe. We had too many people, he argued, and we've got to stop having babies. The world is overpopulated and we're doomed:

"The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate..."

"a minimum of ten million people, most of them children,will starve to death during each year of the 1970s. But this is a mere handful compared to the numbers that will be starving before the end of the century"


Ehrlich based his ideas on the number of people in the world, the land they worked, and the production of food at the time of his writing. He presumed no changes in food productivity and farming, he assumed technology in the field of agriculture was totally static, and that the world would not change. He also ignored the possibility of farming in areas not presently being used because they are more difficult to reach or less productive. He even presumed that food production might decrease. Fear not, he had some answers - again, involving central government planning and control:

Our position requires that we take immediate action at home and promote effective action worldwide. We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.

luxury taxes could be placed on layettes, cribs, diapers, diaper services, [and] expensive toys...

When he suggested sterilizing all Indian males with three or more children, we should have applied pressure on the Indian government to go ahead with the plan.


These are all quotes from The Population Bomb. In a later book How to be a Survivor, Ehrlich expanded on these ideas:

However, those who claim that the government could never intrude into such a private matter as the number of children a couple produces may be due for an unpleasant surprise. There is no sacred legal "right" to have children. The argument that family size is God's affair and not the business of the government would undoubtedly be raised -- just as it was against outlawing polygamy. But the government tells you precisely how many husbands or wives you can have and claps you in jail if you exceed that number.

A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. Treating only the symptoms of cancer may make the victim more comfortable at first, but eventually he dies -- often horribly. A similar fate awaits a world with a population explosion if only the symptoms are treated. We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions. The pain may be intense. But the disease is so far advanced that only with radical surgery does the patient have a chance of survival.


Wow. So why do we have an even larger world population now and less starvation? Well, unlike Dr Ehrlich's predictions, agricultural technology got better, techniques improved, and the world produces more food than ever. We have more food per person than we did at the time he wrote this book. In any case, his arguments were ludicrous, the world is nowhere near being overpopulated by any standard even now.

If any of this looks familiar, it ought to. The utter failure and laughable error that Ehrlich's hysterical proclamations proved to be don't stop people from calling for us to cull the population now. They've just changed their tune. Instead of worrying about lack of food production, they cry climate change that destroys food production. The fact that even if their worst predictions are true simply means that we will produce food further north where it is now not feasible or possible doesn't matter, the goal is an old, old one.

Smash the State

In 1811 many people looked around themselves at the squalor, poverty, and misery the world presented in England at the time. They were living through the first true world war (the Napoleonic Wars) and could see things were just terrible. The solution, they believed, was that we'd gone too far with technology. The horrible weapons used in the war, the ghastly factories and the machines of the time were clearly an abomination. An entire movement rose up, the Luddites, who wanted to return to a simpler, more pastoral time. The Luddites engaged in wrecking machines and sabotaging technology at the time, and over a dozen were put to death.

Their legacy lives on. There are many, primarily in the more radical environmentalist movements, who believe the same way still. They reject the idea of technology bringing benefit, they believe that advancement brings misery, and that we are "meant" (by whom is usually not explained, although the vague generic earth goddess Gaia is sometimes brought up) to live a simpler life. To this end, they oppose all expansion, all new technology, any attempt to make life easier or build, and any efforts to harvest trees or energy.

The exact opposition is usually framed differently: don't build a highway here, the spotted wood louse is endangered. Don't build a dam here, the beauty of this unspoiled area will be destroyed. Don't build a nuke here, it will melt down and kill us all, etc. But the central and core goal is the same: oppose advancement and technology, become more simple.

Global Warming is a bandwagon that these groups have leaped up on with joy. Here was a big metanarrative to share all their efforts at once; this could be the lever by which to end advancement and push us back into the time we ought to live, to make people live simpler lives. Get rid of those cars, those cities, those factories, and we can live the simple life of the savage who lived in tune with their land (not exactly accurate, but that's for another essay). Wars, greed, pollution, sickness, crime, all those evils are caused by our senseless misuse of our land and advancement beyond what we should be.

As a bonus, the path to reach this idyllic utopia is the greater power of the government, increased government control over everyone's lives and business. This is a dream come true to the radical leftist: their lifelong goals all visible on the horizon thanks to global warming. Who cares if it's not exactly accurate, the goals are noble, and that's what matters most.




U.N. HEAD INVITES OUTSPOKEN CZECH PRESIDENT TO GLOBAL WARMING CONFERENCE

Czech President Vaclav Klaus will address a conference on global warming in late September in New York as he has been invited by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the event, Klaus's spokesman Petr Hajek told CTK Tuesday. Klaus is known as a fierce challenger of both the human factor in and the widely forecast effects of global warming. He opposes the views advocated by people like Al Gore, arguing that the "hysteria" surrounding the warming issue threatens freedom and democracy.

One of his slogans is that freedom, not climate is endangered. He regularly lashes out against "ambitious environmentalism." Earlier this year, he published "Blue, Not Green Planet", a book summarizing his opinions challenging some scenarios of the planet's further development with regard to global warming.

Klaus told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) last week that he plans to deliver a very radical speech in New York. "It will be a gathering of 'Gore-ites,' so they're going to be shocked that they invited me 'by mistake,' too. And I'm going to give a very tough speech," he told the radio.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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12 August, 2007

Is this the end of Warmism? Huge error found in temperature data

1934 is now shown to be the warmest year -- at the height of the Great Depression, i.e. right in the middle of a time when the industrial and economic slowdown that the Greenies preach had in fact happened. The corrected data now show that there was NO overall temperature trend during the 20th century! Will that bother the Greenies? Unlikely. You cannot fight a religion with facts. Post below lifted from Daily Tech. See the original for links. See also Bill Hobbs. Note that there is A MEDIA BLACKOUT on this story with the exception of one mention on Fox News. You basically have to be a reader of blogs to know of it

My earlier column this week detailed the work of a volunteer team to assess problems with US temperature data used for climate modeling. One of these people is Steve McIntyre, who operates the site climateaudit.org. While inspecting historical temperature graphs, he noticed a strange discontinuity, or "jump" in many locations, all occurring around the time of January, 2000.

These graphs were created by NASA's Reto Ruedy and James Hansen (who shot to fame when he accused the administration of trying to censor his views on climate change). Hansen refused to provide McKintyre with the algorithm used to generate graph data, so McKintyre reverse-engineered it. The result appeared to be a Y2K bug in the handling of the raw data. McKintyre notified the pair of the bug; Ruedy replied and acknowledged the problem as an "oversight" that would be fixed in the next data refresh.

NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II. Anthony Watts has put the new data in chart form, along with a more detailed summary of the events.

The effect of the correction on global temperatures is minor (some 1-2% less warming than originally thought), but the effect on the US global warming propaganda machine could be huge. Then again-- maybe not. I strongly suspect this story will receive little to no attention from the mainstream media.

Note from one of the bloggers at "Climate Audit" (John A [climateaudit@gmail.com]) -- where the error was first reported: "CA has been knocked off the internet by a DDOS attack. We are going to move the CA domain to a temporary page while I move the CA files and databases to a new server behind a much better firewall. Its obvious that someone can't take constructive criticism. We should be back in a few days"




A desperate attempt to keep the myth alive for two more years

Greenie scientists know from the solar data that it is really cooling that we face so they are now trying to set us up to ignore cooling events

SCIENTISTS predict temperatures will plateau [They have ALREADY plateaued --- since 1998] before climbing again to a succession of record-breaking highs, in the most detailed forecast of global warming's effects. Powerful computer simulations used to create the first global warming forecast suggests temperature rises will stall in the next two years, before rising sharply at the end of the decade. From 2010, they warn, every year has at least a 50 per cent chance of exceeding the record year of 1998 when average global temperatures reached 14.54 degrees.

The forecast, from researchers at Britain's Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter, south-western England, shows that natural shifts in climate will cancel out warming produced by greenhouse gas emissions and other human activity until 2009, but from then temperatures will rise steadily. Temperatures are set to rise over the 10 years by 0.3 degrees. Beyond 2014, the chance of breaking the temperature record is even greater.

The forecast of a brief slump in global warming has been seized upon by climate change sceptics as evidence that the world is not heating. Climate scientists say the new high-precision forecast predicts temperatures will stall because of natural climate effects that have caused the Southern Ocean and tropical Pacific to cool over the past couple of years.

The forecast marks a shift in thinking by climate change researchers. Instead of using their models to look many decades ahead, they will focus on the very near future. [How wise!] The hope is that forecasts will be more useful to emergency planners in governments and companies by warning of droughts and other extreme conditions a year or two ahead. Previously, the models have been used to show that global temperatures may rise 6 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

"If you look ahead on a 50- to 100-year time frame, then global warming is the big thing for the climate," Doug Smith, a climate scientist at the Hadley Centre, said. "But if you're working on a project that is only designed to last for the next few years, that information doesn't make much difference to you." A team led by Dr Smith set computers working on the forecast after plugging in temperature measurements taken from the world's oceans and atmosphere. The team then checked the accuracy of the forecasts by getting it to predict climate change throughout the 1980s and 1990s - making "hindcasts".

Existing global climate computer models tend to underestimate the effects of natural forces on climate change, so for this analysis Met Office experts tweaked their model to better reflect the impact of weather systems such as El Nino and La Nina, or fluctuations in ocean heat and circulation.

So far, only forecasts of temperature changes have been released in the journal Science, but the models also calculate changes in rainfall, drought risk and other aspects of climate change that affect flood defences and other vital responses to global warming. "The people who can use long-term climate information are few and far between," Chris West, the director of the British climate impacts program at Oxford University, said. "It's fine if you're building a skyscraper or something else that's going to be in place for 100 years, but for most people it doesn't matter much. It's much more critical to know what is going to happen in the next year or two, and that is something climate scientists have always struggled with."

Source




From error to fraud: Centrally important research on urban heat islands was fabricated

Post below lifted from Doug Keenan. See the original for links and references

Wei-Chyung Wang is a professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He has been doing research on climate for over 30 years, and he has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers. He has also received an Appreciation Plaque from the Office of Science in the U.S.A., commending him, "For your insightful counsel and excellent science. .". Yet there is conclusive evidence that some important claims that Wang has made in some of his published work on global warming were fabrications.

I have written a Report on those claims, which details evidence that the claims were fabricated. The report was submitted to the University at Albany on 03 August 2007. Below are additional notes.

1. The term "fabrication" is formally defined by the U.S. government to mean making up data or results and recording or reporting them. Fabrication is one of the three officially-defined types of scientific misconduct (the other two being plagiarism and falsification).

2. The cited publications of Wang concern an issue with measurements of global temperature. As a simple example of the issue, consider a thermometer in the middle of a large grassy field. Suppose that there was a city nearby, and over time, the city expanded to replace the field with asphalt and buildings. Then the temperatures recorded by the thermometer would be higher, because asphalt and buildings give off extra heat.

This issue has been a concern in global warming studies, because many thermometers used by weather stations are in areas that have undergone increased urbanization. Such thermometers might show that temperatures were going up, even if the global climate was unchanging. It is widely accepted that some of the increase in measured temperatures during the past century is due to many of the weather stations being located in areas where urbanization has increased. The question is this: how much of perceived global warming is due to such urbanization effects?

3. The latest (2007) assessment report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) concludes that such urbanization effects are insignificant overall. One of the main studies cited by the report to justify that conclusion substantially relies on the claims that Wang fabricated-indeed, Wang is a co-author of the study.

The study is authored by Jones et al. (see the reference below). It treats not only China (where Wang was responsible for supplying the data), but also Russia and Australia (where Wang had no responsibility). The regions of Russia and Australia are not considered here, but there is some evidence that they too are problematic.

The study of Jones et al. is not the sole study relied upon by the IPCC report for its conclusion about the insignificance of the urbanization effects. Hence even if the study was wholly invalidated, this would not imply that the conclusion was unsupported. On the other hand, one of the other main studies, by David E. Parker at the Hadley Centre in the U.K., has since been strongly criticized, both in the peer-reviewed literature and on scholarly blogs. None of this means that the conclusion of the IPCC is incorrect. It does suggest, though, that a re-evaluation of the evidence would be appropriate.

4. The lead author of Jones et al. is Phil D. Jones. Jones is one of the foremost global warming researchers in the world; he is also one of the two Coordinating Lead Authors of the chapter in the IPCC report subtitled "surface and atmospheric climate change" (here "surface" refers to the surface of the Earth, i.e. where people live). This might be considered the most important chapter of the IPCC report. It is also the chapter that cites the study of Jones et al.

How much did Jones know about Wang's fabrications? As discussed in my Report on Wang's claims, it appears very likely that Jones knew nothing at the time (1990). In 2001, however, Jones co-authored a study, by Yan et al., which considered two meteorological stations in China (at Beijing and at Shanghai). This study correctly describes how the stations had undergone relocations, and it concludes that those relocations substantially affected the measured temperatures-in direct contradiction to the claims of Wang. Thus, by 2001, Jones must have known that the claims of Wang were not wholly true.

On 19 June 2007, I e-mailed Jones about this, saying "this proves that you knew there were serious problems with Wang's claims back in 2001; yet some of your work since then has continued to rely on those claims, most notably in the latest report from the IPCC". I politely requested an explanation. I have not received a reply.

5. The fabrications of Wang were only discovered after the data for Jones et al. was made available, in April 2007. For years previously, several people, most prominently Warwick Hughes and Stephen McIntyre, had attempted to obtain this, and other, data from Jones. Jones had refused almost every request. Indeed, in response to requests for data about his work on global temperatures, Jones replied, "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?".


Jones is a professor at a public university in the U.K. (the University of East Anglia). In early 2007, McIntyre and I separately filed formal requests for the data under the U.K. Freedom of Information Act. The university initially refused to release the data. I then drafted a letter to the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office, alleging that the university was in violation of statute, and sent the draft to the university, asking them to let me know if they believed the letter to be inaccurate. Only then was the data was released. It is worth noting that obtaining the data was only possible because Jones is in the U.K. In the U.S.A., where Wang is resident, data for publically-funded research does not have to be disclosed.

6. Although the claims of Wang were fabricated, this does not necessarily mean that the conclusion reached by Jones et al. for China is incorrect. It might be that the conclusion is correct, and there is other, valid, evidence to support that. Since the publication of Jones et al. (1990), there have been several studies on the effects of urbanization on temperature measurements in China. The most recent study, in 2007, is by GuoYu Ren and colleagues at the Laboratory for Climate Studies in China. This study concludes that a large part of the warming that has been measured in China is due to the effects of urbanization on measurement. (The study is also supported by the analysis of He et al. (2007) for the years 1991-2000.)

Hence the conclusion of Jones et al. does seem to be incorrect. Even if the new study had concluded the same as Jones et al., though, the central issue here-lack of research integrity-would remain valid.

7. A draft of my Report was sent to Wang, who replied as follows.

The only valid scientific issue described in your June 11, 2007 e-mailed pdf file . concerning our 1990 GRL paper is the "station histories", while others are strictly your own opinions and therefore irrelevant to your inquiry. So let me elaborate further on this issue.

Digitization of the hard copies of "station histories" was prepared in 1989-90 by Ms. Zhao-Mei Zeng (IAP/CAS) only for the 60-station network, while the "station histories" of other stations, including those we used in 1990 urban warming study, were available in paper form, as I have already indicated in my 4/30/07 e-mail to you. Therefore, the use of the word "fabrication" in your document is totally absurd.

Concerning the current status of these hard copies of "station histories", Ms. Zeng told me when I was in Beijing in April 2007, that she no longer has the access to these information because it has been a long time (since 1990) and also IAP has moved office. .
The reply is contradicted by the DOE/CAS report (Tao et al.), which gives "the most comprehensive, long-term instrumental Chinese climate data presently available". Moreover, Zeng is a co-author of the DOE/CAS report. Further information is adduced in my Report on Wang's claims.

The conclusions are clear. First, there has been a marked lack of integrity in some important work on global warming that is relied upon by the IPCC. Second, the insignificance of urbanization effects on temperature measurements has not been established as reliably as the IPCC assessment report assumes.




SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUSLESSNESS

Writing in New Scientist this week, James Hansen tells us that the scientific community (you know, those 'thousands' of specialised scientists at the IPCC) are wrong, and have massively underestimated the extent of polar ice melting as a consequence of anthropogenic global warming. "I find it almost inconceivable that "business as usual" climate change will not result in a rise in sea level measured in metres within a century. Am I the only scientist who thinks so?"

Apparently he is. And the reason? All the other scientists are being too cautious. "I believe there is pressure on scientists to be conservative. Caveats are essential to science. They are born in scepticism, and scepticism is at the heart of the scientific method and discovery. However, in a case such as ice sheet instability and sea level rise, excessive caution also holds dangers. "Scientific reticence" can hinder communication with the public about the dangers of global warming. We may rue reticence if it means no action is taken until it is too late to prevent future disasters."

Scientists, in other words, should adhere to the scientific method except when it's politically inconvenient. (And only, presumably, when it's Hansen's politics that are inconvenienced.)

Most scientists who go against 'the consensus' get labelled as mavericks, sceptics or denialists. New Scientist covers their work only to show it up as scientifically flawed, politically motivated, the result of industry-funded misinformation and bad moral fibre, just as they did when they reported on Willie Soon's paper challenging received wisdom that climate change is imperiling polar bears. Or just as Michael Le Page did in May this year when he wrote: "Indeed, those campaigning for action to prevent further warming have had to battle against huge vested interests, including the fossil-fuel industry and its many political allies. Many of the individuals and organisations challenging the idea of global warming have received funding from companies such as ExxonMobil."

Hansen, however, gets a 3000-word feature all to himself. Even though it doesn't take much digging around to find that Hansen himself has more than his fair share of dodgy financial interests. The consensus, it seems, may only be challenged from one direction.

Source




THE HYPOCRISY OF CELEBRITY ENVIRONMENTALISTS

Eric Alterman, a liberal journalist friendly with the Davids, has worried in print about the hypocrisy of Hollywood environmentalists. "The response," he writes, "has been not so much explanation or excuse as a plea for indulgence -- as if one were, after all, dealing with children."

This seems to be Larry David's own assessment of his domestic situation. Larry David contributed a comic introduction to his wife's 2006 book, Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You. "Thirteen years ago, I met a materialistic, narcissistic, superficial, bosomy woman from Long Island. She was the girl of my dreams ? Finally, I had met someone as shallow as me ? But then, after a few months, I began to sense that something had changed ? She was growing?I, Larry David, the shallowest man in the world, had married an environmentalist."

But is it really true that environmentalism precludes materialism, narcissism and superficiality? If environmentalism is to Democratic America what religious morality is to Republican states, there is at least one Laurie David for every Ted Haggard. The gossip site TMZ in October, 2006, compiled a short tally sheet: George Clooney drives an electric car that gets 135 miles to the gallon -- and then hopped on a private jet to Tokyo, burning enough fuel in one flight to power his car back and forth across the Pacific 57 times. Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt: same story.

But maybe Larry David put it best. Asked by reporters for reaction to the divorce, he answered, "I went home and turned all the lights on."

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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

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11 August, 2007

NEW STUDY: GLOBAL SEA-LEVEL RISE SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER THAN THOUGHT

Discussing: Woeppelmann, G., Miguez, B.M., Bouin, M.-N. and Altamimi, Z. 2007. Geocentric sea-level trend estimates from GPS analyses at relevant tide gauges world-wide. Global and Planetary Change 57: 396-406.

What was done

The authors describe a technique they developed for utilizing Global Positioning System (GPS) data, which they obtained from numerous GPS stations situated in close proximity to various tide gauges around the world, to correct the tide gauge records and thus obtain what they call a "set of 'absolute' or geocentric sea-level trends." Based on a number of criteria that had to be met by both the tide gauge and GPS stations, they ultimately used paired data sets from 28 locations that covered a time span of 5.9 years (1999.0-2005.7) to derive their final mean global result, after which they compared it with what they call the "most quoted" tide-gauge results of Douglas (1991, 1997, 2001), which had been corrected for the most common form of vertical land motion by means of theoretical models of Glacial-Isostatic Adjustment (GIA).

What was learned

Whereas the data of Douglas yielded a mean global sea-level rate-of-rise of 1.84 ~ 0.35 mm/year after correction for the GIA effect (Peltier, 2001), Woeppelmann et al. obtained a much lower mean value of 1.35 ~ 0.34 mm/year when employing their correction for measured GPS vertical velocities. The sizable difference between these two results raises the question of how they compare with results obtained from other ways of estimating global sea level trends. In this regard, the four researchers note that Mitrovica et al. (2006) recently indicated there is a 1 mm/year contribution to sea-level rise from the melting of global land ice reservoirs, as well as a 0.4 mm/year contribution from thermal expansion of the global ocean (Antonov et al., 2005). Together, these two numbers yield a value of 1.40 mm/year for the global ocean's total sea-level mean rate-of-rise, which is much closer to the 1.35 mm/year result of Woppelmann et al. than to the Douglas-Peltier result of 1.84 mm/year.

What it means

The mean global sea-level rate-of-rise calculated by Woppelmann et al. appears to resolve the "sea-level enigma" noted by Munk (2002), who called attention to the sizable discrepancy that existed at the time of his writing between estimates of climate-related contributions to sea-level change and what the observed value was thought to be. Now, there is no longer any discrepancy between these two numbers. What is more, the global ocean's mean rate-of-rise is now seen to be much slower than what was previously believed to be the case.

Source

Original journal abstract follows:

Geocentric sea-level trend estimates from GPS analyses at relevant tide gauges world-wide

By G. Woeppelmann et al.

Abstract

The problem of correcting the tide gauge records for the vertical land motion upon which the gauges are settled has only been partially solved. At best, the analyses so far have included model corrections for one of the many processes that can affect the land stability, namely the Glacial-Isostatic Adjustment (GIA). An alternative approach is to measure (rather than to model) the rates of vertical land motion at the tide gauges by means of space geodesy. A dedicated GPS processing strategy is implemented to correct the tide gauges records, and thus to obtain a GPS-corrected set of 'absolute' or geocentric sea-level trends. The results show a reduced dispersion of the estimated sea-level trends after application of the GPS corrections. They reveal that the reference frame implementation is now achieved within the millimetre accuracy on a weekly basis. Regardless of the application, whether local or global, we have shown that GPS data analysis has reached the maturity to provide useful information to separate land motion from oceanic processes recorded by the tide gauges or to correct these latter. For comparison purposes, we computed the global average of sea-level change according to Douglas [Douglas, B.C., 2001. Sea level change in the era of the recording tide gauge. Int. Geophys. Ser., 75, pp. 37-64.] rules, whose estimate is 1.84 ~ 0.35 mm/yr after correction for the GIA effect [Peltier, W.R., 2001. Global glacial isostatic adjustment and modern instrumental records of relative sea level history. Int. Geophys. Ser., 75, pp. 65-95.]. We obtain a value of 1.31 ~ 0.30 mm/yr, a value which appears to resolve the 'sea level enigma' [Munk, W., 2002. Twentieth century sea level: an enigma. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 99(10), pp. 6550-6555].

Global and Planetary Change, Volume 57, Issues 3-4, June 2007, Pages 396-406




Organic farming farts lots of greenhouse gases into the air

Genetically modified crops are better!

As the world's policymakers and business elites look to curb greenhouse gas emissions, one economic sector due for a closer look is agriculture. What many people presently view as a 'green' agriculture choice is, upon closer examination, deeply environmentally suspect.

Most people do not realize that agriculture is a major contributor to atmospheric CO2. Further, different types of agriculture have very different CO2 emission profiles. The widespread adoption of modern agricultural biotechnology products have allowed farmers to maintain yields while reducing CO2 emissions.

Like all animals, soil micro-organisms "breathe out" CO2. In fact soil respiration contributes approximately 20 percent of all land-based CO2 emissions. The United Nations estimates a 2-5 degree C increase in global temperature in the next hundred years. Couple this with research that showed a 5 degree C increase doubles CO2 emission from soil and it becomes clear agriculture must be included in future CO2 reduction strategies.

Soil management by farmers is important. Tillage practices can have a major effect on the levels of soil CO2 emissions. Organic agriculture controls weeds primarily by ploughing. The microbial respiration rate is increased every time a plough churns up the soil. When compared to no-tillage, mould-board ploughing doubles CO2 emissions from the soil.

Along with microbial production of CO2, tractors burn huge amounts of diesel fuel pulling metal ploughs through the soil. Research has shown that a conversion to no-tillage practices can save up to 32 litres/hectare. With no-tillage farming practiced over millions of hectares, there is a huge reduction in the amount of CO2 produced by tractors.

The UN estimates that the conversion from conventional ploughing to no-tillage agriculture would store carbon in the soil at 300 kg/hectare/year. The US and Canada are world leaders in no-tillage agriculture. The advent of genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant (HT) crops has allowed farmers to use highly effective, low environmental impact herbicides instead of the plough for weed control.

Over the past ten years US farmers have eagerly adopted GM crops with 84 percent of corn, 90 percent of soy and 85 percent of cotton now planted with GM varieties. In Canada, farmers have increased no-tillage canola from 0.8 million hectares to 2.6 million hectares. Ninety five percent of this acreage is planted with GM herbicide tolerant canola.

Like tillage practices, the type of fertilizer used can have a large effect on CO2 emissions. Conventional agriculture relies on synthetic fertilizers while organic farms primarily use manure. Synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers depress soil respiration rates. Conversely, research has shown that the use of manure fertilizer increases soil respiration rates and therefore CO2 emissions by 2-3 fold.

Some have suggested a complete conversion to organic agriculture. But, on average, organic agriculture produces 30 percent less per hectare than conventional farms. If we were to convert entirely to organic agriculture, we would need at least 30 percent more farmland. Significant amounts of the remaining wilderness would have to be ploughed under to maintain current food production levels.

The conversion to organic farming would also require a tremendous increase in animals to generate manure fertilizer. Anyone who has ever been near the back end of a cow knows this would significantly increase a different greenhouse gas.

The organic food industry proudly states double digit increases in sales each of the last few years. However the world is not black and white and research has demonstrated there are significant environmental consequences of this success.

Organic farming practices generate significantly greater CO2 emissions while producing less than conventional agriculture. On the other hand, growing genetically modified crops allow the farmer to reduce CO2 emissions while maintaining yields.

Research has demonstrated soil and water conservation benefits of genetically modified HT crops. It is now clear that these products of modern biotechnology can also help farmers reduce agriculture based CO2 emissions. The public is calling for "greener" options in every industry. But when it comes to agricultural CO2 emissions, the "greener" option may not be what people think.

Source




Irresponsible journalism burns global warming debate

I am surprised to see that on July 31, the Missourian published a letter smearing The Heartland Institute as global warming "deniers" and spreading falsehoods about renewable energy costs. The writer asserts it is cheaper to produce energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass than from conventional sources. Such an assertion is downright laughable. Indeed, in states where renewable power is mandated, consumers pay 42 percent more for electricity than in states without such mandates (see http://www.cei.org/pdf/5982.pdf). If renewable power were cheaper to produce, then why does the government have to subsidize and mandate it to get people to produce and buy it?

Moreover, if presenting sound science rather than irresponsible alarmism makes someone a global warming "denier," then count me in. For example, when environmental extremists irresponsibly claimed the Gulf Stream was on the verge of shutting down, The Heartland Institute reported the truth (see http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=20505 and http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/314/5802/1064a).

When environmental extremists irresponsibly claimed global warming was melting the glacier atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, The Heartland Institute reported the truth (see http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=14287 and http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/55553/page/1).

Now tell me again: Who is the reality "denier?"

Source




ISRAELI RESEARCHERS CLAIM SOLAR ENERGY BREAKTHROUGH

The afternoon Negev sun shone brightly on the solar panels at the National Center for Solar Energy near Sde Boker. The center's director, physicist Prof. David Feiman, squinted into the light. "After 30 years of research on solar energy, my life's work of experiments in how to produce electricity from the sun, I can say this year that I know how to manufacture solar energy that will compete with conventional energy," he says.

A few months ago, the center's scientists managed to develop a new technology of solar, or photovoltaic cells, that Feiman says will make the production of solar energy so efficient that the cost of the photovoltaic cells that convert solar energy into electricity will be negligible.

In an ordinary solar panel of the type in use today, the silicon that makes up the cells is very expensive, making it a costly product. According to Feiman, photovoltaic cells carry out two functions: First, they change the light into electricity, their essential task; second, they store the light. "The principle is to focus the light using little material," Feiman says. "We constructed a large, parabola-shaped glass plate. It not only absorbs the light, it also focuses it on one point, a thousand times more than regular sunlight."

According to Feiman, "an ordinary photovoltaic cell, which is 10 by 10 centimeters, normally produces one watt of electricity. We managed to extract more than a thousand times more - 1,500 watts. In this way, the cost of a cell is 1,500 less, becoming almost nothing." "No one has ever produced so much electricity from a solar cell at this strength," he says.

The Solar Energy Center is now collaborating with an Israeli start-up company, Zenith Solar, to create a home system of solar cells based on this technology within about a year. "What is good for the home is also good for the country," Feiman says.

Israeli solar energy technology is already used extensively in power stations throughout the world. At the center at Sde Boker, which belongs to the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, two solar panels are installed, each one about 100 meters long, moving in synch with the sun. An oil pipe is at the center.

The panels, built by Sollel, a Beit Shemesh company, are not based on photovoltaic cells, but rather focus the light on the pipe, causing it to heat up. Heat produced by panels of this type turn into steam, which moves turbines. Last month, Sollel signed a contract with the U.S. company PG&E, to build the largest [solar] power station in the world, in the Mojave desert in California, which will have about 7,000 such panels and will cover about 14 square kilometers. It is due to go into service in about four years, providing 553 megawatts of electricity.

The British-born Feiman has lived at Midreshet Sde Boker since 1976, when he began researching solar energy. A world expert in the field, he says the economic model he has built will allow a significant part of Israel's energy to go solar within the decade. "We're paying about 10 cents per kilowatt/hour. If the government taxes the Electric Corporation one cent per kilowatt/hour, it will amount to about a half billion dollars a year. In a decade, we won't need any outside funding. If we want to solve Israel's energy problems, we should stop building conventional power stations and build a solar power station every year of one gigawatt - equal to two of the type of station Sollel is building in California."

The National Infrastructure Ministry said it would "soon be determining electricity rates for home photovoltaic systems. At present, the parties are working on removing obstacles that have to do with land use."

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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10 August, 2007

Global cooling hits California



Don't tell Al Gore, but global warming is taking a holiday in Sacramento this week. The maximum temperatures Sunday and Monday set records each day -- as the coolest "highs" for the dates since record-keeping began in 1877. Forecasters credit a deep marine layer and a potent low-pressure trough with funneling the cool air this way. It's as if Mother Nature cut herself a wedge of Santa Barbara weather and plopped it down on Sacramento's plate.

We're talking, for once, about the all-time lowest maximums, instead of the all-time highest. Monday's downtown high was just 74 degrees, 3 degrees cooler than the previous record of 77 degrees set in 1906, according to the National Weather Service. Sunday's downtown high of 76 frosted the previous low maximum of 78, set in 1962. "These were the coldest highs for Aug. 5 and Aug. 6 that we've ever recorded," said meteorologist Cynthia Palmer of the National Weather Service office in Sacramento.

As an added bonus, Sunday's lovely weather came in stark contrast to Saturday, when the high downtown was 104. That's a drop of 28 degrees in 24 hours. "It's unusual to see a drastic drop like that," Palmer said. "The marine layer along the coast really deepened -- and then the trough of low pressure brought that marine air inland." The normal high this time of year is 93; normal low is 61.

The impact of the sudden drop in temperatures was obvious Monday in east Sacramento's McKinley Park. At 1:10 p.m. under overcast skies, bored lifeguards surveyed an empty swimming pool. Uneasy geese sat in the mud, heads tucked under their wings. Happy tennis players raced around courts that had been deserted and stifling 48 hours before. Midtown resident Michael DeSerio hardly broke a sweat as he lobbed a ball over the net. "This cool weather allows us to play later in the day," he said. "I'm typically out here as early as 8:30 a.m., but today we hit the court at 11."

Over at the pool, lifeguard Melanie Worthen, 19, zipped her jacket to the top. Only a chilly breeze stirred the water -- but no belly flops or cannonballs. "This is so weird," she said. "On a normal August day, this pool is packed." She shook her head. "This is so weird." But the Stiplosec sisters of Land Park -- Charlotte, 5, and Katherine, 7 -- approved of the cool, gray day. They sat at a picnic table with their baby sitter, Melanie Lavoie, and played checkers. "We like it today," said Katherine. "When it's really hot, even the wood gets too hot to sit on."....

Source




Greenie Elitists again

Yes, it was right that the British Airports Authority was denied the sweeping injunction it sought against eco-activists planning a Camp for Climate Action near Heathrow. Even prigs must have the right to protest. But no, it is not right that the anti-flying protesters are now being hailed as champions of liberty. Their campaigns are dedicated to preventing millions who wish to fly from exercising freedom and choice. Theirs is arguably the most illiberal, elitist protest movement since the French counter-revolution.

Why protest at the height of the holiday season? Because the idea of the masses jetting off for no better reason than to have "unnecessary" fun offends their miserabilist sensibilities. So they will make the sacrifice of camping at Heathrow in order to "educate" the great unaware - that is, to tell us that we are greedy, ignorant morons. It seems they do not need the power of flight in order to look down on us all from Olympian heights.

The protest group named in the BAA's limited injunction is called Plane Stupid - by which they mean that we are stupid for boarding planes, whereas they do the intelligent thing by invading an airport with a Baptist minister and praying on the runway. For these moral crusaders, flying for pleasure is a "climate crime", a sin against nature, and they claim priestlike authority to lecture the majority "on behalf of" Africa's poor or unborn "future generations".

One Plane Stupid spokesman sneers that "our ability to live on the earth is at stake, and for what? So people can have a stag do in Prague." An activist who protested against "binge flying" by blocking the door to a cheap-flight company announced in messianic tones that "while G8 leaders have simply spouted hot air, I've shown how one woman alone can close down climate criminals". For Gaia so loved the planet, that She superglued Her daughter to the doors of lastminute.com.

Their contempt for the pleasure-seeking masses echoes earlier attacks on the tourist industry when the railways and Thomas Cook first took people from the cities to countryside and seaside. Jim Butcher's book The Moralisation of Tourism tells us that in 1870 the Rev Francis Kilvert said: "Of all the noxious animals, the most noxious is a tourist." Today it seems some would like flying tourists to be treated as if they were carrying foot-and-mouth.

If we want to live in a free country then they must be free to be self-righteous ecoprigs. But it is depressing to see young idealists reduced to supporting a movement that, in the words of one leading green, campaigns "not for abundance but for austerity . . . not for more freedom but for less". What do they want? Less freedom! When do they want it? Now! Strangely, they didn't use that argument in court.

Source




ECONOMY COMES FIRST, AS EUROPE BACKS DOWN ON CAR EMISSIONS

The European Commission is backing away from its draconian plans for curbs on car emissions, bowing to intense pressure from Berlin and the German auto industry. Fresh drafts of the EU's hotly-contested legislation have ditched the original ceiling of 130 grams of carbon-dioxide per kilometre by 2012 for the average fleet of each car company, which posed a serious threat to the German trio of Porsche, BMW, and Daimler - all relying on powerful models.

The new proposals opt instead for a series of categories that create higher CO2 allowances for heavier cars, according to a report in Germany's Handelsblatt. "It will still be ambitious, but within the realistic possibilities of manufacturers," said Karl-Heinz Florenz, MEP, the climate spokesman for the German Christian Democrats.

The more flexible proposals, modelled on Japan's system, may clear the way for Ford's sale of Jaguar and Land Rover, which has run into delays as private equity bidders hesitate until it is clearer what the EU intends to propose. One Equity Partners LLC has sought clarification from Brussels on the way the rules might affect off-road vehicles such as Land Rover.

The Italian and French producers make models small enough to meet the 130 gram ceiling, with Fiat currently at 146, PSA Peugeot-Citroen at 150, and Renault at 152. Rome and Paris have been the lobbying for the strictest set of rules in the hope of gaining market share for their industries. By contrast, Porsche at 297, BMW at 190, and Daimler at 184 would have no chance of meeting the target even with hybrid technology, so Berlin has been battling to reshape the plans, reportedly with the help of the EU's German industry commissioner, Gunther Verheugen. He has been at loggerheads with the EU's environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas.

Chris Davies, MEP, the Liberal-Democrat leader in Strasbourg and the author of the European Parliament's own report on emissions, said it was still far from clear what the final plans would look like. He said the EU's environment directorate would resist moves to dilute the proposals, while MEPs also have considerable power to put tough language back in the draft - and add entirely new provisions that go beyond the original proposals.

Germany may lack enough allies to block the law when it reaches the Council of Ministers, although most EU governments would be reluctant to overrule Berlin on an issue of vital importance to the German economy. A seventh of the German workforce depends on the car industry in one way or another....

Source




A new authority on global warming

Post lifted from Bob McCarty . See the original for links

Last week, I published a post, Sean Hannity to Expose Hypocrisy of Actor Leo DiCaprio, in which I wrote I would watch Sean Hannity's interview of the co-directors of Leonardo DiCaprio's latest film venture, 11th Hour, when it aired on Fox News' Hannity's America program Sunday evening. That didn't happen, but I did get a chance to watch the clip on the program's web site this morning, and what I saw surprised me.

Nothing about the subject matter itself surprised me - Hannity grilled the liberals, and they argued right back, albeit in a civil tone. It was the fact that Hannity introduced the co-directors of the film without providing more detail about their backgrounds.

Hannity introduced Leila Conners Peterson and Nadia Conners as sisters when, in reality, they are sisters-in-law. No big deal. What he left out - and maybe he didn't know - was the fact that Nadia Conners is someone whose maiden name, Nadia Comenici, is familiar to almost anyone over the age of 30.

That's right! She's the same person who won a total of nine Olympic medals - including five gold - during the 1976 Games in Montreal and the 1980 Games in Moscow as a member of the Romanian gymnastic team. Most memorably, she was the first gymnast in history to be awarded a perfect "10? in an Olympic event.

So how did she end up involved in the global warming movie business? Last time I checked, she was living with her husband Bart Conners - also an Olympic gold medalist - in Norman, Okla. Together, they run a gymnastics academy in Bart's adopted hometown where he had starred on the University of Oklahoma gymnastics team some three decades ago. Plus, a look at her Wikipedia pages reveals nothing one might mistake for credentials or expertise in climatology, meteorology or any of the sciences.

Hopefully, Hannity and his cohorts at Fox News will follow up with her to find out where her expertise lies and how she went from doing balance beam and floor routines to sounding the false alarm about global warming. If or when they do, I will post an update




IPCC BOSS BACKS AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE CAUTION

The head of the world's leading climate change organisation has backed the Howard Government's decision to defer setting a long-term target for reducing greenhouse emissions until the full facts are known. Despite widespread criticism of the Government's decision last month to defer its decision on cutting emissions until next year, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said yesterday he agreed with the approach.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, in Canberra to meet government officials, said it was critical that policies to address climate change be rolled out only after informed debate based on rational thinking and rigorous analysis of the impact of different options. "Otherwise one might come up with a lot of emotional and political responses that may or may not be the best, and I think in a democracy it's important to see there is an informed debate in officialdom as well as in the public," Dr Pachauri told The Australian yesterday. "One would also have to look at the macroeconomic effects - will that result in a decline in jobs and economic output?"

The Coalition and Labor have committed to the introduction of emissions trading from about 2011, based on a long-term reduction target. However, the scale and timing of the cuts have emerged as key differences between the major parties, with Labor committed to a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse emissions by 2050, while the Coalition will wait until next year for detailed analysis to be completed.

Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull last night welcomed Dr Pachauri's endorsement of the Government's approach. "We make no apology for taking care to carefully assess the economic impact of different levels of emissions reductions and different techniques of achieving them," Mr Turnbull said. "I don't criticise Labor for saying there has to be a big cut in emissions. "The big question is how do you get there?"

Dr Pachauri was more downbeat on the prospects of the APEC summit in Sydney next month being able to deliver any concrete outcomes on climate change. He suggested more significant reforms may come from a climate change forum, announced last week by US President George W. Bush and to be held at the end of next month, which appears increasingly likely to upstage any "Sydney Declaration" being proposed out of APEC. Dr Pachauri, one of the world's most respected climate change policy experts, said APEC was unlikely to deliver any concrete commitments on climate change reductions. "If there is an (APEC) declaration that demonstrates an intent to do things and some agreement on the kind of destination that we are seeking, that might be useful," he said. "I doubt if you will get a declaration that involves any concrete actions."

By contrast, he said, the involvement of Mr Bush in the US forum for major emitters, including China and India, could drive progress in key UN negotiations to establish a strategy to reduce emissions. The UN talks will resume in Bali in November. "If we can get all the participants in that (the US) meeting to agree to some kind of a long-term vision ... that would be a major achievement."

Labor environment spokesman Peter Garrett said Labor agreed with Dr Pachauri's comments and had already commissioned analysis by economist Ross Garnaut to guide future policy. "Dr Pachauri's comments broadly affirm what Labor has been saying about the UNFCC meeting and the importance of the Bali conference," he said.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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9 August, 2007

Al Gore Faces New Debate Challenge

Best-selling author Dennis Avery is the next prominent figure to challenge the facts Al Gore is promoting in his global warming crusade. Mr. Avery is co-author of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years. Both Al Gore and Dennis Avery have New York Times best-selling books on global warming, but with opposite conclusions.

The list of Al Gore detractors continues to grow as his extreme rhetoric and conclusions get dissected by scientists, economists, and researchers. Avery joins Lord Christopher Monckton (former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher advisor), Bjorn Lomborg (Danish economist), author Michael Crichton, Prof. S. Fred Singer (former director of the U.S. National Weather Service), Tim Ball, Ph.D. (historical climatologist), Prof. Ian Clark (University of Ottawa), and Prof. Richard Lindzen (MIT) among others.

Gore claims recent climate change is the result of human activities, and society must give up most of its energy supply to prevent global catastrophe. Conversely, Avery amassed physical evidence of past warming/cooling cycles and experimental evidence demonstrating variations in solar activity affect Earth's constantly varying temperatures. "My book says our warming is natural, unstoppable-and not very dangerous anyway," stated Avery. "These books represent the two leading explanations for the Earth's recent temperature changes-and they conflict. If global warming truly is the most important public policy issue of our day, then it is high time the public got to hear the arguments from both sides matched up against each other," continued Avery.

Gore has refused all debate challengers to date. Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, noted, "Maybe it's because climate alarmists tend to lose when they debate climate realists. Or because most scientists do not support climate alarmism." The Heartland Institute has run more than $500,000 of ads in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Times promoting a debate.

Source




Environmental group aims to save the sky

Another childish Greenie stunt

An environmental advocacy group has put the sky up for "adoption" to press the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for tougher smog standards. "Adopt the Sky" is an online petition asking the EPA to approve stricter ozone pollution standards. The site then assigns signers a patch of polluted sky to symbolically adopt as their own. As of Friday, 336 miles of Arizona sky had been adopted. Ozone, a colorless, odorless gas, is at dangerous levels in metropolitan Phoenix. The sponsor, the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Earthjustice, hopes to have 50,000 signatures by Oct. 9.

In June, the EPA's administrator proposed to lower the federal ozone standard from 0.084 part per million to as low as 0.70 ppm. His proposal fell short of deeper cuts recommended by EPA's scientific advisory panel. "Higher ozone standards are going to mean fewer premature deaths, it's going to mean cleaner air, it's going to mean a better standard of life for all Americans," said Jared Saylor, spokesman for Earthjustice. The EPA is expected to announce the final rule by March 12.

Source




Corn facts, not corn flakes!

There's a whole aspect of life in America about which fewer and fewer Americans know anything. It's farming. Some two percent of the population feed the rest of us who have no idea how what they produce gets to our plate. Responsible for everything we eat, agriculture is also an essential element of our nation's economy. E. Ralph Hostetter, the publisher of American Farm Publications, is one of the most cogent, sensible voices on issues concerning farming today. Recently he wrote about "The impact of biofuels." You might think he would be all for converting corn into ethanol, but Hostetter is not. He sees the insanity of using corn - a crop used in the manufacture of 3,500 commonly used products during their production or processing - in this fashion.

The American public is told by our government the rate of inflation in 2006 was only 2.2 percent. However, when price increases in food and energy were factored in, the reality was that actual inflation was 4.8 percent, or an increase of 118 percent what the nation was told.
The volatility of food and energy prices is such that the government's Consumer Price Index conveniently ignores them. That doesn't make the problem go away, but it does mislead the public.

Today, 60 percent of the American corn crop is fed to U.S. livestock. Therefore, as the price of corn is forced up by the demands of ethanol production and many natural causes such as weather, so is the price of meat, poultry, eggs, milk and more than 3,500 products American use every day.
Among the products affected by the rise in the cost of corn are cake mixes, pizza, beer, whiskey, candies, cookies, corn flakes, cosmetics, instant coffee, carbonated beverages, fertilizers, vitamins, tires, toothpaste, paper products, pharmaceuticals such as aspirin and more than 85 different types of antibiotics. And that's just a short list. Across the board, the price of a bushel of corn was up six percent in 2006 because of federal government mandates for the production and use of ethanol. Notes Hostetter:

Corn production for the nearly 7 billion gallons of ethanol production at the present time requires about 16 million acres or 20 percent of the total 80-plus million acres presently in corn production.
In the effort to cash in on the federal ethanol mandates, production facilities cannot be built fast enough. In Iowa, when 55 ethanol plants become fully operational, they will use virtually the entire corn crop of that State! Proposals in Congress to increase biofuel production "will require nearly 100 million acres of corn, approximately a 25 percent increase above the present 80-plus million acres," said Hostetter, which means that other crops such as soybeans and cotton will not be planted.

At present, the U.S. "supplies 70 percent of world corn exports of some 55 million tons of corn. It is now estimated that ethanol production in 2006 consumed about 50 million tons." Goodbye world corn exports and the money generated for the U.S. economy. Instead that corn will be added to gasoline in the form of ethanol.

It's not like the world is running out of oil for gasoline. There is no rational or scientific reason to reduce the use of gasoline except for the charge that automobile and truck use generates "greenhouse gases;" but 95 percent of all greenhouse gases is water vapor! Environmentalists and the U.S. Congress want to destroy the U.S. economy by diverting corn from feeding the livestock and other food products that we consume and the thousands of other uses for which it is required.

In 1992, Al Gore's book Earth in the Balance was published. It is his screed about the way everyone is participating in the destruction of the Earth. He wrote, ". . . it ought to be possible to establish a coordinated global program to accomplish the strategic goal of completely eliminating the internal combustion engine over, say a twenty-five-year period." Look under the hood of your car. That's an internal combustion engine. Driving up the cost of corn is pure genius if you want to inflict financial pain on everyone and destroy the nation's economy.

Source




Energy taxes and the pretense of knowledge

"The current net tax per gallon [of diesel fuel] is 13 percent of the price, while the environmental cost per gallon is 50 percent of price. The tax on this fuel could be raised substantially to promote its efficient use."

Typically economists oppose excise taxes on the grounds that they distort market prices and lead to a misallocation of resources. But to most economists, energy, particularly energy that is derived from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), is seen as an exception. In fact, as evidenced in the statement above, to the extent that the generation of energy imposes unwanted negative effects on society, such as pollution, it is argued that taxes on the production of that energy are called for to enhance the efficient operations of the market. In the face of a new "energy crisis" and increasing levels of propaganda about environmental problems, real and imagined, it is possible, with an assist from "economic science," that "soak the energy wasters" could replace "soak the rich" as the number one rallying cry for new tax initiatives.

Support for energy taxes by many economists centers on the economic concept of externalities. Because some energy production generates pollution, the full cost of generating that energy is not being borne by its producers and consumers: there are "external effects." As a result the price of the energy source is said to be "too low" and the amount of it produced is said to be "too high"; the market "fails" to generate the "correct" output at the "correct" price. The standard solution is to tax the energy source to induce the producer to charge the "correct" price and produce the "correct" level of output. Such a tax would, according to the theory, improve economic performance of the economy overall. As one staunch supporter of energy and other externality taxes has argued: "The primary function of such taxes is to make the economy function more efficiently. Through their use we have the opportunity to employ the tax system, not only to raise revenues but also to enhance the operations of the economy."

There are serious flaws in this entire approach to both environmental and tax policy. Ultimately we must ask what is meant by market failure and implicitly, market success. If certain forms of energy are being sold at the wrong prices and are being produced in the wrong amounts, what would be the correct price and output? Obviously this would have to be known before a tax that would "enhance the operations of the economy" could be formulated and imposed. When all the fancy terminology, graphs, and equations are stripped away, the definition of market success that energy tax policymakers are supposed to mimic is so stylized and so contrived as to have no relevance for real?world policymaking.

Knowledge Problems and the Correct Price and Output

The "correct" price and output from this perspective is the one that would be generated under conditions of what is called "perfect competition." This is a world where all market participants have perfect knowledge of all current and future information that relates to their market activities. Within product lines there are no differences between what competitors offer for sale. Markets can be entered and exited costlessly. Finally, there are so many buyers and sellers in any market that no one can have any effect on their selling or buying price. Furthermore, this world is static. Any unanticipated changes in people's preferences, attitudes, technology, or the relative scarcity of resources are assumed away. The correct price and output is the one that will occur when all markets are operating under these conditions. So when an economist proclaims that "too much" gasoline is being consumed and implicitly, that the price of gasoline is too low, he means: relative to the amount that would be consumed and the price that would be paid in a world that looks like the perfectly competitive model. Clearly, by this totally unrealistic and unobtainable standard all markets fail all of the time.

Once this is recognized the absurdity of the market?failure case for energy taxes becomes easily recognized. The information requirements that are necessary to impose the "efficiency enhancing" tax are so great as to render the policy impossible to implement. If the desired outcome is the one that will be obtained when all market participants have perfect information of all preferences, scarcities, and technologies, then any policymaker would have to have similarly perfect knowledge. In reality, then, the amount of the tax and the amount of the output reduction that it brings about would necessarily be arbitrary or politically motivated and unrelated to true efficiency considerations.

The market?failure argument for energy taxes, and energy policy in general, is based on what Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek described as a "pretense of knowledge."3 To implement a tax policy that would improve on market results, the government would have to pretend that it had information it could not possibly possess. For example, gasoline taxes are often argued for on market?failure grounds. Because, it is assumed the cost of air pollution is not being borne by oil companies and automobile drivers and producers, it is argued that too much gasoline is consumed and the price of gasoline is too low.

What is typically left unstated is that it is too low relative to the amount of gasoline that would be produced and consumed in the idealized world of perfect competition. Simply to know whether this is the case, the government must know how much would be consumed in a world of perfect competition. The government has to have complete knowledge of all the purposes for which individuals in society are using gasoline and the relative importance that they place on those purposes. Furthermore it would have to possess accurate knowledge of the costs that the pollution generated by the gasoline usage imposes on all the individuals in the economy. Ultimately all of this information is subjectively determined and unknowable by outside observers, even economists.

The information requirement becomes even more intractable once the timeless feature of the perfectly competitive world is recognized. To impose the "correct" tax, individual preferences, scarcities-and therefore all costs and benefits-are assumed to be constant. If this were not the case the amount of the correct tax would always be changing as these variables change. But this is not the real world. As time passes, people's preferences and scarcity conditions are continuously changing. Even if we (unrealistically) assume that one could gather the relevant information to impose the correct tax for a given moment, by the time the tax was actually imposed it would be completely out of date.

The argument against the possibility of efficient taxation is essentially the same argument made by Mises and Hayek against the possibility of efficient, centralized control of economies in general.4 Gerald O'Driscoll and Mario Rizzo refer to the implementation of such taxes as "socialism writ small."5 If a central authority could obtain the appropriate information for improving on market outcomes with regard to levying pollution?and energy?related taxes, then there is no reason why the same authority could not second?guess the market in general. Because of the nature of the information requirements needed to mimic the perfectly competitive results, the central authority would need to know the pattern of these outcomes in all markets, both for a particular moment and as time passes and information changes.

Insurmountable Problems

These kinds of information problems are insurmountable. In spite of this fact, highly respected economists continue to make bold proclamations concerning the appropriate size of such taxes and their effect on the efficient allocation of resources, as evidenced by the statement at the outset of this essay.

The fact is that energy taxes-like all other excise taxes-distort market efficiency, not enhance it. They drive a wedge between prices paid by consumers and those received by producers, with consumers paying more than they would in the absence of these taxes and producers receiving less. Since energy is an input into production processes throughout the economy, this means that everyone's production costs are higher, and output and social welfare are lower.

In addition, such taxes, like all taxes, transfer resources from private to inherently less?efficient public?sector uses, further reducing output and productivity. That is rarely considered by those who claim that energy taxes enhance economic efficiency. The packaging of energy taxes as good for the economy is a political ploy meant to give tax increases a free ride on the environmentalist bandwagon. We should never be more wary than when anyone, politician or economist, tells us that a tax is "for your own good." Taxes have one overriding purpose: to transfer resources from the private to the public sector. This has never been and cannot be a formula for improving the economy.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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8 August, 2007

Newsweek against "deniers": three responses

Lubos Motl comments. I put up the Morano comment yesterday

Sharon Begley has what is known as a poultry brain - the readers of TRF also know her as the author of a lousy, but not the lousiest, article on string theory - but she has a huge, fanatically believing religious heart, especially if the task is to parrot musings by scientific titans such as Barbara Boxer, Al Gore, and Naomi Oreskes. So she decided to write, together with a few collaborators, another Goebbelsian article in Newsweek,
Global warming deniers: a well-funded machine
It is full of insults, "corrupt deniers". The criminal reasons why skeptics do what they do are "explained" in detail: for example, Pat Michaels needs some extreme weather to grow his award-winning pumpkins. ;-) But the article doesn't contain facts that would be both relevant and true. The only fair part of the article is the cover of the magazine (on the left) as long as you omit the silly footnote and the somewhat exaggerated color of the Earth (assuming it is supposed to be Earth) :-).
Marc Morano
responds here, explaining, among many other interesting things, that the alarmists have actually received 2500 times more funding (50 billion vs 19 million per decade) than the skeptics. Another response comes from
Noel Sheppard
Amy Ridenour
Ratings: Begley only gets 2.5 stars, Lindzen's article in Newsweek had 4 stars. A poll next to Lindzen's article showed that 54% of readers think that there is no permanent momentum to fight global warming. The poll attached to Begley's article shows that 38% of the readers think that global warming is not a threat to life on Earth while 6% are not sure




Chaos theory and oceans may determine the climate

Another comment from "Lumo" -- on "A mechanism for major climate shifts"

Alexander Ac has reminded me that I forgot our weekly dose of peer-reviewed denier literature on the climate. Here it is. Anastasios Tsonis and his collaborators offer

a new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts (full-text draft of the article, final PDF)
in Geophysical Research Letters. The article, published on July 12th, has a special "editor's highlight". You may also see the abstract in yesterday's ScienceDaily.



The authors focus on the oceans and something that could be called chaos theory - especially the concept of synchronized chaos. What they care about is whether the known ocean cycles - the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, El Nino/Southern Oscillation, and the North Pacific Oscillation - are synchronized or not.



They argue that the synchronization disappears once the coupling between all/most of these cycles gets too high: a major climate shift is a consequence. The amount of synchronization decides about the ENSO variability as well as the global temperature, as they demonstrate by an analysis of major indices in the 20th century. This climate shift may be seen as a bifurcation - branching of one possible solution into two. It is accompanied by changes of the coupling parameter which acts as an external parameter.

If you care, the shifts have occurred or will occur around 1913, 1942, 1978, 2033, 2072.

If you are interested in their predictions, a 0.2 Celsius cooling between 2005 and 2020 should be followed by a 0.3 Celsius warming until 2045 or so and by cooling in the rest of the 21st century. 2100 is seen as more than 0.1 Celsius cooler than 2005. While they admit the possibility that their curves should be superimposed with contributions such as the enhanced greenhouse effect, they have a very different explanation for the climate shift in the late 1970s that has nothing to do with aerosols or greenhouse gases.

Related: an interview with Václav Klaus for Radio Free Europe about the history of communism, the climate, and the radars. Note that on the right side, there is an English video prepared by RFE about the radars in the Brdy hills.
If you thought that the ocean and synchronized chaos was the only paper I could offer you, here are two additional ones:

  1. ScienceDaily, Geophysical Research Letters: Camp and Tung, Seattle mathematicians, argue that the maxima of the 11-year cycle of the solar activity are about 0.2 Celsius warmer than the minima and this result is statistically significant. Note that in 5-year intervals, the 0.2 Celsius change is much faster than the trend attributed to global warming.
  2. Belgian media inform that the Royal Meteorological Society is preparing a new study to be published in the summer that explains why CO2 cannot be the most important climate driver. Water vapor is responsible for "75 percent" of the climate change. Not sure how this is quantified and what it means.
Via Marc Morano.

England: 85th coldest July ever

In Central England, they have measured the temperatures for 349 years. This table shows that July 2007 was the 85th coldest July in history. Only 24 percent of the Julys were cooler! For comparison, let us look at the previous 11 months:

In comparison with these numbers between 243 and 349, 85 is really small. July 2007 was a true cassandra of a new ice age. ;-)

Via Bishop Hill




The Russian pollution problem is still serious

It was often said, by half-hearted western Soviet apologists back in the 1970s, that one should wonder not why Russia was so badly ruled, but marvel that it could be ruled at all. I always assumed that this was a reference to the geographical magnitude of the country and its diffuse ethnic mix, rather than an insinuation that Russians themselves were genetically predisposed towards incompetent and vicious autocracies. Might have to think again, though. A good proportion of that geographical magnitude and ethnic mix got the hell out as soon as it could in the years following 1991 - leaving Russia smaller, more ethnically heterodox, but scarcely better ruled.

There's another little nugget of information to wonder at with Russia: despite, or perhaps because of, possessing one of the lowest population densities in the world, it has wreaked easily the most environmental havoc and misery of any country on earth. From Kamchatka to the Gulf of Finland, Russia is still a land of acid rain, heavy metals and plutonium. Stick a pin in a map of Russia and you are likely to alight upon a poisoned river or the rusting hulk of a nuclear submarine, an irradiated steppe, some chemically defoliated birch trees or a gently glowing peasant with a life expectancy of 34 years.

Karl Marx would have been impressed, I suppose, that in the great battle between man and nature, the Soviet Union succeeded in wiping from the map almost an entire sea - the Aral, now largely a toxic desert - and turning the world's deepest freshwater lake, Baikal, into a borscht of cadmium and mercury deposits. Shorn of its dumb and vindictive state socialism it was blithely assumed that Russia would improve, but there was nothing in Russia's history to suggest this would be the case.

Now the Russians have planted a flag 13,980ft beneath the North Pole, claiming some half a million square miles of Arctic seabed for themselves (despite being signatories to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). There are rich oil and mineral deposits down there. It is assumed by the Russian newspapers that this is the first blow in the battle for control of this bounty and that some day soon there will be a brave new closed city like Chelyabinsk or Krasnoyarsk rising from the snow up there - perhaps the usual tower blocks of grim concrete apartments surrounded by belching refineries, decomposing seal carcasses and woebegone polar bears.

It's a pleasing, if naive, thought that the Arctic should belong to all of us and, by extension, none of us. But if it is to be divided up I think I would rather it fell into the hands of Chad than Russia. Maybe Moscow should be told that it can have the North Pole when the Aral Sea has been restored to its previous size and Siberia no longer has a half-life.

Source




Doubt cast over "carbon offset" tree planting

TREE-PLANTING schemes promoted by businesses and rock bands alike to offset carbon emissions do little to combat climate change, according to a think tank. A paper by The Australia Institute released yesterday accuses governments and businesses of exploiting such "fads" to avoid the need for real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. "By diverting people's funds and attention to projects that are unlikely to reduce emissions significantly in the long term, some offset schemes could ultimately do more harm than good," Christian Downie, the author of the report, said. "Tree-planting is the most popular type of carbon offset promoted in Australia but it is, in fact, the least effective for dealing with climate change. "The evidence indicates that offsets from renewable energy are the most effective, followed by those from energy efficiency projects, with forestry projects ranked last."

The comments are a blow to companies that have supported tree-planting to offset their carbon footprints, including BP, Sainsbury's, British Telecom, Orange, Avis and MTV. British rock band Coldplay bought 10,000 mango trees for villagers in Karnataka, in India, to offset the greenhouse gases released as a result of the production of their album A Rush of Blood to the Head. Dido, Atomic Kitten, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kylie Minogue, Kevin Keegan and the Rolling Stones have also promoted tree-planting schemes.

Mr Downie said Australia needed a compulsory accreditation scheme for carbon offset projects. He said there were strong grounds for excluding forestry-based offsets from an emissions trading system in Australia, or at least restricting their use. "Tree-planting, or forestry, cannot secure real, measurable and permanent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because sooner or later the forest will be felled, burned or destroyed," Mr Downie said. "When (people) buy offsets from a forestry project with their airline ticket, for example, they are actually buying a promise that the immediate emissions from their flight will be gradually offset over the next 100 years. "There can be very little, if any, guarantee that this will actually happen."

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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7 August, 2007

THE SCANDINAVIAN TREE-RING DATA

"Proxy" data from tree ring and other sources has been much used by Warmists in attempts to prop up their theory. The once prominent "hockeystick" study was allegedly (but not really) based on such data. Proxy data were used in the hockeystick study to give an air of legitimacy to what was in fact a mathematical fraud. So there is no doubt that proxy data has an important, and maybe vital role to play in climate studies.

Some new proxy data has recently emerged from studies of tree rings in Northern Scandinavia. In part because of the cold temperatures there, wood residues from the last 7,000 years have been well preserved at the bottom of muddy lakes. From that, Finnish researchers have been able to reconstuct a temperature record covering that period.

The results of the study are set out via many good graphics in a PDF here so I will depart from my usual practice and refer readers to the site concerned rather than reproducing the material here.

You will see that the temperature record over the period is one of alternating ups and downs with the present situation being well within the range of normal fluctuations. See particularly their figure 6 for that.

Figure 7 is also interesting. The researchers have looked at the cycles in their data and have plotted a projection into the future of where those cycles are leading us. You will see that, based on past climate cycles, we are headed for some global cooling soon.




WARMIST THEORY CONTRADICTS BASIC PHYSICS

Abstract of a new physics paper from Germany below:

Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics

By G. Gerlich & R.D. Tscheuschner

Abstract

The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861 and Arrhenius 1896 and is still supported in global climatology essentially describes a fictitious mechanism in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarifed. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 deg C is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

Source






You can't win with the Greenies: Now cars beat walking!

And "Don't buy anything from the supermarket". Apparently we should all live on beans. I wonder if he has factored in the gas emissions that would arise from that!

Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated. Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

The sums were done by Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, based on the greenhouse gases created by intensive beef production. "Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere," he said, a calculation based on the Government's official fuel emission figures. "If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You'd need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving. "The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better."

Mr Goodall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, is the latest serious thinker to turn popular myths about the environment on their head. Catching a diesel train is now twice as polluting as travelling by car for an average family, the Rail Safety and Standards Board admitted recently. Paper bags are worse for the environment than plastic because of the extra energy needed to manufacture and transport them, the Government says.

Fresh research published in New Scientist last month suggested that 1kg of meat cost the Earth 36kg in global warming gases. The figure was based on Japanese methods of industrial beef production but Mr Goodall says that farming techniques are similar throughout the West. What if, instead of beef, the walker drank a glass of milk? The average person would need to drink 420ml - three quarters of a pint - to recover the calories used in the walk. Modern dairy farming emits the equivalent of 1.2kg of CO2 to produce the milk, still more pollution than the car journey. Cattle farming is notorious for its perceived damage to the environment, based on what scientists politely call "methane production" from cows. The gas, released during the digestive process, is 21 times more harmful than CO2 . Organic beef is the most damaging because organic cattle emit more methane.

Michael O'Leary, boss of the budget airline Ryanair, has been widely derided after he was reported to have said that global warming could be solved by massacring the world's cattle. "The way he is running around telling people they should shoot cows," Lawrence Hunt, head of Silverjet, another budget airline, told the Commons Environmental Audit Committee. "I do not think you can really have debates with somebody with that mentality." But according to Mr Goodall, Mr O'Leary may have a point. "Food is more important [to Britain's greenhouse emissions] than aircraft but there is no publicity," he said. "Associated British Foods isn't being questioned by MPs about energy. "We need to become accustomed to the idea that our food production systems are equally damaging. As the man from Ryanair says, cows generate more emissions than aircraft. Unfortunately, perhaps, he is right. Of course, this doesn't mean we should always choose to use air or car travel instead of walking. It means we need urgently to work out how to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of our foodstuffs."

Simply cutting out beef, or even meat, however, would be too modest a change. The food industry is estimated to be responsible for a sixth of an individual's carbon emissions, and Britain may be the worst culprit. "This is not just about flying your beans from Kenya in the winter," Mr Goodall said. "The whole system is stuffed with energy and nitrous oxide emissions. The UK is probably the worst country in the world for this. "We have industrialised our food production. We use an enormous amount of processed food, like ready meals, compared to most countries. Three quarters of supermarkets' energy is to refrigerate and freeze food prepared elsewhere.

A chilled ready meal is a perfect example of where the energy is wasted. You make the meal, then use an enormous amount of energy to chill it and keep it chilled through warehousing and storage." The ideal diet would consist of cereals and pulses. "This is a route which virtually nobody, apart from a vegan, is going to follow," Mr Goodall said. But there are other ways to reduce the carbon footprint. "Don't buy anything from the supermarket," Mr Goodall said, "or anything that's travelled too far."

Source




Newsweek Magazine's Climate Editorial Screed Violates Basic Standards of Journalism

Newsweek Magazine's cover story of August 6, 2007 entitled, "The Truth About Denial" contains very little that could actually be considered balanced, objective or fair by journalistic standards. The one-sided editorial, masquerading as a "news article," was written by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein and Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips and purports to examine the "well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change."

The only problem is -- Newsweek knew better. Reporter Eve Conant, who interviewed Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, was given all the latest data proving conclusively that it is the proponents of man-made global warming fears that enjoy a monumental funding advantage over the skeptics. (A whopping $50 BILLION to a paltry $19 MILLION for skeptics - Yes, that is BILLION to MILLION - see below)

This week's "news article" in Newsweek follows the Magazine's October 23, 2006 article which admitted the error of their ways in the 1970's when they predicted dire global cooling. (See: Senator Inhofe Credited For Prompting Newsweek Admission of Error on 70's Predictions of Coming Ice Age)

Use of Word `Denier'

First, let's take a look at Newsweek's use of the word "denier" when describing a scientist who views with skepticism the unproven computer models predicting future climate doom. The use of this blatant Holocaust terminology has drawn the ire of Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. "The phrase `climate change denier' is meant to be evocative of the phrase `holocaust denier,'" Pielke, Jr. wrote on October 9, 2006 (LINK)

"Let's be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system," Pielke, Jr. explained.

Newsweek Fails Basic Arithmetic

Newsweek reporter Eve Conant was given the documentation showing that proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison.

Paleoclimate scientist Bob Carter, who has testified before the Senate EPW committee, explains how much money has been spent researching and promoting climate fears. "In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one."

For a breakdown of how much money flows to promoters of climate fear, see a Janaury 17, 2007 EPW blog post:

"The [climate] alarmists also enjoy a huge financial advantage over the skeptics with numerous foundations funding climate research, University research money and the United Nations endless promotion of the cause. Just how much money do the climate alarmists have at their disposal? There was a $3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air's Richard Branson alone.

The well-heeled environmental lobbying groups have massive operating budgets compared to groups that express global warming skepticism. The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year.

Compare that to the often media derided Competitive Enterprise Institute's small $3.6 million annual budget. In addition, if a climate skeptic receives any money from industry, the media immediately labels them and attempts to discredit their work. The same media completely ignore the money flow from the environmental lobby to climate alarmists like James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. (ie. Hansen received $250,000 from the Heinz Foundation and Oppenheimer is a paid partisan of Environmental Defense Fund)

The alarmists have all of these advantages, yet they still feel the need to resort to desperation tactics to silence the skeptics. Could it be that the alarmists realize that the American public is increasingly rejecting their proposition that the family SUV is destroying the earth and rejecting their shrill calls for "action" to combat their computer model predictions of a 'climate emergency?'"
(See EPW Blog for full article)

As Senator Inhofe further explained in a September 25, 2006 Senate floor speech: "The fact remains that political campaign funding by environmental groups to promote climate and environmental alarmism dwarfs spending by the fossil fuel industry by a three-to-one ratio. Environmental special interests, through their 527s, spent over $19 million compared to the $7 million that Oil and Gas spent through PACs in the 2004 election cycle."

Now contrast all of the above with how much money the "well funded" skeptics allegedly receive.

The Paltry Funding of Skeptics (by comparision)

The most repeated accusation is that organizations skeptical of man-made climate fears have received $19 Million from an oil corporation over the past two decades. This was the subject of a letter by two U.S. Senators in 2006 (See Senators letter of October 30, 2006 noting the $19 Million from Exxon-Mobile to groups skeptical of man-made global warming - LINK )

To put this $19 Million over two decades into perspective, consider:

One 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant of $20 million to study how "farm odors" contribute to global warming exceeded all of the money that skeptics reportedly received in the past two decades. To repeat: One USDA grant to study the role of "farm odors" in global warming exceeded almost ALL the money skeptics have been accused of receiving over the past two decades. (Excerpt from article: "The United States Department of Agriculture has released reports stating that when you smell cow manure, you're also smelling greenhouse gas emissions.")

As erroneous and embarrassingly one-sided as Newsweek's article is, the magazine sunk deeper into journalistic irrelevance when it noted that skeptical Climatologist Patrick Michaels had reportedly received industry funding without revealing to readers the full funding picture. The magazine article mentions NASA's James Hansen as some sort of example of a scientist untainted by funding issues. But what Newsweek was derelict in reporting is that Hansen had received a $250,000 award from the Heinz Foundation run by Senator John Kerry's wife Teresa in 2001 and then subsequently endorsed Kerry for President in 2004.

Science Vindicating Skeptics

Finally, Newsweek's editorial rant attempts to make it appear as though the science is getting stronger in somehow proving mankind is driving a climate catastrophe. There are, however, major problem with that assertion. Scientists are speaking up around the globe to denounce Gore, the UN and the media driven "consensus" on global warming. Just recently, an EPW report detailed a sampling of scientists who were once believers in man-made global warming and who now are skeptical. [See May 15, 2007 report: Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics: Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research]

Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian government, detailed how he left the global warming funding "gravy train" and became a skeptic. "By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming," Evans explained. "But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed," Evans wrote.

"The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role," he added.

In addition, just last week, three new scientific studies further strengthened the skeptics' views on climate change. Further, a recent analysis of peer-reviewed literature thoroughly debunks any fears of Greenland melting and a frightening sea level rise. [See July 0, 2007 - Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt]

Newsweek: A Media Dinosaur

The question remains: Is Newsweek even a news outlet worth taking the time to respond to in posts like this? Does Newsweek, a quirky alternative news outlet, even have an impact on public policy anymore? Journalism students across the world can read this week's cover story to learn how reporting should not be done. Hopefully, that will be Newsweek's legacy -- serving as a shining example of the failure of modern journalism to adhere to balance, objectivity and fairness. Anyone who fails to see this inconvenient truth is truly (to borrow Newsweek's vernacular) a "denier."

More here

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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6 August, 2007

An irritating truth

The Simpsons Movie, in ridiculing greens while defending the Everyman who's under attack everywhere else, is the sharpest satire around

Since The Simpsons first began its ascent to the Mount Olympus of popular culture as a short on the American Tracy Ullman Show in the late 1980s, many lesser animated lights have leapfrogged it on to the big screen.

Beavis and Butthead and South Park spring to mind, as does, unfortunately, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now, with over 400 episodes under its belt, The Simpsons finally gets a big-screen outing - not that its existence as a televisual staple is necessarily a boon. Self-referential to a fault, Homer's first lines capture the concern. `I can't believe we're paying to see something we can get on TV for free', he complains while watching a cinematic version of Itchy and Scratchy, before casting a knowing eye at us, the cinema audience.

But being aware of the audience's scepticism is not the same as overcoming it. Throughout the film you sometimes get the sense that, aside from a few injections of CGI and the odd `spot-a-rare-character' panorama, there is little substantial difference between the movie and watching four episodes back-to-back. Perhaps, though, as its legion of fans will testify, this is no bad thing. Indeed, for sheer quantity and diversity of jokes there is little around to rival The Simpsons Movie. This ranges from an assortment of quickfire put-downs and brilliant sight-gags to one of the most affectionate portrayals of bestiality since Gene Wilder's amour de mouton in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex. `Maybe we should kiss just to break the tension'.never have such lines had such poignancy.

Unfortunately, when this is stretched over nearly 90 minutes, monotony does creep in. The machine-like consistency of it all brings to mind some sort of comedy sweatshop, with line managers constantly monitoring the gag-to-minute ratio - `No rest for the witty, Matt'. This, I should add, is not to endorse the painfully quaint cottage-industry approach of British comedy, where it sometimes seems that little has changed since Clockwise, but simply to suggest that what works well for a 25-minute long episode needs something else to sustain it over four times that length. Luckily, that `something else' comes principally in the form of Homer's redemption, a narrative arc that begins with his unthinking selfishness, continues with his exile first from Springfield, then from his family, before a spiritual epiphany leads him to realise that `without other people (he) is nothing.' From selfish boor to selfless bore in less than an hour-and-a-half - a lesson to us all there.

Such a modern-day road-to-Damascus does, admittedly, sound a little, well, mawkish. But what gives it its edge, and The Simpsons its satirical reputation, is the way in which the comedic travails of the Simpsons allow for a particular rendering of how we live now. Unsurprisingly perhaps, given it's the cultural equivalent of white noise, the background to the family's lives in The Simpsons Movie is environmentalism, both as impending catastrophe and moral landscape. Hence Homer's supreme act of selfishness involves dumping a silo of pig excrement in Springfield Lake, and Lisa - always the voice of the Good - becomes a pint-sized eco-warrior.

The refraction of environmental themes in the Simpsons' universe is not one-sided, however. While the portrayal of Springfield's inhabitants as indifferent to the ecological danger lurking within their midst suggests a fit of Geldofitis - `just clean the f*cking lake' - those suffering said affliction come in for a fair bit of mockery, too. Lisa, so angered is she by peoples' inactivity, goes on a book tour with the title, An Irritating Truth. And Russ Cargill's explanation to President Schwarzenegger as to why he took the job as head of the Environmental Protection Agency is beautifully done: `When you made me head of the EPA, you were applauded for appointing one of the most successful men in America to the least successful agency in government. And why did I take the job? Because I'm a rich man who wanted to give something back. Not the money, but something.'

Whether it's the voice of state or corporation (a banner reads `Duff Beer - binge responsibly'), exposing hypocrisy is never far from the surface. The charge, however, tends to be levelled not at the message but the double standards of its propagators. The environmental agenda in particular is accepted; it's just certain elocuters who are deemed problematic.

Such consent to the uncontested has ramifications. For while it may be funny - and The Simpsons Movie certainly knows how to tell 'em - its satirical impulse is blunted. Part of the problem is that, deriving from leftish, anti-establishment origins, it now finds itself, whether it likes it or not, part of the establishment. Cultural ascendancy ill-befits the satiric impulse. Its hippyish mistrust of the powers-that-be, whether political or corporate, doesn't so much slaughter sacred cows as milk them. Creativity is stymied. Matt Groening may have once said he used cartoons to address reality, but you now have to wonder to what extent The Simpsons is still able to do this. It now deals less with how things are, than their preconception. The problem, then, is not its satirical bite exactly, but the absence of anything to really sink its teeth into.

`Reality' is, if you like, already satirised. From the power-crazed mad men in the white house, to a fat, complacent Middle America, numbed by consumerism, this, the satirised object, is taken by too many to be the reality. While it attacks an old-fashioned authoritarianism with one hand, the film connives at a softer, more insidious version with the other.

In a strange twist, then, its commitment to the Simpson family unit, in all its glorious dysfunctionality, constitutes its most satirical achievement. There, a genuine feeling for the hopes and frustrations of the Everyman who is ridiculed everywhere else, undercuts the cosy, official satire that would pronounce on them. This warmth redeems the film from any righteous condemnation that would quarantine the family, and ruin the movie. And it's this core commitment to the ordinary that saves The Simpsons - both the ongoing series and this film - from feeling as jaundiced as its characters look.

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CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT ALL MAN'S FAULT

Comment from Britain

I would be much more susceptible to the screams of the by now rather hysterical "climate change" maniacs if they would only make their minds up. Thirty years ago we were all being told to rush out and buy -thermal underwear for the coming New Ice Age. What happened to it? Two years ago we were assured that "global warming" would give us warmer, wetter winters but long, hot, dry summers. Is that what has been happening in Tewkesbury? Now we are told global warming has given us the wettest summer since records began. Maybe. But this year's downpour is just one inch more than nine other years and eight of them took place when there wasn't a car or jet engine on the planet. So what caused the broken records?

It is clear the climate is changing and man is a contributory factor. But as to man's exact percentage contribution, we simply do not know. Climate has simply billions of variables which even huge computers cannot solve. What?effect?on?-climate?does violent solar activity (in this area the sun has been going crazy for several years) have? And why do Pacific currents such as El Nino and La Nina have such a staggering effect on the entire global climate when they mal-function (as they both just have)? And why do they do it? We just do not know.

But we do know some things. We know that there have been rhythmic warmings?and?coolings?of?the climate. And we know they occurred when mankind had nothing to burn more than a few logs from the forest. We know that trees create moisture?which?becomes?rain?and changes the local climate for the better. In 1948, Palestine (contrary to fashionable propaganda) was nearly barren. I do not know how many millions of trees the Israelis have planted since then but today it is green and lush and the forests lure in the rain clouds.

We know that the Horn of Africa is a hell of dust and desert sand but once it was clothed in vast oak forests. The natives cut them down, burned them, never replanted and moved on. The wind blew away the soil that the tree roots had once held firm and turned forest into desert.

We know that scientists will soon produce the hydrogen-based fuel cell to power cars and houses. Until then we can generate electricity with nuclear fission and later fusion. Even later we will derive geothermal energy from the blazing core of the Earth to create steam to drive -turbines?and?make?electricity -without smoke or pollution.

No, I do not believe man is doomed. Nor do I believe he should behave as if he is insane. But I do believe our Big Brothers will use the headless chicken hysteria to rip vast quantities of money from our -pockets, shouting "save the planet, save the planet" while they gorge themselves on our sweat and labour.

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Bet on the cats

Trouble in CAPE MAY, N.J.

Cats are as much a part of this seaside town's genteel culture as rainbow-colored Victorian bed-and-breakfasts, trolley tours and cocktails on the porch at sunset. They're also suspect No. 1 in many deaths of the endangered piping plover, a fist-sized, white-and-brown fuzzball of a bird that has closed beaches and stopped development projects in the interest of protecting their habitat. With only 115 pairs of piping plovers left in the state, the federal government may intervene on the side of the birds, which has set both fur and feather flying here. Cat lovers fear the roaming felines will be euthanized, while bird lovers are wary of a rare species being wiped out. "This is a very emotional issue; this really is a cat town," said resident Pat Peckham. "I think they should leave the cats where they are. I'm a firm believer in letting nature take its course."

A cat's nature and its appetite for critters are just what have bird enthusiasts concerned. Cape May is one of the prime bird-watching spots in all of North America; the World Series of Birding is held here each year. And with bird watching and related expenditures bringing in nearly $2 billion a year to New Jersey's economy, the feathers may win this fight. The plovers, which breed on East Coast beaches during warm weather, build nest in sandy, open stretches of beach, making them and their chicks easy prey for a variety of predators, including foxes, gulls, raccoons and cats.

"I think the cats are more of a nuisance than anything else," said resident Bill Schemel. "They're killing endangered birds that belong out here. Cats are not part of the natural environment. They're here because someone's cat had a litter and they dumped them out in the woods."

As part of federally mandated beach management programs, communities with populations of threatened or endangered species are required to prevent the birds from being harmed. Biologists say beach closures, twine barriers and other buffers between birds and humans are paying off: Plover populations along the East Coast have rebounded from 722 pairs in 1985 to 1,743 pairs this year, federal officials said. Annette Scherer, a senior biologist with the Fish & Wildlife Service, said the agency is studying the situation in Cape May. Possible recommendations could include asking the city to adopt laws requiring cats to be licensed, prohibiting free-roaming cats and abandoning cats and feeding wildlife, including feral cats.

For the past 12 years, Cape May has been attempting to keep its cat population in check through a program known as trap, neuter and release, said John Queenan, the city's animal control officer. After being "fixed," the cats are quarantined to ensure that they are healthy, then returned to the wild. But a May 18 fire destroyed a trailer that a local animal rescue group had used to house the cats, killing 37 of them. A replacement facility is not yet ready, and fewer cats are being picked up.

Eric Stiles, vice president of the New Jersey Audubon Society, is working on a pilot project to find a middle ground in the debate. "It doesn't have to be cats versus birds; it can be cats and birds," he said. The program, to be unveiled this winter, would bring together animal control officials with birds and cat advocacy groups to share information on known locations of endangered birds and cat colonies. Cats that are near endangered birds could be relocated, while others deemed to be sufficiently far away could continue undisturbed.

Cat lovers across the country are keeping watch so strays aren't sent to shelters, where most are euthanized if they can't find a home. "We're intent on protecting all species," said Jessica Frohman with Alley Cat Allies in Bethesda, Md. "But birds are not somehow more important than cats."

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EXTRA CHARGE FOR LARGE VEHICLES ENTERING LONDON

I can't really disagree with this. Allowing huge vehicles into the narrow, congested steets of London where a small car would get you there as well does seem to require at least a charge. And anybody who can afford a monster vehicle should not be too victimized by such a charge

Britain is to be hit by its first "pollution charge" with owners of large cars taxed 25 pounds a day to drive into city centres. Up to a fifth of vehicles, including people carriers, 4x4s and luxury saloons, will be targeted by an emissions-based charge designed to penalise the highest-polluting vehicles. Smaller cars, such as diesel hatchbacks and hybrid vehicles that emit 120 grams or less of carbon dioxide per kilometre, will be exempt. Those emitting up to 225g/km would be charged 8 pounds Details of the new charge will be outlined this week by Ken Livingstone, the London mayor. It is set to be introduced in February.

The charge will be watched closely by at least 10 other cities considering their own levies, including Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge. Under current plans, drivers going into Manchester are likely to pay at least 5 pounds a day from 2012. Three borough councils in London have already introduced higher parking charges for fuel-inefficient vehicles.

The London congestion charge was introduced in 2003 to cut traffic but it has become less effective. Traffic fell 30% in the first year but is now only 8% below precharging levels. The levy is gradually being transformed into an environmental tax. Vehicle excise duty, the annual tax paid nationally by all drivers, has already been modified so high-polluting cars pay more.

The main losers under the new proposals will include thousands of drivers of larger vehicles living inside the congestion charge zone who are entitled to a 90% discount. In future, they would pay the same rate wherever they lived. This would mean someone living inside the zone and using a large car every day could pay 6,500 a year. A Transport for London spokesman said that "by making these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact of their choice of car on climate change."

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The objective was meant to be reducing congestion, but now the goalposts are being changed and you have to question whether motorists are getting value for money." Citroen, which has 23 models each generating less than 120g/km, would benefit the most. A spokesman said: "Customers will no longer have to buy an electric car or even a small car to avoid charges. Low emission engines mean family-sized models like the C4 are exempt."

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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5 August, 2007

Gore Imbalanced

The former vice president's new book is itself an assault on reason

The most surprising thing about The Assault on Reason, Al Gore's current bestseller, is that for a little while it actually makes some sense. The first few dozen pages, while hyperpartisan, mainly excoriate a dumbed-down, trivia-and-celebrity-obsessed culture, and in the age of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who could disagree?

But Al Gore is like one of those guys at a party with whom, once you get a few drinks in him, you never know what's coming. He's liable to strip to his underwear or start spewing expletives or waddle over with an outstretched hand and ingratiating smile and suddenly go for your ear like Mike Tyson. For just beneath that aging prep-boy facade, there's an unmistakable anger and bitterness; where Bill Clinton has always seemed too comfortable in his skin, Gore has often seemed inclined to burst out of his, like some demented political version of the Incredible Hulk.

For me, the defining Al Gore story is the one that Ward Connerly, the longtime crusader against racial preferences, tells in his autobiography Creating Equal. Having been invited to the Clinton White House as part of a group of largely black conservatives to counter criticism that Clinton's vaunted Initiative on Race was getting input from only one side, Connerly held forth on the great damage that he believed affirmative action and other well-intended policies had done to the ideal of a colorblind America. Clinton, he says, listened attentively, even sympathetically, and later threw his arm around him in brotherly solidarity. But Gore visibly seethed-and afterward, when Connerly offered his hand, he seized it in a vicelike grip and, smiling coldly, kept squeezing, until there was no doubt in Connerly's mind that he was trying to hurt him.

The Assault on Reason is like that. Yes, it's logically inconsistent and self-serving and unbelievably sanctimonious, but there's a lot of that going around. What ultimately makes the book so disturbing is that something pretending to be a brief for reason and comity is so unbelievably small and mean-spirited. It is less an argument than an extended tantrum. Reading it is often like being locked in a room with a madman.

Even more than most partisan commentators today (and of course there are more than a few on the right), Gore is blind to how recklessly he abuses facts and applies double standards, not to mention to his own viciousness. He continually rails, for instance, against those who use "fear" and "simplistic nostrums disguised as solutions" to sway an inattentive and emotionally malleable public, causing it to "overreact to illusory threats and underreact to real threats"-this from the man behind the global-warming frenzy, who consistently downplays the menace of international terrorism.

He describes his conservative adversaries as nothing less than monsters, who hold their views not out of genuine conviction about what's good for the country but because they are wholly indifferent to the general good. Moreover, he piously adds, the Right "often manifests a complete lack of empathy toward other Americans whom it identifies as its ideological enemies." Yet a little further on, he's applauding the special-interest groups on the left as "advocates of a broad and effuse public interest who rely mainly on the force of argument and the rule of reasoning," regretting only that they lack "access to the same supplies of concentrated wealth" as those on the right. He bemoans "hatred as entertainment," reserving special venom for the "Limbaugh-Hannity-Drudge Axis," yet cites the likes of Paul Krugman and Joseph Wilson as decent and fair-minded commentators.

Most bizarre of all, he insists-indeed, this is his main point-that "the public sphere is simply no longer as open to the vigorous and free exchange of ideas from individuals as it was when America was founded" (this on page 26), and then manages not to discuss the Internet for another 230 pages. When he finally does, he blithely contradicts almost all of the alarmist claptrap that came earlier, proclaiming that "broadband interconnection is supporting decentralized processes that reinvigorate democracy."

That The Assault on Reason has sold well is surely because Al Gore is now a name brand with whom a certain stripe of leftist is eager to identify. One is reminded of a recent marketing survey of Prius owners, which revealed that as many as 50 percent of those buying the Toyota hybrid do so because, unlike the Honda and Ford hybrids (which can be mistaken for regular Civics and Escapes), the Prius is immediately identifiable as a badge of virtue. Rest assured that this book, a similar emblem, will spend a lot more time on Hamptons coffee tables than at the beach.

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Watch for the coming flood of global warming litigation

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the climate change phenomenon commonly called "global warming" exists and is being caused, at least in part, by human activity. Who is responsible? The only sensible answer is, everybody. We all contribute to the release of greenhouse gasses, as did our ancestors going back at least to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. One would therefore think litigation is no more an appropriate response to global warming than litigation would be to any so-called "act of god." One would be wrong.

Earlier this year, Texas trial lawyer Stephen Susman told the Dallas Morning News that "You're going to see some really serious exposure on the part of companies that are emitting CO2." He added, for good measure, that "I can't say for sure it's going to be as big as the tobacco settlements, but then again it may even be bigger."

Indeed, trial lawyers are gearing up to turn global warming into their next pot of gold. A coalition of environmental groups and cities are suing the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of the United States for making loans to finance oil pipelines, oil drilling, and similar projects that supposedly result in a net emission of billions of tons of carbon dioxide. After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans trial lawyers Gerald Mapes and Timothy Porter sued dozens of energy companies, claiming they had contributed to global warming. Last year, Business Week reported that there were 16 pending global warming cases of these sorts pending around the country. More are surely in the pipeline, so to speak.

Indeed, the prospect of a boom in global warming litigation is prompting law firms to begin setting up units specializing in climate change issues. According to the Dallas Morning News, for example, Dallas law firms Vinson & Elkins and Thompson & Knight have set up global warming units with 41 and 26 lawyers, respectively.

If it weren't for the precedents set by tobacco, alcohol, and obesity lawsuits, one might be tempted to dismiss climate change litigation out of hand. After all, the law typically requires a showing of causation. Before you can hold me liable, you must show that but for my conduct you would not have been injured. Typically, you also must show that my conduct was the proximate cause of your injury. How can one firm-or even one industry-be blamed for a global phenomenon that took decades to arise? Making causality findings and apportioning responsibility in this context is ludicrous. Yet, what might a New Orleans jury still smarting over Katrina do if they got the chance to decide Mapes and Porter's suit?

This is a classic example of why tort reform is a pressing need. The Institute for Legal Reform offers some chilling statistics: "America's civil justice system is the world's most expensive, with a direct cost in 2005 of $261 billion, or 2.09 percent of GDP. "Tort costs were $880 per U.S. citizen in 2005, meaning the average American family of four paid a 'litigation tax' of more than $3,500 due to increased costs from lawsuits and other liability expenses that force businesses to raise the price of products and services. That cost is equivalent to nearly an 8 percent tax on wages."

These costs are having a dramatic impact on the US economy. A nonpartisan report prepared for New York Senator Charles Schumer and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, found that the "propensity toward litigation" in the United States is "driving growing international concerns about participating in US financial markets." Along with regulatory excesses like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the litigation industry in this country is making our capital markets and our economy as a whole less competitive.

It's time for Congress and the president to step up with legislation that take the question of global warming out of the arena of ad hoc judicial decision making and put it into the hands of our elected officials. Both fairness and efficiency demand it.

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Miserable Failure

Post lifted from No Pasaran. See the original for links

While collectively smug greenies in Europe make five-year-plans that sound like Soviet rutabaga production figures, and repeatedly cast the United States as a mustache-twirling eco-satan, they forget that they laughed at the environmental movement which started in America while their obsession remained in highly polluting state industries.

Fast forward to today where the US advances the cleanliness of the environment technologically, quietly, and without turning it into anything like the state established and imposed and religion that it's become in Europe.

Nonetheless, for all the bluster we've gotten so used to, they still manage their practice of enfeebling anything they attempt.

For the second year running, more wind power was installed in the US in 2006 than in any other country: about 2,500MW. The American Wind Energy Association forecasts that a further 20,000MW will be installed before 2010, an investment of about $30bn, putting it well ahead of Germany and Spain which currently head the installed capacity league table. Much of this has been driven by a subsidy of 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of any wind farm's operation and, although there has been some doubt as to whether this production tax credit will be extended beyond 2008, most of the presidential hopefuls (in both parties) have been making warm noises about the importance of renewables.

Twenty-three states now have ambitious "renewable portfolio targets", but it is California that has really seized hold of the challenge. Arnold Schwarzªenegger, the governor, is taking the credit (with the state well on track to generate at least 17 per cent of electricity from renewables by the end of the year), but much of California's success goes back to the multi-billion-dollar research programmes introduced during President George W. Bush's first term as compensation for pulling out of the Kyoto process. California has become the centre for hundªreds of start-up "clean tech" companies..

By comparison, the European renewables sector often appears stodgy, although it is fair to say that the new target adopted at the European Union summit in March (to achieve 20 per cent of all energy generation - not just electricity - by 2020) has sent shock waves through both the policy community and Europe's energy companies. The idea of generating 12 per cent of transport fuels, 18 per cent of heat and 34 per cent of electricity from renewªables will require every member country radically to rethink its policy mix.
Add to it the ignorance: several months ago I met a German engineer who was either engineering or peddling something relative to some kind of greenie blackmail. He was very proud that his native Germany had households which on average use less power than those in Minnesota. I asked him if he knew just how much colder Minnesota is than any part of his precious Heimat. He averted his gaze and mumbled that he did.




Coral bleaching on Australia's Great Barrier Reef in record cold snap

Hey! Wasn't coral bleaching supposed to be caused by global WARMING?? And what's this about record cold? Another case of heads I win, tails you lose, it seems



A RECORD cold snap across southern Queensland has triggered coral bleaching normally associated with the extremes of hot weather linked to climate change. Scientists say the bleaching has been caused by a combination of cold waters, winds and air temperatures hitting exposed reefs around the Capricorn-Bunker group of islands at the southern end of the reef.

While other sections of the reef appear to have been spared by being fully submerged or far enough north to avoid the worst of the cold snaps in June and July, bleaching has been recorded by University of Queensland researchers on Heron Island, near Rockhampton. The area is regarded as having some of the most pristine sections of accessible reef. Coral expert Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, from the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Studies, warned researchers along the reef to look for bleaching after Townsville experienced one of its coldest days on record, on June 20.

Strong and sustained southerly winds that brought heavy rain to much of southeast Queensland in June and July exacerbated the chilly conditions for coral exposed at low tide and weakened the algae on the coral needed to keep it healthy. Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said the comfort zone for coral was between 19C and 27C but temperatures had fallen to 8C. While bleaching from extreme heat affects entire reefs, the cold bleaching appears to be isolated to the tips of wide areas of coral exposed to the chill. Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said the extreme variation in temperature might be more common as climate change caused hotter summers and colder winters. [Really? Funny warming then. Sounds like no warming at all on average]

CSIRO oceanographer David Griffin said the only noticeably cold currents were further south, around Fraser Island, suggesting water was being cooled at the surface by the air temperature.

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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4 August, 2007

More on the recent Asian brown cloud study

Yet again Greenie "scientists" go into reverse when it suits them. The science is only "settled" as long as it suits their foreordained conclusions. So why should anyone else believe the science is "settled"? The study and its conclusions are junk but the fact that the study can turn the "settled" science on its head with only a passing comment on that and still get published in a leading Greenie journal is the interesting part. The conclusion is obviously what matters and the science can be bent any way you like to suit that

Himalayan glaciers are melting - but not nearly as fast as the fanciful notion of global warming will have you believe. A new study in the Aug. 2 issue of the British science journal Nature found that the solid particles suspended in the atmosphere (called "aerosols") that make up "brown clouds" may actually contribute to warmer temperatures - precisely the opposite effect heretofore claimed by global warming alarmists. "These findings might seem to contradict the general notion of aerosol particles as cooling agents in the global climate system .," concluded the Nature news article summing up the study.

Based on data collected by unmanned aerial vehicles over the Indian Ocean, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and NASA reported not only that aerosols warmed temperatures, but they also increased atmospheric heating by 50 percent. This warming, they say, may be sufficient to account for the retreat of the Himalayan glaciers.

Putting aside the fact that the Himalayan glaciers have been retreating since 1780 - some 70 years before the onset of the current post-Little Ice Age warming trend and 100 years before the onset of significant global industrialization - full appreciation of the significance of the researchers' finding requires a brief trip down recent-memory lane, one, incidentally, that no media outlet reporting this finding bothered to make.

Global warming alarmism is rooted in the idea that ever-increasing manmade emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, cause global temperatures to warm. This idea, however, doesn't match up very well against real-world observations. During the 20th century, for example, while manmade carbon dioxide emissions steadily increased from about 1940 to 1975, global temperatures cooled.

Global warming alarmists, such as the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), try to counter this observation by claiming that aerosol particles in the atmosphere - like soot and sulfates from fossil fuel combustion, and dust from volcanic eruptions - can mask the warming effect of greenhouse gases and cool the planet by reflecting solar radiation back into space. So then, which is it? Do aerosols cool or warm the planet? Can they do both? The correct answers to these questions are not as important as the fact that they are unanswered and will likely remain so for some time to come.

At the very moment that Congress considers enacting energy-price-raising and economy-killing legislation to regulate greenhouse gases based on the idea that human activity is harming global climate, the new aerosol study underscores (again) how little we understand whether and how human activities actually impact global climate. Consider other recent research that ought to give our arm-chair climatologists in Congress pause.

In May, researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the rate of manmade carbon dioxide emissions was three times greater during 2000 to 2004 than during the 1990s. But while humans may be burning more fossil fuels than ever before, that ever-increasing activity isn't having any sort of discernible or proportionate impact on global temperatures.

In April, researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that forests in northern regions - those north of the line of latitude that runs through southern Cuba - will warm surface temperatures by an estimated 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100.

Last October, Swedish researchers reported that cosmic-ray-caused changes in cloud cover over a five-year period can have 85 percent of the temperature effect alleged to have been caused by nearly 200 years of manmade carbon dioxide emissions. They estimated that the temperature effects of cloud cover during the 20th century could be as much as seven times greater than the alleged temperature effect of 200 years worth of additional carbon dioxide and several times greater than that of all additional greenhouse gases combined.

Would it be considered "piling on" to remind Congress that last year's hurricane season predictions - that is, a 95 percent chance of a very active season - turned out to be a total bust? If hurricane experts armed with supercomputers can't predict a regional storm season six months into the future, why would anyone think that they can project global climate trends for the next 100 years? These are just some of the things that climatologists have learned or have been proven wrong about in just the past year.

Given the myriad scientific holes in the manmade global warming hypothesis and allowing for the inevitable future discoveries about climate, it seems quite absurd for Congress to proceed on global warming as if, in Al Gore's words, "There is no longer any serious debate over the basic points that make up the consensus on global warming."

The new aerosol study doesn't show that climate alarmists may be just a little off course - it shows that they may be 180 degrees off. If manmade global climate change is something worth fretting over - and it's not at all clear that it is - the aerosol study opens up the possibility for an entirely new hypothesis for global warming with aerosols as the culprit. Yet up to now, the "consensus" crowd has portrayed aerosols in the opposite light as cooling agents. When so-called "consensus" can be that far off, it would seem that there's plenty of room for serious debate.

Source




The steamrollers of climate science

The IPCC is agenda-driven, not science-driven

Almost from the beginning, critics have attacked the Bush administration for the way it has dealt with science. In many areas - and emblematically in the case of climate change - well-qualified accusers have complained that the White House and its political appointees across the federal government have interfered with the work of scientists, misrepresented their findings and censored their public statements. Many of these cases are shocking - or at least they were, until people became inured to them. The administration's record on managing the government's own scientific efforts, and on respect for science more broadly, is awful.

So when the White House disagrees with most other governments in the world and expresses doubts about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that view is contemptuously dismissed as one more instance. To be sure, the administration has destroyed its own credibility on scientific integrity and has nobody to blame but itself.

For the rest of us, however, this is a pity - because to put it bluntly the IPCC deserves the administration's disdain. It is a seriously flawed enterprise and unworthy of the slavish respect accorded to it by most governments and the media. In the decisions which have already been made on climate-change mitigation, to say nothing of future decisions, the stakes are enormous. In guiding these momentous judgments, the flawed IPCC process has been granted, in effect, a monopoly of official wisdom. That needs to change and the IPCC itself must be reformed.

For a fully documented indictment, read the article by David Henderson in the current issue of World Economics. Mr Henderson, a distinguished academic economist and former head of economics at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, has been tangling with the IPCC for some time. Five years ago, he and Ian Castles (a former chief of the Australian Bureau of Statistics) first drew attention to a straightforward error in the way emissions scenarios were being calculated. The projections had used long-range cross-country projections of gross domestic product that were based on exchange rates unadjusted for purchasing power. This mistake yielded projections for individual countries that were in some cases patently absurd. Far from acknowledging the point and correcting the projections, the IPCC treated these eminent former civil servants as uncredentialed troublemakers. Its head, Rajendra Pachauri, issued a prickly statement complaining about the spread of disinformation.

As Mr Henderson's new article makes clear, the episode was symptomatic of a wider pattern of error (often, in the case of economics, elementary error) and failure to correct it. How can this be possible? The IPCC prides itself on the extent of its network of scientific contributors and on its rigorous peer review. The problem is, although the contributors and peers are impressively numerous, they are drawn from a narrow professional circle. Expertise in economics and statistics is not to the fore; sympathetic clusters of co-authorship and pre-commitment to the urgency of the climate cause, on the other hand, are.

Add to this a sustained reluctance - and sometimes a refusal - to disclose data and methods that would allow results to be replicated. (Disclosure of that sort is common practice these days in leading scholarly journals). As a result, arresting but subsequently discredited findings - such as the notorious "hockey stick" chart showing the 1990s as the northern hemisphere's hottest decade of the millennium - are left to be challenged by troublesome outsiders.

Underlying it all is a pervasive bias. From the outset the IPCC network was fully invested in the idea that climate change is the most pressing challenge confronting mankind and that urgent action far beyond what is already in prospect will be needed to confront it. In the minds of the panel's leaders and spokesmen, this conviction justifies public pronouncements that often go beyond the analysis which the IPCC's own scientists have presented.

Speaking of the panel's Fourth Assessment Report, Mr Pachauri said: "I hope this will shock people and governments into taking more serious action." The rules under which the IPCC operates tell it to be "neutral with respect to policy" - and the reports themselves strive to comply. But statements such as that, and many more besides, align the institution and its network of scientists with a programme that goes much further than science alone dictates.

The IPCC may be right: climate change may indeed be mankind's biggest and most urgent challenge. It would be wrong to demand certainty before doing more. The scientific consensus, though not quite as strong as usually claimed, is surely strong enough to warrant a carbon tax or equivalent.

But if governments are to get the best advice, they need information and analysis from an open and disinterested source - or else from multiple dissenting sources. With the environmental risks calmly laid out, framing the right policies demands proper political accountability and a much wider range of opinion and expertise than the IPCC currently provides. One incompetent institution, committed to its own agenda, should never have been granted this degree of actual and moral authority over the science, over public presentation of the science and over calls for "more serious action" that go well beyond the science.

Source




Militant Islamic Group Joins Environmental Campaign in Indonesia

Post lifted from Jennifer Marohasy

Abu Bakar Bashir, the well known spiritual leader of militant Islamic group, Jemaah Islamiya, has now joined forces with Indonesia's largest environmental organisation, WALHI, to protest against US-based mining corporation Newmont.

walhisouthcourtsmall.jpg

from http://richardness.org/blog/walhisstrangebedfellows.php

I've previously written about the Buyat Bay saga - where Richard Ness and Newmont were accused of having polluted a fishing village and its fringing coral reef with mine tailings.

You may remember that the story made the front page of The New York Times and that five miners, including Australian Phil Turner, were arrested and thrown into a Jakarta jail in September 2004. Richard's son Eric runs a blog on the saga entitled `Watching My Dad's Trial'.

When the claims of pollution where investigated by The World Health Organisation and CSIRO they were found to be bogus - a hoax. You can read a summary of the saga in my latest piece for the IPA Review entitled Politics and the Environment in Indonesia. There are copies of both reports' at Eric's website.

Richard Ness and Newmont were cleared of all charges in April this year, but the finding has been appealed.

In her journalism master's thesis entitled 'Tall Tailings: Truth and Friction in the Buyat Mining Scandal' Canadian Kendyl Salcito suggested some of the key protagonists in the saga are members of the Islamic organisation known as Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Muhammad Al Khaththah, the leader of the Indonesian chapter of Hizb-ut Tahrir, appears in the above photograph with Abu Bakar Bashir.

It is perhaps not surprising that militant environmental and Islamic organisations are joining forces, they both believe that issues of poverty and corruption are a consequence of capitalism and the exploitation of people and natural resources by large multinational corporations. As a consequence many Islamic and environmental activists want to close down mining in Indonesia - at least the most efficient, high tec, modern systems of mining. Interestingly they are supported by activists from countries like Australia and Canada - countries that continue to enjoy a high standard of living as a consequence, at least in part, of capitalism and mining.




Chemist says Global warming is nature's doing

In the 1970s, some climatologists warned the world about global cooling. Now it's global warming. Then it was particulates in the air blocking the sun; now it's carbon dioxide forming a greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is now presented as the most dangerous greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere, the primary cause of global warming. Some even call it a pollutant. With my education in physics and chemistry, I'd like to shed some light on this issue.

CO2 makes a very small contribution to the Earth's temperature. It is only 0.039 percent of the atmosphere. Nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and argon comprise more than 99 percent of the atmosphere. Furthermore, carbon dioxide is not a particularly effective greenhouse gas. Out of the wide spectrum of radiation received from the sun, CO2 only absorbs energy from three very narrow levels.

Many people believe there is a difference between man-made CO2 and natural CO2. There is no difference. Carbon dioxide is comprised of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. CO2 is a natural, vital part of biological life. Ants, termites and decaying foliage account for the formation of most of the CO2. There are more than a quadrillion ants and termites. These also make a major contribution to other greenhouse gases, methane and ammonia.

CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by plant life. (The vast amount of CO2 is removed by algae in the oceans, not by land plants.) Chemists call it equilibrium. When large amounts of CO2 are created by volcanoes or forest fires, the metabolism of plant life increases and in a short time removes the CO2 from the air.

If there is less CO2 in the atmosphere, the metabolism of plant life slows down. Thus, the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere stay very close to a yearly average of 0.039 percent. Because of the dynamic nature of our atmosphere, CO2 levels are always rising or falling. Low levels follow high levels. Ice core sampling demonstrates that this equilibrium has been in place for millennia.

The gas most responsible for the Earth's temperature is water vapor, by far the most important greenhouse gas. Not only does water vapor account for 3 percent to 4 percent of the atmosphere, it also accepts energy from the sun in virtually all energy levels. Water vapor is thousands of times more responsible for temperature than CO2. Ask any climatologist; he will tell you that this is in fact the case.

The oceans control the level of water vapor in the atmosphere. Water vapor is also responsible for cooling the planet, forming the cloud layer and reflecting the sun's energy. Again, an equilibrium. True, the atmosphere may warm for a while, but this causes more water to leave the oceans and fill the atmosphere. Over time, this causes a denser cloud cover, cooling the Earth.

A common practice among climatologists is to treat the Earth as a closed system. But certain gasses do in fact leave our atmosphere. All gases of a molecular weight 18 or above tend to be held by the Earth's gravitational field. Water is molecular weight (mw)18 and CO2 is mw44. They stay on the Earth. Methane and ammonia, the predominant gases of animal life on the planet, leave the gravitational field and go off into space and out of our atmosphere because their molecular weights are 16 and 17, respectively. Presenting these as greenhouse gases does not give a complete picture of their presence in our atmosphere.

So the oceans control both the warming and the cooling of the earth. Man's contribution of these gases is almost not measurable compared to what nature produces. Humans, with all our cars and factories, account for less than 1 percent of the CO2 present at any one time. Furthermore, man does not control the water cycle. We simply are not that important. We can work to keep the Earth clean, but we cannot control the atmosphere. Many climatologists are aware of this but do not give this critical information to the public.

Global-warming activists believe mankind is altering the Earth's temperature. Although many know that man's contribution is negligible, it is not to their political advantage to reveal this fact. Climate scientists receive funding from the government to research causes of and solutions to man-made global warming. If the current warming were demonstrated to be the natural cycle, this funding would be cut.

The 1970s climatologists had incomplete data, believing we were plunging into an ice age. Predictions made now are equally apocalyptic. They again are based on climate models with incomplete data or, in some cases, deliberately withheld data.

We are now making costly political decisions based on the "fact" that human activity is causing the temperature to rise. Many politicians believe that human-caused global warming is real and that since this view is held by a "consensus of scientists," further study is unnecessary. Climatologists need to come forward without fear and give the public the truth. Carbon dioxide's contribution to global warming is minimal; water vapor is the great buffer for the Earth's temperature; the oceans control this process. Human beings have no measurable control over global temperatures.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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3 August, 2007

Glaciers being allegedly lost to Asian Brown Cloud pollution

Complete and utter nonsense. Glaciers in the Western half of the Himalayas are actually GAINING mass. See also this post about the Siachen glacier. See also what Indian glaciologists say about their glaciers in general

The haze of pollution that blankets southern Asia is accelerating the loss of Himalayan glaciers, bequeathing an incalculable bill to China, India and other countries whose rivers flow from this source. In a study released by the British journal Nature, the investigators say the so-called Asian Brown Cloud is as much to blame as greenhouse gases for the warming observed in the Himalayas over the past half century. Rapid melting among the 46,000 glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, the third-largest ice mass on the planet, is already causing downstream flooding. But long-term worries focus more on the danger of drought, as the glaciers shrink.

The report triggered an appeal from UN Environment Program chief Achim Steiner, who urged the international community "to ever greater action" on tackling climate change. Researchers led by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, used an innovative technique to explore the Asian Brown Cloud. The plume sprawls across South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia and the northern Indian Ocean. It spews from tailpipes, factory chimneys and power plants, forests or fields that are being burned for agriculture, and wood and dung which are burned for fuel.

Emissions of carbon gases are known to be the big drivers of global warming, but the role of particulate pollution, such as brown clouds, is unclear. Particulates, also called aerosols, cool the land or sea beneath them because they filter out sunlight, a process known as global dimming. But what they do to the air around them has been poorly researched. Some aerosols absorb sunlight and thus warm the atmosphere locally, while others reflect and scatter the light.

Professor Ramanathan's team used three unmanned aircraft fitted with 15 instruments to monitor temperature, clouds, humidity and aerosols. The remote-controlled craft carried out 18 missions in March 2006, flying in a vertical stack over the Indian Ocean. The planes flew simultaneously through the Brown Cloud at heights of 500m, 1500m and 3000m. They discovered that the cloud boosted the effect of solar heating on the air around it by nearly 50 per cent because its particles are soot, which is black and thus absorbs sunlight. The researchers crunched data from greenhouse gases and from the brown clouds in a computer model of climate change. The simulation estimated that, since 1950, South Asia's atmosphere has warmed by 0.25C per decade at altitudes ranging from 2000m to 5000m above sea level - the height where thousands of Himalayan glaciers are located.

As much as half of this warming could be attributed to the effects of brown clouds, Professor Ramanathan said. "It is frightening, but I also look at the positive side, because it shows a way out of the conundrum," he said. Roughly 60 per cent of the soot in South Asia comes from biofuel cooking and biomass burning, which could be eased by helping the rural poor get bottled gas or solar cookers, he said. Professor Ramanathan's data has been validated with measurements taken on the ground and in space by NASA.

Source




Torres Strait islands "at risk from global warming"

Groan! Islands -- including Pacific islands -- are rising and falling all the time. It is nothing to do with sea levels. Regard for the facts is a very low priority for the Green/Left. Reality does creep through, however. That the islands are sinking rather than the sea rising is mentioned a couple of times below

Authorities have ordered evacuation and relocation plans for more than 2000 people who face losing their land and livelihood from the invading sea. "These islands are sinking," Torres Shire Mayor Pedro Stephen said yesterday. "People are looking at options of building on stilts or even floating pontoons because of the rising sea levels. "And this is the heartbreaking thing, this generation or the next may have to leave behind all they have ever known, all because of global warming."

Scientists predict warmer sea temperatures (thermal expansion) and the meting of the ice caps will contribute to a sea-level rise of between 9cm and 88cm in the next 50 years. Some parts of the most vulnerable islands - Masig (Yorke), Poruma (Coconut), Warraber, Yam, Saibai and Boigu - are today less than 1m above sea level.

Mother-of-two Helen Mosby, 21, of Yorke Island, yesterday showed Brisbane's The Courier-Mail newspaper the dramatic impact of global warming on her island home. "You can see where the ocean has eaten up the road," said Ms Mosby walking with son Josiah, 5. "It is a big change, and it seems to be getting worse in the past two years or so." [During which time there has been NO global warming. There has been no rise in terrestrial temperature since 1998]

James Cook University's Dr Kevin Parnell, a coastal geomorphologist studying the sinking islands, said they would probably not disappear within a generation, but the threat was "not trivial". "There is the possibility of more frequent extreme events, like storm surge and high tides, causing the water to come up higher on to the land," he said.

The Yorke Island church - more than 50m inland from the high-tide mark -was last year inundated while more than 60m of land on Coconut Island has been consumed since 2000.

Source




A New Global Warming Hurricane

Post lifted from Riehl World. See the original for links

Looks like another headline grabbing opportunity for the Global Warming crowd: Altantic hurricanes 'doubling' as world warms up

A STUDY has found about twice as many Atlantic hurricanes form each year on average than a century ago, largely as a result of greenhouse warming.

Yes, according to the National Center For Atmospheric Research, which has good reason to trump up Global Warming fears. What better way to drive more public funding for climate research given it's need for same and roots in and ties to the liberal academy. Now this below is from page 13 of a pdf from NOAA on the history of hurricanes.

Table 6, which lists hurricanes by decades since 1851, shows that during the forty year period 1961-2000 both the number and intensity of landfalling U.S. hurricanes decreased sharply. Based on 1901-1960 statistics, the expected number of hurricanes and major hurricanes during the period 1961-2000 was 75 and 28, respectively. But, in fact, only 55 (or 74%) of the expected number of hurricanes struck the U.S. with only 19 major hurricanes or 68% of that expected number. However, landfall activity during the 2000's has picked up significantly, and is now near the frequency seen in the very active 1940's. These increased landfalls are very different than the late 1990's, which showed average landfall frequencies despite having generally active seasons.

For an even clearer picture, go to page 16 of the pdf and you'll see that, as regards the Atlantic Basin, the peak numbers in hurricanes are spread throughout the last 150 or so years. There's no real trend for an increase as this new study suggests, unless you only look at certain decades and ignore other variables. Here's a screencap below.

Fortunately some scientists are already challenging this new study:

Not everyone agrees with its findings.

Many scientists say a natural cycle of warm waters in the Atlantic accounts for the surge in hurricanes since 1995.

One argument against global warming fuelling more hurricanes is that prior to 1970, many storms were undetected, meaning the level of tropical activity could have been just as intense in previous decades.

That is because 1970 was the first year satellites were used to monitor the globe.

Even more hurricanes were probably missed prior to 1944, when hurricane-hunter aircraft were first dispatched to investigate storms.

But Dr Holland and co-author Peter Webster, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, dispute that incomplete data records alone explain the sharp increase in tropical activity during the three time periods they studied since 1900.

They say tropical storm activity has increased by about 50 per cent from period to period, which they claim negates the natural cycle theory.

"These numbers are a strong indication that climate change is a major factor in the increasing number of Atlantic hurricanes," Dr Holland said.





Sorry, but I have to fly - and I'm a Greenie

I HAVE had a somewhat strained conversation with a family relation about plane travel. I was working for Greenpeace Australia and said there were people who resisted flying because of its implications for global warming. My relation looked at me is if I were some kind of neanderthal dark-green fanatic trying to drag civilisation back to the dark ages. You've got to be kidding me, he said.

Now, I'm siding with the airline industry. After flying halfway around the world to escape the Australian winter, I wish to speak on behalf of those who care deeply about the environment, but refuse to stop flying. Here in Europe, the anti-flying lobby harasses people at airports and thrusts leaflets into your face. Several London travel agents have been attacked by protesters shouting that the travel industry is to blame for global warming. A week of action is planned at Heathrow airport with a day of action aimed at disrupting flights. There are even anti-flying websites, but in this highly emotional debate, it is important to consider the facts.

Sir Nicholas Stern, the British economist who wrote the Stern Report on global warming, says flying accounts for only 1.7 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is a tiny amount compared with the damage caused by deforestation (24 per cent) and shipping, road and train transport (18 per cent). That means if none of us ever sets foot inside a plane after tomorrow we would not stop global warming, although it might help.

And there is another side to all this. The Third World's dependence on tourism dollars is so great the economies of these countries face collapse if we stop flying there. Some of these countries also depend on Western health professionals routinely flying into their communities. For them it is a matter of life and death. Julia Francombe, the founder of a Kenyan clinic that flies in doctors from the UK to restore the eyesight of locals, says if the doctors "stop coming it will kill us".

The airline industry is rolling out fuel efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that cuts fuel use by 70 per cent over its old 727. Flying is an integral part of modern life and one wonders if the efforts of the environment lobby would not be better focused on forestry emissions and generally lowering industry and domestic consumption levels, rather than those who fly occasionally. It is simply wrong to suggest that flying is one of the key engines of global warming and unfair to point the finger at those who fly as being guilty of heinous crimes against the planet. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a plane to catch.

Source

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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2 August, 2007

Greenie fanaticism hits Poland

What is proposed is a viaduct (bridge) OVER a wildlife area, not a road through it -- but that is still not good enough for the Green EU bureaucracy

The European Commission is seeking a court order to prevent Poland re-starting work on a road through a protected wildlife area. The road - which carries traffic from Warsaw to Helsinki - goes through the Rospuda Valley - a peat-bog area that is home to rare plants and animals. Warsaw halted work for the bird-nesting season but plans to resume on 1 August. It says environmental damage would be minimal, because the plan is for a viaduct not a road at ground level.

"The EU is asking the European Court of Justice to issue an injunction to prevent irreversible damage to a unique environmental site," said Barbara Helfferich, spokeswoman for Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

The Commission wants work suspended until the European Court decides whether the road - a 40km (25-mile) bypass around the town of Augustow - complies with strict EU environmental laws. The town is crossed every day by some 4,500 heavy goods vehicles on their way to and from the Lithuanian border.

The British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has complained the project puts at risk strongholds of lynx and wolf and "the most important European Union populations of two globally-threatened birds: the greater spotted eagle and aquatic warbler".

Commission officials say Poland could lose hundreds of millions of euros of funding for other stretches of the planned Via Baltica, from Warsaw to Helsinki, if it goes ahead with the Rospuda project. The Rospuda section is being built without EU funds, but Poland hopes Brussels will co-finance the construction of other parts.

Source




POPULATION CONTROL

Since the beginning of time, one of the clearest markers of an enlightened society has been the moral status it attaches to human life. And outwardly, at least, twenty-first-century Western societies express an unprecedented degree of respect for human life. For example, cultural and political institutions continually talk about the need to uphold human rights. The human rights narrative now shapes policymaking, both domestically and internationally. Many even argue that protecting human rights is a cross-border duty that should override the principle of national sovereignty. Our societies are also increasingly health-obsessed. The phenomenal growth in health expenditure in recent years shows just how much prosperous societies respect individual life today. Western societies will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths in their efforts to keep a premature baby alive or to prolong the life of elderly people or those who are chronically ill.

And yet, alongside the ethos of human rights and the development of heroic medicine, contemporary society appears estranged from its own humanity. To put it bluntly: it is difficult to celebrate human life in any meaningful way when people - or at least the growth of the number of people - are regarded as the source of the world's problems. Alongside today's respect for human life there is the increasingly popular idea that there is too much human life around, and that it is killing the planet.

The humanist impulse that once drove the development of the modern world has been replaced by a tendency to view humanity with suspicion, or even outright hostility. The vocabulary of our times - `human impact on the environment'; `ecological footprint'; `human consumption' - invokes a sense of dread over the active exercise of human life. Apparently, there are too many of us doing too much living and breathing. In a world where humanity is portrayed as a threat to the environment and to the very survival of the planet, human activity - from birth to consumption to procreation - is regarded as a mixed blessing. Consequently, our concern with preserving and improving the quality of life of some people sits uneasily with an increasingly shrill demand to prevent people from being born in the first place.

Today, many green-leaning writers and activists argue that population control is the best solution to the problems we face. This belief that there are `too many people' inhabiting the globe has reared its ugly head numerous times over the past 200 years. Since the times of Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), a catastrophic vision of population growth causing the collapse of society has formed an important part of the culturally pessimistic outlook. Back in the eighteenth century it was predicted that population growth would lead to famine, starvation and death. Today's pessimists have raised the stakes further: they denounce population growth as a threat to biodiversity and to the very existence of the planet. Twenty-first-century Malthusians are not so much worried about an impending famine: they're more concerned that people are producing and consuming too much food and other commodities.

Where in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Malthusians warned that population growth threatened people with starvation, today's Malthusians denounce people for threatening the planet by consuming too much. As a result, contemporary Malthusianism has an unusually strident and misanthrophic streak. In the West, the population-control lobby castigates those who have large families for being environmentally irresponsible. Having children, especially lots of children, is now discussed as an `eco-crime' on a par with pollution. From this perspective, a new human life is seen as little more than another producer of carbon; new life is seen as a form of pollution. So it would be better, the Malthusians argue, if these new human lives did not exist at all. As one Malthusian crusader notes: `A non-existent person has no environmental footprint; the emission "saving" is instant and total.' (1) This preference for the non-existent over the existent speaks to a powerful anti-humanist sensibility. And it is not only eccentric and isolated misanthropes who value `non-existence' as being somehow morally superior to existence - rather, this outlook is symptomatic of a wider trend for devaluing the status of human life today.

For contemporary Malthusians, every new child is another pollutant: she may just be a baby now, but by the time she is 80 she will be responsible for the emission of 9.3 tonnes of CO2! So why worry about how much pollution your car causes? Apparently you should be far more concerned with limiting the size of the population. `Population limitation should.be seen as the most cost-effective carbon offsetting strategy available to individuals and nations', argues the dreary British-based population-control outfit, the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) (2). Once the emission of greenhouse gases is taken to be the defining feature of human activity, then it follows that controlling fertility is the ideal `carbon offsetting strategy'. `If we had half as many people, we wouldn't have much of a climatic warming problem', says Ric Oberlink of the US-based group Californians for Population Stabilization (3). And no doubt if the human species disappeared off the face of the Earth altogether, then the crisis of global warming would resolve itself and the planet would be very happy.

For Oberlink and his associates, global warming is a symptom of the far greater menace of population growth. `Global warming is a very serious problem, but it is a subset of the overpopulation problem', claims Oberlink. John Seager, president of Population Connection, the American campaign group that was formerly known as Zero Population Growth, also believes that the `underlying cause of global warming' is `human population growth' (4). The idea that population growth is the principal threat to the planet is widely disseminated through the mainstream media. While giving the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures earlier this year, the economist Jeffrey Sachs argued that `our planet is crowded to an unprecedented degree', and such overcrowding is `creating..unprecedented pressures on human society and on the physical environment' (5). This pessimistic view of population growth is so taken for granted that it is very rarely challenged in mainstream intellectual and cultural circles.

The catastrophic imagination in contemporary Western culture has encouraged the Malthusian lobby to target the very aspiration for procreation. Controlling fertility is now described as a duty rather than a matter of choice. `Couples making decisions about family size do so in the belief that it is a matter for them and their personal preferences alone', says the OPT, with incredulity (6). The idea that people should have the right to make choices about their family size is dismissed as an indefensible outrage against common sense.

This assault on the right to procreate is often intrusive, even coercive. Take the example of Rwanda. The world was horrified by the mass slaughter in Rwanda in 1994, during which an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed. Yet it appears that, so far as the population-control lobby is concerned, there are still too many people living in Rwanda. As one headline earlier this year put it: `After so many deaths, too many births.' Apparently, `After the 1994 genocide, in which more than 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered, it seemed difficult to believe that overpopulation would ever be a problem. Yet Rwanda has long had more people than its meagre resources and small area can support.' Now, with the guidance of Western non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Rwandan government is planning a sweeping population-control programme. From now on, everyone who visits a medical centre will be `counselled' about family planning (7). Experience shows that such `counselling' in reality means putting pressure on women to use contraception.

It is in poverty-stricken, insecure countries like Rwanda, where people lack the resources to assume even a modicum of control over their lives, that the truly inhumane nature of population-control policies becomes clear.

A cause in search of an argument

The distinctive feature of Malthusianism is its profound consciousness of limits. The fatalistic Malthusian outlook looks upon people as parasitic consumers whose appetites are limited only by the obstacles thrown up by nature. Malthus' Essay, which was written in 1798, was a reaction against the optimistic visions of humanity put forward by Enlightenment thinkers. For Enlightenment thinkers such as Condorcet and Godwin, people were not simply consumers - they were are also creative actors, innovators, producers. Thankfully, in the centuries since he wrote Essay and other works, Malthus' alarmist warnings have proven to be unfounded: food production has generally increased in line with population growth and there has not been a global famine. However, the fact that Malthus' predictions did not come true has not discouraged anti-humanists from pursuing the population-control project. They simply invent new reasons for why we must control population growth.

Over the past two centuries, a bewildering array of problems has been blamed on population growth. At various times, famine, poverty, the failure of Third World economies, instability, revolution, the spread of communism and the subordinate position of women have been linked to population growth (8). The approach of the population growth lobby is devastatingly simple: they take a problem and argue that it would diminish in intensity if there were fewer people. Such simplistic methodology is even used to account for the emergence of new forms of terrorism today.

The Malthusian fantasy about a `ticking population bomb' has been recycled in a new form - now rising population is said to give rise to real bombs in the form of Islamist terrorism. Apparently overpopulation creates a lot of poor, unemployed, discontented men; and many of them turn into troublemakers, which means that they can become canon fodder for terrorist networks; thus they end up on the wrong side of the `war on terror'. In the Seventies Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, argued that population growth in the South inexorably led to the triumph of communism. Today he has recycled this simplistic diagnosis to argue that population growth has led to the rise of international terrorism. Demographic factors are `likely contributors' to terrorism, he claims. Why? Because the `vast majority of terrorists are young males' and there are `huge numbers of boys under 15' in Muslim nations.

This idea that large numbers of young males equals a potential terrorist threat is systematically promoted by the supporters of population control. `It is impossible to ignore the link between rapid population growth and terrorism', says the director of the Population Coalition, a collection of population-control groups. In truth, it is the logic of the simpleton that sees a link between large numbers of young men and terrorism: population-control activists believe that because population is growing at the same time that new forms of terrorism are emerging, then they must be linked! If we took this view to its logical conclusion, then anything that coincides with current demographic patterns - whether it's Hurricane Katrina, the boom in property prices in London or the popularity of iPods - could be linked to population growth.

Prominent Malthusian organisations such as the Worldwatch Institute and the Population Institute have set out to repose population control as an effective counter-terrorist measure. Consider the Population Institute's study Breeding Insecurity: Global Security Implications Of Rapid Population Growth. It argues that `rapid population growth in developing countries creates national security problems, including civil unrest and terrorism'. The report cites a study by another Malthusian group, Population Action International, which claims that `youth bulges create instability and increase the likelihood for terrorism and civil unrest by as much as 50 per cent'. Fifty per cent might sound like a big number - but this is an entirely made-up figure, a figment of the Malthusian imagination which is obsessed with constructing a relationship between demographic growth and terrorism.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from the `50 per cent' claim is that the threat of terrorism could be halved if only we implemented a vigorous programme of population control. Apparently the solution to the problem of terrorism is to stop `them' breeding. As the Population Institute's report concludes: `While family-planning programs will not create a more secure world on their own, they will go a long way toward reducing pressures on societies that lead to instability, unrest, and terrorism.'

Losing faith in the human

You don't have to be a sophisticated student of global politics to see through the simplistic and opportunistic arguments on security put forward by the new Malthusians. But then, the success of Malthusianism has never been down to the rigour or eloquence of its ideas. Rather, the success of Malthusian ideas depends on the strength of cultural pessimism at any given time. And today it is the loss of faith in the human potential, a fatalistic view of the future, which has rejuvenated the population-control crusade.

So powerful is cultural pessimism today that even the special quality of human life is now called into question. Today, pollution is seen as the principal feature and consequence of human existence. Indeed, today's neo-Malthusian thinking is far more dismal and misanthropic than the original version. For all his intellectual pessimism and lack of imagination, Thomas Malthus possessed a far more robust belief in humanity than do his contemporary followers. Although he shared today's cultural obsession with the limits of nature, he nonetheless expressed a conviction that humanity had a positive role to play. He argued that although `our future prospects respecting the mitigation of the evils arising from the principle of population may not be so bright as we could wish.they are far from being entirely disheartening, and by no means preclude that gradual and progressive improvement in human society, which before the late wild speculations on this subject, was the object of rational expectation' (9).

Malthus' reservations about the human potential were a product of his deep-seated hostility to the optimistic humanism of his intellectual opponents: Condorcet, Godwin and others. And yet, he made it clear that despite his pessimistic view of population growth `it is hoped that the general result of [my] inquiry is not such as to make us give up the improvement of human society in despair' (10).

In contrast to today's singularly pessimistic neo-Malthusians, Malthus' On The Principle of Population managed to convey a belief in humanity. Over the past two centuries, his followers have often tried to discourage people from the `wrong' classes and the `wrong races' from procreating - yet despite their prejudices they continued to affirm the special status of the human species (or at least certain sections of it). In some instances - for example, during the rise of the eugenic movement - rabid prejudice against so-called racial inferiors was combined with a belief in human progress.

By contrast, today's Malthusians share all the old prejudices and in addition they harbour a powerful sense of loathing against the human species itself. Is it any surprise, then, that some of them actually celebrate non-existence? The obsession with natural limits distracts society from the far more creative search for solutions to hunger or poverty or lack of resources. Worse still, by calling into question the special quality of the human, the population-control lobby seeks to corrode people's confidence in their ability to tackle the problems of the future. Human life should always be treated as precious and special. How can there possibly be too many of us?

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The Energy Bill That Isn't: Rep. Nick Rahall's Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007

It is no secret that congressmen frequently take liberties when assigning their bills attractive names that are not representative of the contents within. The "Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007" (H.R. 2377), sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), is such an example of fraudulent advertising. Though the name implies it is designed to help meet America's growing energy needs, in reality, the bill is little more than an environmentalist wish list. One provision in the bill would obstruct the delivery of energy to areas of the country in most dire need of energy transmission upgrades by banning vast amounts of land from consideration for federally designated energy corridors. Another provision would lock up more federal, state and private land for the purpose of helping wildlife cope with "global warming."

Why Energy Corridors are Needed

The 2005 Energy Policy Act directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to study and identify regions of the country where electricity transmission is congested and constrained to the point it is adversely affecting consumers.1 In August 2006, DOE reported that both the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest regions are "critical congestion areas"2 where existing electricity transmission infrastructure is in most need of an upgrade.

According to DOE, the Mid-Atlantic region's tenuous electricity supply is an especially urgent matter. Without increased transmission capacity, "reliability violations will occur" in the northern Virginia - Washington, D.C. - Baltimore area by 2011. The same is true for southeastern New York State. Northern New Jersey and central Pennsylvania would experience similar problems in 2014 and 2019 respectively.3

According to DOE, "[T]hese types of projections indicate an increasing risk of significant problems - such as involuntary service curtailments and even rolling blackouts."4 As it can take five to 10 years or longer just to clear regulatory hurdles and develop proposals for new transmission facilities,5 time is of the essence.

As DOE warns:

The Mid-Atlantic Critical Congestion Area is home to 55 million people (19 percent of the nation's 2005 population) and is responsible for $2.3 trillion of gross state product (18 percent of the 2005 gross national product). Given the large number of military and other facilities in this area that are extremely important to the national defense and homeland security, as well as the vital importance of this populous area to the nation as an economic center, any deterioration of the electric reliability or economic health of this area would constitute a serious risk to the well-being of the nation.6

The seriousness of the problem prompted DOE to designate two "National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors" in April 2007 for both the Mid-Atlantic region and Southwest region of the country, which is also in need of a critical upgrade. These National Corridors are geographic, interstate areas where necessary, additional transmission infrastructure could be built to solve the regions' congestion woes.

In practice, National Corridors serve three key purposes. One: They identify areas of the country where transmission problems are so urgent, and the affected areas are so vital to the country, that it is in the national interest for utilities and transmission providers to remedy the situation. Two: They serve as proposed, broad geographic locations where additional transmission facilities can be constructed, and encourage the identified regions to work together to solve the problem. And three: National Corridors clear the way for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to permit the construction of a new transmission facility inside the corridor should construction be blocked by a State government.7

As DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman states, these corridors "will help facilitate the infrastructure growth necessary to meet the demands of our growing economy."8 Considering the looming crisis in some regions, they could also help prevent a future disaster.

Rahall Bill Would Obstruct Energy Corridor Designations

The Rahall bill rescinds these proposed electric transmission corridors and seeks to prevent the designation of all future national energy corridors, including those designed to improve delivery of gas and oil, by banning any area within one mile of land that has been designated by federal or state government for "protection of scenic, natural, cultural, or historic resources"9 from consideration in a proposed corridor. According to Rahall's Natural Resources Committee office, this is meant to protect "special places" that "should not have pipelines running through or wires strung over."10

In practice, it would be difficult to thread a needle without touching any of these banned areas, let alone an electricity transmission or gas line. This sweeping ban would include every unit of the National Park Service, which comprise more than 83 million acres,11 as well as all 25 million acres in the Bureau of Land Management's National Landscape Conservation System,12 and all land within one mile of these lands. Add to this myriad other federal and state designated "scenic, natural, cultural, or historic" areas and it becomes virtually impossible to designate an energy corridor anywhere.

As if this was not enough, the Rahall bill would also ban any land considered a "sensitive ecological area, including any area that is designated as critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or otherwise identified as sensitive or crucial habitat, including seasonal habitat, by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, by a State agency responsible for managing wildlife or wildlife habitat, or in a Federal or State land use plan"13 from consideration in a proposed energy corridor.

The need to upgrade America's energy infrastructure cannot be ignored. According to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) 2007 "Annual Energy Outlook," electricity consumption is projected to increase 41 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030.14 EIA also reports that "all electricity demand regions are expected to need additional, currently unplanned, capacity by 2030."15

While addressing our nation's energy needs is given a backseat in the "Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act," another provision in the bill indicates the environmental lobby is driving the bus.

Rahall Bill Would Create Wildlife Corridors

A separate provision in the Rahall bill would establish a "national strategy for assisting wildlife populations and their habitats in adapting to the impacts of global warming."16 Specifically, this would require the identification of all "species likely to be adversely affected by global warming" and require that these species' habitat or "potential habitat" be protected, acquired or restored to help them "build resilience to global warming." In addition, "habitat linkages" would be created to "facilitate the ability of wildlife to move within a landscape in response to the effects of global warming."17

A more reckless policy is difficult to imagine. This is a virtual blank check for the federal government to arbitrarily acquire private property and restrict property rights. A good indicator of the severe regulatory burden likely to result from such a broad species protection policy is the current burden associated with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Government often takes restrictive measures against property owners when implementing the ESA. As Jonathan Adler, director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, writes:

Under the ESA, individual Americans have been prevented from building homes, plowing fields, cutting trees, clearing brush and repairing fences--all on private land. The federal government has even barred private landowners from clearing firebreaks to protect their homes from fire hazards.18

In fact, the Rahall bill's species protection provision has the potential to be even worse than the ESA. The scientific data used to justify protecting a species under the ESA has oftentimes been lacking19 and the cause of controversy.20 For instance, the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse continues to receive protection under the ESA despite a 2005 U.S. Interior department proposal to remove the mouse from the list in light of evidence that the Preble's Mouse is not taxonomically distinguishable from another, more common species of mouse.21 As a result, 31,000 acres in Colorado and Wyoming remain subject to ESA restrictions22 that have prevented property owners from using their land.23

The science surrounding the hypothetical threat that "global warming" poses to a species is likely to be even less certain and more controversial considering global warming theory itself is hypothetical. Regulators need only claim that a species is "likely to be adversely affected by global warming" to justify acquiring property or property rights to protect that species, even if the species is abundant and thriving.

Public access to federal lands would also be jeopardized by a provision in the Rahall bill that mandates "climate change adaptation strategies for wildlife and its habitat" be incorporated into the management plans of all federal lands administered by the Department of Interior and the Forest Service.24 For example, under the ESA, all federal agencies, including the National Park Service, are required to avoid any actions that might disturb endangered species' habitat.25 Last year, public access to a portion of Channel Islands National Park was temporarily closed to accommodate a breeding population of ESA-protected pelicans.26 Similar restrictions on public land could occur under the Rahall bill under the pretense of protecting species and habitat for "climate change adaptation."

Considering all of this, it is not surprising the Rahall "energy bill" is receiving high praise from groups such as Defenders of Wildlife27 and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the latter of which approves of 95 percent of the bill's contents.28 Both groups have consistently promoted rigid enforcement of the ESA and have opposed reform efforts designed to help alleviate the ESA's burden on landowners.

The "wildlife and global warming" provision in the Rahall bill would also be a formidable weapon in environmentalists' already extensive legal arsenal. Environmental organizations have demonstrated an enthusiasm for filing lawsuits under federal species protection laws that have resulted in stymied public works projects and have even restricted military training operations. For example, a coalition of environmental groups sued government to restrict the amount of dammed water flowing into the Missouri River, ostensibly to protect endangered birds and fish, causing economic hardship in the region.29 The Natural Resources Defense Council has sued under the ESA to protect species' habitat at the expense of military training operations at Camp Pendleton and Miramar Marine bases in California.30

Conclusion

Despite its name, the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act would obstruct vital energy infrastructure improvements needed to address America's rapidly growing energy needs. It would also spawn the creation of an expansive new wildlife and species protection program, predicated on the hypothetical threat of global warming, which would result in increased federal land acquisition and infringements upon property rights.

Source




Hawaii plantsman confounds Greenies

Keith Robinson is a REAL Greenie. He has a green thumb with endangered plants and a belief that the `green' tactics used by the environmental establishment are irrelevant to conservation

Nowhere does the logic of federal environmental policy seem more mismatched to endangered-species preservation than on Hawaii, an ecological anomaly 2,500 miles from the U.S. mainland. About as near to Washington as Albania--actually Albania is closer--the Hawaiian archipelago is the most remote and isolated ecosystem on Earth and a virtual command center of endangered species. Of 743 officially designated endangered plants in the United States, Hawaii has more than one-third of them. And nowhere is there a greater threat to the survival of these species than the aggressive land-lockdown tactics of the national environmental-preservation organizations, their lawyers and their fund-raisers.

But these environmental activists and regulators never have met anyone quite like Keith Robinson, the fifth-generation descendent of the legendary Sinclair family who arrived in Hawaii from New Zealand in the 1860s. Keith and his brother, Bruce, are joint owners of the seventh-largest Hawaiian island, Niihau, known throughout the state as kupu, or forbidden. Purchased for $10,000 in gold in 1872, the 72-square-mile island has been preserved from outside contact for 130 years. Niihau islanders trace their ancestry to before contact by Capt. James Cook in 1778. School and church services are held in native Hawaiian, and travel to the Forbidden Island is by personal invitation of the Robinsons only.

The Robinsons' astonishing preservation of Hawaiian language and traditions on Niihau is mirrored by Keith Robinson's commitment to endangered indigenous plants. The family also holds some 50,000 acres on Kauai--breathtaking jungle-clad mountains, towering waterfalls and tropical forest that look like critical habitat for the likes of King Kong. (Indeed, Jurassic Park was filmed on Robinson lands, and the helicopter used in the opening scenes was Robinson's Niihau shuttle.)

In his trademark green hard hat and rusted-out Nissan pickup, Robinson is the plain-speaking, hands-on manager of his Kauai Wildlife Reserve, a self-described "outlaw operation" that for nearly 20 years has preserved some of the most endangered species on Earth. A typical day for Robinson can involve a backbreaking 18-hour trek into remote canyons to retrieve or care for a rare species, a grueling and single-minded enterprise for the 60-year-old.

I give Keith tremendous credit, says John Fay, a biologist with the endangered-species program for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Washington. "He has done something truly remarkable with minimal resources. I visited his reserve probably 10 years ago, and I remember going over my notes later and realizing he was personally the guarantor of probably a dozen species of endangered plants."

Robinson's assessment of his successes is characteristically blunt: "My private, one-man Hawaiian endangered-species reserve is based on hard work, independent thought and old-fashioned moral standards. This combination worked just fine for America's Founding Fathers, and it still works well on the rare occasions when it is tried today."

Through the years Robinson has donated cuttings and seeds to state and private environmental organizations, but he has little patience for them today. "During the last 30 years," he says, "Hawaii's environmental establishment has become totally corrupt, motivated primarily by a lust for money and power. Now they have found that they can use the U.S. Endangered Species Act to seize zoning control of huge tracts of land, on the pretext that these areas are `critical habitat' for endangered species."

Earlier this year critical-habitat designations were proposed for more than 60,000 acres on Kauai as a result of a 1997 lawsuit brought by Earthjustice --an environmental law firm formerly known as the Sierra Club Defense Fund --against the FWS. And according to Hawaii state forester Michael Buck, these designations "are just the beginning of a process that will systematically designate similar lands throughout the state that could encompass up to 500,000 acres--or one-eighth of the land area of the entire state of Hawaii."

Robinson claims these designations are based on a systematic deception of the public. "Environmental extremists are wasting large sums of public money in expensive and completely useless habitat listings," he says. "The real truth is that Hawaii's endangered plants are biologically incompetent. This is the final, immutable, all-encompassing, result-determining reality of all propagation work with these species. They evolved for millions of years in benign isolation, where there were no significant threats or competition. Thus they lost their biological efficiency and were rapidly overwhelmed when thousands of efficient and aggressive species were introduced that evolved in the savage competition of continental ecosystems."

He continues, "They will relentlessly continue to decline to extinction in the wild, no matter how much alleged `critical habitat' is designated by lines drawn on maps. Meanwhile, the environmental establishment has created a weird mixture of quackery, propaganda, supposition and wishful thinking, and have been so misled by it that they are almost totally unable to grow healthy populations of Hawaii's rarest plants. The only way they can be saved is by growing them in intensively managed and cultivated reserves, where they can be constantly protected."

These strong charges are backed not only by the record of his private preserve but by what Robinson describes as "a fantastic and incredible episode": the successful propagation of what the FWS has called "the rarest plant in the world." The beautiful Kokia cookei is native to the north coast of Molokai, but by the beginning of the 20th century, only a single tree was known to exist in the wild. This perished in 1918.

According to conventional wisdom, K. cookei declined to the brink of extinction because of habitat conversion, introduced grazing animals, loss of native pollinators and seed predation by insect larvae. For the last several decades the species has been kept alive by grafting it onto the rootstocks of two other extremely rare sister species. Kept alive, but no more. But in just two years since Robinson secretly obtained cuttings of Kokia cookei, he has managed to bring them to flower, and in the last few months, to produce seeds. He currently is nursing some three-dozen seedlings in a remote, undisclosed location.

The accomplishment is breathtaking. "People sometimes ask me what I think is the single most endangered species on Earth, and I answer Kokia cookei," Fay says. "It is in effect just `half' a species, because it is grafted to a related stock. If Keith has managed to propagate Kokia cookei as you have described, he has cracked one of the major barriers. The suspicion was that the gene pool was simply depleted."

For Robinson, this breakthrough only reinforces the doubts he has about the tactics, competence and credibility of the environmental establishment. "As a result of extensive work with the closely related sister species, I believed that there was no problem with pollinators or self-compatibility," he says. "Most endangered Hawaiian plant species got that way because they are biologically incompetent, and metabolic inefficiency is usually a major component of that. There are very effective ways to solve that problem, but you have to do a tremendous amount of extremely hard physical work in the process--and the entire environmental establishment has always been intensely allergic to hard physical work."

Robinson explains, "To grow Kokia cookei from seed, for example, I had to spend several hours a day, for some 20 to 30 days, intensively cultivating the plants with a magnifying glass, tweezers, a matchstick and an eyedropper. If I had allowed even a couple of tiny ants to wander around on the seedlings, there is an excellent chance the plants would not have survived. And that is only one part of one phase of the work that was required to grow this one Hawaiian endangered species."

He adds, "When I first started growing endangered Hawaiian plants, I soon found out that the published scientific data is extremely inaccurate. And unlike the government and environmental groups, I relied on common sense instead of voodoo science, I learned from my mistakes instead of endlessly repeating them, and I worked far harder than they were willing to."

More here

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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

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1 August, 2007

Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt

The July 27-29 2007 U.S. Senate trip to Greenland to investigate fears of a glacier meltdown revealed an Arctic land where current climatic conditions are neither alarming nor linked to a rise in man-made carbon dioxide emissions, according to many of the latest peer-reviewed scientific findings. Recent research has found that Greenland has been warming since the 1880's, but since 1955, temperature averages at Greenland stations have been colder than the period between 1881-1955.

A recent study concluded Greenland was as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's and the rate of warming from 1920-1930 was about 50% higher than the warming from 1995-2005. One 2005 study found Greenland gaining ice in the interior higher elevations and thinning ice at the lower elevations. In addition, the often media promoted fears of Greenland's ice completely melting and a subsequent catastrophic sea level rise are directly at odds with the latest scientific studies. These studies suggest that the biggest perceived threat to Greenland's glaciers may be contained in unproven computer models predicting a future catastrophic melt.

As a representative of Environment & Public Works Committee Ranking Member, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), I made the trek to the Arctic Circle with the Senate delegation (LINK) to the land the Vikings once farmed during the Medieval Warm Period.

Senators and their staff viewed majestic giant glaciers and icebergs in the Kangia Ice Fjord and in Disko Bay via helicopter, boat and on foot, during the three day 24 hours of daylight trip which began in the Arctic city of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

In an informational handout, participants of the Senate trip to Greenland were shown a depiction of coastal flooding that illustrated what would happen if most of the ice on Greenland was to melt and sea levels rose nearly 20 feet. The handout on Greenland was written by UN scientist Dr. Richard B. Alley, who is also a professor of Geosciences at Penn State University and traveled with the Senate delegation. Dr. Alley noted that the illustration of coastal flooding was not a forecast or a prediction, but merely an illustration of what could happen.

Dr. Alley's handout stated in part, "We don't think Greenland could melt completely in less than many centuries, but it might get warm enough this century to start complete melting."

During the trip, a Danish scientist and Danish government officials appealed to the U.S. government to act now to address global warming and used the prospect of Greenland melt fears as a wake up call for such action. But the very latest research reveals massive Greenland melt fears are not sustainable. According to a survey of some of the latest peer-reviewed scientific reports, current Greenland temperatures are neither alarming nor linked to a rise in man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Sampling of Recent Scientific Studies:

1) A 2006 study by Danish researchers from Aarhus University found that "Greenland's glaciers have been shrinking for the past century, suggesting that the ice melt is not a recent phenomenon caused by global warming." Glaciologist Jacob Clement Yde explained that the study was "the most comprehensive ever conducted on the movements of Greenland's glaciers, according to an August 21, 2006 article in Agence France-Presse. "Seventy percent of the glaciers have been shrinking regularly since the end of the 1880's," Yde explained. [EPW Blog note: 80% of man-made CO2 emissions occurred after 1940. Niels Tvis Knudsen of Aarhus University co-authored the paper.

2) A 2006 study by a team of scientists led by Petr Chylek of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Space and Remote Sensing Sciences found the rate of warming in 1920-1930 was about 50% higher than that in 1995-2005, suggesting carbon dioxide `could not be the cause' of warming.

"We find that the current Greenland warming is not unprecedented in recent Greenland history. Temperature increases in the two warming periods (1920-1930 and 1995-2005) are of similar magnitude, however the rate of warming in 1920-1930 was about 50% higher than that in 1995-2005," the abstract of the study read.

The peer-reviewed study, which was published in the June 13, 2006 Geophysical Research Letters, found that after a warm 2003 on the southeastern coast of Greenland, "the years 2004 and 2005 were closer to normal being well below temperatures reached in the 1930's and 1940's." The study further continued, "Almost all post-1955 temperature averages at Greenland stations are lower (colder climate) than the (1881-1955) temperature average."

In addition, the Chylek led study explained, "Although there has been a considerable temperature increase during the last decade (1995 to 2005) a similar increase and at a faster rate occurred during the early part of the 20th century (1920 to 1930) when carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases could not be a cause. The Greenland warming of 1920-1930 demonstrates that a high concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is not a necessary condition for a period of warming to arise. The observed 1995-2005 temperature increase seems to be within natural variability of Greenland climate. A general increase in solar activity [Scafetta and West, 2006] since 1990's can be a contributing factor as well as the sea surface temperature changes of tropical ocean [Hoerling et al., 2001]."

"To summarize, we find no direct evidence to support the claims that the Greenland ice sheet is melting due to increased temperature caused by increased atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide." The co-authors of the study were M.K. Dubey of Los Alamos National Laboratory and G. Lesins, Dalhousie University in Canada.

3) An October 2005 study in the journal Science found Greenland's higher elevation interior ice sheet growing while lower elevations ice is thinning. According to a November 8, 2005 article in European Research, "An international team of climatologists and oceanographers, led by the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC) in Norway, estimates that Greenland's interior ice sheet has grown, on average, 6cm per year in areas above 1 500m between 1992 and 2003." Lead author, Ola M. Johannessen of NERSC "says the sheet growth is due to increased snowfall brought about by variability in regional atmospheric circulation, or the so-called North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)," according to the article.

4) A February 8, 2007 peer-reviewed paper published in Science found two of Greenland's largest glaciers have "suddenly slowed, bringing the rate of melting last year down to near the previous rate," according to the New York Times blog (2-8-07). The report found that the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier's "average thinning over the glacier during the summer of 2006 declined to near zero, with some apparent thickening in areas on the main trunk." (LINK) University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory researcher Ian Howat, the lead author of the report, explained "Greenland was about as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's, and many of the glaciers were smaller than they are now." "However, it does suggest that large variations in ice sheet dynamics can occur from natural climate variability," Howat, also a researcher with the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center, explained. "Special care must be taken in how these and other mass-loss estimates are evaluated, particularly when extrapolating into the future because short-term spikes could yield erroneous long term trends," Howat cautioned.

5) A July 6, 2007 study published in the journal Science about Greenland by an international team of scientists found DNA "evidence that suggests the frozen shield covering the immense island survived the Earth's last period of global warming," according to a Boston Globe article. (6-6-07) According to the article, the study indicates "Greenland's ice may be less susceptible to the massive meltdown predicted by computer models of climate change, the main author (Eske Willerslev, professor of evolutionary biology at University of Copenhagen) said in an interview. "This may have implications for how the ice sheets respond to global warming. They may withstand rising temperatures," Willerslev said. The article explained, "The discovery of organic matter in ice dating from half -a-million years ago offers evidence that the Greenland ice sheet remained frozen even during the Earth's last `interglacial period' - some 120,000 years ago - when average temperatures were 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than they are now." Willerslev addressed scary computer model predictions of a massive Greenland melt. "[The study] suggests a problem with [computer] models" that predict melting ice from Greenland could drown cities and destroy civilizations, Willerslev said. The study found "Greenland really was green, before Ice Age glaciers enshrouded vast swaths of the Northern Hemisphere.somewhere between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago," according to the article.

6) Climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels of University of Virginia and the Virginia State climatologist wrote the scenario promoted by former Vice President Al Gore and others showing Greenland's ice melting and raising sea levels by 20 feet is not supported anywhere in scientific literature, not even by the United Nations. "Where is the support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)] Policymakers Summary from the United Nations. Under the [IPCC's] medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore's film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent," Michaels wrote in a February 23, 2007 article. "According to satellite data published in [the journal] Science in November 2005," Michaels wrote, "Greenland was shedding ice at 0.4 percent per century." "Nowhere in the traditionally [peer-reviewed] refereed scientific literature do we find any support for Gore's [Greenland melt] hypothesis," Michaels concluded.

7) Geologist Morten Hald, an Arctic expert at of the University of Tromso in Norway has also questioned the reliability of computer models predicting a melting Arctic. The main problem is that these models are often based on relatively new climate data. The thermometer has only been in existence for 150 years and information on temperature which is 150 years old does not capture the large natural changes," Hald, who is participating with a Norwegian national team in Arctic climate research, said in a May 18, 2007 article. The article continued, "Professor Hald believes the models which are utilized to make prognoses about the future climate changes consider paleoclimate only to a minor degree." "Studies of warm periods in the past, like during the Stone Ages can provide valuable knowledge to understand and tackle the warmer climate in the future," Hald explained.

8) Polar expert Ivan Frolov, the head of Russia's Science and Research Institute of Arctic and Antarctic Regions, said atmospheric temperature would have to much higher to make continental glaciers melt. "Many hundred years or 20-30 degree temperature rise would have made glaciers melt," Frolov said in a December 14, 2006 Russian news article. Frolov noted that currently Greenland's and Antarctic glaciers have the tendency to grow. The article explained, "Frolov says cooling and warming periods are common for our planet - temperature fluctuations amounted to 10-12 degrees. However, such fluctuations haven't caused glaciers to melt. Thus, we shouldn't be afraid they melt today."

9) In addition, current climate fears tends to ignore the fact that the Vikings arrived in Greenland around 1000 A.D. and found it to be habitable settlement that they farmed for hundreds of years. A 2003 Harvard University study found the Earth was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period from about 800 to 1300 A.D. without modern SUV's or man-made CO2 emissions. The Vikings abandoned Greenland when the Little Ice Age took hold.

10) Another problem for predictions of catastrophic sea level rise due to polar ice melt is Antarctica is not cooperating with the man-made catastrophic global warming models. "A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models," reads the February 15, 2007 press release announcing the findings of David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University. (See: Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions)

"It's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now," Bromwich explained. The release explains that Bromwich's research team found "no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet."

Top UN Scientist Explains Why Climate Models Predictions Are Failing

Recently, a top UN scientist publicly conceded that climate computer model predictions are not so reliable after all. Dr. Jim Renwick, a lead author of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, admitted to the New Zealand Herald in June 2007, "Half of the variability in the climate system is not predictable, so we don't expect to do terrifically well."

A leading scientific skeptic of global warming fears, Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, former CEO of the Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute, took the critique of climate models that predict future doom a step further. Tennekes wrote on February 28, 2007, "I am of the opinion that most scientists engaged in the design, development, and tuning of climate models are in fact software engineers. They are unlicensed, hence unqualified to sell their products to society."

Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack of the University of Pennsylvania noted "for most of Earth's history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler," Giegengack said according to a February 2007 article in Philadelphia Magazine. The article continued, "[Giegengack] says carbon dioxide doesn't control global temperature, and certainly not in a direct linear way."

Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball explained that one of the reasons climate models fail is because they overestimate the warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. Ball described how CO2 stabilizes in the atmosphere and its warming impact diminishes. "Even if CO2 concentration doubles or triples, the effect on temperature would be minimal. The relationship between temperature and CO2 is like painting a window black to block sunlight. The first coat blocks most of the light. Second and third coats reduce very little more. Current CO2 levels are like the first coat of black paint," Ball explained in a June 6, 2007 article in Canada Free Press.

New data is revealing what may perhaps be the ultimate inconvenient truth for climate doomsayers: Global warming stopped in 1998.

Dr. Nigel Calder, co-author with physicist Henrik Svensmark of the 2007 book "The Chilling Stars: A New Theory on Climate Change," explained in July 2007:

"In reality, global temperatures have stopped rising. Data for both the surface and the lower air show no warming since 1999. That makes no sense by the hypothesis of global warming driven mainly by CO2, because the amount of CO2 in the air has gone on increasing. But the fact that the Sun is beginning to neglect its climatic duty - of battling away the cosmic rays that come from `the chilling stars' - fits beautifully with this apparent end of global warming."

Perhaps the conversion of many former scientists from believers in man-made global warming to skeptics and the new peer-reviewed research is why so many proponents of a climatic doom have resorted to threats and intimidation in attempting to silence skeptics. (See: EPA EPA to Probe E-mail Threatening to `Destroy' Career of Climate Skeptic)

One final note: To many residents of Greenland, a little warming may not be that bad. A June 7, 2007 Washington Post article detailed how Greenland's residents were "cheering' on warming. "I can keep the sheep out two weeks longer to feed in hills in the autumn. And I can grow more hay. The sheep get fatter," said one resident.

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DEEP GREEN STILL NOT GREEN ENOUGH IN BRITAIN

Once again we see that there's no such thing as a happy Greenie

In an age obsessed with environmental sustainability, Tony Wrench and his partner Jane Faith would appear to be beyond reproach. Their eco-home was made with local materials, its electricity supplied by solar and wind power and its heat kept in by a turf roof and straw insulation. They compost their sewage using a reed bed and make do without a fridge or washing machine. But the couple have been told to demolish their beloved home - because it isn't green enough.

The single-room roundhouse, based on a Celtic layout, is set in a protected part of the Pembrokeshire coast and has been refused planning permission because it "failed to make a positive environmental impact". The couple, who grow their own food and make a modest living from music and woodcraft, feel they are being victimised despite doing more than most to reduce their carbon footprint. The Hobbit House, as locals in Brithdir Mawr, near Newport, have dubbed it, is destined for demolition unless given a last-minute reprieve by the Welsh Assembly.

"You get the feeling that it does not matter what you do, they will always say `no'," Mr Wrench said. "We are doing everything we possibly can to reduce our carbon footprint. It is about as low as we can get and it demonstrates that an environmentally sustainable lifestyle is possible." He added: "This house is so beautiful to be in, and the garden so fruitful and bursting with life of all kinds, that I still cannot believe that in a world of such environmental spoilation and with spreading patches of such ugliness, there are still people paid to work on having this home demolished. What low impact proposal will ever withstand this level of nit-picking?" said Mr Wrench, a wood turner.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority ruled that the dwelling would have a negative impact on dormice, bats and invertebrates. An ecologist's report concluded that if permission were granted, the home would cause, "severe degradation of the National Park landscape".

Mr Wrench, 61, plans to appeal against the decision, the latest step in a ten-year legal battle. He spent 3,000 pounds building the home a decade ago using local materials and insulating it with straw. A study confirmed that their carbon footprint was just a fraction of the national average, but the park authority says that is still not good enough.

Ifor Jones, the authority's head of conservation, admitted that the rules were strict, but said that they applied to everyone. He said: "Yes, we do have high hurdles, but it is important that any development enhances the environment, rather than detracts from it. In this instance the location of the roundhouse and vegetable garden within an area of semi-natural vegetation, comprising woodland edge and unimproved wet grassland, is considered to have had negative impacts."

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Environmentalist population growing out of control

Another lofty lecture for us peasants reported below. Post lifted from Bishop Hill. See the original for links

A couple of weeks ago a body calling itself the Optimum Population Trust called for families in the UK to limit themselves to a single child. The Times had this to say:

Britain's birthrate, growing at its fastest for nearly 30 years - at 1.87 children per couple - is, says the author of its report, Professor John Guillebaud, an environmental liability. "Each new UK birth, through the inevitable resource consumption and pollution that UK affluence generates, is responsible for about 160 times as much climate-related environmental damage as a new birth in Ethiopia."

Professor Guillebaud has three children. As does Sir Crispin Tickell, a patron of the Trust. The majority of the other patrons, and Prof Guillebaud's co-chair, Val Stevens, have two children each.




Just Drill, Baby: Congress's energy policies would hinder America's economy

America's domestic oil production is declining, importation of oil is rising, and gasoline is more expensive. The government's Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. crude oil field production declined to 1.9 billion barrels in 2005 from 3.5 billion in 1970, and the share of our oil that is imported has increased to 60% from 27% in 1985. The price of gasoline has risen to $3.02 this month from $2 in today's dollars in 1985.

Washington politicians will tell you this is an "energy crisis," but America's energy challenges are far more political than substantive. First, we are not running out of oil. In 1920 it was estimated that the world supply of oil was 60 billion barrels. By 1950 it was up to 600 billion, and by 1990 to two trillion. In 2000 the world supply of oil was estimated to be three trillion barrels.

The U.S. has substantial supplies of oil and gas that could be accessed if lawmakers would allow it, but they frequently don't. A National Petroleum Council study released last week reports that 40 billion barrels of America's "recoverable oil reserves are off limits or are subject to significant lease restrictions"--half inshore and half offshore--and similar restrictions apply to more than 250 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. (We consume about 22 trillion cubic feet a year.)

Access to the 10 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve has been prohibited for decades. Some 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist on the Outer Continental Shelf, but a month ago the House again, as it did last year, voted down an amendment that would have allowed the expansion of coastal drilling for oil and natural gas. All of which leaves the U.S. as the only nation in the world that has forbidden access to significant sources of domestic energy supplies.

Then the Senate voted in June to mandate a reduction in projected future oil usage of 10 million barrels a day, or 35%, which, since our domestic oil production is declining, means less imports. In other words, Congress wants to block drilling for more American oil while at the same time blocking the importation of oil--not a rational energy policy.

On the other side of the coin is the need for more refineries to produce the oil products we need: gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and plastics. Twenty-five years ago we had 254 oil refineries; today there are just 145 (although they are a bit more productive) since we haven't built a new refinery in America for 30 years.

Then there is nuclear power, America's largest pollution-free source of energy. One hundred four nuclear plants supply about 20% of our electricity, and we could build many more. As President Bush pointed out two weeks ago, "Our country has not ordered a new nuclear power plant since the 1970s." He recommends that we build three new nuclear plants a year to meet our energy needs. But new nuclear plants have been continually opposed by the liberal establishment that now controls Congress.

Finally, there is coal, the second-largest supplier of world energy after oil. At current consumption levels, America has more than a 100-year supply of it, but mining is difficult and burning it emits significant carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Proposed controls and fees on carbon dioxide emissions are already significantly reducing the use of coal. Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that two dozen of the 150 new coal-fired electrical plants planned to be built have recently been cancelled.

Oil, natural gas and nuclear power are the indispensable energy resources to insure the prosperity of America's economy. But that is not what the congressional leadership thinks. So if we mustn't drill offshore for oil or natural gas, or build nuclear power plants, what is the politically correct action Congress intends to take?

Increasing ethanol subsidies for farmers is at the top of the list. Ethanol is a politically hot energy substance produced from crops like corn, soybeans, sunflowers and switch grass. Current law requires 7.5 billion gallons to be produced by 2012; the new Senate bill would increase that to 36 billion by 2022.

But ethanol is not a good gasoline substitute. It takes some seven gallons of oil to produce eight gallons of corn-based ethanol--diesel fuel for the tractors to plant and harvest the corn, pesticides to protect it, and fuel for trucks to transport the ethanol around the country. So there is not much energy gain, nor with all the gasoline involved does it help with global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. And ethanol yields one-third less energy per gallon than gasoline, so that mileage per gallon of ethanol-blended auto fuel is less than gasoline mileage.

Ethanol is a politically popular subsidized product. Producers get a 51-cent-a-gallon subsidy and are protected from international ethanol imports by a 2.5% tariff and an ethanol import duty of 54 cents a gallon. These subsidies have brought more than 100 American ethanol refineries into operation, and another six dozen are going to be built, which has nearly doubled the price of corn, raised the cost of beef and other corn-fed livestock, and increased the cost of milk and corn syrup for soft-drink manufacturers.

Then there are all the other energy ideas Congress wishes to adopt--better energy efficiency for washers, driers, boilers, motors and refrigerators; greater fuel efficiency for cars; and more use of wind, solar and geothermal power generation. Good ideas all--especially more fuel-efficient automobiles--but not substantively or immediately very helpful in meeting the challenge of increasing America's energy supplies to keep our economy, jobs and prosperity increasing.

To do that we must build many more nuclear power plants and increase our drilling for oil and gas. The NPC report says it takes 15 to 20 years from exploration until production begins, and it costs $3 billion to build an average 120,000-barrel-a-day oil refinery. That is just the opposite of the current congressional policy of reducing oil use, blocking access to existing domestic oil reserves, not increasing nuclear power generation, and touting ethanol as another subsidy for farmers.

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Hurricanes: Another Royal Society beatup

They should be renamed the Propaganda Society. There's been a real desperation to link hurricanes with global warming but the facts have been pesky. But they keep trying

A study has found about twice as many Atlantic hurricanes form each year on average than a century ago, largely as a result of greenhouse warming. It also notes the proportion of major hurricanes to less intense systems has increased significantly. The study concludes that warmer seas and altered wind patterns are increasing the number of tropical systems. That differs from previous studies, which assert global warming is boosting the strength of hurricanes, but not necessarily the frequency. "Even a quiet year by today's standards would be considered normal or slightly active compared to the average year in the early part of the 20th century," said co-author Greg Holland, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

The study was due to be published online late yesterday by the Royal Society of London, Britain's leading academy of science. Based on a statistical analysis, it shows that from 1900 to 1930 an average of six tropical systems formed in the Atlantic, including four hurricanes and two tropical storms. From 1930 to 1940, that increased to an average of 10 systems a year, including five hurricanes and five tropical storms. And from 1995 to 2005, that climbed to 15 systems, including eight hurricanes and seven tropical storms. Those increases correlate with sea surface temperatures, which have risen about 1.3C in the past 100 years, the study says.

Not everyone agrees with its findings. Many scientists say a natural cycle of warm waters in the Atlantic accounts for the surge in hurricanes since 1995. One argument against global warming fuelling more hurricanes is that prior to 1970, many storms were undetected, meaning the level of tropical activity could have been just as intense in previous decades. That is because 1970 was the first year satellites were used to monitor the globe. Even more hurricanes were probably missed prior to 1944, when hurricane-hunter aircraft were first dispatched to investigate storms.

But Dr Holland and co-author Peter Webster, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, dispute that incomplete data records alone explain the sharp increase in tropical activity during the three time periods they studied since 1900. They say tropical storm activity has increased by about 50 per cent from period to period, which they claim negates the natural cycle theory. "These numbers are a strong indication that climate change is a major factor in the increasing number of Atlantic hurricanes," Dr Holland said.

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The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but 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 really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. 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 be 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.

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