12 March, 2015

Climate change predictions have been wrong for decades

By Walter E. Williams

"But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact," said President Barack Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address. Saying the debate is settled is nonsense, but the president is right about climate change.

GlobalChange.gov gives the definition of climate change: "Changes in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades or longer. Climate change encompasses both increases and decreases in temperature, as well as shifts in precipitation, changing risk of certain types of severe weather events, and changes to other features of the climate system."

That definition covers all weather phenomena throughout all 4.54 billion years of Earth's existence.

You say, "Williams, that's not what the warmers are talking about. It's the high CO2 levels caused by mankind's industrial activities that are causing the climate change!" There's a problem with that reasoning.

Today CO2 concentrations worldwide average about 380 parts per million. This level of CO2 concentration is trivial compared with the concentrations during earlier geologic periods. For example, 460 million years ago, during the Ordovician Period, CO2 concentrations were 4,400 ppm, and temperatures then were about the same as they are today. With such high levels of CO2, at least according to the warmers, the Earth should have been boiling.

Then there are warmer predictions. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, warmers, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, made all manner of doomsday predictions about global warming and the increased frequency of hurricanes. According to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, "no Category 3-5 hurricane has struck the United States for a record nine years, and Earth's temperature has not budged for 18 years."

Climate change predictions have been wrong for decades. Let's look at some. At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind."

C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed." In 1968, Professor Paul Ehrlich predicted that there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people (would) starve to death."

Ehrlich forecasted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989 and that by 1999, the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Ehrlich's predictions about England were gloomier. He said, "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

In 1970, Harvard University biologist George Wald predicted, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." Sen. Gaylord Nelson, in Look magazine in April 1970, said that by 1995, "somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals (would) be extinct."

Climate change propaganda is simply a ruse for a socialist agenda. Consider the statements of some environmentalist leaders. Christiana Figueres, the U.N.'s chief climate change official, said that her unelected bureaucrats are undertaking "probably the most difficult task" they have ever given themselves, "which is to intentionally transform the (global) economic development model."

In 2010, German economist and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change official Ottmar Edenhofer said, "One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy." The article in which that interview appeared summarized Edenhofer's views this way: "Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. ... The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated."

The most disgusting aspect of the climate change debate is the statements by many that it's settled science. There is nothing more anti-scientific than the idea that any science is settled. Very often we find that the half-life of many scientific ideas is about 50 years. For academics to not criticize their colleagues and politicians for suggesting that scientific ideas are not subject to challenge is the height of academic dishonesty.


Fracking gets a boost in Britain

Ineos has invested £168m in UK shale gas exploration through a deal with IGas Energy that will see the companies drill up to 11 wells in the North West and frack six of them.

The petrochemicals giant said it would pay an initial £30m for stakes of 50pc-60pc in seven exploration blocks in the Bowland basin in Cheshire and north Wales, as well as an option of a stake in two East Midlands blocks and buying IGas out of one block in Scotland.

Ineos has also committed to pay up to £138m to fund exploration in the Bowland licences, where IGas has already drilled three wells.

The proposed work involves drilling six vertical wells, one of which would be fracked, and five horizontal wells, all of which would be fracked.

IGas shares rose almost 16pc on the news, which its chief executive Andrew Austin said "underpins the quality, scale and significant potential of our licences".

"Ineos’s commitment of upfront cash and considerable capital investment will help fund us through the next steps of our shale appraisal and production programme," he said.

IGas would have to repay its £65m share of costs if the sites ever began commercial shale gas production.

No fracking has taken place in the UK since a moratorium was lifted in 2012 while planning applications to do by rival Cuadrilla have made slow progress.

Drilling under the IGas deal is unlikely to begin for several years, Ineos director Tom Crotty said.

The IGas deal is Ineos's first under plans unveiled last year by its billionaire owner Jim Ratcliffe to invest up to £640m in UK shale gas exploration.

Ineos said the deal would make it the third biggest shale gas player by licence area - behind IGas and Cuadrilla - with access to a quarter of a million acres of potential shale gas reserves.

Gary Haywood, head of Ineos's upstream division, said: "This is a great opportunity to acquire some first class assets that have the potential to yield significant quantities of gas in the future.

"Ineos’s scale, asset position across the UK, US shale gas expertise, and our expertise in managing oil and gas facilities will be a great match with IGas’s existing onshore asset base, and significant exploration and production capability."

Ineos had previously bought stakes in two Scottish exploration blocks near its Grangemouth refinery in the hope of sourcing ethane as a feedstock, but faces an uphill battle after the Scottish Government recently imposed a fresh moratorium on fracking.

Mr Crotty said it was happy with the Scottish government’s proposal for public consultation but warned that a long-term ban would be “a major problem for the Scottish economy”.

He denied that recent setbacks for Cuadrilla suggested the tide was turning against shale. “The tide has always been a bit difficult,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do to persuade people this isn’t a Frankenstein monster.”

Mr Crotty said he would not be surprised if a Government announcement on awarding new shale oil and gas exploration licences was delayed until after the general election for political reasons – despite companies having been told to expect the results early this year.

Whitehall and industry sources confirmed a delay was expected.


EPA Chief Gina McCarthy Can't Answer Climate Questions

Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA, can't answer basic questions about global temperatures, climate models or numbers of hurricanes. She didn't know being a global warming zealot requires knowledge of math.

If the science of climate change was "settled," you'd think one of the generals in the war on global warming would have memorized the numbers that point to our planetary doom from a menace the administration says is a greater threat than terrorism.

But McCarthy was asked some pretty simple questions Wednesday at a Senate hearing Wednesday on her request for $8.6 billion to help fight the claimed imminent doom of climate change, and her performance didn't help her case.

One of the questions involved droughts and the claim that their frequency has increased due to warming that is said to be caused by mankind's increased production of greenhouse gas, such as carbon dioxide, the basis for all life on Earth but judged by the EPA to be a pollutant.

"Let me ask you this," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., inquired of McCarthy. "There was an article from Mr. (Bjorn) Lomborg ... from the Copenhagen Institute. He says, along with Dr. (Roger) Pielke from Colorado, that we've had fewer droughts in recent years. Do you dispute that?"

The seemingly clueless McCarthy pathetically responded that she didn't "know in what context he's making statements like that." Context? Truth has its own context, and the inconvenient truth that McCarthy wasn't aware of, or didn't want to face, is that Pielke and Lomborg are right.

Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado, told the Senate environment and public works subcommittee in July 2013 that droughts have "for the most part become shorter, less frequent and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century." Globally, he said, "there has been little change in drought over the last 60 years."

Sessions also asked McCarthy if we've had more or fewer hurricanes in the last decade. It was another question she said she couldn't answer because "it's a very complicated issue." Well, no, not unless basic math is a complicated issue. Sessions noted that we have in fact gone nearly a decade without a Category 3 storm or higher making landfall in the U.S.

The last hurricane to hit America as a Category 3 or higher was Wilma, which struck Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. Superstorm Sandy had wind speeds barely reaching Category 1 status when it slammed into New Jersey in 2012 and wreaked havoc.


Obama’s Plan Will Kill Jobs, Hike Heating Costs

Any Wisconsinites starting to wonder whether they are living through “The Long Winter,” as described by Laura Ingalls Wilder, will find no comfort in President Obama’s plans to cut the use of our most affordable and reliable sources of energy.

Though we may not be relegated to heating our homes by burning twisted bundles of straw, the president’s plans to restrict use of our most economical fuels will not only increase the costs of driving, heating and lighting, they will reduce incomes and kill jobs. For Wisconsin, it works out to 20,000 fewer manufacturing jobs by 2023.

How so? Natural gas, petroleum and coal provide nearly 80 percent of all energy used in the United States. Despite large subsidy and mandate driven growth rates, wind and solar satisfy only about 2.5 percent of our energy needs and do so at higher cost and with intermittent supply. And therein lies the problem. Eliminating conventional energy makes us pay more and get less. There are no magic wands here.

When energy is more expensive, consumers spend more on it and less on other things. And producers must pay those higher energy costs as well. That raises the costs of lawn mowers, blenders and every other product people may want at the same time those people (i.e., the aforementioned consumers) have less to spend on those things. So, guess what? Fewer lawn mowers and blenders will be sold; and it takes fewer employees to make those lower quantities.

Researchers at The Heritage Foundation used a clone of the Department of Energy’s big energy model and estimated the economic impact of the Obama administration’s broadly stated carbon targets.

What we found is that, for Wisconsin, “fewer” means 20,000 lost manufacturing jobs. And this is after accounting for any increases in jobs manufacturing no-carbon or low-carbon substitutes and any gains from increased energy efficiency that the higher energy prices induce. That 20,000 figure is the net job loss.

There are those who say (however indirectly) that those 20,000 newly unemployed workers need to take one for the team to prevent climate catastrophe. There are a couple of Grand Canyon sized holes in this argument.

First, the associated claims of increasingly extreme weather are not borne out in the data kept by our own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nor even by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s data keepers. There just aren’t any upward trends in hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts or floods. Nor is sea-level rise accelerating.

Extreme weather events have been with us since there was us, and they will almost certainly continue regardless of rules from Washington, D.C.

Second, cutting our emissions by even 60 percent (we are not on track for that) would moderate world temperatures by less than a tenth of a degree Celsius by the end of the century. Throw in a 60 percent cut from the rest of the developed world and any increase is cut by less than two-tenths of a degree. So to the 20,000 lost Wisconsin manufacturing jobs add those from the other 49 states, Canada, Japan, all of Western Europe, and the impact still would be an amount nobody could detect without a very accurate thermometer.

If the lost jobs don’t buy us much on the global warming side, wouldn’t we at least get cleaner air? Since CO2 is colorless, odorless and nontoxic (and helpful to plant growth) we need to look at conventional pollution.

The air has gotten cleaner even as energy production has risen dramatically. According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, modern coal power technology cuts emissions of nitrous oxides by 86 percent, of sulfur dioxides by 98 percent, and of soot by 99.8 percent.

If you want to, go ahead and worry about your own carbon footprint, but let’s not have Washington use its regulatory footprint to stomp out 20,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin for no good reason.



Today, we learn from the New Republic, a delegation of six schoolkids is visiting Washington DC with a view to educating Republican senators including Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz about the reality of global warming.

Let us pause awhile to relish the arrogance, stupidity and frankly borderline child-abusive nature of this ludicrous stunt, cooked up by the hard-left pressure group Avaaz.

One of the kids, Nadia Sheppard, 16 from North Carolina is quoted as saying: “Scientists have noticed that this was a problem for a really long time, like, maybe 20 years ago? Longer than I’ve been alive.”

Yeah, but, like, Nadia, what scientists have also, like, noticed is that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1998, the year before you were born. Does it not strike you as a bit suspicious that the thing you’ve been told by your teachers constitutes the greatest peril of our age – “global warming” – hasn’t actually happened at any stage in your entire existence?

Not that I’m blaming poor Nadia or those other hapless kids who have been dragooned into this stunt. Rather I blame Avaaz – and the broader climate alarmism movement generally – for co-opting innocents like this into their grubby propaganda wars.

Two points worth remembering about kids are a) their frontal lobes haven’t formed so they’re impulsive and irrational and b) the quality of their knowledge is dependent on the quality of their teaching, so if they’ve been taught idiocy then they will spout idiocy.

Later in the article, we learn of a separate poll, commissioned by Avaaz last year, which revealed that of more than a thousand US 12-year-olds polled, 90 per cent responded that climate change is real and “significantly” driven by human activity.

This devastating near-unanimity among America’s prepubescents on the reality of climate change I personally find moving, powerful and hugely persuasive.

I’m now just an opinion poll away from being forced to recognise the error of my ways. So tell us, please, Avaaz because this is really important and we’re dying to know:

Is America’s kitten population similarly convinced of the reality of global warming? And if it is, mightn’t this have the makings of a devastatingly effective media campaign with the potential to go viral like you would not believe?

Just a thought, Avaaz. Feel free to take or leave.


Electric cars won’t save drivers anything, not one single red penny

We have the glorious news today that if only everyone drove electric cars then everyone driving an electric car would save loadsamoney. It isn’t actually true though, electric cars won’t save drivers anything at all, not one single red penny:

Electric cars could cut the UK’s oil imports by 40% and reduce drivers’ fuel bills by £13bn if deployed on a large scale, according to a new study.

An electric vehicle surge would deliver an average £1,000 of fuel savings a year per driver, and spark a 47% drop in carbon emissions by 2030, said the Cambridge Econometrics study.

The paper, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, said that air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulates would be all but eliminated by mid-century, with knock-on health benefits from reduced respiratory diseases valued at over £1bn.

But enjoying the fruits of a clean vehicle boom will require an infrastructure roll-out soon, as the analysis assumes a deployment of over 6m electric vehicles by 2030 – growing to 23m by 2050 – powered by ambitious amounts of renewable energy.

And who, might we ask, has to pay for that infrastructure? Ah, yes, of course, that’s us, the general taxpayer, isn’t it? So, we’re asked to dig into our pockets to make driving cheaper for other people. And given that it’s not the poor who are going to be buying expensive electric vehicles that’s us, the general taxpayer, subsidising the better off, isn’t it? Not quite the way this is meant to work.

However, there’s another problem with this. Which is that electric cars aren’t going to save drivers any money at all, not in the long term. For petrol driven cars, if petrol were untaxed, are still very much cheaper than electric cars. Sure, for environmental reasons that might mean that a bit of subsidy to get the new technology rolling might be worth it (not that we agree but we’re willing to accept the possibility at least). And that tax on petrol does raise some £27 billion for the Treasury, at least it did last time we looked.

Politicians are not simply going to acquiesce at having £27 billion less of our money a year to play with and dispose of as they wish. Thus, as electric cars become a larger portion of the fleet so taxation of electic cars will rise in order to replace that revenue lost from taxing petrol. That £27 billion is still going to be extracted from drivers whatever else happens.

So given that the savings from electric vehicles are entirely tax driven, and the tax system will not, as soon as the revenue loss becomes noticeable, stay static then we cannot say that the widespread adoption of electic cars will save drivers money.

In fact, given that the electric car untaxed is still more expensive than the petrol car untaxed, yet the political imperative will be to make sure that tax revenues do not fall, we will find out that electric cars cost drivers more than petrol driven. Because, once electric cars become popular, they will have to carry the costs of their inefficiency and also that same tax burden.

This idea that drivers will, in the long term, save money by having electric cars is thus a con. It simply won’t happen: not when politicians so enjoy spending the money they raise through the taxation of driving.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


11 March, 2015

The Warmists are worried

See the big attack on skeptics published in SciAm below.  We skeptics have got Warmists on the defense, a pathetic "ad hominem" defense though it is.  The intellectually respectable way to conduct a debate is to present factual evidence on the issue and reasoning based on that evidence.  Note that today's offering on this blog contains abstracts from two academic journal articles  -- presentations of new facts.  That is lightyears away from what Warmists do.  They attack persons and ignore the climate facts.  Following the article I reproduce some emailed comments from Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at  The Heartland Institute -- JR

Evan Lehman

Before the release this Friday of the documentary "Merchants of Doubt," S. Fred Singer sought the advice of nearly 30 climate skeptics about their chances of halting the movie and whether he should sue Naomi Oreskes, who co-authored the book on which it's based.

"Has she finally gone too far?" asked Singer.

The discussion is outlined in a chain of emails initiated last fall by the 90-year-old physicist, who is featured in the film for his work questioning the amount of influence people have on rising temperatures. His request reached a mix of academics and others who have been mostly antagonistic toward mainstream climate findings. ClimateWire obtained the emails from a source who received them as a forwarded message.

Perhaps the strongest response came from James Enstrom, an epidemiologist who has challenged the science around the health risks of secondhand smoke and particulate air pollution. Enstrom told Singer that he could make "a very strong case" against Oreskes if Singer filed complaints with the universities she's affiliated with.

"I suggest you Attack Oreskes by Filing short Grievances with Harvard and Stanford," Enstrom wrote to Singer on Oct. 21. Oreskes is a professor of scientific history at Harvard University with a doctorate from Stanford University.

"Good thought," Singer responded.

The wider discussion is viewed by some as a window into the network of skeptical scientists, bloggers and conservative think tank scholars who often raise objections to mainstream climate science. The tactics discussed -- like lawsuits and grievances -- reflect previous efforts to constrain critics of Singer and others through legal attacks, or the threat of them, several people involved with the movie say.

"This is part of their intimidation," Oreskes said in an interview. "It's a part about trying to make people frightened that if they do speak up and they do expose what's going on, they'll get attacked. And they will get attacked. I've been attacked."

The documentary is based on her book, "Merchants of Doubt," published in 2010. In it, she outlined the similarities between the political fight around climate change and the earlier debates about whether smoking was dangerous. The effort to fight health problems from smoking was stalled for years. She suggested that a small group of scientists cooperating with think tanks and businesses managed to obscure basic truths about the harms of both. The movie will be released nationally Friday. It's directed by Robert "Robby" Kenner, the creator of the 2008 documentary "Food Inc."

Singer, who cooperated with Kenner to film a scene for the movie, said in an interview with ClimateWire that he has decided not to take legal action against Oreskes or Kenner. It would be too expensive and would require too much of his time, he said. He also ruled out filing grievances against Oreskes with university administrators because "they're just as bad as she is."

Still, Singer has sent mixed signals about his intentions. Last week, he sent a letter to Kenner to raise the possibility of legal action.

"I would prefer to avoid having to go to court; but if we do, we are confident that we will prevail," Singer said in the letter, which suggests that the film treats him maliciously and adds, "it is rather too bad that you got mixed up with Naomi Oreskes."

A 'liar for hire' or an honest skeptic?

The letter was posted on Climate Depot, a website critical of climate science run by Marc Morano, who is featured in the film and was a recipient of Singer's emails last fall.

"I think there's a pattern," Kenner said of Singer's letter in an interview. "It's to come after and try to silence critics and to intimidate. And when [Singer] implies litigation is very expensive, I think it's an attempt to be intimidating."

On the other hand, it might be going too far to suggest that Singer's goal is to stifle his critics if he feels he's been slandered, said Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the behavior of climate skeptics.

Singer says he believes the movie refers to him as a "liar for hire," though he hasn't seen it. That's false, he said, noting that he believes genuinely that humans have little effect on climate change. He also rejects the idea that he's being paid by fossil fuel companies, apart from an unsolicited $10,000 donation from an Exxon foundation 12 years ago to the Science & Environmental Policy Project, which he founded.

Singer acknowledged that he has "made a lot of money on oil," but it was decades ago, from fees he charged to financial institutions, major corporations like IBM and some oil companies to predict the price of crude using a computer model he created, Singer said. The money wasn't related to research around climate change, he said.

"I'm real sad about this attack, but it's not unexpected," Singer said of the "liar for hire" phrase.

But does the movie say that?

No, said Kenner, who provided a transcript of the scene with Singer to ClimateWire. He and others say it appears to be a phrase created by a media outlet that reviewed the film.

Besides, lying isn't a common tool of skeptical scientists, Oreskes said. These contrarians are generally successful, and trusted by some, in one field or another.

"This isn't about lying," Oreskes said. "This is something much more terrible, in a way. Much more devious. A kind of what we call doubtmongering."

"I never said that anyone was lying, and I never would say that," she added. "But this is part of the strategy, too. These people put words in other people's mouths, and then they act all outraged about it, and they spread the claim that you said something that you never said. And then they threaten to sue you for it."

Singer supporters slam 'Merchants of Smear'

Oreskes has an example in mind.

Singer filed a libel suit in the early 1990s against Justin Lancaster, a climate researcher at the University of California, San Diego, who claimed that Singer had taken advantage of his mentor and colleague, Roger Revelle, a noted climate scientist, in the months before Revelle's death.

Singer approached Revelle a month before his triple bypass heart surgery to cooperate on a journal article that downplayed the urgency of addressing climate change. It marked a reversal for Revelle, who supported policies to reduce greenhouse gases and was a mentor to former Vice President Al Gore. The paper roiled the climate debate as Gore's opponents highlighted it to raise questions about the certainty of warming.

But Revelle missed the debate. He died in July 1991 and was unable to shed light on Lancaster's assertions that Singer had pressured Revelle into co-authoring the paper in his weakened state after surgery. So Lancaster accused Singer of acting unethically, and Singer sued. Lancaster eventually settled the suit and entered a yearslong gag period.

He would later say the settlement was one of his biggest regrets. And he accused Singer, in even stronger terms, of pressuring Revelle to cooperate.

"It was one of the worst things I ever did, was to give him a retraction," Lancaster said in an interview. "I did it to try to save my marriage."

Singer frequently points to his success with that case. He raised it in his letter to Kenner and in his emails last fall.

"The lawsuit was not filed to intimidate," Singer said in the interview. "It was filed because what Lancaster suggested was that I faked the participation of Roger Revelle as a co-author. That's completely untrue. We have a complete retraction and an apology."

In his October emails, Singer reaches out to some of the most recognizable opponents of mainstream climate science and policies, including Willie Soon, Patrick Michaels, Anthony Watts, Steven Milloy, Joe Bastardi and Joe Bast.

An English climate change denier, Christopher Monckton, viscount of Brenchley, responded to Singer's request for advice by saying he would "draft the complaint" for a lawsuit, but Singer never followed up.

"In every way, they have bent the science," Monckton said of mainstream scientists and the filmmakers. "And having bent the science and not convinced anybody, not even themselves really, they're not simply resorting to the fallback position which Hitler and Goebbels on the left did, which Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot did, and of course ... Stalin and Lenin did, and that is smear."

"So this film should really be called 'Merchants of Smear,'" he added.

The pre-release controversy around the movie provides more than just a glimpse into the stormy messaging strategies on climate change. It also promotes the film. But does it help convey the facts?

Hoffman, of the University of Michigan, says tit-for-tats between mainstream and contrarian researchers tend to raise the profile of skeptical scientists, despite their relatively small number. He pointed to the recent inquiries undertaken by Democratic members of Congress, who want the identity of donors who help fund skeptical academics, as an advantage for those who challenge climate science.

"Frankly, this degradation benefits the skeptics," Hoffman said.


Below are some emailed comments on the article above from Jim Lakely, Director of Communications, The Heartland Institute

This entire article is projection. It's like Bizarro world. Everything is opposite of the truth and actually applicable to the warmists, not skeptics.

It is obvious that Evan Lehman somehow got a very meaty email thread some months ago, and was waiting until the debut of the “Merchants of Doubt” movie to spring it on the world. We should be prepared for this not being the end of “revelations” from our frank and private email exchanges.

And this is for Evan, whom I can only assume will get word of this email: Your headline, subhead, and lead says skeptics are going to fight back by filing lawsuits against Oreskes and the makers of the "Merchants of Doubt" movie. But you wait until Paragraph 10 to reveal the truth: No lawsuits are forthcoming. Nice work. Your MSM credentials are intact.

Aside from that, Evan, you've missed three real scoops:

(1) There is a publicly funded “professor at the University of Michigan who studies the behavior of climate skeptics”? Why doesn't the public know more about this taxpayer-funded professor who wastes so much time studying the “3 percent” of skeptics — especially if the the other “97 percent” consensus has already won the public debate and the “science is settled”? Might want to ask that of Andrew Hoffman, and then do a series of stories about why the “minority” argument is so compelling that a taxpayer-funded professor examines it so closely.

(2) You have Oreskes on the record denying that the entire thesis of her book — and of this movie — is that climate “skeptics” are paid by fossil fuel companies to lie about what is happening to the earth's climate. If so, she needs to put in a call to the marketers of her book, this movie, and everyone she has ever spoken to in the media to run corrections. The entire media push for her book and this movie — and the coordinated attack on Dr. Soon, Dr. Pielke, Dr. Curry, Morano, Heartland, etc. — is that we are all “paid liars.” The truth is that all the money flows to the other side, and the skeptics are the honest ones.

(3) Hoffman claims that, “frankly, this degradation benefits the skeptics.” Why would that be. Evan? Could it be that some alarmist scientists — who believe in their models as faithfully as a Christian believes in prayer — are having second thoughts about starting a Climate Inquisition? Could it be that the science is on the side of the of the “skeptics,” whom Oreskes and the filmmakers are calling liars, i.e. heretics? Could it be that the overreach of leftist priests in Congress — Grijalva, Markey, Boxer, Whitehouse, et. al. — has alerted the public to the fact that the heretics might be on to something, and their presentation of the actual data deserves an honest shake in the mainstream media?

Again, this for Evan: Scoops #1, #2, and #3 deserve your attention. You might lose some esteem among your fellow “mainstream” climate reporters for exploring them, but that should be made up in spades by the warm feeling of journalistic integrity that comes to any honest reporter.

Senator on Climate Change: ‘Put an International Price on Carbon’

LOL!  The chances of getting even a national price seem nil, let alone an international price.  Australia once had a Left-enacted carbon price but the effects were so unpopular that it brought down the government concerned and was abolished by the incoming conservative government

Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse called for an international price on carbon as a way to combat climate change, which he said is the most important issue in need of bipartisan support in Congress.

“The thing that’s going to hit us in the long run is going to be climate change and right now it’s an issue that Republicans just haven’t been able to deal with at all. And I hope that as the public moves and as the evidence builds up that they will find a way to free themselves to deal with it because we badly, badly need to take action. The world is looking to us and the consequences if we get it wrong will not be good for a nation that leads by the power of its example,” said Whitehouse after being recognized at the Friends of National Service Awards reception held by Voices for National Service.

President Obama pledged $3 billion in aid for an international fund to help developing countries fight climate change.

Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said the U.S. must do more to get other nations to act.

“I think that the best solution and the most economically effective solution is to put an international price on carbon so that the markets can work correctly and there’s not this huge built-in subsidy to the polluting fuels. Getting there is going to require U.S. leadership and I hope a general agreement can be reached this winter in Paris,” he said.

Whitehouse was asked if a price on carbon could hurt the economy in any way.

“Well, if the money were just mailed away to Mars, yeah, that would probably hurt the economy. But if you put the money straight back into the economy through lower tax rates particularly, then the economy has the same amount of money and I think what you would find is the tax reductions spurred activity and the money that went back to regular workers was spent in the economy more quickly than extra returns to these big multinational corporations,” he responded.

“So, I would think that a proper, what they call revenue-neutral carbon fee, would actually kick up economic activity and be a net plus and there’s a fair amount of, even very conservative economic analysis, to support that view.”


New paper finds large calculation errors of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere in climate models

A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters finds astonishingly large errors in the most widely used 'state of the art' climate models due to incorrect calculation of solar radiation and the solar zenith angle at the top of the atmosphere.

According to the authors:

"Annual incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere (TOA) should be independent of longitudes. However, in many Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we find that the incident radiation exhibited zonal oscillations, with up to 30 W/m2 of spurious variations. This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results."

The alleged radiative forcing from all man-made CO2 generated since 1750 is claimed by the IPCC to be 1.68 W/m2. By way of comparison, the up to 30 W/m2 of "spurious variations" from incorrect calculation of solar zenith angle discovered by the authors is up to 18 times larger than the total alleged CO2 forcing since 1750.

Why wasn't this astonishing, large error of basic astrophysical calculations caught billions of dollars ago, and how much has this error affected the results of all modeling studies in the past?

The paper adds to hundreds of others demonstrating major errors of basic physics inherent in the so-called 'state of the art' climate models, including violations of the second law of thermodynamics. In addition, even if the "parameterizations" (a fancy word for fudge factors) in the models were correct (and they are not), the grid size resolution of the models would have to be 1mm or less to properly simulate turbulent interactions and climate (the IPCC uses grid sizes of 50-100 kilometers, 6 orders of magnitude larger). As Dr. Chris Essex points out, a supercomputer would require longer than the age of the universe to run a single 10 year climate simulation at the required 1mm grid scale necessary to properly model the physics of climate.


On the Incident Solar Radiation in CMIP5 Models

Linjiong Zhou et al.


Annual incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere (TOA) should be independent of longitudes. However, in many Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we find that the incident radiation exhibited zonal oscillations, with up to 30 W/m2 of spurious variations. This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results. This oscillation is also found in the Community Earth System Model (CESM). We show that this feature is caused by temporal sampling errors in the calculation of the solar zenith angle. The sampling error can cause zonal oscillations of surface clear-sky net shortwave radiation of about 3 W/m2 when an hourly radiation time step is used, and 24 W/m2 when a 3-hour radiation time step is used.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Bad health effects of wind turbines

An interesting research report below.  The researchers even felt the bad effects personally

Wind Turbine Acoustic Investigation: Infrasound and Low-Frequency Noise—A Case Study

By Stephen E. Ambrose et al.


Wind turbines produce sound that is capable of disturbing local residents and is reported to cause annoyance, sleep disturbance, and other health-related impacts. An acoustical study was conducted to investigate the presence of infrasonic and low-frequency noise emissions from wind turbines located in Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA. During the study, the investigating acousticians experienced adverse health effects consistent with those reported by some Falmouth residents. The authors conclude that wind turbine acoustic energy was found to be greater than or uniquely distinguishable from the ambient background levels and capable of exceeding human detection thresholds. The authors emphasize the need for epidemiological and laboratory research by health professionals and acousticians concerned with public health and well-being to develop effective and precautionary setback distances for industrial wind turbines that protect residents from wind turbine sound.


Solar Power Propaganda vs. The Real World

When a former “senior communications official at the White House” writes a blog post for U.S. News and World Report, you should be able to trust it. But when the author states that the Keystone pipeline would create only 19 weeks of temporary jobs, everything else he says must be suspect—including the claim that our “energy infrastructure will be 100 percent solar by 2030.”

Both a union representative and one from TransCanada—the company behind the Keystone pipeline—affirmed that the 19-week timeframe was total fantasy. The portion of the Keystone pipeline that remains to be built is 1179 miles long. Construction should take two years.

The premise of the blog post is that we shouldn’t look at Keystone as a jobs creator. Instead, the author claims, the jobs are in “solar energy disruption.” He is frustrated that “GOP leaders almost universally ignore or disdain this emerging energy economy.”

He states: “A third of all new electric generation in 2014 came from solar.”

This may be true but, as you’ll see, it belies several important details. Plenty of cause exists for Republican lawmakers to “disdain” the growth in renewable energy.

First, efficient and effective coal-fueled electricity that has provided the bulk of America’s power is being prematurely shut down by regulations promulgated by the Obama administration. It is virtually impossible to get a new coal-fueled power plant permitted in the U.S. Even natural gas-powered plants meet with resistance. And, of course, just try to build a nuclear power plant and all the fear-mongers come out.

What’s left? Renewables, such as wind and solar, receive favorable treatment through a combination of mandates and subsidies.

The brand new report, Solar Power in the U.S. (SPUS), presents a comprehensive look at the impacts of solar power on the nation’s consumers.

We’ve seen companies, such as Solyndra, Abound Solar, and Evergreen Solar, go bankrupt even with millions of dollars in state and federal (taxpayer) assistance. I’ve written extensively on these stories and that of Abengoa—which received the largest federal loan guarantee ($2.8 billion) and has resorted to questionable business practices to keep the doors open.

SPUS shows that without the subsidies and mandates these renewable projects would do dark. For example, in Australia, sales of solar systems “fell as soon as the incentives were cut back.” Since the Australian government announced that it was reconsidering its Renewable Energy Targets, “investments have started to dry up.”

Knowing the importance of the “incentives,” the solar industry has now become a major campaign donor, providing political pressure and money to candidates, who will bring on more mandates, subsidies, and tax credits. Those candidates are generally Democrats, as one of the key differences between the two parties is that Democrats tend to support government involvement. By contrast, Republicans lean toward limited government and the free market. The GOP doesn’t “disdain” solar, but they know it only survives because of government mandates that require a certain percentage of renewables, and specifically solar, in the energy mix, plus the subsidies and tax credits that make it attractive. Therefore, they can’t get excited about the jobs being created as a result of taxpayers’ involuntary investment, nor higher energy costs. There is a big difference between disdaining solar power and disdaining the government involvement that gives it an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

The blog post compares the “solar energy disruption” to what “occurred when direcTV and Dish started to compete with cable television. More choices emerged and a whole lot of new jobs were created.” However, those jobs were created through private investment and the free market—a fact that, along with solar’s dependence on incentives, he never mentions.

SPUS draws upon the example of Germany, which has led the way globally in renewables. Over time the campaign has contributed to residential electricity prices more than doubling. Renewables receive favored status, called “priority dispatch,” which means that, when renewable electricity becomes available, the utilities must dispatch it first, thereby changing the merit order for thermal plants. Now, many modern power plants couldn’t operate profitably and, as a result, some were shut down, while others were provided “capacity payments” in order to stay online as back-up—maintaining system stability. In Germany’s push for 80 percent renewable energy by 2050, it has found that despite the high penetration of renewables, given their inherent intermittency, a large amount of redundancy of coal- and natural-gas-fueled electricity (nuclear being decommissioned) is necessary to maintain the reliability of the grid.

As the German experience makes clear, without a major technological breakthrough to store electricity generated through solar systems, “100 percent solar by 2030” is just one more fantasy.

The blog post ends with this: “the GOP congressional leadership ignores these new jobs … in favor of a vanishingly small number of mythical Keystone ‘jobs’ that may never materialize. It makes you wonder. Why?”

The answers can be found in SPUS, which addresses the policy, regulatory, and consumer protection issues that have manifested themselves through the rapid rise of solar power and deals with many more elements than covered here. It concludes: “Solar is an important part of our energy future, but there must be forethought, taking into account future costs, jobs, energy reliability and the overall energy infrastructure already in place. This technology must come online with the needs of the taxpayer, consumer and ratepayer in mind instead of giving the solar industry priority.”


Retired professor turns whistleblower on climate change

While much of the debate over climate change surrounds whether or not it is occurring, one glaciologist and retired professor says the real issue is that the topic is being used as a political pawn to siphon money and votes.

Dr. Terry Hughes, in an interview with The College Fix, said researchers want to keep federal funding for climate change alive, and politicians want to earn environmentalist votes, and both predict global pandemonium to that end.

Hughes, a professor emeritus of earth sciences and climate change at the University of Maine, said for years his colleagues urged him to be in lockstep with former Vice President Al Gore – “the drum major in the parade denouncing global warming as an unmitigated disaster,” he told The College Fix.

But Hughes – who believes global warming is actually a good thing because more carbon dioxide is good for the environment in many ways – said he does not want to march to that beat.

“Too many (the majority) of climate research scientists are quite willing to prostitute their science by giving these politicians what they want,” he said.

Hughes – who worked for 35 years at the Department of Earth Sciences and the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine – said climate cycles overlap with election cycles, which helps politicians “get electoral visibility by pounding the panic drums.”

But what he wants people to understand is that climate change researchers and politicians collude to create fear of a disaster that will never happen.

“You will never read or hear any of this from the scientific and political establishments,” he said. “I’m now retired, so I have no scientific career to protect by spreading lies.”

Among Hughes’ theories, he said he believes the desire to continue the climate change arguments has a “racist” component to it. His evidence? A 1974 National Security Study Memorandum written by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

“NSSM 200 states that American economic supremacy can be maintained only if U.S. foreign policy is aimed at reducing the non-white population worldwide,” he said. “We need their natural resources to maintain our standard of living.”

Hughes said the U.S. has carried out that policy successfully by supporting the one-child policy in China, and also accuses the government of “targeting aborting baby girls using ultrasound technology that is rampant in both China and India, the two countries producing the most atmospheric carbon dioxide by far.”

Hughes, who is now retired, does not fear backlash.

Hughes told The College Fix that he has sent copies of his arguments to his former colleagues at the University of Maine and at NASA. Most of them “probably disagree,” he said, but added that they all receive funding for climate research.

According to a retirement announcement from the University of Maine’s human resources department, “Dr. Hughes is an internationally renowned glaciologist who pioneered many of the modern ideas currently under study in the field. Not least of these is the current understanding of how massive ice sheets collapse and how important future collapse of portions of the Antarctic ice sheet will be to future sea level rise – a concept now commonly referred to as ‘the soft weak underbelly’ of Antarctica.”

Ironically, the notice goes on to state that “many of his most ‘outlandish’ scientific contributions may not even be appreciated for years to come.”

His reasons for why global warming is a good thing, Hughes told the Capital Journal, is that “atmospheric CO2 would greatly increase agricultural production,” “thawing permafrost would increase by one-seventh Earth’s landmass open to extensive human habitation,” and “if the sea level did rise, there would be a global economic boom,” among other arguments.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


10 March, 2015

German Physical Chemistry Scientist On Proof Of CO2 Forcing: “Measurements Show Exact Opposite”

A recent publication in Nature purported it had finally detected the radiative forcing of increasing atmospheric CO2.

German physical chemist Dr. Siegfried Dittrich slams the media’s assertions of proof that CO2 was guilty of the warming, claiming they are faulty and that they were passed on uncritically

Once again a big war-dance is made out of a minute temperature change of only 3 hundredths of one degree Celsius, a change that is well within natural variation.  See here for a previous mention of the matter on this blog

‘The real guilt by CO2 for the greenhouse gas effect is finally proven.’ This was the subheading of a DPA release appearing at FOCUS Online on 27 February.

Later in the text it is written: ‘For the first time we are seeing the enhancement of the greenhouse effect in nature’, and at the Hamburg-based Max Planck Institute for Meteorology it was gleefully added that finally also the magnitude of the anthropogenic impact has become visible.

It all goes back to the latest surface radiation measurements recently published in an essay in Nature (details here and here). However no one seems to have noticed that the measurements actually showed the exact opposite of what is claimed to have been proven above, namely nothing other than what serious climate critics have always been saying about anthropogenic greenhouse effect.

The number for the increase in CO2-dependent back radiation given by Nature of 0.2 watt/m2 per decade is indeed in reality nothing more than trifle. Why would the earth be shocked when 1367 watts per square meter strikes the surface at noon along the equator? The ever-changing deviations from this so-called solar constant mean value are in fact considerably greater than the above given 0.2 watts/m2.

According to the IPCC, the surface radiative forcing increase in the event of a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration is exactly 3.7 Watt/m2, a figure that has been independently confirmed on multiple occasions. Over the last decade the atmospheric CO2 concentration increased some 20 parts per million. Currently it stands at about 400 ppm. Here any undergraduate student is able to compute that the resulting surface radiative forcing increase is approximately 0.2 watt/m2, which has been confirmed by the above mentioned measurements.

Also the resulting global temperature increase can be computed using one of the IPCC equations, which also can be derived from the Stefan-Boltzmann radiation law.

In Nature it is expressly remarked that the measured difference in surface radiative forcing of 0.2 watt/m2 is solely for cloud-free zones on earth. With an average 40% cloud cover and a 30% overlap between the present water vapor and CO2 absorption spectrum, the above calculated temperature value gets reduced from 0.06°C to 0.03°C. Here in reality we are talking about an effect that is barely measureable, and one that has no dramatic impact when combined with the fictional water vapor amplification, which incidentally the superfluous ‘Energiewende’ is based on ad absurdum. It is more than regrettable that FOCUS uncritically passed on these misinterpretations. A correction should be made immediately.


Biden: Climate skepticism ‘like denying gravity’

In that case demonstrate it as easily as one can demonstrate gravity.  Joe never was the sharpest knife in the drawer

Vice President Joe Biden blasted climate change skeptics like Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), saying their opinion is akin to denying gravity.

In an interview the HBO series “Vice” released Friday in advance of the premiere of its third season, Biden said it’s increasingly difficult for climate skeptics to intelligently argue their case.

“I think it’s close to mindless. I think it’s like, you know, almost like denying gravity now,” Biden told host Shane Smith when he asked about Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a high-profile skeptic who called climate change “the greatest hoax” perpetrated on mankind.
“The willing suspension of disbelief can only be sustained so long,” he continued. “The expression my dad used to always use is ‘reality has a way of intruding.’”

Nearly all congressional Republicans agree with Inhofe that greenhouse gases caused by human activity has little or no effect on the climate.

But Inhofe has deliberately been very vocal about the issue. Last month, for example, he threw a snowball on the Senate floor, arguing that the “very unseasonable” cold weather serves is evidence against the scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.

Biden said 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, and its impact in New York, helps make the case for human-caused climate change.

“All of the sudden, people who were saying it couldn’t happen, they’re now knowing, they have to plan for another one of these storms, and another, and another, and another,” he said.

He also pointed to make financial institutions like Goldman Sachs who are accounting for climate change in their finances.

“When the financial institutions of America began to price in the cost of carbon for the cost of doing business, you know it’s reality.


Merchants of censorship plugging the same old lies

A new documentary shows how a "professional class of deceivers" has been paid by the fossil fuel industry to cast doubt on the science of climate change, in an effort akin to that from the tobacco industry, which for decades used deceitful tactics to deny the scientific evidence that cigarettes are harmful to human health. The film, Merchants of Doubt, explores how many of the same people that once lobbied on behalf of the tobacco industry are now employed in the climate denial game.

An infamous 1969 memo from a tobacco executive read: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy." Using similar tactics, a very small set of people have had immense influence in sowing doubt on the scientific consensus of manmade climate change in recent years.

Merchants of Doubt features five prominent climate science deniers who have been particularly influential in deceiving the public and blocking climate action. Their financial connections to the fossil fuel industry are not hard to uncover. Yet major U.S. television networks -- CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and PBS -- have given most of these deniers prominent exposure over the past several years.

Now that these Merchants of Doubt have been exposed, the major cable and network news programs need to keep them off the airwaves, a sentiment echoed by Forecast the Facts, which recently launched a petition demanding that news directors do just that.


Silencing skeptics – financing alarmists

Will Congress and media examine government, environmentalist and university alarmist funding?

Paul Driessen

Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), other senators and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) recently sent letters to institutions that employ or support climate change researchers whose work questions claims that Earth and humanity face unprecedented manmade climate change catastrophes.

The letters allege that the targeted researchers may have “conflicts of interest” or may not have fully disclosed corporate funding sources. They say such researchers may have testified before congressional committees, written articles or spoken at conferences, emphasizing the role of natural forces in climate change, or questioning evidence and computer models that emphasize predominantly human causes.

Mr. Grijalva asserts that disclosure of certain information will “establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations” published in the institutions’ names and help Congress make better laws. “Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulations and shapes public understanding of climate science.” These conflicts need to be made clear, because members of Congress cannot perform their duties if research or testimony is “influenced by undisclosed financial relationships,” it says.

The targeted institutions are asked to reveal their policies on financial disclosure; drafts of testimony before Congress or agencies; communications regarding testimony preparation; and sources of “external funding,” including consulting and speaking fees, research grants, honoraria, travel expenses and other monies – for any work that questions the manmade climate cataclysm catechism.

Conflicts of interest can indeed pose problems. However, it is clearly not only fossil fuel companies that have major financial or other interests in climate and air quality standards – nor only manmade climate change skeptics who can have conflicts and personal, financial or institutional interests in these issues.

Renewable energy companies want to perpetuate the mandates, subsidies and climate disruption claims that keep them solvent. Insurance companies want to justify higher rates, to cover costs from allegedly rising seas and more frequent or intense storms. Government agencies seek bigger budgets, more personnel, more power and control, more money for grants to researchers and activist groups that promote their agendas and regulations, and limited oversight, transparency and accountability for their actions. Researchers and organizations funded by these entities naturally want the financing to continue.

You would therefore expect that these members of Congress would send similar letters to researchers and institutions on the other side of this contentious climate controversy. But they did not, even though climate alarmism is embroiled in serious financial, scientific, ethical and conflict of interest disputes.

As Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT atmospheric sciences professor emeritus and one of Grijalva’s targets, has pointed out: “Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy” – and replacing it with expensive, inefficient, insufficient, job-killing, environmentally harmful wind, solar and biofuel sources.

Their 1090 forms reveal that, during the 2010-2012 period, six environmentalist groups received a whopping $332 million from six federal agencies! That is 270 times what Dr. Willie Soon and Harvard-Smithsonian’s Center for Astrophysics received from fossil fuel companies in a decade – the funding that supposedly triggered the lawmakers’ letters, mere days after Greenpeace launched its attack on Dr. Soon.

The EPA, Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA, USAID, Army and State Department transferred this taxpayer money to Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Defense Council, National Wildlife Fund and Clean Air Council, for research, reports, press releases and other activities that support and promote federal programs and agendas on air quality, climate change, climate impacts on wildlife, and many similar topics related to the Obama war on fossil fuels. The activists also testified before Congress and lobbied intensively behind the scenes on these issues.

Between 2000 and 2013, EPA also paid the American Lung Association well over $20 million, and lavished over $180 million on its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members, to support agency positions. Chesapeake energy gave the Sierra Club $26 million to advance its Beyond Coal campaign. Russia gave generously to anti-fracking, climate change and related “green” efforts.

Government agencies and laboratories, universities and other organizations have received billions of taxpayer dollars, to develop computer models, data and reports confirming alarmist claims. Abundant corporate money has also flowed to researchers who promote climate alarms and keep any doubts to themselves. Hundreds of billions went to renewable energy companies, many of which went bankrupt. Wind and solar companies have been exempted from endangered species laws, to protect them against legal actions for destroying wildlife habitats, birds and bats. Full disclosure? Rarely, if ever.

In gratitude and to keep the money train on track, many of these recipients contribute hefty sums to congressional candidates. During his recent primary and general campaign, for example, Senator Markey received $3.8 million from Harvard and MIT professors, government unions, Tom Steyer and a dozen environmentalist groups (including recipients of some of that $332 million in taxpayer funds), in direct support and via advertisements opposing candidates running against the champion of disclosure.

As to the ethics of climate disaster researchers, and the credibility of their models, data and reports, ClimateGate emails reveal that researchers used various “tricks” to mix datasets and “hide the decline” in average global temperatures since 1998; colluded to keep skeptical scientific papers out of peer-reviewed journals; deleted potentially damaging or incriminating emails; and engaged in other practices designed to advance manmade climate change alarms. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based many of its most notorious disappearing ice cap, glacier and rainforest claims on student papers, magazine articles, emails and other materials that received no peer review. The IPCC routinely tells its scientists to revise their original studies to reflect Summaries for Policymakers written by politicians and bureaucrats.

Yet, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy relies almost entirely on this junk science to justify her agency’s policies – and repeats EPA models and hype on extreme weather, refusing to acknowledge that not one Category 3-5 hurricane has made U.S. landfall for a record 9.3 years. Her former EPA air quality and climate czar John Beale is in prison for fraud, and the agency has conducted numerous illegal air pollution experiments on adults and even children – and then ignored their results in promulgating regulations.

Long-time IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri has resigned in disgrace, after saying manmade climate change is “my religion, my dharma” (principle of the cosmic order), rather than a matter for honest, quality science and open, robust debate. The scandals go on and on: see here, here, here, here and here.

It’s no wonder support for job and economy-killing carbon taxes and regulations is at rock bottom. And not one bit surprising that alarmists refuse to debate realist scientists: the “skeptics” would eviscerate their computer models, ridiculous climate disaster claims, and “adjusted” or fabricated evidence.

Instead, alarmists defame scientists who question their mantra of “dangerous manmade climate change.” The Markey and Grijalva letters “convey an unstated but perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease, lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense – and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress,” Professor Lindzen writes. They are “a warning to any other researcher who may dare question in the slightest their fervently held orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming,” says Dr. Soon. Be silent, or perish.

Now the White House is going after Members of Congress! Its new Climate-Change-Deniers website wants citizens to contact and harass senators and congressmen who dare to question its climate diktats.

Somehow, though, Markey, Grijalva, et al. have not evinced any interest in investigating any of this. The tactics are as despicable and destructive as the junk science and anti-energy policies of climate alarmism. It is time to reform the IPCC and EPA, and curtail this climate crisis insanity.

Via email

The coming of global cooling

by Theodore White, astrometeorologist

As the Sun nears to begin its Grand Minimum, I have been warning and forecasting for years the coming of global cooling - a true danger to the Earth and its inhabitants.

This, as the madness of those who claim such an impossible thing as 'man-made global warming' go on and on in their arrogance as they perpetuate the impossible as if it is a given with their silly statements that the 'science is settled.'

Total horse manure.  What will happen is this:

After the warm years of 2015 and 2016 pass with the final two years of solar-forced global warming, the pundits will act as if the trace gas known as carbon dioxide will cause the Earth to forever 'warm' and the oceans to rise with all their gloom and doom on the Earth 'becoming a greenhouse' - which is literally impossible due to the laws of physics that govern the Earth climate.

It is the Sun that is the cause of global warming, global cooling and everything else in between.

The planets modulate the Sun's many rays, and all the indications - every single last one of them that I have calculated - point to one thing and that is global cooling.

It is coming for certain and I have been warning those who will listen to the truth of the entire matter of climate change.

As global cooling officially arrives in mid-December 2017, the years going into the early 2020s will see a major ENSO of the cold phase, called La Nina,' which I have forecasted will arrive in the winter of 2021-2022, and which will be a MAJOR event in the northern hemisphere. It will be preceded by a brutal winter season in the southern hemisphere as well.

The climate change will be abrupt, as it gets colder far faster than it can warm, and as we go into the year 2020 the pundits will be at a total loss to explain how the cooler seasons and colder temperatures are happening so quickly.

Remember that those pundits, those who have gone on and on for years blaming humanity for 'global warming,' will not be there to help you during the three decade long plus era of global cooling.

Already the Antarctic is gearing up for global cooling, and in the Arctic, since 2010, the jet streams have begun their shift from a east/west flow to one that is becoming increasingly north to south.

That is the reason for the polar vortices that are going to become ever more frequent and common as fierce cold temperatures plunges down into the mid-latitudes and further south.

By the end of the first La Nina of the global cooling era, there will be far fewer loud mouths going on and on about how humans are 'warming' the planet as many people will pray for warmer temperatures, but that warmth will not arrive.

Rather, it will get colder still and colder and colder - all during the 2020s, the 2030s and the 2040s. By the late 2020s, when it will have become obvious to all but the truly stupid that global cooling is indeed in effect, the world will be a different place than it is right now.


The entire planet will be affected by the drop in temperatures as the Sun enters its Grand Minimum cycle.

The seasons of fall, winter and spring will be colder and wetter in many regions, while drought will become more common in other regions that suffer from ground soil that remains colder and lacking in nutrients.

The summer seasons will also be cooler, with more cloud cover and wetter days. Expect warmer temperatures to be pushed further into late August and September, rather than in June and July and early August.

Blasting storms in winter and spring will mean much more snow and ice storms - this will make the winter seasons longer (six months) as opposed to the usual three months.

Of course, this will affect crop yields as the latitude lines for the growth of crops like canola, corn, soybeans and wheat will fall further south, and even in southern regions it will be cooler and cloudier than normal.

The use of energy, and this is where it gets really odd, will mean that those who are freezing will turn to burning as much carbon (coal, wood) as possible.

You see, those big loud months who said that "warm is bad" will indeed burn as much carbon as is possible to stay warm.

You can see the hypocrisy of these people who claim that 'warm-is-bad as they eat their food warm, drink their warm coffees and vacation in warm locales - all the while; going on and on about how 'warm-is-bad.'

Expect the next 36 years, counting from solar year 2017, as the global cooling era. So much time has been wasted on the lie of 'man-made global warming,' that is too late for many to prepare for it on the scale of making a difference. Far too much time has been simply thrown away preparing for global cooling on the outright lie of 'man-made global warming.'

This means, of course, that it is up to individuals and small groups and organizations to begin to make preparations. Those who laugh at your preparation now will be the very same ones crying cold and icy tears as global cooling rages on worldwide.


Australia rates a zero as Big Solar booms around the world

Well-done, Australia!

Figures released on Friday by utility solar analysts Wiki-Solar.org show that global capacity of utility-scale PV generating capacity at the end of 2014 reached 35.9GW.

The data shows that new plant commissioned during the year totalled 14.2 GW, almost doubling the record of 7.4 GW set the previous year – and equal to the entire installed capacity up to the end of 2012.

Worldwide utility-scale photovoltaic power generation is now fairly evenly split between the three leading continents; Asia, Europe and North America. 2014 is the first year when Africa and South America started to show meaningful contributions.

But where is Australia? Every continent increased its volume compared to 2013 – except Australia, which rates zeros on new annual capacity and cumulative operating capacity. (Actually, on cumulative capacity it would rate at 30MW – the Royalla and Greenough River solar plants – but that is 0.03GW, and Wiki-Solar only goes one decimal point).

“Even Europe returned to growth, after declines in 2012 and 2013,” said Wiki-Solar founder Philip Wolfe.

“Performance at the national level is however more variable. Europe’s resurgence – after the 2012 policy changes in the traditional powerhouse of Germany – has been fuelled mainly by a buoyant British market.”

Wiki-Solar predicts that the UK will this month leapfrog India, and maybe even Germany, to become the world’s third or fourth largest market; driven by a flood of projects racing to beat legislative changes. The country then risks following other European markets into a period of stagnation.

Meanwhile Germany is trialling a new approach to utility-scale solar, which may see growth re-starting in coming years.

“Only the US, China and India can claim consistent longer-term growth”, says Wolfe; though he believes that the drivers in countries like Chile, Japan and Canada look relatively stable.

“I am hoping they too will become sustainable markets for the industry.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


9 March, 2015

Britain's wackiest political party

The Greens like to do things differently. One of their deputy leaders had just blown a few billion pounds more from their wish-list budget when the chairwoman – who could hardly be seen in her green jumper against the vast green background – announced an ‘attunement’.

This turned out to be a reflective – and to my mind rather long – minute’s silence. ‘It’s incredibly successful if people get stressed,’ explained our host, although several people around me merely used the pause to check social media on their smartphones.

Welcome to the world of Britain’s wackiest political party, on display this weekend at its spring conference in Liverpool.

There is something mildly amusing about a party that insists on meditative breaks, has a keynote speaker identified as ‘a non-binary person from Belarus’ and chairwomen who say things like: ‘I would like to hear from someone who does not identify as a man.’

And a party that uses such a contorted form of internal democracy it ends up with daft policies to ban most cars and seriously debates proposals to extend human rights to all animals.

Yet this is currently the country’s most successful political party, attracting 100 recruits a day from people dismayed by traditional party politics. Bizarrely, the duffest interviews given by its bumbling leader Natalie Bennett only drive up membership.

Joining the hundreds of enthusiastic delegates – a mixture of grizzly bearded hippies, elderly ideologues, earnest young recruits and well-spoken women in charity shop chic – offered fresh insight into what is now the third biggest party in England and Wales. They proclaim the politics of the future.

Yet much of the time it felt like I had stumbled into an Alan Bennett sketch filled with middle-class people munching on non-meat sandwiches as they debated how to save a world wrecked by austerity, bankers and Conservatives.

Many of these new members – half of whom voted Liberal Democrat at the last Election – are young people inspired by the idea of reshaping politics. They were given special badges declaring their status and enthusiastically snapped up green T-shirts on sale.

Presumably they were not the people targeted in a seminar explaining how to use email.

Yet for all these new recruits rushing around excitedly, there were also the same old stalls offering vegan recipes for raspberry cake, T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Still Hate Thatcher’ and angry leaflets denouncing the monarchy.

On one, I found Jon Liebling, a friendly 47-year-old dancer promoting the medicinal use of cannabis. He said he had smoked the drug for 26 years to curb anxiety attacks.

His stall proclaimed ‘United Patients Alliance with Norml Women’s Alliance’. When I asked about Norml Women, he said its founders ‘felt there was too much testosterone in the cannabis movement’ – but they had not turned up and he had forgotten the acronym’s meaning.

The Australian-born Bennett promises a new style of politics – which many people might say she exemplifies with her stumbling interviews and inability to explain key policies.

Yet after she spoke on Friday, managing to avoid ‘mind blanks’ as she promised lots of new taxes, the grey-haired woman next to me could not stop gushing: ‘I am so excited. I am overwhelmed. I feel like I belong here.’ She turned out to be a Labour deserter. And this is why the sudden Green surge is giving her previous party palpitations as it is outflanked on the left.

Indeed, electoral mathematics mean it is possible the Greens might not just impact on voting outcomes in May but even be in position to join a coalition led by Ed Miliband.

This is a party that wants to ban the monarchy, House of Lords, much of the Armed Forces, free schools, foie gras and fur – while freeing up drugs, borders, brothels and, said its leader, allowing people to join terror groups such as Islamic State.

Yesterday they chucked in free university undergraduate education, joining the Greens’ desires for free social care, free universal childcare, 500,000 extra new homes and a basic income for everyone costing almost three times the budget of the National Health Service.

Since they also want to end economic growth, I asked their press team how these policies would be paid for. ‘There’s lots of money around,’ replied one party veteran, looking at me as though I was stupid.

A younger colleague said children would not start schooling until six under a Green government – although it is hard to believe this would raise the requisite £350 billion or so needed to close the annual gap between their policies and economic reality.

The Green Party’s emphasis on ultra-democracy is admirable, giving all members a voice – but it means scores of strange ideas end up on its statute books since anything is possible with its Alice in Wonderland politics.

Among the proposals considered this weekend, for instance, is the extension of human rights to ‘all sentient life forms’ with ‘the murder, torture and kidnapping’ of dogs and dolphins carrying the same penalties as when such crimes are committed against people.

I went to one meeting where 19 people were determining a ban on foie gras due to the force-feeding of geese. One young man dissented on the grounds this was discriminatory to dairy cows that were being ‘raped’ and their calves ‘murdered’.

‘To have a ban on the dairy industry would not be popular with the public. It would be a vote loser,’ responded session leader Ronnie Lee – although hastily adding he had been a vegan for 44 years in case anyone might think him unsympathetic to animals.

Then there was the well-attended gender group, which agreed people should be allowed ‘a third option of X gender’ on passports – although the discussion leader then confessed this might create risks for people publicly identified as transgender in many countries.

The meeting also agreed parents should be allowed to avoid putting children down as either male or female on birth certificates.

One elderly Green from Tyneside, doing his best to keep up, admitted he was confused by the latest terms for transgender people.  He was not the only one, with talk about LGBITQ people – the ‘I’ turned out to be for Intersex and the ‘Q’ for Questioning.

At the peace and defence group, software engineer Chris Burdess said they needed to review policies that were ‘unnecessarily inflammatory and aggressive’ towards diplomats and members of the armed forces. ‘We don’t want to single them out as evil,’ he said.

But their policy-making process is so ponderous, Burdess admitted this could not be achieved before the Election. Mind you, they have pledges to pass measures that were actually passed nearly two decades ago.

Such eccentricities might be endearing if the Greens had not suddenly emerged as a semi-serious force in British politics.

Yet its leaders brush aside criticism of policy absurdities by saying they are merely promoting new ideas and looking long-term.

Downstairs in the Liverpool convention centre was a gathering for fans of fantasy games. Upstairs, they seemed to be playing fantasy politics. But if this shambolic bunch ever got a sniff of power, the entire country would be losers.


‘Protect the Land Owner': Virginia Farmer Continues Fight Against Environmental Group

Instead of filing the same version of the conservation easement that was signed by its president and a Virginia farmer, the Piedmont Environmental Council pulled a “bait and switch” that dramatically altered the document’s terms and conditions.

That’s one of several revelations that have come to light in the past few days as Martha Boneta, the owner of Liberty Farm in Fauquier County, Va., prepares to initiate a new round of litigation against Piedmont Environmental Council, a non-profit land trust.

Boneta refiled a lawsuit Wednesday in Fauquier County Circuit Court that says the environmental group colluded with realtors and government officials to issue zoning citations against her property. This was done to force Boneta into selling her farm, she alleges in the suit.

Boneta also is considering filing a second lawsuit at the federal level against Piedmont Environmental Council.

That suit would be based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, commonly known as RICO.

The environmental group’s inspectors and officers have overstepped their authority under the easement to the point where they have trespassed across Liberty Farm and interfered with her farming activities, Boneta alleges.

Moreover, an analysis of the discrepancies that exist between the documents underpinning the easements shows that it may be “invalid,” and “unenforceable,” she says.

Boneta bought the farm from the Piedmont Environmental Council in July 2006 with the easement already attached. On June 29, 2006, Boneta and Chris Miller, the Piedmont group’s president, signed each page of the purchase contract with the easement.

But on July 26, 2006, the Piedmont Environmental Council filed the alternative easement with Fauquier County officials, without Boneta’s consent, just prior to transferring the title of the property over to her. The new agreement provides the green group with rights and privileges not in the version Boneta agreed to when she purchased the farm.

There’s more.

New evidence has emerged that appears to debunk a historical designation the Piedmont Environmental Council makes in both the signed and filed versions of the easement that says Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, the confederate Civil War general, encamped on Boneta’s property on the evening of July 18, 1861.

Historical accounts of Jackson’s movements in and around the Paris, Va. section of Fauquier County at that time place the encampment at another location.

Oddly enough, the Piedmont Environmental Council makes a similar historical claim about Jackson’s whereabouts in the easement documents it has associated with Ovoka Farm, also located in Paris, but on a separate parcel of land from Liberty Farm.

The general couldn’t have been in both places at the same time.

Boneta has provided The Daily Signal with an “Analysis and Assessment of Damages” — prepared by an economist she hired — that details the losses she incurred as a result of the altercations and discrepancies in the easement documents.

The analysis shows that the historical claim made about the Jackson encampment inflated the real estate price of Liberty Farm well beyond its actual value.

Boneta paid $425,000 for the property in 2006. Over a two-year period, she was forced to fence off about 18 acres of the Oak Grove section of the farm — where the Piedmont Environmental Council located the Jackson encampment — which meant she could not farm in this area.

“What the PEC has done is unethical and a breach of contract,” Boneta told The Daily Signal in an interview. “If they can do this to me and my family, what else have they done? We are shocked to learn that a non-profit 501(c )(3) that is supposed to operate in the public interest would commit this kind of an act.”

The idea behind conservation easements is for property owners to receive tax breaks in exchange for agreeing to restrict future development on a portion of their property. The Boneta easement lists the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation as co-holders.

The environmental council has not responded to recent inquiries from The Daily Signal seeking comment, but it has presented the public with an online post that provides details of its history with the property and the differences it has with Boneta.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation passed a resolution last November that said it would be willing to assume full control of the easement if the opposing sides could come to terms. That has turned out to be a big “if.” The Virginia Outdoors Foundation has uncovered “a number of serious flaws” in the easement it says must be addressed through “a corrective amendment.”

What Boneta describes as a “bait and switch” between the signed easement and the easement filed with the county government further complicates the ongoing legal standoff as there are substantial differences between the two documents. In fact, entire sections were added to the filed version of the easement without Boneta’s consent, according to the “Analysis and Assessment” paper.

These new revelations could serve as the basis for the federal lawsuit Boneta expects to file on top of the suit that has been reactivated at the state circuit court level.

“The only reason why the lawsuit was withdrawn at all was to give an opportunity for mediation,” Boneta explained.

“The PEC has not taken responsibility for the horrendous bad acts and damage they have done. We have no choice than to re-file the existing lawsuit as well as additional lawsuits and claims.”


“A Critical Assessment of ‘Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: A community-based exploratory study’

In October 2014, Environmental Health published a study purporting to show fracking operations for oil and gas production cause dangerous air quality issues. The study has been cited by environmental groups, the media, and some policymakers as “proof” of the dangers associated with fracking.

In this Policy Brief for The Heartland Institute, chemist and environmental consultant Rich Trzupek identifies significant flaws in the study. For example,

* the study’s authors did not conduct upwind and downwind sampling, but rather assumed background concentrations based on national averages;

* the risk levels used are based on a lifetime of exposure to the target pollutant at the measured concentration. In the majority of cases this comparison is not scientifically defensible;

* and the study is not an examination of air quality during fracking, but rather an examination of air quality near operations and equipment common to oil and natural gas production and transportation regardless of whether the well was fracked.

Trzupek also notes, “In 60 percent of the sampling events, ... concentrations of target pollutants did not exceed the alarm levels set by the authors. To their credit, the authors did not attempt to hide this fact. Nevertheless, this fact has been routinely ignored by media and policymakers ...”


Critiquing ‘Phantom’ Global Warming Risks to Defense Readiness

In May 2014, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Can Improve Infrastructure Planning and Processes to Better Account for Potential Impacts.[1] The authors write, “We were asked to assess [the Department of Defense’s] progress in taking action to adapt its U.S. infrastructure to the challenges of climate change.” The request came from five Democratic members of the U.S. Senate: Barbara Boxer (CA), Mark Begich (AK), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkley (OR), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).

The phrasing of the request suggests there is no doubt climate change poses a “challenge” the Department of Defense (DOD) should be addressing. This bias is not surprising since each of the elected officials who asked for the report has in the past made alarmist claims about the causes and consequences of climate change and called for policies to increase the cost of fossil fuels and subsidize the development and use of alternative fuels such as biofuels, solar, and wind.

The GAO staff members who led the study are listed as Director of Defense Capabilities and Management Brian J. Lepore, the primary contact, and Assistant Director Laura Durland. GAO “key contributors” are listed as Frederick K. Childers, Roshni Dave, Michele Fejfar, Michael Hix, Sarah Kaczmarek, Mary Koenen, Brandon Kruse, Amie Lesser, Amanda Manning, Celia Rosario Mendive, Anne Stevens, Chris Stone, Joseph Thompson, Christopher Turner, Erik Wilkins-McKee, and Michael Willems.

The following critique of GAO’s study reveals GAO has overlooked convincing evidence that what is called “climate change” is unlikely to have a greater effect on DOD’s infrastructure or America’s military preparedness in general than past changes in climate. GAO also overlooked evidence that shows requiring DOD to invest in mitigation or adaptation to address phantom risks could divert resources from other more urgent needs, reducing military preparedness.

Much more HERE

Facing extinction... to make 'green' fuel

Deep in the Sumatran jungle, a British zoologist forms a magical bond with a young orang-utan. His mission? To help stop their habitat being ravaged

It is an utterly heart-melting image. A young Sumatran orang-utan swings down from his tree to nuzzle and play with a British zoologist who is here to save his life.

Dr Ian Singleton gets a privileged close-up view of how these highly intelligent animals are possessed of such an extraordinarily wide range of emotions, and why they form such close and touching bonds with human beings. As well they might: sharing 97 per cent of humans’ DNA, they are one of our nearest living relatives.

Tragically, though, these bewitching pictures, captured by environmental photographer David Higgs, betray a story that shows humanity at its most rapacious.

Orang-utans like these face becoming the first species of great ape to become officially extinct. There are just 6,000 still wild in Sumatra’s swamps and rainforests. Their numbers are reducing rapidly because their habitat is being ravaged, largely to make way for the mass plantation of palms.

The plants produce palm oil, which is used increasingly in an ever-growing variety of western consumer products from chocolate bars and biscuits, to soaps and cooking oil.

It is also used to give diesel cars a ‘green’ bio-diesel mix – the EU has committed to eco-targets that say ten per cent of transport energy must come from renewable sources including bio-fuels by 2020. Indonesia produces 31 million tonnes of palm oil every year, and uses about 3.4 million tonnes for its own bio-diesel consumption.

Dr Singleton, who cut his teeth at Gerald Durrell’s zoo in Jersey, is director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), a charity based in Medan, north-west Sumatra. Here he runs a health and quarantine centre, where sick and injured orang-utans are nursed back to health; arranges the rescue of orang-utan orphans and those kidnapped for pets; and campaigns to keep what is left of their habitats.

Orang-utans can be subjected to horrifying violence – often inflicted by loggers, miners and oil-palm planters. One of the orang-utans getting urgent care at the centre is blind. He was rescued as a ‘teenager’, after being shot 62 times. Three of those gun shots hit him in the eyes. Having lost his sight, he will never be able to return to the wild.

He came from the Leuser Ecosystem, an area where most Sumatran orang-utans live. It is supposed to be protected. Another orang-utan at the SOCP centre is known as ‘No Nose’, because most of it was sliced off by a machete.

Dr Singleton told The Mail on Sunday that the threat to the apes’ habitat didn’t come from local people, but from large, multinational companies that ‘make all the profit from cutting down the forests but bear none of the huge costs’. Indeed, most of SOCP’s staff are Indonesian, including a cadre of dedicated vets, scientists and conservationists.

The threat is very real. One area which had, until recently, one of the largest and densest orang-utan populations was the Tripa peat swamp forest near Medan. ‘Since the mid-1990s, it’s shrunk from 60,000 hectares (232 square miles) to just 9,000 (34),’ Dr Singleton said.

The wider Leuser Ecosystem – which once covered more than 7,700 square miles – is disappearing just as rapidly. The problem, Dr Singleton added, had been exacerbated because Indonesia’s Aceh province, where SOCP mostly works, was granted regional autonomy.

Legally, its forests and swamps were supposed to be protected, ‘but the Aceh government’s land use plan doesn’t even mention this’. Recently, SOCP successfully took a firm that had carved out illegal concessions in the swamp lands to court, resulting in a £20 million fine.

Yet the destruction continues. Typically, Dr Singleton said, the oil-palm planters were ‘first on the scene’ when a forest area was first opened up. In their wake came roads, another deadly threat.

‘Once you break up orang-utan populations by fragmenting their habitats with roads, they swiftly die out.’ There is no doubting the size and profits of the palm oil industry. In 2013, Indonesia exported 21 million metric tonnes of the oil, worth more than £15 billion.

But Dr Singleton said: ‘Using palm oil for biofuel actually doesn’t cut but drastically increases emissions, because it means cutting down forests. It isn’t a green option.

‘The best thing would be an immediate moratorium on the use of biofuel from this source… I would like to see the EU investigate the consequences of its decisions.’

Senior Greenpeace campaign official Patrick Venditti agrees. ‘Fuelling Europe’s vehicles in this manner may well drive orang-utans, as well as tigers and other endangerd species in Sumatra, to extinction.’

SOCP now wants to establish an ‘orang-utan haven’ near Medan, as a centre for conservation, education and research that will also give local people a chance to experience the apes close-up, as many Sumatrans have never seen an orang-utan. ‘This is a critically endangered species,’ Dr Singleton said. ‘To save them, we need all the help we can get.’


Climate Scientists to Bullies in Congress: Buzz Off

Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona and ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, sent a letter to seven university presidents demanding information on funding sources, financial disclosure guidelines, and all draft testimony or exchanges relating to the testimony of certain researchers who have testified before Congress on climate change issues.

Grijalva’s letter asked about the climate research and funding for seven scholars: geographer Robert C. Balling, Jr., Arizona State University; atmospheric scientist John Christy, University of Alabama; climatologist Judith Curry, Georgia Institute of Technology; historian Steven Hayward, Pepperdine University; climatologist David Legates, University of Delaware; atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and political scientist Roger Pielke Jr., University of Colorado.

The letter, plainly intended to intimidate climate scientists who dare to question the Obama administration’s often-stated view that climate change is man-made and dangerous, generated heated responses from science organizations, individual scientists, and other members of Congress.

“Sends a Chilling Message”

The American Meteorological Society, the national scientific society for the development and dissemination of atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences, responded to a letter from U.S. Grijalva with a letter of its own. The letter, signed by Dr. Keith L. Seitter, AMS Executive Director, and dated February 27, is a stinging rebuke of Grijalva’s demands.

“Publicly singling out specific researchers based on perspectives they have expressed and implying a failure to appropriately disclose funding sources — and thereby questioning their scientific integrity — sends a chilling message to all academic researchers,” Seitter wrote. “Further, requesting copies of the researcher’s communications related to external funding opportunities or the preparation of testimony impinges on the free pursuit of ideas that is central to the concept of academic freedom.”

Seitter goes on to say peer-review, not political inquiries into funding sources, “is the appropriate mechanism to assess the validity and quality of scientific research, regardless of the funding sources supporting that research as long as those funding sources and any potential conflicts of interest are fully disclosed. The scientific process that includes testing and validation of concepts and ideas — discarding those that cannot successfully withstand such testing — is chronicled in the peer reviewed scientific literature. We encourage the Committee to rely on the full corpus of peer-reviewed literature on climate science as the most reliable source for knowledge and understanding that can be applied to the policy options before you.”

Attacking Skeptics’ Funding

Grijalva justified his query by citing recent media attacks on researchers skeptical of the theory greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for energy are causing catastrophic global warming.

The latest media assault began in late February with an article in The New York Times repeating claims made by a long-time Greenpeace staffer, Kert Davies, that Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist concealed financial support received by the Smithsonian Institution to support his work. The Times article noted Soon’s work was supported by more than $1.2 million from fossil fuel companies over 11 years.

The information was not new, as Davies had been pushing similar stories as early as 1997. The Times reporter failed to mention the funds went to the Smithsonian and not directly to Dr. Soon, and the Smithsonian kept approximately half the money it raised specifically to ensure that Dr. Soon’s research was appropriate and conducted without undue influence by donors.

The Smithsonian has said it is investigating the matter. Since its staff negotiated and signed every contract for all of the money raised for Dr. Soon’s work, it presumably already has found there is no conflict of interest on Dr. Soon’s part.

The Smithsonian Institution’s charter says all such grant results “must be unclassified, in order not to abridge the institution’s right to publish, without restriction, findings that result from this research project.” The funders neither directed nor had control over the research or the dissemination of its results.

Grijalva’s ‘Lysenkoism, Witch Hunt’

Responding to Grijalva’s letter, climatologist David Legates said, “Grijalva was asked why he targeted the seven of us. His response was that we were the most well-published, most often-cited, and had the most impact on public policy in the United States. Not that our research was likely fraudulent, not that we had taken big sums of money from foreign governments, or that we simply had been publishing bad research. None of these were the reason. It was simply that we are too effective with our research and too persuasive with our arguments. Pure and simple. And since we disagree with him and his views, we must be harassed. Maybe that will stop us.

“Unfortunately, we have entered into a new age of Lysenkoism,” Legates said. “Lysenkoism” refers to an episode in science history where the scientific process was heavily influenced by the Soviet government in order to reach politically acceptable conclusions.

Roger Pielke, Jr., another of the researchers whose funding sources and e-mails Grijalva requested, wrote on his blog that Grijalva should already know he has never received any funding from fossil fuel companies and has no conflict of interest, since he has testified to this before Congress on several occasions. “I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated ‘witch hunt’ designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name,” Pielke wrote.

Pielke goes on, “The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt. I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists.”

John Nothdurft, director of government relations for The Heartland Institute, said the probe into Soon and other climate researchers is part of a campaign to divert attention away from the facts about climate change. “Instead of having a real conversation with the American public about the science and economics of climate change, well-financed advocacy groups and politicians with many ‘conflicts of interest’ of their own would rather direct the public’s focus on who funds nonprofit organizations, independent research institutions, scientists, economists, and other experts,” Nothdurft said.

“Apparently it is now a national offense to raise any concerns over certain aspects of the science or economics of policies that purport to deal with human-caused climate change,” Nothdurft said. “This witch hunt has nothing to do with ensuring that science is accurate or reliable. These attacks are leveled by people who refuse to engage in civil debate over important matters of science, economics, and public policy. They should not be allowed to win the day.”

Even alarmists in the global warming debate say Grijalva has gone too far with his demands. Bob Ward, policy and communications director with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in the U.K., a frequent critic of climate skeptics, tweeted, “Politicians should not persecute academics with whom they disagree. No ifs or buts.”

Controversial climate researcher Michael Mann, recently sued by the attorney general of Virginia requesting e-mails concerning Mann’s climate research during his time at the state-supported University of Virginia, called the letters from Grijalva and other Democrats “heavy handed and overly aggressive.”

Activists’ Funding Goes Unquestioned

On her blog, Climate etc., climatologist Judith Curry responded to Grijalva’s letter, arguing if Congress and the press are truly concerned whether funding taints climate research, they should also be asking about funding from large environmental foundations and lobbying groups pushing for government action. Curry asked, “Are we not to be concerned by funding from green advocacy groups and scientists serving on the Boards of green advocacy groups?”

Among the potential conflicts of interest not under scrutiny by the media or congressional Democrats are those of Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer, who has written a number of peer-reviewed papers and testified before Congress on multiple occasions. He previously served as chief scientist for, and is still a science advisor to, the multimillion-dollar lobbying group Environmental Defense.

Joe Romm, author of several books on climate change, has also testified on several occasions before Congress concerning global warming. Romm is a senior fellow and chief science advisor at the Center for American Progress, which argues for greater government control over the economy. Neither Romm nor his coauthors filed conflict-of-interest disclosures for their article in Environmental Research Letters, although the journal explicitly requires it, stating, “All authors and co-authors are required to disclose any potential conflict of interest when submitting their article (e.g. employment, consulting fees, research contracts, stock ownership, patent licenses, honoraria, advisory affiliations, etc.). This information should be included in an acknowledgments section at the end of the manuscript (before the references section). All sources of financial support for the project must also be disclosed in the acknowledgments section.”

Grijalva himself has taken $78,854 from environmental lobbying groups, according to the imablawg website.

Pielke tweeted, “Once you tug on the thread of undisclosed financial interests in climate science, you’ll find it more a norm than exception.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


8 March, 2015

Media stunt "Exposes Climate Deniers" (?)

We will have to wait and see how vicious the VICE production  (mentioned below) is but I append after the article some comments on the matter from Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute

The third season of the Emmy-winning news series VICE debuts today at 11 p.m. on HBO. The first episode covers the pressing issue of sea level rise. VICE Media founder Shane Smith travels to the bottom of the world to investigate the instability of the West Antarctic ice sheet and see how the continent is melting. Then, the VICE crew heads to Bangladesh to capture the impacts of rising sea levels on this South Asian country.

“From the UN Climate conference to the People’s Climate March to the forces that deny the science of global climate change,” says HBO, “this extended report covers all sides of the issue and all corners of the globe, ending in a special interview with Vice President Joe Biden.”

VICE is an innovative media company whose correspondents cover stories that traditional news outlets often overlook. HBO partners with VICE to produce the weekly series. And the season premiere has good timing because next week Robert Swan will take his 2041 team on this year’s International Antarctic Expedition to show the firsthand effects of climate change on the continent.

“Antarctica holds 90 percent of the world’s ice and 70 percent of its freshwater,” says VICE Media founder Shane Smith. “So if even a small fraction of the ice sheet in Antarctica melts, the resulting sea level rise will completely remap the world as we know it. And it is already happening: In the last decade, some of the most significant glaciers [in Antarctica] have tripled their melt rate.”

Antarctica is getting all of this attention because if “it starts melting at the same rate as Greenland, we’re in for trouble,” says Smith. And yet, “in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence,” says Smith, there’s a small, but vocal group of climate deniers that have skewed public perception of climate science and stonewalled efforts to take meaningful action in addressing climate change.

VICE gets an inside look at these self-proclaimed “skeptics” at their annual International Conference on Climate Change hosted by the Heartland Institute, who are funded by the likes of Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers. As Upton Sinclair famously said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”


Jim Lakely comments:

Any promotional material that contains the words “ending in a special interview with Vice President Joe Biden” is special all right … just not in the way they imagine.

I remember the VICE crew at ICCC-9. Mostly nice fellas, smiling on the outside while gathering their audio and video, but certainly frowning on the inside. I was helpful, giving them background information on Heartland and these conferences. It obviously didn’t take.

VICE “star” Shane Smith parachuted in for one day to interview some people. One of them was Joe Bast. Smith was so ignorant of even the most basic knowledge about this debate he embarrassed himself. I believe I have some raw video of that interview on my home computer.

If you go to the link, one note about the second video, which is about Heartland’s latest climate conference: Smith proves himself incapable of even Googling Heartland and finding our website. He calls us an “environmental organization.”

Paper: Global Warming? More Like Global Cooling

A new paper claims that declining solar activity since 1998 could mean falling global temperatures in the years ahead — contrary to predictions of rapid warming made by virtually all climate models.

“The stagnation of temperature since 1998 was caused by decreasing solar activity since 1998,” wrote Jürgen Lange Heine, a physicist with the German-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE).

“From 1900 to 1998, solar radiation increased by 1.3 W / m², but since 1998 it has diminished, and could reach values ??similar to those of the early 20th century. A drop in global temperature over the next few years is predicted,” Heine wrote.

Heine argues that warming during the 20th Century was not caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions, but instead by increasing solar activity, changes in cloud cover caused by cosmic rays and huge amounts of cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere from the nuclear weapons tests conducted from 1945 to 1963.

Climate scientists have attributed this warming largely to carbon dioxide emissions emitted from human activities, mainly from burning fossil fuels, but Heine says the connection between carbon dioxide and temperature is only superficial.

“Despite steadily rising carbon dioxide levels observed in the years 1945 to 1975, as well as since 1998, a decrease or stagnation in global temperatures occurred that does not fit with the carbon dioxide hypothesis,” Heine wrote.

The “stagnation” in global temperatures since 1998 Heine refers to is known as the “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming. Both satellite-derived and surface temperature readings show no significant warming trend in global temperatures for the last 10 to 20 years.

Heine is not the first researcher to tie the “pause” in warming to declining solar activity. Several researchers over the years have predicted that declining solar activity could plunge the Earth into another “Little Ice Age.”

Shrinivas Aundhkar, director of India’s Mahatma Gandhi Mission at the Centre for Astronomy and Space Technology, recently told people attending a lecture that declining solar activity could mean a “mini ice age-like situation” is nigh.

“The sun undergoes two cycles that are described as maximum and minimum,” Aundhkar said. “The activity alternates every 11 years, and the period is termed as one solar cycle. At present, the sun is undergoing the minimum phase, reducing global temperatures.”

High sunspot activity has been associated with periods of warming on the Earth, like the period between 1950 and 1998. On the other hand, low sunspot activity has been linked to cooler periods, like the so-called “Little Ice Age” when temperatures were much cooler than today.

Scientists have struggled to explain why global temperatures have not risen nearly as fast as climate models predicted. Researchers have offered dozens of explanations as to why global temperatures have stagnated since 1998.

A recent study by Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, a noted environmentalist and creator of the “hockey stick” graph, claims that man-made global warming is on the rise but is being tempered by natural cooling cycles from the oceans.

“We know that it is important to distinguish between human-caused and natural climate variability so we can assess the impact of human-caused climate change on a variety of phenomena including drought and weather extremes,” Mann said in a statement. “The North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans appear to be drivers of substantial natural, internal climate variability on timescales of decades.”

“Our findings have strong implications for the attribution of recent climate changes,” he said. “Internal multidecadal variability in Northern Hemisphere temperatures likely offset anthropogenic warming over the past decade.”

Other research suggests that warming has stalled because increasing amounts of carbon dioxide are being absorbed by the world’s oceans, which is causing them to warm and acidify.

A recent study published in the journal Nature found that most of the excess heat from carbon dioxide has been trapped in the tropical southern oceans. Researchers said the top 1,600 feet of ocean water warmed 0.009 degrees Fahrenheit. The next 4,000 feet warmed just 0.0036 degrees since 2006.

But the study also illustrates how the ocean is able to absorb lots of carbon dioxide, or heat, without experiencing much warming.


The Rise of the CO2 Fairy

By forecaster Joe Bastardi

In Sept. 2011, I did a video explaining why I thought the winters of ‘12-'13, '13-'14 and '14-'15 could be quite severe for the U.S. We had the late start in '12-'13, the brutal start to finish of '13-'14, and then the fast out of the gate, back off, then come on gangbusters winter this year.

When one considers November challenged the legendary November of 1976 in terms of cold, and that February went after such years as 1934, 1958, 1978 and 1979 – all holy grails of cold for people who understand how the weather can get so extreme – then you understand the magnitude of the cold that major population areas of the U.S. have dealt with. Moreover, the preseason snow forecast from Weatherbell.com is looking very good, and snowfall is not done yet for the season. The following graph was made in October, not after all this started. In fact, in mid-winter, there were loud cries asserting winter’s demise, similar to the pre-2010 “Snowmeggedon.” That winter backed off also.

It’s not perfect, but it said loudly, Look out, there is going to be a lot of snow this year. In the West, a lot of the snow is early and late in the season, so it’s common to see late-season rallies. For instance, Denver had a very snowy November and the snowiest February on record.  So there is time to “bullseye” the southern and central Rockies.

And precisely what we loudly proclaimed beforehand about the result of what we saw coming last winter and now this winter (and in early Jan 2013, warning about the rest of that one) is being echoed by economists:  "Slowing U.S. economy is inconvenient truth" (MarketWatch)

A quote from the article:

    “[A] good chunk of this [economic] slowdown traces to the unusually severe weather that struck most of the country late last year and early in this year.”

Our reasons were laid out well beforehand and were centered on an idea I picked up while talking with some meteorologists I knew around Houston in 2007. I listened to their idea and researched it privately, getting input from people I knew and trusted in the field. There were plenty of years to look at, plenty of examples of similar set ups. The point is that you can see this coming by lining up patterns in the past.

In the highly competitive world of private meteorology, cutting edge ideas are battle-tested. One does this on one’s own time, and your “funding” is having a job where clients pay you to be right on the weather. So you spend countless hours researching ideas to give them an edge.

It is the nature of the competitive meteorologist to trust but verify that all that came before you is a foundation for the chance to compete against the ultimate opponent – weather. One understands that in an infinite system as majestic as the atmosphere there is nothing etched in stone. Grasping the total picture with a intimate knowledge of the past is essential to even having a chance to hit events that resemble some of the great occurrences of the past. While similar, nothing is ever the same!

In talks I give now, I always make sure people know that no extra CO2 was used to come up with my ideas. It’s done to get a laugh, the point being the forecast does not take CO2 into account.

I also stated I hoped that, if my ideas had merit, it would wake people up to the folly of the statements being made when the earth was still in a warming phase. I introduced publicly on the O'Reilly Factor the Triple Crown of Cooling, which is now The Grand Slam of Climate.

It was also opined that, in the past, when these cyclical shifts occurred, there were local pickups of what is now being called extreme weather. But it is nothing out of the ordinary in the big picture, no sign of an appending atmospheric apocalypse, warm or cold. It’s nothing that is not well within the realm of what nature does. Why? Because we used examples of past events before the fact to set all this up.

Case in point: the idea we put out in Jan. that this month in the Northeast could rival the benchmark February of 1934. That was said before it happened. You will notice many of the people reporting on the cold now bring that month up. But we explained the why before the what. Anyone can say there is six inches of snow on the ground when there is six inches of snow on the ground.

But my better angel years ago was hoping such events I was alluding to would wake people up to the folly of things they were saying about man-made global warming. The very people I was saying that to instead have doubled down on excuses.

I was going to do this opinion on one particular column I saw Feb. 17 in USA Today titled “Nationally, it’s been one of the warmest winters on record” that used data through Jan. to claim this was one of the warmest winters on record.

I got mad for four reasons:

a.) The author seemed to forget that Feb. accounts for a third of winter, so 20% of the winter season was not considered.

b.) The West was warm, but many of the stations are far newer, have less records and are less reliable as far as station upkeep goes than the long running stations in the Plains and East.

c.) While Nevada and Utah are great states, far less people live there than the Northeast, which the author had the amazing chutzpah to call “chilly” in the face of a run at the coldest month ever.

d.) The entire Heating Degree day season is November-March. When you include November, it’s darn close to last year (which was also being spun twofold: 1. It’s not that cold, and 2. Yes, it is cold, but it’s caused by global warming).

Like most of the great winters in the Eastern U.S., there is a lot of warmth in the West and North. The enhanced meridional flow is something we forecasted based on the Pacific temperatures last year and this year. No big mystery unless you either don’t know about it or do and choose to deceive people as to the cause of such things.

In any case, I said I was going to write on that, but with the onslaught of one blast after another that has come down the pike from people pushing this issue (the colder it got, the bigger the excuse) – the latest being a witch hunt launched by people in congress on several climate scientists who actually believe there may be some human influence but dare to question how much – I decided I can’t single out one article. They are coming fast and furious by people who had no idea before what was going on.

Explanations that, frankly, make a lot of us in the field laugh, including some people I am friendly with but don’t see eye to eye with me. (Side note: I never see these folks in public venues, where one can be embarrassed if wrong. But they love to explain after the fact what they didn’t know before.)

So here we are, being told CO2 is responsible for global warming — climate change, the term they are now using, is a natural event which only people that claim humans are driving them deny – and events perfectly natural and to a large degree fairly predictable simply by understanding what went on before. What we have to ask these people in the face of the actual geological record that shows CO2 and temperatures is: Why is it CO2 now, but not before?

Anyone see any linkage between CO2 and temperatures?

Why would the increase of one molecule of CO2 out of every 10,000 molecules of air over a 100-year period suddenly pick now, at 400 ppm, to overcome the sun, oceans, stochastic events and the design of the system, including the physical properties of CO2 in relation to the other greenhouse gases, of which it’s only 1%?

The answer below I think makes as much sense as the explanations I am seeing out there:

Could it be there is a CO2 fairy waving its magic wand? While CO2 has little to do with actual weather and climate, as shown by past events, both recent and in the geological time scale, apparently it can affect people who believe it does.


Environmental Reforms that conservatives would like

Here’s a quick update on the latest developments in environmental regulation: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing what likely will be the most costly regulation in history—stringent ozone restrictions that manufacturers estimate will cost the economy $140 billion and threaten one million jobs.

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are attempting to vastly expand their authority over virtually every land-use decision under the guise of protecting wetlands. And then there’s the Obama administration’s attempt to bypass Congress with its “climate action plan” to drastically raise the cost of the fossil fuels that power the nation.

Although the details of these various regulatory schemes differ, collectively they represent deeply disturbing aspects of current environmental policy: agencies routinely exceeding their statutory powers, the absence of scientific and economic analyses to inform decision-making, the penchant of Congress to ignore regulatory costs and delegate their powers, and a persistent imbalance between regulatory costs and benefits.

These problems represent dysfunction of a high order, the result of years of regulatory abuse. Nor are the problems solely economic. Overly politicized policies shift attention and resources from real environmental threats to ideological causes—and the environment suffers.

For years, some conservatives (and only some) have argued against ineffective and inefficient environmental regulation. But just saying “no” isn’t enough. Americans care about the environment and thus advocates of sensible natural resource stewardship must initiate commonsense reforms and offer alternatives to the status quo.

Toward those ends, the Heritage Foundation this week released its recommendations for improving environmental policy. The new Environmental Policy Guide features 167 recommendations for reform that arose from consultations with dozens of experts from a variety of fields. In nine chapters organized by environmental issue, the guide offers reforms that can be achieved through legislation, authorizations and oversight.

For example, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act require amendment in order for property owners to receive compensation when government restrictions result in the loss of property value. Otherwise, there is no check on the agencies’ “taking” of private property, and individuals are forced to pay the costs of policies that supposedly benefit all.

Congress also must conduct oversight hearings on the near-term impacts of the administration’s sweeping climate action plan on electric power reliability. In addition, there should be no funding to implement or enforce any regulation that is based on information or data that does not meet federal quality standards. Junk science makes for junk policy.

Regulatory excess increasingly inhibits economic growth and erodes individual liberty. Reforms are urgently needed to impose accountability on agencies and Congress. The Environmental Policy Guide provides concrete and sensible actions to do so.


Judge Slams EPA’s ‘Offensively Unapologetic’ Handling of Conservative Group's FOIA

A federal judge on Monday strongly criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for being either careless or incompetent, calling the agency “offensively unapologetic” in its mishandling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from at least one conservative group.

Also, concerning one EPA employee in particular, the judge said the person "at best, demonstrated utter indifference to EPA's FOIA obligations" and "at worst" the employee "is lying," although there is not enough evidence in the record to determine which conclusion is correct.

In his opinion in the case of Landmark Legal Foundation v. the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth described the EPA’s attitude toward FOIA requests as “shoddy,” “offensive” and “insulting” after the agency effectively ignored and continually botched a FOIA request from the LLF, a right-leaning law firm, in 2012.

Lamberth also said, "At bottom, EPA's handling of Landmark's request leaves far too much room for a reasonable observer to suspect misconduct."

“Two possible explanations exist for EPA’s conduct following Landmark Legal Foundation’s filing of a Freedom of Information Act request in 2012,” Lamberth wrote in his opinion, released Monday, Mar. 2. “Either EPA sought to evade Landmark’s lawful FOIA request so the agency could destroy responsive documents, or EPA demonstrated carelessness toward Landmark’s request.”

“Either scenario reflects poorly upon EPA and surely serves to diminish the public’s trust in the agency,” he added.

On Aug. 17, 2012, the Landmark Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm run by well-known conservative attorney Mark Levin, filed a FOIA request with the EPA asking for information and records regarding any outside environmental groups the agency had consulted or communicated with on policy and regulations.

The LLF also asked for any records showing that the EPA was slowing or delaying the announcement of any regulations or public comment opportunities until after the presidential election on Nov. 6 of 2012.

The short, two-part FOIA started a series a actions in the EPA that would last more than two years.

The EPA first denied LLF’s request for expedited processing in October of 2012. The agency then issued a notice to 45 of its employees to preserve “potentially relevant information” relating to the FOIA request with a due date of October 30.

This notice, however, was not sent to the agency’s top two officials, then-Administrator Lisa Jackson and Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe.

Aaron Dickerson, special assistant to the Administrator, and Nena Shaw, then-special assistant to the Deputy Administrator, reportedly received but did not respond to the notice, and were not given the due date, Lamberth said.

The agency then dragged its feet on responding to the FOIA until well after the Nov. 6 election, when President Barack Obama was ultimately elected for a second term. The EPA officials also failed to conduct a thorough search for potentially relevant EPA records, including searching Administrator Jackson’s personal email accounts that she used for government business, Lamberth noted in his opinion.

Jackson’s Blackberry, which easily could have contained relevant information, was erased following her resignation in February 2013, Lamberth added.

Lamberth also noted that “there is no evidence in the record that…anyone…conducted a search of the Deputy Administrator’s records prior to December 20, 2014” – more than two years after the initial FOIA request was filed.

On top of failing to look through relevant records, Special Assistant Nena Shaw also claimed to have experienced “technical difficulties” while transferring information to the collection database. Instead, she “printed the responsive records” but “does not recall precisely what happened to the printed records,” Lamberth said.

“Such an assertion is about as close to a sworn ‘dog ate my homework’ statement as one can make,” Lamberth said, adding that “the Court can only conclude that such responsive records – if they ever existed in the first instance – have been lost.”

Lamberth further said, "At best, Shaw demonstrated utter indifference to EPA's FOIA obligations. At worst, Shaw is lying. There is not enough in the record from either Landmark or EPA to determine which is correct. What is clear, however, is that Shaw goes out of her way to avoid presenting any defined timeline for her search-related activities, which only adds to the fuzziness of her declaration."

Despite slamming the EPA for its poor management of the LLF’s information request, Lamberth denied LLF’s request for sanctions against the agency for withholding information, explaining that LLF could not prove that EPA officials acted in “bad faith,” and that “[n]egligence is insufficient to impose punitive sanctions.”

However, that did not stop Lamberth from stating that the EPA’s “offensively unapologetic” mishandling of the FOIA request “leaves far too much room for a reasonable observer to suspect misconduct.”

“The Court is left wondering whether EPA has learned from its mistakes, or if it will merely continue to address FOIA requests in the clumsy manner that has seemingly become its custom,” Lamberth said.

“This Court would implore the Executive Branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests – regardless of the political affiliation of the requester – are treated with equal respect and consciousness,” he added.

Responding to Lamberth’s opinion, Levin accused the EPA of viewing Americans as “public enemies,” calling their mishandling of FOIA requests “reprehensible.”

"Judge Lamberth's decision should be a complete embarrassment for everyone at the Environmental Protection Agency,” Levin said. “Their conduct, from start to finish in this case, was reprehensible, and the Judge made clear that they avoided severe punitive sanctions only because of the narrowly defined requirements of the law.”

"The corporate culture at the EPA, from the Administrator down to the most junior administrative assistant, is that of an imperial bureaucracy answerable only to its own ideological agenda,” Levin added. “To them, the American public are nothing but public enemies. And the EPA shouldn't judge its success in handling FOIA requests by whether or not any of its people wound up facing federal contempt charges or possible criminal prosecution."


Subsidized global-warming propaganda musical

Fortunately, propaganda is rarely funny or entertaining

Elizabeth Harrington at the Washington Free Beacon offers a familiar old slice of sleaze funded by the federal government. An “investigative theatre” company in New York, The Civilians, has been granted almost $950,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and believe it or not, the National Science Foundation.

Why should the American taxpayer – you – be forced to pay for the garbage that follows? Because you, and everyone else, would never pay for it if it weren’t mandated by this radical administration which will be gone in 22 months, thank God.

Their most recent work of “art” was a musical called “Pretty Filthy,” exploring the “human side of the porn industry.” While the porno piece wasn’t directly funded by the NEA, federal funds keep this propaganda wagon on the road.

In “Pretty Filthy,” the troupe based their songs and scripts on interviews with “adult entertainers.” They promoted themselves as “armed with notepads and recorders,” providing an insider’s glimpse into the “other Hollywood” – the porn industry in the San Fernando Valley.

Naturally The New York Times loved it. Critic Charles Isherwood oozed that the “thoroughly winning cast” showed an “admirable sympathy” for porn stars. He liked the lyrics (“Two things you need to shoot porn? A camera and a thumb”) and the snark (“It was like being with a corpse … a corpse who [sic] giggled”).

But usually The Civilians are funded to churn out radical-left claptrap. Last year, they were awarded $20,000 for a podcast series called “Let Me Ascertain You.” In a series titled “LGBTQ All Out!,” they explored topics such as “a teenage lesbian shunned by her Jehovah’s Witness community, a master domination top who locks people up in his basement, a gay military soldier who attempted suicide, and the life of homeless gay youth on the streets of New York City.”

The company received a $12,000 NEA grant in January 2013 for new plays from their “Research and Development Group.” Winter Miller, a playwright, is working on a project about the “stigma” of abortion. Asking when life begins is hurtful, Miller believes, and has “led to the murder of doctors and the growth of extremist movements in the United States, of which the tea party is the least overtly violent.”

The NEA also provided The Civilians a $25,000 grant to produce a musical on the “Paris Commune” that briefly ruled the city in 1871, which, according to Marxist.com, was “where the working class for the first time in history, took power into its own hands.” Leon Trotsky preached about its lessons and how the “masses” had failed to embrace the revolution. Playwright Michael Friedman insisted the commune resembled the hope springing out of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Overall, The Civilians has received $247,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts since 2007, including $65,000 for “The Great Immensity,” a musical about the doom rapidly approaching through climate change. The majority of the project was funded by a National Science Foundation grant of $697,177. Characters proclaimed panicky things like, “We are actually breaking the world. We break the world and it’s done. Game over.” Why hasn’t everyone grasped the allegedly imminent demise of our planet? “People are stupid,” they proclaimed.

Unsurprisingly, this amply subsidized global-warming propaganda musical was canceled after only a three-week run last spring at Manhattan’s Public Theatre. Even the reviewers couldn’t make themselves love it.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


6 March, 2015

Looking back

Just Another Warmist Lie

by Viv Forbes

2015 is the make-or-break year for climate alarmism, with a crucial battle planned for Paris in November. So we can expect regular bursts of global warming propaganda. panic button

The year started on cue with a breathless announcement from the US National Climate Data Centre: “2014 was Earth's warmest year on record” (their records start in 1880).The Little Ice Age ended in about 1880.

Therefore it is no surprise that global temperatures have generally risen since then. And it reveals nothing about the cause of the warming.Moreover the announcement hides more than it reveals.

Firstly the alleged new peak temperature is just 0.04? higher than 2010. Who are they kidding? No weather recording station can measure to that accuracy. Once the likely error bars are added to the averaged data, the story changes to “recent global temperatures remain flat”.Secondly, what does “average” mean?

Almost every place on Earth has a different average temperature, and the averages range from 34? to -58?, a range of 92?. With very large daily and seasonal variations, an unevenly scattered and variable set of temperature recording stations, plus frequent “adjustments” to the raw figures, their calculated “global average” is probably a manipulated and meaningless number.Trends are more important than spot values.

Satellite data and proxies such as ice core data give more reliable long-term “average” temperature trends; both records say that 2014 is NOT unusually high.Moreover, information on global temperature trends go back far beyond 1880 - ice core data goes back 20,000 years, as shown below in the GRIP ice core data records.

These show there were several periods in the last 10,000 years with global temperatures significantly above that for 2014.


Naomi Oreskes Warps Climate Skeptic History

Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes is best known to climate realists for her 2010 screed Merchants of Doubt, but a short, obscure, error-riddled essay she wrote as a chapter in the book How Well Do Facts Travel? The Dissemination of Reliable Knowledge is more significant. In it she examines the 1991 origin of the “skeptics are paid industry shills” narrative found in a legendary set of “leaked Western Fuels memos.”

Oreskes’ chapter is important because she interprets the memos as industry’s plan for a vast national campaign using paid climate scientists to create lasting public doubt about global warming. That’s the same interpretation repeated ad nauseam by climate alarmists such as Al Gore, Ross Gelbspan (1997’s The Heat Is On), and Canadian attack website DeSmogBlog.

Appallingly, nobody in this parade of critics ever fact-checked the memos, not even historian Oreskes. Critics misinterpreted what they were looking at in the hundred-or-so pages of “Western Fuels memos.” They cherry-picked pieces that made skeptics look worst and patched them together into an assumption-laden fairy-tale.

According to Russell Cook’s excellent Heartland Institute Report Merchants of Smear, and numerous interviews with the “memo” sources, all the critics had was a hodgepodge of e-mail exchanges from a loose coalition of 24 large and small electric utilities worried about a carbon tax bill in Congress.

The fairy tale spinners focused only on emails from the utilities’ coal suppliers. The coalition explored lobbying to raise public concern about the impact of the tax, along with pointing out the weaknesses in the claims humans were causing climate change, using well-established skeptical scientists as spokesmen to balance the deluge of alarmist publicity.

The “memos” were the everyday work products of coalition members—including the Edison Electric Institute, a large trade group of investor-owned utilities—filed away in no particular order. EEI coordinated the most misinterpreted document, a campaign proposal by opinion survey firm Cambridge Reports of Massachusetts. The other “memos” included letters, meeting notices, reports from a hired Washington public relations firm, sample ads from a North Dakota direct mail firm, and similar items.

Innocuous Trade Association Demonized

Less than one-third of the jumbled “memos” involved Western Fuels Association. It’s ironic that they became known as the “Western Fuels memos,” because WFA is just the opposite of what the alarmist critics thought. It wasn’t a lobbying group but rather a nonprofit, member-owned co-op serving consumer-owned rural electric cooperatives and other public power systems. WFA manages mining and transportation of coal from member-owned mines and buys additional coal in the open market, facts printed on the inside cover of WFA’s annual reports.

The coalition’s climate skeptics picked the semi-humorous acronym “ICE,” and Cambridge Reports suggested several names to fit, including “Informed Citizens for the Environment” and “Information Council for the Environment.” Western Fuels used the latter.

The single most misinterpreted page, “Strategy,” listed nine goals, topped by “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” Critics mischaracterized that as “orders from headquarters” to reposition the public into believing global warming is not a fact. Al Gore even featured it in ominous red letters spread across a frame of his movie An Inconvenient Truth. Actually, it was merely a suggestion offered by Cambridge Reports.

Coalition Dissolves

Even more importantly, Western Fuels Association officials did not even read the Cambridge Reports proposal, because they had already hired Simmons Advertising of Grand Forks, North Dakota. They never saw the “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” goal, and they say they wouldn’t have used it if they had, because it was too abstract.

The national campaign never happened, a three-city test run flopped, and the coalition dissolved amid disagreements between skeptics and pragmatists. In July 1991, coalition members went their separate ways. Smaller ones, generally skeptics, chose to fight for sound science and against new regulations, whereas big, investor-owned utilities abandoned the science debate and chose to lobby to favorably influence legislation.

Slanted Focus, Coverage

Of the original “Western Fuels memos,” only fifty poorly scanned, frustratingly incomplete images on a Greenpeace Investigations site are publicly available today. So, where did Oreskes get the entire set?

She claims she found them “in the archives of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Washington, D.C.” and advises, “scholars wishing to consult these materials should contact the AMS.”

AMS is actually headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts It maintains a small Washington, DC office for government affairs, but it has no archives. The AMS archivist in Boston verified no such documents ever existed in the society’s archives.

Oreskes said an “Anthony Socci” brought the documents to her attention. The AMS archivist said Socci—a Senate Commerce Committee staffer from 1991 to 1993 who managed hearings for Sen. Al Gore—had been an AMS employee for a time, and likely had a personal copy he made available to Oreskes.

How did Socci get the documents? The most likely answer comes from a letter on EEI letterhead dated May 6, 1991, showing the group’s global warming task force strongly disparaged the skeptic campaign. Within a month, the memos were circulating among environmentalists in Washington. The Sierra Club forwarded a copy to the New York Times, mentioned in a July 8, 1991 article headlined, “Pro Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea.”

A noted historian, when asked for the simplest definition of history, said, “History is what really happened.” That’s not what Oreskes wrote.


Sustainability has failed, but does Britain's Green party know it?

The sustainable development model has long been doomed to failure, but the Green Party is still in denial, argues John Foster in The Guardian

The coming general election is the least predictable for many years. One reason for this is the “green surge” – the Green party is unprecedentedly polling at around 7%, with recent evidence suggesting that it could affect the outcome in at least 18 seats and thus, in a volatile situation, the overall result.

More people are now members of the Greens than the Liberal Democrats. This is already a major change to the political environment within which business has to operate. Has the green agenda finally arrived in British politics?

The Greens are arriving just as it is becoming evident that the sustainability paradigm has failed. The issue of climate change illustrates this failure. If we don’t keep average atmospheric temperature to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels, we are (as all credible experts now agree) in for dangerous and potentially disastrous climate change.

Unless we are already well embarked on a programme for drastic reductions worldwide, we won’t achieve them; as the permanently crossed fingers of the international sustainability establishment testify, we clearly have not.

This example illustrates how impotent the sustainable development model always was. Constraining present needs (or desires) to serve future needs could only offer a toolkit of lead spanners, liable to bend under any real strain. No wonder we still find the nuts and bolts of unsustainable living stubbornly unshiftable.

Greens are perhaps as deep in denial about climate change as those with more standard vested interests. This can be encapsulated in the words of the Green Party member who said: it can’t be too late to stop climate change, because if it was, how could we find the energy to go on campaigning?

This logic is now coming under breaking strain. Defending the idea that it can’t be too late, from the knowledge that we have barely started, gives rise to techno-fantasy. The Oxford geoengineering programme, for instance, canvasses the introduction of sulphur dioxide particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect away a proportion of incoming sunlight, or adding nutrients to the oceans to increase draw-down of atmospheric carbon.

But such projects belong to the realm of science fiction and, as even their proponents tacitly recognise, merely continue the mindset which has brought us to our present plight.

Since that mindset is doomed, we are going to have to learn to live with post-sustainability. This will be bleak. It means accepting that we face what a former UK government chief scientist has called a “perfect storm” of food, water and energy shortages worldwide, with all their consequences in terms of attempted migrations, struggles for resources and associated conflict. The only way to retrieve anything for human hope from this mess will be to re-conceive emerging post-sustainability positively, as ‘post- hubris’.

Hubris is overweening confidence in human ability to control our surroundings and what happens to us. The modern project of managing the natural world for human benefit, launched by the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment, now stands revealed as a lethal form of this failing. To have pointed this out is the green movement’s real achievement hitherto.

This is now gaining wider recognition with unexpected support for what could become a green-led recovery from hubris. We see this in the contempt for all conventional politicians, who promise betterment but fail to deliver.

Correspondingly, there is a growing sense that our resilience lies in the strength of both national and local culture, which further moves towards multiculturalism can only subvert. A confused form of this awareness can be seen in the UKIP phenomenon.

Closely related is recognition of our need to recover solidarities of community, which neoliberal capitalism under governments of the right and (vaguely) the left has trashed. This explains the haemorrhaging of Labour support to the Greens and nationalists on issues like transport, healthcare and welfare.

Post-hubristic consciousness is clearly still inchoate and embraces many contradictions – Scottish nationalists reject the UK but yearn for the EU, many UKIP supporters resist the realities of climate change. The need to rebuild what viable resilience we can is impossible to ignore.

Also impossible to ignore is that these are all profoundly ecological recognitions, of which the Greens should be natural trustees. Will they rise to that responsibility?

One thing can confidently be predicted about this general election, is it will cost the Greens an heroic expenditure of effort for very minimal results in terms of seats and parliamentary voice. Given excited expectations among a much larger membership, disillusion will be all the more acute. Will it lead to a reappraisal of strategy and realignment with new allies? For the business community, as for the rest of us, much hangs on the answer.


Former IPCC Climatologist Lennart Bengtsson Calls Out Spiegel On Climate Gloom: “Wrong…Hopelessly Naïve…Ought To Know Better”

Some days ago I wrote about how German news weekly Der Spiegel had resorted once again to catastrophe-hopping when it recently rolled out its print edition whose front cover featured a burning planet caused by human climate change.

Skeptics in Europe reacted harshly, but at the same time dismiss the doomsday piece as a desperate sensationalism stunt in a bid to stem its hemorrhage of readers.

Some criticism even came from rather hefty figures in the climate scene. For example Swedish professor Lennart Bengtsson, former IPCC climatologist and former head of the German Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg.

Bengtsson posted a commentary concerning the Spiegel doomsday piece at the Swedish Anthropocene site here. He calls the alarmist views of book author Naomi Klein, which Spiegel cited in its article: “not only wrong, but also hopelessly naïve.”

Bengtsson, who has gravitated from being an regular alarmist to a non-alarmist luke-warmer over the years, thinks that the growing emission of greenhouse gases is a problem over the long term, but that it is not an urgent problem. He writes there is no scientific basis showing the weather has become more extreme.

The storms are not worse than before, and they will be fewer in a warmer climate as a result of the polar regions warming up.”

On sea level Bengtsson writes that it is now rising at about 3 mm per year, but has not accelerated over the past 23 years. It makes no sense to rush and to make “hasty and inaccurate decisions“. He writes:

"The reason for the increased emissions of carbon dioxide is the increasing earth‘s population and the desire of all the poor to live a life that is a little better and more hopeful, and perhaps someday even take a taxi at any time – surely among some of Naomi Klein’s environmental sins.”

Bengtsson calls the belief that a non-capitalist system can solve the earth’s energy and environmental problems “completely naïve” and uninformed, citing past failed experiments in socialism.

"If anyone ought to be familiar with the costs needed to solve the problems left behind by communist East Germany, it is Spiegel. The Elbe River was a dead river at the time of the German reunification. Now, thanks to the capitalist system, it has returned to life.”

As an example of a successful approach to lower CO2, emissions, Bengtsson uses the United States: “In fact, one of the few countries that has significantly reduced CO2 emissions are the United States, through its growing gas exploration!”

Bengtsson adds:

"The only hope to solve the planet’s long-term environmental problems is via the open and free society, not least of all by a socialist dictatorship on a global scale. This at least Spiegel’s editors ought to know.”


The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics

Members of Congress send inquisitorial letters to universities, energy companies, even think tanks


Research in recent years has encouraged those of us who question the popular alarm over allegedly man-made global warming. Actually, the move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom.

Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn.

As to the science itself, it’s worth noting that all predictions of warming since the onset of the last warming episode of 1978-98—which is the only period that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) attempts to attribute to carbon-dioxide emissions—have greatly exceeded what has been observed. These observations support a much reduced and essentially harmless climate response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

In addition, there is experimental support for the increased importance of variations in solar radiation on climate and a renewed awareness of the importance of natural unforced climate variability that is largely absent in current climate models. There also is observational evidence from several independent studies that the so-called “water vapor feedback,” essential to amplifying the relatively weak impact of carbon dioxide alone on Earth temperatures, is canceled by cloud processes.

There are also claims that extreme weather—hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, you name it—may be due to global warming. The data show no increase in the number or intensity of such events. The IPCC itself acknowledges the lack of any evident relation between extreme weather and climate, though allowing that with sufficient effort some relation might be uncovered.

World leaders proclaim that climate change is our greatest problem, demonizing carbon dioxide. Yet atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have been vastly higher through most of Earth’s history. Climates both warmer and colder than the present have coexisted with these higher levels.

Currently elevated levels of carbon dioxide have contributed to increases in agricultural productivity. Indeed, climatologists before the recent global warming hysteria referred to warm periods as “climate optima.” Yet world leaders are embarking on costly policies that have no capacity to replace fossil fuels but enrich crony capitalists at public expense, increasing costs for all, and restricting access to energy to the world’s poorest populations that still lack access to electricity’s immense benefits.

Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy. So it is unsurprising that great efforts have been made to ramp up hysteria, even as the case for climate alarm is disintegrating.

The latest example began with an article published in the New York Times on Feb. 22 about Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Mr. Soon has, for over 25 years, argued for a primary role of solar variability on climate. But as Greenpeace noted in 2011, Mr. Soon was, in small measure, supported by fossil-fuel companies over a period of 10 years.

The Times reintroduced this old material as news, arguing that Mr. Soon had failed to list this support in a recent paper in Science Bulletin of which he was one of four authors.

Two days later Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, used the Times article as the basis for a hunting expedition into anything said, written and communicated by seven individuals — David Legates, John Christy, Judith Curry, Robert Balling, Roger Pielke Jr., Steven Hayward and me— about testimony we gave to Congress or other governmental bodies. We were selected solely on the basis of our objections to alarmist claims about the climate.

In letters he sent to the presidents of the universities employing us (although I have been retired from MIT since 2013), Mr. Grijalva wanted all details of all of our outside funding, and communications about this funding, including “consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and any other monies.” Mr. Grijalva acknowledged the absence of any evidence but purportedly wanted to know if accusations made against Mr. Soon about alleged conflicts of interest or failure to disclose his funding sources in science journals might not also apply to us.

Perhaps the most bizarre letter concerned the University of Colorado’s Mr. Pielke. His specialty is science policy, not science per se, and he supports reductions in carbon emissions but finds no basis for associating extreme weather with climate. Mr. Grijalva’s complaint is that Mr. Pielke, in agreeing with the IPCC on extreme weather and climate, contradicts the assertions of John Holdren, President Obama’s science czar.

Mr. Grijalva’s letters convey an unstated but perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense—and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress.

After the Times article, Sens. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) also sent letters to numerous energy companies, industrial organizations and, strangely, many right-of-center think tanks (including the Cato Institute, with which I have an association) to unearth their alleged influence peddling.

The American Meteorological Society responded with appropriate indignation at the singling out of scientists for their scientific positions, as did many individual scientists. On Monday, apparently reacting to criticism, Mr. Grijalva conceded to the National Journal that his requests for communications between the seven of us and our outside funders was “overreach.”

Where all this will lead is still hard to tell. At least Mr. Grijalva’s letters should help clarify for many the essentially political nature of the alarms over the climate, and the damage it is doing to science, the environment and the well-being of the world’s poorest.


Official Australian report finds climate change benefits

Climate change could have positive economic spin-offs, a new government report says.  It's only one sentence in a vast bureaucratic document but it is a sign of the times to see some realism creeping into officialdom

The Intergenerational Report released on Thursday includes a chapter on "managing the environment", which has been a feature of previous versions of the five-yearly economic and budget update.

The report sets out the government's plan to reduce carbon pollution through its $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund.

But it also says "some economic effects may be beneficial".  "Where regions become warmer or wetter this may allow for increased agricultural output - while others may be harmful," the report said.

"For example, lower rainfall may reduce crop yields, or transport infrastructure (such as roads, ports and rail networks) may become more susceptible to damage from extreme weather events."

The report reinforces the government's aim to cut emissions by five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.

But, despite the report being about Australia in the period to 2055, it does not discuss a possible new target.

"Australia will meet its Kyoto target for 2020 and will join with the international community to establish post-2020 targets with the aim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions," it said.

"The international community has agreed to aim to keep global warming to a less than two degrees celsius increase above pre-industrial climate levels."

The intergenerational report produced by Labor in 2010 found that unmitigated climate change would leave Australian GDP in 2100 about eight per cent lower than the level it would be in the absence of climate change.

Former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello's 2007 report concluded: "There does seem to be consensus around the fact that significant levels of global warming imply losses in global GDP over the longer term that should be factored into the policy choices made today."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


5 March, 2015

An Obama promise that has come true!

Watch him make the promise here.  And people voted for him!  The power of a dark skin in a nation brainwashed into guilt by the Left

In contrast to the steep decline in the gasoline price index over the past year (which led to a decline in the overall Consumer Price Index), the seasonally adjusted electricity price index hit an all-time high in January, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January, the seasonally adjusted price index for electricity was 212.290. That was up from 210.489 in December, which was the record up until then. Before that, the high had been the 209.341 recorded in March of last year.

The annual electricity price index set a record in 2014 of 208.020 up from 200.750 in 2013.

In January, the average price for a kilowatthour (KWH) of electricity also hit an all-time high for that month of the year.

According to BLS, a KWH of electricity cost an average of 13.8 cents in January 2015, which was less than the 14.3-cent cost in June, July and August of 2014 (and 14.1-cent cost of September 2014) but more than the average cost of a KWH in any month—including the summer months—of 2013. In that year, the average price of a KWH peaked at 13.7 cents in the months from June to September.

The rise in the electricity price index ran counter to the gasoline price index, the overall energy price index, and the overall Consumer Price Index, all of which declined in January as well as over the past twelve months.

“The gasoline decrease was overwhelmingly the cause of the decline in the all items index, which would have risen 0.1 percent had the gasoline index been unchanged,” said BLS.

The BLS’s price indexes measure relative change in prices against a baseline of 100. The seasonally adjusted monthly electricity price index exceeded 100 between September and October of 1983, when it rose from 98.9 to 101.0.

Historically, increasing electricity prices have not been inevitable in the United States. From 1913 to 1946, the electricity price index trended down from 45.5 to 26.6. By 1974, it was still only 44.1, which was less than it had been in 1913.


After the collapse of Communism, global warming is the next great hope of the far Left -- in their hunger for global mastery

Interview summary

Lord Christopher Monckton says the “climate change” issue is really a way to gain control of the world.  Lord Monckton, former award winning journalist who was once an advisor to Margaret Thatcher, contends, “This is a story that has been grossly, I mean grossly, oversold.  They have exaggerated beyond all reason. 

Just this week, I’ve had a major paper published in the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Science which gives the reasons why they got it wrong.  We went into their wretched climate models and took them apart.  We’ve found what they did wrong, and we exposed it.  The left have gone ballistic.”

Lord Monckton goes on to say, “What seems to be happening is the communist, in particular the hard left, have taken up these climate cudgels in a very big way, and they are the ones that are really driving this agenda.  Why are they doing this?  That is the first question.  The reason, of course, is they have long wanted to set up what used to be called the socialist international.  It’s a single giant global communist tyranny. 

Of course, you get Obama, whose father was communist.  His chief mentor was communist.  His rhetoric is communist.  He has taken this up in a big way.  The State of the Union Address was really rather pathetic. . . . I never thought I’d see the United States electing a communist as President.” 

Lord Monckton also points out, “These people are totalitarian.  These are people who want global government. They want to be part of a regime of total control. . . . This is what the hard left has always wanted.  It was the same in Hitler’s Germany. . . .Now, you got the communist party in the United States, but now they are calling it the Democrats.”

The co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, has made public statements that say there is “no scientific proof” humans are the cause of global warming.  Lord Monckton, who knows him personally, says, “Patrick Moore has made a very moving speech about how he tried to set up a genuine environmental organization.  Its intention was to make the world a better place, to leave a smaller environmental footprint on the world. . . . He is heartbroken.  I can’t tell you how sad he is at the perversion of the organization he founded. 

Goofy teenagers are giving it money and going around collecting money, not realizing that what they are actually collecting money for is not an environmental organization anymore.  It is a communist front.  It is there solely to bring in a world government to put its people in charge, using the environment just as Hitler used it as the excuse for additional totalitarian control. 

Let’s not forget, it was Hitler who first founded the green movement and first used the environmental movement, not for the basis for genuine concern about the environment, but as a basis for getting control over every detail over people’s lives so they couldn’t argue back.  That’s what this is really all about. . . .  I get criticized all the time as to why I don’t just stick to the science.  I say somebody has to tell the truth, not only about the science, but also about the politics.”

Lord Monckton believes there is climate change, but he does not believe man has anything to do with it.  Lord Monckton says science will ultimately back up that claim.  Why the recent push on climate change that is also called global warming?  Lord Monckton says, “I think they are panicking because they know that this process  . . . cannot be kept going for very much longer because . . . it’s been 25 years since the UN produces a report saying we were all doomed, and since then, the rate of warming has been half of what they predicted and well below their entire range of estimates.” 

Also, former Vice President Al Gore predicted the polar ice caps would be melted by now.  Just the opposite has happened, as Lord Monckton points out, “If you took the Artic and the Antarctic together, global sea ice was the greatest it’s been throughout the 35 years of the satellite era.  It is greater than it has ever been before.”

Lord Monckton closes by saying, “God Bless America, and in light of what’s to come, if we don’t stop it, God Bless us all.”


More Ice on Great Lakes Now Than During 2014 Polar Vortex

 The total ice cover of the Great Lakes is currently 88.3 percent, or 2.3 percentage points more than it was at the same time during last year’s polar vortex, when 86 percent of the lakes’ surfaces were frozen solid, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The ice accumulation is also much higher than the 51.4 percent long-term average since 1973. However, it is still short of the record of 94.7 percent, which was set on Feb. 19, 1979.

Lakes Erie, Huron and Superior are almost completely frozen over, according to NOAA’s Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis (GLSEA). Three quarters of Lakes Michigan and Ontario are also covered in ice.

Ice cover on the Great Lakes currently runs from a high of 96.18 percent on Lake Huron to a low of 71.16 percent on Lake Michigan, Lt. David B. Keith, public affairs officer at the U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC), told CNSNews.com.

As of Sunday, the ice cover on each lake was:

Lake Huron: 96.18 %
Lake Erie: 96.01 %
Lake Superior: 94.14 %
Lake Ontario: 76.13 %
Lake Michigan:  71.16 %

There is so much ice on Lake Erie that the Arthur M. Anderson, a 767-foot freighter, got stuck in it for five days late last month. The Coast Guard ice breaker Bristol Bay also got stuck in the 8-to-10-foot thick ice itself while on a mission to rescue the stranded freighter. Both vessels were finally released by the Griffon, a Canadian Coast Guard ice cutter.

Imagery from NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellite is used to take daily readings of the surface temperatures of the Great Lakes. NIC produces a twice-weekly overview of current conditions during the winter months.

According to the National Weather Service’s 30-day outlook for March, which was released on Feb. 28, below-average temperatures are predicted in the eastern half of the United States this month:

“The update to the March temperature outlook indicates an increased probability of below-normal mean temperatures over a more extensive area of the Eastern U.S. covering most regions east of the Rocky Mountains with the exception of the Southeast.”

However, NOAA does not believe that the Great Lakes ice record set in 1979 will be broken this year.

"I'm not expecting to break the record this year as we've got a ways to go (record is 94.76%, sounds closer than it actually is) but we may still see an increase of ice later this week with another cold push into the upper Midwest,” said Brian Jackson, NOAA’s Great Lakes ice analyst.

“Our maximum ice extent this year, so far, occurred on Saturday, Feb. 28, when we hit 88.75%. This puts this year in 5th place on record (since 1972).

Record: 94.76% - 1979
2nd: 92.19% - 2014
3rd: 90.7% - 1994
4th: 90.06% - 1977
5th: 88.75% - 2015

“It may be possible to move into 3rd or 4th place into this weekend, depending on how much the ice shifts and melts ahead of the colder air moving in," Jackson noted.

But Joe D’Aleo, co-founder of the Weather Channel, thinks that the record could be broken. During “the next 5-10 days, cold temperatures will help challenge the record,” he said in a blog post.


Obama’s claim that Keystone XL oil ‘bypasses the U.S.’ earns Four Pinocchios

“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.” – President Obama, interview with WDAY of Fargo, N.D., Feb. 26, 2015

President Obama, seeking to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline, in an interview with a North Dakota station repeated some false claims that had previously earned him Pinocchios. Yet he managed to make his statement even more misleading than before, suggesting the pipeline would have no benefit for American producers at all.

The Fact Checker obviously takes no position on the pipeline, and has repeatedly skewered both sides for overinflated rhetoric. Yet the president’s latest comments especially stand out. Let’s review the facts again.

The Facts

As we have noted before, when the president says “it bypasses the United States,” he leaves out a very important step. The crude oil would travel to the Gulf Coast, where it would be refined into products such as motor gasoline and diesel fuel (known as a distillate fuel in the trade). Current trends suggest that only about half of that refined product would be exported, and it could easily be lower.

A report released in February by IHS Energy, which consults for energy companies, concluded that “Canadian crude making its way to the USGC [Gulf Coast] will likely be refined there, and most of the refined products are likely to be consumed in the United States.” It added that “for Gulf refineries, heavy bitumen blends from the oil sands are an attractive substitute for declining offshore heavy crude supply from Latin America.” It concluded that 70 percent of the refined product would be consumed in the United States.

Enviromentalists dismiss IHS as a biased source, but the analysis mirrors the conclusions of the State Department’s final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL project. This is what is especially strange about Obama’s remarks, as he appears to be purposely ignoring the findings of the lead Cabinet agency on the issue.

“Comments were received throughout the review process speculating that WCSB heavy crude oil supplies carried on the proposed Project would pass through the United States and be loaded onto vessels for ultimate sale in markets such as Asia,” the State Department said. “As crude of foreign origin, Canadian crude is eligible for crude export license as long as it is not commingled with domestic crude. However, such an option appears unlikely to be economically justified for any significant durable trade given transport costs and market conditions.”

The report added:

“Once WCSB [Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin] crude oil arrives at the Gulf Coast, Gulf Coast refiners have a significant competitive advantage in processing it compared to foreign refiners because the foreign refiners would have to incur additional transportation charges to have the crude oil delivered from the Gulf Coast to their location….  Gulf Coast refineries have the potential to absorb volumes of WCSB crude that go well beyond those that would be delivered via the proposed Project. On this basis, the likelihood that WCSB crudes will be exported in volume from the Gulf Coast is considered low.”

Finally, note that Obama said Keystone was just for Canadian oil, and “we should be focusing on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers.” But actually, Keystone would help U.S. oil producers in North Dakota and Montana. TransCanada, the builder of the pipeline, has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken area –and hopes to build that to 100,000. That’s nearly 10 percent of the region’s production.

The Congressional Research Service in 2013 estimated that about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity had been set aside for crude from the Bakken region. Of course, delays in the Keystone project have sent oil producers in search of other methods of transport, potentially making this link less relevant, but the president can’t argue the project was not proposed without U.S. producers in mind.

Moreover, as we have noted before, U.S. companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region. Thus, contrary to Obama’s suggestion, it is not strictly Canadian.

We have poked fun at TransCanada for suggesting the pipeline would reduce reliance on foreign energy — when in fact Canada is a foreign country — but that does not give Obama license to suggest there is no possible American benefit from the pipeline.

(Incidentally, while the president spoke of 250 to 300 permanent jobs, the State Department report actually says 35. But this is a construction project. How many construction projects result in very many permanent jobs?)

The White House declined to provide an on-the-record defense of the president’s statement. That certainly suggests officials are unwilling to make a public case contradicting the State Department findings.

The Pinocchio Test

When Obama first started making the claim that the crude oil in the Keystone pipeline would bypass the United States, we wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios — and strongly suggested he take the time to review the State Department report.

Clearly, the report remains unread.

The president’s latest remarks pushes this assertion into the Four Pinocchios column. If he disagrees with the State Department’s findings, he should begin to make the case why it is wrong, rather than assert the opposite, without any factual basis. Moreover, by telling North Dakota listeners that the pipeline has no benefit for Americans, he is again being misleading, given that producers in the region have signed contracts to transport some of their production through the pipeline.

Four Pinocchios


Making the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

by JANET LEVY   -- a BOOK REVIEW  of "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" by  Alex Epstein

In the anti-fracking film Gasland, producer Josh Fox proclaims that the process of extracting previously inaccessible oil and gas from shale pollutes water supplies, increases the incidence of cancer and leads to higher levels of seismic activity, despite ample contrary evidence. This self-proclaimed environmental watchdog and anti-fracking crusader has led extensive efforts to end or prevent fracking throughout the United States by obfuscating the truth and stopping communities from reaping the benefits of America's shale boom. Josh Fox and others like him are uninterested in looking for improvements in fracking technology and safety. Instead they seek to shut down shale exploration and other fossil fuel extraction altogether.

In his recent book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein challenges the ethical bias of environmentalists who oppose fossil-fuel use and deftly argues that fossil fuels have vastly improved the planet and the lives of its human inhabitants. He contends that a human-centric moral value that supports the well-being and prosperity of human beings ranks on a higher ethical plain than the utopian, environmentalist ideal of a "wild" earth or environment absent little or no human impact. Epstein's moral position is that man should serve human beings, not nature, and that it is wrong-headed and misguided to view man as a destructive force meriting punishment for cultivating the environment for his benefit. With fossil fuels, limiting their use creates reduced economic prosperity, higher levels of human starvation, lower life expectancies and higher rates of infant mortality.

To environmentalists, any transformation of nature is inherently bad and man bears primary responsibility for negatively impacting nature in the quest to develop and utilize resources. Epstein counters this view with the assertion that man's very survival depends on transforming the environment and that the goal should be responsible resource use, not lack of human impact. Fossil fuel use should be embraced for the many ways they improve our lives, he contends.

To counter the fallacy of environmental harm from fossil use, Epstein reviews past predictions of resource depletion and planetary destruction that never came to pass. In 1972, the Club of Rome and ecologist Paul Ehrlich, then still a Stanford University faculty member, declared that we would run out of oil, natural gas, and certain essential minerals by 1993. In 1970, Life magazine reported that within a decade that city dwellers would need to wear gas masks to survive rampant air pollution, that sunlight reaching the earth would be greatly diminished and that hundreds of thousands of people would die.  Of course, none of these dire predictions came to pass and our air and water are cleaner than ever.

Epstein applauds fossil fuels' many benefits in developed countries and contrasts impoverished societies with their unreliable and low levels of fossil-fuel resources and utilization and the resulting poor sanitation, rampant disease, limited food production, and minimal transportation of goods. A poignant example is a hospital in Gambia, where infant mortality rates are extremely high due to lack of electric power for ultrasound machines to diagnose in-utero problems and incubators to save the lives of premature babies.

Epstein cites data showing that the more fossil fuels are used, the fewer deaths occur from droughts, floods, storms and other climate-related disasters. He compares undeveloped nations with low fossil-fuel use to developed nations and concludes that the latter have higher levels of safety because of better transportation for relief efforts, sturdier buildings and higher agricultural yields. Fossil fuels have enabled us to turn unusable water into usable water and eradicate disease through mass production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines and improved sanitation facilities. Plus, fossil fuels give us the opportunity to move to other climates or change our existing environment to be safe and comfortable despite climate challenges. The machines that run on fossil fuels have transformed the hazardous natural environment to a healthier human environment, Epstein says.

The author also examines the argument that renewable resources can augment or replace fossil fuels entirely. He notes, first, that not a single, independent free-standing wind or solar power plant exists anywhere in the world. He then delineates the problems with renewable energy. Compared to fossil fuels which are cheap, plentiful, reliable, easily extracted and naturally stored, renewable energies, solar and wind, are not plentiful, accounting for under two percent of our energy usage; cannot be naturally stored; and are not reliable because they depend on the vagaries of weather. While fossil fuels are intrinsically concentrated, solar power is diffused and requires many additional resources to concentrate its energy. Plus, it relies on fossil fuel-powered backup systems for off-peak periods.

Although wind farms release no emissions, rotating turbines kill and injure more than a million birds and bats annually and cause pollution from extraction of rare-earth minerals needed to manufacture the turbines. Both wind and solar power require extensive land use and aesthetically degrade the landscape.

Further, wind-energy production causes noise that many find disturbing. Epstein concludes that fossil fuel exploration actually impacts the environment far less than the renewables favored by environmentalists.

 Today, dire predictions exist that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will cause climate catastrophe within a few decades. The truth, Epstein writes, is that, although significant warming has not occurred for a few decades, humans actually thrive with warmer temperatures and plant life proliferates. Both conditions led to drops in climate-related deaths in the past, Epstein says, citing data to back up his claims from the UN Environment Programme's, Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (CRED/OFDA).

Amidst the hysteria surrounding claims of global warming and campaigns to stop fossil fuel use, the question should be raised, "What ultimately benefits human life?" Far from being a danger to the planet, fossil fuels have vastly improved the quality of human life. Our real concerns should be about policies based on unsubstantiated and fallacious claims that would ultimately restrict our use of traditional energy resources that have served us so well. Ultimately, we should focus on how to continue improving the planet for human beings and not on saving the planet from human beings


Venezuela Uses 'F Word' to Discredit Fracking

ALL oil producing nations are probably cursing American ingenuity at the moment

A socialist president who still seems to like his pomp and circumstance

Venezuela is not mincing words with a new exhibition titled "F---ing Fracking" that denounces the environmental toll of hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

"Today at 4pm .... Inauguration of the educational exhibit #FuckingFracking ... Don't miss it," ruling Socialist Party official Ernesto Villegas said on Twitter.

The event features speeches by an economist and oil expert, and will wrap up with a play, according to a half-page advertisement in newspaper Ultimas Noticias. The ad depicts a fractured heart dripping with black oil with dried up leaves coming from the arteries.

President Nicolas Maduro has for months alleged that the United States is deliberately flooding the market with shale oil to sink prices and destabilize his OPEC nation, as well as Russia.

The decline in oil prices has slammed his increasingly cash-strapped and unpopular government in the midst of a deep recession and ahead of important parliamentary elections.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water and chemicals deep underground to break up rock and release oil and gas.

Environmental groups have expressed concern about risks linked to the process, such as chemical leaks into groundwater and disposal of waste water produced in the process.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


4 March, 2015

Disproving the second law of Thermodynamics??

A recent study highlighted earlier on this site, claimed to have recorded the signature of global warming cum climate change cum climate disruption via the re-radiated energy coming from atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). From it I quote the following pertinent sections:

"They say it confirms the science of climate change and the amount of heat-trapping previously blamed on carbon dioxide.  'We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there's more CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb what the Earth emits in response to incoming solar radiation,' said Daniel Feldman, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division and lead author of the Nature paper.

'Numerous studies show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but our study provides the critical link between those concentrations and the addition of energy to the system, or the greenhouse effect,' Feldman adds.  He said no one before had quite looked in the atmosphere for this type of specific proof of climate change."

There you have it, they have disproved the second law of TD in one easy session without further ado!

The authors seem not concerned that amplification and the addition of energy require new energy, which they claim comes off atmospheric CO2. If engineers are made aware of this extraordinary property of CO2 they will surely be able to design equipment to capture and double the available energy output. If it were true then CO2 would be used in industry as an energy source, which of course it isn't. But it is widely used as a COOLANT, with new applications being researched right now - e.g. here

CO2 does indeed cause more cooling, although that is by only a tiny amount, but it's all that CO2 can do. See  here

A scientific fact is that neither the greenhouse effect nor any climate forcing parameter exist in the open to space atmosphere in which we all live, despite all that you read. Both require energy or create energy out of thin air, literally, see the K&T earth energy budget, where the atmosphere is depicted as source of energy with even more power than the sun itself.

A communication from Hans Schreuder of Sky Dragon fame.  The "addition of energy to the system" is certainly a very strange claim


AP’s Seth Borenstein hypes Antarctic melt fears – Recycles same claims from 2014, 1990, 1979, 1922 & 1901!

'The Associated Press is recycling more than century old Antarctica ice sheet melt and sea level rise fears.  Reporter Seth Borenstein is not the first one to hype these same Antarctica melt fears. Virtually the exact same claims and hype were reported in 2014, 1990, 1979, 1922 and 1901!

2014: Watch: WUSA 9 DC TV station on Antarctic melt fears features images of DC monuments underwater. ‘It’s our choice how fast the seas rise’ – We control sea level rise? Watch Now: Local DC News Schlock Report on Antarctica & Sea Level Rise

1990: Flashback January 11, 1990: NBC’s Today Show features Paul Ehrlich warning of impacts of Antarctic ice melt: 'You Could Tie Your Boat to the Washington Monument'

1979 NYT: “Boats could be launched from the bottom of the steps of the Capitol’ in DC–‘Experts Tell How Antarctic’s Ice Could Cause Widespread Floods - Mushy Ice Beneath Sheet’]

1922: 'Mountain after mountain of [Antarctic] ice will fall into the sea, be swept northwards by the currents, and melt, thus bringing about, but at a much more rapid rate, the threatened inundation of the land by the rising of the sea to its ancient level.' - The Mail Adelaide, SA - April 29, 1922 

1901: ‘London On The Border of Destruction’: ‘To Be Wiped Out By A Huge Wave’ - Queanbeyan Age – August 10, 1901 - Excerpt: ‘Geologists believe that this great ice sucker has reached the stage of perfection when it (Antarctica) will, break up again, letting loose all the waters of its auction over the two hemispheres, and completely flooding the low-lying lands of Europe, Asia, and North America.'

The Associated Press and Seth Borenstein are at it again. The article by Seth Borenstein and Luis Andres Henao titled ‘Glacial Melting In Antarctica Makes Continent The ‘Ground Zero Of Global Climate Change’‘ was published on February 27, 2014.

The AP left out contrary peer-reviewed studies, inconvenient data and trends that counter the articles ‘worse than we thought’ narrative. The AP paints an erroneous picture of potential sea level rise, volcanic causes of any melting and the current state of Antarctica and the geologic history of the continent.

Why did the AP not include any ice specialists with differing views? See: Prominent Scientist Dissents: Renowned glaciologist declares global warming is ‘going to be a big plus’ – Fears ‘Frightening’ Cooling – Warns scientists are ‘prostituting their science’ – Dr. Hughes is an internationally renowned glaciologist who pioneered many of the modern ideas currently under study in the field.’ Dr. Hughes has travelled to the Arctic ten times and the Antarctic thirteen times since 1968, mostly as the principal investigator of NSF-funded glaciological research.

Of course this was no surprising given the article was co-written by Seth Borenstein who’s recent reporting on ‘hottest year’ claims had to be corrected. See: AP ‘clarifies’ ‘hottest year’ claims: ‘Kudos to Marc Morano for keeping the heat (heh) on about this’

AP’s Seth Borenstein at it again! Claims ‘global warming means more Antarctic ice’ — Meet the new consensus, the opposite of the old consensus

Borenstein has a long history of promoting global warming fears at the expense of journalistic ethics. See: ‘Long sad history of AP reporter Seth Borenstein’s woeful global warming reporting’ More on Borenstein here.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Now it's caterpillars that cause global warming!

A new study published in Nature Plants shows that hungry, plant-eating insects may limit the ability of forests to take up elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing their capacity to slow human-driven climate change.

The finding is significant because climate change models typically fail to consider changes in the activities of insects in the ecosystem, says Richard Lindroth, a professor of ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the leader of the study. The research suggests it's time to add insects to the models.

Carbon dioxide typically makes plants grow faster and makes them more efficient in how they use nutrients. But the amount of damage caused by leaf-munching bugs in the study nearly doubled under high carbon dioxide conditions, leading to an estimated 70g of carbon-sequestering biomass lost per meter squared per year.

"This is the first time, at this scale, that insects have been shown to compromise the ability of forests to take up carbon dioxide," Lindroth says.

In addition, as feeding increased, more nutrients moved from the canopy to the forest floor in the form of insect fecal material and chewed-on leaf scraps, mixing into the soil and likely altering the nutrient profile of the forest.

"Insects are munching on leaves and they're pooping out remnants, so they are changing the timing of nutrient cycling as well as the quality," Lindroth says.

John Couture, a former graduate student in Lindroth's lab and the lead author of the study, spent three years with his team studying the impact of elevated carbon dioxide alone, elevated ozone (which is highly toxic to plants) alone, and elevated levels of both gases combined on stands of aspen and birch growing in what was once one of the largest simulated ecosystems in the world, the Aspen Free-Air Carbon dioxide and ozone Enrichment (Aspen FACE) experiment located near Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Unlike a greenhouse or atmospheric chamber, the FACE site (now decommissioned) was a massive outdoor experimental area that allowed trees to grow under natural conditions, like natural soil, sunlight, and rainfall. The only artificial conditions were those that were experimentally manipulated.

The site consisted of a dozen stands of trees growing in 30 meter diameter plots, surrounded by a network of PVC pipes designed to vent gases into the environment around them.

They were exposed to carbon dioxide and ozone at levels predicted for the year 2050, although Lindroth says the 560 parts-per-million carbon dioxide level studied is probably too low.

The trees were planted as saplings in the mid-1990s and by the time Couture collected data for the study from 2006 though 2008, they had grown to resemble any number of the disturbed forest stands found throughout Wisconsin.

Couture and his team walked through each site, clipping leaves from the canopy using scissors at the end of pruner poles or from scaffolding near the top of the canopy. They also set out frass baskets -- laundry baskets lined with sheets -- to collect scraps of leaves dropped by messy, munching caterpillars and other bugs dining in the canopy, and to collect their fecal droppings.

Tens of thousands of leaves and countless frass baskets later, Couture measured the amount of leaf area consumed by the insects in each plot and sifted through the frass and food droppings in the baskets to assess just how much eating the bugs were doing, to measure the amount of nutrients leaving the trees via their droppings, and to assess the loss of tree biomass.

Why insects would do more munching in a carbon dioxide rich forest is in part a matter of chemistry. Because carbon dioxide is a limiting resource for plant growth, high levels of the gas change the way trees use other resources, like nitrogen, typically leading to less nutritious plants.

"It's like a slice of Wonder Bread versus a slice of high density, protein-rich bakery bread; there's a lot more protein in the bakery bread than the white bread," says Couture. "Insects have a base level of nutrients they need in order to grow and to reach that, they can choose either to eat higher-nutrient food -- unfortunately, insects don't always have that choice -- or to eat more."

Overall, the team found high ozone plots were less hospitable to insects, reducing their munching behavior and leading to less biomass loss.

With the findings, the researchers created models allowing them to predict what could happen in forests under changing environmental conditions.

"The big question is, will northern forests grow faster under elevated carbon dioxide?" says Lindroth. "Carbon dioxide is a substrate for photosynthesis. It gets converted into sugars, which then become plant biomass. Will trees take up more carbon dioxide and thus help reduce its increase in the atmosphere?"

As humans continue to contribute more carbon dioxide to Earth's atmosphere, the answer should be yes as trees act as sponges for the greenhouse gas. But it turns out, very hungry caterpillars and their bug brethren -- in their own quest for food in an elevated carbon dioxide environment -- may limit that growth and reduce the capacity of forests to slow climate warming.


UPDATE: Craig Idso has emailed some preliminary comments on the above claims.  He notes the powerful point that, despite all the cries of doom from Warmists, the earth is steadily greening -- as one would expect from increased atmospheric CO2.  Those caterpillars might have to munch harder!  Craig's comments below:

While I have not seen the paper discussed in this press release, I would not be concerned about the headline of this paper.  There are numerous counter papers showing the opposite is more likely to be true, some from THE VERY SAME FACE LOCATION!  The devil is always in the details and I suspect it may have been related to their experimental design. 

Coincidentally, I am just finishing a manuscript that will be submitted to a journal that discusses this very same topic in a section of the paper, and again, the results are overwhelmingly in the other direction where elevated CO2 REDUCES herbivore attack damage.

The net greening observed by satellites is a combination of several factors, including  rising CO2, temperature, precipitation, nitrogen fertilization, policy (e.g., afforestation), etc.  I also discuss this in my forthcoming paper.

Regardless of the causes, the important point in the matter is the fact that despite all of the many real and imagined assaults on vegetation over the past several decades from forest fires, droughts, floods, deforestation, insect outbreaks, and the “dreaded” rise in temperature and CO2 concentrations, which the alarmists claim should be destroying nature, on the whole, there has been a net greening.  And that is a very powerful point that must be made again, again, and again.

UK: Forget MPs and 'cabs for hire’ – the green lobby is already at the wheel

It was scarcely believable that Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw should have been so shameless and so naive. Both were caught out by exactly the same trick that, five years ago, led to Stephen Byers happily admitting to a carefully placed Dispatches briefcase that, when it came to “cash for access”, he was “like a cab for hire”. But at least those former ministers were only touting for thousands of pounds a day after they had left their positions of direct power and influence over government policy. What, then, are we to make of those politicians who receive astonishingly lavish rewards from firms engaged in “renewable energy” when they are still in a position to influence government policy, or have only just stepped down from having responsibility for it?

Last week I referred to the speed with which Charles Hendry MP switched from being minister of state for energy and climate change to the chairmanship of Forewind Ltd. That, you may recall, is the consortium to which his old ministry has just given the go-ahead to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which in its first 10 years of operation is likely to receive some £9 billion in public subsidies. Mr Hendry, we see from his declarations of interest, last year earned £48,000 from Forewind, at up to £1,000 an hour; and also earns £60,000 a year from a company called Bombo, which hopes to build an “interconnector” to bring renewable energy to Britain from Iceland.

He, of course, replaced Lord Deben (aka John Gummer), who was persuaded to resign from Forewind when he was appointed chairman of the “independent” Climate Change Committee, on which the Government relies for advice on its energy policy. But he still, for a while, managed to retain his directorship of Veolia, a company which hopes to make a fortune from connecting wind farms to the grid.

Then, of course, there was the controversial case of Tim Yeo MP, who long served as chairman of the also supposedly “independent” select committee on energy and climate change, despite earning £200,000 a year from various renewable and “low carbon” energy firms. These included his directorship of Eurotunnel, which plans a new interconnector to bring French electricity to Britain, specifically to provide back-up for our unreliable wind farms.

Mr Yeo eventually had to step aside as chairman after being allegedly caught on video admitting to having “coached” an employee of a solar energy firm in which he had an interest on how to handle questions from his own committee. But he was cleared by the Commons standards watchdog, and still remains on this hugely influential committee.

These men had no need to become “cabs for hire”. They have been able to cruise, all above board, in that strange twilight zone between positions of influence and the greatest public subsidy bonanza Britain has ever seen


Chilling Climate Change at New York Times

Yes, climate really does change, running hot and cold with mainstream media news cycles. Just one week after the New York Times showcased a Feb. 21 hatchet piece on Dr. Willie Soon, a man-made climate alarm doubter at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics “who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming”, its front page Feb. 27 piece was far more chilling.

Headlined “28 Days on Ice” and illustrated with dramatic ice and snow scenes, the later feature indicates that Dr. Soon along with other skeptical scientists may have very good reasons to doubt that any crisis exists after all. As the subtitle states, “From the Hudson to La Guardia Airport, this February may be New York’s coldest since 1934, the National Weather Service Says.”

Before I go any further with this, let me be very clear that neither I nor anyone I know doubts that climate changes. This has been going on throughout our planet’s history — beginning long before the Industrial Revolution introduced smokestacks and SUVs.

Let’s also recognize a big difference between local and ever-changing short-term weather events and regional/global climate shifts characterized over at least a three decade long period. Accordingly, weather changes occurring during a single season or even over a few years in one region don’t validate global climate trending one way or another, much less any measurable human influences.

Consider, for example, that Icelandic Vikings raised livestock in grasslands on Greenland’s southwestern coast as recently as 1,000 years ago. These Norse settlements were then abandoned by about 1350 — after temperatures dropped. Temperatures dropped dramatically again in the middle of the 16th century. The end of this time witnessed brutal winter temperatures suffered by Washington’s troops at Valley Forge in 1777-78, and Napoleon’s bitterly cold retreat from Russia in 1812.

Although temperatures and weather conditions have been generally mild over about the past 150 years, the past century has witnessed two periods of warming. The first occurred between 1910 and 1945 when CO2 levels were relatively low, compared with now.

The second warming which followed a full climate cycle cool-down began in 1975. Global mean temperatures rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year. Satellite records show that since then, and despite rising atmospheric CO2 levels, temperatures have been statistically flat over the past 18 years and counting.

Consider that less than a half-climate cycle after the planet had experienced a full cooling cycle, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore’s minions already determined that human fossil-fueled CO2 emissions had put the world at tipping point crisis. Then, after Mother Nature intervened to suggest otherwise, the story changed. Global warming not only became re-termed climate change — now it even caused global cooling. And yes, as a matter of fact, U.S. winters have been getting colder over the past 20 years.

Still, according to the IPCC, “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” As recently as last month, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy teamed with the Aspen Skiing Co. and a pair of Olympic snowboarders at the "X Games" to put out the message that reduced snow due to climate change would ruin the ski industry. Yet according to a snow report website, “Current snowpack levels are at 165 percent of average” for Aspen.

On the other hand, haven’t global warming activists been warning us that since warmer air adds more moisture, snow storms will become worse? As the Center for American Progress headed by former Obama White House adviser/Clean Power Plan proponent John Podesta claimed, “climate change may have affected the [recent Boston] snow storm  — may have made it more likely, may have made it worse than it would have been without so much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.” Incidentally, this very same John Podesta will most likely head Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Besides, given that U.S. winter temperatures are actually colder, how does this warmist argument explain record snow and ice? At the same time that Connecticut experienced the coldest February in recorded history, nearby Boston amassed a near record 101.8 inches of snow.

Meanwhile, ice breakers had to open pathways through the Hudson River to keep ships moving. New England lobster boats became frozen in ports for weeks. And on Jan. 27, Canadian adventurer Will Gadd, using ice picks, became the first person ever to scale Niagara Falls which had frozen solid.

So if some of us have come to suspect that we’re witnessing a feverish snow job, does this really qualify us as climate change deniers? Golly, this is all so confusing. It’s enough to give anyone attempting to keep track of the changing story cold sweats.


Running Updates on the "Witch Hunt"

Roger Pielke, Jr.

This post will serve as a running update on the so-called "investigation" of my research on disasters and climate change at the University of Colorado. I will update it as warranted, with newer stuff at the top. Pointers and tips welcome in the comments.


    Rep. Grivalja has walked back his requests, according to Ben Geman at the National Journal: Climate Letters Went Too Far. Since Rep. Geman already has complete access to all my financial COI disclosures, I guess we now know that the letter was an unnecessary stunt designed to smear. Nice.

    The Denver Post (March 3) has an editorial titled "CU rightly defends Roger Pielke Jr. against political bully" -- key quote: Rep. Grijalva's "gambit amounts to a bold, abusive assault on academic freedom."

    Mark Steyn asks why no reporters appear to be interested in the fact that an anonymous person had forewarning of Rep. Grivalja's "investigation" and used a fake email account from a Russian server to taunt those who would later receive letters from the Congressman. Bizarre to be sure, and if I hadn't seen the taunting email in advance I might not have believed it. But as I've said, nothing surprises me in the climate debate anymore.

    To believe that Rep. Grijalva's "investigation" has merit, you have to believe either (a) in a shadowy conspiracy of fossil fuel interests funneling me (and others) money under the table to produce certain research results and testimony, which have somehow mysteriously passed peer review and been accepted by the IPCC, or (b) there is no such conspiracy, but I (and others) need to be falsely accused and smeared in order to remove us from the debate. Tin foil hat or unethical campaigner? Not a great choice.

    Several reporters have asked me why I testify before Congress if I know that my results will be used by Republicans. Aside from the interesting framing of this question, I have written on my views of providing testimony here in PDF (following the testimony that I am now being investigated for) and please take careful note of the "To Avoid Any Confusion" bullets on p. 2 of my testimony here in PDF. 

Original bullet points

    This week I have been invited to do various interviews for print/online and radio. I'll update here when these are available and I have more details.

    9 News in Denver had a excellent story, shown in the video above and online here.

    For those interested in my actual research on climate please head over to this summary in the final post at my climate blog, The Climate Fix.

    A group called the Energy & Environment Legal Group has filed state freedom of information act requests modeled on the Rep. Grijalva letter with 4 universities (Colorado, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia Tech) requesting funding information from 5 researchers. This is obviously a retaliatory act, legitimized by Rep. Grijalva's campaign. It is just as wrong-headed.

    Here in PDF is that strongly worded letter from the American Meteorological Society to Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) warning that he is sending "a chilling message" to all researchers.

    Yesterday I had a nice chat with Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) who represents my district here in Boulder. What we said will stay between us, but it was very a positive conversation.

   Also yesterday @EricHolthaus - a widely read scientist and climate activist - taunted me with the following bizarre Tweet: "It’s getting harder and harder for @RogerPielkeJr to remain relevant." Upon later learning that I'm no longer doing climate change research Holthaus Tweeted that his earlier taunt was no longer relevant. Great evidence that a lot of this is about eliminating unwelcomed voices in the debate.

   At The Breakthrough Institute, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus take the high road and argue that political intimidation of academics in unacceptable, defending both me and Michael Mann.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


3 March, 2015

Just When You Thought Scientists Couldn’t Possibly Get Any Stupider

Three years ago, ingenious scientists predicted that DC cherry trees would bloom in February

ScreenHunter_7616 Mar. 02 00.33
Could cherry blossoms one day be blooming in winter? – The Washington Post

We just had our second coldest February on record, and Chesapeake Bay is frozen over.

ScreenHunter_7603 Mar. 01 20.02

With lots more record cold on the way.

ScreenHunter_7617 Mar. 02 00.36

You have to wonder how these people are able to tie their own shoes, much less find their way to their ivory tower to write and peer-review this kind of garbage.


Polar Vortex Common In The 19thC

I came across a chapter in Hubert Lamb's "Climate, History and the Modern World", which has more than a bit of topical relevance.

We are all well aware of the extremely cold winters in the eastern half of the States, both this year and last. This has coincided with warm winters in the west, the sort of extreme weather which warmists would like to blame on "climate change".

Well it turns out that they had the same weather patterns in the 1850's and 60's, and the reason was just the same - a meridional jet stream.

HH Lamb - Page 253

Lamb believed that this meridionality was actually more common during the Little Ice Age, and there is plenty of evidence of the same phenomenon during the cooling period of the 1960's and 70's.

Is the latest incarnation of this just weather, or an indication of a return to a colder era? Either way, it won't stop junk scientists blaming it on "global warming".


Warmists still promoting their flop film

Below is part of a blurb from "Newsweak" trying to drum up interest in the cinematic Kenner/Oreskes attack on climate skeptics.  It's been out for a while now but seems to have been a box-office flop.  I have said all I want to say about it before so will refer readers back to that

In Merchants of Doubt, their 2010 book that vivisects bad science and industrial cynicism, science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway decried the uneven battle for the popular imagination fought, on one side, by scientists ill-equipped for high-volume cable-TV tussles and, on the other, by the "well-financed contrarians" bent on dismantling whatever lab results, peer-reviewed theories and settled science might lead to even the most benign corporate regulations.

The authors unraveled the deny-and-obfuscate tactics concocted in the 1950s by Mad Men and Big Tobacco to cloud understanding of what even the proto-mainstream media was beginning to grasp. "Cancer by the Carton," read a 1953 headline in Reader's Digest. "Doubt," countered a public relations memo exhumed decades later from Big Tobacco's yellowed files, "is our product."

And doubt, argued Oreskes and Conway, became the mantra for purveyors of acid rain, ozone holes and, most significant, global warming. Keep the cigarettes burning, the CO2 combusting and the profits flowing for as long as possible.

Joining the fray is filmmaker Robert Kenner, whose surprisingly rollicking screen adaptation of Merchants of Doubt opens March 6 in New York and Los Angeles. It's a worthy follow-up to his 2008 Oscar-nominated Food, Inc., which arrived when Americans were primed to point fat fingers at Big Agra. This time, Doubt lands amid a national debate over science-legit, pseudo or just plain bad-that intensifies with every foot of Boston snow or new case of Disneyland measles.

Along with corporate greed and Madison Avenue chicanery, Kenner's film exposes a devoted and long-lived cadre of scientists (and their philosophical descendants) who established their careers during the A-bomb era and the Cold War's Big Science rivalries. Anti-communist ideologues, well-trained and often brilliant scientists such as physicists S. Fred Singer and the late Frederick Seitz saw (and see) corporate regulation as a pathway to socialism, an endgame more fearsome than any secondhand smoke or patchy ozone.


Now Europe wants to ban halogen light bulbs

The sale of halogen bulbs which are used in millions of homes could be banned as early as next year as part of the EU's energy-saving drive.  It follows the prohibition of traditional incandescent bulbs, which have been phased out in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Millions of halogen bulbs are sold in Britain every year, often for use in kitchen and bathroom spotlights. Any ban could consequently cause enormous inconvenience.

The European Commission and green campaigners say halogens are not much more efficient than traditional bulbs so should be replaced by energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs - known as CFLs - and LEDs.

Yet these alternatives can be as much as 15 times more expensive. There is the additional problem that some LEDs do not work with the dimmer switches and wiring circuits currently used by halogen bulbs, while CFLs can take up to five minutes to reach full brightness.

The EC is due to hold a vote on the issue in April, when it could agree to go ahead with the proposed 2016 ban or push back the date to 2018.

Consumer group Which? argued there are good reasons for a delay. A spokesman said: `Half of Which? members still have halogen bulbs in their home and more than two in five have halogen spotlights. Delaying the ban until 2018 would allow more time for some of the compatibility and user issues to be resolved.'

And a campaign group of manufacturers called LightingEurope is demanding any ban on halogens is delayed until 2020 at the earliest, in order to minimise the impact on consumers and the industry.

The group's secretary general, Diederik de Stoppelaar, said: `A phase-out before 2020 is going to be costly and inconvenient to consumers. The industry supports the change to more energy efficient lighting... however, an earlier date does not allow for alternative developing technologies to be widely available.'

But Which? added that despite the inconvenience, there are some positives to switching. The new bulbs last longer and, because they are more energy efficient, they will cut electricity bills over time.

Typically, halogens use 10 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs, while CFLs use 60-80 per cent less and LEDs up to 90 per cent less. LED lights are so efficient that a 5-watt bulb is, in theory, equivalent to a 35-watt halogen.

But while a typical 35-watt halogen spotlight costs about œ1, a 5-watt LED can be anything from œ5 to œ15.

The managing director of British lighting company BLT Direct, Steven Ellwood, supports the 2016 ban.

He said: `We understand the concerns of experts who want to delay the ban in order to iron out some issues. [But] implementing the ban sooner rather than later would see plenty of benefits for consumers, not to mention the environment.'

Other advocates of the 2016 deadline argue that the energy savings for Britain as a whole could be so large that it would eliminate the risk of black-outs caused by the closure of old and run-down power stations.

One analysis suggests that if all 27 million homes reduced their need for lighting by 100 watts on winter evenings, this would cut peak energy demand by 5 per cent.


Warmist Jihad?

Climate Crisis extremists attack experts who challenge claims of imminent climate Armageddon

Paul Driessen

ISIL and other Islamist jihad movements continue to round up and silence all who oppose them or refuse to convert to their extreme religious tenets. They are inspiring thousands to join them. Their intolerance, vicious tactics and growing power seem to have inspired others, as well.

After years of claiming the science is settled and unprecedented manmade catastrophes are occurring right now, Climate Crisis, Inc. is increasingly desperate. Polls put climate change at the bottom of every list of public concerns. China and India refuse to cut energy production or emissions. Real-world weather and climate totally contradict their dire models and forecasts. Expensive, subsidized, environmentally harmful renewable energy makes little sense in world freshly awash in cheap, accessible oil, gas and coal.

Perhaps worse, Congress is in Republican control, and in 23 months the White House and Executive Branch could also shift dramatically away from the Freezing-Jobless-in-the-Dark Side of the Force.

Climate Crisis industrialists are also fed up with constant carping, criticism and questions from growing numbers of experts who will not kowtow to their End of Days theology. Once seemingly near, their dream of ruling a hydrocarbon-free world of "sustainably" lower living standards become more remote every week. Extremist factions had dreamed of a global climatist caliphate and want vengeance.

So borrowing from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton mentor Saul Alinsky's book, Rules for Radicals, they have gone on the attack: Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. A good tactic is one your people enjoy. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions. They've also borrowed from the Islamic State playbook: Silence your enemies.

Led by Greenpeace associate Kert Davies, this Climatist Jihad wing of the climate chaos movement has launched a well funded, carefully choreographed vendetta of character assassination and destruction, vilifying dangerous manmade climate change "deniers" and trying to destroy their careers. Their Big Green, Big Government and media allies are either actively complicit, rooting from the sidelines or silent.

Instead of bullets, bombs and beheadings, they use double standards, Greenpeace FOIA demands, letters from Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Raul Grijalva, threats of lost funding and jobs, and constant intimidation and harassment. Submit, recant, admit your guilt, renounce your nature-rules-climate faith, Climatist Jihadis tell climate realists. Or suffer the consequences, which might even include IRS, EPA and Fish & Wildlife Service swat teams bursting through your doors, as they did with Gibson Guitars.

Their first target was Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientist Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon. Working closely with Greenpeace's Climate Investigations Center, the Boston Globe and New York Times alleged that Dr. Soon received $1.25 million from the fossil fuel industry, but failed to disclose those funds when his scientific papers were published and falsely claimed he had no conflict of interest.

The charges are bogus. Harvard had full knowledge of Dr. Soon's research financing and took 40% of the grant money off the top: some $500,000! The details are all public records, and Dr. Soon has a solid track record of going where his careful and extensive research takes him - regardless of where the money comes from. Not a scrap of evidence suggests that he falsified or fabricated data or conclusions, or twisted his science to satisfy research sponsors, on any of the numerous topics he has studied.

He has received incredible flak from environmentalist pressure groups, media outlets and even his own university - and has courageously stood behind his research, analyses and findings, which continue to withstand intense scientific scrutiny. Harvard-Smithsonian recently said it "does not support Dr. Soon's conclusions on climate change," and Harvard Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor Daniel Schrag averred that Soon's approach to finding global average temperatures was perhaps not "as honest as other approaches." But they offer not a scintilla of evidence to support their allegations of inaccuracy and dishonesty, and give him no opportunity to respond.

Indeed, one of the most prominent aspects of the climate imbroglio is the steadfast refusal of alarmist scientists to discuss or debate their findings with experts who argue that extensive, powerful natural forces - not human carbon dioxide emissions - drive Earth's climate and weather. "Manmade disaster" proponents also refuse to divulge raw data, computer codes and other secretive work that is often paid for with taxpayer money and is always used to justify laws, treaties, regulations, mandates and subsidies that stifle economic growth, kill jobs and reduce living standards.

Dr. Soon is not the only target. The Climate Jihadists are also going after Robert Balling, Matt Briggs, John Christy, Judith Curry, Tom Harris, Steven Hayward, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, and Roger Pielke, Jr. More are sure to follow, because their work eviscerates climate cataclysm claims and raises serious questions about the accuracy, credibility, integrity and sanctity of alarmist science.

Climate Crisis, Inc. wants a monopoly over the issue. Its members focus almost exclusively on alleged human causes of climate change and extreme weather events - and would love to see skeptics silenced. Crisis proponents will not even attend scientific conferences where skeptics discuss natural causes and alarmists have opportunities to defend their hypotheses, models and evidence. (Perhaps the FCC needs to investigate this monopoly and issue "climate neutrality" rules, to ensure honest and balanced discussion.)

It fits a depressing pattern: of the White House, Democrats and liberals shutting down debate, permitting no amendments, conducting business behind closed doors, not allowing anyone to read proposed laws and regulations, rarely even recognizing that there are differing views - on ObamaCare, ObamaNetCare, IRS harassment of conservative donors and groups, PM Netanyahu's speech to Congress, or climate change.

The Climate Crisis industry thrives on tens of billions of dollars annually, for one-sided climate research, drilling and fracking studies, renewable energy projects and other programs, all based on dubious claims that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions threaten climate stability and planetary survival.

Businesses, job holders and consumers pay the huge costs of complying with the resultant regulations and soaring energy costs. Taxpayers pay for much of the research and propaganda that drives the rulemaking. Russia and hard-left foundations have also contributed billions to the process; and government unions, environmental pressure groups and renewable energy companies give generously to researchers and to politicians who keep the alarmist research programs, regulatory processes, mandates and subsidies alive.

All of this raises another elephantine issue. If a couple million dollars over a decade's time creates near-criminal conflict-of-interest and disclosure problems for skeptic/realist scientists, what effects do billions of dollars in research money have on alarmist researchers and their universities and institutions?

Few, if any, alarmist researchers have disclosed that their work was funded by government agencies, companies, foundations and others with enormous financial, policy, political and other interests in their work, ensuring that their conclusions support manmade factors and debunk natural causes. Many of those researchers have signed statements that their research and papers involved no conflicts, knowing they would not get these grants, if their outcomes did not reflect the sponsors' interests and perspectives.

Moreover, ClimateGate, IPCC revelations and other investigations have revealed extensive and troubling incidents of manipulated data, faulty models, wild exaggerations, broken hockey sticks, and completely baseless claims about hottest years, disappearing glaciers, coastal flooding and other "crises." And those claims severely impact our energy costs, jobs, living standards, economic growth and freedoms.

We need to end the double standard - and investigate the alarmist researchers and institutions.

Or better yet, let us instead have that all-out, open, robust debate that climate realists have long sought - and alarmists have refused to join. Equal government and other money for all research. All cards and evidence on the table. No more hiding data and codes. Answer all questions, no matter how tough or inconvenient. And let honest science decide what our energy and economic futures will be.

Via email

Historic documents show half of Australia’s warming trend is due to “adjustments”

Adjustments that cool historic temperatures have almost doubled Australia’s rate of warming

There was a time back in 1933 when the CSIRO was called CSIR and meteorologists figured that with 74 years of weather data on Australia, they really ought to publish a serious document collating all the monthly averages at hundreds of weather stations around Australia.

Little did they know that years later, despite their best efforts, much of the same data would be forgotten and unused or would be adjusted, decades after the fact, and sometimes by as much as one or two degrees.

Twenty years later The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics would publish an Official Year Book of Australia which included the mean temperature readings from 1911 to 1940 at 44 locations.

Chris Gillham has spent months poring over both these historic datasets, as well as the BoM’s Climate Data Online (CDO) which has the recent temperatures at these old stations. He also compares these old records to the new versions in the BOM’s all new, all marvelous, best quality ACORN dataset. He has published all the results and tables comparing CDO, CSIR and Year Book versions.

He analyzes them in many ways – sometimes by looking at small subsets or large groups of the 226 CSIR stations. But it doesn’t much matter which way the data is grouped, the results always show that the historic records had warmer average temperatures before they were adjusted and put into the modern ACORN dataset. The adjustments cool historic averages by around 0.4 degrees, which sounds small, but the entire extent of a century of warming is only 0.9 degrees C. So the adjustments themselves are the source of almost half of the warming trend.

The big question then is whether the adjustments are necessary. If the old measurements were accurate as is, Australia has only warmed by half a degree. In the 44 stations listed in the Year Book from 1911-1940, the maxima at the same sites is now about half a degree warmer in the new millenia. The minima are about the same.

Remember that these sites from 1911-1940 were all recorded with modern Stevenson Screen equipment.  Furthermore, since that era the biggest change in those sites has been from the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect as the towns and cities grew up around the sites. In some places this effect may already have been warming those thermometers in the first half of the last century, but in others UHI can make 5 to 7 degrees difference.

If Australian thermometers are recording half a degree higher than they were 70 – 100 years ago, we have to ask how much of that warming is the UHI effect? Common sense would suggest that if these older stations need any correction, it should be upward rather than downward to compensate for the modern increase in concrete, buildings and roads. Alternatively, to compare old readings in unpopulated areas with modern ones, we would think the modern temperatures should be adjusted down, rather than the older ones.

Chris Gillham discusses the potential size of the UHI changes:

“In 2012 and 2013 it was anticipated that UHI warming in south-eastern Australia will continue to intensify by approximately 1C per decade over and above that caused by global warming (Voogt 2002), with tests in 1992 showing a UHI influence up to 7.2C between the Melbourne CBD and rural areas. [PDF]

Smaller but significant UHI influences were found in regional towns, with a 1994 test observing a UHI intensity up to 5.4C between the centre of a Victorian town and its rural outskirts.” 

The situation with adjustments stays roughly the same if we go back even further. Gillham compared 226 stations during the period from 1855 -1931 and the average is about half a degree less than what it is now — from 2000-2014.

The first station in the CSIR record, Melbourne, starts in 1855. Each year, new stations came online. By 1865 there are ten stations and by 1880 there are nearly 30.

Ideally we could compare 50 stations which didn’t move or start and stop over the same period, but even the ACORN dataset in the 1900s doesn’t do that, introducing new stations up to the 1970s.

It is hard to draw conclusions from the CSIR record as is. But neither can it be ignored. Roughly two thirds of the temperatures were recorded on Stevenson screens, but much of the data in the 1800s was recorded on screens, sheds and shades until Stevenson screens were introduced across Australia over the 20 year period from 1887 – 1907. And scientists in the 1930s were very much aware of the effect of slight changes in screens as one long running comparison of different screens side by side had already been going for over 30 years in Adelaide. (I’ll write more on that soon).

It’s rough but, as rough guides go, it’s the only data we have. Other peer reviewed papers have estimated Australia’s average temperature change to 0.09C  in 1000AD based on two groves of trees in Tasmania and New Zealand. Wouldn’t thermometers be kinda useful?

One small piece of good news is that at least the early CDO records maintained by the BoM online appear to match the averages within the Year Book and CSIR tables. At least the copies of the original data put online are accurate as far as these rough tests go.

The Bottom line

There is a treasure trove of information in these historic documents for people interested in long-term climate.

The difference between the original records and the adjusted ACORN dataset suggests that the adjustments cooled original temperatures by 0.4C between 1910 and 1940, which means that around 45% of the modern “warming” trend is due to these homogenisations and adjustments which have not been independently justified and oddly appear to go in the opposite direction to what common sense would suggest might be necessary. In the older and larger CSIR tables, there is an overall cooling adjustments of 0.5C.

Thanks to Chris Gillham for the massive amount of data crunching and tracking it takes to provide meaningful numbers.

Chris Gillham’s Conclusions:

Downward ACORN adjustment of historic temperature records from weather stations before 1940 adds 0.3C or 0.4C to Australia’s rate of climate warming since 1910 but the reason for the downward adjustments is unclear.

Various timescale and station comparisons show insignificant changes or warming up to 0.5C from 1931 to 2000-14. These temperatures from 1855 to 1940 are compared to what the BoM describes as the hottest decade ever recorded in Australia (2014 claimed as the third hottest).

Other historic documents add weight to the evidence that pre-1910 temperatures were not significantly cooler than current readings.

For example, On the Climate of the Yass-Canberra District published in 1910 by Commonwealth Meteorologist Henry Hunt shows temperatures at 10 locations were on average 0.1C warmer in all years before 1909 than in 2004-2013. Hunt also presents 1909 summer and winter mean temperatures at six northern Australia locations which average 0.2C warmer than those locations in 2004-2013 (download PDF).

The CSIR and Year Book temperature datasets are unadjusted records compiled by Australia’s leading scientists and weather experts in the mid 20th century and are accurate but differ from BoM records that are adjusted in both RAW and ACORN.

Their dataset timescales include the first 85 years of temperature recording at most weather stations across Australia in a network more than twice as large as ACORN, and their averages are a legitimate historic record indicating climate warming has been significantly less than calculated with adjusted data since 1910.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


2 March, 2015

Judith Curry's  reflections on the witch-hunt against skeptics

It looks like it is ‘open season’ on anyone who deviates even slightly from the consensus.   The political motivations of all this are apparent from barackobama.com:  Call Out The Climate Deniers.

It is much easier for a scientist just to ‘go along’ with the consensus.  In a recent interview, as yet unpublished, I was asked: I’ve seen some instances where you have been called a “denier” when it comes to climate change, I am just curious as to your opinion on that? My reply:

"As a scientist, I am an independent thinker, and I draw my own conclusions about the evidence regarding climate change. My conclusions, particularly my assessments of high levels of uncertainty, differ from the ‘consensus’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Why does this difference in my own assessment relative to the IPCC result in my being labeled a ‘denier’? Well, the political approach to motivate action on climate change has been to ‘speak consensus to power’, which seems to require marginalizing and denigrating anyone who disagrees. The collapse of the consensus regarding cholesterol and heart disease reminds us that for scientific progress to occur, scientists need to continually challenge and reassess the evidence and the conclusions drawn from the evidence".

Well, the burden is on Georgia Tech to come up with all of the requested info. Georgia Tech has a very stringent conflict of interest policy, and I have worked  closely in the past with the COI office to manage any conflicts related to my company.  Apart from using up valuable resources at Georgia Tech to respond to this, there is no burden on me.

Other than an emotional burden.  This is the first time I have been ‘attacked’ in a substantive way for doing my science honestly and speaking up about it.  Sure, anonymous bloggers go after me, but I have received no death threats via email, no dead rats delivered to my door step, etc.

I think Grijalva has made a really big mistake in doing this.  I am wondering on what authority Grijalva is demanding this information? He is ranking minority member of a committee before which I have never testified.  Do his colleagues in the Democratic Party support his actions?  Are they worried about backlash from the Republicans, in going after Democrat witnesses?

I don’t think anything good will come of this.  I anticipate that Grijalva will not find any kind of an undisclosed fossil fuel smoking gun from any of the 7 individuals under investigation.  There is already one really bad thing that has come of this – Roger Pielke Jr has stated:

"The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”"

Update:  I just remembered something interesting/entertaining.  Too bad Grijalva only requested my travel since 2007.  In 2006 I was on the ‘green circuit’, with numerous invites from green advocacy groups.  One trip is particularly notable, which was organized by the Wildlife Federation.  Peter Webster and I had an hour with then Governor Jeb Bush, and then another hour with then candidate Charlie Crist.

Following that meeting, we visited several different cities, where I and Joe Romm (!) gave a tag team presentation on the climate change problem and the solutions.

So I’m not sure how to ‘score’ this one; Wildlife Federation and Romm on one side, and Jeb Bush on the other side.  To those of you not following U.S. politics, Jeb Bush is a Republican candidate for President in the 2016 elections.


Global Warming: Follow the Money

It isn’t the fossil-fuel companies that are polluting climate science. Citing documents uncovered by the radical environmental group Greenpeace, a group of media outlets — including the New York Times and the Boston Globe — have attacked global-warming skeptic Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon for allegedly hiding $1.2 million in contributions from “fossil fuel companies.”

The articles were the latest in an ongoing campaign by greens and their media allies to discredit opponents of the warming agenda.

But in allying themselves closely with activist groups with which they share ideological goals, reporters have fundamentally misled readers on the facts of global-warming funding. In truth, the overwhelming majority of climate-research funding comes from the federal government and left-wing foundations. And while the energy industry funds both sides of the climate debate, the government/foundation monies go only toward research that advances the warming regulatory agenda.

With a clear public-policy outcome in mind, the government/foundation gravy train is a much greater threat to scientific integrity. Officials with the Smithsonian Institution — which employs Dr. Soon — told the Times it appeared the scientist had violated disclosure standards, and they said they would look into the matter.

Soon, a Malaysian immigrant, is a widely respected astrophysicist, and his allies came quickly to his defense. “It is a despicable, reprehensible attack on a man of great personal integrity,” says Myron Ebell, the director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who questioned why media organizations were singling out Soon over research funding.

Indeed, experts in the research community say that it is much more difficult for some of the top climate scientists — Soon, Roger Pielke Jr., the CATO Institute’s Patrick Michaels, MIT’s now-retired Richard Lindzen — to get funding for their work because they do not embrace the global-warming fearmongering favored by the government-funded climate establishment.

“Soon’s integrity in the scientific community shines out,” says Ebell. “He has foregone his own career advancement to advance scientific truth. If he had only mouthed establishment platitudes, he could’ve been named to head a big university [research center] like Michael Mann.”

Mann is the controversial director of Pennsylvania State’s Earth System Science Center. He was at the center of the 2009 Climategate scandal, in which e-mails were uncovered from climatologists discussing how to skew scientific evidence and blackball experts who don’t agree with them.

Mann is typical of pro-warming scientists who have taken millions from government agencies. The federal government — which will gain unprecedented regulatory power if climate legislation is passed — has funded scientific research to the tune of $32.5 billion since 1989, according the Science and Public Policy Institute. That is an amount that dwarfs research contributions from oil companies and utilities, which have historically funded both sides of the debate. Mann, for example, has received some $6 million, mostly in government grants — according to a study by The American Spectator — including $500,000 in federal stimulus money while he was under investigation for his Climategate e-mails.

Despite claims that they are watchdogs of the establishment, media outlets such as the Times have ignored the government’s oversized role in directing research. And they have ignored millions in contributions from left-wing foundations — contributions that, like government grants, seek to tip the scales to one side of the debate.

Last summer, a minority staff report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works gave details on a “Billionaire’s Club” — a shadowy network of charitable foundations that distribute billions to advance climate alarmism. Shadowy nonprofits such as the Energy Foundation and Tides Foundation distributed billions to far-left green groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, which in turn send staff to the EPA who then direct federal grants back to the same green groups. It is incestuous. It is opaque. Major media ignored the report.

Media outlets have also discriminated in their reporting on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The Times trumpeted Greenpeace FOIA requests revealing Soon’s benefactors, yet it has ignored the government’s refusal of FOIA filings requesting transparency in pro-warming scientists’ funding. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, for example, has submitted FOIA requests asking for the sources of outside income of NASA scientist James Hansen (a key ally of Al Gore). The government has stonewalled, according to Ebell.

Media reporting further misleads readers in suggesting that “fossil fuel” utilities such as the Southern Company (a $409,000 contributor to Soon’s research, according to the Times) seek only to undermine climate science.

In truth, energy companies today invest in solar, biomass, and landfill facilities in addition to carbon fuels. Companies such as Duke Energy, Exelon Corporation, NRG Energy, and Shell have even gone so far as to join with green groups in forming the U.S. Climate Action Partnership — an industry/green coalition that wants to “enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”

This alliance worries a scientific community that is hardly unanimous that warming is a threat. Continued funding of contrarians such as Soon and Lindzen is essential to getting the best scientific research at a time when the EPA wants to shut down America’s most affordable power source, coal — at enormous cost to consumers.

The lack of warming for over a decade (witness this winter’s dangerous, record-breaking low temperatures) and Climategate are proof that the establishment has oversold a warming crisis. Attempts by the media to shut up their critics ignore the real threat to science.


Rajendra Pachauri’s Resignation Letter

The resignation letter of the IPCC chairman is a two-page love letter to himself.

Rajendra Pachauri resigned as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today. It was a long time coming. As a journalist who has followed his career for the past five years, writing enough to fill a full-length book, my assessment of 74-year-old Pachauri is a harsh one: He has been a non-stop train wreck.

Today, he finally exited the stage. In true Pachauri fashion, his resignation letter is a two-page love letter to himself. You wouldn’t know that recent allegations of sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and uttering threats suggest strongly that he is a longtime sexual predator.

You wouldn’t know that this latest scandal has profoundly undermined the credibility of the IPCC in the run-up to the UN climate summit scheduled for Paris in December.

Instead, Pachauri talks about all the wonderful things that happened during his 13-year reign. He refers to “priceless assets” and “unmatched contributions.” And to the “close friends and colleagues” who urged him to finish his term rather than quit early. (Neglecting to mention the calls for his resignation issued by the Sunday London Times, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, and the New Scientist over the years.)

Pachauri’s letter talks about his “greatest joy” and his “sublime satisfaction.” And about religion:

"For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma."

Yes, the IPCC – which we’re told to take seriously because it is a scientific body producing scientific reports – has, in fact, been led by an environmentalist on a mission. By someone for whom protecting the planet is a religious calling.

Even here, at the end, Pachauri fails to grasp that science and religion don’t belong in the same sentence; that those on a political mission are unlikely to be upholders of rigorous scientific practice.

What’s missing from this letter is any suggestion of remorse. When a scandal-plagued leader resigns because his alleged misdeeds are nuking his organization’s reputation, that is a mark of failure. He has let everyone down.

Where are his words of apology to the thousands of IPCC-linked scientists whose honour is now eternally tarnished by their association with him?

In August 2013, after US Secretary of State John Kerry described Pachauri’s leadership of the IPCC as “extraordinary,” I asked the rhetorical question: If that is the case, what would a bad job look like? before listing 17 reasons why Pachauri’s behaviour has been inadequate and inexcusable.


How To Solve The Water Crisis: Use More Fossil Fuels

It’s cliché to say we have a water crisis. It’s certainly cliché to blame it on “climate change,” i.e. fossil fuels.

But if we look at the big-picture data, as against fixating on the most dramatic headlines about the places that happen to be in a state of drought (such as southern California, where I live), a different story emerges: thanks in part to increasing fossil fuel use, we are bringing about a world where our bodies and our crops have more of the water they need, not less.

The Water Opportunity: Ending Drought as We Know It

Let’s look at droughts. To read the headlines about “megadroughts” you would think that drought is a worse problem than ever. And that would be a big, big problem.

Droughts are historically the most common form of climate-related death; a lack of rainfall can affect the supply of the two most basic essentials of life, food and water. Drought is also supposed to be one of the most devastating consequences of CO2 emissions, so let’s see how they match up.

Clearly, CO2 emissions have not had a significant effect on droughts, but expanded human ability to fight drought, powered by fossil fuels, has: from better agriculture (more crops for more people), to rapid transportation to drought-affected areas, to modern irrigation that makes farmers less dependent on rainfall. Shouldn’t fossil fuel energy get some credit here?

To give you one particularly astonishing data point, the International Disaster Database reports that the United States has had zero deaths from drought in the last eight years. This doesn’t mean there are actually zero, as the database only covers incidents involving ten or more deaths, but it means pretty near zero.

Historically, drought is the number-one climate-related cause of death. Worldwide it has gone down by 99.98% in the last eighty years, for many energy-related reasons: oil-powered drought-relief convoys, more food in general because of more prolific, fossil fuel-based agriculture, and irrigation systems. And yet we constantly hear reports that fossil fuels are making droughts worse. These reports give credibility to climate-prediction models that can’t predict climate, but no credibility to the plain facts about how important more energy is to countering drought.

The Water Opportunity: Clean Drinking Water for All

 Access to clean water goes up dramatically in the last 25 years as countries have used more and more fossil fuels.

To understand this trend—and why it’s not a coincidence—we have to step back and ask the question: Where does clean water come from?

Most of Earth’s surface is covered with water—but not nearly enough of it is usable for our high standards and purposes.

Most of the water is saltwater in the oceans. Most of the fresh water is trapped in massive ice sheets in places like Antarctica or Greenland. Some is part of a large water cycle of clouds and precipitation. Some portion is naturally “poisoned” brackish water of low quality in soil layers deep below the surface, containing too much salt and too many metals and other chemicals to be of any use without energy-intensive treatment. Nature does not deliberately or consistently produce “drinking water” able to meet a rigorous set of human health specifications.

As I wrote in my article “How Fossil Fuels Cleaned Up Our Environment”:

"We need to transform naturally dangerous or unusable water into usable water—by moving usable water, purifying unusable water, or desalinating seawater. And that takes affordable energy.

If you were to turn on your faucet right now, in all likelihood you could fill a glass with water that you would have no fear of drinking. Consider how that water got to you: It traveled to your home through a complex network of plastic (oil) or copper pipes originating from a massive storage tank made of metal and plastic. Before it ever even got to the distribution tank, your water went through a massive, high-energy treatment plant where it was treated with complex synthetic chemicals to remove toxic substances like arsenic or lead or mercury. Before that, the water would have been disinfected using chlorine, ozone, or ultraviolet light to kill off any potentially harmful biological organisms. And to make all these steps work efficiently, the pH level of the water has to be adjusted, using chemicals like lime or sodium hydroxide."

Natural water is rarely so usable. Most of the undeveloped world has to make do with natural water, and the results are horrifying. Billions of people have to get by using water that might contain high concentrations of heavy metals, dissolved hydrogen sulfide gas (which produces a rotten-egg smell), and countless numbers of waterborne pathogens that still claim millions of lives each year. It’s a major victory for any person who gains access to the kind of water we take for granted every day—a victory that fossil fuels deserve a major part of the credit for.

The lesson is clear: if we want a water-filled future, we need a power-filled future. One where we have more power to turn unusable water into usable water—to move clean water to where it needs to be. Clean water is overwhelmingly something we create, not something we get. Remember that next time you hear about a “water crisis,” because a water crisis is ultimately a power crisis: a failure to produce or use the power that can get clean water to anyone, anywhere.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Warmists never learn

They can't afford to

The Associated Press and Seth Borenstein are at it again. The article by Seth Borenstein and Luis Andres Henao titled ‘Glacial Melting In Antarctica Makes Continent The ‘Ground Zero Of Global Climate Change’‘ was published on February 27, 2014.

The AP left out contrary peer-reviewed studies, inconvenient data and trends that counter the articles ‘worse than we thought’ narrative. The AP paints an erroneous picture of potential sea level rise, volcanic causes of any melting and the current state of Antarctica and the geologic history of the continent.

Why did the AP not include any ice specialists with differing views? See: Prominent Scientist Dissents: Renowned glaciologist declares global warming is ‘going to be a big plus’ – Fears ‘Frightening’ Cooling – Warns scientists are ‘prostituting their science’ – Dr. Hughes is an internationally renowned glaciologist who pioneered many of the modern ideas currently under study in the field.’ Dr. Hughes has travelled to the Arctic ten times and the Antarctic thirteen times since 1968, mostly as the principal investigator of NSF-funded glaciological research.

Of course this was no surprise given the article was co-written by Seth Borenstein who’s recent reporting on ‘hottest year’ claims had to be corrected. See: AP ‘clarifies’ ‘hottest year’ claims: ‘Kudos to Marc Morano for keeping the heat (heh) on about this’
AP’s Seth Borenstein at it again! Claims ‘global warming means more Antarctic ice’ — Meet the new consensus, the opposite of the old consensus

Borenstein has a long history of promoting global warming fears at the expense of journalistic ethics. See: ‘Long sad history of AP reporter Seth Borenstein’s woeful global warming reporting’ More on Borenstein here.

Climate Depot Analysis:

First off, no mention of all=time record sea ice (not land based ice sheets) expansion in Antarctica. See: Feds: ‘January had largest Antarctic sea ice extent on record’ – NCDC: ‘Antarctic sea ice during January was 890,000 square miles (44.6 percent) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the largest January Antarctic sea ice extent on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2008 by 220,000 square miles.’ & National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC): Past 3 years in a row set ice record! ‘Sea ice in Antarctica has remained at satellite-era record high daily levels for most of 2014?

And yes, AP’s Seth Borenstein has previously tried to claim that more Antarctic sea ice is caused by global warming. See: AP’s Seth Borenstein at it again! Claims ‘global warming means more Antarctic ice’ — Meet the new consensus, the opposite of the old consensus

Of course this claim ignores contrary data. See: Brian Gunter: ‘Antarctic Continent Has Not Warmed In The Last 50 Years’ — ‘Zero temperature trend for the main regions of the Antarctic continent’

And by just focusing on the smaller West Antarctic ice sheets, the AP seems to be intentionally misleading readers by ignoring the conditions on the vast bulk of Antarctica. See: 2013: New paper finds the majority of East Antarctic glaciers have advanced in size since 1990 – A new paper published in Nature.

Climate Depot’s Point-By-Point Rebuttal of latest Antarctic melt fears:

AP claim: ‘In the worst case scenario, Antarctica’s melt could push sea levels up 10 feet (3 meters) worldwide in a century or two…Scientists estimate it will take anywhere from 200 to 1,000 years to melt enough ice to raise seas by 10 feet, maybe only 100 years in a worst case scenario.’

Climate Depot Response: This is just speculation, unproven predictions amped up with extreme scenarios and not based on current climate reality. According to the AP’s article, the melt rate has slowed down. See: Sunshine Hours blog: Antarctica Losing 130 gigatons of ice per year (last Year it was 159 gigatons per year) 1) Last year it was 159 gigatons per year (Almost all of it where there are volcanoes under the ice)

2) NSIDC: “The Antarctic Ice Sheet contains 30 million cubic kilometers (7.2 million cubic miles) of ice.” A gigaton of ice is approximately one cubic kilometer of ice.

So … at 130 gigatons per year, how long before Antarctica melts? That would be 30,000,000 / 130.

The Answer: 230,000 years until Antarctica melts. Why did Associated Press Borenstein fail to mention that?

AP Claim: ‘130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That’s the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools.’

Climate Depot Response:  Sounds scary, right? Well, that is what the AP reporters want you to be scared. But just how alarming is  that melt rate? The AP answers that question many paragraphs later.

“At its current rate, the rise of the world’s oceans from Antarctica’s ice melt would be barely noticeable, about one-third of a millimeter a year. The oceans are that vast.”

So all of these analogies about Empire State Buildings and Olympic swimming pools amount to ‘barely noticeable.’  Of course the rate of sea level rise is not noticing anything unusual in Antarctica.

Even the IPCC concedes that there was no significant anthropogenic influence on climate prior to 1950, thus man is not be responsible for sea level rise beginning 150-200 years ago, at the end of the Little Ice Age.

Via The Hockey Schtick: The sea level rise over the past ~200 years shows no evidence of acceleration, which is necessary to assume a man-made influence. Sea level rise instead decelerated over the 20th century, decelerated 31% since 2002 and decelerated 44% since 2004 to less than 7 inches per century. There is no evidence of an acceleration of sea level rise, and therefore no evidence of any man-made effect on sea levels. Sea level rise is primarily a local phenomenon related to land subsidence, not CO2 levels. Therefore, areas with groundwater depletion and land subsidence have much higher rates of relative sea level rise, but this has absolutely nothing to do with man-made CO2.

Scientist counters media hype on Antarctic ice sheet ‘collapse: ‘It has been in progress for several thousand years, and is neither new nor man-caused’

Some Perspective on the Headlining Antarctic Ice Loss Trends – The press coverage is aimed to make this sound alarming—“This West Antarctic region sheds a Mount Everest-sized amount of ice every two years, study says” screamed the Washington Post. Wow! That sounds like a lot.

Turns out, it isn’t. The global oceans are vast. Adding a “Mount Everest-sized amount of ice every two years” to them results in a sea level rise of 0.02 inches per year.

Climatologist Dr. Pat Michaels Mocks climate claims: ‘Sea levels have been rising since before the end of the last ice age, about 11,600 years before the Industrial Revolution’

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Australia: Fracking to go ahead in Federal territory

THE Northern Territory lacks the proper regulatory environment to go ahead with fracking, a report has found, as the government moves forward to permit the practice.

THE Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry report recommends laws to effectively manage environmental risks associated with the practice, which on Thursday was banned for a further five years in Tasmania. "There is no justification whatsoever for the imposition of a moratorium," the report read.

Mines and Energy Minister Dave Tollner said the government would "broadly" adopt all six recommendations in the report, which the NT government released on Thursday.

"Obviously there's been a lot of heat in community debate on the issue and the government is very keen to get the community on board," Mr Tollner told reporters.

The government is considering drawing up exclusion zones around regional centres to allay health concerns by residents.

Mr Tollner said it could take a year or longer to set up the right regulations; meanwhile, there are 24 wells in the works to be drilled this year.

While the regulations are being redrawn, operators will have to abide by a set of "guiding principles", and if they violate them they will be forced to stop work, Mr Tollner said.

But relying on operators to monitor themselves is "completely nonsensical", said David Morris, principal lawyer for the NT Environmental Defenders Office (EDO).

"If you've got a good operator things will probably be done in accordance with the guidelines, and if you've got a bad operator they won't," he told AAP.

Mr Morris said mining often occurred in remote parts of the NT, with the closest populations being indigenous communities who often didn't fully understand the science.

Mr Tollner said mining groups needed to communicate better with the community in explaining fracking processes.  "We expect them to be very upfront and transparent with the community and they have to explain exactly what they're doing," he said.

The report is "a victory for science over scaremongering," said Steven Gerhardy, NT director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.

He said the report offered a "sensible blueprint" for the shale gas industry, which could provide jobs, investment and improved infrastructure in remote and regional areas.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


1 March, 2015

Meat consumption causes global warming?

I think I missed this article when it came out 6 years ago but it is amusing.  It is actually part of the war on meat that health freaks, vegetarians and others have long been waging -- with very little success -- as the article itself shows.  There is a table attached to the article that allows a comparison of consumption betweeen 1961 and 2002.  And with the exception of hopelessly misgoverned countries such as Argentina, meat consumption has risen markedly in most countries over that time.

So the article is in fact a desperate attempt to get the global warming religion to help with the crusade against meat.  It assumes the truth of global warming without question.  And there is certainly zero data on the relationship between global temperature and meat consumption.

Between 1961 and 2002, meat consumption has seen a large increase virtually worldwide and a corresponding jump in its environmental impact.

Links between meat consumption and climate change have been widely known for many years, partly due to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest to make room for the livestock. Clearing these forests is estimated to produce a staggering 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transport sector.

Increased meat-eating has followed rising affluence in many parts of the world. China's levels doubled between 1990 and 2002. Back in 1961, the Chinese consumed a mere 3.6kg per person, while in 2002 they reached 52.4kg each; half of the world's pork is now consumed in China.

The US and the UK are among the few countries whose meat consumption levels have remained relatively stable. Surprisingly, it is not the US with the largest consumption (124.8), but Denmark with a shocking 145.9kg per person in 2002


MORE global warming (cooling?)

Slurpee waves! The moment semi-frozen breakers rolled ashore in New England amid record cold.  And there  are icebreakers on the Hudson

Plummeting temperatures have broken hundreds of winter records across the country - making February one of the coldest months in history.

But in New England, it has gotten so cold even the waves are starting to freeze.  These incredible photos of so-called 'slurpee waves' were taken by surfer Jonathan Nimerfroh in Nantucket, Massachusetts.  He took his camera out when he noticed the horizon looked strange - and then spotted the surf had turn slushy.

The stunning images were taken as snow and icy rain continues to cause chaos across the country - with states of emergency being declared in the South.

And even though March begins on Sunday - forecasters have warned that the arctic conditions are set to continue.

Mr Nimerfroh, who posted the pictures on his Instagram account on Wednesday, told the Daily Mail Online: 'When I pulled up to the beach I could see the horizon just look strange. When I got to the top off the dunes I see that about 300 yards out from the shoreline the ocean was starting to freeze.

'The high temp that day was around 19 degrees. The wind was howling from south west which would typically make rough or choppy conditions not so good for surfing but since the surface of the sea was frozen slush the wind did not chance the shape. They were perfect dreamy slush waves.

'Most waves were around two feet with some larger sets slushing through around three foot or waist high. What an experience to be absolutely freezing on the beach watching these roll in while I mind surfed them.

'The next day I drive up to see if things melted but that same 300 yards out of water froze solid on the surface. No waves at all. I've been asking all the fishermen and surfers if they have ever seen such a thing. This is a first they all said.'

On Friday morning the cold will continue, as temperatures will be at least 10 degrees below average in all areas east of the Rockies, and up to 30 degrees below average in some areas.

It comes after winter Storm Remus dumped a messy mix of snow, rain, sleet and freezing rain from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic states.

The conditions left 216,000 customers were without power from Alabama to Virginia early on Thursday morning. Some motorists even woke up in their cars after the snow meant highways were blocked off.

Thundersnow was also reported in several locations, including northwest of Waco, Texas early Wednesday morning and around midnight Thursday morning in Raleigh, North Carolina.


White House: Seven in Ten Doctors Say Climate Change Is Harming Patients

Have they forgotten that most deaths occur in winter?  Warming would save lives?  They probably haven't.  Most doctors (over 4 fifths) surveyed did not reply so there is no knowing what the majority opinion was

Usually when the Obama administration is discussing doctors and health issues, Obamacare is on the table. Thursday, however, the White House threw a curve by linking health to climate change. In a new blog post, the White House declares that "7 out of 10 Doctors [say] Climate Change Is Already Harming Patients’ Health."

While often the White House has been a source of upbeat reports on recent health improvements attributed in part to the Affordable Care Act, the language of this post stands in sharp contrast. For example:

"Already, 1 in 10 children in the U.S. suffers from asthma. Heat-related health problems are growing. Pollen concentrations are up. Rising temperatures are only going to bring more smog, more asthma, and longer allergy seasons that put more Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital."

"...increases in air pollution due to climate change are worsening the severity of illnesses in their patients, and they expect these health impacts will further increase in the future."

"...their patients are experiencing other climate-related health problems — including injuries due to severe weather, allergic reactions, and heat-related impacts."

The survey cited by the White House was conducted by the American Thoracic Society, a group of over 15,000 doctors, researchers, nurses, and other health professionals with a focus on "research, clinical care, and public health in respiratory disease, critical illness, and sleep disorders." Although 5,500 members were randomly selected for invitations to participate in the survey, only 17 percent responded. Of the 915 respondents, 65 percent (rounded to 7 in 10 by the White House) agreed that climate change is 'relevant to patient care" either "a great deal" or "a moderate amount."

The White House also cites, but does not link to, a survey of the National Medical Association's membership whose results are said to be in line with the American Thoracic Society survey. (The National Medical Association, according to its website, "promotes the collective interests of physicians and patients of African descent", and is distinct from the more well known American Medical Association.)

The survey to which the White House apparently refers can be found at climatechangecommunication.org and indeed reports that respondents felt that "climate change is affecting the health of their own patients a great deal or a moderate amount (61 percent)." This survey had a response rate of 30 percent, or 284 respondents.

According to the White House, representatives of the American Thoracic Society were on Capitol Hill Thursday to "educate" representatives about the survey results to help push Congress to support the president's climate initiatives.


The Crucifixion of Dr. Willie Soon

In recent weeks, Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon, a distinguished solar astrophysicist, coauthored with Christopher Monckton, Matt Briggs, and David Legates an important work of original scholarship in the Science Bulletin (previously titled Chinese Science Bulletin), a publication of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The article reveals what appears to be an error in the computer models used to predict global warming that leads models to over-estimate future warming by a factor of three. The article has been downloaded more than 10,000 times, a huge number for a peer-reviewed journal article.

You might expect environmentalists, policymakers, and reporters to celebrate this new finding, since it means a potential threat to the environment and human health has been found to be less likely than previously thought. If the work of Soon et al. is confirmed by other scientists, the “global warming crisis” may need to be cancelled and we can all enjoy lower taxes, fewer regulations, and more personal freedom.

But this is not how environmentalists and others reacted. Instead, they denounced the article, often apparently without even having read it or understood it. [See here, here, and here.] Christopher Monckton, one of the article’s coauthors, ably defended the article from these criticisms. Having failed to refute the article, environmentalists turned to smearing the authors.

Forecast the Facts – a creepy front group created by the left-of-center Center for American Progress to attack meteorologists who don’t toe the environmentalists’ line on global warming – launched  a petition to the Smithsonian Institution demanding that Dr. Soon be fired. They claim to have more than 20,000 signatures on it.

The petition is brief:

"Dr. Willie Soon — an astrophysicist employed by the Smithsonian — is a go-to “scientist” for climate deniers in Congress, despite his lack of climate credentials. Worse yet, he’s received research grants exclusively from fossil fuel companies and dark money groups since 2002.

Now The Boston Globe is reporting that Soon just published a paper on climate change without disclosing his fossil fuel funding — a violation of the journal’s ethics code and a no-no in the science community.

Tell the Smithsonian: Don’t lend your good name to fossil fuel-funded climate denial. Drop Dr. Willie Soon."

The claim that Dr. Soon lacks “climate credentials” is false and meant to harm his reputation. Dr. Soon is a distinguished astrophysicist with many published articles in peer-reviewed climate science journals. A bio at heartland.org/willie-soon lists many publications and awards and features this quotation from Freeman Dyson, one of the world’s most respected physicists: “The whole point of science is to question accepted dogmas. For that reason, I respect Willie Soon as a good scientist and a courageous citizen.’’

Forecast the Facts’ second lie is more serious, because alleging a violation of professional ethics is taken seriously in the academy. Dr. Soon and his coauthors told the editor ofScience Bulletin,  “None of the authors has received funding from any source for this work. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.”

The petition misrepresents a Boston Globe article which reported only that an environmental group “accused” Dr. Soon and his coauthors of failing to report possible conflicts of interest to the journal’s editor. The petition fails to tell potential signers that the article quoted Soon’s coauthor, Christopher Monckton, vigorously refuting the claim. It also fails to note the reporter said the Science Bulletin had not responded to a request for comment, so he had no way of knowing whether there was a “violation of the journal’s ethics code.”

We have reviewed the Science Bulletin’s  policy regarding disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and the coauthors’ letter to the editor explaining their decision to declare no conflicts of interest. We believe the coauthors were correct and there was no violation of the journal’s ethics code.

The phrasing of this petition is plainly misleading, making it meaningless regardless of how many people are fooled into signing it. It should immediately be withdrawn and a public apology extended to Dr. Soon.

Regrettably, this fake petition is typical of the tactics used by the left in the global warming debate. Good men like Dr. Soon and his coauthors are being demeaned, threatened, and their careers put at risk by organizations and individuals that rarely get named, much less criticized, in the mainstream media.

That’s wrong and ought to change.


Not a 100% believer? Even borderline climate apostates like Pielke must be punished in the witchhunt

The witchhunt over tenuous connections to fossil fuel funding wants to do a lot more than just silence a few people. The aim is to maintain the global chill over all of academia. That’s why it’s so important we support the individuals under fire, and don’t give in.

Congratulations to Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Judith Curry, Steven Hayward, Roger Pielke, David Legates, and Robert Balling. All of them have been named to be investigated and lined up for character assassination like Willie Soon. Obviously they are effective and convincing speakers, and a threat to the climate-industry.

Stephen Hayward is flattered, and mocks the critics: “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Climate Skeptic?”

“Let’s start by axing a simple question: If I say “two plus two equals four,” does the truth of that proposition depend on whether I’ve received a grant from the Charles G. Koch Foundation? Apparently it does for Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. He has sent letters to seven universities targeting seven academics who, according to the Democratic spokesman for the committee, were chosen because they seem “to have the most impact on policy in the scientific community.”

Even a tiny step beyond the approved line will be punished

Consider how hard-line the inquisition is. Roger Pielke Jr. accepts most of the consensus IPCC positions, even calling for a carbon tax, and supporting Obama’s proposed EPA regulations, but he’s under fire as much as those who question everything.  The aim here is much larger than just stopping Pielke — the real audience are the thousands of silent borderline skeptical academics watching on. Imagine if they spoke their minds?  The message to them is “don’t even think it”. All academics must be 100% believers, and even the smallest deviation from the permitted line will receive the same treatment.

The harassment and pressure work on whistleblowers. We are all human. Sadly even Pielke admits, despite having tenure, that the harrassment means he has changed the way he writes and researches:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject.

As Mark Steyn would say the process is the punishment.

Judith Curry writes: This whole issue has now become personal.

As Paul Homewood says: McCarthyism is not dead.

The real conflicts of interest in climate science matter for people waving unreplicable models

Judith Curry discusses the conflict of interests and points out that it not as relevant in climate science as in other areas where things are not so easily replicable:

The issue is this.  The intense politicization of climate science makes bias more likely to be coming from political and ideological perspectives than from funding sources.  Unlike research related to food and drug safety and environmental contaminants,  most climate science is easily replicable using publicly available data sets and models.  So all this IMO is frankly a red herring in the field of climate science research.

I would argue that many of the results used in climate science are not replicable in practice. They come from mysterious black box models or detailed homogenization methods, which even if the full code were available, would take individuals months of work to replicate. In the total absence of funding and grants, no one independent is going to replicate them.

In other words, the people who have conflicts of interest that really need exposing are not skeptics reporting on public datasets which can be replicated, but climate modelers and temperature adjusters who make public announcements with billions of dollars and lives resting on them, but which have not been independently replicated. And when I say “independently” replicated, I don’t mean by another group with the same conflict of interest.

If the evidence was so solid, and the models so reliable, climate scientists would be demanding and welcoming funding to outright skeptics to settle the issue. Instead, fans of the complex unskilled and failing models know that their assumptions are dubious and unsupported, and if a truly skeptical scientist were given equivalent resources to replicate it, they would probably tear it to shreds, exposing how fickle the projections were and how dependent it all was on a few key, baseless, guesses.


Upping the heat on climate number-crunchers

This major attack on Warmist crooks in high places appeared in Australia's national daily.  I think Americans will have little difficulty in mentally converting the cricket metaphor into a baseball metaphor

CRICKET legend Donald Bradman is a useful metaphor for the escalating global row over claims the world’s leading climate agencies have been messing with the weather.

Imagine, for instance, if some bureau of sport were to revise the Don’s batting average in Test cricket down from 99.94 to 75 after adjusting for anomalies and deleting innings of 200 runs or more.

What if the bureau then claimed another batsman had exceeded the Don’s revamped record to become the greatest ever?

Critics could be told the adjustments “don’t matter” because they had not affected overall global batting averages. Just as many batsmen had been adjusted up as down. And complaints could easily be dismissed as the “cherrypicking” of a few, isolated batsmen.

David Stockwell, Australian Research Council grant recipient and adjunct researcher at Central Queensland University, raised the Bradman analogy in his submission to a newly formed independent panel that will oversee the operation of the Bureau of Meteorology’s national temperature dataset.

Stockwell was highlighting public concerns at the BoM’s use of homogenisation techniques to adjust historical temperature records to remove anomalies and produce a national dataset called ACORN-SAT (Australian Climate Observations Reference Network — Surface Air Temperature). The panel, or technical advisory forum, which will hold its first discussions with BoM staff on Monday, was formed in December after a series of questions were raised publicly about the treatment of historic temperature records that has resulted in temperature trends at some Australian sites being changed from long-term cooling to warming.

Liberal senator Simon Birmingham, former parliamentary secretary to Environment Minister Greg Hunt, instructed BoM to fast-track the appointment of the panel, which was recommended in 2011 in a peer review of ACORN-SAT’s establishment. The make-up of the panel was announced by Birmingham’s replacement as parliamentary secretary, Bob Baldwin, in January.

In the meantime, controversy about homogenisation of climate records has exploded into a global concern after similar trend changes to those raised in Australia were identified in Paraguay and in the Arctic. Accusations of “fraud” and “criminality” have been made against some of the world’s leading weather agencies. There is now the prospect of a US Senate inquiry.

Respected US climate scientist Judith Curry has facilitated a wideranging debate on the issue, saying more research was needed, but that it is probably not the “smoking gun” for climate science, as some had claimed.

There is a long history regarding complaints about how climate data has been handled by authorities and how poorly those making complaints have been treated.

The general trend is made clear in a 2007 email exchange, now known as Climategate, between a senior BoM official and scientists at East Anglia University in Britain. BoM’s David Jones said Australian sceptics could be easily dissuaded if deluged with data.

“Fortunately in Australia our sceptics are rather scientifically incompetent,” Jones wrote. “It is also easier for us in that we have a policy of providing any complainer with every single station observation when they question our data (this usually snows them)”, he said.

Even better, noted East Anglia University’s Phil Jones, was to give troublemakers a big package of data with key information missing, making it impossible to decipher.

But more than seven years on, as the world’s weather bureaus report more and more broken temperature records and further examples emerge of incongruous adjustments, the pressure is building for a transparent process to finally untangle the numbers.

In Australia, ACORN-SAT was created in 2009 to replace BoM’s so-called high-quality dataset after questions were raised about the quality and accuracy of that network.

ACORN-SAT, which the Senate was told this week is managed by a two-person team in BoM, uses information from a select range of weather stations and computer modelling to compile its national temperature record. The data is also used to help create the global temperature record.

The panel to oversee ACORN-SAT will be headed by CSIRO scientist Ron Sandland and includes a wide range of experts in statistics and mathematics.

Sandland tells Inquirer he will hold a teleconference with BoM on Monday to decide how the process would be run.

The panel was first recommended by a peer review in September 2011 headed by Ken Matthews. The peer review gave ACORN-SAT a glowing report, describing it as conforming to world’s best practice. But it also called for greater transparency, better communication and independent oversight.

Despite criticisms about transparency and the results of homogenisation at some sites by members of the public, BoM was slow to act on the peer review recommendation to establish a technical advisory forum.

BoM is one of Australia’s most widely trusted organisations. Millions of people use its online weather services and a Senate estimates hearing was told this week that more than 30,000 people followed BoM’s Twitter feed in the wake of cyclones Marcia and Lam, which landed simultaneously in Queensland and the Northern Territory this week.

However, as one of the government’s lead agencies on climate change, BoM has come under greater scrutiny. A vocal chorus has been claiming that there is a pattern of historic temperatures being reduced to make the warming trend of the late 21st century look more acute.

The questioners were quickly labelled “amateurs” by atmospheric scientist David Karoly, from the University of Melbourne, as he and other climate science academics rushed to support BoM’s work.

But the issue has exploded internationally following a declaration by US agencies NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that 2014 was the hottest year on record. As in Australia, regions were found where warming temperature trends had been created or increased through a process of homogenising records with neighbouring areas, some in other countries hundreds of kilometres away.

Published examples include Paraguay in South America and the Arctic, where a warm period in the 1930s and a well-documented period of intense cold around 1970 were erased from the record by homogenisation to give a steady rising temperature trend.

“How can we believe in ‘global warming’ when the temperature records providing the ‘evidence’ for that warming cannot be trusted?” asked British contrarian and climate change sceptic James Dellingpole.

“I’m not saying there has been no 20th-century global warming, I think there probably has been,” he said. “But I don’t honestly know. The worrying part … is that neither — it would appear — do the scientists.”

The website of Britain’s The Sunday Telegraph registered more than 30,000 comments under an article by columnist Christopher Booker saying the fiddling of temperature data has been “the biggest science scandal ever”. “What is now needed is a meticulous analysis of all the data, to establish just how far these adjustments have distorted the picture the world has been given,” Booker wrote.

The integrity of global temperature records after homogenisation is fiercely defended by global climate agencies, despite the fact that satellite measurements available from 1979 show a slightly different warming trend to surface-based records.

Australia’s BoM has issued two statements ahead of the Sandland review panel. In one it says temperature records are influenced by a range of factors such as changes to site surrounds, measurement methods and the relocation of ­stations.

“Such changes introduce biases into the climate record that need to be adjusted for, prior to analysis,’’ BoM says.

“Adjusting for these biases, a process known as homogenisation is carried out by meteorological authorities around the world as best practice, to ensure that climate data is consistent through time.”

BoM’s American counterpart, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centre, says for global temperatures it is important to keep in mind that the largest adjustment in the global surface temperature record occurs over the oceans.

“All NOAA methodologies go through the peer-review process standard in scientific inquiry,” it says. Despite this, there remains enormous and heated debate about the issue.

Climate scientist Curry has opened an online debate that includes key scientists from the independent organisation Berkeley Earth, which compiles its own global temperature record, the results of which accord with those of other international agencies.

The Berkeley scientists conclude that Dellingpole and Booker’s claims of the “biggest fraud” of all time and a “criminal action” by climate scientists amount to nothing.

“Globally, the effect of adjustments is minor because on average the biases that require adjustments mostly cancel each other out,” they say.

But their web post generated heated discussion covering both the science of homogenisation and the standing of science.

European climate change economist Richard Tol, responding to Curry’s post, says the more important question raised by the debate over temperatures is perhaps why the public has lost so much trust in climate science that it prefers to believe columnists such as Booker over climate scientists at Berkeley. A Telegraph poll suggested that 90 per cent of 110,000 readers had sided with Booker.

“I would hypothesise that the constant stream of climate nonsense — we’re all gonna die, last chance to save the planet, climate change is coming to blow over your house and eat your dog — has made people rather suspicious of anything climate ‘scientists’ say,” according to Tol.

“If my hypothesis is correct, instead of arguing with Booker about the details of homogenisation, you should call out the alarmists.”

Curry tells Inquirer her main conclusions from the heated exchange in response to the Berkeley post are that “the stated uncertainties in global average temperatures are too small”.

“More research needs to be done to understand the impacts of the adjustments and to make individual locations more consistent with the historical record,” she says.

She says much more data work is needed to clarify the temperatures in the Arctic, which is a big source of difference among the different datasets in the northern hemisphere.

“I suspect that all this won’t change the qualitative result from the dataset, that is that the Earth is warming,” Curry says.

The way in which the Australian review of the BoM ACORN-SAT data is conducted could go a long way towards answering some of the questions being asked worldwide.

A common criticism of climate authorities such as BoM is that ­justifications for temperature smoothing may sound reasonable in the broad, but are often poorly explained in the detail of individual adjustments.

It is the task of the high-powered review panel to satisfy itself that the integrity given to BoM’s dataset by the initial peer review has been maintained.

Sitting on the panel with Sandland will be:

*  Bob Vincent, emeritus professor in the school of chemistry and physics at the University of Adelaide.

*  Phillip Gould, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

*  John Henstridge, who founded Data Analysis Australia, now the largest private statistical organisation in Australia,

*  Susan Linacre, a former president of the International Association of Survey Statisticians.

*  Michael Martin, professor of statistics in the research school of finance, actuarial studies and applied statistics at Australian National University.

*  Patty Solomon, professor of statistical bioinformatics at the University of Adelaide.

*  Terry Speed, a former president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

Declining an invitation for David Jones, BoM’s manager of climate change and prediction, to write for Inquirer, a BoM spokeswoman says establishment of the technical advisory forum will provide “an independent framework for quality assurance tests and analysis of the bureau’s climate dataset, and it would not be appropriate to pre-empt this process.”

But critics of BoM are already lining up to have their questions answered.

Research academic Jennifer Marohasy has accused BoM of using “creative accounting practices” in both the homogenisation of data to remodel individual series as well as the choice of stations and time periods when the individual series are combined to calculate a national average for each year.

Marohasy says BoM’s methodologies have turned a cycle of warming and cooling over the past century into one of continuous warming.

In a submission to the review group, Marohasy makes three recommendations to render the overall official national temperature trend for Australia “more consistent with history, and reasonable accounting practices”.

The first is to use the same locations when calculating average mean temperatures for different years.

Marohasy’s research shows that while the national average temperature is calculated from a set of just 104 weather stations, the same 104 stations are not used every year.

“In particular, hotter places are added later in the time series, which currently begins in 1910”, she says.

“For example, Wilcannia is a very hot town in western NSW.

“There is a long continuous maximum temperature record for Wilcannia that extends back to 1881, but the bureau only adds Wilcannia into the mix from 1957.

“Obviously, if the national average temperature is calculated from a mix of hotter locations in the 1990s than, say, in the 1920s, then it will appear that Australia was hotter in the 1990s, even if the temperatures at individual weather recording stations were the same during these two periods,” Marohasy says.

Her second recommendation is to start the official record from 1880, not 1910, thus including the hot years of the Federation drought in the official record.

Lastly, Marohasy says adjustments should not be made to temperature series unless an irregularity exists in the original series that was caused by a known, documented change in the equipment at that weather recording station and/or a known change in the siting of the equipment.

Her view is supported by retired certified practising accountant Merrick Thomson, who has told the panel there is a lack of transparency associated with the change in the mix of weather stations used to calculate the national average.

Thomson says when BoM transitioned to the new ACORN-SAT system in 2012 it removed 57 stations from its calculations, replacing them with 36 on average hotter stations.

“I calculate that this had the effect of increasing the recorded Australian average temperature by 0.42C, independently of any actual real change in temperature,” Thompson says.

“Of the 57 stations removed from the calculation of the national average temperature, only three have actually closed as weather stations,” he adds.

Thomson asks the panel: “Why was the mix of stations changed with the transition to ACORN-SAT, and why was this not explained and declared, particularly given that it has resulted in a large increase in the 2013 annual temperature for Australia, I calculate 0.56 degree Celsius?”

He asks what criteria were used to determine whether a station becomes part of the national network.

Stockwell says although many had rushed to defend the BoM, saying the adjustments “don’t matter” as they do not change the global temperature graphs appreciably, they clearly do matter to a lot of people.

In a submission to the panel, Stockwell highlights what he considered unsound practices by BoM in handling the national data.

“Every portrayal of historical data should be historically accurate,” he says, “else it becomes revisionism and strays out of the domain of science and into the domain of ideology and politics.”

Self-declared “citizen scientist” Ken Stewart has been more pointed. “The apparent lack of quality assurance means ACORN-SAT is not fit for the purpose of serious climate analysis including the calculation of annual temperature trends, identifying hottest or coldest days on record, analysing the intensity, duration and frequency of heatwaves, matching rainfall with temperature, calculating monthly means or medians, and calculating diurnal temperature range,” he says.

“In conclusion, ACORN-SAT is not reliable and should be scrapped.

“ACORN-SAT shows adjustments that distort the temperature record and do not follow the stated procedures in the bureau’s own technical papers, generating warming biases at a large number of sites, thus greatly increasing the network wide trends,” Stewart says in his submission.

“Furthermore, the bureau does not take account of uncertainty, and the data are generally riddled with errors indicating poor quality assurance.

“Finally, its authors have not followed up on most undertakings made more than three years ago to permit replication and improve transparency.

The obvious and widespread depth of feeling about BoM’s ­treatment of historical records ­underscores the wisdom of recommendations made by the 2011 ACORN-SAT peer review.

The review panel encouraged BoM to improve the public transparency of ACORN-SAT arrangements.

“This will not only build public confidence in the dataset but should assist the bureau in its continuous improvement efforts and its responsiveness to data users,” the peer review panel said.

“The panel also encourages the bureau to more systematically document the process used, and to be used, in the development and operations of ACORN-SAT.

“Some aspects of current arrangements for measurement, curation and analysis are non-transparent even internally, and are therefore subject to significant ‘key persons risk’, as well as inconsistency over time.”

Current criticism of BoM over the temperature series is obviously unfamiliar territory for what remains one of Australia’s most highly regarded public institutions.

This criticism is by no means an existential threat to BoM but a rigorous and transparent review of ACORN-SAT data, methodology and communication is clearly needed, and long overdue.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here