Tracking the politics of fear....  

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

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

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31 January, 2009

Antarctic change dependent on the period chosen

This is very much the point I made in my original post on this matter. If you go back far enough, you can find an early period of warming but there has been no warming in the last 30 years. Excerpt only below. Lots of illustrative graphs in the original

We have reported on many occasions about the climate history of Antarctica, basically concluding that the frozen continent was not warming up during the most recent couple of decades, despite expectations that it should have been.

At first glance, a new paper by the University of Washington's Eric Steig and colleagues, published in last week's Nature magazine and featured as its cover story, may seem to challenge our understanding-at least that is how it was spun to the press (see here and here, for example).

But a closer look at what the paper really says-as opposed to what is said about the paper-shows that there is not much in need of changing with the current understanding of Antarctica's temperature history. We'll show you why.....

Over the long-term, that is, since 1957 when the first continuous temperature records from Antarctica began, all three records show that there is a warming tendency (the magnitude of the warming differs between the three papers, with the Steig et al. derivation showing the most). Also notice that over the most recent several decades (since the early 1970s) all three show that there has been little net change-basically the vast majority of the long-term warming in Antarctica took place from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.

This is hardly news. In fact, in our very first World Climate-type publication, released back in 1995, in an article titled "Antarctic Warming: New Old News" we discussed the day's hot news that Antarctica was warming -and put the warming in perspective-all of it occurring prior to the early 1970s.

Clearly, not much as changed in the past 14 years-it still makes headlines that "Antarctica is warming!" when in fact, the temperature averaged over the entire continent (using whichever methodology you prefer) hasn't changed much in more than three decades.

If you are interested in why this latest pronouncement has gained so much attention (from both sides of the debate), very interesting articles can be found at RealClimate, MasterResource, and Prometheus. Each provides a unique take on the situation.


Another Horrible Week for Global Warming Industry

The GDP might have contracted 5.4 percent annualized in 4Q08, but the AGW industry contracted about 50 percent in one week:

Hansen's Boss: James Hansen, AGW's Father of Lies, received an insulting, public rebuke from his old boss at NASA. In essence, Dr. John Theon of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, accused of Hansen of violating basic scientific principles, NASA's scientific methodologies and policies, and of embarrassing the agency with his anti-scientific screeds on global warming. Theon's emails portray Hansen has a fraudulent liar. (Where have you heard that before?")

More Scientists Turn Skeptics: The parade of scientists who doubt Hansen, Gore, and the whole AGW theory never ends. This week the world's foremost authority on scientific forecasting, Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, declared that the IPCC's global warming documents have no basis in science and violate 72 specific principle of scientific forecasting. As the founder of the largest forecaster certification body, Armstrong effectively pronounced the IPCC invalid.

Arctic Gulls in Massachusetts: Arctic gulls returned to Massachusetts for the first time in over 100 years, validating AGW-monger fears that climate change would alter the migratory patterns of animals. Unfortunately for the AGW people, this migration change came about because the earth is getting cold, fast.

Gore Effect: Al Gore testified before the Senate in Washington. The weather cooperated. Snow and ice and record low temperatures blanketed the Eastern half of the United States.

The job of conservatism is not to attempt science, but to look for political bias in purportedly scientific claims. The AGW hysterics are based exclusively on political goals: the elimination of human freedom. Don't let them win. Don't be afraid to challenge your friends and co-workers to repeat the lies they hear from James Hansen and Al Gore and Michael Mann. Your friends might not have the educational advantages you've had-perhaps advanced degrees in prestigious universities destroyed their critical thinking skills. It's up to us to help them.


Al Gore's Climate of Extremes

Ho-hum. On January 28, in the midst of a pelting sleet storm, Al Gore told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the end is nigh from global warming. He told the Senate that "some scientists" predict up to 11 degrees of warming in the next 91 years (while failing to note that the last 12 have seen exactly none), and that this would "bring a screeching halt to human civilization and threaten the fiber of life everywhere on earth". Hey folks, this is serious!

Besides having a remarkable knack for scheduling big speeches on remarkably cold or snowy days (it's known as the "Gore Effect" in journalistic circles), Gore has been incredibly ineffective in bringing his message home. According to the New York Times, Gore told the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last November, "I feel, in a sense, I've failed badly. . . . [T]here is not anything anywhere close to an appropriate sense of urgency [about global warming]. This is an existential threat."

And fail he has. The Pew Foundation recently asked Americans to choose which of 20 prominent issues is of most importance. They included the economy, crime, education, and, of course, global warming, which came in dead last.

Gore's failure is his own fault. He gained a reputation for exaggeration during his 2000 campaign, and he's unable to shake it-because he's proud of it, saying that it's just fine to emphasize extreme global warming scenarios because they get people's attention. Telling people you're exaggerating isn't exactly the way to get street cred. In Washington on January 28, his campaign continued.

The fact is that the "fiber of life" can be found on this planet over a range of 140øF, from Antarctica to the Death Valley. People actually live in these places. The average temperature of the planet is about 61ø, a temperature at which Homo sapiens au naturel will die from hypothermia. So ask yourself if raising the temperature 11 (impossible) degrees will indeed bring civilization to a "screeching halt."

It's not like the press is very vigilant, either. A couple of years ago, he got a free pass on Larry King Live (May 22, 2007) after making at least seven exaggerations or outright misstatements on climate change in less than a minute. Gore fielded a call asking "what issues caused by climate change globally are likely to affect the United States security during the next ten years?" He responded, "you know, even a one-meter increase, even a three-foot increase in sea level would cause tens of millions of climate refugees."

In ten years? The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), hardly an apolitical body (the IPCC's "lead authors" are all appointed by their governments), gives an average sea-level rise of 1.25 inches in the next ten years for its "midrange" temperature scenario. Never mind that it hasn't warmed since 1997 and that sea-level rise is clearly slowing as a result.

Gore went on: "Today, 49 percent of America is in conditions of drought or near-drought", and that "the odds of serious droughts increase when the average temperatures go up." That's a testable hypothesis. The history of U.S. drought back to 1895 is readily available from the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, as is the history of global temperature. Although surface temperatures have risen about 1.4 degrees since 1900 (with maybe half of that a result of emissions of carbon dioxide), there's no similar trend in U.S. drought. Gore had to know that.

In the same minute, he droned on about how in a hotter world, "agriculture in the United States would be greatly affected." Thanks, Al, for another assertion subject to analysis. The slight rise in surface temperature was accompanied by a 500 percent increase in United States yield of corn (that's the amount we produce per acre). How could any possible warming in ten years put a dent in that? The IPCC projects about 0.3 degrees of warming per decade now, or about a fifth of the total warming of the last 100 years. That's going to "greatly affect" agriculture?

People notice these exaggerations. They see that food is still on the table (despite the government's attempt to burn it up as ethanol). They know the country isn't particularly dry, nor particularly wet. They can go to the beach and see that the ocean isn't notably higher than it was before. In other words, Gore's lack of penetration is a result his own exaggerations. He's created a climate of extremes that people are simply tired of, which is why his issue ranks dead last. He's right. He's failed.


Still no Warmist ethics evident

Well, the "Second Public Review Draft of the Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States" has been published for comment (due February 27), and we see how they decided to deal with the embarrassment posed by their insistence on calling co-lead author "Dr." Tom Karl: they dropped such honorifics from . . . everyone. How. Pathetic. That must've been a fun one to sit through.

Of course, a quick search for his name to confirm this also manages to remind us how the drafting team has chosen to plow ahead with their highly questionable practice of citing their own and each other's work to support their supposed independent assessment.

So the answer, Dr. Wegman, is that no, these people did not learn from your assessment, e.g., this passage slamming the same community and practice in the process of debunking the "Hockey Stick":
In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus `independent studies' may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface. This committee does not believe that web logs are an appropriate forum for the scientific debate on this issue.

It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.
The same condition plagues this product. We noted this in our original comments, and will again. All previously commenting parties should check this thing out and weigh in as appropriate.


Anthropogenic Global Warming: The Greatest Fraud in History?

The credibility of science may never recover

Like famished swine shoving each other aside to get to the trough, self-proclaimed scientists and real politicians are again launching headline upon headline to claim yet another disaster in the name of utterly unproven global warming. Did you know that the flock of geese that flew into US Airways jet engines this month in New York City were put there by global warming? And that London fogs, or rather their absence, are making global warming worse?

Yep. It's right there in the paper, Maud. As scientific skeptics are finally discovering the courage to speak out, the hype machine is faltering just a little.

But President Obama just appointed a True Believer to be science czar in the White House. So we can expect the politicians to keep hammering on this little piggy bank until the last golden coin drops out. You'll be paying for the biggest false alarm in history for years to come.

But what worries me most is that the credibility of science may never recover - and perhaps it shouldn't. Credibility has to be earned, and once it's squandered may never be recovered. By now far too many scientists have knowingly colluded in an historic fraud, one that would put Bernie Madoff to shame. We are seeing political larceny here on a truly planetary scale. Why should scientists who've gambled their own reputations on this fakery ever be trusted again? They shouldn't. Would you entrust your life savings to Bernie Madoff? Right.

I'm not a climatologist. Like most scientists I rarely judge what others do in their fields. And yet it's been flamingly obvious for years now that the hypothesis of human-caused global warming violates all the basic rules and safeguards that protect the integrity of normal, healthy science. That's why AGW (anthropogenic global warming) looks like a massive fraud, the biggest fraud ever in the history of science.

If that's true, anybody who cares about science should be outraged. Even if you don't care about that ask yourself if you want your next medical exam to be honest. Or the next time you drive across a traffic bridge, do you want the engineering tests to be falsified? If scientific corruption becomes endemic, we risk losing one of the great jewels of our culture.

So here are some fundamental violations of scientific integrity that any thoughtful person should recognize. I'm not going to touch on climatology - the case against the warming hypothesis has already been made very well by experts. I just want to talk scientific common sense.

Threatening the skeptics.

Scientists get seduced by enticing ideas and bits of evidence all the time. That's why every scientist I've ever known is a thorough-going skeptic, even about his or her own data. Especially about one's own data, because one's career is on the line if it doesn't check out. So we need skepticism in ourselves and others. Good science honors the rational skeptic. Which is why it's beyond outrageous that AGW believers are publicly attacking thoughtful skeptics - not on the facts, but on their sheer temerity in doubting their precious orthodoxy. According to the Guardian:
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
That is Stalinism; it is never, ever done in real science. Stalin shot real scientists and promoted scientific frauds who helped to kill Soviet food production. Right there we know we're looking at political corruption and not real science.

More here

What happened to the "loss" of rainforest that Greenies are always moaning about?

It's long been known -- to those who see fit to enquire -- that the land covered by forest INCREASED in the USA in the 20th century -- but now it's happening elsewhere too --- for much the same reason: The efficiency of modern agriculture with all its wicked fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides -- not to mention "fuel guzzling" tractors

The land where Marta Ortega de Wing raised hundreds of pigs until 10 years ago is being overtaken by galloping jungle - palms, lizards and ants. Instead of farming, she now shops at the supermarket and her grown children and grandchildren live in places like Panama City and New York. Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing's - and much larger swaths of farmland - are reverting to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings.

These new "secondary" forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest - an iconic environmental cause - may be less urgent than once thought. By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster. "There is far more forest here than there was 30 years ago," said Ms. Ortega de Wing, 64, who remembers fields of mango trees and banana plants.

The new forests, the scientists argue, could blunt the effects of rain forest destruction by absorbing carbon dioxide, the leading heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, one crucial role that rain forests play. They could also, to a lesser extent, provide habitat for endangered species.

The idea has stirred outrage among environmentalists who believe that vigorous efforts to protect native rain forest should remain a top priority. But the notion has gained currency in mainstream organizations like the Smithsonian Institution and the United Nations, which in 2005 concluded that new forests were "increasing dramatically" and "undervalued" for their environmental benefits. The United Nations is undertaking the first global catalog of the new forests, which vary greatly in their stage of growth. "Biologists were ignoring these huge population trends and acting as if only original forest has conservation value, and that's just wrong," said Joe Wright, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute here, who set off a firestorm two years ago by suggesting that the new forests could substantially compensate for rain forest destruction.

"Is this a real rain forest?" Dr. Wright asked, walking the land of a former American cacao plantation that was abandoned about 50 years ago, and pointing to fig trees and vast webs of community spiders and howler monkeys. "A botanist can look at the trees here and know this is regrowth," he said. "But the temperature and humidity are right. Look at the number of birds! It works. This is a suitable habitat."

Dr. Wright and others say the overzealous protection of rain forests not only prevents poor local people from profiting from the rain forests on their land but also robs financing and attention from other approaches to fighting global warming, like eliminating coal plants.

But other scientists, including some of Dr. Wright's closest colleagues, disagree, saying that forceful protection of rain forests is especially important in the face of threats from industrialized farming and logging.

The issue has also set off a debate over the true definition of a rain forest. How do old forests compare with new ones in their environmental value? Is every rain forest sacred? "Yes, there are forests growing back, but not all forests are equal," said Bill Laurance, another senior scientist at the Smithsonian, who has worked extensively in the Amazon. He scoffed as he viewed Ms. Ortega de Wing's overgrown land: "This is a caricature of a rain forest!" he said. "There's no canopy, there's too much light, there are only a few species. There is a lot of change all around here whittling away at the forest, from highways to development." While new forests may absorb carbon emissions, he says, they are unlikely to save most endangered rain-forest species, which have no way to reach them.

Everyone, including Dr. Wright, agrees that large-scale rain-forest destruction in the Amazon or Indonesia should be limited or managed. Rain forests are the world's great carbon sinks, absorbing the emissions that humans send into the atmosphere, and providing havens for biodiversity. At issue is how to tally the costs and benefits of forests, at a time when increasing attention is being paid to global climate management and carbon accounting.

More here


Such has been the fear of Greenland's melting glaciers that well known Australian science journalist Robyn Williams has claimed sea levels could rise by 100 metres within the next 100 years. Mr Williams, and other journalists, have been quick to report on what has become known as the "Greenland Ice Armageddon".

Last Friday there was an article in one of the most read science journals, Science, entitled "Galloping Glaciers of Greenland have Reined Themselves In" by Richard A. Kerr.

Yes, as the title suggests, the article explains that a wide-ranging survey of glacier conditions across south eastern Greenland, indicates that glacier melt has slowed significantly and that it would be wrong to attribute the higher rates of melt prior to 2005 to global warming or to extrapolate the higher melt rates of a few years ago into the future.

Mr Kerr was reporting on a presentation by glaciologist Tavi Murray at the American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco last December. The paper by Dr Murray was co-authored by many other members of the group at Swansea University in the UK, a team often quoted by Al Gore and others.

When I read the article last Friday I wondered how Robyn "100 metres" Williams and other journalists in the mainstream media (MSM) might report the story. To my amazement they have simply ignored it.

It seems that the mainstream media is a shameless exaggerator of global warming, and unable to report anything really significant that contradicts the established storyline.

Perhaps I should not be surprised, as a lecturer in journalism explained to me some time ago: journalists only add to narratives, as one might add to a large tapestry. [5] Yep, so, the mainstream media's news has to all fit together like a picture. What is reported tomorrow is expected to accord with what was reported yesterday. But the real world is so much more complicated.



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


30 January, 2009


An email from Nicholas Sault [] in New Zealand

Here indeed is what AGW sceptics are up against, especially here in New Zealand. The following is taken from a debate that was set up by the Avenues magazine of Christchurch. The debate featured Dr Gerrit van der Lingen as the AGW sceptic and Professor Bryan Storey as the AGW advocate. Their opposing arguments were then judged by a retired high court judge, Justice John Hansen, who claimed to be an unbiased observer.

In Dr van der Lingen's argument, he made the observation that Al Gore refuses to debate the points in his film, An Inconvenient Truth. In Professor Storey's response he said, quote:
"Our professional bodies recommend that we do not publicly engage in debates over climate change as it gives a platform for the vocal minority to express their views, often scientifically incorrect or carefully selected to distort a longer term trend. This will undoubtedly be the advice that the former US Vice President Al Gore will have received, influencing his decision not to engage in televised debates."
If this is not totally unscientific I do not know what is. The statement unequivocally precludes discussing the issues with anybody, scientists included. It is not as if the TV people would make the mistake of putting a layman up against Gore, and even if they did, he could then be excused for refusing to debate (even though he is a layman himself). Also it makes nonsense of the judge's claim of being unbiased, since if New Zealand scientists are told not to debate the issue, the evidence against AGW is going to go unheard by the supposedly unbiased public, to which the retired judge belongs.

At first I thought Dr Lingen's comparison of the one-sided reporting of climate change issues with Nazi propaganda a little strong, but if peer debate about climate change is not going to be conducted, the whole issue is an attempt at a scientific whitewash by the AGW proponents.

For a full transcript of the debate, see here

A John Kerry foot shot

An email from Dr. Henry Geraedts []


I noted with interest in Steven Power's article [US tells Europe No unilateral cuts in Copenhagen, WSJ, January 27, 2009] the statement by Senator John Kerry that "there is scientific evidence that greenhouse gases are increasing at four times the rate they were in the 1990s".

The articles does tell us what "scientific evidence" Senator Kerry is referring to. What we do know however, is that all reliable temperature metrics available to us [such as satellite sea surface and land surface, satellite deep ocean and lower troposphere data] provide hard-to-argue-with and to some, inconvenient, evidence that global temperatures have been falling for the better part of the past decade. Basic scientific principles tell us that if GHGs are growing four times faster than before but that temperatures are falling, the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is falsifying at an accelerating rate, four tines faster than before, in fact.

Climate realist gets a day in court

A global warming sceptic has claimed wind farms have no environmental benefits because carbon emissions are a good thing, a New Zealand court was told. Christopher de Freitas, an Auckland University climate scientist, was giving evidence in New Zealand's Environment Court against Meridian Energy's consent bid for Project Hayes, a $NZ2 billion, 176-turbine, wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago, NZ media reported.

"Climate is not responding to greenhouse gases in the way we thought it might," Professor de Freitas told the court. "If increasing carbon dioxide is in fact increasing climate change, its impact is smaller than natural variation. "People are being misled by people making money out of this."

Mild warming of the climate was beneficial, especially in New Zealand, which had a prominent agricultural industry, he suggested. "There is no data to show benefits in terms of mitigating potential dangerous changes in climate by offsetting carbon dioxide."

De Freitas has previously argued against wind energy in New Zealand and urged the Government to consider "clean coal". Meridian has said that Project Hayes will contribute to a new renewable power suppply meeting New Zealand's obligation to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.



Lord Turner of Ecchinswell is to investigate the collapse of funding for renewable energy projects in Britain after the recent exit of a string of companies, including BP and Shell.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and of the Government's Committee on Climate Change, said that the study was a response to mounting scepticism over the Government's plans for a huge expansion of wind and tidal power.

He said he was concerned that a number of key projects had been thrown into jeopardy, including London Array, a œ3 billion scheme to build the world's largest offshore wind park in the Thames Estuary. "We have to make sure that the present climate does not set back our plans," he said.

Doubts have surfaced over the Government's commitment to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34 per cent by 2020 as falling oil prices and the global credit crisis have triggered a funding crisis. Last week E.ON, the German utility group, and Masdar, a fund controlled by Abu Dhabi, said that they were reconsidering the viability of the London Array.

More here


The European Union made its opening gambit in negotiations for a global framework on climate change on Wednesday with proposals that developing nations curb the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.

Rich countries, including those in the EU as well as the US, are adamant that poor countries must take on such obligations if negotiations this year on a successor to the Kyoto protocol - the main provisions of which expire in 2012 - are to be successful.

The proposal, tabled by the European Commission, said developing countries should curb emissions by 15-30 per cent of their projected growth by 2020. The proposed target would not require developing countries actually to cut their emissions, but would oblige them to make efforts to increase energy efficiency.

Yvo de Boer, the United Nations official charged with bringing this year's talks to a successful conclusion in Copenhagen in December, warned that developing countries were ready to fight a hard battle. "I don't think developing countries will accept binding targets," he said. A "very robust financing mechanism" would need to be agreed to ensure the finance flows to the developing world.

The Commission said developed countries should take on the lion's share of cuts. It estimated that meeting the targets would require $231bn in additional investment by 2020 for new technology, energy efficiency projects and other measures, with roughly 100bn euros of that destined for the developing world. It also predicted that up to 54bn would be required annually by 2030 to help poorer countries cope with even modest warming.

Development groups believe rich countries should contribute far more. Elise Ford, head of Oxfam International's EU office, said: "Unless developing countries see hard cash on the table, there is a real danger they will simply walk away."


The Greenie menace at work in Australia: Water tanks help spread of dengue fever

Because Greenies go ballistic at plans to build dams, politicians are very slow to build them. So we have water shortages. And the very expensive "solution" to that -- promoted by the government -- is for each house to have its own rainwater tank. Talk about "drought" below is a coverup. It rains every couple of days where I live -- which must be the world's strangest "drought" -- but we still have severe restrictions on water usage and subsidies for people to buy household tanks. But the cost of the tanks is not the only problem:

Backyard water tanks, a key weapon for Australian households in the battle against drought and climate change, may prove a double-edged sword if they help the mosquito that spreads dengue fever to penetrate deep into southern and inland Australia. Melbourne researchers who set out to measure how much further the dengue mosquito might spread as the climate heats up discovered that water hoarding by households was likely to prove a much bigger help to the insect. The species responsible for spreading dengue in Australia, Aedes aegypti, is largely confined to Townsville, Cairns and Queensland's far north, where two outbreaks of dengue are continuing to worsen.

There have now been 198 confirmed cases of dengue fever in Cairns and 21 in Townsville, according to figures released last night. The Townsville outbreak is particularly alarming because two of the four types of dengue are circulating simultaneously, raising the risk that someone will suffer a potentially fatal second infection.

Scientists from Melbourne University say climate change and evolutionary adaptation are making more of Australia habitable for the insect, but human behaviours may be smoothing the mosquito's path even more. "While we predict that climate change will directly increase habitat suitability throughout much of Australia, the potential indirect impact of changed water storage practices by humans in response to drought may have a greater effect," the authors write.

Lead researcher and zoology lecturer Michael Kearney said there had been a "dramatic increase" in domestic rainwater storage in response to drought. "Water tanks and other water storage vessels, such as modified wheelie bins, are potential breeding sites for this disease-bearing mosquito," Dr Kearney said. "Without due water-storage hygiene, this indirect effect of climate change via human adaptation could dramatically re-expand the mosquito's range." Dr Kearney said the findings did not mean water tanks should be avoided. Instead, it was important for householders to realise the tanks should be properly sealed to prevent mosquito access, which meant avoiding improvised or badly made tanks and opting for versions that met Australian standards. "Australian-standard water tanks have brass mesh protecting the inlet and outlet valves, which are less likely to degrade," he said.

About 100 years ago, Aedes aegypti was more widespread, being found in Darwin and Broome, along the east coast as far south as Sydney, inland to Bourke and even in Perth. Its range diminished through the last decades of the 20th century for reasons not well understood, but Dr Kearney said his team's work suggested the removal of old galvanised water tanks and installation of town water supplies may have helped.

The invention of insecticides and even lawnmowers may also have played a part by encouraging householders to keep gardens under better control and to clear away discarded pots and other receptacles that could provide the mosquito with a place to lay eggs.

Queensland Institute of Medical Research's Tim Hurst has studied water storage in Brisbane households and how this might affect mosquito breeding. "About 50 per cent of the houses we surveyed have rainwater tanks, but about 30 per cent of those are collecting water in other containers -- such as buckets and wheelie bins," he said. [You would do that too if you were forbidden by law to water your garden]



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


29 January, 2009

Some Greenie foot-shooting

A good comment below from Taranto:

Although America in 2000 passed up an opportunity to elect the man who invented global warming, eight years later we handed a decisive presidential victory to an avowed global warmist. And while the message of Barack Obama's candidacy on this subject was a bit muddled--he was for "change," while global warmists say they want to stop "climate" change--there is a widespread belief that the voters handed President Obama a mandate to "do something" about global warming. A poll released last week by the Pew Research Center, however, calls this into question. In the New York Times's "Dot Earth" blog, Andrew Revkin described the findings:
According to the survey of 1,503 adults, global warming, on its own, ranks last out of 20 surveyed issues. . . . Although the more general issue of protecting the environment ranked higher than climate (named by 41 percent of the poll subjects) that figure was 15 percentage points lower than in the same poll a year ago.
Revkin also links to a Rasmussen survey that finds Americans increasingly skeptical about the science behind global warmism:
Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity. . . . In July 2006, 46% of voters said global warming is caused primarily by human activities, while 35% said it is due to long-term planetary trends.
Why have global warmists lost ground with the public? One obvious reason is the recession. "The economy" and "jobs" top the Pew list of top priorities, and both have increased sharply over the past couple of years. People who are afraid of something real--losing their jobs or the value of their assets--have little energy left for esoteric and hypothetical terrors.

Another reason is that it is really cold out. Past Pew surveys were also taken in January, so that the figures can be construed as seasonally adjusted, but this has been an especially harsh winter, which seems to provide experiential evidence against the claims of global warmism.

Of course, this feeling is illusory: Weather is different from climate, and it is possible to have cold winters even amid a long-term trend toward hotter weather--just as, for example, the stock market has down days during a bull market.

Global warmists, however, have squandered their credibility in making this point, because they never fail to seize on a hurricane or a sweltering summer day as "evidence" to make their case. In fact, so cynical is the public about the claims of global warmists that the clich‚d response to a pleasant winter day is, "If this is global warming, bring it on."

An additional problem is that whereas global warmists are emotionally consistent--in a constant state of alarm, accompanied by contempt, even hatred, for those who dare ask questions--their claims are filled with logical inconsistencies. A reader spotted a hilarious example in this Los Angeles Times article:
Even if by some miracle of environmental activism global carbon dioxide levels reverted to pre-industrial levels, it still would take 1,000 years or longer for the climate changes already triggered to be reversed, scientists said Monday. The gas that is already there and the heat that has been absorbed by the ocean will exert their effects for centuries, according to the analysis, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Over the long haul, the warming will melt the polar icecaps more than previously had been estimated, raising ocean levels substantially, the report said. And changes in rainfall patterns will bring droughts comparable to those that caused the 1930s Dust Bowl to the American Southwest, southern Europe, northern Africa and western Australia.

"People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide, the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years," lead author Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a telephone news conference. "That's not true." . . .

Solomon said in a statement that absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans and release of heat from the oceans - the one process acting to cool the Earth and the other to warm it--will "work against each other to keep temperatures almost constant for more than 1,000 years."
Is it absolutely crucial to the planet's future that we curtail greenhouse gases this instant, or would it not make any difference anyway? If the latter, what sense does it make to be alarmed? And that last quote by Solomon is a classic head-scratcher. We're supposed to worry that temperatures will be "almost constant for more than 1,000 years"? That's what they mean by global warming? Weather forecast for the year 3009: Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

More Greenie foot-shooting -- this time from Australia

Imported biofuel a threat to trees and wildlife. Just about all Greenie policies these days are destructive in one way or another.

AUSTRALIA is contributing directly to the widespread destruction of tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia by importing millions of tonnes of taxpayer-subsidised biodiesel made from palm oil. Imports of the fuel are rising, undermining the Rudd Government's $200 million commitment to reduce deforestation in the region - a problem that globally contributes to 20 per cent of the world's carbon emissions. The bulldozing of rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations is also putting further pressure on orangutans and other endangered wildlife throughout Southeast Asia. And the Australian biofuels industry says it is struggling to compete with the cheap imports from Asia, which are touted as an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel.

Without action, the problem will only get worse, with demand for biodiesel imports likely to rise sharply when NSW legislates to introduce Australia's first biodiesel mandate - 2 per cent this year, rising to 5 per cent when sufficient supplies become available. But the Rudd Government is likely to come under pressure to follow the lead of other Western nations in banning imports of palm oil-based biodiesel. Biodiesel manufacturers in Australia use primarily tallow from abattoirs and recycled cooking oil.

Caltex, the biggest biodiesel customer in Australia, refuses to use palm oil-based fuel on environmental grounds, but it is being imported by independent operators. Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, who is conducting a review of government assistance to the biofuels industry, declined to comment on whether he was aware of the Asian biodiesel imports.

Unlike imported ethanol, imported biodiesel is not subject to the 38.14c-a-litre fuel excise, so the biodiesel imports from Asia are effectively subsidised by Australian taxpayers. Rex Wallace, the chief financial officer of the Adelaide-based Environmentally Friendly Fuels, said his company had purchased five million litres of palm oil-based biodiesel in recent years. "We would not need to import it if people could produce a quality product on a regular basis in Australia," he said. "We would love to buy more local produce but it's just not there." Mr Wallace said his company imported from certified plantations in Malaysia that had been developed on land cleared historically for other purposes such as rubber plantations.

Australian Biodiesel Group chief executive Bevan Dooley said the industry estimated that 10million litres of palm oil-based biodiesel was imported a year. "Europe and the US are closing the gates on this product, but Australian taxpayers are subsidising its import," Mr Dooley said. He said it was difficult to establish if certified plantations were environmentally friendly, and Australian imports were helping to fuel demand worldwide for "environmentally destructive" biodiesel from Malaysia and Indonesia. "These imports are causing many Australian producers to suffer losses and are detrimental to the establishment of a biodiesel industry in Australia," Mr Dooley said. "Australia is seen as a dumping ground for palm oil-based biodiesel as there is no requirement for the fuel to be derived from sustainable resources." He said there was ample capacity in Australia to meet demand.

The Australian industry produces about 50million litres of biodiesel a year, but has the capacity to produce much more. About 80 million litres will be needed annually to meet a 2 per cent mandate in NSW. Indonesia has about 6 million hectares of palm oil plantation and Malaysia 4.5 million ha. Indonesia plans to double palm oil production by 2025 and is developing a plantation of 1.8 million ha in east Kalimantan. To make way for the plantation, the largest remaining area of lowland rainforest in Kalimantan is being bulldozed, with the loss of habitat for orangutans, clouded leopards and other rare animals.


Climate policy crash

Climate change remains at the top of President Obama's agenda, current economic woes notwithstanding. Obama recently inveighed against energy sources that "threaten our planet," and several of his early appointments-including Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, science adviser John Holdren, and White House energy czar Carol Browner-signal the importance of climate-change policy to this administration. During the campaign, Obama endorsed an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hopes to move climate-change legislation before the end of the year. California Representative Henry Waxman's successful coup against longtime Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell of Michigan makes congressional action more likely

Even were Congress to have second thoughts, the climate-policy die is cast. In April 2007, the Supreme Court held, in Massachusetts v. EPA, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Thus no new legislation is required for the Obama EPA to begin crafting rules to control the emission of carbon dioxide and other gases from automobile tailpipes, power plants, boilers, and more. Like it or not, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and her team have ample authority to impose controls on the most ubiquitous by-product of modern industrial civilization.

Indeed, they may not have a choice. Justice Stevens's majority opinion in Massachusetts did not command the EPA to begin regulating, but that is the practical effect of the Court's decision. At issue was Section 202 of the Clean Air Act, which requires the EPA to impose emission standards on new motor vehicles for any air pollutants which in the EPA's "judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." The Court decided that greenhouse gases are "air pollutants," and so the EPA must set standards if it believes climate change "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare."

The EPA would have a hard time claiming not to believe that, even if the Obama administration were so inclined: In numerous documents and statements, the agency has reiterated its belief that climate change is a significant concern, and that a gradual warming could have deleterious effects on health and welfare. Even during the Bush administration, the EPA endorsed federal action to "reduce the risk" of global warming. The EPA has done everything short of publishing a formal statement that climate change "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare," and no court would readily let it off the hook. Thus, Massachusetts effectively requires the imposition of carbon-dioxide controls on new cars and trucks.

But that's not the only regulation affected by the Court's conclusion that greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the act. Section 111 of the act, for instance, requires the agency to set standards for some stationary sources of emissions "which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." So if the EPA must regulate automotive emissions under Section 202, it must regulate emissions from power plants and factories under Section 111 as well.

And there's more. The act requires the issuance of permits and the imposition of technological controls on facilities that emit more than 250 tons of regulated pollutants annually. For traditional pollutants, such as sulfur oxides, these provisions capture only the really big emitters-large power plants and the like. Applied to carbon dioxide, however, the 250-ton standard could encompass many commercial and residential buildings, increasing the number of regulated facilities tenfold, if not more.

A plain reading of the Clean Air Act would also seem to require that the EPA set a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for carbon dioxide, and then force state pollution-control agencies to develop plans to ensure that metropolitan areas comply. This is a fool's errand. There is simply no way for state and local regulators to ensure that individual cities, or even larger regions, meet an air-quality standard for a globally dispersed atmospheric pollutant. Local emissions could be reduced to zero, and a given city could still violate the NAAQS because of emissions elsewhere. It would be a pointless regulatory exercise, but after Massachusetts v. EPA it is the law.

The regulatory train thus set in motion by the Supreme Court will move apace unless Congress stops it through legislative action. What should such legislation look like? Some who would prefer to replace existing Clean Air Act rules with a cap-and-trade emissions-control regime have labored under the delusion that such a regime could be adopted by administrative fiat. Unlikely. Last year a federal court struck down the Bush administration's effort to create a regional cap-and-trade system for traditional air pollutants. If the Clean Air Interstate Rule was invalid under the Clean Air Act, there is little hope for implementing a greenhouse-gas trading system.

More here


President Obama is moving quickly to act on the environmental promises that were a centerpiece of his campaign. But tackling global warming will be far more difficult - and more costly - than the new emissions standards for automobiles he ordered with the stroke of a pen on Monday. Already, the Congressional Democrats Mr. Obama will need to carry out his mandate are feuding with one another.

By coincidence or design, most of the policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the administration charged with shaping legislation to address global warming come from California or the East Coast, regions that lead the country in environmental regulation and the push for renewable energy sources. That is a problem, says a group of Democratic lawmakers from the Midwest and Plains States, which are heavily dependent on coal and manufacturing. The lawmakers have banded together to fight legislation they think might further damage their economies.

"There's a bias in our Congress and government against manufacturing, or at least indifference to us, especially on the coasts," said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. "It's up to those of us in the Midwest to show how important manufacturing is. If we pass a climate bill the wrong way, it will hurt American jobs and the American economy, as more and more production jobs go to places like China, where it's cheaper."

This brown state-green state clash is likely to encumber any effort to set a mandatory ceiling on the carbon dioxide emissions blamed as the biggest contributor to global warming, something Mr. Obama has declared to be one of his highest priorities. Mr. Obama has said he intends to press ahead on such an initiative, despite opposition within his own party in Congress and divisions among some of his advisers over the timing, scope and cost of legislation to curb carbon emissions.

The centrist Democrats who urge a slower-paced approach represent states that are crucial electoral battlegrounds and that stand to lose the most from such regulation. They say they believe that global warming is a serious threat and they will support legislation to address the problem - but not at the expense of their already-strained workers and industries.

More here


Car industry groups are gearing up for a long fight and the likelihood of legal action against proposals by President Barack Obama to allow California and other states to set their own regulations on greenhouse gas emission from vehicles. Though none are yet committing to fight the plans in court, the US Chamber of Commerce said it was "100 per cent sure" that a challenge would be launched if the Environmental Protection Agency gives the go-ahead to California.

Bill Kovacs, vice-president for environment and regulatory affairs, said the Chamber was "likely" to sue the EPA itself if lobbying and persuasion failed. "There will be continuing controversy over this. This is not going to go away," he said. "We will argue that this is a dangerous course of action."

A memorandum signed by Mr Obama on Monday directed the EPA to reconsider granting California and 13 other states waivers to set their own emission standards, after the Bush administration had denied permission. The move was given a rapturous welcome by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California, and by environmental groups, who assume that the EPA will grant the waiver when its decision is announced in a few months.

Industry groups will endeavour to find a compromise with the new administration, which is putting cleaner energy at the heart of its agenda. However they claim that the waivers would lead to a patchwork of regulations that will drive up costs for the industry and ultimately the consumer in what is already a depressed market. Estimates have said that between $1,500 and $3,000 would be added to the cost of passenger car. Industry groups will argue that the president should stick to a strong national emissions standard of 35 miles to the gallon by 2020 that has already been agreed to.

"We are concerned that if states take off on their own then the economy will be Balkanized into regulatory fiefdoms," said Hank Cox, vice president of communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. "The car industry is on the ropes right now. This would be economic folly of the first order."

More here


Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said Tuesday that it was "not critical" for the U.S. to begin regulating power-plant emissions in advance of renewed talks toward a global climate-change treaty. The Massachusetts Democrat will be an influential player in efforts to forge such a treaty and reshape U.S. policy on climate issues.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Kerry said that an $825 billion economic-stimulus bill making its way through Congress should include more money for low-carbon technologies and less for "nontargeted tax cuts" that would, he said, do little to create jobs quickly. "We're staring at an incredible economic opportunity," he said of the stimulus bill, "let's spend it on the right things."

Some environmental activists have said that the U.S. can't credibly participate in the climate-change talks scheduled for December in Copenhagen unless it takes new steps to reduce its own emissions, such as using the Environmental Protection Agency's authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate power-plant greenhouse-gas emissions. But taking that step would risk a confrontation between the Obama administration and major industries, as well as fellow Democrats from coal-rich states.

Sen. Kerry said he thought it would be "great" if the EPA regulated power companies' greenhouse-gas emissions before the Copenhagen meetings, but that such a step was not critical. He cited President Obama's recent directive to the EPA to consider letting states regulate automobile greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as decisions by some states, cities and businesses to enact voluntary emissions-reduction programs, as evidence that the U.S. is "moving forward" on such matters. "People have to get beyond the Bush mentality and realize it's a very different ball game" under Mr. Obama, he said. Mr. Bush resisted committing the U.S. to economywide curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions, whereas Mr. Obama has called for legislation to cut U.S. emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.

Sen. Kerry planned to brief Senate Democrats Tuesday on new scientific evidence that global greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing at four times the rate they were in the 1990s. "It's critical we begin now" to forge consensus on climate-change policy, he said. "There's a great deal of evidence that we're behind the curve on where we should be" in controlling emissions.

Sen. Kerry plans to hold a hearing Wednesday where former Vice President Al Gore is expected to testify on the status of United Nations-led global-warming talks. Sen. Kerry's committee, which oversees the State Department, gives him a platform from which to influence the U.S. negotiating position in the Copenhagen talks, which are aimed at forging a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that requires many industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.

The outcome of the talks is expected to hinge on whether developing nations such as China and India can be persuaded to commit to binding cuts in their own emissions. The countries' refusal to do so has been a major reason why the U.S. has not committed to similar binding cuts.

A spokesman for the Sierra Club, John Coequyt, said Sen. Kerry appeared to be trying to lower expectations ahead of Copenhagen, so that "if we can't get one of these things out of EPA, we can still go ... and make a solid claim that we're acting."



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


28 January, 2009

Now Greenies don't like tidal power, either

It might upset the fish, you know. So: Coal, nuclear and hydroelectic are positively EVIL; windmills are no good; tidal power is no good. There's just no such thing as a happy Greenie

Whichever, if any, tidal scheme is built on the Severn, it is sure to anger some environmentalists. Being a renewable source of electricity, tidal generators might be assumed to be popular with the green lobby. Yet there are serious reservations over the environmental costs of a barrage or lagoon in the estuary - and they have split the environmentalist movement.

On the one hand there is the appeal of doing something positive about climate change by turning to a renewable, rather than burnable, source of energy. Environmental activists have been urging governments, power companies and the public to embrace renewable energy because it is cleaner than fossil fuels and nuclear power. On the other hand, thousands of hectares of shoreline will be destroyed as a feeding ground for birds - an internationally important feeding ground, no less. There are also deep concerns about the impact on the fish and invertebrates in the Severn. Barrages and, to a lesser extent, lagoons form a physical barrier to species such as salmon and eels as they migrate. The dilemma is balancing the potential damage to habitat against the gains made in combating climate change.

If measures such as the Cardiff-Weston barrage are not taken, how much of the river will be claimed anyway by sea-level rises from melting ice caps and how many creatures will be forced to find somewhere else to live because temperatures have become unbearable?

Some of the projects that missed the shortlist are regarded as having less of an impact on the environment but they are the most unproven schemes and, however attractive their merits, their effectiveness is questionable. When coming to their decision on tidal schemes for the Severn - and perhaps one day the Mersey, the Wyre and the Thames - ministers will have plenty of factors to weigh up. There will be the jobs created - the bigger the scheme the bigger the job creation prospects - and there will be the economic damage caused by limiting navigation of the Severn and access to upstream ports. There will be the attraction of plumping for a huge barrage that will be a monument to their tenure in office, to be set against the affordability of constructing such an edifice.

But most of all they will have to judge whether the wider environment will best be served by sacrifice or preservation.


James Hansen's Former NASA Supervisor Declares Himself a Skeptic

Says Hansen `Embarrassed NASA' & `Was Never Muzzled'

NASA warming scientist James Hansen, one of former Vice-President Al Gore's closest allies in the promotion of man-made global warming fears, is being publicly rebuked by his former supervisor at NASA. Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA's vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen "embarrassed NASA" with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was "was never muzzled." Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears.

"I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made," Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. "I was, in effect, Hansen's supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results," Theon, the former Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program at NASA Headquarters and former Chief of the Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch explained.

"Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA's official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind's effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress," Theon wrote.

Theon declared "climate models are useless." "My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit," Theon explained. "Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy," he added.

"As Chief of several of NASA Headquarters' programs (1982-94), an SES position, I was responsible for all weather and climate research in the entire agency, including the research work by James Hansen, Roy Spencer, Joanne Simpson, and several hundred other scientists at NASA field centers, in academia, and in the private sector who worked on climate research," Theon wrote of his career. "This required a thorough understanding of the state of the science. I have kept up with climate science since retiring by reading books and journal articles," Theon added.

More here

No Joke! Study predicts sea level rise for year 3000 A.D.! Get your 1000 year forecast!

Their climate models have never predicted anything of substance yet so they must have improved dramatically in recent times. I wonder if the study authors do 1000 year stock market predictions as well? The study would seem to be a classic instance of where faulty assumptions can lead you. It is all based on the CO2 theory of warming with no mention of the sun. But whichever way you look at it, the hubris is amazing

A new scientific study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reaches a powerful conclusion about the climate change caused by future increases of carbon dioxide: to a large extent, there's no going back. The pioneering study, led by NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon, shows how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped. The findings appear during the week of January 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our study convinced us that current choices regarding carbon dioxide emissions will have legacies that will irreversibly change the planet," said Solomon, who is based at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

"It has long been known that some of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years," Solomon said. "But the new study advances the understanding of how this affects the climate system." The study examines the consequences of allowing CO2 to build up to several different peak levels beyond present-day concentrations of 385 parts per million and then completely halting the emissions after the peak. The authors found that the scientific evidence is strong enough to quantify some irreversible climate impacts, including rainfall changes in certain key regions, and global sea level rise. If CO2 is allowed to peak at 450-600 parts per million, the results would include persistent decreases in dry-season rainfall that are comparable to the 1930s North American Dust Bowl in zones including southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern North America, southern Africa and western Australia.....

The scientists emphasize that increases in CO2 that occur in this century "lock in" sea level rise that would slowly follow in the next 1,000 years. Considering just the expansion of warming ocean waters-without melting glaciers and polar ice sheets-the authors find that the irreversible global average sea level rise by the year 3000 would be at least 1.3-3.2 feet (0.4-1.0 meter) if CO2 peaks at 600 parts per million, and double that amount if CO2 peaks at 1,000 parts per million....

More here

Romm's rants

Maybe Joe Romm’s employers over at the Center for American Progress have a vision for how his tantrums and fits serve their interests on advancing climate policy. I certainly can’t see how his antics do anything more than paint the CAP as a hotbed for intolerance and ignorance. In Joe’s latest rant he calls the NYTs Andy Revkin a climate denier, or I think he does, as Joe speaks a language unto himself. Here is an excerpt (emphasis added):
Andy asserts:

I've been the most prominent communicator out there saying the most established aspects of the issue of human-driven climate change lie between the poles of catastrophe and hoax.

Following that shockingly un-scientific statement, he includes the link to his 2007 piece, "A New Middle Stance Emerges in Debate over Climate," that touts the views of Roger A. Pielke Jr., of all people! The "middle stance" is apparently just the old denier do-nothing stance with a smile, a token nod to science, and a $5 a ton CO2 tax [which is why I call them denier-eq's]
Joe’s strategy of tarring those who hold reasonable views as deniers is re-enforced when he takes Revkin to task for having the gall to discuss climate politics in his reporting:

Uhh, Andy, you're the science reporter, not the political reporter.

Joe’s strategy is one that I explain in The Honest Broker: by collapsing political debates onto science one can then try to impeach the political views in terms of science. This explains Joe’s constant use of the term “denier” which is usually a term used to impeach via Holocaust symbolism those who don’t accept the consensus views on climate science.

Of course the problem for Joe is that Revkin (as well as me) have always accepted the consensus views on science. More than anyone else Revkin is probably responsible for broadly disseminating those views via his reporting, and has been routinely criticized by those skeptical for not taking a more skeptical view himself.

So Romm’s attacks collapse in a heap of intellectual incoherence. A “denier” is thus anyone whose views on the science differ from Joe’s views (whose views on climate science are indeed unique) and thus because his opponent’s views on science are wrong, he can then dismiss their political views with the sweeping contempt of “denier.” Thus, because Revkin works from the scientific consensus on climate change he is thus a “denier” or in Joe’s special language a “denier-eq.” Thus, Joe can them proceed to impeach Andy’s identification of a wide-ranging debate on climate policy among people who want action. Joe would prefer that no views other than his own receive attention, thus the frequent juvenile blog tantrums and fits.

So if the Center for American Progress envisions Joe painting their organization into a small corner where nuance, debate, and above all a range of views of climate policy are not allowed, then they are succeeding beyond wildest expectations, and Romm is not only marginalizing himself, but the institution that pays his salary.


No global warming in Canada

Ice in Canada's St. Lawrence River traps ships carrying 500, including icebreaker

Ice in the St. Lawrence River has trapped three ships carrying a total of about 500 passengers - including an icebreaker sent in to unblock the waterway. A cruise ship with about 300 people on board is among the three stuck since Monday at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River near Matane, Quebec.

Leonard Arsenault, a spokesman for the cruise ship CTMA-Vacancier, says passengers were being transported to the Gaspe Peninsula from Montreal for a week-long ski trip in the Chic-Choc mountains.

A coast guard icebreaker was sent to free the cruise ship and a freighter that was also trapped, but it got stuck in the ice. There are about 500 people aboard the three vessels, says Arsenault.


Australian university Dismisses Climate Change Sceptic

You see why most academics fear to identify themselves as climate realists

It is common for Australian academics to publicly express an opinion on climate change including in our newspapers; think Tim Flannery, Ian Lowe and more recently Barry Brook. A couple of weeks ago Jon Jenkins, an Adjunct Professor at Bond University, had an opinion piece published by The Australian newspaper. The piece was critical of the accepted dogma on anthropogenic global warming with a focus on how global temperatures are recorded and ended with a comment on sustainable development:
"Science is only about certainty and facts. The real question is in acknowledging the end of fossil fuels within the next 200 years or so: how do we spend our research time and dollars? Do we spend it on ideologically green-inspired publicity campaigns such as emissions-trading schemes based on the fraud of the IPCC, or do we spend it on basic science that could lead us to energy self-sufficiency based on some combination of solar, geothermal, nuclear and renewable sources? The alternative is to go back to the stone age."
Interestingly Bond University has a new name for its business and IT faculties, The Faculty of Business, Technology & Sustainable Development, but apparently didn't like Professor Jenkins' very public opinion on the subject of sustainable development. For his opinion, Professor Jenkins received an official reprimand from the Bond University Registrar and then was informed last Friday that his adjunct status had been revoked. No doubt he has contravened some rule or other at the University and no doubt this would have gone unnoticed if Professor Jenkins had a more popular opinion on these most politically charged subjects.



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


27 January, 2009


Eager to take the lead on climate change, the European Union aims to pile pressure on the United States and big emerging countries to sign up to an ambitious strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. Last month European leaders approved an ambitious climate change action plan which the 27-nation bloc hopes will become a model for international negotiations in Copenhagen in December. "We will do everything to make (Copehagen) a success," European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters on Friday. "The problem is to know whether the others are ready to do what we have been doing."

The European Commission is to unveil on Wednesday a strategy for gradually ramping up investments aimed at tackling climate change to a target of 175 billion euros per year by 2020, including 30 billion euros to help poor countries. Developed countries would be expected to contribute 95 billion euros to the plan. Among the sources of finance, the commission recommends making polluters pay for each tonne of carbon dioxide that they emit. With a price starting at one euro per tonne rising gradually to three euros, the plan would generate about 13 billion euros in 2013 if used in the main developed countries, rising to 28 billion euros by 2020.

In the same strategy paper, obtained by AFP, the commission lays out 200 actions that are not expected to bear a prohibitive cost for reducing carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. The measures, which target the energy, agriculture and forestry sectors, would save 39 billion tonnes of CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere by 2020 at a cost of between four to 10 euros per tonne.

EU leaders committed last month to a climate-energy package that would decrease the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, make 20 percent energy savings and bring renewable energy sources up to 20 percent of total energy use. With four billion tonnes of CO2 a year, the EU generates 14 percent of the 27 billion tonnes that escape into the atmosphere each year. The United States is the biggest polluter with 5.8 billion tonnes, followed by China with 5.1 billion tonnes. The EU hopes that it can rally other major polluters behind its approach. "I think the most important issue for Copenhagen in terms of preparation is to have the Americans on board and afterwards the biggest emerging economies China, India, and Brazil," Barroso said.


The climate change safari park

Do we care more about one dead elephant than we do for a hundred black children?

By Bjorn Lomborg

Barack Obama in his inaugural speech promised to "roll back the spectre of a warming planet." In this context, it is worth contemplating a passage from his book Dreams from My Father. It reveals a lot about the way we view the world's problems.

Obama is in Kenya and wants to go on a safari. His Kenyan sister Auma chides him for behaving like a neo-colonialist. "Why should all that land be set aside for tourists when it could be used for farming? These wazungu care more about one dead elephant than they do for a hundred black children."

Although he ends up going on safari, Obama has no answer to her question. That anecdote has parallels with the current preoccupation with global warming. Many people - including America's new President - believe that global warming is the pre-eminent issue of our time, and that cutting CO2 emissions is one of the most virtuous things we can do. To stretch the metaphor a little, this seems like building ever-larger safari parks instead of creating more farms to feed the hungry.

Make no mistake: global warming is real, and it is caused by manmade CO2 emissions. The problem is that even global, draconian, and hugely costly CO2 reductions will have virtually no impact on the temperature by mid-century.

Instead of ineffective and costly cuts, we should focus much more of our good climate intentions on dramatic increases in R&D for zero-carbon energy, which would fix the climate towards mid-century at low cost. But, more importantly for most of the planet's citizens, global warming simply exacerbates existing problems.

Consider malaria. Models shows global warming will increase the incidence of malaria by about 3% by the end of the century, because mosquitoes are more likely to survive when the world gets hotter. But malaria is much more strongly related to health infrastructure and general wealth than it is to temperature. Rich people rarely contract malaria or die from it; poor people do. Strong carbon cuts could avert about 0.2% of the malaria incidence in a hundred years. The other option is simply to prioritise eradication of malaria today. It would be relatively cheap and simple, involving expanded distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, more preventive treatment for pregnant women, increased use of the maligned pesticide DDT, and support for poor nations that cannot afford the best new therapies.

Tackling nearly 100% of today's malaria problem would cost just one-sixtieth of the price of the Kyoto Protocol. Put another way, for each person saved from malaria by cutting CO2 emissions, direct malaria policies could have saved 36,000. Of course, carbon cuts are not designed only to tackle malaria. But, for every problem that global warming will exacerbate - hurricanes, hunger, flooding - we could achieve tremendously more through cheaper, direct policies today.

For example, adequately maintained levees and better evacuation services, not lower carbon emissions, would have minimised the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans.

During the 2004 hurricane season, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, both occupying the same island, provided a powerful lesson. In the Dominican Republic, which has invested in hurricane shelters and emergency evacuation networks, the death toll was fewer than ten. In Haiti, which lacks such policies, 2,000 died. Haitians were a hundred times more likely to die in an equivalent storm than Dominicans.

Obama's election has raised hopes for a massive commitment to carbon cuts and vast spending on renewable energy to save the world - especially developing nations. As Obama's Kenyan sister might attest, this could be an expensive indulgence. Some believe Obama should follow the lead of the European Union, which has committed itself to the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 20% below 1990 levels within 12 years by using renewable energy. This alone will probably cost more than 1% of GDP. Even if the entire world followed suit, the net effect would be to reduce global temperatures by one-twentieth of one degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century. The cost could be a staggering $10 trillion.

Most economic models show that the total damage imposed by global warming by the end of the century will be about 3% of GDP. This is not trivial, but nor is it the end of the world. By the end of the century, the United Nations expects the average person to be 1,400% richer than today. An African safari trip once confronted America's new president with a question he could not answer: why the rich world prized elephants over African children. Today's version of that question is: why will richer nations spend obscene amounts of money on climate change, achieving next to nothing in 100 years, when we could do so much good for mankind today for much less money? The world will be watching to hear Obama's answer.



On Thursday, German economy minister Michael Glos was expressing "serious misgivings" about the EU's emissions trading scheme, complaining that it could cost jobs if it went ahead in its current form. His own scientific advisory board is urging the repeal of strict limits for CO2 emissions, and an easing of the system in order to stabilise the price of permits.

This may or may not be connected with an announcement yesterday that the German energy giant RWE has decided to build no more new power plants in western Europe, as the EU's emissions trading scheme has rendered new projects "unprofitable". "We will go ahead with power-plants which we are already planning or which are already under construction," said Johannes Lambertz, chief executive of RWE's power unit. "Further projects are on hold until they become economical."

Lambertz adds that, "The current framework leads to a situation where it can be more economical to continue operating old power plants than to build new ones and then having to bear the costs for the construction and the emission certificates."

Connection or not, it looks like the Germans are set for a confrontation with the EU over "climate change", a dust-up which is potentially even more attractive than the one pictured. I tell you, its obsession with "climate change" is going to be the undoing of the EU. The electricity riots of 2015 are going to make this look like a Sunday school outing.



The state of California and the automobile industry are pressing the Obama administration to decide whether states may impose their own limits on autos' greenhouse-gas emissions, an issue that pits President Barack Obama's allies in the labor and environmental movements against one another. On Wednesday, Mr. Obama's first full day in office, California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger formally asked the president to let California enforce a 2002 state law that its officials estimate would require that vehicles achieve the equivalent of 35 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2017 -- three years earlier than a 2007 federal law would require.

The California standard doesn't set a mileage target, but rather a target for auto makers to cut new vehicles' greenhouse-gas emissions by 30% from 2002 levels. Gearing up to fight California's request is the National Automobile Dealers Association, which is holding its annual convention this weekend in New Orleans, an event expected to draw 25,000 attendees and feature appearances by former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The group has prepared a report warning that the California law would impose "a costly and unnecessary burden on an industry already reeling" from the worst year of U.S. vehicle sales in more than a decade.

Mr. Obama expressed support during his campaign for California's bid to regulate auto greenhouse-gas emissions, so called because they trap the sun's heat in the earth's atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming. But he has avoided saying publicly how quickly his administration intends to act on the state's request. In addition to the question of whether to let states regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, Mr. Obama's administration is bound by a 2007 Supreme Court decision to determine whether greenhouse-gas emissions "endanger" public health or welfare, the legal trigger for regulating them under the federal Clean Air Act.

Technically, both decisions will fall to the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson. Ms. Jackson supported an effort to adopt an emissions law modeled on California's when she headed New Jersey's environmental agency from 2006 until 2008. In confirmation hearings for the EPA post, Ms. Jackson avoided making a commitment to grant California's latest request. At a Senate hearing last week, however, she promised to immediately revisit a decision made in December 2007 by the agency's previous chief, Stephen Johnson, that blocked California from implementing its law. She said she would base her final decision on "science and the rule of law" and advice from EPA staffers, many of whom privately counseled Mr. Johnson to grant the request. "We think they [EPA officials] ought to be able to get it done in four months," Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Thursday when asked how quickly she expected a decision on California's request.

A decision in favor of the request would clear the way for more than a dozen other states to enforce laws they modeled on California's. But it also would risk antagonizing the United Auto Workers, which has complained that the law unfairly discriminates against companies whose product mix is skewed toward pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles and minivans -- which guzzle a lot of gas. A spokesman for the union, which helped Mr. Obama clinch Ohio and Michigan in last fall's presidential contest, didn't respond to requests for comment on California's request.

"Even if there's a will to reverse course quickly, the reality is that taking the time to [get] the process right will be critical to whether any reversal is defensible in court," said Roger Martella, who was the EPA's general counsel during the Bush administration. Ms. Nichols, the California regulator, said her agency supports allowing public comment on the issue. "We feel strongly that under its new leadership, EPA will recognize that the decision made by the former administrator ... was flawed, factually and legally, in fundamental ways," she said.



by Fred Singer

THE recent report in the journal Nature of an unexpected Antarctic warming trend has created a certain amount of skepticism - even among supporters of AGW. [1] But in an AP news story, two of its authors (one is 'hockey-stick' inventor Michael Mann from the Real Climate blog) argue that this refutes the skeptics and is "consistent with" greenhouse warming. Of course, as Roger Pielke, Jr, points out, not long ago we learned from Real Climate that a cooling Antarctica was 'consistent with' greenhouse warming and thus the skeptics were wrong: " So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both 'consistent with' model projections of global warming.

Our foray into the tortured logic of 'consistent with' in climate science raises the perennial question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?" The results are based on very few isolated data from weather stations, plus data from research satellites. And here is the rub: these are not data from microwave sounding units (MSU), such as are regularly published by Christy and Spencer, but data from infrared sensors that are supposed to measure the temperature of the surface (rather than of the overlaying atmosphere, as weather stations do).

But the IR emission depends not only on temperature of the surface, but also on surface emissivity - and is further modified by absorption of clouds and haze. These are all difficult points. Emissivity of snow depends on its porosity and size of snow crystals. Blowing snow likely has a different emissivity than snow that has been tamped down; so surface winds could have a strong influence. The emissivity of ice is again different and will depend on whether there is a thin melt layer of water on top of the ice, temporarily produced by solar radiation.

Finally, we have temperature inversions that can trap haze which is essentially undetectable by optical methods from satellites. The proof of the pudding, of course, is the MSU data, which show a continuous cooling trend, are little affected by surface conditions and are unaffected by haze and clouds. They are therefore more reliable.

Bottom line: As it looks to me right now, the Antarctic Continent is cooling not warming.



In this week's Science magazine, science writer Richard Kerr reports on some of the goings-on at this past December's annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. While he didn't cover our presentation at the meeting in which we described our efforts at creating a reconstruction of ice melt across Greenland dating back into the late 1700s (we found that the greatest period of ice melt occurred in the decades around the 1930s), Kerr did cover some other recent findings concerning the workings of Greenland's cryosphere in his article titled "Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In". Here is how Kerr starts things off:

"Things were looking bad around southeast Greenland a few years ago. There, the streams of ice flowing from the great ice sheet into the sea had begun speeding up in the late 1990s. Then, two of the biggest Greenland outlet glaciers really took off, and losses from the ice to the sea eventually doubled. Some climatologists speculated that global warming might have pushed Greenland past a tipping point into a scary new regime of wildly heightened ice loss and an ever-faster rise in sea level."

And some non-climatologists speculated disaster from rapidly rising seas as well. During his An Inconvenient Truth tour, Gore was fond of spinning the following tale:

"[E]arlier this year [2006], yet another team of scientists reported that the previous twelve months saw 32 glacial earthquakes on Greenland between 4.6 and 5.1 on the Richter scale - a disturbing sign that a massive destabilization may now be underway deep within the second largest accumulation of ice on the planet, enough ice to raise sea level 20 feet worldwide if it broke up and slipped into the sea. Each passing day brings yet more evidence that we are now facing a planetary emergency - a climate crisis that demands immediate action to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in order to turn down the earth's thermostat and avert catastrophe."

Oh how things have changed in the past 2 years. For one, the "team of scientists" that reported on the Greenland earthquakes now think that the earthquakes were the result of processes involved with glacial calving, rather than something "underway deep within the second largest accumulation of ice on the planet" (Nettles et al., 2008). For another, Gore's "massive destabilization" mechanism for which the earthquakes were a supposed bellwether (meltwater lubrication of the flow channel) has been shown to be ineffective at producing long-term changes in glacier flow rate (e.g. (Joughin et al., 2008; van de Wal et al., 2008). And for still another, the recent speed-up of Greenland's glaciers has even more recently slowed down. Here is how Kerr describes the situation:

"So much for Greenland ice's Armageddon. "It has come to an end," glaciologist Tavi Murray of Swansea University in the United Kingdom said during a session at the meeting. "There seems to have been a synchronous switch-off" of the speed-up, she said. Nearly everywhere around southeast Greenland, outlet glacier flows have returned to the levels of 2000. An increasingly warmer climate will no doubt eat away at the Greenland ice sheet for centuries, glaciologists say, but no one should be extrapolating the ice's recent wild behavior into the future."

The last point is driven home by new results published last week (and described in our last WCR and in our piece over at MasterResource) by researchers Faezeh Nick and colleagues. They modeled the flow of one of Greenland's largest glaciers and determined that while glaciers were quite sensitive to changing conditions at their calving terminus, that they responded rather quickly to them and the increase in flow rate was rather short lived. Nick et al. included these words of warning: "Our results imply that the recent rates of mass loss in Greenland's outlet glaciers are transient and should not be extrapolated into the future."

All told, it is looking more like the IPCC's estimates of a few inches of sea level rise from Greenland during the 21st century aren't going to be that far off-despite loud protestations to the contrary from high profile alarm pullers. Maybe Gore will go back and remove the 12 pages worth of picture and maps from his book showing what high profile places of the world will look like with a 20-foot sea level rise ("The site of the World Trade Center Memorial would be underwater"). But then again, probably not-after all the point is not to be truthful in the sense of reflecting a likely possibility, but to scare you into a particular course of action.



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26 January, 2009

A climate change reality check

One year ago, I believed that man-made global warming was true, with temperatures rising dangerously due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere. I also believed that a consensus of the international scientific community supported these conclusions. I based these beliefs on information from the popular press, television and political leaders.

Then I began some real research on the topic. I quickly discovered three critical things:

First, the Earth has experienced significant warming over the past 18,000 years that has nothing to do with human activity.

Second, more recent temperature variations demonstrate that there is little or no correlation between levels of atmospheric CO2 and temperature.

And third, there is no "consensus" among scientists on climate change.

To understand the science of climate change, you must first know that very accurate historic temperature data going back thousands of years are available through analysis of dead corals in ocean sediments as well as ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica.

You must also understand what the Earth was like 18,000 years ago. Back then, our planet was at the peak of its most recent major ice age. At 18 degrees Celsius, average ocean surface temperatures were 5 degrees lower than they are today. Half of North America and Eurasia were covered by massive ice sheets thousands of feet thick and sea level was more than 400 feet lower than today. Then, the Earth began a dramatic warming and the ice age ended.

The increase in the Earth's temperatures over 18,000 years has not been steady. In just the past 1,000 years, average ocean surface temperatures have fluctuated between 22 degrees C and 25 degrees C. Today the average temperature is 23.

Nine-hundred years ago, when CO2 levels were lower than today, global temperatures reached what is called the "medieval temperature maximum." The world was warmer than today. Sea surface temperatures were 24 degrees C and the southern tip of Greenland, which had been settled by Vikings, was actually green and habitable with a European agricultural lifestyle. Unfortunately for the residents of Greenland, temperatures soon began to fall.

The Earth reached the depth of what historians call the "Little Ice Age" in about 1600 with an average ocean surface water temperature of 22 degrees C. With no help from humans, global temperatures rose significantly from 1600 to 1900.

It is true that the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere have been rising over the past hundred years as global society has industrialized. But increased CO2 stimulates increased plant and tree growth. And there are many natural ways CO2 is created, including by the breathing of humans and animals.

CO2 is essential to life and feedback loops are complex. Further, temperatures have not risen in correlation with the increase in CO2. Global temperatures actually decreased between 1940 and 1975, increased from 1976 through 1998 and remained relatively unchanged between 1998 and 2006.

Since 2006, temperatures have declined. This year record snowfall and low temperatures are being reported all over the world, from the Americas through Asia to Europe. In just a few examples, this winter the European nation of Slovenia set a record low temperature of minus 49 degrees C and travel in Madrid was hindered by the deepest snowfall in years. Record snowfall and winter storms have forced Minnesota officials to cancel an annual dog-sled race and closed schools and roads in Las Vegas. Even Malibu, Calif., and Houston, Texas, have experienced rare snowfall this winter. Lower temperatures have also led to an expansion in Alaska's glaciers.

Once you look beyond the political beliefs of the man-made global warming or climate change movement, the scientific truth is that there is no evidence of a correlation between atmospheric temperatures and CO2 levels.

The idea that there is a "consensus" among scientists supporting man-made global warming also is plainly untrue. According to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Minority Staff Report released this winter, "more than 650 international scientists" who are considered experts in the atmosphere disagree with the global warming theory. This is 12 times the number of scientists who authored the pro-global warming "United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 Summary for Policymakers."

While no correlation has been demonstrated between CO2 levels and temperature, early data do suggest a strong correlation between changes in surface activity on the sun (sunspots) and temperatures on Earth. So, it might be that the same forces that have guided the changes in Earth's atmosphere for eternity are still at work and still beyond human control.

Despite the science, many who advocate dramatic, state-dictated changes in our economy to reduce carbon levels view man-made global warming as "sacrosanct" -- an indisputable, dogmatic fact. As we debate climate change legislation -- which would have negative economic effects on all of us -- it is time to move beyond belief to scientific understanding.


Hansen concedes 'trying to influence the nature of the measurements obtained'

Who is GISS anyway? GISS is a part of NASA and stands for Goddard Institute for Space Studies. It makes sense that this is a part of NASA. What DOESN'T make sense is why a space agency is using surface mounted weather stations for evidence of climate change.

Another thing of interest about GISS is who the CEO is - Dr James Hansen, author and speaker with an alarmist approach to the climate change/ global warming argument. It is usual for people who are government employees to keep their political opinions to themselves, or at least to comment anonymously so that it cannot be attributed to the government agency they work for. Dr Hansen is a very vocal exception to this rule.

Government employees are meant to be apolitical. They are supposed to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and give impartial advice regardless of who is in Government. This is his background copied from the official NASA GISS web page:
Research Interests:

As a college student in Iowa, I was attracted to science and research by James Van Allen's space science program in the physics and astronomy department. Since then, it only took me a decade or so to realize that the most exciting planetary research involves trying to understand the climate change on earth that will result from anthropogenic changes of the atmospheric composition.

One of my research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially interpreting remote sounding of the earth's atmosphere and surface from satellites. Such data, appropriately analyzed, may provide one of our most effective ways to monitor and study global change on the earth. The hardest part is trying to influence the nature of the measurements obtained, so that the key information can be obtained.

I am also interested in the development and application of global numerical models for the purpose of understanding current climate trends and projecting humans' potential impacts on climate. The scientific excitement in comparing theory with data, and developing some understanding of global changes that are occurring, is what makes all the other stuff worth it.
He actually says, in the second paragraph, "The hardest part is trying to influence the nature of the measurements obtained, so that the key information can be obtained." To me this sounds like spin for "The hardest part is making the numbers show what I want them to". Let's see how long it takes for that sentence in the NASA GISS website to get changed


Climate: Change You Can't Believe In

Barack Obama campaigned for the White House on a promise he'd deliver "change you can believe in." And the popular totals suggest that 52% of voters believed indeed. But according to a recent Rasmussen Poll, there's one change that only 41% of Americans can believe in - manmade climate change. That's down from 47% just nine months ago, and before moving the country down an unpopular green-paved road to disaster, the "unity" promising freshman president would be well advised to understand why.

For starters, the rapidly expanding number of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) dissenting international scientists, many rising from within the alarmists' own ranks, has thoroughly shredded the misleading fallacy of "consensus." And a full decade sans warming and concluding with pronounced cooling despite ever-rising atmospheric CO2 levels has left Green House Gas (GHG) force-feeders with frosty egg on their faces. Remember the sea ice that doomsters warned would soon be gone? It's now at the very same level it was in 1979. And the sea level rise of 3.1 mm/year the IPCC declared took place between 1993 and 2003 -- purportedly as sea ice melted -- decreased by 20% to 2.5 mm/year in the five years that followed. That historically natural, centuries-long gradual creep falls a tad short of portending Al Gore's 20 foot tall civilization changing soaker.

We can't even believe in "official" measurements, as data sets relied upon to track global temperatures have again been shown to be contaminated and otherwise compromised in an effort to heighten public hysteria. Ironically, to a populace once confused by the mass media's heat hyping, clarity came not from scientific debate, nor CO2 concentration, nor bad data nor even ice and sea levels -- but rather from cold reality.

Record low temperatures and snowfall have caused misery everywhere from Slovenia (-49øC) to Sioux City (-20øF), and that's real change real people can believe in. Is it any wonder then that warnings of a coming ice age and forecasts of immediate sustained climatic cooling suddenly ring more plausible than those of a scorched and marginally inhabitable Roger Cormanesque planet laughably besieged by giant man-eating snakes, bubonic plague and even ravenous cannibals? Or that Thursday's Pew Research Center poll ranked global warming dead last in a list of 20 issues Americans want the new administration to focus on? Dead last!

Tough break for Liberal policy makers -- what with recent elections and political appointments breathing new hope into their lifelong dreams of commerce and lifestyle-dictating legislation and regulation, only to be dashed by the unpredictability of the very force they averred to predict.

So we're seeing the offense from the now defense-playing alarmists accelerate and intensify, for fear that as current cooling trends continue, the percentage of those blindly believing will plunge precipitously. Their bluff called, they are, in effect, "all-in" and must now play the hand they have dealt themselves -- and the world -- or admit to their chicanery. That's why newly installed House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) didn't even wait for Inauguration Day to announce that "Comprehensive global warming legislation will be sent to the House floor by Memorial Day." With the clock running down, it's all hysterical hands on deck.

Embattled Warmists Circle Their Wagons

While Democrats in both Houses race to get their previously tabled stealth Carbon taxation plan onto President Obama's desk, fellow Big Green Scare Machine cogs strive to restore popular "belief." On a very cold January 15th, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)'s Gavin Schmidt calmly explained to ABC News that:
"It's always a little bit difficult to talk about global warming when you're gonna have the coldest day of the year. But you have to realize that weather isn't abolished just because there's a long-term trend in the climate."
Sounds almost reasonable -- particularly given the source. But marvel not, for around that same time last week, his colleague (and our antihero) James Hansen made the hysterical declaration that "President Obama's administration is the last chance to avoid flooded cities, species extinction and climate catastrophe."

Now that's the GISS we've come to know and instinctively distrust. Sure, a prolonged record global freeze is by no means evidence of cooling -- but every rainfall, hurricane, drought, tsunami and heat-wave are irrefutable proof of manmade warming. This comes from the same agency that, in 2007, predicted "a record global temperature" to be expected "within the next 2-3 years." Nice call -- the following year turned out to be the coldest in a decade. But Hansen's boys are nothing if not belligerent. Despite last year's freeze, they are sticking to their overheated guns and are now predicting that "a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years." That sure satisfies any concerns whether the 400 million dollars plus the House Democrats' economic stimulus plan would pump into NASA climate change research programs will be money well spent.

Simultaneously -- the liberal blogosphere flew into panicked overdrive to restoke their retreating inferno.

On the same day Schmidt was dispatched as damage control, a Huffpo piece complained that a Google blog search for 2008 items using the terms "global warming" + lie, "global warming" + hoax, "global warming" + alarmists and "global warming" + skeptic returns twice the results as those for 2007. The author faulted the results of the Rasmussen Poll on this: "the internet is now a larger source of news for people than newspapers." So who was this criticizing the availability of uncensored on-line information? Why, none other than Kevin Grandia, Managing Editor of alarmist propaganda site DeSmogBlog. Grandia claims that "the internet is exploding" with information that "the majority of the mainstream media is unwilling to cover." And truer words he's seldom spoken.

But then he describes that thankfully obtainable insight as "the nonsensical junk science of the right-wing think tanks and their cadre of scientists for hire." And as do all cooling deniers, he cites as skeptic-damning authority the debunked agenda-driven reports from the "top climate scientists from around the world " of the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that "global warming is `very likely' -- or 90 per cent certain--caused by humans burning fossil fuels."

This is the same U.N. globaloney espoused by Media Matters for America in its recent attacks on Lou Dobbs, beginning on December 18th when Heartland Institute senior fellow and science director Jay Lehr told the CNN anchor that "'[t]he last 10 years have been quite cool' and that `the sun' -- rather than humans -- is responsible for recent climate change." An enraged MM insisted that the IPCC 2007 Synthesis Report "specifically rebuts the suggestion that the sun, rather than humans, is responsible for climate change."

In the weeks that followed, MM quoted the same report as gospel twice more. Once when rare bird Hollywood-conservative Douglas Urbanski rightly proclaimed that "there is no evidence that there is man-made climate change occurring." And again when Dobbs "questioned the impact of humans on global warming and suggested that solar activity may be far more responsible for global warming" during his January 5th show.

And yet, this IPCC report, much-hyped-and-hallowed by alarmists and media-drones alike, represents the combined work of only 52 carefully cherry-picked UN scientists. But the 231-page U.S. Senate Minority Report containing the IPCC-countering findings of more than 12 times that number (over 650 dissenting -- including many current and former UN IPCC -- scientists) is either gratuitously ridiculed or all but ignored by these same agents. And last year's Manhattan Declaration was similarly impressive in its signatories, and similarly mistreated by alarmists and their hand-puppets throughout the green-entranced MSM.

Grandia refers to a "cadre of scientists for hire" and Al Gore and Gorebots the likes of IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri refer to dissenting experts as flat-Earthers and variants of big-oil whores and label their views "outside the scientific consensus."

When in fact, even were consensus a foundation of science, there exists infinitely more that Al Gore, James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, Joe Romm, Kevin Grandia et al are snake-oil salesmen than of any anthropogenic impact on climate. And recent claims of a vaguely worded on-line survey with a 30% response rate from unnamed "scientists" being touted by the alarmists as proof otherwise change nothing. So 59% of Americans aren't buying it; climate experts across the globe aren't behind it; yet the alarmists continue to sell it and Democratic politicians remain steady customers.

All The President's Men (and Women) of Science

Indeed, whether born of ignorance, denial, or just political corner-painting, our new president continues to position fossil-fuel induced warming high on the list of immediate challenges he'll tackle, even when speaking in single-digit wind-chill locales, as he did last Saturday in Philadelphia. And that was just days after new E.P.A. chief Lisa Jackson avowed that "If confirmed, I will serve with science as my guide," and the very day after Interior secretary Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) promised to "put science first" in department decision-making.


Jackson -- who testified at her confirmation hearing that "curbing global warming" would be an E.P.A. priority -- has yet to disclose whether she'd move to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act, an extremely dangerous possibility nonetheless provided in 2007 by the wrongly decided Supreme Court decision of Massachusetts v. EPA. But as a committed GHG hypochondriac and avid supporter of cap-and-trade -- serving "as Vice President of the Executive Board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," which has already launched the nation's first carbon trading system, her trump card -- should legislation fail -- is a no-brainer. And such radical regulation would empower unelected bureaucrats to impose massive behavior-modifying fines upon a broad range of residential and commercial "polluters."

Meanwhile, Salazar remains vague about further acting upon the remarkably bad decision to include global warming as an Endangered Species Act concern, stating that "it is something that we will take a look at." But look out -- immediately upon taking office on Tuesday, Obama halted progress on a Bush-installed revision that would wisely "block the law from being used to fight global warming." As we've pointed out in the past, the convergence of CO2 declared a greenhouse "pollutant" and animals listed as endangered by "climate change" creates a virtually unlimited potential for federal control over all manners of commerce and day-to-day existence.

Science first? My ice cold butt!

And speaking of furthering government control, Carol M. Browner -- Obama's choice for the new inanely-named position of "global warming czar" -- is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist. She's one of 14 leaders of Socialist International's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which, according to the Washington Times, "calls for `global governance' and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change." For more on the eco-Marxism scam, see Noel Sheppard's NASA's Hansen to Obama: Use Global Warming to Redistribute Wealth and my own The Climate Alarmist Manifesto. Then there's new energy secretary Steven Chu, another cap-and-trade champion, who declared at his confirmation hearing:
"Climate change is a growing and pressing problem. It is now clear that if we continue on our current path, we run the risk of dramatic disruptive changes to our climate in the lifetimes of our children and our grandchildren."
And let's not forget Obama's director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Boston Globe recently reminded us of John Holdren's own "contempt for researchers who are unconvinced that human activity is responsible for global warming, or that global warming is an onrushing disaster," calling their ideas which "infest" public discourse "dangerous," and that "paying any attention to their views is `a menace.'" Holdren also "contributed to a published assault on Bjorn Lomborg's notable 2001 book `The Skeptical Environmentalist'- an attack the Economist described as `strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance.'"

Card-carrying carbochondriacs -- the lot: Unwavering advocates of a scheme proven both wholly ineffectual in GHG abatement and clearly antithetical to our essential economic recovery by its international precursors. And Americans are waking up to the fact that the green power they and those driving them desire derives not from infeasible wind, solar or geothermal sources, but rather from economic command and control.

It's obvious that were they pure of motive, green ideologues could stick to tangibles like clean water and air, and breaking OPEC's strategically-dangerous strangle-hold on our energy supply; even limited intangibles like peak-oil and ambiguous "green jobs" -- and people could still believe. So why sully the believable with the unbelievable, particularly when the goals are supposedly identical?

And by the way, Obama's inaugural pledge to "restore science to its rightful place" wasn't alone in its incongruity on the subject. He also promised that the era of "protecting narrow interests" is over, reinforcing his campaign pledge that his administration "would not be beholden to special interests." But in fact, the green lobby represents perhaps the broadest and most dangerous of all influence peddlers -- those who literally want to micromanage not only the air we breathe and the food we eat, but also our homes, our businesses, our pastimes and even our vacation spots - not to mention what, how often and how far we drive or fly in shuttling between them.

Current polls affirm that despite a protracted and intense campaign of misinformation and dissent-gagging, Americans now want the debate Al Gore once declared over to actually begin. And they want it free of the mind-policing tactics advocated by Obama's science director, and long before any action is taken by climate zealots in either his cabinet or Congress.

Later in Tuesday's speech, the president swore to "restore the vital trust between people and their government." That was right before he promised the freezing crowd he'd "roll back the specter of a warming planet." Of course -- until he and his appointees take stock of the facts regarding the latter, there's little hope of success in the former.


China expolits nutty EU "carbon credits"

The hydroelectric dam, a low wall of concrete slicing across an old farming valley, is supposed to help a power company in distant Germany contribute to saving the climate - while putting lucrative "carbon credits" into the pockets of Chinese developers. But in the end the new Xiaoxi dam may do nothing to lower global-warming emissions as advertised. And many of the 7,500 people displaced by the project still seethe over losing their homes and farmland. "Nobody asked if we wanted to move," said a 38-year-old man whose family lost a small brick house. "The government just posted a notice that said, 'Your home will be demolished.'"

The dam will shortchange German consumers, Chinese villagers and the climate itself, if critics are right. And Xiaoxi is not alone. Similar stories are repeated across China and elsewhere around the world, as hundreds of hydro projects line up for carbon credits, at a potential cost of billions to Europeans, Japanese and soon perhaps Americans, in a trading system a new U.S. government review concludes has "uncertain effects" on greenhouse-gas emissions.

One American expert is more blunt. "The CDM" - the 4-year-old, U.N.-managed Clean Development Mechanism - "is an excessive subsidy that represents a massive waste of developed world resources," says Stanford University's Michael Wara.

Forced relocations have become common in China as people in hundreds of communities are moved to clear land for factories and other projects, provoking anger and occasionally violent protests. But what happened here is unusual in highlighting not just the human costs, but also the awkward fit between China's authoritarian system, in which complaints of official abuse abound, and Western environmental ideals.

Those ideals produced the Clean Development Mechanism as a market-based tool under the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement to combat climate change. The CDM allows industrial nations, required by Kyoto to reduce emissions of gases blamed for global warming, to comply by paying developing nations to cut their emissions instead. Companies thousands of miles away, such as Germany's coal-burning, carbon dioxide-spewing RWE electric utility, accomplish this by buying carbon credits the U.N. issues to clean-energy projects like Xiaoxi's. The proceeds are meant to make such projects more financially feasible. As critics point out, however, if those projects were going to be built anyway, the climate doesn't gain, but loses.

Such projects "may allow covered entities" - such as RWE - "to increase their emissions without a corresponding reduction in a developing country," the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its December review. The system's defenders call it essential for hard-pressed industrialized nations to meet their Kyoto quotas, and say the CDM's standards are being tightened. "It's not as if we're printing money in a garage," Yvo de Boer, U.N. climate chief, said of the credits. "Lots of legitimate questions are being asked," he acknowledged to The Associated Press, but "that's why I'm happy we have a transparent process."

That transparency - online project documents and a U.N. database - allowed the AP to analyze in detail this exploding market, which attracts projects ranging from small solar-power efforts in Africa, to emissions controls on giant chemical plants in India and China. The AP has found that hydroelectric projects, whose climate impact is most widely questioned, have quickly become the No. 1 technology in the CDM, and China in particular is rushing in to capitalize. The Chinese now have at least 763 hydro projects in the CDM approval pipeline and are adding an average of 25 a month. By 2012, those projects alone are expected to generate more than 300 million "certified emission reductions," each supposedly representing reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide. Even at recent depressed market prices, those credits would be worth $4 billion.

If the United States enters the Kyoto system, as proposed by President-elect Barack Obama, it would be the biggest player in a market expected to be worth hundreds of billions a year by 2030....

The CDM money has spawned an industry of consultants who help Chinese companies assemble bids for emissions credits, and of U.N.-certified "validators," firms that then attest that projects meet U.N. standards. For Xiaoxi, the developer hired Germany's TUEV-SUED as validator, and then commissioned it again later to confirm that the project complied with European Union and German government requirements on "stakeholder consultation" - that local people approve of the project beforehand.

The TUEV-SUED report acknowledged that "the concerned villagers and their leaders were not involved in the decision process." But it contended the guidelines' "essence" was fulfilled because those affected "have improved their living environment." ....

Environmentalists also point out that hydro power has long been a national priority in China. Since the 1990s - long before the CDM - the Chinese have added an average 7.7 gigawatts a year of hydro power, equivalent to six Hoover Dams annually, International Rivers reports. In other words, Chinese planners aren't suddenly replacing emissions-heavy coal-fired power plants with emissions-free dams.

The Xiaoxi project design document, in fact, says Chinese regulations would block the building of such a relatively low-output coal plant here. But that's how planners determined the "emissions reductions" from the $183-million, 135-megawatt dam - by calculating how much carbon dioxide a 135-megawatt conventional power plant would produce instead. That bottom line - some 450,000 tons of global-warming gases each year - would be added to RWE's permitted emissions if it buys the Xiaoxi credits, at a current annual cost of $8 million. And such calculations will be repeated at 37 other Chinese hydro projects where RWE will buy credits. All told, the 38 are expected to produce more than 16 million CDM credits by 2012, legitimizing 16 million tons of emissions in Germany, equivalent to more than 1 percent of annual German emissions. ...

The CDM system "can be 'gamed' fairly easily," said German expert Axel Michaelowa, both a critic and a CDM insider, as a member of the U.N. team that registers CDM projects. But Michaelowa said the CDM remains "a crucial bridge between industrialized and developing countries." It has problems but they can be solved, he said. Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican ex-member of the board overseeing the CDM, echoed Michaelowa's view. She said it's crucial to encourage China in particular, whose coal power plants make it the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, to build clean-energy facilities. And she counters critics who oppose dams in general because of their environmental impact. "We cannot continue to demonize hydro," Figueres told the AP. [But Greenies everywhere else do!]

More here

NASA discovers soot

It looks like the soot man is coming into his own

Governments could slow global warming dramatically, and buy time to avert disastrous climate change, by slashing emissions of one of humanity's most familiar pollutants - soot - according to Nasa scientists. A study by the space agency shows that cutting down on the pollutant, which has so far been largely ignored by climate scientists, can have an immediate cooling effect - and prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths from air pollution at the same time.

At the beginning of the make-or-break year in international attempts to negotiate a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the soot removal proposal - which is being taken seriously by experts close to the Obama administration - offers hope of a rapid new way of tackling global warming. Governments have long experience in acting against soot.

Cutting its emissions has a virtually instantaneous effect, because it rapidly falls out of the atmosphere, unlike carbon dioxide which remains there for over a hundred years. And because soot is one of the worst killers among all pollutants, radical reductions save lives and so should command popular and political support.

The study - from Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics - concludes that tackling the pollution provides "substantial benefits for air quality while simultaneously contributing to climate change mitigation" and "may present a unique opportunity to engage parties and nations not yet fully committed to climate change mitigation for its own sake."

Black carbon, the component of soot that gives it its colour, is thought to be the second largest cause of global warming after carbon dioxide. Formed through incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and vegetation, it delivers a double whammy.

While in the air, it is spread around the globe by the wind, and helps to heat the atmosphere by absorbing and releasing solar radiation. And when it falls out it darkens snow and ice, at the poles or high in mountains, reducing its ability to reflect sunlight. As a result it melts more quickly, and exposes more dark land or water which absorbs even more energy, and so increases warming.

The bad news - as the Washington-based Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development points out - is that soot is causing global warming to happen much faster than expected. Its president, Durwood Zaelke, says "black carbon is exacerbating the climate situation": "Taking quick action is quite simply our only near-term option."

Rich countries have already reduced their emissions of black carbon from burning fossil fuels dramatically since the 1950s. The health benefits of a worldwide cut could be massive. Soot contains up to 40 different cancer-causing chemicals and can also cause respiratory and heart diseases. It is estimated to cause two million deaths in the developing world each year - mainly among children - when emitted from wood-burning stoves in poorly ventilated houses. In Britain, research has shown that people are twice as likely to die from respiratory disease when heavily exposed to soot emitted from vehicle exhausts.

Tackling these two health crises, the Nasa study concludes, would also be the most effective short-term way of slowing climate change. Its research shows that the "strongest leverage" on reducing global warming would be achieved by "reducing emissions from domestic fuel burning" in developing countries, particularly in Asia, and by "reduction in surface transport emissions in North America", especially from diesel engines.

In both cases solutions are known. Cookers using solar energy or biogas, for example, eliminate smoke. And last month California brought in measures to force trucks to fit filters to reduce diesel soot emissions by 85 per cent, estimating that they would save 9,400 lives over the next 16 years.



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


25 January, 2009

Despite the hot air, the Antarctic is not warming up

A deeply flawed new report will be cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore

By Christopher Booker in Britain

The measures being proposed to meet what President Obama last week called the need to "roll back the spectre of a warming planet" threaten to land us with the most colossal bill mankind has ever faced. It might therefore seem peculiarly important that we can trust the science on which all the alarm over global warming is based, But nothing has been more disconcerting in this respect than the methods used by promoters of the warming cause over the years to plug some of the glaring holes in their scientific argument.

Another example last week was the much-publicised claim, contradicting all previous evidence, that Antarctica, the world's coldest continent, is in fact warming up, Antarctica has long been a major embarrassment to the warmists. Al Gore and co may have wanted to scare us that the continent which contains 90 per cent of all the ice on the planet is heating up, because that would be the source of all the meltwater which they claim will raise sea levels by 20 feet.

However, to provide all their pictures of ice-shelves "the size of Texas" calving off into the sea, they have had to draw on one tiny region of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula - the only part that has been warming. The vast mass of Antarctica, all satellite evidence has shown, has been getting colder over the past 30 years. Last year's sea-ice cover was 30 per cent above average.

So it predictably made headlines across the world last week when a new study, from a team led by Professor Eric Steig, claimed to prove that the Antarctic has been heating up after all. As on similar occasions in the past, all the usual supporters of the cause were called in to whoop up its historic importance. The paper was published in Nature and heavily promoted by the BBC. This, crowed journalists such as Newsweek's Sharon Begley, would really be one in the eye for the "deniers" and "contrarians".

But then a good many experts began to examine just what new evidence had been used to justify this dramatic finding. It turned out that it was produced by a computer model based on combining the satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations.

The problem with Antarctica, though, is that has so few weather stations. So what the computer had been programmed to do, by a formula not yet revealed, was to estimate the data those missing weather stations would have come up with if they had existed. In other words, while confirming that the satellite data have indeed shown the Antarctic as cooling since 1979, the study relied ultimately on pure guesswork, to show that in the past 50 years the continent has warmed - by just one degree Fahrenheit.

One of the first to express astonishment was Dr Kenneth Trenberth, a senior scientist with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a convinced believer in global warming, who wryly observed "it is hard to make data where none exists". A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has often visited the Antarctic for Nasa, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: "with statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage."

But it was also noticed that among the members of Steig's team was Michael Mann, author of the "hockey stick", the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause. The greatest of all embarrassments for the believers in man-made global warming was the well-established fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than it is now. "We must get rid of the Mediaeval Warm Period," as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment. It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like hockey stick, eliminating the mediaeval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.

This instantly became the warmists' chief icon, made the centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 report. But Mann's selective use of data and the flaws in his computer model were then so devastatingly torn apart that it has become the most comprehensively discredited artefact in the history of science.

The fact that Dr Mann is again behind the new study on Antarctica is, alas, all part of an ongoing pattern. But this will not prevent the paper being cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore, when he shortly addresses the US Senate and carries on advising President Obama behind the scenes on how to roll back that "spectre of a warming planet". So, regardless of the science, and until the politicians finally wake up to how they have been duped, what threatens to become the most costly flight from reality in history will continue to roll remorselessly on its way.

Not the least shocking news of the week was the revelation by that admirable body the Taxpayers Alliance that last year the number of "middle managers" in Britain's local authorities rose by a staggering 22 percent. Birmingham City Council alone has more than 1,000 officials earning over œ50,000 a year. All over Britain senior council officials are now earning salaries which 10 years ago would have seemed unthinkable.

Future historians will doubtless find it highly significant that just when Britain's economy was about to collapse, an already hopelessly bloated public sector was expanding faster than ever. One of the more dramatic changes in British life over the past two decades has been how, aided by their counterparts in Whitehall and Brussels, the officials who run our local authorities have become separated from the communities they used to serve. Floating free of political control, they have become a new privileged class, able to dictate their own salaries and extend their own empires, paid for by a public to whom they are no longer accountable.

But if this gulf has already become wide enough, how much more glaring is it going to become now that the private sector is shrinking so fast? Already last year an astonishing 2.5 million people were in court for failing or being unable to pay ever soaring council taxes. Tellingly, the only response of the Local Government Association to these latest revelations was plaintively to point out that as many as "2,700" council jobs have already been lost in the economic downturn. But outside those walls three millon may soon be out of work. Who will then be left to pay for those salaries and pensions that our new privilegentsia have arranged for themselves?

How appropriate that Kenneth Clarke should become "shadow" to Business Secretary Peter Mandelson. As fervent "Europeans", both men know that almost all the policies of the ministry laughably renamed the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform are now decided at "European level". There is therefore hardly any job left for them to do. Mr Clarke will be free to continue advising Centaurus, one of the largest hedge funds in Europe. Lord Mandelson can carry on running the Labour Party, But the last thing either will want to admit is that all the powers they claim or seek to exercise have been handed over to Brussels.

The Government last week announced that in March it is to sell off 25 million "carbon credits". These European Union Allowances permit industry and electricity companies to continue emitting CO2, ultimately paid for by all of us through our electricity bills. Last summer, when these permits were trading at 31 euros each, this sale might have raised more than œ500 million pounds, Today, however, thanks to the economic meltdown creating a surplus of credits no longer needed, their value is dropping so fast that Mr Darling will be lucky to get œ100 million. That should help reduce our electricity bills - even though Mr Darling will merely have to extract the cash from us in other ways.


Putting an End to Global Warming Alarmism

Global warming is the most important environmental issue of our time. If those who are sounding the alarm about a possible climate catastrophe are right, then governments must raise energy costs directly, with taxes, or indirectly, with mandates and subsidies, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year in wealth or economic activity will be sucked up and redistributed by governments.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions even modestly is estimated to cost the average household in the U.S. approximately $3,372 per year and would destroy 2.4 million jobs. Electricity prices would double, and manufacturers would move their factories to places such as China and India that have cheaper energy and fewer environmental regulations.

If global warming is indeed a crisis, billions of dollars taken from taxpayers will flow into the coffers of radical environmental groups, giving them the resources and stature to implement other parts of their anti-technology, anti-business agenda. None of that money will go to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This explains the paradox that even though the scientific community is deeply divided over the causes and consequences of global warming, every single environmental advocacy group in the U.S. (and probably the world) believes it is a crisis.

But global warming is not, in fact, a crisis. Here's how we know this:

Since 2007, more than 31,072 American scientists, including 9,021 with Ph.D.s, have signed a petition that says, in part, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

A 2003 international survey of climate scientists (with 530 responding) found only 9.4 percent "strongly agreed" and 25.3 percent "agreed" with the statement "climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes." Some 10.2 percent "strongly disagreed."

A 2006 survey of scientists in the U.S. found 41 percent disagreed that the planet's recent warmth "can be, in large part, attributed to human activity," and 71 percent disagreed that recent hurricane activity is significantly attributable to human activity.

A recent review of 1,117 abstracts of scientific journal articles on "global climate change" found only 13 (1 percent) explicitly endorse the "consensus view" while 34 reject or cast doubt on the view that human activity has been the main driver of warming over the past 50 years.

The mainstream of the scientific community, in other words, does not believe global warming is a crisis.

The mainstream media has spared no expense in hyping the view that global warming is a crisis. Television stations broadcast endless documentaries alleging that global warming is causing everything from the disappearance of butterflies, frogs, and polar bears to the collapse of a bridge in Minnesota. Newspapers run "news" stories that are barely re-written news releases from Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and other environmental advocacy groups.

Despite this media barrage, most people haven't been fooled into believing global warming is a crisis. Fewer than half (47 percent) of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center in 2008 said they believe humans are causing global warming, and a declining number even believe the Earth is experiencing a warming trend.

Another poll conducted in 2008 of 12,000 people in 11 countries, commissioned by the financial institution HSBC and environmental advocacy groups, found fewer than half of those surveyed said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 percent last year; only 37 percent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the effort, an eight-point drop; and only one in five respondents--or 20 percent--said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 percent a year ago.

Except for radical environmentalists--who always have been a small minority of the general public and even a minority within the environmental movement--most people don't " believe" in global warming. They believe--and rightly so--that the science is still undecided and government action is unnecessary.

Unfortunately, politicians respond to the loudest and best-funded interest groups, not to the voices of scientists or the average Joe. So they are in a tizzy about "doing something" to "stop global warming." President-elect Barack Obama, for example, recently proclaimed: "Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season. Climate change and our dependence on foreign oil, if left unaddressed, will continue to weaken our economy and threaten our national security."

There is not a single statement in this brief passage that is true. Lord Christopher Monckton, a British climate skeptic, wrote recently that "on all measures, there has been no increase in global mean surface temperatures since 1995; and, according to the University of Alabama at Huntsville, near-surface temperatures in 2008 will be lower than in 1980, 28 years ago, the first complete year of satellite observations. On all measures, global temperatures have been falling for seven full years since late 2001."

Monckton goes on, in a paper published by the American Thinker on November 26, to dispute, point by point, each of Obama's claims about sea levels, coastlines, drought, famine, and storms. None of Monckton's points is original: The rebuttals have appeared many times in the scientific literature and even occasionally in the mainstream media. One of the most persuasive compilations of this literature is S. Fred Singer's Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate, which The Heartland Institute published earlier this year.

Politicians should realize the public doesn't want global warming legislation. Last June, when the 500-page Climate Security Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate, even Democrats fled from the massive costs and bureaucracy it would have entailed. As environmentalists Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger reported at the time, "Democratic leaders finally killed the debate to avert an embarrassing defeat, but by then they had handed Republicans a powerful political club. Republicans have been bludgeoning Democrats with it ever since."

If global warming is not a crisis, what should policymakers do about it? The answer, obviously, is "nothing." This is not a problem that needs to be solved. The case should be marked "closed" and policymakers should move on to other, more important, issues.

Should we reduce emissions "just in case"? Danish environmental expert Bj”rn Lomborg, among many others, demolishes this argument. He points out that "even if every industrialised country, including the United States, had accepted the [Kyoto] Protocol, and everyone had lived up to its requirements for the entire century, it would have had virtually no impact, even a hundred years from now. It would reduce the global temperature increase by an immeasurable 0.15§C by the year 2100." That empty gesture would have cost taxpayers and consumers trillions of dollars.

It is not politically correct simply to dismiss global warming as a "scam." Those who care more about being popular than right--including, alas, the just-quoted Bj”rn Lomborg--therefore call for "dramatically increasing the funding into energy research and development" so that new low-carbon technology will become available faster. How silly this is.

Private industry spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year on research and development on energy efficiency and alternatives to conventional fossil fuels. Governments spend tens of billions of taxpayers' dollars subsidizing solar, wind, and "clean coal" research and commercialization. Foundations offer prizes worth tens of millions of dollars to inventors and entrepreneurs who can reduce our "carbon footprint."

Will more spending by governments make any difference? What is the government's record of encouraging innovation and market successes? How much would be enough? For how many more years? Advocates of more spending on energy research and development technology have no answers to these questions, or at least no answers that support their case. It's all waste at best and fraud at worst. Their appeals should be rejected, firmly and completely. It's time to put an end to global warming alarmism.


Global Cooling Under-reported, Says SPPI

The Earth has shown an under-reported cooling trend for eight straight years, raising serious questions about the accuracy of the UN's climate projections, since not one of the computer models on which it relies had predicted so long and steep a cooling, says a new review paper -- Temperature Change and CO2 Change - A Scientific Briefing --from the Science and Public Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank.

The paper posits that "The chief reason for scepticism at the official position on "global warming" is the overwhelming weight of evidence that the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, prodigiously exaggerates both the supposed causes and the imagined consequences of anthropogenic "global warming"; that too many of the exaggerations can be demonstrated to have been deliberate; and that the IPCC and other official sources have continued to rely even upon those exaggerations that have been definitively demonstrated in the literature to have been deliberate.

"In short," writes Monckton, "science is being artfully manipulated to the point of what are in essence political and not scientific conclusions - a conclusion that is congenial to powerful factions whose ambition is not to identify scientific truth but rather to advance the special vested interests with which they identify themselves.

The paper demonstrates that if CO2 concentration continues to rise more slowly than the IPCC had predicted, and if climate sensitivity to CO2 concentration is in any event well below the IPCC's projected range, the likelihood of any "global warming" >2 øC/century to 2100 is vanishingly small.

Monckton also demonstrates that official sources have:

relied upon questionable and occasionally downright dishonest methods to inflate the observed rate of temperature increase

created the false impression that the rate of increase is itself rising when an identical argument can be used to demonstrate that it is falling

diminished earlier and warmer temperatures in this century

abolished the mediaeval warm period

diverted attention away from the fact that throughout almost all of the Holocene, and throughout all four previous interglacial periods, surface temperatures were considerably warmer than they are today.

Says SPPI president, Robert Ferguson, "When the climate science is wrong, the policies are wrong, and then both people and the environment are harmed. It is past time that the media and elected officials stop treating "man-made global warming" as a religion and started asking some serious and pointed questions. This paper lays the ground work for that."


The Plain Truth about Glorious Carbon Dioxide

Okay, children, let’s all sit up straight at our desks. We are going to begin 2009 with a lesson about carbon dioxide (CO2). Why do we need to know about CO2? Because the President-elect, several of his choices for environmental and energy agencies, the Supreme Court and much of the U.S. Congress has no idea what they are talking about and, worse, want to pass legislation and regulations that will further bankrupt the United States of America. Do I have your attention now?

For the purpose of the lesson, I will be borrowing heavily from a paper on CO2 written by Robert A. Ashworth. It requires some understanding of science, but anyone with a reasonable education and common sense should be able to read it on their own. Ashworth is a chemical engineer.

Suffice it to say that if any of the nitwits babbling about CO2 and global warming ever went to any of the several dozen excellent websites that provide accurate scientific data and analysis, they would cease from their abusive manipulation of the public and perhaps find honest work.

To begin at the beginning; at the heart of the global warming hoax is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. While it purports to represent the views of thousands of scientists, it does not. As Ashworth notes, “Most scientists do not agree with the CO2 global warming premise. In the United States 31,072 scientists, including the author, have signed a petition rejecting the Kyoto global warming agreement.” An additional 1,000 scientists are being verified to be added to the list. Thousands more exist who find the assertion the CO2 will destroy the Earth totally absurd.

Here’s what you need to know; if an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) is directly related, i.e. causes changes in the Earth’s temperature, there would be a direct correlation between the two. As CO2 rose, we would see a comparable rise in the Earth’s temperature. This correlation does not exist.

Global warming liars, however, insist that CO2 builds up on the atmosphere over a 50 to 250 year period, but this is untrue. “Every year around April, increased CO2 absorption by plants in the Northern Hemisphere starts reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere,” notes Ashworth, “and the reduction continues until around mid-to-late August when plants start to go dormant.”

“It is clear that nature reacts very fast in its consumption of carbon dioxide.” Farmers call this the growing season, followed by the harvest season, followed by snow and cold during which nothing grows. Modern civilization, beginning about 5,000 years ago, is predicated on the ability to provide food to both humans and livestock, all based on these obvious seasonal cycles.

The ancient Egyptians and Mayans understood the seasons, but they are apparently too difficult a concept for today’s many ex-politicians, some PhD’s, United Nation’s flunkies, and high school teachers.

Warming and cooling cycles are well known throughout human history, reaching back to the days of ancient Rome. There were Viking settlements in Greenland because they arrived in warmer times. By 1410 the place froze up. Shakespeare lived during a Little Ice Age when the Thames would freeze too. The man-made emissions of CO2 had nothing, zero, to do with these climate events.

The IPCC, however, with its agenda to tax and control energy use that produces CO2, is not based on either the obvious or more complex science involved. Its “data” is the invention of computer models that are deliberately manipulated to produce false results which, in turn, can be announced and repeated worldwide.

In March 2008, The Heartland Institute brought together more than 500 climatologists, meteorologists, economists, and others for two days of seminars and addresses that totally destroyed the IPCC’s lies. It will do so again for a second time, March 8-10 of this year in New York City. Suffice it to say that the mainstream media did it best to ridicule or ignore the event and will no doubt do so again.

Here, then, is a fundamental fact about CO2 you need to commit to memory. “Nature absorbs 98.5% of the CO2 that is emitted by nature and man.” Nature is a totally self-regulating mechanism that dwarfs any mindless effort to “control” the amount of CO2 produced by coal-fired utilities, steel manufacturers, autos and trucks, and gasoline fueled lawn mowers, not to forget fireplaces where logs glow or just about any human activity you can name, including exhaling two pounds of the stuff every day!

“Further,” says Ashworth, “no regulation by man is necessary because CO2 is not a pollutant; it is part of the animal-plant life cycle. Without it, life would not exist on Earth. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere increases plant growth, which is a very good thing during a period of world population growth and an increasing demand for food.”

“Taxing carbon,” Ashworth adds, “would do absolutely nothing to improve the climate but would be devastating hardship to the people of the world.” For example, U.S. Representative John Dingell’s plan to tax carbon would add 13% to the cost of electricity and 32% to the cost of gasoline; just what we need during a Recession that threatens to become a Depression.

Dr. Tim Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, recently asked, “How many failed predictions, discredited assumptions and evidence of incorrect data are required before an idea loses credibility? CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. It is not a toxic substance or a pollutant.”

It is time to rebuke everyone attempting to foist the global warming hoax and carbon taxes on the United States and the rest of the world. It is time let Congress and the White House know that Americans will not be ruled by laws that have no scientific merit.


A voice of sanity in California

By Dan Logue, 3rd District assemblyman.

As a new member of the California State Assembly, I have introduced my first bill to suspend AB32 - the so-called California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. In 2006, on a party-line vote, legislative Democrats passed AB32 over the objections of Republicans. Authored by then-Assembly Speaker Fabien N£¤ez, ostensibly to combat the effects of global warming, AB32 forces businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Appealing to the politically correct crowd of 2006, AB32 was hailed far and wide by left-leaning political elites. They could not have envisioned our economic downturn or the devastating effects of AB32 on California's economy and it's environment - or could they?

There have been economic slumps in past decades and subsequent recoveries. But there are major differences between then and now. The military build-up of the Regan administration and California's extensive military and defense industry infrastructure fueled the economic rebound of the 1980s. In the 1990s, the housing boom spurred economic growth even in the face of the Gray Davis deficit and the Legislature's out-of-control spending. The difference today is that California no longer enjoys a robust military and defense industry economy and California's housing industry is in shambles.

It gets worse. Compounded by California's hostile regulatory environment, businesses are now expected to try to compete in a global economy. Sacramento liberals may say, "let them eat cake" but the global economy, by definition, means global competition - for states too.

California's implementation of AB32 has crippled our ability to compete in the global economy. Our prosperity is not just impacted by neighboring states, but by other nations. Competitors like India and China cheer our environmental regulations. Meanwhile, China is experiencing an industrial revolution the world has never seen. They are creating wealth and prosperity while we move money around. China and India are also building 600 coal-fire power plants over the next few years, which, when in operation, will negate any gains achieved by AB32 in a matter of days.

In response to this, the left claims, "We will create green jobs, like solar panels." Unfortunately, we are now importing solar panels from China and those panels are being produced by plants powered by coal-fired plants (carbon emissions) and shipped to America.

Because of our high land costs, environmental fees, impact fees, and over-regulation of business, we will end up buying the green technology and products from Nevada, Texas, Mexico and China. The growing chorus in business is A.B.C. . Anywhere But California.

In the last year alone, California lost 95,000 private sector jobs and our manufacturing base has been devastated. An independent economist stated AB32 is a threat to our remaining 1.5 million manufacturing jobs.

AB32 will hurt our environment. AB32 is a job killer - businesses can't comply and remain competitive, so they are leaving. This has resulted in less tax revenue for environmental mitigation, bringing a halt to many programs that keep our public safe from toxic waste and limit our ability to provide safe, clean, water. As of now, there are thousands of toxic sites in California and no money to mitigate.

Given the current state of our economy, AB32 must be suspended before it suspends our funding for schools, law enforcement, parks, water storage, and any hope of economic recovery. At its most basic analysis --- no private sector jobs, no economy, no tax revenues for the state for anything. We will be broke. But we will be politically correct and Hollywood will love us!



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


24 January, 2009

British government trying to water down European emissions law

The UK government is lobbying to water down proposed EU legislation to impose tough new emission limits on power plants in order to guarantee Britain's energy security and keep down electricity prices. Whitehall is warning, according a briefing document leaked to green campaigners and seen by the Guardian, that electricity prices would increase by 20% if the proposed legislation isn't changed. It is also concerned that the new rules would threaten the security of the UK's electricity supply.

The proposed European directive would pose a serious threat to the construction of the Kingsnorth power station in Kent - the UK's first new coal plant for three decades. Campaigners accuse ministers of "planning for failure" by seeking to expand coal generation capacity and keep "dirty" coal stations open when they should instead focus on hitting renewable energy and efficiency targets. Coming just days after the decision to expand Heathrow by adding a third runway, they see it as the latest example of the government not living up to its rhetoric on climate change (see panel).

Tomorrow the environment committee of the European Parliament will vote on more than 500 amendments tabled to the proposed new legislation - the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) directive.

The proposed IPPC directive incorporates changes to current legislation such as the large combustion plant legislation (LCPD) and lays out tighter limits, for example on sulphur dioxide emissions. The 4-page leaked Whitehall paper is a briefing note prepared for MEPs. It says that the LCPD directive "raises potentially serious issues about security of electricity supply" and could even damage "moves to low-carbon electricity generation".

Current EU laws allow power stations that are not fitted with equipment to remove sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide to operate for a limited period each day, but only until 2015. This affects around a seventh (10.5GW) of Britain's electricity generation capacity. Whitehall says that up to a further 8GW of generating capacity may close if the proposed tougher rules in the IPPC directive are applied - meaning that in 2015 around a quarter of capacity would shut at the same time. According to the document this would reduce the margin for error at times of high power demand. "With projected new investments, electricity capacity margins (spare capacity to meet exceptionally cold winters or temporary plant shutdowns) are projected to fall from around 10% to around 7% from the beginning of 2016 and remain depressed for some three years after," the paper says.

It adds: "That period of reduced security margin will be reflected in electricity price increases of some 20% above those which are predicted in the absence of the proposed [Large Combustion Plant] provisions." The paper sounds a drastic warning that it may prove impossible to build and operate replacement plant by the end of 2015, saying this would "exacerbate the risks and shortfalls" outlined.

"Moreover, since investment decisions and design need to be completed within the next two years to meet a 2016 deadline, such plant is therefore almost certain to be built using currently commercialised technologies which, of course, do not currently include carbon capture and storage (CCS)," says the document, which is entitled "UK Concerns on the Proposed Recast Industrial Emissions (IPPC) Directives Provisions Concerning Large Combustion Plants.

The government is calling for greater flexibility to be introduced into the proposed IPPC directive, which covers some 500 power plants across Europe, so that UK electricity and gas supplies are not threatened. It has won some backing from other EU countries which would like the new law to take effect from 2020.



Economy Minister Michael Glos continuous to have serious misgivings about the EU decisions on emissions trading to combat climate change from 2013. On Thursday, the CSU-politician joined the call by his scientific advisory board to radically transform the emissions trading system. In its report, the scientific advisory board urged to repeal strict limits for CO2 emissions.

Instead, emissions allowances should be allocated on a flexible basis and a corridor for price controls introduced. Glos said: "I welcome the proposal to set prices for the period from 2013 through the flexible issuing of certificates in a stabel price range." The background for the concerns is that the rules adopted by the EU in December for emissions trading could result in sharp price swings of emissions permits.

Glos said the fear of price uncertainty could discourage investments. "In addition, the current scheme would cost us valuable jobs if they move abroad as a result." Glos regretted that the recommendations of the scientific advisory board had not been taken into consideration by the EU.

SOURCE. [transl. BJP]


Funding freeze halts environmental projects across California

Commissions and nonprofits charged with conserving parks, wildlife, water and mountain areas of the state are at risk of laying off staff or closing since the state stopped funding last month. The money freeze has immobilized construction of new biking trails along the Santa Ana River in San Bernardino and Orange counties. It has stopped plans to tear down the Matilija Dam in Ventura County and restore the sediment-filled Matilija reservoir. It has impeded efforts to boost the populations of salmon and steelhead trout off the coast of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The halting of such projects is one of the most concrete results of California's cash crunch. Last month the state's top financial officials froze all state projects that rely on borrowed money. The funds for the environmental projects come mostly from four bond measures approved by voters since 2000. In all, more than 750 environmental projects in Los Angeles County and the four surrounding counties have had their funding, totaling $420 million, stopped, according to an analysis of state records.

More here

Greenies satirize themselves

Read the screed below and then read about the photo

Most of the green energy talk these days is about how renewable energy will help reduce global climate disruption by lowering the output of greenhouse gases. But there are other costs associated with ungreen energy, too, including environmental contamination inflicted by the extraction of fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. Those costs are borne unequally by the haves and have-nots of this planet, but geographic separation often allows us to ignore this inconvenient truth. That is, unless someone makes us look.

Photographers Lou Dematteis and Kayana Szymczak visited Ecuador between 2003 and 2007 to document the aftermath of oil drilling by Texaco (now a division of Chevron). They've just published their photos in "Crude Reflections: Oil, Ruin and Resistance in the Amazon Rainforest", a collection of disturbingly beautiful photographs from City Lights Books.


The photo is captioned: "The photographers and members of the Achuar tribe travel by canoe on the Pastaza River to the village of Sharamentza". And just look at how that canoe is ploughing through the river. It must have a huge gas-guzzling outboard driving it. A prime example of the "ungreen energy" that they are condemning. Condemn oil drilling and then use a huge gob of its product? "Yes, we can"!

Greenie people-haters at it again -- Australia "Full up"

Very strange ideas in a mostly empty country. Most people who live in Manhattan wouldn't live anywhere else but it has at least 100 times the population-density of Australia

Prominent Australians have thrown their support behind a controversial new book which argues that population growth is the biggest threat to environmental sustainability in this country. In a provocative attack on water conservation schemes, such as Melbourne's Target 155, the book Overloading Australia urges Australians to ignore water conservation, forcing politicians to rethink population and immigration policy.

Focusing on perhaps the most taboo aspect of environmental debate, authors Mark O'Connor and William Lines have argued that pro-immigration and "baby bonus" policies are at odds with plans to reduce carbon emissions and secure water supplies. "The task of simultaneously increasing population and achieving sustainability is impossible," the book argues. Predicting Australian cities will suffer more congestion, pollution, loss of biodiversity and diminished services, the authors argue there is no point conserving water "until we get restraint in population".

O'Connor said his background was largely in poetry, yet despite his lack of conventional expertise in demography and population studies, his book has struck a chord with prominent Australians and increasingly echoes the views of leading environmentalists. Former New South Wales premier Bob Carr has agreed to launch the book next week, and has lauded O'Connor's previous books about the perils of unchecked population growth. The Australian Conservation Foundation has also called for a "substantial reduction" in the nation's skilled migration program in this year's budget. In its budget submission, the foundation said Australia's population needed to be stabilised at "an ecologically sustainable level". "Population increase makes it harder for Australia to reduce carbon pollution levels and is placing immense stress on state and regional planning, infrastructure and ecological systems."

The comments will resonate with the Brumby Government [of Vivtoria], which has presided over an increase in total emissions in recent years, despite improvements in emissions on a per capita basis. Monash University population expert Dr Bob Birrell, who has read Overloading Australia, said despite the global nature of the emissions problem, national borders still mattered because people tended to adopt the typical emissions profile of the nation they lived in. "When you add an extra million in a society like ours you are imposing a very considerable additional burden, there is no way of escaping it, and that's the key to understanding why the population issue is so serious in Australia; we live very high on the hog," he said.

Australia will welcome a maximum of 203,500 new migrants this financial year, with skilled migration accounting for 133,500 of those places, and refugees just 13,500. A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the Rudd Government had started developing a longer-term migration plan that would consider "net overseas migration rates and the impact of demographic changes".

Victoria has swelled by about 1500 people a week in recent years, a rate that Premier John Brumby has described as "about as fast as we want to go".



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


23 January, 2009

Frogs can't win either

Alleged warm weather threat to Nordic frogs

"Global warming leads to the water in which frogs live heating up, evaporating and becoming shallower, so ultraviolet rays find it easier to penetrate their habitats and cause mutations".

UK: Cold weather wipes out a whole generation of frogs

"The cold snap has been bad news for the common frog tadpoles, wiping out a whole generation of frogs as their shallow breeding pools have been turned to thick ice with heavy frosts on three consecutive nights".

More here (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Oceans are cooling according to NASA

Previous Warming of the oceans stopped and reversed in 2003

Two separate studies through NASA confirm that since 2003, the world's oceans have been losing heat. In the peak of the recent warming trend, 1998 actually ranked 2nd to 1934 as the warmest year on record. John Willis, an oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, published his first report about the warming oceans. He used data from1993-2003 that showed the warm-up and followed the Global Warming Theory.

In 2006, he co-piloted a follow-up study led by John Lyman at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle that updated the time series for 2003-2005. Surprisingly, the ocean seemed to have cooled. He was surprised, and called it a 'speed bump' on the way to global warming.

A second, independent study was conducted. Takmeng Wong and his colleagues at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia came up with the same results. Wong studies net flux of solar energy at the top of our atmosphere. From the 1980s to 1990s his team noticed increased amounts net energy when comparing incoming solar energy to what Earth radiates and reflects. Since then, the solar flux has remained the same. Other studies have suggested that the sun's output has decreased in the past few years. Wong's take is that melting arctic ice is responsible for the cooling of the oceans.

I contend that if that were the case, why did it take until 2003 to show cooling, after a few decades of warming? Also, the UKMET office showed that Earth's temperatures have been cooling for the past five years. Since 75% of the planet is water, that would make sense.

Just last week, I wrote about the arctic sea ice returning to 1979 levels just 1 1/2 years after the fear of the biggest summer ice retreat in 2007.

But what about the basics? Ocean temperatures do experience a 'lag' or delay in heating and cooling. That is why Ocean City's surf temperatures are chilly during Memorial Day weekend, but warm significantly by Labor Day weekend. The average Northern Hemisphere's peak heat (air temp) is in mid-July, while the Atlantic Ocean's peak heat (water) is in mid-September. The ocean temperature peaks in mid-September coincide with heightened hurricane activity.

So, could these reports indicate that melting cools the oceans and has a negative feedback on warming? Is this just a speed bump in the general trend of warming? Does this 'surprise' almost sound like they are disappointed that the warming trend has not continued so far? Or is this just part of a natural cycle, such as the seasons, but on a larger scale?

With regard to cycles, we have only been sampling and studying a small part of Earth's history and have perhaps jumped to conclusions about the impact of carbon dioxide (there are more potent gases such as methane that don't make headlines). What do you think? What about the 'surprise' of the scientists?


There were Greenies in the 19th century too

And they were just as elitist

Environmentalism is the social movement of the "landed interest" - an interest parallel to that of neither business nor labour. "Environmentalism" is readily identifiable in early 19th century Britain. This essay draws from the best-known writings of the era's three most influential intellectuals for a portrait of an anti-democratic, anti-liberal social movement based in the aristocracy but claiming to represent the masses; a movement permeated with the ideas of over-population theorist T. Malthus; a movement benefitting from restricting land supply and suffering from advancing agricultural technology; that fought a cultural civil war using literary Romanticism and monkish asceticism; that was militantly protectionist regarding agriculture; that constrained industrial progress and spread fear of catastrophe.

More here


Two articles below

The latest Greenie nuttiness

Cheaper to fly than hire a bike. You have to understand that this is a religious thing. Logic is irrelevant

It's cheaper to hire a car, fly to Sydney or take a limousine to the Gold Coast than ride a bike all day as part of Brisbane's new cycle hire scheme. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman came good on an election promise by awarding the contract to JCDecaux to provide 2000 bikes at 150 stations across the inner-city. However, despite claims it would be free, that only applies for the first half-hour and users will still be charged $20 to buy a helmet and up to $300 deposit. For an hour's hire it will be $2, for 11/2 hours $5.50 and up to $150 for more than 10 hours. Which means a person wanting to hire a bike for an entire day on a casual basis, once adding in the helmet fee and subscription fee ($10), will pay $180.

At yesterday's launch, Cr Newman denied he had misled voters. "What I said is we were endeavouring to introduce a scheme like in Paris," he said. "I said we would try and get as close as possible to that and I'll just maintain, I was there at the announcement, I know what I said and that's exactly what we delivered." It's the first scheme of its kind in Australia with stations to be located between St Lucia and Newstead.

The council signed a 20-year contract with JCDecaux and ratepayers will pay about $1.5 million over the next three years, but Cr Newman was unsure what the contribution would be each year after that. "Over a 20-year life, it could potentially generate $9 million of revenue for council. [If anybody uses it!] So ultimately it won't cost the ratepayers of Brisbane," he said. Cr Newman said he was confident the scheme would be successful and promised to use it himself and encourage his staff to do the same. "Let's just see how it goes over the coming months ... ultimately it's going to be very popular," he said.

JCDecaux, which has 16 cycle schemes across Europe, said bikes would be on Brisbane streets by the end of the year. "It's a new system, using new technology, of course there's going to be glitches, but I think it's an overwhelming success," CEO Steve O'Connor said.

Bicycle Queensland manager Ben Wilson said the bike hire scheme was for short-term not all-day use. "And for that, it's very reasonably priced," he said. Opposition Leader Shayne Sutton said Labor supported the scheme if it was implemented properly. "The Lord Mayor needs to ensure there are safe, designated bikeways for cyclists to use," she said.


The Contradictions of the Garnaut Report into climate change

The present world financial crisis has seen the great economist John Maynard Keynes making a comeback, with even a fiscal conservative like Kevin Rudd espousing Keynesian deficit finance. Keynes is also remembered for his remark that "madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back". That is an apt description of the climate change mantras that led to the appointment of the Garnaut Review, and the Review's Final Report itself exhibits frenzy distilled from not a few scribblers of the past, including Malthus, Jevons and Arrhenius of the nineteenth century, Paul Ehrlich, the Club of Rome and the IPCC's John Houghton of the last century, not forgetting James Hansen (of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies) and his acolyte Al Gore.

Ehrlich and the Club of Rome confidently predicted exhaustion of all mineral resources by 2000 if not before, and the Garnaut Report merely extends the final date to 2100. Malthus earned fame with his theory that while population grows "geometrically", for example by doubling every twenty-five years (we would say exponentially) food production grows only "arithmetically", that is, by the same absolute amount in every time period.

Arrhenius took over this formulation in his celebrated paper of 1896 that remains the cornerstone of the anthropogenic global warming (or climate change) movement, by asserting that while atmospheric carbon dioxide "increases in geometric progression, augmentation of the temperature will increase in nearly arithmetic progression". Arrhenius won a real Nobel for proceeding to calculate that if carbon dioxide increased by 50 per cent from the level in 1896, global average temperature would increase by between 2.9 and 3.7 degrees, depending on season, latitude and hemisphere, with a global annual mean of 3.42 degrees. The level of carbon dioxide has nearly increased by 50 per cent since 1896-faster it is true than Arrhenius expected-but global temperature according to the Goddard Institute has increased by just 0.73 degrees.

Malthus has long since been proved wrong about food production, which has grown exponentially even faster than population, so that the recurring starvation and population wipe-outs that Malthus feared have yet to materialise. Evidently Arrhenius has been nearly as mistaken, but in a different direction, with global temperature growing almost imperceptibly relative to the near 50 per cent growth in carbon dioxide. Yet the Garnaut Review endorses the claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its latest Report (2007) that if carbon dioxide doubles from the level in 1896 (270 to 280 parts per million, ppm) to 560 ppm, global temperature will rise by between 1.5 and 4 degrees, with a central estimate of 3 degrees, the latter being four times the observed increase of 0.73 degrees for the near 50 per cent rise in carbon dioxide since 1896. Yet Arrhenius had calculated that doubling carbon dioxide from the 1896 level would raise annual global mean temperature by 5.5 degrees, just 1.6 times more than his estimate for an increase of carbon dioxide by 50 per cent. Thus the Review and the IPCC predict an acceleration of temperature increase with respect to increasing carbon dioxide, despite also asserting that the relationship is logarithmic rather than exponential, or, as the Review puts it, using terminology close to that of Arrhenius, "CO2 added later will cause proportionately less warming than CO2 added now".

This is an extraordinary contradiction given that the Garnaut Review as a whole is dedicated to the proposition that global warming will accelerate unless carbon dioxide emissions are subjected to draconian reductions, by as much as 80 per cent of the 2000 level in Australia. But as we shall see, the Report has other equally bizarre contradictions that exemplify Keynes's comment about "madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air".

The Labor governments of Australia's states and territories commissioned the Garnaut Climate Change Review in April 2007. The newly elected federal Labor government took over the Review in November 2007. Its terms of reference required the Review to assess "The likely effect of human-induced climate change on Australia's economy, environment, and water resources", and to "recommend medium to long-term policy options for Australia ... which, taking the costs and benefits of domestic and international policies on climate change into account, will produce the best possible outcomes for Australia". Given this provenance, the Review's Final Report (2008) is above all a political document.

The Report runs to 634 pages and twenty-four chapters, rambling over a wide range of topics, from the science of climate change to the economics of mitigation to prevent change. Clearly it is not possible here to do justice to the whole Report. Instead the focus will be on its unsound economics whereby benefits of avoiding future climate change are exaggerated and costs of avoidance minimised. The centrepiece of the Report's mitigation proposals is its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), yet this receives only a cursory treatment that fails to grasp its likely disruption of the Australian economy.

The Report makes many dire projections for the future, including the claim that without drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, chiefly carbon dioxide, there will by 2100 be major declines in gross domestic product (GDP) across the globe, and that in Australia its iconic tourist attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu National Park will be destroyed by ocean acidification and rising sea levels, while endemic droughts will eviscerate the Murray-Darling Basin. For Australia the Draft Report projected "the median temperature and rainfall outcomes for Australia from climate change with unmitigated growth in global emissions [that] may see GDP fall from the reference case by around 4.8 per cent, household consumption by 5.4 per cent and real wages by 7.8 per cent by 2100".

The Report offers no evidence for such effects having already become apparent despite the warming temperatures experienced globally and in Australia since 1976. On the contrary, that whole period has seen the fastest economic growth ever recorded across almost the whole globe, and Australia is no exception. The last decade of the twentieth century was the hottest on record, but it also delivered Australia's longest known sequence of per capita GDP growth above 2.5 per cent annually.

More here

New Antarctic `Warming' study is a guesstimate that defies the known facts

The whole thing is based on "estimates" and "reconstructions" of Antarctic temperatures, not on actual measurements! How surprising that the authors come up with "estimates" that confirm their well-known beliefs! Excerpts from one commentary below. See the original for links. First however, see below an amusing graph taken from the home page of one of the authors of the new "study". It is a graph of actual warming and shows -- wait for it -- that Antarctica COOLED. These crooks cannot even keep their own story straight! I'm saving a copy of the graph in case they delete it

A new study on Antarctic temperatures - which is contrary to the findings of multiple previous studies - claims "that since 1957, the annual temperature for the entire continent of Antarctica has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, but still is 50 degrees below zero."

Despite the fact that the study was immediately viewed with major skepticism by scientists who are not skeptical of anthropogenic global warming claims, many in the media pounced on the study as a chance to attack those skeptical of man-made climate doom. According to the release of the study, "The researchers devised a statistical technique that uses data from satellites and from Antarctic weather stations to make a new estimate of temperature trends. [.] The scientists found temperature measurements from weather stations corresponded closely with satellite data for overlapping time periods. That allowed them to use the satellite data as a guide to deduce temperatures in areas of the continent without weather stations." (emphasis added)

Few media outlets noted that in 2007 Antarctic "sea ice coverage has grown to record levels since satellite monitoring began in the 1979, according to peer-reviewed studies and scientists who study the area."

The new Antarctic study was published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature and the lead author of the study was Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and Space Sciences. Other co-authors include: David Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, a former student of Steig's; Scott Rutherford of Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI; and Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University.

UN IPCC lead author, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, who is not in any way a climate change skeptic, said of the study, "I remain somewhat skeptical. It is hard to make data where none exist." Echoing Trenberth's analysis were several other scientists.

Climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville questioned the study. "One must be very cautious with such results because they have no real way to be validated," Christy told the AP. "In other words, we will never know what the temperature was over the very large missing areas that this technique attempts to fill in so that it can be tested back through time," Christy added.

Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder said the authors of the Antarctic study "overstated" their results. "In terms of the significance of their paper, it overstates what they have obtained from their analysis," Pielke told the AP. "In the abstract they write, for example, `West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1C per decade over the past 50 years.' However, even a cursory view of Figure 2 shows that since the late 1990s, the region has been cooling in their analysis in this region. The paper would be more balanced if they presented this result, even if they cannot explain why," Pielke wrote. Pielke also questioned how the authors "reconcile the conclusions in their paper with the cooler than average long term sea surface temperature anomalies off of the coast of Antarctica." Pielke added, "These cool anomalies have been there for at least several years. This cool region is also undoubtedly related to the above average Antarctic sea ice areal coverage that has been monitored over recent years."

A critical analysis of the paper from December 21, 2008, accused the authors of the Antarctic study of making questionable data "adjustments." (See: Scientist adjusts data -- presto, Antarctic cooling disappears - December 21, 2008) The analysis concluded, "Looks like [study author] Steig 'got rid of' Antarctic cooling the same way [Michael] Mann got rid of medieval warming. Why not just look at the station data instead of 'adjusting' it (graph above)? It shows a 50-year cooling trend," the analysis concluded.

The BBC's Richard Black filed a report on the new study that included this claim: "'It's hard to think of any situation where increased greenhouse gases would not lead to warming in Antarctica,' said Drew Shindell from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York." Sadly, Black of the BBC does not report that the promoters of man-made global warming fears had already concocted explanations for the failure of Antarctica to warm as models predicted.

The warming partisans at have claimed that a cooling Antarctica is just what the models predict! "A cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict," stated a February 12, 2008, post on Real Climate titled "Antarctica is Cold? Yeah, We Knew That." The website claimed "Despite the recent announcement that the discharge from some Antarctic glaciers is accelerating, we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn't this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict. and have predicted for the past quarter century."

So which is it? Models predict Antarctic cooling or do they predict warming? If Antarctica is now allegedly warming, why didn't the models predict that? The spin [more like a cartwheel] by Michael Mann of and the media on this study is stunning.

Real Climate's logic was mocked by Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., professor in the environmental studies program at the University of Colorado. "So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both `consistent with' model projections of global warming. Our foray into the tortured logic of 'consistent with' in climate science raises the perennial question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?" Pielke Jr. wrote on January 21.

Some more reactions to the New Study

Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann Touts Study as a Way to Refute Skeptics. Excerpt: "Contrarians have sometime grabbed on to this idea that the entire continent of Antarctica is cooling, so how could we be talking about global warming," said study co-author Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University and Real Climate contributor. "Now we can say: no, it's not true ... It is not bucking the trend." [Note: For a reality check on Michael Mann's failed attempt to resurrect the "Hockey Stick," see this report.]

Meteorologist Anthony Watts who runs also questioned Mann's involvement in the study. "Anytime Michael Mann gets involved in a paper and something is 'deduced' it makes me wary of the veracity of the methodology. Why? Mann can't even correct simple faults like latitude-longitude errors in data used in previous papers he's written," Watts wrote on January 21.

Even Pro-AGW scientists wary of this new study! Kevin Trenberth says `I remain somewhat skeptical. It is hard to make data where none exist.' Excerpt: The researchers used satellite data and mathematical formulas to fill in missing information. That made outside scientists queasy about making large conclusions with such sparse information. "This looks like a pretty good analysis, but I have to say I remain somewhat skeptical," Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an e-mail. "It is hard to make data where none exist." Shindell said it was more comprehensive than past studies and jibed with computer models.

Alabama State Climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville slams new Antarctic study for using "best estimate of the continents temperature" Excerpt: Technique questioned: Researchers in this study developed a new technique that combined data from satellites and automated weather stations in Antarctica to make what they say is the best estimate of the continent's temperature so far. However, there are very few weather stations on Antarctica, and the satellite data have been available for only the past 25 years. This troubles some scientists. "One must be very cautious with such results because they have no real way to be validated," says atmospheric scientist John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, who was not part of the study. "In other words, we will never know what the temperature was over the very large missing areas that this technique attempts to fill in so that it can be tested back through time." Researchers had thought Antarctica was getting cooler in part because of the ozone hole over the South Pole. This break in the protective ozone layer brings cooling weather patterns across parts of Antarctica. Steig agrees that the ozone hole has contributed to cooling in East Antarctica. "However, it seems to have been assumed that the ozone hole was affecting the entire continent, when there wasn't any evidence to support that idea, or even any theory to support it," he adds.

Pielke Sr. Challenges New Antarctic Study - January 21, 2009. By Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Excerpt: 3. How do the authors reconcile the conclusions in their paper with the cooler than average long term sea surface temperature anomalies off of the coast of Antarctica? [see:]. These cool anomalies have been there for at least several years. This cool region is also undoubtedly related to the above average Antarctic sea ice areal coverage that has been monitored over recent years; see]. 4. In Figure 2 of their paper, much of their analyzed warming took place prior to 1980. For East Antarctica, the trend is essentially flat since 1980. The use of a linear fit for the entire period of the record produces a larger trend than has been seen in more recent years. In terms of the significance of their paper, it overstates what they have obtained from their analysis. In the abstract they write, for example, "West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1C per decade over the past 50 years". However, even a cursory view of Figure 2 shows that since the late 1990s, the region has been cooling in their analysis in this region. The paper would be more balanced if they presented this result, even if they cannot explain why.

Scientist adjusts data -- presto, Antarctic cooling disappears - December 21, 2008: Abstract excerpt: "We use statistical climate field reconstruction techniques to determine monthly temperature anomalies for the near-surface of the Antarctic ice sheet since 1957. Two independent data sets are used to provide estimates of the spatial covariance patterns of temperature: automatic weather stations and thermal infrared satellite observations. Quality-controlled data from occupied instrumental weather stations are used to determine the amplitude of changes in those covariance patterns through time. We use a modified principal component analysis technique (Steig et al., in review, Nature) to optimize the combination of spatial and temporal information. Verification statistics obtained from subsets of the data demonstrate the resulting reconstructions represent improvements relative to climatological mean values." Mann's not the only one inventing his own "modified" PCA. Looks like Steig "got rid of" antarctic cooling the same way Mann got rid of medieval warming. Why not just look at the station data instead of "adjusting" it (graph above)? It shows a 50-year cooling trend.

More here (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


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


22 January, 2009

Record Temperature Data At The Weblog "Hall Of Record"

Bruce Hall has an excellent presentation of temperature records in the United States on his weblog "Updating Statewide Monthly Temperature Extremes".

Among his valuable comments, he writes"The U.S. analysis showed that the late 1990s were indeed hot and had a greater than normal expected level of statewide monthly records. What it also showed, however, was that the 1930s had a much higher frequency of those records.

Finally, it showed a sharp tailing off of such extremes beginning with the new century. I have completed the review of the high temperature extremes through 2008 and there were no additional statewide month high temperature records. An analysis of the 2005 - 2008 data for minimum temperature records will be started shortly."

His entire posting is worth reading.


Massive Confusion (Deception? Ignorance?) in the New York Times

Today's New York Times has an editorial in which it claims that:
The plain truth is that the United States is an inefficient user of energy. For each dollar of economic product, the United States spews more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than 75 of 107 countries tracked in the indicators of the International Energy Agency. Those doing better include not only cutting-edge nations like Japan but low-tech countries like Thailand and Mexico.
The first problem with this set of claims is that the New York Times confuses energy efficiency with carbon dioxide intensity of the economy. The second error is that the New York Times uses market exchange rates as the basis for evaluating U.S. carbon dioxide per dollar of GDP against other countries, rather than the more appropriate metric of international GDP comparisons using purchasing power parities. So the New York Times makes a muddle of reality when it suggests that the United States is an "inefficient user of energy" suggesting that 70% of all contries are more efficient than the United States.

This is just wrong. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on energy consumption (BTUs) per unit of GDP (PPP) shows that the United States is more efficient than about 68% of all countries. Similarly, the United States emissions of carbon dioxide per unit of GDP is better than 69% of countries.

To be sure, there are a number of countries that make excellent models for how the United States might become more efficient and reduce the carbon intensity of its economy, including Japan and Germany. However, as models to emulate, Mexico and Thailand, as suggested by the Times, are probably not the best examples.


A REAL Greenie cause: Brisbane's beloved fig trees

Moreton Bay fig trees are native to the area, are amazingly vigorous and grow to massive size -- and huge numbers of Brisbane people love them. They are trees that inspire. The one in the first picture below is actually rather scrawny compared to some. Such is the outcry at any proposal to cut them down that roadworks have in the past been re-routed to avoid any need to cut them down. But they do have their downside -- with their roots very often clogging drains and their huge branches sometimes breaking off during storms. I had a splendid example of a fig tree right in the front of my house until recently and I was devastated that I had to remove it. It was just too close to my sewer line. Getting into sewer lines is a snack for fig tree roots. So you can see the dilemma behind the story below. My view is that it should be permissible to remove particularly dangerous branches.

(Bigger image of the second tree here)

BRISBANE residents worried about potentially dangerous trees remain in limbo as the city council works out how to deal with them. Brisbane City Council said findings of its tree policy review were three months away but ratepayers who contravened present laws could be slugged thousands of dollars.

Brad Waters, of Ascot, said he faced a $5000 fine if he so much as trimmed two giant fig trees owned by the council, which has branches hanging over his property. He said he feared extensive damage to his house if a storm as severe as the one that devastated The Gap in November last year hit his area. "The limbs that represent a hazard to my family and property are many metres off the ground and are up to 12m long," he said. "In the recent storms, two limbs sheared off and slammed to the ground - luckily not from the parts of the trees overhanging my property. "Council can be assured I'll be seeking damages for any damage these trees cause to my property."

Mr Waters said he'd been trying for up to five years to get the council to remove the danger, which was worsening as the trees grew. "Upon making my most recent call to council, I asked for someone to make arrangements to meet me at my property to assess the trees and to see first-hand the reasons for my concern," he said. "Council's response was to send someone out unannounced, who left a brochure in the letterbox indicating that council does not 'fenceline' council trees, that council does not majorly prune trees, and that council is not responsible for the debris caused by council trees."

A spokesman for Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said a review of "Labor's long-time tree policy, under which this tree is protected, has been under way since The Gap storms". "For every request that the Lord Mayor gets to remove a tree he gets a request to save a tree," he said. "It has always been a difficult and contentious issue that has to be taken on a case by case basis. "Council takes seriously all situations that could cause a threat to a property, but we do err on the side of protecting the greenery of the city."

Opposition Leader Shayne Sutton said the removal of dangerous or oversized council-owned trees should be fast-tracked. "We need to be sure that our suburbs' trees are of appropriate size and species," she said.


More of that drought Australian Greenie "scientists" predicted

As the floods move slowly through the Channel Country in southwest Queensland, the bush telegraph is experiencing its own flood of calls. The talk is all of rainfall and river heights, and the promise of a far more bountiful season. Many towns and properties have received more rain in the first three weeks of 2009 than they did for all of 2008. And it is still raining and the wet season has two more months to go.

David Brook has been checking the river heights bulletin daily, waiting for the flood waters to reach his Birdsville property, Adria Downs. "We have only had 53mm, but there have been much bigger rains (in the Georgina and Diamantina river systems)," he says. "We had some rain, nice rain, and that is good. Ninety per cent of anyone's pastoral land is not flooded, so you still need rain. "But the 10 per cent that can get these quite large floods can probably support 50 per cent of the property for a period afterwards."

North of Birdsville, at Boulia on the Burke River, which flows into the Georgina River, cattle producer and Boulia Shire mayor Rick Britton says he has had more rain this year - 202mm - than he had all last year. "We had 70mm in 18 months (to the end of 2008). We have doubled that in 21 days, and the country has responded. How it is reacting is just awesome; you can nearly hear it growing," he says. Britton is at the southern end of the big wet. "Once you get north of us there have been falls anywhere from (200mm to 650mm) of rain." That rain has brought relief and joy. "You can imagine how happy they are, the pressure is off everyone now." He says the rain is evoking memories of the big wet of 1974. "My dad was running the property when we had the last big wet, and now he is retired. This is my first big fair dinkum wet. We hope it is not a one-in-a-generation event."

The Channel Country is the land of drought and flood, of boom and bust. When it rains and the floods come down the complex braided channels and anabranches of the system, Brook says they provide the best natural irrigation system in the world. He said properties, if they are lucky, will get 75mm to 200mm of rain a year. "But it is nothing compared with a section of land inundated to a metre deep or half a metre deep for one month, or three months at a time. The benefits from flooding are great."

The creeks and rivers of the Channel Country have never been regulated by dams or pumped for irrigation. "A few of us out here have argued strongly against any damming or diversion of the rivers upstream," Brook says. He is one of 32 partners in the organic beef company, OBE Beef. Between them, they have up to 100,000 head of cattle raised on 64,000sqkm of organically certified pasture in the Channel Country. That business alone means Australia has the largest organically farmed area in the world.

"We are fairly remote from any intensive agriculture, which is important in minimising risk," Brook observes. "Generally speaking, people are like-minded. No one wants to go down the other path of damming or heavy intensive agriculture, or using the rivers for anything other than natural irrigation." Brook explains the rivers and creeks are actually a series of ponds. "Those big ponded areas, they are wide and the velocity of the river slows and it drops the sediments, they are the really good areas for grazing." He says rain is good, but a slow flood is better. "Once you get that some of that country flooded for weeks, the plant life keeps coming up for months after the flood goes. "For us, with our organic certification, it is the bee's knees. You can't get any better." An astonishing 250 species of plants have been identified on Brook's property.

Martin Thoms is professor of Riverine Ecosystems at the University of Canberra. "In the dry times we walk out across the floodplain and we see nothing but dust and dirt," he says. But that dust harbours a huge seedbank and store of zooplankton eggs, "which are essentially fish food". When it rains, the floodwater stimulates the release of nutrients and carbon from the floodplain soils, seeds germinate and the eggs of zooplankton hatch. "The productivity of that plant growth is absolutely unbelievable," Thoms says. "Rain will stimulate plants that can grow up to 1m or 1.5m in a matter of months, particularly the native grasslands out there. The pastoral industry is going to be loving it."

It is not just the pastoral industry that is benefiting. The post-flood wildflowers will bring tourists, and if the floodwaters reach Lake Eyre, there will be a local tourist boom. Thoms says the lakes of the system are biodiversity hot spots. "All this activity in the Channel Country is going to be really great for migrating water birds," he says. "And that gives the floods not just local and domestic significance, but international importance as well. "We have migratory birds coming from China, Japan, Korea that bunny-hop all down eastern Australia through the Channel Country, using these big floodplain systems that are now being inundated by the rain."

The health of the Channel Country is in stark contrast to the state of the Murray-Darling basin. Thoms says Channel Country graziers not only understand, but embrace the natural variability of the climate. "That is why these guys are so resilient, whereas I think in some areas of the basin we have tried to control that variability and that hasn't always worked." He argues the efforts to regulate and control the rivers of the Murray-Darling basin have resulted in the ecosystems, like the lower Lakes and the Coorong, suffering. "Rather than trying to control these highly variable rivers I think we need to embrace their variability," he says.



The $60 billion coal industry is at risk without greater support for clean coal, the Opposition warned yesterday after the nation's only commercial project in the field said it would be unviable under the proposed emissions trading scheme. The Australian revealed yesterday that ZeroGen had warned Resources Minister Martin Ferguson that the Rudd Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme would be a "significant barrier" to the development of clean coal. ZeroGen is understood to have laid off or redeployed staff from its corporate division recently. The company would not comment yesterday, but said in a statement there had been "no reductions from project staffing, and none are planned".

Gas suppliers say they can provide cleaner energy than conventional coal-fired electricity for less than renewables if clean coal is delayed. Coal industry sources warned of a bleak future without greater support for clean coal research. "You run all your coal assets down and build gas, and basically the coal industry is out of business," one industry watcher said. "The only way ZeroGen will work is if someone stumps up and puts a sizeable amount of money under it -- someone being the federal Government."

The Opposition says clean coal technology will never be developed if the Government puts all the revenue raised from selling permits under the ETS into compensation. "ZeroGen was the only project of its type left in the world," Opposition resources spokesman Ian Macfarlane said. "It was the project Kevin Rudd was lauding as his international project. "If the Government doesn't breathe life back into ZeroGen and the project folds, basically there is no zero emission project in a developmental stage.

"The Government is conceding defeat on clean coal, which not only affects the domestic industry and the price of electricity but also says no one in the world is going to develop clean coal technology. The future for thermal coal is bleak."

More here

"We must get rid of Antarctica"

"We must get rid of the Medieval Warm period" was an early cry from Warmists. The period concerned is of course a complete refutation of Warmism so it had to be "got rid of" somehow. And, with his now discredited "hockeystick" graph, Michael Mann seemed to have done it. When that came unstuck they started to say that the period was just a "local" phenomenon. As there are now findings that it extended to both Argentina and New Zealand, that sure is a big locality!

Meanwhile, another big embarrassment in recent years has been the pesky non-melting of the Antarctic icecap. All observations show it as INCREASING in mass overall. But never fear! A way has now been found around that! And who is in on the fix? None other than that same old statistical faker, Michael Mann. Below is a popular report of the "research" followed by the journal abstract.

What they have done seems pretty clear. They have used one of the old dodges that Prof. Brignell calls "chartmanship". They have taken a distant and unusually cold year and shown that there has been warming since then. Utterly meaningless, of course.

US researchers have pored over data from satellites and weather stations in the biggest ever study of the frozen continent's climate and found it's warming after all. Barry Brook, director of the University of Adelaide's Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, said the finding was alarming. Scientists now estimate the melting of Antarctica's massive ice sheets will cause the world's sea levels to rise by one to two metres by the end of the century.....

Scientists already knew, he said, that the massive ice sheets of western Antarctica were melting, but the study showed they would melt more quickly. The research, contained in Thursday's issue of Nature, was also bad news for climate change in general, Professor Brook said. It had been thought Antarctica's cooling would help restrain global warming by acting as a "cool pack", but this did not appear to be the case.

The US study found that eastern Antarctica - which includes the Australian zone - is getting cooler. But this is outweighed by western Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula, which are warming. On average the continent is warming, the study found. Over the past 50 years much of Antarctica has been warming at a rate comparable to the rest of the world.

Study co-author Eric Steig from the University of Washington said the satellite data was revealing. "The thing you hear all the time is that Antarctica is cooling and that's not the case," he told Nature. Professor Brook said it had been thought Antarctica was cooling partly because of the hole in the ozone layer, which allowed the hot air out.


Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year

By Eric J. Steig, David P. Schneider, Scott D. Rutherford, Michael E. Mann, Josefino C. Comiso & Drew T. Shindell


Assessments of Antarctic temperature change have emphasized the contrast between strong warming of the Antarctic Peninsula and slight cooling of the Antarctic continental interior in recent decades1. This pattern of temperature change has been attributed to the increased strength of the circumpolar westerlies, largely in response to changes in stratospheric ozone2. This picture, however, is substantially incomplete owing to the sparseness and short duration of the observations. Here we show that significant warming extends well beyond the Antarctic Peninsula to cover most of West Antarctica, an area of warming much larger than previously reported. West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1 oC per decade over the past 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring. Although this is partly offset by autumn cooling in East Antarctica, the continent-wide average near-surface temperature trend is positive. Simulations using a general circulation model reproduce the essential features of the spatial pattern and the long-term trend, and we suggest that neither can be attributed directly to increases in the strength of the westerlies. Instead, regional changes in atmospheric circulation and associated changes in sea surface temperature and sea ice are required to explain the enhanced warming in West Antarctica.

Nature 457, 459-462 (22 January 2008)


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


21 January, 2009


Pigs are flying! An email below from Henry Geraedts []

I am drawing your attention to a significant change in GISS GHG temperature trend projections published by Jim Hansen's team last week, and which appears to have gone largely unnoticed other than by Lucia Liljegren on her site "The Blackboard" [].

At the very end of the GISS update, under para #4 in the next to last paragraph, Hansen & Co state that: "From climate models and empirical analyses this GHG forcing translates into a mean warming rate of 0.15C per decade". Given that Jim Hansen is one of the leading and vocal proponents of the AGW/ACC hypothesis, that the GISS temperature data series has yet again come close scrutiny recently [Lubos Motl, et. al] and that GISS temperature data is increasingly at odds with satellite data [ref: today's posting on that subject at ] this revision is singularly noteworthy: the revised GISS GHG driven temperature trend is a whopping 25% lower than the IPCC's [95% certain] "gold standard" of 0.20C per decade.

Absent a GISS press release advising all of us of this change [which clearly would have been expecting too much], I thought you and your readers would find this of interest.


Excerpt from an email from Roy Tucker []

A hypothesis that stubbornly refuses to be disproven may even be dignified by calling it a "theory". To assert that anything is a "fact" or "proven" is very risky. Consider the example of Newton's "Laws of Motion". Repeated experiment and successful use of these "laws" in mechanics and the description of the motion of celestial bodies gave physicists, engineers, and artillerymen great confidence that the velocity of a body was a simple function of the force applied to it and the duration of that force. Newton's laws became accepted as a proven fact. That is, until Einstein began to ponder what happens as the body's velocity began to approach the speed of light. According to his 'hypothesis', it is the momentum of an object that increases as long as a force is applied to it. Newton's Laws are but the low-speed approximations of Einstein's relativistic expressions. Is Einstein's Theory of Relativity a fact? Is it proven? Not if some experiment in the future falsifies it and leads to an even better understanding of how the universe works.

My education has been in science and engineering. I have a great reverence for the Scientific Method because I know the history of how humanity has laboriously, painfully gained the body of knowledge upon which our civilzation is founded. The Scientific Method has been our most powerful tool in learning how the universe works. There is one very important thing required of those who would seek knowledge by means of the Scientific Method and that is honesty. If one cannot report the results of observation accurately, how can ignorance be dispelled? How can a hypothesis be falsified?

Climate science has become politicized. People who profess to be practitioners of science are using the authority of their offices to assert that "the debate is over" and "the science is settled" when it never is in the proper conduct of Science. People who claim to be educators of the public dismiss inconvenient facts and propagandize in support of the "politically correct" dogma.

David Appell, who describes himself as a "science writer", suggested that readers might find his article, "Climate change: The last, final problem", of interest.

Indeed I did. I consider it an excellent example of the environmentalist propaganda pervading the media these days that seeks to persuade scientifically unsophisticated readers that anthropogenic global warming is absolutely a fact and we must all sacrifice our hopes and dreams to "save the planet" from a hellish future. It was quite a remarkable screed, a recounting of all of humanity's alleged enviromental sins, totally devoid of any real discussion of scientific issues or comparison of competing explanations of climate variability. This is a continuing pattern since Mr. Appell has also written in defense of the thoroughly discredited Michael Mann "Hockey Stick" temperature curve and has claimed that the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age were localized events.

Let us compare two of the current competing explanations of climate variability: Anthropogenic Global Warming as the result of human combustion of fossil fuels and the Svensmark hypothesis that suggests solar activity and the galactic cosmic ray environment modulates cloud formation in the lower atmosphere and therefore the earth's albedo.

In its early documents, the IPCC asserted that solar activity is of no significance in determining earth's climate and has concentrated on claiming that increasing levels of CO2 raise the temperature of the earth by reducing the radiation of thermal infrared energy. Computer models have been concocted that supposedly support this hypothesis. These computer models are tremendously simplistic compared to the complexity of the actual climate system of the earth. They do not reproduce some of the very robust oscillatory variations of the earth's climate such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or the El Nino - Southern Oscillation. If they are run backwards, they fail to accurately reproduce past climate states. They predict a warming of the equatorial mid-troposphere but such warming is not seen. Those who argue in favor of the AGW hypothesis use the output of these models as if it was real data and ignore the actual measurements from satellite microwave radiometers which show no warming at all in spite of the increasing abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Svensmark's hypothesis says that as solar activity declines the interplanetary magnetic field weakens and galactic cosmic rays penetrate more deeply into the inner solar system and eventually into the lower atmosphere of earth where they produce cloud-seeding ions. These ions promote a greater abundance of clouds, raising the earth's reflectivity and reducing the warming of the surface of the earth by sunlight. Solar activity has been falling in recent years.

Today, the 19th of January, a small sunspot was seen near the sun's equator, an indication that it may be a remnant of the old Cycle 23. If so, then Cycle 23 is 19 years old. Long cycles precede weak cycles, suggesting continued low solar activity. The interplanetary magnetic Ap index is the lowest that it has been in many years (See here) and the neutron count from cosmic rays has increased (See here) as expected. The earth's temperature has been either steady or declining for the past eight years. Based upon the data, there is more falsification of the AGW hypothesis than of the Svensmark solar activity hypothesis.

Mr. Appell, the above is an example of real "science writing". I have presented an explanation of the Scientific Method and I have presented information about two conflicting hypotheses in an effort to educate the readers so that they may make better decisions. Any presentation of "Gloom-and-Doom" has been with regard to the politicization of Science and is indisputably a valid concern. I encourage you to return to the practice of science writing instead of environmental propagandizing. You would better serve your readers.


A new academic journal article from "Energy Policy", Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 166-180. By Willem P. Nel, and Christopher J. Cooper


Energy Security and Global Warming are analysed as 21st century sustainability threats. Best estimates of future energy availability are derived as an Energy Reference Case (ERC). An explicit economic growth model is used to interpret the impact of the ERC on economic growth. The model predicts a divergence from 20th century equilibrium conditions in economic growth and socio-economic welfare is only stabilised under optimistic assumptions that demands a paradigm shift in contemporary economic thought and focused attention from policy makers.

Fossil fuel depletion also constrains the maximum extent of Global Warming. Carbon emissions from the ERC comply nominally with the B1 scenario, which is the lowest emissions case considered by the IPCC. The IPCC predicts a temperature response within acceptance limits of the Global Warming debate for the B1 scenario. The carbon feedback cycle, used in the IPCC models, is shown as invalid for low-emissions scenarios and an alternative carbon cycle reduces the temperature response for the ERC considerably compared to the IPCC predictions.

Our analysis proposes that the extent of Global Warming may be acceptable and preferable compared to the socio-economic consequences of not exploiting fossil fuel reserves to their full technical potential.

1. Introduction

A paradox of global dimensions faces humankind. While energy constraints pose a threat to the global economy, continued extraction and combustion of fossil fuels at current, or increased, rates is now accepted to be the dominant driver of Global Warming (IPCC, 2007a, p. 136). The development and expansion of alternative energy sources has proven challenging, hence the reluctance of certain major countries to endorse the Kyoto Protocol on reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, notably the USA (UNFCCC, 2008).

Long-term structural scarcity in energy supplies is unprecedented in modern history. To this end, there is no established economic growth theory that explicitly describes the impacts of such energy constraints. Despite awareness that fossil fuel resources are exhaustible, there is no globally accepted benchmark of resource availability for long-term planning purposes. Energy is commonly treated as a limitless exogenous input to economic planning with the result that energy demand is well defined, but disconnected from the physical and logistical realities of supply.

In like manner, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identified exponential increases in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 as the dominant forcing agent for global warming (IPCC, 2007a, p. 136), with the dominant contributor of man-made CO2 emissions being the burning of fossil fuel (IPCC, 2007a, p. 512). However, the range of scenarios presented for climate futures are not constrained by the possibility that the quantity of recoverable fossil carbon may rule out certain scenarios as physically unrealisable.

The exhaustion of oil and gas commodities has been extensively analysed by Peak Oil proponents (ASPO, 2008). The scientific and deductive merits of Peak Oil theory are well established - the World Energy Council endorses the methodology, declaring the ASPO model as "plausible" (WEC, 2007, pp. 45-53). Nevertheless, much uncertainty is still being expressed in the understanding of both the phenomena of Peak Oil and Global Warming:

... a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed. (IPCC, 2007a, p. 640)

...most would appear to agree that peak oil output is not very far away for all of us. It could take place sometime within the next decade or so... (Ghanem, 2006)

The principles of Peak Oil theory are applied in this paper to derive an Energy Reference Case (ERC) for the total recoverable reserves of all fossil fuels - liquid, gas and solid. The roles of nuclear and renewable energy sources are also considered in the ERC, to present an integrated energy future. A comparative assessment of the socio-economic threats triggered alternately by energy scarcity, or by Global Warming, caused by the burning of fossil fuel, is performed in the context of the ERC. The paper thereby facilitates a multidisciplinary synthesis between some of the most important sustainability threats to human society, and motivates a resolution to the paradox posed in the opening paragraph.

As there is still substantial disagreement on the magnitude of geological energy reserves and recoverable resources, the ERC and consequent analysis are likely to be criticised by both energy pessimists and optimists. Nevertheless, we argue that the methods for estimating the total recoverable reserves that we apply to global fossil fuel reserves are robust and are validated by previous case studies. We further argue that these estimates provide stark alternatives that must be considered in deciding how to address the combined challenges of climate change and the ultimate decline of the global carbon-based energy economy. Although the existence of other sustainability threats such as food security, water stress and epidemic diseases are acknowledged, they are beyond the scope of this paper. [...]

More here


Al Gore's side may be coming to power in Washington, but they appear to be losing the battle on the idea that humans are to blame for glob al warming.

Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity.

Seven percent (7%) attribute global warming to some other reason, and nine percent (9%) are unsure in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats. Voters not affiliated with either party by eight points put the blame on planetary trends.

In July 2006, 46% of voters said global warming is caused primarily by human activities, while 35% said it is due to long-term planetary trends.

In April of last year, 47% of Americans blamed human activity versus 34% who viewed long-term planetary trends as the culprit. But the numbers have been moving in the direction of planetary trends since then.

More here

Anxiety grows in global warming alarmist camp

Heartland Institute media monitors have noted on several occasions that climate-change alarmists are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their position that human activity has warmed Earth to crisis proportions. Polar bears keep growing in numbers, Antarctic ice keeps expanding, deserts keep receding, temperatures keep easing, the ranks of science skeptics keep multiplying. It's tough to scare people with that kind of sound-science evidence.

Now the folk at DeSmogblog - created like so many alarmist sites for the sole purpose of attacking conservatives, libertarians and global warming skeptics - is getting really worried. DeSmogblog toted up the 2008 online battle this way: References to "global warming" and "hoax" soared 125 percent to 49,719 citations in 2008; GW and "lie" jumped 101 percent to 100,770; "alarmist" increased 97 percent to 27,298, and "skeptic" (our favorite) rose 93 percent to 73,956 citations. "We're also seeing more people than ever using the internet as their main source of news and information," DeSmogblog posted recently. "Legislators are going to be very hard pressed to implement strict new greenhouse gas regulations if almost a majority of the public believes that climate change has nothing to do with human activity."

Ya think?


Global Warming Hysteria

(Madison, Wisconsin) In the state capital of Madison, a city of academicians and politicians plush with ideology and someone else's money, global warming hysteria is the zeitgeist and environmental sustainability is the road to utopia. According to the "Broad Strategies" section of a meeting agenda recently posted on the City of Madison Web site, an ordinance being considered would force city zoning to account for and mitigate climate change:
10. Zoning should adapt to meet the demands of climate change; use zoning to address or mitigate effects, or adapt to climate change; remove any barriers to mitigating the effects, adapting to climate change (trees, green space, mobility, renewable energy, land use).
Another item in the "Broad Strategies" section has a grim outlook for the future. It includes a proposal that spells out a doomsday scenario - allowing for the city to function should shortages in energy and food occur:
11. Write the code to allow the city to function when automobile travel will be severely limited and oil-related products, including food and heating fuel, become prohibitively expensive because of the scarcity and high-cost of fuel.
Other proposals throughout the document would push for use of alternative energies (solar, geothermal and wind), conservation, electric cars and urban agriculture. Other more Draconian regulations throughout the document would:
- Limit waterfront development in the name of water sustainability,

- Require two trees to be planted if one is removed from your property

- Limit the "number/density of fast food outlets and drive-through windows" in the name of public health

- Discourage individual parking options to promote public transportation usage.
Frankly, I'm convinced that anyone displaying common sense in public in Madison, Wisconsin, is liable to be arrested for disorderly conduct.



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


19 January, 2009


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch [], a practicing geophysicist with over 35 years of experience

Apart from common sense, the only other aspect totally absent from the global warming debate is "global warming" itself. There is talk of emissions reductions, carbon trading, and even drowning polar bears; but there is no talk about actual current global temperature increases with the continuous increase in global CO2 emissions.

The December 2008 temperature data confirms that 2008 was the coldest year of the last decade, adding one more year to the cooling trend that started after 2002.

Common sense would dictate that after six years of cooling with only one year, 2005, being warmer than the previous year, the "global warming" debate would be over and the world would now be debating "global cooling" in earnest.

Apparently common sense was never part of this debate even when the globe was actually warming. Clouds block about 20% of the 1368W/m2 of solar radiation. If cloud cover decreased and only blocked out 19% of the solar radiation or cloud cover increased and blocked out 21% of the solar radiation these 5% changes in cloud cover would equate to 13.68W/m2 of either heating or cooling.

AGW is based on computer models that attribute forcing of just 3.71W/m2 to a doubling of CO2 from the 280ppmv, and somehow this is more likely to drive climate than a 5% change in cloud cover.

The actual physical properties of CO2 interacting with the thermal spectrum radiated by the Earth, dictate that far less than 10% of this 3.71W/m2 is even physically possible. Remarkably, the world is committing economic suicide, starving the poor and ignoring real pollution problems, because an environmentalist lobby has convinced the world leaders that it is more likely that 0.371W/m2 from CO2 emissions will cause catastrophic warming of the Earth, than 13.68W/m2 from a 5% increase in cloud cover can cause serious cooling of the Earth.

The global climate models all state that we should be on a warming trend. The global temperature data sets all show that we are on a cooling trend. The debate is now called "climate change" to avoid any reference to global temperature and the issue is somehow elevated to a level of such great importance that countries are actually debating whether to adhere to the dictates of the Kyoto Protocol for the purpose of stopping the now non-existent global warming, or save their countries economies using "Kyoto unfriendly" energy sources.

Princeton professor denies global warming theory

Physics professor William Happer GS '64 has some tough words for scientists who believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. "This is George Orwell. This is the `Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.' It's that kind of propaganda," Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. "Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that's a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult."

Happer served as director of the Office of Energy Research in the U.S. Department of Energy under President George H.W. Bush and was subsequently fired by Vice President Al Gore, reportedly for his refusal to support Gore's views on climate change. He asked last month to be added to a list of global warming dissenters in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report. The list includes more than 650 experts who challenge the belief that human activity is contributing to global warming

Though Happer has promulgated his skepticism in the past, he requested to be named a skeptic in light of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, whose administration has, as Happer notes, "stated that carbon dioxide is a pollutant" and that humans are "poisoning the atmosphere."

Happer maintains that he doubts there is any strong anthropogenic influence on global temperature. "All the evidence I see is that the current warming of the climate is just like past warmings. In fact, it's not as much as past warmings yet, and it probably has little to do with carbon dioxide, just like past warmings had little to do with carbon dioxide," Happer explained.

Happer is chair of the board of directors at the George C. Marshall Institute, a nonprofit conservative think tank known for its attempts to highlight uncertainties about causes of global warming. The institute was founded by former National Academy of Sciences president and prominent physicist Frederick Seitz GS '34, who publicly expressed his skepticism of the claim that global warming is caused by human activity. Seitz passed away in March 2008. In 2007, the Institute reported $726,087 in annual operating expenses, $205,156 of which was spent on climate change issues, constituting the largest portion of its program expenses, according to its I-990 tax exemption form.

In a statement sent to the Senate as part of his request, Happer explained his reasoning for challenging the climate change movement, citing his research and scientific knowledge. "I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect, for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow," he said in the statement. "Based on my experience, I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken."

Geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer, the lead author of the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - whose members, along with Gore, received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize - said in an interview that Happer's claims are "simply not true." Oppenheimer, director of the Wilson School's Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, stressed that the preponderance of evidence and majority of expert opinion points to a strong anthropogenic influence on rising global temperatures, noting that he advises Happer to read the IPCC's report and publish a scientific report detailing his objections to its findings.

The University is home to a number of renowned climate change scientists. Ecology and evolutionary biology professor Stephen Pacala and mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Robert Socolow, who are co-chairs of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) and the Princeton Environmental Institute, developed a set of 15 "stabilization wedges." These are existing technologies that would, by the year 2054, each prevent 1 billion tons of carbon emissions. They argue that the implementation of seven of these wedges would be needed to reach target emissions levels. Neither Pacala nor Socolow could be reached for comment.

Happer said that he is alarmed by the funding that climate change scientists, such as Pacala and Socolow, receive from the private sector. "Their whole career depends on pushing. They have no other reason to exist. I could care less. I don't get a dime one way or another from the global warming issue," Happer noted. "I'm not on the payroll of oil companies as they are. They are funded by BP." The CMI has had a research partnership with BP since 2000 and receives $2 million each year from the company. In October, BP announced that it would extend the partnership - which had been scheduled to expire in 2010 - by five years.

The Marshall Institute, however, has received at least $715,000 from the ExxonMobil Foundation and Corporate Giving division from 1998 to 2006, according to the company's public reports. Though Exxon has challenged the scientific models for proving the human link to climate change in the past, its spokesmen have said that the company's stance has been misunderstood. Others say the company has changed its stance.

Happer explained that his beliefs about climate change come from his experience at the Department of Energy, at which Happer said he supervised all non-weapons energy research, including climate change research. Managing a budget of more than $3 billion, Happer said he felt compelled to make sure it was being spent properly. "I would have [researchers] come in, and they would brief me on their topics," Happer explained. "They would show up. Shiny faces, presentation ready to go. I would ask them questions, and they would be just delighted when you asked. That was true of almost every group that came in."

The exceptions were climate change scientists, he said. "They would give me a briefing. It was a completely different experience. I remember one speaker who asked why I wanted to know, why I asked that question. So I said, you know I always ask questions at these briefings . I often get a much better view of [things] in the interchange with the speaker," Happer said. "This guy looked at me and said, `What answer would you like?' I knew I was in trouble then. This was a community even in the early 1990s that was being turned political. [The attitude was] `Give me all this money, and I'll get the answer you like.' " Happer said he is dismayed by the politicization of the issue and believes the community of climate change scientists has become a veritable "religious cult," noting that nobody understands or questions any of the science.

He noted in an interview that in the past decade, despite what he called "alarmist" claims, there has not only not been warming, there has in fact been global cooling. He added that climate change scientists are unable to use models to either predict the future or accurately model past events. "There was a baseball sage who said prediction is hard, especially of the future, but the implication was that you could look at the past and at least second-guess the past," Happer explained. "They can't even do that."

Happer cited an ice age at the time of the American Revolution, when Londoners skated on the Thames, and warm periods during the Middle Ages, when settlers were able to farm southern portions of Greenland, as evidence of naturally occurring fluctuations that undermine the case for anthropogenic influence. "[Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration] was exactly the same then. It didn't change at all," he explained. "So there was something that was making the earth warm and cool that modelers still don't really understand."

The problem does not in fact exist, he said, and society should not sacrifice for nothing. "[Climate change theory has] been extremely bad for science. It's going to give science a really bad name in the future," he said. "I think science is one of the great triumphs of humankind, and I hate to see it dragged through the mud in an episode like this."



If the world is to tackle the climate threat, the US President-elect must beef up his country's emissions targets, the head of the leading intergovernmental organisation of climate scientists said last week (15 January). "President-elect Obama's goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 falls short of the response needed by world leaders to meet the challenge of reducing emissions to levels that will actually spare us the worst effects of climate change," said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), at a Worldwatch Institute event.

In a new study on the state of the world in 2009, the institute argues that global CO2 emissions must be reduced to negative figures by 2050 to avoid a looming climate catastrophe. It calls on the US, a major polluter, to assume leadership by passing national climate legislation and engaging with the international community to achieve a new agreement on halting emissions at next December's talks in Copenhagen. "The world is desperately looking for US leadership to slow emissions and create a green economy," said Christopher Flavin, president of the Worldwatch Institute. "With the Copenhagen climate conference rapidly approaching, this will be a crucial early test for President Obama."

Pachauri warned that there may not be an "adequate global response" unless the US steps up to the plate. "He ran for the presidency of the United States, so he assumed the responsibility," the Nobel Prize recipient commented as to the weight of Obama's task.

Meanwhile, in a hearing last week, Steven Chu, Obama's designated secretary of energy, told the US Senate he believed the incoming president's plan for emission reductions was "aggressive". It includes a greater commitment to renewable energies and promotion of energy efficiency, as well as a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases and continued development of nuclear power. He stated the plan would set the US on the right path to "a better energy and environmental future," while creating new jobs and restoring US leadership in energy technology.

In recent years, most initiatives on climate protection have come from the EU, which set the standards with its emissions trading scheme. Obama has, however, been touted for his more stringent targets and commitment to engaging in international climate negotiations after the Bush administration failed to sign the Kyoto protocol.

In a keynote speech to the Senate, Hillary Clinton, Obama's nominee for secretary of state, emphasised that she would "renew America's leadership through diplomacy". She said America would lead both at home and abroad on climate issues, by participating in the UN climate conference to develop a coordinated international response and by pursuing a low-carbon energy policy.



The dispute between Russia and Ukraine which has cut the flow of Russian natural gas to Europe has so alarmed governments that even German politicians are openly discussing the advantages of nuclear energy. 'It's increasingly becoming apparent that we have to lay greater emphasis on resources available in Germany,' German Economics Minister Michael Glos said earlier this month. 'I want to draw attention to the fact that we still have a number of nuclear power stations in Germany which, unfortunately, are going to be turned off in a few years just for political reasons.' On Monday in Brussels, he was seconded by one of his state secretaries, Peter Hintze, who told a meeting of European Union energy ministers, 'We need to take another calm look at the atomic energy issue, which is currently on hold.'

The German government is bound by a 1999 agreement to shut down the country's nuclear power stations by 2020, but the cessation of deliveries of Russian natural gas to Europe because of gas crisis has provoked deep concerns regarding over-dependency on a single source of energy. 'What we are experiencing in supply breakdowns did not occur even during the many decades of the Cold War,' Heintze complained.

The gas crisis has struck a particularly sensitive nerve in central and Eastern Europe, especially in those countries dependent on Russian natural gas for most of their energy needs, such as Slovakia and Bulgaria. Leaders of both countries have now vowed to restart old, unsafe Soviet-style nuclear reactors if gas deliveries did not resume soon. 'We consider restarting (the reactor) as extraordinarily actual and acute. When a critical moment occurs we will make the step,' Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said. Bulgaria and Slovakia had shut down their old nuclear reactors as part of their EU accession agreements. The Slovak declaration provoked outrage in neighbouring Austria. And on Wednesday the European Commission threatened to launch an infringement procedure which could lead to fines.

However, the Czech Republic - which is less dependent on Russian gas than its neighbours - appears to be planning to expand its use of nuclear energy, despite the moratorium on the construction of new nuclear reactors that was part of Prague's EU accession agreement, the daily Hospodarske Noviny reported on Friday. This is a policy turnaround by the Green Party-ruled Environment Ministry, the paper writes, as the ministry had previously opposed any move in this direction. One of the reasons is the gas crisis.

France, which derives nearly 80 per cent of its energy from its 58 nuclear reactors, is looking prophetic now. The French chose atomic energy after the oil crisis of the 1970s. 'The French must be delighted that the country didn't bet only on gas when we see what is happening with the gas,' the head of French energy supplier EDF, Pierre Gadonneix, said on French radio last week.

EDF and other European utilities, notably the German energy giants E.ON and RWE, are investing heavily in nuclear energy in Europe, with projects in Britain and Finland. However, Susanne Nies, a senior research fellow with the energy program at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), said that nuclear energy was not the best response to the gas crisis. 'Nuclear energy could play an important part of a diversification of energy sources in Europe,' she said.

More here


Americans were today shivering as bitter arctic winds caused temperatures to plunge to record-breaking levels in many parts of the vast country. There are even fears that crowds planning to watch Barack Obama's presidential inauguration next week could suffer hypothermia and frostbite in sub-zero conditions.

This winter has been one of the toughest in decades with temperatures today reaching as low as -38C in large areas of the Midwest and -40C in the coldest place. But even on the east coast - where conditions are typically milder than the fridgid hinterlands - the icy blast was being felt.

New York endured a -14C chill today and further south Washington - which hosts Mr Obama's inauguration on Tuesday - plunged to 11 degrees below zero. Some places have recorded record lows - with the temperature in Flint, Michigan dipping to an incredible -28C.

More here

Australian Study Debunks Methane Theory of climate impact

New Research by an Australian-based scientists Ellen Nisbet has found that in fact plants do not produce greenhouse methane gas. These findings destroy a central plank of the climate change theory.

The scientific theory that plants produce methane was published in the international science journal Nature three years ago, forcing a rethink of the possible sources of greenhouse gas.

Methane is more than 20 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Its main sources include natural gas fields, landfills, cattle, bogs and decaying organic waste.

A 2006 study by German scientist Frank Keppler asserted that tropical rain forests were emitting large amounts of methane. Dr Nisbet, who was studying at Cambridge University at the time, was sceptical when she saw Dr Keppler's results.

Evolutionary biologist Nisbet working with 12 scientists, including her father, atmospheric chemist Euan Nisbet, found that plants do not carry the right genes to produce methane, but merely filter the gas when it's contained in soil and dissolved in water.

"When we grew plants under very controlled conditions we found no, they don't produce methane. They don't have the right genes to make methane. We know what the genes are and they're definitely not there."

Dr Nisbet lectures in life Sciences at the University of South Australia said the team found that plants absorbed methane dissolved in water and soil, and then secreted it into the air. The research has been published this week in Transactions of the Royal Society in Britian.



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


19 January, 2009


An email from Tom V. Segalstad [] -- Head, and Associate Professor of Resource- and Environmental Geology Geological Museum, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

A recent peer-reviewed study in the international scientific journal "Geology" by two Danish geologists supports the Svensmark Climate Theory. They have found that there is a correlation between the intensity of the geomagnetic field and the precipitation in the Tropics. The only way this can be explained, the authors say, is by the same mechanism as in the Svensmark Climate Theory; that solar modulation of galactic ray particles has an influence on condensation nuclei for clouds, which in turn will modulate the insolation and the surface temperature on the Earth. A similar mechanism as in the well-known Wilson's Fog Chamber

The paper: Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager: "Is there a link between Earth's magnetic field and low-latitude precipitation?" Geology; January 2009; v. 37; no. 1; p. 71-74

References to some of Svensmark's recent scientific papers:

"Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditions" by Svensmark, Henrik ; Pedersen, Jens Olaf Pepke ; Marsh, N.D. ; Enghoff, Martin Andreas Bodker ; Uggerhoj, U.I. in journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society A-mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences (ISSN: 1364-5021) , vol: 463, issue: 2078, pages: 385-396, 2007, Royal Society, 2007


"Cosmoclimatology: a new theory emerges" by Svensmark, Henrik in journal: Astronomy & Geophysics (ISSN: 1366-8781), vol: 48, issue: 1, pages: 18-24, 2007, Blackwell Publishing.


A published letter below from James A. Marusek [] -- Nuclear Physicist & Engineer. U.S. Department of the Navy, retired.

Each morning I turn on my computer and check to see how the sun is doing today. For much of 2008, I was greeted with the message "The sun is blank - no sunspots." We are at the verge of the next solar cycle, solar cycle 24. How intense will this cycle be? Why is this question important? Because the sun is a major force controlling natural climate change on Earth.

The sun has gone very quite as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. There were 266 spotless days (days without sunspots) in 2008. This breaks all standing records back to the year 1913, which had 311 spotless days.

The Ap index is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. Anthony Watts (meteorologist) referred to it as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. This solar minimum is smashing these records. The lowest monthly Ap index recorded since measurements began in January 1932 is "4". This low occurred on three occasions: December 1997, November & December 2008. This current solar minimum has smashed the lower records for Ap index for any 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 consecutive month period and then some.

The most likely outcome is that the current solar minimum will produce around 1,000 cumulative spotless days and that solar cycle 24 is making a state change reverting back to the old cycles (solar cycles 10-15, years 1856 to 1923). For much of the past century (solar cycles 16-23), the solar minimums produced significantly fewer spotless days. The average was 362.

But there is always the possibility that the sun's magnetic field could weaken even further ushering in a grand minima such as the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) or the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830). If that happens, then Earth's temperature would nosedive dropping to mini Ice Age conditions. Ice skating on the Ohio River anyone! A grand minima would also likely increase the frequency of Caribbean and Atlantic hurricanes. The British Navy recorded more than twice as many major land-falling Caribbean hurricanes in the last part of the Little Ice Age (1700-1850) than during the much-warmer last half of the 20th century.

So, Stay Tuned!


Questions for Obama's science guy

by Jeff Jacoby

IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy -- the position known informally as White House science adviser -- President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists, one "with a resume longer than your arm," as Newsweek's Sharon Begley exulted when the announcement was made. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and the author or co-author of many papers and books. He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years -- and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.

The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren's nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight:

1. You were long associated with population alarmist Paul Ehrlich, and joined him in predicting disasters that never came to pass. For example, you and Ehrlich wrote in 1969: "It cannot be emphasized enough that if . . . population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come." In 1971, the two of you were adamant that "some form of ecocatastrophe, if not thermonuclear war, seems almost certain to overtake us before the end of the century." In the 1980s, Ehrlich quoted your expectation that "carbon dioxide-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020." What have you learned from the failure of these prophecies to come true?

2. You have advocated the "long-term desirability of zero population growth" for the United States. In 1973, you pronounced the US population of 210 million as "too many" and warned that "280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many." The US population today is 304 million. Are there too many Americans?

3. You opposed the Reagan administration's military buildup in the 1980s for fear it might "increase the belligerency of the Soviet government." You pooh-poohed any notion that "the strain of an accelerated arms race will do more damage to the Soviet economy than to our own," or that "damaging the Soviet economy would benefit the US." But that is exactly what happened, and President Reagan's defense buildup helped win the Cold War. Did that outcome alter your thinking on military questions?

4. You argued that "a massive campaign must be launched ... to de-develop the United States" in order to conserve energy; you also recommended the "de-development" of modern industrialized nations in order to facilitate growth in underdeveloped countries. Yet elsewhere you observed: "Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others." Which is it?

5. In Scientific American, you recently wrote: "The ongoing disruption of the Earth's climate by man-made greenhouse gases is already well beyond dangerous and is careening toward completely unmanageable." An interview you gave to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was headlined "The Sky Is Falling." Given your record with forecasting calamity, shouldn't policymakers view your alarm with a degree of skepticism?

6. In 2006, according to the London Times, you suggested that global sea levels could rise 13 feet by the end of this century. But the latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that sea levels are likely to have risen only 13 inches by 2100. Can you explain the discrepancy between your estimate and the IPCC's?

7. "Variability has been the hallmark of climate over the millennia," you wrote in 1977. "The one statement about future climate that can be made with complete assurance is that it will be variable." If true, should we not be wary of ascribing too much importance to human influence on climate change?

8. You are withering in your contempt for researchers who are unconvinced that human activity is responsible for global warming, or that global warming is an onrushing disaster. You have written that such ideas are "dangerous," that those who hold them "infest" the public discourse, and that paying any attention to their views is "a menace." You contributed to a published assault on Bjorn Lomborg's notable 2001 book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" -- an attack the Economist described as "strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance." In light of President-elect Obama's insistence that "promoting science" means "protecting free and open inquiry," will you work to soften your hostility toward scholars who disagree with you?


Red, Green and Browner

Conservative pundits and talk radio hosts have had a field day citing Carol Browner's ties to the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which is part of the Socialist International. Browner, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, has been named by Barack Obama to be his Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change (or "Climate Czar"). This new and undefined office could give her broad influence over economic policy. The San Francisco Chronicle reported January 14th that "some on Capitol Hill predict that energy policy will be driven not by [Energy Secretary-Designate Steven] Chu, but by Carol Browner."

In its coverage of Browner, the American Spectator was correct to note, "There's a tendency of conservatives to carelessly toss about the `S' word." Indeed, the term "socialism" was so overused (and misused) n the last days of the presidential campaign, and during the debate on rescuing the banks and auto industry, that it may have lost all credence with the public. But in the case of Browner, it is accurate, and the ideology is dangerous because it now hides behind the environmental movement it created decades ago.

Where there is Green, there is Red. The environmental movement was an offshoot of the New Left. The first Earth Day was held in the United States on April 22, 1970, the idea having been conceived the previous September at a conference in Seattle, Washington. 1969 was also the year that San Francisco made the first Earth Day Proclamation. The New Left is associated in the public mind mainly with the antiwar movement, which hit its peak in 1970 with campus riots against the U.S. raids into communist base camps in Cambodia. The desire to see the United States lose in Vietnam and retreat from world affairs in disgrace was only part of the larger vision of a completely transformed American society. A radically new kind of society was advocated that would abandon the culture of growth and affluence which underpinned an "imperialist" foreign policy.

In 1973 appeared E. F. Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered which quickly became required reading on the Left. Schumacher argued "The optimal pattern of consumption, producing a high degree of human satisfaction by means of a relatively low rate of consumption, allows people to live without great pressure and strain....people satisfying their needs by means of a modest means of a modest use of resources are obviously less likely to be at each other's throats than people depending on a high rate of use."

A survey of the new "radical political economics" appeared in 1974 in the left-wing Journal of Economic Issues, which was itself only founded in 1967. Authors Raymond S. Franklin and William K. Tabb wrote, "Radical economists go beyond mere modification of the growth preoccupation; they see further growth of the kind that presently characterizes U.S. society as detrimental to the well-being of the American people." The antipathy to growth predates any theory about climate change, rather, environmental issues were conjured up to serve the ideological program of the Left.

The Green movement was necessary to solve the problem that socialism could not, expanding output to raise living standards. Capitalism is an unmatched engine of growth. The commercial and industrial revolutions it powered built the Western world and gave it the global dominance the hatred of which has become the central organizing tenet of the Left. Socialist central planning and state enterprises have never been able to outperform the system of private production for profit. And most serious socialist thinkers know this. The idea has always been for the socialists to seize control of an already developed capitalist economy and then simply redistribute the wealth it had created in a more "equitable" manner. Creating new wealth after the revolution was known to be problematic.

It was assumed by Karl Marx and his successors that the first socialist revolution would occur in Germany, the most advanced European economy with the most wealth to spread around. When the revolution came in relatively backward Russia, Vladimir Lenin attempted his New Economic Policy to allow private growth to take place until it reached a point where the socialists could intervene. As Lenin said when he announced the NEP in 1921, "highly developed capitalist countries where wage-workers in industry and agriculture make up the vast majority....Only in countries where this class is sufficiently developed is it possible to pass directly from capitalism to socialism." Neither Lenin nor Josef Stalin was able to build an advanced economy on a par with the rival capitalist states. And despite Nikita Khrushchev's claim that socialism would "bury" capitalism, the American Cold War containment strategy was based on the inherent inability of socialism to prosper. The Soviet Union cracked when it was unable to muster the resources needed to meet the challenge posed by President Ronald Reagan.

But what if a socialist economy did not need to grow? What if the basic economic problem, how to meet the insatiable wants of the public for an ever higher standard of living, could be tossed aside? This would be the concept of Full Communism laid out by Professor Emeritus P. J. D. Wiles of the University of London in the Marxian Economics volume of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (1990). Under Full Communism, "productivity is higher than wants and everyone can help himself in the warehouses (not shops!)." This perfect state is "only possible because wants have been reduced to needs." It is not output that has grown, but desires that have been scaled back State authority "must be conducting the propaganda that persuades people to internalize the new value system."

For 40 years, the Left has been propagandizing the public to do without, but without success. The history of humanity has been the pursuit of a better life, which does not mean shivering in the winter when one can turn up the heat, or walking when one can ride (or fly). So where the joys of the simple life fail to persuade, the wrath of the gods will be summoned. First, it was the "limits to growth." There simply wasn't enough to go around, the planet had a set "carrying capacity." Since growth was impossible, redistribution of what was available called forth socialism. Technological advances tossed the idea of limits out the window. Perhaps not all wants can be satisfied for all people, but clearly more can be done to advance civilization and improve the lives of billions. Growth is still possible and its fruits highly desirable.

So the socialists had to up the stakes. Further growth would kill us all, they proclaimed. The resources might be available, but to exploit them would destroy the planet. Already, we have come too far. Global warming (or now climate change, since the latest warming phase may be waning) makes growth undesirable, and if there is to be no more growth, what is allowed to be produced must be rationed by socialist planners on an equitable basis. This is the practical meaning of sustainable.

Green is essential to Red. Environmentalism will be pushed regardless of the state of scientific knowledge because socialism requires it. It is a sin not to believe that Nature commands limits on human civilization, justifying enforcement by socialist vicars.

Browner's appointment to the presidential staff does not require Senate confirmation. It is a reward to the far Left who backed Obama in the primaries. Yet, the new president must know that the public expects him to pull the country out of the recession and return to a path of economic growth. If he fails to revive the economy, he will not be re-elected.

Yet, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s would only be a down payment on the reduction in living standards the Greens would impose on America to reach their goal of rationed scarcity and a global redistribution of wealth. Browner as Climate Czar can be expected to threaten floods, storms and pestilence as holy vengeance against America's love of progress and innovation. But this is one secular "church" that really does need to be separated from the state, as its dogma is horribly false.


Climate change sidelines democracy in Britain

THE GOVERNMENT has quietly adopted powers enabling it to introduce national pay-as-you-throw rubbish taxes of up to œ100 without a vote in parliament. The move, which was confirmed this weekend by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will allow councils across the country to impose extra charges on householders who leave out too much non-recyclable waste.

The fact that ministers have adopted powers to impose the taxes on millions of households without a vote in the Commons will shock MPs. They always believed they would be able to veto the unpopular move following trials in five pilot areas. Last week the government also sidelined parliament to move ahead with plans to introduce a controversial third runway at Heathrow airport.

The Tories discovered the bin tax measure in a little-noticed clause of the Climate Change Act. "New taxes are being imposed by arrogant and out-of-touch rulers, showing contempt for the democratic process. The imposition of extra-parliamentary taxation is a constitutional outrage," said Eric Pickles, shadow communities and local government secretary."

Internal Whitehall documents released last year showed the government is planning for at least two-thirds of all homes to be hit by the bin taxes. Under one option discussed by ministers, households would have to pay for special bin bags. Rubbish not placed in these bags would remain uncollected. Households would be charged for the size of their bins; families requiring a bigger bin will pay the most. Those requiring a weekly rubbish collection would also have to pay an extra charge.



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


18 January, 2009

Greenies caused the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River

A flock of Canada Geese (called "large birds" in the media) appears to have brought down the plane by being sucked into its engines. The plague of Canada geese in much of the United States exists because of evironmental protection laws. They would soon make lovely roasts on lots of dining-room tables otherwise. But, obnoxious as the geese are, the power of the Greenie lobby prevents any culling. And Congress has done its best to back up the Greenies by funding "non-lethal" measures to remove the geese. Clearly, those methods did not work

Geese overpopulation is a major health hazard to local residents and the environment. Federal funds will go towards "Geesepeace" program for New York that uses humane methods to stop Canadian geese from ruining parks and fields

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that Congress has passed $200,000 in federal funds for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to implement a Geesepeace program that works to alleviate the Canada geese overpopulation problem that threatens the health of local residents and the environment. Geesepeace is a national non-profit organization that uses non-lethal methods to reduce the number of geese and redirect them to areas where they pose less of a threat to people. The funds come as part of the agricultural appropriations component of the Omnibus bill passed today by the Senate and have been earmarked to be used specifically for New York. The bill, previously passed by the House, now awaits the President's signature.

"Canada geese are overrunning our parks and open spaces and their droppings are polluting our water and our land," Schumer said. "When you talk to anyone who uses local parks, playgrounds, open spaces, athletic fields and golf courses, you hear the same complaint, time and time again. That's why we need a solution to this problem and that's what we have with the Geesepeace program. It will control the goose population and keep our parks and open spaces clean, green and beautiful."
This issue came up in 2004 when Geesepeace was trying to save a flock of geese from Riker's Island (in the flight path of Laguardia) rather than have the geese killed:
In this time of trouble in faraway places, the man-versus-fowl struggle brewing on Rikers Island may seem trivial. But its implications are dire for a certain flock. On one side are geese, slender-necked and given to relieving themselves liberally, who like where they are living, a stone's throw away from La Guardia Airport. On the other is a worried band of federal officials who believe the geese are too close to planes carrying millions of passengers in and out of one of the nation's busiest airports.

History teaches that these things hardly ever end well - for the birds at least. Indeed, by the end of the day today, barring a last minute reprieve, 495 Canada geese will be on their way to an upstate slaughterhouse, Port Authority and federal wildlife officials said yesterday.
There's nothing in the New York Times archives between the 2004 slaughter and the crash yesterday, but I think an investigation into what was or wasn't done over the years to control the geese is in order. If environmental concerns overrode passenger safety then that's something that needs to be debated in light of yesterday's miracle.



Well, that's that, then. Has she changed her name to Hillary Bush?

The US Secretary of State-designate, Hillary Clinton, has said countries including India must be made part of any agreement on climate change and announced that the Obama Administration would appoint a Climate Change Envoy for the purpose. "As we move toward Copenhagen and attempt to craft a climate change agreement, all the major nations must be part of it. You know, China, India, Russia, and others, they have to be part of whatever agreement we put forth," Clinton said during the course of her nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. "I think, as I say, this can be both included in but also independently given attention to by emphasizing energy security which I intend to do," she said.

In response to a question from Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton said: "We will have a climate change envoy negotiator, because we want to elevate it and we want to have one person who will lead our international efforts." At the same time, she said that America's credibility leading internationally will depend, in large measure, on what the US is able to accomplish here at home.



Big Coal is on a roll in the nation's capital, winning early rounds this week in what promises to be a long fight over fossil fuels and climate change. Despite a well-funded ad campaign by environmentalists attacking the industry, and a huge coal-ash spill in Tennessee that has led to calls for more regulation, the industry has received positive assurances this week from President-elect Barack Obama's nominees that the new administration is committed to keeping coal a big part of the nation's energy source.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama's choice to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, described coal to a Senate panel as "a vital resource" for the country. A day earlier, Mr. Obama's nominee to run the Energy Department, physicist Steven Chu, referred to coal as a "great natural resource." Two years ago, he called the expansion of coal-fired power plants his "worst nightmare." The comments indicated the new administration is trying to steer toward the center in the debate over the costs associated with curbing fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases they produce.

Environmental groups are ratcheting up attacks on the industry. Last month, a group led by former Vice President Al Gore ran a national TV and print ad campaign lampooning the promise of so-called clean-coal technology and suggesting it would be risky for the U.S. to hold off on regulation of carbon-dioxide emissions until such technology becomes commercially available. Coal-fired power plants account for half of the U.S. electricity supply, and are one of the leading sources of U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, said Wednesday he wasn't surprised by the nominees' comments and noted that a 2007 Supreme Court ruling obligated the Obama administration to eventually determine whether greenhouse-gas emissions endanger health or welfare, the legal trigger for regulating them under the federal Clean Air Act.

Addressing the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, Ms. Jackson didn't say Wednesday how quickly her agency would reach that decision, but promised to "immediately revisit" the December 2007 order by current EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to deny California and other states permission to implement their own controls on automobile greenhouse-gas emissions.

Separately, an influential group of corporations and environmental groups is scheduled Thursday to ask that any federal limit on greenhouse-gas emissions not hit coal-burning power producers too hard. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership plans to ask Congress for mandates that would seek to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 42% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050, according to a copy of the group's recommendations reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.



It looks a lot like someone hit the snooze button on North American action to address climate change. The Harper government made an early and enthusiastic pitch for a market-based carbon cap-and-trade scheme -- one day after Barack Obama's presidential win in November. Protection for Alberta's oilsands exports to the U.S. would be a key part of the plan, advanced by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and Environment Minister Jim Prentice. We have been speaking about a cap-and-trade system on a North American basis, so (there are) some exciting opportunities," Prentice declared. But there has been no official reaction since then from the Obama administration.

And the Conference Board of Canada warned in a recent briefing paper that the economic crisis is crowding out the environmental one. While the threat of climate change has not disappeared, "potential action has been pushed to the back burner," the Ottawa-based policy group said.

It's hard to argue with that analysis. Obama has been clear about his first order of business. "The economy is badly damaged, it is very sick," he told TV cameras as he carried out discussions on Capitol Hill aimed at getting an economic stimulus package signed into law as a first priority after his Jan. 20 inauguration. The package, which has preoccupied Obama since November, calls for spending $775 billion over two years. It includes $300 billion in tax cuts for individuals and small businesses.

The financial mess in the U.S. is also likely to impede international climate-change talks scheduled for November in Copenhagen. At that meeting, the international community will be charged with developing a post-Kyoto accord, to take effect in January 2013. "It will take a sea change," the conference board said, "to persuade governments to impose serious carbon restrictions or to invest heavily in new technology in the midst of the looming downturn and the clamour for bailouts."

Obama made pledges during his campaign for the presidency to champion tough action on climate change. He has followed through by creating a new post of special assistant on energy and climate change, and naming several climate-change advocates to his cabinet. But the Democratic president-elect derived a lot of his support from labour, and job protection is bound to be his overriding concern during a time of financial uncertainty. Fears about imposing additional costs on U.S. industries that would harm their competitiveness doubtlessly will influence what Obama is able to achieve on the environmental front. The U.S. government may opt to delay legislative action on climate change until 2010, the paper said.

When U.S. politicians do proceed, the Congress -- believed to favour a cap-and-trade program over a carbon tax -- will probably insist on parallel environmental commitments from developing countries such as India and China, to ensure U.S. business is not put at a disadvantage. This would be a welcome development for the Harper government, which at past climate-change conferences has argued that India and China must join the greenhouse-gas reduction effort.

If a North American scheme is to be established, it will be up to Ottawa to take the initiative. The best strategy, the conference board asserted, is for the Canadian government to convince Washington that: - Canada is essential to its energy security needs. Indeed, Canada currently is the largest supplier of oil and gas to the U.S. Carbon emissions from oilsands oil -- when calculated in terms of transportation from the well head to the gas pump -- are as low as Venezuelan and Middle East oil. Canada is committed to investing in clean technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

The conference board suggested a Montreal-based agency that was created as part of NAFTA -- the North American Commission for Environmental Co-operation -- be deployed as a co-ordinating body for a Canada-U.S. climate-change plan. The agency could build on two initiatives already launched by an assortment of states and provinces, the Western Climate Initiative and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. To date, 17 states and five provinces --British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick -- have signed on.



This is a restrained comment but the fact that it comes from the Leftist "Salon" is interesting

While 99 out of 100 economists, it seems, are calling for a big fiscal stimulus, "big fiscal stimulus" makes me nervous. Basic Keynesian macroeconomic theory states that deficit spending can be used to help an economy recover from a downturn. We've been applying deficit spending for the past eight years or so and we are staring at an ugly recession. Deficit spending did not prevent the recession, so it may be that further deficit spending is not the answer.

The Wall Street Journal's economic forecast survey concludes that a big fiscal stimulus will lead to positive economic growth by the third quarter of 2009. But without the fiscal stimulus positive economic growth will be restored by the beginning of 2010. Speeding up the recovery is important in the short run, but there are also long-run risks associated with excessive government spending. At some large debt to gross domestic product ratio, lenders may no longer buy our government bonds and interest rates could spike.

Having said all this, the answer to the "what sort of fiscal stimulus is needed question" seems clear. If government is going to spend a bunch of money, the money should be well spent. Government should pursue spending that leads to the largest difference between benefits and costs (i.e., largest net benefit), where benefits and costs are broadly defined.

If the government projects are ranked in terms of net benefits, whether the ranking is done with explicit monetary values does not really matter at this point, and those projects with the highest net benefits are pursued, then the efficiency of the U.S. economy will be enhanced and we will be in a better long-term economic situation. Creating make-work jobs, digging holes and filling them back in, does little to enhance the long-run prospects of the U.S. economy.

Which brings us to green jobs. The first thing to understand from a microeconomic perspective is that new jobs represent costs to society. Green jobs, therefore, are a metric for the costs of improving the environment. The benefits are the improved health, recreational opportunities, visibility and other metrics that arise from environmental policy. Green jobs are simply the wrong metric for the positive impacts of environmental policy.

Another concern with green jobs is that many of these jobs created by environmental policy will simply replace jobs in other sectors of the economy, leading to little net change in the overall number of jobs. Some sectors of the economy might overcome this inherent trade-off, for example, idle workers hired to weatherize 1 million homes, but these aren't the sort of job sectors that lead to big macroeconomic improvements.

Further, the cost differential between clean renewable energy and dirty nonrenewable energy is large enough that government mandates are necessary to jump-start the demand for renewable energy. Government mandates are the sort of policies that are most expensive and inefficient. The opportunity cost of these green jobs might be high.

There is one place where environmental policy can lead to a net increase in jobs, but this is a long-run proposition and not the sort of right-now-jobs that we would demand from a fiscal stimulus. A cleaner environment improves the health of workers and ecosystems, which increases labor productivity. Increasing labor productivity leads to an increase in the productive capacity of the economy. A healthier economy will, therefore, support more jobs, albeit in the long run.

Mixing the notion of fiscal stimulus with the pursuit of environmental quality is misguided. Both outcomes are likely to fall short of goals. It makes much more sense to pursue fiscal policy without a green jobs constraint and pursue environmental policy without a macroeconomic constraint.


Inclusive science

Because their specialized knowledge confers authority, climate scientists should make every effort to be accurate and complete when communicating to the public about the politically divisive issue of climate change. Unfortunately, there are several points where Alexander Bedritsky's thought-provoking article "Meteorology and the War on Climate Change" (Summer 2008) fails to do this. Bedritsky states that "human activities are altering the climate at an increasingly alarming rate." However, according to data from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the rate of planetary warming that was established in the mid-1970s has been remarkably constant, varying only slightly from 0.17øC per decade.

The 21 computer models used by the IPCC share a common ensemble characteristic: for the midrange emissions scenario they, too, predict a constant rate of warming, not an "increasing" rate. The models simply produce different rates. As a meteorologist, Bedritsky knows that the way to adjudicate between differing forecast models is to literally "look out the window" to see which is performing the best. In the case of climate models, looking at the warming trend that has been established accomplishes the same, and yields a 21st century warming of 1.7øC, which is within, but near the low end, of the entire range of projections made by the IPCC.

Even this may be an overestimation. It is very clear, from both the IPCC data and from satellite measurements, that there has been no net warming since 1998 (which was a record year because of a very strong El Ni¤o warming in the tropical Pacific). Further, as noted by Keenlyside et al. in Nature earlier this year, Atlantic and Pacific temperature patterns indicate that little warming can be expected for several more years. Many of the IPCC's climate models are indeed capable of reproducing El Ni¤o-like temperature excursions, but none-not one-of the models illustrated in the IPCC's 2007 report projects a period of 15 years with no net warming.

Bedritsky's statement about a "marked decline" of global ice cover is also contextually incomplete. Sea-ice in the Northern Hemisphere, mainly in the Arctic Ocean, has declined significantly since systematic measurements began in 1979, but 1979 was at the end of the coldest period in the Arctic since the mid-1920s. While the recent decline is clearly related to warming temperatures, paleoclimatic evidence from northern Eurasia indicates that late summer sea-ice in the Arctic was likely to have been very spotty or non-existent for millennia after the end of the last ice age. Obviously the polar bear and the Inuit survived. Ice extent measured by satellite in the Southern Hemisphere has increased and was at record high levels, adjusted for season, earlier this year.

I think Bedritsky's article would have been more complete, if less alarming, if he had noted these observations about climate history, climate models, and ice. Their omission reminds me of President Eisenhower's fears that a technological elite could acquire inordinate power. In his farewell address,famous for its introduction of the notion of a "military-industrial" complex, Eisenhower went on to say something equally prescient and disturbing, "Holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must always be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become a captive of a scientific-technological elite." This is precisely the danger that accrues when authoritative scientists do not communicate complete information to the public.



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


17 January, 2009

Exposed: The Secret Animal Rights Agenda Of America's Next Regulatory Czar

Barack Obama's pick for "regulatory czar," Harvard Law School Professor Cass Sunstein, may be the incoming president's most popular appointment so far. Judging from his resume -- best-selling author, "pre-eminent legal scholar of our time," and an endorsement from The Wall Street Journal -- we can almost understand why. Almost. Because as we're telling the media today, there's one troubling portion of the new Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator's C.V. that has seems to have flown under everyone's radar: Cass Sunstein is a radical animal rights activist.

Don't believe us? Sunstein has made no secret of his devotion to the cause of establishing legal "rights" for livestock, wildlife, and pets. "[T]here should be extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, scientific experiments, and agriculture," Sunstein wrote in a 2002 working paper while at the University of Chicago Law school.

"Extensive regulation of the use of animals." That's PETA-speak for using government to get everything PETA and the Humane Society of the United States can't get through gentle pressure or not-so-gentle coercion. Not exactly the kind of thing American ranchers, restaurateurs, hunters, and biomedical researchers (to say nothing of ordinary consumers) would like to hear from their next "regulatory czar."

A version of the same paper also appeared as the introduction to Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, a 2004 book that Sunstein co-edited with then-girlfriend Martha Nussbaum. In that book, Sunstein set out an ambitious plan to give animals the legal "right" to file lawsuits. We're not joking:
"[A]nimals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law . Any animals that are entitled to bring suit would be represented by (human) counsel, who would owe guardian like obligations and make decisions, subject to those obligations, on their clients' behalf."
It doesn't end there. Sunstein delivered a keynote speech at Harvard University's 2007 "Facing Animals" conference. (Click here to watch the video; his speech starts around 39:00.) Keep in mind that as OIRA Administrator, Sunstein will have the political authority to implement a massive federal government overhaul. Consider this tidbit:
"We ought to ban hunting, I suggest, if there isn't a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It's time now."
Sunstein also argued in favor of "eliminating current practices such as greyhound racing, cosmetic testing, and meat eating, most controversially."

He concluded his Harvard speech by expressing his "more ambitious animating concern" that the current treatment of livestock and other animals should be considered "a form of unconscionable barbarity not the same as, but in many ways morally akin to, slavery and mass extermination of human beings." Sound familiar?

As the individual about to assume "the most important position that Americans know nothing about," Sunstein owes the public an honest appraisal of his animal rights goals before taking office. Will the next four years be a dream-come-true for anti-meat, anti-hunting, and anti-everything-else radicals? Time will tell. For now, meat lovers might want to stock their freezers.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


BY MIKE SMITH (Mike Smith is a certified consulting meteorologist and CEO of WeatherData Services of Wichita Kansas)

For more than 20 years, we have been hearing doomsday predictions about global warming's effects on Kansas and across the world. Locally, during the hot Kansas summer of 2006, forecasts were issued and media articles written tying that hot, dry weather to global warming, and forecasting more extreme heat in the future. According to one scientist with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming in 2006 was already "kicking the heat up a notch."

But the weather has refused to cooperate with those forecasts. More drought? The reality: 2007 and 2008 were the two wettest years in the history of Wichita. No area of Kansas is experiencing drought at the present time, in spite of all that hand-wringing just two years ago. Extreme heat? The reality: The past two years, combined, had 21 fewer days than average with 90-degree or higher temperatures. Since 1990, there has been a downward trend in 100-degree or warmer temperatures in Wichita.

It isn't just Kansas. In spite of the highest concentrations of carbon dioxide in the history of civilization, world temperatures have failed to warm the past 10 years. Ocean heat content is falling. World ice concentrations (Arctic and Antarctic combined) are higher than normal.

The 2001 forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (cited by Al Gore) have failed to capture the recent cooling, as the above graph indicates, suggesting that the carbon dioxide-atmosphere connection is more complex than some initially believed. A small but growing number of scientists are becoming concerned about global cooling due to the current unusually low solar activity and other geophysical factors.

The fact is that the solar-land-ocean-atmosphere system is incredibly complex, and meteorologists have no consistent skill at forecasting its behavior a year into the future, let alone decades hence. I don't know what 2009's or 2029's weather might bring, nor does anyone else. The sciences of meteorology and climatology still have a lot of learning to do. My personal conclusion: The science is definitely not settled.


Jim Peden cited: Man-Made CO2 Can't Cause Global Warming; It Doesn't Have the Mojo

Despite all scare-mongering to the contrary, carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is not the cause of global warming. To be an agent of greenhouse heating, carbon dioxide (or any) atmospheric gas would have to be capable of absorbing in significant quantities both the sun's radiation spectrum (the ultimate source of natural heating on Earth) and of absorbing heat radiating back from the Earth (the greenhouse effect).

There is a process to measure a gas's absorption ability called atomic absorption spectrometry. Suspicious of the entire global warming hysteria, atmospheric physicist James A. Peden put carbon dioxide through just such an analysis. Based on where and how much of the sun's total radiation output, which consists of light and other wavelengths not visible to human eyes, Peden estimates that carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere takes in no more than 8 percent of the sun's total radiation. It's the same percentage for heat radiated back from Earth.

"Man-made CO2 doesn't appear physically capable of absorbing much more than two-thousandths of the radiated heat passing upward through the atmosphere," Peden writes. "And, if all the available heat in the atmosphere is indeed being captured by the current CO2 levels before leaving the atmosphere, then adding more CO2 to the atmosphere won't matter a bit." Holy cow! Hard scientific analysis finds carbon dioxide not guilty as charged because this gas simply does not have the molecular mojo to play the role of atmospheric heater. The real culprit is water vapor, which Peden estimates is responsible for 95 percent of all greenhouse heating in the atmosphere. In politics, citing carbon dioxide, whether from natural or human-made sources, for causing global warming is the equivalent of blaming the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Peden is hardly the only skeptical scientist. In December 2007, 100 scientists signed an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. That letter had some harsh words about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saying that its conclusions about carbon dioxide's role in climate change are "quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions."

Last March, 500 scientists attending the 2008 International Climate Conference in New York City signed the Manhattan Declaration, saying, in part, "that there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change." The Manhattan Declaration also notes that "current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity's real and serious problems." Amen to that.

Can we finally get real about climate change? There is a lot of political pressure to spend enormous sums of money on a CO2 cap-and-trade system that won't solve any problems but will add significant burdens to a world economy already on the ropes. And no. Peden is not in the pay of polluters or the oil industry. He is editor of the Middlebury Community Network of Middlebury, Vermont, and has worked as an atmospheric physicist at the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh and at Extranuclear Laboratories in Blawnox, Penn., studying ion molecule reactions in the upper atmosphere.

Peden's spectrometer analysis cuts through all the unexamined assumptions and downright lies about the role of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. The only question here is why we are not hearing a whole lot more in the media about legitimate scientific objections to the greenhouse gases theory of global warming. Perhaps, having been bamboozled by the Bush Administration over Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, these same ace reporters and editors simply cannot bear to acknowledge being hoodwinked about carbon dioxide, too.


Skeptic strikes back

A Dutch Warmist blog has tried to discredit one of the skeptical scientists on Marc Morano's long list . The Skeptic replies:

Hi, I'm Hajo Smit and true I'm not all that important. Our precious world and society is however and the AGW-alarmists are not doing the planet a great service. In 1991 I graduated with distinction at Wageningen Univesity in the field of Environmental Sciences. I majored in meteorology and climate science. I spent 3 months studying in Mainz Max Planck Insitute of Atmospheric Chemistry under nobel laureate Paul Crutzen's guidance and spent 11 months studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana Chamaign at the Atmospheric Sciences departmant doing climate modelling under Michael Schlesinger. After graduating I left climate science only to start studying the literature intensly again around 2006. I'm listed as an expert on I'm also listed on Inhofe's list and correctly so. If I'm not qualified to speak on these matters who is? Currently I'm working as a journalist/meteorologist on my own website which caters exclusively to the wintersports crowd in the Netherlands. Thanks for looking into my files.... the publications you mention are polemic blog postings and not scientific literature. Since when a former scientist is not allowed to turn to journalism and free writing styles to give his opinions with the best interest of nature and mankind in mind? That sounds a lot like censorship.

Eskimos say no decline in polar bear numbers

But the elitist knowalls just ignore such "primitives", of course

Canada is home to about two-thirds of the world's polar bears but scientists warn populations are starting to dwindle because of thawing sea ice, over-hunting, industrial activity in the Arctic and an increase of toxins in the food chain. Some have said two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear within 50 years if nothing is done to slow the loss of sea ice.

But many Inuit say they haven't seen a decline in the population and worry that overly harsh restrictions that threaten the northern way of life will be imposed to appease people who don't depend on the bears for their livelihood. "We feel our polar bears are doing fine," said Nunavut Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk. "We're basing that on living there and living with polar bears all of our lives ... People are encountering more polar bears out on the land."

When the bear population increases, it becomes a safety issue for residents who can no longer even go camping, Shewchuk said. The Inuit would like to do a proper survey of the bears once they get funding, he added.

Peter Ewins, director of species conservation at the World Wildlife Federation, said more than half of Canada's polar bear subpopulations are dwindling. "Sea ice is what polar bears live on and it's vanishing at accelerating rates," [That has now gone into reverse] said Ewins, who will be a presenter at the summit. "There is a major problem. Many things need to be done to fix it."

The government needs to protect polar bear habitat by curbing industrial activity in the North and by taking bold measures to address global warming, he said. People must also stop hunting in Baffin Bay until the bear population has a chance to recover, he added. "It comes down to a simple reality - there is a problem here. You can't deny scientific consensus. [You can if it's wrong]

More here

Flint, Michigan's 95-year-old record low falls as 19 below zero hits city

Flint broke a 95-year-old record early Wednesday morning when the temperature plummeted to a frigid 19 below zero. The previous record? Minus 10, set in 1914, according to the National Weather Service. Here's the even worse news: We won't seeing relief in the next few days.

Early morning lows Thursday are expected to be 9 below zero, with a 20 below zero wind chill. Highs on Thursday will reach 4 degrees. Friday's lows are expected to be 5 below, with wind chills reaching 25 below. Highs are expected to reach around 6 degrees. Wind chills will reach 25 below again on Saturday. We don't get any relief until Sunday, when highs are supposed to be a relatively balmy 22 degrees.

The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory through 7 p.m. Thursday. But the only reason the advisory isn't in effect until Saturday morning, said Matt Mosteiko, meteorologist of the National Weather Service, is because wind chill advisories can only be issued for 24 hours at a time. For now, it's just a wind chill watch until Saturday morning. And very cold.



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


16 January, 2009

Hansen comes clean at last?

Maybe the attack on his numbers by Lubos Motl and others was the last straw. I am advised by email that NASA's Hansen has at last released his "data adjustment" computer code to Steve McIntyre -- after a lot of pressure from Steve to do just that. I assume it is FORTRAN code -- a la Michael Mann. It would be a lot simpler if Hansen had just released his algorithms but the FORTRAN code should eventually reveal what they were/are. As I know from experience, backtracking through someone else's FORTRAN code is very difficult at any time, however, and I hear that Hansen's code is far from elegant, so it will be some time before we know much.

I think there is a strong possibility that Hansen has simply adjusted his code from time to time in an ad hoc way rather than setting up a systematic theory first -- and there is much potential for cumulative errors in doing that. I don't envy Steve his disentangling task. Hansen may be relying on it being impossible.

The one who has not released his methods is Phil Jones of CRU.

Goodies for Australian scientists with flexible ethics

Research grants are a very powerful argument in favour of doing and saying whatever is expected. The grants below are for "coping" research but they assume that there is something to be coped with. And the temperature record since 1998 makes that a dubious peg to hang your research on

One of the world's largest research grant pools for climate change adaptation, about $30million, is expected to be allocated over the next two years, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility announced yesterday. The $50 million NCCARF, set up in contentious circumstances by former environment minister Malcolm Turnbull during the 2007 election campaign, is preparing to take research application grants across eight priority areas.

Based at Griffith University, NCCARF recently published the first three of eight draft research priority plans: for health, disaster and emergency management; marine biodiversity; and resources. Research adaptation plans for terrestrial biodiversity, primary industries, water resources, human settlements and social, economic and institutional dimensions will follow this year. Last year Griffith and James Cook University signed a research deal aimed at positioning themselves ahead of the proposed new national research priorities of tropical science and climate change adaptation.

In what appears to signal the emergence of the first university research hub, Griffith and NCCARF will host a series of seven university-based research networks on climate change adaptation. This will include three of the Group of Eight research-intensive universities. Under the JCU- Griffith deal, the universities will do joint research and supervise each other's postgraduates to position themselves as research leaders in tropical science and climate adaptation for the Asia-Pacific.

JCU deputy vice-chancellor, research, and leading UN climate change author Chris Cocklin told the HES the alliance had been formed in response to the Rudd Government's proposed new national research priorities. "Both universities want to consolidate our research on tropical knowledge, and it's also no secret that it's a direct response to (Innovation) Minister Kim Carr's policy to build capacity (hubs) in areas of national priority," he said. "Tropical solutions", especially their subset issues of technology transfer to Australia's neighbours, is one of nine priorities in the Cutler innovation review released last September.

NCCARF director and former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change impact and adaptation author Jean Palutikof told the HES that the field of adaptation research was not well advanced and the emphasis would be on developing resilience. "We are hopeful about making a (research application) call over the next few months for the first three plans, and the other five as soon as possible thereafter," she said yesterday. Professor Palutikof said a fellow IPCC author, British-based Neil Adger, had described the $30million as "one of the biggest pots of money ever put up for adaptation research; it's a significant investment internationally".

She said the extent to which Australia, already challenged by climate extremes such as drought and tropical storms, could adapt to climate change was restricted by the lack of precise predictions of changes at the local level, especially for rainfall. "Even under such uncertainties, we can plan for the future. Adaptation will be easier for resilient systems, and research is needed into what makes systems and institutions resilient and what actions we can take to enhance resilience," she said. Heat extremes, extreme weather, vector-borne disease, mental health and healthcare systems and infrastructure are among the research priorities identified in the health plan.

Last October, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong announced a $10 million grant under which Griffith and its NCCARF would host a series of mainly university-based research networks. NCCARF expects to allocate about $20 million this year and the remaining $30 million in 2010, Professor Palutikof said.


Obama climate czar has socialist ties

Group sees 'global governance' as solution

Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama's pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for "global governance" and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change. By Thursday, Mrs. Browner's name and biography had been removed from Socialist International's Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group's congress in Greece was still available.

Socialist International, an umbrella group for many of the world's social democratic political parties such as Britain's Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is harshly critical of U.S. policies. The group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, the organization's action arm on climate change, says the developed world must reduce consumption and commit to binding and punitive limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Obama, who has said action on climate change would be a priority in his administration, tapped Mrs. Browner last month to fill a new position as White House coordinator of climate and energy policies. The appointment does not need Senate confirmation.

Mr. Obama's transition team said Mrs. Browner's membership in the organization is not a problem and that it brings experience in U.S. policymaking to her new role. "The Commission for a Sustainable World Society includes world leaders from a variety of political parties, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who succeeded Tony Blair, in serving as vice president of the convening organization," Obama transition spokesman Nick Shapiro said. "Carol Browner was chosen to help the president-elect coordinate energy and climate policy because she understands that our efforts to create jobs, achieve energy security and combat climate change demand integration among different agencies; cooperation between federal, state and local governments; and partnership with the private sector," Mr. Shapiro said in an e-mail.

Mrs. Browner ran the Environmental Protection Agency under President Clinton. Until she was tapped for the Obama administration, she was on the board of directors for the National Audubon Society, the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for American Progress and former Vice President Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. Her name has been removed from the Gore organization's Web site list of directors, and the Audubon Society issued a press release about her departure from that organization.


In a mad world of their own

Comment from Prof. Brignell in Britain

EU chemophobia knows no bounds. It has already destroyed minor industries and severely hampered major ones by the reckless banning of elements and compounds with little consideration of the possible effects. Now from West Country MEP Neil Parish we have this announcement:
Strasbourg, 13th January 2009 - The European Parliament has voted to ban a large number of the plant protection products available to British producers, despite a concerted effort by Conservative MEPs to restore some balance and proportionality to the plans.

West Country MEP, Neil Parish, the Chairman of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee has warned the parliament's overzealous approach will take a vast number of products off the market. The ban will reduce yields of a number of foods including carrots, cereals, potatoes, onions and parsnips, whilst pushing up prices for consumers.

Conservative efforts to reject a deal agreed by the parliament and the council of ministers did not achieve the 393 votes required. Yesterday, a Conservative amendment calling for a full impact assessment on the plans was rejected by the parliament's services. Now, the plans could only be stopped by a last-ditch effort by the British government, although over the last several months they have failed to back up their opposition with action.

"This law will drive up the cost of the weekly food shop at the worst time for British families. "We do need strong restrictions on pesticide use but it should be based on sound science, rather than on the whim of politicians. There has been no balance whatsoever in the parliament's position. MEPs have failed to see pesticides as necessary tools in maintaining our crops.

"Many of the products on the market today are safe when used correctly, and have been around for years. Without crop protection products, our food supplies will be volatile at a time when food security is rising up the political agenda.

"The Labour government has expressed concern about this directive, but it has failed to put the case nearly as strongly as it should have. "It is ludicrous that such a plan would be brought into law without an impact assessment to gauge its consequences. The only hope we have is for a last-ditch effort by the government to demand we finally get an overall picture of how food production will be affected across the EU."
Parish makes a good case but rather understates it. Yes there will be a process of attrition, which will greatly reduce the competitiveness of European farming and cause food shortages.

The real worry, however, is the new risk of a serious explosion of one particular pest, as yet unidentifiable, that will sweep through the continent destroying all before it. The greens who dominate the EU have this dream of returning mankind to an imagined past paradise, but the world has changed. People are crowded into cities and depend on intensive, mechanised farming to feed them. A new strain of, say, influenza can move round the world in a matter of days; while some human diseases, once regarded as belonging to the past, such as TB, are making a comeback in resistant forms. So it is with plant pests and diseases.

The great Irish famine of the 1840s, a tragic event that did much to change world history, was precipitated by common potato blight (and worsened by bureaucratic inefficiency). Your bending author's tomato crop was wiped out last year by the same disease. Amateur growers have already been seriously hampered by EU restrictions on chemicals, some of which have been used safely for years, and have been obliged to abandon some types of crop. The Colorado potato beetle caused panic in wartime and post-war Britain, even once being considered as a potential weapon.

Such practicalities do not cause concern in the rarefied atmosphere of Brussels. There is little consultation other than with blinkered green pressure groups. Science and its methods are regarded a pass‚. Such a process of wilful neglect, as we have seen in the financial world, must inevitably lead to a catastrophe. Those of us who warned about the foreseeable result of the activities of the debt pushers were ignored. We are now warning about another avoidable catastrophe and will no doubt be ignored again.

It is a strange world in which an imaginary threat such as the carbon scare can cause the wasteful expenditure of billions, yet in the face of real threats we simply throw down our weapons of defence, but that is Greenery for you.


Chicago has most consecutive days of snowfall since records began in 1884

A new record was set Wednesday when Chicago had its ninth consecutive day of measurable snowfall, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record was eight consecutive days set from Dec. 13 to 20, 1973. Snowfall records in Chicago date back to 1884.

A wind chill warning has been issued as temperatures as tsmperartures will not reach single digits until Friday. The forecast for Thursday is: Sunny and cold, with a high near -3. Wind chill values as low as -33. West northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph.


Global cooling better for violins?

The BBC has a more extended comment than that below, noting even that the climate change concerned was sun-driven

Astounding as it may sound, scientists are not ruling out the possibility that climate change may have affected the sound of wooden musical instruments in the face of the changing 'characteristic' of the wood due to global warming. Several attempts have been made to make a violin that generates the same kind of sound as it did in the 17th century, but to no avail," Dr T Ramaswami, Secretary in the Department of Science and Technology.

"Several questions have been asked as to why today's violin cannot match the phenomenal outcome of the original violin. Though it is still a theory, many (experts) have opined that during the 17th century, the earth was passing through a little ice age. The world was cool. The maple tree from which the violin is made was also softer than it is today," he said.

Ramaswami, also a noted leather technologist, said though it was yet to be confirmed, it could be because of the softness of the maple tree in the 17th century that the musical outcome of the violin was so 'phenomenonal'. He said it was possible that the molecular structure of the trees might have transformed over the years due to global warming, thus changing the final outcome of the wooden instruments.


Explanatory comment from a correspondent:

Physical properties of wood vary substantially, depending, among other things, on the growth rate of the tree, which determines the width of the annual ring and the density of the wood. Stressed trees (i.e., growing under severe conditions) have closely spaced annual rings and the physical properties of the wood are not the same as trees that grow rapidly and develop wide rings.

For example, old-growth trees that are 500-1000 years old have narrow rings and very straight grain that makes them ideal for various uses as lumber. If you cut down the old-growth trees, the next generation of trees grows very rapidly and typically has wide rings with very irregular grain, making the wood less desirable.

Thus, wood used for making violins could have rather different qualities depending on the growing conditions of the trees. During the Little Ice Age, trees were stressed and growth rings tend to be narrower and probably different in density than trees that grew later under more optimal conditions. So the wood used to make violins during the Little Ice Age could well have different physical properties than younger wood.


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


15 January, 2009

Cheating in NASA climate data probable

Hansen admits to many "adjustments" to his temperature data but claims that they are statistically based. His final "data" certainly diverges strongly from the raw data. Lubos Motl below thinks he has found "made up" data rather than statistically adjusted data. Hansen will not reveal the details of his adjustment procedures so that does feed suspicions. Motl did not find similar divergences from randomness in climate datasets from other sources

David Stockwell has analyzed the frequency of the final digits in the temperature data by NASA's GISS led by James Hansen, and he claims that the unequal distribution of the individual digits strongly suggests that the data have been modified by a human hand.

With Mathematica 7, such hypotheses take a few minutes to be tested. And remarkably enough, I must confirm Stockwell's bold assertion although - obviously - this kind of statistical evidence is never quite perfect and the surprising results may always be due to "bad luck" or other explanations mentioned at the end of this article.

Update: Steve McIntyre disagrees with David and myself and thinks that there's nothing remarkable in the statistics. I confirm that if the absolute values are included, if their central value is carefully normalized, and the anomalies are distributed over just a couple of multiples of 0.1 øC, there's roughly a 3% variation in the frequency of different digits which is enough to explain the non-uniformities below. However, one simply obtains a monotonically decreasing concentration of different digits and I feel that they have a different fingerprint than the NASA data below. But this might be too fine an analysis for such a relatively small statistical ensemble.

This page shows the global temperature anomalies as collected by GISS. It indicates that the year 2008 (J-D) was the coldest year in the 21st century so far, even according to James Hansen et al., a fact you won't hear from them. But we will look at some numerology instead.

Looking at those 1,548 figures

Among the 129*12 = 1,548 monthly readings, you would expect each final digit (0..9) to appear 154.8 times or so. That's the average statistics and you don't expect that each digit will appear exactly 154.8 times. Instead, the actual frequencies will be slightly different than 154.8. How big is the usual fluctuation from the central value?

Well, the rule is that the abundance of each digit, centered at N=154.8, obeys the normal distribution whose standard deviation is roughly sqrt(154.8). Well, it's actually sqrt(139.32), as argued below, but let's avoid unimportant complications here. It means that if you compute the average value of e.g. "(N_i-154.8)^2" over "i" going between 0 and 9, you should again obtain 154.8.

It's not zero, proving that some deviations from the "quotas" are inevitable. On the other hand, it is pretty small for a square of the difference of rather large numbers. And the value seems to be precisely determined. If you generate a random list of 1548 digits between 0 and 9, the average value of "(N_i-154.8)^2" over 10 digits will be remarkably close to 150 or so.

I've played this random game many times, to be sure that I use the correct statistical formulae.


Japanese Report Disputes Human Cause for Global Warming

Researchers debate each other in new study; most disagree greenhouse gases are the cause.

The Japanese Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) published a new study on the causes of Global Warming. Entitled, "Global warming: What is the scientific truth?", the report highlights the differing views of five prominent Japanese scientists. All but one of the scientists disagreed that global warming is the result of human activity.

Contributing to the report were Syunichi Akasofu, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska, and former director of the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the International Arctic Research Center, Shigenori Maruyama, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kiminori Itoh, professor of Physical Chemistry at Yokohama National University, Seita Emori, head of the National Institute for Environmental Sciences, and Kanya Kusano, director of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

While all the researchers agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) statement that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal", four of the five disagreed with the claim that the primary cause of the increase was due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. The only researcher to agree with the IPCC's assertion was Emori, who is himself a member of the IPCC.

Akasofu countered with the statement, "CO2 emissions have been increasing, but the rise in air temperature stopped around 2001. Climate change is due in large part to naturally occurring oscillations". Akasofu says the earth's warming trend began prior to the industrial age, and believes much of the warming seen may simply be a natural recovery from the so-called Little Ice Age, that ended in the 17th century.

Professor Itoh attacked the temperature record itself, saying "Data taken by the U.S. is inadequate. We only have satellite data of global temperatures from 1979 onwards". Itoh, who has previously called global warming "the worst scientific scandal in history", is also an expert reviewer for the IPCC.

Dr. Kasano believes that cosmic rays, which are modulated by cycles in the strength of the sun's magnetic fields, may potentially have large-scale impacts on the earth's climate. The report includes the data in which the researchers base their arguments, and can be publicly viewed (in Japanese) on the Internet.


Global cooling no joke in Alaska

Nicholas Tucker, Sr. who is a resident of Emmonak, a village of about 800 people in Western Alaska, wrote a letter to the people of Alaska, pleading for help to heat and feed his village. Tucker said that the village is experiencing an unprecedented fuel and food crisis due to a salmon disaster last summer, extreme cold, and crippling fuel prices. Tucker has been a full time resident of the village since 1971, after he returned from fighting in the Vietnam War. He writes that this is the first time that he's had to decided between buying food or fuel for his family. "Couple of weeks ago, our 8-year old son had to go to bed hungry," he writes. The letter also chronicles other villagers who are fighting for survival.

In a phone interview from Emmonak, Tucker said that he's asking help from the people of Alaska because he can't get help from the government. "We're trying. But in the meantime, there are people here who need food and heat." Paul LaBolle, spokesman for State Rep. Richard Foster, who represents the area, said that immediate government assistance would have to come by way of an emergency declaration, which comes from the governor's office. He also said that Foster is aware of the problem and is working with the native corporation of Emmonak and with the executive branch to come up with a solution.

Former Emmonak city manager Martin Moore said that he's been asking for help since October, when a fuel barge couldn't reach the village due to an early freeze. But he's had no luck. "When we have a disaster, coupled with high cost of energy, government has an obligation to do what it can to help people who are hurting," he said. He talked about a villager who had just stopped by his house who didn't have enough money to buy gas for his snowmachine to find wood to heat his house. "He's cold," Moore said. "I hear those stories all the time here."

Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office, said that the senator is aware of the situation and a staff member has been in touch with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Division of Agriculture, and the State of Alaska about the situation. "We're going everything we can do on the federal level but we don't have a lot of options," Dillon said. Murkowski's Anchorage office is in the process of organizing volunteers and events to help the area. Here's Tucker's letter:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

From several years ago, our heating fuel and gasoline costs have doubled in Emmonak. Current retail prices are $7.83 per gallon for heating fuel and $7.25 per gallon for gasoline, including the city sales tax. Our village has run out of heating fuel and the first airlift shipment has arrived at the airport. As early as today, the retail for our winter shipments is expected to be anywhere from $9 - $11 per gallon or higher.

Last summer, we experienced a king salmon fisheries disaster. We did not have any king salmon commercial openings. We had a chum salmon commercial harvest which is nothing compared to the king fishery. Chum harvest traditionally covered our king salmon fishing start-up costs, most of the purchase of new equipment, repair and maintenance, supplies, and operating expenses. Our commercial fishermen did not make any money. Our income from this meager, small-scale commercial harvest is basic to and vital to our seasonal subsistence fishing and hunting, berry picking, plant gathering, motor oil and gas, supplies, equipment, and cash for repairs of our outboard motors and our snowmachines used for winter wood gathering. This income pays for our many household bills.

Last fall, we weren't delivered our usual fall fuel orders due to early freeze up. Following this, we got hit by a rare weather anomaly: It has been very, very cold since last part of September. This cold snap still persists as of this day. Households have tell me that there is more snow covering the driftwood out in the tundra and the coastlines, making it difficult finding the logs for firewood. A lot more gasoline and motor oil is being used in search of the driftwood. This winter-long, extreme cold snap is causing the furnaces and boilers to run constantly and to their maximum.

My family of ten, with a household of six adults and four minors, is one of the causalities of our current high costs of heating fuel and gasoline that are devastating families and households here in Emmonak of 847 residents. I am 63 and my wife is 54. For the first time, beginning December 2008, I am forced to decide buying between heating fuel or groceries. I had been forced to dig into our January income to stay warm during December. Again, for this month, same thing happens. I am taking away my February income this month to survive. Couple of weeks ago, our 8-year old son had to go to bed hungry. My wife and I provide for our family with disability, Veterans' benefits, social security, and unemployment incomes. We are several months behind on our city water and sewer bills. We had originally used up all our $1,200 energy subsidy to prepay electricity for the winter and other bills in hope of surviving for this winter due to these high fuel costs. We didn't anticipate the early freeze-up that prevented our native corporation getting its winter supplies of fuel. We didn't anticipate an unexpected winter-long bitter cold. I don't recall anything having occurred as cold as it has been and its length that we have to endure


Climate Debate Skeptics Once Again Sway Undecided Vote in Leading Debate Forum

Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford style debate series sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation, announced the results of its first debate of the Spring 2009 season, "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money." In a dramatic shift, 25% of the undecided vote sided with the motion by the end of the debate. In the final tally at the conclusion of the debate, a sold out audience at Symphony Space, New York City, voted 42% for the motion and 48% against. Ten percent remained undecided. Prior to the debate, the audience at Symphony Space, New York City, voted 16% for the motion and 49% against. 35% were undecided.

The results echoed a similar outcome on the proposition, "Global warming is not a crisis," an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate held on March 14, 2007. The Global Warming debate produced an initial vote tally of 29% for the motion and 57% against. At the conclusion of the debate, the vote margins had reversed with 46% for the motion and 42% against.

The "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money" debate will air on BBC World News March 7 and 8, 2009. The debate can be heard on NPR beginning January 21, 2009. Speaking for the motion were Peter Huber, author of "The Bottomless Well," Bjorn Lomborg, author of "Cool It" and "The Skeptical Environmentalist," and scientist and Emeritus Professor from the University of London, Philip Stott.

L. Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, Oliver Tickell, author of "Kyoto2," and Adam Werbach, global chief executive officer at Saatchi & Saatchi S, spoke against the motion. John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News' "Nightline," moderated. A full transcript of this debate will be available at Key comments from this debate included:

"We no longer control demand for carbon... The five billion poor people are already the main problem -- not us. Collectively, the poor already emit twenty percent more greenhouse gas than we do. We burn a lot more carbon individually, of course, but they have a lot more children. Their fecundity has beaten out our gluttony and the gap is now widening very fast. China, not the United States, is now the largest emitter of greenhouse gas on the planet and it will soon be joined by others. It's only a matter of time. And finally, the poor countries have made perfectly clear that they are not interested at all in spending what a low carbon diet would cost. They have more pressing problems."- Peter Huber

"You know what's going to get China to cut its carbon emissions? It's not going to be you and me and it's not going to be the government. It's going to be Wal-Mart, which recently said to its Chinese suppliers, 'You will report your carbon footprint through a little group called The Carbon Disclosure Project.' Watch China's emissions start to come down simply because that's the way the best companies are doing business now."- L. Hunter Lovins

"One quarter of all the world's deaths are due to easily curable infectious diseases. The equivalent of the population of Florida, wiped off the map, each year. As an example, 1 million people die from malaria each year, and up to 2 billion people get the debilitating disease. Yet, my esteemed opponents will focus on how global warming will cause a slight increase in malaria 100 years from now, and suggest that we should fix that through inefficient carbon cuts... So, this is our chance. Our chance not just to feel good about helping the planet, but actually to do the right thing, the rational thing, and the morally correct thing. I commend this motion to you; do what's rational, not just what's fashionable."- Bjorn Lomborg

To view transcripts and videos or learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. please visit:


Crunch time for carrots as EU bans pesticides

A ban on pesticides agreed by the European Parliament could make vegetable production impossible and result in a dramatic drop of wheat yields, farmers have said. The National Farmers' Union said growing carrots, parsnips and onions would be more difficult because the herbicides that MEPs voted to phase out killed weeds that affect these crops.

A total of 22 substances will be banned over the next decade as part of an EU plan to remove chemicals that are thought to pose risks to human health and damage water quality. Fears have been raised of a 20 per cent reduction in wheat and an increase in vegetable prices, but officials said that British farmers would be able to apply for permission to keep using two types of herbicide they need to keep carrot-growing viable. The exemptions will last for five years.

Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said: "These regulations could hit production for no recognisable benefit to human health, and we are being asked to agree to something when nobody knows what the impact will be."


Australian independent Senator rejects Warmist laws as too coercive

Xenophon is a successful lawyer and a genuine centrist, with some Left, some conservative and some Green positions

Key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon has stepped up his attack on the Government's planned emissions trading scheme. "The Rudd Government targets are pretty pathetic, the 5per cent," Senator Xenophon told The Australian yesterday. "What Rudd's done is overly bureaucratic and cumbersome." The South Australian independent senator is travelling in the US and Canada on budget airlines and Greyhound buses to examine carbon reduction schemes, on a trip paid for from his own pocket.

Senator Xenophon said the Government's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme would lead to a massive churn of funds from industry and households to government and back as compensation, as well as higher-than-anticipated costs. He pointed to modelling by Melbourne consultants Frontier Economics to warn that the CPRS could collect up to $80billion a year that would need to be reallocated. "The scheme is all stick and no carrot," he said. "If the design is wrong, we shouldn't do it."

Senator Xenophon said Australia should follow the Canadian model, which granted concessions to lower greenhouse gas emitters. This would reduce churn and allow for higher emission reduction targets. "What it does is encourage investment in greener technology," he said. "The cleaner you are, the greater level of credits you get. You don't have the same degree of churn because you work at a level of energy intensity. "It's much simpler. You just don't get the same price effect."

Agriculture Minister Tony Burke defended the Government's proposals. "We've got the balance there in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to make sure that industries can deal with the challenges of the transition whilst making sure that Australia is part of the economy of the future and can credibly argue for significant emissions reductions for the major emitters around the world," Mr Burke said.

The minister sought to highlight Coalition splits on emissions trading after Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce told The Australian his party might vote against the Liberals on the issue. "Malcolm Turnbull is willing to tolerate climate change sceptics and a front bench which can't agree on anything," Mr Burke said. "He will tolerate a Coalition partner that only votes with him when it feels like it." The Opposition Leader denied that the Coalition partners were divided. "I've no doubt that we will be responding to this legislation with one voice," Mr Turnbull said.



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


14 January, 2009

New Study Doesn't Support Climate Models (But You'll Never Hear About It)

By cloud expert Roy Spencer. He finds he has to do what I routinely did in my research career: Look at the "Results" section of a scientific paper to see what was actually found. The Abstract and Conclusion of a scientific paper in a politically sensitive area can often be twisted to say the exact opposite of what the actual findings indicated. No prizes for guessing the direction of the twist, either. Almost all scientists work in a bureaucracy these days. Universities are big bureaucracies. And the cardinal sin in any bureaucracy is to "rock the boat"

A new study just published in the January 2009 issue of Journal of Climate uses a model to study the effect of warming oceans on the extensive low-level stratocumulus cloud layers that cover substantial parts of the global oceans. This study, entitled "Response of a Subtropical Stratocumulus-Capped Mixed Layer to Climate and Aerosol Changes", by Peter Caldwell and Christopher Bretherton, is important because it represents a test of climate models, all of which now cause low level clouds to decrease with warming.

And since less low cloud cover means more sunlight reaching the surface, the small amount of direct warming from extra CO2 in climate models gets amplified - greatly amplified in some models. And the greater the strength of this `positive cloud feedback', the worse manmade global warming and associated climate change will be.

But everyone agrees that clouds are complicated beasts and it is not at all clear to me that positive cloud feedback really exists in nature. (See here and here for such evidence).

The new Journal of Climate study addressed the marine stratocumulus clouds which form just beneath the temperature inversion (warm air layer) capping the relatively cool boundary layer to the west of the continents. The marine boundary layer is where turbulent mixing of water vapor evaporated from the ocean surface gets trapped and some of that vapor condenses into cloud just below the inversion.

That warm temperature inversion, in turn, is caused by rising air in thunderstorms - usually far away - forcing the air above the inversion to sink, and sinking air always warms. The inversion forms at a relatively low altitude where the air is `prevented' from sinking any farther. This relationship is shown in their Figure 1, which I have reproduced below.

The authors used a fairly detailed model to study the behavior of these clouds in response to warming of the ocean and found that the cloud liquid water content increased with warming, under all simulated conditions. This, by itself, would be a negative feedback (natural cooling effect) in response to the warming since denser clouds will reflect more sunlight. At face value, then, these results would not be supportive of positive cloud feedback in the climate models.

But what is interesting is that the authors do not explicitly make this connection. Even though they mention in the Introduction the importance of their study to testing the behavior of climate models, in their Conclusions they don’t mention whether the results support – or don’t support — the climate models. And I would imagine they will not be happy with me making that connection for them, either. They would probably say that their study is just one part of a giant puzzle that doesn’t necessarily prove anything about the climate models that predict so much global warming.

Fair enough. But a double standard has clearly been established when it comes to publishing studies related to global warming. Published studies that support climate model predictions of substantial manmade global warming are clearly preferred over those that do not support the models, and explicitly stating that support in the studies is permitted. But results that appear to contradict the models either can not get published…or (like in this study) the contradiction can not be explicitly stated without upsetting one or more of the peer reviewers.

For instance, a paper I recently submitted to Geophysical Research Letters was very rapidly rejected based upon only one reviewer who was asked to review that paper. (I have never heard of a paper’s fate being left up to a single reviewer, unless no other reviewers could be found, which clearly was not the case in my situation). That reviewer was quite hostile to our satellite-based results, which implied the climate models were wrong in their cloud feedbacks.

One wonders whether support of climate models would have been mentioned in the Caldwell and Bretherton paper if their results were just the opposite, and supported the models. Of course, we will never know.

More here (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Greenie knowalls goof

They talk about ecosystems but don't seem to be able to recognize one when they see it -- so end up shooting themselves in the foot

Eradicating feral cats on Australia's remote Macquarie Island has devastated the environment after rabbit numbers exploded, a new study shows. The study says it will cost $24 million to fix the World Heritage-listed island located about halfway between Australia and Antarctica. Scientists writing in the British Ecological Society's Journal Of Applied Ecology, said conservation agencies could learn important lessons from what happened on Macquarie Island.

According to the article, rabbit numbers on the island were reduced from a high of 130,000 in 1978 to less than 20,000 in the 1980s, after a program to spread the disease myxomatosis. But as rabbit numbers fell, cats introduced in the early 1800s began to hunt the island's native burrowing birds, and in 1985 a cat eradication program began. After the last cat was killed in 2000, myxomatosis failed to keep rabbit numbers in check and their numbers jumped. In little over six years, rabbits substantially altered large areas of the island, the study found.

Dana Bergstrom, who works for the Australian Antarctic Division and was lead author of the report, said the rabbit population had reverted to 1978 levels, with up to 130,000 on the island. By 2007 the impact on protected valleys and slopes was acute, she said. "We estimate that nearly 40 per cent of the whole island area had changed, with almost 20 per cent having moderate to severe change," Dr Bergstrom said. About half of this vegetation change occurred on the island's coastal slopes, home to penguin colonies. "Before, it was lush tussocks up to 1.5 metres high," Dr Bergstrom said. "In some of the most severe cases, the tussocks have been eaten down to the ground."

The disappearance of the tussocks has exposed penguin "roads" developed over hundreds of years by penguins making their way from colonies to the beach. As a result, the penguins were exposed to large predatory birds, called skuas, Dr Bergstrom said.

The study said changes documented were a rare example of "trophic cascades", when changes in one species' abundance cause several other parts of the food web to be altered. Macquarie Island, which is just 34 kilometres long and five kilometres wide, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997.


These guys have cheek

In a previous post I discussed the way that the media hypes stories that support the theory of anthropogenic global warming. They will take singular, odd weather events and purport that they prove that catastrophic warming is happening. Similar events, which lean the other way, are immediately dismissed and the media reminds everyone that singular events don't prove anything. It's the double-standard that bugs me.

One such example was the absurd Washington Post article that had a headline connecting a tornado in New York City to warming. As I noted that article seems to have vanished from the Washington Post site. So the embarrassing article just disappeared from their site as if never written.

But if you want pure chutzpah you have go to England's Met Office. I saw a mention of these posts at Watts Up With That. but I found this so astounding I had to verify each post myself.

Let's start with their weather forecast from September, 2008. The Met "forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average."

Of course, as we reported, this winter in England was particularly bitter. So what did the Met say later about their earlier forecast? On December 12 the Met admits "that the UK has had the coldest start to winter in over 30 years." No one will fault them for not getting it right. But what I found astounding was that this statement claimed: "The Met Office seasonal forecast predicted the cold start to the winter season with milder conditions expected during January and February..."

That's chutzpah. They send out a press statement claiming the winter will be mild and when they get it wrong they send out another press statement claiming they predicted it would be unusually cold. In the same statement they told everyone that January and February, however, would be "milder" .

Unfortunately the beginning of January has remained quite cold and didn't turn mild as they forecast. But never fear. The Met Office released another press statement and ended it slapping themselves on the back. "The Met Office correctly forecast the spell of cold weather and kept the public informed via our various forecasts."


Environmental angst

As environmentalism continues to grow in prominence, more and more of us are trying to live a "greener" lifestyle. But the more "eco-friendly" you try to become, the more likely you find yourself confused and frustrated by the green message.

Have you tried giving up your bright and cheery incandescent light bulbs to save energy only to learn that their gloomy-but-efficient compact fluorescent replacements contain mercury? Perhaps you've tried to free up space in landfills by foregoing the ease and convenience of disposable diapers only to be criticized for the huge quantities of energy and water consumed in laundering those nasty cloth diapers. Even voicing support for renewable energy no longer seems to be green enough, as angry environmentalists protest the development of "pristine lands" for wind farms and solar power plants.

Why is it that no matter what sacrifices you make to try to reduce your "environmental footprint," it never seems to be enough? Well, consider why it is that you have an "environmental footprint" in the first place.

Everything we do to sustain our lives has an impact on nature. Every value we create to advance our well-being, every ounce of food we grow, every structure we build, every iPhone we manufacture is produced by extracting raw materials and reshaping them to serve our needs. Every good thing in our lives comes from altering nature for our own benefit.

From the perspective of human life and happiness, a big "environmental footprint" is an enormous positive. This is why people in India and China are striving to increase theirs: to build better roads, more cars and computers, new factories and power plants and hospitals.

But for environmentalism, the size of your "footprint" is the measure of your guilt. Nature, according to green philosophy, is something to be left alone to be preserved untouched by human activity. Their notion of an "environmental footprint" is intended as a measure of how much you "disturb" nature, with disturbing nature viewed as a sin requiring atonement. Just as the Christian concept of original sin conveys the message that human beings are stained with evil simply for having been born, the green concept of an "environmental footprint" implies that you should feel guilty for your very existence.

It should hardly be any surprise, then, that nothing you do to try to lighten your "footprint" will ever be deemed satisfactory. So long as you are still pursuing life-sustaining activities, whatever you do to reduce your impact on nature in one respect (e.g., cloth diapers) will simply lead to other impacts in other respects (e.g., water use) like some perverse game of green whack-a-mole and will be attacked and condemned by greens outraged at whatever "footprint" remains. So long as you still have some "footprint," further penance is required; so long as you are still alive, no degree of sacrifice can erase your guilt.

The only way to leave no "footprint" would be to die -- a conclusion that is not lost on many green ideologues. Consider the premise of the nonfiction bestseller titled "The World Without Us," which fantasizes about how the earth would "recover" if all humanity suddenly became extinct. Or, consider the chilling, anti-human conclusion of an op-ed discussing cloth versus disposable diapers: "From the earth's point of view, it's not all that important which kind of diapers you use. The important decision was having the baby." The next time you trustingly adopt a "green solution" like fluorescent lights, cloth diapers or wind farms, only to be puzzled when met with still further condemnation and calls for even more sacrifices, remember what counts as a final solution for these ideologues.

The only rational response to such a philosophy is to challenge it at its core. We must acknowledge that it is the essence of human survival to reshape nature for our own benefit, and that far from being a sin, it is our highest virtue. Don't be fooled by the cries that industrial civilization is "unsustainable." This cry dates to at least the 19th century, but is belied by the facts. Since the Industrial Revolution, population and life expectancy, to say nothing of the enjoyment of life, have steadily grown. It is time to recognize environmentalism as a philosophy of guilt and sacrifice and to reject it in favor of a philosophy that proudly upholds the value of human life.


Australia: Senator Joyce blasts Greenie fanatics

NATIONALS firebrand Senator Barnaby Joyce has launched a fresh attack on carbon emissions trading, drawing parallels between environmentalists and Nazis. Senator Joyce warned of the rise of "eco-totalitarianism" and said he would not be "goosestepping" along with them.

The Federal Government plans to start emissions trading in 2010 to reduce carbon pollution and take up the fight against climate change.

"The idea that this scheme can go forward and no one's allowed to question because there's a new form of eco-totalitarianism that demands blind obedience, I think that is wrong," the Nationals Senate leader said on ABC radio today. "One has to fall into lockstep, goosestep and parade around the office ranting and raving that we are all as one?"

Senator Joyce rejected a suggestion he was a climate change denier and drew a parallel with the Holocaust, the murder of millions of Jews and others by the Nazis during World War II. "Climate change denier, like Holocaust denier, this is the sort of emotive language that has become stitched up in this (emissions trading) issue," he said. Senator Joyce said emissions trading would put Australians out of their homes and out of jobs. And it would do nothing to counter climate change, he said.

Senator Joyce's stance raises the possibility of a coalition split with Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull yet to announce a position on emissions trading. Some within the Coalition support taking action on climate change, while others share Senator Joyce's reservations. The Government needs the support of the Coalition to pass its scheme through the Senate, or it will have to rely on the Greens and independents, a prospect not welcomed by the business lobby.



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


13 January, 2009

Barack Obama's polluted mind

How far do politicians believe they can push the global-warming scam? We know, after his inauguration, Barack Obama intends to officially classify carbon dioxide as a "dangerous pollutant." After such a declaration, his actions will reveal whether he truly views carbon dioxide as a threat to humanity or whether he is simply using a shameless scare tactic to further consolidate Federal power and to move the U.S. further along the road to socialism. If carbon dioxide is incredibly dangerous as Al Gore and Barack Obama claim it to be, then all options, for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, must be considered.

Once President Obama declares carbon dioxide to be a dangerous pollutant, every single American brewery, winery, and distillery will be, by definition, a "dangerous polluter." Thus, if manmade carbon dioxide output must be drastically reduced to save the planet and humanity itself, then President Obama must strongly consider reinstating alcohol prohibition in these United States. Al Gore, to date, hasn't had the guts to push the global-warming scam to the point of suggesting global alcohol prohibition and I highly doubt President Obama has the guts to do so in the U.S. Both of these political hacks, after all, are socialists and certainly are not in love with Mother Earth and humanity, but with power and celebrity.

Anyone with a fifth-grade education understands that the fermentation process is integral to producing alcoholic beverages. In the fermentation process, yeast interacts with sugars to create ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Uh oh, there is that evil "pollutant" carbon dioxide. Who would have ever guessed the wonderful wines, beers, and distilled spirits we enjoy so much are born from pollution? Come to think of it, the beers and champagnes populating store shelves everywhere still contain carbon dioxide. By Barack Obama's definition, I would be drinking a dangerous pollutant every time I enjoy one of my favorite ales. Should I consult a doctor before drinking pollution? Even if prohibition prevents me from drinking polluted adult beverages, in the future, what about soda pops and naturally-carbonated sparkling waters? Should these polluted beverages be banned as well? Perhaps President Obama will provide us with some guidelines about ingesting pollution.

If President Obama (and Al Gore for that matter) sincerely believes carbon dioxide poses such a dire threat to Mother Earth and humanity, then the carbon dioxide emissions from breweries, wineries, and distilleries would be viewed as a serious problem. In the United States alone, annual wine production is about 2.44 billion liters while annual beer production is approximately 23 billion liters. Throw in distilled spirits and it is inescapable to conclude that a whole lot of manmade carbon dioxide is being generated by wineries, breweries and distilleries. Once President Obama pronounces carbon dioxide to be a dangerous pollutant, what will he do about the "pollution" emanating from breweries, wineries, and distilleries?

The first thing President Obama should do is to lead by example and ban all alcoholic beverages from the White House (Al Gore should do the same in his household). Secondly, he and Al Gore should create a national awareness as to the polluting nature of the adult-beverage industry with the objective of building a consensus to bring back prohibition in order to save our planet and the human race. These two shrill politicians have asserted that the stakes are quite literally this supremely high, hence foregoing alcoholic beverages is a sacrifice all Americans should be prepared to make. For goodness' sake, our planet is at stake!

Let's take Barack Obama's absurd assertion, that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant, one step further. By using Obama's "logic," life itself is built upon pollution. It makes me wonder, once again, if our new President is smarter than a fifth grader. For if one is familiar with photosynthesis - and most fifth graders are - it is a process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of sugar. Plants only need light energy, carbon dioxide and water to make the aforementioned sugar. Photosynthesis, which cannot take place without carbon dioxide, occurs in plants (and a few bacteria) and is responsible for feeding nearly all life on Earth. But let's not stop there. Another vital function photosynthesis performs pertains to generating the very oxygen which oxygen-breathing animals require for survival. So let's get this straight Mr. Obama, you believe the life-giving process of photosynthesis is built upon pollution? If this is your firm conviction, then you have left me wondering if enough oxygen is making it to your brain.

Yet what I do know now is that the gospel, according to Barack Obama, avows that life itself is dependent upon pollution. How utterly surreal.

Barack Obama, Al Gore, and politicians around the world are using global warming, and the outrageous lie that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, to increase state power and, thereby, reduce human liberty. It is an incredibly powerful scam which is frightening people into willingly giving up their freedoms in exchange for "saving" the planet. Therefore, step by step, country by country, the global-warming scare is helping politicians pave the road to socialism.

So why don't we hear American, British, French, German and other politicians calling for the shuttering of breweries, distilleries, and wineries (or at least taxing their products into oblivion)? It is the same reason you will never hear an American politician call for a $100/hour minimum wage or for sending every adult American a $1,000,000 stimulus check. Taking a scam too far leads to intense examination and exposes the scammers for the frauds they are. Hence, gunning after wine, beer, and spirits makers would undoubtedly create such a backlash, against the global-warming charlatans, that the scam wouldn't hold up under such mass scrutiny. After all, if you are compelling people to give up alcohol - to help save the planet - then the science had better be extremely sound. Questionable science, built upon faulty computer models, simply won't cut it.

As Barack Obama, using parts of FDR's playbook, attempts to lead us further down the road to socialism, be assured global warming will be used as a weapon to mentally terrorize Americans into further exchanging liberty for "safety." It is a near-certainty, nonetheless, that breweries, distilleries, and wineries will not be deemed "dangerous polluters" in spite of the fact carbon dioxide is a byproduct of fermentation. To be sure, this will expose the hypocrisy of politicians, such as Obama. And, it will also reveal the grandiose concept, of saving the Earth from global warming, is nothing more than a ruse designed to help governments grab more power.

In George Reisman's phenomenal book Capitalism, he describes why socialists such as Al Gore, Barrack Obama, and for that matter Arnold Schwarzenegger (who has turned out to be a greenie) will leave adult-beverage makers alone - in spite of their prodigious carbon dioxide emissions:
It follows that the rulers of a socialist state must live in terror of the people. By the logic of their actions and their teachings, the boiling seething resentment of the people should well up and swallow them in an orgy of bloody vengeance. The rulers sense this, even if they do not admit it openly; and thus their major concern is always to keep the lid on the citizenry.
Indeed, Barrack Obama's mind may be polluted with contradictions and megalomania, but he and his ilk are savvy enough to have learned the lessons from America's failed experiment with alcohol prohibition (combined with the fact that anthropogenic global warming is supported by flimsy science). Accordingly, it is much easier to keep the lid on a citizenry permitted to legally self-medicate with alcohol - especially during the present economic depression - than to draw the ire of citizens forced to seek adult beverages on the black market. So raise your glass of wine and say "cheers" to Barack Obama: our new Hypocrite-in-Chief.


Energy-guzzling plasma TVs will be banned in EU eco blitz

The plasma screen television is poised to become the next victim of the battle to curb energy use. Giant energy-guzzling flatscreens are expected to be banned under legislation due to be agreed by the EU this spring. Plasma screens have been nicknamed the '4x4s' of the living room because they use up to four times as much electricity and are responsible for up to four times as much carbon dioxide as traditional cathode ray tube sets.

The most energy intensive will be phased out under the new EU standards for minimum energy performance, which will follow the voluntary withdrawal of the traditional 100watt light bulb. The remaining TVs of all types will have to carry energy rating labels designed to make it easy to distinguish between the best and worst performers. LCD flat screen TVs are much more energy efficient than their plasma cousins so are unlikely to be banned. A 42in LCD TV uses similar amounts of energy to a much smaller traditional set. A spokesman for the Department-for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the plasma TV would not be banned completely, with eco-friendly sets remaining on the market.

The moves are part of an effort to tackle climate change by stemming the spiralling electricity consumption in households. It involves phasing out wasteful devices and introducing low-energy alternatives. Families have nearly three times as many electrical appliances and gadgets as a generation ago and the amount of electricity used to power them has doubled. Today Britain has 60million television sets - one for every person in the country. Plasma screens, which are common in pubs and supermarkets, as well as in homes, are among the most popular buys.

A Defra spokesman said that in the past five years the main TV in many households has changed from being a 24-32in cathode ray model to a 32-42 flatscreen TV.


New solar panel roof on a Prius can only run a small fan

About 10 watts output at a guess. But Japan makes a good living out of selling gimmicks to praise-seekers

THE new version of the world's biggest selling petrol-electric car will be partly powered by the sun. The third generation Toyota Prius, unveiled at the Detroit motor show overnight, will be available with a solar panel sunroof when it goes on sale in Australia in June priced from $40,000.

The solar system runs an air circulation fan which cools the car while it is parked, and it can be activated by a remote control so the cabin is cool before you drive off.


The correctness of electric cars

From the inimitable Jeremy Clarkson

All of which brings me on to the curious case of the battery-powered Tesla sports car that I reviewed recently on Top Gear. Things didn't go well. The company claimed it could run, even if driven briskly, for 200 miles, but after just a morning the battery power was down to 20% and we realised that it would not have enough juice for all the shots we needed. Happily, the company had brought a second car along, so we switched to that. But after a while its motor began to overheat. And so, even though the first was not fully charged, we unplugged it - only to find that its brakes weren't working properly. So then we had no cars.

Inevitably, the film we had shot was a bit of a mess. There was a handful of shots of a silver car. Some of a grey car. And only half the usual gaggle of nonsense from me shouting "Power" and making silly metaphors. And to make matters worse, we had the BBC's new compliance directive hanging over us like an enormous suffocating blanket. We had to be sure that what we said and what we showed was more than right, more than fair and more than accurate. Phone calls were made. Editorial policy wallahs were consulted. Experts were called in. No "i" was left undotted. No "t" was left uncrossed. No stone remained unturned in our quest for truth and decency.

Tesla could not complain about what was shown because it was there. And here's the strange thing. It didn't. But someone did. Loudly and to every newspaper in the world. The Daily Telegraph said we'd been caught up in a new fakery row. The Guardian accused us of being "underhanded". The New York Times wondered if we'd been "misleading". The Daily Mail said I could give you breast cancer.

This was weird. Tesla, when contacted by reporters, gave its account of what happened and it was exactly the same as ours. It explained that the brakes had stopped working because of a blown fuse and didn't question at all our claim that the car would have run out of electricity after 55 miles.

So who was driving this onslaught? Nobody in the big wide world ever minds when I say a BMW 1-series is crap or that a Kia Rio is the worst piece of machinery since the landmine. And yet everyone went mad when I said the Tesla, the red-blooded sports car and great white hope for the world's green movement, "absolutely does not work".

I fear that what we are seeing here is much the same thing professors see when they claim there is no such thing as man-made global warming. Immediately, they are drowned out by an unseen mob, and then their funding dries up. It's actually quite frightening.

The problem is, though, that really and honestly, the US-made Tesla works only at dinner parties. Tell someone you have one and in minutes you will be having sex. But as a device for moving you and your things around, it is about as much use as a bag of muddy spinach.

Yes, it is extremely fast. It's all out of ideas at 125mph, but the speed it gets there is quite literally electrifying. For instance, 0 to 60 takes 3.9sec. This is because a characteristic of the electric motor, apart from the fact it's the size of a grapefruit and has only one moving part, is massive torque.

And quietness. At speed, there's a deal of tyre roar and plenty of wind noise from the ill-fitting soft top, but at a town-centre crawl it's silent. Eerily so. Especially as you are behind a rev counter showing numbers that have no right to be there - 15,000, for example.

Through the corners things are less rosy. To minimise rolling resistance and therefore increase range, the wheels have no toe-in or camber. This affects the handling. So too does the sheer weight of the 6,831 laptop batteries, all of which have to be constantly cooled. But slightly wonky handling is nothing compared with this car's big problems. First of all, it costs 90,000 pounds. This means it is three times more than the Lotus Elise, on which it is loosely based, and 90,000 times more than it is actually worth. Yes, that cost will come down when the Hollywood elite have all bought one and the factory can get into its stride. But paying 90,000 for such a thing now indicates that you believe in goblins and fairy stories about the end of the world.

Of course, it will not be expensive to run. Filling a normal Elise with petrol costs 40 pounds. Filling a Tesla with cheap-rate electricity costs just 3.50. And that's enough to take you - let's be fair - somewhere between 55 and 200 miles, depending on how you drive. But if it's running costs you are worried about, consider this. The 60,000 or so you save by buying an Elise would buy 15,000 gallons of fuel. Enough to take you round the world 20 times. And there's more. Filling an Elise takes two minutes. Filling a Tesla from a normal 13-amp plug takes about 16 hours. Fit a beefier three-phase supply to your house and you could complete the process in four (Tesla now says 3«). But do not, whatever you do, imagine that you could charge your car from a domestic wind turbine. That would take about 25 days.

You see what I mean. Even if we ignore the argument that the so-called green power that propels this car comes from a dirty great power station, and that it is therefore not as green as you might hope, we are left with the simple fact that it takes a long time to charge it up and the charge doesn't take you very far. We must also remember that both the cars I tried went wrong.

In the fullness of time, I have no doubt that the Tesla can be honed and chiselled and developed to a point where the problems are gone. But time is one thing a car such as this does not have. Because while Tesla fiddles about with batteries, Honda and Ford are surging onwards with hydrogen cars, which don't need charging, can be fuelled normally and are completely green. The biggest problem, then, with the Tesla is not that it doesn't work. It's that even if it did, it would be driving down the wrong road.


Australia: Lying Greenie haters exposed

The pastoralist nephew of one of Queensland's richest men believes he was "crucified" by false scientific claims that he had been developing his property to take water illegally from the last free-flowing river in the Murray-Darling Basin. The University of NSW has admitted the research accusing Jake Berghofer was funded by opponents of irrigation development, and has been forced to back away from the findings by some of its most senior scientists.

Mr Berghofer said he had been "crucified" by the findings of the university's School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences that he had breached a moratorium on the Paroo River. "It's not right that a big university can get away with trying to destroy someone who hasn't done anything wrong," Mr Berghofer said. His uncle, Toowoomba businessman Clive Berghofer, who has an estimated fortune of $327 million, saidhis nephew had been shabbily treated. "Jake is a very hard worker and he hasn't done anything wrong," he said.

An investigation by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Water concluded that a series of findings in the UNSW study were wrong. The study claimed that irrigation works on Mr Berghofer's property, Springvale, south of Eulo, breached a 2003 agreement between the Queensland and NSW governments to protect the Paroo, the only river in the Murray-Darling Basin with no irrigation. The study said satellite imaging last year showed that since a moratorium on irrigation works was introduced for the Paroo in 2001, a new channel system had been developed on the property and a 21ha water storage built. It said that of nine storages on Springvale, only three were visible in satellite imaging produced in 2002. "All but two of the levee banks that existed in 2002 had new works around their perimeter that might increase storage capacity," it said.

The study triggered an avalanche of criticism of Mr Berghofer when itwas released late last year, with South Australian Premier Mike Rann describing the irrigation works as an "act of terrorism". However, the state investigation concluded that all the works referred to in the report were either completed or approved before the 2001 moratorium. Queensland Natural Resources Minister Craig Wallace said there were no breaches of the Paroo River agreement and that Mr Berghofer had done nothing wrong.

Richard Kingsford, who oversaw the study, conceded that the irrigation works identified on the property might have been legal, and that the agreement might not have been breached. "That could be the case but I think there is still a potential breach," Professor Kingsford said. "Even if it's legal, we still should be concerned about irrigation in the only Murray-Darling system river that is undeveloped." Professor Kingsford said the study was funded by the NSW-based Australian Floodplain Association, a fierce critic of irrigation upstream in the Queensland sector of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Paroo River Association president Robert Bartlett said the Queensland Government was "covering up" for Mr Berghofer. "The Paroo is in near pristinecondition and it should be able to remain that way," Mr Bartlett said. But Mr Berghofer said the irrigation work identified by the university was intended only to stop storage leakages; that it was covered by government permits; and that it was located nowhere near the Paroo River. "I'm a small bloke trying to grow a bit of hay and they've tried to crucify me," he said. Mr Berghofer said Professor Kingsford and other critics had ignored invitations to visit his property.

In June, the three-year Sustainable Rivers Audit found that of the basin's 23 rivers, only the Paroo in western Queensland was in good health.



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


12 January, 2009

GKSS scientists refute argument of climate skeptics (?)

A strange "refutation". Nobody denies that there was a small warming recorded for the Northern hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century. The question is what caused that recorded warming. The sun, heat-island effects, other cyclic factors or random factors? Although they are by definition unlikely, "runs" in random sequences are not at all unknown. Such runs are one of the main reasons why gamblers stay hooked. And the big question is the reliability of the aggregated ground-based thermometer measurements. I append below two emailed comments on that from Lord Monckton and Vincent Gray

Between 1880 and 2006 the average global annual temperature was about 15øC. However, in the years after 1990 the frequency of years when this average value was exceeded increased. The GKSS Research Centre asks: is it an accident that the warmest 13 years were observed after 1990, or does this increased frequency indicate an external influence?

With the help of the so called ,Monte-Carlo-Simulation" the coastal researchers Dr. Eduardo Zorita and Professor Hans von Storch at the GKSS-Research Centre together with Professor Thomas Stocker from the University of Bern estimated that it is extremely unlikely that the frequency of warm record years after 1990 could be an accident and concluded that it is rather influenced by a external driver.

The fact that the 13 warmest years since 1880 could have accured by accident after 1990 corresponds to a likelihood of no more than 1:10 000. These likelihood can be illustrated by using the game of chance "heads or tails": the likelihood is the same as 14 heads in a row.

,In order to understand and statistically analyse the climate system and its interaction between the ocean, land, atmosphere and human activity, the comparison with a game of chance is no longer sufficient. The natural sequence of warm and cold years no longer functions according to the simple principle of ,zero or one", explains the GKSS scientist Dr. Eduardo Zorita about the challenges of his calculations, because the climate system possesses some inertia.

An example: After a warm year milder years tend to follow, since the oceans have stored some heat. This natural inertia must also be included in the calculations. "Our study is pure statistical nature and can not attribute the increase of warm years to individual factors, but is in full agreement with the results of the IPCC that the increased emission of green house gases is mainly responsible for the most recent global warming", says Zorita in summary.



As Joe d'Aleo has pointed out, 1990 was the year when the former Soviet Union fell apart, taking very large numbers of rural stations out of the temperature datasets. Given the way the data are averaged to produce a single global anomaly each month or year, the effect of removing large numbers of rural stations with small temperature increases was to cause a sudden and startling jump in temperatures in 1990. Anthony Watts' work on temperature stations has shown what a nonsense they are, and Ross McKitrick has shown that all of the datasets, even the satellite ones, are showing temperature increase patterns that correlate in a statistically significant way with economic development patterns [Evidence of heat output direct from human activities, not of a greenhouse effect]. So what is really being measured is the direct output of heat by the exothermic activities of humankind, rather than the probably-negligible radiative forcing from greenhouse-gas enrichment.

My purpose in reviewing all this is to ask whether anyone knows enough about the compilation of the temperature records to say whether the heat-island effects are subtracted, in an attempt to restore the readings that might have occurred if the region around the station had not become urbanized, or redistributed, so as to reflect the fact that all that direct heat output - amplified by net-positive temperature feedbacks just as radiatively-forced temperature increases would be - is actually going into the atmosphere. I did an energy budget calculation based on this exothermic activity once, and got quite a surprise: it accounted for 0.1-0.2 C of the increase in global temperatures since 1980 - not too far out of line with McKitrick's finding. If I'm right about this, then the world is addressing the wrong problem, and all those windmills will actually be adding to "global warming", as well as killing off millions of rare birds.


I have made a particular study of this subject but am not able to give a complete answer. I deal with some of it in my "Global Scam" paper where I show that the main papers quoted by the IPCC justifying a belief that the urban effect is negligible are fraudulent. I deduce from this that they either make no adjustment at present or a very small one. On the other hand in the Brohan et al paper, which is the last comprehensive one, they claim to apply the "homogenization" technique of the US GHCN who have a whole set of corrections, most of which could not possibly apply anywhere else but the USA, and which Peterson fraudulently claimed did not include an urbanization correction. The largest correction he found was the "Time of Observation Bias" which arises because they measure the maximum and minimum once a day at a different time in different places, and sometimes in the same place, referring to a different 24 hours for each.

On the other hand there have been places that measure temperatures several times a day for some years,. Canada for one, and there are now many which measure continuously by an automatic system, If they want to be compatible with the past they must surely forget everything except the maximum and minimum, but do they?

There has been no warming in New Zealand since 1950 and if you believe Christchurch, the hottest year was 1917. The "corrected" temperature for the USA shows that the maximum was 1934.

Many fairly reliable local records show no overall warming. The record I was given from China, claimed to have been "homogenized" and also shows no overall warming. The puzzling feature of their graph is that it includes a subset from Hadley that agrees with theirs. So the "warming" of Hadley may result exclusively from the unreliable records from the major part of the world which cannot have the benefits of "homogenization"; including of course, the Russians where they closed down urban stations,and stopped the wages of the operatives so they were reluctant to get up and make the readings on a cold day.

The publicity that Roger Pielke Sr and his meteorologists and Antony Watts and his Google Earth ground level, about the inadequacy of siting of met instruments have put them on their mettle. They now actually let us see photographs of their sites. This may be one reason why the global temperature records from the surface and from the satellites seem to be mysteriously merging to give the same answers. Stauffer et al are merely carrying out a last ditch stand before everybody wakes up to what has been going on.

Trying to find out the exact circumstances under which meteorological measurements were carried out in obscure parts of the world over the past 100 years is likely to be a bit futile. All we know is they seem to have got their act together.

The nonsense never ceases

IF you want to help save the planet from carbon carnage, cut your Google searches, scientists say. Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research, The Australian reports. While millions of people tap into Google without a thought for the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2. Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. "Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power," said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. "A Google search has a definite environmental impact."

Google is secretive about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It also refuses to divulge the locations of its dozens of data centres. However, with more than 200m internet searches estimated globally every day, the level of electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by computers and the internet is provoking concern.

A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world's airlines - about 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions. "Data centres are among the most energy-intensive facilities imaginable," said Evan Mills, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Banks of servers storing billions of web pages require power both to run and cool them.

Though Google says it is in the forefront of green computing, its search engine generates high levels of CO2 because of the way it operates. When you type in a Google search for, say, "energy saving tips", your request doesn't go to just one server. It goes to several competing against each other. It may even be sent to servers thousands of miles apart. Google's infrastructure sends you data from whichever produces the answer fastest. The system minimises delays but raises energy consumption....

Google Australia told it has built the most energy-efficient data centres in the world. "Our data centres use considerably less energy for the servers themselves, and much less energy for cooling, than a typical data centre. As a result, the energy used per Google search is minimal. In fact, in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than we will use to answer your query.


More skepticism from Russia

The author below -- Gregory F. Fegel -- appears to be some sort of Leftist from Oregon but the fact that he had to go to Russia to get his article published reflects the widespread skepticism about global warming in Russia. They are more worried about imminent cooling, for reasons that are perhaps obvious. At any event, the article below is a reasonable summary of the historical evidence

The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years.

Ice cores, ocean sediment cores, the geologic record, and studies of ancient plant and animal populations all demonstrate a regular cyclic pattern of Ice Age glacial maximums which each last about 100,000 years, separated by intervening warm interglacials, each lasting about 12,000 years.

Most of the long-term climate data collected from various sources also shows a strong correlation with the three astronomical cycles which are together known as the Milankovich cycles. The three Milankovich cycles include the tilt of the earth, which varies over a 41,000 year period; the shape of the earth's orbit, which changes over a period of 100,000 years; and the Precession of the Equinoxes, also known as the earth's `wobble', which gradually rotates the direction of the earth's axis over a period of 26,000 years. According to the Milankovich theory of Ice Age causation, these three astronomical cycles, each of which effects the amount of solar radiation which reaches the earth, act together to produce the cycle of cold Ice Age maximums and warm interglacials.

Elements of the astronomical theory of Ice Age causation were first presented by the French mathematician Joseph Adhemar in 1842, it was developed further by the English prodigy Joseph Croll in 1875, and the theory was established in its present form by the Czech mathematician Milutin Milankovich in the 1920s and 30s. In 1976 the prestigious journal "Science" published a landmark paper by John Imbrie, James Hays, and Nicholas Shackleton entitled "Variations in the Earth's orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages," which described the correlation which the trio of scientist/authors had found between the climate data obtained from ocean sediment cores and the patterns of the astronomical Milankovich cycles. Since the late 1970s, the Milankovich theory has remained the predominant theory to account for Ice Age causation among climate scientists, and hence the Milankovich theory is always described in textbooks of climatology and in encyclopaedia articles about the Ice Ages.

In their 1976 paper Imbrie, Hays, and Shackleton wrote that their own climate forecasts, which were based on sea-sediment cores and the Milankovich cycles, ". must be qualified in two ways. First, they apply only to the natural component of future climatic trends - and not to anthropogenic effects such as those due to the burning of fossil fuels. Second, they describe only the long-term trends, because they are linked to orbital variations with periods of 20,000 years and longer. Climatic oscillations at higher frequencies are not predicted... the results indicate that the long-term trend over the next 20,000 years is towards extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation and cooler climate."

During the 1970s the famous American astronomer Carl Sagan and other scientists began promoting the theory that `greenhouse gasses' such as carbon dioxide, or CO2, produced by human industries could lead to catastrophic global warming. Since the 1970s the theory of `anthropogenic global warming' (AGW) has gradually become accepted as fact by most of the academic establishment, and their acceptance of AGW has inspired a global movement to encourage governments to make pivotal changes to prevent the worsening of AGW.

The central piece of evidence that is cited in support of the AGW theory is the famous `hockey stick' graph which was presented by Al Gore in his 2006 film "An Inconvenient Truth." The `hockey stick' graph shows an acute upward spike in global temperatures which began during the 1970s and continued through the winter of 2006/07. However, this warming trend was interrupted when the winter of 2007/8 delivered the deepest snow cover to the Northern Hemisphere since 1966 and the coldest temperatures since 2001. It now appears that the current Northern Hemisphere winter of 2008/09 will probably equal or surpass the winter of 2007/08 for both snow depth and cold temperatures.

The main flaw in the AGW theory is that its proponents focus on evidence from only the past one thousand years at most, while ignoring the evidence from the past million years -- evidence which is essential for a true understanding of climatology. The data from paleoclimatology provides us with an alternative and more credible explanation for the recent global temperature spike, based on the natural cycle of Ice Age maximums and interglacials.

In 1999 the British journal "Nature" published the results of data derived from glacial ice cores collected at the Russia 's Vostok station in Antarctica during the 1990s. The Vostok ice core data includes a record of global atmospheric temperatures, atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and airborne particulates starting from 420,000 years ago and continuing through history up to our present time.

The graph of the Vostok ice core data (See here) shows that the Ice Age maximums and the warm interglacials occur within a regular cyclic pattern, the graph-line of which is similar to the rhythm of a heartbeat on an electrocardiogram tracing. The Vostok data graph also shows that changes in global CO2 levels lag behind global temperature changes by about eight hundred years. What that indicates is that global temperatures precede or cause global CO2 changes, and not the reverse. In other words, increasing atmospheric CO2 is not causing global temperature to rise; instead the natural cyclic increase in global temperature is causing global CO2 to rise.

The reason that global CO2 levels rise and fall in response to the global temperature is because cold water is capable of retaining more CO2 than warm water. That is why carbonated beverages loose their carbonation, or CO2, when stored in a warm environment. We store our carbonated soft dri nks, wine, and beer in a cool place to prevent them from loosing their `fizz', which is a feature of their carbonation, or CO2 content. The earth is currently warming as a result of the natural Ice Age cycle, and as the oceans get warmer, they release increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Because the release of CO2 by the warming oceans lags behind the changes in the earth's temperature, we should expect to see global CO2 levels continue to rise for another eight hundred years after the end of the earth's current Interglacial warm period. We should already be eight hundred years into the coming Ice Age before global CO2 levels begin to drop in response to the increased chilling of the world's oceans.

The Vostok ice core data graph reveals that global CO2 levels regularly rose and fell in a direct response to the natural cycle of Ice Age minimums and maximums during the past four hundred and twenty thousand years. Within that natural cycle, about every 110,000 years global temperatures, followed by global CO2 levels, have peaked at approximately the same levels which they are at today.

About 325,000 years ago, at the peak of a warm interglacial, global temperature and CO2 levels were higher than they are today. Today we are again at the peak, and near to the end, of a warm interglacial, and the earth is now due to enter the next Ice Age. If we are lucky, we may have a few years to prepare for it. The Ice Age will return, as it always has, in its regular and natural cycle, with or without any influence from the effects of AGW.

The AGW theory is based on data that is drawn from a ridiculously narrow span of time and it demonstrates a wanton disregard for the `big picture' of long-term climate change. The data from paleoclimatology, including ice cores, sea sediments, geology, paleobotany and zoology, indicate that we are on the verge of entering another Ice Age, and the data also shows that severe and lasting climate change can occur within only a few years. While concern over the dubious threat of Anthropogenic Global Warming continues to distract the attention of people throughout the world, the very real threat of the approaching and inevitable Ice Age, which will render large parts of the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable, is being foolishly ignored.


Greenland ice melt 'may only be a temporary phenomenon'?

New study from mainstream scientists identifies changes at the glacial periphery -- such as changing ocean currents -- as the key factor in glacial change

The recent acceleration of glacier melt-off in Greenland, which some scientists fear could dramatically raise sea levels, may only be a temporary phenomenon, according to a study published Sunday. Researchers in Britain and the United States devised computer models to test three scenarios that could account for rapid -- by the standards applied to glaciers -- loss of mass from the Helheim Glacier, one of Greenland's largest.

Two were based on changes caused directly by global warming: an increase in the amount of water that greases the underbelly of the glacier as it slides toward the sea, and a general thinning due to melting. If confirmed, either of these explanations would point to a sustained increase in runoff over the coming decades, fueling speculation that sea level could rise faster and higher than once thought.

The stakes are enormous: the rate at which the global ocean water mark rises could have a devastating impact on hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying areas around the world. But a team led by Andreas Vieli and Faezeh Nick of Durham University in Britain found that neither of these scenarios matched the data. "They simply don't fit what we have observed," said Vieli in an interview. By contrast, the third computer model -- which hypothesised that melt-off was triggered by changing conditions in the confined area where the glacier meets the sea -- fit like a glove, he said. "Whatever happens at the terminus provokes a strong and rapid reaction in the rest of the glacier. The result has been a significant loss of mass" as huge chunks of ice drop into the ocean, a process known as calving, Vieli explained.

These changes are also set in motion by global warming, but are not likely to last, he said. "You cannot maintain these very high rates of peak mass loss for very long. The glaciers start to retreat and settle into a new an relatively stable state," he said.

The Helheim Glacier, along with several others in Greenland, started to slow down in 2007. Vieli also noted that the data alarming the scientific community only covers a span of a few years. It may be ill-advised, he suggested, to project a trend on the basis of what may turn out to be a short-term phenomenon.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted in 2007 that sea levels could creep up by 18 to 59 centimetres (7.2 to 23.2 inches) by 2100 due to thermal expansion driven by global warming. Such an increase would be enough to wipe out several small island nations and seriously disrupt mega-deltas home in Asia and Africa. But IPCC failed to take into account recent studies on the observed and potential impact of the melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, prompting the Nobel-winning body to later remove the upward bracket from its end-of-century forecast.

A new consensus has formed among experts that levels could rise by a metre or more by 2100, according to Mark Serreze of the National No w and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorodo. "What has puzzled us is that the changes are even faster than we would have though possible," he said in a recent interview.

Vieli cautioned that his findings, published in Nature Geoscience, are narrowly focused on one glacier, and that sea levels could still rise higher than the IPCC's original projections. Other Greenland glaciers behave differently, and the dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet are still poorly understood, he noted. Nor should the new study "be taken out of context to suggest that climate change is not a serious threat -- it is," he added. The ice sitting atop Greenland could lift oceans by seven metres, though even the gloomiest of climate change projections do not include such a scenario.


Polar Sea Ice Changes are Having a Net Cooling Effect on the Climate

One of the most widely discussed climate feedbacks is the albedo effect of polar sea ice loss. Ice has a relatively high albedo (reflectance) so a reduction in polar ice area has the effect of causing more shortwave radiation (sunlight) to be absorbed by the oceans, warming the water. Likewise, an increase in polar sea ice area causes more sunlight to be reflected, decreasing the warming of the ocean. The earths radiative balance is shown in the image below. It is believed that about 30% of the sunlight reaching the earth's atmosphere is directly reflected - 20% by clouds, 6% by other components of the atmosphere, and 4% by the earth's surface.

We all have heard many times that summer sea ice minimums have declined in the northern hemisphere over the last 30 years. As mentioned above, this causes more sunlight to reach the dark ocean water, and results in a warming of the water. What is not so widely discussed is that southern hemisphere sea ice has been increasing, causing a net cooling effect. This article explains why the cooling effect of excess Antarctic ice is significantly greater than the warming effect of missing Arctic ice.

Over the last 30 years Antarctic sea ice has been steadily increasing, as shown below.

December is the month when the Antarctic sun is highest in the sky, and when the most sunlight reaches the surface. Thus an excess of ice in December has the maximum impact on the southern hemisphere's radiative balance. In the Antarctic, the most important months are mid-October through mid-February, because those are months when the sun is closest to the zenith. The rest of the year there is almost no shortwave radiation to reflect, so the excess ice has little effect on the shortwave radiative (SW) balance.

This has been discussed in detail by Roger Pielke Sr. and others in several papers. see here and here

So how does this work? Below are the details of this article's thesis.

More here


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11 January, 2009

Peter Hitchens joins the fray

Like his brother Christopher, he doesn't mince words. He is referring below to a news report that a wind turbine was attacked and damaged by a UFO:

If visitors from another galaxy really are going round destroying wind turbines, then it is the proof we have been waiting for that aliens are more intelligent than we are. The swivel-eyed, intolerant cult, which endlessly shrieks - without proof - that global warming is man-made, has produced many sad effects. The collapse of proper education has made two whole generations vulnerable to rubbishy fads.

But the disfiguring of the country with useless windmills, and the insane plan to ban proper light bulbs, are supreme triumphs of this dimwit pseudo-religion. Both schemes override facts and logic. During the current cold spell, observant persons will have noticed that there has been very little wind, a rather common combination. Thus, at a time of great need for power, wind turbines would be almost entirely useless for producing electricity. They're pretty feeble anyway. Even when they are working, sensible power stations have to be kept spinning, so that they can be flung into gear at short notice if the wind drops.

Yet, over the objections of reasonable protesters fearing for the ruined landscape, or dreading the annoying whine and whirr, the authorities have marched over the once-lovely hills and moors of Britain, planting grotesque and futile engines. In intervals between erecting these daft objects, the Government (influenced by the awful EU) has also colluded in a plan to stop the sale of traditional light bulbs.

This is even though the supposed replacements are expensive, don't reduce electricity use anything like as much as claimed, won't fit many existing lamps, won't work with dimmers, in many cases give off a light as cheery and bright as the baleful glow emitted by a decomposing dingo, won't work in fridges, don't last as long as claimed, and when they do go phut, must be disposed of with tongs because they contain deadly mercury vapour. This is the price we pay for fanaticism, and for a low-grade political class without the courage to stand up against it.

True, it takes a little nerve to oppose this lobby. But if you don't have that sort of nerve, you shouldn't be in politics in the first place.


Some politically Left Scientists Now Rejecting Climate Fears

Excerpt from Speech Delivered on U.S. Senate Floor January 8, 2009 by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) - Ranking Member, Environment and Public Works Committee

I have given over 12 floor speeches on the science of global warming. Today, I want to update my colleagues on some of the latest science that has not been reported in the mainstream media. ... Many politically left-of-center scientists and environmental activists are now realizing that the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming is not holding up. It is becoming increasingly clear that skepticism about man-made global warming fear is not a partisan left vs. right issue. In fact, many scientists and activists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" or "hijacked" the green movement.

The left-wing blog Huffington Post surprised many by featuring an article on January 3, 2009, by Harold Ambler, demanding an apology from Gore for promoting unfounded global warming fears. The Huffington Post article accused Gore of telling "the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind" because he claimed the science was settled on global warming. The Huffington Post article titled "Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted" adds, "It is Mr. Gore and his brethren who are flat-Earthers," not the skeptics. Again, it is not Jim Inhofe calling Gore a "flat-Earther," it is the left-wing blog Huffington Post calling him these things.

The Huffington Post article continues, "Let us neither cripple our own economy by mislabeling carbon dioxide a pollutant nor discourage development in the Third World, where suffering continues unabated, day after day."

UK atmospheric scientist Richard Courtney, a left-of-political center socialist, is another dissenter of man-made climate fears. Courtney, a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK-based climate and atmospheric science consultant, is a self-described socialist who also happens to reject man-made climate fears. Courtney declared in 2008 that there is "no correlation between the anthropogenic emissions of GHG (greenhouse gases) and global temperature."

Joining Courtney are many other progressive environmentalist scientists: Former Greenpeace member and Finnish scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a lecturer of environmental technology and a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland who has authored 200 scientific publications, is also skeptical of man-made climate doom. Ahlbeck wrote in 2008, "Contrary to common belief, there has been no or little global warming since 1995 and this is shown by two completely independent datasets. But so far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming."

Life-long liberal Democrat Dr. Martin Hertzberg, a retired Navy meteorologist with a PhD in physical chemistry, also declared his dissent of warming fears in 2008. "As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming to be a disservice to science," Hertzberg wrote. "The global warming alarmists don't even bother with data! All they have are half-baked computer models that are totally out of touch with reality and have already been proven to be false," Hertzberg added.

Ivy League Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack, the former chair of Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, publicly announced he voted for Gore in 2000 and said he would do so again. But Giegengack does not agree with Gore's science views and states that global warming does not even qualify as one of the top ten ENVIRONMENTAL problems facing the world, let alone one of the top problems. "In terms of [global warming's] capacity to cause the human species harm, I don't think it makes it into the top 10," Giegengack said in an interview in the May/June 2007 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette.

Other liberal environmental scientists and activists are now joining Giegengack. Alexander Cockburn, a maverick journalist who leans left on most topics, lambasted the alleged global-warming consensus on the political Web site, arguing that there's no evidence yet that humans are causing the rise in global temperature. After publicly speaking to reject man-made warming fears, Cockburn wrote on February 22, 2008, "I have been treated as if I have committed intellectual blasphemy." Cockburn harshly critiqued the political left for embracing climate alarmism. "This turn to climate catastrophism is tied into the decline of the left, and the decline of the left's optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political program. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice," Cockburn wrote. [See: A July 2007 and a March 2008 report detail how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation]

CNN - not exactly a bastion of conservatism - had yet another of its meteorologists dissent from warming fears. Chad Myers, a meteorologist for 22 years and certified by the American Meteorological Society, spoke out against anthropogenic climate claims on CNN in December. "You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant," Myers said during "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on December 18, 2008. "Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big - I think we're going to die from a lack of fresh water or we're going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure," Myers explained. Myers joins fellow CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano, who compared Gore's film to `fiction' in 2007, and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs who just said of global warming fear promotion on January 5, "It's almost a religion without any question."

Denis G. Rancourt, professor of physics and an environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa, believes the global warming campaign does a disservice to the environmental movement. Rancourt wrote on February 27, 2007, "Promoting the global warming myth trains people to accept unverified, remote, and abstract dangers in the place of true problems that they can discover for themselves by becoming directly engaged in their workplace and by doing their own research and observations." Rancourt wrote, "I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized." "Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middle class," Rancourt added.

Perhaps the biggest shock to the global warming debate was the recent conversion of renowned French geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre from being a believer in dangerous man-made warming fears to being a skeptic. Allegre, a former French Socialist Party leader and a member of both the French and U.S. Academies of Science, was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, but he now says the cause of climate change is "unknown." He ridiculed what he termed the "prophets of doom of global warming" in a September 2006 article. Allegre has authored more than 100 scientific articles, written 11 books, and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States. He now believes the global warming hysteria is motivated by money. "The ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" he explained.

Left-wing Professor David Noble of Canada's York University has joined the growing chorus of disenchanted liberal activists. Noble now believes that the movement has "hyped the global climate issue into an obsession." Noble wrote a May 8, 2007, essay entitled "The Corporate Climate Coup" which details how global warming has "hijacked" the environmental left and created a "corporate climate campaign," "divert[ing] attention from the radical challenges of the global justice movement."

Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University, and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, converted from believer to a skeptic about global warming. Bellamy, a committed environmentalist, now says that shift cost him his career at the BBC. Bellamy said in 2008, "My opinion is that there is absolutely no proof that carbon dioxide has anything to do with any impending catastrophe. The science has, quite simply, gone awry. In fact, it's not even science any more, it's anti-science. There's no proof, it's just projections and if you look at the models people such as Gore use, you can see they cherry pick the ones that support their beliefs."

Geologist Peter Sciaky echoes this growing backlash of left-wing activists about global warming. Sciaky, who describes himself as a "liberal and a leftist" wrote on June 9, 2007, "I do not know a single geologist who believes that [global warming] is a man-made phenomenon."

Ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace founding member, has also joined the ranks of the dissenters. "It is clear the contention that human-induced CO2 emissions and rising CO2 levels in the global atmosphere are the cause of the present global warming trend is a hypothesis that has not yet been elevated to the level of a proven theory. Causation has not been demonstrated in any conclusive way," Moore, the chief scientist for Greenspirit, wrote in 2006.

Again, to repeat, it is becoming increasingly clear that skepticism about man-made global warming fear is not a partisan left vs. right issue. It is a scientific question and the promoters of global warming fears now realize they have significantly overreached.

More here (See the original for links)


American astronaut Dr. Jack Schmitt - the last living man to walk on the moon - is the latest scientist to be added to the roster of more than 70 skeptics who will confront the subject of global warming at the second annual International Conference on Climate Change in New York City March 8-10, 2009.

The conference expects to draw 1,000 attendees including private-sector business people, state and federal legislators and officials, policy analysts, media, and students.

Schmitt, who earned a PhD from Harvard in geology, resigned in November from the Planetary Society, an international non-profit organization devoted to inspiring "the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own, and seek life elsewhere." He is the twelfth person to walk on the Moon; as of 2008, of the nine living moonwalkers, he and his crewmate Eugene Cernan were the last two to walk there.

"As a geologist, I love Earth observations," Schmitt wrote, "But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a 'consensus' that humans are causing global warming when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. 'Consensus,' as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the 'global warming scare' is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making..."

Schmitt will be joined by more than 70 other economists, public officials, legal experts, and climate specialists calling attention to new research that contradicts claims that Earth's moderate warming during the 20th Century primarily was man-made and has reached crisis proportions.

Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, producer of the event along with more than 30 co-sponsors, explained, "At the first conference last March, we proved that the skeptics in the debate over global warming constitute the center or mainstream of the scientific community while alarmists are on the fringe.

"Now in the past nine months, the science has grown even more convincing that global warming is not a crisis. Also suggesting this 'crisis' is over are opinion polls in the U.S. and around the globe and political events, including the decisive defeat of 'cap-and-trade' legislation in the U.S. Senate last spring. The crisis has been cancelled by sound science and common-sense."

More here

Not So Fast the Electric Cars, Buried Study Says

Contrary to popular belief, all useful information does not emanate exclusively from the United States. Likewise, governments other than ours can, on occasion, be as guilty as ours in suppressing useful information that is inconvenient for governments, not to mention advocates of and special pleaders for suspicious causes. Thus it was that while Americans were busy holidaying, the Financial Times (FT) reported that the government of French President Nicolas Sarkozy was busily burying an inconvenient study - analyzing options for cleaner and more efficient mass-market cars -- commissioned by that very same government.

The study was conducted by Jean Syrota, a former French energy industry regulator. According to Paul Betts and Song Jung-a of FT, the study "concludes that there is not much future in the much vaunted development of all electric-powered cars. Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr [105 mph]....

"Overall, the Syrota report says that adapting and improving conventional engines could enhance their efficiency by an average of 50 per cent. It also argues that new-generation hybrid cars combining conventional engines with electric propulsion could provide an interesting future alternative. "By combining electric batteries with conventional fuel-driven engines, cars could run on clean electricity for short urban trips while switching over to fuel on motorways. This would resolve one of the biggest problems facing all electric cars - the need to install costly battery recharging infrastructures. The report warns that the overall cost of an all-electric car remains unviable at around double that of a conventional vehicle."

A single, buried French report cannot and should not curtail the development of electric cars. But it should be a cautionary note to all governments (California among them) rushing to embrace, with taxpayer money, the automobile panacea that could in reality never amount to more than a niche product with negligible impact on energy or transportation needs and considerable impact on consumer and taxpayer cost.

Not a week after FT reported on the buried French study, other news reports indicated that 14 U.S. companies had formed a coalition to seek $1 billion in U.S. government funding to develop batteries for electric cars. (You may have read that all free-market principles having now being discredited, the government will be responsible for all venture capital.) That's your money, as the ad slogan says. Call and let us know how far it gets your electric car across Route 66.


Greenie elitism and contempt for ordinary people

Comment from Britain

Some years ago, walking a stretch of the Pennine Way, I received the first of many lessons in the politics of the great outdoors. High on the Northumberland moors, not having seen a soul all morning, we met a countryside ranger. As we greeted each other, he said, with a kind of practised, jovial menace: "Don't drop any litter now, will you." In an instant he ruined our day. His words provoked in our mild-mannered souls a teeth-gnashing rage. Spoken to like rebellious fourth-formers, we had a burning desire to behave like them: to shred our crisp packets and scatter them to the winds, to drop our drinks bottle and leave a trail of silver wrapper; purely to thwart this insensitive jobsworth.

We didn't, of course, but a sense of his deep discourtesy remained. Subsequently I have met others like him, and have come to realise that our ranger was not some unfortunate one-off, but a type: the voice of a particular constituency in green places. Welcome to the world of Woolly-hat Man; the elitist of open spaces. Woolly-hat Man has spiritual ownership, and no one else. Even in the most solitary parts of these crowded islands, he will not trust you to leave only footprints. And, like the worst kind of opera snob, Woolly-hat Man can barely tolerate the people whom he knows to be incapable of appreciating the show properly.

It all came back to me this week, when the argument against charity challenges reared its head. The authorities that oversee Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, declared that charity climbs were "destroying" the landscape. Hundreds of thousands of people now climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon every year, with visitor figures for 2008 among the highest yet, but land managers singled out for special criticism the 60,000 or so annually who attempt the Three Peaks Challenge, climbing all three mountains within 24 hours.

This challenge is a nebulous, unorganised thing. People undertake it in the same individualistic way that they trek from Lands End to John o' Groats. And because participants race on public roads through Scotland, England and Wales to beat the clock, the challenge has a fairly subterranean culture. Which, of course, only adds to its appeal. Now in all probability, Three Peakers are slightly mad. But that is not the issue. What is at stake is their right to be mad. Most do it to raise money for good causes, some do it for personal satisfaction and everyone does it because they are entitled to do it: they use public roads and climb hills that belong to the nation.

But in the eyes of at least one guardian of Ben Nevis, the groups of fit young men who take on the challenge "can turn the mountain into Billy Smart's circus". As opposed to what? Glyndebourne? The Highland Council is to hold talks with the Institute of Fundraising this month to draw up a new code of conduct that will strike a compromise, it is said, between charity and conservation. The intention, plainly, is to end what are called "unsustainable" group challenges on all three of Britain's highest peaks. Two powerful forces - snobbery and an obsession with regulation - are inevitably leading to a situation where the authorities will pick and choose who can climb the mountains; and when.

Now I don't run up mountains for a hobby, but I would always, in that good old libertarian sense, defend the rights of others to do so. These runners should be as free to do what they do as others are to take part in the London Marathon: unless, of course, we intend to start charging joggers for eroding the pavements, or taxing cyclists who mount their bikes at Land's End. The argument is essentially the same.

The truth is that the very same outdoor aristocracy that preaches diversity and equal access for all, that produces a countryside safety guide and probably translates the damn thing into Urdu and Arabic; that draws up health strategies to resist obesity - these people secretly detest the end results. Deep down, they hate the charity challenges, the mountain bikers, the long-distance footpath followers - the unstoppable invasion of their green space.

For them, it is dumbing-down: not just the arrival of the great unwashed in hopeless trainers, but the threatening hordes of fit Bear Gryllses, who can handle the outdoors but just aren't respectful enough.

Double standards rule, I'm afraid. The woolly-hat brigade, free spirits to a man, would not tolerate being regulated themselves. Tell them that they could not climb a mountain when they wanted to, or must pay an entry fee, and they would revolt. But they are perfectly happy to stop others.

It is one of the great ironies of the present elitism that the original outdoor movement had working-class roots, founded largely by men desperate to escape from the toil of heavy industry at the weekends. Access to green spaces has therefore always been a great socialist cause; the kernel of the great class war over land ownership. Funny, isn't it, how poachers always turn gamekeepers in the end?



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


10 January, 2009

Germany having 'one of the coldest winters in 100 years'

The cold has so far cost four people their lives and caused even the Muritzsee [a large lake] to freeze up.

One of the coldest winters in 100 years has cost Germany more lives. At minus 16 degrees a homeless man in Rhineland-Palatinate froze to death. Police said yersterday that the 58-year-old had for two years lived with a 43-year-old in a tent.

On Friday morning, a 53-year old Berliner was fished out dead from a hole in the ice in the Elde in Grabow (District Ludwigslust). According to the police at directorate Schwerin, the man's car was found with the key still in the ignition on the bridge of the federal 5th

In Nidda a man who lived in a nursing home became a victim of the cold, according to the police in Friedberg. The corpse of a man who on Sunday ran away from home, was found on Monday. Only now it has been established that he froze to death. On Monday in Weimar a demented 77 - year-old who had got lost froze to death.....

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), this is one of the coldest winters of the past 100 years. It is quite rare that such low temperatures as in the past days were recorded, the DWD meteorologist Thomas Schmidt said yesterday. The weather service Meteomedia reported yesterday a temperature of minus 34.6 degrees at the Funtensee in the Bavarian Alps. It was there in Christmas 2001, that the lowest temperature so far in Germany was recorded -- at minus 45.9 degrees Celsius, .

For the first time in years the Mueritz lake in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania -- with 11,700 hectares of Germany's largest lake scenery -- was again completely covered with ice. In northern Germany ice increasingly hampered inland ship movements: The Elbe was from Friday morning closed to shipping above Hamburg because of a thick blanket of ice.

More here. (Quick translation by JR)

Calling Paul Ehrlich: "Half the planet could be hit by food crisis by 2100"

These ignoramuses are smarter than Ehrlich in one respect: They put their prophecy way in the future

According to researchers, there is a 90 percent probability that by 2100 the minimum temperatures in the tropics and sub-tropical regions will be higher than the maximums so far recorded in those areas. The affect [effect?] on crop-growing in those regions would be dire, according to the projections based on direct observations and data culled from 23 computer models on the planet's evolving climate patterns.

"The stresses on global food production from temperature alone are going to be huge, and that doesn't take into account water supplies stressed by the higher temperatures," said David Battisti, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor. "We are taking the worst of what we've seen historically and saying that in the future it is going to be a lot worse unless there is some kind of adaptation," added Rosamond Naylor, director of Stanford University's Program on Food Security and the Environment.

In the tropics, the warmest temperatures will cut maize and rice harvests by 20 to 40 percent, the researchers said. [Rubbish! Rice crops best in high temperatures. Indonesia is close to the equator and they often get 3 rice crops a year there] The hotter weather will also reduce the moisture in the soil, cutting yields even further. [Really! Higher temperatures would cause more ocean evaporation and hence heavier rainfall!] Some three billion people, or half the world's population, currently live in tropical and sub-tropical regions, and their number is set to double by the end of the century. These regions stretch from northern India, southern China to much of Australia and all of Africa, and also extend from the southern United States to northern Argentina and southern Brazil.


Freezing out the facts

Liam Dutton, the weatherman for the BBC, recently wrote on the BBC site:
Having worked at the BBC weather centre for about six years, I'm finding it hard to remember the last time I talked about cold weather constantly for such a long period of time - and that's saying something, as I'm a bit of a winter weather fan.

The start of the meteorological winter is 1 December and last month proved to be the coldest December in more than 30 years, with the average temperature at 1.7C (35F), compared with the long-term average of 4.7C (40F) for the first part of the month.
Dutton says the he is frequently asked if this unusually cold winter is a record breaker. He says it isn't: "The current UK lowest temperature record stands at -27.2C (-17F) at Braemar in Scotland, which was last reached in December 1995, and before that in 1982."

So the coldest winter on record in the UK is 1995 and before that 1982. The London Telegraph reports that even southern England, which is used to mild winters were shocked this year. "Dog walkers and boat owners were startled to discover that the waters around the exclusive Sandbanks peninsula which stretches out into the harbour at Pool, Dorset, were covered in ice." They report that a half mile section of the coast "reaching out about 20 yards to sea was frozen". The local marina manager says that in his 20 years of managing the marina "I cannot remember this ever happening before."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has urged people to bring all pets indoors and report that smaller pets outside have frozen to death. The water fountains in Trafalagar Square have frozen and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says that the freezing temperatures are putting wild birds at risk as it is becoming difficult for them to find food.

In Milan, Italy a snowstorm brought the city to a halt. Warsaw, and Berlin, Germany, both saw minus 20 degrees Celsisus days. Police in Poland saw that this winter 76 people have died from the cold. In France, snow has cancelled rail service between Pairs and Marseille. Demand for energy is so high that the authorities are warning of black outs if people don't cut their heating needs. An icebreaker was brought into Rotterdam harbor to break up the ice that had closed the harbor

The deaths are a sad reminder that cold weather, not warm weather, is the main killer of people, especially the elderly. Last year England had 25,300 elderly die due to cold weather, that was up on the previous year when 23,740 died from the cold. A spokesman for the National Pensioners Conventions says: "Since 1997, we have lost over 260,000 pensioners during the winter months because of cold-related illnesses..."

I remember in 2003 that a particularly unusual heat wave hit France while many physicians were on their annual holiday. That summer France saw 14,802 people die from the heat. That got reported in the US. Now we read that cold has killed over a quarter of a million elderly people in just the UK alone in the last decade. The French heat wave from 2003 has not yet been repeated so those 14,802 deaths were in one year only. The UK sees that number of deaths EVERY year from cold plus around another 10,000 more. Did you see that reported in the US media? This is a far more tragic set of statistics but one the media in the US doesn't find "sexy". It doesn't have that "global warming" angle to it that the media loves so much.

A google news search on "coldest winter England" turns up quite a few stories from the UK regarding the bitter weather there this year but the US media barely appears in the listing. The rather unusual story about a section of sea water freezing got no hits from the US media in google news, though the UK media reported on it. I couldn't find a mention of at the New York Times while the BBC couldn't ignore it.

I'm not going to say that this weather proves global cooling -- even if I'm becoming more and more convinced that a global cooling is more likely than a global warming, at least for the rest of my lifetime. Weather extremes like this can't prove global cooling. Of course, neither do weather extremes in the other direction prove global warming. And it would be silly if a "skeptic" on the warming issue were to argue that this ultra-cold winter is proof of cooling. I am sure that many warming activists will go to great lengths to remind us not to be fooled by singular weather events like this one.

Well, except when those singular events appear to bolster their case. The on-line envrionmental publication Grist was very quick to note that extra heavy wild fires in California were a result of global warming -- even if experts in forest fires said that was poppycock. Grist justified their hysteria saying: "You've got to talk when people are paying attention" and "You've got to drive home the point while people actually care about wildfires (same true for hurricanes, droughts, etc.)." They said that jumping in during such disasters would be useful because "the media will lap it up."

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Green Left was all over the media with claims about how global warming was responsible. Not only that but more frequent and powerful storms would be battering the US as a result of this warming. Katrina hit in 2005. That year 15 hurricanes hit. The 2006 hurricane season was light, with just 5. The 2007 hurrican season ended with 6, 2008 was slightly more active with 8.

Torandos are a nasty piece of weather. And sometimes they hit in places where they normally aren't found. Since 1950 there have six recorded in New York City, about one every decade. The Washington Post ran an article on August 9, 2007 about the small tornado that had hit New York City the prior day. The Post gave it the scare headline: "Did Global Warming Cause NYC Tornado?" (The link for this story has been removed from the Post site and the story appears to have vanished from their archives as well. But all traces of the story have not vanished. If you go to this warming scare story you on the Post site you will see they forgot to delete a link to the story. Here is a screen capture of the "more stories" section listing the story. But if you try to click on the link it will take you no where.

In 2007 England suffered from some summer flooding that was unusually severe. The Independent reported: "It's official, the heavier rainfall in Britain is... being generated by man-made global warming." One atypical weather event and they hopped on the warming angle. The current cold spell, however, is reported without any mention of the warming worry. Later studies showed that warming had nothing to do with the floods. But all the major media outlet had already reported otherwise.

Weather extremes can be very nasty things. And the media can report them or ignore them. From what I've seen their tendency is to report endlessly any such extremes that substantiate the warming agenda that politicians and the UN are pushing. Weather extremes that would undermine such reports tend to get ignored or downplayed. I'm not even saying that the press is doing this intentionally. I suspect that they know what they know and information that confirms what they know is deemed important by them. Information, which seems to contradict or undermine what they know is selectively ignored or downplayed because "they know" it isn't, or can't be, important.


It's cold out there

If you are going out anytime over the next few months, may I suggest that you wear a hat? You might even buy earmuffs. We are experiencing yet another cold winter. Al Gore may believe in global warming, but I suggest that he have a word with his fellow environmental catastrophists at the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Predictions. Since the end of 1998 global warming has ceased. In fact, it is getting colder out there. Two thousand eight was possibly the coldest year of this young century. Over the last two years temperatures have dropped by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius -- brrrr.

The reason I mention Al's co-religionists at the Hadley Centre is that they have come to realize that computer projections of global warming have been wrong. Carbon dioxide levels have indeed increased but not temperatures. So bundle up, Al. Last year, in many parts of the world, snowfalls reached levels not seen in decades. The Associated Press recently shrieked that global warming "is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid," but the facts are otherwise. The computer models that have predicted global warming have failed just as the computer models that predicted very few financial losses for the insurance industry from credit default swaps (CDSs) failed.

Christopher Booker, writing in London's Daily Telegraph, observes that "2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved." I am not sure I would go that far, but I do believe that the so-called consensus that the catastrophists claim exists among scientists has frayed, and it may be years before we know if global warming is long-range or what causes it. It may be caused by humans, but it may also be caused by natural activity on the sun.

From the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization has come a very interesting book of essays that displays the diverse views of some very serious scientific minds. One contributor, Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT, raises the question: "Is the Global Warming Alarm Founded on Fact?" He acknowledges that over the decades there has been some global warming but argues that the predictions of catastrophe are greatly exaggerated. "Actual observations suggest that the sensitivity of the real climate is much less than that found in computer models whose sensitivity depends on processes that are clearly misrepresented."

Then there is Freeman Dyson, who in the June 12, 2008 issue of the New York Review of Books writes very calmly about global warming. He assures us that "genetically engineered carbon-eating trees" are just around the corner, likely to be developed in twenty years, certain to be developed in fifty years. What is so promising about genetically engineered carbon-eating trees? Writes Dyson: "Carbon-eating trees could convert most of the carbon that they absorb from the atmosphere into some chemically stable form and bury it underground. Or they could convert the carbon into liquid fuels and other useful chemicals."

So relax. Our future is in the trees -- genetically engineered carbon eating trees. Frigid winters are on the return. Al Gore's next new thing will be the common cold. It is rather amazing to think of how he and the catastrophists whipped up hysteria worldwide. One wonders what their next fear will be, carnivorous trees?


The dangers of disputing warming orthodoxy

Book Review of "Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed". By Christopher C. Horner

Those of us who refuse to accept calls from proponents of global warming for drastic restrictions on production often confront objections like this:
You skeptics, blinded by fanatical devotion to the free market, ignore evidence. True enough, you can trot out a few scientists who agree with you. But the overwhelming majority of climate scientists view man-made global warming as a great threat to the world. The course of inaction you urge on us threatens the earth with disaster.
Christopher Horner's excellent book provides a convincing response to this all-too-frequent complaint. But how can it do so? Will not an "anti-global-warming" book of necessity consist of an account of scientists who dissent from the consensus? If so, will it not fall victim to the difficulty raised in our imagined objection? The book will pick a few favored experts to back up a preconceived political agenda. Horner strikes at the root of this objection: it rests on a false premise. Contrary to what our objection assumes, there is in fact no consensus of scientists behind global-warming alarmism:
Professor Dennis Bray of Germany and Hans von Storch polled climate scientists to rate the statement, "To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?" . They received responses from 530 climate scientists in 27 countries, of whom 44 percent were either neutral or disagreed with the statement. Science magazine helpfully refused to publish the findings, by the way. (p. 157)
But do not the most prestigious bodies of scientists, such as the National Academy of Science and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim that man-made global warming is indeed a danger? Horner shows that matters are not what they appear. Environmentalists insinuated their way into the National Academy through "a special Temporary Nominating Committee for the Global Environment, bypassing normal election procedures" (p. 91). Once ensconced, these partisan figures used their position to elect more of their ilk and to block skeptics. The environmentalist members include Paul Ehrlich, who predicted in The Population Bomb (1968) that by the 1970s and '80s hundreds of millions of people would die from starvation. His manifest failure as a prognosticator has not deterred him from touting new and improved ways to cripple capitalism.

Appeal to the Intergovernmental Panel (IPCC) is likewise dubious. Far from expressing a consensus of the world's leading climate experts, the reports of IPCC alter the opinions of the contributors to reflect climate alarmism. Horner quotes to great effect several protests by IPCC experts over the distortion of their views.
Dr. Frederick Seitz . revealed that although the IPCC report carries heft due to having been the topic of review and discussion by many scientists, "the report is not what it appears to be - it is not the version that was approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page." (p. 300)
Activists in charge of the report's summary exaggerated what the scientists had said to promote the global-warming agenda.

The drive against dissenters from global warming extends much further. Patrick Michaels, a leading critic, reports that an editor told him skeptical papers must face much stricter scrutiny to win acceptance. The "newly elected Democratic Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, . soon after taking office ratcheted up the effort to get Michaels removed" from his post of state climatologist (p. 113). In one case, when a skeptical paper evaded the landmines and secured publication, the global-warming enthusiasts demanded that an immediate rebuttal appear.

It gets much worse. Bjorn Lomborg affirms global warming, but he angered the alarmists because he thinks programs to reduce carbon emissions should not have a high priority. When he expressed this view in The Skeptical Environmentalist, the alarmists launched against him a campaign of contumely. A Danish Star Chamber court of inquiry, the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty, found him guilty of misrepresentation, even though it lacked evidence on which to base this charge. Instead, it took over and adopted as its own a bill of previously published charges.
The Committees ruled in January 2003, stating that "Objectively speaking, the publication of the work under consideration is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty." This opinion, such as it was, offered as evidence not analysis, but a list of those who had criticized Lomborg. (p. 122, emphasis and footnote number removed)
After more inquiry, the Danish government quashed the proceedings, and Lomborg emerged vindicated.

Some globalists go even further. Greenpeace has called Horner a "climate criminal"; and an environmentalist group even rummaged through his trash, apparently hoping to find evidence of an antiglobalist conspiracy. Environmentalist stalwarts have urged that skeptics be imprisoned: by endeavoring to undermine our battle against the global-warming menace, are not skeptics guilty of criminal conduct? In Australia, global-warming advocates want to strip deniers of their citizenship.

Why do the proponents of global warming try to stamp out dissent? As Horner makes clear, billions of dollars are at stake.
The University of California system, for example, is preparing to spend $500 million [in taxpayer dollars] to create a think tank to analyze global warming and the Public Utilities Commission has adopted a decision which will spend $600 million more for a separate think tank to study the issue. (p. 223)
Research grants to "prove" global warming can readily be obtained. Nor is the gravy train confined to scientists; journalists, environmentalist organizations, and television and movie producers benefit from the campaign to save the earth. Al Gore, among other politicians, has used global-warming propaganda to enhance his fame and fortune. As Horner shows in a chapter that makes painful reading, "educational" materials to enlist children into the crusade provide yet another source of profit. If the global-warming hypothesis were overthrown, all of this money would be at risk; hence the imperative necessity to silence the critics.

But here I must face an objection. Even if heavy funding supports global-warming research, this does not suffice to show that the results of this work lack validity. Even if someone is "in it for the money," his results may be right. Must not motives and results be kept strictly separate? Indeed so; but I have not argued that heavy financial backing undermines the conclusions of this sort of research. Rather, the financial interests explain why globalists suppress dissent. That said, the backing behind global-warming research should induce those of us who are not experts to hesitate before accepting in full the claims of the alarmists. The claim is not the fallacious "because you are an interested party, your results cannot stand"; it is the entirely defensible "because you an interested party, I will exercise caution before I accept what you say." Richard Posner, himself an alarmist, recognizes the point:
Fair enough; it would be a mistake to suppose scientists to be completely disinterested, and when the science is inexact or unsettled the normal self-interested motivations that scientists share with the rest of us have elbow room for influencing scientific opinion. To this it can be added that the climatic and other environmental effects of burning fossil fuels are red flags to the Greens. (Richard A. Posner, Catastrophe: Risk and Response (Oxford, 2004), p. 54)
But, as Posner goes on to note, does not this point also tell against the skeptics? Businesses have supported some of their research. This should certainly be acknowledged. As Horner notes, though, the notion that global-warming skeptics are tools of oil companies and other big businesses has little to be said for it. Quite the contrary, many businesses avidly support global-warming alarmism. If legislation imposes restrictions on oil and coal, e.g., alternative energy sources stand to profit.

But does not the objection I posed at the outset now recur in modified form? Even if no scientific consensus endorses global warming, what justifies us in inclining to the skeptical position? Are we not choosing our experts to harmonize with our political opinions? Here we cannot escape. We must evaluate the evidence as best we can and this does entail choosing which experts to believe. It does not follow, though, that we must adopt agreement with a political position as our criterion for choice.

Horner offers a number of facts that lend strong backing to those who question the global-warming dogma. (The main focus of the book, though, lies not in scientific theory but in a depiction of the techniques and tactics of Horner's opponents.[1]) For one thing, a number of the thermometers used to measure global warming have been placed in situations likely to produce an upward bias, e.g., next to incinerators or in cities rather than less warm rural locations.

Horner does not deny that some increase in temperature has occurred since the panic about global cooling in the '70s. But the increase by no means pushes the earth's temperature higher than ever in recorded history, let alone prehistoric times. Temperatures in the Medieval Warming Period ranged at least as high as those now current. Further, the projected increase in temperature owing to human emissions of carbon dioxide, the basis for all the panic, amounts to very little. If temperature does increase somewhat, this may turn out to have largely good effects, such as greater growth in vegetation.
Subsequent research [to Michael Mann's discredited "hockey-stick graph"] has ratified the old, outdated thinking drawn from agricultural records, diaries, cultural artifacts, and the like that the Medieval Warming was warmer than today and the [following] Little Ice Age cooler, globally and not regionally. (pp. 108-9)
But what of claims that temperature increase may melt the polar icecaps, with dire consequences? Horner notes that the area near the North Pole has been warmer in the past than it is now; further, Antarctica, much larger than the Arctic Circle, now is colder than earlier in the 20th century. Alarms about flooding rest on highly disputable computer models.

Even if the skeptics have a good case, why need we adopt it? I do not mean that we should judge in favor of the alarmists and set to one side the arguments of their critics. Rather, why need we take sides in a scientific controversy, any more than, say, we need to adopt a particular interpretation of quantum mechanics?

Unfortunately, we cannot remain neutral while the experts battle. The global-warming advocates support drastic measures that would seriously affect production. Some of them go further and call for curbs on human population. In this connection, it is more than a little disturbing that John Holdren, chosen by Barack Obama as his science advisor since the publication of Horner's book, is a close associate of Paul Ehrlich. Holdren was among those elected to the National Academy of Science "from the temporary nominating group" earlier mentioned (p. 93). To decline to take a stand is to surrender to environmentalist extremists.

A nagging doubt remains. What if, however unlikely, the alarmists turn out to be right? Horner deploys in this connection what Herbert Hoover would have called a "powerful statistic": there is little that we can do to lower world temperatures. If all nations fully adhered to the guidelines of the Kyoto Protocol, this would have but a minute effect.
As Pat Michaels' World Climate blog summed it up: ".the amount of future global warming that would be 'saved' would amount to about 0.07øC by the year 2050 and 0.15øC by 2100." That amount of warming delayed for a few years at such tremendous cost is actually too small for scientists to distinguish from the "noise" of inter-annual temperature variability. (p. 249)
Measures to curb global warming cannot succeed, but they can do much harm. It is Horner's great merit to have called our attention to a real danger - not global warming, but the measures that global-warming alarmists wish to inflict on us.



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


9 January, 2009


An email from S. Fred Singer []

So here we have them: Obama's three scientistsªSteve Chu, John Holdren, and Jane Lubchenco. All with sterling credentials - a Nobel laureate in physics, a recent president of the AAAS, a recent head of the International Council of Scientific Unions - but with minimal knowledge of climate science, except what they may have gleaned from reading the IPCC summary. Yet all three seem supremely confident that they will drastically change US climate policy. Well, let me be the first with the bad (for them) news: Within a year or so, they are going to be an awfully frustrated bunch.

My fearless forecast for 2009: Big amount of activity by Congress, with lots of 'Cap&Trade' bills to limit CO2 emissions. Waxman, Markey, and Pelosi in the House; Boxer, Lieberman, Bingeman, and maybe even McCain in the Senate. It will take off, but it won't fly: There is the prohibitive cost of any real C&T, raising energy prices and killing jobs -- while the economy is in the dumps. There is the horrible example of the European emission-trading brouhaha, falling apart even as we go to press. And after ten years, the climate is still refusing to warm. I am not even considering the threat of a filibuster in the Senateªwith Democrats from 'fly-over' states joining Republican opponents of C&T.

I think that Obama is much too smart to devote political capital to doomed climate legislation. He has more important priorities, and must also be thinking of 2010 and, of course, the 2012 elections. Being a 'one-term' president just doesn't look good. He will certainly go through the motions and come up with great rhetoric. He'll trot out his science team - but to no avail. Climate science isn't going to figure prominently in the Congressional debates - alas; it's all about economics and politics.

Now for the real action: Once legislation stalls, Carol Browner, the supreme ideologue and strategist, will go the regulatory route. EPA will try to treat CO2 as a 'criteria pollutant' under the terms of the Clean Air Act. But there will be litigation. EPA must demonstrate 'endangerment' and make a persuasive case that CO2 is a threat to 'public health and welfare.' Perhaps even show that there is a critical level of CO2 and demonstrate convincingly - in a court-of-law -- that its regulatory program will succeed in keeping CO2 from reaching that level. EPA will be required to respond to all the scientific evidence now in its docket that says CO2 is not a threat - including the NIPCC report. Here is where climate science will finally become all-important - but Obama's science team will be of no help once cross-examination starts.

How much better if the three team members lay off climate and devote their efforts and expertise to genuine problems: Holdren can handle nuclear proliferation and the rising threat of nuclear terrorism; Lubchenco can try to stem the over-exploitation of ocean resources, and look after fisheries and whales; Chu should be thinking about the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to various forms of nuclear energy and foster research that assures adequate and low-cost supplies of fissionable fuel for the more efficient and safer reactors of the future.

While this may be best use of their considerable collective talents, they will probably be pressed into service to back up Browner on her dubious climate science -- where they have negligible expertise.

So cold the sea around Britain freezes

All due to global warming, of course. Global warming is a magic wand for socialists

It is an event as rare as it is spectacular - but yesterday, after a week of sub-zero conditions, the sea around Britain began to freeze. Instead of waves gently lapping the shore, walkers in Sandbanks, Dorset, found swathes of ice stretching up to 20m along the shore. It is highly unusual for Britain's coastline to freeze, but the combination of a sustained cold snap and the protected location of the Dorset peninsula made it possible. At Padstow, in Cornwall, in another sheltered harbour, seagulls skimmed across a layer of ice. And in South Wales, boats were frozen in their moorings on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal in Pontypool. Because of its salt content, sea water freezes solid at about minus 2C.

Kevin Horsburgh, a scientist at Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool, said: "What generally happens is when the surface freezes, it gets heavier and sinks. The heat in the water needs to be extracted in order for the surface to stay frozen. In order for that to happen you need a long and sustained period of sub-zero temperatures." Mr Horsburgh added that sheltered peninsulas and harbours were more likely to freeze than open coastline. "A harbour has quite a low level of salt content because it has fresh water from rivers running into it," he said. "The saltier the water, the less chance of it freezing."

The cold snap showed no signs of abating yesterday. On Tuesday night temperatures plummeted as low as minus 12C in Benson, Oxfordshire. At Bournemouth Airport it was minus 11C, the coldest January night since 1963. Meanwhile in Farnborough, Hampshire, where the thermometer also recorded minus 11C, it was the coldest January night on record since 1926.

There were signs yesterday that the freezing conditions are affecting Britain badly, with the Local Government Association warning that tens of thousands of pensioners could die as a result of the prolonged cold snap. It is feared the number of deaths caused by the winter chill could exceed last year's figure of 25,000.



Efforts to sell climate policy based on ever more scary scenarios of apocalypse cannot be sustained and are likely to work in exactly the opposite manner than desired. A good example of why this is so can be found in a recent paper (hat tip Dad [Pielke Sr]) that suggests that the rate of sea level rise from 2003-2008 (2.5 mm/year) is 20% lower than that presented by the IPCC for 1993-2003 (3.1 mm/year). Whether this is "consistent with" longer-term predictions is different that whether it is "consistent with" a political strategy based on scaring people. It seems pretty obvious that systems that exhibit a large amount of variability or are simply poorly understood on relatively short time scales are not very useful props in efforts to show the world moving inexorably towards doom.

Cazenave, A., et al., Sea level budget over 2003-2008: A reevaluation from GRACE space gravimetry, satellite altimetry and Argo, Glob. Planet. Change (2008), doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.10.004 (PDF)

Indur Goklany comments:

This reminds me of the CCSP's Unified Synthesis Product [USP]. It trumpeted as a "key finding" (no. 2), which it claimed was novel, thusly: "Many climatic changes are occurring faster than projected even a few years ago."

In my comments, I noted that: "this is based on cherry picking of information. While many climate changes may be occurring faster than projected, many others are not. For example, global temperature has not warmed significantly over the past dozen years or so (see e.g., here), the oceans may not have warmed as much as expected (e.g., Lyman et al. 2006; Willis et al. 2007, 2008), and there are recent papers that suggest sea level may not be rising as rapidly as suggested by the IPCC's latest report (Berge Nguyen et al. 2008; Unnnikrishnan and Shankar 2007; Kolker and Hameed 2007; Woppelmann et al. 2007; see also here, which suggest slowing of sea level rise). In any case, regardless of whether recent data show ups or downs, it's not clear that these short term blips will become long term trends. Accordingly, Finding 2 should be jettisoned, or it should be modified to: (a) acknowledge that many other climatic changes may not be occurring as rapidly as projected, and examples provided above should be included, and (b) note that it is downright unscientific, if not risky, to base long term policy on short term data, particularly when it comes to climate change, itself a long term phenomenon."

I also noted with respect to another "key finding" that: "There is a tendency in [the USP] to treat recent trends as harbingers of future long term trends. For example, there is the statement (previously noted) that some changes are happening faster than anticipated. Similarly, Key Finding 4 states that 'Atlantic hurricane intensity has increased in recent decades...' But data going back to 1970 or so are too short to be used to make definitive statements about whether changes in intensity are due to climatic trends, short term natural variability, improvement in detection technologies with enhanced spatial and temporal resolution, or a combination of all these factors. In the long term context, it's not clear whether these changes, if any, are outside the bounds of natural variability. [I note that one doesn't normally see analysis that rules this out as a hypothesis, which I believe is a major shortcoming in climate change science.]

My comment, of course, cuts both ways. Protagonists/observers on both sides of the climate change debate should be fully aware of the data and cognisant of short term variations, but not mistake them for long term trends. To do so, means we are assuming we know more than we actually do.



Governments across Europe declared states of emergency and ordered factories to close as Russia cut all gas supplies through Ukraine yesterday in their worsening dispute over unpaid bills. Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, accused the two countries of taking the EU's energy supply "hostage" amid a cold snap across the Continent, and urged them to reopen the pipelines immediately. Schools and factories were closed and trees were felled to keep home fires burning after Russia turned off the gas taps to more than a dozen countries. It was a clear demonstration of the dependence of the Continent on Russian gas supplies.

Despite temperatures as low as minus 27C and the threat of heating cuts to millions of households, Moscow said that it had no choice but to cease supplies because Ukraine, the country through which 80 per cent of Russian gas bound for Europe flows, had closed its pipelines. The claim was denied by Kiev.

Countries tapped into their reserves and urged the use of alternative fuels but at least 15,000 households in Bulgaria - which gets 92 per cent of its gas via the Ukrainian pipelines - found their heating cut off overnight. Slovakia's Government followed Bulgaria by announcing that it may have to restart a mothballed Soviet-era nuclear power plant.

The Balkan states, which rely almost completely on Russian gas and have failed to develop modern infra-structures or alternative energy sources, have been the hardest hit at the time of the Orthodox Christmas. In Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were bitter memories of the Bosnian conflict from 1992-95, when the population cut down trees to try to stay warm or bought coal on the black market. Sven Alkalay, the Bosnian Foreign Minister, said: "Four million of our citizens are in danger." Almir Becarevic, the manager of the state gas company, said: "If this lasts it could turn into a humanitarian disaster. We pray that someone can find a solution."

To try to restart supplies, the EU proposed yesterday that it should send independent monitors to watch the dials on the pipes at Ukraine's borders. Russia claims that Ukraine is taking gas it has not paid for from the pipelines, reducing the onward supply to Europe. It has responded by cutting supplies in the pipeline by the amount it says Ukraine is stealing. By checking how much gas is entering Ukraine from Russia and then measuring how much emerges at its western borders with Europe, the EU hopes to establish who is to blame for the shortages.

Mr Barroso said that he had agreement in principle for the process from Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yuliya Tymoshenko, who will send officials to Brussels today to thrash out the details. Mr Barroso spoke to both leaders yesterday, but he said they continued to blame each other. "Prime Minister Putin told me that Russia is providing the gas destined for the EU, Prime Minister Tymoshenko told me that they have created no problems with transit through Ukraine," an exasperated Mr Barroso said. "The conclusion is clear: if both Russia and Ukraine behave as they say they are behaving, there should be no problem."

He added: "If Ukraine is trying to be closer to the European Union, it should not create problems when it comes to the supply of gas to the EU." Yet 12 countries received no Russian gas at all yesterday: Austria, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. France, Italy, Germany and Poland reported that their supplies from Russia were markedly down.

The International Energy Agency, which is the energy-monitoring and policy arm of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, said that the situation was "completely unacceptable, given that European customers are not a party in this dispute. "Despite the reassuring statements late December by both parties that supply to Europe would not be interrupted, supplies have now come to a complete halt," it said. "The interruption is creating hardship during the coldest weather Europe has faced within a number of years."

The US showed who it blamed for the crisis when Stephen Hadley, the National Security Adviser, warned Moscow that using its energy exports to threaten its neighbours would undermine its international standing.

Amid mounting fears of shortages in Germany and France, Britain has begun to export emergency supplies of gas to Europe. The flow in the pipeline connecting Britain to Belgium and beyond, which normally imports gas to Britain, was reversed late yesterday after prices on the Continent rose. Analysts said that the weak pound was encouraging European suppliers to use Britain as a cheap transit route for Norwegian gas



Earlier this week I posted a comment on the implications for environmental policy stemming from the dispute between Russia and Ukraine that has halted gas deliveries to Europe. I said the dispute - which worsened Wednesday - would give policymakers and environmental campaigners more ammunition to speed up the transformation away from fossil fuels of any kind, including cleaner burning ones like natural gas. Sure enough, on Wednesday, the prominent environmental group WWF issued a statement from its European Policy Office that retracted much of its previous support for natural gas as a fuel of choice for industrial countries making a transition to a low-carbon economy.

"So far, comparably clean natural gas has been broadly supported by WWF as a logical mid-term alternative to high-polluting coal in the power sector and oil in the heating sector," the statement said. But "the Russian gas policy is highly risky as it fully undermines the public confidence in this low-carbon fossil fuel" and that made it "time to reconsider the role for natural gas as a bridging fuel to sustainable energy." WWF said it now wanted new laws in place mandating energy efficiency in buildings and far more promotion of renewable energy for the electricity sector.

Arianna Vitali, a policy officer for WWF in Brussels, said that it would be possible through legislation on buildings to reduce energy use in Europe by about the same amount represented by gas imports from Russia. Stephen Singer, the international director for energy policy for the group, said the seriousness of the energy crisis in Europe should underline the need for more investment in offshore wind, solar power and clean biomass. Above all, said Mr. Singer, the crisis should "not become a field day for perceived secure electricity fuels such as coal and nuclear."

In Bulgaria, which switched off most of its nuclear reactors ahead of its accession to the E.U. in 2007, President Georgi Parvanov has called for the temporary reactivation of at least one disabled nuclear reactor to help the country meet its heat and power needs as the dispute continues.



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


8 January, 2009

Twelve dead as winter weather freezes Europe

A blast of frigid weather has claimed up to a dozen lives in Europe as temperatures tumbled below freezing overnight in what weather officials today dubbed the coldest night of winter. Polish police said the latest victims who froze to death yesterday included a 68-year-old homeless man found in an abandoned house in the southeast town of Jozefow, and a 51-year-old man who lived alone in central Eligiow and died a few steps away from his home. Five other deaths across Europe have also been blamed on the harsh blast of wintry weather, including that of a man in Milan who died when a canopy collapsed on him under the weight of snowfall. Temperatures in Poland dropped as low as -25deg Celsius. According to Interior Ministry data, hypothermia has been blamed for 76 deaths in Poland since November 2008.

Snowfalls disrupted air traffic across Europe, shutting down airports in Italy for several hours and paralysing TGV high-speed trains in France. Milan's two airports Malpensa and Linate, as well as the airports in Turin and Bergamo, were closed all morning after snow reached up to 30cm. The French weather service called it "the coldest night of winter'' so far with temperatures ranging for minus nine degress in Paris - the coldest since 1997 - and minus 20 degrees in the northern Ardennes region. The rare sight of snow was seen in the southern Mediterranean port of Marseille, closing the local airport and leaving some 12,000 households in the region without electricity.

Demand for power for heating has soared and raised the risk of power cuts, especially in Brittany and the southeast. Heavy snow has forced the closing of the mountainous French-Italian border since last night.

In Germany, where earlier this week a 77-year-old mentally ill woman froze to death, temperatures plummeted overnight with many areas recording record lows. The coldest place was Dippoldiswalde-Reinberg near Dresden in the east where the mercury plunged to -27.7deg. "Temperatures like this suggest that in certain places in the region the lowpoint must have been under the minus 30 mark,'' the German weather office said in a statement.

The freezing weather is expected to last through the week due to a stable mass of cold air coming from Scandanavia and Siberia, the French weather service said.


UK starts paying subsidies for record cold

"Arctic conditions" have gripped Great Britain and parts of Europe, and it has gotten bad enough that the British government has had to pay heating-bill subsidies for Londoners for the first time ever. The temperature hasn't gotten cold enough in southern England in the ten years of the subsidy program for the government to pay out the 25 pound checks.

In fact, as Fausta points out, the seas have begun to freeze in the north:
Cold weather payouts for pensioners and the vulnerable reached record levels today after Britain's deep freeze plunged temperatures as low as minus 11C. Forecasters warned that tonight will be even colder. The Government's bill will rise over 100 million as Londoners become eligible for the payment for the first time since the scheme was introduced a decade ago.

This morning, the thermometer reached minus 10C in Farnborough, Hampshire and minus 11C in parts of Scotland, which is colder than areas of Greenland and the Antarctic. The Met Office said it expected temperatures to go another degree colder tonight.

The bitter cold has left pavements coated in ice and driving conditions treacherous across the country. Thousands of motorists were left stranded in the busiest day of breakdowns in five years yesterday. The AA and RAC said they had responded to more than 40,000 call-outs over the past 36 hours.
Being an 11-year veteran of Arctic conditions, I decided to take a look at what -11 C would be in Fahrenheit. I was somewhat disappointed with my British brethren. It turns out to be just 12.2 F, as in +12.2 degrees. The other day, I had to clear my driveway with the temperature at -14F, which would be -25C. Right now, on a relatively warm day for January, it's 11F, which would be -11.67C, and I'm sitting here in shorts and a golf shirt.

The subsidies kick into place when sub-freezing temperatures last for seven or more days. In the decade of global warming, London had never experienced that until this week. That will cost the British 15 million, which comes on top of a 93 million bill for subsidies in the north, where they're more often applied. Global warming, as it turns out, gets pretty expensive.

With Arctic ice expanding at a rapid rate and record cold temperatures gripping Europe, and here for that matter, either someone must have sucked a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere, or the greenhouse model has some serious flaws. The British lost a 15 million bet in London this week on it.

Simple really, if the current solar trends continue, it will soon be so cold that Al Gore will be the only person left on the planet who doesn't think Al Gore is a kook. The quiet sun is going to cause us a big problem when the growing season shortens to the point that crops cannot mature. 2009 may be the first year that happens


From '1930 through 1997, the annual average U.S. temperature actually declined'

The post below is from a moderate Warmist site -- which says that there has been warming but it is not a threat. They make below the interesting point that although there has been no warming over the last 10 years, temperatures remained at an unusually high level -- giving rise to the appearance of an overall warming trend since 1900 and justifying Warmist claims that each recent year has been the 9th (etc.) hottest year of some recent time period. The high temperatures have now however stopped with an overdue cooling effect cutting in. Note also from the graph that the trend was always a weak (and hence unreliable) one -- with highs in the 1930s also.

The data are just in from the National Climatic Data Center and they show that for the year 2008, the average temperature across the United States (lower 48 States) was 1.34 degrees F lower than last year, and a mere one-quarter of a degree above the long-term 1901-2000 average. The temperature in 2008 dropped back down to the range that characterized most of the 20th century.

Figure 1 shows the U.S. temperature history from 1895 to 2008. Notice the unusual grouping of warm years that have occurred since the 1998 El Nino. Once the 1998 El Nino elevated the temperatures across the country, they never seemed to return to where they were before. Proponents of catastrophic global warming liked to claim that is was our own doing through the burning of fossil fuels, but others were more inclined to scratch their heads at the odd nature of the record and wait to see what happened next.

Figure 1. U.S. average annual temperature history 1895-2008 (source: National Climatic Data Center)

You see, prior to 1998, there was little of note in the long-term U.S. temperature record. Temperatures fluctuated a bit from year to year, but the long-term trend was slight and driven by the cold string of years in the late 19th and early 20th century rather than by any warmth at the end of the record. In fact, from the period 1930 through 1997, the annual average temperature actually declined a hair-despite the on-going build-up of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

The only suggestion that "global warming" had involved the U.S. was to be found in the post-1997 period-a period unusual in that the temperatures went up and stayed up at near-record levels year after year. It was not so much that temperatures continued to climb after 1998, but just that they never fell.

This grouping of warm years nearly doubled the apparent overall warming trend in U.S. temperatures (starting in 1895) from 0.07 degrees F/dedade (ending in 1997) to 0.13 degrees F/decade (ending in 2007). And with this doubling of the warming trend came the big push for emissions restrictions.

But now, 2008 comes along and has broken this warm stranglehold. Perhaps this is an indication that the conditions responsible for the unusual string of warm years have broken down-and maybe they weren't a sudden apparition of anthropogenic global warming after all. Only time will tell for sure. But, at least for now, things seem like they have returned to a more "normal" state of being.


The Global Warming Crescendo Has Passed

Despite the relentless efforts to maintain worldwide panic over rising temperatures and all of the supposed calamities that will ensue in the wake of the expected planetary heat wave (and many of which should have befallen us by now), a growing cadre of skeptics, supported by a bulk of research data, suggests the possibility that the "global warming" scam may be in retreat.

As the cold of winter settles in on the northern hemisphere, all of the hysteria of "global warming," or its less specific alternative "climate change," rings increasingly hollow to the general public. Weather patterns of the past decade indicate that the planet has been in an undeniable cooling trend since prior to the new millennium. So the panicked prophesies of cataclysmic upturns in the earth's average temperature simply do not carry the emotional impact that they once held.

Specifically, the "global warming" debate has now advanced out of its dire predictions phase. It is no longer sufficient for celebrated professional alarmists to get in front of news cameras and prognosticate as to how quickly the world will incinerate. Such discussions are entering the observable evidence stage, in which those melting icecaps had better start inundating Manhattan or else people will begin to suspect they were being hoodwinked. To date, the scientifically quantifiable data show nothing but the normal warming and cooling cycles, easily attributable to the fluctuations in solar activity that have been the fate of the planet since its creation.

To the dubious credit of its advocates, the entire "global warming" controversy, along with the mountains of legislation and regulation that resulted from its promotion amounted to perhaps the largest and most successful example of royal nudity in the modern era. Entire industries have sprung from the public pressure brought against oil companies and other large-scale manufacturers who face increasingly outrageous demands to curtail their dastardly assaults on mother earth.

Even now, though its supposed ill effects are proving fraudulent, the reputation of Carbon Dioxide (ostensibly the principal "greenhouse gas") as a threat to the future of all life on the planet is widely, if not universally accepted among the nation's highest social and political circles. Admittedly, neither group has a lock on intellect or rational judgment, but their collective impact on the perceptions among the general public cannot be ignored.

The ensuing 2012 deadline for the end of sales of incandescent light bulbs in America reminds us all that government will happily seize any situation as a means of expanding its control on society. In what may first seem to be merely a bad joke, over at the Environmental Protection Agency, a "greenhouse gas" tax on livestock, reaching as high as $175 for a dairy cow, is being contemplated. Main Street America is threatened with forced fundamental changes, implemented in deference to an unfounded fable.

Most ominous of all, the coal industry, which makes up the backbone of America's ability to produce electricity, is being openly targeted for eventual eradication by the left-wing political establishment. So universally vilified is it among the liberal elite that some "progressive" jurisdictions are currently refusing to buy electrical power produced from coal.

Instead, they opt for "green" sources of energy, not realizing (or perhaps deliberately ignoring the facts) that the utilitarian efficiency of coal-fired electrical production is the primary reason that such alternatives can be selectively employed at the whims of the enviro-extremists.

Were their livelihoods and well-being truly reliant on the fickle supplies of wind energy, for example, the green ideologues would find its inconstancy and impracticality starkly enlightening. A few cold dark nights with no wind, and thus no power, and they would quickly learn to temper their idealism. Currently however, they bask in the luxury of railing incessantly against their cheap, reliable electricity, while remaining fully confident that the next time they flip the nearest light switch, the darkness will flee.

Yet despite their relentless efforts to maintain the worldwide panic over rising temperatures and all of the supposed calamities that will ensue in the wake of the expected planetary heat wave (and many of which should have befallen us by now), a growing cadre of skeptics, supported by a bulk of research data, suggests the possibility that the "global warming" scam may be in retreat.

No less a world leader than Vaclav Klaus, incoming President of the European Union, denounces climate change hysteria as a hoax. News from the Arctic is that the ice pack this winter is as large as it was in 1979. In other words, during the intervening years the world has warmed and cooled, cyclically and irrespective of man-made "greenhouse gases," just as has been the case throughout the millennia.

Of course, if allowed to advance their agenda unchecked, the left will continue to exploit "climate change" fears for as long as it can garner political capital from them. Then, as it does in the wake of all of its other dismal failures, it will simply move on to some other topic the moment the public grows suspicious and weary of the always impending but never materializing climatic catastrophes.

Until such time, Al Gore will continue his lucrative practice of giving speeches addressing the "end of the world," for as long as sycophantic crowds are willing to ignore his insincerity and continue paying exorbitant sums of money to be propagandized about the impending apocalyptic heat waves. And the network news apparatus will persist in its attempts to convince the American people that only through the expanded powers of government can humanity hope to survive the ordeal.

Yet many among the scientific and political communities are recognizing the need to distance themselves from the climate change alarmism. Others, who pragmatically supported the ruse despite having access to empirical data that refuted it, will suffer long-term credibility deficits that inevitably befall such shameless opportunism.

Despite the seeming sea change in the political landscape last November, or the eagerness with which the incoming president intends to exploit environmental fears to his advantage, "global warming" may soon take its place along side Bigfoot, Y2K, and the Bermuda triangle on the ash heap of fabricated history.


Lights go out as Britain bids farewell to the traditional bulb despite health fears about eco-bulbs

Throughout war, disaster and recession, it has kept Britain illuminated for more than 120 years. But the traditional incandescent lightbulb is finally being switched off for the last time. Retailers have stopped replenishing stocks of conventional 100watt bulbs and will have run out within weeks. The voluntary withdrawal - part of a Government campaign to force people into buying low-energy fluorescent bulbs - follows the scrapping of the 150w bulb last year.

The move has angered medical charities who say the low-energy alternatives can trigger a host of ailments, including migraines, epilepsy and skin rashes.

The lightbulb revolution was first signalled by Gordon Brown in 2007. The Government says the switch to low-energy bulbs will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by around five million tonnes a year - the equivalent to the emissions from a typical 1gigawatt coal-fired power station.

Low-energy lightbulbs are miniature versions of the fluorescent striplights common in offices and kitchens. They use just a quarter of the energy of a conventional bulb. A single bulb can save a household around 7 pounds a year.

However, critics complain that compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, making them dangerous to dispose of, and give off a harsh light more suited to offices than living rooms. They can also take up to a minute to reach full brightness and do not work with dimmer switches. Some do not even fit conventional lightbulb sockets.

Under the voluntary ban, retailers agreed to stop replenishing stocks of 100w and 75w bulbs at the start of the year, while 60w bulbs will start to be phased out this time next year. All incandescent bulbs will be banned by 2012. The 100w version is the most popular type sold in the UK. It is used in ceiling lights. The 60w bulb is usually used for table lamps and reading lights. A spokesman for Tesco, which is Britain's largest seller of lightbulbs, said: `All the 100w and 75w incandescent lightbulbs will be gone in the next couple of weeks.'

Medical charities say they have been swamped with complaints that the flicker of compact fluorescent bulbs can trigger migraines and epilepsy attacks. The charities are lobbying the Government to allow an `opt out' for people with health problems so they can continue to use the older bulbs. Around one in ten people suffers from a migraine. Lee Tomkins, of Migraine Action Association, said: `We're recommending that people stockpile the old ones for now.'

She advises people who suffer from migraines to avoid using fluorescent bulbs as reading lights, or in living areas and kitchens. The bulbs do not flicker at a rate normally linked to health problems. Researchers, however, say the light emitted by fluorescent bulbs is made up of a disproportionate amount of red and blue, which can cause the problems.



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


7 January, 2009

Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979

Rapid growth spurt leaves amount of ice at levels seen 29 years ago. Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close. Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards. The data is being reported by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center, and is derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions.

Each year, millions of square kilometers of sea ice melt and refreeze. However, the mean ice anomaly -- defined as the seasonally-adjusted difference between the current value and the average from 1979-2000, varies much more slowly. That anomaly now stands at just under zero, a value identical to one recorded at the end of 1979, the year satellite record-keeping began.

Sea ice is floating and, unlike the massive ice sheets anchored to bedrock in Greenland and Antarctica, doesn't affect ocean levels. However, due to its transient nature, sea ice responds much faster to changes in temperature or precipitation and is therefore a useful barometer of changing conditions.

Earlier this year, predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008. Instead, the Arctic ice saw a substantial recovery. Bill Chapman, a researcher with the UIUC's Arctic Center, tells DailyTech this was due in part to colder temperatures in the region. Chapman says wind patterns have also been weaker this year. Strong winds can slow ice formation as well as forcing ice into warmer waters where it will melt.

Why were predictions so wrong? Researchers had expected the newer sea ice, which is thinner, to be less resilient and melt easier. Instead, the thinner ice had less snow cover to insulate it from the bitterly cold air, and therefore grew much faster than expected, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

In May, concerns over disappearing sea ice led the U.S. to officially list the polar bear a threatened species, over objections from experts who claimed the animal's numbers were increasing.



And if the The New York Times thinks so, it must be right!

In the fall of 1997, when the Clinton administration was forming its position for the Kyoto climate treaty talks, Lawrence H. Summers argued that the United States would risk damaging the domestic economy if it set overly ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions. Mr. Summers, then the deputy Treasury secretary, said at the time that there was a compelling scientific case for action on global warming but that a too-rapid move against emissions of greenhouse gases risked dire and unknowable economic consequences. His view prevailed over those of officials arguing for tougher standards, among them Carol M. Browner, then the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and her mentor, Al Gore, then the vice president.

Today, as the climate-change debate once again heats up, Mr. Summers leads the economic team of the incoming administration, and Ms. Browner has been designated its White House coordinator of energy and climate policy. And Mr. Gore is hovering as an informal adviser to President-elect Barack Obama. As Mr. Obama seeks to find the right balance between his environmental goals and his plans to revive the economy, he may have to resolve conflicting views among some of his top advisers.

While Mr. Summers's thinking on climate change has evolved over the last decade, his views on the potential risks to the economy of an aggressive effort to limit carbon emissions have not. But he now works for a president-elect who has set ambitious goals for addressing global warming through a government-run cap-and-trade system. It may once again prove to be Mr. Summers's role to inject a rigorous economist's reality check into the debate over the scope and speed of an attack on global warming.

According to a transition official familiar with Mr. Summers's thinking, he is wary of moving very quickly on a carbon cap, because doing so could raise energy costs, kill jobs and deepen the current recession. He foresees a phase-in of several years for any carbon restraint regime, particularly if the economy continues to be sluggish, a slower timetable than many lawmakers and environmentalists are pressing. Mr. Summers and Peter R. Orszag, the economist whom Mr. Obama has designated director of the White House budget office, have both argued that a tax on carbon emissions from burning gasoline, coal and other fuels might be a more economically efficient means of regulating pollutants than a cap-and-trade system, under which an absolute ceiling on emissions is set and polluters are allowed to buy and sell permits to meet it.

But Mr. Obama and Ms. Browner have ruled out a straight carbon tax, perhaps mindful of the stinging political defeat the Clinton administration suffered in 1993 when, prodded by Mr. Gore, it proposed one. Mr. Obama was asked in a television interview last month whether he would consider imposing a stiff tax on gasoline, whose price has now fallen to below $2 a gallon after cresting above $4 a gallon last summer. He replied that while American families were getting some relief at the pump, they were hurting in other ways, through rising unemployment and falling home values. "So putting additional burdens on American families right now, I think, is a mistake," he said.

At least for the present, then, the idea of a carbon tax has been shelved, and Mr. Obama's economic and environmental advisers are working, along with Congress, to devise a cap-and-trade system. But difficult debates lie ahead within the White House, between the White House and Congress, and within the Democratic Party, whose deep divisions on climate change break down along ideological and geographical lines.

More here

Ten global warming truths to keep us sane in 2009

Sound science put to rest numerous unsubstantiated global warming scares in 2008. Sensationalist predictions that the North Pole would melt, polar bear numbers would decline, hurricanes would run amok, devastating droughts would occur, and Antarctic ice sheets would flood the southern seas never materialized. Unfortunately, this will not stop the purveyors of gloom and doom from creating similar false global warming scares and sensationalist predictions for 2009. Keeping in mind the following 10 global warming truths will help us avoid falling prey to global warming scams in the upcoming New Year.

Global temperatures are not rising. The warmest year in the past century occurred a full decade ago, in 1998. Temperatures have been gradually and steadily falling for most of the past decade. Temperatures in 2008 were no warmer than temperatures in 1980.

The Earth is colder than its long-term average. For most of the past 10,000 years, global temperatures have been 1.0 to 3.0 degrees Celsius warmer than our current climate. Twentieth century temperatures appear unusually warm only when compared to the preceding Little Ice Age, which had the coldest global temperatures of the past 10 millennia. The rise of human civilization occurred in a much warmer climate than that of today.

Polar bear populations are not declining; they're thriving. The global polar bear population has more than doubled since the 1980s. Moreover, polar bears had no problems surviving and flourishing in the much warmer temperatures that dominated the past 10,000 years.

Polar ice is not shrinking. Arctic sea ice has moderately declined in recent years, due in large part to a recent shift in regional wind patterns. But in the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice has been growing at a record pace. Polar ice as a whole is right on its long-term average.

Global warming is not causing more droughts. Throughout the twentieth century and since, global precipitation has been increasing, as has global soil moisture. A recent paper in one of the world's foremost peer-reviewed science journals noted, "the terrestrial surface is literally becoming more like a gardener's greenhouse"--an environment that is great for plant growth.

Higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are not killing sea life. Numerous recent studies show that aquatic ecosystems become more productive and robust under higher carbon dioxide conditions. Assertions that higher carbon dioxide concentrations cause harmful ocean acidification are unsupported by real-world evidence, ignore the prevalence of shellfish during prior geological periods when there was much more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and would apply to only a small subset of aquatic creatures versus the vast majority of aquatic life that benefits from higher atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Global warming is not causing more extreme weather. The frequency of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme weather events is no greater now than in prior decades and centuries. Even daily high temperature records were more frequently broken 70 years ago, in the 1930s, than they are today.

Global warming is not melting Mt. Kilimanjaro's alpine glacier. Temperatures at Mt. Kilimanjaro have been slightly cooling since at least the middle of the twentieth century, and those temperatures virtually never rise above freezing. Scientists have long known that deforestation at the base of the mountain is causing the mountaintop glacier to shrink, by reducing the moisture and resultant precipitation in mountain updrafts.

Global deserts are not growing. On the contrary, the Sahara Desert and others like it have been retreating for decades.

Scientists do not agree on a policy of alarmism. More than 32,000 scientists have signed a formal statement, prepared by a past president of the National Academy of Sciences and co-authored by an atmospheric scientist at Harvard University, saying there is no global warming crisis. By contrast, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has only 2,600 participants, many of whom are not scientists, and counts the staff of activist groups Environmental Defense and Greenpeace as its lead authors.


Climate crook claims Australia 'destroying life on Earth'

Hansen's hysteria never stops. He even fabricates climate data in aid of his scares. His temperature graphs are so edited that they are vastly different from the graphs produced by others

AUSTRALIA'S use of coal and carbon emissions policies are guaranteeing the "destruction of much of the life on the planet", a leading NASA scientist has written in a letter to Barack Obama. The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Professor James Hansen, has written an open letter to Barack Obama calling for a moratorium on coal-fired power stations and the use of next-generation nuclear power.

In the letter he says: "Australia exports coal and sets atmospheric carbon dioxide goals so large as to guarantee destruction of much of the life on the planet." Prof Hansen said goals and caps on carbon emissions were practically worthless because of the long lifetime of carbon dioxide in the air. "Instead a large part of the total fossil fuels must be left in the ground. In practice, that means coal," he wrote. "Nobody realistically expects that the large readily available pools of oil and gas will be left in the ground."

Prof Hansen said that emissions reduction targets, like Kevin Rudd's goal to cut emissions by a minimum of 5 per cent and up to 15 per cent by 2020, do not work. "This approach is ineffectual and not commensurate with the climate threat," he wrote of reduction plans. "It could waste another decade, locking in disastrous consequences for our planet and humanity."

Professor Hansen also works in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and has given testimony on climate change to the US Congress. He said he wrote to Mr Obama as the incoming US president is in a position to instigate global change and "his presidency may be judged in good part on whether he was able to turn the tide (on climate change) - more important, the futures of young people and other life will depend on that".

He called for the end of coal plants that do not capture and store carbon dioxide and for funding for "fourth generation" nuclear power plants that could run on material now regarded as waste. Comment is being sought from Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong.


Global Warm-mongering: More Silk from a Pig's Ear

It seems that NASA's James Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), is at it again. He just can't let the data speak for itself. In yet another egregious display of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) arrogance, he changed the temperature data from 1910-2008 to reflect what is clearly a cooling trend to reflect a warming trend. (Y-axis = Annual Mean Temperatures in centigrade; X-axis = Year)

These are the USHCN (United States Historical Climatology Network) "raw" and "homogenized" data plots from the GISTEMP (GISS Surface Temperature) website synthesized into one chart with polynomial fit trend lines. As seen in this comparison chart, the Blue Lines represent raw data -- clearly indicating a cooling trend. Whereas the Red Lines are the adjusted trends after subjected to Hansen's own curiously compensating algorithm. Junk in = Junk out.

Indeed this past year (2008) is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released this month by the Met Office's Hadley Centre in Great Britain. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07.

Nevertheless, global warming partisans at the Met and elsewhere have taken to assuring everyone that cool temperatures are "absolutely not" evidence that global warming is on the wane. Yet those warning and cautionary adamancies are always absent when it comes to linking heat waves to global warming. "Curiouser and curiouser," said Lewis Carroll.

However, One major glitch in the reporting of temperatures has been quietly forgotten by the Met and others of AGW persuasion as documented here.... When the Soviet Union fell in 1990 the number of reporting weather stations around the world declined from a high of 15,000 in 1970 to 5,000 in 2000, no appropriate compensatory weighting mechanism was thereafter applied. Such an absence critically skews everything thereafter to the warmer side of things, since it takes some of the coldest places on the planet (like Siberia) out of the equation. With that absence, it's likely getting colder than we now know. How convenient!

Said Geophysicist Dr. David Deming, associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma who has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles:
"Environmental extremists and global warming alarmists are in denial and running for cover.... To the extent global warming was ever valid, it is now officially over. It is time to file this theory in the dustbin of history, next to Aristotelean physics, Neptunism, the geocentric universe, phlogiston, and a plethora of other incorrect scientific theories, all of which had vocal and dogmatic supporters who cited incontrovertible evidence. Weather and climate change are natural processes beyond human control. To argue otherwise is to deny the factual evidence."
Amen and Amen!



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


6 January, 2009

Green Comes Clean

The global warming alarmist in chief has unveiled the environmentalists' real objective. And no, protecting the planet is not their top concern.

In a letter addressed to President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle, James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, makes an appeal for a carbon tax, ostensibly as a means for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that's allegedly causing a dangerous greenhouse effect and warming trend. Hansen suggests that the tax be levied "at the well-head or port of entry" from where it "will then appropriately affect all products and activities that use fossil fuels."

This tax will have "near-term, mid-term, and long-term" effects on "lifestyle choices," Hansen acknowledges. But he seems unconcerned about how such coercion will rearrange the lives and manage the behavior of a people who should be free of state coercion.

Acting either out of boldness or desperation, Hansen goes on to reveal the environmentalist left's deeper ambition: a collectivist redistribution of wealth. He recommends that the carbon tax be returned to the public in "equal shares on a per capita basis." That means wealthier Americans whose activities emit more CO2 will pay more in carbon taxes than they get back, while those who earn less will receive more in refunds than they will lose through taxes. "A person reducing his carbon footprint more than average makes money," explains Hansen, while "a person with large cars and a big house will pay a tax much higher than the dividend."

Hansen and his ilk never seem to question whether the government should be involved in behavior modification. They believe so zealously in their cause - establishing an egalitarian society where conspicuous consumption is limited to the few who make the rules - that they have no misgivings about using the police power of the federal and state governments to beat society into shape.

Nor do they question their hunch - the idea doesn't even rise to the level of theory - that CO2 emissions are causing climate change even as there are ample reasons to doubt it.

To his credit, Hansen expresses support in the letter for fourth-generation "nuclear power and coal-fired power plants with carbon capture and sequestration." But he's done so much yammering about global warming and encouraging "young people" to do "whatever is necessary to block construction of dirty coal-fired power plants," that any sensible ideas he might have are lost. That's what happens, though, when a first-rate mind latches onto a third-rate assumption.


Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted

Rather amazingly, the article below is from the Leftist Puffington Host

By Harold Ambler

You are probably wondering whether President-elect Obama owes the world an apology for his actions regarding global warming. The answer is, not yet. There is one person, however, who does. You have probably guessed his name: Al Gore. Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that "the science is in." Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind. What is wrong with the statement? A brief list:

1. First, the expression "climate change" itself is a redundancy, and contains a lie. Climate has always changed, and always will. There has been no stable period of climate during the Holocene, our own climatic era, which began with the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago. During the Holocene there have been numerous sub-periods with dramatically varied climate, such as the warm Holocene Optimum (7,000 B.C. to 3,000 B.C., during which humanity began to flourish, and advance technologically), the warm Roman Optimum (200 B.C. to 400 A.D., a time of abundant crops that promoted the empire), the cold Dark Ages (400 A.D. to 900 A.D., during which the Nile River froze, major cities were abandoned, the Roman Empire fell apart, and pestilence and famine were widespread), the Medieval Warm Period (900 A.D. to 1300 A.D., during which agriculture flourished, wealth increased, and dozens of lavish examples of Gothic architecture were created), the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850, during much of which plague, crop failures, witch burnings, food riots -- and even revolutions, including the French Revolution -- were the rule of thumb), followed by our own time of relative warmth (1850 to present, during which population has increased, technology and medical advances have been astonishing, and agriculture has flourished).

So, no one needs to say the words "climate" and "change" in the same breath -- it is assumed, by anyone with any level of knowledge, that climate changes. That is the redundancy to which I alluded. The lie is the suggestion that climate has ever been stable. Mr. Gore has used a famously inaccurate graph, known as the "Mann Hockey Stick," created by the scientist Michael Mann, showing that the modern rise in temperatures is unprecedented, and that the dramatic changes in climate just described did not take place. They did. One last thought on the expression "climate change": It is a retreat from the earlier expression used by alarmists, "manmade global warming," which was more easily debunked. There are people in Mr. Gore's camp who now use instances of cold temperatures to prove the existence of "climate change," which is absurd, obscene, even.

2. Mr. Gore has gone so far to discourage debate on climate as to refer to those who question his simplistic view of the atmosphere as "flat-Earthers." This, too, is right on target, except for one tiny detail. It is exactly the opposite of the truth.

Indeed, it is Mr. Gore and his brethren who are flat-Earthers. Mr. Gore states, ad nauseum, that carbon dioxide rules climate in frightening and unpredictable, and new, ways. When he shows the hockey stick graph of temperature and plots it against reconstructed C02 levels in An Inconvenient Truth, he says that the two clearly have an obvious correlation. "Their relationship is actually very complicated," he says, "but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it is this: When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer." The word "complicated" here is among the most significant Mr. Gore has uttered on the subject of climate and is, at best, a deliberate act of obfuscation. Why? Because it turns out that there is an 800-year lag between temperature and carbon dioxide, unlike the sense conveyed by Mr. Gore's graph. You are probably wondering by now -- and if you are not, you should be -- which rises first, carbon dioxide or temperature. The answer? Temperature. In every case, the ice-core data shows that temperature rises precede rises in carbon dioxide by, on average, 800 years. In fact, the relationship is not "complicated." When the ocean-atmosphere system warms, the oceans discharge vast quantities of carbon dioxide in a process known as de-gassing. For this reason, warm and cold years show up on the Mauna Loa C02 measurements even in the short term. For instance, the post-Pinatubo-eruption year of 1993 shows the lowest C02 increase since measurements have been kept. When did the highest C02 increase take place? During the super El Nino year of 1998.

3. What the alarmists now state is that past episodes of warming were not caused by C02 but amplified by it, which is debatable, for many reasons, but, more important, is a far cry from the version of events sold to the public by Mr. Gore.

Meanwhile, the theory that carbon dioxide "drives" climate in any meaningful way is simply wrong and, again, evidence of a "flat-Earth" mentality. Carbon dioxide cannot absorb an unlimited amount of infrared radiation. Why not? Because it only absorbs heat along limited bandwidths, and is already absorbing just about everything it can. That is why plotted on a graph, C02's ability to capture heat follows a logarithmic curve. We are already very near the maximum absorption level. Further, the IPCC Fourth Assessment, like all the ones before it, is based on computer models that presume a positive feedback of atmospheric warming via increased water vapor.

4. This mechanism has never been shown to exist. Indeed, increased temperature leads to increased evaporation of the oceans, which leads to increased cloud cover (one cooling effect) and increased precipitation (a bigger cooling effect). Within certain bounds, in other words, the ocean-atmosphere system has a very effective self-regulating tendency. By the way, water vapor is far more prevalent, and relevant, in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide -- a trace gas. Water vapor's absorption spectrum also overlays that of carbon dioxide. They cannot both absorb the same energy! The relative might of water vapor and relative weakness of carbon dioxide is exemplified by the extraordinary cooling experienced each night in desert regions, where water in the atmosphere is nearly non-existent.

If not carbon dioxide, what does "drive" climate? I am glad you are wondering about that. In the short term, it is ocean cycles, principally the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the "super cycle" of which cooling La Ninas and warming El Ninos are parts. Having been in its warm phase, in which El Ninos predominate, for the 30 years ending in late 2006, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation switched to its cool phase, in which La Ninas predominate.

Since that time, already, a number of interesting things have taken place. One La Nina lowered temperatures around the globe for about half of the year just ended, and another La Nina shows evidence of beginning in the equatorial Pacific waters. During the last twelve months, many interesting cold-weather events happened to occur: record snow in the European Alps, China, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Rockies, the upper Midwest, Las Vegas, Houston, and New Orleans. There was also, for the first time in at least 100 years, snow in Baghdad.

Concurrent with the switchover of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to its cool phase the Sun has entered a period of deep slumber. The number of sunspots for 2008 was the second lowest of any year since 1901. That matters less because of fluctuations in the amount of heat generated by the massive star in our near proximity (although there are some fluctuations that may have some measurable effect on global temperatures) and more because of a process best described by the Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark in his complex, but elegant, work The Chilling Stars. In the book, the modern Galileo, for he is nothing less, establishes that cosmic rays from deep space seed clouds over Earth's oceans. Regulating the number of cosmic rays reaching Earth's atmosphere is the solar wind; when it is strong, we get fewer cosmic rays. When it is weak, we get more. As NASA has corroborated, the number of cosmic rays passing through our atmosphere is at the maximum level since measurements have been taken, and show no signs of diminishing. The result: the seeding of what some have taken to calling "Svensmark clouds," low dense clouds, principally over the oceans, that reflect sunlight back to space before it can have its warming effect on whatever is below.

Svensmark has proven, in the minds of most who have given his work a full hearing, that it is this very process that produced the episodes of cooling (and, inversely, warming) of our own era and past eras. The clearest instance of the process, by far, is that of the Maunder Minimum, which refers to a period from 1650 to 1700, during which the Sun had not a single spot on its face. Temperatures around the globe plummeted, with quite adverse effects: crop failures (remember the witch burnings in Europe and Massachusetts?), famine, and societal stress.

Many solar physicists anticipate that the slumbering Sun of early 2009 is likely to continue for at least two solar cycles, or about the next 25 years. Whether the Grand Solar Minimum, if it comes to pass, is as serious as the Maunder Minimum is not knowable, at present. Major solar minima (and maxima, such as the one during the second half of the 20th century) have also been shown to correlate with significant volcanic eruptions. These are likely the result of solar magnetic flux affecting geomagnetic flux, which affects the distribution of magma in Earth's molten iron core and under its thin mantle. So, let us say, just for the sake of argument, that such an eruption takes place over the course of the next two decades. Like all major eruptions, this one will have a temporary cooling effect on global temperatures, perhaps a large one. The larger the eruption, the greater the effect. History shows that periods of cold are far more stressful to humanity than periods of warm. Would the eruption and consequent cooling be a climate-modifier that exists outside of nature, somehow? Who is the "flat-Earther" now?

What about heat escaping from volcanic vents in the ocean floor? What about the destruction of warming, upper-atmosphere ozone by cosmic rays? I could go on, but space is short. Again, who is the "flat-Earther" here?

The ocean-atmosphere system is not a simple one that can be "ruled" by a trace atmospheric gas. It is a complex, chaotic system, largely modulated by solar effects (both direct and indirect), as shown by the Little Ice Age.

To be told, as I have been, by Mr. Gore, again and again, that carbon dioxide is a grave threat to humankind is not just annoying, by the way, although it is that! To re-tool our economies in an effort to suppress carbon dioxide and its imaginary effect on climate, when other, graver problems exist is, simply put, wrong. Particulate pollution, such as that causing the Asian brown cloud, is a real problem. Two billion people on Earth living without electricity, in darkened huts and hovels polluted by charcoal smoke, is a real problem.

So, let us indeed start a Manhattan Project-like mission to create alternative sources of energy. And, in the meantime, let us neither cripple our own economy by mislabeling carbon dioxide a pollutant nor discourage development in the Third World, where suffering continues unabated, day after day.

Again, Mr. Gore, I accept your apology.

And, Mr. Obama, though I voted for you for a thousand times a thousand reasons, I hope never to need one from you.

P.S. One of the last, desperate canards proposed by climate alarmists is that of the polar ice caps. Look at the "terrible," "unprecedented" melting in the Arctic in the summer of 2007, they say. Well, the ice in the Arctic basin has always melted and refrozen, and always will. Any researcher who wants to find a single molecule of ice that has been there longer than 30 years is going to have a hard job, because the ice has always been melted from above (by the midnight Sun of summer) and below (by relatively warm ocean currents, possibly amplified by volcanic venting) -- and on the sides, again by warm currents. Scientists in the alarmist camp have taken to referring to "old ice," but, again, this is a misrepresentation of what takes place in the Arctic.

More to the point, 2007 happened also to be the time of maximum historic sea ice in Antarctica. (There are many credible sources of this information, such as the following website maintained by the University of Illinois-Urbana: Why, I ask, has Mr. Gore not chosen to mention the record growth of sea ice around Antarctica? If the record melting in the Arctic is significant, then the record sea ice growth around Antarctica is, too, I say. If one is insignificant, then the other one is, too.

For failing to mention the 2007 Antarctic maximum sea ice record a single time, I also accept your apology, Mr. Gore. By the way, your contention that the Arctic basin will be "ice free" in summer within five years (which you said last month in Germany), is one of the most demonstrably false comments you have dared to make. Thank you for that!


The warmaholics' fantasy

By Jon Jenkins (Jon Jenkins is an adjunct professor of virology specialising in computer modelling at Bond University, and a former independent member of the NSW Legislative Council)

THE warmaholics are fond of using the phrase "official records going back to 1850", but the simple facts are that prior to the 1970s, surface-based temperatures from a few indiscriminate, mostly backyard locations in Europe and the US are fatally corrupted and not in any sense a real record. They are then further doctored by a secret algorithm to account for heat-island effects. Reconstructions such as the infamously fraudulent "hockey stick" are similarly unreliable.

The only precise and reliable temperature recording started with satellite measurements in the 1970s. They show minuscule warming, all in the northern hemisphere, which not only stopped in 2000 but had completely reversed by 2008 (see graph).

The warmaholics also contend that global mean temperature and sea level rises are at the upper range of the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change's projections. Well, no, actually they are not. Sea level rises since 1900 are of the order of 1-2mm a year, which is indistinguishable from tectonic movement, and the IPCC computer projections are simply completely wrong.

The warmaholics argue that they have been able to model all of the complex processes occurring on the earth, below the oceans and in the atmosphere, and yet also admit in the same breath that they cannot predict the single biggest transfer of energy that dwarfs all others on the planet: El Nino. How can the two statements be resolved? They can not: the computer models cannot predict either weather or climate.

Some scientists argue that human-induced changes to CO2 levels are more sudden, but this also does not stand up to scrutiny. Cataclysmic volcanic eruptions have often placed more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in few minutes than man induces in a decade. But, more importantly, they fail to explain how it is possible for concentrations of CO2 to have exceeded 6000 parts per million (about 20 times present levels) and yet for temperatures to have been cooler than today's average? How is this possible if CO2 is the predominant driver of temperatures?

Clear and unambiguous evidence against the warmaholics is dismissed with consummate ease. For example, freezing temperatures across the northern hemisphere and growing Antarctic ice sheets are explained away with unproven theories such as deep ocean currents and ozone hole-induced winds.

And this in the same year that the theory of human-induced ozone depletion was shattered by hard scientific findings that the rate constant for one of the critical reactions in the computer models of chlorofluorocarbon-induced ozone depletion was in error by a factor of 10 and as a result CFCs alone cannot be responsible for observed ozone depletion.

The warmaholics, drunk on government handouts and quasi-religious adulation from left-wing environmental organisations, often quote the consensus of scientists as being supportive of the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory and use the phrase "4000 scientists agree with the IPCC report" repeatedly. But again this does not stand up to scrutiny. The vast majority of the IPCC report is what-if scenarios, but all the what-if scenarios are centred around chapter nine, because it is this chapter that says "we humans are responsible". If chapter nine is wrong (that is, if the computer models are wrong) then the rest of IPCC computer projections are just useless hand-waving.

More than two-thirds of all authors of chapter nine of the IPCC's 2007 climate science assessment are part of a clique whose members have co-authored papers with each other and, we can surmise, very possibly at times acted as peer reviewers for each other's work. Of the 44 contributing authors (no, not the 4000 often quoted, just 44) to chapter nine, more than half have co-authored papers with the co-ordinating lead authors of chapter nine. It is no surprise, therefore, that the majority of scientists, who are sceptical of a human influence on climate, were unrepresented in the authorship of chapter nine.

So that's the real consensus: about 44 scientist mates who have vested interests in supporting IPCC computer modelling agreed that "we did it", and this has become the "consensus of thousands of the world's meteorologists". Compared with 31,000 (including 341 meteorologists) in the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine petition, the IPCC's 44 have no right to claim consensus at all.

Finally, to say "the question is not whether there is absolute certainty about the extent of global warming or its effects" is scientific blasphemy. Science is only about certainty and facts. The real question is in acknowledging the end of fossil fuels within the next 200 years or so: how do we spend our research time and dollars? Do we spend it on ideologically green-inspired publicity campaigns such as emissions-trading schemes based on the fraud of the IPCC, or do we spend it on basic science that could lead us to energy self-sufficiency based on some combination of solar, geothermal, nuclear and renewable sources? The alternative is to go back to the stone age.


Eiffel Tower closed, flights hit by snow

A winter storm brought blankets of snow across Europe on Monday, forcing the closure of an icy Eiffel Tower in Paris and causing flight cancellations. Up to 10 centimetres of snow was recorded in parts of France, the national weather service said. Most areas, including Paris, got about half that amount. French authorities issued traffic alerts in around 30 regions because of icy roads. The Eiffel Tower, one of Paris' main tourist attractions, was closed because of slippery conditions.

"We can't put down salt because it's metallic," Eiffel Tower press officer Isabelle Esnous said. "We can't use sand either ... because it risks getting into the elevator (cogs)." The cold, she said, was no problem, but snow could be dangerous.

Hundreds of passenger were stranded Monday at the main Paris airport of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle by snow after scores of flights were cancelled. Some "1658 people will be accommodated by Air France Monday evening in hotels at the airport hub at Roissy after the cancellation of 120 Air France flights of the 400 scheduled since the beginning of Monday afternoon, mainly to European destinations but also some long haul services," the airline said. Passengers waiting for flights "will have available food and hot drinks" at the end of a day described as "difficult" by Air France. The Paris airports authority said passengers should ring their airlines to see if their flights were operating and said some might not leave Monday evening.

Traffic at Roissy and the second Paris airport at Orly was due to return to normal Monday evening. Northern, central and western France were hit by snow and freezing rain during Monday, causing accidents, one fatal. Weather services warned that the thermometer would fall further during the week as icy air arrived from Siberia and Scandinavia. Temperatures could fall to between minus five and minus 10 centigrade (23 and 14 Fahrenheit) in the north and northeast, forecasters said. The cold snap could last until the middle of the month in much of the country.

National elecricity consumption hit a record peak early Monday evening. In the Paris area transport authorities had to suspend some bus services as snow and freezing rain made roads impassable. At one point, heavy goods traffic moving towards Paris was limited.

In Germany, heavy snowfall snarled road traffic and flight delays and cancellations at the country's international airports. Duesseldorf International Airport said no flights were allowed in or out between 6am and 9am local time on Monday (1600 AEDT-1900 AEDT Monday) because clearing crews were unable to keep up with the snow. More than 30 flights were cancelled because of the bad weather, airport spokesman Christian Witt said. Up to 10 centimetres of snow was reported in Duesseldorf and about 15 centimetres in Potsdam, just outside Berlin.

Flights from Frankfurt International Airport were delayed as much as an hour but none had to be cancelled. Traffic stopped for hours on many of Germany's autobahns as snowploughs struggled to clear the roads amid heavy post-holiday traffic. Germany's National Weather Service is forecasting subzero temperatures for the coming days.

Snow also fell across Britain. Children built snowmen in parts of England, including Cambridge.


Global Warming Unlikely Reason for Slow Coral Growth

"Researchers in Australia say the growth of coral on the country's iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has fallen since 1990 to its lowest rate in 400 years"; variations of this message have been repeated around the world from South Korea to London with global warming, and the associated acidification of oceans, claimed to be the cause.

These reports are repeating claims in an Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) media release made just last Friday to coincide with the publication of research findings in the journal Science [1]. The media release also claimed the research to be "the most comprehensive study to date on calcification rates of GBR corals".

Having followed GBR issues for many years I was surprised to hear global warming associated with slow coral growth rates, indeed AIMS's researchers Janice Lough and David Barnes have published detailed studies concluding that coral growth rates increase significantly with an increase in annual average sea surface temperature [2].

Furthermore growth rates actually decrease from north to south along the GBR as this corresponds with a cooling temperature gradient of 2-3 degrees C. If there has been a slowing in growth rates of coral over the last nearly 20 years, as suggested by this new research, a most obvious question for me would be: Have GBR waters cooled?

This new research paper in Science presents evidence for a decline in coral growth rates since 1990, but no credible reason for the decline. While the study hints that the cause could be ocean acidification no direct evidence is provided to support this claim - not even a correlation. Indeed no data is presented to suggest the PH (a measure of acidity) of GBR waters has changed, and based on modelling of hypothetical changes in PH associated with increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide there is a timing problem - the decline in calcification rates should apparently have started years earlier.

Confronted with a lack of evidence in support of this hypothesis - that ocean acidification has caused the drop in growth rates - the researchers suggest in the paper "synergistic effects of several forms of environmental stress" and implicate higher temperatures. But no data is presented in the paper to contradict the well established relationship between increasing temperature and increasing growth rates - though various confusing statements are made and it is suggested that global warming has increased the incidence of heat stress in turn reducing growth rates - while at the same time the researchers acknowledge higher growth rates in northern, warmer, GBR waters.

Marine Biologist Walter Starck has perhaps aptly described the research as part of "the proliferation of subprime research presenting low value findings as policy grade evidence" and has suggested this has "science headed in the same direction as Wall Street."

Interestingly, Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, has decided the "massive decline in the reef's growth" will require new laws. None of this, however, gets us any closer to understanding why there has been an apparent dramatic decline in the growth rates of GBR corals over the last 20 years.



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


5 January, 2009

VIN SUPRYNOWICZ replies to a Greenie who knows less than he thinks

"Constant Californian" writes to respond to my piece on the global cooling of 2008:
"You may be aware of Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish scientist who was long skeptical of global warming," he writes. "He is not anymore. His complaint is with what he perceives as hysteria, and unsound policy. I wonder if your line of reasoning has more to do with ideology and your view of (proposed) policy, than a considered look at the science at work. The mechanism of global warming is well-established. ...

"You write: 'It's getting colder. 2008 was the coolest year in a decade.' That leaves the other nine years to account for. If the last nine years were consecutively cooler, you would have a cooling trend. The trend is in the other direction. "The glaciers, Greenland and the polar ice cap are melting. Plants and species are migrating northward to areas where they have not been seen in recorded history. "And, according to The Washington Post (Jan. 12, 2008): 'Data collected from around the globe indicate that 2007 ranks as the second-warmest year on record, according to a new analysis from climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. ... Seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.'

"There are a number of good books on this topic. The one that convinced me was 'Field Notes from a Catastrophe: A Frontline Report on Climate Change,' by Elizabeth Kolbert, Bloomsbury, 2007.

"I admire your courage in often taking the unpopular view. But a view may be popular because it is accurate, not because people are being deluded or misled, and that is the case here. ... "I wonder if your time might be better spent -- and the public better served -- if you were to critique policy as regards energy and conservation rather than the problems (and global warming is only the most worrisome) that stem from long-term profligate and inefficient energy use."
I replied: Of course it would be more convenient for the Luddites if I were to accept their underlying assumptions and limit myself to "critiquing policy as regards energy and conservation." Just as, in 1500, it would have been judged much safer to study how best to discover and destroy witches rather than to challenge whether the old crones had any demonic powers in the first place. As a matter of fact, challenging the existence of the supernatural powers of witches was prima facie proof that the challenger was himself a witch ("warlock," whatever), which was likely to get you burned. Amazingly, under those circumstances, publicly expressed opinion -- holding that the demonic powers of witches was real -- was nearly unanimous! Ain't sealed systems grand?

Yes, the mechanism of global warming is well-established. It's primarily solar, and has nothing to do with the tiny amount of "greenhouse gas" mankind produces. Or were there too many cars and coal-fired generating plants 10,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age spontaneously melted away? (See the nice charts at

What's not well-established is any ability to predict whether the globe will be warmer or cooler in three years, let alone 30 or 300. When major green groups charted "greenhouse gas" emissions for 1991 (they sent me a lovely colorful graph, showing America as the "worst offender," of course) they listed the Philippines as a quite small producer, way "down the curve." This is because the Philippines are a "good" country, you understand, where people "know their place" and have properly resigned themselves to living in poverty, mostly doing without private motorcars or air conditioners, fertilizing their rice fields with human feces, etc.

I called the authors of the chart to ask how the Philippines could possibly have produced a tiny mount of greenhouse gases that year, since that's the year Mount Pinatubo erupted. They pointed me to a footnote that said "from man-made sources." If you're only going to measure greenhouses gases from man-made sources, you're only going to show greenhouse gases from man-made sources, making America's 1991 atmospheric contribution appear larger that the Philippines', which is absurd. Shouldn't we be asking how much is actually up there, and where it actually came from?

If water vapor and CO2 are both greenhouse gases, and there's 100 times more water vapor than CO2 in the atmosphere, what effect would it have on the level of total greenhouse gases to double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Look up the Newsweek cover of April 28, 1975, on "The Cooling World." You'll find many of this same gang urging the same brand of government "energy policy" takeovers to halt the dangerous trend of "global cooling." As well they might, since the next Ice Age will be a real problem.

It's all about seizing control of (and eviscerating) the economic advantages of the Western nations, which is why the greens show no interest in merely launching some reflective gravel into orbit, which would probably lower global temperature by a couple of degrees. (Look up 1816, the "Year Without Summer.") After all, if the alleged problem were simply and cheaply solved, how could they get any traction for their real Luddite agenda? Why do you suppose they sue to block virtually any project that might advance human welfare, citing the safety of weeds and bugs so obscure the litigants probably wouldn't recognize one if you plopped it on their dinner plate?

China and India aren't about to stop churning out all the carbon smoke they deem necessary to catch and overtake any Western nations moronic enough to cripple their own economies out of some bizarre feeling of guilt that they "use too much energy."

Energy use per capita is a pretty good measure of how far you're advancing from the Stone Age, when life expectancy was under 40. There is no energy shortage. We use less than 1 percent of the solar energy that streams past us. We need to start using a lot more of it. If some of us get rich in the process (without "taxpayer subsidies,") so much the better. That's what humankind is good at.

Solar, windmills and geothermal are vastly more expensive (poverty-inducing) and environmentally hazardous (when you consider the backup battery farms and transmission lines they'll require) than anything we've got now. They're tax-devouring make-work scams.

Julian Simon proved Paul Ehrlich and the "Population Bomb" folks wrong about their predictions re "running out of" whatever you care to name so many times they stopped accepting Mr. Simon's wagers.

Only collectivists consider they have any moral right to criticize the "profligacy" of those who create enough wealth to use whatever they can buy on the free market, in any way they choose, whether it be "energy," land or long underwear. Collectivists are would-be thieves. They simply lack the courage to pull out a gun and deprive the "profligate fat cats" of their wealth directly -- they prefer to hire bully-boys in government uniforms to do the job for them, under the sanctified cloak of "shared sacrifice." The Greens don't want to see "energy efficiency." They want to artificially make energy so expensive that we're forced to accept "reduced expectations" for our lifestyles and life expectancies.

If the greens choose to use less energy, God bless them. Let them go squat around some jungle fire in loincloths, eating half-cooked monkey meat. But somehow, this prospect does not appear to please them. Somehow, they will be happy only if they can impose energy-deficient poverty on me.

Are the glaciers melting? Is that a good measure of climate change? See


Trees Causing Global Warming - Again

From those hysterical worshippers of Gaia at the Chicago Tribune:
As relentlessly bad as the news about global warming seems to be, with ice at the poles melting faster than scientists had predicted and world temperatures rising higher than expected, there was at least a reservoir of hope stored here in Canada's vast forests. The country's 1.2 million square miles of trees have been dubbed the "lungs of the planet" by ecologists because they account for more than 7 percent of Earth's total forest lands. They could always be depended upon to suck in vast quantities of carbon dioxide, naturally cleansing the world of much of the harmful heat-trapping gas.

But not anymore. In an alarming yet little-noticed series of recent studies, scientists have concluded that Canada's precious forests, stressed from damage caused by global warming, insect infestations and persistent fires, have crossed an ominous line and are now pumping out more climate-changing carbon dioxide than they are sequestering. Worse yet, the experts predict that Canada's forests will remain net carbon sources, as opposed to carbon storage "sinks," until at least 2022, and possibly much longer.

So serious is the problem that Canada's federal government effectively wrote off the nation's forests in 2007 as officials submitted their plans to abide by the international Kyoto Protocol, which obligates participating governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Kyoto agreement, governments are permitted to count forest lands as credits, or offsets, when calculating their national carbon emissions. But Canadian officials, aware of the scientific studies showing that their forests actually are emitting excess carbon, quietly omitted the forest lands from their Kyoto compliance calculations.

"The forecast analysis prepared for the government . indicates there is a probability that forests would constitute a net source of greenhouse gas emissions," a Canadian Environment Ministry spokesman told the Montreal Gazette.

Canadian officials say global warming is causing the crisis in their forests. Inexorably rising temperatures are slowly drying out forest lands, leaving trees more susceptible to fires, which release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Higher temperatures also are accelerating the spread of a deadly pest known as the mountain pine beetle, which has devastated pine forests across British Columbia and is threatening vital timber in the neighboring province of Alberta. More than 50,000 square miles of British Columbia's pine forest have been stricken so far with the telltale markers of death: needles that turn bright red before falling off the tree.

Bitter cold Canadian winters used to kill off much of the pine beetle population each year, naturally keeping it in check. But the milder winters of recent years have allowed the insect to proliferate. That grim reality is stoking a new debate over commercial logging, one of Canada's biggest industries.

Environmentalists contend that the extreme stresses on Canada's forests, particularly the old-growth northern forest, mean that logging ought to be sharply curtailed to preserve the remaining trees-and the carbon stored within them-for as long as possible. Moreover, they argue that the disruptive process of logging releases even more carbon stored in the forest peat, threatening to set off what they describe as a virtual "carbon bomb"-the estimated 186 billion tons of carbon stored in Canada's forests, which is equivalent to 27 years worth of global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
Weirdly enough this isn't the first time that "eco-scientists" have suggested that we need to do away with the Canadian forests. Trees worsens global warming because they absorb sunlight which would otherwise be reflected by snow, according to the National Academy of Scientists - don't you know. A problem the beetles seem to be solving for us. And yet they still complain.

Moreover, these same "scientists" want to ban logging. It's too bad that the Chicago Tribune will soon stop helping us to control this menace by using so much paper. But, alas, they are going out of out of business. Undoubtedly, also due to global warming.


Algae to the rescue

Melting icebergs, so long the iconic image of global warming, are triggering a natural process that could delay or even end climate change, British scientists have found. A team working on board the Royal Navy's HMS Endurance off the coast of Antarctica have discovered tiny particles of iron are released into the sea as the ice melts. The iron feeds algae, which blooms and sucks up damaging carbon dioxide (CO2), then sinks, locking away the harmful greenhouse gas for hundreds of years.

The team think the process could hold the key to staving off globally rising temperatures. Lead researcher Professor Rob Raiswell, from Leeds University, said: `The Earth itself seems to want to save us.'

As a result of the findings, a ground-breaking experiment will be held this month off the British island of South Georgia, 800 miles south east of the Falklands. It will see if the phenomenon could be harnessed to contain rising carbon emissions. Researchers will use several tons of iron sulphate to create an artificial bloom of algae. The patch will be so large it will be visible from space.

Scientists already knew that releasing iron into the sea stimulates the growth of algae. But environmentalists had warned that to do so artificially might damage the planet's fragile ecosystem. Last year, the UN banned iron fertilisation in the Great Southern Ocean.

However, the new findings show the mechanism has actually been operating naturally for millions of years within the isolated southern waters. And it has led to the researchers being granted permission by the UN to move ahead with the experiment. The scientist who will lead the next stage of the study, Professor Victor Smetacek, said: `The gas is sure to be out of the Earth's atmosphere for several hundred years.'

The aim is to discover whether artificially fertilising the area will create more algae in the Great Southern Ocean. That ocean is an untapped resource for soaking up CO2 because it doesn't have much iron, unlike other seas. It covers 20million square miles, and scientists say that if this could all be treated with iron, the resulting algae would remove three-and-a-half gigatons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to one eighth of all emissions annually created by burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. It would also be equal to removing all carbon dioxide emitted from every power plant, chimney and car exhaust in the rapidly expanding industries of India and Japan. However, the experts warn it is too early to say whether it will work.

The team from ice patrol ship HMS Endurance used sledgehammers to chip deep into the interior of a 33ft-long mass of polar ice from half-a-dozen house-sized icebergs that had blown ashore in Antarctica. Once back in the UK, they used a special microscope to analyse the samples, which revealed what they had been looking for - tiny iron particles, only a few millionths of a millimetre wide, embedded deep within the ice. Until now, it was thought that the only source of iron in the Southern Ocean was wind blowing in metal compounds from the deserts of nearby continents like Australia. But the research has disproved this. Prof Raiswell said: `These particles measure only a fraction of a millimetre, but they have great importance for the global climate.'

Rising global temperatures, particularly over the past 50 years, have increased the rate at which polar ice melts, causing sea levels to rise. Ten of the warmest years on record have been since 1991, with experts predicting that 2009 could be the hottest year yet. The climate-change effect is set to substantially increase over the coming decades, as developing industrial nations pump out more CO2. Temperatures along the Antarctic Peninsula alone have increased by 2.5C over the past 50 years.

But for every percentage point increase in the amount of ice that breaks off, Prof Raiswell calculates that a further 26million tons of CO2 is removed from the atmosphere. Polar expert Professor Smetacek and a 49-strong German research team is due to set sail from Cape Town in the icebreaker Polarstern in the next few days to conduct their groundbreaking experiment. Crucially, the scientists want to know how much algae will sink to the bottom of the ocean where the CO2 will be safely trapped. Algae that falls a couple of miles below the surface will remain there for hundreds of years; algae that remains only a few hundred metres from the surface releases carbon back into the atmosphere.

Dr Phil Williamson, scientific co-ordinator of the Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere study, funded by the UK's National Environment Research Council, called the research `exciting'. `We have images from satellites which show the ocean stays green for weeks afterwards but the key will be whether it stays that way,' said Dr Williamson.

Schemes to fertilise the seas with iron have in the past been driven by commercial interests. This is the biggest ever scientific attempt. Last May, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity called a halt to fertilisation around the Antarctic until there was more detailed scientific data. But the British findings led to the go-ahead for Professor Smetacek's team from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Nonetheless, even Prof Raiswell has called the project `highly controversial'. He said: `Oceans aren't isolated boxes and it would affect the surrounding areas as well. `We don't know what effect that would have. The ecosystems are very complicated. If the iceberg iron is useful, then it will just buy us more time. `The Earth might have fightback mechanisms but we must still try to reduce our CO2 emissions.'

Prof Smetacek said the issue is too complex not to be explored by scientists. He warned: `Objections will be swept away when our powerlessness in the face of climate change becomes apparent.'


EU denounces British socialite's carbon offset project

A PIONEERING climate change project in Africa run by Robin Birley, the socialite, has been accused by the European commission, its main donor, of making unsubstantiated claims about its environmental impact. The project has received more than 1m pounds in public grants and money from celebrities in the music and film business. They include Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and Brad Pitt, the actor. The project attempts to offset an individual's carbon footprint by paying poor farmers in Mozambique to plant trees, which absorb CO2, and to protect existing forests.

The commission's criticism comes amid increased concern about the worth of these fashionable but largely unregulated carbon offset schemes. Critics say it is almost impossible to guarantee that the trees will survive the length of time needed to offset any significant carbon emissions.

Birley, the stepbrother of Zac Goldsmith, the environmentalist, set up the N'hambita Community Carbon project five years ago in partnership with Edinburgh University. His company, Envirotrade, manages it and sells "carbon credits" to the public, while the university monitors the emission levels and the deforestation rates. The project, based on the edge of the Gorongosa national park, had promised to bring "enormous and positive social, economic and environmental change to the developing world".

However, The Sunday Times has obtained a highly critical report from the European commission that says "the quality of the technical work . [is] far below what could reasonably be expected of a pilot project managed by a university". Written last May, just before the five-year funding period came to an end, the report noted that the project "continued to make positive claims about its impact that could not be substantiated". The commission also warned that the money flowing into the Gorongosa area had attracted hundreds of poor farmers who were now cutting down trees, contrary to the project's intention.

An official source said: "We also asked for disclosure about carbon trades in the interest of transparency. None of this information was forthcoming. [Envirotrade] are selling products that are not delivering what was promised and the public needs to know."

The commission, which has so far donated Euros 1.13m to the project, does not suggest there has been any dishonesty. However, it felt that the scientific concerns raised with the project since May 2006 remained unaddressed. Consequently, in October 2007 it suspended payment of the last instalment of the grant, worth Euros 453,000. Both the company and Edinburgh University say they will respond to all the criticism in a report they are writing for the commission. In a statement, Birley said that all the money raised so far from selling carbon credits - 750,000 pounds - has gone back into the project and he has also invested his own money. He added that the project's "well intentioned shortcomings" were to be expected with such a challenging idea and Envirotrade had been transparent with all its clients.

However, one of the commission's main concerns was about the way carbon credits are being sold when it is difficult to verify the amount of emissions actually saved. Despite this, Envirotrade has sold a further 100,000 worth of carbon credits since it received the report....

More here

British eco-town proposals receive fresh blow

The Government's flagship eco-town strategy has suffered another damaging blow after an independent report said one of the proposed towns was "unworkable". The Pennbury plan for a 12,000 home development near Leicester is one of 12 shortlisted by ministers as part of their plans to build a string of environmentally sustainable new towns across the country. But a leading consultancy on urban design and planning has damned the Pennbury scheme, submitted by the Co-operative supermarket and property group, as economically "unsustainable", "ambiguous" and "fundamentally weak".

The Halcrow Group, which was commissioned by four local authorities covering Leicester and the surrounding towns and villages to assess the Co-op's plans, said the new town was likely to produce fewer jobs than envisaged, would suffer from poor transport links and would be out of keeping in what is currently a rural setting. The report's findings are another major setback for the Government's eco-town proposals, which have already been widely condemned by opponents as threatening the green field character of many sites for little if any environmental or economic benefit.

The strategy has been beset by problems since it was placed at the heart of Labour's policy agenda by Gordon Brown at his first party conference as leader in September 2007. A shortlist of 15 was cut to 12 after developers dropped out and schemes were reconsidered. The final list of 10 is expected to be announced shortly. The schemes will then go through the normal planning process. But there are growing doubts over the viability of several of the schemes in the wake of the worsening housing crash.

Eco-towns, which will contain between 5,000 and 20,000 homes, are intended to be carbon neutral and act as an "exemplar" for environmentally-friendly development. Each must contain at least 30 per cent "affordable" housing, while properties must be on average only a 10-minute walk away from public transport and local services, such as doctors' surgeries and primary schools. At least one person in each household should be able to get to work without a car.

However, the Government admitted in November that only one of the 12 sites being considered is officially ranked as "generally suitable" for an eco-town. Rackheath, in Norfolk, was judged to be Grade A because it was near Norwich and a working railway line. The vast majority of the schemes, including Pennbury, were judged to be Grade B - which meant they "might be a suitable location subject to meeting specific planning and design objectives".

But the new report on Pennbury casts doubt on this. It states: "The Co-op have at this stage in the planning process provided insufficient information to support the Pennbury proposal at this moment. We have serious reservations at this stage that neither the required transport infrastructure, nor the level of jobs required can actually be delivered. "Both the economic strategy and transport proposals should therefore be substantially revised, as these are fundamental to the overall sustainability of the concept."

Dr Kevin Feltham, a Leicestershire county councillor and a campaigner against the scheme, said: "This report has left the Co-op's plans for Pennbury in tatters. The time is now ripe for them to withdraw their bid in the face of overwhelming evidence that the plans are unworkable."

The report's findings are a particular blow to the Pennbury scheme because Halcrow's consultants said it could have brought potential benefits to the region "in terms of new jobs, homes, community facilities and infrastructure, as well as pioneering new approaches to zero carbon living". But it said the plans "are not matched by sufficiently detailed commitments and proposals to ensure that these objectives can actually be delivered." It found:

* The Co-op had produced no convincing evidence to support the assumption that 60 per cent of residents would be able to work in the town.

* The planned location has poor transport links, making it unattractive for potential employers and businesses.

* It is unclear from population projections whether there is in fact a need for so many new homes in the area.

* There has been no survey of local environmental features such as ecology, landscape and cultural heritage.

However, the Co-operative Group defended its proposals, claiming the Halcrow report recognised the potential benefits of the Pennbury eco-town. Ruairidh Jackson, its head of planning and property strategy, said: "We are in close discussions with Leicester Regeneration Company about the benefits our proposals offer and to improve the regeneration potential of the city as a whole. This story goes far wider than simply employment. It's about education and skills, about helping regeneration sites to come forward, about housing in the city, about unlocking public transport investment and, not least, about helping Leicester to market and promote itself to additional sources of investment. "Our proposals are fully complementary to these objectives and we believe that we can help Leicester to be an even stronger and more successful city."

The four councils who commissioned the report - Harborough District, Oadby & Wigston Borough, Leicestershire County and Leicester City - are themselves split on the question of the eco-town. Leicestershire County opposes the scheme and has accused Leicester City, which backs it, of being "too easily bought" by the promise of 5 million pounds from the Co-op to carry out a feasibility study into running a tram from Pennbury into Leicester city centre. Harborough and Oadby have yet to decide whether they support the plans.



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


4 January, 2009

Britain in grip of longest cold snap for 10 years

Britain is in the grip of the longest cold snap for more than 10 years as forecasters predict another week of freezing temperatures.

Cold, mainly dry and frosty conditions, which set in on Boxing Day, are likely to continue for at least seven days as the weather is dominated by a huge region of high pressure coming from the Continent. For this time of year, forecasters say it is likely to be the longest prolonged spell of cold weather - where temperatures barely rise above zero centigrade (32F) - since 1996. Usually long spells of cold weather occur around February when the effect of warming from the Atlantic sea is reduced. "We have another five to seven days of colder weather still to come which will make it the longest spell since 1996 at this early stage of winter," said Philip Eden, the Daily Telegraph weather correspondent.

"Usually prolonged cold spells happen in late January and February because the weather in early winter comes from the warm Atlantic sea rather than the cold Continent. "Over the last 20 years winters temperatures have risen quite substantially so we have perhaps forgotten what it is like to have this sort of spell of weather. "They have become less common." Not only has the weather been cold but for huge swathes of the country, it has been extremely dry. "Over a huge part of the UK it hasn't actually rained since the 13th of December," said Mr Eden. "Three weeks without rain at the this time is very unusual and again has not happened since around 1996."

More here

Cross country race canceled in Alaska due to -50 temps

Frigid temperatures forced organizers of the U.S. Cross Country Championship sprint race to cancel the event Saturday. Race organizers hoped to hold the sprint races on Sunday, if the cold snap that has gripped much of Alaska for the past week loosens its grip a bit. Forecasters, however, said the bitterly cold weather was expected to continue.

After several delays in which race organizers kept an eye on the temperature, the race at Kincaid Park was canceled mid-afternoon. Organizers watched as the mercury rose from 13 degrees below zero to about 6 below zero. In the end, it wasn't enough, said race spokesman John Quinley. The cutoff for running the race is 4 degrees below zero. Quinley said the event has been rescheduled for Sunday with an 11:30 a.m. start. Quinley also said the athletes were disappointed, but the temperature was still too cold and the sun was starting to go down. "They were disappointed," Quinley said. "They were primed and ready to ski."

Temperatures in Fairbanks were 40 below on Saturday afternoon. Forecasters said it would dip to 50 below over the weekend.

More here

'Global temperatures are unusually cool'

In a pair of recent columns claiming humans are causing a global-warming crisis, Ben Bova disparages mere "assertions" while saying people need to rely on "observable, measurable facts." While Bova's concern about Earth's climate is admirable, he should follow his own advice regarding assertions versus facts. Bova asserts Earth has a "rising fever." Yet the fact is that global temperatures are unusually cool.

For most of the past 10,000 years temperatures have been 1.0 to 3.0 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today. The 0.6 degree rise in temperatures during the 20th century occurred from the baseline of the little ice age, which saw the coldest global temperatures during the past 10,000 years. Earth has a "rising fever" only if we pretend the little ice age was "normal" and ignore Earth's long-term temperature facts.

Bova asserts "the loss of sea ice in the Arctic is threatening the survival of polar bears." Yet the fact is that polar bear numbers have doubled since the 1980s. Moreover, Antarctic sea ice is growing and has been setting records for much of the past year. If "global" warming is causing receding polar ice, then why is Antarctic sea ice setting growth records?

Bova asserts "measurements ... show that the rise in global temperatures matches quite closely the increase in carbon dioxide." Yet the fact is that solar scientists at Harvard and other leading universities have published research in the world's leading scientific journals showing that temperatures match solar output much more closely than carbon dioxide, even in the 20th century.

Bova asserts that as a result of global warming "much of our crop land turns to desert." Yet, the fact is that global precipitation and global soil moisture have increased during the 20th century, and the Sahara Desert and other deserts around the world are in retreat.

Bova asserts we run the risk of a breaching a "tipping point" or a "greenhouse cliff where the global climate shifts too rapidly for us to protect ourselves from its drastic effects." Yet, the fact is that in a recent survey of more than 500 climate scientists from around the world, less than half agreed that "assuming climate change will occur, it will occur so suddenly that a lack of preparation could result in devastation of some areas of the world."

Bova asserts that in California's Yosemite National Park warmer temperatures are allowing mice and pine trees to live at higher altitudes than a century ago. Yet, the fact is that fossilized trees exist at altitudes above the current California tree line, showing that temperatures were significantly warmer 1,000 years ago than today. Plant and animal species are migrating to higher elevations only in comparison to the abnormally cold temperatures of the little ice age that ended just over a century ago. For most of the past 10,000 years, warmer temperatures enabled mice and trees to live at altitudes significantly higher than is possible today.

Global-warming activism is long on unsubstantiated assertions and short on objective facts. Only by comparing today's temperatures to the abnormal cold of the little ice are - and by completely ignoring the warmer temperatures that predominated during most of the past 10,000 years - can global-warming activists paint a picture of a planet suffering a global warming crisis. Moreover, sound science has thrown cold water on each and every one of the alleged global-warming crises, such as endangered polar bears, melting ice caps, etc., alleged to result from global warming.


Flashback: E Magazine Predicted Winter's Demise Last January

If media could be found legally liable for worsening the current economic crisis, mightn't they be similarly prosecuted for exaggerating anthropogenic global warming if it leads citizens, companies, and governments to waste money solving a problem that doesn't exist? Consider if you will a January 2008 cover story by E magazine which predicted the end of winter as we know it.Given the often record cold that has gripped the nation the last four weeks, "Losing Winter: As Climate Change Takes Hold, Our Coldest Season is the First Casualty" seems the perfect example of how dangerous -- and potentially costly -- the media's climate alarmism is
Since 1970, average winter temperatures in New England have increased 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit. In the U.S., 2006 was the warmest year on record, and 1998 is number two. The last eight five-year periods were the warmest since we began taking national records 112 years ago. During the past 25 to 30 years, says the National Climatic Data Center, the warming trend has accelerated, from just over a tenth of one degree Fahrenheit per decade to almost a third of a degree.
What? The warmest years on record in the U.S. are 2006 and 1998? I guess this author missed corrections that were made by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in August 2007 -- with assistance from Steve McIntyre, of course! -- which now show the warmest year in American history to have been 1934, and that 2006 has been knocked down to fourth.

Alas, facts are unimportant to these folks:
By the end of the century, temperatures in the Northeastern states are likely to rise by eight to 12 degrees Fahrenheit (at which time snow-covered days will have been reduced to half of what we traditionally experience). A 2007 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists on the Northeast predicted that, under some higher-emission scenarios, "Only western Maine is projected to retain a reliable ski season by the end of the century, and only northern New Hampshire would support a snowmobiling season longer than two months." Warmer weather and changing precipitation will result in a fundamental change to winter recreation and what the report called "the winter landscape."
How would some of you like to see your temperatures eight to twelve degrees warmer than they are at this minute?

Those in need of a chuckle should read the entire piece...if you can stand it.


Greenie housing restrictions to take a hit in Britain

GORDON BROWN is preparing to sweep aside planning controls in villages and market towns to allow the biggest rural housebuilding programme for a generation. Local authorities are to be controversially ordered to adopt a relaxed approach to the building of new homes in areas where planning permission has traditionally been refused. The government has concluded that protecting the environment should no longer be the overriding consideration when decisions are made about whether to allow development in areas where locals are struggling to afford homes.

Under reforms expected to be unveiled this month, councils will be told to:

* earmark new building sites in every village and hamlet where affordable housing is needed

* use sweeping powers to overrule normal planning curbs in protected areas

* provide incentives for farmers to sell land to developers

* create a generation of new communities on the outskirts of market towns, similar to Poundbury, the Prince of Wales's "model village".

The changes are aimed at helping the government to achieve its target of building 3m new homes by 2020. All the main political parties agree that the extra housing is needed, although the building programme is likely to be delayed by the recession. About 16,000 small towns, villages and hamlets across England, and dozens of market towns, could be affected by what is being described by ministers as a "fundamental shake-up" of rural planning policy.

The changes follow a government-commissioned investigation into housing shortages in the English countryside by Matthew Taylor, a Liberal Democrat MP. His report, published last year, was fiercely critical of "restrictive" planning policies in the countryside, which he believes are turning many villages in the most sought after areas of the countryside into exclusive enclaves of the rich and retired, as locals are priced out. In areas such as Teignbridge, Devon, characterised by "chocolate box villages", average house prices are 13.5 times the average income. .....

More than 6m people in Britain live in rural communities with populations of less than 3,000 where local authorities rarely allow new properties to be built. The government is expected to announce incentives for landowners to release sites for the new homes. In market towns, local authorities will be encouraged to consider sacrificing green fields to give newly built properties bigger gardens, instead of what Taylor describes as "useless grass strips" where there is no space for children to play or trees to be planted. The government is expected to argue that such fields are not normally accessible to the public and represent only a tiny fraction of agricultural land in England.

More here


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


3 January, 2009

Some more Southern hemisphere temperature data showing a Mediaeval warm period

Discussing: Lorrey, A., Williams, P., Salinger, J., Martin, T., Palmer, J., Fowler, A., Zhao, J.-X. and Neil, H. 2008. "Speleothem stable isotope records interpreted within a multi-proxy framework and implications for New Zealand palaeoclimate reconstruction". Quaternary International 187: 52-75.

What was done

Two master speleothem (stalactite, stalagmite or flowstone cave deposit) delta18O records were developed for New Zealand's eastern North Island (ENI) and western South Island (WSI) for the period 2000 BC to about AD 1660 and 1825, respectively. The WSI record is a composite chronology composed of data derived from four speleothems from Aurora, Calcite, Doubtful Xanadu and Waiau caves, while the ENI record is a composite history derived from three speleothems from Disbelief and Te Reinga caves.

What was learned

For both the ENI and WSI delta18O records master speleothem histories, their warmest periods fall within the AD 900-1100 time interval, which is also where the peak warmth of a large portion of the temperature records found in our Medieval Warm Period Project fall (see our Interactive Map and Time Domain Plot).

What it means

Not wanting to acknowledge that the earth was likely as warm as, or even warmer than, it is currently a thousand or so years ago (when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was much lower than it is today), the world's climate alarmists have been loath to admit there was an MWP or Medieval Warm Period anywhere other than in countries surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, the seven independent speleothem records that produced the results reported by Lorrey et al. are of great importance to the ongoing global warming debate, as they greatly advance the thesis that the MWP was indeed a global phenomenon, and that there is thus nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about earth's current warmth, and that it therefore need not be attributed to the historical increase in the air's CO2 content.

Source. (See here for a similar finding from Argentina)

1800 year China temps data confirm Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age?

Discussing: Zhang, P. et al., 2008. "A test of climate, sun, and culture relationships from an 1810-year Chinese cave record". Science 322: 940-942.

Working with a stalagmite found in China's Wanxiang Cave (33ø19'N, 105ø00'E) -- which Zhang et al. (2008) say is located on the fringes of the area currently affected by the Asian Monsoon and is thus sensitive to (and integrates broad changes in) that annually-recurring phenomenon -- the seventeen researchers developed a delta18O record with an average resolution of 2.5 years that "largely anti-correlates with precipitation" and runs continuously from AD 190 to 2003.

Even more important than its close ties with precipitation, in our opinion, Zhang et al. demonstrate that the record "exhibits a series of centennial to multi-centennial fluctuations broadly similar to those documented in Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions, including the Current Warm Period, Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period and Dark Age Cold Period."

And when one compares the peak warmth thus implied by their data for the Current and Medieval Warm Periods, it is readily seen that the Medieval Warm Period comes out on top as having been the warmer of the two.

In another important set of comparisons, Zhang et al. superimpose their delta18O record upon individual plots of Northern Hemispheric temperature as derived by Esper et al. (2002), Moberg et al. (2003) and Mann and Jones (2003). In the first of these comparisons, the two records closely mimic each other, with both of them indicating greater peak warmth during the Medieval Warm Period than during the Current Warm Period. The same is likewise true of the second comparison; and in the third comparison the records also closely mimic each other over the vast majority of their expanse.

Over the last decades of the 20th century, however, the temperatures of the Mann and Jones record rise far above the temperatures implied by the Zhang et al. record (and, therefore, those of the Esper et al. and Moberg et al. records as well), which suggests to us that this anomalous behavior of the Mann and Jones record is indicative of its possessing a major defect that is not found in the other three datasets. And that defect, in our estimation, is Mann and Jones' use of directly-measured as opposed to reconstructed temperatures over their record's last few decades, which leads to their anomalous end-point "oranges" not telling the same story as that told by everyone else's "apples."

Another point of great interest about the Zhang et al. record is that it "correlates with solar variability, Northern Hemisphere and Chinese temperature, Alpine glacial retreat, and Chinese cultural changes." And since none of the last four phenomena can influence the first one, it stands to reason that solar variability is what has driven the variations in every other factor mentioned.

In fact, in a commentary that accompanies Zhang et al.'s article, Kerr (2008) states that the Zhang et al. record is described by other researchers as "amazing," "fabulous," and "phenomenal," and that it "provides the strongest evidence yet for a link among sun, climate, and culture."

In addition, we note that it provides equally strong evidence for at least the Northern-Hemispheric-extent of the Medieval Warm Period and its greater and more persistent warmth than that of the Current Warm Period.


Prediction 2009: No agreement at Copenhagen

The global warming community have suggested for a while now that, given the almost-certain change in US administration policy on global warming (remember John McCain's position), the conference of the Kyoto Treaty parties in 2009 at Copenhagen would result in a sea change in global action on greenhouse gas emissions. Copenhagen would produce a new treaty, son-of-Kyoto, that would have full US participation, set stringent and enforceable emission limits aimed at getting the world to the sort of emissions levels some scientists demand, and start to involve the developing world in emissions reductions.

This is not going to happen. For a start, it looks like US policy is going to concentrate on getting a domestic settlement in place before agreeing to any international action other than the traditional "agreeing to agree." Secondly, with the world in financial chaos, governments are going to look askance at any possibility of deep emissions cuts in the short term because they know how costly that will be (the recent EU agreement - in actuality an agreement for just 4% cuts by 2020 - is a great example). This will make the drastic emissions cuts supposedly necessary in the medium-term well-nigh impossible to achieve. Finally, developing countries have consistently stated that they will not take on any emissions reductions, demanding the developed world move first. Yet even if the developed world reduces its emissions to zero by 2050, the developing world will have to keep its emissions at around today's levels to meet just a 50% global reduction by 2050. That represents a reduction from expected developing world emissions of 57%. To meet the 80% reduction demanded by most scientists will require a severe reduction in emissions from today's levels that represent widespread energy poverty.

So despite the optimism, a genuine international agreement looks some way off. Copenhagen will doubtless be sold as a triumph, but in reality the world will be no closer to a genuine, binding international agreement than it was in 2001.


British birdwatcher makes fruitless journey to Norway only to find Arctic bird in her own garden

It goes with Britain's current episodes of of Arctic weather. See here

A birdwatcher who made a fruitless journey to Norway to see a rare snow bunting, returned home to Britain only to discover one of the species had landed on her garden fence. Janet Davies, 58, an amateur ornithologist, spent three weeks in the Arctic including a week in Spitzbergen hoping to catch sight of a snow bunting. She failed to see one of the distinctive birds but was startled when she returned to home in Helston, Cornwall, and found one in her garden.

She said: "It was an expensive trip. Organised birdwatching holidays can be pricey. "We were in Spitzbergen for a week but I never saw a snow bunting and it is one of the birds I wanted to see most. "It never happened and I thought it would be the one that got away and I would never cross it off my list. "But then lo and behold one shows up in my back garden in Cornwall. I looked out of my window and there it was. The odds of it happening and showing up in a birdwatcher's back garden must be huge. It must have been blown off course. Sightings of them in Britain are few and far between."

Mrs Davies, a community carer, added that the bunting arrived in her garden on Sunday and was mixing with some chaffinches. "I feed wild bird seed to them and the snow bunting is quite happily eating it from the ground." She said it was believed to be a female. "It is different from North American species because it has not got the brown back. It is totally white on its upper shoulders and back. We think it is female because of its brown head and speckled buff breast. That would be the winter plumage of the female." Mrs Davies added: "It is about the size of a plump chaffinch or sparrow. Its colour is beautiful and when it flies it stands out. I worry it might be in danger from predators because it is so conspicuous. I have put out extra seed for it."

She joked: "I am hoping to go Antarctica when I retire and when I get back I am half expecting a penguin to show up at the back door." Snow buntings, which have striking 'snowy' plumages, are normally found in Scandinavia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. They are only occasionally seen in Scotland and eastern England.


Skeptical Ulsterman sticks to his guns

He is the (conservative) environment minister in the N. Ireland government

Spending billions on trying to reduce carbon emissions is one giant con that is depriving third world countries of vital funds to tackle famine, HIV and other diseases, Sammy Wilson said. The DUP minister has been heavily criticised by environmentalists for claiming that ongoing climatic shifts are down to nature and not mankind. But while acknowledging his views on global warming may not be popular, the East Antrim MP said he was not prepared to be bullied by eco fundamentalists. "I'll not be stopped saying what I believe needs to be said about climate change," he said. "Most of the people who shout about climate change have not read one article about it

"I think in 20 years' time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves how on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all. Because there is now a degree of hysteria about it, fairly unformed hysteria I've got to say as well. "I mean I get it in the Assembly all the time and most of the people who shout about climate change have not read one article about climate change, not read one book about climate change, if you asked them to explain how they believe there's a connection between CO2 emission and the effects which they claim there's going to be, if you ask them to explain the thought process or the modelling that is required and the assumptions behind that and how tenuous all the connections are, they wouldn't have a clue. "They simply get letters about it from all these lobby groups, it's popular and therefore they go along with the flow - and that would be ok if there were no implications for it, but the implications are immense."

He said while people in the western world were facing spiralling fuel bills as a result of efforts to cut CO2, the implications in poorer countries were graver. "What are the problems that face us either locally and internationally. Are those not the things we should be concentrating on?" he asked. "HIV, lack of clean water, which kills millions of people in third world countries, lack of education. "A fraction of the money we are currently spending on climate change could actually eradicate those three problems alone, a fraction of it. "I think as a society we sometimes need to get some of these things in perspective and when I listen to some of the rubbish that is spoken by some of my colleagues in the Assembly it amuses me at times and other times it angers me."

Despite his views on CO2, Mr Wilson said he does not intend to backtrack on commitments made by his predecessor at the Department of the Environment, Arlene Foster, to make the Stormont estate carbon neutral. He said while he wasn't worried about reducing CO2 output, he said the policy would help to cut fuels bills. "I don't couch those actions in terms of reducing Co2 emissions," he said. "I don't care about Co2 emissions to be quite truthful because I don't think it's all that important but what I do believe is, and perhaps this is where there can be some convergence, as far as using fuel more efficiently that is good for our economy; that makes us more competitive. If we can save in schools hundreds of thousands on fuel that's more money being put for books or classroom assistants.

"So yes there are things we can do. If you want to express it terms of carbon neutral, I just express it terms of making the place more efficient, less wasteful and hopefully that will release money to do the proper things that we should be doing."



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


2 January, 2009

Cool 2008 warms climate debate

The fact that the article below is from Australia's national daily is an encouraging sign. Can you imagine the NYT printing the news that 2008 was an unusually cold year and giving perspectives on that from skeptics?

While the official figures are not yet in, 2008 is widely tipped to be declared the coolest year of the century. Whether this is a serious blow to global warming alarmists depends entirely on who you talk to. Anyone looking for a knockout blow in the global warming debate in 2008 were sorely disappointed. The weather refused to co-operate, offering mixed messages from record cold temperatures across North America to heatwaves across Europe and the Middle East earlier in the year. Even in Australia yesterday [midsumnmer] there were flurries of snow on the highest peaks of a shivering Tasmania, while the north of the country sweltered in above-average temperatures.

A cool 2008 may not fit in with doomsday scenarios of some of the more extreme alarmists. But nor, meteorologists point out, does it prove the contrary, that global warming is a myth. In Australia this year, on the most recent figures, the average temperature was 22.18C. Last year it was 22.48C. In 2006 it was 22.28C, and in 2005 22.99C. Senior meteorologist with the National Meteorological Centre Rod Dickson said that based on data from January to November, 2008 might be the coolest this century but it was still Australia's 15th warmest year in the past 100 years. "Since 1990, the Australian annual mean temperature has been warmer than the 1961-1990 average [Hey! That is not the 100 year average. It is the average of a generally cool period] for all but two years, 2008 being one of those years," he said. In Australia overall, 2008 on the most recent date, was 0.37C higher than for the 30-year average to 1990 of 21.81C. Worldwide, 2008 was expected to be about 0.31C higher than the 30-year average to 1990, of 14C.

One of Australia's best-known sceptics of man-made global warming, former head of the National Climate Centre William Kininmonth, said the cool year did not fit in with the greenhouse gas theory that suggests the globe should be continuing to warm. "All the reports from the northern hemisphere of record snows and freezing temperatures would suggest that 2008 will follow the predictions and officially be declared the coolest of the century," he said. "But the only thing we can really deduce is that the warming trend from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s appears to have halted."

Another well-known sceptic, geologist Bob Carter, said critics were jumping on the cold northern hemisphere winter to dismiss global warming, but climate was a long-term phenomenon and there was nothing particularly unusual about present circumstances.

But Don White, of consultancy firm Weatherwatch, said while last year was likely to end up the coolest year this century, this needed to be put into perspective. "If the same temperatures had occurred in the early 1990s it would have been the warmest ever," he said. "The year 2008 may have been colder than the previous seven years, but it was still warmer than most years prior to 1993." Mr White said Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide had well below average rainfall for the calendar year 2008, with just 449mm in Melbourne, compared with an average annual rainfall of 652mm. Hobart received 407mm in 2008 compared with an average of 618mm. Sydney was also slightly below average at 1083 mm, compared with an average of 1213mm. Brisbane, Perth and Darwin were all wetter than normal.


Global cooling hits the USA

Winter storm warnings and plummeting temperatures put a chill on New Year's Eve plans for hundreds of thousands of revelers. Thousands of homes and businesses in the Midwest had no electric lights for the holiday because of wind damage. Temperatures in the teens _ with wind chills below zero _ were forecast for midnight and the annual ball drop in New York's Times Square and for the First Night celebration in Boston. Boston officials canceled the city's traditional midnight display because of a winter storm that brought wind gusts up to 40 mph. Up to 11 inches of snow was also forecast in the region.

Up to a million revelers, jammed tightly together by intense security, were expected to hunker down against the icy wind in Times Square to watch a five-minute blizzard of balloons and more than a ton of confetti. But the weather put a crimp in the festivities for some. New Bedford, Mass., put its fireworks display off until Jan. 8 and Baltimore pushed its show back to Thursday evening because of high winds and rough harbor waters.

The National Weather Service posted winter storm warnings and advisories for parts of New England, upstate New York, northern Ohio, northern Minnesota and North Dakota, and sections of Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. In western New York state, at least 8 inches of snow had fallen by midday in the Buffalo and Rochester areas, and morning rush hour traffic crept at a near standstill on the New York State Thruway south of Albany. "It's really affecting the entire state," said weather service meteorologist Dave Zaff in Buffalo. Single-digit temperatures and sustained wind of up to 20 mph were expected to combine to produce wind chills as low as 25 below zero during the night in parts of New York state, meteorologists said.

A Roman Catholic priest in northern Virginia was killed by a falling tree Wednesday while trying to clear another fallen tree from a road amid wind gusts. Rev. Michael C. Kelly, 53, was pastor at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville. Power outages in Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia caused by high winds cut electricity to nearly 50,000 homes and businesses Wednesday. Baltimore Gas and Electric Company says new outages are likely as winds of up to 60 mph continue howling into the night. The upper Midwest started the day with temperatures as low as 33 below zero at Wahpeton, N.D., and 24 below at Brainerd, Minn.

More snow fell Wednesday in parts of Michigan as utility crews endured morning temperatures in the teens to restore power to customers still without service since a weekend wind storm knocked down trees and power lines. The state's major utilities said about 11,000 homes and businesses were still blacked out Wednesday afternoon. In the Ohio Valley, Duke Energy said nearly 11,700 homes and business were blacked out by wind damage during the night in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky, but most were back on line Wednesday morning.

Up to 5 inches of snow was likely Wednesday in northern sections of North Dakota and Minnesota, on top of the foot or more that fell Tuesday, the weather service said. December was already a record month for snow in North Dakota, with 33.3 inches at Bismarck. In Minnesota, Tuesday was the 16th day in December in which measurable snow had fallen at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Juanita Grosz didn't even bother to measure the snow at her home in Garrison, N.D., northwest of Bismarck. "It doesn't matter _ I just know that it's a lot," Grosz said Tuesday. "Everything is solid white; there isn't a track anywhere."


The Warm Turns

Climate Change: The Earth has been warming ever since the end of the Little Ice Age. But guess what: Researchers say mankind is to blame for that, too.

As we've noted, 2008 has been a year of records for cold and snowfall and may indeed be the coldest year of the 21st century thus far. In the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month of October. Global thermometers stopped rising after 1998, and have plummeted in the last two years by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius. The 2007-2008 temperature drop was not predicted by global climate models. But it was predictable by a decline in sunspot activity since 2000.

When the sun is active, it's not uncommon to see sunspot numbers of 100 or more in a single month. Every 11 years, activity slows, and numbers briefly drop near zero. Normally sunspots return very quickly, as a new cycle begins. But this year, the start of a new cycle, the sun has been eerily quiet. The first seven months averaged a sunspot count of only three and in August there were no sunspots at all - zero - something that has not occurred since 1913.

According to the publication Daily Tech, in the past 1,000 years, three previous such events - what are called the Dalton, Maunder and Sporer Minimums - have all led to rapid cooling. One was large enough to be called the Little Ice Age (1500-1750). The Little Ice Age has been a problem for global warmers because it serves as a reminder of how the earth warms and cools naturally over time. It had to be ignored in the calculations that produced the infamous and since-discredited hockey stick graph that showed a sharp rise in warming alleged to be caused by man.

The answer to this dilemma has supposedly been found by two Stanford researchers, Richard Nevle and Dennis Bird, who announced their "findings" at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. According to them, man not only is causing contemporary warming. He also caused the cooling that preceded it. According to Bird and Nevle, before Columbus ruined paradise, native Americans had deforested a significant portion of the continent and converted the land to agricultural purposes. Less CO2 was then absorbed from the atmosphere, and the earth was toasty.

Then a bunch of nasty old white guys arrived and depopulated the native populations through war and the diseases they brought with them. This led to the large-scale abandonment of agricultural lands. The subsequent reforestation of the continent caused temperatures to drop enough to bring on the Little Ice Age. Implicit in this research is that the world would be fine if man wasn't in the way. We either make the world too cold or too hot, a view held by many in high places.

In a speech at Harvard last November, Harvard physicist John Holden, President-elect Obama's choice to be his science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, presented a "top 10" list of warming solutions. Topping the list was "limiting population," as if man was a plague upon the earth. This is a major tenet of green dogma that bemoans the fact that the pestilence called mankind comes with cars, factories and overconsumption of fossil fuels and other resources.

R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre of Canada's Carleton University, says: "I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of energy on this planet." Indeed, a look at a graph of solar irradiance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows little solar activity during the Little Ice Age and significant activity during recent times. Don't blame Dick and Jane - blame sunspots.


The Innate Problems With the Australian Labor Party's Emissions Trading Scheme

By Australian Senator Barnaby Joyce

I'm going to be serious and quite frank with you here as the issues I am about to raise will be contentious not only amongst coalition MP's but also my own party. Every age comes up with a witch to burn, a sect that apparently if it is not succumbed will bring about the destruction of an empire, an issue that occupies the rigours of the day. It is almost as if those in the position of power and their surrounding Illuminati with time to spare are terrified of the banality of daily existence and so search for an issue that demands blind obedience to conquer it.

The most dangerous place to be in these times of immense fervour is in the counter position that calls in to question the logic of the euphoria. Those who dare to question are held as heretics. There is a communal life fest in being part of the pack or staying silent. It is hard for them to separate from the reality that the world is fairly constant and predictable and that things of the greater nature of the universe have remained beyond our control in the past and generally shall remain so into the future.

It was interesting to hear the recent discussion between Freeman Dyson, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, with Robyn Williams, on The Science Show on ABC Radio National, when he rightly stated that the world has many problems but global warming is not one of the biggest ones. As Dyson said:
"Sea level rise has been going on much longer, long before global warming, and it probably has very little to do with human activities. All we know for sure is that sea level has been rising steadily for about 10,000 years and we'll have to do something about that."
I don't pretend for one moment to be a scientist but in my role in the Senate it is implicit in my job to be a sceptic , to question and to consider all sides and be open to the views of many rather than one view.

My current concern with the emissions trading scheme is that a religious fervour has built up around the altar of global warming. Those who serve at the altar have become ruthless in their denigration of alternate views. This fervour has now received its imprimatur by reason of a new tax, or should it be tithe to be paid to the Rudd Labor Government. The similarity in this newest forte of socialism can be defined by the ultimate purpose of divesting the individual of their asset or income stream on the premise of an apparent greater moral good. But who becomes the benefactors of this divestment? The administrators and the traders. Their pockets are lined with the property and income of others.

I don't remember anybody paying rural Australia for the vegetation that was divested from their asset, rural land, during the tree-clearing legislation so we could meet our Kyoto target and unfortunately I don't hear any chorus of questioning as to why in the future rural producers, after trying to feed the nation and others, will have to be dragged into an emissions trading scheme that could make many of them unviable.

Where is all this heading?

The National Party has been at the forefront of saying this is all getting beyond ridiculous and becoming dangerous. They are also being supported by unlikely allies such as the Australian Workers Union who see their own members, who have been part of the process of delivering wealth to our nation from their labours have had their industries now termed `dirty' by the new environmental high priests. In this new Orwellian frenzy everyone is looking over their shoulder.

Australia is going down a path of an ETS without the co-operation of the major emitting countries. It says that it is morally right to do so. The Rudd Labor Government and others say that unilateral action is a moral imperative. I look forward to that same fervour of moralistic rectitude as they approach the Mugabe issue in Zimbabwe. He is certainly in the wrong and it is on this new platform of morals that we await our dear leader to launch an attack in a very worthwhile and immediate practice of ridding our planet of this tyrant, Mugabe. That is something that would be of an exceptional benefit.

The government is currently honey-coating the fact that it will be collecting a vast amount of money from the Australian people. The ETS will collect $11.5 billion in its first year, $12 billion in its second, it will force up the price of goods and services, it will encourage industries to move to where an ETS is not present. Australia generates 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse emissions and this ETS will reduce world levels by the smallest sliver, which self-evidently will have nil effect on global climate whether you believe in climate warming or not.

People will lose their job or their business because of the ETS. They will be the modern-day witches burning on the environmentalist fanatical pyre because their role in this new dynamic was unacceptable. For regional Australia we look forward to the ridiculous prospect of 34 million possible hectares of forest to take the place of farming land, formerly the backbone of so many regional towns and generations of good, honest working Australians' lives.

The history of human civilisations has the disturbing trait of devising ways to put themselves out of business, sometimes through no more than their own excesses and belief structures of their governing bureaucracies. The only protection against these excesses is the capacity of the general population to question, to doubt and to disagree.

I have no doubt that as a world we must become efficient with the utilisation of our resources. We must give the greatest number of people the greatest access to the highest standard of living, it is only fair. Efficiency, more than emissions, must become the trading scheme that brings a cleaner, fairer future. Encourage efficiency and keep the government's hands out of people's pockets and off their assets and that will bring a greater propensity to a long-term broad-based better world for all of us.


Global Warming Is Killing Australia's Great Barrier Reef and Other Bulldust

The Australian Greens and Eco-Fundamentalist have declared that Australia's ETS reduction target of 5% means we will lose the Great Barrier Reef. Ask any green and they will swear that's the truth even though they have never visited one square inch of The Great Barrier Reef which includes over 2900 reefs, around 940 islands and cays, and stretches 2300 kms along the Queensland coastline. Heres what a couple of guys who dive the reef most days have to say:.
Shark expert Ben Cropp said yesterday the outer reef was more or less the same as when he started diving 50 years ago... I've got a gut feeling the reef will cope with climate change, if it exists, but that's just a gut feeling. Scientists say you aren't allowed to have a gut feeling, but my gut feeling is based on diving the reef for half a century. But then again, I'm not their kind of expert.
And Patrick Ligthart, is a volunteer with the Low Isles Preservation Society and cleans away rubbish and maintains the reefs around the Low Isles.
. said his section of the reef had never looked better, and he was sceptical about predictions of its demise. I come out to the reef all the time, and the reef's in good shape.. even old timers say the reef here has never looked better. I don't know why these fear-mongers keep making these claims
Yet Bob Brown and The Greens continue unabated with their fear mongering claims that Climate Change is killing the iconic Great Barrier Reef. It follows then that Brown and the Greens would lie to the Australian public about other things too.

Source (See the original for links)


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1 January, 2009

Just some short posts until tomorrow:

`Tis the season for global warming scaremongering

"`Twas once again the season for global warming scaremongering this month. New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel's latest foray into the fabulous world of global warming make-believe ('State's plan to curb global warming tepid,' December 26, Asbury Park Press) would make even Pinocchio blush. Tittel claimed global warming is causing increased drought conditions in New Jersey. He did not offer any supporting data or evidence. And little wonder: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) precipitation records for New Jersey show there has been no increase in drought conditions in the state."


AK: Backyard reactors? Firms shrink the nukes

"Hundreds of miles from the nearest power plant, the roughly 700 residents of Galena, Alaska, depend on costly generator-supplied electricity for their homes. But now, they want to go nuclear. No, not a traditional hulking nuclear power plant. That would be far too big. Instead, town leaders have signed up for what some call a `pocket nuke' or `nuclear battery' that produces just 10 megawatts - about 1 percent of the energy an average nuclear plant generates. Japanese manufacturer Toshiba has told the town it will install its new `4S' (Super-safe, small, and simple) reactor free of charge by 2012."


Liberal social engineering at its foolhardy best

"Big brother wants to tax the movement of citizens. As explained on the Oregon Governor's website: `As Oregonians drive less and demand more fuel-efficient vehicles, it is increasingly important that the state find a new way, other than the gas tax, to finance our transportation system.' Following the tried and true pattern for social engineering they first concoct a guilt and fear-based campaign designed to get people to choose more fuel efficient cars, to burn food as fuel to the greatest extent possible and to lay the ground work for justifying future government interventions in the market."



My cable connection is down at the moment so there may be no more posts here today