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

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

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

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31 July, 2010

The the basic assumptions of a terrestrial greenhouse effect dismissed as unrealistic

The following paper is available via Arxiv, which is a non-peer-reviewed source. Getting extreme skepticism into a peer-reviewed journal is close to impossible however. In the several sciences that I know well, the journals are very protective of the prevailing orthodoxies

On the meaning of feedback parameter, transient climate response, and the greenhouse effect: Basic considerations and the discussion of uncertainties

By Gerhard Kramm & Ralph Dlugi


In this paper we discuss the meaning of feedback parameter, greenhouse effect and transient climate response usually related to the globally averaged energy balance model of Schneider and Mass.

After scrutinizing this model and the corresponding planetary radiation balance we state that (a) the this globally averaged energy balance model is flawed by unsuitable physical considerations, (b) the planetary radiation balance for an Earth in the absence of an atmosphere is fraught by the inappropriate assumption of a uniform surface temperature, the so-called radiative equilibrium temperature of about 255 K, and (c) the effect of the radiative anthropogenic forcing, considered as a perturbation to the natural system, is much smaller than the uncertainty involved in the solution of the model of Schneider and Mass.

This uncertainty is mainly related to the empirical constants suggested by various authors and used for predicting the emission of infrared radiation by the Earth's skin. Furthermore, after inserting the absorption of solar radiation by atmospheric constituents and the exchange of sensible and latent heat between the Earth and the atmosphere into the model of Schneider and Mass the surface temperatures become appreciably lesser than the radiative equilibrium temperature.

Moreover, neither the model of Schneider and Mass nor the Dines-type two-layer energy balance model for the Earth-atmosphere system, both contain the planetary radiation balance for an Earth in the absence of an atmosphere as an asymptotic solution, do not provide evidence for the existence of the so-called atmospheric greenhouse effect if realistic empirical data are used.


The Death Of The Global Warming Movement

The Reid energy bill abandons cap-and-trade, dooming the cause

Future historians will pinpoint Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's energy legislation, released Tuesday, as the moment that the political movement of global warming entered an irreversible death spiral. It is kaput! Finito! Done!

This is not just my read of the situation; it is also that of Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate-turned-Democratic-apparatchik. In his latest column for The New York Times, Krugman laments that “all hope for action to limit climate change died” in 2010. Democrats had a brief window of opportunity before the politics of global warming changed forever in November to ram something through Congress. But the Reid bill chose not to do so for the excellent reason that Democrats want to avoid an even bigger beating than the one they already face at the polls.

Not only does the bill avoid all mention of an economy-wide emission cap through a cap-and-tax--oops, cap-and-trade--scheme, it even avoids capping emissions or imposing renewable electricity standards on utility companies, the minimum that enviros had hoped for. Beyond stricter regulations on off-shore drilling, it offers subsidies to both homeowners to encourage them to make their homes more energy efficient and the nation's fleet of trucks to use cleaner burning natural gas. This is not costless, but it is a bargain compared with the “comprehensive” action on energy and climate change that President Barack Obama had been threatening.

Krugman blames this outcome on--you'll never guess this!--greedy energy companies and cowardly Republicans who sold out. But the fault, Dear Paul, lies not in them, but in your own weakling theories.

The truth is that there never has been an environmental issue that has enjoyed greater corporate support. Early in the global warming crusade, a coalition of corporations called United States Climate Action Partnership was formed with the express purpose of lobbying Congress to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It included major utilities (Duke Energy ( DUK - news - people )) and gas companies (BP ( BP - news - people )) that stood to gain by hobbling the coal industry through a cap-and-trade scheme. Meanwhile, the Breakthrough Institute, a highly respected liberal outfit whose mission is to rejuvenate the progressive movement in this country, points out that environmental groups spent at least $100 million over the past two years executing what was arguably the best mobilization campaign in history. Despite all of this, notes Breakthrough, there is little evidence to suggest that cap-and-trade would have mustered more than 43 votes in the Senate.

This means that lucre is not the only motivating force in politics. Indeed, lobbyists are effective generally when they represent causes that coincide with the will of constituents, which is far from the case here. Voters are reluctant to accept economic pain to address remote causes with an uncertain upside. Heck, they are dubious even when the cause is not so remote and has a demonstrable upside. Take Social Security and Medicare. It is a mathematical certainty that, without reform, these programs will go bankrupt, jeopardizing the health care and retirement benefits of tens of millions Americans. Even though the cost of action is far smaller compared with the cost of inaction, persuading voters to do something is an uphill battle.

Yet even in the heyday of the consensus on global warming there was never this kind of certainty. The ClimateGate scandal--in which prominent climatologists were caught manipulating data to exaggerate the observed warming--has significantly weakened this consensus. But even if it hadn't, climate change is too complex an issue to ever be established with anything approaching iron-clad certainty. Hence, it was inevitable that it would run into a political dead-end.

This is exactly what the Reid bill represents. Indeed, if Democrats backed-off from their grand designs to cut carbon emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 with sizable majorities in Congress and a “celestial healer” in the White House there is little chance that they will ever be able to accomplish anything better at a later date. And if America--the richest country in the world and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases--won't act, there is a snowball's chance in Mumbai that India or China will.

Of course, authoritarian countries have a little bit more leeway than democracies to push unpalatable remedies. But it is not within the power of even China's autocrats to shove an energy diet down the throat of their people on the theory that the pain from it will be short-lived because it will trigger a search for better and cleaner energy alternatives--the totality of the green pitch for action.

This doesn't mean that there aren't a few more whimpers left in the global warming movement before it finally passes. On the international front, the buzz is that the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change currently in the works will be even more alarmist than the previous one. However, thanks to ClimateGate, it will give greater play to alternative voices. “Going forward, the general perception won't be one of consensus,” notes Cato Institute Senior Fellow Jerry Taylor, an expert on energy issues, “but one of increasing appreciation of disagreement on the issue.”

Domestically, green groups will prod the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions more aggressively. But this will be harder to do when Republicans inevitably make gains in Congress in November. Indeed, they will likely revive a Senate resolution floated by Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, banning the EPA from regulating emissions from stationary sources, which lost by just four votes last month. Global warming warriors are also talking about fighting the battle for emission cuts state-by-state. But they will lose on that front too. California, which embraced such cuts four years ago, is already facing a ballot initiative in November to scrap the law, as it loses business and jobs to other states. Indeed, the same collective action problems that prevent global action on climate change will inevitably bedevil state-level action too.

The global warming warriors will likely have to go through the five stages of grief before accepting that their moment has passed and the movement is dead. Thinkers more sophisticated than Krugman will no doubt point to many proximate causes for its demise beyond evil Republicans such as lack of engagement by President Obama, bad economic timing, filibuster rules, what have you.

The reality is, however, that the crusade was doomed from the start because of its own inherent weaknesses. RIP.


Monckton gets an audience in NYC

The following report is from a Greenie site but it still stands out that Monckton was the only one talking about the science. They had to go to Warmists not present at the debate to get critical comments -- comments that Monckton could easily have rebutted if asked. Heck! Even I could rebut them but it has all been said before on this blog

At the Bowery Hotel in New York on Tuesday, Christopher Monckton, the Third Viscount Monckton of Benchley, debated Eric Bates, executive editor of Rolling Stone magazine, on the topic of climate change. Lord Monckton is an outspoken climate change skeptic, while Rolling Stone recently published a cover story maintaining that climate skeptics have enabled polluting industries to murder the climate.

Tracy Morgan – stand-up comedian, “Saturday Night Live” alumni and Emmy nominee for his role on the NBC sitcom “30 Rock” – moderated.

“Well, I think we should start with what we know,” Mr. Bates said in an opening statement. “We know that global warming is happening, it’s happening now, not in some distant future, it’s caused by us and it’s worse than we expected.”

Lord Monckton, as would be expected, vociferously disagreed. “I can quote you statistics on cold as often as he can quote you statistics for hot,” he said. “There is no global warming problem, there isn’t going to be a global warming problem. Sit back and enjoy the sunshine.”

The 30-minute debate was brisk, with questions posed by Mr. Morgan (he compared himself at one point to the actor Denzel Washington, who played a debate coach in “The Great Debaters”) and responses and rebuttals limited to a minute apiece.

Mr. Bates kept largely to the social and economic dimensions of climate change, railing against the political gridlock in Congress that has repeatedly stymied efforts to cap carbon emissions, and citing the well-documented support by polluting industries of efforts to discredit the notion that human actions were warming the planet.

Lord Monckton, on the other hand, started a full-throated assault on mainstream climate change science, citing numerous statistics and research findings to support his firm belief that humanity had nothing to fear from runaway carbon emissions.

Some scientists questioned the accuracy of several facts and figures, however. At one point, Lord Monckton belittled concerns that rising temperatures at the poles could harm species like penguins or polar bears. “There is no risk for the penguins,” he said. “Likewise for the polar bears. There are five times as many of them today as there were in 1940.”

This assertion – that the polar bear population has quintupled in the later half of the 20th century – has no basis in fact, according to veteran bear researchers.

“It’s not at all accurate, and this is one of the things the climate denier groups say over and over again,” said Steven C. Amstrup, senior polar bear scientist at the United States Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center. “There really isn’t any authenticated source for that information.”

Mr. Amstrup took exception, too, with Lord Monckton’s assertion that species across the globe were “perfectly capable” of coping with even extreme temperature rises. “Species are not, not, not at risk,” Lord Monckton said.

“That’s just simply not true,” Mr. Amstrup said, citing the steady decline of polar bear populations in Hudson Bay, linked directly to a sharp retreat of sea ice in the region.

Lord Monckton also delved into the climate record, asserting that climate reconstructions from distant eras proved that the warming being experienced now was hardly unique, and thus no cause for concern. “It is getting warmer, but it is not warmer than it was in the Middle Ages, or in the Roman period, or in the Minoan warm period, or in the Holocene warm period, 8,500 years ago,” he said.

But Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that knowledge of the world climate during these eras remains sketchy at best.

“There’s no global reconstruction that goes back to the Roman period. There’s no reconstruction that goes back to the Minoan warm period,” Mr. Schmidt said. “These things only exist in the fevered imaginings of the skeptics.” [They exist in history, actually]


The Carbon Bonanza. More government work for the UEA: not only CRU but LCIC too

Like the Royal Society of London, which has turned itself into little more than an agent of government, some parts of our universities seem to be going the same way on board the 'CO2 is bad' bandwagon.

Despite the inconvenient lack of a climate signal due to human-released CO2, the carbon campaign unleashed by the IPCC trundles on, with fabulous sums of money being assigned to it. One participant enjoying the bonanza is the University of East Anglia (UEA). We have all heard more than was edifying about CRU, but there is a newer kid on their block: the [British] Low Carbon Innovation Centre (LCIC).

The LCIC could easily be part of a government department under the previous administration, the major climate-related follies of which seem set to be continued by the new one. And like government departments involved in the CO2 madness, they have no hesitation in peddling their wares to schoolchildren, despite the law against political indoctrination in education.

The LCIC website has (at the time of this posting) a banner with a sequence of 8 pictures, at least 2 of which show government ministers from the previous Labour government of the UK: Benn, Clark, and Miliband (Ed). The picture of Benn could have been modelled on Soviet agitprop from the 1930s: his fist in the air, behind rows of happy children also with their arms in the air in gestures of solidarity. Truly the people are marching forward to the sunlit uplands under the guidance of their wise masters. (They will of course need all the sun they can get if renewable energy continues to divert resources from more sensible methods of mass energy production such as coal, gas, and nuclear.)

They describe three areas of activity:

(1) Cred

The CRed System is the perfect tool to engage large communities of residents and workforces to reduce their carbon emissions and is ideally suited to address the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, NI 185 and NI186 and other National Indicators as well as more informal community-based commitments. It therefore meets the low carbon intentions of both public and private sector organisations with over 70 carbon reduction pledges to assist behaviour change. Each pledge pathway addresses aspects of domestic and business emissions including transport, energy consumption, food, waste and water offering efficiency advice on giving accurate savings figures.

(2) Innovation Funds

East of England Low Carbon Venture Capital Fund

In June 2009, UEA, through the Low Carbon Innovation Centre (LCIC), was provisionally appointed as Fund Operator for an exciting new investment fund in the East of England. This appointment, which follows UEA’s success in running the Carbon Connections programme has now been formalised and since the summer, the UEA team, led by LCIC’s Chief Executive Dr Chris Harrison, has been working hard with EEDA to obtain government approval for the Fund. With approval in place, the next stage was to appoint a Fund Manager who will be responsible for raising private money for co-investment into innovative, regional SMEs alongside investments from the £8M pot from the European Regional Development Funds. The fund will have a broad low-carbon remit and be capable of supporting a wide range of new and established companies in their low carbon activities and products through equity investments.

Carbon Connections Fund

Designed specifically to stimulate and support the transfer of knowledge from the university research sector into public and private sector organisations, the Carbon Connections fund supports innovative projects involving technology or services development, proof-of-concept, prototyping or testing. From August 2009, projects will typically be supported up to a maximum of £50,000 subject to agreement of terms. The Carbon Connections fund is operated by LCIC in collaboration with Carbon Connections UK Limited.

[Carbon Connections UK Limited is a company registered in England, Company no.5906083 whose registered office is at The University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom. See here, where they assert 'Climate change affects us all and we need to act now to drastically reduce our carbon output.' - a banality followed by a non-sequitur. Dontcha just love higher education!]

(3) Carbon Consulting

Our services include; organisational and management reviews of carbon reduction potential; carbon footprinting for your organisation and its products; climate change mitigation and adaptation planning; long and short term staff and community engagement programmes designed to deliver and measure impact; evaluation for both technological and behavioural carbon reduction initiatives; and technology evaluation and options appraisal.

Here they are at work, doing some 'behavioural change' stuff for some local schools in Norfolk (Hat tip: thanks for this to reader Dave Ward):

Norfolk Evening News, 27 July 2010

Dave Ward adds:
"We have 2 local daily papers here in Norfolk - the Evening News, and the Eastern Daily Press (EDP). Both come under the Archant umbrella, and are edited in the same offices in the centre of the city. They are also printed in the same building on the outskirts ....

The interesting thing is the rather different editorial policies - the EDP has a much wider coverage and is traditionally Tory supporting, as is most of Norfolk/Suffolk/Cambridgeshire. The EEN as we call it (used to be the Eastern Evening News) is aimed primarily at the City and suburbs, which are largely Labour territory, although that changed at the last election.

If you only read the EEN you would know little of the UEA CRU "leak" ... The EDP, by contrast, has featured the saga in quite a bit more detail..."

I imagine the faithful run these outreach missions to schools, armed with their computer outputs showing terrible times ahead, and able to pick, like a Thought for the Day speaker, on some recent disaster such as a flood or a famine to drive home the relevance of their message.

The immediate result is that the youngsters go home wanting to monitor energy use, but the real impact involves their being told what to do, what to believe, and to take it for granted that energy consumption must be reduced. Despite our potential abundance of energy from many sources, energy which is not only important for our way of life, and our industrial competitiveness, but which also strengthens our ability to respond to whatever the climate may bring. Including, in particular, the possibility of appreciably cooler weather. This readiness is put at risk by fatuous talk of humans controlling the climate itself.


Australia: Seaweed smothering Great Barrier Reef?

This is an old, old claim about the destructive effects of nutrient runoff from those evil farms -- but the reef is still there

SEAWEED is choking the Great Barrier Reef and killing coral, new research has found. Scientists in one of the largest studies of water quality pollution on the reef yesterday revealed the shock impact on the $1 billion-a-year tourism drawcard.

Poor water quality on the reef due to run-off, nutrients and high turbidity was increasing the amount of seaweed and reducing biodiversity of corals, the study found.

Hot spots include the inshore reef north of the Burdekin River and the entire Wet Tropics zone from Townsville to Port Douglas.

"Seaweeds are a natural part of the reef," said Australian Institute of Marine Science coral reef ecologist Dr Katharina Fabricius. "But what we don't want is billions of algae smothering coral. "Choking is a loaded term but when seaweed abundance becomes too high there is no space left for coral to grow."

The study has just been published in the authoritative scientific journal Ecological Applications. It used data collated from 150 reefs and at more than 2000 water quality stations across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park since 1992.

Principal investigator Dr Glenn Death said seaweed cover increased fivefold under poor water quality. "The diversity of corals was also affected, decreasing in poor water quality," he said. "Currently, the water on 22 per cent of reefs - about 647 reefs - on the Great Barrier Reef does not meet water quality guidelines."

The study predicts that if water quality was improved in these areas, seaweed would be reduced by more than one-third and the number of coral species would bounce back by 13 per cent.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park extends 2000km along the northeast Australian coast and covers 345,000sq km.


More simple-minded Green/Left nonsense exposed in Australia

Energy star ratings in disarray and the Gillard government has no reply

LABOR'S push to cut greenhouse gas emissions through the use of energy efficiency schemes was yesterday dealt another blow when building industry heavyweights discredited the star ratings being applied to hundreds of thousands of homes.

Investigations by the building industry have found that the mandatory star ratings scheme is inaccurate and fundamentally flawed.

The Housing Industry Association and Master Builders Australia yesterday joined scientists in calling for urgent action by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to resolve problems that are potentially having an impact on more than 100,000 houses built each year.

They said owners were not aware that mandatory software tools -- used to calculate whether a planned new house could achieve the minimum five-star energy efficiency rating necessary to obtain approval for construction -- gave vastly different results for the same house under identical conditions.

It is another setback for the government while it is still trying to quell criticism after the shelving of its emissions trading scheme, the disintegration of the home insulation program and green loans scheme, and the subsequent findings that both were fatally flawed, costing lives and taxpayers' money due to poor planning and execution.

It also comes after Labor's latest environmental announcements -- the 150-person citizens assembly to forge a national consensus on action on climate change and the cash-for-clunkers green car replacement scheme -- were widely criticised.

Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said last night that the government could not get its environmental programs right. "We saw that with pink batts, green loans and cancelled solar programs," Mr Hunt said. "They need to explain why home owners and builders face this confusing and potentially costly mess. "They should release all material on this to the public before the election."

Flaws in the star rating system emerged after industry bodies, private companies and scientists commissioned independent studies showing significant variations were being calculated by the three different software tools when tested on identical dwellings. The results show that the three software tools, including the original model designed by the CSIRO, were inherently unreliable.

The star ratings system was rolled out nationally several years ago and recently extended to older houses. The findings mean that in some cases houses that should be failing the energy efficiency test are being approved and built, while identical houses are going back to the drawing board for changes and costing their owners more time and money to get right.

It also means the stated objective of the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions in houses is in serious question.

Faulty software tools will have a greater impact from next year when the federal government's national energy strategy requires all homes being sold or leased to be star-rated and for the rating to be disclosed. Older dwellings, which will not achieve the five- or six-star minimum, may be punished financially by buyers and tenants.

The findings add weight to the concerns of energy efficiency experts that star ratings are a multi-billion-dollar debacle.

Peter Jones, chief economist of Master Builders Australia, said yesterday: "We have independent expert evidence showing us this is a real concern and it needs to be brought to light and addressed. "There are unacceptable differences between the star ratings produced by the software tools when assessing the same house. "We are drawing a line in the sand and saying, 'Look, the research is overwhelming now; something must be done', Mr Jones said.

The authorities need to come up with a solution so that consumers can be confident in the star ratings and the tools. "As builders, we do not really care (what the tool is) but we think it is bad policy when it is not working properly."

Housing Industry Association senior executive director Kristin Tomkins said the association's independent testing, which showed significant differences in energy ratings, including a variation of 3.2 stars for the same Brisbane house, were troubling and undermined the scheme's credibility. She said builders and home owners needed confidence in the mandatory energy efficiency programs that cost them time and money.

Industry sources called for an Australian Competition & Consumer Commission investigation and said some savvy energy assessors were "gaming" the star ratings and making a mockery of the scheme by switching software tools until one delivered the required result.

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, which has recently joined the CSIRO in investigating problems with the gauges, has said it was "premature to say there is any significant impact on overall house ratings or compliance costs".

A department spokesman did not return The Weekend Australian's call yesterday to respond to the findings. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong declined to comment.



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30 July, 2010

Don't laugh!

The long-anticipated Chevrolet Volt, General Motors' electric car, will cost $41,000, the company announced Tuesday, leaving consumers to decide whether its environmental appeal is worth a price far above that of similarly sized conventional autos.

Electric-car technology has been around for years, but the high cost to make the vehicles has prevented automakers from producing them for the mass market. The price announcements for the Volt and its electric rival, the Nissan Leaf, have been highly anticipated as a result. Nissan, the only other major manufacturer expected to bring such a vehicle to market this year, said the Leaf will cost $32,780.

Although the prices are high, enthusiasts say that electric cars can reach a large, untapped market for vehicles with little or no tailpipe emissions.

The Volt can travel 40 miles on its battery charge and an additional 340 miles on a gasoline-powered generator. The all-electric Leaf has a range of 100 miles.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama pledged to put 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.

In developing the Volt, GM is seeking to fulfill its promise to Congress during the government bailout to move beyond gas-guzzlers. The company had been planning the Volt long before it neared bankruptcy last year, however, as an attempt to leapfrog Toyota in the quest for fuel-efficient vehicles.

The president has expressed optimism that automakers will be able to lower the price tag of electric-vehicle technology. Earlier this month, he suggested that major reductions in battery costs, one of the primary reasons electric cars are more expensive, are on the horizon.

Price is only one potential barrier to mass adoption, however. Consumers must also get accustomed to plugging the cars in at home. It takes hours to recharge the vehicles, and in the absence of a network of public recharging stations, drivers that run out of juice may need a tow truck.


New Scientist makes things up

How unsurprising

New Scientist has published a rather remarkable leader to go alongside its interview of Phil Jones:
For years, ruthless climate sceptics have harassed scientists, drowning them in freedom of information requests and subjecting them to vicious personal attacks. Climategate was merely the public face of this insurgent war. In that hostile climate, some scientists fired off personal emails that occasionally lacked decorum. The CRU accepts this. When will their opponents apologise for their own excesses?

It would be interesting to see whether the leader writer at New Scientist can explain from where they got the idea that CRU had drowned under FoI requests. This was not the finding of the inquiries. The Information Commissioner specifically told the Parliamentary Inquiry that the level of FoI requests was nothing out of the ordinary:

I am also bound to say that I think a figure of around 60 [requests] has been mentioned. That does not strike me as being an absolutely huge number...I do recall one example—I think it involved Birmingham City Council—where an individual made about 200 requests about a particular allotment site in Birmingham and how that was being developed.

I'd like to invite whoever it is that wrote this column to provide some backing for their claim - perhaps someone who is registered at the New Scientist website can pass the invitation on.


Obama’s Solar Energy Fantasy

In true postmodern fashion, objective facts have vanished in the mist of a progressive wish.

Obama has now committed $2 billion more of the taxpayers’ money to pursue his solar energy fantasy:

"Abound Solar is supposed to create 1,500 “permanent” jobs, while Abengoa Solar is promising just 85 “permanent” jobs, according to the Department of Energy fact sheet, at its plant in Arizona. Add another 3,600 construction jobs, which will disappear after the three plants are built, and the cost per job created still amounts to $386,000 — which is more than seven times the median household income in this country."

Forget for a moment the absurdly high cost of government-created jobs. Forget the boondoggle, the corruption of handing out huge sums to politically connected companies. There are more fundamental problems here.

This is more than a repeat of the 19th century’s error of subsidizing railroad construction. That effort had disastrous results, with huge sums and effort wasted. It led to massive corruption, as congressmen were bribed to continue the subsidies. The roads didn’t pay.

According to Prof. Burton Folsom of Hillsdale College, author of The Myth of the Robber Barons:

"The Union Pacific and Central Pacific were poorly built railroads, they went broke, and both cost the nation over $60,000,000 to build – a sum higher than the total national debt just a decade before they were built."

Here, though, the situation is even worse than simple crony capitalism, given its unique 21st century twist. The wrinkle is that at least in the 1860s it was possible to deploy a technology that could conceivably fulfill its purpose. Trains could potentially deliver freight and passengers from point A to B in a cost-effective way. No such claim can be made for large-scale solar power technology, at present.

It would be bad enough for the federal government to subsidize the construction of solar power projects if they worked. It would still be an inefficient use of resources; it would still exceed its constitutionally enumerated powers; it would still be an immoral redistribution of wealth to politically connected companies. But at least in that case American taxpayers — somewhere — might get a Hoover Dam out of the deal. In this instance, that’s simply impossible.

There is no known solar technology that can reliably deliver large-scale power in a cost-effective way. There is nothing even in the research stages that promises that result anytime soon, if we just throw enough R&D money at the right company. This is nothing less than a sheer waste of public funds to create a mere appearance, a chimera to satisfy the vanity of a powerful Green demagogue longing to appear visionary.

In true postmodern fashion, objective facts have vanished in the mist of a progressive wish.

The projects can’t actually improve the environment through the deployment of huge solar panels. Installing large panels takes large tracts of land in sunny areas, usually far from electricity consumers. That means building more roads, stringing longer cable, and handling more cadmium (a heavy metal needed to produce the panels). That’s before even considering liberal shibboleths like producing copious greenhouse gases and disrupting the habitat of native desert species.

No matter. In the manner of applying failed Keynesian economics to energy production, just build them ever bigger and what seems like a drawback magically becomes an advantage. Parallel to the economic error, such projects look only at the immediately visible effects, not the whole picture.

They can’t actually create power economically. Because of clouds and seasonal variations, all solar power plants require backup from other sources, such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants. That’s solving the problem twice, increasing the costs. And that doesn’t even count the still woefully low efficiency of current solar technology, technology no one yet knows how to radically improve.

No problem, according to the postmodernist. Just pretend. Pretend hard enough and circumstances will comply. No need to feel constrained any longer by objective reality; there’s no such thing. There are only different perspectives. Just wish upon a star and your dreams can come true.

Spot a contradiction in the plan? Just take a “wider perspective” and all contradictions vanish in the haze of “competing narratives.” Hegel’s philosophy has been Disneyfied by Dewey’s followers and the resultant over-made up hag is ravaging American energy policy.

But reality always has the last word and it’s never soft on self-deluded dreamers. Unfortunately for us, it’s even harder on those forced to go along for the ride and pay the fare besides, especially on a train going nowhere.


Sustainability: Not just for environmentalists

Busybodies, left and right, seem extraordinarily talented at coming up with buzzwords to justify imposing their visions of a better world at the cost of our freedom. Environmentalists are a good example.

The latest in environmental buzzwords is “sustainability.” Of every act we take with respect to the natural world we must ask: Is it “sustainable”? My university even has a position devoted to overseeing its environmental sustainability.

Conceptually, there’s nothing wrong with the idea of sustainability. Even though it is rarely defined rigorously by its supporters, it seems to mean something like: “making sure we leave enough for future generations.” That vagueness is a reason why it makes such a good buzzword: Who is against ensuring that we don’t exhaust resources and leave future generations with nothing?

Of course, libertarians have raised a number of objections to the means by which many environmentalists would try to ensure that we treat nature sustainably. It’s not at all clear that free markets are the enemy of the natural world — and even less clear that government is its friend.

What is interesting is that environmentalists who are hostile to markets are blind to how they embody concern with sustainability. In a Freeman article awhile back I made a similar point about how economists and environmentalists talk past each other about the idea of scarcity. Much of that argument applies to sustainability.

Many environmentalists apparently assume that owners of resources in a free market have an incentive to use them up as quickly as possible for short-run profit, with no reason to care about their long-term sustainability. What environmentalists miss is that in a competitive market the price system informs us if we are behaving in an unsustainable way and provides us with the incentive both to restrict our use of resources and to search for substitutes.

When the supply of a resource becomes more scarce relative to demand, its price rises. This signals to users that the good is more scarce and provides an incentive for them to reduce their quantity demanded, which “sustains” the resource in ways that would not happen without the price signal. The rising price also encourages entrepreneurs to look for substitutes, which will also make the original resource use pattern more sustainable.

Beyond that, the process of finding substitutes promotes “sustainability” by providing new ways of solving old problems. One of the problems with the standard environmentalist view of sustainability is that it is overly static and seems to assume that our goal should be to ensure that current patterns of resource use are sustainable into the indefinite future. The only way to achieve that goal would be to limit innovation and thereby dramatically reduce or reverse economic growth, impoverishing billions.

By contrast, the economist’s conception of sustainability is more dynamic and recognizes that the goal is not to sustain a specific pattern of input use, but to create an institutional environment in which human beings can respond to changes in the demand for and supply of resources in ways that ensure their wants can continue to be satisfied at progressively lower cost, leading to the enrichment of all. It is free markets that create exactly this institutional environment.

One last aspect of sustainability has to do with the role of government. Both Ludwig von Mises’s theory of interventionism and the Austrian theory of the business cycle have at their theoretical core the idea that government intervention in the market leads to patterns of activity that are not sustainable.

Intervention creates unintended consequences that tend to lead to more intervention, which itself creates more problems. Inflation creates a pattern of capital use — the boom of the business cycle — that will eventually collapse for lack of real resources. The current recession is the result of government-caused unsustainability.

The lesson for environmentalists is that they should see free markets as friends of sustainability and at least consider that, at both the microeconomic and macroeconomic levels, government intervention is sustainability’s enemy.


"New evidence" of global warming is just a new cherrypick

Compiled by old frauds. For a start, they left out of their dataset the most accurate climate record of all: The satellite data. You'll never guess why! Below is the DT report, with further comments at the foot of it

A new climate change report from the Met Office and its US equivalent has provided the "greatest evidence we have ever had" that the world is warming. It is the first time a report has brought together all the different ways of measuring changes in the climate

The report brings together the latest temperature readings from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean

Usually scientists rely on the temperature over land, taken from weather stations around the world for the last 150 years, to show global warming.

But climate change sceptics questioned the evidence, especially in the wake of recent scandals like "climategate".

Now for the first time, a report has brought together all the different ways of measuring changes in the climate. The ten indicators of climate change include measurements of sea level rise taken from ships, the temperature of the upper atmosphere taken from weather balloons and field surveys of melting glaciers.

New technology also means it is possible to measure the temperature of the oceans, which absorb 90 per cent of the world's heat.

The State of the Climate report shows “unequivocally that the world is warming and has been for more than three decades”.

And despite the cold winter in Europe and north east America, this year is set to be the hottest on record.

The annual report was compiled by the Met Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Both the NOAA and Nasa have stated that the first six months of this year were the hottest on record, while the Met Office believes it is the second hottest start to the year after 1998.

Dr Peter Stott, Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution at the Met Office, said “variability” in different regions, such as the cold winter in Britain, does not mean the rest of the world is not warming.

And he said 'greenhouse gases are the glaringly obvious explanation' for 0.56C (1F) warming over the last 50 years.

“Despite the fact people say global warming has stopped, the new data, added onto existing data, gives us the greatest evidence we have ever had,” he said.

Sceptics claimed that emails stolen from the University of East Anglia show scientists were willing to manipulate the land surface temperatures to show global warming.

The scientists were cleared by an independent inquiry but the ‘climategate scandal’ as it became known cast a shadow over the case for man made global warming.

Dr Stott said the sceptics can no longer question the land surface temperature as other records also show global warming.

He pointed out that each indicator takes independent evidence from at least 3 different institutions in order to ensure the information is correct. Despite variations from year to year, each decade has been warmer than the last since the 1980s.

"Despite the variability caused by short term changes, the analysis conducted for this report illustrates why we are so confident the world is warming,” he said. “When we look at air temperature and other indicators of climate, we see highs and lows in the data from year to year because of natural variability. Understanding climate change requires looking at the longer-term record. When we follow decade-to-decade trends using different data sets and independent analyses from around the world, we see clear and unmistakable signs of a warming world.”


There are lots of problems with this report. First, none of these so-called indicators is globally accurate at the scale of interest, which is tenths of a degree. In fact no two agree in detail. Notice too that the satellite data is not shown, even though it is the best data we have, because it does not agree at all. What other contra indicators are missing?

Second, if it is warming a little we still do not have any reason to believe that humans have anything to do with it. These folks are confusing the political slogan that "warming" is a hoax, which merely expresses reasonable skepticism about human induced warming, with the narrow scientific claim that it is not warming, which nobody actually makes.

Note this howler from the MET page: "The report points out that people have spent thousands of years building society for one climate, and now a new one is being created ­ one that is warmer and more extreme."

Thousands of years of constant temperatures? Nonsense. What happened to natural climate variability? Crawling out of the Little Ice Age, which no one wants to return, is rather a different story than this nonsense sentence.

These people just don't know how to be other than stupidly green. Fortunately it shows and no one is fooled. Those days are over.

And for an absolute encyclopedia of criticisms of the report, just read the "Comments" section at the foot of the DT report. The the public is not fooled. There is the occasional "trust the experts" bleat but the comments are overwhelmingly hostile

Climate change hysteria and “fixes” cause harm

One common justification for the "climate change" hysteria, is that even if the climate change believers turn out to be wrong; either that there is climate change, or that it is caused by human activities, there is little harm in taking the prescribed corrective measures. Bunk!

Little harm? The "solution" for "anthropogenic global climate change", demanded by the collectivists who falsely call themselves "environmentalists", destroys the ability of regular people to earn a living. It puts the world's very worst polluters, governments, in charge of telling everyone else how to live, and punishing those who disobey. It does worse than sending humanity back to the stone age, since at least back then they had fire with which to cook food, light the dark, and heat themselves. It sets up a new caste system, where the politically powerful, rich, and/or connected get to maintain a modern lifestyle, while "the little people" are expected to sacrifice most of the advances of the past several hundred years for "the common good", while still being expected to not be as "messy" as our forebears. It also terrifies some people much like the "nuclear annihilation" threat of an earlier generation did. That is an awful lot of harm.

Modern society is remarkably clean. Only government deals and favoritism (corporatism) keep the big polluters (BP) from taking full individual responsibility, and making full restitution, for their mistakes and misdeeds. The modern individual leaves less mess behind than the primitive individual did. It is just that there are an awful lot of us humans now, and we are being artificially forced, by government fear and inertia, to stay in our planetary cradle instead of being allowed to naturally spread out from Earth.

The best way to do what you can for the environment hasn't changed: Don't soil your own nest, and take full, individual, responsibility for the mess you do make when it harms the property or lives of others.

In the interest of full disclosure, I would be happy to live in a cave under primitive conditions. Or in a tipi or a dugout. No electricity or running water (or, as I used to tell my first ex-wife "we'd have electricity during thunderstorms, and running water when it rains....") The thought doesn't bother me at all. However, I know most people don't feel that way. Many people depend on modern advances for their very lives. I have no business taking their non-coercive choices from them. Neither does anyone else.



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


29 July, 2010

Feynman: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” is how the great Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman defined science in his article “What is Science?” Feynman emphasized this definition by repeating it in a stand-alone sentence in extra large typeface in his article. (Feynman’s essay is available online, but behind a subscription wall: The Physics Teacher (1969) volume 7, starting page 313.)

Immediately after his definition of science, Feynman wrote: “When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.”

And I say, Amen. Notice that “you” is the average person. You have the right to hear the evidence, and you have the right to judge whether the evidence supports the conclusion. We now use the phrase “scientific consensus,” or “peer review,” rather than “science has shown.” By whatever name, the idea is balderdash. Feynman was absolutely correct.

When the attorney general of Virginia sued to force Michael Mann of “hockey stick” fame to provide the raw data he used, and the complete computer program used to analyze the data, so that “you” could decide, the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia (where Mann was a professor at the time he defended the hockey stick) declared this request — Feynman’s request — to be an outrage. You peons, the Faculty Senate decreed, must simply accept the conclusions of any “scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer review standards.”

Feynman’s — and the attorney general’s and my own and other scientists’ — request for the raw data, so we can “judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at,” would, according to the Faculty Senate, “send a chilling message to scientists … and indeed scholars in any discipline.”

According the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia, “science,” and indeed “scholarship” in general, is no longer an attempt to establish truth by replicable experiment, or by looking at evidence that can be checked by anyone. “Truth” is now to be established by the decree of powerful authority, by “peer review.” Wasn’t the whole point of the Enlightenment to avoid exactly this?

Appeal to authority establishes nothing. “Experts” who claim otherwise are thereby showing themselves to be non-experts. The University of Virginia faculty members who supported this anti-science resolution have shown themselves to be unworthy to teach at an American university. They have shown themselves to have no understanding of the meaning of the word “scholarship.”

There are all too many such professors at the leading American universities. Which is why Feynman defined science to be a belief in the ignorance of such people. They are ignorant. Feynman used the expression “cargo-cult science” to describe the “science” done by such people.

In the South Pacific during the Second World War, the locals noticed that cargo planes would fly into airports that had been established on their islands, and unload vast amounts of goodies. The natives wanted the wealth too, so they hacked runways out of the jungle, made “radar antennas” out of wood, and sat at “radio sets” they had also fashioned out of wood. To their eyes, it looked like the real thing, but alas, no planes arrived with cargo. The native “cargo-cult” airport had the superficial appearance of an airport, but not the reality. Many areas of “science” today have the superficial appearance of true science, but not the reality. Climate “science” is an example.

How does one distinguish between science and pseudoscience, between true science and cargo-cult science? Many believe that Karl Popper’s falsifiability criterion provides it, but Popper’s criterion has numerous difficulties, which philosophers have pointed out. Feynman has provided a much better way to test for true science in his essay “Cargo-Cult Science”:

… there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. … It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked — to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

Compare Feynman’s scientific integrity with the continual attempts by the leaders of climate “science” to prevent skeptics from checking their data. True scientists would be extremely pleased to provide all raw data, and they would make the data available to all on the Internet. A state attorney general would not have to file suit to make them disgorge.


More on the "For the children" scam

(1) 'Children born today will not be in a position of influence for 40 years, and by then it will be too late.'

The claimed lack of influence of children is belied by the efforts of Schools Low Carbon Day to make them into political and commercial actors, influencing their parents and others to change lifestyles, and purchase so-called 'green energy tariff' electricity from a particular company.

I have found several more such sites. They are intent on indoctrinating children to toe the 'party line' on the environment. Children old enough to be scared, old enough to be influenced, but too young to fight back against the propaganda.

Here is one EU-funded boondoggle explaining itself: 'The main idea is to enable the pupils to learn about the challenges of global climate change and sustainable energy use and, at the same time, acquire the competences necessary to develop and subsequently apply adequate solutions.'

by means of: 'The European project “Schools at University for Climate & Energy (SAUCE)” offers a series of one-week on-campus education programmes for pupils ages 10-13 on the topics of energy efficient behaviour, renewable energies and climate change.'
Source: (2).

They were at it in London in June, where they set out to: 'develop education in climate awareness, offer smart energy choices for 10 to 13 year olds'

Too young to answer back, old enough to hassle their parents. Does that explain this sinister choice of target group?
For more see: (3)

Here is a site which is quite blatantly majoring on fundraising via children: 'School children across the world have made an incredible difference to rainforest protection by fundraising for Cool Earth.'

and they note: 'Schools play a really important part in raising awareness about climate change'
Source: (4).

Here is another site not so convinced that 'children will not be in a position of influence for 40 years'. They ask: 'What do you think will happen if one million of us marched, each in our own home towns, to send a message to the “ruling generation” that is so powerful that it actually causes a real shift in our world? Sign up to be an organizer, leader or marcher!' Source: (5).

Here is the Pew Centre, a prosperous-looking lobbying organisation by Washington DC, getting in on the game: 'To help more kids better understand global warming, the Pew Center recently collaborated with Nickelodeon to research children's and parents' attitudes and behaviors toward the environment. Nickelodeon is using the information for an interactive campaign called The Big Green Help. There's a lot you can learn about global warming. To help, this page provides answers to six key questions about global warming, how it occurs, and how you can help to stop the process.'
Source: (6).

Or how about this anonymous site, probably in the UK, and aimed at 5 to 11 year olds: 'If your parents must use the car, ask them to avoid using it for very short journeys if possible, as this creates unnecessary pollution. Try to encourage them to share their journeys with other people, for example when they go to work or go shopping. Also encourage them to drive more slowly as this produces less pollution and less carbon dioxide.'
Source: (7).

What kind of results are such sites and initiatives getting? I only have some 'for-instances'. These folks are pleased: 'Because children are such strong catalysts for social change, the program has had wonderful results.'
This quote from a campaigning site aimed at children by a couple who were convinced by, of all things, 'An Inconvenient Truth'.
Source: (8).

And in the news this week from Boston: 'Totalitarians throughout history have understood the power of co-opting youth, and here is an organization advocating what can only be called the indoctrination of a generation of students in our country's public schools, beginning in kindergarten, into radical environmentalism and advocacy for "equitable social systems" -- at the expense of reading, writing and arithmetic! Similarly, the physics teacher quoted above states: "Our goal as educators is to help students understand how to get to a sustainable world." Isn't your goal as a physics teacher teaching physics? The disregard for the essential purpose of education -- -imparting knowledge -- is aggressively blatant.'
Source: (9).

Not so recent, but alarming all the same is the set of often illiterate letters from pupils organised by a teacher in a Californian school, to berate the Heartland Institute for not taking the correct line on climate. They include such gems as:

'In the past couple of months, we have read articles about Global Warming and we know facts about G.W. The 1st article is Diesel traffic makes asthma worse. The article explains that diesel traffic can worsen lung function in people with asthma. The 2nd article is Air pollution shrinks fetus size. This means that if mothers have higher exposure to air pollution, the child's fetus will shrink. The 3rd article is World Must Fix Climate in Less than 10 years. This means that if we don't fix the climate, everything will be destroyed and we won't be able to survive. Those are all the important articles we read.' The anonymised letters can be downloaded from: (10).

I leave the last word on this misuse of schools and exploitation of children, to an American journalist offended by some climate change ads using children for scaremongering. I'd extend his remark to include all those initiatives in and around schools on climate scaremongering: 'I don't know about you, but irrespective of my position on this issue, I find using children in this fashion to be indefensible and way over the line of decency.' Source: (11). .

(2) 'The inertia in the climate system ...'

The 'inertia of the climate system' is not defined, but it may refer to remarks by James Hansen in 2009.

From the climategate emails, we read a message from Trenberth, on 12th October 2009, cc'd to, amongst others, Hansen: 'The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.' Source: (12).

Hansen speaking about two weeks later in over-the-top demented alarmist terms well-suited for the Club of Rome, has found somewhere to hide the missing heat: in a pipeline, aka a timebomb. His talk was entitled 'Global Warming Time Bomb', and his slides included one with the device 'Climate Inertia -> Warming in Pipeline'. Source: (13).

A more temperate scientist, Roger Pielke Snr writes in January 2010: 'But unless observations document that significant heat is accumulating deeper in the ocean, there are no major amounts of unaccounted for Joules in the climate system. There is therefore no “unrealized heat” and, thus, no “heating in the pipeline”.' Source: (14).

I'm more convinced by the analysis of Pielke, than by the conjecture of Hansen. No pipeline, no timebomb, no scary headlines.

(3) '... means that without action from us, by the time they can change the world, catastrophic warming will almost certainly be factored into the system.'

Why would that be? The 'almost certainly', as we have seen in earlier posts in this series, ought to read 'almost certainly not' given the complete lack of evidence of any extraordinary cause for concern, in particular from CO2. Many scientists accept that CO2 alone could change average temperatures anywhere between a modest decrease to an increase of around 1C. No grounds for catastrophe there.

Any such changes would scarcely be detectable against the background variation which is part and parcel of our climate. So, it comes back to the computer models. The Club of Rome had such an impact with their now widely ridiculed modeling, that I can't help but feel the plotters behind the IPCC were keen to make the most of the climate modellers' arts. Especially those who invented a positive feedback mechanism that allowed the modest impact of CO2 to be converted into a dramatic effect due to water vapour.

They might well have hoped to rely on the same lack of critical review which the media gave to the Club of Rome, and if so they were surely right. No one expects high standards from the media, but once upon a time, we expected it from science. Scientists once revered as objective seekers after truth have been transformed into jobsworths seeking security of tenure and larger research grants, both of which were jeopardised by going against the received wisdom on climate.

But hope springs eternal: the recent rebellion by fellows of the Royal Society was one bright spark, and here is another from a journalist recognising failings in her profession:

'These are desperate days for global warming advocates, and they should be. The two groups we rely on the most to be skeptical and detail-oriented, scientists and reporters, have continued to badly fail us.' Source: (15).

In my more charitable moments, I suppose that the founders of 'Schools' Low Carbon Day' were merely badly failed by scientists and reporters. At other times, I wonder at their enthusiasm for scaring schoolkids in order to advance their 'green agenda'.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

More on the amusing "Warming => more illegals" paper

Note: The lead author of the "study" is an environmental activist -- he serves as a 'science advisor' to the pressure group Environmental Defense Fund

Reuters and dozens of other sources promote the craziness of the day, namely a bunch of statements by a Michael Oppenheimer of New Jersey and his pals, Shuaizhang Feng and Alan B. Krueger. The paper was edited by the late Stephen Schneider a month ago.

He and his friends essentially claim that global warming is going to be the main reason of the Mexican illegal immigration. Between 1.4 and 6.7 million Mexicans will arrive to the U.S. by 2080 because their agriculture will get worse, and so on. Of course, this statement is completely preposterous but the media make it even worse when they exclusively quote the upper "6.7 million" figure in the title.

The number of Mexicans who actually move because of the temperatures may be counted in thousands, not millions. If you check an encyclopedia, the daily temperatures in Mexico City go from 6 to 21 °C in January to 12 to 26 °C in May (the figures are average lows and average highs in the months). In average, there's no excessive heat over there. And the agriculture is not getting worse because of the climate change.

You may check that e.g. Sao Paolo in Brazil, the agricultural powerhouse of Latin America, has temperatures by about 6 °C higher than Mexico City. They're even higher in Rio de Janeiro. Warmth is surely not a problem.

I think that only insane people may have doubts that what drives the overwhelming portion of the immigrants is the economy. The Mexican GDP per capita is 5 times (nominal) or 3 times (PPP) lower than in the U.S. Well, such things make a difference.

The hypothesis that the desire for a cooler weather plays an important role in the Mexican immigration can be easily falsified by anyone who actually wants to know whether it's true or not. The simplest way to see that it is bogus is to notice that the Mexicans are satisfied as soon as they cross the borders and many of them stay in the Southern states of the U.S. Even though the climate can't change too much a few miles away, the new place is good enough for them.

I've heard amazing testimonies of several people who visited the U.S.-Mexican border along the Rio Grande river. The vast difference in wealth makes it look like two different worlds. The difference has clearly nothing to do with the climate.

It's not hard to see what is the driver behind similar "research": they want to attract some conservative people - people who are genuinely afraid of immigration, especially the illegal immigration (whether or not their fears are justified) - onto the global warming bandwagon by giving the global warming fears some new "anti-immigration flavor". I think that the descendants of J. Robert Oppenheimer should sue Michael Oppenheimer and prevent him from using and contaminating the name of their ancestor and their families - and the good name of physics.

SOURCE. See also Pielke Jr.

The Medieval warm period happened amid LOW levels of atmospheric CO2 -- suggesting that CO2 is, if anything, a minor factor in climate change

Discussing: Chen, F.-H., Chen, J.-H., Holmes, J., Boomer, I., Austin, P., Gates, J.B., Wang, N.-L., Brooks, S.J. and Zhang, J.-W. 2010. Moisture changes over the last millennium in arid central Asia: A review, synthesis and comparison with monsoon region. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 1055-1068.


The authors write that arid central Asia (ACA, an inland zone in central Asia from the Caspian Sea in the west to the southern Mongolian Plateau in the east) is "a unique dry-land area whose atmospheric circulation is dominated today by the westerlies," further stating that it is "one of the specific regions that are likely to be strongly impacted by global warming," which could greatly impact its hydrologic future.

What was done

In an attempt to obtain this important knowledge, Chen et al. evaluated "spatial and temporal patterns of effective moisture variations," using seventeen different proxy records in the ACA and synthesizing a decadal-resolution moisture curve for this region over the past millennium, employing five of the seventeen records based on their having "reliable chronologies and robust proxies."

What was learned

The nine researchers report that the effective moisture (precipitation) in the ACA has a generally inverse relationship with the temperature of the Northern Hemisphere, as portrayed by Moberg et al. (2005), China, as portrayed by Yang et al. (2002), and Central Asia, as portrayed by Esper et al. (2007). That is to say, as they describe it, the "wet (dry) climate in the ACA correlates with low (high) temperature." And stating it in yet another way, they indicate that the ACA "has been characterized by a relatively dry Medieval Warm Period (MWP; the period from ~1000 to 1350 AD), a wet little Ice Age (LIA; from ~1500-1850 AD)," and "a return to arid conditions after 1850 AD," which has been slightly muted -- but only "in some records" -- over the past 20 years by an increase in humidity.

What it means

Chen et al. "propose that the humid LIA in the ACA, possibly extending to the Mediterranean Sea and Western Europe, may have resulted from increased precipitation due to more frequent mid-latitude cyclone activities as a result of the strengthening and equator-ward shift of the westerly jet stream ... coupled with a decrease in evapotranspiration caused by the cooling at that time," which cooling was brought about by the gradual demise of the Medieval Warm Period, which in turn speaks volumes about the great significance of that centuries-long period of much-lower-than-present atmospheric CO2 concentration but of equivalent or even greater warmth than that of the Current Warm Period, which ultimately suggests that the 20th-century increase in the air's CO2 content may have had little, or maybe even nothing, to do with 20th-century global warming.


A BOOK REVIEW OF "The Hockey Stick Illusion - Climategate and the corruption of science"

Review from the magazine of the Geological Society

In 1998 a graph, which was to become famous as the ‘Hockey Stick’, made its debut in the pages of the prestigious journal Nature. The graph, constructed by climate scientist Michael Mann and colleagues, purported to show that late 20th Century temperatures were unprecedented in at least 1000 years. For many this was the smoking gun of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Before long the Hockey Stick became the icon of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and took (unacknowledged) centre-stage in Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth. The scientific community immediately, and virtually unanimously, accepted the Hockey Stick at face value, even though it eliminated such familiar episodes of climatic history as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age; these were explained away as regional or diachronous phenomena.

Not everybody, though, was prepared to take this new climate history on trust. Foremost among these sceptics was a Canadian mining engineer, Steve McIntyre. Over several years, in the teeth of resistance from the paleoclimatological community, he laboriously collected the raw data (mainly tree ring measurements) from which the Hockey Stick was derived. McIntyre identified numerous shortcomings with the reconstruction. The charges included cherry picking of data, use of invalid proxies and poor statistical techniques, which together produced a picture of exceptional 20th Century warming that was not present in the underlying data.

The response of the ‘Hockey Team’ (as Mann and colleagues came to be known) was to circle the wagons. McIntyre was dismissed as a crank, or a flunkey of the oil companies. Attempts were made to prevent publication of his analyses in the scientific press. When these tactics failed to silence him, the Hockey Team claimed that many independent studies confirmed their results. McIntyre, though, was able to show that these ‘independent’ studies used the same flawed data sets and techniques as the Hockey Stick and inevitably reached the same erroneous conclusions. The debate eventually reached Washington where two congressional committees concluded that Mann’s statistics could not support the conclusions he drew from them. Nonetheless the Hockey Team, with the support of the IPCC, pressed ahead with their depiction of the Hockey Stick as ‘settled science’.

Andrew Montford tells this detective story in exhilarating style. He has assembled an impressive case that the consensus view on recent climate history started as poor science and was corrupted when climate scientists became embroiled in IPCC politics. His portrayal of the palaeoclimatology community is devastating; they are revealed as amateurish, secretive, evasive and belligerent. But the most serious charge is that they have simply failed to demonstrate any scientific integrity in confronting McIntyre. The University of East Anglia emails, which appeared just as Montford was completing his book, suggest that the Hockey Team were more interested in knobbling McIntyre than in addressing his arguments.

The wider scientific community does not escape criticism. No serious effort was made to subject the Hockey Stick to independent scrutiny, despite its profound implications for the future of the planet and its inhabitants. In response to external challenge the scientific establishment’s reflex action was to side with the paleoclimatologists without bothering to check the evidence. This approach, no better than that of any other vested interest group, should dismay everyone of genuine scientific spirit.

Montford’s book ends on what is perhaps an inevitable low note, because the Hockey Team has not conceded that its temperature reconstructions are seriously flawed. However, if The Hockey Stick Illusion provokes a truly independent review of the evidence it will have served its purpose.


The great wind power bait and switch

HOW MUCH are you willing to pay for green energy? Almost any ratepayer would say that if the electric utilities could obtain a significant amount of their power from a renewable source, and do so without raising rates, then that would be a good deal. It would certainly appear to be a good deal if they could obtain the power and at the same time reduce their rates.

For years Cape Wind Associates, which plans to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound, told us that it could supply renewable energy to the New England market and save ratepayers $25 million a year. Considering the cost of installing and operating the system (about $2 billion in present-value terms), it was always unlikely that Cape Wind could deliver on this promise. Yet, it seemed possible that by adding significantly to power supplies, Cape Wind could bring about at least a temporary decrease in the price of power.

Now we learn, however, that ratepayers will pay more for their electricity if Cape Wind builds and goes online. Recently, National Grid entered into an agreement to buy power from Cape Wind for almost 21 cents per kilowatt hour. It costs National Grid about 9 cents per kWh to get the same power from conventional sources. Under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard program, the electric companies charge ratepayers an additional 6 cents per kWh for that portion of their service (currently 5 percent) that the power companies are supposed to obtain from renewable sources. Hence, power that previously cost 15 cents will now cost 21 cents. National Grid’s biggest customers are protesting this price increase.

Under the agreement, National Grid, which supplies 40 percent of Massachusetts’ residential electric power, will buy half of Cape Wind’s output. The proposal to buy the power at the contracted rate (which allows for an annual increase of 3.5 percent) is now before the state’s Department of Public Utilities for its approval. If the National Grid deal goes through, it won’t be long before another electric utility finds itself under pressure to buy the other half of Cape Wind’s power.

If that happens, ratepayers are going to end up paying $82 million annually more than what they currently pay for the power to be supplied by Cape Wind. That is far cry from paying the $25 million less that Cape Wind originally promised. It’s a case of bait-and-switch: Promise something at a cost saving. Then reveal at the last minute that the cost will be greater, not less. It’s a practice that would have the authorities swooping down on any retailer that tried it.

The Cape Wind project was always a bad deal, in the larger sense that the subsidies needed to bring the project online were far greater than justified by such green-energy benefits as it would confer. And now we find out that the subsidy needed by Cape Wind in order to attract investors is more than twice what we could originally have expected.

It is no answer to say that the National Grid deal is good for ratepayers because fossil fuel prices might rise in the years to come. The Federal Energy Information Administration does not expect the real cost of electricity generation to rise for more than a decade. Yet fossil fuel prices would have to more than double to make the National Grid deal a bargain for ratepayers.

Nor is there a lack of cheaper sources of renewable energy. Currently, the state does not permit the electric utilities to apply hydro or wind power bought from Canadian suppliers to their Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement. By eliminating this rule, the state could get all the renewable energy it wants without compelling ratepayers to pay more than the 15 cents per kWh they currently pay. The only reason not to use Canadian power or some other source of cheap, renewable energy is to keep the Cape Wind project going. But Massachusetts ratepayers should not be expected to bear the burden of supporting this project when there are cheaper sources of renewable energy available. The regulators should tell National Grid to find another supplier.



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


28 July, 2010

An environmental "disaster" -- not so much

For 86 days, oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's damaged well, dumping some 200 million gallons of crude into sensitive ecosystems. BP and the federal government have amassed an army to clean the oil up, but there's one problem -- they're having trouble finding it. At its peak last month, the oil slick was the size of Kansas, but it has been rapidly shrinking, now down to the size of New Hampshire.

Today, ABC News surveyed a marsh area and found none, and even on a flight out to the rig site Sunday with the Coast Guard, there was no oil to be seen. "That oil is somewhere. It didn't just disappear," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

Salvador Cepriano is one of the men searching for crude. Cepriano, a shrimper, has been laying out boom with his boat, but he's found that there's no oil to catch. "I think it is underneath the water. It's in between the bottom and the top of the water," Cepriano said.

Even the federal government admits that locating the oil has become a problem. "It is becoming a very elusive bunch of oil for us to find," said National Incident Cmdr. Thad Allen. The numbers don't lie: two weeks ago, skimmers picked up about 25,000 barrels of oily water. Last Thursday, they gathered just 200 barrels.

Still, it doesn't mean that all the oil that gushed for weeks is gone. Thousands of small oil patches remain below the surface, but experts say an astonishing amount has disappeared, reabsorbed into the environment.

"[It's] mother nature doing her job," said Ed Overton, a professor of environmental studies at Louisiana State University.

The light crude began to deteriorate the moment it escaped at high pressure, and then it was zapped with dispersants to speed the process along. The oil that did make it to the ocean's surface was broken up by 88-degree water, baked by 100-degree sun, eaten by microbes, and whipped apart by wind and waves.

Experts stress that even though there's less and less oil as time goes on, there's still plenty around the spill site. And in the long term, no one knows what the impact of those hundreds of millions of gallons will be, deep in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


Another Warmist trying to abandon ship?


It looks like it is finally time to announce Judith Curry's departure for the dark side, prompted by her comments at RC [Real Climate]. I still think she has good intentions, at heart, but has been "captured by the septic narrative" or somesuch. In some respects this intervention is fairly typical of her previous stuff - which is to say, she mouths off without having done her homework, then tries to back off. But the direction she mouths off in is very revealing.

So, where to start. Curry commented at RC in defence of Montford and Gavin answered her. Presumably she thought at the time she was being sane. But then Romm (ht: H) made a post out of the comment / reply which really reads very badly for her, and Curry threw her toys out of the pram: OK, I officially give up over here. Here is something I just posted over at climateaudit...

She then appears to go on to argue that all the stuff she said before wasn't her, it was merely her parroting Montford: "These were not my personal arguments." I don't believe that, nor do I think that you can read that from her orignal RC comment. Nor, indeed, can I see why she would want to show up at RC merely to parrot Montford - he can do that himself if he wants to.

The bit of Curry's comments that I would pick out of RC are
The high level of confidence ascribed to the hockey stick inferences in the IPCC TAR, based upon two very recent papers (MBH) that, while provocative and innovative, used new methods and found results that were counter to the prevailing views. Plus the iconic status that the hockey stick achieved in the TAR and Al Gore's movie.

I've bolded the bit that is especially significant. This is so much a part of the septic worldview: that IPCC '90 fig 7.1.c was God's Glorious Revealed Truth in the Age of Gold and everything since then has been downhill as the evil climate so-called scientists manipulated their data to erase the MWP and LIA etc etc. Gavin points out why her view is wrong.

There is quite enough noise in the "climate debate" already. We don't need any more. Nor do we need people making hasty ill-thought out comments that they will later pretend not to have meant. Curry needs to back off and find time to write down a coherent position that she actually believes in.

Oops, and I missed Curry's other embarassing comment at CP. Speaking of Craig Loehle I ought to link to Eli before he does.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The attention-seeking John Kerry is still making false claims

(Kerry suggests that because of CO2, plants no longer grow in a 100-mile swath of the US?! The man clearly knows nothing of science. CO2 FACILITATES plant growth! Plants lap it up)

Speaking at a town hall-style meeting promoting climate change legislation on Thursday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) predicted there will be “an ice-free Arctic” in "five or 10 years."

“The arctic ice is disappearing faster than was predicted,” Kerry said. “And instead of waiting until 2030 or whenever it was to have an ice-free Arctic, we’re going to have one in five or 10 years.” ...

“Every single area of the science, where predictions have been made, is coming back faster – worse than was predicted,” Kerry said. “The levels of carbon dioxide that are going into the ocean is higher. The acidity is higher. It’s damaging the ecosystem of the oceans.”

“You know, all of our marine crustaceans that depend on the formation of their shells -- that acidity undoes that,” he said. “Coral reefs – the spawning grounds for fish. Run that one down and you’ll see the dangers.

Kerry further said: “Predictions of sea level rise are now 3 to 6 feet. They’re higher than were originally going to be predicted over the course of this century because nothing’s happening. But the causes and effects are cumulative.”

“The Audubon Society [not exactly, you know, an ideological entity on the right or the left or wherever in America] has reported that its members are reporting a hundred-mile swath in the United States of America where plants, shrubs, trees, flowers – things that used to grow -- don’t grow any more,” Kerry said.


Pesky! Where have all the hurricanes gone?

Will a hotter world lead to more intense storms [As Warmists regularly predict]?

2010 might be on track to be the warmest ever (according to GISS), but right now, we may be about to set a new record of tropical storms — in inactivity. Ryan Maue tracks the global accumulated activity and reports that by the end of July we might break the record low we set last year.

Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update: "July 15: If no additional ACE occurred in July, the 24-month global ACE total would be 1095 compared to last month at 1173. The previous 30-year low was 1091 set recently in September 2009. No lower values exist during the past 30-years.

Global and Northern Hemsiphere Tropical Cyclone Activity is near a record low

Looking at the National Hurricane Centre, it doesn’t seem like there is much activity on the way between now and the end of July.

Advisories issued for the North Atlantic, The East Pacific, The West Pacific, and the Indian Ocean are all the same: There is no tropical storm activity for this region.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Observed Climate Change and the Negligible Global Effect of Greenhouse-gas Emission Limits in the State of Texas

Summary for Policy Makers

Variations in climate from year to year and decade to decade play a greater role in the Texan climate than any long-term trends. Short-term variability will continue to dominate the climate in future. The Texas climate shows no statically significant long-term trend in mean annual temperature, rainfall, floods, droughts, heatwaves, tornadoes, or hurricanes – still less any trend that could reasonably be attributed to “global warming”.

Agricultural yields in Texas will continue to increase. Record crop yields will continue to be set every couple of years. The climate is not the driving reason for the improvement: but it has not prevented it in the past and will not prevent it in the future.

The climate has little impact on the health of Texas’ population. Public health measures aimed at combating the health impacts of heat waves and vector-borne diseases are more cost-effective than the many expensive and largely untested proposals for mitigating “global warming”

Overwhelmingly, observational scientific evidence demonstrates that “global warming” does not have and will not have any appreciable impact on the climate of Texas. A cessation of all of Texas’s CO2 emissions would result in a climatically-irrelevant global temperature reduction by the year 2100 of less than two hundredths of a degree Celsius. A complete cessation of all anthropogenic emissions from Texas will result in a global sea-level rise savings by the year 2100 of an estimated 0.32 cm, or just over one-tenth of an inch.

Again, this value is climatically irrelevant Even if the entire Western world were to close down its economies completely and revert to the Stone Age, without even the ability to light fires, the growth in emissions from China and India would replace our entire emissions in little more than a decade. In this context, any cuts in emissions from Texas would be extravagantly pointless.


The "Times" of London going green?

Their new "pay to view" regime could be making them desperate to get new classes of readers. But it might lose them readers too. I just read the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail these days and feel no loss at all

To the colourful Daily Telegraph blogger James Delingpole, it was winner of the coveted award for the "Biggest front page non-story in history of journalism". What he was referring to was a tale published a week ago under the by-line of The Times's enviromment correspondent Ben Webster which led the paper, covering virtually the entire front-page and with a whole further page inside, beneath the huge headline "Oil giant gives £1 million to fund climate sceptics."

Everything about this story was bizarre. Its essence, based on information which as Webster told us was had been supplied by Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change, was that Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, last year gave "almost £1 million" to four US think-tanks.

These hired lackeys had then shamefully gone on to describe the various official inquiries into the Climategate emails scandal as "whitewashes", apparently citing them as evidence that the dangers of global warming had been "grossly exaggerated".

The story concluded by suggesting that Exxon Mobil had clearly corrupted these four venal think tanks into giving "the oil company at least another year of freedom to reap the profits of its high-carbon strategy".

The most obvious puzzle was why this remarkably tenuous tale should have been put by The Times on its front page, presumably rating it as the most important news of the day. The evidence assembled by Mr Ward, who had apparently "been monitoring Exxon's links to sceptic groups," hardly seemed to stack up even in its own terms.

One think-tank had apparently received $50,000 last year, another had also received $50,000 - but how all this added up to "almost £1 million" in the past 12 months was far from clear. Furthermore, none of these think-tanks had really been anything but bit-players in the great ongoing row over Climategate.

Not one of the knowledgable sceptics who have torn those reports apart in detail, led by Steve McIntyre on Climate Audit, has ever received a cent of funding from "Big Oil". And what makes all this particularly laughable is that the penny-packets given to think-tanks which were almost wholly irrelevant to the debate are utterly dwarfed by the colossal sums poured into all the groups and organisations on the other side of the argument.

Even the big oil companies have long since been putting their real money into projects dedicated to showing how they are in favour of a "low carbon economy". In 2002 Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford University to fund research into energy sources needed to fight global warming. BP, which famously rebranded itself in 2004 as "Beyond Petroleum", gave $500 million to fund similar research.

In fact two things made The Times's grotesque overblowing of this story rather much more interesting than many Times readers might have guessed. The first was the fact that the origin of the story was Bob Ward, who has in recent years become familiar to followers of the climate debate as a tireless advocate in the media for warmist alarmism.

Looking raather like a night-club bouncer, though not so polite, Mr Ward seems to have set himself up as a professional attack dog for the cause, harrying anyone who dares publicly to promote scepticism by any means he can find.

He used to work in this capacity for the fanatically warmist Royal Society, in which role, in 2007, he organised a voluminous series of complaints to the regulatory body Ofcom, signed by "37 professors", against Channel 4's documentary The Global Warming Swindle. A year later, after wasting huge quantities of everyone's time, Ofcom failed to uphold any of Ward's complaints.

Since then Mr Ward has been employed in a similar capacity by the Grantham Institute on Climate Change at the LSE, where he acts as policy director alongside its chairman Lord Stern. Formerly Sir Nicholas Stern, this ex-Treasury official has, since his famous but much derided 700-page report in 2006, become one of the real high-priests of the warmist religion. And he has made a fortune from touring the world to advise mankind on how to reduce its "carbon footprint".

Since he joined the Grantham Institute, Mr Ward has not only written countless letters to the press and appeared frequently on TV, he has also launched a number of similarly time-wasting complaints to the Press Complaints Commission against articles by climate sceptics such as myself.

Mr Ward's employer, the Grantham Institute, is backed by significantly big money. It was set up in two parts, one under Lord Stern at the LSE, the other run by another committed warmist Sir Brian Hoskins at Imperial College, funded with £24 million from Jeremy Grantham, an investment fund billionaire. Its chief purpose is to advise governments, firms and investment funds on how to promote and invest in ways to "fight climate change" - which is now of course one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative industries in the world....

How The Times's front-page headline might rather more relevantly have been re-worded was "Governments, foundations, multi-national corporations including the owners of this newspaper and Big Oil give hundreds of billions of pounds to promote worldwide climate bonanza." But doubtless The Times's editors would have ruled that this was too long for their front page.



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


27 July, 2010

Another Green soul declares enough is enough. It’s a question of conscience

Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt is a former professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa (as green as they come), and has officially bailed out of the man-made global warming movement. He runs a radio show, and speaks with many activists and NGO’s around the world. He claims that the “activists in the developing world, who need to directly defend their own neighborhoods, they understand that this global warming thing is an invention.”

Climate Depot has released a video of Dr. Rancourt: Man-made global warming is nothing more than a “corrupt social phenomenon.” “It is as much psychological and social phenomenon as anything else” .
“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,” Rancourt said.

“Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middleclass,” he stated.

Rancourt is scathing of universities (and rightly so):
“They are all virtually all service intellectuals. They will not truly critique, in a way that could threaten the power interests that keep them in their jobs. The tenure track is just a process to make docile and obedient intellectuals that will then train other intellectuals,” Rancourt said.

“You have this army of university scientists and they have to pretend like they are doing important research without ever criticizing the powerful interests in a real way. So what do they look for, they look for elusive sanitized things like acid rain, global warming,” he added. This entire process “helps to neutralize any kind of dissent,” according to Rancourt.

“When you do find something bad, you quickly learn and are told you better toe the line on this — your career depends on it,” Rancourt said.

Rancourt's article is here Some Big Lies of Science – June 2010

Climate Depot has choice excerpts and a list of other greens who have jumped ship.
In August 2009, the science of global warming was so tenuous that even activists at green festivals were expressing doubts over man-made climate fears. “One college professor, confided to me in private conversation that, ‘I’m not sure climate change is real,’” according to a report from the New York Green Festival.

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.

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.”

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.”

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..

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….

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.


Desperate days for the warmists

Warmists may be winning the big grants, but they're not winning the argument, says Christopher Booker

Ever more risibly desperate become the efforts of the believers in global warming to hold the line for their religion, after the battering it was given last winter by all those scandals surrounding the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

One familiar technique they use is to attribute to global warming almost any unusual weather event anywhere in the world. Last week, for instance, it was reported that Russia has recently been experiencing its hottest temperatures and longest drought for 130 years. The head of the Russian branch of WWF, the environmental pressure group, was inevitably quick to cite this as evidence of climate change, claiming that in future "such climate abnormalities will only become more frequent". He didn't explain what might have caused the similar hot weather 130 years ago.

Meanwhile, notably little attention has been paid to the disastrous chill which has been sweeping South America thanks to an inrush of air from the Antarctic, killing hundreds in the continent's coldest winter for years.

In America, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been trumpeting that, according to its much-quoted worldwide temperature data, the first six months of this year were the hottest ever recorded. But expert analysis on Watts Up With That, the US science blog, shows that NOAA's claimed warming appears to be strangely concentrated in those parts of the world where it has fewest weather stations. In Greenland, for instance, two of the hottest spots, showing a startling five-degree rise in temperatures, have no weather stations at all.

A second technique the warmists have used lately to keep their spirits up has been to repeat incessantly that the official inquiries into the "Climategate" scandal have cleared the top IPCC scientists involved of any wrongdoing, and that their science has been "vindicated". But, as has been pointed out by critics like Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, this is hardly surprising, since the inquiries were careful not to interview any experts, such as himself, who could have explained just why the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were so horribly damaging.

The perfunctory report of the Science Appraisal Panel, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, examined only 11 papers produced by the CRU, none of them remotely connected to what the fuss was all about. Last week Andrew Montford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science, revealed on his blog (Bishop Hill – that the choice of these papers was approved for the inquiry by Sir Brian Hoskins, of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, and by Phil Jones, the CRU's former director – an appraisal of whose work was meant to be the purpose of the inquiry.

A third technique, most familiar of all, has been to fall back on the dog-eared claim that leading sceptics only question warmist orthodoxy because they have been funded by "Big Oil" and the "fossil fuel industry". Particularly bizarre was a story last week covering the front page and an inside page of one newspaper, headed "Oil giant gives £1 million to fund climate sceptics".

The essence of this tale was that Exxon Mobil, the oil giant that is the world's third biggest company, last year gave "almost £1 million" to four US think-tanks. These had gone on to dismiss the Climategate inquiries as "whitewashes".

It was hardly necessary to be given money by Exxon to see what was dubious about those inquiries. Not one of the knowledgeable sceptics who have torn them apart has received a cent from Big Oil. But what made this particularly laughable was that the penny-packets given to think-tanks that have been largely irrelevant to the debate are utterly dwarfed by the colossal sums poured into the army of groups and organisations on the other side of the argument.

Even the big oil companies have long been putting their real money into projects dedicated to showing how they are in favour of a "low-carbon economy". In 2002 Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford University to fund research into energy sources needed to fight global warming. BP, which rebranded itself in 2004 as "Beyond Petroleum", gave $500 million to fund similar research.

The Grantham Institute provides another example. It was set up at the LSE and Imperial College with £24 million from Jeremy Grantham, an investment fund billionaire, to advise governments and firms on how to promote and invest in ways to "fight climate change", now one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative businesses in the world.

Compare the funding received by a handful of think-tanks to the hundreds of billions of dollars lavished on those who speak for the other side by governments, foundations, multinational corporations, even Big Oil, and the warmists are winning hands down. But only financially: they are not winning the argument.


Global Warming Isn’t Proved by Summer Heat or Disproved by Winter Snow

But an NYT economist seems to think it is

Last winter, when the Northeast was buried under record snowfalls, some political activists had a little fun at the expense of global-warming alarmists by quipping that it was going to keep snowing until Al Gore said “uncle.” Those who peddle environmental hysteria denounced this argument, which was obviously tongue-in-cheek, as the sort of know-nothing idiocy that you can expect from all those who refuse to accept the true religion of global warming.

Flash forward to what is proving a hot summer in the Northeast and, amazingly, we find the New York Times’s economic columnist Dave Leonhardt using the same sort of logic as that of the pranksters who built an igloo on Capitol Hill last February and dubbed it Al Gore’s new home. The only difference is that the Grey Lady’s economic wise man is putting forward his case without irony or apology.

The lede of Leonhardt’s column on Tuesday used the current heat wave as the opener for his complaint against members of Congress who refuse to pass President Obama’s energy bill, which would inaugurate a system of massive tax increases on business under the guise of a “cap-and-trade” system that would supposedly decrease carbon usage. Increasing numbers of Americans are skeptical about the theories that assume human responsibility for any climate change, in part because the Climategate scandal showed the lack of integrity on the part of the scientists who have hyped alarmist scenarios rather than sober science. But Leonhardt repeats, again without irony, the talk about the Himalayan Glaciers melting, without noting that his own newspaper reported that the much-ballyhooed assertion that the glaciers would melt by 2030 was a fraud based on bogus science.

Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme won’t pass, despite the laments of both Leonhardt and his fellow Times-man Tom Friedman, largely because most Americans are appalled at the idea of such a massive power grab by the government and know that imposing these sort of punitive taxes at a time of deep recession is a prescription for an economic disaster.

But the point here is that Leonhardt’s effort to whip up support for global-warming legislation because of a heat wave in the middle of summer is as silly as anyone who claimed that the fact that it snowed in the winter meant the opposite about global warming.

The problem with global-warming science is the manipulation of data to prove a preordained conclusion, such as the now discredited “hockey stick” diagram, which “proved” global warming. Leonhardt’s arguments in favor of his statist solutions to the possibility of climate change are weak. But his attempt, based on the current temperature spikes, to shame members of Congress who wisely want no part of this fiscal catastrophe in the making shows a lack of intellectual integrity that strips his advocacy of any credibility.


A very strange scare attempt

IS IT just me? A report says that nasty global warming is to blame for. . . wait for it. . . making yellow-bellied marmots bigger. Seeing as these critters live in America, I'm surprised it's not all BP's fault.

According to Dr Arpat Ozgul, a biologist at London's Imperial College, the wee furry beasts are larger because extra hot weather means they've more time to grow.

That's all very well, except I remember that, only last year, we were warned that Scottish sheep on remote St Kilda were getting smaller. Because of global warming.

In a report written by... good grief... Dr Arpat Ozgul of Imperial College, London!

Hmmm. It makes you wonder what other catastrophes global warming is unleashing. Are baboons' bottoms going redder? Maybe polar bears are getting BO?

This bloke appears to have had a couple of holidays and returned with the earth-shattering news that a rodent with big teeth has gone up a dress size and lamb chops on uninhabited islands don't go as far these days.

And what happens if temperatures keep rising? New York will be stalked by 100ft-tall marmot-zillas, swatting fighter jets out of the sky and picking their teeth with oak trees. While here in Scotland we'll be keeping flocks of sheep in matchboxes.

But this is the power of the white coat isn't it? Put one on and folk will believe any old guff.

This week, we've been warned that beach umbrellas won't keep you safe from the sun. Rogue rays supposedly ricochet off the sand which means you could still get slightly burnt over the space of many long hours. So do take care, folks, if you're thinking of sunbathing well into the night.

Meanwhile, a "supercomputer" shared by Warwick and Sheffield Universities has spent months reaching the stunning conclusion that eggs come from chickens. Fancy that!

But the real astonishing scientific achievement here is how these geeks have managed the impossible... alchemy in reverse. They have taken heaps of taxpayers' gold and magically transformed it into a bucket of pish.

Here's the point: We haven't two farthings to rub together. So the "science" community could perhaps stop moaning about proposed cuts to their £4BILLION annual budget.

Maybe, until the nation gets back on its feet, they could go easy on weighing chipmunks, measuring sheep or lounging about on beaches trying to get sunburnt very slowly.

When we finally emerge from the wreckage of this recession, we can all get back to normal. Us lot can go back to work to pay tax. And scientists can spend it checking if beagles smoke faster while playing online poker.

That is, of course, unless the world has been overrun by sun-crazed mega-squirrels.


Now the climate modellers are having fun with immigration

You can get anything you like out of a climate model. It is just a patchwork of guesses and leaves out lots of influential factors. Just alter one assumption (e.g. the effect of clouds) and the answers can change dramatically

According a new computer model, a total of nearly seven million additional Mexicans could emigrate to the U.S. by 2080 as a result of reduced crop yields brought about by a hotter, drier climate—assuming other factors influencing immigration remain unchanged.

"The model shows that climate-driven refugees could be a big deal in the future," said study co-author Michael Oppenheimer, an atmospheric scientist at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Using data on Mexican emigration as well as climate and crop yields in 30 Mexican states between 1995 and 2005, Oppenheimer and colleagues created the computer model to predict the effect of climate change on the rate of people crossing the border.

In that ten-year period, 2 percent of the Mexican population emigrated to the U.S. for every 10 percent reduction in crop yield.

Using the model to extrapolate this real-world figure over the next 70 years, the researchers calculated that 1.4 to 6.7 million adult Mexicans—a number roughly equal to 10 percent of Mexico's current adult population—could migrate to the U.S. by 2080.

The research is one of the first attempts by scientists to put hard numbers on how climate change can affect human migration patterns.

"Our study is the first to build a model that can be used for projecting the effects on migration of future climate change," Oppenheimer said.

Global Warming Study "a Simplification"

Though the new global warming study is "original and very interesting," it shouldn't be interpreted as a forecast of what will happen, economist Ian Goldin, who wasn't involved in the project, said via email.

"The [end of the] time range—2080—is a very long time off, and there are many other factors [besides climate change] which may lead to a very different outcome," said Goldin, director of the University of Oxford's James Martin 21st Century School.

Barry Smit, a climate-impact scientist at the University of Guelph in Canada, agreed.

"I wouldn't take these numbers to the bank," said Smit, who also wasn't involved in the research, which is published in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To reach their conclusions, the authors had to make some "heroic assumptions," Smit said, such as that the current economic and political situations of the U.S. and Mexico won't change for decades.

Study co-author Oppenheimer acknowledged there are many uncertainties in his team's model. But it's important for scientists to investigate climate change-induced migration quantitatively, he said.

"This is the first time anybody's built a model to do this," Oppenheimer said. "It's a simplification, and there are a lot of assumptions, but it's the start of a learning process. As we learn more, the model will improve, and the numbers will get more reliable."


Just When You Thought New Orleans Schools Were Improving…

…you see something like this piece in the Huffington Post and you lose all your optimism.

It’s an article about a group of left-wing propagandists hard at work in the public schools in Orleans Parish who are using the middle-schoolers in their charge as fodder to spread sheer insanity. And of course, the adults responsible for managing those schools think it’s actually a good idea.
But when these 12- to 14-year-old judges delivered their verdict, the party they held chiefly responsible was the American people. And as members of a student-based school reform group called the Rethinkers, these young people now have a recommendation for New Orleans schools: Move toward becoming oil-free by 2015, the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

“If we want to prevent another oil spill, we need to start weaning ourselves off this product and begin searching for new ideas,” says ninth-grader Danny Do, whose father is a shrimper. “Now is the perfect time to get moving, and schools are a great place to start!”

This may sound about as plausible as “the dog ate my homework,” and the Rethinkers acknowledge that their vision is an ambitious one. But they have both the track record and the supporters to suggest that they are not a bunch of naïve kids who can be easily dismissed.

The press conference they held last week to announce this and other recommendations for school reform in New Orleans attracted The Times-Picayune, ABC News, and other media outlets as well as community and education leaders–notably, Paul Vallas, whose work as CEO of Chicago Public Schools was praised by President Clinton and is now superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District, which is focused on transforming underperforming schools into successful ones.

“Paul is obsessed with the Rethinkers and wants Rethinkers clubs in all schools,” says Siona LaFrance, Vallas’s chief of staff. “He likes that the kids are thinking and challenging authority, and that all of their suggestions are based on a lot of consideration. And he likes that this is a continuing effort.”

The article goes on to describe a withering array of psychobabble and lunacy being foisted on Orleans school kids by these “Rethinkers,” including a campaign to do away with sporks in school cafeterias, replacing metal detectors with “mood detectors,” namely, student hall monitors who assess kids as they come to school to see if they’re dangerous and getting more toilet paper into schools (as though kids can’t come up with all kinds of uses for toilet paper beyond what schools buy it for).

There’s even a quote from the founder of this movement which might cause an aneurism among our more susceptible readers…
“I say to the kids, ‘You live in a country where people don’t respect kids. If we’re trying to give dignity to your voice, we have to give you something to talk about where you are the stone-cold expert. There is no one on Earth who can say you’re not an expert on schools.’”

So it’s hardly a surprise when one of these child abusers, who learned her craft at Middlebury College in Vermont and describes herself as a “community organizer,” decides to leverage the oil spill into an assault on the industry in South Louisiana which offers perhaps the most lucrative employment opportunities available to kids in Orleans schools. Meet Mallory Falk…
“We know “oil-free schools” sounds easy to dismiss because it’s such a big vision,” notes Mallory Falk, a recent Middlebury College graduate and community organizer who came to New Orleans to work with the Rethinkers. “That is why our focus over the coming year is to come up with realistic, practical ways for schools to move toward being oil-free.”

This year, for example, they have offered four simple suggestions: Start measuring energy waste (including air conditioners set too high and lights left on unnecessarily), form student green teams to identify ways to reduce waste and convince other kids to get with the program, eliminate the use of incandescent light bulbs, and recycle.

A simple beginning, but stay tuned. The Rethinkers plan to meet throughout the new school year to develop more specifics. And they have already received a grant from the U.S. Green Building Council to film a documentary about their experience.

It’s bad enough that these people are sinking their hooks into school kids in the first place. What’s worse – unforgiveably so – is that the brains they’re poisoning with the ridiculous and poisonous ideas they’re pushing are Orleans public school kids. These are overwhelmingly at-risk students; Orleans is beginning to see a renaissance in education thanks to the advent of school choice and competition since Katrina, but dropout rates are still high and test scores are still low. And Orleans public school kids are still very economically disadvantaged, still in desperate need of marketable skills and still disproportionately lacking in strong parental guidance.

In other words, while it would be bad enough if kids in Montgomery County, Maryland or Beverly Hills were subjected to left-wing pablum like the Rethinkers push, they’re doing this to some of the most vulnerable children in America.

These kids are 12, 13 and 14 years old. Before attempting to turn them into environmentalist freaks, has this cabal insured that they read at grade level? Can they certify their charges in basic math? Can these kids find Omaha on a map? Do they know the difference between a federalist and an anti-federalist?

Didn’t think so.



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


26 July, 2010

Interesting climate implications from a new theory of human survival

This is a bit too speculative to hang your hat on but the evidence that early humans survived an ice age only in Southern South Africa is at least interesting.

Southern South Africa is quite close to the Antarctic so should, on simplistic assumptions, have been at least as deadly an environment as icecapped Europe and North Africa.

On the other hand, the Warmists have never been able to show warming in the Southern hemisphere of our day so it is not entirely surprising that climate change was not symmetrical between the hemispheres in the past: Maybe it has never been "global".

The Southern hemisphere has a lot more ocean so that could be a moderating influence. Go South, young man!

A STRIP of land on Africa's southern coast became a last refuge for the band of early humans who survived an ice age that wiped out the species elsewhere, scientists maintain.

The land, referred to by researchers as "the garden of Eden," may have been the only part of Africa to remain continuously habitable during the ice age that began about 195,000 years ago.

Scientists' excavations showed how a combination of rich vegetation on land and nutrient-laden currents in the sea created a source of food that could sustain early humans through devastating climate changes.

"Shortly after Homo sapiens first evolved, the harsh climate conditions nearly extinguished our species," said Professor Curtis Marean, of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University.

"Recent finds suggest the small population that gave rise to all humans alive today survived by exploiting a unique combination of resources along the southern coast of Africa."

The idea that early humans were once reduced to a tiny remnant population arose from research showing that modern humans have far less genetic diversity than most other species. Some scientists suggested the human population could have fallen to as low as a few hundred individuals during this period, while others insisted the evidence to support this theory remains weak.

During his study, Prof Marean discovered that the isolated caves around an area known as Pinnacle Point, South Africa, 386 kilometres east of Cape Town, were rich in ancient human artifacts.

In a soon to be published paper, Prof Marean and his colleagues argued the caves contain archaeological remains going back at least 164,000 years - and possibly even further back. The remains also showed that, despite the hardships suffered by early humans in other places, the inhabitants of Pinnacle Point were living in a land of plenty.


Another amusing and fact-free post from the eccentric Jo Abbess

It's pure "ad hominem" propaganda with not even a mention of any of the factual issues involved. It's all about "trust" according to her. Slightly pathetic, actually. Maybe she needs a father figure.

Her invocation of "The Science" (without saying what it is) is standard fare from politicians and thus tends to show what Jo Abbess is.

Skeptics do things like pointing out the lack of correspondence between tree-ring "measures" of temperature and what actual thermometers say. THAT is science -- but you get none of that from Ms Abbess below.

And her claim that what Phil Jones does is "rigorous" is the funniest bit of all.

She has however so far allowed comments on her blog that contradict her.

Glad to see Professor Phil Jones is back at work and enrolling students for the autumn on the Climate Change MSc postgraduate degree programme at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) :-

This course would probably be useful for a number of mainstream media journalists to follow. Even if they don’t have an appropriate background in Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Environmental studies or similar, it could be of benefit to ameliorate their world view.

They could learn something from the lectures and coursework – that the Science of Climate Change is a serious and rigorous endeavour – unlike the apparently lax behaviour of their own profession over the last year or so.

Investigative journalism without the “investigation” part appears to be a mishmash of unverifiable facts and unfounded opinions. You need to know who is credible at the very least, and you can’t get that from following the vindictive views of public contrarians.

If you want to understand Climate Change, you need to study the Science, not just read denier-sceptic web logs or talk to Steve McIntyre, Benny Peiser, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts, Doug Keenan, Nigel Lawson or Christopher Monckton, and think that you have thereby become sufficiently informed.

“Climategate”-style attacks on Climate Change Scientists by negatively-motivated commentators are completely unacceptable. Media workers need to learn to identify those whose opinions they cannot trust.


An Australian professor of political science says the Warmists were proven right by the various sham "Inquiries" so far launched into their notorious actions

The pathetic peroration below was published in a Left-leaning Australian daily. Note that, as usual, it is all "ad hominem", which again shows what pathetic souls Warmists are: just clinging to one-another for support.

No interest in "The science" is apparent below, of course -- such as the fact that the "decline" (in 20th century temperatures as measured by tree rings) hidden by Phil Jones & Co. completely invalidates the measures of past temperatures that Warmists have always relied upon.

But I suppose it is a big ask to expect an expert in in political science to know any real science

The author below is Rodney Tiffen. Tiffin is a light meal. A very light meal in this case, I would suggest

Chances are, you have not heard much about Climategate lately, but last November it dominated the media. Three weeks before the Copenhagen summit, thousands of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia were published on a Russian website.

The research institute was a leading contributor to the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, and some of the leaked emails showed the scientists in a poor light.

The scandal was one of the pivotal moments in changing the politics of climate change. What seemed close to a bipartisan agreement on an environmental trading scheme collapsed with Tony Abbott's defeat of Malcolm Turnbull. Within months the Rudd government lost its nerve on what the former prime minister called "the greatest moral and economic challenge of our time".

By casting doubt on the integrity of the scientists, Climategate helped puncture public faith in the science, and probably contributed to Labor's political panic. The echo chamber of columnists reverberated with angry and accusatory claims. In Australia, Piers Akerman said: "The tsunami of leaked emails . . . reveal a culture of fraud, manipulation, deceit and personal vindictiveness to rival anything in a John le Carre or John Grisham thriller." Later he wrote: "The crowd that gathered in Copenhagen were there pushing a fraud."

Andrew Bolt thought that "what they reveal is perhaps the greatest scientific scandal" of our time. "Emails leaked on the weekend show there is indeed a conspiracy to deceive the world - and Mr Rudd has fallen for it."

Miranda Devine wrote: "We see clearly the rotten heart of the propaganda machine that has driven the world to the brink of insanity."

The ramifications of Climategate were immediate. The climate unit's head, Professor Phil Jones, was forced to stand down. Three inquiries were set up to examine the scientists' conduct.

The first, a British House of Commons select committee, reported in March that the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and the CRU remained intact. The second, a science assessment panel, set up with the Royal Society and consisting of eminent British researchers, reported in April.

Its chairman, Lord Oxburgh, said his team found "absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever" and that "whatever was said in the emails, the basic science seems to have been done fairly and properly".

The third, set up by the university itself, published its 160-page report two weeks ago. On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of the CRU scientists, "we find that the rigour and honesty [of the scientists] as scientists are not in doubt". Importantly, it concluded: "We did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments."

In other words, nothing in the emails undermined the research of the climate scientists. Like the other two, the inquiry found aspects of the scientists' behaviour that fell short of professional standards - "failing to display the proper degree of openness".

What might seem the most damning was the way Jones dealt with freedom of information requests, but context makes his behaviour more understandable. In July last year alone, the CRU received 60 FoI requests. Answering them would have been too much for even all the unit's staff time. In a matter of days, it received 40 similar FoI requests, each wanting data from five different countries - 200 requests in all. Jones concluded the unit was subject to a vexatious campaign.

While not fully excusing their behaviour, one has to appreciate the embattled position of scientists who received a steady stream of obscene and abusive emails and constant public attacks on their integrity.

After the leaks, Jones, now reinstated, received death threats and said he had contemplated suicide.

You might imagine the media would be keen to report on authoritative conclusions about allegations it had found so newsworthy in December. But coverage of each of the reports has been non-existent in many news organisations and in others brief or without prominence.

At best, the coverage of the inquiries' conclusions added up to a 20th of the coverage the original allegations received, which leaves us to ponder the curiosities of a news media that gets so over-excited by dramatic allegations and then remains so incurably uninterested in their resolution.

The newspapers that gave greatest play to the allegations tended to give less attention to the findings. The columnists who gave greatest vent to their indignation have not made any revisions or corrections, let alone apologised to the scientists whose integrity they so sweepingly impugned.

Even at the time, it was clear much of the coverage was more attuned to maximising sensation rather than to reporting with precision. The sheer number of leaked emails, for instance, was sometimes taken as proof of the scale of the scandal, as if they were all disreputable. In fact, only from a handful could anything sinister be conjured.

It is a common criticism of the media that it prominently publishes allegations, but gives less coverage to the prosaic facts that later refute them. But rarely is the disproportion so stark. Rarely has such an edifice of sweeping accusation and extravagant invective been constructed on such a slender factual basis. Rarely does it do such damage.


Penn. State's absurd grounds for exonerating Michael Mann

Pennsylvania State University recently released a report summarizing its final “investigation” into whether one of its employees had committed scientific misconduct. The report exonerated Dr. Michael Mann of all charges, although he did receive a tap on the wrist – for sharing unpublished manuscripts with third parties without first getting the authors’ permission!

The result was hardly unexpected. Most experts who question climate disaster claims had assumed Penn State would produce a whitewash. PSU stood to lose significantly in reputation and dollars if it found that Dr. Mann had cheated on research and engaged in other conduct unbecoming of a university professor. What was surprising is the reason it gave for its “not guilty” finding.

Dr. Mann could not possibly be guilty, the report averred, because his “level of success in proposing research and obtaining funding” was possible only because he had “met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession.” Indeed, his research was consistently “judged to be outstanding by his peers.”

Mann’s innocence was further proven, said Penn State, by the awards and recognition he has received. For example, his “hockey stick” temperature graph for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change played a significant role in the IPCC receiving the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Had his “conduct been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions,” the report argued.

Such a circular tautology would earn an “F” in introductory college reasoning courses. It is eerily similar to views taken by starry-eyed investors and SEC officials before they realized Bernie had Madoff with billions in client money. The Penn State report is akin to what Mrs. Madoff might issue following her “investigation” of his conduct, “investment” strategies, “standards,” accolades and awards.

Dr. Mann and many of his “peers” were implicated in the Climategate scandals, obstruction of legitimate FOIA requests via deletion of emails, manipulation of global warming temperature data and research, and the politicized funding system that kept them and their institutions awash in government/taxpayer dollars. They conferred awards and recognition on each other, excluded skeptical scientists from “peer reviews” of one another’s papers, and conspired to blackball editors who permitted the publication of professional papers by Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon, Patrick Michaels, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer and other climate experts whose work challenged the Mann-made global warming disaster thesis.

In so doing, Mann and his colleagues promoted laws, treaties and regulatory schemes that imposed higher prices and greater government/activist control over energy use, economic growth, and virtually everything modern societies eat, drive, make, ship and do. They, their institutions, and a host of politicians, bureaucrats, bankers and corporate executives thus had a direct stake in the science, politics and “renewable energy future” supported by billions of dollars in annual research grants – and in ensuring that no investigation upset this convenient golden apple cart.

It is these “accepted practices” and “highest standards of the profession” that are being protected here. It is for this reason that the “investigation” was conducted solely by Penn State – which permitted no contradictory evidence, no adverse witnesses, and no cross-examination of Dr. Mann or anyone else knowledgeable about his research, funding and alleged misconduct.

Penn State’s Tom Sawyeresque report says far more than the university could possibly have intended about the “highest standards” prevailing today in climate research, and the way universities circle the wagons and protect their “rainmakers,” while throwing “manmade climate disaster” skeptics under the bus or shipping them off to academic Siberia.

One could accurately (and sadly) say there is nothing new under the sun. A 1988 NOVA program on PBS investigated the causes and extent of cheating in academia. “Do Scientists Cheat?” interviewed several scientists who discussed how easy and tempting it was to lie and falsify research. Indeed, observed JAMA senior Editor Bruce Dan, while peer review “is a wonderful process for throwing out garbage, I can’t see that [it] can detect fraud, except in a few lucky chances.”

The show focused on two high-profile cases – John Darcy and Robert A. Slutsky, convicted perpetrators of scientific misconduct. Both researchers were well-funded, had numerous publications, won prestigious awards, and were on the fast-track to academic stardom. Both were brought down when other scientists suspected fraud in their work. Investigators concluded that most of their papers were either questionable or demonstrably fraudulent. Many of their co-authors were implicated and their reputations tarnished.

Ironically, one of the NOVA interviewees was Professor Rustum Roy, head of the Materials Research Lab at – Penn State University. He said cheating often occurs because researchers are under intense pressure to publish, win awards, and raise more money each year just to keep their labs going, employ research assistants and provide their academic institutions with 40-50% of each grant for “overhead.” Hard cheating, Roy explained, occurred when a scientist concludes he can get away with compromising or cutting corners a little bit, so why not take it a step further?

Thus, those who have big research fiefdoms, are prolific publishers and win many awards have the most to gain by misconduct. They are also most likely to get away with it, partly because of their reputation –and partly because academia has too many incentives to look the other way and avoid taking actions that could bring disrepute on the university and cut off the financial gravy train.

This translates into a high degree of moral apathy toward scientific misconduct, the PBS program argued. Academics are much less outraged than one might expect, even when confronted by obvious fraud. This, of course, undermines the integrity of science, and the ethics of its practitioners.

Perhaps more importantly, the program demonstrated that whistle-blowers who exposed fraud were more likely to be the target of investigations than the alleged perpetrators. This sends a chilling message to anyone who might raise academic misconduct questions, and further insulates guilty parties.

The NOVA program also included excerpts from a House Committee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on academic misconduct. “Unfortunately, few universities, when confronted with the task of investigating misconduct, have conducted as thorough or candid a self-appraisal” as they should have, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI) noted.

In fact, universities that conduct investigations of their own scientists were like the “fox actively investigating the chicken coop. The university gets first crack at the data and witnesses, and gets to frame the issues…. There is a natural tendency to limit the damage.”

The program ends with the question: “Does the scientific community really want to expose misconduct?”

Unfortunately, the answer seems to be, No. Worse, over the last 20 years, the problem has only gotten worse, while the stakes have become infinitely higher.

Vastly larger sums of money are involved: $9 billion in 2009 for climate change and renewable energy research alone. Phony studies of melting Himalayan glaciers, disappearing Amazon rainforests, etc etc etc continue to garner attention and praise in IPCC reports, news stories and congressional statements.

The bogus science is used to justify energy and environmental policies, laws, treaties, court decisions and subsidies that will enrich some, bankrupt others, control our lives, and send millions of jobs overseas. Meanwhile, the investigation by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is heatedly denounced by the very academics and institutions that refuse to conduct honest investigations of their own.

And you thought Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll and Jonathon Swift had good material to work with!?!


Now even "Gaia" Lovelock thinks windfarms are absurd

A recent bit of news from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) suggests that James Lovelock, the scientist behind the Gaia theory of Earth and its life systems, might have a point when he criticises most renewable energy sources as inefficient at best and foolish at worst.

In its latest interim management statement, issued this week, SSE reported that “weather conditions” during April, May and June contributed to a full 30 per cent drop in electricity output from its wind farms, hydroelectric facilities and Slough biomass heat and power plant. Output from those sources fell to 700 gigawatt-hours during that period, compared to the 1,000 gigawatt-hours generated during the last quarter of 2009.

While SSE didn’t elaborate on those “weather conditions,” one factor certainly had to be the fact that the first half of 2010 saw the “driest first six months of the year for 100 years,” according to the UK’s Met Office. And, as the climate continues changing, Britain can expect that type of situation to become more common, the agency warns.

If hydroelectric power sources are threatened by climate change, wind energy’s greatest shortcoming is its great variability, Lovelock warns in his latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia:

“Used sensibly, in locations where the fickle nature of wind is no drawback, it is a valuable local resource, but Europe’s massive use of wind as a supplement to baseload electricity will probably be remembered as one of the great follies of the twenty-first century … ,” he writes.

Lovelock argues the only clean energy sources that make sense for society are nuclear and solar thermal energy. All the rest aren’t viable without heavy injections of government subsidies and green cheerleading, he says.

Lovelock acknowledges he sometimes takes a bit of hyperbolic licence to make his points — as when he warned that global warming will lead to a die-off of billions of humans this century, resulting in only a “few breeding pairs of people” left in the Arctic. But does he have a point here? Is the bit of news from SSE a warning sign that we’d be better off by aggressively developing nuclear and concentrating solar power (such as that proposed in the Desertec project), and forgetting more intermittent clean-energy sources?


Sea Level Shenanigans

The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that global sea level will rise by up to 60 cm by 2100 due to global warming. The cause of this rise is twofold: expansion of ocean waters as they warm and additional water from glaciers melting. Despite nearly stable sea levels over the past 3,000 years, a number of low-lying and island nations have seized on the imminent flood as a reason to demand reparations from developed nations. In reality, most of the areas in the world that are suffering from inundation are threatened because of human actions, but not global warming. Damming and rerouting of rivers combined with over-pumping of ground water has led to subsidence in many areas—in other words, the seas are not rising, the land is sinking.

As reported in a review article in Science, authored by Robert J. Nicholls and Anny Cazenav, global sea levels have risen throughout the 20th century but key uncertainties remain. Mean sea level has remained nearly stable since the end of the last deglaciation. The rate of sea level rise over much of the last 6,000 years has been an almost-imperceptible 1.4 millimeters per year (about 6 inches per century). Based on tide gauge measurements, sea level has risen by an average of 1.7 ± 0.3 mm/year since 1950. Since the early 1990s, sea level rise (SLR) has been measured by high-precision altimeter satellites. Between 1993 and 2009, the mean rate of SLR was reported as 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/year. Naturally, to climate change alarmists, this suggests that SLR is accelerating because of warming climatic conditions.

With ~10% of the world population living in low-elevation coastal zones, figuring out what is truly causing the seas to rise in some areas is an area worthy of study. In “Sea-Level Rise and Its Impact on Coastal Zones,” Nicholls and Cazenay sum up the present state of scientific understanding:
Satellite altimetry shows that sea level is not rising uniformly. In some regions (e.g., western Pacific), sea level has risen up to three times faster than the global mean since 1993. Spatial patterns in sea-level trends mainly result from nonuniform ocean warming and salinity variations, although other factors also contribute, including the solid Earth response to the last deglaciation and gravitational effects and changes in ocean circulation due to ongoing land ice melting and freshwater input. Spatial patterns in ocean thermal expansion are not permanent features: They fluctuate in space and time in response to natural perturbations of the climate system; as a result, we expect that the sea-level change patterns will oscillate on multidecadal time scales. IPCC AR4 projections suggest appreciable regional variability around the future global mean rise by 2100 in response to nonuniform future ocean warming, but agreement between the models is poor.

More plainly said, there are a few wrinkles in the IPCC scenario. First, sea level is not rising at the same rate everywhere. In fact, in some places it appears to be falling. This is partly because of the normal action of plate tectonics, the movement of Earth's crustal plates. This results in some areas being uplifted, and others forced downward. And, as glacial ice melts, a great burden is removed from the continental land mass supporting it. This can cause significant change in relative sea levels.

“For example, relative sea level is presently falling where land is uplifting considerably, such as the northern Baltic and Hudson Bay—the sites of large (kilometer-thick) glaciers during the last glacial maximum,” state the authors. “In contrast, relative sea level is rising more rapidly than climate-induced trends on subsiding coasts.” Fluctuation is also caused by the interaction of wind and ocean, and changes in the ocean gyres. The nonuniformity of change can be seen in the map below.

Regional sea-level trends from satellite altimetry.

Other factors not mentioned when the threat of climate change induced sea level rise is discussed are non–climate-related anthropogenic processes. Ground subsidence due to oil and groundwater extraction, or reduced sediment supply to river deltas caused by dam building, are more frequently to blame. As stated in the Science review:
In many regions, human activities are exacerbating subsidence on susceptible coasts, including most river deltas [e.g., the Ganges-Brahmaputra, Mekong, and Changjiang deltas]. The most dramatic subsidence effects have been caused by drainage and groundwater fluid withdrawal; over the 20th century, coasts have subsided by up to 5 m in Tokyo, 3 m in Shanghai, and 2 m in Bangkok. To avoid submergence and/or frequent flooding, these cities now all depend on a substantial flood defense and water management infrastructure. South of Bangkok, subsidence has led to substantial shoreline retreat of more than 1 km, leaving telegraph poles standing in the sea.

Sadly, even after presenting the facts given above, the authors just can't resist reaching into the scaremonger's bag for some old and discredited examples of supposed AGW induced sea rise. “Low islands such as the Maldives or Tuvalu face the real prospect of submergence and complete abandonment during the 21st century,” the authors fatuously report. This flies in the face of evidence from sea level expert N. A. Morner, who has worked extensively in the Maldives and has repeatedly stated that the local sea level has not changed significantly in decades (see “New perspectives for the future of the Maldives”). According to Morner et al.:
Novel prospects for the Maldives do not include a condemnation to future flooding. The people of the Maldives have, in the past, survived a higher sea level of about 50–60 cm. The present trend lack signs of a sea level rise. On the contrary, there is firm morphological evidence of a significant sea level fall in the last 30 years. This sea level fall is likely to be the effect of increased evaporation and an intensification of the NE-monsoon over the central Indian Ocean.

Furthermore, a recent study by Auckland University geographer Paul Kench has shown that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking. Kench measured 27 islands, where local sea levels have risen at an average rate of 2mm a year over the past 60 years, and found that just four had diminished in size. The islands of Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia are among those which have grown, because of coral debris and sediment.

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


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


25 July, 2010

The Week That Was (to July 24, 2010)

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

In what appears to be a significant change of events, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he is dropping cap and tax for now because he does not have enough votes to pass the legislation. Even an editorial in the Las Vegas Review Journal expressed relief that the nation has been spared of this destructive energy tax that would accomplish nothing for climate change. Is it that Senator Reid actually recognizes he does not have the votes? Is it that he is in a tight race to keep his Senate seat? Or is it something more devious?

Given the propensity of the leaders of the 111th Congress to develop thousands of pages of legislation behind closed doors and quickly dump it onto an unsuspecting public, one must be suspicious. Further, corporations and special interest groups have spent millions of dollars on mobilizing one of the greatest lobbing efforts ever. Some, such as Duke Energy and Exelon, have promised their shareholders that they would get Billions of US dollars in profits from this lobbing “investment.” The massive volumes of money that would change hands with cap and tax have attracted many organizations that demand special government “favors.” They will not be pleased.

As mentioned in TWTW last week, some commentators have suggested that after the election a lame duck Congress will pass some version of cap and tax. The Wall Street Journal suggests that it may be a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which would require utilities to obtain mandatory percentages of their total electricity from renewable generating sources such as solar and wind. Until practical electricity storage is commercially available at a reasonable cost, solar and wind generated electricity is sub-prime energy. Even with government subsidies, the sub-prime energy market will eventually implode as did the sub-prime mortgage market that was driven by government dictates. An implosion of the sub-prime energy market may have greater destructive economic consequences.


The peer reviewed paper which is part of the basis for Roy Spencer’s new book The Great Global Warming Blunder, reviewed in TWTW July 3 and 10, has been challenged. As all too typical today, the Journal of Climate did not bother informing Spencer so that he could review the challenge and respond. According to Spencer, had the Journal done so he could have corrected some errors and misrepresentations. Spencer points out the challenge offers some new insights, but the major “issues” were corrected in a later paper that is in press. (Please see “Can Climate Feedbacks be Diagnosed from Satellite Data?”)


Joe D’Aleo has discovered that NASA-GISS is playing games with historic data yet again – call it Creative Enhancement. (Please see his article under “Challenging the Orthodoxy.”) Also, Anthony Watts has discovered missing data in NOAA’s latest heat advisory. More stunning is the sudden cold snap that froze to death thousands of head of cattle in central Brazil. (Please see articles under “Heat Wave.”)


The BP Oil Spill has been capped, at least for now, but the true cost to the oil industry in general and the nation as a whole is yet to be determined. No doubt, many in the US government would like to use it as an excuse to stop all offshore drilling. The House Energy and Commerce Committee headed by Rep. Waxman passed legislation that will do exactly that. (Please see “Blowout Prevention Act”)

To their credit, four major oil companies are forming a disaster-response system to quickly shut-off deep water blow-outs in the Gulf of Mexico. It is unknown if this would be sufficient address the new Waxman anti-drilling bill. Given the anti-energy attitude in Washington (except for sub-prime energy), some may suggest that the Department of Justice investigates the disaster-response system as unlawful collusion under the Sherman Anti-trust Act.


BOOK OF THE WEEK: "Coming climate crisis?" By Claire L. Parkinson

Reviewed by S. Fred Singer

This is an unusual book. Parkinson is a distinguished climatologist with a specialty of polar sea ice and a strong interest in the history and philosophy of science. She clearly believes that humans are responsible for past warming and that continued emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to further warming in the 21st century, yet she is one of the few AGW supporters who is respectful of contrary opinions. It is interesting that the Foreword, written by Lonnie Thompson, while praising her book, faults her for ascribing “nearly equivalent validity to the contributions of climate skeptics or contrarians.” But Parkinson is unapologetic and explains her position well throughout the book.

Her main theme is to argue effectively against the current craze for “geo-engineering.” I share her view that many of the schemes suggested lack proper evaluation and are likely to cause more harm than good. However, I also doubt the necessity for carrying out large-scale modifications of the global environment since I do not believe that the human emission of greenhouse gases is causing significant climate changes.

Full disclosure: About 40 years ago, I was quite intrigued by the idea of large-scale modifications of the earth’s environment and included it in discussions in a symposium which I organized for the AAAS, entitled “Global Effects of Environmental Pollution.” After publishing a book on this symposium, I worked with the National Research Council on producing a report on geo-engineering, which described the various schemes that were then under consideration. Since this was long before there was any widespread discussion of greenhouse warming, our report dealt with different topics.

The Parkinson book has some very attractive features. A well-written Introduction presents an overview of the Earth System and a descriptive outline of the book itself. Part I describes very well the history of climate change since the earth was created 4.6 billion years ago. There’s also a nice summary of abrupt climate changes.

After this discussion of natural changes, there’s a short history of past human impacts and a chapter on the future, with the intriguing title “Why Some People are So Concerned While Others Aren’t.” While I don’t agree with everything the author says, I do feel she has given adequate space to skeptics like Patrick Michaels and Roy Spencer. She also gives much space to Bjorn Lomborg, who seems to accept the scientific conclusions of the IPCC, but as an economist/statistician does not accept any of their recommendations for action. And on this point, I agree most emphatically.


Global warming does NOT cause more war

The 11 retired generals and admirals initially mentioned below seem to have retired brains too. They reported that global warming will lead to war -- but failed in their most basic duty as strategic planners – know your enemy. They accepted the speculation of the IPCC as definitive intelligence without bothering to test the assumptions. They apparently did not examine the history of warfare as articulated by historians: generally, in non-developed areas cooling leads to war (crops fail) and warming does not

Literally thousands of websites pound home the idea that global warming is a threat to our national security and that violent conflicts will result from disruptions caused by climate change. Many of the websites point to a study released several years ago by the CNA Corporation which is a nonprofit institution that conducts in-depth, independent research on complex public interest challenges. Their study entitled “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change” was prepared with 11 retired generals and admirals, and it is widely quoted by those insisting global warming will increase the threat of war.

The executive summary of the report states “Projected climate change poses a serious threat to America’s national security. The predicted effects of climate change over the coming decades include extreme weather events, drought, flooding, sea level rise, retreating glaciers, habitat shifts, and the increased spread of life-threatening diseases. These conditions have the potential to disrupt our way of life and to force changes in the way we keep ourselves safe and secure.”

The executive summary also states “Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Projected climate change will seriously exacerbate already marginal living standards in many Asian, African, and Middle Eastern nations, causing widespread political instability and the likelihood of failed states.” And at home they claim “Projected climate change will add to tensions even in stable regions of the world. The U.S. and Europe may experience mounting pressure to accept large numbers of immigrant and refugee populations as drought increases and food production declines in Latin America and Africa.”

Before you enlist in the military or start shining up combat boots, there is a recent article in the journal Climatic Change that might change your mind about global warming and war. The research was conducted by Richard Tol and Sebastian Wagner from The Netherlands and Germany, respectively. The last sentence of their abstract caught our attention as they conclude “it appears that global warming would not lead to an increase in violent conflict” in mid-latitude locations such as China or Europe. We don’t see this study getting a lot of press coverage, so we decided to feature it on World Climate Report – just as we did an earlier study which contradicted the global warming=more war claims.

Tol and Wagner begin noting “In the gloomier scenarios of climate change, violent conflict plays a key part. War would break out over declining water resources, and millions of refugees would cause mayhem. The Nobel Peace Prize of 2007 was partly awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore for their contribution to slowing climate change and thus preventing war. Scenarios of climate-change-induced violence can be painted with abandon, because there is in fact very little research to either support or refute such claims.”

Are these two doubting Al Gore by suggesting there is little research to support any claim that global warming will exacerbate violent conflict? This could get interesting!

Furthermore, they reviewed a paper published a few years ago in Climatic Change in which a research team from China examined the “warmer equals more war” hypothesis. Regarding that study, Tol and Wagner state “They construct a dataset of climate and violent conflict for China for the last millennium, and show that the Chinese are more inclined to fight each other when it is cold.”

Tol and Wagner assembled the data for Figure 1 showing a time series of conflict in Europe back about 1,000 years. To compare with temperature and precipitation, they assembled reconstructed values for Europe available back to 1500 AD. These are gridded data that come from meteorological observations as well as proxy information found in Europe – the climate data had been quality checked for inconsistencies. They even assembled climate model simulation data from Europe based on solar and volcanic forcing as well as greenhouse gas concentrations.

The map below (Figure 2) tells us what we want to know – it shows the correlation coefficient between annual temperatures and the overall state of violent conflict in Europe, and all the blue indicates the coefficients are negative, indicating more war in cold periods, not hot ones. And if your eye has been attracted to the red regions where warmer weather seems to produce more conflict, be aware that Tol and Wagner warn “positive correlations are evident over the Balkans. These correlations should however not be overinterpreted, because the Balkans are largely excluded from the violent conflict data base.”

The two authors recognized some statistical issues dealing with the violent conflict time series, most notably the high level of autoregression in the data (the value of any year is highly related to the value the previous years). They addressed this unwanted property a variety of different ways, and in each case, they continued to find an overall negative association between temperature and conflict. With respect to the model generated climate data they report “Correlations between the simulated temperatures and European wars also show negative correlations, consistent with results obtained for reconstructions based on observational data and proxy data.”

Obviously, Europe changed over the 1500-1900 time period, and indeed, Tol and Wagner observed “that the correlations are stronger in the more distant past. This confirms the agricultural hypothesis. Agriculture became progressively less important over the period, because of economic development, and agriculture became less dependent on the weather, because of improved cultivation methods and better fertilizers.” Fair enough.

In their conclusions, the authors state “We present some evidence that periods with lower temperatures in the pre-industrial era are accompanied by violent conflicts”, consistent with what others had found in China. Furthermore, they note “If anything, lower temperatures imply violence, and this effect is much weaker in the modern world than it was in pre-industrial times. This implies that future global warming is not likely to lead to (civil) war between (within) European countries.”

Another popular claim about global warming is once again not supported by what has been observed for centuries – sound familiar?

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Global warming's unscientific attitude

Peddlers of phony scare stories are afraid to release data -- A scathing editorial from The Washington Times

What separates a scientific claim from mere opinion is its ability to be tested by experiment. No true scientist objects to having his theories verified; the charlatan is the one with something to hide. Not surprisingly, purveyors of global warming have proved anything but open.

In the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Law and Management, Australian researchers evaluated the community of so-called climate scientists and found them to be "antagonistic toward the disclosure of information." Professor John Abbot of Central Queensland University, a chemist and lawyer, and biologist Jennifer Marohasy studied the response of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU) and the Met Office - Britain's national weather service - to various information requests.

The most noteworthy of these was United Kingdom resident David Holland's demand for the raw data underlying the infamous "hockey stick" graph that was published in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports. This chart was the centerpiece of the claim that the 20th century was the hottest in a thousand years. The stir that Mr. Holland's request triggered among the scientists who worked on the report was captured in the Climategate e-mails.

"If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone," CRU scientist Phil Jones wrote in a February 2005 e-mail. "We think we've found a way around this." So much for transparency.

Under the British Freedom of Information law, like the similar U.S. statute, information created at the public expense must - with limited exceptions - be made available to the public that paid for it. At first, the Met Office answered Mr. Holland's request for data regarding a relatively uncontroversial chapter in the IPCC report. When he asked them for similar details regarding the hockey stick, the Met Office got around the law by claiming the data were "personal information" generated in the free time of the scientists involved. When this dodge failed to hold up, the Met Office began claiming that the records had been deleted.

"Of concern is evidence of a predisposition towards uncooperativeness on the part of the Met Office, which also used spurious claims of deleted correspondence and personal information in attempts to block the release of information," Mr. Abbot and Ms. Marohasy wrote. The attitude isn't limited to Britain. The Washington Times asked the White House Council on Environmental Quality for its oldest pending FOIA requests. Among the top five was an August 26 letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeking documents related to its work on climate-change legislation and the Environmental Protection Agency's so-called greenhouse gas ruling.

None of these simple requests should have been denied or delayed. Many of those involved in purported climate science seem more preoccupied with advancing a leftist, anti-business legislative agenda than respecting the integrity of the scientific method. It's obvious why. Their cataclysmic scare stories are unable to withstand scrutiny. By deleting e-mails and using tricks to hide the inconvenient decline in global temperatures, the climate alarmists prove to be not men of science, but ordinary frauds.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

MSM silence some bad news for Warmists

The Warmist media crowed too soon and the facts are now stuck in their throat

Many times in this blog we have noted that the real news is the stuff not being published by the MSM. Now, on the "climate change" front, that has never been more true. The silence speaks volumes.

That particular silence is the one that attends the publication of the Booker column on 11 July, revealing to the world that the IPCC did after all have feet of clay in its claims on the Amazon, with the source of "Amazongate" finally traced to a Brazilian website.

When you get an "exclusive" like that – especially as the original Amazongate story was rather high profile – other newspapers and news agencies tend to pile in and lift the story. This time, though, with only very few exceptions, there has been silence.

One of those exceptions was Lawrence Solomon in The National Post, who saw in the revelations the first test of the IPCC in a new post-Climategate era of openness and accountability that many seemed to be talking about. This, however, was even then a forlorn hope. The retraction on 20 June by The Sunday Times of its Amazongate story had already been hailed as a major victory by the warmists, who were set on exploiting it.

Something of this can be seen from the WWF press release which had Keith Allott, head of climate change (there's glory for you) declaring that it " ... hopefully indicates that after a period of some hysteria, balance and consideration is being restored to the media's reporting of climate science."

In fact, there was more expectation than hope. Led by the WWF, the warmists embarked on a sharply focused campaign against many of the newspapers which had written about Amazongate, demanding that they followed The Sunday Times lead and retracted their own stories.

Under this pressure, not a few editors were beginning to wilt, especially as there were hints of further PCC references. Booker's story, therefore, could not have come at a worse time. Although no newspapers have yet followed suit, it was noted and, at the very least, stopped the rot. No other newspaper has retracted its story.

Quite how finely poised the pendulum is now can be seen by the continuing silence. At the beginning of this week, a major international newspaper was to have published a piece calling for the retraction of The Sunday Times retraction, but internal politics have kept it off the pages so far.

And, while The Guardian and others were quick to publish news of Simon Lewis's complaint to the PCC, which triggered the ST retraction, none of the papers which so prominently announced this development have announced the complaint to the PCC about the retraction, a complaint which has now been formally accepted and is being investigated.

Interestingly, the silence also comes at a time when not only has the IPCC case on the Amazon been trashed but also, on the eve of the publication of a new tranche of research papers which seriously undermine the doom-laden scenarios promulgated by the warmists.

Just one of those, in the coming edition of New Phytologist, puts loss of the forest at a mere six percent. This is a paper by Marina Hirota et al on "The climatic sensitivity of the forest, savanna and forest–savanna transition in tropical South America." With this, the re-evaluation of earlier papers and the emergence of some which have been little-cited, the warmists' case has never been weaker. This makes the silence even more deafening,


Dangerous nuclear hatred in Britain's coalition government

This has the hallmarks of the Liberals getting their way

If ever there was a necessary state intervention, it was the loan agreed by a dying Labour government to Forgemasters to finance the production of components for nuclear power stations – of which there is a worldwide shortage of capacity.

Yet, one of the first things the Clegerons did was cancel the loan – and on grounds that now look very dubious indeed, if The Guardian and the rest of the media have got the details right.

With accusations of sleaze in the air, we are looking at an administration which is on track to be just as vile and disreputable as its predecessor, only in a fraction of the time, especially with that sleazebag Huhne being accused of messing up the loan – possibly deliberately (8 minutes into the video).

The current row follows on from a report by KPMG which tells us that without more direct support from the government, it is still uneconomic for utility companies to invest billions of pounds in nuclear power.

The view is that it is unlikely that the new generation of nuclear plants will actually get built – something which has been evident for some time – simply though noting the lack of news or actual progress. As the timetable slides, and as we see the Forgemaster loan go down the tubes, there is only one conclusion – we are stuffed, stuffed, stuffed.

The Chinese, who recently reported commissioning their first fourth generation plant, and has unveiled plans to increase its 9.1 gigawatts of nuclear power to 40 gigawatts by 2020, must be lost in amazement at the willingness of British politicians to commit economic (and political) suicide.

Our expectations of the previous administration were always low, but there are some who actually expected more of the present incumbents. But it seems to be a general rule of thumb when assessing governments that, just when you think things have got as bad as it is possible for them to be ... they get worse.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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24 July, 2010

Victory! Democrats drop signature climate bill

The beginning of the end

Senators John F. Kerry and Harry Reid conceded yesterday that they have no chance of passing a comprehensive climate and energy bill any time soon, saying they would instead push for a limited bill to address problems with offshore oil drilling and to boost energy conservation.

“We know where we are. We know we don’t have the votes,’’ said Reid, of Nevada, blaming Republicans for stonewalling efforts to tackle the comprehensive bill. The Senate majority leader, calling the lack of Republican votes “deeply disappointing,’’ spoke at a news conference with Kerry and Carol Browner, White House energy adviser.

The stripped-down bill would include provisions that increase the liability costs for oil companies involved in spills such as the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, expand the use of natural gas in long-haul trucks, increase spending on land and water conservation, and provide rebates to people who buy products that reduce energy usage in their homes.

Senate Democrats said they expected to find enough Republican support to pass the legislation before the August recess.

For Kerry, the decision to at least shelve his signature climate legislation is a stinging setback. With Senators Joe Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and, initially, Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, the Massachusetts Democrat spent 18 months and thousands of hours in meetings with colleagues, environmentalists, and business leaders to craft and promote the bill.

Focusing his efforts on forging a partnership with energy producers instead of punishing them for polluting, Kerry created a bill that would put a price on the carbon emissions, provide clean energy incentives for the coal and oil industries, and offer tax credits to the nuclear industry. The bill’s goal was to cut carbon pollution 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Graham pulled out of the effort in April, saying Democratic leaders were not offering enough support for their bill. “We’ve always known from day one that to pass comprehensive energy reform you’ve got to have 60 votes,’’ Kerry said yesterday. “As we stand here today we don’t have one Republican vote.’’

The House passed an energy and climate bill a year ago.

David Hawkins, director of climate programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called climate change a “real and present danger’’ that needs to be addressed.

The decision to abandon the proposal in the Senate was another concession to the difficult political environment Democratic leaders face, as many rank-and-file are wary of casting any vote that could be used in political attacks by Republicans.

Even Democrats from energy-producing states were deeply divided on the legislation. Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, thought the bill could lead to increased energy costs, while others worried about pushing such a controversial political issue after Democrats had already passed the stimulus and health care bills.

But after the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama sought to push the public and Congress to back the comprehensive approach, saying the accident illustrated the importance of reducing the nation’s dependence on oil. In a speech last month in Pittsburgh, he said, “The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months.’’

But the president and Kerry never found the votes, even for a pared measure that would only limit greenhouse gas emissions by electric utilities, not other energy producers.


Sunset for Subsidies

By Viv Forbes, writing from Australia

While Australia is increasing expenditure of consumer and taxpayer money to the renewables industry, governments around the world have decided that “enough is enough”.

Other countries are realising that renewable energy is a massive waste of tax payer funds and has zero or negligible effect on CO2 emissions. They are thus cutting or eliminating subsidies to the grossly inefficient green power generators. Here are some recently reported examples:

Spain cuts subsidies to wind and solar:

Italy cuts subsidies to wind and solar:

Germany cuts subsidies to solar:

Denmark to cut subsidies to wind:

France to slash solar subsidies:

Ontario cuts incentives for solar:

Wind power does not reduce CO2 emissions:

Here are a few examples of the ways in which Australian state and federal Governments subsidise or give unfair advantage to renewables:

* Bans on nuclear power

* Renewable Energy Targets

* Renewable Energy Certificates

* Feed in Tariffs

* Direct government subsidies for renewable energy

* Tax and other incentives

* Cost of the electricity grid enhancements that are needed to accommodate the disruptive, erratic renewable energy generators is shared by everyone instead of being attributed to the renewable energy generators.

* Super Profits Tax on coal mining.

* Threats to shut down or in other ways disadvantage coal fired power plants without fair compensation for the investors.


The Union of Concerned Propagandists

By Alan Caruba

On July 11, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) announced that it had launched “a national advertising campaign as part of a broader effort to showcase the dedication and personal histories of scientists studying climate change.”

I know quite a few climatologists and meteorologists and the ones I know have been courageously refuting the global warming fraud for years, even decades. Beyond them, thousands of comparable scientists have signed petitions and statements to the effect that global warming was and is a hoax.

The UCS campaign, however, is “an effort to educate the public about the work scientists undertaken in their efforts to document and understand human-caused global warming.” Excuse me, but there isn’t any human-caused global warming. There isn’t any global warming insofar as the Earth has been cooling for the past decade.

The UCA is part of a broad pushback against the November 2009 revelations that have since become known as “Climategate.” Thousands of leaked emails among a tiny band of rogue scientists, primarily from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) and Penn State University ripped away their curtain of respectability.

Writing about it in the July 12 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Patrick J. Michaels, a professor of environmental sciences of the University of Virginia from 1980-2007, characterized the emails as “suggesting some of the world’s leading climate scientists engaged in professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data to paint what scientist Ken Briffa called ‘a nice, tidy story’ of climate history.”

Michaels, now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, was being polite when he used the word “suggesting.” The emails between the scientists involved in Climategate were damning evidence that they were engaged in a huge fraud.

That fraud is now been whitewashed by supposedly independent panels reviewing the emails and activities between Penn State’s Prof. Michael Mann, the CRU’s Phil Jones, and Ken Briffa, and others. On May 29, 2008, Jones emailed Prof. Mann under the subject line, “IPCC & FOI” asking him to delete any emails he had had with Briffa regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in order to thwart any Freedom of Information inquiries.

The so-called independent panels, mindful of the millions of dollars in climate change research grant funding that both Jones and Mann had brought in for their respective universities, saw no evil, heard no evil, and read no evil.

As a full-fledged partner in the global warming hoax, back in November 2009 when the emails were leaked, Francesca Grifo, a senior scientist and director of the UCS Scientific Integrity Program, was asked by Science Insider what she thought. She declined to be interviewed, but later issued a statement through a spokesperson.

“We expect a high degree of scientific integrity by scientists, whether they be in university labs or federal offices. But what may or may no have happened does not change the science—ice sheets are melting, sea level is rising and the top ten hottest years since 1880 include 2001 through 2008.”

Not so. As reported on July 16 by The Heartland Institute’s James Taylor, “In the Northern Hemisphere, Arctic sea ice is currently 19 percent below the 30-year average. In the South Hemisphere, however, Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record extent, continuing a parent of growth that has been ongoing since NASA launched the NOAA satellite instruments in 1979. The growth in Antarctica is so extensive that the poles as a whole have more total ice than the 30-year average.”

Just what is the Union of Concerned Scientists? According to, the UCS “is a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization with more than 100,000 members. Seeing its mission as building a ‘cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world”, the UCA takes public stands, purportedly based on scientific research, regarding a variety of political and health-related issues.”

The UCS was founded in 1969 by students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to oppose U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. By 1998, it was assuring the public that American analysts had exaggerated North Korea’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.”

So the UCS is essentially a leftist propagandist organization that is anti-war, anti-nuclear and missile defense, and totally political in its opposition to any Republican administration. Of the signers of a document, “Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making”, decrying the Bush administration, “more than half were financial contributors to the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates, or a variety of leftist causes.”

The UCS continues to cling to the view that “Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal.”

There is no global warming. The so-called greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, extremely minor factors, play no role in climate change within an atmosphere composed primarily of water vapor.

I suggest a name change. The UCS should call itself the Union of Concerned Propagandists.


The Unscientific American amps up the panic

The fact that the warming stopped late last century goes strangely unmentioned. So even if all the dire effects of warming were true, none of those effects can in fact be happening. And that warming will resume is complete speculation. Geologically, we are in fact at the end of a warm interglacial -- so powerful natural effects could be unleashed any day which will lead to a new ice age. And if that happens we will need all the warming we can get

The average temperature of the planet for the next several thousand years will be determined this century—by those of us living today, according to a new National Research Council report which lays out the impact of every degree of warming on outcomes ranging from sea-level rise to reduced crop yields.

"Because carbon dioxide is so long-lived in the atmosphere, it could effectively lock Earth and future generations into warming not just for decades and centuries, but literally for thousands of years," atmospheric scientist Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who chaired the report, said at a July 16 press briefing held to release it. She compared CO2 to cheesecake: "If I knew that every pound of cheesecake that I ate would give me a pound that could never be lost, I think I would eat a lot less cheesecake."

According to the report, for every degree Celsius of warming, impacts include:

* A 5 to 15 percent lower yield for some crops, including corn in Africa and the U.S., and wheat in India

* A 3 to 10 percent increase in heavy rainfall globally

* A 5 to 10 percent drop in rainfall in southwestern North America, southern Africa and the Mediterranean, among other precipitation changes

* A 5 to 10 percent change (increases in some regions, decreases in others) in stream flow in many river basins globally

* A 15 to 25 percent decrease in the extent of Arctic Ocean sea ice

The report's authors were charged with evaluating a range of "greenhouse gas–stabilization targets and describe the types and scale of impacts likely associated" without any judgment on whether such targets are "technically feasible" or which is "most appropriate." In essence, the scientists evaluated the impacts associated with a given final level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but did so through the lens of temperature change.

This represents a shift in the usual analysis of climate change, particularly in international negotiations, which tend to focus on how much concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will rise by a particular date. "Many impacts respond directly to changes in global temperature, regardless of the sensitivity of the planet to human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases," says geoscientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, a co-author of the report, excluding effects such as ocean acidification and CO2 as a fertilizer for plants. "Those impacts don't 'care' about what the CO2 concentration is."

It also eliminates much of the uncertainty surrounding potentially ill effects; whereas various mathematical models may disagree about when and at what concentrations Arctic Ocean sea ice disappears, they all agree that at roughly 3 degrees C of warming, the far north will be ice-free. "It's amazing how consistent they become," Solomon says. "At what point do you get to three to four degrees of warming, which is roughly the time when Arctic sea ice is mostly gone."

Adds economist Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University, another co-author: "We will commit to an ice-free Arctic sometime this century. We won't know definitively until 2090, but essentially there's nothing we can do about it at that point in time and it changes the climate system dramatically."

Already, the planet's average temperature has warmed by 0.7 degree C, which is "very likely" (greater than 90 percent certain) to be a result of the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That's about half what can ultimately be expected from the roughly 390 parts per million of CO2 already in the atmosphere—the highest level the planet has experienced in at least 800,000 years.

More of the same HERE

Global warming as science fiction

Unprecedented claims require unprecedented proof, and we're simply not seeing it. Mann famously would not release his computer code and data, but was ultimately shown by Steve McIntyre to have fudged his statistics (specifically the R2 number that showed whether their results were relevant or not). The story of this, and the incredible contortions that the "Hockey Team" went through to get subsequent, equally flawed papers into the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) is described at length at Bishop Hill in Caspar and the Jesus Paper. Once again, data was withheld when requested:
To have key arguments in the SI [published article's Supplemental information] was most unusual and it quickly became apparent why it had been done: the SI was nowhere to be seen. Even the peer reviewers appear not to have had access, and once again, Amman refused McIntyre's request for the data and code. His reply to this request was startling (and remember that Amman is a public servant):
Under such circumstances, why would I even bother answering your questions, isn’t that just lost time?
As with Mann's original hockey stick, the statistics for this supporting paper were also entirely bollixed up. Statistically, the results were meaningless. That's some impressive "unprecedented proof", right there.

The problem that is emerging for the people claiming catastrophic warming is that the scientific work they are relying on seems very sloppy indeed. When the CRU was asked for their raw data so that their results could be verified, they first refused, then refused a Freedom of Information Act request, and then - when people still wouldn't stop asking - claimed that they'd lost the data. The IPCC AR4 report, supposedly based solely on peer-reviewed science, was found to be one-third based on Press Releases from environmental advocacy groups. The scientist heading up the Working Group 2 portion of upcoming IPCC AR5 is still falsely claiming that the science shows that hurricanes are getting worse due to Climate Change. It's not - or at least, there are no peer-reviewed articles that show this:
I see that four climate scientists, including the incoming head of IPCC WGII, Chris Field, have written up an op-ed for Politico calling for political action on climate change. That they are calling for political action is not problematic, but the following statement in the op-ed is a problem:
Climate change caused by humans is already affecting our lives and livelihoods — with extreme storms, unusual floods and droughts, intense heat waves, rising seas and many changes in biological systems — as climate scientists have projected.
I have sent Chris Field an email as follows:
I read your op-ed in Politico with interest. In it you state:

"Climate change caused by humans is already affecting our lives and livelihoods — with extreme storms, unusual floods and droughts, intense heat waves, rising seas and many changes in biological systems — as climate scientists have projected."

I am unaware of research that shows either detection or attribution of human-caused changes in extreme storms or floods, much less detection or attribution of such changes "affecting lives and livelihoods". Can you point me to the scientific basis for such claims?
This is Roger Pielke, Jr., no Climate Change Denier like me, but an honest scientist and one of the world's experts on hurricane damage. He didn't hear back from Dr. Field.

Sloppy. Add to this the ClimateGate email exchanges where the principals (Mann, Jones, et al) discuss deleting email messages, refusing to release data, and how to prevent publication of opposing scientific opinions by taking over the peer-review process, and you get the flavor of something very different from the typical view of scientists in white lab coats. A comment to Pielke's post is a must-read for this flavor:
The drugmaker Glaxo, we now learn, has been lying for years about its blockbuster diabetes drug. Turns out this multi-billion dollar drug doesn't perform as well as an older drug (in a test paid for by Glaxo), and it also gives people heart attacks. Glaxo withheld and hid this information for years.

I very much hate to say this, but Glaxo's behavior reminds me not just of Michael Mann and Phil Jones -- all their erasure of emails, hiding of data, marginalizing and blackballing articles not to their liking -- but of much of the climate change establishment.
He has specifics. RTWT.

Dean didn't die rich, and neither Mann nor Jones have gotten rich either (although Al Gore certainly has). Dean didn't get a Nobel, and neither Mann nor Jones have either (although Al Gore did). But Mann and Jones have done something that Dean did.

They've put their credibility in a very shaky position. The fact that there are multiple inquiries into their conduct is all you need to know to realize that even the "consensus view" establishment knows this. The fact that none of the inquiries have issued an indictment is cold comfort to Mann and Jones. They'll have to get to Mars on their own, figuratively speaking. What they're burning to generate political thrust is their credibility. As with Interplanetary travel, it'll all be gone long before they arrive at their destination.

Much more HERE

Sun not CO2 the culprit

David Ivory argues from New Zealand that the variation in energy received from the sun has a much greater effect on global temperature balance than the effect of greenhouse gases

by Dr David Ivory (University teacher, Scientist and senior United Nations staff member)

The scientific and public debate on what causes global warming has been very one-sided.

The claim the so-called greenhouse gases (chiefly the natural biological products, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) are the cause of global warming is only a theory. It is not fact or an unequivocal truth, even though the proponents of the theory would want to claim the science behind their theory is beyond debate and supported by an overwhelming majority of scientists.

The reality is the scientists associated with climate change groupings represent only a small proportion of the total physical and biological scientists around the world, but collectively they have had an inordinately large influence on governments and policy makers.

In addition, they have adopted a condescending tactic to rebut criticism by disparaging or questioning the integrity or knowledge of those who oppose their point of view by labelling them deniers and sceptics and to claim the majority of scientists accept the so-called science of greenhouse gas-induced global warming.

The fact is there has been no poll among scientists concerning their beliefs and a large body of physical and biological scientists do not accept this theory (a recent scientific publication rejecting this theory had 10,000 signatories), as they believe the historic scientific record shows clearly the sun has always controlled and continues to control global temperature, not greenhouse gases.

Put simply, although very complex in reality, the earth's temperature balance is dictated by the net effects of energy into (solar irradiance), and energy out of (back radiation and heat loss), the earth's atmosphere and surface.

If energy in exceeds energy out the earth warms and if energy in is less than out the earth cools.

The greenhouse gas theory claims that increasing greenhouse gases restricts thermal energy out to the point that the energy balance is positively affected and therefore the earth warms.

The greenhouse gas theory of global warming, however, is only a very recent proposition in earth time, relating to the period of time since the industrial revolution. It does not explain the reasons for the earth warming and cooling during the millennia of its existence.

The alternative point of view held by a very large number of scientists is that the variation in energy received from the sun has a much greater effect on global temperature balance than the effect of greenhouse gases on energy loss and therefore it is the sun's activity that has always dominantly controlled global warming and cooling.

The scientific record shows clearly that over the past 3000 years there has been a more than 3degC change in global temperature, with both significant warming (in mediaeval times) and cooling (little ice age in 1700s) trends above and below present global temperatures.

What is important is these global temperature changes closely follow radiation level changes and indeed have the highest correlation with temperature change.

More importantly, since the end of the 1700s the earth has been in a general warming trend in response to increasing solar radiation.

And with this warming trend the scientific record shows that glaciers have been steadily retreating and sea levels rising for the past 200-250 years.

Thus it is important to realise these trends are not recent and started long before there was any significant burning of fossil fuels or increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

However, the most damning evidence against greenhouse gas-induced global warming is the fact that there was a significant global cooling period between about 1940 and 1975 (associated with decreasing radiation levels) even though there was a three-fold increase in burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions during this period.

This clearly demonstrates that global temperature was responding to changes in radiation levels and that rising levels of greenhouse gases were not causing global warming.

The recent continuation of the general warming trend in the past 30 years, which is the period upon which the greenhouse gas theorists exclusively concentrate, is associated with further increases in solar radiation level.

Of course, the greenhouse gas theorists claim this warming has been exclusively because of rising greenhouse gases during this period, but as the rates of glacier melting and sea rise continue as they have for the past 200 years, it can only be concluded that rising greenhouse gases are merely coincidental with the long-term warming trend, not the cause.

Niwa announced that the average temperature of New Zealand in 2009 was cooler than the long-term average (i.e. cooler than more than 50% of the 100-plus years since temperature measurement started), with some places between 0.5degC and 1degC lower than average; that there was record cold weather in the last northern hemisphere winter; and that the area of winter Arctic ice increased for a third consecutive year.

These are not coincidences.

While it is too early to be certain of a trend change to lower solar radiation and therefore lower global temperature, the fact that the approximately 11-year solar cycle reached its lowest level in more than 50 years in 2009 may represent the beginning of a new global cooling period despite higher levels of greenhouse gases.

If a second global cooling period occurs during a further period of increasing greenhouse gases, this will surely completely and finally discredit the theory of greenhouse gas-induced global warming.

The bottom line is that there is no unequivocal scientific evidence that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases.

And therefore, this means that the introduction of an emissions trading scheme (ETS) is useless in reducing global temperatures and represents only an expensive venture in futility.

The New Zealand Government would have been better off delaying the introduction of an ETS, as has the Australian Government, until the complexities of climate change are better understood.


People-hate now reaches back a long way

Apparently, humans have been changing the climate for eons. Literally.
Ancient hunters who stalked the world’s last woolly mammoths likely helped warm the Earth’s far northern latitudes thousands of years before humans began burning fossil fuels, according to a study of prehistoric climate change.

The demise of the leaf-chomping woolly mammoths contributed to a proliferation of dwarf birch trees in and around the Arctic, darkening a largely barren, reflective landscape and accelerating a rise in temperatures across the polar north, researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science concluded....

The research attributes about a fourth of the Arctic’s vegetation-driven warming to the decline of the woolly mammoth. If human hunters helped kill off the large mammals, they bear some responsibility for warming the climate, the scientists concluded.

“We’re not saying this was a big effect,” Field said. “The point of the paper isn’t that this is a big effect. But it’s a human effect.”

So everyone’s a loser now: the climate change deniers, the climate change crazies, and the woolly mammoths. The deniers, for saying humans don’t impact climate change (answer: yes, we always have), the crazies, for saying this impact must be stopped (unless you want to stop civilization, good luck with that), and the mammoths, for being in the wrong place at the right time.

The real issue is not “are we changing the climate?”, but how do we adapt to the effects of change and/or mitigate them, without jeopardizing the standard of living we have managed to achieve? Between the socialists who would have us cap every oil well and eat twigs for breakfast, and the conservatives who refuse to see any correlation between human activity and climate change, lies a middle ground: those who accept a measure of change as the price of progress, and search for ways to cope with that change through technological advancement, not luddite retreat.

Human activity is not, and will never be, neutral. Indeed, if we wanted to stop impacting the climate, humanity would have to stop existing, or return to a pre-prehistoric lifestyle, when we didn’t even have the technology to clobber a sufficient number of mammoths.

Sorry, but I don’t want to turn back the clock. I like my fossil-fuel-heated house, my air conditioned car, and my morning coffee, which probably logged more air miles in a day than I have in a year.



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


23 July, 2010

China Makes Western CO2 “control” Pointless

In recent news we heard that China has surpassed the USA as the worlds largest energy consumer. It’s now the “Big Boy” on the block. All the proposed CO2 “control” treaties to date have given a ‘free pass’ to the poor underdeveloped world on the theory that they needed special favors to ‘catch up’ to the evil west that had suppressed them. Well, folks, China is now the “Big Boy” on the block. Not some little backwater nobody striving to get their first light bulbs and flush toilettes. If you want to “control” CO2 emissions, you absolutely must include China. And that is just not going to happen.

China uses more coal than anything else

China is a coal based energy market. Somewhere over 70% of their energy consumption comes from coal. Exact numbers are hard to come by, and changing rapidly as they are growing like a weed. But the simple and well attested fact is they mostly use coal. So the CO2 “footprint” from energy usage in China is far higher than in other counties, such as the USA, that use more oil and natural gas in the mix.
Coal makes up 70 percent of China’s total primary energy consumption, and China is both the largest consumer and producer of coal in the world. China holds an estimated 114.5 billion short tons of recoverable coal reserves, the third-largest in the world behind the United States and Russia and about 13 percent of the world's total reserves. There are 27 provinces in China that produce coal. Northern China, especially Shanxi Province, contains most of China’s easily accessible coal and virtually all of the large state-owned mines. Coal from southern mines tends to be higher in sulfur and ash, and therefore unsuitable for many applications. In 2008, China consumed an estimated 3 billion short tons of coal, representing nearly 40 percent of the world total and a 129 percent increase since 2000. Coal consumption has been on the rise in China over the last eight years, reversing the decline seen from 1996 to 2000. More than 50 percent of China's coal use in 2006 was in the non-electricity sectors, primarily in the industrial sector. The other 50 percent is used in the power sector.

Putting “controls” on US energy use (or European or Australian or New Zealand or Russian or…) will simply move the usage to China, increasing their economic growth at the expense of others and moving more energy usage TO COAL and away from more environmentally friendly fuels and sources.

China is growing energy usage fast

Even in the present western economic recession, China is growing, fast. And that comes with very fast energy consumption growth.
BEIJING July 20 (Reuters) – China is likely to consume about 11 percent more electricity this year than in 2009, with second-half growth easing on the government’s curb on heavy users and a higher year-ago base, the National Energy Administration said.

And a bit further down:
China, the world’s largest coal consumer, brought in a record amount of foreign coal last year — about 126 million tonnes — on surging demand boosted by a runaway steel sector and heating demands during a cold winter.

The largest consumer is also growing the fastest. Restrictions on other countries will only increase that rate of growth and increase the total CO2 produced (as China is not as efficient nor improving in efficiency as as fast as the western economies).

In the computer world, this was covered by Amdahl’s Law. The thing that improves the most just moves the problem onto the thing that is not improved as fast. So you can move the “problem” to China, but you can’t fix it.

Conclusion? China dominates. Nothing else matters.

Any “CO2 Treaty” or “Cap and Trade” ( AKA Cap ‘N Tax) plan is doomed to fail. Horridly and catastrophically. It will increase costs to produce in the countries that sign up for such a plan, and those increased costs will move the most energy intensive industries to the lowest cost producers. The lowest cost producer is now China, and we see such industries already moving to China at a dizzying pace. Adding more “forcing” to that process will only accelerate it.

China mostly uses coal, and will use ever more of it over time. They are locking up coal supplies world wide by purchasing them or signing 20+ year contracts. They have no intention of reducing coal usage. They have also recently bought large chunks of Canadian Tar Sands, so you will find them being used too, despite their high CO2 production.

China is not improving energy efficiency as fast as the west, so any move of processes to China will make more CO2, not less.

Add those three together and you find that Cap ‘N Tax and Koyoto like treaties will result in a net increase in CO2 production as the sources simply move to China. This is NOT a theoretical, it’s already happening (and in large part has happened. Look at the size and growth of China steel production, for example.)


Another Oil Smear

By Dr. Benny Peiser

On 19 July, the Times published a frontpage lead story about a number of U.S. American think tanks that have received funding from Exxon Mobile. Some of these organisations were co-sponsors of the March 2009 International Conference on Climate Change in New York.

In its article, the Times gave the false impression that the GWPF was represented at the March 2009 New York conference and that the GWPF may have received Exxon Mobil funding too. In fact, the Foundation did not exist at the time. The GWPF was only founded in November 2009. I was there as a private individual and an academic who was invited to speak about "The Crisis of EU Climate Policy." Moreover, the Times knows perfectly well that the GWPF is precluded by its articles of association from accepting funds from the energy industry.

The Times should also have been aware that Nigel Lawson had refuted the same misleading smear in the Independent on Sunday of 14 February.

I have written to the editor of the Times to set the record straight only for them to refuse to publish my letter. This is the second time this year that the Times has written a misleading story about the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and for the second time it has refused us a right of reply. This kind of behaviour speaks for itself.

The Times has now corrected the inaccurate claim about me in the online version of its story. But the damage to the GWPF has been done, and hardly anyone will notice the correction to the online version now that it is behind a paywall and the Times has lost 90% of its online viewers. All we can do is to set the record straight on our own website in the hope that interested observers will see through these smear tactics.

Benny Peiser
Letter to the Editor of the Times

Sir, Contrary to the clear impression given by your report (19 July), the Global Warming Policy Foundation was not represented at the March 2009 International Conference on Climate Change in New York, for the very good reason that the Foundation did not exist at that time. It did not come into being until November 2009; and I was there as a private individual and academic.

Had you contacted us, or consulted our website, you also would have discovered our explicit funding policy, which makes clear in no uncertain terms that the GWPF is "funded entirely by voluntary donations from a number of private individuals and charitable trusts. In order to make clear its complete independence, it does not accept gifts from either energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company".

London, 20 July 2010, Dr Benny Peiser, Director, The Global Warming Policy Foundation


New Russian Research: Medieval Warming Greater Than Modern Warming

Discussing: Panin, A.V. and Nefedov, V.S. 2010. "Analysis of variations in the regime of rivers and lakes in the Upper Volga and Upper Zapadnaya Dvina based on archaeological-geomorphological data". Water Resources 37: 16-32.


The authors write that "long-term decrease in seasonal peaks of water levels allows the settling of relatively low geomorphic locations, such as river and lake floodplains, while a rise in flood levels causes settlements to be shifted to higher elevations," based on the logical assumption that "ancient settlements could not persist under the impact of regular inundations."

What was done

In a study of the Upper Volga and Zapadnaya Dvina Rivers of Russia, Panin and Nefedov documented "the geomorphological and altitudinal positions of [human] occupational layers corresponding to 1224 colonization epochs at 870 archaeological sites in river valleys and lake depressions in southwestern Tver province," identifying "a series of alternating low-water (low levels of seasonal peaks, many-year periods without inundation of flood plains) and high-water (high spring floods, regular inundation of floodplains) intervals of various hierarchial rank."

What was learned

The two Russian researchers report finding that "low-water epochs coincide with epochs of relative warming, while high-water epochs [coincide] with cooling epochs," because "during the climate warming epochs, a decrease in duration and severity of winters should have resulted in a drop in snow cover water equivalent by the snowmelt period, a decrease in water discharge and flood stage, and a decrease in seasonal peaks in lake levels," noting that "a model of past warming epochs can be the warming in the late 20th century, still continuing now."

They also report finding that "in the Middle Ages (1.8-0.3 Ky ago), the conditions were favorable for long-time inhabiting [of] river and lake floodplains, which are subject to inundation nowadays [italics added]." In addition, their results indicate that of this time interval, the period AD 1000-1300 hosted the greatest number of floodplain occupations.

What it means

Interestingly, Panin and Nefedov state that this last period and other "epochs of floodplain occupation by humans in the past can be regarded as hydrological analogues of the situation of the late 20th-early current century," which they say "is forming under the effect of directed climate change." And this relationship clearly implies that the current level of warmth in the portion of Russia that hosts the Upper Volga and Zapadnaya Dvina Rivers is not yet as great as it was during the AD 1000-1300 portion of the Medieval Warm Period.


I come to bury Schneider not to praise him

His own words tell you all you need to know about him

By James Delingpole,

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum? Yeah, yeah, whatever. But why, pray, should one even try to find anything nice to say about the man who, more perhaps than any other, was responsible for steering the already pretty nebulous field of “climate science” into a branch of political activism so extreme that it might just as well have rechristened itself “climate Leninism”?

Yes, I’m talking about Stephen Schneider. Stephen Schneider – who recently died of a heart attack, and God rest his soul – was the Stanford university Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change who in the 1970s was warning us all of an imminent ice age. Then, without a flicker of shame or embarrassment, Schneider flipped and became an equally fervent advocate of Man-Made Global Warming. So fervent that he seemed to believe it was perfectly acceptable scientific practice to lie about it, as he hinted in his most infamous quote:
“….. we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support , to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

It was one such scary scenario that he offered for a Time magazine cover story in 1987 when he said:
“Humans are altering the earth’s surface and changing the atmosphere at such a rate that we have become a competitor with natural forces that maintain our climate. What is new is the potential irreversibility of the changes that are now taking place”

This was at best a grotesque exaggeration of what scientists believed, let alone were capable of backing up with any real-world data, in 1987. We know this because, despite four increasingly desperate IPCC reports, they still haven’t managed to do so to this day.

So Schneider – RIP, sympathy to his grieving relatives and all that – was instrumental in setting the whole AGW porkie pie machine in motion, with consequences we will be ruing for generations to come. He was an early advocate of Post Normal Science: the philosophy which says that if your cause is sufficiently pressing and just it’s OK to abandon the usual rules of rigour and empiricism and lie and cheat and make stuff up.

And to the very last he was pushing alarmist drivel to the max, as in this final interview he gave to his university magazine. Here he is playing the “nothing to see here” game with the Climategate emails:
I do not believe it’ll have any long-lasting impact on the credibility of climate science, because it is fundamentally sound. Unfortunately, the likely coming super heat waves and the hurricanes that will take out parts of Miami and Shanghai, for example, will show that, in a politically tangible way. And nobody will remember climategate 10 years from now.

Here is providing his disingenuous rationale for shutting out of the debate all those distinguished scientists who disagree with CAGW:
The reason that we do not ask focus groups of farmers and auto workers to determine how to license airplane pilots and doctors is they have no skill at that. And we do not ask people with PhDs who are not climatologists to tell us whether climate science is right or wrong, because they have no skill at that, particularly when they’re hired by the fossil-fuel industry because of their PhDs to cast doubt. So here is where balance is actually false reporting.

Here he is explaining why the little people who fund his research grant and pay the increased taxes and energy bills resulting from his hysterical CAGW projections are too stupid to deserve any say in this debate:
We know we have a rough 10 percent chance that [the effect of global warming] is going to be not much; a rough 10 percent chance of ‘Oh, My God’; and everything else in between. Therefore, what you’re talking about as a scientist is risk: what can happen multiplied times the odds of it happening. That’s an expert judgment. The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.

And so, in the name of a problem that doesn’t exist, our political masters at the United Nations and the EU, as well as in our own governments, are presenting us with a bill for at least $45 trillion. They plan to ruin our beautiful country with wind farms, remove our property rights under the UN’s sinister Agenda 21, bomb our economies back to the dark ages and render us increasingly in thrall to technocrats, bureaucrats, and “experts” over whom we have no democratic control.

This is war. A war in which the other side shows it has no scruples whatsoever – as we learned for example yet again the other day with Bishop Hill’s astonishing scoop regarding the Lord Oxburgh of Persil inquiry into Climategate. You’ll probably know of it already, but I repeat it for the record. It seems that one of the two people consulted as to which papers should be examined by the inquiry was none other than Phil Jones.

Can you imagine any court of law allowing the decision regarding which information the prosecutors were allowed to use being dictated by the defendant? I can’t. It’s a disgrace. And one which the Mainstream Media remains unforgivably reluctant to report.


Even Jim Hansen's own climate model has been falsified by the facts

Dr. James Hansen is the Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. Hansen is right up there with Al Gore, Michael Mann and the Climategate CRU on the list of people helping the UN to swindle the United States and other western democracies out of trillions of dollars through his promotion of the Anthropogenic Global Warming fraud.

Hansen kind of got the ball rolling in 1988 with his publication of a climate model that predicted dire global warming over the next 20 years if mankind did not stop burning fossil fuels… Hansen et al. 1988.

Hansen constructed three scenarios… “Scenario A assumes continued exponential trace gas growth, scenario B assumes a reduced linear linear growth of trace gases, and scenario C assumes a rapid curtailment of trace gas emissions such that the net climate forcing ceases to increase after the year 2000.” ....

Hansen’s scenarios “A” and “B” predicted a temperature anomaly about 1.0°C by 2009. Scenario “C” predicted an anomaly of about 0.7°C by 2009. Since Hansen’s publication, atmospheric CO2 levels have tracked Scenario “A” and CH4 levels have tracked Scenario “C”. Even though CH4 is a more potent greenhouse gas, it accounts for only a tiny fraction of the greenhouse effect:

CO2 is the “Big Kahuna”. Even if CH4 has 20X the greenhouse effect of CO2. 1800 ppb is 0.46% of 390 ppm…20 X 0.46% = 9.2%. At most, CH4 accounts for only about 10% of the greenhouse effect of CO2 in Earth’s current atmosphere.

So, according to Hansen’s 1988 predictions, the global temperature anomaly should be about 90% of the way from Scenario “C” to Scenario “A”… ~0.97°C. In reality, the global temperature anomaly is about half of what Hansen predicted for a similar rise in greenhouse gases.

The actual warming has been slightly less than Hansen’s Scenario C…

“In scenario C the CO2 growth is the same as scenarios A and B through 1985; between 1985 and 2000 the annual increment is fixed at 1.5 ppmv/yr; after 2000, CO2 ceases to increase, its abundance remaining fixed at 368 ppmv.”

In most branches of science, when experimental results falsify the original hypothesis, scientists discard or modify the original hypothesis. In Hansen’s case, he just pitches the story with zealotry rarely seen outside of lunatic asylums…

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Global warming alarmists getting desperate as skeptics attack greenhouse theory

Sensing that their sky-is-falling theory is crumbling under scientific scrutiny, the always-insecure global warming True Believers are losing their cool, lashing out at critics with a mounting campaign of scurrilous personal attacks, impugning the motives, integrity and mental state of anyone who refuses to genuflect before the high priesthood of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

The latest target of the Warmists: Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, a mathematician and leading critic of the global warming theory, a.k.a. "climate change." Monckton was recently mocked and browbeaten in a 115-slide presentation by John Abraham, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. His "hit and run" slide-show attack was an attempt to discredit a presentation that Monckton had given in St. Paul, Minnesota, in October 2009.

Monckton replied with a powerful rebuttal that, point by point, eviscerated Abraham's embarrassingly dishonest production. Monckton called on Abraham and the university to issue a formal apology, remove the libelous presentation from the Internet, and donate $110,000 to a Haitian charity as compensation for the damage done to his reputation.

As Joanne Nova observes:

"Abraham went on to assemble a list of things Christopher Monckton didn't say, complained about things he didn't cite (even if he did and it's printed on his slides), pretended he couldn't find sources (but didn't take ten minutes to ask), and created a litany of communication pollution in an effort to denigrate Monckton's character."

The assaults on Monckton and other high-visibility skeptics (for example, Marc Morano of Climate Depot, Joe D'Aleo of ICECAP, Dr. Willie Soon, Dr. Fred Singer, Anthony Watts and Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi) are further evidence that the global warmists are in full retreat and resorting to slash and burn tactics as they make a desperate last stand to defend their cherished theory from the onslaught of countervailing scientific evidence.

Recently, the so-called "greenhouse effect" has itself come under increasing attack by a phalanx of scientific experts, including Dr. Gerhard Gerlich and Dr. Ralf D. Tscheuschner, professor Nasif Nahle, applied mathematician Claes Johnson, former radio-chemist Alan Siddons, analytical chemist Hans Schreuder, combustion research scientist Martin Hertzberg, and engineer Heinz Thieme.

Last year, 130 skeptical German scientists co-signed an Open Letter of protest to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, asserting, among other things, that a "growing body of evidence shows anthropogenic CO2 plays no measurable role" in Earth's climate.

The scientists derided global warming as a "pseudo religion," said the "UN IPCC has lost its scientific credibility," and dismissed the alarmist warnings of rising CO2, claiming it "had no measurable effect" on temperatures.

The critics of the atmospheric greenhouse effect have been relentless in their attacks. They continue to blast holes in the theory, whose roots go back to the traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896).

As professors Gerlich and Tscheuschner have pointed out in their research paper, "Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics":

"[The greenhouse theory] essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system.

"According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation.

"Neither the absorption nor the reflection coefficient of glass for the infrared light is relevant for this explanation of the physical greenhouse effect, but only the movement of air, hindered by the panes of glass."

A growing body of scientists have joined Gerlich and Tscheuschner in exposing the "accepted science" underlying the greenhouse effect. Here are a few of their more damning statements:

(Heinz Thieme, engineer)

"The phenomenon of 'atmospheric backradiation' is presently advanced as an explanation of thermal conditions on Earth, and as the basis of some statements about climate change. However, scientific evaluation in strict accord with the laws of physics and mathematics suggests that 'atmospheric backradiation' is physical nonsense.

"An assessment conducted in the light of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the principles of vector algebra of the key greenhouse theory concept of 'atmospheric backradiation' suggests that it is simply a mirage. The only 'Backradiation Phenomenon' that needs explaining is how this physical nonsense maintains its place in numerous earth sciences textbooks at both school and university level."

(Alan Siddons, radio chemist)

". . . if the tenets of this [greenhouse] theory are valid there can be no outcome other than a doubling of surface energy (a doubling at minimum, that is, since there's no reason to suppose that radiation from the now-warmer surface would not continue to be back-radiated, absorbed, and amplified in a 'runaway' heating cascade).

"Simple as it is, though, no scientist in the world is able to construct a model that exhibits any radiative gain because the theory's tenets (called 'the basic science') are not valid. On a theoretical basis alone, conservation of energy (the First Law) forbids a model like this from working. You can't obtain more energy than you put in.

"Just like temperature, radiant energy flows do not add. Lumping two 70° balls of clay together doesn't result in a single ball that's 140°, nor do 70 watts per square meter beaming back onto a body that's radiating 70 [degrees] raise it to 140 [degrees]. Frankly, it is stupid to think otherwise."

(Claes Johnson, professor of applied mathematics)

"It is surprising to see large parts of the scientific community including academies of sciences embracing a hypothesis of global warming from atmospheric CO2, without any convincing scientific support. It appears that the mere mentioning of Stefan-Boltzmann's Radiation Law has been enough to annihilate any further demands of scientific evidence.

"This may be a result a 2Oth century physics education with both the Radiation Law and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics being based on statistical mechanics not understood by anybody. In any case, the acceptance by the scientific community of CO2 climate alarmism without physical basis, needs to be understood and corrected."

(Dr. Martin Hertzberg, combustion research scientist)

"The most significant atmospheric component in the radiative balance is water: as a homogeneous absorbing and emitting vapor, in its heat transport by evaporation and condensation; as clouds, snow and ice cover, which have a major effect on the albedo, and as the enormous circulating mass of
liquid ocean, whose heat capacity and mass/energy transport with the atmosphere dominate the earth's weather.

"In comparison to water in all of its forms, the effect of the carbon dioxide increase over the last century on the temperature of the earth is about as significant as a few farts in a hurricane!"

(Siddons, Hertzberg and Schreuder, "A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?")

"The Earth is not "unusually" warm. It is the application of the predictive equation [Stefan-Boltzmann formula] that is faulty. The ability of common substances to store heat makes a mockery of blackbody estimates. The belief that radiating trace gases explain why earth's surface temperature deviates from a simple mathematical formula is based on deeply erroneous assumptions about theoretical vs. real bodies."

These are just a few examples of the mounting criticism directed at the very foundation of the AGW theory -- a theory driven not by science, but rather by a cabal of powerful elitists who seek to dominate and control the planet's economy through a system of confiscatory taxation and Orwellian people controls.

The "science" underlying greenhouse warming alarmism increasingly is being exposed as pure fantasy -- a house of cards built on manipulated climate models supporting pre-ordained conclusions based on cherry-picked land-based temperature data that has been homogenized, interpolated and adjusted to produce, without fail, a politically correct increase in planetary warming.

But as Gerlich and Tscheuschner observe, the science of climate change is fraught with uncertainties and unknowns that make a mockery of the predictive powers of laboratory computer models:

"The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing in their own models."



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


22 July, 2010

A classic example of jury-rigging

After Climategate and Glaciergate the UN (Mr. Ban Ki-Moon) and IPCC (R.Pachauri) have selected, who should investigate them. I wonder who Al Capone would have appointed to investigate him, if he had the chance, and what the results would have been? Probably similar.

Ban and Rajendra chose the InterAcademy Council and the InterAcademy Council established a 12 member investigation panel. The investigating panel is an interesting bunch of fellas. We have already heard rumours about some of them. This is probably the first attempt to asseses them all.

The list looks like they all met at some stinking rich UN reception with plenty of caviar and expensive vintage wine. All of them are CEOs or top managers. The nobility. I did not know, that being an independent and unbiased investigator requires one to be a VIP top manager?

(Carbon market is a big business for rich VIPs. Who else would be better to investigate it than VIPs themselves? They know the ropes.)

So here they are. They are totally independent, unbiased and with no ties to environmentalism, UN, Pachauri or suchlike. Totally independent. See for yourself.

1. Harold T. SHAPIRO: Chairman of the investigation committee. By a coincidence he is in the board of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which happens to be one of the key sponsors of IAC (source). By another coincidence he is one of the top sponsors of Mr.Pachauri’s company TERI-NA (North America). For instance in 2001 Pachauri got some 45 000 USD from them for his TERI-NA (see here and here, page. 21). Pachauri is to be investigated by his own sponsor? Well, I guess one has to watch over his own investments, right?

2. Roseanne DIAB: She was in the International Ozone Commission (IOC), where – I guess –they would not let any climate skeptic. The World Wildlife Fund gave her a grant for the environmental education (read: brainwashing, source). Not only she is an environmentalist, she even poisons young minds with that green slime (source).

3. Carlos Henrique de BRITO CRUZ: Director of FAPESP, a governmental bureau, which finances research and technical development in Brazil. Is Brito one of the people, who decide, that alarmist research gets all the cash, while climate sceptical scientists get none? This is a problem, which for instance the hurricane expert William Gray complained about (see). You get no grants, you cannot produce a study, so they kick you out of the Uni. Publish or perish. Or is Brito the exception?

4. Maureen CROPPER: An economist from the World Bank (along with UN this is the institution, for which IAC is supposed to provide advisory services). What is she doing here? World Bank is giving advice to itself? Also, Maureen is on board of the eco-foundation Resources for the Future (see), where a climate skeptic certainly would not sit. RFF is a sponsor (yeah, another one) and a partner of Mr.Pachauri’s TERI-NA. What is worse, Maureen was a member of the advisory panel to EPA. The very EPA, which is now making a coup-d-etat to impose the carbon tax, bypassing the US Congress, see).

5. Jingyun FANG: Teaches at the department of environmentalism of the Beijing University. Hardly a place to look for an unbiased person or a skeptic.

6. Louise O. FRESCO: She is on board of Rabobank, which organises, among others, trade with carbon credits at the electronic stock-exchange CLIMEX. If she fails to “exonerate” IPCC, her colleagues will lose cash at the stock exchange (see).

7. Syukuro MANABE: A pioneer of computerised 3D models of climate. Worked with NOAA. I doubt he would like to make his friends at NOAA angry. He would not get invited to BBQ any more. BTW, he is nicknamed a “godfather of greenhouse gases”, due to his climate models. And now they want him to be unbiased when assessing his own models, his life work? (source). Something like: “My bleeming models overestimated CO2 forcing, my work is crap, let me get some rope and hang myself.”

8. Goverdhan MEHTA: A former director of the "Indian Institute of Science" in Bangalore. This institute has many ties to Pachauri’s TERI. It was established as a foundation of the Tata company. Tata was started a century ago by an Indian industrialist (an Indian Ford). Pachauri is now the boss at Tata. (see).

9. Mario MOLINA: One of the leading authors of the Fourth Assessment Report of IPCC. So now he is invited to assess his own work? How is he supposed to question himself? He is a director from the freaked Union of Concerned Scientists. He signed a letter to the US Congress, urging them to forget Climategate, which is just a storm in a teapot. A solid unbiased guy.

10. Sir Peter WILLIAMS: A vice president of the British Royal Society. We know the management of RS are renowned alarmists. Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society, is an apocalyptic visionary (in an interview he said: “The chances, that mankind survives the next century, is 50:50”). Rees is up to his neck stuck in the fraudulent whitewash investigation of UEA. His predecessor Lord may called sceptics “crackpots”. And guess what. This green extremist lord May was a member of IAC in years 2005-2009! I have no reason to believe Williams is any different.

11. Ernst-Ludwig WINNACKER: The first director of the European Research Council. I doubt the maoist Barosso would entrust this job to someone, who is not a believer in the green religion. After all the ERC was founded to strengthen the iron grip of politicians over the helpless scientists. To make them write what the politicians want.

12. Abdul Hamid ZAKRI: The director of the "Institute of Advanced Studies" (A UN university) (see). Also he is a director of "Centre for Global Sustainability Studies" in Malaysia, where alarmist faith is a must. Also an advisor to the PM of Malaysia.

And the IAC director? Robbert Dijkgraaf is nuts. In an interview he said, that they would not investigate the Climategate e-mails, because, they are not “directly related” to the work of IPCC. Amazing. And I thought, that they are e-mails of the leading authors of IPCC describing the background, how the IPCC procedures work.

I guess they selected the members by randomly tearing a page out of the “Who is Who in Alarmism” encyclopaedia. It seems like choosing NSDAP officials to investigate Herman Göring at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

All these people have built their careers on the IPCC alarmism. It is their faith. It is unlikely any of them would be willing to undermine their own careers by biting the hand that feeds them.

Is it really such a problem in a planet with 7 billion people to find 12 unbiased people without ties to Pachauri and his Blues Boys? And why is there no climate skeptic there? What sort of court is that without any prosecutor being invited?


Some reasons not to scare children

'The truth is the worst will probably not happen in our lifetime. But it will happen in our children's lifetime. And it will happen big time during their children's lifetimes.'

Three sentences above taken from a statement issued to justify spreading alarm about climate into schools. I want to dwell on the confidence in the assertions: the 'it will happen' and the 'it will happen big time'.

The truth is we are not in a position to make such confident claims. Our knowledge is patchy. Our computer models are recognised as inadequate for such forecasts, even by their builders. They prefer to use the term 'projections' instead, but that is merely playing with words, a 'game' exploited successfully by those who facilitated and did the final edits of IPCC summary reports for policy makers, perhaps anxious that those policy makers (who partook in some editing of the reports, see (2)), be not too distracted by the primitive condition of climate science.

I make my counter-case in four chunks below.

(i) Some of the assertions underpinning the climate models are simplistic, speculative, and wrong.

The application of a 'greenhouse effect' which does not explain why greenhouses get hot, the use of radiation budgets which seem to defy the laws of thermodynamics by displaying a relatively cool body (the troposphere) transferring heat to a relatively warm one (the Earth's surface) , and the insertion of a speculative feedback mechanism involving water vapour. Previous posts in this series have materials relevant to this.

'The scientific method requires that a scientific hypothesis be judged by its ability to produce correct predictions. The scientific hypothesis of human-caused climate change has failed this test of science. To paraphrase the eloquent statement of Professor Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics, it does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, or how many of you there are, and certainly not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.'
Source: (3).

In the 2001 report they [the IPCC] said, “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate state is not possible.” James Lovelock, Gaia hypothesis speculator said, “It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think that we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.” Kevin Trenberth, IPCC author and CRU associate said, “It’s very clear we do not have a climate observing system… This may be a shock to many people who assume that we do know adequately what’s going on with the climate, but we don’t.”

More leads on the limitations of climate models can be found by using the tag 'model_limitations' at:

(ii) The forecasting methodologies, or rather lack of them, deployed to raise alarm are grossly unsatisfactory.
Experts in forecasting methodology, Green and Armstrong have this to say:

'The IPCC WG1 Report was regarded as providing the most credible long-term forecasts of global average temperatures by 31 of the 51 scientists and others involved in forecasting climate change who responded to our survey. We found no references in the 1056-page Report to the primary sources of information on forecasting methods despite the fact these are conveniently available in books, articles, and websites. We audited the forecasting processes described in Chapter 8 of the IPCCs WG1 Report to assess the extent to which they complied with forecasting principles. We found enough information to make judgments on 89 out of a total of 140 forecasting principles. The forecasting procedures that were described violated 72 principles.

Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical. The forecasts in the Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing. Research on forecasting has shown that experts predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainly and complexity. We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.'
Source: (5).

(iii) Many of the IPCC-projected temperatures over the next 100 years might be troublesome, may not be unprecedented, and could be mainly beneficial.

In which case, even for those naive enought to believe these forecasts, there is no need for alarm, only the sensible anticipation of challenges. In particular, we can prepare schoolchildren, rather than scare schoolchildren. A popular article mentioning some of the benefits of a warmer climate is to be found here: (6). More on benefits, with further links here: (7). It should be noted that warmer air temperatures of a few degrees on average will not raise air temperatures over the major icecaps and glaciers above freezing - they may in fact grow due to increased snowfall according to some warming scenarios. The headline-generating scare of massive rises in sea-level is probably one of the least credible of all the assertions of the doomsters.

(iv) A cooler world would present enormously larger problems and challenges than a warmer one.

Yet this possibility is apparently dismissed by the IPCC, despite the strong evidence from the historical records that a new glaciation will arrive due course to end our rather pleasantly warm interglacial period, and that there are good reasons to take seriously the possibility of a briefer cooling spell over the next 20 to 30 years. The assurance with which assertions are made about warming has served to weaken our ability to deal with cooling, for example by wasting money on extravagant and unreliable energy sources instead of building more coal and nuclear power stations, and encouraging research in both technologies. A website dedicated to cooling, with many links on the topic, is here: (8).


The confidence in climate predictions is misplaced. The alarms about warming are over the top. Cooling is a far bigger concern. But note the phrase ‘the worst will probably not happened in our lifetime’. This has immense value in freeing the proponent from having to produce convincing evidence. ‘The worst is yet to come!’ they can cry without fear of refutation. Like the High Street placard bearers sometimes seen in cartoons and in reality, with their ‘The End of the World is Nigh’ warnings, they can if they wish define‘Nigh’ to mean '50 to 100 years from now’ and continue their pacing without fear of contradiction. But while we'd chuckle at their harmless eccentricity, the IPCC has found a more sophisticated way of doing the same thing, and has been taken so seriously by many governments that they are threatening to devastate their own economies in response, and of course harm the physical and mental wellbeings of their citizens on the way.

SOURCE (See the original for references).

The author of the comments above has just completed a 25 year spell in statistical consultancy for industry. Before that he worked as a physicist in nuclear fuel research for three years, as a schoolteacher for one year, and as a meteorologist for four years

Eminent Physicists who are skeptical about man-made global warming

But they could be even more skeptical

Freeman Dyson:

* The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

Robert Laughlin:

* The geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we’re gazing into the energy future, not because it’s unimportant, but because it’s beyond our power to control.

Edward Teller:

* Society's emissions of carbon dioxide may or may not turn out to have something significant to do with global warming--the jury is still out.

Frederick Seitz:

* Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.

Robert Jastrow:

* The scientific facts indicate that all the temperature changes observed in the last 100 years were largely natural changes and were not caused by carbon dioxide produced in human activities.

William Nirenberg:

* The available data on climate change, however, do not support these predictions, nor do they support the idea that human activity has caused, or will cause, a dangerous increase in global temperatures. ...These facts indicate that theoretical estimates of the greenhouse problem have greatly exaggerated its seriousness.

We see that the main skeptical argument used by these eminent physicists is that climate modeling is complex and that observations do not match very well with observations. Fair enough.

But the eminent physicists do not criticize the very physical basis of climate alarmism: the greenhouse effect supposedly resulting from atmospheric backradiation: The mantra that says that doubled CO2 will cause a global warming of 1.2 C, by basic physics which cannot be questioned by anybody eminent or not.

Does it mean that the eminent physicists possess a basic physical theory supporting the mantra of the greenhouse effect and backradiation? No, it does not seem to be the case. It seems that this theory is hanging freely in the air, because upon scrutiny it evaporates into the atmosphere. Maybe it is now time for eminent physicists to make this clear to the World and its people and leaders?


Did NASA/GISS discover 30% more land in the Northern Hemisphere?

Some very strange statistical jiggery pokery from Jim Hansen's outfit

Frank Lansner has been a busy man, and he’s asking some very thought provoking questions.

The Northern Hemisphere has a ratio of 40% land to 60% oceans, and the Hadley Met Centre seems to use a similar ratio (NH HadCrut Series: 58% ocean, 42% land). But Frank Lansner wondered why, when he graphed the GISS land-data-set alongside the combined-sea-surface-temperatures (CSST), GISS comes up with an “averaged” line that runs much closer to the land data set and not the sea surface set. If it were weighted 60:40 (ocean:land) the combined Northern Hemisphere line ought to run slightly closer to the ocean based temperatures.

So Lansner mixed the land and sea temperatures in different ratios and graphed them and an odd thing occurred. Perhaps there is some good reason for it, but the GISS NH average line is currently running close to a mix that could be almost 70% land, and only 30% ocean. Back in 1985 the NH Average was closer to the sea temps as would be expected. In fact as late as 1995, the NH line still ran at around 40% land area. But somewhere post 1995 – 1999 for some reason (see the update at the bottom for some good suggestions) the average tracks closer to the 70% line. According to Frank, this effect does not occur with the HadCrut average.

Frank is looking for feedback and suggestions, and wondering if there could be any other explanation. So am I. The effect is clear also in this graph. The land-based datasets are the brown ones near the top. The blue ones in the middle are GISS and then below that Hadley, then finally the black line is the satellite measured average for land and sea, and the combined sea surface temperatures. It’s interesting how closely the satellite set compares with the sea surface data.

Lansner points out that the key difference between the brown lines at the top and the blue-black lines underneath is that Urban Heat Island only affects the lines at the top (i.e. there is no urban heat island over the oceans, and not too much “urbanity” near the satellites either). Lansner further split up the satellite measurements into satellite-land versus satellite-ocean and what’s especially interesting is how the satellite-land values agree better with the ocean measures after 2001 than they do with the surface-land thermometers. Are we eyeballing the effects of UHI and siting problems in the thermometers on the land, and are GISS somehow inadvertantly amplifying these artificial effects with weighting, homogenisation, gridding or averaging proceedures that rely more on these land measurements than on the independently consistent satelites and sea surface measures?

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Faulty estimates of sea levels

It seems that the "best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley" -- to quote an ancient and much respected authority

Discussing: Quinn, K.J. and Ponte, R.M. 2010. Uncertainty in ocean mass trends from GRACE. Geophysical Journal International 181: 762-768.


The authors write that "ocean mass, together with steric sea level, are the key components of total observed sea level change," and that "monthly observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) can provide estimates of the ocean mass component of the sea level budget, but full use of the data requires a detailed understanding of its errors and biases."

What was done

In an effort designed to provide some of that "detailed understanding" of GRACE's "errors and biases," Quinn and Ponte conducted what they describe as "a detailed analysis of processing and post-processing factors affecting GRACE estimates of ocean mass trends," by "comparing results from different data centers and exploring a range of post-processing filtering and modeling parameters, including the effects of geocenter motion, PGR [postglacial rebound], and atmospheric pressure."

What was learned

The two researchers report that the mean ocean mass trends they calculated "vary quite dramatically depending on which GRACE product is used, which adjustments are applied, and how the data are processed." More specifically, they state that "the PGR adjustment ranges from 1 to 2 mm/year, the geocenter adjustment may have biases on the order of 0.2 mm/year, and the atmospheric mass correction may have errors of up to 0.1 mm/year," while "differences between GRACE data centers are quite large, up to 1 mm/year, and differences due to variations in the processing may be up to 0.5 mm/year."

What it means

In light of the fact that Quinn and Ponte indicate that "over the last century, the rate of sea level rise has been only 1.7 ± 0.5 mm/year, based on tide gauge reconstructions (Church and White, 2006)," it seems a bit strange that one would ever question that result on the basis of a GRACE-derived assessment, with its many and potentially very large "errors and biases."

In addition, as Ramillien et al. (2006) have noted, "the GRACE data time series is still very short," and results obtained from it "must be considered as preliminary since we cannot exclude that apparent trends [derived from it] only reflect inter-annual fluctuations." And as Quinn and Ponte also add, "non-ocean signals, such as in the Indian Ocean due to the 2004 Sumatran-Andean earthquake, and near Greenland and West Antarctica due to land signal leakage, can also corrupt the ocean trend estimates."

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


Not Such a Bright Idea After All

For those who are advocates of clean, renewable energy, the sun couldn’t shine brighter on solar panels. Through government incentives for homeowners and through grants and loans for solar companies, one would think that the production of solar energy electricity in the U.S. would be increasing exponentially. Yet it still only accounts for 0.02 percent of net electricity generated in the U.S.

Ouch. It seems like that number should be higher with more homeowners and businesses installing solar panels on their rooftops, but solar electricity has a few obstacles still to face.

“Solar energy electricity still has a lot of questions marks,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “Right now solar panels aren’t a viable part of the market.”

The use of solar to create electricity is not a bad idea. But the federal government creating a false market using taxpayer’s money is. Before Americans take to solar panels as a valuable product a few kinks need to be worked out with the technology.

First of all you need sun. Because sunlight isn’t constant other forms of electricity are needed as backup. Even when the sun is shining, changes in atmospheric pressure, pollution, dust and the earth’s positioning to the sun can affect the productivity of photovoltaic solar panels.

In a summary of solar power, the Institute of Energy Research (IER) states, “Though solar technologies are improving, meeting current U.S. electricity needs with today’s PV technology would require about 10,000 square miles of solar panels — an area the size of New Hampshire and Rhode Island combined.”

The summary goes onto say that considerations would have to be made for power lines needed to get the electricity from the sunny desert to other areas of the nation that don’t have as much sunlight. If electricity had to travel great distances across these transmission lines to get to its final destination, then much of it would naturally be lost along the way.

Avoiding power lines and lost electricity, homes and businesses are investing in this relatively new technology as part of their infrastructure.

Gary Gerber, president and CEO of Sun Light & Power and president of CALSEIA in California, says for an average-sized house in California a solar system carries a price tag of about $30,000. That does come down some through various state rebates and federal government incentives, but it is still a costly investment — especially when factoring in the need for backup electricity.

Gerber stands by the benefits of a residential solar system. “It is a simple job of math,” he says. “There is great certainty about what kind of savings you will produce; the real unknown is what the energy costs will be in the next 20 years.”

He’s absolutely right. In California energy prices have been steadily rising year after year, Gerber says, but that doesn’t mean that trend will continue. It’s a gamble. And it’s a gamble that can cost you $30,000 if you make a wrong decision.

If you decide to buy a solar system for your home, how long can you expect the panels to last?
“Solar systems on average last 30 years,” Gerber says. “A 30- to 40-year lifespan is not out of the question at all.” Gerber has a strong warranty on his solar panels for 25 years.

There are still concerns about how long solar systems will last and what happens to them if they no longer work or break. Gerber admits that the industry is young and growing. “People are looking into and doing research on what the long-term solutions are,” he says.

While most solar panels are made of silicon, a well-used and understood material in the U.S., other types of solar modules contain chemicals like Cadmium Telluride, which can be problematic. Cadmium is primarily used for the production of rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries and also can be used in coatings and plating and as stabilizers for plastics, as indicated by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is nominating Cadmium Telluride to be included in the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

Treehugger, an organization focused on green news and product information, had this to say about the chemicals, “How can we conscionably posit that cadmium telluride is fine in solar panels just because that technology is ‘green’ relative to electricity production, without having seen a full-blown risk management evaluation that encompasses how cadmium is produced and incorporated into the CdTe matrix, and, then, how it will be reclaimed at product end of life? Well,…‘we’ can’t do that, is the answer.”

Because the technology of solar panels is so new, the recycling methods are still unknown. For the “green” market especially, this poses a heavy risk to the environment. Gerber is confident that the technology will be way beyond what it is now by the time these modules need to be recycled.

It seems the environmental-friendly solar panel industry still has some details to work out. Not to mention most production, about 90 percent, of photovoltaic solar panels takes place overseas and requires electricity in the production methods, thus resulting in the release of greenhouse gases.

Regardless of the fiscal costs to homeowners and the posed environmental costs to Mother Nature, the federal government continues its heavy push for solar energy through the use of solar panels. So much so that because production costs in the U.S. are so high for making solar panels, federal stimulus (taxpayer) money is being shipped overseas along with the manufacturing of the modules. This doesn’t sound like a big win for U.S.

“The American people want an end to government picking winners and losers in the energy sector with subsidies to politically favored industries,” says ALG’s Wilson. “If there was a market for solar panels, the free market would create it on its own. Until then, we should continue producing nuclear, oil, coal, and natural gas resources that provide the foundation for meeting the nation’s power needs.”

Until there is a bigger demand for solar panels in the U.S. and until the job market and economy are back in stable conditions, maybe the government should focus its efforts elsewhere.

Just because the federal government thinks it has a bright idea, doesn’t mean the sun shines on it 24 hours a day.



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


21 July, 2010

Green Britain faces blackouts

BRITAIN faces years of blackouts and soaring electricity bills because of the drive toward green power, a leading energy expert warned last night. A growing obsession with global warming and “renewable” sources threatens the stability of our supply.

Derek Birkett, a former Grid Control Engineer who has a lifetime’s experience in electricity supply throughout Britain, warned that the cost of the crisis could match that of the recent banking collapse.

And he claimed that renewable energy expectations were now nothing more than “dangerous illusions” which would hit consumers hard in the pocket. “We are going to pay a very heavy price for the fact there has been a catalogue of neglect by the former Government which has focused on renewable energy sources,” Mr Birkett said.

“We need a mix of sources and this takes time. Renewables have the problem of being intermittent, particularly wind, and we need more back-up capacity. By having all our sources in one basket we are risking disruption.

“There is a lot of over-enthusiasm by governments to push global warming, which makes me very suspicious.” Less than five per cent of our energy comes from renewable sources but the “disproportionate” cost of implementing green technology runs into many millions of pounds, he said.

In a new book, When Will the Lights Go Out, published this month, Mr Birkett claims things will only get worse. He said the “lavish incentives” being offered to developers of green energy are being passed on to customers as the UK struggles to meet EU directives on carbon emissions.

He also warned that a growing reliance on renewable energy is creating widespread uncertainty in the electricity supply chain.

With many nuclear power stations and coal plants ending their lives and being taken out of service we “can’t rule out” people being left without power. The real problem is the cost of making sure this does not happen, and Britain’s lights “do not go out”, he warned.

“The country is going to have to make a choice whether to go along with green ideas of renewable generation or go back to coal and nuclear power.”


Even the New Scientist says that the climategate inquiries were an unconvincing whitewash

Is Climategate finally over? It ought to be, with the publication of the third UK report into the emails leaked from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Incredibly, none looked at the quality of the science itself.

The MPs' inquiry - rushed out before the UK general election on 6 May - ducked the science because the university said it was setting up an "independent scientific assessment panel" chaired by geologist Ron Oxburgh.

After publishing his five-page epistle, Oxburgh declared "the science was not the subject of our study". Finally, last week came former civil servant Muir Russell's 150-page report. Like the others, he lambasted the CRU for its secrecy but upheld its integrity - despite declaring his study "was not about... the content or quality of [CRU's] scientific work".

Though the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong, this omission matters. How can we know whether CRU researchers were properly exercising their judgement? Without dipping his toes into the science, how could Russell tell whether they were misusing their power as peer reviewers to reject papers critical of their own research, or keep sceptical research out of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

Russell's report was much tougher on data secrecy, finding a "consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness". Key data on matters of public importance - like CRU's assembly of 160 years of global thermometer data - cannot be regarded as private property. Even so, he ought to have joined Oxburgh in calling for greater documentation of the "judgmental decisions" that turned raw data into the graphs of global average temperatures. Data manipulation is the stuff of science, but that manipulation has to be as open and transparent as the data itself.

Russell's team left other stones unturned. They decided against detailed analysis of all the emails in the public domain. They examined just three instances of possible abuse of peer review, and just two cases when CRU researchers may have abused their roles as authors of IPCC reports. There were others. They have not studied hundreds of thousands more unpublished emails from the CRU. Surely openness would require their release.

All this, plus the failure to investigate whether emails were deleted to prevent their release under freedom of information laws, makes it harder to accept Russell's conclusion that the "rigour and honesty" of the scientists concerned "are not in doubt".

Some will argue it is time to leave Climategate behind. But it is difficult to justify the conclusion of Edward Acton, University of East Anglia vice-chancellor, that the CRU has been "completely exonerated". Openness in sharing data, even with your critics, is a legal requirement.

But what happened to intellectual candour - especially in conceding the shortcomings of these inquiries and discussing the way that science is done. Without candour, public trust in climate science cannot be restored, nor should it be.


Commentary on the above doubts here

Scientific malfeasance

Dr. Martin Hertzberg

After a brief respite to digest the “climategate” scandal and the IPCC's negligent acceptance of fraudulent claims about melting Himalayan glaciers, the SDN echo chamber of environmental propaganda has resumed in full form with the Peters-deBuys article of July 17. Such activists are trumpeting the recent spring increase of 0.1 C in average temperature while they completely ignored the previous decade decrease of 0.25 C.

The environmental propagandists are now back on message with their talking points in preparation for the Senate's consideration of an energy bill. The article is right about one thing: namely, that you should look at the data yourself; but not the eco-massaged data they recommend but rather the raw data as summarized in www.climate4you then click on May 2010.

The data show nothing particularly dramatic for the last several decades: temperatures, polar ice coverage, and sea level fluctuations that are all well within the range of normal variability. For more details, see my recent Café Scientifique talk on and enter “climategate” and “hertzberg” in the search box. The data show that average Earth temperatures do not correlate with the recent increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and that neither of those quantities correlate in any way with the human emission of CO2 by fossil fuel combustion.

The entire theory that “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere can reradiate energy back to the Earth and thus cause more heating, has been proven to violate the laws of thermodynamics, and thus to be completely devoid of physical reality. Acceptance of that theory by some journals, scientific organizations, and government agencies both national and international, represents scientific malfeasance on a grand scale.


New British PM Abandons Labour's Green Spending Spree

DAVID Cameron is to slash spending on green technology but pour hundreds of millions of pounds into charities, voluntary groups and churches, the News of the World can reveal.

The Prime Minister's first pledge after taking over as Conservative Party leader was to slash greenhouse gasses and promote eco-friendly energy.

But he has shelved a £1 billion fund to invest in new British companies using green technology.

The money was supposed to be used by a Green Investment Bank which would plough cash into firms building offshore wind and wave farms, green power stations and other ambitious projects. It would have come from the sale of assets such as the Channel Tunnel rail link and the Port of Dover. Now any cash from any asset sell-offs will go back into government coffers to pay off debts.

Instead, Mr Cameron - whose party's logo is a green tree - will tomorrow reveal plans for a "Big Society Bank". In a speech in the North West, he will say that more than £350million sitting in unused or dormant bank accounts across the country will be used to fund the new ethical bank. The cash will then be handed out in low interest loans to start up community schemes. The Big Society Bank will be up and running within a year.

Mr Cameron's idea involves transferring power away from the state and giving individuals more responsibility.

He wants to cut state spending to help slash Britain's massive deficit. But he will promise these new schemes will ensure vital local projects which have depended on the government for cash will have MORE money to play with.

However, to do that, the PM has had to shelve plans to invest in firms setting up "green jobs." His Labour predecessor Gordon Brown promised to create a million jobs by investing in new green companies. But the money was never there because government borrowing had got so high.

Former Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "This development shows that the coalition is abandoning Labour's strategy of backing green industries to create the jobs of the future. "Failing to press ahead with the Green Investment Bank damages our chances of leading the world in the green economy of the future. The short-termist, anti-industry mindset of the 1980s is back."


Bad air in “green” buildings

A bit of dissension from within the Green/Left, it seems

As the “green design” economy grows, consumers tend to equate energy-efficient construction with environmentalism. We assume green buildings are in the interest of both the planet and public health. But a recent dust-up between a nonprofit that certifies energy-efficient buildings and a nonprofit concerned about human health has challenged this easy association, raising questions about the costs of going “green.”

A May report from Connecticut-based Environment and Human Health, Inc., titled “LEED Certification: Where Energy Efficiency Collides with Human Health,” raises concerns about indoor air quality in LEED-certified buildings. A certification of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The report notes that LEED certification offers a total of 110 points in seven categories, and that it’s possible to get the top rating—Platinum—while scoring zero points (out of 15) in “indoor environmental quality.”

The seven LEED categories include energy and atmosphere; sustainable sites; indoor environmental quality; materials and resources; water efficiency; innovation in design; and bonus credits. Of the 110 points, 35 are allocated to energy and atmosphere.

The report also raises questions about the quality of water (not just water efficiency), and the presence of pesticides in the building. It states, “There is no legal requirement to inform occupants about the chemicals that have been applied, their potential health effects, or their rate of dissipation.”

The report recommends remedies to these problems, such as putting more health experts on the USGBC board and requiring that builders earn a minimum number of points in each category.

Scot Horst, senior vice president for LEED at USGBC, said EHHI’s objections seemed based on theory. “In practice,” he said, “it’s very hard to earn a Platinum rating without addressing indoor air quality.”

According to the report, as buildings become “greener,” i.e., tighter and more energy-efficient, the danger of trapping pollutants inside increases. The report’s lead author is John Wargo, a professor of risk analysis and environmental policy at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In an e-mail, he said USGBC certification fails to mandate adequate “ventilation rates.”

“The solution to pollution is not dilution, as the ventilation standards suggest,” Wargo writes. “The true solution is to avoid bringing the hazardous chemicals into the built environment in the first place. “

New Haven has 12 LEED-certified buildings, three of which are Platinum-rated. One of them is 360 State, an upscale apartment building with ground level retail at the edge of downtown scheduled to open later this year. “The [EHHI] report is right on target,” developer Bruce Becker says. “We took indoor air quality very seriously.” He says he spent an additional $100,000 to install wood cabinets and doors that had not been treated with the preservative formaldehyde. “It off-gases and that’s a problem; a green building tends not to breathe as much as traditional buildings. If you have a tight building that doesn’t allow any air movement, it’s poisonous.”

In a June 4 open letter to EHHI, USGBC founder and President S. Richard Fedrizzi wrote, “We could not agree more with the need for serious action on improved indoor air quality. But your report fails to provide a complete picture of how interconnected the built environment and public health truly are.” He then invited EHHI to meet and discuss how the two groups might collaborate.

EHHI accepted the invitation. The meeting will take place on July 22 in one of New Haven’s architectural jewels: the Platinum-LEED-certified Kroon Hall, the new home of Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Regardless of the outcome, Wargo says he plans to continue working “to assure that green buildings are healthy buildings.”


The Green plan to kill your job

Andrew Bolt points out the insane policies of Australia's Green Party -- a grab-bag of just about every nutty Leftist idea ever thought of. Australia's Senate is elected by a form of proportional representation so the Green Party does get some seats there

ONE election result is already clear - and makes this debate about Tony Abbott’s “secret” plans even more brainless. Wake up, people. The Greens will have the balance of power in the Senate.

Labor sealed that deal when it agreed this week to swap preferences with a party that its wiser heads know would devastate the economy if it could. That’s politics, I guess. Winning is all, and to hell with the national interest.

But how grotesquely irresponsible. Labor is helping into power a party that demands we scrap our power stations and close industries that earn us at least $60 billion a year. Oh, and it wants us all to have more holidays, because hard work and making money really sucks.

About 12 per cent of voters say this is just the party for them, and even Labor now says it’s the best of the rest. Yes, that really is how infantile our society, and our politics especially, has become.

But Labor, whose primary vote has been unusually low, says this only because it badly needs Greens preferences to tip it over the line. In exchange, it’s agreed to help the Greens save its own five Senate seats - and to probably win a couple more.

It was already virtually inevitable Labor would win back some Senate seats from the Coalition, which overachieved in 2004, the Mark Latham election. But this deal also kisses goodbye to Victoria’s Family First Senator, Steve Fielding, who lucked his seat in 2004 when Labor absentmindedly preferenced him but will lose it now Labor is steering its second votes to the Greens instead.

That will be all it takes. After this election, no Government will be able to pass a law against the Opposition’s objection without the support of the Greens, and Greens alone.

Never before has this party had so much power - and so much opportunity to finally inflict on us some of the policies that so many innocent voters have treated as a just-dreaming position statement, rather than a deliberate manifesto for the de-industrialisation of our economy and the tribalising of our society.

This now is the real issue: how much of our future did Labor sell off just to get these Greens’ preferences? Never mind this week’s faked scare campaign about what workplace laws Opposition leader Abbott might secretly plan. The hapless schmuck couldn’t get them through a Greens-Labor Senate even if he wanted to.

No, what really needs debate is what the Greens might now demand from a Gillard government in exchange for its vote. And that, in turn, needs journalists especially to at last take seriously this party’s policies.

The truth is that the Greens’ manifesto has not been written down just for a joke or some mood music. It is the serious work of the serious ideological warriors hiding behind Bob Brown’s amiable front.

Vote Greens in this election and you won’t get cuddlier koalas, bigger hugs and cleaner rivers.In fact, you’ll be voting to “transition from coal exports”, which means ending a trade worth $55 billion a year. You’ll be voting to “end ... the mining and export of uranium”, worth another $900 million a year. You’ll be demanding farmers “remove as far as possible” all genetically modified crops, which includes GM cotton worth about $1.3 billion a year.

You’ll be voting to close down many other businesses and industries, including the export of woodchips from old-growth forests, certain kinds of fishing, oil and mineral exploration in parks or wildernesses, and new coal mines of any kind. You’ll even be voting to close the Lucas Heights nuclear facility, even though it actually produces treatments for cancer.

In fact, you’ll be voting for policies deliberately intended to make us poorer. Less industrialised. Or as the Greens’ policy puts it, for a “reduction of Australia’s use of natural resources to a level that is sustainable and socially just”. Whatever that formula means.

Maybe you think it won’t matter if a few industries get shut, as long as the rest make up for this loss of 6 per cent of our national income each year. Maybe you really are that stupid.

But you haven’t heard the rest of the Greens’ policies yet, have you? You see, the Greens also plan to shut the coal-fired power stations that produce 80 per cent of the electricity used to run our homes, factories, offices, hospitals, shops, traffic lights and airports. They not only “oppose the establishment of new coal-fired power stations” - claiming they make the planet dangerously hot - but intend to ban new coal supplies for those we already have. What’s more, they’ll hit our power stations with a new carbon tax to make wicked electricity too expensive for you.

Do you have any idea how many businesses would be driven broke by this green frolic? How many hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost?

Already Labor’s threat to bring in emissions trading some time after 2012 has caused power station operators to cancel half the $18 billion they’d planned a year ago to spend on maintaining the ones they had or building the new power stations we’ll need as we grow bigger and richer. Power shortages now seem certain.

But if you think the Greens must surely have alternative power sources in mind to make up for the 80 per cent they’ll switch off, you’re dreaming. The Greens want to keep Labor’s ban on nuclear power, the most likely alternative and greenest source of base-load power. They even want to scrap government-financed research into carbon capture and storage, which is Labor’s one hope of making coal-fired stations still greenhouse-friendly.

Sure, the Greens do promise to somehow get 30 per cent of our electricity from “renewable” sources within just 10 years, but there’s a small problem. Correction, huge one. We’ve only managed to lift our renewable energy to 6 per cent after all these years of subsidies, and three quarters of that is from hydro-electricity. But guess which party bans any more of these river-killing dams?

So consider. If the Greens get their avowed way, we’ll have huge industries banned, businesses driven broke and power prices driven through the roof, with not enough electricity for what industries will be left.

So with our income slashed to ribbons, what do the Greens propose? Not deep cuts in every government program, but a spending spree to make Kevin Rudd seem a miser. It’s free money for everyone. If you vote for the Greens, you’re voting for an extra week of holidays for all, “mandated shorter standard working hours”, more pay to women workers, higher pay for casuals, and better weekly benefits to students and artists.

More pay for less work, at the mere stroke of a green pen. Isn’t this a darling way to reorganise the economy? What could possibly go wrong?

Too spendthrift, you complain? Wise up, friend. The Greens have barely started. They promise to lift foreign aid to “a minimum of 0.7 per cent of GDP by 2010”, which means an instant rise in handouts of $4 billion a year.

Another $2 billion a year will go to scrap tertiary fees and forgiving all HECS debts. Billions more will go on putting train lines underground and subsidising “green” power.

On and on the spending spirals, as if the Greens are the party for spoiled children using daddy’s credit card, with not the slightest giddy thought of how it’s all going to be paid for.

Oh, excuse me - the Greens do lazily assume that the bill will be covered by hiking corporate taxes, hitting the richer 5 per cent of us with wealth taxes, and slugging air travellers. Show us your costings, Bob. Wouldn’t come within a bull’s roar.

I’d be amazed if after a year of two of this that anyone would want to come to a country that by then would be a smoking hole in the ground. Yet the Greens plan to do their airy best to attract more beggars to their new nation of freeloaders.

Any “asylum seeker” making it here by boat would be freed into the community within 14 days, security checks permitting, and rewarded with instant benefits, medical services and school for the children. These tempting goodies will be offered to “environmental refugees”, too.

Guess to the nearest 10,000 how many people from Third World countries will want to cash in? Guess how many more billions this will cost, and what fresh tensions we’ll import?

By then, though, we’ll have more of our own ethnic tensions than ever, as the Greens divide us into tribes, squabbling over precedent and spoils.

Aborigines will be written into the constitution as having “prior occupation and sovereignty” over this shared land, and will be allowed to “reclaim language, heritage and cultural practices”. Like payback?

The more newly arrived will win the right to have government programs “implemented in languages other than English”, and to have their “cultural and linguistic diversity ... respected”. Like shariah law?

As for our defence ties with the United States, well, phooey to those white capitalist imperialists. The Greens want to close the joint bases here, pull out of the US missile defence program and end the ANZUS treaty. Naturally, many counter-terrorism laws will also be “reformed”. Which means weakened.

There’s not much point in going on, picking out the economic idiocy and social lunacy of a manifesto that would leave us poorer, more divided and more defenceless. The laughing stock of Asia.

It’s all so crazy that you may dismiss it as the idle dreams of homoeopaths in tofu sandals. But a new, militant industrial agenda is also buried in this New Age madness, signalling the arrival in Bob Brown’s party of “watermelon Greens” - green outside and red in, and meaning business big time.

These, like lead NSW candidate Lee Rhiannon, seem Greens more of convenience than faith, using this doctors’ wives party to smuggle in the kind of hard-Left politics that would scare off the voters if they saw it coming under a hammer and sickle.

But be clear: vote for their Greens and you’re voting for a return of union muscle of the most bullying kind. Secret ballots for industrial action would be abolished. Unions would have a formal right to strike, and their victims less right to sue for damages. Union bosses would have more power to barge into your workplace, and to dragoon workers into “industry wide agreements that are union negotiated”.

This is what a vote for the Greens really means. And it’s this party of vandals, tribalists and closet totalitarians that shameless Labor now helps to such threatening influence.



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


20 July, 2010

My Global Warming Skepticism, for Dummies

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Prof. Spencer is an eminent climate scientist and points out many reasons why the case for human emissions causing warming is at least "not proven". He has however always in the past accepted the theory that CO2 COULD cause warming. A recent upwelling of dissent on that point by physical scientists has however obviously jarred him so you will see from the rubric below (under his "7" heading) that he is now reserving judgment on that point. He is leaving open the possibility that the whole theory was misconceived from the beginning and in fact contravenes the laws of physics

I receive many e-mails, and a recurring complaint is that many of my posts are too technical to understand. This morning’s installment arrived with the subject line, “Please Talk to Us”, and suggested I provide short, concise, easily understood summaries and explanations “for dummies”.

So, here’s a list of basic climate change questions, and brief answers based upon what I know today. I might update them as I receive suggestions and comments. I will also be adding links to other sources, and some visual aids, as appropriate.

Deja vu tells me I might have done this once before, but I’m too lazy to go back and see. So, I’ll start over from scratch. (Insert smiley)

It is important to understand at the outset that those of us who are skeptical of mankind’s influence on climate have a wide variety of views on the subject, and we can’t all be right. In fact, in this business, it is really easy to be wrong. It seems like everyone has a theory of what causes climate change. But it only takes one of us to be right for the IPCC’s anthropogenic global warming (AGW) house of cards to collapse.

As I like to say, taking measurements of the climate system is much easier than figuring out what those measurements mean in terms of cause and effect. Generally speaking, it’s not the warming that is in dispute…it’s the cause of the warming.

If you disagree with my views on something, please don’t flame me. Chances are, I’ve already heard your point of view; very seldom am I provided with new evidence I haven’t already taken into account.

1) Are Global Temperatures Rising Now? There is no way to know, because natural year-to-year variability in global temperature is so large, with warming and cooling occurring all the time. What we can say is that surface and lower atmospheric temperature have risen in the last 30 to 50 years, with most of that warming in the Northern Hemisphere. Also, the magnitude of recent warming is somewhat uncertain, due to problems in making long-term temperature measurements with thermometers without those measurements being corrupted by a variety of non-climate effects. But there is no way to know if temperatures are continuing to rise now…we only see warming (or cooling) in the rearview mirror, when we look back in time.

2) Why Do Some Scientists Say It’s Cooling, while Others Say that Warming is Even Accelerating? Since there is so much year-to-year (and even decade-to-decade) variability in global average temperatures, whether it has warmed or cooled depends upon how far back you look in time. For instance, over the last 100 years, there was an overall warming which was stronger toward the end of the 20th Century. This is why some say “warming is accelerating”. But if we look at a shorter, more recent period of time, say since the record warm year of 1998, one could say that it has cooled in the last 10-12 years. But, as I mentioned above, neither of these can tell us anything about whether warming is happening “now”, or will happen in the future.

3) Haven’t Global Temperatures Risen Before? Yes. In the longer term, say hundreds to thousands of years, there is considerable indirect, proxy evidence (not from thermometers) of both warming and cooling. Since humankind can’t be responsible for these early events, this is evidence that nature can cause warming and cooling. If that is the case, it then opens up the possibility that some (or most) of the warming in the last 50 years has been natural, too. While many geologists like to point to much larger temperature changes are believed to have occurred over millions of years, I am unconvinced that this tells us anything of use for understanding how humans might influence climate on time scales of 10 to 100 years.

4) But Didn’t the “Hockey Stick” Show Recent Warming to be Unprecedented? The “hockey Stick” reconstructions of temperature variations over the last 1 to 2 thousand years have been a huge source of controversy. The hockey stick was previously used by the IPCC as a veritable poster child for anthropogenic warming, since it seemed to indicate there have been no substantial temperature changes over the last 1,000 to 2,000 years until humans got involved in the 20th Century. The various versions of the hockey stick were based upon limited amounts of temperature proxy evidence — primarily tree rings — and involved questionable statistical methods. In contrast, I think the bulk of the proxy evidence supports the view that it was at least as warm during the Medieval Warm Period, around 1000 AD. The very fact that recent tree ring data erroneously suggests cooling in the last 50 years, when in fact there has been warming, should be a warning flag about using tree ring data for figuring out how warm it was 1,000 years ago. But without actual thermometer data, we will never know for sure.

5) Isn’t the Melting of Arctic Sea Ice Evidence of Warming? Warming, yes…manmade warming, no. Arctic sea ice naturally melts back every summer, but that meltback was observed to reach a peak in 2007. But we have relatively accurate, satellite-based measurements of Arctic (and Antarctic) sea ice only since 1979. It is entirely possible that late summer Arctic Sea ice cover was just as low in the 1920s or 1930s, a period when Arctic thermometer data suggests it was just as warm. Unfortunately, there is no way to know, because we did not have satellites back then. Interestingly, Antarctic sea ice has been growing nearly as fast as Arctic ice has been melting over the last 30+ years.

6) What about rising sea levels? I must confess, I don’t pay much attention to the sea level issue. I will say that, to the extent that warming occurs, sea levels can be expected to also rise to some extent. The rise is partly due to thermal expansion of the water, and partly due to melting or shedding of land-locked ice (the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and glaciers). But this says nothing about whether or not humans are the cause of that warming. Since there is evidence that glacier retreat and sea level rise started well before humans can be blamed, causation is — once again — a major source of uncertainty.

7) Is Increasing CO2 Even Capable of Causing Warming? There are some very intelligent people out there who claim that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere can’t cause warming anyway. They claim things like, “the atmospheric CO2 absorption bands are already saturated”, or something else very technical. [And for those more technically-minded persons, yes, I agree that the effective radiating temperature of the Earth in the infrared is determined by how much sunlight is absorbed by the Earth. But that doesn't mean the lower atmosphere cannot warm from adding more greenhouse gases, because at the same time they also cool the upper atmosphere]. While it is true that most of the CO2-caused warming in the atmosphere was there before humans ever started burning coal and driving SUVs, this is all taken into account by computerized climate models that predict global warming. Adding more “should” cause warming, with the magnitude of that warming being the real question. But I’m still open to the possibility that a major error has been made on this fundamental point. Stranger things have happened in science before.

8 ) Is Atmospheric CO2 Increasing? Yes, and most strongly in the last 50 years…which is why “most” climate researchers think the CO2 rise is the cause of the warming. Our site measurements of CO2 increase from around the world are possibly the most accurate long-term, climate-related, measurements in existence.

9) Are Humans Responsible for the CO2 Rise? While there are short-term (year-to-year) fluctuations in the atmospheric CO2 concentration due to natural causes, especially El Nino and La Nina, I currently believe that most of the long-term increase is probably due to our use of fossil fuels. But from what I can tell, the supposed “proof” of humans being the source of increasing CO2 — a change in the atmospheric concentration of the carbon isotope C13 — would also be consistent with a natural, biological source. The current atmospheric CO2 level is about 390 parts per million by volume, up from a pre-industrial level estimated to be around 270 ppm…maybe less. CO2 levels can be much higher in cities, and in buildings with people in them.

10) But Aren’t Natural CO2 Emissions About 20 Times the Human Emissions? Yes, but nature is believed to absorb CO2 at about the same rate it is produced. You can think of the reservoir of atmospheric CO2 as being like a giant container of water, with nature pumping in a steady stream into the bottom of the container (atmosphere) in some places, sucking out about the same amount in other places, and then humans causing a steady drip-drip-drip into the container. Significantly, about 50% of what we produce is sucked out of the atmosphere by nature, mostly through photosynthesis. Nature loves the stuff. CO2 is the elixir of life on Earth. Imagine the howls of protest there would be if we were destroying atmospheric CO2, rather than creating more of it.

11) Is Rising CO2 the Cause of Recent Warming? While this is theoretically possible, I think it is more likely that the warming is mostly natural. At the very least, we have no way of determining what proportion is natural versus human-caused.

12) Why Do Most Scientists Believe CO2 is Responsible for the Warming? Because (as they have told me) they can’t think of anything else that might have caused it. Significantly, it’s not that there is evidence nature can’t be the cause, but a lack of sufficiently accurate measurements to determine if nature is the cause. This is a hugely important distinction, and one the public and policymakers have been misled on by the IPCC.

13) If Not Humans, What could Have Caused Recent Warming? This is one of my areas of research. I believe that natural changes in the amount of sunlight being absorbed by the Earth — due to natural changes in cloud cover — are responsible for most of the warming. Whether that is the specific mechanism or not, I advance the minority view that the climate system can change all by itself. Climate change does not require an “external” source of forcing, such as a change in the sun.

14) So, What Could Cause Natural Cloud Changes? I think small, long-term changes in atmospheric and oceanic flow patterns can cause ~1% changes in how much sunlight is let in by clouds to warm the Earth. This is all that is required to cause global warming or cooling. Unfortunately, we do not have sufficiently accurate cloud measurements to determine whether this is the primary cause of warming in the last 30 to 50 years.

15) How Significant is the Climategate Release of E-Mails? While Climategate does not, by itself, invalidate the IPCC’s case that global warming has happened, or that humans are the primary cause of that warming, it DOES illustrate something I emphasized in my first book, “Climate Confusion”: climate researchers are human, and prone to bias.

16) Why Would Bias in Climate Research be Important? I thought Scientists Just Follow the Data Where It Leads Them When researchers approach a problem, their pre-conceived notions often guide them. It’s not that the IPCC’s claim that humans cause global warming is somehow untenable or impossible, it’s that political and financial pressures have resulted in the IPCC almost totally ignoring alternative explanations for that warming.

17) How Important Is “Scientific Consensus” in Climate Research? In the case of global warming, it is nearly worthless. The climate system is so complex that the vast majority of climate scientists — usually experts in variety of specialized fields — assume there are more knowledgeable scientists, and they are just supporting the opinions of their colleagues. And among that small group of most knowledgeable experts, there is a considerable element of groupthink, herd mentality, peer pressure, political pressure, support of certain energy policies, and desire to Save the Earth — whether it needs to be saved or not.

18) How Important are Computerized Climate Models? I consider climate models as being our best way of exploring cause and effect in the climate system. It is really easy to be wrong in this business, and unless you can demonstrate causation with numbers in equations, you are stuck with scientists trying to persuade one another by waving their hands. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that climate models will ever produce a useful prediction of the future. Nevertheless, we must use them, and we learn a lot from them. My biggest concern is that models have been used almost exclusively for supporting the claim that humans cause global warming, rather than for exploring alternative hypotheses — e.g. natural climate variations — as possible causes of that warming.

19) What Do I Predict for Global Temperature Changes in the Future? I tend to shy away from long-term predictions, because there are still so many uncertainties. When pressed, though, I tend to say that I think cooling in our future is just as real a possibility as warming. Of course, a third possibility is relatively steady temperatures, without significant long-term warming or cooling. Keep in mind that, while you will find out tomorrow whether your favorite weather forecaster is right or wrong, no one will remember 50 years from now a scientist today wrongly predicting we will all die from heat stroke by 2060.

Concluding Remarks

Climate researchers do not know nearly as much about the causes of climate change as they profess. We have a pretty good understanding of how the climate system works on average…but the reasons for small, long-term changes in climate system are still extremely uncertain.

The total amount of CO2 humans have added to the atmosphere in the last 100 years has upset the radiative energy budget of the Earth by only 1%. How the climate system responds to that small “poke” is very uncertain. The IPCC says there will be strong warming, with cloud changes making the warming worse. I claim there will be weak warming, with cloud changes acting to reduce the influence of that 1% change. The difference between these two outcomes is whether cloud feedbacks are positive (the IPCC view), or negative (the view I and a minority of others have).

So far, neither side has been able to prove their case. That uncertainty even exists on this core issue is not appreciated by many scientists!

Again I will emphasize, some very smart people who consider themselves skeptics will disagree with some of my views stated above, particularly when it involves explanations for what has caused warming, and what has caused atmospheric CO2 to increase.

Unlike the global marching army of climate researchers the IPCC has enlisted, we do not walk in lockstep. We are willing to admit, “we don’t really know”, rather than mislead people with phrases like, “the warming we see is consistent with an increase in CO2″, and then have the public think that means, “we have determined, through our extensive research into all the possibilities, that the warming cannot be due to anything but CO2″.

Skeptics advancing alternative explanations (hypotheses) for climate variability represent the way the researcher community used to operate, before politics, policy outcomes, and billions of dollars got involved.


Miskolczi's Death Knell on the Greenhouse Theory

Former NASA physicist Ferenc Miskolczi's new peer-reviewed paper places a well-deserved death knell on the crumbling greenhouse gas theory of man-made global warming, stating: "The data negate increase in CO2 in the atmosphere as a hypothetical cause for the apparently observed global warming. A hypothesis of significant positive feedback by water vapor effect on atmospheric infrared absorption is also negated by the observed measurements. Apparently major revision of the physics underlying the greenhouse effect is needed."

Miskolczi's analysis of 61 years of data shows that there has been no change in the infrared "heat-trapping" ability of IR-active "greenhouse gases" over the period, in stark contrast to claims of the "greenhouse effect" that "heat-trapping" should increase in direct relation to the concentration of "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere. Since the concentration of CO2 has steadily risen over the 61 year period, while the imaginary "heat-trapping" has not, the theory of anthropogenic global warming is empirically falsified. From the paper's CONCLUSIONS:
The greenhouse effect is here monitored without the superfluous complications of AOGCM climate models. The present method shows directly whether the global average infrared absorption properties of the atmosphere are changing or not. In general, if there has been global warming due to any cause, its possible correlation with infrared absorption properties of the atmosphere will be directly apparent from accurate observations assessed by calculations of the absorption properties. The present results show an apparent warming associated with no apparent change in the absorption properties. Change in absorption properties cannot have been the cause of the warming.

The results show that the theoretical CO2-induced virtual increase in true greenhouse- gas optical thickness greatly exceeds the actual empirically measured change over the 61-year dataset. The fact that the virtual change is about four times the actual change is strong empirical evidence that there is a very strong dynamic compensation that stabilizes the atmospheric energy transport process against a potential perturbation by CO2 change. This means that the empirically estimated virtual feedback of water vapor effect on the greenhouse-gas optical thickness is not significantly positive contradicting the IPCC doctrine of it being strongly positive. It is clear from these data that the increase in surface temperature shown in Fig. 9 cannot in the least be accounted for by any effect of CO2 on greenhouse gas optical thickness, with or without positive feedback by water vapor. Merely empirical evidence does not necessarily justify predictions of the future: for them, in addition to empirical evidence, some logical warrant of generality is needed. Such a warrant of generality is usually called a physical theory. In order to predict the future, we need a principled physical theory to explain our empirical observations. The present paper has restricted its attention to the empirical observational testing of the quasi-all-sky model, and has avoided theoretical analysis. These empirical results could well be challenged by a comparable empirical method.

Miskolczi states that the empirical data do not support the fundamental tenets of the greenhouse theory and therefore calls for a "major revision" of the physics of the so-called "greenhouse effect." Suitable candidates for this "major revision" would be the Gerlich & Tscheuschner papers and Chilingar et al papers. [Which show the "greenhouse" theory to be contrary to basic physics]


A new low for German journalism

For the warmists it’s Hail Mary time. The “”unless-we-announce-disasters, nobody-will-listen” gig has to be taken to a whole new unheard-of level. The populace is simply much denser than ever imagined. They just aren’t getting it. It’s not sinking in.

It’s time to bring in the super special effects. So leave it up to the German Die Welt online to do that. The normally respectable Die Welt online reports here on scientists studying the planet Venus and coming to the conclusion that Earth may end up like her hellish little sister planet, with surface temperatures of 875°F and atmospheric pressures of 1300 psi (90 times more than now on earth) and more.

This is not the first time a media outlet in Europe has ventured out to this extreme. But hey, things are desperate for the warmists - and especially for their vision of geopolitical and societal resurfacing. The Die Welt piece starts with the title and introduction:
Hell Planet Venus Is Not So Different From Earth

875°F and sulphuric acid in the air: A climate of hell reigns on the planet Venus and scientists are now studying if those conditions are threatening the Earth.

Die Welt reports on what scientists said at an international Venus conference in Aussois, France. They have determined that inhospitable Venus is much more similar to Earth than previously thought. Yes, be worried, be very worried. Die Welt writes the scientists believe that:
Venus in the past may have been very similar to Earth – with oceans – and even life. Then the climate changed, and the planet turned into red-hot desolation.

These claims, says Die Welt, are not just science-fiction fantasy, rather they are based on measurements from the European Venus Express probe launched in 2005, which is currently measuring and analysing Venus with an array of high-tech instruments.

Researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research in Lindau and Germany’s version of NASA are also involved. Even scientists like Colin Wilson of the University of Oxford thinks it is probable that: "In the past there had to have been a lot of water on Venus"

Just like Earth. But what really makes Venus interesting, says Die Welt:
—is the fact that it is a prime example of a runaway greenhouse effect that may have started in a way that is feared to be now taking place on Earth.

Die Welt describes how things work on Venus:
Due to its thick cloud cover, only 20% of the solar energy reaches the planet’s surface. This 20%, however, cannot be radiated back into space because of Venus’s dense atmosphere, and thus leads to enormous heating of the planet.

Die Welt then adds:
The manmade pollution of the Earth’s atmosphere – warns a majority of climatologists – could also lead to a runaway situation whose final result would be what we have on Venus today.

That is: 875°F and an atmospheric pressure over 1300 psi.

Scientists are interested in finding out if volcanoes could have erupted and disturbed the atmosphere on Venus early on, and thus led to a runaway greenhouse effect, The scientists at the conference in Aussois are trying to determine the cause of resurfacing on Venus.

To summarise, Die Welt is attempting to get its readers to believe we are creating a hell on Earth. It doesn’t get more cynical than that.

Meanwhile, just in the time it took to read this post, hundreds of people died worldwide because of malnutrition. But governments and the media could care less of the current, real tragedy, it seems. It’s more important to go all out and spend billions to cynically concoct new bogus future scare stories to frighten citizens, and ignore the messy problems of today.

Journalists and governments need to wake up and get back to doing what they’re supposed to do. Funding and supporting scientists in concocting ridiculous scare stories is not one of them. Indeed it’s willful neglect of the pressing problems we face right now on the planet today. In Germany this behaviour is a violation of the law and is called Unterlassene Hilfeleistung (neglect to provide rescue assistance).

The world is not facing a climate catastrophe. Instead it’s dead in the middle of a leadership catastrophe. So much so that one could argue it’s bordering on crime. Voters and consumers, it’s time to run these bums out-of-town.


This is of course all nonsense and ignores the real and obvious cause of high temperatures on Venus: The huge mass of its atmosphere and the resultant adiabatic (pressure) heating. As one commentator on the article summarizes it:

If you do the universal gas law calculation for 90+ atm of gas pressure, you will find that Venus is hot because of the pressure and not the 98% CO2.

Venus has a permanent upper level cloud deck which would appear to be a functional part of a greenhouse, BUT a greenhouse requires that the solar energy reach the planet’s surface to be converted to IR and re-emitted. This is not the case as very little light reaches the surface.

In fact, most of the solar energy is stopped in the cloud deck and some of the IR emitted towards the lower atmosphere. However, the gas law calculation shows that this effect is little as the pressure and concentration (calculated from the density) create almost all of the temperature we detect.

It is simply impossible for Earth to become anything like Venus, just as it is impossible for a trace gas (CO2) to drive our climate (it does not).

Electric cars and the “clean energy” myth

Here in Las Vegas nine days ago, President Obama made a campaign swing endorsing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. A passage in his Friday speech at UNLV seemed somewhat disconnected from most Americans' current perception of Washington and what it's doing to our economy.

Mr. Obama intoned: "As I said on the campaign, and as I've repeated many times as president, I believe the greatest generator of jobs in America is our private sector. It's our entrepreneurs and innovators, who are willing to take a chance on a good idea. ... The private sector -- not government -- is, was, and always will be the source of America's economic success. That's why we've cut dozens of taxes for the middle class and small businesspeople, extended loan programs to put capital in the hands of startups and worked to reduce the cost of health care for small businesses."

I conducted an informal survey of Las Vegas small business owners, last week. Nothing fancy. Owners of some sandwich joints where I eat, local bookstores, places like that. None could remember any recent tax cuts or loans or "capital put in their hands" by Barack Obama or the Democratic Congress. Just the opposite -- they're puzzled by the persistence of the slowdown, and seriously worried more tax hikes and government mandates coming down the pike are going to mean lots more shuttered stores and fewer customers.

Nor could anybody figure out how Mr. Obama has "reduced the cost of health care" for anyone.

"Our role in government, especially in difficult times like these, is to break down barriers that are standing in the way of innovation," said the president. "It's to provide an impetus for businesses to grow and expand. That ... isn't some abstract theory. We've seen the results."

The president explained he meant the "clean energy sector -- an industry that will not only produce the jobs of the future, but help free America from our dependence on oil in the process. Just yesterday, I took a tour of Smith Electric Vehicles in Kansas City, Missouri ... a company that just hired its 50th worker and is on its way to hiring 50 more, and that's aiming to produce 500 electric vehicles at that plant alone."

The government "invested" $32 million from the Department of Energy to cover 30 percent of the cost of creating those jobs, the president explained.

No, don't bother watching your mailbox for your stock certificate, guaranteeing you a return on your "investment" should the U.S. affiliate of Smith Electric Vehicles ever turn a profit. When politicians use the word "investment," it's more like a holdup man thanking you for "investing" in his next pipe full of crack.

But if there's money to be made manufacturing and fielding electric vehicles, why is government needed?

Meantime, let us contemplate the CNW Marketing Research report "Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles From Concept to Disposal," which concludes the gas-guzzling Hummer is more "environmental friendly" than another familiar electric vehicle, the hybrid electric Prius.

The Prius' battery contains nickel, you see, which is mined in Ontario, Canada. The plant that smelts this nickel is nicknamed "the Superstack" because of the amount of pollution it puts out.

That smelted nickel then has to travel (via container ship) to Europe to be refined, then to China to be made into "nickel foam," then to Japan for assembly, and finally back to the United States. All this shipping costs a great deal, both in dollars and in pollution.

The study concludes that -- all production costs taken into account -- the Prius costs about $3.25 per mile and is expected to last about 100,000 miles, while the Hummer costs about $1.95 per mile and is expected to last about 300,000 miles.

But the problem with the "clean energy" miracle of electric vehicles doesn't end there. When you've run your electric car 60 or 70 miles (Smith Electric Vehicles claims "up to 100") and need to "plug it in" for an eight-hour recharge, where does that power come from?

I'm sorry, did you say "out of the wall"? "From elves in hollow trees"? In most of this country, that electricity comes from coal-fired or natural-gas-fired electric power plants. And a fair amount of the energy sent through the transmission lines to your recharging unit to power your Giant Golf Cart is lost in transit and in storage, meaning electric vehicles require the burning of more fossil fuel to power them, not less.

Meantime, how much do you think the average electric car produced by Smith Motors is going to cost?

In fact, Smith doesn't make private cars. The firm started in England, selling low-speed vehicles for government use in locations requiring zero local emissions, including inside nuclear power plants.

And the Christian Science Monitor reported on July 8 that while "A traditional FEDEX-style delivery truck might cost about $50,000, and the hybrid version about $95,000 ... a plug-in or all-electric version" -- like Smith's -- "could cost $100,000 to $130,000."

To the extent Smith's vehicles are competitive in England it's because of another government warping of the market -- the fact that electric trucks can avoid many of the taxes and fees piled on gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles, there.

Here we learn "In the UK, Smith Electric Vehicles qualify for a free Road Fund Licence, are exempt from the London Congestion Charge, do not require yearly MOT certificates, have no oil and filter change requirements and the 'fuel' cost is just £0.04 per mile; over 75 percent less than the diesel equivalent."

If the pound is now worth about $1.50, that means fuel alone for a diesel truck in England now costs 24 American cents a mile.

Is that part of the Obama plan to make electric vehicles seem more "affordable": charging traditional vehicles for "Road Fund Licences," city "Congestion Charges," yearly "MOT certificates," and taxing diesel and gasoline fuel till they cost us 24 cents a mile -- $60 or $80 to fill a 12-gallon tank?


Why we shouldn’t be using biofuels

Among the various sillinesses that have been proposed to deal with climate change is the idea that we should start sticking corn or wheat into cars rather than people. That there are a number of problems with this idea hasn't stopped politicians in the EU and the US making it mandatory. Problems like the thought that rising food prices, inevitable under such a plan, aren't really all that good a thing for those who cannot afford food now. Or the problem that, as David Pimentel has been shouting for decades, just as much oil is used raising the crops as is displaced by the use of the crops.

But the real reason we shouldn't be doing this is that it doesn't make sense at the most basic level. As the Congressional Budget Office tells us:
Similarly, the costs to taxpayers of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the biofuel tax credits vary by fuel: about $750 per metric ton of CO2e (that is, per metric ton of greenhouse gases measured in terms of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide) for ethanol, about $275 per metric ton of CO2e for cellulosic ethanol, and about $300 per metric ton of CO2e for biodiesel. Those estimates do not reflect any emissions of carbon dioxide that occur when production of biofuels causes forests or grasslands to be converted to farmland for growing the fuels’ feedstocks (the raw material for making the fuel). If those emissions were taken into account, such changes in land use would raise the cost of reducing emissions and change the relative costs of reducing emissions through the use of different biofuels—in some cases, by a substantial amount.

The CBO is as close as we're going to get to a dispassionate and unaligned analyst on such matters. There's one other number we need to see how silly the entire idea is though. The Stern Review told us (and yes, we can all argue about the faults with that Review but let's just take this official number as a given for the moment, shall we?) that the damage done by a tonne of CO2-e is $80. So we are paying, at minimum, betweem $275 and $750 to prevent damage of $80. That is, remember, using all of the official numbers.

This is known as "making us poorer": that is, that the policy fails the very cost benefit test that the politicians themselves have insisted we should be using to determine our actions. We are told that we must do something about climate change because the benefits will be higher than the costs of doing so. However, doing something does not mean that if this is something then this is what we should do. Courses of action must be weighed by the same process used to reach the original decision that we should be doing something: are the benefits greater than the costs?

No, the benefits are not greater than the costs: and yet the politicians in both places, the EU and the US, have insisted, mandated, that we should all make ourselves poorer by doing this profoundly silly thing. Indeed, they force us to become poorer, even while the decision to make us do so fails the politicians' own purported decision making guidelines.

It's true that Nicholas Stern called climate change the largest market failure ever. But we should remember that the substitute for market failure is not necessarily competent government. Legislated idiocy is just as, if not more, likely.


There are large natural fluctuations in storm severity and frequency

Discussing: Page, M.J., Trustrum, N.A., Orpin, A.R., Carter, L., Gomez, B., Cochran, U.A., Mildenhall, D.C., Rogers, K.M., Brackley, H.L., Palmer, A.S. and Northcote, L. 2010. Storm frequency and magnitude in response to Holocene climate variability, Lake Tutira, North-Eastern New Zealand. Marine Geology 270: 30-44.


The authors say "there is growing evidence that climate during the Holocene has been highly variable, with broad global or hemispheric change, upon which are superimposed marked regional variability," noting that "this is certainly the case for mid-latitude Southern Ocean areas such as New Zealand, where climate responds to atmospheric and oceanic forcing from polar and sub-tropical regions." However, they report there are few such real-world records of sub-annual events, such as storms.

What was done

Working with sediment cores extracted from Lake Tutira on the eastern North Island of New Zealand, Page et al. developed a 7200-year history of the frequency and magnitude of storm activity, based on analyses of (1) sediment grain size, (2) diatom, pollen and spore types and concentrations, plus (3) carbon and nitrogen concentrations, together with (4) tephra and radiocarbon dating.

What was learned

The ten New Zealanders plus one U.S. researcher report that "the average frequency of all storm layers is one in five years," but that "for storm layers >= 1.0 cm thick, the average frequency is every 53 years." And in this regard, they say that over the course of their record, "there are 25 periods with an increased frequency of large storms," the onset and cessation of which stormy periods "was usually abrupt, occurring on an inter-annual to decadal scale." They also note that the duration of these stormy periods "ranged mainly from several decades to a century," but that "a few were up to several centuries long," while "intervals between stormy periods range from about thirty years to a century." In addition, they find that millennial-scale cooling periods tend to "coincide with periods of increased storminess in the Tutira record, while warmer events match less stormy periods."

What it means

Page et al. write that in today's world there is growing concern -- driven by climate models -- that there may be abrupt changes in various short-term meteorological phenomena caused by global warming, "when either rapid or gradual forces on components of the earth system exceed a threshold or tipping point." However, as is demonstrated by the results of their work in the real world, the sudden occurrence of a string of years -- or even decades -- of unusually large storms is something that can happen at almost any time on its own, or at least without the necessity of being driven by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.



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


19 July, 2010

United States Halts Gravy Train for British Global Warming Unit

British newspaper, The Sunday Times reveals that the U.S. government has announced it will stop funding U.K. university at the center of the Climategate scandal.

The Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia (CRU), the hub of the climate controversy over leaked emails discrediting research into man-made global warming, has been dealt a heavy blow from a key funding source: the U.S. Department of Energy.

Under the header, ‘US halts funds for climate unit’ (July 18, 2010) The Sunday Times report reads, “The American Government has suspended its funding of the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit (CRU), citing the scientific doubts raised by last November’s leak of hundreds of stolen emails.” (Hat Tip: Barry Woods).

The CRU has been the primary source of information for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that world governments had looked to for the science to substantiate their cap-and-trade green tax policies.

Setback Comes After Official Reviews Give all Clear

The news is a particular blow for the UEA. The university had been upbeat in the wake of three British official inquiries which all cleared the much-maligned CRU of any wrongdoing. However, critics slated each of the inquiries for alleged whitewashing.

The article continues, “The US Department of Energy (DoE) was one of the unit’s main sources of funding for its work assembling a database of global temperatures…”

The announcement will gravely undermine confidence in climate scientists hoping for further research funds from the world’s largest funding source, the U.S. federal government.
Scandal Caused Adverse Public Reaction

Ben Stewart, head of media at Greenpeace, conceded the Climategate scandal influenced public opinion; “It’s pretty hard to say what the impact has been but it would be hopelessly naive to say it has not had an effect.”

Public concerns will not be assuaged by recent revelations that Lord Oxburgh’s committee failed to address the actual science.

Official Inquiries Dismissed as ‘Whitewashes’

Despite independent scientists finding evidence supportive of misconduct, a Parliamentary hearing and the Oxburgh Inquiry affirmed that researchers at the CRU were “subjective” and cherry-picked data, but had done no wrong. Although Lord Oxburgh did conclude that climate researchers were “poor data handlers” and would benefit by consulting outside statistical experts.

Dr. John P. Costella, an independent Australian scientist who studied the leaked emails, took a harsher line referring to what he found as proof of “shocking misconduct and fraud.”

Dr. Costella concluded that the “climate science” community was a facade and that “their vitriolic rebuffs of sensible arguments of mathematics, statistics, and indeed scientific common sense were not the product of scientific rigor at all, but merely self-protection at any cost.”

Government Investigators Ignore Key Witness

As reported on the Climate Audit blog run by McIntyre, Muir Russell review made no attempt to contact the Canadian who originally filed the Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests that CRU unlawfully denied over a three-year period.

Canadian climate analyst, Steve McIntyre had made a compelling impression on attendees at The Guardian debate on Climategate in London on Wednesday July 14, 2010.

By contrast, Phil Jones still looks a broken man despite his immediate reinstatement to his post upon his recent exoneration. Jones escaped criminal prosecution only on a technicality according to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) the agency charged with investigation the FOIA abuses in the scandal.

Accusations of Official ‘One-sidedness’

But the official British line appears to have cut no ice with the Americans. As The Sunday Times adds, “The DoE peer review panel will now sift through the (Muir Russell) report and decide if American taxpayers should continue to fund the unit.”

The review carried out by Sir Muir Russell, also condemned as a whitewash, was notable for the total absence of any evidence from the principal opposing witness, statistical expert, McIntyre.

The Sunday Times correspondent asked Trevor Davis (head of UEA) to confirm whether Phil Jones (head of CRU) attended a private meeting with Muir Russell in January before the investigating panel was convened in February. Davis confirmed Jones had met Sir Muir Russell privately in January.

Climate Scientists Accused of Cherry-picking Data

Skeptics of the man-made global warming theory point out that police found no evidence of any theft. They argue that the 1,000+ emails and 62MB of data that flooded the blogosphere on November 19, 2009 were not stolen but leaked onto the Internet by a whistleblower within university research department.

Dr. John P. Costella believes there is sufficient evidence to support the hypothesis that a conspiracy existed between an inner clique of climatologists seeking to exaggerate the global historic temperature record.

It is alleged politicized researchers created the illusion that late 20th century global warming was potentially catastrophic and attributable to human emissions of carbon dioxide.

Repercussions for American Climate Researchers?

With British climate research in a financial pickle attention will turn next to those U.S. institutions also implicated in climate data shenanigans.

Currently NASA is facing a legal battle for also refusing to honor FOIA requests for the past three years. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has filed a legal challenge against the discredited space agency for also withholding crucial climate data requested by skeptical climate analysts.

While in addition, alleged key U.S. ‘climate conspirator,’ Michael E. Mann is currently in court being pursued for grant fraud by Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli.


Slowest July Arctic Melt Ever

The NOAA is taking the liberty of declaring 2010 the hottest ever, even though it’s only July! So what’s all the hurry? Well, you have to get them scary global-hotting headlines out while you can, and any way you can. When you’re desperate - you’re desperate.

They’ve seen their own forecasts for the rest of the year, and so they know it’s their last chance. Just check the leading climatic indicators on my homepage and you’ll see why.

Now on Arctic sea ice, allow me to use the same NOAA “scientific” method and declare that the Arctic has experienced the slowest July ice melt ever! (Well, at least so far).

Look at the ice melts from June 30 – July 15 for the following years, taken from AMSR-E.

Sea ice melt

Year 6/30 to 7/15 ......... Daily rate

2002 1.126 million sq km 75,000 sq km / day
2003 1.014 ................ 67,000
2004 1.019 ................ 68,000
2005 1.152 ................ 77,000
2006 1.210 ................ 80,000
2007 1.742 ................ 116,000
2008 1.216 ................ 81,000
2009 1.413 ................ 94,000
2010 0.807 ................ 54,000

Never has ice melted so slowly in mid summer as it has this year. Indeed sea ice melt in July 2010 is less than half the melt rate in 2007. It’s far below anything we’ve seen on record. Would the NOAA already call it a record low melt for the month?

And as Lubos Motl pointed out 3 days ago here, total global sea ice is above normal. Also see here. Indeed sea ice is rebounding, and surprisingly just at a time when it’s supposively the “hottest ever”. Someone is wrong, obviously.

Do you think anyone in the media is going to run this story?


Climate Change Scepticism Could Soon Be a Criminal Offence in the EU

People who are sceptical of climate change could soon be facing criminal charges in the European Court of Justice, British National Party leader and MEP Nick Griffin MEP has said.

Speaking in an exclusive Radio Red, White and Blue interview on this week’s “Eurofile” report, Mr Griffin told interviewer John Walker about a recent sitting of the European Parliament’s subcommittee dealing with the matter, which had passed a ruling which in effect placed legal sanction against anyone who dared question the origin, cause or effect of “climate change.”

Mr Griffin revealed how he could not get a straight answer out of the committee while it was in session, but that afterwards it was admitted to him that that intention of the rule was to criminalise dissension on the topic of “climate change.”

Listen to the full Radio RWB report by clicking here, choosing the RWB player launch icon and clicking on “Nick Griffin 14 July Brussels” in the pop-up menu.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The Challenge for the Climate Change Savants

This VERY skeptical article by Joseph A Olson first appeared a year ago but has lost no relevance in the meantime (unlike the endless false prophecies of the Warmists)

The accuracy of any future prediction is limited to the completeness of the current understanding, which is based on empirical measurements. You may sense hot and cold but until the invention of the thermometer you could not quantify temperature. The same with the hydrometer for relative humidity, barometer for atmospheric pressure and anemometer for wind speed. As these instruments gained wider distribution there was an ever-increasing database to establish trend lines.

Physical Climatology, written in 1941 is considered to be the origins of this branch of science. Based solely on its predictive powers, this is far from perfected science. Realizing that less than a century of measurements from very limited regions of the Earth might be limiting their accuracy, a new branch was added called Paleoclimatology. There has been exponential growth in information on these new branches of science in the last few decades.

It is not internecine snobbery to mention the shortcomings of these new branches of science. Engineers had no method of calculating multi-bay, multi-story structural loads until the 1920’s and could not do three-dimensional analysis until the dawn of the computer age. It was the 1980’s before there were accurate calculation methods for seismic loads. We have all benefited from this information super highway.

To extend knowledge of past events beyond the limits of actual measurements, Earth scientists developed a range of proxy measurements. But every proxy has an unknown correction factor. Consider the use of tree growth rings as a proxy measurement of past precipitation. The actual tree ring growth is the measure of the total of all environmental factors. If volcanic ash limited sunshine, if volcanic particulates deposited harmful chemicals, if pest or disease were prevalent during the growth cycle, then the size of growth rings is not a direct indication of precipitation. Years with sudden, intense rainfall might actually have higher levels than years with more even distribution.

Without complete and accurate information all math models rapidly compound the errors and result in hopelessly incorrect future projections. The folly of the Warmist movement is that carbon dioxide is a primary climate factor and that the tiny portion of proposed reductions in the human emitted gas would have a measurable effect. Had the planet’s climate been stable for millions of years and there was a measurable link of temperature and atmospheric CO2 then there could be AGW plausibility. Such is not the case.

Humanity suffers from a greatly exaggerated sense of self-importance. While we can have minor impact on the environment and species extinction, it is nature that holds all of the trump cards in environment game. In his excellent book, Underworld, author, Graham Hancock documents literate, but due to our inability to translate, societies that are still labeled as prehistoric. The very real climate change that those ancestors faced would earn scorn for today’s Warmists. Plato’s tale of Atlantis and Noah’s struggle with a flood were very real events just now being proven.

Too numerous to list or detail in a single article, it is worth noting just a few of the geologic events which occurred independent of man or atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The Warmist could gain credibility if they could explain the Younger Dryas (the younger of three events), the Flandarian Transgression, the Dalton Minimum or the Malankovitch cycle. All of the events occurred in the last 400,000 years and are captured in Greenland and Antarctica ice core gases so touted by the AGW movement.

The Last Glacial Maximum lasted for 100,000 years and most of the northern and southern hemispheres were covered in thousands of feet of ice. Ocean levels were 400 feet lower than today. Then 21,000 years ago these huge masses began to suddenly melt, then refreeze, then melt, then refreeze. The final freeze, the Younger Dryas, began approximately 13,000 years ago. The final violent thaw began 11,000 years ago. Coincidently 90% of all large North American mammals disappeared at this time.

What we consider ‘terra firma’ is in fact more like a molten rock pudding with a thin plastic crust. The Ice Age overburden from up to 3.5 kilometers of ice deformed this crust. As the ice melted huge pools of water formed on top of and below the ice caps. At some point these trapped oceans of ice melt began to flow. Underworld then describes what happened:

“…as a glacial wave proceeded across an ice sheet…it could have attained heights of 600 meters and a cross sectional breadth of as much as 40 kilometers, and a forward speed of several hundred kilometers per hour.”

Suddenly relieved of over burden the Earth’s crust rebounded, fracturing the remaining ice cap and sending the even larger volumes of underlying ice melt and mountain sized glacial chunks to the sea. The entire Earth would have been racked with tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, all while oceans rose in meters almost instantly. While there were humans around to witness these events, there is no evidence that they in any way caused these or any of the numerous other major climate changes.

The LGM did not end as a result of massive carbon dioxide build up. Nor did the LGM end from massive increase of solar radiation from a 100,000 year long dormancy to a new 12,000 year long period of slightly higher relative stability. There must be an enormous Earth force which is always present, but subject to periodic and dramatic shifts in output.

Like planetary crime scene investigators we now know what did not cause this repeated shift, evidence is everywhere, and the suspect is still at the scene. Geo-nuclear has the opportunity but does it act randomly and alone. It is possible that cosmic rays, neutrino bombardment, planetary alignments, gravity waves or galactic radiation could all have a role in triggering Geo-nuclear reactions. Once again we are limited by empirical data from anything but speculation.

The Inter GOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change has given itself jurisdiction over world climate. Let’s see. A government panel of largely undeveloped nations is to decide if there needs to be additional government agencies funded by carbon use tax on only the developed nations. With that directive, the studies funded by the IPCC are predictable. The UN is hardly the oracle of objectivity.

‘Deniers’ are dismissed as energy industry paid hacks, when few have any links. Meanwhile the Warmist conflicts are everywhere. GE produces windmills, owns NBC who promotes AGW and its political supporters, who in turn direct government contracts to GE. A great article on these hidden economic forces is The Great American Bubble Machine by Matt Taibbi in the July issue of Rolling Stone. The great carbon power point pimp Gore has Jezebel Nobel on one arm and Oscarina, the Hollywood Harlot on the other. These are a most unworthy set of champions for any cause.

“You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows” according to Bob Dylan. You don’t need a PhD to read the writing on the wall. If you gathered the worlds greatest experts on tile chips you could get endless reports on the base clays, the ceramic coatings and information on the firing methods and none would notice the mosaic. With each new chip the AGW mosaic is getting clearer.

As knowledge continues to increase exponentially we may soon have many more answers. We may reach the scientific harmonic convergence when all scientifically grounded Warmists will be converted. Those adherents with hatred for humanity or capitalism will await the next society-bashing trend. The elitists who envisioned this scam will surely have a fall back bubble-blowing position.

Our supreme leader flippantly dismissed questions on massive cap and trade tax increases with the phrase “Everyone is going to have skin in the game”. That can only mean one thing. We are all going to be skinned. If passed by the Senate, then the Waxman-Markey Bill will gladly distribute our fleeced skin to the moneychangers in the temple.

The Holocene (last 11,000 years) have been a wonderful time for humanity. That it will end is a certainty. That the end will be a violent climatic change with enormous challenges for all living things is also certain. That humans will cause global warming in defiance of the next pending Ice Age…what is that artificially colored sugar water that you are drinking?


The global warming nonsense is part of a larger syndrome

I wrote yesterday of intellectual fashions. The article below would seem to have identified what might be called an intellectual super-fashion: Belief in a "universal panacea of high intelligence" (or perhaps the infallibility of high education)

The Obama administration takes great pride in Dr. Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, because Dr. Chu has a Nobel Prize. In physics, too, which is a real science that has something to do with energy. Sort of. And he's Chinese, one of the oppressed people of color, and he's an immigrant whose papers are in order.

That's 3.5 gold stars in ObamaWorld.

Chu's research showed how to push around individual atoms with laser beams. Amazing stuff. But Nobel winners are not necessarily good at fixing oil leaks, as we have seen.

I don't know if Dr. Chu plays the fiddle like Fibonacci, or if he is a trained ballet dancer like Rahm Emanuel, or if he does brain surgery on the side. Whatever Dr. Chu's many talents may be, he doesn't know how to solve that oil leak.

When Saddam Hussein blew up hundreds of oil wells in Kuwait in 1992, George Bush #41 sent in Red Adair from Texas. Kuwait's burning oil wells got fixed. The media lost a big story, and the Left, which was all ready to accuse Bush # 41 of a planetary crime for making Saddam blow up all those oil wells, lost a big agitprop opportunity. They had to wait for Bush # 43 to work off their spleen.

The weirdness is that during the months of oil gushing from the BP leak, Obama and his spokesnoid Robert Gibbs kept reminding the world that Dr. Chu has a Nobel Prize. That plus five bucks will buy you a Starbucks French Roast on the Gulf Coast, right where you can watch the sunset reflecting off the oil slick. It's really pretty, and as some Obamanoid was saying the other day, if Louisiasans were smart, they would turn it into a tourist attraction. Fortunately, it looks like the oil leak has been plugged, and all that oil will be metabolized by the ocean in due course.

But the Leftist superstition about Harvard SmartCream will keep haunting us for years. The reason is that no matter what the emergency may be, the instinct of this White House is to apply the same panacea. Put some SmartCream on that, and it'll be fixed. Or at least it will look as if we are Doing Something.

Obama's adoring fans seem to share the superstitious belief that intelligence is a kind of oil slick that you just discover in places like Harvard and Yale. Take a problem, any problem -- global warming, the U.S. economy, race, and gender-baiting -- and smear it liberally with SmartCream from Larry Summers or Elena Kagan -- and behold! The answer pops out, just like that. It's amazing. For you, it's only $ 9.95, 'cause I like your face. Can't you see Obama selling that line on an informercial with his great photogenic smile?

This superstition about a universal panacea of high intelligence seems to be really widespread on the Left. Jozef Stalin used to lecture academic audiences on the topic of linguistics, even before Noam Chomsky transformed the base metal of syntax into the gold of leftist opportunism. Why does the world listen to Chomsky's radical politics? Because he is reputed to be a great linguist. It doesn't work for me, but apparently for millions of people it looks like logic.

This is so much like Anton Mesmer (the first "mesmerist") back in 1770 or so, who used to cure his medical patients by sweeping a long magnetic iron rod over their bodies. Poor people stood in line for a chance to sit around a magnetized tub of water with iron handles sticking out, just like socialized medicine. It all worked like a charm, because everybody knew that animal magnetism spread its healing rays wherever it touched your body.

Animal magnetism worked fine for Anton Mesmer in 1770. It still works, along with crystal therapy and pyramids for keeping your razor blades sharp. Ask just about anybody in Berkeley, California.

Don't knock the great con artists of history, because the media world is still doing the same thing today. What do you think the global warming scam is about? It is a mass hysteria stirred up by the media to make money without having to actually work, or to learn anything -- along with almost universal ignorance and superstition, also spread by the media and the education establishment -- plus deep corruption in Big Money Science.

In the U.K., the Labour Government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown practically had group hugs imagining how much the global warming rainbow would pay off -- they were officially demanding trillions of dollars -- so they pushed it and pushed it for decades using their poodle scientists at Hadley CRU, and their lapdog droids like the BBC and the Guardian.

In fact, the Guardian still believes in global warming today, but then they believed Stalin's lies for thirty years, followed by Mao and Pol Pot, and today, Gorbachev. For all I know, they still believe in Stalin's phony agronomist, Trofim Lysenko, who made all the real scientists in the Soviet Union applaud his scientific fantasy life on pain of exile in Siberia. Or a bullet to the head -- take your pick.

We are much too civilized to threaten scientists with execution or exile to Alaska, where they might run into the Palins and go native. We just give them millions of dollars if they sing along with the Party Line. And it works! They chime right in, and sometimes they even do a little dance.

That's how you earn credibility, buddy, and don't you forget it.

The Left is infinitely gullible, but they also spread gullibility in the schools. In the Clinton years, Al Gore had a hand in appointing NASA's witch doctor, James Hansen, the guy who wants warming skeptics to be thrown in jail "for crimes against humanity and nature." That just shows you world-caliber science at work. Where's Hansen's Nobel Prize? Why should Algore get one, and Barry the 0, but not James Hansen, who makes up all the climate videogames?

When it all fell apart in Copenhagen last year, Tony Blair showed up on TV telling us with his million-dollar smile that it didn't matter if global warming was true or not. There's your public confession of guilt, when politicians tell you that it's still a global emergency and yes, they still need astronomical new taxes from five billion people even if it doesn't happen to be true. Hold onto your wallet. Right now Tony is working for Muammar Khadaffi of Lybia, 'cause that's where the money is.

The media fall for this Dr. Science gag because they never read anything about real science. They're much too busy thinking up tomorrow's phony headlines. But even if they were literate they still would go on the belief that their audiences are mostly suckers. The mantra that "Obama is soooo smart" is supposed to shut them up and keep 'em voting Democrat. No proof is ever needed.

I'm not saying the media are wrong about their audiences. It works, as you can see right in front of your eyes. It's just that the audiences are complicit in the con job. The TV-watchers and newspaper-readers have dumbed themselves down. Every day they engage in willing suspension of disbelief, like kids listening to Santa Claus or good Soviet citizens in the Evil Empire.

In fact, Obama does keep telling them he is Santa Claus, and all his free goodies come out of that stash he keeps in the White House. The same liberals who fall for all other con jobs keep the Demagogues in power -- media scams like imaginary energy shortages, No Nukes campaigns, clean government in Detroit and Chicago, feminist malarkey, ObamaCare, and any conceivable qualifications Elena Kagan might have for the Supreme Court.

Ignorance can be cured with education; but self-imposed ignorance has no cure. It just rots your brain until you die from Donald Berwick Disease. If you don't know what Donald Berwick Disease is, you will -- you will, very soon.

I know highly educated folk who are so stuck at age 22 that they will never reach adulthood. You can find them all over the campuses, where scruffy hippies gather in little cafés to tell each other lies.

A month ago, forty-two members of the British Royal Society finally worked up enough integrity to protest the abject mendacity of Global Frauding. The Royal Society then withdrew its public support for the scam. Scientific societies around the world have fallen for it, either because they took somebody's word for it (and they know that scientists never tell a lie), or because they were bought off. But the Royal Society -- founded by Isaac Newton -- sacrificed four centuries of integrity for one big payoff. And now they've lost it. It couldn't happen to a more deserving crowd.

The Brits pioneered global warming. Before GW there was Mad Cow, a huge public health fraud that was based on unsupported computer modeling in the United Kingdom -- which should sound familiar. If you assume that prion infections like Mad Cow spread on an accelerating curve, just like the infamous global warming hockey stick, you can show that everybody is going to die tomorrow, or next week at the latest, based on a perfectly good math model that just happens to be totally wrong. It is the worst of GIGO disease, really primitive thinking, but it's good enough to swing a ton of money for the people who promoted it.

In the upshot, the formerly sane nation of Britain went Banana Republic over Mad Cow Disease, as propagated by the intellectual giants of Fleet Street. That's where the newspapers used to be located, right near the busiest pubs in the world. Take a deep breath in Fleet Street and you're drunk. News reporting used to be the professional disease of British alcoholics. Think of Chris Hitchens and you get the idea.

In any case, Mad Cow guaranteed a decade of scare headlines for the denizens of Fleet Street so they didn't even have to work. A whole generation of journos died of the DTs before somebody found out that no actual people were getting Mad Cow disease, and indeed, that mighty few cows were getting it, either.

Basically, they destroyed millions of cattle on the raw assumption that they might get sick someday. It was a purely imaginary epidemic; most mass hysterias are. If you kill the cattle before they get the disease, you can never find out if your math model was wrong. If you demand your trillions of bucks before global warming ever happens, there's no way to prove you are wrong. Right now, the scammers are recovering all their old power and prestige, because the last ten years of actual cooling is just covering up the trend toward the world coming to an end. They say. And by gum, they've got the computer models to prove it! They still want all that money, and they are still getting it. Phil Jones and Michael Mann haven't been fired, or even embarrassed in public. They still have their jobs, and they're looking forward to running another pricey scam sometime soon.

Across the Channel from London, the French never fell for Mad Cow, so millions of happy eaters kept chomping down on delicious sheep brains in wonderful wine sauces and finally died of gourmet ecstasy. The French got their meat cheap from British farmers who were forced to kill their cattle, or maybe to sell them for a few euros before the animal inspectors turned up. At the end, a total of about a hundred people were said to have died from Mad Cow over a dozen years, which is statistically right around zero. Given the integrity of the folks who spread the scam, I would not be surprised to find out that Mad Cow Disease record-keeping was strangely intermittent, amazingly like the CRU Hadley Climate records, the Russian meterology bureau, NASA, and NOAA. None of those scientific Holy of Holies seem to have kept their data, and they're not showing us their computer programs.

During Mad Cow days, the socialist Labour Government paid British farmers to destroy their cattle. The British taxpayers were subsidizing French cuisine, and the chefs were laughing all the way to their mistresses' mattresses, where they traditionally keep their money. Those crazy Brits!

Britain used to do world-class science, but socialism corrupts everything, because everything becomes politicized. Previous generations of scientists would be ashamed of the level of corruption in Britain, but these characters just keep coming. Today, socialist politicians have conquered science in Europe, as in Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia. The EU itself has never passed a financial audit in its fourteen years of existence, and it doesn't care to pass the next one. Nobody in the world can make them. They are the bosses, just as surely as the Soviet apparatchiks. So they don't bother with audits. It's like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Who's going to make them?

Historically, corrupt science kills people. It did so with AIDS (which the media lied about for years as a heterosexual disease) and with Saint Rachel Carson depriving Africa of DDT insecticide, thereby hurting tens of millions of African children but doing a lot of good for the tsetse fly. Then there is the abject Western surrender to street drugs, with the media and politicians constantly talking about getting it all legalized, in spite of the victims who show up at emergency rooms every day around the country -- especially teenagers and minorities, as it turns out. When lies are propagated as truths, and science colludes with the lies, people get hurt.

It's sad, but on the other hand, scientific corruption is a self-imposed disease. Scientists have an intellectual and moral duty to think skeptically and to demand evidence. When they fail to meet their most basic obligations over many years, that is not an accident.

Why was there only a small coterie of heroic global warming skeptics who demanded to see the original data? In science, that should be a standard practice -- but now that scientific institutions, including universities, have been proven to be much less trustworthy than your local drugstore, it's mighty strange that there is no movement afoot for all climate data to be put on the web, as a routine precaution against fraud and cherry-picking. Where's the outrage? It's exactly where it was during the Clinton years in D.C. In a Leftist Political Machine, public outrage never gets a hearing.

That kind of scientific ignorance is willful. It is a moral disease, not a mistake. Scientific institutions could purge their crooks any day they want. But they don't do that -- and that leaves us to draw our own conclusions, doesn't it?

Dr. Chu is not so unusual in a world of global warmists and Mad Cow chasers. I don't know the man, and I can't read his mind, but either he is not as smart as he's cracked up to be, or...


Maryland planning mandatory "environmental" indoctrination in High Schools

I put this up on EDUCATION WATCH yesterday but I think it has a place here too

Top state officials in Maryland are promoting a plan that would make the study of environmental education a requirement for all students to graduate from the state’s public high schools.

The proposal, which will be made available for public comment beginning today, is set for final consideration by the state board of education in the fall. If adopted, it would represent the first time a state has added a high school graduation requirement focused on environmental literacy, according to Donald R. Baugh, the vice president for education at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Annapolis, Md., that has been a strong champion of the measure.

“This is one step toward what we hope will be a stronger, more comprehensive effort in Maryland” to provide environmental education, said Mr. Baugh. “What we really like about the high school graduation [requirement is that] it’s for all students, it is a systemic solution.”

Nancy S. Grasmick, the state superintendent of schools, said the proposal—which still is subject to change before being taken up by the state board—enjoys widespread support among local superintendents in Maryland, and also is backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

She emphasized that the proposal would not mandate that students take a particular course, but instead would call on school districts to ensure that environmental literacy is “threaded through” the curriculum. “I think it has much more importance because it isn’t just, ‘Take one course, and that’s all you have to do,’” Ms. Grasmick said in an interview.

The Maryland initiative comes as advocates for environmental education are continuing a push to enact new federal legislation to advance the issue. Their goal is for companion bills introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, which would authorize $500 million over five years for environmental education, to be included in the overdue reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Mr. Baugh said.
Districts Have Leeway

The new Maryland proposal stems from the work of a task force created by Gov. O’Malley, a Democrat. The task force, called the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, was co-chaired by Ms. Grasmick and John R. Griffin, the secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources. In April 2009, the panel issued a final report and recommendations to the governor, including the call for a new graduation requirement on environmental literacy.

However, the task force had actually recommended requiring that all high school students take a specific course on environmental literacy, while the proposal moving forward calls for the topic to be “infused” into current curricular offerings.

To be sure, observers say, environmental education is nothing new in Maryland, and many schools have long included environmental literacy in the curriculum.

In fact, this would not be the state’s first mandate pegged to environmental education. The Maryland education code in 1989 was first amended to require a “comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program of environmental education within current curricular offerings at least once in the early, middle, and high school learning years.”

But Mr. Baugh, from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said that implementation has never reached all schools, especially following the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, the current version of the ESEA, with its emphasis on improving student achievement in reading and mathematics.

He also argues that the earlier measure required local systems simply to include environmental education within their instructional programs, but did not stipulate that all students must participate.

“A requirement tied to the ability for students to graduate high school will apply to all Maryland students, and carries greater weight and significance,” he said.

He added that the proposed new requirement also “provides much greater guidance regarding appropriate high school instruction and requires school systems to provide professional development for teachers to assist them in meeting the requirement.”

At the same time, Mr. Baugh said the proposal gives districts considerable leeway in how they choose to bring environmental education into classrooms.

Kevin M. Maxwell, the superintendent of the 75,500-student Anne Arundel County Public Schools, said he welcomes the proposed requirement. “We have an obligation to make sure that we equip our next generation with the tools they’re going to need ... to, quite frankly, clean up the messes that we’ve made,” he said, “and to make sure the Earth is a sustainable home for the people who inhabit it.”



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


18 July, 2010

Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause, says Jonathan Kay

I would be more inclined to say that conservatives who believe in Leftist propaganda are a liability to the conservative cause, which is where Jonathan Kay fits in. I don't have the time or inclination to fisk the nonsense below fully but I do add a few comments at the foot of it

Have you heard about the “growing number” of eminent scientists who reject the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are increasing the earth’s temperature? It’s one of those factoids that, for years, has been casually dropped into the opening paragraphs of conservative manifestos against climate-change treaties and legislation. A web site maintained by the office of a U.S. Senator has for years [external link] instructed us that a “growing number of scientists” are becoming climate-change “skeptics.” This year, the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation gave a [external link] speech praising the “growing number of distinguished scientists [who are] challenging the conventional wisdom with alternative theories and peer reviewed research.” In this newspaper, a columnist recently described the “growing skepticism about the theory of man-made climate change.” Surely, the conventional wisdom is on the cusp of being overthrown entirely: Another colleague proclaimed that we are approaching “the church of global warming’s Galileo moment.”

Fine-sounding rhetoric — but all of it nonsense. In a new [external link] article published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, a group of scholars from Stanford University, the University of Toronto and elsewhere provide a statistical breakdown of the opinions of the world’s most prominent climate experts. Their conclusion: The group that is skeptical of the evidence of man-made global warming “comprises only 2% of the top 50 climate researchers as ranked by expertise (number of climate publications), 3% of researchers in the top 100, and 2.5% of the top 200, excluding researchers present in both groups … This result closely agrees with expert surveys, indicating that [about] 97% of self-identified actively publishing climate scientists agree with the tenets of [man-made global warming].”

How has this tiny 2-3% sliver of fringe opinion been reinvented as a perpetually “growing” share of the scientific community? Most climate-change deniers (or “skeptics,” or whatever term one prefers) tend to inhabit militantly right-wing blogs and other Internet echo chambers populated entirely by other deniers. In these electronic enclaves — where a smattering of citations to legitimate scientific authorities typically is larded up with heaps of add-on commentary from pundits, economists and YouTube jesters who haven’t any formal training in climate sciences — it becomes easy to swallow the fallacy that the whole world, including the respected scientific community, is jumping on the denier bandwagon.

This is a phenomenon that should worry not only environmentalists, but also conservatives themselves: The conviction that global warming is some sort of giant intellectual fraud now has become a leading bullet point within mainstream North American conservatism; and so has come to bathe the whole movement in its increasingly crankish, conspiratorial glow.

Conservatives often pride themselves on their hard-headed approach to public-policy — in contradistinction to liberals, who generally are typecast as fuzzy-headed utopians. Yet when it comes to climate change, many conservatives I know will assign credibility to any stray piece of junk science that lands in their inbox … so long as it happens to support their own desired conclusion. (One conservative columnist I know formed her skeptical views on global warming based on testimonials she heard from novelist Michael Crichton.) The result is farcical: Impressionable conservatives who lack the numeracy skills to perform long division or balance their checkbooks feel entitled to spew elaborate proofs purporting to demonstrate how global warming is in fact caused by sunspots or flatulent farm animals. Or they will go on at great length about how “climategate” has exposed the whole global-warming phenomenon as a charade — despite the fact that a subsequent investigation [external link] exculpated research investigators from the charge that they had suppressed temperature data. (In fact, “climategate” was overhyped from the beginning, since the scientific community always had other historical temperature data sets at its disposal — that maintained by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, most notably — entirely independent of the Climactic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, where the controversy emerged.)

Let me be clear: Climate-change denialism does not comprise a conspiracy theory, per se: Those aforementioned 2% of eminent scientists prove as much. I personally know several denialists whom I generally consider to be intelligent and thoughtful. But the most militant denialists do share with conspiracists many of the same habits of mind. Oxford University scholar Steve Clarke and Brian Keeley of Washington University have defined conspiracy theories as those worldviews that trace important events to a secretive, nefarious cabal; and whose proponents consistently respond to contrary facts not by modifying their hypothesis, but instead by insisting on the existence of ever-wider circles of high-level conspirators controlling most or all parts of society. This describes, more or less, how radicalized warming deniers treat the subject of their obsession: They see global warming as a Luddite plot hatched by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and Al Gore to destroy industrial society. And whenever some politician, celebrity or international organization expresses support for the all-but-unanimous view of the world’s scientific community, they inevitably will respond with a variation of “Ah, so they’ve gotten to them, too.”

In support of this paranoid approach, the denialists typically will rely on stray bits of discordant information — an incorrect reference in a UN report, a suspicious-seeming “climategate” email, some hypocrisy or other from a bien-pensant NGO type — to argue that the whole theory is an intellectual house of cards. In these cases, one can’t help but be reminded of the folks who point out the fluttering American flag in the moon-landing photos, or the “umbrella man” from the Zapruder film of JFK’s assassination.

In part, blame for all this lies with the Internet, whose blog-from-the-hip ethos has convinced legions of pundits that their view on highly technical matters counts as much as peer-reviewed scientific literature. But there is something deeper at play, too — a basic psychological instinct that public-policy scholars refer to as the “cultural cognition thesis,” described in a recently published academic [external link] paper as the observed principle that “individuals tend to form perceptions of risk that reflect and reinforce one or another idealized vision of how society should be organized … Thus, generally speaking, persons who subscribe to individualistic values tend to dismiss claims of environmental risks, because acceptance of such claims implies the need to regulate markets, commerce and other outlets for individual strivings.”

In simpler words, too many of us treat science as subjective — something we customize to reduce cognitive dissonance between what we think and how we live.

In the case of global warming, this dissonance is especially traumatic for many conservatives, because they have based their whole worldview on the idea that unfettered capitalism — and the asphalt-paved, gas-guzzling consumer culture it has spawned — is synonymous with both personal fulfillment and human advancement. The global-warming hypothesis challenges that fundamental dogma, perhaps fatally.

The appropriate intellectual response to that challenge — finding a way to balance human consumption with responsible environmental stewardship — is complicated and difficult. It will require developing new technologies, balancing carbon-abatement programs against other (more cost-effective) life-saving projects such as disease-prevention, and — yes — possibly increasing the economic cost of carbon-fuel usage through some form of direct or indirect taxation. It is one of the most important debates of our time. Yet many conservatives have made themselves irrelevant in it by simply cupping their hands over their ears and screaming out imprecations against Al Gore.

Rants and slogans may help conservatives deal with the emotional problem of cognitive dissonance. But they aren’t the building blocks of a serious ideological movement. And the impulse toward denialism must be fought if conservatism is to prosper in a century when environmental issues will assume an ever greater profile on this increasingly hot, parched, crowded planet. Otherwise, the movement will come to be defined — and discredited — by its noisiest cranks and conspiracists.


Kay's starting point is that he takes seriously the sloppy and irrelevant propaganda put out by the "group of scholars from Stanford University". He is obviously completely oblivious to the barrage of criticisms that study has attracted. He could start reading here on that. The study concerned in fact echoes the work of the notorious Naomi Oreskes. See here and here for more on that.

Underlying Kay's faith in the Oreskes-type work, however, is a sort of naive trust. He is either completely oblivious of "the madness of crowds" or thinks that scientists are not affected by it. He quite rightly dismisses the idea that the very widespread support for global warming could be a "worldwide conspiracy" but overlooks something even more influential than any conspiracy could be: intellectual fashions.

It would be tedious to attempt a list of intellectual fashions that have been both very influential and yet totally wrong so let me give just one example from a field totally outside climate science: The belief that a low-fat diet is good for you. That belief is even more widespread than belief in global warming. You can hardly pick up a newspaper without being bombarded by it. Yet it is totally wrong. See the sidebar of my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog for much documentation of that.

Just one example: What was meant to be the solid gold proof of the evils of fat attracted $400 million of funding from the U.S. government and the resultant study was indeed done with great care over a long period -- but when the findings were released in 2006, the result was that high or low fat consumption in fact made absolutely no difference to key health outcomes. See e.g. here. Yet the evils of fat are still to this day almost universally accepted both among medical scientists and everyone else. It's a sad comment on the human love of attractive simplifications but it should also undermine the trusting nature of Mr. Kay. Consensus is no proof of anything and Bertrand Russell probably had a point when he said that consensus was more likely to be disproof than proof of whatever it asserted

The Week That Was (to July 17, 2010)

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

Although the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act (APA) appears dead, Senator Reid announced he will introduce, yet, another version of cap-and-tax this month by any other name. But both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and EPA have produced studies showing that cap-and-tax will be economically harmful. The CBO report is a solid, prudent review of three studies: Resources for the Future, Brookings Institution, and CRA International. All report that significant declines in total employment will result from APA. Strangely, Brookings makes the unrealistic assumption that all nations, including China, India, and Brazil, will adopt carbon dioxide control measures even if the US does not.

In spite of its harmful consequences, with the worst year-long unemployment rate since 1982, cap-and-tax continues to reappear. To understand why, it is useful to further examine APA to grasp the financial incentives involved. Most macroeconomic studies (economy-wide) do not examine the incidence of the tax (who actually pays the tax) and, correspondingly, the incidence of the subsidy (who reaps the benefits). A study by Chamberlain Economics does:

APA establishes allowances for carbon dioxide emissions which decline every year. Part is sold at auction to establish a controlled range of prices and part is distributed free to favored industries that can be sold or traded, ideally within the controlled range of prices. Using the mean of estimated prices in APA, Chamberlain Economics estimates the value of the of the part distributed free during the 2013 to 2034 life of the program as $2.1 Trillion – about the amount of total Federal revenues in 2009. The largest beneficiary is the electricity industry to the tune of $870 Billion.

Politicians claim the value of the free allowances to the electricity industry will then flow to the consumers of electricity. Chamberlain uses established microeconomic theory backed by empirical studies to show that much of the value will flow to the shareholders of the companies that are generally in the highest income group. Thus, the entire scheme results in a massive transfer of wealth from the lower and middle income groups to the wealthy. No wonder Duke Energy declared cap-and-trade will give share holders a $1,000,000,000 (Billion Dollar) profit.

Very interestingly, the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) industry, basically non-existent with an unproven technology, receives $246 Billion in free allowances – twice the 2009 budget for California. Given the sheer volume of carbon dioxide involved, it is highly unlikely that CCS will ever become viable.

[As a side note, Lord Oxburgh, the chairman of the third “independent” British commission investigating Climategate, is also honorary president of the British Carbon Capture and Storage Association. (See here)]

Using EPA numbers and established models from government agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Economic Statistics, Chamberlain estimates the cap-and-trade decline in employment would be 716,000 by 2020 and 5.1 million by 2050. The estimated decline in wages would be $32 Billion by 2020 and $236 Billion by 2050.

Unlike far too many studies of this type, the authors recognize that these estimates have great uncertainty and can only be considered as orders-of -magnitude approximations rather than precise estimates.


BP has successfully placed a cap on the gushing oil well, stopping the flow of oil and natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling of relief wells to permanently seal the damaged well is proceeding. That is the good news from the Gulf. The disturbing news is the actions of the Federal Government. Various sources report that, due to the heat, the work rules for Gulf clean up are 20 minutes of work followed by a 40 minute break. If correct, this would outrage veterans of Iraq or Vietnam for the lack of a sense of urgency to accomplish the mission.

In spite of being twice thwarted by the courts, the Interior Department has announced yet another moratorium on drilling wells in waters deeper than 500 feet below sea level and reports indicate it is not issuing permits for shallower wells. These actions have economic consequences for the region and the nation. Already two shallow water drilling rigs have left and two deep water drilling rigs are leaving: one for Egypt and the other for the Republic of the Congo. It is sad to think that the owners of the rigs believe that the government of the Republic of Congo is less inclined to interfere with obligations of contract than the government of the United States.

The Number of the Week is 400: The number of wild Canada geese rounded up from Prospect Park in Brooklyn and killed by the Agriculture Department on one day. (See 400 Park Geese Die, below). On day 86 of the BP oil spill, the US Fish and Wildlife reports the total number of birds collected dead with visible oil for the entire period is 746 (8.7 per day) and sea turtles total 14. (Visible oil does not mean cause.)


Book Of The Week: Over the past two weeks TWTW carried a brief review of Roy Spencer’s The Great Global Warming Blunder. Spencer uses a simple computer model and nine years of data from the new CERES satellite instruments to separate the signal showing a feedback (result) caused by warming from a signal showing that a forcing (cause of warming) such as a reduction in cloud cover from natural sources. The IPCC considers clouds are a constant and the disappearance of clouds is a result (feedback) of warming, not a cause of warming. Spencer disagrees and estimates that a 1% change in cloud cover, from natural causes, would explain at least 75% of the observed warming since 1900. He suggests the natural cause for changes in cloud cover is changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

The Chilling Stars, A New Theory of Climate Change by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder offers a different hypothesis for changing cloudiness: the interplay of cosmic rays and solar forces, particularly solar wind and magnetism. (Icon Books, Cambridge, UK, 2007, 230 pages plus 6 pages of notes and scientific references). The book explains in layman’s language the complex relationships that may lead to formation of low lying clouds which cause cooling; and, correspondingly, the lack of which may cause warming.

Over 50 years ago, scientists (including Fred Singer) established that the changing solar wind and magnetism affects the quantity of high energy cosmic rays entering into the earth’s atmosphere. When the sun is active, the solar wind is stronger and fewer high energy cosmic rays enter the earth’s atmosphere. By 1996, Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen hypothesized that high energy cosmic rays hitting atoms in the upper atmosphere produce ions which act as catalysts in the formation of low level clouds. Their work was rejected by journals until Friis-Christensen announced it at conference in Birmingham England which was picked up by Britain’s Royal Society. This resulted in a journal publication that was promptly ignored or criticized except in Demark, the home of Svensmark and Friis-Christensen.

In 2005, a Danish team conducted an experiment, called SKY, in the basement of the Danish National Space Center. The experiment supported the hypothesis that high energy ions emitted by cosmic ray collisions may act as catalysts in the formation of clouds.

The nuclear collisions of high energy cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere also create carbon 14. Caves in Oman and elsewhere show a stunning correlation between carbon 14 and temperature as measured by an isotope of oxygen, indicating a causal relationship.

This book lucidly describes the difficulty scientists who explore possible natural causes of climate change experience in obtaining funding in a world which gives billions to those claiming carbon dioxide causes global warming.

Starting in late 2009, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is conducting experiments testing the hypothesis (CLOUD experiment). Svensmark mentioned to SEPP that he expects papers on results coming out late this year. We look forward to them.


SEPP has joined the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Freedomworks in filing a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington DC Circuit requesting review of the EPA ruling increasing mileage standards for automobiles. This petition is to complete the February petition to review the EPA finding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and welfare.

Automobile emissions were cited by the Supreme Court as causing sea level rise. Of course, not mentioned was that sea levels have been rising for 18,000 years over which period they have risen some 400 feet. It would be amusing to have the court demand that EPA separate amount of sea level rise due to automobile emissions from the natural rise.


Why Climate-Realists Are Winning The Argument & The Public

"Reality bites" is the simple answer but Newsweak has a more rambling explanation below. Anything other than global-warming boosterism from Newsweak is however something of a departure. They are getting cautious

Just three years ago the politics of global warming was enjoying its golden moment. The release in 2006 of Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, had riveted global audiences with its predictions of New York and Miami under 20 feet of water. Within 12 months, leading politicians with real power were on board.

Germany’s Angela Merkel, dubbed the “climate chancellor” by her country’s press, arranged a Greenland photo op with a melting iceberg and promised to cut Europe’s emissions by 20 percent by 2020. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called climate change a scourge equal to fascism, offered 60 percent by 2050. In December 2007, the world got its very first green leader. Harnessing the issue of climate change, Kevin Rudd became prime minister of Australia, ready to take on what he called “the biggest political, economic, and moral challenge of our times.” Now, almost everywhere, green politics has fallen from its lofty heights.

Following two of the harshest winters on record in the Northern Hemisphere—not to mention an epic economic crisis—voters no longer consider global warming a priority. Just 42 percent of Germans now worry about climate change, down from 62 percent in 2006. In Australia, only 53 percent still consider it a pressing issue, down from 75 percent in 2007. Americans rank climate change dead last of 21 problems that concern them most, according to a January Pew poll. Last month Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, blasting climate change as a “sideshow” to global economic issues, canceled the meeting of environment ministers that has preceded the G8 or G20 summit every year but one since 1994. Merkel has slashed green-development aid in the latest round of budget cuts, while in Washington, Barack Obama seems to have cooled on his plan to cap emissions.

In perhaps the most striking momentum reversal for environmental politicians, last month Rudd became the first leader to be destroyed by his green policies. Flip-flopping over planned emissions cuts as the opposition exploited Australian voters’ flagging support for climate measures, he was finally ousted by party rebels.

What has turned the fight against global warming from vote getter to political hot potato in so many places at once? Each country has its own brute politics at play. Rudd was just as much a victim of infighting between factions in Australia’s Labor Party as of shifting public attitudes on global warming. Coming off a battle to push through landmark health-care-reform legislation through Congress, Obama has likely exhausted his political capital for another controversial and far-reaching bill. In Europe, bailouts first of banks and now entire countries have sucked up decision-making bandwidth and given an opening to those who argue that climate legislation is an unaffordable economic burden.

Cynics (and some frustrated environmentalists) say this is all just the usual cycle in media and politics, with the public tiring of the issue and moving on. Yet above all, it is climate politics itself that has turned murky and double-edged. No longer does it lend itself to the easy categories of good and bad that Rudd so successfully exploited in 2007. And controlling the global climate turned out to be a lot more complicated than the advocates of fierce and fast CO2 cuts would have us believe.

Back in 2007, it was easy and popular—and cost nothing—to announce ever-tougher but faraway targets. The snag was that once in place, those lofty goals would require countries to get on with the harsh and costly business of reengineering entire economies, without which the numbers could never be reached.

Rudd was the first green leader to fall because he was the first one to be hit by the tough reality of having to translate goals into practice, says Oliver Geden, a climate-policy expert at SWP, a think tank in Berlin. Not only is Australia the world’s biggest exporter of CO2-spewing coal, but its citizens and businesses also gobble up energy at one of the world’s highest per capita rates. The changes required of Australians would be immense.

Increasingly, the whole concept of radical, top-down global targets is coming under scrutiny as citizens and governments face tougher choices over costs and benefits. Green policies can be popular when they mean subsidizing renewable fuels or going after unpopular power companies, but can quickly hit a wall when they force lifestyle change, such as less driving and fewer swimming pools—fears Rudd’s opponents have exploited.

Policies that push trendy green fuels also cost much more than other options, such as replacing dirty coal with cleaner gas or emissions-free nuclear power. Some schemes, such as America’s corn ethanol and Europe’s biodiesel made from rapeseed, have virtually zero net emissions savings, but any petroleum they displace is quickly bought up by China. Even in the ideal case that the United Nations’ goal of 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 is technologically and politically feasible, economists disagree widely on whether the cost of the current set of policies, such as carbon caps and green-fuel subsidies, is justified by the avoided damage from warmer temperatures.

What’s more, hitting emissions targets remains an elusive quest. The world’s most ambitiously green region, Europe, has already clocked an 11.3 percent decrease in emissions since 1990—except much of it has little to do with climate policy. Instead, a large part of the decrease is attributable to economic forces such as the collapse of communist-era industry in Eastern Europe (much of which has shifted to China), British utilities’ switch from coal to North Sea gas, as well as the recent recession. “It’s hard to believe that we can regulate the global temperature in 2050 when politicians cannot even get a handle on health expenditures next year,” says Geden.

There are other ways green policies have lost their innocence since 2007. In many ways, green projects have become just another flavor of grubby interest politics. Biofuels have become a new label for old-style agricultural subsidies that funnel some $20 billion annually to landowners with little effect on emissions (only Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol produces any significant savings; America’s corn ethanol and Europe’s biodiesel do not).

Germany’s solar subsidies, a signature project in the country’s battle against climate change, are perhaps the most wasteful green scheme on earth, producing a mere 0.25 percent of the country’s energy at a cost to consumers of as much as $125 billion. A leading member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats in the German Parliament says there is growing unease both in his party and in the Bundestag “about the scary monster we’ve created that is sucking up ever larger amounts of money for a negligible effect.”

On top of all this unease came last November’s “climategate” affair over irregularities in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body whose findings are the basis of all climate policy. Though a review panel has since cleared the researchers of most allegations, the lingering controversy could further undermine the IPCC’s longstanding push for massive CO2 reduction targets as the only viable option to deal with global warming.

With green politics losing its moral high ground, there is a growing realization that climate change is just one policy priority among many that compete for limited resources and attention. That means, first, that climate politics will likely fall off its pedestal of being the Western world’s overarching priority.

Second, the new sobriety could give more space to a third stream of climate politics between those who see warming as an unmitigated catastrophe that must be stopped at any cost, and those who reject global warming as a hoax. A new climate realism would more carefully weigh the costs and benefits of emissions controls, and look at other options beyond the current set of targets. The new debate will be more pragmatic and include a broader mix of policies. That might include a shift of subsidies into research and development, as many climate economists have argued.

It would also include greater efforts to adapt society to a warmer climate, rather than focusing only on stopping the warming process in its tracks.

That idea has so far figured little in the debate, largely because mainstream environmentalists fear it will distract from their push for CO2 cutbacks. Yet adaptation may offer equally valid and much less expensive choices than cutting back on emissions. For example, one of the most-feared effects of warming is rising sea levels—yet mankind has successfully dealt with similar rises for centuries. “As soon as you start talking to Dutch engineers, you realize that sea-level rise is business as usual,” says Geden.

Declining water supplies in some regions of the world, another effect of warmer temperatures, might be more effectively met with efficient water distribution and less water-hungry crops than global temperature targets. Another emerging area of innovation is climate engineering, such as the manipulation of cloud cover and other artificial means of reflecting heat back into space.

In other words, some of the money spent on current policies that often have only limited efficacy might be better spent on other measures, including protection against the worst effects of warming. What’s more, current economic worries are a reminder that every dollar spent on solar cells or biodiesel is a dollar less for education and other budget priorities. If that means climate and environmental policies in the future will be more stringently measured in terms of the tradeoffs involved given finite resources, that would be a lasting benefit that even Kevin Rudd might appreciate.


Killing the green wave

Comment from Canada

Most people understand what an independent public inquiry is -- Except climate scientists and politicians. In a public inquiry, a third party with no interest in the outcome — typically a judge — is appointed by government with a mandate to investigate an issue of public concern.

The inquiry has its own legal counsel, investigators and budget. It has the power to compel witnesses to testify publicly, to cross-examine them, to demand documents and call in outside experts.

By that standard, the three official “inquiries” into “Climategate” — the last of which recently “exonerated” scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA) — again were farces. Two were cases of the UEA appointing sympathetic academics to investigate itself.

The third was a one-day hearing before a British parliamentary committee in a country that has been at the forefront of global warming hysteria.

Climategate involved the unsanctioned release of thousands of e-mails and documents by leading climate scientists. The most infamous came from former CRU director Phil Jones about using a “trick” to “hide the decline” in temperatures, plus discussing with colleagues ways to hide data from freedom of information requests under U.K. law.

The latest “inquiry” found what the two previous ones did — the science of climate change is sound (surprise!), but researchers were unprofessionally secretive.

While warmists declared “victory” with each predictable report, and are still fighting skeptics over the credibility of various claims in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which basically described global warming as an existential threat, much of the public has stopped listening.

International polls show concern over climate change dropping — even in countries such as Germany, which has heavily invested in renewable energy — and most significantly in the U.S., the world’s No. 2 greenhouse gas emitter.

With China, the world’s largest emitter, refusing to accept hard emission targets, global negotiations to draft a successor agreement to the (widely ignored) Kyoto accord, which expires in 2012, are stalled.

There’ll be another attempt in Cancun this November after talks all but fell apart in Copenhagen last December, but the effort is losing steam.

One reason is the realization global, centrally-imposed diktats to cut emissions over mandated time frames — mindful of the former Soviet Union’s absurd five-year plans for the production of tin — don’t work.

Another is politicians now have to move from promising to lower emissions, which is easy, to lowering them, which, as the public is discovering, is ruinously expensive, doesn’t work and will lead to power shortages.

Optimists might say, as Newsweek did Monday in an essay, “A Green Retreat: Why the environment is no longer a surefire political winner,” that climate change is finally being put into perspective as one of many challenges we face, not necessarily the most significant.

Unfortunately, the global political fight never has been about the environment, but about expanding government power domestically and creating, internationally, a socialist, money-sucking scheme to transfer wealth from the first world to the third. That effort is proceeding.

It’s how Stephen Harper accurately described Kyoto, before he became prime minister and stopped talking about the issue honestly. As for the opposition parties, they’re so uninformed about the devastating economic consequences of what they’re advocating, it’s just scary.


Global Warming Theory: False in Parts, False in Totality

By Tim Ball

There are so many variables ignored, underreported or simply not understood in climate science and especially in the computer models that purport to simulate global climate, that they destroy any pretence we know or understand weather and climate. But don’t take my word for it. Consider the comments from proponents of anthropogenic global warming including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In the 2001 report they said, “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate state is not possible.” James Lovelock, Gaia hypothesis speculator said, “It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think that we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.” Kevin Trenberth, IPCC author and CRU associate said, “It’s very clear we do not have a climate observing system… This may be a shock to many people who assume that we do know adequately what’s going on with the climate, but we don’t.”

Many reports exist on the inadequacy of temperature data. Ross McKitrick asks whether a global temperature exists at all.
Anthony Watts shows the serious problems with the weather stations in the US and these are supposedly the best in the world.

We also know how the record is ‘adjusted’ to support the warming theory.

However, measurement of other variables is worse simply because of the complexity of measurements. Instruments to accurately measure precipitation, especially snowfall, have always been a great challenge. Perhaps the most forgotten variable, yet critical to weather and climate, is wind speed.

Ancient Greeks knew the importance of wind direction and how it determined the pattern of weather in a region. They even built a Tower of the Winds in Athens honoring the eight wind deities (Figure 1). Direction was critical for sailing as well, so mariners developed the ability to read the wind to 32 points of the compass. Speed was a different matter. Early attempts had a flat board on a spring with a pointer attached that was set against a scale. Wind pushed the board and the pointer indicated the force. The big change came with the wind cup or anemometer in 1846. While this provides an accurate measure, recording the information is important because the work the wind does requires detailed almost continuous data.

The atmosphere is heated by air in contact with the ground (conduction) but also by evaporation of moisture that is then released into the atmosphere. In both cases the rate varies with wind speed. Even a small variation in wind speed results in a variation in heat exchange and distribution in the atmosphere.

Wind is created by difference in pressure that is created by difference in temperature. High temperature creates low pressure and wind then blows from the high pressure to redress the imbalance. There are general global wind patterns created by differential heating. If the Earth wasn’t rotating a simple circulation of air rising at the Equator and descending at the Poles would occur, however rotation results in generally easterly winds at the Equator and the Poles with prevailing westerly winds in the middle latitudes. Each region has different land/ water ratios so a shift in these zonal winds will affect the role of the wind in heating the atmosphere.

Figure 2 shows plots of the percentage frequency of south winds at York Factory located on the southwest shore of Hudson Bay for two decades over 100 years apart. In the early decade from 1721 to 1731, which is well within the Little Ice Age (LIA), south winds blow less than 7 percent of the time. In the decade from 1841 to 1851, which is outside of the LIA, south winds are occur over 12 percent of the time with a peak in 1842 of 27 percent.

The 2007 IPCC report acknowledges the shifts in some wind patterns and associated weather systems. Based on a variety of measurements at the surface and in the upper troposphere, it is likely that there has been an increase and a poleward shift in NH (Northern Hemisphere) winter storm-track activity over the second half of the 20th century, but there are still significant uncertainties in the magnitude of the increase due to time-dependent biases in the reanalyses. The word “likely” is defined as greater than 66% chance. The shift is not surprising because the prevailing westerly wind and accompanying storm track would move north as the Earth warms.

They acknowledge the “significant uncertainties” in the validity of increased frequency. They don’t even attempt to discuss the significance for heat transfer or any other impact on global weather. We know wind causes shifts of Arctic ice to create open water or increase pack ice, but how does this affect heat exchange or evaporation? It is even worse in the Southern Hemisphere (SH). Analysed decreases in cyclone numbers over the southern extratropics and increases in mean cyclone radius and depth over much of the SH over the last two decades are subject to even larger uncertainties.

The degree to which the IPCC and their supporters have fooled the world is amazing. As Jean-Francois Revel said: “How is it possible for a theory, which is false in its component parts, to be true as a whole.” In the case of ‘official’ climate science he could add that many parts of the whole are simply omitted.

He explained the mentality that has pervaded the AGW supporters when he wrote, “A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence” His book titled, The Flight from Truth: The Reign of deceit in the Age of Information tells it all.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Chinese historians show that warming is good for you

COOLING is destabilizing. Warmer periods were most peaceful and prosperous

Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900

By Zhibin Zhang1 et al.


Recent studies have linked climatic and social instabilities in ancient China; the underlying causal mechanisms have, however, often not been quantitatively assessed. Here, using historical records and palaeoclimatic reconstructions during AD 10–1900, we demonstrate that war frequency, price of rice, locust plague, drought frequency, flood frequency and temperature in China show two predominant periodic bands around 160 and 320 years where they interact significantly with each other. Temperature cooling shows direct positive association with the frequency of external aggression war to the Chinese dynasties mostly from the northern pastoral nomadic societies, and indirect positive association with the frequency of internal war within the Chinese dynasties through drought and locust plagues. The collapses of the agricultural dynasties of the Han, Tang, Song and Ming are more closely associated with low temperature. Our study suggests that food production during the last two millennia has been more unstable during cooler periods, resulting in more social conflicts owing to rebellions within the dynasties or/and southward aggressions from northern pastoral nomadic societies in ancient China.



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17 July, 2010

Air conditioners banned in the global warming nanny state

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to round up enough votes to pass a counterpart to the House's Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that would impose an 83 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Proponents of the restrictions, which would require the average U.S. citizen to emit no more carbon dioxide than the average citizen emitted during the 1800s, publicly claim these draconian cuts will have little impact on our American lifestyle, other than inducing energy producers to utilize different fuel sources. The July 11 Washington Post, however, offered a peek at the bait-and-switch tactics the global warming alarmists seek to employ.

Stan Cox writes in the Post, “Washington didn't grind to a sweaty halt last week under triple-digit temperatures. People didn't even slow down. Instead, the three-day, 100-plus-degree, record-shattering heat wave prompted Washingtonians to crank up their favorite humidity-reducing, electricity-bill-busting, fluorocarbon-filled appliance: the air conditioner. This isn’t smart. … In a country that's among the world's highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the worst power-guzzlers.”

Think it gets hot in the summer? Try making it through the summer without air conditioning. Sure, the Washington Post article claims, people used to make it through summers without air conditioning in years past. People also used to make it through life without electricity, indoor plumbing, and anesthetic – but that doesn’t mean we should welcome a return to those times, either.

The Post article claims, “A.C.'s obvious public-health benefits during severe heat waves do not justify its lavish use in everyday life for months on end.” This is the ultimate example of the proposed dictatorship of the nanny-staters. ‘Just because I think I can make it through the summer without air conditioning, I don’t think anybody else should be able to use it, either.’

Give the article points for honesty, though. There is no way intermittent solar and wind power, which requires huge amounts of land development to produce only a small amount of unreliable electricity, can power our modern society. Cutting carbon dioxide emissions 83 percent, or anything even remotely approaching 83 percent, will require Americans doing much more than merely paying the exorbitant price increases required by solar and wind power. It will require a fundamental and foreboding restructuring of our entire way of life.


Enviro jobs are fake-o jobs: Green Economics and the Void of Desire

Whatever “green jobs” are, it’s very clear America doesn’t want them

President Obama has been pushing a proposal that would spend over a million dollars for each permanent “green job” created in a solar-power boondoggle. Billions were placed at the disposal of avowed communist Van Jones to create these sparkling emeralds of environmentally sensitive employment, even though no one in the Administration can explain what they are.

If Americans wanted “green” jobs and industries, they would pay for them. There’s some interest in such things, of course. You’ll probably see a Prius or two on your drive home today. It’s great when people choose to make such purchases of their own free will, based on valid information.

Of course, that’s not how the “Green Economy” works. Consumer decisions are driven by false information, batted into their faces with rotting hockey sticks by con artists and fanatics. Most of the decisions aren’t made by consumers at all. The government created the Green Economy through propaganda, regulations, and subsidies. Many on the Left, including the President, have openly stated their desire to push gas prices higher, so Americans will behave according to the designs of the environmentalist movement.

Does this mean Americans are completely uninterested in eco-friendly technology or alternative fuels? Not at all. Most of us would dearly love to have cold-fusion cars, or cheap solar electricity. However, we are not willing to compromise our standard of living to have them right now, when they’re not adequate substitutes for fossil fuels. The more extreme manifestations of environmentalist fanaticism, beginning with the devastating cap-and-trade bill, will begin pushing us back into a pre-industrial economy.

We don’t want the higher prices and reduced standard of living that would accompany this transformation, especially when we know we’ve got untapped oil resources like the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve, declared off-limits by religious edict from the Church of Gaia in defiance of logic. Our national consensus is to wait until these alternative energy technologies reach maturity, and deliver acceptable performance at reasonable prices. Competition will then transition us smoothly to alternative energy.

A correspondent who works with solar technology puts it this way:
Solar power is something I firmly believe in. It’s not a daydream but it is a dream. Solar power has been around for over 100 years but as an industry it is still in its infancy. We can’t replace conventional power generation and probably won’t be able to for another century if even then.

The problem with Obama’s approach is that it’s some sort of bastardization of supply side economics. He is directly subsidizing manufacturers. So what we end up with is a huge solar array out in the desert and lalala it won’t really do much, (but will make some Spanish corporation a tidy sum.) This is still America (so far anyway) and to be successful first you find or create demand for a product.

This is all very reasonable, and perfectly in tune with the desires of most Americans… but government is coercive force, so what we want doesn’t matter. Massive resources are seized from the free market, and forced into a Green Economy full of pretend jobs, and projects that have more in common with black holes than yellow suns.

The animating principle of radical environmentalism is that freedom is dangerous, and cannot be allowed, because the survival of the planet is at stake. This is what makes it such a perfect fit as the State religion of a socialist elite. Its sacrament is antimatter to libertarian capitalism: righteous tyranny. One of the scientist-priests of this religion, James Lovelock, went so far as to suggest “it may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while” because “the inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

As you can see from those million-dollar “green” jobs, the pursuit of righteous tyranny is hideously expensive. That’s because it shifts control of our society to a lesser intelligence.

What do I mean by this? Consider the purchasing and investment decisions of our three hundred million citizens as a widely dispersed intelligence of tremendous complexity. Resources are allocated through a vast number of individual decisions, made with impressive speed. Each citizen becomes one element of a mighty network. It is capable of intuition, as sophisticated communications allow consumers to react to trends and opportunities in a cascade of email, website postings, phone calls, and casual conversation.

It is creative, because it’s not restrained by ideology or central directives. People adopt new technologies with astounding speed. With apologies to Alvin Toffler, the only “future shock” nowadays is felt by manufacturers, as the best high-tech products go from the expensive indulgences of trendy nerds to household items in a matter of months.

Obama-style command economics are a far more primitive form of intelligence. They are directed by small groups of people wearing ideological blinders. Politically unacceptable alternatives are ruled nonexistent. Command economies move with glacial speed, receiving corrective input only once every couple of years at the ballot box. They are wasteful, as vast resources are allocated to pay off valuable constituencies, or absorbed by a useless political class through graft.

When the government uses taxes, regulations, and subsidies to force the free market where it doesn’t want to go, wealth and value disappear into the gulf between the choices made by citizens, and the State compulsion that destroys them. This is the Void of Desire, filled with the dust of shriveled possibilities. It grows larger and more expensive as coercion meets the law of diminishing returns, using increasingly ridiculous spending – and harsh penalties – to impose its mandates on a resentful, or fearful, populace.

You can see thousands of jobs, and billions in market value, vanishing into the void between our desires and Barack Obama’s failed ideology. Soon the cost will become so unbearable that he and his accomplices will be swept out of office, and we can adopt a sane energy policy that leaves us wealth enough to create those alternative technologies of the future… which will inevitably grow from expensive boondoggles into priceless treasures, given enough time.

Or else we will find out if America is willing to submit to James Lovelock’s philosophy. The Void of Desire will either be sealed… or it will become all-consuming.


Britain Shelves Green Investment Plan

Plans to use money from the sale of government assets to provide the riskiest of equity investment in green energy projects such as offshore wind and carbon capture have been shelved by the government.

The move comes amid signs of tension between Vince Cable at the business department and George Osborne at the Treasury over the scale of the coalition government’s planned green investment bank and its precise role.

In Labour’s last Budget, Alistair Darling, then chancellor, announced cash from the sale of the Channel tunnel rail link and other disposals of government assets planned over the next 18 months would provide early-stage equity investment in green energy projects.

Some £1bn ($1.5bn) of sales proceeds were to be used as “the riskiest of risk capital” to help attract a matching £1bn from the private sector by removing some of the biggest risks from green energy projects. The aim was to kick-start the further tens of billions of pounds of investment needed from the private sector.

But, according to Andy Rose, head of the Treasury’s infrastructure finance unit, that is now “the policy of a previous government”.

He told an infrastructure conference run by City and Financial: “We are not pursuing it” and it is “not on the agenda of the current government”.

Other Treasury officials indicated the idea might be revived when the government settles on plans for a green investment bank later in the year, although it seemed more likely the proceeds from asset sales – which the government still plans to follow through – would be used to pay down debt.


Climate Target will put EU out of the Race

From Colin Purvis, Director General, CIRFS (European Man-made Fibres Association)

The joint call by the UK climate change secretary, the German federal environment minister and French environment minister to raise the European Union’s carbon emissions reduction target to 30 per cent (Comment, July 15) leaves me highly perplexed and very worried.

According to them, an increase in the 2020 target for reductions from 20 per cent to 30 per cent is needed in order to create a more attractive European environment for low-carbon investment, and to ensure that Europe can continue to stay in “the race to compete in the low-carbon world” with countries such as China, Japan, India and the US.

Really? Then why are these countries not falling over one another to set themselves new carbon emission reduction targets, as the ministers are proposing for Europe? Have the ministers forgotten that these countries either were not prepared to make ambitious quantified commitments at Copenhagen, or have failed to get these through their legislative systems? It does not seem to me that any of these countries are following, or likely to follow in the foreseeable future, the European path of putting additional cost burdens on industry in the hope of achieving a low-carbon breakthrough.

European industrial producers – in our sector and most others – have successfully reduced energy usage in a significant way by normal economic pressures. The result of additional cost burdens from an increased emissions reduction target (even with partial allocation of free allowances) will simply be less European production and more production in countries with much higher carbon emissions per unit of production.

This does not sound a good outcome in the fight against climate change. Time for a re-think, I suggest.


The End Of Green Catastrophism?

For environmentalists, the BP oil spill may be disproving the maxim that great tragedies produce great change.

Traditionally, American environmentalism wins its biggest victories after some important piece of American environment is poisoned, exterminated or set on fire. An oil spill and aburning river in 1969 led to new anti-pollution laws in the 1970s. The Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law.

But this year, the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- and, before that, the worst coal-mining disaster in 40 years -- haven't put the same kind of drive into the debate over climate change and fossil-fuel energy.

The Senate is still gridlocked. Opinion polls haven't budged much. Gasoline demand is going up, not down.

Environmentalists say they're trying to turn public outrage over oil-smeared pelicans into action against more abstract things, such as oil dependence and climate change. But historians say they're facing a political moment deadened by a bad economy, suspicious politics and lingering doubts after a scandal over climate scientists' e-mails.

The difference between now and the awakenings (sic) that followed past disasters is as stark as "on versus off," said Anthony Leiserowitz, a researcher at Yale University who tracks public opinion on climate change.

"People's outrage is focused on BP," Leiserowitz said. The spill "hasn't been automatically connected to some sense that there's something more fundamental wrong with our relationship with the natural world," he said.


Science Behind Climate Change Under Fire - Again

The scientific accuracy of the United Nations' climate change reports are coming under fire again. In a scandal that dates back to January and was dubbed Amazongate at the time, it has been confirmed that claims of the Amazon burning up due to climate change were sexed-up and pulled from activist literature....

Professor Ross McKintrick says no one should be surprised that such mistakes end up in these massive reports.

“The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) doesn’t have the internal rigour that one would expect of it,” said McKintrick from his office at the University of Guelph. “Nothing is in the process to prevent activist rhetoric from appearing.” McKintrick, who teaches environmental economics and has had his own battles with the accuracy of climate change reports, says the calculations used in the UN reports are often not checked for accuracy and even the much-vaunted peer-review process does not guarantee that the information used is correct.

Amazongate is not the only claim that relies on information from activist groups.

Toronto author Donna Lafamboise recently led a team of citizen auditors through the 2007 climate change report and found heavy use of reports from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. That report is published at

Laframboise says Greenpeace was cited at least eight times and the WWF at least nine times, despite both groups having clearly stated activist goals when it comes to climate change.

“This is shocking in a report that the public has been told relies solely on peer-reviewed research published in scientific journals,” said Laframboise.

The UN has appointed a team of academic experts to give advice on how to avoid these mistakes in the future, but McKintrick says the UN isn’t really serious about changing anything.

He points out that the authors for the next massive climate change report have already been chosen and many were part of the last error-riddled effort.



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


16 July, 2010

They're at it again: Unusually warm weather proves global warming but unusually cool weather never proves global cooling

At least this time the media reported some skeptical views as well -- if only at the end of the article. Anybody who would believe the systematically corrupted terrestrial datasets promulgated by CRU, NOAA or NASA-GISS would believe anything

The world is hotter than ever. March, April, May and June set records, making 2010 the warmest year worldwide since record-keeping began in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

"It's part of an overall trend," says Jay Lawrimore, climate analysis chief at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. "Global temperatures ... have been rising for the last 100-plus years. Much of the increase is due to increases in greenhouse gases."

There were exceptions: June was cooler than average across Scandinavia, southeastern China, and the northwestern USA, according to NOAA's report.

If nothing changes, Lawrimore predicts:

•Flooding rains like those in Nashville in May will be more common. "The atmosphere is able to hold more water as it warms, and greater water content leads to greater downpours," he says.

• Heavy snow, like the record snows that crippled Baltimore and Washington last winter, is likely to increase because storms are moving north. Also, the Great Lakes aren't freezing as early or as much. "As cold outbreaks occur, cold air goes over the Great Lakes, picks up moisture and dumps on the Northeast," he says.

• Droughts are likely to be more severe and heat waves more frequent.

• More arctic ice will disappear, speeding up warming, as the Arctic Ocean warms "more than would happen if the sea ice were in place," he says. Arctic sea ice was at a record low in June.

Marc Morano, a global-warming skeptic who edits the Climate Depot website, says the government "is playing the climate fear card by hyping predictions and cherry-picking data."

Joe D'Aleo, a meteorologist who co-founded The Weather Channel, disagrees, too. He says oceans are entering a cooling cycle that will lower temperatures.

He says too many of the weather stations NOAA uses are in warmer urban areas. "The only reliable data set right now is satellite," D'Aleo says. He says NASA satellite data shows the average temperature in June was 0.43 degrees higher than normal. NOAA says it was 1.22 degrees higher.


Rare humility: "Something is going on that we do not understand"

And even the inevitable attempt to show that CO2 is the villain falls down: "But the numbers don't quite add up". How sad! Time to say that we don't know enough about influences on the earth's atmosphere to make climate predictions? In a rational world it would be

NASA-funded researchers are monitoring a big event in our planet's atmosphere. High above Earth's surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called "the thermosphere" recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.

"This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years," says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19th issue of the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). "It's a Space Age record."

The collapse happened during the deep solar minimum of 2008-2009—a fact which comes as little surprise to researchers. The thermosphere always cools and contracts when solar activity is low. In this case, however, the magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.

"Something is going on that we do not understand," says Emmert.

The thermosphere ranges in altitude from 90 km to 600+ km. It is a realm of meteors, auroras and satellites, which skim through the thermosphere as they circle Earth. It is also where solar radiation makes first contact with our planet. The thermosphere intercepts extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photons from the sun before they can reach the ground. When solar activity is high, solar EUV warms the thermosphere, causing it to puff up like a marshmallow held over a camp fire. (This heating can raise temperatures as high as 1400 K—hence the name thermosphere.) When solar activity is low, the opposite happens.

Lately, solar activity has been very low. In 2008 and 2009, the sun plunged into a century-class solar minimum. Sunspots were scarce, solar flares almost non-existent, and solar EUV radiation was at a low ebb. Researchers immediately turned their attention to the thermosphere to see what would happen.....

One possible explanation is carbon dioxide (CO2). When carbon dioxide gets into the thermosphere, it acts as a coolant, shedding heat via infrared radiation. It is widely-known that CO2 levels have been increasing in Earth's atmosphere. Extra CO2 in the thermosphere could have magnified the cooling action of solar minimum.

"But the numbers don't quite add up," says Emmert. "Even when we take CO2 into account using our best understanding of how it operates as a coolant, we cannot fully explain the thermosphere's collapse."


Climategate and the Big Green Lie

Even a Warmist is dismayed by the crookedness in climate "science":

By way of preamble, let me remind you where I stand on climate change. I think climate science points to a risk that the world needs to take seriously. I think energy policy should be intelligently directed towards mitigating this risk. I am for a carbon tax.

I also believe that the Climategate emails revealed, to an extent that surprised even me (and I am difficult to surprise), an ethos of suffocating groupthink and intellectual corruption. The scandal attracted enormous attention in the US, and support for a new energy policy has fallen. In sum, the scientists concerned brought their own discipline into disrepute, and set back the prospects for a better energy policy.

I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.

The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann -- the paleoclimatologist who came up with "the hockey stick" -- would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for "lack of credible evidence", it will not even investigate them. (At this, MIT's Richard Lindzen tells the committee, "It's thoroughly amazing. I mean these issues are explicitly stated in the emails. I'm wondering what's going on?" The report continues: "The Investigatory Committee did not respond to Dr Lindzen's statement. Instead, [his] attention was directed to the fourth allegation.")

Moving on, the report then says, in effect, that Mann is a distinguished scholar, a successful raiser of research funding, a man admired by his peers -- so any allegation of academic impropriety must be false.

You think I exaggerate?
This level of success in proposing research, and obtaining funding to conduct it, clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research...

Had Dr. Mann's conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions...

Clearly, Dr. Mann's reporting of his research has been successful and judged to be outstanding by his peers. This would have been impossible had his activities in reporting his work been outside of accepted practices in his field.

In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no. His record is swooned over. Verdict: case dismissed, with apologies that Mann has been put to such trouble.

Further "vindication" of the Climategate emailers was to follow, of course, in Muir Russell's equally probing investigation. To be fair, Russell manages to issue a criticism or two. He says the scientists were sometimes "misleading" -- but without meaning to be (a plea which, in the case of the "trick to hide the decline", is an insult to one's intelligence). On the apparent conspiracy to subvert peer review, it found that the "allegations cannot be upheld" -- but, as the impressively even-handed Fred Pearce of the Guardian notes, this was partly on the grounds that "the roles of CRU scientists and others could not be distinguished from those of colleagues. There was 'team responsibility'." Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of the university which houses CRU, calls this "exoneration".

I am glad to see The Economist, which I criticized for making light of the initial scandal, taking a balanced view of these unsatisfactory proceedings. My only quarrels with its report are quibbles. For instance, in the second paragraph it says: " The reports conclude that the science of climate is sound..."

Actually, they don't, as the article's last paragraph makes clear:
An earlier report on climategate from the House of Commons assumed that a subsequent probe by a panel under Lord Oxburgh, a former academic and chairman of Shell, would deal with the science. The Oxburgh report, though, sought to show only that the science was not fraudulent or systematically flawed, not that it was actually reliable. And nor did Sir Muir, with this third report, think judging the science was his job.

Like Pearce, The Economist rightly draws attention to the failure of the Russell inquiry to ask Phil Jones of the CRU whether he actually deleted any emails to defeat FoI requests. It calls this omission "rather remarkable". Pearce calls it "extraordinary".

Myself, I would prefer to call it "astonishing and indefensible". I don't see how, having spotted this, the magazine can conclude that the report, overall, was "thorough, but it will not satisfy all the critics." (Well, the critics make such unreasonable demands! Look into the charges, they say. Hear from the other side. Ask the obvious questions. It never stops: you just can't satisfy these people.)

However, The Economist is calling for the IPCC's Rajendra Pachauri to go. That's good.

So where does this leave us? Walter Russell Mead is always worth reading on this subject, and I usually agree with him -- but I think his summing up in this case is not quite right.
Greens who feared and climate skeptics who hoped that the rash of investigations following Climategate and Glaciergate and all the other problems would reveal some gaping obvious flaws in the science of climate change were watching the wrong thing. The Big Green Lie (or Delusion, to be charitable) isn't so much that climate change is happening and that it is very likely caused or at least exacerbated by human activity. The Big Lie is that the green movement is a source of coherent or responsible counsel about what to do.

He's right, of course, that the green movement is not trusted as an adviser on what to do. So what? Its counsel on policy is not required. Nor, for that matter, is a complex international treaty of the sort that Copenhagen failed to produce. Congress and the administration can get to the right policy -- an explicit or implicit carbon tax; subsidies for low-carbon energy -- without the greens' input, so long as public opinion is convinced that the problem is real and needs to be addressed.

It's not the extreme or otherwise ill-advised policy recommendations of the greens that have turned opinion against action of any kind, though I grant you they're no help. It's the diminished credibility of the claim that we have a problem in the first place. That is why Climategate mattered. And that is why these absurd "vindications" of the climate scientists involved also matter.

The economic burdens of mitigating climate change will not be shouldered until a sufficient number of voters believe the problem is real, serious, and pressing. Restoring confidence in climate science has to come first. That, in turn, means trusting voters with all of the doubts and unanswered questions -- with inconvenient data as well as data that confirm the story -- instead of misleading them (unintentionally, of course) into believing that everything is cut and dried. The inquiries could have started that process. They have further delayed it.


Forcing consumers to buy renewable energy

Congress pretends to solve an energy crisis

Carbon rationing is dead on Capitol Hill. The Democratic leadership in the Senate has concluded that they cannot round up enough votes to pass a cap-and-trade carbon rationing bill that aims to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases. But in the face of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill, congressional leaders feel that they must be seen as doing something about energy. And if that something provides members of Congress an opportunity to hand out federal pork to their friends, that’s a bonus.

So Democrats and some Republicans are pushing legislation that will reward favored industries, chiefly wind and solar power, by forcing consumers to buy the electricity that they produce. How? By requiring that retail electricity distributors purchase 15 to 20 percent of their electricity from wind and solar power producers by 2020. This so-called national renewable energy standard, or clean energy standard, is being carved out of energy legislation such as the American Clean Energy Leadership Act [PDF] proposed by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

Supporters argue that renewable energy standards cut greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, revitalize rural communities, boost energy independence, and even lower energy prices. Many politicians find them irresistible as a way to signal to voters that they are serious about energy policy. As a consequence, two-thirds of Americans already live in the 28 states that since 1995 have begun to pursue various schemes to force consumers to buy wind and solar power. But are the claims of supporters economically credible?

When it comes to cheaply cutting greenhouse gases, renewable energy standards actually mandate perverse incentives, according to a 2008 analysis [PDF] by California State University, Fullerton, economist Robert Michaels. When it comes to cutting greenhouse gases, it may be cheaper to figure out how to get customers to cut back their demand for energy rather than build new expensive renewable capacity. Simply mandating extra capacity forecloses the opportunity to find which way is more efficient. For example, when a utility incentivizes customers to permanently cut their demand for a megawatt of capacity, this has the same effect on emissions as investing in a megawatt of renewable energy capacity. But under most current state schemes, cutting load by a megawatt under a 20 percent renewable energy standard reduces a utility’s obligation by only 0.2 megawatts, while building an additional megawatt of renewable capacity counts fully for compliance.

Put another way, increasing the price of electricity causes renewable energy standards to function like a really inefficient energy tax. A salient analogy comes from the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. Consider the case of a farmer who can produce 10,000 bushels of wheat using irrigation. Now suppose that the government prohibits irrigation which cuts his production to 9,000 bushels. From the point of view of the farmer that is the same as a 10 percent tax. But had the government imposed an actual 10 percent tax, it would have at least had 1,000 bushels of wheat to redistribute. Instead, those bushels (megawatt hours) just disappear.

The claim that renewable energy mandates boost overall job creation is persistent and powerful, but the experience of other countries clearly shows that such mandates destroy more jobs than they create. A study last October by an independent German economics think tank found that each solar power job cost $240,000 and overall the result of renewable energy subsidies was higher energy prices, lost jobs in other sectors of the economy, and reduced consumer purchasing power. The German study mirrored the findings of an earlier Spanish university study which reported that every green job created by subsidizing renewable energy destroyed 2.2 jobs in other sectors of the economy.

Vast agricultural subsidies have failed to “revitalize” rural areas, so why should one expect that renewable energy mandates causing wind farms to sprout across the vacant countryside will do the trick? As Michaels notes, supporters of renewable energy standards “do not make clear why outmigration that has persisted for a century should be reversed, or why power consumers should bear the costs.” Why should coastal urbanites pay more for electricity just to keep 'em down on the farm in North Dakota and Kansas?

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” quipped the 18th century wit, Samuel Johnson. Two centuries later, few things in political life are more scoundrelly than calls for energy independence. When it comes to electricity, we are already largely energy independent since the vast majority of our power [PDF] is now generated using domestic coal, natural gas, and hydropower.

Mandating renewable energy standards will not make us more energy independent with respect to electricity, just poorer. But just how much poorer is hotly disputed. Environmental activist groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists say renewable energy standards will boost electricity costs by mere pennies per day. As evidence, backers of renewable energy standards cite studies such as the recent one from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that finds that the standards would boost electricity prices by a measly 3 percent by 2020. Hardly noticeable.

But can that be? Michaels notes that EIA and most other studies on renewable energy standards rely on the National Energy Modeling System to make their cost projections. This is the same energy modeling system that the EIA used in 2000 to project that the price of oil in 2010 would be $29 per barrel [PDF] (adjusted for 2009 dollars). It was about $75 per barrel yesterday. Perhaps more interestingly, the EIA also projected in 2000 that renewables would make up a “smaller share of U.S. electricity generation, declining from 11.3 percent in 1998 to 9.5 percent in 2020.” The upshot is that energy model projections may be useful for outlining scenarios for energy planners, but they are not predictions.

Setting aside quibbles about energy cost and capacity modeling, if renewables like wind power were already cost competitive, then Congress would not need to mandate them. So will renewables soon be cost competitive? There are reasons to doubt they will be. Taking EIA projections with the requisite grain of salt, the agency’s Annual Energy Outlook for 2010 estimated the levelized costs [PDF] of various generation plants in 2016. Levelized costs include the cost of constructing a plant, the time required to construct a plant, the non-fuel costs of operating a plant, the fuel costs, the cost of financing, and the utilization of a plant. The levelized costs per megawatt hour are $100 for conventional coal power, rising to $129 for advanced coal with carbon capture and sequestration. On-shore wind costs are $149 per megawatt hour, and off-shore costs are $191. The cost of solar photovoltaic power is $396 per megawatt hour and solar thermal is $257. For what it’s worth, advanced nuclear comes in at $119 per megawatt hour.

Crudely, these levelized costs suggest that substituting wind for conventional coal under a 20 percent mandate would boost electricity prices by 10 percent. Similarly substituting solar photovoltaic power would increase electricity prices by about 20 percent. A recent analysis by the Heritage Foundation takes into account the costs of building a vast new national high voltage electricity grid to transmit wind and solar power from the plains and the deserts to coastal cities, the costs of building and maintaining additional natural gas electricity generation capacity to back up intermittent renewable energy sources, and consumer cuts in their electricity use due to higher prices. Once these and other factors are added in, the Heritage Foundation study finds that in 2020 a 15 percent renewable energy standard would reduce the disposal incomes of American families by $1,700 per year and increase unemployment over what it would otherwise have been by more than one million jobs.

Ultimately, the top-down imposition of a renewable energy standard now being considered by Congress is a stupid and costly way to cut greenhouse gas emissions; will destroy more jobs than it creates; is just another wasteful subsidy showered on depopulating rural communities; will do nothing for the chimerical pursuit of energy independence; and will, in fact, increase energy prices to consumers. A national renewable energy standard, concludes California State University economist Michaels, “is an inefficient and inequitable response to the emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases, a reassuring and ultimately dysfunctional distraction from real problems.” What could be more perfect for bipartisan action in Congress?


Let Congress sweat it out

Many of the so-called solutions the green movement proposes consist of turning back the clock and relying on technology we left behind decades, even centuries ago: They want us to use windmills and railroads, use more land for crops (and thereby less for forests), and burn plants to make energy. Now, there has come along a fellow who thinks air conditioning is a bane rather than a boon and hankers for the offices of the 1940s.
In a world without air conditioning, a warmer, more flexible, more relaxed workplace helps make summer a time to slow down again. Three-digit temperatures prompt siestas. Code-orange days mean offices are closed. Shorter summer business hours and month-long closings — common in pre-air-conditioned America — return.

Business suits are out, for both sexes. And with the right to open a window, office employees no longer have to carry sweaters or space heaters to work in the summer. After a long absence, ceiling fans, window fans and desk fans (and, for that matter, paperweights) take back the American office.

But why stop there? In British India they used to have natives called punkah wallahs, who would pull on ropes that swung a large ceiling fan. Adopting the punkah would massively increase employment!

However, he might have a case when he makes this argument:
Best of all, Washington's biggest business — government — is transformed. In 1978, 50 years after air conditioning was installed in Congress, New York Times columnist Russell Baker noted that, pre-A.C., Congress was forced to adjourn to avoid Washington's torturous summers, and "the nation enjoyed a respite from the promulgation of more laws, the depredations of lobbyists, the hatching of new schemes for Federal expansion and, of course, the cost of maintaining a government running at full blast."

Post-A.C., Congress again adjourns for the summer, giving "tea partiers" the smaller government they seek. During unseasonably warm spring and fall days, hearings are held under canopies on the Capitol lawn. What better way to foster open government and prompt politicians to focus on climate change?

I suggest Congress and government agencies lead by example and adopt this rule of no air conditioning immediately. In fact, I'm sure it must be somewhere in Speaker Pelosi's Greening the Capitol initiative. Questions should be asked on the floor as to why they're running the AC this week.


Green/Left Australian government likely to turn down people's electricity consumption by 3 percent a year

That's about 10% during their term of government if they win the upcoming election. At the very least, power is going to cost Australians a lot more. The crazy talk is already pushing prices up

In what is likely to be a vigorous debate, this afternoon cabinet will also consider a proposal to cut energy consumption by up to 3 per cent a year.

The target is strongly supported by some ministers searching for ways to rebuild Labor's green credentials - battered by the deferral of the emissions trading scheme - before the election expected to be called for late next month.

But others argue that such a target could cause politically dangerous rises in electricity prices and another scare campaign by the Coalition.

Ms Gillard is under pressure from some ministers to promise that Labor will legislate an emissions trading scheme in a second term, to placate voters angry that Labor deferred the program.

Sources say Ms Gillard is intent on building industry and community consensus for a workable scheme before a final decision, in part to ensure the new policy does not founder in the Senate as the original scheme did.

Asked yesterday if she sought to differentiate herself from the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, on the starting point issue of accepting climate science, Ms Gillard said: "I believe climate change is caused by human activity.

"I also understand that doing the things that we will need to do to change our economy, to change the way we live to deal with climate change, are complicated. They will require dialogue with the community. They will require the community's deep and lasting consensus about these changes."

Sources said other energy-efficiency measures proposed in a recent expert report are more likely to win cabinet support.

These include setting nationwide efficiency standards and possibly a scheme to allow farmers to claim credit for saving emissions through forestry and land management in ways that comply with the international rules under the Kyoto protocol.

Policies to meet the new national energy initiative would include requirements that electricity retailers reduce energy usage by their customers by a fixed percentage each year.

Cabinet will also consider pollution standards for new electricity generators and requirements for existing generators to calculate how they can reduce their greenhouse emissions.

Energy industry and other businesses are seeking definition from the government, complaining that not knowing whether or when they will face a carbon price is creating an untenable level of investment uncertainty.

The energy industry says that within a few years the uncertainty will lead to short-term investment decisions that will push up the cost of power anyway - the same hip-pocket concern that has driven political opposition to an emissions trading scheme.



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


15 July, 2010

New Peer Reviewed Paper on Climate Science and the Culture of Withholding Information

Accessing environmental information relating to climate change: a case study under UK freedom of information legislation’



The United Kingdom’s Freedom ofInformation Act (FoIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) are intended to provide a mechanism whereby information held by public authorities can be accessed by the public. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recently considered the disclosure of information from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and concluded that emails revealed scientists encouraged colleagues to resist disclosure and delete emails, apparently to prevent disclosure through FoI requests.

The case study presented here focuses on requests under FoI legislation to obtain climate information from the Met Office, particularly relating to assessments of global warming and causal relationships with greenhouse gas emissions.

Evidence suggests both the CRU and the Met Office are part of a culture where institutional climate scientists are antagonistic towards disclosure of information. This has serious implications for both the effective operation of FoI legislation and the openness and transparency of climate change assessments.

Environmental Law and Management, ISSUE 1 VOLUME 22 [2010]

Missing News: Nothing "unprecedented" in melting ice

[Australia's] ABC are fond of using photos of melting ice packs to accompany reports of alarming man made global warming, perhaps to emphasise how "unprecedented" this appears to be.

However a recent article titled "Reduced ice extent on the western Antarctic Peninsula at 700-970 cal. yr B.P." published in the prestigious journal "Geology" reports that melting ice in the Antarctic, particularly in the West Antarctica peninsula, is not unprecedented at all, but is quite a common natural occurrence happening regardless of human influence.

The abstract reads:

"Rapid warming and consequent ice-shelf collapse have focused attention on the glacial record of the Antarctic Peninsula. Here, we present the first record of terrestrial organic material exposed by recently retreating ice that bears on past glacier extent and climate in this sensitive region. Radiocarbon dates show that ice on Anvers Island was at or behind its present position at 700–970 cal. yr B.P., coincident with ice reduction elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Moreover, the data indicate that present reduced ice extent on the western Antarctic Peninsula is not unprecedented and is similar to that experienced during at least three periods in the last 5600 yr."

Perhaps the ABC will firstly report on this important new study, and secondly, perhaps it will now find more appropriate imagery to accompany articles on Dangerous Man Made Global Warming.

SOURCE (See the original for links etc.)

Cap-and-trade is a bait-and-switch

With opinion polls showing the U.S. public strongly opposes the imposition of expensive cap-and-trade restrictions on greenhouse gases in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is attempting to pull off a deceitful bait-and-switch scam that would make the most ruthless used-car dealer blush.

A Cap by Any Other Name . . .

The primary effect of Reid’s plan—forcing an expensive and substantial reduction in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions—remains the same as before, though the language of his plan has been scrubbed of all references to global warming or cap-and-trade.

But an expensive cap on carbon dioxide emissions, by any other name, is still an expensive cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

Until now, global warming activists have been upfront about their desire to force a drastic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, seeking to pass a law requiring an 83 percent cut. U.S. consumers would have no choice but to purchase much more expensive renewable energy.

But polls show the American public is already angry about persistent unemployment, a looming federal debt crisis, and an expensive and unwanted Obamacare health insurance mandate. The public realizes cap-and-trade would add to the nation’s economic burdens, and polls show voters will harshly punish politicians who try to impose such a mandate.

The answer to this political dilemma, Reid figures, is simple: Scrub any references to global warming or cap-and-trade from his desired legislation, while still forcing people to switch to expensive renewable energy sources.

Back-Door Carbon Cap

Reid’s new plan is to pass a drastic renewable power mandate that would directly force American consumers to purchase the same amount of expensive renewable power that a cap-and-trade bill would require in a less direct manner.

Instead of legislation saying, “You must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 83 percent,” with the only possible means being purchasing expensive renewable power instead of inexpensive conventional power, Reid is pushing for legislation saying, “You must purchase most of your power from renewable sources,” which accomplishes the same thing just as surely, and just as expensively, as cap-and-trade would.

Preplanned Divisiveness

Reid also is considering an alternative strategy that would retain explicit cap-and-trade language but initially impose restrictions on the utility industry alone. Those behind that scheme believe it will be easier to divide and conquer individual sectors of the U.S. economy than to hit them all at once.

The plan is to sell cap-and-trade restrictions on the utility industry alone as a “compromise” global warming bill—and then go after the rest of the economy once their foot is in the door and the utilities are under the government’s thumb.

Proponents of this divide-and-conquer strategy argue utilities will then throw their weight behind efforts to cap other sectors of the economy, to level the playing field—albeit at a much higher altitude.

Such a “compromise” bill addressing the utility sector alone would be an attempt to pit various sectors of the economy against each other and ultimately clear the path for universal CO2 restrictions.

Thwarting Voters’ Will

Either approach means the same thing: Reid is baiting the American public by saying he is not proposing a cap-and-trade bill, but he is planning the most deceitful of switches by imposing mandates and restrictions that accomplish the exact same thing at the exact same cost.

Just as troubling, with wavering Democrats concerned that supporting either plan could spell doom for them in the November elections, Reid is considering waiting until after the November elections to present his schemes to a lame-duck Congress that will not have to fear voter backlash for at least another two years and could include many members who have already been voted out of office.

All that Harry Reid is missing in his dishonest used car salesman playbook is a rolled-back odometer and bubble gum holding the car doors in place. One thing’s clear: The U.S. economy will be a wreck if any of these schemes becomes reality.


The Big Green Lie Exposed

The Big Green Lie is falling apart. And it’s not about Climategate and Glaciergate. It’s not about the science. It’s not even about public confidence in the integrity of the green movement — although this confidence is unlikely to regain the levels of 2009. Humpty Dumpty has fallen from the walls, and all the establishment commissions and investigations in Europe cannot glue him together again....

The greens, it is increasingly clear, bet the ranch on the Copenhagen process. That horrible meltdown, perhaps the biggest and most chaotic public embarrassment in the history of multilateral summits, turned climate change from global poster boy to global pariah. The green activists who advised their bosses to go to that summit and make large public commitments about global warming are in the doghouse now. Success is sometimes the most cruel and definitive form of failure: the Copenhagen Summit was exactly that kind of success for the climate change movement. They got all the world leaders together, got every television camera on the planet to focus in — and let everybody see just how confused and utopian their plans really were.

As the greens struggle to figure out how a cause so righteous, so necessary has gone so far off course, the Kool-Aide drinkers among them have frenetically concocted and endlessly repeated a narrative that casts all blame on the vileness and the stupidity of their opponents. Those awful climate deniers and their nefarious Big Oil paymasters are the vicious super villains who stopped this glorious social movement dead in its tracks. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and other evil quacks manufactured the appearance of scandal — the East Anglia emails, the ‘glaciergate’ charge and so forth. Aided by a clueless media, and pushed by evil carbon emitters, these non-stories took on a macabre life of their own.

But now, natter the cluelessly chirpy greens, all that is over. Limbaugh’s Big Lie has been conclusively disproved! The independent panels have reviewed the evidence in a dispassionate and thorough way, and both climate science and climate scientists have been cleared.

So presumably we will all be going back to Copenhagen soon, this time ready to sign up for that treaty?

Well, no. For one thing, the ‘vindication’ is less sweeping and thorough than the green cheerleaders acknowledge. As climate skeptic Pat Michaels argues in the Wall Street Journal, some of the investigators had significant links to the targets of the investigation and many of the most important questions were not addressed. A suspicious and skeptical public will not be convinced without a significantly more transparent process; the story isn’t over yet. Not until commissions that include prominent climate skeptics and genuinely independent figures ask all the relevant questions will this story die down.

Worse, even the very partial and incomplete results now emerging are in some ways a damaging indictment of the impartiality and trustworthiness of some climate scientists and environmental leaders. The greens were found innocent of inventing the science, but guilty of systematically hyping their case. The serious media are distancing themselves from the green leadership at this point more than nuzzling back into their arms. The New York Times report on the Dutch and British reports investigating the East Anglia CRU and the IPCC was widely hailed by infatuated green outlets as evidence that the whole scandal was a fraud; the actual Times story is considerably more cautious (and the text is more cautious than the headline). Andrew Revkin, whose coverage on his Times Dot Earth blog has often been considerably sharper and more far-sighted than what appears in the Grey Lady’s printed pages and has made him no friends among the environmentalist hard core, is making some very solid points.

The influential Economist, which has long been one of the most respected establishment voices urging fast action on climate change, is now voicing important qualifications and doubts about the green case. Perhaps even more than the Times, the Economist takes a sober view of recent events, noting that there is a pattern of exaggeration and hype in the IPCC documents reflecting some serious management and culture problems — and suggesting that Rajendra Pachauri is not the man to set things right. More, the Economist is putting out some extraordinary journalism on the complexity of the climate change problem and the difficulties that result when one tries to leap from science to policy. What the Economist is reporting is that excitable greens have oversold a wide variety of worst case scenarios — and underestimated the complex nature of the relationship between climate change and world politics.

In sum, the mainstream press seems to be swinging around toward the views expressed on this blog: that the scandals may not discredit or even really affect the underlying scientific arguments about climate change but they do cast doubt on the perspicacity of the movement’s leadership — and that a fundamental rethink is called for.

Greens who feared and climate skeptics who hoped that the rash of investigations following Climategate and Glaciergate and all the other problems would reveal some gaping obvious flaws in the science of climate change were watching the wrong thing. The Big Green Lie (or Delusion, to be charitable) isn’t so much that climate change is happening and that it is very likely caused or at least exacerbated by human activity. The Big Lie is that the green movement is a source of coherent or responsible counsel about what to do.

The greens claim to be diagnosticians and therapists: that they can both name the disease and heal it. They are wrong. The attitudes and political vision of a group of NGO pressure groups may work when it comes to harassing Japanese whale ships in the Antarctic; this vision and these people come up short when set against the challenge of moderating the impact of human industrial activity on the earth’s climate system. Many leaders of today’s environmental movement are like the anti-alcohol activists before Prohibition who convinced Americans that the problem of alcohol abuse was real, destructive, and likely to get worse unless addressed. These farsighted activists were absolutely correct: with the introduction of the motorcar alcohol was more destructive than ever; with more than 500,000 alcohol related highway deaths between 1982 and 2008, more Americans have been killed on our roads as a result of drunk driving since 1915 than have died in our wars.

The problem is that the remedy proposed, Prohibition, not only failed to solve the problem — it made the problem of alcohol abuse worse, and it also reduced respect for the law and led to the rise of organized crime in the United States on an unprecedented scale.

The Prohibitionists were brilliantly, scientifically correct about the problem: they were foolishly and destructively blind about how to deal with it.

The green movement’s strategic failure is also reminiscent of the Peace Movement of the 1920s. Chuckleheaded do-gooders correctly recognized the problem of war. In the conditions of the twentieth century, great power wars like World War One were radically unacceptable. Unless war could be stopped, scores of millions might brutally die. Whole nations would be devastated; millions of children would starve. Given the rise of aircraft, great cultural monuments would be destroyed as the world’s greatest cities were razed to the ground. New and more terrible weapons would be developed under wartime conditions, weapons that potentially could lead to the destruction of all human civilization or even of life on earth.

Again, the Peace Movement of the 1920s was completely right about this — we know to our sorrow today just how right they were. Yet the strategies they proposed — a treaty to ‘outlaw war’ in the 1920s, and appeasement of dictators and revisionist powers in the 193os — were utter disasters and made World War Two inevitable. The Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980s repeated the mistake: confusing the identification of a problem (nuclear weapons) with a workable policy solution (a unilateral western freeze on nuclear weapons deployment that would have given the Soviets superiority in Europe). There are fewer nuclear weapons today than would have existed had the Nuclear Freeze people had their way; there almost certainly would have been fewer wars and fewer war deaths if the policy recommendations of the pre-World War Two peace movements had been greeted with the obloquy and contempt they deserved.

You can diagnose a disease but have no clue how to treat it. You can be an excellent climate scientist and a wretched social engineer. You can want to do good and end up furthering exactly the evils you most deplore.

That is where most of the organized green groups stand today.

The real and lasting damage that the green movement sustained in the last eight months has been the revelation that it is strategically and politically incompetent. It adopted a foolish grand strategy (a global treaty by unanimous consent) and attempted to stampede the world to agreement by hyping the science and whooping the treaty through. That was never going to work; the green movement today is living with the bitter consequences of its strategic blindness....

At best, the green movement might be compared to an alarm clock: jangling shrilly to wake up the world. That is fair enough; they have turned our attention to a problem that needs to be carefully examined and dealt with. But the first thing you do when you wake up is to turn the alarm clock off; otherwise that shrill beeping noise will distract you from the problems of the day.

The alarm clock will never understand this; making shrill and irrational noise is what alarm clocks do and is all they understand. But sensible and thoughtful people who want humanity to live fuller, richer lives in a cleaner and more sustainable world need to get past the naive and crude policy ideas that currently dominate green thinking and start giving these questions the serious attention and careful thought they deserve.


An Environmentalist Perspective on Wind Energy

A lawsuit hopes to stop the construction of an off-shore wind farm in Massachusetts. A couple of plaintiffs on the suit are environmental organizations.

Ironic? Not really. One of the plaintiffs, CAlifornians for Renewable Energy (CARE), is against industrial wind farms altogether. Michael Boyd, president of the Board of Directors for CARE, says the amount of wilderness damage done by wind farms far outweighs the benefits.

But that has not slowed investors or the federal government down. As investors reap the benefits of government subsidies for the construction of wind farms, large turbines continue to rise all over the nation. This begs the question, as a renewable energy source, are wind farms really as beneficial as the government says they are?

“Whenever the government picks winner and losers by its choosing to fund various programs, in this case wind farms, taxpayers’ money ends up wasted and more harm is done than good,” says Bill Wilson, president for Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

Environmental organizations look at the impact wind farms have on wildlife and endangered or protected species. For example, the Altamont Pass wind farm in California was ruled a complete disaster by environmentalists because protected bird species, like eagles and hawks, were getting killed by the propellers of the turbines.

Some turbines can reach 400 feet tall and turn at speeds of 200 mph in peak times. Walter Kittelberger, chairman of the Board of Trustees for Lower Laguna Madre Foundation (LLMF), a Texas-based conservation and preservation organization that is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the wind farm in Massachusetts, is concerned that with so many new wind farms being constructed, bird’s migratory flight patterns are going to get caught in the crosshairs of these turbines.

Though some instances of birds or bats getting caught in the propellers may not be preventable, before each wind farm is built, a developer has to get a series of permits and leases before construction can begin. Investors have to follow the federal regulations before starting a wind farm project. Some projects draw more attention than others and an outside organization will want to conduct its own research as well.

Mass Audubon works to protect the lands in Massachusetts and conducted its own study of the off-shore wind farm in Massachusetts, which Boyd and Kittelberger both oppose. Mass Audubon found that the planned wind farm off the coast “doesn’t propose any harm” to any protected species, says Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations for Mass Audubon.

Boyd and Kittelberger don’t believe it. “Many locations of these land and off-shore wind farms are on well documented migratory pathways for birds,” Kittelberger says.

Then why are wind farms still being constructed? Boyd thinks that when a developer creates a wind farm, they are after something else beside renewable energy.

“They want to build wind farms not because they want to produce green energy, but because they want green money,” he says. “Wind power has the lowest capacity factor during peak demand because its highest production occurs in the early morning, late evening and the middle of the night. Industrial wind technology is a meretricious commodity, attractive in a superficial way but without real value.”

Kittelberger recognizes that by the government offering incentives to build wind farms, it is creating a misconception about energy needs.

“Lighting up a home uses less than 1 percent of imported oil,” he says. “Most homes use natural gas, nuclear or hydro, with a small amount using solar or wind. There is no shortage of electricity in America; we just lack an efficient way to distribute it.”

Kittelberger thinks the government’s talk of ridding America’s use of foreign oil has blurred a line, linking transportation energy and electric energy by its offering of subsidies for electric energy.

Since they don’t believe there is a need to produce more electricity, both Boyd and Kittelberger don’t believe the cost to the environment is worth the small amount of electricity produced by wind farms.

Wind energy also takes a toll on the environment because of the vast amount of space needed to construct a wind farm.

Kittelberger uses this example to explain how much space is needed for a wind farm. For a 1,900 megawatt facility you would need about 500 acres if the facility were a coal or nuclear energy plant. For a wind farm to produce that same amount of energy, he says you would need between 50,000 and 60,000 acres because the turbines need enough space so they aren’t stealing wind from each other.

Needing so much space, many wind farms are built far away from city life where the electricity is needed. Not only does this create additional costs if more transmission wires are needed to transport the electricity, but it also reduces the amount of electricity received by its end source. Kittelberger says that only about one-third of the electricity conducted makes it to the end user.

Wilson, Boyd and Kittelberger do not think wind energy is sustainable, nor do they believe it will last past the government’s handout of subsidies.

“Wind is intermittent. It is not what we need,” Kittelberger says. ALG’s Wilson agrees, and adds, “Using energy independence as an excuse to fund unsustainable green energy programs hurts America and taxpayers can no longer afford it.”


EU 'clears the way to fast-track GM crops'

A small breakthrough against Greenie superstition

Brussels is planning to allow each member state to decide whether to grow GM foods or to ban them.

The European Commission today published proposals that it said were designed to give countries more freedom and flexibility over the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

But opponents of 'Frankenstein foods' warned that the changes would speed up the approval regime for the controversial crops and ensure that efforts by some states to block them will be side-stepped.

At present, EU countries vote together on whether to allow applications to grow new GM crops.

In future, once scientists working for the commission approve a new crop or food as safe, any of the 27 member states will be allowed to grow it or put in on shop shelves.

Other countries, which in the past might have blocked approval, will be able to implement their own boycott.

The commission said the new regime, which must still be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament, 'seeks to achieve the right balance between maintaining an EU authorisation system and the freedom for member states to decide on GM cultivation in their territory'.

Health and consumer policy commissioner John Dalli said: 'Experience with GM organisms so far shows that member states need more flexibility to organise the co- existence of GM and other types of crops such as conventional and organic crops.

'A very thorough safety assessment and a reinforced monitoring system are priorities in GM cultivation and are therefore being pursued vigorously.'
GM protest

But there are concerns that Britain's Conservative-Lib Dem Government will follow the same pro-GM agenda adopted by the last Labour government.

Despite massive opposition from British shoppers, successive administrations have been pressing for the acceptance of GM farming across Europe.

This support has been maintained-despite concerns for human health and evidence from the U.S. of the emergence of GM superweeds such as pigweed that are choking some farms.

Caroline Spelman, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, has a history of supporting genetically modified crops through her links to the farming industry.

And the Food Standards Agency is facing accusations that it is trying to push GM on to dinner plates through a planned £500,000 consultation exercise.

The American agro-chemical giants behind GM farming see the move by the EU as a vital step towards getting consumers on this side of the Atlantic to accept their crops.

Previously, the U.S. government has complained to the World Trade Organisation that attempts to block GM by European governments are an illegal restraint of free trade.

Mute Schimpf, Friends of the Earth Europe's food campaigner, said: 'While the commission is seemingly offering countries the right to implement national bans, in reality the proposal aims to do the opposite - opening Europe's fields to GM crops.

'The commission continues to fail to protect Europe's food and feed from contamination by GM crops, and we urge countries to reject this deal as it stands.'

GM Freeze, a coalition of community groups and green campaigners, said: 'The proposals have been produced to try to overcome member state opposition to the commercial cultivation approval of GM crops.

'Many member states are not happy with the safety assessments of GM crops for cultivation on health and environmental grounds and have demanded a tougher approach.'

One concern is that the plans do not offer safeguards and compensation to organic and conventional farmers whose crops are contaminated by GM pollen.

GM Freeze director Pete Riley added: 'Member states need to ensure that in the short and long-term they will be able to ban a GM crop without ending up in court or with a WTO dispute.'



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


14 July, 2010

A Null Hypothesis For CO2

I mentioned here on 10th that examinations of CO2 as a cause of global warming indicate that the null hypothesis should be accepted (i.e. no effect shown). The paper I referred to at the time is available in full here


The ‘radiative forcing constants’ in the IPCC models are devoid of physical meaning. This approach is empirical pseudoscience that belongs to the realm of climate astrology. The results derived from climate simulations that use the radiative forcing approach may be of limited academic interest in assessing model performance. However, such results are computational science fiction that have no relationship to the reality of the Earth’s climate. Radiative forcing by CO2 is, by definition a self-fulfilling prophesy, since the outcome is pre-ordained with a total disregard of the basic laws of physics. An increase in CO2 concentration must increase surface temperature. No other outcome is allowed and other possible climate effects are by definition excluded.

Based on the arguments presented here, a null hypothesis for CO2 is proposed:

It is impossible to show that changes in CO2 concentration have caused any climate change to the Earth’s climate, at least since the current composition of the atmosphere was set by ocean photosynthesis about one billion years ago.

Collapse of (Climate) Physics

More from Prof. Claes Johnson

The collapse of climate science, or more precisely climate alarmism based on the greenhouse-effect, which we are now witnessing, can be seen as a consequence of the collapse of physics with the takeover of Modernity in Physics, Arts and Music in the beginning of the 20th century, when Penguin Logic came to replace the rational logic and physics of the 19th century.

The greenhouse-effect states that by backradiation, the Earth surface will be heated by the presence of the trace gas CO2 in a colder atmosphere.

Now, the greenhouse-effect indicates a collapse of physics because

* it is not described in physics books

* it is not denied by physicists.

Climate alarmism is based on the greenhouse-effect, taking for granted that it has a solid physics basis. But it is not described in the physics literature and so is a free invention.

The collapse is signified by the fact that this is not what physicists are saying: They say nothing and thereby give silent support to a climate alarmism based on a greenhouse-effect without physics basis.

Why do physicists keep silent? Because the greenhouse-effect is based on backradiation and to understand that backradiation is unphysical, requires understanding the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. But the 2nd Law is a mystery to modern physicists and thus a modern physicist cannot say what should be said, namely that backradiation violates the 2nd Law and thus the greenhouse-effect is fiction. This is a veritable collapse.


Dr. M. "Hockeystick" Mann: Philadelphia Is Burning Because of Global Warming!

Read here. Well.....Mann didn't claim Philadelphia is "burning" but the shady :-) climate scientist did make a comparably stupid, invalid claim: “Record heat wave in the US that’s part of a larger picture of early summer temperatures that are the warmest on record, which is part of a larger picture of a globe that is running warmer than ever before…”

As Dr. Richard Keen over at Watts Up With That visually documents, Mann again proves he will say anything, whether being false or just plain wrong, to push his warming agenda. Using the actual Philadelphia temperatures, the recent heat wave is not out of the ordinary.

(Larger image here)

Possibly, the Mann-bear-pig scientist might want to apply his "warming-science" to the Los Angeles or San Diego record summer cold - oh yeah, that's right, California cold is only weather, not global cooling.

Certainly, it's never too late to learn to appreciate actual empirical evidence, and thus, we recommend that Mr. Mann peruse our modern temperature charts for a while. If he were to do so, he may discover that the actual temperature data does not strongly support the AGW crisis hysteria. In fact modern temperature increases look pretty natural when compared to historical and ancient temperatures.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Gone with the wind

Renewables like solar power and others can't fuel America's future. Say experts: Just do the math

About once a month, Robert Bryce climbs onto the roof of his Austin, Texas, home, lugging a long-handled mop. The science writer and Manhattan Institute fellow isn't cleaning gutters. He's cleaning solar panels.

The 3,200-watts of solar photovoltaic panels provide one-third of the electricity that Bryce's family consumes, slightly reducing his monthly power bill. But the panels aren't without problems: The start-up costs were high, the inverter has already broken once, and the panels require regular cleaning.

Bryce quickly wondered if the panels were worth the investment, and he soon realized that the limits of solar power for his Texas home extended to the rest of the country: Solar power won't run America anytime soon. Neither will wind power.

Yet that's precisely the direction many suggest taking: Congress was poised in late June to begin debating an energy bill that could require utility companies to generate more electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources. When President Barack Obama seized the Gulf Coast oil spill to push for a clean energy bill, he spoke of wind power, though wind has little immediate connection with oil: Wind produces electricity, not the kind of fuel that oil provides for cars. "You can build windmills from coast to coast, and it doesn't do anything to help our oil situation," says Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

But the president's push for government-funded wind and solar energy—and away from sources like coal and oil—isn't new. Obama's February budget proposal for 2011 included a 48 percent increase in government subsidies for wind power—from $83 million this year to $123 million in 2011. On solar energy, the president asked for a 22 percent hike—from $247 million to $302 million.

For Bryce, the problems with wind and solar power are simple: The math doesn't add up. The author of Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future (PublicAffairs, 2010), Bryce says wind and solar simply can't provide large amounts of power at a reasonable cost, a critical need for rich and poor countries alike.

Instead, Bryce and others point to already-proven energy sources they believe deserve more attention: natural gas and nuclear energy.

Natural gas, particularly, is abundant and available now. It's also easier to extract than oil and cleaner than coal. And—like nuclear power—natural gas trumps any wide-scale potential promised by wind or solar energy.

"I'm all for renewables," Bryce says. "I wish they worked better than they do. But our energy and power systems are not determined by carbon content or political correctness. They're determined by math and physics."

Math and physics offer stark realities about wind and solar energy. The most obvious problem: The sources are intermittent.

As Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, told Environment and Energy Daily: "The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine."

To make the energy sources consistently reliable on a wide scale would require massive amounts of reliable storage—technology that doesn't exist on a cost-effective basis. Forcing utility companies to generate more of their power using wind and solar would likely raise energy costs for U.S. consumers.

Another problem: Wind and solar require massive amounts of land to produce and transport energy. The Nature Conservancy, a U.S. environmental group, published a report last year estimating that wind power requires about 30 times as much land as nuclear energy, and four times as much land required for natural gas.

The high costs, unreliability, and land usage aren't just a problem for prosperous nations like the United States. The dynamic is especially unrealistic for developing countries in desperate need of cheap energy for basic survival. Connecting the developing world to affordable sources of energy—including sources like coal and oil—and moving the poorest populations away from using sources like wood and dung, remains a critical way to raise the standard of living in some of the most miserable places in the world.

Cal Beisner of the evangelical Cornwall Alliance points out that energy policy in the United States isn't isolated: "The average American does not connect the person in Sudan cooking over dung with energy policy in the U.S."

But policies that would raise the cost of energy here also serve as a model to other nations and as a basis for international treaties on energy consumption, says Beisner: "Not only would those policies hurt Americans by raising the price of energy for all of us . . . they would also impose such policies on people who desperately need to be delivered from the dirtiest possible fuels."

How critical is cheap energy for developing countries? Bryce points out that Africa—a continent with 14 percent of the world's population—has developed only 3 percent of the world's electricity. Of the 15 countries in the world with the highest death rates, 14 of them are in Africa. Of the 22 countries with the highest infant mortality rates, 21 of them are in Africa. Many factors contribute to those high death rates, but a widespread availability of cheap energy would likely make life healthier for millions.

Back in the United States, if wind and solar remain unrealistic for large-scale, cost-effective energy, natural gas has already proven itself on both counts: Natural gas provided nearly a quarter of the nation's energy for electricity in 2009, second only to coal.

Advances in technology over the last five years have created a mini-revolution in extracting natural gas using new methods, opening up new gas supplies all over the country. Hayward of AEI says fields are so vast, it's conceivable that the United States could become an exporter of natural gas over the next few decades. The new technology could also hold promise for developing countries still creating their power systems, if they embrace natural gas as a major source of energy that is far cleaner than coal.

Peter Huber, author of The Bottomless Well (Basic Books, 2005), sees another major use for natural gas: transportation. The United States consumes massive amounts of oil for vehicles each year, but Huber thinks natural gas could compete. He notes that some 10 million vehicles worldwide already run on natural gas. Vehicles would require more natural gas to travel the same distance, but Huber says modifications to vehicles over the coming years could accommodate the change. And since natural gas is cheaper than oil, the option could still be cost effective.

Major challenges remain: Natural gas pipelines—regulated by the federal government—would need to run to the gas stations that supply fuel, and the fuel still wouldn't work for every vehicle. And many critics cite safety concerns against using natural gas in vehicles.

Critics also worry that more drilling for natural gas could lead to groundwater contamination for nearby neighborhoods—a concern natural gas companies will need to acknowledge and monitor.

Natural gas advocates emphasize that gas isn't an energy silver bullet, and that any major energy transition will still take decades. But they insist the technology holds more long-term promise than wind or solar. In the meantime, they say we shouldn't abandon one of the best fuels we have: oil. Despite the devastating BP oil spill, oil advocates point out that major spills are rare, and that relying more heavily on imports could lead to tanker spills—already much more common than well leaks.

With any major energy transition still years away, Hayward says oil is here to stay for at least decades. "The 'problem with oil' is that it's such a terrific fuel, it's hard to match its performance and cost with anything else." Bryce agrees, and bristles when politicians complain about an abundance of fossil fuels.

"Without those fossil fuels, we would be returned to the incredible environmental destruction and nasty living conditions and incredibly hard labor of the 19th century," he says. "We would be living in dire poverty."


Ocean bugs gobbling up CO2 at a great rate

The ocean is Earth's largest single sink for CO2 outside of the planet's crust itself. Simple sea creatures depend on carbon dissolved in the ocean's water for their existence, and their actions create a biological carbon “pump” that removes vast quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere. Large amounts are suspended in the water column as dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and each year the ocean's biological pump deposits some 300 million tons of carbon in the deep ocean sink. New findings have revealed that massive amounts of carbon are converted into “inedible” forms of organic carbon that remain out of circulation for thousands of years, effectively sequestering the carbon by removing it from the ocean food chain. According to Jiao Nianzhi, a microbial ecologist here at Xiamen University, the amount stored is tremendous: “It's really huge. It's comparable to all the carbon dioxide in the air.”

On average, the world's oceans absorb 2% more carbon than they emit each year, forming an important sink in the overall carbon cycle. CO2 is absorbed by the ocean in a number of ways. Some dissolves into the water column, forming carbonic acid (H2CO3) while more enters the seas through the food chain. Green, photosynthesizing plankton converts as much as 60 gigatons of carbon per year into organic carbon—roughly the same amount fixed by land plants and almost 10 times the amount emitted by human activity. But this form of carbon is only stored for a short period of time.

According to a news focus article in Science by Richard Stone: “Even more massive amounts of carbon are suspended in the water column as DOC. The oceans hold an estimated 700 billion tons of carbon as DOC—more than all land biomass put together (600 billion tons of carbon) and nearly as much as all the CO2 in the air (750 billion tons of carbon).” The carbon cycle with its various sinks and sources are shown in the IPCC diagram below.

What is more important is the conversion of immense amounts of bioavailable organic carbon into difficult-to-digest forms known as refractory DOC. The microbe driven conversion has been named the microbial carbon pump (MCP) by Jiao. Once transformed into a form less palatable to hungry marine microorganisms, the sequestered carbon can build up in the ocean's waters forming a huge reservoir of stored carbon. The process is described in a Nature Reviews Microbiology perspective, “Microbial production of recalcitrant dissolved organic matter: long-term carbon storage in the global ocean,” written by Jaio and colleagues. Their findings are described in the article's abstract:

The biological pump is a process whereby CO2 in the upper ocean is fixed by primary producers and transported to the deep ocean as sinking biogenic particles or as dissolved organic matter. The fate of most of this exported material is remineralization to CO2, which accumulates in deep waters until it is eventually ventilated again at the sea surface. However, a proportion of the fixed carbon is not mineralized but is instead stored for millennia as recalcitrant dissolved organic matter. The processes and mechanisms involved in the generation of this large carbon reservoir are poorly understood. Here, we propose the microbial carbon pump as a conceptual framework to address this important, multifaceted biogeochemical problem.

Many oceanographers credit Jiao with first recognizing the dominant role microbes play in “pumping” bioavailable carbon into a pool of relatively inert compounds “The existence of this ‘inedible’ organic carbon in the ocean has been known for quite some time. But its role in the global carbon cycle has been recognized only recently,” says Michal Koblizek, a microbiologist at the Institute of Microbiology in Trebon, Czech Republic. Furthermore, Markus Weinbauer, a microbial oceanographer at Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche in France, states that the concept “could revolutionize our view of carbon sequestration.” ....

Here is a previously unsuspected mechanism that can explain how nature keeps Earth's ecology in balance, despite the presence of human CO2 emissions. The microbial carbon pump, perhaps in concert with the “jelly pump” discovered by Lebrato and Jones in 2006, are busy compensating for the relatively small amount of carbon human activity releases each year. It is a natural regulation mechanism that science did not know existed and still does not fully understand, meaning that how Earth's ecology and climate interact must be revised. As Steven Wilhelm, a microbiologist at the University of Tennessee, notes, “We are just at the dawn of developing this understanding.”

Carbon is essential to life on Earth, and the carbon cycle helps regulate both life and climate. Nature has many hidden mechanisms that help manage carbon and CO2—mechanisms that were unknown when the commotion over anthropogenic global warming erupted decades ago and other mechanisms as yet undiscovered. Predictions that the ocean will soon lose its capacity to absorb CO2 were made in ignorance and have been shown to be wrong. What new discoveries the young and incomplete field of climate science will make in the future is anyone's guess. One thing is certain, those who would cry doom and predict the death of the ocean at human hands will have to invent new hazards to frighten the public. This is “settled science” like quicksand is solid ground.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Wind Turbines: Analysis of the Epidemiology and Related Evidence on Health


This important document prepared by Dr. Carl V. Phillips MPP, PhD, was submitted to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission as testimony on whether turbine noise is having an adverse effect on human health.

Executive Summary

A summary of the main conclusions of my expert opinion, based on my knowledge of epidemiology and scientific methods, and my reading of the available studies and reports, is as follows:

• There is ample scientific evidence to conclude that wind turbines cause serious health problems for some people living nearby. Some of the most compelling evidence in support of this has been somewhat overlooked in previous analyses, including that the existing evidence fits what is known as the case-crossover study design, one of the most useful studies in epidemiology, and the revealed preference (observed behavior) data of people leaving their homes, etc., which provides objective measures of what would otherwise be subjective phenomena. In general, this is an exposure-disease combination where causation can be inferred from a smaller number of less formal observations than is possible for cases such as chemical exposure and cancer risk.

• The reported health effects, including insomnia, loss of concentration, anxiety, and general psychological distress are as real as physical ailments, and are part of accepted modern definitions of individual and public health. While such ailments are sometimes more difficult to study, they probably account for more of the total burden of morbidity in Western countries than do strictly physical diseases. It is true that there is no bright line between these diseases and less intense similar problems that would not usually be called a disease, this is a case for taking the less intense versions of the problems more seriously in making policy decisions, not to ignore the serious diseases.

• Existing evidence is not sufficient to make several important quantifications, including what portion of the population is susceptible to the health effects from particular exposures, how much total health impact wind turbines have, and the magnitude of exposure needed to cause substantial risk of important health effects. However, these are questions that could be answered if some resources were devoted to finding the answer. It is not necessary to proceed with siting so that more data can accumulate, since there is enough data now if it were gathered and analyzed.

• The reports that claim that there is no evidence of health effects are based on a very simplistic understanding of epidemiology and self-serving definitions of what does not count as evidence. Though those reports probably seem convincing prima facie, they do not represent proper scientific reasoning, and in some cases the conclusions of those reports do not even match their own analysis.



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


13 July, 2010

There is no lid on the greenhouse

There is now an increasing number of physical scientists who are ridiculing the entire basis of the greenhouse theory. What they are saying is a bit hard to follow for the layman so I am going to have a stab at explaining it for a general audience. Apologies in advance if I oversimplify.

In a real greenhouse (growing tomatoes etc.) there is a glass lid on the greenhouse, which means that the hot air rising off the bottom of the greenhouse cannot escape and just sticks around in its hot state. Then further hot air rising also cannot escape and adds to the amount of trapped heat.

But there is no glass lid circling the earth. CO2 is just a gas and cannot trap anything. So scientists have to come up with a new type of "greenhouse" if they want to offer a theory about why the earth should be heating up. And their theory is that heat is like a rubber ball: As soon as it hits some CO2 it bounces back down to earth ("backradiation")

But heat is not a rubber ball or anything like it. Heat is just motion -- motion among molecules. So if heated air rising off the earth hits some CO2 it may transfer some of its motion to the CO2 (and thus heat it up a bit) but that is the end of it. There is nothing to bounce and nothing to bounce off.

So the entire "global warming" theory is absurd. Prof Claes Johnson below gives a more precise explanation -- JR
Why a Cold Body Cannot Heat A Warm Body

This post connects to previous posts arguing that backradiation is unphysical.

Recall that backradiation from atmospheric greenhouse CO2 is the scientific corner-stone of IPCC climate alarmism, supported by in particular the Royal Society and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. This corner-stone is unphysical and purely fictional.

In Computational Black Body Radiation I give a mathematical explanation of Planck's black body radiation law based on finite precision computation, as an alternative to the statistics of quanta used by Planck himself.

The basic problem is to explain why and how nature avoids an ultra-violet catastrophy by cutting off radiation of frequencies higher than a certain cut-off frequency proportional to the temperature according to Wien's displacement Law (see fig above): Higher temperature allows higher frequencies to be radiated, as seen in the color of a fire changing with temperature.

Planck explains the cut-off using statistical mechanics by viewing radiating waves to be assembled from a certain smallest unit of energy (quanta) and assuming that high energy/frequency is rare because it requires assembly of many quanta.

In Computational Black Body Radiation I propose an alternative explanation viewing radiation the result of a form of analog finite precision computation (performed by oscillating
atoms/molecules) with the precision being proportional to temperature (mean oscillation amplitude) leading to high frequency cut-off.

The explanation of cut-off by finite precision computation offers an explanation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics expressing that heat/radiation energy by itself can be transferred from a warm to a colder body, but not from a cold body to a warmer. Why is it so?

Because in transfer from warm to cold, high precision/energy/frequency waves are transformed to low precision/energy/frequency waves. In short, high precision can transformed by itself (with low precision) to low precision.

On the other hand, transfer from cold to warm, would require low precision to be transformed into high precision, and that is only possible by exterior (high precision) intervention.

Let us now give some examples illustrating that transfer from warm to cold is physical/observable while transfer from cold to warm is unphysical/nonobservable, because of limitations in analog finite precision computation:


U Mass hasn't heard of 1st Law of Thermodynamics

To help understand why the overwhelming "consensus" of climatologists believe that IR active "greenhouse" gases are warming the planet, it is helpful to visit one of America's top universities, the University of Massachusetts, to check on what the climatology professors are teaching future climatologists. U Mass has kindly provided us with this "greenhouse effect" calculator used in their climatology course to help answer homework questions. The calculator allows you to dial in the essential "greenhouse effect" parameters of solar input, albedo (reflection - primarily from clouds), and the percentage of [unphysical] "back radiation" to calculate the temperature of any planet with a "greenhouse effect" :

Let's use this handy calculator to create our own test of the "greenhouse effect," assuming an Al Gore apocalyptic scenario of the earth's atmosphere [currently 0.0389% CO2] having a greenhouse gas concentration so high that the atmosphere becomes a perfect "back-radiator" of heat from the earth and doesn't let any heat at all escape to space, but still lets the solar energy in. We use the default values for solar input of 1367 Wm-2, albedo of 31%, and set back radiation at 100% (.999) rather than the default 39.7%, and observe that the average temperature of the earth rises to 1428.05°K, or 2111°F. Now 2111°F is pretty hot, in fact aluminum melts at 1220°F, magnesium at 1200°F, and steel at 2600°F. Amazing that the "greenhouse gases" can accomplish this while ideal laboratory conditions cannot. The maximum laboratory temperatures that could be obtained with a laboratory blackbody which absorbs nearly all incoming radiation is given by the Stefan-Boltzman equation, which tells us the maximum temperature with the same inputs would be 359.11°K or 186.72°F. Hmmm, that's less by a factor of 11 than what greenhouse gases can supposedly achieve according to U Mass. The greenhouse hypothesis makes a self-contradictory claim that back-radiation causes a body to EXCEED the blackbody limit, even though a laboratory blackbody EPITOMIZES the effect of back-radiation.

I'm pretty sure that if you tried this at home, with ten 100 Watt light bulbs mounted on a mirror 1 meter square to provide 1000 Wm-2 heat input (analogous to solar input of 1367 Wm-2 minus 31% albedo = 943 Wm-2), hung this contraption a bit above the earth and facing downwards, that the earth's surface temperature would rise less than to 2111°F. Or just stand up and point a 1000W hair blower down at your foot; I did and my foot is fine. I'm also pretty sure that if you did the Siddons mirror example, you would not find that the mirror makes the spot on the wall brighter by a factor of 11 (actual amount is zero).

Why such an absurd result from UMass? It's because greenhouse theory ignores the conservation of energy demanded by the 1st law of thermodynamics by assuming our atmosphere is one giant perpetual heat engine "back radiating" heat energy from colder "greenhouse gases" to the earth, causing it to warm up far beyond the solar input, and rinse, cycle, calamity. It also ignores the 2nd law of thermodynamics by assuming a cold body ('greenhouse gases") can warm a hot body (earth).

These errors in basic 18th century physics continue to be promulgated at U Mass and indeed most everywhere else. The "beauty" of the greenhouse theory is that it has two major fudge factors to play with: albedo (which is poorly understood and difficult to measure) and unphysical % "back radiation." By assigning arbitrary values to these two fudge factors one can program a computer model that looks like it agrees with global temperatures and thus bamboozle most scientists and the public, while hiding a perpetual motion machine (heat pump) inside. These science fiction theatrics do not warrant the waste of billion$ to enrich the likes of Al Gore & George Soros to the detriment of the rest of humanity.

For papers reflecting the actual physics of the atmosphere, see the Gerlich & Tscheuschner papers and this non-technical summary. See also the Chilingar et al paper.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The IPCC’s First Test In “A New World Of Openness”

“Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct,” stated the Muir Russell reportinto the Climategate scandal after it found the Climatic Research Unit at the UK’s East Anglia University guilty of “a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness.” This failure, the Russell report declared to wide agreement among climate scientists, led to harm “to the reputation of the University and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science.”

To ensure that climate scientists never again harm the cause of science in this way, the Russell report then recommended that scientists adhere to new standards of openness. “Without such openness, the credibility of their work will suffer because it will always be at risk of allegations of concealment and hence mal-practice.”

The Russell report was released last week. This week the UN’s Intergovernmental; Panel on Climate Change and other scientists have their first opportunity to apply the new standards by admitting to yet another gross transgression.

The opportunity comes via the latest revelation over Amazongate, a scandal that erupted in January, just two months after the Climategate scandal broke in November. The Amazongate story begins with a claim in the IPCC’s 2007 report that “up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation,” leading to the forest’s conversion to savannah. The IPCC gave as its source a report by WWF, the environmental lobby group. The press then dubbed this failure by the IPCC to rely upon peer-reviewed science “Amazongate.”

Last month, one of the media outlets that exposed Amazongate, the Sunday Times, retracted its story, apparently in the belief that the WWF had based its claim about the looming destruction of the Amazon on legitimate peer-reviewed science. If so, the IPCC’s error was trivial – it had sloppily quoted WWF instead of the actual peer-reviewed science.

With the Sunday Times retraction, most of the worldwide press and climate-friendly blogosphere jumped to the assertion that the IPCC had been exonerated. “Newspapers retract faulty climate reporting,” stated a Washington Post headline. “Lies Concocted By Climate Deniers Likely To Stick Around Despite Corrections,” stated the Huffington Post. Climate scientists everywhere supported the belief that WWF had based its views on peer-reviewed science.

One reporter, Christopher Booker at the London Telegraph, wondered where, exactly, was the peer-reviewed document that the WWF relied upon. When he was stonewalled in obtaining answers he dug and dug and finally found WWF’s source. As he explains, it “was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group.” Booker’s impressive sleuthing is described in detail here.

The IPCC now has the opportunity to rise to Muir Russell’s challenge. He posed the following problem for science in introducing his Climategate report to the press: “How is science to be conducted in a new world of openness, accountability and indeed what I might term citizen involvement in public interest science? … There need to be ways of handling criticism and challenge, of responding to a range of different sorts of criticism and getting into a more productive relationship with critics than we have sometimes seen in this case.”

Will the IPCC and others in the climate science establishment pass this, their first test in the new world of openness? I hope they do. I know they won’t.


Checking The Hockey Team

The third British investigation into the Climategate scandal — led by former civil servant Sir Muir Russell — amounts, at best, to a greywash. No reason, it claims, to doubt the honesty of the scientists related to the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (which commissioned the review). However, buried within the review’s 160 pages considerable doubt is raised about the operations of both the CRU and the organization that it serves, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For anybody who wants to understand the scientific and psychological background to Climategate, there is no better read than Andrew Montford’s new book, The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science.

Climategate was based largely on emails related to the so-called “Hockey Stick,” an iconic graph that purported to show that 20th-century temperatures were unprecedented in at least a thousand years. As Mr. Montford points out, “[T]he chief importance of the Hockey Stick lies not in that it is central to the case for man-made global warming, but in the fact that the IPCC promoted it as if it were.”

In other words, the real scandal lies in whoever was pulling the political strings of the IPCC.

The U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, an influential skeptical institution, has now appointed Mr. Montford to run an inquiry into the three British inquiries. There will be no whitewash here, although it will be fascinating to see how far Mr. Montford can penetrate into the Yes Minister nature of the investigations, whose guiding principle seems to have been that of the Three Wise Monkeys.

The Hockey Stick Illusion leaves no doubt about Mr. Montford’s reporting abilities. He tells a gripping detective story in which the star gumshoe is semi-retired Canadian mining consultant Steve McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre, unfortunately for his opponents, happens to combine mathematical genius with a Terminator-like relentlessness. He also found a brilliant partner in Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph. Their story is one of intellectual determination in the face of Kafkaesque “peer review” and Orwellian “freedom of information.”

The Hockey Stick derived from the arcane science of paleoclimatology, which reconstructs pre-thermometer temperatures from proxies such as tree rings. The most oft-quoted of the Climategate emails referred to a “trick” to “hide the decline” in proxy data after 1960. Those post-1960 proxy figures not merely failed to correspond with actual temperature increases, they raised inevitable issues about past reconstructions. This was particularly important because the Hockey Stick had — conveniently — eliminated the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings were farming in Greenland.

If temperatures were as warm or warmer a thousand years ago, then the claim that 20th-century heat was unprecedented and due to rising levels of man-made CO2 was weakened. (And even if the 20th century was unprecedented, that still wouldn’t have “proved” man-made global warming. Correlation is not causation.)

The Hockey Stick reconstruction was led by an ambitious and aggressive young climatologist named Michael Mann of the University of Massachusetts. It was eagerly seized upon by the IPCC. Its prominence made Prof. Mann an academic star and the recipient of hefty research grants. In 2002, Scientific American named him one of “50 leading visionaries in science.”

However, Mr. McIntyre’s determined digging suggested that Prof. Mann’s conclusions rested on dodgy statistical manipulation of a tiny amount of data from a few unreliable proxy trees in very specific locations. It also led to two U.S. congressional inquiries, one of which Mr. Montford notes was flagrantly rigged.

Mr. Montford’s book might be accused of being one-sided, but Mr. McIntyre’s opponents emerge as an unresponsive clique who were hardly likely to co-operate with a narrative that had them lying, destroying data, and mounting vicious ad hominem attacks (such as that Mr. McIntyre had close links to the perpetually demonized “fossil fuel industry.” He didn’t.).

“The Hockey Team,” as Mr. McIntyre wryly called them, were also no credit to the scientific method. CRU head Phil Jones — whose emails were at the heart of Climategate — sent an amazing response to an Australian researcher asking why he should provide data “when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.” But that is exactly why data and methods should be made freely available.

Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick were in fact brought into the IPCC review process for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, but presumably mainly to keep an eye on — or muzzle — them. However, being involved in the process confirmed how rigged and conflicted it was.

Mr. Montford concludes that the Hockey Stick affair suggests that “the case for global warming, far from being settled is actually weak and unconvincing. The implications for policymakers are stark. They have granted an effective monopoly on scientific advice to an organization that has proven itself to be corrupt, biased and beset by conflicts of interest. Their advisors on the global-warming issue are essentially a law unto themselves ….”

Meanwhile, the hockey stick may be only one of many other examples of botched or manipulated science. “Who knows what other instances there are of arguments contrary to the IPCC consensus disappearing into the ether, of doubts suppressed and questions ignored?” asks Mr. Montford. “It is clear that it would be foolish in the extreme to give the IPCC the benefit of the doubt. Their record is too poor, the stakes too high.”

Mr. Montford’s book is required reading, but it only scratches the surface of the much bigger scandal. The Hockey Stick graph was used as a promotional tool for a political agenda. No inquiry has even begun to address the origins and nature of that agenda, which amounts to building a rationale for unprecedented global economic control. Prof. Mann writes in one of the Climategate emails about letting “our supporters in higher places” deal with Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick. But who were these “supporters?” Another Hockey Team member, Keith Briffa, wrote: “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data,’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple.”

Where was that “pressure” coming from?

The wholesale acceptance of the alarmist hypothesis by virtually the entire global political establishment and an overwhelming proportion of the world’s popular media also demands analysis.

Prof. Mann, who is now at Penn State, continues his campaign of bluster and demonization of those who would merely dare to ask questions. In an interview in the wake of the Russell report, he continued to deride the “malicious” and “dishonest” attacks on him by alleged “professional climate change deniers” and “contrarians” and “special interests.” (In the interview he exploded his scientific credibility by claiming that the current North American heat wave is proof of man-made global warming!)

Anybody who reads Mr. Montford’s book will understand that Prof. Mann’s charges of “well-funded” opposition are ludicrous. The only oversight of the Hockey Team was “provided by volunteers like McIntyre and his ragtag band of skeptic supporters.” But, as Mr. Montford points out, Prof. Mann’s strategy has always been to try to shout “louder and longer.”

Ultimately, Prof. Mann and his colleagues were merely foot soldiers in a bigger ideological thrust to use the environment as a rationale for assuming global economic control.

Mr. Montford writes of one of the early climate meetings that “One can almost detect the germ of an idea forming in the minds of the scientists and bureaucrats assembled in Geneva: here, potentially, was a source of funding and influence without end. Where might it lead?”

But it is unlikely that such thoughts were articulated as anything other than concern for the planet, and a burning desire to “speak up” for those who were most vulnerable to bad weather caused by materialism and greedy “fossil fuel interests.” The lust for power almost invariably cloaks itself in high moral purpose. What higher purpose could there be than saving the world?


Wind Power is More Dangerous than Coal or Oil

The recent explosions in Massey’s Upper Big Branch coal mine and on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig highlight the tragedy of workplace fatalities. Though improvement in statistical averages do little to lessen the loss of those whose loved ones have died, the American workplace has gotten safer which means fewer will be grieving. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reached a record low in 2008: 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers. Yet with the recent noted losses in the oil and coal industries, some might think that workplace fatalities could be reduced even more by moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. The facts suggest the opposite.

The largest source of new renewable energy is wind power, which accounts for 62 percent of renewable electricity generation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t publish accident data specifically for the wind-power industry, but the Caithness Windfarms Information Forum(CWIF) has created a list of fatalities for the wind industry worldwide. The list is compiled from news reports and is unlikely to be comprehensive.

That there are any fatalities in this industry should not be surprising. Towers for modern wind turbines can rise 300 feet or more and the blades for the rotors extend another 150 feet beyond that. (For comparison, note that the Statue of Liberty on its 150-foot granite pedestal reaches 305 feet.) A single wind farm can require erecting a thousand of these 450-foot structures. How many fatalities have there been?

Taking the CWIF fatalities for the U.S. and removing deaths that are only tangentially related to wind power, shows that there were 10 deaths in the wind-power industry over the years 2003-2008. This would seem to make wind power much safer than coal mining, which had 176 fatalities over the same period. However, much less energy was generated by wind than by coal.

To project changes in workplace safety from switching to wind from coal, it is necessary to know the mortality rate per megawatt-hour. The low number of total deaths in the wind-power industry is undermined by the very low amount of power generated by wind. Adjusting for power production yields a surprising result. On a million-megawatt-hour basis, the wind-energy industry has averaged 0.0220 deaths compared with 0.0147 for coal over the years 2003-2008. Even adding coal’s share of fatalities in the power-generation industry, which brings the rate up to 0.0164, still leaves wind power with a 34 percent higher mortality rate. For the record, the workplace fatality rate for wind also exceeds that for oil and gas on an equivalent-energy basis.

Meeting the 20 percent renewable energy standard from the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill with wind power would require swapping about 800 million megawatt-hours of coal generated current with 800 million megawatt-hours of wind power. Using the recent mortality rates as a guide, we would expect there to be 4-5 more workplace fatalities per year than if there were no wind power at all. Even this comparison ignores the fatalities we could expect from the additional power lines needed for so much remote wind power.

Certainly the impetus for moving to wind power did not come from concern over workplace fatalities. However, the story of wind and safety illustrates an important dimension of the energy debate—there is a lot we don’t know about the impact of forcing dramatic shifts in our energy portfolio. At small levels of production, negative impacts might be overlooked or even misinterpreted. For instance, the energy inputs needed, the environmental costs, and the impact on the food supply were significantly underestimated by many who promoted ethanol as a substitute for gasoline. Now that ethanol consumes roughly 30 percent of our corn crop, these impacts offer a sobering reality check on the previous euphoria.

Further refinements on mortality rates for wind energy may show that it is relatively better or worse than this first cut at the estimates. But what we see when we look deeper is that due, in part, to its unreliable nature, wind power is an imperfect and very expensive substitute for conventionally-generated electricity; that it takes huge amounts of land; and it’s not so good for some components of the environment like bats. The argument for forcing consumers to buy increasing amounts of wind power gets weaker the more we investigate its full impacts.


Government Science in Australia: Cowed and Corrupted by Politics

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that government science bodies in Australia had become cowed and corrupted by politicians.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that following the lead of the climate alarmists infecting the government owned ABC, CSIRO, BOM and most state and federal science departments were now singing the government song on climate. “It’s time to de-politicise the Australian government climate science industry.”

Forbes explained: “The once great CSIRO has abandoned objective climate research in favour of global warming activism. “This started with its selective promotion of extreme drought scenarios. With a portfolio of over twenty unproven climate models to choose from, CSIRO chose one forecasting severe droughts to support the alarmist Garnaut report. “Then CSIRO applied pressure on staff who disagreed with Penny Wong’s ETS. One who wrote a critical report was censured and resigned.

“The last straw was the recent appointment of CSIRO’s Chairman – he is a lawyer whose day job is a merchant banker with a huge vested interest in carbon trading. He is a global warming alarmist whose long term climate observations are taken on weekends from his yacht in Port Phillip Bay.

“Both CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are now focussed, not on climate research or weather forecasting, but on holding secret meetings to discuss how to spread alarmist propaganda on man-made global warming and how to combat “skeptics and denialists”.

“Even the numerous state departments of Agriculture and Forestry are so cowed that not one scientist is prepared to say out loud that, over the life of a cow or a tree, there are ZERO net emissions or extractions of carbon dioxide.

“The corrupting influence of government money and government control has destroyed the spirit of open enquiry in Universities, CSIRO, BOM, the EPA, the government media machine and most of the state departments of Agriculture, Environment, Forestry, Energy, Planning and Resources. Politics is even affecting Science Education.

“All government science organisations should be removed from the ACT (Australian Carbon Territory) and the corroding influence of Carbonerra City. They should be directed by scientists and producers from the agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and processing industries they supposedly serve.

“Finally, all government research projects should have a specific life and goal and be put out to tender.”



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


12 July, 2010

Smearing Global Warming Skeptics

Meteorologist blogger Anthony Watts normally talks about the crumbling science of man-caused global warming, but recently he described an uninvited office guest demanding to know about his alleged "big oil funding." The charge that only the lure of big money causes people to question warmist gospel is old but, as it turns out, of highly questionable origin.

Al Gore typifies the central accusation in An Inconvenient Truth, pg 263:
The misconception that there is a serious disagreement among scientists about global warming is actually an illusion that has been deliberately fostered by a relatively small but extremely well-funded cadre of special interests, including Exxon Mobil and a few other oil, coal, and utilities companies. These companies want to prevent any new policies that would interfere with their current business plans...

One of the internal memos prepared by this group to guide the employees they hired to run their disinformation campaign was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan. Here was the group's stated objective: to "reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact."

Internet searches of the "reposition global warming" phrase show how viral it is. However, more searching reveals former Boston Globe reporter Gelbspan not only has never won a Pulitzer, despite uncountable times he's described as such, but he is also not the discoverer of the "campaign." Intensive investigation reveals only myriad ties to the phrase, but the actual 1991 internal PR campaign memo containing the phrase is never seen.

Gore's 2004 NY Times review of Gelbspan's then-current second book offered this praise:
Gelbspan's first book, "The Heat Is On" (1997), remains the best, and virtually only, study of how the coal and oil industry has provided financing to a small group of contrarian scientists...In this new book, Gelbspan focuses his toughest language by far on the coal and oil industries. After documenting the largely successful efforts of companies like ExxonMobil to paralyze the policy process, confuse the American people and cynically "reposition global warming as theory rather than fact."

Greenpeace director Phil Radford offers more praise in an article describing two people he worked with who most impressed him:
John Passacantando, the former director of Greenpeace, whose strategic instinct and track record of changing the political landscape on global warming has made it possible to imagine that solving the problem could be a reality. And Ross Gelbspan ... who ... uncover[ed] the scandalous cover up of global warming by polluting companies. Ross has been the lone voice ... that has inspired countless people, me included, to demand our country and our future back from the coal and oil interests behind global warming.

The article also says Radford worked for Ozone Action. Prior to 1996, their focus was ozone depletion. Ozone Action had just over/under $1 million worth of contributions per year in 1998, 1999, and 2000 under John Passacantando's leadership, who then merged his group into Greenpeace in 2000. Greenpeace archive records of a 1996 Ozone Action report (page 5, paragraphs 3 & 4) reveal:
...the Information Council for the Environment (ICE) stated their goal was to "reposition global warming as theory (not fact)[.]"

According to documents obtained by Ozone Action and by Ross Gelbspan, several ICE strategies were laid out: the repositioning of global warming as theory, not fact.

The word "obtained" prompts questions about assertions that Gelbspan was the discoverer. Worse, Greenpeace/WWF activist Andrew Rowell cites the "reposition" phrase in his 1996 Green Backlash (second paragraph) while not saying where the "ICE internal packet" came from. NY Times reporter Matthew Wald's July 8, 1991 article reported:
The goal of the campaign, according to one planning document, is to "reposition global warming as theory" and not fact.

A packet of internal correspondence and other information relating to the campaign was provided to The New York Times by the Sierra Club, the San Francisco-based environmental group that favors taking steps to reduce the risk of global warming.

Curtis Moore, who cites Wald's article about the "reposition" phrase in his 1994 Green Gold, also refers to an interview of Simmons Advertising's Tom Helland. That appears to be the same Simmons contact "T. Helland" seen on page 13 of another set of Greenpeace scans, a fair indication that Moore saw the documents. And on page 14, there is a Simmons letter describing "what you'll find in this packet," the same descriptive word in Rowell's book note and Wald's article. Gelbspan refers to other 1991 articles breaking this story near the bottom of the page at his website. An obvious question is: Who discovered these documents?

That second set of Greenpeace scans contains something vastly more important on page 10: the document with the "reposition" phrase in its complete context. Of all the internet searches for the phrase, I found no others showing it in its entirety, or any linking to this Greenpeace scan. In Gelbspan's own hugely acclaimed 1997 book, no scan is shown. He simply says, "ICE documents in author's possession." Why is that? And what is the significance of yet another Greenpeace scan of an October 1996 Kalee Kreider e-mail to "D Becker" at the Sierra Club? That's probably Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming Program from 1989 to 2006. Kreider worked at Ozone Action just three months earlier, repeating the "reposition" phrase in a media release. Many now know Kreider as Al Gore's spokesperson.

It turns out that the attempted slander of global warming skeptics as tools of big oil is as poorly grounded as the theory itself.


The Climategate Whitewash Continues

PATRICK J. MICHAELS, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia from 1980-2007, describes the whitewash particularly clearly below:

Global warming alarmists claim vindication after last year's data manipulation scandal. Don't believe the 'independent' reviews.

Last November there was a world-wide outcry when a trove of emails were released suggesting some of the world's leading climate scientists engaged in professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data to paint what scientist Keith Briffa called "a nice, tidy story" of climate history. The scandal became known as Climategate.

Now a supposedly independent review of the evidence says, in effect, "nothing to see here." Last week "The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review," commissioned and paid for by the University of East Anglia, exonerated the University of East Anglia. The review committee was chaired by Sir Muir Russell, former vice chancellor at the University of Glasgow.

Mr. Russell took pains to present his committee, which consisted of four other academics, as independent. He told the Times of London that "Given the nature of the allegations it is right that someone who has no links to either the university or the climate science community looks at the evidence and makes recommendations based on what they find."

No links? One of the panel's four members, Prof. Geoffrey Boulton, was on the faculty of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences for 18 years. At the beginning of his tenure, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)—the source of the Climategate emails—was established in Mr. Boulton's school at East Anglia. Last December, Mr. Boulton signed a petition declaring that the scientists who established the global climate records at East Anglia "adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity."

This purportedly independent review comes on the heels of two others—one by the University of East Anglia itself and the other by Penn State University, both completed in the spring, concerning its own employee, Prof. Michael Mann. Mr. Mann was one of the Climategate principals who proposed a plan, which was clearly laid out in emails whose veracity Mr. Mann has not challenged, to destroy a scientific journal that dared to publish three papers with which he and his East Anglia friends disagreed. These two reviews also saw no evil. For example, Penn State "determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community."

Readers of both earlier reports need to know that both institutions receive tens of millions in federal global warming research funding (which can be confirmed by perusing the grant histories of Messrs. Jones or Mann, compiled from public sources, that are available online at Any admission of substantial scientific misbehavior would likely result in a significant loss of funding.

It's impossible to find anything wrong if you really aren't looking. In a famous email of May 29, 2008, Phil Jones, director of East Anglia's CRU, wrote to Mr. Mann, under the subject line "IPCC & FOI," "Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4 [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report]? Keith will do likewise . . . can you also email Gene [Wahl, an employee of the U.S. Department of Commerce] to do the same . . . We will be getting Caspar [Amman, of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research] to do likewise."

Mr. Jones emailed later that he had "deleted loads of emails" so that anyone who might bring a Freedom of Information Act request would get very little. According to New Scientist writer Fred Pearce, "Russell and his team never asked Jones or his colleagues whether they had actually done this."

The Russell report states that "On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that the CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data." Really? Here's what CRU director Jones wrote to Australian scientist Warrick Hughes in February 2005: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it[?]"

Then there's the problem of interference with peer review in the scientific literature. Here too Mr. Russell could find no wrong: "On the allegations that there was subversion of the peer review or editorial process, we find no evidence to substantiate this."

Really? Mr. Mann claims that temperatures roughly 800 years ago, in what has been referred to as the Medieval Warm Period, were not as warm as those measured recently. This is important because if modern temperatures are not unusual, it casts doubt on the fear that global warming is a serious threat. In 2003, Willie Soon of the Smithsonian Institution and Sallie Baliunas of Harvard published a paper in the journal Climate Research that took exception to Mr. Mann's work, work which also was at variance with a large number of independent studies of paleoclimate. So it would seem the Soon-Baliunas paper was just part of the normal to-and-fro of science.

But Mr. Jones wrote Mr. Mann on March 11, 2003, that "I'll be emailing the journal to tell them I'm having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor," Chris de Freitas of the University of Auckland. Mr. Mann responded to Mr. Jones on the same day: "I think we should stop considering 'Climate Research' as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board."

Mr. Mann ultimately wrote to Mr. Jones on July 11, 2003, that "I think the community should . . . terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels . . . and leave it to wither away into oblivion and disrepute."

Climate Research and several other journals have stopped accepting anything that substantially challenges the received wisdom on global warming perpetuated by the CRU. I have had four perfectly good manuscripts rejected out of hand since the CRU shenanigans, and I'm hardly the only one. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, has noted that it's becoming nearly impossible to publish anything on global warming that's nonalarmist in peer-reviewed journals.

Of course, Mr. Russell didn't look to see if the ugly pressure tactics discussed in the Climategate emails had any consequences. That's because they only interviewed CRU people, not the people whom they had trashed.


Climate Change Lunacy

A new book, critical of the climate change establishment, is additionally noteworthy because the author, Mark Lawson, is a senior journalist who writes on environmental matters for the Australian Financial Review.

While large Australian publishers ignore climate warming sceptics a small publisher, Connor Court, continues to give writers with something to say a platform and the opportunity to be read by an ever growing readership:
A Guide to Climate Change Lunacy: bad forecasting, terrible solutions

Mark Lawson, Connor Court Publishers, paperback, 286 pages. $29.95.

Activists and even some scientists will tell you that the science behind the expected major warming of the globe is rock solid. In fact, the projections of temperature increases in coming decades are based on entirely unproven forecasting systems which depend on guesses about crucial aspects of the atmosphere behaviour and the all-important oceans. In addition, these forecasts use carbon dioxide emission scenarios that have been generated by economic calculations rather than from science, and parts of which are already hopelessly wrong less than a decade after they were made.

As Mark Lawson explains in this book, in layman’s language, this lunacy has been compounded by further forecasts based on these already deeply flawed projections and combined with active imaginations, to produce wild statements about what will happen to plant, animal, bird and marine life, as well as coral reefs, hurricanes, sea levels, agriculture and polar ice caps. The books shows that these projections are little more than fantasy.

On top of all this lunacy activists, aided and abetted by some scientists, have proposed a range of solutions to the supposed problem that are either never going to work, such as an international agreement to cut emissions, or are overly complicated and expensive for no proven return, such as carbon trading systems and wind energy. None of these proposals have been shown to be of any use in reducing carbon emissions, outside of theoretical studies. Where wind energy has been used in substantial amounts overseas the sole, known result has been very expensive electricity for no observed saving in emissions.

Mark Lawson is a senior journalist on the Australian Financial Review. He has a science degree from Melbourne University, and has been a science writer, editorial writer and Perth bureau chief for the Review. He now edits a series of reports for the AFR, including environmental reports.


Native American rabbits not dying of heat after all

If they do die out, Australia's got about a billion rabbits that they would gladly donate to anyone who wants to come and take them away!

Discussing: Millar, C.I. and Westfall, R.D. 2010. Distribution and climatic relationships of the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Sierra Nevada and Western Great Basin, U.S.A.; periglacial landforms as refugia in warming climates. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 42: 76-88.


American pikas are small generalist herbivores that are relatives of rabbits and hares. They tend to inhabit patchily-distributed rocky slopes of western North American mountains and are good at tolerating cold. However, they are widely believed to have a physiological sensitivity to warming, which when "coupled with the geometry of decreasing area at increasing elevation on mountain peaks," in the words of the authors, "has raised concern for the future persistence of pikas in the face of climate change," so much so, in fact, that "the species has been petitioned under California [USA] state and federal laws for endangered species listing."

What was done

Millar and Westfall developed a rapid assessment method for determining pika occurrence and used it "to assess geomorphic affinities of pika habitat, analyze climatic relationships of sites, and evaluate refugium environments for pikas under warming climates," while working over the course of two field seasons in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, the southwestern Great Basin of California and Nevada, and the central Great Basin of Nevada, as well as a small area in the central Oregon Cascades.

What was learned

The two U.S. Forest Service researchers report that "whereas concern exists for diminishing range of pikas relative to early surveys, the distribution and extent in our study, pertinent to four subspecies and the Pacific southwest lineage of pikas, resemble the diversity range conditions described in early 20th-century pika records (e.g., Grinnell and Storer, 1924)." In fact, they say that the lowest site at which they detected the current presence of pikas at an elevation of 1827 meters "is below the historic lowest elevation of 2350 m recorded for the subspecies by Grinnell and Storer (1924) in Yosemite National Park; below the low elevation range limit for the White Mountains populations given by Howell (1924) at 2440 m; and below the lowest elevation described for the southern Sierra Nevada populations of 2134 m (Sumner and Dixon, 1953)." In addition, they report that "a similar situation occurred for another lagomorph of concern, pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis), where a rapid assessment method revealed much wider distribution than had been implied from historic population databases or resurvey efforts (Himes and Drohan, 2007)."

What it means

Millar and Westfall say their results suggest that "pika populations in the Sierra Nevada and southwestern Great Basin are thriving, persist in a wide range of thermal environments, and show little evidence of extirpation or decline," over a period of time, we might add, when the world's climate alarmists claim the planet warmed at a rate and to a level of warmth that was unprecedented over the past one to two millennia, which suggests to us that current concerns about the future of American pikas in a warming world may be wildly misplaced. Moreover, the documentation of a similar phenomenon operating among pygmy rabbits suggests that still other animals may also be better able to cope with various aspects of climate change than we have been led to believe possible.


There is most certainly a pattern to climate change… but it’s not what you may think

For at least 114 years, climate “scientists” have been claiming that the climate was going to kill us…but they have kept switching whether it was a coming ice age, or global warming.

* 1895 - Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again – New York Times, February 1895

* 1902 - “Disappearing Glaciers…deteriorating slowly, with a persistency that means their final annihilation…scientific fact…surely disappearing.” – Los Angeles Times

* 1912 - Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age – New York Times, October 1912

* 1923 - “Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada” – Professor Gregory of Yale University, American representative to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, – Chicago Tribune

* 1923 - “The discoveries of changes in the sun’s heat and the southward advance of glaciers in recent years have given rise to conjectures of the possible advent of a new ice age” – Washington Post

* 1924 - MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age – New York Times, Sept 18, 1924

* 1929 - “Most geologists think the world is growing warmer, and that it will continue to get warmer” – Los Angeles Times, in Is another ice age coming?

* 1932 - “If these things be true, it is evident, therefore that we must be just teetering on an ice age” – The Atlantic magazine, This Cold, Cold World

* 1933 - America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise – New York Times, March 27th, 1933

* 1933 – “…wide-spread and persistent tendency toward warmer weather…Is our climate changing?” – Federal Weather Bureau “Monthly Weather Review.”

* 1938 - Global warming, caused by man heating the planet with carbon dioxide, “is likely to prove beneficial to mankind in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.”– Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

* 1938 - “Experts puzzle over 20 year mercury rise…Chicago is in the front rank of thousands of cities thuout the world which have been affected by a mysterious trend toward warmer climate in the last two decades” – Chicago Tribune

* 1939 - “Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right… weather men have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer” – Washington Post

* 1952 - “…we have learned that the world has been getting warmer in the last half century” – New York Times, August 10th, 1962

* 1954 - “…winters are getting milder, summers drier. Glaciers are receding, deserts growing” – U.S. News and World Report

* 1954 - Climate – the Heat May Be Off – Fortune Magazine

* 1959 - “Arctic Findings in Particular Support Theory of Rising Global Temperatures” – New York Times

* 1969 - “…the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that the ocean at the North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two” – New York Times, February 20th, 1969

* 1969 – “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000″ — Paul Ehrlich (while he now predicts doom from global warming, this quote only gets honorable mention, as he was talking about his crazy fear of overpopulation)

* 1970 - “…get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters – the worst may be yet to come…there’s no relief in sight” – Washington Post

* 1974 - Global cooling for the past forty years – Time Magazine

* 1974 - “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age” – Washington Post

* 1974 - “As for the present cooling trend a number of leading climatologists have concluded that it is very bad news indeed” – Fortune magazine, who won a Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics for its analysis of the danger

* 1974 - “…the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure…mass deaths by starvation, and probably anarchy and violence” – New York Times

* 1975 - Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate is Changing; A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable – New York Times, May 21st, 1975

* 1975 - “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind” Nigel Calder, editor, New Scientist magazine, in an article in International Wildlife Magazine

* 1976 - “Even U.S. farms may be hit by cooling trend” – U.S. News and World Report

* 1981 - Global Warming – “of an almost unprecedented magnitude” – New York Times

* 1988 - I would like to draw three main conclusions. Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements. Number two, the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect. And number three, our computer climate simulations indicate that thegreenhouse effect is already large enough to begin to effect the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves. – Jim Hansen, June 1988 testimony before Congress, see His later quote and His superior’s objection for context

* 1989 -”On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” – Stephen Schneider, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Discover magazine, October 1989

* 1990 - “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing – in terms of economic policy and environmental policy” – Senator Timothy Wirth

* 1993 - “Global climate change may alter temperature and rainfall patterns, many scientists fear, with uncertain consequences for agriculture.” – U.S. News and World Report

* 1998 - No matter if the science [of global warming] is all phony . . . climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” —Christine Stewart, Canadian Minister of the Environment, Calgary Herald, 1998

* 2001 - “Scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.” – Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 09, 2001

* 2003 - Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration” – Jim Hansen, NASA Global Warming activist, Can we defuse The Global Warming Time Bomb?, 2003

* 2006 - “I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” — Al Gore, Grist magazine, May 2006

* Now: The global mean temperature has fallen for four years in a row, which is why you stopped hearing details about the actual global temperature, even while they carry on about taxing you to deal with it…how long before they start predicting an ice age?

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

Australian buyers browned off with hybrid green cars

THE federal government's billion-dollar green car scheme has stalled on the starting grid. The first subsidised project, Toyota's locally built hybrid, is selling well below expectations despite a booming vehicle market.

The Hybrid Camry, which began rolling off its Melbourne assembly lines six months ago, was expected to attract 10,000 buyers this year, but fewer than 3000 had been registered at the halfway mark, this week's figures reveal.

A string of record months for vehicle sales and an aggressive marketing campaign by Toyota failed to stimulate demand for the Hybrid Camry, hailed as a new era in Australian manufacturing by Kevin Rudd when he launched it in December, just before he flew to Copenhagen for the ill-fated climate change summit, and the project was granted $35 million from the green car scheme.

A sales breakdown of customer types, obtained by The Weekend Australian, shows 571 of the 2960 sales are awaiting test drives in dealerships or being used by Toyota, while the customers Toyota was hoping to attract are shunning the car, which costs $36,990.

Business fleets have bought 506 Hybrid Camrys, with taxi and rental operations accounting for another 333. Private buyers, who were expected to account for 3000 sales a year, took just 657.

By far the biggest buyers are governments, mostly state governments, which have bought 755. The Victorian government committed to purchasing 2000 before the price was announced.

The Toyota Prius, launched as a new model a year ago, is also underperforming, with sales down 16 per cent to 1019 to the end of last month, despite Toyota's forecast of 4500 buyers this year.

Consumer research by Roy Morgan shows most potential buyers baulk at the starting price of hybrids, even though the petrol-electric cars are cheaper to run.

As well as the $35m from Canberra, the Victorian government injected money into the project but has refused to reveal how much, with estimates ranging from $15m to $35m....

Other green car projects include Holden's plan to return small-car manufacturing to Australia with the Cruze, which attracted $149m in funding, and Ford's four-cylinder Falcon and diesel Territory, which got $42m. All are due on sale next year.

With its local Hybrid Camry and the new Prius in the market, Toyota expected demand for hybrids to blossom to 15,000 cars a year -- triple the best result. However, a decade after the technology was first offered, it remains the least successful alternative fuel option and has yet to muster 1 per cent of the market. This is despite a 17 per cent rebound in vehicle demand this year, a result that has taken the industry by surprise.

Buyers shopping for cheap-to-run cars have turned to diesels, as stricter fuel standards have encouraged importers to introduce a wave of new models, mainly from Europe, Japan and Korea.



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


11 July, 2010

The Week That Was (to July 10, 2010)

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

This week, much of the US, particularly the Northeast, experienced a heat wave. Immediately the chorus of global warmers began the refrain "The Hottest Year Ever." NASA GISS started some time ago and now NOAA has joined in. (Please see "heat wave" below.)

Readers of TWTW may recall that earlier this year when much of the inhabited Northern Hemisphere was extremely cold, Roy Spencer was reporting that the average satellite measured global temperature was well above normal - most likely from the El Ni¤o, that was then occurring. The average atmospheric temperature has been dropping since March, but Spencer reports in June the average temperature was still 0.44 deg. C above the norm for the entire record from Jan. 1979 to June 2010. (Please see here.)

The temperatures for the first six months of this year average a bit below the peak year of 1998, which corresponded with a strong El Ni¤o. John Christy says the difference is not statistically significant. Of course, the IPCC and the global warming chorus do not recognize that El Ni¤os may cause global warming, claiming that the events are too short. But if they do, and if the El Ni¤o continues to abate, then NOAA and NASA GISS would have committed the logical fallacy of hasty generalization and the chorus will have some explaining to do.

The NOAA announcement, below, is based on land and sea surface data. Joe D'Aleo and Anthony Watts have exposed the NOAA land data as biased. (Please see the report which was updated in June here). (For an update on some US stations please see here).

NOAA reports that the May sea surfaces were the second highest on record, the highest being in 1998. However, Roy Spencer reports on June 17 that sea surface temperatures as measured by satellites are plunging as the El Ni¤o subsides.

The satellite measurements by the AMSR-E instruments started in 2002. Just as it will be interesting to compare NASA GISS calculated data for the Arctic later this summer with the Danish instrument observations, it will be interesting to compare the NOAA announcements of sea surface temperature with the AMSR-E measurements. If both the NOAA and the satellite measurements show a fall with the subsidence of the El Ni¤o, then the NOAA research will affirm the importance of El Ni¤o events and the IPCC may be forced to consider El Ni¤os as a natural cause of global warming (not likely).


Last week, we began a brief review of Roy Spencer's new book, The Great Global Warming Blunder. Spencer describes how, using data from the new CERES satellite instruments and a home computer, he created a simple, one-equation climate model. Spencer thinks he has separated the feedback signal from the forcing signal in the data, and that the net feedback from carbon dioxide warming is negative. If so, the upper bound of warming from a doubling of carbon dioxide is no more than 1.1ø C, (2ø F) and Spencer thinks it may be as little as one-half that.

After estimating that feedbacks are negative, Spencer develops his thoughts that clouds are the primary cause of temperature change over the 20th Century. Clouds are virtually ignored by the IPCC reports and assumed to be constant except as a feedback of warming from CO2 forcing (warming causes fewer clouds). Anyone who has read HH Lamb may find the IPCC's position of considering clouds a constant surprising, because Lamb presents contemporary evidence indicating that, in Europe at least, during the Little Ice Age the skies were generally overcast with low clouds having a cooling effect.

Spencer then develops his argument that the principal driver in changing cloud cover is the naturally changing Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). He states that the PDO alone explains most of the temperature change for the 20th Century and 75% of the 20th Century warming. If so, the recent changes temperatures are a result of natural oscillation in the climate system itself.

Spencer's work demands a hard look from climate researchers. The models used by the IPCC produce a wide range of results, in part because the varying models contain a wide range of feedback estimates. This wide range, in turn, indicates there is something wrong with the procedures used to estimate feedback. Thus, feedback remains a varying assumption in the models. Until the assumptions are fully tested, climate science as articulated by the IPCC remains a giant logical fallacy - Petitio Principii - that which must be proven is assumed (to be true).


The number of the week is 3. Three separate British entities have investigated ClimateGate and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU): a select committee of the House of Commons, the Oxburgh Commission of the Royal Society, and the Muir Russell team (MR) which is the subject of today's science editorial. Three separate British entities have failed to investigate the science. Three for three - a trifecta. Is it that the CRU does not do science? As reader Tom Sheahen points out following quote from item 23 in the MR summary is revealing: "We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data, but we believe that both of these procedures should have been made plain - ideally in the figure but certainly clearly described in either the caption or the text."


Cap and tax appears to be disappearing from the agenda of the US Congress. The latest word is that Congress will leave a week early for its summer recess and not return until mid-September. The indications are that the November election will be very bloody for incumbents. This has created speculation that the administration and Congressional leaders may try a "lame duck" session after the election, but before the new Congress comes into session, in order to enact bills that are opposed by the public. (Please see the comments by Steve Malloy under Articles.)


The new NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, announced that President Obama has given him three principal objectives - none of which are directly related to space research. (Please see "U.S. Space Program Bows to Mecca" under Articles).


BP appears to be ahead of schedule to cap the well that is releasing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It is probably prudent to proceed carefully to do the job properly. However, there is no excuse for the lack of a "sense of urgency" which the administration has demonstrated in cleaning up the consequences of the spill.


Climategate: The Muir-Russell report: Some initial comments

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

In contrast to the Oxburgh report, the Muir-Russell (MR) report is quite substantive (160 pp, incl 8 appendices) and very professionally produced. MR members held some dozen meetings (presumably in Edinburgh), conducted many interviews at UAE, and accepted some 100 submissions (all unpublished). [A very few of these came from recognizable skeptics; none from Douglass, Christy or Singer, although our work is referred to on pp 148-149 -- as a threat to Jones?]

I have several major criticisms, mostly connected to the fact that the MR team had no in-house competence in the relevant science (atmospheric physics and meteorology). Prof Geoffrey Boulton is a geologist, Prof Peter Clarke is a particle physicist, and Professor James Norton seems to be a general expert on engineering and business. Sir Muir Russell himself once got a degree in natural philosophy (physics). As far as one can tell, they consulted only supporters of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), i.e., supporters of the IPCC.

As a result, they could not really judge whether Phil Jones (head of the Climate Research Unit at UEA) manipulated the post-1980 temperature data, both by selection of weather stations and by applying certain corrections to individual records. Had they spoken to Joe D'Aleo or to Anthony Watts, they might have gotten a different slant on the CRU's handling of station data.

The MR Team concentrates much of the report on the `hockey stick,' and on whether the 20th century was the warmest in the past 1000 years (as claimed by Michael Mann and also by IPCC-3, relying mainly on tree-ring data,). But that issue is really irrelevant and a distraction from the main question (which is never addressed): is the warming of the past 50 years mainly anthropogenic (as claimed by IPCC-4) or natural (as asserted by NIPCC and some other IPCC critics)?

In pursuing the question, the Team must realize that the CRU deals only with land data (covering, imperfectly, only 30% of the Earth's surface) and that sea-surface temperatures (SST) are really more important. Weather stations and trees tend to be land-based.

Also, the Team never bothers to inquire about the atmospheric temperature record from satellites, the only high-quality and truly global record in existence. They seem unaware of the substantial disparity between satellites and the CRU record.

In defense of the MR Team, they consider science to be outside of their charter and within the remit of the Oxburgh team. [See Item 5 on p.10] (Having seen the Oxburgh report, however, some might consider this a joke.) Yet the Team feels empowered to speak with authority about conclusions that depend on climate science. In fact, none of the investigations so far have had a serious look at the crucial science issues.

As a result, the Team doesn't seem to realize [p.23 and 32] that "hide the decline" and "Mike's [Michael Mann] `trick" refers to a cover-up. Mann's 1000-yr temperature record (from proxies) suddenly stops at 1980 - not because there are no suitable post-1980 proxy data (as Mann has claimed in e-mails that responded to inquiries), but because they do not show the dramatic temperature rise of Jones' thermometer data.

This problem recurs again with Fig 6.2 (which is Fig 3.1 from IPCC-4) and involves misuse of the `smoothing' procedure, i.e., replacing annual temperatures with a `running average' of (usually) five years and sometimes longer. [I discussed the matter in some detail in my Science Editorial 8-09 (2-28-2009)]. As can be seen by inspection, there is little rise in temperature between 1980 and 1996, until the `super-El-Nino' of 1998 (which has nothing to do with GH gases or AGW). The satellite record shows more clearly the absence of any significant temperature rise between 1979 and 1997.

It is ironic then that the real post-1980 global temperatures may be closer to the proxy record than to the thermometer record. We will find out when we learn what data Michael Mann discarded.

In this connection, the legal demand for all of Mann's data by Virginia's Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli assumes additional significance. Based on his own statements, one suspects that Jones has deleted some crucial e-mails. It is likely that these may be discovered among Mann's e-mails, now held by the University of Virginia. It might put a new light on the whole Climategate affair.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #21-2010 (July 10, 2010)

British Parliament Misled Over Climategate Report, Says MP

Parliament was misled and needs to re-examine the Climategate affair thoroughly after the failure of the Russell report, a leading backbench MP told us today.

"It's not a whitewash, but it is inadequate," is Labour MP Graham Stringer's summary of the Russell inquiry report. Stringer is the only member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology with scientific qualifications - he holds a PhD in Chemistry.

Not only did Russell fail to deal with the issues of malpractice raised in the emails, Stringer told us, but he confirmed the feeling that MPs had been misled by the University of East Anglia when conducting their own inquiry. Parliament only had time for a brief examination of the CRU files before the election, but made recommendations. This is a serious charge.

After the Select Committee heard oral evidence on March 1, MPs believed that Anglia had entrusted an examination of the science to a separate inquiry. Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia Edward Acton had told the committee that "I am hoping, later this week, to announce the chair of a panel to reassess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong."[Hansard - Q129]]

Ron Oxburgh's inquiry eventually produced a short report clearing the participants. He did not reassess the science, and now says it was never in his remit. "The science was not the subject of our study," he confirmed in an email to Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit.

Earlier this week the former chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Phil Willis, now Lord Willis, said MPs had been amazed at the "sleight of hand".

"Oxburgh didn't go as far as I expected. The Oxburgh Report looks much more like a whitewash," Graham Stringer told us.

Stringer says Anglia appointee Muir Russell (a civil servant and former Vice Chancellor of Glasgow University), failed in three significant areas.

"Why did they delete emails? The key question was what reason they had for doing this, but this was never addressed; not getting to the central motivation was a major failing both of our report and Muir Russell."

Stringer also says that it was unacceptable for Russell (who is not a scientist) to conclude that CRU's work was reproducible, when the data needed was not available. He goes further:

"The fact that you can make up your own experiments and get similar results doesn't mean that you're doing what's scientifically expected of you. You need to follow the same methodology of the process."

"I was surprised at Phil Jones' answers to the questions I asked him [in Parliament]. The work was never replicable," says Stringer.

In 2004 Jones had declined to give out data that would have permitted independent scrutiny of their work, explaining that "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."

This policy is confirmed several times in the emails, with Jones also advising colleagues to destroy evidence helpful to people wishing to reproduce the team's results. "I think that's quite shocking," says Stringer.

Thirdly, the University of East Anglia failed to follow the Commons Select Committee's recommendations in handling the inquiry and producing the report.

Stringer said, "We asked them to be independent, and not allow the University to have first sight of the report. The way it's come out is as an UEA inquiry, not an independent inquiry."

Stringer also says they reminded the inquiry to be open - Russell had promised as much - but witness testimony took place behind closed doors, and not all the depositions have been published.

How independent was the panel? Muir Russell's team heard only one side of the story, failing to call witnesses who were the subjects of the emails - Stephen McIntyre of Climate Audit is mentioned over one hundred times in the archive - who may have given a different perspective. Nor was any active climate scientist supportive of climate change policy but critical of the CRU team's behaviour - Hans Storch or Judith Curry, let alone the prominent sceptics, for example - summoned. Stringer feels their presence would have provided vital context.

The panel included Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet and a vocal advocate of mitigation against climate change (in 2007 he described global warming "the biggest threat to our future health") and Geoffrey Boulton a climate change advisor to the UK government and the EU, who spent 16-years at the University of East Anglia - the institution under apparently 'independent' scrutiny.

In several areas the CRU academics were given the benefit of the doubt because a precedent had been set - often by the academics themselves.

The British establishment has a poor record of examining its own conduct. The 1983 Franks Report into events leading up to the Falklands Invasion exonerated the leading institutions and decision-makers, so too did the Hutton Report into the Invasion of Iraq.

For Stringer, policy needs to be justified by the evidence. "Vast amounts of money are going to be spent on climate change policy, it's billions and eventually could be trillions. Knowing what is accurate and what is inaccurate is important."

"I view this as a Parliamentarian for one of the poorest constituencies in the country. Putting up the price of fuel for poor people on such a low level of evidence, hoping it will have the desired effect, is not acceptable. I need to know what's going on."

Climategate may finally be living up to its name. If you recall, it wasn't the burglary or use of funding that led to the impeachment of Nixon, but the cover-up. Now, ominously, three inquiries into affair have raised more questions than there were before.


Climate change: a collective flight from reality

Historical records reveal the facts about climate change - it's natural

Climate change isn't a threat. CO2 isn't a significant factor. But the action we're proposing to take on climate mitigation will devastate our Western economies and impoverish a whole generation.

Over the last hundred years, mean global temperatures have increased by 0.7 of a degree Centigrade. That's all. The whole climate scare is all about a fraction of a degree. According to Professor Phil Jones of the infamous Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, there has been no significant warming for the last 15 years.

And the slight warming we have seen is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term natural climate cycles. We had the Roman Optimum (warm); the Dark Ages (cool); the Medieval Warm Period; and the Little Ice Age (when they had ice-fairs on the River Thames in London). Over the last couple of centuries, we've been moving into what seems to be a new 21st Century Optimum. It's rightly called an "Optimum." Generally speaking, human societies do better in warmer weather.

When I raised this with the European Commission, they told me that recent changes were so sharp and rapid that they must be man-made. But 12,000 years ago in the Younger Dryas cold climate period, at the beginning of the current Interglacial, we saw temperature change at 10 times that rate. And there wasn't an SUV to be seen.

When I was at Cambridge in the 1960s, everyone knew that climate was cyclical and was driven largely by astronomical cycles. And there is good evidence that recent decades have also seen warming on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system - pointing to a solar cause.

But the Warmists have the bizarre idea that only CO2 matters. Certainly CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but it's not even the most important one. That's water vapor, and there's nothing we can do about it (as long as the wind blows over the ocean).

I'm horrified that the Environmental Protection Agency has declared CO2 a pollutant. They might as well declare oxygen a pollutant. We are a carbon-based life form, and CO2 is vital to the whole biosphere. Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 drive increased bio-mass formation and improved crop yields.

Al Gore is excited by a correlation between mean temperatures and CO2 levels over the past 600,000 years. He's right about the correlation, but he doesn't mention that the temperature graph leads the CO2 graph by several hundred years. The inescapable conclusion is that temperature drives CO2 - not vice versa.

Over the longer term, the correlation breaks down entirely. Current atmospheric CO2 levels are quite low in geo-historical terms. They have been 10 times as high in the past - and that was during an ice age. There is no tipping point. There is no runaway global warming.

Our efforts to control climate by reducing emissions are doomed to failure. Bjorn Lomborg, author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (Cambridge University Press, 2001), has studied the economics of climate change and estimates that the European Union's 20 percent emissions-reduction target will cost around $250 billion a year. Yet the impact by 2100 on global temperatures is likely to be only 0.05 a degree Centigrade - almost too small to measure.


Climate scare hurting kids

"Throughout my school life we have had talks on climate change, and what we can do to prevent it. People my age are terrified of what might happen to our planet" -- Quote from a 15-year old.

The least forgiveable harm produced by the political success of the IPCC is, in my opinion, the harm it has done, and will still do, to children. Adults discussing theories about climate and speculating about disasters is one thing. But pushing speculations as facts, 'facts' that will scare children, is quite another.

I suppose that many, perhaps most, of the people campaigning in and around schools about the climate have no wish to 'scare children witless', to quote from (3), but it is hard to see how their vivid preoccupation with doom-laden speculations can do anything else. Some will see through them (in due course), some will ignore them, some will be scared by them.

Here are some recent reports of some that were scared, from three countries:

New Zealand. Source: (1).

'Today's children are worried about more than just their homework and peer pressure - they are also worried about terrorism and climate change and whether there will be a future for their own children.

... Auckland University Researcher Fiona Pienaar interviewed children aged 8-12 for her PhD to find out what stressed them out and how they coped.'

... 'Global warming and how a natural disaster would affect their lives were two other issues for children.

"I'm worried about the environment and the global warming, the ice and how it's going. I write it down in my little notebook ... I'm thinking people should actually stop the global warming before it's too late for their children," said one child.

... '"The future, if we have children, would there be a future for them?" asked one child.'

'Ms Pienaar said that in the past children tended to think of themselves as immortal but these days things have changed. They are far more exposed to the media and their parents' stress issues, which has led to a greater awareness of potentially stressful world issues.'

'When children have those concerns it can be very distracting and I don't think it's surprising that we have increasing behaviour problems, increasing diagnosis of childhood anxiety disorders and childhood depression.'

USA. Source: (2).

'An article by Johanna Sorrentino at (titled "Get Your Kids Global Warming Savvy") reveals survey results "of more than 1,000 middle school students across the country [that] found that kids fear global warming more than war, terrorism or the health care crisis." Not only does this statement suggest the US has a non-existent "health care crisis" but it demonstrates the dangerous power of misinformation in education. Sorrentino's article is full of the very misinformation that leads to the unwarranted fear children have about "global warming."'

The source article, by Bob Webster, goes on to explain why, and he also recommends a book for children on climate: "... parents who want to provide a good education about global warming and climate change (and how teachers are misleading students), there is an excellent book for "kids [who] fear global warming more than war, terrorism or the health care crisis." It is The Sky's Not Falling - Why It's OK to Chill about Global Warming (for children and adults) by Holly Fretwell ....

Well organized, this book presents a fairly comprehensive view of climate change and global warming designed to calm any fears children may have from gross exaggerations they may have heard at school, on TV, or in other media. While the book is written for children, it is excellent for adults whose education failed to prepare them to understand why the notion that humans can cause "climate change" is absurd.'

UK. Source: (3).

'Today, it is not the mushroom cloud that threatens to suffocate children psychologically but carbon emissions. The new bogeyman is climate change: submerger of nations, polluter of skies, slayer of polar bears.'

Here is one 15 year old quoted in the article: 'Throughout my school life we have had talks on climate change, and what we can do to prevent it. People my age are terrified of what might happen to our planet; it has been drilled into our brains at school, home and even on TV. We watch the news and see earthquakes, flooding, tsunamis, and we hope that by the time we are our parents' ages we will not be having to cope with these routinely.'

Some more disturbing quotes are in the article, but here is one by the journalist who wrote it: 'Teaching children about man-made climate change - which is very real and threatens our wellbeing - and persuading them to adopt green habits is essential, but it can be done without scaring them witless.'

Note the casual and confident assertion that 'man -made climate change ... is very real and threatens our wellbeing'. Not surprising, since this is the establishment view. But shocking, all the same. Can the journalist argue a case to defend her assertions, or would she resort to appealing to the 'authority' of the IPCC? I suspect she has acquired her opinion because there is a lot of it about, like some kind of 'flu.

Not all journalists have caught the infection, thank goodness. Here is a recent piece in the Washington Times which is sensible about climate change: (4).

But it is not just passive exposure to the media and their parents. There is a widespread and generously funded level of deliberate pushing of climate change concerns on to children. I am accumulating lists of sites that produce propaganda aimed at children, or entice them into climate-related networking groups, or 'action groups', or provide materials and project ideas for parents and teachers to push the IPCC line on climate.

I plan to publish my 'list so far', in the near future. In the meantime, there is an illustrated list of 16 'climate propaganda' sites here (5), and of these, at least 4 are specifically aimed at children. And, to end on a postive note, here is a UK link to Amazon for the book mentioned earlier (6). I have this book, and I thoroughly recommend it.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Imaginary Plants in Danger of Extinction

(Cambridge, England) Scientists have apparently created new justification for shutting down civilization. Habitat loss and climate change are now considered dire threats to millions of imaginary plants, which patiently await protection after discovery.
Faced with threats like habitat loss and climate change, many thousands of rare flowering plant species worldwide may become extinct even before discovery.

'Scientists have estimated that there could be five million to 50 million of such species, but less than two million of these have been discovered till date,' says Lucas Joppa from Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Britain, who authored the study.

Joppa, who received his doctorate from Duke University this year, said: 'Using novel methods, we were able to refine the estimate of total species for flowering plants and calculate how many of those remain undiscovered.' [.]

'This finding has enormous conservation implications, as unknown species are likely to be overwhelmingly rare and threatened,' says Joppa, according to a Microsoft Research release.
As a consequence, I suspect we'll soon see conservation programs and policies to protect imaginary plant life.

Meanwhile, could someone explain to me the scientific logic expressed by the Duke doctor that "unknown species are likely to be overwhelmingly rare and threatened." First, how can one say that a species is rare or threatened if it doesn't exist? Second, what's the difference between "overwhelmingly rare" and "rare?"

Furthermore, how on Earth does one protect plants that are "extinct even before discovery?" Additionally, what the hell does that even mean?

Frankly, I suggest that the research is simply cascading guesses by ideologically-driven, global-warming academics who arrogantly believe they can save the planet from human influence and, sooner or later, the results of the research will be pulled out to support government-mandated carbon trading.



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


10 July, 2010

Greenhouse theory fails a basic test of science

Science proceeds not by "proving" anything but by examining theories and seeing if they appear to account for anything. The starting point is always a skeptical one: That a proposed theory accounts for nothing that is actually observed in the real world. That is the null hypothesis. If the null hypothesis cannot be disproved, the theory behind it is abandoned. The following paper shows that the null hypothesis is not falsified by the CO2 theory of global warming (i.e. it adds nothing to our understanding of events). Hence that theory should be abandoned

A null hypothesis for CO2

By Roy Clark


Energy transfer at the Earth's surface is examined from first principles. The effects on surface temperature of small changes in the solar constant caused by the sunspot cycle and small increases in downward long wave infrared (LWIR) flux due to a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration are considered in detail. The changes in the solar constant are sufficient to change ocean temperatures and alter the Earth's climate. The surface temperature changes produced by an increase in downward LWIR flux are too small to be measured and cannot cause climate change. The assumptions underlying the use of radiative forcing in climate models are shown to be invalid. A null hypothesis for CO2 is proposed that it is impossible to show that changes in CO2 concentration have caused any climate change, at least since the current composition of the atmosphere was set by ocean photosynthesis about one billion years ago.

Energy & Environment, Issue Volume 21, Number 4 / August 2010

Two and a Half Millennia of North Atlantic Sea-Surface Temperatures confirm that the past was mostly warmer than the present

Discussing Bonnet, S., de Vernal, A., Hillaire-Marcel, C., Radi, T. and Husum, K. 2010. Variability of sea-surface temperature and sea-ice cover in the Fram Strait over the last two millennia. Marine Micropaleontology 74: 59-74.

What was done

The authors developed a high-resolution record of ocean and climate variations during the late Holocene in the Fram Strait (the major gateway between the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans, located north of the Greenland Sea), based on detailed analyses of a sediment core recovered from a location (78°54.931'N, 6°46.005'E) on the slope of the western continental margin of Svalbard, based on analyses of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts that permit the reconstruction of sea-surface conditions in both summer and winter. These latter reconstructions, in their words, "were made using two different approaches for comparison and to insure the robustness of estimates." They were "the modern analogue technique, which is based on the similarity degree between fossil and modern spectra" and "the artificial neural network technique, which relies on calibration between hydrographical parameters and assemblages."

What was learned

Bonnet et al. report that the sea surface temperature (SST) histories they developed via the two techniques they employed were "nearly identical and show oscillations between -1°C and 5.5°C in winter and between 2.4°C and 10.0°C in summer," and their graphical results indicate that between 2500 and 250 years before present (BP), the mean SSTs of summers were warmer than those of the present about 80% of the time, while the mean SSTs of winters exceeded those of current winters approximately 75% of the time, with the long-term (2250-year) means of both seasonal periods averaging about 2°C more than current means.

The highest temperatures of all were recorded in the vicinity of 1320 cal. years BP, during a warm interval that persisted from about AD 500 to 720 during the very earliest stages of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), when the peak summer and winter temperatures of the MWP both exceeded the peak summer and winter temperatures of the first several years of the 21st century by about 3°C.

What it means

These several observations, as well as the many similar findings we have described in our Medieval Warm Period Project, clearly indicate there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about the world's current level of warmth, which further suggests there is no compelling reason to attribute the Little Ice Age-to-Current Warm Period transition to the concomitant historical increase in the air's CO2 content.


Siberian tree-line evidence for it being warmer in the past

Discussing: Mazepa, V.S. 2005. Stand density in the last millennium at the upper tree-line ecotone in the Polar Ural Mountains. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35: 2082-2091.


Noting that "dead trees located above the current tree-line ecotone provide evidence of the dynamic behavior in the location of the tree line in the recent past (Shiyatov, 1993, 2003)," Mazepa reports that "previous studies have concluded that increases in tree-line elevation, and associated increases in tree abundance within the transient tree-line ecotone, are associated with extended warm periods (Tranquillini, 1979; Kullman, 1986; Payette et al., 1989; Lloyde and Fastie, 2003; Lloyd et al., 2003; Grace et al., 2002; Helama et al., 2004)." Consequently, similar data were used by Mazepa to evaluate the uniqueness of Polar Ural tree-line and density response "to what is widely considered to be anomalous 20th-century warming."

What was done

The author's research, which was conducted over the period 1999-2001, extends the earlier (1960-1962) work of Shiyatov - who examined evidence of tree growth dynamics along a continuous altitudinal transect 860 meters long and 40-80 meters wide on the eastern slope of the Polar Ural Mountains (66°48'57"N, 65°34'09"E) - by repeating what Shiyatov had done four decades earlier.

What was learned

Most importantly, Mazepa reports that "a large number of well-preserved tree remains can be found up to 60-80 meters above the current tree line, some dating to as early as a maximum [our italics] of 1300 years ago," and that "the earliest distinct maximum in stand density [our italics] occurred in the 11th to 13th centuries, coincident with Medieval climatic warming."

What it means

Based on Mazepa's statement that "the vertical gradient of summer air temperature in the Polar Urals is 0.7°C/100 m," the large number of tree remains found 60-80 meters above the current tree line suggests that either (1) there must have been an extended period of time when summer air temperatures were 0.42-0.56°C warmer than they were over the last decades of the 20th century or (2) if late-20th-century warmth was as warm as it was as long ago as AD 700, it has not been maintained anywhere near long enough to produce the type of tree growth of that earlier period, which based upon Mazepa's stand density data likely continued to approximately AD 1300.


Refusing to Report the Truth

By Alan Caruba

I attended the first two International Climate Change Conferences when they were held in New York City, but a change of venue to the hometown of The Heartland Institute, Chicago, was enough to discourage someone like myself who no longer enjoys travel of any kind for any reason.

The most recent Heartland conference was held May 16-18 and drew over 800 people from nearly thirty nations. I “attended” electronically, watching the proceedings that were broadcast by Pajamas Media via the Internet.

My friend, Joseph Bast, is the founder The Heartland Institute and, in a recent issue of The Heartlander, he wrote a revealing and insightful article, “There’s Nothing Mainstream About Old Media”, that says much about the state of journalism in America today.

“Heartland’s first international conference on Climate Change generated 124 print articles with a total circulation of nine million readers. It was covered by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, three of the four television networks, and dozens of publications outside the U.S.”

Though Bast did not say so, I can tell you that the bulk of the coverage was an effort to disparage the conference’s proceedings, devoted to debunking the global warming hoax.

The Fourth conference in May featured world-famous physicists from Russia and Israel, and the U.S..; two astronauts including one who walked on the moon…” Also addressing the attendees were the two men who exposed the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “hockey stick” fraud in which a deliberately fraudulent graph conveyed the notion of a rapidly warming planet.

The blogger who broke the Climategate story in November 2009 that revealed how IPCC “scientists” had deliberately distorted their “research” to further the global warming hoax was there along with eighty elected officials, and many others who have steadfastly questioned global warming claims, some for decades, until it finally began to die of its own dead weight.

Guess how many from the “mainstream media” covered the Fourth Conference? None!

This was and is literally a conspiracy of silence and, as Bast points out, “It is unethical for a reporter to refuse to report that so many prominent scientists and policy experts believe the fear of global warming is overblown. It is unethical to boycott an important event with major public policy importance.”

Keep in mind that the Obama administration’s desperate effort to push through Cap-and-Trade legislation, a huge tax on all energy use, is entirely based on global warming and the lie that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are “causing” it.

There have been many studies by journalism research centers that have long since established the liberal allegiance of the vast bulk of journalists working in the so-called mainstream media today, newspapers and news magazines, radio and television news outlets.

“This isn’t journalism,” wrote Bast. “It’s advocacy.” And it is advocacy of a global fraud called global warming. It is the deliberate deception of millions of Americans and others around the world to further the global warming fraud.

Noted climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball, writing in, asked “How long before politicians realize the public are simply not on board the climate change alarmism? It can’t be much longer as economies fail, jobs disappear, markets weaken, and deficits and debts soar?”

The politicians in Congress and the mainstream journalists who report on the torrent of global warming lies from the Oval Office and the Environmental Protection Agency are likely to be the last to give up on their attempts to fleece the American public in the name of global warming, climate change, or “green jobs.”

The new media is, of course, the rise and growth of the Internet and its many websites and blogs that provide the truth about the global warming hoax and many other issues that are causing Americans and others around the world so much grief.

“Best of all, wrote Bast, “most of the new media is free of the suffocating conceit and arrogance of the liberal old media that makes most news stories unreliable and every editorial predictable.”

“If the price of the rise of new media is the death of the old,” wrote Bast, “then I say it is a bargain.”


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on Al Gore

IT IS not the cavalier attitude toward his wife or the incredible stupidity of a public figure putting himself into a morally compromising position that constitutes Gore’s most important moral failing. Rather, it has to do with the environment.

Let me explain. I love nature and I believe with all my heart in protecting the environment.

I am never more alive as when I get away from bricks and mortar out into open fields, forests, rivers, and mountains. Every year I take my kids way off the beaten track and as deep into nature as I can immerse them for our summer vacation. I want to teach them reverence for the beauty of creation and how it is a sin to pollute God’s green Earth.

So why aren’t I grateful to Al Gore for highlighting the environment? Simply put, he overdid it. Saving a tree, however important, is never as significant as saving a human life.

Stopping a rain forest from being decimated is still subordinate to stopping genocide.

What Al Gore did was create a level of hysteria that elevated the environment to the foremost moral cause of our time, even as Africans continue to die in Darfur, Zimbabweans continue to be brutalized by Robert Mugabe, Iranians continue to be cut down by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez’s reign of terror intensifies by the day in a once-free Venezuela.

So many people of goodwill who might have worked to bring clean water to Africa, to stop the scourge of AIDS or to battle the oppression of women in the Arab world contented themselves with climbing up trees and ensuring they weren’t cut down. I love the Earth but I refuse to deify it. Human life is still the crown jewel of creation.

Some will say that my argument is specious.

How can you have human life without a healthy Earth to sustain it? My response is that respecting the Earth and reducing pollution is an urgent priority, not to mention a godly endeavor. Even those who reject global warming as a hoax would have to agree that all that black, belching smoke coming from exhaust pipes and factories can’t be good for our air quality or world. But when the hysteria over the environment pushes to the backburner the ending of famine, stopping the spread of AIDS, fighting terrorist regimes and giving orphans loving homes, our world is thrown into moral confusion.

Al Gore convinced the world that the environment was more urgent than even removing Saddam Hussein from power – an act he condemned and opposed – even as The New York Times reported that the tyrant killed 800,000 Arabs and 300,000 Kurds. A true leader is one who teaches his people moral priorities.

Yes, the Earth has a certain sacredness. But it is still the means to the even higher end of the infinite value of human life.


Australian PM told to slow down on climate legislation

Good advice, if not for the best of reasons

LABOR'S closest business adviser, Heather Ridout, has warned Julia Gillard to slow down as the PM prepares to rush out a climate change policy. As chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Ms Ridout has offered consistently strong support to the Labor government and was a member of the Henry tax review panel.

She told The Weekend Australian yesterday that it would be "over-reaching" for the government to roll out a replacement for the emissions trading scheme ahead of the election and cautioned Ms Gillard to avoid embracing a carbon-tax quick fix, warning that business was not prepared nor ready.

"It is totally the wrong atmosphere -- we are getting way ahead of ourselves," Ms Ridout said. "I think the confidence of business has been really shaken by the breakdown of the domestic consensus on this issue. Business doesn't want the government to be in any hurry to come up with this in the lead-up to the election."

When she replaced Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, Ms Gillard identified the government's position on climate change as one of her key priorities that had to be fixed before going to the polls. She has sharpened the position on the other two priorities -- the mining tax and asylum-seekers -- but has since been embroiled in debates over both.

Criticism is building that Ms Gillard is moving too quickly to address Labor's policy weaknesses in her haste to clear the deck for an election.

The government is considering a suite of measures to reclaim support from voters lost to the Greens when Mr Rudd ditched the ETS. These include a controversial idea to place tough new restrictions on all new coal-fired power stations and a national energy-efficiency target.

Reports this week have suggested the government is considering setting a price on carbon pollution, while green groups have urged the government to adopt an interim carbon tax. "I think we need to develop a deep and lasting community consensus about pricing carbon," Ms Gillard said yesterday, declaring herself to be a believer in human-induced climate change.

The Prime Minister's special taskforce on energy efficiency has concluded its report to hand to Ms Gillard, calling on her to adopt a national energy efficiency target. The target will lead to bans on many energy-sapping appliances being sold in Australia.

The Weekend Australian understands the government is considering placing an energy-efficiency target on retailers. They could meet the new target by buying "white certificates", which represent an amount of energy they have saved.

In practice, certificates can be awarded for a wide range of actions, including replacing inefficient heaters or airconditioners with more efficient models, installing insulation, improving the thermal efficiency of windows, installing energy efficient lighting and buying efficient refrigerators.

There is no national energy efficiency target. Some states have their own energy efficiency schemes such as the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target and the NSW Energy Savings Scheme. South Australia also has a scheme that provides incentives to adopt energy saving measures.

While the Greens are pushing for a 3 per cent annual energy efficiency target, The Weekend Australian understands the government's target will be lower.

In an interview with ABC TV's Lateline this week, Ms Gillard would not be drawn on whether her climate plans included a carbon tax, declaring she still supported an emissions trading system from 2012, while saying there were things the government could do in the meantime.

Although not wanting a hasty solution, many business figures do want whichever party is successful at the forthcoming election to set a clear direction on climate policy. AGL Energy chief executive Michael Fraser said yesterday a price on carbon was needed to guarantee Australia's energy future. "It is my firm view that a broad-based cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme is the best way to deliver least cost solutions for reducing emissions," he said.

An interim carbon price has been backed by MPs. One said a carbon tax was now the only option to restore Labor's battered reputation.



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


9 July, 2010

Feedbacks, feedbacks, feedbacks: A new hole in the IPCC climate models

The whole Warmist scare is based on feedbacks that supposedly will AMPLIFY the trivial warming we saw in the 20th century. The feedbacks proposed are little better than guesswork and are in any case just a cherrypick of possible feedbacks. The research below looks at an unmentioned feedback: A vegetation-climate feedback. And guess what? Including that feedback REDUCES the predicted temperature rise

Discussing: Jeong, S.-J., Ho, C.-H., Kim, K.-Y., Kim, J., Jeong, J.-H. and Park, T.-W. 2010. Potential impact of vegetation feedback on European heat waves in a 2 x CO2 climate. Climatic Change 99: 625-635.


The authors state that modeling studies in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) suggest that future heat waves over Europe will be more severe, longer lasting and more frequent than those of the recent past, due largely to an intensification of quasi-stationary anticyclone anomalies accompanying future warming, citing in support of this statement the publications of Meehl and Tebaldi (2004) and Della-Marta et al. (2007).

What was done

Jeong et al., as they describe it, "investigate the impact of vegetation-climate feedback on the changes in temperature and the frequency and duration of heat waves in Europe under the condition of doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration in a series of global climate model experiments," where land surface processes are calculated by the Community Land Model (version 3) described by Oleson et al. (2004), which includes a modified version of the Lund-Potsdam-Jena scheme for computing vegetation establishment and phenology for specified climate variables.

What was learned

The six scientists say their calculations indicate that "the projected warming of 4°C over most of Europe with static vegetation has been reduced by 1°C as the dynamic vegetation feedback effects are included," adding that "examination of the simulated surface energy fluxes suggests that additional greening in the presence of vegetation feedback effects enhances evapotranspiration and precipitation, thereby limiting the warming, particularly in the daily maximum temperature." In addition, they state that "the greening also tends to reduce the frequency and duration of heat waves."

What it means

Although Jeong et al.'s findings by no means constitute the final word on the subject of the ultimate climatic consequences of a doubling of the air's CO2 content, they indicate just how easily the incorporation of a new suite of knowledge, in even the best climate models of the day, can dramatically alter what the IPCC and other climate-alarmist organizations and individuals purport to be reality. The world of nature is so extremely complex that it is the height of arrogance -- or depth of ignorance -- to believe that the world's climate modelers are anywhere near being able to mathematically represent all that needs to be mathematically represented in a model of sufficient complexity to faithfully reproduce what actually happens in the real world of nature, and over the many orders of magnitude that they are reluctant to acknowledge are absolutely essential to obtain the answers we all seek, which are, of course, the correct answers, which are obviously still a long ways off.


‘Runaway climate change’ ‘unrealistic’, say scientists

Another disappointing feedback. The more we learn about them, the more pesky these feedbacks become

A new study is set to rock the boat again by calling into question one of the more frightening global warming scenarios: 'runaway climate change'. Under this scenario, rising temperatures speed up processes that catastrophically increase the rate of global warming – a positive feedback loop.

One of these processes is an increase in the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) production by plants and microorganisms in the soil caused by an increase in temperature. As CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it has been suggested this will further increase temperatures, leading to a further increase in CO2 production until the Earth is too hot for human life.

Using Fluxnet, a global network of more than 250 'flux towers' to sample CO2 concentrations, a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute has found that, actually, temperature has a much smaller effect on CO2 release than previous studies claimed.

The researchers, led by Miguel Mahecha, found that the rate at which plants and microorganisms produce CO2 in ecosystems from tropical rainforests to savannah does not even double when the temperature increases by 10°C from one week to the next.

His colleague Markus Reichstein says: "Particularly alarmist scenarios for the feedback between global warming and ecosystem respiration (CO2 production) thus prove to be unrealistic."

Climate change sceptics might say the new study is yet another nail in the coffin of the IPCC report, which says: "Anthropogenic warming could lead to some effects that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change."

But mainstream scientists will just be pleased that Fluxnet has given them real-world measurements upon which to base their computer models.


Dr Martin Hertzberg in Explosive Attack on Global Warming Theory

For two decades multi-talented former meteorologist and explosives and fire expert, Martin Hertzberg Ph.D has been a forthright critic of what he believes are "propagandists” who have cherry-picked climate data supportive of the views of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and certain international governments. His fiery condemnation of the theory has become popularised in Internet science blogs such as Climate Realists that have been quick to pounce on the growing controversy since the Climategate scandal.

Blasted for his views by environmentalists, the doctor of Physical Chemistry remains impervious; continuing to disparage those who support the IPCC. He fires back at alarmist claims about the possible future effects of increased greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Martin is convinced there is no such ‘back radiation effect’mechanism that may cause catastrophic runaway global warming; while the term, 'greenhouse gas' he says, also misleading.

Propaganda and Myths in the Climate Debate

The retired Navy meteorologist in a Canada Free Press article, further disputes the greenhouse gas theory and slates what he calls “global warming alarmists” who create “hysteria based on half-baked computer models that have never been verified and that are totally our of touch with reality."

Keenly aware of ad hominems, Hertzberg mocks the assertion that climate skeptics are right-wing advocates for the oil lobby by declaring, “I am a lifelong liberal Democrat, but I am also a scientist.”

In response to allegations that he a tool of the coal barons, Hertzberg responded that such a claim “would come as a great surprise to them, since I spent most of my career advocating for more stringent safety regulations in their mines.”

Key Issues Regard ‘Fudged Modeling’

Hertzberg is aligned with the so-called 'hard core' of greenhouse gas theory skepticism. Unlike noted 'soft' skeptics such as Richard Lindzen who do not concern themselves with debunking the GHG theory, Hertzberg attacks the very foundation of the orthodoxy by seeking to debunk the reliance on the application of the Stefan-Boltzman equations, which although otherwise valid for flat black body calculations, are over simplified for Earth’s complex three-dimensional climate.

Like a growing number of hardcore skeptics he insists our climate should be represented by 3-D and not the crude two-dimensional models beloved of the IPCC.

The former navy man says, “Even for those portions of Earth that are not covered with clouds, the assumption that the ocean surface, land surfaces, or ice and snow cover would all have blackbody emissivities of unity, is unreasonable.”

His studies have led him to the conclusion that the so-called back radiation effect of greenhouse gas theory is bogus. He writes, “It is implausible to expect that small changes in the concentration of any minor atmospheric constituent such as carbon dioxide, can significantly influence that radiative balance.”

Increased Awareness since ‘Café Scientifique’ Talk

In recent times Hertzberg has gone further on the offensive with forthright and outspoken articles such as in Summit Daily News and with his ‘Café Scientifique’ presentation at Frisco, Colorado (April 27, 2010). A series of seven videos on Youtube shows the “Café Scientifique” talk in full, which has helped to garner further interest in his work.

The former Stanford scientist expounds many compelling points including those made in his paper ‘Earths’ Radiative Equilibrium in the Solar Irradiance,’ where he observed the small fluctuations in 20th Century temperatures were of no more concern that “the larger, longer-term variations of Glacial Coolings and Interglacial Warmings.” In other words, of natural and uncontrollable origin.

A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?

In May 2010 Hertzberg joined forces with two other scientists dismissive of GHG theory, Alan Siddons and Hans Schreuder to produce a seminal paper, “ A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?” The ground-breaking joint paper makes strident claims that the calculations inputted to orthodox climate computer models are so fudged that if they were applied to Earth's moon they would also prove a greenhouse gas effect there-which is nonsense.

Like other skeptics the three strongly believe the Sun is our key climate driver and natural cycles dictate Earth's ever-changing climate.

Hertzberg attributes his healthy cynicism to three years in the U.S. Navy. Now retired at Copper Mountain, Colorado, this erudite exponent of skepticism towards man-made global warming has productively been engaged in raising greater public awareness of this most contentious of scientific issues.


Will global warming cause species extinctions?

Now that the VERY low temperatures of the Antarctic make large sea level rises an impossibility under even the most extreme model projections, Warmists have to find other bad effects of Warming. And extinctions of various sorts are sometimes proposed as one terrible result that we must avoid. 'And that's not to mention the 30% of species at risk of extinction.' says one Greenie site

Julian Simon had the measure of this particular sleight of hand 26 years ago (3). Take the upper end of a speculative range of values, and report it as if it were a fact. Not only that, decouple it further to suggest that the '30%' applies to all species, and not merely to a subset deemed at particular risk.

The ‘30%’ figure was promoted in the IPCC's 2007 Summary Report for Policy Makers, where it was the upper end of a range. For a summary of some of their scare stories from 2007, see (4), which has this:

'The report says that around 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the plant and animal species assessed are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if global average temperatures exceed 1.5 degree C to 2.5 degree C over late 20th century levels.'

So not only is this a speculation about the impact on a subset of species, it presumes a further speculation about temperatures. Both speculations are so flimsy that the whole phrase is worthless except as a piece of propaganda designed for the mass media.

The low levels of scientific and statistical competence in the mass media allow such things to pass unchallenged in the news, and of course the juxtaposition with talk of man-made CO2 invites the public to more misleading conclusions.

First of all, species have always died out, and one might argue pedantically that 100% are ‘at risk of extinction’ – it is part and parcel of evolution, and of the vulnerability of any lifeform. Why would this be worse under warming, given that conditions would be generally more favourable for life? Especially if ambient CO2 levels increase, since more CO2 would provide an appreciable surge in plant growth wherever there was no other constraint such as insufficient mineral availability.

Both the species estimates and the temperature projections are based on computer models. Computer models of these poorly understood and complex systems are merely vehicles for exploring conjectures in limited ways. In particular, they provide neither evidence nor data, merely speculations. Apparently the species extinction models referred to by the IPCC took no account of acclimatisation nor of the more favourable growing environment produced by increased ambient CO2 levels.

This is eerily reminiscent of the absurd doom-laden talk in the 1970s by the notorious scaremongerer Paul Ehrlich, who also took no account of human ingenuity and of the benefits of certain trends such as increased availability of energy supplies and other resources. His mental model of the world seems to view it as some kind of petri-dish, lacking in intelligent life.

As for the models used to support the 2007 assertions on extinctions, here is a recent expert opinion on them:

'The two researchers - Kathy Willis from the UK's Long-Term Ecology Laboratory of Oxford University's Centre for the Environment, and Shonil Bhagwat from Norway's University of Bergen - raise a warning flag about the older models, stating "their coarse spatial scales fail to capture topography or 'microclimatic buffering' and they often do not consider the full acclimation capacity of plants and animals," citing the analysis of Botkin et al. (2007) in this regard.'

This article concludes:

‘Clearly, the panic-evoking extinction-predicting paradigms of the past are rapidly giving way to the realization they bear little resemblance to reality. Earth's plant and animal species are not slip-sliding away - even slowly - into the netherworld of extinction that is preached from the pulpit of climate alarmism as being caused by CO2-induced global warming.’

The CO2 Science site (6) has a lot more useful stuff on species extinctions, as does the SPPI site (7).

The casual throwing around of scary but phoney numbers, and their replication through mass media in support of their cause, is all part of the modus operandi of the IPCC. Their touting of the '40%' fantasy fact about the Amazon being but one of many, and one which by itself could account for a great many species extinctions. Here it is refuted (8):

'The IPCC is under scrutiny for various data inaccuracies, including its claim -- based on a flawed World Wildlife Fund study -- that up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically and be replaced by savannas from even a slight reduction in rainfall. "Our results certainly do not indicate such extreme sensitivity to reductions in rainfall," said Sangram Ganguly, an author on the new study, from the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute affiliated with NASA Ames Research Center in California.
"The way that the WWF report calculated this 40% was totally wrong, while [the new] calculations are by far more reliable and correct," said Dr. Jose Marengo, a Brazilian National Institute for Space Research climate scientist and member of the IPCC.'

So, what are we to make of the '30%'? My inclination is to read it bearing in mind the above reservations about models, and taking due note of this statement (9):

'The attitude toward scientific fact reporting by environmental scientists may be best summarized by Stanford biology professor, Stephen Schneider’s statement, “We need to get loads of media coverage, so we have to offer up scary scenarios and make dramatic statements. Each of us has to decide on the right balance between effectiveness and honesty”.'

Along with some examples where honesty seemed to count for very little: 'In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.'

—Paul Ehrlich, (Earth Day 1970) (10)

'Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.'
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson (Earth Day 1970) (11)

And perhaps, if you think the '30%' still has a shred of credibility, consider this 'data' pushed by the WWF in 1996, and roundly rebutted here (12):

'How does WWF arrive at the number 5O,OOO species extinctions per year? It can be no coincidence that this same number is the upper limit suggested by Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University. Wilson states that while only l.5 million species have been described, it is reasonable to believe that there are over 3O times that many, i.e. 5O million. Then a computer model, based on island biogeography theory, is used to generate the number 5O,OOO. There is no list of Latin names for these species. It is, in fact, a preposterous combination of extrapolation and pulling numbers from the air.'

This is all part of a long and ignoble tradition amongst political campaigners who wrap themselves in the sheep's clothing of concern for the environment (13):

'In the 45 years since the publication of Silent Spring, it is very obvious that many environmental scientists choose effectiveness in generating media attention over honesty. Today the ability to obtain government funding for environmental studies clouds their judgment even more.'

I referred to Julian Simon at the start of this post, and I expect to do so again in this series. But for now, I'll conclude with the title of his 1984 article (3), followed by an extract from it:

'Truth Almost Extinct in Tales of Imperiled Species.'

'... this pure conjecture about upper limit of present species extinction is increased and used by Mr. Myers and WWF scientist Thomas Lovejoy as the basis for the "projections" quoted in the fundraising letter and elsewhere. Mr. Lovejoy--by converting what was an estimated upper limit into a present best-estimate--says that government inaction is "likely to lead" to the extinction of between 14 and 20 percent of all species before the year 2000. This comes to about 40,000 species lost per year, or about one million from 1980 to 2000. In brief, this extinction rate is nothing but pure guesswork. The forecast is a thousand times greater than the present--yet it has been published in newspapers and understood as a scientific statement.'

Simon spotted their tricks back then. His insight was not enough to stop them at their game, neither back then nor now. We are faced with campaigners less concerned about the truth, than about the impact of their statements in the media, and upon their sources of funding.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Our "feathered friends" are going to be OK

We hear over and over that climate change is now so rapid that ecosystems all over the world are in peril as they attempt to cope with changes to the environment. This view of “delicate” ecosystems is at odds with the reality of the long climate history of the Earth. The climate has warmed in the past, cooled in the past, and many of these changes were quite rapid. Delicate ecosystems would have disappeared long ago and the most robust systems would have survived.

Birds are particular well-suited to move as conditions change. Somewhere deep in their DNA is a memory of changes in the past and how to cope with those changes. Four articles have appeared recently reminding us that birds are fully capable of responding to change in climate.

Europeans have been observing bird behavior for centuries, and in the Volga-Kama region of the Tatarstan Republic of Russia, observations go back to 1811 AD. The Tatarstan skylarks migrate south for the winter and their return is a traditional harbinger of spring in Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. A team of scientists from Tatarstan Republic and the United Kingdom examined the long record of return dates of the skylark and noticed that they have been arriving earlier and earlier over the past three decades (11 days earlier since the late 1970s). Askeyev et al. showed that the trend in bird behavior occurred when the March air temperatures in the region have increased by 3.7ºC. The climate changes, the birds respond. C’est la vie. We note that the birds don’t appear to be victims of changes in temperature – they’ve appropriately adapted their behavior to fit ever-changing conditions.

A similar story can be found in a recent article in the Journal of Ornithology in which attention was placed on climate change and the Great Reed Warbler in Poland. Dyrcz and Halupka collected breeding data on the birds over a study period extending from 1970 to 2007; the birds were studied near fish ponds in southwestern Poland that are part of the “Stawy Milickie” nature reserve. They noted that over the study period, the May to July (the months of egg laying) temperatures in the area had increased by 2.2ºC. As the temperatures warmed, the birds moved up egg laying by nearly two weeks. They note that “We did not detect any effect of ambient temperature on clutch size, length of laying period, nest losses and production of fledglings per nest.” They conclude “In summary, it seems that so far the Great Reed Warbler has adapted well to climate change by shifting the timing of breeding, but not changing other parameters of breeding biology. The studied population does not benefit from climate warming (as was found in Bavaria), but apparently does not suffer. Hence, the results of this study do not confirm the prediction…that long-distance migrants would suffer due to climate change.”

A similar study was carried out in eastern Poland dealing with four different varieties of sedentary birds, which because they do not migrate, they might be more vulnerable to changes in climate. Weso?owski and Cholewa studied the birds within Poland’s Bialowieza National Park (BNP) which provides nearly pristine conditions in terms of little anthropogenic alterations. They collected data on the various birds over the period 1975 to 2007, and they indeed found a significant warming during the spring of over 1ºC. The authors caution that “However, it must be stressed that the climate in the Bialowieza region seems to be fluctuating without a clear warming trend when investigated over a longer time period. Two warmer than average periods were discernible within a 215 year series (1780–1995), namely years 1820–1870 and the current time period from 1970 onwards.” They too found that the birds breed earlier as spring temperatures warm, and they state “As all the bird species studied in BNP were phonologically plastic and strongly responded to rising spring temperatures by breeding earlier, they were behaviourally and physiologically equipped to adjust phenotypically and are probably able to adjust to much stronger climate warming than observed at present.” Once again, the birds are found to be well-equipped to handle changes in climate.

A fourth recent study on birds and climate changed was conducted by three scientists from New York and their results appeared in Global Change Biology. Zuckerberg et al. state that “We used the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas, a statewide survey of 5332 25 km2 blocks surveyed in 1980–1985 and 2000–2005, to test several predictions that the birds of New York State are responding to climate change.” They noted that the New York area warmed over 1ºC between the two survey periods and accordingly, they predicted that the birds would have moved poleward and to higher elevations. The three scientists report “As expected, we found all bird species (n = 129) included in this analysis showed an average northward range shift in their mean latitude of 3.58 km.” However, they found “Counter to our predictions, and the results from other studies and models, we did not find a general pattern of species moving to higher elevations.”

All of these studies remind us that the birds have been around a very long time, they have experience massive changes in climate over the eons of their existence, they have learned how to adapt to warmer and colder conditions - they are not going to sit idly by and become victims of the global warming.


Another brain-dead Greenie idea from Australia's Leftist government. Now it seems that they aim to ban big fridges and other appliances

Got a big family and need a big fridge? No problems! Just buy two small ones. It will hit your pocket and will do nothing for the environment but it will keep the Green/Left happy!

JULIA Gillard will try to put her tarnished asylum seeker plan behind her by nailing down her final election plank - a new climate change policy. Ms Gillard, who failed to get the backing of East Timor's Parliament to build an asylum seeker detention centre in the impoverished country, will take her climate plan to Cabinet within days.

Key measures are being finalised, including plans for a national "energy savings initiative". The mandatory scheme will replace a patchwork of existing state-based schemes by about 2012. However, the policy could be bad news for the family hip pockets, with tighter restrictions expected on energy-sapping appliances such as clothes dryers and refrigerators, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Australia allows a number of appliances that are banned from the more greenhouse-conscious places such as Europe and Japan.

Power companies will go to the homes of customers to give energy efficiency advice, with Ms Gillard pledging to reduce "our carbon footprint as a country" by starting with co-operation between households and energy companies.

The plan is designed to provide a so-called "step-change" in national energy usage as a key aspect of the Government's international commitment to greenhouse gas reductions, which was signed at Copenhagen. Corporations are also likely to receive financial support to "retro-fit" old buildings with state-of-the-art technology.

Ms Gillard will want to refresh Labor's stance on the environment, especially in light of three damning reports into the Government's $275 million Green Loans scheme, and her predecessor, Kevin Rudd's decision to push back an emissions trading scheme to at least 2012.



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


8 July, 2010

REAL cause for climate alarm developing

Norm Kalmanovitch [] points out the problems that more global cooling will bring -- with starvation looming for the poorest

The next IPCC Report will be the first report that actually has scientific justification for being "alarmist" because by 2014 we will be well into solar cycle 24 and severe global cooling. This will confirm that the global cooling which started in 2002 is related to solar activity and the likelihood that the current solar activity pattern is mimicking the Dalton Minimum that brought about an extension of the Little Ice Age.

The first IPCC Report in 1990 depicted a temperature reconstruction showing the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. While there is well over half a degree C left to go before the world actually reaches the pleasant temperature of the Medieval Warm Period, this will not be reached for several decades because, in spite of continuously increasing CO2 emissions, the world is cooling in response to solar cycles, and we are very likely headed for at least two decades of rather unpleasant cool temperatures.

Close inspection of the graph in the 1990 IPCC Report shows the Little Ice Age corresponding exactly to the Maunder Minimum, and the recovery from the depths of the Little Ice Age is terminated by the return to cold temperatures consistent with the Dalton Minimum.

The justifiable alarmism in the 2014 IPCC Report will not be about sea level rise. This is because the rate of sea level rise has actually decreased over the past decade, negating any possible claims of increased sea level rise related to the 29.3% increase in global CO2 emissions in the past ten years.

The justifiable alarmism will be about shortages in both global food supplies and global energy supply. The food supply will be reduced because of the shortened growing seasons in the "temperate food supplying regions" of the world resulting from this global cooling. This reduction in food supply will only exacerbate the current global food crisis caused by Kyoto "carbon credit initiatives" that have turned "food crops" into "biofuel crops" with the resultant widespread starvation of the poorest people in the poorest nations.

The potential energy shortages will result from the increased energy demand dictated by the cooler temperatures. This shortage will be far more severe than it should be because of the costly, inefficient, and limited solar and wind power initiatives and the virtual stagnation in expansion of efficient and high volume energy producing facilities for the past decade that have resulted from The Kyoto Protocol initiatives and exorbitant "Carbon Capture and Sequestration" (CCS) requirements that have made expansion of fossil fuel power production facilities economically unfeasible.

The global data demonstrates that there was only 23 years, from 1975 to 1998, during which there was actual global warming concurrent with rapid increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Prior to that, the world cooled from 1942 to 1795 with increasing CO2 emissions that went from 4gt/year in 1942 to over 20gt/year by 1975. During the rapid global warming that preceded this cooling period, there was only a minor increase from 3.5gt/year at the start of the warming in 1910, to 4gt/year by 1942 when the warming ended.

By the time of the next report in 2014, CO2 emissions will have increased by at least another 2gt/year but not producing any global warming for 16 years (and over a decade of actual global cooling in spite of increasing CO2 emissions).

If the IPCC claims any possible link between CO2 emissions and global warming in this 2014 Report; it will be a clear indication that this agency is completely devoid of any integrity; neither scientific nor moral.

Received by email

The Muir Russell whitewash of "Climategate"

The "old boy network" defends its own

The University of East Anglia's enquiry into the conduct of its own staff at its Climatic Research Unit has highlighted criticisms of the department and staff conduct - but clears the path for the individuals concerned to carry on.

The CRU played an important role in writing the UN's IPCC summaries on climate science, so the issue is far from a parochial one. The most serious charge is poor communication; Sir Muir Russell even calls for "a concerted and sustained campaign to win hearts and minds" to restore confidence in the team's work.

Russell was appointed by the institution to investigate an archive of source code and emails that leaked onto the internet last November. The source code is not addressed at all. His report suggests that the problems were of the academics' own making, stating that they were "united in defence against criticism". Yet the enquiry found that despite emails promising to "redefine" the peer review publication process, and put pressure on journal editors, staff were not guilty of subverting the IPCC process, and their "rigour" and "honesty" were beyond question.

Leading academics were called for written and oral evidence before the Russell enquiry, and in many cases the report accepts their account of events. The subjects of their criticism were not invited, not were climate scientists critical of their behaviour. For example, in their capacity as IPCC gatekeepers, the academics are cleared of excluding critical evidence, and yet bending the rules to include supporting studies.

To reach this particular conclusion, for example, the report finds a criterion: a "consistence of view" with earlier work. The earlier work here was in fact produced the academics under scrutiny. So, having compared the CRU academics' work against their previous work, and found it to be consistent, they are cleared of malpractice [!!]

Despite the gentlemanly and clubbable tone, the report nevertheless has deep systemic criticism of the institution and the team's processes. UEA "fell badly short of its scientific and public obligations", according to one review panel member, Lancet editor Richard Horton.

It criticises the team's decision to curtail a temperature reconstruction at 1960, and splice on an instrumental temperature record, without explanation, noting: "The figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading in not describing that one of the series was truncated post 1960 for the figure, and in not being clear on the fact that proxy and instrumental data were spliced together. We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data."

There's a selective approach to criticism of scientific techniques - officially, Muir Russell says it doesn't examine the validity of scientific arguments. But as you can see, in places, it does. On the issue of the Yamal reconstruction, CRU is cleared but the related issues of basing the reconstruction on a limited sample of proxies, and using techniques which exaggerate and validate outliers (basically, one tree) is not addressed.

On compliance with Freedom of Information requests, the inquiry found the CRU team evasive, and "found a tendency to answer the wrong question or to give a partial answer". They also found "a clear incitement to delete e-mails, although we have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete information in respect of a request already made". (Jones had told a US academic that "I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone” and requesting deletions from other staff.)

The defensiveness "set the stage", says Russell, for the barrage of FOIA requests last year, but "clear and early action would likely have prevented much subsequent grief". It adds that "CRU helped create the conditions for this campaign by being unhelpful in its earlier responses".

The institution itself had failed to anticipate the new FOIA regime, and let the academics run amok. Strangely it calls for "a concerted and sustained campaign to win hearts and minds" to restore confidence.

On information handling, the report "highlighted significant problems in the areas of: imbalance of authority; lack of effective challenge at appeal; over dependence on single individuals; inadequate escalation processes and limited strategic oversight."

The panel avoided examining the scientific work of the CRU Team - as have the two other reviews of the leaked archive by Lord Oxburgh, and the Commons Select Committee on science. If the academics had used bats' wings or tea leaves to create temperature reconstructions, that wasn't a matter for any of the panels to judge. And this is undoubtedly a shortcoming. The voter is entitled to see the evidence and understand the arguments that may answer the question: "Is this climate thing anything to worry about?"


Something to think about: A succinct summary of Muir Russell logic below

Sir Muir Russell summarizes his CRU inquiry as follows:

* This was not about forming a view on the content or quality of the scientific work and the conclusions drawn by CRU.

* We did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.

Let's subject these statements to a logical mathematical analysis:

* (1) The scientific work was not an issue.

* (2) The conclusions of the IPCC assessments were not undermined.

Combining (1) and (2) we conclude that what Muir Russell effectively says is: "IPCC conclusions are not based on scientific work". Seems correct.


"Adiabatic" effects and the temperature of Venus

Adiabatic effects -- in this case the effect of pressure on the temperature of gases -- have been known for centuries, but they have only recently been remembered in explaining earth's temperature. But they explain the temperature of Venus best of all -- unlike the quite fraudulent "runaway greenhouse effect" that is usually invoked to explain why Venus is superheated.

Note that even on Earth in places like like the Dead Sea, or Death Valley, or the deep gold mines in South Africa, which are all below sea level, temperatures are significantly higher than in comparable regions at sea level, and that has nothing to do with the CO2 content of the atmosphere but rather due to adiabatic compression.

The first problem is that the surface of Venus receives no direct sunshine. The Venusian atmosphere is full of dense, high clouds “30–40 km thick with bases at 30–35 km altitude.“ The way a greenhouse effect works is by shortwave radiation warming the ground, and greenhouse gases impeding the return of long wave radiation to space. Since there is very little sunshine reaching below 30km on Venus, it does not warm the surface much. This is further evidenced by the fact that there is almost no difference in temperature on Venus between day and night. It is just as hot during their very long (1400 hours) nights, so the 485C temperatures can not be due to solar heating and a resultant greenhouse effect. The days on Venus are dim and the nights are pitch black.

The next problem is that the albedo of Venus is very high, due to the 100% cloud cover. At least 65% of the sunshine received by Venus is immediately reflected back into space. Even the upper atmosphere doesn’t receive a lot of sunshine. The top of Venus’ atmosphere receives 1.9 times as much solar radiation as earth, but the albedo is more than double earth’s – so the net effect is that Venus’ upper atmosphere receives a lower TSI than earth.

The third problem is that Venus has almost no water vapor in the atmosphere. The concentration of water vapor is about one thousand times greater on earth.

Water vapor is a much more important greenhouse gas than CO2, because it absorbs a wider spectrum of infrared light

The effects of increasing CO2 decay logarithmically. Each doubling of CO2 increases temperatures by 2-3C. So if earth went from .04% CO2 to 100% CO2, it would raise temperatures by less than 25-36C.

Even worse, if earth’s atmosphere had almost no water (like Venus) temperatures would be much colder – like the Arctic. The excess CO2 does not begin to compensate for the lack of H2O. Water vapour accounts for 70-95% of the greenhouse effect on earth. The whole basis of the CAGW argument is that H2O feedback will overwhelm the system, yet Venus has essentially no H2O to feed back. CAGW proponents are talking out of both sides of their mouth.

So why is Venus hot? Because it has an extremely high atmospheric pressure. The atmospheric pressure on Venus is 92X greater than earth. Temperatures in Earth’s atmosphere warm over 80C going from 20 kPa (altitude 15km) to 100 kPa (sea level.) That is why mountains are much colder than the deserts which lie at their base.

The atmospheric pressure on Venus is greater than 9,000 kPa. At those pressures, we would expect Venus to be very hot. Much, much hotter than Death Valley.

This is very close to what we see on Venus. The high temperatures there can be almost completely explained by atmospheric pressure – not composition. If 90% of the CO2 in Venus atmosphere was replaced by Nitrogen, it would change temperatures there by only a few tens of degrees.

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

Update here

German physicists Gerlich and Tscheuschner are also very scathing on the matter. Excerpt:

In the speculative discussion around the existence of an atmospheric natural greenhouse effect or the existence of an atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effect it is sometimes stated that the greenhouse effect could modify the temperature profile of the Earth’s atmosphere.

This conjecture is related to another popular but incorrect idea communicated by some proponents of the global warming hypothesis, namely the hypothesis that the temperatures of the Venus are due to a greenhouse effect. For instance, in their book “Der Klimawandel. Diagnose, Prognose, Therapie” (Climate Change. Diagnosis, Prognosis, Therapy) “two leading international experts”, Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber and Stefan Rahmstorf, present a “compact and understandable review” of “climate change” to the general public.

On page 32 they explicitly refer to the “power” of the “greenhouse effect” on the Venus. The claim of Rahmstorf and Schellhuber is that the high venusian surface temperatures somewhere between 400 and 500 Celsius degrees are due to an atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effect.

Of course, they are not. On the one hand, since the venusian atmosphere is opaque to visible light, the central assumption of the greenhouse hypotheses is not obeyed. On the other hand, if one compares the temperature and pressure profiles of Venus and Earth, one immediately will see that they are both very similar.

An important difference is the atmospheric pressure on the ground, which is approximately two orders higher than on the Earth. At 50 km altitude the venusian atmospheric pressure corresponds to the normal pressure on the Earth with temperatures at approximately 37 Celsius degrees. [i.e. a temperature fairly common in tropical regions on earth --JR]

Scientists as propagandists: "developing stories"

The facts obviously don't speak for themselves. An excerpt below from the reliably Warmist "Nature" magazine. I always thought that research was what scientists did, not "developing stories". I guess that shows what an old fogey I am

At Climate Central, a non-profit organization based in Princeton, New Jersey, scientists work with journalists and writers to develop climate stories in partnership with media outlets. The idea came together in 2008, backed by high-profile scientists such as Jane Lubchenco, who oversees much of the nation's climate science as head the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Climate Central has published work in major magazines and newspapers as well as on broadcast television; one story in Time magazine (see covered a Nature paper documenting increasing ocean temperatures (J. M. Lyman et al. Nature 465, 334-337; 2009).

Researchers at George Mason University have teamed up with Climate Central on a project to see whether meteorologists on television can change the way people think about climate issues by making global warming into a local phenomenon. Beginning this summer on the television network WLTX in Columbia, South Carolina, weather forecaster Jim Gandy will integrate global warming into his coverage. Topics might include projections for increasing weather extremes over the next century, and how local gardeners are adapting to climate change. The George Mason team will use surveys at the start and end of the project to see whether it has any effect on public opinion.

It is no coincidence that the team is starting with weather forecasters: a recent poll found that, after scientists, they are the most trusted source of information on global warming, despite their lack of formal training in climate science. "The nation's weather forecasters are basically standing by, ready to teach their local populations," says Edward Maibach, director of George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication. "We feel that we know them and trust them, and that means that they actually have greater potential to engage the public and teach them about climate change than do climate scientists, as a profession."

Similar discussions have unfolded in the United Kingdom. In March, the Science Media Centre in London brought together a number of climate researchers in an effort to expand the roster of scientists talking to the media, which has tended to consult only a few high-profile researchers.

Sheila Jasanoff, a science-policy expert at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says that more communication is good, particularly if scientists can help people to understand the local effects of a global phenomenon. But she warns against the assumption that public doubts and the lack of political action on climate change reflect a problem that can be solved simply by transferring knowledge.

As a model for how to move forward, Jasanoff points to the US government's health and environmental regulatory process, which seeks public input through [easily manipulated] comments on proposed actions and includes non-scientists on advisory boards. She says that researchers should look for ways to build trust by taking on board the concerns of the public.

Leiserowitz agrees that scientists should engage with the public, but he also urges researchers to be realistic about their influence. "Even if climate-change scientists suddenly had the abilities of Carl Sagan to bring complex ideas to the public, there's only so much they can do," says Leiserowitz. "It's hubristic to think that if we could just communicate better, suddenly we would change the world."


The EPA is no Friend to America

The mission statement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to “protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water and land — upon which life depends.”

Today the EPA does indeed have its opinions on protecting Americans and the environment. More recently it seems the EPA is more concerned with regulations, rules and power than it is about safeguarding our natural resources.

President Richard Nixon formed the EPA in 1970 with the intent that the organization would battle pollutants and research clean and effective ways to protect all components of the environment. President Nixon felt having a separate agency handle these tasks independently, while still seeking the expertise of other government organizations, would provide a safer, more efficient America.

The EPA of today was never the intent of President Nixon.

Taking a glance at the oil-laden Gulf of Mexico proves the point that the EPA is more concerned about enforcing regulations than it is about cleaning up the oil. If it cared anything about the Gulf and those states affected by the spill, it would encourage the Administration to lift the Jones Act and allow the world’s skimmer ships to enter and help clean up the Gulf. President Bush lifted the Act after Hurricane Katrina. Facing a disaster of this magnitude should warrant a similar reaction by Obama. The State Department did finally accept 22 offers from 12 countries and international organization to help with the efforts in the Gulf, without lifting the Act.

However, regulations still persist as the EPA is not allowing these skimmer ships to do their job because they don’t filter out the required 15 parts per million of contaminants.

For not wavering on its regulations, restricting the full potential of skimmer ships, the EPA is in no way protecting our environment. Instead of having a mostly oil-free Gulf, we have an ocean drenched in oil. After 77 days, the oil leak is still spewing about 250,000 barrels per day. Contrary to its initial claims of being able to skim 491,721 barrels of oil per day, BP has only been able to skim an average of less than 900 barrels per day.

An agency established to protect the environment is hurting the economies of the affected states and killing wildlife in the area, all by prolonging the necessary cleanup from this devastating crisis.

The EPA’s stonewalling of cleanup efforts doesn’t stop at skimmer ships. In May, the EPA gave BP 24 hours to find a different chemical dispersant than the one it had already used on 600,000 gallons on the surface and 55,000 underwater to help clean up the oil spill. The dispersants being used, Corexit 9500A and Corexit 9527A, were on the EPA-approved list. As previously reported by Americans for Limited Government (ALG), apparently, these “green” regulators didn’t like BP using a dispersant, approved by their own agency, and demanded they cease and desist and submit an alternative plan.

The list could go on of ridiculous judgment calls by the EPA. Earlier this year EPA officials met with film director James Cameron along with scientists and other experts to discuss the oil spill. James Cameron was invited because of his expertise on underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies after his filming of “Titanic.” The EPA described the meeting as “part of the federal government’s ongoing efforts to hear from stakeholders, scientists and experts from academia, government and the private sector as we continue to respond to the BP oil spill.”

Unless the EPA plans to make a movie of the oil spill, Hollywood should not be consulted. There are many legitimate experts who could have and should have been called upon to assist in the handling of this disaster.

The incompetence and radical environmentalism by the EPA continues outside the Gulf oil spill. The EPA wants to use its endangerment findings, obtained earlier this year, to regulate carbon dioxide — its own version of cap-and-trade. This is a complete breach of power by the EPA according to the language in the Clean Air Act.

As reported by the American Spectator, the EPA changed the way the Clean Air Act applies to carbon dioxide. “The plain language of the Clean Air Act would apply the regulations to anyone who emits more than 250 tons of CO2 in a year. That means fast food franchises, apartment buildings, and hospitals would be subject to regulations aimed at clamping down on pollution from large industrial facilities. Even the EPA recognized the absurdity of this result. It took it upon itself to rewrite the law, saying that what the Clean Air Act meant in this case was 25,000 tons, not 250, and issued what it called a ‘tailoring rule’ to this effect. This represents a significant assault on the principle of separation of powers.”

ALG President Bill Wilson couldn’t agree more. “This is not necessarily an environmental, energy or even a tax issue — it’s a constitutional separation of powers issue,” he says. “Even if a senator believes in the highly controversial dogma that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are harmful, he or she should be gravely concerned at the blatant power grab the EPA has engaged in to declare that those gases are covered under the Clean Air Act.”

With the Senate voting 53 to 47, approving of the EPA’s findings, the agency will continue to work with the Administration to build the framework for cap-and-trade regulation, which will surely implement new and harmful taxes on American businesses.

While the EPA continues to feed its insatiable appetite for power and new regulations, it is killing American jobs in the process. From its neglect in the cleanup efforts of the oil spill devastating the fishing industry in New Orleans, to its fight for a six-month moratorium to be placed on drilling in the Gulf, people are now without jobs and can no longer provide for their families.

Don’t be fooled by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s comments this past Earth Day when she stated, “Despite the overheated rhetoric we often hear today about runaway environmental regulations killing jobs, our history is one of healthier families, cleaner communities — and, yes, job-creating innovation and a stronger America.”

Based on EPA’s actions and inactions of recent time, Jackson is certainly not talking about the America of today.


The truth behind energy, green or otherwise

This is a blatant plug for a wonderfully frank book by Robert Bryce, “Power Hungry: The myths of ‘green’ energy and the real fuels of the future.” It won’t be well-received by greenies and global warmists. Bryce, incidentally, has 3,200 watts of solar photovoltaic panels on his house’s roof, though after breakdowns, monthly roof-top mopping to keep them clean and substantial cost (despite subsidies) to put them there, he wonders aloud “if they were really worth it.”

That aside, Bryce sums up his energy policy as simply (and a lot like everyone else’s on earth when you scrape away the faux ideology): “I’m in favor of air conditioning and cold beer.”

Here are a few of the inconvenient truths Bryce reports:

“American voters have been bombarded with nonsense about energy, and much of that nonsense has been embraced.”

“We use hydrocarbons – coal, oil and natural gas – not because we like them, but because they produce lots of heat energy from small spaces at prices we can afford, and in the quantities that we demand. And that’s the absolutely critical point.”

“…the United States has built a $14-trillion-per-year economy that’s based almost entirely on cheap hydrocarbons. No matter how much the United States and the rest of the world may desire a move away from those fossil fuels, the transition to renewable sources of energy – and to no-carbon sources such as nuclear power – will take most of the twent first century and require trillions of dollars in new investment.”

Bryce spends a good bit of the book refuting the claims and assumptions about green technologies that “simply won’t work.”

“These claims ignore the hard realities… It may be fashionable to promote wind, solar and biofuels, but those sources fail when it comes to power density. We want energy sources that produce lots of power … from small amounts of real estate. And that’s the key problem with wind, solar and biofuels: They require huge amounts of land to generate meaningful amounts of power.”

Bryce points to futile and even counterproductive efforts like congressional mandates for motorists to buy ethanol-based gasoline, supposedly to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

“Instead, these measures only worsened air quality, increased food costs, damaged untold numbers of engines and slashed the amount of grain available in the global marketplace.”

We recommend you break through the media “happy talk,” as Bryce describes it, and the ideologically green Utopian thinking and pick up a copy of “Power Hungry…” Until you’re persuaded he’s right, you can read it by candlelight. But by Chapter 1, you’ll have flipped the light switch on and maybe settled into air-conditioned comfort with a cold beer.



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


7 July, 2010

A very strange Warmist wriggle

The fact that low solar activity has long been associated with colder weather in both Europe and the USA is finally getting a grudging admission from Warmists. But, as with their "explanation" of the Medieval warm period as being "local", they are now saying that solar effects are local too!

It's hard to believe but the paper below actually argues that a quiet sun makes it particularly cold in England only! Though some "leakage" to nearby Europe is apparently allowed. The fact that unusually cold weather in England is closely correlated with unusually cold weather across the entire Eurasian continent is blithely ignored.

But Mike Lockwood, leading author of the paper below, is an old Warmist from way back so neither logic nor honesty is to be expected of him. He once also claimed that variations in solar output drove earth's climate -- but only up to 20 years ago! See the first two sentences in "Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature". Making bizarre exceptions to general rules seems to be his modus operandi -- JR
Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity?

By M Lockwood et al.

Solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century. The Maunder minimum (about 1650–1700) was a prolonged episode of low solar activity which coincided with more severe winters in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Motivated by recent relatively cold winters in the UK, we investigate the possible connection with solar activity. We identify regionally anomalous cold winters by detrending the Central England temperature (CET) record using reconstructions of the northern hemisphere mean temperature. We show that cold winter excursions from the hemispheric trend occur more commonly in the UK during low solar activity, consistent with the solar influence on the occurrence of persistent blocking events in the eastern Atlantic. We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect. Average solar activity has declined rapidly since 1985 and cosmogenic isotopes suggest an 8% chance of a return to Maunder minimum conditions within the next 50 years (Lockwood 2010 Proc. R. Soc. A 466 303–29): the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades.

Environmental Research Letters Issue 2 (April-June 2010)

Woolly thinking about "Green" jobs

Comments from Left-leaning Australian economist Ross Gittins

Creating green jobs is all the rage. About a year ago Kevin Rudd promised to create 50,000 of them. Tony Abbott has plans for a standing army of 15,000 green workers who could be deployed across the country. And every environmental group or renewable energy lobby group wants to tell us how many "green-collar jobs" could be generated if only we'd do as they say.

It seems the notion of green jobs arose as a response to the claims of the opponents of climate policy that moving to a low-carbon economy would destroy lots of jobs. No it wouldn't, environmentalists cried, it would create lots of jobs. What's more, they would be green jobs.

But as the Australia Institute warns in a policy brief to be released today, there's a lot of woolly thinking about green jobs. It seems to be little more than a propaganda tool.

For a start, there has been little attempt to define what constitutes a green job. If, for instance, a job maintaining a wind turbine is a green job, what about a job in the business that makes the turbines?

And if it's green to manufacture steel turbines, what about the jobs of the people who mine the iron ore and coking coal needed to make the steel? But if it's not green to be a miner, would it be better for us to import all the turbines we need so the sin of being non-green was on someone else's head?

Should people who work in industries with a low environmental impact be regarded as having green jobs? If so, a significant proportion of all our existing jobs - particularly those in health, education and community services - are green.

But what about jobs in industries that have reduced their ecological footprint, even though it remains substantial? Are these jobs more green or less green than jobs in industries whose footprint has always been small?

As a general rule, industries that are capital-intensive are likely to have a bigger footprint than industries that are labour-intensive, such as service industries. Does this mean we could make the economy greener by abandoning our age-old quest to use machines to replace workers wherever possible?

Do workers whose job is to return a mine site to nature after it has been worked out qualify as green-collar workers? If so, what about workers who clean up after oil spills?

And what about jobs that make the natural environment more accessible to people? If, for instance, you employ some young people to improve the signs on a bush-walking track (for which I'm always grateful) are these green jobs? The advocates of such projects seem to think so.

Visiting the great outdoors may make people more environmentally conscious. But what if the greater accessibility attracts more people and thus adds to the degradation of the area? Would the green jobs then turn brown?

If I were to drive all around the state - or fly all around the world - educating people about the damage the use of fossil fuels does to the climate, would that make me a green-collar worker?

Give up? I reckon it's virtually impossible to come up with a watertight definition of green jobs. But I don't think that matters. As the Australia Institute's report argues, focusing on green jobs is at best a distraction and at worse a snare and a delusion. The object of the climate change exercise is to move to an economy where little of our energy needs are met by burning fossil fuels, thereby making us a "low-carbon economy" and greatly reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases.

Focus on that and the jobs will look after themselves. What seems to be missing from the preoccupation with green jobs is an understanding that all economic activity creates jobs. Moving to a low-carbon economy may well involve reducing jobs in industries that produce fossil fuels, but it will also create them in renewable-energy industries. And even should producing a quantity of energy from solar, wind or whatever involve fewer jobs than producing the same quantity from coal, that's not a problem either. This greater productivity of labour would leave income to be spent elsewhere in the economy - probably the services sector - where it would create jobs.

Our businesses have been using "labour-saving equipment" to replace workers for 200 years and it hasn't cause mass unemployment yet. (It's true, however, that the workers displaced from fossil-fuel industries may not be well placed to take the jobs created in the renewable industries or elsewhere, but that problem - which does need to be dealt with - is common to all the changes in the structure of the economy that continuous technological advance has caused over the centuries.)

It's OK for governments to spend money for the dominant purpose of creating jobs when they're fighting to urgently reduce the impact of recession. Apart from that, however, the money they spend should be aimed at achieving its nominal purpose. The number of jobs this spending creates should be incidental.

If we continue our muddled thinking about green jobs, we risk having politicians trying to curry our favour by wasting money on schemes that will do little to combat climate change.


UN Report On Climate Change Was 'One-Sided'

The United Nations body that advises governments on climate change failed to make clear how its landmark report on the impact of global warming often presented a worst-case scenario, an investigation has concluded.

A summary report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on regional impacts focused on the negative consequences of climate change and failed to make clear that there would also be some benefits of rising temperatures. The report adopted a “one-sided” approach that risked being interpreted as an “alarmist view”.

The report, which underpinned the Copenhagen summit last December, wrongly suggested that climate change was the main reason why communities faced severe water shortages and neglected to make clear that population growth was a much bigger factor.

The inquiry into the IPCC was ordered by the Dutch Government after the UN body admitted that its 2007 report contained two important errors.

It is the first of two studies this week into the veracity of climate science. The second, focusing on e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, will be published tomorrow.

That study, led by Sir Muir Russell, is expected to dismiss claims that the unit’s scientists manipulated their findings but may say that they should have been more willing to share their raw data.

The IPCC’s report, used by governments around the world to develop emissions policies, falsely claimed that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. Most glaciologists believe that they will take at least 300 years to melt.

The report also said that more than half the Netherlands was below sea level (the correct figure is 26 per cent).

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which published the results of its investigation yesterday, concluded that the IPCC’s main findings were justified and that climate change did indeed pose substantial risks to most parts of the world. But it said that the IPCC could strengthen its credibility by describing the full range of possible outcomes, rather than picking on the most alarming projections.


Obama Administration Prepares Legal Challenge to batty British taxes on air travel

The coalition government's plan to reform aviation taxes in order to better encourage airlines to cut carbon emissions could face a legal challenge after it emerged the US government has already begun lobbying against the move.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the US embassy in London has privately called on the coalition to water down its green tax plans over fears that it will increase the financial burden on transatlantic operators.

An unnamed minister told the paper that the government was sticking by its plans to replace the current Air Passenger Duty with a per plane levy that would encourage airlines to operate fuller aircraft.

"The US embassy has made representations siding with the airlines," the minister said. "But the Americans will not deter us from doing the right thing both for taxpayers and the environment."

The proposed reforms were included in both the Conservative and the Lib Dem’s election manifestos and are a key component of the coalitions programme for government. The changes are expected to be confirmed by the Treasury in the autumn and could come into effect as early as next year.

However, with ministers having signalled that they are keen to increase green taxes airlines are concerned that the changes could provide the cover for an increase in the tax burden imposed on the industry and US airlines are already considering legal action against the changes.

The US aviation industry is already in the throes of a legal challenge against the EU's move to extend its emissions trading scheme to cover flights to and from the EU. A coalition of US airlines have launched a legal action in the UK arguing that the EU does not have the jurisdiction to apply charges to flights to and from the US and that the move breaches the 1944 Chicago Convention covering international aviation.

The industry would be likely to use a similar argument to challenge any UK proposal that would increase levies for transatlantic flights.

A spokeswoman for the Treasury told that the final decision on the new tax would be made by Chancellor George Osborne, although she added that the coalition agreement "sets out very clearly the government position on new plane duty".

The US embassy told the Sunday Times that it would not comment on reports it has been lobbying against the per plane levy, but admitted it was concerned about the proposed tax reforms.


Healthy Scepticism Over Climate Change

An Editorial from "The Scotsman", once a regular Warmist organ (despite their rewrite of their history below)

ONCE it was an inconvenient truth, one which just about everyone accepted. Now it seems scepticism is creeping in over the issue of the moment: the supposedly indisputable scientific evidence of climate change.

As we reveal today, nearly a third of Scots have changed their minds on the subject, citing the recent very cold winter and the controversies over the validity of climate change science.

The poll tells us what ordinary people, not the scientific or political elite, think of the issue and shows that the evidence of their own experience, and the debate over whether climate change research is entirely sound, has had an impact.

As this newspaper has often argued, there are doubts over climate change, particularly over whether the temperature rises are significant over a long period of time.

Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland argues a large majority of people still recognise climate change is happening, is primarily caused by humans mandate and want governments to act on it.

This poll should be a warning to Mr McLaren and other "green" groups not to take the public for granted. The public is becoming more sceptical because it is beginning to challenge a modern-day orthordoxy. That can only be healthy for our democracy — and for the future of the planet.


Significant penitence from Warmist scientists now in evidence

Science has been changed forever by the so-called "climategate" saga, leading researchers have said ahead of publication of an inquiry into the affair – and mostly it has been changed for the better.

This Wednesday sees the publication of the Muir Russell report into the conduct of scientists from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), whose emailscaused a furore in November after they were hacked into and published online.

Critics say the emails reveal evasion of freedom of information law, secret deals done during the writing of reports for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), a cover-up of uncertainties in key researchfindings and the misuse of scientific peer review to silence critics.

But whatever Sir Muir Russell, the chairman of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, concludes on these charges, senior climate scientists say their world has been dramatically changed by the affair.

"The release of the emails was a turning point, a game-changer," said Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia. "The community has been brought up short by the row over their science. Already there is a new tone. Researchers are more upfront, open and explicit about their uncertainties, for instance."

And there will be other changes, said Hulme. The emails made him reflect how "astonishing" it was that it had been left to individual researchers to police access to the archive of global temperature data collected over the past 160 years. "The primary data should have been properly curated as an archive open to all." He believes that will now happen.

Bob Watson, a former chair of the IPCC and now chief environment scientist for the British government, agreed. "It is clear that the scientific community will have to respond by being more open and transparent in allowing access to raw data in order that their scientific findings can be checked."

In addition, Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: "Researchers have to accept that it won't just be their science that is judged but also their motives, professionalism, integrity and all those other qualities that are considered important in public life."

Researchers outside Britain say a row that began in Norwich now has important implications for the wider scientific community round the world.

"Trust has been damaged," said Hans von Storch of the KGSS Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany. "People now find it conceivable that scientists cheat and manipulate, and understand that scientists need societal supervision as any other societal institution."

The climate scientist most associated with efforts to reconciling warring factions, Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said the idea of IPCC scientists as "self-appointed oracles, enhanced by the Nobel Prize, is now in tatters". The outside world now sees that "the science of climate is more complex and uncertain than they have been led to believe".

Some IPCC scientists are in denial on this issue, she said, arguing that they would like to see the CRU incident as "an irrelevant blip" and to blame their problems on "a monolithic denial machine", but that won't wash.

Roger Pielke Jr of the University of Colorado agreed that "the climate science community, or at least its most visible and activist wing, appeared to want to go back to waging an all-out war on its perceived political opponents".

He added: "Such a strategy will simply exacerbate the pathological politicisation of the climate science community." In reality, he said, "There is no going back to the pre-November 2009 era."

Curry exempted from this criticism Phil Jones, CRU director and the man at the centre of the furore. Put through the fire, "Jones seems genuinely repentant, and has been completely open and honest about what has been done and why... speaking with humility about the uncertainty in the data sets," she said.

The affair "has pointed out the seamy side of peer review and consensus building in the IPCC assessment reports," she said. "A host of issues need to be addressed."

The veteran Oxford science philosopher Jerome Ravetz says the role of the blogosphere in revealing the important issues buried in the emails means it will assume an increasing role in scientific discourse. "The radical implications of the blogosphere need to be better understood." Curry too applauds the rise of the "citizen scientist" triggered by climategate, and urges scientists to embrace them.

But greater openness and engagement with their critics will not ensure that climate scientists have an easier time in future, warns Hulme. Back in the lab, a new generation of more sophisticated computer models is failing to reduce the uncertainties in predicting future climate, he says – rather, the reverse. "This is not what the public and politicians expect, so handling and explaining this will be difficult."



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


6 July, 2010

The Green/Left can dish it out but can't take it

Comparing climate skeptics to Nazis was for a long time the stock in trade of the Warmists and almost any conservative blogger can testify to the abusive emails and comments we get but when the Warmists get some of that back they get hysterical.

But they still haven't learned. They are still throwing around wild accusations about their critics. Hate just comes naturally to them and they can't suppress it

Climate scientists in the US say police inaction has left them defenceless in the face of a torrent of death threats and hate mail, leaving them fearing for their lives and one to contemplate arming himself with a handgun.

The scientists say the threats have increased since the furore over leaked emails from the University of East Anglia began last November, and a sample of the hate mail sent in recent months and seen by the Guardian reveals the scale and vitriolic tone of the abuse.

The scientists revealed they have been told to "go gargle razor blades" and have been described as "Nazi climate murderers". Some emails have been sent to them without any attempt by the sender to disguise their identity. Even though the scientists have received advice from the FBI, the local police say they are not able to act due to the near-total tolerance of "freedom of speech" in the US.

The problem appears less severe in the UK but, Professor Phil Jones, the UEA scientist at the centre of the hacked email controversy, revealed in February he had been receiving two death threats a week and had contemplated suicide. "People said I should go and kill myself," he said. "They said that they knew where I lived. They were coming from all over the world." The third and final independent review into the issues raised by the hacked UEA emails is due to be published on Wednesday when Sir Muir Russell presents his panel's conclusions.

Professor Stephen Schneider, a climatologist based at Stanford University in California, whose name features in the UEA emails, says he has received "hundreds" of violently abusive emails since last November. The peak came in December during the Copenhagen climate change summit, he said, but the number has picked up again in recent days since he co-authored a scientific paper last month which showed that 97%-98% of climate scientists agree that mankind's carbon emissions are causing global temperatures to increase....

[Schneider's email is Ask him which of his climate models has shown any predictive skill and see if that qualifies as "violently abusive"]

"The effect on me has been tremendous," said Schneider. "Some of these people are mentally imbalanced. They are invariably gun-toting rightwingers [How does he know?]. What do I do? Learn to shoot a Magnum? Wear a bullet-proof jacket? I have now had extra alarms fitted at my home and my address is unlisted. I get scared that we're now in a new Weimar republic where people are prepared to listen to what amounts to Hitlerian lies about climate scientists." ...

Last month, Mann told ABC News in the US that the following message was typical of the emails he has been receiving: "Six feet under with the roots is where you should be. I was hoping I would see the news that you'd committed suicide. Do it, freak." Another climate scientist, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had had a dead animal dumped on his doorstep and now travels with bodyguards.

UK-based climatologists working outside of UEA report they have received far fewer abusive emails compared to their US counterparts. Dr Myles Allen, head of the climate dynamics group at University of Oxford's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department, said he only tends to get such emails when he writes an article in the press and that they "tend to start off 'Dear Communists, know that you will fail.'"

"I suspect part of the reason people feel they have to attack climate scientists is that politicians and environmentalists have a tendency to hide behind the science," he said. "In the run-up to Copenhagen, we often heard the phrase 'the science dictates' - that we need a 40% cut in rich-country emissions by 2020, for example - when in fact only a very specific, and politically loaded, interpretation of the science implied any such thing. If people who claim to be on the side of the science use scientists as human shields, it is hardly surprising that the scientists end up getting shot at."

Dr Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office's Hadley Centre, said he had had "mercifully few" abusive emails or letters compared to scientists in the US. "I do get letters and emails accusing me of being wrong and stupid, but I have received few really abusive ones. I got one accusing me of being a communist, but so far at the Met Office at least we haven't been on the receiving end of the types of hate mail the US scientists have apparently been getting. Also in Australia, I hear."


More excerpts from a recent big scientific report from Germany

There have been several recent articles that question the basic physics behind greenhouse theory. The report below is another one. Previously mentioned here on 17th June

The focus of this Report

This study only deals with one basic fact: Does an increase of CO2 concentration raise the earth’s temperatures – or not? This is simply a question of physics and not of political or environmental beliefs. If there was not such an influence, then

* all climate-model calculations would be wrong,

* the consequences predicted would consequently be false,

* and all costly “rescue plans” would be completely unnecessary.

The “Green Tower of Climate Dogma”

Many people are terrified of the alarmist climate scenarios portrayed by media, environmentalist groups, and politicians. Disappearing islands and terrible storms are some of the inevitable consequences of the warming, which is predicted by computer models. This study concentrates upon the scientific basis of this dogma: the supposed CO2 warming mechanism. If this premise can be scientifically disproven, all of the claimed consequences were unfounded and the whole “global warming edifice” collapses like a house of cards.

It is this critical point upon which this report will focus. This approach differs from most other critiques of the greenhouse dogma and purposely sets aside peripheral issues that distract from the core issue noted above:

* We do not look at historical temperature time series. Whether it was warmer or colder than today 2, 20, 200 or 2000 years ago, is not relevant to the physical effects of CO2.

* The same is true for CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Are CO2 levels actually higher today than in the past? Contrary to the popular belief, hundreds of old and new studies show that CO2 levels have been higher than the present in the recent and distant past20). If, however, CO2 did not affect global temperature, the atmospheric levels would not be of importance21).

* Does the sun control the temperatures on earth? There is evidence that it does, but we will not examine this question any further. This paper is only about the fact that CO2 does not control global temperature.

* Is “climate” predictable – with computers? Many experts disagree. However, in this study, it is not of interest, whether climate computer models can be improved if proper assumptions are made. It is sufficient for us to show that they must be wrong, if they are programmed based on incorrect assumptions.

* Finally, we avoid the heated debates on claimed consequences of “climate change”. Will the polar bear become extinct in fifty years? Our answer today: “We don’t know!”

Summary of our most important results:

* The Earth has a natural “cooling system”. It continuously radiates energy into space. ?? Any increase in temperatures automatically boosts this radiation. The cooling power jumps up.

* “Global warming” (i.e. a general increase of temperatures) requires this incremental cooling to be compensated by an increase in heating power. ?? Accordingly, in order to achieve “global warming”, CO2 had to increase the flow of energy from outside the system to the Earth’s surface. But this is beyond even the claimed capabilities of this gas. Therefore CO2 cannot cause any warming.

* IR gases (“greenhouse gases”) cool the Earth. The “natural greenhouse effect” (i.e. the warming) is a myth. ?? Climate variability did and does exist. However, the CO2 level in the atmosphere is not the cause. Aside from the sun itself, changing cloud coverage is the main factor.


Some pesky history about greenhouse gas theory

The 19th century theory of Arrhenius is the basis of greenhouse theory to this day

Svante Arrhenius of Sweden came out with his 'big lie' or shoddy research in 1896 and was proven wrong within a year by rival Knut Angstrom. Telegraph was too expensive for research communication, so peer review of that age was incredibly slow by even our 'snail mail' standards. By 1900 the 'consensus' was that ARRHENIUS LIED.

Google "Knut Angstrom on Atmospheric Absorption" in the US Weather Service Monthly Weather Review, June 1901 for accepted peer review. It wasn't until 1906 that, then head of the Nobel Committee, Arrhenius admitted his error. The 'carbon-climate forcing theory' fit in perfectly with the elites embrace of the Malthus hypothesis on population, and Arrhenius was a devote racial eugenics. Exterminate enough people and the world is a better place.

This is a century old lie recycled by today's elites to regain total control of the masses. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GREENHOUSE GAS.

"Strange Tale of the Green House Gas Gang" explains more on the other innocent atmospheric gasses and that the only 'green' these evil elites are interested in is picking the green from you wallet.


A hydrological disaster coming?

'Hundreds of millions of people may not have enough water. Floods, heat waves and droughts may affect millions more. The ensuing migration could make the world a very unstable place.'

This is blatant and shameless scaremongering. The cautious verbs 'may' (twice) and 'could' (once) provide the authors with some protection from total ridicule. It has long been the case that these calamities 'may be true', or 'could happen'. And of course, we know for sure that there will be people 'short of water', that there will be 'floods, heatwaves, and droughts', and that there have been already substantial migrations and there may well be more.

Despite the frail, or completely lacking, justification for their views, campaigners under the banner of 'agw' or 'climate change, have had a substantial influence and are intent on entrenching this in society by indoctrinating children. We must therefore take these campaigners seriously - indeed they have already done serious harm around the world: to children and to vulnerable adults, to the poor and hungry, to the environment, to science, to politics, and to technology.

Here they want to scare children with three things: floods, heat waves, and droughts. As is usual with environmental scare stories, a search of the literature will soon reveal major flaws in the reasoning. For the examples below, I have taken reports from the 'Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change' which exists to: 'disseminate factual reports and sound commentary on new developments in the world-wide scientific quest to determine the climatic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content.'

FLOODS: Example of scientific study

What was learned

'In describing the results of their analyses, Mudelsee et al. report finding, for both the Elbe and Oder rivers, "no significant trends in summer flood risk in the twentieth century," but "significant downward trends in winter flood risk during the twentieth century," which phenomenon -- "a reduced winter flood risk during the instrumental period" -- they specifically describe as "a response to regional warming." '

What it means

The results of this study provide no support for the IPCC "concern" that CO2-induced warming will add to the risk of river flooding in Europe. If anything, they suggest just the opposite.'

HEAT WAVES: Example of scientific study

What was learned

'Because of the fact that depletion of soil moisture (which has long been predicted to accompany CO2-induced global warming) results in reduced latent cooling, Fischer et al. found that during all simulated heat wave events, "soil moisture-temperature interactions increase the heat wave duration and account for typically 50-80% of the number of hot summer days," noting that "the largest impact is found for daily maximum temperatures," which were amplified by as much as 2-3°C in response to observed soil moisture deficits in their study....'

What it means

'....In light of these complementary global soil moisture and river runoff observations, it would appear that the anti-transpiration effect of the historical rise in the air's CO2 content has more than compensated for the soil-drying effect of concomitant global warming; and this observation brings us to the ultimate point of our Journal Review. Based upon (1) the findings of Fischer et al. (2007) that soil moisture depletion greatly augments both the intensity and duration of summer heat waves, plus (2) the findings of Robock et al. (2000, 2005) and Li et al. (2007) that global soil moisture has actually increased over the past half century, likely as a result of the anti-transpiration effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment - as Gedney et al. (2006) have also found to be the case with closely associated river runoff - it directly follows that the increase in soil moisture caused by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will tend to decrease both the intensity and duration of summer heat waves as time progresses.'

DROUGHT: Example of scientific study

What was learned

'In the words of the two researchers, "droughts have, for the most part, become [1] shorter, [2] less frequent, [3] less severe, and [4] cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century." '
What it means

'It would seem to be nigh unto impossible to contemplate a more stunning rebuke of climate-alarmist claims concerning global warming and drought than that provided by this study of the United States. And as evidenced by the many materials archived under Drought in our Subject Index, much the same findings are being reported all around the world.'

I will give examples for Asia and Africa in the next {but one] post of this series, but for now I want to end with some general points.

In relatively warm periods, such as the Roman one, and the Medieval Warm period, and our current one, humanity and the rest of nature thrived. A cool period would be worse than a warm one for both. There is little doubt that the end of our mostly very pleasant interglacial is due within a few thousand years, and that if there is to be a credible climate-related mass migration, it will be such as the evacuation of Northern Europe - a process which would begin as soon as the winter snows fail to melt in the summer - for the ice sheets will not slide slowly down from the north, they will grow on the spot through successive winters.

There is no indication that this will happen soon. But, as and when it does, the wealthier we are, the more technologically advanced we are, the better educated we are, the more chance that it will be handled in a competent and humane fashion. Scaring children about heat and CO2, rubbishing real scientists trying to accumulate real knowledge instead of toeing a political line, denigrating technology, crippling our lowest cost sources of energy, and promoting guilt, fear, and ignorance in the young - none of that will help - they merely disrupt progress and cause harm.

More HERE (See the original for references)

Obama regime announces $2 billion in new solar corporate welfare

Nearly $2bn in loan guarantees will be given to two companies to kick-start the US solar energy industry, President Barack Obama has announced. One of the firms, Abengoa Solar, says that it is planning to build the largest solar power plant in the world in Arizona.

Mr Obama said the projects would provide more than 5,000 new jobs. The Arizona plant should power 70,000 homes and cut carbon dioxide emissions. The money will come from government stimulus funds designed to boost the economy during the recession.

Outlining the "Solana" project at Gila Bend near Phoenix, Abengoa said it would have an area of 1,900 acres, using thermal storage-equipped parabolic trough technology, with 280 MW of power output capacity.

According to the company's website, 1,500 new jobs will be created during the plant's construction with 100 positions for staff to maintain it.

The second company, Abound Solar Manufacturing, will manufacture state-of-the-art thin film solar panels, the first time anywhere that such technology has been used commercially, the BBC's Jane O'Brien reports from Washington.

Plants will be built in Colorado and Indiana, creating 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs, the Associated Press reports.

President Obama had promised during his election campaign for the White House to create manufacturing and construction jobs in the green power industry. "We're going to to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America," he said on Saturday.

The renewable energy industry in the US faces tough competition from developers in China.

Mr Obama also acknowledged the loans would not be an instant solution. Around 125,000 jobs were lost in the last month, the government reported.


A Free-Market Energy Vision

Energy is the master resource. Without it other resources could not be produced or consumed. Even energy requires energy: There would not be usable oil, gas, or coal without the energy to manufacture and power the requisite tools and machinery. Nor would there be wind turbines or solar panels, which are monuments to embedded fossil-fuel energy.

And just how important are fossil fuels relative to so-called renewable energies? Oil, gas, or coal generates the electricity needed to fill in for intermittent wind and solar power and ensure moment-to-moment reliability. So renewable energy, ironically, is codependent on nonrenewable energy short of (currently) prohibitively expensive battery technology firming the flow of electricity....

Intellectual and political debates over energy have revolved around four “sustainability” issues: depletion, pollution, security, and climate change. Whole books address these issues, most from the market-failure viewpoint, concluding that mankind is on a perilous path and government-engineered energy transformation is necessary.

But students of energy history and energy policy must ask: Has a political makeover of any industry ever worked well for consumers and taxpayers? Or has it had the opposite effect? Creative destruction—a market makeover from shifting consumer demand—is one thing; having government pick winners with carrots and sticks is quite another.

Free-Market Sustainability

The arguments for allowing free markets, rather than government planning, to address the four sustainability issues can be summarized as follows:

1. Estimated quantities of recoverable oil, gas, and coal have been increasing over time, according to the statistical record. Human ingenuity in market settings has and will continue to overcome nature’s limits, leaving in its wake errant forecasts of resource exhaustion. The resource challenge is political: restricting access and perverting incentives prevents the ultimate resource—human innovation and entrepreneurship—from expanding energy supplies and multiplying energy’s productive utilization.

2. Statistics of air and water quality in the United States show dramatic environmental improvement and, in fact, indicate a positive correlation between energy usage and environmental improvement. While improvements have been achieved by politicized, command-and-control environmental regulation, the results could have been achieved at lower cost through market methods.

3. Energy security in the electricity market is assured by abundant domestic coal and the fact that almost all U.S. gas imports come from Canada. Most of the oil needed for transportation comes from domestic supplies supplemented by imports from a variety of countries led by Canada and Mexico. Oil imports from unstable or unfriendly nations, such as Venezuela and those in the Middle East, can be more effectively addressed by privatizing U.S. oil and gas resources than by government penalties against oil imports that cannot distinguish between “good” and “bad” barrels. Even if the United States were to use the powers of government to pare domestic oil consumption, the resulting drop in world oil prices would encourage non-U.S. demand and subsidize foreign industry. The world oil market will continue to exist and thrive even with reduced U.S. participation, and this will become more true over time.

4. The global warming scare is plagued by open scientific questions, economic tradeoffs, and the reality that carbon-based energy is necessary for economic growth. Carbon rationing (via the Kyoto Protocol) is a failed policy for the developed world and a nonstarter for the developing world. Not only have targeted reductions proved to be elusive, the economic costs of carbon rationing are not unlike those from (postulated) deleterious climate change.

The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico raises an additional sustainability issue: unexpected setbacks that cause massive property damage and even fatalities. Short-run problems, however, can result in longer-term gains so long as the firm faces full liability and pays restitution to the victims. Accountability in private property settings encourages companies to square profits, people, and the environment—and avoid the financial losses that come from performance failure. Currently companies have their liability for damages capped by law at $75 million, though politics could potentially nullify the cap in any given case, as it apparently will in the BP Deepwater Horizon incident.

Rather than expand government, public policy should end preferential subsidies for politically favored energies and privatize such assets as public-land resources and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Multibillion-dollar energy programs at the U.S. Department of Energy should be eliminated. Such policy reform can simultaneously increase energy supply, improve energy security, reduce energy costs, and increase the size of the private sector relative to the public sector.

To Al Gore the “planetary emergency” is five billion to six billion people using oil, gas, or coal for most of their energy needs. But the real energy problem is that nearly one and a half billion people do not use modern forms of energy. Rampant statism in place of private property, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law is behind this problem.

Energy-impoverished people use dried dung and primitive biomass to stay warm and cook their meals, destroying their health and shortening their lives. Without electricity or machines, they do not have clean water, reliable lighting, or other means for comfortable, sanitary living. This here-and-now problem demands energy freedom and an end to debilitating energy statism.

The free-market vision stresses that these impoverished people should not be subject to energy rationing by government. Solar panels and industrial wind turbines can only generate a fraction of the energy produced by diesel generators or a conventional power plant—and are much less reliable. Energy brawn is needed, not inferior but politically correct energies that appeal to energy planners.



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


5 July, 2010

New Unphysical AGW Simulator Available!

Attention warmists, the latest version 2.07 of the University of Colorado "Greenhouse Effect" java simulator is now available! It provides an animation you can control to find out the exact temperature from adding "lots" of "greenhouse" gases causing unphysical back radiation in violation of the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics. "Lots" of back radiating greenhouse gases will add enough work input to raise the global temperatures 7°C! Plus don't miss the second tab at the top to show that "greenhouse" gases are just like a pane of glass or even 3 panes! (please ignore RW Wood's classic 1909 paper which ripped to shreds the Arrhenius "glass pane" paper).

Radiochemist Alan Siddons alerted me to this simulator and writes, "not only does it falsely attribute radiative forcing to the IR-opacity of glass, but it also (and by necessity) shows less IR escaping from the earth as the greenhouse effect progresses. In fact, greenhouse theory asserts that the SAME amount of IR escapes as the greenhouse effect progresses. Consequently, more photons would have to appear out of nowhere in order to simultaneously hold photons in and also release them. Somehow the University of Colorado couldn't simulate that miracle." He also provided this IPCC diagram with his added notations to help clarify this phenomenon:


New Study: Kerry-Lieberman climate bill to Destroy Up to 5.1 Million Jobs, Cost Families $1,042 per Year, Wealthiest Americans to Benefit

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham may no longer claim allegiance to the climate bill currently being debated in the Senate, but according to a new independent analysis released this week, the cap-and-trade proposal being advanced by Sens. Kerry and Lieberman does no better by the American consumer than previous iterations of the bill that bore his name.

In an effort to better understand the broad consequences of the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act on the U.S. economy, the Institute for Energy Research commissioned Chamberlain Economics, L.L.C to perform an economic and distributional analysis of cap-and-trade portion of the proposal.

The following represent some of the study's key findings:

* The American Power Act would reduce U.S. employment by roughly 522,000 jobs in 2015, rising to over 5.1 million jobs by 2050.

* Households would face a gross annual burden of $125.9 billion per year or $1,042 per household, with costs disproportionately borne by low-income households.

* On a net basis, the top income quintile will benefit financially, redistributing to these households roughly $12.3 billion per year from the bottom 80 percent of earners.

* Households over age 75 bear the largest burden at 2.3 percent of income, followed by households aged 65-74 and under age 25 at 2.1 percent. By contrast, the nation's highest-earning households between age 45 and 54 years would bear the smallest percentage burden of just 1.5 percent.

* Contrary to the legislation's stated goal of reducing price volatility by excluding petroleum refiners from quarterly auctions, the Kerry-Lieberman bill is likely to significantly increase allowance price volatility from quarter to quarter, compared to an ordinary auction in which all covered industries bid for allowances.

At its core, the report examines the impacts that the American Power Act would have on the U.S. economy, the method by which emission allowances are distributed to corporations and the distributional cost of the bill on households by income, age group, region and family type. The authors also explore two specific propositions: the first, the potential for shareholders, and not consumers, to benefit from the distribution of free emission allowances; and, second, the expected consequences of the bill's creation of a separate pool of allowances for petroleum refiners, thus adding to the price volatility of those allowances. Both conclusions are contrary to Kerry and Lieberman's stated intent of the legislation.

"One of the most basic criticisms of climate policy is its regressive impact on low-income households," said Andrew Chamberlain, a co-author of the report and chief economist at Chamberlain Economics L.L.C. "The Kerry-Lieberman bill holds true to this by distributing most allowances freely to companies and government agencies for the purpose of securing political support for the bill's passage. Aside from the distributional impact of the bill, Kerry-Lieberman suffers from serious flaws in its policy design. The bill's exclusion of petroleum refiners from quarterly auctions-a provision designed to shield refiners from price volatility-is instead likely to have the opposite effect, increasing volatility faced by covered entities with no obvious economic or environmental benefit."

"These numbers speak for themselves: 522,000 lost jobs in 2015, up to 5.1 million in 2050," said Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research. "Promoting a policy that guarantees job loss and disproportionately impacts older Americans and those earning the least will have devastating consequences. Senators Graham, Lieberman and Kerry stated from the very beginning that their goal was to bring a coalition of big oil executives, Wall Street titans and environmental groups to the table - and that's exactly what they did. Unfortunately, as this analysis shows, the one person that wasn't at the table ends up footing the bill: the American consumer."


Michael Mann: Cleared Of Charges That Nobody Made

By Thomas Fuller

Michael Mann was cleared on Thursday of the fourth in a series of questions investigated by his employer, Penn State University. He had been cleared of the first three in a preliminary phase of the investigation earlier this year.

(Michael Mann is the scientist who created the now infamous Hockey Stick chart that suggested that the current warming period is unprecendented over the past 1,000 years. Heavily promoted by the IPCC and published almost everywhere as an iconic symbol of global warming, the Hockey Stick has also been heavily criticised. That criticism has extended to Michael Mann's behaviour in defending the chart and his methods of constructing it. I have been one of the critics.)

It was clearly not a whitewash, and I'm sure that Mann is relieved. I didn't publish this article yesterday, sort of as a symbolic effort to give him one day of respite. Mann still has to go through an investigation led by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, which I think is really ill-advised, mean-spirited and ultimately destructive of the relationship between government and science going forward.

I have been very critical of Michael Mann since even before the release of the Climategate emails. None of the investigations held so far have answered my criticisms, nor the more thoroughly documented versions of the same criticisms leveled by Steve McIntyre.

That's because none of the investigations so far have examined the actual science in question. The closest this recent investigation came was interrogating a few witnesses about data handling procedures.

The Penn State investigation is no different. Shortly after the Climategate emails were leaked, they reacted to the media firestorm by announcing an investigation, but they created their own investigation scheme that did not include any of the accusations that have been made and repeated on weblogs for about a decade.

To be clear, even if McIntyre (after his exhaustive work) and my (more casual examination--I piggy-backed heavily on McIntyre's work) criticism's are 100% right, neither McIntyre nor I have written that Mann did anything illegal or that rose to the level of a 'firing' offense.

The crime that was committed (if it was committed--I believe it was, but no charges have been filed) was evasion of the Freedom of Information Act. This was done by Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom, as described in our book, Climategate: The CRUtape Letters.

What the hullabaloo about Michael Mann has been is about performing bad science and then trying to hide it during his defence of this science. The defence is normal--the hiding was not. But it was not criminal, and it's clear that Mann very consciously tried to stay right on the line of ethical behaviour as well.

The bad science consisted of choosing faulty evidence (in tree rings) to examine during his construction of the paleoclimatic temperatures that comprised the very level temperature history before modern times, and inventing a new and obviously inappropriate statistical analysis method that guaranteed that his result would have the shape of a Hockey Stick, no matter what data was input.

Mann's poor behaviour consisted essentially of bullying colleagues, reviewers and editors of scientific journals to support not only his science but the political view that drove it--that climate change is the challenge of the Millenium with potentially catastrophic results. As we wrote in our book, Mann clearly believes this.

The remedy we have asked for is a correction of the scientific record and more open sharing of data and calculations by researchers trying to replicate Mann's (and others') results.

A lot of harsh words have been written about Mann, and I have written some of them. Mann took it pretty close to the edge in defending flawed work, and the result has not been good for science, the politics of climate change, or our response to it. Mann was wrong to behave the way he did, in my opinion.

The Penn State investigation, while not a whitewash, clearly and appropriately was concerned with the risk Mann posed to their scientific reputation. The Hockey Stick controversy occurred before Penn State hired Mann, and although he showed up with a rock star reputation and the blessing of the IPCC, it is clear that their focus was on ensuring that he played by the rules of the game and was not a toxic asset that would become a liability soon.

It is telling that one of their criteria for establishing his probity was Mann's ability to write successful proposals.

Previous investigations of the Climategate affair were pretty much whitewashes. Another one, led by Muir Russell, is expected to report soon. However, it is not charged with investigating the science either. Which means that nobody from the established community will be able to make the point that Mann needs to hear. That his science was wrong, and that his attempt to hide his errors hurt the community.

While I congratulate him on his recent exoneration and hope that Ken Cuccinelli wakes up and abandons what I consider to be a witch hunt, the questions and criticisms posed by Steve McIntyre and many others, including myself, remain unaddressed. Which sadly means that this affair is not concluded.


PSU officially joins Michael Mann's scam

By Lubos Motl

Penn State University is among top ten largest U.S. public schools. July 1st, 2010 will be remembered as a black day in its history.

An official committee has unanimously "cleared" Michael Mann of research misconduct even though explicit proofs of his misconduct are available to the whole world:

They claim that those 60 megabytes of proofs that Mr. Mann has not been an honest scientist essentially don't exist.

Prof Richard Lindzen has described the "clearning" of Crook Michael Mann succintly:
When told that the first three allegations against Dr. Mann were dismissed at the inquiry stage of the RA-lO process, Dr. Lindzen's response was: "It's thoroughly amazing. I mean these are issues that he explicitly stated in the emails. I'm wondering what's going on?"

Indeed, the "accusations" that he has been "cleared of" are exactly the points that have been explicitly described in the CRU e-mails, in some cases by Michael Mann himself.

The complete lack of elementary morality of these people is just stunning. Those people may feel comfortable in their ivory towers but let me tell them that they're human trash and organized criminals and we will eventually give them what they deserve. No Tora Bora will be safe enough for them.

That's my message to Ms Ass-mann, Mr Castleman, Ms Irwin, Ms Jablonski, and Mr Vondracek. I have met people at Harvard who would behave in the same way and let me tell you that I am proud of my stomach that throughout those long years, I have never vomited.

Needless to say, the whitewash is being celebrated by the extreme blogosphere who try to lie and laugh into your eyes: Real Climate, Bad Astronomy, Eli Rabett, The Guardian, Climate Progress, and others.

See discussions at Climate Audit and WUWT

During an interview in front of a prison cell, Michael Mann claimed that he was happy that he was "cleared". But his mood makes it clear that he realizes that he wasn't cleared, cannot be cleared, and has no reason to be happy.


'Climategate', 'Amazongate' - when will the truth be told?

Critical evidence from climate change sceptics continues to be ignored by the political and scientific establishments, says Christopher Booker

What are we to make of the efforts by the political and academic establishments to hold the line against all those revelations, such as "Climategate", which last winter rocked the authority of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? The most obvious feature of the four official inquiries into the "Climategate" emails (a fifth report is due this week from Sir Muir Russell), is that not one has engaged with the central point at issue. This is the evidence from the emails and other documents confirming that the key IPCC scientists involved had been manipulating data to show temperatures having lately shot up to levels unknown in the past 1,000 years.

A familiar example was the IPCC's "hockey stick" graph, created by the American scientist Michael Mann, but shown by the statistics expert Steve McIntyre to be no more than a statistical artefact. Last week, a second inquiry by his own university cleared Dr Mann, again making no attempt to discuss the central issue. Instead, it merely asserted - while acclaiming him as "among the most respected scientists in his field" - that the techniques used to compile his graph were wholly acceptable.

Similarly, McIntyre was startled last week to get a dismissive email from Lord Oxburgh, whose Science Appraisal Panel also avoided the crucial issue in its perfunctory five-page report, bizarrely claiming that "the science was not the subject of our study".

Also defending the establishment line was last week's Panorama, with its "inquiry" into Climategate. This example of BBC propaganda at its most childish purported to be impartial, by pitching two advocates of man-made global warming against two "sceptics", who turned out to be believers in man-made warming.

Its centrepiece was yet another vindication of the "hockey stick", including a sycophantic interview with Dr Mann. Again, this gave not the faintest idea of how devastatingly the methods used to compile this graph have been challenged (for full accounts see A W Montford's The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science, or my book The Real Global Warming Disaster).

Meanwhile, there has been a further twist to that other IPCC scandal, "Amazongate", on which I reported last week. This centred on the claim in its 2007 report - attributed only to a paper from green activists at the WWF - that a slight reduction in rainfall caused by climate change could kill up to 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest. After exhaustive analysis by my colleague Dr Richard North of every document cited by the WWF to back its claim, it seems clearer than ever that there is no good evidence.

I have given the WWF one more chance to come up with that evidence, and will reveal its response next week. If it is unable to do so, the IPCC will again be convicted of having made a wildly alarmist claim it cannot justify. Yet this is the body on whose allegedly unimpeachable scientific authority our Government and others propose to land us with the biggest bill in history.


Catastrophism collapses

G20 leaders in Toronto tried to avoid the fate of colleagues felled by warming advocacy

Last week's G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto and its environs confirmed that the world's leaders accept the demise of global-warming alarmism.

One year ago, the G8 talked tough about cutting global temperatures by two degrees. In Toronto, they neutered that tough talk, replacing it with a nebulous commitment to do their best on climate change - and not to try to outdo each other. The global-warming commitments of the G20 - which now carries more clout than the G8 - went from nebulous to non-existent: The G20's draft promise going into the meetings of investing in green technologies faded into a mere commitment to "a green economy and to sustainable global growth."

These leaders' collective decisions in Toronto reflect their individual experiences at home, and a desire to avoid the fate that met their true-believing colleagues, all of whom have been hurt by the economic and political consequences of their global-warming advocacy.

Kevin Rudd, Australia's gung-ho global-warming prime minister, lost his job the day before he was set to fly to the G20 meetings; just months earlier Australia's conservative opposition leader, also gung-go on global warming, lost his job in an anti-global-warming backbencher revolt. The U.K.'s gung-ho global-warming leader during last year's G8 and G20 meetings, Gordon Brown, likewise lost his job.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had vowed to "save the human race" from climate change by introducing a carbon tax by the time of the G8 and G20, was a changed man by the time the meetings occurred. He cancelled his carbon tax in March, two days after a crushing defeat in regional elections that saw his Gaullist party lose just about every region of France. He got the message: Two-thirds of the French public opposed carbon taxes.

Spain? Days before the G20 meetings, Prime Minister Jos‚ Luis Rodr¡guez Zapatero, his popularity and that of global warming in tatters, decided to gut his country's renewables industry by unilaterally rescinding the government guarantees enshrined in legislation, knowing the rescinding would put most of his country's 600 photovoltaic manufacturers out of business. Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi similarly scrapped government guarantees for its solar and wind companies prior to the G8 and G20, putting them into default, too.

The U.K may be making the biggest global-warming cuts of all, with an emergency budget that came down the week of the G20 meetings. The two government departments responsible for climate-change policies - previously immune to cuts - must now contract by an extraordinary 25%. Other U.K. departments are also ditching climate-change programs - the casualties include manufacturers of electric cars, the Low Carbon Buildings Program, and, as the minister in charge put it, "every commitment made by the last government on renewables is under review." Some areas of the economy not only survived but expanded, though: The government announced record offshore oil development in the North Sea - the U.K. granted a record 356 exploration licences in its most recent round.

Support for global-warming programs is also in tatters in the U.S., where polls show - as in Europe - that the great majority rejects global-warming catastrophism. The public resents repeated attempts to pass cap and trade legislation over their objections, contributing to the fall in popularity of President Barack Obama and Congress. Public opinion surveys now predict that this November's elections will see sweeping change in the United States, with legislators who have signed on to the global-warming hypothesis being replaced by those who don't buy it.

In the lead-up to the Toronto meetings and throughout them, one country - Canada - and one leader - Prime Minister Stephen Harper - have stood out for avoiding the worst excesses associated with climate change. Dubbed the Colossal Fossil three years running by some 500 environmental groups around the world, Canada - and especially Harper - are reviled among climate-change campaigners for failing to fall into line.

Not coincidentally, Canada has also stood out for having best withstood the financial crisis that beset the world. Fittingly, Canada and its leader played host to the meetings.



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


4 July, 2010

Another Leftist false prophet

We all roasted in the year 2000, apparently

Documents released Friday by the Nixon Presidential Library show members of President Richard Nixon's inner circle discussing the possibilities of global warming more than 30 years ago.

Adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan, notable as a Democrat in the administration, urged the administration to initiate a worldwide system of monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, decades before the issue of global warming came to the public's attention.

There is widespread agreement that carbon dioxide content will rise 25 percent by 2000, Moynihan wrote in a September 1969 memo. "This could increase the average temperature near the earth's surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit," he wrote. "This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter."

Moynihan was Nixon's counselor for urban affairs from January 1969 – when Nixon began his presidency – to December 1970. He later served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations before New York voters elected him to the Senate.

Moynihan received a response in a January 26, 1970 memo from Hubert Heffner, deputy director of the administration's Office of Science and Technology. Heffner acknowledged that atmospheric temperature rise was an issue that should be looked at.

"The more I get into this, the more I find two classes of doom-sayers, with, of course, the silent majority in between," he wrote. "One group says we will turn into snow-tripping mastodons because of the atmospheric dust and the other says we will have to grow gills to survive the increased ocean level due to the temperature rise."

Heffner wrote that he would ask the Environmental Science Services Administration to look further into the issue.

Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency and had an interest in the environment. In one memo, Moynihan noted his approval of the first Earth Day, to be held April 22, 1970.


Down with Doom: How the World Keeps Defying the Predictions of Pessimists

By Matt Ridley

When I was a student, in the 1970s, the world was coming to an end. The adults told me so. They said the population explosion was unstoppable, mass famine was imminent, a cancer epidemic caused by chemicals in the environment was beginning, the Sahara desert was advancing by a mile a year, the ice age was retuning, oil was running out, air pollution was choking us and nuclear winter would finish us off. There did not seem to be much point in planning for the future. I remember a fantasy I had - that I would make my way to the Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, and live off the land so I could survive these holocausts at least till the cancer got me.

I am not making this up. By the time I was 21 years old I realized that nobody had ever said anything optimistic to me - in a lecture, a television program or even a conversation in a bar - about the future of the planet and its people, at least not that I could recall. Doom was certain.

The next two decades were just as bad: acid rain was going to devastate forests, the loss of the ozone layer was going to fry us, gender-bending chemicals were going to decimate sperm counts, swine flu, bird flu and Ebola virus were going to wipe us all out. In 1992, the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro opened its agenda for the twenty-first century with the words `Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being.'

By then I had begun to notice that this terrible future was not all that bad. In fact every single one of the dooms I had been threatened with had proved either false or exaggerated. The population explosion was slowing down, famine had largely been conquered (except in war-torn tyrannies), India was exporting food, cancer rates were falling not rising (adjusted for age), the Sahel was greening, the climate was warming, oil was abundant, air pollution was falling fast, nuclear disarmament was proceeding apace, forests were thriving, sperm counts had not fallen. And above all, prosperity and freedom were advancing at the expense of poverty and tyranny.

I began to pay attention and a few years ago I started to research a book on the subject. I was astounded by what I discovered. Global per capita income, corrected for inflation, had trebled in my lifetime, life expectancy had increased by one third, child mortality had fallen by two-thirds, the population growth rate had halved. More people had got out of poverty than in all of human history before. When I was born, 36% of Americans had air conditioning. Today 79% of Americans below the poverty line had air conditioning. The emissions of pollutants from a car were down by 98%. The time you had to work on the average wage to buy an hour of artificial light to read by was down from 8 seconds to half a second.

Not only are human beings wealthier, they are also healthier, wiser, happier, more tolerant, less violent, more equal. Check it out - the data is clear. Yet if anything the pessimists had only grown more certain, shrill and apocalyptic. We were facing the `end of nature', the `coming anarchy', a `stolen future', our `final century' and a climate catastrophe. Why, I began to wonder did the failure of previous predictions have so little impact on this litany?

I soon found out. Like others who have tried to draw attention to improving living standards - notably Julian Simon and Bjorn Lomborg - I am beginning to be subjected to a sustained campaign of vilification by the pessimists. They distort my argument, impugn my motives and attack me for saying things I never said. They say I think the world is perfect when I could not be clearer that I advocate progress precisely because we should be ambitious to put right so much that is still wrong. They say that I am a conservative, when it is the reactionary mistrust of change that I am attacking. They say that I am defending the rich, when it is the enrichment of the poor that I argue for. They say that I am complacent, when the opposite is true. I knew this would happen, and I take it as a back-handed compliment, but the ferocity is still startling. They are desperate to shut down the debate rather than have it.

I now see at firsthand how I avoided hearing any good news when I was young. Where are the pressure groups that have an interest in telling the good news? They do not exist. By contrast, the behemoths of bad news, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF, spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year and doom is their best fund-raiser. Where is the news media's interest in checking out how pessimists' predictions panned out before? There is none. By my count, Lester Brown has now predicted a turning point in the rise of agricultural yields six times since 1974, and been wrong each time. Paul Ehrlich has been predicting mass starvation and mass cancer for 40 years. He still predicts that `the world is coming to a turning point'.

Ah, that phrase again. I call it turning-point-itis. It's rarely far from the lips of the prophets of doom. They are convinced that they stand on the hinge of history, the inflexion point where the roller coaster starts to go downhill. But then I began looking back to see what pessimists said in the past and found the phrase, or an equivalent, being used by in every generation. The cause of their pessimism varied - it was often tinged with eugenics in the early twentieth century, for example - but the certainty that their own generation stood upon the fulcrum of the human story was the same.

I got back to 1830 and still the sentiment was being used. In fact, the poet and historian Thomas Macaulay was already sick of it then: `We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason.' He continued: `On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us.'



Observed Global Temperature changes as a Random Walk

A recent refereed journal article from China shows that global temperature changes from 1850 onwards fit a model of purely random changes. Summary below. Full paper here

Cause of Temperature Change

The cause of temperature change is hard to determine because humans cannot create another earth without humans as control as the common experiments do. Therefore the cause of temperature change is more or less likely to be determined by using models to fit the recorded temperature: the underlined cause for the model, which fits the recorded temperature best, would be the cause inducing temperature change.

Current Modeling

Recently when we studied the possible impact of global warming on the evolution of protein families from influenza A viruses [see, publications], we noticed the fluctuations in recorded temperature. These fluctuations cannot explained by the current climate models because their outputs are smooth curves representing the temperature trend. This leads us to consider whether we need to consider a random model, of which the random walk model comes first.

Fitting of Global Temperature using Random Walk Model

Very recently, we used the random walk model to fit the temperature walk, which is the conversion of recorded temperature, and the recorded temperature, and we got a relatively good fit (see the following figures) although we cannot compare our results with the results obtained from other models because they are not available.

Cause of Temperature Change

If the underlined cause of a fitting model is the cause of temperature change, then our fittings would suggest that the temperature change is mainly due to the random mechanism, which however could be the combination of all the known and unknown factors because some of them are difficult to explicitly present.


China’s 2,000 Year Temperature History

More pesky findings from China. Chinese scientists are clearly not in the (Greenie) club of the righteous and the holy

We constantly hear that the warmest years on record have all occurred in the most recent decades, and of course, we are led to believe this must be a result of the ongoing buildup of greenhouse gases. In most places, we have approximately 100 years of reliable temperature records, and we wonder if the warmth of the most recent decades is unusual, part of some cyclical behavior of the climate system, or a warm-up on the heels of a cold period at the beginning of the record. A recent article in Geophysical Research Letters has an intriguing title suggesting a 2,000 year temperature record now exists for China – we definitely wanted to see these results of this one.

The article was authored by six scientists with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, the State University of New York at Albany, and Germany’s Justus-Liebig University in Giessen; the research was funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the United States Department of Energy. In their abstract, Ge et al. tell us “The analysis also indicates that the warming during the 10–14th centuries in some regions might be comparable in magnitude to the warming of the last few decades of the 20th century.” From the outset, we knew we would welcome the results from any long-term reconstruction of regional temperatures.

The authors begin noting that “The knowledge of past climate can improve our understanding of natural climate variability and also help address the question of whether modern climate change is unprecedented in a long-term context.” We agree! Ge et al. explain that “Over the recent past, regional proxy temperature series with lengths of 500–2000 years from China have been reconstructed using tree rings with 1–3 year temporal resolution, annually resolved stalagmites, decadally resolved ice-core information, historical documents with temporal resolution of 10–30 years, and lake sediments resolving decadal to century time scales.”

However, the authors caution “these published proxy-based reconstructions are subject to uncertainties mainly due to dating, proxy interpretation to climatic parameters, spatial representation, calibration of proxy data during the reconstruction procedure, and available sample numbers.”

Ge et al. used a series of multivariate statistical techniques to combine information from the various proxy methods, and the results included the reconstruction of regional temperatures and an estimate of uncertainty for any given year. They also analyzed temperature records from throughout China over the 1961 to 2007 period and established five major climate divisions in the country

The bottom line for this one can be found in our Figure 2 that shows the centennially-smoothed temperature reconstruction for the five regions of China. With respect to the Northeast, Ge et al. comment “During the last 500 years, apparent climate fluctuations were experienced, including two cold phases from the 1470s to the 1710s and the 1790s to the 1860s, two warm phases from the 1720s to the 1780s, and after the 1870s. The temperature variations prior to the 1500s show two anomalous warm peaks, around 300 and between approximately 1100 and 1200, that exceed the warm level of the last decades of the 20th century.” The plot for the Northeast shows warming in the 20th century, but it appears largely to be somewhat of a recovery from an unusually cold period from 1800 to 1870. Furthermore, the plot shows that the recent warming is less than warming that has occurred in the past.

The Central East region also has a 2,000 year reconstruction and Ge et al. state “The 500-year regional coherent temperature series shows temperature amplitude between the coldest and warmest decade of 1.8°C. Three extended warm periods were prevalent in 1470s–1610s, 1700s–1780s, and after 1900s. It is evident that the late 20th century warming stands out during the past 500 years. Considering the past 2000 years, the winter half-year temperature series indicate that the three warm peaks (690s–710s, 1080s–1100s and 1230s–1250s), have comparable high temperatures to the last decades of the 20th century.” No kidding – the plot for the Central East region shows that the warmth of the late 20th century was exceeded several times in the past.

Commenting on the Tibet reconstruction, Ge et al. state “The warming period of twenty decadal time steps between the 600s and 800s is comparable to the late 20th century.” In the Northwest, they note “Comparable warm conditions in the late of 20th century are also found around the decade 1100s.” Unfortunately, no long-term reconstruction was possible for the Southeast region.

In summarizing their work, Ge et al. report :

The warming level in the last decades of the 20th century is unprecedented compared with the recent 500 years. However, comparing with the temperature variation over the past 2000 years, the warming during the last decades of the 20th century is only apparent in the TB region, where no other comparable warming peak occurred. For the regions of NE and CE, the warming peaks during 900s–1300s are higher than that of the late 20th century, though connected with relatively large uncertainties.

We get the message – the recent warming in at least several regions in China has likely been exceeded in the past millennium or two, the rate of recent warming was not unusual, and the observed warming of the 20th century comes after an exceptionally cold period in the 1800s.

Declaring that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have pushed modern temperature beyond their historical counterparts disregards the lessons of 2,000 years of Chinese temperatures.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics)

Global warming: Interview with John Christy--Models, sensitivity, the PNAS paper and more

John Christy is an atmospheric scientist and Professor of same at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and winner of achievement awards from NASA and the American Meteorological Society. He was a lead author of the IPCC's 2001 Assessment Report, but in 2007 was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, "I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see."

The awards he received were for his work in helping develop a temperature dataset based on satellite measurements, and one of the major datasets used in climate science is just known as UAH. He is commonly perceived as a skeptic, but as has been the case with every interview I've done in this sector, the truth is far more nuanced. Professor Christy was kind enough to respond to my request for an interview very quickly, so without further ado...

Examiner: You are commonly labeled as a 'skeptical' scientist who does not agree with the IPCC consensus regarding human contributions to climate change. How accurate is that, and how would you describe your own beliefs regarding this?

J.C. I am mainly skeptical about those who claim to be so confident in understanding the climate system that they know what it is going to do in the next 100 years. This is my main complaint - overconfidence. We of all professions should be the most humble because there is so much about the climate system that we simply do not know. See my testimony given to the Inter Academy Council in June concerning these ideas - I think you will appreciate it.

(In his June testimony to the Inter Academy Council, Christy testifed that he felt the IPCC's overconfidence in climate models was not justified. He also said: "The first objection I raised regarding the Third Assessment was that the fabled Hockey Stick was oversold as an indicator of past climate change. This was well before the critical work of the Wegman Report, National Academy of Sciences, McIntyre’s papers and the East Anglia emails. Indeed, I urge you in the strongest terms to engage Stephen McIntyre in your deliberations at a high level as he has accurately documented specific failures in the IPCC process, some of which I can attest to, as I was there.")

Examiner: What unresolved issue or issues should the scientific community be focussing its gaze on with regards to climate change in 2010? Atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of CO2?

J.C. Evidence is building that the sensitivity is less than models assume.

Examiner: The role of the oceans in exchange of CO2 and heat?

J.C. This relates to sensitivity.

Examiner: The role of the clouds?

J.C. This is directly related to sensitivity, i.e. how do the reflective clouds respond to an impulse of warming - evidence indicates they expand (reflecting more sunlight) and counteract the warming. This has also been shown for cooling events, i.e. that clouds contract when a global cool spell occurs to let in more sun and warm the planet.

Examiner: The accuracy of the historical records?

J.C. This is an ongoing effort - to build an archive of raw observations in which all parties have confidence.

Examiner: What are you personally focussing on in your work?

J.C. Measurements of all types. I just recently had a paper on snowfall in the southern Sierra published showing no trend in the last 94 years which indicates natural water resources in the San Joaquin Valley are fine, so that shortages are clearly a function of management and law (see attached). I am still building temperature datasets of the surface and upper air to document the response (temperature is a good response variable to forcing) of the atmosphere to forcings of all types.

Examiner: What are your beliefs about what is happening to the Earth's climate?

J.C. Natural variability is still the major driver of the climate changes that create challenges for society. The one confident conclusion we can make about added CO2 is that the biosphere has clearly been invigorated - plants love what we do with carbon-based energy because its by-product is CO2 - plant food. (I can hear the shrieks of horror all the way here in Alabama from California, my home state.)

Examiner: What do you think governments and their citizens should be doing to protect our environment and our future?

J.C. In my experience, the wealthier the country is, the better is its environment (mainly because energy in wealthy societies is produced in high density processes like power plants rather than gathering of wood and biomass which destroys habitats.) Policies that allow human wealth and security to be enhanced are policies that can sell. The wealthier a society is, the greater emphasis it can put on protecting natural habitats, cleaning the air and water, and protecting its citizens from threats of all kinds (i.e. disease, weather disasters, etc.) This wealth building occurs best in democratically accountable societies which establish human rights for all citizens, including women and children.

Examiner: Paul Krugman recently took up a current argument that in the face of uncertainty our actions should be more vigorous, not less. How would you respond to this?

J.C. Will these actions advocated by Krugman cause economic decline, lower standard of living, etc? If so, they don't have a chance in a democratically accountable society. I think we are creating more certainty about the idea that the climate is less sensitive to CO2 than promoted in the past 2 decades. We are not all going to die on a roasting planet. The real challenge today is to prepare for the unquestionable continued rise in energy demand. Energy makes life much, much better in countless ways, so it's demand will only increase, especially in poorer countries. At some point, even carbon-based energy won't meet the demand, so new and voluminous sources of energy are needed ... and the sooner the better.

Examiner: Stephen Schneider recently co-authored a paper published in PNAS exploring the level of expertise found in scientists who support the consensus position on climate change compared to those who do not agree with the consensus. What is your reaction to this paper?

J.C. I was one of only three scientists who made both the "good guy" and the "bad guy" lists. Quite an honor I suppose. However, I think the study was pathetic. It basically says, "Those of us who agree with each other like to cite the work of our friends and not the other guys." Duh. (One of my fellow scientists calls this "tribalism" - an appropriately primitive description.) I think the more sinister motive was evident in that the paper chided the media, such at the SF Chronicle, to stop investigative-reporting and just "trust us" (the guys on the "good guys" list) when it comes to climate change. It really was an attempt to make a blacklist. In that sense, I guess I ended up being gray, which fits my hair color now.

Examiner: The IPCC accepts the submission of general circulation models from all participating countries. I think there are 23 or 24 of them right now. Is that a useful number of models to analyze?

J.C. What you want is a set of models that at least represent the real atmosphere (which none of these do faithfully relative to tests we've performed.) This does seem like a high (and expensive) number.

Examiner: Does an average derived from an ensemble of models tell us anything useful? If so, what? If not, what are the defects of looking at an ensemble of models.

J.C. Probably not. Cloud processes and responses are particularly off the mark (or at least widely varying). The question here addresses a fault with consensus - over time, individuals tend to drift toward consensus (a human foible) whether it is right or wrong. Many of the parameterizations in the models are very similar and could be very wrong, so agreement with each other is often a dangerous result as it confirms one's prejudices and gives one a false sense of success. I deal in the world of observations - i.e. what does the real world show. What we find is that models have a long way to go, which is a little ironic because they modelers have a legitimate reason to clamor for more funding to improve their poorly-performing models.

Examiner: Human emissions of CO2 declined 2.6% in 2009, although concentrations didn't change. How hopeful are you that our actions can reduce emissions further?

J.C. It is very clear that economic decline means less energy is used, and people are poorer as a result. So, one should congratulate those who created the recent economic collapse for the "good" news on emissions. However, I don't see economic decline as a long-term strategy for society to follow. The most useful option to slow the decline in emissions is to proceed on a massive construction initiative in nuclear power (which has other defensible reasons to back it up - not just alleged climate change.) In this way, gigawatts of power can be produced with little emissions. Alternatives (wind, solar, animal methane) will be just an expensive and unreliable blip on the world-wide scale of emissions growth.

Examiner: What is your best guess or opinion on what will happen to the Earth's climate over the coming decades?

J.C. The climate will throw some surprises at us and the interannual variations that we've always had will continue to cause the greatest developmental challenges. As I said 22 years ago my general rule of climate is: "If it happened before, it will happen again ... and probably worse." Are we prepared for the variations we have already experienced (i.e. 1930's, 1950's droughts, 1993 floods, any hurricane, freeze of 2007, snow of 2009-10, etc.?"). If we are prepared for those, anything induced by humans on top of the climate system's large natural variability will be manageable in my view.


A Green vote is madness

From Andrew Bolt in Melbourne, Australia

ENOUGH'S enough. If you're really this keen to vote Green in the state election, why not prove you're serious? Why not live the life you apparently want the Greens to inflict on the rest of us? Go turn off your own lights first. Kill your fridge. Cook your roast over a solar-powered candle.

Then go to work and turn off the machines. Junk the computer. Tell your hospital to switch off the machines that go "bing". And harness some donkeys to pull our trains. Can't find donkeys, you say? Nonsense. Look at yesterday's Newspoll, which reports a record 18 per cent of Victorians plan to vote Green. Plenty there. Hook 'em up.

I laugh, but dear God, we're drowning, up to our necks in unreason.

"There, there," coos my wife, when I sob that even some of our frequent-flyer friends vote Greens. "They wouldn't vote Greens if they actually thought they'd win ... "

No? Well, they're winning enough already, like the battle for our brains.

And who knows what desperate deal Premier John Brumby will now do to win the Greens preferences that are critical to Labor getting the 51 to 49 per cent edge over the Coalition that Newspoll assumes?

We've already seen what depths of insanity Labor will cater to, to prove it's as green as the next idiot. Why else has this great city been on water restrictions for an embarrassing seven years? Why this insane ban on a new dam for our fast-growing capital?

Why did the Government wait until it was almost too late to even start building its new $3.5 billion desalination plant, at three times the price of a dam for a third of the water? Madness, and the Greens promise yet more of it - and less of everything else.

Take just one of their policies, one that 18 per cent of shiny-eyed Victorians evidently now support.

The Greens demand the instant closure of Hazelwood power station to save the world from global warming. It's a noble policy, which sounds warm and fuzzy, until you realise it will leave us cold and shivering, while making not a spit of difference to the planet.

Hazelwood - and I know this is an irrelevant detail to a planet-saver - happens to produce a quarter of this state's electricity. You know, the stuff that powers your home, your factory, your office, your hospital, your computer, your trains, your airport, your street lighting, your cinema, your trams, your traffic lights ...

Now I don't want to seem like a spoilsport, but I would just like to be reassured on one small point: how the hell do the Greens then plan to power our state? After all, they don't plan to stop at Hazelwood, either. Their policy is to shut every coal-fired plant, leaving us with just 5 per cent of the electricity we now use - with nuclear power banned, new hydro power banned and wind power as reliable as, well, the wind.

It's madness of the kind you get from a child who wants her fifth ice cream but not the upchuck that goes with it. Still, you'd think the Greens would have worked out by now these small details about how to keep the lights burning....

If you think this is remotely possible, dear Greens voter, consider first that this state is actually predicted to need 50 per cent more power by 2030, even though many companies, hit with higher power bills, have tried for years to cut their use.

Then go around your home - and, more importantly, your factory - and switch off half the power. With all appliances off, look proudly at the appalled people around you in winter and say, "Isn't it great we're all freezing to death for the planet?" Or, in summer, for variety, ask: "Isn't it lovely to be sweating in this furnace now that I've switched off the aircon?"

And then, by the kerosene lamp at home, try to figure out the next step. After all, you're still only halfway to replacing the 95 per cent of electricity the Greens plan to ban.

Let me just try to get it through your cable-knit beanie how impossible that is without reducing this state to the standard of living endured by people who burn cow dung for their cooking.

For Earth Hour this year, the zealots at Melbourne University tried especially hard to cut their power. The university exhorted staff and students to do their best to save the planet from their electricity, and to "turn off all lights and appliances". All of them. And the result? Read the University's boast: "Electricity consumption on the Earth Hour weekend dropped by 5.51 per cent compared with a 2010 business as usual weekend."

Less than 6 per cent? After all that special sacrifice? For just one weekend? Whoopee do. And that's from a mere university, mind, which runs no heavy industry or essential services, and had almost no one in the joint over that weekend actually wanting to work or switch on so much as a toaster or kettle. Just 90 per cent to go, guys, before you live the Greens' dream.

But there I go, trying to marry consequence to action, like I was an adult or something. Don't I realise the times have changed? After all, this is the Age of the Use Less, in which our brainless and godless rich resent their own wealth - well, resent the wealth of everyone else, at least. And then, for penance, suggest ingenious ways to make us poor again.

Example: remember how this Labor Government told us for years we didn't need more water supplies, claiming we could get by if we just Used Less? And so our ovals turned brown, our gardens died and we broke our backs carting buckets to the most precious of our plants. Use Less, heaven!

Ah, but you think I exaggerate this madness of our times. So let me introduce you to the latest guru of this Use Less creed, "anti-poverty crusader" Richard Fleming, as featured this week in the Herald Sun and on Channel 7's Today Tonight.

He, too, preaches Use Less, or eat less, actually. He's promoting his $2 a day "Live Below the Line" diet, which restricts you to eating the very cheapest of foods - hummus, watery soup, dahl, rice, marmalade and peanut paste.

No real reason for this torture, other than to make you realise what it must be like to be some starving Bangladeshi, wishing you were lucky enough to live in a country where you had so much to eat that you'd, er, starve yourself instead. Out of sheer, mindless guilt.

"There's a level of stupidity in all this," Fleming admits, but he should be less hard on himself. He's the poster boy of a state in which so many finger-waggers want to deny the rest of us the harvest of our science and ingenuity - cooling on hot days, heating on cold ones, water for green gardens and food for a feast.

Fine, if that's what you want for yourself. But, please, before you vote to inflict this on the rest of us, first try living as the Greens prescribe and see if it truly suits even high-minded you. Lights out. Heating, too. Starve and shiver for your faith. At least live as miserably as you plan to vote.



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


3 July, 2010

Solar Influences

It's been known since the 18th century that solar changes and climate changes on earth are correlated. Two centuries ago, the astronomer William Herschel was reading Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations when he noticed that quoted grain prices fell when the number of sunspots rose. Gales of laughter ensued, but he was right. At solar maxima, when the sun was at its hottest and sunspots showed, temperature was warmer, grain grew faster and prices fell.

But since the climate changes were much larger than the solar changes, no causal mechanism was apparent and the correlation was therefore ignored by climate scientists. While feedback mechanisms were enthusiastically proposed to predict amplificatory effects of rising CO2 levels, any search for amplificatory mechanisms on solar change was sedulously ignored. In recent years, Svensmark has finally found one amplificatory mechanism but that may not be the end of the story -- JR.

In the early 1990's a paper by Christensen was published that showed a striking correlation between the length of the sun's sunspot cycle and the global average annual temperature, Fig 1. The shorter the cycle (short cycles are more intense) the higher was the earth's annual temperature. It seemed to indicate that the sun was the dominant influence on the earth's temperature variations.

It is certainly striking that since the later part of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century there has been a general increase in the Earth's global average temperature at the same time that the strength of the solar cycle was increasing in intensity as measured by the number of sunspots. In the last half of the 20th century four out of the five most intense solar cycles occurred (the second largest cycle was around 1780) including the strongest ever which was in the 1950's.

Christensen linked these two together in what appeared to be a pleasing way. However, a few years after the work was published others found flaws in the way the final four (out of 24) data points were plotted. In Christensen's paper the length of the solar cycle decreased between 1950 - 1990 with the last data point showing that the cycle length shortened at the same time that the recent global warming period started (post 1980). When this was corrected the concordance between the solar cycle length and the earth's rising temperature broke down as it became apparent that the length of the solar cycle showed no trend as the earth's temperature rose post-1980.

It was heralded as proof of the hypothesis that the recent, post-1980 warming spell could not be due to the sun. Whereas many argued that the sun was the dominant factor prior to this period, the rate of warming was recently too great to be accounted for without a human influence.

It is now clear that in the past decade or so our sun has been behaving differently from the way it did during the 20th century. The current sunspot minimum has gone on for far longer than was expected. It did begin to show signs of an upturn in activity earlier this year, but has since faltered again. Some have suggested that this is a sign of the start of a new Dalton-like minimum - a period of low solar activity that occurred about 1800.

Since the invention of the telescope and with it the ability to monitor the frequency of sunspots there has been two periods when sunspots were lacking. They are the Dalton Minima, which lasted about 20 years and the much longer Maunder Minimum of approx 1640 -1710. Both periods are coincident with cooler conditions on earth though we do not have a satisfactory explanation for how this occurs. Some believe that the Maunder Minimum can be explained by a combination of a reduction in solar radiation combined with volcanic effects, other are not so sure.

It is interesting to see that as time goes by more and more solar scientists are expressing the possibility that it might be the start of a period similar to the Maunder Minimum. Only time will tell.

The important point is that in previous periods of relatively low solar activity the solar cycle behaved differently than it did when solar activity was stronger.

In broad agreement with the Christensen relationship, during the Dalton Minimum the period of the solar cycle increased. The longest cycle ever recorded was during the Dalton period. Also as sunspot numbers declined at the start of the period the solar cycle became more symmetrical and cycle rise and fall times converged at about 6 years.

The last complete solar cycle, number 23 lasted 12.6 years (May 1996 - Dec 2008). Only four solar cycles have lasted longer than 12 years. Two of them, cycle 4 (1784 - 1798: 13.7 years) and cycle 5 (1798 - 1810: 12.6 years) occurred just before and during the Dalton Minimum.

What's more cycle 22 was unusually short (Sept 86 - May 1996: 9.7 years). There have been only two other solar cycles that have been shorter, Cycle 2 and cycle 3 which occurred immediately prior to the lengthy cycles of the Dalton Minimum.

Scrutinising the gradient of sunspot cycle rise and falls it is obvious that usually the cycle rise is more rapid than the fall. During the Dalton Minima however they became equal. Then they resumed their normal relationship only to move once more to equality around 1910 when there were a few relatively weaker sunspot cycles. It is possible that the same thing is happening again. If so this would imply an approx 100 year periodicity, though this is only am impression, as we only have reliable sunspot records since about 1750.

It is possible that changes in solar cycle lengths take place before periods of low solar activity, like the one we may be entering at present, and that might influence the later part of figure 1. If this is the case then the breakdown in the Christensen relationship post 1980 cannot be said with certainty to be due to the rise of human influences on the climate above solar ones.


Red Ink and Green Jobs

Citizens of the Golden State get nervous about carbon rationing plans made in flusher times

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law mandating a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gases, California's economy was in a very different place. It was 2006. Unemployment was 4.5 percent. Thanks to inflated home values, residents felt rich. Today 12.5 percent of Californians are out of work, the government is in a budgetary meltdown, and a movement is brewing to stop those carbon cuts from kicking in.

The Global Warming Solutions Act, a.k.a. AB 32, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a mix of policies, including a cap-and-trade carbon market, fuel efficiency standards for appliances and buildings, a requirement that 33 percent of the state's energy be produced from renewable sources, a low-carbon fuel standard for vehicles, and zoning changes to discourage automobile travel.

AB 32's proponents say it will create a plethora of new "green jobs." Cynthia Verdugo-Peralta, founder of VPC Energy and of Strategic Energy, Environmental & Transportation Alternatives, recently declared, "When it comes to job growth, there is substantial, irrefutable evidence that growing more efficient and greener will create jobs, not kill them." That, she explained, is "why I am heartened that CARB's new economic analysis reaffirms the benefits of implementing California's Global Warming Solutions Act."

Verdugo-Peralta was referring to a March report from the California Air Resources Board, the agency that will oversee carbon rationing. Its analysis finds that implementing emission cuts will increase the price of electricity by up to 20 percent, the price of natural gas by 13 percent to 76 percent, and the price of gasoline by 6 percent to 47 percent.

Though it uses the same data, a competing analysis by the global consulting firm Charles River Associates finds the costs of carbon rationing are likely to be higher. This is primarily because measures such as the requirement that 33 percent of California's electricity come from renewable sources will boost overall costs. By 2020, Charles River Associates estimates, the 2006 law will increase California's electricity prices by 11 percent to 32 percent, while gasoline and diesel prices will rise by 14 percent to 51 percent.

The CARB best-case analysis estimates that the new mandates and carbon market will increase employment slightly by 2020 and that per capita income will rise by about $30 per person, by 2020. In its worst-case scenario, incomes would be reduced by about $300 per capita.

By contrast, the Charles River analysis finds that implementing AB 32 will reduce incomes by $200 to $500 per person by 2020.

The cost differences between the two analyses arise largely from how they treat the mandates. The CARB report suggests that the higher energy prices will be completely offset by conservation and energy efficiency requirements embedded in the law because they will force Californians to reduce the amount of electricity and fuel they use. The Charles River study concludes that the costs of implementing those mandates more than outweigh their benefits.

With regard to "green jobs," the CARB's best-case analysis estimates that implementing AB 32 will add 10,000 jobs by 2020; its worst case projects 330,000 fewer jobs than there would otherwise have been. Just before the release of the new CARB report, the California Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) issued an analysis of the law's net impact on jobs in California. While it did not offer firm figures, the LAO analysis took into account increases in "green jobs" and job losses in other sectors, especially fossil fuel industries, and found that "the aggregate net jobs impact in the near term is likely to be negative." It added that "in a relative sense, however, [the law's] effect on jobs in both the near term and longer term will probably be modest in comparison to the overall size of the state's economy." Even under the best of circumstances, California's carbon rationing scheme will not produce enough "green jobs" to make a significant dent in the state's very high unemployment rate.

Surprisingly, the Golden State's green-economy boosters seem to agree. Consider the report issued in December 2009 by Next 10, an environmental think tank in San Francisco. The media widely quoted this upbeat claim from the report: "California green jobs increased by 36 percent from 1995-2008 while total jobs expanded only 13 percent. As the economy slowed between 2007-2008, total employment fell 1 percent, but green jobs continued to grow by 5 percent." A 36 percent increase sounds impressive. But when you look at the actual numbers, green jobs increased from 117,000 in 1995 to 159,000 in 2008 and currently constitute about 1 percent of California's total employment. A 5 percent increase in green employment amounts to about 8,000 jobs.

These numbers are trivial in the context of California's current economic troubles. Between January 2007 and January 2008, some 182,000 Californians lost their jobs. Currently, some 2.3 million Californians are looking for work. In a December interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Next 10 founder F. Noel Perry admitted, "Green tech is not a panacea. We believe green jobs are going to be a significant part of future jobs growth in California. But at the same time, we know they are a small proportion of the total jobs we have now."

Meanwhile, the AB 32 Implementation Group, a coalition of California businesses concerned about the law's effect on their competitiveness, commissioned a preliminary analysis of CARB's new study from the consulting group T2 and Associates. The consulting group is headed by Tom Tanton, a senior fellow at the libertarian Pacific Research Institute. The T2 analysis estimates that AB 32 will reduce California's gross state product by 2 percent (about $700 per person) and result in a net loss of about 485,000 jobs by 2020.

The AB 32 Implementation Group wants to put an initiative on California's November ballot that would delay the law's carbon rationing scheme until California's unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent. The measure was originally called the California Jobs Initiative, but state Attorney General Jerry Brown has given it a somewhat less catchy name: the "Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year" Initiative. Supporters of carbon rationing point out that the initiative is backed by out-of-state oil companies.

The initiative probably will get on the ballot. Next 10 has released a poll that found a majority of Californians still support AB 32, especially if the funds collected through the cap-and-trade scheme are mostly rebated to state residents. Support has eroded a bit, falling from 83 percent in 2007 to 69 percent today; it remains to be seen how Californians will react once the campaign against the 2012 implementation of carbon rationing takes off. Already, the two leading Republican candidates for governor, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, are urging a go-slow approach to implementing AB 32. If economically dispirited voters follow their lead, the prospects of Congress passing a similar national carbon rationing plan this year will be bleak.


China ignores the nonsense

China will build 20 large coal mines each with capacity of 10 million to 40 million tons by 2015, reports Shanghai Securities, citing He Youguo, deputy director of the China Coal Industry Development Research Center.

According to He, the coal output of large mines with production capacities of more than 50 million tons will account for 65 percent of China's total coal output by 2015.

The mining industry will focus on open pit mines of 10 million tons during the 12th Five-Year Plan. The current total output of open pit mines is 250 million tons.

Shares of Henan Shenhuo Coal Industry and Electricity Power (000933) dropped 3.71 percent to close at 16.09 yuan today.


Britain's Labour government shafted Britain's huge finance industry with taxes and now the Tories are shafting Britain's huge tourist industry by making it hard for people to get to Britain

Is there any hope for Batty Britain? Those were the only two big industries that they were good at

In a bold if lonely environmental stand, Britain's coalition government has set out to curb the growth of what has been called "binge flying" by refusing to build new runways around London to accommodate more planes.

Citing the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions from aviation, Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, abruptly canceled longstanding plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport in May, just days after his election; he said he would also refuse to approve new runways at Gatwick and Stansted, London's second-string airports.

The government decided that enabling more flying was incompatible with Britain's oft-stated goal of curbing emissions. Britons have become accustomed to easy, frequent flying - jetting off to weekend homes in Spain and bachelor parties in Prague - as England has become a hub for low-cost airlines. The country's 2008 Climate Change Act requires it to reduce emissions by at least 34 percent by 2020 from levels reached in 1990.

"The emissions were a significant factor" in the decision to cancel the runway-building plans, Teresa Villiers, Britain's minister of state for transport, said in an interview. "The 220,000 or so flights that might well come with a third runway would make it difficult to meet the targets we'd set for ourselves." She said that local environmental concerns like noise and pollution around Heathrow also weighed into the decision.

Britain is bucking a global trend. Across North America, Asia and Europe, cities are building new runways or expanding terminals to handle projected growth in air travel and air freight in the hope of remaining competitive.

That growth in traffic has been damped but not halted by hard economic times, and in the current global recession, business concerns have generally prevailed over worries about climate change. In the United States, Chicago-O'Hare, Seattle-Tacoma and Washington-Dulles all opened new runways in 2008.

On Tuesday, Kennedy International Airport in New York reopened its Bay Runway - one of four, and the airport's longest - after a four-month, $376 million renovation that included the creation of two new taxiways to speed plane movements between runways and terminals.

Airport expansion plans have sometimes been modified or canceled because of concerns about noise or ground-level pollution. But Peder Jensen, a transportation specialist at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, said that as far as he knew, Britain "is the only country that had made a conscious decision based on climate considerations."

Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports and a major connection point for destinations in Europe, South Asia and the Middle East, is already notorious for its flight delays and endless lines. It is the only airport of its size with just two runways; Paris-Charles de Gaulle has four and O'Hare has seven.

So even though the Conservative Party had been expressing growing reservations about the planned expansion since 2008, many businessmen were shocked when Mr. Cameron canceled the plan after coming to power in a coalition with Liberal Democrats.

"This is a new government that claimed to be business friendly, but their first move was to eliminate one of the best growth opportunities for London and the U.K. and British companies," said Steve Lott, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association. "We've run into a shortsighted political decision that will have terrible economic consequences." ....

The temptation to expand airports is great for cities in search of new business and tourism. Airports in Europe are now mostly run by private companies, and for them, the more traffic, the more profit.

Some critics say the British government's principled stand is pointless because airlines and travelers will respond not by forgoing air travel but by flying through a different airport. Instead of emissions being reduced, the critics say, they will simply be transferred to places like Barajas Airport in Madrid or Frankfurt International Airport, which have recently been expanded.

"My personal opinion is that the decision concerning Heathrow's third runway was highly politicized and outpaced the science of what that runway might or might not do in terms of emissions," said Christopher Oswald, a vice president of Airports Council International, an industry group. He suggested that a third runway might actually reduce emissions above Heathrow, because with less congestion, planes would spend less time idling on runways or circling in holding patterns.


EPA classifies milk as a pollutant

They say that the air we breathe out is a pollutant so why not?

Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back. "That could get expensive quickly," Konkel said. "We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil."

But last week environmentalists disagreed at a Senate committee hearing on a resolution from Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, calling for the EPA to rescind its ruling. "The federal Clean Water Act requirements were meant to protect the environment from petroleum-based oils, not milk," he said. "I think it is an example of federal government gone amuck."

But Gayle Miller, legislative director of Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, said agricultural pollution probably is the nation's most severe chronic problem when it comes to water pollution. "Milk is wholesome in a child's body. It is devastating in a waterway," Miller said. "The fact that it's biodegradable is irrelevant if people die as a result of cryptosporidium, beaches close for E. coli and fish are killed."

Miller said "big agriculture" is constantly trying to be exempted from environmental regulations at the state and federal level. She was disappointed to learn the EPA told The Press it "expects shortly to issue a notice to extend the date for milk storage tanks to comply with SPCC (Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure) regulations." Also, the International Dairy Foods Association said it has learned the EPA will exempt the industry from the rule.

But state lawmakers say they won't let up until that is official.... In May, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mount Clemens, introduced legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, that prohibits enforcement of the EPA's regulations on dairy and dairy product producers, processors, handlers and distributors.

"This is an example of where we have overreach by the department that defies common sense," said Matt Smego, legislative counsel for Michigan Farm Bureau.


Greenie Puritans want to ban fireworks

Apparently the "rockets' red glare" isn't "green" enough for some environmentalists. Fourth of July fireworks displays have been deemed "ecologically hazardous" by some eco-warriors, who are urging environmentally-conscious Americans to shun the tradition.

"Fireworks shows spray out a toxic concoction that rains down quietly into lakes, rivers and bays throughout the country," wrote the Mother Nature Network's Russell McLendon on June 30. "Many of the chemicals in fireworks are also persistent in the environment, meaning they stubbornly sit there instead of breaking down."

McLendon suggested avoiding fireworks and finding other ways to celebrate Independence Day. "The most eco-friendly alternative to fireworks is to forgo explosions altogether - go to a parade, go fishing, grill out, or help out," he wrote.

According to the writer, those stubborn traditionalists who insist on seeing "the sky festively illuminated" can always "try a laser light show" - which McLendon says is the eco-friendly - albeit, lame - way to celebrate the Fourth.

The Mother Nature Network is an environmental news service that covers "the broadest scope of environmental and social responsibility issues on the internet." It was founded in 2008 by Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell. Its advisory board includes former Weather Channel star Heidi Cullen and Barbara Pyle, the co-creator and producer of the eco-cartoon "Captain Planet and the Planeteers."

But while McLendon's Mother Nature article simply recommends that people opt out of fireworks celebrations, one environmental group in California is taking a more heavy-handed approach.

The Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation is suing the city of La Jolla, CA to stop its fireworks display, claiming that the Independence Day tradition is perilous to the area's sensitive maritime resources.

"The entire shoreline in La Jolla per the La Jolla community plan is a sensitive resource. It's highly protected," Marco Gonzalez, an attorney for the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, told News10. Gonzalez's group launched its suit against the city on June 25.

According to the organization's lawsuit, the city of La Jolla did not apply for a Coastal Development permit or comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, two steps the group says are legally necessary before the city can host a fireworks display.

The foundation also alleged that the ecological impacts of the Fourth of July show, including traffic and the pollutants from firework debris entering the region's coastal resources, have not been considered in an environmental review.

The environmental group's suit will be heard on Wednesday, but another organization called the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation says it is battling to keep the annual city fireworks show going forward. "The 4th of July celebrates our country's freedoms, and we intend to vigorously defend those freedoms here," said the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation on its website.

The Fireworks advocacy group insisted that the show will go on, in spite of the lawsuit. "The City of San Diego has issued us the necessary permits to continue the fireworks display and we intend to continue with the event," said the statement on the organization's website.

Fireworks displays are just the latest great American tradition to get caught in the cross-hairs of the environmental "green" movement, joining the long-despised hamburgers, SUVs, and indoor air conditioning.



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


2 July, 2010

No science please. We're alarmists (IPCC Promises Next Report Will Be More Alarmist)

The review process for the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) has not even started yet - but the IPCC's vice-chairman Jean-Pascal van Ypersele has already announced its likely outcome. No wonder people around the world have lost trust in it

THE world's peak scientific body on climate change will "almost inevitably" make a big increase in its predictions of sea-level rises due to global warming in its next landmark report in 2014, the vice-chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele told The Age recent satellite observations showed extensive melting in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

That new data will be considered in the IPCC's next assessment report - regarded by governments and scientific groups as the world's pre-eminent scientific document on climate change - and should lead to an increase in predictions of sea-level rises, Professor van Ypersele said.

The sea-level rises estimated in the IPCC's last assessment report, released in 2007, were now on the low side. That report put sea-level rises at 18 to 59 centimetres above 1990 levels by 2100.

Members of the IPCC met in Kuala Lumpur last week to discuss the consideration of the Greenland and Antarctic data for the IPCC's next report - its fifth. Analysis of the extent of reduction in mass of the two major ice sheets will be the report's main focus.

"The reason there was a workshop in KL is that the IPCC knows very well this is an area that needs particular attention and where a lot of progress has been made," Professor van Ypersele said.

New satellite data "are starting to show - but are quite convincing, I must say - that both the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet are losing net mass, not on the margins but as an ice sheet, he said.

"These are new data, these are new developments and new methods, which will allow the IPCC in its developments around sea-level rises to provide numbers that will almost inevitably be higher than the last assessment."


British Coastal Temperature Anomalies of the Last Millennium

(Data from Scotland show that Modern Warming has been no Different from Warming 500 Years Ago)

Discussing: Cage, A.G. and Austin, W.E.N. 2010. Marine climate variability during the last millennium: The Loch Sunart record, Scotland, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.01.014.

What was done

From a broad sediment shelf at a water depth of 56 meters in the main basin of Loch Sunart -- a fjord on the northwest coast of Scotland (56°40.20'N, 05°52.22'W) -- the authors extracted several sediment cores from which they developed a continuous record of various physical and chemical properties of the sediment that spanned the last millennium and extended all the way up to AD 2006. Of most interest to us, in this regard, are the ?18O measurements made on the shells of the benthic foraminifer Ammonia beccarii, because prior such data -- when operated upon by the palaeotemperature equation of O'Neil et al. (1969) -- yielded bottom-water temperatures that had been judged by Cage and Austin (2008) to be "the most realistic water temperature values for infaunal benthic foraminifera from Loch Sunart."

What was learned

The results of the two researchers' most recent efforts revealed that the most distinctive feature of the Loch Sunart temperature record was an abrupt warming at AD 1540 that led to a temperature anomaly of 1.1°C above the long-term mean from AD 1540-1600, which period was preceded within the interval AD 1445-1495 by some of the coldest temperatures of the past 1000 years.

What it means

Noting that "the rate and magnitude of the inferred warming at AD 1540 ... is similar to the rate of change and magnitude observed during the late twentieth century," Cage and Austin concluded that "changes in twentieth century marine climate cannot yet be resolved from a background of natural variability over the last millennium," which is another way of saying that late 20th-century warming -- which has not further manifested itself over the first decade of the 21st century -- was not unusual enough to validly ascribe it to the concomitant increase in the air's CO2 content.


Is the climate around global warming changing?

Monday’s "Panorama" was the BBC’s most balanced look yet at the real ambiguities of climate science and policy

It didn’t start well. Monday night’s edition of Panorama, entitled ‘What’s Up With the Weather?’ aimed to examine British attitudes to climate change and the state of the science in the wake of both ‘Climategate’ and the failure of the Copenhagen conference on climate change last December. And that seemed to mean presenter Tom Heap sticking a carbon dioxide detector into a car exhaust to prove it was helping to warm the planet.

The programme did, however, get better. What was striking about it was that the BBC, which has tended to be gung-ho in its presentation of the dangers of global warming, actually presented those who are sceptical of the orthodoxy in a reasonably fair way. In doing so, it accepted that there is a genuine debate – and not some Big Oil-funded attempt to pervert the course of environmental justice, as some earlier BBC programmes have suggested. That debate is about what has caused the moderate rise in temperature over the past 150 years, how much warmer things will get, and what the best policy is to deal with a changing world. In turn, this reflects (hopefully) a more rational turn in the politics of climate change.

One thing that became very clear was how much agreement there is between ‘sceptics’ (also known as ‘deniers’ in too much of the discussion about climate in recent years) and those holding a mainstream view. Well-known US climate scientist John Christy from the University of Alabama and Danish ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’ Bjørn Lomborg broadly agreed with Bob Watson, former head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Bob Ward, from the Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change (both of whom have been vitriolic in their attacks on sceptics in the past) on the basic science of global warming:

* the world has got warmer over the past 150 years

* carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas

* human activity has emitted a lot of additional carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere

* this human activity is to some extent responsible for global warming

The differences of opinion come when we get to the issue of how much influence all those cars, planes, factories and farms have on the temperature and what it means for the future. Christy believes that the human influence is fairly small – about ‘a quarter’ of the current warming, he guesses. Watson and Ward believe that most of the recent warming has been due to humans and that this means markedly increased temperatures, with potentially disastrous consequences, if we do not decarbonise the economy. Lomborg is far from being a sceptic on climate science; he is really critical of the policy response rather than the IPCC’s estimates for future temperature. He believes that cutting carbon emissions drastically and quickly would be far too expensive and that what we need is a mix of research into low-carbon energy sources and a degree of adaptation to a warmer world.

What seems to have slowly dawned on those banging the drum for radical action on climate change is that the attempt to panic the population into accepting drastic cuts in living standards to counter rising temperatures has failed. Instead, this approach has merely confirmed for many people that the whole thing is a green conspiracy. In the programme, Heap talked to one ordinary couple about their attitudes to climate change. While the wife was convinced it was a major problem, the husband thought it was just a scare story. But this sharp difference of opinion soon collapsed when it came to the costs of switching to a low-carbon economy. While the orthodox approach to climate change would involve increasing the cost of energy (and therefore, pretty much everything else), this couple – like most others, one suspects – was concerned that energy prices were already too high.

Former IPCC boss Bob Watson suggested to Heap that we should be prepared to pay to insure against future warming, just as we insure against a fire in our homes. That sounds fair enough. But the price of the insurance is important here. Insurance only makes sense if the cost is small, yet some of the proposals for cutting emissions sound positively ruinous.

Another side to the programme was the discussion of what Climategate – the release of previously private emails and data last year from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia – really told us about the science. The importance of the material contained in this disclosure has sometimes been overstated by many critics of the climate orthodoxy, alleging a conspiracy between researchers to massage data and suppress dissent. While some of what is discussed in the CRU emails sails close to that, it ignores the real problem: the wider environment in which the climate debate has taken place.

The real driver of the climate change scare has been the political demand for certainty, a Great Moral Truth that society can be organised around. The genuine ambiguities of the science and the policy options have been obliterated – something that the BBC itself has been serially guilty of. If critics of the orthodoxy push the idea of a ‘conspiracy’ too much, this may divert attention from the real lesson of Climategate: that this climate change business is all just a lot more complicated than many have been prepared to admit and pressing the panic button right now would be a very stupid idea.

This became all too apparent at the Copenhagen summit. For all the talk about huge emissions cuts, there was an enormous degree of bad faith at work. No credible politician was really going to commit to the policies that might produce rapid decarbonisation of the economy, least of all leaders of rapidly developing countries who need all the energy – ‘dirty’ or ‘clean’ – they can get. (The fact that the UK parliament passed a law last year committing the country to such drastic emissions cuts says much about the state of political life here.) The Kyoto-style, targets-driven policy for international cuts in greenhouse gas emissions has been an expensive failure.

A new approach is required that takes a more grown-up approach to climate change, one that is based on dealing with a potential practical problem of rising temperatures rather than an existential crisis that demands the wholesale impoverishment of society in the name of ‘the planet’. Let’s keep working on the science, without any preconceptions of what the outcome will be. Let’s work on new energy technologies because we’ll need lots more power in the future. Let’s see what rising temperatures might mean and how we can best adapt to them, or even use them to our advantage. Let’s cut out the moralism and the name-calling.

A good place to start will be in the public debate about climate change. While Monday’s Panorama was by no means perfect, let’s hope it is a small milestone on the road to a more mature discussion of global warming.


Heh! Beware the deadly toxins in your eco-friendly shopping bag

Reusable shopping bags harbour potentially deadly bugs and could threaten public health, say scientists.

Tests on shoppers' bags revealed that half contained traces of the lethal toxin E.coli, which killed 26 people in Scotland in 1996 in one of the world's worst food-poisoning outbreaks. The scientists also found many bags were contaminated with salmonella. They say reusable bags must be washed regularly at high temperature to kill bugs left by the packaging from raw meat.

The level of bacteria they found was high enough to 'cause a wide range of serious health problems and even death', particularly to children. The tests were carried out by experts at the University of Arizona, who stopped 84 shoppers to check the state of their bags.

The popularity of reusable 'eco-friendly' bags has soared in Britain as the growth in recycling means fewer consumers use disposable plastic bags.

But experts fear unwashed bags could pose a health threat. Professor Charles Gerba, who led the study, said: 'Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from bacteria such as E.coli. 'Consumers are alarmingly unaware of these risks and the critical need to sanitise their bags weekly.'


Prices rise as New Zealand passes emissions trading scheme

Petrol [gasoline] and power prices have risen sharply in New Zealand after the government introduced a controversial emissions trading scheme.

The government has pressed ahead with plans to slash the nation's carbon output, despite widespread opposition and New Zealand's larger neighbour Australia shelving its own scheme.

Motorists were hit by a 3c (1.4p) rise in the price of a litre of petrol overnight, while householders face a 5 per cent increase in gas and electricity prices. It was the first step in a complex scheme, universally referred to as "the ETS", to slash carbon emissions back to 1990 levels.

Some disgruntled consumers marked the launch by wearing T-shirts with the meaning of the letters changed to read "Extra Tax Sucks".

Businesses facing cost increases have warned they will be forced to raise prices of everyday items, such as the bread on supermarket shelves.

Under the scheme, to be fully phased in over several years, companies trade carbon credits known as New Zealand Units (NZUs). Industries that are net creators of carbon must buy the units from the government or from sellers whose businesses absorb carbon, such as those that plant trees. The units can be traded internationally with other countries implementing a similar scheme under the Kyoto Protocol.


Ecobulbs to cost more in Britain

Energy-saving lightbulbs could treble in price as ministers order energy suppliers to stop subsidising them. At the moment, power companies discount compact fluorescent bulbs as part of measures to meet greenhouse gas targets. But Chris Huhne, minister for climate change, has told electricity and gas firms to stop the promotions in supermarkets and DIY chains - and invest more money in home insulation instead.

Some industry experts have welcomed the change. But others warn that these rules will lead to price rises.

Energy-saving bulbs are sold for as little as 33p each in supermarkets. The end of subsidises means they could cost £1 or more.

Under the Government's Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, the biggest energy supplies must help customers cut their fuel bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The companies have met their targets by promoting energy-saving bulbs - and have given away around 230 million in the last few years.

At the start of last year, ministers banned light bulb mail-outs. But power companies have continued subsidise the cost of bulbs in supermarkets and DIY stores.

In the last three months alone, eight million of the bulbs were sold by chain stores under the subsidy scheme. But these subsidises will be scrapped when the CERT scheme is extended from March 2011 to the end of 2012, Mr Huhne explained.

Suppliers will be forced to spend the money promoting loft, cavity wall and solid wall insulation instead. Most householders could save around £550 a year by insulating their homes, the minister added. 'This is the beginning of a massive and urgent increase in home energy insulation for the nation. 'We are demanding that energy companies work harder to make homes warmer, more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run, especially for those who need it most.'

The Government says 3.5million more homes will benefit from insulation under the scheme.

Under the CERT scheme, cheaper compact fluorescent bulbs were only available from large retailers.

James Shortridge, owner of the independent lighting store Ryness, said: 'There will be a rise in price for the bulbs in the supermarkets, unless they decide to carry on subsidising them anyway.'

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith said: 'We're pleased that energy suppliers will no-longer be able to treat CERT as a box-ticking exercise by sending out millions of light bulbs. 'This proposal should ensure that more households can access effective energy- saving measures like loft insulation.'



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1 July, 2010

Gross climate fraud in Australia again

Look at the raw data (jagged blue line) in the second graph below and what you see is essentially a picture of random fluctuations. Amid such large fluctuations, a tiny overall trend is meaningless. And if industrialization has caused what warming there is, how come temperatures were so high in the early decades of the 20th century? Most people rode horses in that era

Retired school principal Kenskingdom was alarmed by this Bureau of Meterology graph, showing a strong warming trend for Victoria:


He checked the data from which the trend, and found it had first been adjusted and turned into “high quality” data. As a BOM spokesman assured him:
On the issue of adjustments you find that these have a near zero impact on the all Australian temperature because these tend to be equally positive and negative across the network (as would be expected given they are adjustments for random station changes).

Actually, no, though. You see, Kenskingdom discovered that the adjustments served to exaggerate Victoria’s warming remarkably:


Kenskingdom goes through the individual stations for you and concludes:

There is a distinct warming trend in Victoria since the 1960s, which has been especially marked in the last 15 years. The first half of the record shows a cooling trend.  BOM’s adjustments have attempted to remove this. 2007, not 2009, was the warmest year in the past 100 years.

Three stations identified as urban in 1996 have been included. Many stations’ data have been arbitrarily adjusted to cool earlier years. Only one station has had its trend reduced.  Two are essentially unchanged. Ten of Victoria’s 13 stations have been adjusted to increase the warming trend, to the extent that there is a warming bias of at least 133%, more likely 143%.

These adjustments, and the Australian temperature record to which they contribute, are plainly not to be trusted. 


Solar Ovens Prove Greenhouse Gas Theory is cooked

By John O'Sullivan

An American university study of solar ovens has produced a surprising result: a challenge to the global warming theory.

Brigham Young University (BYU) Professor Steven E. Jones of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and his student, Jenni Christensen Currit, have conducted experiments that prove that solar ovens are not just a cheap and reliable way of ‘free energy’ cooking but are also useful tools for disputing theories that the planet is in danger of any runaway catastrophic warming due to fossil fuel emissions.

Their study entitled, ‘Solar Cookers for Developing Countries’ shows that the predicted harmful back radiation effect defined by the greenhouse gas theory (GHG), whereby carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is supposedly responsible for re-radiating heat energy (repeatedly up and down as if under a blanket) doesn’t exist in the real world.

The finding challenges the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and certain world governments who have premised trillion-dollar cap-and-trade tax policies on fears that catastrophic global warming may ensue if levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide continue to rise.

Cooling or Warming: Ovens Satisfy Laws of Thermodynamics

Remarkably, the researchers tested solar ovens not just as cookers but also for their potential to cool food and water both day and night. All solar cookers tested proved highly successful at cooling both day and night as long as they were carefully aimed.

The paper explains, "If at night the temperature was within 6 °C or 10°F of freezing, nighttime cooling could be used to create ice. Previous tests at BYU (in the autumn and with less water) achieved ice formation by 8 a.m. when the minimum ambient night-time temperature was about 48 °F."

Brigham Young proved that solar ovens will produce ice when the ambient air temp is +6 deg C. Currit reports that this occurs when solar cookers are, "aimed away from buildings, and trees.”

It is proof of a cooling effect that appears to contradict the so-called re-radiation properties of carbon dioxide; if CO2 does cause warming it isn’t showing up in these tests. This is because if back radiation was actually reaching the Earth, solar ovens would produce heating at night. But clearly they are not. The findings are set to become a hot topic in the ongoing global warming debate.

The report finds that cooling must be occurring, “ because all bodies emit thermal radiation by virtue of their temperature. So the heat should be radiated outward.” This is in accordance, says the study, with, “ the second law of thermodynamics which states that heat will flow naturally from a hot object to a cold object.”

Less Cooling Noted During Day Time

However, it was found there existed a discrepancy between the night time and daytime effectiveness of oven cooling.

Currit explains why; “One possible reason that daytime cooling was not greater has to do with the different types of solar radiation. There are two kinds of solar radiation; direct and diffuse. Direct radiation is the portion of light that appears to come straight from the Sun. Only direct radiation can be focused. Diffuse radiation is sunlight that appears to come from all over the sky.”

Thereby, indirect atmospheric radiation is so weak that the so-called intensifying ‘greenhouse effect’ cannot practically occur in the real world. This accord with the Stephan-Boltzmann Law that affirms "Objects that absorb energy will increase in temperature and radiate all the energy it absorbed"

Most likely, our planet has successfully operated this cooling mechanism for billions of years. Thus, it is more conceivable that atmospheric gases are nature’s coolants.

No Evidence of any Back Radiation Effect

It is this failure by the BYU test thermometers to detect any warming effect that suggests so-called back radiation from CO2 isn’t happening, contrary to the predictions of government climatologists.

It was this feared back-radiation effect that certain western governments had predicted was the greatest danger for our planet's future. Alongside the mainstream media, politicians have touted runaway global warming as a consequence of further human emissions of GHG. The solution proposed by environmental lobbyists was to levy taxes to help cut fossil fuel emissions from increased worldwide industrial production and our modern way of living.

But without evidence of physically provable back-radiation the greenhouse effect appears to be in question, and the need for tax hikes is likewise questionable.

Tombstone Evidence Supports University Results

But there is more evidence to support the Brigham Young findings and its data coming from weather station evidence at Tombstone, in the desert of southern Arizona, southeast of Tucson where NOAA has moved its measuring apparatus in 1970.

The year is significant, as explained below, because it allows us to observe the difference of this station’s historical temperature record by observing the effects made on it between the older and newer sites and pre- and post-1970.

The date 1970 matters because IPCC climate models only require the addition of anthropogenic CO2 after 1970 – prior to that the warming is explained with natural forcings.

Thus, if the greenhouse gas theory holds true then the effect of increasing CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the desert should be most noticeable at night when the Earth is radiating heat.

But if we compare graphs found here of the station data for pre- and post-1970 it tells us, contrary to predictions, that there has been no warming in the Tombstone minimum temperature during the “CO2 era”.

Greenhouse Gas Skeptics Vindicated

Theorists skeptical of the GHG theory argue that such evidence shows that greenhouse gases have no obvious and measurable impact on temperatures. They say the sky and upper atmosphere will always be at a lower temperature so that heat will, in turn, always be readily transferred away from the warmer ground (and solar oven) to the cooler sky, which possesses an average high-atmosphere temperature of approximately -20 °C.

A growing number of scientists are critical of the GHG theory, most notably recently have been Dr. Richard F. Yanda, Alan Siddons and Heinz Thieme. While over 130 German scientists have declared that global warming has become a “pseudo religion” and rising CO2 has “had no measurable effect” on temperatures. Siddons believes the GHG theory is disproved because, " Re-radiated energy is neither reflected nor absorbed by a surface."

Thus the Brigham Young experiments have inadvertently added weight to the debate proving that any heat created, just like the cooking vessel, will always be radiated from Earth to the outer atmosphere and then to space because of this unique cooling property of ‘greenhouse’ gases.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Do IR-Absorbing Gases Warm or Cool the Earth's Surface?

By Charles R. Anderson, a materials physicist

I have just finished reading an excellent article by Alan Siddons called The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory on American Thinker from way back on 25 February 2010. The article is a little slow in developing, but finishes with a death blow to the usual theory put forth by catastrophic anthropogenic global warming advocates. I intend to explain more concisely what Siddons explained and to add comments of my own in this post which make the deathblow much more gory.

First of all, I am going to enlarge the context of the discussion. The primary source of heat for the surface of the Earth is the radiant energy of the sun. The solar wind of the sun, materials dumped into the atmosphere from space, heat from the deep interior of the earth, and the interplay of changes in the Earth's magnetic field and the sun's magnetic field are also contributors of heat, though the sum of these is much less than that from the sun's radiant energy spectrum of ultraviolet (UV), visible, and infra-red (IR) light. The entire catastrophic greenhouse gas hypothesis ignores effects upon the incident IR portion of this spectrum of light from the sun. This is foolish.

UV light is 11% of the radiant energy from the sun. The UV light variance of 0.5 to 0.8% with the solar cycle is much larger than is the visible light variance of 0.22%. UV light is absorbed throughout the atmosphere, but much still reaches the ground and is absorbed there. The amount of UV radiation absorbed in the upper atmosphere is highly dependent upon the amount of ozone there. The amount of ozone is said variously to be dependent upon the solar wind, CFCs, water vapor, and volcanic activity. When UV light is more absorbed in the stratosphere than the ground, its surface warming effect is diminished. The absorbed energy is re-emitted as IR radiation and much of that energy is quickly lost to space.

The entire atmosphere is transparent to visible light which is the form of 44% of the radiant energy from the sun, so aside from reflection from clouds and aerosol particles, the visible light reaches the ground or oceans and warms them near their surfaces.

Finally, the IR radiation is not absorbed by nitrogen, oxygen, and argon gases which make up 99% of the atmosphere, so a large fraction of it directly warms the Earth's surface. Some, is absorbed by the dominant greenhouse gas, water vapor, and small amounts are absorbed by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The incoming IR radiation absorbed in the atmosphere is less effective in warming the Earth's surface than is that which is absorbed by the Earth's surface directly. This is because some this energy absorbed in the atmosphere then is radiated again in the form of IR radiation, but now half or more of that is directed out to space. In other words, more water vapor and CO2 in the atmosphere results in a less effective warming of the surface than does less of these gases with respect to the incoming IR energy from the sun. The greenhouse gases have a cooling effect on the original solar radiance spectrum for the 45% of the solar energy in the form of IR.

In each case, whether UV, visible light, or IR, not all of the radiation of that form striking the Earth's surface is absorbed. Some fraction is reflected and the fraction is very dependent on whether the ground is covered with snow, plowed earth, grasses, forests, crops, black top, or water. There are two real ways that man does have some effect on the Earth's temperature. He changes the surface of the earth over a fraction of the 30% of its surface which is land. He also converts fossil and biomass fuels into heat. Compared to the overall natural effects, these man-made effects are small, yet they are probably large compared to the effect of his adding CO2 and methane to the atmosphere.

Wherever the atmosphere is heated, there is transfer of heat. In the outer, very low density atmosphere, the primary means of heat transfer is radiant transfer by IR emission from an energetic molecule or atom, since collisions of molecules and atoms for direct energy transfer are rare. In the denser atmosphere, most energy transfer is due to collisions and the convective flow of masses of warmed air. Near the Earth's surface, almost all of the energy lost by the warmed surface is due to gas molecules striking the surface and picking up heat and then colliding with other molecules to transfer heat from one to another. Once a body of air is so heated, then masses of warmed molecules are transported upward into the cooler atmosphere at higher altitudes or laterally toward cooler surface areas by convection. Any warmed molecule, most of which are nitrogen, oxygen, and argon will radiate IR radiation. However, no molecule or atom at a low temperature such as that near the Earth's surface is a very effective energy radiator, since the Stephan-Boltzmann equation depends upon the fourth power of the absolute temperature, which commonly near the Earth's surface is about 290K. Thus, gas molecule collisions and convection are the very dominant means of heat transfer. These processes on balance cool the surface of the Earth and redistribute some of the heat back into the upper atmosphere and cooler places such as those shaded from the sun or the arctic regions.

The favorite claim of the catastrophic greenhouse gas global warming people is that an increase of carbon dioxide and methane gas in the atmosphere will cause energy radiated into the atmosphere from the ground to be absorbed by these molecules and they will radiate half of it back toward the ground, where that energy will warm the surface again and reduce the cooling due to the ground originally radiating that heat into the atmosphere. According to Alan Siddons, less than 1% of the cooling of the Earth's surface is due to IR emission of the surface or the gases near the surface. More than 99% is due to direct contact and convection according to Siddons. Ian Tulloch informs me that at night the IR cooling may increase to as much as 20%, so future improvements may require a more informed average value. For the moment, let us consider an average value of about 10% to be more conservative.

Since the dominant source of energy warming the surface of the Earth is the sun, let us do a simple calculation based upon the facts presented above. Let us say that greenhouse gases absorb a fraction f of the incoming IR radiation from the sun, which is 45% of the sun's incoming energy. Thus the energy absorbed by greenhouse gases from the incoming spectrum of solar energy is 0.45f and a fraction of this, say k is radiated back into space without coming near the surface. NASA says k is 0.5, but it is actually slightly larger than that given that much of this absorption occurs at appreciable altitudes. The total cooling due to greenhouse gases, somewhere in the atmosphere, is now 0.45fk. Of this energy, had it become incident upon the surface as IR radiation, a part would have been reflected rather than absorbed. The fraction that would have been absorbed at the surface if it had not been absorbed by IR-absorbing gases is q. The net energy then lost to the warming of the surface is then 0.45fkq.

Now, let us suppose that a fraction g of the total energy from the sun is absorbed in the Earth's surface or in the very lower part of the atmosphere. We know that g is a larger fraction of 1 than is f, since most of the solar radiation does reach the ground, including that part in the IR part of the spectrum. Of the energy g absorbed in the surface, only 0.01 times it is emitted as IR radiation according to Siddons, but to be conservative as discussed above, let us be generous and peg this at an average value of 0.1. Since the greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere is unchanged the amount of outgoing radiation, serving to cool the surface, is now 0.1gf. A fraction j of this energy will be emitted by the IR warmed greenhouse gas molecules back toward the ground. NASA has said this fraction is 0.5. Let us then say j is about 0.5. The greenhouse gas warming of the surface due to absorbing IR radiation from the ground would then be about 0.05gfq, where q is the fraction of back-reflected IR radiation that was incident upon the surface and absorbed. Remember that some radiation is reflected.

There is another term for the IR radiation which is reflected from the surface without having been absorbed in the surface. The fraction of the incoming IR radiation reflected from the surface is (1-q) and the fraction of the total incoming energy from the sun that was initially IR radiation was 0.45. The total of initial incoming solar radiation reflected from the surface is then 0.45(1-q). Of this outgoing reflected IR radiation, a fraction f is absorbed by IR-absorbing gases as was the case of initial incoming IR radiation from the sun. Of the gas-absorbed IR radiation reflected from the surface, half is re-emitted toward the surface and a fraction q of that is absorbed by the surface. The result is that this reflected IR contribution to warming the atmosphere closer to the surface is 0.225(1-q)fq.

Now we will compare the greenhouse gas cooling effect upon the incoming solar radiation of 0.45fkq to the re-warming of the surface due to 0.005gfq times the total solar radiant energy and the reflected IR contribution of energy re-directed to the surface from IR-absorbing gases. The ratio of the warming terms to the cooling term is:

(0.05gfq + 0.225(1-q)fq) / 0.45fkq

= 0.11g/k + 0.5(1-q)/k

Now let us consider the approximate size of these terms.

* k is slightly more than 0.5, while g is the surface absorptivity for the entire solar spectrum and is likely to be between 0.7 and 0.9, so 0.11g/k is about 0.07.

* q is likely to be nearly equal to the total solar absorption fraction at the ground, though it is specifically the IR ground absorption fraction. (1-q) is surely less than 0.5 and is likely to be about 0.2. Taking k equal to 0.5, 0.5(1-q)/k is about 0.2

* Thus the net warming effect of greenhouse gases is smaller than the cooling effect, since surface heating is about 0.07 + 0.2 = 0.27 times the greenhouse cooling effect in the atmosphere, mostly removed from effect transfer of energy to the ground.

In sum, using a simple calculation we can approximate the effect of greenhouse gases on the surface temperature of the Earth. It turns out that the cooling effect due to keeping incoming solar IR radiation away from the surface is about 3.7 times the re-heating effect due to so-called greenhouse gases. Now, if the effect were very large in either case, this might be cause for concern. We would likely be better off heating the surface of the planet than cooling it. But, then we are heating with land use changes and the release of energy from fossil fuels, so the generation of cooling CO2 may simply be compensating for these other small effects. Another cooling effect is particulates and aerosols. Much more important to this issue than CO2 and methane IR-absorbing gases is water vapor in any case. So, most of this net cooling effect is due to water vapor and only a small part is due to CO2 and methane.

Now, of course so much is going on here that this calculation is but an indicator of the likely net effect of greenhouse gases. A more careful calculation would consider the different weight of IR frequencies in the original spectrum of the sun and in the Earth surface emission spectrum. But, any changes due to these secondary issues are likely to be small. In any case, this calculation makes mincemeat of the usual simple rationale for greenhouse gas warming alarmism which fails to consider a number of aspects of this simple calculation.

It is insane to focus only on the outgoing IR radiation due to light absorbed in the Earth's surface while ignoring the large part of the sun's total incident radiation which is IR from the get-go. It is also insane to ignore gas collisions and convection currents as mechanisms for heat transfer. The fact that IR absorbed from the incoming solar spectrum occurs higher in the atmosphere and the energy cannot be as effectively transported to the lower atmosphere or even worse to the ground is very important. But, convection and gas molecular collisions can take the energy of the ground and transport it to higher altitudes to replace air cooled by radiating IR energy out into space. This means that the most important warming effect on the surface is that radiation absorbed by the surface upon the incidence of the radiation. Additions of IR-absorbing gases just mean that more energy of the solar spectrum is deposited somewhere in the atmosphere rather than in the ground. This results in a net cooling effect.

I have sometimes used the greenhouse gas term in the presently conventional way, but in reality, all gases when warm radiate IR energy and as pointed out by Alan Siddons, they are all really greenhouse gases. But, here I used the term only for those gases that absorb IR energy.


Laugh Riot: 190-year climate 'tipping point' issued -- Despite fact that UN began 10-Year 'Climate Tipping Point' in 1989!

Once again, the world is being warned of a climate “tipping point.” The latest bout of stern warnings comes from a survey of 14 climate "experts."

Get ready, we only have 190 years! Scientists 'expect climate tipping point' by 2200 - UK Independent - June 28, 2010 - Excerpt: "13 of the 14 experts said that the probability of reaching a tipping point (by 2200) was greater than 50 per cent, and 10 said that the chances were 75 per cent or more."

Such silliness. It's difficult to keep up whether it is hours, days, months or 1000 years. Here are few recent examples of others predicting climate "tipping points" of various durations.

HOURS: Flashback March 2009: 'We have hours' to prevent climate disaster -- Declares Elizabeth May of Canadian Green Party

Days: Flashback Oct. 2009: UK's Gordon Brown warns of global warming 'catastrophe'; Only '50 days to save world'

Months: Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009

Years: Flashback Oct .2009: WWF: 'Five years to save world'

Millennium: Flashback June 2010: 1000 years delay: Green Guru James Lovelock: Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out'

It is becoming obvious that the only authentic climate "tipping point" we can rely is this one:

Flashback 2007: New Zealand Scientist on Global Warming: 'It's All Going to be a Joke in 5 Years' (He wasn't Optimistic enough -- it only took 3 years!)

Inconvenient History of Climate 'Tipping Point' Warnings

As early as 1989, the UN was already trying to sell their “tipping point” rhetoric on the public. See: U.N. Warning of 10-Year 'Climate Tipping Point' Began in 1989 – Excerpt: According to July 5, 1989, article in the Miami Herald, the then-director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Noel Brown, warned of a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming. According to the 1989 article, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of 'eco-refugees,' threatening political chaos.” (LINK) & (LINK)

NASA scientist James Hansen has been warning of a “tipping point” for years now. See: Earth's Climate Approaches Dangerous Tipping Point – June 1, 2007 – Excerpt: A stern warning that global warming is nearing an irreversible tipping point was issued today” by James Hansen.

Former Vice President Al Gore invented his own “tipping point” clock a few years ago. Excerpt: Former Vice-President Al Gore came to Washington on July 17, 2008, to deliver yet another speech warning of the “climate crisis.” “The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis,” Gore stated.

Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009. Excerpt: The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James's Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world. And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the "age of convenience" was over.

'World has only ten years to control global warming, warns Met Office - UK Telegraph – November 15, 2009

Excerpt: Pollution needs to be brought under control within ten years to stop runaway climate change, according to the latest Met Office predictions. [...] "To limit global mean temperature [increases] to below 2C, implied emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere at the end of the century fall close to zero in most cases."

The UN chief Ban Ki-moon further shortened the "tipping point" in August 2009, when he warned of 'incalculable' suffering without climate deal in December 2009!

Newsweek magazine waded into the tipping point claims as well. Newsweek wrote: "The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality." But, Newsweek's "tipping point" quote appeared in a April 28, 1975 article about global cooling! Same rhetoric, different eco-scare.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Consensuses past and present

Looking back, it turns out that a lot of scientific consensuses were wrong.

One consensus that lasted over 100 years is that stomach ulcers could not be caused by bacterial infection because the stomach was too acid for bacteria to live there. They underestimated Helicobacter pylori. For years, lots of people had drastic surgery for no good reason. Ulcers are now normally treated by antibiotics -- JR

Last week, the prestigious journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published an article that tried to assess the relative credibility of climate scientists who “support the tenets of anthropogenic climate change” versus those who do not. One goal of the study is to “provide an independent assessment of level of scientific consensus concerning anthropogenic climate change.” The researchers found that 97–98 percent of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field are convinced of man-made climate change.

In addition, using publication and citation data, the study found that the few climate change dissenters are far less scientifically prominent than convinced researchers. The article concludes, “This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change.” Translation: reporters, politicians, and citizens should stop listening to climate change skeptics.

Naturally, there has been some pushback against the article. For example, Georgia Institute of Technology climatologist Judith Curry who was not pigeonholed in the study told ScienceInsider, “This is a completely unconvincing analysis.” One of the chief objections to the findings is that peer review is stacked in favor of the consensus view, locking skeptics out of publishing in major scientific journals. John Christy, a prominent climate change researcher at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who is skeptical of catastrophic claims, asserted that because of “the tight interdependency between funding, reviewers, popularity. ... We [skeptical researchers] are being ‘black‑listed,’ as best I can tell, by our colleagues.”

This fight over credibility prompted me to wonder about the role that the concept of a “scientific consensus” has played out in earlier policy debates. We all surely want our decisions to be guided by the best possible information. Consider the overwhelming consensus among researchers that biotech crops are safe for humans and the environment—a conclusion that is rejected by the very environmentalist organizations that loudly insist on the policy relevance of the scientific consensus on global warming. But I digress.

Taking a lead from the PNAS researchers I decided to mine the “literature” on the history of uses of the phrase “scientific consensus.” I restricted my research to Nexis searches of major world publications, figuring that’s where mainstream views would be best represented. So how has the phrase “scientific consensus” been used in past policy debates?

My Nexis search found that 36 articles using that phrase appeared in major world publications prior to my arbitrary June 1985 search cutoff. One of the first instances of the uses of the phrase appears in the July 1, 1979 issue of The Washington Post on the safety of the artificial sweetener saccharin. “The real issue raised by saccharin is not whether it causes cancer (there is now a broad scientific consensus that it does)” (parenthetical in original) reported the Post. The sweetener was listed in 1981 in the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens as a substance reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Interesting. Thirty years later, the National Cancer Institute reports that “there is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans.” In light of this new scientific consensus, the sweetener was delisted as a probable carcinogen in 2000.

Similarly, the Post reported later that same year (October 6, 1979) a “profound shift” in the prevailing scientific consensus about the causes of cancer. According to the Post, researchers in the 1960s believed that most cancers were caused by viruses, but now diet was considered the far more important factor. One of the more important findings was that increased dietary fiber appeared to reduce significantly the incidence of colon cancer.

Twenty years later, a major prospective study of nearly 90,000 women reported, “No significant association between fiber intake and the risk of colorectal adenoma was found.” In 2005, another big study confirmed that “high dietary fiber intake was not associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.” While dietary fiber may not prevent colon cancer, it is associated with lower cardiovascular risk.

In its June 1, 1984 issue, The Washington Post reported the issuance of a massive new report by the White House science office supporting the scientific consensus that “agents found to cause cancer in animals should be considered ‘suspect human carcinogens,’” and that “giving animals high doses of an agent is a proper way to test its carcinogenicity.” Although such studies remain a regulatory benchmark, at least some researchers question the usefulness of such tests today.

The December 17, 1979 issue of Newsweek reported that the Department of Energy was boosting research spending on fusion energy reactors based on a scientific consensus that the break-even point—that a fusion reactor would produce more energy than it consumes—could be passed within five years. That hasn’t happened yet and the latest effort to spark a fusion energy revolution, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, will not be ready for full-scale testing until 2026.

An article in the June 8, 1981 issue of The Washington Post cited a spokesman for the American Medical Association opposing proposed federal legislation that would make abortion murder as saying, "The legislation is founded on the idea that a scientific consensus exists that life begins at the time of conception. We will go up there to say that no such consensus exists." It still doesn’t.

In the years prior to 1985, several publications reported the scientific consensus that acid rain emitted by coal-fired electricity generation plants belching sulfur dioxide was destroying vast swathes of forests and lakes in the eastern United States. For example, the March 10, 1985 New York Times cited environmental lawyer Richard Ottinger, who asserted that there is a “broad scientific consensus" that acid rain is destroying lakes and forests and "is a threat to our health."

In 1991, after 10 years and $500 million, the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program study (as far as I can tell that report is oddly missing from the web) actually reported, according to a 1992 article in Reason: “The assessment concluded that acid rain was not damaging forests, did not hurt crops, and caused no measurable health problems. The report also concluded that acid rain helped acidify only a fraction of Northeastern lakes and that the number of acid lakes had not increased since 1980.” Nevertheless, Congress passed the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments that regulate sulfur dioxide emissions through a cap-and-trade scheme. Acid rain was clearly causing some problems, but was not the wide-scale environmental disaster that had been feared.

Interestingly, the only mention of a scientific consensus with regard to stratospheric ozone depletion by ubiquitous chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) refrigerants was an article in the October 6, 1982 issue of the industry journal Chemical Week. That article noted that the National Research Council had just issued a report that had cut estimates of ozone depletion in half from a 1979 NRC report. The 1982 NRC report noted, “Current scientific understanding…indicates that if the production of two CFCs …were to continue into the future at the rate prevalent in 1977 the steady state reduction in total global ozone…could be between 5 and 9 percent.” Such a reduction might have been marginally harmful, but not catastrophic. It was not until 1986 that the mainstream press reported the discovery of the “ozone hole” over Antarctica. This discovery quickly led to the adoption of an international treaty aiming to drastically reduce the global production of CFCs in 1987. (For what it is worth, I supported the international ban of CFCs in my 1993 book Eco-Scam.)

With regard to anthropogenic climate change, my Nexis search of major world publications finds before 1985 just a single 1981 New York Times article. “There has been a growing scientific consensus that the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is creating a ‘greenhouse effect’ by trapping some of the earth's heat and warming the atmosphere,” reported the Times in its January 14, 1981 issue.

What a difference the passage of 25 years makes. My Nexis search turned up 457 articles in major publications that in the last year cited or used the phrase “scientific consensus.” Checking to see how many combined that phrase with “climate change,” Nexis reported that the number comes to 342 articles. Briefly scanning through a selection of the articles it is clear that some of them involved the controversy over whether or not there is a “scientific consensus” on climate change. The majority appear to cite various experts and policymakers asserting the existence of a scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change is dangerous to humanity.

So what to make of this increase in the use of the concept of “scientific consensus?” After all, several scientific consensuses before 1985 turned out to be wrong or exaggerated, e.g., saccharin, dietary fiber, fusion reactors, stratospheric ozone depletion, and even arguably acid rain and high-dose animal testing for carcinogenicity.

One reasonable response might be that anthropogenic climate change is different from the cited examples because much more research has been done. And yet. One should always keep in mind that a scientific consensus crucially determines and limits the questions researchers ask. And one should always worry about to what degree supporters of any given scientific consensus risk succumbing to confirmation bias. In any case, the credibility of scientific research is not ultimately determined by how many researchers agree with it or how often it is cited by like-minded colleagues, but whether or not it conforms to reality.


British government pulls the plug on "Green" cars

Britain's car industry can no longer rely on taxpayer 'emergency' bailouts, new Business Secretary Vince Cable warned today. He said:'We don't want to go around the country waving a cheque book.'

Mr Cable also signalled that the Government was unlikely to give a big taxpayer subsidy to help General Motors to have its new Ampera electric car built in Britain at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port. The plant builds the Astra and currently employs 1,800 and the deal would create hundreds more jobs. The company had sought about £300million from the previous Labour Government.

But Mr Cable, who is to meet GM's Welsh-born boss Nick Reilly to discus the matter within days, made clear today that such large sums were now out of the question, though there may be some help at the fringes in relation to training, apprenticeships, tax breaks, and environmental measures.

He said General Motors had not yet formally approached his Government about any grants to build the Ampera in Britain, but noted that the car was an 'attractive proposition' for the firm and that such projects 'shouldn't depend on Government support.'

The Business Secretary told the Financial Times online that the new Government would instead focus on indirect ways to help industry: 'We're moving out of an emergency time, and support will come in more indirect ways.'

GM UK bosses want to build the Ampera in the UK from 2011, rather than see the work go to Bochum in Germany. The UK is likely to be the largest European market for it.

Vauxhall insiders said they hoped for a productive meeting between Mr Reilly and Mr Cable, who is also to address a major automotive summit in London on Wednesday, organised by the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A Labour pledge of a £5,000 discount for buyers of new electric cars is also likely to be axed.

The new coalition Government did approve a grant for Nissan to build new Leaf electric cars in Sunderland and a loan guarantee for Ford - both deals agreed earlier with the previous Labour government.

Mr Cable was speaking on his way to Toyota's factory in Burnaston where he launched production of the first full petrol-electric hybrid vehicle in Europe. The minister saw the first Toyota Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) vehicle driven off the end of the production line at the Burnaston plant in Derbyshire. Petrol engines will be built at Deeside in North Wales.

Mr Cable said: 'Toyota's decision to make Burnaston the only plant in the world to build the Hybrid Auris is a strong endorsement of the UK as a manufacturing base for the next generation of cars. 'It is sending a signal to manufacturers that if you're not in the UK, then you're missing out on all the strengths and skills that the UK has to offer.'



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



After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory


"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."